Wednesday, November 30, 2005

Afterlife Concept Devalues Earthly Existence; Celebrates Death

No surprise here. I've been saying this since I started this blog, but it’s nice to have someone else say so. In this case, John Bice from has an article with the same name of this post. You can find it here.

Lets look at some of the things Mr. Bice says:

If no afterlife exists, our lives are finite, unique and precious. There are no second chances or rewards; when we die, we're dead.

Alternatively, if an eternal and infinitely preferable life exists subsequent to this one, human life is diminished. An everlasting and flawlessly idyllic afterlife, overflowing with ineffable delights, means that our earthly existence — no matter how long it lasts or relatively good it might be — is insignificant and less desirable in comparison.

More than one Christian, when pressed, has admitted to me that they're essentially "biding their time," avoiding sin and waiting for their eternal reward. How sad.

This is music to my mind. Why isn't Mr. Bice writing editorials for the New York Times? I have become an instant fan of him. And he continues:

Perhaps this explains why many religions regard suicide as a grave mortal sin. Without such prohibition, certainty of belief in heaven could prompt highly faithful people to shorten their earthly lives and hasten their trip to paradise, which would translate into fewer congregants.

Viewing the evolution of religion from a Darwinian perspective, as a meme, one would expect successful modern faiths to discourage suicide and promote sexual reproduction, which is precisely what we see. Suicidal cults, or faiths that discourage procreation, are at a tremendous competitive disadvantage for passing on their beliefs.

Look! He's even talking about memes! And he's right about suicidal cults vs. non-suicidal cults. Where is Heaven's Gate now?

And now I'm going to compare suicidal Jihadists to Rapture Ready forum members. Check this out:

A fascinating Time magazine article, "Inside the Mind of an Iraqi Suicide Bomber," offered a glimpse at the mentality behind such attacks. "The happiest day of my life," was how Iraqi Jihadist Marwan Abu Ubeida described feeling after being added to a long list of suicide bomber volunteers. Marwan enthusiastically declared, "I can't wait … I am ready to die now." Only blind religious faith, or insanity, can provide such joyful excitement to kill and die.

Marwan Abu Ubeida says he can’t wait to die. Boy does this sound familiar. Where have I heard this kind of talk before?

I pray that it was a sign to you because I'm ready for Jesus to come get us. Today would be fine with me.

That's Rapture Ready-speak for, "I can't wait ... I am ready to die now," just like the Jihadist said.

Some of you may not like this comparison, for the Jihadist wants to kill himself while simultaneously killing enemy infidels, and the Rapture Ready person just wants to die, period. But to focus on this is to miss the point. It doesn't matter if the Christoid or Jihadist wants to die in the act of killing people, or just die, plain and simple. The point here is the same one that both Mr. Bice and myself have been stating. That the afterlife devalues Earthly existence and celebrates death. Both the Rapture Ready Christoid and the Jihadist want to die. And they want to die because both of their superstitions champion a dimension that doesn't exist. To top it off, they champion an imaginary dimension in which the only way to get there is to have your very existence exterminated!

For all their talk about values, these fundamentalists (Christoid or otherwise) sure don't know what the fuck they are talking about. They obviously need help, so let's give them a hand. Let's tell them that instead of killing themselves, they should kill the afterlife.

Tuesday, November 22, 2005

Catholic Church Must Destroy Itself to Save Itself

Let me start off with a disclaimer: I have no problem with homosexuals (or heterosexuals). What I do have a problem with is hypocritical religious institutions that condemn homosexuals yet are infiltrated with them from top to bottom.


The Vatican says sexually active homosexuals and those who support "gay culture" are unwelcome in the priesthood unless the candidate has overcome homosexual tendencies for at least three years, according to a church document posted on the Internet by an Italian Catholic news agency.

This of course is no suprise. Although I do think its rather strange to see the Vatican constantly condemn and reject homosexuals on paper, yet they shuffle around and protect homosexual Priests in practice. Most likely because those in charge of managing the Priest population are likely gay themselves.

And it would seem that I am correct:

Estimates of the number of gays in U.S. seminaries and the priesthood range from 25 percent to 50 percent, according to a review of research by the Rev. Donald Cozzens, a former seminary rector and author of "The Changing Face of the Priesthood."

Wow. 25 to 50 percent. How do they think they are going to enforce such rules, especially when the assigned enforcers are likely gay too? According to many organizations and groups, including SNAP, the Philadelphia District Attorney, and the Church's own lawyers, nobody is kicking anybody out for being gay. All they do is shuffle the Priests around and protect them from legal persecution when they commit pedophilic rape. Also consider that they are facing a severe Priest shortage and need all the recruits they can get. They will take the concept of "don't ask, don't tell" to a whole new level. It boggles my mind to think how many self-hating homosexuals must be in the Priesthood.

