Category: Religion

An open letter to Kirk Cameron

An open letter to Kirk Cameron

Kirk,

I really want you to read this and I know you have enough time to respond to this letter because you’re not really doing anything important and you haven’t had a good acting gig since the 80’s. I would like a response to this not because I would like to be famous (or infamous) or because I want to feel like I’ve dominated you in some way that would give me pride points. In fact, I hope this letter reaches you in the best regards for a hopeful reply because like me and many others that try to respond to you on Facebook, you immediately take away someone’s rights at free speech by keeping them from responding any further. When you do this, you are telling me and others how invariably weak and simple-minded you are.

I know this makes you feel all-powerful and “god-like” but what this really says is that you and your friend Ray Comfort cannot and will not tolerate anyone that differs from your opinion on Religion. This tells me that you couldn’t debate or critically think your way out of a wet paper bag. So I implore you to respond to this open letter.

I challenge you to an online debate. It will be really simple and very easy for you to take part in. I would like to be educated by you and in turn would like to educate you. Every debate that I enter I always learn something new and exciting as I’m sure you have as well. You and I are about the same age (I’m older than you by 13 days) so we grew up roughly in the same Generation. I would like to chat with you sometime or talk on the phone whichever you’d like to do.

You see, I am a very simple person. I don’t have very many wants or needs and everything I have in my life I appreciate. Right down to my 200sq ft house, my 1996 Volkswagen GTI and my very loving and beautiful life partner. I have, in essence, everything I need. I am an Atheist and have been for a long time. As a child, I was brought up in the Church of Christ in Middle Tennessee and at 9 I wanted to be baptized. I’m glad my parents told me to wait. I believe that indoctrinating children (even Atheism) is child abuse. Children should be taught how to think and not what to think. I’m wondering if you agree with this?

About your movie, “Saving Christmas”, I will honestly say that I will never pay money to watch this movie, or if I’m given a free ticket I will throw it away and you can believe that I won’t use BitTorrent to pirate your movie. I hope you can respect that decision that I’ve made. Because you are dreadfully wrong about “Christmas”. Sure Christmas is the label we call the pagan holiday, because where the Christians got the idea for “Christmas” was a Roman Holiday started by Aurelian around 270A.D. and named this holiday “Dies Natalis Solis Invicti” which translated means “the birthday of the Unconquered Sun”. It’s easy for a goat herder or someone with no education to get the words “Sun” and “Son” mixed up don’t you agree? Malachi 4:2 in your bible goes into further verification of this mix-up.

Malachi 4:2 (NRSV)

2 But for you who revere my name the sun of righteousness shall rise, with healing in its wings. You shall go out leaping like calves from the stall.

It was supposed that Jesus’ conception date is March 25, which ironically is around Easter, which would put Jesus’ birth date on December 25th +/-. But you know, I could go on and on about this subject but I keep coming to the dead-end of Jesus’ actual existence. I have yet to have anyone meet my challenge and show proof of Jesus’ existence outside of the bible. In other words, not including the bible, Jesus is never mentioned in any Jewish or Roman texts of that time period (0 A.D.- 33 A.D.) and The Romans and Jews within 10-15 miles of Jesus’ supposed location were writing like crazy and these writings still exist today! Surely some Roman or Jew would have written about some “Crazy guy that thinks he’s the son of God” wouldn’t you agree?

Anyways, Kirk, I hope you are doing well and I hope that I hear back from you. If you can’t take criticism for your beliefs, maybe your beliefs aren’t justified?

Let’s talk Kirk.

