Monday, December 31, 2007

Antony Flew is Still Going to Hell

This post is adapted and expanded from comments I made here.

Many Christians are very pleased these days by the "conversion" of Antony Flew, a noted, if not "notorious," atheist. The good gentleman who writes the blog on which I posted the comments from which this post is derived asked why, in light of Flew's new opinion, Many atheists look to Flew's work and admire him for it. I asked "why not?" Any opinion that Flew has now does not alter the force of his previous arguments. No theist has ever adequately answered his Theology & Falsification for example. And of course there are many questions about the validity of the Varghese/Flew book that records what Mr. Flew supposedly now believes.

This individual concludes, however, that atheists are simply stubborn and refuse to believe, stating that it is funny that so many atheists look to his [Flew's] work and admire his work as an atheist, but completely reject the conclusion of that work. I suppose it doesn't occur to our theistic writer that Flew was not the lone atheist philosopher on the planet, for the point he makes would only make sense if suddenly the majority of professional philosophers who have an atheist perspective changed their minds in mass. Then any atheist would indeed have to look at the question of God and examine it again to find why so many informed thinkers have switched positions. It still would not prove God's existence, but it would make any honest person consider the possibility. But of course no such thing has happened, and I shall not hold my breath waiting for such a miracle. If Flew is the best that Christians can produce after all the paper they've wasted on their worthless (sorry, but try reading some Lee Strobel if you think this too harsh a judgment) apologetic arguments, and he is still not a Christian, then I don't think it is "funny" at all that anyone continues to reject god-belief in spite of Flew's change of mind.

This old time religionist then makes the following stunning claim. He writes: They [atheists] make up a battle between science vs. God and yet, as Flew brilliantly points out, science points to God. Science proves that there must be a creator, an intelligent designer, a God!

I didn't know Flew was now also a scientist, though it is nice to know one can change careers so late in life. This person needs to do a little more reading before he does any more writing. Has he never learned of the case of Galileo, or the affair of Franklin's lightning rod and the clergy's reaction to it, or the opposition of Christian leaders to the findings of science on the age of the earth or the evolution of life? Did atheists "make up" such incidents? You'll notice he doesn't even make the more humble claim that there might be evidence of a creator (not that there is any) but that science has proven God exists! We all know Christians are given to hyperbole, but really, this is just embarrassing. Then again, maybe I speak too soon, as I will hopefully soon be receiving from our Christian friend the peer reviewed scientific papers that reveal this "proof."

Our Christian blogger then goes on to say that atheists have no answer for the problem of evil. But the problem of evil arises from the postulated Tri-Omni (Omnipotent, Omniscient and Omnibenevolent) nature of God, and so is not in any way a problem that atheism needs to solve. The world is exactly the mixture of good and evil we should expect if an all-good god did not create it. In other words, no god, no problem. But perhaps he meant the problem of death, or ultimate justice, or cosmic purpose or some such. The problem with the Christian is that he also has no solution to any of those, he only thinks he does.

But Flew is not even a Christian (at least, not yet) so what exactly is he? The most precise label would probably be that of deist. Flew has stated he still does not believe in any afterlife, and seems to believe God does not actively intervene in our world. Most atheists primarily argue against the Tri-Omni God of traditional theism. Omnipotent, Omniscient and Omnibenevolent gods are contrary to the evidence and Flew's current "theism" is compatible with a rejection of all three attributes of the God of mainstream religion. This view does not, therefore, differ much from that of most atheists. Of course, Christians don't want to make explicit what they truly believe, for if Mr. Flew does not accept Jesus before he dies, then he will go to Hell, in spite of his conversion to a weak form of god-belief. On the atheist view, Antony Flew has nothing to fear from death itself, and so atheism is ultimately superior to the fear-based Christian vision of eternal suffering for all non-Christians.

