Category Archives: bible

A Few Truths

Why do Christians lie so much? What is this “lying for Jesus” all about. A means to an end is not always the morally right thing to do.

There are several Christian lobby groups around these days with The Australian Christian Lobby (ACL) and Access Ministries being two very vocal, and apparently quite powerful, examples. The idea of a Christian lobby group should worry every right thinking person, religious or not. Why Christians need lobby groups is a thing to ponder, what ever happened to religious groups just doing what they do best – sings songs in churches and do a little charity work. When did they become so powerful? Are we seeing the march to a theocracy in this country?

ACL wrote this small article titled “A few truths of the religion in schools debate” supporting a Bishop who had written an article in Online Opinion (OO) complaining about The Age’s reporting of Christian Religious Education.

OzAz wrote the following comment in reply to the ACL:

Truth? You wouldn’t know the meaning of the word Truth.

If, as you’d like to portray, Christianity is the predominant religion in Australia (at last census about 60%, BUT only about 20% actual practitioners) then how can you cry “oppression”?

Australians, by and large, aren’t fearful of religion, most just don’t care either way. What we do fear is right wing fundamentalist religious organisations using tax payer funded money (for which they are totally unaccountable for!) to promote their narrow minded view of the world based on, what many believe, to be an out-dated book.

Even adherents of the various holy books do not adhere to everything written in them, so why should the rest of us adhere to anything written in them?

Some may suspect that the only reason your group, and other groups like yours, are so keen to use tax payers and parishioners money to lobby government to spend even more tax payer dollars on allowing CRE, Chaplains in schools and other forms of ensuring you get a foothold into schools and therefore young and impressionable minds is to procure more followers. The more followers the more money you can make. Pity this money isn’t always used for good charitable works.

PS I have copied this and will paste it to various other blogs and forums as I suspect you won’t have the dignity or adhere to freedom of speech and allow this comment to be posted to your site.

OzAz has forwarded this comment to me for inclusion in my blog, as he suspects the ACL will not moderate his comment as the ACL seem to have a habit of not allowing any comment which questions them in any way shape or form.

As usual Chrys Stevenson has written an excellent response to Nicholas Tuohy’s article in OO, I recommend you read it.

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Filed under atheism, beliefs, bible, censorship, christianity, church, politics, religion, religious school, secular

Freedom OF and Freedom FROM

religion, that is.

Today’s Age online had this article: MPs attack Bible ‘madness’, in which several MPs rail against the ban on bibles being handed out at citizenship ceremonies. One quote in particular proves that you can have a law degree, be an MP and still not understand basic principles:

Tasmanian Liberal senator Guy Barnett told the Coalition party room this was ”political correctness gone mad. There should be freedom of religion, not freedom from religion.”

Whether Barnett likes it or not, or whether he agrees with me or not, I think he is absolutely wrong and either has little idea about what freedom from religion entails or is so blinded by his Christianity that he doesn’t care. I however do heartily agree with the response by OzAz posted at March 02, 2011, 1:43PM (comment 130). I have reproduced here it in it’s entirety, with permission.

I hope Tasmanian Liberal Senator Guy Barnett, and the other deluded people who have no clue as to what “freedom of religion and freedom from religion” means, reads this comment if nothing else.

Freedom OF religion means to have the freedom to choose whatever religion you like.
Freedom FROM religion means you have the freedom not to have any one religion forced on you.

A country without freedom FROM religion enshrined in their constitutional system (something Australia doesn’t have) is always in danger of becoming a theocracy.

I’m sure some of the Liberal MPs and Christian’s commenting here would be quite happy with that, if it was a Catholic Theocracy.

But would you be happy with that if we became a Muslim Theocracy, under Sharia Law? Or maybe even a Hillsong, Exclusive Brethren or Church of Scientology Theocracy? I think not.

Get it into your head, Freedom FROM Religion doesn’t prevent anyone practising whatever religion they want. It just prevents any one religion taking over all the others and forcing everyone to practice that one religion.

It also means everyone is perfectly entitled not to be involved with any religion if they don’t want to.

Personal choice, I wants it; Freedom OF and Freedom FROM lets me have it.

