Exploring the Nativity.

December 11, 2013

It is often called the greatest story ever told, and we’re all familiar with the traditional sequence of events. The Christmas story; from the immaculate conception, the journey on a donkey to Bethlehem, the shepherds tentatively watching their flocks by night, the three wise men guided by a mystical star, no room at the inn, the stable, the manger, the gold, frankincense and myrrh; the story flows as if a continuous narrative. What few recognise is that the traditional narrative, is not a single story told in the Bible, but parts of two stories from two often irreconcilable gospel accounts of the birth of Christ, sewn together to forge an entirely new story.

The gospel of Mark is traditionally believed to be the earliest gospel, though the writings of Paul predate Mark by a couple of decades. On the birth of Jesus, Mark is silent, but Paul isn’t. In Galatians 4:4, Paul writes:

“But when the set time had fully come, God sent his Son, born of a woman, born under the law”

– There is no suggestion of a virgin birth. Paul does not think it important to mention. Paul then expands on the lineage of Jesus in the Epistle to The Romans 1:4:

“…concerning his Son, who was descended from David”

– This lack of any sort of mention of a virgin birth, is repeated in Mark, who doesn’t seem to see the need to even mention Jesus’ birth in the first place. For me, this suggests that the idea of the virgin birth, was not something early Christians had any notion of. It came later. This is further backed up by acknowledging descent from David, in Joseph’s line.

Like ‘Romans’, Luke and Matthew – the only gospels to contain the virgin birth – also give genealogies of Jesus, that place his bloodline as that of Joseph, through David, to Abraham (Luke takes the lineage further back to Adam, to signify the son of mankind, whilst Matthew sticks to Abraham, to signify the son of the Jews). Interestingly, Joseph Tyson writing in his book “Marcion and Luke-Acts: a defining struggle“, makes the case that the gospel of Marcion – a gnostic text, and almost identical to Luke except missing the nativity – predates Luke, and that Luke was written with Marcion’s teaching in mind, around 125ad. If that’s the case, then only Matthew mentions the virgin birth. One must ask whether the virgin birth was ever supposed to be included in the Christian story of the birth of Jesus.

Nevertheless, as of the gospels that made the finished Bible, only Matthew and Luke contain the story of Jesus’ birth, and often the two are entirely at odds. Over the years, the two stories have become entwined at parts, and kept distant at other parts, to create a sort of hybrid story that is often taught as definitive.

We first hear an account of the birth of Jesus from the beginning of the gospel of Matthew.

For Matthew 2:1, Jesus is born in Bethlehem during the reign of Herod. The story of the wise men sent by Herod to find the baby follows from this. Matthew 2:10-12 tells us that the wise men – having seen Jesus – were warned by an angel not to return to Herod, and so they departed and went their own way. Herod, feeling betrayed, sends out a decree that all male babies under two years old in Bethlehem must be killed. To escape this, Joseph, Mary, and Jesus escape to Egypt where they live until Herod is dead, they then return to Nazareth. This isn’t mentioned in any other Gospel, and has no basis in historical reality. In fact, unaware of this crazed child murdering venture that Herod undertakes, Luke has Jesus, Joseph and Mary returning to Nazareth soon after the birth, with absolutely no threat to their lives.

Indeed, for Luke, the story is entirely different. Luke begins with a detailed story of the miraculous birth of John the Baptist. By the time Jesus is born, Herod has been dead for years. For Luke, Jesus is born in Bethlehem, not during the reign of Herod, but during the governorship of Syria by Quirinius. Quirinius – a name not at all associated with the Christmas story – was a Roman Senator sent to Syria after the exile of Herod. It is during the reign of Quirinius that Luke speaks of an empire wide Roman census that required families to return to their ancestral homeland. And since Joseph was descended from David, his family therefore leave Nazareth for Bethlehem – the city of David. This is how Luke places Jesus in Bethlehem at the time of his birth. Matthew does not mention the family traveling to Bethlehem, for Matthew, they’re already in Bethlehem, in a house.

The problem also with Luke’s more descriptive account, is that the actual historical census of Quirinius that took place in 6ad (two years after the death of Herod) did not apply to non-Roman citizens, and did not apply to the whole empire, nor did any Roman census ever require people to return to the homeland of long dead ancestors.

As mentioned above, in Matthew, Jesus is born in a ‘house’ in Bethlehem. There is no mention of a long journey, on a donkey, from Nazareth. There is no manger, nor stable. There is no reason to assume from Matthew’s account that the house is anyone elses. From Matthew’s account, the family live in Bethlehem, and Jesus is born in the house in Bethlehem. The reference to the inn, and the journey from Nazareth, are derived entirely from Luke.

So, so far the Christmas story contains Herod and the wise men from Matthew – but not mentioned in Luke – and the travel from Nazareth to Bethlehem and the manger from Luke – but not mentioned in Matthew.

