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Episode 5: Partial Transcript

Sponsor:

Today’s episode of the Scathing Atheist is brought to you by Mel Gibson’s new line of South American anti-Semitic liquors including the award winning Pog-Rum and Tequila Savior.

So when you’re celebrating the conclave finally electing a pope from the continent where all the Catholics live, be sure to celebrate with pure grain alcoholocaust denial.

And now, the Scathing Atheist…

Intro:

It’s Thursday, it’s March 14th and I’m kinda wishing we’d recorded the headlines the day after they elected the new pope rather than the day before.

I’m your host Noah Lugeons and from hedonistic New York, New York, this is the Scathing Atheist.

On this fortnight’s episode:

  • Heaven-bound Christians inexplicably buy health insurance,
  • We’ll find a Bishop who finally decided to prick on someone his own size,
  • And we’ll get the “too soon” clock started on Duane Gish jokes,

But first, the Diatribe.

Diatribe:

Alright, so when it comes down to it, Jesus was a pretty alright guy.  And that’s true whether he existed or not.  Atheist or no, I can admit that.  Hell, I don’t like Superman comics, but I’ll admit that Superman is a pretty alright guy.  He’s actually way more pretty-alright than Jesus, but that’s beside the point.

I mean sure, by the standards of today, Jesus is an amoral jackass, but it’s not fair to fault a historical figure for the immorality of his time.  I mean, as long as you don’t go claiming he’s a divine incarnation of an omniscient being, you have to forgive him for not seeing 19 centuries ahead on things like gay rights, gender equality and capital punishment… hell, at least 50% of the major political parties in the US haven’t figured that shit out yet.

So if you set aside all the “son of god” shit and think of Jesus as an at-least-mostly-fictitious guy with impeccable morals, a timeless message of universal love and a scraggly hippie-beard, it’s pretty hard to find fault with him.  If Christians were just people who applied the moral message of Jesus and set aside all the deific douche-baggery, it would be really hard to bitch about them.

But none of that matters.  It’s an academic argument because Christianity has nothing to do with the moral teachings of Jesus.  They talk about him a lot and they sing songs about him and they wear his murder weapon, but they’ve all but given up on his whole message.

Sure, you can trot out a Christian that follows the example of Christ most of the time, but I can trot out an atheist that does the same.  And when I do, there’ll be two Christian ass-danglers following behind yelling about how he’s gonna burn in hell.

Sure, you can point to a humanitarian effort that was spurred on by Christians following the word of Christ.  And I can show you a secular equivalent that’s spurred on by common sense and a basic sense of humanity.  And when I do they’ll be the ones offering help to people even if they don’t swear allegiance to the correct space-wizard.

Sure, you can point to a Christian influence in every great social movement in American history, but I can also point to a Christian influence in the opposition to every great social movement in American history.  And when I do, it’ll be hard to ignore the fact that my group is 1200 times bigger than yours.

The truth is Christianity is just a word and Jesus is just a name.  The modern American Christian doesn’t worship anything about Jesus except his muscle tone.  In fact, if you look at the issues that seem to enrage Christians, you could be forgiven for thinking that Christ spent most of his time talking about gun rights, abortion, condoms, stem-cell research, capitalism, violent video games, masturbation, gays, pornography and masturbating to gay pornography.  And, oh yeah, something about feeding poor people to lions or something.

Think about it.  Here you’ve got this guy who’s chocked full of good parables, forward thinking morality, miraculous alcohol making and unassisted water skiing, but they glaze over that shit and obsess over the 0.16% of the bible that deals with their savior getting brutally tortured to death.

So what exactly did Jesus say about gays?  Well, nothing actually, but he did say something about loving the least of God’s children.

What did Jesus say about the right to bear arms? Well, there were no guns at the time, but I seem to recall him being anti-stoning.

What did Jesus have to say about capital punishment?  Well, I’m not sure but I’m willing to bet that toward the end of his life he was against it.

What did Jesus have to say about video games and stem cell research?  Well nothing because they didn’t exist.

