Disgust, Suffering and Morals

Posted in Atheism, ethics on July 5, 2016 by theicidalmaniac

If one looks at a scriptural account of what constitutes evil, one will find that there are essentially two major categories:

1. LOL

2. Duh

In category 1 we may find abominations like eating shellfish (Lev. 11: 10-12), touching pigskin (Deut. 14:8), or interacting with a menstruating female (numerous accounts).  In other words, the kinds of things we all realize have nothing to do with evil or being a decent fellow.

In category 2 there exist laws like “thou shall not kill…steal…bear false witness…commit adultery” (from The Ten Commandments) and so on.  These are those things which we all (save the psychopaths among us) realize are bad and that we strive, through to the present day, not to do.

Scripture being the confused, contradictory mess that it is, one often finds the case that category 1 sins make no sense and category 2 sins are occasionally sanctioned in order to meet some immediate religious end.  In Biblical texts, one finds God sometimes stepping in and giving murder the thumbs up provided that the victims are adulterers, witches, Gentiles, your enemies’ babies, or people who talk back to their parents or who are caught working on the Sabbath.  In the Old Testament God doesn’t merely look the other way, He actually commands acts of murder and genocide against sinners and unbelievers and, as often as not, against civilian bystanders.  Beyond the OT, one finds similar behavior in the Qur’an.  The opening story of the Book of Mormon finds the initial protagonist, Nephi, being commanded by an angel to behead an unconscious man (1 Nephi 4).

There are a few conclusions to be drawn here.

First, we don’t get our morals from scripture.
Our moral sensibilities are not derived from scriptural texts, rather we bring our morals with us when reading scriptural passages, and actively filter the ancient teachings through our modern understandings of right and wrong.  Were this not the case, we would find the faithful in Nevada burning suspected witches and dashing their babies against rocks, believers in California slaying the livestock of their Wiccan neighbors, and god-fearing residents of Maine going straight gangbusters on the shrimp and lobster industry.  This illustrates clearly that believers have chosen to uphold some scriptural commandments and cast others aside.  Therefore we see that there is some higher moral code that is brought to the study table, and that this code is applied to scripture, not derived from it.

Second, scripture authors confusion about what constitutes evil.
“Thou shall not kill” is a nice sentiment, but in scripture (supposedly our source for learning God’s will) it is both preceded and followed immediately by divinely sanctioned genocide, assassination plots, and terrorism.  If God is able to step in and change the rules on a whim, then a God-based moral system does not, in fact, provide us with anything approaching a grounded or stable morality.  There is no clear reasoning behind it that we can discover, and no consistent textual reference.  A God-based moral structure offers only a turbulent and mercurial system that is unintelligible to humans.

Third, not all evil is created equal.
The sorts of acts that are called evil that fall into the “duh” category are those things which have stood the test of time.  The very reason that they fall into that category are because they are as evident to us today, perhaps even more evident, as they were a few thousand years ago.  That category is set apart from the behavior in the “LOL” category, where there are laws proscribing such acts as wearing a cotton-polyester blend t-shirt (Lev. 19:19).  In one category, we have a list of things which cause grave human suffering, and in the other we have a list of things which might have provoked feelings of disgust in some people, in some time period.  Disgust, a subjective experience, is something that is in constant flux across time and cultures, but suffering (also subjective) is constant.

Suffering, on its own, is universally considered to be a bad thing for those who experience it.  This is why the only stable morality that we can ever possibly have is one based upon

a) the reduction of suffering, and

b) the promotion of happiness

Cause no harm, try to do good.  This is what a reliable morality is based upon, not the whim of an indecisive, capricious being whose plans are ineffable or incomprehensible.

It’s not that you should throw away your God-based morality, it’s that you need to realize you never had one and move on.  #Duh

Perfectly Straight Pure White Pride

Posted in Equality, Pride, racism on July 7, 2015 by theicidalmaniac

If a minority class is constantly shown by the majority that they are undervalued and perhaps even considered less human, then I don’t, and shouldn’t, have the slightest problem with that minority group taking it upon themselves to reinforce, within their community or outside of it, that they, too, are special.

The majority doesn’t need a movement to empower itself; almost by definition it is already empowered. Not to mention the fact that “White Pride” movements, and their homophobic cousins, tend generally to be of a very different nature than the other pride movements. They aren’t about reaching equality, they are about maintaining hegemony and waging propaganda attacks.

