Sunday, December 31, 2017

How The Christian God is the True Anti-Christ

The God of the Old Testament, who directed his "chosen people" to commit numerous acts of genocide to settle his own insecurities, is the very same God that Christopher Columbus brought to the Native American "Indians" in 1492. That God was the very same God that Christian Crusaders brought to Jerusalem in 1099, murdering every Muslim man, woman, and child, and all for the glory of gold and in defense of an institutionalized Christian religion.

It is that same God, which rose up like a serpent with the rise of King David, that murdered Christ, for daring to suggest that people ought to work together for their mutual benefit, rather than follow like sheep, the proclamations of  either the Sanhedrin or Popes, false prophets adorned with power and wealth, who all claim to be as "infallible" in their decrees as the emperors of Rome.

Those who now declare they know "the will of God," are by far the falsest prophets who have ever dared to crawl the earth, like vipers and seething demons, claiming moral superiority in their hollow words, and drunk with dreams of their own righteousness and thoughts of eternal bliss. 

They would murder the whole world, and even humanity itself, which the Catholics call "the body of Christ," just to avoid hell, and secure their own personal salvation, for all eternity.

The Power of Lies

If you think about the difference between a lie and a "belief," you discover that they are often basically the very same thing. In fact, at the center of the word "belief," we find the word 'lie." And while the Christian will everywhere boast of the power of their "beliefs," they never notice that they are, at the very same time, boasting about the power of their lies. 

From slavery to geocentrism, from pogroms to genocide, from martyrs to world wars, every horror perpetrated through history has been over one lie or another. The Christian admits this every time they accuse atheism of being far more responsible for bloodshed throughout history than theism.  And yet, despite Christians claiming that far, far more people have been killed for what the Christian "knows" to be a lie (i.e. atheism), the Christian nevertheless claims that their "beliefs" are far, far stronger than any lie. 

Let us fist accept that the Christian "belief" is not simply the mother of all lies (as many atheists and non-Christian theists would argue), but is the very "infallible truth" that Christians proudly proclaim it to be. 

But if this is the case, if indeed Christianity is a "belief" and a "truth" that is far stronger than any "lie" the devil could come up with, then why have lies had such a greater impact in the world? Is not the fact that "more people have died over the lie of atheism," as Christians everywhere love to claim, simply proof that a lie is thus stronger than the power of their "beliefs" to stop it?

Nor is the Christian ever willing to accept that it is precisely because Christianity is "believed" to be true, that such an overwhelming majority of people who have engaged in the barbarisms of combat over the last two thousand years, were able to find the courage and the moral justifications for doing so, including the vast majority of soldiers fighting on all sides of all of the conflicts of the 20th century.

Whatever ideologies soldiers fight for collectively, they almost always find the resolve and the moral justification for doing so on a deeply personal level,  in terms that are nearly always devoutly theistic and religious. How then can a "truth" like Christianity, become the very personal means of motivating hundreds of millions of people into the hell furnace of war, even to defend political ideologies that Christians (falsely) claim are so entirely atheistic? 

Without religion, and the hope of eternal salvation, what basis would the Communist or Nazi solider have for throwing themselves into a barrage of bullets and cannon-fire, that they know fully well will only rip them to pieces so small,that all the kings horses and all the kings men, could never put them back together again?

Of course the Christian, sitting comfortably in their pew, on cushioned couches and climate controlled churches,  never bothers themselves with the trifles of soldiers in foxholes marching to their death for God and country. They simply accept their claims are "true," regardless of how often such "truths" lead people to see their grave as simply the doorway to the promised land.  


Saturday, December 30, 2017

Why Religion Is the Serpent's Lie

The "forbidden fruit" eaten by Adam & Eve from the "tree of knowledge of good and evil" is unmistakably religion. Religion is the lie, after all, that we have "souls," which convinces people not only that they are special among all of creation, giving humanity a very real "god-complex," but also convincing humans of their need to be wholly dependent upon a special class of shamans who proclaim to know "right and wrong" as if they were "like God, knowing right from wrong" - which is exactly what the serpent promised.

From this lie, every other lie humanity has come up with descends. Nationalism, hatred, hope for salvation and fear of those "evil" people (like atheists) who devilishly threaten to drag souls to hell (another religious fabrication that humans simply accept as "true" without a shred of evidence to support it), all come from the "tree of lies" that religion planted on Golgatha, and has only watered in human blood for the glory of a filicidal "god".

In fact, there is not a single "doctrine" you can point to in religion that is not only a lie, but that does not in some way directly contribute to all of the evils in the world.

The Christian of course will only ever insist that religion is the source and anchor of all morality, for it alone teaches humanity to "love thy neighbor as thyself," and that ultimate justice will be doled out in the end for those who don't. But this is entirely untrue.

Christians and Muslims alike, both have within their religions the ability to receive forgiveness for any and every sin they commit during this life, and follow examples of saints and prophets who sinned on a scale that was only ever surpassed (so we are sheepishly lead to believe) by their desire to please their genocidal god. As such, no matter what sins they committed, including repeated acts of genocide, they could always be forgiven, since those sins were always regretted later, or done ultimately in the service of God - ya know, the same way Charles Manson killed innocent people like Moses did.

What's more, religion promises its band of blood sucking zombies that the only real problems in the world come down to too many people not worshiping their "God," who murdered their ancestors wholesale with a flood, piecemeal by the sword of his "chosen people" in the Old Testament, and his own son at their hands (a murder rap he then blamed the people he had lured into committing the bloody deed). And this is the very same God who now threatens to throw the whole of humanity into hell for ever daring to suggest that such a story as the Bible only confirms that God is far worse than every sadistic serial killer combined.

Sure, religion says "love your fellow man," but it really means love God first, and then love your fellow man, if your fellow man happens to agree with your version of the "god-man" you base your entire concept of what it means to be a "godly" person upon. And by "godly" we mean willing to murder anyone and everyone who deserves to be drown to death with a flood, butchered to death like half of the followers of Moses or even Christ himself, or burned with weapons like the Japanese during WW II and the inhabitants of Sodom & Gomorrah.

For anyone who fails to worship so genocidal a "god" as the Christian worships every Sunday, by solemnizing the butchery of their god and drinking his blood,  only deserves genocide, which religion has always seen as the "final solution" for dealing with heretics (like Christ) and anyone who dares to challenge the "truth" claims of those who derive all of their power from the willingness of the masses to simply "believe" their bullshit. 

