Grant Rants

Archive for the ‘the stupid it burns’ Category

The stupid it burns: Dragons are real edition

- August 15th, 2013

Greetings web denizens, heathens, zealots and the rest of you!

This actually doesn’t require any pithy  comment on my part. I simply give you today’s burning stupid: Dragons are real because…the Bible.

The Feedback Facepalm: Sex causes tornadoes edition

- June 4th, 2013

Facepalm: verb. to raise one’s hand to one’s face, typically expressing exasperation, frustration, disbelief, horror or general woe in the presence of the burning stupid.

Greetings web denizens, heathens, zealots and the rest of you!

So after my recent  column and follow up commentary here on the Grant Rant Blog, I was lucky enough to receive this email. And by “lucky” I mean lucky in the same way one is lucky to have a root canal done by a blind, drunken dentist with no thumbs. And while I give its author credit for using his full name in the email rather than hiding behind a handle, Donny’s missive is still a fine example of the burning stupid. Here it goes, with my commentary:

Donny: when you tell God f****ts are okay —- you are telling him your word means NOTHING!!! Why sing the national anthem asking God to bless your land when he looks at it in disgust.

As readers of the rant know, I am an atheist. I don’t “tell” a god anything … well, except for Thor when there are frost giants about. I hate those guys. Anyway, if I allow myself to play a tho3bcf4274_n79020_facepalm2028house29ught experiment for a bit, if the average Christian concept of god is true — an all powerful, all benevolent, all loving creature — why would it hate anything? Why would it possess so petty a human emotion? Why would it hate the honest expression of love between two consenting adults, straight or gay? I’ve never understood why some believers insist upon defining their god as someone who love you, and then proceeds to crank out of list of things it hates and will torture you for.

If the god Donny here believes in existed, and fortunately it doesn’t, it would have to be opposed on basic moral grounds for it would be, as Richard Dawkins pointed out, a deeply unpleasant creature: “The God of the Old Testament is arguably the most unpleasant character in all fiction: jealous and proud of it; a petty, unjust, unforgiving control-freak; a vindictive, bloodthirsty ethnic cleanser; a misogynistic, homophobic, racist, infanticidal, genocidal, filicidal, pestilential, megalomaniacal, sadomasochistic, capriciously malevolent bully.”

Donny: Look at all the tornadoes in Oklahoma – all because of a Gay pride parade. God destroyed Sodom & Gomorraha  because he calls homosexuality an abomination………

Ah, yes, the 700 Club, human sexual behavior model of meteorology.  I don’t have a degree in tornadology, but I am pretty sure that they are formed by the interaction of cold and warm air during a supercell thunderstorm in the part of the world that sees this type of weather event more than anywhere else.

Or by Thor. Take your pick.

All kidding aside, this sort of thinking is no different that a belief that throwing a virgin into a volcano will prevent an eruption. Fortunately, we aren’t living in caves anymore, we know for a fact that who we sleep with, or marry, or what food we eat, or crops we grow, or clothes we wear, or what days of the week we work doesn’t impact the weather. At all. To believe otherwise is to live one’s life under the gravest of misapprehensions.

By the way, since we are on the story of Sodom and Gomorrah, it is worth pointing out a bit of the story Donny has failed to mention. In it, two angels hit the city of Sodom looking for enough good people to prove to god that it is not beyond saving. But Sodom is kind of like the angry love child of Las Vegas and Mad Max’s Thunderdome. So naturally, the two supernatural tourists are chased down by a rape gang. They find shelter with a dude named Lot, but the gang isn’t about to let that stop them. They really want to a piece of these angels. Lot, being an upstanding and moral guy, offers to give his own teenaged daughters to the rape gang in exchange for leaving the two visitors alone….and Lot is the hero of the story! Seriously.

Donny: Today newspaper people don’t have the guts to report the truth most are cowards —– Canada is a disgusting country in the gutter with a f****t Premier and I am so glad I no longer live there.

