Loading...

Sunday, October 9, 2011

"Genesis Revisited: A Scientific Creation Story", by M. Shermer

In the beginning — specifically on October 23, 4004 B.C., at noon — out of quantum foam fluctuation God created the Big Bang. The bang was followed by cosmological inflation. God saw that the Big Bang was very big, too big for creatures that could worship him, so He created the earth. And darkness was upon the face of the deep, so He commanded hydrogen atoms (which He created out of Quarks and other subatomic goodies) to fuse and become helium atoms and in the process release energy in the form of light. And the light maker he called the sun, and the process He called fusion. And He saw the light was good because now He could see what he was doing. And the evening and the morning were the first day. And God said, Let there be lots of fusion light makers in the sky. Some of these fusion makers appear to be more than 4,004 light years from Earth. In fact, some of the fusion makers He grouped into collections He called galaxies, and these appeared to be millions and even billions of light years from Earth, so He created “tired light” — light that slows down through space — so that the 4004 B.C. creation myth might be preserved. And created He many wondrous splendors, including Red Giants, White Dwarfs, Quasars, Pulsars, Nova and Supernova, Worm Holes, and even Black Holes out of which nothing can escape. But since God cannot be constrained by nothing (can God make a planet so big that he could not lift it?), He created Hawking radiation through which information can escape from Black Holes. This made God even more tired than tired light, and the evening and the morning were the second day. And God said, Let the waters under the heavens be gathered together unto one place, and let the continents drift apart by plate tectonics. He decreed sea floor spreading would create zones of emergence, and He caused subduction zones to build mountains and cause earthquakes. In weak points in the crust God created volcanic islands, where the next day He would place organisms that were similar to but different from their relatives on the continents, so that still later created creatures called humans would mistake them for evolved descendants. And in the land God placed fossil fuels, natural gas, and other natural resources for humans to exploit, but not until after Day Six. And the evening and the morning were the third day. And God saw that the land was lonely, so He created animals bearing their own kind, declaring Thou shalt not evolve into new species, and thy equilibrium shall not be punctuated. And God placed into the land’s strata, fossils that appeared older than 4004 B.C. And the sequence resembled descent with modification. And the evening and morning were the fourth day. And God said, Let the waters bring forth abundantly the moving creatures that hath life, the fishes. And God created great whales whose skeletal structure and physiology were homologous with the land mammals he would create later that day. Since this caused confusion in the valley of the shadow of doubt God brought forth abundantly all creatures, great and small, declaring that microevolution was permitted, but not macroevolution. And God said, “Natura non facit saltum” — Nature shall not make leaps. And the evening and morning were the fifth day. And God created the pongidids and hominids with 98 percent genetic similarity, naming two of them Adam and Eve, who were anatomically fully modern humans. In the book in which God explained how He did all this, in chapter one He said he created Adam and Eve together out of the dust at the same time, but in chapter two He said He created Adam first, then later created Eve out of one of Adam’s ribs. This caused further confusion in the valley of the shadow of doubt, so God created Bible scholars and theologians to argue the point. And in the ground placed He in abundance teeth, jaws, skulls, and pelvises of transitional fossils from pre-Adamite creatures. One he chose as his special creation He named Lucy. And God realized this was confusing, so he created paleoanthropologists to sort it out. And just as He was finishing up the loose ends of the creation God realized that Adam’s immediate descendants who lived as farmers and herders would not understand inflationary cosmology, global general relativity, quantum mechanics, astrophysics, biochemistry, paleontology, population genetics, and evolutionary theory, so He created creation myths. But there were so many creation stories throughout the land that God realized this too was confusing, so he created anthropologists, folklorists, and mythologists to settle the issue. By now the valley of the shadow of doubt was overrunneth with skepticism, so God became angry, so angry that God lost His temper and cursed the first humans, telling them to go forth and multiply (but not in those words). They took God literally and 6,000 years later there are six billion humans. And the evening and morning were the sixth day. By now God was tired, so God said, “Thank me its Friday,” and He made the weekend. It was a good idea. Culled from: http://www.michaelshermer.com/2001/12/genesis-revisited/

Friday, January 29, 2010

Why I Stopped Being A Christian.