Friday, December 29, 2017

How To Lie For Christ: Barron & The Con-Job For Christ

Bishop von Barron (I couldn't resist) recently reviewed the movie,  "The Case for Christ," which is almost as much pure emotional propaganda as Mel Gibson's The Passion of the Christ and the1935 German propaganda film Triumph of the Will. The movie is based on the supposedly "true" story of Lee Strobel, a journalist who set out to save his marriage by debunking Christianity, only to succumb to a serpentine story of salvation and redemption. 

Christians never suspect that Strobel simply wrote a book that he no doubt knew Christians would be both eager to "believe" and only too willing to buy, of course, selling enough copies to score even a movie deal in the process. No, Christians never doubt that someone who is making money off of their willingness to "believe" could be simply deceiving them for their own financial gain - from Jerry Falwell to Joel Osteen to Oral Roberts - even as those same Christians only ever doubt anyone who tries to save them their hard earned money, by pointing out just what kind of charlatans these purveyors of "salvation" really are. 

The real "miracle" performed by these works of pure emotional manipulation, then, is how easily religion uses them to transform peoples emotions into indefatigable "reason," convincing Christians that a "belief" is the same thing as an "infallible truth," the same way Christians claim their "lord & savior" turned water into wine, and Catholics claim their priests turn wine into the actual blood of Christ at every mass (which those vampire-Catholics subsequently drink like it's really Kool Aid).
  
The major cornerstone upon which Lee Strobel begins to build the facade that convinces him that all of this emotional propaganda must indeed be "true" is posed in a simple question asked by Bishop Barron, that is used to lull people into an almost hypnotic trance with its simplicity. The question, as Barron puts it, is this:


"Would pious Christians go to their death for a story they made up, just a nice story? Because lets face it, most early Christians went to their death defending this claim. I mean, would someone do that for a pious legend that they made up?"
  
The answer, as counter-intuitive as it may seem, which many Christians fail to realize, is actually, "Yes! yes, they would!"


WOULD PEOPLE DIE FOR A LIE?
  
The simplicity of this question has been relied upon for centuries by spiritual charlatans like Strobel and Barron, to lead Christians to the natural and altogether inescapable conclusion - by of course getting would-be "believers" to use themselves as the standard by which they should only ever measure the rationality of such a question - that no one in their right mind would ever willingly die for a story, unless they were absolutely sure that story was undeniably "true."

The only problem with this reasoning, however, is that history demonstrates the very opposite to be "true." And one reason it is untrue, is because the people who tend to die for their beliefs are almost never in the same comfortable life situation as middle class or affluent Americans, who often enjoy the invisible benefits of being both the majority race and the majority religion. In this respect, the question requires the audience to make a comparison between apples and oranges; between themselves, as members of a peaceful successful majority, and early Christians, who belonged to a despised minority that felt as persecuted as many Muslims in war torn countries feel today, and as poor, frustrated, and disenfranchised, as minorities in poor cities in America like Ferguson and Baltimore. 

But first, let's start with an experiment: If it could be demonstrated that people had similarly accepted martyrdom for their "beliefs" in the "truth" of stories about other savior "man-gods" who had similarly risen from the dead - for example, stories concerning figures like Osiris, Tammuz, Adonis, Attis, or Dionysus - would this serve as sufficient evidence to convince the Christian that they should therefore reject Christianity, and instead simply accept any of these other deity's as the "true" God over Christ?

Probably not. 
  
In fact, Wikipedia lists as many as 20 potential other "gods" who rose from the dead, that the Christian could similarly "convert" to accepting as their "lord and savior," if the the only thing the Christian needed to validate the "truth" of such myths is evidence that people willingly died for them

But the fact that people are willing to die for such stories certainly does not mean that Christians would ever accept those stories as true, nor that they should. If they did, after all, then perhaps all Christians should have moved to Guyana or joined Heaven's Gate. Indeed, the Buddhists who engage in self immolation never serve to convince the Christian of the authenticity of Buddhism over Christianity, even as those same Christians seem to think that the martyrdom of early Christians for Christianity should serve, at least in part, as evidence of the "truth" of their claims about the divinity of Christ.

Such "martyrdom" tales have always served as pure emotional propaganda, whether such stories are used to support a religion or to romanticize wars and the "heroes" who willingly die fighting them. People embrace "martyrdom" for all kinds of bogus and even totally ridicules beliefs, however, especially when it comes to one god, religion, cause or country, or another.  But none of those self-sacrificing acts ever really do much to convince the Christian to convert from their Christianity to any other religion or nationalism. And again, nor should it.
  
Take 9/11 for example. While this "terrorist" act served to galvanize Christian opposition to the perceived threat of Islam or Islamic extremists, it also lead to a dramatic rise in the number of Americans who subsequently converted to Islam. So clearly the "martyrdom" of those terrorists was evidence enough for at least some Americans to convince them of the authenticity of Islam, even as it only served as evidence to others - Christians and atheists alike -  of the dangers such bogus religious beliefs represent.   

But ultimately, the point in bringing up all of these other stories, especially about the other resurrected "man-gods," is to show how "the Jesus story arose in a culture suffused with the idea of dying and rising saviors.”[i] And even though I have no evidence that anyone willingly embraced martyrdom for these other "gods," 9/11 is an example of the fact that there is plenty of evidence that shows how often people are willing to do all kinds of crazy things for their "beliefs," including killing and dying for them.

And this is especially true when people feel they have reached a state of utter hopelessness - whether they are disgruntled postal workers, bullied school shooters, or frustrated Islamic terrorists - and, convinced that their body is simply a "temporary container for the soul," not only wish to avoid the eternal fires of hell that every soul is threatened with in Philippians 2:12, but fully expect the world is about to end anyway.

 
EARLY PERSECUTIONS OF CHRISTIANS

Like Islamic terrorists today, early Christians similarly felt they were living under a state of hopelessness on the one hand, and during the end times on the other. In fact, much of the "hope" such Christians felt at that time came almost exclusively from the belief that "the kingdom of God was at hand," which they thought meant the world was about to see its final curtain call

Although the "first persecution of Christians organized by the Roman government took place under the emperor Nero in 64 AD after the Great Fire of Rome," and "lasted until the passage in 313 AD of the Edict of Milan," persecution of Christians by Roman mobs existed long before this.  Christians were not only ostracized by their fellow Jews, but were widely accused by Roman citizens of being both atheists, for rejecting the gods of Rome in preference of a single deity called Jesus, and of being anti-patriotic for doing so, much like Socrates. The troubles of Rome, then, much like immigrants or socialists today and "communists" during the McCarthy era, were all blamed on Christians.
  
