God’s Song

Nate at Finding Truth shared this song. Thought it was worth sharing here.

Finding Truth

Ran across this video today. I’ve been a big fan of this song for years — it’s one of the clearest and most succinct illustrations of the Problem of Evil that I’m aware of. I don’t know anything about the YouTuber that put these images to this song, so I can’t explain the meaning behind the first slides of this video. However, I think he did a great job putting this together. It’s chilling, really.

“God’s Song,” by Randy Newman

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A Great Explanation of How Cherry Picking the Bible Works

During my deconversion process I came to realize how much cherry picking Christianity does with the bible. I had a new awareness of how Christians explain away the distasteful things in the bible while embracing the things they like. I came across this article today that does a good job of explaining how this process works that I thought might be enlightening for some of my readers.

Cherry Picking the Bible: A Perplexing Phenomenon

Share your thoughts in the comments!

A Few Examples of God Being a Jerk

Just in case you’ve forgotten how awful the God of the Old Testament is …

God’s 12 Biggest Dick Moves in the Old Testament

via io9

PS I think Jesus is just as horrible in the New Testament (he does send anyone who disagrees with him in the slightest to roast for all eternity in hell) … but that’s for another post.

Love and Compulsion

Finding Truth

I’m currently reading a book where the author said that God remains hidden from us today so that we may freely choose to love him or not. You can’t generate love through compulsion, he argued. And he’s right about that. As an illustration, he gave Kierkegaard’s story about a king in disguise:

Once upon a time, there was a king who longed to marry. One day, as he was riding through his kingdom, he happened to see a very beautiful young lady in a poorer section of the kingdom. He was struck by her beauty, so he found reasons to travel through there more often, even getting the chance to speak to her on occasion. As time went by, he realized he wanted to pursue a relationship with the woman, but how should he go about it?

As king, he could have her brought to the palace so that he…

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If There’s A God – The Proclaimers

I came across this song today and I’d never heard it before. I only knew one Proclaimers song and was enjoying listening to their other stuff. Being an atheist, I already know my answers to the questions in this song (I don’t think there is a god), but I thought some of my readers might appreciate the song:

Is There Any Lingering Theist In Me Five Years Later?

It’s been almost five years since I very suddenly lost my faith and three years since I started identifying as an atheist. When I look back it amazes me that after twenty years of being an extremely sincere and genuine Christian that within a few years my brain would see all those things that I believed in so dearly as pure fable. And all the Christians can save their, ‘she wasn’t a true Christian’ nonsense. I absolutely was.

But I was pondering whether I ever have doubts about my atheism. Do I ever wonder if there is a god?  Does that question ever factor into my life at all anymore? I’m not completely closed to changing my mind about things. I value reality above all else. If some evidence convinced me that my current take on reality was wrong I’d be willing to shift my thinking. It’s reality after all! Not much point sticking my head in the sand about reality!

But even with that taken into consideration, no, the god question never factors into my thinking anymore. It would almost be like asking someone if they spend time wondering if Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs is true and how that might impact their life. It just doesn’t factor in at all. And I’m not saying this to convince anyone of anything. I just find it interesting that once my brain realized that what is in front of me is reality, I just settled in to building my life around that and all the god stuff drifted away never to be seen or heard from again.

A big part of me can’t believe that just a short time ago I believed all that stuff. Was I a different person then? How could I have thought that was all true when now it seems so ridiculous and awful? The changes in my thinking have been so drastic, and looking at it impartially, that fascinates me! I guess once you choose a way of looking at the world and take on its methods of discerning truth, everything else follows. A Christian worldview told me a story and then told me that the Bible and prayer and visions were the way to discover truth (and threw in the threat of hell to make sure I didn’t doubt any of that). But once I pulled away from that and started demanding proof for the things people were telling me about the world, everything changed. Evidence is an amazing filter. Once I applied it my world changed – and for the better.

Do You Believe in God?

