Saturday, December 31, 2011

Fastforward with Cindy Jacobs

People this crazy actually do exist. And they vote. And they influence easily-fooled people who also vote. Cindy Jacobs is a self-proclaimed prophet who "speaks in tongues" and apparently has a plan to establish a sort of christian theocracy here in the U.S. It starts with a 21-day prayer/fast to get people in the mood to go vote out people who don't stand for biblical values, and vote in people who support biblical values. Link below to the specific 21-day fasting and some videos of Cindy Jacobs (be careful not to punch your monitors).

Fastforward 21 Day Prayer Guide

Ask the Lord to remove the lie of “Separation of Church and State” from this nation’s governmental philosophy and from Believers mindsets!

LOL Cat Bible

Yes, it is true. They've finally done it. The people who brought you those stupid cat pictures you see all over your damn facebook feed, i can has cheezburger, have translated the bible into LOL Cat Speak (Old and New Testaments). I don't know who has the time to do this, but it must have been yeoman's work to do this without killing yourself, so I felt the need to share it... link below, but here is a little bit from Genesis Chapter 1:

LOL Cat Bible

Boreded Ceiling Cat makinkgz Urf n stuffs
1 Oh hai. In teh beginnin Ceiling Cat maded teh skiez An da Urfs, but he did not eated dem.
2 Da Urfs no had shapez An haded dark face, An Ceiling Cat rode invisible bike over teh waterz.
3 At start, no has lyte. An Ceiling Cat sayz, i can haz lite? An lite wuz.4 An Ceiling Cat sawed teh lite, to seez stuffs, An splitted teh lite from dark but taht wuz ok cuz kittehs can see in teh dark An not tripz over nethin.5 An Ceiling Cat sayed light Day An dark no Day. It were FURST!!!1
6 An Ceiling Cat sayed, im in ur waterz makin a ceiling. But he no yet make a ur. An he maded a hole in teh Ceiling.7 An Ceiling Cat doed teh skiez with waterz down An waterz up. It happen.8 An Ceiling Cat sayed, i can has teh firmmint wich iz funny bibel naim 4 ceiling, so wuz teh twoth day.
9 An Ceiling Cat gotted all teh waterz in ur base, An Ceiling Cat hadz dry placez cuz kittehs DO NOT WANT get wet.10 An Ceiling Cat called no waterz urth and waters oshun. Iz good.
11 An Ceiling Cat sayed, DO WANT grass! so tehr wuz seedz An stufs, An fruitzors An vegbatels. An a Corm. It happen.12 An Ceiling Cat sawed that weedz ish good, so, letz there be weedz.13 An so teh threeth day jazzhands.
14 An Ceiling Cat sayed, i can has lightz in the skiez for splittin day An no day.15 It happen, lights everwear, like christmass, srsly.16 An Ceiling Cat doeth two grate lightz, teh most big for day, teh other for no day.17 An Ceiling Cat screw tehm on skiez, with big nails An stuff, to lite teh Urfs.18 An tehy rulez day An night. Ceiling Cat sawed. Iz good.19 An so teh furth day w00t.
20 An Ceiling Cat sayed, waterz bring me phishes, An burds, so kittehs can eat dem. But Ceiling Cat no eated dem.21 An Ceiling Cat maed big fishies An see monstrs, which wuz like big cows, except they no mood, An other stuffs dat mooves, An Ceiling Cat sawed iz good.22 An Ceiling Cat sed O hai, make bebehs kthx. An dont worry i wont watch u secksy, i not that kynd uf kitteh.23 An so teh...fith day. Ceiling Cat taek a wile 2 cawnt.
24 An Ceiling Cat sayed, i can has MOAR living stuff, mooes, An creepie tings, An otehr aminals. It happen so tehre.25 An Ceiling Cat doed moar living stuff, mooes, An creepies, An otehr animuls, An did not eated tehm.
26 An Ceiling Cat sayed, letz us do peeps like uz, becuz we ish teh qte, An let min p0wnz0r becuz tehy has can openers.
27 So Ceiling Cat createded teh peeps taht waz like him, can has can openers he maed tehm, min An womin wuz maeded, but he did not eated tehm.
28 An Ceiling Cat sed them O hai maek bebehs kthx, An p0wn teh waterz, no waterz An teh firmmint, An evry stufs.
29 An Ceiling Cat sayed, Beholdt, the Urfs, I has it, An I has not eated it.30 For evry createded stufs tehre are the fuudz, to the burdies, teh creepiez, An teh mooes, so tehre. It happen. Iz good.
31 An Ceiling Cat sayed, Beholdt, teh good enouf for releaze as version 0.8a. kthxbai.

(Ceiling Cat creates the Universe)

Chuck Norris - Bible Now

Chuck Norris, promoting the bible in public schools and removing the separation of church and state...

This coming from the "christian" who has been married twice and had an extra-marital affair that resulted in a pregnancy and who has his own cult following of fans who endow him with "Chuck Norris Facts", almost-supernatural feats attributed to him. Facts like:

Chuck Norris can change the tire on a car while it's still moving

Chuck Norris died 20 years ago, death just hasn't built the courage to tell him yet

Some magicians can walk on water, Chuck Norris can swim through land

Chuck Norris counted to infinity, twice

Chuck Norris can kill two stones with one bird

Chuck Norris - Wikipedia

Welcome to This World

The people over at Thinking Atheist have shed a little light on what many children are taught as they enter this world...

Wednesday, December 28, 2011

Professor Brian Cox: A Night With the Stars

Professor Brian Cox explains how it all works... brilliant

Friday, December 23, 2011

Comet Lovejoy From ISS

amazing view of the comet lovejoy taken from the international space station...

Thursday, December 22, 2011

Axial Tilt is the Reason for the Season

Happy Winter Solstice everybody! Last night was the longest night of the year and today begins the season of Winter. It's easy to see how so many ancient civilizations worshipped the sun, from the pagans to the egyptians. The sun is quite obviously the reason we all exist, why we have nourishment, the source of all the energy that makes this planet, and thus life, run. December 22nd marks the date the sun is in its lowest position in the sky (in the northern hemisphere); December 25th marks the day the sun begins noticeably rising again in the sky, signaling rebirth and the spring, and thus life, to come. December 25th has been celebrated for millennia, and even in ancient Rome, one day a week was devoted to the sun (hence "sun"day). Sol Invictus, Saturnalia, Yuletide festivals and the birth of Mithra, the Zoroastrian God, are all celebrated in or around 21-25 of December.