I really do hope Barnett reads it, he obviously requires the education.

There are some other excellent comments, particularly the ones pointing out that government at any level should not be handing out bibles in a supposedly secular nation. Several comments also point out the problem with only handing out Christian bibles, especially as many of the new citizens are Muslims and a Koran would be more suitable to them.

As OzAz points out, freedom of religion and freedom from religion is not documented in Australia’s Constitution and probably should be. At least it should be in a Bill of Rights, something that we almost got but government decided we didn’t need, despite many people, myself included, wanting.

Do you agree that “Freedom of religion and freedom from religion” should be enshrined in either our constitution, or at least a Bill of Rights? If not you better have a very good reason, and I’d like to hear it.

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Is the Bible True or False

So,

Is the Bible True or False?

Or,

The Da Vinci Code Argument TM

Just because a book contains some factual references does not make the whole book factual.

There are some stories written in the Christian Bible that have archaeological, geological or other evidence to back them up; or at least indicate a strong likelihood for being based on real places, people or events. However this does not necessarily prove that what the Bible says happened to them, or what they said or did, is true or correct.

For instance, there is evidence that Jericho was an occupied area as far back as the Natufian period (10,800-8,500 BC), and in the Early / Middle Bronze Age (3100-1800 BC) had extensive defensive walls. There is also evidence that Jericho was destroyed in the Late Bronze Age (1800-1400 BC). (from The Archaeology of the Ancient City of Jericho)

However, is there evidence that the walls of Jericho were blown down at the sound of Joshua’s horn? No, and it seems highly unlikely.

We have evidence for Jericho (or at least dwellings in the area prescribed to be Jericho) actually existing and being destroyed at some stage, however, this does not prove the story of Joshua being true as there is no evidence for the sounds of horns destroying the city. True, the absence of evidence does not mean it didn’t occur, a supernatural occurrence might not leave any natural evidence, but it also doesn’t prove it did occur. Additionally it is now held that Jericho was destroyed in 1562 BCE, well over 100 years before the accepted time of the biblical story.

Despite some stories having some evidence, there are also stories for which, despite intensive searches and investigation, there is absolutely no evidence whatsoever, and in some cases completely contradictory evidence.

… geological investigations [have] proved without a doubt that there was no planet-wide flood as described in the Old Testament of the bible, …

from Is the Bible Fact or Fiction? History of Archaeology, Part 3 :

So, let’s not ask if the Bible is true or false. Instead, let’s ask a series of questions.

1. Did the places and cultures that are mentioned in the Bible and the other ancient texts exist? Yes, in many cases, they did. Archaeologists have found evidence for many of the locations and cultures mentioned in the ancient texts.

2. Did the events that are described in these texts happen? Some of them did; archaeological evidence in the form of physical evidence or supporting documents from other sources can be found for some of the battles, the political struggles, and the building and collapse of cities.

3. Did the mystical things that are described in the texts occur? It’s not my area of expertise, but if I were to hazard a guess, if there were miracles that occurred, they wouldn’t leave archaeological evidence. [Personally I don’t totally agree with this last statement from the author of the About.com article, some supernatural miracles could leave evidence, not necessarily evidence for their supernaturalness but evidence something happened]

4. Since the places and the cultures and some of the events that are described in these texts happened, shouldn’t we just assume that the mysterious parts also happened? No. Not any more than since Atlanta burned, Scarlett O’Hara really was dumped by Rhett Butler.

There are many many ancient texts and stories about how the world began; and many are at variance with one another. From a global human standpoint, why should one ancient text be more accepted than any other? The mysteries of the bible and other ancient texts are just that — mysteries. It is not, and never has been, within the archaeological purview to prove or disprove their reality. That is a question of faith, not science.

In my opinion, if you have to rely on faith, then in all likelihood it isn’t true.

The fact that parts of the bible are somewhat backed up by some evidence, doesn’t mean the whole of the bible is factual, especially all the supernatural elements of it. There are far too many errors in the bible, and sections for which there is no, or contradictory, evidence, for the Bible to be accepted as a factual book.

