Philosophical concepts that surround life, the universe and everything, including those realms of theology, religions and the nature of deities continue to fascinate. Opinions proliferate. There's the theist pro side; There's the atheist anti-side. There aren't too many fence-sitters. I'm still in the anti-camp as my seventh helping of "Religious Bits & Pieces" illustrate.
* IMHO, religion tends to be first-and-foremost about money, power and installing fear. People who aren't worried about hell and the afterlife aren't as likely to stay with the flock.
* Religions instruct us to be satisfied with not understanding since religions tend to appeal to the emotions, not to the intellect. What we believe is more important than what is factually true since belief is way more emotionally satisfying that any cold hard facts of life.
* Religion does not have a monopoly on providing emotion or spiritualism. One can get highly emotional or spiritual in the total absence of anything supernatural just from observing / hearing nature, music, film, books, taking drugs (often illegal) and so on. So experiencing the spiritual does not of necessity equate to experiencing the supernatural – which is what religion ultimately is and embraces.
* You of course can get comfort from religion but you don't require religion in order to get comfort. And just because something, like religion, can be comforting, does of necessity make it true. The Universe doesn't exist to make us happy.
* You can take the good parts of religion without actually having to take the actual religion with it.
* If another religion commands and commits all manner of atrocities in the name of their god, well that's awful. If your religion commands and commits those same atrocities in the name of your god, well that's A-OK because your religion is doing your (one true) god's will and your god never commands anything without a damn good moral reason and in any event your omnibenevolent god can do whatever he damn well pleases and no correspondence shall be entered into on the matter.
* If your opinion (s) is not tied to a supernatural being then nobody really sits up and takes the slightest notice. You opinion (s), in order to have divine validity, has to be based on a text from thousands of years ago that was penned in the arid regions of the middle east by the great unwashed.
* If, as Christians proclaim, atheists cannot disprove the existence of their God, well, in turn, Christians cannot disprove the existence of Zeus, Apollo, Odin, Isis, and thousands of other deities. So there! As the song title goes, it's "All or nothing at all".
* If an atheist is evil, immoral, blasphemous, etc. for rejecting monotheism, then a Christian, Muslim or Jew must also be evil, immoral, blasphemous, etc. for rejecting polytheism; for disbelief in all those Norse, Greek, Roman, Egyptian, Babylonian, Aztec, Mayan, Incan, Polynesian, Japanese, Chinese, etc. pantheons of deities.
* I'm sure Christians could give 101 reasons why Islam is a false religion. I'm equally sure that Muslims could give 101 reasons why Christianity is a false religion. Hey, here's an original idea. Maybe BOTH Christianity AND Islam are just plain false and just pure pseudo-nonsense.
* If you are a non-Christian, why do many of the extreme right-wing variety of Christians feel they need to get in your face and be judgemental about you? If you doubt this, just read up on how the religious establishment in general and the Catholic Church in particular persecuted noted philosopher bertrand russell (1872-1970).
* We've tended to put religion on an untouchable pedestal status that we put no other paranormal subject on, yet the evidence for religious claims is the exact same as the evidence for the claims of astrologers. A priest will say that an invisible 'man' in the sky will control your fate after you die. An astrologer says invisible influences in the sky will control your fate before you die.
* You can get away with a lot of bullshit if you have "The Reverend" (or equivalent) in front of your name, or if you're a Christian True Believer. You can say the damnedest things and go unchallenged. So do not reinforce religion's pedestal status by saying you respect it (even if you don't agree with it). There is nothing that religion stands for that's so heads-and-shoulders above all other institutions that it unquestionably requires your respect (even if you don't agree with it).
* Religion is often used to reinforce your own bigoted beliefs. It's okay to be homophobic or racist or degrade women just because it's in the Bible.
* When religion says "jump", their True Believers ask "how high"? I tend to respond however with the middle finger!
* I am not the slightest bit concerned if you are offended by my anti-religious philosophy and worldviews since you in turn are not the slightest bit concerned with offending me with your religious philosophy and worldviews.