Our blogger takes issue with my view and says that I do not understand the Christian faith, despite the fact that I was an evangelical Bible-believing Christian for over ten years. He also says that The message of Christianity is not follow Jesus or burn in hell forever. The message is that God is perfect and holy and we humans are sinful, which is obvious... Because of our sinfulness we deserve to pay the price for our sin. However, I think a straightforward reading of the following verse clearly indicates that the choice of believe or burn is exactly what the Christian message states: He that believeth and is baptized shall be saved; but he that believeth not shall be damned. Mark 16:16

He says God is perfect and holy. How does he know this? Because the bible tells him so? How does he decide what constitutes good and holy? Atrocities such as those found in Numbers chapter 31 indicate that the God of scripture does not meet a high moral standard. Even apologist William Lane Craig has said here : "Since God doesn't issue commands to Himself, He has no moral duties to fulfill. He is certainly not subject to the same moral obligations and prohibitions that we are."

How then is God a moral being at all? The truth is that a being that has no needs or wants, that exists independently of any external reality and has no necessity to take action in order to survive and continue existing, and that cannot die, cannot possibly be the source for any values at all. For where would these values come from? Values arise in the context of life's contingency and the fact that we have needs and goals to fulfill.

Our Christian states that According to Atheism there is no purpose or meaning, for anything. How can a hopeless, meaningless, lack of purpose belief be superior to anything? He here capitalizes the word atheism as if it is as much a religion as his Bible Baloney, a common Christian theme. Atheism is, of course, simply a lack of god-belief, and not a philosophy of life or world-view in and of itself. But no matter, getting facts right is something Christians have difficulty doing, so I won't make an issue of something our God deluded friend probably can't help. As to "purpose," the computer I'm using as I write these words has a purpose, but not one of its own choosing, so I don't see how getting my purpose from an imagined creator should be something to celebrate. The purpose of life is to survive and continue to live and within that, of course, are many other purposes. To love, to have and raise children (if one wants them), to do whatever makes one happy and fulfilled, and so on. No gods are needed for life to have meaning.

He says 90% of the world believes in God, as if (even if true) that would mean anything. There was a time when the majority believed the earth was the center of the universe, but that didn't make it so. This is a classic (and very common) example of the fallacy of appealing to said majority, so we can safely ignore it.

As to atheism being superior, I was of course referring to Flew and his eternal fate under Christianity's doctrine of salvation. Does he really propose that the Christian view is more comforting to those who, because they died without Jesus, now have no hope of heaven? Is Mr. Flew, assuming he does not accept Christ as savior before he passes away, better off suffering the torments of hell forever, instead of simply passing into an eternal, dreamless sleep? What comfort can Mr. Christian give to someone whose loved one has departed this life as a Mormon, or Muslim or Buddhist or atheist? Atheism is certainly superior in the sense that it takes away all fear of the infamous greeting "Abandon hope all ye who enter here." Surely all those otherwise condemned to hell for eternity by the Christian God are better off if atheism is true.

Mr. Christian responds that we all "deserve" hell. Well, he can speak for himself. Only those blinded by religious dogma could seriously believe that such an assertion makes any logical or moral sense. But again, please don't judge him too severely. After all, Christians are burdened 24/7 with the impossible task of defending nonsense, and such a duty must come with a price, in this case an impairment of the reasoning faculty.

Now if only Christianity at least gave people the hope (however unfounded) of a life of future happiness unencumbered by eternal torture chambers where billions scream in agony forever, well, then maybe it might really be a comforting, if nevertheless imaginary, world-view.

Friday, December 28, 2007

The 100,000 Years Marker

The title of this post comes from an exchange I had with one Bill Gnade over at Debunking Christianity in the comments section of this post . I will write more on that later, but what I want to talk about now is the fact that modern humans, homo sapiens, have been around for about 100,000 years. This point was brought up by Christopher Hitchens in the debate I wrote about in the last post. He wondered why God waited 98,000 years of our existence before sending his Son and giving the human species the means of salvation. I had thought of this same objection to the notion of God's supposed revelation when dealing with the obstinate Mr. Gnade. If Christianity is true, would not God have been there from the beginning of human consciousness? Of course to a biblical creationist he was, with Adam and Eve in the garden and shortly after with their descendants. But to those who can not be so intellectually dishonest as those more literal interpreters, and yet still insist on calling themselves Christian, the problem is obvious. What took God so long? He had to wait those 90,000 plus years before telling us about himself. Yet if he created us with souls that can go to Hell for eternity, why didn't he speak up sooner? If humanity can't have any morality without God telling us about it (as Christians repeatedly claim) why leave those ancestors of ours without such guidance?