Why I call it The Da Vinci Code Argument TM. The Da Vinci Code contains a lot of facts; places, names and events that are real. It also contains a lot of “FICTS” (a made up word that represents a fiction that has some basis in fact or sounds convincing enough that it might be a fact), it is though a work of fiction. The Bible is, in a way, similar to the Da Vinci Code; it contains some factual places, names and events, it also contains some “ficts”, but overall it is a work of fiction.

When the Da Vinci Code was released there was quite an uproar among some elements of society, particularly the Catholic Church. The Catholic Church and others spent considerable time and effort debunking some of the “facts”, “ficts”, myths and legends mentioned in the book. Dan Brown may have stated some points as facts that obviously weren’t, whether this was intentional or not is debatable, but ultimately everyone knew (or should have) that the book was a work of fiction.

It’s a pity that the Catholic Church and other Christians don’t spend as much time and effort debunking their own book, the Bible has been shown to contain many factual errors, contains plagiarised versions of older myths and statements about supernatural events that can never be proved. Rather than trying to bend and twist what little facts are in the Bible into declaring the Bible factual, perhaps it’s about time the churches came out and admitted the Bible is a work of fiction?

This post was inspired by a comment on Atheist Climber’s  Scared of Death post, in which sabepashubbo questions how can we say the bible is a work of fiction when it contains some facts.

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God can make you Thin.

Yes that is thin, not think.

I was asked on twitter the other day about religious diets, the person (www.twitter.com/blazslav) was actually talking about “stuffing their minds” (with bad thoughts), but I interpreted their initial tweet to be about “stuffing their bodies” (with bad food).

It piqued my interest to see if there were any “religious specific diets” lo-and-behold there are. Quite a few in fact, and AOL Health has even done a review of some of the more well known ones. The AOL Religious Diets review can be read in full on their site, but here are a few excerpts, including the opening paragraphs:

“God, help me, I’m fat.”
Does prayer really help you lose weight?

I’d have to say no, unless you prayed so much you didn’t get time to eat?

Faith-based diets are increasingly popular with Christians making up the largest base for the new trend. Many pastors and church leaders are recognizing obesity in their congregation and preaching about weight loss as it relates to the Bible.

I admit I haven’t read every word in the Bible, but I don’t recall ever reading, or hearing of, any weight loss programs in it?

All these different diet methods share the common message, “Don’t run to the fridge, run to God.”

Well I can see some benefit in that diet tip, running away from the fridge means running away from food, and if you “run to God” you are going to be running for along time. Seeing as, if God exists no one actually knows where “he” resides (so you’ll be running in circles all over the place).  😉

Here is the list of the diets reviewed by AOL Health:

Faith-Based Diets
Divine Health & What Would Jesus Eat?
Maker’s Diet
Hallelujah Diet
Body By God
First Place
Weigh Down and Thin Within

Divine Health is based on a Mediterranean cuisine and encourages eating fish, salads and lightly cooked vegetables. The diet also encourages daily walking.

Maker’s Diet is “drawn from the book of Leviticus, the food plan is based on Old Testament dietary laws.” Like the previous diet, this diet also encourages people to eat less processed foods, sugars and pork.

Hallelujah Diet is “based on Genesis 1:29, the vegetarian diet primarily consists of eating 85 percent raw to 15 percent cooked fruit and vegetables.” In fact this diet is very nearly a vegan diet as it “restricts eating all meats, dairy or refined flour products, white rice or eggs.”

Body By God is a diet based on “foods given by God” namely natural fruits, vegetables, nuts, organic beef and poultry, fish and herbs. This diet also encourage exercise and encourages people to eat less processed foods, fried foods, sugars and pork.

First Place diet “instead of strict food guidelines or supplements, the focus of the group is spiritual awareness to replace food as comfort.” “The plan doesn’t leave out any food group but encourages members not to indulge on too many sweets or excess amounts of fried foods.”

Weigh Down and Thin Within diets have a similar focus to the First Place diet in putting emphasis on Bible study and prayer to rejuvenate spirituality and to replace food as comfort. There are no strict guidelines on what you can and can’t eat in these diets.

So are any of these diets any good, will any of them help you lose weight?

