.comment-link {margin-left:.6em;}

The Big Picture

'Have you ever heard of Plato, Aristotle, Socrates? Morons.' -- Vizzini from "The Princess Bride"

Monday, December 31, 2007

Year End Roundup

Well we once again dodged the Pat Robertson alarmist straight-from-God's-mouth prophesy for 2007. Who knew George Bush would turn out to be more powerful than God?

I wonder what his predictions for 2008 will be? I predict that Pat will predict a strong Republican victory in Novermber 2008. If things go as they should, reality should turn out to be the opposite of what Pat predicts.

So what about you? What do you predict for 2008? I suppose I don't really have any predictions, excepting stating the obvious: anti-science creationists will still try to destroy science and poison our children's minds against reality and fact; Christians will claim persecution any time some non-Christian demands equality; the religious right will still fight to protect life and simultaneously be pro-war and pro-death penalty. I could go on, but you get the idea.

The new year offers all of us new potential and promise. But at the same time, we all know that some things will never change. Bill O'Reilly will still bloviate that there is a war on Christmas, Ann Coulter will prove once again that stupidity has no limit, and conservative Christianity will still be threatened by the fact that that their virus of belief has not affected every single human on the planet.

But on the bright side, every day that we retain our freedom and improve upon the equality of opportunity for all is a day that we win.

Labels: , ,

Thursday, December 20, 2007

You Can't Take the Dumb Out of Dumbass

CNN has put up a commentary by Roland Martin entitled, "Commentary: You can't take Christ out of Christmas." As you can probably guess it is yet another screed whining about some fictiticious War on Christmas.

Because of all the politically correct idiots, we are being encouraged to stop saying "Merry Christmas" for the more palatable "Happy Holidays." What the heck are "Seasons Greetings"? Can someone tell me what season we are greeting folks about? A Christmas tree? Oh, no! It's now a holiday tree. Any Christmas song that even remotely mentions Christ or has a religious undertone is being axed for being overtly religious. [emphasis mine]

I'll tell you what season we are greeting. You see, Mr. Martin, before Christmas became a Christian holiday, it was first a pagan holiday, celebrating the Winter Solstice (the shortest day of the year and the turning point towards spring). Before the calander was corrected to include leap years, the solstice used to fall on December 25. Odd coincidence, no? What Martin does not realize is that Christmas was chosen as December 25 is to ease the shock of forcibly converting pagans into the Christian religion. It was made easier by turning pagan ritualistic days into Christian holidays. Christmas, Easter and Halloween are all perfect examples of this.

So we can see that he has no idea of the history involved -- What is it the young people say, Ignorance is bliss?? Ah yes, I believe I heard that in the movie, The Matrix.

But the real point here is not Mr Martin's dumbassery, it is perception that there is a war on Christmas. He even says that we --Christians-- need to be more aware of other religions and their holidays:

Don't get me wrong; I'm very respectful of other religions. I don't want anyone to be afraid of discussing the Jewish faith when we address Hanukkah. And we shouldn't dismiss Muslims when the annual pilgrimage to Mecca is held during December. In fact, Americans are so ignorant of other faiths that we can all learn from one another.

Just so I get this straight, Mr Martin says that we should only use Christian terms for this holiday season, but we should respect other religions and their concurrent holidays. So why then is "happy holidays" so evil and non-respective of Christianity and other religions, but "Merry Christmas" shows all due respect to other religions?

Again, this is an interesting observation, that Mr Martin has dumbass-poor logic skills, but is not the real point.

The real point is simple. There is no movement at all to destroy the Christian's Christmas. In fact there is a large majority of of even us evil atheists who celebrate Christmas. I certainly do. I even will say Merry Christmas to the Christians I know. (I do say happy holidays to everyone else). But I guess respecting the fact that I do not know everyone's religious preferences, and thus use the more "generic" phrase as a sign of respect really means that I am not "very respectful of other religions".. I should show real respect by assuming that everyone is Christian.

But this seeming backlash against Christianity is bordering on the absurd, and we should continue to remember that Jesus is the reason for the season.
Jesus..reason..season.. Yeah right. We're back to this? Didn't I already explain this??

So anyway, here is a good link to other atheist views on Christmas:
Ed Brayton of Dispatches from the Culture Wars

Coming Soon! This year's picture of our Christmas Village.

Anyway, Happy Holidays to everyone, and a big Merry Christmas to you Christians out there!

