Monday, October 31, 2005

Alleee's Bible Retreat

Maude Flanders, on the Simpsons, went to a Bible Retreat camp to "learn how to be more judgemental." When Ned sprays Rodd and Todd's eyes with soap, Todd says "The burning is love!" When Lisa Simpson becomes a Buddhist, Ned Flanders takes his kids to a fallout shelter, where they may never leave.

Ned is just as hilarious and disgusting as Homer ever can be. And the Simpsons remains popular with just about everyone, including christians, who tend to claim that the Simpsons is a pro-christian show. (For some strange reason.) It stands to reason that a show that has lasted this long has a large christian audience. Probably moderate and liberal christians, who find that this evangelical, ultra-conservative nonsense exhibited by the Flanders--and all of the Flanders out there in the world (the Phelps?) is pure nonsense.

"We're not like that. We are normal christians. We have sense."

Perhaps they have gone to the same retreat that Maude Flanders attended?

When you worship a being that constantly preached Apocalypse, hellfire, and demon possession, how can you betray that being by hating those things he preached? Many "moderate" christians like to claim rightoeousness, that they have "good sense," by proclaiming their non-belief in such thigs as hell and rigid moral no-no's like the ten commandments, and antiquated clothing and dietary laws.

But what does it say about you when you worship a character as a god who preached those very things you claim are antiquated, rigid, and nonsensical, even cruel?

There are a few beliefs one must hold to be considered a christian. I will be very liberal here and suggest that all you have to do is believe in Jesus Christ, the resurrected savior, who sacrificed himself at the crucifixion in order to give mankind salvation from death, and to grant eternal life. Sure, you can get away with being a Christian while denouncing almost all of Jesus' biblical teachings. But you still promote them, and you still hold irrational and immoral values. Especially the one about Jesus taking upon himself all your sins. What a racket.

Perhaps Christians are more clever than I thought. They can get away with worshipping a man while denigrating his teachings--after all, the sins of the christian all belong to their savior. That makes Christianity essentially a doctrine of irresponsibility. That charge is just as easily levied against the "sensible, liberal christian" as it is against the "Flandereses."

And I like the Flandereses.

Friday, October 28, 2005

Speaking of Satan

...the show this week is all about Satan. I looked up my past research on the subject, and worked this week to put together some more research, both from contemporary and early Christian belief, and from the work of mythologists (is that a word?). I think it might be interesting, so tune in!

We will be discussing the definition and the origins of The Devil, and beliefs about the little split-footed demon. Why are so many seperate characters attributed to the same creature? Maybe we'll find out!

The show will be ready for download at our site Saturday evening. After that, be sure to tune into the Live Show on Freethought Radio at 2 pm Eastern STANDARD time on Sunday, October 30. Don't forget we go back to standard time at 2 am Sunday morning! We'll be talking about more news stories, and playing more inexcusable music! Be sure to join us in the chatroom.

Thursday, October 27, 2005


It's time yet again for the Wisdom of the Web:

Cala Says:
And I believe in Satan because I believe that all people are at least a little evil, and that has to come from somewhere. Remember, it's easier to do bad than good (for the most part, at least).

It's easier to murder a loved one than to let a resentment go? It's easier to rape someone than to find someone to willingly sleep with you? It's easier to kill a bunny rather than to pet one?

If the evil has to "come from somewhere," why then is it easier to do it? It seems like she wants us to believe that evil is laziness. But an awful lot of "evil" takes quite a bit of effort.Especially those Bond villains. Their evil is so elaborate, the elaboratness is what foils their plans.

Dman08 says:
I believe in Satan because I have to he and God go hand in hand, I can't just believe in heaven and not hell.

Why not? Does he mean that God and Satan are equals? Why can't he imagine an all-powerful God can create an afterlife for the righteous, and just death for the rest of us? This kid's God is totally bound by supposedly his own laws. This belief shows lack of imagination and ambition. My verdict: silly.

Fan Site for "Fear of God":
I believe in Satan. Because the devil or demons often show up in some people and lead them or literally "suck" them dry. I think this is horrible, bat unfortunately it is true that the evil does exist. This has absolutely nothing to do with satanism. People who do such things are completely immature. It's just some kind of short term interest they will reject a few years later."

