Christians deemed “heretics” after claiming no historical Adam and Eve

August 10, 2011

Well, almost. This NPR article was a good find; some evangelicals are starting to realize that the truths being uncovered by geneticists and other areas of science are making it harder and harder to maintain the fiction that the whole of the earth got populated thanks to two people some celestial being molded together out of clay and a rib 6000 years ago.

conservative scholars are saying publicly that they can no longer believe the Genesis account. Asked how likely it is that we all descended from Adam and Eve, Dennis Venema, a biologist at Trinity Western University, replies: “That would be against all the genomic evidence that we’ve assembled over the last 20 years, so not likely at all.”

Venema says there is no way we can be traced back to a single couple. He says with the mapping of the human genome, it’s clear that modern humans emerged from other primates as a large population — long before the Genesis time frame of a few thousand years ago. And given the genetic variation of people today, he says scientists can’t get that population size below 10,000 people at any time in our evolutionary history.

To get down to just two ancestors, Venema says, “You would have to postulate that there’s been this absolutely astronomical mutation rate that has produced all these new variants in an incredibly short period of time. Those types of mutation rates are just not possible. It would mutate us out of existence.”

Others would likely try to say God miraculously made all those mutation rates possible in order to maintain the delusion of a functional biblical timeline, so it’s great to see logic and rationality taking charge here instead. Three cheers for science and minds open enough to accept its findings, even when they run counter to earlier, long-held beliefs. (That said, later down the page he appears to credit God for the evolutionary process as a whole so it’s clear he’s not willing to scrap the notion of a god’s interference completely. Can’t help some people…)

In fundamentalist circles these admissions are less than popular.

“From my viewpoint, a historical Adam and Eve is absolutely central to the truth claims of the Christian faith,” says Fazale Rana, vice president of Reasons To Believe, an evangelical think tank that questions evolution. Rana, who has a Ph.D. in biochemistry from Ohio University, readily admits that small details of Scripture could be wrong.

“But if the parts of Scripture that you are claiming to be false, in effect, are responsible for creating the fundamental doctrines of the Christian faith, then you’ve got a problem,” Rana says.

One of those problems being cognitive dissonance. Hundreds of years of telling believers that the bible has everything right. Here come all these great minds devoting themselves to scientific inquiry and discovering so many examples where that’s clearly not the case. Yet, believers will turn away from all those the strange and frightening facts because their (outdated) beliefs are old and comfortable friends. They can’t possibly be wrong…

Of course they can.

A religion like Christianity is built on precepts that require believers to assume the world is other than it is in order to work. To trust those errors are not really errors at all.

To have faith. Faith in Genesis.
Faith in the Ark and the flood wiping out all but God’s chosen few.
Faith in a prophecy about a new king of the people. Faith in a story about angel visitations,
a guiding star in the sky and a baby born in a stable who,
wonder of wonders, will grow up to be that
King of heaven and earth and rise from the dead one day, too.

I’m impressed by how that part rhymes. You’d think I planned it…

“When Adam sinned, he sinned for us,” Mohler says. “And it’s that very sinfulness that sets up our understanding of our need for a savior.

Mohler says the Adam and Eve story is not just about a fall from paradise: It goes to the heart of Christianity. He notes that the Apostle Paul (in Romans 5 and 1 Corinthians 15) argued that the whole point of Jesus’ crucifixion and resurrection was to undo Adam’s original sin.

“Without Adam, the work of Christ makes no sense whatsoever in Paul’s description of the Gospel, which is the classic description of the Gospel we have in the New Testament,” Mohler says.

The fault lies in the need for humans to interpret everything. That must have been of evolutionary benefit at some point, because we’re so damned good at it. We’re really good at misinterpreting things, too. Something else we’re really good at is taking stuff for granted when we think someone else has interpreted everything correctly for us already. Why do people believe Paul was right? There’s nothing wrong with building lessons out of a story you’ve learned, and it’s easy to see why people want to believe he’s right, but that still doesn’t make him factually accurate. He just jumped to that conclusion and whole chunks of the world ultimately followed in his footsteps.

