Captured in time.
The first show of the new year, everyone. Comment away!
It’s been a great 2013 everybody. See you next year!
Addendum: Bergoglio’s “Day of Peace” message is here.
Thanks to Greg and Chip for the reminder to discuss “The Polar Express” today. I’d like to talk a little about the film’s handling of the Problem of Evil, using Santa as analogous to god, and using the character of Billy to represent the underprivileged of the world, and one of the unbelievers. The song “When Christmas Comes to Town,” describes Billy’s short life without any visit from Santa to his poor home, ever, and contrasts that against the message of a young, well groomed girl, who sings about all her happy Christmas memories. The song is sung as a contrasting duet. Here are the lyrics:
I’m wishing on a star, and trying to believe
That even though it’s far, he’ll find me Christmas Eve
I guess that Santa’s busy, cause he’s never come around.
I think of him when Christmas comes to town.
The best time of the year, when everyone comes home.
With all this Christmas cheer, it’s hard to be alone.
Putting up the Christmas tree, with friends who come around.
It’s so much fun when Christmas comes to town.
Presents for the children, wrapped in red and green.
All the things I’ve heard about, but never really seen.
Billy & Girl together:
No one will be sleeping on the night of Christmas Eve.
Hoping Santa’s on his way.
When Santa’s sleigh bells ring.
I listen all around.
The herald angels sing.
I never hear a sound.
And all the dreams of children.
Once lost will all be found.
That’s all I want when Christmas comes to town.
Billy and Girl together:
That’s all I want when Christmas comes to town.
After a visit to Santa’s magical world at the North Pole, Billy becomes a believer, and upon his return home finds that Santa has visited his home and left something. However, Billy is never provided with any explanation from Santa about why Santa favors the well-off children in his town, and seems to be years behind schedule visiting the more economically challenged households.
Billy is presented as a timid, shy, and humble personality. And so there is no reason provided to think that Billy has landed on the “naughty” list. And at such a young age, it can hardly be the case that Billy could be held to account for not believing at times in his life when belief was not even possible, due to his cognitive development (at say ages 0 – 4 or so). Where was Santa then? How is his absence explained? How is Billy responsible for those missing Santa years and visits?
I personally think the story would have been better off eliminating the character of Billy. By including that child, the film presented a glaring error in the character of Santa, and also the narrative of rewarding good children annually with gifts, all over the world. Santa appears to be guilty of discriminating due to economic disadvantage, and no viable explanation is provided. Additionally, the blame is placed up on Billy in some respects for not accepting the narrative, when his brief life experience up to this point indicates that narrative is faulty. And that, also, is never corrected nor explained. If the film is going to present the problem, and reconcile that to Santa’s goodness, it should at least attempt to supply an answer or explanation. Presenting the problem and providing no justification for Santa’s negligence leaves the viewer hanging. Why even ask, if the goal is to explain Santa is good, and then leave no satisfying answer, except that Santa seems to think it’s correct to neglect Billy for the crime of being born poor–until Billy proves he’s worthy, by believing at an older age. Alternately, the Girl appears to have every advantage and not to have been overlooked in her earlier years in a far more prosperous home. She has also been provided, by Santa, every reason to believe in him. It’s an unfair contest on every level.
Anyway, that and calls.
The douche parade continues. We get email…
Thanks, so much for much, for blocking me from The Atheist Experience Facebook page. I really enjoyed your You Tube channel and the Facebook page. If this is how you treat your own people. WOW! I am glad I never donated any money to your fucked up causes. Once again thank you, Martin. I will still be an Atheist…believe it or not, that is much, much bigger than you!
The letter is from this guy, who saw fit to give us a load of shit, and tell us we were being “religious,” for sponsoring a family for the holiday season. Because helping those in need is a “fucked up cause,” clearly.
To paraphrase Matt, I am not sure what makes fellows like Mr. Jones think he is one of “our own people” simply because he came to the same, obvious conclusion about the easiest question in the world.
Meanwhile, if anyone wants to do something really fucked up and help a struggling family, click here for details.
Bob Jones…hey, aren’t you the guy who founded that Christian university?
Russell and Don discussed Christianity’s lies, and the modern propaganda evangelists use to win converts. Have at it.
Addendum: Oh, for fuck’s sake. What is it with entitled, whiny-ass little pipsqueaks this morning? We have a couple of them stuck in moderation, having tantrums and throwing all their toys out of the pram because WAAAAH WHY AREN’T YOUTUBE COMMENTS ENABLED WAAHAAAAAHHHH MOMMY THEY’RE CENSORING ME FREEZE PEACH BWAHHAAAHHH!
Jesus H, grow up.
