Posts Tagged ‘bible’

How to Counter the Phelps Clan and the Westboro “Baptist” “Church”

March 3, 2011

As I’m sure you all have heard by now, the Supreme Court has ruled in favor of Phelps and his Minions regarding freedom of speech. And while I don’t ultimately disagree with their ruling, it frustrates me that there isn’t a way to punish these monstrous, vile, sub-human pieces of filth (Edited to clarify: I don’t actually advocate punishing them, but I wish I could frustrate them as they do me). But we have no right to legislate against idiocy. I’m paraphrasing a paraphrase of Thomas Jefferson through Mark Crislip that the only remedy for nonsense is ridicule, and I whole-heartedly agree. I want to get to a point where they’re beyond ridicule.

I hear and read all the time that if only “the media” would let go of it, if we all just ignore them, they’ll go away. I think we all know that and agree deep down, but I don’t think shouting “just ignore them” is going to change a damn thing. It’s like gawking at a traffic accident. While we’re in the back of the traffic jam, we curse those in front who gawk, but when we get up there, we can’t help but do it ourselves. Same thing with WBC. “Ignore the wreck and just keep going” aint ever gonna happen.

So, the question then is, What Next?

Below, about a year ago, I highlighted a roaring success of a counter-protest launched against the Westboro goons. The fact that they did fundraising for local gays and lesbians was AWESOME, and that they seized the opportunity to turn a hateful event into a positive and uplifting one with positive or funny signs, people giving out hugs, etc. was EVEN AWESOMER.

While I agree with those aspects (of positive messages and raising money), I think we need to do more. Standing around and holding signs? Kinda cool. Holding up bigger objects in front of them to block them from view? Eh, I guess kinda better. C’mon, I think we could do WAY BETTER THAN THAT – do more with this passion and this energy, more with the anger and frustration that we may have regarding this ruling, the restlessness and helplessness that some of us may feel.

So, here’s my proposal:

The only way to ever get the Phelpses to stop is to go after what they’re going after – to ensure that their goals are countered at every stop, so that it no longer is worth their effort, no longer worth their time, no longer worth their money, and no longer an effective means to spread their childish, hateful message. (Again edited to clarify: I am not proposing that we stop them from exercising their right to free speech. What I am proposing though is that we show through our action that the content of their speech is crazy on its face, because right next to the people saying gays are the cause of all the problems in the world, all the gays and atheists and christians and whatever are coming out and working together to actually make it a better place.)

Their whole schtick, in a nutshell, is that the death of soldiers, national tragedies, and other random disasters is the pouring of their god’s wrath upon America for being more accepting of homosexuals (and I think we still have a long way to go in that regard, but that’s a topic for another post). So, their goal is to have people be less accepting, more hating, more afraid of homosexuals, right?

So then our goal should be to turn each of their “protests” into events that directly benefit homosexuals: their communities, their educational opportunities, their career advancement, their reputation in the eyes of ignorant haters. Instead of just standing around with posters, and in addition to doing fundraising to benefit to local LGBTQ community group, local counter-protesters should do public – and publicizable – acts of charity and good works. We should all get together and do a street clean-up. Set up a mobile soup kitchen down the road from the wackos with the dayglo signs. Bake sales and sexy sexy car washes with proceeds benefiting local groups. Let’s get creative, people!

Don’t get me wrong, I love the funny and poignant and love-filled signs, but it just strikes me as not enough. It’s not enough just to mimic them, to copy their method. We’re reacting with the same action when we need to meet their action with an equal and opposite reaction.

As recent events have shown, social media are powerful mechanisms for effecting change. The Dub-Bub-Chubs announce where they’ll be and when, and so I encourage anyone and everyone who reads this to spread the word, organize, get out there, and turn it into a positive event. Positive for the ones they target, positive for the community, positive for the human race. And again, to emphasize, I laud those who have guarded mourning families with their wings, their flags, their bodies, their signs. And certainly the existing mechanisms for countering the “church” should continue. I just don’t think it’s enough. I want to see a future where wherever they go, there’s something better going on to report on, where their only mention is brief and cursory – as “those wackaloons again”- and then move on to the real story of how we raised 20K for scholarships to high school gays. How we cleaned up the park and beaches. How we raised enough money to renovate a youth center. How we made sandwiches and soup and gave it out to the homeless. How we made lemonade, literally and figuratively.

So – University unity groups, church groups, atheist groups, any loners out there who’ve always wanted to help counter the Phelpses’ message, let’s get out there! Find out when they’re coming to your area, organize a positive event based on your community needs, and let’s all be the ones to take advantage of them for a change!

Creation “Museum” — Also Ugly

January 22, 2010

You might as well put a saddle on old Ken Ham these days. That poor old dinosaur is getting ridden constantly. Every time someone bothers to write about his Creation “Museum,” they come away with the same basic reaction: “Oh, the Creation … ‘Museum.'” It is important to make a full, and distinct, “airquotes” motion with your hands, because someday in the future, it will be the gold standard for denoting sarcasm.

