Abandon All Fear

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Posts Tagged ‘atheism’

[Atheism] British Teens Trending Towards Knives

Posted by Lex Fear on June 26, 2009

Oh I do love statistics, I love the fact that, whatever your cause or personal vendetta, you can usually find a statistic to back you up.

I was impressed a couple years ago when I heard that 20% of Americans aged 18-25 had no religious affiliation or were atheist/agnostic.

Apparently, I should have been looking to Britain.

It turns out if you survey British children aged 13-18, the stats are even more favorable for non-theists.

<snip>

Is this just an isolated case of British awesomeness or a continuing trend toward non-religiosity?

The Friendly Atheist // British Teens Trending Away from Religion

Yep, keep quoting those stats…

The new figures indicate that in the year 2007-8  there were some 277 deaths from stabbings in England & Wales alone (the highest recorded figure for 30 years). This represents an average death toll as a direct result of stabbings of over 5 for every week of the year!

<snip>

  • 11-12 year olds carrying knives last year: 10% (Youth at risk)
  • 15-17 year olds admitting to carrying knives for self defence: 46% (Ian Johnston – Chief Constable British Transport Police)
  • Pupils in London Schools carrying knives: 29% (Youth Justice Board / Mori 2003)
  • Excluded Pupils carrying knives: 62% (Youth Justice Board / Mori 2003)
  • 16 year old boys admitting attacking someone with a knife – intent on causing serious injury: 1 in 5 (Youth Justice Board / Mori 2003)
  • Teenage deaths from knife attack (2004): More than 20 (Be Safe Project)

Insight Security // Knife Crime Facts

Am I implying the rise in atheism is linked to knife crime? Perhaps what I’m really implying is that you can link atheism or religion to other country statistics in anyway you see fit to demonstrate your point – something I’ve noticed the Friendly Atheist is occasionally fond of doing.

Question Everything – 1 Thes 5:21

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Posted in Analogies, Bollotics, Fact Erosion, Minitruth, Pharisees, Propaganda, Uncircumcised Philistines, Warring Memes, Xianity | Tagged: , , , , , , , , | 8 Comments »

[Whodunnit Pt. 2] Let Him Have It…

Posted by Lex Fear on June 10, 2009

Back in February I had a long comment discussion with an atheist called Postsimian which started on a post at The Friendly Atheist, but went off topic so I brought it here.

Whilst not intended, this makes an excellent follow-up to that post – Killing In The Name Of…

The gist of the discussion was one of hermeneutics. Postsimian argued that ‘if’ there was a God, he was evil, because of the certain events and commands given by God in the Old Testament, taken literally. My argument was that, as well as the need for proper exegetical context, there is a need for a greater perspective on what is written in the OT, which relies heavily on if we deem the events real or made-up.

The crux of the matter was whether God, assumedly being good, could be capable of evil – i.e. killing seemingly innocent people. Postsimians study of the OT led him to conclude that even if God is good, he is capable of evil, whereas my study of the bible leads me to conclude that certain acts of God which seem wrong on the face of it, are not when understood in context.

It later occured to me that this argument is demonstrated aptly in a film I watched years ago based on the true story of Derek Bentley called Let Him Have It. The premise of the film is of a robbery which goes disasterously wrong. During the attempted arrest, brain-damaged Bentley yells out to his younger accomplice “Let him have it” – referring to the gun, and subsequently his accomplice, Christopher Craig, shoots the policeman. For those not in the know, “Let him have it” used to be a turn of phrase in the UK for giving the go-ahead to attack someone. The question is: Did Bentley order Craig to hand over the gun, or fire it at the copper?

The real-life case, in actual fact, did not hinge upon these words, but it does prove useful for this exercise. For the police, by yelling “let him have it” Bentley was giving the order to shoot, and was therefore intending evil, and rightly deserved the death penalty. For the defence, Bentley was ordering Craig to hand over the gun and surrender.

