Thursday, August 31, 2006

Tell Wal-Mart: No More BuyBull

A petition has been started to get Wal-Mart to pull the Bible from it's store shelves.

Now I'm big on free speech. I'm also very much against censorship. But I'm also very much in favor of companies consistently applying their policies. Wal-Mart has a policy against selling offensive media and literature. They've invoked said policy in their banning of Jon Stewart's #1 bestselling book, "America the book" for example.

Well, the Bible is much more "offensive" than a few pictures of naked Supreme Court Justices. The Bible contains instances of incest, demands genocide, and supports all kinds of discrimination, just to name a few of its problems. So if Wal-Mart is going to have a policy of banning offensive products, I think this one fits the bill.

So let's make Wal-Mart sleep in it's own bed. This petition, if it gets enough signatures, could very well either compel it to ban the Bible, or reconsider it's ban on selling offensive material. Either way, it’s a win.

Honestly, if I had my choice, I would choose for Wal-Mart to continue selling the Bible and to start selling other "offensive" material. But if they are going to keep their silly policy of not selling offensive products, then I want them to apply it consistently. Otherwise their policy comes off as a lie; an excuse or cover up of an ulterior motive.

So to all the readers of my blog, please sign the petition. Please tell your friends. Please email the link. Please post a MySpace bulletin about it or whatever else you can do. I, for example, sent emails to PZ Myers and Austin Cline asking them to post about it. I also posted about it here (but that is perhaps stating the obvious). Later today I will post a MySpace bulletin about it. And I've also requested all my atheist and agnostic friends to sign it as well.

Finally, be sure to click on the confirmation email link that is sent after you sign it, because otherwise your signature won't count.

Tuesday, August 29, 2006

There Is No Government Like NO Government

I’m not much for discussing politics on this blog, but I want to do a little promoting for my good friends and fellow anarchists, Adi11235 and Freedomoutsidethebox. They have a cleverly titled blog, There Is No Government Like NO Government.

It's a great blog. Adi11235 is a man I respect very much, and he is known for brutally effective resolves on Essembly. His logic is impeccable, his conduct is professional and respectful, and his intellect is admirable.

And Freedomoutsidethebox (who recently joined the blog) has great writing skills, and knows how to present an argument. If you are interested in politics and/or society, or if you’re just curious about what Market Anarchy is all about, I highly recommend that you regularly visit There Is No Government Like NO Government.

Wednesday, August 23, 2006

Hitler's Goosestepping for God

I wrote a little piece over at Goosing the Antithesis regarding the ADL, natural selection, Hitler, and and Coral Ridge Ministries. In it, I argue that Hitler's exterminate-the-Jews campaign was simply not analogous to natural selection, but Godly selection, and I make use of specific examples.

Give it a read, and then let me know what you think in the comments section.

Tuesday, August 22, 2006

The Insanity of Faith

Insane. Totally insane. Of course, you can lead a horse to water, but you can't make it drink. But we need to keep showing our fellow humans the "water," for our own sake, and for theirs.

But the techno part at the end is really cool!

Thanks to Positive Blasphemy for posting the video.

Friday, August 18, 2006

So Long, Satire!

It appears that the parody atheist blog, Discomfiting Christianity, has fallen off the map. I am not sure, but I imagine that the owner of the blog realized that the satire thing had gone too far, and honest people were being impersonated and slandered.

Similarly, the parody Christian blog, Brother Blark has also disappeared, seemingly at my request (check the comments section of this post to see Brother Blark accept my request).

This makes me very happy. While I don't mind a little satire now and then, I do want some degree of up-frontness about it. Places like Landover Baptist at least have a notification on their site that they are a parody or satire page. In addition, they don't run around pretending to be serious apologists, nor do they jump into serious apologetic blogs and waste people's time with gags and misinformation.

The Discomfiter and Brother Blark were trying to inject their satire/parody blogs into a serious debate community. And while it was fairly apparent that they were joke blogs, they didn't admit it themselves. Technically, they were lying. No disclaimers, nothing.

And then the whole impersonation of John Loftus thing was way overboard, as if The Discomfiter's obsession with Loftus wasn't overboard enough already. The whole debacle quickly crossed the line into extremely bad taste. Whoever was impersonating John Loftus needs to take a good honest look at their own conduct and ask themselves how they would feel if someone did that to them.

