Showing posts with label debunking christianity. Show all posts
Showing posts with label debunking christianity. Show all posts

5 Obviously False References in the Bible

As the ages march on, it is a delight to find fewer attending churches and more making time to sit around doing other, more enjoyable things come Sunday. But even while classes full of growing students are satiated in going to their professors for answers instead of their priests, the age-old debate on the existence of God / validity of [insert religion here] somehow still rages on. The question should by now be settled, but those states where the collective IQ hasn’t exceeded 57 still have people who are clinging tightly to mom and dad’s hard-shell faith to define us.

However, it is a breath of fresh air to know that the seeds of doubt are first planted, not by scholarship or by secular parenting, but by common sense questions and healthy brains at work. Below are 5 biblical mentions that are in that camp known as “It don’t take no gosh-darn edjamucations to see this ain’t right.” Some things in God’s holy book are wrong simply because they defy any real level of sense. We begin the countdown with...

Problems of Mountains

Word has it that young Timothy Collins of Woodward, Kentucky got chewed out by his father Harry after last Wednesday night's Bible Study. Both father and son are members of the Woodward Street Church where it's no secret that Harry Collins runs a tight ship as an active and devoted member of the church and father.

"I got on my son for talking like an atheist." said Harry. What Timothy did was make reference to it being a fortunate turn of events that a mountain had formed nearby. A big, bearded Harry, being a photographer, was capturing an image of a beautiful tree-covered mountainside. "And my son made it sound like the mountain was 'just there.' That's atheist talk, and it won't be permitted in my home."

Being slightly puzzled, a bright young Timothy clarified his father's position for us: "My dad got mad at me because I made it sound like mountains 'just are.' But nothing 'just is.' As Christians, we are forced to believe that everything that happens happens for a purpose. All things are made of God, from the design of curvitures running along the deepest sea floors to the arrangement of obscure dust particles on the dark side of the moon. My dad was right to get on me. The secular public schools teach a lot of wrong and evil things, and look how they have influenced my thinking."

"It's ok, son." Harry said, nodding with approval at his son's words, and then continuing: "The secular schools are full of atheists who profess themselves to be wise, but are fools. They think they are smarter than God. Think about how atheists perceive a mountain; to an atheist, a mountain is just a bunch of dirt that got pushed up when things got steaming hot under the earth's surface, causing a raising up of the ground. And that the mountain is 'tall' means nothing to an atheist because atheists think 'tall' is just a perceptual difference and that the mountain isn't really big or little. Everything is relative to an atheist. They have no objective standards. We Christians happen to know that God made all things purposely and according to his will, and in the case of mountains, he made them so that we could be impressed with their size and marvel at his creative power (Psalm 65:5). This was the same reason he created big, worthless planets and put them in orbit in space (Psalm 19:1-6). They don't do anything, but God wanted us to get smart and build telescopes and look up at the sky and say, 'Wow, those are big! God must be great!' And without mountains, how could Moses have gone up to Mt. Horeb to speak to God and get the ten commandments? So there is another reason why God made mountains."

Jumping in, young Timothy said: "And the Lord has revealed to me a third reason for why God made mountains. It was so that Jesus could mention it in Matthew 21:21 where Jesus said: 'Verily I say unto you, If ye have faith, and doubt not, ye shall not only do this which is done to the fig tree, but also if ye shall say unto this mountain, Be thou removed, and be thou cast into the sea; it shall be done.'"

Amazed, Harry said: "That's my boy! I sure am proud of him. He's no atheist, that's for sure! But the lesson to take from this is how atheism is never very far from invading our thinking the moment we start to use our minds. That's how atheism starts - with us thinking of natural reasons for why things happen - and then it progresses to making people say things like this or that 'always was' or 'just is.' And when you have a natural explanation for something, tell me, why do you need a supernatural one? What need is there for God once you've explained the world naturally?"

"Atheists think that the matter composing the universe just is and has always been while we believers understand that you have to go back one more step and say that God -- an unknown phantom spook -- just is and has always been. That's the true position; God created everything and everything needs a creator except for God. He just exists all by himself some way. That's how Christians reason, and that's how God wants us to reason. Stay away from secular reasoning. It will only lead to atheism and then to Hell. It is an unfortunate fact that using the brains God gave us to reason with can send us to burn forever. So try not to reason, except perhaps when reason agrees with the Bible. Then it's ok."


God Tolerates Slavery

Pastor Kenneth Rodriguez, Senior Pastor at Nations United Cathedral of Faith in Times Square, has been a leading voice in the charismatic community against the atrocious practice of human trafficking for the past 15 years. The 37-year-old pastor’s work has centered on places like Asia and Africa, places where human trafficking is a major issue. “Slavery, in principle, is unbiblical.” says Pastor. “To enslave another human being created in God's image is a sin like murder. It violates the Golden Rule and is an affront to decency.” Sounds like something right in line with what any other man of God today would give an “amen” to.

The surprise didn't come until a correspondence began between Pastor Kenneth and a nine-year-old girl from Beijing named Kaitlin. Kaitlin was abducted and forced to serve as a sex slave a year and a half ago. Cunningly gaining email access, she reached out for help from Pastor Kenneth. Pastor Kenneth's advice to her became the focus of a firestorm of criticism. He didn’t help her escape, and he didn’t encourage her to seek help. What he did is considered by most to be unthinkable and criminal. He told her to break off contact with him and to live as a slave like she was!

“I told little Kaitlin to live as a slave and to do what her captors want her to do and to be obedient in all things as the scriptures teach servants should do. Ephesians 6:5 is abundantly clear, ‘Servants, be obedient to them that are your masters according to the flesh, with fear and trembling, in singleness of your heart, as unto Christ.’ I Peter 2:18 says, ‘Servants, be subject to your masters with all fear; not only to the good and gentle, but also to the froward.’ It doesn't say for the slaves to run away or to rebel or to call the law to set them free. No, it tells slaves to submit to their masters, even to harsh masters. That's what little Kaitlin is having to do for the monsters who abducted her. I hate that she is being used as a sex slave by Hong Kong business men on their down time. She will without a doubt get diseases and suffer crushing emotional trauma from her experiences, but God’s word is God’s word. It has been like this for countless centuries.”

