Tuesday, November 30, 2010
This stone was found in an area of Arabia that the Book of Mormon names Nahom. Mormons believe that this is evidence that Joseph Smith did not make up the book but that it is an actual record of an ancient group that migrated to the Americas.
The February 2001 issue of the Ensign mentions this briefly (1/4 of a page) where it openly admits, "This is the first archaeological find that supports a Book of Mormon place-name other than Jerusalem or the Red Sea..." The article is entitled, "Book of Mormon Linked to Site in Yemen". It is interesting to note that this article has been removed from the LDS churches official website. I attempted to find this article in their archives and my search turned up nothing. Hmmm... I wonder why? (Bold added for emphasis)
The first? Haven't Mormons been claiming all along that there is overwhelming evidence of the Book of Mormon in South America?
If so, where are the piles of skeletons, weapons, and armor at the Hill Cumorah where hundreds of thousands of people died? If the people of the Book of Mormon flourished and spread, as the book claims they did, then where is the evidence?
One single stone bearing three letters is the strongest evidence they have. (Insert mocking laugh here). It's amazing how one teeny thing that appears to support the Book of Mormon is trumped up, when the mountains of evidence against it is ignored and passed off as lies.
NHM... Nahom. True, they are similar. But they are different too. NHM has no vowels. If the name of the ancient site really was Nahom, and the stone was from that site, then the stone would say... "NaHoM". Further more, Roman letters found on a 2,600 year old stone? The Latin alphabet originated in Italy during that time era (about 600 or 700 B.C.) but was not in the form it is today. And even though the time frame matches, the area does not. Even today, people in Arabia do not use the Latin alphabet.
Mormons claim that the stone has been dated to the approximate time of 600 B.C. This can't possibly be the case, given the facts I have shared above.
In short, a rock is their best bet. Sorry, LDS, Inc. You'll have to do a whole lot better than that if you're going to impress me.
12-10-10 Interestingly, a discussion of the Nahom debate is currently taking place on the ex-mormon forums. http://exmormon.org/phorum/read.php?2,51805. The person who started the thread provides evidence that Joseph Smith did indeed have access to maps and books of ancient Arabia.
Friday, November 19, 2010
I like to cook, and my girl is more than happy to let me do it. Sometimes, she helps. Last night, all she did was chop a few veggies and choose our wine (Coppola pinot noir, btw - super good). The meal was a bit of an experiment.
So, as I brought the plates to the table, I said, "Let's see how we did."
She replied, "If it's good, we made it; if not, this was all you, sweetie."
A few bites later, she said, "we did a great job on this, didn't we?"
When things are going well for me, my religious friends love to remind me of all the blessings I receive from God. When things are going in the wrong direction, it's all my fault.
All God does is chop a few vegetables and open the wine - then demand credit for the success. When things go wrong, I'm on my own, sweetie.
Tuesday, November 16, 2010
An atheist is simply a person who does not believe in things that cannot be proven. It's that simple but, of course, I will expound. The term itself is composed of two parts: a, meaning not, and theist, meaning religious. Therefore, not religious. Simple.
Atheists are the least trusted minority group in the world. Wow! That means that Americans are more leary of an atheist than they are of a terrorist! If a politician professes a disbelief in god, he will never be elected. How sad. We actually want our leaders to publically profess that they believe myths and fairy tales as being literally true. No wonder we can't find an honest politician. Maybe we should elect an atheist. He might actually be half decent!
Now a theist will argue right away that there is plenty of evidence for god. Or they might say, "You've never seen Australia, yet you know it's there." I won't expound on why that is an extremely pathetic argument. Or they might say, "Studies have shown that people with faith tend to live longer." This is actually true. HOWEVER, it only shows that people with faith live longer. It does nothing to prove that the faith you exercised was in a real thing. Maybe god is rewarding those with faith by giving them a longer life. Could be. Or maybe the feeling that some invisible dude loves you is what makes you live longer. Maybe it only proves that you are insecure and need an outside source to feel better about yourself, even if that something is a fairy tale.