From the review in the AOL article and my own limited health knowledge I’d say yes, some of them will help you lose weight. Any diet that encourages you to eat less processed, fatty, sugary foods and more fruit and vegetables is going to be good for you. Any diet that encourages you to do more exercise is also good for you. Whether these diets are any better because they are God or Bible based is a very debatable point.

Personally I wouldn’t recommend a vegan/vegetarian diet to anyone, some people can lead healthy lives on them but you really have to know what you are doing to ensure you don’t miss out on any vital vitamins and minerals, or become undernourished.

One of the points the AOL article does raise that is mentioned in some of these weight loss programs is the problem of “comfort food”. Some people eat when stressed or depressed and this can often lead to weight gain, or make it difficult to lose weight. Reducing the emotional reasons for eating may be a necessary part of a weight loss program for some people. A few of the religious diets listed above promise to assist with this aspect of dieting, but I’m not sure prayer or scripture reading is necessarily the best method. I have the worry that “spiritual awareness” may only temporarily mask a deeper emotional problem, perhaps  it would be better for these people to seek help from a highly trained competent psychologist?

The bottom line when it come to losing weight, and/or fat, is to reduce your intake and increase you out-take.  Eat less and better, exercise more.
However, one should always eat sufficiently to ensure you don’t miss out on vital vitamins and minerals and maintain good health.

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bible study of the day

Don’t worry folks, I’m only studying bits of it to verify something I just read.

subtitled “bonking for god”

sub-subtitled “make up your freakin’ mind god!”

Gen 6:1  And it came to pass, when men began to multiply on the face of the ground, and daughters were born unto them,

Fair enough, god’s made man and woman and they’ve started to procreate. I’m also guessing sons were born as well, but they are not of much interest at this stage, as we shall soon see.

Gen 6:2  that the sons of God saw the daughters of men that they were fair; and they took them wives of all that they chose.

So if I read this right, gods sons (angels?) took a fancy to all the good looking daughters of the mere mortal men and took them as wives (whether they liked it or not by the looks of things). Of note in the Good News Bible  (GNB) the verse is as follows:

some of the heavenly beings saw that these young women were beautiful, so they took the ones they liked

Nothing about marriage here, just pure bonk fest by the sounds of it. Hey being a son of god has to have some perks.

By the way I thought god only ever had one son? But these passages indicate he’s got lots?

Gen 6:3  And the LORD said, My spirit shall not strive with man for ever, for that he also is flesh: yet shall his days be an hundred and twenty years.

So we could all have lived for ever but god decided that we couldn’t be immortal like him, so he set a time limit – maximum 120 years.

Gen 6:4  The Nephilim were in the earth in those days, and also after that, when the sons of God came in unto the daughters of men, and they bare children to them: the same were the mighty men which were of old, the men of renown.

Nephilim – for those that don’t know (I didn’t), are the children of angels and humans (see bonk fest in Gen 6.2 and 6.4). The Nephilim are also called Giants in some versions of the Bible, GNB and King James version (KJV) to name a couple. So the angels bonk the earthly women and they have ‘giant’ babies, ooohh that could be painful.

Gen 6:5  And the LORD saw that the wickedness of man was great in the earth, and that every imagination of the thoughts of his heart was only evil continually.

So the story takes a major turn here, we’ve been discussing how the “sons of god” (angels) have been ‘getting it on’ with all the good looking human women. Having ‘giant’ babies who turn out to be “heroes of renown”; and god thinks the humans are being wicked? What the heck were they doing wrong, poor blokes had to suffer for second best after the angels took all the good looking women. Wouldn’t blame them if they were a tad upset and got a bit uppity.

Gen 6:6  And it repented the LORD that he had made man on the earth, and it grieved him at his heart.

