Heading into 2016

It might not yet be 2016 in some parts of the world quite yet, but here in NZ it is January first, and while it is not quite the one year anniversary of Counter Creationist, I thought that I would make a quick post talking about my plans for the new year.

With over 180 posts  and counting this blog is set to keep going for a long time, and there are few specific things I have set. Of course the New Bible series will continue, and it is creeping closer to Exodus. I hope to run a handful of other small series once in a while, perhaps debunking a website every so often. I have plans to write about Jesus and the stories of the New Testament a bit more, and perhaps I will delve into the topics surrounding third-wave feminism.

This is also an opportune time to mention that I have a Facebook page for this blog, which can be found here, so if you want to like it and make sure you never miss a post, feel free to do so!

To be honest there is not much to talk about, but know that there are many interesting and entertaining posts planned for the future!

Religion and Power

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Inspiration from this post came from an MSN article that can be found here, claiming that Somalia and Brunei have officially ‘banned’ Christmas because it ‘threatens’ the Muslim faith. The penalties for celebrating this holiday or even wearing a Christmas hat can result in up to 5 years in jail.

You see this is why religion should not be given power. It is easily corrupted and is used to push individuals’ own agendas. It is a powerful tool to control the masses and an excellent justification for all kinds of acts. Take the modern Muslim-ruled countries like Saudi Arabia, Somalia and Brunei, where you can be imprisoned or even killed for breaking Muslim law and the ‘inerrant’ teachings of the Quran.

Christianity isn’t much better. In recent times things are relatively peaceful, but in the past when the Church ruled people were killed and discriminated against for being gay, belonging to a different religion, or even supposedly being a witch. Several wars, including the Spanish Inquisition and the Crusades were fought with Christianity as a cause and justification, and who knows all of the minor incidents that took place over that long period of time – the Bible makes it quite clear what to do with those who go against God’s word.

Religion has already shown to have a very strong hold on it’s followers, regardless of whether it is true of not, and people who follow books with orders to kill are very dangerous indeed. This is best shown when those individuals are given power.

Not to mention that religious leaders can bend their Holy books to mean just about anything they want, allowing them to push their own opinions forward, claiming that it is divine will. An example of this is when George Bush claimed that invading Iran and Iraq was a ‘mission from God.’ And it is believed that one of the reasons that the constitution enforces the separation of church and state was to prevent the Church from taking over like it had done to most of Europe, making kings mere figureheads.

Image Courtesy of Salvatore Vuono at FreeDigitalPhotos.net

Christianity – Not a religion?

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I have sometimes heard the claims that ‘Christianity isn’t a religion, it’s a philosophy’ or ‘Christianity is a relationship with God, not a religion,’ and I can see why people do this. The term ‘religion’ comes with a lot of meanings, and is infamous for corruption, blind faith and other negative values, so it would make sense for people to want do distance Christianity from other religions that require the same amount of blind faith.

The goal of setting apart Christianity from other belief systems would mean to hold the position that it is different, more reliable, perhaps. But this effort is in vain.

The claim that Christianity is not a religion is rather stupid. And I will show you why. Using the standard dictionary definitions, a religion is:
“the belief in and worship of a superhuman controlling power, especially a personal God or gods”
Or more specifically “an organized system of beliefs, ceremonies, and rules used to worship a god or a group of gods”

Christianity has a Holy book, it has a system of beliefs, it has ceremonies and rules, and it has a deity. Christianity meets all of the criteria, so that makes it classified as a religion.

Whether Christianity has some philosophical values or not, and whether it is some sort of ‘relationship’ with God or Jesus doesn’t matter. Christianity is classified as a religion by every single credible definition of what a religion is.

And if you really want Christianity to not be a religion, you can start by paying taxes.

 

The New Bible – Genesis 38

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In this chapter we have people murdered for no good reason and a hypocrite by the name of Judah.

  1. Shortly after Jacob’s sons had demonstrated family values and sold their brother into slavery, one of them, named Judah, left his brothers and went to stay with a random guy by the name of Hirah.

