Showing posts with label christianity. Show all posts
Showing posts with label christianity. Show all posts

Wednesday, 29 October 2014

Baptisms In Pointe-Claire Public Pool

Pointe-Claire Aquatic Centre, Pointe-Claire, Quebec. (source)
Are you tired of all those people crowding you at your local public pool? Are you nervous taking a shower when you've inevitably forgotten your flip-flops? Is the chlorine or salt water too aggressive? Do you resent having to wear those tight head condoms? Are you suspicious of strangely coloured underwater clouds lingering around young children?

Well, things were even more distressing this past weekend over at the Pointe-Claire Aquatic Centre. It seems like churches are bringing their members to the pool and baptizing them!
Pointe-Claire resident Ninon Choquette said she was at the Pointe-Claire Aquatic Centre on Saturday afternoon at about 2:30 p.m. for “open-swim” when a group of bathers, including several dressed entirely in white, entered the pool area.
Well, at least they were fully clothed.
“The pool is in no way a place of worship,” said Choquette. “We go there to relax, to play with our children and to get in shape, not to undergo religious exercises.
Apparently, this is a pretty common thing.
Bill Gate is the manager of the Pointe-Claire Aquatic Centre.

Over the years, Gate said, he has seen baptisms take place in the pool, “one or two people … it’s over in 30 seconds.”
Choquette also asks the question of what's the limit, here. Indeed, what's next, funerals? In response, she made the very reasonable suggestion that religious groups rent the pool outside of regular swim hours for their religious ceremonies.

Meanwhile, the complaint has made it all the way up to the mayor of the city who responded by stating that religious events in city facilities are forbidden without prior city council approval.

This is apparently what happens when churches do not have the resources to baptise within their own premises and the Canadian winter is setting in -- and they're not into BieberBaptisms.

One commenter to the article could see no reason why anyone should have any problem with churches performing religious rituals at the public pool:
Why has this offended anyone? It is a public place. How you enter the water or why should be of no concern to anyone else. No one is hurt by someone choosing baptism and if it makes someone uncomfortable, don't watch. Why should it not be allowed? How about a mother breast feeding her child in the pool area? That makes some people uncomfortable, should that not be allowed? What happened to living in a place of freedom? What is it about God that offends some people so greatly that they would take precious time out of their day to complain? There are so many more productive things to fill your time with.
I wonder if there are any Satanist groups nearby who would be interested in doing some of their rituals there? If Christians get to have their ritual there then everyone from the Satanists to the Pastafarians should jump right on in.

Tuesday, 21 October 2014

Survey: 'Evangelicals, Americans Are Just Not That Into Your Church.'

William Hogarth. British Artist and Engraver. The Sleeping Congregation (1736)
Today seems to be a really good news day over at the Christian Post. A report came out about a study that shows unchurched (read: Nones) Americans are the least likely to fall anything Christian evangelicals have in their proselytizing toolbox in 20 years. They just don't want to go to church -- who can blame them?

Unchurched Americans Most Resistant to Evangelism Outreach in 20 Years, Survey Finds

Apparently, this is no wimpy survey. Some 40,000 interviews were done.
A new study from Christian Research company Barna Group reveals that unchurched Americans are the most resistant to outreach efforts by the church and friends than they've been in 20 years.

Data collected from 42,855 interviews show that 47 percent of U.S. adults who do not attend church said they were open to being invited to church by a friend – down from 65 percent in 1993.
That's almost 20 points in 20 years -- not trivial at all, but surely all part of God's plan.

President of the survey group, David Kinnaman, echoed in the article that the gap between churches and society at large is an ever widening chasm.
While the research does not reveal the cause of the rift between churches and their communities, he believes "monumental cultural changes" have made Christians seem "increasingly alien and difficult to understand."
Now there's an understatement.

The article seems to be saying that newer generations are less interested in Christianity partially because of monumental changes.  Changes like accepting LGBT people as not sinful, broken, corrupt, dangerous people but rather normal people who are naturally attracted to people of the same gender. I also blame the Internet.

Kirk Cameron Said Something About Halloween

Christian woman dressed up as a woman for Halloween. Wait a minute! That does make sense! (source)
Here's an article about the highly complex historical influences that played into the formation of what we now know of as Halloween in Canada, the United States, and across the world. It's long, nuanced and shows you just the sort of history you'd expect for a holiday as goofy and fun as Samhain... I mean All Souls Eve, or whatever. Complicated, isn't it?

Too complicated, man! Who has time to read all that when you can just skip to what Kirk Cameron has to say! Well, I extracted most of what was left of this Christian Post advertisement for his upcoming Christmas movie (and his entire career in general). I take this lovely sweetmeat and I place it here now for you! Here's your treat -- you should have done the trick.
"When you go out on Halloween and see all people dressed in costumes and see someone in a great big bobble head Obama costume with great big ears and an Obama face, are they honoring him or poking fun?" Cameron asked.

"They are poking fun at him," the actor said, answering his own question before comparing the concept of costumes to early Christianity.

"Early on, Christians would dress up in costumes as the devil, ghosts, goblins and witches precisely to make the point that those things were defeated and overthrown by the resurrected Jesus Christ," Cameron continued. "The costumes poke fun at the fact that the devil and other evils were publicly humiliated by Christ at His resurrection. That's what the Scriptures say, that He publicly humiliated the devil when He triumphed over power and principality and put them under his feet. Over time you get some pagans who want to go this is our day, high holy day of Satanic church, that this is all about death, but Christians have always known since the first century that death was defeated, that the grave was overwhelmed, that ghosts, goblins, devils are foolish has-beens who used to be in power but not anymore. That's the perspective Christians should have."
I'm certain all those people dressed up as naughty nurses or police officers or USB adapters are truly mocking those instruments of Satan. Or is it just ancient Christians in the Bible who go door-to-door dressed up like witches collecting Chick tracts?

Are we supposed to paint our doors with lambs' blood or something here? What's the story, Cameron? There's more questions here than answers.

No, I will not watch your movie.

Saturday, 11 October 2014

Viking Discrimination Against Christians... Well, Maybe.


So, there was finally a real honest-to-God case of religious discrimination against a Christian here in Canada by a real company. A Trinity Western University graduate, Bethany Paquette, applied to an outdoorsy expedition company to be a wilderness guide and she was denied a job because she apparently didn't meet the minimum requirements -- oh, and because she went to Trinity Western and is Christian.

It all gets rather bizarre and confusing past this point.

See, it turns out that the company, Amaruk, is run by Vikings who are (understandably) unimpressed with Christians like Bethany because of what the Christians apparently did to Norse traditional religion and culture. It's of course ludicrous to bring this up with Bethany. I'm of Irish descent and the Vikings, with all their plundering, terrorizing and rapeing... well, the CEOs over at Amaruk better send me an apology letter.

So, Bethany gets this response from Olaf, who's a bigwig at this company:
Ms. Paquette.

I do not understand the purpose of your application considering you do not meet the minimum requirements that are clearly outlined on our web site.
Okay, a little rude, but still, not completely unprofessional.

