Commenting Media, English

Honda Prius

I ran across a video by darkmatter2525 again, and this time neither God nor this little angel whose name I forgot have an appearance. But just look yourself.

So shortly said, the video is about a woman who wants to buy a car. But the seller never shows her the car. All he does is present „evidence“ in the form of manual and other paper work, and the fact that he the seller himself is in the office although he lives 7 miles away. He claims he could not be present if he hadn’t come there by this car.

He also claims to have a personal relationship to the car, as do his collegues, but they cannot agree on the type and colour of the car. The woman who liked to buy the car then also finds out that the manual seems to be put together by excerpts of manuals of different cars.

Nonetheless, the seller demands $15,000 from the woman to sell her the car, without showing it to her. He speaks of a chance that the car might reveal itself to her.

In the end of the video, darkmatter put the folowing lines:

Theists:if you can understand why I wouldn’t buy a car from these people, you can also understand why I won’t buy God from you.

Well, I am a theist and I understand very well. In fact, I wouldn’t buy God from these people either. While I understand all the points he is trying to make with this video, he’s getting close to fighting strawmen. I say „close to“, because there are indeed Christians who would behave just like the car sellers there. (If you, dear reader, are one of those Christians: Please, stop doing it.) But it is naive to think and misleading to claim that all Christians were like this.

My first point against the whole plot of the story is: You can’t sell God. God is not a thing you posess in any way or can sell to other people at certain prices. He’s not  thing at all. This is a really hard nut or us to crack, because for us humans, most if not everything around us can or will be seen and treated as things that can be controlled. Sadly we tend to think so even of fellow humans.

While we can treat humans that way – we can make them slaves and use them, if we have the means (i.e. power) to do so, this doesn’t work with God. He won’t follow any of our attempts to control Him – ever! So we won’t sell Him. Sometimes people „sell“ certain moral codes or codes of behaving or whatever you will call it, and connect the whole thing to God. This is a whole different thing (and would also need some further discussion, because there’s enough to critisise there, but this is not the issue we deal with here).

My second point would be very close to the first point: You cannot use God. Ever! He is not a tool (so why buy Him in the first place?). The analogy with the car just doesn’t work. Because a car is a thing we can own and which we can use. It’s the whole purpose of a car to be used, if it was useless, there wouldn’t be any cars. Try to say the same about people, and you might understand the problem here: You cannot (or rather should not) speak thus abut people. People are not to be classified by their possible uses, this would be inhumane (and I think atheists would agree on that). The same applies to God. He is not our slave, is no tool is not just a thing.

So if you tried to sell me a tool that was useless or even nonexistant, I wouldnt buy it. And rightly so. Keep your invisible cars to yourself, whatever the colour.

But, as said, with God it is a whole different thing. He is not a thing, He is a counterpart. I don’t try to sell Him anyone. But I do tell people about my relationship to Him, because yes, as He is a counterpart as any human, I can also have a relationship with Him as with any human. The relationship part appears in that video, too, and just appears to be ridiculous. How can you have a relationship to a thing such as a car? (and how would a thing such as a car reveal itself, anyway?)

Relationships make only sense if we speak of counterparts. There is no way I can prove God to any of you. And this is not my job to do so. It is also not my job to tell you you’d go to hel if you did not believe in God. How can you believe in someone you don’t believe in? So yes, I have my fair share of critizism for those fellow Christians who do so (or try to). Don’t get me wrong here, I will still tell of the joy I have from my faith, but it’s not my job to make you have this faith too. It’s God’s job to reveal Himself to you.

While I critisise Christians for trying to sell God, I also critisise people who misrepresent Christianity or even theism as a whole, by claiming that we’d all be like one certin group. We are not, and if you are really open to reason and scientific thinking, you already know that.

Commenting Media, English

Genesis 34

Consider the this Comic.

There’s also an article to the whole thing. The story is quickly told: Shechem rapes Dinah, Daughter of Jacob. Later on, he wants to marry her but to do so he and his city are first demanded to become circumzised. While all the men in the city are sore, two of Dinah’s brothers get into the city and kill every man to take revenche. After killing all the men they take everything with them they can use, including the surviving women.