Christians like Gnade fancy themselves "sophisticated" (he used the word himself) for coming up with ideas and theories that attempt to reconcile scripture with reality. Instead they bring forth from the depths of their confused brains mere sophistry, pretty strings of words that on close inspection prove to be only worthless baubles. Isn't it funny how our world looks exactly as we would expect it to if the Christian God is a complete fiction?

Not only did this imagined god sit around heaven on his ass for tens of thousands of years of human life on this planet before deciding to make an appearance (talk about showing up late for an appointment)! but it took this omnipotent watchmaker billions of years to create his precious, big-brained, naked apes in the first place. How interesting that that is exactly how long we should expect a purely natural, unguided (by supernatural beings) process like evolution by natural selection to finally produce us.

Mark Twain, in Was the World Made for Man? stated it well : "Man has been here 32,000 years. That it took a hundred million years to prepare the world for him is proof that that is what it was done for. I suppose it is. I dunno. If the Eiffel tower were now representing the world's age, the skin of paint on the pinnacle-knob at its summit would represent man's share of that age; & anybody would perceive that that skin was what the tower was built for. I reckon they would. I dunno."

Wednesday, December 26, 2007

Is Atheism a Moral Revolt?

I happened to turn on one of the C-Span channels last night and caught the latter part of the D'Souza-Hitchens Debate. Yeah, it's old news, but I had not had the opportunity to see any of it before. If I am able to get hold of a transcript or watch the entire debate (I'd rather have the transcript) I will then comment more completely. From what I did see and was able to read of on the web, I can say that my suspicion that Mr. D'Souza is not an intellectual giant full of well reasoned refutations of atheism (as portrayed by conservative religious apologists and culture warriors) was confirmed beyond any doubt. The poor man could not find his way out of a paper bag.

This does not mean he is necessarily a poor debater, but that doesn't mean much, as formal debates have little to do with discovering truth and a lot to do with the debating skills of the two opponents. I remember back to all those debates "won" by creationist Duane Gish against unprepared supporters of evolution.

At one point D'Souza repeated the old chestnut I first remember reading in C.S. Lewis, that "the gates of hell are locked from inside" and that when we reject salvation "God reluctantly gives us our wish." You would think if the gates are locked from inside they could also be opened from the inside, but free will, the great justification for all the horrors of our world, and the great gift of God, being the foundation of our supposed non-robotic humanity, somehow mysteriously disappears in the afterlife. The damned stay damned and the saved stay saved. Not one person who ends up in hell (according to the D'Souzas of the world) ever decides to open the gates and finally accept God. Just as no inhabitant of heaven ever revolts and ends up in hell, even if they got to heaven by dying in infancy (how positively coincidental that not one of those uncounted millions of souls is lost, and yet we are told that God cannot force salvation on anyone)!

It must further be remembered that Christianity has always taught that even fellow believers in God go to hell if they reject Jesus, no matter how good or moral they might be. Mr. DSouza may not himself believe this, but it was the historic teaching of his church, and of course Catholics and Protestants both condemned each other to damnation for having heretical beliefs.

At one point Mr. Hitchens stated that the afterlife was a case of wishful thinking brought about by our fear of death. D'Souza rebutted this with the assertion that no people would make up hell as well, and asked why anyone would create difficult commandments and religious rules. If they just made it up, why not make it easy and comfortable? Such is the reasoning of Mastermind D'Souza, more a sophist than the sophisticated thinker he and his ardent fans imagine him to be. In fact it is possible for both the wish fulfillment aspect and the threat of punishment to be conceived of by the human mind without any divine revelation. Human society, as it got more complex, offered carrots as well sticks to keep people in line, and there is nothing remotely mysterious about this. By Mr. D'Souza's logic, Islam too must be a true revelation, as the Koran also has its hell and Muslims are faced with many inconvenient duties, not the least of which is praying at specific hours five times a day. But I shall not be waiting expectantly for D'Souza to convert to the religion of Mohammed.