Wait, what's this other crap?
Additionally, considering you were involved with Trinity Western University, I should mention that, unlike Trinity Western University, we embrace diversity, and the right of people to sleep with or marry whoever they want, and this is reflected within some of our staff and management. In addition, the Norse background of most of the guys at the management level means that we are not a Christian organization, and most of us actually see Christianity as having destroyed our culture, tradition, and way of life.
Okay, I'm sure most readers here know how I feel about the Trinity Western University Law School and their retrograde and draconian rules against LGBT people and unmarried couples. They get money from the government to teach religious nonsense and bigotry and even Law Societies across the country are rejecting the school's accreditation in protest.

However, this is truly unprofessional. Perhaps not illegal, but is this Facebook or Reddit? Come on, people.

Then, probably out of anger, Bethany wrote back this long e-mail including a long history lesson along with a demographics breakdown of the world's religions! Also not professional, but I guess Olaf threw any semblance of professionalism right out the window.

Go read the e-mail exchange if you like.

Then, bizarrely, other C-level representatives of the company just spring in as if they don't have anything better to do. Shouldn't they be busy scaling cliffs or jumping out of helicopters or something? Here's a super unprofessional nugget responding to Bethany's response.
In contrast, we believe that a man ending up with another man is probably the best thing that could happen to him. But we do not force these views onto other people, and we are completely fine if a guy decides to go the emasculation route by marrying a BC woman. Live and let live.
Classy.

Anyway, I got the idea that this company may actually cater to a gay clientele (not that there is anything wrong with this). The site doesn't have a single woman on it. Instead I find shirtless men and really buff ones at that -- riding horses with cowboy hats... etc. Check out the Wilderness Fitness section of the site, to see what I mean. Rugged.

Well now it seems like things have gotten even more bizarre. Sun News reporter and Canada's Foremost Freedom Fighter, Ezra Levant, reported on Bethany's plight just yesterday.  Here's what he has to say today.
Except Amaruk isn’t real. They have a grandiose website, with beautiful images of the great outdoors. But they’re fake photos – ripped off from the Internet. The website boasts of being a massive, multi-national tourism company. But no actual trips or tours are listed. The location of the outdoor fantasy photos, or their “40,000-sheep ranch” are never identified.

The website is affiliated with other websites that have a homo-erotic feeling – idolizing the “Viking” lifestyle – bearded hipsters with great abs, out in the woods.

The CBC’s investigative reporter, Natalie Clancy, got her story half-right. Bethany was the subject of an anti-Christian tirade. But she didn’t lose a job over it – there was no job to be had. It was an elaborate hoax.
It turns out that this company may be nothing more than an odd front. There were no jobs to be had, as several other women have discovered who applied for the same or similar jobs. They got horrible responses as well.
As more women who received bizarre and inappropriate responses to their job applications to wilderness company Amaruk come forward, efforts to reach the company's CEO have left CBC News questioning whether the business and its jobs even exist.
The company claims to be the result of a partnership of other companies. However, it seems to be all a big hoax -- for tax purposes?
One of the companies, Norealis, is listed as owning a male erotic website called MaleCorps.com. Many of the models found on that site can also be found in images on the other companies' websites.

The domain names of the websites for all the companies were registered in B.C. by a Christopher Fragassi, who lists a Whistler P.O. Box  as his address.

Only Christopher Fragassi is named on Amaruk's B.C. corporate registry entry, though Industry Canada's website lists 217 employees and 20 company directors. Calls to several listed numbers reached no one, just a hold signal that played the song of loons down the phone line. 
Here's the sort of response other women got.
Sophie Waterman applied for the same job, but soon believed it sounded too good to be true. She withdrew her application after a friend in the tourism industry warned her Amaruk might not be all that it seems.

"When I cancelled the interview, I received about 15 emails in quick succession," she says. "All pretending to be from different people involved with the company, and all very litigious, accusing me and my friend of slander. My feeling is that it's all one person."
Now it seems like this Amaruk email could be coming from a small group or even a single person who may have a problem with Christianity and women in general.

Ezrant concludes his post with a call to not forget the victims here -- Christians.
It’s too bad that the first time the CBC took a serious interest in anti-Christian bigotry, they were duped. I hope that doesn’t turn them off the subject. There are plenty of real anti-Christian bigots in Canada, who attack Trinity Western all the time. Right now, law societies across Canada are debating banning TWU’s graduates from practicing law. That’s just as vicious as the fake trolls at Amaruk. But they’re real, and unafraid to use their real names.
I say we do not forget the victims in this particular case, who were not all attacked because they were Christian. 

However, I'm all for investigating these troublemakers to see if their posing as a real company is somehow against the law. I'm just not certain if these shenanigans constitute anything that can be considered a real crime.

Meanwhile, we have law school that's partially publicly-funded demanding that its students and staff agree to a purity oath. I'm guessing that if you're a married gay professor you're going to be discriminated against there. It's sort of institutionalized descrimination. You know, like this hoax turned out not to be.
“In keeping with biblical and TWU ideals, community members voluntarily abstain from… sexual intimacy that violates the sacredness of marriage between a man and a woman,” it reads.

All students and faculty are required to swear an oath to the covenant, and its rules apply off-campus as well. The covenant also bans gossip, vulgar language, pornography and alcohol consumption.

Violations can result in penalties, including expulsion, though TWU said no student has ever been thrown out for being gay.

Some Quick Responses to Atheist Claims


It's a long weekend here in Canada for Thanksgiving. So, get the hell away from your extended family, lock yourself into the bathroom and fire up your laptop to get a little sanity break before the turkey eating begins.

If you don't have anything worthwhile to read, then perhaps you could do one of those Cosmo sex quizzes while hiding out from your blood relatives. If you don't have an old copy of Cosmo lying around -- who doesn't? -- then maybe this will do to pass the time.

Ten quick responses to atheist claims
At the London Evangelists' Conference yesterday, Professor John Lennox offered some quick responses to some common claims from atheists.
Give it a read you'll very likely find yourself wondering how anyone could take them seriously and re-affirm your complete lack of belief in god. Or you could become a born again Christian, which would no doubt make for a memorable Thanksgiving dinner.

Number One is a response to Yahweh being yet one more god that atheists do not believe in, in addition to the multitude of pagan gods Christians don't take seriously. Lennox's response sounds like special pleading.
"There is a vast distinction between all of the Ancient near eastern gods and the God of the Bible," said Prof Lennox. "They are products of the primeval mass and energy of the universe. The God of the Bible created the heavens and the earth".
Does that not require one to believe in this god to begin with?

Number Two first posits a straw man atheist who proclaims that science explains everything and there is no need for god. No, science doesn't claim to explain everything but where's the proof that God did anything around here?
Science cannot answer certain kinds of questions, such as 'what is ethical?' and 'what is beautiful?' Even when it comes to questions about the natural world, which science does explore and can sometimes answer, there are different types of explanations for different things.
I'd like to see how religion can explain what is ethical or beautiful. Because it seems to me like there is a great deal of confusion within the Bible itself on these points.