* Slowly but surely I think we're getting more and more of a belly-full of being pushed around by otherwise ordinary mammals who think they are better than us because they have God on their side. I mean Christians often feel oppressed when they can't oppress non-Christians. Enough is enough of their arrogant preaching. It's not only insulting it is also threatening.
* The only thing that benefits if atheists keep silent is religion and religion gets more than their fair share of benefits already.
Regarding Religion vs. Science
* If you scroll though the thousands of stories about the extreme Christian, fundamentalist, evangelistic, right-wing religious fanatics on the "Right Wing Watch" website, you'll note some common themes, including all of the 'science' presented in the Bible is literal truth; climate change is just a conspiracy and isn't happening; in any event rising sea levels are of no concern because God will never destroy the Earth with flood waters; natural disasters are just the wrath of God so prayers can stop them; faith-healing and prayer trumps medicine and can even raise the dead; not using fossil fuels is an insult to God since God created them for our use; nuclear power is good too; environmentalists are evil; only eyewitness testimony can determine the age of the Earth; biological evolution is nonsense and creationism makes much more sense; People who believe in evolution should be disqualified from holding political office (that also holds true for gays, atheists, and those who don't oppose abortion); dinosaurs and humans co-existed; and the icing on the cake: what keeps an atom's nucleus together? Jesus, that's what!
Regarding Faith & Belief
* The fact that you believe something does not of necessity mean that I have to respect that belief.
* I really don't care what you choose to believe – your value systems – so long as what you believe is not used to legislate and affect what the rest of us choose believe – our value systems.
Regarding Family Values
* Attention Fundamentalists and Christian True Believers – regarding gay marriage: Giving rights to other people does NOT take away any of your rights. Deal with it!
Regarding the Bible
* There are two ways of learning about the Bible. You can read it for yourself and be prepared for a massive dose of shock / horror, or you can just accept the word of the faithful and the True Believers who will cherry-pick out all of the warm-and-fuzzy bits from the various chapters / verses and ignore the very numerous nasty shock / horror bits. Case in point: the website "Bible Gateway" gives you the Biblical verse-of-the-day. You can bet the family farm that there will be no exceptions to the warm-and-fuzzy rule. And aren't all those hymns you sing or warble in church all of the warm and fuzzy kind? And when was the last time you were in church and heard a sermon about God purchase genocide?
* Every word in the Bible is literal truth because the Bible says so!
* If the Bible, the literal word of God, can't get basic 3rd grade science correct, how can we trust it to get anything else (ie – history, morality, etc.) correct?
* When you point out Biblical contradictions to True Believers, True Believers will tend to tell you that you cannot apply the rules of logic when talking about God and God's holy word.
* Theist argument [and I've actually heard this]: Creation is real so a creator God is both necessary and obvious, therefore the Bible must be literally true!
Regarding the End Times
* After the recent Supreme Court of the United States decision on the same-gender marriage, those in the religious far-right-wing fundamentalist camp have had a field day about how God's Judgment, God's Wrath and the End Times are now absolutely imminent. However, the seconds, minutes, hours, and days tick away and the world continues to turn without an ounce of Wrath to be seen, though I'm sure that even if a lightning bolt should now strike USA soil, said fundamentalists will say " I told you so. " Why do I have a gut feeling that I could add weeks, months, years, decades and multiples of the same to the ticking away and not an End Time of any kind will have come to pass?
* You really do have to admire all those End Times fanatics who keep leading with their chins and predicting and re-predicting and re-re-predicting the End Times date, no matter how many times they have been wrong wrong before. They have obviously been proven wrong regarding their previous predictions since the End Times hasn't happened yet. 100% of End Times predictions have failed. Still, you can always find a whole potful of End Times videos over at YouTube for your viewing pleasure given in earnest by Second Coming and Rapture fanatics who are pleased to give chapter-and-verse predictions on when the End Times will roll around (for real this time). Bring your popcorn and a large grain of salt!
