‘Ponderings’ Category Archives

19
Apr

“State of the Bible 2012″ according to the American Bible Society

by PinPonPun in Atheism, Ponderings

Fox News takes a look at the State of the Bible 2012, a report by the American Bible Society (an organization dedicated to the spread of the Christian gospel through distribution bibles) and finds that despite still being the number one bestseller of all time The Bible’s popularity has diminished a bit in recent years with fewer Americans identifying the book as “sacred literature” or finding that it provides “everything a person needs to know to live a meaningful life.”

According to the article’s author Lauren Green, the ABS believes that despite the overabundance of bibles in US household the problem lies with the lack of people actually reading the book.  Lamar Vest, President and CEO of ABS told Green:

“There are probably five Bibles on every shelf in American homes. Americans buy the Bibles, they debate the Bible, they love the Bible… they just don’t read the Bible.”

Of course, as many atheists will attest, actually reading the bible might actually explain why fewer people now recognize it as a text worthy of reverence; after all recent studies show that atheists and agnostics know more about the bible than the religious and many atheists attribute their abandonment of religion to closer scrutiny of religious texts.

Then again, the ABS is an organization that looks at the horrible situation in the Congo, where “45,000 people are dying each month” and declare that “Only God’s Word can bring total healing to this war-ravaged country.”

But hey, they must be pretty hip and modern — they’re on Pinterest!

Share
8
Dec

Praying for a Bailout

by PinPonPun in Atheism, Church and State, Politics, Ponderings

The automotive industry is in trouble and it appears that a bailout plan may be decided upon by the end of today.

Surely the Rev. Charles Ellis at Detroit’s Greater Grace Temple will believe that his actions yesterday were directly responsible for it as the congregation at one of Detroit’s largest choices gathered to ask God to have Congress deliver such a bailout. They actually had SUVs at the alter, as described in the Reuters article “SUVs at altar, Detroit church prays for a bailout” –

Local car dealerships donated three hybrid SUVs to be displayed during the service, one from each of the Big Three. A Ford Escape, Chevy Tahoe from GM and a Chrysler Aspen were parked just in front of the choir and behind the pulpit.

Ellis said he and other Detroit ministers would pray and fast until Congress voted on a bailout for Detroit’s embattled automakers. He urged his congregation to do the same.

How would praying and fasting accomplish help turn a Congressional vote, you might wonder? Well, apparently:

“It’s all about hope. You can’t dictate how people will think, how they will respond, how they will vote,” Ellis said after the service. “But you can look to God. We believe he can change the minds and hearts of men and women in power, and that’s what we tried to do today.”

I’m sure that, were there a God, he’d have better things to do than to monitor the United States’ Congressional decisions on the state of the automotive industry. Just a guess.

It amazes me sometimes what people think prayer can accomplish and the role they figure God will play directly in their lives.

UPDATE: The New York Times has an article as well, complete with photographs of the SUVs, adding this quote:

“We have done all that we can do in this union, so I turn it over to the Lord,” General Holiefield, a U.A.W. vice president for Chrysler, told the crowd. A vice president for the parts suppliers, James Settles Jr., asked those present “to continue your prayers, so we can see a miracle next week.”

Obviously we are a Christian nation if our Congress can create miracles! I wonder how Pete Stark feels about that?

Share
19
Nov

The Burning Christmas Cross

by PinPonPun in Miscellany, Ponderings, Punditry, Things Atheists Hate

Is it just me or does this “Original Christmas Cross” seem, well, just a little inappropriate?

AFA Burning Christmas Cross

Granted, it is a product of the American Family Association, and organization known for sharing in the idyllic love and peace of Christianity; an organization that is known for its peaceful and loving embrace of all people.

In this year’s annual return of the “War on Christmas” I’m sure that the AFA will gladly send out free Christmas Crosses to those that make its annual “Naughty or Nice?” retailer list!

(via Gizmodo)

Share
18
Nov

Newsweek: Is Obama the Antichrist?

by PinPonPun in Church and State, Ponderings, Punditry

Newsweek, the fairly reputable weekly news magazine, has published a column titled “Is Obama the Antichrist?” as part of their Belief Watch series.

The Washington Monthly takes them to task for this, noting:

When bizarre, fringe publications speculate openly about who may or may not be the Antichrist, it’s easy to dismiss. When Newsweek publishes a 600-word piece on those who wonder about Obama being the Antichrist, one really has to wonder what on earth the editors were thinking.