2. He married a caananite named Shua and had four children. Surprise surprise, they were all boys.

3. The four of them grew up fast, and nothing much happened for a while. One day Judah ‘found’ his eldest son, Er, a wife. But God didn’t like him, so he claimed that he was wicked and put him to death.

4. Then Judah told Onan, one of his other sons, to sleep with his eldest son’s wife and fulfill his ‘duties’ to her as a brother-in-law.

5. But Onan knew that the child would not be his – how he came to this reasoning I have no idea.

6. He still slept with his brother’s wife, but he spilled his semen on the ground to keep from providing offspring for his brother.

7. Well, there goes the PG rating on this book…

8. What Onan did was wicked in the Lord’s sight, so he killed him.

9. Judah was not having much luck with keeping his sons alive, so he told Tamar to live as a widow in her father’s household until his son Shelah grew up.

10. After a long time Judah’s wife died, and after he had finished grieving he went up to Timnah and visited the men who were shearing his sheep.

11. Tamar, meanwhile, wondered whether she would ever have a child, what with both Onan and Er being put to death.

12. She disguised herself as a prostitute and sat near the entrance of Enaim, which was on the way to Timnah.

13. Judah found her, and immediately wanted to sleep with her, clearly forgetting that the whole thing was a sin.

14. He offered to pay her a goat, and she agreed. She asked for a pledge until he sent it, and Judah gave him his seal and staff.

15. Tamar became pregnant, and Judah sent a goat with his friend  Adullamite to get hid pledge back from her, but he as unable to find her.

16. “Have you seen the prostitute that was at the entrance to Enaim?” Adullamite asked the people that lived there.

17. But he had no luck, and he returned to Judah unsuccessful.

18. At the same time he heard that his daughter-in-law Tamar was guilty of prostitution and pregnant.

19. “Bring her out and have her burned to death!” Judah exclaimed.

20. As she was brought out, she handed the staff and seal to him, showing him that he was the one who slept with her.

21. “Uh, never mind, let’s just forget the whole thing ever happened” Judah said, keeping an eye out for God.

22.  So Tamar survived, and gave birth to twins, named Perez and Zerah.

The New Bible homepage can be found here.

Image courtesy of vectorolie at FreeDigitalPhotos.net

Romans 13:1-7

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I’ve mentioned this verse before once or twice, either on one of my posts about homosexuality, or my post on the pro-life movement, but this verse deserves a post of its own, and it is absolutely perfect for keeping Christians who don’t like abortion or gay rights in check.

“Everyone must submit himself to the governing authorities, for there is no authority except that which god has established.  The authorities that exist have been established by god.  Consequently, he who rebels against the authority is rebelling against what god has instituted, and those who do so will bring judgment on themselves.  For rulers hold no terror for those who do right, but those who do wrong.  Do you want to be free from fear of the one in authority?  Then do what is right and he shall commend you.  For he is god’s servant to do you good. But if you do wrong, be afraid, for he does not bear the sword for nothing.  He is god’s servant, an agent of wrath to bring punishment on the wrongdoer. There fore it is necessary to submit to the authorities, not only because of possible punishment but also because of conscience.

    This is also why you pay taxes, for the authorities are god’s servants, who give their full time to governing.  Give everyone what you owe him: If you owe taxes, pay taxes, if revenue, then revenue; if respect, then respect; if honor, then honor.”

Therefor, according to this very verse, the people who are in charge were put there by God, and their will is a reflection of God’s will. If the people in charge allow abortions, or if they legalize gay marriage, it is because God wants them to. And if you rebel against the government, you are rebelling against God, and we all know the punishment for that!

The only way to get around this verse is to claim that it only applies to some people, or that it is wrong, but that is a massive cop-out. The Bible is quite clear about the law, which also strengthens the claim that it was written with controlling the masses in mind. What’s the best way to keep a population in check? You could go for good leadership, but lots of people prefer mindless indoctrination!

Image courtesy of Arvind Balaraman at FreeDigitalPhotos.net

The New Bible- Genesis 37

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Chapter 36 is all about boring genealogies, so we’ll skip that. This chapter is all about dreams and slavery!

