But… Will They Accept Verses?

The new journal Science, Religion, and Culture is announcing a special issue focusing on “Atheism, Secularity, and Science”. It suggests the following topics:

• Identifying and outlining Lakatosian research programmes in current atheism and secularity research – their advantages and limitations.
• Philosophy of science critiques of current research on atheism and secularity.
• Conceptualizing types of atheism and secularity.
• Atheism and secularity’s role in the separation of church and state around the world.
• Can atheism or secularity be understood without juxtaposition to theism or religion?
• The role of activism in atheist and secular communities.
• An examination of the rise of Sunday Assemblies or, ‘atheist churches’.
• Developing/advancing ‘secular studies’.
• Developing a comparative terminology for studying atheism and theism together.
• Can atheists be ‘spiritual’?
• Atheism and the rise of the Internet.
• Atheism and ‘analytic thinking’.
• New atheism’ and Scientism.
• Atheism, health, and wellbeing.
• Why are the majority of elite scientists ‘atheists’?
• Why are scientists in general less religious than the average person?
• Atheism, a next step in human evolution?
• Identity politics in Western atheism.
• Atheism, secularism, and children.
• Atheism, secularism, and Transhumanism.
• Science, an ‘alternative to religion’ for atheists?
• Explaining atheism in the cognitive science of religion.

Thing is, I think I have written verses on the vast majority of these topics.

Anyway, they require the “full name of the author”, and I doubt they would accept “Cuttlefish”, so once again, mollusk can’t buy a break in the vertebrate world. Entries are due by December 31st, for those of you willing to play by their rules.

Gee, I Guess Maybe I’m Not An Atheist After All

I’ve missed the point of atheism—missed it all along—
I thought I was an atheist, but now I know I’m wrong:
An atheist hates God, you see, because he loves his sins
(It says so in the bible, and the bible always wins).

An atheist loves cruelty; an atheist loves death;
Defending immorality with every lawless breath
Their ideal life is meaningless—it’s nasty, brutish, short—
I thought I was an atheist; I’m nothing of the sort!

Don’t ever ask an atheist, “You’re godless—tell me why”
They’re atheists, remember—all they’re gonna do is lie!
I, myself? I would have answered, but I clearly did not know
It’s all hating God and loving sin—the bible tells us so!

In a world of chance and chaos, where the godless blindly grope,
There’s no beauty in a sunset—there’s no poetry, no hope—
All is ultimately pointless, so it’s meaningless as well,
And at death, these unbelievers face eternity in hell.

Only God has love and kindness, as the atheists will learn
They’ll be sorry they denied Him, as unendingly they burn
There’s a lesson for the godless, which they eagerly ignore:
They could love God if they wanted… they just love their sinning more

From a silly little Gospel Centered Arminian Blog, a screed, “The Point of Atheism.” It’s nothing you haven’t seen before dozens of times–the author was witnessing to an atheist (“Jason”), and ignored everything Jason said. See, the truth is:

The reality is that the point of atheism is simple: Romans 1:18:

For the wrath of God is revealed from heaven against all ungodliness and unrighteousness of men, who by their unrighteousness suppress the truth.

Atheists simply hate God because they love their sins. This is the point of atheism.

It doesn’t matter what Jason told him. It doesn’t matter what I myself might say, or what any given atheist organization might say, or if hypothetically every atheist in the world agreed on one definition, but that definition disagreed with Romans 1:18 it would simply be more evidence that atheists are lying sinners, or sinning liars, or some such.

The truth is that when I observe a sunset and Jason observes a sunset, we both look at it through the lenses of a prior worldview assumption. He looks at a beautiful sunset and he sees nothing more than randomness taking place. He believes that nothing caused this sunset and it just exists by chance. I look at the same sunset and see the hand of Yahweh (Psalm 19:1-6). Jason has no hope. I have hope. Jason has no faith (well he does in Darwinian evolutionary theories) and I have hope in God. Jason lives a pointless life. I live a life where I seeking to not only love God but to help others to love Him along the way. Jason does good to others (at least he said he does) just because he is a human who evolved from a lower substance but I do good because I am created in the image of a good God (Genesis 1:26-27).