* Compare and contrast the evidence for Santa Claus relative to the evidence for God (or Allah). It's no contest. There's massive evidence for the existence of Santa. Santa's existence goes back hundreds of years as revealed in in his 'holy texts'. If you fast-forward to the relatively recent and the present up through and including the current day, you have multi-thousands of images and photographs and motion pictures of Santa; there have been millions of visual sightings of Santa up-close-and-personal; he has a mailing address; he leave evidence in the form of gifts for all good little boys and girls and these kids, multi-millions of them, will so testify to the reality and the actual existence of Santa. Contrasted and compared to the evidence for God, well it's no contest. The heavyweight winner is Santa Claus by a knockout early in the First Round!
* So how can you with a straight face tell a child that Santa does exist but a talking snake, Adam, Eve, Noah, Moses, etc. did exist?
* The God excuse is the last refuge of a 'man' with no answers and no arguments – it just came from God. Anything we can't describe or come to terms with or figure out must have come from God and no correspondence will be entered into on the subject.
* God has been deliberately designed to be beyond the verification process of science. The test of a good argument is that it is falsifiable not that it isn't falsifiable. God's alleged existence is not falsifiable.
* However, IMHO, the best evidence for God (or a god or gods) is the apparent degree of fine-tuning of the laws, principles and relationships in the physical sciences that allow for higher complexity of matter leading up to and including life and intelligence. But, fine-tuning can also be explained just as well if not better by the Simulation Hypothesis. That is, we are just virtual beings 'existing' in a computer programmed simulated landscape.
* I like the following observation courtesy of Sam Harris, and though I paraphrasing, it goes something like this: Out of this entire vast Cosmos created by God in order for Him to have some cosmic company, He designed just one, and only one primate species in order to have an up-close-and-personal relationship with – the human species (lucky us). God takes a special interest in things we do, especially things we tend to do when we're naked!
* If functional complexity (ie a watch) requires a designer (ie – a watchmaker), that designer would be even more functionally complex and in turn have to have a designer which of course True Believers call God. But, if God is a more functionally complex than the human, then there has to be a something / someone even more functionally complex than God. So who designed God? And who designed God's designer and so on and so on ad infinitum?
Regarding God As Timelessness / Changeless
* If God was timeless (existing outside of time) and therefore chaneless (as theists often allege), frozen in a state of suspended animation, doing nothing, thinking about nothing while in that timeless state, then He could NOT have come up with an idea to cross the Rubicon and create time and a physical Cosmos. The very idea to do such a thing had to have existed while God was in that timeless / changeless state and that's a contradiction since ideas must be temporal since an idea is a change-of-state. If you have an idea that implies that there was a before, a before when you did not have that idea. The transition of non-idea to idea is a change and a temporal change.
* OK, never mind about what God did do or did do or could do or couldn't do while in a timeless state, what's God done post creation? Now that God has created the cosmos and crossed the Rubicon into time and is now stuck here in time (not all that omnipotent now is he), what is he going to do for an encore? Or perhaps He has just packed it up and gone off to Florida to retire and just do a bit of fishing.
* Okay, one further comment, regardless of His existence in a timeless state, or His existence in this state of time, what the heck does He actually do? If He had no beginning while He existed in a timeless state, well that's a heck of a long time to do – well, what? God either had to have been been bored out of His timeless mind and / or been the greatest party-poop of all time. It would seem the sum total of His CV is creating the cosmos in just a tiny interval of His existence. I mean if you live for 100 years and the sum total of your accomplishments in that time is making one breakfast, well that doesn't strike me as being something to brag about!
Regarding God's Omniscience
* If God is all-knowing, then God knows in advance when and where the next major and deadly earthquake, tsunami, bush-fire, hurricane, etc. is going to be. God however will give no warning to the innocent nor interfere with the event happening. So, any claim about God's mercy or morality is a load of pure bovine fertilizer.
* But that little incident in Exodus whereby God requires His Chosen People to identify their dwellings such that he won't accidentally smite them also puts the BIG LIE to God's all-knowing abilities. God had to have His people (the Hebrews) mark their homes with blood so He would pass over (hence the term "Passover") them when He did His smiting. An all-knowing God would know which house housed who. It's all such a load of rubbish.
