Uncommon Sense

January 31, 2018

What Religion … Trying to Control Us?

I continue to insist that no matter why a religion was created in the first (or second, third, etc.) place, it continues to exist because it controls the great masses of a society to the benefit of the religious and secular elites. The easiest example is Christianity. If Christianity had not supported slavery, it would never have become the state religion of Rome and would have remained an obscure Jewish sect.

Fast forward to today and Ireland is having a referendum on the legality of abortions. In the U.S. there has been a massive anti-abortion campaign being waged for the last thirty years (at least). A primary source of the energy for the “opposed” position on abortion has come from the Catholic Church.

So, what do you think the scriptural basis for this opposition is? For some, the important distinction was of “ensoulment,” the exact moment in time a fetus receives its soul. So, what does the OT have to say about this? While the Hebrew Bible only requires a fine for the loss of a fetus through the actions of another, whatever its stage of development, the Greek Septuagint (LXX) translation of the Hebrew text (a pre-Christian translation that the early Christians used and quoted extensively in the NT) introduced a distinction between an Aristotelian “formed” and an “unformed” fetus and treated destruction of the former as murder. The debate was over when the fetus became “formed.” So, the scriptures were distorted to include Greek philosophical distinctions by Greek translators. (The NT is rampant with such things, both segments having their science based upon Aristotle or superstition.)

The “debate” was not settled quickly (nor has it been settled now). In 1679, Pope Innocent XI publicly condemned sixty-five propositions taken chiefly from the writings of Escobar, Suarez and other casuists as “at least scandalous and in practice dangerous.” He forbade anyone to teach them under penalty of excommunication. The condemned propositions included:

  1. It is lawful to procure abortion before ensoulment of the fetus lest a girl, detected as pregnant, be killed or defamed.
  2. It seems probable that the fetus (as long as it is in the uterus) lacks a rational soul and begins to first have one when it is born and consequently it must be said that no abortion is homicide.

That these teachings that were being condemned were of Jesuit Catholics, it can hardly be claimed that scripture is crystal clear on the topic.

Of late, the idea of ensoulment at the moment of conception has become popular, but not because it is supported by scripture, just by the Catholic hierarchy, which means it is political.

Now, why would Christianity in the form of the Catholic Church and many Protestant sects (allies in the anti-abortion movement), have its position “evolve” in this manner? For one, each religion has seen itself involved in a war of attrition. People in general did not tend to lose their faith (it wasn’t healthy) but to dominate, more “believers” were needed, consequently more and more children were favored. The Catholic Church didn’t just oppose abortion, it has opposed all artificial birth control methods. More Catholics means more power and that is the name of the game they are playing.

It is a bit of fun watching the Catholic Church squirm as it is rapidly approaching “majority minority” status. The highest birth rates in Catholicism are in Latin America, Latino Americans, and Africa, etc. Pope Francis may come from Argentina but his parents were Italian and of Italian-extraction, so he is far from being a South American, just another overseas Italian and the church does love them some Italian (aka white) popes. How well that will continue to go down as Catholics become more and more brown and black skinned is what will be interesting to watch.

Still, the name of the religion game is to control the behavior of the masses to the benefit of the religious and secular elites. Since, for example, 96% of Catholic American women have used artificial birth control at some point in their lives, that control seems to be slipping. Ireland has approved gay marriage and may decriminalize abortion.

But the Catholic Church and other churches will continue to have opinions, backed with political muscle in these debates. Be sure, however, that there is no clear guidance from scripture on these and many other issues. (The Catholic Church also extols “tradition” as a basis for their opinions which equates to “the way we have always done things” which, surprise!, puts them in control of their opinions.)

And what do you call someone whose political stance is to preserve the status quo and all its institutions? Answer: a conservative. More and more the “opinions” of churches (for example, on the fitness of Donald J. Trump as President of the United States) is determined by their conservatism rather than their professed faith.

The game is all about power … over us. Are you surprised?

January 27, 2018

Breaking News: Religious Faith No Longer Needed!

