Could atheists be guilty 

Of caricaturing the worst of religion’s malpractices or its worst practioneers, such as the Phelps of this world or the self appointed Pat who has a direct channel to god, in their attempts to argue, as Hitchens did, that religion poisons everything? 

When atheists reference data showing the areas with most religiosity are also most dysfunctional, could it be that we don’t look at the entire data? Data that, according to D Myers, show that those most devoted live longer, smoke less, divorce less, donate more- to both religious and secular charities-, are much happier and much more?

Or when we concentrate on the god of the OT, we overlook the sermon on the Mount and all other peace messages that on the surface demonstrate a benevolent and loving god?

And finally, are experiments on intercessory prayer begun with the foreknowledge they will fail? Is the Christian justified in the case of negative or no confirmatory results to say god is not to be tested? Is it a valid response? 

For Sunday reflection.

Can the christians stand up

Could only Christian tell us what Jesus meant with these words,

Matt. vi. 25-34.—25. Therefore I say unto you, Take no thought for your life, what ye shall eat, or what ye shall drink; nor yet for your body, what ye shall put on. Is not the life more than meat, and the body than raiment?

26. Behold the fowls of the air: for they sow not, neither do they reap, nor gather into barns; yet your heavenly Father feedeth them. Are ye not much better than they?

27. Which of you by taking thought can add one cubit unto his stature?

28. And why take ye thought for raiment? Consider the lilies of the field, how they grow; they toil not, neither do they spin:

29. And yet I say unto you, That even Solomon in all his glory was not arrayed like one of these.

Were Christians expected to follow them or was this idle talk? The question I am trying to ask is has there been a Christian in our midst?

To all of us,

Is brotherhood of man a pipe dream. One of those illusions. Can we love one another without loving god? The Christian god no less?

Tolstoi argues thus

The Christian doctrine, and the doctrine of the Positivists, and of all advocates of the universal brotherhood of man, founded on the utility of such a brotherhood, have nothing in common, and especially do they differ in that the doctrine of Christianity has a solid and a clearly defined foundation in the human soul, whereas love of humanity is but a theoretical conclusion reached through analogy.

He writes

But the man who loves humanity, what is it that he loves? There is a State, there is a people, there is the abstract conception of man. But humanity as a concrete conception is impossible.

And concludes

The Christian doctrine teaches to man that the essence of his soul is love; that his well-being may be traced, not to the fact that he loves this object or that one, but to the fact that he loves the principle of all things—God, whom he recognizes in himself through love, and will by the love of God love all men and all things.

A few questions from the ongoing

  1. Assuming for the sake of argument Jesus was, how do we explain the contradiction between the lives of Christians and his teaching?
  2. Is it possible to love all humanity without loving god, the Christian god?
  3. Is the love of all humanity desirable and why?

Church and heresy

In his book The Kingdom of God is within you, Count Leo Tolstoi, writes about heresy thus

A heresy is the opinion of men who do not acknowledge the truth of the Church to be indisputable.

This is interpreted to mean that anyone who the church wants to rid themselves of any one, or ruin his reputation, to excite suspicion in regard to the doctrine he held, condemning such a person as guilty of heresy was the easiest and convenient way.

How do you make a Christian of a child? Tolstoi writes

[..] When a child is born, we are taught that a prayer must be read over the mother and child, in order to purify them, for without that prayer the mother remains unclean. For that purpose, and facing the ikons of the saints, whom the common people simply call gods, the priest takes the infant in his arms, reads the exhortation, and by that means he is supposed to cleanse the mother. Then the parents are instructed, nay, even ordered, under penalty of punishment in the event of non-compliance, to christen the child—that is, to let the priest immerse it three times in the water, while words unintelligible to all present are read, and still less intelligible ceremonies are performed, such as the application of oil to different parts of the body, the cutting of the hair, the blowing and spitting of the sponsors at the imaginary devil. All this is necessary to cleanse the child, and make a Christian of him.

And remember once you make a Christian of him/ her, you must teach them to pray

which means that s/he is to stand in front of boards upon which the faces of Christ, the Virgin, and the saints are painted, bow his head and body, while with his right hand, his fingers being folded in a peculiar manner, he touches his forehead, his shoulders, and his stomach, and utters certain Slavonic words, the commonest of which, those which all children learn, are the following: “Mother of God, … Virgin, rejoice,” etc

When they are ready for sex sanctified sex

men are told that if a man and woman desire to have their sexual relation sanctified they must come to church, put crowns of metal upon their heads, swallow some wine, walk three times round a table, accompanied by the sound of singing, and this will make their sexual relation holy and entirely different from any others.

And finally

Before death a man must without fail receive a spoonful of bread and wine; and if there be time to be anointed with oil, that is still better, for it insures his welfare in the future life. After his death his relatives are told that, in order to save his soul, it is well to place in his hand a printed prayer; it is also a good thing to read a certain book over the dead, and for his name to be mentioned in church at stated times.

And that my friends, is all your Christian duty requires of you, from cradle to the grave, so help you god.

Rational agnostic

I think my friends Bob and Liberty will agree that

All rational agnostics are atheist by default.

I guess they live their lives as if there are no gods and their position in relation to things supernatural is that we can’t know.

And I don’t think they are in the same boat with this rational agnostic who claims to have known god at some point.

Pascal’s Wager is not a great argument.

While in Russia 

Don’t be a Jehova Witness or Putting may have you sent to the coolers.

While I believe religious belief should be an artefact of our past, I am convinced each person should believe as they do as long as they are not disturbing the peace or harming anyone. If a fellow believes the bible is true, the whole truth and only truth, we’ll and good as long as it remains in the private sphere.

In the public square, it would be ridiculous to believe in talking asses. Not that we don’t have several assholes in our midst 🙂

Directives such as this by the Russian government or the blasphemy laws in Pakistan have no place in a secularizing world. Freedom of conscience and belief should be guaranteed to all by states and I think there is a UN declaration somewhere in the books saying such a thing.