Note: the comedy routine I am going to discuss in this blog entry contains many instances of words which some people might find offensive. To avoid this I am going to use f— and c— instead. If you think that the use of a lot of extreme swear words indicates a lack of sophistication or merit then I think you are wrong. I really think they work in this situation and there has been a history of this going back years with comedians such as Billy Connolly. If you want to enjoy the routine in its full glory just use this URL: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=TynFaEQj_Ys
They say that many a true word is spoken in jest. And the standup comedy routine I recently found on YouTube is a classic example. It’s called “God is for Idiots” by Jim Jefferies. I will give you a few parts of this routine and then explain why I think they have a deeper relevance. Are you suitably prepared? OK, here goes…
God loves the stupid and the f—ing… [pauses] this is the thing about people who believe in God… they’re idiots. There’s no dancing around it, you’re a border line f—ing mentalist… you’re an idiot… you’re like a 13 year old kid who still believes in Santa.. oohh [sounds like a retard], I’m still going to get… oh f— you. You know, I don’t hate people who believe in God, I don’t hate them… right. But I just don’t want to talk to them, I don’t want to be around them. It’s like how I don’t hate the mentally insane, right? But the mentally insane and religious people are in the same f—ing bag. If I’m standing at a bar chatting to either of them I’ll eventually walk away saying “OK…” [gestures like he's trying to back away from the crazy person]
Actually having written this down and reading it through it sounds a lot more like a mindless rant than the original! But I still think there’s an element of truth here. If anyone told me they believed in an invisible man in the sky who talks to them in their heads and answers their questions, but no one else can see him, I would say he is most likely insane. And religion is close to insanity, it really is, because that’s really what a lot of religious people think.
Of course there are believers who have a lot more loosely defined ideas, such as a god not really existing but there being some universal spiritual force, which you can’t define, etc. In reality they don’t have a belief at all and I really wouldn’t count them as being religious. They’re probably not quite as crazy as the ones who have a more well defined belief but they’re just as annoying!
And religious belief is often childish as well, and the comparison with Santa is a good one. After all Santa is based on a real saint from Christianity who allegedly performed as many great miracles as Jesus himself! But most adults don’t take that too seriously. They grow out of that idea so why can’t they grow out of their other equally silly ideas?
You know there’s a web page called “Ask God” where children can ask questions from God and through the power of the Internet [sarcastic look] God will answer them. I’m a bit dubious, but… So the most asked question on “Ask God” is “were there kangaroos in the Ark”. So, children could ask any question in the world but a child’s mind works like this, they go “I like kangaroos, I think the Ark story is bullshit so… shazam”. And the answer to that question is “although there are no mentions of kangaroos in the Bible, it does state there were two of each animal so you can be assured there were kangaroos in the Ark”. Now why is there no mention of kangaroos in the Bible? Could it be that when the Bible was written Australia hadn’t been discovered so… no mention of kangaroos. But didn’t God create kangaroos? Isn’t the Bible written through the hand of man through the voice of God? But why didn’t he mention kangaroos? They’re such an exciting animal! It seems to me that they only seem to mention things in the Bible that are within a 5 mile radius of the guy writing it. Like if I was God in the end of the Bible I would have lent in and said “Oi, tell ‘em it’s round”. ’cause, ah, didn’t know the world was round. F—ing built it, but didn’t know the world was round.
The flood story is clearly total nonsense. There is not the slightest doubt about it: a global flood did not happen, and animal species were not saved from extinction on an Ark. The discussion is over… or should be because unbelievably many of these f—ing idiot [there, I'm starting now too] Christians really think it happened!
Even if the flood story was only supposed to be a metaphor what sort of message does it send? I’ll tell you: some people weren’t behaving themselves the way God wanted so he killed them all. All the adults, guilty or not, all the children, all the unborn babies, everyone (except Noah and his family). But he wasn’t even happy with that! He killed almost all the animals (and presumably plants) as well. So the message seems to be God is a mindless, evil monster. Is that really it?
And regarding kangaroos. Of course there are many possible excuses for why they might not be mentioned in the Bible but extend the idea a bit further. Why are so many amazing things which science has discovered not mentioned in the Bible? Again you can make excuses about humans not being able to understand or not being ready for certain types of knowledge but surely there would be a few clues from the word of God which showed a greater knowledge of the real universe. But no, there’s nothing. Just primitive superstitious nonsense, almost as if the whole thing had been made up by desert nomads. Hey, perhaps it was.
Now, when I started this show my first routine was about how lesbians were fat, ugly, useless, with no sense of humour, and you couldn’t applaud more. Then I killed an Arab man from a f—ing helicopter. Just shot him dead. Then I said… that Christians are bullshit and there is no god. And that’s the moment that half the audience chose to be offended. Was that the f—ing moment that got you? How very Christian of you towards the Muslims and the lesbians. Next time start your sentences with “Well, as a hypocrite…”
So far we know most Christians are childish, slightly insane, and believe complete nonsense. Now we see how they are also hypocritical. It’s true, I think. The only truly evil people I have ever talked to have been religious (Muslims as well as Christians). Sure, I have talked to some fairly good people who also had religious beliefs too but even they tended to become very upset and offended by comments against their beliefs rather than things that really mattered. In many cases their priorities are very mixed up!
