Sunday, March 31, 2013

Debate: Did Jesus Rise from the Dead?

Bart Ehrmann vs. William Lane Craig. Craig starts by "establishing" his "four facts." Hilarity ensues.  Happy Easter!

Saturday, March 30, 2013

"Baby Moses" laid to rest

A tragic story in Indianapolis:  a dead baby was found in a creek.  The mother has still not been identified.

In the old days, babies like this would be named "Baby Doe" and laid to rest by the city.  When the family is identified, the baby would join the family plot if that's the wish of the family.  The family would have the right to name the baby if they wanted, too.

Today the little guy was laid to rest by some arrogant Christians who took on the right to name him and bury him:

Linda Znachko named the baby Moses, and her ministry, "He Knows Your Name" organized Saturday's funeral.

"I have dressed Moses in a white garment. I did that to symbolize his spiritual freedom that he know has with Jesus Christ," said Znachko.

Some Christian group was able to take possession of the body, give the baby a name, and conduct a service in their denomination.  This just strikes me as so arrogant, yet the city released the baby to these people who have NO CLAIM to it!


I know that some so-called Christians will take issue with my anger about this but I don't care.  This was a selfish selfish act conducted by self-congratulatory people who really believe they are doing something right... and of course let the cameras show it on television.

It's certainly possible to be respectful toward an unknown person's body without claiming it for Christ:

Friday, March 29, 2013

March 30 link round-up

This is mostly news but I got tired of trying to sift through the Easter crap and the Supreme Court stuff and that stupid trial that a certain supposed "news" station is obsessed with.  So I offer up a mixture of the sublime, ridiculous, scary, and icky:

In Egypt, women are being blamed for an epidemic of sexual assaults against them.

Also in Egypt, a lady cartoonists takes aim at fundamentalists.  She's been charged with blasphemy.  And I worry about offending my fundie coworkers!

Malala signs a book deal.  Good for her!

In Bangladesh, Islamic protesters demand blasphemy laws against BLOGGERS!  OMG we're dangerous!

Berlin's Jew-in-a-Box exhibit more controversial than expected.   

About damn time!  Baptists finally take on something that's actually immoral:  predatory payday loans that hurt the poor

Man gets probation in mercy-killing of his wife.

Hindus celebrate the festival of Holi.  Yes, their holiday is Holi day!

A fat naked man called "Billy the Fridge" sat on a fake Phelps family member and yelled "Who's your daddy now?"  The rest is impossible to summarize so I'll leave it to you to read the rest.

Ladies, here's one good reason not to go skinny dipping.
Men, you're not safe, either.

The Huffpo's public service post of the week:  How to be a bitch, bitch! (I'm a natural, so I won't read any of those books!)

Randomly found video:  Scientologist corners James Randi between bites of something that looks rather tasty:

Wednesday, March 27, 2013

Richard Carrier Interview

Excellent interview with Richard Carrier. If you haven't been listening to The Thinking Atheist (a.k.a. Seth Andrews) podcasts, I highly recommend them. He mixes up interviews with atheist celebs and callers, and he even had a great interview episode with a Methodist minister.  He's in Texas right now at the American Atheists Convention.  Send him my regards if you see him!  I am one of his most loyal subscribers.

In this interview, Richard Carrier summarizes quite a bit of the scholarship about Christianity and the Bible, not just the question of whether Jesus existed.

Sunday, March 24, 2013

Taking Apart the Nicene Creed

This statement of beliefs is supposedly the minimum necessary belief set that one must agree with to be considered a Christian.

We believe in one God, the Father Almighty, Maker of heaven and earth, and of all things visible and invisible.And in one Lord Jesus Christ, the only-begotten Son of God, begotten of the Father before all worlds (├Žons), Light of Light, very God of very God, begotten, not made, being of one substance with the Father;By whom all things were made;who for us men, and for our salvation, came down from heaven, and was incarnate by the Holy Ghost of the Virgin Mary, and was made man;he was crucified for us under Pontius Pilate, and suffered, and was buried, and the third day he rose again, according to the Scriptures, and ascended into heaven, and sitteth on the right hand of the Father;from thence he shall come again, with glory, to judge the quick and the dead;whose kingdom shall have no end.And in the Holy Ghost, the Lord and Giver of life, who proceedeth from the Father, who with the Father and the Son together is worshiped and glorified, who spake by the prophets.In one holy catholic and apostolic Church; we acknowledge one baptism for the remission of sins; we look for the resurrection of the dead, and the life of the world to come. Amen. 

