Tag Archives: christianity

But would you put your dog down?

There is an ongoing debate in Australia about voluntary euthanasia, or ‘the right to die’. Polls (as much as you can trust a poll) state that up to 85% of Australians support legalised euthanasia, as long as adequate safeguards are in place. Despite this, euthanasia bills keep getting rejected in our parliaments. In fact some years ago the Northern Territory (NT) passed legislation to make it legal but the Federal government stepped in and overrode them. (Territories have slightly different rules when it comes to making laws, I don’t fully understand it, you can look it up yourself if you are interested. You could also look up the case of when the NT legalised, briefly, euthanasia, it’s not really relevant to this particular rant.)

The prime reason, I can deduce, Australia does not have legalised voluntary euthanasia is because the powerful religious (mostly Christian) lobby, in cahoots with right wing Christian politicians, put political pressure on our governments not to pass euthanasia bills.

I’ve seen many reasons expounded why euthanasia is a bad idea, most of these can be over-ridden by ensuring proper safeguards are in place to ensure euthanasia is completely voluntary, and that more than one medical practitioner is consulted, etc, etc (something all supporters of euthanasia want). However Christians expound one more “reason” which goes along the line of “we value human life”.

Well, I’m sure it’s not just Christians that value human life, I value it, especially my own, as I’m certain do most other people of non-Christian faith or those with no faith at all.

But what is a human life that is lived in total abject pain, or with complete mental breakdown? A life not worth living for some people. So why should those in these extreme conditions not be allowed to end their suffering? To voluntarily end their life before it descends into a living nightmare? What right does someone have to tell those people they have to keep living no matter what pain or suffering they are enduring? Family, relative or stranger; no matter how much they love or care for someone do they really have the right to force something on that person just because they “value human life”?

Personally I think it’s very selfish of someone to prevent a person who is in severe pain and dying not to end their own life, if they have considered all the options, and would rather die peacefully than endure years more agony and suffering.

I have only touched on a few basics in the euthanasia, right to die, debate and I’m not really interested in all the ins-and-outs of the debate. Many others better qualified than me have done this before. However I have one question (in two parts), mainly to the Christians who say something like “we value human life” as an argument against voluntary euthanasia:

Have you, or any Christian you know, ever had a pet “put down” (euthanized)? If not, would you consider euthanizing a pet if a vet strongly recommended it?

Yes I understand that a cat or dog is not the same as a human, but the underlying principle is the same. People, after careful consideration (I’d hope), are willing to put an animal out of it’s misery by euthanizing it and often cite the reason for doing so is so the animal doesn’t have to suffer anymore. So if it is more humane to euthanize an animal that is in severe pain and dying, then isn’t it even more humane to allow a human the right to die when they want to if they are in extreme pain and suffering?

As a note, I’m not going to consider the slippery slope argument that the above paragraph might delve into, any comments that go down that path may be summarily deleted. I also strongly emphasise that your comments should stick to answers regarding voluntary euthanasia. I’m sure we can all agree that for humans euthanasia should always be voluntary and I’m sure any legalisation would have plenty of safeguards in place to ensure it is voluntary.

Please stick to the following questions in your response:

Have you as a Christian, or any Christian you know, ever had a pet “put down” (euthanized)? If not, would you consider euthanizing a pet if a vet strongly recommended it?

If you have euthanized a pet, or be willing to do so, explain in a better way than “I value human life” why you wouldn’t let a human being who is in similar circumstances to your dying pet not be allowed to voluntarily euthanize themselves.

Thank you for your participation.

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Atheism V Christianity

I’ve read some wacky idiotic ramblings by christians before , but  Atheism Vs. Christianity: It’s all about ‘faith’ on examiner.com is one of the most laughable I’ve read in a while.

For a start his premise is all wrong, because it’s only Christianity that is all about ‘faith’; science relies on logic, experimentation, testing of ideas, etc etc. The author, Jake Jones, opens with this:

For some reason or another, Atheists feel that they need to beat you over the head with their view of creation, laws, the Bible, God, the Constitution and more.

Ha, Ha, Ha Jake, I think you meant to put the word ‘Christian’ in that sentence, instead of atheist. In case any other Christian hadn’t realised yet, one of the reasons atheists have become more vocal recently is because we are fed up with being bombarded with so much religious stuff.

Atheists, agnostics and other non-believers will always seem to quote science, scientists, NASA and others. That is a significant problem for Atheists. Science, scientists, … have been wrong on numerous occasions. … Science is not perfect, however the Bible is.

