Friday, July 22, 2011

South Carolina couple finds Jesus on a Walmart receipt

After coming home from church, a couple in South Carolina found that their Wal-mart receipt had been tampered with by none other than the Lord himself."We just feel like it's a blessing that God showed it to us and opened our eyes. And we just feel like we should share the blessing God gave to us to everybody else," the couple reported. So it let it be know, Jesus approves of Wal-mart's everyday low prices! Now go forth and spend your earthly money!

....seriously though, it looks more like Osama Bin Ladin than Jesus...and who knows what Jesus really looked like?

Tuesday, July 12, 2011

I've Been Challenged

Last night, I received a text from my best friend Katie*. (She was raised Catholic but is hanging onto her faith in the form of non-denominational mega churches.) Well, her fiance's brother (Jim) is a youth pastor and has apparently gotten wind that I am atheist. *cue creepy music* In the text, Katie tells me that Jim has a book for me and her to read and would "like to have a discussion" about it. The book? I don't Have Enough Faith To Be an Atheist.

First of all, I'm wondering about his motive. If he would like to discuss the book with someone of a different opinion, then I'm down. If he wants to pray over my head and hope to convert me to Christianity, then he is sadly fooled. I think the conversation he'd like to have with me can be done without reading that silly book.

Secondly, even the title of the book makes me think the author is full of shit and this book isn't meant for atheists but for people who are already slaves to their faith. I did a little bit of research on the book yesterday and as expected, its the same ole Christian nonsense. (Has anyone read it?)

As of now, I'm waiting to here back on a motive. I don't think he knows what he's getting himself into. I'm not the smartest person but I'm far from undereducated. Maybe I should warn him that I bring notes and credited sources! Lol

I'm also thinking of just telling him that we can have a friendly debate without the use of the above book. However, Id love to allow him to bring his own Bible and Ill bring mine...I've got a few questions for him LOL

*names have been changed for privacy 

**Update** Well ladies and gents, I have some pretty interesting news. The y.pastor hasn't even read the book yet. He was hoping that we would all read it at the same time & then discuss it. (It really silly to recommend a "good book" without actually reading it first-though, this is what they do with their Bible every day) He has also stated that his goal is not to convert me but to have an open discussion and that he does have questions for me (I'm assuming "how do you believe life got here" sort of stuff) If he is sincere about not wanting to convert me, this should be an interesting dialogue.

I've recommended that if he really wants to discuss the book, we should break it down into sections and have multiple discussions like a book club of sorts. This would make it easier to discuss the topics layed out in the book:absolute vs. Relative truth, morality, evolution vs. Id, & the new testatment (the authors seem to steer away from talking of the ot but like to cherrypick their verses from it)

I'm waiting to hear back & see if everyone wants to do it that way...this book is like 400 freaking pages and I don't want to have to speed read lol :)

Wednesday, July 6, 2011

Picking things out of the Bible

I was told that if you read the word of Yahweh in the Bible, he will speak to you and you will see him as Lord and Jesus as your savior. I have taken it upon myself to read some of the Bible and accept this challenge. Yet, I can’t seem to get out of Genesis. Skipping the whole creation story, [There is no possible way that that story ever took place. It should only be taken metaphorical.] I began to look at the story of Noah. This is widely regarded in the Christian community as being a literally true story. However, the fairy tale stops as Noah is unloading the animals. No children’s book would even dare to include the real ending of Noah.

Saturday, July 2, 2011

My New Tattoo

Over the past few months, I've had that urge to get another tattoo. After some searching, I decided that I wanted something featuring Darwin's evolutionary tree. I gave my artist a picture of Darwin's 'tree' and told him to get creative. I'm so ecstatic about how it turned out and it's my new favorite piece! I absolutely love it! :)

And now..for your viewing pleasure...
(It's on my wrist, btw)

Ink By Moto @ Amber Island Tattoo in Easley, S.C. 

Saturday, June 25, 2011

God is not Great: How Religion poisons everything

If you haven't bought this book, buy it. It is absolutely amazing! Not only should atheists read it but religious people as well. I lent it to my Christian aunt & uncle. I don't think they'll ever get to reading it.. As soon as I get it back in my hands, I intend on writing a review!

My Abortion Rant

Da Vinci 
A fetus is a viable human life when it can live outside the womb. With the help of medical science, infants can be birthed at earlier ages and survive to be normal adults. Late-term abortions should only be performed during medical emergencies; i.e baby critically injured due to natural or physical causes. If a fetus who can survive outside the womb with medical care is aborted, the mother and practitioner should both be charged with a crime. In the case where a soon-to-be mother has made the decision to abort her late-term pregnancy, the baby should be delivered early so that it may finish its development in an incubator. The mother will sign over all rights to the child and adoptive parents should be found.

If the fetus has not reached this stage, women should have full rights to opt for an abortion. This is a conscience decision by the women about her own body. There are many factors that go into making such a decision and the option should be left open for safe and humane removal and disposal.

Abortions should also be affordable but not funded by the government. Doctor's offices that perform abortions should be free of picketers and religious-pamphlet givers. It should be a private experience just like any other doctor's appointment.

...I dream of the day when science can remove a zygote and grow a neonate.

Tuesday, June 21, 2011

Church Leaders Behaving Badly

What is it with religious leaders and sexual misbehavior? It's not just in the Catholic church...everyday more and more of these stories are coming out.

Earlier this year, Stephen Wakefield, 25, was arrested for sexual solicitation a teenage girl. Wakefield worked at both the YMCA and as youth leader at Truth-Missionary Baptist church in Greenville, SC. He met the victim at the church. He was released on bail pending trail.

Only one month later, one fucking  month, he was arrested again for sex crimes. This time with a different girl through Facebook and texting. According to the news report, he sent pictures of his penis and taught the girl how to masturbate. He was released on bail with a court date pending.

