Put me in the Cone of Mistrust…

I hate to say it, but Senator Obama should have seen this coming.  In this weeks “Saddleback Presidential Forum” both candidates were set to do some hard-core pandering to the religious right.  In theory, Rick Warren was supposed to host a fair Q&A time, asking both presidential contenders the same questions with neither of them knowing the questions beforehand.

Barack took questions first and, sadly, despite Warren’s assurance that he had “put McCain in a ‘cone of silence'”, he was in nothing of the sort.  He sat in his limo (which is well equipped with a radio and television) for the first half hour of the forum, before being escorted by the secret service to a room with a television monitor (though supposedly not hooked up), none of which would have stopped him from getting text messages or calls detailing the questions he was to receive.  And as the Huffington Post points out “presumably his aides have Blackberries. Coaching could have taken place without McCain hearing anything directly from the broadcast at all”.  This ridiculous incompetence and/or outright attempt to make Obama look less presidential or prepared is why churches shouldn’t be hosting presidential appearances in the first place.

None of this proves that McCain cheated of course.  But what can be verified is that both McCain and Warren violated their promises of a fair interview.  McCain violated an implied or expressed promise to have arrived at the venue by the time that Barack Obama’s interview began. Warren implied to a national audience that McCain was in a quarantined area at the time Obama’s interview began, but in fact McCain was not.  It just goes to show you that progressives shouldn’t trust evangelical leaders.  They’re not interested in being fair.  They’re interested in furthering their own conservative agenda, and eroding the walls between church and state.

Meanwhile I won’t be holding my breath for Sam Harris to host the Atheists Presidential Forum.

Why I’m An Atheist – #1: Unbelievable Stories:

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When you’ve heard the stories of the bible all your life you tend to take them at face value. You assume they’re true without any critical analysis. You may dissect them for what god is trying to communicate to you during your morning devotionals, or for what you think god is trying to tell the people of your congregation, but you never question the story you’re actually analyzing. If you’re a Christian your presupposition is that the Bible is God’s Word. Therefore it’s true. But what if your presupposition is false? What if the stories aren’t true? What I’m arguing is that the stories of the Bible are so ridiculous that they cannot be true. In my opinion you have to resort to sloppy thinking to believe that they are. To demonstrate this I’ll tell you a tale from another religion. You may know it. It’s the story of Joseph Smith the founder of Mormonism.

A long time ago in the year 1827, an angel named Moroni appeared to Joe Smith and told him about golden tablets that were buried in the country side. Eventually after many attempts Joe was able to find these tablets and read the hiroglyphics encoded onto them with the help of special glasses given to him by the angel Moroni. Eventually the plates and the glasses would be lost. The translation of the plates would become the book of Mormon used by the church of Latter Day Saints all over America.

The story sounds ridiculous right? There’s angels, hidden treasure, decoder glasses, and nothing about the story can be proven (sorry Mormon readers…you know its true ). It’s totally unbelievable that anything like this could happen, (and harder to believe that you could lose golden plates…I wouldn’t let those babies out of my sight!) but it serves as the foundation of Mormonism. Any Evangelical or Catholic Christian would reject this story outright as being untrue, but would turn around and refuse to apply the same standard of reason to their own book. It happens all the time, Muslims reject most of the teachings of the old and new testaments, Christians reject the Quaran. What we see as ridiculous stories in their book, we embrace in our own. Even when they’re very similar.

All this to say that the Bible has a lot of unbelievable stories in it. First God makes man out of dirt and woman out of a rib, then a snake gets them to eat a fruit and that screws up the whole world. Next the world is flooded when god gets pissed off, but luckily all the animals (even dinosaurs according to some Evangelicals) come to Noah and he builds a giant boat that fits them all in, saving them from the torrential rains. Oh and there’s a guy getting swallowed by fish only to re-emerge to preach hellfire and brimstone, another guy who flies a chariot into Heaven, and another who splits a sea in two just by waving his staff in the air. There’s a donkey that talks, a little boy who kills a giant with a slingshot, and finally god’s son comes down to save the whole mess by being brutally murdered, coming back to life and then flying off into the sky like superman. Oh and don’t forget he’ll be back to toss all the people who doubted him and this book into hell.

These stories are so far fetched that if someone was telling you they saw them take place you would think they were nuts. We’ve just heard them repeated over and over again until we believed them, and afterwards turned off our brains. Think critically about the stories in the bible. They cannot be literally true. When was the last time you saw a talking donkey, a plague of frogs, or people coming back from the dead? I’m sorry, it just doesn’t happen. It’s nice to have something to believe in, but the stories of the bible have very little substantive basis for our belief.

