Archive for the ‘religion’ Category

Reminder: There is no medical evidence that human life exists before the third trimester of pregnancy. A fetus prior to that time has no ability to exist independently of their mother, fails every common test of brain activity, and otherwise flunks every medical test of “human” versus “not human”.

Saying “life begins at conception” is not a medical observation. It is a religious observation. Under the 1st Amendment, we’re not supposed to be legislating religion into law. But the current right-wing jihadists who run the U.S. Supreme Court only care about one amendment of the Bill of Rights — the 2nd Amendment — and that’s because they don’t care about the Constitution, the Bill of Rights, or rule of law in general, they care about making sure that their fellow right-wing jihadists are well armed so that they can seize power at gunpoint if the population decides they aren’t going to be ruled by the Christian Taliban’s right-wing jihadists.

Look, I can respect your heartfelt religious belief that life begins at conception. But when you want your religious belief to be written into law, you are *WRONG*. The Constitution says you’re wrong, and if you spit on the Constitution, you aren’t a real American.

And what that says about the right wing Christian Taliban jihadists on the U.S. Supreme Court…

— Badtux the 1st Amendment Penguin

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Answer: A whole lot, given that Hell is a relatively modern invention that doesn’t exist in the Hebrew and Aramaic texts of the Tanakh nor in the original Aramaic and Greek of the Christian Gospels . The first conception of “Hell” as being eternal damnation to a place of torment appears to date to around 400AD and the writings of St. Augustine, and owes more to Plato’s conception of the eternal soul than to anything scriptural. This concept was so shocking to the early Catholic and Orthodox churches that they invented the concept of purgatory, where you serve your time for doing bad things in life and then go to Heaven. Hell was reserved for the worst of the worst, in their thinking, for things that were utterly unforgivable.

Still, even after Hell entered the realm of ideas of the early Christian churches, they didn’t go much into what Hell was like, there was none of the “hellfire and brimstone” rhetoric most often associated with the word “Hell” today. They spent a lot of time arguing over what would get someone sent to Hell, but not much time on what Hell *was*. The early Protestant churches weren’t particularly interested in the nature of Hell either, they were more interested in eliminating what they considered corruption of God’s word by the Catholic church. The modern day conception of Hell as propagated by evangelical churches appears to be far more modern, dating to the Second Great Awakening of 1790–1840 which is when the innovation of “hellfire and brimstone” preaching came to be.

In short, would I be surprised that I was living in an idea that was invented less than 300 years ago? Yup, you betcha!

— Badtux the Religion Penguin

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I mean, it seems obvious that Trump just isn’t a very good person. He lies. He cheats. He steals. He is a serial adulterer. He worships mammon. He doesn’t keep the sabbath, preferring to play golf instead. Not much Christian in all that, right? So how can someone who claims to be a Christian support that, rather than for a lifelong Catholic who goes to church every Sunday and prays every day?

Well, it’s simple. They say he’s “Born Again”.

At which point I’m like, say whuh?

First thing I do is check out whether Trump himself has ever claimed to be a Christian, born-again or not. So I go to Google and look at his official campaign site to see if I can find any statement by him or his campaign staff claiming that he is a Christian, born-again or not. Okay, so I see he’s got an Evangelicals For Trump sub-site, and a Catholics For Trump sub-site, and he has a lot of stuff calling Joe Biden (a church-going Catholic) un-Christian, but nowhere on any link in this page does he or his campaign staff state that he’s Christian, born-again or no.

Okay, so next thing I look at is his campaign speech transcripts. Has he ever stated he’s a Christian there? So I found a site that appears to have transcripts for all of his campaign speeches at all of his rallies, and searched it for the word “Christian” and got this result:

Your search – christian site:https://www.rev.com/…/donald-trump-rally-transcripts – did not match any documents.

So he’s never said he’s a Christian in any of his campaign speeches either. Huh.

So who *has* said that Donald Trump is Christian? Not Donald Trump. He has never claimed that he is Christian at all, nevermind born-again. There are various TV pastors who have said Trump is Christian, but Trump himself has never made that claim about himself.

It is well known by this time that Trump rarely attends church services, instead choosing to golf on Sundays (as can be seen by looking at his calendar of golf outings, most of which are on Sundays: https://trumpgolfcount.com/displayoutings ). He has hosted events for evangelical pastors at the White House and apparently has joined them in prayer from time to time. But Trump himself has never claimed publically to be Christian, born-again or not.