 In addition to this environment of growing persecution, early Christians not only believed their body was simply a temporary container for their soul, but likewise wished to escape a corrupt world for an eternal paradise in heaven, while avoiding eternal hellfire through the temporary suffering of death for their sacred "beliefs." In this sense, the greatest "virtue" of religion was to attach more value to one's "beliefs," which were all thought to be as "eternal" as the thing "believed" in, than they should attach to defend their own "body," which was fallen and only destined for the grave anyway. Ashes to ashes, as they say, and dust to dust. 


FACING DEATH FOR BOGUS BELIEFS
  
In truth, people have always engaged in all sorts of behaviors that risked death to prove they were right, brave, or just extremely talented. We see versions of this bravado in extreme magician David Blaine, for example, or even Harry Houdini. 
 
Take Franz Reichelt, as another example. Reichelt was a tailor, who "dreamed of inventing a fashion accessory that would allow a person to float safely to the ground after falling from a great height." To prove his invention would work, he jumped from a great height, embracing his martyrdom for his conviction that he was right, when he discovered he was wrong.
  
In fact, studies show that men are far more likely than women to willingly engage in such all-or-nothing behavior. Researchers suspect that men may do this, in part, to enhance their social status by demonstrating their bravery in the face of a mortal threat. Bull fighters, cage fighters, cliff divers, sky divers, and many such extreme sports enthusiasts, are thought to engage in these sports for this reason, as well as the adrenaline rush that comes from facing death. In fact, that adrenaline rush is what addicts soldiers to combat just as much as it addicts modern audiences to the ubiquitous amount of death and violence that proliferates video games, movies, television, and even literature today. 

Add to this the fact that people are even more likely to want to die for their beliefs when they believe that by doing so, they will not only win the respect and admiration of their peers (like gang members in, say, MS- 13),  but are also guaranteed to avoid an ever present threat of eternal hellfire in return for doing so (like suicide bombers in ISIS or Al Qeada). And since the Bible says in Philippians 2:12 that we must all "work out our salvation in fear and trembling,"the perennial threat of loosing ones soul to eternal damnation can be a truly terrifying source of stress for the true "believer" to have to live with. 

Plus, that person can also expect to receive eternal bliss in exchange for their loyalty and willingness to accept their own momentary suffering and death. And when that death is done in the service of a larger cause, it gives the would-be martyr perhaps the greatest sense of "meaning" to their life possible, as it convinces them that through their sacrifice, they become like Christ, and thus an integral part of "God's divine plan." Even Christ's comment of "let thy will be done," is a kind of calling for how we should be willing to accept our own death in the service of a larger cause, or what the Christian calls "God's plan." Ergo, our quest for meaning can lead us to make a suicide pact with the "beliefs" that promise us the greatest meaning of all. 
  
What's more, there are any number of examples where people have either died, or even inflicted death upon others, all in the service of their "sacred beliefs." People do this because they become convinced their "beliefs" must be true, and thus require such sacrifice to defend.  As crazy as this sounds, this was pretty much the underlying rationals for everything from the Manson family murders by "family members," to the Holocaust kicked off at the Wannsee Conference in Germany in 1941 by a round-table of high ranking and highly educated Christians. And many of the examples that follow were rationalized by people relying on the same kind of eschatological perspective that inspired early Christian martyrs.

 Consider the example of the Jews at Masada who killed themselves rather than submit to Roman legions in 73 A.D. In 1303 A.D., when the Muslim Sultan of Delhi,  Ala-ud-din Khilji, besieged Chittor Fort, the queen of Chittor, Rani Padmini, "led all the royal ladies (around 700 women) and their children into a bonfire in order to protect themselves from the Delhi's lustful army." True, these are not exactly suicides for "beliefs," but early Christians faced similar threats from mob violence against them in Rome, which only became worse when it became state sanctioned violence under Nero.
  
We see perhaps the greatest of mass suicides associated with the schismatic "Old Believers" at the end of the seventeenth century in Russia. "The Old Believers were persecuted, and their early leader Avvakum, was burned alive at the order of Tsar Feodor in 1682. "During a six year period from 1688 to 1694, 20,000 Old Believers voluntarily followed their leader into the flames, preferring martyrdom to accepting the religion of Antichrist."[ii][i]
 
Even in the modern era we see only a proliferation of such willingness to die for one's beliefs, beliefs that most Christians believe to be unfounded at best, and bald face lies at worst. And most of the people in these cults were not only well educated, but professed to be Christian.
  
On November 18, 1978, 918 Americans died in Jonestown, Guyana, at the direction of the People's Temple leader Jim Jones. More than 75 Branch Davidians, anticipating a coming end of the world, died in a fire during a siege of their Waco, Texas, compound by federal agents in 1993.[iii][ii] From 1994 to 1997, the Order of the Solar Temple's members began a series of mass suicides, which led to roughly 74 deaths.

"On March 27, 1997, 39 followers of Heaven's Gate died in a mass suicide in Rancho Santa Fe, California, which borders San Diego to the north. These people believed, according to the teachings of their group, that through their suicides they were "exiting their human vessels" so that their souls could go on a journey aboard a spaceship they believed to be following comet Hale–Bopp.[25] Some male members of the group underwent voluntary castration in preparation for the genderless life they believed awaited them after the suicide."[iv][iii]
  
"In October 1998, 60 members of a millennialist cult, calling itself Concerned Christians, disappeared from Denver Colorado, where their leader Monte Kim Miller had predicted (inaccurately) the destruction of Denver in an earthquake: they were thought to be traveling to the Holy Land in an attempt to commit suicide before the start of the new Millennium. Mr. Miller claimed to be both God and the final prophet on earth before Armageddon.  He (also) claimed that like Jesus he will rise from the dead after three days.." [v][iv]

And like Miller, it should be noted, many who heard Jesus thought he was also a madman, as John 10:20 points out (KJV), saying, "and many of them said, He has a demon and is mad; why do you listen to Him?"

Finally, in 2007, in Mymensingh, Bangladesh, a family of 9, all members of a novel "Adam's cult" committed mass suicide by hurling themselves onto a train, apparently because they wanted to live a life like Adam and Eve.

 CONCLUSION

So actually, yes, yes people would die for a "belief" that may very well be untrue, just because they "believe" that it is. 

That's what every war ever fought throughout history has largely been about: people making up stories that they succeed in selling to others as "true," from the Creel Commission to the Vietnam War,  just to get those people to go off and sacrifice themselves in one war after another; fighting for what they are convinced is not only true, but is what their God wants them to die fighting for! That's why "there's no atheists in foxholes." God is the giver of life, after all, but he still expects people to feed themselves into the furnace of war, just to prove they really love "truth," even if that "truth" is a complete fabrication,written by a journalist, who sells books by pretending that the "evidence" was indisputable.

