Wild bearsAre you sitting comfortably? Let me tell you a story.
There’s this chap named Eliseus and he’s on the road to a place called Bethel when a gang of forty-two kids show up and start calling him names, taking the piss out of the fact that he’s bald. Not nice. So who could blame Eliseus for being annoyed and cursing the cheeky little sods?
But hey, God was on Eliseus’ side and He sent two wild bears out of the woods to claw and tear the forty-two kids to death for calling Eliseus a baldy.
Now, personally, I think a good spanking would have been a more than adequate punishment; or maybe a lightening bolt to scare the shit out of the little buggers.
But no, God went straight for the bear murder.
Mind you, on the plus side, those forty-two kids never took the piss out of anybody ever again.

The Bible never ceases to amaze.
(4 Kings 2:23-24)

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Supreme Being

GodAllah, Yahweh, Jehovah, Elohim, Adonai, pick your favourite, I’ll just call Him God for convenience and presume He is of the male gender as tradition says He is.
According to the Torah, the Qur’an and the Bible, God is …
Omniscient (all knowing).
Omnipotent (all powerful).
Omnipresent (everywhere at the same time).

But this Supreme Being of the Holy Books seems to have a problem. He wants us all to grovel in front of Him forever. Worship Him alone; Make sacrifices to Him; Sing His praises; Ask Him for help; ignore everyone and everything else. And if we do not, the penalties are severe.

In a human being this would probably be diagnosed as narcissistic personality disorder, in which a person is excessively preoccupied with personal adequacy, power, prestige and vanity, mentally unable to see the destructive damage they are causing to themselves and to others in the process. It is estimated that this condition affects one percent of the human population, with rates greater for men. Narcissistic personality disorder was historically called megalomania, and is a form of severe egocentrism.
A diagnosis of narcissistic personality disorder must meet five or more of the following  symptoms:

  • Has a grandiose sense of self-importance (e.g; exaggerates achievements and talents, expects to be recognised as superior without commensurate achievements)
  • Is preoccupied with fantasies of unlimited success, power, brilliance, beauty, or ideal love.
  • Believes that he or she is “special” and unique and can only be understood by, or should associate with, other special or high-status people (or institutions)
  • Requires excessive admiration.
  • Has a very strong sense of entitlement, e.g; unreasonable expectations of especially favourable treatment or automatic compliance with his or her expectations.
  • Is exploitative of others, e.g; takes advantage of others to achieve his or her own ends.
  • Lacks empathy, e.g; is unwilling to recognise or identify with the feelings and needs of others.
  • Is often envious of others or believes that others are envious of him or her.
  • Regularly shows arrogant, haughty behaviours or attitudes.

Yep, that’s your Supreme Being!

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The Ant

HoopoeWhy the picture of this lovely bird, the hoopoe?
Read on.
Islam is the third and latest of that mainstream loopy triumvirate of religions spawned out of the Middle East, and borrows heavily from it’s predecessors.
Opening the Qur’an at random I chance upon the twenty-seventh surah (a surah is one of 114 chapters in the Qur’an). This surah is called “The Ant”, because it features… ahem… ants; and perhaps because the ants perfect organisation under one cause chimes well with the Islamic idea of slavish obedience.
In this surah King Solomon claims to have been taught the language of birds and forms armies of men, jinn and birds; he then comes across some ants, and “an ant exclaimed: O ants! Enter your nests lest Solomon and his armies crush you, without noticing.” Shortly afterwards Solomon turns to the birds in his army and asks “How is it that I see not the hoopoe, or is he among the absent? I verily will punish him most severely or slay him, or he verily shall bring me a valid excuse.”
The hoopoe did eventually put in an appearance. Phew!

Talking ants and hoopoes needing an excuse for absence?
Who believes this nonsense?

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Good and Evil

The BibleFor a rational being seeking truth it is worth examining belief systems. After all, there are so many Holy Books and schisms within religions. Some of us take up the challenge, or are forced to by noticing difficulties with the claims of religion. We notice problems, think, read, and often come to the conclusion that, it’s all a load of shite! Pardon my French.
Back to the chase.
Is God good or evil?
The God of the Bible admits he performs evil acts…

Isaiah 45:7
I form the light, and create darkness: I make peace, and create evil: I the LORD do all these things.
Exodus 32:14
And the LORD repented of the evil which he thought to do unto his people.
Joshua 23:15
Therefore it shall come to pass, that as all good things are come upon you, which the LORD your God promised you; so shall the LORD bring upon you all evil things.
Judges 9:23
Then God sent an evil spirit.
1 Samuel 16:14
But the Spirit of the LORD departed from Saul, and an evil spirit from the LORD troubled him.
2 Samuel 12:11
Thus saith the LORD, Behold, I will raise up evil against thee out of thine own house.
1 Kings 9:9
…therefore hath the LORD brought upon them all this evil.
1 Kings 14:10
Therefore, behold, I will bring evil upon the house of Jeroboam.
2 Kings 6:33 …Behold, this evil is of the LORD;
2 Kings 21:12 Therefore thus saith the LORD God of Israel, Behold, I am bringing such evil upon Jerusalem and Judah, that whosoever heareth of it, both his ears shall tingle.
2 Kings 22:16 Thus saith the LORD, Behold, I will bring evil upon this place.
2 Chronicles 34:24 Thus saith the LORD, Behold, I will bring evil upon this place, and upon the inhabitants thereof…
Nehemiah 13:18 Did not your fathers thus, and did not our God bring all this evil upon us, and upon this city?
Jeremiah 4:6 Set up the standard toward Zion: retire, stay not: for I will bring evil from the north, and a great destruction.
Jeremiah 6:19 Hear, O earth: behold, I will bring evil upon this people.
Jeremiah 11:11 Therefore thus saith the LORD, Behold, I will bring evil upon them.
Jeremiah 25:29 For, lo, I begin to bring evil.

