Ash Wednesday

10 Mar

I was walking from work yesterday and was somewhat surprised as to how many people had their foreheads smeared with the signature dark grey ash (where does this ash come from…. anyway??!!?).

So I thought to myself… look at all those delusional folks, trying to remind themselves they were created from ash when all the knowledge we have built up point to other reasons why humans exist. Just bemused.

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Has it really been 15 days??!?!

3 Mar

15 days without coming across something about religion that would piss me off. Great!

Earth is 6000 years old!

15 Feb

Yes, gathering from the gospels, add a bit of math and presto, the world as we know is only 6,000 years old!!! Asians take pride into how ancient their history goes, but alas, the first Emperor, the Yellow Emperor, reigned around 2600 BCE. Not old enough to refute this, there is only other civilization that is older than the Chinese one, and that is the Egyptian one. Scholars have indicated that early tribes settled near the Nile around 5500 BCE…. wait, 5500 BCE??? You mean…… there were people…. and the Earth…. and the solar system….. and the universe … gasp, BEFORE god??!?!!? You mean to tell me that ancient Egypt predated any math calculation that the bible could give for how old the Earth is??

Yes christians, stop being so ignorant.

Net effect of Religion on humans is EXTREMELY negative

14 Feb

This is not a generalization.  It is a fact.  What has religion contributed to the world?  Really, look at throughout history.  Art, music, free meals to the poor, helping the elderly cross the street.  Yes, these are all good things.  Especially the warm fuzzy feelings that you get after you go to church.

However, what has religion REALLY contributed to societies?  Murders, torture, rape, infanticide, you name it.  What is the worst war ever in history, the longest war and the war with the most deaths?  The crusades.  By the pope, of course.  Power hungry popes (yes, religion was created for power an manipulation of the dumb).  The Crusades were begun to restore order to the “holy land” by the christian military in 1095 until….. the ninth Crusade, which ended in 1272.  Yes, 1272, or a war that lasted over 100 years!!!  A 200 year war due to…. religion.  IF THAT IS NOT EVIL, I DON’T KNOW WHAT IS.  And for those who forget, the crusades were against Jews as well, so it didn’t all start with Hitler, but with roman catholicism.  Detestable.  To think I used to believe this filth.

This almost 200 year war caused millions and millions of deaths.  MILLIONS.  But it doesn’t stop there.  There were a series of Inquisitions that also killed millions.  How many elderly folk, feeding hungry poor people does religion have to do in order to make up these past evils.  The answer is never.  Religion can never make up for all the evil it has inflicted on mankind, all the murder, torture, rape and psychological brain damage and brain washing on all the victims.

Religion fundamentally challenges humanity’s ability to think and reason.  It has never contributed anything positive to humanity except art and a warm feeling when you get out from church.  Religion has singlehandedly caused more mass suffering, more deaths and more hurt than anything in the history of mankind.  From the crusades to holy wars, religion only divides.  Religion destroys the very thing that followers are supposed to uphold: love.  It has caused so much intolerance and hate in this world that the net impact of religion is massively negative.  No amount of peaceful meditation, free meals to the poor, helping elderly cross the street is enough to wipe out the past atrocities that religion has wrought upon the world.

Religion is mankind’s greatest enemy.

Markan Priority

8 Feb

Regarding the previous post and verse, a little context.  Some of my very religious family members balk at me citing some sick, detestable and demented verses from the old testament, saying how the OT should not be read literally.  WTF.  So I had to cite some equally disturbing and sick verses from the NT, just to shut them up.  What is your response to that now?  NT should not be read literally, as well?

What a bunch of BS, not only on the authorship, but also on the believers.  Must they delude themselves or have selective memory?  Must they find some stupid rationalization so that god looks to be all loving?

Anyway, back to the main topic.  Many schools of thought into the authorship of the bible.  One of the main hypotheses is the 2 source theory, where Luke and Matthew derive most of their content from Mark.  Plagiarism is an age old problem, I know.  Then these two, trying to cover up their intellectual dishonesty and laziness, sourced some more content from Q.  The underlying thing is, it is very clear the bible was written by humans, and lazy if not dumb humans.

If there was divine inspiration, why such very HUMAN characteristics?  There are some chapters in Luke that have content from Mark, but are elaborate.  I think the most damning and most human trait in the bible is that Luke got lazy as any plagiarist would do, and started copying Mark word for word!!  Take a look at the wiki under Fatigue.  Oh so human and yes, I don’t deny it, I’ve been there when I was in high school.  You know how boring it is when you have to think of new ways to say the same damn thing from a book.  It is so human it has to be true.

Markan… Priority?

5 Feb

Before I delve into the various sources of the bible and its authorship, here is a juicy verse.

