Please Lord, Save Us From Your Followers
Religious scholar Reza Aslan destroys ‘charlatan’ preacher Joel Osteen’s prosperity gospel: Jesus hated wealth… but Jesus can be whatever you want him to be…
From The Raw Story
Religious scholar Reza Aslan blasted proponents of the so-called “prosperity gospel” last month, claiming the materialistic Christian movement ran directly counter to the teachings of Jesus.
Aslan was speaking at the 2014 Indian Summer Festival in Vancouver about his book, Zealot: The Life and Times of Jesus of Nazareth. During a question and answer session, the University of California at Riverside professor was asked about the portrayal of Jesus in movies.
“I love all fictional presentations of Jesus. I think they are fantastic, whether it is the Last Temptation of Christ or The Passion — both of which are fiction. But — sorry about that, did I break that to you? — but again for me what is fascinating about those is it is just a representation of what I have been talking about all along, which is the incredible malleability of the Christ story, the way that it can become whatever you want it to become.”
Aslan said his favorite representation of Jesus was from the 1970 rock opera Jesus Christ Superstar, and then pivoted to the issue of the prosperity gospel.
Christian Crock of the Week: What in god’s name are these fundamentalist idiots doing to these poor children?
From Live Leak
Fundamental Christians around the globe are increasingly holding large children’s revivals where they practice a disturbing ritual called “anointing by the holy spirit,” “being slain by the holy spirit,” “catching the holy ghost,” or “falling out.”
It is intimidating, physically coercive, deeply stressful, and emotionally manipulative. Children are under tremendous pressure to cooperate, to mimic the adults’ bizarre behaviors, and to avoid being judged unworthy, disappointing, or worse, under satan’s spell.
The older children and teens are under great peer pressure to fit in. The youngest simply don’t understand they’re supposed to fall over. Their purity and honesty shines through.
9 sinister things the Christian right does in the name of God
Hobby Lobby isn’t alone. Evangelicals routinely manipulate the Bible’s teachings to serve their political agenda
Christians may be a super majority in the U.S. They may control the U.S. Congress and, as we all were reminded recently, the Supreme Court. But that hasn’t stopped Bible believers from preparing their children for martyrdom. Web resources abound for church youth leaders who want to make sure their young charges are ready when the lions come for them. Titles include, “Expect to be Persecuted” “Persecution Equals Reward” and “Adventure Game—Persecution of Christians and Paul of Tarsus.”
Christian Crock of the Week: Right-Wing Super-Christers Try to Convert/Abuse This City’s Kids — But They’re Fighting Back…
[What you can do: http://www.goodnewsclubs.info/take_action.htm ~DS]
In past summers, Child Evangelism Fellowship has targeted children in Boston, Denver, Chicago, Little Rock, Salt Lake City, and the Twin Cities for conversion to their brand of biblical fundamentalism. This summer they chose Portland, Oregon. It may have been a mistake.
Some child advocates argue that proselytizing children for religious conversion is immoral. By contrast, Child Evangelism Fellowship boldly proclaims what they see as a God-given mission:
From Jon Carroll
I am reading a book called “Birds Without Wings,” a fictional tale of an imaginary Turkish village between the years 1900 and 1920, and also a true story about Mustafa Kemal, later called Ataturk, who came of age militarily in World War I and went on to re-create his country as a modern nation-state.
Also, he killed a lot of people. Indeed, the atrocities of that war, and its effect on this imaginary village, are a principal theme of the book. During that time, many nations, including the fading Ottoman Empire, Britain, Italy, Germany, Greece and Russia, as well as the nationless tribes of Kurds, Circassians and Armenians, quarreled over what would eventually become modern Turkey.
[Christopher Hitchens allowed Dr. Craig to frame their debate and didn't fare too well: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4KBx4vvlbZ8
But Sam Harris (above) ignored Dr. Craig's efforts to control and define... and wiped the floor with him... Especially hilarious is one student's question near the end... -DS]
From Atheist Revolution
If you were to ask me once a day for seven consecutive days what I thought the single worst thing about Christianity was, you might get seven different answers. There are many bad things about Christianity, and settling on just one or even trying to list several would be challenging. But if you were to ask me this question right now, the answer you’d get would focus on the fear of one’s own mind instilled by Christianity.
Although I was raised in a Protestant denomination that was neither evangelical nor fundamentalist and was what I’d describe as liberal-to-moderate, this fear was instilled in me from an early age. The path to salvation – the only path to salvation – was found in belief and not in acts. To escape hell, one had to believe. Good acts were encouraged, but they would not be enough. Belief was the key. Without belief, hell was one’s final destination.
