Sunday, February 7, 2016

Elections are Civic not Religious

A couple of recent posts on Patheos does a pretty good job summarizing and exemplifying a number of all too common ignorance laced misconceptions. The two major assumptions that pervade both "The Perfect Religious President" and "7 Ways to Prepare Spiritually to Vote" are:
1. Mixing religion and politics is a good thing;
2. Religion and Spirituality mean the same thing to every one.

Both are horribly misguided. The good that religion may or may not represent is highly debatable. Mixing religion into politics is less debatable but still tends to provoke arguments. There is far more to support the position that mixing religion into politics is a terrible idea. There is absolutely no legitimate debate that religion and spirituality are as amorphous as they are subjective. No one agrees on even a basic definition let alone a specific set of traits or characteristics.

By its very nature religion is divisive and riddled with all sorts of problems that tend to only unnecessarily complicate everything it touches. We are all best served when religion is kept away from public policy and governance. Religion should only be tolerated when it is kept to be a personal matter. Individuals should vote their conscience but I also hope that they examine their motivations before casting their vote. Everyone should ask themselves why they are voting and what they are voting for. I have yet to get the impression that "religious voters" ever do any such thing.

Sunday, January 31, 2016

3 out of 4

Andy Gill does a decent job with three of his "Four Thing You Should Know Before Reading the Bible." Out of the following four can you spot which isn't like the others;

"1. The Bible, it’s an ever changing and never finished set of manuscripts....
2. In fact, according to many textual critics, there are more variances than there are words in the New Testament....
3. The Bible, it’s not a history book; it’s a collection of various texts over an unknown amount of time....
4. There’s a difference between tradition and divine revelation.?..."

Number four just doesn't work. Gill never seems to notice that religious "tradition" and "divine revelation" can't really be separated. Both are equally subjective and unfounded. Both are refuted by basic logic and critical thinking. Both are dependent on each other. Gill also never seems to realize that the first three undermine the whole premise of divine revelation. Logically, divine revelation should be as unchanging as it is infallible. Scriptures, and not just Judeo-Christian ones, are neither. It may seem somewhat ironic that scripture is not divine in any way but that has more to do with cultural bias than anything else. All scriptures are human fabrications. It would be nice if some day the majority of humanity finally accepts such scriptures for the anachronistic childish nonsense they've always been.

Sunday, January 24, 2016

"...shows with religion subplots"

I get why Ambrosino might want to claim a connection to Mercy Street in his "The Faithful Viewer: 3 new shows with religion subplots" but the other two don't seem to make much sense. I've seen the same trailers for You, Me and the Apocalypse and Lucifer that Ambrosino has. They both seem to be very tongue-in-cheek. I get the impression that they make fun of religion far more than they are meant to model it. I have to assume he finds the need to make some type of theological connection to for similar reasons that many theists try to claim correlations between things they like and faith. They need to constantly deceive themselves that religion has an innate meaning and connection to reality. Too bad for the theists that religion has no innately beneficial meaning or connection to anything in reality.

Monday, January 18, 2016

Not Quite 10

I have a great deal of admiration and respect for Julian Baggini. However, that is no reason to avoid pointing out a few errors in his "10 surprising facts about atheism." Eight of the ten are indisputably factually. The other two are not actually facts, at least not as he expresses them.

"3. Atheism is not necessarily dogmatic."
This one is misleading since it implies that atheism can be dogmatic. How? Atheism is the lack of a religious based belief system. Though, it is true that atheists as individuals can be dogmatic that is not the same thing. There is no direct causation. Individual males can be sexist. That neither means that the gender can be sexist nor that individuals of the female gender can't be sexist. Implications and conflations do not establish a "fact."

"4. Being an atheist means that you believe the balance of evidence shows that God does not exist. This is not the same as saying that you are 100% certain God does not exist."
I wish this were completely true and therefore a fact. It isn't. Many atheist I have met or interacting with in some way do fit this characterization but not all. There are atheists who lack a belief in god without ever considering the state of evidence for or against God's existence. An individual does not need to consider the "balance of evidence" for something in order to believe or disbelieve in it. Baginni is correct in pointing out the discrepancy between reasonable belief/disbelief and 100% certainty.

Both of these errors seem to hint at an all too common myth. Atheism is not an actual "ism." I  understand and appreciate why some atheists want to turn it into one but that does not change the fact that by definition Atheism is not a belief system but rather the lack of a specific type of belief system.

Sunday, January 10, 2016

One God?

I realize I have pointed this out before but any number of comments and incidents routinely pop-up that further demonstrate that a subset of theists really are a bunch of winey, hypocritical, self-deluded dumb-asses. The "controversy" surrounding Wheaton College's actions against one of its own professors is just another such incident. I have found the ongoing arguments and debates over Larycia Hawkins Facebook post about Jews and Christians both worshipping one God very entertaining. It's mind-boggling that the morons who have criticized her never seem to notice just how badly this exposes their feeble "beliefs." If they really believed in what they claim there is absolutely nothing controversial about the statement made by Hawkins. There can't be. They might be able to claim one group or the other is worshipping God in the wrong way*. However, if there is only one God then there are no other gods to worship. Everyone who professes belief in one God by default would have to be worshipping the same God. Silly theists.

A lot of ink has been wasted on this nonsense over the past two months but there are a handful that were at least slightly interesting. They are worth a quick glance.

December 16, 2015
The “Same” God? Volf Speaks
http://www.patheos.com/blogs/jesuscreed/2015/12/16/the-same-god-12/

December 16, 2015
At Wheaton: No God but Our God
http://www.patheos.com/blogs/roberthunt/2015/12/at-wheaton-no-god-but-our-god/

December 17, 2015
Do Jews “worship the same God,” Wheaton?
http://marksilk.religionnews.com/2015/12/17/do-jews-worship-the-same-god-wheaton/

January 7, 2016
The Real Reason Wheaton College is Terminating Larycia Hawkins: Loving the Common “Enemy”
http://www.patheos.com/blogs/formerlyfundie/the-real-reason-wheaton-college-is-terminating-larycia-hawkins-loving-the-common-enemy/


*This is actually an equally stupid claim but at least it wouldn't be an outright contradiction.