I ran across an amazing breakthrough yesterday and needed some time to process it. Apparently the existence of a god or gods is now proven and therefore religious faith is no longer needed or wanted! Why operate upon a basis of faith when one has proof?

The document under discussion was posted at The Christian Post under their “Christian Evidence” column. The title? Need Proof That God Exists? Check This Out! The subtitle was “If you ever needed proof that God exists – here’s 30 of them.” What followed was astonishing. The first four on the list were the usual suspects: the ontological argument, the teleological argument, the fine tuning argument, etc. but then things got interesting in the form of 25 new proofs never before published! Here for example is #5:

  1. The Golden Ratio. In God’s creation, there exists a “Golden Ratio” (the mathematical constant of 1.618) that is exhibited in a multitude of shapes, numbers, and patterns whose relationship can only be the result of the omnipotent, good, and all-wise God of Scripture.

And here is #15:

15: Specific Bible verses have numbers and themes in the text of the Bible that seem to line up with the locations where the verses are found. This requires a supernatural author. For example, Matthew 24:42 is about the Day of the Lord. It is the 24th chapter, it’s about the DAY (24 hours) of the Lord; and the 42nd verse (reverse of 24) is the key verse to watch out for we don’t know when this DAY will occur. These three references to things related to 24 are all found in the 24,000th verse of the Bible (now that really sets it apart)! Mathematics shows it’s statistically impossible for this to be chance occurrence (calculated at billions to one could not be coincidence).

The sheer breathlessness of the presentation of these glaringly obvious proofs points to the author of the list being a home-schooled high school valedictorian. But I might be wrong in that guess (unlike the author).

Let’s just take just these two apart to see what we can see.

The exposition here seems somewhat incomplete as geometry is loaded with the fingerprints of the Lord and not just in the Golden Ratio. Take for example the fact that the interior angles of a square, actually any rectangle, add up to 360°, the same number of degrees as in a circle! What are the odds of that happening?! And there is nothing round about a rectangle! Parallelogram’s interior angles also add up to  360° even though it has no curves and not even a single right angle! Triangle’s interior angles add up to 180°, exactly half of those in the rectangles and has a different number of sides! Surely the Lord’s Creation is exposed here for all to see.

Uh, no. I just don’t think one can take mathematical oddities and follow them with “therefore God.” I suggest this person read the book Flatland to find out the real mystical properties of geometry.

Uh, no. It is highly unlikely that the authors of said scriptures embedded information in the numbers referred to. For one, nobody has ever seen the original manuscripts and copyists make mistakes, so these numbers could have gotten jumbled. More importantly, chapter and verse numbers were inserted into Greek manuscripts of the New Testament in the fucking 16th century. Robert Estienne (Robert Stephanus) was the first to number the verses within each chapter, his verse numbers entering printed editions in 1551 (New Testament) and 1571 (Hebrew Bible). Embedding knowledge in numbers that did not exist is not another miracle, by the way.

Well, this is disappointing. I thought these proofs would finally put faith to rest, but sadly it was not to be. It is encouraging, though, that the ranks of apologists are so thin they are recruiting teenagers to the task.

I will keep other examples from this list at hand for occasions in which I think you, dear reader, need a laugh. (Oh, go ahead, read the whole list if you want, but don’t blame me if you pull a muscle laughing. Take it slow and just read a few at a time and you should be okay.)



January 26, 2018

Right … Are You Sure It Wasn’t Aliens?

Filed under: Religion — Steve Ruis @ 10:25 am
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The Conversation (U.K.) website ran a piece yesterday with the interesting title “Religion isn’t the enemy of science: it’s been inspiring scientists for centuries” by Tom McLeish. (What has happened to the capitalization of titles?) Mr. McLeish is writing a book on the same topic. Many other British outlets including mainstream media organs produce puff pieces supporting religion and this is no different.

The author, of course, cherry picks the Jewish and Christian Bibles to make connections of those documents with the scientific method, and then, also of course, ignores all of the opposition to scientists and to scientific findings over the course of Church history.

