Friday, July 27, 2007

Obligatory Post on Harry Potter

I spent most of my free time the past week with my nose between the pages of the latest & last Harry Potter Book. I promise not to give away anything here.

I did not wait in line at midnight, but even the next day when I did pick up the book, I noted that the woman in front of me in line had a painted wand & broom on her cheeks. Why do people feel the need to do that?

The Harry Potter releases seem to echo of Star Wars and Star Trek conventions, or Rocky Horror, where people attend dressed as a character. I wondered; is this a modern phenomenon, a side-affect of a society of too much time on it's hands? It is often referred to as a cult-phenomenon, is this a substitute religion? Are people trying to be more like their "gods"?

I also found this humorous take on Harry Potter by some Satan-seekers. The depth with which she finds meaning where there is none, or even mis-reads parts of the book to suit her theories that Potter is evil, is almost fascinating. I'm sure most 10 year olds would easily acknowledge the books are just a story, even while the paranoid adults are over-analyzing it all. Obviously the problem is they attack the books with the same fervor they examine the bible with, and while both are fairy tales, only one is even attempted to be passed off as truth by anybody.

I am guessing the reason some people are so threatened by books is because their lives are so entwined with that one particular book to begin with. If they take one book as literal truth, anyone else might pick any other old book to live their lives by! And we can't have that, now can we?

Thursday, July 26, 2007

Listen to the Scientists... or at least the Simpsons

This seems a little old, but I just came across it more recently:

In the video, Eugenie C. Scott gives a very good explanation of scientific theories.

And of course, if listening to Scientists doesn't convince anybody, perhaps we can all watch the Simpsons!

Tuesday, July 17, 2007

This statement is true.

Do you believe it? It seems to me to be a form of the liar's paradox. There is no way to assign a true/false value to such a statement.

The bible asserts itself as true, and many churches state as the first part of their beliefs to be that the bible is true and unchanging, because the bible says it is. For example:

We believe that The Holy Bible is The Word of The Living God; true, immutable, steadfast, unchangeable, as it's author, The Lord Jehovah; that it was written by Holy men of old as they were moved upon and inspired by The Holy Spirit.

This is all based on 2 Timothy, chapter 3, verse 16:

Paul's Charge to Timothy
10 You, however, know all about my teaching, my way of life, my purpose, faith, patience, love, endurance, 11 persecutions, sufferings—what kinds of things happened to me in Antioch, Iconium and Lystra, the persecutions I endured. Yet the Lord rescued me from all of them. 12 In fact, everyone who wants to live a godly life in Christ Jesus will be persecuted, 13 while evil men and impostors will go from bad to worse, deceiving and being deceived. 14 But as for you, continue in what you have learned and have become convinced of, because you know those from whom you learned it, 15 and how from infancy you have known the holy Scriptures, which are able to make you wise for salvation through faith in Christ Jesus. 16 All Scripture is God-breathed and is useful for teaching, rebuking, correcting and training in righteousness, 17 so that the man of God may be thoroughly equipped for every good work.

This came to mind today as I was reading a rather interesting review of Bart D. Ehrman's Misquoting Jesus, a book about some of the history of the bible, where Brown compairs the bible to Wikipedia.

Of course I am already well aware that the bible has many versions, was compiled by different scribes at different times from different written & oral traditions. But upon checking the reviews on Amazon for Misquoting Jesus, it is clear that many people are willing to stretch their faith a little; even if all the words aren't the same, they're still inspired, written by inspired men, goddamnit!

History and physics clearly conflict with the bible in more than a few passages. What I want to know is; how do people rectify their statement of faith with the facts? Of course, this is a silly question on my part, the obvious answer is just that many people ignore the facts. It's either that, or they don't really believe in their heart the bible is perfect.

People seem to think that their faith in the bible is all-or-nothing. Believers are assumed to believe it all; atheists are assumed to think it's all BS.

When their own declaration of faith declares that the bible is infallible, and when many believers look down on those who treat the bible as a buffet (picking what they like from it), I can see how all-or-nothing becomes a natural conclusion for many people. They conclude that they either ignore the facts of the world, or they don't truly believe.

What if I were to give you the following statement:

Bunnies are cute, one plus one is equal to three, there is life on Mars, an objects speed is the distance it travels over time, and this sentance is true.

Of course, not everyone agrees on bunnies, 1+1=2, we don't know for sure about life on Mars, speed does equal d/t, and that statement isn't completely true. But can't we say it's true since it was partially true? If it's not completely true, does that make it completely false? Can we even know for sure?