Hausdorff’s main problem with the text seems to be expressed in these lines:

Still, this seems like quite an overreaction. Kill all the men in the city and steal all of their stuff including their women. Aren’t they just committing a worse version of the crime they are all up in arms about? „You had sex with one of our women, we are going to kill all of you and take all of your women“

Now the first thing we have to remeber is that this is an old text that does not reflect our ethical standards nor out culture. That was a culture very different from ours and we’d make a big mistake if we considered it to go by our standards in any way.

So what is the problem with raping? Today we’d all agree the problem would be the physical and psychological harm that is done to the victim. Back then, this wasn’t too much an issue, as raping within marriage was not a problem at all (it isn’t too long ago this was outlawed even in our societies). Back then the problem was that Dinah was not a virgin any more. This meant there would have been less chances to find her a husband. This meant that there would have been the problem to care for Dinah all the time, eventually until she dies. There would maybe be no husband and sons who could care for her living later on. This was about survival in those societies, not about the harm we focus on wen we hear „rape“.

And here we have a difference to what the brothers of Dinah did to the women of the town. Even after all the murdering thy were not left alone. They were taken, which means they were taken care of. They did not have to see to make ens meet after their husbands and sons have been killed. They did not have to prostitute themselves to earn their living. Had they been raped like Dinah, things would have been different.

The second thing we have to think about is loyality. Today we don’t know this so much any more. We would hardly ever take up arms and attack those who kiled our kings. Maybe because we do not have kings nowadays (but some do: Think of Britain, Spain, Scandinavia, the Netherlands etc. – and still today you’d find peopel who would call it a noble thing to hunt down an kill anyboy who had killed their monarch). Or think even or the presidents we have. If you threat the US president, this is already considered a crime. Jokes not permitted.

Now if we agree that Shechem is „a piece of shit“ and deserves death, we need to think about his subjects as well. What would they do if their prince had been killed? Definately they would have killed the murderers. At least one would have to take the chance into account. So the safest thing to do is kill them all.

Again, this is unbearable for us today, right, but back then things were different because people were different. When you decide to kill the prince, you have to waste a thought r two on his army, too. And the best time to do so is when all are sore from their circumsition.

There is still some bad light put on the brothers, as they do not only take the women (for whom they are to take care if they have any sense of responsibility) but also all the riches of the city. So in the end they turn up richer. And then, there is also one bigger problem: Shechem did marry Dinah, so there was no reason to do him any harm. She would be taken care of, had the chance to have sons who care for her in her old days. But her brothers ruined all that, killing Shechem, making their sister a widow. We mdern people wouldn’t see this problem in the first place, but it is probably much bigger for the people of the time of the text then the question, whether it is right or not to kill the men of the city.

So what to do with the story? We already said it is based on ancient ethics which are not the ethics of our day, and which no one in their right mind would want back. Plus, we saw that most probably the story doesn’t even fit to the ethics of back then. Now should we go about and kill the raptors of our sisters? Hardly, though I understand the emotion.

And this seems to be what the story is all about: Emotion. Jacob complains to his sons that they had done wrong, because now they’d have to fear the other peoples of the land. But the two sons answer asking their father, how it coud have been right that Shechem, raping Dinah, treated her like a whore.

Just because some characters in the bible do certain things doesn’t mean that was considered right. The story doesn’t say God approved of the genocide, He isn’t even mentioned. The story might show the dilemma the brothers are in: On the one hand, they feel rage, because their sister had been raped. On the other hand, there’s a deal to settle the whole case. But finally emotion breaks its way and leads to blood and horror. And what is the gain in the end? Everyone’s a loser: Dinah, because her virginity is gone and she is without husband. Shechem, because he paid raping with being killed. And Jacobs family, because they now have to fear a militant response of the other peoples of the land.

