Saturday, September 27, 2008

The Courthouse (Mormon Style)

If things worked in the world the way that Mormons think they do, then this is how a typical courtroom proceeding would occur...

The prosecuting attorney would address the jury with tears in his eyes, "Ladies and gentlemen, before you is the accused. Now, although I have absolutely no evidence that he is guilty, I just feel it in my heart. And if you just take a moment, I am sure you can feel it too."

The jury begins to nod and voice their agreement.

Judge: "Defendant, you are found guilty."

Defense: "Wait a minute, Judge, doesn't the defense get a chance to present their case?"

Judge: "Over-ruled. The evidence here is overwhelming. Besides, we wouldn't want to confuse the jury, would we?"

Defense: "But, your honor, we have significant evidence that shows he is innocent."

Judge: "Silence, before I hold you in contempt! Evidence does not matter. The prosecuter has already displayed a very emotional outburst and he couldn't have done it unless it really was the truth."

Mormonism only works if you're living in a dream world. If the world worked the way that Mormonism claims it does, then honestly, it would be a pretty fucked up place. Besides, my feelings are telling me that it's all bullshit!

Thursday, September 25, 2008

My $10 Testimony

I had been on my mission well over a year. My companion at the time was a scrawny little shit who really thought he was the shit. He was one of those "I can't think for myself because I have to obey every single rule to the absolute letter" missionaries. He was the senior companion and would bark orders. "I said now, and I mean now!" and "I'm the senior companion and what I say, goes!" In all truth, he had an extreme self-esteem problem.

One time, in the middle of the night, I woke up to a faint banging sound. Upon further investigation, I found that Elder Stupid had gotten up to relieve himself and had somehow locked himself in the bathroom! How he did that, I'll never know. If I hadn't woken up, he would have spent all night in the bathroom. Damn it! I should have left him in there.

We were out knocking on doors one day and an older lady refused to hear our message but gave us a donation of $10. Doofus wanted to give it to the church. I wanted to use it to go buy some lunch. We argued over $10 trying to decide what to do with it. As far as I could see, missionaries accepted meals from people all the time, so what was the harm in using it to eat? You know, I don't even remember what we did with it. Doofus probably gave it to the church. But the part that urks me was a comment he made: "You have a $10 testimony".

That's just the wrong thing to say to a missionary who totally believes. It's like calling a black person "nigger". It totally pissed me off. Only because I exercised an extreme amount of self control did I not break his nose with my fist.

Later, with the same companion, we were coming home from his personal errand which entailed leaving our area boundaries. It began snowing fiercely! Within a half hour, everything was blanketed in snow. The roads were extremely slick. I was driving and at one point, the car began to slide completely out of control. We did a 180 and stopped facing the opposite direction on the other side of the road, but not before the back end scraped against a telephone pole, leaving a foot long dent in the rear-passengers side of the car.

To say the least, that scared the shit out of both of us. Doofus wanted to drive, but he was a terrible driver. He couldn't even take a bend in the road without doing a jerking motion every 10 feet or so. So I wasn't about to let him drive. So we proceeded on our way home, being extremely cautious.

A few minutes later, we were going down a slight hill that curved. Mix that with a frictionless road and that spells disaster. Sure enough, as we were going down the hill, the car once again glided completely out of control. A semi with a trailor was going up the hill. We slammed into the truck right on his gas tank. Our small Ford Escort didn't even dent the truck but we went bouncing off and across the street where we slammed head long into another damn telephone pole. The second impact caused the airbags to deploy.

If you survive a car crash due to the airbags, the fumes from those things are enough to suffocate someone! My door was jammed shut but I forced it open to get out of the car. We were both completely unharmed except for a broken middle finger of Doofus. The details are fuzzy now, but I remember trying to give a statement to the police and Doofus pulled me away because the ambulance was leaving. This little pussy took an ambulance, and me with him, to the hospital because his finger hurt.

Because I didn't even have time to show my drivers license to the police, I got cited for driving without a license and speeding (which I absolutely was not). I did not report the crash to my family until my homecoming because I knew my mother would freak out.

By the way, our car was completely totaled.

That month, there were two car wrecks in the mission, and I was involved in both of them!

Not too much later, Doofus was transferred and I got a new companion. This guy was the total opposite of Doofus... he would sleep in every day, listen to all sorts of music, constantly calling people, and abused the absolute hell out of the mission car.

Well, we were on our way home when it started snowing fiercely again. Although we were just a few miles from home, we ended up stuck in traffic for about 8 hours, with traffic at a complete standstill. While we waited, a truck behind us just up and rear ended us, even though it had been sitting behind us for hours. We got the guys information but it turned out he gave us a bunch of bogus info.

That night we slept (or attempted to sleep) in a firestation with about 100 other stranded people. We had no access to a phone and so could not call to tell the DL where we were. We didn't get home until about noon the next day. We both hit the sack and slept until the next morning.