Coming Soon: Part 2: We Don’t Get Our Morality From the Bible

Why I’m an Atheist – Intro

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It has been a long religious journey for me, beginning around the age of ten when my family first took me to church. I was baptised when I was fourteen, catechized, and later majored in Pastoral Ministry at Mt. Vernon Nazarene University. Thats around fifteen years of religious training, praying, mission trips, sermons, and endless rounds of praise chorus’. I know my stuff.

Over the last three years though there has been a nagging suspicion that God wasn’t all he was cracked up to be, and today I’m officially declaring myself an Atheist. Losing my faith so to speak, was a slow process of disappointments and the accumulation of scientific and theological knowledge. I’m not really fond of the term Atheist though, because it only describes what I’m not. I’m not a Theist. I don’t believe in a god. I prefer the term Rationalist or Secular Humanist to Atheist, because both terms describe what I am: committed to reason, science, and the belief in the beauty and sacredness of the lives of human beings. I’ve come to the conclusion that the proof for an all powerful God is lacking, especially a God who ‘loves and wants to have a personal relationship with me and others’.

The reasons I don’t believe are numerous so I’m planning on discussing each of the reasons in depth in different posts. In these updates, I’ll mostly be discussing this as arguments against Christianity, only because its the religion I am most familiar with. Sorry if you guys from other religions feel left out.

I think you should also know that I’m a really happy person, much happier than I was as a Christian. Because I’m criticizing something though, these posts are probably going to sound pretty negative. I apologize for that in advance but hope you’ll keep reading.

I also hope these posts can in some way raise your consciousness about the subject or at least let you know why I believe what I believe. Feel free to disagree with me, or argue a point I make. I’m open to hearing you’re opinion too. I won’t lash out or say you’re stupid for believing in god, I think its an important part of many peoples lives. But these are the reasons I cannot believe.

The Atheist Life vs. The Religious Life

I thought this was an interesting video.  It compares the advantages of being an Atheist to that of living a religious life. While it makes many generalities about religious people and atheists (for sure not all atheists are as open minded as he says) I think it’s a pretty accurate description of why atheism is so appealing to me.  I’m definitely much happier now than I used to be as an Evangelical Christian.   Like the video?  Totally disagree with it?  Discuss!  Leave a comment and I’ll respond

Jesus Struck By Lightning!

Check out this amazing picture from Rio de Janeiro, Brazil.  I wonder what he said to make God so mad? 🙂christuppa1202_800x617.jpgHow in the world did the photographer get this picture?  

Evangelist Disproves Evolution with a Jar of Peanut Butter

This is so hilarious it doesn’t deserve a refutation.  Watch and laugh.Next time I want to prove someone wrong I think I’ll just ignore their argument completely and reference peanut butter…because who can argue with that eh?

Obama Fact Check #1: Obama Isn’t A Muslim

There’s a lot of misinformation going around about Barack Obama.  He has been the victim of a campaign by right wing blogs and media outlets like Fox News to characterize him as Un-American or even a Muslim sent to undermine the government of the United States.  As ridiculous as this sounds I’ve heard it repeated in several conversations at my work place.  People say things like, “I could never vote for him.  He’s a Muslim.”  Or “I heard he refused to put his hand over his heart during the pledge of allegiance, how can he expect to lead the country if he won’t honor the pledge”.  Where these news outlets get these ridiculous stories I’ll never know, but here’s Fact Check Number One: Obama isn’t a Muslim.  He’s a devout Christian.  Here’s a story from CNN:

PLEASANTVILLE, Iowa (CNN) -– Democratic presidential candidate Barack Obama was asked about his “Muslim background” by a potential voter at a coffee shop Saturday, and used the encounter as an opportunity to try to put to rest stories that he said had been “misreported.”

Obama joined a group of four women in a booth to eat some pumpkin pie and sip a cup of tea. One of the women asked him how his “Muslim background” would affect his decisions as president.

“This is something that keeps on being misreported, so I’m glad you asked me,” Obama, who is Christian, said.

He told them his father had lived in a Muslim-dominated village in Kenya, but “didn’t practice Islam.”

“Truth is, he wasn’t very religious,” said Obama. “He met my mother. My mother was a Christian from Kansas, and they married, and then divorced. I was raised by my mother. So I’ve always been a Christian.”

He also touched on the fact that he lived in the Muslim country of Indonesia for four years of his childhood.

“I didn’t practice [Islam],” Obama continued, but added that being in that area had given him “insight into how these folks think.”

Just before being pulled away from the table by a staffer, Obama told the women he had been a member of the Trinity United Church of Christ for the past 15 years.

Even if he was a Muslim I personally wouldn’t have any problem with it.  He’s a man of integrity no matter what his faith is.  But he is a Christian.  Make sure you don’t believe everything you hear on Fox News.