Archive

Posts Tagged ‘god’

But I Was Just Debating Evolution!

March 25, 2013 Leave a comment

by Noah Lugeons

I have to admit that on some levels, I like trolls. I appreciate the effort it takes to engage in one losing effort after the next, hoping to chip away at an armor you know you can’t penetrate. It takes endurance and dedication to push your way into a room full of people aligned against you and then antagonize them ceaselessly, knowing the whole time that you’re ultimately going to lose the fight and probably get banned or blocked or whatever. I also like the way they maintain bridges and come up with clever riddles.

But what I don’t like is when they try to paint a veneer of intellectualism over their self-congratulatory, masturbatory hobby obsession. At least have the courage to admit that what you’re engaged in is impotent antagonism. Hell, my entire show is dedicated to the proposition of impotent antagonism and I’m not ashamed to admit it. But you’ll never hear me pretending that my show is an ‘intellectual’ endeavor. It’s a string of frustrated, powerless, antagonistic ramblings that may or may not make you laugh depending on the depravity of your sense of humor. There’s nothing intellectual about that.

Unfortunately, too few trolls are willing to be that honest with themselves. They like to pretend that their mom’s basement is a fortress; a lone citadel in fallen empire and that they are the final guardian of truth that shall persevere against the hordes of minds too broken to agree with what they themselves simply know to be true. Take as an example some sub-dermal infection that showed up here yesterday to point out what a bunch of homophobes atheists are.

In response to my post yesterday about whether or not atheists are “angry at god”, he left a seemingly innocuous comment asking what, precisely, atheists were so angry about.

I thought I’d made it clear in the post, but I’d also made it clear how bad theists are at understanding what “I don’t believe in your fairy tale” actually means, so I distilled the essence of the argument to a single sentence for him/her:

The implications of a group asserting social jurisdiction on the perceived authority of an imaginary being.

And while I already suspected something rotten under the bridge, it was not until then that the inquisitor revealed their troll-like nature. The response was to link to a blogpost so stupid it forces spontaneous neuronal suicide. I won’t be linking to it here (that jackass already has one undeserved link on my blog), but I can distill the point that this fucktard was trying to make in a quick syllogism:

  • When I argue with atheists, sometimes they get upset and call me names.
  • Sometimes these names include anti-gay slurs and implications that I love the cock.
  • Ergo, all atheists are homophobes.

It may seem like a strange assertion to say that atheists, a group that is all but universally in favor of gay rights against an opposition that is all but universally religious in origin are somehow “anti-gay”. But don’t worry, this human-shaped pile of nut-butter wouldn’t make such an allegation without rock-solid evidence. Why, he/she presented several cherry-picked, out-of-context, unverifiable comments from a blog. Talk about incontrovertible! As we all know, if a person says something in the comments section of a website, clearly their statement is indicative of the larger feelings of whatever group you have chosen to associate them with.

So I politely pointed out that trolling is a dangerous game and that when you engage in it, you should know that at any point, you might get accused of taking it up the ass. And then this monkey-spunk-gargling scrotum wart offers a defense so stupid I had to blog about it:

I wasn’t trolling, I was debating evolution.

Oh, well in that case…

Look, if you want my intellectual sympathy, don’t start off by admitting that you were engaged in something that is almost criminally stupid. If you start the story with something like, “So I’m debating the theory of gravity…”, “So I’m trying to convince this guy that the moon really is made of green cheese…”, “So I’m arguing with this idiot who thinks water is somehow wet…” or, “I was debating evolution…” you’ve already revealed yourself to be a horribly misguided, intentionally ignorant promoter of wanton stupidity. And you think somehow that will shield you from the accusation of being a troll?

You can pretend that you’re “debating” evolution if you want to, but you’re lying and nobody believes the lie but you. The science is in, the data is conclusive, the proof is in the pudding: evolution is true.  There is nothing to ‘debate’. Sure, there’s still plenty to learn and there is a healthy scholarly debate about the mechanisms and specifics of evolution, but if you’re trying to pretend that there’s an intellectually defensible way to debate the very fact that evolution happened, is happening and is responsible for the biodiversity we see on earth, you are not engaged in “debating”, it’s “denying”.

Oh… and trolling.