Various pagan traditions have been co-opted by christmas over the years, from gift-giving and feasts and caroling, to decorating fir trees and putting up celebratory lights, even the story of Mithra has been compared to that of jesus and other stories from the bible, which were written much later. Most scholars actually agree that if Jesus had been a real person and the story of the nativity were accurate calendar-wise, then jesus would have been born most likely sometime in the spring or summer. So, when people tell you that Jesus is the reason for the season, he has only been forced that way, the original reason for the season is the celebrations of the return of the sun rising in the sky, warmth, sustenance, leading towards spring and planting of crops and new life. Christianity, in efforts to woo the pagans to switch religions, began co-opting their traditions and holidays to make the conversion easier and much more palatable to the masses.

What is interesting to note, is how the jesus story itself is a play on the sun's resurrection in the sky. For 3 days the sun seems to hover in the lowest position in the sky, marking death, then three days later shows signs that it is rising again to bring new life. Easter, is the culminating celebration of new life, but celebrated in spring when the evidence of it is much more apparent, with flowers and suckling animals, etc. In fact, christianity has a history of marking its "holy days" on or near the same holidays as the people they are trying to convert. Halloween, all hallows eve, all saints day, all souls day is another example. So, remember, the real reason for the season (no matter what traditions you take part in) is the earth's axial tilt, without it we would have no seasons, no winter, no solstice, no "christmas" to celebrate the rising of the sun and the coming warmth and life of spring and summer.

Sol Invictus - Wikipedia

Saturnalia - Wikipedia

Yule - Wikipedia

Mithra - Wikipedia

Zoroastrianism - Wikipedia

Winter Solstice - Wikipedia

Axial Tilt - Wikipedia

Solar Deity - Wikipedia

Praise Be To Woody Allen Jesus

Tim Minchin with an instant holiday classic...

What Darwin Never Knew

I watched this amazing show last night on PBS, detailing all of the scientific breakthroughs since Darwin published his Origin of Species and changed the way we think about the world. If you don't understand evolution very well or are curious how we actually know what we know, this is a must-see program!

What Darwin Never Knew - PBS

Tuesday, December 20, 2011

Muppets Meets Dickens Meets Flying Spaghetti Monster

Pretty cute holiday special for kids (and grown-ups)...

Monday, December 19, 2011

Celestial North Korea

It will be very interesting to see what happens to North Korea now that Kim Jong Il has died. Curious how Hitchens dies, the Iraq war ends and then Il dies. I can just imagine Hitchens getting to the pearly gates, confronting god, picking him apart for all his absurdities and "evidence" that no honest person could really take seriously that he existed, telling him how the Iraq war was worth it and saying how North Korea reminded him so much of heaven, and Kim Jon Il reminded him of Jesus. I bet god sent for Il right away to have a "meeting", haha. Ah, it's fun to dream of silliness...

A Nation of Racist Dwarfs - Slate | Christopher Hitchens | 2/1/10

But in all seriousness, Kim Jong Il's father was and still is treated like a deity even after his death, with Il being treated more like a demi-god. Those poor people have no idea what the world is actually like, it is scary. The constant praising of the "dear leader", the control of the masses by the state. Scary stuff. Hitchens imagined this is what heaven would be like, and it's not a stretch to follow him there.

Kim Jong Il - Wikipedia

Kim Il Sung - Wikipedia

North Korea - Wikipedia

This is a seriously insane documentary, must watch all 3 parts:

The Vice Guide to North Korea

Jesus Visits Tim Tebow on SNL

Alright, I was trying to avoid the whole Tim Tebow thing that's been going around this season, but saw this clip from SNL and had to share it... too funny

Saturday, December 17, 2011

I'd Say "No, Fuck You!"

Hitchens is gone, but the show must go on. And in his honor and in the fervor in which he devoted himself to the cause of destroying organized religion, we must take over from here and do the best we can without him...

Genesis Chapter 22 tells a tale of what the christians believe is a love story to god, an unwavering show of faith in the face of horrific consequences. Can you stand up to the task when god tests your devotion? But when you actually read the verses where Abraham is tested by god to sacrifice his son at the altar and understand just what it is exactly the lord wants him to do to his son, something much more sinister comes into light.

Genesis 22:1-19 NIV

 1 Some time later God tested Abraham. He said to him, “Abraham!”
   “Here I am,” he replied.
 2 Then God said, “Take your son, your only son, whom you love—Isaac—and go to the region of Moriah. Sacrifice him there as a burnt offering on a mountain I will show you.”
 3 Early the next morning Abraham got up and loaded his donkey. He took with him two of his servants and his son Isaac. When he had cut enough wood for the burnt offering, he set out for the place God had told him about. 4 On the third day Abraham looked up and saw the place in the distance. 5 He said to his servants, “Stay here with the donkey while I and the boy go over there. We will worship and then we will come back to you.”
 6 Abraham took the wood for the burnt offering and placed it on his son Isaac, and he himself carried the fire and the knife. As the two of them went on together, 7 Isaac spoke up and said to his father Abraham, “Father?”
   “Yes, my son?” Abraham replied.
   “The fire and wood are here,” Isaac said, “but where is the lamb for the burnt offering?”
 8 Abraham answered, “God himself will provide the lamb for the burnt offering, my son.” And the two of them went on together.
 9 When they reached the place God had told him about, Abraham built an altar there and arranged the wood on it. He bound his son Isaac and laid him on the altar, on top of the wood. 10 Then he reached out his hand and took the knife to slay his son. 11 But the angel of the LORD called out to him from heaven, “Abraham! Abraham!”
   “Here I am,” he replied.
 12 “Do not lay a hand on the boy,” he said. “Do not do anything to him. Now I know that you fear God, because you have not withheld from me your son, your only son.”
 13 Abraham looked up and there in a thicket he saw a ram caught by its horns. He went over and took the ram and sacrificed it as a burnt offering instead of his son. 14 So Abraham called that place The LORD Will Provide. And to this day it is said, “On the mountain of the LORD it will be provided.”
 15 The angel of the LORD called to Abraham from heaven a second time 16 and said, “I swear by myself, declares the LORD, that because you have done this and have not withheld your son, your only son, 17 I will surely bless you and make your descendants as numerous as the stars in the sky and as the sand on the seashore. Your descendants will take possession of the cities of their enemies, 18 and through your offspring all nations on earth will be blessed, because you have obeyed me.”
 19 Then Abraham returned to his servants, and they set off together for Beersheba. And Abraham stayed in Beersheba.

