Sunday, July 1, 2012

The Hiddenness Argument

The Hiddenness Argument, for the nonexistence of God, as quoted from John L. Schellenberg's 1993 book, Divine Hiddenness and Human Reason.


The Hiddenness Argument

  1. If there is a perfectly loving God, all creatures capable of explicit and positively meaningful relationships with God who have not freely shut themselves off from God are in a position to participate in such a relationship, that is, able to do so just by trying to.
  2. No one can be in a position to participate in such relationship without believing that God exists.
  3. If there is a perfectly loving God, all creatures capable of explicit and positively meaningful relationships with God who have not freely shut themselves off from God believe that God exists (from 1 and 2).
  4. It is not the case that all creatures capable of explicit and positively meaningful relationships with God who have not freely shut themselves off from God believe that God exists: there is non-resistant nonbelief; "God is Hidden."
  5. It is not the case that there is a perfectly loving God (from 3 and 4).
  6. If God exists, God is perfectly loving.
  7. It is not the case that God exists (from 5 and 6).
Beachbum's Mountain View

Tuesday, March 20, 2012

My Response to a Theist's Six Questions for Atheists

I ran across this ministry blog and attempted to answer these six questions they asked of us atheistic types but it seems the comments were disabled. So, I'll answer them here. From: Six Questions to Ask an Atheist (Questions are inset and italicized.)

1.    If there is no God, “the big questions” remain unanswered, so how do we answer the following questions: Why is there something rather than nothing?  This question was asked by Aristotle and Leibniz alike – albeit with differing answers.  But it is an historic concern.  Why is there conscious, intelligent life on this planet, and is there any meaning to this life?  If there is meaning, what kind of meaning and how is it found?  Does human history lead anywhere, or is it all in vain since death is merely the end?  How do you come to understand good and evil, right and wrong without a transcendent signifier?  If these concepts are merely social constructions, or human opinions, whose opinion does one trust in determining what is good or bad, right or wrong?  If you are content within atheism, what circumstances would serve to make you open to other answers?

My response to 1. Why do you assume nothing ever existed? What makes you think nothing is the default state? The sum total of energies (mass+energy+(-energies)) in the universe still equals zero. The question presumes a theistic creation narrative which is false. But the answer comes with our understanding that from simpler forms comes complexity. Evolution is the development of current states from an accumulation of less complex forms in, for instance, the physical and biological realms. Human history progresses away from the dictatorial, the primitive, and we become more intelligent and humane as our collective understanding develops. It is this societal comprehension of well-being, of justice, of what it is to suffer that gives our morality a foundation. This consensus is what progresses and is the property that transcends the individual life which must end so new life can come into existence and continue the progression.

2.    If we reject the existence of God, we are left with a crisis of meaning, so why don’t we see more atheists like Jean Paul Sartre, or Friedrich Nietzsche, or Michel Foucault?  These three philosophers, who also embraced atheism, recognized that in the absence of God, there was no transcendent meaning beyond one’s own self-interests, pleasures, or tastes.  The crisis of atheistic meaninglessness is depicted in Sartre’s book Nausea.  Without God, there is a crisis of meaning, and these three thinkers, among others, show us a world of just stuff, thrown out into space and time, going nowhere, meaning nothing.

My response A2: Crisis of meaning? This mantra, repeated by the religiose ad nauseam, is actually a misdirection, a diversion. With a deity your life has no meaning. You are a drone manipulated for its plan. You are a pawn. With only this life, one's life has immeasurable value, meaning is one's family, friends, purpose is procreation of life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness. Morality is what propagates well-being. With a deity this is all arbitrary and meaningless.

3.    When people have embraced atheism, the historical results can be horrific, as in the regimes of Stalin, Mao and Pol Pot who saw religion as the problem and worked to eradicate it?  In other words, what set of actions are consistent with particular belief commitments?  It could be argued, that these behaviors – of the regimes in question - are more consistent with the implications of atheism.  Though, I'm thankful that many of the atheists I know do not live the implications of these beliefs out for themselves like others did!  It could be argued that the socio-political ideologies could very well be the outworking of a particular set of beliefs – beliefs that posited the ideal state as an atheistic one.

My response A3: Again, this oft repeated falsehood is religious propaganda. Stalin was educated in seminary school. They never mention that Mother Teresa was also an atheist according to her own correspondence. Stalin's problem with the Russian Orthodox Church was political as it backed the Czars in both the revolution and counter revolution. Beliefs were irrelevant. Stalin re-opened the churches during WW2 even though he saw religion as a means of manipulation of the masses for ill effect. Marx wrote that religion would fall under the weight of its own dogma. So, it wouldn't need to be abolished. Mao had his country's traditional belief system Christianity was seen as an outside intrusion. The same goes for Pol Pot. None of these tyrants killed in the name of atheism. In fact, in Stalin's case most of the death was caused by two Christian sources,a) Hitler was a Catholic fundamentalist who invaded in WW2, and b) the Lysinko Famine was caused by a creationist's view of biology, a Lamarckian evolution by acquired traits; that is, pseudo-science, not science. 