Unsupported claims like “The content of this timeless text has clearly steered the story of science for centuries” are made. Steered the story of science … it sounds as if the Bible has been humanity’s research director all along and we just didn’t notice.

In reality, the Church has insisted that if one wanted to know anything, the answer was to be found in scripture. If it could not be found, then the question was too trivial for scripture to have addressed it, so the question was too trivial to pursue. If one insisted on pursuing answers to such questions, the scientist was being prideful and sinful and was subject to repercussions such as excommunication, house arrest, inability to publish, imprisonment, torture and death.

In the history of science there have been occasions in which scientists, being very sure that their thinking was right, bent their evidence to align it with their foregone conclusion. It happened then and it happens today, it is normal. It is also normal in science today that when a deception is discovered the scientist responsible is excoriated, typically loses his job, and is drummed out of the field. In the history of religion, theists who fabricate documents and religious relics are almost never chastised because having an excess of zeal is “erring on the high side” and is excused.

Many religious miracles have been investigated scientifically and none have been shown to have supernatural sources. More than a few have been shown to be the result of chicanery. Mechanisms to cause inanimate objects to more, statues to ooze “tears” or “blood,” etc. have been created to attract religious pilgrims, willing to pay a small fee to observe proof of their faith.

Proving faith is what this all comes down to. This is why apologists appeal to reason all of the time instead of faith. Faith is a dead end philosophically as there is no way to create more of it through faith, only through reason. (Ask C.S. Lewis.) Since the supernatural seemingly cannot be depended upon to provide what is needed, theists feel no compunction against, apparently, providing the proof that faith is reasonable by carefully fabricating “evidence” to support their positions. This “evidence” is designed to appeal to a certain audience of certain capabilities. What works for simple people does not necessarily work for intellectuals and vice-versa.

There are more than a few books telling us that science and religion are not only compatible but handmaidens in human progress. Since only a small fraction of our culture actually reads books, the messages in these books are directed at that audience. This one, I am sure, will be no different. The text will sound literate, offer citations (mostly scripture) and connections they see which in reality aren’t significant or, in many cases, appropriate. And, they will leave out the Church’s repression of scientific ideas that lasted for centuries.

If the Bible steered the story of science it is only because people were finally allowed to study its contents and then asked “How could that be?” (Remember the Church did not want people to be able to read the Bible, so it forbade its translation into vernacular languages. They wanted the Bible to be doled out by “experts” who knew what conclusions to draw. This cherry picking of scripture continues on today’s churches. When was the last time a minister preached on the meaning of the many massacres in the OT?) Those “How could that be?” thoughts led to investigations that almost always contradicted what scripture claimed. The list of bad science in scripture is very, very long and I will not bore you expounding it, but as just one example, if you get sick would you go to a doctor or to an exorcist? The Bible would have you go to the exorcist as demons create human maladies. And it isn’t that Church leaders have not known that what they are teaching in these areas is false, Renaissance Popes had Jewish doctors on retainer to treat their illness, even after Jewish doctors were banned from treating Christians. No exorcists for them, they wanted only the best medicine available, even if it came from detested Jews. (Much like Republicans claiming our health care system is the best in the world because their platinum health care plans are so much better than our tin ones.)


January 24, 2018

So Beautiful!

Filed under: Art,Culture — Steve Ruis @ 9:45 pm
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This afternoon I went to see and hear the musical Beautiful based upon the life and music of Carole King. Her most famous album is Tapestry which is fitting as she seems to have woven a little bit of the tapestries of the lives of myriad people, including me.

We seem desperate to find words to live by and it is disappointing so many of us have settled for a hateful and violent monotheistic religion when better words to live by are right under our noses.

Beautiful closes with the song of the same name, part of which is:

You’ve got to get up every morning
With a smile in your face
And show the world all the love in your heart
Then people gonna treat you better
You’re gonna find, yes you will
That you’re beautiful, as you feel.

Words to live by, indeed.

January 21, 2018

Why Can’t Atheists Just Shut Up About It?