You think you’re a good person because you have Christian values? Do you want to know what Christian values are? Christian values are a load of shit. What are Christian values? The Ten Commandments. What are the Ten Commandments? Very sensible values to live your life by. Do you know what’s a load of shit about them? The fact that you had to have them written down! The fact that you couldn’t figure out internally not to kill people, don’t steal… really? You should just know these. These should be internal in you. The Bible is too wordy. All the stories are too wordy. The Ten Commandments are a load of shit. You don’t need all these things. The Bible should be just one sheet of paper and on that sheet of paper it should say just one thing “Try not to be a c—”.
The argument gets a bit self-contradictory here: Christian values are shit, they are represented by the Ten Commandments, which are a good guide for living. I sort of see what he’s saying but I think he’s wrong. The Ten Commandments are not a good guide at all. About half of them are OK: don’t kill, don’t steal, etc. But as he says, we all know this anyway and really moral people (like atheists) don’t do these things because they know they’re wrong. Christians either also know they’re wrong (independently of the Bible, in which case why have the Commandments) or they are inherently evil and only stopped from acting in an evil way by fear of breaking their God’s rules.
As well as being unnecessary the Ten Commandments are also incomplete and have superfluous elements. The first half about having only one god, something about graven images, and other crap, are irrelevant nonsense. The second half, as I said, are obvious and included in almost every moral philosophy (some pre-dating Christianity) so are also unnecessary. But what’s maybe worse is the lack of commandments related to important topics such as freedom, slavery, women’s rights, environmentalism, etc. Apparently God forgot about these, maybe because he was too concerned about people coveting their neighbour’s ass!
There are many times I would like to rant about religion the way the comedian did but it would possibly be seen as an unnecessary attack or even some sort of hate crime. But when an opinion is presented as humour it is often more acceptable. It’s a bit like a modern version of the court jester who is the only one who can criticise the king.
Yeah, all Christians should watch this movie, and please think about the message, and try not to be too offended!
A friend recently sent me one of those amusing emails pointing out the farcical nature of many of the things in our daily lives. I’m sure we all get them occasionally and might wonder at the ineptitude of some decisions, or the bizarre nature of language, or whatever else might be involved in the particular item.
But, of course, I just cannot take things at face value and wondered what would happen if I actually took the idea seriously and answered the questions. Here’s what I came up with…
Question: Why do supermarkets make the sick walk all the way to the back of the store to get their prescriptions while healthy people can buy cigarettes at the front?
Answer: None of the supermarkets I know of have a prescription dispensing area at the back although I agree many have tobacco at the front. So the first part of the question makes no sense (maybe it does in the US or wherever this email originated). Regarding the second part: I guess it’s because tobacco is a controlled product which is particularly susceptible to both theft and purchase by under-age people, so having it at the front makes sense.
Question: Why do people order double cheeseburgers, large fries, and a diet coke?
Answer: Do they? In the fast food joints I go to if you “up-size” one item you upsize the lot and (just my anecdote) I don’t see a lot of people getting the least healthy food and the sugar-free drink option. But even if they did, maybe they want to avoid sugar but aren’t so concerned about fat.
Question: Why don’t you ever see the headline ‘Psychic Wins Lottery’?
Answer: Because psychics have no special abilities apart from a few basic tricks that anybody can learn fairly easily. Unfortunately these tricks involve how to fool people into thinking that there are special abilities involved and in no way help winning a lottery. A better question might be: why would anyone take psychics seriously?
Question: Why didn’t Noah swat those two mosquitoes?
Answer: Because Noah, along with most of the other characters in the Old Testament, never existed. There never were just two of any species and there never was a global flood. It’s just a myth and one which sends extremely mixed messages about God’s characteristics.
Question: If flying is so safe, why do they call the airport the terminal?
Answer: Because it is the end-point of the journey. Terminal means end and this should not be construed as meaning any permanent termination of the traveller!
Question: Why is the man who invests all your money called a broker?
Answer: Because the word is derived from old French “broceur” (small trader), of uncertain origin, but possibly from Old French “brocheor” (wine retailer), which comes from the verb “brochier” (to broach a keg) (source: Wikipedia).
Question: You know that indestructible black box that is used on airplanes? Why don’t they make the whole plane out of that stuff?
Answer: Because the black box (which is actually orange, maybe that anomaly would have been a better question) is made from multiple thick layers of aluminium, stainless steel, and titanium. This is both very expensive and very heavy. You could probably make a plane out of these materials but: it would be too heavy to get off the ground, it would cost so much that no one could afford to buy one, and even if it survived a crash the passengers wouldn’t!
