The Mutt’s Nuts

Where religion is about as attractive as a two week holiday in Afghanistan

Posts Tagged ‘bible

Dave Allen on religion

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Curmudgeonly

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Written by Curmudgeonly

April 23, 2008 at 1:07 am

Impotent God

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Believers claim that God is omnipotent, the creator of heaven and earth. Occasionally in the Bible we see evidence of his powers – raining down plagues and destruction on people he didn’t approve of, making fire suddenly appear from nowhere, whisking a few favoured individuals up into heaven, turning a woman into a pillar of salt and other useful antics. Through Jesus, God supposedly raised people from the dead, fed hundreds with a few meagre supplies and, just to show he was no party-pooper, turned water into wine.

But what’s he been up to since then? Seems to me he’s been a tad shy and retiring for the last couple of thousand years. Although there have been plenty of opportunities for him to show his mighty power, thrill the faithful and confound the doubters, God seems to be resolutely sticking to the small stuff. These days he might help someone to find their car keys or pass an exam. Sometimes he does something a little more impressive, like helping someone to recover from a serious illness or injury when they weren’t expected to (although in most cases, people just die). But surely there’s so much more an all-powerful being could be doing?

God has been quite happy to allow rape, plunder, enslavement, torture, destruction and murder on a grand scale throughout the years. Did he stop the Inquisition in its tracks with a few nasty plagues? No. Did he swallow up the Nazis in the depths of the sea or the bowels of the earth before they had chance to fill the death camps? No. Did he step in to halt the genocide in Rwanda? No. Has he put an end to killer diseases such as malaria, typhoid or cancer? No. Did he put forth his mighty hand to stop the Asian tsunami, or protect millions from the effects of the Ethiopian famine? Did he divert Hurricane Katrina from her course to avoid death and destruction? Again, no.

In fact, what the hell has God been doing all this time? Has he lost his powers, or simply lost interest in us?

Just one more reason to believe that God is about as substantial as a puff of smoke and as likely to exist as pigs are to sprout wings and take to the sky.

Isla

Written by islaskye

April 20, 2008 at 7:43 am

YouTube’s Edward Current

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I’m guessing that this is probably going to become a habit of mine, but I thought that I would share another of my YouTube subscriptions. This time I want to extol the comic genius that is Edward Current and thereby point those who haven’t heard of him in his direction. If you visit his channel (via the link above) you won’t be disappointed, unless you’re a Christian who quickly sees red when you’re confronted by somebody taking the mick out of things you might very well say and do. I find him simply hilarious, but then I’m an evil atheist who’s going to hell. What he does in his videos is satirically imitates Christians, often so closely that he’s actually been mistaken for the real McCoy. If you find that you like the videos I’ve included in this post – the first being his most recent – then check out his channel.

Correcting Mistakes From My “Hell” Video

The Atheist Delusion

Resisting The Urge: A Guide For Christian Boys

Curmudgeonly

Written by Curmudgeonly

March 21, 2008 at 1:13 pm

Tunnel vision

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I’ve recently finished reading the first couple of chapters of Bart Ehrman’s new book, God’s Problem: How the Bible Fails to Answer Our Most Important Question — Why We Suffer, and I wanted to relate something that it caused me to think about. But first, watch the following short video and make sure you count the number of passes that the team in white makes:

Reading the second chapter of Ehrman’s book made me see how unaware I was of what the Old Testament really said about God outside of my attention. In the same way, when I first watched this video I didn’t see the moonwalking bear, though I correctly counted the number of passes that the team in white made. Because my attention was focused elsewhere, I missed an important part of the overall picture. It truly is easy to miss something that you’re not looking for.

The Old Testament prophets, who Ehrman quotes in order to show how they viewed suffering and how it related to God, were familiar to me as a Mormon, but somehow I had missed the implication of what was really being said. The moonwalking bear was there, but I couldn’t see it. Because of my subsequent loss of faith and accompanying scepticism and with the benefit of hindsight I can now say that it was the paradigm through which I viewed God that blinded me to the unpleasant aspects of his character. It’s quite amazing how obvious his monstrous side is.

As I read through the second chapter I was continually shocked at God’s brutality and even more so with myself that I once believed in this monster. It wasn’t anything that Ehrman said, as the prophets he quoted spoke loudly and clearly enough. Suffice it to say, as I read through the chapter, I experienced a fair few WTF! moments and often berated myself for falling for such an immensely tall yarn.