Wednesday, September 24, 2008

Real Book of Mormon Geography

The Book of Mormon is supposed to be a history of real people living in a real place. For the first 150 years of Mormonism's existence, everyone thought it was a story about a people who left the Middle East and came to South or Central America, and who fought wars clear up into New York state where their history was hidden in a hillside, inscribed on gold plates. Joseph Smith, in 1830, translated those plates, he said, by "the gift and power of God," into English from "Reformed Egyptian Hieroglyphics." Or so the story goes.

However, one needs to look no further than New York, Pennsylvania, and Ohio to find the setting of the Book of Mormon. Whoever pieced the Book of Mormon together had a land in mind which was very similar to the Northeast United States and Southeast Canada.

The "proposed map," constructed from internal comparisons in the Book of Mormon.

A map of the Pennsylvania / New York area during Joseph Smith's time.

Throughout the Book of Mormon we read of such features as "The Narrow Neck of Land" which was a days and a half's journey (roughly 30 miles) separating two great seas. We read much of the Hill Onidah, the Hill Ramah, and the city of the City of Angola—all place names in the land of Joseph Smith's youth. We read, in the Book of Mormon of the Land of Desolation named for a warrior named Teancum who helped General Moroni fight in the Land of Desolation. In Smith's era, an Indian Chief named Tecumseh fought and died near the narrow neck of land helping the British in the War of 1812. Today the Canadian city Techumseh (near the narrow neck of land) is named after him. We see the Book of Mormon city Kishkumen located near an area named, on modern maps, as Kiskiminetas. There are more than two dozen Book of Mormon names that are the same as or nearly the same as modern geographical locations. See below.

Items on the left of = are/were actual places in Joseph Smith's time. Items on the right of = are places in the Book of Mormon. * Canadian locations are marked with an asterisk (*) and appear in the Book of Mormon as lying in "The Land Northward"

*Agathe, Saint = Ogath
Alma = Alma, Valley of
Angola = Angola
Antrim = Antum
Antioch = Anti-Anti
Boaz = Boaz
*Conner = Comner
*Ephrem, Saint = Ephraim, Hill
Hellam = Helam
Jacobsburg = Jacobugath
Jerusalem = Jerusalem
Jordan = Jordan
Kishkiminetas = Kishkumen
Lehigh = Lehi
Mantua = Manti
Monroe = Moroni
Minoa = Minon
*Moraviantown = Morianton
*Morin = Moron
Noah Lakes = Noah, Land of
Oneida = Onidah
Oneida Castle = Onidah, Hill
Omer = Omner
*Rama = Ramah
*Ripple Lake = Ripliancum, Waters of
Sodom = Sidom
Shiloh = Shilom
Land of Midian = Land of Midian
*Tecumseh/Tenecum = Teancum

Vernal Holley originally published these maps and findings in his book Book of Mormon Authorship: A Closer Look in the early 1980's.

Monday, September 22, 2008

When I Say I'm Atheist, What Does That Really Mean?

To be honest, I don't really like the term "atheist" because it suggests a state of godlessness. It suggests that the atheist himself or herself is a godless heathen who has no morals, no honor, and no regard for others. Further, at least to Christians, it implies that since I am not on the side of their god, then I must be with Satan.

I don't really care for the term "agnostic" either. Agnostic referrs to a person who believes in some kind of a higher power or being, but just isn't sure what that is. I do not believe in a higher power, or a being that is all knowing and all loving. I do believe that the universe is under some type of direction. That force or power is what causes gravity to work, or causes atoms to combine in certain ways. What it is, I don't know. But I'm pretty sure that it does not have a sense of self. The best way I can describe it is using the Starwars idea of the force. The force puts things in motion and binds the universe. But it is not alive. It does not have consciousness. It is simply the entity that gives life to the universe.

An atheist is a person who doesn't believe in god. Which god? I'm not sure; the Christian god for sure. Many people believe that a belief in god is what gives us our sense of moral direction; therefore, an atheist must have no morals. A misconception.

So that is how I can safely say that I definitely do not believe in the god of the Bible and yet I do see and concur with the evidence pointing to intelligent design. Some people argue that intelligent design proves there is a god. Maybe so. But there are other possibilities to consider. Some are more far fetched than others, but can't be ruled out as a possibility... I'm not going to discuss them now because that is not the subject of this post.

So what am I? I am atheist in terms of any type of supernatural being who is self aware. Everything we know about life and death tells us that such a being could not possibly exist. I am agnostic in that I do believe in a higher power, but can't define exactly what it is. Whatever it is, it gave me life and self awareness.

I am theist in terms of being kind to others and living the golden rule. Do not cause intentional, unnecessary harm to any living thing. Be honest in my dealings. Be respectful of the feelings and opinions of others. I do not believe in god and yet I believe in all these things. You don't have to believe me... my record here shows that very few people do anyway.