Question: Why do they sterilise the needle for lethal injections?
Answer: I have seen several possible answers to this question, including that if the victim of the execution survives they are pardoned and getting hepatitis at that point would be annoying, or that last second pardons sometimes happen and an antidote might be used. However I think the most likely explanation is that the needles used are the same used in medical procedures and are pre-sterilised. It would cost more to supply needles specifically for executions which weren’t.
Question: Why is lemon juice made with artificial flavouring, and dish washing liquid made with real lemons?
Answer: In many cases they aren’t. There are artificial lemon drinks and there are drinks with real lemon too, just like there are dish washing liquids with both real and artificial components. Of course, many product ingredients are there primarily for marketing reasons. Maybe the demographic who still wash dishes by hand value natural ingredients where those who drink soft drinks don’t care so much.
Question: Ever wonder why the sun lightens our hair, but darkens our skin?
Answer: Yes, I did wonder. Here’s the answer I thought of: The ultraviolet light in sunlight has a bleaching effect on most substances. However humans have evolved a protective mechanism on their skin which darkens when exposed to sunlight. The mechanism involves cells called melanocytes which produce a dark brown protective pigment called melanin.
Question: Why can’t women put on mascara with their mouth closed?
Answer: Because women can’t do anything with their mouth closed. If there mouth was closed how would they boss men around, question their partner’s decisions, and bitch about their friends? (Sorry, just couldn’t resist that one!)
So there you go. Next time you receive one of these “cute” emails why not just spend a little bit of extra time and actually find out the answers? It’s fun!
According to New Zealand First MP, Richard Prosser, Muslims are “a sorry pack of
misogynist troglodytes from Wogistan” and Islam is a “stone aged religion”. I don’t think either of these statements are strictly true, but they do have a certain amount impact to them, especially the first one.
He made these comments in an article in the magazine “Investigate” which itself has a somewhat mixed reputation (to be generous). While it has uncovered some interesting factual stories it is also the source of many crazy conspiracies, wacky global warming denial, and some weird and wonderful religious material.
Naturally most people, including all politicians, have made statements condemning the story and there is no surprise there, even though I ‘m sure some of them secretly admire Prosser’s courage in writing it and may even agree with some of his points.
But if you are a public figure and are going to write an article denigrating a particular group you really should make sure that your opinions don’t stray into the area of extremism (particularly ironic considering the topic) and that your points don’t make sweeping generalisations based on little or no evidence which can be extended to the general case.
And that’s where he failed.
This was an opinion piece in a magazine which encourages controversy and there is no doubt it was written in a confrontational and informal style which might be seen as appropriate to that environment. And maybe someone less in the public spotlight would have got away with it. But an MP won’t, especially when the international press gets hold of the story.
But now I want to put all of the ranting, political correctness, and feigned horror aside and look at the specific claims.
Is Islam a stone age religion? Well not literally, of course, because the stone age ended thousands of years before Islam was founded. But the general tone of that statement is true. Islam is primitive and ridiculous, at least in it’s purest, most conservative forms. But unlike Prosser, who doesn’t think Catholicism also belongs in that category, I would suggest that, to varying degrees, almost very traditional religion is based on rituals and beliefs from the “stone age” in that context.
What about the claim that “most terrorists are Muslims”. Again I would suggest there is a lot of truth in that statement. Certainly many of the high profile acts of terrorism and other violence around the world are perpetrated by Muslims so maybe he has a point. According to a report by the National Counterterrorism Center, Sunni Muslim terrorists committed about 70 percent of the 12,533 terrorist murders in the world in 2011. If that statistic is true there clearly is a real problem here.
Of course the majority of Muslims are not violent and would never commit a terrorist act, but just by being part of the same belief system I think they should bear part of the blame. As Voltaire said: “Those who believe absurdities will commit atrocities” so just believing and encouraging the acceptance of an absurd religion in some ways helps foster extremism and violence as well.
But even if you accept some sort of connection between moderates and extremists as I have suggested, that shouldn’t necessarily extend to denying the rights of the moderates and it certainly shouldn’t extend to denying the rights of groups of people just because they have some extremely indistinct association with the group causing the problems.
So Prosser’s suggestion that “If you are a young male, aged between, say, about 19 and about 35, and you’re a Muslim, or you look like a Muslim, or you come from a Muslim country, then you are not welcome to travel on any of the West’s airlines” is absurd. Surely he wasn’t serious about this and it was included merely as a rhetorical point. Or maybe he let his righteous outrage push him past the point of rationality!
FInally let’s have a look at that classic statement, that Muslims are “a sorry pack of misogynist troglodytes from Wogistan”.
Clearly this is extreme and not to be taken literally. For a start, as far as I am aware, there is no location known as Wogistan, except in the writer’s imagination. And few Muslims live in caves so the troglodyte reference is also inaccurate. The claim of misogyny has some merit though, because it’s clear that there is a systematic bias against women in Islam (and in many other religions). Also, are Muslims a “sorry pack”? I think many of them are. I feel a certain amount of sympathy for them because of the way they are trapped by their belief system.