WHY I STOPPED BEING A CHRISTIAN ¬ Tunde Aina “Man is a credulous animal, and must believe something; in the absence of good grounds for believe, he would be satisfied with bad ones” ¬ Bertrand Russell “Most people who are religious believe in the religion of their parents; but beliefs that depend on accidents of birth prove nothing.” ¬ D. Kolak & Ray Martin The year was 1979. At 13, I was a second year student of Ikeja Grammar School. During Bible Knowledge Class, a student read aloud the story of “Exodus from Egypt”. Hear the Bible in Exodus: And the Lord said to Moses, “When you go back to Egypt, see that you do all those wonders before Pharaoh which I have put in your hand. But I will harden his heart, so that he will not let the people go.” What? That statement hit me like a thunderbolt! How could God harden someone’s heart, thereby compelling him to do his bidding, and then turn around to punish the helpless man, his household, his livestock and entire people! I felt disturbed. I felt embarrassed. I was hearing that tragic story for the first time. The first time? Certainly not! I had been brought up in a Christian home, with strict Christian precepts. My father was a foremost Elder of the Christ Apostolic Church. His own father was a pastor and a church founder. By age 12, I had read the Bible right through -– from Genesis to Revelation. I resolved to take the matter up with my revered Sunday School Superintendent, Pastor/ Evangelist S.D. Olawepo (now deceased). His explanation was that God had to punish the Egyptians for enslaving the Israelites who were God’s chosen people! His explanation made matters worse and raised even more questions: Why should God have a chosen people? Is he a tribal God? Is he not the Creator of all the peoples? Every race? Is he a partial God? And why kill all the innocent first born sons of the Egyptians? Why kill the livestock? Was he engaged in power-play with Pharaoh? Might is right? … Little did I know this was just the beginning of my being overwhelmed by an avalanche of questions, and more questions, but no answers. I went back to reading the Bible. Myriads of such unanswered questions assailed my young mind. I began to question very many orthodox beliefs, much to the chagrin of my parents, who could not help me in my quest for more knowledge of truth and life. Within the following three years, I read the Bible through yet again, with an alert sense of reason, trying to make some sense of the senseless stories of war, torture, rape, and extermination of whole races; of incest, lies, betrayal and murder; of massacre of even innocent babies; of sacrifices; of atrocities and blood-dripping altar of the Judeo-Christian God. More questions assailed me:  How come God forgot to create the sun until day four? Such that plants and herbs came before the sun? What was responsible for photosynthesis? Without the sun, there was day and night? How come that God did not know that the moon is not a source of light?  In the Garden of Eden, why should God have planted the tree bearing forbidden fruit in the midst of the garden? Would any wise parent deliberately place poisonous substances within reach of his children? What would we think of such a parent? Why didn’t God warn Adam and Eve about the ubiquitous snake? Why should he curse the ground on account of Adam? Why place an eternal curse on the woman? Why didn’t he show leniency to our first parents as first offenders? And, worse still, why curse generations yet unborn? Is the act of visiting iniquity of the father on his children fair? What would we think of a man who does the same? More questions; no answers!  From Genesis 6, why did God allow his sons to come to seduce daughters of men, such that they bred generations of giants? Why did he have to wipe out the innocent with the guilty in a world-wide flood? Couldn’t he determine those guilty? What wrong could children and dimpled babes do? What did the animals do wrong?  From his relationship with the Jews: How could God love Jacob and hate Esau, even before they were born? Is that not favoritism? Why is he a jealous God? Is he feeling threatened by His creatures and idols? Why be so vindictive and cruel? Why kill his people for desiring a change of food from manna? Why did he encourage slavery and branding of slaves in Exodus 21? Why kill Uzzah for trying to keep the Ark from falling (I Cro. 13:9-10)? Why did he demand human sacrifice in Leviticus 27:28-29? Why did he acquiesce to the sacrifice of Jephthah’s only child as burnt offering in Judges 11:30-39?  During the time of Moses, did God really command: “kill every male among the little ones…keep the young virgins for yourselves (Numbers 31:17-18)? What manner of tyranny is this? What kind of God would order wholesale massacre of innocent children and whole nations? The greatest acts of genocide were committed by the Israelites on the commands of this God? Can the Devil do worse than these? Is the Bible describing God or a blood-thirsty Demon?  During the reign of King David, why should God have spared David’s life, after committing adultery (with Uriah’s wife) and murder (of Uriah himself)? Why, if he must kill anybody, did he not kill David, the sinner? Why kill David’s innocent child? Is that his standard of justice? When God was angered that David numbered the people of Israel (II Sam. 24), why did he not kill David? Why kill 70,000 innocent men in place of David? He killed 50,070 for looking into the Ark (I Sam.6:19)?  From the story of Job, why did God continue to relate with Satan familiarly? Why should he condone the killing of Job’s ten innocent children, his servants and livestock? What wrong did they do? Was it just to win a detestable bet with his arch-rival, Satan? Was that a just reward for Job’s uprightness?  From the New Testament, why should a supposed Almighty be incapable of forgiving sin, unless there is bloodshed? Is he a blood-sucker or a Vampire? Why should the altar of this strange God drip with blood of any kind? Why should he send his Son to die for the sins of the world? Can the world be civilized by the example of murder and bloodshed? Why should the innocent suffer for the guilty? Would that be justice? Why should any God sentence people to eternal damnation for unbelief? A criminal could believe on his death bed and go to heaven? A righteous man goes to hell for unbelief? Our righteousness like filthy rags? A sinner is to suffer an eternal, infinite punishment for finite sin? Would that be justice? Going To The Roots For years, these and similar questions assailed my young mind. Day and night, I contemplated them. I prayed. The thoughts kept coming. I talked to the clergy to no avail. The questions planted the seed of doubt in my mind –- doubts about the veracity of Christian teaching. My vistas began to expand, as more questions came rushing through:  What if it is a lie? What if the Bible is not God’s Word, as I was brought up to believe? What if God’s Word lies in something other than the Bible? Would I have the courage to let go?  