January 21, 2014

Scientists Are “Tackling Mysteries One By One”

Posted in atheism, bible, critical thinking, film, history, mythology, philosophy of religion, science, science fiction at 2:51 pm by Jerry

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December 22, 2013

Homophobia and Cognitive Dissonance

Posted in bible, church, culture, love, psychology at 6:35 pm by Jerry

homophobia

For those christians who are incapable of recognizing homosexuality as anything more than a “lifestyle,” a “belief,” a “behaviour” or a stumbling block needing to be removed, they will never understand why others accuse them of fearing and/or hating the LGBT community.

Do I believe that these christians are without any compassion or love for the LGBT community? No, I suspect all of them having some form of ¬†love and compassion for all of humanity. To me, this isn’t an either/or situation here. It’s a matter of cognitive dissonance. People are quite capable of having both love and fear for the same person (or deity).

July 28, 2013

Love It!

Posted in bible, film, philosophical theology at 4:33 am by Jerry

Poor apologists. They’ve gone from ancient stories of divine demonstrations (or human illusionists) to claiming a remarkably specific yet abstract cause for the unknown beginnings of the universe. ūüėÄ

June 26, 2013

Purity Parody

Posted in bible, culture, film, songs at 2:05 am by Jerry

I expect, this video will offend a lot of Christians. And more so within the church’s older population (who might as well give up trying to keep it from their internet-informed teens!). Apparently, the¬†Saddlebacking¬†phenomenon is real. And¬†maybe, just maybe, purity parodies such as this one is what it will take to give Christian teens the courage to break through all the reality-hushing that surrounds sex-education dialogue.

March 29, 2013

What Did Jesus Save Us From?

Posted in bible, mythology, theodicy at 8:22 am by Jerry

Demonology and the End Times are subjects that I’ve experienced very little education about in the churches or bible schools I’ve attended. I didn’t know if it was because the jury was still out on the biblical interpretations of these subjects or the cringe factor of these subjects alone. I still don’t know. But every now and then I hear Christians refer to Satan and his demons, or the End Times, when trying to articulate a past or future consequence.

This video I just watched draws attention to the need to separate the causation of evil from God…

…and it reminded me of my own struggle over the passage in Isaiah 45:7 that says,

I form the light and create darkness,
I bring prosperity and create disaster;
    I, the Lord, do all these things.

This verse isn’t just saying that God can be a trouble-maker, but that he creates “calamities” or “discords”, which sounded (and still sounds) similar to the behaviours of the greek gods I’ve read about. (See also Amos 3:6; and Lamentations 3:38.) And though it’s obvious to some like myself that God (or the gods) is portrayed as a cosmic bully, I’ve heard many attempt to justify this behaviour as divine corporal punishment for the immoral acts of humanity. In other words, God responds to our actions he disapproves of with violence.

This is just another example of how I end up in a place that challenges the view of God being perfectly good. But when I express this result, I’m consistently approached by Christians saying that no one is qualified to challenge God’s moral behaviour. We can’t fault God… we have to blame it on ourselves if it’s a moral calamity and on Satan and his demons if it’s a natural calamity… Or.. I mean.. natural calamities are a result of humanity’s moral calamities… The science? …Well, I guess we just don’t know why natural calamities happen.. or why God chooses to let them happen.

This weekend is Easter weekend. What use to be a time to celebrate the heart of what my religious culture brought me up on. “Jesus Saves!”¬†But saves me from what, exactly?

From death? How is that naturally possible or even good for the natural world?

From sin or imperfection? How is this accomplished with free minds?

From Hell? Really? He’ll keep me from anything good just because I don’t like the guy?

From Satan and his demons? Who’s going to admit to this… out loud… in public?

If God/Jesus exists, I wish he would save us from the disasters/calamities he supposedly said he creates himself. You know? If the so-called “Saviour” could start saving us from his own crap first, that’d be cool.

February 9, 2012

“Spare the Rod, Spoil the Child”

Posted in bible, church, culture, family at 7:26 am by Jerry

I expected this blog post to be controversial among evangelicals due to the subject matter AND how it was presented (“Jesus showed himself to be particularly concerned about children, and we ought to be, too.”). But I honestly didn’t expect the kind of responses Prof. John Stackhouse is getting in his comments section (although, I’m not at all surprised at how poorly he responded to the comments).

Believe it or not, I remember my twenty-some year old parents being more than “particularly concerned”¬†about how to raise their boys.¬†Looking back, I can’t say the “main reasons” my parents hit me was that they were “lack[ing] the imagination or the determination to actually find out about other forms of discipline that do work”… or that they were “too tired or lazy to do anything other than whack [me] when [I was] bad” (see Stackhouse comment in thread #2). No, I think the main reason was because they thought they were being faithful to God.

In fact, I remember (though not word for word) my Dad expressing (confessing?) his struggles over what to do when me and my younger brothers mis-behaved. He said he and my mother had done a lot of praying about it, and finally, the pastor in the church we were attending at that time sanctioned parents to hit their children by justifying it with his interpretation of biblical verses found mostly in the book of Proverbs. And yet, though my Dad grew up with this model from his own parents, and was taught by his moral advisers that it was God’s Will to hit his children, I could see that he hated doing it. And I don’t know if his conscience was at all soothed by getting use to it over the years, either (with each consecutive child there was less hitting). So allow me to emphasize a very important point I’d like to make here…

My parents thought they were acting on the best moral values available.

Later, when the four of us boys were moving out of their house, one by one, they made sure to communicate with us that they know they weren’t perfect parents. But they said it was their hope that we would learn to be better parents than they were, just as they had learned to make their own improvements on the parental examples they were given. They said they believed that each generation of parents made improvements based on what they didn’t like about how they were raised.

These days there are so many different parenting styles out there (some made fun of in the movie above). And there are even more disapproving judgements being made of each other’s parenting styles. I’ve personally come to a place where I think that every parent is different, every child is different, and in every home methods are developed that have practical value for all who live in that home. However, when it comes to child abuse, a line has been crossed. Which begs the question: Is “spanking” (read: hitting your child hard enough that they don’t want it to happen again) child abuse? According to some of the comments following Prof. John Stackhouse’s blog post, corporal punishment isn’t abuse when it’s “mild spanking done in love” (see evedyahu’s at the end of thread #2).