Showing posts with label joe e holman. Show all posts
Showing posts with label joe e holman. Show all posts

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.


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.


Suit-and-Tie Atheism: And the “Church-ification” of the Godless

Let me tell you about me and my activities on a typical night off work. I wake up around 4 to 5 pm because I usually work nights and those are my hours. I get up and have a glass of iced tea, some sodas, or a few (or more) beers, depending on my taste and mood. Then I’ll grab some take-out food, which usually consists of the greasiest grub I can find (What can I say? My arteries hate me!) I live in a 750-square-foot world where the Fri-Daddy is god, where snacking on chips, whole cashews, chocolate bars, and anything peanut butter is the divine moral order, and where shrimp and bacon are only one step away from being “holy” foods. There are probably more preservatives in me than blood cells! There are as many paper cups, plastic wrappers, and empty junk-food containers in my kitchen as there are strands of carpet in the living room! At my place, it’s an ongoing battle just to keep up with throwing them all away. So it’s safe to say I’m pretty much your exuberant Class-A slob.

When I’m done eating, I go back to doing what consumes most of my pathetically anal and highly obsessive/compulsive life—reading articles, writing articles, and editing articles, both for freelance and for freethought purposes. I spend the first half of the day doing what I want and the last half of the day doing work, which includes maintaining my blogs and answering emails. In between this time, I peruse the web for documentaries, audio clips, and videos, so much so that your typical, shorthand-using, 14-year-old, internet troll has nothing on me! I also love comedy of all kinds, particularly satire, to the extent that I try daily to gratify my ominously dark and disturbing sense of humor.

But I’m always thinking, thinking when my fat ass is hold up on the recliner, thinking when that searingly hot water is running over my head and beading off my back in the shower. And I’m a tactile thinker. I like to feel myself thinking, so it’s not uncommon for me to spend some amount of money on new keyboards that provide a nice, rough feel for the tips of my fingers to motivate me to keep on writing even when I feel like crap (which is often). I love a keyboard just before the keys get shiny as the surfacing begins to rub off from frequent use! I sometimes grit my teeth as I write, whether I’m mad or not. It just feels good. I also spend a decent amount of money collecting flashlights and pens. I love to feel them. Holding them in my hands helps me to think better.

Though not often, I can be moody, but I am always all-or-nothing; what I love I love and what I hate I hate. I love a cloudy or stormy day. I love the wind whipping through my hair. I love hot peppers. I love a well-timed shot of liquor. I love the cold air’s bite on my cheeks. I love the smell of jasmine. I love doing bizarre things, like sharpening backscratchers so that the intensity of the scratch is stronger on my skin. I play with my hair and rubber bands when I’m mind-numbingly bored, and I sculpt when I’m feeling creative. I love a good game of chess. I do other things too that I won’t go into much detail on, primal things that involve members of the opposite sex and me in handcuffs, but you get the picture.

And some days, the futility of existence is just too much for me, so I don’t get out of bed at all. I just lay there until I have a headache and stare up at the ceiling for hours because I can’t find the motivation to get up. I just lay in the dark, groveling on my bed until I can’t stand it anymore. I hate a lot of things too, like cinnamon and heights and mosquitoes and needles. I never lick my fingers and I hate it when others do around me and are otherwise not germ conscious. Unlike so many atheists, I don’t care much for leftwing politics. I am somewhat of a political enigma, being pro-torture and pro-death penalty on the one hand, and pro-euthanasia and pro-abortion on the other. I don’t care about “going green” to save the planet either. It matters about as much to me as that cross on the neck of a hot-legged Catholic schoolgirl you wish you’d banged when you had the chance.

And I am plenty aware of my faults too. I am impatient, selfish, picky, and much like I do life in general, I absolutely despise large portions of the population, especially cattle-like people who never struggle with the meaning of their existence (though, in a way, I’m a bit envious of them.) I don’t really care for the poor, and the mentally deficient tend to bother me, as do most special interest groups and other near-parasitical forces of society (Hey, at least I’m honest about it!) I am a recluse, by and large, and I prefer to keep it that way.

My ultimate desire in this predictably short charade I call life is to pass on my experiences and knowledge by way of the written word. I am a student of this cruel-but-curiously-stimulating universe, and if I can pass on my observations to future generations so that they may live through them or somehow make use of them, that is perfectly delightful to me. But all of this just describes one atheist—me. It doesn’t describe all atheists, but in fact describes very few atheists.

