god

The Jury is Out

I have disappeared for a few days… OK, maybe more like a week, because I had become consumed by a court case I was selected to serve as a juror on. I have never served on a jury before, so this was a completely new experience for me — one that I thought I wanted, but now, in hindsight, realize that no one should ever want. Ever.

r620-caf28fc922350a27f51ce3f6661c0b51I promise I am not trying to be dramatic. Hear me out. The case I was on involved a man who shot his wife of 8 years in the head because he was jealous that she was texting another man on her phone (doesn’t matter he himself was actually sleeping with another woman and seeing another on top of that at the time). They were planning a divorce but were waiting on tax money to come in so that they could afford it. The worst part? They regularly locked their 5-year-old child and 3-year-old child in their bedroom and after he shot his wife, he left the house with his roommate and his dog and left the young children locked in their room all night long with no one but the corpse of their mother to look after them. Yes, you read that correctly — he took his dog with him, but not his children.

Initially, he tries to play it off as a suicide which the police quickly find to be a lie, but for his defense strategy he claimed that it was an accident — She had the gun, pointed it at him first, he wrestled it away from her and it went off and shot her in the head. The evidence that the DAs presented did not match the story of there ever being a struggle and after 5 days and 37 witnesses, we found him guilty of attempting to persuade a public servant (he lied to the police), 2 counts of child abuse and ultimately of 2nd degree murder.

We were shown endless amounts of pictures of her body, the crime scene, her autopsy, the disgusting state of their apartment and the little boys’ bedroom that detectives said smelled so badly of urine it was unbearable to be in there for long. I don’t know if you know this about me (how would you, I suppose) but I work for an organization called Head Start. It is a federally funded, nation-wide organization in America that provides free preschool to families living under the federal poverty guidelines. It is not just a preschool program, though, the program focuses on the entire family and provides support, resources, advice, classes, services, etc. to families in our communities with the most need. The idea is that if you can get a child learning and educate their parents to continue that desire to learn in their children while also supporting the parents by teaching them about parenting and budgeting, the child will have a stronger/better foundation to grow on and ultimately will become more successful in their lives. So, needless to say, I care A LOT about kids. I would say most decent human beings also care a lot about kids but, the overall health and wellbeing of children has become a sort of passion of mine so this case was incredibly hard for me to listen to objectively. I did it, but it was emotionally draining and awful.

One of the things that surprised me the least about this case came when we were watching the first interview that was recorded with the defendant and the detective. About halfway through the hour-long interview, the detective leaves to go take care of some business (i.e. he wants to see his reaction while he is out of the room) and as soon as he leaves, the defendant gets upset and starts to cry. He puts his head in his hands and says, “God, please help me. Please forgive me of my sins.” Despite it being a really emotional, human moment I couldn’t help thinking, “REALLY?!” Of course. Of course now, when you have murdered your wife and you are about to get caught in your own lie, you turn to god.

We see it time and time again — awful people doing awful things and then praying/begging for forgiveness so that they can bask in the glory of heaven in the afterlife even though they were a piece of shit on Earth. Why does this phenomenon occur? It occurs because only a sick person could believe in a god sick enough to allow a murderer into eternal paradise because he/she asked for forgiveness at the last second. It’s desperate and selfish and allows a person to squirm their way out of personal accountability because ‘it is in god’s hands’ or ‘it was god’s plan’.

While religion (and I’m speaking mainly about Christianity although I am sure it can be applicable to other religions as well) does “teach” a lot about the ways humans should live a good life, it also leaves a lot of wiggle room for those that choose to do bad things. I can’t tell you how many episodes of MSNBC’s Lock-Up I have watched in which they showed a “reformed” prisoner who found god. Is he really reformed? Or does he just appear to be reformed since he has a newfound faith in god? People with faith in god are automatically viewed as being good people at first glance and first judgement by most. People take comfort in being around fellow god-fearing citizens, they feel safer for some reason. This is part of the reason atheists are demonized and viewed as not much more than a menace to society (speaking in generalities).