It's not what's in your heart that matters, in other words, it's just about proving your loyalty to your "beliefs." And in a capitalist America, as Joel Osteen will tell you, it's even more about selling this "belief" to anyone who will buy it. 






[i] . http://www.patheos.com/blogs/crossexamined/2014/04/jesus-just-one-more-dying-and-rising-savior-easter
[ii][i] Millennialism, Persecution, and Violence: Historical Cases, page 205
[iii][ii] Whether this was really a "mass suicide" or something very different is heavily debated today, it should be noted.
[iv][iii] http://www.sandiegouniontribune.com/sdut-heavens-gate-tragedy-remains-the-countrys-worst-2007mar26-story.html
[v][iv] Approaching the Apocalypse: A Short History of Christian Millenarianism by John M Court. page 192

Thursday, December 28, 2017

A Problem with Heaven & Hell

Christians generally love the idea of heaven and hell. In fact, most relish in the belief that their "faith" is a winning lottery ticket to live forever in the Chocolate factory of the one, almost as much as they enjoy the thought that their enemies (i.e. atheists and anyone who ever 'bullied' them by doubting the veracity of their "beliefs") will burn for all eternity in an Auschwitz pizza oven of the other. 

Ignoring that their "beliefs" in such places are supported with even less evidence than most of their other claims, such Christians feel that simply believing in the existence of these two final destinations are necessary for keeping people "moral" in this life, by the promise or threat of final and eternal justice in the next. 

Naturally, most people  never envision that their own children, or their own parents, ever end up in the oven, even if those parents or children were serial killers or school shooters. For such a thought would, if actually considered with any real degree of empathy, so cripple the child or parent emotionally while here on earth, that it would be difficult for them to think of such a "god" as all that different from a sadistic serial killer like BTK. 

To avoid this, the "believer" goes to church, where the professional priestly class assures them not to worry, for their loved one is either with God in heaven, or if not, is quite deserving of the hell they have chosen to suffer in for all eternity. Luckily,  Catholics have "purgatory," which allows the best of both worlds.  For purgatory is a place where a person can expect all of the suffering of hell, while retaining enough confidence in an expectation of eternal rewards in heaven to keep them coming to church. It's like a diet version of hell. It's hell-lite.

That Catholics never seem to protest the idea that they may well be expected to inhabit this temporary furnace of suffering souls, nor ever consider that they might in fact object to the kind of "justice system" that requires them or their loved ones to be imprisoned in such a place for an extended period of time, beggars the imagination. 

Yet such Catholics nevertheless think that ideas of heaven & hell, and those who are finally adjudicated to live forever in either one, will nevertheless always be in accord with their own sense of justice. For their own sense of justice is one that accepts whatever "justice" God wishes to impose, however arbitrary and capricious it may seem to everyone on the planet. This is like Noah simply accepting that, if God wanted to kill everyone and everything on the planet with a flood, then there can be no question that they all damn well deserved it.

Of course, I have never heard a single Catholic priest explain what it was, exactly, that all of the animals who did not make it on to  Noah's ark, had done, that warranted they be swept away with all of those damned "humans" God had created. Presumably, God could kill all of these animals because they have no souls. But if they have no souls that were corrupted by original sin, then why kill them all as well? Why, in other words, impose such suffering on animals who, by virtue of being soulless, were incapable of pleasing or displeasing their creator?

Putting all of that aside, however, one is still left to wonder what solace a mother of a school shooter can take, when her religion leads her to suspect that the child she raised and loved so dearly, may well be the only person stuck in hell for all eternity. At this point, all the priest can do is promise them that, if their child is indeed in hell, the parent can rest assured that it's because God has justly decided they should be, on the one hand, and that God will mostly likely wipe all memory of that child from the memory of that parent if and when that parent is fortunate enough to reach heaven, on the other.

Of course, God only wipes their memory of that child from the mind of the parent, not to alleviate the suffering a parent might have at the thought that their child being tortured for all eternity, but to alleviate how uncomfortable that parent might be in living forever with, and even singing praises to, the very "god" who had created that "hell" in the first place.   

As for dealing with the cross in this life of not being sure either way where their child might be, that's just one of those "mysteries of faith," and the high price for a lottery ticket to heaven.  
 


 

Tuesday, December 26, 2017

Why Satan is a Christian & Jesus is an Atheist

The great irony of Christianity is how often Christians have acted like Satan in pursuit of their desire to make everyone like Christ. And this irony is only surpassed by how often atheists are truer to the example and the teachings of Christ than Christians, since it is the former who are often imprisoned like Christ for advocating peace in times of war, while the latter is only too willing to jump into the nearest foxhole for God and glory, with all the conviction of the German foot soldier in WW II that "God is with us."

This is hardly surprising, since if anything Christianity has to say is true, especially if Satan and God are really at each others throats, than there is no doubt that the easiest way for Satan to win the Battle of the Flags game between "Chaos & Order," like a Get Smart episode, is to wear the arm bands of the other side, like the criminals did in The Dirty Dozen. 

To put it more simply, when the Book of Revelation talks about Satan coming to rule the earth at the "end of times" (that the Christian always expects will be the return of Jesus but which history shows is really only ever the collapse of the latest world superpower, which in the times of Jesus was Rome), the state of the world today makes it pretty clear to see that such a figure could only rise up in the world as a wealthy megalomaniacal Christian. 

Not that I actually believe that the Bible is anything but a drug induced acid trip, written by would-be Charlie Manson followers, while they were all high on peyote and rockin out to the Janis Joplin and the Beatles of their day. But if one was to actually take the ideas of the Bible seriously, and apply them metaphorically to the world today, it would take real effort to not see how the philosophy of a penniless pauper like Christ has become the infallible religion of the money changers; and how Christians in America prostrate themselves before a Golden Calf president, who promises to make the "free market" their messianic savoir. 

Yet Donald Trump is no more a Christian than King David was a Jew. And in the same way David moved the capital of Israel to Jerusalem, which only caused great consternation among the twelve tribes because  Jerusalem was a Jebusite city, so King Donald Drumpf has declared Jerusalem the capital of Israel all over again, causing consternation all over the middle east. 

Combine this with the fact that a number of Christians across America are all chomping at the bit for the kick off of that great war of Armageddon foretold of in their bible, which is why they have all been stockpiling weapons for the last few decades, and it seems to only prove, once again, that Christianity is and has only ever been, a religion spread through bloodshed first, and blessings later.  And considering how Christ had to be murdered before humanity could be "saved" from the wrath of his "holy father," this was apparently "God's plan."

