In The House Of Huge-An Atheist's Parable

The Following was originally posted at DearThey.com

Before he left, Damien grew up in a big house.

The house had ten bedrooms; one each for Damien, his two brothers, his two sisters, his mother and father, his mother’s parents and his father’s parents. The tenth bedroom was the family’s shrine to the Invisible Pink Unicorn.

On each wall of the house hung at least one portrait of the Invisible Pink Unicorn; praise was offered to It every night as thanks for a good meal (or a bad one, it depended on how sober Damien’s mother was) prayers were offered to It before sleep and, no matter what corner of the house Damien played in, he could always hear his grandparents muttering to themselves about It.

Damien was never allowed to leave the house. Continue reading

From the Mailbox – "Ezekiel 23"

Originally published at Martin S Pribble. Posted here with permission from Monica.

My friend Monica left this request in my mailbox:

Since we have discussed personally about many topics in the bible, and you have found reasonable explanations for some topics, here’s a tough one: – Ezekiel 23 has some really strange verses that I would like you to explore, with the help of your vast and knowledgeable audience.

Well I was only familiar with one section of this verse, the one which reads:

“There she lusted after her lovers, whose genitals were like those of donkeys and whose emission was like that of horses.” Ezekiel 23:20

Not that that is actually that relevant to the deciphering of this passage, it’s simply the most colourful bit of language from Ezekiel 23.

It’s pretty obvious from the outset that Ezekiel 23 is a parable which uses the “whorish” behaviour of a pair of women as a metaphor for the unfaithful and ungodly behaviours of Israelites from two nations; “Oholah is Samaria, and Oholibah is Jerusalem.” The parable uses language that nears on pornography, and would no doubt make the most liberal Christian blush. What is interesting it that the language is uses phrases that not only makes the nations of Samaria and Jerusalem look bad and promiscuous, but also makes the actions of women seem unacceptable. The bible does a great job of showing women as untrustworthy and worthy of scorn. In fact, the depictions of women in this verse seem so impassioned and described in such a way that I think the author may have been enjoying writing it a little too much, if you catch my drift.

Read the entire post and comments at Martin S Pribble.

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Sentenced to death for adultery… by stoning.

Unless you live in another planet, you must have heard about the global outcry over the imminent execution by stoning of Sakineh Mohammadie Ashtiani.

According to CNN:

“Legally it’s all over,” Ahadi said Sunday. “It’s a done deal. Sakineh can be stoned at any minute.”

Sadly, this is not an isolated case. Granted that it’s been a while since the last time a woman  was stoned to death in Iran, at least officially, this is not the first and won’t be the last case of abuse and repression of women. This shouldn’t be happening at all, anywhere in the world. This kind of tragic, brutal, barbaric repression against women in the Muslim world must be stopped. It requires the commitment and dedication of entire societies to wipe out systemic abuse of women.

One thing I cannot keep myself from recalling, is that these people ‘learned’ this execution method from the Qur’an (Koran) – their own holy book.  Islam is a much greater threat to the physical integrity and culture of the entire world than Christianity currently is – I wouldn’t know where to place Islamic barbaric executions compared to Catholic priests child abuse, but I digress. This, I’m afraid, might not be the case in the near future, with the rise of Christian extremism, it has become urgent the need for awareness of women’s rights. Instead of patting ourselves on the back for how civilized we are, we should be more vigilant.

Would it be too off to say that once you control women, you control all of mankind? Without women (the means of reproduction) there is no human race to subdue. This is the groundwork of any fundamentalist religious affiliation.

What would you do if it was your mother, your daughter, your sister or your best friend sentenced to death by stoning for adultery? Sadly, there’s not much you can do in Iran.

Let me tell you how this execution method works:

Ashtiani, 42, will be buried up to her chest, according to an Amnesty International report citing the Iranian penal code. The stones that will be hurled at her will be large enough to cause pain but not so large as to kill her immediately.

This makes it clear that the purpose of stoning is to inflict pain in a process leading to slow death. No, we’re not back in the dark ages, this is happening today.

This is why we need our secular voices to be heard. Speak up, people. We must strive to make a difference.

Send a letter to the Speaker of the Iranian Parliament, Ali Larijani, urging him to end the use of stoning as a method of execution in Iran. Let’s try to help.

This is happening here, in our world, to our species.

It infuriates me to think that some people keep telling me that religion doesn’t cause any harm.

Can Jesus Make A Burrito So Hot He Couldn't Eat It?

Even the cartoon character Homer Simpson (who posed this question) has a philosopher within. And though he is not exactly the paradigm of reverence, the question is a real one for any philosophically reverent person. For one of the first properties that believers ascribe to God is that He is omnipotent or all-powerful, which means at least that there is or could be nothing God cannot do. And here is where Homer’s question fits in—or at least a somewhat more reverent version thereof:

Can God create a stone so heavy that He cannot lift it?

There are only two possible answers here: yes or no.

Suppose, first, we say no. But then there is something that God cannot do: create such a stone. And if there’s something He cannot do then He is not omnipotent after all.

So suppose we say yes. If God can create such a stone then there could exist a stone so heavy God could not lift it. But then there could be something God cannot do, namely lift that stone. And if there could be something God cannot do, then again He is not omnipotent after all.

Some try to avoid this conclusion by insisting that God simply never will make the stone, so there never will actually exist the thing He cannot do. But this doesn’t work. To be omnipotent, it’s not enough that there happens to be nothing He cannot do. Rather, there could not even possibly be something He cannot do. And if He can create that stone—even if He doesn’t— then there could be something He cannot do, namely lift it.

Since yes and no are the only possible answers and each leads to the same conclusion, then either way there is no omnipotent being. So if God is supposed to be omnipotent it follows that there is no God.

That’s some powerful burrito!