A glaring omission from the Christmas narrative, is that of John the Baptist. The story of Mary’s cousin Elizabeth (who is barren) and her husband Zacharias, mother and father of John the Baptist appears to us in Luke, and takes up the entire first chapter. For Luke, the birth of John the Baptist is given more prominence and in greater detail, than the birth of Jesus. Luke therefore seems to be suggesting that John is a vital precursor to Jesus, and integral to the story.

The story in Luke tells us that both Elizabeth and Zacharias are in old age and that Elizabeth is barren. They are visited by an angel who informs them that they will have a child and to name him John. Zacharias questions the angel, and so as a particularly cruel and unnecessary punishment, the angel renders Zacharias mute, until John is born. This was in the time of Herod – so, whilst Luke does not mention Herod in the context of Jesus birth, he does mention Herod elsewhere. Matthew on the other hand, doesn’t mention Elizabeth or Zacharias at all. Curiously, Matthew picks up the story of John the Baptist, when John is an adult. Apparently one miraculous birth is enough for Matthew.

So, to summarise, the stitched together Christmas story that we all know runs as follows:
In the time of Herod (Matthew 2:1), Mary is visited by an angel who tells her that she has been chosen as the mother of the son of God (Luke 1:27-38). Mary and Joseph travel to Bethlehem (Luke 2:1-6). Jesus is born in a manger (Luke 2:7) in a stable (neither account), because there is no room at the inn (Luke 2:7). Three wise men were sent by a very jealous King Herod to find the child, they bring gifts of gold, frankincense and myrrh (Matthew 2:7). They follow a star (Matthew 2:10). They arrived at the stable (neither account mentions a stable) and gave their gifts. Shepherds watching over their flocks by night were visited by an angel who told them all about the birth of Jesus. They decided to investigate for themselves (Luke 2:9-20). After visiting Jesus, an angel visits the wise men and tells them not to go back to Herod (Matthew 2:12). And everyone lived happily ever after.

One may argue that each of the two gospel writers commenting on the birth of Jesus simply fill in the gaps left by the other. But this cannot be the case, if one gospel writer is writing through the context of King Herod hot on the tails of the divine family, whilst the other writes from the context of no such threat ever existing. The entire context surrounding the wise men, is their relationship to Herod. The entire context surrounding the reason the family are in Bethlehem – according to Luke – is an empire wide census that relates Jesus to David, and thus to Adam. They do not leave Bethlehem through fear and flee to Egypt according to Luke. The two stories are entirely different, written for different audiences, with different purposes, with only the names seemingly agreeing with one another.

The Christmas story as we know it, is a story that neither of the two gospel writers – nor Paul – ever conceived. Parts of one story are taken out of their surrounding context, and placed in the other story. It sews together parts of the story, whilst omitting others. Not too many people will have heard the names Quirinius, or Elizabeth in the context of the birth of Jesus or Christmas. Nor will many have heard of the cruel muting of Zacharias, or the miraculous conception of John the Baptist. Nevertheless, the extra-Biblical story, with all its stitching together of various gospels, with its omissions, and with its pure inventions (the stable) has emerged as perhaps the most well known story in the history of the Christian faith and Western tradition. And yet, at its core, it is the perhaps one of the least understood.

But it means I get gifts, wine and turkey in a few days time. So I’m fine with that.


Operation Christmas Child: The Cult of Franklin Graham.

November 18, 2013

operation christmas child, atheists north carolina school, samaritan's purse, franklin graham, atheism,

It is around that time of year again when the cries of “Keep CHRIST in Christmas!” spring up, the same time of year we hear that there is some sort of conspiracy of Atheists and Muslims trying to ban Christmas. The persecuted Christians (who oddly, are in all major positions of power in the US) spring to life in an attempt to conceive of an anti-Christmas Atheist agenda that doesn’t actually exist. Sarah Palin has already used the phrase “The War on Christmas” this year and it isn’t even December yet.

This week saw a new apparent example of heartless Atheists attempting to undermine the spirit of Christmas whilst simultaneously impoverishing children further. The story is brought to us across the evangelical blogs and news sites. For example, WLTX reports that due to the big bad Atheist bullies, East Point Academy in Cayce South Carolina had cancelled its toy drive after being threatened by the American Humanist Association, simply because it was a Christian concoction. That’s the story posted. They even include a back up quote from the Principle Renee Mathews here:

“There’s no religious literature tied with it. There’s no speakers who come. There’s no religious affiliation at all.”

– The problem is, this isn’t true. It isn’t a case a benevolent charity giving gifts to the needy, for benevolent reasons, with no religious affiliation at all, as Mathews claims. Quite the opposite, and rather sinisterly so.

Operation Christmas Child, ran by Reverend Franklin Graham’s Samaritan’s Purse is an evangelical program designed to bribe the most vulnerable people into converting to Franklin’s particular brand of Christianity. They openly state their goal is:

“…the advancement of the Christian faith through educational projects and the relief of poverty”.

– Relief of poverty for the sake of itself is not good enough for this organisation, it must be linked intrinsically to the spread of the cult of Franklin Graham.