Aren't these people supposed to be held to a higher standard? I mean, this guy was in charge of children. It's completely possible that there are more victims. What is the church doing about this problem? As far as I see it, they aren't doing shit about it. They ignore it and most will say he wasn't a "true" Christian. It makes them feel better inside while children are being touched by the people supposedly touched by god.

Thursday, April 28, 2011

FFRF Out Campaign

The FFRF has called for atheists, agnostics, rationalists, brights and free thinkers of all sorts to come out of the closet!

"The Freedom From Religion Foundation is launching an online invitation to nonbelievers everywhere to “come out of the closet, to declare and share your nonbelief,” by participating in FFRF’s innovative online “virtual billboard” campaign.
FFRF, the largest atheist/agnostic association in the United States, debuted an “Out of the Closet” personalized public relations campaign last fall featuring real nonbelievers, their views and their faces on bus signs and billboards. The “Out of the Closet” campaign has visited Madison, Wis., is up now in the Raleigh-Durham Triangle area of North Carolina, and will launch in four new cities soon.
“Although we can’t put everyone on a real billboard, every nonbeliever can participate in this unique ‘cyberboard’ campaign,” explains Dan Barker, a former minister and author of Godless. He and Annie Laurie Gaylor direct the 16,500-member Madison, Wis.-based association, which also serves as a state/church watchdog.

Monday, April 25, 2011


I saw a quote earlier from Ezekiel 9 and decided to read a little bit about the passage. It seems Ezekial has visions from Yahweh. During Ezekiel 8, a figure of a man appears out of the hand of god. The figure was "like fire" from the waist down and appeared "as bright as glowing metal." The figure grabs Ezekiel by his hair and takes him to a place between heaven and hell where he sees the visions of god. Apparently, god is just jealous of all the other gods the people of Jerusalem are worshiping. The 'angel' takes Ezekiel to a whole in the wall where Ezekiel is to dig. A doorway shortly appears. When he looks through, he sees pictures on the wall of "crawling things and unclean animals and all the idols of Israel." [Ezekiel 8:10] 

Why did Yahweh create unclean animals? 
What is the purpose of creating life 
& demanding that human keep away?

Inside the room, 70 elders of Israel stood there burning incense, another one of god's pet peeves. Then, Ezekiel is given another vision where a lady is mourning the god Tammuz*. The 'angel' says, "Do you see this, son of man? You will see things that are even more detestable than this."

*According to wiki, Tammuz is the Sumerian god of food and vegetation. This is also the only place where Tammuz is mentioned in the Bible. 

Did the writers of the Bible see 
the worshiping of Tammuz as a problem 
in their local town?
Why would an all-powerful, the one & only God 
become so jealous of a non-existent one?
How did Yahweh's creation come to worship 
other gods before him?

Next, Ezekiel is shown a vision of 25 men praying with their backs to god's temple and their toward the East. Because they are "bowing down to the sun," god refuses to listen to them and instead says that he "will deal with them in anger." [Ezekiel 8:18] The 'angel' then calls forward 6 men, each carrying a weapon. Another man followed carrying a writing kit. God commands the writing man to go through "the city of Jerusalem and put a mark on the foreheads of those who grieve and lament over all the detestable things that are done in [the city]." [Ezekiel 9:4] Then, god send the 6 men through Jerusalem to kill everyone without a mark. ...and now a word from god....

Follow him [the writer] through the city and kill, without showing pity or compassion. Slaughter the old men, the young men and women, the mothers and children, but do not touch anyone who has the mark.
Ezekiel cries out to the Lord and asks if he is "going to destroy the entire remnant of Israel in this outpouring of your wrath on Jerusalem?"

Of course he is! They have forsaken him and must now die without pity.

Following God's vicarious mass murder, Ezekiel has some imaginative visions of the cherubim and their lovely wings and what not flying back to the heavens.

Did this really happen? No, of course not. . . but could Ezekiel [or someone else] have had these visions? It is possible but now, we just send them to the mental institute.

Sunday, April 24, 2011

I found an interesting sermon...

"One of the arguments that the new breed of atheists 
often proclaim is that 
Religion is the cause of the bad things that people do."
 -Steven M. Conger

...while I was Googling today. Steven M. Conger, a Christian, expresses his view about the evils of religion. I'm assume he is presenting his case to the congregation of Ridge United Methodist Church. He begins by presenting a CNN study that says "America is a less Christian nation than it was 20 years ago" and that only 75% of Americans call themselves Christian, down from 86% in 1990. According to Mr. Conger, this loss of faith has stemmed from the political take-over by evangelical Christians and the child molestation cases of the "Catholic" church.
"The survey also found that "born-again" or "evangelical" Christianity is on the rise, while the percentage who belong to "mainline" congregations has fallen.The rise in evangelical Christianity is contributing to the rejection of religion altogether by some Americans, said Mark Silk of Trinity College. 'In the 1990s, it really sunk in on the American public generally that there was a long-lasting 'religious right' connected to a political party,and that turned a lot of people the other way," he said of the link between the Republican Party and groups such as the Moral Majority and Focus on the Family.'"

 He even admits to knowing that "many [people] who self identified as religious do not practice their faith." So, who really knows what the true numbers are. A few conversations between a person  of weaker "faith" and an educated atheist will probably have the person admitting to their religious agnosticism. By this I mean, that the person will admit to not really believing in to story of Noah's Ark or not really believing that Jesus rose from the dead. I've met self-described Christians who do not believe a hell, do not believe Jesus rose from the dead, agree that Bible is a bunch of pieced together bullshit, know that evolution is how it happened and so on and so on. . . I actually had a friend tell me that god was created during the big bang. Then, god made creatures on other sorts of planets and that he 'seeded'  Earth  and let evolution takes its course. He also believes that the Bible has been tampered with and mistranslated so much that it's identifiable from the original.  Yet, he identifies himself as a Christian. [He says it was the way he was raised. I tell him that he has made up his own god.]