Being aware of the controversy his words brought on, Pastor Kenneth made clear, “I am not justifying slavery. God is going to judge those wicked slaveholders. But God's words on how to handle the situation are not hard to understand. God says if you are a slave, you are to abide in the calling wherein you are called (I Corinthians 7:21, 24). I am praying for little Kaitlin. She is worshipping the Lord in her heart in between having to service men. All we can do is support her and encourage her. It is the Bible that tolerates slavery, and sadly, there are times when we must as well. When Kaitlin is being mounted from her backside by a sinning, lust-driven client of her owners, she will reflect on Jesus Christ and to how his back bore the scars and the cross for her sake. And who knows…maybe Kaitlin will lead those lost slave-owners to Christ? I believe God has a plan for everything.”

When asked if it bothers him that his words have become the target of attack, Rodriguez said, “Maybe a little. I've long been a big opponent of slavery and an advocate for human rights, and so it hurts me that those who have followed my preaching for years would not know where I stand. But I am speaking where the Bible speaks. God takes every nation from where they are in their knowledge of his word. God allowed polygamy and he is still, in some places, allowing slavery. By having a multitude of slave laws in the Bible, God is telling us he wants those who are unfortunate enough to be slaves to be good at it for Christ’s sake and to serve well. There are even instructions in Exodus on how to sell one's daughter into slavery (Exodus 21:7-11).”

When asked if he had any final comments, Pastor stated, “Yes, I think all these pastors who keep accusing me of justifying slavery need to read the Bible again. Maybe they will learn something about God's character.”


Movie Review: Religulous

This review is late, way late! The release of Religulous was on October 1, 2008 and only now am I getting to review it. Why is that? Because down in the south where I live, even we movie critics couldn’t get it because we’re in the Bible Belt and most theatres wouldn’t carry it. We have the always tolerant, loving, and nonjudgmental Jesus-courters to thank for that. What I had to do to finally get a demo copy of the film was quite disgusting. It involved me in the back seat of a 1996 Buick Skylark getting down and dirty for 35 minutes with a tranny hooker named Philecia.

Okay, now that I made you chuckle, I’m about to turn the floor over to a real comedian, Bill Maher, creator of the hilariously offensive documentary. Being an avid and outspoken atheist myself, it would be biased of me to put a grade on Religulous unlike the rest of my reviews at To say that I agree with Maher’s conclusions should be obvious. So, I’m sitting this one out and letting Bill Maher do the promoting of godless activism for right now.

Maher’s travels for the project took him to Israel in Megiddo, the Mt. of Olives, to Italy to the Vatican where he was thrown out, to the Netherlands to visit a weeded-out “God” junkie, and to some other places in the United States (including the Mormon Temple in Utah where he was bounced from the property) to get feedback on those coats of many colors called God and religion.

What’s the problem with the world? The problem is religion and timing: “Before man figured out how to be rational and peaceful, he figured out nuclear weapons and how to pollute on a catastrophic scale,” says Maher. It is the intolerance generated by religious convictions that gives man the false assurance that he is right and cannot be wrong.

Maher makes a lot of people uncomfortable, and sometimes you even want to sympathize with them. Take, for instance, a chapel for truckers in North Carolina where Maher stops in to ask some questions. Within minutes of filming, one of them says: “You start disputin’ my god, then you got a problem.” But the problem with people like that is not disputing God. There’s no critical thinking going on. “I’m promoting doubt.” Maher says. “The other guys are selling certainty, not me.” How should we think? We should learn from our mistakes and realize that nobody has all the answers: “History is just a litany of getting shit wrong.” And “Religion is dangerous because it allows people who don’t have all the answers to think that they do.”

Dr. Francis Collins, one of the world’s leading DNA experts, is questioned on his adhering to Christian convictions while 93% of all scientists in the National Academy of Sciences are either atheist or agnostic. I would like to have seen more of the interview with Dr. Collins, which I felt was a bit too heavily edited.

Other interviews were gut-busting-ly funny, sometimes to the point of being awkward, like Maher’s interview with “ex-gay” pastor John Wescott. Just watch, and if you don’t cringe, I’ll give you a dollar! Democratic senator Mark Pryor is on tape admitting that the earth might be 5,000 years old. The creationist movement’s Ken Ham is interviewed just after a shot of a triceratops with a saddle on it.

After getting booted from the Vatican, Maher’s interview with a crotchety old priest is a gem. Being questioned about the church’s condemnation of sinners to Hell, the priest says: “That’s all nonsense. That’s the old Catholic church.” Well, that’s good to hear!

Brilliantly incorporated archived footage of political coverage, televangelists, and world events gives the presentation an extra-outrageous appeal. One of those is of Kirk Cameron and his usual spewing forth of ignorance, this time on making converts. The believer must “learn to circumvent or go around the person’s intellect.” Yep, that’s what the religious must do to convert anyone. If you think about it, it all falls apart. Don’t think! Just believe!

Religious idiocy is cleverly exploited as Rabbi Schmuel Strauss is interviewed. The man works for The Institute of Science and Halacha, inventing products that allow for modern conveniences without breaking the Sabbath. A phone is showcased that can dial itself. If you put a stylus in a number of the number you want to dial, the phone will stop inhibiting dialing at the number, which it tries to do automatically every second, so as to not violate one of the 39 prohibitions set by modern Jewish leadership against pushing buttons, and therefore, allowing the use of a phone on the Sabbath. Things get more comical with a wheelchair propelled by air thrust to avoid anyone having to push it on the Sabbath.