I’m not ashamed to be white, so in that sense I suppose I am proud I guess – but it’s really not about being proud of your skin color or sexual compulsions, I don’t think. It’s about being proud that you bravely face the struggle of an unfair and unjust system – a struggle that simply is not associated with Caucasian descent or straightness. So announcing that I am part of a privileged class and that I am proud of it sounds terribly, terribly different than saying that I retain a measure of self-worth despite being a member of a downtrodden demographic.

White pride, straight pride, it’s bullshit,

Jesus is not Krishna, and he isn’t Mithra, and he isn’t Horus,…etc

Posted in Atheism, Bullshit, Christ Myth, Debunking Zeitgeist, Jesus, Krishna, Mithra, Mythicist, Osiris, Skepticism, Stupidity with tags , , , , , , , , , , , on February 15, 2014 by theicidalmaniac

If you have had the misfortune to have befriended a gullible idiot with internet access and a lot of free time, then no doubt you have been shown the Zeitgeist Youtube phenomenon.  If so then you are ashamed, and you are right to be ashamed, but you are not alone and you should take comfort knowing that even though you gave the dipshits who produced it another “view” and, as a result, some ad revenue, at least you aren’t stupid enough to believe their presentation.  Which is more than can be said for your gullible friend.  Since you’re so smart, I won’t bother debunking Zeitgeist here…it’s been done.

But I will recap;
The general idea behind the video is that everything you know is wrong and that the narrator has the special insight that will set you straight.  I mean, it must be insight, because it certainly isn’t facts-based.  Despite the fact that deconstructions and debunkings of Zeitgeist have been done and done again it appears that such rebuttals have not effectively inoculated everyone against Zeitgeist‘s very bad reasoning and even worse fact-checking practices.

Perhaps the most annoying result of this video is that it has cast light on the heretofore well-concealed fact that there are a few people who happen to be atheists who happen also to be ignorant fucking tools who will not only believe anything they hear, but who will willfully repeat it.  For example the gentleman who runs the BeyondAllReligion blog, an author of two books that I wouldn’t buy if the world ran out of toilet paper, appears to be one such individual.  Though he was clearly moved by their stunning expose on the “inside job” in Manhattan on 9/11/01 (“stunning” means “grossly inept and fictitious,” right?), what he seems mostly to have gotten hung up on is the segment on astrotheology.

Using my intellectual resources to go into detail about astrotheology just might be the thing that causes me to experience a fatal apoplectic response, so I won’t do it here.  Many, many people have already undertaken that task.  I want to get into Sam Butler’s specific claims at BeyondAllReligion.

Christianity was invented by Constantine, and he based Jesus on Mithra.
I almost don’t even need to discuss this, because after several lenghty paragraphs offered as proof that Christianity was invented, whole cloth, in the year 329 CE, Samuel actually admits that there are much earlier references to Christ worship.  That one fact would seem to negate everything he wrote previously, but I’ll carry on anyway.  Butler makes some interesting claims about Mithra, claims that can be found from other sources like the writings of Acharya S or on a myriad of unsourced webpages that all seem to make the same claims – often verbatim (though I stress again – unsourced).  Such claims include:

Krishna Was an Archetype for Jesus!

Butler states the following drivel as evidence that the Jesus myth is based on Krishnaism:
1. His miraculous birth by a virgin.
2. The mother and child being visited by shepherds, wise men and the angelic host, who joyously sang, “In thy delivery, O favored among women, all nations shall have cause to exult.”
3. The edict of the tyrant ruler… ordering all the first born to be put to death.
4. The miraculous escape of the mother and child from his bloody decree by the parting of the waves of the River…to permit them to pass through on dry ground.
5. The early retirement…to a desert.
6. His baptism or ablution…

Well, I actually read about the birth of Krishna.  I must say, everything listed above is horseshit.  The nativity of Krishna is found in the Bhagavad Purana (also known as the Srimad Bhagavatam) specifically in Canto 10, often referred to as the Summum Bonum.  What does it say?