The moral of this story is supposed to be "trust in the lord, be prepared to sacrifice all that you love in his honor and he will provide". But at what price? Why does god relish human torture and sacrifice? I don't think anyone in their right mind could even conceive of killing their own child, even if they think god somehow told them to. What do you think was going through Isaac's mind as he sees his father doing this to him? Don't you think he would have some real serious issues to deal with later in life? His father tried to kill him, butcher him! I think one thing that tends to take the sting out of this story is that it doesn't give much detail of the horrific events, or what would have become of Isaac had Abraham actually gone through with it, it spares the gore of the situation. What exactly was Abraham prepared to do? Many christians can write it off as, "oh, he was just prepared to kill him, he just tied him up and laid him there, he wouldn't have actually done it" without understanding what a burnt offering actually entails. But god lays out exactly how one is supposed to conduct a "burnt offering" over in Leviticus and it gets pretty damned detailed there. Imagine if we exchange the names of Abraham and Isaac in for the priests and the animal, we get something truly horrifying and disgusting:

Leviticus 1:3-9 NIV
3 “‘If the offering is a burnt offering from the herd, you are to offer a male without defect. You must present it at the entrance to the tent of meeting so that it will be acceptable to the LORD. 4 You are to lay your hand on the head of (the burnt offering) [Isaac], and it will be accepted on your behalf to make atonement for you. 5 You are to slaughter (the young bull) [Isaac] before the LORD, and then (Aaron’s sons the priests) [Abraham] shall bring the blood and splash it against the sides of the altar at the entrance to the tent of meeting. 6 You are to skin (the burnt offering) [Isaac] and cut (it) [Isaac] into pieces. 7 (The sons of Aaron the priest) [Abraham] are to put fire on the altar and arrange wood on the fire. 8 Then (Aaron’s sons the priests) [Abraham] shall arrange the pieces, including the head and the fat [of Isaac], on the wood that is burning on the altar. 9 You are to wash the internal organs and the legs [of Isaac] with water, and (the priest) [Abraham] is to burn all of it on the altar. It is a burnt offering, a food offering, an aroma pleasing to the LORD.

How does that make you feel now? If you find that strengthens your faith in god then you have some serious issues of your own. No one in their right mind could do this to their own children, no matter what voices they thought they were hearing in their head. The immortal Christopher Hitchens put it best:

"And not scorning the three delightful children that result - who are everything to me and who are my only chance of a human glimpse at a second life, let alone an immortal one. I'll tell you something: if I was told to sacrifice them to prove my devotion to god, if I was told what monotheists are told to do and admire the man who said, "Yes, I'll gut my kid to show my love of god", I'd say, "No, Fuck you!"

Friday, December 16, 2011

Christopher Hitchens 1949-2011

Terribly sad day today as we wake up to the news that the great Christopher Hitchens has passed away to complications from esophageal cancer. I don't even know where to begin to thank a man I never met but who impacted my life so profoundly that I will never be the same because of him. He was a true genius in every sense of the word whose wit and vibrance could never be equalled. He helped open our eyes to the tragedy that is organized religion and almost single-handedly knocked it on its ass with his cunning prose and his complete understanding of the literary works supposed to be divine. He perfected the "Hitch-Slap" and strategically ripped apart the futile arguments of apologists the world over. 

You belong in the pantheon of great minds and great humans. You helped pave the wave for this new secular movement and it is now our duty to pick up where you left off and carry the cause until we are free of this mental bondage. You were a beacon for me when what I was taught just didn't make sense any more, you helped to open my eyes and show me how to think on my own. You showed me that there were other people who felt the same way I did and that I didn't have to feel ashamed or embarrassed because of it, but in fact I had to start to show the rest of the world the real truth, that there is no "Truth". You will forever be my hero and an inspiration and you will be missed more than you could ever have imagined. Thank you for your life.

Saw this on twitter today and liked it (don't remember who said it, so my apologies for not giving appropriate citation):  

 In honor of Christopher Hitchens, let's all make a point of trying to disprove one of our core beliefs today. Good practice anyway.

In Memoriam: Christopher Hitchens, 1949-2011

Richard Dawkins Website Compilation of Obituaries

Richard Dawkins: Hitchens in Memoriam

Sam Harris: Hitchens in Memoriam

Dan Dennett: Hitchens in Memoriam

Stephen Fry: Hitchens in Memoriam

James Randi: Hitchens in Memoriam

Salman Rushdie: Hitchens in Memoriam

Peter Hitchens: Hitchens in Memoriam

Sunday, December 11, 2011

Spare the Rod, Spoil the Child

The bible is littered with truly awful verses, but some of the worst have to be the ones in which god condones or explicitly requires the killing of children... I think we can all agree that this is morally inexcusable under any circumstances, but here are some examples:

Isaiah 14:21 Make ready to slaughter his sons for the guilt of their fathers; lest they rise and possess the earth, and fill the breadth of the world with tyrants

Hosea 9:11-16 The glory of Israel will fly away like a bird, for your children will die at birth or perish in the womb or never even be conceived. Even if your children survive to grown up, I will take them from you. It will be a terrible day when I turn away and leave you alone. I have watched Israel become as beautiful and pleasant as tyre. but now Israel will bring out her children to be slaughtered. O Lord, what should I request for your people? I will ask for wombs that don't give birth and breasts that give no milk. The Lord says, All their wickedness began at Gilgal; There I began to hate them. I will drive them from my land because of their evil actions. i will love them no more because all their leaders are rebels. The people of Israel are stricken. Their roots are dried up; They will bear no more fruit. And if they give birth, I will slaughter their beloved children.

Ezekiel 9:5-7 Then I heard the Lord say to the other men, "Follow him through the city and kill everyone whose forehead is not marked. Show no mercy, have no pity! Kill them all- old and young, girls and women and little children. But do not touch anyone with the mark. Begin your task right here at the temple." So they began killing the seventy leaders. "Defile the Temple!", the Lord commanded. "fill its courtyards with the bodies of those you kill! Go!" So they they went through the city and did as they were told.

Exodus 12:29-30 At midnight the Lord killed all the firstborn sons in the land of Egypt, from the firstborn son of Pharaoh, who sat on the throne, to the firstborn son of the captive in the dungeon. Even the firstborn of their livestock were killed. Pharaoh and his officials and all the people of Egypt woke up during the night, and loud wailing was heard throughout the land of Egypt. There was not a single house where someone had not died.

Jeremiah 51:20-26 "you are my battle-ax and sword, " says the Lord. "With you I will shatter nations and destroy many kingdoms. With you I will shatter armies, destroying the horse rider, the chariot and charioteer. With you I will shatter men and women, old people and children, young men and maidens. With you I will shatter shepherds and flocks, farmers and oxen, captains and rulers. "As you watch I will repay Babylon and the people of Babylonia for all the wrong they have done to my people in Jerusalem," says the Lord. "Look, O mighty mountain, destroyer of the earth! I am your enemy," says the Lord. "I will raise my fist against you, to roll you down from the heights. When I am finished, you will be nothing but a heap of rubble. You will be desolate forever. Even your stones will never again be used for building. You will be completely wiped out.

Leviticus 26:21-22 If even then you remain hostile toward me or refuse to obey, I will inflict you with seven more disasters for your sins. I will release wild animals that will kill your children and destroy your cattle, so your numbers will dwindle and your roads will be deserted.