Maher interviews Jose Luis De Jesus Miranda, a man with 100,000 followers worldwide who believes himself to be the second incarnation of Christ. A radical Muslim Aki Nawaz is interviewed, a man who raps about and openly believes in suicide bombings, and upholds the death threats made against Salmon Rushdie.

On faith, Maher says “Faith means making a virtue out of not thinking.” And “Those who preach faith and enable it and elevate it are intellectual slaveholders.” It is religion that destroys mankind. “Religion must die for mankind to live.”

The conclusion is that religion is crazy – crazy funny – but mostly just crazy. Religious people are crazy. Their religion makes them that way. Religulous is about getting the world humble enough to admit that anyone can be wrong—adored religious saints and their holy books alike. If the things religious people believe were found in any other book, they’d be denied and called fairy tales. But since those things are in the Bible, they’re given a pass on conforming to rationality. None of their proponents know what they are talking about and have no more certainty in answering life’s big questions as their fellow religious loudmouths or your local “I’ll believe it when I see it” village atheist.

Religulous is 100 minutes and 56 seconds of realism with comic relief where Christians, Jews, Muslims, and others all get roasted. Spliced in with the interviews are charts, facts, and movie clips that will probably have you rolling laughing. The open-minded and non-fundamentalist religionists are encouraged to see the film as it will provide great entertainment. If you are a closed-minded, straight-laced fundamentalist, run. But if you do decide to see it, be prepared to throw a shoe at the screen.


Fine-tuning Foolishness: Hammering Out The Stupidity

The other day, I found myself needing to hang a wicker basket shelf in my bathroom. But the shelf was too heavy for tacks and glue, so I had to fetch a hammer and nails to do the job. After some milling around in the ever-useful “junk drawer,” I found the nails and a Stanley claw hammer dad had left at my place. I took some time to take a look at the flashy thing; it was relatively new, nearly all metal, with a duel-pronged claw on one end and the head at the other. It had a tremendously ergonomic rubber handle too, with curves and ridges along its surfaces, making it a perfect fit for the hand. I said to myself, “Now this is a well-made hammer!”

It was when the job was done that I found myself thinking of how the elements of the hammer work together so well. I thought to myself that if I didn’t know any better, I’d swear that the universe was “fine-tuned” just for the sake of producing this very useful hammer I was still holding in my hands.

Of course, I did and do know better. I understand that the handy instrument I held in my hands was indisputably designed and existed for a purpose, and before I gave it a name and was able to appreciate its worth, it existed in other, less useful forms. I realize that a “hammer” is just matter manipulated by humans into a tool to fulfill a small range of tasks.

I understand that the entire cosmos did not come to be for the sake of that practical-but-petty item known as the hammer. The universe doesn’t revolve around it. It doesn’t really matter in the cosmic scheme of things if it exists or not, and in no sense can it be said that the universe was “fine-tuned” to produce that instrument—even though the nice rubber handle whereby I held onto the hammer was designed to fit neatly into my hands, and even though the weighting was just right for swinging and tapping, and even though the shape and construction of the instrument made it ideal for the task for which we humans made it. The hammer has a place in my life, albeit a very small place.

But I also understand something else; I understand perfectly well what many Christians do not understand—that all teleological arguments (arguments based on the “intelligent design” of the universe, including the anthropic or “fine-tuning” arguments) are worthless and false. We exist like the hammer, and for most of the same reasons as the hammer; we fit nicely into our environment and we are a manipulation of matter, being made of the same stuff that the universe is composed of.

But we are also not like the hammer; we manipulate matter based on our intelligence and the hammer doesn’t, and the hammer was designed while we have no proof that we were. But we do know that we designed the hammer, and we don’t have any reason to believe that anyone designed us, and that is the central fallacy of all versions of the design argument—they just assume what they want to prove (that we and other life forms, as well as objects like houses and watches, were designed by an intelligence).

It is intellectual folly to assume that the universe was “fine-tuned” for the formation of life, just as it would be to assume that the universe was made so that a nicely crafted, shiny hammer can be built for the purpose of nailing a wicker shelf to a wall. The universe was “fine-tuned” for neither purpose. At least, if it was, there are no logical arguments or observations that lead us with any gusto to accepting that conclusion.

And we must ask the really big question here—why must a designer be posited to explain our sensory observations of the world? Does the fact that 9 or 7 cannot be divided evenly mean that there must be a Creator? Is e=mc² less true if God doesn’t exist? Can atoms not revolve around one another and have stability without a Master-designer? Would the atoms making up concrete and steal suddenly fly apart on an atomic level, or else lose their “hard” properties and become like Jello without a deity? Does the survival of fish in frozen ponds due to water freezing from the top downward mean that the universe was fine-tuned for life? Does the fact that gravity is strong enough to keep us on this planet, and yet not strong enough to liquefy us constitute proof that God made this world to house life like us? Does the fact that oxygen/nitrogen – as we have them on this planet for breathable air – instead of toxic gases, like methane and ammonia, mean that the earth must have been designed for habitation?

Robert G. Ingersoll, in his oh-so-eloquent 1872 work entitled “The Gods,” pointed out the grotesque absurdities of intelligent design thinking when he said…

“Even the advanced religionist, although disbelieving in any great amount of interference by the gods in this age of the world, still thinks that in the beginning, some god made the laws governing the universe. He believes that in consequence of these laws, a man can lift a greater weight with, than without, a lever, that this god so made matter and so established the order of things that two bodies cannot occupy the same space at the same time, so that a body once put in motion will keep moving until it is stopped, so that it is a greater distance around, than across, a circle, so that a perfect square has four equal sides, instead of five or seven. He insists that it took a direct interposition of providence to make the whole greater than a part, and that had it not been for this power superior to nature, twice one might have been more than twice two, and sticks and strings might have had only one end apiece…These religious people see nothing but design everywhere, and personal intelligent interference in everything. They insist that the universe has been created, and that the adaptation of means to ends is perfectly apparent.”