In other words, they heard that demons possess people: probably on TV or from the little boy down the street or something. I have never heard that a demon can "suck you dry." I thought demons sucked out souls, not moisture. If anyone has heard a report of a discovery of a dried-out corpse that wasn't found on top of a mountain or in Egypt, let me know. Then we will know for sure that "Dementors" are real.

If this person believes so deeply in demon possession, what makes him any less "immature" than the "people who "do" what he calls "Satanism?" He sounds like a satan-worshipper. Hopefully this is a short term interest.

Darkechilde says:
I believe in Satan because for all the hate and evil corrupting are world it must be bigger then it seems. If theres a greater good like the Christian God or the Goddess or whatever u believe there must be a greater evil. I was just wondering if anyone still thinks Satan exists.

Again, another person who thinks the "forces of evil" are equal to or greater than the "forces of good." Monotheism is not supposed to teach that concept. There is supposed to be only one god. But it seems that the religion does a better job at teaching its pagan roots than its supposed "good news" of the Gospels. Zoroastrianism wins, Christianity loses.

Yarddog 54 says:
believe in God because He came to me and revealed Himself to me. I hear the voice of the Holy Spirit and I have experienced the love of our Lord Jesus Christ.
I believe in Satan because I have looked directly into his face and I have felt the repression of his demons.

Cuckoo for Cocoa Puffs! I wish he'd have told us what Satan's face looked like. Unfortunately, dreaming often masks faces, even when we look directly into them.

He continues:
But you may go to sleep tonight and God decide to reveal Himself to you, like He did me.

What did I tell you?

Haswitch says:
you see, I believe in the Devil because I've seen him working through men (and women), and I believe convincing people that mad greed was OK was his SECOND greatest trick. That is SO not what Christ said...and the people running this show convince everyone they are on the side of Life because they oppose abortion and don't deal well with gay folks. I don't remember Christ even referencing those issues much. He had a bit to say about greed though...

Christ didn't talk about abortion much, but Yaweh sure liked 'em!
You're possessed when you say "greed is OK," but you're damned well Godly when you demonize others.

So, if you want to be as Godly as Haswitch, I'll give you a chance right now. I'm wearing the horns right now to make it easy for you.

Greed is OK. Especially for poor people. It's good that they want more for themselves. Because greed doesn't have to be limited to goods. Greed can mean you want more and more of anything you value. I am greedy for peace, reason, progress, and beauty. So go ahead. Watch the Devil working through me. And then go ahead and think you're superior to those demonic anti-gay and anti-abortion people, because your condemnations are going in the right direction.

Thursday, October 20, 2005

Alleee Answers a Letter

A Humble Christian

Hey Guys,

I am just a humble christian. The reason I was on your website is because I was seeking more wisdom. For you see, I wasn't always a christian though. I am also calculus guy and an experimentalist (Aerospace Engineering major at ASU). I'm all about finding the rates of changes and the like, in fact one of my mottos is "every day, in every way, I get a little better." It never hurts to try new things and observe what's different in my life, and to see whether that difference makes a positive or a negative change in my life. If it's a positive change, then I've just learned a tidbit of wisdom about what to do, and if it's a negative change, then I've just learned a tidbit of wisdom about what not to do. I have gone to hindu temples, explored other worldly wisdoms, but ultimately I have settled on Christianity and learning by what's in the Bible. It has just simply produced the greatest rate of positive change in my life. In other words, Jesus is the gradient whom points me towards achieving my life's maximum potential. One of the things that scares me about your website is that it says the opposite of what Jesus says, in other words, multiplying that gradient by a negative one and pointing toward life's other extreme. I could however be wrong, maybe or maybe not.Some of the things that I have learned in Christianity (mostly from reading old testament books such as Proverbs and Psalms): The value of having integrity (doing what I say and saying what I do) My old self has died to ways of the world (Godly wisdom is going against all Earthly wisdom) Going against your own consciensness is going against God (theoretically, I think) Could you guys just help me out on the third thing? You know, if you guys are going against God, then are you guys also having a guilty consciense [sic] too? If you could enlighten me on this, I would very much appreciate it. Thanks, James

Thanks for your letter.

To quote you:
It has just simply produced the greatest rate of positive change in my life. In other words, Jesus is the gradient whom points me towards achieving my life's maximum potential."