4.    If there is no God, the problems of evil and suffering are in no way solved, so where is the hope of redemption, or meaning for those who suffer?  Suffering is just as tragic, if not more so, without God because there is no hope of ultimate justice, or of the suffering being rendered meaningful or transcendent, redemptive or redeemable.  It might be true that there is no God to blame now, but neither is there a God to reach out to for strength, transcendent meaning, or comfort.  Why would we seek the alleviation of suffering without objective morality grounded in a God of justice?

My response A4: Another diversion, another misdirected view as suffering of all life forms would make any omniscient deity complicit in the premeditated act of causing the suffering in the first place. After the fact, the religionist's view turns life into a long wait for revenge which makes no sense. Suffering, as horrible as it is, for all life forms, at least makes sense in the natural view. Also, in the naturalist's view it is up to us to relieve, even remove, suffering which is why we have medicine, ethics that evolve as we come to understand what causes suffering, civil and animal rights, and the whole concept of humanitarian aid. It was the ubiquitous suffering that caused Mother Teresa to be an atheist.

5.    If there is no God, we lose the very standard by which we critique religions and religious people, so whose opinion matters most?  Whose voice will be heard?  Whose tastes or preferences will be honored?  In the long run, human tastes and opinions have no more weight than we give them, and who are we to give them meaning anyway?  Who is to say that lying, or cheating or adultery or child molestation are wrong –really wrong?  Where do those standards come from?  Sure, our societies might make these things “illegal” and impose penalties or consequences for things that are not socially acceptable, but human cultures have at various times legally or socially disapproved of everything from believing in God to believing the world revolves around the sun; from slavery, to interracial marriage, from polygamy to monogamy.  Human taste, opinion law and culture are hardly dependable arbiters of Truth.

My response A5: We have no god. We merely have those who claim to represent, and be in contact with, a supernatural absolute authority. There is never any evidence provided to support this claim, but they continue to make it, laughably.

Our morality progresses with our intellect; that is, our ethics evolve in parallel with our understanding of suffering, well-being, justice, and what propagates these in the pursuit of life's betterment. Never again will slavery be promoted, as it was by Popes Alexander VI and Nicholas V, as good because the indigenous peoples are "ungodly," or not under the command of the Christian deity. In short, we have much better metrics for morality than those stagnated in the Bronze Age and dictated by misogynistic, desert dwelling goat herders who claimed their deity mandated everything from forced abortion (NU 5:11-31) to burning one's daughter for fornicating (LE 21:9), from human sacrifice (LE 27:29, NU 31:1-40, JG 12:31-39) to cannibalism (LE 26:29). Society has progressed beyond these atrocious dictates which show that this claimed absolute authority is no more than the command to submit to the imaginings of egotistical patriarchs and primitive tribesmen.

6.    If there is no God, we don’t make sense, so how do we explain human longings and desire for the transcendent?  How do we even explain human questions for meaning and purpose, or inner thoughts like, why do I feel unfulfilled or empty?  Why do we hunger for the spiritual, and how do we explain these longings if nothing can exist beyond the material world?

My response A6: Another meaningless mantra that evinces an evidentiarily vacuous falsehood. Humans have a desire to know, and when they can't know they will speculate. It's called curiosity. When we don't know some humans replace their ignorance with words like supernatural, spiritual, or miracle; they replace confusion with a longing for a father figure who has all the answers; they replace the fear of dying with concepts like the transcendent which only works with the cognizant (i.e. ideas, logic, etc.), thereby making their God, their existence; and their dream of an afterlife an idealized concept originating as a function of some mind. This both defers responsibility to an intelligent agency and puts that agency deep into an Orphic Abyss out of the reach of science and naturalism; only, this isn't the deity of the Bible which is written to have needed time (GE 1) to build the world (not the universe, but reality) while moving across the face of the waters, had sons that mated with human daughters (GE 6:1-4), and ate lunch with Abram (GE 18). We give our life meaning. Our families give our life meaning. Defending our life, liberties, and well-being against tyrannical oppressors claiming irreproachable absolute authority from divined knowledge of some supernatural entity gives our lives meaning when submitting to their imagined authority would turn us all into subjugated automatons.


