In a world dominated by magical thinking, superstition and misinformation, give yourself the benefit of doubt. This is one skeptic's view of the Universe; natural wonders and supernatural blunders.

"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

 

Even the tickets are funny:

 BOOK OF MORMON Parental Advisory: Explicit Language

My birthday present from the wife! Can’t wait to see it!

Even the tickets are funny:

BOOK OF MORMON Parental Advisory: Explicit Language

My birthday present from the wife! Can’t wait to see it!

Mormons Declare War on Masturbation

A PSA starring Brigham Young University president Kim B. Clark compares ignoring a masturbating roommate to leaving your war buddy behind on the battlefield… And a hilarious pamphlet filled with tips for avoiding yourself.
Photobucket Pictures, Images and Photos

Hitchens | Mormonism: How a Racket Becomes a Religion

Mormonism, like homeopathy and quantum healing, has its roots in fraud. You probably don’t need informing of this. All the same, Hitchens on the founder of the “Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints” (Joseph Smith, who was convicted of defrauding citizens before he “discovered” the book of Mormon) is well worth a read. Even if you already know the story, this extract from ‘God Is Not Great’ is sure to renew your disbelief.

(Source: facebook.com)

confrontingbabble-on:

Religious fundamentalists always seek to emulate, if not outdo, the extremism of other fundamentalists…That is why religious moderates should speak up and denounce them

confrontingbabble-on:

Religious fundamentalists always seek to emulate, if not outdo, the extremism of other fundamentalists…That is why religious moderates should speak up and denounce them

religiousragings:


Mitt the Mormon
by Christopher Hitchens, slate.com
Why Romney needs to talk about his faith.
Mitt Romney appears to think that, in respect of the bizarre beliefs of his church, he has come up with a twofer response. Not only can he decline to answer questions about these beliefs, he can also reap additional benefit from complaining that people keep asking him about them. In a video response of revolting sanctimony and self-pity last week, he responded to some allegedly anti-Mormon “push poll” calls in Iowa and New Hampshire by saying that it was “un-American” to bring up his “faith,” especially “at a time when we are preparing for Thanksgiving,” whatever that had to do with it. Additional interest is lent to this evasive tactic by the very well-argued case, made by Mark Hemingway in National Review Online, that it was actually the Romney campaign that had initiated the anti-Mormon push-poll calls in the first place! What’s that? A threefer? Let me count the ways: You encourage the raising of an awkward question in such a way as to make it seem illegitimate. You then strike a hurt attitude and say that you are being persecuted for your faith. This, in turn, discourages other reporters from raising the question. Yes, that’s the three-card monte.
(More)

In 2007, Christopher Hitchens asked questions still exactly relevant today, and all the more important given his closeness to the office he covets.

religiousragings:

Mitt the Mormon

by Christopher Hitchens, slate.com

Why Romney needs to talk about his faith.

Mitt Romney appears to think that, in respect of the bizarre beliefs of his church, he has come up with a twofer response. Not only can he decline to answer questions about these beliefs, he can also reap additional benefit from complaining that people keep asking him about them. In a video response of revolting sanctimony and self-pity last week, he responded to some allegedly anti-Mormon “push poll” calls in Iowa and New Hampshire by saying that it was “un-American” to bring up his “faith,” especially “at a time when we are preparing for Thanksgiving,” whatever that had to do with it. Additional interest is lent to this evasive tactic by the very well-argued case, made by Mark Hemingway in National Review Online, that it was actually the Romney campaign that had initiated the anti-Mormon push-poll calls in the first place! What’s that? A threefer? Let me count the ways: You encourage the raising of an awkward question in such a way as to make it seem illegitimate. You then strike a hurt attitude and say that you are being persecuted for your faith. This, in turn, discourages other reporters from raising the question. Yes, that’s the three-card monte.

(More)

In 2007, Christopher Hitchens asked questions still exactly relevant today, and all the more important given his closeness to the office he covets.

(Source: lycanpedia)

religiousragings:

confrontingbabble-on:

Imagine, in 2012, electing someone that holds insanely racist core beliefs, which no one can ask him about, because they are deemed “religious”…
“In 2005, the Intelligence Report published the following statements made by Warren Jeffs, President of the Fundamentalist Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints:

“The black race is the people through which the devil has always been able to bring evil unto the earth.”


“[Cain was] cursed with a black skin and he is the father of the Negro people. He has great power, can appear and disappear. He is used by the devil, as a mortal man, to do great evils.”


“Today you can see a black man with a white woman, et cetera. A great evil has happened on this land because the devil knows that if all the people have Negro blood, there will be nobody worthy to have the priesthood.”