So like I said, I am very happy that the satire has toned down. I don't want to see dishonesty from either side of the ideological fence. And I want to thank both The Discomfiter and Brother Blark for taking the more mature and reasonable route and closing down their blogs.

Wednesday, August 16, 2006

Kalvinism's Kausal Konfusion

Kalvinism's Kausal Konfusion

Paul Manata has done it again. He revealed a bit too much about his Calvinist worldview. In the comments section of this post, Manata said the following:

Just remember, no one gets deconverted apart from God's will. So, if someone is deconverted by your blog then you've been used as a means by God. God's still using you, John.

Also, you'd have to know that a Calvinist isn't afraid that you might deconvert someone who God chose to be saved. God has determined the number of the elect before the foundation of the world, and there's nothing anyone can do to change it. So, go scare an arminian with your blog.

What Manata says here regarding deconversions is an extrapolation of a more basic premise in the Calvinist worldview: that nothing exists or happens without God wanting it to. God has every intricate detail of the entire universe planned out. Every molecule that moves, every creature that is born, every star that supernovas, and every apple that is eaten, is all planned and willed by God.

According to Calvinism, God's will cannot be defied. Nothing can happen without God willing it to. Broke your leg? God's will. Millions of Jews burned in ovens? God made it so. Deconverted from Christianity? God made you do it. Born with cerebral palsy? That's God's gift to you. Tsunami ravage your village? Forget plate tectonics, it was God's work. Got nailed to a cross? It wasn't Mel, it was God!

Now let's talk about a particular concept. That concept is called "responsibility". Responsibility, according to the evil secular, is:

1. The state, quality, or fact of being responsible.
2. Something for which one is responsible; a duty, obligation, or burden.

And "responsible," according to the evil secular, is:

1. Liable to be required to give account, as of one's actions or of the discharge of a duty or trust.
2. Involving personal accountability or ability to act without guidance or superior authority: a responsible position within the firm.
3. Being a source or cause.

Responsibility is what is assigned to a subject that is the causal agent of a given action or situation. If I, Aaron Kinney, slap you in the face, then I am responsible for doing so. But if God is the one causing everything to happen, then it wasn't really me that slapped you in the face, and it is God that is responsible for that action.

Here is where the Calvinism gets weird. According to Calvinism, God chooses who has faith in Christ and who doesn't. Therefore, neither the theist nor atheist are responsible for their belief or lack thereof. No atheist could be responsible for going to Hell if God chose that person to be an atheist.

And here is where it gets weirder. According to Calvinism, God chooses every action that ever occurs. So who is responsible for the rebellion of Lucifer? And who is responsible for the eating from the tree of knowledge in the Garden of Eden?

Who is responsible for giving humans original sin?


So who, then, is to blame for original sin? Where did original sin originally come from? Who is the real sinner?


So in light of this revelation, let's all join hands and sing a song that celebrates God's gracious carrying of the burden of responsibility:

All things dull and ugly
All creatures short and squat
All things rude and nasty
The Lord God made the lot

Each little snake that poisons
Each little wasp that stings
He made their brutish venom
He made their horrid wings

All things sick and cancerous
All evils great and small
All things foul and dangerous
The Lord God made them all

Each nasty little hornet
Each beastly little squid
Who made the spiky urchin
Who made the sharks? He did

All things scabbed and ulcerous
All pox both great and small
Putrid, foul and gangrenous
The Lord God made them all

Crossposted at Goosing the Antithesis.

Friday, August 11, 2006

Operation: Pray Dawson's Way to 20/20 Vision

In my previous blog post a commenter by the name of Tawanda chimed in to talk about her belief in Jesus Christ. Tawanda is a nice person. Our (brief) exchange was cordial. However, it felt a bit lacking in substance. Tawanda seemed unable to explain why she believed in the Christian God. What she certainly was able to do, however, was state in a dozen different ways simply that she did believe in God. The sad part is that I don't think she understands the difference between describing what she believes versus why she believes it. And I don't think she ever really thought about why she believes in Jesus either:


I believe in God because He is the one, true living God. God is the creator of everything and I thank God He created me.

I believe in God because He has shown me Himself in the Bible and I believe everything that precious book contains.

I believe in God because He has healed me.

At least that "healed me" bit was close to a reason why. So I gave her some follow up questions and observations, but Tawanda never came back to answer them (at least not yet).