Sincerely,

Chris Faulkner

Rebuttal to an Op-Ed in Christian Informer

Rebuttal to an Op-Ed in Christian Informer

This is a writing about what was published in the Christian Informer on March 2015. The story’s title is called “The Philosophy of Atheism – Part 1” by Shahe Gergian. The title is the first thing that struck me odd. Philosophy is defined as a set of ideas about how to do something or how to live. Atheism itself is not a belief system as many religious people would like to think that it is. Atheists don’t “believe” there isn’t a god, we know there isn’t a god. Now a christian will gladly rebuttal this with “Well, you have to prove that god doesn’t exist”. No… No… It doesn’t work that way. Here, let’s put this into perspective. If I ran up to you and told you there was a gold mine on your property and in that mine was more gold that I could see. First of all, you’d want proof right? You’d want proof of the gold mine’s existence? If I couldn’t provide evidence of this gold mine, how would you react? Would you just take my word for it? Where does the burden of proof lie? Atheists do not have to prove that god exists. We don’t have to prove that Jesus never existed because other than the bible there is no credible evidence. Christianity is entirely based on faith and faith alone.

I find it funny how the religious try to make sense of Atheism, as if to peer into mom and dad’s keyhole to figure out what the noise is all about. Every time I see a christian write about atheism, it’s as if you have an high school graduate trying to write about how to be a structural engineer. You see, Atheists have read the bible, probably several times. Particularly it’s why we are Atheists. But in this flier that I have seen which is the reason for my writing this is to instruct the writer of this story about atheism and to point out the many fallacies in the flier that he may not be aware of because of the close-minded gap.

I will start out with the first paragraph and work forward through the flier also to let the writer know that I have read his work and to acknowledge it. I’ll try to be honest as possible and while this may seem rude and harsh, try to keep up without getting your feelings hurt. The author tries to in the first paragraph centralize everything into one word to start the writing off. He uses the word “worldview” to try to explain religion, philosophy and other ‘ways’ by lumping them into a non-religious word. While this is fine to do this, it detracts from the main story line by distracting the reader into agreeing with the writer’s position almost immediately. Here he mentions “global communications transmits information faster than the blink of an eye” and to think that this global communications thing is comparable, but much larger than the “tower of babel” story. God felt that if the world was united, that it would be detrimental to his plan, therefore he destroyed the tower and made everyone speak in a different language. Now that we have global communications and essentially we are all tied into this network globally, where is god to destroy the internet? Why hasn’t god destroyed the internet? Let’s go back to the early 90’s and a lot of pastor’s were saying that the Internet was Satan’s tool and comparing it to the tower of babel. It’s amazing how much different life is today and how much life would be different if Christians would have had their way back then. I’m glad we live in a religiously neutral country.

The next paragraph is mainly directed at “Why study worldviews” and “Many people are raised by parents in a particular tradition, and they either accept that for themselves or they rebel against it seeking something different”. This paragraph is setting the stage for the reader to be distracted again by assuming that when children rebel and are not interested in what others have to say, they are turning into atheists. By assuming that Atheists are close-minded people that are “set in their ways” is absolutely absurd. Here’s why I call the writer out on this for clearly misdirecting people with disinformation. Atheists are open-minded. How they became Atheists automatically makes them open-minded. An open-minded person can seem close-minded, but it just means that you aren’t trying hard enough to provide evidence to change the others mind. In the words of Einstein, “If you can’t explain it fully, then you don’t understand it well enough”. Since Christianity is faith-based, the subscriber does not have to provide any evidence to prove their faith because faith is just that. A belief system. Atheism is a belief system like ‘Off’ is a TV Channel. Understand this and you will understand Atheism.

The extension to the second paragraph is interesting because while it is setting the stage for saying that Atheists are close-minded, it is in turn creating force-field around the reader making them feel like they are open-minded and that others that oppress their faith are seen as close-minded. This tactic is very old, this writer knows who his target audience is and is going to keep using them throughout his article. By using a real world example about patients not taking the prescriptions from their doctors or doctors may ignore vital symptoms to properly treat the affliction. Considering 100 years ago, with human’s limited knowledge of the very small, we though god was inflicting diseases on us because we had done something wrong. I find it ironic that the analogy used was a scientific one at that and I suppose the analogy was constructed in such a way to build up the reader with a sword and shield before getting into the nitty gritty of Atheism.