Creation myths exist across cultures. Some of them are very beautiful you’d just love for them to be true for that reason alone. Others sound so ridiculous you have to wonder what kind of dopes ever came up with them. Everyone wondered where things came from and how people came to be. The Judeo-Christian version is just one of hundreds, and easily determined to all be equally false once people finally get around to comparing them to what the reality of our history can really tell us.

Back in the article, some scholars liken this origin rift to the high stake action of the battle between Galileo and the Catholic church. Others are reluctant to make that comparison but admit evolution is a sore point and getting trickier to deny outright. Still, they continue to insist on doing so.

others say Christians can no longer afford to ignore the evidence from the human genome and fossils just to maintain a literal view of Genesis.

“This stuff is unavoidable,” says Dan Harlow at Calvin College. “Evangelicals have to either face up to it or they have to stick their head in the sand. And if they do that, they will lose whatever intellectual currency or respectability they have.”

“If so, that’s simply the price we’ll have to pay,” says Southern Baptist seminary’s Albert Mohler. “The moment you say ‘We have to abandon this theology in order to have the respect of the world,’ you end up with neither biblical orthodoxy nor the respect of the world.”

I don’t see why that would be true. People tend to respect anyone willing to admit he or she was wrong. If there’s a reluctance to take that step and admit the whole premise of the faith is flawed, and was always flawed, people will continue to be taken in by it all. That said, I just know that if every theologian threw up his hands tomorrow and admitted it was all a damn sham and the Pope himself took his fancy hat off to apologize for lying to the masses, there’d still be thousands of people flocking to churches to pray to god, “Say it ain’t so! Give me a sign!” Then they’d convince themselves that every piece of fluff and feather was a sure sign pointing to God’s way being the right way and they’d change nothing.

But this is a good start. People should be willing to challenge long held beliefs. People should be brave enough to set those beliefs aside if enough evidence can be collected to refute them.

Which reminds me. Christopher DiCarlo will be in Saskatoon to promote his book, How to Become a Really Good Pain in the Ass later this month. The focus of the book is to train one’s self to think critically about all sorts of things and if you’re in the area and that sounds like something you’d like to learn, too, all the details are here.


Jesus “supporting” literal 6 day creation doesn’t make it true

February 20, 2011

I marvel over the things Christians want to think about sometimes. Mind you, if they didn’t write about this kind of thing, what on earth would I have to write about? This opinion piece by Rhys Demman comes out of the Pincher Creek Echo.

There is a common misconception floating around with many Christians, that Jesus does not support a literal six day creation because he never actually talked about it.

Did he have bowel movements or belly button lint? Bible says nothing about those either. The Bible says little about how he spent his childhood. Did he magically skip a few years and go from age 12 to 33? The original writers weren’t trying to outline Christ’s autobiography so people would understand the history of the man. They just picked the parts of Christ’s life that could be used to drive a belief system.

What I found interesting are the attempts to track Jesus back in time via geneology. Both Luke and Matthew trace his lineage through Joseph who supposedly isn’t even his father anyway. It would have made more sense to go through Mary’s if they wanted accuracy via genes. But they didn’t. Maybe they wanted to prove he qualified as the answer to prophecies made years earlier. Debate goes around and around trying to figure out why it’s written like it is and it seems everyone has his own theory.

Moving on.

But if everything that Jesus said was recorded in the Bible, there would be about thirty volumes of more text, so it is impossible to say whether he really did talk about it. Despite this, when you go into the scriptures, you see that there is evidence that supports the fact that Jesus was a part of creation.

He quotes John 1:1-3 like this:

“In the beginning was the word (Jesus), and the word was with God, and the word was God. All things were made through him, and without him nothing was made that has been made.”

What’s his proof that “Jesus” is interchangeable with “word” here? John 5:46-47:

” If you believed Moses, you would believe me, for he wrote about me. But if you do not believe his writings, how will you believe my words?”

