Saturday, October 27, 2012

This song came to me in a dream the other night. In the dream, I came up with the first four lines and the chorus, which inspired me to write the rest of the song. This is written to the tune of "Jesus loves me, this I know." Just in time for Halloween, I present to you...Zombie Jesus Eats Our Brains:

Zombie Jesus eats our brains,
High upon a cross he hangs.
We drink His blood and eat His flesh,
Even if he's not that fresh.

Praise Zombie Jesus!
Praise Zombie Jesus!
Praise Zombie Jesus!
He likes to eat our brains.

Zombie Jesus died for us,
From his hands he's oozing pus.
He died because of our sins,
Now he's looking very thin.

Praise Zombie Jesus!
Praise Zombie Jesus!
Praise Zombie Jesus!
He likes to eat our brains.

Zombie Jesus is our boss,
Hanging up there on His cross.
He's the shepherd of his flock,
He wears sandals without socks.

Praise Zombie Jesus!
Praise Zombie Jesus!
Praise Zombie Jesus!
He likes to eat our brains.

On Easter our Christ Lord died,
For us, he was crucified.
He has risen from the dead,
To eat the brains inside our heads.

Praise Zombie Jesus!
Praise Zombie Jesus!
Praise Zombie Jesus!
He likes to eat our brains.

Monday, September 24, 2012

An open letter to Muslims

Recently, there's been protests from the Muslim world calling for the execution of a particular filmmaker who posted online a film entitled, "Innocence of Muslims" that is critical of the Muslim faith. I took the liberty of watching this poorly made film myself, and found it to be boring. What is interesting, however, is the negative reaction of those of the Muslim faith. To me, whether or not this film is an accurate portrayal is besides the point. It's not anti-Muslim in the sense that it generates hatred towards Muslims as antisemitism does towards Jews; it's simply an interpretation of the writings of the Koran that casts a prophet in a negative light. It speaks nothing of the people of the Muslim faith today, whom I consider as equally as misguided as Christians are by this faith but still generally good people. And yet, these people would call for the hanging or beheading of this filmmaker who did nothing more than to make a film showing his interpretation of the Koran. Nobody was hurt, nor did watching it cause me to want to hate Muslims. However, the reaction of Muslims has caused me to reconsider; it would seem as though they are attempting to drag the world back into the dark ages.

Consider the protests against American embassies around the world. Clearly, the American government had nothing to do with the creation of this film. However, the United States of America offers freedom to the extent that freedom of speech does include criticism of organized religion, just as it also includes criticism of the American government itself. Films that criticize the American government are far more prevalent than those criticizing religion, and you would think that would give the protesting Muslims a clue. Instead, they continually demonstrate their hatred of freedom with each and every protest. In this, it is not this movie that makes me dislike people of the Muslim faith, but rather the reaction of those people and their attack on freedom that means a lot to me. It's this freedom that protects me from religion, and is something I value deeply, because, from all that I've observed, freedom from religion is what ultimately leads to progress with humanity. We learn more, understand more, live better and longer without religion holding us back. I respect a person's choice to be religious and to be critical of science, but I in turn expect their respect of my choice to be non-religious and to be critical of religion. The truly intelligent argue the point, not the person.

Ultimately, the truly intellectually honest Muslim has to recognize a fundamental issue is at hand and challenging their beliefs. If their god Allah really exists and controls our lives, and if "Innocence of Muslims" is truly offensive to this god by portraying one of His prophets in a negative light, then that god should decide the punishment for the creator of this film and those involved. If your god Allah does not punish that person, then you must accept that either: a) Allah does not care about or may even approve of this film, or b) Allah does not exist. I personally would go with option B, but either way, as soon as you get involved and decide to execute this person, I have to ask: Who the hell do you think you are, exercising the will of Allah? Let Allah speak for Himself, if he truly exists.

Saturday, August 18, 2012

The trinity of belief

Having been a god-fearing Christian and now an atheist, I fully understand the reasons why Christians believe as they do, regardless of how absurd the bible may be. As an atheist, I recognize the flaw in their logic. Fundamentally, there are three reasons why Christians believe, each one supporting the other, creating a trinity of belief.