Number Three ...
"If we're being offered a choice between science and god... it is not a biblical concept of god," said Prof Lennox. "The biblical God is not a god of the gaps, but a God of the whole show. The bits we do understand [through science] and the bits we don't.
How about the bits we do understand is science and the bits we don't are simply bits we don't?

There's more, including the statement that Christianity is evidence-based faith! None of them are particularly convincing, but perhaps they're just meant to put some questioning Christians' minds at ease.

They do make interesting reading while you get away from the in-laws.

Tuesday, 7 October 2014

South African Pastor Now Tells Congregation to Eat Floral Arrangements

Maxwell Klinger eats a jeep on the television program M*A*S*H: "See? I'm crazy. I'm eating a jeep and I think it's tasty. What could be more crazy than that?" Nom! Nom! Nom!
Remember Maxwell Klinger on M*A*S*H? He would try any stunt to prove to his superiors he was insane so he could be discharged from service in the Korean War? One episode, he decided to eat a jeep to prove he was clearly insane and who wouldn't agree that there are some sort of psychological issues there? Well, this sort of thing doesn't appear to be mental illness to the congregation of one Lesego Daniel, who previously had his congregation eat grass, then ostensibly drink 'pineapple flavoured' gasoline -- he's got religion, so he's a prophet.

This time the pastor is advising his flock to graze on the floral displays around the church.

Pastor Daniel’s flock eats flowers

People started munching on daisies at his command.
“Eat this one,” said Daniel to one of his ushers. The woman ran to the flowers her pastor was pointing to and started chewing off the heads of the daisies and the leaves.

Others started running to the stage to get a taste of the flowers. At first the woman refused to share but Daniel told her to welcome others to also take part in “what the Holy Spirit was doing”.

Soon the whole stage was filled with people chewing away at the flowers.
Well, that must have been a sight. I am relieved, though, that Mr. Daniel chose flowers this time, as some of them are actually edible as far as science is concerned. So there is no miracle there if people didn't get sick -- assuming they are edible flowers. European daisies are at least are edible.
This daisy may be used as a potherb. Young leaves can be eaten raw in salads or cooked, noting that the leaves become increasingly astringent with age. Flower buds and petals can be eaten raw in sandwiches, soups and salads. It is also used as a tea and as a vitamin supplement.
It's pretty apparent he's now simply trolling for attention.
“I’m making news,” Daniel said standing over his congregation as they fought over the flowers.
*sigh*

Maybe it's not a scam though. Perhaps this is just the way South African mega church pastors lose it completely.
On Sunday, he told his congregation that media reports claiming that his private life was falling apart and that he owned luxury cars and huge piece of land where not true and are only attempts to discredit him.
If so, then I suppose this is not really that distinguishable from Maxwell Klinger's situation. Well, on the outside, at least, both cases look insane to us. It's interesting that when religion is involved, stunts like this seem to increase faith and devotion in the congregation, while without religion, in Klinger's case, it was all part of an intentional ploy to draw on as much discredit as possible.

Has anyone seen Pastor Daniel eat the flowers?

Friday, 3 October 2014

Friday Rapturous Movie Rundowns!


Everyone is just giddy about the theatrical release of the muchly anticipated Nicolas Cage. By which I mean Left Behind: The End Begins! I cannot wait to see it but know that I won't be one of the lucky ones sitting next to some church outing or whatever. I don't get out much these days and movies are so damn expensive I'd have to be certain the world was about to end.

So I was thrilled to see this list of Ten Amazing Christian Rapture & Apocalypse Movies That Culture Left Behind brought to us by Christian Today. Can you see the clever title there, with Left Behind in it? I pray to Cthulhu that at least some of these are on Netflix.

(I've enriched your experience somewhat with trailers when I've found them along with a little behind the scenes digging. Still, it's worth it to give the original a look.)

First off, there's this one with Mr T! Not on Netflix USA.
3. Judgment
The final part in a long-running film series that begins with 1998's Apocalypse. It's got Mr T in it. Who's betting his role isn't quite as major as the cover suggests? Who's hoping he has to say the line: 'I ain't gettin' on no cloud, fool'? 


Then there's the ever present theme of "See atheists! See! See! We told you so!" None of these films are on Netflix either. I've lost my faith in you, Cthulhu!
7. The Last Messengers
See her? She's an atheist, she is. Well – not for long! While it's understandable that a low-budget film might need to use CGI artwork, we're not entirely sure why that guy in the purple shirt also appears to be computer generated...


Well it turns out this movie doesn't actually seem to be made yet. I guess that's why they have the computer generated purple shirt guy. Take a look at the About section on the films Facebook page.
Seeking trim actors for roles: Female age 25-30 with own long straight hair, executive-like male 35-45. Email with headshots at: threeangelmedia@live.com
Trim... Nice euphemism there.

Anyway, then there's those atheists who always go to debate groups and argue and debate until the end of time. Perhaps these atheists are cyborgs. Could all atheists be cyborgs? Am I a cyborg?

I'm guessing that I'm not good harvesting material.
8. End of the Harvest
The cover of this rapture movie doesn't suggest a huge amount of drama. Nor does the plot, which concerns some atheists coming to a debating group. MAYBE THERE ARE CYBORGS! But probably there aren't.



The fun thing is that the writer seems to clearly recognize just how ridiculous and goofy these movies are. I wonder if this latest film will make the very next list? My guess is yes.

Go check out the rest of the list!

For now, I'll leave you with a few quotes from a rundown over at Yahoo News: Disaster Movie? We Round Up the Most Scathing 'Left Behind' Reviews. It got 2% on Rotten Tomatoes -- surely it would take a God to make a movie this perfectly bad.
“Ultimately, just like all of those empty articles of clothing left behind by Jesus’ return, Left Behind is a lifeless film, void of anything remotely human, God-like, or authentic, just a terrible Christian movie starring Nicolas Cage.” —The Daily Beast
“The rapture won’t come soon enough for the unfortunate souls forced to suffer through Left Behind.” —The Hollywood Reporter
Who knew Satan was such a decent film critic -- praise Cthulhu!

Tuesday, 30 September 2014

Jessa Duggar Writes Something Else On Her Instagram


It was only one day and already Jessa Duggar -- from the Nineteen Kids & Counting quiverfull-type-evangelical-homeschool-Christian-unreal-reality-television-family fame... Well... Listen... She's gone done written something else on her Instagram!