Then we must ask why God needed to even bother with awkward designs like the flawed and ridiculously concocted ones we see in nature; why, for instance, did God give us skin as protection from germs and foreign particles, and yet not make us to thrive on what we know as harmful radiation? Or, if God gave us ears to hear with, noses to smell with, eyes to see with, taste buds to taste with, and nerve cells to feel with, then why did he only give us those senses? Why not also the ability to see gamma radiation and rays of light not visible to the human eye? We see them with telescopes, we detect them with finer instruments, so why not with the eye? God was not limited in having to create cardboard creatures as flimsy as ourselves. He could have made us to exist and thrive in black holes or within the hearts of blue stars, and yet he went through the senseless trouble to create (or some would stupidly say, “evolve”) these bundles of bunions called human bodies. Words don’t describe the asininity of it.

And this is the real foolishness of the fine-tuning argument—its limited focus. Just look at how much of the universe is inhospitable to any type of life. If the universe was fine-tuned for life, why is there so little life in it? Why is most of our world trying to kill us, let alone all of space and time beyond this odorous outhouse called Earth? Not even a seedling can grow and thrive on Mars, and yet Mars is the closest to habitable planet in this solar system we have knowledge of outside of our own. This realization makes our own evolution rather unique and spits on the dumb notion that the universe has been tailor-made as an environment for the growth of carbon life forms (and even more arrogantly, for the growth of the human race, so that we may fight and quarrel and give credit to a fictitious being for its existence).

First, the universe was, and then it evolved us. Only later did theologians come along, with their suits and ties, and their hymnals and sermon notes, and their calfskin-covered New International Version Bibles, standing in their pulpits, proclaiming that the way things are is the way they had to be. When an apologist says, “the stability of atoms makes the material world possible,” that means to him that matter was fine-tuned by God Almighty on the atomic level to make all substances possible. But using this reasoning, any given order of nature that managed to bring about any type of sentient life at all would have to be considered designed, in which case teleology’s assumptions are unfalsifiable. In other words, we humans are no different than some really big, smart fish—we’re going to think that the proverbial river we are swimming in was “made” for us no matter what! And there’s no point in stopping there! We might as well say that the riverbed beneath it was intelligently designed to be just big enough for the river!

No, Mr. Theologian, the universe exists in some form or fashion with or without us. We, and our petty, self-aggrandizing perceptions of it come after it and as a result of it. We are not special and we are not wanted. Our perceptions of the cosmos are subjective and only valuable to us as tools to understand it, but those perceptions cannot be used to question reality. We can use our perceptions of metal beaten into a hammer to categorize the instrument made and give it a name, but we cannot argue that because metal can be shaped into a hammer that therefore a cosmic mind fine-tuned the universe to work together on an elemental level to make that product possible, and the same has to be true of humankind’s existence.

The flakey idea of a fine-tuned universe reminds me of an encounter with a mystic I had several years ago who insisted that apparent faces spotted in nature (such as in clouds or in natural formations like wood and sand) are evidence for the divine and man’s destined place in the grand scheme of things. Of course, we have to get booster seats for these mental midgets by correcting them: in truth, the “faces” seen in nature are only faces when homosapien brain-farts come along and call them “faces.” But until then, they are only one among many possible visible formations of matter, and nothing more.

We have no evidence – not even a smidgen of it – to believe that the universe has been finely tuned by a cosmic entity for any purpose whatsoever. But we do have minds, and as with the so-called faces showing up in nature, the minds by which we perceive and understand nature also sometimes project false images onto it. We find “evidences” for a fine-tuning God because we humans create and fine-tune things ourselves. So it should come as no surprise when uninformed people come along and assume that someone like us (but higher than us) does the same things. It’s a classic case of projection and a very humbling sign of our own cosmic level of ignorance, arrogance, and juvenility.


Christian Composer Makes Good

Staring at a metronome, wondering if and when his name would ever appear in lights, Christian composer Wolfgang Sivori almost gave up trying to make it in the Christian music industry. After composing countless songs and albums, and with over twenty years of experience in creating enchanting Christian melodies, Sivori was just about to give up.

He wasn’t happy with the way his career was going. This gifted composer/conductor/songwriter/singer/trombone player had seen what he felt was only mediocre sales and impact from his work. But on bended knee, he went to the Lord in prayer and asked for guidance. Upon standing again, he realized that he had at least one more song left in him.

“The Lord promised me that if I would just let go and speak his word in my last song, that it would be a hit and many people would be led to the truth of Jesus Christ. I had faith, and the prayer was answered.” Sivori said. That song is now a Christian classic, which also proved to be Mr. Sivori’s last work before succumbing to pneumonia complications in his Baton Rouge apartment and dying last Thursday evening. The song was called Water From a Jawbone, based on the life of Samson.

With permission from Saving Mythology Records, the lyrics of this short-but-powerful Christian hymn are reprinted below…

Between Zorah and Eshteal was a strong man, a strong man.
Between Zorah and Eshteal was a man given to lust and whores, lust and whores.

Oh, sun man Samson!
Oh, sun man Samson!

He killed many men and bragged about it, slew them without thinking about it.

Oh, sun man!
Oh, mighty sun man!

Just like Hercules, a product of mythologies.

Oh, sun man Samson!
Oh, sun man Samson!

He slew a thousand men with the jawbone of an ass, and then God gave him water to last.

Oh, oh, oh, water from a jawbone!
There was water from a jawbone!

When he was alone, there was water from a bone!
There was water from a jawbone, saving water from a jawbone!


The song was a huge success. Many Christians praised it. It went triple platinum within the first month of its release. But while the majority of the Christian world praised the work, there were some disgruntled voices that could be heard in their midst.