This phenomenon also further concretes my opinion that religion is nothing more than a crutch used by the weak in order to get through this hard life we have here on Earth. This defendant probably never even spoke once of god in his entire adult life, but now that he is presumably at the lowest point in his life, he wants/needs god. He wants/needs someone on his side, to look after him and help him through this. And, according to the Bible, if he truly believes in god in his heart, he will be forgiven and will walk through those pearly gates alongside those that went to church every Sunday and waited until marriage for sex.

So fine.

Lots of people need a god to feel safe and looked after and loved even if they didn’t just murder someone, but how can this not be viewed as a weakness? Is it always a bad thing? Absolutely not — to each his own. Most believers need this ‘big-brother’ god to look after them all the time, while others only need him/her/it in their time of need. Atheists just never need it. We take responsibility for our own actions and we hold ourselves accountable when we do things we know we shouldn’t do.

This is why I am proud to be an atheist. I may be weak in a lot of different ways compared to a lot of different people (for example, my involvement in this murder trial was incredibly hard on me but was the everyday job of the judge, the lawyers, the detectives, the coroners, etc.), but I know that I am not weak in my heart. I am on this Earth for some reason and dammit, I am going to enjoy it and treat others like I want them to treat me back. And if I ever find myself in a desperate situation, I sure as hell won’t be turning to any god to get me through it.

Faith or Expectations?

Faith. It is at the heart of every theist’s last-ditch argument. When you have questioned the historical discrepancies in their Bible, when you have pointed out all the nasty things their religion has been responsible for, and when you finally work your way down to the core of their beliefs, the answer is always, faith. The phrase goes something like this:

“Well, either way, it doesn’t matter what you think. I believe god exists because I have faith that he does and having faith is a lot harder than not having faith.”

Usually that about ends the argument for me — there is no arguing with crazy, after all. And really, what can I say at that point? “OK, fine, be stupid then!” typically doesn’t fly with my grandmother.

I was confronted with this argument recently and when I was replaying the argument over in my head thinking of all the things I should have said, it dawned on me. I have faith, too. I mean, I think I do. I would go so far as to say that everyone has some sort of faith inside of them. The difference is that my common sense tells me to have faith in things for which I have seen.

For example, I have faith that my car will start in the morning to drive to work. Do I know that it will? No. But, I have kept up with the maintenance and it worked fine the day before, so I have faith that it will turn on. I also have faith that my husband won’t cheat on me. Do I know that for sure? Absolutely not. How could I? But, I have faith that he won’t because he has never done so before and our marriage is good and strong. All of us have faith that tomorrow will come. We schedule appointments, put things off at work and plan vacations all under the assumption that when today ends, the sun will come up and tomorrow will begin. Do we know that it will for certain? No, but we have no reason to believe otherwise. The sun has always come up and tomorrow has always come — whether we like it or not.

The problem with the faith argument though, lies in the very definition of faith itself:

“Faith: firm belief in something for which there is no proof.” Merriam-Webster

My common sense tells me that my faith should be based on proof. My logical, reasonable mind tells me so as well. “I believe that ‘X’ will happen because it has happened before or there is evidence that it will.” However, theists and believers of any god(s) believe that faith in something “for which there is no proof” is a perfectly acceptable way to live and it satisfies their minds to be with religion. “I believe that ‘X’ will happen because I have faith that it will.”

This sort of thinking has never satisfied me, so maybe I don’t have faith then; maybe I have something more like expectations:

“Expect: to consider probable or certain; to consider reasonable, due, or necessary.” Merriam-Webster

I expect that my car will turn on, that my husband won’t cheat and the sun will rise again tomorrow. I still know none of these things for certain, but it is probable that my expectations are correct based on the current evidence.

So, maybe that is the biggest difference between atheists and theists: Theists are perfectly satisfied with having faith and can live with the fact that there will never be any proof to show them that their beliefs are correct or accurate. Atheists tend to let their ability to reason overcome their ability to have faith — It is more reasonable to believe in something because there is proof and, on the flip side, it is more reasonable to not believe in something because there is no proof. This, however, does not mean that having faith is any harder or any easier than not having faith. I think that if your mind is capable of accepting the idea of faith, then it shouldn’t be very hard for you at all. But, if you are struggling with the idea of faith and the blind acceptance of it, then sure, I imagine it would be pretty difficult.