How did the Bible come to us anyway? God’s Word? Who declared it so? Are such authorities credible? Did they have an agenda? Could they have fabricated the absurd, unbelievable stories? Thus a seeker was born. I became a seeker after Truth -– one not satisfied with the orthodox Christian worldview. The ensuing quest led me to dig into the history of the Bible and the Christian Church; and what I discovered was not complimentary to Christianity or its “Holy Book”. Unmasking The Bible I searched various libraries and encyclopaedia until I got materials about the Christian Ecumenical Councils, where Christian Creeds, the dogmas, were formulated. I read about all the seven general Ecumenical Councils, paying special attention to the first four – the Council of Nicaea, of Constantinople, of Ephesus, and of Chalcedon. The Christian Council of Nicaea was convened under the Emperor Constantine, the Great, and under Pope Sylvester I, in the year 325. It debated the divinity of Christ; and after fierce doctrinal disputation between the Alexandrian and Arian schools of thought, voted to declare Jesus as God, of the same substance with the Father. The Council eventually formulated the Nicene Creed, repudiated Arianism and, under threat of banishment, forced many of those against the creed to endorse accent. The Council of Constantinople was convened in 381 under Emperor Theodosius I, and the Pope Damase I. It developed and fine-tuned the Nicene Creed further, by introducing the Holy Spirit into the Godhead, to complete the Trinity doctrine. The third Christian Ecumenical Council was held in Ephesus in the year 431 under Emperor Theodosius II and under Pope Celestin. This Council repudiated the teachings of Nestorius, who had argued that Jesus had completely separate human and divine natures. This Council also proclaimed the virgin Mary as the Theotokos (more commonly known as “Mother of God”), which was later repudiated by the Assyrian Church of the East. The next Council was that of Chalcedon in 451, under Emperor Martian and Pope Leo I. This Council reversed its earlier decision on Nestorianism, by delineating two separate natures of Christ, human and divine. It formulated the Chalcedonian Creed in which Jesus was declared “truly God and truly man”. This was the Council that divided the Eastern (Oriental Orthodox) from the Western Churches. The Church Council of Laodicea of 364 was non-ecumenical, but it ordered that religious observances were to be held on Sundays, not Saturdays. Thus Sunday became the new Sabbath, and Christians were free to work on Saturdays. Three other Ecumenical Councils were held at Nicaea and Constantinople, while the Catholic Church held several other Councils at Lateran, at Lyon, Constance, Trent etc. At these Councils, men vested divine authority on themselves; they formulated and developed what would be the article of Christian orthodoxy. I educated myself about how men voted for books that will make up their “Holy Book”. They voted many to be doubtful, and declared others as having been inspired by the Holy Ghost! Undated books -- written by nobody knows whom, nor when, nor where; collected by oral tradition (hearsay), after several intervening decades between the time of writing and the purported events –- had become the Word of God and was to be known as “The Holy Bible”! I read about the forgeries and interpolations carried out by so-called Church fathers, some of whom later admitted having lied in honour of God! In all the disputations arising from the Councils, such was the malice and stupidity of men that they preferred to pass their lives worshiping a book received from barbaric, ignorant savages -- a book with little mythical tales, with little order or method, serving only to foment divisions. The divisions led to the bloodshed and savage massacres of the ignoble Crusade era. For over a thousand years, early Christians steeped the history of the world in blood, in the most malevolent doctrinal wars, crusades and Inquisition. It is sad, but true, that the history of the Church only proved right the words of Blaise Pascal that, “men never do evil so completely and cheerfully as when they do it from religious conviction”. Disgusted, I turned to Science. I needed to know more about life, about Creation, the earth on which we live, and the world around me in general. I was undaunted by the task ahead, as reading had always been a great hobby of mine. I could no longer trust a book which erroneously informs me that the languages of the world started spontaneously when God became threatened by the exploits of puny humans at the Tower of Babel. I could no longer trust a transmission that narrates a foolish story of how Joshua stopped the sun on its non-existent course, in order to prolong day-light enough to complete his insane butchery of fellow humans! Aren’t such silly stories on the same level as fairy tales of “Jack and the Beanstalk”, “Cinderella”, or the sun-god, “Hercules”? I grew tired of reading mythical tales of a talking serpent, a talking ass, a floating iron; of a whale swallowing Jonah, of bush that wouldn’t burn, of angels co-habiting with daughters of men, of dead decomposing bodies coming out of their graves, of bodies floating to heaven, and of a blood-thirsty, cruel God – a God that repents! I was tired of Jehovah, the jealous one, eternal torturer of his own people, the destroyer of the first world, toddlers and all, killer of innocent babies and children! the terrible, tribal God of Israel who ordained criminals as kings and called them men after his heart – what a heart! Thus, for a time, I abandoned the delusions, the obscene myths that make the Christian theology. I studied Geography and Astronomy – just a little, and obtained a faint conception of astounding astronomical spaces, of the galaxies, and “the stars also”. I discovered that the “inspired writer” of the Book of Genesis had no knowledge of astronomy. Whoever wrote the story of Joshua stopping the sun and the moon was as ignorant as Koma people. I had no choice but to give up the Old Testament on account of its absurdities, its ignorance and its cruelty. It is a lie! But if its obscene stories are true, I detest its god! I went a step further with the New Testament, and eventually, had to give it up because it vouched for the truth of the Old and was founded on it. After all, if the foundation be destroyed, what would become of the super-structure? Good riddance! My Forays Into Other Paths Having discarded the faith of my birth, with its myths, its superstition and fables, I decided to examine some other paths and teachings. Could there be a true Word of God out there? Perhaps my parents were deluded; perhaps others had the true faith? I read the teaching of Jehovah’s witnesses; and, with all its distaste for Christendom, is still founded on that book of lies and absurdities called “Bible”. Then I read books and magazines of various sects, even became registered member of some of them. I read the enthralling Book, “In the Light of Truth” -- The Grail Message, four times over, and was a member of the Grail Movement for nine years. I read the “Science of Self Realisation” by A.C. Bhaktivedanta Prabhupada – a text of the Hare Krishna Movement. I read other “Holy Scriptures: the “Bhagavad-Gita As It Is”, the “Srimad Bhagavatam”and the Zed-Aventa; the Book of Mormons, and the Holy Koran. The spiritual exercises of Eckankar – The Religion of the Light and Sound of God -- attracted me so much that I became a member for four years. I perused its Scripture, “Shariyat-Ki-Sugmad”, and reveled in its “Thirty-five golden keys”. I enrolled for a mystical course in Buddhism, and read numerous books and magazines of the Ancient Mystical Order of the Rossi Cruci ( AMORC). The mystical books of Lobsang Rampa did not escape my attention; neither did those of White Eagle Brotherhood of America. I did not spare the fabulous “Lost Books of the Bible” and the mythical “Forgotten Books of Eden”. I ventured into Scientology, and also into the “Vasudera” of Confucius. I pored over avalanche of books on the “saviors” or avatars of mankind including those of Mithra, Zoroaster, Buddha, Confucius, Horus, Osiris, Krishna, Jesus, Baldur, Mohammed, Lao-Tsu, Abd-ru-shin, Bramah, Vishnu, Arjuna, and several modern-day Masters or Teachers. I employed my love of reading to great effect. Next, I examined the works of great Philosophers and Thinkers -– old and modern. I read about Socrates, about Plato, and about Diogenes. I studied Thomas Paine, including his classical work, “The Age of Reason”. I became absorbed with the controversial works of Charles Darwin, and I read his popular “Origin of Species” and “The Descent of Man”. Bertrand Russell fascinated me, so did Herbert Spencer. I found the works of Burns, Volney, Laplace and Humboldt compelling. I valued Zeno and Epicurus. I was enlightened by Robert Ingersoll, mystified by Cains Smith, dazed by James Frazer; and I became an acquaintance of Richard Dawkins through his works. Through all these, I grew, I believed, I doubted, I discarded. I recited mantra; engaged in spiritual exercises; I fellowshipped, and I worshipped. As I grew, I loved; I revered; was born-again. I erred; I retraced my steps; I back-slided; I learned. I adored; I cherished; was deluded. Through all these, I matured. In my study of the various religions, teachings, philosophies and pathways, I have come to realize that virtually all religions were established the same way. They all have their holy books, their christs or avatars, their apostles and their rituals. I found that the religion of a people was their science, their explanation of the world – of life, of death and of hereafter. I see faith in religion as a prop which some of us can do without; after all a healthy man does not require crutches to walk. I realize that the choicest gift of man is his ability to reason. Lose it or ignore it, and you leave yourself wide open to the possibility of being imposed upon. Reason is our only true religion; with it every error is doomed! I reject faith as a valid tool for knowledge, as it imposes no limits at all! I realize that many people would rather die than think; in fact most do. I subscribe to knowledge, the sacredness of doubt and the value of evidence, believing that belief without evidence is nothing but superstition. Thus I agree with the eminent Bertrand Russell who declared in his essay titled; “Human Society in Ethics and Politics”: There is something feeble and a little contemptible about a man who cannot face the perils of life without the help of comfortable myths. Almost inevitably some part of him is aware that they are myths and that he believes them only because they are comforting. But he dare not face this thought! Moreover, since he is aware, however dimly, that his opinions are not real, he becomes furious when they are disputed. Conclusion Why did I abandon Christianity? The focal point of Christian theology, the unjust doctrine of vicarious sacrifice, is based on the fable of the fall of man. Think of it: A man and a woman – nobody knows where or when – are, at the instance of a wily serpent, supposed to have tasted the fruit of a tree. The enslaved religious mind, with its crouching imagination, pounces upon this flimsy, fanciful tale with the appetite of a carrion crow, and exalts it to the dignity of an excuse for the eternal damnation of the whole world! Dazzling, isn’t it? Throughout the last 400 years, during which the growth of science had gradually shown men how to acquire knowledge of the ways of nature and mastery over natural forces, the clergy have fought a losing battle against science, in astronomy and geology; in anatomy, physiology and biology; in psychology and sociology. Ousted from one position, they have taken up another. After being worsted in astronomy, they did their best to prevent the rise of geology; they fought against Darwin in biology, and at the present time they fight against scientific theories of psychology and education. At each stage, they try to make the public forget their earlier obscurantism, in order that their present obscurantism may not be recognized for what it is. Anyone who knows anything about the origins of Christian teachings, creeds and tradition would know that there is nothing original in Christianity. It borrowed its every teaching from earlier traditions. It even borrowed its Christ! Thus, the words of Confucius and Buddha, avatars who lived 500 – 600 years before Jesus were re-robbed as the words of Christ. Christianity and its festivals; its sacraments, its virgin-birth; its doctrine of salvation; death, resurrection and ascension of its Christ – none of these is original to Christianity, as the same story had been told of Krishna, of Mithra, of Horus, of Marduk, and several “saviours” of mankind in their mould, long before the Church fathers plagiarized ancient scriptures and fabricated their own story; it is an old wine in a new bottle. And I dare say, like my friend, Thomas Paine, “I disbelieve them all”!!! Robert Burns, the philosopher and poet did hit the nail on its head when he declared: All religions are old wives’ fables, But an honest man has nothing to fear, Either in this world or the one to come. Recommended For Further Reading: • Attenborough, D. (1960) Quest In Paradise • Alpine, R. (1948) The Trial of Evidence • Ball, M.D. (2001) Best-Selling Errancy • Cains, Smith (1985) Seven Clues to the Origin of Life • Dawkins, R. (1996) Climbing Mount Improbable • Dawkins, R. (2006) The God Delusion • Encyclopaedia of Religion and Ethics • Ephraim, E. (1978) When God Is Silent • Frazer, J.G. (1994) The Golden Bough • Harrison, S. (1989) Truth In Chains • http://www.americanhumanist.org • http://www.infidels.org • http://dwindlinginunbelief.com • http://www.evilbible.com • http://quackwatch.org • http://www.snopes.com • Ingersoll, R. (1888) Which Way • Ingersoll R. (1892) Christmas Sermon • Kolak, D. Believing In Belief • Paine, T. (1792) Age of Reason • Plimer, I. (1994) Telling Lies for God: Reason Vs Creationism • Russel, B. (1955) The Will To Doubt • Russel, B. (1957) Religion And Science • Shermer, M. (2006) The Soul of Science • Stanton, E.C. (1922) Dare To Question • Teller, Woolsey (1932) The Atheism Of Astronomy • White, A. (1936) The Warfare of Science With Theology • Wilpert, L. (2006) Six Impossible Things Before Breakfast: The Evolutionary Origins of Belief

