Archive for the “Fuzzy Thinking” Category

Examples of fuzzy thinking, illogic, absurdity, etc.

Coat of arms - Tomb of Christopher Columbus - Cathedral of SevilleA couple months ago, we saw the “alt right” going berserk — to the point where one of them drove into a crowd — over the prospect of Confederate statues being taken down, in Charlottesville, VA. Well, it appears that was only the start of a whole lot of irrationality and immaturity where statues are concerned.

Today was Columbus Day, and as WTNH-TV in New Haven, CT reports, statues of Christopher Columbus around New England were vandalized (Archive.Is cached article):

Across New England on Columbus Day, people are taking stances, vandalizing statues of Christopher Columbus.

In Connecticut alone, vandals spray-painted on or around statues in four cities and towns, including Middletown, Bridgeport, Norwalk, and in New Haven’s Wooster Square over the weekend.

OK, look, I get it. I studied history in college (and have a degree in the subject). I know Christopher Columbus was a horrible person. He did awful things. Really, there’s no need to convince me. I get it. Honest.

I know, for example, that Columbus wasn’t really revered prior to the publication of his biography by Washington Irving. Through the 19th century, veneration of Columbus became a point of pride for ethnic Italians, and other Catholics, in the US. The anniversary of his landing in the New World wasn’t even made a national holiday until 1937. So there isn’t really that extensive a tradition behind it.

I also know that opposition to Columbus-worship isn’t new (cached). And that he was guilty of more than a few atrocities.

But … vandalizing Columbus statues? Really?! Is it absolutely necessary to deface, damage or destroy other people’s property? Can’t veneration of Columbus be protested in other — less criminal — ways? Have things really reached the point where people are too childish to understand this is wrong?

This just goes to show, it’s not just Rightists or religionists who can be fiercely militant, irrational, and immature. The Left, and anarchists, are more than capable of it, too.

Oh, and Italian-Americans getting their knickers in knots because of the backlash against Columbus Day, isn’t all that much more mature (cached). Why can’t everyone just grow the fuck up already?

Photo credit: Wikimedia Commons.

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Michelangelo, Creation of Adam 04I find myself constantly amazed at the asinine bullshit that religionists throw around, in their continual effort to justify their irrational, illogical, and absurd beliefs. The Las Vegas concert massacre a week ago has produced yet more of it, but to be honest, none of this idiotic tripe is new. In fact, I addressed it five years ago after the Aurora, CO massacre — and it wasn’t new, even back then.

The bullshit I’m referring to is the desperate attempts by followers of Abrahamic religions to continue believing in a creator-deity who’s simultaneously omnipotent (i.e. having the power to do anything at all), omniscient (i.e. having knowledge of all that can ever be known), infinite (i.e. having a presence everywhere possible), eternal (i.e. unchanging, having all of these qualities throughout time), and benevolent (i.e. desiring that there be no evil or suffering).

The reality of it is, given the universe humanity has found itself in, it is logically impossible for such a creator-deity to exist. That’s Im. Poss. Ubb. Bull. It simply cannot be so. It just cannot.

That harsh reality didn’t stop the Religion News Service from publishing yet another round of laughable absurdity intended to “make sense” of this (Archive.Is cached article). This insipid crap inspired me to take my earlier blog post on this subject and render it into a static page on my blog. The bottom line, as I explain there and in an older article on my Early Christian History Web site, is that — logically — the Abrahamic deity can only be malevolent in nature. No other option is viable. I’m sure it will pain many of his/her/its followers to be told that … but too bad, so sad for them, that’s just how it is! Wanting it not to be so, and devising all manner of irrational theodicies that say otherwise, cannot and will never magically change that reality … no matter how fervently anyone wishes otherwise. It’s no more viable than insisting that the sky isn’t blue or water isn’t wet.

Photo credit: Wikimedia Commons.

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UntitledIt never fails. The phenomenon I call massacre theology always follows any given mass shooting in the US. There’s always some outraged, wingnutty Christianist (or two, or three, or several) who announces that his/her deity either caused the massacre — or permitted it to happen — due to said deity’s outrage about something that’s going on. (Conveniently for the Christianist, his/her deity always just happens to be outraged about something the Christianist him/herself also is outraged about. Hmm.)