What did Jesus have to say about abortion; something that absolutely, positively, undeniably did exist before Jesus ever reverse-popped his mommy’s hymen?  Turns out he completely forgot to mention how against it he was.  Luckily Pat Robertson was there to pick up where Jesus left off.

So talk Jesus all they want, but don’t invoke him when you’re trying to justify your religion.  Jesus doesn’t need your dumb-ass religion to be a decent guy.  I’m a big fan of Thoreau, and I don’t need him to be the son of god but actually god but actually a wafer in order to follow his moral philosophy.

In fact, I think it’s about time we officially retire old Jesus.  He was kind of a pussy anyway.  What modern day Americans need is an ass-kicking, name taking version of Jesus; a guy who would only turn the other cheek if he was setting up a spinning roundhouse kick.  They need a karate-Jesus that has a utility belt and banters well with super villains.  They need a nunchuck-toting Jesus that ignores poor people, embraces trickle-down economics, hates fags, smokes Marlboro Reds and always has a good one-liner before he takes out a motherfucker.

In other words, they need an AMERICAN Jesus.  I mean, if you’re going to completely ignore the moral underpinnings of your religion, why not go all the way?

“American Jesus” Song Lyrics:

(Amin, F, Amin, C)

I love me some Jesus, yes I do.

He died on the cross for my IOU.

He’s a lean mean Nazarene fightin’ machine,

He took the money changers from the temple, kicked them in the spleen…

(Amin, Emin)

He said, “Kapow, Get out! Don’t make me shout, bitch,

I usually turn the other cheek, but I’m liable to switch.”

He said, “You’re full of flab, you usurious clod,

I’ve got six-pack abs and I’m the son of God!”

(Amin, Dmin, Amin, Emin)

(Amin, F, Amin, C)

Oh, I love me some Jesus, yes I do.

He’s a bad motherfucker, thought you knew.

Back in the Jurassic wrestled dinosaurs;

That’s why you don’t see ‘em around anymore.

(Amin, Emin)

He said, “Kapow!”, Took out, tyrannosaurus,

He’s a bearded badass make you forget what’s-his-name Norris.

He was slick, and quick and impossible to capture,

Took the dinos up to heaven in the veloci-rapture.

(Amin, Dmin, Amin, Emin)

(Amin, F, C, Emin)

Cause he’s American Jesus, eats unleavened grilled cheeses

And he’ll tear you to pieces with his sword!

American Jesus, man, he’ll cure your diseases,

Or kick your mortal ass for the lord,

Oh lord, oh lord…

(Amin, F, Amin, C)

Oh, I love me some Jesus, yes I do.

There’s no doubt that he’s my favorite Jew

On the day he was born there was an extra star in the skies,

Three dudes came up to visit, every one of them wise,

(Amin, Emin)

They brought him gold, and myrrh, and frankincense,

Seems like weird gifts for a baby, but to them it made sense.

One was black, one brown, the other vaguely Asian,

But don’t worry ‘cause Jesus was a regular Caucasian.

(Amin, Dmin, Amin, Emin)

(Amin, F, C, Emin)

Cause he’s American Jesus, eats unleavened grilled cheeses

And he’ll tear you to pieces with his sword!

American Jesus, man he’ll cure your diseases,

Or kick your mortal ass for the lord,

Yes he’s America’s Christ, won’t it be nice?

The way they crucified him once, but he’ll come back twice, man.

He’s America’s God, and whether you’re a sinner or not,

He’ll make you holier if it’s only when your ass gets shot,

He’s America’s Messiah, unless my uncle is a liar,

His eyes can shoot out lasers and his fingers summon fire.

He’s America’s Savior, it’s risky behavior,

Not to take a knee right now and let him save your soul___

Oh Lord, Amen.

Headlines:

In our lead story tonight, America’s 15th largest mega-church is facing foreclosure.  The “Family Christian Center” of Indiana is more than $600,000 in the red and the First National Bank of Illinois isn’t buying the “we’re praying as hard as we can line.”

