Who Needs Comedy When You’ve Got Worldnut Daily?

These aren’t tears of sadness glistening on my cheeks, my darlings. Not by half.

Make sure you’re securely seated with drinks fully swallowed. Ready? Go:

When Barack Obama looked Americans in the metaphoric eye and told them he was not and was never a Muslim, he had, admittedly, been worshipping at the Trinity United Church of Christ for 20-odd years. So we know for certain that he is not a Christian.

Pause.

Longer pause.

Bwah-ha ha ha ha ha! Hee hee whadafuckinmoron heh ha ha *snort* ohjeez. Heh.

I think I strained a muscle…. Ed Brayton’s got more where that came from, if you’re up to it. I need to go have a lie-down.

Thoughtful (If Snarky) Answers to Thoughtless Questions

One of the things that stood out like a red coat on a soldier during the whole cracker debacle was the sheer quantity of snivelling. In a thousand permutations, the charming and concerned Christians raised the cry: “Why don’t you desecrate the Koran? Why are you always picking on Christianity? Wah!”

Religious fuckwits being religious fuckwits (and mind, we’re not talking about the Christians here at the cantina who responded with rationality, restraint, and no little amount of hysterical laughter over the antics of their “brethren”), they decided the answer must be: “PZ’s afraid of the scary Mooslims!!1!!!11!”

In a word, no. And he proved that. The Koran ended up nailed to The God Delusion and the cracker, and all ended up in the trash, a vile act of desecration the Muslims have yet to start sending death threats over. To an atheist, no religion’s paraphenalia is sacred. And it’s not fear that keeps us from bashing Islam with the same abandon with which we bash fundamentalist Christianity.

It’s prevalence.

That simple.

You may have noticed that I don’t spend a vast amount of time around here unleashing the Smack-o-Matic 3000 upon the Animal Liberation Front, Harlequin Romances, white supremacists, or any one of ten thousand other ridiculous groups or detriments to culture. I might reach over and give any one of them a sharp rap on the knuckles from time to time, but I won’t dedicate multiple posts to them.

They have no power.

They don’t have the numbers, the organization, or the importance to be any great threat to my way of life, and there’s only so much stupid I can handle in a day. They’re not a priority.

Now, I know what the outraged little rabid Christians are going to scream: “But it was Islamofascists who attacked America!”

Yes, indeed, ’twas. And it was the born-again fuckwit in office who allowed them to succeed. It’s the cons in power who used that one terrible day to push through their religious and political agenda.

I know who the greater threat is, thanks ever so much. A handful of fanatics trickling in from overseas have got nothing on the native-born God brigade here.

Muslims haven’t achieved the kind of political power in this country that threatens the Constitution, no more than ALF has. They don’t have the kind of numbers to try to impose their religious fuckery by legislative fiat on this society. I don’t see Muslims getting themselves elected to school boards so they can sneak Intelligent Design and God into the classroom. I don’t see Muslims in high office doing everything they possibly can to create a theocracy. Until they have political and social power, fundamentalist Muslims just don’t matter much to me on a day-to-day basis.

They pop up their heads, I’ll be happy to use the Smack-o-Matic to play whack-a-mole before they get out of hand. Until then, I’m frantically busy with our own batshit insane theocons, thanks ever so much.

And there’s another important component here. They’ve never had power in this country. They’re a minority. They’ve got all they can handle trying to keep the old, established, have-to-make-up-persecutions-because-they’re-not-actually-persecuted Christians from destroying them.

Do you hear of Christians getting racially profiled at airports? No.

Christian phones being tapped without warrants simply because, as Christians, they’re assumed to be terrorists? No.

Is it Christians being tortured in Guantanamo Bay? No.

Is Monkey Boy George a fundamentalist Muslim? No.

Are Muslim universities turning out droves of right-wing asshats who then go on to infest every level of our government and come up with creative explanations as to why torture is perfectly legal? No.