Filed under: Culture,Religion — Steve Ruis @ 8:24 pm
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There is a pervasive feeling among many Americans that there is a war being made upon Christianity, when in actuality Christians are part of a class of people called theists, people who believe in the existence of a god or gods so that includes Christians, who are making class war against those who do not so believe, atheists. This has been going on since there have been religions so it is nothing new. For example:

  • Plato, in his construction of the ideal state, made “impiety” a crime punishable by five years imprisonment for the first offense and death upon a second conviction.
  • Jesus, who is offered as the fount of love and compassion, threatened nonbelievers claiming they will be thrown “into the furnace of fire” where “men will weep and gnash their teeth,” just as “the weeds are gathered and burned with fire….” (Matthew 13: 40– 42).
  • Thomas Aquinas, the great medieval theologian, taught that “the sin of unbelief is greater than any sin that occurs in the perversion of morals,” and he recommended that the heretic “be exterminated from the world by death” after the third offense.
  • Our political waters have been so poisoned against atheists that in 1958 a mere 18% of Americans could abide the idea of an atheist president. (Recently that number has climbed to 58%, possibly due to atheists speaking out?)

So, those thinking that atheists should be silent are saying that we should suffer their iniquities in silence. But, by not being silenced, we are fighting back, and as the poll result above shows, making progress. We should have learned to fight long ago but it is hard to think when you are being burned at a stake.

Without God How …

Filed under: Religion — Steve Ruis @ 1:35 pm
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There is a class of people called theists, people who believe in the existence of a god or gods, who are making a class war against those who do not so believe, atheists. This is called a class war, if you didn’t know. Part of that class war is fueled by theist’s minds being poisoned against atheists based upon false claims for their religion. Here are a series of questions that theists put to atheists that expose these false beliefs:

Without god, what is left of morality?

Without god, what purpose is there in man’s life?

If we do not believe in god, how can we be certain of anything?

If god does not exist, whom can we turn to in a time of crisis?

If there is no afterlife, who will reward virtue and punish injustice?

Without god, how can we resist the onslaught of atheistic materialism?

If god does not exist, what becomes of the worth and dignity of each person?

Without god, how can man achieve happiness?

These questions are based upon assumptions or claims that are made for religions that actually have to basis to exist whatsoever, well other than being fiction created by men. Allow me to answer these questions based upon my view that religions exist solely because they serves the interests of secular and religious elites by controlling the behavior of the great masses of people to serve those interests.

Without god, what is left of morality?
This has been discussed at length here and elsewhere. It is based upon the illusion that religions create moralities when, in fact, the moralities existed prior to the creation of the religion. Beyond that, people suffer under the illusion that religions reinforce moral codes, by encouraging good behavior, and without that all of us would revert to a savage state of “might makes right” or the “law of tooth and fang.” This is actually propaganda of religions themselves with no basis in fact. The simple truth is that, around the world, the less religious a state is, the more peaceful it is.
If you accept their argument, then you are being conned by the religious into thinking the existence of the religions and the elites who live off of them are essential, when they are not and instead of doing something proactive to encourage moral behavior, you are deferring to an institution which doesn’t really do this.

Without god, what purpose is there in man’s life?
Again, this has been discussed at length here and elsewhere. The simple answer is that most religious people cannot answer the question “What is the purpose of life?” Many Christians say it is “to serve God.” Consider for a minute that, if the only reason for the existence of a religion is to control the behavior of the masses, including you and me, for the benefit of the elites, who does this belief serve? Basically, this says that our purpose is to serve not others, but God? Who benefits from this? Not you or me, unless you believe other things, that are also untrue. (Some religions go so far to insist that doing “good works” for others will not get a reward in the after life, only belief in their claptrap will do that. They are actively discouraging us helping one another!) Please read on.