* MARK 12:18-27

If a man dies childless, his widow is ordered by biblical law to have intercourse with each of his brothers in turn until she bears her deceased husband a male heir.

You hear that?  Get it on!

Absolutism Dogmatism catholicism

29 Jan

Absolutism.  That is the main characteristic of religions, and why it doesn’t make sense.  Especially christianity and catholicism.  Take for example the so called canon laws of catholicism.  The bread of the holy communion MUST have wheat.  So people allergic to wheat can’t have communion, the most important part of church.

That brings me to this.  The bible and the various dumb laws were written thousands of years ago.  Back then, knowledge about everything was less developed.  So adhering to these dumb laws is like trying to live 1000 years ago.  Back then, there was no light bulb, no cars, no science.  Its just idiotic to impede yourself from progress by listening to made up stories from thousands of years ago.  Without the knowledge we have today, these laws show many flaws that, really, need just a little extra thought (hard for theists to understand).

Take the wheat example.  This is governed by canon law 925, which states that the bread must be made of wheat and water.  This really begs the question…. what if all the world’s supply of wheat dies?  Will the church not be able to offer communion to anybody?  Of course not.  In this dire scenario, the pope will then claim some vision he had so that now, oh, god said we can use barley now!

We can take this one step further.  I present this scenario.  Imagine that there is this small island in the middle of the pacific ocean that nobody has landed on, but for some reason, there lives a tribe.  This tribe has been living for thousands of years, the traditions unchanged.  They have been untouched by civilization, and by that nature, are hunter gathers.  One of the most interesting features is that they always kill the weakest child in the pack.  This ensures that their genetics are strong and carried to the next generation.  So now, imagine a scenario where we have WW III, and every living person dies, EXCEPT for this tribe in the middle of nowhere.

So, the question becomes, now that the world’s population thinks killing is not a crime, does this mean that they are all sinners?  Now as the whole world believes that killing their first born is a natural thing, does that mean it is right or wrong?  I assume you will agree with me that taking life is the worst thing anyone can do, but… in this perverse scenario, is killing right…. or wrong?  I argue that it is neither.  Right or wrong, holy or evil, are absolute terms that are meaningless in the real world.  Nothing is ever always right, and nothing ever is always wrong.  So if absolutism is false, then religions are false.

 

Prayer FAIL

27 Jan

I’ve never come across a robust statistical study of prayer.  I doubt there ever will be, because prayer will fail to be statistically significant.  It is this fear of failing, whether an explicit objective or unbiased test, that will keep christians from doing anything of this sort.  It is in effect, this absence of anything measurable that makes religion survive.

Just like our education system.  If teachers are not accountable for student’s grades, then there will always be crappy teachers.  The absence of accountability ensures the survival of abysmal teachers.

Therefore I posit, with quantitative and robust statistical tests, we can prove that prayer is useless.  This is my statistical test.

Take 100 terminally ill cancer patients, like those with pancreatic cancer and separate them into 2 groups.  Group A and group B.  Now, take 500 christians, catholics, muslim, etc, whatever, and tell them to pray for Group A.  But the crux is, do not tell them about Group B.  For these 500 religious people, let them pray non-stop for 6 months.

After 6 months, compare the mortality rate of both groups.  The 50 person sample should be enough to create a statistically robust test of the effectiveness of prayer.  My bet is that there the difference in survival rates is not statistically significant.  So if this is true, then the real question is, what is prayer?

Prayer, when said out loud, basically, is this.  It is a sound or sounds that is produced by hot air/gas, moving through an orifice from a bag of chemicals (the human body). How about prayer in the mind?  It is equivalent of …. well… doing nothing.  Nice.

Now if you follow this logic, that praying is doing nothing and wasting your time, perhaps it will be somewhat interesting to calculate how much time a person wastes praying in a lifetime.  If we propose this person is moderately religious, prays 1 hour every week at home and spends 1 hour at church every week.  The person does this from 10 years old and lives to 80 years old.

So the math is 70 years * 52 weeks * 2 hours = 7280 hours.  So in a lifetime, a person wastes 7280 hours of time.  Now, if we also agree with Malcom Gladwell’s 10000 rule, that means you have just squandered about 70% to mastering a skill or skillset that could theoretically make you a genius.

Nice.  Keep on praying!

First Post

25 Jan

First posts should give some controversial or thought provoking topic… like the Tiger Mom (I think her ways are pretty right on, actually) and her bold teaching methods.  But, maybe not.  I was going into this thinking I should open a gradiose provocative statement, you know, like Religions Can Suck It!  But having now gathered my thoughts, ordered them, I just have too much juicy topics and debate topics to just single out one as the starting topic.  I was thinking…. what if I start out with my best stuff and because I’m new, no-one reads it?  Or if I start out too weak, people will just lose interest.

So this is day 3, and I’ve had enough!  A brief bio should get things started pretty nicely.