...back to the Mr. Conger...

Dawkins and Harris receive a brief mention as "evangelical" atheists who say "the world would be a better place without religion." Evangelical? Really?

Evangelicalism is a Protestant Christian movement which began in Great Britain in the 1730s. Its key commitments are:
  • The need for personal conversion (or being "born again")
  • Actively expressing and sharing the gospel
  • An emphasis on teachings that proclaim the saving death of the Son of God, Jesus Christ

I don't see how you could describe any atheist as evangelical. Most of us do not care if you practice your religion as long as you keep it out of everyone's public schools, government, and even our own homes. Yeah, I'm talking about you, Jehovah's Witnesses. Some atheists actively express their feelings but that's something you could say of any rights activists, including those who support gay marriage. I think points 3 & 4 are pointless to argue. 

Mr. Conger goes on to speak about some of the evil acts pursued in the name of religion. Although I think he leaves out some of the more grotesque moments in religious history, he does mention the oppression of Islamic women, American slavery, American women's right to vote, and American women being speakers of the church. He takes into account the pedophile priests, money scandals, and "gullible Christians" who have been taken advantage of. All of this while knowing that "people outside the church see that and lump [Christians] all together and think [they] are crazy!"

"What is the most common thing that people who are not religious say about Christians?
I hear it over and over again: CHRISTIANS ARE A BUNCH OF HYPOCRITES
And you know what?  They are right!
Of course we are ->that is why we come to church, to try to teach us and learn about the way of Jesus and how we need to do a better job in following."

He seems to understand that his religion is falling apart from the inside out...but yet, he rationalizes the situation by asking if we should "just get rid of religion because sometimes people miss use it?" He then takes a look at all the good things religion has done: started universities, helped with Katrina, Tsunami, Haiti, collected food and fed people, collected toys for the Salvation Army, and taken mission trips.

He fails to mention that atheists do all of these good things too and have never formed institutions that steal money, rape children, and wage wars.

He also says that Christians do all of these things because they want to help people. Yet moments before, he agrees that some Christians do good so they won't go to hell and will get a "ticket punched to heaven." He goes on with some silly Bono quote about god helping the rich and famous and still able to be a nurturing being to an HIV infected mother and child.

He ends his sermon by asking anyone, even those who don't believe, to come to their church and see all the 'good' they are doing. He is basically asking you to ignore all of the bad things behind church and only look at the good.

"Religion does so much good. Let's not throw out the baby with the bath water. Sure we have done, and will no doubt continue to do some bad things, but with the help of the way of Jesus we are trying to change."

 Then, here comes the guilt-trip finale. How would you feel if you had a tough time following in Jesus' footsteps because of circumstances in your life? What if someone wanted to kill your WHOLE family because you loved Jesus? Well, you don't have to because you live in a free country. Show your thankful by taking this challenge: 10 hours of working with poor or 1 week on a mission trip or you can pay for someone to do it for you!!

It seems to me that this wouldn't be doing good because you want to help people. It feels as if it is a punishment for being born into a decent family. Do this because god blessed you with a good home and other people have to suffer worse than you....?

In the end, Steven Cronger did nothing to help anyone on the fence about religion. I think he may have even encouraged some people to look outside the church. Though, I do sincerely hope that he learns something meaningful from his conversations with atheists.

Link to PDF

Friday, April 15, 2011

Letting my kid watch Veggie Tales

About a year ago, my daughter who was two at the time found Veggie Tales. Fruits and vegetables that tell stories from the Bible using modern twists, including Indiana Jones and The Princess and the Pea. It does mention god and Jesus throughout the entire show. One episode later and my daughter was hooked. She completely fell in love the cucumber. She calls him "Pickle".

A few months ago, Veggie Tales Live! came to my grandmother's "non-denominational" Christian church. She invited us to go and I said that would be awesome. I love any chance to hang out with my grandmother. This particular church is a mega-church. So, we walked into the auditorium's lobby. Immediately, Ivy runs toward the Veggie Tale booth with all of their stuffed animals and toys. She picks out a flashlight toy and a stuffed pickle. We sat down near the front and waited for the show. Most of the other little kids were sitting quietly as if this was a real church service. As the lights dim, men dressed as giant vegetables stumble onto the stage singing their opening song..

If you like to talk to tomatoes,
If a squash can make you smile,
If you like to waltz with potatoes,
Up and down the produce aisle...
Have we got a show for you!

Immediately, all of the kids just gasp in awe. My daughters eyes lit up and she couldn't believe she was seeing the real Pickle!  Before long, she was jumping in the middle of the isles and dancing her little heart out. Most of the other children were standing by their parents, not sure if they were allowed to move from their spot. Soon, they couldn't stand it and joined my daughter in the isles. They were all having a blast and it was nice to see my daughter getting the party started! In the end, it was a great show and a great way for my daughter to spend precious time with my grandmother.

Why, you may ask, would I let my kid watch something that I believe is utterly false? If asked, Ivy knows Pickle is just a cartoon. She'll also say the same of Elmo, the Iron Giant, and Woody from Toy Story. To be honest, I don't think she even gets the concept of god that is mentioned along the storyline. She sees veggies dancing around, sing songs, and being polite to everyone. I will say that it does teach good values and some of their songs are quite catchy. It leaves out all the gory stuff about hell but hey, it is a kid's show after all.

My daughter also watches science documentaries, The Blue Planet, Planet Earth ect ect... She loves them too. She's fascinated by monkeys and tigers. When asked, she knows these animals real. We can visit a zoo and see, and sometimes even interact, with the animals. She knows that these do exist in reality.

I don't want to keep my child in the dark about the Christian religion. The majority of my family would label themselves as Christians and she will begin to hear about the many religions as she gets older. So, what's the best way to introduce a three year old to religion? In it's basic form, a fairytale.