If we do not believe in god, how can we be certain of anything?
If you realize that certainty is a false goal, it will help you. We actually cannot be absolutely certain of anything. We can be very certain of many things. But “gods,” or at least the words put into god’s mouths, promise absolute certainty. So, have you every had a moment of religious doubt, that some part of it wasn’t right, even a tiny part? I doubt you can be human and not have had such a moment. Therefore, you are not absolutely certain of your religion, otherwise you never would have had any doubts at all. If you admit such doubt to a theologian, they will blame you; it is your fault, because of your weakness, you have had this doubt. Blaming the victim is a common aspect of such scams.
The desire for absolute certainty is understandable. But it does not exist, so anyone who promises it to you is trying to control your behavior for their benefit, not yours.

If god does not exist, to whom can we turn in a time of crisis?
If you believe that a god consoles you in a time of crisis, what does this consolation consist of? If your child is lost and in danger, is your child returned by a god or by a search party of your fellow human beings? If a loved one gets sick, who will be responsible for their getting well: doctors or gods? If we were to be invaded by a foreign army, would you expect a god to repel that army or would you rather trust our army?
Consoling is what human beings do for others they love and respect and sometimes for total strangers. They basically say that they understand, that they also feel grief, and that life will go on. That is where consolation comes from.

If there is no afterlife, who will reward virtue and punish injustice?
This is an abomination. This tells people that if things are done that are evil to not resist them because punishment will be meted out in some spiritual realm that no one has ever seen. Oh, and you will be rewarded for your virtue in a neighboring supernatural realm. Just do not expect the fruits of your labor to reward you now, because those are being skimmed off to serve the elites.
I have always marveled at priestly classes who surround themselves with priceless architecture, paintings, statuary, furniture, etc. We are told this is necessary to impress the secular elites with the “power of the church.” Hmm, is the similar display by the secular elites to impress the religious elites? Why would the religious want to impress the rich and powerful by showing that they are rich also? I would be much more impressed by modesty and simple living, such as can be seen in Buddhist monks. (They are better only in quantity, they are supported by “alms,” that is gifts of food and other things from “believers.” They also participate in a system that allows the elites to subsist off of the labor of masses.)
Imagine if your home were robbed and the thief dropped his wallet during the theft and his driver’s license clearly identifies him, would you accept from the police that there was nothing they could do but the culprit surely will be punished in the afterlife? Who benefits from an infinite delay in punishment for bad deeds? Who benefits from a infinite delay in rewarding your virtue? What would you think if your boss came up to you and said “That idea you came up with will make millions, maybe billions, for the company! This is really exciting! Thank you. Someday, I am sure, you will be rewarded.” Think about how that would feel and then ask yourself, who would benefit from such a belief here?

Without god, how can we resist the onslaught of atheistic materialism?

Gosh, have you ever considered that the definition of “materialism” is basically focusing on what is real and not on the mythical reality one’s religion is trying to create? In sports or business or the military, what does team building have to do spirituality? I suggest that being focussed on reality could help us decide whether we want good, productive, caring lives, or one’s dictated by people trying to control our behavior so that a very few can be rich and powerful. If you don’t think we have a capability within us, without religion, to know how to live good lives, consider the current stance of the current Pope to avoid condemning Catholic Church officials, including bishops, for covering up widespread child sexual abuse by priests? What possible reason might a religious leader have to not condemn child sex abuse and those who facilitate it? No, Church Lady, it is not Satan, but it is power.

If god does not exist, what becomes of the worth and dignity of each person?
My goodness, can this not be based upon what a person establishes through their actions. Do you really need a god to be able to recognize someone’s dignity? Is a dignity based upon the belief that you were “made in God’s image” or that you are one of “God’s people” real dignity? What kind of god creates conscious beings and then chooses to favor one group of those over the others? Would you praise one of your children and condemn the others because it seems like a godly idea?

Without god, how can man achieve happiness?
Why is it Christians are so unhappy? They look around and see wickedness everywhere. I see acts of human kindness on a daily basis. I am rather a happy person as these things are judged and none of it is god-based. International surveys of happiness correlate well against religiousness. The more religious a country is, the less happy its citizens are. Imagine that.