Isaiah 13:15-18 Anyone who is captured will be run through with a sword. Their little children with be dashed to death right before their eyes. their homes will be sacked and their wives raped by the attacking hordes. For I will stir up the Medes against babylon, and no amount of silver or gold will buy them off. The attacking armies will shoot down the young people with arrows. They will have no mercy on helpless babies and I will show no compassion for the children.

Psalms 137:9 How blessed will be the one who seizes and dashes your little one against the rocks

Deuteronomy 20:13-18 When the Lord you God delivers it into your hand, put to the sword all the men in it. As for the women, the children, the livestock and everything else in the city, you may take these as plunder for yourselves. And you may use the plunder the Lord your god gives you from your enemies. This is how you are to treat all the cities that are at a distance from you and do not belong to nations nearby. However, in the cities of the nations the Lord your God is giving you as an inheritance, do not leave alive anything that breathes. Completely destroy them - the Hittites, Amorites, Canaanites, Perizzites, Hivites and Jebusites - as the Lord your God has commanded you.

Numbers 21:35 So they smote him, and his sons, and all his people, until there was none left him alive: and they possessed his land.

Numbers 31:17-18 Now therefore kill every male among the little one, and kill every woman that hath known man by lying with him. But all the women children, that have not know a man by lying with him, keep alive for yourselves.

Deuteronomy 2:33-34 And the Lord our God delivered him before us; and we smote him, and his sons, and all his people. And we took all his cities at that time, and utterly destroyed the men, and the women, and the little ones, of every city, we left none to remain.

Joshua 6:21 And they utterly destroyed all that was in the city, both man and woman, young and old, and ox, and sheep, and ass, with the edge of the sword. (Joshua goes on to slaughter the people of Jericho, Ai, the Gibeonites, the people of Makkedah, Libnahites, people of Lachish, Eglonites, Hebronites and Debirites as well.)

Judges 9:45 And Abimelech fought against the city all that day; and he took the city and slew the people that was therein, and beat down the city, and sowed it with salt.

Judges 21:10-12 And the congregation sent thither twelve thousand men of the valiantest, and commanded them, saying, Go and smite the inhabitants of Jabeshgilead with the edge of the sword, with the women and the children,

1 Samuel 15:3 Now go and smite Amalek, and utterly destroy all that they have, and spare them not; but slay both man and woman, infant and suckling, ox and sheep, camel and ass.

2 Kings 2:23-24 And he went up from thence unto Bethel: and as he was going up by the way, there came forth little children out of the city, and mocked him, and said unto him, Go up, thou bald head; go up thou bald head. And he turned back, and looked on them, and cursed them in the name of the Lord. And there came forth two she-bears out of the wood, and tare forty two children of them.

Isaiah 13:18 Their bows also shall dash the young men to pieces; and they shall have no pity on the fruit of the womb; their eyes shall not spare children.
Hosea 13:16 Samaria shall become desolate; for she hath rebelled against her God: they shall fall by the sword: their infants shall be dashed in pieces, and their women with child shall be ripped up.

Not to mention:

God kills every living thing in the Great Flood

God kills every living thing in Sodom and Gomorrah

God tests Abraham by getting him to almost murder his own son

The bible is awash with this type of butchery... smiting, destroying, plundering, pillaging, raping, plagues... all in Gods plan. How can this be? Children can't possibly deserve this type of treatment, can they? From an all-powerful, loving benevolent God? I would not even think to wish this on the children of our worst enemies. Why does god seem to hold grudges for the supposed sins of the previous generation or generations? Are we not supposedly in this debacle in the firstplace because of the sin of adam and eve? It seems to me that if god is all powerful, couldn't he come up with some other form of punishment for those that did him wrong? Or show some mercy in stead? If he's capable of hardening hearts like he did with Pharaoh, couldn't he also melt them to change them for good, meaning the children of god's enemies could be used for his good instead? What's the point in murdering children who had nothing to do with it?

Most christians probably don't even know these verses are in the bible, it's certainly not something you hear on sunday. I think most reasonable people would agree that this type of evil is not tolerable under any circumstances, and that should really make you think. I have a problem with people who try to find excuses for this behavior as necessary, or something that should be praised even because it was done by god. This is the exact reason why Richard Dawkins will not debate William Lane Craig, a christian apologist. Craig really does some mental gymnastics to work his way around this topic to try to see it in a light that could seem reasonable, but fails epicly:

"But why take the lives of innocent children? The terrible totality of the destruction was undoubtedly related to the prohibition of assimilation to pagan nations on Israel's part. In commanding complete destruction of the Canaanites, the Lord says, 'You shall not intermarry with them, giving your daughters to their sons, or taking their daughters for your sons, for they would turn away your sons from following me, to serve other gods' (Deut 7.3-4). […] God knew that if these Canaanite children were allowed to live, they would spell the undoing of Israel. […] Moreover, if we believe, as I do, that God's grace is extended to those who die in infancy or as small children, the death of these children was actually their salvation. We are so wedded to an earthly, naturalistic perspective that we forget that those who die are happy to quit this earth for heaven's incomparable joy.  Therefore, God does these children no wrong in taking their lives."
"So whom does God wrong in commanding the destruction of the Canaanites? Not the Canaanite adults, for they were corrupt and deserving of judgment. Not the children, for they inherit eternal life. So who is wronged? Ironically, I think the most difficult part of this whole debate is the apparent wrong done to the Israeli [sic] soldiers themselves. Can you imagine what it would be like to have to break into some house and kill a terrified woman and her children? The brutalising effect on these Israeli [sic] soldiers is disturbing."
"I have come to appreciate as a result of a closer reading of the biblical text that God's command to Israel was not primarily to exterminate the Canaanites but to drive them out of the land.[…] Canaan was being given over to Israel, whom God had now brought out of Egypt. If the Canaanite tribes, seeing the armies of Israel, had simply chosen to flee, no one would have been killed at all. There was no command to pursue and hunt down the Canaanite peoples.
It is therefore completely misleading to characterise God's command to Israel as a command to commit genocide. Rather it was first and foremost a command to drive the tribes out of the land and to occupy it. Only those who remained behind were to be utterly exterminated. No one had to die in this whole affair."

Wow, god was doing the children a favor by killing them all in horrific fashion, and oh the poor soldiers whose duty it was to kill them, they are the ones who suffer in this! And if they had just fled their home towns, they wouldn't have been exterminated. Come on. This is so absurd, and to try to justify it in this way is nothing short of evil as well. Stop trying to make excuses for your god, read these passages and realize that this is simply wrong and immoral behavior by your all-loving god. Think about it, absorb what is happening, picture these gruesome acts directed by the almighty and you may start to have a completely different opinion of him. And if you can justify it like Craig does above, then I think there is something seriously wrong upstairs.

