william lane craig: more of a douchebag than previously expected

If you must describe what it is you do as “apologetics” that’s a clear indication that something’s already gone very wrong. If you make a living making excuses for the inexcusable, nothing good is going to come of it. For example, today on Alternet, Greta Christina quotes WLC‘s recent justification of the genocide and infanticide ordered by God against the Canaanites in the Old Testament:

God had morally sufficient reasons for His judgement upon Canaan, and Israel was merely the instrument of His justice, just as centuries later God would use the pagan nations of Assyria and Babylon to judge Israel. Moreover, if we believe, as I do, that God’s grace is extended to those who die in infancy or as small children, the death of these children was actually their salvation. We are so wedded to an earthly, naturalistic perspective that we forget that those who die are happy to quit this earth for heaven’s incomparable joy. Therefore, God does these children no wrong in taking their lives. So whom does God wrong in commanding the destruction of the Canaanites? Not the Canaanite adults, for they were corrupt and deserving of judgement. Not the children, for they inherit eternal life.

As reprehensible as that is, as an argument it does have some merit. It clearly sets out a compelling narrative one might follow on the path to atheism, through the desire to distance oneself from such evil.

My first response upon reading this was, “I wonder what Dr. Craig’s stance is on women’s reproductive rights?” A quick Google search revealed his opinions on the subject:

Now what that implies is that if the developing fetus is a human being, then he or she is endowed with intrinsic moral worth and therefore possesses inherent human rights, including the right to life. Abortion would be a form of homicide, and against such attacks the innocent and defenseless fetus would have every right to the protection of the law.
So we come to the second question we must address: Is the developing fetus a human being? Here it seems to me that it is virtually undeniable scientifically and medically that the fetus is at every stage of its development a human being. After all, the fetus is not canine, or feline, or bovine; it is a human fetus. From the moment of conception on, there exists a living organism which is a genetically complete human being and which, if left to develop naturally, will grow into an adult member of its species.

So there you have it: it’s ok to murder innocent children (who are already born) if your god tells you to, because they will go to heaven. Also, the mere existence of the potential that human life might develop is sacred, and deserves legal rights.

How Dr. Craig can live with himself, with that kind of cognitive dissonance, is utterly and completely beyond me.

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in which i feed a formspring troll

Ordinarily I advise against troll-feeling, as it tends to validate their existence and whatnot, but this one, I cannot resist:

So, let me get this straight… You are an atheist that chose god as your username? You atheists are obsessed with a God that you do not believe exists? Why? I will pray for you, God Bless.

OK, that’s not much of a troll, as trolls go, but still. My formspring answer was brief and dismissive, but the more I thought about it this afternoon, the more I realized I really want to answer that. Why would non-believers invest a good deal of time, effort, and energy into repeatedly dismissing something they profess not to believe? Well, it’s not the non-existent god that we obsess about, it’s the things that are done in his name, and the consequences he’s used as a shield against, and the repeated efforts by his followers to break down barriers between church and state. There are actually far too many reasons to list, but this is a good start:

  • Catholics. When we are confronted by a seemingly endless array of horrific tales of abuse, when we read things like this: ” Murphy would call them to his bedroom in the school, or visit them in their dorm beds late at night, masturbate them and leave. Sometimes he would go on to other boys. Often he would say nothing. Sometimes when the boys saw him molesting other boys in the dorm room, they would cover their heads with their blankets, hug themselves tightly and weep.”, we are motivated to speak out against the shield that religion offers these monsters.
  • Fundamentalist hate groups. It’s not like non-believers can, in good conscience, sit idly by while weapons-grade religious nuttery runs amok.
  • Texas. In addition to the group linked in the above item (under the word “groups”), we also have a situation with Texas rewriting history, and with its textbook purchasing power, influencing schools far beyond its borders. This is just not OK. There are far too many religions to let a small faction of one of them control our educational system.
  • Hypocrisy: Put simply, people who believe in literal interpretations of so-called holy books like the Bible and the Qu’ran are conditioned to accept all manner of egregious behavior in their leaders, and someone has to keep an eye on y’all. See Mojoey‘s Hypocrisy Watch map.

There are just so many excellent reasons to pay excruciatingly close attention to the bullshit that religions attempt to impose upon those who choose not to follow — I didn’t even get into the horrors of Sharia law or Ugandan human rights horrors, or any of myriad other very valid reasons why atheists have every reason to “obsess” on religion.

That being said, the 281 questions I’ve answered to date as god on formspring have included very, very few pompous religious nitwits offering to pray for me, and for that, I am glad.