  1. Jacob now lived in the land of Caanan, the land where his father stayed. For some reason God still hadn’t gotten around to ‘giving’ it to him, despite promising it to him many times.

2. Jacob’s youngest son was Joseph, and he loved him more than any of the others. Apparently it was because he was born to him ‘at an old age.’

3. Obviously, Jacob’s brothers (and maybe one sister, because most of them were boys, which is kind of unrealistic) hated him for this, and rightly so.

4. They got even more annoyed when Joseph came to them and told them of his dreams. “Listen to my dream,” he said, “We were binding sheaves of grain out in the field when suddenly my sheaf rose and stood upright, while your sheaves gathered around mine and bowed down to it.”

5. And Joseph, like many of the people at the time, thought that dreams were the will of God, and he stupidly expected his brothers to bow to him.

6. No, they told him to eff off. So Joseph came back and told them of another dream.

7. “I had another dream,” he told them, “and this time the sun and moon and eleven stars were bowing down to me.” Now he was even getting on his parents nerves, and his brothers decided to do something about it.

8. One day Joseph was out in the fields, and Jacob sent him to find his brothers. So Joseph went to the Valley of Hebron, where his brothers were supposed to be, but could not find them.

9. A man from a town nearby found him wandering the fields aimlessly. “What are you looking for?” He asked.

10. “My brothers, have you seen them?” Joseph replied. “Why yes, I have seen them. Funny how I know exactly who they are having never met any of you, isn’t it?” the man said, “They have left here, but I heard them say that they were going to Dothan.”

11. “Thanks random stranger, our hearing is only surpassed by your convenient timing” Joseph said, before travelling to Dothan.

12. Joseph’s brothers saw him coming from a distance, and they plotted to kill him. ‘Cause that’s brotherly love for you!

13. “Here comes the dreamer, let’s kill him and blame it on the wild animals” they said.

14. But some of the brothers argued that killing him was not a good idea. They eventually decided to take his robe and throw him into a cistern – whatever the Hell that is, and leave him to die.

15. So the brothers did this, but soon after they saw a caravan approaching, so they had a better idea.

16. “Lets sell him to these Ishmaelites and make some money” One of them suggested. Joseph’s other brothers agreed, and the sold him for twenty shekels.

17. They then dipped his robe in goat’s blood and took it back to his father, telling him that Joseph had probably been killed by wild animals.

18. Jacob believed this, and mourned for days, saying that he would only stop mourning when he was dead.

19. Meanwhile, the Midianites sold Joseph in Egypt to Potiphar, one of Pharaoh’s officials, the captain of the guard.

20. And notice how God never steps in once to condemn any of this.

And there you have it, family values at their finest! Don’t like someone? Kill them and blame it on wild animals! Or maybe just sell them into slavery.

The New Bible homepage can be found here.

Image courtesy of vecorolie at FreeDigitalPhotos.net

Christmas only for Christians? Um, no!

A very well-presented post about Christmas, Jesus and the Constitution!

The southern heretic

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‘Christmas is all about Jesus’? Eh, maybe if you are Christian.
Today I stumbled across an article on USAtoday regarding a Pastor from Clarksville, Tennessee who is trying to get signs in yards claiming “Christmas is all about Jesus.” According to Pastor Jimmy Terry he plans on bringing back the true meaning of Christmas. In his views, it would appear to be a celebration of the birth of Jesus. He feels the commercialization has poisoned this holy holiday along with Easter.
Terry exclaimed, “The two holiest days in human history have been desecrated.” A bit of an overstatement there, as I’m sure the other 60% of the globe don’t see them that way. He then went on to claim about Riverside Drive in Clarksville that, “They have all these trees lit up and a beautiful outline of a riverboat, but not one manger scene. We have let Satan dethrone Jesus…

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Faith VS works

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The Bible has a lot of things to say when it comes to how to get into Heaven. Asides from the rules and laws, one of the core messages is that you must be a Christian to get into Heaven.

But it might not be so simple. Some of the verses in Romans indicate that you are justified by faith, not works, so horrible Christians get into Heaven while moral non-Christians can burn for eternity. Sounds kind of stupid, don’t you think? On the other hand, some of the verses in James indicate that you are justified by works, not faith, which makes more sense.