So I think a more moderate statement such as “Islam is a religious and political system constituting a group of mostly good people who are trapped by an outdated belief system which doesn’t give women the same rights as men and who traditionally come from the Middle East” was what he was really trying to say. But that doesn’t sound anywhere near as good, does it?
My waitress at lunch today was wearing an “I love Obama t-shirt.
I asked her if she could explain Obama’s wealth distribution plan to me.
She said, “It means that he will tax the rich and give it to the poor like me.”
I said, “No, it means … well, let me show you. Here is your tip. You worked for it – but I’m going to take it from you and give it to that sweet old woman over there to help pay for her lunch.”
I got up and walked over to the sweet old lady, gave her the money and left.
The waitress’ jaw was still hanging when I left.
How’s that for sharing the wealth !!!
That was a story (I presume I wasn’t expected to think it was real) I was sent from a “friend” who is a right-wing nut job. I don’t use that term lightly, this person really is a nut. He thinks global warming is a conspiracy, he thinks Obama isn’t an American, he thinks Obama is a socialist, all the standard drivel these half-wits seem to want to believe.
But is there a certain amount of truth in the story? Does it really represent the probable outcome of the Democrats’ wealth redistribution ideas? I don’t think so. Here’s another story which I made up (just like they did) which might represent reality a little bit better…
My waitress at lunch today was wearing an “I love Romney t-shirt.
I asked her if she could explain Romney’s wealth distribution plan to me.
She said, “It means he will tax everyone evenly. Those who work hard and make lots of money won’t have to give it up to the rest.”
I said, “No, it means … well, let me show you. Here is your tip. You worked for it – but I’m going to take it from you and give it to that fat middle aged man over there. Oh, and he doesn’t even need to pay a tip because he worked harder than you for his money. Do you know how I know that? Because he’s got more than you and if he’s got lots of money he must have worked hard.”
The waitress said, “but that’s not fair, he’s already got a lot more than I have.”
I replied, “Maybe so, but he clearly deserves it. Can’t you see that he makes a much greater contribution to society than you do? If we didn’t give him extra money he would probably want to live somewhere else.”
The waitress was surprised by this and said, “But he’s a drug dealer, he has numerous pushers who work for him and he supplies half the addicts in this city. People who criticise him tend to disappear and if his dealers don’t sell enough drugs they do too.”
I said, “So he’s an entrepreneur. He provides employment to many people and provides a service many people are prepared to pay for. He is perfectly within his rights to take reasonable action against those who don’t perform, isn’t he?”
I could see the waitress was beginning to see the point of my argument but she couldn’t admit I was right yet. She argued, “He does nothing all day except direct his drug dealers and hit men to do his dirty work for him. Anyone who tries to set up in competition usually gets an offer they cannot refuse!”
“Ah excellent”, I said, “that’s the capitalist system operating efficiently in a free market with fair negotiation between parties. You don’t want the government to come in an interfere with the enterprise he has set up using his own talent and money, do you? Or are you a… socialist!”
I could see she had no answer to this because no one wants to be a socialist. I took her tip and gave it to the fat man. He made a note and said he would expect regular payments from her in future. I think she finally saw how true business talent works!
The waitress’ jaw was still hanging when I left.
How’s that for sharing the wealth !!!
Space: the final frontier. These are the voyages of the Starship Enterprise. Its five-year mission: to explore strange new worlds, to seek out new life and new civilizations, to boldly go where no man has gone before.
That was the original quote from the Star Trek television series from 1966. But what would it be like today? Maybe something like this…
Space: the next place to be exploited commercially. This version of the story is authorised by the public relations department of Starfleet Command, Inc. Our mission statement is to spend up to five days pursuing our corporate objectives: to investigate new revenue streams, to empower potential new stakeholders, to carefully go (following all health and safety guidelines) where no person has wanted to go before.
Star Trek 2012: Episode One…
Kirk: Starfleet. Any word on authorisation to leave port yet? We’ve been waiting four and a half years to leave and the paper work still hasn’t come through!
Starfleet: What? Haven’t you got it yet? Our head office sent it to the PA of the senior vice-president in charge of fleet departures. It should have gone to the departure authorisation committee by now and they would have got the correct permission from the appropriate departments.
Kirk: What about my supplies? I submitted a requisition order and we haven’t heard anything since.
Starfleet: We’re processing it now. We are having problems with the phasers you wanted. Our supplier has outsourced their manufacturing to China and we’re having trouble with quality issues.
Kirk: OK, has my budget been accepted? I cut costs everywhere I could but it still hasn’t been accepted by financial services.
Starfleet: Well you know that since the financial crisis our budget isn’t what it was. The mission has been cut and we had to recalculate all the costs. The accountants are working on it now. We had to double the size of the accounting department!
