Saturday, August 28, 2010

Double Stuffed Post!

Bear Attack in the Bible

That's right, this is a DOUBLE STUFFED POST. I'll be tackling two tough subjects today, so strap in and hold on.

First up on our roster of awesome is a heartwarming story from my favorite book of Fables (sorry Aesop) the Bible. The story takes us to the book of 2 Kings, Chapter 2. The events of this chapter happen soon after Elijah, a Prophet of the Lord, is taken up in a flying fiery Chariot into Tornado and lives. Elijah, according to Christian lore, never actually physically dies, being the only one besides Enoch to do so. Elisha, Elijah's friend and protege, has just inherited a "double portion" of Elijah's spirit... So in Star Wars talk Elisha has "become more powerful than you can possibly imagine". What is the first thing Elisha does? Why he heals a poisoned water supply... and the second thing? Well let's see what the Bible has to say. We'll be reading from the NIV translation:

2 Kings 2:23-24

'23 From there Elisha went up to Bethel. As he was walking along the road, some youths came out of the town and jeered at him. "Go on up, you baldhead!" they said. "Go on up, you baldhead!" 24 He turned around, looked at them and called down a curse on them in the name of the LORD. Then two bears came out of the woods and mauled forty-two of the youths. '

So Elisha is insulted, they're calling him BALD and mocking him. Instead of verbally insulting them back Elisha decides it best to curse them and for some reason God goes along with this idea and sees fit to send two bears in to slaughter forty-two children. Once again Yahweh is a party to murdering children and his weapon of choice for the crime... bears. THIS IS THE JUST AND RIGHTEOUS GOD WE ARE MEANT TO BE WORSHIPING?

So what's the moral of the story? I suppose its about not making fun of bald people. The next time you see a baldy be sure to give them a wide berth and keep on the look-out for God's grizzly vengeance.

Misconceptions about Atheism (BONUS POST)

Few groups are more misrepresented than Atheists. The reason for this is simple, we're not a coherent group. While there are Atheist groups scattered across the world we still remain a massive minority and few Atheists speak out. Many keep it to themselves after they lose their faith. This is perfectly fine as Atheism does not require or even desire the spread of non-belief BUT it does lead to theists of various religious faiths being able to spread myths and rumors about Atheism that makes it sound like an untenable position.

The biggest myth is that Atheism means you believe there is absolutely no God. Many religious people and even some who aren't religious, mistakenly believe that Atheism is an outright rejection of the concept of deities. While there is a kind of Atheism that fits this description (known as Gnostic or Strong/Positive Atheism) most Atheists don't reject the possibility of God or even claim that there isn't one.

Atheism, at the base level, is a LACK of BELIEF in GODS. If you do not directly believe in any gods you are an Atheist but that doesn't mean you reject the possibility that a God exists. This definition also helps destroy another myth, that Atheism requires faith. The easiest way to answer this myth is to ask a question: Does not believing in Unicorns require faith?

Of course you don't need faith to disbelieve in Unicorns so why on Earth would you require faith to disbelieve in Gods? Faith is an assertion without evidence but Atheism, unless it is Gnostic Atheism, makes NO ASSERTION. A lack of belief in gods is different from an assertion that there are no gods.

Generally speaking there are four types of people:

Gnostic Theists - Believe in God(s) and claim to KNOW that God(s) exist
Gnostic Atheists - Disbelieve in God(s) and claim to KNOW that God(s) do not exist.

Agnostic Theists - Believe in God(s) but do not make a claim to KNOWLEDGE.
Agnostic Atheists - Disbelieve in God(s) but do not make a claim to KNOWLEDGE.

Many use the term Agnostic to describe themselves because they are afraid to admit they are atheists or because they have the wrong definition for atheism and agnosticism. One cannot be simply Agnostic, because that only describes whether you are making a claim to knowledge.

Another big myth put out there is that Atheism is a religion. Atheism is NOT a religion. Atheists are vastly different people, we have no unifying creed. We possess no sacred texts. We don't agree on political points, we have varying opinions on morality, etc. The only thing Atheists have in common is our disbelief in gods. You wouldn't claim that THEISM is a religion would you? You'd have to be downright stupid to claim that Theism is a religion, because theists can be Hindu, Muslim, Christian, etc.

If Atheism is a religion than:

Not playing football is a sport


Not collecting coins is a hobby

I'd rather not beat a dead horse so I'll move on to yet another myth about Atheists, the myth that we want to destroy or forbid religion. While it is true that many Atheists dislike religion and would prefer to live in a world where reason and logic - instead of faith and dogma - were the norm, it is also true that most Atheists are big supporters of Freedom of Religion. After all, it wouldn't be a very REASONable position to seek to disolve religion via tyranny. As vehemently opposed to religion as many of us feel we also feel that the rest of the world are free to form your own beliefs and opinions, as odd as they may seem to the rest of us.

The last major myth I want to talk about is one put forth mainly by Creationists. It is the myth that Science, in particular Evolution, is Atheistic. The idea is that in order to accept Evolution you must also accept Atheism. This is not the case. MOST Theists accept Evolution and the reason is obvious, the evidence POINTS toward Evolution. Gods or no gods Evolution is true. You see most people are invested in finding out the truth, to some extent at least and if the evidence points toward Evolution they are willing to accept that in favor of myth. This should only weaken their faith in myth and is entirely separate from their God... But not for most Creationists, myth has replaced their deity - the Bible is their God.

There's another silly myth that, now-a-days, is actually used mostly by Atheists as a joke to the dark times, before the internets, when Christianity didn't have nearly enough critics. That is that ATHEISTS EAT BABIES - NOM NOM NOM NOM NOM NOM NOM NOM NOM NOM NOM

For the record I, personally, am an Agnostic-Atheist. I don't believe in a god but I do not rule out the possibility of their existence. Until theists can meet their burden of proof and provide evidence that a deity exists I will remain an Atheist. In the meantime I will continue to present issues I have with the Bible in an attempt to show people the illogical and irrational nature of religious fundamentalism and faith in general. What is faith?

Well, without getting into a whole THIRD POST, Faith is a belief that is not accepted on the basis of evidence. Belief in gods, ghosts, fairies, aliens and Bigfoot all fall under faith categories. That isn't to say one can't ENTERTAIN the possibility of the existence of ANY of those but merely that in order to assert their existence one would have to believe via FAITH.

Thanks for reading and be sure to spread the word about this Blog's existence... and the evidence for the existence of this Blog, well, you've just read it.


  1. Good read. I am an Agnostic Atheist myself, and when many people hear "Atheist", the weird looks start heading your way.

  2. Thanks,

    Atheism definitely has a stigma attached to it. After announcing you're an atheist people almost look at you as if you just morphed into a bizarre alien creature before their eyes. Luckily, thanks in no small part to the internet, atheism is becoming better understood and accepted.