Let me share some examples of what I consider to be God’s disgusting behaviour. On a people who he considers to be his favourites and who he claims to love greatly, he sends famine, drought, blight, pestilence and destruction (see Amos 4:6-12) in order to force them to return to him and his ways. Graphically, Hosea explains that God will become like a fierce animal that will tear disobedient Israel to pieces:

Yet I have been the Lord your God
ever since the land of Egypt;
you know no God but me,
and besides me there is no saviour.
It was I who fed you in the wilderness,
in the land of drought.
When I fed them, they were satisfied;
they were satisfied, and their heart was proud;
therefore they forgot me.
So I will become like a lion to them,
like a leopard I will lurk beside the way.
I will fall upon them like a bear robbed of her cubs,
and will tear open the covering of their heart;
there I will devour them like a lion,
as a wild animal would mangle them.

I will destroy you, O Israel;
who can help you? (Hosea 13:4-9)

And there’s a yet more disturbing image of God:

Samaria shall bear her guilt,
because she has rebelled against her God;
they shall fall by the sword,
their little ones shall be dashed in pieces,
and their pregnant women ripped open. (Hosea 13:16)

Shocking and repugnant, don’t you think? We find in Jeremiah 3 that God is likened to a husband whose wife (Israel) has committed adultery. But I find it very difficult to imagine any loving husband who would threaten his wife in the way that God has threatened Israel in the above verses, even taking into account the wife’s infidelity. I think that God must be a pretty shitty husband and certainly couldn’t ever be considered a good role model for husbands to aspire to. How anyone could justify the acts above is completely beyond me. It’s emotional terrorism at it’s worst.

There’s a lot more that I could say about this, especially as it’s something that I feel very strongly about. But I’m writing this blog entry to simply express my surprise and horror that I hadn’t noticed this side of God as a faithful Mormon, at least not for what it truly is – tyrannical, forceful, controlling and merciless. It’s astonishing that you can miss that which is in plain sight when you’re concentrating on something else.

Curmudgeonly Yours

Written by Curmudgeonly

March 16, 2008 at 8:51 pm

YouTube’s KalsolarUK

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I recently discovered KalsolarUK whilst surfing the YouTube site. And what an unexpected and pleasant surprise it was. His modus operandi is simple – he takes stories of the Old Testament and subjects them to his own brand of literal translation, showing how ridiculous and utterly unbelievable they are and how completely immoral God often is. His “Pythonesque” humour is compulsive viewing and I can’t help but laugh out loud at some of the things he comes out with. Plus, he gets extra credit from me because he’s from my part of the world – the Midlands. So I guess that’s why I get and can appreciate his wry wit. I really couldn’t subscribe to his channel quickly enough. It’s entertaining and original. But if you’re a sensitive soul who despises profanity as a means of expression then you should give his videos a wide berth. If not, then here’s a taster (and be sure to check out his channel if you find that you like them):

The Divine Justice of God All Smitey!

So you think you know evil?

Esau, Jacob and the lentil soup incident

Curmudgeonly Yours

Written by Curmudgeonly

March 9, 2008 at 12:03 pm

Who are the real Christians?

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I’m confused. There are so many different brands of Christians in the world that I wonder whether they could all be considered true Christians, or whether one group is more “Christian ” than the others. Is the only requirement for being a Christian a belief that Jesus Christ is the Son of God, or do other things matter too?

For example, are you a Christian if you believe the Bible to be the inerrant word of God in its entirety? Or can you still be a Christian if you think that some of the more outlandish parts of the Bible are probably just made up? Are you a Christian if you condemn homosexuality as evil, or can you also be a Christian if you are tolerant towards homosexuality and maybe have gay friends? Do you have to believe that God literally created the world and everything in it in six 24-hour days to be a proper Christian, or can you accept evolution and regard Genesis as an allegory, yet still categorise yourself as a follower of Jesus?

What if you don’t believe in the virgin birth? Does that mean you’re not a real Christian? Can you be unkind to people and swear like a trooper, yet still count yourself as a Christian because you’ve accepted Jesus as Lord?

To be a proper Christian, do you have to sell all your goods and give the money to the poor, as Jesus suggested to the rich young man who asked what more he could do to be a true follower? Should you shun your family in favour of following the Lord, as Jesus taught his disciples? Can you really claim to be a Christian if you don’t love every one of your “neighbours” as yourself?

I suppose what I’m really asking is: can you be a liberal, a moderate or a fundamentalist and still claim you follow the same religion? Whichever one of those positions you espouse when it comes to Christianity, would you still consider the other types of people to be just as much of a Christian as yourself?

Why do you think people can often take radically different positions with regard to their Christianity (e.g liberal and fundamentalist)? Is there something about Christianity that allows people to basically pick and choose what they want to believe as long as they accept Jesus as their Saviour? And, if so, doesn’t that sound suspiciously like a man-made belief system that is so flexible it can more or less give everyone what they want?