So, if you ask me, the moral is that injustice (rape) is not leveled by counter-injustice(murder), but just more injustice. Better to swallow down your emotions…

Commenting Media, English

Satan’s 10 commandments to the homosexual lobby – reviewed

I’ve been writing about atheist criticism of religion or christianity recently, which could lead to the conclsion that I consider anything that comes from nonblelievers wrong, and anything that comes from believers right. Which is not so. I just ran across „Satan’s 10 commandments to the homosexual lobby“ (via). And I think this is a good opportunity, that I critisise bullshit, no matter where from. Note that this criticism comes from a fellow christian. Yes, I do believe in Christ, no less than you, and I still strongly disagree with the whole anti-gay movement, which in my opinion just hijacked religion to better fulfill their agenda. And it’s a pity that people (strong believing christians I might add) don’t read their bibles enough to see what bullshit they bought into. For a foreigner like me it is shocking to see what’s going on with a great part of christianity in the USA. But enough about that, let’s turn to the „commandments“, I’ll comment them one by one:

1) Always see your sexual opponent (anyone who rejects homosexual acts) as the enemy. Project what they see as your sexual disorder onto them by repetitiously calling them „homophobes“;

Now this appears to be just name calling back and forth. Both sides consider the other as the enemy as far as I can see. So it’s hard to decide whom to believe that the other had a sexual disorder. I wonder though how christians can take part in such name calling. Love thy neighbour anyone? And even start an article on the issue with such name calling. Love conquers all, but hate will be defeated!

2) Separate the act of sex from its natural purpose of procreation by referring to all homosexual relationships as expressions of „love“ rather than „lust“;

I wonder. If sex has the purpose of procreation, then homosexual sex isn’t sex, because no matter how har you try, you won’t procreate. So what is all the fuss about? And another question: What does all this love and lust have to do with it? Is lust evil and love okay? So it would be for homos and heteros alike, wouldn’t it? „God is no respecter of persons“ (Acts 10,34 – yeah, it’s fun tossing bible verses at fundamentalists, like defeating atheists with science;)). But then loveful homo(sexual) relationships would be okay, too. What about a married heterosexual couple being in bed together doing al but the one thing that leads to procreation. You know, tenderness and all that, because they love one another. Sin or not? And now what is different if it was a homosexual couple?

3) Fight to deny those who oppose homosexual acts their right to free of speech.

Okay, this must be an insider for US Americans. I don’t know what is referred here.

At the same time enforce your own right to free speech on others by copiously using the liberal media and other outlets to label your opponents every unsavory thing from „bigot“ to „idiot.“

I could be missing another point, but in how far is this different from using conservative media and other outlets to label opponents every unsavory thing from pervert to disgust?

Use the words „equality“ and „hate“ often and unrelentingly as if only you – the homosexual – understand their meaning.

Yeah, right. But only the fundamentalist right knows God’s will and how to read the bible…

If anyone objects, accuse them of discrimination.

Somehow reminds me on the deny of free speech part above…

Keep in mind that politicians and judges are your friends.

Who could forget that the liberals hold the majority in the house and the supreme court. Now, wait…

Many of them are openly practicing homosexuals and the rest, swayed by power and the almighty dollar, will do anything for your vote.

Like there was no practising fundamentalist among politicians and the GOP had never used the fundamentalist right to get their vote…

Remember, too, that in today’s politically correct and morally relativistic society there is no objective moral order and that it often takes only one civil judge to side in your favor for you to achieve your ends;

Okay, I know too little about the juridical system of the states to undertsand what that is supposed to mean…

4) Use the „race card“ unceasingly against your enemy by equating homosexual behaviour (which can change) with a person’s color (which, by one’s will alone, cannot). Most people don’t know the difference;

It’s right that colour don’t change, while everybody can refrain from sexual deeds of any form. But talking about the race card: Colour wasn’t the problem. If the „niggers“ had stayed in the place the racist society had for them, all would have been fine. Well, at least the whites. The problem with racism was that the black people wouldn’t refrain from complaining about their place in society, about all the lynchings that were bound to this very place in society, and about risking your life when speaking your mind. So, the problem about racism was all about changeable deeds as well. So if the gay people won’t just shut up and behave the way you want them to, they are not too far from the black people back then. By the way: In both cases their opponents used the bible to justify their racism/homophobia, didn’t they?

5) Build yourself up in the eyes of the indifferent masses – who are mere sheep – by claiming to be a modern person of tolerance and peace – one who is accepting of all. The people will believe you because in today’s materialistic word people are focused primarily on themselves and their own gain.