Perhaps once having been a believer has contributed to these attributes, I have no doubt. But I would argue that god is not the source of morality. Almost every religion teaches the same principles of honesty, kindness, etc.

While there are no rules to atheism, does not make atheists ruleless. In fact, an atheist is a deep thinker. We have walked away from god because we realized that we are intelligent beings capable of designing and living our own system of rules and self control. Sure, every group has it's extremists, but they are the exception, not the rule. Unfortunately, too often the exceptions are the ones by which everyone else judges us.

An atheist has no rules, but needs no rules. I am an intelligent being who instinctively knows right from wrong. I don't need a god or a church to dictate it for me. I have a brain and I can figure it out myself.

Now let's just say that I'm totally wrong. God does exist and he wrote the Bible. Is it really a characteristic of god to cast me into hell forever, just because I did not believe in him? I was a good person; I served my fellow man; I gave to the beggar; I visited the sick; I lived the golden rule; etc. Would a wise and all-knowing god seriously cast me into hell? Not if he has the attributes that they say he does. He's loving, fair, all knowing, just, and merciful. I think the more likely person to go to hell would be the person who cries low here and low there, but secretly cheats on his wife and is an overall immoral person. That supposed "believer" is more in danger of hell than I am, simply because he is a hypocrite, which Jesus clearly despised. Jesus sat and ate with sinners, but he DESPISED hypocrites.

If god is fair, just, loving, and merciful, then I am not afraid of death. I have nothing to be afraid of. I have a clear conscience and if god truly is omnipotent, then he will recognize that.

Christians, I recognize and respect your belief in god. If it works for you, then great. Please understand that I too am happy with where I stand. Please respect it as well. Don't pray for me. Don't feel sorry for me. I am happy.

Saturday, September 20, 2008

Is There A Good Argument For Intelligent Design?

I actually believe that there is.

As per the recommendation of Jessica, I went to YouTube and did a search for "Unlocking the Mystery of Life". I found a video which is about an hour long and is broken up into seven smaller videos about ten minutes long each, which I thoroughly enjoyed watching. For the ease of viewing them, since I do believe they should be viewed, I will place them all here, afterwards I will leave my thoughts...

I hope you enjoyed watching these videos as much as I did. I have been going to school for several years now and I have truly been fascinated by what science has revealed about our world. It is amazingly complex. In fact, it is mind boggling.

I don't disagree that these videos argue an extremely good case for intelligent design. Where did the first cell come from? The first protein? The first strand of DNA? All of these things are amazingly complex and the idea that it happened randomly is far fetched. If you dropped a pile of bricks out of an airplane, what is the chance that they would hit the ground and form a perfectly designed building? Not too great. Even if you did it hundreds of millions of times, I hightly doubt that a building would ever result. A building can only be erected by intelligent design.

Now in the case of the building, we know who designed it... the architect. We know who built it... the carpenter. And although this video argues a damn good argue in favor of intellignet design, it does not attempt to explain what that intelligence is. Could this be used as an argument for the existance of god? Absolutely, and it has been many times.

But the problem with that argument is the argument itself. Intelligent design requires a designer. Let's assume that god is that designer. But god himself is intelligent, so if we follow that argument all the way through, then god must have also had a designer. We can't argue it to a logical conclusion, because there is no logical conclusion. If intelligence requires a designer, and the designer is intelligent, then the designer must also have had an intelligent designer. Where does it begin? Logically, it follows that intelligent design goes back to the beginning of time infinitely. But it had to begin somewhere!

But that whole idea completely shatters the idea of the Christian god. God is believed to have always been; to have existed forever. He was never created or designed but has existed as an all powerful being infinitely. But the argument of intelligent design requires that god too must have an intelligent designer.

An item worthy of mention is the LDS's view on god. Their belief actually fits best with the idea of intelligent design. The LDS god was once a person who had a god and eventually progressed to godhood himself. Each god had a god before him and there is no beginning or end to this process. Maybe Joe WAS on to something afterall!

But sometime, somewhere it had to have happened randomly. That's the only logical explanation as to how the whole chain of events ever got started.

Further, even though I don't disagree with the intelligent design idea, keep in mind what science is. We can hypothesize all day about the origin of life, but we can't test it. We can't test something to see if it was designed. And we can't conduct a test to determine who the designer was. As much as I would love to see such a test conducted, I highly doubt that it ever will be. Remember, science only deals with what can be observed AND tested. We can observe things that strongly suggest intelligent design, but there is no test that can be conducted to prove it, at least none that I am aware of.

I'm not going to hastily disregard the Darwin theory, either. It explains the amazing diversity of life that we enjoy on this earth. Granted, it may not explain everything, but no theory does. Science is a network of theories that are built upon and expound upon each other. The beauty of science is that it changes to fit new data. If something that was once believed to be true is later proven wrong, then new theories are written to explain the new findings. The intelligent design theory builds upon the work of Darwin, not disproves it.

