arguing the hell out of someone

December 10, 2013

On my Facebook feed, I saw that Friendly Atheist Hemant Mehta posted about a John Shore article regarding two people discussing the possibility of hell. If you don’t know John Shore, he’s a flamboyantly liberal Christian who advocates things like LGBT rights and tells people there’s no hell.

On the surface, the John Shore post is a good discussion. It’s one of those ideas I let go of long before letting go of faith. Hell is one of the easiest ideas that has little basis in biblical rationale. It’s an idea perpetuated by extra-biblical folklore and legend, namely Dante’s inferno and Hieronymus Bosch paintings.

Believe all you want about salvation, but hell is so, let’s say, silly.

And when I read the John Shore article, I thought, this is pretty good. But then I started scratching my head. The lead-in reads:

(While sitting at Starbucks yesterday I overheard the following conversation between two men I’ll call Christian and Tom. Christian was trying to evangelize to Tom. As you’ll see, Tom ended up wiping the floor with Christian. Why? Because Tom was right: the whole concept of the Christian hell is manifest nonsense, for the reason he so well articulated. Here’s hoping that more Christians hear what the Toms of the world are trying to tell them.)

So what’s written below the lead in, I’m under the impression John Shore dictated the entire conversation onto his laptop or a legal pad.

You can read it here. Here’s a snippet to whet your whistle:

Tom: But what you’re saying simply doesn’t make any sense.

Christian: What doesn’t?

Tom: That if I don’t believe in the reality of the same God that you just told me loves me, then that God will condemn me to hell for all eternity. How could God love meand do that to me?

Christian: Because God loves you enough to let you decide your own fate.

Tom: But that doesn’t change the fact that if I choose to not believe in God, God could, if he wanted, still not send me to hell. He could commute my sentence. He could forgive me for the mistaken choice I made. God has that power, right? Because he’s all-powerful?

Christian: God can do anything.

Tom: Which means he can certainly choose not to send me to hell. And that can only mean that if I do end up in hell, it was God’s will that made that happen. Ultimately God wanted me in hell—so that’s where I ended up. God actively chose hell for me.

Christian: You chose hell for yourself by refusing to accept Jesus Christ as your lord and savior.

Mind you, I’m all for perpetuating the non-existence of hell. But I have a problem with people perpetuating the idea that John Shore dictated this conversation directly from two strangers’ discussion.

Doesn’t it read a little like one of those stories a preacher tells in a sermon? You know, one that is so obviously made up or embellished that it couldn’t possibly have happened exactly the way it happened in the retelling.

I’m under the impression that the two people were all in John Shore’s mind and it’s a conversation he had with himself based on other conversations he’s had online or read about.

It felt that way, because the Tom character’s dialogue is so long and detailed. There’s absolutely NO way that Shore could ever grab every word and nuance and put it down on his laptop.

So, while I’m down for the no-hell argument, I’m calling bullshit on John Shore that this probably didn’t happen.

But if the following was true to what someone told another person, then high fives to Tom. That guy knows what he’s talking about (emphasis mine):

Christian: Hell is just God’s judgment upon the sinner who refuses to accept his love.

Tom: You’ve got to understand that you’re using words to mean what they don’t actually mean at all. In fact, you’re using words to mean the exact opposite of what they mean. You don’t choose an eternity of torture for someone you love. And if you do choose that for someone for the reason you’re saying your God does choose that for people, that is not justice. That’s injustice. Look: After I’m dead, God either has the power to send me to heaven instead of hell, or he doesn’t. If he doesn’t have that power, then he’s too weak to matter. If he does have the power to send me to heaven instead of hell, and he wills me to go to hell, then he is without compassion–or at the very least he certainly doesn’t love me. But those are the only two choices. By your own definition, God is either not all-powerful, or not all-loving. But he can’t be all-powerful and all loving, if I—a nice guy, a loving guy, a guy who gives to charities and actually does help people in the world—can end up in hell. It just doesn’t make sense. I can’t love somebody and shoot them in the head because they refuse to answer my phone calls.


Evil spirits plaguing your afghani brother? Chain him to a wall for 40 days. Done and done.

December 6, 2013

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This morning, I read of brilliant, modern methods of evil spirit removal in Afghanistan.

Here’s a snip:

The ceilings are low and damp, and there are no fans in the summer or heating in the winter.

‘The patient is kept in chains for 40 days on a diet of bread with black pepper,’ said Malik, the shrine supervisor. ‘He is given this to make bad spirits goes away. When someone is infected by ghosts, we read verses of the Koran, and married women without children give them amulets to make the spirits depart.’

‘It has been the same for 360 years, and thousands of people have been cured.’

Read more:


FOX News sings the hits: “the Bible is fiction”

November 19, 2013

In a recent article from FOX News, they write what we all knew: “[T]he Bible is fiction.”

For more, read it … in context … :)


“Heaven is Real” and “Noah”, two new amazing documentaries coming to a theater near you.