Christians, on the other hand, have had vast power in this country from the bloody beginning, and they keep demanding more. So, while I might find Islam just as ridiculous as Christianity, and I despise fundamentalism of all stripes, I’m more inclined to give the few fundamentalist Muslims in this country a wee bit o’ a pass. So what if they want to impose Sharia law and all manner of other fuckery on us? It’s not even vaguely possible for them to do so at the moment, and in the meantime, they’re suffering really real persecution for being brown and calling God by the wrong name. My morals tell me you don’t apply the spiked boots to the bloke bleeding on the floor.

When the fucker gets up is a whole other matter. We’re not there yet.

You won’t see me being gentle on terrorists. You won’t see me indulging overwhelming religious stupidity just because the perpetrators happen to be a minority – if we have even a hint of what Denmark faced with the outrageous reaction to a few tasteless cartoons, you can bet the Smack-o-Matic’s coming out. But I’m not going to go out of my way searching out examples of fundamentalist Islamic stupidity out of some misguided attempt at balance.

Do I fear the reaction if I piss off the Islamic fundamentalists, who have at times demonstrated a rather distressing tendency to respond to ridicule with violence? No.

Listen. All a Muslim fanatic has the power to do right now is kill me. A Christian fanatic, on the other hand, has the power to destroy everything in my life that made it worth living.

You tell me what I should fear more.

I’ve Heard of Blind Stupidity, but This Is Going A Bit Far

More proof that religion can be hazardous to your health (h/t Dispatches from the Culture Wars):


At least 50 people have lost their sight after staring at the sun hoping to see an image of the Virgin Mary, according to reports.

Alarmed health authorities in India’s Kottayam district have set up a sign dispelling rumours of a miraculous image in the sky and warning of the dangers of looking into direct sunlight.

Forty-eight cases of sight-loss, allegedly caused by photochemical burns on the retina, have been recorded at St Joseph’s ENT and Eye hospital in the region since Friday.

Despite warnings, and the potentially harmful effects of their actions, believers are allegedly still flocking to a hotelier’s house in Erumeli near where the divine image is said to have appeared.


This conjures some interesting possibilities for sadistic fun. “Jesus is in my oven!” “I saw God in this blast furnace!” If only I were so cruel – I might be able to solve our frothing fundie problem.

Those damned morals. I thought atheists didn’t have ’em, but there they are. Barstards.

There’s a Problem With God’s Sequencing Here

We’re all used to very religious people latching on to a coincidence and claiming the hand of God (or other deity of choice). But this is the clearest example of muddled thinking I’ve come across in a very long time.

Let’s set the scene first:


INDIANAPOLIS – An Indianapolis woman believes a higher power helped her and her two young great-granddaughters survive a shooting this week.

Before stray bullets from a gun battle ripped through her car, Charlotte Thompson didn’t even know what gunfire sounded like.


Common enough situation, o’ course: innocent people caught in the crossfire survive and thank God for it. We’ll skip ahead a bit here to see why Charlotte Thompson thinks she has better evidence than most for that divine intervention: we discover that the bullet hit a Bible, minced a Sunday school book, and ended up lodging in a watermelon:


“Right in the watermelon. Didn’t come out of the watermelon,” Thompson said. “The word of God and the Lord’s power saved. He sent the bullet into the watermelon.”

All righty, then. Now, let’s backtrack a bit, follow the path of the bullet, and discover why Dana choked on her drink:


Her 10-year-old great granddaughter was sitting in the back seat, shot in the stomach. “We heard this pow, pow, pow, pow, pow, pow,” Thompson said. “Then Shyann said, ‘Oh! I’m shot!’”

“I turned around and looked and she raised up her shirt and I could see the bullet,” Thompson said. “I could see where it went in and where it went out.”

[snip]

Police later showed Thompson the path the bullet took through her car. She now believes that path was guided by God.

“Came through the door, hit her, then it went to the Bible,” she said. The Bible was sitting on the seat between the two girls. “It went in here and come out here and it shredded my Sunday School book. The Word of God slowed the bullet so that it didn’t kill anybody.”

Did anyone else spot the problem with the sequence? The word of bloody God didn’t stop the bullet until after the child got shot in the stomach.