Here is Dawkins' reaction to Craig's take on the genocide in Deuteronomy:

Richard Dawkins - Why I Refuse To Debate With William Lane Craig

There is another tangent we can take from Craig's position, and it goes into something a little more current and highly polarizing, and that is the debate on abortion in this country. By Craig's own admission, children and the unborn who die are given eternal life automatically by god. How he can claim to know this for sure is a debate for another day, but he excuses the action as a necessary means. The children dying horrible deaths  at the hands of savage warriors are actually the winners in this because they get to go straight to heaven and endure eternal bliss, a minor cost to pay for an eternal seat in heaven in the grand scheme of things. If this is really all that matters, the total number of souls who make it to heaven, no matter how they get there, then children who die or are killed will get them a 100% return on souls. This would seem to make christians in a position to be for abortion, or at least indifferent to it. If the children live and grow into adults, there is no way they could get better than that 100% on those same souls (but then they wouldn't get their tithes as adults!). The same could be said about starving children in 3rd world countries. They would be better left to starve to death, a minor inconvenience eternally, than getting necessary food and medicine to become healthy adults, a sizeable number of whom would not be christian and thus sent to eternal damnation instead. As I said before, mental gymnastics for sure.

Is this really how we want to rationalize this? We are better than this as a species. We understand that the lives of children should be paramount, especially in war. (We can debate when human life "begins" in the womb, and it's a good scientific debate to have). We do not wish to see children suffer senselessly, and yet this is what we read in the bible over and over again. Capricious behavior from on high. We hold a higher standard of life than god does, and that shows you something of the utmost importance. That you and I, our modern society, humans in general have a much higher moral compass than the god of the bible, especially so in this particular case. And it's not even close.

Wednesday, December 7, 2011

Tuesday, December 6, 2011

Hillary Clinton's LGBT Human Rights Speech

What a moving speech, given 12/6/11 in Gevena, Switzerland in recognition of International Human Rights Day... Enjoy (full text of speech below)

SECRETARY CLINTON: Good evening, and let me express my deep honor and pleasure at being here.  I want to thank Director General Tokayev and Ms. Wyden along with other ministers, ambassadors, excellencies, and UN partners.  This weekend, we will celebrate Human Rights Day, the anniversary of one of the great accomplishments of the last century.

Beginning in 1947, delegates from six continents devoted themselves to drafting a declaration that would enshrine the fundamental rights and freedoms of people everywhere.  In the aftermath of World War II, many nations pressed for a statement of this kind to help ensure that we would prevent future atrocities and protect the inherent humanity and dignity of all people.  And so the delegates went to work.  They discussed, they wrote, they revisited, revised, rewrote, for thousands of hours.  And they incorporated suggestions and revisions from governments, organizations, and individuals around the world.

At three o'clock in the morning on December 10th, 1948, after nearly two years of drafting and one last long night of debate, the president of the UN General Assembly called for a vote on the final text.  Forty-eight nations voted in favor; eight abstained; none dissented.  And the Universal Declaration of Human Rights was adopted.  It proclaims a simple, powerful idea:  All human beings are born free and equal in dignity and rights.  And with the declaration, it was made clear that rights are not conferred by government; they are the birthright of all people.  It does not matter what country we live in, who our leaders are, or even who we are.  Because we are human, we therefore have rights.  And because we have rights, governments are bound to protect them.

In the 63 years since the declaration was adopted, many nations have made great progress in making human rights a human reality.  Step by step, barriers that once prevented people from enjoying the full measure of liberty, the full experience of dignity, and the full benefits of humanity have fallen away.  In many places, racist laws have been repealed, legal and social practices that relegated women to second-class status have been abolished, the ability of religious minorities to practice their faith freely has been secured.

In most cases, this progress was not easily won.  People fought and organized and campaigned in public squares and private spaces to change not only laws, but hearts and minds.  And thanks to that work of generations, for millions of individuals whose lives were once narrowed by injustice, they are now able to live more freely and to participate more fully in the political, economic, and social lives of their communities.

Now, there is still, as you all know, much more to be done to secure that commitment, that reality, and progress for all people.  Today, I want to talk about the work we have left to do to protect one group of people whose human rights are still denied in too many parts of the world today.  In many ways, they are an invisible minority.  They are arrested, beaten, terrorized, even executed.  Many are treated with contempt and violence by their fellow citizens while authorities empowered to protect them look the other way or, too often, even join in the abuse.  They are denied opportunities to work and learn, driven from their homes and countries, and forced to suppress or deny who they are to protect themselves from harm.

I am talking about gay, lesbian, bisexual, and transgender people, human beings born free and given bestowed equality and dignity, who have a right to claim that, which is now one of the remaining human rights challenges of our time.  I speak about this subject knowing that my own country's record on human rights for gay people is far from perfect.  Until 2003, it was still a crime in parts of our country.  Many LGBT Americans have endured violence and harassment in their own lives, and for some, including many young people, bullying and exclusion are daily experiences.  So we, like all nations, have more work to do to protect human rights at home.

Now, raising this issue, I know, is sensitive for many people and that the obstacles standing in the way of protecting the human rights of LGBT people rest on deeply held personal, political, cultural, and religious beliefs.  So I come here before you with respect, understanding, and humility.  Even though progress on this front is not easy, we cannot delay acting.  So in that spirit, I want to talk about the difficult and important issues we must address together to reach a global consensus that recognizes the human rights of LGBT citizens everywhere.

The first issue goes to the heart of the matter.  Some have suggested that gay rights and human rights are separate and distinct; but, in fact, they are one and the same.  Now, of course, 60 years ago, the governments that drafted and passed the Universal Declaration of Human Rights were not thinking about how it applied to the LGBT community.  They also weren’t thinking about how it applied to indigenous people or children or people with disabilities or other marginalized groups.  Yet in the past 60 years, we have come to recognize that members of these groups are entitled to the full measure of dignity and rights, because, like all people, they share a common humanity.

This recognition did not occur all at once.  It evolved over time.  And as it did, we understood that we were honoring rights that people always had, rather than creating new or special rights for them.  Like being a woman, like being a racial, religious, tribal, or ethnic minority, being LGBT does not make you less human.  And that is why gay rights are human rights, and human rights are gay rights.

It is violation of human rights when people are beaten or killed because of their sexual orientation, or because they do not conform to cultural norms about how men and women should look or behave.  It is a violation of human rights when governments declare it illegal to be gay, or allow those who harm gay people to go unpunished.  It is a violation of human rights when lesbian or transgendered women are subjected to so-called corrective rape, or forcibly subjected to hormone treatments, or when people are murdered after public calls for violence toward gays, or when they are forced to flee their nations and seek asylum in other lands to save their lives.  And it is a violation of human rights when life-saving care is withheld from people because they are gay, or equal access to justice is denied to people because they are gay, or public spaces are out of bounds to people because they are gay.  No matter what we look like, where we come from, or who we are, we are all equally entitled to our human rights and dignity.

