September 24, 2010 § 7 Comments
Atheist Climber Blog is turning One year old on October 10! Yay! And I remember like yesterday thinking “Do I have anything to write about? Will anyone care? Will anyone read it?” I just wish I had taken more baby photos!
Well you have all spoken to me by visiting and commenting on my blog. My measure of success has been reflected in the blog stats with over 60,000 page hits, over 100 subscribers, and more than 1500 comments for the 100+ articles and videos I have posted. This far surpasses my expectations and for that I thank you all.
To celebrate, I am in the process of interviewing a selection of prominent figures in humanism, atheism, science and critical thinking. Most of these will be in the form of written interviews, but who knows? I might, down the track, do some video or audio interviews too. This will be dependent on how these interviews are received by my readers.
I don’t want to say too much at this stage, but suffice to say, I already have confirmation from a few very prominent and important people who I’m sure you’d recognise. More information to come. So stay tuned!
The first interview will be published on Atheist Climber Blog’s first birthday, October 10, 2010. So come celebrate with me, and feed your brain with the words of some great thinkers.
September 7, 2010 § 27 Comments
It’s that time of the month again, and Outreach Media have released their new poster, which this time is an interesting one, and on a topic I have been thinking a bit about lately.
Basically this month’s billboard tells us that we are all forgiven for WHATEVER we do, as long as we take Christ into our hearts. OK, I disagree with this from the outset, but it’s the article that accompanies it that really gets my blood boiling. From the article:
“But the Bible’s opinion is that we’re all bad. For example, Jesus declares that our anger makes us all murderers at heart. Jesus makes it clear that God is only interested in those people who […] are ashamed and appalled at their sin.
“Is that you? Are you quietly dying inside? Is there something you’ve said, thought or done that’s ripping your insides out? Are you struggling to be around people because you feel you don’t deserve their company and they probably know you’re a fraud anyway?”
That’s right, you are a fraud! And don’t you try to pretend otherwise.
What really gets me about this whole attitude that the bible portrays is that firstly, you are corrupt and can ONLY find your way to truth if you put your trust and faith in God and Jesus, and secondly, that it doesn’t matter what you do, if you put your trust and faith in God and Jesus you will be forgiven for whatever you do in life. So many christians try to tell me that this is not what the bible means when it says these things.
What kind of incentive is there to actually take some responsibility for your own actions if you are just going to be forgiven for them when you “give up” everything to Jesus? What sort of incentive is there to be kind to your fellow-man if you can just repent at the last moment, feel some fleeting regret and instantly be forgiven?
And what sort of incentive is there for people to feel good about themselves if they are fraudulent, lying and born sinners? What sort of attitude is this to pass on to our children?
According to this, feel bad about yourself, and do whatever you please but as long as you believe in God and Jesus, you will be rewarded with a beautiful afterlife at God’s side.
I don’t know about you, but I was born right the first time. As were we all. I don’t need a Christian re-birth in heaven to make me perfect, I am perfect with all my human failings.
Sorry am I missing something?
EDIT: Added links to Outreach and the offending article.
August 4, 2010 § 3 Comments
Outreach Media have done it again. They have chosen a current topic (for which I applaud them) and then used it for their own message (for which I don’t applaud them). As you may know, I have written on the Outreach Media billboards several times, as I drive past them every day on my way to work, and am aware when they change them each month. This month’s theme is the upcoming Australian Federal Election.
Every month, accompanying their billboard, the have a bible verse, and this month’s is this:
1 Timothy 2:1-2 “I urge that supplications, prayers, intercessions, and thanksgivings be made for all people, for kings and all who are in high positions, that we may lead a peaceful and quiet life, godly and dignified in every way.”
This tract from Timothy speaks, in the context above, of praying for our leaders, because if we do, through the will of God, they will be kind and gentle to us. It also says to basically respect all others and that they might to the same to you. It ls like the Golden Rule, do unto others, except that it includes the act of prayer. That’s all very nice isn’t it?
However if one it to dig deeper into the verses of Timothy, after he declares that Jesus appointed him “a preacher and an apostle (I speak the truth, I lie not)”, and after he says that people should pray everywhere they go, the verse goes on to say in 1 Timothy 2
“9 In like manner, that women adorn themselves in modest apparel, with shamefastness and sobriety; not with braided hair and gold or pearls or costly raiment; 10 but (which becometh a woman professing godliness) through good works. 11 Let a woman learn in quietness with all subjection. 12 But I permit not a woman to teach, or have dominion over a man, but to be in quietness.”
Now that is odd, don’t you think? Because in the context of the story that Outreach have put the verse on their website, they are claiming that it doesn’t matter who you vote for, more importantly that you pray for them, and God will deliver the best candidate to us to look after us. It is very hypocritical, and somewhat misleading of them to use this verse from Timothy given what he says afterward, especially since Julia Gillard is a woman (oh and an atheist, but that’s ok, God will sort her out later). I wonder if Outreach Media took the time to read the rest of Timothy before suggesting that verse to us in the article.
