The Day I Was Glad to be an Atheist

This past Sunday on Strange Frequencies Radio, we spoke to a guy who goes by the name “Brent the Crazy Christian.”  I had no interaction at all with him until the moment he picked up the phone, but he certainly lived up to his name.

Early in the conversation, we spoke about stories from the Bible involving the bashing of innocent children’s heads on rocks.  He rationalized them as “justice” because, well, everyone has to die, and God was saving them from a life of sin.  He didn’t seem to understand that it was a contradiction to, on one hand, call the children “innocent,” while also saying that murdering them was “justice.”   When challenged, he said that he “wasn’t justifying” the murders.  But calling them “justice” does just that.  Besides, do not “justice” and “justify” share the same root word?

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His views on homosexuality were also odious, though surprisingly he admitted that it would be possible for him to experience sexual desire for another man.  But he said it should be suppressed because, once acted on, you are living in rebellion against god.  He went on to equate homosexuality to a crime, saying that we are born with a desire for wealth, too, but it is wrong to act on that desire by stealing.  He seemed unsure how to react when it was explained that if two consenting gay people decide to have sex, there is no victim.  He just said that they victimize themselves by being promiscuous and spreading STDs.  He tried to change the subject when confronted with the fact that heterosexuals are just as guilty of those charges.

As if this weren’t enough, he also explained how men have the Biblical right to rule over women and, should his wife ever want an abortion, he would forbid her to do so.  And would you believe that he is single, ladies?

It’s been several days since speaking to Brent, and I’m still a little shaken up.  I’ve known for quite some time that there are many people in the world with Westboro Baptist Church-style opinions, but this was my first time speaking with one.  Frankly, it’s terrifying knowing they exist at all outside the Dark Ages.

Now, I don’t know how the average liberal Christian reacts when they hear a fellow Christ-follower spew the type of vile, inhuman, mental garbage this guy did.  But I’ll tell you the truth.  It made me glad to be an atheist.  While I understand many Christians are just as repulsed by his views as I am, “Brent the Crazy Christian” takes solace through his faith, just as they do.  Say what you want about atheism, but there is no secular manual that leads to the type of atrocious convictions as those Brent got from the Bible.

If you’d like to hear the interview with Brent for yourself, click on the banner below to be taken to the download page. Or, simply check out Episode 241 of Strange Frequencies Radio on iTunes.

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Scientology

I’m not fan of religion.  I consider all of them creepy and weird, if not potentially very harmful for a variety of reasons.  Even so, religion and “weird beliefs” in general are among my favorite topics of discussion.  How great for me, then, that I host an internet radio show and podcast, Strange Frequencies Radio, that is all about digging into this kind of stuff!

Recently, my friend Bobby and I talked to Mark Bunker about Scientology.  Mark runs the website XenuTV and is an ardent and educated critic of this particular cult.  I now know why Scientology doles out only a little information about it at a time to their adherents.  Hearing so much of it at once from Mr. Bunker was mind boggling!

Scientology may be creepy and weird, but their practices are also terrifying.  If you would like to learn more about it, or just want to hear from someone as knowledge as Mark Bunker, check out this interview we did with him and be sure to check out his website as well for a wealth of further information.

http://strangefrequenciesradio.wordpress.com/2012/09/09/episode-206-mark-bunker-on-scientology/

Did Jesus Really Exist?

I’m not shy about being an atheist anymore.  At one point in my life, when I was much younger, just hearing someone say out loud that they didn’t believe in god made my stomach feel weird.  It was just this sensation of, “Stop!  How can you possibly say that?”  It was very uncomfortable.

Nowadays, not so much.  I’m an open atheist.  I don’t see any good evidence that there is a god and arguments for the existence of a god seem to be logically invalid to me.  So, I don’t believe.  But that being said, I’m not in anyone’s face about it.  I don’t go around shouting it from the rooftops and I’m not about to go out of my way to make people feel like shit for believing.  When I say I’m an open atheist, I simply mean that, should the topic of religion or who believes what comes up, I’m not ashamed or afraid to say “I’m an atheist” out loud.