Christians are Like Raisins

September 7, 2011 Leave a comment

by Noah Lugeons

I had occasion to visit Dollywood this summer.  I was there about four days before the now infamous T-shirt scandal in which a lesbian couple was barred entrance for wearing a shirt with a pro-gay marriage message.  To be fair, they were allowed in when the woman agreed to turn the T-shirt inside out.  They have a stated policy against clothing with what they consider “offensive” messages and I frankly agree with such a policy in a theme park that largely caters to children.  The Disney parks would hardly let me in wearing my “Fuck Jesus” shirt and well they shouldn’t.

The problem, of course, stems from their failure to define “offensive”.  The hill billy working the ticket counter was offended by their lesbian-ness and the T-shirt was a reflection of that.  God does, undeniably, say that gay people should die (though you can read it as though this only applies to gay men) in the bible so it probably seemed to this bible-thumping centurion that this shirt was against company policy.  She was just executing the duties of a Dollywood Ticket Taker and sometimes that includes making the tough calls.

I would submit that the job of deciding which shirts to let in and which to keep out is probably pretty challenging.  I often found myself amidst a sea of Christian propaganda shirts and they offended the hell out of me.  One offered a Staples-style “Jesus Button”.  One helpfully inquired if I “Got Jesus?”.  My personal favorite was one that was cleverly disguised as a Mountain Dew logo that actually said “Meant to Die”.

I had to include this or you'd have thought I was making this shit up.

 

While that one may have earned top honors in my mind, the most popular one in the park seemed to be a plain black T-shirt that proudly proclaimed that “This Shirt is Illegal in 51 Countries” with a little red cross above in case you thought the bible passages on the back were too subtle.

Lest you think I’m exaggerating the ubiquity of these Jesus shirts, I attest that I saw all of the following common corporate logos bastardized to include some ham-handed reference to Jesosity:

  • Staples (as mentioned above)
  • Mountain Dew (as pictured above)
  • Starbucks
  • Reese’s Candies
  • Dr. Pepper
  • Fender Guitars
  • Intel
  • Arm & Hammer (It was “Armed and Ready” and the hand was holding a cross)
  • Coca Cola

Keep in mind that I went before the whole T-shirt fiasco.  I wasn’t cataloging the shirts as I saw them.  Those are just the ones I remember.

If this surprises you then you’ve clearly never been to Dollywood.  It’s a Christian theme park and it must do a healthy percentage of its business in church groups and bible camps.  It’s Christian enough to have church slap in the middle of the park… with services.  You can actually stop in after lunch and pray that you don’t barf on the next roller coaster.

To be sure, there are plenty of far more religious theme parks out there.  The evangelicals already have the “Holy Land Experience” in Orlando (as featured in Bill Maher’s Religioulis) and all of us in the atheist blogosphere eagerly await new reason’s to make fun of Kentucky’s Ark Encounter, but at least these parks are upfront about their religious slant.  Dollywood is a “subversive” Christian theme park.  It’s not called “Jesuswood”.  It’s advertised as simple, wholesome Dolly Parton-themed family fun.

But in the mountains of Tennessee, the word Christian is more or less assumed when the words “wholesome” and “family” are invoked.  Along the drive into the park you’ll be greeted by a number of Christian themed dinner theaters, one of which (I shit you not) will allow you to watch a reenactment of Christ’s brutal death while you eat.

I should explain that when I say that Dollywood is “subversive” about its Christianity, I don’t mean that they hide it.  If you check the “Core Values” they list on their website, you’ll see the words “All in a Manner Consistent with Christian Values and Ethics” in red, bold letters along the bottom.  There’s nothing about Jesus on the homepage, but if you go digging for him, you’ll find him.

And that’s often my largest complaint about Christian intrusion into the secular world.  I have no issues with fundamental-cases building their own life-sized ark (though the tax money they’re building it with kind of pisses me off).  But if you’re going to build a Christian theme park, make damn sure everyone who walks in knows what they’re in for.  Don’t try to disguise a creationist museum as a real one.

Christians are subversive in the way that raisins are subversive.  You’ll be eating a pastry and enjoying it when along comes this unexpected was of dead-fly (or whatever they make raisins out of).  You spit it out and stare angrily at the pastry, wondering who stuck dead-fly fruit in your breakfast.  You check the package and sure enough it says “raisins” on the front in tiny little letters under “Cinnamon Bun”.  The information was there if you looked for it, but you had to be looking for it.

I’m reminded of a gift I bought my nephew several years ago at Christmas (yes, even we atheists celebrate buy-shit-day).  They were these little plastic things that you slid over your shoes so that you could slide along on the carpet.  Of course he could have gotten the same effect by wearing wool socks on tile but the fact that it was a crap product isn’t why I bring it up.  As I’m wrapping these little suckers up, I notice that tucked away on a little margin of the packaging was a bible verse.  It’s just snuck into the side of an otherwise secular purchase.  Only a careful scrutiny of the package would have revealed this discreet attempt at evangelism.