The Universe was created

Many Christians believe what they do on the false assumption that the universe was created, and attribute the creation of the universe to God. Every Christian I've spoken to proclaims, "All of this had to come from somewhere!" Does it really? When it comes to life, we have a pretty good understanding on how evolution works; we never see anyone or anything spring into existence. I know that I came from my parents, who came from their parents, on and on back in a process that is very well understood. Nature gives us clues as to our origin. As for the matter and energy of which the Universe is made up of, I find it very strange that one would assume this would need creating, given that the infinite nature of the existence of the matter and energy that makes up the universe stares us right in the face with the law of conservation of matter and energy. Whenever I mention this to a Christian, they have a difficult time comprehending an ever-changing universe that exists infinitely in spite of this observable and testable evidence, and yet they are quick to accept that God exists infinitely. It's very strange to me that they must keep believing in God, and I can think of only one reason why they refuse to accept the truth: The promise of an afterlife.

The afterlife

Christians believe that if they believe in God and Jesus, they will go to a place called heaven when they die. This also seems very strange, given that there is absolutely no evidence to support this belief. To this day, nobody who has died has ever come back, except in the questionable stories written in the bible. Given what we currently understand of the workings of the human brain through medical science, one has to wonder why belief in a spirit persists. Clearly, consciousness is the product of a working brain; when the brain starts to fail, consciousness also starts to fail. One can imagine bronze aged men looking up to the sky and imagining a place above the clouds, among the stars; but we have traveled above those clouds and have seen the stars for what they really are. We have even traveled to some of those ancient, far-off places in the sky; putting a man on the moon and robots on Mars. Why, then, hold on to those ancient misinformed beliefs? Because they are old.

The Bible is a very old text

The Christian logic works something like this: The earliest texts of the bible were written a few thousand years ago, and people who existed a few thousand years ago are closer to the beginning of our species than we are today, and as such were able to see things of a much earlier earth. The trouble with this logic is that, given the few billion years the earth has been around and the many billions of years the known configuration of the universe has existed, a few thousand years ago might as well be yesterday. Consider the scale we're discussing. A billion is equal to a thousand million. Imagine, if you will, the insignificance of one dollar compared to a million dollars. The single dollars start looking insignificant once you start seeing hundreds of dollars; even more so at thousands of dollars. Move up to tens of thousands, and that dollar is barely a drop in the bucket. At hundreds of thousands, it's not even a drop as it becomes nearly impossible to imagine each individual dollar. At a million, a dollar might as well be a penny, or even a fraction of a penny. Indeed, you would never see the actual dollars that make up a billion; at that point, money becomes conceptual rather than actual.

Now consider that we possess scientific instruments that allow us to look into the past many billions of years. Our Hubble telescope allows us to see distant galaxies as they were 13.2 billion years ago. Radiometric dating allows us to determine geological and fossil records that date back hundreds of millions of years, with carbon dating permitting greater accuracy on a scale of tens of thousands of years. Our science allows us to see well beyond what the bronze aged men who wrote the bible couldn't have possibly even imagined. What they saw of the world and the universe wasn't a whole lot different from what we see today, except today we have powerful instruments at our disposal along with a much better understanding of the natural world. Our knowledge of the past of our species and planet are far more accurate than theirs could ever have been, as we are reading the things that nature tells us.


Having once been a Christian, I understand this trinity of belief quite well. It is absurd given what we know today, but most Christians will never read their bible or allow their trinity of belief to be challenged. They become like the child at Christmas who fears he will get no more presents if he stops believing in Santa. Nevertheless, there really is nothing to fear, because nothing will be lost. It's my sincere hope that others will recognize Christianity for what it is, and regard it in the same manner as they do Greek and Norse mythologies.

Sunday, July 1, 2012

Canada: Glorious and free without God

Today is Canada day, and on this day my thoughts turn towards a relatively recent campaign by the religious advertising that God should be kept in our national anthem. Some people mistakenly believe that God has always been in our national anthem, and should be kept there in honour of our tradition.

The lyrics for the English version of O Canada were penned by Robert Stanley Weir in 1908, in honour of Quebec City's 300th anniversary. The original anthem did not contain any mention of God, and the lyrics are as follows:

O Canada! Our home and native land
True patriot love in all thy sons command.
With glowing hearts we see thee rise
The True North strong and free!
And stand on guard, O Canada
We stand on guard for thee.
O Canada, glorious and free,
We stand on guard, we stand on guard for thee.
O Canada, we stand on guard for thee!
 Mr. Weir was an intelligent, accomplished man, and I do not believe he omitted God from the national anthem by accident. He knew very well that it is we the people who must stand on guard to keep Canada glorious and free, and he was probably aware of the cultural diversity that is Canada and singing praise to God in the anthem would alienate cultures with different beliefs. Intelligent people tend to be aware that not everybody on earth worships God; that there are also polytheists, those who prefer the term Goddess, Allah, and then there are religions like Buddhism which doesn't involve praising any god. Then there are atheists. Leaving God out of our national anthem demonstrated a great deal of forward thinking for a man of 1908 in recognizing the broad cultural diversity that has become Canada.