The first criticism was that Sivori was dishonoring God by associating the story of Samson with paganism. Sivori defended the song thusly: “God is an inclusive God. His grace works among the pagans as well as us. This is why there were a number of virgin-born savior-god-men, like Hercules and Perseus, well before Christ’s time. Church father Justin Martyr even admits this in his work Apologia I. The name ‘Samson’ actually means ‘sun man’, meaning his character was brought over from paganism. He was a sun god made into a man, but God wanted the story in the Bible to show how inclusive he can be. Besides, the Bible is a book that is 95 percent mythology. The very first book of the Bible has angels getting boners for earth girls (Genesis 6:1-4). With such silly heathen myths found all throughout our holy book, how can we but be diligent in using these occurrences to demonstrate to the pagans that Jesus Christ died for their sins?”

And what of the charge that his song denigrates God and puts him on the level of a violent thug? Mr. Sivori says: “There’s really not much I can say about that. All one has to do is pick up the Bible and open it to absolutely any page and they can see for themselves somewhere on that page just how vicious, vindictive, and openly violent God is. God was happy having Samson carry out his divine will by slaughtering a thousand men and then bragging about it (Judges 15:15-17). One has to be pretty stupid to miss the fact that the most righteous men in the Bible are unequivocally the bloodiest. Take David, for example; he was God’s favorite Old Testament saint, but even he had so much blood on his hands that Father God decided that he couldn’t build his house for him” (I Chronicles 22:8).

Mr. Sivori went on to say…

“The lesson is, instead of finding fault with God and trying to change him, as I had tried to do in my earlier songs, we need to accept his character and who he really is. Jesus Christ is the most merciful side of God there can be, but the savior with outstretched arms himself is more than willing to cast us into a lake of fire where there ‘shall be wailing and gnashing of teeth’ (Matthew 13:50). For years, I gave it my all, like so many Christians do, to make God look more presentable, to make him look nicer. But that was wrong of me. God is not nice. Nobody needs to hear about John 3:16 and lovey-dovey passages that falsely portray God as some gentleman with a beard and a timepiece. No, God is a mauling warrior, with sinews for bootlaces and skulls for beverage containers, and he must be portrayed as such (Exodus 15:3).

Having left us a rich musical treasure chest of angelic tunes, Mr. Sivori is now resting in the sweet bosom of Jesus. His music mentor was another great composer, that sweet singer of Israel, King David, who was arguably God’s first big-time music maker...

“Consume them in wrath, consume them, that they may not be: and let them know that God ruleth in Jacob unto the ends of the earth. Selah.” (Psalm 59:13)


Bring The Hate!

My earliest memories out at grandma and grandpa’s ranch are quite pleasant. With miles and miles of country around us, and long, lazy summer breaks, enabling us to spend weeks with two elderly loved ones who were intent on spoiling us through-and-through, all was good. Dad’s dad (or “Gran,” as we called him) was quite a character. You could spot him a clear mile away, wearing that same pen-striped blue-and-white factory work shirt and those dark-blue uniform pants with an always-oversized cowboy hat atop his head on that anorexically skinny body. He had about 15 pairs of the same uniform hanging in his closet, and I never saw him wear anything else a single day in his life. But hey, grandparents need not be stylish! That ought to be a written law somewhere!

Gran had an incredible level of charisma. He could be charming with an amazing sense of humor. We always thought he’d have been great as a stand-up comic. Gran was “the life of the party,” as they say, and a fundamentally good man. But good a man as he was, he had a problem—he loved his booze! Daily, he sat out on the front porch, on that same rusty, white lawn chair with the paint still chipping off it and became inebriated. This would bring out the demons from his painful past.

He would wake up in the morning and his words would be so clear, so well spoken. But as the day would progress, he would lose himself in his great escape of Schlitz beer. Then the demons would take control: “Them damn Japs. They need to be strangled with a god-damn guitar string, all of them!” Gran was in the Navy during World War II and was on one of the ships hit by the Japanese while escorting the USS Hornet. He couldn’t talk about it while sober, but in varying levels of buzz-ed-ness, he let out that he had seen his friends blown to bits. Those images stayed with him forever. His injured, severely hunched-over back, still containing bits of exploded boilers and random shards of metal from the ship, was a testament to the hell he had lived through. He survived over a day out in shark-infested waters until he was rescued. The guilt he felt for being a survivor was crushing. He had quite a few stories to tell.

And we kids never quit hearing those colorfully endowed, flaming stories over and over again! So after carrying on a great while about how worthy the Japanese were of being strangled, stabbed, and machine-gunned to death, he would go to one of those dusty shelves just above his garage icebox and show us the same picture he had shown us a thousand times before. The picture was of a dead Japanese soldier lying facedown next to a creek. “The only good Jap is a dead Jap!” he would declare. Then, he would continue the tirade with enough loudly yelled curse words to send an eleven-year-old me and my younger brother and cousins into fits of rolling laughter and incited thoughts of bloody vengeance against “our great enemies,” the Japanese.

Grandma would sometimes have to come out on the porch and settle him down because he would get so worked up and belligerent that he would lose himself and lash out at us. It only happened a few times, but we dared not defend the Japanese or say that the war was over (believe me, I learned the hard way!) In times like these, grandma would have to send us away to play while she quieted him: “Ssssssssshhhh! They’re just little kids! You ain’t supposed to cuss too much around little kids. Don’t yell at them! You are gonna ruin them.” Neither grandma nor grandpa was educated, and both grew up fighting extreme poverty. They didn’t have the opportunities we had, and yet they lived through hard times and survived to keep the line going.

Today, Gran is no longer around—hasn’t been for over a decade. I was close to him, and the things brought to light thus far were said to make a point, and not to cast aspersions on my grandfather or put stink on his memory. It pains me to share some of these things, but there is good and bad in all of us, and important lessons should be learned from the good and the bad in the legacies we leave behind. I’m sure a sober Gran would agree.