“If you marry a person who has connections with a Negro, you would become cursed.”[56]”

See:  Black people in Mormon doctrine:  http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Black_people_in_Mormon_doctrine

One thing I’ve tried to avoid during this Presidential election is holding Romney’s Mormonism against him.  Everyone who’s ever run for President has been connected to a church in some way, and churches and religions virtually universally have a ton of dipshit beliefs not shared by all of its congregants.
Romney has chosen not to make his Mormonism a political issue.  Whether it’s out of political expediency or because he truly believes it has no place in politics, I don’t know.  Given his lavish support of the Mormon church, his disingenuous nature, and his Mormon magic underwear, I would strongly suspect the former, however.
Romney brings such problems on himself, by not pledging to keep his faith separate from his religion, as John F. Kennedy did with his relation to the Catholic church in the 1950s and 60s.  Expecting a pledge of this nature is not unreasonable; indeed, we might have the right to expect it.  It is, after all, enshrined in the Constitution as the 1st Amendment, at least as the Amendment was intended to be interpreted.
I suspect that Romney stays away from discussing his religion, not because he believes his religion won’t affect how he governs, but because he knows that most of the nation considers Mormonism to be a strange “other” religion.  He knows that his is an Achilles heal, and he does his best encourage people to ignore it.
This comment has been entirely speculative, but I’ll still finish by saying that, if it is shown that Mitt Romney shares the views of Warren Jeffs, it would not in the least surprise me.

I’m with Dawkins and Krauss on this one. Also, I think if Obama had to explain away his preacher, It’s reasonable to ask Romney to address these doctrines: both the racism issues and the incredibly dubious historicity. I mean, Obama had to give a special “religion speech” and he wasn’t even dedicating his fortune and his life to some new holy book.

religiousragings:

confrontingbabble-on:

Imagine, in 2012, electing someone that holds insanely racist core beliefs, which no one can ask him about, because they are deemed “religious”…

“In 2005, the Intelligence Report published the following statements made by Warren Jeffs, President of the Fundamentalist Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints:

  • “The black race is the people through which the devil has always been able to bring evil unto the earth.”

  • “[Cain was] cursed with a black skin and he is the father of the Negro people. He has great power, can appear and disappear. He is used by the devil, as a mortal man, to do great evils.”

  • “Today you can see a black man with a white woman, et cetera. A great evil has happened on this land because the devil knows that if all the people have Negro blood, there will be nobody worthy to have the priesthood.”

  • “If you marry a person who has connections with a Negro, you would become cursed.”[56]”

See Black people in Mormon doctrine:  http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Black_people_in_Mormon_doctrine

One thing I’ve tried to avoid during this Presidential election is holding Romney’s Mormonism against him.  Everyone who’s ever run for President has been connected to a church in some way, and churches and religions virtually universally have a ton of dipshit beliefs not shared by all of its congregants.

Romney has chosen not to make his Mormonism a political issue.  Whether it’s out of political expediency or because he truly believes it has no place in politics, I don’t know.  Given his lavish support of the Mormon church, his disingenuous nature, and his Mormon magic underwear, I would strongly suspect the former, however.

Romney brings such problems on himself, by not pledging to keep his faith separate from his religion, as John F. Kennedy did with his relation to the Catholic church in the 1950s and 60s.  Expecting a pledge of this nature is not unreasonable; indeed, we might have the right to expect it.  It is, after all, enshrined in the Constitution as the 1st Amendment, at least as the Amendment was intended to be interpreted.

I suspect that Romney stays away from discussing his religion, not because he believes his religion won’t affect how he governs, but because he knows that most of the nation considers Mormonism to be a strange “other” religion.  He knows that his is an Achilles heal, and he does his best encourage people to ignore it.

This comment has been entirely speculative, but I’ll still finish by saying that, if it is shown that Mitt Romney shares the views of Warren Jeffs, it would not in the least surprise me.

I’m with Dawkins and Krauss on this one. Also, I think if Obama had to explain away his preacher, It’s reasonable to ask Romney to address these doctrines: both the racism issues and the incredibly dubious historicity. I mean, Obama had to give a special “religion speech” and he wasn’t even dedicating his fortune and his life to some new holy book.

confrontingbabble-on:

Thankfully, President Obama has only pledged allegiance to the United States of America, and vowed to represent ALL Americans…
On the other hand, Mitt Romney has also signed a pledge to adhere to the tax protection ideals of Grover Norquist http://www.atr.org/mitt-romney-signs-taxpayer-protection-pledge-a1872
Many people, particularly evangelicals and ex-Mormons, have legitimate concerns about having a Mormon in charge of the USA. The temple oaths seem to be of great importance to some people as we know the oaths of allegiance to the church that Romney took in the temple. http://www.mormonthink.com/mittromney.htm

Questions for Mitt Romney about his loyalties and core religious beliefs..

confrontingbabble-on:

Thankfully, President Obama has only pledged allegiance to the United States of America, and vowed to represent ALL Americans…

On the other hand, Mitt Romney has also signed a pledge to adhere to the tax protection ideals of Grover Norquist http://www.atr.org/mitt-romney-signs-taxpayer-protection-pledge-a1872

Many people, particularly evangelicals and ex-Mormons, have legitimate concerns about having a Mormon in charge of the USA. The temple oaths seem to be of great importance to some people as we know the oaths of allegiance to the church that Romney took in the temple. http://www.mormonthink.com/mittromney.htm

Questions for Mitt Romney about his loyalties and core religious beliefs..