There’s lots more in this vein. But are these really the Words of God or the ignorant ramblings of stone age desert nomads?


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JesusDeuteronomy, as well as Revelations, contains a lot of crazy stuff that makes modern, sensible humans rend their garments (interwoven with wool and linen) out of frustration.
The law is really laid down in Deuteronomy. And God insists that you follow it, exactly as written without adding to or subtracting from it. The law applies to everyone for all time. No excuses. And the punishments for disobedience are severe to say the least.
Yes, Deuteronomy has some pretty interesting laws.

Among these are:

  • The death penalty as a punishment for apostasy.
  • A limit of six years on holding people as slaves (but only if the other person is Hebrew).
  • A call for genocide against the Amalekites (amongst many others).
  • The restriction against wearing fabric that is interwoven with wool and linen.
  • Kill any prophets or “dreamers of dreams” if they say or dream the wrong things.
  • Telling women not to kick men in the balls.
  • Kill everyone with religious beliefs that are different than your own (Including your family, friends, and neighbours).
  • Destroy the altars, images, and places of worship of those with different religions.
  • Kill rebellious or disobedient sons, adulterers and rape victims.
  • Not letting castrated men enter Israel.

The list goes on. Go read your Bible, it’s all there.

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Blakebeast1bgThe books of Revelation and Genesis contain some of the craziest shit in the Bible, along with Deuteronomy and Leviticus. Go read.
Today let’s take a look at Revelations. The Book of Revelations is the last book of the Bible, and even by Biblical standards it’s a strange book.
Revelation begins with a view of Heaven where all manner of beasts and men worship God. In thanks for their worship, Jesus opens the seals on seven scrolls which release the Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse, a group of martyrs begging for Judgment Day, and, penultimately, an earthquake. Finally, on the opening of the Seventh Seal, Heaven is quiet for about a half hour, whereupon God gives seven trumpets to the angels and the angels begin praying (for what?). One of the angels takes a censer filled with fire and hurls it at the earth resulting in earthquakes, thunder, and lightning. Thanks for that!
Next, the trumpet section gets its chance for a solo. The trumpets result in a hail of fire and blood destroying one-third of the Earth’s surface, the collapse of a fiery mountain into the sea, one third the seas turning to blood killing one third of the sea creatures, the darkening of one third of the Sun, Moon and stars for 1 day, the falling of a star from Heaven opening the Abyss releasing a swarm of scorpion-locusts (ugh). In reality, a collision with even a small star would destroy the Earth. On second thoughts, we can relax. Perhaps the author only meant a meteor or comet. Also, a woman is crowned with stars – or meteors? Comets? No, clearly, the author did not know what a star really is. Or maybe it was a metaphor! Yes, a metaphor! Let’s have a cup of tea!
Return to the trumpets. The sixth trumpet releases angels from the Euphrates to take 200 million Horsemen to slay one-third of mankind. The seventh angel holds off a bit with his trumpet so he can release the really good stuff when we least expect it.
Now things get really interesting as we get into hallucinogenic territory. Two witnesses preaching the word of God use supernatural powers to issue forth plagues on mankind, and are attacked by the Beast. They lie dead for three and a half days and then ascend into Heaven. Then a woman crowned with stars is pursued all over Heaven and Earth by a dragon, leading to a battle in heaven between the dragon’s forces and the righteous angels led by Michael (God would help out, but he must be off tinkering with some other, better universe). The dragon is thrown down to Earth and drowns the woman with water from its mouth, but the woman grows eagle wings and flies away. Then, beasts rise from the sea and Earth to convince man to follow the Beast. Finally, the seventh angel, having had all this time to get his jaw loose, goes all Dizzy Gillespie on us.
Seriously, are we sure LSD wasn’t discovered before the 20th century?

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Freedom of speech and expression

Gagged&BoundOur species has a dark side. Religion.
The major religions are tied to superstition, bigotry, misogyny, homophobia, violence, and sheer ignorance. If they were able, they would all seek to restrict our liberty and freedom of expression.
When fundamentalists declare religious inspiration for their violent actions, we should accept them at their word. Their inspiration is indeed found in their ’holy books’. The Bible, as well as the Qur’an, prescribes death for many of the same things that seem to motivate those who murder in the name of their faith. Being offended by freedom of speech and freedom of expression should never be regarded as a justification for violence.
I was never a fan of Charlie Hebdo. The humour seemed strange to me. But how many had ever even heard of Charlie Hebdo before the atrocities in Paris?
And there is always the right not to read it.

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