You know, I am never one to believe in blind patriotism. It is, as Oscar Wilde said, the “virtue of the vicious.” Nevertheless, Canada remains a fantastic country with a proud history. We have our issues, our mistakes and missteps, but it remains one of the freest, safest, and best places to live on Earth. We should be proud that, for most of us, gay marriage is a non-issue and that our government had the courage to do what was right and make it legal several years ago. We should be proud that we have reached a point where the sexual orientation of our Ontario premier is simply not a relevant issue (except for good ole Donny here) save for the fact that is shows we are increasingly willing to judge people by their character and ideas and not by bigotry of a bronze aged religion.

I think I speak for many of us, Donny, when I say we are quite happy you aren’t living here. But be warned, the world is an increasingly shrinking place. The march of freedom and equality is not so easily stopped and sooner or later, it will catch up with you. So unless you can find yourself a time machine to go back to 18th century (I suspect you’d be happy there) you’d might as well get used to it.

Read the bible Grant – read Lev. and see what your creator said and guess what 10 out of 10 people die and they face God…..and queers do not go to heaven by their own choice. Wake up Pal!!

I almost don’t have the energy to keep going with this. Yes, I have read it. More than once. It’s an awful book with worse writing than than Fifty Shades of Grey. (A book that would have been popular in Las Sodom Thunderdome, no doubt.) It is little more than an artifact of a primitive, fearful and paranoid culture that knew next to nothing about the world they lived in or the greater universe beyond it. They lived in a world where the only explanation for the things that nature does was the actions of an angry god and finding ways to sate that rage was a serious concern.

Fortunately, we’ve moved on since then.

Donny: “Wake up every day like you are broke and hungry and you will never be either.”…

Uh, no. If you wake up like you are broke and hungry, you probably are broke and hungry. If you are neither but pretend you are, you need serious help.

Grant Rant postscript: The cowardice of moral relativism

- June 3rd, 2013

Greetings web denizens, heathens, zealots and the rest of you!

There are days when I fear for the fate of the species. Sometimes we just seem so dumb, that the stupid burns so hot,  there seems little hope.

Chief among the things that mystify me is the prevalence of moral relativism — the idea that everything is good in its own context. “Right” and “wrong” are not even debatable issues from this point of view because they do not really exist. In other words, while we in Canada might find something horrific, say executing people for the imaginary crime of blasphemy, but if some other country wants to do that well, who are we to criticize them? It’s their culture, leave them alone.

It is, insofar as I can tell, craven political ideology. A philosophy that will allow suffering to go on because it does not directly impact our own backyard. While this is most often applied to religion, used particularly by those who defend the brutal excesses of despotic Islamic regimes of the middle east, it also apparently can be applied when talking about how gay people are treated in Africa.

This week I published my regular Grant Rant column about a law recently passed by Nigeria,  a fellow British Commonwealth nation, that makes gay marriage punishable by 14 years in prison. Those helping the couple get married or even voicing support for the concept of gay marriage will get 10 years behind bars. Over in another African Commonwealth state, Uganda, homosexuality is punishable by death. In Uganda it is effectively legal to murder a person for the imaginary crime of being gay.

I posted  a poll with this column, asking if readers felt Canada should do more to defend the rights of gay people abroad. Canada already has an office dedicated to helping fight religious persecution oversees, so why not do the same for people who are being jailed or killed for being gay?

The response was, I am sorry to say, disheartening. At the time I write this, nearly 60% of respondents say no, Canada should leave well enough alone when it comes to gay people in Africa. True, this is not a scientific poll and the same size is ridiculously too small to draw any conclusions, but it is a frightening  nonetheless.

Worse, were some reader comments who jumped on the moral relativist bandwagon, suggesting that Canada has no business telling another nation to stop murdering innocent citizens.

Reader “truththorold” says:

Is this argument really any different than immigrants who come to Canada and want to rewrite our laws ? Facial coverings and daggers for example ? We believe what we believe and we live here and our laws reflect that. They can believe whatever they want and make laws accordingly. Majority rules in that regard. If people don’t like whats going on they should relocate, but not try to change wherever they arrive to suit them.