The bottom line is that the common sense of an atheist tells them that if there is no evidence, then it must be bullshit or, at the very least, it should be something that they question. The common sense of a theist (and the Bible, oddly enough) tells them that as long as they have faith, anything is possible. “With God all things are possible.” Mark 10:27

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Praying For Votes… Er, I Mean, Our Leaders

I was recently on a Christian website scrolling through a list of sermons about Atheism and I came across this ad:

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Initially, it literally made me laugh out loud at the ridiculous-ness of it. “Learn” how to pray? …Huh? Isn’t prayer just talking to yourself in your head and hoping someone/something hears it and does something about it? Isn’t prayer personal and customized to fit nicely with your inner voice? And how does praying for our leaders differ from that? Is there a special chant or rhyme that must be used in order for the prayer to make its way up to god so that he’ll immediately know to give this prayer preference because it is for a leader? I was clearly curious so, naturally, I clicked on the link. Here is the description I found:

“‘It is a great privilege, as well as our responsibility, to pray for our government leaders.’ – Billy Graham

This helpful pamphlet helps guide you through what the Bible says about how to pray and about our government leaders. Also included are scripture references and ways to specifically pray for our leaders. The back has space for the names of local, state and federal leaders to be written, so they can be prayed for by name. Great tool for your congregation to encourage prayer for our nation! ” Billygrahambookstore.org

After reading the description and the hilarity subsided, I was left with a disturbing feeling of confusion. Most evangelicals disagree with our current government as well as the progress being made on social issues like abortion and marriage equality so, why would they be so light-heartedly praying for them? Then it hit me: They aren’t! This prayer guide is a rouse. It’s a cover up. They aren’t encouraging simple prayer for our nation (which is disturbing enough in and of itself) but rather, they are encouraging government in church under the guise of prayer.

It’s amazing, really. Without blatantly advertising the discussion of politics and government in their congregation (which would be illegal under their current tax-exempt status) they are disguising it as prayer. And how can one pray for our political leaders unless they know what they are praying for and how to do it? This then gives them an excuse to discuss it in the church and find themselves nice and warm and safe in the comfort of their loop-hole. They can’t legally tell their congregation who to vote for (although this is done quite often), but they can encourage prayer for a particular candidate whose views align with their own. Or even a prayer that an opponent of their chosen candidate wakes up to god and “reality” to find his/her proper way.

Woah. Votes disguised as prayers. Who would have thought?

I have another thought: How about when you are in church you do less talking about grown-up stuff like politics and law and more talking about your cute little fairy-tale book with its magical stories? Or, if you insist on playing with the big-dogs, how about you pay your fucking taxes like everyone else and earn that right?

People, organizations and/or mindless groups of blindly devoted idiots who do not contribute to society financially should have no say in what society does financially; whether in regards to funding social services or otherwise. The government is holding up its end of the bargain by keeping itself out of the church (tax exemption), it is time that the church start holding up its end of the bargain and staying out of government (prayer/vote brainwashing).

America Is NOT A Christian Nation

Many Christians argue that America was founded on Christian morals and beliefs. I have never really been able to grasp that crazy concept especially given the fact that we were founded based on a collective agreement that religion in government is a bad thing and we no longer wanted to be oppressed by it. Religious oppression is the very reason America is HERE today! So, why circle back? Well, we are on track for doing just that.

From 1892 to 1954, god was not mentioned in our pledge of allegiance. It took the Communist scare of the early 50’s to get the word “God” added to anything. You see, at that time, communists were known atheists and since we did not want to align ourselves with communism in any way, we over reacted (weird) and added the word “God” to everything so that it was known that we weren’t atheist therefore we could not be communist either (this is a gross over-simplification of the entire ordeal, but you get the point).

