Human life begins at conception

I saw somebody’s new Facebook page the other day, with a picture of a small child touching a pregnant woman’s belly. The text overlaid on the image said, “Science proves that human life begins at conception.” Hey, if you keep repeating something often enough, it eventually becomes “true,” right? And you probably know a bunch of good answers to this one, like I do. But I think I’m going to try something different this time. I’m going to agree that, yes, human life does begin at conception.

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Exceptionally foolish

Liberals often like to make fun of the conservative doctrine of American “exceptionalism” (and rightly so, for a lot of reasons). There’s a sense, though, in which conservatives are somewhat perversely right: America is exceptional, or at least unusual, among its first world peers. We, perhaps more than any other nation, treasure ignorance and bull-headed foolishness as something to be proud of and as our secret strategy for success. And it’s not just recent history and the rise of Fox News either.

I blame Martin Luther.

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Your memes are trying to tell you something

I saw a couple interesting memes on Facebook recently. One was a guy saying something to the effect of “Complaining that God is silent when you don’t read your Bible is like complaining you don’t get text messages when you turn off your phone.” The other was a story about some kid who got shot in the eye, and survived, to which a believer added a caption giving God credit for his survival. Both memes were similar, in that they were inspirational, superficial, and rich in implications that betray the fundamental fraud of the Gospel.

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Skeptical blogger murdered, religious extremists suspected

Al Jazeera is reporting that a blogger who opposed religious fundamentalism has been murdered in Bangladesh in a bloody attack that left his wife seriously wounded as well.

Police say unidentified attackers have hacked a prominent US blogger to death in Bangladesh’s capital, Dhaka.

Police on Friday said that Avijit Roy, a Bangladesh-born US citizen, known for this writing against religious fundamentalism, and wife Rafida Ahmed, were attacked after a visit to a book fair at Dhaka University.

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Graham on the bandwagon

According to an article on christianexaminer.com, Billy Graham’s son Franklin is eagerly jumping on the bandwagon of conservatives denouncing Obama for bringing up church history and reminding us that not all Muslims are terrorists.

Franklin Graham said former New York City Mayor Rudy Guiliani “has taken a lot of heat” for questioning whether President Obama loves America, and declined to weigh in on whether it was “true or not.” But Graham said what he did know is “the president defends Islam and chastises Christians, rebukes our allies and befriends our enemies, and fully supports gay marriages and abortion but denies the religious freedoms of those who don’t agree.”

Got to love that bit about not passing judgment on whether it’s really true or  not. Who cares about truth when there’s rabble to rouse, eh Frankie?

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Gospel Disproof #55: The God who could not count to three

One of the differences between a true story and a made-up story is that the made-up story is not consistent with anything that actually happened in the real world. In fact, that’s the essence of what it means to be a made up story. As a consequence of that difference, the made-up story has something else that the true story does not: spontaneous inventions.

For example, let’s consider the curious incident of the Messiah in the tomb.

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Why are lesbian moms so “scary”?

I’ve been thinking about that pediatrician who refused to care for the infant daughter of a lesbian couple, because there’s something a bit odd about it. The Old Testament prescribes the death penalty for two men having sex together, but is almost pointedly silent about two women. The apostle Paul says some rather nasty things about gays in general, including lesbians, but does not recommend any particular actions be taken against them. In fact, Paul is the one that explicitly commands Christians not to judge or condemn those outside the church at all.

Jesus, likewise, was famous for consorting with tax collectors and prostitutes and other “notorious sinners.” And there are many other examples we could find of the Bible recording, condoning, and even praising “saints” who have normal, everyday dealings with “sinners.” So where does this “divine mandate” come from that requires believers to withdraw and shield themselves from any kind of contact with homosexual couples?

I think it comes from fear.

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Suffer the little children…

The Washington Post is reporting the appalling story of a Michigan pediatrician who is refusing to care for a 4-month-old baby girl because her parents are lesbian.

“The first thing Dr. Karam said was, ‘I’ll be your doctor, I’ll be seeing you today because Dr. Roi decided this morning that she prayed on it and she won’t be able to care for Bay,’ ” Jami told WJBK. “Dr. Karam told us she didn’t even come to the office that morning because she didn’t want to see us.”

The doctor later apologized for not coming in to the office that day, but made no apologies for her bigotry.

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Anti-evolution bill nixed by lawmakers

Good news from South Dakota. As the Argus Leader reports:

Senate Bill 114 was killed last week. More accurately, it was deferred by the state senate’s education committee to the “41st legislative day,” which doesn’t exist.

Senate Bill 114 was another one of those stealth creationism bills designed to encourage public school teachers to introduce kids to Genesis under the guise of “questioning” evolution. And you have to love this bit:

Language in the bill is also similar to model legislation from a group that has created intelligent design curriculum for private and home school teachers. Representatives for the Washington-based Discovery Institute say they don’t support teaching intelligent design in public schools.

No, of course they don’t support teaching ID in the public schools. They just design the curriculum (and help craft laws like SB 114) to make it possible for someone else to support teaching ID in public schools. See, that way, when the school district gets sued for First Amendment violations, and loses, the Institute doesn’t bear any of the liability, and are free to move on to the next school district.

Gospel Disproof #54: The wages of sin

There’s an old saying (frequently attributed to Mark Twain) that goes something like this: “Tell the truth. It’s easier.” Or alternately, “Tell the truth, there’s less to remember.” The trouble with untruths is that they never quite line up with reality, which means you have to keep lying in order to cover up the discrepancies. And even then you still have problems. It’s just too darn hard to keep one lie from exposing another.

Take, for example, Romans 6:23: “The wages of sin is death.” According to the Bible, we’re all sinners, and that means we all deserve to die. But (the Gospel tells us) we can escape God’s judgment because Jesus paid the price for us, by dying in our place. His death pays the penalty for our sins, so now we can go to Heaven essentially for free. In fact, that’s the whole reason Jesus died in the first place: because he wanted us to go to Heaven, and that couldn’t happen unless there was a death to pay for our sins.

There’s just one little problem with this simple, appealing story. We still die. Believers die, unbelievers die, agnostics die, everybody dies. And that means everybody pays the price of sin anyway, even without Jesus’s help. So what do we need Jesus for?

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