More LOL worthiness. He says “scientists, … have been wrong on numerous occasions” like it’s a bad thing? Aspects of science being proved wrong is one of science’s strengths, not weaknesses. There are way too many examples to demonstrate this, but how about an obvious one: years ago scientists said heavier than air objects would never fly, they were proven wrong as any airport will clearly demonstrate.  Is that a bad thing? No, it’s proof that science is quite happy being wrong, as long as it is proved wrong properly (throwing a bible at it doesn’t work by-the-way) . Science may not be perfect, and doesn’t usually profess to be, however it’s a damn sight more accurate than the bible.

Using scientific theory to disprove the Bible is like using gasoline to put out a fire. The reverse of that would be using the Bible to prove the existence of UFO’s, it can’t be done!

Stop, Stop, my sides are splitting from laughter. Science has been used many times to prove outright errors in the bible, it can be done, such as (from freethoughtdebater.com)

1 Kings 7:23 “He made a molten sea, ten cubits from the one brim to the other: it was round all about, and his height was five cubits: and a line of thirty cubits did compass it round about.” Circumference = Pi() x Diameter, which means the line would have to have been over 31 cubits. In order for this to be rounding, it would have had to overstate the amount to ensure that the line did “compass it round about.”
Lev 11:20-21: “All fowls that creep, going upon all four, shall be an abomination unto you.” Fowl do not go upon all four.
Lev 11:6: “And the hare, because he cheweth the cud…” Hare do not chew the cud.

There are countless others. The bible even contradicts itself on numerous occasions (see the freethoughtdebater.com site for a few examples), don’t religious people ever actually read their own book?

Jake’s article gets worse, you really should read the whole thing, it’s good for a laugh; but I don’t know what he’s got against NASA, or why he keeps incorrectly capitalising atheist?

The Bible is perfect because it is the divinely inspired, true and infallible word of God, not science. … Now don’t get me wrong, there are many things that science, scientists and yes, even NASA have discovered which have helped mankind, …

Yes, science has discovered pretty well everything that has helped mankind, including the computer Jake used to write his crazy article and the internet it was posted on.

Then he goes on about Darwin and evolution for a bit saying atheists put their trust in what Darwin wrote. He either doesn’t understand, or is just plain stupid, but it’s the 150 years of science following Darwin’s idea that scientists and others “put their trust in” when it comes to acknowledging the facts about evolution. Then he vainly tries to show he is right and that we should beleive the bible because:

The Bible is filled with witnesses to the events described in it.

Oh really! What, like witnesses to the “creation of the heavens and the earth”, or witnesses to Jesus’ so-called existence, all written at least 40 years after his death and in some instances at least 70 years later by people who hadn’t even meet him? With virtually no secular writings of this so-called significant person to back them up?

… but Atheists are not willing to believe, it’s just a fairy tail to them.

At least he got one thing correct, the bible is just a fairy tale, written by uneducated ignorant goat-herders trying to explain things they didn’t understand.

Atheists for some reason believe that out of chaos comes order; i.e. the “Big Bang theory”, and that out of that chaos came the Universe as we know it. Logical folks understand that out of chaos comes even more chaos. All one has to do to see order in the Universe is to go the NASA’s Hubble Telescope Gallery web site and look at their space Gallery! It’s amazing. The beauty and order of God’s creation is overwhelming. Yes, that is one of the great accomplishments of NASA.

Jake obviously needs to do some research, I’m fairly sure that the Big Bang theory doesn’t necessarily entail chaos, and anyway order can come from chaos. Then there are all the forces in play such as gravity, centripetal, centrifugal  etc that assisted in the formation of galaxies, stars, planets etc. It wasn’t all just chaos chaos chaos then instantaneous planetary systems.

I’m still looking for some good articles on “chaos and order”, I’ve read some before but seem to have misplaced the URLs. I was sent a link via Twitter to an article titled Life on Earth which explains the II Law of Thermodynamics and Entropy and how it applies to life on Earth, which whilst a very interesting article wasn’t exactly what I was looking for. If anyone has some scientific articles on “chaos and order” please provide links in the comments.

As to the “it’s beautiful, so god must have made it” comment, that’s just another ludicrous, illogical ‘goddidit’ statement, what sort of evidence for a god is “because it’s beautiful”? Personally I actually don’t see a whole lot of ‘order’ in some of those Hubble telescope photographs, and I’m sure others don’t, so the other part of that argument is also flawed.

I’ll leave you with his final sentence:

I truly believe that Atheists have good intentions, but they should remember this old saying; “The road to Hell is paved with good intentions”.

In case you hadn’t realised, not believing in god also entails in not believing in heaven or hell, so that sentence (threat ? ) is meaningless to an atheist, and don’t even think of Pascal Wagering me.

