Sunday, January 27, 2013

Links Links Links

Just a few this week:

Atheist mom blogs on CNN, with excellent list of things that are wrong with "God."   (h/t Kriss!)

Dolphin swims up to divers for help with fishing line!  Amazing video.   People like this are the reason why I really really really hate the Christian notion that humans are evil depraved sinners.  I disagree.  We can be totally awesome.

India has naked nuns...  well, they could go naked 24/7 but they don't.  Still, it's an interesting sect within an interesting sect.

Why Jews gravitate to Buddhism.  Don't miss the punchline of the opening story!
United Methodist online bookstore pulls its Lego assault rifle manual.  I feel safer now.

The only survivor of the 16th Street Baptist Church bombing tells her story.

Oh rats!  Now I have to go back to Paris.  The Louvre just opened its new Islamic Art wing.

The LA Archdiocese of the Catholic church is releasing information on its pedophiles.  Well, really they're releasing documentation about how they hid the information from the public.

Friday, January 25, 2013

Is the YMCA just "The Y" now?

I grew up in a city that had only one health club:  the YMCA.  If you wanted to be a competitive swimmer or one of the cool kids or prove that your parents were richer than my parents, you belonged to the Y.  Then when I grew up I moved to Brooklyn, where there was a YMHA.  The "H" was for Hebrew.  They didn't exclude non-Jews but it was clear they wanted to do for Jews what the YM"C"A did for Christians -- provide healthy activities.  Good for them.  I joined a for-profit health club so I didn't have to explain myself at the H.  It never made any sense to me why there had to be a religious affiliation to swim laps or do jazzercize.  Over the years I've joined other clubs, but never had any religious entanglements.  Even Krav Maga, which is based on Israeli military self-defense training, had no religious significance except that some of our classes were at the local Jewish Community Center.

Meanwhile, from the web, or maybe TV, dunno... I got the idea that the YMCA was trying to dissassociate from the "C" and just call itself the "Y."

I looked up the local "Y" on the web because I want to swim laps.  I see the logo on the front page.  So far so good.  Mostly Y.  No emphasis on the "C."  They even state their purposes in secular terms:  For youth development, For healthy living, For social responsibility.

Well this sounds nice doesn't it?  I decided to check out the adult programs.  As I read down the list, it looked like the usual health club offerings but then...

  • Wellness
  • Basketball
  • Volleyball
  • Swim Lessons
  • Private Swim Lessons
  • CPR Training
  • Bootcamp
  • Group Exercise
  • Tennis
  • Bible Study
  • Strength Training
  • Personal Training
  • Climbing Wall

 What what WHAT?  Bible Study???  There's no book club (for other books) or GED class or any other kind of "study."  But they seem a little embarrassed about it, and they just bury the Bible Study in between Tennis & Strength Training.  

I couldn't resist.  I had to look it up, and it cracked me up.  Here's the description of the downtown "Prayer and Share" class:  Our non-denominational adult fellowship group meets Wednesday mornings at 9-10 in the Downtown Y conference room. Led by Karen Wenger, the group shares payers, praises and concerns, a devotion and meaningful fellowship. No books or fees required.
No books at all?  Not even a Bible?  That's rich.  Here's the other "Bible" Study: This session's theme is "The Patriarch" by Beth Moore All are welcome! We are not affiilated with a specific church or denomination. We enjoy a variety of participants from all around the Muncie Community. Come join us!

Okay, so they have a couple of watered-down Christian feel-good "classes" for personal well-being.  Or maybe all those jocks who play basketball and lift weights won't go to a Bible study that actually requires studying the Bible. So maybe this Y isn't necessarily a Christian thing with a big "C" is it?  Anyone can rent space or set up a class in a library, too.  The "Bible Study" might not mean anything...

So I move on to the page with the membership fees.  And then it's very clear that this is indeed a Christian organization.  The "Y" may be their biggest letter but it's right here in black and white:


This means you, GAYS!  Register separately and pay twice you sinners!