The fact is, without any supporting evidence apart from the reading of Bentleys words, your view of Bentleys guilt will be based on your own preconceptions and bias. If you were not British and raised in the time of the 50’s you may well think that Bentley ordered Craig to surrender. However, if you were around at the time, you may have thought differently.

By now you know what I’m getting at. This is nearly the same problem when it comes to reading biblical texts literally. No, God is not going around in the OT ordering people to shoot other people, but there are times when he has commanded specific instructions and left it for his people to interpret and then act, or intercede.

More and more, it seems to me that what is not written in the OT scriptures, is more important than what is actually written.

In the end, Postsimian may be right after all about one thing, in some cases it seems like it is a mere subtle nuance. However, I must counterbalance this with the truth that in every instance of the OT where God orders the destruction of human life, as the law required (just like the American justice system), when people either interceded or pleaded for mercy, they were shown mercy.

This is why if you are going to honestly critique the Old Testament, you cannot read it literally. You need to be prepared to study a bit of history and culture at the same time. It is also why I feel I cannot emphasise enough, that God is not looking for people to carry out judgement (under the law), but instead he is looking for people to intercede and carry out mercy and forgiveness (when the law has been broken).

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Posted in Apologetics, Justice & Mercy, Laymans Theology, Xianity | Tagged: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment »

[Whodunnit] Killing In The Name Of…

Posted by Lex Fear on February 26, 2009

I have been debating an atheist called postsimian over at The Friendly Atheist but it’s getting far too long and off topic now so I’ve decided to post a response back here.

I said I’d respond if PS persuaded me of his/her arguments and after reading his/her last response there are a couple of things I do have to concede. Yep shock horror.

If you want to follow the debate from the beginning, head over and read the comments on Hermant’s post: Foxhole Atheist Jeremy Hall Tells His Story.

Read the rest of this entry »

Posted in Apologetics, Laymans Theology, Morals & Ethics, The Religious Wrong | Tagged: , , , , , , , , , | 10 Comments »

[Atheism] Probably

Posted by Lex Fear on February 15, 2009

I was really happy to see the atheist bus campaign get into full swing. God Bless those atheists, another medium for which they can use to rage against their parents.

I have purposefully held off from writing about it until now, after the dust has settled and things can be fully absorbed.

I’ll start by saying I also found myself disappointed by the weakness of the message. I would much preferred something more assertive, more disdainful of religion. Instead we get probably.

Funnily enough all sorts of speculation took place in the atheist blogosphere and fora as to why include the word. There were some rather feeble apologetics using such idioms as “intellectually honest”.

Since I had followed this saga from it’s inception and was following the commentary at The Friendly Atheist I thought I should help bring clarity to the perception of the ‘Christian response’ as well as information as to how probably got in there:

1) British Christians views on the signs range from ‘Meh’ to ‘Great! More opportunities to talk about God”.

The fact is the Christian religion is led by a man who was violently, brutally killed as a convicted criminal – Call it insane if you will but most genuine Christians see persecution in any form as a privelege and opportunity to stand with Christ and spread the gospel!

Through history, the church has done better in times of persecution and it will always.

2) There are a few who are weak in faith and perhaps new Christians, or they have lost their way and these will protest.. and when they do the media will always give them the microphone to broadcast their ignorance.

But so far the worst response I’ve heard from any Christian is that it’s silly. That’s it.

3) I personally wish that they had dropped the ‘probably’ and gone for something much stronger. I wish it DID say “THERE IS NO GOD”.. with it the slogan is very poor and really isn’t worthy to be considered an attack or something like that. (Also the excuse given to include “probably” has to be the weakest excuse I have ever heard- very stupid)

The proposer of this campaign – a Grauniad journalist – originally gave the reason that she had seen ‘probably’ used in another ad (see Carlsberg) and assumed it was for legal reasons. It’s not, it’s a nod to the British talent for understatement. Silly woman!

Must try harder.

Which was quickly refuted by a commenter called Aj:

The Committee of Advertising Practice (CAP) advised her that “the inclusion of the word ‘probably’ makes it less likely to cause offence, and therefore be in breach of the Advertising Code.”