Tuesday, April 12, 2011

Raising Children

Raising a free-thinking child can be difficult in the southern United State. Fundamentalist Christians are everywhere, with their signs of hell and hatred. Most will shun you and your children once it is revealed you are not of the Christian faith. 

A few thoughts have been racing through my mind as I try to rehearse the conversations between my fundie family & I. I know there will be questions like, "How can you raise a child with morals? Morals come from God." Most of us know that this is not the case. Instead, our basic morality comes from within us. It is an innate survival skill passed along many generations. [I will assert here that pre-marital sex is not a moral dilemma but religious dogma.] 

The Golden Rule, "Treat others as you wish to treated." 

After rehearsing the conversations in my head, I decided to write it down. A mission statement, if you will, for my daughter.

"We are raising our daughter in a free thinking household. We are teaching her to think critically, not judgmentally. When it comes to doing the right or wrong thing, we look to our conscience and to the good of humanity. When it comes to history, we will teach her about how our forefathers passed on tales of mythical beings that lived in the stars and controlled the happenings of Earth.  We will show her the stories of different cultures and religions, including Zeus, Ra, Thor, Yahweh, and Allah. We will tell her that there are still people who worship these deities and they do so in a variety of ways. When we teach her about the Universe, we will look to science. When she is sick, we will turn to the science of medicine. We will not limit her knowledge because it goes against our own belief systems."

It is still a work in progress but hopefully it will help people see how a free-thinking household can benefit their child. Teaching open-mindedness can end the bigotry of the world. Teaching one religion, and only one, will only teach children to feel hatred [and in some cases, sorrow] toward other people. It is a closed minded way to view the world and I refuse to allow my daughter to take part in it.

Sunday, March 27, 2011

What does it mean to be human?

It can mean many different things to many different people, I suppose. 

Wikipedia defines the human as:

         Humans, known taxonomically as Homo sapiens[3][4] (Latin for "wise man" or "knowing man"),[5] are the only living species in the Homo genus of bipedal primates in Hominidae, the great ape family. Anatomically modern humans originated in Africa about 200,000 years ago, reaching fullbehavioral modernity around 50,000 years ago.[6]
Humans have a highly developed brain, capable of abstract reasoning, language, introspection, and problem solving. This mental capability, combined with an erect body carriage that frees the hands for manipulating objects, has allowed humans to make far greater use of tools than any other living species on Earth. Other higher-level thought processes of humans, such as self-awareness, rationality, and sapience,[7][8][9] are considered to be defining features of what constitutes a "person".[10][11]
Like most higher primates, humans are social animals. However, humans are uniquely adept at utilizing systems of communication for self-expression, the exchange of ideas, and organization. Humans create complex social structures composed of many cooperating and competing groups, from families to nations. Social interactions between humans have established an extremely wide variety of values, social norms, and rituals, which together form the basis of human society. With individuals widespread in every continent except Antarctica, humans are acosmopolitan species. In January 2011, the human population was estimated to be about 6.89 billion.[12]
Humans are noted for their desire to understand and influence their environment, seeking to explain and manipulate phenomena through science,philosophy, mythology, and religion. This natural curiosity has led to the development of advanced tools and skills, which are passed downculturally; humans are the only species known to build fires, cook their food, clothe themselves, and use numerous other technologies. The study of humans is the scientific discipline of anthropology.”

But what does it really mean to be human? Aside from wearing clothes and cooking dinner, what else sets us apart from the rest of nature? Is it that we feel love and hatred? Is it because we can feel happiness and express laughter? Or maybe it is because we can commit evil acts like murder, stealing, and or even perversions like bestiality. Yes, I said it, bestiality. Is it because we can feel so much emotion at the sight of a new born baby that sends most women [and some men] into tears?  Or maybe it’s because we mourn our dead.

I think we can all agree that these feeling and emotions can be seen in very public displays throughout history. [Bestiality may not fit in with that particular sentence, but hey, we all know it happens.] However, the question should be asked, “Are these traits seen in other animals?” Can animals show love, affection, laughter, joy, and hatred? Can they commit heroic acts or murder, crime and even perversion?
I think so.

There are several different species on Earth that practice monogamous relationships. From gibbons monkeys to French angelfish, they stick together until death do them part. Albatrosses fly great distances from their homes. Each year, they return to the same perch and to the same partner. If that is not enough proof of love in the animal kingdom, there's a great slide show with more animals that remain monogamous throughout their entire life here.

Feuds are caused by hatred. [You may have some neighbors that are feuding because one hates the other's choice in lawn decor.] People are expelled from their tribe or social groups because of choices that they've made. We can also witness this in the animal kingdom. Different types of species, including fish and mammals, can be forced away by their group. If you're a fan of Meerkat Manor, you no doubtable witnessed as a pregnant meerkat was exiled from her family. It happens and it is a part of nature.

What about happiness and laughter? You've heard the hyena but have ever heard a rat laugh? There are so many videos on YouTube showing animals having fun and just enjoying life. 

What about murder and crime? Most animals, if not all, that travel in groups have some sort of authority figure. It could be the leader of the lion pack or the elder in an elephant group. What happens if that leadership is challenged? In some cases, fights are initiated as if to show who is stronger. This can sometimes lead to death. From a human persecutive, the death of a leader is deemed a murder or an assassination

The female praying mantis will sometimes eat her male companion both before and during their mating process. 

Now, wouldn't that be a headline?
"Women eats her husband while they're having intercourse!"

Now if the praying mantis wasn't enough perversion for you, let's move onto bestiality, the act of a human fornicating with another species. [I think that's the first time I've ever used "fornicating" in a serious manner.] We all know that a donkey plus a horse equals a mule but are there any extreme cases?

