Friday, August 19, 2011

The Canadians have their Crazies too...

So there's a heap of buzz in the skeptic and atheist community right now surrounding the arrest of prolific anti-atheist spammer Dennis Markuze, better known as Mabus. Read about it here.

Even though I've been semi-active in the theist/atheist circles online for many years I've been luckily not run into this guy too much or ever been on the receiving end of his diatribes. Evidently the guy had no life and just poured out his drivel relentlessly. Just sad, really. Dude is 36 and lives with his mom spamming atheists all day.

I'm a big fan of Canada. Much love for the Great White North. Admittedly I haven't been there much (one time to Niagara Falls over 20 years ago - great time) but I've always respected the Canadian temperament and views on social policy. Not to mention their contribution to the arts (Rush!). Vancouver and Montreal are tops on my list of cities to visit soon. However even Canada has its share of teh Krazy. I don't know if this is a trend but it seems Canadian christians are a breed of their own. If you've ever heard of VenomfangX on Youtube this is another guy who spends an inordinate amount of time dashing himself on the rocks of reason. Sometimes when I listen to christian radio shows I hear Canadian callers who always seem to sound a bit... off. Maybe it's the accent. At any rate I hope that some Canadian readers here comment and enlighten me.

Lastly it's clear that this Dennis Markuze guy is more than a bit off. The level of obsession this guy has exhibited over the decades is a clear indication of mental problems. Why is it religious obsession and mental illness seem to go so hand-in-hand? Andrea Yates anyone? There are countless examples. I suppose it's really not that difficult of a question... delusion complements delusion.

Tuesday, August 16, 2011

Mark Driscoll knows if you've been adulteratin'

You may be familiar with Mark Driscoll. He heads up a very successful network of churches out of Seattle, Mars Hill Church. Not to be confused with the Mars Hill Bible Church headed by Rob Bell - aka the Heretic (the fundies have a big problem with him, but thats another post).

So I'm getting off topic right off the bat. Why would two of the most popular pastors in North America give their churches virtually the same name, Mars Hill, the origin of which is the name of a pagan god?? I mean, that's what the original Mars Hill is, right? it was named by the Romans after frickin' Mars, who is definitely not Yahweh. Now two of the most influential churches in the country use it. The thought process of christians confounds me sometimes.

So anyway this guy Mark Driscoll cultivates a hip straightforward image that has apparently successfully appealed to a younger demographic. And indeed he's charismatic and well-spoken. But beneath the veneer the strangeness lies.

Apparently Mark Driscoll sees things. Such as:

"I start getting prophetic dreams. God’s showing me the future. Ah, a gift of discernment kinda comes to the fore for me. Not all the time, but I can see somebody and I just know their story. I remember walking up to people, and one women, telling her, “You know last night did your husband grab you by the throat and throw you up against the wall? Threaten you? And tell you that if you told me that uh, he would kill you?” She’s crying. She says, “How did you know?” I don’t know. I see it. I see it like a film."


"there was one women I dealt with. She never told her husband that she had committed adultery on him early in the relationship. I said, “You know.” She’s sitting there with her husband. I said, “You know I think the root of all this..I think Satan has a foothold in your life because you’ve never told your husband about that really tall blonde guy that you met at the bar. And then you went back to the hotel…"

oh and this gem

"I see things too. I’ve seen women raped. I’ve seen children molested. I’ve seen people abused. I’ve seen people beaten. I’ve seen horrible things done. Horrible things done. I’ve seen children dedicated in occultic groups and demons come upon them as an infant by invitation. And I wasn’t present for any of it, but I’ve seen it visibly."

Oh-kay. Note that this is all phrased in a way to be pretty much impossible to refute. You know, I try to be cool about things like this. I have friends that are christian and some like and look up to this guy a lot. But I'm gonna say it - this kind of shit is just kookoo.

Maybe old Mark here does actually think he's seen these things. And while my first reaction is to call out the crazy on the spot, I am a skeptic, and don't rush to any conclusion. Not that this one takes too long. Suppose Mark's claims are genuine,insofar in that he believes them. So what's more likely - The one true god of the universe is ratting out the sluttier elements of Mark's congregation to him OR maybe the old boy has had a touch of delusion, hallucination, psychosis, or all three?

