Joshua 10:40 Day! Tuesday, Mar 16 2010 

I noticed on facebook that a lot of people were joining an event called “John 3:16 Day”, talking about the love of Christianity and being proud to be of God and such and such and such, and on this day they would all change their statuses to this one verse, John 3:16.

Anyone who looks objectively can see that all they are doing is cherry-picking the nice verses whilst ignoring the rest of the barbaric, disgusting verses that remain. Thus was born the event Joshua 10:40 Day. Joshua 10:40 reads:

“So Joshua smote all the country of the hills, and of the south, and of the vale, and of the springs, and all their kings: he left none remaining, but utterly destroyed all that breathed, as the LORD God of Israel commanded.”

This verse is just one of hundreds of examples of rape, murder, genocide and ethnic cleansing committed by God or on his direct orders in the Old Testament.

It is the same day as John 3:16 day, March 18th, and I just figured that I would make people aware of this idea, for anyone that is interested in taking a stand against the hypocrisy of Christianity and religion in general.

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Into the Christian Union Monday, Mar 15 2010 

So a month or two ago I went to the Christian Union at my university to get a bit of an insight, and hopefully to interact with people via debate. The topic was “Why does God allow natural disasters?” which I thought they may have a hard time justifying.

The first thing I noticed was just how popular the Christian Union was. I don’t know how many were like me, only there for observation and disagreement, but there were far more people than chairs. This slightly unnerved me, as religion is routinely shown to be fairly unpopular in the UK. Perhaps we still have a way to go.

The speaker gets up to the stage and the first thing he does is disagree with the ‘Pat Robertson’ approach – in other words he says that these disasters are not punishment from god for sins or dealing with the devil. Interesting, I thought – at least this won’t be some kind of ultra-fundamentalist argument which will result in me being thrown out due to anger.

However, whilst his first argument was slightly less overtly immoral, is was nonetheless vacuous. He claimed that natural disasters are required as part of the workings of our world – they are merely part of the process of the natural world. He is of course correct – but let me tell you something about omnipotence. Omnipotence means you can do anything. His god isn’t just doing the best with the tools he had, he wasn’t forced to use the framework for a planet that included earthquakes in inconvenient areas. An omnipotent god could create a fully-functioning world without natural disasters.

His other argument essentially boiled down to “money is evil” – which as an aside I rather like as being much truer to Christianity than certain denominations which have become so entwined with the political right that they have become ‘Churches of the Free Market and Jesus Christ’ – but let me explain: his idea was that if you looked at (to use his example) the 2004 tsunami, you would see that places like Thailand you would see a heavy effect, whilst places like Burma did not – this was due to the mangrove swamps around the coast being removed in places like Thailand in order to provide beaches for tourists. This, he claimed was bad – the Thai people’s greed (and he then went on in a slightly humourous manner to say how they exhibited all the seven deadly sins – every one of which boiled down to greed for money, which rather defeats the purpose of having seven) meant that they had destroyed the natural barriers god provided simply in order to make money.

Leaving for a moment the ridiculous notion of claiming that Burma is better than it’s neighbours (a country run by a military dictatorship that does not encourage tourism in any appreciable way), this is unbelievable. His argument basically boils down to “don’t try and make a living”. The idea that one should be punished (even by proxy) simply for trying to make one’s country prosperous and less like Junta-led Burma appalls me, frankly.

Unfortunately, no questions were had as he’d overrun on the time. Of my fellow students, no-one was really prepared to fully agree with the speaker once I had put my concerns to them (I find that Christians – or at least liberal Christians – tend to attempt to excuse away immorality of religion rather than simply condemning it or accepting it), so I didn’t get a good answer.

Perhaps someone else can enlighten me as to why the world’s poor must be required to undergo hardship like no other?

Secularism, religion and homosexuality Friday, Feb 26 2010 

At the core of their teachings, the most influential organised religions on this earth are violent, bigoted, homophobic, divisive and scientifically unsubstantiated by any sort of factual evidence. I then hold that it is a rational supposition that such beliefs should not hold any sway over the legislative organisations that decide the fate of a much broader cross-section of society than those who wish to close their minds to the realities of the observable universe.

However they do, and that is a serious problem with the world today. The reality is that homosexuals, for instance, are denied equality and subject to an enforced morality because of the influence that religion has over the legislative mechanisms of many Western states, and when you turn your eye to America and some Islamic states, the situation becomes far worse.

To narrow my focus onto the case of homosexuality in Western countries, it is an overwhelmingly religious discourse that has held back the progress of equality in this regard. I reject this as irrational in two ways.

  1. There is no scientific evidence to suggest that the claims to immorality and societal harm made by religious people in response to calls for homosexual equality are in any way substantiated in a factual sense. Essentially, then, by enforcing that religious discourse of morality that is not in touch with the scientific, social or psychological reality on people that do not subscribe to such a religion, we are breaking down the very idea of secularism at its heart and foisting religious morality on people who do not believe in that religion on the part of people who are not even affected by such laws (i.e. why exactly is it the Church’s business what is legalized and not, and why should their bigoted, bronze-age beliefs stand in the way of equality in a secular society).
  2. Jesus does not deal with homosexuality in the New Testament, but does state on several occasions that he has come not to override or abolish the Old Testament but to fulfill it, and that, indeed, “It is easier for Heaven and Earth to pass away than for the smallest part of the letter of the law to become invalid.” (Luke 16:17).

    Why is it, then, that Christians cling to the disgusting, bigoted verses of the Old Testament regarding God’s hatred of homosexuals as though it is going out of fashion, but somehow forget the disgusting, bigoted verses in the Old Testament about God slaughtering children, or condoning genocide, or slaughtering Moses’ political opponents, or slaughtering whoever he really feels like when he wakes up that morning? If their God kills children, women and condones war crimes, genocide and rape, who exactly is he to tell us what is moral and immoral about sexuality? As a corollary to that, why do they focus on verses that support their condemnation of homosexuality, but yet attempt to paint a picture of a loving and tolerant God?

Just some thoughts. If anyone actually reads this, feel free to comment.

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