Not that it matters. Because, see, here’s the thing: Born-again isn’t something you say. It’s something you do

So, let’s say that Donald Trump actually *did* claim to be a Born Again Christian: What does that mean, actually?

Basically, what this means, in evangelical Christian faiths, is that you’ve accepted Jesus Christ into your heart as your personal Lord and Savior. From this moment on, you will try to let the Lord guide your life.

According to evangelicals, what this means is that your prior slate of sins is wiped off the slate. You can be a murderer and go to Heaven, according to evangelicals, if you but bend the knee and accept Jesus Christ as your personal Lord and Savior. Your sins are then washed away in the Blood of the Lamb. So according to evangelicals, if Donald Trump did this, all of his prior sins — like serial adultery, bearing false witness against others, etc. — are gone.

But here’s the thing: Merely *saying* you are Saved doesn’t make you Saved. You have to actually accept Jesus in your heart and let Him guide you. You may still sin. Most probably you will. But you will try your best not to sin, and try your best to live a better life, a more generous life.

I remember reading about a murderer who was Saved in prison. He went from being an angry vengeful man to being a model prisoner, a gentle mentor for younger prisoners, a calming influence to others. He spent hours each day reading his Bible to become a better Christian. He expressed sorrow regularly for the evils he had committed as a young man and said he belongs in prison for what he did. He clearly had accepted Jesus into his heart as his guide. Is there any evidence — *ANY* evidence — that Donald Trump has done so? Has Donald Trump’s behavior changed in any way since he paid off multiple mistresses in 2016 to keep quiet about his affairs?

Has Donald Trump released the caged kids? Has Donald Trump quit violating the Ten Commandments by telling lies about his political opponents? Has Donald Trump embraced the Christian humility of turning the other cheek and saying only good things about people, not bad things? Has Donald Trump engaged in acts of Christian charity helping the least amongst us? Has Donald Trump quit mocking the disabled? Has Donald Trump quit embracing greed and venality? Has Donald Trump started respecting the Sabbath rather than playing golf most Sundays?

And the answer is: No. Since he was inaugurated, the president has borne false witness or made misleading statements at least 19,127 times, continuing to violate the 10 Commandments. And he continues to do so, the most recent one being his assertion that Joe Biden was not a Christian. (Joe Biden is an observant Catholic who attends church every Sunday and has never been accused of adultery). This is not a man who has changed his behavior to a more Christ-like behavior. This is not a man who is letting Jesus into his heart to guide his life.

The murderer who became a gentle mentor and guide for younger prisoners clearly accepted Jesus into his heart. There is no — ZERO — evidence that Donald J. Trump has done so. He continues to violate the 10 Commandments on a near-daily basis, and has never repented of his prior sins. That murderer in prison for life is literally a better Christian than Donald J. Trump. At least he has repented of his sins. Trump never has, and never will.

– Badtux the Religion Whisperer Penguin

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Here is an example of a typical logic error: assuming that one of your premises is true without actually any proof that it is true. It’s called the “False Premise Fallacy”. In this case, we don’t know whether premise #1 is false or true (well, in the second example, we know it’s false because we know who invented spaghetti and it wasn’t a flying spaghetti monster), thus conclusion (statement #3) could be either false or true depending upon whether premise #1 is false or true.

So then you have to determine whether premise #1 is false or true. In the case of proofs of the existence of God, it’s turtles all the way down — every attempt at a logical proof ends up requiring proving a premise that in turn requires proving a premise which in turn requires proving a premise, and you never get to the bottom of that infinite rathole, as you’d expect from attempting a logical proof of something that cannot be measured, observed, or detected by any scientific instrument nor modeled by any human mathematics. In the end, mathematics (which logic is) simply isn’t the correct tool for attempting to prove the existence of the ineffable.

But the use of false premise logical syllogism extends beyond the infinite rathole of the proof of existence of God. It’s a common technique in politics, for example. Ronald Reagan’s argument about welfare is a good example:

1) People who have Cadillacs are rich
2) There are welfare recipients who have Cadillacs
3) Thus welfare recipients are rich, and we must cut welfare benefits.