As a student of science myself, I must be willing to take any given evidence and use that evidence to find a logical conclusion, given that the evidence is real and not just the product of some desperate fool trying to prove his point. I must be willing to amend my personal views. I must be willing to admit that I was wrong before. I am willing to do that. Christians are not. They view god as unchanging, therefore any new information that comes available must be wrong.

Any science that suggests the existance of a god, such as this intelligent design theory, they are totally willing to accept. Anything that disproves god, they hastily reject. Sorry, Christians but it doesn't work that way. You don't have the luxury to pick and choose which science you like and which you don't. If you're going to accept some of it, then you must accept all of it. You must either completely reject it, or completely support it.

Now there might come a time when Darwin theory is completely disproven. There might come a time when science actually does discover the nature of god. It might be scientifically shown that someone could walk on water or that they could turn water into wine. Who knows? What we don't know now, we might know later. Science makes new discoveries on a daily basis and who knows what we will have learned in 100 years from now? I would love to be there to see it. On the other hand, science might completely disprove the existance of god. Whatever the evidence and the tests reveal, then that is what I will base my belief upon.

Evolution For Dummies

Now please don't make the mistake of assuming that I'm calling anyone a dummy. I have encountered some very intelligent people here. It was simply a catchy sounding title.

I will attempt to explain the idea of evolution and show why it's actually not such a far fetched idea. I will be using my own words and describing evolution as I understand it to be. I am, by no means, a professional on the subject.

In the 1830's Charles Darwin visited the Galapagos Islands on his journey around the world. The Islands lie about 500 miles off the coast of Ecuador. Darwin observed the local finches, that there were many different species on this island that did not exist anywhere else in the world. Because the nearest land is 500 miles away, these birds could not fly the distance and so were marooned on the island so to speak.

Darwin wondered why there could be so many different species of finches on this island that were not found anywhere else in the world. They were all similar enough that it was clear that they had a common ancestor. Yet they were clearly not the same. Some were large, some were small. Some had large beaks, some had small. They had a variety of different colors. Some nested in bushes, some on the ground, etc. Why?

Darwin concluded that conditions on the island were the only explanation. As different groups of birds moved to different parts of the island, they evolved to fit in with their surrounding environment. How is that possible? Darwin's theory of Natural Selection explains.

The Theory of Natural Selection holds that species evolve to fit their environment. This, of course, is a slow process, but in some extreme cases it can actually happen rather quickly. For example:

Say we have a given area wherein lives a certain type of bug. Some of the bugs are white and some are black. It is about a 50-50 mix. This area also has bug eating predators. The environment is mostly black trees and the bugs live in the trees. What is going to happen according to natural selection?

The black bugs are not going to be eaten early as often as the white bugs due to the nature of the environment. Why? Simply because the black bugs are harder to see by the predators. Soon the white bugs would disappear entirely and because only black bugs are left, they will only have black bugs as offspring. This species of bugs has evolved by natural selection to survive in it's environment. If the trees had been white, then the black population of bugs would have been eliminated.

Imagine this kind of a process happening again and again over a time period of millions of years! It is plausible that some extreme changes could occur. Now say that this species of bugs was forced to move to a different area. This area is white and their only defense now is to hide from their predators in holes. The holes are small so only the smallest of the black bugs are able to fit inside. The rest get eaten. The result is that all of the small bugs are now producing offspring that are smaller as well.

We have gone from a multi-colored, multi-sized species to a small, black species. While this is just an example, it demonstrates that the idea of a species evolving to survive in it's environment is not such a far fetched idea.

Back in the early days of Chemistry, when the periodic table was being formulated by grouping the characteristics of the known elements, scientists found that many "spots" in the table were empty. These empty spots would, in the future, contain newer discovered elements. In fact, these empty spots, based upon their position in the periodic table enabled scientists to predict what elements would fit and even to predict their properties long before they were ever discovered! Pretty cool, huh?

The same is true of evolution. Assume that a certain species has evolved over a million years. It's original ancestor looked a certain way and the species today looks a certain way. Obviously they are different. What would the species look like half way through the million year period? It should have characteristics of both the original ancestor and the species today. Using this type of reasoning, scientists have predicted what a mid-species would have looked like. Amazingly, fossils are later found which do indeed look very much like what the mid-species was predicted to have looked like.

In our bug example, we went from black and white, large and small bugs to just small, black bugs. What is the mid-species? Large and small black bugs. The fossil record is another very strong evidence for evolution. We find bones of animals that no longer exist, but obviously they once did exist.

There is fossil evidence linking birds to dinosaurs. A dinosaur species has been found that actually had feathers!

Personally, I find it amusing that so many people are opposed to science but then they will turn around and say that science proves their point. Anyone who claims that science proves the idea of intelligent design has no idea what science really is. People who claim that science proves the existence of god are purely ignorant. Science will never prove the existence of god, because god can not be observed and tested.