So this is accusing the people, right? Not the homosexuals. I wonder, if you think thus of the people, in how far you can support all those ideas of liberty and freedom in the US constitution (I heard there is at least some of it in there). If the peope are mere sheep and only focused on themselves, wouldn’t it be better to take the greater part of civil freedoms from them. Like speaking their egoistic sheep mind and such? And why let them vote anyways? Doesn’t this necessarily lead to decadence, chaos and decline? I really wonder how fundamentalists can support all those freedoms for the materialistic sheep masses. If they were consequent, they’d support dictatorship. Or at least some form of fundamentalist controlled oligarchy. What does it tell us about the honesty of fundamentalists when they pretend support of democracy while at the same time considering the people incapable of meeting the right decisions. By the way: Who has the majority in the house…?

Ridicule and undermine the intelligence of your more worthy opponents by resorting to ambiguity and sarcasm. Never resist a chance to claim that they are living in the „Dark Ages“;

Yes, this talk of the dark ages just does no justice – to the middle ages. I do consider all this fundamentalism a rather modern phenomenon. And it isn’t only there in christianity, you have it everywhere. But I agree that doing sarcasm is just unfair. Because you need some sense of humour for it, which most opponents of homosexuality just plain lack.

6) Act and speak as if homosexuals have a corner on the truth and that they alone – not their opponents – can demand of society what is right and wrong.

Gottfried Bernhard Göz: Jonathan greeting David after David killed Goliath
Gottfried Bernhard Göz: Jonathan greeting David after David killed Goliath

Okay, okay. Now I get it. The whole text is satire. It’s aimed against the fundamentalists themselves. Why else would they write down this while their fellow homophobes wave bibles and do tell society that only their way to read the bible will tell what’s right and wrong? Either it’s a satire, or they don’t listen to their own words. But well, the high priest of Jerusalem was prophetising about Jesus and not realizsing what he was saying, too. God works in mysterious ways sometimes…

Use every form of deceit imaginable including the use of straw man arguments and false scientific studies – anything that will appeal to the simpleton. Lie, deceive, put on a false front.

Anyone else thinking „Fox News“ now?

Pretend you are a friend. Talk of peace and brotherhood. Make pledges of co-operation and mutual assistance. In short, destroy your opponent with a kiss;

Love the sinner, hate the sin. Oh, wait…

7) Confuse the distinction between „hating the sin“ and „loving the sinner.“ This is an absolute must since everyone – especially parents – know the time-honored value of disciple and „tough love.“

Isn’t it more confusing when this love for the sinner is expressed by attacking them all the time for their sexualities, by not looking at them personally, but reducing them to this one part of their personality, what they do in bed? Is this the way you love the sinners in former administrations, who lied (God hates lies!) about weapons of mass destruction, which led to the death of thousands? Why those double standards? I mean, we are talking about love, right? Should there not be just one standard?

This can be effectively achieved by introducing special „anti-bullying“ laws into schools that aim at protecting homosexuals from the enemy. If you find that someone suspects your true motives and resists on the grounds that homosexuals should not be given special status in this regard or that such laws are merely an attempt to normalize homosexuality in society, use both the „equality“ and the „separation of church and state“ card against them;

Yeah, right, if homosexuals are being bullied, they do not deserve a special status, but if „christians“ are bullied, it’s at least christian persecution and the end of the world as we know it. I don’t know what’s wrong about equality. And speaking of the seperation of church and state over there: You have this law, like it or not. So before you complain, why not try to tear the wall of seperation down? Ah, right, because you don’t want the state to interfere in your religious groups. Well, tough luck.

8) Never lose sight of the fact that God is your ultimate enemy. Attack God and all religion as something oppressive, hypocritical and evil. This is easily done by take biblical quotes out of context to suit your own purpose and meaning. At the same time avoid all talk of the murderous regimes of atheists like Hitler and Stalin;

Hitler was baptised and never left the church. Just for the records. I wonder anyhow who is the enemy of God really. Because there is a reason why people consider God and religion as oppressive, hypocritical and evil. Maybe it’s because that’s the way His believers behave all day long? Talking about bible quotes out of context: The homosexual lobby, as you call it, does not use Leviticus to justify their homophobia. So who’s taking bible quotes out of context now. And yes, same applies to Romans.