Heather Harris of the California Department of Fish and Game published an article* in the Aquatic Mammals journal regarding nineteen documented cases of physical  and sexual abuse between otters and seals.
The article paints a vivid picture in the mind:
Not so cute anymore, eh?
"A weaned harbor seal pup was resting onshore when an untagged male sea otter approached it, grasped it with its teeth and forepaws, bit it on the nose, and flipped it over. The harbor seal moved toward the water with the sea otter following closely. Once in the water, the sea otter gripped the harbor seal’s head with its forepaws and repeatedly bit it on the nose, causing a deep laceration. The sea otter and pup rolled violently in the water for approximately 15 min, while the pup struggled to free itself from the sea otter’s grasp. Finally, the sea otter positioned itself dorsal to the pup’s smaller body while grasping it by the head and holding it underwater in a position typical of mating sea otters. As the sea otter thrust his pelvis, his penis was extruded and intromission was observed. At 105 min into the encounter, the sea otter released the pup, now dead, and began grooming."

This is clearly a form of sexual abuse between species other than humans. 

What about homosexuality, you ask? Homosexual behavior has been observed in over 1500 different species, including gut worms. It too is a natural behavior.

Humans have evolved into something greater. We've built cars, tall buildings, trains, airplanes, and so much more. We've created and cured diseases. We developed nuclear weapons and harnessed nuclear energy. We have smart phones, iPods, and the famous Internet. 

Yet when you look at the core of human behavior, we are exactly like all other animals. We all have the capabilities of feeling the same emotions and repeating the same acts. 

Maybe we're not so different after all.

How I came to be an Atheist [short version]

I grew up in the South, where churches can be found on every corner. Although I did not attend church regularly with my parents, I did attend with my aunts, uncles, and grandparents. I listened to the stories of the Bible and I thought I understood them. For the most part, I believed the Bible to be literally true, with some metaphors thrown in every now and then.

When I was about 12 years old, a friend from school invited me to a Christian youth convention. There was rock music, friendly conversations, and a warm inviting feeling. You know, the one they say comes from Jesus. I sang and danced around in isles with all the other young adults. The energies surrounding me felt great. I felt like I had finally been spoken to by GOD. [Though, I can’t tell you what he sounds like…] God told me that I needed to go up to the front of the room and become “saved,” along with the 15 or so already up there. The youth pastor said a prayer over my head and TADA, I was saved. I was forgiven of all my childish sins.

After that, I started to attend a youth group at my family’s church. I was surrounded by other teenagers who shared my same views and rejected all others. I began attending every church event I could. I went to the prayer meetings before school. I volunteered to help those in need, all in the name of the Christian god. I went to “See you At the Pole” at my school. I stood and prayed for all the lost souls in my high school. I went to the Christian concerts that came to my town. I did all these things with my hands raise in the air with praises for the Lord.

By the age of 15, my faith had become strong; so strong, that I decided that I wanted to be one of those people who could spit Bible verses back to every “devil-sent” atheist out there. When people asked those hard questions, I wanted to be able to tell them the answer, an undisputable answer. I mean, seriously, if He was God, then the answers should be there, right? I began my search on the internet. I researched Catholicism and Judaism. Each had fundamentally different principles. Then, I asked myself, “If we cannot prove the origin of god, can we find the origins of Christianity?” I mean if god created the first man and women, wouldn’t Christianity be found throughout all of history? Looking back, this is a pretty simple Q&A. Before Christians, there were Greeks, Mayas, Egyptians, Indians and many more cultures around the globe. Each one of them had different societies that worshipped different deities. There is no historical record of a Christian god influencing the ideas of ANY of these cultures.

At the age of 18, I met a wonderful woman who was Pagan. She explained how Christians took from the Pagans (holidays, rituals and so forth). I studied Paganism with her for almost a year. I never felt a connection like I had before with Christianity. This is not to say one couldn’t. I now know that these feelings of connections are all psychological in nature. It is the same feeling a child gets when they wake up to see that Santa Clause has delivered their presents.

By the age of 19, I had come to one conclusion: Man created religion. I denounced any belief of Christianity. I felt relieved, free from all the pressure surrounding the Bible. I still believed in a higher power. A big ball of energy floating around in the sky keeping watch over his creations and laughing at the ignorance that religion has manifested.
It wasn’t until I started researching scientific theories that my agnosticism began to lean more towards the “no god” side. The theory of evolution is a widely debated subject among scientists and religious people. I had the same thoughts that anyone else who does not have knowledge of the subject may think. I mean, there is just NO WAY I could come from a monkey. Why are there still monkeys then? I laugh at myself now. The theory of evolution explains that humans and everything else on Earth evolved over long periods of time and are still evolving. Fossil records do prove this, no matter how hard Creationists try to say it’s not there. Our very, very distant ancestors have a common ancestor with today’s monkeys. However, we left that branch of evolution a long time ago. The development of societies, tools, agriculture, and even religion has set us apart from our cousins.
Over the past 5 years, I have spent a lot of my time reading about what it means to an Atheist. Just like Christianity, every Atheist has his or her own view of the world. Being Atheist does not mean not having morals. Christianity does not hold a monopoly on moral values. Morals are a part of humanity. (Richard Dawkins and I share the same view on where morals originated from. There’s a great video on YouTube of his speaking on this subject.) Being an Atheist means standing up for what we believe is the right, human thing to do. We do good because we want to, not because a deity demands it.

As of today, the majority (98%) of my family do not know that I am an atheist. It hasn’t been until the past three years that I have become vocal to my friends and to new people that I meet of my views. One side of my family is very Evangelical while the other half is non-denominational Christian. I’m positive the later will be more accepting of my decisions but with less presents at Christmas time! The Evangelical side scares me. They come with hell-fire and brimstone when they go on a witch hunt. However, it is time for me to stop worrying about the opinions of others. If they feel the need to pray for my lost soul, I will let them. In all honesty, it’s a waste of their time, not mine.

On the note of wasting time, it is now time for Atheists to stand up and voice our opinions and stop wasting our times bickering. Just as gay people are fighting for their rights, we should be fighting for our right to freedom without religion. It is time to come out of the closet.