The cult preys on US school children by inviting them to give to what is believed to be an honest charity dedicated to helping the poorest children in the World, but before delivering those gifts, they slip in Reverend Franklin Graham’s propaganda material. Your children are not sending toys to vulnerable children, the toys are just a marketing technique for a cult that wishes to spread to message.

As chairman of Samaritan’s Purse, Franklin Graham is given around $400,000 a year. Graham is as Tea Party-esque as the Christian Right gets, having once claimed:

“The Muslim Brotherhood is very strong and active in our country. It’s infiltrated every level of our government. Right now we have many of these people that are advising the US military and State Department on how to respond in the Middle East, and it’s like asking a fox, like a farmer asking a fox, “How do I protect my henhouse from foxes?” We’ve brought in Muslims to tell us how to make policy toward Muslim countries. And many of these people we’ve brought in, I’m afraid, are under the Muslim Brotherhood.”

– He also claimed that the Japanese tsunami may have signalled the beginning of Armageddon. He publicly maintains that President Obama is not a Christian – which he deems to be unacceptable – has said that the President was born Muslim, is influenced by the Muslim Brotherhood, and he recorded a public message insisting that same-sex marriage should be banned, with no same-sex union recognised by the state at all. Graham, therefore, has a very political agenda. A very public agenda. Whilst pushing this public agenda, he also have a right winged Christian agenda, that Samaritan’s Purse manipulates school children into being an unwitting part of. Why not agree to send those toys without any mention of religion, or Jesus, or God, as defined by a right-winged American evangelical?

When they seek out donors, Operation Christmas Child usually downplays its evangelism, so as to attract funding. So much so that South Wales Fire Service here in the UK halted their involvement with Operation Christmas Child after discovering the true nature of the ‘charity’. Director of Corporate Services for South Wales Fire Service, upon discovering the real motives of Operation Christmas Child wrote:

“Our involvement in Operation Christmas Child has been on the basis that the project was no more than a charitable event. We do not lend support to any political or religious organisation in their own right, neither do we wish to be associated with anybody whose activities would bring the brigade into dispute.”

– It seems Samaritan’s Purse completely manipulated the fire service, and abused their generosity.

In 2001, in response to two earthquakes in El Salvador, Samaritan’s Purse received $200,000 of federal aid money to provide relief in the country. They then proceeded to hold prayer meetings, before showing people how to rebuild their homes. Franklin Graham wrote:

“When we go into these villages and help people get back into their homes, we hope we’ll be able to plant new churches all over this country”

– The use of US aid money, to spread a cult defined by the Graham family, is not a cause that the US government should be funded, nor should it be allowed in US schools.

In 2003, Samaritan’s Purse released a report, which seems to boast of their manipulative efforts to bribe children. This is the case of a 13 year old boy who’s enticed into the stranger’s ‘house’ with gifts:

“Every day, Ramakrishna’s work route took him in front of a Christian church. As he picked up trash from the gutter, a woman invited him into the church. He always refused. Then one day the woman asked him inside to receive a gift. He was still wary of Christians and their strange beliefs, but the offer of a gift was too tempting. He accepted.”

The report then goes on to give us the real reason they use shoebox drives. To get around anti-conversion laws:

“India can be a difficult mission field. Many states have anti-conversion laws that make it hard for Christians to work. But Operation Christmas Child breaks down barriers and provides a way to reach the children. More than 325,000 shoe box gifts were distributed in 2003, and 265,000 children were enrolled in follow-up Bible study programs.”

– The imperialist cult of Franklin Graham.

Operation Christmas Child sends its propaganda to places that are mainly Muslim; they sent 30,000 Arabic Bibles out to Iraq after the first gulf war. They also aim their propaganda at poorer Hindu communities. This, after Franklin Graham once said of Hinduism:

“… hundreds of millions of people locked in the darkness of Hinduism… bound by Satan’s power”.

“… no elephant with 100 arms can do anything for me. None of their 9,000 gods is going to lead me to salvation”

– This isn’t about giving gifts to vulnerable children, this is about spreading a Biblical cult through any immoral means necessary; including the spread of bribery and bigotry. Visiting struggling countries, and offering food and aid, along with a Bible, is not something I am at all comfortable with, and it is not something that should be allowed to infect secular schools.

As a private organisation – regardless of how dubious and politically motivated their aims are – we cannot stop them. But it is entirely irresponsible and wrong to be manipulating state school children, in a secular society, to give up their belongings to a cause they believe is innocent whilst at the same time using that innocence to help spread the message of a fundamentalist cult, and the power of a very unlikeable evangelist.

For the cult of Franklin Graham, poverty and war are very profitable. Viewing poverty and destitution as a way to spread a religious agenda by preying on the most vulnerable, is so horribly wrong, it’s difficult to know where to begin.