Seriously?  They felt they had to say that?  Did they think that single people would fake being gay to get a discount?  Or are they just trying to scare the gays away?  I've seen some pretty buff gay people.  If you are the type of person that believes you can study the Bible without actually reading it, I can only imagine what your work-out routine is like!  The gays would put you to shame!!!

So in the end, I've decided to just do some walking around the neighborhood for and then in the summer possibly join one of the local private pools (assuming they let gays and black people and other types of mutants join).

If they're going to make a statement on their membership page, then I'll make a statement by not joining.

...and by blogging about their bigotry.


Tuesday, January 22, 2013

Domincan Friar fired for Mythicist book

Thomas Brodie's book Beyond the Quest for the Historical Jesus is now high on my must-read list!  It's the ultimate in courage when someone whose livelihood depends on a religion comes out against it.  It's costing him his life-long profession and probably dozens of personal relationships.  I applaud his courage "coming out," though apparently he's been dancing around the topic in his publishing career.

In general, I'm surprised at the total-mythicist stance, i.e. that Jesus never existed at all.  I had kind of assumed that Jesus had been a rabbi with a bit of a following who did get crucified, but whose "resurrection" was more like Elvis sightings.

I'm currently reading a self-published book that synthesizes the research and arguments behind the mythicist position:

Nailed: Ten Christian Myths that Show Jesus Never Existed by David Fitzgerald.

I just finished the section that rips apart the gospels.  I never knew that Mark gets details wrong that a Jew would have known.  Then, Matthew comes along and corrects it and Jewifies Christ a bit more.  Luke meanwhile makes Jesus a bit more like the Jebus we know and love, and then John is off-the-charts nutty for Christ and at the same time anti-semitic despite worshiping a Jew.

Fitzgerald also validates my opinion that John is the Republican gospel.  I've noticed that the least "Christian" Christians tend to put more faith in John and quote John more often than any of the other gospels.   Quite the eye-opener, with references for deeper reading. John's Jesus is no poor-loving meek-inheriting Jesus. He's Superhero Jesus!

I was planning to review this book by Fitzgerald but every page (or Kindle screen) is so packed with information I'll just recommend it for anyone wanting an overview of the problems in the whole "Christ was a Real Person" idea.  (There are many!)

Sunday, January 20, 2013

Link of the Week!

I published the round-up too soon!  A Bulgarian politician is almost assassinated but 1) the gun misfires, 2) he redirects the gun WITH ONE FINGER (krav maga teaches redirecting guns the other way but ya gotta do what ya gotta do) and 3) security guards and audience members take down the assassin and beat the crap out of him.

Okay, I'm a pacifist, but I will make an exception for people who put guns to other people's temple:

Saturday, January 19, 2013

Link round-up

"Spiritual Healer" needs cabbage juice to cure cancer. Why not just zap the cancer away with a few voodoo words?

NYT: Warning Signs of Violence Often Unclear  “But most mass murders are done by working-class men who’ve been jilted, fired, or otherwise humiliated — and who then undergo a crisis of rage and get out one of the 300 million guns in our country and do their thing,” Dr. Stone said.

Chilling memoir of militant Islamists in Kashmir forcing Hindus into exile.  (I had to look up the word "Pandit," which is the origin of the word "pundit."  It means learned people)

Catholics amend unsanitary practices during flu season.  I always thought drinking from a common communion chalice was creepy but I was assured the alcohol in the wine killed the germs.

Catholic churches in Germany turn away rape victims rather than deal with the question of abortion

Disgraced gay cross-dressing suspended priest busted on meth charges.  What I don't understand is how you can tell if a priest is a cross-dresser when they are required to wear something resembling a dress at work!

Brooklyn is still Jewish!  There are 561,000 Jews in Brooklyn, 1/3 of New York's Jews, and the Jewish population is very diverse.  It was very diverse when I lived there in the 1980s.  That's why Jewish stereotypes make me facepalm.  I knew ultra-orthodox, Hassidic, and ham-eating shiksa-dating reform Jews there.