Finally the mission gets under way. The starboat (a downsized starship) encounters problems fairly quickly however. The engine fails (only one was fitted after budget cuts) and a Klingon fleet is approaching…
Kirk: Bridge to engineering. What’s happened to the engine Scotty?
Engineering: Welcome to the engineering section of the Starboat Incentivize. If there are sparks and flames shooting out of the consoles press 1. If the photon torpedoes are jammed press 2. If you want to reset your password for the holodeck press 3. To talk to an engineering services representative press zero.
Kirk: Oh God. I knew that reorganisation in engineering would cause problems.
He presses zero.
Engineering: All our engineers are busy at the moment helping other callers. Your call is important to us. Please hold and we will answer your call as soon as we can.
Some hideous musac begins. Kirk briefly considers initiating the self-destruct sequence. After five minutes (the objective of the engineering section is to answer 50% of calls within 5 minutes) an Indian voice is heard…
Engineering: Welcome to Engineering. How may we help you?
Kirk: The engine has failed and we are about to be attacked by Klingons.
Engineering: The engines have failed? Are you sure? Have you tried re-booting them?
Kirk: Of course we have. We have to reboot them quite often because the operating system recommended by the the CIO according to best practice is 20 years out of date and unreliable.
Engineering: Could you please reboot them again just to make sure.
Kirk: OK. Nothing happened. And who am I talking to? Are you part of engineering on this boat?
Engineering: I am part of the helpdesk operation that Starfleet outsourced last year. I’m talking to you from Bangalore. Can you tell me what version of the engine are you using? Is it the one authorised by the engineering subcommittee?
Kirk: I don’t know. How can you tell?
Engineering: Have a look in the user manual. Please call us back when you find out what it is. Is there anything else we can help you with today?
Kirk: No, I’ll call you back.
After 30 minutes of trying to find the manual and finally locating the version number Kirk calls the helpdesk again. After the usual button pressing and waiting…
Engineering: Welcome to Engineering. How may we help you?
Kirk: The engine has failed and we are about to be attacked by Klingons. I have the version number of the engine here.
Engineering: The engine has failed? Are you sure? Have you tried re-booting it?
Kirk: Look. This is an emergency. Please put Scotty on the line.
Engineering: Scotty has been promoted to management and doesn’t take calls. Could you please reboot the engine.
Kirk ends the call and his hand moves to the self destruct button again, but then a young engineer on the bridge has an idea…
Young engineer: Captain, I’ve Googled the problem and it seems that the engine is protected by a safety system which shuts it down when it exceeds warp factor 8. I’ve downloaded a patch which bypasses the circuit. Should we install it?
Kirk: Warp factor 8! We never travel slower than that. Is this another one of those safety initiatives I’ve heard vague rumours about?
Young engineer: It’s also to save fuel. Dilithium crystals have reached peak production and the price has gone sky high. Apparently this was documented in section 15, sub-section 7, clause 9 of the operational procedures manual, captain.
Kirk: Damn it! Apply the patch and let’s get this ship… err, I mean boat… out of here!
The patch is applied and the disaster is averted. A few days later the boat returns to the space port. Kirk is being debriefed by his manager…
Manager: I’ve just been reading through your report Kirk. Under the section “value-added mission-critical synergistic proactive benchmarks” you’ve just put a question mark. In fact you also put a question mark next to “best of breed business case for out of the loop paradigm shifts moving forward” along with most of the other questions. What is the reason for this?
Kirk: None of my team could come up with an answer to those sections. There are a few items I need to discuss with you regarding the mission. We had to patch the engine safety over-ride on day 2…
Manager: Yes, that action is being taken very seriously and is being reviewed by the engine maintenance, safety and economy sub-committee now. Do you realise your budget stated you would need 400 dilithium crystals but you used 500?
Kirk: We encountered some Klingons and we were never supplied with the phasers because of a paperwork problem. We had to get out of there fast!
Manager: But you must realise in the current financial climate that we must all play our part in economising. Dilithium crystals are expensive. Do you think that you don’t need to contribute to this effort?
Kirk: But the accounting section of Starfleet has just doubled in size, the managers all got 30% pay rises, and you returned a huge dividend to your shareholders!
Manager: Listen Kirk, I don’t like where this meeting is going. You cannot see the big picture and all of those initiatives were for the greater good of the corporation. If we want good managers we have to pay them well, don’t we? And the shareholders deserve a good return on their investment. You’re starting to sound like a socialist!
Kirk: It’s easy for you to sit in your office criticising me. I’m the one dodging Klingon photon torpedoes!
Manager: We all have hard jobs to do. I think you should leave now and finish that report. And don’t come back until you have the right attitude to be a true member of Starfleet. You obviously have trouble adapting to change.
Kirk leaves and is replaced as captain later by some politically correct Frenchman who follows orders. And so ends this episode of the great mission into the final frontiers of bureaucracy!