That would be "better" and "potential" as outlined in the bible, or rather, what you consider to be in the bible. You would have to already believe in Christianity before you were "bettered" in order to consider it "better." I do not believe in Christian morality. If I am a "better person," it is because of values I have that are not biblically based.

" One of the things that scares me about your website is that it says the opposite of what Jesus says, in other words, multiplying that gradient by a negative one and pointing toward life's other extreme. I could however be wrong, maybe or maybe not."

We quote Jesus on our website, from various translations of the bible. We therefore do not say "the opposite of what Jesus says." We quote Jesus and show why those things he says are anti-values. I do not consider Jesus' teachings to be moral.

"Some of the things that I have learned in Christianity (mostly from reading old testament books such as Proverbs and Psalms):
The value of having integrity (doing what I say and saying what I do)"

I'm glad you somehow learned this from the bible. I learned these things from my parents and experience. Jesus on the other hand is not a good example for this. Especially since he didn't "come back" as he promised in the Gospels. His claims to have never broken any of the ten commandments are suspect, as he does not honour his mother, according to the gospels.

"My old self has died to ways of the world (Godly wisdom is going against all Earthly wisdom)"

This idea is exactly why I am against Christianity. It is immoral to dishonour the facts of nature and follow unproven beliefs. This is one of only a very, very few religions that teaches to fight against nature and follow imaginary spirits. Most religions teach you to live in accord with natire as best you can. If "Godly wisdom" truly goes against earthly wisdom, this is a religion I am against.

"Going against your own consciensness is going against God (theoretically, I think)"

That would mean that God is all in your mind. In any case, I never advocate going against my own conscience. That would be silly. I just don't think my conscience is a humanoid-type character, like a homunculous or spirit, angel or a god. It would be better stated that going against my values would be going against my best self-interest. Honouring my values is the only way I can act morally.

"Could you guys just help me out on the third thing? You know, if you guys are going against God, then are you guys also having a guilty consciense [sic] too? If you could enlighten me on this, I would very much appreciate it. Thanks, James"

James, I appreciate your questions.Did you say that you were once an unbeliever? If you did, I'm afraid I would not agree with that. If you were always a believer, I apologize. Someone who once did not believe would not have asked such a question. I do not believe in a god of any kind, therefore I cannot by definition "go against god." To tell you the truth, if this God I assume you believe in exists, the God Jehovah/Jesus (is this correct?) NO ONE could "go against god!" Not an omnipresent, omniscient, omnipotent God, as defined in the bible.

If you still don't understand, here it is: I try to be as honest as I possibly can. Being honest with myself and others is one of the most important things I can do, in order to live a happy and successful life. I honestly am proud to be doing what I am doing. I want to help people. One way to help people, I think, is to help them out of various harmful religions that tell them to fight against nature and the world, and waste their lives with false promises given to them by old scriptures and otherwise honest (and dishonest) people. I think it is wrong to tell people that life is cheap, and the world is corrupt, and that they will one day find "riches" in a place that doesn't exist. It is much better to honour the world and the truth, with all its evils and glories, just as it is. I think it is greedy and futile to wish for more than the WHOLE, ENTIRE, HUGE UNIVERSE. Life, in the world, is what I -- what we -- have, and we should honour it. Not denigrate and demonize it. Or be afraid of it.

I hope this answers your questions. I don't know if Franc has anyting to say, but I'll forward your letter to him.


Wednesday, October 19, 2005

Groovy Ghoulies, Part 2

I had a weird dream last night...

I had some kind of strange college assignment: we had to put our own bodies back together, piece by piece. The hardest part was connecting the bones.

Unfortunately, halfway during the assignment, I had to move.

I had already stretched out a towel, or sheet, and laid out the bones on the bottom, and the feet and hands. It took me hours. Remember, for some reason, they belonged to me.

My "dad" decided to pack up my body in the move. I found out later and screamed at him that it had taken me hours; why didn't he let me pack? He just ignored me and I watched him unpack my organs, all wrapped up together willy-nilly in plastic bags and towels. I ran around the house, hoping my "mom" would somehow notice my distress. I screamed and screamed as loudly as I possibly could, over and over, until she told me to shut up. I kept on screaming like a murder victim until I woke up.