“Senator Homer Ferguson sponsored a bill to add the words ‘under God’ to the Pledge. On June 8, 1954, the bill was approved as joint resolution and signed into law on June 14, Flag Day. That day President Eisenhower said, “From this day forward, the millions of our schoolchildren will daily proclaim in every city and town, every village and rural schoolhouse, the dedication of our nation and our people to the Almighty.” The alteration made the Pledge both a patriotic pledge and a public prayer.” ( Buzzle )

Flag Day became a horrible, horrible day and a giant step backwards for Americans. But, I digress…

It is in America’s nature to be constantly in the pursuit of wealth and success.  Wealth means you succeeded in your pursuit of the “American Dream” and that monetary success is highly frowned upon in the Bible:

“And again I say to you, it is easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle than for a rich man to enter the kingdom of God.” Matthew 19:24

We value individualism, free speech and the power of dissention. But the Bible says that we should submit ourselves to “every ordinance of man” :

“Therefore submit yourselves to every ordinance of man for the Lord’s sake, whether to the king as supreme, or to governors, as to those who are sent by him for the punishment of evildoers and for the praise of those who do good.” 1 Peter 2:13-14

Ok. Most of us abide by the law, even if we disagree. But what if our laws and values are contradictory to god’s laws and values?

The Ten Commandments, Exodus 20:3-2, 7-10, 12-17
1. “You shall have no other gods before Me.

Elvis_Presley_promoting_Jailhouse_Rock1361206351-jordanMichael-Jackson-by-Annie-Leibovitz-michael-jackson-23173496-1261-17492008 American Music Awards - Show

We idolize our favorite celebs.

 

2. “You shall not make for yourself a carved image—any likeness of anything that is in heaven above, or that is in the earth beneath, or that is in the water under the earth;

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These things sell like hot cakes!

 

 

 

 

3. “You shall not take the name of the Lord your God in vain, for the Lord will not hold him guiltless who takes His name in vain.

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4. “Remember the Sabbath day, to keep it holy. Six days you shall labor and do all your work, but the seventh day is the Sabbath of the Lord your God. In it you shall do no work: you, nor your son, nor your daughter, nor your male servant, nor your female servant, nor your cattle, nor your stranger who is within your gates.

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35% of all working Americans work on the weekend and 51% of those working more than one job do, too. How much do you want to bet that one of the days they work is a Sunday?

 

 

 

5. “Honor your father and your mother, that your days may be long upon the land which the Lord your God is giving you.

Lonely Nursing Home

 

We have a culture of getting rid of our parents as they age and become bothersome.

 

 

 

 

6. “You shall not murder.

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7. “You shall not commit adultery.

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Yes, this is completely real. It actually exists.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

8. “You shall not steal.

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9. “You shall not bear false witness against your neighbor.

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Look at any magazine or newspaper rack in America (who am I kidding… look anywhere online!) and find stories of people blaming others, telling lies and living in deceit.

 

 

 

 

 

10. “You shall not covet your neighbor’s house; you shall not covet your neighbor’s wife, nor his male servant, nor his female servant, nor his ox, nor his donkey (I prefer to say ass. It sounds funnier and I’m really mature.), nor anything that is your neighbor’s.”

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Plastic surgery is a BOOMING industry in the US. Everyone wants what they don’t have!

 

 

 

 

 

American values rarely align themselves with Christian values and for that, I am glad. Of course there are some virtuous Christian values and some awful American values, but, if it were up to me (and it is) I would pick American values over Christian values any day.

I value working hard and earning what I have while recognizing that others around me may not be so fortunate (and doing something to help!). I value education, growth and progression. I value the freedom to think and believe anything I want as well as to question anything and everything. I value equality and rights. I value accountability and being held responsible for my actions. Most Americans value these things as well.

I do not, however, value ignorance or submission. I do not value blind faith in things that may or may not exist. I do not value holding on to useless traditions that stunt growth and progress. I do not value needless guilt for things I cannot help. I do not value living to anyone’s standards but my own. And, unfortunately, these are the things most Christians do value.

America is NOT a Christian nation and I am proud of that. I refuse to stand by and watch it ever become one.