Krishna was the eighth child conceived by his mother, Devaki, with her husband Vasudeva.  This woman was not a virgin by any stretch (pun not intended) of the imagination.
Devaki was shackled and imprisoned by her brother Kamsa when she gave birth.  There is no mention of shepherds, wise-men, or an angelic host being in her cell, and the quote offered appears nowhere in any English translation of the story.  (Hint; that means it is made up)
The “tyrant ruler” would be Kamsa, but he never ordered that all first-born children be slain.  In fact, thanks to a prophecy, he was expecting Krishna to be the eighth child of his sister.  Killing all first-born children in his realm would hardly have addressed that issue.  I guess that’s why he never issues that order in the story.  For fun, though, he does eventually kill 6 of Krishna’s older siblings.
Krishna is carried across a river to escape the wrath of Kamsa, not by his mother, but by his father.  Does the river part?  Not exactly.  But this one, at least, is sort of close to what happens in the Krishna story.  The problem is, it isn’t at all close to what happens in the Jesus story.  Herod ordering the deaths of the first-born in his lands is mentioned in only ONE place – the Gospel According to Matthew, chapter 2.  There is absolutely no mention of Jesus crossing a river in his flight to Egypt, much less of a parting of waters.  That’d be Moses.
I’m not aware of Krishna living in the desert, but I’m no expert on the Hindu canon.  Perhaps it’s in a Veda somewhere, or in the Gita.  One thing I can definitely say…Jesus does not “retire” in the Biblical accounts.  He dies, badly.  That’s actually a pretty key element of the story.
Baptism OR ablution?  Well, that’s sort of like saying “being touched by water.”  Ablution and baptism are not the same thing, and it should come as no shock that two iconic figures of purity might have come into contact with water at some point in their lives.  Certainly Krishna was never said to have been baptized, though I have no doubt that he is being baptized at some Mormon temple at this very moment.
There is this whole business of Krishna being crucified.  It may strike you as odd that crucifixion would be used several thousand years prior to the Roman period in a far-distant land.  If so, good for you.  Butler initially claims that Krishna was Crucified, and provides an unsourced quote which states that there is no doubt about this.  He then backs off that statement and admits that Krishna was shot in the foot, accidentally, by his friend’s arrow.  But, reasons Butler, the foot was still pierced, so it doesn’t matter how he died (here he fails to note that Krishna never died).

But that’s okay, because actually…

Mithra Was an Archetype for Jesus!  No, Horus was…

Look, this shit has been rehashed so many times it isn’t even worth getting into it anymore.  I never saw anything before specifically addressing Krishna, so I tackled that.  But many other people have deconstructed the Mithra-Jesus connection and the Horus-Jesus connection, and they come out just as poorly as the Krishna-Jesus connection.  Compounding the problem is that there are MANY Mithras from different religions and time periods, and the Horus myth evolved greatly over the time that it was active.  Suffice it to say, these are all deities, so there are certain things they may have in common (for instance they’re all magic!), but next time you see a website that claims a connection as specific as crucifixion, or virgin birth on December 25th, look for a source.  If you don’t see one (and you won’t) write it off as the bullshit that it is.

Regarding Agnosticism, Atheism

Posted in Atheism with tags , on November 2, 2013 by theicidalmaniac

If there is some other-worldly being, or group of beings, out there that are responsible for our creation, however intentional or unintentional that creation was, however active or inactive a role that being or beings played in the subsequent development of this creation, we could spend our entire lives imagining what those beings might be, how they might behave, what they may have done, etc etc, but after all our imaginings we are left with only this:
We simply don’t have any evidence to support the existence of such.

Without the restraints of reality placed upon what we ponder, what we imagine a creator or creators to be, our imaginations can go absolutely wild and we, as a species, may invent or imagine or hypothesize or hint at an endless parade of such beings or forces. The chance that any one of those guesses would be right is vanishingly infinitesimal, and I honestly think it takes a great deal of overconfidence for an agnostic to hold out “yeah that’s possible” for any such beings.

We have to go with what we have evidence for, because everything else is a crapshoot. Actually, a guess in a crapshoot has remarkably better odds at panning out, since the craps table has a known and finite, and relatively small, number of possible results.  All we can know is that which we can measure and test – that’s it. So all the pondering in the world gets us nowhere, all the uninformed openness in the world gets us nowhere on its own, because without actual input we are completely and forever lost in the unknowable.