Atheism doesn’t produce hope. It produces death. I don’t doubt that religion can be equally as evil but I am not calling people to a religion. I am calling people to repentance and the truth in Christ (John 14:6). I don’t want religious people. I want disciples of Jesus (Matthew 28:19-20). I want people to love Christ and obey Him as Lord (Luke 6:46-49; John 14:15). I want people to bear the fruit of the Spirit by the work of the Spirit among them (Galatians 5:22-23) which is where true goodness comes from. I want people to obey God and His moral law by His grace (Titus 2:11-12).

What does atheism produce? Does it produce hope in people? Does atheism lead to great human compassion and acts of kindness? Where are the atheist groups feeding the poor, serving the sick and dying, giving hope to those who are struggling with life? Where are the atheist hospitals? Where are the large segment of atheists going forth defending life, morality, and purity?

And we could point to those atheist groups, and because they don’t agree with a particular narrow biblical definition, they will be ignored. Water off a duck’s back.

So why even bother writing this? Because the Arminian site, if you look at it, appears to find one group even more objectionable than atheists (I’m sure a similar pattern will hold for other groups, but this one was presented prominently). That’s right… Calvinists. As is so often the case, the big acrimony is reserved for those who are in the church down the street. And the internecine bickering is observed, and some of us find it much ado about nothing… and that is often step one toward atheism.

Not a hatred of god. But hey, don’t take my word for it. I just love to sin.

Apparently.

PS. As the cherry on top, at the end of the post, he links to a Ray Comfort video.

Sophisticated … Something.

I needed a few vital groceries
So I laced up my shoes and set forth
But I’d somehow forgotten my compass
So I didn’t know which way was North!

It’s just down the street that I’m heading
And I’ll hope against hope for the best
The store’s on the left when I get there
But I don’t really know if that’s West!

If I don’t have True North to depend on
I don’t know I can trust Left or Right
“Two Blocks Down” is just meaningless drivel
If I don’t have True North in my sight!

So I sit here–afraid to go shopping
I can’t drive to the market or mall
All directions are now without meaning
Without North, I know nothing at all!

So… yeah. My aggregator points me to a place that thinks C.S.Lewis had something reasonable to say about atheism:

“Supposing there was no intelligence behind the universe, no creative mind. In that case, nobody designed my brain for the purpose of thinking. It is merely that when the atoms inside my skull happen, for physical or chemical reasons, to arrange themselves in a certain way, this gives me, as a by-product, the sensation I call thought. But, if so, how can I trust my own thinking to be true? It’s like upsetting a milk jug and hoping that the way it splashes itself will give you a map of London. But if I can’t trust my own thinking, of course I can’t trust the arguments leading to Atheism, and therefore have no reason to be an Atheist, or anything else. Unless I believe in God, I cannot believe in thought: so I can never use thought to disbelieve in God.”

- C.S. Lewis, The Case for Christianity, p. 32

Thing is, this is the best they have to offer. And it’s shit. And I’ve addressed it many times before. In fucking verse. And if they can say “you have to read the sophisticated theology before you can say shit”, then I can say “you have to read my whole site first, then you can try to address what I haven’t already dismantled.”

An Atheist Town Council Prayer

The town of Greece, NY, as a result of their recent court decision, is going to have a town council opening prayer delivered by an atheist. This has left a segment of the Christian population utterly befuddled; when the bible is the only book you need, you are not likely to have a dictionary handy. As both articles and comments show an astonishing lack of imagination or understanding on the part of these concerned Christian citizens, I offered the following comment at the link above (for whatever reason, though, my comments never show up, so I have reproduced it, with additional comments in verse, here):

To pray, by definition, can mean to entreat, to beseech, to implore–to make a request of a person or persons. The verb is not restricted to communion with a god, but may include communion with our fellow citizens. If I were offering the opening prayer, I would beseech the council to remember that they serve *all* the citizens of their community, not just those who share their religious views. I would implore them to look to the constitution and laws for their guidance, instead of to a holy book that many in their community do not follow. I would entreat them to put themselves in the place of these others in their community, as their own bible tells them (Matthew 25:40). I would pray that they use their critical thinking, not merely their faith, in fulfilling the obligations of their elected office.