There are myriad such questions and behind everyone of them is a false claim of a religion:
God is the source of morality.
God is the source of  purpose.
Only God can be trusted and is the only source of truth.
God will console you in times of distress.
God will reward virtue and punish injustice.
God is the source of all happiness.

Now, just for a minute, consider if these are just made up ideas, part of a system designed to control your behavior. Who would benefit from you believing such things? Realize if they were just made up, they are not true, so who benefits if you believe them to be true?

Is it you?

I don’t think so.

But there is a saying that “the rich get richer.” This, as it turns out, is the purpose of civilization. Civilization was designed by the elites for their benefit and this has not changed. In the entire history of civilization, over half of all human beings have been a slave of some sort. Does that sound to you like a system made for you by a loving god? No matter what cause religions to be created, they would not survive if they didn’t keep the masses under control. The elites are few and we are many, so they need ways to make sure we stay calm and not blame them for problems. If we have problems it is because we are sinful and weak, but God loves us and we will be rewarded … later. Just be sure to get up and go to work today, because those profits you generate are needed by the secular elites and if they don’t get them, they will be sad.

By the way, you might note the rules for the masses of ordinary people do not apply to the elites. The elites feel free to break laws, customs, traditions, social norms, whatever. They are above all of that. This is why Catholic priests can sexually abuse choirboys and their superiors cover that up. This is why corporate executives break laws over and over and never go to jail. This is why politicians can become rich in office by taking bribes and suffer no consequences. Oh, and any elite foolish enough to admit they have drunk the Kool-Aid and are true believers will not be trusted by the real elites.





January 19, 2018

Bollocks, A Steaming Load In Fact

Filed under: Economics,Education — Steve Ruis @ 1:06 pm
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Maryville University, of St. Louis, Missouri, USA, has been running a television commercial touting its services. Up front they say “Maryville University has been disrupting Higher Education by putting students first.” Whoa, this must be some place.

I wonder when this began. Maybe it was in 1921 when it converted from a secondary school to a junior college. Or maybe in 1923 when it became a four year college. Huh, two years of experience as a college of only freshmen and sophomores and they learned how to serve juniors and seniors as well. Now, that’s creative disruption.

But then maybe it was in 1961 when it became a liberal arts college, or 1968 when it became co-ed. No, it was 1991 when it became a university, surely that’s when it began.

This university could not have a more mundane history, jumping through hoops, moving up the academic hierarchy, playing by all of the rules.

The commercial says that “the higher education system is broken.” Really? Maybe it is due to all of that creative disruption on Maryville’s part.

I have been a vocal critic of higher education for at least the last 50 years, but the system is far from broken. Most of the countries around the world would die to have such a system in their country (China foremost on the list). But, costs to students have been spiraling out of control for quite some time and I do not see anything, including market forces, doing anything to curb these. Maryville is a private university that has tuition, I am sure. Let’s see … “Tuition for Maryville University of Saint Louis is $25,558 for the 2015/2016 academic year. This is 5% cheaper than the national average private non-profit four year college tuition of $26,851. The cost is 57% more expensive than the average Missouri tuition of $16,299 for 4 year colleges (my emphases).” Gee, I wonder if this is what they mean by “putting students first?”

Really, what does “putting students first” mean? First in line at the cafeteria? Certainly first in line at the Bursar’s Office to pay their tuition (57% higher than the average Missouri tuition).

And the whole idea of “creative disruption” was bogus from the get go. No such phenomenon seems to exist except in the minds of business consultants.

So, this TV advert is just another load of bollocks to get people to pony up four times $25,558 (that’s $102,232 … if you can finish in four years (most cannot)) for a four-year education. We can only hope it was written by an intern in one of their communications programs.

Listen, I was either a student or a professor in colleges from 1964-2006, that’s … 42 years … yeah, that’s right, and I never even heard of a college or university that didn’t believe that their primary mission was to serve … society … by serving students. Students do not come first, but they were and are the focus of everything done. Students do not set the standards, they do not determine the curriculum, they certainly don’t determine times, dates, places, costs, etc.

But they are the main focus of everything done.