Lots of people are getting this wrong, so here’s a quote. Lots of atheists don’t believe “there is no god”, they can only agree with statements like “there is probably no god, although I and others prefer “almost certainly” as it’s more accurate.

He went on to include a quote from Ariane Sherine (from a later article).

There’s another reason I’m keen on the “probably”: it means the slogan is more accurate, as even though there’s no scientific evidence at all for God’s existence, it’s also impossible to prove that God doesn’t exist (or that anything doesn’t).

Oh dear, how intellectually dishonest. He left me no choice but to quote the original article by Sherine in response:

“After that, I Googled Carlsberg and found this marketing site, which suggests that using the word “probably” at the start of the ad saved Carlsberg from litigation.” – Ariane Sherine, Atheists – Gimme Five, 20/06/08

Long before the article you quoted. They’ve given all manner of excuses since then.

And the Carlsberg Ad:

http://www.brandrepublic.com/Campaign/News/472122/Scandinavia-Great-nordic-conquerors/

“According to Jakob Knudsen, Carlsberg’s international brand director: “The Scandinavian understated sense of humour is an integral part of the brand’s DNA. If you take other premium Scandinavian brands such as Bang & Olufsen, they won’t tell you they’re the best. Instead, they let the quality speak for itself.”

Only America would produce, “King of Beers” or “World’s Finest” and market their products as the biggest, best, favourite, fastest, greatest etc…

This advertising (up until recently perhaps) would never work in the UK, but picture 2 blokes in a pub, one declares “This is the best lager I’ve ever tasted!”, the other, being British is likely to respond “I don’t think so, I think I’ve tasted better.” But if the first was to casually mention “This is probably the best lager I’ve ever tasted” then the other may likely agree with him “Probably.”

Typical MSM journalist, gets her research from an internet forum rather than the source.

Oddly, no-one then seemed interesting in arguing the point with me and just ignored my second comment completely. Not what you would expect from intellectually honest people but there you go.

Here’s a great quote from Lib Dem MP, Martin Turner:

Imagine that you saw any of the following advertisements:
“The speed camera probably isn’t loaded”
“You probably won’t die in a car crash”
“You probably did turn off the gas”
Telling someone that something probably won’t happen doesn’t stop them worrying about it. Quite the contrary. And, if the millions of lottery ticket buyers are anything to go by, telling someone that something they very much hope for is unlikely to happen does nothing to stop them hoping.
If “there’s probably no God” is the strongest statement that, on reflection, atheists dare to make in public, then they have moved a long way from the certainties implied in their name.

But my favourite quote on worry has to this:

“Therefore I tell you, do not worry about your life, what you will eat or drink; or about your body, what you will wear. Is not life more important than food, and the body more important than clothes? Look at the birds of the air; they do not sow or reap or store away in barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not much more valuable than they? Who of you by worrying can add a single hour to his life?” – Jesus

As well as beating The Grauniad to the post by almost 2000 years, there’s something rather more elegant, meaningful and poetic than “Now stop worrying and enjoy your life”, don’t you think (if you are being intellectually honest)?

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Posted in Apologetics, Doublespeak, Doublethink, Duh!, Laymans Theology, Londonland, Minitruth, Opinion, Propaganda, Quoteyness, The Love of Libel, Uncircumcised Philistines, V for Vendetta, Warring Memes | Tagged: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 3 Comments »

[Fundamentalism] Meet The Science Extremists

Posted by Lex Fear on February 10, 2009

Religion has Osama Bin Laden*, politics has it’s fair share of Stalins and Hitlers, Atheism has Auvinen,  Sport has hooligans and Hollywood has Uwe Boll (just kidding). What about Science?

Five Mad Scientists Who Went Too Far in the Name of Science

*or is that politics?

Posted in Analogies, Morals & Ethics, Religion & Science, The Religious Wrong | Tagged: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 2 Comments »

[Fallacies] What If Your Premise Is Wrong?