And like Hitler who rose to power preaching Christian virtues in Mein Kampf and imprisoning homosexuals as enemies of God, so anyone who is willing to enforce "god's laws" for the army of sheepish Christians is worshiped by those Christians as though he were Jesus himself, riding down from heaven like Elijah in a golden Cadillac to his penthouse apartment in central Manhattan (at tax payer expense, of course).

When the "free market" is worshiped so openly by Christians as their only real messiah, it is pretty clear that  Jesus would be an atheist, for as Joel Osteen has clearly demonstrated, money is the only "god" such Christians really follow. 

And like the plaque placed above the cross of Christ, so such Christians profess their true allegiances by attaching to their true messiah the phrase, "In God We Trust."    


The Rumpelstiltskin Effect: How Religion Turns Ignorance Into Knowledge

Ask a Christian where the universe came from, or what causes "miracles," and they will assure you the answer is God. And with such an answer, religion proves that its greatest miracle comes from convincing Christians that their ignorance of something must be proof of their knowledge of God. 

According to this logic, the reason we do not have all the answers to everything, is because our ignorance is intended by God to lead us to God. Brilliant! Put another way, religion worships ignorance as the greatest evidence of God's existence.

Hence, if we have no idea of where the universe came from, religion assures us that such a lack of knowledge of how or where, or even why or when the universe came to be, only proves it must have all come from God, and for whatever reason God wants, regardless of all the senseless suffering such a universe may contain.

In fact, if we have no idea why the universe contains such suffering, it is only as arrogant of us to presume it is senseless, as it is arrogant of a prisoner at Dachau to assume that all the suffering in the German concentration camps is without some "intelligent design" by the Fatherland, that perhaps the poor foolish Jew is simply too simpleminded to comprehend and fully appreciate. For if they understood the greater picture, of which the suffering Jew is but a single page in a several thousand page story, they would worship Hitler no less than the Christian insists humanity should worship God.

Like Rumpelstiltskin, Religion never misses an opportunity to find some hay of human ignorance, and through the miracle of people's willingness to believe anything that allows them to escape their fears, turns that ignorance into proof that God is real, and ultimately in charge of everything. It just so happens that by so proving, they convince people to give them their money for the experience of "believing" they will live forever, in a lofty paradise, with the guy who's son they are all guilty of murdering. 

    

The Power & Passivity of Prayer

There are basically two kinds of prayer, one of which is active and the other of which is passive. We could further categorize and sub categorize ideas of prayer, but for simplicity sake, understanding the difference between these two kinds of prayer is necessary for understanding whether prayer has a real world effect, or whether it is mostly just a lot of hot air. 

The first kind of prayer is prayer that is offered as a substitution for having to do anything. This kind of prayer happens when people get together to "pray" for the president, or to change abortion laws, or for world peace. 

Such prayers allow those who are offering them to buy into the illusion that, from the comfort of sitting around their own living rooms, they can actually help to alleviate the troubles in the world, by helping to empower and all powerful God, to do something about all those troubles. This is essentially how prayer becomes a way of purchasing world peace the same way someone might purchase a pair of shoes from QVC.

Like the witches stirring their pot in Macbeth, chanting "double double, toil and trouble," so people chant their incantations to an all powerful God, in the hopes that their efforts will move the "unmoved mover" off of his own couch in the sky, in order to help fix the same world he had allowed to murder his own son to try and "save."    That God can only get off of his own couch when all those praying from their own couches get off of theirs, is too uncomfortable a thought for those praying for the improvement of the world from the comfort of their own couches to bare. 

This kind of praying is a substitute for action. It may, however, at least make all those who enjoy the comforts of their couches feel like they are contributing in some way, even if they are not. At least, in other words, it makes people feel better about themselves, which is a placebo effect worth its weight in potential health benefits, both physical and emotional. 

The other kind of prayer is more active, and is used as a catalyst for taking action agaisnt great odds. It is what Jesus did in the garden of Gethsemane, for example, or what Martin Luther King did to muster the courage of those who marched for Civil Rights. 

This second kind of prayer is a kind of self talk, and self encouragement, to face great obstacles, and to have the fortitude to overcome great ignorance, especially of the sort so often grounded in organized religion. Such prayer serves as the catalyst to change a world addicted to the ignorance of ideas that have all too often become sacred, for no other reason than that time has sanctified them as traditions. 

Understanding the difference between these two kinds of prayers is necessary for understanding how a "believer" can insist that prayer has real world effects, since in the second example it can and does, while an atheist can equally insist that such prayer has no real world effects at all, other than perhaps providing people with an opportunity to feel good about themselves for trying to improve the world, by doing pretty much as little as is humanly possible for them to do.

Amen. 

 

How to Lie for Christ: Bishop Barron on Stephen Hawking and Atheism

Bishop Barron is a perfect example of a priest who either knows he is lying for Christ, or is so conditioned by his beliefs that his admission of "faith" is simply a denial of how his own confirmation bias directs him to worship his own delusions. Having looked at how Barron does this earlier, it is useful to consider it again, to illustrate how easily a person can manipulate other people, when those other people want so desperately to find a reason to "believe" things they so need and want to believe.

In this video:  https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=S-yx5WN4efo

Barron argues that "Science pontificates about matters properly philosophical or religious." And with this claim, Barron assumes he is perfectly qualified to "pontificate" about matters scientific, even though he is not a scientists, while condemning scientists for "pontificating" about religion, without first being a priest. That Barron is so comfortable practicing as a priest the very thing he condemns in the scientist, speaks volumes. 

Barron continues, "There is a qualitative difference between science and philosophy.." Actually, this is not entirely true. Science and philosophy were always parts of the same discipline, even before the great Greek philosophers like Socrates and Plato, and especially Aristotle. In fact, it is incredibly ironic that Barron should argue that science and philosophy deal with "qualitatively" different realms of knowledge, since neither Aristotle nor St Aquinas would have agreed with his claim, as anyone familiar with either of the writings of these two men can readily attest.

In this way, Barron is simply relying on (and indeed preying upon) the ignorance of his audience,  so they "believe" he is telling the "truth" when making this distinction, even though the "qualitative difference" he then tries to draw is one that is as artificial as it is hypocritical. It is artificial, because science has always been a quest to understand the ultimate "cause" of things, be those causes material or other, and hypocritical, because he is claiming that priests have the authority to denounce the claims of science but that scientists have no authority to denounce the claims of religion.  Here, Barron posits that faith reigns supreme over all, while science is as subordinate to that faith as Galileo was to the Catholic church. 

