Enraptured

Magic Carpet Ride

There is nothing going on in the world that has made me nearly as giddy as the Rapture that is supposed to be happening tomorrow. It is so hysterically funny that I’ve thought about it all day long and enjoyed every second of it.

Crazy person and church (cult) leader, Harold Camping, has predicted after a long and arduous study of biblical texts that the beginning of the end of the world will happen tomorrow, May 21, 2011.

Camping scoffs at those who think the world isn’t going to end until next year based on Mayan myth, calling their beliefs a “fairy tale”.  But Camping’s date is based on hard evidence from the Bible (not a fairy tale, right?) and has interpreted that evidence with a mathematical system of analysis which he came up with himself.  Hard to argue with such legitimate data.

And this is nothing like 1994 when Camping first said the world would end.  He made a mathematical error that time.  Now he’s got his system all worked out.  So, for sure, mark it down.  Count on it.  Tomorrow, we’re fucked.

The sad part is that a lot of people actually believe the guy.  In an interview with the San Francisco Chronicle, one of his followers, Ted Solomon, 60, said, “I’m looking forward to it.  This world may have had an attraction to me at one time.  But now it’s definitely lost its appeal.”

Only a religious person could say something so incredibly dark and depressing and think that they’re actually a happy, healthy individual.  The world has lost its appeal?  Now you’re counting on a god you’ve never seen to ride down to earth on a white horse or something and take you up to a heaven you can’t even coherently describe?

And what happens if he knows what you’ve really been doing when no one is around, Ted?  You know what you did.  You goddamn sinner.

When people like Solomon stare the stark, blatant reality in the face tomorrow evening that their world is going to be exactly as it was today, what then?  Past “end times” cults have seen mass suicides after their day of reckoning never came to be.  How many people will take their lives after Camping’s bullshit prophecy fails again?

Ted Solomon seems to be one candidate at least, sadly.  Don’t do it, Ted.  Give up your faith in ridiculous fantastical ideas, not your life.

Non-believers like me relish events like this because it’s an easily falsifiable religious claim…and we thought that was an oxymoron!

It’s also fun to watch the “moderate” religious people scramble to explain how guys like Camping are interpreting the Bible improperly or that they don’t understand the difference between literal and metaphorical interpretations.  Implicit in this, of course, is that Camping is just a nut – an outsider.  His religious views are clearly mistaken, extreme, and uninformed.

And then they’ll tell us how a man who was also god was born of a virgin who was impregnated by god who was also her son and then he died and came back to life for a while and that helped everybody and also a guy put two of every species of animal on a boat to save them from a flood.

Because believing that shit is waaaaaaaay less crazy.

But wait, there’s more bright side.

If the world does indeed end tomorrow, we can be happy to know that there will never be another episode of The Jersey Shore, never another Limp Bizkit album, no more Seth Rogen movies, no more LinkedIn messages in your inbox, and never another chance to hear Sarah Palin say something stupid in that absurd accent of hers.

Just think, if Jesus comes back and takes all the Christians up to space that will probably solve so many problems!  It will definitely help with overpopulation, probably end wars, improve our environment, and give people equal rights.

Us non-believers will have so much fun.  It will be like a shopping spree on leftover houses and cars and boats and stuff.  Just think how much you can make on Ebay selling all the blinged out crosses that rappers wear!

Oh, and if you think this is all one big joke, think again.  The most recent Pew Research study found that 41% of Americans believe Jesus will come back in their lifetime or their children’s lifetimes.

So while Camping will have obviously gotten the date wrong by this time tomorrow, 4 out of 10 of your friends think essentially the same thing as that insane cult leader.

If you’re reading this and you’re not worried that the world will end tomorrow, please ask yourself why, especially if you’re religious.

The answer probably has something to do with the fact that it’s a religious person predicting the end of the world and not a team of scientists, because you can be damn sure that if the world’s top scientists were saying it was going down tomorrow, we would all be making preparations instead of a small batch of suicidal lunatics.

Interesting that your religious mind doesn’t apply the same logical methods to things like global warming and evolution, isn’t it?

What Not to Do On Facebook (Especially in LA)

Just don't.