What we DO know, (that is, what we can work with) is that people do present their ideas of gods, – what they are, what they do, what they can do, what they are like, etc – and those presentations offer us testable claims. I think that it should be readily apparent that virtually any atheist has found that the arguments for these gods, for every god that they themselves have ever been presented with, are either insufficient or are contradictory to the known world, and therefore must be rejected.  This is the very definition of an assertive atheism. We do not know of, that is we have absolutely no evidence to suggest the existence of, anything remotely like a god outside of the things that people have presented to us. And for each god that has been presented the conclusion is clear to us;

If we were to conclude from this anything other than “gods are imaginary” it would have to be based more or less solely on our previous introductions to, and indoctrinations by, the world religions. I know it’s a type of analogy that is all-too-often trudged out, but in this scenario where our only input is from religious tradition, then holding on to the possibility that there may be a god out there somewhere in the Ether is absolutely no different than holding on to the idea that St. Nicholas the jolly fat old elf might exist out there somewhere. We KNOW it is made up.  Without evidence, all we can say is that if there just so HAPPENS to be such a being out there somewhere, accurately asserting so could never be more than the universe’s luckiest guess.  This position is a tautology; the religious tradition is evidence for God because God inspired the tradition.   We know people invent fantastical stories, and without proper evidence we shouldn’t assume that there is a nugget of truth at the center.  So why cling to that security blanket? This position is not intellectual honesty, nor is it humility, and it certainly is not, in itself, courageous.

It IS courageous to be open to the possibility that you may be wrong, and I understand that the objection by agnostics toward the atheist position runs along those lines. But it is a misplaced criticism. The overconfidence lies not so much with the atheist’s unwillingness to be open to the external reality of a phenomenon about which all evidence indicates origins in human culture, but rather with the agnostic’s continued insistence that known myths have a real counterpart in the unknowable depths of existence.  To make that latter assertion you HAVE TO have given some credence to the myths in the first place, a move that is wholly unwarranted, and decidedly theistic.

Sure, this universe had to start somewhere, but it didn’t have to be started by Santa Claus, or a grendel, or a jabberwockie, or any other human invention, even if you give that invention the special name of God, as if the name itself were sufficient to establish existence.  We have no grounds at all to posit it, to expect it, to think it remotely possible.  And thus we revert to the default position of non-belief, not agnosticism, but atheism.

Atheism is a Religion Assholes

Posted in Atheism with tags , , on June 26, 2011 by theicidalmaniac

A title that can hook people on BOTH sides of the issue.  I won’t bother building suspense; to clarify I’m not saying “Hey assholes, Atheism is a religion.”  No, this is actually a post about assholes who insist that atheism is a religion, and the tripe they spew.

Generally I have resisted simply copying dialog from forum chats and pasting them here, cuz it’s lazy, but this is just too perfect to pass up.  I recently encountered a young lady (a hot, svelte, blonde 19-year-old, I’m sure) who had THIS to say:

Technically atheism is a RELIGION.

1. People gather in groups to discuss it.
2. There are organisations[sic] devoted to it.
3. People have FAITH in atheism theology.
4. They have their own worldview.
5. They have their own prophets: Nietzsche, Russell, Feuerbach, Lenin, Marx.
6. …They have their own messiah: He is, of course, Charles Darwin.
7. When you think about it,you atheists really are a bunch of narrow minded sheeple.!

(Though the double punctuation at the end is original, I added the neat ordering and the numbers – I can’t be sure she knows what numbers are)

Amazing right?  But a bit unfair to poke fun at someone who is clearly stupid, you say?  Not at all.  As any atheist who can’t turn down an argument knows these are claims you hear all the time.  I will counter them here in the hopes that some wayward soul who types up “atheism is a religion” will be directed to me, and educated a little bit.  There is so much more to say about this, and there are even some (slightly) more intelligible arguments to this point that I am ignoring for this post – but feel free to leave them in the comments section if you aren’t bashful about your ineptitude in the area of critical thought.

Let’s tackle these one at a time:

1. People gather in groups to discuss it.

Gathering for discussion is called a MEETING.

2. There are organisations[sic] devoted to it.

An “organisation” that is “devoted” to something is not a de facto religious group, unless they are devoted to a religion…

3. People have FAITH in atheism theology.

a) “theology” is the study of the divine beings and religious rituals, neither of which atheism accepts
b) The vast majority of atheists reject the notion that it is possible to gain knowledge by faith, as this would imply the supernatural

4. They have their own worldview.

Worldview does not equal religion. Everyone has a worldview.