Now, I have a question for you. Why hasn't, in the more than 2 millennia of the Abrahamic faiths dominating mankind, the subject of these beliefs brought heaven to Earth, eliminated suffering among life forms, or even performed anything, at all, unless one counts the most absolutely heinous atrocities ever committed against humankind at the hands of those claiming its divine authority?

Christianity, in particular, has an atrocious history, with Islam coming up hard and fast. It wasn't until the advent of this monotheistic belief system that beliefs could be considered wrong as pagan beliefs in many gods were inclusive, not exclusionary. It also wasn't until Theodosius I mandated Christ belief throughout the Roman Empire and killed off millions who didn't convert from pagan beliefs that the concept of a holy war was born. I don't think I want anything to do with your meaning of ...well, actually, your view only has meaning after death now that I think about it — I want nothing to do with that.

Beachbum's Mountain View

Tuesday, February 14, 2012

The Continuing Battle Against Christian Supremacist Propaganda

In the only two places in the Constitution where religion is discussed (first line in the First Amendment and Para.3 of Article VI), the first eliminates the validation (establishment) religion receives from the Government and the second then removes religion's influence over authority imbued upon the Offices of Government.

Article VI Paragraph 3:
The Senators and Representatives before mentioned, and the Members of the several State Legislatures, and all executive and judicial Officers, both of the United States and of the several States, shall be bound by Oath or Affirmation, to support this Constitution; but no religious Test shall ever be required as a Qualification to any Office or public Trust under the United States.

First line of the First Amendment:
Amendment 1 - Freedom of Religion, Press, Expression. Ratified 12/15/1791.

Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment [in the sense of validation] of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof;

In the Declaration of Independence which is not a governing document but an announcement, a declaration, to foreign nations of this nation's proclaimed sovereignty. A deity is mentioned twice. Both of which are in reference to the deistic deity prevalent in the Enlightenment era. The first equates Natures God to and parallels this deity's "Laws" with the Laws of Nature. Definitely not the Christian Old Testament deity of the Protestant English which was an important point for the Founding Fathers to make. As is apparent in the following:

"...and to assume among the Powers of the Earth, the separate and equal Station to which the Laws of Nature and of Nature's God entitle them,..."

Giving top billing to the Laws of Nature is definitely a stroke of genius, but calling this deity "Natures God" as opposed to the author's God, or Europe's God, or Almighty God, or even the Lord God is rock solid evidence that it isn't the Christian God, but more closely related to Aristotle's Prime Mover or some Deistic Creator force. Which brings us to the second mention of a deity.

"...that all Men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights,..."

Recalling that nowhere in the Christian Bible are unalienable Rights mentioned, let alone elucidated, I would conclude that this Creator is none other than Nature's God from the opening paragraph. And, considering that Thomas Jefferson had been the key attorney in the court ruling holding that England's Common Law was not derived from scripture, it is obvious that this scripture is not the origin of the Rights he, as the author, had in mind. Again, showing that this Nation is in no way a Christian Nation.

But, their are two key phrases in the Declaration of Independence and The Constitution that more than make this quite clear, yet they are seldom discussed, and the first, from the Declaration of Independence, is: 

"That to secure these Rights, Governments are instituted among Men, deriving their just Powers from the Consent of the Governed,..."

Governments as institutions of men, meaning not divinely ordained, but deriving their powers of authority from the consent of the people is in stark contrast to that garnered from the absolute divine authority of the Christian deity. The same deity which had ordained, sanctioned, so many despots of Europe. 

Then the last phrase is from the Preamble of The Constitution and it is the clearest of all:

We the People of the United States, in Order to form a more perfect Union, establish Justice, insure domestic Tranquility, provide for the common defence, promote the general Welfare, and secure the Blessings of Liberty to ourselves and our Posterity, do ordain and establish this Constitution for the United States of America.

"We the People secure the Blessings of Liberty to ourselves ... do ordain and establish..."

Nowhere in this document is the idea of a Christian deity in evidence. In fact, the word God is never used in the whole of the Constitution. It is, We the People who possess the authority from which our Government derives its power. It is We the People who "ordain and establish" the authority of the Constitution to secure the Blessings of Liberty to ourselves. It is not ordained by some deity. This concept is a crowning achievement of the Enlightenment Era. And the reason our Founding Fathers are considered Giants of the Age of Enlightenment.

Which makes Article 11 of the Treaty of Tripoli 1797:  

"As the government of the United States of America is not in any sense founded on the Christian Religion..."

as unanimously ratified by the U.S. Senate and signed by President John Adams, seem almost redundant. This does show conclusively that these United States owe no quarter to those claiming the sanctity of religions are to be in any sense respected as part of our secular legislation. For they are in effect attempting to take the authority of We the People away from the US.