Dafuq did I just read?
From Godless Mom
[Special Delivery to those of you who have complained recently about this blog's Atheist posts... -DS]
Godless Mom woke up to 4 or 5 Jeebots spamming her mentions on Twitter this morning, all filled with hateful Christian rhetoric and so, I am in a foul fucking mood. Most days, it doesn’t bother me, but every once in a while, the horseshit climbs nose-high and it’s all I can smell.
It’s a good thing for you, because it means I’m going to sacrifice a Jeebot at the altar of Godlessmom.com and you’re probably going to get a kick out of it. At least, that’s my aim.
I’ve chosen for you today, a Mr. Don Batten. He’s written a blog post with the very same baiting title as mine. Why do atheists hate god? Why, the fuck, indeed, Mr. Batten.
From Godless Mom
I have officially found the absolute worst list of questions for atheists ever. Every question is loaded, every question is leading and the author of this list is unaware of how absolutely unclever he is, in spite of an evident puffed out chest of pride.
So let’s tear the fucker a new one, shall we? Grab a stress ball, some Jägermeister and a helmet and we’ll jump right the fuck in.
The religious right has many potent weapons in its arsenal—sanctimony, bigot-pandering, and dishonesty rank right up at the top—but lately, pretending to be victimized seems to top the list. We have a soundbite-driven, points-scoring political culture that resists deeper analysis of the issues, making it perfect for bad actors to muddy up the issues. All you do is accuse your opposition of doing what you, in fact, are actually doing. If you want to oppress people, claim you’re being oppressed. If you want to deprive people of their rights, whine about how your rights are supposedly under attack. The idea is to confuse audiences about who is actually oppressing who long enough that they give up actually bothering to learn the truth. Unfortunately, it can be devastatingly effective propaganda.
From Atheist Revolution
My reasons for focusing on Christianity in general and Christian extremism in particular are as follows:
- To address Christian extremism in the U.S. because I grew tired of hearing my Christian neighbors and the national media obsess about Islamic extremism abroad while ignoring or embracing Christian extremism here at home. Today, this hypocrisy is as great as it ever was.
- Christian extremism influences U.S. politics in a way no other form of religious extremism can claim.
- I was raised in the Christian religion, and I am surrounded by it. I know more than enough about it to be effective in addressing it. This simply isn’t the case for every other religion. I have seen what Christianity does to others about whom I care. I might encounter a Muslim once a year; I encounter Christian proselytizing and condemnation at least a few times a week.
- In the U.S., Christians are the primary culprits of bigotry and discrimination against atheists.
- In general, I believe that we need to resolve
From Godless in Dixie
Nothing puts the cognitive dissonance of faith on display like a destructive storm system ripping through a religious community. And that happens quite a lot in this country, in case you weren’t aware.
Once again this week a violent storm system cut a destructive path through towns across the Deep South, killing more than a dozen people and destroying churches, homes, and offices in multiple communities. Some of the most devout people you’ll ever meet either lost homes or had significant property damage in the wake of the storm. Most of them prayed for protection as the storm bore down on their communities. Many of those who prayed lost their homes. Some lost their lives. Some only lost their deductibles. Those who survived will testify that they prayed and that God spared them. The death of their next door neighbor will sadden them
From Godless Mom
Let’s face it, Facebook is the backwoods of the internet. It’s where the uneducated, unfulfilled, unthinking masses share cat pictures. It’s absent-minded, low and characterless and it’s just the type of place where jeebots and other religious zealots like to hang out. So, naturally, I get some pretty ridiculous questions on my Facebook page.
This series of questions was sent to me in a private message, I guess because the writer worried they wouldn’t be able to hold their own against a bunch of us, so why not just take on one, in private, in case he or she gets logically slaughtered? Well, I’ve brought these questions into an open forum now, here, where I will answer them in a series of posts, but I will still respect the asker’s obvious need to be anonymous.
GM Note: This person has since sent death threats, so his anonymity is no longer a concern. He is https://www.facebook.com/natarian01
Before I start with this though, it is important to note that the person who asked them was very polite and seems to be of above-average intelligence for someone who is provoking an atheist into debate. I want to be clear that, while I will try to remain respectful
First, a bit of history…
I remember seeing Heaven is For Real at the checkout stand somewhere a while ago and just groaning inwardly at yet another attempt by Christians to cash in on humanity’s ignorance of whatever lies beyond death (if anything–which we’ll talk about in just a mo’). But now we have a (really awful) movie, study materials for Christian groups, and the gods only know what else, and I think it’s time we talked about this book/movie/whatever and why the claims it makes should be rejected by anybody with a brain, much less by Christians themselves.