This time, it is A.A. Gil from Vanity Fair who gets the sour taste of Ken Ham’s “museum” (Ken Ham will be alright though, most of his audience isn’t allowed to read a sinful thing like Vanity Affair).

What is truly awe-inspiring about the museum is the task it sets itself: to rationalize a story, written 3,000 years ago, without allowing for any metaphoric or symbolic wiggle room. There’s no poetic license. This is a no-parable zone. It starts with the definitive answer, and all the questions have to be made to fit under it. That’s tough.

Ahh, so true. It reminds me again of what Fred Clark has pointed out — these people are living with a serious false dichotomy. It is a sad thing to have people living with rigid minded thinking taken to its very limit — the impossible is true, or nothing is true. After writing my previous post on Ken Ham, I poked around Answers in Genesis a little, and came across this gem. Ladies and Gentlemen, I give you, Dr. Jason Lisle:

Materialistic atheism is one of the easiest worldviews to refute. A materialistic atheist believes that nature is all that there is. He believes that there is no transcendent God who oversees and maintains creation. Many atheists believe that their worldview is rational—and scientific. However, by embracing materialism, the atheist has destroyed the possibility of knowledge, as well as science and technology. In other words, if atheism were true, it would be impossible to prove anything!

Oh snap! I was about to get popcorn but it looks like my frail worldview is about to get face-fucked by god again! Alright, I can take it, whip it out Jason!

Laws of logic are God’s standard for thinking. Since God is an unchanging, sovereign, immaterial Being, the laws of logic are abstract, universal, invariant entities. In other words, they are not made of matter—they apply everywhere and at all times. Laws of logic are contingent upon God’s unchanging nature. And they are necessary for logical reasoning. Thus, rational reasoning would be impossible without the biblical God.

The materialistic atheist can’t have laws of logic. He believes that everything that exists is material—part of the physical world. But laws of logic are not physical. You can’t stub your toe on a law of logic. Laws of logic cannot exist in the atheist’s world, yet he uses them to try to reason. This is inconsistent. He is borrowing from the Christian worldview to argue against the Christian worldview. The atheist’s view cannot be rational because he uses things (laws of logic) that cannot exist according to his profession.

Boom! GG fellow atheists, the jig is up. We cannot be rational because you can’t stub your toe on logic. With logic like that, who needs faith? The good doctor has just explained to us, (in so many words) that the god of the bible is literally true, or else there could be no such thing as ideas. And you certainly don’t think that there aren’t no ideas right? So God exists! GG again, thieving atheists. And to think all this time I thought logic proved god wrong, I was just proving *I* was wrong, because logic proves god! Bam! Dr. Jason Lisle continues on like this, even bringing up the smelly old arguing about the existence of air bit. Such thin gas, but so foul. QualiaSoup (from youtube) has several excellent videos that discuss this kind of flawed thinking quite well.

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It is a bad place for a person to be. Unfortunately, this is the place that millions of Americans are, and where people like Ken Ham are trying to keep them. Getting them to move away from that place is going to be a lot harder than it is to make fun of Ken Ham.

Can Ken Ham can ham?

January 15, 2010

Around the World with Ken Ham. A, round world, Ken Ham? Where in the bible, does it say the world is round? I wouldn’t mind being literally shown, where someone literally explains, (or, this being religion, baldly asserts) that the earth is round. There is probably some apologetics for that somewhere, though. More importantly, Ken Ham comes from Australia. Atheists are having a big convention in Melbourne, and he does not approve.

Imagine—listening to a meaningless talk at a meaningless conference held on a meaningless planet in a meaningless universe! Now, that would be an uplifting conference

Alright Ken, I’ll play your game. Meaningless talk…got it….meaningless conference…ok….planet….universe….alright I’m set. So something like…..

The next generation is calling it quits when it comes to traditional church attendance, and it’s not just happening on the fringe—it’s occurring in main-line denominations as well, says a local church, pointing to national studies.

St. Luke Church in Haslett is holding an open discussion on how the church, Sunday School and families can more effectively pass on the faith to coming generations.

This 90-minute workshop will be facilitated by Nate Burmeister, director of Fellowship and Youth at St. Luke, on Thursday evening, Jan. 14 from 7–8:30 p.m., in classroom 203.

The general public is invited to attend this free forum.

AHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHH! So empty, so void of life! Oh why, WHY did I chose to be on the wrong side of history?!!

Anyway, Ken Ham is obviously struggling with a bit of cognative dissonance here. I mean, he’s from Australia, and he’s a young-earth creationist.

Let those things sink in for a second.

As Fred Clark from slacktivist has pointed out, that is impressively absurd. Ken Ham is from a place with punchlines older than he claims for, say, all the existence of the universe. There are Kangaroo shits that have been around longer than Ken Ham gives for all of time.