It is not giving that is objectionable to non-believers. It is the use of propaganda in order to convert the most vulnerable, alongside the giving. I would encourage anyone who is worried that their good will and generosity may be the victim of a group like Samaritan’s Purse, to give to far more reputable sources. Oxfam Unwrapped for example, or Link To Hope’s shoebox appeal. Neither of these will include any form of political or religious propaganda, nor the spread of the message of a cult. Your gifts will be safe.

This hideous group should not be allowed anywhere near children.

It’d be nice for the news media to tell the full story.


The Christian War on Secularism

December 6, 2012

war-on-christmas“But it does me no injury for my neighbour to say there are twenty gods or no God. It neither picks my pocket nor breaks my leg.”
– Thomas Jefferson.

Every year, Right Winged Christians over the pond stir up an imaginary shit storm, by imagining that Atheist Godless moral-less heathens wish to see the total destruction of Christmas. They appear to be very angry if we dare to utter the word “Holidays” instead of “Christmas”. But they appear even more consumed by uncontrollable outrage, with the fact that we even celebrate Christmas at all. How dare we! They ask. How dare we enjoy a day, without thinking long and hard about Jesus and his suffering! Their concept of Christmas is very short sighted. It is as if Christians are under the very odd impression, that Christmas was ever their holiday to begin with. Though we must always remember that these people are avid Fox News viewers, and so reality isn’t something that they have much experience with.

The celebratory atmosphere around this time of year, was not a product of Christianity. It is now a glorious mix of Christianity, Paganism, and Secularism. This mix, is Christmas. We can all call it Christmas, and we can all celebrate Christmas. We may call it whatever we wish, the name is irrelevant. The atmosphere and the happiness is what matters. People from all different faiths and backgrounds celebrate it, because it is a time for family. Belief in the birth of Jesus isn’t necessary to celebrate or enjoy Christmas. It is similar to Christians adopting the day, from the Pagans. They of course, do not accept any Pagan myths as legitimate, yet appropriate the celebrations for themselves. I reserve the right to do the same.

Gift giving, family feasts, and parties on December 25th existed in Babylon long before Jesus, as the celebration of the feast of the son of Isis. Kissing under mistletoe, is a Northern European Pagan tradition, considered a fertility ritual during “Yule” – a festival dedicated to Mithras. Decorating, and Christmas tree’s existed in many different Pagan festivals. Christianity simply appropriated much of the traditions of Paganism, after pressure from the Romans. Christmas therefore evolves. It started Pagan, Christianity took it on (and really, didn’t add much to the pot), and now it is secular as well as Christian. It is a lovely melting pot, and everyone enjoys the day for what it is. We Atheists don’t want to get rid of it. We have no problem with Christians celebrating the birth of Jesus. We however, celebrate for sentimental reasons; for family tradition and the joy that Christmas uniquely brings. And that’s allowed, whether Christians like it or not. Apparently some don’t….

christianity

The only ‘war’ on Christmas, is from those who wish to ensure that Christmas is not celebrated by anyone other than the narrow band of fundamentalist Christians who believe it is “their” holiday. It is an attack on every other interpretation of the holiday. It is a denial of history; that being Christmas traditions take more from Pagan festivals than they do from Christianity. Also….. spending four hours shopping for shit no one needs, followed by an hour singing Silent Night in Church…… is not the Christian spirit of Christmas.

Here is what Atheists don’t do.

  • We do not call for boycotts against private businesses, purely because they believe something different to us.
    Allow me to tell you what the ‘war on christmas’ actually amounts to:
    Walgreens has agreed to label all its Christmas decorations “Christmas” as opposed to “holiday decorations” or just “decorations”. Mad Christians who need constant reassurance that their religion is considered the most important system of belief (or….philosophy as Bill O’Reilly amusingly calls it) from about mid-October onwards, will be over joyed!

    But Christian groups go one step further. Not only do they demand Federal recognition and validation of their religious convictions everywhere they go……. they also wish to impose this on the private property of others also. The American Family Association issued a sort of fatwa against The Gap and Banana Republic…. calling for a boycott. Effectively hurting business, thus hurting people who work for those businesses. Threatening, basically. Because, according the AFA:


    The boycott is part of our ongoing campaign to encourage businesses, communities and individuals to put Christ back in Christmas. The boycott runs from November 1 through Christmas Day.

    For years, Gap has refused to use the word Christmas in its television commercials, newspaper ads and in-store promotions, despite tens of thousands of consumer requests to recognize Christmas and in spite of repeated requests from AFA to do the same.

    – Amusingly, it turns out the AFA issued this statement, a few weeks after The Gap’s advert which includes the phrase “GO CHRISTMAS!”
    According to the AFA, The Gap, Old Navy and Banana Republic are at war with Christmas. Now, not only does the Gap’s Advert feature “GO CHRISTMAS!”, if you type “Christmas” into the Old Navy search engine, you are presented with products that clearly say “Christmas” on them, and have Christmas symbols. In fact, one of the items is labelled “Christmas bodysuit for baby”. If you go onto Banana Republic’s website At the top, you will see “Get it by Christmas!”, just above a massive picture of a Christmas tree, and presents. Type ‘Santa’ into any of the search engines, and a plethora of Christmas products are displayed. The conclusion? The AFA, like Fox, is a mouthpiece for the manipulative Christian Right.