The problem is that I just did a search on the SF Bay Craiglist and I can go out and buy a well-used Cadillac for $1500, or about the same as a well-used Chevrolet. (Note that used car prices are propped up here in California because the state will pay you $1K to take an old car off the road in order to reduce emisisons). Past a certain point most cars lose all value because they’ve reached their lifespan. (There are a few car brands, like Porsche, where this is not true because the older cars are in high demand as restoration targets, but they are the exception rather than the rule). Thus Reagan’s argument was false because his first premise — that people who have Cadillacs are rich — was false. There’s plenty of people who have old Cadillacs that they purchased for the same price as an old Chevrolet. Not as many as there are owners of old Chevrolets, but that’s because they didn’t make as many Cadillacs in the first place.

So keep this in mind whenever you’re reading political punditry, because it’s a staple of asshole politicians everywhere. When you see a politician doing shit like this… well….

– Badtux the Logical Penguin

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Feral Christians are a greater risk than feral cats. Thus the importance of TNR — Trap, Neuter, Release. Plus give them their rabies and distemper vaccinations at that time. That should prevent the frothing at the mouth and brain damage that are so common in feral Christians, and should stabilize the population over time.

Unfortunately people keep throwing out their unwanted unneutered Christians so the job never ends, but as colony keepers we know it’s up to us to deal with these feral colonies because nobody else is going to do it. I just wish TNR wasn’t so expensive. The drop trap alone that we use to manage our colony was a significant expense, and a couple of live traps and a transfer fork make it even more out of reach of many would be feral Christian colony managers. Thankfully there’s charities out there that will lend the traps and provide reduced cost spay/neuter assistance else the feral Christian problem would be totally out of control.

So don’t just whine about all the ferals in your neighborhood and all the loud yowling they do. I understand that the constant howls of “Have you heard the good news of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ” can be disturbing in the middle of the night, nevermind their constant fighting (the Protestants and Catholics are especially prone to that) and constant breeding overpopulating the neighborhood. Be part of the solution. Adopt a feral colony today, TNR it to stabilize the population and improve its health and reduce the aggression of its members, and have a happier healthier neighborhood!

— Badtux the Tongue in Beak Penguin

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I think all organized religion is stupid — I mean, if there is a God, why can’t he just talk to us directly? I mean, pick up a phone, goddammit! What, His fingers are too fat for his outdated flip-phone? Maybe He needs to update to a Jitterbug, sheesh.

The moment you got someone who says he’s speaking for God, I gotta say bullshit — any omnipotent deity has no need of a mere *human* to speak for him. I mean, what’s the point of “omnipotent” if you can’t just say to all your peeps, “hey, Dave, this is God, how ya doin’ today?” “Oh fine, God. Oh yeah, it’s getting kinda warm down here, can you, like, cool things off a bit?” “I’m sorry, Dave, but you guys need to quit trashing my planet, I’m not doing a thing until then because you’d just undo it.” “That sucks!” “It’s that whole free will thing, Dave. You chose it, so you got what you chose.” And do that simultaneously for all 9 billion or so people ’cause omnipotent and infinite, yo.

One reason I respect the Quakers is that their “church” services consist of them being quiet and waiting for God to speak to them, instead of some asswipe getting up in front of the congregation and claiming to speak for God. Never heard of anybody actually hearing God talk to them at those meetings, but hey, it could happen, I suppose. At least they have the common sense to know that an omnipotent God doesn’t need some asswipe to speak for Him, He can do His own talking. If only the rest of the religions around were sane enough to make that logical leap. (Well, maybe the Unitarians do, but I’m not really sure they’re a religion rather than a social club anyhow).

— Badtux the Heretical Penguin

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Oh sure, NORAD blew him out of the sky at 30,000 feet before he even made it to the ground, but look. Death is just a temporary affliction for Jesus (three day thing, remember?). And he can just as easily materialize on the surface of the planet as in the sky, right?

And if he actually exists, maybe he’s done so already. I can just see it now. Some Arab-looking dude in robes and sandals starts hauranging people outside of a megachurch about how they’re worshipping mammon, and the cops get called.

Sgt. Joe Friday. “So what is your name, mister?”
JC: (In thick Arabic accent) “Jesus.”
SJF: “Is that your first name or your last name?”
JC: “It is my name, the one and only name, the truth, the life, the salvation of Earth.”
SJF: “Err, okay, Mr. Jesus. So, do you have any ID on you?”
JC: “ID?”
SJF: “Driver’s license? Student ID card? Anything government issued?”
JC: “I have rendered unto Caesar what is Caesar’s!”
SJF: “So, Jesus, where were you born?”
JC: “I was born in Israel, in the city of Jerusalem. Shepherds in the field flocked to celebrate my birth and three wise men from the east brought expensive gifts for my parents in celebration of my birth.”
SJF: “Do you have immigration papers showing you have the right to reside in the United States?”
JC: “I am omniscient and omnipresent. I reside everywhere and nowhere. I am the truth and the light. I bring salvation to the weary masses.”
SJF: “So, uhm, why were you making a scene outside of the Praise Moollah Holy Tabernacle?”
JC: “They have perverted my name and teachings!”
SJF: “Okay, Mr. Jesus. Back to your jail cell.”