* God (assuming a God of course), though being somewhat limited in His omnipotence, could have equally forsaken the need to perform any creation of a universe or universes and thus save Himself an awful lot of angst. I'm sure many a set of parents have created offspring and ended up regretting it but not being omniscient did not know what they were letting themselves in for! God has no such excuse. I'm not sure what the point is in creating a train of events that you already know will happen.
* Therein lies another logical contradiction. If you are God and all-knowing then you know in advance what you will do and therefore it's all predetermined and therefore you have no choice in the matter but to follow through and do what you know you must do. God has no free will. God is a slave to His omniscience and thus God can't be omnipotent since God cannot overrule Himself!
Regarding God's 'Morality'
* If something really good happens to you that proves that God is good and just and all-loving and merciful and omnibenevolent. However, if something really bad happens to you, well God works in mysterious ways, ways way beyond your puny understanding and therefore you cannot know the mind of God and know all the ins and outs of God's righteous master plan. But rest assured at no time is God hateful or unjust or does God have it in for you. Do you perhaps detect a slight double standard here? It sort of reminds me of the golden office rule with reads: Rule Number One – the boss is always right. Rule Number Two – when the boss is wrong, refer to Rule Number One.
* North Korea is the most religious country presently on Earth. We all know what a heavenly paradise North Korea is under the divine leadership of their 'god', their beloved "Dear Leader". Where else is everybody required to worship therefore their "Dear Leader"? All North Koreans must worship "Dear Leader" – or else! Does this not though in some way remind you of God's First (and foremost of His Ten) Commandment (s) – thou shall worship and put Me, Myself and I (your "Dear Divine Leader") first – or else!
* I gather God got a little pissed off at some of His Chosen People for doing naughty things and so wiped away 24,000 of them with the plague (Numbers 25: 9), or maybe it was 23,000 (1 Corinthians 10: 8) – who's counting? God kills the wicked because God is an intolerant bastard – oops, sorry – a righteous judge. The fact remains, according to the Bible anyway, that God, like the Nazis, has a "final solution" in mind when it comes to dealing with some undesirable elements within His realm.
* Speaking of being pissed off, how's this for an illustration of God's morality. If you check out Deuteronomy 23: 2-3, you'll note that if you're a "bastard", an Ammonite or a Moabite, you are banned from entering the congregation of the Lord, which is one thing I guess, but that ban also pertains to the next ten generations of those so named that they procreate. So you and your descendants, ten generations on down the track, are equally as guilty. But I gather if you're of the eleventh generation, well that's okay. You are free to join God's congregation.
* Here is why you have to agree with all that Jesus says and does and is. You see his mother never went to bed with anyone and therefore that and that alone proves the truth of all that he says. Of course that's a load of pure bovine fertilizer. Buddha, Horus, Krishna and Zoroaster were also all born of a virgin and True Christian Believers wouldn't suggest that therefore all that they say about themselves are therefore also true statements!
* Jesus is not coming back. Just get over it!
Regarding Atheists & Atheism
* Just because an atheist doesn't believe in the existence of God is no sweat off of your back and in no way has any relevance to what you believe, so just get off their backs and deal with reality.
* According to PZ Myers, the "New Atheist" is exactly the same as the old tried and true atheist, only the "New Atheist" is now someone that the Catholic Church can no longer set on fire.
* No atheist argument has ever been proven wrong by any theist argument.
* Atheists delight in asking questions and challenging the status quo. Religious folk totally accept their belief systems status quo and don't tend to ask questions that might challenge their belief systems. Their answer to life, the Universe and everything is – God!
For Your Atheistic Viewing Pleasure
* By the way, you may wish to check out Jaclyn Glenn both on her own web page as well as on YouTube for multi-dozens of her anti-theist videos. She's so good that even Richard Dawkins raves about her. And, as an added bonus guys, she's very easy on the eyes!
* Another excellent atheistic experience is viewing on YouTube the late comedian George Carlin's clip titled "Religion is Bullshit". He absolutely nails it while you are busy ROTFLYAO.