Most of my readers will have heard, by now, about the shooting in Las Vegas this past Sunday night (Archive.Is cached article). Well, some of the bodies were still warm, when (according to Right Wing Watch) the militant Christianist Marion “Pat” Robertson announced to the world what caused it (cached):

On “The 700 Club” today, televangelist Pat Robertson linked last night’s mass shooting in Las Vegas to a disrespect for President Trump, the national anthem and God.

“Violence in the streets, ladies and gentlemen. Why is it happening?” he asked. “The fact that we have disrespect for authority; there is profound disrespect for our president, all across this nation they say terrible things about him. It’s in the news, it’s in other places. There is disrespect now for our national anthem, disrespect for our veterans, disrespect for the institutions of our government, disrespect for the court system. All the way up and down the line, disrespect.”

“Until there is biblical authority,” Robertson continued, “there has to be some controlling authority in our society and there is none. And when there is no vision of God, the people run amok … and we have taken from the American people the vision of God, the whole idea of reward and punishment, an ultimate judge of all our actions, we’ve taken that away. When there is no vision of God, the people run amok.”

Yes, Patty. Obviously the entire country is “run amok.” Every city and town is mired in rioting. No American can walk out of his/her door without being shot by crazed gunmen or stabbed by armed lunatics. And it’s all because of “disrespect” for the government, courts, and your deity.

Yes, obviously, Patty. We can all see the mayhem, destruction, and death with our own eyes. It’s all around us. Each American has mere minutes left to live.

And the only solution, Patty, is for Americans to submit to “biblical authority” — as you, personally, happen to define it. Am I right?

Here’s video of his viciously religionistic comments:

I love how Patty misrepresents what happened in Vegas and makes it seem common, even universal, rather than abhorrent and unique. Second, I love how he links respect for government as well as for his deity, along with this supposed need for “biblical authority.” He certainly wasn’t singing that kind of tune back when Barack Obama was president. That linkage only came about when his Groper-in-Chief was elected. Before that, as Patty saw it, it was sacred to oppose government rather than comply with it unthinkingly.

As for the need to submit to “biblical authority,” I invite Patty to start enforcing that on Americans — and to begin with me! That’s right, I challenge Patty (and any other Christianist who thinks as he does) to track me down and force me to comply with “biblical authority.” Go ahead. Do whatever you think you need to, in order to make it happen. Lock and load! I dare you. Get off your ass and do it already!

Or, just admit you haven’t the guts for anything like that, and thus reveal yourself to be the whiney, sniveling chicken hawks you actually are. You Christofascists happily shoot off your mouths about how necessary it is for every American to make unthinking obeisance to your deity, and even to demand government force them to do so, on your behalf … but you won’t enforce that demand, yourselves, in person. Fucking cowards.

Photo credit: Daniel Oines, via Flickr.

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Pacifier for newborn, 2015-07-12Christians love to claim believing in Jesus makes them better people … considerate, compassionate, upright, helpful, moral, etc. I’m sure a lot of them think this is true — but it’s not. If it were, a country with upwards of 85% Christians ought to have virtually no crime and no destitution, but obviously that’s not the case. And if it were the case, we wouldn’t have the phenomenon of couples killing their own children (or just as bad, purposely allowing them to die) because of their faith in Jesus.

This is something I’ve blogged about a number of times, and as horrible as it is, it keeps happening. The Detroit Free Press reports on one example of it having recently happened, in Michigan (Archive.Is cached article):

A Lansing woman refused to seek medical treatment for her newborn daughter even after a midwife warned that the infant’s jaundice could lead to brain damage or death, a police detective testified last week in court.

The mother told the midwife her baby was fine, and that “God … makes no mistakes,” the detective said.

Two days later the infant was dead.

The woman, 30-year-old Rachel Joy Piland, and her husband, 36-year-old Joshua Barry Piland, have been charged with involuntary manslaughter.

