Chronicling the follies of religion and superstition, the virtues of skepticism, and the wonders of the real (natural) universe as revealed by science. Plus other interesting and educational stuff.

"Tell people there’s an invisible man in the sky who created the universe, and the vast majority believe you. Tell them the paint is wet, and they have to touch it to be sure."

-George Carlin

“If people are good only because they fear punishment, and hope for reward, then we are a sorry lot indeed”.

-Albert Einstein

“Skeptical scrutiny is the means, in both science and religion, by which deep thoughts can be winnowed from deep nonsense.”

-Carl Sagan

The person who is certain, and who claims divine warrant for his certainty, belongs now to the infancy of our species. It may be a long farewell, but it has begun and, like all farewells, should not be protracted.

-Christopher Hitchens

 

Welcome back Jesus? Christians say ‘Blood Moon’ signals End Times

Many Christians believe Tuesday’s rare celestial event known as a “blood moon” is a sign that the End Times are upon us and the return of Christ is near.

The lunar eclipse scheduled to happen after midnight on April 15th will reportedly be the first of four so-called “blood moon eclipses” expected to occur over the next two years.

A “blood moon” occurs when the Earth spins between the sun and the moon. When the Earth aligns with the sun and casts a shadow on the moon, it creates the effect known as a lunar eclipse, where the moon gets darker as the shadow passes; as this happens, the color of the moon changes to a dark rusty red color, hence the name “blood moon.”

Many Christians believe the “blood moon eclipses” are a sign of the “End Times.” CNN notes Christians who draw a divine connection to the celestial event cite the Bible’s Book of Acts, in which God says:

“And I will show wonders in Heaven above and signs in the Earth beneath, the sun shall be turned into darkness and the moon into blood before the coming of the great and awesome day of the Lord.”…

confrontingbabble-on:

True bible believers are few and far between…while religious hypocrites abound…who pontificate that the bible are their god’s words…and then don’t even bother to read them…let alone follow them…!

1. The top graphic shows that true bible fundamentalists…Americans who read the bible at least 4 times a week…have fallen to a measly 19% of the population…and are matched precisely, by skeptics who hold the most negative or non-sacred view of the bible…

2. The lower graphic reveals the amazing reality…that whereas 56% of Americans disingenuously and hypocritically give lip-service to the claim that the bible contains the actual words of their god…a pathetic 37% of Americans bother to read these “divine” words, even once a week…let alone follow them…!

From http://www.christianpost.com/news/state-of-the-bible-survey-bible-skeptics-on-the-rise-117696/

skepticalavenger:

There is almost NOTHING in the Bible that can be taken to be in the least on the side of the anti-choicers.  Even the most cursory reading of the Bible quickly leads to the conclusion that Thou Shalt Not Kill is the most hypocritical commandment of them all.
via scontent-a-lax.xx.fbcdn.net

skepticalavenger:

There is almost NOTHING in the Bible that can be taken to be in the least on the side of the anti-choicers.  Even the most cursory reading of the Bible quickly leads to the conclusion that Thou Shalt Not Kill is the most hypocritical commandment of them all.

via scontent-a-lax.xx.fbcdn.net

Most of the past – surely far more than 99 percent, if we could quantify it – is irretrievably lost; it cannot be recovered. This should instill some modesty in us. Consider the weeks following the crucifixion. We have only minuscule fragments of what actually transpired. What, for instance, do we really know about the resurrection experience of James? First Corinthians 15:7 says that he saw the risen Jesus. And that is it. What Jesus looked like, what he said, if anything, where the encounter took place, when precisely it happened, how James responded, what state of mind he was in, how the experience began, how it ended – all of this had failed to enter the record. Almost every question that we might ask goes unanswered … Yet they are the sorts of questions historians often ask of old texts. The fact that we cannot begin to answer them shows how emaciated historically – as opposed to theologically – the Gospel narratives really are. Even if we naively think them to be historically accurate down to the minutest detail, we are still left with precious little. The accounts of the resurrection, like the past in general, come to us as phantoms. Most of the reality is gone … Even if history served us much better than it does, it would still not take us to promised land of theological certainty.