The verses in Romans say this:
3:28 For we maintain that a man is justified by faith apart from works of the Law.
4:3 For what does the Scripture say? “Abraham believed God, and it was credited to him as righteousness.”
5:1 Therefore, having been justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ,
4:5 But to the one who does not work, but believes in Him who justifies the ungodly, his faith is credited as righteousness,

So you get the idea that faith is most important. But the verses in James say this:
2:24 You see that a man is justified by works and not by faith alone.
2:26 For just as the body without the spirit is dead, so also faith without works is dead.

I’m not necessarily here to argue these verses, and when you get interpretation mixed in it causes whole new problems, but at the very least the Bible says that faith isn’t everything. Which still makes sense.

But are works enough to get into Heaven? As far as I know, the Bible doesn’t specifically say they’re not. Is being a good, moral person enough to get you into Heaven? If not, why? Why is faith so important? And as I’ve said before in this ancient post that I wrote soon after starting my blog, if God can forgive all those other sins, why not lack of belief?

If you don’t believe in God your entire life, aren’t you able to convert when you get to Heaven? At least then you would know which religion is right, and have enough proof. After all, what sort of God would discourage critical thought and favor blind faith?

Also, I must note how interesting it is that from what I’ve seen on the internet, people have all sorts of different ideas on the matter. It seriously is a grey area that nobody can agree on. Much like a lot of Christianity!

Image courtesy of Stuart Miles at FreeDigitalPhotos.net

Absolutes and perfection

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The Christian God, in fact, many gods, are said to have these absolute qualities that make them not just superior to everything else, but logically impossible.

Most well known gods are what is sometimes referred to as ‘OOO,’ meaning that they are omnipotent, omniscient, and omnibenevolent. But that’s just the beginning of it. These gods are said to be perfect, incomprehensibly amazing, and clearly superior to every other force, being, or energy in the universe.

Obviously, when playing with absolutes, problems occur. And in this post I will be presenting a few of them. First off, I must note that it would make much more sense if these gods are not OOO, especially the Christian one, who shows surprise and anger over things that he already knew would happen, and was unable to make Judah win the war in Judges 1:19.

Take for instance the claim that God is infinite, what with infinite power, infinite knowledge and infinite ‘Glory’. So he must be both infinitely merciful and infinitely just, right? Well, if God is infinitely just he will give everyone what they deserve, and if he is infinitely merciful he will let everyone off. The two are incompatible.

I have already talked about omnibenevolence and the problem of evil here, so I don’t think there is a need to go on about evil and all of that, so I will focus on omnipotence.

First off, can God create a rock, or any object really, that he cannot lift? It is a simple, straightforward question, and it exposes the issues that arise with ultimate, absolute qualities. If you say he can create a rock that he cannot lift, he is not omnipotent because he cannot lift it. But if he cannot create such a rock, then he is still not omnipotent! Again, I think it is not just perfectly reasonable, but more true to the Bible for God to not be OOO. One way of dealing this problem is to say that God is only able to do what is logically possible, but this is redefining the term ‘omnipotent’ and therefor is a cop-out, meaning that God is not omnipotent at all, but has some other quality that is *nearly* all-powerful.

The omnipotence of God is also one of the main factors used in the problem of evil, but if God was not all powerful he couldn’t stop evil (to some degree), thus ending the argument. The only other explanation is that God is not omnibenevolent, which also makes perfect sense, what with God being OK with the murders of so many people in the Bible. More on that on the link I posted earlier.

Sure, the notion of an all-powerful, amazing god is a great idea, and I can certainly see why people like it, but with no limits on his power logical impossibilities occur.

To further explain my point about a non OOO god being truer to the Bible, I can point to places in Genesis where God asks Adam where he is, as if he doesn’t know, and ‘comes down’ to places to see what is going on. It is perfectly reasonable to have a god that is just very powerful, very loving, and with a large but finite amount of knowledge.

But then again, the more illogical God is, the easier it is for us atheists!

Image courtesy of artur84 at FreeDigitalPhotos.net