This is not the first time the congregation has faced litigation due to mortgage default.  In 2011, the Evangelical Christian Credit Usurers… I mean Union filed a case against them when they fell behind on payments for their worship center.

So ask me why a congregation that brings in between 7 and 10 million dollars a year can’t pay its bills.

Apparently “pay taxes and mortgage on condos owned by the congregation” falls lower on the financial priority list than things like 1st class travel, executive perks and jet fuel.

To be fair, the Family Christian Center denies allegations that it’s flailing in the quicksand of financial ruin brought on by decades of decadent debauchery, but they also claim Jesus is Lord so they’re a dubious source at best.

http://www.christianpost.com/news/indianas-largest-megachurch-faces-new-foreclosure-proceedings-90769/#hIvCFyYwoZEoWMwv.99

In more mountainous news, a Colorado Appeals Court has upheld the controversial Douglas County initiative that would divert public school funds to religious schools.  The “Choice Scholarship Pilot Program” offers $4,500 vouchers to students that can then be used for tuition at private schools.  At the time of the recording, 18 of the 23 private schools participating in the program were religious in nature.

The ACLU partnered with the religious liberty watchdog group Americans United to politely remind Douglas County that we are still doing the whole “constitution” thing, but apparently 2 of the 3 judges hearing the appeal disagreed.

Judge Steve Bernard, the sole dissenter, said “that the Choice Scholarship Program is a pipeline that violates [a] direct and clear constitutional command”.  Not sure what the other two judges were thinking, but my guess is it was something like, “look, if we got it right every time there wouldn’t be a state supreme court, now would there?”

 https://au.org/media/press-releases/appeals-court-upholds-voucher-plan-that-would-fund-religious-schools-in

In even more fucked up news, the Kentucky Senate has revived a bill that would not only allow a Christians-Only heath insurance provider to operate, but also exempt it entirely from insurance regulations.  The bill specifically reverses an earlier ban on the non-profit, not-quite-insurance company “Medi-Share”.

You see, Medi-Share is like insurance in that you pay them each month in hopes that when you need medical care it will be taken care of or heavily discounted.  But unlike insurance, they’re not really under any obligation to pay.  Its website describes the service as “A modern day version of what the church started back in the book of Acts.”  I’m not sure what they mean by that, but I assume that somewhere in their mission statement it talks about smoothing shit over with the Roman Empire.

In addition to getting away with shady business practices, the group is also allowed to discriminate against anyone who wants to buy into their sham that isn’t willing to lead a “biblical” lifestyle.

http://news.yahoo.com/senate-panel-revives-christian-health-000037587.html & http://news.yahoo.com/ky-bill-save-christian-health-133221588.html

But that’s not the only outrageously imprudent bill on the Kentucky House floor.  We now turn our attention to House Bill 279, a bill that would allow people to sidestep anti-discrimination laws if their bigotry was based on a sincerely held religious conviction.

Never mind how Kentucky legislators intend to legally determine the sincerity of one’s convictions, the law is clearly aimed at helping insulate bigots who want to deny equal access to gays.   Bob Damron, the democratic sponsor of the bill, offers some hand-waving bullshit about religious freedom, but opponents of the bill point out that its vague language could (quote) “give people permission to discriminate based on their religious beliefs, thereby… [imposing those] beliefs on others with legal authority to do so.”

Supporters of the bill point out that (quote) “we’re not goin’ after the kikes of the chinks or nothin’.  This law is just about them lesbos and queers.” http://www.patheos.com/blogs/friendlyatheist/2013/03/10/kentucky-bill-would-allow-discrimination-based-on-sincerely-held-religious-beliefs/

Turning now to international news, we land once again in Vatican City where officials now admit to some of the accusations stemming from the wire-tapping scandal that stemmed from the vati-leaks scandal that stemmed from the Vatican gay sex blackmail scandal that stemmed from the Papal money laundering scandal that stemmed from the child rape and torture scandal that stemmed from the absurd decision to ask grown men to not use their dicks.

So let’s take that in reverse order, skipping over the dicks.