The goal here was to sneak the passage in.  The goal was to get it before the eyes of children without their parent’s knowledge or consent.  If they were trying to attract more Christian customers, they would have prominently displayed the verse, but instead it was tucked into a corner where only the eyes of a child examining a new toy would be likely to see it.

It is always in the best interest of the atheist activist to remember the mind-set of the Christian.  In their eyes something like this is perfectly acceptable.  If they can’t sneak biblical passages into your home, your child is in danger of spending eternity in Hell.  When the stakes are that high things like respect for your beliefs are inconsequential.

So I implore you to treat Christians just like you treat raisins: Always be on the look out.  Always check the package carefully before you commit.  Those dry, disgusting, tasteless, shriveled, out-dated bastards are always looking for a way in.

My Conversation With God

September 3, 2011 3 comments

by Noah Lugeons

Late last night, God spoke to me.

“Noah…” he said in a rumbling whisper.  I rolled a bit in my sleep, unsure if I was dreaming or awake.

“Noah…” he said again.

“Ben Affleck?” I asked, hoping against all odds that he was finally abiding by the restraining order.

“No, it’s God,” he explained.

I sighed warily and sat up, glancing quickly to my wife to see if I’d awakened her.  “God?” I asked.

“God,” he clarified.

“Look, I don’t mean to be a dick, but is this something that can wait until morning?  I’ve been drinking…”

“I had nothing to do with Bieber winning that VMA.”

“What?”

“I actually prefer Bruno Mars.”

“Who?”

“But I’ve got plenty of problems dealing with the drought in Africa.  I didn’t even get to watch the VMAs this year.”

“God, I’m really tired,” I complained, but I knew this wouldn’t shut him up.

“Yeah, I guess that’s kind of off topic anyway.  Sorry.  Just wanted to make that clear.  I’m so sick of Justin Bieber that I’m about ready to smite him.  Could you imagine?  One piece of brimstone… BAM.  One more lonely girl if you know what I mean.”

“You know I’m an atheist, right?”

“Yeah, that’s actually why I’m here.”

Convinced that this conversation wasn’t going to end any time soon I reached to the bedside table and grabbed a cigarette.

“I notice that your not blogging lately,” God said, followed by a forced and unconvincing cough as I lit my smoke.

I rolled my eyes.  “Give me a break, God, you’re not even corporeal.”

“I know, but smoke still bothers me.  It’s a disgusting habit.”

“I know, I know,” I uttered.  “Can we just get to the point?”

“I want you to start blogging again.”

“Really?  You know I write an atheist blog, right?”

“And podcasting.  You need to get back on that.”

“But… I blog and podcast about the fact that you’re just a figment of the cultural imagination.  I blog about the logical incoherence of your existence.  I talk about the denialism of science and atrocious lapses in morality that are justified under your name.  I write about the sheer stupidity of holding bronze age beliefs in the modern-day.”

“Yeah, but the world needs more of that.”

“I agree, but I’m kind of surprised to hear you say it.”

“I want humans to be the best they can be, Noah.  I’m not going to get that if people are busy stifling discovery and retarding social progress.  I created disease and strife so that humans could come together against a common banner of necessity.  I put the obstacles there so that you could climb over them.  The idiots that believe in me are, forgive my language, fucking things all up.”

“You’re forgiven,” I said with a hint of irony.  “Do you realize how many atheist blogs are on the internet?  Do you really think that one more is going to make a difference?  Hell, nobody’s really reading it anyway.”

I’m reading it,” God said reassuringly.

“Yeah, but you don’t show up on Google Analytics.”

“If you tweet it, they will come.”

“Are you stealing lines from Kevin Costner now?”

“I loved that movie.  I was awesome in it.  Not like Bruce Almighty…”

“So if I promise to start blogging again, will you let me go back to sleep?”

“And podcasting.”

“Fine.  I’ll get to it first thing in the morning… or afternoon probably.  I’ve got some errands to run in the morning.”

“Okay.  So what, Tuesday on the next episode?”

“Sure.  Tuesday’ll work.”

“Alright.  Night, Noah.”

“Night God,” I said, snubbing out my cigarette and curling back into my pillow.  Rudy made a brief nocturnal purr as I threw my arm around her and in an instant I was unconcious once more.