Beachbum's Mountain View

Wednesday, August 3, 2011

Debunking the Kalam Cosmological Argument of William Lane Craig

I found this video at the great site known as (please give them a visit), then with my usual vigor I investigated all its claims and links I possibly could to my own delight. I found much of the documentation accessible, and I am still finding interesting connections.

Kodos to SkydivePhil

This video shows, with dramatic clarity, the gaping holes in the Kalam Cosmological Argument. By evidencing and evincing the contradictions, theistic claims contradicted by the evidence, and apologetic claims contradicted by the scientists themselves this argument is laid to rest.

If you follow along with Alan Guth's dialog you will here mention "pocket universes" and if his writing is consistent with my understanding of what he is saying here (which I have no doubt it will be) I will show documented agreement with my accumulation of expansion concept caused by multiple black hole bursts as each one releases the matter as it becomes too weak to hold the singularity of compressed matter due to Hawking Radiation, the dissipation of the energy needed to contain matter in that state of compression. Have you ever asked yourself why the cosmos has Black Holes? Could it be that it is merely the balance of matter and energy that necessitates their existence? That is, too much matter in too close a proximity and gravity does the rest, well that is until the energy (gravity in this case) equals the atomic energy of the accumulation of electrons in  the singularity that are being pulled around the nucleus of the atom much like the stator windings being pulled around the anchored armature of a electric motor. This is the point where distance between the electron and the nucleus is proportional  to the energy of the orbit and bang massive instantaneous expansion. Oh, this also works in consideration of string theory as the vibrating strings unfold the membrane in a similar massive expansion; I would think.

I will be updating this post as I read the documentation and books that I have discovered in this video.

Tuesday, August 2, 2011

A Note to Self-Proclaimed Pro-Life Proponents

Only in America can one be pro-draft, pro-war, pro-drone strikes, pro-nuclear weapons, pro-guns, pro-torture, pro-landmines, pro-death-penalty, and still call yourself pro-life.

Life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness are some of the inalienable rights which the Founding Fathers decided we were all entitled. So, there is a balance to be attained with life and happiness in the elimination of suffering. Suffering in the form of pain, poverty, starvation, serfdom, and slavery. And if one honestly stood with limited government, they would vote to keep government out of the private decisions of a mother trying to make a very difficult choice concerning her baby's well-being at a point of no suffering: 1st trimester of embryonic development. They, would vote to enable the government to defend against corporatists practices and policy manipulation that produces an overpopulation of unprotected consumers wherein competition for a living wage would be usurped by self preservation and the immediate need to survive. Why else would one think killers (see above) like Conservative Republicans give a crap about abortion; a flooded consumer and labor market suits their needs and goals. Might those professing to be pro-life actually be anti-choice?

Now even a limited government still needs to be strong enough to ensure that someone's rights and views stop where another's rights start. Since "We the People" are our government many prefer a stronger government that protects our rights from strong greed motivated capitalist interests, strong international oligarchies like churches, and strong national & international corporate interests, etc. —these are all the enemies within. The afore mentioned Inalienable Rights are why regulations that protect the populace from the poisonous profit driven shortcuts regarding safety, environmental protection, financial gaming, etc. are in place.

Yes, if you're thinking this would make Social Conservatives, the Religiose, T-Partiers, and Libertarians mindless tools of corporate ambitions to install their own servitude (not to mention poisoning), you're getting warm. Opinion manipulation through rhetorical ploys that are emotionally charged appeals to the baser reactions to xenophobia and mob mentality is the oldest form of politics known to man.

Further, many would suspect most cultural conservatives don't even know what life is, if, as we also suspect, they have a clergy's eye view of it. The time table resulting from Roe v. Wade is tied to consciousness, that is, the ability to suffer.

Lastly, some seem to think that liberals don't defend the free market, when in fact, we do. The free market of ideas that Thomas Jefferson idealized and the free market competition that improves the qualities of commerce. But, the free market that libertarians and capitalists rale on about is subordinate to the life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness that We the People are entitled.

Now, I have a question for you dear reader: Does anyone think the German people thought for a minute that the fascist they were putting into power, the man supported by the Catholic, Protestant (and eventually the Central) churches, a man that hated all the same people they hated (ie. homosexuals, Gypsies, Jews, outsiders, etc.), was the Hitler we know today, or do you think they thought he was just a good Christian, and a patriotic German?

The reason I ask is because we have a portion of the population that idealizes Austrian economics (Hitler's home country and an economic foundation of fascism), a party (Republicans, & same portion of the population) that uses religio-political concepts as evinced by the Nazi state thinker, Carl Schmitt, and that same party is obviously protective (if not outright sock-puppets) of the same international corporatists (the political foundation of fascism). Then, as the judicial practitioners of Nazi Germany later found out, it is the lack of protection of a fellow citizen's civil rights that permits, and not only through compounding, the atrocities that we now know decimated Europe. Maybe, conservatives should think harder about imposing their opinion on the the very people who's fate they will share.