With the 3rd paragraph, it’s interesting because the writer is comforting the reader into a “safe-zone”. It’s ok, for now, to explore other worldviews. I do appreciate the writer for calling atheism a “major worldview”. It is growing exponentially, but this paragraph is meant to scare the reader. Because fear is the primary motivator for religion, it is used very wisely in this. Not deathly fear, not that kind of fear. More or less an ambulatory fear. This is the kind of fear you just walk into and are gently caressed by. Christians have said that they don’t believe because they are fearful of god, but in the same sentence will be scared that they could go to hell. Fear is the primary motivator for worshiping god. If you deny this, just stop reading right here and go back to fearing your jealous god like a woman fears her abusive husband. I’m being serious… stop reading..

Once again, Atheism isn’t a “philosophy”. It is a religion-neutral outlook would be the simplest of terms. Please stop calling atheism a belief system, it’s terrible and it invalidates your motive with this article.

The next paragraph defines atheism. The writer tries to, in his own words, define atheism. However, here again, the writer says that “Atheism is the belief that there is no god or deity”. Please stop calling atheism a belief system. The Merriam-Webster Dictionary defines Atheism as “disbelief or lack of belief in the existence of God or gods”. The reason why it is pertinent Mr. Gergian is that there are people like yourself that continue to call atheism a “belief system”, again, don’t get it twisted.

Next paragraph goes into some details as “modern atheist evangelists” knows that it is impossible to prove there is no god. Much in the same way you can’t prove there is a god. This is circular reasoning. The burden of proof always lies with the person that defends their story is true, not the other way around. Please stop circular reasoning, it makes you look terrible..again. Science demands tested results with the calculated outcome, and can be tested by one or many others and ends with the same calculable results. This is just a rude, brash gesture of what science is but it’s the gist. Every day, we are learning more and more about our cosmos. To the writer, it is impossible to know everything, but the fun part is trying. You have one book, we have many many books. We know reading is hard and figuring out how the universe works is hard, but that’s what drives us. You on the other hand read one book and all your answers are solved, “God did it”. If this is how much of a simpleton you want to be, that’s fine, but please don’t infect children with this audacious attitude.

I love how in the next paragraph, you actually say that if a scientist “proudly and self-assuredly declare themselves to be atheist, then they are being intellectually dishonest, but they are also going to counter to the guiding principles of the thing they profess to love so much: Science. Your understanding of science comes from a very blinded and one-sided approach. Which I understand coming from a religious person. However, this does not make you correct in what your assumption of what science is, or is not. Science relies on empirical data, that has been proven to work, or proven not to work and has been tested by different scientists. Can the test be successfully be redone in another lab under the same conditions? Did it fail or was it a success. Failure in science doesn’t mean a dead end, it can mean many other roads. Scientists are readily able to change their minds about their work if the evidence is there and facts are ordered. 2+2 will always equal 4. To the writer, if it was somewhere in the bible that 2+2 = 5, but you knew that 2+2=4. Which answer would you believe?= is the correct one?

On the next paragraph, I won’t get into agnosticism as I call the fence riders. Agnostics have not denied the holy spirit and are just waiting and keeping the appointment books open just in case there is a god.

Of course Atheism is associated with secular humanism and nature lovers. Religion has had a foothold too long in society and they feel religion is the big oppressor. I find it funny that the writer sidesteps secular humanism by trying to make it look horrible in the eyes of the reader but in the eyes of an atheist, reading this only make me think how truly ignorant the writer really is. How is secular humanism so wrong? Why is helping people with no recourse for reward a bad thing? How different is a secular humanist and a missionary? A secular humanist does things for people because they expect no reward here or in some magical kingdom. However missionaries may help or may not. They continue to spread the word of their religion and try to convert the people to their religion while at the same time thinking they are helping. I’ve never gotten this concept and I never will. Just help people actively.