Please do not misunderstand me. I had colleagues more interested in their careers than their students. They do exist! (They are … out there!) But they are not the norm, nowhere near it. Most teachers are good hearted people who want to do a better job than they did before. The staff and administrators were very much the same. The Boards of Trustees were focussed on students, too, even though they were about as removed from the process as you can be and still be a part of it.

But students are the main focus of everything done … everywhere in U.S. Higher Ed.

Well, except when it comes to big-time college athletics … allow me to … <grumble, grumble, grumble …>


January 15, 2018

What Kind of Atheists are These?

Filed under: Culture,History,Religion — Steve Ruis @ 10:00 am
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After reading the following excerpts, I will ask you what kind of atheists are displayed based upon their words. Let us begin:

Atheist the First
This is in the form of a conversation between Samuel White Baker and Commoro, a non-believer. They communicated through interpreters:

Baker Have you no belief in a future existence after death?

Commoro Existence after death! How can that be? Can a dead man get out of his grave, unless we dig him out?

Baker Do you think man is like a beast that dies and is ended?

Commoro Certainly. . . .

Baker Then you believe in nothing; neither in a good nor evil spirit! And you believe that when you die it will be the end of body and spirit; that you are like other animals; and that there is no distinction between man and beast; both disappear, and end at death?

Commoro  Of course they do.

Baker (Some corn had been taken out of a sack for the horses and a few grains lying scattered on the ground. Making a small hole with my finger in the ground, I placed a grain within it.) That represents you when you die. (I covered it with earth) That grain will decay, but from it will rise the plant that will produce a reappearance of the original form.

Commoro  Exactly so; that I understand. But the original grain does not rise again; it rots like the dead man, and is ended; the fruit produced is not the same grain that we buried, but the production of that grain: so it is with man—I die, and decay, and am ended; but my children grow up like the fruit of the grain.

Is Commoro a new atheist, a militant atheist, angry atheist, or an agnostic?

Atheist the Second
This book, the Bible, has persecuted, even unto death, the wisest and the best. This book stayed and stopped the onward movement of the human race. This book poisoned the fountains of learning and misdirected the energies of man. This book is the enemy of freedom, the support of slavery. This book sowed the seeds of hatred in families and nations, fed the flames of war, and impoverished the world. This book is the breastwork of kings and tyrants – the enslaver of women and children. This book has corrupted parliaments and courts. This book has made colleges and universities the teachers of error and the haters of science. This book has filled Christendom with hateful, cruel, ignorant and warring sects. This book taught men to kill their fellows for religion’s sake. This book funded the Inquisition, invented the instruments of torture, built the dungeons in which the good and loving languished, forged the chains that rusted in their flesh, erected the scaffolds whereon they died. This book piled fagots about the feet of the just. This book drove reason from the minds of millions and filled the asylums with the insane.

This book has caused fathers and mothers to shed the blood of their babes. This book was the auction block on which the slave-mother stood when she was sold from her child. This book filled the sails of the slave-trader and made merchandise of human flesh. This book lighted the fires that burned “witches” and “wizards.” This book filled the darkness with ghouls and ghosts, and the bodies of men and women with devils. This book polluted the souls of men with the infamous dogma of eternal pain. This book made credulity the greatest of virtues, and investigation the greatest of crimes. This book filled nations with hermits, monks and nuns — with the pious and the useless. This book placed the ignorant and unclean saint above the philosopher and philanthropist. This book taught man to despise the joys of this life, that he might be happy in another – to waste this world for the sake of the next. I attack this book.

Is this author a new atheist, a militant atheist, angry atheist, or an agnostic?

So, what did you answer?

The correct answer is that these were old atheists.

The first example was from the 1860’s! Source: Stephens, Mitchell. Imagine There’s No Heaven: How Atheism Helped Create the Modern World. St. Martin’s Press. Original source: Samuel White Baker, The Albert N’Yanza: Great Basin of the Nile and Explorations of the Nile Sources. Commoro was described as a chief of the Latooka tribe in East Africa, and as a barbarian.