But then things got a lot more interesting. A man whom I hold in high regard, Dawson Bethrick (aka Bahnsen Burner) of Incinerating Presuppositionalism, decided that it was time to really put the ball in Tawanda's court. I am going to re-post Dawson's comment in it's entirety. Observe the brilliance:

Bahnsen Burner said...

Aaron: "Why do you believe in God?"

Tawanda: "I believe in God because He is the one, true living God. God is the creator of everything and I thank God He created me."

Now there's a classic non-answer there. Nothing in Tawanda's response explains how she acquired awareness of something that is said to be invisible, immaterial, infinite and everpresent. She gives no instruction on how one can distinguish between what she calls "God" and what she may merely be imagining. What she describes is essentially a mood which she has personified and projected into an imaginary realm which exists behind the actual realm which we perceive.

Tawanda says: "When I call upon God, He always answers. I talk to Him and He talks back to me. God says that if I ask of Him anything in Jesus' name, He will hear and answer me."

Indeed, many passages from the gospels put some hefty promises into Jesus' mouth. Consider John 14:14, which states:

If ye shall ask any thing in my name, I will do it.

Here we have a statement in the bible which couldn't be more explicit and clearly stated. Also, keep in mind that the gospels attribute many healings to Jesus involving blind persons receiving their sight back.

Now, I am not blind, but it seems that every year my eyes need stronger prescription glasses. Prayer never worked for me, but apparently Tawanda has a better relationship with Jesus-god such that it answers her every prayer. So perhaps Tawanda would ask Jesus to restore my vision to 20/20. Think of the amazing coversion this would bring: that snarling, sabertoothed atheist Dawson Bethrick abandons his evil atheist worldview and humbles himself before the throne of Christ. It would send shockwaves throughout 7 or 8 internet blogs for at least a couple days. Apologists would quickly forget about Antony Flew's reconsideration of his position (well, perhaps they already have) for now they'd have something stronger than merely stepping away from strong atheism.

So, what do you say, Tawanda? I'm game. Want to give it a whirl? I'll even close my eyes and bow my head as you say the prayer. Just let me know when I can expect to throw out my eyeglasses once and for all.

Looking forward to the spiritual alternative to Lasik surgery. Can't wait!


Amen, brother Dawson. Amen.

Now we get to the real point of this post. This post is a prayer request for all theists and afterlife believers to give Dawson Bethrick 20/20 vision! Whether a Christian, Muslim, Satanist, Hindu, or whatever other superstition you believe in, you are cordially invited to pray to, converse with, bargain with, sell your soul to, or by any other means necessary get your invisible sky fairy to magically grant Dawson Bethrick the 20/20 vision that he is so patiently requesting.

Don't let the derogatory references to your deity fool you; I am dead serious here. This is the perfect opportunity to win a convert for your religion of choice! Dawson Bethrick has stated that he is even willing to close his eyes and bow his head to increase the prayer's effectiveness. It's a small price to pay for 20/20 vision! All you need to do as the messenger of God is to set up an appointment with Dawson, and he will surely give the head bow and eyelid shutter at the requested moment.

And if Dawson's vision really does change to 20/20 because of your religious intervention, I have a good hunch that he will convert to your religion. I know I will! You hear that, theists? If Dawson Bethrick confirms with me that his vision has been miraculously enhanced to 20/20 because of your prayer or other negotiation with your God, then I, Aaron Kinney, will convert to your religion on the spot.

This is a grand opportunity for theists everywhere! Convert two extremely atheistic souls, and destroy two atheist blogs with one successful prayer request! It's a fucking bargain. Our souls are for sale at discount, theists. Can you cough up the spiritual dough?

Friday, August 04, 2006

Jesus Camp: Because Brainwashing Works Better on the Young

The esteemed PZ Myers has a great post about a children's camp in that well-known geographic mud puddle of ignorant tribalism, North Dakota. The name of the camp is Jesus Camp, and there's a movie about the camp that was recently reviewed by David Byrne.

"Get 'em while they're young" is the most effective conversion tactic ever used by Christoid cultists. I experienced this tactic firsthand by my own grandparents who began my indoctrination into Christianity since before I can remember. If authority figures tell your young 6 year old self that Jesus is real and that Big Brother is watching your every move (alongside Santa Claus maybe?), what reason do you have not to believe them? Children rely on authority figures for almost everything, and the younger they are, the more they rely on authority figures.