Now onto the ghosts:

I hate dolls. Some are okay. This will probably sound silly, but they look at me in the most unnerving ways. The porcelain dolls are the worst. I don't know how to describe it, but I know a lot of people who are afraid of dolls. My daughter loves them. (EEK!) I think they are pretty and all, but when I am in a room where there is a doll; alone or otherwise; I get the strangest feeling of being watched. When I look around the room, my gaze will fall on a doll and she will be staring right at me. A trick of the eyes? Who knows. I just know they creep me out. whitewitch

How does a doll "stare" at you?

To paraphrase Marge: "Homer, look at all the stuff inside that robot! See? That's why yours didn't work, and this one does!"
People have had beliefs about fake life-figures since people first made them. What would be the point of making a fertility idol if it didn't do anything? Dolls are sort of fetish objects. Children have been playing with dolls to practice motherhood and fatherhood since prehistory.At the same time, they were religious objects. Not a stretch there to think they might be feared. If you don't know what a brain is, or how the eye works, why not believe that if you paint an eye, the object can now "see?"

It sounds like a case of a believer (White Witch) believing.

"White Witch" thinks she's afraid of dolls? She should read this:

Pediophobia: Fear of Dolls

And I really wanted to be anywhere but next to that doll. I squeezed myself between two tall writers and kept my face on the script. The doll makes me so uncomfortable. I don't want to be anywhere near it. I don't want to see it. I don't want it to exist.

So anyway, I have to walk back and everybody's looking at me and this is the moment when they probably understood that my fear of dolls isn't an attention-getting ploy. It isn't an irrational fear because of a movie (like how everybody my age is scared of clowns because of Poltergeist). I had a three-faced doll. I buried it. And it came back. You guys. It came back.

I'm not sure how to classify such a belief (besides the side-track of the fear of dolls). Is it a pareidolia? How can it be pattern-seeking when the face is already painted? It would only be a ghost-belief if the ghost were an obake, a morphing Japanese ghost. When will it transform into evil? (A three-faced doll doesn't need an Obake!) Are dolls "possessable" by demons, because they look like innocent children? Again, that's the nature of an Obake. Silly trickster-spirit!

I hold absolutely no responsibility what happens after these dolls leave my home.



Please, please understand that!!!

That was a typical announcement from ebay auctions.There are always more haunted dolls there than you could possibly ever want. Especially if they are fake 1980's "anteek" porceline dolls. I blame Jan Svankmyer and Van Trier. Bastards. It's amazing how MTV can spread the evil of indie/foreign artists to the uninitiated.

Al Tyas from the Atlantic Paranormal Society goves us some great tips on buying haunted dolls:

I simply want people to be aware that while there are authentically haunted dolls out there, there are also sellers who have worthless dolls and simply want to make a quick profit. After all, they can't really prove a doll is haunted, or can they? I want to give some pointers when it comes to haunted dolls and their purchase. Like with any words of advice, take what you want and leave the rest. I'm not saying every seller is a scammer. There are people out there who purchase dolls or other haunted objects, but unless we're in a perfect world there will be some out there just looking for a profit..
Damned scammers! What if your doll actually is haunted? He goes on:
Remember, if the doll is authentically haunted it should be treated like a human being. Remember, any of us has the potential to be a ghost because we have no idea what out circumstances will be when we die, and be passed from curious thrill-seeker to thrill-seeker is a horrible way to spend the afterlife. Think about that when you purchase a haunted doll.

Thanks, Al. What a great, uplifting theology. But if the universe wills that the person deserves to be turned into a doll for eternity, who are we to question that? Why not handle the doll like, well, a doll? Did the Universe or God will the doll to be handled tenderly by a "Sensitive," or by a boisterous, oblivious little girl? Then again, I'd think the Universe would have punished the person by forcing them to inhabit a child's security blanket. Or, if it wants the spirit to be put on a shelf and never touched, perhaps they should be inhabiting a comic collector's Action Figure collection. Mint In Box! I guess the Universe has a fetish for the Victorian age. Perhaps Svankmyer is God.