And consider this reply by way of a for instance, from a reader who goes under the handle “Tyresias“:

And of course our way is the right way and we should go over there and tell them that they are wrong and they should do things the way we do. Sounds kind of familiar – you know – the Muslim extremists and how they think everyone should be like them.

This is an argument that requires one to dismiss all ideas of freedom, equality, justice, human solidarity and compassion. What this person is saying is that if gay people are put to death in Uganda or jailed in Nigeria for being a homosexual, so be it. That is their way, and who are we to say it is wrong.

This poster goes on to explain that Nigeria may find some Canadian laws objectionable, so we have no right to tell them to what to do:

Then you go right over and tell their government how to run things. And be sure to being back their list of objectionable Canadian policies. Because I’m sure they are just as righteous as you are.

Another reader, “James McCollick” defends this point view by saying:

Typical arrogance. Just because you believe something is right that doesn’t make it so.

Consider carefully what is being said here: Who are we to say killing someone for their sexual orientation is wrong? The Ugandan way is just as moral and right as the Canadian one in it’s own context. Essentially, they are using moral relativism as an justification for murder. To say “murder is wrong” is the height of arrogance.

Still others go on to say that we should not criticize Nigeria for jailing gay people and suppressing free speech because Nigeria is actually better than Canada on some fronts. Even if that were true, which it is not, how does Nigeria doing well in one area mean that jailing a gay couple for 14 years is just?

Reader “Chip Meister” had this to say:

Do you really think Nigeria is going to take criticism from Canada???
Nigeria already outshines Canada in many other areas. Why should/would they listen to our voice???
Here are just a few points where Canada could take some lessons from Nigeria.
Their economy is RED-HOT!!!
Nigeria sends out more peacekeepers around the world than any other country in the world. They have more soldiers on peace keeping missions than the US, Canada and EU!!!
I am really surprised that you neglected to mention Nigeria’s record for freedom of press. Nigeria won the Free Press Africa Award last year. How many Canadian journalists would give up their life in attempting to get the truth out?
Perhaps it would be best for Canada to look inward first before criticizing people in a country that few Canadian’s have ever been or are even thinking of travelling [sic] to. Have you been to Nigeria???

So, because Nigeria has peace keepers, an active economy and some brave journalists, Canada should say nothing about the active and systematic repression of people who have done nothing other than be born a homosexual and wanting to live a happy life. It apparently has not occurred to this poster than if any of these brave reporters speak out in defense of gay marriage, they can be thrown in prison for a decade. Free speech is the heystone of a free press, and to suggest that Nigeria, a nation that crushes the very notion of free speech in order to step on the throats of those its government considers undesirable, is laughable at best.

Canada is not prefect. We make mistakes. We have our own messes to clean up. But we do not jail or kill people for marrying the person they love or for just being gay. That difference is not trivial. Our way is, by any honest moral or ethical standard, better.

What these commenters have in common is a refusal to consider the human cost of the laws of Uganda and Nigeria and other like nations. They apparently regard the putting to death or imprisonment of innocent people as a debatable point, one that can argued in the same way that one could debate the merits of a parliamentary democracy vs  a republican one, or an argument over who has the most effective j-walking regulations.

Such a view is shameful and cowardly. It is also hypocritical. I have no doubt that if Nigeria was rounding up Jews or Christians, or people with white skin, and imprisoning them for a decade or more, the outrage would be palpable. These are often the same people that will rail against the brutality of the Jihadist, but suggest we should say nothing about a Commonwealth government committing horrors.

“What’s good for us is good for us, and what is good for them is good for them,” rings hollow when what is “good for them” is a pile of bodies and destroyed lives.

Some of us have not learned from history it seems. Prior to start of World War Two, Jews fleeing Germany appealed for help from the West. But no one cared to believe or take seriously the stories of innocent people being rounded up into ghettos, or herded into death camps. The prevailing attitudes of the day, dripping with anti-semitic bigotry and a desire to avoid more war, was to simply pretend it wasn’t important, to ignore the human costs, and say “it’s not our business.”