Personally, I think this makes Jesus sound like he has delusions of grandeur, creating a prophecy about himself so he can show everyone how well he fits into it. And rather than think he’s a loon, they bought it and packaged it and sold it to everyone who wanted someone to believe in. Is it worth mentioning that there’s debate about how much of what Jesus is reported to have said actually got said by anyone, let alone him?

Moving on..

Moses’ account of the 10 commandments, is taken as completely literal by nearly every Christian, and even by some non Christians. If you believe that Moses’ account of what God says is accurate, then why do so many find it so difficult to believe in a literal six day creation?

The commandments are an example of a set of laws meant to benefit everyone in a society and the majority of those are still useful rules in secular society. Some in the list are more “morally wrong” than legally wrong these days.

I found a honking huge list of commandments Jesus supposedly wanted his followers to abide by so why do people constantly look at the Exodus or Deuteronomy list as though those were all that matter? Exodus lists more than ten, besides. Why are these ten the only ones that get posted, though? A funny quote from a site regarding all the rest of them:

The number of edicts is not even ten; it is not really clear where one ends and the next begins, but in Exodus 20 there are at least fourteen and arguably more. The last one is the rather precious “neither shalt thou go up by steps unto mine altar, that thy nakedness be not discovered thereon.” (Apparently Hebrew priests, like Scotsmen, were not in the habit of wearing undergarments.)

Six day creation is hard to swallow because it requires faith that it’s true. There’s no evidence of it beyond what the book says, and says twice in different ways besides. Pick one or the other and you still can’t prove either, but reams of scientific documentation exist that can refute the claim. All Genesis is is a story of creation: two of them from two different time periods – likely the tenth century B.C and four hundred years later. And every culture has had its own stories of how the world came to be. Read a few of them and then ask yourself why the bible stories should ever be considered truer than those.

It seems as though everywhere I look, all I see are people trying to justify non-biblical claims about God using millions of years to create the world. Such claims are unfounded and inaccurate, because God’s account of creation is completely contrary to the account set forth by evolution.

He thinks this way because he’s used to using bible stories to create reality instead of letting reality speak for itself. Reality like the earth being round(ish). Reality like the earth revolving around the sun. Reality like dinosaurs dying out long before hominids appeared. People who want treat the bible like it’s the only thing they’ll ever need to read and believe are at risk of deluding themselves and they are not the ones we as a progressive society should be putting our trust in. They are wrong and uninformed and willfully ignorant and holding us back. I think proof of that kind of thinking is in the next paragraph:

We need to stop using the excuse that certain biblical statements are not literal, when you read about Joshua and the Israelites marching around the wall of Jericho for seven days, you would never assume that they marched for seven million years!

He’s creating a magnificent reductio ad absurdum with his ludicrous example. We know humans then were lucky to make it to the age of 70, no matter how old the bible might say Adam (930, Gen. 5:5) and Methuselah were (969, Gen 5:27) when they kicked it. Nobody would question seven days marching around a wall; it’s perfectly rational to question seven days making a universe and all that’s in it.

Once we decide that we like a passage better when it is not taken literally, it’s easy to take other passages of scripture and twist them to mean what we want them to.

I agree that’s a problem, but not the way he’s seeing it. Thinking Genesis could be true is the problem. “Knowing” that God held off flooding the entire world so people could mourn Methuslah for a week (Genesis 7:4) is a problem. Thinking God actually did flood the entire world is a problem. Believing every animal on the planet was collected and on the ark (even though that would be beyond impossible for the stated size of the thing and the known size of the planet) is a problem. Teaching this shit to children as if these are facts as valid as theories of gravity, planetary motion and evolution is a problem.

We have very limited minds and understanding, and are not able to fully fathom a God that can create a universe with but a thought and a spoken word. Psalm 90:2 says “From everlasting to everlasting you are God,” and Jesus says in Luke 18:27, “The things which are impossible with men are possible with God.” The fact that we don’t understand how God did it, doesn’t mean that we can take what we want of his Holy Scriptures and twist them to our own devices.

