Sunday, November 16, 2014

Quotation

"So far as I can remember, there is not one word in the Gospels in praise of intelligence."
Bertrand Russell

....not unless you are very ignorant

"These converts challenge everything you know about religion" is the opening title of a piece that is incredibly ignorant and stupid. It plays into the basest fears and misconceptions that so many use to harass and denigrate others. The authors, or at least the re-posters, seem to realize this since the title you see once you click on the story changes. The actual title, though an improvement, "Where Do The Converted Find Their Fervour? The Different 'Selling Points' Of Faiths", is only slightly better. The contents are as skewed as the the banner found on the main page of Huffington Post's Religion section.

The very first paragraph sets the tone and never wavers from massive doses of idiocy and bigotry.
"Picture a typical religious convert and you are likely to conjure up a zealous American-style preacher, or the ginger-bearded jihadi fronting recruitment videos for Islamic State in Syria. The phrase 'the fervour of the converted' is common parlance, giving the impression that converts are attracted to extreme aspects of faith."

I have known many individuals from acquaintances to family and friends who have converted from one faith to another, sometimes more than once, and none of them have ever turned out to be zealots or jihadis. It never would have occurred to me to automatically connect "convert" with extremists of any stripe. Why would I? Why would anyone?

It's funny how many theists insists that atheists are bigoted and ignorant when they come up with nonsensical shit like this with such regularity.

More dishonest theistic cheerleading

The factually impaired "news consortium" Catholic Online has once again resorted to what is commonly referred to as a lie-by-omission. In their short piece entitled "Holy Bible edges out Darwin's 'Origin of Species' as most valuable book to humanity'" they imply and even outright state that the British people have chosen the Bible as the most valuable book ever written. Slight problem with this characterization: it's false. If you read various other sources the intent of the survey conducted by the Folio Society is made quite clear. They did not ask about the actual content of the 30 books they asked individuals to rank. They actually wanted to know what books people thought have been the most influential on society as a whole. That is a huge difference. The directions make it clear that they were not being asked to evaluate the books on their merits. Two examples of reporting that did a far better job include:
The BBC's "The Bible tops 'most influential' book survey"
and The Independent's "The Bible voted more valuable to humanity than Darwin's Origin of Species in Folio Society poll

As a side note: I found it rather entertaining that conservative Catholics tend to be the loudest whiners when it comes to the perception that the society has become far too materialistic. Their short piece was very difficult to read but not because it was so poorly written, though it was that as well. It was difficult getting through because of the massive number of ads inserted throughout the page. Seems the revenue stream definitely trumped the message they were trying to peddle.

Sunday, October 26, 2014

Quotation

"I'm an atheist, and that's it. I believe there's nothing we can know except that we should be kind to each other and do what we can for each other."
Katherine Hepburn

A not so cute WWJD story

The story that Mick Mooney creates in his piece "WWJD: What Would Jesus Do? Do You Really Want to Know?" is intended to be a cute demonstration of what it means to follow Jesus and how some people misinterpret the real Jesus' central messages. The problem is it isn't cute at all. It is, in fact, as dishonest as it is arrogant and condescending. Mooney passes judgment on the mother in the story as if he actually has definitive knowledge of the Jesus figure. He doesn't. He can't. As I have pointed out so often the only available information about the Christ figure is contradictory and in places incoherent. To make matters worse, there isn't a single verifiable fact about Jesus. Mooney is ridiculing the notion that there can be other valid interpretations of the Jesus narratives without ever considering his own views are as baseless as any others. Apparently, he is among those who don't "really want to know." Then again, there probably isn't actually anything "to know" about Jesus.