The real answer, like most things in life, is probably more complex. Maybe he's so wrapped up in his own bullshit it's real to him. Prophecy and stuff like that is mana to some christians. They eat that shit up and come back for more everytime. The only question is whether he's a master flimflam artist or true kristian krazy.

Thursday, August 4, 2011

Bringing it to the Masses.

I'll be guest appearing on the Non-Prophets this saturday Aug 6! Fuck yeah. Tune in and check it out. I always have a good time talking freethought with my friends.


Great show and good time with Lynnea and Matt. We talked about Rick Perry's prayer-a-thon, American Atheists' perhaps-not-well-thought-out lawsuit, and much more. You can check it out HERE!

Tuesday, July 26, 2011

No Religion, just Jesus

That was the line under "Religious Views" on a friend's (well, friend of a friend) profile page on Facebook the other day. I see this a lot, where Christians try to divorce their faith from the word religion. It is really just semantics.

I encountered this was a few years ago when a friend, a committed christian, was telling me about Mark Driscoll, the popular pastor of Mars Hill Church in Seattle. "He really hates religion" he said. I was instantly wary. Somehow I didn't think this guy held the disgust for religion in the same way, oh, Hitchens or Maher does.

Later on in the blogosphere I came across a guy claiming that Christianity is not a religion (although, curiously, atheism is). His claim was that it's not a religion, it's a relationship with Christ.

This is not something terribly new. I think I first read this line of reasoning in Ron Carlson's book Fast Facts on False Teachings where he more or less explicitly states that christianity is not a religion - taking care to set it apart from 'man's' religions (if for some reason you wind up reading it, its in chapter 4, Buddhism)

What to make of this? It is not too difficult to see through the word games these people are playing. The idea is to separate Christianity from the word religion which comes with all kinds of baggage and whatnot that presumably is just fluff and impedes ones true christian faith. What they mean by religion is all the ritual and 'churchy' fluff that many associate with modern christianity now - none of that has any business of getting down to getting right with Christ. It's kind of a PR thing that says 'hey this isn't religion, it's Christianity' as if that is something totally different. I have to wonder if any adherents of other religions do this. "It's not a religion, it's a relationship with Allah"...

I dislike it because it's subtly (well, not that subtle) deceptive and also plain wrong. I have no tolerance for the misuse of wording or introducing verbal ambiguity to make one's point. They are basically using the word religion to mean all the other religions and worldviews besides their own, as well as the excess ritual and baggage christianity has accumulated over the years. But no, what they practice is not religion, but a relationship with Christ - all the while consciously ignoring that the commonly agreed-upon definition of the word includes this too. The ironic thing is that if only they were more articulate they could make the point honestly instead.

Sorry Jesus, looks like any relationship I might have with you is still a religion...

Friday, July 22, 2011

Hey there...

...And welcome to my corner. I decided to start writing about atheism and religion as it is one of my favorite topics. Also, I tended to complain that one of my favorite blogs did not update often enough even though it has 5 or 6 contributors, so instead of whining about it I decided to just start one myself.

In the past few years I've really thought about my beliefs and how I got here. I'd venture to say the majority of people (probably worldwide but certainly here in the U.S.) never bother to really examine their beliefs and opinions along with the underlying implications of such. Pity that's the case as I think the world would be a better place if they did.

One of the things that severely troubles me is just how much misinformation and outright nonsense people will readily swallow and perpetrate on others. More than anything else I strive to dispel this. I often say that I'm not out to convert anyone, certainly not to my worldview, but that I simply wish for them to think critically about what they believe. And, perhaps a bit selfishly, to understand why I hold my own position.

Some people really do think they have made a clever and valid point when they say something like "Why do atheists have get together and talk about atheism - they are just talking about nothing haha!" and whatnot. In fact if Stupid Things Said About Atheism were my only topic here I'd still have plenty of material to work with for years to come. But enough banter. Please feel free to stay a bit and leave a comment. Thanks!