Tuesday, October 18, 2005

Groovy Ghoulies, Part One

"I believe in ghosts because..."

yep i believe in ghosts because there isw one living in my house and at night sometimes i can feel him/her sitting on the end of my bed so i just tell it to move and it doesn't so i kick it off then it sits down again, then i kick him/her off....this goes on for a while then it finally stops. Or one time it through a candle at me when i was doing my makeup, i dont know why. And my mom always wakes up and sees this red headed woman and stuff in her room at night. Also sometimes it turns on my brothers lamp. and one time I was trying to sleep and it kept hitting my wall everytime i would start to fall asleep....but its never hurt us or anything and im preety used to things happening now......oh yeah i forget to say one time i woke up and went to get in the shower and i noticed this weird mark on my leg kinda like a hicky?? in the form of the number 8....dont know what it ment but it stayed for 2 days then went away. -- liltiggasmootay

The best indication that an expeience is not coming from the undead is when it happens when someone is falling asleep, asleep, or just waking up. There are possibilities, and by Reason they have names!

1. Sleep Paralysis: (from the Skeptic's Dictionary)

is a condition that occurs in the state just before"The Nightmare" by Johann Heinrich Fussli, 1781 dropping off to sleep (the hypnagogic state) or just before fully awakening from sleep (the hypnopompic state). The condition is characterized by being unable to move or speak. It is often associated with a feeling that there is some sort of presence, a feeling which often arouses fear but is also accompanied by an inability to cry out. The paralysis may last only a few seconds. The description of the symptoms of sleep paralysis is similar to the description many alien abductees give in recounting their abduction experiences. Sleep paralysis is thought by some to account for not only many alien abduction delusions, but also other delusions involving paranormal or supernatural experiences (e.g., incubus and succubus).

Hypnagogic and Hypnopompic Experiences are associated with sleep paralysis: this state can lead to visual, auditory, and tactile hallucinations.
When I was around 9 years old, I was drifting off to sleep when I felt a sharp flick of someone's fonger on my shoulder. It really pissed me off. I looked around and no one was there. I marched into my brother's room, ready to give him what-for, and he was fast asleep. The next moring the family denied screwing with me. I thought/hoped that I had been visited by a ghost of some kind. Of course, this left me terrified for a couple fo weeks. What I probably experienced was a hypnopompic hallucination. It makes more sense than some dead person whose not dead but invisible somehow being able to float through walls, yet apply force to a nine-year old in an apartment complex and then leave without doing any fantastic damage.

As far as lamps and red-headed women? Lamps are good at turning on and off by themselves. I have one to my right. It's old and cheap. The redhead could be a mom screwing with her daughter, or a sort of pareidolia: combinations of objects can look like other things when we glance at them for short moments. I see them all the time. A proce sticker, a shelf, and a frozen bass in a supermarket turned into a little red-headed girl to me once. It took me a second to figure this out. If you want something to be a ghost, you can easily make it a ghost.

A Japanese Ghost

The materials that breed obake can be many, and often routine, as if it is precisely the near-at-hand object that is the most susceptible to transformation. A discarded umbrella may enter the world of the strange as an umbrella obake--steam seeming to rise oddly from the waxed-paper brim and forming a leering face. There is also the lamp (chochin) obake that grows out of a normally swinging lantern, investing its approachable, dangling form with weird life, as the shade and candle inside bounce angrily against the blasts of a gale.

Obake can possess an element of cuteness as well; indeed, they sometimes evoke more amusement than fear. Children make drawings of umbrellas with grinning faces, and may giggle at the image of a ripped and gaping lantern. Most of the time such things are perfectly harmless. But therein also lies their danger--no one can ever be quite certain when the transformations will take place.

So, we make ghosts out of things, not the other way 'round.!

More to come!

Wednesday, October 12, 2005

"Save Yourself From the Box, Christian-Hater!"

I recently butted heads with someone in an atheist message board who took issue with me. He seemed interested in the history of religion. However, he was a bit skeptical of the claims being made that Yahweh kills people in the bible. Couldn't it be, he thought, that the bible was just re-interpreting natural disasters as God? Besides, he says, all the God killings you mention are "just" natural disasters anyway. God doesn't really kill anyone in the bible, and besides: the ancient religious texts are valuable, and people like me only serve to obfuscate valuable texts. We are hurting people and our complaining is misguided. Perhaps I am insane, and my boxed-in dogma and radio show has gone to my head. Maybe I should work on escaping from my dogmatic thinking, as he has.