As Barron explains further:

"Science seeks after, and pursues events and objects and phenomenon, within the empirically observable and measurable universe. That's the proper purview of science. Philosophy and religion  seek after ultimate and final causes."

 Here, Barron's blatant dishonesty is on full display.

For not only does Barron dishonestly try to suggest that there is a "qualitative difference" between "science" on the one hand and "philosophy and religion" on the other - as if "science" has never sought after, nor should it ever dare to seek after, "ultimate and final causes" -  but he also then tries to suggest that it is only those of a religious persuasion (such as himself) that have any real authority to "pontificate" about those things that exist, or may exist, outside of the box Barron has conveniently limited science too "pontificating" about.

This lie is a bold one, because it preys upon the hope that the audience does not know the history of the relationship between philosophy, science and religion. For if that audience knew such a history, they would know fully well that both science and religion were always understood to be very much a part of philosophy, which is simply a pursuit of all forms of knowledge, in every realm of human understanding. 

He then argues that "science as such simply can not adjudicate questions that lie outside of its proper purview." This is only true, of course, if we accept both the box that Fr. Barron is insisting science and scientists must be limited to, and the assertion that religion alone should be relied upon to determine what the "proper purview" of science is and should be.

Of course, the dichotomy Barron creates by relegating science to its "proper purview" never stops priests like Barron from continually trying to use science in anyway possible to support their own religious claims, including and especially by pointing out all the scientists who profess to be Christians who believe in God. This, then, is the equivalent of  scientists pointing out the growing number of priests who are actually atheists, which recent reports suggest may be more prevalent than scientists who proclaim to be theists. 

In this sense, Barron's hypocrisy is even more strident, because it shows that priests like Barron do not really think science has nothing to say about their religion or their God. Far from it! Barron only really thinks that science has nothing to say about God when science is in anyway suggesting there is no need for a God (which is quite different from arguing that there is, in fact, no God),  but that science has plenty to say if and when it ever suggests that there is or must be a God.

Hence, Barron simply rejects that science is qualified to speak about God when science challenges Barron's "beliefs" about God, but accepts that science is qualified to speak about God when science supports Barron's "beliefs" about God. How convenient. 

Of course, religion never limits itself to any such limitations or "proper purview," since it feels perfectly authorized to define "events and objects and phenomenon within the empirically observable and measurable universe" as necessarily "miracles," whenever the limits of human understanding about such "events and objects and phenomenon" are breached (which is pretty often it turns out - read The Improbability Principle by David Hand ). Again, how convenient for Fr. Barron.


Where did the universe come from?


Then Barron argues about  the ex nihilo... (which I have discussed already here)

... while simply ignoring, or perhaps being simply ignorant of, the fact that our universe may be the result of another universe from which it sprang.  After all, why couldn't the whole of the universe have come from another universe, coughed up through a black hole, by forces and powers that we know not of? The assumption that the universe came 'from nothing' is as much a "belief" held by Barron as the belief that the universe must therefore have come from God. And by getting his audience to accept this false dichotomy, Barron manipulates them into accepting his answer as necessarily the only one that makes sense.

Nor have atheists ever claimed to "know" that the universe came from nothing, with anything like the authority with which Christians claim to "know" the universe came from God. Both the atheist and the Christian run into the same wall of ignorance at the threshold of existence, with the atheist claiming "nothing," which is simply a reflection of their own ideas about what lies beyond, while the Christian asserts forcefully "God," which is simply a reflection of how they see themselves.  

But what's the real difference between an atheist saying "the universe just popped into being from nothing" and a Christian saying" the universe popped into being from God"? 

The difference - and this is crucial - is that the latter thinks their answer gives them the right, and indeed the authority, and even an obligation upon which their eternal salvation necessarily depends, to not only pretend they know things that they absolutely know they do not know, but to use the things they pretend to know, to force people to conform to their "beliefs" about what it means to be a human being, and "godly." 

Believe in God if you wish, but this does not mean your belief in such a thing gives you the authority to "believe" you know more about morality and what it means to be a good person or even a human being, than anyone else.


Contingent vs Non-Contingent

Barron then argues that, to find our meaning we must find our origins. And by that he means, as he puts it, "we have to come to the thing that carries within itself the very reason for its own existence; who's very nature is to be."

Barron's use of the world "who's" here reveals his own underlying bias for something that looks and thinks just like he does, and that is the problem. He assumes, in short, that whatever may have caused the universe not only must have been something entirely external to everything in the universe (an assumption he feels no need to address let alone offer any evidence to support), but more importantly, that whatever "it" was, must necessarily be understood as a "who" and not simply as a "what." 

This difference between a "who" and a "what," where Barron necessarily assumes it is proper to anthropomorphize what he further assumes must be a "non-contingent" being,  is what Barron's entire argument for God, and specifically a Christian God, hinges upon. 

Barron never considers, for example, that even if in fact the "thing" or "things" that were the immediate cause of our universe should properly be understood as a "being," and thus a "who," that such a "being" may, nevertheless, still be a contingent "being." Nor does he ever consider that, even if we accept his assumptions, this in no way verifies that we should think such a "being" has any of the same "intentions" or "reasons" that humans have, even though there is allegedly an infinite difference between the two.  

This, then, is like an ameba assuming the petri dish it inhabits was created specifically for it, rather than anything else that can be placed into such a dish, and for all of the same reasons as only the ameba can imagine.  And yet even the petri dish is created by a "god," that is the human being, who is further contingent upon their parents, and even the entire universe. But to the ameba who lives inside the universe of that "intelligently designed" petri dish, the scientist would be like a god, even though humans think nothing like amebas and are contingent beings.  



The Last Lie

And lastly, it is simply false for Barron to assert that Hawking or science in general, posit "a comprehensive thesis that the scientific framework leaves no room for a deity.. or that "science proves there is no god."

Such a claim is simply a straw man, and a man of Barron's intelligence probably knows it. 

There is a universe of difference between science demonstrating how things work without the need for a God, or a "non-contingent"and prime "mover" of all things, and science aping religion by asserting "therefore there is no god!" The former is simply an observation of observable evidence, while the latter is as much an act of "faith" as Barron's assertion "therefore there must be a god!"

But Barron nevertheless likes to pretend that anytime science demonstrates the former, by an atheist, it is necessarily declaring the latter, even though he knows full well that the two are not the same thing. I am sure Barron knows this is the case when such a thing is demonstrated by a scientist that is a Christian, but this does not stop him from trying to malign those scientists who assert the very same thing, but who happen to be atheists. 