The Catholic Church needs to destroy itself to save itself. Scratch that. It just needs to destroy itself, period. How can the Church do that, you ask? Simple: Just keep doing what it's doing right now. If they actually start enforcing this anti-gay rule, however, it will surely collapse much faster. I can't wait to see it crumble to dust. I really hope it implodes within my lifetime. Die you Goddamn Church, die.

Crossposted at Goosing the Antithesis.

Monday, November 21, 2005

The Afterlife is Dying, One Dance Party at a Time

About three weeks ago (before my whole strep throat debacle) I went to see world-renowned DJ Donald Glaude spin at club Circus in Los Angeles. The party was thrown by Spundae. It was an absolute blast. If any of my readers are into clubbing and reside in the Los Angeles area, I suggest you check out the Spundae events at Club Circus.

While I was dancing in front of the main stage, I noticed a hip looking guy in his late twenties or early thirties. He was dancing near me with his date, and he was wearing jeans and a black tank top. Because he was wearing the tank top, his arms were exposed, and he had a handful of tattoos on both his arms. The reason I noticed him was because one of his tattoos literally jumped out at me. On his left bicep was a tattoo of an atom symbol with an "A" in the center: The exact logo of the American Atheists organization!

Needless to say, I was very pleasantly surprised. I quickly got his attention and pointed to his tattoo and told him "that's awesome!" He smiled and started telling me about what the symbol was and what the different parts of it represent. Although I was already very familiar with the logo and what it meant, I didn't want to cut him off. After he explained the tattoo, I told him that I write for a few atheist blogs and am heavily involved in the freethought radio show, Hellbound Alleee. He said that was cool, and I then left him alone so that he could resume dancing with his attractive date.

As if the night wasn't great enough being able to dance to the intense house music of Donald Glaude, I got to see an atheist with an atheistic tattoo prominently displayed on his bicep. What a cool night!

Now, there have undoubtedly been atheists in America since America was founded. But what about proudly displaying that type of affiliation on one's arm? What I mean is that this young man is doing something that he could not have done a few generations ago without severe consequences. 200 years ago, this man would have been persecuted for that kind of display, even in America. 100 years ago, this man would have been blacklisted for such a display. Even 50 years ago this man would possibly have been blacklisted, and most likely ostracized from his community.

Nowadays, you can still find yourself in a bad light for this kind of display in certain rural parts of America, but even then, not to the degree that you would have found yourself in 50 years ago. And nowadays in most parts of America you can proudly show off these kinds of tattoos without fear of persecution or too much grief from your local community.

Attitudes are most definitely changing, and they are changing for the better. I bet that 50 or 100 years ago, there were no atheists in America with atheistic tattoos. But today there are very likely more tattooed atheists than just this one guy.

The afterlife is dying, one dance party at a time. Now let's all go out and dance to celebrate! I will be dancing my ass off with some fellow atheist friends in celebration on December 3rd, to the transcendent trance music of Ferry Corsten at club Avalon in Hollywood. If any local atheists plan to be there, let me know so we can meet up at the club. I'll buy you a drink.

Monday, November 14, 2005

Strep Throat > Faith

Last Thursday I came down with Strep Throat. If you’ve ever had it before, you know how painful it is. I was in such discomfort, that I had to ask my Mom to drive me to the emergency room so I could get treatment. In fact, I haven’t driven my beloved Mustang in almost a week, and boy do I miss her! The rumbling of the V-8, the smooth shifting 5-speed, the surge of torque that pushes you deep into the leather seat…

Where was I? Oh yeah, Strep Throat! Sorry, these medications tend to make me a bit out of it. But I contend that an atheist on strong medications and suffering from Strep Throat, such as myself, is not as “out of it” as a healthy, sober, person of faith.

Why do I say this? Well, on the way back from the hospital, my Mom told me a story about how, when she was 15 years old, she acquired Strep Throat herself. Now before I continue with this story, I must give you a little background on her parents (my Grandparents). They are very loving, yet very religious people. My Mother’s parents are, in fact, the people who indoctrinated me into Christianity when I was about 4 years old. What 4 year old wouldn’t believe everything their kind and loving Grandparents told them?

Anyway, back to the story. My Mom acquired Strep Throat at age 15. What did her parents do at the onset of my Mom’s illness? They prayed. They had the local preacher visit. They prayed some more. They had the local preacher visit again. They had her anointed. They had the whole congregation pray for her repeatedly. Did I mention that a whole lot of people were praying and anointing and exercising the power of their faith?