For the douche demanding we explain ourselves, we fucking have, asshole, at length, and in English. It’s right there in Number 3 on this list, and if you’re too lazy and stupid to read the very blog you’re posting your petulant rants to, then don’t expect your hand held in Grown-Up World. And no, moderation is not a “new” policy with us. We were doing it way back when this blog was hosted at Blogspot. With the sheer number of douchetadpoles swimming the fetid swamps of the Internet, common-sense moderation is the least one should expect in terms of proper care and feeding of a sane and healthy blog. And yet even here, on the dreaded FTB (where we seek to tyrannize your mind!), you only go into moderation if you’re a) a first-time commenter (to make sure you aren’t a spammer), or b) if your comment has two or more links (to make sure you aren’t a spammer). That’s about it as far as moderation goes.
Of course, if you write a comment just to throw a shit-fit that we suck because we don’t allow comments the way you think we should, well — it’s remarkable how easily that can turn into a self-fulfilling prophecy, isn’t it?
This addendum is brought to you by “It’s Monday morning, it’s raining, and I have literally no fucks to give.”
Among the many things about atheists that scare Christians, the idea that we might actually be decent people who believe in giving the less fortunate a leg up in tough times appears to be a big one. How else to explain the angry refusal by the Spartanburg (SC) Soup Kitchen, a Christian “charity,” to allow members of an atheist organization to volunteer? “They can set up across the street from the Soup Kitchen,” raved its director Lou Landrum in a display of Christian Love™ that no doubt had the Baby Jesus brimming with pride. “They can have the devil there with them, but they better not come across the street.”
Perhaps they’re worried we’d upset the little narrative they’re trying to sell, that you need God to be “good.” Funny how they always tend to score an own goal whenever they try to clear the playing field of “opposition.”
Anyway, the ACA is sponsoring a local family in need this holiday season through Foundation Communities, because down here, we wage the War on Christmas™ (← inclusion of Fox News IP under Fair Use) with caring. So there. Below are some details of our sponsored family, and you may click this magical Hypertext of +1 Empathy For Your Fellow Man to reach our Donations page if you’d like to assist. Please add a note stating your donation is for the holiday charity.
Javier—Age 31, “My children are my priority for gifts I don’t always have work. My priority is paying bills and I don’t have money to buy gifts of a Christmas meal.”
Ad—Age 29, Wants a blender, plates, and kitchen supplies.
A—Age 7, wants legos, a skateboard, and games
I—Age 6, wants barbies, a toy table and chairs
N—Age 2, wants dolls and musical toys.
So this rando pops up and he’s all like “Waaahrgarbl!”
I am intrigued by the notion of a self-styled champion of free expression telling us whom we are and are not allowed to associate with.
Perhaps he can enlighten us with more rational discourse.
As Jen noted on Facebook: “We are not your gods. We don’t claim to love you, nor do we necessarily want a personal relationship with you. Most importantly, we don’t hate all the same people you do. If you like the show, great! If you don’t, don’t watch it. It really is that simple.”
Hey everyone, Martin here. Nice to see you all again.
HT to my buddy Amy Angela on Facebook for the heads up on this. Nothing quite illustrates the hopelessness and futility that having a deeply religious mindset inculcates quite like the Explore God movement. A recent post on their Facebook page asks the basic question “Do you believe things in our world are getting better or worse, or both?”
Virtually without exception, the Christians are wailing “WORSE!” — despite generally being folks living in conditions of privilege where they have access to technology, employment and modern conveniences — and pleading for the sweet release of heaven, and atheists are pointing to general improvements in quality of life, while acknowledging the real problems that still need addressing. QED, if you have a rational outlook on life rooted in a respect for science and human ingenuity, you will be a lot happier and more optimistic than those soaked in Biblical belief. And yet they’re the ones who don’t think (hello Oprah Winfrey?) we can be positive and experience wonder and awe. Show me the awe in people who see a world of bleakness and despair.
Here’s a reply I gave to a young woman who needed a perspective check. What are the odds she’ll take my reply as encouragement and food for thought, do you think? (I won’t post the screengrab, as I’m always reminded there are people who use readers that can’t read images. I’m a derp.)
Liliana (So-and-So) Worse! Wish the Lord would come tomorrow!
Martin Wagner Liliana, without I hope being offensive, let me give you some perspective, and perhaps a clue as to how your religious beliefs have skewed your answer here. Your profile’s cover picture is a banner for “Breast Cancer Awareness.” Here is what I found from the American Cancer Society on breast cancer survival rates:
“After slowly increasing for many years (0.4% per year from 1975- 1990), breast cancer death rates decreased 2.2% per year between from 1990-2007. The percentage decline was larger among younger women. From 1990-2007, death rates decreased by 3.2% per year among women younger than 50, and by 2.0% per year among women 50 and older. The decline in breast cancer mortality has been attributed to both improvements in breast cancer treatment and early detection.”
So clearly here are facts and figures demonstrating something that is getting better and not worse (except for certain demographic groups who don’t have as good access to health care). Now, it seems to me there are two ways you can approach something like breast cancer awareness. You can support the scientific research that makes survival rates even better. Or you can do what religion has taught you to do, which is throw up your hands, give up, and beg for the lord to come tomorrow. Which is DEMONSTRABLY the better choice?