Perhaps it might be reasonable to assume that this topic could be considered newsworthy, assuming it was a widespread belief that was directly impacting peoples’ lives. But to legitimatize the extreme religious notions held by a group?

The author, Lisa Miller, is Newsweek‘s Religion editor and should know better than to make statement like:

The people who believe Obama is the Antichrist are perhaps jumping to conclusions, but they’re not nuts: “They are expressing a concern and a fear that is widely shared,” Staver says.

This logical fallacy is one of the more common arguments for religion as well; so many people believe there is a god, so therefore there must be a god. This is a baseless logical argument.

(It should also be noted that Miller is quoting Mat Staver, Dean of the Liberty University School of Law (part of the baptist Liberty University, founded by Jerry Falwell) and the founder and chairman of Liberty Counsel, a law firm and ministry whose goal is to protect Christian religious liberty.)

Even the article’s subtitle is not quite accurate and relies on the belief of the many:

The winning lottery number in Illinois was 666, which, as everyone knows, is the sign of the Beast.

Scholars actually quite disagree on the Number of the Beast and it is commonly believed that the “666″ is actually a reference to Nero.

Still, it’s not uncommon these days for long-established media organizations to branch out from traditional journalism with the addition of blogs and web-based columns; these formats allow the traditional media to adapt and compete with the plethora of independent blogs out there and to adopt a less-formal, more conversational (and less objective) presence than they’d normally be required to maintain in print.

But this is not just a Newsweek blog post; this article appears in their print edition as well. I think The Washington Monthly sums it up nicely:

I can appreciate the fact that there are a handful of very odd people in the world, some of whom believe the Book of Revelation foretold Obama’s election. Strange people can be led to believe strange things. That’s not a reason for Newsweek to publish articles about their inanity.

Share
2
Nov

Things Atheists Hate #3: Fallacious Logic

by PinPonPun in Atheism, Ponderings, Things Atheists Hate

Every once in a while I like to see a random video on Godtube; it’s like YouTube for Theists. It’s an endless source of amusement and fury, filled with fun happy videos that truly exemplify the Christian ideals of love and peace. 

For example, I found this recent piece providing irrefutable arguments against atheism:

 

  

Well, that surely convinced me to disavow myself of the “atheistic worldview” and “atheistic system” I’ve long been adhering to! Such fine, proper logic. Bulletproof arguments one might even say.

Or, maybe not.

First, he trots out the age old “First Cause” argument, though he attempts to put a clever little sophisticand semantic spin on it to avoid the typical refutation of the “then what caused God?” retort: he operates under the assumption that god is immaterial and thus not subject to the causation principles. If you prefer, he defines god as “personal” and matter (or, simply, “dirt” as he argues) as impersonal. His argument requires the assumption of dualistic worldview. 

By begging the question of god’s form he believes himself to be solidifying his argument when, in fact, he’s simply creating a logical fallacy and undermining his whole argument.

The second argument our young street minister provides is even more fallacious; first, it relies on the straw man argument that atheists state “There is no god.” While it’s certainly true that there are some atheists willing to state such an argument it is not, by definition, what atheism means. Still, it is a fairly common connotation of atheism so we’ll let is slide; besides, as we’ll see his argument doesn’t hold up anyway.

Let’s presuppose, he argues, that an individual atheist hold half of all potential knowledge; that is, half of anything knowable resides within the mind of a single person. Our friend from JTTN  argues that such an atheist simply cannot argue that there is no god as there is potential knowledge in the other half of all knowledge.

This is another common argument from theists; atheists, they believe, have the burden of proof when it comes to the non-existence of god. This, too, is illogical as seen in examples like Bertrand Russell’s teapot to the Church of the Flying Spaghetti Monster

Faulty logic and arguments such as these are all too common as apologists seek to justify their belief and attempts to impose logical structure on said belief almost always fail. Rational logic and atheism often come hand in hand, so seeing such an improper application of logic is bound to evoke anger — especially when the arguments are presented again and again despite a bounty of evidence to their fallacious nature. 

 

BONUS VIDEO: A YouTube video refuting the First Cause argument:

 

This post is part of a semi-regular series of posts called Things Atheists Hate focusing on things atheists face each and every day that frustrate them, that anger them, and that cause them all sorts of annoyance.

 

 

Share