    The First Baptist Church of Dallas, in 2010 launched a website designed to allow users to ‘name and shame’ companies who take ‘Christ’ away from the holiday period, in their ads and products. Christians are naturally very talented at forcing their views on others, and silencing dissent, so to harm businesses – small and large – to harm the employees who work at these businesses by shaming them simply for not re-affirming the Christian aspect of Christmas every single second of every day, is no big deal to these horrid little Theocrats.
    My position is simply; a business is privately owned. The owner can do with it as he or she wishes. He/she is not under the control of a few fundamentalists trying to ruin his/her livelihood for such a ridiculous reason.

  • We don’t believe in segregation.
    Students and parents at Sullivan High School in Sullivan, Indiana have decided they wish to have a prom in which gay couples are not allowed. One the special education teachers Diana Medley, rather disgustingly said:

    “We don’t agree with it (homosexuality), and it’s offensive to us.”

    – This bigotry and a belief in apartheid should be offensive to us all. It should be fought at every opportunity. When Christians ask “Why do Atheists keep attacking Christianity”….. it is people like Diana Medley that drive us. Sexuality, as pointed out in a previous entry, has a genetic element. So, exchange the word “homosexuality” for “black” or “people with brown hair” or “women” and you will notice just how bigoted it becomes. Cloaking your bigotry behind outdated myths that have no basis in reality, and are refuted by genetics, does not make you any less of a disgusting human being. You are a bigot. And how does a woman like this get to be a teacher, when a percentage of people who have done nothing to cause her any harm, she finds ‘offensive’? You wouldn’t put a KKK leader in charge of a school in a black community.

  • We do not say that medical treatment should be prioritised for people who do not believe in a God. Can the same be said for the religious? Well, no.
    One study found that a majority of religious people, when asked, would place an Atheist lower down the list of priorities for a kidney transplant, than people who believe.

  • Atheists do not say that people of belief should be banned from public office. Again, the religious aren’t so much a fan of rights for anyone who isn’t like them:

    Arkansas’ Constitution:

    1. Atheists disqualified from holding office or testifying as witness.
    No person who denies the being of a God shall hold any office in the civil departments of this
    State, nor be competent to testify as a witness in any Court.

    Maryland Constitution, Article 37:

    That no religious test ought ever to be required as a qualification for any office of profit or trust in this State, other than a declaration of belief in the existence of God; nor shall the Legislature prescribe any other oath of office than the oath prescribed by this Constitution.

    Mississippi Constitution, Article 14, Section 265:

    No person who denies the existence of a Supreme Being shall hold any office in this State.

    South Carolina Constitution, Article 17, Section 4:

    No person who denies the existence of a Supreme Being shall hold any office under this Constitution.

    Tennessee Constitution, Article 9, Section 2:

    No person who denies the being of God, or a future state of rewards and punishments, shall hold any office in the civil department of this State.

    Texas Constitution, Article 1, Section 4:

    No religious test shall ever be required as a qualification to any office, or public trust, in this State; nor shall any one be excluded from holding office on account of his religious sentiments, provided he acknowledge the existence of a Supreme Being.

  • Atheists do not claim that those who believe in a God, are not fit for public office. Again, not so when it is the other way round.
    When Asheville City Councilman Cecil Bothwell declared that he does not believe in a God, the Christian Right of North Carolina took great offence. H.K. Edgerton, a board member for the Southern Legal Resource Center – an organisation that apparently stands to protect the rights of all, threatened to file a law suit against Bothwell, claiming he is unfit to serve, and his appointment violates North Carolina’s anti-Atheist Constitutional provision. Whilst barring an Atheist from public office would certainly be struck down by the Supreme Court as a violation of the Federal Constitution; it doesn’t stop the Christian Right from trying, which often leads to long battles for an Atheist to serve publicly. For example, Herb Silverman ran for the post of Governor of South Carolina in 1992, but was discarded from the race for refusing to swear an oath to God. A whole five years later, the courts ruled in his favour.

  • We do not punish young children, for thought crime.
    In 1996, at the age of 6, Michael Bristor was denied an Honour Roll, because he refused to believe in God. He was ridiculed at school, and it took his parents three years and a legal battle to get the Honour Roll award. When describing his treatment from his clearly fundamentalist teacher, Michael said:

    “She gave me time outs for not praying. Kids were calling me a devil worshipper.”

  • Atheists do not claim that Christians are inherently bad role models.
    The Boy Scouts of America, which exists through a Congressional Charter, currently does not allow Atheists to be a part of it. It states:

    “The Boy Scouts of America maintains that no member can grow into the best kind of citizen without recognizing an obligation to God. In the first part of the Scout Oath or Promise the member declares, ‘On my honor I will do my best to do my duty to God and my country and to obey the Scout Law.’ The recognition of God as the ruling and leading power in the universe and the grateful acknowledgment of His favors and blessings are necessary to the best type of citizenship and are wholesome precepts in the education of the growing members.”

