Thursday, March 31, 2005

My Deconversion?

Dear Internet Diary,
My Kindergarten graduation dress 1974

What made you an atheist?

My deconversion story could take a couple of hours to tell, so I want to get down to the root of it all : curiosity, independence, and education. That's the formula to the Chemical X that not even 6 or 7 days a week of an Evangelical Church could beat. Add a mom and dad who carry this chemical X and you get what you see here.

You get a 6 year-old who goes to a Christian Kindergarten, feels bothered by something Teacher said (Mommy? Did God really make the world out of clay?), and takes it right home to discuss with Mom and Dad. Horrified Mom and Dad discuss the matter, explain things to 6 year-old, and soon a pattern emerges where 6 year-old "goes to school" twice a day, just to experience that great horrified reaction form Mom and Dad.

What kinds of families find discussions on religious, philosophical and scientific issues a common everyday thing, as common as homework and chores? I certainly thought that every kid's dad took out a handkerchief and a marble to explain gravity, or grabbed a flashlight to discuss Plato's Shadow people. I thought every kid's Mom took her to the library twice a week, discussed the oppression of women in the Bible, and played classical music records on her console, loudly, as she did housework. I'm sorry to find out that isn't true.

It wasn't for my own parents. I don't think there was a lot of discussion in their Christian homes. Christian sometimes in the strict sense, mostly in the cultural sense. I think my family started out really trying to take christanity seriously, much more seriously than their own families. But their independent spirits, from having to take care of themselves mostly in their not idealized 50's families, won out. Independence was a golden word in my household, and was a compliment given with more pride than "good girl."

So that's why I am an atheist. That's why I never was a Christian at all.

Thanks for listening, diary.

Tuesday, March 29, 2005

Site's Up!

For blog-readers only:

My site, Insolitology, is up again! Hallelujah!

I had a little page that reviewed "Pro-Ana" sites. The page is down because it generated so much interest, it crashed our site.

A "Pro-Ana" site
is a website made by either an anorectic or a pseudo-anorectic, who proposes that anorexia is a right and a lifestyle choice, and should not be stopped or cured. Incidentally, my page wasn't exactly "pro-ana." After all, Insolitology is a site dedicated to internet crackpots. We don't add sites willy-nilly (like God decides morality).

Someone found our page through a search on google for "pro-ana," (or a look-see at site stats) and started a message-board thread. Nothing like criticism and controversy to promote a site, eh? Well, it worked. We took the page down because we wanted people to see all of the long, long overdue updates we had made to our site. Franc put on a disclaimer saying "sorry, due to traffic, this page" blah blah blah. Wouldn't you know it, the page hit soared after that, and we exceeded bandwidth?

Anyway, there are a lot of little elves out there sitting in their bedrooms with the full-length mirrors and posters of Mary-Kate and Ashley, feeling oh-so satisfied with themselves. That's good, because usually they don't think too highly of themselves anyway. Unfortunately, kiddos, the site is back on a new server, and we have a great deal more bandwidth than we had before. So suck it.

I hope they enjoyed my chili recipe. It is really worth a try.

Ban Ancient History!

Dear Internet Diary,

While American families bravely fight the Holy War against biology by misrepresenting evolution and putting warning stickers in textbooks, they are ignoring an evil atheistic threat lurking in the shadows: Ancient World History.

There are many "theories " about the date of Noah's Flood. Scientifically, these pseudo-theologians take the biblical passage that says Noah was 600 years old--and who isn't--and count backwards through the begats. A fascinating discipline. Using that mathematical expertise, the date of the flood has been placed on either 1628 BC, or somewhere between 1500 and 1320 BC. Everything you need to know is in the Good Book, folks!

All these Mediterranean cultures would have been wiped out: the Arzawans, the Hittites, Cyprus, Ugarit, Mitanni, the Hapiru, and Egypt. We know these cultures were thriving and growing from 1650 to 1200. Could eight people rebuild all these Empires by themselves, when they were clearly not getting along, drinking, running around naked and cursing one another? Which one of the Noah family figured out how to make bronze? Where did Ramses III come from? Which of the sons went to England, became a Druid, and built Stonehenge? And which son went up to China to pretend he was the leader of the Shang Dynasty? I don't see in the bible where it tells us that.