I beseech the worthy council
To remember, as we pause,
That they serve the constitution,
And the people, and the laws;
They are here as public servants
It is us they represent
By, and of, and for the people
Thus, they serve by our consent

I entreat them to remember
During arguments or fights
That minority positions
Do not lead to loss of rights;
That our freedom of expression
Will protect us as we rant—
We can favor our religion;
It’s the government that can’t.

I implore my fellow citizens
Here gathered by my side
To remember that we use
The constitution as our guide
The majority can’t bully—
We’re protected from attack,
If we heed the constitution
Then the founders have our back

And I pray to every one of you
The bold, the brash, the meek
If you hear or read my words,
Then it’s to you that I would speak
Let us gather here together
Cos there’s work that must be done
So let’s work with one another,
We the people… every one.

God Is Gonna Do Some Judging…

God is gonna do some judging—
Yes, He’s gonna show His wrath—
As a message that humanity
Has left the righteous path

God is gonna do some judging
And our sins have sealed our fate;
Yes, He’s going to show His visage
Any day now—just you wait!

God is gonna do some judging
And it’s gonna happen soon—
He will set the seas to boiling
Underneath a blood-red moon
He will punish us with torment
For the things we’ve all done wrong
And he’ll start now, any moment…
Well… It shouldn’t be too long.

God is gonna do some judging
So you’d better shape up quick
Cos the things He’s gonna do to you
Will more than make you sick
You’ll suffer, suffer, suffer
As a judgment for your sins—
You’ll regret your life of evil
From the moment He begins!
It’s a torture that’s eternal—
No relief can come from death!—
He’ll be starting… any minute…
Well, I wouldn’t hold my breath.

God is gonna do some judging—
Yes, we’ve heard it all before
God is coming down from Heaven
And he’s kicking down the door
Any second—any minute—
Any month or any year
Any century—millenium—
Yes, God will soon be here!

Cuttlecap tip to Ed, here.

OUCH!!!

When off on the road, a motel room’s a swell room—
Big beds, lots of pillows, and acres to stretch—
But no, I was sleeping on couches, so “ouch” is
The travel review from this Cuttlefish wretch.
Now, don’t get me wrong, I’m a happy old chappy;
I saw lots of family, and had a great time
But damn, it is clear that I’m older; my shoulder
Is hurting—beyond either reason or rhyme

Now, several days back, I’m still hurtin’ for certain
I’d love for this torment to just go away
I’ve iced, I’ve tried meds, I’ve tried showers for hours
But strangely, I’m not even tempted to pray
You know—if it works when I choose it, I’d use it
But prayer has a record of failure or worse.
So, no, I won’t pray, though I’m moaning and groaning…
With Pain for my muse, I’m complaining in verse.

Repeat After Me:

So you’ve got a new ambition—it’s to write a gospel song—
They will play it on the radio, and maybe sing along
But your knowledge of the bible isn’t really all that strong
If you’re thinking that’s a problem, I can tell you that you’re wrong!
You can write it with a single verse—not even one that rhymes,
Cos the trick is, you’ll repeat it several times!
You can write it with a single verse—not even one that rhymes,
Cos the trick is, you’ll repeat it several times!

Yes, you’ll write it with a single verse—not even one that rhymes,
Add some power chords and cymbals, and the feigned excitement climbs—
With your keyboard synthesizer you can make-believe it’s chimes
And repeat it, and repeat it, and repeat it many times
If it all gets too depressing, pick your chin up off the floor
And repeat the line you’ve written six times more!
If it all gets too depressing, pick your chin up off the floor
And repeat the line you’ve written six times more!