So let us suppose, of all the things I could glean and carry on of my grandfather’s ways, that I chose to embrace the bitter hatred he had for the Japanese. Suppose I were to carry on the anger and resentment generated from malicious memories of the past. Would that be right? Certainly that would be a big mistake. But what if my culture’s beloved holy book told me to hold people accountable for the sins of their fathers, because of wrongdoings of bygone times? Would that be right?

One of the most head-shaking evils of the Bible is that it is a book that has for so long taught and encouraged hatred and malice. Its yellowed pages have encouraged centuries of violence. And while the Old Testament is much more openly vile and less evolved than the New Testament, both sets of oracles have reddened the ground of every country in the world. The Bible teaches that God hates sinners unto the third and fourth generations…

“…for I the LORD thy God am a jealous God, visiting the iniquity of the fathers upon the children unto the third and fourth generation of them that hate me;” (Exodus 20:5)

When I read these words, I can’t help but wonder how many have been stoned, stabbed, or burned alive for age-old wrongs that one’s ancestors were only guilty of. How many innocent voices have hollered out for mercy, squealing to be delivered from slaughter because of a father’s crimes? How many times have the words “no” and “please” been used in the same exclamatory sentences as one pleads for his or her life to be spared? It is chilling to think about.

And it is important to remember that the God of the Old Testament never made distinctions between “the consequences of sin” verses “the guilt of sin” like modern apologists do in trying to justify biblical massacres. The eternal hate and livid rage that flowed out from the thrown of the gods was unearthly in its intensity. The rage that the gods felt when sinned against could last anywhere from a single light punishment of one person (Genesis 49:4) all the way to eternal torture of a soul (Luke 16:19-31). So as it wasn’t to many of the other gods, generational guilt was no big thing to the God of the Bible either…

“the LORD hath sworn that the LORD will have war with Amalek from generation to generation.” (Exodus 17:16)

“17. Remember what Amalek did unto thee by the way, when ye were come forth out of Egypt; 18. How he met thee by the way, and smote the hindmost of thee, even all that were feeble behind thee, when thou wast faint and weary; and he feared not God. 19. Therefore it shall be, when the LORD thy God hath given thee rest from all thine enemies round about, in the land which the LORD thy God giveth thee for an inheritance to possess it, that thou shalt blot out the remembrance of Amalek from under heaven; thou shalt not forget it.” (Deuteronomy 24:17-19)

It is manifestly unjust – in principle and in practice – to hold someone accountable for the crimes committed by another. But the gods don’t think so (at least, not very often). If you were an Amalekite, there was no such thing as mercy from God for you. In similar fashion, the paganized Christian concept of vicarious atonement in the form of a savior dying for our sins is as unjust as is generational hatred. It is only horse sense that the word “justice” cannot apply to an innocent party bearing the guilt and punishment of a guilty party. And in at least one place, even the Bible says so…

“The soul that sinneth, it shall die. The son shall not bear the iniquity of the father, neither shall the father bear the iniquity of the son: the righteousness of the righteous shall be upon him, and the wickedness of the wicked shall be upon him.” (Ezekiel 18:20)

We are each responsible for our own wrongs committed—so much for the idea of a savior dying for my sins! We have here one of the few just and right moral principles in the Bible, but we cannot praise this precept because it is common sense and only creates a hopeless contradiction between the other verses mentioned.

The entire idea of original sin is also an injustice of universal proportion. I cannot be “born sinful,” bearing the guilt of Adam and Eve’s transgressions, and yet so many Christians have no problem assigning us our portion in the lake of fire because of this very crooked-but-accepted line of thinking. All Christians who accept this doctrine should be checked for sanity, or else admit from the outset that they are patently irrational and led by a lord-loving lunacy. But even those who reject the doctrine of depravity are themselves unable to justify barbaric Yahweh’s condemnation and slaughter of Amalek and all other Bible atrocities.

The all-too-human tendency of mankind to hate his fellow man over petty differences is the central danger, but religion is still a detriment. Hatred is the invading germ and religion is the host to carry it unchecked into the mind of the human being. It is the bringing over of bitterness from the past that causes so much bloodshed, and religion is often the vessel for how this hatred is justified and brought in. No one ever hated his fellow man so much as when God told him to. Nothing is more historically vindicated than this fact: those who love God most are out to love men least!

And just as with dear old Gran, I can forgive Christians for past wrongs and overlook the negative things that their belief systems have caused and instead judge them to be good people in spite of the shortcomings of their faith. But this only shows us that the ability to love and forgive, and the ability to refrain from judging a man because of what his ancestors did, is an evolved trait, a thing found in morally superior people and societies, and not biblically observant ones. Worshippers of the gods have always made up the status quo, and their members hold the chief percentage of rioters and lawbreakers of every type. A crimson earth is a territorial mark of the devoutly religious. Look long enough and you’ll find the blood; it is sung about in their hymns, talked about in their preaching, consumed in their communion services, and spilt onto the ground in preservation of their dogmas.

If ever we are to evolve as a society and become better, less hateful, less judgmental people, we must continue to grow away from our vile religious heritages. There have been improvements in religion as there have been in secular thinking. So yes, mankind is getting better (however slowly). But if both the secular and religious worlds are becoming kinder and more civilized and learning not to retain the barbaric and hatemongering ways of tribal war gods like Yahweh, then that means that the gods have had nothing to do with our improved senses of compassion and accountability—not one iota! We should look to ourselves for change and for the betterment of mankind, not to the gods.


A Great Man has Died!

Just a few hours ago, I got some very, very bad news. I felt like I’d been kicked in the stomach when I read it. My eyes saw it, but seemed slow to want to comprehend it. “How could it be?” I said to myself. “He had such high energy, such vibrancy, such a house-rocking stage presence!” No, I didn’t know him personally, but I sure knew of his work. I’m a huge fan!