Hanging onto beliefs like this is what limits minds and understanding. There’s no decent reason to hang onto the idea that a god did anything for us. It’s interesting to wonder how the universe got its start but pointing to a god and thinking that’s enough of an answer is a very big and problematic limitation people put on themselves. I don’t know why they can be satisfied with that answer. It’s also worth noting that people who think like this might also be people who would deny their children medical care because they think God’s plan is more important than trying insulin injections. That prayer will lead to cures or answers when all you get is loss and unnecessary suffering.

People need more than a belief in the bible to get through life.


edit Feb 21/11 — edited a couple paragraphs to fix the wording of an idea.


Edit same day but later: found an interesting piece at Camels With Hammers worth quoting:

I think this either/or logic is crucial in many other fundamentalists’ minds. They cannot accept the liberal’s or the moderate’s willingness to judge some things the Bible says as false or immoral because to do so would admit that it was not a perfectly true and moral book and they need it to be perfectly true because if it can be false anywhere then it is most likely false in the most important parts. Only if it is a perfect expression of a perfect God’s will, can we have any hope that its most outlandish offer of hope, for life after death, could possibly be true and not just one of the first parts to be discredited as obviously false.


I expect there will be too much God at the Grammys

February 13, 2011

I wasn’t going to be watching anyway. In all honesty, I didn’t know they’d be on tonight until I came across a Wall Street Journal article about celebrity confidence and the god connection. Neil Strauss has been noticing the trend of thanking a god for successes in all kinds of award shows.

Until I began interviewing many of the winners of these awards two decades ago, I thought this was a sign of humility and gratitude (or at least an affectation of them). But the truth is more interesting than that.

Before they were famous, many of the biggest pop stars in the world believed that God wanted them to be famous, that this was his plan for them, just as it was his plan for the rest of us not to be famous. Conversely, many equally talented but slightly less famous musicians I’ve interviewed felt their success was accidental or undeserved—and soon after fell out of the limelight.

He’s written a book that covers this topic, among other things: Everyone Loves You When You’re Dead: Journeys Into Fame and Madness to be available in March. He’s discovered (probably unsurprisingly to readers) that an assumption about God specifically wanting someone to be famous is going to improve that person’s chances of being famous. I know God wants me to be a success, so I’m going to be a success. It’s all part of His plan… Recall what I wrote recently about Calvinism, predestination and God wanting people to be rich? Same kind of thing, apparently.

Let’s call it competitive theism, a self-styled spirituality that can be overlaid on any religion and has nothing to do with personal morality. This faith gap, I’ve noticed in the interviews I’ve done, is often what sets the merely famous apart from the ridiculously famous. It can make the difference between achieving what’s possible and accomplishing what seems impossible.

Though scientists, to the best of my knowledge, have yet to study the relationship of faith to superstardom, they have studied addicts, transplant patients and natural disaster victims, and they have found that actively seeking God’s intervention has improved people’s odds of survival.

Yes, but in much the same way as people can put faith in a placebo and improve. Even when they know it’s a placebo. Thinking God’s got some major plan for you winds up being a major confidence booster that will change the way you behave, and improve your chances. But confidence, no matter how you get it, will improve your chances. Confidence comes from hard work and training and ability. Perseverance. Dedication to becoming good at something. You can know you deserve it because you worked to achieve it. Confidence often leads to success and it doesn’t require a god’s intervention to make the difference. People just think it does. Confidence also helps people deal with the criticisms that go hand in hand with (sometimes undeserved) success, as well. And thinking God is on their side even if nobody else is winds up being the way many stars deal with gossip, controversies and general bad press. Things that would cripple a less confident performer will barely ruffle their feathers.