It's not so much the image, which is a haunting picture of children in a Nazi concentration camp. Nope, it's Jessa's description of the image that made people upset. (Emphasis mine.)
I walked through the Holocaust Museum again today... very sobering. Millions of innocents denied the most basic and fundamental of all rights--their right to life. One human destroying the life of another deemed "less than human." Racism, stemming from the evolutionary idea that man came from something less than human; that some people groups are "more evolved" and others "less evolved." A denying that our Creator--GOD--made us human from the beginning, all of ONE BLOOD and ONE RACE, descendants of Adam. The belief that some human beings are "not fit to live." So they're murdered. Slaughtered. Kids with Down syndrome or other disabilities. The sickly. The elderly. The sanctity of human life varies not in sickness or health, poverty or wealth, elderly or pre-born, little or lots of melanin [making you darker or lighter skinned], or any other factor. "If thou faint in the day of adversity, thy strength is small. If thou forbear to deliver them that are drawn unto death, and those that are ready to be slain; If thou sayest, Behold, we knew it not; doth not He that pondereth the heart consider it? and He that keepeth thy soul, doth not He know it? and shall not He render to every man according to his works?" (Proverbs 24:10-12) May we never sit idly by and allow such an atrocity to happen again. Not this generation. We must be a voice for those who cannot speak up for themselves. Because EVERY LIFE IS PRECIOUS. #ProLife
First off, she has a pretty horrendous picture of what evolution is all about. I've heard it before from the evangelical crowd. Regardless of what the Nazis used to justify their atrocities, evolution is as close to proven fact as any theory in science can ever get. It's right up there with the theory of gravity and the theory of relativity.

However, it was her apparent equation of the murder of millions of self-conscious human beings during the holocaust with the termination of pregnancies -- not self-conscious fully-formed human beings... often not even close -- has offended many of her followers, some of whom were already getting over her anti-atheist comments the day before.
I love you and you are a sweet girl. But I am Jewish and I can't even understand why you would compare the Holocaust to abortion. Women have abortions because their life style or body is not fit for a child. Do you think women feel good after killing an innocent child? It was what they had to do to save a baby from a miserable life. The Holocaust was when 9 million innocent and defenseless people who were deemed 'less than human' were slaughtered. Please don't ever compare those two again. Again I say, you are a lovely girl, just don't compare slaughter to selflessness. -- _mya_butoryak_
Abortion is not murder if you look at science. A fetus isn't viable or alive within the time abortion is allowed. Comparing that to the Holocaust is horrendous. Those people were alive and slaughtered. They were put through hell. To say something that isn't alive is going through the same thing is unjustified. I hope your child does not grow up with the same prejudice and narrow-minded approach to life. Shame on you, @jessaseewald. God forbid you're raped. Would you want that reminder of the attack? And putting a child up for adoption? Well, there are 109,000 children in the foster care system in the United States alone. And millions of ALIVE children around the world waiting for a loving family to adopt them today. I pity you and your lack of compassion. -- mayniacmeg
Ironically, comparing the holocaust with abortion -- many of which are performed when pregnancy is under 12 weeks -- is sort of extra dehumanizing, I think, for the victims of the holocaust. As the last commenter pointed out, these people -- who were completely aware of their situation -- were made to suffer in the vilest and cruelest ways over extended periods. The suffering was totally unthinkably gruesome and horrifying. To say that's the same as abortion belittles the event.

Look, I'm no big fan of abortion. Who is? However, in many situation it's the lesser of several evils and, in the end, it must remain a woman's choice over her own bodily autonomy.

Some of you may wonder why I'm even covering this story. Well, Jessa is the product of her upbringing. It is a cloistered, sheltered evangelical Christian homeschooled upbringing that is anti-evolution, anti-climate change, (anti-science), anti-choice etc. So, this is apparently what you get. It's not Jessa's fault -- by all indications she appears to be an intelligent woman who's simply working with what she's got.

Another reason is that, apparently, half a million people follow this Instagram. It's sad, but these people are looked up to by thousands if not millions of young people. Her words may have more effect on some than all the teachers and public speakers out there.

Sunday, 28 September 2014

South African "Eat Grass" Pastor Now Urging Congregation To Drink Gasoline

Lead warning on a gas pump at Keeler's Korner, Lynnwood, Washington (built 1927). (source)
Remember Pastor Lesego Daniel of Rabboni Center Ministries? He's the South African preacher who urged his congregation to eat grass. That was pretty bad and, as far as I can remember, resulted in people vomiting copiously. Well, now things are worse and I think the police probably ought to be called. He's telling people to drink gasoline! This is no longer funny -- it's sick.
A video showing a controversial South African Christian pastor making members of his congregation drink petrol – which he said would turn into pineapple juice – has sparked a public outcry.
Is he just toying with people now to see how far they'll go? This is like some cruel test to see to what degree people can become completely deluded by blind faith.

Skip ahead to the seven minute mark. Things get completely messed up.



Read on, this man should be locked up.
Pastor Lesego Daniel of Rabboni Center Ministries, located north of capital Pretoria, can be seen in the video holding a bottle of petrol, which, he says, he had prayed for to turn into pineapple juice.

The video, which has gone viral online in recent days, shows Pastor Daniel first giving the petrol to one of his fellow preachers to test.

A female congregant then comes from the audience shaking and dancing, reaching out for the bottle in the pastor's hands.

"You want to drink pineapple juice?" Daniel asks her before giving her a sip of the petrol.

Then several other congregants come forward and drink from the same bottle.
So far, though, it seems that the authorities aren't doing anything at all to control this insanity. The above article quotes a dean of Theology who's pretty sure this isn't Biblical and that although the country's constitution guarantees freedom of religion, this freedom ends when people get harmed. Well, at least someone said that.

Two other people were quoted expressing their outraged, but unlike the dean, they remained anonymous.

Seems like nobody is challenging this pastor who is now clearly a danger to human life.

Friday, 26 September 2014

Americans Sure Are Talking About Those Atheists These Days!

This whole situation's gone to the Birds.
I usually shy away from commenting about all the really interesting things going on in the United States. Usually, I feel ill-equipped to make any sort of useful commentary and Hemant Mehta or Jerry Coyne usually cover it really well anyway. Sometimes, though, I cannot help but point stuff out -- sort of like your clueless Canadian uncle come down to the family reunion who, with the patience of a saint, must explain that our bacons are in fact identical. A man who refuses to pronounce house or boot incorrectly.

I'm working off less than four hours of sleep here, so I will not stumble to the point. It seems like people are talking a whole lot about atheists in the U.S of A. these days. I mean, I'm not able to even keep up with folks telling us all to stop behaving like Dawkins or Maher, or telling us we all should be Kirks instead of Spocks or that Sam Harris has turned us all Buddhist or that being atheist makes you an anti-Christ! Just look it all up on Google! Who can keep their food down these days? It's pretty wild.

We're surrounded on all sides! Troop morale is at an all time low as they peck at our eyeballs while simultaneously complaining they're the most persecuted group in the country! Barricade the doors! Stock up on canned beans! The irony meter has burst past Defcon 5 and we should all retreat soon cower in our bomb shelters or under staircases!

No doubt, the release of Nicholas Cage and Left Behind will spell the end of all of us. We'll all likely facepalm ourselves to death,but until then we have these two devastating occurrences -- prophesying much worse future calamity.