Then, as I sat there and soaked the news in, I realized it had to be true. He was 71 and had a history of heart trouble. But he lived a rich, full life, and as with all things, there is an end to come. That’s really all there is to it. But…that’s not all there is to it! No sir! No maam! There’s so much to this man that no one article could possibly express it.

He was the paladin of profanity, the oratory athlete of atheism, the crowned prince of common sense, and a whispering wind of wisdom to all who gave ear. I’m talking about none other than comedian George Carlin who died at Saint John’s Medical Center in Santa Monica, California just yesterday. Only a week ago, he was on stage, doing what he did best. A week later, he’s complaining of chest pains and being admitted to the hospital, and finally, being deserted by that defective blood pump in his chest.

Hate him if you want to, tell him he’s going to hell if you so choose, but don’t say you weren’t moved to chuckle a time or two at his ostentatious observations. The man made a difference like few have or could have; he pushed until it gave; he stretched the limits and then some; he was court marshaled a number of times, fired, and was constantly being called out and faulted for being who he was. On one occasion, he was arrested for disturbing the peace after performing on stage. But he won four Grammys, was nominated for five Emmys, wrote three renowned books, produced twenty-three comedy albums, made fourteen HBO specials, put a few TV shows under his belt, and even appeared in prominent parts in a number of big movies. And let’s not forget that it was George Carlin who hosted the very first episode of Saturday Night Live!

Carlin taught us all a lot—comedians will do that! But what Carlin assured me of most of all is two things; first, that truly great men tend to be movers and shakers and will kick against the pricks of normalcy until it hurts; but second, Carlin taught me who the real BEST debaters are on the planet. As a former seminary student – young, wet-behind-the-ears, and always obsessed down to the bone with debate and intellectually outclassing my opponents – I wondered for so long what group could consistently outclass their adversaries and make them look like blithering, blockheaded fools on the podium.

Well, it certainly wasn’t the debate students or teachers in the colleges. And it certainly wasn’t the elitist theologians, and it’s not even the atheists. Nope, if you really want to get your ass handed to you in a debate, challenge a comedian! Go on! See what happens! Carlin defined an entire genre of teachers, educators who employ the use of those teaspoons of sugar called humor and irony to help the “medicine” of knowledge go down. It’s the honesty of comedians that really sets them apart from the rest of us, with our cold formalities and superficial codes of conduct that tend to hide the answers to so many of life’s hard truths.

It was the George Carlins of this world who taught a fearful, sex-abhorring, body-hating, Bible-loving public that certain body parts are not evil and should be able to be exposed just like all the other parts. It was the George Carlins of this world who let us know how dippy and stupid our society is to isolate a certain set of “seven words” to keep them from being said in public. From Carlin we learned that being offended by anything as small as profanity is totally senseless and dumb, and that only people with oatmeal for brains will be. It was comedians like Carlin who softened us up to accepting that religion is completely man-made and man-driven—from start to finish. The gods are fair game; it’s okay to doubt them, to joke about them, and to use their holy books as a means to even-out wobbly tables or for toilet paper!

It was from comedians like Carlin that we learned that the world will not end if we are made uncomfortable by what someone else says, that it’s okay to say out-loud those obtuse thoughts in our own heads that we are embarrassed to verbalize. It’s okay to express yourself just as surely as it is to reason freely about every facet of reality. If the gods were real, they’d bless George Carlin and those like him for their honesty, for being courageous, for making sport of sacred silliness, for being lighthearted about our dark natures, for casting aspersions at monotonous norms, and for frustrating the goddamn hell out of those on the far right. Such triumphant souls pave the way for the rest of us to open up and to laugh at life, to be ourselves and to be better communicators. If I can accomplish 1/8th of what George has done, I’ll call myself a witty man.

Rest in Peace, George.


Join The Raptor Jesus Cult!

Lighting up a cigarette from that half-empty pack of Newports in his front jacket pocket, he seemed not to notice us. He didn’t even look like a man of science. He looked like a 60’s hippie, with glasses, a ponytail, and plain, casual clothes. He just stood there, leaning against the brown brick wall outside of the laboratory. When we asked to speak to Paul Gorman, the renowned Christian paleontologist, he spoke up after what could have been perceived as a rude and condescending delay. “That’s me,” he finally said, putting out the cigarette. Things were a little tense at first, but he soon loosened up to our presence, and the interview went well.

That’s what we were there for. We’d finally found the always-busy and hard-to-get-a-hold-of Dr. Gorman to meet with our Fox News Associates for an exclusive interview on his latest and most controversial claim yet. The claim: Jesus Christ – savior, prophet, and God to so many – endured his earthly pilgrimage with a raptor’s head atop his human body!

So certain was Gorman of his findings that he began his own ministry—Raptor Jesus Ministries. His goals, as he explained them to us, are twofold; first, to educate the masses on this new biblical find; second, to provide a cooler and more hip way for the younger, cyber-immersed generation to come to know Christ.

But I was skeptical. The idea that Jesus Christ had a raptor’s head on his body seemed…well…harebrained! So it was time to get some hardcore facts since I certainly couldn’t see them for myself. Now if there’s one thing Christian apologists of all calibers are experts at, it’s coming up with evidence for preposterous claims when there is none. So, yes, I was skeptical. But when Gorman began to open his mouth with the explanations of his position, I soon became hypnotically entrenched…

“You’ll find that in Job chapters 40:15-41:34, God tells us about a large, reptilian creature that is exalted above any other beast. Nowhere in scripture do we see his equal. But the problem is, God never speaks to exalt animals. He only exalts humans. And though the Almighty went through a phase where he said he wanted to wear the cologne of animal’s blood, he quickly tired of it (Isaiah 1:11). At one point, God even denied that he ever asked for animal sacrifices in the first place (Jeremiah 7:21-22), but that’s another matter. The point for us to take home here is, there was no way God could have spoken like this in the scriptures to exalt some reptile. No, God is trying to tell us that there’s more being described here than just some dumb, brute beast.