Allison, Dale C.. Resurrecting Jesus: The Earliest Christian Tradition and its Interpreters, p. 337-339. New York: T & T Clark, 2005. Print. (via academicatheism)

skepticalavenger:

via We Fucking Love Atheism

Everyone thinks their interpretation, or that of their favorite theologian, is the correct one. What’s more likely: that one is correct and all others are false? Or that they are all false?

skepticalavenger:

via We Fucking Love Atheism

Everyone thinks their interpretation, or that of their favorite theologian, is the correct one. What’s more likely: that one is correct and all others are false? Or that they are all false?

I have been called arrogant myself in my time, and hope to earn the title again, but to claim that I am privy to the secrets of the universe and its creator — that’s beyond my conceit. I therefore have no choice but to find something suspect even in the humblest believer. Even the most humane and compassionate of the monotheisms and polytheisms are complicit in this quiet and irrational authoritarianism: they proclaim us, in Fulke Greville’s unforgettable line, “Created sick — Commanded to be well.” And there are totalitarian insinuations to back this up if its appeal should fail. Christians, for example, declare me redeemed by a human sacrifice that occurred thousands of years before I was born. I didn’t ask for it, and would willingly have foregone it, but there it is: I’m claimed and saved whether I wish it or not. And if I refuse the unsolicited gift? Well, there are still some vague mutterings about an eternity of torment for my ingratitude. That is somewhat worse than a Big Brother state, because there could be no hope of its eventually passing away.

In any case, I find something repulsive about the idea of vicarious redemption. I would not throw my numberless sins onto a scapegoat and expect them to pass from me; we rightly sneer at the barbaric societies that practice this unpleasantness in its literal form. There’s no moral value in the vicarious gesture anyway. As Thomas Paine pointed out, you may if you wish take on another man’s debt, or even to take his place in prison. That would be self-sacrificing. But you may not assume his actual crimes as if they were your own; for one thing you did not commit them and might have died rather than do so; for another this impossible action would rob him of individual responsibility. So the whole apparatus of absolution and forgiveness strikes me as positively immoral, while the concept of revealed truth degrades the concept of free intelligence by purportedly relieving us of the hard task of working out the ethical principles for ourselves.

You can see the same immorality or amorality in the Christian view of guilt and punishment. There are only two texts, both of them extreme and mutually contradictory. The Old Testament injunction is the one to exact an eye for an eye and a tooth for a tooth (it occurs in a passage of perfectly demented detail about the exact rules governing mutual ox-goring; you should look it up in its context Exodus 21). The second is from the Gospels and says that only those without sin should cast the first stone. The first is a moral basis for capital punishment and other barbarities; the second is so relativistic and “nonjudgmental” that it would not allow the prosecution of Charles Manson. Our few notions of justice have had to evolve despite these absurd codes of ultra vindictiveness and ultracompassion.

Judaism has some advantages over Christianity in that, for example, it does not proselytise — except among Jews — and it does not make the cretinous mistake of saying that the Messiah has already made his appearance. However, along with Islam and Christianity, it does insist that some turgid and contradictory and sometimes evil and mad texts, obviously written by fairly unexceptional humans, are in fact the word of god. I think that the indispensable condition of any intellectual liberty is the realisation that there is no such thing.

-Christopher Hitchens, Letters to a Young Contrarian

(Source: en.wikiquote.org)

Well, obviously that wasn’t the magical rain of God’s vengeful wrath. 

Or maybe, some of the authors of the bible just had a fondness for the number 40.

Well, obviously that wasn’t the magical rain of God’s vengeful wrath.

Or maybe, some of the authors of the bible just had a fondness for the number 40.