How is adopting a dogmatic an optimistic belief in humankind as bad thing as the next paragraph states to its reader. This is terrible, why would you write something like this and expect anything but bad feelings to come from this. “Modern humanists see the world – racism, oppression, militarism, war and poverty as resolvable by humans working together for the maximum fulfillment of all.” and in the next paragraph states, “This hostility towards religion and traditional values has even given rise to a new term — anti-theism” How is stopping war, feeding people, stopping racism and trying to end oppressing people a bad thing? I sort of see what’s going on here. The writer is essentially explaining that humans can’t stop poverty, hunger, war, etc without god, that humans cannot band together worldwide and stop it. We didn’t need god to stop polio, smallpox, etc. Science already took care of that. Remember, Polio and smallpox were once, “evil” and “punishment”, now they are history.

The writer assumes that this is what Atheists believe:
1. Human beings are no different from any other creature in the animal world. There is nothing unique or special about human beings. Human are simply one of the many species which have evolved from the primordial soup.
2. Death is the end of existence. There is no life after death.
3. Life itself is an accident. Human existence is the happy result of cosmic randomness. In reality, atheists have no real explanation for how something could come from nothing, only that it did.
4. Ethics and morality have no absolute standard
5. There is no ultimate meaning, for anything.

First of all, number one is wrong. Atheists know that humans are different from other species. This is why we have the classification system for Genus and Species. Saying primordial soup is really reading from older texts about evolution. Getting evidence about something that happened a million years ago is much harder than it is getting evidence from 2000 years ago. However in the case of the latter, we know now that a man named Jesus never existed, however we know that King Tutankhamen existed, because we have physical proof. Where is your proof from Jesus? We have fossils of dinosaurs 65 million years old, why can’t you provide proof for a 2000 year old person?

For number 2, death is not the end of existence but there definitely is no life after death. Death is the end of existence for the dead person yes, but every atom of their being gets put back into the “soup” and randomness takes back over, as it did for life millions of years ago. We are all, atomically, ordered chaotically, as Carl Sagan would say but “the chaos is beautifully arranged as such to be called star stuff”.

Number 3 is quite simple. Which came first, the chicken or the egg. The answer is, The egg, from something that wasn’t a chicken. This is how evolution works. I’ve heard Christians say “Evolution hasn’t been witnessed in real-time”.. Sorry, yes it has… Yes, Evolution is a theory, in the same way gravity is a theory, but you don’t see anyone jumping out of buildings to test to see if gravity is real. Understand what the word theory means and you’ll get it. In the last 10 years, GREAT strides in Human Evolution have been made and links have been made. DNA links mind you. We know for a fact that Homo Sapiens came from the previous species of Homo. And then some and so on and so forth. Isn’t life at random and chaos much more believable than a roving sky daddy that doesn’t want you to masturbate or wipe your ass with your right hand?

Number 4, actually we have absolute standard for ethics and morality, it’s called “Man’s Law”

Number 5, the ultimate meaning for everything is always 42.

The next paragraph talks about Richard Dawkins and one of the most beautiful words he’s spoken. Everything Dawkins has said in these two quotes is correct. We see natural selection every single day.

But in the next paragraph, the writer says “What consequences come to bear with Dawkins thinking? Perhaps the most obvious is that atheism devalues human life”. Really? A few paragraphs back you promoted that Atheists want to band humankind together a wipe out poverty, hunger, and war and then you state that we also devalue human life? Sorry, but now you are just being willfully ignorant. Then, to explain how atheists devalue human life, you say that if a fetus has development problems that we would rather abort the fetus. Natural selection weeds out the weakest while aiming for the strongest. This is how the strongest genes are preserved. Christian humans still get ultrasounds to find out if their babies are forming correctly or if they are breach birth. Before all the technology, you did know the health of the baby or what the birth was going to be like. Today we know. I’d rather take the consequences with Dawkins thinking, than a sheepherder from 2000 years ago thinking. It’s the smarter decision and the wisest for mother and child wouldn’t you think?