The charge was finally made by Mr. D'Souza that atheism has nothing to do with an intellectual revolt, but is at its root a moral rebellion, atheists not wanting to have to follow all those divine commands. This came up as Mother Teresa was mentioned, the woman who epitomizes self-sacrifice. There is something interesting here that many if not most will miss. I will explain. But first, it is absolute rubbish to state without qualification that people reject gods and religions out of a desire to live lives of libertine excess. This is a slap in the face to all those who have honestly wrestled with these questions and found god-belief wanting. Its a kick in the groin to all those true thinkers who dared to ask questions about religious dogma and then developed well reasoned arguments challenging the truth of revealed religion. But such a charge does allow a "debater" with the limited thinking skills of a D'Souza to do the only thing he can against the powerful force of atheistic argument, dismiss it. Blame it all on the atheist's delight in sin and move on, while listening to the moronic cheers of an audience lost in mystical confusion.

Now, think about this. D'Souza's favorite big lie is to blame atheism for the evils of Stalin, Mao and Pol Pot. At the same time he states that atheists only want to follow their own rules. Do you see the contradiction? Communist dictatorships were and are based on an ideology of self-sacrifice. The individual must give up his or her autonomy and serve the state or his or her fellow workers, etc. Therefore, by the very words from D'Souza's own mouth, atheism, with its emphasis on the individual and their wants and desires, could never be the cause of totalitarian governments, which really resemble religions and their self sacrificing followers.

Sunday, December 23, 2007

The Return of the Atheist and the Bear

Well, I've discovered some alternate versions of the Internet phenom An Atheist in the Woods. There are of course the usual Christian retellings, including adding more specific details. This one states that the woods were in Alaska (so now we have a named location) and that the atheist was admiring all that evolution had created , implying, I guess, that only nasty, stupid, God-denying atheists could believe in evolution and that no theists or Christians do (ignoring the fact that millions of Christians do except that evolution has occurred). This also makes the point that that dumb, ignorant atheist is soon going to learn that what Saint Paul said: "For the invisible things of him from the creation of the world are clearly seen, being understood by the things that are made, even his eternal power and Godhead; so that they are without excuse" (Romans 1:20) is true. Sinful God hater! You'll get yours and a bear will be God's instrument of justice! Then you'll meet the same fate as Mr. Darwin and scream in agony in the flames of Hell!!! How dare you use your mind to discover the reason things are what they are, how dare you use science and logic to uncover truth, how dare you, a mere creature, challenge the ignorant, incoherent ramblings of the bible writers on the origin of life and the universe! God did it all, you fool, and that's the only answer you should have accepted! Your arrogance has lost you your soul! But we must move on. This rewriter (whether the poster or someone else) also grows the legend, as we now find the bear is not 7 feet, but a 13-foot Kodiak brown bear. We also learn the atheist was so scared that tears came to his eyes.

I think the above is instructive, as that is probably how the gospel story grew more elaborate over time, the more simple story of Mark being expanded by subsequent authors, just like this little story developing details like a place (Alaska) making a generic tale more real. More evidence that Christians just make stuff up and that just maybe the Jesus Mythicists are right!

Someone here claims: The person in the original joke was a christian. The joke was changed by Christians for obvious reasons.

The irony is, as soon as a person (who would claim to be an Atheist) prays, they are a religionist.

Here's a spin on it:

An Atheist and a Christian are running from a bear. They know they aren't going to outrun the bear.

The Christian stops and prays.

I also discovered some alternate versions of the story that change the protagonist from an atheist to a Christian.

This one from here puts an Islamic spin on it (the poor Christian having picked the wrong religion):


A christian was walking through the woods.
"What majestic trees"!
"What powerful rivers"!
"What beautiful animals"!
He said to himself.