Labels: ,

Friday, December 14, 2007

Why the Republican Establishment Hates Mike Huckabee

I should have added (And I Love Him) to the title. The core of the Republican party is only concerned with tax cuts and anti-government sentiment. This is the establishment of Republicanism. As a very liberal libertarian, I can almost --ALMOST-- understand that core sentiment. The real problem is that in reality it does not work. Just like people need laws to keep them from freely murdering, raping and stealing, big businesses, politicians and leaders of all stripes need regulation to keep them in line. The same goes for taxes. Taxes are needed for everything from roads to national defense to health and protecting everyone from tyranny. There is a balance in everything.

But at the core of republicanism is this need to destroy all that, no person should be abbiden to laws just as no corporation should be regulated. And taxes are evil because all they do is redistribute hard-earned wealth to lazy do-nothings who earned nothing. (A person should only have the priveledge to drive on a paved street if they are personally wealthy enough to pay for the entire paving of said street..) etc.

These core republicans find that because only about 1% of America can afford to carry those views, they need to fool many more Americans into voting for them and their views. As we all know this is accomplished by the whole "family values" platform. Get as many people as possible to vote for you because you will support their moralistic views (abortion, gays, anti-secularism, racism, and all other pro-Christianity stances).

But what happens when a politician comes around who is genuinely pro-values, and consequently weak on the true Republican positions?

You get a Republican candidate for president who is popular with the majority of Republicans but is hated by all the Republican elitists...

Welcome Mike Huckabee, to the real world (of the Republican Party). Surprising? Not to those of us who are capable of thinking. But to the Republican faithful, they cannot bring themselves to grasp the meaning of this perceived paradox.

Inspired by this post from the regular cast of characters of Sadly, No!.

P.S. I love Mike Huckabee not because I agree with him, or would even vote for him, but because he truly represents all that is wrong with Republicans; that and he could become their nominee. [Update: Wingnut Rich Lowry agrees with my premise... Thus we have to support the huckster!!]

Labels: , , , ,

Tuesday, December 11, 2007

I Haven't Beat Up On Ray Comfort In A while, So...

Poor Ray, for someone who claims to be absolutely guided by an infinitely powerful and all-knowing force; his scribblings are amazingly amateurish. Simply comparing one to the other makes him out to be a cartoon. And if his knowledge/intelligence is that of the model Christian, then he proves Christianity is doomed to extinction, with no help from us "evil" atheists...

First check out this post from his new blog.
On December 8, 2008, the Omaha Police Department released a three-page suicide note left by Robert A. Hawkins, the 19-year-old who fatally shot eight people at an Omaha shopping mall before turning the gun on himself. In the telling note, it’s clear that Hawkins wasn’t the “loner” he was first made out to be. He didn’t lack friends. He said, “You guys are the best friends anyone could ever ask for.” Rather, the note says exactly why he “snapped.” It said, “I've just snapped I can't take this meaningless existence anymore . . . ” If the secular world insists on saying that there is no God and that we are the products of evolutionary chance, they are saying that they have no idea where we came from, what we are doing here, or where we are going after death. Robert A. Hawkins is the tragic result of that meaningless existence. [Emphasis mine]

Then peruse this post....
There was another “senseless” mass killing this week. This one was in Colorado. I’m hesitant to talk about it because I may sound simplistic and repetitive. I don’t think the killings were senseless at all. Something is not senseless when there’s a predictable pattern. Here was another disillusioned and bitter ‘backslider” (a false convert), who no doubt gave his heart to Jesus because of a promise of a wonderful new life in Christ, and when the promises didn’t deliver the goods, he was angry enough to kill.

It seems Ray has placed himself in the "nothing can touch me, no matter how silly I sound" category. If someone random shoots up some people, it is the secularists who are to blame. If it is a Christian who kills, then they were not a real Christian at all. Heads I win, Tails you lose.

Ray Comfort seems to live in a world where no Christian does anything wrong. They must somehow be flawed or otherwise "seperated from God." The problem is that this is Comfort's Achilles' heel. If no Christian can do any wrong, then what can be said about a non-Christian, even ((gasp!)) an atheist, who lives their entire life fully within the confines of Comfort's definition of morality?

Is that decidedly non-Christian who manages to live up to all Comfort's moral standards actually a Christian?