Occasionally I go back through my old email messages and archive them into mailboxes based on their subject. It’s a bit of a waste of time really because they come in a lot faster than I can process them, so my incoming messages mailbox, which I wanted to keep to about 20 messages this year, now has over 13,000 messages in it.
But the good thing is I sometimes find one of my classic emails, usually in reply to some nutter’s opinion on religion, politics, global warming, etc. The one I have included below is a classic. The person who sent it to me is a total right-wing nutter but has never shown any signs of being particularly religious, still he felt the need to send me this tripe. My comments are in square brackets, [like this].
Anyway, here’s the story (which seems to be some sort of religious propaganda aimed at children) he sent me with my added comments…
“One of God’s main jobs is making people.
[Well it's a pity he's made so many of them because now a lot of them die of hunger because of overpopulation.]
He makes them to replace the ones that die, so there will be enough people to take care of things on earth.
[Yeah they've done a great job of that! Maybe he should re-think that strategy.]
He doesn’t make grownups, just babies. I think because they are smaller and easier to make.
[Well even God has his limits, I guess!]
That way he doesn’t have to take up his valuable time teaching them to talk and walk. He can just leave that to mothers and fathers.
[Good plan, abandon his responsibilities.]
God’s second most important job is listening to prayers.
[Doesn't do much about them, does he?]
An awful lot of this goes on, since some people, like preachers and things, pray at times beside bedtime. God doesn’t have time to listen to the radio or TV because of this. Because he hears everything, there must be a terrible lot of noise in his ears, unless he has thought of a way to turn it off.
[He must have switched everything off - I can't remember the last time he actually answered a prayer.]
God sees everything and hears everything and is everywhere which keeps Him pretty busy.
[Yeah, I saw him at McDonalds just yesterday!]
So you shouldn’t go wasting his time by going over your mom and dad’s head asking for something they said you couldn’t have.
Atheists are people who don’t believe in God. I don’t think there are any in Chula Vista. At least there aren’t any who come to our church.
[Some people are out getting things done, others are sitting around in church like a bunch of morons.]
Jesus is God’s Son. He used to do all the hard work, like walking on water and performing miracles and trying to teach the people who didn’t want to learn about God.
[Except no one saw him do it, or bothered to write about it. You don't suppose it was all just made up, do you?]
They finally got tired of him preaching to them and they crucified him
[Good thing too. He was so annoying!]
But he was good and kind, like his father, and he told his father that they didn’t know what they were doing and to forgive them and God said OK.
[Interesting logic. Didn't God send him to be killed for our benefit? And this is supposed to make sense?]
His dad (God) appreciated everything that he had done and all his hard work on earth so he told him he didn’t have to go out on the road anymore. He could stay in heaven.
[Actually he said he'd be back in just a few years, but now it's 2000 years later and there's still no sign of him.]
So he did. And now he helps his dad out by listening to prayers and seeing things which are important for God to take care of and which ones he can take care of himself without having to bother God. Like a secretary, only more important.
[Yeah, he does a great job of that too!]
You can pray anytime you want and they are sure to help you because they got it worked out so one of them is on duty all the time.’
[Yeah lots of people in Haiti prayed to him. They all died horribly anyway. Nice guy, this God.]
You should always go to church on Sabbath because it makes God happy,
[And it also makes your church rich.]
and if there’s anybody you want to make happy, it’s God!
[Yeah because if you don't do what you're told he might smite you.]
Don’t skip church to do something you think will be more fun like going to the beach. This is wrong. And besides the sun doesn’t come out at the beach until noon anyway.
[Really. That's a new bit of meteorology I hadn't heard of before.]
If you don’t believe in God, besides being an atheist, you will be very lonely, because your parents can’t go everywhere with you, like to camp, but God can.
[Doesn't seem to have been much of a problem for any the atheists I know.]
It is good to know He’s around you when you’re scared, in the dark or when you can’t swim and you get thrown into real deep water by big kids.
[Yeah, he's always helping, just like with those people in Haiti.]
But… you shouldn’t just always think of what God can do for you. I figure God put me here and he can take me back anytime he pleases.
[But he'll torture you a bit first, like with earthquakes, tsunamis, cancer, and lot's of other nice stuff. Nice guy that God chap.]
And… that’s why I believe in God.
[Well you're an idiot then.]
If you believe in God, please pass this on, and may God bless you too. Have an awesome day, and know that someone has thought about you!
[And if you don't believe in a god, send this back to the moron who sent it to you.]“
This email must have been sent just after the Haiti earthquake because I reference it a couple of times there. Also, I should disclose that I fixed a couple of typos and made a couple of the points a bit clearer so it’s not 100% the same as the actual email. And I’m not sure what the original sender thought of my reply because he never emailed me back on the subject. Odd that!
There’s a phrase which has been common in popular culture for a while now. It’s “epic fail” which is used to describe a situation when someone does something so stupid, says something so pathetic, or gets things in general so badly wrong that it’s a joke. And what could be more worthy of this phrase than a failed prediction of the end of the world?