In fact, a main cause of friction between children and parents as they age is the child's growing independence. That is why it's so important to get kids into Jesus at a young age. The younger the child being brainwashed, the more they will rely on their faith as a foundation for their worldview.

Here is a snip of David Byrne's review:

Right wing political agendas and slogans are mixed with born again rituals that end with most of the kids in tears. Tears of release and joy, they would claim — the children are not physically abused. The kids are around 9 or 10 years old, recruited from various churches, and are pliant willing receptacles. They are instructed that evolution is being forced upon us by evil Godless secular humanists, that abortion must be stopped at all costs, that we must form an "army" to defeat the Godless influences, that we must band together to insure that the right judges and politicians get into the courts and office and that global warming is a lie.

Naturally, the kids being so young, there is no questioning of any kind — they simply accept what grownups Fischer and the others say — they get pumped up, agitated, they memorize right wing and Jesus slogans and shout them back obediently. They become part of a support group — a warm, safe, comfortable feeling for anyone, for any social animal, for you and me.

Scary shit. I am glad though that these kinds of activities are attracting the attention of rational adults like David Byrne, and that these kinds of activities are more controversial than they would have been 50 years ago.

PZ Myers has a rather interesting take on how to treat religion:

Maybe we should start treating religion the way we do sex: it isn't discussed in front of the kids, we have committees and institutions that police the media to block access to it, the government works hard to dun fear and contempt of it into young kids' school curricula so that they don't monkey with it until they're at least in their late teens. It seems to me that if we're able to slap sex with the label of shame for so long, without actually destroying the ability of most kids to eventually enthusiastically participate in it, it ought to be possible and fair to do the same with religion, right? We could also treat people who expose kids to Catholicism or Islam or Scientology as disgusting perverts who deserve to be sent to jail, and put them on police lists that are distributed to neighborhoods.

I'm all for it. Let's make religion something in which mature adults can consensually revel, but that we keep away from the kiddies…until they're old enough to manage the responsibility. Sounds fair? I'm sure, though, that that is the last thing the pious would want to do: remove the kids from their oily, sanctimonious grasp, and religion would die back in a few generations to a low level eccentricity held by a small fraction of the population—and those few believers would all be idiosyncratic, and not at all in thrall to the big money institutions of modern religion.

Good idea. While I am an anarchist and totally against the state in all ways shapes and forms, if the state exists today, we might as well get it to work for us, right? Or at least make it consistent in its application of force. I think the Bible has more descriptions of sex than your average issue of Playboy Magazine, and more violence in it than Saving Private Ryan. So why not get the state to regulate the Bible the same way that it regulates porn? In fact, I bet that Pornography is less damaging to children's minds than the Bible is! No Penthouse video with double penetration scenes will tell you that you will go to Hell if you don’t believe Jenna Jameson to be the messiah. No Penthouse video with a sloppy, slurpy oral sex sequence will tell you that you were born a sinning worthless wretch! No Penthouse video ever simulates a pair of daughters having sex with their father! Even hardcore porn has decency standards that the Bible walks all over!

Religious people would obviously never let that happen, because PZ Myers is right. If we kept religion away from kids like we keep sex away from them, then the percentage of faith in the general population would plummet faster than Satan falling into Hell. Within a few generations, Christianity and indeed all theism would be placed in the loony bin file right next to those Kool-Aid drinking comet chasers. Which is where it belongs, by the way.

Oh those poor kids. I can only pray (hahaha) that they will be able to open their eyes as they get older, think for themselves, and remove the yoke of religion from their minds. Unfortunately, going from Jesus lover to freedom lover is a rather emotionally painful process.

It's tough to accept that everything you were taught to believe by the adults that you loved and trusted is a lie. It's tough to accept self-responsibility after spending your whole life with the emotional comfort of having a cosmic Big Brother who gave you a free pass to eternal bliss for all your faults just for submitting to Him. Its difficult to accept that you are indeed a good person - not born a guilty evil wretch - especially after your parents, friends, and family members convinced you that you were. It is difficult to get through the pain of realizing that you were deceived and hurt by the ones you loved, and the ones who raised you. And it's also very difficult to come to terms with the fact that while you managed to open your eyes and break the spell, the friends and family that you love are still trapped by it.