He ends the piece with this:

stars who are presumptuous enough to see themselves as God’s chosen ones are likely to dominate the pop charts, award shows and sports championships. Talent counts for a lot, but so too does the motivating power of divine conviction.

I’d say he’s right. No matter what we might want to succeed at, the idea that something outside ourselves will take an interest and help make that happen is probably one of the biggest reasons human beings continue to flourish. It could be argued that’s the reason we’ve succeeded as a species — not because a god actually exists, but because we, as a species, continue to believe one does. God-belief is a product of our evolution and, like it or not, we’re probably stuck with it because it works. If it didn’t, why would we have developed the idea in the first place?


To quote the man of the day…

February 12, 2011

“Ignorance more frequently begets confidence than does knowledge: it is those who know little, and not those who know much, who so positively assert that this or that problem will never be solved by science.”

“In the long history of humankind (and animal kind, too) those who learned to collaborate and improvise most effectively have prevailed.”

“It is not the strongest of the species that survives, nor the most intelligent that survives. It is the one that is the most adaptable to change.”

“An American monkey, after getting drunk on brandy, would never touch it again, and thus is much wiser than most men.”

“A moral being is one who is capable of reflecting on his past actions and their motives – of approving of some and disapproving of others. “

“We can allow satellites, planets, suns, universe, nay whole systems of universes, to be governed by laws, but the smallest insect, we wish to be created at once by special act.”

“The mystery of the beginning of all things is insoluble by us; and I for one must be content to remain an agnostic.”

Charles Darwin (12 February 1809 – 19 April 1882)

(via)


Divide between faith and science “illusion” claims Christian astronomer

February 11, 2011

Martin Gaskell sued the University of Kentucky recently. He’s of the opinion that religious discrimination happened, that he lost out on a good job as director of the student planetarium there because

of his professed faith and statements he made that were taken to be critical of evolution. The controversy fueled the long-running debate between scientists and Christians who believe the Bible refutes some scientific discoveries.

Gaskell said the two sides can find agreement. He has, as a devout Christian who uses the tools of science to study the universe.

“That’s one of the things that people like myself really want to counter, is this idea of some sort of incompatibility between religion and science,” Gaskell said.

While he asserts he bought his ticket for the evolution train ages ago, he insists there’s something wrong with the track itself, or possibly the fuel that powers it. The documents that might have cost him this job included phrases like “significant scientific problems” and “unwarranted atheistic assumptions and extrapolations.”

Gaskell said scientists shouldn’t be discouraged or rejected for holding non-mainstream views.

It’s not like he’s an alternative science oddball. Christianity is pretty mainstream.

“The question some people ask me is ‘If I were a biologist and if I did have major doubts about the theory of evolution, would that disqualify me from being a biologist?’ ” he said. “And I’d firmly say ‘No “…’ “

Other scientists tend to disagree with him. I think doubts might hobble some research but wouldn’t necessarily mean he couldn’t do the work.

Dissecting a frog in grade 7 was enough biology to last me a lifetime so I didn’t go that route when it came to picking classes later but the bits I’ve read about experiments people have done with plants and fruit flies and things.. knowing what I know (which is not much) about how breeders select pairings for ideal traits (be it horses or dogs or birds), it seems fairly likely that what hasn’t been tweaked deliberately by humankind used to be tweaked (and is still tweaked) by environments and nature and habitat and personal preference on the part of the animals themselves. Bees pick what flowers they want to hover over, after all, and cows get picky over what bull they’ll let mount. All you have to do is watch and you can see that.

You do have to wonder why biologists would have been consulted about an astronomy job, though.

In one e-mail from court records, a biology professor said he thought that Gaskell’s “public premise is to provide as much intertwining between science and religion as possible, and this will most certainly lead to misconceptions about scientific evidence.”

Scott, who taught at Kentucky in the 1970s, said the university’s scientists were likely “really, really sensitive” about the school’s image as the newly opened Creation Museum was attracting national attention to Kentucky by asserting that the earth was 6,000 years old.