True, there are plenty of atheists who conflate the two just as often as  theists conflate their "beliefs" with "infallible truth," but to claim that science is ever asserting in its findings the claim that "science proves there is no god" is to bait his followers with claims that he knows full well are not only untrue, but that he uses to manipulate his audience emotionally, into "believing" his claims. 

 For a man to pretend to be only after "the truth," Barron sure is comfortable with using any number of lies to reach it. 










Monday, December 25, 2017

Flat Earthers & Falsifiability: Why People Believe in God & Religion

There are any number of reasons why people will tell you they "believe" in their gods or their religions. But perhaps the most interesting of those reasons, which is seldom admitted by "believers," is simply the fact that their "beliefs" cannot be falsified.

Karl Popper pointed out that, for a theory to be scientifically and thus logically valid, it must be testable, and thus falsifiable. But from flat earth believers to Christians, such "beliefs" can neither be tested nor falsified.

And when we look at the recent phenomenon of people "converting" to "flat earth" beliefs, we see that the strongest evidence they have for their conversion comes from their inability to falsify the claims of flat earthers. And in the same way a person cannot falsify God or virtually any of the claims made by religion - such as the existence of a soul, "original sin," heaven & hell, and so much more - so a person who cannot falsify the claims of flat earthers simply concludes their claims must therefore be true.

Wait until a couple thousand years have passed, and countless people have erected a church that they accept has been given by a God, the sole authority and power to define "infallible truth" concerning our 'flat earth,' in which it has hired a professional class of flat earth theologians to write and defend endlessly its unfalsifiable claims; threatened, tortured and murdered all those who oppose it's flat earth doctrines; and proven again and again that it is the infallible arbiter of all truth from our divine flat-earth making God...

... and the only person who would dare to think the earth was round would be crucified as a heretic...

... just like Jesus. 

Saturday, December 23, 2017

How to Rationalize Any Evil: Bishop Barron on Violence in the Bible

In the following video:

 https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1A65Wfr2is0

Bishop Barron offers a way for Christians to grapple with the problem of violence in their Bible, where God repeatedly directs his "chosen people" to engage in genocide, as if "morality" and "genocide" are not always mutually exclusive ideas. In doing so, we see how a "bias" can ultimately help us rationalize anything we want it to. Barron, for example, is perfectly willing to rationalize the violence in the Bible in ways that allow the Bible to conform to his own sense of morality, but seems to ignore that everyone else uses exactly the same kinds of "rationalizations" to defend their own "beliefs" - from political to theistic to economic to atheistic - that he uses to defend his "Christianity."

Some Christians actually believe, frighteningly enough, that maybe, just maybe, genocide is not always a "bad" thing. Maybe, in other words, genocide could be a "good" thing, if it's something "God" wants. I agree with Barron when he claims that this is "ipso facto" incorrect. But there isn't anything in the Bible that clearly leads us to see that violence is something God does not very much enjoy. On the contrary, from the flood to the crucifixion, violence seems to be the preferred means by which God treats humanity the way Ike treated Tina Turner!  In fact, even when Jesus makes comments about the evil of "living by the sword," he also claims to come not in peace, "but to bring the sword." And this is why there is an ever present ambiguity at the very heart of Christianity and the Bible. 

This, then, is how even the murder of Isaac at the hands of his father Abraham could be construed by Christians as a "murder" (or in that case, "attempted murder) that's nevertheless "moral," since it was done with as much obedience to God as Christians burning witches and heretics, or the Nazi's murdering Jews during WW II was done in "obedience" to Hitler - a man who ruled Germany, in the language of both King David and later the Christian monarchs of medieval Europe, essentially by the "divine right of kings." 

It is also why even the Devil can quote the Bible, because the Bible is rife with examples that can be used to support every virtue just as much as every vice, and every altruism as much as every act of unimaginable evil. And this is especially true when one is willing to apply any number of different 'interpretive methods' as a means of 'transubstantiation" from a literal meaning to a metaphorical one.
  
First, Barron relies on his "confirmation bias," and that of his audience, to argue that "the best theologians" argued agaisnt simply jettisoning the god of the Old Testament as a genocidal tyrant, and embracing the god of the New Testament as a kinder gentler one. Instead, as Origen of Alexander argued, Barron says "we must read the entire Bible from the standpoint of the last book of the Bible." Specifically, Barron wants us to interpret all violence in the Bible solely through the "lens" of the 5th chapter in Revelations, where a scroll is seen with 7 seals, with that scroll representing the whole of divine revelation.

"So who can unlock or unseal this scroll?" Barron asks.  Only "a little lamb, who's been slain; a figure of utter weakness and mildness, who alone is able to open the scroll." As Barron continues, "So the only standpoint anyone should try to read the Bible, is from the standpoint of Christ slain, the lamb of god murdered, who takes away sins of world through his suffering." 

Of course there is nothing in the bible that tells us that this is how we should ultimately interpret all of the violence in the bible, but that doesn't prevent Catholics from believing Barron nevertheless. Nor do Christians have any problems with the fact that God used the murder of his "only son," at the hands of humanity, to forgive that same humanity for the petty larceny committed by Adam ad Eve.

But even using Barron's lens to interpret violence in the Bible does not clear up the ambiguous nature of the Bible's continual use of violence, especially since we are so fallible and flawed in our human nature. But this is as simply ignored by Barron as it is overlooked by his audience. But any Christian who hears Barron say as much, is somehow convinced by his rather meaningless answer, that he has answered such objections clearly and definitively, even as the rational atheist is left scratching their head and wondering what the hell that even means. 

Barron goes on to say, "if we read the Bible where we see god as capricious and cruel ... if you conclude that that Bible wants us to be violent, "you have ipso facto misread it." Tell that to the Inquisitions, the Crusades, the witch burning and killing of heretics, the divine justifications for slavery, the fact that Christians are always the ones willing to jump into foxholes, and all those who see Jesus's return in terms of a fiery Armageddon.   Hell, tell that to God, who drowned everyone on the planet and "willed" that Jesus be killed by violent human beings. 

Of course, there is absolutely nothing in the Bible that actually states that Barron's "ipso facto" conclusion is in fact the right one, especially when you consider that God chose to use violence as the vehicle of human salvation, when He could've simply used any infinite number of other non-violent methods to do so. And had God indeed used a "non-violent" method of forgiving humanity, not only would the pogroms agaisnt the Jews by Christians over the last two thousand years perhaps never have happened, but the message of the how God dislikes violence would be much more clear, and less dependent upon the need of someone like Barron to explain it all to us. But alas, God works in mysterious ways, which fortunately provides Barron with employment, and a soap box upon which to practice his sophistry for Christ.