I’d Rather Be Godless Than Godly

Lately I have found within myself a strange, masochistic yearning to read through sermons. I say masochistic because, generally, they do nothing more than make me mad- someone actually taught this crap to an entire congregation of people?? But, I still enjoy reading them to a certain extent because they offer a sort of validation for me that I made the correct and logical decision in becoming and remaining an atheist, despite potential backlash from friends and family. So, this morning I came across a sermon entitled, “The Complete Idiot’s Guide to Godlessness” by Joel Smith, a pastor of a Baptist church.

You can read the entire sermon here, but basically it is about how easy it is to be an atheist. Now, I think that assertion is up for a whole different debate, but I want to focus on the part that disturbed me the most: He spoke of atheism as a way of life in which god is not present which, to a certain extent, is true. However, he claims that even though many of the congregate members sitting before him believe in god, they do not allow him fully into their everyday lives and are, therefore, atheists.

Holy shit did that offend me!

The Merriam-Webster dictionary defines an atheist as, “one who believes that there is no deity” NOT “one who believes there is a deity but does not welcome it into their daily lives like they should”. I am very proud to be an atheist and I will be damned (by no god in particular) if this pastor can just go around asserting that perhaps atheists do believe in god, they just do not welcome him into their lives! No sir. He is not welcome in my life BECAUSE HE DOES NOT EXIST.

After Joel introduces his new definition of atheism, he goes on to explain how to be an atheist:

“Why does Genesis tell us that Cain built a city?  Nice info, but so what?  The reason Cain built a city was protection.  Prior to this he killed his brother Abel and God cursed Cain for it.  He was cast out of the area where his family dwelt and into a harsher, crueler world.  He would have even less of God’s provision and protection than his parents.  Therefore Cain built a nice little fortified wall around a collection of houses and other buildings – the first city.  It was the absence of God in his life that led him to this.  Keep in mind that Cain believed in God, but he lived his life apart from the Him.  In his mind he was a believer, but in his practice he was an atheist, without God. This gives us our first principle in becoming a practical or practicing atheist. Focus on insulating yourself from the harsh realities of life on earth… Not only do the godly refuse to insulate, they refuse to worry about the harsh realities of life.  They look to and call on the God who is more than adequate to meet their needs.  They live lives of adventure as God takes them from one assignment to the next.”

Atheists “focus on insulating themselves from the harsh realities of life.” Just let that stew in your brain for a bit… After that stews for about 2 minutes, add this next ingredient:

“That’s the outworking of godlessness: self-reliance rather than dependence on God.  The godless person relies on their own wisdom, experience, skill, and strength to navigate life.  The godly person, on the other hand, admits their inability and seeks God’s help more and more.”

Now, let that cook for the rest of your life and take pleasure in knowing that you are self-sufficient and can rely on your “own wisdom, experience, skill and strength to navigate life”. (For extra sweetness, add a dash of uncontrollable laughter and disbelief- I did and it turned out great!)

Before I end up disclosing all of my secret recipes in this one post, I’ll move on by saying that this guy is completely bat-shit crazy. Since when has it become a bad thing to live your life based on experience and wisdom and skill? Shit, you can’t even get a job without skill and experience! And how are addicts supposed to accept the things they cannot change without the wisdom to know the difference?? Now, don’t get me wrong, there is a time and a place for admitting inability. If I ran into someone on the street needing emergency brain surgery, I would immediately admit my inability to perform that task and then proceed to wonder how this person even knew they needed emergency brain surgery to begin with. Although, given the rationale of Mr. Smith, perhaps if I just prayed that I could help this person, my hands would magically know what to do!