In 100 years this country will be Mormon. It’s a stupid religion and a stupid country. They were made for each other.

Bill Maher (via azspot)

For such an America-centric version of Christianity, I’m suprised it’s not already more mainstream. I mean, what red-blooded nationalist wouldn’t want the garden of Eden to be in Missouri?

Romney: Grounded in the Galaxy? | by Lawrence M. Krauss

Up until this week, Mitt Romney had played down explicit demonstrations of his Mormon faith during the campaign.    However, earlier this week he invited the press to follow him and his wife in to join him in a Church of Latter Day Saints Sunday service, and it was just announced that a member of the Mormon Church would deliver an invocation at the Republican National Convention.   We may now feel freer to begin to openly question to what extent this candidate for the highest office buys into the explicit doctrines of his faith, because these doctrines defy common sense, history, and scientific knowledge.

Much has been made of the fact that until 1978 the LDS did not allow blacks into their priesthood, but a history of racism, and sexism would not distinguish Mormonism from most of its sister religions.  What is more remarkable, and dubious, are the origins of the Church, and the maintenance of the outrageous claims made by its founder.

Joseph Smith had been involved in unsuccessful claims to be able to divine buried treasure (leading to a trial in 1826 based on a suit brought by a disgruntled business partner) for years before escalating his claims to a new level:  to have found golden tablets left for him by the Angel Moroni, who helped him complete a translation of the otherwise undecipherable Egyptian script in 1830, not into the lexicon of the time, but rather into the 17th century English of the King James Bible.   Needless to say, the tablets subsequently disappeared, and were returned to heaven by the accommodating angel before any independent confirmation of their existence could occur.

Among the remarkably dubious claims within the translated book of Mormon and the ‘revelations’ that derive from it is that an otherwise historically and anthropologically undocumented and unrecorded lost tribe of Israel somehow made it to the Americas in antiquity and flourished here, and that the resurrected Jesus visited what is now Missouri, where the Garden of Eden apparently had been located, and where he will return as a part of his second coming, commuting from Jerusalem as time permits.

It is difficult to imagine how such a history would not provoke at least a smidgen of healthy skepticism, and it would be good to know if Mr. Romney, who is vying to hold the highest office in the land, simply takes it on faith.  Maybe it would be relevant to understanding whether similar faith is the basis of his assertion that his and Paul Ryan’s fiscal proposals will reduce the national deficit.

However, as an astrophysicist, one of the most intriguing claims of the Mormon religion cannot help but be an astronomical one.  It is that after an observant life on planet earth ends, good Mormons can achieve semi-divine status, each ruling a new planet somewhere in the Universe.

In this regard, Mitt Romney can take solace from the discoveries of the Kepler satellite, which has revealed a plethora of new planets surrounding other nearby stars, over 2000 so far.  The data suggests that perhaps every star may house a solar system, many of them with exotic properties hitherto thought to be at best unlikely, based on ideas about how our own Solar System formed.  So there may be 100 billion solar systems in our galaxy alone, more than enough to assign a planet for each person alive on Earth at the present time. 

Of course of the 2000 planets so far detected, no Earth-sized planets in what is known as the “habitable zone”, where liquid water and an Earth-like atmosphere might exist, have yet been observed. Most are either uninhabitable giant gaseous orbs or smaller scorched rocky planets that, like Icarus, have moved too close to their suns.  But, by the evidentiary standards of Mormon faith perhaps this is merely an inessential detail. 

As a bishop of his church one might imagine that Mr Romney has bought into this doctrine, as well as the ones described earlier. If he does, all of this puts Mitt Romney in a position that is unique amongst all major previous presidential candidates.  He cannot lose.  Even if he does not win this election and with it the opportunity to govern the most powerful nation on Earth, he is guaranteed one day to rule over, not over merely an individual country, but an entire planet.  One can only hope that in his case, it won’t be a gas giant. 

 Lawrence M. Krauss is Director of the Origins Project at Arizona State University.  His most recent book is A Universe from Nothing.

(Source: richarddawkins.net)

Mormonism = Racism

A former Mormon reveals how racism is a central theme of Mormon theology.

"Shall I tell you the law of God in regard to the African race? If the white man who belongs to the chosen seed mixes his blood with the seed of Cain (black people), the penalty, under the law of God, is death on the spot. This will always be so." -Brigham Young (Journal of Discourses, vol. 10, p. 110).

More Mormon leaders’ quotes on race.

Richard Dawkins (and Lawrence Krauss) on the historical plausibility of Mormonism, and a Mormon candidate for president.