It is our business. It is part of what being Canadian is about. It is part of what having a free society is about. Our convictions mean nothing if we say they only apply to ourselves, the rest of the world be damned. The murder or jailing of a person who has done no wrong and caused no harm is never moral. It is indefensible. And those who do defend it should to be ashamed of themselves.

The stupid it burns: Government of Canada edition

- February 11th, 2013

Greetings web denizens, heathens, zealots and the rest of you!

Please, Ottawa, please, please, please, please pour some water on the burning stupid. Can you PUL-EEZE think through a decision. I mean, just once? We don’t have very high expectations of you, Government of Canada. We mostly figure you go about making silly choices based on polls on when the next election is rather than what is actually good for the country. But we really do expect that every once in a while you use your collective brains before jumping down the rabbit hole. Especially when the rabbit hole is more like a massive sink hole that just swallowed a city.

You didn’t, think that is, which is why you are now in the embarrassing position of having pull big pile of tax dollars from Crossroads Christian Communications. Why? Well, because this charming evangelical group likes to go about talking about how gay people are the worst of sinners and blah blah blah. The usual, narrow minded nonsense some evangelicals get about when they want to stick their noses into other people’s bedrooms. Frankly listening to that clap trap has reached a stage where I  figure it would be more pleasant to stick an angry hornet in my ear and then block my ear with a cork so the bug can never get out.

Why is giving them funding a problem? Well mostly because they use their government money to do missionary work in Uganda. Which is a charming country seemingly perpetually obsessed with finding new and fun legal ways to murder homosexuals for being gay. We here in Canada take a pretty dim view of that sort of thing, some religious fringe notwithstanding, and giving money to a group which likes to spend it’s time telling gay people how evil they are being to go work in a country that wants to kill gay people….is probably not the best idea.

Now to be fair, the government has yanked the funding for this group, thank Odin, but the point it probably should have looked into it a little more before writing the cheque in the first place. Maybe, I don’t know, looking at the group’s website which openly told homosexuals what big fat sinners they are? (In a move to not-so-suprising hypocrisy, the Crossroads Christian Communications yanked its “god loves you, but stop being such evil gay sinners, you evil gay sinners” screed from their website after the first phone call from the Canadian Press on the issue. A bit of Albertan wisdom for the folks at Crossroads: that is a big like fixing the barn door after the horses are gone.)

Simply put, Canadian tax dollars ought not to be given to groups that support, even in a broad sense, the political ideology of a murderous dictatorship.

Now, can I please have an aspirin? That hornet in my ear is really starting to cause me some pain.

 

PS. Crossroads is saying in news stories that it is in Uganda spreading the almighty’s love and using federal money for specific objectives (digging well and the like.) and not religious missionary work. It’s not a defense that is of much use. You don’t get to blast homosexuals at home, then take tax dollars and use them to do work in a country that is passing laws to kill gay people for being gay. You just don’t.

When is a conservative not a conservative? The US election and Ezra Levant.

- November 7th, 2012

“I only seem liberal because I believe that hurricanes are caused by high barometric pressure and not gay marriage.” – Will McAvoy, “The Newsroom”

So it’s four more years for President Barrack Obama. I’m not terribly shocked. I knew it would be close – Obama has a slim edge in the popular vote – but I did not expect he would walk away with such a huge electoral college lead.

Obama’s victory has some conservatives in the US and in Canada totally confused. How, how, how did the devil himself win the election? Why would more than half of Americas vote for a guy who will “radically change” what America is and destroy everything America has been and could be?

One such conservative pundit is my Sun Media colleague Ezra Levant, who appears somewhat baffled by Obama’s victory and laments what he figures will be the dismantling of America’s “empire of freedom.”

I think it’s a safe bet to say that America will still be America in four years time, its constitution and legacy and values still intact.