The article tells the story of how this happened. The baby was born apparently healthy, but the next day was different:

But when the midwife saw the baby on Feb. 7, her assessment changed.

Abigail appeared jaundiced, and the midwife advised Rachel Piland to take the child to a pediatrician or an emergency room, Scaccia said. “She told Piland the baby could suffer brain damage or die if not properly cared for.

“Rachel declined to seek any medical treatment for Abigail, stating God makes no mistakes,” Scaccia said. “She indicated to the midwife that the baby was fine.”

The child didn’t improve. Piland “went to listen to sermons” rather than call for the help her midwife had recommended. After the child died according to a Lansing detective:

“They then brought Abigail upstairs to pray for her. Joshua continued to massage Abigail, attempting to get her good air. Both Josh and (Rachel) reached out to friends and fellow church members to come to their home and pray for Abigail’s resurrection, but never called the police.”

This couple is involved with some kind of non-denominational Bible school called “Faith Tech Ministries,” which has had nothing to say about this incident.

This couple put their love for their Jesus above their love (if one can call it that) for their own infant daughter. We need to stop already with the claims about how wonderful faith is, and stop treating it as admirable. Obviously, in this case — and in many others — it wasn’t wonderful at all, and no one should admire faith that extreme.

Oh, and before anyone says “Not all Christians think that way,” guess again! Their own holy scripture relays the story of a profoundly righteous man — the legendarily-holy Abraham himself — who’d been willing to sacrifice his own son to his deity YHWH. Not only is this story found in the Old Testament, it’s upheld in the New Testament as proof of Abraham’s sanctity and faith:

By faith Abraham, when he was tested, offered up Isaac, and he who had received the promises was offering up his only begotten son. (Hebrews 11:17)

And in the gospels, Jesus himself calls for parents and children to turn on one another, over him:

For I came to set a man against his father, and a daughter against her mother, and a daughter-in-law against her mother-in-law; and a man’s enemies will be the members of his household. (Matthew 10:35-36)

Do you suppose that I came to grant peace on earth? I tell you, no, but rather division; for from now on five members in one household will be divided, three against two and two against three. They will be divided, father against son and son against father, mother against daughter and daughter against mother, mother-in-law against daughter-in-law and daughter-in-law against mother-in-law.” (Luke 12:51-53)

For better or worse, even Christians who aren’t cruel enough to kill their kids for Jesus, cannot disavow the notion — deep within their religion — that faith in God is to come before all else, even one’s love for one’s own children. That principle lurks within their faith, whether or not they wish to admit it.

Photo credit: Wikimedia Commons.

Hat tip: Friendly Atheist.

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East African witch doctor Wellcome M0002713I came across this horrific and blood-curdling story. As Religion News Service explains, witch doctors are sacrificing children in Africa (Archive.Is cached article):

In this landlocked country whose diverse landscape includes the snow-capped Ruwenzori Mountains and immense Lake Victoria, many believe sacrificial rituals can bring quick wealth and health.

Among those rituals, human sacrifice, especially of children, occurs frequently despite the government’s efforts to stop it.

Seven children and two adults were sacrificed last year, said Moses Binoga, a police officer who heads Uganda’s Anti-Human Sacrifice and Trafficking Task Force. Seven children and six adults were sacrificed in 2015.

But experts said the number could be much higher.

Something I don’t care for in this story is its attempt at a kind of apologia for this terrible practice:

Times are tough in Uganda, and people are looking to sacrifices to improve their fortunes. The worst drought in over half a century has hit parts of East Africa, leaving more than 11 million people in this landlocked nation facing food insecurity and 1.6 million on the brink of famine, according to the Ugandan government.

“There is no food due to the ongoing drought, and some believe that this has been brought by ancestral spirits,” said Joel Mugoya, a traditional healer. “So there is a high desire for people to conduct sacrifices so that they come out of this problem.”

Look, times are tough in a lot of places — including, right now, the US territory of Puerto Rico, demolished by Hurricane Maria a week ago (cached). But we don’t see child sacrifice being carried out in those places. So pardon me for not buying this line of awful tripe.

