Tuesday, July 29, 2008

A Rose is a Rose

I think that some of the friction between science and religion comes from the double-speak of religion, where many words are given meanings that are counter to the word’s secular definition. Take the word “truth” for example. The Encarta Dictionary defines “truth” as:

  1. Something factual - the thing that corresponds to fact or reality.
  2. True quality - correspondence to fact or reality.
  3. True statement - a statement that corresponds to fact or reality.
  4. Obvious fact - something that is so clearly true that it hardly needs to be stated.

Note that any belief derived from faith alone cannot be considered a truth, yet the word is used constantly by the religulous . Every major religion, and every one of the thousands of sects within, claim that they are the only “truth”. I would be willing to wager, for example, that nearly every major radio market has a religious radio station called “The Truth”. Most of these stations are about as far to the left as possible. Pastor Chuck Smith on “Pastor’s Perspective” the other day was discussing how man and dinosaurs coexisted. I’m not sure whether belief in that “truth” is funny or sad.

Let’s take one more word. The Encarta Dictionary defines “religion” as:

  1. Belief and worship - people's beliefs and opinions concerning the existence, nature, and worship of a deity or deities, and divine involvement in the universe and human life.
  2. System - an institutionalized or personal system of beliefs and practices relating to the divine.
  3. Personal beliefs or values - a set of strongly-held beliefs, values, and attitudes that somebody lives by.
  4. Obsession - an object, practice, cause, or activity that somebody is completely devoted to or obsessed by.

Many times I have heard Christians attempt to completely sidestep anti-religious arguments with the classic “But Christianity is not a religion. It's a personal relationship with Jesus Christ.” Yes, Virginia, it is a religion. You can’t change the definition of something simply by calling it something else. A rose is a rose and all. Suppose you accuse someone with a drinking problem of being an alcoholic and they say, “I’m not an alcoholic, I have a personal relationship with Jim Beam.”

Thursday, July 03, 2008

God the Baby Killer

Thanks to Steve Wells’ “Dwindling in Unbelief” blog, I now have a new favorite Bible story, replacing my former favorite, 2:Kings 2:23. If you recall, the story in 2 Kings was about God sending bears to maul to pieces 42 children for making fun of Elisha’s bald head. This is one of the stories that started my de-conversion from Christianity. There’s a good debate about it on Steve’s blog in which I participate here: http://dwindlinginunbelief.blogspot.com/2007/10/go-up-thou-bald-head.html

I was named David by my parents after the Biblical David, so I am interested in stories about him. This particular story is told in 2 Samuel chapter 12, which I will paraphrase as follows: In the preceding chapter, David sees Bathsheba taking a bath and wants her so badly that he arranges messengers to kidnap her, commit adultery with David, then sent home. She gets pregnant, of course. Upon hearing about it, David arranges to have her husband killed by sending him to the front of whatever battle was going on at the time. Bathsheba mourns the loss of her husband, then becomes David’s wife and bears his son.

God is so angered by David’s deeds that he makes his infant son ill. David fasts and pleads with God to save his son to no avail. The baby suffers in sickness for an entire week, then dies.

There are many bizarre immoral twists in this story, but they would all detract from this main message: The biblical god murdered an innocent child to punish someone else.

Unless you are a brainwashed Christian, there is no way to twist this story around in your brain to make it anything other than what it is. The biblical god is an evil immoral murderer.

PS Lest you take this story out of context, go read this story in its entirety, if you can stomach it. There’s so much more to absorb than simple baby killing. There’s voyeurism, adultery, outdoor rape, polygamy, massacring, incestuous rape, sawing people up, and a jewel encrusted gold crown for Dave that weighs over a hundred pounds!