Posted by Lex Fear on February 8, 2009

HT to Purify Your Bride for this YouTube clip:

Rather than answer the question, Dawkins makes the presumption that the young lady in question is “brought up” in a Christian home and then turns the question back on her.

I’d love to see how Dawkins addresses someone like me who was brought up without beliefs, dabbled in the occult, rejecting the faith of Jehova’s Witnesses, going from atheist to agnostic and opened myself up to whatever kind of higher power or beings were out there before becoming a Christian.

I don’t know why supposed intellectual people cheer for someone who so obviously doesn’t want to accept the possibility of being wrong.

However it appears that Dawkins has softened his stance on the existence of a higher power himself more recently, as Mattghg writes.

It seems Dawkins, though tirelessly never to admit he is wrong, considers there may be something “grander and more mysterious” than God out there after all. Of course by suggesting this we get in to all sort of ad infinitum arguments, and I’m surprised he would take it upon himself to answer the the old atheist chesnut “Who created God?”.

Maybe if Dawkins’ only personal objection to God is that the idea of ‘God’ for him is… boring.

Read Is Richard Dawkins Still Evolving? by Melanie Phillips.

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Posted in Doublespeak, Little Hitlers, Pharisees, Religion & Science, Warring Memes | Tagged: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment »

[Bugaboos] 20 Reasons To Abandon Christianity… And Every Reason To Take It Up Again

Posted by Lex Fear on January 25, 2009

From Pass_the_Aura – 20 Reasons to Abandon a Bugaboo:

6. Christianity breeds authoritarianism. … If your nonintrusive beliefs or actions are not in accord with Christian “morality,” you can bet that Christians will feel completely justified—not to mention righteous—in poking their noses (often in the form of state police agencies) into your private life.

  • But Jesus called them to Himself and said, “You know that the rulers of the Gentiles lord it over them, and those who are great exercise authority over them. Yet it shall not be so among you; but whoever desires to become great among you, let him be your servant. And whoever desires to be first among you, let him be your slave—just as the Son of Man did not come to be served, but to serve, and to give His life a ransom for many.” (Matthew 20:25–28 NKJV)
  • [Jesus speaking] “Do not judge, and you will not be judged. Do not condemn, and you will not be condemned. Forgive, and you will be forgiven.” (Luke 6:37 NIV)
  • “Therefore you have no excuse, O man, every one of you who judges. For in passing judgment on another you condemn yourself, because you, the judge, practice the very same things.” (Romans 2:1 ESV)

I’m coming to the same realisation that many people reject God based on characterisation are not actually rejecting the God described in the bible, or the God I have come to know and love.

Here are six things God hates,
and one more that he loathes with a passion:
eyes that are arrogant,
a tongue that lies,
hands that murder the innocent,
a heart that hatches evil plots,
feet that race down a wicked track,
a mouth that lies under oath,
a troublemaker in the family. – Proverbs (Message)

If you hate these things, you and God may have a lot more in common than you think.

Last year Pass_the_Aura did an excellent YouTube response to all the atheists who thought they were committing the ultimate unforgivable sin, see my post here:

Absolutely Unforgiveable?

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Posted in Apologetics, Blogidarity, Laymans Theology, Quoteyness | Tagged: , , , , , | 4 Comments »

[Atheists] Why The Hell Do They Care?

Posted by Lex Fear on January 21, 2009

Friendly Atheist Trina Hoaks ponders on the climate of Hell now that President Obama is, well, black and President.

Well, today was a cold day, to be sure, but I wouldn’t equate the location (our nation) to Hell. But, if this is what Hell is like, I say sign me up! Oh, yeah… I forgot, according to many religious people, that is exactly where I am going whether I sign up or not.

Can an atheist explain to me what they think Hell actually is and why atheists are so offended by something they don’t believe in?

Hey if someone told me I when I die I was going to be condemned to the leek soup bowl by the flying spaghetti monster, I think I’d just laugh then back away slowly.

Seriously, why are so many atheists bothered by Hell?