I don't know. Ray Comfort can never lay claim to being a strong logician, but he can at least come up with something which makes sense to those who would be willing to believe in God. But to give good ol' Ray the benefit of the doubt here, he does have a solid point about not being a Christian. Just look to all the hub-bub about Mike Huckabee's slam against Mitt Romney and his Mormon beliefs. Who really is a Christian? Are Catholics Christians? If their beliefs and rituals contradict those of Baptists, are Baptists really Christians? ...And so on. If merely accepting Jesus and some interpretation of the bible makes one Christian, then the field is opened up wide to gays being both gay and Christian, women who have abortions (and think it is acceptable in the eyes of God and Jesus) being Christian, Christians who oppose the death penalty, and Christians who support gun control. If all these are considered Christians, then how can a person who believes in Christianity suddenly be called a "backslider" because they sinned? The point here is that some many who consider themselves Christian sin in ways that other Christians call sin, but they, themselves do not think is a sin.

Ray has no answer for that. All he has is his own personal ideas as to what makes up sin and what makes up a Christian.

But then outside of "Christianity" it is the effects of "secularism" according to our intellectual mentor, Ray Comfort. Now, in line with this is this horrible article by Pat Boone at WorldNetDaily. (But I will examine this in more detail in a later post.)

I am reminded of the words of Jesus regarding sins:
And again I say to you, it is easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle than for a rich man to enter the kingdom of God. [Matthew 19:24 NKJV]

Jesus certainly seems to be railing against the rich here. But how much do you hear about Ray Comfort condemning the rich Christians as "backsliders" and sinners? And what about Ray Comfort (and Pat Boone for this matter) condemning women for wearing gold and fancy clothes into Church? Or women talking and singing in Church? Or women teaching men? All of these things are condemned in the bible and all Christian women who sin in this way are "backsliders". But Ray does not write any articles about the evils of women in church choirs, or women wearing their gold wedding bands into church. These are sins according to God. See the writings of Paul:

"Let your women keep silent in the churches, for they are not permitted to speak; but they are to be submissive, as the law also says." I Cor 14:34,35

"in like manner also, that the women adorn themselves in modest apparel, with propriety and moderation, not with braided hair or gold or pearls or costly clothing" I Tim 2:9

"But every woman who prays or prophesies with her head uncovered dishonors herhead, for that is one and the same as if her head were shaved" I Cor 11:5 (see also I cor 11:13 or I Cor 11:15 for why long hair can be considered a"covering")

"And I do not permit a woman to teach or to have authority over a man, but to bein silence." I Tim 2:12

All verses are the NKJV.

If all these are "backsliders" then who is left of the actual Christians? I guess only Ray Comfort (as his trusty sidekick, Kirk Cameron, is guilty of being rich)..

Labels: , ,

Friday, December 07, 2007

War On Christmas; The Secret Inside Job

You know for some reason I just realized that there are some from the inside who are working to undermine Christmas and, via secularization, eliminate Christmas. Just consider the "pro-"Christmas song, "We Wish You A Merry Christmas".

But then there is this line following:
"...And a Happy New Year"

Get that? This song that is supposedly pro-Christmas, because it actually mentions Christmas (and mentioning Christmas is what the war-on-Christmas fighters like Bill O'Reilly and John Gibson want most) slides in through the back door a very secular message, "and a happy new year" Since there is nothing about Jesus wrapped up in this whole New Year thing, then secularism has been snuck into a Christmas song!

Maybe someone should warn Bill O' and let him know that there are some Christmas songs which should not be sung, or even listened to, if he wants to win his war on Christmas...


Here is another great Christmas ditty (warning, it is Monty Python's Eric Idle, thus replete with the f-bomb)

Labels: ,

Politics, Religion and Mitt Romney

By now I am sure you've read something about Mitt Romney's big speech on his religion, and religious views. There have been many commentaries on it; e.g. The Rude Pundit's take (warning, he uses profanity), and Kevin Drum's thoughts. Even David Brooks has something to say in his NYT column. Most of the discussion leans towards what Romney said versus what JFK said in his religion speech. Everyone, though, was bothered by the fact that Romney basically threw anyone who was nonreligious under the bus, saying:

Freedom requires religion just as religion requires freedom....Freedom and religion endure together, or perish alone.
....Whether it was the cause of abolition, or civil rights, or the right to life itself, no movement of conscience can succeed in America that cannot speak to the convictions of religious people.
....Our greatness would not long endure without judges who respect the foundation of faith upon which our constitution rests. [Thanks to Kevin Drum for this quote]

And this Mitt Romney jewel:
It’s as if they are intent on establishing a new religion in America - the religion of secularism. They are wrong.

Secularism can in no way be called a religion; it is exactly the freedom of religion. That is each and every individual is free to practice their own religion, but no governing body (be it the American government or the Vatican, or the U.N.) can force one set of religious beliefs onto an individual. How that can be considered in and of itself a religion is beyond me. But I have to give Mitt a pass here, he is not thinking on his own, he is parroting the false views and assertions of such Christian organizations as James Dobson's Focus on the Family, Tony Perkins and the American Family Association, and "traditional" religious establishments such as Coral Ridge Ministries.