In March of 2012, the Vatican launched a nation-wide, city-wide investigation in hopes of finding out how the fuck the Pope’s personal diary and erotic letters to Jessica Simpson kept winding up on the front page of Italian Newspapers.

A couple months later they would discover that the butler did it in the rectory with the lead pipe, but not before the stream of incriminating documents would uncover evidence of bribery, blackmail, money laundering and a gay-sex prostitution ring.

Fast forward a year and the Vatican is finally admitting to at least a few of the allegations around the Draconian investigations, saying now that they “only tapped two or three phones” and that they “only listened to the verbs and prepositions”.

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2013/03/01/vatican-wiretap-vatileaks_n_2792956.html?utm_hp_ref=religion

In other Catholic Old Gay Reality Show Blooper Reel Material, Cardinal O’Brien, the former archbishop of St. Andrews and Edinburgh, has stepped down amid allegations of sexual abuse and impropriety toward 4 priests that served under him both figuratively and literally.

O’Brien initially denied allegations but days later recounted and agreed to step down only weeks before he was scheduled to participate in the conclave that would select the next pope.  When asked about his reversal, O’Brien said “Initially [the] anonymous and non-specific nature [of the allegations] led me to contest them.”

So I guess once the details were filled in he said, “Oh those guys? Yeah, I sexually assaulted them, sure.”

http://www.cnn.com/2013/03/03/world/catholic-church-obrien/index.html?on.cnn=1

And in tonight’s Water-Is-Wet Report, a new study finds that offering criminals a religious doctrine of unconditional forgiveness doesn’t deter them from committing more crime.  The study, which was published this month in the journal ‘Theoretical Criminology’ concludes that presenting inmates with religious doctrine does not reduce criminal behavior and instead may actually exacerbate it.

The researchers interviewed 48 inmates and noted a number of “elaborate and creative rationalizations” that they used to reconcile their religious belief with their actions.  And some of these are pretty fun:

  • “Cool” told researchers that he would say a quick prayer before robbing someone to (quote) “Stay cool with Jesus.”
  • “Triggerman” explained that “God has to forgive everyone, even if they don’t believe in him.”
  • “Young Stunna” said, “See, if you go and rob a motherfucker” and to be fair, I’m assuming he said mother fucker because all it says is “expletive” in the quote so I could have used anything here.  But anyway, he said, “If you go and rob a motherfucker, then I’m still going to Heaven because, it’s like, Jesus knows I ain’t have no choice, you know?”

So the study provides evidence that (a) religion is not an effective deterrent to crime, (b) it can be and is used to justify further criminal actions and (c) that religious people use bullshit rationalizations to keep their faith from imploding around them.

And then they load their conclusions up with a bunch of shit that isn’t remotely supported by the evidence.  They basically ignore the obvious conclusion: religion is not effective in deterring crime, and instead they pander and pussy-foot around suggesting that religion is definitely really awesome and good and all, but it just isn’t being employed correctly. http://www.vancouversun.com/news/national/study+raises+questions+about+religion+deterrent+against/7981683/story.html

American Atheist’s latest billboard campaign

http://religion.blogs.cnn.com/2013/03/03/first-on-cnn-atheists-ratchet-up-rhetoric-use-billboards-to-attack-republican-politicians/

Skit:

VOICEOVER:

Meanwhile, in Heaven…

GOD:

(in progress)

…and not a one of those mother fuckers thanked me.

Watch and see.  None of them are ever gonna win

an Oscar again.  I’ll DiCaprio the lot of ‘em…

SFX: Beeping

GABRIEL:

Uh-oh, the God-O-Tron!

SFX: Whoosh

GOD:

Jesus Christ!

JESUS:

Yeah?

GOD:

Looks like Mabel in Pulaski lost her keys again.  See what you can do.

JESUS:

Got it.

GOD:

You know which one really irks me?  Ang Lee.  That jackass loads his

movie with Christian themes, I go to the limits of my omnipotence to get

a Best Director Award to a guy who…

SFX: Beeping

GABRIEL:

Wait, there’s more coming through…

GOD:

Damn it… now I’ve lost my train of thought.