Jesus is led back to the intake jail cell with a number of other people who were picked up for disorderly conduct, public drunkenness, and other such “status” crimes. SJF talks to his lieutenant.

SJF: “That Jesus dude is going to be a problem. But I think I have a solution. He says he was born in Israel. So let’s call ICE.”
LT: “Aren’t we officially a sanctuary city?”
SJF: “Hey, do *you* want to deal with this asshole every other day?!”
LT: “Oh fuck no.”
SJF: “Exactly.”

One phone call later:

ICE Goon #1: “Okay, Mr. Jesus, we’re here to take you home.” (Places handcuffs onto Jesus’s hands, puts a strap around Jesus’s waist and locks the cuffs to it).
JC: “My home has many mansions.”
ICE Goon #2: (Rolling eyes). “Fine. We’re here to take you there. Now are you coming quietly or do we gotta beat you up?”
JC: “If once a person should slap your cheek, you should turn your head so he may slap the other one.”
ICE Goon #1: “Be that way then.” Both goons pull out truncheons and beat Jesus down, then drag him out to an ICE detention center.

Two years later:

Guard #1: “Hey, where’s that Jesus guy?”
Guard #2: “Dunno. Israel wouldn’t take him, maybe they finally let him go?”
Guard #1: “I’ll check.” Pulls out cell phone, calls detention center office, discusses loudly the status of this Jesus guy.
Guard #1: “Nope, he’s supposed to be still here.”
JC: “Bye, guys! See you later?”
Guard #1: Looks up, sees Jesus floating in air about 40 feet above them. “What the fuck?”
JC: “Oh wait, sorry, I forgot, you’re going that *other* place! Bye bye!” Soars upwards into the sky.
Guard #2: “Jesus H. Christ, I think I just saw a dude floating in air fly away.”
Guard #1: “Yeah. Exactly.”
Cloud of smoke in sky quickly dissipates.

Three days later:

JC: “Okay, let’s try this *again*.”

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Jesus died for our sins, but he didn’t stay dead.

So, uhm, Jesus had a three day weekend rest for our sins?

If you die but you come back, it’s not at all the same as dying *for real*, after all.

I guess it all reads better as metaphor anyhow. Who cares whether there was an actual historical dude named “Jesus”, in the end. Even if he was an inspired work of fiction, things would be a whole lot better if folks followed the teachings ascribed to him. Alas, most people who claim to be Christian only give lip service to the teachings.

— Badtux the Irreverent Penguin

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And this is a stupid comparison.

You choose to become a nun as an adult. You’re required to go to seminary school — to *pay* to become a nun — and do an internship to make sure you actually want to become a nun. You can choose to *not* be a nun at any point in time without any repercussion — even if you’ve been a nun for years. You’re not ostracized by your community if you decide being a nun isn’t for you. You’re not disowned by your family if you decide being a nun isn’t for you. It’s a choice, 100% your choice. You aren’t even forced to wear “traditional” garb in most religious orders anymore, you have to *choose* to wear the “traditional” garb.

The same is not true of being a Muslim girl in many parts of the world. You’re born into a Muslim family. You can’t stop being Muslim because then you’ll be disowned by your family and ostracized by your community. You can’t stop wearing hijab because, again, you’ll be disowned by your family and ostracized by your community. It’s not a choice you make voluntarily as a Muslim girl, it’s a choice forced upon you by your family and community and, in some places like Saudi Arabia, by the religious police.

To compare the two as if they are equivalent is insulting and ridiculous. Yes, there are women who decide as an adult to convert to Islam and wear hijab. But in most majority-Islamic countries, they are an almost vanishingly small minority.

– Badtux the Comparisons Penguin

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Zombie Jesus died for your sins… and has come back for your braiiins!

As usual, I forgot today was Easter, and went out to buy some Chipotle for lunch. They were closed, so I went next door to the Habit Burger instead.

— Badtux the Hellbound Penguin
(Hey, Hell, Michigan, has *perfect* weather for a penguin right now!)

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