9) Assure everyone that no religion will be made to suffer from societies‘ acceptance of homosexuality. Speak always and often of equality and co-existence. Claim, as a sham, snare, and illusion, that tradition marriage and homosexual marriage can live side-by-side in complete harmony.

I don’t see how this could not be possible. Oh, now I get it. I already hear Peter saying to Paul: „Darling, look at those heteros over there.“ – „Ew, they’re kissing, how disgusting!“ – „Perverts, I wouldn’t wonder they are doing it all the time.“ – „Someone has to call the cops…“

No really, I don’t see why this would not be possible. Actually it is reality in many countries already.

Dismiss as silly and unviable any attempt to show that the „Pill“ – which was introduced to separate and tear asunder the act of sex from the gift of life – has led to the disintegrated of the family.

Like all was harmony before the pill was introduced. Me weren’t beating their wifes and children, there was no cheating and all children were honouring their parents to no end.

At the same time, and wherever possible, work diligently behind the scenes to drag your religious opponent into court whenever his moral values even begin to clash with yours. Test and try every court until you find a judge who is your friend.

So there were no lawsuits about homosexual marriage, the pill and abortions? As I said, I’m not too deep into the US juridical system, but I am deeply impressed, if no one ever sued to stop abortion laws and the like.

Especially work on religious adoption agencies and church ministers who lecture on the evils of homosexuality and same-sex marriage in their sermons. Where this is not possible infiltrate the priesthood so as to corrupt religion from within,

Yes, there is a real problem with unercover ministers, who preach of hellfires nstead of the love of God… oh, wait…

10) Redefine joyful and well-established words and symbols like „marriage,“ „spouse,“ „gay“ and „rainbow“ and attach them to homosexual acts in order to give sin an innocent, natural and pleasing appeal.

Samson and the lion
Samson and the lion
Got some news for you: language is changing. Always. Awful one meant „full of wonder“, a demagogue was a „popular leader“ and a „guy“ was once a „chap“ or a „fellow“. Again: Homosexual acts are not sinful, the bible never says so. There are two verses referring to something we can’t translate properly nowadays, maybe anal intercourse between men is meant, maybe something else. This refers to the act and not the relationship, so if homosexuals practise their love (or lust if you so will) in another way, the verses don’t apply. Then there’s Paul in Romans 1, where he doesn’t write about homosexuality in the first place, but about sinfulness in the world, while he uses homosexuality (which was disapproved of in Rome, unlike Greece) as an example. Now if we follow Paul in his examples, there should also be no long haired men. So, Samson was a sinner like the homosexuals or what? And what about Jesus? Isn’t He depicted with long hair as well?

So, when the author writes in the beginning:

The Bible tells us that Satan has the ability to „appear as an angel of light.“

I’m not sure whom he is really talking about. There is still no one who could point out one harm of homosexuality to anyone. There is no one who could point out one clear bible verse on the issue. All I hear is cultural prejudice: „It’s always been this way, it cannot be different.“ Is that what Jesus preached to the poor and downtrodden?

Commenting Media, English

Why I am not a biblicist

God is Love

This shows what happens when ou take the bible literally and not seriously. Bible being written by man doesn’t mean God had nothing to do with it. It means that it was written by men which lived in a certain time with certain fears and hopes and desires. I guess the writer of Revelation had quite his share of desire for revenche. In the beginning the good guys scream to the Lord for revenche, and later they’ll get it. Their offenders (remeber christians used to be brought to death for their faith back then) had to taste some of their own wine. This is not nice, though deeply human. And in the end all will be fine: Death will die and we all will be living in the heavenly Jerusalem.

Commenting Media, English

Do you believe in Yahwe?

This is a bit unhandy, as embedding was disabled, but you can look at the video I want to speak about here.

The story is told relatively quick, supposingly more quickly than watching the video:

Person A asks person B about his or her belief in a variety of godhead names: Vishnu, Baal, Shemosh, Thor, you name it. person B keeps saying „no“, to all the questions.

