Sin is the abomination

AbominationFew things push my buttons like sanctimonious “love the sinner, hate the sin” declarations. The very concept of sin is a cancer that rots the mind. It is the substitution of morality with dogma. Take homosexuality. There is no moral argument to be made against it. Many have tried, and it always comes down to subjective ickiness, religion, or both. It takes religion to transform an act of love into an “abomination”, to tell people who they are is bad and that they must fight it, which means fighting against themselves. All this, even when they are harming nobody.

For this imaginary and victimless crime, however, LGBTQ people are in reality marginalized, discriminated against, bullied, terrorized, and killed. By implying that there is something wrong with them, those who call homosexuality sinful normalize and justify criminal behavior. This is at best victim blaming. This attitude destroys lives, and contrary to homosexuality, is deeply immoral.

The next step in the perverted reasoning is that gay people are allowed to be the way they are; it’s their behavior that should be fought. Behavior, in this case, being awesome gay sex. I call bullshit on multiple counts.

First, this goes way beyond sex, and is effectively denying love to anyone who’s not straight. Make no mistake, gay marriage, even if it didn’t imply sex, is out of the question. As a LGBTQ person, you are simply denied the right to love in the same way that straight people can.

Second, sex is an integral part of being human. It’s a wonderful, joyful, amazing, and positive experience. Denying an adult person the right to have sex with another consenting adult is actually denying them a part of their humanity. Sexual repression can have some serious consequences on mental health, and can even become full-blown public health crises.

Listening to Christians on this topic however, they would have you think that they are the victims. They claim their religion demands that they reach out and try to convert everyone. They demand special protection for their bigotry, despite evidence that it is actively harmful. We have the moral high ground on this topic, and we should never confuse religiosity for virtue. They have their free speech, but we also have the right to call them out.

If you are a Christian and you claim to love LGBTQ people, please keep your proselytism at bay. Accept people for who they are, keep out of their sex life, and don’t deny them the basic rights everybody else enjoys. This is what true love looks like.

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Infallible, part 3: the unoriginality and wrongness of Biblical creation

George Lemaître, le génie du ChristianismeIn my ongoing series of posts addressing the arguments from Michael, a militant Catholic, today’s post will examine the claim that the Bible’s cosmogony is unique among creation myths in that it talks about creation ex-nihilo. In Michael’s words:

Every culture known believed that the Earth, stars, indeed the entire universe has been present in all eternity. Creation stories abounded, but all the stories began with matter that preexisted

Of course, let’s get out of the way the fact that if that were true (it isn’t), it wouldn’t give any advantage to Catholicism against the rest of Christianity, against Judaism, or Islam, since all are sharing the same Genesis story.

It is also obvious that there is such variety in creation myths that it wouldn’t prove anything if one of them happened to correspond vaguely to reality. For instance, the Bhagavad Gita anticipates the concept of a multiverse, the expansion of the universe, until its thermal death, with time scales in the billions of years for the universe, and trillions of years for the multiverse. This is much closer to the current thinking in cosmology than Genesis ever was to the thinking of l’Abbé Lemaître last century. Does it prove that Krishna is the one true god? Of course not.

Let’s get back to Michael’s specific claims. Does every culture really believe that the universe has been existing for all eternity? Of course not. That claim alone betrays confirmation bias, and the thinking from someone who doesn’t bother to verify what other apologists have been saying. Other myths of creation ex-nihilo exist. Worse, Genesis does not itself appear out of thin air: it has its own influences and heritage in Mesopotamian mythology.

The biggest problem however is that Genesis is a primitive, vague creation myth that gets pretty much everything wrong: the Earth is created before the light, the firmament is a thing that is holding “waters”, plants appear before the night and day cycle, which appears before the Sun, which appears before the stars, the Moon appears only at night, and it goes on.

Even the claim of creation ex-nihilo is unsound: the relevant Hebrew verse would be more accurately translated as “in the beginning filled God the heavens and the Earth” (emphasis mine). This implies a pre-existing void that got filled, which is at odds with modern cosmology that shows that our space and time emerged at the Big-Bang, from nothing at all, from a singularity, or from another region of a multiverse. In any case, there was nothing to fill, as space itself had yet to be created.

There is nothing original in the Bible’s creation myth, and it is mostly wrong anyway. It cannot be seriously used as an argument to prove Christianity right.