So much has already been written about secularism, and how the conservative Christians use it as a dirty word that I really need not go into it here. Simply pointing out how absurd it is serves my purpose nicely. But it is important to point out because of what I do want to focus on in regards to Romney's speech; and that is the idea of freedom and religion being not just related, but intertwined: Without one you cannot have the other, says Romney.

I guess being the atheist, makes me the only one capable of actually reading and knowing the bible, as it is clear that being Christian, especially a conservative Christian prevents one from actually knowing anything about the bible. Unless, of course, it is reinterpreted (in a literal way naturally) by a minister and re-explained to the sheep, er.. flock, in mystical terms. "God is love", "For Jesus so loved the world..", "I am the light, the truth.." etc. All this love and hope and beauty explaining all the horror and blood and gore and murder found in the actual pages of the bible, once read for oneself. So let us look at Mitt Romney's ministerial sermon on religion and compare it to the bible.

Mitt claims religion and freedom are virtually synomynous. He says, "Freedom requires religion just as religion requires freedom....Freedom and religion endure together, or perish alone." Let us see what the Bible has to say.
4 For the weapons of our warfare are not carnal but mighty in God for pulling down strongholds, 5 casting down arguments and every high thing that exalts itself against the knowledge of God, bringing every thought into captivity to the obedience of Christ, 6 and being ready to punish all disobedience when your obedience is fulfilled. [2 Corinthians 10:4-6 NKJV]

Hmm.... That deos not sound too much like freedom to me. And how can one like Romney allow for the freedom of other religions or those of the nonreligious if he is duty-bound to bring into captivity his every thought to God? I mean isn't it the mission of Christians to go out and convert nations to Jesus??
15 And He said to them, “Go into all the world and preach the gospel to every creature. 16 He who believes and is baptized will be saved; but he who does not believe will be condemned. [Mark 16:15-16 NKJV]

Does this sound like freedom to you? I cannot think of anything more antithical to freedom than making it your mission in life to convert those of other religions to yours.

But irony lives on, and the Christians out there who buy into this notion of freedom and religion being even compatible, let alone synomynous will read what Jesus and Paul say and still think that is freedom. Freedom to them is accepting God and capitulating to "His" every whim. They do it freely, and thus that is what freedom means. They do not see freedom to mean anything else. There is no freedom in being allowed to reject Christianity. And those that do are not free. I am not making this up. This is what they believe. Its root is found within the pages of the Bible. The only way to be free is to be a slave of God.

But it goes even further. Mitt claimed that, "Whether it was the cause of abolition, or civil rights, or the right to life itself, no movement of conscience can succeed in America that cannot speak to the convictions of religious people." He may be right about this, for it was Christians who fought against freeing the slaves, it was the same Christians who fought against civil rights and it was the Christians who now say that a woman no longer has the freedom to determine the status and condition of her own body, rather (conservative) Christianity has that right to her body. If it had not been for Christians wanting and fighting to prevent all those freedoms, then they would have never been earned, they simply would have existed. So in that sense, Mitt is correct, those freedoms would not have come into being, if it had not been for religion fighting against them.

But what really strikes me is that in spite of everything, Mitt is just flat out wrong. He seems to think that secularism is a new religion that is taking over America. But the reality is that it is Christianity that is the "new religion".. The natives to this land we all now live on are the keepers of the "old religion", theirs was one of nature and respect for nature. The European interlopers came over, killed them by the thousands, and forced Christianity upon them. Christianity is the only real new religion which is a pox upon society and humanity. (In this part of the world at least; I would claim the exact same for Islam in the middle east as well.)

But freedom (and liberty, for that matter) mean different things to Christians and the nonreligious. Just look at Jesus' words in the Gospel of John:
Therefore if the Son makes you free, you shall be free indeed [John 8:36 NKJV]

Here we have come full circle. Freedom is what you have in Jesus, and freedom is defined by Paul as bringing every thought into captivity for God. So I guess the apt analogy would be that animals caged in a zoo are actually free, but their brothers and sisters out in the wild are not free.

At least this is what Romney is selling you.

Labels: , ,

Monday, December 03, 2007

I Just Came Across This On YouTube...

I laughed, I cried, I remembered my childhood at Catholic school...

The New new Buddy Jesus, for today's "Halo III" youth...

Labels: ,