Tuesday, January 26, 2010

The Despicable God !

“… kill every male among the little ones, and kill every woman that hath known man by lying with him. But keep alive for yourselves all the young girls who have not known a man intimately…” (Numbers 31: 17-18) “Then I also will walk contrary to you in fury, and I, even I, will chastise you seven times for your sins. You shall eat the flesh of your sons, and you shall eat the flesh of your daughters…” (Lev.26:28-29) “Shall there be evil in a city, and the Lord hath not done it?” (Amos 3:6) “ And I will dash them one against another, even the fathers and the sons together,… I will not pity, nor spare, nor have mercy, but destroy them.” (Jer.13:14). The above quotations and several others, too numerous to count, describe some of the merciless, rather criminal activities, ascribed to a god in the Old Testament called “Jehovah”. I use a small “g” advisedly, convinced that the god here described cannot be the Almighty, Creator of all the universes that we know. The Jehovah of the Bible is callous, vindictive, jealous, brutal, tyrannical, and is a tribal god! He appoints a people like him and calls them his people! Is anyone still in doubt that he cannot be the creator of all? – Otherwise he must own up to being partial, in addition to his many low points!  This god, not knowing his own mind, “created man” and thereafter “repented” of this action and annulled his own creation by wiping his creatures (including innocent babies and children!) out in a “world-wide flood”, after which he repented again and promised never to do such evil anymore!  Failing to civilise man, he now chose himself a people, obviously of his ilk, gave them laws he often commanded them to disobey or disobey himself (as in quotations above) and also in: “Thus saith the Lord God of Israel” (tribal god, see what I mean?) “Put every man his sword by his side, and go in and out from gate to gate throughout the camp and slay every man his brother… his companion, and …his neighbour”! (Ex.32:27)  He hardened Pharaoh’s heart, thereby taking responsibility for Pharaoh’s actions, but turned round to punish Pharaoh’s family, his household, his innocent people, the livestock, plants, rivers and the entire land!  He encouraged the notoriously wicked and devilish acts of slavery and slave trading, as he gave “his people” laws about buying slaves and branding them by drilling hole in their ears!! (Exodus 21)  He often showed vindictiveness and cruelty, as he smote his people with “a great plague” for desiring a change of food from manna! (Num. 11:33)  He demanded human sacrifice (Lev.27:28-29), and actually acquiesced to the sacrifice of Jephthah’s only child as burnt offering!! (Judges 11:30-39).  This same god, in order to win a detestable bet with his arch-rival, Satan, condoned the killing of Job’s ten innocent children, his servants and livestock, all on the same day! (Job 1).  He often showed partiality, as he said: “Jacob have I loved, but Esau have I hated” even without cause! He killed a man for daring to support the Ark of Covenant to prevent it from falling over! Yet he spared David (a man after his heart) for committing adultery (with Uriah’s wife) and murder (of Uriah himself)! Rather David’s innocent child was killed for his father’s sin!!  And the clincher of the trophy for infamy: Can any injustice be greater than this? Have a look: “And the Lord sent pestilence upon Israel”, killing seventy thousand men (II Samuel 24:15). But for what? For a sin they committed? No! But for a sin committed by David, their king! Ah! And what is this mortal “sin”? one might ask: David numbered the people of Israel!! Seventy (not tens, not hundred) thousand innocent men were slaughtered without counting the supposedly inconsequential women and children!! And wait for it: the census that led to this horrendous massacre was done at the instance of this same god!!! (verse 1) because, as they say “his mercy endures for ever”. Read the whole story honestly and numerous others in the books of Joshua, Judges, Samuel, Kings, and Chronicles, and you will feel nothing but blood-cuddling horror at the acts of this “blood demanding” god! What more can one say about the stories of war, torture, rape, and extermination of whole races; about incest, lies, betrayal and murder; about massacre of even innocent babies; about sacrifices; about atrocities and blood-dripping altar of this tribal god. Could the Devil have done, or commanded to be done, acts worse than this? If a god could command: “kill every male among the little ones…keep the young virgins for yourselves”, what worse can any tyrannical Devil command? The picture that can be painted from all these gory tales of this so-called “Jehovah God” is nothing more than that of a blood-sucking vampire; his altar, (and of course his teeth), dripping with blood, often of the innocent (as in the case of Jephthah’s daughter, the seventy thousand, and many else!). No wonder he demands “shedding of blood” for remission of sin! What more can one say of these tales of barbarity and savagery that make any civilised one cringe in horror! On second thought, perhaps one should rescue the otherwise flabby image of their god from these wretched tragic stories, and admit that the stories were either fabrications or real acts of brutal people that offend every sense of justice, and against man and God. In which case the book that tells us about them is a lie, fabricated for human vanity. How dare, then, that some still claim that such a book is “acceptable for doctrine”! Which doctrine? Doctrine of demons and war? Of depravity and murderous crime? Of man’s inhumanity to man? Or is it the doctrine of hell fire, propagated in the so-called New Testament that is anything worth mentioning? Of a god, so full of “infinite mercy” that he would punish finite “sin” – even telling a lie - with infinite punishment without parole? Of a god who rewards “belief” with heavenly bliss, but sentences a morally righteous man to hell for “the crime of unbelief”? Of a god that creates man and allows the so-called snake to subvert his purpose, so much so that he himself had to capitulate to suffer death for a crime he apparently did not commit, nonetheless left the snake loose to capture majority of his creatures, while he (the supposed maker) consoles himself with the minority that will go to heaven, expecting them to be perfectly happy for being so “chosen” when majority of their family and friends are damned! Bravo to this despicable god of hell fire! Is it not better, if one must read inspired works, to read Shakespeare, Soyinka or Ingersoll? As the entire story, absurd in every ramification, stands reason on its head and strangulates justice, I hasten to flush this “Book of Lies and Absurdities” called Bible down the toilet in order to save the name of “Jehovah God” that it so heavily blasphemes! For nothing can be more blasphemous, more profane, than to attribute the infamy of man to the Creator in the name of inspired scripture! Come with me then to: http://flushaholybook.com before I throw up!

Thursday, January 14, 2010

Face-Off - Does God Exist - Part2

Face-Off - Does God Exist - Part2 Reason Reigns!

