Wednesday, July 28, 2010

The 'Science' of The Bible

Picking apart The Bible regarding factual errors, inconsistencies, and God-tolerated atrocities is so easy that it almost seems mean. Fortunately for you guys, I'm almost a mean person -- almost mean enough to write about all of the "science" God was cool enough to let us know about in his seminal work.

For starters, The Bible tells us that God created light on the first day (in his famous "Let there be light" moment). On the second and third days He dabbled in some other things rolling around in His head, and then on the fourth day He finally created the sun, stars, and moon. It's often held by scientists -- as well as the public in general -- that the sun and stars provide Earth's natural light. Not so, says The Bible; light just is, and the sun and stars are more decorative in nature. They're lights, sure, but they aren't the lights.

Also interesting is the fact that The Bible says God made the moon a "lesser light," even though the moon does not actually emit light but only reflects light from the sun. To call the moon a light is like calling a mirror a light. So, the obvious conclusion is that we've been wrong about mirrors.

Friday, July 16, 2010

Why Christians Aren't Christ-Like

There's no doubt that Jesus Christ -- whether he was a real man or not -- generally was a good role model. Even non-believers would find that notion hard to refute. Sure, he got weirdly pissed at a fig tree once for not bearing fruit out of season, but everyone loses their temper now and then. The fact is that he seemed to be a man of love and peace, and that's not a hard set of values to rally behind. So, Christians may have a point that getting your values from the example set by Jesus is a good thing.

Well, they'd have a point if they got their values from Jesus, but they most certainly do not. Jesus advocated plenty of concepts that no right-minded (pun intended) fundamentalist Christian ever would adhere to. Here are just a few samplings of the teachings of Jesus:

Tuesday, July 13, 2010

How Native American Beliefs Turned Me to Atheism

There wasn't really one pivotal eureka moment that deconverted me from Christianity and made me an atheist. Mine was a slow deconvertion; it was a countless number of little hints that I received and subconscious logic being worked out in my brain. Then one day I realized that at some point I'd become an atheist without really thinking about it.

So, there was no KABLAMO! moment, but there certainly were a lot of little things along the way that chipped away at my outer Christian candy shell to the yummy chocolate atheism inside. One of those shell-chippers was when I learned about Native American beliefs early on in high school.

We were learning the origin stories of a bunch of Native American tribes in my English class. We were reading them as if they were fairy tales, of course. In the back of my mind -- and surely everyone else's minds in the room -- I was supremely amused that people actually used to believe this shit. A spider woman? Talking animals? Turtles that carry islands on their backs? I mean, everything about the stories was just ridiculous. They truly were indistinguishable from children's stories.

Wednesday, July 7, 2010

Are Christian Missionaries Assholes?

I recently posted this fake exchange on the Atheist Apologist Facebook page:

Eskimo: If I did not know about God and sin, would I go to hell?
Priest: No, not if you did not know.
Eskimo: Then why did you tell me?

I'd found the exchange within a list of quotes relating to atheism, and it sparked my memory of when I'd thought of this problem as a child. I was brought up in a loosely Christian family, and it occurred to me that there probably were a lot of people in the world who didn't know anything about God and Jesus. That fact made me a bit worried, because I wondered what would happen to all of them if they died before anyone had told them the "truth." As I grew older and learned about ancient civilizations, my worry grew. Here were entire civilizations that surely went to hell for believing in the wrong god or gods -- all because no one who knew better had been there to warn them.

I brought this up to a few adults, and I always got the same response: Of course God doesn't send people to hell who've never been told about Him or Jesus. It's the same with babies who die in infancy; they obviously didn't know about God or Jesus yet, but they still got into heaven because they never had the chance to know.

So, that comforted me for a time, and I became an atheist long before realizing the horrible implications of the above free pass from God, or before I realized that there isn't actually anything in The Bible that lays out such a free pass for those who haven't heard The Word.

Thursday, July 1, 2010

Are Atheists Smarter Than Religious People?

Man, there's no way this can be a non-volatile question, but the fact is that data can very easily determine an objective answer. To save the easily bored people out there some time, here's the answer: Yes, atheists are by and large smarter than religious people. But obviously I can't just write that without proffering some evidence.

Studies Showing That Atheists Are Smarter Than Religious People


I want to start this section out with possibly my favorite graphical representation of data on this topic. Here's a compiled set of data from each U.S. state comparing the religiousness of the state's population to factors such as IQ, poverty, crime rates, generosity, and political ideology. (Green is "favorable," while red is "unfavorable," with "religiousness" and "conservatism" obviously being subjectively colored in this case.):


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