Person A does not react to these answers in any way, just keeps on throwing names of godheads at person B. This goes on for a while until person B answers the same „no“ to the belief in Yahwe.

All of a sudden person A starts cussing and yelling at person B all kind of things, basically saying that person B was very very evil not believing in Yahwe.

The video has a point. In some way. That is insofar as it critizises condemnation of people who do not believe in God (or any other godhead). As for christianity, I wish my fellow brothers and sisters in Christ would rather approach people of different or no faith with love then with condemnation, cussing and the like. It should not play a role, what a person believes for how we treat her or him. Christ commanded us to love. Period.

But on the other side, the video also speaks of someone having gotten into a trap. The trap of mixing up god and God. This is why I write „godhead“ above.

The wrong presumption is that there was no real difference between Yahwe, Vishnu or Thor and disbelief in the one was the same as disbelief in the other or any of them or all together. It is not.

And I am not going to tell you that the difference was that Yahwe exists and Baal does not. While I do believe this myself, of course, being a christian, this is not what I am talking about here.

What I am talking about is the difference between a polytheistic godhead and the monotheistic God, like Yahwe, or even Allah, if you like. Even the Flying Spaghetti Monster should qualify, f anybody really believed in it, which I do question.

Anyway, what is the difference between God and the godheads. The first way to recognise this would be to see that people did (and do) believe in Thor and Odin at the same time, or Zeus and Poseidon, or Vishnu and Ganesha, but hardly in Yahwe and Mars, or Allah and Baal.

Historical sidenote: Historically seen, there was most supposingly a time when people did indeed believe in Yahwe and Astarte or other godheads. I know this, you don’t need to point this out to me. And while the same name Yahwe is used, the concept behind it is different. The Yahwe besides Astarte, El or Shemesh is not more than a godhead, while the other Yahwe, God Yahwe, is a monotheistic God. Many scholars believe that there was an evolution from polytheism over henotheism to monotheism. What I am referring here to is monotheism, none of its supposed prior forms, whether or not they have existed before (I just don’t want to go into that discussion here).

So what is the difference between monotheism and polytheism? The difference is that polytheistic godheads are weak enough that there can be other godheads beside them, while a monotheistic God does not and will not make it even possible to have other godheads besides Him (or Her if you like).

Understood correctly, this would render the first commandment superfluous, because there would just not b the possibility to have other godheads beside a truly monotheistic God. And from that point of view it would not make a big difference whether you call Him (or Her) Yahwe, Allah or Hank. (the problem is that people do not always keep a strict monotheism, that’s why the first commandment still makes sense).

Monotheism means that there is one God who created everything (I’d like to hear about monotheistic Gods who are not also thought of as creators) and is beyond everything else, not only above. There is a qualitative difference between a monotheistic God and all that belongs to creation. On the other hand are the polytheistic godheads, each one having their own affairs to deal with, none of them is really superior to all the others, fights are possible and we have stories about that. Basically they are closer to modern superheros like Spiderman or Superman, than to a monotheistic God. They are powerful, but not unable to be overcome, be it by some other godhead or some (human) trickster.

So person A would be more sensible asking person B whether he (or she) believed in any system of godheads (pantheon) or whether she (or he) believed in a monotheistic God. Of which there are also many, besides Yahwe also Allah or the FSM and others. So it’s not that all monotheisms would be the same. They have very different ideas of their God.

And one final note: I am not too deep into modern Hindu theology, but I think I heard about all Hindu godheads being only appearances of the same one God. Yes, God, capital letter, because I guess this would then be a monotheism as well.

Commenting Media, English

What is there to do in heaven

What is there to do in heaven

The author adds the following text:

I got the idea for this comic while reading Revelation 7. Serving and worshiping God all the time doesn’t exactly sound like paradise to me.

I’d like to add a few thoughts: There are actually peole who think heaven and hell are the same place, only differently percieved by different people. So if praising God is boring as hell for atheists, it needn’t be for Christians. Actually it is what they are doing (or claim to be doing) all their life long. And Christians are happy with it, aren’t they? So why shouln’t they be happy with it n heaven? As for all those atheists who hope to get into heaven for some fun time. Sorry, no hope for you guys, only weeping and gnashing of teeth.