A Parable by M.M. Mangasarian

I am today twenty-five hundred years old. I have been dead for nearly as many years. My place of birth was Athens; my grave was not far from those of Xenophon and Plato, within view of the white glory of Athens and the shimmering waters of the Aegean sea. After sleeping in my grave for many centuries I awoke suddenly -- I cannot tell how nor why -- and was transported by a force beyond my control to this new day and this new city. I arrived here at daybreak, when the sky was still dull and drowsy. As I approached the city I heard bells ringing, and a little later I found the streets astir with throngs of well dressed people in family groups wending their way hither and thither. Evidently they were not going to work, for they were accompanied by their children in their best clothes, and a pleasant expression was upon their faces. "This must be a day of festival and worship, devoted to one of their gods," I murmured to myself Looking about me I saw a gentleman in a neat black dress, smiling, and his hand extended to me with great cordiality. He must have realized I was a stranger and wished to tender his hospitality to me. I accepted it gratefully. I clasped his hand. He pressed mine. We gazed for a moment into each other's eyes. He understood my bewilderment amid my novel surroundings, and offered to enlighten me. He explained to me the ringing of the bells and meaning of the holiday crowds moving in the streets. It was Sunday -- Sunday before Christmas, and the people were going to "the House of God." "Of course you are going there, too," I said to my friendly guide. "Yes," he answered, "I conduct the worship. I am a priest." "A priest of Apollo?" I interrogated. "No, no," he replied, raising his hand to command silence, "Apollo is not a god; he was only an idol." "Am idol?" I whispered, taken by surprise. "I perceive you are a Greek," he said to me, "and the Greeks," he continued, "notwithstanding their distinguished accomplishments, were an idolatrous people. They worshipped gods that did not exist. They built temples to divinities which were merely empty names -- empty names," he repeated. "Apollo and Athene -- and the entire Olympian lot were no more than inventions of the fancy." "But the Greeks loved their gods," I protested, my heart clamoring in my breast. "They were not gods, they were idols, and the difference between a god and an idol is this: an idol is a thing; God is a living being. When you cannot prove the existence of your god, when you have never seen him, nor heard his voice, nor touched him -- when you have nothing provable about him, he is an idol. Have you seen Apollo? Have you heard him? Have you touched him?" "No," I said, in a low voice. "Do you know of any one who has?" I had to admit that I did not. "He was an idol, then, and not a god." "But many of us Greeks," I said, "have felt Apollo in our hearts and have been inspired by him." "You imagine you have," returned my guide. "If he were really divine be would be living to this day. "Is he, then, dead?" I asked. "He never lived; and for the last two thousand years or more his temple has been a heap of ruins." I wept to hear that Apollo, the god of light and music, was no more -- that his fair temple had fallen into ruins and the fire upon his altar had been extinguished; then, wiping a tear from my eyes, I said, "Oh, but our gods were fair and beautiful; our religion was rich and picturesque. It made the Greeks a nation of poets, orators, artists, warriors, thinkers. It made Athens a city of light; it created the beautiful, the true, the good -- yes, our religion was divine." "It had only one fault"' interrupted my guide. "What was that?" I inquired, without knowing what his answer would be. "It was not true." "But I still believe in Apollo," I exclaimed; "he is not dead, I know he is alive." "Prove it," he said to me; then, pausing for a moment, "if you produce him," he said, "we shall all fall down and worship him. Produce Apollo and be shall be our god." "Produce him!" I whispered to myself. "What blasphemy!" Then, taking heart, I told my guide how more than once I had felt Apollo's radiant presence in my heart, and told him of the immortal lines of Homer concerning the divine Apollo. "Do you doubt Homer?" I said to him; "Homer, the inspired bard? Homer, whose ink-well was as big as the sea; whose imperishable page was Time? Homer, whose every word was a drop of light?" Then I proceeded to quote from Homer's Iliad, the Greek Bible, worshipped by all the Hellenes as the rarest Manuscript between heaven and earth. I quoted his description of Apollo, than whose lyre nothing is more musical, than whose speech even honey is not sweeter. I recited how his mother went from town to town to select a worthy place to give birth to the young god, son of Zeus, the Supreme Being, and how he was born and cradled amid the ministrations of all the goddesses, who bathed him in the running stream and fed him with nectar and ambrosia from Olympus. Then I recited the lines which picture Apollo bursting his bands, leaping forth from his cradle, and spreading his wings like a swan, soaring sun-ward, declaring that he had come to announce to mortals the will of God. "Is it possible," I asked, "that all this is pure fabrication, a fantasy of the brain, as unsubstantial as the air? No, no, Apollo is not an idol. He is a god, and the son of a god. The whole Greek world will bear me witness that I am telling the truth." Then I looked at my guide to see what impression this outburst of sincere enthusiasm had produced upon him, and I saw a cold smile upon his lips that cut me to the heart. It seemed as if he wished to say to me, "You poor deluded pagan! You are not intelligent enough to know that Homer was only a mortal after all, and that he was writing a play in which he manufactured the gods of whom he sang -- that these gods existed only in his imagination, and that today they are as dead as is their inventer -- the