Wednesday, December 28, 2005

The Offspring Murder Club Gets Some New Members

Again thanks to Blacksun for posting about this earlier.

In an earlier post, I formed The Offspring Murder Club. This is a sad, shameful club where membership is strongly discouraged. Yet, there are many pro-afterlifers that are doing everything in their power to join this club, and predictably enough, they are using their pro-afterlife convictions as motivation for murdering their own children!

Recently the club acquired some new members. A total of 9 members of a Mexican family are suspects in the ritualistic slayings of two daughters, one a 7-month-old and one a 13-year-old. Not to mention a dozen or so sacrificed farm animals. A judge recently sent 8 of the family members to a mental hospital.

The article states in no uncertain terms what the family's pro-afterlife worldview caused them to believe about the daughters:

Officials said the parents, grandparents and aunts of a 7-month-old and 13-year-old hacked the baby to death and fatally stoned the teenager earlier this month after they became convinced the girls were demons or possessed by the devil.

Emphasis mine. So what exactly does fervent afterlife-belief serve as a catalyst for? It serves as a catalyst for one to believe that those closest to you are possessed by evil spirits, which gives you motivation and even justification for slaying them. Then it gets you committed to a nuthouse.

And these aren't any simple slayings. These are hardcore blood orgies among family members. Is a blood orgy between family members considered incestuous as well? Sorry I just had to ask it. Here are some more details from the article if you can stomach the visual:

After being tipped off to the killings by an anonymous phone call, officers traveled on foot to the family's hamlet and found the baby girl mutilated and the body of the 13-year-old tied to a stake and battered to death.

What is it that allows one to believe that one's infant and teenage daughters are a supernatural threat to oneself? Immaterial afterlife belief, that's what! Congratulations again on joining The Offspring Murder Club, you religious locos.

Wednesday, December 21, 2005

Kill The Filler: Winter Solstice Greeting

This week has been insanely busy for me, as it no doubt has been with many of my blog readers. Christmas is coming. Or Winter Solstice. Or whatever you call it. And I, along with hundreds of millions of other Americans, been busy shopping for presents.

On top of that, I’m taking a road trip to visit relatives this weekend. So don't expect any more posts from me until next week, after December 25th. And I apologize for this post being 99% filler.

I would like to close off this post with a little materialistic heartwarming. When you are celebrating the holidays this year, remember that the important things in life, love, family, friends, sincere communication, eggnog, etc... are all purely materialistic things that exist within and between material entities in a material universe.

If you want to celebrate the holidays, celebrate the joy of life and existence in this crazy crazy cosmos. To celebrate another dimension of immaterial spirits chained to an infinite and static existence only serves to cheapen and devalue the existence we are in right now. The only -and most important- existence is this one right here and right now. So celebrate it accordingly. Ooooooh, Heaven is a place on Earth.

Merry Christmas!

Thursday, December 15, 2005

Another Pro-Afterlife Mother Slays Own Child

Thanks to BlackSun for posting about this first and bringing it to my attention.

Dawn Serrena Young recently joined Dena Schlosser, Andrea Yates, and other women of faith in what I have decided to call The Offspring Murder Club. Congratulations Dawn in murdering your own daughter. You are part of a very exclusive club that requires enormous amounts of religious conviction in order to join.

As I've noted before, Religiosity is more common among mothers who kill their children. While Christians have definitely taken the points lead in the The Offspring Murder Club, Dawn Serrena Young has literally burst onto the scene and made a strong showing with her blend of Voodoo and Santeria. Will the Christians be able to maintain their lead, or will they be eclipsed before the end of the year?

Read this snip... its so messed up:

A Eugene woman has told police that she killed her 17-month-old daughter to protect the baby from spirits.

Young was arrested Nov. 23 after she crashed her pickup truck into parked cars at a Red Bluff lumber store. Police found her covered in blood from self-inflicted chest wounds.