Science accepts Charles Darwin's Theory of Evolution. Anyone who claims anything else is lying or just plain ignorant. Now just because we call it a theory does not mean that we don't understand it. In fact, in every day language, "theory" means an idea. But in science, a theory is an accepted statement that has been verified by numerous studies and scientists. A "hypothesis" is an educated guess based upon what has been observed. A "theory" is a hypothesis that has been tested and found to be true. If a hypothesis is found to be untrue, then it is revised and tested again. This is repeated until a "theory" emerges.

Check out this video which explains evolutionary theory quite well.

As you saw in the video, Darwin concluded that if the earth has undergone tremendous geological changes, then animals too would have to change. If they didn't, they would perish.

If Christians truly believe that science is evil, then they need to throw away their computers, turn the power off in their homes, sell their cars, and outright reject anything else that science has provided.

Thursday, September 18, 2008

Why I Don't Believe In God (Continued)

As I mentioned in the beginning of the first "Why I don't believe in God" post, I stated that the idea of Jesus began sounding like a fairy tale. I am going to elaborate on that because it too is a valid reason why I no longer believe.

I vividly remember sitting in Sunday school one day and as we talked about Jesus and the things he did, I couldn't help but feel that it all sounded so silly. Walking on water... it just can't happen. So in this post, I am going to ignore all the evidence and just appeal to your rational brain to use a little common sense.

We know that superheroes aren't real and yet we love to hear stories and watch movies about them. They do great things; use their special powers to fly around, protect the innocent, and fight crime. If you have noticed, lately there have been TONS of superhero movies coming out. Our culture loves them.

But deep inside, we all know that they aren't real. Supernatural beings with hidden identities do not really exist. They don't fly around, they don't protect, and they don't fight crime. There is no such thing as supernatural powers. There just isn't. And yet for some reason, although we know it isn't real, we turn around and give our gods the very same attributes that we give our imaginary superheroes! And for some reason, although they are no different, people think they are. We know that superheroes don't really exist, but our true god does, and the two have very similar attributes. If you really stop and think about it, it makes no sense at all.

But this makes sense: Supernatural beings do not exist. God is supernatural. Therefore, god does not exist.

We are all aware of the saying, "Nothing is certain but death and taxes."

Death, it is inevitable. All things die. Eventually our own sun will run out of fuel and will burn out. That is still millions of years in the future so we don't have to worry about it now. But the fact remains that all things die. Nothing lives forever. And since that is a fact, then god, as he is believed to be, can't exist. There is no such thing as an immortal being.

And just as there is no immortal being, death is final. Once you're dead, you're dead. The Bible tells several stories of the dead being brought back to life, many of them having been dead for several days. That just doesn't happen!

If Jesus (or god) created this world and applied certain laws to it, then why would Jesus come to earth and break his own rules?
  • Jesus supposedly walked on water. Since that is a feat that is known to be impossible, it couldn't have actually happened.
  • Jesus supposedly ascended into heaven. Since no one I know can fly around without the aid of a machine, then I know that story is not true.
  • Jesus supposedly fed 5,000 people with five loaves of bread and two fish. Since that is simply an impossible feat, it can't be true.
  • Jesus supposedly turned water into wine. Since it is scientifically impossible to make wine from just water, I know that "miracle" didn't really happen.
  • Jesus supposedly brought several people back from the dead. Since that is impossible, I know it's not really true.
  • Jesus' mother was supposedly a virgin. But since a virgin can't possibly be pregnant, then I know that story is not true.

As you can hopefully see, all you need is a little common sense and it becomes quite apparent that Jesus was not what the Bible claims he was. The miracles and events described defy everything we understand about our world. Superheroes don't exist and neither do their powers.

On top of that, have you ever stopped to think about God's priorities? He will help you find your missing car keys, but does nothing to help starving children in Africa. Are your keys more important than starving children? Apparently so.

If god only provides miracles for the faithful, then why do so-called miracles happen to everyone? In a previous post, I described how I avoided getting a speeding ticket because I listened to my feelings. A Christian would give god credit for that, so what about me? I'm an atheist so god shouldn't do anything for me, right?

And what about people of all different faiths, both Christian and non? How do you account for nearly all of them claiming that miracles happen in their lives? Why does everyone, including atheists, get equal treatment from god?

The most obvious answer is that god isn't there and each person who experiences a "miracle" is just having a stroke of good luck or a coincidence. Believers and non-believers have the same injury and accidental death rates per-capita. It seems clear that god treats everyone equally, whether they believe in him or not! What this actually means, is that there is no god protecting his faithful believers. I know it's hard for a believer to swallow, but it is the truth.

If a belief in god is supposed to enrich your life, why has my life only gotten better since I kicked out god? God is supposed to reward me for faithful belief and punish me for ignoring him. But it seems that the opposite is actually true. I don't make a whole lot of money, but ever since my apostasy, the finances have been getting better and better.