One atheist may have nothing in common with another except for one thing: both don’t believe in a deity. That is all—end of story. There need be no other similarities between them. An atheist may be educated or uneducated, smart or stupid, kind or mean-spirited, a law-abiding citizen or an outlaw. He may be charitable or stingy, morally straight-laced or downright perverted. She may be a republican, a libertarian, or a flat-out Marxist. I keep thinking the point has been made already. It isn’t that complicated, and yet I see so little understanding of this in relations between believers and atheists.

We vocal atheists have dealt with our share of email exchanges explaining to clueless inquisitors that agnosticism is not a halfway house between atheism and theism, but only a degree of atheism; an agnostic or weak atheist is less convicted and perhaps less vocal than a positive or strong atheist. And that is what atheism is—a conviction and not a philosophy, though it is sometimes classified as a philosophy or a discipline for reference purposes in the field of philosophy. But this simple misunderstanding has done leagues to impede the progress of our debates for who knows how long.

You see this royal misinformation at work every time some Simple Simon makes reference to “the church of atheism” or “the religion of the godless.” Since atheism is strictly a negative conviction, it cannot have a church or any institution built on it with creedal beliefs or affirmative regulations that affect belief, identity, conduct, or character (which is what churches and religions have and do). And yet, even amongst my atheist comrades, these same misunderstandings are being unknowingly propagated with what I have come to call “suit-and-tie atheism.”

Suit-and-tie atheism is the vain attempt on the part of some atheists to “churchify” their godless convictions under differing militant and evangelistic banners. They show frantic worry about “making de-converts” to join us in our “fight for unbelief.” The suit-and-tie atheist is concerned especially with “coming off” right (which usually means putting on a smiley face and displaying pretentiously Christian-like behavior). The suit-and-tie atheist’s goal: they want believers to be impressed with them in hopes of winning over an on-the-fence Christian who just might say, “These cats aren’t so bad. Maybe my Christian stereotypes of atheists are wrong? I think I’ll join them in their quest for reason.” But it doesn’t happen that way, regardless of how little profanity an atheist uses or how kind and inviting an atheist is in a written or oral debate, or if an atheist chooses the term “non-theist” instead of atheist to ward off any nasty preconceptions of them.

It is very important to the suit-and-tie atheist that no atheist in their company comes off like a “village atheist”—an unsophisticated, homegrown, “I’ll believe it when I see it” type who does not continually pay lip-service to the glories of Aristotelian logic, and who doesn’t have a big interest in arguing atheism with anyone and everyone he knows. But even worse to the suit-and-tie atheist is the “angry atheist” because the angry atheist makes all other atheists look depressed and grumpy—a cardinal sin in the eyes of so many happy-go-lucky, pro-marijuana, planet-loving, Toyota Echo-driving naturalists.

Since the suit-and-tie atheist is concerned mainly with appearance and getting people to agree with him/her – always careful to be pleasant to a fault – they naturally shy away from atheists like myself who are too edgy, too rambunctious, and just too brutally honest for their taste. The suit-and-tie atheist is more like a politician, distancing himself from bad imagery, shaking hands with a big smile on his face, while patting kids on the head as he works the crowd on the campaign trail. But as noble as it sounds to try and line up atheists as charming and inviting, it’s a bad idea because it creates yet another of what should be forthrightly shunned—an unfounded stereotype.

Atheists far and wide seem to be contributing to this suit-and-tie silliness, like Richard Dawkins and Daniel Dennett (among others), who have voiced their desire for all atheists to identify themselves as “Brights.” “The New Atheists” is another description that is catching on and becoming increasingly popular. I was always amazed as a preacher at the tendency of churches to wear denominational names and the names of religious leaders, but I am just as amazed as an atheist at how quickly and easily atheists are guilty of the very same thing. The put-your-best-foot-forward mentality, the desire to label and re-label things to reflect excellence and great personal achievement appears to be universal.

As much as I hate to burst the bloated bubbles of these highly publicized and widely adored atheists, this label-wearing malarkey has got to stop. There are no “Brights” or “New Atheists” anymore than there are “New Deists.” The term “atheist” covers everything that needs to be covered. To go further than that only feeds the already fat market of misinformation on the identity of unbelievers and what we are all about. Add to that, the term “Brights” has a mighty arrogant come-off to it, regardless of whether it was intended to have or not. Those who go around saying (by implication or otherwise), “I am bright and you are not!” to them I proudly extend a middle finger, and rightly so! And why do we need “new” atheism anyway? What was wrong with the old? In addition to being a virtual spit in the face to us behind-the-times “old” atheists, gimmicky and trendy names like these wreak of being little more than pathetic sales-pitches for a new age.