5. They have their own prophets: Nietzsche, Russell, Feuerbach, Lenin, Marx.

a) “Prophets” use a supernatural connection to the divine to gain knowledge via faith-based means. Atheists reject the divine, are unlikely to believe in the supernatural, and – again – reject a faith-based epistemology due to its reliance on the divine.
b) Nietzche is a badass philosopher who used LOGIC and FACTS (as opposed to faith) to reveal falsifiable truths that I am allowed to question and try to disprove – this is the EXACT OPPOSITE of prophecy.
c) Bertrand Russell, mathematician, same as above
d) I have never heard of Feuerbach – odd if he is supposed to be my prophet
e) Lenin was an atheist, yes, and he was an out of control power-broker who advocated violence, and I do not revere him or know anyone who does
f) Marx, philosopher, see a). Karl Marx’s primary goal in his writings and political theory were to highlight and relieve the suffering of the underprivileged, which is honorable, but many, MANY atheists disagree STRONGLY with Marxism. If he was a prophet, you would not find his “followers” so fervently challenging his claims, would you?
6. …They have their own messiah: He is, of course, Charles Darwin.

Messiah” is a Jewish concept, and it is based on the Old Testament prediction that a leader would arise among the Jewish people, anointed by God, to become a great military dictator, and expel the enemies of Judaism from Zion by military force, take the literal throne as a literal, Earthly king, and establish a theocratic government to enforce Old Testament law and custom. NONE OF THIS is compatible with atheism (or with Christianity, for that matter).

7. When you think about it,you atheists really are a bunch of narrow minded sheeple.!

Why?  Because they have a RELIGION?  When you THINK about it, it would be REALLY stupid for a religious person to argue that atheism is a religion, and then conclude that its followers are therefore  “narrow minded sheeple.”  It seems to imply that the followers of religions (like the author of said criticism) are sheeple…she called herself a sheep because she didn’t THINK before she typed.  Then again, perhaps that was a brilliant way of proving the point.

This just needs to be stated CLEARLY in as many places as possible:
+ Religions involve a belief in the supernatural
+ Religions are established to provide ritualized appeasement of the supernatural
+ SOME religions have prophets, preists, messiahs, and some don’t, but those notions are antithetical to atheism.
+ Many religions have codes, creeds or scriptures. In one sense atheism lacks this.  There are certainly codes and creeds by which an atheist could live, but there is no capital-A Atheism, and never has been.  The only necessary feature of atheism is a rejection of the theistic.
+ The only 2 things that are really KEY to religion are a belief in the divine, and a set of rituals. Atheism has neither.

Please, do your part in ending this senseless meme in its infancy.  Not because there’s any real danger of it becoming taken seriously by thinking people, but because it’s just annoying.

The End.

Hijacking English

Posted in Language, Mormonism on March 4, 2011 by theicidalmaniac

I’m going to bitch about Mormons for a bit here. I know, this marks a major departure for me, but let’s just say that I’m maturing, becoming more sophisticated.

These assholes are doing some serious Newspeak shit here.  Not only have a group of mindless drones been unwittingly hard at work to forge a massive, insidious linguistic overhaul, but they are also making me damned uncomfortable using words that SHOULD be pleasant.  It’s to the point that I can’t even say the word “grateful” without feeling like I owe the LDS church a royalty, and in Utah culture even uttering that word makes you sound like a Mormon.  This is because a Mormon cannot speak without telling you that they are grateful for this or that mundane occurrence.  That should be fine, but it isn’t, because what it really means is,

“thank god for blessing me for being a Mormon.  Maybe if you join us you can get blessed too.”

It’s a way to nudge-nudge wink-wink to someone that you are a Saint (another hijacked term) without actually bringing it up, and as a result, folk like me avoid the word .


There really is so much wrong with this one, for starters, the very-low setting of the bar of sanctification, i.e. the notion that you shit rainbows just because you have a framed portrait of Joseph Smith in your home and “donate” every month to your church.