    – That final sentence, is a disgrace, and goes against every rational basis for the Constituting of the United States of America. It is a dangerous sentence, it is a Theocratic principle, and it is massively unconstitutional.

  • Atheists do not enshrine Bronze age ‘moral’ values in law, nor do we wish to restrict an individual’s basic right to love, nor do we wish to place Atheist propaganda all over public buildings and money.
    The rewriting of history to suit Christian America is a regular occurrence from the 1950s until the present day. Somehow, it has managed to convince a Nation that “One Nation, under God” was always a part of the Pledge, or that “In God We Trust” always appeared on the dollar bill. Both of which are a product of the rise of the Christian Right in the 1950s. Jefferson and Franklin would have reacted with anger at the inclusion of “One Nation, under God” on any public institution.

    The Christian Right are experts at rewriting merging their prejudices with Christianity, and using it to attack the secular nature of the Constitution. Anti-social liberalism is a key ingredient in the making of the Christian Right, and this social liberalism extends to homosexuality. We see the influence of the Christian Right in the passing of the ‘Defence of Marriage Act’ – using ‘defence’ to hide the fact that they are slowly breaking down the barrier between Church and State, slowly eroding individual rights, replacing them with Christian theocratic ‘values’. The ‘Defence of Marriage Act’ states:

    “In determining the meaning of any Act of Congress, or of any ruling, regulation, or interpretation of the various administrative bureaus and agencies of the United States, the word ‘marriage’ means only a legal union between one man and one woman as husband and wife, and the word ‘spouse’ refers only to a person of the opposite sex who is a husband or a wife.”

    -If this isn’t a restriction of human rights, by a bunch of homophobic anti-constitutional theocrats, I don’t know what is. This is the ultimate in Government power over individual rights. It is a restriction on ‘love’.

  • Atheists do not care if our children marry someone of faith. As long as they are happy, and in love.
    A recent study out of the University of Minnesota found that 47.6% of people polled said they would disapprove if their child married an Atheist.

    Christianity isn’t under attack. It has eroded Constitutional secularism; the achievements of the Enlightenment to break the link between the State and Religion, and it isn’t finished. It is like a cancer, slowly making its way across all sections of public life. Schools, public office, science, love. The ‘values’ that they push for, that they insist on forcing upon the rest of society, are vastly incompatible with the Founding documents. Secularists and Atheists have an absolute duty, to resist it, to fight it, and to stand up for the secularism that took so long to achieve. We do not wish to destroy Christmas. I have a Christmas tree. I will be sharing gifts, and celebrating with the family.

    So, sit back, and allow Fox to wage a non-existent war myth that it created, in an attempt to boost ratings. And remember, Christmas; which started off as pressure placed on Christians in Rome to join in the Pagan festivities… is for everyone.

    Call it Christmas, call it winter festival, call it the holiday season, call it winter solstice, call it anything you wish. The vocabulary is irrelevant. Spend the time loving, smiling, and making memories, whatever your beliefs.


  • O’Reilly proves the existence of God.

    February 2, 2011

    I quite liked this video.
    It is disturbing to my sense of rationality, that Bill O’Reilly is one of the most watched men in America. In this video, he proves the existence of God (in the illogical world of Christian America, if nowhere else) by saying the the tide goes in and out.
    Just incase the American Right decide my EVIL SOCIALIST ATHEIST agenda is misleading, O’Reilly actually said:

    “I’ll tell you why [religion is] not a scam, in my opinion. Tide goes in, tide goes out. Never a miscommunication. You can’t explain that. You can’t explain why the tide goes in.”

    It is been quite some years now, since humanity first discovered why the tide goes in and out. We are pretty certain that it isn’t because of a God in a cloud somewhere using a big sea magnet. I am sure I learnt in very early school, that the tide is controlled by the Moon’s orbit.

    Bill then goes on the defensive:

    You’re calling me a moron.

    Yup.
    That’d be pretty accurate.
    Sadly, I’m sure there are a number of American Christians who sat up during this, and said…
    “YAR! That there is one heck of a good case for Jesus, yes sir! He was all like, what about the tides going out and shit, now i’m no racist but that nigra couldn’t god-damn answer him. Fucking Atheists tryna turn my Kids into an-tie Christian, an-tie- Amerkan pro-gay commies”

    Perhaps O’Reilly was suggesting that the moon is ideally placed to create a tide. I doubt he was suggesting that, because, that’s not what he actually said. But for arguments sake, let’s say he was suggesting the ideally placed moon. It is only ideally placed, because we exist. There is no design or reason behind it. It is just there. It isn’t “perfectly placed” because we invented the concept of something being perfectly placed, purely because we’re here. It is rather vain of us to decide that the chaotic universe, and the size and scale of it, exists, purely for us. There is no reason, or logic, or cause, or meaning. It stands to reason that if a Moon is at a certain location, and the planet is at a certain location relative to its star, and conditions for life exist, then life will pop into existence. It is just how it is. It does not mean it was designed that way at all.