The second example is Robert G. Ingersoll. Source: About the Holy Bible, first published in 1894! Ingersoll is the best example of an American freethinker as can be found.

My point is atheism is not “new.” It has been around since religion raised its ugly head. It is simply an expression of doubt when people are told tales that have no support in reality. The reason atheism is characterized as it is is due to the fact that it has been suppressed for so long that people are actually surprised when it rears its ugly head, and therefore think it is new.

Atheism is not new.

These examples show that you can be formally educated or not, black or white, all of those things don’t matter. All that matters is you cherish being able to think for yourself and do not want to be controlled by make believe principles.



January 12, 2018

Oh, If Someone Else Will Pay For It, Sure

Walmart, the nation’s largest private employer, said on Thursday that it would raise its starting wages, give bonuses to some employees and vastly expand maternity and parental leave benefits for its army of more than one million hourly workers. The retailer said that it would use some of the money it expects to save under the recently passed Republican tax bill to pay for the raises and enhanced benefits.

Walmart said it would increase its starting hourly wage from $9 to $11, and provide one-time cash bonuses of up $1,000 to hourly workers, depending on how long they have been with the company. The wage increase brings Walmart in line with some of its other retail-industry rivals amid a tightening labor market. Target raised its base pay to $11/hr last fall.

So, Walmart is struggling to keep up with Target? WTF?

Within hours of its self-serving announcement, Walmart undercut its triumphal message when news leaked that it was closing 63 of its Sam’s Club stores.

So, was the wage increase a smoke screen? Some “good news” to cover the “bad news” to follow? Otherwise why make the announcements on the heels of one another?

And, since Walmart is using its “tax cut” to pay for some of these employee benefit increases, how much of it we do not know, are they saying “Gee, now we can afford it?” Walmart has made huge profits for its owners and investors for decades, large enough that they could have been a leader in how to treat their employees. But no, Walmart would rather their primaries get to become billionaires than their workers to have a living wage.

And if anyone claims that Walmart is paying the “market price” for its labor, I will scream! The “market” is not magic, in fact it is a political construct that has been manipulated to create the lowest possible labor costs for its participating companies. The “market” is something that is a lousy guide for any endeavor. Worse are “free markets.” Any decent economist can tell you that unregulated markets doom the sectors they serve. In fact markets cannot thrive without regulation. So, why is one of our major political parties campaigning on a “regulations are bad, we must get rid of them” plank? Ask the people who are paying for those opinions to be espoused and actions taken. (Hint: it ain’t you or me.)

As to who will actually pay for those raises, look forward shortly to the Repubs to cut benefits to poor people. Why? Because the tax jiggering they have pull off is going to lower federal tax receipts and “we won’t have the money” to pay for such frivolous expenditures. Look for Walmart employees, a class of workers who benefit from the government programs lined up for haircuts by the GOP, even with their raises and bonuses to be less well off a year from now than they are now.

Three Billion = Not Enough

Today, Carrier, the profitable heating/ventilation/air conditioning company, owned by United Technologies Corporation, a federal contractor whose climate, controls, and security division, of which Carrier is a part, reported three billion dollars in operating profit in 2016—is letting go of more than two hundred employees in its second and final wave of Indiana-based layoffs, which began last July. In total, the company will be laying off more than five hundred employees as it moves manufacturing jobs to Monterrey, Mexico. Many of those employees voted for Donald Trump, who made saving Carrier’s “big, beautiful plant” one of his most repeated campaign promises. It was part of his broader pre-election claim that “A Trump Administration will stop the jobs from leaving America.”

Do realize that careful analyses of such moves often show the savings are minimal. Because the jobs are no longer near the U.S.-based managers, another level of managers has to be hired. Then there is transportation costs, and…. One thing you can be sure will be affected is their stock price. “Shareholders” love these moves, why no one knows. I suspect it is the choir praising the minister as both managers and shareholders belong to the same church, the Church of Greed.

Three billion dollars in profits in just one year and a sterling reputation for quality and … oh, we have to move to save the company? WTF?

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