She later confessed to killing Ruby by suffocating her with her hand, police have said. She led Red Bluff detectives to an area near the Sacramento River, where Ruby's body was found.

I think Dawn missed the bulletin that said suffocating your own child is not an effective means of protecting it. Imagine a secular version of this logic, "Hey son, I have to protect you from the influence of drugs and gangs and bullies, so I'm going to shoot you in the head."

Now I want to get serious. The problem here is that these people believe in religions that claim that there is an afterlife dimension; an existence after or beyond this one, and that entities can move between the two. Dena Schlosser, Andrea Yates, and Dawn Serrena Young all shared the same delusion: They didn't understand that death = death. These women all believe that their children are still in existence in another dimension known as the afterlife.

Afterlife ideologies literally redefine the word "death" because they remove the state of non-existence from it. To pro-afterlifers, death no longer means the termination of a consciousness, but the transportation of it to another realm. The word "death" loses its power and meaning, and instead becomes a mere transition. I hope that I've stressed this enough at the risk of redundancy, because it is vital to understand it. I think that if you closely examine the phrase, "life after death," the contradictory nature of the afterlife becomes quite clear.

Now I would like to finish off this post with a call to all of my blog readers who are proficient with Photoshop. I need a JPG image in the shape of a banner or bumper sticker that says "Kill the afterlife, not children." As far as backgrounds go, I'm open to most anything. Maybe some color transition looking thing, or some kind of image would be cool too as long as it doesn't distract too much from the text. I really hope someone is up to the task, because if not, then I will have to make it myself and I already know that it won't be a pretty sight. Can anyone help me out?

Wednesday, December 14, 2005

Religious Atheism?

Today I read an article by Lloyd Eby of the World Peace Herald entitled, "Viewpoint: The religion of atheism." In the article, Lloyd Eby argues that atheism is itself a religion:

Religion has to do with what a person thinks or believes about first or ultimate things. German theologian-philosopher Paul Tillich (1886-1965) was especially insightful and instructive on this, saying that religion has to do with what he called "ultimate concern." "Our ultimate concern," he wrote, "is that which determines our being or not-being." Furthermore, "every human being exists in the power of an ultimate concern, whether or not he is fully conscious of it, whether or not he admits it to himself or others." In this sense of religion, religion is unavoidable because every person does have an ultimate concern and therefore has a religion.

The first mistake that Eby makes is that he tries to equate religion with belief itself. Eby thinks that religion is an "ultimate concern," and since everyone has an ultimate concern, then everyone has a religion. To Eby, it is not possible to have a religion only because he mistakenly equates the concept of religion with the concept of mere belief (regardless of what the belief is).

If Eby is correct about this definition of religion, then doesn't the word itself become superfluous? Why even talk about religion when the word belief, or the phrase "ultimate concern," will suffice?

To help illustrate my objection to Eby's article, I would like to use an analogy: hair. Let's equate hair with religion. There are different hair colors and styles that represent different kinds of religions. So what would atheism be? Atheism would be baldness. With this analogy, one could indeed be bald (or "without hair") and therefore have no religion. But Eby wants to redefine the definition of the word "hair" so that it instead is synonymous with the word "scalp." This causes all kinds of problems, and the most notable problem being that the word "hair" would no longer be usable to identify whether or not anyone has any actual hair on their heads.

To look at the analogy more technically, the word "hair" is a positive claim in that it denotes the existence of hair on one's scalp, while the word "bald" is a negative claim in that it denotes the absence of hair. Eby is attempting to remove the positive and negative distinction between the theistic and the atheistic in the same way that redefining "hair" would remove the distinction between having hair and being bald.

But regardless of any attempts by Eby to remove the positive and negative difference between theistic and atheistic claims through the redefining of the word "religion," there still needs to be a way to differentiate between the two. Redefining the word "religion" creates a vacuum in which another term must take its place in order to fill the void. What happens if we let Eby get his way? We need to find a replacement word.