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The Brick Bible is "vulgar and violent"

Index Librorum ProhibitorumThat’s not me saying it, but “Sam’s Club customers”. This is a really interesting story. Brendan Powell Smith has been publishing funny little books containing “straightforward illustrations of Bible stories using direct quotes from scripture”. They are really entertaining books, of which you can get a sample on Brendan’s web site: http://www.bricktestament.com/index.html. There really couldn’t be any outrage about the contents, right? It is, after all, quotes from the “Good Book”. Well, apparently there can.

Some people astoundingly had enough clueless stupidity to attack the book on its contents and call it “vulgar and violent”. That means, quite directly, that the Bible itself would have to be “vulgar and violent”. Cause the photos, you know, really are literal illustrations of the text, and the text is, well, the Text.

They didn’t stop there. They also resented “that the author is an atheist”. So what exactly is the problem with an atheist writing a book? Does the first amendment somehow not apply to people who don’t believe in God? Are we not allowed to quote Scripture?

Of course we are. In fact, critics of the book, having no rational grounds for their attempts at censorship, went for hypocrisy, as usual. They counted on corporate cowardice, which always works. They pretexted that the book was not appropriate for children. I would agree, the Bible is not for children. I would only really recommend it to Christians, who would do good actually reading the whole damn thing.

OK, it’s not child appropriate, so just move the book out of the children book section, into humor or religion. Problem solved. Those guys probably also think that South Park, Beavis and Butthead and Family Guy are child programs because they are animated.

Well, no. Sam’s Club actually caved in to the pressure and censored the book.

So what can we do? Well, let’s give them the Streisand Effect. Let’s use the idiots as amplifiers of their own stupidity. Let’s publicize this outrage of theirs, and ours. They have nothing.

And let’s buy The Brick Bible, because it’s hilarious. But not from Sam’s Club.

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Metaphorical? But why?

Dürer: the fall of manMost modern believers interpret their sacred texts as mostly metaphorical. Only the most hard-core fundamentalists maintain that Genesis for example is an accurate historical account of the origin of Humanity.

In order to maintain such a hard stance, they must reject most of what the modern world has to offer, in particular empirical science and its discoveries.

The myth of Adam and Eve as the two ultimate ancestors for the whole of humanity for instance has been destroyed by genetic evidence and by population genetics in general.

It is unfortunately an extremely important myth as without it there is no original sin, and without original sin there is no need for a universal redeemer.

Faced with the evidence, believers resort to a number of techniques to salvage their faith. Some reject empirical science as a whole, some misrepresent the evidence and twist it to fit their pre-established conclusions, and some revise their interpretation of the text by declaring it "metaphorical".

I'm not too interested about the first two, which have willingly moved beyond reason. The third is more intriguing, but I think not much more consistent.

If the god of the Bible exists, he had the power of making the world exactly as it is described in the books he supposedly inspired. Why didn't he then?

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Left behind

The RaptureThe date and time have come and gone and you are still here. As we are waiting for the rationalization from Harold Camping, it is time to ponder what this means for you. A few possibilities:

  • You are not a True Christian. You should probably enjoy life while you still can.
  • Rapture is postponed to another date. Redo Harold Camping's calculations and prepare new signs for whatever date you come up with.
  • The whole thing was the crazy ravings of a religious nut. What else could turn out to be a house of cards built on extremely bad premises without any regard for reality?

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More fundie fun

snakeThere is an article on stupid Conservapædia (that I won't grace with a link) that rants about the theory of Relativity because apparently it contradicts the Bible. Well, what doesn't? Even the Bible contradicts the Bible...
Anyways, here is how that fantastic piece of entertainment begins:

"The theory of relativity is a mathematical system that allows no exceptions."


Well, wrong. This just shows how much these clowns understand about science: nothing at all.
The theories of Relativity are *using* mathematical tools, but they are not about the tools, they are about the physics of high energy phenomena and strong gravitational fields. So they got the most basic definitions wrong. But of course they did it on purpose you see, because mathematical theorems suffer no exceptions (which is precisely why math is not science) whereas physics is perfectly fine with limiting its own theories to a specific experimental range.
It's worth repeating: if science knew everything, it would be over and nobody would do it. Only engineering would remain. Contrast that with religion, which was done once and for all thousands of years ago and that people are still doing today.
This being said, I think the authors of the silly piece in question should stop using their GPS right now, cause you know, of being an insult to God and all.

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