“I sometimes think God probably love[s] my wife Laura more than any other person I know.  She constantly cries out to Him.  If she has a big or little decision, she seeks Him.  She teaches Drake and Anna Gray to cry out to God if they’ve lost something.  If it’s dark or rainy at Wal-Mart she cries out for a parking place and gets it.  She even cried out for His direction on which watermelon to buy.  Two summers ago she cried out when we were at a financial and emotional breaking point and God gave me a new job.  God answers people who admit their need. “

God gave this guy a new job, gave his wife a good parking space so she wouldn’t get too wet and he even offered his almighty guidance on which watermelon is best. Now, I know what you are thinking: “But, Missy! What about those poor people out in the rain that day down the street from that Wal-Mart with no car or no home to run to for shelter?” The answer is simple, my friends: they are not praying correctly. They may believe in god, but they are not asking him to be present in their everyday lives, therefore he is turned off to them. Instead of filling out job applications and wasting time in interviews, they should be praying and leaving it in god’s capable hands! Until then, he has more important things to worry about! He can’t just let Laura buy that dingy looking watermelon!

This is where the masochism comes in to play. SOMEONE ACTUALLY SAID THIS TO A BUNCH OF PEOPLE WHO HAVE PUT THEIR TRUST IN HIM TO SHOW THEM THE WAY TO BE CLOSER TO GOD AND UP THEIR CHANCES OF GETTING INTO HEAVEN (yes, I just screamed that at the sermon). Joel Smith says it is godless to depend on your wisdom and experience or on your skills and strengths and advises that they do none of these things, that instead they rely solely on god. For to be unknowing of the world is to be closer to god. This kind of teaching is EXACTLY why people trash the earth and remain ignorant to the horrible things happening in the world today. Not only ignorant, but uncaring and unyielding. THIS is why there are churches out there teaching their children to protest dead soldiers. Sure, they are extremists, but aren’t sermons like these where it all starts??

The Gold Calf

The story of the Gold Calf in the book of Exodus has to be one of my favorites. It is a story of an incredibly jealous god and a ridiculously stupid group of people, which ended up raising a ton of red flags for me about god and Christianity.

It starts off with a group of people waiting around for Moses to return to them from the mountain conversation he is having with god. They are getting a little antsy and are starting to think that Moses will not return. They clearly have no other purpose in their lives but to praise and blindly follow anything and everything because, after a while, they approach Aaron begging him to make them a new god since this one is taking so long. Aaron, who is one of god’s newly appointed priests, says, “Sure” and tells them all to break off their gold earrings for him. They do so and Aaron then proceeds to melt it all down and shape the gold into a calf. The people then immediately start praising this calf, dancing, giving it burnt offerings and proclaiming that it is the savior of their people.

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…Huh??

If these people are so easily persuaded into praising anything that comes their way, what does that say about god at this point?Clearly he is no more impressive than a little golden calf or any other god for that matter. Most Christians will look at this and say that this is not a reflection of god’s power but a reflection of the stupidity of people- and I would agree. However, I would take it a step further in saying that the stupidity of people is also to blame for the praises given to god as he “exists” today. These people were so ready and willing to offer their praises to anything because they were desperate and needed something to look up to and something to believe in. This part of the story says to me that god is interchangeable with any and everything. The only common denominator is a group of desperate, weak, like-minded people ready and willing to listen to anything anyone has to say- anything that will make them feel better, or give them an excuse for being or acting a certain way. Which is why there are so many different factions within Christianity.

Are you really inspired by the Virgin Mary? Join Catholicism! Do you sort of like Catholicism but don’t love the idea of all those saints? Well then perhaps Lutheranism is the religion for you! Or, do you enjoy the Old Testament and finding a good sale? Give Judaism a try! Maybe you really hate celebrating your birthday, or any holiday for that matter, and you could see yourself talking to people door-to-door? Jehovah’s Witness would be perfect for you! Or, perhaps you believe there was more to the Bible and you are thankful that Joseph Smith discovered those missing parts? Well then I think Mormonism is for you! Whatever your fancy, feel free to choose your religion and your god. And don’t let that pesky religion you were raised on get in the way of your choice; what do your parents know anyways?

Ok, back to the story. As these people are praising this calf, god sees them (of course) and it infuriates him:

And the Lord said to Moses, ‘I have seen this people, and indeed it is a stiff-necked people! Now therefore, let me alone, that my wrath may burn hot against them and I may consume them. And I will make of you a great nation.’ ” Exodus 32:9-10

God is a very jealous god and now he wants to kill them all- after he insults them first. Sort of like when your ex finds out you have a new boyfriend/girlfriend and the jealousy consumes them. They have invested so much time into you and now you have just simply moved on? No way Jose! (Jesus??)

