Entries from October 2008 ↓

Comment: Public Displays Instead of Science for Creationists

A friend put me onto a Dutch creationist, Johan Huibers, who created a one-fifth size of the mythological Noah’s Ark (from the Hebrew Bible). Like the US creationist museum and glossy books by Islamic creationist, Harun Yahya, creationists love to use PR to convince and persuade rather than boring scientific research like evolutionists. Then they have the nerve to seek to be treated seriously as a genuine ‘scientific’ alternative to the theory of evolution. Still there’s enough gullible people in the world to keep these guys in business.

Alex McCullie

News: Catholic Going Blind with a Newer Spin

Here’s a dated news report that is still funny.

It used to be a simple “stop it or you’ll go blind” injunction. The Roman Catholic Church repackaged this to have a new “inconvenient truth” environmental outcome to strengthen its sinful message (article at the Onion in 2005).

Alex McCullie

News: Vatican to Use iPod for God’s Words

According to The Age OnLine article the printed word is no longer enough for God’s message.

Why doesn’t He speak directly to us? God is all-powerful, isn’t He?

Alex McCullie

News: Palin and Stupidity Becomes a Boring Combination

Here’s another video demonstrating Sarah Palin’s fitness to be the next US Vice President – perhaps not.


Alex McCullie

News: We’re Unhappy Blighters

Well according to Mary Kenny in a recent inane article The Guardian 24 Oct 2008. This extract will give you a taste of the intellectual depth.

Far from relaxing and enjoying life, most atheists I have encountered are gloomy blighters with a depressing and nihilistic message that there is no purpose to life so where’s the point of anything? They so often fall into the category defined by: “Those that do not have the faith/Will not have the fun.” You only have to attend one of their dreary humanist funerals to see that – I am never going to another of those, just to be made miserable.

Alex McCullie

Comment: Studying the Christian Bible – Secular Style

As part of countering “you don’t know enough about Christianity to criticise” argument I have embarked on studying the Christian Bible, Christian theology and Christian beliefs and practices. Even before starting I had to make a number of decisions and commitments.

Firstly, what am I trying to understand? Is it simply looking at the Bible text for its inconsistencies and appalling moral prescriptions (and there are many in both testaments)? This is a favourite pastime of fellow critics of religion. However I don’t think that moves the argument forward. I believe a more useful approach initially was to familiarise myself with the Bible and associated beliefs in a fairly non-critical way.

At times this becomes difficult when reading some Bible commentary that accepts all the Bible text as absolute truth even when you know that historically the events never happened. An example is the birth of Jesus. All evidence suggests that his birthplace was in Nazareth and not Bethlehem. Luke’s birth story was more about linking Jesus’s birth to Old Testament prophesy than any historical fact. Also I’ve found many of the evangelical style analyses particularly unpalatable to rationally-based secular thinking. There’s only so far that I can “willingly suspend my disbelief”.

How to go about learning more? Reading articles at random does not give a foundation that necessary for subsequent study. So I’ve started with audio lectures from the Teaching Company. Each lecture series is discounted once a year and that’s the time it’s worth buying with transcripts preferably. I’m working through Philosophy of Religion by James Hall now. Each lecture series is produced and delivered by a university professor and provide a good introductory coverage of the subject. My next topics will be Old Testament and New Testament. Again, wait until the series is on special.

Are there any interesting books? There are books by biblical scholars who take a more academic approach to examining the historical Jesus. There are many books. Here’s a good one to start with: Who Is Jesus? by John Dominic Crossan and Richard G Watts. The book is structured along question and answer lines and presents a historical view of Jesus very different from the one from the Synoptic Gospels of the New Testament, for example.

I hope that helps if you want to study the other side.

Alex McCullie

News: FBI Declares Murders as Honour Killings

According to news report from Dallas, US, a father killed both of his daughters for dating non-Muslims and the FBI has declared these as honour killings.

Back in January, the girls’ relatives said the father killed them because he felt they disgraced the family by dating non-Muslims and acting too western. (full article on Dallas/Fort Worth Channel 8 website)

Alex McCullie

News: Become a Hindu or Die Threat in India

Hundreds of Christians in the Indian state of Orissa have been forced to renounce their religion and become Hindus after lynch mobs issued them with a stark ultimatum: convert or die.

(from The Observer article 19 October 2008)

Alex McCullie

News: Homosexuality Opposite of Holiness

Some Christian groups continue to pump out messages of hate.

A recent Times OnLine article describes the organisation Exodus International that ‘exorcises’ homosexuals by driving out their unholy same-sex attractions with faith in God. From the article:

“The opposite of homosexuality is not heterosexuality,” says Chambers, sagely. “It’s holiness.” Speech over, he asks people to come forward to be prayed for. A boy of no more than 16 steps up, hanging his head. When he returns from the stage to the sound of applause, his stony-faced father nods in approval. His mother weeps.

Welcome to ex-gay boot camp.

Alex McCullie

News: Testing the Vatican – Gays and Divorcees are not good

According to a recent Pink news article the Vatican has rejected two candidates for French ambassador – one gay and one divorced.

Alex McCullie