Let's take this apart.  The first part reaffirms monotheism and The God is the creator of everything: We believe in one God.  So far so good.  Christianity is indeed an outgrowth of Judaism, right?

Not so fast, buckaroo.  Christians worship more than just this one God.  Christians also believe in the son, so apparently they're not monotheists after all:  And in one Lord Jesus Christ.  Well, he's the son so maybe he doesn't really count.  After all he's really only half-god, right?  Like the old demi-gods of Ancient Greece.

Not quite.  ...Very God of very God, begotten not made, being of one substance with the Father.  So Jesus was his own father, and we now apparently have the answer to the question "Who made God?"  God made God, of course!  He just didn't tell Moses because that would have confused the old codger. 

SO ... God made himself, at least once.  But wait... came down from heaven and was incarnate by the Holy Ghost...  So God made himself at least twice, first making the Holy Ghost and then making Jesus, and a third time if he made himself too.  This is the ta-da... *drumroll* .... TRINITY!

At the beginning of Christianity there was no such concept.  Jewish Christians believed Jesus was an ordinary man until his baptism.  Gnostic Christians believed he was 100% spirit.  How do you combat "heresy?"  Make them all only partially right!

The next bit rehashes the basic "facts" of the Gospels, Jesus was crucified, died, then came back to life.  The four Gospels agree on the crucifixion at least. 

The sacrificial stuff is a little more muddled and you have to wonder what the writers were thinking.  They've already said that God "Came down from heaven... for our salvation."  This is already a little messed up, as we're being saved from his own punishment, which he could easily have just decided to drop. 

But no... he had to crucify himself to appease himself.  And then after this horrendous death, he sits at his own right hand, judging people, though he had been sacrificed for us....  so what's to judge?

Now, to part three, because threes are holy in Catholicism.  And in the Holy Ghost, the Lord and Giver of life, who proceedeth from the Father, who with the Father and the Son together is worshiped and glorified, who spake by the prophets.  So when the prophets were speaking (are speaking?) this ghost is doing the speaking, but it's not really the ghost it's really God because he comes from God just like Jesus did. 

Or perhaps it's a she, because of course Jesus was the only-begotten son, so if the ghost proceedeth from the Father, that sort of means it's the child of the father.  Conveniently, the creed in English doesn't use a gendered term.  Sadly, my theory doesn't work because spiritus, the Latin term, is a masculine word (fourth declension masculine to be precise).  It derives from the word for "to breathe," which explains why it powers the speech of prophets.  So... God has two sons, not one.

...In one holy catholic and apostolic Church; doesn't really mean not protestants.  Catholic means for everybody, and apostolic means they derive their authority from the apostles.  Even if you accept that Matthew and John actually were apostles and actually wrote the gospels attributed to them, this doesn't compute because Mark and Luke weren't apostles.  Also, Paul never knew Jesus and his writings (and writings falsely attributed to him) constitute most of the rest of the New Testament.  Luke was Paul's pal, so we have even less "apostolic" -ness than the creed would suggest.

One baptism for the remission of sins always struck me as a funny concept, because Jesus' sacrifice was supposedly the mechanism for that.   But then after you've been baptized, and Jesus has been sacrificed for you, you still get judged by Jesus.  That's all in this one little creed.  Gives you some idea of what the Bible is like!

We look for the resurrection of the dead, and the life of the world to come.  I never understood what this delay was supposed to be about.  Christ supposedly went right up into heaven, as did his mother.  Why can't the rest of us?  Why have all the bodies laying around in cemeteries, or worse... at the bottoms of seas or out in the woods... waiting for centuries for the resurrection?  In the literalist Catholic theology the actual bodies have to stay intact to be able to get up and move about after the resurrection.  That's why they're buried rather than cremated.

