John 3:16

I loved the world so much that I let them kill my own son so that I wouldn’t have to torture them all for their ancestors eating an apple that I created. But I’ll still torture most of them. Forever. If you don’t want to get unceasingly scorched, then you need to believe in my Son (who is also me). Sincerely feel deep in your heart that I am awesome and my plan is the best. I’ll know if you’re faking.

Security Guard

Image

The news media isn’t reporting this yet, but the school in Newtown had a security guard. He saw the shooter enter the school and knew that he was carrying guns. Since the guard knew about the other shooting earlier in the day, he had a pretty good idea what was about to happen. He didn’t stop the gunman at the door, though it would have been easy for him to do so. The guard just let him walk right by and head toward the classroom. After hearing the first shots, the guard could have responded and halted this tragedy, but he didn’t. He sat and watched the feed from the security cameras. Though he was heavily armed and wearing a bulletproof vest, he didn’t lift a finger to save the lives of all those children. What should be done with someone who had an opportunity to stop this massacre, but refused to act? Should he be fired? Should he be jailed? Should he have to explain why? If you’re angry at the (fictional) guard I’ve described, then why would you praise a god who acted in the exact same way?

Nominate Me For Shorty Awards

If I’ve ever made you laugh, please consider doing a small favor for me to show your gratitude: Nominate me for the Shorty Award in the following three categories (in this order):

#nonhuman
#fakeaccount
#humor

In order for your nomination to count, you must type something after the “because” and then submit your nomination, which will post a tweet to your Twitter account. Your assistance in this matter could result in…

  • Winning the lottery
  • Extra 5 years added to your lifespan
  • Healing a loved one’s illness
  • A new season of Arrested Development
  • Becoming irresistible to the opposite sex (or whatever you’re into)

All this and more could be yours. Just click the links above and submit your nominations. The rules say that nominations are open until February 17, 2012. Nominating me in the same category multiple times doesn’t help, so you’ll curry my favor more quickly by convincing your friends to nominate me, too. You can track my progress (and read my Shorty interview) here.

Hitchens Quote

Religion comes from the period of human prehistory where nobody—not even the mighty Democritus who concluded that all matter was made from atoms—had the smallest idea what was going on. It comes from the bawling and fearful infancy of our species, and is a babyish attempt to meet our inescapable demand for knowledge (as well as for comfort, reassurance, and other infantile needs). Today the least educated of my children knows much more about the natural order than any of the founders of religion.

―God Is Not Great by Christopher Hitchens (1949-2011)

One week from today

I am returning to earth one week from today. Get your affairs in order. Spread the word.

Sit down Jesus, I have a confession to make.

Sit down Jesus, I have a confession to make. You know how I always told you you were my only begotten son? That wasn’t exactly true.

Several women in the Bible (Rebekah, Sarah, Rachael, Hannah, Elizabeth) were barren, prayed to me and then received a child. Well, they were never actually barren. Their husbands were sterile (and in a couple of cases, impotent). So I paid each of the women a little visit, and that’s why their offspring were so special.

But you’re still special to me, buddy. You’re the number one son in my heart, if not chronologically. Want to go outside and have a catch?

YouVersion.com Note for Noah’s Flood

I posted a note on YouVersion.com about the Great Flood, but if you follow that link right now it just shows the message: “This note is in review.” So, it looks like they may be censoring me. Here’s what I posted.

Remember that time I sent a flood to kill all humans except for eight of them? I killed unborn babies along with their mothers, infants, toddlers, tykes, tweens, teens, young adults, adults and the elderly. All of them painfully drowned as I sent more and more and more rain. Enough to cover Mt. Everest! I also killed all the land animals except for two of each. Most fish lived because I wasn’t quite as mad at them.

Noah wasn’t the only one with a boat, so some humans lived for a while after the waters rose, but I sent storms, termites, starvation, thirst and mutiny to destroy the rest.

When my wrath was sated I let the flood waters recede. Then I had to fiddle with the DNA of all animals to make sure they had enough genetic variation to propagate their species. Humans just went through another round of rampant incest, but that was ok because I hadn’t banned it yet.

Finally, I created the rainbow as a sign to the humans. (I had previously tweaked physics to prevent the light refraction that produces rainbows.) Now, every time faithful humans see those beautiful colors, they’re reminded that I once got angry and destroyed almost all of the human race. It’s my little way of reminding folks to stay on the straight and narrow. But there’s a friendly element, too. I promise not to destroy the (whole) world with water again. Next time I’ll use fire!

Sam Harris on Osama bin Laden

“The men who committed the atrocities of September 11 were certainly not ‘cowards,’ as they were repeatedly described in the Western media, nor were they lunatics in any ordinary sense. They were men of faith—perfect faith, as it turns out—and this, it must finally be acknowledged, is a terrible thing to be.”
— Sam Harris (The End of Faith: Religion, Terror, and the Future of Reason)

The message of the crucifix

The most important message of a crucifix was how unspeakably cruel supposedly sane human beings can be when under orders from a superior authority. —Eugene Debs Hartke

Argumentum Ad Ignorantiam

Here’s a quote I ran across this morning:

It has often and confidently been asserted, that man’s origin can never be known: Ignorance more frequently begets confidence than does knowledge: it is those who know little, not those who know much, who so positively assert that this or that problem will never be solved by science. (Charles Darwin, The Descent of Man, 4)

I’m still waiting to hear some evidence for the existence of a god that doesn’t boil down to god-of-the-gaps. So many of the arguments theists have presented to me basically run like this: You don’t know how X happened, therefore my god did it. And if he did it, he must exist. In that equation, X can equal the origin of the universe, the source of human morality, the origin of species or any number of other things that the world (or often just theists) don’t understand (or refuse to accept).

In some cases, this argument is wrong because we actually do have a pretty good candidate for explaining the phenomenon in question. The persistence of evolution denial shows that people will go to great lengths to maintain that there’s still a gap for their god to live in. As Chuck said above, the people who argue from ignorance often show more confidence than those who point to ideas from science. One of the things that has made science so successful and valuable is that it tries to proportion certainty to the evidence.

But in all cases, this argument is wrong because even when we don’t have a scientific explanation, that doesn’t mean that one particular supernatural explanation is true by default. It’s more honest to say “I don’t know” than to say “Yahweh did it.”

I’m open to hearing evidence for the existence of a god, but please don’t expect me to be impressed by an argument based on what we don’t know. The human race should use ignorance as a motivation to do science and try learn the truth, not to settle on a superstitious explanation and stall our examination of reality.

To surrender to ignorance and call it God has always been premature, and it remains premature today. (Isaac Asimov, New York Times Magazine, 14 June 1981)