poet." By this time we stood at the entrance of a large edifice which my guide said was "the House of God." As we walked in I saw innumerable little lights blinking and winking all over the spacious interior. There were, besides, pictures, altars and images all around me. The air was heavy with incense; a number of men in gorgeous vestments were passing to and fro, bowing and kneeling before the various lights and images. The audience was upon its knees enveloped in silence -- a silence so solemn that it awed me. Observing my anxiety to understand the meaning of all this, my guide took me aside and in a whisper told me that the people were celebrating the anniversary of the birthday of their beautiful Savior -- Jesus, the Son of God. "So was Apollo the son of God," I replied, thinking perhaps that after all we might find ourselves in agreement with one another. "Forget Apollo," he said, with a suggestion of severity in his voice. "There is no such person. He was only an idol. If you were to search for Apollo in all the universe you would never find any one answering to his name or description. Jesus," he resumed, "is the Son of God. He came to our earth and was born of a virgin." Again I was tempted to tell my guide that that was how Apollo became incarnate; but I restrained myself. "Then Jesus grew up to be a man," continued my guide, "performing unheard-of wonders, such as treading the seas, giving sight, hearing and speech to the blind, the deaf and the dumb, converting water into wine, feeding the multitudes miraculously, predicting coming events and resurrecting the dead." "Of course, of your gods, too," he added, "it is claimed that they performed miracles, and of your oracles that they foretold the future, but there is this difference -- the things related of your gods are a fiction, the things told of Jesus are a fact, and the difference between Paganism and Christianity is the difference between fiction and fact." Just then I heard a wave of murmur, like the rustling of leaves in a forest, sweep over the bowed audience. I turned about and unconsciously, my Greek curiosity impelling me, I pushed forward toward where the greater candle lights were blazing. I felt that perhaps the commotion in the house was the announcement that the God Jesus was about to make his appearance, and I wanted to see him. I wanted to touch him, or, if the crowd were too large to allow me that privilege, I wanted, at least, to hear his voice. I, who had never seen a god, never touched one, never heard one speak, I who had believed in Apollo without ever having known anything provable about him, I wanted to see the real God, Jesus. But my guide placed his hand quickly upon my shoulder, and held me back. "I want to see Jesus," I hastened, turning toward him. I said this reverently and in good faith. "Will he not be here this morning? Will he not speak to his worshippers?" I asked again. "Will he not permit them to touch him, to caress his hand, to clasp his divine feet, to inhale the ambrosial fragrance of his breath, to bask in the golden light of his eyes, to hear the music of his immaculate accents? Let me, too, see Jesus," I pleaded. "You cannot see him," answered my guide, with a trace of embarrassment in his voice. "He does not show himself any more." I was too much surprised at this to make any immediate reply. "For the last two thousand years," my guide continued, "it has not pleased Jesus to show himself to any one; neither has he been heard from for the same number of years." "For two thousand years no one has either seen or heard Jesus?" I asked, my eyes filled with wonder and my voice quivering with excitement. "No," he answered. "Would not that, then," I ventured to ask, impatiently, "make Jesus as much of an idol as Apollo? And are not these people on their knees before a god of whose existence they are as much in the dark as were the Greeks of fair Apollo, and of whose past they have only rumors such as Homer reports of our Olympian gods -- as idolatrous as the Athenians? What would you say," I asked my guide, "if I were to demand that you should produce Jesus and prove him to my eyes and ears as you have asked me to produce and prove Apollo? What is the difference between a ceremony performed in honor of Apollo and one performed in honor of Jesus, since it is as impossible to give oracular demonstration of the existence of the one as of the other? If Jesus is alive and a god, and Apollo is an idol and dead, what is the evidence, since the one is as invisible, as inaccessible, and as unproducible as the other? And, if faith that Jesus is a god proves him a god, why will not faith in Apollo make him a god? But if worshipping Jesus, whom for the best part of the last two thousand years no man has seen, heard or touched; if building temples to him, burning incense upon his altars, bowing at his shrine and calling him "God," is not idolatry, neither is it idolatry to kindle fire upon the luminous altars of the Greek Apollo, -- God of the dawn, master of the enchanted lyre -- he with the bow and arrow tipped with fire! I am not denying," I said, "that Jesus ever lived. He may have been alive two thousand years ago, but if he has not been heard from since, if the same thing that happened to the people living at the time he lived has happened to him, namely -- if he is dead, then you are worshipping the dead, which fact stamps your religion as idolatrous." And, then, remembering what he had said to me about the Greek mythology being beautiful but not true, I said to him: "Your temples are indeed gorgeous and costly; your music is grand your altars are superb; your litany is exquisite; your chants are melting; your incense, and bells and flowers, your gold and silver vessels are all in rare taste, and I dare say your dogmas are subtle and your preachers eloquent, but your religion has one fault -- it is not true." Culled from: http://www.infidels.org/library/historical/m_m_mangasarian/truth_about_jesus....