I can answer that. What could be more worthy is that prediction from someone who has already made the same prediction in the past and failed. Actually there’s an even better answer: the phrase “epic fail” really belongs to someone who predicts the end of the world when it doesn’t happen even though he has failed with the same prediction in the past and the same prediction by thousands of others has also failed and the prediction is based on superstitious nonsense from a silly old book.
Yes, that’s the ultimate “epic fail” and it belongs to a clown by the name of Harold Camping who told us the rapture would happen today. His prediction was based on the Bible too, so how could it possibly be wrong? Wow, this situation just brings out the most sarcastic and cutting comments from skeptics and atheists. And rightly so because fundamentalism is just a pathetic but dangerous joke, and this illustrates that fact very well.
As I said above, there have been thousands of predictions of the end of the world in the past and none (so far) have turned out to be true, although some of the people making the claims have made statements like: the world did end but we just didn’t notice (usually because it was a “spiritual” end or some similar unsubstantiated garbage).
So time after time the Bible fails as a source of prophecy. I have done some research on this because some of my religious friends think the alleged prophecies in the Bible make a strong case for the validity of Christianity. But it’s all rubbish. Not only is is rubbish but it’s obvious, pathetic, childish rubbish.
Here are a few of the tricks the Bible uses to make prophecies look real: the prophecies are written after the events they were meant to predict; the events prophesied are made up to fit the prophecy; or the prophecies are so vague that many future events could be warped to try to make them fit.
So yes, the Bible is a silly old book. It’s also a rather boring old book: it’s repetitive, badly written and generally lacks literary merit. And it’s extremely dishonest because it’s full of deliberate lies. Plus it’s dangerous because it encourages many people to do stupid things and it encourages some to do evil things.
Of course it doesn’t matter how many times the Bible’s supporters fail, it will still be seen as the unerring word of God by many. Why? Because that’s what they have been told they have to believe. They haven’t thought about it. They haven’t tested this rather radical claim. They just accept it like the mindless sheep they are. And that isn’t an insult because they want to be mindless sheep. Why? Because the Bible tells them to!
So most of these fools deserve nothing but contempt and they are getting plenty. I have seen a lot of news items describing this latest failure of Biblical prophecy in condescending and amusing terms. Of course it is unfortunate that some people have wasted their time and money in supporting something which was obviously untrue from the very beginning. And those who have spent all of their savings because they didn’t think they would need them after today deserve a certain amount of sympathy as well as contempt.
But it’s hard to be too sympathetic because anyone who is prepared to use the brain they think their god gave them can easily see the truth. If they failed to use that (alleged) god given faculty then they can hardly expect too much commiseration from those who do.
I wonder what the believers thought when the apocalypse failed to materialise. Did they think they have been left behind because they are unworthy? Did they think they have been deliberately fooled by Camping? Or did they think there has been just a slight miscalculation and they should look forward to another date in the future instead?
Whatever their response it isn’t good. Although there is one possible positive result: that they realise the whole belief system they are involved with is fake to its very core and they should get out. But I suspect few, if any, will do that!
How bad can it get for the Catholic Church? I mean really, after the worldwide condemnation of its handling of the child abuse cases, after the criticism of its various social agendas, after the protests against the Pope’s visits to Britain, now we have the Vatican Bank being investigated over money-laundering.
Instead of engaging in primitive superstitious rituals like beatifying alleged saints and engaging in propaganda campaigns involving Catholic school children supporters why doesn’t the Pope try to do something useful? Like sorting out the numerous endemic problems plaguing the church and robbing it of more of its already negligible credibility every day. Or maybe do something even more useful: dis-establish the church, dedicate its staff to charitable work and disperse its assets to the poor.
That’s what Jesus would do (I love that phrase). And it’s odd the way people who ostensibly support Jesus’ teachings are the last to really act in a way he would approve of. (Naturally I’m assuming here that Jesus existed at all and that the description in the Bible bears at least a superficial resemblance to reality).
Do the Catholics really think Jesus would approve of a huge, global bureaucracy with many arbitrary and counter-productive rules and headed by a person who claims to be the only representative of God on Earth? Do they believe that? Really?
And what about the fundamentalists? Do they really think Jesus would really approve of their hateful attacks on groups such as gays; of their blind stupidity in rejecting the obvious truth, such as evolution; and their intolerant dismissal of every form of faith apart from their own? Does that really sound like the forgiving, understanding character Jesus is often portrayed as? Does it?
I think that if Jesus existed and he returned to Earth he would feel most at home with the free thinkers and the people who are genuinely interested in understanding the universe and in establishing the best moral principles for humanity at this time. I think he would appreciate the (so called) radicals like Richard Dawkins and Christopher Hitchens. And I think he would enjoy some of my little rants against the people who misrepresent what he really stands for.
Yes, good old JC and me would be good buddies. What would the religious bureaucracy and the lunatic fringe think of that?