As he was walking alongside the river, he heard a rustling in the bushes behind him. He turned to look. He saw a 7-foot grizzly charge towards him. He ran as fast as he could up the path. He looked over his shoulder & saw that the bear was closing in on him.

He looked over his shoulder again, & the bear was even closer. He tripped & fell on the ground. He rolled over to pick himself up but saw that the bear was right on top of him, reaching for him with his left paw & raising his right paw to strike him. At that instant the Christian cried out, "Oh Allah!"

Time Stopped.

The bear froze.

The forest was silent.

As a bright light shone upon the man, a voice came out of the sky.

"You trivialised my existence for all these years, teach others a man is a god and even made a woman and other divine." "Do you expect me to help you out of this predicament? Am I to count you as a believer"?

The christian looked directly into the light, "It would be hypocritical of me to suddenly ask You to treat me as a Muslim now, but perhaps You could make the BEAR a Muslim"?

"Very Well," said the voice.

The light went out. The sounds of the forest resumed. And the bear dropped his right paw, brought both paws together, bowed his head & spoke:

"Praise to Allah! For you have bestowed upon me an infidel for food."

And this one from here at

The Christian and the Bear

One fair spring morning, a devout Christian decided to take a walk through a nearby wood. Upon entering, he began walking along a narrow dirt path through the lush, green forest admiring all of the things that God had created.

"Wow", he thought to himself while taking in the beauty that surrounded him. "What majestic trees!” Then, a faint rustling sound came from somewhere close by. The Christian turned to look but could see nothing and continued walking. His eyes followed a small stream that flowed beside the path. “What a lovely little stream!”, he thought and off to the left, the rustling sound grew louder. The Christian walked a bit faster down the path. Looking up, the Christian said out loud, “What a beautiful sky. God is indeed a very wonderful creator!" Suddenly, a huge grizzly bear emerged from the dense shrubbery and upon seeing the man, started to chase him. The Christian ran along the path for all he was worth, but the bear was almost upon him. The Christian looked back over his shoulder and saw that the bear was only a few yards behind him. The man then tripped over a large rock and fell to the ground beside a small wooden sign attached to a post. The bear, having slowed its pace, lumbered up to the Christian and began to sniff his clothing. The man, laying face down, closed his eyes and prayed in desperation "Heavenly Father, I ask you to please save me from this bear!"

As the Christian continued to beseech God, the grizzly let out a ferocious roar and ripped four deep gashes across the man’s back. The Christian screamed in agony while the bear continued tearing and ripping him into bloody shreds of warm flesh. The man, while still being mauled, reached out a feeble hand and touched the signpost just before losing consciousness.

When the bear had eaten all it could, it lumbered off in the direction from which it came, leaving the Christian's remains to decompose and rot.

Inscribed upon the sign were these words:

Matthew 21:22 - "And all things you ask in prayer, believing, you will receive."

The End

The original atheist bashing version (if indeed it is the original version, and not altered as claimed above) is still being posted. I found this at

Posted: Sat Dec 22, 2007 10:52 am Post subject: An Atheist in the Woods.

Silly Christians.

Saturday, December 22, 2007

The Counterculture and Ron Paul

Keith Preston on why counterculturalists, bohemians and lumpenproletarians (hippies, ravers, punk rockers, "goths"), adherents of spiritualities outside the mainstream religions (New Age, pagans, Wiccans, Buddhists), so-called "sexual minorities" (gays, lesbians, bi-sexuals, transsexuals and transgendereds), a wide spectrum of subcultures devoted to particular forms of art, music or fashion (such as the enthusiasts for massive tattooing and "body piercing"), the various drug cultures, those whose livelihood is on the margins of society or even the law (from bookies to midwives to "sex workers"), and those with unconventional political views (anarchists, primitivists, tax resisters) or social practices (polygamists, vegans or nudists) young people, low-income or unskilled workers, residents of urban tenant housing, proponents of "alternative media," the casually self-employed "petite bourgeoise", transients, the unemployed, the homeless and prisoners should support Ron Paul.