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There’s Hypocrites

Then there’s fucking hypocrites.

[Anyone following this blog recently may have noticed my ‘problem’ with hypocrisy. One day all may be revealed.]

Via Twitter I came across this interesting article:

Group targets school kids in atheism drive

A story (on a religious web site) lamenting that the National Federation of Atheist, Humanist and Secular Student Societies (AHS) in England are “targeting” children to inform them that religion may not provide the best ethical and moral guidelines.

In what is some of the most hypocritical statements (and I’ve heard plenty over the last 18 months), and some of the best cognitive dissonance I’ve seen (at least in the last few minutes) in a while, comes these pearls of wisdom:

“It is deeply worrying that they now want to use children to attack the Christian ethos of their schools.

“Many parents will also be anxious at the thought of militant atheists targeting their children.”

OMFG! Like the many and varied churches haven’t been using children to boost their incoherent, inconsistent and blatantly stupid beliefs for the last couple of centuries!! Like the churches (eg. Catholic, Anglican & Muslim) haven’t, not only setup their own schools to indoctrinate and brainwash the unfortunate  children, but have also managed to get RE into a lot of public schools. Like religion hasn’t used children and schools to attack atheism, evolution, and promote their particular narrow minded view of the world.

If it wasn’t for the stranglehold religions have on children, there probably wouldn’t be any religions. If religion was expressly forbidden to be indoctrinated or taught to anyone under the age of 18 how many people do you honestly think would believe in it?

Why do you think so many religions espouse having lots of children? Why do you think so many religions (particularly the Catholics) have problems with contraception?

Because if children weren’t indoctrinated from birth in the faith of their parents, if children were dutifully informed about religion and how it came about. If children were informed about the many and varied faiths; they probably wouldn’t become religious. Then the particular faith would wither and die a natural death.

As A. C. Grayling says [paraphrased]

Tell an averagely intelligent adult hitherto free of religious brainwashing that somewhere there is an invisible being, who was born of a virgin, performs miracles, that wants us to worship them or else they’ll burn in hell. Then ask them which of several religions, that fit this description, they wish to believe in, most likely they will say: none of them.

Hypocrisy at it’s best, religions have schools that promote a particular religion, but then have a problem with a group that wants to promote healthy positive, alternative, critical thinking.

Another, slightly less biased story is here.

What do you think? Are the religious being hypocrites? Do they have anything to be concerned about? Is the AHS on to a good thing?

What more could be done to promote critical thinking in schools?

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Filed under atheism, atheist, christian, critical thinking, education, god, religion, religious

I Want to Shop and Gamble

For the first time in NSW punters will be allowed to bet on Good Friday following the decision by Tabcorp to be open for gambling on this once sacrosanct day.  from abc.net.au/news

Not surprisingly religious groups are furious.

Father Brian Lucas, from the Australian Catholic Bishops Conference, says Tabcorp’s decision shows nothing is more sacred than profit for some.  

Is nothing sacred? Frankly, no.

The head of problem gambling services at the Salvation Army, Gerard Burn, says religious holidays should be protected from trading.

Why should they be protected more than any other public holiday? As it is, as religious diversity and secularism rises around the world these remnants of  observing Anglo-Saxon Christian rituals become less and less valid to the general populace.

Additionally

David Jones, Myer and Kmart have meanwhile applied to the Director General of Commerce to be allowed to trade on previously restricted days like Easter Sunday [in NSW].

as they point out:

religion’s role in society has diminished, but religious and charity groups say the days are two of the last sacred holidays left on the calendar.

boo hoo to the religious and charity groups. Soon there may be no sacred days on the calendar, wouldn’t that be good?

To any religious people who venture here thinking of making any stupid remarks about atheists happy to have the Easter holidays off, forget it, don’t even consider it, you will be shot down in flames. Yes I believe we should get rid of christian based public holidays in a secular society, we can still have public holidays, we can just celebrate something else more important and pertinent to a modern society. Suggestions anyone?

update

Five Public Opinions also blogged about this today, his closing paragraph is sublime:

Or else prepare to be mocked for your obscene presumptuousness in dictating to the rest of us how we should live our lives. That mockery is a sign that human society is liberating itself from the superstitious and unnecessary fear and awe of old male virgins wearing funny robes. History is pwning you. And that’s a good thing.

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you can’t find all the answers in google

So says church180 in their new television adverts (they had one on during the NBN news). church180’s slogan is “turn it around“, their new advertising campaign suggests that you can’t find all the answers in google and if you need to turn your life around you need to join their church.

church180 seems to be inferring (see their websites) that by finding God you can fix relationships, your job, health and finances. Do you think the church can do this? Is this perhaps false advertising?