Isn't my life supposed to go to pot? Aren't I supposed to become a scruffy, stinky, loud drunk? If that is the case, why am I pleasant to be around? Why am I helpful and friendly? If you met me in person, you would never guess that I am atheist. In fact, one person actually told me that I am the most Christ-like person they have ever known! How can that possibly be the case?

I read a statistic once, and I can't remember where, that stated that an atheist is more likely to be a good Samaritan than a believer! Now why is that? I believe it is because we aren't carrying around attitudes like "I'm-saved-and-you're-not" and "I'm-better-than-you-because-I-have-god-in-my-life". Because we don't hold ourselves above others, it is easier to love them and help them.

Atheists are down to earth people who take things at their face value. If I find my missing keys, it is because I looked for them; not because god found them for me.

Now why do you believe? It is because if you don't, you will be damned. Why else would you? But now that fear is gone, fear of that angry, vengeful god who can't wait to damn me and yet loves me so much. I don't have to live my life wondering at every turn if god is pleased with me. I don't have to waste my life in fear of some invisible god. Why should I spend my entire life to prove myself to some god, when that god can't even take one split second from his busy schedule and show himself to me? Why is a relationship with god so one-sided?

God is an awful parent. If parents raised their children the way god does, it would go something like this: a child is born and given a letter containing a set of instructions to follow. The parent would NEVER contact the child. The child would have to learn right and wrong from the letter. He'd better interpret it correctly! Now the parent would never contact the child but would watch them through the lens of a high-powered rifle. As soon as the child makes just one mistake, the parent would blow their kids head off with the rifle. Vague instructions (Bible) and no room for error (the child's mistake) equals an extreme punishment (the rifle). Does that sound like a loving parent to you? No. But that's just how god does it!

Believe and obey or fry! That's not a loving father in heaven. That's abuse! It's not how a real father would ever treat children that he loves dearly. Why should I believe in a cruel father especially when there is no evidence at all to prove he is even there. Even if he was real, why would I want to? He is a dictator and a tyrant! Obey or fry! That's your choice. God is a piss-poor example of what a loving father should be.

Now, as far as the belief that I was born into sin: rubbish. I refuse to believe that just because I was born, just because I am alive, that I am evil and deserve to go to hell. Only a father who would want to completely ruin my self esteem would teach me something like that. I refuse to believe that I am evil just because I exist. But if you believe in the Christian god, then you automatically believe that you are scum and deserve to burn in hell forever. I can't and won't believe that. No loving god would send an innocent baby to hell, but the Christian god would! Nope! I refuse to worship a god who tells me right to my face that I am a worthless piece of shit. Sorry. Anyone who tries to tell me that can just kiss my ass!

Prayers and faith have no effect on the outcome of our every day lives. It has been scientifically studied and proven.

And as I stated at the end of my last post, if god created this world, then a scientific study of that world should more clearly reveal the nature of god. But since the opposite is actually true, then the god of the Bible could not have possibly created this earth.

A belief in god just goes against my better judgement...

And that's why I don't believe in god!

Tuesday, September 16, 2008

Why I Don't Believe In God

I was raised Mormon and I believed it. But there comes a time in everyones life, when they have to stop taking the spoon feeding, and decide for themselves if they truly believe it for themselves. I took a good hard look at the Mormon church and weighed it against my own core self. When I did that, Mormonism and Christianity in general began sounding like a fairy tale. A little research then confirmed what I already felt to be the case... and here is the verdict:

Throughout the history of the earth, mankind has had countless different gods and mythologies. Even if one of them was actually the true god, how can we know which one? I know! The one that says, "I am the ONE!"

Belief in a god just doesn't make sense to me. For arguments sake, we'll talk about the Christian god since this god is the subject of many current debates. The earth exists. A fact we all agree upon. But does the existence of the earth prove the existence of the Christian god? Christians claim that their god is responsible for it and that he is the one and only true god. But just because the earth exists, that does not prove the Christian god is responsible. It's like me claiming to have built a certain house... just because the house is there does not prove that I actually built it, even if I claim that I did. I might have built it... but it's mere existance does not 100% guarantee that I am responsible. So it is with the god of the Bible.

Face it. The Bible is an old book. It's got a lot of rather silly teachings in it. Many of them outright contradict each other. How do you account for that seeing as how your god is perfect? Many people like to say stuff like, "We believe the Bible is true because there are actual places and events described in it." That is true and I don't doubt that the Bible has some historical accuracy. But that means nothing as far as it's divinity. Let me explain.

The Work and the Glory is a popular LDS fiction series of novels. We all know that. Even the LDS know that. However, The Work and the Glory is written around real events and real people in LDS history. So someone could argue, however irrational it may be, that because The Work and the Glory describes real people, places, and events, then it must be true.