Friday, December 21, 2007

It All Began with Santa

It all began with Santa. In hindsight, I see that it was questions about him that primed the pump of critical inquiry for me. Up until the age of 6 or 7, I believed in Santa just as fervently as I believed in Jesus and the nativity stories, in Heaven as a place from which my grandfather--along with God--watched my every move, and in Hell as a place where the bad people go.

Thursday, December 20, 2007

Christians, Atheists and Bears in the Woods, Oh My!

Maybe you got this in your email awhile back:

An atheist was walking through the woods.

"What majestic trees"!

"What powerful rivers"!

"What beautiful animals"! He said to himself.

As he was walking alongside the river, he heard a rustling in the bushes behind him. He turned to look. He saw a 7 foot grizzly charge towards him. He ran as fast as he could up the path. He looked over his shoulder & saw that the bear was closing in on him.He looked over his shoulder again, & the bear was even closer. He tripped & fell on the ground . He rolled over to pick himself up but saw that the bear was right on top of him, reaching for him with his left paw & raising his right paw to strike him.

At that instant the Atheist cried out, "Oh my God!"Time Stopped.The bear froze.The forest was silent.As a bright light shone upon the man, a voice came out of the sky.

"You deny my existence for all these years, teach others I don't exist and even credit creation to cosmic accident." "Do you expect me to help you out of this predicament? Am I to count you as a believer"?

The atheist looked directly into the light, "It would be hypocritical of me to suddenly ask You to treat me as a Christian now, but perhaps You could make the BEAR a Christian"?

"Very Well," said the voice.The light went out. The sounds of the forest resumed. And the bear dropped his right paw, brought both paws together, bowed his head & spoke:"Lord bless this food, which I am about to receive from thy bounty through Christ our Lord, Amen."

Here is one response to it from an atheist's perspective.

And another.

Here is a shorter version: An atheist was walking through the woods and suddenly came face to face with a hungry bear. He immediately dropped to his knees and looked up to heaven. "God," he said shamefully. "I know I have professed that you do not exist and I don't want to be a hypocrite and ask you to make me a Christian now. But could you do me one small favor?"
A voice from heaven answered, "I will do as you ask."
The atheist smiled and said, "Could you make this bear a Christian?"
Feeling quite pleased with himself, the atheist stood up and brushed off his pants. He looked fearlessly into the bears eyes. The bear looked into the atheists eyes, dropped to his knees and said, "Thank you Lord for this meal you have provided."

In a forum post at (billing itself as "100% Jesus") someone replied to it with this: "The atheist was feeling very smug ,wasnt he? But then when the bear,after thanking God for his lunch ,stood up ,,the atheist,(i would emagen)felt very humble and learned a good leason, looking up up up at the bear ,knowing there was no escape,found out that smugness gets one no where.The joke was very funny" (spelling and punctuation as in original).

What the atheist also learned is that animals other than humans can become Christians, that Christians have no mercy for non-believers (just like their hate-filled, hell-creating, psychotic deity) and will actually EAT them, and that God can turn any creature into an instant Jesus freak, making this the god of the Calvinists, I suppose. But if becoming a believer is not a matter of will as portrayed in this story, why berate the atheist for his unbelief? And maybe the atheist wouldn't have been an atheist if Mr. Invisible Magic Being had just revealed himself , as he does in this story, earlier in the poor non-believer's life! That's all any atheist is asking for, just some PROOF!

There are so many google results for this thing (it goes under at least two titles; The Atheist and the Bear, and An Atheist in the Woods) that are all the same, just the story itself published on the site or blog, with maybe a brief comment-LOL and I Like It! being popular ones- and maybe a photo of a bear. Why no picture of the atheist at any of these posts? Atheists are flesh and blood beings that you can actually see, not invisible ghosts that you have to imagine are there and need "faith" that they exist. Atheists are real, gods and fairy tale talking bears are not.

This thing has been going around the internet for a long time and I can't find when it first started (the earliest date I saw was 2004), but I don't care anymore, just please stop passing it on, its making you religious types look stupid, something for which we don't need any more evidence, as you guys provide us skeptics with an abundance of it already.