Tuesday, March 22, 2011

My Reading of Noah's Ark

6:1 And it came to pass, when men began to multiply on the face of the earth, and daughters were born unto them, 6:2 That the sons of God saw the daughters of men that they were fair; and they took them wives of all which they chose.

In the beginning of Genesis Chapter 6, we see that man has begun to populate the Earth. Seeing that the women were “fair”, the sons of God took them as wives. First of all, how many sons does God have? Secondly, does “all which they chose” mean they took more than one wife? This perplexes me. In the New Testament, we are led to believe that Jesus is the only son of God. Why does Genesis 6:2 contradict this notion?

6:3 And the LORD said, My spirit shall not always strive with man, for that he also is flesh: yet his days shall be an hundred and twenty years. 6:4 There were giants in the earth in those days; and also after that, when the sons of God came in unto the daughters of men, and they bare children to them, the same became mighty men which were of old, men of renown.

Here, we are told that humans shall now live only 120 years. Later, we see Noah lives to be much older than that. Also, why would an omniscience god shorten the lifespan if he knew that he was just going to drown everyone? Why does Noah live longer, much longer? The sons of God also bore children with the women of Earth. This created “mighty men” who, by my observation of the text, also had powerful fathers. Why aren’t these super-humans, who could live to be 120 years old, able to survive the flood?
*Note* 6:4 is the most used verse to say that the Bible is describing Dinosaurs or other large creatures. The main text speaks nothing of animals. It doesn’t make sense to me to describe humanity and then throw in a sentence about giant creatures. In fact, it seems to me, that this passage is describing giant humans.

6:5 And God saw that the wickedness of man was great in the earth, and that every imagination of the thoughts of his heart was only evil continually. 6:6 And it repented the LORD that he had made man on the earth, and it grieved him at his heart. 6:7 And the LORD said, I will destroy man whom I have created from the face of the earth; both man, and beast, and the creeping thing, and the fowls of the air; for it repenteth me that I have made them.

Did his sons coming down and impregnating the women have anything to do with this wickedness? What was being imagined that could warrant death? Wouldn’t an omniscience god know in advance what humans would do with free will? Why would this grieve him if he knew before Adam and Eve that this would happen? So, god gets made at his creation for doing something he should have foreseen. In the context of the real world, this would be the same as a robot-designer getting mad at the robot for failing to do the assigned task. Could the designer truly get mad at the robot? No, it was the designer that made the program.

6:8 But Noah found grace in the eyes of the LORD. 6:9 These are the generations of Noah: Noah was ajust man and perfect in his generations, and Noah walked with God. 6:10 And Noah begat three sons, Shem, Ham, and Japheth. 6:11 The earth also was corrupt before God, and the earth was filled with violence. 6:12 And God looked upon the earth, and, behold, it was corrupt; for all flesh had corrupted his way upon the earth. 6:13 And God said unto Noah, The end of all flesh is come before me; for the earth is filled with violence through them; and, behold, I will destroy them with the earth.

How does Noah find “grace in the eyes of the Lord”? The all-powerful, all-knowing, all-loving god just said that everything on Earth will parish. Is it graceful that god chose Noah and his sons for survival? “Noah was just man and perfect in his generations.” In a world filled with violence, how is that Noah and his generations stayed pure? Once again, I was taught that Jesus was the only perfect man. Like Jesus, Noah also walked with god. Should Noah be held to the same degree of godly-hood as Jesus?

6:14 Make thee an ark of gopher wood; rooms shalt thou make in the ark, and shalt pitch it within and without with pitch. 6:15 And this is the fashion which thou shalt make it of: The length of the ark shall be three hundred cubits, the breadth of it fifty cubits, and the height of it thirty cubits. 6:16 A window shalt thou make to the ark, and in a cubit shalt thou finish it above; and the door of the ark shalt thou set in the side thereof; with lower, second, and third stories shalt thou make it.

Here, we are shown the exact measurements of the ark.  Cubits are not very accurate and can vary depending on culture. According to The Genesis Files, Moses is credited with writing Genesis. Since he was educated in Egypt, the Egyptian measurements are used to translate cubits into feet.  The Ark would have been approximately 516.25 X 86 X 51.6 feet, with an 18 inch window for ventilation.

6:17 And, behold, I, even I, do bring a flood of waters upon the earth, to destroy all flesh, wherein is the breath of life, from under heaven; and every thing that is in the earth shall die. 6:18 But with thee will I establish my covenant; and thou shalt come into the ark, thou, and thy sons, and thy wife, and thy sons' wives with thee. 6:19 And of every living thing of all flesh, two of every sort shalt thou bring into the ark, to keep them alive with thee; they shall be male and female. 6:20 Of fowls after their kind, and of cattle after their kind, of every creeping thing of the earth after his kind, two of every sort shall come unto thee, to keep them alive. 6:21 And take thou unto thee of all food that is eaten, and thou shalt gather it to thee; and it shall be for food for thee, and for them. 6:22 Thus did Noah; according to all that God commanded him, so did he.
This scenario of total destruction brings a few questions to my mind. Why does god kill all living creatures for the mistakes made by man? Why doesn’t an all-power god just wave his hand and destroy only those who were evil? Did all of the people who were killed by god go to hell? I would assume that if they were bad enough to be destroyed, they weren’t good enough to get into heaven.
 God commands Noah to take two of every kind, plus their food, onto the Ark. Taking the measurements given in the Bible, it would be impossible to fit every living creature and their food. Wouldn’t the weight of all of the animals (keep in mind that elephants alone can weight over 5k pounds) sink the ark? How would you keep the lions from eating the gazelles or the spider from eating the fly? What does Noah do with the waste that the animals create?
Taking the specific details of the Bible and adding common sense, Noah’s Ark seems like an improbable story.