November 15, 2013

Above is a documentary film about how a little boy had a Near Death Experience and lived to tell about it. Everything in this movie is a fact and it all happened. It was by no means conflated or embellished by his family or, namely his father, who happens to be Greg Kinnear.

Great things happen to Hollywood’s A-list.

It was great that they had cameras there to document everything there and at the below trailer for another documentary about the event that reminds us all that humanity is the result of a hateful calamity followed by the wildest incestuous relations known to the world.

In the story of Noah, the all powerful creator of the universe is so frustrated by evil of his creation, that he destroys everyone. Everyone except Noah, his wife and their kids.

It’s amazing how great Noah looks as a 500 years old. He kinda looks a little like Russell Crowe. But damn, for living in a time without plastic surgery or modern medicine, or walkers, the dude gets around quite easily.

And his children! Wow. Could you imagine having the looks of teenagers at the ages of around 475? Lucky genetics, if you ask me.

You have to keep in mind, this was the time of real miracles, so 475 year olds having children is completely possible. Then those children bred with their cousins. Then a few thousand years later, you popped out of your cousin’s mom’s uncle’s vagina scott free (I hope) of any ailments that are usually associated with in-breeding.

Lucky you.

Doesn’t it feel good that the providential arm that destroyed disbelievers  through a flood vowed/promised/committed never to do it again. Only he had his deity fingers crossed. The next time he destroys disbelievers will be with FIRE!

It’s as if Providence has a love hate relationship with knowledge and education … and rainbows, if you know what I mean.

Oh the soothing touch of a being so bent on destroying disbelief. It’s so much fun to worship!

More on the documentary, or should I write “Docu-drama” here.

Wow yourself with the trailer here.

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What kind of megachurch?

November 11, 2013

The atheist movement, in my mind, was waning if not dying.

I’m not saying that atheists are growing fewer. I’m saying that the atheist movement as heralded and led by the four horsemen seemed to be in decline, thanks to lots of infighting and disagreement on different topics.

But apparently, the atheist movement is thriving and building up atheist megachurches.

Seriously?

Foul. Foul. Foul.

I get that people want to join likeminded people and give each other verbal reach arounds, but in megachurch-style spaces?

Non-belief overtook the Internet. Isn’t that mega enough, atheists?

Read about it here.


Sam Harris and the fireplace delustion

November 11, 2013

This argument is akin to the response to people to say things like, “When I was growing up, we didn’t need helmets when we rode our bikes.” Or “When I was growing up, there wasn’t ‘organic.’”

The argument is, as I said recently, a fart in the wind,

But it’s actually more solid than some might think.

Here’s my favorite lines:

Here is what we know from a scientific point of view: There is no amount of wood smoke that is good to breathe. It is at least as bad for you as cigarette smoke, and probably much worse. (One study found it to be 30 times more potent a carcinogen.) The smoke from an ordinary wood fire contains hundreds of compounds known to be carcinogenic, mutagenic, teratogenic, and irritating to the respiratory system. Most of the particles generated by burning wood are smaller than one micron—a size believed to be most damaging to our lungs. In fact, these particles are so fine that they can evade our mucociliary defenses and travel directly into the bloodstream, posing a risk to the heart. Particles this size also resist gravitational settling, remaining airborne for weeks at a time.

Mind you, Sam Harris is a liberal, commie atheist.

So all arguments from him must be completely inaccurate and wrong.

Right?

 


Damn, Jared, say it ain’t so. Religion is irrationa-what!

November 10, 2013

 

That liberal commie history buff Jared Diamond has gone too far! He’s crossed the line this time. In this article, he wrote:

Thus, religious supernatural beliefs are irrational, but emotionally plausible and satisfying. That’s why they’re so believable, despite at the same time being rationally implausible.

The nerve of some people who claim supernatural abilities to write long books laden with historical facts and figures.

Although, in the defense of some believers, they readily admit that belief and faith is not based on man-measureable data, but feelings of the “heart”.

So there  you have it. Jared Diamond basically farted and will make no headway in the discussion.

Carry on.

 


Joel Osteen teaches how to go viral … all over your face

November 9, 2013

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tumblr_mvr2yebicU1qapkmyo1_500Via CN

“do not swallow anything satan is trying to ram down your throat. Jesus comes first.” “A true friend walks in when everyone else walks out. A true friend doesn’t rub it in when you make a mistake. They rub it out.” 

 


update on my short filmmaking … um … debacle

November 8, 2013

I’m scheduled to shoot a short film today, and I assumed I’d be hogtied right now, but our main actress bailed last night around 2 a.m.

Without her, we’re skee-roooo’d, so we are scrambling to secure another actress. One woman has agreed to do the part, but she’s a SAG actress which will require specific permission if she does something unpaid.

I’m sitting on my hands waiting to hear back. It’s fun working with a crew. There’s a producer and a director who are picking up what I’d have to do if I were on it alone.

So here I wait. I’ll write a few notes down that have been going through my noggin.