Instead, Barron's whole argument only forces people to have to depend necessarily upon a man-made Church to offer  ever more clever ways of rationalizing the violence in their Bible as being anything but a glorification of violence itself. That every "apologist" for every "belief" has always done the very same thing, never deters Christians from being fully convinced that their own "beliefs" are, throughout the whole of human history, the one unique exception to the rule.

Barron then asks, "then how do we read these passages where god seems violent and cruel?"

Easy, Barron assure us, just "read them as an allegorical, and metaphorical struggle," with Israel standing "for love and compassion," and the enemies of Israel - from the Amalekites, Philistines, Assyrians Babylonians, to Greeks and Romans - "stand for all things that stand athwart God's purposes."  For Barron, wiping out these other nations means simply, metaphorically speaking, that "we should fight evil all the way down... and not by half measure." 

But again, there is absolutely nothing in the Bible that informs the reader that they should, necessarily, understand such passages in a purely metaphorical or allegorical sense. Barron just does so, not only to assure humanity we need Catholic priests to explain it all to us, but also in order to get his Bible and his religion to conform to his own sense of morality. And he does this, while pretending that his morality is actually just an extension of his Christianity, from which all morality and truth necessarily emanates and depends.

Hence, Barron's interpretation only helps to secure his job by requiring people to come to him, or some other priest, to give them the "right" way of "interpreting" passages that, on their face, seem only to condone or even glorify genocide. Luckily, we have priests like Barron to "rationalize" such passages to conform to his sense of "morality," that he then conflates with his Christianity, so we can have the right "metaphorical" understanding of such glorious bloodletting for God.  

The most notorious passage Barron points out, is the one to Saul to put a "ban on them," that is, "to kill every man, woman, and child" of the Amalekites. But Saul doesn't follow the example of Abraham and kill them all, opting instead to displease God by keeping Agag, the King of the Amalekites, alive. Samuel, however, abrades Saul for this, and, following in the footsteps of Moses (who, after receiving the Ten Commandments which included "thou shalt not kill," slaughtered half of his followers anyway for worshiping the Golden Calf) hacks Agag to pieces. 

Again, lucky for Christians,  Barron is here to explain that this murderous act of savagery is not what it so clearly appears to be. No, no, no no! It's something entirely different!  Praise Jesus!

Barron explains that all of this must be understood metaphorically, even though there's nothing in the Bible that actually tells us this is how we should interpret it. He claims this, even though the Church claims to be the only one that is allowed to ever offer such metaphorical interpretations, while denouncing all other "metaphorical interpretations" - especially ones that may only present the Catholic Church as being the Serpent in the Garden of Eden - as clearly incorrect. How convenient. 

Why God chose NOT to simply say what he meant, through these biblical authors, is simply proof that "god works in mysterious ways," even when God knows full well it will only add to the confusion that he allegedly wrote the Bible to clear up in the first place. Talk about a brilliant plan!

According to Barron's way of looking at it, however, God apparently wrote the Bible in such an ambiguous way, via the biblical authors, specifically so it would be just confusing enough for people to have to depend necessarily upon a Church that, like the Sanhedrin, would be in charge of telling everyone what it all really means. Again, how fortunate for those who's jobs and power depend upon people "believing" this, as the necessary means of "understanding" their faith in anything and everything, especially themselves. 

Barron transforms all of these purely evil deeds, and makes them moral guideposts, by recasting them from literal interpretations to purely metaphorical and allegorical stories about "good" battling "evil." In this way, two thousand years from now, Christians can read of the Nazi's killing Jews during WW II, and similarly recast such genocide from the literal evil of history that it was, into the metaphorical contest between God and the minions of the Devil. Of course, then it would be up to the interpreter to decide which was which, metaphorically speaking, and why. But not to worry, for there is sure to be another Bishop Barron around at that time who will be only too willing to explain it all, using any mixture of the "four senses" of biblical interpretation that Barron uses today to rationalize the genocides of the Old Testament.

And in perhaps the greatest twist of Orwellian irony,  Barron goes on to say that "Israel is a warlike people, so that their authors would therefore use warlike metaphors to describe God's powers." 

Wait, what?

So, on the one hand, Barron already claimed in this video that, "metaphorically speaking," we should think "Israel stands for love and compassion," while on the other hand, Barron says we should, at the same time, understand that Israel was literally a "warlike people," who were simply using "war like metaphors" to represent God's love and mercy. Confused yet?

Does this mean that Israel did not literally engage in genocide for God? If they did not, why then does Barron call them "a warlike people"? And if they did, how can Barron so easily convince his audience to simply think of such genocide as a metaphor, so we can see Israel as really representing "love and compassion"?

Hence, Barron says the best way to understand the violence in the Bible is to think of  Israel, not as the "warlike people" they really were, but as being a metaphor for "love and compassion."

This is like arguing Charles Manson should be understood metaphorically as a Captain Kangaroo, that the cross should be understood as metaphor for a comfy chair, and that Christ crucified should be understood as a metaphor for a party pinata!

All of this only illustrates the ability of charlatans like Barron to use whatever "interpretive method" is needed for him to pull the god of "love and compassion" from out of religions hat of violence and genocide, so that every act of bloodshed becomes a perfectly acceptable metaphor for teaching children of all ages, about God's mercy and morality. ISIS would be proud.

Barron does this by offering "strategies" for understanding the "layered senses" in which the bible should be interpreted, with the Church always having the final say in which interpretation is necessarily the "right one." For Barron there are Four Senses of Scripture: the literal, allegorical, moral, and anagogical. And it's probably safe to assume that if none of these allows Barron to square some biblical story of bloodletting with his own sense of a "moral" and "compassionate" God, that he'll gladly find another "sense" that will. 

Barron then simply uses whichever of these "senses" is needed to interpret the Bible in a way that conforms to his own sense of morality, and convinces the greatest number of his audience of his "knowledge" of God, while at the same time suggesting that he is doing nothing of the sort. Rather than simply using whatever interpretive method allows him to see the Bible in a way that confirms the bias he begins with, in other words, he is simply interpreting the bible in the "right way," in accord with the "true" nature of a "compassionate, loving, god"  - as anyone truly listening to his explanation can so plainly see (Yes, that's sarcasm.)

Barron concludes with, "read the bible through that lens" (here, the literal "lens" Barron is referring to is Rev.  Chap 5, but metaphorically, he means "whatever biblical passage works to square all of the worst stories of the Bible with only the best ideas about God") " and you'll read it right."  

And that, my friends, is how everyone can rationalize anything into whatever they want!





ground hog day

Our central nervous system needs constant stimulation with new stimuli, and so does our brain.  Otherwise, both our sensations and our minds...