God’s brother Mikey

by Noah Lugeons

Not many people know the story of Mikey. The less ambitious of the two brothers, Mikey was gifted with the same omnipotence as Jehovah but found himself less inclined to direct it in any meaningful way.

On the first day, Mikey was playing a video game. His omniscience had already seen all the video game consoles that the future had to offer and despite the vastly superior graphics of later systems, he still preferred the old school gameplay of the Nintendo Entertainment System. At the time that God interrupted, he was playing Ghosts and Goblins, a game that required omnipotence to beat.

“What the fuck is that?!” Mikey asked, shielding his eyes as the door swung open.

“I call it light,” Jehovah said excitedly, “I’ve got a whole plan… heavens, seas, animals… it’s gonna be crazy.”

Mikey reluctantly paused his game and followed his brother outside. A pair of sunglasses (the first pair, to be exact) phenomenized in his hands and he donned them as he glanced up at God’s creation.  “Whatever,” he said dismissively, “I’m going to bed.”

On the following morning, Mikey awoke violently as water splashed onto his face. “Now what?!” he grumbled as he stormed outside through knee-deep liquid. “What the fuck are you doing?” he called out as he swung open the door.

“I call it water. Don’t worry,” God said with a passive wave, “I’m going to create solid ground next.”

“Well can you hurry the hell up? It’s kinda hard to sleep with all this churning and rolling.”

“Yeah, I should be done with the ground tomorrow sometime.”

“Tomorrow! Why tomorrow?”

God waved his arms in a sweeping gesture, as though to convey the enormity of the project at hand. “I promise… I’ll get to it as soon as I can. I’m still separating all these seas.”

Mikey rolled his eyes and a canoe (the first canoe, to be exact) phenomenized before him as he made his way back to his bed. He tried creating a stable platform on which to sleep, but it churned with the waters and he was ripped back to consciousness each time a splash of the cold liquid splattered onto his skin. He tried a few more constructs before eventually settling on a large enclosed space that would roll comfortably amongst the new waves.

He slept through the day and awoke on the following morning with his enclosed structure blissfully beached on steady ground. He stretched and a cup of coffee appeared in his throat. He considered seeing how Jehovah was doing, but he almost feared whatever monstrosity might await him outside so he remained inside his boat and played a few games of Mario Kart. Later he phenomenized a pizza and a bong and before he knew it, he was asleep again.

On the fourth day he finally came forth from his protective encapsulation. He stepped on to the upper deck of his refuge and glanced down. “Yo, Joey!” he said, calling to his brother.

“My name’s Jehovah,” he muttered.

“Digging that big orange ball of flame… it’s nice. I’d have put it a little higher up, but hey, that’s just me.”

“It actually rises and falls back over on that side. It moves kind of slow. I’m trying to get it to exactly 24 hours but it’s a pain in the ass.”

“How close are you?”

“I’m within a minute.”

Mikey shrugged. “Close enough.”

That was often Mikey’s solution to a conundrum, but God decided that in this instance he was probably right. “I like your ark,” he remarked as he took in his brother’s improvised shelter. “I’ll have to keep that in mind.”

“Loving what you did with the sky, little bro,” he said as he climbed down from his perch. By the time he reached the sandy shores a beer had appeared in his hand. “Little white patches floating by… nice touch.”

“Clouds, I call ’em. You should see it at night. I did stars and everything.”

“Nice,” he said as he cracked open the beer. “So what are you planning with this whole thing?”

God smiled and Mikey could tell by his expression that his brother had been dying to lay the plan out since this whole thing started. It had taken a few days for Mikey to take the bait and he could tell immediately he was in for a long story. He phenomenized a chair and sat back as he drank.

“Well… I still gotta finish the moon, but then the next couple days I’m working on animals.”

“What the fuck are animals?”

“Little living, sentient things that’ll eat each other and compete for limited resources. It’ll be fun to watch.”

Mikey wrinkled his nose. “Sounds like a pain in the ass. Are you gonna take care of all those things? You know… take ’em for walks and stuff?”

“Nope. They’re on their own in a cruel world, bro. But hold on, I haven’t told you the…”

“Wait… a cruel world? Why would you create a cruel world?”

“Cruelty will act as a lesson about the vastness of my power. I’ll creating suffering so that they can enjoy bounty in its absence.”

“That doesn’t make a lick of sense.”

“No… it does. See, you can’t have good without evil.”