But what about the people who died without being buried?  What if wild animals made off with the bones and scattered them in all directions?  What if they burned up in a forest fire?  They'd be cremated, then.  Could God resurrect those people but not intentionally cremated dead people? 

Eek!  A Zombie!!!
And what if someone drowned at sea and their body is under hundreds of feet of water?  Will they have gills long enough to get up onto dry land?  What if they drowned because they were crappy swimmers?   Wouldn't they still be crappy swimmers? 

And what about all the amputees and people born with birth defects?  Wouldn't these be some scaryass zombies?  If a deformed baby died because it couldn't survive its birth defects, would it be resurrected as a healthy adult?  It died before it even learned language.  Wouldn't it be a zombie, or at best an automaton?

This creed wasn't codified until almost the end of the Fourth Century.  It was supposed to unify Christian thought, but I think it was more of a brainwashing tool.  If you say this every week, or every day if you're in a monastery or cathedral, the repetition would numb out the parts of your brain that would pick up on the inconsistencies and illogic of it.


Wikipedia on Nicene Creed.
Old Catholic Encyclopedia (1911)
Old Encyclopedia Britannica (1911)
Wikipedia: English Versions of the Nicene Creed

Friday, March 22, 2013

March 23 Links

Camp Pendleton ceases support for "sectarian" concerts (rather than allow a 2nd Rock Beyond Belief concert).  Now the Rock Beyond Belief blog will take a much-deserved break. 

The oldest Duggar boy is expecting his third child.  Hooray for mass breeding of glassy-eyed Christians!  They are on the road and the telly promoting their trip to Asia.  Apparently it's not much like Arkansas.  And they disagree with China's one-child policy, surprisingly.

Two people involved in the ACORN scam will pay a former employee a total of $150,000 for causing him to lose his job.

Evolution in action!  Birds in Nevada are evolving shorter wings.  Birds with longer wings hav a harder time taking off from the roads to escape traffic and get killed.  Birds with shorter wings can take off and escape faster.

Malala's first day of school in the U.K.  YAY!  Some kids her age think they'd rather die than to go to algebra class.  She's willing to risk her life to be there.

Not new, but I found myself rereading this fascinating interview about the moral differences between liberals and conservatives.  Liberals lean toward compassion as a defining moral characteristic, whereas conservatives have a more multi-faceted approach to morality.  Interesting quotation:

there’s something weird in the human mind that makes people, and especially men, able to bind themselves together really, really tightly in order to compete violently. And you look at the rituals around sports and sporting teams. There’s just all this weird stuff about how groupish and tribal we are. And once you see that, then religion is the next obvious step.
Australian prime minister apologizes for forced adoptions of babies born to single mothers.

Mom & two children found naked and dead in a creek, with nothing but a baby sling and a Bible nearby.  Dad and the pastor of the church they moved halfway across the country to be near say religion couldn't be a contributing factor.  Uhhhh sure.

Megachurch pastor pleads guilty to statutory rape of a vulnerable 16-year-old honor student, who was subsequently expelled from the church's school and whose family was excommunicated from the church after this came out.  100 letters of support were sent to the judge.  Really?  How could they still support this predator?

Fundy singer aptly named "Shocked" discovers that people in San Francisco don't find anti-gay rants humorous.  Perhaps she should change her name to "Clueless."

Mennonites & Catholics will join to mark Martin Sattler's martyrdom.  Rather odd pairing there.

The Evangelical mini-series on the "History" channel hired an actor who just happened to resemble Obama to play SatanThe producers claim that wasn't intentional but Glenn Beck thinks it's good casting.  Nobody thinks to call them on the choice to have a black actor play Satan at all?  Sheesh.  (Please post a link in the comments section if you find someone making that point!)

In case you have missed it, Dusty Smith summarizes parts 3 and 4 for you this week. Way to take one for the Team, Dusty!

Monday, March 18, 2013

Steubenville Rapists = Pedophile Priests?