    By measuring the total mass of stars and luminosity in our galaxy alone, there are estimated to be 100 billion stars, plus another estimated 200 million Galaxies. A star is like the Sun, so for every 100 billion stars, let’s say there are roughly 5-10 planets around each one. That would produce around 500 billion planets in our Galaxy alone. Is it not reasonable to suggest that one of those 500 billion might have a Moon placed in a position that has an affect on the liquid of its planet?

    How arrogant one must be, to suggest that this was all created for us.

    That being said, conditions on Earth are not perfect for human existence. They are adequate to say the very least. We have natural resources that are running out, not enough food to feed the World and billions of people live in abject poverty for their entire lives, on very inhospitable land. A cyclone is currently tearing its way through Queensland in Australia, only a few weeks after Queensland suffered severe flooding on a scale unknown to locals. If the Earth is the creation of God, for the intention of housing man, then God is a little bit incompetent.

    We are an insignificant, tiny race of apes, in an unimportant dot on the map of the universe. There is no grand design for this tiny little dot.
    Probability is irrelevant. We are surrounded by absolutely no evidence for the existence of God. Saying “yeah, but you can’t disprove the existence of God” is meaningless. If I see a dog, I shouldn’t be expected to accept the possibility that it might be a monkey. Similarly, I have all the evidence for Natural selection, I shouldn’t be expected, when faced with such a plethora of evidence, to say “yeah, but it might be a God.”

    Now, O’Reilly then uses a classic logical fallacy. If person X cannot prove their position, then person Y must be right in theirs. O’Reilly suggests that because Silverman was too stunned by O’Reilly’s intense stupidity that he didn’t answer him in the millisecond that O’Reilly allows his guests to actually speak, that he must therefore not be able to answer, and so he presumes he is correct.

    O’Reilly then goes on to complain that by saying Religion is a scam and a myth (which it is), American Atheists are insulting Americans. This comes about two minutes before he calls Silverman a “loon“.

    O’Reilly would insist he insults no one (except every week, when he refers to someone new, whom he disagrees with, but doesn’t give them the opportunity to argue their case, as a pinhead). Fox News spent most of 2008 attacking President Obama because Obama included non-believers in his inaugural address. The title of the piece just after the President’s speech was “Obama reaches out: addresses Muslims and Atheists in speech“. As if we’re the “other“. As if we, along with the Muslim community are a problem that needs to be addressed. The Fox host (I don’t know his name, but he looks about 12), said:

    “It surprised me when I heard it, it made me do a double take.”

    Why? Because some people aren’t all absolutely mad Christian Right Wingers? Mike Huckabee on that same show, said that Obama had acknowledged that some people don’t believe in anything….. “but themselves”. So, if I don’t believe in the Christian God, I must be a bit of a narcissist and nothing more. Am I unable to believe in beauty? Do Christians have a monopoly on beauty? When I see something beautiful, must I thank Christians for giving me that sense? Am I unable to believe in love? Must I thank Fox News for how I feel about Ashlee? Without Glenn Beck and Bill O’Reilly, would I just be raping and murdering my way through life? Fox went on to ask if it was offensive to include a reference to Atheists in the speech. As if we’re non-human. We shouldn’t be recognised. But if we dare question religion……. we’re the ones being offensive. The mad World of Fox News.

    Here is O’Reilly again, being insulting toward Atheism. Mocking it. Not logically, with well thought out, reasoned Philosophy; just the ramblings of a mad old hillbilly Christian, who has absolutely no idea what he’s talking about, and is just appealing to his very low-IQ’d viewers. Here, he refers to a sign that was shown by Atheists at Christmas, and says “No God, No Problem; be good for goodness sake” (which is a fantastic and optimistic and not in any way offensive at all; sign) a “dopey sign“. He then says:

    “What is it about Christmas they don’t like”.

    What a ridiculous question. Atheists aren’t attacking Christmas. We still celebrate Christmas. We don’t celebrate it for the birth of Jesus. I’m convinced he didn’t actually exist. We celebrate it, because it is a time when all our friends and family have time off work at the same time, we share gifts, we have a family meal, and we create memories and stories for our children. It is a small break from a very rushed life. We absolutely love Christmas. O’Reilly is trying to spread fear and hate. O’Reilly then, quite brilliantly says:

    “Why do they loathe the Baby Jesus”.

    As if we’re all sitting around, throwing darts at a printed picture of the baby Jesus. We get angry when we see the baby Jesus. Some of us can’t control that anger, and we actually vomit.

    He then ponders how Atheists sell Atheism by “running down a baby, it’s just a baby”. That’s not what any Atheist has ever done, in the history of the Catholic Church allowing Atheists to exist without being executed for it. Nor is it what the poster is actually saying, or even alludes to. I’m not sure how more manipulative one massive twat could actually be.