“Yes you can,” Mikey said, finishing the last swallow from his beer, “You’re omnipotent, remember? You can have anything you want.”

“Anyway, don’t worry about it. That’s not even the best part. I haven’t told you about ‘man’ yet.”

Mikey caused his sunglasses to reappear just so that he could slide them down his nose and glance skeptically from behind them. “What are mans?”

“Men.”

“Okay, what are mens?”

“No, man, but when you pluralize it, you say ‘men’.”

“See, that doesn’t make any sense either.”

“I work in mysterious ways, Mikey.”

“Whatever… fine. So what are ‘men’?” he asked, forcing an overly sarcastic emphasis onto the word.

“Okay… this is so cool… They’ll be like little versions of us. My own image and everything. And I’ll give them free will and I’ll stick them in a garden paradise…”

“Well that’s nice of you…” Mikey started, but Jehovah wasn’t finished and simply spoke over him.

“… but I’ll put a tree in there with really delicious fruit on it and I’ll tell them not to eat it and when they do… and you know they will… anyway, when they do, I’ll curse them for all of eternity.”

Mikey offered only a glacial blink.

“And then I’ll fuck with ’em for a few centuries and totally remove myself from their world. And if they don’t believe I exist after that, I’ll condemn them to spend eternity burning in a fiery pit.”

“What’s a fiery pit?”

“It’s something I’m going to create just to be a miserable ass place to spend eternity in.”

A long moment passed as Mikey tried to absorb all this information. Several times he started to speak and then realized he lacked sufficient words to express his disbelief. He looked into his brother’s eyes and saw the hint of madness he’d always suspected was there.

Finally, he responded with a single syllable, the only syllable that seemed remotely appropriate under the circumstances: “Why?”

“Because I want them to see how awesome I am,” he answered with a straight face. “They’ll love me or they’ll burn in hell in an unending orgy of tragic pain for all of time. It’ll be great!

“Dude… you’ve lost your fucking mind. I’m sorry to just lay it out there like that, but you’re fucking crazy. That’s the weirdest shit I’ve ever heard. Seriously… I should create mental asylums just so I could lock you in one.”

“Go ahead. See if you ever figure out how the tides work, dick.”

God turned his back on his brother and Mikey retreated to his ark to play some more video games. It would be centuries before he came out again and by then, his brother had so irrevocably fucked up his experiment that he’d simply given up on it and moved on to a new project.

Mikey shrugged and went back inside to play some Gears of War.

Thus ends the gospel of Mikey.

Harold Camping: 3rd Time’s the Charm!

by Noah Lugeons

This is why I’ll never understand the faithful.  Harold Camping predicted the rapture would happen on September 7th of 1994.  When that didn’t happen, he predicted it again in 2011.

So let’s try to get beyond that first. You fail in predicting something as grandiose as the fucking rapture, you shouldn’t be qualified to guess weight at a carnival from that point forward. If a scientist predicted the end of the world and then it failed to pass, nobody on this planet would listen to anything that scientist said again but to mock it.

But religion doesn’t work that way.  Harold Camping got a mulligan.

And it wasn’t even like his followers were slightly less credulous the second time around. It would be easy to say that after being burned once you’d at least accept the possibility that he was going to come up short again this time. But if you look at the results from this latest failure it seems that if anything, their faith in their leader increased. At the very least their financial support grew if the national advertising blitzkrieg is anything to judge by.

From my rational, atheistic point of view it seems like the idea of going out to witness the end of mankind again would be a red flag in itself. But not for these unquestioning Camp-ites. They are doubly sure this time because they were wrong the time before.

Different year, same result. No rapture. And Camping gets a mulligan.

That’s right. Camping has spoken. Turns out that the rapture did occur on Saturday. I figured as much… as though he might suggest that us linen-wearing, indiscriminate meat-eaters weren’t good enough to be spared, but he chose the more “loving Jesus” approach to the whole thing.

Camping’s explanation for why the rapture failed to happen is simple. Jesus reappeared and took a look at humanity and his big-old Jesusy heart just couldn’t bear to put us through all that torment. But have no fears, Camping isn’t backing off from his original October deadline for the actual end of the world. He’s just saying that Christ didn’t have the heart to rapture his loyal followers up to sky-candy land. Seems that this pang of conscience didn’t extend to not actually killing everyone and sending the vast majority to an eternity of suffering in Hell.

I’m sure Camping lost some of his flock, but if even one person is still clinging to the ramblings of this deranged old kook it is one too many. Come to think of it, I feel the same way about Jesus.