The Bible is no different. Yes, it can be verified that Jericho and Jerusalem were real places. I don't doubt at all that they were. In fact, Jerusalem still exists today. But how do you know that someone living in Biblical times didn't just sit down and write a fictional story about a real city? Possibly around certain events that might have happened? How can you know with 100% assurance that Moses really was a prophet and not just a creative author? Unless you have a time machine, you really don't.

Now take this seemingly credible story and throw in some really bizarre things... talking donkeys, walking on water, etc. Now throw in some conflicting commandments. All of a sudden, your precious Bible is not as pure and simple as you thought it was. And although it is indeed based upon real places and real events, it just isn't reliable anymore.

IF there is a god, which I highly doubt, I would bet my life that it's not the Christian god. The story is just too bizarre and self-contradicting to make any real sense.

Now, I'm no expert, but let's take a brief look at Roman mythology. We have Zeus the king of the gods. If you've ever read any mythology, the stories exist to explain our world. Why does the sun rise and set? What happens when we die? Roman mythology was actually an ancient religion that was designed to explain our world.

What is the purpose of the Christian god? To explain our world. Where did the earth come from? Where did man come from? Why does evil exist? What happens when we die? Modern religion performs the same function that ancient religion performed: explain our world.

There is only one problem with that now. Science can explain our world WITHOUT the need for a god to be involved. We know why the sun rises and sets (it doesn't involve some dude pulling the sun through the sky behind his chariot). It involves the rotation of the earth. The seasons can be explains by the earth's tilt and it's path around the sun.

The problem for Christians is that our world no longer needs god. We need science.

The very fact that I can write these words and have them read instantly by millions of people around the world is made possible by science. That is a miracle. I could give out my phone number and someone living thousands of miles away could call me and we could have a real-time conversation, again made possible by science. Another miracle. If I wanted to meet that person, I could fly on an airplane and usually, within 48 hours, I could be knocking on that person's front door. In Biblical times, such a journey would have taken months. The credit again goes to science which performed the miracle.

I could pray to god all day long but without a phone I'll never be able to talk to someone a thousand miles away. The real miracles are provided by science EVERY SINGLE DAY and yet no one sees them. They want to give credit to some god for some coincidence that would have happened anyway. Then they turn around and say that science is evil.

In the Bible it was a huge miracle when Moses tapped the rock and water came out. While a fictional story, people don't realize that that happens every single day in our modern world. Water literally comes out of the walls in our homes and yet no one recognizes that as a miracle, which sadly (for Christians at least) is again a product of science.

Miracles happen around us hundreds of times a day! Think of the automobile, fax machines, digital cameras, DVD players, computers, Internet, ex-ray, etc. We are literally surrounded by miracles and, because they are common place, we don't even notice. Yet, if I could take a cell phone back in time 1000 years, I would be remembered through history as nearly a god! The things we can do now, all thanks to science, would have been considered miracles in Biblical times and a normal, average person today can do things that even the most creative author could not even comprehend a thousand years ago.

By Biblical standards, every person living today with even minimal access to any type of technology would be revered as a prophet, if not a god!

So there you have it! That's why I can't believe in god. The Bible is unreliable, not to mention ancient! It has nothing to do with our modern way of living. Nothing. Science performs more miracles than god ever has or ever could. Sorry, god, you're only second best. Now if the Bible contained detailed instructions on how to build a light bulb, then that would be something to investigate. But the Bible has nothing. In fact, science has proven that many Biblical stories are totally untrue.

Now a Christian could argue that all of this technology was inspired by god. That could be the case, I'll admit that. But how does that explain that science works everywhere, not just in Christian nations? In fact, a large majority of modern technology comes from Japan, a non-Christian country. Why would the Christian god inspire all those Buddhist "heathens" with all the secrets of technology? Since you can't answer that question, I'll rest my case. If you can answer it, I would surely like to hear it.

And the most abhorrent thing about Christianity that I can barely stomach is all these fanatical idiots who threaten me with damnation simply for not believing in their version of Jesus. Why are they so worried about what everyone else believes? Why can't they live their lives, believe their beliefs, and leave everyone else alone? As a former colleague of mine used to say, why do they spread their "blanket condemnation" over everyone who doesn't believe EXACTLY what they believe? That doesn't sound like a loving god anyway! It sounds like an angry, jealous, vengeful god. Even if the god of Christianity was real, why would I want to worship him? He is a tyrant and a dictator!

That's why I believe in science, not god. As soon as god comes down from the sky and takes credit for everything, then I'll be a staunch believer. But until then, all bets are off. The bottom line is ultimately this: if god did create the world, then a study of that world (science) should only more clearly reveal the nature of god. But since the opposite is in fact the case, then the god of the Bible could not have created this world.

And that's why I don't believe in god!

Why I Don't Believe In God (Continued)

Monday, September 15, 2008

Archaeological Evidence For the Book of Mormon

Enjoy and please let me know what you think.