7:1 And the LORD said unto Noah, Come thou and all thy house into the ark; for thee have I seenrighteous before me in this generation. 7:2 Of every clean beast thou shalt take to thee by sevens, the male and his female: and of beasts that are not clean by two, the male and his female. 7:3 Of fowls also of the air by sevens, the male and the female; to keep seed alive upon the face of all the earth. 7:4 For yet seven days, and I will cause it to rain upon the earth forty days and forty nights; and every living substance that I have made will I destroy from off the face of the earth. 7:5 And Noah did according unto all that the LORD commanded him. 7:6 And Noah was six hundred years old when the flood of waters was upon the earth.

*Note* “For thee have I seen righteous before me…” Keep this verse in mind.
What are “clean beasts”? Noah is now to take 7 of each of the clean beasts and only 2 of the unclean. He is also supposed to take 7 of each species of bird. Seven seems to be a commonly used number in the Bible.  Another question comes to mind. How did the animals get to Noah? In that time, the Americas had not been discovered (the Earth had 4 corners). So, how would animals that were not known to Noah make it to the ark? Are the species of the oceans not faced with any type of punishment?
We are also told that Noah is 600 years old. What happened to only living 120 years? The people that he commanded that to are now all dead?!

7:12 And the rain was upon the earth forty days and forty nights. 7:13 In the selfsame day entered Noah, and Shem, and Ham, and Japheth, the sons of Noah, and Noah's wife, and the three wives of his sons with them, into the ark; 7:14 They, and every beast after his kind, and all the cattle after their kind, and every creeping thing that creepeth upon the earth after his kind, and every fowl after his kind, every bird of every sort. 7:15 And they went in unto Noah into the ark, two and two of all flesh, wherein is the breath of life. 7:16 And they that went in, went in male and female of all flesh, as God had commanded him: and the LORD shut him in. 7:17 And the flood was forty days upon the earth; and the waters increased, and bare up the ark, and it was lift up above the earth. 7:18 And the waters prevailed, and were increased greatly upon the earth; and the ark went upon the face of the waters. 7:19 And the waters prevailed exceedingly upon the earth; and all the high hills, that were under the whole heaven, were covered. 7:20 Fifteen cubits upward did the waters prevail; and the mountains were covered. 7:21 And all flesh died that moved upon the earth, both of fowl, and of cattle, and of beast, and of every creeping thing that creepeth upon the earth, and every man: 7:22 All in whose nostrils was the breath of life, of all that was in the dry land, died. 7:23 And every living substance was destroyed which was upon the face of the ground, both man, and cattle, and the creeping things, and the fowl of the heaven; and they were destroyed from the earth: and Noah only remained alive, and they that were with him in the ark. 7:24 And the waters prevailed upon the earth an hundred and fifty days.

It rained for forty days and forty nights. This powerful global rain storm covered every mountain on Earth. Knowing that Mount Everest is 29,000 feet, it is safe to say, from Bible texts, that the Ark would have at least been above that mark. How were the animals able to breathe and keep warm in such altitude? Also, that much rain would have a desalinization effect to the oceans. How are ocean creatures going to survive in fresh water conditions? It is also safe to assume that there were babies on Earth when the floods rained down. Is god so cruel that he would kill innocent children who were not able to commit the evil acts? This is where the omniscience of god comes in- God knew the babies would grow up to commit sins, even though ALL humans are inevitably “sinful”.

The waters stayed for 150 days. Noah, his family of 7, two of every unclean creature, and seven of every clean creature were able to stay alive on a tiny boat (tiny compared to the amount of animals on the boat) for 150 days without any land in sight. What a miraculous-improbable-claim!
*Note* Most people believe that only 2 of each kind of animal was put on the boat. My reading of the Bible leads me to believe that there were 2 of only the unclean animals and 7 of the clean.

8:1And God remembered Noah (Author’s Note: Does god have the ability to forget?), and every living thing, and all the cattle that was with him in the ark: and God made a wind to pass over the earth, and the waters assuaged;  2The fountains also of the deep and the windows of heaven were stopped, and the rain from heaven was restrained;  3And the waters returned from off the earth continually: and after the end of the hundred and fifty days the waters were abated.  4And the ark rested in the seventh month, on the seventeenth day of the month, upon the mountains of Ararat.  5And the waters decreased continually until the tenth month: in the tenth month, on the first day of the month, were the tops of the mountains seen.  6And it came to pass at the end of forty days, that Noah opened the window of the ark which he had made:  7And he sent forth a raven, which went forth to and fro, until the waters were dried up from off the earth.  8Also he sent forth a dove from him, to see if the waters were abated from off the face of the ground;  9But the dove found no rest for the sole of her foot, and she returned unto him into the ark, for the waters were on the face of the whole earth: then he put forth his hand, and took her, and pulled her in unto him into the ark.  10And he stayed yet other seven days; and again he sent forth the dove out of the ark;  11And the dove came in to him in the evening; and, lo, in her mouth was an olive leaf pluckt off: so Noah knew that the waters were abated from off the earth.  12And he stayed yet other seven days; and sent forth the dove; which returned not again unto him any more.  13And it came to pass in the six hundredth and first year, in the first month, the first day of the month, the waters were dried up from off the earth: and Noah removed the covering of the ark, and looked, and, behold, the face of the ground was dry.  14And in the second month, on the seven and twentieth day of the month, was the earth dried.  15And God spake unto Noah, saying,  16Go forth of the ark, thou, and thy wife, and thy sons, and thy sons' wives with thee.  17Bring forth with thee every living thing that is with thee, of all flesh, both of fowl, and of cattle, and of every creeping thing that creepeth upon the earth; that they may breed abundantly in the earth, and be fruitful, and multiply upon the earth. 18And Noah went forth, and his sons, and his wife, and his sons' wives with him:  19Every beast, every creeping thing, and every fowl, and whatsoever creepeth upon the earth, after their kinds, went forth out of the ark. 20And Noah built an altar unto the LORD; and took of every clean beast, and of every clean fowl, and offered burnt offerings on the altar.  21And the LORD smelled a sweet savour; and the LORD said in his heart, I will not again curse the ground any more for man's sake; for the imagination of man's heart is evil from his youth; neither will I again smite any more every thing living, as I have done.  22While the earth remaineth, seedtime and harvest, and cold and heat, and summer and winter, and day and night shall not cease.