    Some equally as vacant Fox presenter tells O’Reilly that the sign is a:

    “direct and deliberate smear against Christianity”.

    In other words, anything that remotely questions a socially prevailing belief system, must be an attack on it. Atheists should all keep quiet, we shouldn’t question, we shouldn’t be allowed to present an alternative. We should accept that homosexuality is a disgrace because the Bible says so, we should accept that abortion doctors deserve to be shot, we should accept that the Pope shouldn’t be brought to trial for covering up child sex abuse, we should just accept that schools in America teach Christianity as fact and evolution as theory, and just ignore it, because the Christians’ point of view is far more valid and reasonable, simply because it is based entirely on tradition; another logical fallacy.

    She goes on to say:

    “What comes with Christianity are traditional values”

    Really? Is that so? And what are those traditional values? Burning witches? Beheading perceived “heretics”? Hanging gay people? Fucking children? For every positive value one can loosely ascribe to Christianity, it is equally as easy to ascribe a pretty direct link between Christianity and shameful violence and corruption.

    O’Reilly ends the piece by suggesting that Atheists are just jealous because we have nothing, that Christians have Christmas, and we don’t. He asks “what do they have?” and concludes “nothing”. We have wonderment. We have the understanding that nature is so beautiful and creative itself, without the need for a cruel and angry dictator in the sky. We see the stars and stare in awe at how inspiring it all is. We see a slug and admire how this ugly looking thing is so beautiful because it is as evolved as we are. We have Darwin (Not even the baby Jesus is as great as Darwin). But most importantly, we have fact. To quote the brilliant Douglas Adams:

    “Isn’t it enough to see that a garden is beautiful without having to believe that there are fairies at the bottom of it too?”

    I do not accept what Silverman is saying in the first video. He says that he believes people in America only go to Church because their is a social pressure to announce your belief in Christianity, but most people don’t believe it. I’d say that may be true to an extent, but for the sake of O’Reilly thinking Silverman is being insulting, I can go one better and say that those people actually go to Church because they are brainwashed and deluded; uneducated and illogical; unthinking and weak minded.

    If O’Reilly thinks Silverman is insulting toward Christianity….. he obviously hasn’t read my blog.


    The Christmas Blog

    December 25, 2010

    I haven’t blogged recently for a couple of reasons. Firstly, Ash is over for the next month and we’ve been busy in London and shopping. In fact, so busy shopping, that we left the buying of Christmas Day food, until 10pm Christmas Eve…… granted we were in the pub when we should have been shopping for food, but nevertheless, the lack of time is one of the main reasons I haven’t blogged. And secondly, because I don’t particularly have any political opinion at the moment. I still hate the Tories, I still want to shake my head in shame any time a Lib Dem shows his or her miserable Tory-lite face, and I still think Labour are a massive waste of time. There isn’t much more I can say on that.

    England is an EDL member’s dream right now.
    Totally white.
    The snow is immensely irritating.
    It takes around about three minutes from my hands and feet to freeze when i’m out side.
    Ash loves it.
    But that’s because she’s from Australia an oven.
    We fly to Paris in two days.
    But first, Leicester City vs Leeds at the Walkers Stadium tomorrow!
    Is it just me, or is it the older a bloke gets, the more socks he gets for Christmas?
    Ten pairs for me this year.
    We are cooking the Christmas day starter, for my family.
    Stuffed mushrooms and Prawn cocktail.
    I say “we are cooking“, I mean “Ash is cooking the stuffed mushrooms, and I bought the prawn cocktail ready made.
    But i’ll sprinkle lemon juice on the prawns!
    That makes me a cook, right?
    We are enjoying Christmas day.
    The celebration of the birth of a man who probably wasn’t actually real.
    Annie Lennox was born on Christmas day and she’s definitely real.
    We should change the name of Christmas to Lennmas.
    I could be consistent with my Atheism and ignore Christmas entirely.
    But then i’d miss out on Turkey.
    And no amount of Dawkins/Darwin/Hitchens is going to make me miss out on Turkey.
    Jesus invented Turkey, 1970s Christmas rock songs and presents.
    Dawkins Darwin and Hitchens invented scepticism.
    And as much as I adore scepticism….. it doesn’t taste like Turkey.
    Or sound like Slade.
    Apparently Aussies have never heard Slade, or Wizzard’s Christmas songs.
    That both shocks and appals me.
    Ash bought me some new boots from Oxford Street.
    They’re amazing boots.
    I cannot imagine a time when these boots weren’t in my life.
    I bought Ash a silver locket, that we can put a picture of us in Paris in, and keep for when we get old.
    I’m so romantic.
    She’s SO lucky.
    So lucky in fact, that this morning I decided to put some USB speakers down her tights whilst she was wearing them, and play Come on Eileen through them.
    It was magical.
    Ash and I have taken a few photos already.
    Here they are:

    Merry Christmas!