First misunderstanding: the Jewish and Christian religions as claimed in the bibles, is fundamentally the death knell of mythology. From Genesis on, as interpreted by the christian religion, the characters are no longer symbols, but are meant to be real people that lived. They are meant to be deeply believed.

Yet it doesn't matter what is meant. It doesn't matter what the original tellers of the mythology the bible stories are taken from meant .

As a witness for reason and non-belief, I am dealing with belief in the here and now. Christianity and its scriptures are presented as the premiere belief and behavior systems to follow. Whether the believer is liberal or conservative, literalist or idealist, the teachings, not the supposed history, of the bible, are held up and presented as the height of morality. Believers and non-believers alike spread the urban mythology that a very long and difficult book holds the keys to life and meaning.

This is why I (and so many others) so maddeningly insist on presenting the bible as it really is. Whether Yahweh or Jesus were supposed to have existed divinely or naturally or not, their teachings are not admirable, as many theists, atheists, agnostics and others claim. These claims are either made from heresay, or from an appalling lack of moral sense. I know that most people do not agree that they should behave like the characters in the bible behave. Yet they behave as their god, rabbi, or teacher commands. Maybe there were natural disasters in history that slightly resembled the raining of fire and brimstone over Sodom and Gomorrah. But how does this justify the bible's treatment of it as a just and good event? Maybe the Indris River's flood thousands of years ago was the basis for many flood stories in mythology. But how does this justify the bible story that implies the holiness and necessity of the terrible, senseless deaths? Maybe there was a guy once that died from sex with his sister-in-law, but how does this justify the bible's treatment of this as just punishment by God? And finally, maybe there are volcanoes and molten lava, but how in any possibility, can this justify the eternal punishment of people for not believing in the divinity of Jesus?

I don't care if every last word of the bible is meant to be symbolic. I don't care if some Christians believe it to be literal, symbolic, or a big fashionable diet. This ancient scripture teaches that nature is corrupt, and that man has two choices in life: to follow the teachings of the book and live forever (hardly ever taken as allegory) or to follow your nature (Satan) and die, as humans do, and be a terrible person. There are hardly any other religions that teach this concept, and the ones that do are not "worth preserving." Even if they are ancient. Ancient? Put it in the museum. As far as the teachings: we should do what science does when information turns out to be false: throw it out, and move forward.

Good. Now the guy who I "bumped into online" is my bitch. Figuratively, at least. Now that's worth preserving.

Tuesday, October 11, 2005

Click here now!

Do you find me to be a smart-ass? A bit hysterical? Or do you think, as one high-school genius stated, "the show has gone to your head!" Well then, click here! (Fans can just play along.)

Go ahead.

I'll wait.

If you're back, now you must click here.


Saturday, October 08, 2005

Francois' Dream

Francois from bed, having just awakened:
I dreamed about a train.
A train going to hell.
And you were on it.

Friday, October 07, 2005

Miracles: How do You Explain THAT?

Some Christians say they believe in magic/ jesus/ christianity because they have heard of too many reports of miracles. The same is said by people who believe aliens land in trailer parks, and transparent dead people scare homeowners. There are just "too many of them to discount."

"I heard about such-and-such, and so-and-so, and whatchamacallit! How do you explain that, huh? I gotcha there, you old cynic. HA!"

Of course, to be science-pc, you're supposed to say you don't know, etc, and that all claims should be investigated individually. Which makes the idea of "too many miracles" ridiculous. Each report should be investigated on its own: two or three or four-thousand: it doesn't matter. One at a time.

Not that I seriously care. How about this : There are too many idiots out there to take them seriously. But I joke.
According to The Skeptic's Dictionary, a miracle is

A miracle is "a transgression of a law of nature by a particular volition of the Deity, or by the interposition of some invisible agent" (Hume, 123n). Theologians of the Old & New Testament religions consider only God-willed contravention of the laws of nature to be true miracles. However, they admit others can do and have done things which contravene the laws of nature; such acts are attributed to diabolical powers and are called "false miracles." Many outside of the Biblical based religions believe in the ability to transgress laws of nature through acts of will in consort with paranormal or occult powers. They generally refer to these transgressions not as miracles, but as magick.