Sunday, July 31, 2011

An Anachronistic Message

On 07-28-11, I had an interesting conversation with a Christian @lauramzy. She did the usual bible quoting and unsupported assertions, followed by ranting in all capitals; you know, generally losing her cool. Only, in so doing the usual quoting et cetera, she gave me an opportunity to see where people get that their deity is a loving peaceful deity contrary to everything I know about it.

The first Bible verse I received was 1 John 4:7
Beloved, let us love one another: for love is of God; and every one that loveth is born of God, and knoweth God.
Now the first thing one will notice is that this verse is claiming in the third person to know god and further to know god is love. Ok, interesting observation considering the content of the books that precede this particular verse. This is not, however, evidence that the Christian god is love; it is merely a claim of such. And in the context in which this verse was written it seems to be a sermon of praise and platitudes. No one, well except Christians grasping at straws, would expect this to be factual anymore than public comments at a wedding reception.

Now, this next one contradicts her claim in that her deity is professing to do the fighting as opposed to diplomacy. Deuteronomy 3:22
Ye shall not fear them: for the LORD your God he shall fight for you.
The previous verse has an interesting assertion about:
 Thine eyes have seen all that the LORD your God hath done unto these two kings
So, this just doesn't sound like a peace loving god which is directly contradicting her claim. Is she confusing her own feelings of security for those of peace? I don't understand why she would use it unless it just fit her search criteria and she didn't read further. Most importantly, this is a case of a first person narration of a particular opinion not that of direct observation, nor is it a record of any deity making such a claim. In the next verse Exodus 14:14 is the same problem:
The LORD shall fight for you, and ye shall hold your peace.
It is starting to look like my interlocutor searched for the word peace and love in an attempt to find confirmation for her theses regarding her deity's disposition. Again, the verse she has chosen shows not diplomacy but vigilante violence. So far, no sign of a loving, peaceful god even in her choice of verses.

Then in her next exchange she actually asks if I am embarrassed about my stance. This as she proffers a verse straight out of the battle of David and Goliath 1 Samuel 17:47
And all this assembly shall know that the LORD saveth not with sword and spear: for the battle is the LORD's, and he will give you into our hands.
This deity offers the enemy up for slaughter. I would not consider this peaceful under any circumstance. In the verse preceding the above David is bragging about the Lord delivering Goliath so that David will take his head. If this is a peaceful, loving deity, what would a violent deity be? In my view this is a nationalistic god of war. It should not be surprising as Yahweh Sabaoth means God of War or Armies, yet it is the rare fundamentalist that knows these facts.

Still haven't seen evidence of the peaceful god of which my interlocutor writes. I hate to tell her that after many  decades of study, nothing even close to a peaceful, loving deity has emerged. The verses she has presented so far are not evidence of anything of the sort. From what I have learned from reading the bible, Yahweh is a god of war, and even considering her quoted verses this still stands, so far. Many of her quoted verses were clipped. Out of 1Samuel 25:33 she removed 33b & 33c but cited 33a & 33d.

And blessed be thy advice, and blessed be thou, which hast kept me this day from coming to shed blood, and from avenging myself with mine own hand.
But this verse isn't talking to, or about, Laura's deity; rather, it reflects David's thanking of Abigail for calming him down. While it is claimed in a previous verse that the Lord sent Abigail, this is not what the cited verse is about as David mentions the advice. Considering that David is also a literary construct, as are most of the main characters of the Bible, this verse is, at most, a bit in the mythology of David. I can't help but to think that there has to be better examples that @lauramzy could have cherry-picked in her attempt to frustrate my case.
Psalm 11:5 The LORD trieth the righteous: but the wicked and him that loveth violence his soul hateth.
Now Psalm 11:5 as she quoted it: "The soul of the Lord hates those who love violence," is close enough, but the next verse shows that the Lord hateth those that mirror himself. 