Sherlock Holmes often criticized Dr. Watson for seeing but not observing. Ezra is doing the same thing. He sees the results but cannot fathom why anyone would vote for Obama.

What he doesn’t see is that while he likes the word “conservative” what that term means isn’t what it used to mean in the US and increasingly in Canada.

Being a conservative used to mean advocating small government, but understanding society cannot let those who have fallen simply lay in the gutter. Encourage charity, but understand sometimes that isn’t enough. It meant building social programs, but ensuring they worked rather than become a black hole for tax dollars. Foster private business and a free market, but knowing that the free market is on its own unkind and citizens may need help. It meant respecting traditions as important, but knowing when the time had come to let them go. Allow change, but in a way that minimized the harm that sweeping change can sometimes cause. It recognized that investment in science and education was the foundation for better future business, military, and economic growth.

That isn’t what conservative means to a lot of self identifying conservatives these days. Increasingly, it means turning the clock back to a mythological past where everything was sunshine and rainbows and everyone went to the same church and kept their doors unlocked and gay people knew enough to shut up. It means, all too often, adhering to an intolerant religious literalism that yearns not for a secular democracy (which is what the American Found Fathers created) but a quasi-democratic theocracy, where the Church decides social policy. Non-believers and the wrong kind of believers are ok so long as they don’t  have political influence.  It’s become a movement that is anti-science, anti-contraception, anti-women in many ways,  anti-gay, and anti-intelligence. Where once being conservative meant science and intelligence were things to be fostered for the future, they are regarded with suspicion. (Notice the anti-evolution and anti-global warming crowd come from only one slice of the political spectrum.) “Intellectual” is  a dirty word. It’s the ideology that consistently produces nuts who talk about “legitimate rape” and who make insane claims that a woman’s body “shuts down” its reproductive system to prevent pregnancy during rape. And these ideas are discussed SERIOUSLY instead of being dismissed for what they are: the rantings of a madman.

It’s an idea that wants military might for it’s own sake, counts it only in terms of the numbers of ships, planes and bullets, but has no idea how it ought to be used. It’s a political idea that appeals only to the heart, never the mind, that prizes action on instinct rather than careful consideration. It is, above all things, an idea that becomes increasingly small, increasingly loud, increasingly out of touch, and increasingly pigmy minded.

Of course, saying such things will result in being called a “leftist” or a “liberal”, as though both words must mean one is a Stalinist of some kind. A liberal is not a person with a different political view with whom you can disagree but work with for the greater good, but an enemy at best, a traitor at worst. Unless you share their ideology, you hate freedom, democracy and capitalism. Dissent is not something that can be tolerated. Even if you happen to be what I guess could be called a “classical conservative,” you’re not part of the “in” crowd should you hold a different view on a political or social issue.  And when that happens, when the fingers start wagging and the word “liberal” used as a curse, my point has been proven.

A big part of the reason that more than half of Americans voted for Obama is because they reject this mutated version of conservationism. The GOP of 2012 is not the GOP of Bush Sr., or Reagan (who weirdly has become a conservative saint even though a lot of his policies upset the people who define the GOP and Tea Party today. His legacy is lost in a mythological history created by those who call themselves “conservative.”) The GOP and the Tea Party are the ones who claim even today that Obama is a secret Muslim (he’s a Christian. And the fact that the constitution says there is no religious test for office is lost on them I guess) that he was born in Kenya (he wasn’t) and that is a some kind of socialist/communist nut bag (his policies are all well right of anything seen in Canada or Europe which have actual socialist parties that are regularly elected.).

Even those who might otherwise have voted Romney (check out some of the exit polling) didn’t. Why? Because while they liked his economic ideas, particularly in attacking the deficit and reducing the size of government, Romney and his party were so out of touch socially they lost voters. By being against gay marriage, being anti-immigrant, by being anti-poor, Romney lost to a president he could have beaten.