In Job 40:19, this mighty creature is called, ‘The chief of the ways of God.’ The chief of the ways of God can only be Christ. And in chapter 41:33-34, we read: ‘Upon earth there is not his like, who is made without fear. He beholdeth all high things: he is a king over all the children of pride.’ This can only be referring to Jesus. But there are other ways we know this to be true. Isaiah predicted that the savior would have sharp teeth: ‘Behold, I will make thee a new sharp threshing instrument having teeth: thou shalt thresh the mountains, and beat them small, and shalt make the hills as chaff.’ (Isaiah 41:15) This too can only be referring to Jesus.”

“Ok, you’ve got my attention,” I thought to myself. But I wasn’t yet convinced. It is difficult to believe that God would choose to take upon him the form of a man, and yet the facial form of a raptor, an extinct beast that lived over seventy-eight million years ago! Many churches still believe that fossils are a work of the devil. So how could it be that one of those inane fossils, so distantly removed from Christ, was actually the image of God’s Holy Son? Sitting spellbound at the wisdom of this scholar, I listened as he continued…

“The scripture says of the suffering messiah that he would be unattractive in appearance. (Isaiah 53:2) Even as a babe, Jesus was so hideously ugly that the Angel of God had to basically say, ‘Get that kid out of here because these folks are going to kill him when they see him!’ (Matthew 2:13) This was because his face was a raptor’s face. Throughout Jesus’ ministry, we see him rejected and scorned a number of times. This couldn’t have been because of the things he taught because the Bible says the common people heard his message and received it gladly. (Mark 12:37) This leads us to conclude that Jesus was rejected because he resembled the prophetic allusions that speak of him as the powerful, reptilian creature from Job’s time.

The mystifying presence of fish in the life of Jesus is very interesting too. Jesus kept referring to fish. He had an insatiable appetite for it. (Matthew 7:10; 17:27) Even after his crucifixion and ascension, when he was more than free to head back to the resplendent glories of heaven that he created for himself and only a few of us, he still couldn’t get his mind off of food. He chose to stay on earth and ask for meat from his disciples when he reappeared to them. (Luke 24:42; John 21:9-14) I think if Jesus were around today, he’d probably own stock in Long John Silvers or perhaps Red Lobster.

The assumed miracle of the loaves and fishes found in Matthew 14:16-21 gives us a faint clue as to how Jesus produced fish for the masses. I always wondered how he could have done that, and together with the rest of the evidence, I now believe that the raptor position makes the most sense of any. While Jesus could have done a miracle, he didn’t. He just had his disciples sit the multitudes down, and when they weren’t looking, he stuck his big raptor head under water and snatched out a few massive raptor mouthfuls of what was to be dinner! Jesus may have been a rapacious reptile, though he was certainly a very generous and benevolent one.

Paleontologists agree; the best and most proficient carnivorous land-beast at catching fish was the raptor. And as often as fish and feeding multitudes are found throughout scripture, it is a more than sound conclusion that Jesus was given a raptor’s head for precisely that purpose. He was a more effective fisherman and a more effective savior. No wonder it was said that Jesus cast out demons as the prince of the demons—any man with a raptor’s head looks plenty demonic! (Matthew 12:24) This was why people were terrified of Jesus and asked him to leave their cities. (Matthew 8:34; Mark 5:17) This was also why Jesus was unable to get married.”

For me, the pieces were starting to fall into place! I was electrified with the wisdom and scholarship Dr. Gorman showed. Before I could begin with my printed-out list of now useless questions, I realized I had created a monster of oratory! He finished what remained of his thoughts and perpetuated without missing a beat…

“And this was the main reason Jesus was rejected and crucified. Nobody expected a literally cold-blooded Jewish messiah.”

At this point, Dr. Gorman began to tear-up: “Oh sure, we love to cry at movies like ‘The Passion of the Christ,’ but do we really know what he went through? People tell me my findings are blasphemous, but this new knowledge of Raptor Jesus only brings more glory to Christ. It doesn’t take any away. It shows us that Jesus suffered more for our sins, not less!”

Bringing our three-and-a-half hour interview to a close, Dr. Gorman assured us that although it would take time and a lot of indoctrination, generations of new and impressionable minds are already laying hold onto a much cooler Jesus than the one their parents knew. There’s just something to say about a Jesus who attracts crowds like a freak-show and has pointed teeth, who has a mouth nearly the size of a punch bowl, and protruding, beady eyes. And he’s no weakling! He didn’t have to stumble, carrying that cross to Golgotha. He didn’t have to get his butt kicked by a hackneyed council of ordinary Jews and Romans who decided to have him lynched. He didn’t have to—he wanted to! He laid down his life for us. He went extinct for our sins!

As we departed (partly choked up ourselves and partly amazed at how we went through an entire box of Kleenex Ultra-Soft), Dr. Gorman, still spiritedly chatting away about the goals of his ministry, asked us: “Honestly, if you were one of these new-age kids who use words like “Pwn” and “noob,” and could text-speak faster than you could read a verse from the King James Bible, would you be more inclined to worship a resurrected Jew, or a resurrected raptor Jew?” With a smile, I told him: “Say no more, sir. Say no more!”

Who would have thought that some obscure therapod from the late Cretaceous Period would have such significance on a soteriological scale? Truly, the stones cry out, “Jesus!” And whether you agree with Dr. Gorman’s findings or not, you have to admit that adding the word “raptor” to any title or description makes the subject a whole heck of a lot cooler! I am now part of the Raptor Jesus Cult. Why not join?