Next paragraph goes into saying that atheists have an ethical idea that humans are no more special than say a blade of grass. This is the motive for which atheists devalue human life? Seriously? Reading this article with an open mind only strengthens my lack of belief in god. The difference between a pig and a human is noticeable, but why are they growing ears on pigs, or how come some medicines can only be grown in a pig for humans? It’s because certain systems of pigs can be shared with humans. If we were to think religiously about this matter, people would be walking around praying for a new ear and not getting it.

Then we get to the absolute fallacious part of this writing. While saying that Atheists are devaluing human life, the writer makes a bold assertion that this devaluation of human life has brought about the plagues of the new world slavery where Africans were kidnapped and sold like cattle because blacks were lower on the evolutionary tract than white man. Nice job incriminating atheists. So what the writer is saying here is that Atheists were the ones enslaving black people because they were lower on the evolutionary tract than whites. Mr. Gergian, I implore you to read again the history books on how the African slave trade was started. The bible speaks of slavery but does not condemn it but actually condones it. Why isn’t slavery not mentioned as one of the 10 commandments? Lets see what the scriptures have to say.. I’ll refrain from using old testament scripture because I don’t want to hear “That was in the old testament”… Luke 12:47-48, 1 Timothy 6:1-2, Ephesians 6:5. Sorry but now everything you’ve said in your article becomes just a personal opinion that can be shot down with facts.

You say “Jesus said, ‘Whatever you want men to do to you, do also to them” (Matthew 7:2) “Not kidnap or enslave. It makes no mention of enslave, however in scripture I posted above, Jesus is clearly not in opposition of beating slaves. Mahatma Gandhi also said “I like your Christ, I do not like your Christians. Your Christians are so unlike your Christ”. If you were going for a neutral point in ending your column, you should have ended it with that quote instead because again, you are distracting your readers from the actual truth.

Of course not all atheists are grossly immoral just as well as all Christians are grossly immoral as well. It’s just that Christians have a much better exit plan than Atheists… right? I mean. You can rape and kill an elderly woman, but as long as you accept Jesus Christ as your lord and savior, you will be in heaven with the elderly woman that you raped and killed. The is only one sin that cannot be forgiven and that is denying the holy spirit. (Mark 3:28-29) You can commit any sin you like, as long as you do not deny the holy spirit, you will be forgiven through Jesus. Sounds good, I might convert just on that basis alone! NOT!

 

Religion and Homosexuality

Religion and Homosexuality

I think about these subjects every time I see a post or op-ed from a homosexual that praises god.  I have been in numerous confrontations with religious people on this subject and while the bible is very clear on its stance on anything other than straight (Man and Woman) sex.  As a straight person myself, I just find it terribly hard to take a Gay Christian seriously.  If I am wrong, please help me understand.  If you are gay and a christian why do you find that being a christian is “right”.

One of my most recent confrontations was with someone in the Church of Christ and someone I know personally.  We’ve never had any discussions about religion in person, but we’ve had a number of discussions online.  She had posted the Leviticus 18:22 verse about man shall not lie with another man….  Let’s get into some definitions before we get started with this part.  The definition of “Church of Christ” taken from the wiki page is:

  • One of several New Testament designations for local group of people following the teachings of Jesus Christ; the term is plural, only the plural form is found in the Bible (e.g., Romans 16:16)

Why someone from a New Testament church is posting something from the Old Testament to back up her hatred of non-straight people is really the foundation of ignorance.  This woman bounds on the opportunity of her hate to oppress people with an Old Testament scripture while holding true to her New Testament vows.  I find this interesting.  So, I posted something about mixed fabrics and shellfish.  Can you guess what her reply was?  No answer from her, but a friend of hers responded with the 1 Romans text.  Ok, fine.  Also you have to remember that the Church of Christ does NOT use the NIV bible.  The only bible that is accepted in the Church of Christ is the King James Version.  Any other version is considered heresy within the ranks.  If you want to refute this argument, fine but you will have to be correct in your assumptions as I find it hard to believe otherwise.