First off, there is this man in the United States who shares DNA with Duck Dynasty star Phil Robertson. We can remember Phil as being the guy who kept saying wild and irrational things about the gays and who very recently suggested that ISIS needs to be converted to Christianity under threat of death -- a point of view remarkably similar to the folks over at ISIS.  Well, his nephew, Republican House Candidate Zach Dasher, very obviously shares the bits of DNA that control brain-mouth functions with his uncle Phil.

GOP House Candidate: ‘Atheist Agenda’ Caused Sandy Hook Shooting
“He was made in the image of God,” Dasher said of the shooter. “But somewhere along the way he believed what the atheist says. He reduced humanity to nothing more than a collection of atoms, to be discarded like an old banana peel. I guarantee you, now this is my hypothesis, that even saw himself as nothing more than chemicals.”
Let this sink in for a moment. He's saying that an atheist cannot help but have a reduced view of humanity and that they must also see themselves as being depraved or sub human. This seems to be a common and highly concerning point of view among theists. I cannot help but think that it's dehumanization like this that can lead to some pretty gruesome actions. Oh, and did I mention this guy is running for the House? I thought I would repeat that to emphasize the absurdity of this situation.
He also said those who blamed the shooting on loose gun laws or mental illness were missing the point: “To blame the acts of a mass murderer on mental illness, for one, is a slap in the face, I think, to reason. It’s the equivalent of blaming lung cancer on coughing.”
No, instead he's implying that anyone who doesn't believe in his god becomes depraved and sub human enough to commit mass murder. I cringe to think what might happen if he should ever try to stop all this mass murder at its root. I wonder how that might go down.

The only thing I can agree with this guy on is his disdain for postmodernism! Well, that's a relief.

In second place here is Jessa Duggar, one of the 19 Duggar children whom Ken Ham recently praised for visiting his Creationism Museum. She had something to say about atheism too.

Jessa Duggar News 2014: ’19 Kids & Counting' Star Angers Fans With Atheism Rant On Instagram


(Nevermind the video on that page, it's just an advert for her new book.)
In her post, Duggar wrote, "Atheism - the belief that there was nothing and nothing happened to nothing and then nothing magically exploded for no reason, creating everything and then a bunch of everything magically rearranged itself for no reason what so ever into self-replicating bits which then turned into dinosaurs. Makes perfect sense."
Magically, eh? I'm not sure why she would have such a problem with that since the family apparently is all for the magic thing according to a new book she wrote along with 3 of her sisters.
"Magic, sorcery, witches, spell-casting and the like are all part of the demonic realm that God wants us to stay away from. One specific thing that our parents have always been careful about is magic, which often shows up in children's movies. As harmless as it may seem, it's not a joke in God's eyes," sisters Jill, Jessa, Jana and Jinger in their book, Growing Up Duggar.
Yeah, seems like anything goes in a belief system like that, while atheist types quite often rely on this thing called science. Did Jim Bob and Michelle Duggar not teach their kids science when they were home schooled? How am I to take her post about atheism seriously at all if she believes in witches and spell-casting and demons?

Jessa, why not pick up a copy of Why Evolution is True? Or any university level course might do.

Why does our culture put such value on those who have such a blatant and open disdain for science?

Tuesday, 16 September 2014

We Are All Fig Trees In the End

"Teachings of Jesus 36 of 40. parable of the fig tree. Jan Luyken etching. Bowyer Bible" by Phillip Medhurst - Photo by Harry Kossuth. Licensed under FAL via Wikimedia Commons.
I'm absolutely certain that someone has mentioned this before -- perhaps Christopher Hitchens? Anyway, something else struck me when reading Carolyn Hippolyte's book, Still Small Voices: The Testimony of a Born-Again Atheist. It's just after the opening of chapter 4 which I quoted in my previous post about the book.

p. 81
[...] Over the years, I have watched believers seriously struggle over the odd or violent stories in their holy book. Even Emily was occasionally flummoxed by the Bible. One day she recounted how disturbed she had been during her morning devotion upon reading that Jesus had cursed a fig tree for not bearing figs when it was not the season for figs (Mark 11:12-14). I am certain that she must have read this story dozens of times since she spent a good deal of time reading the Bible every day, but her demeanor was as one who had never encountered the story before. She was sitting on the floor and she pounded on the ground, saying. “But Jesus, you are always loving. I don’t understand since it was not the time for figs.” I said nothing, and she said nothing. We never talked about this matter of the figs again. She moved on with the same piety she had before. It should not be surprising that this fig story was not a deal breaker. What I think is noteworthy is that this seemed to me one of those moments when we read the Bible without the veil of dogma and for a moment, we see it for what it is. For a moment Jesus looks not only human, but even a bit irrational. But for a believer, these moments are short-lived. Something else in the mind takes over and forgetting the brief moment when the voice of reason was heard, one returns to reading the text as one wishes it were.
This parable and the reaction to it reminded me of what Christopher Hitchens said about the cruelty of a supposed God who would create not just fig trees but all of humankind to be flawed and then expect perfection.

Or put differently, punish those who cannot honestly believe in his existence would be punished for not being capable of getting it with eternal hell. I suppose they do it to themselves the same way the fig tree does it to itself when it's simply not in season.  This tree is merely behaving as it was supposedly designed! Seems to more resemble the behaviour of an abusive parent than a loving father to me. Perhaps some wise Christian can explain Jesus' seemingly childish fit and apparently brutal snuffing of a perfectly good tree.
I have been called arrogant myself in my time, and hope to earn the title again, but to claim that I am privy to the secrets of the universe and its creator — that's beyond my conceit. I therefore have no choice but to find something suspect even in the humblest believer. Even the most humane and compassionate of the monotheisms and polytheisms are complicit in this quiet and irrational authoritarianism: they proclaim us, in Fulke Greville's unforgettable line, "Created sick — Commanded to be well." And there are totalitarian insinuations to back this up if its appeal should fail. Christians, for example, declare me redeemed by a human sacrifice that occurred thousands of years before I was born. I didn't ask for it, and would willingly have foregone it, but there it is: I'm claimed and saved whether I wish it or not. And if I refuse the unsolicited gift? Well, there are still some vague mutterings about an eternity of torment for my ingratitude. That is somewhat worse than a Big Brother state, because there could be no hope of its eventually passing away.
-- Christopher Hitchens, Letters to a Young Contrarian 

Saturday, 13 September 2014

New Brunswick Law Society Rejects Anti-LGBT Law School


So fundamentalist Christian Trinity Western University Law School has run into yet another snag in its mission to be accredited with the provincial Law Societies -- so their graduates can actually practice law. The school has a strict Christian-based covenant barring their students from having any same-sex relationships. On this campus, only man-woman love is allowed -- as God intended it, of course.

Well, the Law Societies of Ontario, Nova Scotia have already rejected the school, which has prompted a legal challenge in the courts. Saskatchewan initially accepted the school but has since put this on hold along with Manitoba. Unsurprisingly to some, Alberta came right out and accepted it.

Well now the Law Society of New Brunswick has rejected Trinity Western Law School -- so add yet another province to the big court battles, I guess.