If this is the best God can do with stopping bullets, I think I’m better off an atheist, thanks so much. I’ll just line my car with hardcover copies of The Lord of the Rings. That’s actually thicker than most Bibles: I doubt I’ll even need a supplementary Silmarillion or The Hobbit for added protection. Even then, I won’t be claiming the power of Tolkien influenced a screaming chunk of high-velocity lead.

Why is it that belief in gods leads to such horrifically muddled thinking? I mean, do you really have such a tremendous urge to glorify God that it allows you to ignore the fact a ten-year old got shot in the stomach? Is it really okay that your God’s this inept?

At least with the laws of physics, you’re not left wondering what the kid might have done to piss them off.

When Persuasion Doesn’t Work, Try Threats, Eh?

I’m sure most of you have read the story of Rick’s pretty pamphlet by now. If you’re one of the five non-Pharyngula readers, go ahead and click through – we’ll wait.

(Dude – you know what we Pharyngula fans need to do this Christmas? Rewrite all the carols to the theme of squid. Nice, eh?)

You guys back? Excellent. So, I’m sure you noticed a pattern to that church’s pamphlet: it started out all warm and fluffy and then bludgeoned you with the “You’re gonna rot in HELL if you don’t BELIEVE!!1!!1!!!” These things always end in threats, and frequently tears, don’t they?

It brought to mind one of my favorite stories from Garrett. His friend Steve Stone, who’s a pagan and a Jew (great combo!) got a letter from one of the local churches “inviting” him to join. He announced this to the pagan church he belongs to one outing.

They all crowded ’round. “Steve, what’d it say?”

“Well,” Steve said, “it was kinda like this.” He put on his best Mafia don voice and paraphrased, “You come to church, you pay your tithe, we don’t gotta problem. You don’t come to church, you don’t pay your tithe, we gots a problem.”

Nailed it!

Every single proselytizer I’ve spoken to has come down to the same thing in the end: threats. The answer to “Why should I believe?” isn’t “Because it will enrich your life beyond measure.” It’s always, “Because if you don’t, you’ll burn in Hell.” Some of them don’t state it quite so baldly, but that’s always the subtext. They get that fearful look in their eyes. They go pale and clammy and animated and babble about how it’s not a good idea to piss of God.

You know something? If God’s that much of an asshole, I’d rather end up in Hell anyway, thanks ever so much. At least the people there will be quite a bit more interesting, and from what I’ve read of Satan, he could hold a lively conversation and likes good music.

If you have to resort to threats to get people to convert, your religion’s got some serious issues.

And what the fuck is up with these sunlit-clouds motifs? Every evangelical religious site and pamphlet is infested with kitschy sunlit-cloud photos. It’s so vapid. And it’s totally at odds with the whole “God loves you unless you don’t toe the line – then he’s really gonna be pissed” motif. Why not illustrate with something like this:

Desecration Done Right

Old news by now, I’m sure, but PZ did the deed. The cracker, the Koran, and a twist entry have all suffered an ignoble fate. And while none of the religious loons will see it this way, this little act of desecration should lead to some important considerations.

PZ’s post on this is a tour de force. It’s not about getting up the noses of the religious: it’s about the power of symbols, and the danger of letting the symbols have too much power. It’s about the use symbols have been put to that led to pain, suffering and death for those deemed other. I’ll just give you the closing paragraph, because it says everything that needs to be said:


Nothing must be held sacred. Question everything. God is not great, Jesus is not your lord, you are not disciples of any charismatic prophet. You are all human beings who must make your way through your life by thinking and learning, and you have the job of advancing humanity’s knowledge by winnowing out the errors of past generations and finding deeper understanding of reality. You will not find wisdom in rituals and sacraments and dogma, which build only self-satisfied ignorance, but you can find truth by looking at your world with fresh eyes and a questioning mind.

Even if you think Jesus is your lord, and you believe God is great, the rest of that paragraph pertains to you. The moment you don’t think it does is the moment you run the risk of becoming one of those poor, deluded fools who believe that in order to save a cracker from an ignoble end, you must murder a human being. You disrespect your god by believing he is so limited that he can be injured by the actions of one non-believer. You show that faith is a fragile, hopeless thing, a weapon that harms rather than heals.