The second issue is a question of whether homosexuality arises from a particular part of the world.  Some seem to believe it is a Western phenomenon, and therefore people outside the West have grounds to reject it.  Well, in reality, gay people are born into and belong to every society in the world.  They are all ages, all races, all faiths; they are doctors and teachers, farmers and bankers, soldiers and athletes; and whether we know it, or whether we acknowledge it, they are our family, our friends, and our neighbors.

Being gay is not a Western invention; it is a human reality.  And protecting the human rights of all people, gay or straight, is not something that only Western governments do.  South Africa’s constitution, written in the aftermath of Apartheid, protects the equality of all citizens, including gay people.  In Colombia and Argentina, the rights of gays are also legally protected.  In Nepal, the supreme court has ruled that equal rights apply to LGBT citizens.  The Government of Mongolia has committed to pursue new legislation that will tackle anti-gay discrimination.

Now, some worry that protecting the human rights of the LGBT community is a luxury that only wealthy nations can afford.  But in fact, in all countries, there are costs to not protecting these rights, in both gay and straight lives lost to disease and violence, and the silencing of voices and views that would strengthen communities, in ideas never pursued by entrepreneurs who happen to be gay.  Costs are incurred whenever any group is treated as lesser or the other, whether they are women, racial, or religious minorities, or the LGBT.  Former President Mogae of Botswana pointed out recently that for as long as LGBT people are kept in the shadows, there cannot be an effective public health program to tackle HIV and AIDS.  Well, that holds true for other challenges as well.

The third, and perhaps most challenging, issue arises when people cite religious or cultural values as a reason to violate or not to protect the human rights of LGBT citizens.  This is not unlike the justification offered for violent practices towards women like honor killings, widow burning, or female genital mutilation.  Some people still defend those practices as part of a cultural tradition.  But violence toward women isn't cultural; it's criminal.  Likewise with slavery, what was once justified as sanctioned by God is now properly reviled as an unconscionable violation of human rights.

In each of these cases, we came to learn that no practice or tradition trumps the human rights that belong to all of us.  And this holds true for inflicting violence on LGBT people, criminalizing their status or behavior, expelling them from their families and communities, or tacitly or explicitly accepting their killing.

Of course, it bears noting that rarely are cultural and religious traditions and teachings actually in conflict with the protection of human rights.  Indeed, our religion and our culture are sources of compassion and inspiration toward our fellow human beings.  It was not only those who’ve justified slavery who leaned on religion, it was also those who sought to abolish it.  And let us keep in mind that our commitments to protect the freedom of religion and to defend the dignity of LGBT people emanate from a common source.  For many of us, religious belief and practice is a vital source of meaning and identity, and fundamental to who we are as people.  And likewise, for most of us, the bonds of love and family that we forge are also vital sources of meaning and identity.  And caring for others is an expression of what it means to be fully human.  It is because the human experience is universal that human rights are universal and cut across all religions and cultures.

The fourth issue is what history teaches us about how we make progress towards rights for all.  Progress starts with honest discussion.  Now, there are some who say and believe that all gay people are pedophiles, that homosexuality is a disease that can be caught or cured, or that gays recruit others to become gay.  Well, these notions are simply not true.  They are also unlikely to disappear if those who promote or accept them are dismissed out of hand rather than invited to share their fears and concerns.  No one has ever abandoned a belief because he was forced to do so.

Universal human rights include freedom of expression and freedom of belief, even if our words or beliefs denigrate the humanity of others.  Yet, while we are each free to believe whatever we choose, we cannot do whatever we choose, not in a world where we protect the human rights of all.

Reaching understanding of these issues takes more than speech.  It does take a conversation.  In fact, it takes a constellation of conversations in places big and small.  And it takes a willingness to see stark differences in belief as a reason to begin the conversation, not to avoid it.

But progress comes from changes in laws.  In many places, including my own country, legal protections have preceded, not followed, broader recognition of rights.  Laws have a teaching effect.  Laws that discriminate validate other kinds of discrimination.  Laws that require equal protections reinforce the moral imperative of equality.  And practically speaking, it is often the case that laws must change before fears about change dissipate.

Many in my country thought that President Truman was making a grave error when he ordered the racial desegregation of our military.  They argued that it would undermine unit cohesion.  And it wasn't until he went ahead and did it that we saw how it strengthened our social fabric in ways even the supporters of the policy could not foresee.  Likewise, some worried in my country that the repeal of “Don't Ask, Don’t Tell” would have a negative effect on our armed forces.  Now, the Marine Corps Commandant, who was one of the strongest voices against the repeal, says that his concerns were unfounded and that the Marines have embraced the change.

Finally, progress comes from being willing to walk a mile in someone else's shoes.  We need to ask ourselves, "How would it feel if it were a crime to love the person I love?  How would it feel to be discriminated against for something about myself that I cannot change?"  This challenge applies to all of us as we reflect upon deeply held beliefs, as we work to embrace tolerance and respect for the dignity of all persons, and as we engage humbly with those with whom we disagree in the hope of creating greater understanding.

A fifth and final question is how we do our part to bring the world to embrace human rights for all people including LGBT people.  Yes, LGBT people must help lead this effort, as so many of you are.  Their knowledge and experiences are invaluable and their courage inspirational.  We know the names of brave LGBT activists who have literally given their lives for this cause, and there are many more whose names we will never know.  But often those who are denied rights are least empowered to bring about the changes they seek.  Acting alone, minorities can never achieve the majorities necessary for political change.

So when any part of humanity is sidelined, the rest of us cannot sit on the sidelines.  Every time a barrier to progress has fallen, it has taken a cooperative effort from those on both sides of the barrier.  In the fight for women’s rights, the support of men remains crucial.  The fight for racial equality has relied on contributions from people of all races.  Combating Islamaphobia or anti-Semitism is a task for people of all faiths.  And the same is true with this struggle for equality.

Conversely, when we see denials and abuses of human rights and fail to act, that sends the message to those deniers and abusers that they won’t suffer any consequences for their actions, and so they carry on.  But when we do act, we send a powerful moral message.  Right here in Geneva, the international community acted this year to strengthen a global consensus around the human rights of LGBT people.  At the Human Rights Council in March, 85 countries from all regions supported a statement calling for an end to criminalization and violence against people because of their sexual orientation and gender identity.

At the following session of the Council in June, South Africa took the lead on a resolution about violence against LGBT people.  The delegation from South Africa spoke eloquently about their own experience and struggle for human equality and its indivisibility.  When the measure passed, it became the first-ever UN resolution recognizing the human rights of gay people worldwide.  In the Organization of American States this year, the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights created a unit on the rights of LGBT people, a step toward what we hope will be the creation of a special rapporteur.