Wednesday, January 13, 2010

sunrise2 on Flickr - Photo Sharing!

sunrise2 on Flickr - Photo Sharing! Reason Reigns!

Miracles!

To my mind, the perennial quest for miracles, especially by followers of religions in most of third world countries, is borne out of spiritual indolence and fear of the great "unknown", for "miracles" necessarily exposes the lack of comprehensiveness in our understanding of the spiritual laws that govern the lower worlds in which we sojourn. Thus "miracles" befuddle our finite minds because it is enveloped in mysticism, but as Robert Ingersol succintly puts it, "The moment we understand a question or subject, the miraculous necessarily disappears". There are countless, commonplace inventions of today, for instace, which just a few decades ago, would be definitely mind-boggling and therefore termed "miracles". Otherwise, in creation, do we really need to seek more miracles than those in which we are already wrapped? The miracles of creation itself? Just look around you: at the miracles of each day - the sunrise, the sunset, the waterfalls, meadows, incredible mountains, landscapes and aquatic life; the munificence of life itself, solar radiations and the immensity of galactic systems - what further "miracles" do we seek ? What then should be our attitude? Seek clarity in all things, and where this is lacking, let us have the courage and the candour to admit: we do not know. That way, we can maintain a childlike simplicity and refuse to be imposed upon by the presumption that is, today, evident everywhere in the name of religion