What is the sacred if it’s not something so transcendent that it can survive any attempt to destroy it?

It’s too bad so many people are so small and insecure that they miss the truth. I hope that PZ’s courageous cracker contempt drops the scales from at least a few of their eyes. Alas, I’m not holding my breath.

What a Fucking Hypocrite

Bill Donahue’s fuckwittery knows no bounds. I’m going to have to find myself a dictionary of invective, because my usual adjectives seem remarkably inadequate in the face of his hypocrisy. I don’t know how anyone can claim to be holding the moral high ground when neck-deep in the bullshit, but he’s claiming for all he’s worth despite the telltale stench.

Let’s deconstruct a few things here.

First off, the name of his pet project:

CATHOLIC LEAGUE
FOR RELIGIOUS AND CIVIL RIGHTS

He demands religious and civil rights for Catholics. Fair enough. What makes him a hypocrite? Well, perhaps the fact he doesn’t seem to believe in religious and civil rights for other folks. If he did, we wouldn’t end up with screeching such as this:


“The biology professor made it clear that he would never disrespect Islam the way he does Catholicism. When asked about those who abuse the Koran, for example, he said such an act was analogous to desecrating a graveyard. ‘That’s completely different,’ he said. ‘I don’t favor [that idea].’ But when it comes to the Body of Christ, he opines, ‘The cracker is completely different.’

“This isn’t the first time Myers has shown deference to Islam. For instance, two years ago he was critical of the Danish cartoons that simply depicted an image of Muhammad. ‘They [the cartoons] lack artistic or social or even comedic merit, and are presented as an insult to inflame a poor minority.’ So now the Planet-of-the-Apes biologist has divined himself an expert on the artistic value of cartoons. So thoughtful of him. He even went so far as to say that Muslims ‘have cause to be furious.’ (His italic.) Worthy of burning down churches, pledging to behead Christians and shooting a nun in the back, Professor Myers?”

My goodness me. Here’s what I’m hearing from him: it’s a no-good, despicable, terrible, awful thing to desecrate a cracker, cuz it’s important to Catholics. There’s a decided lack of condemnation of those who sent PZ death threats, which is as much as saying, “The bastard deserves ’em!” He all but states outright that the Eucharist is far more sacred to Catholics than the Koran is to Muslims. And as for those cartoons perpetrating what, to Islam, is an outrageous sacrilege, well, their outrage was totally unworthy!

I have news for Mr. Donahue: Muslims feel pretty damned strongly about depictions of the Prophet, from what I understand. It’s pretty much on par with mistreating a consecrated cracker. So what, pray tell, is the fucking difference? Why was an atheist less dismissive of Muslim outrage than Crusader Bill?

Might have something to do with the fact he wasn’t being a raging hypocrite, unlike Bill “He Likes Moooslims More Than Us!!11!1!” Donahue.

PZ never did say that the Muslims who went overboard had every right to burn churches, pledge to murder Christians, shoot nuns, etc. In fact, let’s see what he did say:


So on the one hand I see a social problem being mocked, but on the other—and here comes the smug godless finger-wagging—I see a foolish superstition used as a prod to mock people, and a people so muddled by the phony blandishments of religion that they scream “Blasphemy!” and falsely pin the problem on a ridiculous insult to a non-existent god, rather than on the affront to their dignity as human beings and citizens. Religion in this case has accomplished two things, neither one productive: it’s distracted people away from the real problems, which have nothing at all to do with the camera-shy nature of their imaginary deity, and it’s also amplified the hatred.

It also doesn’t help that their riots are confirming the caricatures rather than opposing them. Once again, religiosity turns people into mindless frenzied zombies, and once again it interferes with progress.


Oh, there’s more, if that wasn’t enough. It wasn’t Islam PZ was deferring to at all. Read the whole post, and you’ll see that PZ’s principles stand inviolate, despite his sympathy.