When you’re out of ammunition, take this little tip from me:
Repetition, repetition is the key!
Yes you’re out of ammunition, so this little tip from me:
Repetition, repetition is the key!
Repetition, repetition, repetition, repetition
Repetition, repetition is the key!
Repetition, repetition, repetition, repetition
Repetition, repetition is the key!

You can throw in “hallelujah!”; you can throw in “blessed be!”
(Hey, with just those words, you’ve got a verse—or maybe two or three!)
And for extra points, be sure to use a random “thou” or “thee”
And you’re ready for the radio, as far as I can see.
You’ll be ready for the big time—Christian love and Christian fame
No one cares if all your verses are the same!
You’ll be ready for the big time—Christian love and Christian fame
No one cares if all your verses are the same!

When you’re out of ammunition, take this little tip from me:
Repetition, repetition is the key!
Yes you’re out of ammunition, so this little tip from me:
Repetition, repetition is the key!
Repetition, repetition, repetition, repetition
Repetition, repetition is the key!
Repetition, repetition, repetition, repetition
Repetition, repetition is the key!

When you’re out of ammunition, take this little tip from me:
Repetition, repetition is the key!
Yes you’re out of ammunition, so this little tip from me:
Repetition, repetition is the key!
Repetition, repetition, repetition, repetition
Repetition, repetition is the key!
Repetition, repetition, repetition, repetition
Repetition, repetition is the key!

As I said, I’ve been listening to Christian radio. I found it offensive–not because of my atheism, but because of my aesthetic commitment to proper rhyming verse. Again and again, song after song, lazy songwriting! Maybe one song in a dozen would start off with a passable verse, but as if the effort had exhausted the songwriter, the remainder of the song would be the repetition of one phrase (say, “he is mighty” or “blessed be” or “certum est, quia impossibile“–ok, that last one is my own, I cheated), and perhaps a repetition of the first (and thus, only) verse. The rest of the songs were repetitious pablum dressed up in power chords and saccharine synthesizer riffs.

See, and I’m even a moderate fan of old-time gospel music and older, more serious, hymns. Done well, there can be beautiful music there. But, I suppose, done poorly takes much less time, and has to be that much more profitable.

I’m Back, Mostly

What a lovely returning gift–81 comments, most in verse!

I will likely be scarce for a little bit–my back is threatening to secede from the rest of my body. Driving is not natural for invertebrates, and I have done much driving and much sleeping on couches since you last heard from me, and I have not yet found the combination of heat, ice, narcotics, massage, or amputation to alleviate the pain.

I did find the perfect radio strategy for staying awake, though–I listen to Christian radio! I found out, from the Catholic Radio Network, that Protestants have chosen to ignore part of God’s word, and (from another network) that Catholics are not true believers. I heard a guy who spent several days sitting in Jesus’s lap, communing with God himself (he learned much more than he could tell us, but if we want to buy his book and CDs…); he prayed for us both in English and in spirit language, and healed a bunch of people over the radio. Not my back, though. It is very clear that there is no such thing as “Christianity” as a unitary category; the false front united against atheists is only visible a few times a year, during the War Against Christmas and whenever Michael Newdow goes to court. Other than that, it would appear that Christian sects fight like cats in a sack.

Oh, and Christian praise music has got to be the easiest way to earn a paycheck.

So there I am, listening to Christian radio, and I am kept fully awake by the steam coming out of my ears. Even better than political radio.

Now, if you’ll excuse me, I need to walk the dogs, mow the grass, weed the garden, wash the car, prep my fall courses, and have my right shoulder surgically removed.

Road Trip–Open Thread

Just a quick note to say, don’t expect me around for the next week to 10 days; I have no idea whether I will even have internet access at all.

I expect this comment thread to be full of wonderful stuff when I get back. That’s a reasonable expectation for an internet comment thread, isn’t it?