Even Jesus himself offers different things to different types of people. For example, there’s the compassionate Jesus who fed the 5,000; the gentle Jesus who raised a young girl from the dead; the furious, whip-wielding Jesus who set about the temple money-changers; the irritable Jesus who cursed the barren fig tree; the arrogant Jesus who insulted his local religious leaders; the sociable Jesus who feasted with his friends; the tolerant Jesus who mingled with prostitutes and tax officials; the bigoted Jesus who refused to heal a woman’s child because she was a Canaanite; the divisive Jesus who came to set father against son and mother against daughter; the war-like Jesus who came, not to bring peace, but a sword (in contradiction of the angel’s announcement at his birth).

If you like the idea of peace, love and kindness, you can pick out the scriptures where Jesus demonstrates those attributes. If you think tolerance is important, you can find examples of Jesus being forgiving and non-judgemental. But if you think people should be punished for not believing as you do, you can find plenty of passages where Jesus talks of the fiery hell that awaits the damned. If you want to justify an attitude of superiority over other races, you can find support from Jesus for that view. If you think that the way to deliver your message is through a raised voice, dogmatism and criticism, you’ll find a Jesus that sets that kind of example too.

Whether you think Christianity should be gentle or harsh, loving or condemning, forgiving or intractable, you can find support for your attitude in the Bible, even in the behaviour of Jesus himself. Does this not sound contradictory? You could argue that Christianity is all-inclusive, that it welcomes people with many different views, but it could also be seen as a very human belief system, reflecting many of our prejudices, fears, desires, and ideals, our fascination with the supernatural and even our blood lust.

So what does it mean to be a true Christian? And who has the most accurate definition?

Isla

Written by islaskye

January 20, 2008 at 7:04 pm

Atheists are deluding themselves

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So says Adam Smith, a Christian. And it must be true as it says so in the Bible, apparently. Let me explain. I stumbled across this little gem when I found myself at The Ultimate Goal yesterday. Whilst there I happened to read a post called Why Atheism Does Not Exist which explains that atheists are really believers in denial! Mr Smith is adamant that it’s a biblical truth that “all men know that there is a God” and goes on to quote from Romans 1:19-20 to lend credence to his claim:

19 because that which is known about God is evident within them; for God made it evident to them. 20 For since the creation of the world His invisible attributes, His eternal power and divine nature, have been clearly seen, being understood through what has been made, so that they are without excuse.

Of course, Mr Smith will think me a liar for saying this, but God has never been “evident” or “clearly seen” where I’m concerned. And it’s not like I haven’t attempted to seek him out, I have. But, seriously, what else can he think? He believes the Bible to be the word of God, the very same Bible that tells of a talking donkey, a woman who’s turned into a pillar of salt and a man who loses all of his strength when he gets a haircut. Truly wonderful stuff, if you’re a comedian looking for new material.

I was curious about the verses in question, so I opened my very dusty Bible to Romans 1 and read them in context, and I noticed something interesting. Consider the following:

18 For the wrath of God is revealed from heaven against all ungodliness and unrighteousness of men, who suppress the truth in unrighteousness, … 21 For even though they knew God, they did not honor Him as God, or give thanks; but they became futile in their speculations, and their foolish heart was darkened. … 25 For they exchanged the truth of God for a lie, and worshiped and served the creature rather than the Creator, who is blessed forever. Amen. … 28 And just as they did not see fit to acknowledge God any longer, God gave them over to a depraved mind, to do those things which are not proper,

As you can see, I’ve underlined what I think are pertinent points from the chapter. I wonder if Mr Smith could enlighten me as to how I can suppress that which I’ve not known, know something that’s never been revealed to me, exchange a truth for an untruth when I have no prior knowledge of the truth and acknowledge someone who as far as I’m concerned has never revealed his existence to me? It seems abundantly clear to me that Paul the Apostle was referring to those who had at some time or other been devout believers and, consequently, privy to divine knowledge but who had nevertheless chosen unrighteousness over righteousness. So I think it would be incorrect to use verses 19 and 20 as “proof” that all atheists are lying when they say that they have no belief in God.

Besides, I find it annoying that atheists are judged by some small-minded Christians who have no idea of the road they’ve travelled to get to where they are today. I find that it makes them very difficult, perhaps impossible, to respect. It’s typical of the way they divide everything into black and white. Heaven forfend that somebody looks at the world and sees something other than God’s hand in it.

At the end of his post, Smith arrogantly proclaims:

My name is Adam Smith and I wrote this based on Biblical truth; I stand behind it 100 percent. I will not back down from God’s truth and I will not be moved.

Some Christians think that quoting the Bible gives them a licence to be insulting and disparaging towards those who don’t share their beliefs. As soon as this is pointed out to them they deny that they’re being offensive and excuse themselves by claiming that they are just repeating God’s word, as if this justifies their rudeness. It appears that employing a verse or two of scripture covers a multitude of sins.

Curmudgeonly Yours

Written by Curmudgeonly

January 7, 2008 at 9:10 pm