To an atheist, god is just an imaginary friend for grown ups.
To an atheist, there is no difference between Superman and Jesus. They both fly around, wear a cape, love the color red, and save people. An atheist prides himself in seeing the world for what it is and letting evidence determine the belief and not the other way around. For example, the Bible tells a story of Jesus walking on water. Since that is obviously not really possible, it must be a made up story. Since a virgin can't be pregnant (at least not back in Jesus' time) then it must be a made up story.
Most Christians believe the earth to be about 6,000 years old. However, science has used proven techniques to date the earth to about 4.5 billion years old. Atheists tend to agree with the 4.5 billion year old theory because there is evidence to support it. The only evidence, so called, to support the 6,000 year old theory is a persons personal belief and the Bible, which, let's face it, is less than reliable.
For example: The book of Genesis gives an account of the creation of the world. One verse says that Adam came first, while another verse says that the animals came first. Similarly, one verse says god was pleased with his work while another says he was displeased. This is just one of many, many contradictory statements in the Bible. If it is god's perfect word, why does it contradict itself right from the very get go?
Not only that, but people are taught that the "good book" is god's word and that god himself is good. But those who have actually read it know that it is full of genocide, rape, murder, war, sex, etc., that is commanded by and executed by the very god who damns you to hell for those very things. For example, god gave Moses the Ten Commandments, one of which is, "Thou shalt not kill." But just a few chapters later, this very same god practices violent genocide and drowns all of mankind except for Noah and his family. The book of Deuteronomy gives explicit details of how to stone your child to death if he won't listen to his parents.
So, every time your child doesn't listen, you are supposed to hit him on the head with big rocks until he dies. If you don't, then you're disobeying the Bible. But if you do, you're disobeying the commandment to "not kill". So no matter what, you're disobeying the Bible and god will be mad at you.
A critical thinking analysis of Biblical stories, such as the forbidden fruit, the global flood, and even the birth and death of Jesus, reveals that they are really no different than any other myth or fairy tale that one might hear. Why are myths and legends accepted as such UNLESS it's from the Bible?
An atheist sees the world as it is, and not as he wants it to be. If you find $5 on the street, you just found $5. To a believer, it's a gift from god. To an atheist, it's finders keepers. Someone dropped it, and you're the lucky SOB who found it.
A common misunderstanding about atheists is that since they don't believe in god, they must have no morals. This couldn't be more false. In fact, an atheist would argue that the opposite is true. It was religious fanatics that destroyed the twin towers. It was religious fanatics that drove the crusades. Religion has been responsible for many wars and bloodshed. As seen on a bumper sticker: "The good thing about atheists is that they won't knock on your door and they won't blow you up."
Being an atheist does not require that you convince everyone else to become one. My beliefs do not require you to believe. In fact, you can believe any silly nonsense you want as long as it doesn't interfere with my basic rights to life, liberty, and happiness. I really don't care what you believe, although it would thrill me to see more people start thinking critically.
An atheist simply doesn't see any evidence of god. You pray for world peace, but there is still turmoil. You bless your food and I don't, but it still gets digested the same way by both of us. You ask god to heal the sick, and some get better and some die. I don't ask god to heal the sick, and I get exactly the same result as you do. What you see as 'god', I see as just life taking its course.
Another common misconception about atheists is that they are close-minded. Now I will definitely argue against that. Most atheists were believers at one point who were reared in religious homes. That means that they were willing to evaluate their own belief system, were open minded enough to admit that their previous beliefs were false, and form new ones based upon evidence. So, actually, it is believers who are, for the most part, close minded. An atheist is willing to change his views on life and religion IF you give him good reason to do so. (Hint: "faith" is not a good reason). An atheist wants you to prove him wrong, but since you can't, he remains an unbeliever.