The article describes what is done to the victims — and it’s bad enough that I won’t relay any of that here. If you want to know, you’ll have to get it from the article.

Let’s hear it for how magnificent metaphysics is and how religious belief is just so helpful — and necessary — for humanity … not! In this case, it is, quite literally, killing people, many of them children. We need to stop making excuses for it (e.g. the above-mentioned “times are tough” whine), stop pretending religion makes people “better,” and put an end to this evil once and for all.

Photo credit: Wikimedia Commons.

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In this Saturday, March 29, 2014 file photo, Aziza Yousef drives a car on a highway in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia, as part of a campaign to defy Saudi Arabia's ban on women driving. Saudi Arabia says it will allow women to drive for the first time in the ultra-conservative kingdom. The kingdom, which announced the change on Tuesday, Sept. 26, 2017, was the only the country in the world to bar women from driving and for years had garnered negative publicity internationally for detaining women who defied the ban. (AP Photo/Hasan Jamali, File)I’ve blogged many times about Saudi Arabia’s obvious misogyny. Among the ways Saudis repress their women is by making it illegal for them to drive. The Kingdom is the only country on earth that has such a restriction.

It’s a ridiculous restriction that Saudi clerics claim is required by Islam, but no other Islamic country has anything like it, which suggests this probably isn’t the case. They say it’s about “respect” for women (?). One of those clerics, a rather high-ranking one, even claimed that driving was physically harmful for women. That, of course, is a fucking lie … but he said it, and I’ll bet a lot of Saudis believe it.

Well, times are changing, even in the incredibly-reactionary Kingdom. As the Associated Press reports via Religion News Service, the Saudi prohibition on women driving, will soon be lifted (Archive.Is cached article):

Saudi Arabia’s surprise decision to grant women the right to drive in the conservative kingdom marks a significant expansion in women’s rights, but activists said Wednesday it is also only the first step in a long list of demands for equality.

Saudi Arabia was the only country in the world to ban women from driving, and nearly three decades ago women first began agitating for the right to drive, at times facing arrest for their protests and for getting behind the wheel.

The lifting of the ban, which comes into effect next summer, is the most dramatic step yet in a campaign by the king’s son, 32-year-old Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman, to modernize the kingdom. The young royal has been promoting change as needed to boost the country’s economy and ease international criticism, but he risks a backlash from powerful clerics from the ultraconservative Wahhabi interpretation of Islam.

It’s all well and good, I guess, that the monarchy is behind this rule-change, but it’s far from immediate, and it’s sure to be resisted, as the article mentions:

Almost immediately after the news broke, an Arabic hashtag on Twitter was trending that said: “The women of my house won’t drive.”

I can only hope things will continue improving for Saudi women.

Photo credit: AP Photo/Hasan Jamali.

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Haredi praying at the Western WallUltra-orthodox Jews (sometimes called Haredi or Haredim) are a strange group. They have this way, you see, of not only assuming the rest of the world is required to live as they demand, but assuming they’re allowed to impose that mandate on others, often because others willingly knuckle under to them.

I’ve blogged about their juvenile, religionistic antics on several occasions … like the time a plane was nearly kept from taking off because ultra-orthodox Jewish men on board refused to sit next to women (cooties, maybe? I have no idea). In that case, the flight crew had tolerated the disruption — even though most flight crews will never take crap from anyone for any reason.

Well, as Yeshiva World News reports, some Haredim on an airplane (unknown airline, unknown destination) covered up an in-flight movie, for unknown reasons (Archive.Is cached article). Here’s video of this incident:

Yeah, that’s mature … not!

For the record, I have no idea why they did this. I wasn’t aware they consider movies “non-kosher” or something, but perhaps they do. They didn’t explain their objection, they just went and covered it.

Now, if a group of Haredim had chartered this plane and didn’t want the movie shown, that’s fine. It’s their flight — bought and paid for entirely by them — but then, they’d have been able to order the screen turned off, and wouldn’t have had to cover it, the way they did. So I doubt that was the case.

Photo credit: Wikimedia Commons.

Hat tip: Friendly Atheist.

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