So after going to all the trouble of making man and women, knowing full well that they’d procreate and have fun, he decides he’s made a mistake? He decides that ‘man’ is wicked and he gets upset that there are so many of them; but he thinks his ‘sons’ are nice guys? God doesn’t strike me as much of an ‘all knowing god’ like some people profess him to be. So god regrets making man, and then we get to the flood…

Well here endeth the lesson

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Filed under atheism, atheist, bible, Bible Study, christianity, god, religion, sex

Random Findings

Here’s a bunch of things that have come my way the last few days:

God Trumps playing cards – very funny

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Internet Filter prophesy

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And speaking of the Internet Filter. There is a new political party here, the Australian Sex Party (I kid you not) due to commence it’s campaign this weekend in Melbourne at Sexpo (hey Sean didn’t you have some involvement with this). The sex industry is launching the new political party to counter the increasing influence of religious groups in politics and government, in particular the ridiculous Internet Filter (see No Clean feed in side bar). Reported a few days ago here.

Some more stuff on the Internet Filter. If Conroy and his loony buddies want to filter sex, violence, rape, murder, etc; then shouldn’t they also be filtering all references to the Bible on the internet, one of the most violent books ever written? Jack Marx thinks so in this excellent opinion piece, and if you have some spare time there’s over 400 comments to read. Watch the fundies get eviscerated. The bottom line is; if you don’t like it don’t read it, same goes with everything on the Interwebs (so Conroy don’t filter the thing, we ain’t China, Iran or North Korea).

update

Came across another great site called libertus.net with plenty of resource material on censorship in general, net censorship, and the mandatory ISP filtering plan. I’ve placed a link in the No Clean Feed section in the side bar.

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From the dispute on whether the New Testament trumps the Old Testament (mentioned in the comments from above). No it doesn’t. Jesus believed that the Old Testament was divinely inspired, the veritable Word of God.

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Monday night TV, two different shows, two different people said “I’m an atheist”. The Hack Half Hour had a discussion on Sex and Sin, interesting in and of itself, but nice to see someone openly say they are an atheist on National TV. If you missed this show I highly recommend you watch it via the HackHalfHour website. (I’m going to download it so I can re-watch it later). The other show Good News Week and the host Paul McDermott (well known atheist and religious shit-stirrer) openly states he’s an atheist. Maybe there is some hope for Australia if we can announce on prime time TV that we are atheists, and people still love us.

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Well that’s all for now, I’ve been in a blogging frenzy lately, I may take a break for a day or two. I’m sure there’s plenty of stuff to keep you busy here and in all my recent posts.

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Various things of interest

After hearing all about the American Presidential election yesterday (note to the ABC, the A stands for Australian, not American. LOL), I decided to try and catch up on my blog friends, and some other news. Not surprisingly most of them were discussing the election.

However, there were a few exceptions:

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LOL Cat Bible (apologies to who ever it was that reminded me of this). If like me you are a fan of LOL Cats (and I know a certain Fiery friend of mine is; as is a certain cat, tortoise, dog, horse loving friend) and in particular Ceiling Cat, then you may well be interested in the LOL Cat Bible.

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Matt’s last post discussed the Compulsory Univeristy Fees. Not a topic that personaly affects me, but when Howard banned the old scheme there were a lot of people upset about it. The new Labour government’s scheme goes some way to redressing the situation, but it has problems. Anyway, if you are interested Matt covers it in depth.

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Whilst blogging last night I had the TV on in the background and noticed an ad for an interesting looking documentary. (SBS Sunday 9 November at 8:35pm)

The President’s Guide To Science,

The film makers asks some of the biggest names in science to have a quiet word with the new President, be it Obama or McCain [we all now it’s Obama]. The United States President is quite simply the most powerful man on earth, but past Presidents have often known little about science. That is a problem when the decisions they make will affect every one of us, from nuclear proliferation to climate change. To help the new President get to grips with this intimidating responsibility, some of the world’s leading scientists, from Dawkins to Watson, share some crucial words of advice. (From the UK, in English) (Documentary) CC

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Then there is this complety off topic article in todays paper:

WHEN a woman out jogging was bitten by a rabid fox, she ran on for another 1.5km with the animal still attached to her arm and threw it into the boot of her car.

They breed them tough in Arizona!

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OK one American election topic. The following picture was developed to remind voters that the election should be about the issues, not about race.

black_white

(from Ananova)

I’m sure some people voted for, or against, Obama because he is black, but I’m also sure many others voted for him just because they thought he was the best candidate.

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That’s all for now

 

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