Atheists just laugh when uninformed people try to claim that "evolution is old school" and "science actually supports the creation theory" and "scientists everywhere are accepting the theory of intelligent design" and other very silly claims.
No. Evolution by natural selection is a scientific fact and is universally accepted by the scientific community. No amount of wishful thinking is going to change that. But I have actually encountered people who have actually made these claims. Sorry. This is only wishful thinking by completely ignorant and uninformed people who heard it from their pastor, who is equally ignorant and uninformed.
A common argument against atheism is this: "It takes faith to not believe in god, so atheism is actually a religion." That is a really weak and pathetic argument. The claim that atheism is a faith is like the claim that bald is a hair color. Or that NOT collecting stamps is a hobby. Or that NOT smoking is a habit.
"You just wanted to sin." Yep, that's it. You got me.
With the discovery that religion is not real, also comes the discovery that there is no such thing as "sin". Actually, most atheists have morals and continue to be productive members of society. Why? Because most people, religious or not, have an inner sense of right and wrong. Atheists give service, do not steal, etc... not because they are afraid of the wrath of god, but because they are genuinely good people.
Imagine that! An atheist is nice to you because he genuinely wants to be! Now tell me what is so bad about that? Religious people usually have an agenda when they're nice... they're trying to convert you.
To all the people who write to me and wish that I could feel the god they feel and know the god they know, I have this to say: I am genuinely touched and grateful for your concern. I know that you find happiness in religion and I am happy that you do. However, the way you feel about the presence of god in your life is the way I feel about his absence: thrilled! It was a huge relief to discover that there is no invisible sky dude. I can now live my life without wondering every second if something I do is going to offend him.
God is not real. I have put a quote on my side bar: Santa Claus is to children as Jesus Christ is to adults. In other words, Santa Claus is the imaginary figure for children, and Jesus Christ is the imaginary figure for adults. Let's compare Santa and Jesus:
- Both associated with Christmas
- Both wear red and white
- Both have a beard
- Both give gifts
- Both only help you if you've been good
- Both are always watching you to see if you've been naughty or nice
- Both have never been seen
- Both are strongly believed in by their respective audiences
- Both can visit every single house in the world in one night
- Both can perform feats that would be impossible for a regular person to do
- Santa can produce a crap-load of toys. Jesus can produce a crap-load of fish
Can you think of anything else that these two have in common?
How are they different?
- Even if you've been naughty, Santa still gives you stuff
- Faith in Santa pays off in real ways that can be proven (toys that suddenly appear under your Christmas tree)
- Santa doesn't care about your money
I hope I've covered at least the basics of atheism. Because atheism is a personal thing (there really is no "atheist organization") it is different for each one. But you will find that most are very open minded, sharp thinkers, and willing to evaluate your "evidence". I have covered common misconceptions about atheists, why the Bible is not reliable, why the god of the Bible is a violent and insecure jerk, and how Jesus and Santa are really just the same thing with different names.
For quite a long time, I've wanted to sit down and write a good post about the Bible and share dozens of examples of why it should not be the moral guideline for our lives.
I hope that before you judge and condemn an atheist to hell, that you would stop and consider the reasons why he or she does not believe. Do the Christian thing and be nice to them. They are not your enemy. They simply don't believe in your god and that is no reason to hate them.
You are not alone.