I came across this great article/book review and thought it was worth sharing:

Religion vs Humanism: Isaac Asimov on Science and Spirituality

I think I’ll get the book and let you know my thoughts about it. I’m looking forward to reading it!

Not surprisingly, I love this excerpt:

He said, “Dr. Asimov, do you believe in God?”

And I said, “Whose?”

He said, a little impatiently, “Come, come, Dr. Asimov, you know very well whose. Do you believe in the Western God, the God of the Judeo-Christian tradition?”

Still playing for time, I said, “I haven’t given it much thought.”

Frost said, “I can’t believe that, Dr. Asimov.” He then nailed me to the wall by saying, “Surely a man of your diverse intellectual interests and wide-ranging curiosity must have tried to find God?”

(Eureka! I had it! The very nails had given me my opening!) I said, smiling pleasantly, “God is much more intelligent than I am — let him try to find me.”

via Philosophy Monkey on Facebook

see also Philosophy Monkey

Freedom & Control

Here’s a blog post I read today that really made me stop and think. When you’re done reading it you can come back and read my rambling thoughts if you like:

What it is like to be a Muslim woman and why we know what freedom is (and you may not)

(via Out Campaign Official on Facebook)

I found reading this touching and sad and maddening all at the same time. It was timely though as my thoughts regarding religion and life in general lately have revolved around the concept of individual freedom and our seeming obsession with controlling those around us.

My thoughts haven’t been about politics so much but more how we as individuals spend a great deal of time trying to make everyone be like us and then turn around and try to be like everyone else. I had started pondering these sorts of things and I started paying attention to how I try to control others. I was with my husband one day and made a comment about an older lady who had dyed her hair blue or something. Then I caught myself and said, ‘Why in the hell do I care what colour her hair is? Who is she hurting by having blue hair? Why do I feel the need to control her and make her like me? Why do I need her to get back in line like a sheep?’

Maybe it’s an evolutionary thing but I’m really sick of it and I think we can do better. Of course we can’t all just do what we want when we want to all the time. We have to live together and get along and care about others. But it wouldn’t hurt us to start asking ourselves more often, ‘Why am I trying to control this person right now? What is it in me that is insecure and needs to make this person do or be different so that I will be ok with myself and my world?’

And of course, since I blog about religion, these thoughts about freedom and control definitely tie in with my past as a fundamentalist Christian. Religion is a formalized way of controlling not only the behaviour of others but their thoughts too.  Whether it’s Islam or Christianity or any other religion, control is at the centre of what religions try to accomplish. Christians may shake their heads at what this ex-Muslim recounts, but if they honestly looked at all the ways that Christianity tries to control them they’d see what I see. Christianity has mellowed a bit because our society has become more secular and Christianity has had to adapt to survive, but don’t for a second think that the obsession with controlling people’s thoughts and actions has gone away. The call to be holy by its very nature controls Christians. Just with that one word, holy, the wheels of control begin to turn. Then add in the concept of sin and throw in a good dose of guilt for every time you step out of line or don’t measure up to that fixed standard of holy … and your every breath is controlled. Every word, every thought, every action is controlled. While I can’t relate to the extreme examples of control that she describes in her blog post, I found myself relating to her description of her escape and her feelings of being on one side of freedom and then the other. I often don’t know how to adequately describe to people who haven’t been on one side of religion or the other just how controlling religion is and how seismic the change was when I managed to get myself out of that world.

Well – I wasn’t expecting to have so much to say on this topic. I hope you get something from her post as well as mine. I have one favour to ask of you. As you go about your day today, start watching for when you are trying to control those around you. Look for the little things. Most of us try to shy away from controlling others in obvious ways, but look for the little times in your day where you try to make someone bend to your wishes. Watch for when you try to make someone say something or do something other than what they had originally intended to say or do. Ask yourself what in you is afraid of just letting them be who they are. And my promise to you is that I’ll do the same.