A member of the search committee worried that “creationists in the state would be eager to latch on to” Gaskell’s hiring.

Gaskell would like to see even more Christians get hired in science fields eventually. He’d like to see them take more interest in the research and the pursuit of answers to the unsolved questions.

It’s a pity he seems to forget many of them have already decided that God is always the answer to those supposedly unsolved questions and probably won’t encourage their kids to think differently lest they stop being Christians altogether. So long as people keep insisting people can’t be both scientifically minded and Christian, Christians are probably going to pass on science careers. The science fields are probably missing out on some very intelligent people this way, but if these are mostly people who’d let their faith drive over letting the result of research speak for itself, then you can hardly blame current scientists for being willing to limp along without their aid. Then again, maybe at some point pride will have to take the back seat and let progress take the wheel for a while…

Things to think about on the eve of Darwin Day.


Quotable “comic”

February 5, 2011

At least, I thought so:

Surviving the World Lesson 392

(See more here)


Regina has Freethinkers; also, biology is disgusting

November 7, 2010

Took a road trip with a few Saskatoon Freethinkers to Regina yesterday to meet up with a few locals over there who want to start their own group. I think the trouble with starting groups of any kind, let alone a Freethinker one, is getting the motivation and desire to start in the first place and figuring out where to look for answers to questions you haven’t even realized need asking yet. I was mostly along for the ride rather than to provide aid on that topic; we had three “pros” on the trip who gave those guys some good ideas and starting points so hopefully their willingness to meet with us will translate into others in Regina willing to meet with them and get the ball rolling. They’ll be on Facebook at some point and possibly kajiji for meeting announcements so if you’re in that area and keen to get involved, look them up.

Prior to that, we met with a VP of the Saskatchewan Science Centre. Justin Trottier, from CFI Canada, was keen to see what sort of work they do promoting science education in the province and our group wanted to find out if they’d be willing to do anything in collaboration with us at some point, i.e. Darwin Day/evolution stuff. If I recall correctly, it sounded as if they’d be wary of getting involved with anything overtly anti-faith and tend to keep out of the evolution displays altogether. The guy also sounded surprised to discover there were creationist leanings in this country, let alone this province. We told this to those Freethinker hopefuls during lunch. One of them works for the Science Centre and told us that he thought that level of obliviousness was fairly appalling in a VP considering the discussions he himself had overheard at the geology display over the course of working there.

After lunch the four of us returned to the Science Centre. Two of our party did a brief tour of the thing and another guy and I paid extra for the Our Body: the universe within exhibit that’s been touring. I’d been wary of checking it out because innards are not my thrill but it wasn’t as gross as I’d been anticipating. Nice for anyone interested in medicine and biology in general who cares about what all the bones and muscles are called, I guess. I didn’t have much appetite for my pulled pork supper later that afternoon, though. I don’t know why I didn’t just order a salad…

After the Science Centre we did a quick trip through the Royal Saskatchewan Museum and had a few minutes left for the Legislative Building (the carpet stories were surprisingly interesting) and then we drove to Moose Jaw for the Al Capone tunnel tour. We all got equally picked on by the cast of the show and on the way home we detoured down a dark road so we could check out the stars with a pair of high powered binoculars. I confess I didn’t see much of anything through them; I was afraid of being clumsy and knocking the tripod over or something. That would have sucked.

All in all a good and full day. I got asked again about joining our council and becoming more involved in the group that way. They’re desperate for people to take a bigger interest in that side of things. It’s a quite job to keep it running and funded and they’re all feeling overworked, I think. But, family function stuff aside, I’m not big on involving myself in the planning of things. I don’t like making myself a possible target for complaints or criticisms, either. I know I’ll feel guilty saying no, but that’s the truth of it. As much as I like the group and help them out by volunteering to work at events and stuff, I’m really more a behind the scenes kind of person than a leader and that’s all there is to it.


Glenn Beck is proof science class is important

October 21, 2010

World Net Daily is quoting him in an article saying some completely stupid shit about the evolutionary process.