GABRIEL:

Oh man, this is bad.  A volcano is about to erupt and

kill hundreds of malnourished islanders!  We’ve gotta do something!

GOD:

Still looking for those keys, Gabriel.

GABRIEL:

But God!

GOD:

One thing at a time, Gabe.  I can’t do everything at once.

URIEL:

Well, actually, you can, sir.

GOD:

Nobody asked you, Uriel!

URIEL:

It’s just that you’re omnipotent, sir.  You could…

GOD:

How many times do I have to tell you guys?  I work

in mysterious ways!

URIEL:

(mumbling) When you work at all…

GOD:

What was that?

URIEL:

Nothing…

GABRIEL:

God, the volcano!

GOD:

Oh, Jesus H. Christ!

JESUS:

Yeah?

GOD:

Have you found those keys yet?

JESUS:

Did you ask her where she had them last?

GOD:

(Sighs)

If she knew that they wouldn’t be lost, now would they?

JESUS:

Still lookin…

GOD:

Oh yeah.  Ang Lee.  I mean, that dude just pointed a camera

at a green screen for a couple of weeks and I manage to

miracle him into Best Director.  And then what?

SFX: Beeping

GOD:

(Sighs)

Doesn’t anyone know that I’ve got Oscars to bitch about here?!

GABRIEL:

It’s just messages.

JESUS:

Found them.

GOD:

Finally…

JESUS:

Oh wait.  Those were earrings…

GABRIEL:

You want those messages, God?

GOD:

Fine, Gabriel.

GABRIEL:

Well… Lucifer says he’s still really, really sorry and promises

never to do it again if you let him back into heaven.

Mary called again but I deleted the message like you asked.

GOD:

Women…

GABRIEL:

Oh, and Noah’s making one of those podcasts

you hate so much again…

GOD:

What, Ark Noah?

GABRIEL:

No… the… Noah Lugeons.  The “Scathing Atheist”?  He’s

the one that…

URIEL:

The one that called you a Shit Porn.

GOD:

And he’s making another one?  Damn it, where’s my Brimstone?!

URIEL:

Oh, like you’re really gonna smite him.

GOD:

I could smite him!  You guys all seem to think I’ve gone soft, but I

can still smite.  You’re talking about the guy that took out Sodom and

URIEL, GABRIEL & JESUS in UNISON:

…Gomorrah and flooded the whole world…

GOD:

Enough!  Jesus, what are you doing?  Did you find those keys?

JESUS:

She found some old photo album and forgot what she was

looking for.  Now what was that about a volcano?

GABRIEL:

…too late.

Calendar:

It’s time for the Atheist Calendar portion of the show.  With the atheist community all abuzz about the American Atheist’s 50th Anniversary Convention in Austin, I figured we’d devote the whole calendar this fortnight to all the fun and excitement happening over Easter weekend.

The bulk of the festivities begin on the 29th, but Registration opens at 5 o’clock on the 28th.  There’s also a “Dinner with the Stars” fundraising event.  For an additional $250 you can attend a dinner and auction with luminaries like Matt Dillahunty, Greta Christina, Pete Stark, David Silverman and more.

But the real fireworks start on Friday with talks beginning at 9:30 and running through the day. David Silverman will kick things off, but the list of speakers for the day is loaded, all culminating in a Music and Comedy show featuring Greydon Square, Blair Scott & Keith Lowell.

Saturday has a hell of a lineup as well.  It starts off with a Parenting in Atheism panel and continues with an exciting series of speakers throughout the day, plus additional panels like Atheism vs. Humanism and Women in Atheism.  And unlike congressional hearings, this panel on women will have women on it.

And while the rest of the country is looking for pastel-colored Jesus bunny eggs, we’ll be treated to a Sunday Sermon by none other than Jerry Dewitt.  He’ll be followed by friend of the show Hemant Mehta and a bunch of other notables including but not limited to Seth Andrews, Edwin Kagin and, of course, the keynote address by AC Grayling.