New Brunswick Law Society votes against accrediting Trinity Western

The society originally voted to honour the graduates but a special vote was held today after New Brunswick lawyers opposed the school and submitted a petition with 229 signatures.
The meeting was organized under the society's rules after it received a petition with more than 200 names opposing a decision in June by its governing council to recognize future graduates of Trinity Western University.
Here's the official release statement from a NB Law Society page devoted to this subject.
On Saturday, September 13, 2014, at a Special General Meeting, members of the Law Society of New Brunswick passed a resolution by a vote of 137 to 30 directing Council not to approve Trinity Western University’s Law school as a faculty of law.
That's a strong resolution. It seems that this review might have also triggered opposition to the new law school in the province of Prince Edward Island as well.
Charlottetown lawyer Daphne Dumont is concerned that Trinity Western University requires all its students to sign a pledge to only engage in sex within a heterosexual marriage.

"The Canadian Bar Association is saying that's not a good model to train lawyers," Dumont told CBC News, "one of the curriculum elements being the operation of the Charter of Rights in Canada, where we have said that gay marriage is to be accepted."
Her basic argument is that this is a law school that's effectively violating the Canadian Charter of Rights by discriminating against LGTB people (or anyone who has sex outside of marriage). Now the school has used religious freedom to effectively circumvent the Charter.
The university faced a similar challenge a few years ago when it started a teachers education program. Trinity Western argued it should be allowed because of religious freedom under the charter.
This will all likely be decided once and for all by the Supreme Court. I'm fairly certain that Trinity Western will win using a religious freedom argument. I'm also fairly certain that most lawyers in these Law Societies are well aware of this. I honestly think this is a protest against the retrograde attitudes the school has vis a vis LGTB equality. These lawyers have progressed into the 21st century and left this school behind.

Wednesday, 3 September 2014

God Photobombs Someone During "God's Not Dead" At Oklahoma Drive-In!

Divine photobomb! Circle added by news station so we can actually try to see him -- it's that obvious.  (source)
Take this, atheists! The Christian God, Yahweh, decided to prove to the entire human race -- well, actually some folks over at the Airline Drive-In movie theatre in Ponca City, Oklahoma -- that he is not dead at all! Hark, the divinity hath photobombeth a photograph Mandy Moehlman took of her daughter! Proof! How could you deny this evidence now?

People Claim to See God at Drive-In Movie Theater in Oklahoma

A Christian radio channel, KLVV (My Praise FM), spent thousands to refurbish the drive-in just to show God's Not Dead before it was to be demolished. Holy crap. Maybe God was pissed off they didn't use the money for food for kids or something? Do they not have this problem in Oklahoma?


Anyway, Moehlman shared a thought she had which I need to conclude with. It's about how convenient it was that God so undeniably chose to show up in the corner of a photograph of her daughter in the form of a nebulous vision exactly while they were all watching a film all about God's existence!
"He is very much alive," added Moehlman. "I just thought it was neat and ironic that we were at a movie called 'God's Not Dead,' and there is a picture of God's face in the clouds."
Curious, eh? Who would ever expect some Christians to perhaps see God-shaped clouds after watching God's Not Dead?

You know, during my misguided youth, I would occasionally lie on my back and see all sorts of things in clouds -- like boats, fish, elephants, penises... It's really amazing what people see in clouds. I wonder if this sort of thing is common?

Oklahoma, I love you!

(source)

Wednesday, 27 August 2014

Movie About An Atheist Making A Movie About Disproving God By Doing Satanic Things & Stuff

Michael King is making a documentary about being possessed in the movie The Possession of Michael King. (source)
I have a confession to make. Horror films scare me lots and I'm a big chicken. So I don't watch them. Anyway, there's this new horror film thing out there that seems to have a ridiculous premise around atheism. Here's a snippet from a review of The Possession of Michael King over at Variety.
As Michael (Shane Johnson, impressively committed) informs us at the outset, he’s an atheist, a condition that movies like this exist to rectify. By the next scene, his wife (Cara Pifko) is dead, partly due to advice she received from a psychic (Dale Dickey, seen too briefly), and Michael has waged a bitter one-man war on all religion, superstition and belief in the paranormal. Oddly, his campaign entails dabbling in the dark arts, participating in satanic rituals and attempting to summon the most diabolical forces known to man — all of which he captures on camera, in hopes that the demons’ non-activity will definitively disprove the existence of either God or the Devil. To say that his plan backfires would be an understatement, and understatement has no place in this silly, dunderheaded movie.
I like this opening paragraph of this review by Justin Chang because it points out the nauseatingly common trope of how atheism is something to be cured and follows through with a healthy mocking of the protagonist's ridiculous mission to disprove God. I can only assume that Chang rightly understands just how ridiculous this is and how much the creators of this silly sounding movie must not understand atheism or atheists.

I would leave it at that but we have this other review of the film over at the New York Times by Jeannette Catsoulis. Snippet follows, immediately.
Dim in wits and lighting, “The Possession of Michael King” strains our eyes, spits on our intelligence and saps our generosity of spirit. Relatively untaxed, however, is the part of the brain that processes new experiences: There’s scarcely a shot or an idea in this first feature from David Jung that we haven’t seen many times before.
No doubt the atheism thing is merely a plot device to get into some totally disturbing and grody demon possession -- all the while remaining comfortably familiar if we're to believe Catsoulis.

What I find extra ironic is that even if this Michael character is an atheist, (who doesn't understand you cannot prove a negative), he still gets possessed by demons. Since when does that ever happen in real life? It always seems to be the strong believers who get possessed by demons. Well, I suppose that this single point could conceivably be the least believable part of the entire film -- which I won't see because I'm not into horror! Capiche?

I don't think I'll miss much. It turns out that Catsoulis also recommends giving it a miss.
“This isn’t what I wanted,” he moans when his eyes blacken and his bones contort. Viewers lining up to get their money back will probably be saying the same thing. 
I wonder how many church groups out there will want to use all or parts of this film in their Halloween Hell Houses? Pumpkin season is not too far away.

Monday, 25 August 2014

Shocking News! Christians Watch Porn! And They Talk About It Too.

(source)
In news that should shock no one, it turns out that Christian men and women actually watch porn. Don't worry though, they feel plenty guilty about it later. The uber-conservative Washington Times brings us this interesting article.

More than half of Christian men admit to watching pornography

The subtitle on the article is, Churchgoers more likely to self-diagnose as addicts, which confused me a little before I realized that true blue Christians are likely to see any porn consumption at all as a sign of addictive behaviour. Meanwhile, your average non-Christian is unlikely to see it as an addiction unless it begins to have a negative impact on other things like relationships or their jobs.
A new study by the Barna Group shows that 54 percent of Christian men and 15 percent of Christian women admitted to viewing pornography at least once a month, compared to 65 percent of men and 30 percent of women who identified as non-Christian and said they watched porn at the same rate.
I'd be willing to bet a nickel that the true numbers are higher. I'd be willing bet a quarter that the Christian group is likely to be even closer to the non-Christian group simply because of the added stigma and pressure coming from their religion telling them how incredibly wrong it is to consume pornography.
The survey did not break down Christian men who viewed pornography by their ages. But the poll did have age groupings for all male respondents, and 79 percent between the ages of 18 and 30 said they watch pornography at least monthly, while 29 percent of them said they view it daily.
The article does do the responsible thing and admit that porn addiction is nowhere to be found in the DSM manual.
The trouble is that “pornography addiction” doesn’t exist in the professional mental health community, said Joshua Grubbs, who focuses on clinical psychology of religion and addictive behavior patterns at Case Western University.