As a tribute, I created this video of our original anthem, as it should have been, as sung by Edward Johnson:
This is the national anthem I recognize, so when other people are singing, "God keep our land glorious and free," I proudly belt out, "OH CANADA! GLORIOUS AND FREE!"

Monday, June 18, 2012

Faulty logic required for belief

Occasionally, I come across a religious person who suggests that I, as an atheist, must believe that the universe and everything within it came into existence from nothing at all, and that the belief that everything came from nothing on its own accord requires greater faith than does belief in an eternal creator that caused everything to come into existence. The entire basis of this argument hinges on the notion that there existed a time when matter and energy, and indeed the universe itself, did not exist. Not only is this unprovable, but is highly unlikely given what we know of the existence of matter, energy, and the universe.

The law of conservation of matter and energy states simply that matter and energy cannot be created nor destroyed, only changed from one state to another. It also states that the total quantity of matter and energy available in the universe is a fixed amount and never any more or less. Consider the burning of a match: The wood fibers of a match are converted into heat and light energy, as well as carbon; the heat and light energy that was the source of the wood is essentially released, as the wood that the match was made from occurred as a conversion into matter of light and heat energy from the sun, as well as carbon from the environment. Of course, there's more to these events than that, but for the sakes of describing this law in a way that is easily understood, I chose to simplify the process.

What we understand of the universe is that it is composed of matter and energy that is continually changing from one state to another of stuff that cannot be created nor destroyed, going through natural cycles governed by physical laws that we still have a lot to learn about. I don't know about you, but I consider that which cannot be created nor destroyed to exist infinitely. That which exists infinitely, by a believer's own definition of the god they believe, requires no creator.

At this point, the believer scrambles from their cherished beliefs back to the realm of science and asks, "But what of the big bang?" It's at this point that the believer requires yet another lesson in science; that lesson being that the big bang theory is a theory which explains how the matter and energy in the known universe has come to its current arrangement, and does not state where that matter and energy came from. It assumes that all matter and energy in the universe existed as a singularity prior to the event, and does not suggest a violation of the law of conservation of matter and energy.

The big bang theory will most likely continue to go through revisions, and may even be superseded by an entirely new theory as our knowledge grows. However, the law of conservation of matter and energy is a safe bet, because it is something we can test and observe today. Therefore, given our current understanding, I propose that it takes more faith to believe that energy, matter, and the universe needed to be created than it does to believe it had always existed without needing a creator.

Sunday, May 20, 2012

Once I allowed my mind the liberty of disbelieving in the existence of a god or gods, everything started making sense...war, poverty, genocide, world hunger, disease, overpopulation, hate...I realized that the universe had nothing for nor against my existence, but people did, and the people who stood against humanity's progress against these undeniable evils used religion to justify their behaviour and actions. I knew then, for better or for worse, that I had to, for as long as I am alive, stand on the unpopular side in opposition of religion in order to keep my moral conscience clean and to do my part to better humanity if even an immeasurable amount.

Tuesday, May 8, 2012

In recent news, a grade 12 student in Nova Scotia took it upon himself to wear a T-shirt that pushes his beliefs on everyone that sees him at his school. I confess, I was equal to this kid in his beliefs at his age, but I was never such a douche as to wear a T-shirt like that. A simple change to the T-shirt would magically transform it from perpetuating a lie to speaking the truth:

It truly is. He should try it, then he wouldn't have to quit school and he might actually be able to make some friends.

Sunday, April 15, 2012

The intellectual dishonesty of Easter

Last week was Easter; the time when Christians are to believe that Jesus Christ, their saviour, was to have been crucified and then arose from the grave. Their ritual demonstrates blood cult roots, where they partake in holy communion. During this event, a cracker would represent the flesh of Christ, and wine would represent the blood. As I was a child when I learned to partake in this ritual, grape juice was used instead of wine.