Should be a ton of fun and as of this recording, tickets are still available. I hope to be attending as well. There won’t be a Scathing Atheist meet-up, but I’ll be easy to find: I’ll be the tall, thin, handsome guy standing next to me.

For a full and up to date schedule of speakers and events, check the shownotes for this episode.  As always, if you’re involved with an Atheist, Skeptical or Secular event that needs a little free publicity, drop me a line.  You’ll find all the contact info on the “Contact” page at Scathing Atheist (dot) com.

http://atheists.org/convention2013/schedule

Feedback & Outro:

Couple of quick emails to respond to before we close things out for the night.

The first one comes from Ellen in Texas.  She appreciated the take down of Peggie Drexler’s op-ed in Episode 3, but she pointed out that I tragically overlooked the dumbest sentence in the whole article; one where she clearly inverts the order on the Javon Belcher murder/suicide, posing it instead as a chronologically-perplexing suicide/murder.  I’m ashamed to have missed a perfect closing joke there.

Also wanted to respond to a miserable jackass who identifies himself or herself as “potbelly” and leaves the following nugget of brain poop in my inbox:

“It doesn’t take much to see who is right and wrong in the religious debate. When you hear Christians speak, they talk about charity, love and universal kinship. And when you hear Atheists talk they’re just calling other people motherfuckers.  Noah could take a cue from the Christians if he took a second to stop degrading them.”

Well, “potbelly”, I have 3 issues with that email.  First of all, you don’t capitalize “atheist”.  I appreciate the effort, but we aren’t disciples of Athea the wise or anything.

Secondly, I’ve never called anybody a “mother fucker” on this show.  I’ve called people things that are just as bad or worse, but I’ve never actually referred to anybody as a “mother fucker” so clearly you’re not paying attention.

And finally, I’m sorry that I didn’t think to take a cue from all those Christians I’m constantly degrading.   Luckily, I’ve got a montage of crazy You-Tube preachers on hand to help me set the tone with some of that charity, love and universal kinship you were talking about:

And with that note of unconditional love and brotherhood I think we can safely ignore motherfuckers like potbelly.

That’ll do it for the show this fortnight, but if you want more, there’s more.  Carl and Ben over at the Post Rapture Looting Podcast made the mistake of inviting Heath and I on to chat with them a few nights ago.  The interview should be available on their feed on Saturday the 16th.  Check out postrapturelooting.net or keep an eye on our website, as we’ll be posting a link as soon as it’s available.

http://postrapturelooting.net/PRL/

I want to thank the truly friendly atheist Hemant Mehta for providing the Farnsworth quote for this episode.  In addition to being a superbly awesome-nice guy who gives people audio clips for no reason except his inherent sense of goodness, he also runs the closest thing on the internet to a one-stop shop for Atheist news stories.  You can find him, along with a host of other great atheist blogs at patheos (dot) com.  We’ll have a link on the shownotes, of course.

http://www.patheos.com/blogs/friendlyatheist/

I also want to thank Jay, Santi and my partner in crime Heath Enwright for helping with the skit and the headlines tonight.  But most of all, I want to thank you for giving us 30 minutes of your life.  We’ll be working really hard to earn 30 minutes next time.  If you enjoy the show, please help us spread the word by leaving us a good review on iTunes or Stitcher.  And yes, we’re now on Stitcher so listen to us there.  If you don’t have the Stitcher app, go to iTunes and get that because you’re not a fucking Flinstone, are you?  I mean, iTunes?  That’s where the Neanderthals got their podcasts.  It’s all about Stitcher now.

We’ll be back in two weeks with co-host of Reasonable Doubts Justin Schieber for a discussion on the merits and techniques of publicly debating theists.

http://freethoughtblogs.com/reasonabledoubts

Until then you can find more on our blog at Scathing Atheist (dot) com, including links to all the headlines and events discussed in this episode.  All the music used in this episode was written and performed by yours truly and yes, I did have my permission.

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