So, Christians, here is a sticker you can use to warn children of the satanic influence on history books:

This book teaches the theory of
the Egyptian Empire. Because
the Great Flood would have
wiped out all life at that time,
this culture could not have existed.
Because of this contradiction,
this material should be approached
with an open mind, studied carefully
and critically considered.

Oh. Did I say history books? I meant the bible. Sorry about that.

Thanks for listening, diary.

Saturday, March 26, 2005

It's the Easter Jesus, Charlie Brown!

Easter Sunday, March 27

Dear E-Diary,

A chocolate company came out with yet another chocolate cross for Easter. This time someone noticed that America, which the media is saying is composed of nothing but fundamentalist Christians now, should be shocked and appalled.

" The cross should be venerated, not eaten, nor tossed casually in an Easter basket beside the jelly beans and marshmallow Peeps," he said. "It's insulting."

No, I won't mention the Eucharist or anything. But I feel I must point out that Christianity has always been very good at casually tossing its symbols alongside Pagan ones, ever since the beginning. Case in point: the Christmas Tree. The Christmas tree is a very old Pagan symbol that began sometime before the Babylonians used it to worship Baal at the Solstice. Today, Christians sully the meaning of the tree by adding an angel on top and the most Christian of all symbols, the creche, at the bottom. To add insult to injury, they might add an ornament of Santa kneeling before the Baby Jesus. Kind of like spitting or dancing on the grave of the person you killed, isn't it?

Kansas City-based Russell Stover, the third-largest American chocolate manufacturer, said it is targeting some of the most devout Christians: Hispanic-Americans.

That's not surprising. Hispanic Roman Catholics, especially Mexican ones, are one of the best-skilled groups in mixing Christianity and paganism, and they do it in style. After all, they still eat Sugar Babies, a particularly ghoulish Christian tradition carried on in Europe. Sugar Babies, eaten at Christmas, symbolize the Slaughter of the Innocents, King Herod's response to the birth of Jesus. I have my own version in glass that I hang on my Christmas tree. It looks like little pink foetus. Yum!

But for the love of God, don't eat a chocolate cross.

Thanks for listening, E-Diary.

Friday, March 25, 2005

Christian Schlock

Dear E-Diary,

I credit my mother with my being an atheist, which is funny, because she's the only Christian in the house. The reason? She has good taste.

Mom always taught me to be wary of those solicitous Christians everywhere who try to get you to come to their church or buy their cheap tawdry merchandise or join their Ponzi-Scheme-cults. She hated hated hated bad taste, and it's not a coincidence that most of the bad taste we saw came out of "Christian aesthetics," Including what she called "Jesus is my boyfriend music," velvet paintings, light-up artifacts, and Helen Steiner-Rice greeting cards. She knew good poetry, art and music, and we saw very little of it that was Christian that came from after the nineteenth century. Our reference point? "The Praying Hands." Albrecht Duhrer's "The Praying Hands" was everywhere in the 1970's: painted on velvet , hovering like "Thing" over the dining-room table, brass bookends, or 30 feet tall in a park.

Christians: where the hell did you go wrong? What happened to the Michelangelos, the Handels, the Bachs, the Dantes? Is it the idea that anything that comes out of your "creativity" is wonderful because it's for Jesus? Are you all just congratulating yourselves on your piety? Is it because your culture forbids you to criticize anyone's work if it's about your white skinny bearded sandaled one? Because if you allowed criticism again, maybe you'd weed out the horrid crap that your culture is insinuating on the world. Doesn't your God deserve better from you?

Well, maybe it doesn't. Carry on.

Thanks for listening, e-diary.

There's Reason Enough

Dear E-Diary,

As a Christian, I know exactly why I should love and care for others. If I were an atheist, I can't imagine why I should bother to help anyone whose genes might compete with mine.

Once again, a Christian confesses that he cannot understand any reason why someone would be decent, except "God told me so," and threats of eternal torture. It seems that the questioner denies any possible earthly consequences for anything. Maybe that's why almost all prisoners are Christians. Is there some kind of underlying mania inside Christians that we should be aware of? Are all Christians potential Timothey McVeighs or Andrea Yateses? Fot the love of all things in this Godless world, please, I beg you, please remain Christian! Perhaps I should stop everthing, my websites and radio station right now!