The teens who violated a teenaged girl were found guilty on Sunday, and Sunday is when television journalists and pundits are live for hours on end.  They had plenty of time to say things they no doubt regret now.  Many of them empathized with the boys, who were tried as juveniles and will serve just a few years in detention.  If they had been tried as adults their lives may indeed have been "ruined."  Because they were tried as juvies, their college football careers are "ruined," but not their lives.  They will have decades of freedom after they get out, at the tender age of 21.

CNN's Candy Crowley announced the verdict just before Reliable Sources, the show I watch because it (used to) cover the media.  How ironic. I'm sure they'll be discussing their colleagues next week, if they really want to discuss the press.  The link below has video of the objectionable stuff:

Later, the father of one of the boys admitted to not being much of a father and to having regrets for not helping the boy to develop better morals.  I wanted to reach through the telly and hug that guy!  And the journalist on the scene did point out that the girl was violated.  So I'd rate CNN just a smidge higher than the wailing classes, but only a smidge.

Now, some pundits are talking about a "Rape Culture," which I think is purely ridiculous.  There is plenty to decry in this situation all around, but is there really a rape culture?  Is there a whole group of guys who go around raping as a lifestyle?  Do they have a clubhouse?  Do they have a handshake?  (Oh wait... bad question)

So anyway, I had to ask why was there so much sympathy for the boys and not for the victim?  The telly and blogs and Facebook weren't cutting it for me.  It's another Rorschach test in the media.  What people have been saying says more about themselves than the situation.

So why not just jump in and risk revealing more about myself than enlightening the situation?  I do have a few thoughts, and I did give this some thought.  No knee-jerk reaction here.  (I was still too sleepy to be outraged at the time)

For one, the boys were on TV and the victim wasn't.  Her face is never shown on TV.   We sympathize with people we SEE.  One boy broke into tears in court.  Big strapping football-playing girl-raping macho boy turned into a ball of boo-hoo.  We're not used to seeing guys cry.  We're not used to seeing anybody cry, really.  So... we saw him cry when he received his verdict.  We didn't see the girl cry when she learned that pictures of her naked body were on the internet.  So naturally, people reacted to what was shown to them.  It takes a further leap of imagination to consider what the girl felt about the whole thing.  In the heat of the moment, the excitement of "BREAKING NEWS" and all, they didn't go that extra step.

For another, the damage done to a rape victim isn't what it used to be.  We no longer stone rape victims or force them to marry their rapists.  Her her pain will be internal and invisible.  The boys' loss of freedom is visible- we see them cry, we see or can imagine them in handcuffs or behind bars.  We can imagine their future as convicted sex offenders.

But perhaps the most important reason the press sympathized with them is the social position that athletes, especially American football players, enjoy.  Sports are supposed to teach good values like teamwork, perseverence, and the ability to handle disappointment.

These are indeed very good values, but they are not moral values.  They are life skills.  On the other side, they get special favors and are cheered by their school, the local paper, and boosters (community fans).  Their elevated status gives them a sense of privilege and innoculation against the consequences of destructive actions.  They operate as an island culture, far removed from the rules of everyday society.  The football team has special perks, a group of cheerleaders (who cheers at science fairs?), and an audience to show off in front of.  When a sports hero, even a small-town minor one, turns out to be immoral, the media are shocked.

I'm not.

If you are the graduate of a public high school in the United States (or a Catholic one, if you grew up where I did), you don't need to be told this.  At the college level it's even worse.  At my small liberal arts school, the football players were the worst behaved students at the school despite our perpeturally low standing in our "league" and the total lack of a future in football for those guys.  They were held in some regard for the mere reason that they played football.  We had some truly stellar genius-level students in other fields.  They didn't have their own frat house, and the newspaper didn't write about them. The football team had a culture of its own, marked by cheating and drinking and drug-dealing.  As a team, they were "cohesive," and none of this ever came out though it was a well-known "secret."  One of my friends was the girlfriend and later wife, of one of these guys. Out of deference to her I won't go into more detail.  Suffice it to say, they are not the pillars of the institution that our society wants to believe them to be.

So.... a sports "star" getting a jail sentence is a kind of a man-bites-dog story if you've bought into the lie that sports builds character and if you don't question their privilege.