Well, Moses sees that god is angry and is going to kill all of these people and he’s like, “Woah. Wait a minute! I just dragged these people through the desert and the sea for christsake! And now you just want to wipe them out? Hell no.” Well, actually he says it a little more like this:

Then Moses pleaded with the Lord his God, and said: ‘Lord, why does Your wrath burn hot against Your people whom You have brought out of the land of Egypt with great power and with a mighty hand? Why should the Egyptians speak, and say, ‘He brought them out to harm them, to kill them in the mountains, and to consume them from the face of the earth’? Turn from your fierce wrath, and relent from this harm to Your people. Remember Abraham, Isaac, and Israel, Your servants, to whom You swore by Your own self, and said to them, ‘I will multiply your descendants as the stars of heaven; and all this land that I have spoken of I give to your descendants, and they shall inherit it forever.’ ” Exodus 32:11-13

Basically, Moses uses the old, ‘What will the neighbors think?’ number on god to talk some sense into him and to not let all of his earlier efforts go to waste and it works! Really?! The supposed omnipotent, all-powerful, all-knowing god just listens to Moses?? Couldn’t he have come up with that reasoning himself before he let his anger get to him? Wasn’t it Jesus, not god, that was supposed to bear all the human characteristics so that we could relate to him/it? And, what good is a god if he has no sense of reason? It seems to me that god is the hot-headed, jealous type. The type you can’t break up with because you might end up in a battered women’s home. (But, he loves you!)

The story continues with Moses returning to the people and dividing them up, asking those that are with god to join him and those that aren’t to leave. Then, with the group of followers, proceeds to murder thousands of people.

“And he said to them, “Thus says the Lord God of Israel: ‘Let every man put his sword on his side, and go in and out from entrance to entrance throughout the camp, and let every man kill his brother, every man his companion and every man his neighbor.’ So the sons of Levi did according to the word of Moses. And about three thousand men of the people fell that day.” Exodus 32:27-28

Then, to add injury to insult after they just murdered everyone they knew, Moses tells them that they still have not satisfied god and that they will need to atone for their sins. Moses summons god and ask him to forgive them and god says something like, “Fine. You go and take these people to the place I told you to take them, as planned.” But he adds this,

” ‘Nevertheless, in the day when I visit for punishment, I will visit punishment upon them for their sin.’ So the Lord plagued the people because of what they did with the calf which Aaron made.” Exodus 32: 34-35

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Is that a threat? It sure sounds like a threat to me… If you are a god, why threaten at all? Why not do something? And, more importantly, isn’t god supposed to be all-loving? Or, is it just that we haven’t gotten to that part yet? How can I believe that god “loves us” when he goes around acting like that? Why the crazy jealousy, the temper, the fits of rage, the controlling, the anger, the threats if you leave and the threats even when you stay? Again, I refer back to the angry ex and the dangerous, jealous relationship- If we are taught that when humans treat us this way it is bad, then why is it OK for our god to do the same?

Jesus is a Prick

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I constantly hear arguments from proponents of Christianity that Jesus is some all-loving, all-accepting (unless you are gay or vote Democrat) dude and no matter what I do in my life “He loves me and wants me to love him back.” Sure there are lots of verses and stories outlining those arguments in the Bible, but there are also tons that show otherwise. Take this one for starters:

Do not think that I came to bring peace on earth. I did not come to bring peace but a sword. For I have come to set a man against his father, a daughter against her mother and a daughter-in-law against her mother-in-law, and a man’s enemies will be those in his own household. He who loves father or mother more than Me is not worthy of Me. And he who does not take his cross and follow after Me is not worthy of Me. He who finds his life will lose it, and he who loses his life for My sake will find it.” Matthew 10:34-39