I discovered I have a superpower. Are you jealous? I was skeptical, but I’m sure I have one. When I go running, I almost get hit by a car every other outing. That must mean I’m invisible. Right? I mean, how else do you miss a 170 lb man with big black hair moving at approximately 8 or 9 miles per hour?

For about a year, Tina has learned how to color her own hair using professional products. But after doing it herself for that long, she desperately needed to have a professional job done. So I encouraged her to find someone. She found this one guy in our neighborhood, but his rates were through the roof. Then she reached out to a person we’ve used for hair on a photoshoot, and she agreed to do it fairly reasonably and she would do it at our home.

On Wednesday, she came by and they worked in the kitchen for what seemed like days, chatting it up about all kinds of topics. We asked if she would cut my hair, and she did. It was a little pricy, but it was worth it. She did an amazing job. I’ll have to post pictures at some point.

Last weekend, we re-watched Austin Powers. It has to be one of the funniest movies of all time. So many great lines. Probably my all-time favorite scene is when Dr. Evil and Scott go to therapy. When Dr. Evil is asked to give his story, he stands and says:

The details of my life are quite inconsequential… very well, where do I begin? My father was a relentlessly self-improving boulangerie owner from Belgium with low grade narcolepsy and a penchant for buggery. My mother was a fifteen year old French prostitute named Chloe with webbed feet. My father would womanize, he would drink. He would make outrageous claims like he invented the question mark. Sometimes he would accuse chestnuts of being lazy. The sort of general malaise that only the genius possess and the insane lament. My childhood was typical. Summers in Rangoon, luge lessons. In the spring we’d make meat helmets. When I was insolent I was placed in a burlap bag and beaten with reeds- pretty standard really. At the age of twelve I received my first scribe. At the age of fourteen a Zoroastrian named Vilma ritualistically shaved my testicles. There really is nothing like a shorn scrotum… it’s breathtaking- I highly suggest you try it.

We reference the movie a lot, because almost every time we park in our parking spot for our condo, we have to jimmy our car in, forward and reversing several times in almost complete minutiae to work our way in.

Inevitably, I’ll say, “Lemme just Austin Powers our way in here.”

For reference:

I’ve been running a one-sided conversation about religion lately in my mind when I can’t sleep at night. It’s essentially trying to cul down the possibility of telling someone why I don’t believe in the shortest way possible. I eventually fall back asleep before I nail down the “perfect” delivery.

Essentially, the speech goes something like:

Given the magnanimity of the universe, I understand why anyone would believe that a larger-than-thou, awesome being created everything. But to think that that being created two people and put them in paradise, ostensibly without flaw, and within vessels that were immune from disease, death and harm. Then once they disobeyed, that disobedience was so awful, so incredibly evil, that the rest of humanity, for all time, must suffer things like cancers, typhoons, hurricanes, starvation, diseases, handicaps, and ultimately death.

Why don’t people revolt when they learn that their cancer is the result of the crime of disobedience?

“Sorry, Mr. & Mrs. Smith, your daughter has down syndrome and deformities. If it weren’t for your great great great great to the tenth power grandparents and their idiot decision to eat from that one tree, your daughter would be perfectly healthy. Blame Adam & Eve for the torment your daughter will experience.”

Then after four thousand years (or whatever time period between Adam & Eve to Jesus), people were separated from that being without a bridge. That being’s answer is NOT to fix the issues of cancer, starvation, weather destruction, etc., it’s to cure “death.” And curing “death” means you still have to cross over. You still have to “die.” It’s just that you live forever AFTER dying.

Jesus would actually be an effective savior should he have actually done more than provide a cure for the inevitable fate that you still have to experience to get to “meet” the bastard.

Once you take the concept of such incredible design and masterful creativity, and you place that being in the context of the creative “mind” behind the bible, it renders that mysterious awesomeness a flaccid, powerless fart.

Those are just some meandering thoughts about the process. There are always little nuances to the topic. I usually fall back asleep from boredom after the first line or two. But sometimes the process goes further.

I must go check on my filmmaking debacle. Glad I had a chance to bore you with this update.

Thanks for reading and thanks for any response you might have. :)


Yawn. Jesus and Lucifer shared a name

November 6, 2013

Back in the heyday of my faith, I remember coming across references to Satan as Morning Star and Jesus as Morning Star.

It was a sort of ah-ha moment of, “Clearly there’s something wrong with the bible.” When I asked other believers about it, I remember the response was, “No, no, you’re reading that out of context.

It was more of a sweep my inquiry under the rug thing. Clearly my question had validity.

Later when I was studying biblical translations, the topic came up again and I was able to see how biblical translations are confused and confusing. When you lay it out all, many believers will show you the bible’s cohesion. They can show you, I can still show you, how Genesis makes sense in the context of Jesus and revelation, even.

So when I read this blog post about Jesus and Lucifer sharing a name, I yawned a little. But then I thought, well, maybe you’d like to read it.

Tah-dah, here’s your chance to read about it.


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