Happy walk in the woods!

Wednesday, December 19, 2007

Christmas Cards

Well, I was late again this year, Christmas card wise, that is. I got one out to my friend early yesterday morning. I had gone to the local Wal-Mart Supercenter to buy it (and a lot of other stuff, some of which I didn't need). But Wal-Marts, especially the Supercenter versions, keep me putting things in the cart, kinda like Costco, but with a smaller bill at the checkout.

I always wonder, when you get a card at a popular store like that (Target would be another one), if the person you're getting it for has already seen it. You know, they were at a Wal-Mart themselves, browsing through the cards, and saw the same card, maybe even looked inside and read the message, particularly if it was one of those funny ones. Earlier this year, round grad time, I bought a card for someones graduation party. I thought I would be clever and so I ventured into what I figured was a less trafficked greeting card location, a mall store selling only cards and gifts, and with a larger selection of merchandise than the big retail places. So I bought my card, and liked it too, and hadn't seen it anywhere near a Wal-Mart or a Target in all the times I looked at those fine merchant's wares. My card was unique! Well, at least closer to it than one of those a-million-other-people-bought-the-same-card cards. The day after the party, I walked into the Target on the corner and just happened to be walking toward the candy section (just to look, naturally) and I stopped dead in my tracks. There, right up front, in plain view of the entrance, right where everyone who enters travels by, was MY card. The one I'd bought special, took an extra trip to get, wasted half a gallon of gasoline on, made sure it was the last of its kind, no other duplicate in the store, one of the limited edition they-didn't-order-too-many-of-these cards. They had two stacks of the card at Target. Right up front there for everyone to see.

This time I didn't worry about it. I'd write a nice note of my own inside and so what if she'd seen the same card somewhere. I took the card home and set it aside, but I signed it first, cause my hand writing (penmanship) isn't always the best and I didn't want to be rushed later and mess up and have to go out and get another card, and besides I would take a careful time about it and think of some good things to PRINT for the message itself. I actually hate writing those messages, but I try. I do. The thing I really hate is when they pass around one of those cards at work for you to sign cause it's someone's damn birthday again, or they're leaving the place for a better job (hell, in that case, they should be getting us a card, saying they're sorry we still have to work there) and you see by the comments that have been written that everyone has already said what you were going to, forcing you to strain your brain to come up with something original, and instead coming up with something that's worded so badly you look like you were trying to be original but failed, only looking pathetic and as if you couldn't express your thoughts clearly if your life depended on it.

Last year, at good old Christmas time, we had a party for ourselves in Customer Service. We were gonna do a potluck, but then found out the company was throwing a pizza shindig or maybe a BBQ (nobody was sure) so it was suggested and decided we would have a "cookie and candy" party. Guess what? We all brought cookies and candy. It was too much, so another department took most of the sickening stuff off our hands. Then we found out the company bought pizza for that other department, but not for us, and that the other department ate those pizzas (about two dozen of them we figured) before we even had our candy and cookies set up on our little table. I got a couple of Christmas cards from some fellow reps at that party, but they had no messages in them, weren't even addressed to me. Weren't even real cards, but came out of a box filled with the same exact card! Just said Merry Christmas on the envelope and only their name inside the card.

Anyway, as I said, I mailed that Christmas card for my friend yesterday. Got it to the post office. Put extra postage on it. On the way home I realized I'd forgotten to write my message inside the card, probably cause I had written it elsewhere, so I could copy it later, so as not to mess up the card itself if I made a mistake while composing my well thought out prose. Oh well, she was one of them that gave me one of them cards without a message and not even my name on it last year.

Pogues Christmas Classic Deemed 'Offensive to Gays'

Station derided for bleeping out words.

"When fascism comes to this country, it will be wrapped in the flag, carrying a cross."

Ron Paul on Mike Huckabee's Merry Christian TV ad.