Were human beings created by God in an instant, or over millions of years through evolution?

Glenn Beck addressed the question on his radio show today as he came to the defense of Christine O’Donnell, the Republican U.S. Senate candidate from Delaware under fire for challenging evolution.

“Did evolution just stop?” Beck asked rhetorically. “I haven’t seen the half-monkey/half-person yet. … There’s no other species that’s developing into half-people.”

“I don’t know how God creates. I don’t know how we got here,” he continued, wondering what God might tell him after he dies. “If God’s like, ‘Yup, you were a monkey once,’ I’ll be shocked, but I’ll be cool with it.”

Humans are humans. Monkeys are monkeys. We’re related but we’re not inbred cousins like Beck’s relatives might be.

Beck explained, “If God didn’t create, if things evolve, then your rights evolve. You’re not endowed by your Creator.

“Just like you go from a monkey to a man, you go from simple rights to higher rights and somebody has to take those rights and give them to you and take them away or change them. This is again the evolutionary thinking of progressivism.”

Of course rights evolve. They evolve as cultures and communities grow and adapt to new environments, new ways of thinking about the world and the people and animals in the world. Think about all the work done to get blacks the vote. To get women the vote. The SPCA. The Rights of Children. It’s appalling to realize none of that was automatically given. Absolutely appalling.

Nobody should be in favour of taking any rights away from people once they’ve been fought for and earned. Well, aside from what goes on with prison, I suppose.

Jokingly referring to himself as a “half-monkey person,” Beck blasted self-labeled progressives who seem bent on halting the viewpoints of anyone who disagrees with them.

“They have to stop the half-monkey people leaders so the rest of them can be saved and become fully developed, thinking human beings.”

Beck also challenged the notion that scientists are always correct.

“There are so many things that are accepted science that are later proven to be out of whack and false. … Science, they don’t know their a– from their elbow.”

Proven to be false by other scientists, you ass. What part of you is half-monkey? I’m guessing the brain.

Beck also alluded to the media’s fascination with O’Donnell’s admission she had dabbled in witchcraft in her teenage years.

“I don’t think the Wiccans are creationists. I imagine they’re evolutionists,” he said. “First she’s a witch, and then she’s a Christian. Which is she?”

She’s a problem and she’s an idiot. If she doesn’t understand the First Amendment and still thinks she’s qualified to run for public office, then anyone who votes for her is also a problem and possibly an idiot.

Hopefully sense and intelligence come out ahead.


I’d pay more attention to politics but…

September 16, 2010

I get scared easily.

I’m glad I’m not in Delaware where Christine O’Donnell, their Repubilcan Senate primary winner, once said some very stupid shit about God and health problems.

Her latest gem was revealed by Talking Points Memo, who quoted her in a C-SPAN interview back in 1997. Apparently money spent on fighting AIDS was wasted because encouraging condom use is pointless, and those who are infected with HIV totally bring it on themselves.

“A lot of the money that we’re spending goes to things that we know will not prevent AIDS, but indeed will continue to spread the disease. A lot of our money goes to distribute condoms in high schools, and a lot of our money goes to distribute material that is literally pornographic.”

She also went so far as to claim cancer was “an act of God.”

If Sarah Palin was already rooting for her back in 2008, she must be cut from the same cloth, and this has bothered me enough to find more things she’s quoted as saying. Will the U.S. (and the world) have a Palin clone in the next election? I sure as hell hope not.

Salon has a great article with videos and all kinds of funny. It’s just too bad she’s attempting to be serious. She used to be part of “an ultra-conservative Christian group called SALT (Savior’s Alliance for Lifting the Truth) and as a spokeswoman for the Concerned Women of America and the Intercollegiate Studies Institute” so was big into abstinence in schools and shit that shouldn’t have concerned her unless she was in school or trying to control the sexual urges of her own children. Like that stopped her, of course.