While I like David's review of the film, there is one small problem with his closing remarks:

When one sees religion perverted — in the U.S. or in Israel, Pakistan, Afghanistan or India, one wonders if the spiritual seeds, planted by visionaries and enlightened prophets like Jesus, Mohammed, Marx and others, are just too volatile for large societies to deal with.

Emphasis mine.

No David, my friend. All religion is perverted. That line should read "When one sees perverted religion..." but then it would merely be redundant, wouldn't it?

Thursday, August 03, 2006

Frank Trigg Don't Know Nothin' Bout No Abraham

Calvinist Frank Trigg recently commented in a post at the parody-blog Discomfiting Christianity. Frank thought he was all smart, but he only exposed his ignorance of his own religion.

It all started when Frank said that Jews are God haters. I responded to Frank's "Jews are God haters" claim by saying:

A God-hating Jew, huh? Um, news flash Frank: Jews are Abrahamic theists just like you, and they don’t hate God. This Jew was secular, but was a believing Jew until recently.

Jews are closer to atheists than Christians? Again you don’t know what you are talking about. I would love to see you support THAT assertion!

Let me correct you. Jews believe in the Abrahamic God. Christians believe in the Abrahamic God + Jesus. Atheists don’t believe in any of that bullshit. So Jews are much closer to Christianity than atheism. Jesus was a Jew.

Frank would have none of it. Frank refuses to believe that Judaism is a religion of Abraham:

Well, since the jews (you're referring to) don't believe in the trinity, and since the God of Abraham was triune, the Jews don't believe in the God of Abraham, now do they?

Yes, according to the NT Jews are god haters just like atheists and Mormons. I supported this by claiming that Jesus said you're either for him or against him. Therefore, since the jew and atheist are against him, they are on one side of the fence while all those for Jesus are on the other side.

At this point, I posted a devastating comment that skewered all of Frank’s previous assertions from his mistaken claims about Abraham and his poorly applied prostitute analogy. I even threw in an ad-hominem or two. Frank was liberally lobbing ad-hominems, so I thought I would join the fun.

But shortly after I posted the comment, it mysteriously disappeared! Instead Discomfiter, the blog owner and the unknown Christian pretending to be an atheist, deleted my entire comment and posted his own sarcastic comment about my humility. I was a little bummed out to see that all my great links and analogy dissections were gone.

So I figured that I could at the least show in this post why Frank Trigg doesn't know what the fuck he is talking about when it comes to "Abrahamic religion". Frank can't draw proper distinctions between worldviews if his life depended on it.

Here is a webpage all about Abrahamic religion:

In the Torah and the Qur'an, Abraham is described as a patriarch blessed by God (the Jewish people called him "Father Abraham"), and promised great things. Jews and Christians consider him father of the people of Israel through his son Isaac; Muslims regard him as the father of the Arabs through his son Ishmael. In Christian belief, Abraham is a model of faith, and his intention to obey God by offering up Isaac is seen as a foreshadowing of God's offering of his son, Jesus. In Islam, Abraham obeyed God by offering up Ishmael and is considered to be one of the most important prophets sent by God.

All the Abrahamic religions are derived to some extent from Judaism as practiced in ancient kingdoms of Israel and Judah prior to the Babylonian Exile, at the beginning of the 1st millennium BCE...

Christianity originated in Judea, at the end of the 1st century, as a radically reformed branch of Judaism, see Early Christianity...

Islam originated in the 7th century, in the Arabian cities of Mecca and Medina. Although not a dissident branch of either Judaism or Christianity, it explicitly claimed to be a continuation and replacement for them, and echoed many of their principles. According to the Muslim belief, the Qur'an was the final word of God and its message was that of all the prophets. As an example of the similarities between the faiths, Muslims believe in a version of the story of Genesis and in the lineal descent of the Arabs from Abraham through Ishmael, who was conceived through Abraham's servant Hagar.

Judaism, like Christianity and Islam, is an Abrahamic religion. Class dismissed.

Oh I almost forgot. Another commenter named Warrenl asked for objective evidence that societies are worse off when they believe in God. There are many studies and statistics that show this correlation, but I like to cite the work that Gregory Paul published in the Journal of Religion and Society as a convenient and recent example of evidence that religious societies suck compared to nonreligious ones. Paul's study does not claim any causation, only correlation, and I agree with that. I believe that the causal factor is education. But nonetheless, societies with more faith have more problems.