Well, my Mom continued to suffer from Strep Throat for over a month! Consider that in my case, I went to the hospital after 3 days of symptoms, and after my antibiotics treatment, I am expected to be fully functional by Wednesday. Assuming that I do recover by Wednesday as the Doctor told me, I will have had a total of 7 days of downtime, and it would have been less had I decided to go to the hospital sooner (which I should have).

My Mom suffered from Strep Throat for over a month because her parents never took her to see a Doctor. The preacher, the congregation, and all those prayers and anointments couldn’t do what a bottle full of pills could do. Obviously, Strep Throat kicked the absolute shit out of their faith. Strep Throat 1, Faith 0.

What is Strep Throat? It is a bacterium that infects your throat. It is a purely material entity. And what are antibiotics? A purely material medicine designed to fight the infection. And what is faith? Belief without logical proof or material evidence. When you look at the cases of both my Mom and myself, faith was the big time loser.

Nowadays, my Grandparents sing a slightly different tune. Of course they are still very religious, but today they would take a sick child or relative to the hospital instead of pray for them. They have definitely learned their lesson. And as a result of their “education,” they most definitely have less faith today than they did back then. Of course, my Grandparents will insist to my face that while today they would take someone to the hospital, they still have “just as much” faith as they did before. They, of course, are wrong about that; they are in denial. Either they lost faith in the power of prayer for healing their sick children, or their faith in prayer is now trumped by their knowledge of medicine. Either way, their faith is necessarily compromised. If it wasn’t, then they would still subscribe to the faith healing method.

Faith will never heal anything. Faith will never perform as well as anything material. In fact, the only time faith ever does perform, is when it creates a placebo effect, which is material anyway. So here we are full circle: faith just doesn’t perform.

Faith is the only leg that the afterlife has to stand on. Logical proof and material evidence are the only legs that anti-afterlifers like myself have to stand on. And from the stories presented above, its pretty clear which legs are the safer ones to stand on.

Anything supported by faith is, in fact, not supported at all. Using the (powerless) power of faith won’t cure you of illness, nor will it make the afterlife, or God, exist.

Monday, November 07, 2005

God or Not #2

The second God or Not carnival has just been executed at Eternal Revolution. There are over 25 killer posts. The battle lines have been drawn, and each author picks a side and then attacks with violent ferocity, attempting to annihilate the enemy.

I must say that I am impressed with this installment, and I'm not just saying that because my submission is the first one linked. There's lots of pictures to enhance the visual experience, as well as a musical/lyrical theme to set the mood. And with musical selections from such artists as Radiohead and U2, truly this carnival is destined for greatness.

So get marchin' over to Eternal Revolution and engage! Read the entries, think about the issues, and then speak your mind. That's right, this is a "hands-on" experience, and that means leaving comments. Like what the bloggers have to say? Give 'em some "hearts and minds" and let 'em know how you relate. Got a bone to pick? Then bust out the "shock and awe" and drop a few bombs!

Thursday, November 03, 2005

It’s a Bird! It’s a Plane! No, it’s a Miracle!

Here it is, the third of November, and I totally missed my chance to post something for Halloween. I have no excuse, but I do have an explanation: alcohol. This Halloween was very partied out, and the weekend of drunken debauchery took its toll on me. I took two days off work to recover, and it still wasn't enough. I actually had some of my blog readers submit material for me to use for Halloween (really good stuff too), but I dropped the ball. It seems stupid to post Halloween related stuff three days after the day passed. So here I am to offer an apology to those who took the time to send me material only to have me fumble. I am fallible, especially when I'm hung over.

Okay, enough of that. Now we move on to afterlife killing. My Christian friend and fellow blogger Chad at Eternal Revolution wrote a post about miracles, and I couldn't pass up the opportunity to respond, especially how I just finished reading Zachary Moore's post about Irreducible Complexity.

In his post on miracles, Chad quotes Tim Challies, who proposes that the "laws of nature" should be looked at as regularities rather than laws:

It seems to me that Christians would do better to understand the laws of nature in terms of regularities rather than laws. When we speak of laws, we understand something that is inviolable…

The alternative, I believe, is to understand “the laws of nature” as regularities rather than laws. In this way a miracle is no longer a violation of the laws of nature but an exception or an anomaly. A miracle is merely a break from or exception to divine routine. In this sense God did not violate laws of nature when He used Moses to hold back the waters of the Red Sea. Instead, God governed that part of His Creation just a little bit differently for just a little while.

I would disagree with Tim's definition of "miracle." To me, a miracle is a violation or breaking of a natural law, like a fire burning that doesn’t consume fuel, or a flaming chariot that soars through the sky, violating at least two laws.