“It’s not a diagnosis that’s recognized,” he said. “I know there are some people who believe it is a diagnosis, but it’s not recognized by the community at large.”
There is no problem here at all except for all these Christian ministries that like to call porn an addition and then sell you Bible-based cures for it.

Which brings me back to the article itself. Although it contains some interesting parts, most of the article reads like a sort of infomercial for the site that sponsored the study -- which conveniently points out a problem they have the cure for. The site in question -- which the article misspelled -- is Proven Men Ministries.
Working through the Study and combined with either a Proven Men network partner or joining a small Proven Men support group, you can win your personal battle and live a life of freedom. But don’t cut the process short or rely in your own strength.
Support Group? Indeed, here's another tidbit from the website about Joel's personal struggle with masturbation and how talking about it to a bunch of other guys and talking about the Bible really helped.
The importance of others cannot be understated. I vividly remember the first time I heard a man say that he struggled with masturbation. I was shocked that he admitted it, but I was grateful. I had thought that I would take my secret life of lust and masturbation to the grave without ever telling another person. Hearing another Christian man admit his struggles gave me strength and encouragement to one day admit my own. We encouraged each other in many ways, such as praying for each other, calling each other during the week, and sharing struggles and victories. This is what Jesus taught. He did not send out His disciples alone, but two by two (Mark 6:7; Luke 10:1).
Uh... yeah... Dudes, in couples... alone but together... talking about masturbating. Hey, not that there's anything wrong with that.

I also covered a service before to help Christians who look at the sexy videos and do that masturbation thang in previous posts. Then there's Covenant Eyes. It emails your porn habits to your wife -- which could be either very sexy or... well... not so sexy depending on how compatible you guys really are.

I don't know why I find this so hilarious, but it's hilarious.

Monday, 11 August 2014

Let's Talk About Some Non-Dead Atheists, Shall We?


People keep writing reviews about Nick Spencer's new book, Atheists: The Origin of the Species, all over the place, so I'm guessing it might be worth a read to see what all this hullabaloo is about.

Anyway, Spencer wrote a short piece over at Politico about how amazingly surprising it is that so very few Americans identify themselves as atheists. I find it shocking that he finds this shocking. Really, I have no clue how he came to this conclusion unless he has a very narrow view on who are atheists.

Why Aren’t More Americans Atheists?
You might think that America would be fertile ground for the rise of atheism. After all, the United States is the most scientifically advanced society in human existence, and as far as atheism has a history—and it is an oddly uncharted one—it is popularly believed to be of slow, steady scientific advance.
I cannot believe that Spencer doesn't realize that America is one of the most religious countries at this technological level and that atheists are the most despised, most distrusted minority in America. Did he do any research at all? Did he read any atheist websites, newsgroups or speak to any real atheists about this? Or is this just some sort of academic exercise?

He goes on to describe the 'myth' (he calls it one) that people were once ignorant about how the natural world works and so posited gods and spooks to explain natural phenomena. Then science came along and demonstrated how wrong these beliefs were. He then gives examples of famous scientists who believed in some form of a god and uses this as proof that the rise of science had nothing to do with the rise of disbelief.

He makes no mention of the Greek gods no longer physically living on Mount Olympus and the likes. I suppose the Greeks never believed in such things. Likewise, European fertility and harvest festivals were all just a commercial ploy to sell Green Men masks.

No it turns out that so few Americans are atheist because of politics.
In reality, the growth of atheism in Europe and America has much more to do with politics and, in particular, ecclesiastically backed politics, than it has with science, something that is clear even from its earliest days. The first person we can unequivocally call an atheist in modern Europe was a French Catholic priest who died in 1729. Jean Meslier led an unremarkable life at √Čtr√©pigny, in Champagne. On his death, however, friends discovered a manuscript, his “Testament,” which denounced all belief, all God and all religion with a frenzied anger that makes Richard Dawkins’ The God Delusion seem like a work of reasoned scholarship.
The French philosophes had a more repressive church-controlled system to despise while the English system was more moderate and so they had less to rebel against. Because, to many theists out there atheism is all about rebellion, now isn't it?

Is this a book about another universe?

How about this for a quick theory. Atheists have been despised and persecuted for centuries by religious people and institutions -- The term was used as a pejorative against Socrates and early Christians even. In the past, you could get yourself into serious trouble or even killed for being a non-believer -- in some countries this is still the case. These days, you can only lose your job, your wife, your family, your entire support structure.

Then, painfully, inch by inch, people have been allotted a little more space to actually freely question their own religious beliefs and the beliefs of others. People started talking openly about their own atheism. That's it, I think.

But is Spencer really interested in atheists who are not philosophes? I'm really not sure.

Perhaps he should rename his book to: A Few Famous Atheist 'Philosophes' That Are Found Interesting By Christians: The Origin of the Species

I'm shocked he didn't include Camus or Nietzsche. I had my Bingo card ready.

Monday, 4 August 2014

"Left Behind" Marketing to 'Unbelievers'

There are some pretty clever movie posters for the new Left Behind starring Nicholas Cage over at their Facebook page.

Here's one directed at us... apparently. Although if it were me I'd likely either be laughing uncontrollably or facepalming incessantly.

(source)
More hilarious posters on the Facebook page.

Thursday, 31 July 2014

Christian Alternative to "Fifty Shades of Grey" to Be Produced

Freestyle Releasing also brought us Return to Nuke 'Em High - Volume 1 the preview for which features a lesbian kiss and what looks like a relationship between a woman and her pet duck. No old fashioned chastity shown. I suspect this is aimed at a different audience. Whatever sells, right? (source)
So the company that brought us such classics as God's Not Dead, which looks dreadful and Return to Nuke 'Em High - Volume I -- which surprisingly appeals to the B-Movie nerd in me -- are shlocking together something or other to go up against the ghastly looking Fifty Shades of Grey flick due out on some terrible day in the our dystopic near future.

‘Fifty Shades’ to be Challenged by Faith-Based Romance

The tagline will apparently be: Chivalry makes a comeback.
Freestyle Releasing, which generated strong grosses for “God’s Not Dead,” is offering up a challenge next Valentine’s Day to “Fifty Shades of Grey” with faith-based romance “Old Fashioned.”

I wanted to tell a love story that takes the idea of Godly romance seriously,” said Rik Swartzwelder, writer-director and lead actor.  “A story that, without apology, explores the possibility of a higher standard in relationships; yet, is also fully aware of just how fragile we all are and doesn’t seek to heap guilt upon those of us that have made mistakes.”