The Jesus Christ Fan Club Loses Yet Another Member

Yesterday I posted about a Jewish friend of mine deconverting to atheism right in front of me. That was a very good day. And today got even better. Why? Because I stopped by my good friend Olly's blog, 10,000 Reasons to Doubt the Fish, and found this post:

So right now, I’m watching my wife, who was raised in a traditional Presbyterian home, start to open her mind, and really question the beliefs that she has held (due to indoctrination) her entire life. She’s been starting down this path for a long time, but the reason I blog about it right now is that last night, she made the first MAJOR step: she began to reject Christ’s divinity.

Hallelujah! I am ecstatic at this news! But it gets even better:

And last night she and I sat down and finally talked about it. She told me that, what she’s come to realize, is that by letting go of the divinity of Christ, she finally feels at Peace about religion.

As we were driving around chain-smoking (our typical habit while having deep conversations), she looked at me in the dark of the car, and she said to me, with tears in her eyes, that she finally felt at peace.

Congratulations to Olly and his intelligent and brave wife for taking such a huge step.

While rejecting the divinity of Christ is a wonderful accomplishment, Olly doesn't think that his wife will reject God and the afterlife in totality:

I think my wife will always believe in God. She’s the first person to admit that she needs that comfort (she used those words herself). She will also probably always believe in an Afterlife, again she needs the comfort that is brought.

But in the comments section of Olly's post, Sean Prophet of BlackSun Journal isn't so sure about that. And if anyone knows about deconverting from superstitions, it’s Sean Prophet:

Maybe, maybe not. She’s already started down the road to freedom. Once ‘faith’ begins to unravel, where does it end? She might eventually find that the false certitudes she was raised on will lose their attraction. This is how humanity will wake up to who we really are…one person at a time.

Amen Sean, amen.

While Olly knows his wife better than any of us bloggers do, Sean knows what he is talking about when it comes to freeing one's mind. It often doesn't stop until it hits the logical end: materialistic atheism. Sometimes it takes many more years to get that far, but the unraveling usually doesn't stop until there's nothing left to unravel.

I hope that, one day, Olly's wife no longer feels the emotional need to believe in the afterlife and God. But that's a big bridge that only she can cross. While this incident doesn't count as a point for atheism, it definitely counts as a hit against Christianity and Jesus and indeed all theistic dogma. And that's half the battle right there.

Congratulations to all the wonderful deconversions taking place amongst my circle of friends, both in real life and over the Internet. The war of ideas is going well for us reality-loving types. Let's keep the momentum going!

Wednesday, August 02, 2006

More Afterlife Belief Has Been Killed

Yesterday a friend of mine declared her deconversion to atheism to me. I was quite surprised, and pleasantly so.

My friend was raised Jewish, but wasn't the most strict observer of the faith. In fact she has led quite a secular life, but has always up until now considered herself a Jew. While she is aware of my blogging and other atheist activities, I've never really discussed the issue of God with her.

Well I stopped by her residence yesterday, and she showed me an email she received that shows some Iranian Muslims crushing an 8-year-old boy's arm by driving over it with a car, all for stealing a loaf of bread. She was disgusted by the photographs, as was I. She made a few pointed observations about the barbarity of the Muslim religion, and then she proceeded to commit total blasphemy against God in general.

She said "I'm not even gonna call myself a Jew anymore. I don't believe that shit!" She said that God is bullshit and that the idea of being created by a God with silly rules is ridiculous. She said that she didn't believe anymore that souls are eternal, which pretty much means that she Killed The Afterlife right then and there.

But she then said that she doesn't want to call herself an atheist because of the social stigma. This statement alone obviously implies that she considers herself an atheist. She said that if anyone asks, she will say that she is a Buddhist.

And that's fine with me. She's an atheist now as far as I'm concerned. The cool part is that she deconverted all on her own, and right in front of me. I had nothing to do with it as far as I can tell.

All it took was a little photograph series of Sharia law in action to give my friend an epiphany of sorts, and kill her own afterlife. These pro-afterlifers, whether Christian, Jewish, Muslim, or other, are their own worst enemy. Their own crazy actions seen through the lens of modern, independent-thinking minds leads to a hemorrhage of adherents. Right on!