But I won't. It just makes me feel a little cheap and tawdry to have to tell people why they should be decent human beings. It should go without saying that in order to have a somewhat enjoyable life on this planet, in order to not get your ass kicked or lynched, you should probably treat others with respect now and then. If you want to have food, shelter and basic cable, you need to at least get through a job interview and a probationary period at work.

I can't help but see that yet again, a Christian has got it all backwards. As an atheist, I know exactly why I should be a decent person. If I were a Christian I can't imagine where I would get the motivation to attempt any kind of altruism. After all, my purpose in life is to die and be with Jesus. The bible tells me I'm already worthless and don't deserve anything regardless of what I do in The World. Jesus tells me I should hate the world, my family, and myself. The only people I should love are my enemies, which is a roundabout way of advocating the cultivation of such. All I need to do after that is believe on Christ and admit my sins and I'm done with it. Anything else I do on this worthless World is meaningless.

I'd have to conclude that it's only Materialists that can be counted on to take meaning and worth from the stuff of The World--our possessions, our loved ones, and our values. That's Reason enough, isn't it?

Thanks for listening, E-Diary.

Thursday, March 24, 2005

Who's To Say?

Thursday, March 24,

Dear Internet Diary,

Um, I am having serious doubts about the whole religion thing, I mean, whos to say any of its true. Help me figure out what the hell to do before i go fucking crazy

You need to read about how we find out what is true. You will soon discover that we have the scientific method and induction, neither of which can account for miracles or a god.

But we can know about the non-existence of contradictions. A loving God cannot, for instance, create and participate in eternal torture, yet the bible says it does. We also know that universal laws of logic cannot be violated. Nothing can be created or destroyed. All matter and energy that is in the universe was always here, and here it will stay. No being can pop the universe out of nothing. No being can do an action that requires time, like creating, if time does not exist. Yet the claim is that God created time. That is a contradiction and an absurdity.

We also have this: science is learning more and more about our origins and the processes that got us here. The fact is, natural processes are sufficient to explain things, making a creator or a giant invisible boss unecessary. Such a complex and huge thing and it's not a necessary fact? Telling!

Another problem is that here is nothing meaningful about this character "god" that makes it an object we can understand. All desciptive terms about it are what we call "negative defining" and "secondary attributes." We know what God ISN'T, but that tells us nothing about what it IS. We are told what it DOES, but it still doesn't tell us what it IS. When a word is meaningless, when there is no reason for it, when there is no empirical evidence for it, all we have left is faith.

Yet, is there good reason to have faith in this claim? There is if you respond to threats. If you're grown-up enough to not respond to such threats, I think you'll see a way out of your problem.

Thanks for listening, Diary.

Wednesday, March 23, 2005

What If?

Dear Internet Diary,

What if you're wrong? What if everything in the bible is true? Aren't you afraid of going to hell?

What a curious question. Not the what if you're wrong part. I'm wrong about a lot of things. That's why I try to keep learning about as much as I can. No, it's the "What if everything in the bible were true?" part.

That would be impossible. That would mean that contradictions actually exist. I'm not talking about the myriad, murder-inducing arguments between Christian sects and denominations. I'm talking about things in the bible that are true and not true at the same time. The bible tells us that we are saved by grace alone. It also tells us were are judged according to our actions. It forbids us to drink and then glorifies wine-drinking-even using wine in a sleight-of-hand demonstration by The Amazing Jesus. In Genesis, it tells us that humans were made before the animals. It also tells us that humans were made AFTER the animals. It tells us it is wrong to commit adultery, and it also says , in Numbers, that they should kill everyone but the virgins they want to "keep for yourselves.". Then there's Hosea, who was supposed to "take thee a wife of whoredoms."

No one contradiction is any less true than another, whether I'm referring to biblical laws or the number of sons Abraham had. Contradictions can't exist.

So, what if they did? Well, if so, then the bible is absolutely, 100% literally true, and absolutely 100% false at the same time. I am talking to you and I am not talking to you. You both exist and do not exist at the same time. Each statement is just as true and just as false as the next. Nihilism would be true--and completely false. Invisible pink unicorns are and are not eating your baby brother who is also your father. And Aunt Fanny. Satan is God, and Buddha is George W Bush.

Sounds like I should do some serious re-consideration about my doubts of the bible's authenticity, shouldn't I?

Or not.

Thanks for listening.