Friday, March 30, 2012


I just came across this picture and I had to share it because I can't tell you how many times theists have had the unmitigated gall to call me "intolerant" because I didn't agree with them.  I am glad to have this picture because now I can simply print it, write "birdbrain" on the back and give it to the next idiot who says such a stupid thing.

Monday, March 26, 2012

Classic Shamelessness

A news item appeared recently about the trial of a clergy abuse case in Pennsylvania.  The case involves sexual abuse of minors by Catholic priests in the Philadelphia Archdiocese.  This may seem almost like old news, but it is significant for a couple of reasons.  First, it is legally significant because one of the accused is being charged with endangering children for his handling of complaints lodged against priests under his supervision.  He, no surprise, covered up the allegations and reassigned the accused priests to new parishes.

The case is also significant to my thinking because it illustrates a phenomenon I have seen on many occasions when dealing with the religious.  They treat people so badly that it causes psychological damage, then turn around and say that the symptoms of that damage prove there was something wrong with the victim and that he or she should therefor not be given any credence.  At the end of the news article one can find evidence of a plan to do just that:

"Defense lawyers plan to argue that the accusers are out for money or hope to explain away their troubled lives. Both accusers have criminal records and a history of drug addiction."

This is truly an example of utter shamelessness.  Of course the victims have problems.  How could they not after suffering such horrific abuse at the hands of trusted authority figures?  For the perpetrators to then argue that the very problems the abuse caused are proof that the claims are false and (let's face it) to imply that the plaintiffs are unworthy is to display a complete lack of a conscience.  This is the behavior of a psychopath or someone with severe narcissistic personality disorder with psychopathic traits.  Yet, I have seen this sort of behavior from the religious numerous times both in news reports and in real life.

Such people apparently believe that because they are "god's agents" they are entitled to special privileges.  They think their well-being is more important than that of the sheep (and lambs) in the flock.  They think that the sheep should be happy (or at least quiescent) to "serve their needs".  The fact that the victims feel damaged and display signs of damage simply proves their unworthiness--apparently.

Lest it seem like I am overstating the case, remember that attacking a person's motivation for saying something is not a logical argument regarding the merits of the dispute.  It is a personal attack on one of the disputants. 

People always have motivations for their actions, thus such a disingenuous argument can always be made.  Because they can be argued to undermine a witness' credibility, however, they are usually allowed.  Please note, however, that this is barely one step removed from arguing that a rape victim was a slut who was asking for it. 

The actual purpose for introducing such evidence is often to cause the plaintiff to drop the case rather than undergo the embarrassment of being cross-examined about the worst parts of their lives, or, if that doesn't work, turn the jury against the accusing party--to convince the jury to rule against that party not because of the merits of the case but because they don't like him or her. 

This is a tried and true tactic of the religious and they use it both in and out of the law courts.  Even if their victims don't sue or press charges, you can bet the victim will be subjected to a slander campaign if he or she dares to complain to anyone--and sometimes merely on the suspicion of complaining about the mistreatment.

Tuesday, March 20, 2012

An Insightful Old Joke

There is an old joke that periodically makes the rounds, especially amongst non-believers, that I think is actually quite insightful.  It goes like this:

It seems a Christian missionary was visiting with remote Inuit (aka, Eskimo) people in the Arctic, and had explained to this particular man that if one believed in Jesus, one would would go to heaven, while those who didn't, would go to hell.

The Inuit asked, "What about all the people who have never heard of your Jesus? Are they all going to hell?'

The missionary explained, "No, of course not. God wants you to have a choice. God is a merciful God, he would never send anyone to hell who'd never heard of Jesus."

The Inuit replied, "So why did you tell me?"

The rather obvious answer to the Inuit's question is this:  "In order to coerce you to join my religion."

In other words, the joke is actually an illustration of the psychologically coercive nature of religion in general and the myth of Hell in particular.  Most people won't see this, however, unless it is pointed out to them.

Thursday, March 8, 2012

Respect

One hears a lot of talk about "respect" from the religious, especially when it comes to their religion.  I find that usually they don't really mean that others should respect their beliefs.  What they mean is that those who question their beliefs had better shut up or else.  What they mean is that we had better fear them.  Whenever one of them starts talking about respect, this lack of understanding of the term can usually be sensed by the way in which they use it or by comparing the treatment they are demanding with the treatment they give to other religions or to the non-religious. 

I find that sometimes a good response is to say something along the lines of the following:

"Respect is a two way street.  If you demand respect without giving it, then what you are really doing is demanding fear--just like a common bully."