Psalm 11:6 Upon the wicked he shall rain snares, fire and brimstone, and an horrible tempest: this shall be the portion of their cup.
 Of course, these are verses of lyrical poetry, so their value as to factual anything is vacuous. Still, it is easy to see that the authors viewed their deity as, well, violent. In my opinion, this character of Hebrew polytheistic mythology reflects the barbarity, to be precise, of the era.
 Psalms 33:16 A king is not saved by his great army...
This is talking about being saved spiritually not by armies but by favor in the eyes of the Lord. Only, it is but a few verses later that the violence of this deity are highlighted in that mankind should be in fear of this god of war. Psalm 33:18

Behold, the eye of the LORD is upon them that fear him, upon them that hope in his mercy;
I was 6-years-old when I first realized that no one should fear a loving deity. I read The Book of Mormon in the second grade after reading Wagons West about Joseph Smith & Brigham Young. I was then convinced that religion was a fantasy; it was started by the idea that no one should fear someone that loves them. I finished the Bible the first time at 11 (my sixth grade teacher said she could read it in a year). I was never so credulous as to believe Santa or the Easter Bunny—that I can remember (I told my 4 and 5 year old brothers that those things were pretend just before my sixth birthday). I was motivated by the word fear in all the ecclesiastical discourse to start finding my own evidence, and I never looked back. The next proffering was:
 Psalms 20:7 Some trust in chariots and some in horses, but we trust in the name of the Lord our God.
While this is another case where mankind's war power is put in a secondary position in relation to faith, it says nothing of the deity's passiveness or love. And in a verse just previous to this one:
 Psalm 20:3 Remember all thy offerings, and accept thy burnt sacrifice; Selah.
Burnt sacrifices have never struck me as something needed by a loving entity of any kind. Am I missing something? I know we are taking about lyrical verse that describes someone's perception and their practices in relationship with this entity not the acts of the entity themselves, but it is indicative of the verses being presented as evidence of a peaceful loving deity. Then she sends Psalm 140:1-2 along with the typical insults of those suffering from cognitive dissonance and the fear engendered in their faith as a deterrent from apostasy.
Protect me from the violent who...stir up wars continually. r u satisfied yet? do u feel stupid yet?
As far as a relationship with the deity goes, this verse is asking for protection from violent sorts. Then in just a few verses after, this author is asking the deity to: Let burning coals fall upon them: let them be cast into the fire; into deep pits, that they rise not up again (140:10). Again, an appeal to the violence innate in this belief system, and that vengeance seemingly expected from their deity. So, to this point Laura Ramzy has shown nothing evidentiarily to support her claim that her deity is a peaceful loving entity, and I have used the same chapters or psalms to show that she is, in fact, wrong in her stance without, as yet, referencing my own material evidence.

If she had done as I and many others have done and actually read the books, she would know what I and others know about this war god of Hebrew mythology, but she, like many of her mindset, have let interpreters, middlemen, woo woo salespeople, and charlatans tell her what they want her to know concerning this deity regardless of the literary evidence and historical facts. People read into the verses what they want to see instead of reading the verses as they are written.

People need to understand that the Bible really is that bad, and the reason it is that bad is because the book was trapped by the advent of the Gutenberg printing press in 1440 (Gutenberg Bible, Vulgate, 1450s) in the configuration that it's currently in after almost a millennium of exclusively priestly interpretation. This is the translation from which the King James version was taken in 1611. It wasn't even until the Council of Trent 1546 CE that the Catholic Church canonized the books in the Bible and still there are many different canons (ie. Greek, Ethiopian, Syriac, etc.).  Prior to this, even long after, the public was not permitted to read the Bible; in fact, many English translations were destroyed for this very reason.

Maybe, it is because of this betrayed trust, by those she accepted interpretations from, that she is motivated to get so violently defensive of her view: misdirected anger? Alas, this is nothing we haven't come to expect from the professed Christians of the world. 

Please note that there are many of these maxims I whole-heartily agree with, for instance, this next bit on wisdom.
 Ecclesiastes 9:18 Wisdom is better than weapons of war
Actually, other than the idea of sin expressed therein the rest of the verse is quite compelling if one merely replaces sinner with bungler (NRSV), delusionally dishonest, malcontent, or psychotic, etc. Ecc 9:18 "Wisdom is better than weapons of war: but one sinner destroyeth much good." As sinner encompasses much considered thought crimes and innately human drives as commanded by supposedly absolute moral dictate. This is not, however, the words of my interlocutor's deity. No! The words are those of the "Teacher" or 'Gatherer," so some assume it is the mythical character Solomon son of David (also a literary construct), yet, even though these are words to live by, they are not evidence supporting Laura's claim of a peaceful loving deity.
  Hosea 1:7 I will save...not by bow, sword, battle, horses, horsemen
A few verses before this one the author puts the words,
Hosea 1:4-5
1:4 And the LORD said unto him, Call his name Jezreel; for yet a little while, and I will avenge the blood of Jezreel upon the house of Jehu, and will cause to cease the kingdom of the house of Israel.
1:5 And it shall come to pass at that day, that I will break the bow of Israel, in the valley of Jezreel.
1:6b ... for I will no more have mercy upon the house of Israel; but I will utterly take them away.
into the mouth of this deity. Also, the saving expressed in 1:7, if somewhat ambiguous, is by mercy on a favored people. Only, in light of the previous verses expressing revenge, I'm not seeing peaceful at all, and if we ignore the Documentary Hypothesis, the polytheistic origins of Hebrew mythology, and the constant redaction by the Deuteronomists et al. this Yahweh is supposedly the creator of all people; so why is it not love but nationalism being expressed? I see literary evidence of what is believed to be a nationalistic regional deity, a local war god—not a loving anything. 

