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The “Year without God”-project, and my thoughts

If you haven’t seen it yet, there’s a (former?) seventh day minister who has decided to live one year “without God”.

In his first post, posted December 31st, he said:

For the next 12 months I will live as if there is no God. I will not pray, read the Bible for inspiration, refer to God as the cause of things or hope that God might intervene and change my own or someone else’s circumstances. (I trust that if there really is a God that God will not be too flummoxed by my foolish experiment and allow others to suffer as a result).

I’m all for living without any God(s), so basically I should be all for his experiment, but that last sentence makes me think he’s not going all in. Putting in that disclaimer, where he tries to comfort himself by saying that God might approve – if he exist, sounds like putting in a safety net to me.

Anyway, his blog has gotten a lot of attention, both from theists and atheists (afaik, more atheists are there cheering him on, than there are theists commenting).

Ryan Bell, the guy behind the blog, and the project, will

read atheist “sacred texts” — from Hobbes and Spinoza to Russell and Nietzsche to the trinity of New Atheists, Hitchens, Dawkins and Dennett. I will explore the various ways of being atheist, from naturalism (Voltaire, Dewey, et al) to the new ‘religious atheists’ (Alain de Botton and Ronald Dworkin). I will also attempt to speak to as many actual atheists as possible — scholars, writers and ordinary unbelievers — to learn how they have come to their non-faith and what it means to them. I will visit atheist gatherings and try it on.

Personally, I haven’t read most of these guys, nor have I been to any atheist gatherings. I’m an atheist though, and I have a great life. Of course, as a Christian “trying on” atheism, he will have to “read up” on atheist thoughts, because I recon he’s only heard the Christian explaination of what an atheist are. (Satanic baby-eaters!)

I hope to be able to have a chat with Ryan sometime during 2014, because even if I think he’s half-hearted (even though he thinks he’s going 100% for atheism), I think it’s possible to help him understand what atheism is all about, (Basically, there’s no evidence for any God(s), so we don’t believe in any.) and also to understand how it’s possible to live a full life without any religious guidelines. Morality is one of these issues I’d love to discuss, because you can be “Lawful Good” (kudos if you get the reference!) without basis in anything religious.

Anyway, I’m going to follow his blog, and hopefully find time to engage him in a discussion/chat.

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Do you eat figs?

Ok, here’s one thing I just don’t get from Mark 11

12 The next day as they were leaving Bethany, Jesus was hungry. 13 Seeing in the distance a fig tree in leaf, he went to find out if it had any fruit. When he reached it, he found nothing but leaves, because it was not the season for figs. 14 Then he said to the tree, “May no one ever eat fruit from you again.” And his disciples heard him say it.

Jesus is hungry – OK, we all get peckish at times, so I get that.

He sees a fig tree in leaf – well, it might have fruit, I don’t know as I’m no fig farmer.

Ah, He went to see if it had any fruit – clever boy that Jesus!

He finds nothing but leaves, because it was not the season for figs. Not the season! They didn’t grow that time of the year!

So, he curses the tree!

Jesus is like, Fuck you tree, don’t you see I’m bloody hungry? Gimme some fucking figs right now, or you’ll regret this day for fucking eternity!!!

And… the diciples heard it all!

Jesus, grumpy when peckish! Does this story tell us that “Jesus was human” (because all human curses trees who doesn’t bear fruit outside the season!), and that he’s “just like” us? I’ve never cursed a tree for not growing fruit when I’m hungry, have you?

Does the story tell us why figs are so awful? “Jesus didn’t like the tree, so now the figs taste like ash. Before Jesus cursed the tree they tasted like rum and coke!”

[joke] Do you know why only heathens eat figs? Because we don’t care if they’re cursed by Christ! [/joke]

Could anyone please tell me what this story is all about? Why is it in the Bible in the first place?

He who is without sin can cast the first stone.

“Gay people should burn in Hell!” How many of you have heard something along these lines lately? I know I have. Several times a week, and even more often. “Homosexuality is an abomination!”, – you know, all the “slogans” WBC use when they picket funerals. (But, it’s not only WBC who uses language like this. People you’d think are quite normal also tend to lean this way, even here in Norway. “God hates fags!”