Though I don’t believe in god, up until about 6 months ago I was pretty sure that Jesus had at least existed.  Sure, I may not have believed he performed miracles, rose from the dead or ascended bodily to heaven, but I figured there probably was a religious teacher named Jesus who the Biblical stories were based on.  But lately I’ve read a lot and heard from several educated people who have convinced me that it probably isn’t true.

For one thing, I’ve learned that the Bible, particularly the Gospels, were not written by eyewitnesses.  Mark, the first Gospel, was written decades after Jesus was said to have lived.  Furthermore, there are so many contradictions in the Gospels and throughout the Bible that it’s tough to know what the hell happened, if anything at all, during the events being written about.

But forget the Gospels.  There is not a single reference to Jesus at all while he was alive!  No contemporary historian, statesman, or even scribe seems to have heard of him.  That is pretty damning when you consider how influential Jesus is said to have been.  Again, this is a guy whose birth and death brought on long periods of darkness and earthquakes through the land.  He turned water into wine.  He walked on water.  He rose the dead.  He himself rose from the dead!  He ascended bodily to heaven and caused Christianity to spread like wildfire throughout the lands.  And no one seems to have noticed?  No corroborating record of earthquakes or eclipses?  No historians or scribes had anything to say?  No one even wrote a letter to their friend about him?  This is guy who, one could argue, is the most important person in history.  So why didn’t anyone write anything about him in the midst of his life?

I’ve heard it argued that historical records weren’t as well-kept in those days.  But that’s not true.  Consider the case of Julius Caesar crossing the Rubicon, for instance.  Caesar lived prior to Jesus, but not only do we have his own writings, but a variety of contemporary sources of his life and travels.  Why nothing for Jesus?

I’ve also had people tell me that the people of the time and place were illiterate, so it is expected that there would be no mention of Jesus.  But that’s not true either.  Seneca the Younger and Nicolaus of Demascus lived and traveled in areas which intersected that of Jesus.  But they apparently never heard of him since they never saw fit to mention him.  And what about Philo of Alexandria?  Not only a statesman and scholar, but he wrote a great deal about religious movements and literally was in the same places as Jesus while he is said to have lived.  His family was close to the royalty of Judea.  There’s no way he wouldn’t have at least heard of Jesus!  But he mentions nothing.  He writes nothing.  This doesn’t make any sense!  Unless, of course, maybe there was no Jesus to notice…

But Paul!  What about Paul?  He was basically responsible for the spreading of Christianity, people say.  He knew Jesus, right?  Nope.  Never met him.  Paul had what would now be called “a vision” in the desert long after Jesus would have been crucified.  It’s true he helped spread Christianity, but certainly not true he met Jesus in person.  His reports of his “vision” are what many people nowadays refer to as a story about a “batshit crazy person.”  I don’t know if he was insane or not.  But the historical record is clear:  he didn’t know Jesus.  And half of his known letters, also known as “epistles,” are known forgeries.  Even the epistles historians do recognize as legitimately Paul’s have been tampered with and edited over the years.  Not exactly a strong case to build your faith around.

It has taken me some time, but I’m now prepared to say that I no longer believe Jesus really existed.  I guess it doesn’t really matter anyway.  I’m not a Christian and I don’t think Jesus was magic.  But if I’m going to proportion my beliefs to the evidence, I don’t believe in god and I don’t believe in Jesus for the same reason.  The evidence is just not there.

NOTES:

I mentioned at the beginning of this blog post that I had been learning a lot about this topic from a few different people.  Well, I’ve been lucky enough to talk to those people on Strange Frequencies Radio.  Their names are Richard Carrier, Robert M. Price and David Fitzgerald.  Please check out their websites, or feel free to listen to the interviews we did with them at the links below.

Thanks!

Dr. Richard Carrier and Dr. Robert M. Price on Strange Frequencies Radio

David Fitzgerald on Strange Frequencies Radio