I first was going to post about Ken Ham when the Secular Student Alliance, along with PZ Myers, went to Ham’s wretched Creation “Museum.”  Looking at various posts and videos that came out of that trip, I realized that the Creation “Museum” is really more like “The Creationist Hospital.” It is a tiny oasis in an otherwise relentless erosion of their beliefs, faith, entire world view.

Quoting Fred Clark again from the same post linked above,

The real problem with Answers in Genesis can’t be found in Genesis, or in their tortured reading of it. The real problem is that they’ve somehow become convinced that there exist two and only two possibilities. Either their particular, smallish reading of Genesis is “literally” true and the world was created in six, 24-hour days about 6,000 years ago by their particular, smallish notion of god, or else the universe and human existence within it are meaningless, a realm violence and death in which kindness, goodness, justice and beauty are nothing more than illusion. They believe that either the history of the universe is a brutally short 6,000 years, or else life in that universe is nasty, brutish and short and nothing but. They prefer the former, understandably. And any challenge to it — by argument or by exposure to science or reality — is thus interpreted as an affirmation of the latter view

This brings us back to the tragic figure of Ken Ham. The bitter apostate calling herself an atheist simply isn’t capable of organizing an international conference of like minded people. Or even imagining the point of going to such a thing.  How could she, devoting all her time to hating something she only pretends to even exists?

Ken Ham is not capable of engaging, or even honestly admitting the existence of, the people who make up the vast majority of atheists. That is a huge swath of a group that is otherwise quite diverse and fragmented.  But after the meat grinder that is Ham’s mind, it all looks the same.

We either all hate god, or all believe in nothing.  The rest is simply unthinkable.

The Hovind Hundred (and one)!

December 10, 2009

Oh no! “Dr” Kent Hovind “Ph.D” is probably too busy (in prison for tax evasion and fraud) to do much about his crappy dissertation entering public domain. In the spirit of the great Fred Clark at slacktivist, I think it may be worth checking out the rocket that launched “Dr” Kent Hovind to his intellectual orbit.

Fred Clark has been wading though the “Left Behind” rapture novels, taking his time to unpack the awfulness page by page, and I want to give Kent’s dissertation a similar airing-out with this series of posts. His “Dissertation for Doctor of Philosophy in Christian Education — A Project Submitted to Dr. Wayne Knight” (nice title) is a hardly comparable to the quivering theological madness that animates LeHaye and Jenkins in their awful books, but it is still worth taking a good long skeptical look at.

Both Hovind and L&J are chock full of strange, American-grown evangelical Christian fundamentalism, but Hovind is no premillennial dispensationalist. Hovind didn’t write an 11 novel fiction series to “prove” his wacky beliefs right, but at least LeHaye and Jenkins don’t try to pass their “literal” reading of the bible off as science in the classroom.

In any case, the exercise of slowly pulling apart something terrible should (might) be worth the effort for three reasons. One, to show what can pass for scholarship at unaccredited diploma mills. I have heard Hovind make a fuss over people calling out his “Ph.D”. “So what if its an unaccredited college?”, he says. Well, Hovind can now serve as his own refutation to that question.

Second, this is a chance to get a first-hand glimpse of the mind of someone dedicated to young-earth creationism. In amidst the paragraphs of endlessly repeated assertions, there may well be a few interesting and revealing thoughts, intentional or not, as to how he thinks. Even if turns out to be all dreck, its dreck straight from the source, and I like to sample my bullshit pure when possible.

Third, it will be pretty funny. Not so much for his kooky, young-earth creationist beliefs, out there they may be. Hovind, like most creationists, is piously unoriginal. It is often a point of pride to toe that young-earth line, no matter how much intellectual artillery is shelling it. But when Hovind plays the part of the apologist, or says almost anything about science — that’ll have some funny shit. I wonder how many factual errors he can pack into 101 pages? Can he keep up with the likes of Deepak Chopra for gibbering nonsense aped as science? I’ll try to compile a list and keep track as I go, so some kind of lies errors/page ratio can be found.

To give a small idea of where this Doctorate of Philosophy in Christian Education will be taking us, I will quote the last four sentences of this 101 page document. The last paragraph is five sentences, so this is our closing gesture, the final flourish. I don’t want to take Hovind out of context, the first sentence of the closing paragraph is “These honest questions deserve an honest answer.” He is referring to a raft of questions about evidence for a young earth that preceedes it. But here it is, Hovind’s parting shot:

I believe we have been lied to about the age of the earth. Satan, the father of all lies, has come up with this one to make a fool of Jesus Christ. Jesus said in Matthew 19:4 that the creation of Adam and Eve was the beginning. I believe Jesus was right.

See? Look at how tight, how concentrated, how streamlined those last 4 sentences are. Nonsense, religious nonsense, bible quote, affirmation of faith, DONE.  Now for the rest of it.