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How do you solve a problem like Maria?

or in this case, how do you solve a problem like a popular Catholic priest who allows women to preach and blesses homosexual couples?

Why, you excommunicate him of course.

When the Catholic church is losing parishioners, and a Catholic priest realises that women and homosexuals deserves as much rights and recognition as everyone else; what does one of it’s Bishops do? Why sack the ‘rebel’ priest of course.

Truly, these people have no idea whatsoever.

I wonder how many people caught the Rodgers and Hammerstein inference?

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Why Darwin Matters

I’m currently reading “Why Darwin Matters” by Michael Shermer, whilst at the same time trying to follow the comments on Jacks blog. A ‘debate’ involving, amongst other things,  evolution, while people still debate this is beyond me (though Shermer gives some very good reasons why we should debate the ID/Creationists), as my comments will hopefully help show to some extent.

[Yes, I know I should be finishing the several other blog posts I’ve promised various other people, and writing the book review for “The Heathen’s Guide to World Religions”, but … but … but I have no valid excuse.]

Anyway, I have posted the following comments on Jack’s blog, but thought I’d reproduce them here so you don’t have to wade through all the comments on his blog (and possibly have your brain explode):

5 reasons why people resist the truth of evolution:
1. A general resistance to science.
2. Belief that evolution is a threat to specific religious tenets.
3. The fear that evolution degrades our humanity.
4. The equation of evolution with ethical nihilism and moral de-generation.
5. The fear that evolutionary theory implies we have a fixed human nature.

(From “Why Darwin Matters”, Michael Shermer pg30/31)

Those who cavalierly reject the Theory of Evolution, as not adequately supported by facts, seem quite to forget that their own theory is supported by no facts at all.
– Herbert Spencer, Essays Scientific, Political and Speculative, 1891

(A quote from “Why Darwin Matters”, Michael Shermer pg 45)

Note: that quote was written in 1891, and science has found a whole lot more to corroborate the theory of evolution since then.

Creationists often demand “one transitional fossil”, when provided with that fossil they then demand the transitional fossils in-between [paraphrased]. This can be called:
The Fossil Fallacy

The belief that a single ‘fossil” – one bit of data – constitutes proof of a multifarious process or historical sequence.

But we know that’s not the case:

We know evolution happened not because of a single transitional fossil … but because of the convergence of evidence from such diverse fields as geology, palaeontology, biogeography, comparative anatomy and physiology, molecular biology, genetics …

When I read that I thought “how could anyone not understand evolution is a sound scientific theory, how could they try and debunk it with one or two arguments?”. Then I re-read some of Marcus’ and facilis’ comments and I despaired.

(quotes and paraphrasing from “Why Darwin Matters” by Michael Shermer)

I sometimes despair when I see people like Marcus trying every trick in the book to attempt to debunk evolution, as if one person, however educated, or not, they are, could disprove what thousands of scientists in many different field have come to accept as fact during the last 150 years.

I’m enjoying Shermer’s book so far (about half way through) and would recommend it to anyone with an interest in evolution, from either side of the fence. Though the ‘god botherers’ need to switch their godness off whilst reading it, they need to read it with an open mind.

In writing the above sentence I can just hear some religious type saying “but you haven’t turned off your non-godness while reading it”, or “you’re just accepting what these other atheists say” (or something similar).  Just let me say this, first read my about page, then know I studied the bible with an “open heart”, I was baptised because because I believed. BUT, then I started to study the bible more and kept coming up with questions that couldn’t be answered. I started to study (using the term very loosely) evolution and biology and tried to work what I was learning into what I “knew”.  I attended a couple of lectures and invented the term Creatio-Evolutionist (pity I never copy-righted it), an attempt to combine what the bible and religious leaders where telling me with what was known in the scientific community at the time (this was before DNA came into the picture).  Then I misplaced my faith, then I just didn’t care, then I woke up and really thought about it all.

This was when, after reading many texts, I came to the full and complete understanding that evolution explains how we got here and that that is a wonderful and amazing thing.

To the religious readers, if your faith is so weak that in discussing evolution you have to resort to all sorts of fallacies and weasel words, then perhaps your faith isn’t worth keeping. Try to honestly, and openly, read some of the vast quantities of material on evolution (read this for a start), try not to insert a “god of the gaps” or a “goddidit” into your thinking, and try to think of it logically and sensibly. Read “Why Darwin Matters” , or some similar book, and then, I defy you, debate your point with an expert, or highly knowledgeable person, like Shermer or Dawkins, and see how long you last.

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