The problem came when, at home, we would decorate boiled eggs, go on an Easter egg hunt, and were led to believe their was an Easter bunny who was responsible for creating these eggs and hiding them. You see, none of this fits with the story of the crucifix. When I asked, the response was, "It`s just a fun thing to do." If it was a fun thing to do, why didn't we decorate eggs every Sunday? Clearly, there must be meaning to this ritual of decorating boiled eggs, because so many people do it and have been doing it in various western cultures for many generations. As a Christian, it was necessary for me to allow myself to become intellectually dishonest to ignore the meaning of this tradition which clearly had nothing to do with the resurrection story. Even the name Easter didn't seem to have any meaning or connotation with the resurrection of Christ.

Allowing oneself the luxury of intellectual honesty permits one to discover the truth that Easter was not originally based on the resurrection of Jesus Christ, and that the decorating of eggs and the story of the Easter Bunny has been passed down through the generations in celebration of a much older and more meaningful celebration, where the decorating of boiled eggs is very significant. I've discovered that the origins of Easter are secular in nature, based on observable celestial and seasonal events. In the Northern hemisphere, Easter occurs at a time when the weather turns warm, and life returns to the planet. Flowers bloom, leaves emerge from their buds, and animals like bunnies become much more active. It is a very good reason to celebrate, as the days get noticeably longer and warmer, and peoples' moods become generally much more cheerful.

As an atheist, I remember my Christian past and feel sorry for the Christians I know who are still burdened with this unnecessary guilt at a time of year when they should be happy, care-free, and celebrating the warmth and new life sprouting up around them. I hope that, one day, they can allow themselves to become intellectually honest, and instead of attending mass on Easter Sunday, enjoy that time with their friends and family, decorate some eggs, and get outside and breathe in the life that surrounds them at this time of year.

Monday, January 16, 2012

The truth of atheism discovered by a missionary

Frankly, this doesn't surprise me, though I am surprised that it doesn't happen more often. I suppose it's a rare person who has the honesty and integrity to recognize when they are in the wrong. In any case, this book is on my "Must buy" list; I will review it after reading it.

Sunday, January 15, 2012

How religion held me back in life

Growing up and being raised with religious beliefs has profound negative psychological effects on a person. In Christianity, I was taught that the Lord God was the creator of everything, and was the cause of all that did or didn't happen. This was all according to His unknowable plan, which was ultimately to lead to some greater purpose in the cosmos. At the same time, I was taught that we all have the "Gift" of free will, though the existence of this "Free will" would seem to create a paradox given the plan. To help find one's way, we were taught that all was ours through the power of prayer to Jesus Christ. These three elements - the Holy Plan, the gift of Free Will, and Prayer served to create a trinity of confusion which served only to hold me back in life, as I will explain in this blog post.

I was raised with religious belief before I entered into the public education system; by the simple virtue that I was taught by those I trusted to hold my religious teachings in higher esteem than that which I was taught in school, I did so. I was taught that true knowledge and understanding was to come through knowing God through the power of prayer. Therefore, when it came to understanding and learning subjects such as mathematics or science, I would pray for Jesus Christ and the Lord to endow me with the knowledge I needed to succeed. When this did not happen, I automatically assumed that it was not part of God's plan for me to know these things. It therefore became easy for me to fall into a cycle of uncaring complacency as I barely passed from one grade to another.

It was fortunate for me that I had a genuine interest in all things technical; as I reflect, I attribute any success I had in certain courses to a genuine interest in the subject rather than any actual studying, as I had spent much of my study time in a state of prayer. I looked for signs in shadows as I sought answers to my prayers, and honestly believed I saw them, with disastrous results. In the end, I relegated myself to a simple humble life of whatever minimum wage job came my way. I even took up smoking because at one point I believed I received a sign from prayer that led me to believe that taking up smoking would lead me to a greater understanding. Such is how religion poisons the mind.

It was my path to atheism which led me towards my true potential. I had spent many hours in deep meditation, which led me to at first to agnosticism. I was able to see my future self in my mind's eye and recognized the truth that allowing myself to drift through life according to some unseen and unknowable plan was not going to end well. I recognized the truth of the future effects of things that I would cause today. I realized that I could make my own plan to yield whatever result I desired, and that doing this was much more effective than prayer.

Had I not been indoctrinated with religious nonsense, had I instead been taught to find my strengths and how to make my own plan, I would have been able to achieve the success I have been able to achieve as an atheist much earlier in life. Hindsight is 20/20, but I recognize when I was on the right path, and when what I believed at the time were answers to prayers led me astray. It is for this reason that I regard religion, and Christianity in particular, to be harmful to young minds. This is one of the main reasons why I created this blog, and why I believe it necessary to share my reasons for not believing.