Albert Einstein - Nobel Prize in Physics
Annika Sorenstam - LPGA Champion
Dave Berry - Columnist and Humorist
Frank Miller - Film Director
Christopher Hitchens - Author and Journalist
Jack Nicholson - Actor
Bill Gates - Founder of Microsoft
Daniel Dennett - Professor of Philosophy
Stan Lee - Comic Book Legend
David Horowitz - Writer and Activist
Bruce Willis - Actor
Salman Rushdie - Author
Daniel Radcliffe - Actor (Harry Potter)
Carl Sagan - Author, Astronomer, and Astrophysicist
Bertrand Russell - Nobel Prize Winner
George Will - Pulitzer Prize Winning Author
Gene Roddenberry - Creator of Star Trek
George Clooney - Actor
Billy Joel - Singer
David Feherty - PGA Broadcaster
Friedrich Nietzsche - Philosopher and Author
Penn & Teller - Illusionists
Stephen Hawking - Physicist and Author
David Gilmour - Pink Floyd
Diane Keaton - Actress
Gore Vidal - Politician
William Shatner - Actor (Captain Kirk)
George Carlin - Comedian
Warren Buffett - Billionaire
Brad Pitt - Actor
Douglas Adams - Author
Lance Armstrong - Tour de France Winner
Hugh Laurie - Actor (Dr. House)
Jamie Hyneman and Adam Savage - The Mythbusters
Katherine Hepburn - Actress
Richard Rogers - Composer
Ian McKellan - Actor (Magnito in X-Men)
Isaac Asimov - Professor of Biochemistry
Ray Romano - Actor and Comedian
Jodie Foster - Actress (Silence of the Lambs)
Joss Whedon - Director and Producer
Sir Edmund Hillary - First to Summit Mount Everest
Sigmund Freud - Psychologist
Sarah McLachlan - Singer and Songwriter
Angelina Jolie - Actress
Mark Twain - Author
Asia Carrera - Porn Star
Seth MacFarlane - Creator of Family Guy and American Dad
Bruce Lee - Martial Artist
Barack Obama, Sr. - Father of current US president
* Keanu Reeves - Actor (The Matrix Series)
Christopher Robin Milne - Son of Author A. A. Milne (Winnie the Pooh)
Michael Shermer - Author and Editor of "Skeptic" Magazine
Joseph Stalin - Soviet Leader from 1922 to 1953
Steve Wozniak - Co-founder of Apple Computer
And many more!
Who was not an atheist?
Adolph Hitler - Catholic
(Thank you to The Thinking Atheist for providing much of the info used here)
* Keanu Reeves is listed on some websites as a Buddhist. On others, he is listed as an atheist.
My reply to this distant relative was that religion might give you hope, but so does the lottery! Just because something gives you hope, it doesn't mean that it's actually doing you any good. I then asked if good deeds included the flying of airplanes into buildings. So far, no reply.
On facebook, another relative of mine (an atheist) posted the following quote: "With or without religion, you would have good people doing good things and evil people doing evil things. But for good people to do evil things, that takes religion."
I found myself asking, "Is it okay to use that argument (that religion influences people to do evil things), when most religions and religious people actually believe in doing good?"
Yes it is.
Because you have to define good. The terrorists who flew airplanes into the twin towers believe that they were serving their god. Even though they were killing thousands of people, they believed it was good and that they would be rewarded for it.
Now I realize (or at least hope) that MOST religious people would realize how terribly hypocritical that is. If god did create people, then he created ALL people and loves them equally. Only a very shallow god would command his followers to kill everyone who doesn't believe in him.
What about Mormonism? Brigham Young taught that the only way to atone for adultry was to be put to death. Mormons are genuinely good people for the most part. But I wonder how many of them would take the prophet seriously if he commanded them to kill everyone living in the SLC area who was not LDS.
Just imagine that Thomas S. Monson made a statement that SLC was too wicked and that god had commanded that everyone who was not living LDS standards should be put to death. Most Mormons would argue, of course, that no commandment would ever be given. Oh really? Have you ever read the Old Testament? Ever hear of Mountain Meadows? But anyway, I would hope that most of them would turn on their brains and realize how loony their prophet is, but I am sure that at least a few would take him seriously. So, yes, even Mormonism could lead to very fanatical and extreme behavior. I seriously hope that it never does, but who knows?
Anyone who kills other people in the name of their god have no idea what god and religion are supposed to be about.