But what’s more important here is that Tim and Chad are trying to categorize everything that happens in the universe as part of God's divine plan (of course). What these two Christians don't realize is, that natural laws are recognized by humans through experimentation, falsifiability, quantifiability, and all other kinds of material-based processes of learning about the realm we exist in. We conduct tests to find out about natural phenomena, we derive formulas and mathematical equations, and use these to make predictions.

The problem with miracles is that they are unfalsifiable or unscientific in that they are unexplainable. What I mean is that we can use science and materialism to explain, for example, the quantity of water required to flood the entire world (think Noah's flood) and the law of conservation of matter/energy which states that the water had to come from somewhere (not just ex nihilo). However, the flood of Noah violates the law of conservation of matter/energy. In fact, the global flood of Noah is inexplicable in that the best we can say is "god did it." We cannot say how he did it other than to say "it was a miracle" which is just another way of saying "it is without explanation."

Miracles are a non-answer. Let me demonstrate by asking a series of questions: How does a miracle work? It works by God's doing. How does God do it? Miraculously. Well how does a miracle work? By now we are going in circles.

If I am to claim that fire needs to consume fuel in order to continue burning, then I must be able to back this up with facts. In science, we have specific formulas and explanations of the process of a fire that consumes fuel. We can measure this process and use equations to make predictions about it. We can study the substances and make predictions about burn/consumption rates, which substances are flammable and which aren’t, etc... But with a miracle like a fire that doesn’t consume fuel, or water that comes from nowhere, there are no formulas or processes by which we can falsify, make predictions, or even begin to understand or explain the step by step processes of how these miracles work. Miracles are literally a non-answer.

If someone answers a mystery with another mystery, then he isn't answering anything at all. Nothing about a "miraculous" process can ever be hoped to be understood beyond the acknowledgement that the miracle in question is not understandable. Miracles are a lie in that they claim to explain something with a non-explanation by definition. Miracles are a contradiction. The problem with these Christians is that they don't seem to understand the concepts of what science is, what evidence is, and the importance of being able to explain or account for the claims that one makes, especially claims of miraculous events like those found within Christianity.

Near the end of the post, Chad says:
Am I proving the existence of miracles with these quotes? Of course not. But it should at the very least turn upside down our preconceived concepts of miracles (even those of us who believe in them) and perhaps make them a little more understandable (dare I say “rational”?) to skeptics.

I contend that for a miracle to appear rational to a skeptic is impossible, and here’s why:

For a skeptic to consider a miracle rational, the miracle would have to be scientifically explainable in that the process or act of the miraculous event would have to be traced from the first to last step and the entire claim of miraculousness would have to be falsifiable through some testable means. But if that were to be done, then the miracle would, by definition, no longer be a miracle. It would instead be a natural, material, and explainable event.

Allow me to explain using an analogy. Lets say that a miracle is a magic trick, and God is a magician (think David Blane or Penn & Teller). So a miracle would be like David Blane floating in the air or Penn & Teller making a rabbit pop out of an empty hat. Now these magic tricks are "magic" precisely because they are unexplainable and they seem to violate the laws of nature. But on shows like "Secrets of Magic Revealed" in which a masked magician sells out his industries secrets, we see that the floating in air and rabbit tricks are explainable by invisible wires or platforms, and secret compartments and such. At this point, they cease to be magic tricks! They simply become illusions or demonstrations that deceived the viewer as to what actually happened. They make you think someone is floating in the air, but in reality he is still subject to gravity and there is merely a wire holding him up. Hardly magic anymore. Or the rabbit came out of a secret door under a table or inside the hat. Again, hardly magic anymore. The explanation of the magic trick literally removes the "magic" from it.

These concepts can also be applied to the afterlife, believe it or not. The afterlife is a miracle in itself insofar as it is an untestable, unfalsifiable, and explainable phenomenon. Whether it’s a claim of a miraculous Heaven or a miraculous hurricane, no "miracle" stands on it's own two legs under the scrutiny of a skeptical and scientific inquiry.

Regardless if you call them magic tricks or miracles, these supernatural events are, by definition, completely unsupportable by any skeptical or scientific means. The only way these miracles and magic tricks can be believed in is through faith. And faith is nothing more than belief without logical proof or material evidence. In other words, it is a gullible belief without justification.

Now I cannot help but wonder, is Chad consistent? What I mean is, while he believes in the Biblical flood story, does he also believe that David Blane can levitate? Or does he believe that Penn & Teller can materialize rabbits ex nihilo? Why not? I mean, if miracles are what Chad says they are, then why wouldn't he believe God to be working through Blane, Penn, and Teller to make these abnormalities of the "guidelines" of nature occur? I told him I was making a post about this, so hopefully he can come in here and tell us.