Well, if you (and by “you” I mean you that think this way) have read your Bible, you’d know that while Jesus never spoke against homosexuality, he spoke quite negatively about divorce. Funny then, how a lot of the people I know who are “against homosexualy because it’s in the Bible” also are divorced. Another funny thing – most of these people stuffed their face really good this Christmas. Here’s a list:

  • Philippians 3:19 (“their god is their belly”)
  • Psalm 78: 18 (“they tested God in their heart by demanding the food they craved”)
  • Proverbs 23:20 (“be not among drunkards or among gluttonous eaters of meat”)
  • Proverbs 23:2 (“put a knife to your throat if you are given to appetite”)
  • Ezekiel 16:49 (“Now this was the sin of your sister Sodom: She and her daughters were arrogant, overfed and unconcerned; they did not help the poor and needy.”)

Why do we never see anyone picket fast food restaurants with “God hates Gluttony!”

Jesus, the guy these people believe is the son of God, told his followers that “He who is without sin can cast the first stone” when the religious leaders ganged up on the woman caught in adultery.

Funny really, isn’t it how the pious tend to gang up on those that are different, but considerest not the beam that is in their own eye…

Mondays.

People sometimes post pictures and cartoons on Facebooks, funny stuff about how they don’t like, or even hates Mondays. For some reason, many of them with Garfield.

Well, I’m not joining that choir. Mondays are, like them or not, there to stay. Actually, one seventh of your life will be Mondays. I bet you hadn’t thought of that, huh? Every seventh day is a Monday, and there’s nothing you can do about it.

I do understand the reasons why some people don’t like Mondays though. You’ve had the weekend off from work, maybe had some quality time with the family, perhaps been to a party (or two), been at the theater, eaten at a fancy restaurant, met friends, or one or more of the various things people do during the weekend. Heck, you’ve maybe even been to church. And now it’s Monday, and life is pulling you back to work, where you’ll have to deal with the stressful week ahead, where the phone rings constantly to remind you of the deadline you had on Friday, but didn’t make, the boss tells you to hurry up, or maybe you have to start the Monday in line for the security checkpoint at the airport because you’ve got endless meetings in another city?

Here’s what I’m thinking. The weekend is great, but without the salary I’m pulling in during the week, weekends would be dull. So, Mondays is when I start making money to be able to relax during the weekends. And who said you can’t spend some quality time with family or friends during a weekday? Perhaps you should schedule something fun this afternoon to make the Monday feel shorter? I have done just that, so this weekend I actually looked forwards to Monday!

It’s one seventh of your life! Deal with it!

Who is responsible for Evil?

Any Christian I’ve ever discussed “evil” with has told me that Satan is responsible for anything evil in the world. Murder? Satan. Eartquakes? Satan. Child abuse? Satan. War, famine, pestilence, hurricanes? Satan, every time!

Then I ask: “Who created Satan?” and I get an answer along the lines of: “He was an angel, but he didn’t want to follow the word of god, so he was cast from heaven. He now rule hell, and is a bad fellow indeed!”

Sounds legit, right? Not according to Isaiah 45:7.

I form the light, and create darkness: I make peace, and create evil: I the Lord do all these things.

Holy cow! God tell everybody he’s responsible for both darkness and evil!!

I guess Christians don’t know their book well enough?

Sore Winners

Norway is one of the better nations to live in, we Norwegians are among the happiest, and most content people in the world according to surveys. The last eight years, we’ve had a red-green gouvernment, based around Labour, Centre Party, and Socialist Left Party, and from day one, quite litterally, the supporters of a blue alternative started bitching about how bad it would be. Not all of them, of course, but if you read comments in any newspaper, after any article, you’d see someone who blamed the red-green coalition for whatever they felt like.

Well, yesterday we had an election, and we wake up today with the blue alternative. The Conservative Party will be in charge, and will most likely get support from the Progress Party. As you can guess, the bitching has started already. The weird thing is, this time it’s actually both sides that bitch. And those on the red-green side bitch less than those on the blue side even if they lost the elections!