I’m an atheist.  I have been for 4 years now.  I’m 31.  I was a religious Catholic for 27 years.  Yep, born into Catholic parents (which by the way, both were not born into religion, but they both went to Catholic schools because their families were poor and Catholic schools offered their families a cheap education… why they ended up being so religious is an entirely different topic… I sense another juicy debate!).  Baptized when I was just a baby, went to the same church for 8 years when I was in Canada.   Family migrated to Hong Kong, where we continued to go to church every Sunday.  We were pretty much the model Catholic family.  Pray, say rosaries, I could cite bible passages, etc.  We did it all.

So.  How did I begin to experience “losing my religion”?

I went to college.  At first I started out strong.  Freshman year, I went to church every Sunday as before.  Joined youth groups, went to christian retreats, joined christian clubs… the whole enchilada.  Oh yeah, and bible study every week.  Wow.  Intensive.  But even as I was going to these, I noticed something that amiss.  It was subtle, but I just didn’t feel comfortable.  Then after a long summer break, I started my sophomore year and noticed it right away.  It was just too friendly. I mean it was not like your friendly doorman who chats you up occaisonally.  It was WAAAY TOO FRIENDLY!!!! Here I am, talking to these people, who seem so eager to help you and be friends with you, and realize that we have nothing in common.  Every single person.  We don’t hang out outside of the “large group” or “small groups”.  We don’t watch movies together, play video games together, go clubbing together…. nothing.  I just saw everybody trying to be nice to the new guys, and then it freaking hit me… its just one big stupid contest.  On multiple levels.  Who is the most popular with the newbies, who is the closest to god, who always does what the bible tells them, who is the best at bible study, and so on.  What a bunch of fucking bullshit.

But even with this feeling, I still went to more retreats.  And that was insane.  I vividly remember this one at a retreat when I was a sophomore – when we were singing some christian song together in “large group” and then this girl just freaking started to cry uncontrollably.  I was like…. uh.. WTF?  Then she not ONLY cried uncontrollably, she then MOVED TO NEAR THE FRONT OF THE ROOM, WHILE CRYING UNCONTROLLABLY.  At that point, I really felt uncomfortable.  Clearly this is for freaking show, right?  So as if things can get any more awkward, she then KNEELS IN THE MIDDLE OF THE ROOM WHILE CRYING UNCONTROLLABLY, AND THEN PROCEEDS TO LIE ON THE FLOOR AND CRY LIKE A FREAKING LUNATIC.  So at this point, about 5 people from the “I’m closer to god than you” group joins her, kneels with her while SHE STILL IS CRYING AND LYING ON THE FLOOR and joins in and prays and sings.  At this point I left disgusted and went to my cabin and slept.  Not only was I disgusted at the spectacle, I was bored out of my mind.

So the next day, I found out from some others that she was crying because “she was touched my god”.  Well, the REAL reason was that she was junior, had no offers lined up for her internship and was freaking crying her eyes out because she was stressed.  The retreat was around May.  Figures.  What a load of bullshit.

That was the turning point.  I started to question every motive of everybody in religion.  At the same time, I started to think.  For the first time.  Really THINK. I wondered about the bible’s authors, how a book that writes about this character jesus be the authority when it was written several hundred years after he was supposed to have lived.  Why there is so little if any records of such a person in Greek history.  How the biblical stories of a global flood conflicts with Chinese history (yes I’m Chinese).

So I first stopped going to anything christian for my junior year.  I still went to church every Sunday, clung on to my catholism as ok.  None of that crazy and popularity shit.

The good times lasted for 2 years.  Then I encountered this story about a little 8 year old girl being denied the eucharist, arguably the most important part of church, because she was allergic to wheat.  According to canon law, the unleavened bread MUST contain wheat because it is how the last supper was done.  So this girl is DENIED the eucharist and thus all the benefits of the eucharist because she is allergic to wheat!!!  It gets better.  But what is the eucharist anyway?  Its when the unleavened bread becomes jesus’ flesh through “transubstantiation”.  From Wikipedia: “When at his last supperjesus said: “This is my body”,[16] what he held in his hands still had all the appearances of bread: these “accidents” remained unchanged. However, the Roman Catholic Church believes that, when Jesus made that declaration,[17] the underlying reality (the “substance”) of the bread was converted to that of his body”.  So this bread becomes jesus body, then why can’t a loaf of bread without wheat be transubstantiated into the body of christ?

I was disallusioned, then read the possible source of two gospels, Q, child abuse in catholic church, church used as power, new discovered gospel of judas, gospel of Mary Magdelene, all of which claimed to be closest to jesus…. and many many many more things that I will discuss.

So one day I woke up, and did not believe anymore.  I felt free.  I felt alive again.

Welcome to my blog.