In short, the GOP are out of touch and while they continue to appeal to a large segment of Americans, these “neo conservative” ideas don’t fly with enough of them to win the White House. And they won’t fly and unless the GOP and those who consider themselves conservative grow up, reclaim the legacy that true political conservatism is, let go of the religious zealotry, worship of ignorance and mythological history, they will become increasingly marginalized.

That’s what Ezra isn’t seeing.

Climate change, tyrants and killers, oh my!

- May 24th, 2012

Greetings heathens, zealots, web denizens, and the rest of you!

There is stupid. There is burning stupid. There is atomic radioactive stupid. And then there is this:

Leo-blog--The-Heartland-I-007

Apparently, according to an American think tank Heartland Institute – and I assume the word “think” is being used in the form of a joke. Yyou know how the young folks say something that is good is “sick”. Like that. -  accepting climate change data is the same as being the Unibomber. How exactly? Well, Heartland isn’t exactly clear on that bit. Something about mass murders being on the fringes of society and those doing climate change science on also on the fringes. So anyone who believes climate change is happening is the same as a reclusive math genius who living in a ramshackle cabin scribbling out a nonsensical manifesto and making pipe bombs. Or something.  I mean you can see the connections right?

This is a stupid beyond stupidity. It’s stupidosity exceeds all known levels of stupidism. It burns hotter than any flame. It is fusion level Three Mile Island meltdown stupid.

I defy anyone to defend it.

The stupid it burns: anti-vampireism and bald as a hair colour edition

- May 14th, 2012

Greetings heathens, zealots, web denizens, and the rest of you!

Ok, I have some ranty mojo brewing today and I’m in need of a target. Fortunately, the world is a big place with more stupid than it is possible to catalog, and it was easy enough to find one. Just up the highway in fact. In Toronto, that mythical center of the known universe.

Specifically, a column by rabbi Dow Marmur, who evidently doesn’t like us heathens very much.  The problem with we atheists, he says in a meandering column in the Toronto Star, is that we are pretty much like jihadists:

I’ve, therefore, consistently refused to engage in debates with atheists. They may consider me a cowardly man of little faith who’s afraid of exposing himself to the truth, but impartial observers will know that contemporary atheists are often even more fanatical than religious fundamentalists. Their zeal seems to know no bounds.

Interesting. Last time I checked, the most fanatical religious fundamentalists in North America try to have their dogmatic nonsense taught in science classes and are obsessed with telling women what they can do with their bodies, including a hilarious Republican bill that passed recently in Arizona that defined pregnancy as starting two weeks before conception. (no, that is not a punch line.) In even more extreme cases in North America, Europe, and of course, the middle east, the fundamentalist set is busy killing other people, often using that delightful method employed by the truly deluded, suicide bombing.

Atheists write books and blogs.thestupiditburns Oh, the horror, the horror.

Marmur points to Alian de Botton’s weird newish book Religion for Atheists, where in de Botton says he wants to build atheist temples, as some manner of evidence that atheism itself is becoming a religion (which is why we are worse than the worst religious fundamentalists….you know without the bombs and such) and in fact, heathens have “religion-envy.”

Ok, look, first de Botton strange book was greeted with disinterest by the atheist community, such as it even exists, and the most anyone could say about it was “uh, what?”

It’s true, there are atheists who seem to want to ape the group cohesion provided by most religions, but it’s an attitude I’ve always found puzzling. It’s why I don’t belong to any skeptic/atheist/humanist groups nor go to regular meetings. I don’t have any need to get together with people to talk about what I don’t believe in. I tend to, this rant notwithstanding, focus my commentary in his regard on attempts to breach the wall between church and state, or religious attempts to undermine basic freedoms like freedom of speech, or attempts to win converts by stealth (like the ongoing efforts of the Gideons to be given access to elementary public school children.) But sit around and talk about why I don’t believe in the existence of gods? Zzzzzz. Please. I’d almost rather watch Glee.