The leader of the Progress Party, a party that is 40 years old, and have never been in charge, said “Morna, Jens” yesterday. In itself, not a bad thing – “morna” is slang for “goodbye”, and “Jens” is the last prime minister’s first name. But, when the leader of the Conservatives spent parts of her speech thanking Jens Stoltenberg and Labour for the work they’ve done the last eight years, the leader of the Progress Party had nothing good to say at all. Just “morna Jens!” That’s how she is, that’s who she is, that’s the way her followers are – they nag, they sink low, they hardly ever debate by telling us what and how they think, but by telling us what the others do wrong, and they parrot each other. For the last eight years, this parroting has been: “I blame the red-green coalition”. It will be interesting to see what they’ll say in a few months.

Anyway, I’m calling the blue supporters sore winners. They won, and they should be allowed to be happy, but there’s no need rubbing it in you know…

Do I hate Christians or Christianity?

As you’ve probalby figured out by now, I’m an atheist. I don’t believe in any God(s), nor do I think that the Bible, The Quaran, the Torah, or other religious books are the word of some supreme beeing. I have tried to believe, and I have studied the various ‘holy’ scriptures to see if there is something there that makes me really believe that some God has dictated the book to mankind, but I haven’t found anything.

Some christians believe that atheists are people who hate God. (I say “some christians”, because they’re not all thinking this!) I don’t hate God. I don’t believe in God. Quite the difference if you ask me. I don’t hate Santa Claus, I don’t believe in Santa Claus. I don’t hate unicorns. I don’t believe in unicorns. I don’t hate Harry Potter. I don’t believe in Harry Potter.

You see, to me, all the people and animals I mentioned in the last paragraph are fictional. They don’t exist, and have never existed. I have read stories about all of them though, and some of the stories are quite good, funny, or interesting (or sad, depressing, etc…), but that doesn’t make them true. I have read stories about people I do believe in, who died before I was born: Abraham Lincoln, Martin Luther King, King Henry VIII. Historical people who are remembered for what they did, or said, or both. Of course you can say that since I “wasn’t there” at the time, how can I know that they have actually existed? To that I say; There is enough evidence, and enough sources to make it beyond reasonable doubt that these people lived. Thus I believe they did.

There is not enough evidence, nor source material (only one book, poorly written (yes, the Bible), and no other historical sources) to prove beyond reasonable doubt that the christian God exists. The same goes for the other Gods.

Still, I don’t hate God. How can you hate something that doesn’t exist?

But, do I hate the believers? People who believe in God, or Allah, or Jehova, or any of the other Gods people believe in?

Short answer: No!

Longer answer: I don’t hate people, but I do hate some of the things people do. And when people do bad things in the name of their God, I hate them for being brainwashed enough to actually commit the heineous acts. The crusades, Jihad, 9/11, bombings, hijacking of planes, murder, genocide, prosecution, witchburning, etc. It is actually in the Bible, in the chapter of the the Sermon on the Mount, I find the best phrase explaining how I feel:

Mathew 5:44 But I tell you, love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you,

This is often summed up into the sentence “Hate the sin, not the sinner” (a phrase that is actually not in the Bible!).

If you love your enemies (be it the tribe in the next valley, the country across the border, the homosexuals, the atheists, the christians, the whoever), you don’t kill them, maim them or bully them. You don’t prosecute them, and you don’t hate them. You love them.

Still, it is fun to mock people who are different. We all do that. Maybe to raise our status within our community (like people at school bullying someone to be able to stay with the “in-crowd”), or atheists mocking christians for believing that a burning bush can talk, or creationists mocking people believing in evolution for having an ape as a grandmother. We all do it, even though we really shouldn’t. It’s in our nature to try and place ourselves above the rest.

I can’t say I truly love every christian, muslim, jew, or other theist, but I try not to hate them. (Then again, as I’m not a christian, I guess it’s ok not to follow the Bible, right?) I try to see the good in every person I meet, and I meet a lot of people through work, and through my hobbies. I try not to judge people before I know them, and I hope I don’t have to judge people after I get to know who they are, and what they believe. But sometimes I fail, like we all do. I’m only human.

So, basically: I don’t hate religion, I don’t hate religious people, and I try to keep the mocking of those of faith to a minimum.