TPMuckraker provides information about her college days:

She was a junior, she said in another profile published in 2006, when a friend “asked me if I knew how an abortion was performed … She showed me the medical journals, and it was frightening.”

“There’s only truth and not truth,” she said. “You’re either very good or evil. I went back to my dorm and asked myself what I was.”

O’Donnell decided then to drop her acting ambitions (she was a theater major). She became an evangelical Christian, a departure from her relatively lax Catholic upbringing. She joined the College Republicans and campaigned for the Bush-Quayle ticket.

That was the beginning of O’Donnell as crusader. Her biggest crusade has become preaching abstinence until marriage to young women.

“Not only because I think I’m right,” she said in 2004. “I know what it’s like to live a life without principle.”

Back to Salon: SALT believed masturbation was just the same as adultery, cheating on your spouse with yourself, apparently. Who knew? A double sin if he or she likes watching…

She’s a creationist who seriously believes proof of that outweighs proof of evolution.

She wondered if co-ed dorms would lead to orgy rooms. College West had been co-ed when I was there and I don’t know of any of that happening. Of course, I wasn’t getting any sex anyway.. not because I took a vow of abstinence, though. I just couldn’t get laid.

She also wrote some interesting stuff about the role of female figures in Lord of the Rings, although I don’t know why Salon includes that as an example of her weirdness. I think she makes some fair points, given what they’ve quoted of it. The whole article is worth a read.

But back to what’s wrong with her. The Economist notes that her beliefs (discounting creationist screed) come straight out of Catholic teachings.

While Ms O’Donnell’s views on evolution do not flow from her Catholicism, it seems that her views on masturbation and lying do. Now, Joe Biden, a former Delaware Senator, also adheres to the Roman Catholic faith, but nobody titters discussing his moral convictions, and he evidently had no problems getting elected to the Senate in Delaware. Could it be that Catholic doctrine is a risible barrier to office only if one is willing, as Ms O’Donnell clearly is, frankly to defend it in public without a hint of embarrassment?

Lying is always a sin, apparently. She’s quoted from Politically Incorrect as stating,

A lie, whether it be a lie or an exaggeration, is disrespect to whoever you’re exaggerating or lying to, because it’s not respecting reality.

I wonder if anyone thought to ask her about how the Catholic church gets around all the lies of omission required to avoid telling the world just how far flung sex abuse by priests is. Dismal news out of Belgium – there isn’t one Catholic church there safe to put kids in, if you get down to it. (H/T Bligbi)

Well anyway. I think that’s enough. She’s sounding like someone too many people will put their faith in, even if she does come across as a nutball to the rest.


It’s drafty in here (the problem with a loaded question)

August 17, 2010

This post was started June 20th, 2010 and then left to collect dust in my draft folder. The top half is original to that day. Below the cut is what’s new today.

—-
The book came by my desk at work the other day: Can God Be Trusted?: Finding faith in troubled times.

I didn’t bother flipping through the book. Clearly Thomas D. Williams’ answer was going to be a resounding YES that didn’t really need to be published.

For his latest book:

Williams, a Catholic priest and CBS Vatican analyst, gathered a team of researchers and asked people for their views on trusting God. He incorporates their responses—some in the form of breakout boxes—in what amounts to a gentle defense of God’s trustworthiness. Adept at making the Christian faith accessible to general audiences, Williams looks at why trust in both God and people is important and why it is difficult, especially once lost. He examines how education, wealth, personal networks and ideologies compete with people’s reliance on God and, in a section on God’s Nonpromises, explains how trusting God doesn’t necessarily result in perfect justice, explanations for why bad things happen, knowledge of what’s coming and inner consolation.

It seems to me that there is no lack of faith in troubled times. Faith, while never completely under the radar, leaps into the stratosphere going mach 10 when a religious person’s chips are down. It doesn’t even matter what the trouble is, there’s that faith popping up like one of those Whack-a-Mole moles that no amount of hammering can shift. And few would try. Read the rest of this entry »


Follow

Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

Join 120 other followers