The next verse she quotes in her continued attempt to assail me with her proof is:
  Zechariah 4:6 Not by might, nor by power, but by my spirit
Only the whole verse reads "Then he answered and spake unto me, saying, This is the word of the LORD unto Zerubbabel, saying, Not by might, nor by power, but by my spirit, saith the LORD of hosts." Where Lord of Hosts translates as God of Armies, and this is supposedly an angel conferring this information. And what is it that is by spirit transmitted? In Zech 5:3 it says: "Then said he unto me, This is the curse that goeth forth over the face of the whole earth," again, not peaceful or loving is it?

  Matthew 5:44 Love your enemies; pray for persecutors

This is obviously Mt 5:44 not 5:43 that she marked it as. This is from the Sermon on the Mount which is actually taken from a much older (maybe 7 centuries older, Buddha) philosophy than this narrative which was written after the beginning of the second century from the evidence I have gathered. This verse also follows a narrative in which  it is commanded to pluck out an eye if it should offend one. That the Earth is this God's footstool; so, although it has its applications in the real world, the philosophy is not practiced by this narrative character nor his father as exemplified in Matthew 10:34 "Think not that I am come to send peace on earth: I came not to send peace, but a sword."

Mark 9:50 Be at peace with each other.
In a continuation of the verses from Mark 9:43 that have this Jesus character telling the congregation to "pluck an eye," "cut off a foot," or  "the hand." What could be more violent, even barbaric, than this? This is a case of the writer's request put in the mouth of Jesus, not that of a deity. Also, it can be argued that this is in the context of nationalism, the in-group, actually the believers themselves not humanity at large.
Romans 12:17 "Return no one evil for at peace with everyone" did i make a point now too?
 This is a sermon transmitted via Epistle by Paul/Saul not any recount of a deity's actions. People are being told how to act not shown how their deity has or does act. This has real world applications but is not the evidence for a peaceful loving deity. It is an ethic that some humans practice without the sermon.

Romans 12:21 Overcome evil with good
This is still Paul communicating through the Epistles his own ethics (In fact, Chapters 12 & 13 are full of ethics that are not attributed to the Gospel Jesus character. Could this be because Paul knew of no historical Jesus?) 
Romans 14:19 "Make every effort to do what leads to peace..." how about now?
Again, a sermon, but this is concerning restrictions of food, the eating of meat, and being thought highly of by one's peers. Laura has not produced one iota of evidence showing the peaceful loving deity. So far, only the snide remarks of an arrogant, if not a little frightened, Christian showing all the symptoms of mindlessly adhering to socially supported inculcation with culturally accepted dogma.
1 Peter 3:11 "Turn from evil; do good; seek peace; pursue it." next time u speak of my religion do ur research.
 This isn't talking about her deity. This is in reference to the subjection of women to their husbands, and the husband's piety as a result of the wife's practices while both of them can attain higher levels of morality by thinking before reacting. In historical context this is a lesson in ethics that common people of this time will not find, for educational systems serving the masses are still some 1600 years hence. Note that my interlocutor displays the arrogance of ignorance quite prevalent in most theistic discourse with the fundamentalist adherent. Also note that it is all too obvious that she has yet to read the book she claims as the base for her world view. 
Relying instead on the woo woo merchants I made mention of earlier. And, yes, I do pity her.

Then after some time to reflect, I'm guessing, Laura Ramzy sends Proverbs 9:7-12 to me. Does anyone think it was not because of the words "arrogant cynic" in her choice of translation. Only, a more accurate translation would be "scoffer" in historical context. Alas, I tried very hard not to be either. And if one actually reads Proverbs 9 and considers it in historical context, that is, noting that Hebrew scripture was the basic education of most commoners of that era. Realizing, still further, that if one was a Jewish shepherd of the Diaspora, even a Nomad, this was Higher Education as there was nothing better to know 2200 years ago. Though Laura takes it out of historical context, and, for that matter, context in general. This whole proverb is a call to those searching for wisdom, and even though I disagree with the god claims in it, because we have far to much evidence to the contrary today, we can all agree that it is a good idea to seek out wisdom. Proverbs 9:7-12

General Maxims

Whoever corrects a scoffer wins abuse;
   whoever rebukes the wicked gets hurt. 
A scoffer who is rebuked will only hate you;
   the wise, when rebuked, will love you. 
Give instruction to the wise, and they will become wiser still;
   teach the righteous and they will gain in learning. 
The fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom,
   and the knowledge of the Holy One is insight. 
For by me your days will be multiplied,
   and years will be added to your life. 
If you are wise, you are wise for yourself;
   if you scoff, you alone will bear it.