Let us now turn to Bill’s creative quotemining of PZ’s interview with the Minnesota Independent. So nice of Bill not to provide a link, but never fear! I have the power of the Google. And here’s the section in question, sans elipses:


MnIndy: What about the stories of US military personnel urinating on and otherwise abusing copies of the Koran in Iraq? Were you outraged by that, or is that a different version of this for you?

Myers: There’s a subtle difference there — maybe an important difference. I don’t favor the idea of going to somebody’s home or to something they own and possess and consider very important, like a graveyard — going to a grave and desecrating that. That’s something completely different. Because what you’re doing is doing harm to something unique and something that is rightfully part of somebody else — it’s somebody else’s ownership. The cracker is completely different. This is something that’s freely handed out.


Oh, deary me. Bill had to do quite a lot of manipulating to twist that comment into something he could use to prove his point. He wasn’t making it clear he wouldn’t desecrate Islam: he was saying he wouldn’t desecrate something unique or something someone else possesses. That’s showing respect for the person, not the religious object itself. And I believe that would be why, now that some enterprising Catholics have sent PZ a few copies of the Koran, he can desecrate away without compromising that statement. Like the cracker, they were freely given. They’re not unique – Korans aren’t quite as cheap as Communion wafers, but they’re available for a decent price at any Barnes and Noble. There’s even a copy sitting on the shelf behind me.

So PZ’s going to do what so many concerned Catholics have asked him to: he’s going to give the Host and the Koran equal treatment. Bill should be happy. He practically begged PZ to show Catholic and Muslim sacred objects equal respect, and considering that PZ’s whole point is that religion doesn’t deserve this knee-jerk deference, what the fuck did he expect?


“The latest threat by Myers only makes matters worse. Instead of treating Catholicism with the respect he has previously shown for Islam, he now pledges to disrespect Islam the way he pledges to disrespect Catholicism (once again!). This is his idea of equal treatment. “


Why, yes. Yes, it is. He’s not a hypocrite, you see. Unlike Bill, who will go into a rabid froth over PZ threatening a cracker, bitch about how he respects Islam more (completely ignoring the context of PZ’s statements on Islam, which is that he doesn’t respect it at all), and, after allowing his followers to demand the desecration of the Koran, now decries PZ for offering to do it because what he really wanted was for PZ to run off with his tail between his legs.

You wa
nt to know what might have given you a quantum of credibility, there, Bill? Maybe you should have issued one of your famous press releases decrying the death threats, asking your mob of religious fuckwits to cease and desist (as PZ did when some of his – shall we say, enthusiastic but clueless – fans started sending hate mail right back to the haters), stating strongly that requesting the desecration of the Koran is just as wrong as threatening a cracker, and asking PZ for a dialogue to see if some understanding could be reached.

But Bill Donahue has no interest in doing any of those things. He doesn’t want to foster understanding between believers and non-believers. He doesn’t give two tugs on a dead dog’s dick what PZ does to a Koran, until it allows him to pretend a superior morality. And now he’s trying to set the Muslims on PZ, and it definitely seems like he’s hoping they’ll go all suicide bomber so that the Catholic League can say “See! We only threatened his life!”

I wonder how the Muslims’ deafening silence is sitting with him? They don’t seem unduly concerned. They’re not flooding PZ’s inbox with hate, death threats, and long rants about how important it is for PZ not to desecrate the Koran. I think it’s because the majority of them realize that PZ Myers messing about with a mass-produced copy of the Koran is going to do zero damage to Islam. I know it’s not because they haven’t heard about PZ’s promise: Bill’s made sure the news is spread as far and wide as possible. Way to show what a bigoted asshole you are, Bill.

I’m not sure what Ibrahim Hooper at CAIR is going to say to all of this. I hope he sees Bill “Fuck the Mooslims Unless I Can Use Them to Bolster My Martyrdom” Donahue for the batshit insane fucking hypocrite he is, and responds accordingly. After all, it’s Donahue’s followers who brought this on the Koran. PZ was going to stop at a Catholic cracker until they got involved.

Way to spread the Christian love, eh?