Well, another response is “How are babies created if homosexuals are allowed to have sex?”  I don’t know if these people checked the World’s Population meter lately but we are pushing maximum density  here.  7.2 billion people and by 2025 it’s projected to be at a staggering 10 billion.  Yes, Procreation is part of sex… or is it?  Well, why does Sex feel good?  Why do people have sex all the time and not make babies?  Birth Control maybe?  This is a reason that birth control is frowned upon, esp. in the Church of Christ areas.  If a woman/girl is taking birth control, she is looked down upon as a harlot because she is controlling her body to not have babies and to have sex willy-nilly with anyone she chooses so as not to bear children.  How dare a woman take control of her body and whore around like that!  Also what I find amusing is that although this same person shunned another’s family for unwed pregnancy, turns out her granddaughter was pregnant before marriage too!  But it’s ok because her God will cover those sins and how dare you shun her granddaughter.  My how the tables turn when it happens to you.  Anyways, back to the discussion.

I brought up how we can now genetically engineer cancer out of our children if they have that sort of defect.  I asked her if she had to choose between curing her child with something that her religion specifically states is wrong or not, what would she choose?  She goes on to say that she has had a child die as if this makes it all better! Also, by saying that genetic modification is not a guarantee of life and still diverting from my original question.  Every question I threw at her she dodged it with wit, sarcasm and ignorance.  It seems all three are the ways she uses to compensate for her willful ignorance.

She believes that being gay is a personal choice, like accepting Jesus as your savior a personal choice.  Never mind the numerous science behind it, being gay is not a choice.  I myself am straight, I don’t just choose to sleep with a man and say “been there, done that”.  No, it doesn’t work that way.  I’m sorry, a Gay person doesn’t wake up in the morning and say “I think I will have sex with a woman today”, no they are mentally geared for the same-sex.

Then, as the discussion is wrapping up, one of her friends is saying why she is having a debate with someone obviously not christ-centered.  I have to LOL really hard on this one because this is a prime excuse to bow out of any debate, regardless of if they are wrong or not.  In my discussion, I wasn’t being hateful but I was just trying to get her to affirm her stance that if she posts an old testament law, that she herself is subjected to the other levitical laws as well, which is obviously not true.  LOL.  Anyways, she totally did not get the point of the exercise and if she wants to affirm her position, she must instead post New Testament scripture to back up her hatred of Gay people.  That’s harder to do, because in the New Testament, they don’t point out “Homosexuality” in clear text but instead they opt for a more rounded approach and lump it into two words, “Sexual Immorality”.

Merriam-Webster dictionary does not have the proper definition of “Sexual Immorality” listed which I find rather odd.  I’m not able to find a clear definition of what entails sexual immorality, however in the original texts of the New Testament, the word ‘Porneia’ is used and the translation to English is ‘Sexual Immorality’  so let’s take a look at ‘Porneia’.

The Exegetical  Dictionary of the New Testament reveals that ‘Porneia’ is “prostitution, unchastity, fornication,” and is used “of every kind of unlawful sexual intercourse” (BAGD s.v.). . . . Since in Rom. 1:26f. Paul clearly alludes to homosexuality as sexual immorality, PORNEAI can also refer to homosexuality as sexual immorality . . .

The Theological Dictionary of the New Testament states that it has a broad meaning and includes “adultery, fornication, licentiousness, and homosexuality.” Harper’s Bible Dictionary states that PORNEIA also includes “beastiality”.

From these two, we can surmise that Gay Marriage, according to the New Testament, is a sin.  However it is a sin that can be repented upon if you wish to ‘straight’en up from this day forward.  So with all of this in mind, What do you think, with all the evidence in front of you?  Do you still feel that aligning yourself as a Christian and being Gay is O.K. with Jesus?  I’d like to hear from you on why you Choose Jesus and are Gay as well.