I would suggest "faith" as a replacement word. If Eby is right, and everyone is indeed "religious" even if they are atheists, then we can help differentiate between camps with the word "faith." The positive and negative uses of the word would be "faithful" and "faithless" accordingly.

But what would happen if both Eby's shifting of "religion" and my shifting of "faith" were to take place? I have no doubt that the Ebys of the world would try to redefine "faith" so that it includes the faithless too! These people are constantly trying to include atheists in the "religion" camp, in part, to help share the burden of proof, and also in part to remove the distinction between camps because it makes theists uncomfortable to hear atheists use the word "religion" as a label against them. It is another way for theists to say, "You make fun of us for being 'religious,' but you are actually in the same category, so you are just as silly as we are!"

Atheists most definitely have an argument advantage through their lack of religion, and this is because of the burden of proof. The only way to share that burden is to remove the positive and negative distinction between atheism and theism, and the only way to do that is through the redefinition of words, which of course removes the meaning and the defining powers of those words.

In reality, there isn't much for us atheists to worry about. This is because the faithfuls' attempts to redefine the word "religion" will likely not succeed if only because it makes the word powerless and superfluous. In addition, there are likely many theists who will not be aware of the burden of proof and will not want to be placed in the same "religious" category as those who have no faith. And finally, even if the redefining of "religion" does succeed, it will create a vacuum, which will have to be filled by another word out of pure semantic necessity. Essentially, a new word will "take over" the definition that the word "religion" used to have, and the word "faith" looks like a good candidate. To be sure, the faithful would likely attack whatever word fills that vacuum, but it doesn’t matter, because the vacuum will always remain, vacuums tend not to want to exist, and there will always be more words -or even new words- to fill that vacuum.

No matter how you cut it, there will always be a need for a word like "religion." Simply redefining the word that fulfills this need will not remove the need itself. Lloyd Eby will probably have to learn that the hard way.

Thursday, December 08, 2005

Normal Bob Smith Comes to Hellbound Alleee Live

Normal Bob Smith, creator of the famed Jesus Dress Up magnets, will be on the Hellbound Alleee Live show this Sunday, December 11, at 2pm Eastern time. You can tune in via Freethought Radio or our Shoutcast stream.

Normal Bob Smith has been persecuted by multiple Christian groups for his art, he has been featured in the critically acclaimed documentary Bob Smith, USA, and his radio show, NoBS Radio, is broadcast on the Hellbound Alleee station. Normal Bob Smith also has a hilarious collection of hate mail correspondence on his website, and it's up to 246 pages as of this writing.

So be sure to tune in to the live broadcast this Sunday!

Monday, December 05, 2005

Shout Out

I would like to use today's post for a couple of shout outs. Recently, Francois Tremblay and I started a blog known as The Radical Libertarian. We currently have 5 writers for the blog, and more may join in the future. It is a blog that discusses political and philosophical issues from a Libertarian and rational individualist perspective, and being that it has some of the most radical positions in today's political spectrum, it is aptly named. So check it out. If you are an atheist, you will be intrigued and inspired by it's pro-individual, pro-science views.

The other shout out goes to the Hellbound Alleee show. Hellbound Alleee has two weekly shows, a one-hour recorded show, and a two-hour live show. Archived shows are available for download here, where you will find a wealth of relevant atheistic topics and a plethora of distinguished guest appearances, with names like David Eller, Zachary Moore, Normal Bob Smith, Matt Slick, Brendan Powell Smith, Derek Sansone, Jake Doelling, and even myself! To listen to the show, just hit the play button at the show's home page. You can also tune in at Freethought Radio, where the recorded show is on Saturdays and the live show is on Sundays. The live show features call in guests, contests, and a chatroom where listeners can discuss the show and talk with the hosts. There are many exciting upcoming guests, including David Mills, author of the bestselling book Atheist Universe, so be sure to tune in!

This concludes my shout out session.