Here is a link to the search of all, or most, of our correspondence. I will let you, dear reader, decide who this verse could help the most. And I still recommend reading this entire proverb about Lady Wisdom, who could have been Asherah, wife of El, at one time. Tomorrow, because this post is already too long, I will discuss the heinous acts that won Yahweh his title as a blood soaked deity of mythology.

Thursday, July 14, 2011

Why Rupert Murdoch Love$ God: World's Biggest Sleaze Mogul Also Getting Rich from Christian Moralizers | | AlterNet

Murdoch knows something I found out way back in the 1970s and 80s, when I was still my founder-of-the-religious-right Dad’s sidekick and a right wing evangelical leader/shill myself: There’s gold in them-thar God hills! James Dobson alone once gave away 150,000 copies of one of my evangelical screeds that sold more than a million copies. (I describe why I got out of the evangelical netherworld – fled -- in my book Sex, mom and God.)
So here’s my question to Rob Bell of the God-loves-everybody school of touchy-feely theology and/or to the right wing "family values" crowd who worry about gay marriage between responsible loving adults  while they perform financial fellatio on the mightiest and most depraved/pagan media baron to ever walk the earth
What serious, let alone decent religiously conscious person – left or right, conservative or liberal -- would knowingly work to enrich this dreadful man who will go down in history as the epitome of everything that all religion says its against: lies, greed, criminality, and sheer disgusting exploitation of the defenseless that would shame a sewer rat?
Secular “un-saved” and "godless" and "liberal" authors like Jeff Jarvis have pulled books from Harper Collins because it’s owned by Murdoch as he writes: “[my]  next book, Public Parts, was to be published, like my last one, by News Corp.'s HarperCollins. But I pulled the book because in it, I am very critical of the parent company for being so closed. It's now being published by Simon and Schuster.”
Where are the big time religion writers like the "I-give-all-my-royalties-to-the-poor" Rick Warren to be found refusing to publish with Zondervan, Harper One or write another word for Beliefnet? What’s mildly lefty Rob Bell’s defense for enriching Murdoch and helping to finance Fox “News” via publishing with Harper One when he could publish with anyone? 
For that matter where are the evangelical/Roman Catholic/Muslim—or just minimally decent -- people, religious or irreligious guests and commentators now refusing to be interviewed by Fox News even if it will help sell their books?
Knowing what we know about the union-busting, slime-spreading Murdoch empire and it's disgusting and criminal actions can a moral person work for or use the products of this all-encompassing web of profit, far right politics and corruption?
I don't think so.
But of course the religion writers have plenty of company.
What about journalists working for Murdoch’s Wall Street Journal?
What about Deepak Chopra? 
He publishes with Harper One. Thus Chopra is helping finance Fox News. And so is Desmond Tutu. He’s also a Harper One author. 
And what about all the “progressive” stars, producers and writers doing deals with the Fox movie empire? Such Hollywood moralists used to boycott working in the old apartheid South Africa, but will work for/with Murdoch today as he empowers the far religious racist right through Fox News! Desmond Tutu used to call for boycotts of far right religious nuts in South Africa oppressing blacks in the name of God, and now he’s a Murdoch contributor!
Go figure! 
Why should the people – religious leaders, writers, actors, agents, producers et al -- who help Murdoch wreck America and the UK -- remain respectable in our countries? 
Okay, they deserve a second chance. 
Mea Culpa! 
I published two books with Harper Collins some years ago after Murdoch had taken over. I had a deal with the Smithsonian that was tied into Harper Collins for distribution, then the Smithsonian backed out but my books stayed at Harpers. After they were published I thought about – and regretted -- helping Murdoch. I've never published with them again. 
This is merely a sample. Please see the whole write up at and remember:

With the sleazeball Rupert Murdoch attracting, or maybe I should say sticking to (in the slimiest sense of the word), the likes of Deepak Chopra, Rick Warren, and Rob Bell, who enrich the News Corp Empire with their supernatural snake oil chicanery, falsified feel good stories, and of course it's too good to be true world view, it should be easier for decent people to see their way clear to boycott Fox News, Beliefnet, Zondervan, Wall Street Journal, Harper Collins and any other institution that profits from the gullibility or credulousness of a large section of the populace. Follow the evidence and you too can avoid the knavery of these charlatans.
Beachbum's Mountain View