So, yes, I am justified in using the argument that religion does and can sometimes lead to violent acts. I hope that MOST Mormons would not engage in such behavior even if commanded by their profit. But you must always follow the prophet... Who knows?
The other thing I wanted to talk about briefly was an interesting story that a TBM told me today. But a little background is required first.
This TBM had a daughter who was born with... problems. She only lived a few months. Of course, they believe that she is in heaven now with other family members who have passed on and is waiting for them. Now on to the story.
This TBM related a vision which she said came in the form of a dream. In this dream, she saw her daughter in the pre-existance with other family members. The daughter knew that she would have a short life and expressed that she was a little scared to go. The family members reassured her, telling her that families are forever and that it was all part of the plan. Nice dream... if you're TBM.
I just have a few questions. First of all, it was a dream! When you're asleep, you dream all sorts of wierd shit. You wake up and realize (thankfully) that it was only a dream and that it didn't really happen. Dreams are bizzare and when you wake up, you fully accept that it was nothing more than your wild imagination. So, that being said, why is it taken so literally if it pertains to religion and any other time it is disregarded as just nonsense?
My second question is even better. If this TBM was having visions of what the great plan was for her life, why does she only get said visions after they have happened? Having a vision about something that has already happened (especially in dream form) is not really that impressive. In fact, it's lame. If you're so in touch with god that he reveals his will for your life to you, how come he only shares things that have already happened?
You'll have to do a lot better than that if you're trying to impress me!
Friday, November 12, 2010
The Story of Creation
Noah's Ark - God, Giraffes, and Genocide
Top Ten Creationist Arguments
Top Ten Creationist Arguments - Part 2
A House Divided
Follow this link to see more videos and podcasts by The Thinking Atheist.
Tuesday, November 9, 2010
"Hewow, ma'am. My name is Eldow Fudd and dis is my companion, Eldow Wabbit. We aw missionawys fwom the Church of Jesus Kwist of Watter-day Saints and we aw showring a special message about Jesus Kwist today.
"You see, back in 1830, dis boy named Joseph Smif was confused about which wewigion to join. So he pwayed to gawd. Gawd towd him dat none of dem was twue.
"A few years watter, he was visited in his bedwoom by the angel Mowoni. Mowoni towd him dat der was a gold book bwuyed in a newby hiww. Dis book was howy scwipture.
"Ma'am, I just know it's twue; I coud just cwy. I can feew de spiwit. I have the howy pwiesthood. Will you show de saviwor dat you wove him by joinin' the only twue chrch?"
Saturday, November 6, 2010
Friday, November 5, 2010
It was entitled "Remember Lot's Wife" given by Elder Jeffrey R. Holland. I found a transcript of the talk if anyone would care to read it. http://speeches.byu.edu/reader/reader.php?id=12522. It probably won't be very often that I recommend a product of LDS, Inc. that I actually found worthy of reading. This one wasn't too bad.
Holland began by posing the question, "Why did the lord turn Lot's wife into a pillar of salt when she turned to look back?" His answer was quite insiteful. "...what was wrong with Lot’s wife was that she wasn’t just looking back; in her heart she wanted to go back."
His talk went on to say how we tend to bring up things from the past and use them against people, including ourselves. His advice was to remember past mistakes only enough to not repeat them: "Now, like the Anti-Nephi-Lehies of the Book of Mormon, bury your weapons of war, and leave them buried. Forgive, and do that which is harder than to forgive: Forget. And when it comes to mind again, forget it again."
Now of course, I don't care for the scriptural references, but overall, I thought this was an excellent speech, considering that it was given by a member of the quorum of the twelve apostles. In other words, for a speech given by a Mormon, it was quite good. Not at all what I was expecting. He actually gave good, worth-while advice. Real advice... not just magical Mormon thinking advice.
To anyone who has heard this speech or read the transcript, what did you think? I would be very interested to hear your thoughts.