Even being atheist, I can't discount everything the bible says; I like some of the moral stories, I like some of the songs/poetry, I even like a lot about Jesus with his whole do-unto-others philosophy and I always liked many of the parables. But I can't see it as any more inspired than Harry Potter, The Odyssey, or Macbeth. A little truth, a little myth, a little magic, a bit of death, and a lesson for all of us to learn from.

Still I wonder why there are so many christians still so afraid to acknowledge that their chosen version of the bible has any faults at all? Is their faith so unsteady that one gust of wind might reduce it all to rubble?

Friday, July 13, 2007

Creationists fight Darwinian science; Scientologists fight Psychiatric science.

So, there's a "Psychiatry: An Industry of Death Museum" run by the CCHR (which is really just a Scientology group) and watching the video tour, I can't help but soon see the similarities to Creationists fighting the idea of Evolution.

Note that they are sure to give you a history lesson, and in doing so, point out how bad things used to be. Pointing out that psychiatrists once idolized Freud is like pointing out that at one time some scientists believed in Lamarck's evolutionary theories. And the idea of eugenics is brought up when claiming the evils of both evolution-scientists & psychiatric-scientists. Apparently nobody believes there is room for improvement and learning and morals in science?

Why is psychiatry their target? Well, there's accounts that the founder of Scientology, L.R. Hubbard, was mentally unstable & spent some time in psychiatric wards. He became resentful and wrote a bunch of new-age self-help books that bashed the psychiatric industry. I'm interested in how extreme the "church" view has become though. Granted, I do tend to think that our society is a bit over-drugged, but this video clearly shows their HATRED for psychiatry and desire to brain-wash their own believers, not just a desire to truthfully inform the public.

While Scientologists don't worship a god that I'm aware of, though they do consider themselves a religious group, and their messages clearly show the dangers of organized religion. I almost think that they're even worse with no god to account to. They don't have any moral code I could find plus they discourage their believers from thinking on their own. At least the Judeo-Christians have the 10 commandments, so if they don't want to think about morals, there's some guidelines. There's something to it very reminiscent of the Catholic Church back in the day. A Catholic used to be able to buy his way out of hell with a few alms to the church, and Scientologists are constantly having to pay the "church" in order to advance in the hierarchy.

Nobody should have to pay cash for spiritual enlightenment.

Thursday, July 12, 2007

Wait... they open the Senate with a Prayer?

I guess, if I didn't care before that they opened the Senate with a prayer every morning, I guess I can't really complain about it now. But in case you haven't seen, a few Christians weren't too happy that this morning a Hindu was invited to pray.

Video at, & more info at

Catching up on other blogs

Since I've been procrastinating so long, my google-reader got really full, and so I'm just checking the latest posts of those blogs near & dear to my heart. I apologize that I'll be ignoring some pretty good stuff that's just too late to comment on at this point.

Honest Doubter has a post on Fear Mongers, where the original video is down, but from the comments, I presume the video Brother Micah, and so I checked youtube for other videos of him. Boy... is it just sad to watch this guy rant:

The problem is, you attract more flies with honey than with vinegar; the way he's yelling at everyone, he's not going to convince anyone of his beliefs. He doesn't want to discuss his beliefs, he just wants to talk/yell about them... if he's really a Christian, why wouldn't he act a bit more like Jesus?

Also, Irreverent Musings has an interesting post on Reason, Faith, & Country. Some people say they put god before country, should atheists put reason before country? I note that some people want to put god IN government, and it's definitely hard get reason in there. I'm not sure how political I want to get in this blog just yet, but with the debates for the election in '08 already started, I'm bound to have a few posts political positions soon enough.

"My kids are going to school to learn, not to become a homosexual or an abortion doctor or an atheist."

The article states: she went to the computerized card catalogue and typed in the keywords "homosexuality," "abortion" and "atheism." She was shocked by the dozens of titles that popped up.

Hooray for somebody with too much time on their hands! Now, even though I firmly believe in a separation of church & state, I don't think I'd object to any religious books that might be found in the school library. Yes, kids are going to school to learn, and religion is something I think all kids need to learn about, even if I wouldn't want my own kids to become religious, I'd like them to learn about religion.

But the best is the last line of the article:
"My oldest son doesn't believe in God," she said. "I guess he kind of thinks I'm stupid."

I get the feeling her oldest is supremely embarrassed at her actions.

I will survive!

Ok, I've procrastinated long enough.

And then I found the best way to say "I'm back!"

Actual content will follow shortly. I've been saving up stuff, be prepared for a deluge.