And then we have the priesthood.  They live in a fraternity house, have ready access to all the wine they want, enjoy (at least until recently) automatic respect and trust of the community by virtue of membership on a revered "team," and they are presumed to be exemplars of morality for the community.  Like football players, they got away with sex crimes and for centuries nobody dared question them.  If they did get caught, their bishop or cardinal or pope smoothed things out for them or blew off the victims' concerns just as the Steubenville coach did.  (Want to bet that coach dropped Rohypnol into a few girls' drinks when he was in college?)

I have often heard it said that football is a religion.  It seems even more so this week.

Friday, March 15, 2013

Reason Rally Videos

Boy howdy did we miss a good time!  Right after the Reason Rally I saw some of the speeches online, but there was a a lot of good stuff happening in the crowd too.  There were professional videographers, uppity would-be videographers hired by uppity creationists, and a bunch of people with off-the shelf Best Buy cameras recording all the goings-on.  Here are a few that I found on Youtube.

Brilliant take-down.  Best line:  (Q: What is your name?) A: "All I know is Jesus died for your sins." 

Aron Ra vs Christian dumbass. Best line:  "Abra Fucking Cadabra"

Aron Ra vs another Christian dumbass: 

Best lines:  "Gullibility is the ONLY criteria" (to get into Heaven)  and "If you don't believe that monkeys MIGHT fly out of my ass can I consider you irrational?"

Idiot who thinks the King James Bible is the best version of the Bible vs. ordinary atheist who knows the Bible chapter & verse, and knows that if a servant is considered "property" that's called SLAVERY: 

Atheist in the military: 

Fox News interview and the story they ran on O'Reilly later: 

Reason TV: What We Saw at the Reason Rally: 

Best sign: "Freedom requires freethinking."

Thunderf00t and ...?  vs. preacher who claimed it was okay for God to kill babies in Noah's Flood. Best line: "The Bible is clearly a borderline incoherent [inaudible] series of stories"  The best part of this video is the audio.  The rain sounds like the crackling flames of Hell!

Thunderf00t vs Eric Hovind, with Thunderf00t's commentary:  or more briefly with commentary/review.

Hovind tries to bait PZ Myers too:

(Cheesy "Creation Today" commercial begins @ 2:35)

He also stalked James Randi: 

(cheesy commercial begins at 5:20)

Randi shuts him down.  Hovind's pal is even lamer.  They were way out of their league.  Best line: "This is very juvenile and I don't get involved in juvenile arguments."

The cameraman couldn't resist flipping the bird in this one: 

Best line:  "If I wanted to walk around dressed as a pink unicorn all day... it would be no different in 100 years than if I stared at a blank wall and died of starvation."  

That's supposed to be some kind of argument for Christian morality.  Well, if he believes that making idols to false gods is immoral, and he dressed like the invisible pink unicorn, making it therefore visible and an idol, then uhh yeah he'd still be immoral according to his code.  I'd like to see him explain that to the fellow inmates in Hell.  "Why are you here?  I'm here for fucking 10-year-old boys up the ass."  "Oh, well I'm here for dressing up like a pink unicorn."  "Is that a metaphor?  *wink wink*"

No Reason Rally would be complete without the Westboro Baptist Church and their hateful signs:

Photo slideshow with rather good atheist rap soundtrack:

Wednesday, March 13, 2013

March 16 Links

Ancient mummies had hardening of the arteries

Woman sues Catholic Church to have headstone with sports logos
"the council determined the monument wasn't acceptable because of its secular nature. He said he informed Carr of the decision."  Secular?  NASCAR and the NFL are religions!

Freedom from Religion Foundation and 19 other plaintiffs are suing to take In God We Trust off of U.S. currency.

Study finds that atheists become emotionally aroused when imagining God doing something horrible.   I'm too cheap to pay $37.00 to read the article, but there's a summary here.

I've had some memory problems ever since a bad contrecoup concussion years ago.  Now studies show that this is not uncommon.

Inside the peepal conclave.

Ex-Westboro member outs Fred Phelps as racial bigot.