After seeing the preview for Jesus People, another film released by Freestyle, I just don't know whether I should take this seriously or not. But then, they did release God Isn't Dead, so I suppose it really depends how much leeway Swartzwelder has.
“God’s Not Dead” topped $60 million earlier this year, representing by far the highest gross for any Freestyle release. Co-president Mark Borde asserted “Old Fashioned” is the first faith-based theatrical release to specifically target the “underserved” Christian singles audience.
Yeah, that sounds about as entertaining as Leave it to Beaver. Sorry, Beaver.

Sunday, 27 July 2014

"Poor Secular Kids Can't Tell (Biblical) 'Truth' From Fiction!"

(source)
I heard about a fascinating study last week on the David Pakman Show about how children raised with religion -- seems like Christianity in this study -- are less able to discern fact from fiction. I Fucking Love Science blog describes it well.
For the investigations, researchers enrolled 5- and 6- year old children and separated them into four groups: children who attend public school and church, children who attend public school but not church, children who attend parochial school and church and children who attend parochial school but not church.

They then exposed the children to three different types of stories- biblical (religious), fantastical (where the divine element was replaced with magic) or realistic (all supernatural elements removed). They then asked the children to judge whether the protagonist (lead character) was fictional or real.
So what happened was that both groups believed the completely realistic stories (read: naturalistic). Also predictably, the Biblical stories -- like Noah's Ark -- were predominantly judged as true by children from religious backgrounds and fictional from children from secular upbringings.

The interesting part comes with the fantastical stories.
Children exposed to religion, either through school or church, decided that the characters were real, whereas secular children judged them to be fictional.
So it seems like being raised to believe in certain supernatural stories opens up the door to all kinds of belief in the supernatural without evidence, while a grounding in a more naturalistic secular point of view inoculates kids against believing in magic. Really, both groups of kids are behaving perfectly consistently.

Fast-forward now to an article by David Roach in the Baptist Press.

Religious beliefs form by age 6

About the title. Personally, I think that if religious beliefs are cemented by the age of six, we should all be concerned. A six year old is not qualified to critically examine metaphysical truth claims or realise when they possess inadequate knowledge to come to a sound conclusion. This is why we ought to let their brains develop first.

Anyway, what's really amazing with this piece is how it tries to turn the conclusion of most media observers -- including the study authors -- on its head. It's the secular kids who are most impaired here because they're unable to see the Biblical accounts as non fiction!
Media reports of the study have tended to portray children with Christian training as ignorant or developmentally challenged. For example, the Huffington Post reported that “young children who are exposed to religion have a hard time differentiating between fact and fiction.” But a careful examination of the study suggests the opposite of what some media reports imply. In the rush to slam Christianity, it’s been overlooked that religious children correctly identified the true stories far more often than did secular children. After all, the “realistic” and “fantastical” stories were mere concoctions of the researchers’ imaginations, unlike the biblically-based stories, which were largely true though some changed the details of Bible stories and one was an apocryphal story about Jesus that contained elements similar to what is reported in the Gospels.
Roach had pointed out earlier in his article that some of the Biblical stories were somewhat Biblically inaccurate, so the children could be excused for not always believing those versions to be true. 

This is what happens when True or Non-Fictional equals, in all cases, what's in the Bible. Boat full of pairs of every kind of animal on the planet? TRUE! Earth created in six days? TRUE! Talking donkey? TRUE!

It turns out that the poor secular children were unable to properly identify all those Biblical accounts -- because, I suppose, they just evaluate the plausibility of these stories as they would the The Cat In the Hat or Jason And The Argonauts! Aren't they silly?
Still, the secular children misidentified the religious stories as false at a higher rate than the religious children misidentified the fantastical stories as true. In the end, the Christian worldview proved more effective at recognizing truth than the secular worldview.
Enormous... facepalm...

Saturday, 12 July 2014

Edmonton School Board Calls Off Christian Abstinence Sex Ed Class After Outrage

1950s sex education film, Secrets of Life. (source)
Just one day after the news of Christian-based abstinence-pushing sex education speakers addressing Edmonton public school students broke into corporate media -- as well as the Friendly Atheist blog -- the Edmonton School Board has backed down.

It came after Emily Dawson and her mother Kathy filed a human rights complaint against her high school for bringing in a education workshop from the Edmonton Pregnancy Care Centre.

There is a page in this site for churches who want the centre to present to their congregation. This is where organizations like the Pregnancy Centre should speak -- if they must --- not in a public school.
Provide us the opportunity to speak to your congregation – there are probably many individuals sitting in the pews that need a safe place to go and talk about their current or past situation in regards to an unexpected pregnancy or abortion. Many times after a presentation we are presented with the comment, “I had no idea that you did all this and that you are a Christian organization.”
Although blatantly obvious to many, the rest of the site doesn't exactly scream Christian. I get the feeling it's all sort of covert and on the downlow to buy the organization cred. After some digging though, you get to the juicier stuff.  Here's the guiding principles they were presumably going into McNally High School with last year.

  • Directed by Christ, we trust Him to accomplish His work through us.
  • In this spiritual battle, we must be armed; covered in prayer, ready, faithful, and skillful.
  • We are a client-focused organization that respects and values our clients, demonstrating in practical ways, the love of Christ to individuals.
  • While we believe in the sanctity of human life, we hold that our clients are free to make their decisions.
  • All supporters, including staff, volunteers and donors are vital to our ministry.

Their ministry, indeed.
“While we have a faith background, the religious part does not come up in the public school or education,” said Jutta Wittmeier, director of the Calgary centre.

“That’s just not part of the program, it’s science- and research-based.”
Oh no! Those Guiding Principles above just don't apply at all when they go into the public schools and say really Christ-like things like this:
“She did a lot of slut-shaming to the women, and pointed out the guys as horn-dogs,” Emily says. “She really ridiculed single-parent families, she made it sound like they all give birth to juvenile delinquents.”
I suppose we're all born fallen with our evil sin nature... or something.  I mean, no -- nothing religious here, folks! Completely secular when in public schools.

Naturally, they left all their fundamentalist Christian objections to same-sex relationships at the door as well. Of course they did!:
One classmate, Emily claims, asked about same-sex relationships.

“All those questions were shut down right away. She just said, ‘We’re not here to discuss that.’ ”
Likewise, as mentioned above, it was all science- and research-based:
The Dawsons’ complaints allege the presenter taught students that 60 per cent of boys carry the HPV sexually transmitted infection under their fingernails, that gonorrhea can kill you in three days, that girls should dress modestly to avoid inflaming boys. The allegations have not been proven.
Well, I'm sure glad this is not happening for now. We'll have to see just what sort of group replaces this one over at the Edmonton School Board. They need watching because any board that would choose this group shouldn't be trusted to choose another. I wonder just how many other horrible sex ed classes exist here in Canada.

I can only hope this will act as motivation for other students and parents to step forward.