Posted in Warring Memes | Tagged: , , , , , | 15 Comments »

[Blasphemy] Blasphemically Challenged

Posted by Lex Fear on June 7, 2007

I’ve been meaning to blog about this one for a while since it appeared on BoingBoing

“It’s simple. You record a short message damning yourself to Hell, you upload it to YouTube, and then the Rational Response Squad will send you a free The God Who Wasn’t There DVD. It’s that easy…

You may damn yourself to Hell however you would like, but somewhere in your video you must say this phrase: “I deny the Holy Spirit.”

Why? Because, according to Mark 3:29 in the Holy Bible, “Whoever blasphemes against the Holy Spirit will never be forgiven; he is guilty of an eternal sin.” Jesus will forgive you for just about anything, but he won’t forgive you for denying the existence of the Holy Spirit. Ever. This is a one-way road you’re taking here.” – The Blasphemy Challenge

It’s a shame to have to ruin all their hard work by interceding:

“Father forgive them; they don’t know what they are doing.” – Luke 23:34

I’m not really going to delve much into this topic, suffice to say that I am almost certain that only believers can blaspheme the Holy Spirit, since it is a matter of the heart and not of words or deeds:

“Then Peter said, ‘Ananias, why have you let Satan fill your heart? You lied to the Holy Spirit, and you kept some of the money for yourself. The property was yours to sell or not sell, as you wished. And after selling it, the money was also yours to give away. How could you do a thing like this? You weren’t lying to us but to God!

As soon as Ananias heard these words, he fell to the floor and died. Everyone who heard about it was terrified.” – Acts 5:3-5

“Judas, the one who betrayed him, realized that Jesus was doomed. Overcome with remorse, he gave back the thirty silver coins to the high priests, saying, “I’ve sinned. I’ve betrayed an innocent man.”

They said, “What do we care? That’s your problem!”

Judas threw the silver coins into the Temple and left. Then he went out and hung himself.” – Matthew 27:3-5

But I think this video posted on the counter-site, Challenge Blasphemy explains it better than I ever could in a hilarious and brilliant way. There is a hint of ‘Andy Kaufman’ comic genius in passtheaura. Look out for the salt-shaker*, points for guessing as to what this subtle Easter egg is alluding to.

*If you’re really struggling, go to the direct YouTube posting and read the comments.

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Posted in Apologetics, Dark Side of the Light, Duh!, Laymans Theology, Uncircumcised Philistines, Video, Warring Memes | Tagged: , , , , , , , , , , | 2 Comments »

[Neo-Atheism] The War Against Theism

Posted by Lex Fear on June 6, 2007

This Post Is Rated: O for May be deemed Offensive. But it’s not, really, not unless you want to be offended.

Side Note: This is my first post using Microsoft’s new Windows Live Writer, which works almost effortlessly with Blogger! It’s amazing, Microsoft is actually embracing third party and open source?! It’s actually pretty decent and so far was the easiest to configure amongst the ones I tested.

I consider myself a fairly moderate/progressive Christian, someone who believes in all the tenets of the Christian faith, but also someone who you could have a pint down the pub with and talk about current events. But I started to notice that some of the bloggers whose opinions I both read and respect have made negative reference to the Christian faith, both passively and directly. The basis of their arguments usually consist of the old Science vs Religion argument, but it can sometimes degenerate into the usual “religion is dangerous/evil/fault of the worlds problems”.

I therefore felt I should make a direct comment on the rise of anti-theism that is being led by fundamentalist atheists such as Richard Dawkins. It’s not just a point of discussing scientific theories, if that was the case most people would not have heard of him, it’s gets much more personal than that. The reason being is that Dawkins and people like him are hostile towards religion, specifically Christianity, and consider believers like myself to be infected with a “virus of the mind“.

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Posted in Apologetics, Laymans Theology, Little Hitlers, Morals & Ethics, Opinion, Pharisees, Religion & Science, The Religious Wrong, Uncircumcised Philistines, V for Vendetta | Tagged: , , , , , , , , | 9 Comments »