Why Christian Businesses Should Read the Articles They Link To

Occasionally, I check Sitemeter to see Who’s Honoring Me Now (copyright Stephen Colbert). Occasionally, that turns out to be extraordinarily amusing.

Take, for instance, this referral:

Weird, says I. What the fuck would a site called Profit God’s Way be referring people to me for? Unless they’re bitching about me… There was that article on shady Christian businesses that wasn’t too flattering. Bet they’re pissed! Yippee!

So off I click to discover what awful things are being said about me. All I get is this:

Well, that’s disappointing. Just a lame fucking advertisement. But I’ve got to be on this page somewhere: otherwise, no one would’ve clicked through it to my blog.

*scroll scroll scroll* HA HA HA HA HA! Aren’t they cute?


(click to embiggen)

Still no me. What the fuck?

*scroll scroll Your product is so great!!1!!1!! blah blah scroll scroll scroll*

*pause*

*really long pause*

Seriously?

THEY FUCKING LINKED TO MY ARTICLE! AH HA HA HA HA HA! HEE HEE HEE! WAH-HA HA HA HA SNORT WHEEZE BWAH HA HAow. I think I strained something.

So no shit. I had to go surfing through the site to verify it wasn’t a spoof. Had to be a spoof, right? I mean, who’s gonna be that stupid?

Forget I asked.

Self-explanatory, really.

I don’t know how long I’ll be up there before someone figures out that – how do I put this delicately? – linking to my article isn’t quite in keeping with the overall message of their website. In fact, it’s pretty fucking counter-productive. I’m sure my enshrinement there will be temporary.

But the amusement value will last me the rest of my life.

Richard Dawkins et al Aren’t Really Atheists, Sez Religious Scholar

I’ve stumbled across an interview in Salon that should keep us all thoroughly entertained for weeks. Super-duper religious scholar James Carse is, according to the article, “out to rescue religion from both religious fundamentalists and atheists.” Since he redefines atheism to be something completely nonsensical, I don’t know who he thinks he’s saving religion from.

You see, according to his rarified definition of atheism, Richard Dawkins doesn’t qualify. None of us do. Observe:


Given what’s happening in the world right now, do you think there’s a lot at stake in how we talk about religion and belief?

Absolutely. In the current, very popular attack on religion, the one thing that’s left out is the sense of religion that I’ve been talking about. Instead, it’s an attack on what’s essentially a belief system.

Are you talking about atheists like Richard Dawkins and Sam Harris?

Yes. There are several problems with their approach. It has an inadequate understanding of the nature of religion. These chaps are very distinguished thinkers and scientists, very smart people, but they are not historians or scholars of religion. Therefore, it’s too easy for them to pass off a quick notion of what religion is. That kind of critique also tends to set up a counter-belief system of its own. Daniel Dennett proposes his own, fairly comprehensive belief system based on evolution and psychology. From his point of view, it seems that everything can be explained. Harris and Dawkins are not quite that extreme. But that’s a danger with all of them. To be an atheist, you have to be very clear about what god you’re not believing in. Therefore, if you don’t have a deep and well-developed understanding of God and divine reality, you can misfire on atheism very easily. [emphasis added]

“Misfire on atheism?” What the fuck is that supposed to mean? Maybe my rough-and-ready street philosophy is inadequate to the task of understanding Mr. Carse’s elevated definitions, but what he seems to be saying here is that you can’t be an atheist if you have a counter-belief system (i.e., if you can explain most of the mysteries of life by turning to science and reality). You also seem to have to be some sort of religious scholar to qualify. You have to understand “god” to not believe in “god.” And you have to define which god it is, exactly, you don’t believe in. Otherwise, you’re apparently not an atheist.

And here I thought it was so simple. I thought that, to be an atheist, you just don’t believe in gods. None of ’em. I thought that blanket unbelief was good enough. Nobody told me going in to this that I’d have to debunk every fucking god individually, and that I can only do that if I have a deep understanding of all of the fuckers.

Are you fucking kidding me?

All right. Let’s play ball. Let’s have Mr. Carse define religion. Oh, wait, he can’t:


What, then, do you mean by religion?