Tuesday, August 01, 2006

Christian Blogger Fakes Atheism to Publish Hoax List

An anonymous blogger claiming to have two PhDs attempted a smear tactic against atheist bloggers today. The blog The Good The Bad and The Ugly presented three "top 5 lists" for best atheist blogs, mediocre blogs, and crappy blogs.

Christian blogger Groundfighter76 first brought it to my attention via the comments section of a recent post at Goosing the Antithesis. Check out the comments section of that post to see my initial reaction to the list, and my eventually labeling it a pile of bullshit.

From the beginning the list seemed funny. A guy claimed to have two PhDs, one from Oxford, and one from Cambridge. He said he was an atheist who had to be anonymous because of his recent applying to a University job of some sort. Although that isn't too out of the ordinary, it is worth noting that countless atheist doctorate holders have made their views quite public; people like PZ Myers of Pharyngula for example.

The three lists he posted are a literal roll call of atheistic social clicks on the Internet. I mean, there are hundreds of atheist blogs and bloggers out there that put out a lot of work, and I am only associates or friends with a small minority of them. But the three lists this anonymous guy posted were filled almost exclusively with bloggers that I know and interact with. Dawson Bethrick, the folks at Goosing the Antithesis, John Loftus, The Raving Atheist, Ed Babinski, etc. This was too much of a coincidence for me.

This list was so insular, that I was actually listed twice! Kill The Afterlife (of which I am the sole member) was listed in the mediocre section, while Goosing the Antithesis (of which I am a team member) was listed in the bad section. How do I manage to get listed twice out of all the hundreds of atheist blogs out there? And why the hell is Dawson Bethrick in the mediocre section? His blog is anything but.

Then it got worse. The Sam Harris link isn't even a blog but an article from 2005. The Secular Outpost is just an outlet for the Internet Infidels website.

But then what happens? I notice that the 5th blog listed on the "best" list, Discomfiting Christianity, which I've never seen before (literally the only atheist blog I haven't heard of before seeing this list), gives extreme amounts of props to John Loftus, whose blog Debunking Christianity is listed last in the "worst" list. Then after reading the first few posts from Discomfiting Christianity, I realize that the blog is likely a hoax. Groundfighter76 then confirms with me in the comments of Goosing the Antithesis that Discomfiting Christianity is indeed a hoax blog meant to parody and insult John Loftus. Call me crazy, but the whole thing reeks of Paul Manata and/or friends.

So an anonymous atheist with two PhDs who seems to only read a small circle of atheist blogs puts a parody site in the best top 5 list, and some respectable blogs in the mediocre and worst of lists. Plus he throws in a site that isn't really an atheist blog but an essay from Sam Harris. He actually lists two blogs that I write for (I can only wish my name was that popular in the field of atheism). And the guy provides no reasoning or explanations as to why each choice got on the list that it did. For a guy who claims two doctorates and appoints himself as the judge of the intellectual merit of these blogs, he sure doesn't like to support his assertions!

At this point, I realized that this is very likely another hoax. I have officially called the bullshit flag. But unlike the Discomfiting Christianity blog, which is a somewhat obvious parody, this Good Bad Ugly blog is quite disingenuous. It took some research to figure out that it was a lie, and at first glance it very much comes off as a legitimate blog. I can imagine that it would fool a lot of atheists as well as theists. There is no disclaimer that I can see either. Even the Objective Ministries site has a disclaimer or parody notification buried deep within it.

Whoever created the Good Bad and The Ugly blog thought they were clever, but their little scheme only worked for about 5 minutes. I have nothing against Christians doing parodies. But I do have something against Christians lying and trying to deceive others deliberately. But of course Christians don't feel too bad about this, what with their Biblical revisionism and interpretation, master/slave moral ideology, and tendency to blindly follow the commands of their self-appointed mystics.

Christians clearly suck at doing atheist parodies. But atheists rock at doing Christian parodies. That's because atheists are smarter. Parodies like the aforementioned Objective Ministries and the infamous Landover Baptist site are brilliant in their conception and execution. If Discomfiting Christianity and The Good The Bad and The Ugly are the best hoaxes that Christians can do, then I feel pretty damn good about how this ideology war is going right now. All indicators show that atheists are the ones gaining ground, and that Christians are losing ground. By their works, we shall know them, the losers that they are.