We see a lot of “sevens” show up in the Bible. Is that god’s favorite number? After multiple 7-day periods, a dove finally brings back an olive leaf. How does a drought-tolerant olive tree survive an Earth-wide flood of such great magnitude? After unloading all of the animals on the boat, Noah builds an altar and sacrifices every clean beast and fowl. For those that believe that Noah took only 2 of every creature, this would mean extinction for these creatures. This part confuses me. Why go through all the trouble of keeping these animals alive for 150+ days and then killing them immediately after getting off the boat? Then, god smells “a sweet savour,” undoubtedly from the burning corpses of animals. This causes god to have some empathy toward humanity. God creates a pact with mankind, saying that he will never again create mass destruction for “the imagination of man’s heart is evil from his youth.” Did this omniscience god not see thisbefore killing off humanity? (Why didn’t god just create a good society in the beginning if he was so much against evil acts?) Why did it take Noah to make him see this?

1And God blessed Noah and his sons, and said unto them, Be fruitful, and multiply, and replenish the earth.  2And the fear of you and the dread of you shall be upon every beast of the earth, and upon every fowl of the air, upon all that moveth upon the earth, and upon all the fishes of the sea; into your hand are they delivered. 3Every moving thing that liveth shall be meat for you; even as the green herb have I given you all things. 4But flesh with the life thereof, which is the blood thereof, shall ye not eat. 5And surely your blood of your lives will I require; at the hand of every beast will I require it, and at the hand of man; at the hand of every man's brother will I require the life of man. 6Whoso sheddeth man's blood, by man shall his blood be shed: for in the image of God made he man. 7And you, be ye fruitful, and multiply; bring forth abundantly in the earth, and multiply therein. 8And God spake unto Noah, and to his sons with him, saying, 9And I, behold, I establish my covenant with you, and with your seed after you; 10And with every living creature that is with you, of the fowl, of the cattle, and of every beast of the earth with you; from all that go out of the ark, to every beast of the earth. 11And I will establish my covenant with you, neither shall all flesh be cut off any more by the waters of a flood; neither shall there any more be a flood to destroy the earth.12And God said, This is the token of the covenant which I make between me and you and every living creature that is with you, for perpetual generations: 13I do set my bow in the cloud, and it shall be for a token of a covenant between me and the earth.14And it shall come to pass, when I bring a cloud over the earth, that the bow shall be seen in the cloud: 15And I will remember my covenant, which is between me and you and every living creature of all flesh; and the waters shall no more become a flood to destroy all flesh. 16And the bow shall be in the cloud; and I will look upon it, that I may remember the everlasting covenant between God and every living creature of all flesh that is upon the earth. 17And God said unto Noah, This is the token of the covenant, which I have established between me and all flesh that is upon the earth. 18And the sons of Noah, that went forth of the ark, were Shem, and Ham, and Japheth: and Ham is the father of Canaan. 19These are the three sons of Noah: and of them was the whole earth overspread.

This is where we see an explanation of the origins of the rainbow. The rainbow is a sign of god’s covenant with humans. This type of mythology has been found in many other cultures. The Greek saw the rainbow as a message from their gods sent via the goddess Iris, who dresses in rainbow colors and flies down with golden wings. Norse mythology views the rainbow as the pathway to the heavens.
Note: This is where the story usually ends with Noah, both in Sunday school and in books featuring Noah’s Ark. However, the story of Noah continues. The following is unknown to most Christians today but it found readily in the Bible:

 20And Noah began to be an husbandman, and he planted a vineyard: 21And he drank of the wine, and was drunken; and he was uncovered within his tent.  22And Ham, the father of Canaan, saw the nakedness of his father, and told his two brethren without.  23And Shem and Japheth took a garment, and laid it upon both their shoulders, and went backward, and covered the nakedness of their father; and their faces were backward, and they saw not their father's nakedness. 24And Noah awoke from his wine, and knew what his younger son had done unto him. 25And he said, Cursed be Canaan; a servant of servants shall he be unto his brethren. 26And he said, Blessed be the LORD God of Shem; and Canaan shall be his servant. 27God shall enlarge Japheth, and he shall dwell in the tents of Shem; and Canaan shall be his servant. 28And Noah lived after the flood three hundred and fifty years. 29And all the days of Noah were nine hundred and fifty years: and he died.

Soon after the flood, Noah and his family began to settle down. Noah plants a vineyard and drinks of the wine. Noah becomes so drunk that he passes out, naked within his tent. Is this the type of righteousness we expect to see from Noah? (see Genesis 7:1) Noah’s son Ham see his father naked and told his brothers of their father’s drunken nakedness. The other brothers slyly cover their father. Ok, let’s stop here. In today’s society, a son would be appalled to find their father drunk and naked. It would seem that the father had some sort of problem with alcohol. However, in the bible, it isHam is who is going to be punished. Noah wakes up (I assume he’s going to feel a bit hung over) and is extremely angry with Ham for seeing him naked. Noah, who apparently has the power to curse people in god’s name, sentences Ham andall of his descendants to servitude. This is the Bible condoning slavery, which was a much used practice during these times.
Noah lives 950 years, 350 years after the flood. Again, where is the 120 years that god speaks of in the beginning of Genesis chapter 6?

In conclusion, this story is simply a myth. Just like the Greek, the Norse, the Egyptians, and the Pagans, the stories of the Bible are exaggerated tales of the mysticism in real life. One must ask their self if it is possible for humans to live well over 500 years. Has there even been a documented case of someone living to 150 years old? Is there geological evidence of a great flood that cover the entire Earth at one time?