Fellow woman atheist blogger cuts to the chase about patriarchal atheist communities.  (found via Pharyngula, where another woman called me an asshole).  In response to her responses she's offered some advice to atheist men.

Baptists didn't get the answers they'd hoped for when they polled Americans on their attitude toward gays.

Christian missionaries in China promise practice learning English but are really trying to convert... to bring about Armageddon:  "radical evangelists believe in the biblical notion of the “Great Commission” — that Jesus can only return when preaching in every tongue and to every tribe and nation on earth is complete."

40 freethinkers protest a Good News Club's deceptive practices.

Homeschoolers want their kids to learn evolution, no really -- learn EVOLUTION, not learn about the evils thereof.

If Darth Vader had become an Evangelical Christian...

Did you know there are Jews in Iran?  I know one who left and now lives in Indiana.  I should ask him how he feels being surrounded by fundy Christians here.

A mother and her two kids are found dead in a creek... with a Bible nearby.  How many more religious nutters have to take children's lives before we stop saying religion is "beneficial?"

Tuesday, March 12, 2013

Bart Ehrman Lecture on the King James Bible

Fundies believe the KJB is the definitive text, which of course it's not.  But don't take my word for it, skip to 9:30 (unless you want to hear a lot of speechifying) and check out what Bart Ehrman has to say about it:

Friday, March 8, 2013

March 9 Links, a rather motley assortment

 Texas Christians teach the Bible in public schools, but they teach it objectively and they're inclusive.  Uhhh yeah right.

The Scarlet S:  Getting Branded for Being Single.  I didn't write it, but I could have.

Evolution in action:  one invasive species of ants seems to be doing better than another invasive species of ants.

I think the woman who got killed by a lion deserves a Darwin award.   Seriously.  Look at these pictures.  Just because you love big cats doesn't mean big cats love you!

Make your own fossils!  (shhh don't show this to creationists!)

Kansas Republicans pass an anti-abortion bill that includes a provision preventing employees of clinics that provide abortions from bringing cupcakes to their children's schools.  Yes.  Really.

Amnesty International calls on Bangladesh to protect minority Hindu population

Meanwhile, in India, Hindu radicals are reportedly attacking minority Christians.  They claim they only do "moral policing" and speak up for their gods and goddesses. 

Bulgaria "expresses regret" for deportation of 11,000 Jews during the Holocaust.  Better late than never?  Fortunately for 45,000 other Jews, the public didn't want them to be deported.

Muslim teens in the Netherlands think Hitler didn't go far enough.

At least the Jews of Venezuela can breathe easier now that Chavez is dead.... or can they?  If they are descendents of the Sephardic Jews who were kicked out of Spain in 1492, they are now welcome to come back.  Better late than never?

Turn off your irony meters!  The ambassador attending a ceremony to honor a French woman who saved Jews during the Holocaust is named "Bigot."  Really.  Looky here.

Bill O'Reilly sows a tiny seed of accommodation in an interview with creationist Jeffress.  Ken Ham fries his bacon.  Hilarity ensues.  Pop the popcorn this hatefest is just heating up.

"Club Beyond" is beyond the pale in prosletyzing to military youth.

Sunday, March 3, 2013

How Trustworthy is the Bible?

Can anything in the Bible be considered well.... gospel truth?  Christianity is based on the factual truth of most of the New Testament, leaving aside the parts that are inconvenient to one's prejudices, of course. 

