A history of god

From the author of this video:

I explain how I learned from A History of God by Karen Armstrong that the evidence indicates that the Jewish concept of monotheism evolved from the syncretism of various polytheistic sources like Canaanite and Babylonian polytheism.

Continue reading “A history of god”

Cross on Evolution: Where’s the insult?

Cover of "I Drink for a Reason"
Cover of I Drink for a Reason

I’m a Cross fan. No, not the little, lowercase “T” that people wear around their necks.

I’m a David Cross fan. He’s a standup comedian and actor. I have been a fan for a while. I have one album, Shut Up You Fucking Baby, that cracks me up every time I listen to it.

I’ve been reading back through a copy of Cross’ book, “I Drink for a Reason.

I hit a section last night that I wanted to post here. Well, really, I want to post all of it. But there are laws against re-publishing books without permission. And I’m a law-abiding kind of guy.

In a chapter called, “Ask a Rabbi!” Cross talks about how he’s criticized as a “self-loathing Jew.” He talks about it for a few lines and talks about how he’s an atheist. If you know anything about Judaism, no matter if your religious or not, you’re always a Jew.

And then he says, “And if I’m not being accused of being self-loathing, then ‘condescending’ is usually hiding just around the corner.”

I can attest to being called “condescending.” I’ve even been hit with bigoted, vile, vicious and the like. And I follow the mindset that being called a condescending atheist is an incredible irony considering I don’t tell people they roast for eternity in hell if they don’t agree with my views. If you don’t believe like me, the worst you’re going to get is, “Are you nuts?” or “You believe in a talking snake over the scientific method?”

What’s more condescending? “Because you don’t believe in my friend Jesus, you’re going to roast in hell for all of eternity being tortured by God’s enemy Satan?” or “You’re a numbnuts for thinking there was a global flood, sent by a loving god to destroy all of mankind and all but the animals on a big boat built by a man named Noah, a man who purportedly died at age 950.”

Okay, Numbnuts for Noah is the most condescending-est thing ever said! You win!

After Cross talks about condescension, what he said made me think about the events of the past few days. Cross writes:

Of the very many scientific “theories” that get Christians, Jews, and Muslims frothing with anger, one of my favorites is the one that posits that humans evolved from monkeys. The reason it makes me giggle like a schoolgirl in a 1930s film is not that they think the theory is utter shit but that they are actually insulted by the idea. Insulted?! Does it make the current you less of a person? This long, slow process started hundreds of thousands of years ago. It’s not like they are implying that your grandma was a monkey fucked by a drunken atheist who broke into a zoo and had a little harmless monkey fucking fun and you were born from a filthy human/ape hybrid. I mean, just exactly where is the insult? They are the smartest animal on the planet and, like humans, one of the few that will indiscriminately kill its own kind for no practical reason (e.g., for food or procreation), so why is this so hard to fathom?

One thing that bothered me back when I was a believer, I can remember understanding how deeply condescending the idea of Christianity was. I knew that telling people things that they would consider had no proof were far more insolent than having proof. Of course, I thought I had proof. The proof was what I was taught from day one.

But I knew it. How is it that Christians aren’t able to admit what is incredibly obvious?

Maybe that’s what opened the door for me to walk out, and it’s what keeps others safely within the mindset.

One more mood lightener

The series main characters from left to right:...
The series main characters from left to right: Brian, Lois, Peter, Stewie, Chris, and Meg. Image via Wikipedia

The mood around here is all deflated. I have to get some photography and video editing done today.

But I wanted to see if you watched last night’s episode of “Family Guy”? Peter gets hooked on Red Bull, and he becomes a coked-up crazy man running around all buzzed out of his mind. For a few minutes of the episode, Peter is seen always cradling an endless supply of Red Bull in his arms.

The next day at the breakfast table, Chris asks his dad for a Red Bull to try. Peter gives him one. Chris exits from the kitchen. Afterwards, Peter runs out to his yard and says, “I have to milk the cow.”

Lois says, “Where did you get a cow?”

Peter says, “I bought it last night. I want to have fresh milk in the house.” He starts milking the cow’s teats very quickly. He pauses to sip some more Red Bull, and he milks in triple, quadruple, impossibly fast time. The friction causes the cow’s teats and utter to burst into flames. Peter says, “Boy that Red Bull is some strong stuff.” The cow freaks out and runs off. At almost the same time, Chris runs through the back of the frame, his pants are pulled down around his ass. His is crotch on fire. He’s screaming, sprinting around the yard trying to put out the flames … ablaze on his crotch.