Well that doesn’t count.  First of all, a saint has to be dead, according to tradition, and then must perform miracles.  Yes…I said “has to be dead…AND THEN must perform miracles.”  You have to die FIRST, THEN you have to do at least 2 posthumous miracles.  Call me a cynic, but I don’t see a lot of persuasive evidence that anyone has ever done anything after they died except succumb to decay.  But in modern times the term has been applied, a little loosely, to anyone who works toward the benefit of his fellow man, and under this usage, I guess, the LDS church’s congregation is known as Saints.  They refer to themselves and each other as Saints, and they practically OWN the term at this point.  And why?  What must one do, what miracles must one perform, to deserve such a canonical bestowal of honor?  Well, basically you wear a white suit and someone dunks you under water.  VOILA!  Sainthood!  No need to give to the homeless, hold a crack baby, or lie down in front of a tank…just take a dunk.  It’s like getting a Purple Heart medal without actually having to get shot at.  All you have to do to make it seem reasonable is hijack another word…


How many times have I heard a “missionary” (yet another hijacked word), upon returning from a two-year door-to-door proselytizing campaign, speak before the congregation and talk about having “served” the people of…wherever?  A lot of times, that’s how many.  But what does “service” entail these days?  Well, I guess if you believe that the church you happen to have been raised in also happens to be the one and only true church in the whole wide world, then perhaps you might also think that trying to coerce conversion through emotional appeal and fantastical story sharing qualifies as “service,” because you have clearly lost touch with reality to a point where “service” could be something so banal.   And what is a missionary anyway?


It used to be that a religious missionary would set up shop and get to work on improving a town, by way of education, infrastructure, medicine, etc, hoping to inspire the locals, and convince them to join the creed of the man who would do such great works for strangers in a strange land.  Apparently the LDS church is more modern and understands that people are superficial and more impressed by appearance of virtue than by virtue itself.  All that they require you do to inspire your indigent hosts, is to LOOK like a successful business person – clean cut, fine suit and tie, leather-bound scripture set, no visible tattoos, piercings, or any indication of non-conformity.  There is an age limit and even a weight limit for missionaries.

Because no one wants to buy from a fat slob with a comb-over.

New Zodiac Signs? Panic? Turmoil?

Posted in Skepticism with tags , , , , on January 15, 2011 by theicidalmaniac

The Facebook is a-flurry this week with a lot of hubbub about a new zodiac sign being recognized, and adding to the panic is the fact that people’s sense of wellbeing is being besieged, plagued even, by worries that matters of fate will no longer be crystal clear through a detailed understanding of time-honored astrological principles, due to the fact that the signs’ places in the Earth’s night sky have shifted due to the wobbly orbit of our little planet.

All of this got me thinking.  Thinking hard.

When I was born Aries was the predominant sign. So hypothetically speaking…(stay with me here)…had I been on the MOON when I was born, and the moon had been between the Earth and the constellation Aries, I would have been even CLOSER to the great goat sign in the sky, and thus more strongly influenced by it.  Doesn’t this mean, therefore, that an April baby on the moon would grow up to be even MORE stubborn and goatish than an Earth baby?

Of COURSE it does.


Crap. Imagine what it’s going to be like when future-people finally leave Earth for good and terraform other planets like Neptune, or Uranus, thinking they have conquered the solar system only to find out that their children are all being born with socially-crippling personality disorders relating to their new proximity to the influence of these powerful stellar arrangements, causing the fledgling human settlements to collapse under self-destructive cancer-on-pisces warfare.  O, the bitter irony!

I have to wonder, though, how this incredible cosmic force affects GOATS who were born in early April. And I wonder if bulls that were born under the sign of Aries ever feel like a goat trapped in a Taurus’ body. Like, is a bull that was born on May 1st more of a bull than one that was born April 1st? Sorry…that’s a silly question.  Of COURSE it is.


But in all seriousness…

…isn’t it amazing that a stone-aged superstition remains intact after all these thousands of years of technology advancement and migration, that it survives despite being at opposition to every premise of physics and biology that we are aware of, and that it flourishes with nothing to support it but pure faith and the notion that it gives meaning to people’s lives?

Gosh.  Really makes you think, don’t it?  I wonder what ELSE we could say that about.  I wonder if there’s anything, anything at all, that many MANY MANY people believe in RIGHT NOW, that is the same kind of hocus-pocus…

Nah.  Doesn’t seem likely that we’d make that mistake more than once.