Monday, January 31, 2011

Young Love

Let’s say it’s thousands of years ago, and Dick and Jane are engaged to be married. It’s the old days and they are forbidden to have sex until marriage. If they are caught having sex or if Jane gets pregnant before their wedding, Jane’s father will be angry and violent, and Jane and Dick will be publicly disgraced.

Jane gets pregnant before the wedding. What is the most likely cause of Jane’s pregnancy?

Thousands of years ago, it would have seemed very possible to people for Jane to be impregnated by a mystical spirit. Today, do people still think that actually happens? Can we now all agree on what causes women to become pregnant? How would you feel if your young daughter and her boyfriend claimed that a spirit had gotten her pregnant?

Sunday, January 30, 2011

Not so good for me!

The Christian Bible (Hebrew Bible + "New" Testament) teaches that an all-powerful, loving diety in the sky created a plan for the universe before the foundation of time. This plan awards Christians, after their physical deaths, eternal life in paradise with their families and other loved ones. Notwithstanding how impossible that sounds, let’s assume for a moment it is true.

So far so good… for Christians. Those without a belief in Christ's divinity get burned alive forever. As Borat would say, “Not so good for them!”. The earth’s current population is over 6 billion people. Christians represent around 1/3rd; non-Christians like Borat represent around 2/3rds. If Christ somehow returns to the Earth today after a 2,000 year death-hiatus, 2+ billion Christians will be awarded eternal life in paradise. The remaining 4+ billion non-Christians will burn alive forever. 4+ billion men, women and children, from every corner of the earth, many of whom never heard about Christianity, will burn alive. Forever.

So many Christians I know pray for "end times" and for Christ’s improbable return from the sky/death. It seems to me that these people, in order to gain a reward, seek to hasten the eternal torture of more than 4 billion other people. Should that scare the $#!+ out of us? Or maybe I’m just not reading things right?

The Word

Matthew 10: 34-37 [New International Version]

"34 Do not suppose that I have come to bring peace to the earth. I did not come to bring peace, but a sword.

35 For I have come to turn ‘a man against his father, a daughter against her mother, a daughter-in-law against her mother-in-law –

36 a man’s enemies will be the members of his own household.’

37 Anyone who loves his father or mother more than me is not worthy of me; anyone who loves his son or daughter more than me is not worthy of me.”

The Family Tree

These amazing languages of ours, along with our equally amazing capacities for making and using tools, make us humans a special species indeed. But that is just what we are: a species. There are 4 species of "Hominidae" - the scientific name for great apes. The 4 species are chimpanzees, gorillas, orangutans and humans. It is fun and inspiring to think that we humans can be granted eternal life in paradise by an almighty being in the sky. But we are apes, destined to die just like everything else that has ever lived. It’s not depressing or sad. This system is elegant, simple and beautiful. Our genes, our love and our memories flow down through the generations, courtesy of our descendants, if any. That is our eternal life.

Friday, January 28, 2011

Divine Punishment

"For the LORD disciplines those he loves, and he punishes each one he accepts as his child. As you endure this divine discipline, remember that God is treating you as his own children. Who ever heard of a child who is never disciplined by its father? If God doesn’t discipline you as he does all of his children, it means that you are illegitimate and are not really his children at all."

--Hebrews 12:6-8 (New Living Translation)

Commentary: the Lord punishes those He loves, as we all do. If He’s not punishing you, you’re a bastard and not really His. So accept His divine punishment, just as you punish and discipline those you love. Amen.

The Good Book

“It is full of interest. It has noble poetry in it; and some clever fables; and some blood-drenched history; and some good morals; and a wealth of obscenity; and upwards of a thousand lies.”
-- Mark Twain, Letters From the Earth

Thursday, January 27, 2011

Unsweetened Tea

There are no atheists. And there is no unsweetened tea. We’re so used to syrupy sweet tea here in the Southern U.S. that we call “unsweetened” what the rest of the world just calls tea or plain tea. I know no process by which we can remove sweetener from tea to make it unsweetened, but with an evaporator and a centrifuge maybe we could rig something up. To me, tea is either plain or it is sweet. Similarly, we are either plain, or we believe in supernatural phenomena like ghosts, gods and spirits. I feel like it’s time we start calling plain plain, sweet sweet and superstitious superstitious.

Post Number 1

Welcome one and all to American Skeptic. On this blog you will find random thoughts, quotes and other items that I don't want to post on Facebook. Enjoy. Comments are welcome.

“Create art like your parents are dead.”
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