People who want to take the Bible literally should be aware of some well-known facts about their favorite book: 
  • No part of the Bible survives in manuscript sources from the time they were supposedly written.
  • None survive in copies that agree 100%
  • None are error-free in any copy
  • There are many, many contradictions in the Bible, even in the most "recent" parts
  • The New Testament wasn't codified until 325 C.E.
  •  The Torah (First Five books) took final form ca. 900 - 450 BCE
  •  The Talmud was completed ca. 200 CE & 500 CE (two parts)
  • The Old Testament was codified after the New Testament was
  • Writings that were widely believed to be legitimate were not selected for inclusion
  • Writings that have proved to be forgeries were selected for inclusion
  • The Synoptic gospels were written at least 50 years after the death of Christ
  • The Book of John was written almost 100 years after the death of Christ
  • Mark, the earliest Gospel, says Christ will return before the apostles' demise, but he didn't
  • Mark, Mathew, Luke and John didn't actually write the books named for them, nor do they have any connection to them whatsoever
  • Paul went against Jewish law, insisting on Baptism rather than circumcision, in order to appeal to gentiles.
  • Paul was not the undisputed leader of early Christians
  • Paul never met Christ in person, and he was at odds with people who did
  • Many of the letters attributed to Paul are forgeries
  • The Gnostic Christian theology was suppressed because it disagreed with the idea that Jesus could be both God-spirit and human (they thought he was God-spirit only)
  • The Ebionites were suppressed because they disagreed with the idea that Jesus could be both God-spirit and human (they believed he was human only)
  • The places mentioned in Exodus were only settled at the same time during the 7th Century B.C., not during the supposed time of the Exodus
  • Old Testament stories made Israel look bad because the final editors were residents of Judah and were trying to establish Judah as the true heart of the Jewish faith
  • The New Testament's anti-Jewish bias dates each part - the more anti-Semitic, the later the book was written, because the earliest Christians considered themselves Jewish
  •  Old Testament law was only thrown out so that gentiles didn't have to get circumcised or change their diets to become Christians, i.e., the O.T. laws were inconvenient
  • Mathew & Luke are based on Mark, with some embellishments that seem to have specific agendas.
If your history textbook had this many problems, you would throw it out!

The Bible, on The "History" Channel

I was hoping for a history of the Bible, but no, it's a depiction of the Biblical stories.  Phooey.

Here's the Huffpo write-up:

Part entertainment, part evangelism, "The Bible" is accompanied by a tremendous commercial push, with trailers in movie theaters and ads across A+E Networks channels, including Lifetime. There are also three books based on the series and a DVD study kit....The series' website includes lesson plans for pastors who want to incorporate the show into Sunday sermons and study groups.

I think I'll pass.

Friday, March 1, 2013

Links for March 2

Just a few somewhat random links:

Take-down of William Lane Craig's position on morality.   (WLC doesn't participate and why should he? He phones in the same tired "answers" in every debate anyway)

William Lane Craig is organizing a Roots of Christian Civilization Cruise.   Israel is not on the tour.  Really.

Indiana drunk arrested after calling 911 (repeatedly) for a cheeseburger.  Funny but pathetic.

Woman sues prior employer, whom she says fired her because she voted for Obama.

Procrastination is not laziness.  It's neurosis.  So the blog author will get started working on it... on Monday.  Sheesh. Hey, whether you're a loser because you're lazy because you're neurotic, you're still a loser!

After losing his court case for assisted suicide, This man stopped eating and died.  He should have been helped to die with dignity.  h/t Naturalistic Atheism

National Geographic looks at the decimation of the African elephant due to poaching for Chinese purchase.  They interview a Buddhist art dealer who tells himself that the elephant died to donate its tusk to statues honoring Buddha, and that they are happy in the afterlife because of this.  (PBS page here)  Buy the DVD here.

A new book says the early Christians were not persecuted, at least to the extent they claim to have been.  Early Christians were liars?  Say it ain't so!

8 Reasons the Duggars are a creepy cult.  Brilliant breakdown of the "family" values in that crazy baby-factory family.  I found them creepy from the start, but I admit I couldn't stand to watch them enough to deconstruct their Godspeak.

Things are not looking good for private corporations suing to deny birth control to employees.

Ignorant Christian thinks he has "unanswerable" (scientific) questions for atheists.  And they call us arrogant!

David Barton got his quotation about 19th Century schools being defended by gun-toting students FROM A LOUIS LAMOUR NOVEL!!!!  Argh!  What a tool.

Ten "Cardinal" Sins Taint Pope Vote  And these are only the dirty child-raping rapist-protecting scum that we know about in the College of Cardinals.

Scientology reports on people who report on Scientology.

Edited to add:
Check out the comments for this post from the Why Evolution is True blog!