Well, how about we get back to the four basic food groups of atheism: 1) Atheism, 2) is a, 3) conviction, 4) only! And being a conviction only, it does not and cannot lead to moral excellence or decay. It is not an idealistic construct. It offers me nothing. It offers you nothing. Like me, it may be the only position you can come to and honestly profess belief in, or it may not be. If you find atheism sound, then great; maybe you already fight at my side to break the rusting and corroding shackles of superstition, but if not, I won’t lose any sleep over the matter. If you believe in God, I have better things to do than to try and get you off that drug.

The truth is, I don’t care whether you believe in a ghost with a capital “G” or not. It doesn’t matter to me at all. I only want to make my experiences available to those who happen to be in a position to benefit from learning about them, and I will only fight against religious beliefs when they happen to be thrown in my face or when some Jeebus-ite starts to wax too missionary in his/her beliefs. But that’s it. Beyond that, I have no interest in “making atheists” out of anyone or putting new and cute labels on those who already identify themselves as infidels. Worship and pray to whomever or whatever you want, or don’t worship and pray at all. See if I care.

As far as the remaining theists are concerned, evolution will take care of them as God-belief ever-gradually continues to fade from the planet. Every time a Sunday school girl makes her teacher mad because she demands to know where Cain got his wife, religion is fading. Every time a young man begins to doubt the veracity of the great flood and the story of Noah’s ark, religion is fading. Every time another college student becomes emboldened enough to throw off his parent’s religion because of what he learned in geology class, we see that the age-old, male-glorifying, monotheistic blood-gods who for so long have vilified reason and promised damnation to those who think for themselves are at last losing the war. They are running for the hills as your eyes finish this sentence.

Atheism is the logical result of knowledge acquired by the sound use of reason. It does not come from pandering to Christians and straightening that proverbial tie to look good for the “camera” of public perception. Instead of worrying about who’s “hurting the cause of atheism,” we should instead see to it that atheism is understood; understanding that will eliminate the illusionary damage that has led to the public’s vilification of the position. The advancement of atheism is not about upholding an image, and it’s not about receiving a message. It’s about mankind being ready and able to accept the truth of her humble origins, her inevitable and hopeless demise, and her limited place in the cosmos. And when she is ready, she will! As the world becomes more enlightened, the atheists are going to be here. I have no doubt about it—unless, of course, a meteor hits the earth and the only ones who survive are the Sean Hannity types, but hey, we’re talking about more realistic possibilities!

Gentlemen, lose the jackets. Get rid of the ties. Ladies, let down your hair. And it’s okay to put your feet on the coffee table.



Funny how those who boast the loudest, “I’m a patriot. I fight for freedom, God, and country” tend to support ideals that only lead to widespread oppression and fascism.

Funny how those God-believers who boast the loudest of their morality, saying “I have a foundation for my morality” are just as prone as anyone else towards immorality or moral lapses.

Funny how those who boast confidently about how Christianity has the greatest “evidences” in support of it seem to walk on egg shells, fearing day-to-day how some new scientific find may come along and crack the foundation of their faith.

Funny how those who boast greatly about “God’s great healing power” will just as surely depend upon Advil or some other pain reliever to rid themselves of the pain of an ailment.

Funny how those who boast so loudly about the “fine-tuning” of the universe have so little to say about all the ways our planet can kill us and how so much of our universe is lifeless and hostile to even the possibility of life.

Funny how those who testify most fervently about the sublime happiness that service to God brings depend on the usual 30 milligrams of Prozac a day and the latest best-selling Christian book to ease their minds of life’s many sorrows.

Funny how those who most loudly proclaim peace and religious liberty will be the most zealous to take life in the already heavily blood-soaked name of the cross.

Funny how those who publicly proclaim the truth of Christianity and tell us that we should “give to the Lord” and “sacrifice” for the kingdom’s sake are among the richest men alive.

Funny how those who tell us we should focus living lives “more abundantly” on earth are themselves focused on leaving this world for one to come.

Funny how those who tell us that the body is “the temple of the Lord” and how “God don’t make no junk!” are constantly seeking better, heavenly bodies in the resurrection.

Funny how those who talk the most about selflessness and “doing good for God” are always interested in their own destinies and putting another star in their heavenly crowns.

Funny how those who boast that “God is love” and that God “brings peace that passes all understanding” and tell us that “there is no fear in love, but perfect love casteth out fear” are always seeking to scare the populace into obedience by the merciless threat of unquenchable hellfire.

Funny indeed!