OK, so sometimes demons, Satan, or Bad People break the laws of nature, so that's not a miracle. This is getting pretty "Abracadabra" already!

What Could It Be?

From The Skeptic's Dictionary (oh I love thee!)

Collective Hallucination:
A collective hallucination is a sensory hallucination induced by the power of suggestion to a group of people. It generally occurs in heightened emotional situations, especially among the religiously devoted. The expectancy and hope of bearing witness to a miracle, combined with long hours of staring at an object or place, makes certain religious persons susceptible to seeing such things as weeping statues, moving icons and holy portraits, or the Virgin Mary in the clouds.

Churches get seriously weird, if you look at them from the Other Side (of the church door, that is). The music is playing--it gets higher in intensity. The minister is crying. He really Loves Jesus tm . Your arms are up in the air, palms upward, hoping to Receive the Holy Spirit through them. (How Tai Chi of them!) Try doing this for a few minutes, without the Holy Ghost and the music and the wanting to look like you love Jesus more than the lady two pews back whose screaming and laughing and rolling around on the floor, babbling incoherently. See what I mean? They do this same thing in Malaysia and in Voudon and pretty much every other country somewhere.

It's either the Holy Spirit, or a Demon Possession. Depending upon what country you came from and what's on the Church Program, you can probably guess which. The holy spirit love stuff=miracle, the "primitive religion" and scheduled exorcism=demon possession. It also depends upon what kinds of cartoon voices the afflicted/washed-in-blood is skilled in.

What I'm describing is not totally "collective hallucination" to me so much as it is peer pressure. This kind of thing happens in group therapy as well: the group is discussing traumatic situations such as alien abduction or repressed satanic sexual abuse memories. They expect you to deliver. What are you going to do: disappoint your audience? The Vaudeville clowns said it: Everything for the Laugh.

What else?

Pious Fraud
A pious fraud is someone whose fraud is motivated by misguided religious zeal. Examples of pious frauds include Catalina Rivas and other alleged stigmatics such as Padre Pio; Sister Lucia dos Santos, who claimed the Virgin Mary appeared to her and two other kids at Fatima, Portugal, in 1917; the creator of the shroud of Turin; psychic 'surgeon' Stephen Turroff, and anyone who has lied about witnessing a miracle.

There are also those motivated by money and attention, of course. Attention is a big one. It sounds better to say to someone "pious fraud" than to say "they're liars." That doesn't stop me, though.

Faith is a non-rational belief in some proposition. A non-rational belief is one which is contrary to the sum of evidence for that belief. A belief is contrary to the sum of evidence for a belief if there is overwhelming evidence against the belief, e.g., that the earth is flat, hollow or is the center of the universe. A belief is also contrary to the sum of evidence if the evidence seems equal both for and against the belief, yet one commits to one of two or more equally supported propositions.

Yep. Miracles are reported by people who simply believe in them already. Stories of miracles are spread by the faithful, just as ridiculous urban legends are spread by the gullible, and those too lazy to check the facts. The believer believes miracles because he thinks that testimony is the same as evidence. Consider what Hume said:

no testimony is sufficient to establish a miracle unless the testimony be of such a kind that its falsehood would be more miraculous than the fact which it endeavors to establish.

But when you believe the bible simply because it's the bible, that statement amounts to heresy.

Tune into "Miracles" on The Hellbound Alleee show to hear more about this. Then listen on Sunday, October 9, at 2 pm eastern time to discuss Occam's Razor and more, on LIVE with Hellbound Alleee.
Join us in the chatroom during the show or call in at (514)-356-1801 to Montreal, Canada to discuss this with us live.

Wednesday, October 05, 2005

Gene Gene the Time Cube Machine

a four-corner face in a one-corner headAnother mix by Francois: Gene Gene the Time Cube Machine!

Gene Ray is the discoverer of Time Cube: the greatest discovery of mankind: there's nothiing you can't find through Time Cube.

You are all Educated Stupid and Evil.

Tuesday, October 04, 2005

Hovind VS The Persuaders

Francois made a remix of Kent Hovind's antics against a smooth instrumental.

Get it while it lasts!: I Am God!

It's a rare track in 3/4 time. I think you should compliment him. "'Wow,' is right."
We'll be seeing more of this. I hope to get more stuff like this from listeners!