Marmur’s entire argument crumbles because it starts with a false premise. He treats atheism as though it’s a thing like Christianity or Scientology or Jedism something. The tacit assumption he makes is that atheism is a complete philosophical entity, with dogmas, and rules and holy books and, I would guess, priests or clerics or some sort that one obeys. And uses this argument as he defends the excesses and violence of religion:

Because religion is articulated and administered by human beings, it often falls short of its stated ideals — just like atheism.

Really? Really, Rabbi Marmur? And what ideals are those exactly? Where do I find them? Where, in the name of Zeus’ holy toga, do I find the “stated ideals” of atheism?

Look man, atheism is barely a thing at all. Not believing in a god or gods is all atheism is. Period. QED. End of frakkin’ story. The only reason we have a name for it at all is because historically everyone around us has been totally hell bent for leather on this whole god business.

I mean, even the name “atheism” is pretty stupid because it dignifies the thing that it denies. Look, I don’t believe in vampires or big foot either, right? But there is no need to run about calling myself am “anosferatuist,” or an “asasquatchist,” is there. The bottom line is that atheism is a religion like bald is a hair colour. The “ism” at the end makes it all sound fancy, I guess, but it isn’t.

I pretty well agree with Neil deGrasse Tyson on this front when he says “at the end of the day I’d rather not be any category at all.”

Even the so called “atheist community” is a disjointed lot that is only bound by the disbelief in the supernatural and generally shared respect for science, evidence and reason. There is also some broad agreements on the values of democracy, freedom of speech and the like. Beyond that, it is pretty well, to use the cliche, like herding cats. Disagreements abound. Yes, Hitchens, Dawkins, Dennet, Harris, PZ Myers and a few others are the most public and well known of the so called “New Atheists” (which is only new by the authors refusal to shut up when told.) but they constantly disagree. Tyson and Dawkins’s disagree over how to talk about science and religion in popular culture. Myers recently took Harris to task over issues of racial profiling at airports. And I’ve lost track of how many non-believers were sharply critical of Hitchen’s views on the Iraq war.

But I am sure Marmur will tell us where in that mess there are the “ideals” of atheism. Or is that the sound of cricket’s chipping?

About the only thing that Marmur gets right is that religion allows people to form a community of believers and atheism doesn’t do this. Well, yes. So what? De Botton’s goofy book aside, how is that supposed to an argument against atheism, or put more correctly, for religion? Does it demonstrate the existence of a god? Because that is what it would take, son. That pesky thing call evidence sort of matters.

Ultimately, Marmur’s entire argument seems to boil down to the idea that religion makes you feel good, and atheism doesn’t. I suppose that could be right. Atheism provides no guidebook, no bromide of any sort. Attempts to make it do so are as foolish as attempting to grasp quicksilver. To me, not having that kind of crutch is freeing. Yes, life can be miserable. It can suck. It will, as Rocky says. “beat you to your knees and keep you there permanently  if you let it.”

Speaking only for myself, I would rather harden myself to deal with it than rely on help that isn’t there because it makes me feel good to believe there is. I would rather deal with life as it is, honestly, and be miserable than to cling to some manner of false hope. If atheism is a thing at all, it’s living life on your own terms, taking the awful and the good as they come.

Living on sunshine: When the burning stupid kills

- April 26th, 2012

Greetings heathens, zealots, web denizens and the rest of you!

There is burning stupid we can mock, and then there is the kind of atomic burning stupid that you really would mock if its results were not so tragic.

Take this story coming out of Switzerland, by way of a for instance. A woman in her 50s starved to death because she decided to stop eating and drinking and was living instead on sunlight…you know, like her blood wasn’t made of hemoglobin but chlorophyll. Why did she think that this would work? Because she watched some moronic film about a Indian guru who claims to have lived without food or water for 70 years.thestupiditburns

No, this was not a story from the Onion. It was real. This woman died because of a fanatical belief in a (painfully obvious) fraud. The human body is an amazing thing. It can adapt to all kinds of stressful situations. People have gone without food during fasts for 20 days or more. (although you can bet they were not in great health by the end of it.) But that cannot last for long. And you cut water out of the equation and well, that time frame gets reduced from weeks to days at best.  In short, no one lives long without fuel. Certainly we cannot live on sunlight. Cause you know, we aren’t plants. And even plants need water.