Now, we must go further and work here and in every region of the world to galvanize more support for the human rights of the LGBT community.  To the leaders of those countries where people are jailed, beaten, or executed for being gay, I ask you to consider this:  Leadership, by definition, means being out in front of your people when it is called for.  It means standing up for the dignity of all your citizens and persuading your people to do the same.  It also means ensuring that all citizens are treated as equals under your laws, because let me be clear – I am not saying that gay people can’t or don’t commit crimes.  They can and they do, just like straight people.  And when they do, they should be held accountable, but it should never be a crime to be gay.

And to people of all nations, I say supporting human rights is your responsibility too.  The lives of gay people are shaped not only by laws, but by the treatment they receive every day from their families, from their neighbors.  Eleanor Roosevelt, who did so much to advance human rights worldwide, said that these rights begin in the small places close to home – the streets where people live, the schools they attend, the factories, farms, and offices where they work.  These places are your domain.  The actions you take, the ideals that you advocate, can determine whether human rights flourish where you are.

And finally, to LGBT men and women worldwide, let me say this:  Wherever you live and whatever the circumstances of your life, whether you are connected to a network of support or feel isolated and vulnerable, please know that you are not alone.  People around the globe are working hard to support you and to bring an end to the injustices and dangers you face.  That is certainly true for my country.  And you have an ally in the United States of America and you have millions of friends among the American people.

The Obama Administration defends the human rights of LGBT people as part of our comprehensive human rights policy and as a priority of our foreign policy.  In our embassies, our diplomats are raising concerns about specific cases and laws, and working with a range of partners to strengthen human rights protections for all.  In Washington, we have created a task force at the State Department to support and coordinate this work.  And in the coming months, we will provide every embassy with a toolkit to help improve their efforts.  And we have created a program that offers emergency support to defenders of human rights for LGBT people.

This morning, back in Washington, President Obama put into place the first U.S. Government strategy dedicated to combating human rights abuses against LGBT persons abroad.  Building on efforts already underway at the State Department and across the government, the President has directed all U.S. Government agencies engaged overseas to combat the criminalization of LGBT status and conduct, to enhance efforts to protect vulnerable LGBT refugees and asylum seekers, to ensure that our foreign assistance promotes the protection of LGBT rights, to enlist international organizations in the fight against discrimination, and to respond swiftly to abuses against LGBT persons.

I am also pleased to announce that we are launching a new Global Equality Fund that will support the work of civil society organizations working on these issues around the world.  This fund will help them record facts so they can target their advocacy, learn how to use the law as a tool, manage their budgets, train their staffs, and forge partnerships with women’s organizations and other human rights groups.  We have committed more than $3 million to start this fund, and we have hope that others will join us in supporting it.

The women and men who advocate for human rights for the LGBT community in hostile places, some of whom are here today with us, are brave and dedicated, and deserve all the help we can give them.  We know the road ahead will not be easy.  A great deal of work lies before us.  But many of us have seen firsthand how quickly change can come.  In our lifetimes, attitudes toward gay people in many places have been transformed.  Many people, including myself, have experienced a deepening of our own convictions on this topic over the years, as we have devoted more thought to it, engaged in dialogues and debates, and established personal and professional relationships with people who are gay.

This evolution is evident in many places.  To highlight one example, the Delhi High Court decriminalized homosexuality in India two years ago, writing, and I quote, “If there is one tenet that can be said to be an underlying theme of the Indian constitution, it is inclusiveness.”  There is little doubt in my mind that support for LGBT human rights will continue to climb.  Because for many young people, this is simple:  All people deserve to be treated with dignity and have their human rights respected, no matter who they are or whom they love.

There is a phrase that people in the United States invoke when urging others to support human rights:  “Be on the right side of history.”  The story of the United States is the story of a nation that has repeatedly grappled with intolerance and inequality.  We fought a brutal civil war over slavery.  People from coast to coast joined in campaigns to recognize the rights of women, indigenous peoples, racial minorities, children, people with disabilities, immigrants, workers, and on and on.  And the march toward equality and justice has continued.  Those who advocate for expanding the circle of human rights were and are on the right side of history, and history honors them.  Those who tried to constrict human rights were wrong, and history reflects that as well.

I know that the thoughts I’ve shared today involve questions on which opinions are still evolving.  As it has happened so many times before, opinion will converge once again with the truth, the immutable truth, that all persons are created free and equal in dignity and rights.  We are called once more to make real the words of the Universal Declaration.  Let us answer that call.  Let us be on the right side of history, for our people, our nations, and future generations, whose lives will be shaped by the work we do today.  I come before you with great hope and confidence that no matter how long the road ahead, we will travel it successfully together.  Thank you very much.  (Applause.)

Evolution is "Only a Theory"

Theory is a word that gets thrown around a lot by many apologists as a way to discredit science or as a means to create doubt, but many don't understand the way the term is used when referencing a scientific area as opposed to something someone just thought up.

A theory, in the parlance of our pop-culture, is regarded more as an idea or a hypothesis, an untested opinion. A theory in the scientific world, such as the theory of evolution or theory of gravity or relativity, is regarded as a principle or a law, one whose idea has been well tested, can be used reliably for predictions and is generally regarded as true until proven otherwise, it is about as close to a fact as anything can ever be. These are vastly different definitions for the same term, so one must be careful to review the evidence and testable predictions to understand when something is a "theory" by terminology only or a theory supported by a preponderance of evidence.

Sunday, December 4, 2011

Logically and Inescapably

I honestly almost hate to post this video because I can't stand the thought of giving William Lane Craig more air time, but this clip really shows what an arrogant, ignorant buffoon this idiot is... Do not take this man seriously because he has shown decisively that he does not deserve it.

Saturday, December 3, 2011

Reason Works - Michael Scott Earl

These audio lectures are a MUST-LISTEN for anyone questioning their belief system, and can be terribly handy for the non-believer as a tool to expose religions for what they really are. The series on the bible stories your parents never taught you is incredibly in-depth, moving and educational on a number of levels. Please spend some time and take a listen...

Reason Works

Thursday, December 1, 2011

Self-Aware Robot QBO

This video is a little creepy, but also fascinating. Now that we have a much better understanding of how the human brain is wired with its amazing number of neuro-connections, it will be interesting to see how well we can re-create a simulated "consciousness" with electrical connection in robots. When will that threshold ultimately be crossed when robots or mechanical devices are truly self-aware and autonomous? It may happen sooner than we think.

Wednesday, November 30, 2011

Mark Twain on Religion

Happy Birthday, Mark Twain! One of America's foremost literary geniuses, he also had some interesting things to say about religion. For more on his personal writings, check out the intellects section above.