Evangelicals are starting to come around and drop their bigotry against gays.  Not only have they figured out that gay people are just gay, not evil, they've also figured out that the Bible is ambiguous.

Meanwhile, Untouchable Hindu "Dalits" can finally enter a temple, thanks to the deity setting a price for their sins: a little assistance with funds for decorating.  Anti-gay Christian denominations should pay attention.  This could be the path to rapprochment for them!

It's not just the Catholic church that's been covering up a pedophilia problem.  Evangelicals are being taken to task for it too.

Wednesday, January 16, 2013

Atheist Experience Classic!

The latest episode had a classic caller and classic closer.  Apparently it even attracted the attention of the Huffington Post!  For those without the patience to watch the whole painful thing, here's the gist:  Shane from Phoenix claims to have a proof of god via morality, but his ideas are all over the place and he keeps moving the goalposts, resorting to straw man arguments, and in general being a very poor debater.

Tracey's final point is the closer to close all closers:

"If I were in a position to prevent a child from being raped, I'd intervene.  That's what makes me different from your god."

Monday, January 14, 2013

My new hero! Mike Lee, the "Religious Antagonist." Now this is what I call "militant" atheism:

Sunday, January 13, 2013

A few links...

Catholic preaches to Mormons about evangelizing and says "faith's beauty can lead even athiests to God."  I guess if you can believe in a talking snake and Paul's psychotic experience on the road to Damascus you can believe that too.

 Thursday's school shooter had been bullied.  CBS belittles the kid's experience then quotes witnesses confirming it.   Well, so much for anti-bullying campaigns's effectiveness.  Of course lessening the anguish of the victims was never the true inspiration for those campaigns anyway, it was just to keep kids from snapping and killing the cool kids.  Seems it didn't work at all!

Perhaps evangelical leaders supporting more gun control will keep the cool kids safe from the revenge of the nerds.  ...assuming evangelicals will still call themselves evangicals.  This WaPo editorial says the word needs to be rebranded.

Not new, but new-ish:  Mormon women declare "wear pants to church day."  I have always found the insistance on dresses for women and pants for men really stupid, considering Christ is always pictured in a caftan, a.k.a. a dress!

I ran across the above link after reading this article about the religious objection to contraception coverage at the same site.  The author is Howard M. Friedman, of The Religious Clause blog, which I follow.  I highly recommend the blog and the article.

Catholics and Protestants are going at it again in Ireland.

Being "spiritual" without having someone else's ancient delusional writings to frame and justify your magical thinking is supposedly related to mental illness.   (This article includes a link to a Businessweek page of LOL graphics about Correlation vs Causation)

Huge study being headed up by atheists.  This guy calls Dawkins "philosophically uninformed," which makes me wonder about his aim to study religion's place in human evolution.  I look forward to Dawkins' review of their publication.

Friday, January 11, 2013

Ex-Scientologist talks about how she stalked suppressive persons

A new series on Investigation Discovery channel called "Dangerous Persuasions" opens with an episode on Scientology. Wednesday, December 16, 10:00 p.m. ET/PT Here's the blurb:

Devoted Scientologist Nancy becomes an undercover spy to root out The Church's enemies. Little did she know she'd become immersed in the organization's secret war against its critics. Will her mission lead to her mental breakdown?
It's very courageous of her to do this.  I think this one is worth DVR-ing in case Scientology gets to the owners of Discovery channel!

Thursday, January 10, 2013

Amazing Crash Video

This is so scary. I have driven many many miles on roads in this condition (but I don't tailgate, which is what the SUV driver was doing)

One time I was on I-71 in Ohio during a blizzard, and a Chevy Suburban crossed a very very wide median, came within feet of front-ending me, then veered back onto the median. They were so close I could see the driver's & passenger's faces, and I had nowhere to go! This video reminded me of that time.

Sunday, January 6, 2013

LOL wut?

I don't know if this has been turned into a meme yet, but It got me photoshopping as soon as I saw it.

The Original:

My immediate thought:

...and I couldn't resist:

...and then I thought the pope needed commentary:

Fox and (Best) Friends?