The poor woman died.  Wasn’t there anyone around, friends or family to look out for her? Wasn’t there a neighbour or something who said “Hey, Alice from 3b is looking a little on the crypt keeper side of things lately, huh? Maybe we should check on her?”

I am honestly not sure what is more pathetic about this story: That someone could be so taken in by obvious hokum that they died, or it seems that no one was around to notice she was wasn’t eating and was wasting away.

In the inverse Law of Bill Donohue

- April 13th, 2012

There is a universal fact. Like gravity. Or the awesomeness of Mass Effect 3. (yes, yes some fanboys are having mental melt downs about the endings, but I figure they have been indoctrinated. If you don’t get that joke, go play the game! Seriously…go!)

Essentially, if Bill Donohue’s Catholic League in the United States hates something, it’s probably something worth checking out. His most recent explosion of hot hair is about the Three Stooges remake. There are lots of reasons to be offended by this remake. Remaking the Stooges is like remaking Casablanca. Sure you can do it, but there isn’t a single reason for it. The trailer for the thing looks Zeus awful and pretty well indicates the Stooges, classic though they were, were indeed products of their own time. I can easily think of a bazillion things I would rather do than see it. And yes, bazillion is a word.

However, this is not what upsets the always upset Bill Donohue, the grand pooba of the Catholic League. What upsets him is that a nun in the film appears in a bikini, aka the “nun-kini.” I guess Billy is upset because nuns cannot wear bikinis. It says so in the Bible or something, maybe. This the same guy who attacks films, books and other art if it offends his porcelain sensibilities in the slightest. This is the same guy who claimed that Hollywood was run by, and I quote: “secular Jews who hate Christianity in general and Catholicism in particular. It’s not a secret, OK? And I’m not afraid to say it.” (He said that in defense of the ghastly “Passion of the Christ” film.  So bikinis on film bad. Two hours of watching a guy get graphically tortured, that’s ok. Just sayin’)

Anyway, in keeping with the Inverse Law of Donohue, and although it will likely injure my brain, I’ll have to check out the movie.

I get email: God needs a sponsor

- April 10th, 2012

Greetings heathens, zealots, web denizens, and the rest of you!

So by now I am used to getting email from religionists who are hell bent, if you will excuse the phrase, on converting me. Mostly Christians. On very rare occasions Muslims. Never Jews or Buddhists though. Weird that.

Anyway, I am actually not sure what religion this email is supposed to represent. ChristIslam or something I guess. It’s an email asking me to sponsor “God Allah” (which technically speaking would translate to “god god”. But never mind the fine details.) for the resurrection. So I guess this is like a walk-a-thon of some kind? You sponsor god, and for ever $5 he raises he resurrects a Hebrew carpenter? Well, you tell me then!thestupiditburns

Also it appears that god will just take anyone to be sponsor him. It’s been a while since I have been in Sunday school, but I distinctly remember the big fella being somewhat more discerning about who he choose to as someone to smite or be a minion. And of course, as always, it appears god needs money. Like the late George Carlin used to say, he’s all powerful and all knowing but he just cannot handle money!

Finally, since when did god get an email address? What happened to the burning bush method of communication? Who’s his service provider? I assume he is using wireless tech. Not sure how one extends a coaxial cable into the afterlife…

Anyway, this certainly goes  in my file of “most bizarre and nonsensical emails that do not involve a politician or Glee.” Enjoy:

Official Third Millennium Arrival of GOD ALLAH
**********************************
Allah wants to partner with you for the purpose of saving planet Earth.
Allah wants to locate sponsors for The Resurrection.
All applicants automatically accepted ; however, We require more sponsors which may include business, organizations, communities, and groups.
Please do reach out to Us over email; We respond within twenty-four hours or sooner. Thank you for your review.
Love,
ALLAH