I like this quote from the video, "The evidence to support Joseph's writings simply does not exist."

Next I found this video, which is a response by M. Russel Ballard to the lack of any archaeological (or any other type of) evidence supporting the Book of Mormon.

Ballard basically admits that there is not...

He then claims that even if you saw the actual gold plates, it would not effect your testimony either way. You can only know the Book of Mormon is true by special feelings. All the proof in the world (or lack of it) is absolutely irrelevant. What kind of loopy reasoning is that?

The thing that Ballard doesn't realize is that if it was true, then there would be evidence supporting it. Even if that so-called "evidence" is irrelevant, as Ballard claims, it would still be there none the less.

But instead of evidence to support the Book of Mormon, there is actually a mountain of evidence against it. But again, that is all irrelevant according to Ballard because the only way to truly know that it's true is by those special feelings.

Now, if that's the case, why does the church even have an unofficial apologetics department?

Wednesday, September 10, 2008

Happy Birthday, Mormon411!

I just realized that Mormon411 has been up and running for over a year now! As of today, I have published 147 posts including this one! It has been a very quick and rewarding year! I looked for a "Happy Birthday" graphic with a sexy girl in it but couldn't find one that I really liked. :(

I'd like to thank everyone who has participated. I value your comments whether you agree with me or not, especially the TBM's who have taken the time to answer my tough questions. Although I could never again believe in the LDS gospel, I admire all of you for defending what you believe. Your comments and insites have been appreciated.

One other note to my TBM readers, please know that I am not your enemy. I am simply trying to level the playing field. I believe that both sides of any story should be told so I am doing my small part to present the other side. Don't judge me for it. I encourage you to take my message at face value and give it an honest thought. If you choose to keep believing, at least you will have made a more informed decision. That is all I ask.

Also, please don't buy into the churches propaganda that all who leave are evil, vile sinners. Be open minded and you will see that ex-Mormons are very intelligent people who, believe it or not, leave the church and have very rewarding and fulfilling lives. The idea that people leave because of sin, offended, or just couldn't "endure" anymore is 99% false.

We are smart, intelligent people who left because it didn't add up and because we discovered that the church has been lying to us all our lives. If a church has to cover up it's history and outright lie, then how can it possibly be true?

Here's to many more successful years at Mormon411. I'm not planning on stopping any time soon!

Tuesday, September 9, 2008

The LDS Church Has No Paid Clergy

Are the leaders of the LDS church truly humble servants of Jesus Christ, or are they money hungry, hardcore business men? Watch this video and then decide for yourself...

Tuesday, September 2, 2008

Why are there eleven witnesses to the Book of Mormon, when the book itself only predicts that there will be three?

2 Nephi 27:12

Wherefore, at that day when the book shall be delivered unto the man of whom I have spoken, the book shall be hid from the eyes of the world, that the eyes of none shall behold it save it be that three witnesses shall behold it, by the power of God, besides him to whom the book shall be delivered; and they shall testify to the truth of the book and the things therein.

First there was the testimony of the three. That account is questionable, but is not the subject of this post.

Next, there was the testimony of the additional eight witnesses. Why was this testimony also given? The Book of Mormon clearly said that there would only be three and that no one else would be able to look upon them.

This additional "witness" came about when Joseph Smith was in court for fraud, of course, and the judge was not convinced by Joseph's story. In order to please the judge, Joseph organized the additional witnesses and coerced them into signing the paper, even though none of them ever saw or touched the plates. These additional "false witnesses" were enough to convince the judge to let Joseph off the hook. He probably threatened the "witnesses" with damnation if they did not do what he told them.

Joseph Smith lied, while under oath, to the court. This is purgery. He drummed up false evidence to secure his own release. Now wouldn't you think that a true prophet of god would have a little bit more character to himself? Instead of do the right thing, he lied, lied, lied. This man had no morals and no principles.

Talk about a wolf in sheeps clothing!

Monday, September 1, 2008

An Apostate Enters the Celestial Kingdom!

"Damn it, Jasper! You can't keep doing that!" God says with obvious frustration to the centenial standing guard at the gates of heaven yesterday.

"How was I supposed to know?" answers Jasper. "I just challenged him with one of the tokens and asked him 'what is that?' He knew the answer so I let him in."

"Damn it, Joseph, this isn't working! We should have known this would happen!"

What happened? An apostate made it into the celestial kingdom. Well, he once was a worthy Mormon who went through the temple and learned all the secret handshakes, gestures, and passwords. He later left the church. But seeing as how the temple itself teaches that these handshakes, gestures, and passwords are all that is needed to pass the centenials that stand at guard, anyone who knows them will be allowed to pass.

Who knows how many apostates are running around in heaven right now when they should have gone directly to outer darkness?

"Damn it, Joe! I told you this wasn't a good idea, but you kept pestering me about it!"

"I'm sorry, God, but even prophets aren't perfect. Just look at Jonah!"