Religion is notoriously difficult to define. Modern scholars have almost unanimously decided that there is no generalization that applies to all the great living religions. Jews don’t have a priesthood. Catholics do. The prayer in one tradition is different from another. The literature and the texts are radically different from each other. So it leaves us with the question: Is there any generalization one could make about religion?


What he eventually comes up with, after much spewing of the philosophical bunkum, is that religion is simply a belief system that’s survived a few thousand years. Got that? If it ain’t ancient, it ain’t religion.

Now that we’ve discovered the bugger can’t define religion, let us return to his discussion of what an atheist is:


And yet, you’ve just told me that you yourself don’t believe in a divine reality. In some ways, your critique of belief systems seems to go along with what the new atheists are saying.

The difference, though, is that I wouldn’t call myself an atheist. To be an atheist is not to be stunned by the mystery of things or to walk around in wonder about the universe. That’s a mode of being that has nothing to do with belief. So I have very little in common with them. [emphasis added]

So, in order to be an atheist, it’s not enough to not believe in gods. It’s not enough to explain the universe not by resorting to the supernatural, but by reaching for the natural. It’s not enough to not believe in one single, solitary fucking supernatural thing. We can’t even have a sense of wonder about the universe.

You know what? I’m done. This guy had a little kernel of a good idea at the very beginning, when he was discussing belief systems vs. religion. But once you get through those first couple of paragraphs, where it looks like he’s going to present sound ideas that have real philosophical merit, he just skews off into this mumbling bullshit. Wait ’till you hit his celebration of “higher ignorance” bit. For all of us who thirst for knowledge, this clown is like a nice, cold mirage: pretty to look at in some respects, utterly fucking useless when it comes right down to it, and definitely not what you need.

He just wants humanity to celebrate a different kind of stupid. I think we’ve had quite enough ignorance of all stripes.

At least we have an explanation as to why this twit can’t recognize an atheist. There is that small consolation.

Why Christian Businesses Should Advertise As Such

Ron at Bay of Fundie narrowly missed getting fleeced by a Christian business. Fortunately, they gave the game away by attempting to proselytize. While searching for a replacement hard drive for his iPod, he discovered a page on one seller’s site that announced its mission to bring people to Jesus. That told Ron to look elsewhere:

I decided to look around a bit more, just to make sure that iFixit really was the best place to get the drive.

Ultimately, I ended up buying a drive on eBay. There’s an eBay shop that was selling a new 30 GB drive for less than iFixit was selling a used one. I guess they shouldn’t have tried to sell me Jesus. They ended up not selling me anything.

I’ll argue that from the point of view of the business, that’s undoubtedly true: they shouldn’t have tried to sell Jesus because of the subsequent loss of a sale. But from a consumer’s point of view, they absolutely should try to sell Jesus. It warns the rest of us to be on the lookout for scams.

A person who will lie to you and tell you that everything in the Bible is true isn’t even going to blink at selling you shoddy goods, and charging you more than you’d pay for a better product elsewhere.

Self-proclaimed Christian companies are just as moral as the self-proclaimed Religious Right: i.e., not moral at all. I’ve noticed a pattern over the years: if a company is busy trying to tell you they’re a wonderful Christian business you can feel good dealing with, once you’ve scratched the surface, you’ll find a raving bunch of shysters under that pretty gold paper. Take Servicemaster’s slogan: “To honor God in all we do.” It was a company based heavily on Christian values. This translated to breaking federal labor and environmental laws, lying to employees, lying to customers, and milking every customer for every last penny possible, especially when the customer was being charged for an error the company had made.

This has not been an isolated instance. Remember: I’ve been dealing with small and mid-sized businesses for a decade now, and the pattern has held true. The more the company tries to convert its customers, the more likely it is they’re needing to create a pool of guillable victims. Even if they’re genuinely motivated by a desire to save your soul from damnation, there’s still a strange pattern of fundamentalist Christian businesses providing worse service and goods at higher prices.

That being so, I hope they continue to advertise as good, honest Christian companies. It makes it so much easier to avoid scams.