So much blood has been shed by the Church because of an omission from the Gospel: "Ye shall be indifferent as to what your neighbor's religion is." Not merely tolerant of it, but indifferent to it. Divinity is claimed for many religions; but no religion is great enough or divine enough to add that new law to its code.
- Mark Twain, a Biography
We despise all reverences and all the objects of reverence which are outside the pale of our own list of sacred things. And yet, with strange inconsistency, we are shocked when other people despise and defile the things which are holy to us.
- Following the Equator

Man is a Religious Animal. He is the only Religious Animal. He is the only animal that has the True Religion--several of them. He is the only animal that loves his neighbor as himself and cuts his throat if his theology isn't straight. He has made a graveyard of the globe in trying his honest best to smooth his brother's path to happiness and heaven....The higher animals have no religion. And we are told that they are going to be left out in the Hereafter. I wonder why? It seems questionable taste.
- "The Lowest Animal"

India has two million gods, and worships them all. In religion all other countries are paupers; India is the only millionaire.
- Following the Equator

Alas! those good old days are gone, when a murderer could wipe the stain from his name and soothe his trouble to sleep simply by getting out his blocks and mortar and building an addition to a church.
- The Innocents Abroad

Monarchies, aristocracies, and religions....there was never a country where the majority of the people were in their secret hearts loyal to any of these institutions.
- The Mysterious Stranger

The easy confidence with which I know another man's religion is folly teaches me to suspect that my own is also. I would not interfere with any one's religion, either to strengthen it or to weaken it. I am not able to believe one's religion can affect his hereafter one way or the other, no matter what that religion may be. But it may easily be a great comfort to him in this life--hence it is a valuable possession to him.
- Mark Twain, a Biography

In religion and politics people's beliefs and convictions are in almost every case gotten at second-hand, and without examination, from authorities who have not themselves examined the questions at issue but have taken them at second-hand from other non-examiners, whose opinions about them were not worth a brass farthing.
- Autobiography of Mark Twain

My land, the power of training! Of influence! Of education! It can bring a body up to believe anything.
- A Connecticut Yankee in King Arthur's Court

We were good boys, good Presbyterian boys, and loyal and all that; anyway, we were good Presbyterian boys when the weather was doubtful; when it was fair, we did wander a little from the fold.
- 67th birthday dinner, 11/28/1902

I do not know what we should do without the pulpit. We could better spare the sun--the moon, anyway.
- Mark Twain in Eruption

I am quite sure now that often, very often, in matters concerning religion and politics a man's reasoning powers are not above the monkey's.
- Mark Twain in Eruption

Man is kind enough when he is not excited by religion.
- A Horse's Tale

Religion consists in a set of things which the average man thinks he believes, and wishes he was certain.
- Notebook, 1879

I was educated, I was trained, I was a Presbyterian and I knew how these things are done. I knew that in Biblical times if a man committed a sin the extermination of the whole surrounding nation--cattle and all--was likely to happen. I knew that Providence was not particular about the rest, so that He got somebody connected with the one He was after.
- Autobiography of Mark Twain

We don't cut up when mad men are bred by the old legitimate regular stock religions, but we can't allow wildcat religions to indulge in such disastrous experiments.
- "The New Wildcat Religion"

A religion that comes of thought, and study, and deliberate conviction, sticks best. The revivalized convert who is scared in the direction of heaven because he sees hell yawn suddenly behind him, not only regains confidence when his scare is over, but is ashamed of himself for being scared, and often becomes more hopelessly and malignantly wicked than he was before.
- Letter San Francisco Alta California, November 15,1868

I do not take any credit to my better-balanced head because I never went crazy on Presbyterianism. We go too slow for that. You never see us ranting and shouting and tearing up the ground, You never heard of a Presbyterian going crazy on religion. Notice us, and you will see how we do. We get up of a Sunday morning and put on the best harness we have got and trip cheerfully down town; we subside into solemnity and enter the church; we stand up and duck our heads and bear down on a hymn book propped on the pew in front when the minister prays; we stand up again while our hired choir are singing, and look in the hymn book and check off the verses to see that they don't shirk any of the stanzas; we sit silent and grave while the minister is preaching, and count the waterfalls and bonnets furtively, and catch flies; we grab our hats and bonnets when the benediction is begun; when it is finished, we shove, so to speak. No frenzy, no fanaticism --no skirmishing; everything perfectly serene. You never see any of us Presbyterians getting in a sweat about religion and trying to massacre the neighbors. Let us all be content with the tried and safe old regular religions, and take no chances on wildcat.
- "The New Wildcat Religion"

The Koran does not permit Mohammedans to drink. Their natural instincts do not permit them to be moral. They say the Sultan has eight hundred wives. This almost amounts to bigamy.
- The Innocents Abroad

Apparently one of the most uncertain things in the world is the funeral of a religion.
- Following the Equator

Zeal and sincerity can carry a new religion further than any other missionary except fire and sword.
- Christian Science

The altar cloth of one aeon is the doormat of the next.
- Notebook, 1898

I have a religion--but you will call it blasphemy. It is that there is a God for the rich man but none for the poor.....Perhaps your religion will sustain you,will feed you--I place no dependence in mine. Our religions are alike, though, in one respect--neither can make a man happy when he is out of luck.
- Letter to Orion Clemens, 10/19-20/1865

We have to keep our God placated with prayers, and even then we are never sure of him--how much higher and finer is the Indian's God......Our illogical God is all-powerful in name, but impotent in fact; the Great Spirit is not all-powerful, but does the very best he can for his injun and does it free of charge.
- Marginalia written in copy of Richard Irving Dodge's Our Wild Indians

O Lord, our father,
Our young patriots, idols of our hearts,
Go forth to battle - be Thou near them!
With them, in spirit, we also go forth
From the sweet peace of our beloved firesides To smite the foe.

O Lord, our God,
Help us to tear their soldiers
To bloody shreds with our shells;
Help us to cover their smiling fields
With the pale forms of their patriot dead; Help us to drown the thunder of
the guns With the shrieks of their wounded,
Writhing in pain.

Help us to lay waste their humble homes
With a hurricane of fire;
Help us to wring the hearts of their
Unoffending widows with unavailing grief; Help us to turn them out roofless
With their little children to wander unfriended The wastes of their
desolated land
In rags and hunger and thirst,
Sports of the sun flames of summer
And the icy winds of winter,
Burdened in spirit, worn with travail,
Imploring Thee for the refuge of the grave and denied it -

For our sakes who adore Thee, Lord,
Blast their hopes,
Blight their lives,
Protract their bitter pilgrimage,
Make heavy their steps,
Water their way with their tears,
Stain the white snow with the blood
Of their wounded feet!

We ask it in the spirit of love -
Of Him who is the source of love,
And Who is the ever-faithful
Refuge and Friend of all that are sore beset And seek His aid with humble
and contrite hearts.


There is one notable thing about our Christianity: bad, bloody, merciless, money-grabbing, and predatory. The invention of hell measured by our Christianity of today, bad as it is, hypocritical as it is, empty and hollow as it is, neither the deity nor his son is a Christian, nor qualified for that moderately high place. Ours is a terrible religion. The fleets of the world could swim in spacious comfort in the innocent blood it has spilled.

Mark Twain - Wikipedia