Neil DeGrasse Tyson reveals age of Earth to be 4.5 billion years old… Creationists’ heads collectively explode…
It did not take long for the creationists to take issue with Neil DeGrasse Tyson and the latest episode of Cosmos on Fox. Why you ask? Well, because Tyson dared to declare the age of the earth to be 4.5 billion years old.
Answers in Genesis (AiG), the organization run by “young Earth” creationist Ken Ham, known for his recent debate against Bill Nye on the topic of evolution has now taken issue with episode 7 of Cosmos as the show taught us just how scientist Claire Patterson discovered the true age of this very planet.
AiG takes issue because early on Tyson declared that the true age of the earth couldn’t be found without a reliable historical record. The Bible was once believed to be this historical record, but as Tyson explains, it is no longer. Now we can look to the rocks themselves to find our answer.
Right away AiG on its website attacks science as unreliable because this particular episode discusses how scientific bias can be used for good and bad.
From Camels With Hammers
When I was in college and still a Christian at a conservative evangelical Christian college, I remember talking to my friends about how hard it was to really make some of our beliefs feel real. Sure, we all completely believed things like that people were going to hell if they weren’t saved or that we would live after death, but did they really register? Did we really internalize these kinds of teachings as real facts? Did these beliefs determine our emotional reactions the way that more tangible truths of this world did?
What I was ultimately yearning for was some way to not just believe in Jesus and in all the beliefs involved in being a Christian only in some abstract way but as truly and fully as I believed more practical things. I was already living by my faith in a whole number of ways–it dictated my ethics, my (lack of) sex life, my choice of school, my course of study, my social circles, my commitment to prayer, to Christian fellowship, to spending my summers evangelizing as a camp counselor, etc., etc. Everything you could do to live Christianly and seek Jesus I was game for.
Easter sign vandalized at Wis. State Capitol
The Freedom From Religion Foundation is leaving on display — as evidence of the divisiveness of religion in government — its mutilated sign saying “Nobody died for our sins,” which was vandalized by a fanatic before noon today in the Wisconsin State Capitol in Madison.
A man wrested FFRF’s foamboard sign, which was securely taped to an easel, and violently mangled it in front of passersby. Capitol security was quickly summoned and gave chase, but the vandal got away.
FFRF has affixed a new statement on top of the mangled sign, which is still legible:
Why is this sign so mutilated?
Somebody, presumably somebody who disagreed with our message, tried to destroy our sign. Apparently, this person believes the Capitol is a public forum for Christianity only.
From ROBERT INGERSOLL (1884)
[Hey Christian, Your 'good news' is the worst possible news... DS]
No human being has imagination enough to conceive of this infinite horror of hell and eternal pain. All that the human race has suffered in war and want, in pestilence and famine, in fire and flood – all the pangs and pains of every disease and every death – all of this is nothing compared with the agonies to be endured by one lost soul.
This is the consolation of the Christian religion. This is the justice of God – the mercy of Christ.
This frightful dogma, this infinite lie, made me the implacable enemy of Christianity. The truth is that this belief in eternal pain has been the real persecutor.
It founded the Inquisition, forged the chains, and furnished the fagots. It has darkened the lives of many millions. It made the cradle as terrible as the coffin. It enslaved nations and shed the blood of countless thousands.
It sacrificed the wisest, the bravest and the best. It subverted the idea of justice, drove mercy from the heart, changed men to fiends and banished reason from the brain.
Like a venomous serpent it crawls and coils and hisses in every orthodox creed.
From “Cosmos” to evidence of Big Bang, it’s been a tricky time for biblical literalists. Here’s why it’ll get worse…
The creationist crowd is in a tithy lately. First there was “Cosmos” — on Fox, no less! — giving short shrift to everything they hold dear. Then, adding insult to injury, for those paying close attention, long-awaited evidence of the Big Bang arrived. It’s been a rough few weeks.
But really, if you’re a biblical literalist, it’s been a rough few centuries, or millennia, actually. You see, according to the Bible, the earth is both stationary and flat. Most pointedly, there are at least two passages in which a single point is visible to the whole world (Daniel 4:10-11 and Revelation 1:7), and one (Matthew 4:8) in which the whole world can be seen from a single point — an obvious impossibility unless the earth is flat.
Although the Catholic Church had forced Galileo to recant his work questioning the immobile earth in 1632 — and only pardoned him in 1992