Basically, Jesus is incredibly selfish and doesn’t even want you to love the people who raised you, who you have known your entire life, more than you love him- even though he bailed before you were born and left you with nothing but a book full of ridiculous stories. And, god forbid (pun intended) you find meaning to your life and are successful and love it. Jesus never got to do that because he was too busy dying for you and now he wants you to return the favor. Only if you die miserable, like he did, will he decide you are worthy of saving. Yep, Jesus is a prick. Here is another example from the book of Luke in which he describes his same intent for division as in the book of Matthew, but in a more I’m-going-to-throw-a-temper-tantrum-about-it kind of way:

I came to send fire on the earth, and how I wish it were already kindled!” Luke 12:49

Both the book of Matthew and the book of Luke describe this desire of Jesus to make it known that he did not come to earth to make friends, he came to show-off a few miracles, die, and then proceed to hold it against us for the rest of time. But, before he dies, and alongside performing some of those miracles, he is going to go right ahead and take the opportunity to screw around with everyone. He does this by describing the desires of god and explaining how to utilize those desires to spend an eternity with him in heaven; the problem is, he refuses to just tell it like it is. He insists on using confusing parables that make no sense, setting most of his would-be believers up for failure. After being asked by the prophets why he speaks in such confusing parables, Jesus responds,

Because it has been given to you to know the mysteries of the kingdom of heaven, but to them it has not been given. For whoever has, to him more will be given, and he will have abundance; but whoever does not have, even what he has will be taken away from him. Therefore, I speak in parables, because seeing they do not see, and hearing they do not hear, nor do they understand.” Matthew 13:11-13

When I read passages like this, it only further concretes my belief that religion was made up by man as a means to control the population. It is so blatant in this passage (there is also a similar one in the book of Mark) that in order to fully know and understand these teachings, one must never doubt, or look too deep into it. One must simply take the lesson at face value and interpret it as Jesus wants you to, not as you actually do. Because, in actually interpreting stories on your own, you are bound to interpret incorrectly and maybe, just maybe, you may begin to doubt the validity or the importance of the lesson. So, the less you think about it, the better off you (and the)y are. It’s genius if it actually works, and sadly, it does.

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Another reason I believe Jesus is a prick is because he has a horrible temper. Take the infamous story of the fig tree for example:

Now the next day, when they had come out from Bethany, He was hungry. And seeing from afar a fig tree having leaves, He went to see if perhaps He would find something on it. When He came to it, He found nothing but leaves, for it was not the season for figs. In response Jesus said to it, ‘Let no one eat fruit from you ever again.’ And His disciples heard it.” Mark 11:12-14

He knew there would be no fruit on it because “it was not the season for figs” and yet he still got pissed at it for not feeding him in his time of hunger. To give him the benefit of the doubt, I have said and done some pretty mean things out of hunger, too. But, this man is supposed to be the savior! The healer! The prince of peace and love! He can’t have normal human instincts… and if he does, he certainly can’t let them get the better of him! Which brings me to my next point: If Jesus was real, and that’s a HUGE if,  how can we hold him on such a high pedestal? He is just like us! What makes him so different and so special? He is no god; sure he did some lame tricks turning water into wine and walking on water but, wouldn’t a real god simply create a fig on that tree to then pick and eat? Or summon a nice turkey dinner to appear on his table? How can we be so faithful to a god so human when humans are constantly failing us? Wouldn’t this then imply that either, A. This god would end up failing us as well, or B. That perhaps a god so human is that way because he was created by humans and is therefore whatever we want him to be? The Hindus certainly would never stoop so low; their gods are constantly doing far more miraculous, god-like things on a daily basis and would never submit themselves to petty hunger or any other human feeling for that matter. Hindus have textbook examples of gods. Why didn’t the creators of the Christian god/Jesus get together with the creators of the Hindu gods and exchange game plans?

But, I guess that’s the point of Christianity, isn’t it? That god sent his only son to us, made him as human as possible so that we could relate and see our children in him, just to then sacrifice him for us, even though we never asked him to, so that we may live in guilt of it forever. Therefore, god is also a prick. Like father, like son.