Which century are the Catholic Church stuck in? Sometimes it seems like they’re making progress against the dogma and superstition they have traditionally believed. They officially believe evolution is real, for example, even though they think God guides the process which is fairly ridiculous in itself.
But then they make complete idiots of themselves by showing they are still stuck in the dark ages (and the dark ages were primarily caused by the Catholic Church preventing progress). For example, recently they showed that they take exorcism seriously.
Believing in exorcism is stupid enough but using demonic possession as an excuse for the horrendous behaviour of various members of the church is just evil. But that’s what they’ve done.
The Vatican’s “chief exorcist”, 85 year old Father Gabriele Amorth, has said that the sex abuse scandals which have happened in the Roman Catholic Church are proof that that “the Devil is at work inside the Vatican”. Well of course that’s proof. It could never be because of the sick ethics and bizarre social context priests are expected to live by, could it?
Its odd really because guilt is one of the primary tools the church uses to control its members and the idea that everyone is a sinner seems central to Christianity. Saying that its really the devil’s fault seems to contradict this idea. Still, I guess fear of the devil is a fairly efficient tool for controlling the masses as well!
There must be plenty of demons to go around too because there’s so much abuse by members of the church, and there are plenty of officials who deliberately hide the abuse when it happens. I guess they must be possessed too.
In fact, Father Amorth has performed 70,000 exorcisms in 25 years and still can’t keep on top of the problem! Maybe the Vatican should hire some more exorcists and they might be able to improve the behaviour of their members.
Actually, doing the maths, Father Amorth must be a busy man. Even if he works every day of the year he must be performing an exorcism every hour of his working day. No wonder the poor guy looks so worn out and tired. All of that shouting and throwing holy water around and other cool stuff would be enough to tire out any one!
Well, that was fun. Ridiculing people who believe abject nonsense always makes me feel good. I’d just like to finish by explaining a comment I made earlier: that belief in god-guided evolution is ridiculous.
Anyone who knows much about evolution will know that just about every structure in living things, every process, every behaviour falls a bit short of perfection. In fact, in many cases it goes away beyond that and its obvious that the “design” of living things is totally bizarre!
If god guided evolution then he didn’t do a very good job. In fact I think we should fire him and just let pseudo-random processes like natural selection take over instead. Wait a minute… maybe that’s already happened!
Its just too easy to pick on the silly beliefs of various religious groups and have a good laugh at their expense. If you look at it logically about 90% of the mythology that most Christians believe is just obvious drivel. I mean with the Old Testament its blatant: all of the main stories there are almost certainly untrue (note that I’d never say that its 100% certain the flood didn’t occur, for example, but its really close to that). With the New Testament its a bit less certain but even there the mythology: the life of Christ, the crucifixion, the Trinity, all seem like drivel when you objectively check the facts.
And more recent events don’t exactly add to the credibility of the church. Historically, it was always a puzzle to Christians why their churches were struck by lightning when the brothel next door was spared. And just this year Catholics must have wondered about the efficacy of their holy water because I see in a news item that churches in Italy are installing “automatic holy water dispensers” to reduce the risk of catching swine flu from the people dipping their hands into an open font.
I don’t claim to be an expert on Catholic theology but I really would have though that holy water would have had sufficient positive properties that it would have prevented the spread of diseases. Or maybe its only vampires and werewolves that it works against. Yes that makes more sense. We would expect a belief based on childish nonsense to be effective against the imaginary hazards of a fantasy world.
If you really want a good laugh ask a Catholic to explain the Trinity to you. Honestly it makes more sense to ask someone to explain the mythology around Harry Potter or the Lord of the Rings. At least those more modern fantasies are more internally consistent and contain more logic than the silly Christian stuff.
Its obvious why this has happened. Christianity is a pure invention based on little, if any, real facts and history. It has borrowed mythology (the virgin birth, the resurrection, monotheism, etc) from other religions and tried to incorporate it into its own stories. Its had people write books many years after the events (assuming they happened at all) and embellish them with their own extra bits (the star of Bethlehem, the supernatural events around the death of Jesus invented by John – assuming he even existed of course). Its had various councils and other committees make political decisions in picking and choosing what is part of the story and what isn’t. And finally the religion has splintered into thousands of pieces because no one can decide which stories are true and which aren’t. Here’s a hint guys: they’re all crap!
Its easy to pick on the oldest and biggest church an criticise it. But there are plenty of other pitifully stupid but amusing stories other churches believe: speaking in tongues (what a laugh), rejecting evolution (so funny its almost sad) and the pitiful succession of end of world events which just fail to materialise (I wonder what they say after the countdown is complete and the world just carries on regardless, sounds like a Monty Python sketch: “OK, right, has the world ended yet…”).
So its fun to laugh at Catholics but don’t forget to take the opportunity to laugh at fundamentalists, Pentecostals, Mormons (also known as morons) and Jehovahs’ Witnesses (also known as witless). Religion is the greatest comedy show going if you just give it the disrespect it really deserves!