Tuesday, December 18, 2007

Good Morning TV, John Hagee and Don Imus

I happened to turn on the TV this morning and, flipping through the channels, came across one of the ALL CHRISTIANITY ALL THE TIME channels that DIRECTV has in abundance as part of their channel lineup. It was one of John Hagee's programs from his San Antonio church and the preacher on stage looked and sounded as if he must be Hagee's son (he certainly had the same rotund figure; ever notice how the one sin fundamentalist preachers overlook is gluttony)? Anyway, I always stop to watch what he (or in this case, the junior) has to say, for he is a Christian Zionist, an unabashed supporter of Israel and a pro-Israel US foreign policy (other conservative Christian voices dissent from this view,- though they seem to be in the minority- including Hank Hanegraaff of the Bible Answer Man and Christian Research Institute in his book The Apocalypse Code).

But I watch sometimes because the views of the Hagee types have implications for public policy, what with end times, dispensational eschatology dominating contemporary American evangelicalism (thus the popularity of things like the awful hack novels of the Left Behind series). I caught Hagee (the senior) on Glenn Beck's radio show one morning (he also spent an hour on Beck's TV show) advocating war with Iran because Iran's president is the "New Hitler." Hagee went on to warn of millions of Muslim suicide bombers wandering the United States blowing themselves up in a reign of terror. The normally skeptical Beck (of all things absurd, when they come from the "left," at least) spoke not a word of challenge to Hagee's absurd, ridiculous scenario.

Well, I was a bit disappointed when it turned out to be a sermon on prayer. I watched, disinterested, for a few more minutes and then... he slipped it in! Saying that those who pray for Israel will be blessed and how Israel is vital for our national security. That one obsession permeates their entire worldview and they will do whatever is needed to bring about the end times apocalypse and their imaginary rapture to heaven.

I then flipped over to RFD-TV and saw Don Imus in his new incarnation. The show seemed to be mostly music today, so I didn't stay long. It is good to see Imus back, though. The ridiculous spectacle of seeing the reprehensible Rev. Al pontificating on Imus' sin of politically incorrect speech, during the height of the controversy, was sickening (I of course agree that any kind of racism is wrong).

What the whole Imus affair shows us is that we don't need government or the FCC controlling and dictating what is broadcast. The free market takes care of things just fine. If people don't like something they don't have to watch. If they want to protest something they feel goes over the line, so be it. A CBS or an MSNBC may respond by canceling a program and firing its host. A host may apologize for words spoken and hire certain people to atone for his sins. Companies respond to market forces, and advertisers are usually reluctant to sponsor the too controversial. That's why the idea that we need government regulation of any kind for media is off-base. Imagine a TV station owner who decided to run Debbie Does Dallas at 3 in the afternoon on an over-the-air station. How long would they stay in business ? The marketplace dictates such decisions quite adequately, with no need of governmental prohibitions

More on Christian Zionism Pro and Con

More on John Hagee Pro and Con

More on Hank Hanegraaff

More on Don Imus

Sunday, December 16, 2007

The Perfect Electoral Storm

Will 2008 be a turning point election, as historically important as 1932?
Steve Fraser writes: "War, economic collapse, and the political implosion of the Republican Party will make 2008 a year to remember. " This, he says, in spite of the "haplessness" of the Democrats.

Full article here

Everybody Hates the Atheists

From Reason Online:

The take-home message of Mitt Romney's recent speech on religion and politics was pretty clear: I may be a Mormon, but at least I'm not an atheist.
Romney sought to strengthen his advantage as a presidential candidate known for being religious while assuaging the concerns of Americans who are reluctant to vote for a Mormon. He did so by reinforcing the public's longstanding prejudice against unbelievers, arguing that religion—any religion—is preferable to no religion at all.

Click here to read the full article.

Friday, December 14, 2007

Hello All, and Welcome to My Humble Blog

Well, I finally gave in. I have joined the "blogosphere". I use the word humble deliberately. In fact, I would not have started this blog were it not for Debunking Christianity . You are forced to sign up for a blogger account to comment there, so I've decided to take advantage of it and begin. Whether or not I have anything worthwhile to say will be up to you to decide. More soon, I promise.
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