I laughed my ass off only to look at Tina who wasn’t laughing. It was a quick joke, it didn’t surprise me that Tina didn’t get it. It literally happened so fast that it would have been easy to miss.

“I don’t get it,” she said. This made me laugh even harder, because I couldn’t talk through my laughter. Just saying the word masturbation was making me crack up when I was already cracking up.

I love “Family Guy”.

Wait! I found a clip that will likely get pulled:

Day 3: Gabrielle Giffords shooting

I was one of the assholes who rashly posted regarding the Gabrielle Giffords shooting, blaming right-wing wingnuts for encouraging violence and right-wing sheep for following through with their idiotic leadership’s encouragements.

Of course you have idiots like SE Cupp, the fake atheist who FOX employs to make them appear fair and balanced, saying things like (in this editorial),:

The rush to link the psychopath and alleged shooter Jared Lee Loughner to the Tea Party and Sarah Palin, which began mere minutes after the shootings, reflected a total unraveling of the liberal media. When the vicious and irresponsible postmortems began, the folks piling on didn’t even have the shooter’s identity, much less his motive.

And later:

But worst of all, this is the same group of people who levied some of the most vicious imaginable attacks against Palin during and after her campaign for the vice presidency. A panoply of oh-so-tolerant-and-enlightened liberal institutions – the media, the econuts, Hollywood – turned Palin into their virtual punching bag.

And finished with:

But even if it turns out that he was a fan of Palin, or he did have some kind of political motivation for shooting 20 people this weekend, let’s not pretend that the voices on the left are any more sanitized than those on the right. Instead of wasting time pointing fingers, maybe the liberal media could work on regaining the trust of the public by doing its job a little better.

Let me join the chorus of people who have said, “Where is the violence among liberal ranks? Who’s packing heat or dropping guns at conservative rallies?”

That’s right, nobody.

As more information is becoming available, more voices are entering the chorus. Consistent with his style, Phil Plait tiptoed in with a yield-before plowing forward post. Plait says,

And that is why we must be even more vigilant, even more ready to use critical thinking in the wake of tragedy. It’s OK to grieve, it’s OK to be horrified, and it’s OK to be angry. I’m angry, damn angry. But we cannot let that impair our judgment. It is times like these that we are most likely to rush in, to make snap judgments, and to make mistakes. And in a situation as serious as this, that is the thing we can least afford.

It’s good advice. But I can’t help but think that with all the violence in right-wing rhetoric, how could a person not jump to a conclusion. Regular reader Kilre helped calm me down, and provided some good links explaining that the shooter Jared Lee Loughner may have been in desperate need of mental health professionals, and he was not associated with right-wing lunacy.

And as regular reader Luis pointed out this morning, Pharyngula blogger PZ Myers weighed in with a more direct effort. He wrote:

Do not sit there cowering, trying to make excuses for teabaggers and violent morons. This is supposed to be the part where you stand up, look at the shouters on the other side, and tell them, “This is wrong, and this is the harm you bring to our country.” Instead, I see a rush to postures of submission.

Myers also pointed out a batch of poignant quotes that you should go read including:

I find it abhorrent that Sarah Palin would stoke the coals of extremism with dangerous messaging, then delete it when something bad happens. – Jason Pollock

If a Detroit Muslim put a map on the web with crosshairs on 20 pols, then 1 of them got shot, where would he be sitting right now? Just asking. – Michael Moore

A physician cannot treat an illness s/he willfully refuses to diagnose. Violent political rhetoric is not fault of “both sides.” – Tom Tomorrow

What I found even more helpful was this link from Andy Groves, the second commenter on the Pharyngula thread. It’s a compilation of quotes regarding “Eliminationism in America.” And if you didn’t think the right-wing thought leaders were a lot of violent lunatics before, you should have no problem after you’re finished with that link.

The link includes barbarous quotes from many of the right-wingers who make me sick that they are even considered intelligent resources for anyone smarter than a lava rock, including Ann Coulter, Rush Limbaugh, Glenn Beck and Bill O’Reilly.

But hey, these minds all claim to be peace-loving believers in the Mormon, Catholic or Protestant God. Their views fall perfectly in line with the jealous, vengeful, violent God of the Old Testament, and also with the incredibly-improved sword-bringing deity of the New. Everyone knows if Jesus lived today, Matthew 10:34 would read, “Do not suppose that I have come to bring peace to the earth. I did not come to bring peace, but a semi-automatic rifle.”

At least these Crusaders for Christ are consistent with their message of cognitive dissonance-inducing biblical concepts of peaceful violence.