Thanks to my agnosticism, which grew into atheism, I have managed to succeed in building the life I want, and have achieved the success in life I dreamed of as a child. There is no Holy Plan, there's no God or Lord Jesus Christ listening to our prayers, and the so-called "Gift" of free will is a gift, but it was given to us by those men and women before us who were brave enough to stand up against religion to create a secular society in which we are all free to plan our own destinies. This is a fight we must all continue in if we are truly to keep ourselves free from the tyranny of religion.

Friday, January 13, 2012

How religion taught me to hate

I was baptized as a Christian in the United Church of Canada, which probably is the most laid back, liberal, easy-going sect of Christianity you're likely to find. Anyone familiar with this church might find themselves wondering how in heck could a church that includes the marriage of same-sex couples teach anyone to hate. It's not anything specific in the teachings of Christianity, but rather is something inherent in religious belief itself, which I will explain in this blog post.

With Sunday School being my first exposure to education, I was taught to believe the basics of this religion, which were: 1) God created everything, 2) God is the one who is "In Charge" to cause things to happen (or not happen) as He sees fit and according to His plan, 3) God is a fair and just God, 4) We go to church to thank God for providing us with everything He created, 5) By virtue of going to church to sing the hymns and say the prayers that God likes to hear, God will be happy with us and answer our prayers delivered through Jesus Christ whenever we need something. Perfectly logical to a 4 year old mind.

I spent my early childhood believing in this. I would pray for something good, but maybe it didn't happen because maybe I wasn't good enough; so I was encouraged to become more pious. As it happens, I was a student of the public school system, which is, by it's nature, secular, and therefore inclusive of people from different beliefs, including those who have no religion. Advancing through the different grades exposed me to different people from different backgrounds. I had assumed that everyone held the same beliefs as I did, because that is what I was taught. Then I learned that there were people who didn't go to church, who didn't pray, and perhaps they didn't even believe in God, or if they did they showed no reverence for the almighty.

I assumed that these godless people lead empty, meaningless lives. They were probably the poor, the drug addicted, the sick and the lame. If only they believed in God like I did; if only they learned about being saved through Jesus Christ, maybe their lives would get better. I would pray for these people. Then a funny thing happened. I learned that there were other kids my age who did not believe and, by all outward appearances, were better off than I. When I say better off, I mean more than just money. These kids got better grades than I did, had more friends than I had, always seemed to get whatever they wanted, didn't have any issues or problems, and had all kinds of varying talents and much more freedom. They were creative and funny. They were all the things I wanted to be.

When a person is raised to believe that a fair and just God created everything and is the cause of things that do and don't happen, and when one is raised to believe that the act of going to church and paying reverence to this God is the path to happiness, and when one sees the success and happiness that one seeks in the outwardly godless, one becomes resentful and hateful towards the godless who are flaunting their good fortune. It's no different than, say, when a colleague in the workplace who's been obviously slacking off gets a promotion over you when you've been busting your butt for that same promotion. Except when it comes to God, it's worse because we can expect our bosses to make mistakes; they're only human. The Lord doesn't make mistakes, or so we're taught; it's our fault somehow, so the resentment becomes even greater.

There are tricks that religion plays when a believer feels this discontent. Perhaps the Lord is testing me and other believers by bestowing good fortune upon the unbeliever, but in the end, I will go to heaven and the heathen will burn in Hell! Or at least not get into heaven and just die; let the heathen have his good fortune now and I will have a greater reward later. Again, the natural outcome of this belief is hateful, malicious thoughts. It's completely unavoidable for the believer if they are going to continue to believe, and we see it time and again when certain sects of Christianity lash out at homosexuality, Atheists, and generally anything that causes them to feel less than what they believe their potential should be.

Many Christians today wear a thin veneer of love and understanding, but I've been inside the mind of a believer, because I was one. I know what goes on under that thin veneer. As an atheist, it's easy to accept that good things can happen to bad people, bad things can happen to good people, because there is no god in control of things. I do not feel bitter resentment at those who may be doing better than I in certain aspects of life, because, as an atheist, I am free to direct my life towards the goals I set for myself. I am no longer tormented with thoughts questioning whether or not a god is interfering with my affairs.

It's ironic that religion which is supposed to teach love and compassion has the opposite effect, and I feel sorry for those who are trapped in the hate-inducing cycles brought on by the unsatisfying circular logic offered by religion. Hopefully those people can find their way out of religion and away from the hateful thoughts inherent with their beliefs.