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15 seconds of super bowl vs. 75 employees for 1 year

source: adfreak blog on adweek.com (click image for more)

Ahh, the choices we face in life. Imagine you are an executive with Focus on the Family. I know, I know, it’s unpleasant, but bear with me. Now, imagine you have a difficult choice to make: do you run a $3,000,000 advertisement for fifteen seconds during a football game, or do you hire back 75 recently laid-off staffers at an average of $35,000 salary for a year?

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fundamental illness

Look carefully at the image below, taken in Maine on election night in 2009. The people on the right are rejoicing upon learning that they have succeeded in passing a law that denies marriage rights to gay couples. The people on the right consider themselves to be godly, moral, and superior to the people on the left. The people on the right have absolutely no concept of the harm they have inflicted, or they pain they have caused. It does not occur to them that there is anything wrong with taking civil rights away from others. I am not a psychologist, but I can tell you without any hesitation that the people on the right are, in clinical terms, fucked up in the head.

There is something fundamentally wrong with the people on the right.

Yesterday I read three separate posts which touched on the psychological (and in some cases psychiatric) issues of religion:

  • Facebook Fundies: Gettin’ Crunk with the Lord, about groups of believers who like to work themselves up into a religious hysteria
  • Religion and Psychology, which explores the underlying cognitive biases that contribute to religiosity such as confirmation bias which plays a strong role in religious belief.
  • Solar Powered Bibles for Haiti: Why Some Christians Feel Compelled to Exploit Disaster**, in which a psychologist explains the underlying issues that would cause people to send bibles in the place of anesthetics for amputations or antibiotics for horrific infections: “First, it can diminish empathy by downplaying the importance of here and now suffering. Second it can make something other than a person’s apparent needs (like food or anesthetics) seem critically important. Third, it can re-direct our mother-bear instincts away from protecting vulnerable individuals and toward protecting the ideology itself. Believers may come to feel more protective of their religion than they are of actual human beings.”

And let’s not forget this guy, whose imaginary friend told him to go shoot a guy in the head in church, or the people who consider him a hero, or any of the other  rhetorical extremists, predatory sociopaths whose message *sounds* completely whackadoodledoo, and is often dismissed as such, but it’s a message calculated to reach a very, very small demographic — like a dog whistle for psychotics. For example:

These people get their morals from god. (image byk763)
This all makes perfect sense to the heavily armed batshit asshole demographic. (image by k763)

The fundamentally ill do not always present with such exaggerated symptoms, of course. And not all of them choose to use the faithful as their minions, but more and more these days they are the primary target market of anyone seeking to impose an economic or social agenda that runs contrary to the good of the many in favor of the good of the few.

The people who keep track of such things estimate that psychopaths make up 1% of the population, but they tend to wield a great deal of influence over the easily led, since they are master manipulators. Whether they occupy positions within in the evangelical community or simply pull the strings from outside, they exert tremendous influence.

“Faith presupposes that we cannot know. We can never know. Those who claim to know what life means play God. These false prophets—the Pat Robertsons, the Jerry Falwells and the James Dobsons—clutching the cross and the Bible, offer, like Mephistopheles, to lead us back to a mythical paradise and an impossible, unachievable happiness and security, at once seductive and empowering. They ask us to hand over moral choice and responsibility to them. They will tell us they know what is right and wrong in the eyes of God. They tell us how to act, how to live, and in this process they elevate themselves above us. They remove the anxiety of moral choice, the fundamental anxiety of human existence.” — Chris Hedges

To be continued, maybe…

**NOTE: representatives of the electric bible-bringers have responded with reassurances that the bibles are not being transported instead of life-saving supplies, but rather “piggybacking on existing shipments, if there is extra space”.  However, the group doing the sending has an ongoing campaign in Haiti to convert Catholics to Evangelical Christianity, and you’d kind of hope that, in times of crisis, they’d set that aside and just help people, but that’s not how it works.

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jury takes 37 minutes to find scott roeder guilty

I can’t imagine how hard it was for George Tiller’s family to sit in the courtroom and hear charming testimony like this from this remorseless sack of fundamentalist shit:

In his testimony, Roeder told jurors he had considered elaborate schemes to stop the doctor, including chopping off his hands, crashing a car into him or sneaking into his home to kill him. …

But in the end, Roeder told the jury, the easiest way was to walk into Tiller’s church, put a gun to the man’s forehead and pull the trigger.

But I commend the jury for not dicking around, and the judge for refusing to consider allowing a voluntary manslaughter conviction based on that “imminent danger to fetuses” nonsense. Well done.

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