Now I’m not going to pick on the Outreach article completely. It reads:
“God cares that people are looked after by their rulers. 1 Timothy 2:1-2 teaches us that we should pray for our government. They have such a tremendous and difficult duty. We should pray that our rulers will be wise in making decisions. We should pray that they consider the human rights of every Australian citizen.”
If you read this part, and take out the words “God” and “pray” it actually has a nice sentiment to it, for we do hope for the best from our leaders to treat people with the respect and fairness that all humans deserve. I’m sure you’ll agree. But it goes on to say:
“And, most importantly, we should pray that they serve the living God.”
So according to this article, it is more important that our leader be a god-fearing Christian than that they treat the people of their country with respect and a duty of care.
In fewer words, What Outreach Media is saying is this:
“Do not vote for Julia Gillard, because she is a woman and an atheist. Amen.”
Apart from the blatant sexual discrimination within the verses from Timothy, this is a great example of cherry-picking at the Bible to extract the meaning you want from it, rather than the meaning it actually has or implies. Again, I say, either believe and promote ALL of the Bible and its good and bad points, or promote none of it. If it really is the word of God, then don;t leave out the particularly juicy bits, especially Leviticus.
And as a bit of icing on the cake, the Outreach article adds this prayer at the bottom:
“Prayer: Dear God, thank you that Australia is a democracy where we can live in safety and freedom. Please help the elected Government to run our nation with wisdom and discernment, and to honour you in all things. Amen.”
So vote early, vote often, and vote for a Christian male, in the name of democracy, safety, freedom and God.
July 7, 2010 § 4 Comments
As you may know, I drive past a church billboard every day on my way to work, which is updated ever month with a new slogan and picture. These billboards are coming from Outreach Media, whom I’ve mentioned several times in my blog over the past months. And as usual, this month they are taking a contemporary concept and using it to espouse the gospel. And what a more current topic than the soccer (football, whatever you want to call it)?
Now this is by no means the most absurd billboard they have posted on the side of the Clifton Hill Presbyterian Church, and it is something I have been wondering about. When 2 sides are playing a sport, and they both pray to win, who does god listen to? The side that wins will say that because they prayed, they won. The losing side probably won’t mention it.
This month’s billboard uses a tract from Psalm 91 namely stanza 15 which reads:
“When he calls to me, I will answer him; I will be with him in trouble; I will rescue him and honour him”
The idea being that Jesus and God listen to everyone, all the time, not just in times of need. But the way it reads it is as though people who pray will get their wishes granted, and, well, if they don’t it can’t have been part of God’s plan.
“This is an amazing promise. The God who created the universe is inviting each and every one of us to talk and learn from Him one-on-one. He wants us to bring our requests, thanks, hurts and anxieties to Him without fear. He wants to build a deep and loving relationship with us. He wants to support us through the toughest of times and the best of times.”
And it goes on to say how God wants to have a personal relationship with each of us, so long as we believe in him, and pray to him for guidance, forgiveness and mercy, and to not cast us into the pits of Hell. So if we don’t pray to God, we don’t offer ourselves as servants and we deny God’s existence, God is not with us, even though God loves us all? And what about all the other of God’s children, the ones he created into a Muslim or Hindu family? Are they also not saved? Too many questions for just a mini blog.
The only one that wants to have a “deep relationship” with us is the church, for without the support of the people, the church dies. Simple as that.
What are your thoughts on this billboard?
June 9, 2010 § 5 Comments
Outreach Media have come up with yet another beauty of a poster this month, and the explanation is awesomely wrong. It basically says that no matter what you know about science and the natural world, don’t be fooled! It’s all “Made by God”.
The picture with it’s hundred funky 3D graffiti arrows pointing at presumably “everything” is obviously aimed at a younger generation, telling them to believe that all this, all around you is God’s creation. And I guess this is nothing new, for that’s what theists have claimed for centuries, before we understood how things really work.
But the hackneyed argument comes unstuck when they try and use the scientific “facts” to their advantage. The writeup says this:
“Take two molecules of Hydrogen, one molecule of Oxygen and combine them in the right way. Incredible! Now you’ve got two molecules of water. That’s all water is.”
EDIT: While this is technically correct, as explained to me below by Joseph (hydrogen and oxygen molecules being diatomic, the key word being molecule as opposed to atom), it goes on to say:
“No need to wax lyrical, or feel moved by it. It’s a scientific event. Just ask the weather man. Eventually science will label everything and at last we’ll be able to put the goose bumps away and get real about what the universe is made of. It’s just a collection of complex elements.
I mean, now we know what things are. We know them. Don’t we?
No! We absolutely don’t. Not by a long shot or a country mile or any other measure you care to use. Just putting a label on a cloud doesn’t sum up all its greatness. Just because we can break something down into smaller parts doesn’t mean that we can account for everything about it.”
And yet again we butt heads against the old argument “You don’t know everything, so a small amount of doubt means I am right!” The God-Of-The-Gaps rears its ugly head yet again. You can’t explain it 100%, so God exists 100%.