I suppose Facebook and Twitter are basically, by definition, mildly (or maybe strongly) narcissistic…

…and it’s absolutely true that neither of them are going anywhere anytime soon.

Narcissism – a narcissistic person: Feels grandiose and self-important (e.g., exaggerates accomplishments, talents, skills, contacts, and personality traits to the point of lying, demands to be recognised as superior without commensurate achievements); Is obsessed with fantasies of unlimited success, fame, fearsome power or omnipotence, unequalled brilliance (the cerebral narcissist), bodily beauty or sexual performance (the somatic narcissist), or ideal, everlasting, all-conquering love or passion; Firmly convinced that he or she is unique and, being special, can only be understood by, should only be treated by, or associate with, other special or unique, or high-status people.

So the question then becomes, how can you use them without seeming like a complete vapid asshole who thinks that everything they think and do during the day is somehow even remotely interesting to other people?  Well, here’s a simple list of things not to do on Facebook – especially if you live in LA.

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Read It…

Have you read it? No? Then shhh...

Hey Christians, this is the Bible.

Read it before you ever preach to me or anyone else about what Jesus thinks I should do.

If you, as a Christian, haven’t read the Bible from cover to cover, you have no right to ever tell someone else they should be finding Jesus or acting in any certain way based on your Christian “beliefs”.

This is particularly true when I, and most other atheists, have studied your religion more than you have, generally speaking.

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Impending Idiocracy

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=iJG-7s1e5eM

Idiocracy was a terrible movie.  Practically unwatchable.

And that’s too bad, because the point of the movie was actually rather poignant and unfortunately prescient.

This week, True Republican PAC released the above ad attacking Bradley Byrne, who is a Republican candidate in the Alabama gubernatorial primaries.

The ad attacks him for believing that evolution should be taught in schools (it should) and best explains the origin of life (it does) and for admitting that the Bible wasn’t entirely word-for-word true in a literal interpretation (it certainly isn’t).

When the standard and litmus test for a public official is whether or not he’s content to be wrong about what is entirely obvious to any person of even substandard education, you know we’re in great trouble.  Yes, this is Alabama, but it’s also representative of an intellectual degradation that is overwhelming the political sphere.  In primaries especially, candidates have to prove their own party bona fides by catering to the most extreme members of their party.  In the Democratic party, this sometimes borders on ridiculousness.  In the Republican party, it’s downright scary.

You may recall in the last Republican Presidential primary, when the ten candidates were asked if they believed in evolution, three answered that they did not.  That is impossibly absurd.  There are places in the country where the most simplistic understanding of life on Earth is not only not a requirement for holding the highest office in the land, it’s a bonus to be completely ignorant.  Let’s call a spade a spade.  Disbelieving in evolution is ignorance.  We don’t need to accept a difference of “opinions” here.

The push to be extreme is so great that a Republican primary candidate can’t support a rational and effective interpretation of the 2nd Amendment, they have to support the full rights of the mentally ill to purchase automatic weapons at gun shows.  They can’t support stem cell research because of insane religious dogmas relating to the “life” contained in cells that sit in petri dishes in labs.  They have to support xenophobia to cater to latent racism.  They have to support increases in military spending to look tough on terror while that same spending is helping to bankrupt the country, yet be willing to entirely defund education.  They have to vote against “socialist” healthcare while 47,000 people a year die due to the lack of health insurance.  That’s fifteen 9/11’s.  They can’t admit to believing in climate change.  You know, because the science isn’t “clear” (it is).

This is just simply destructive.  There’s no way around it.

And here’s the kicker.  You’d expect the candidate, Byrne, to respond to this attack ad by citing its ridiculousness and and irrelevance to governing a state.

Instead, he released a statement that says that he believes that “the Bible is the Word of God” and that every single word of it is true and that he has been a proponent of teaching Creationism in schools.

This isn’t only absurd, it’s unsafe.  People have the right to believe whatever they want in the privacy of their own minds and their own homes.  If you want to believe that the Earth is 6,000 years old and that fossils are the Devil’s attempt to deceive us, go ahead.  If you want to believe that some guy built a boat and put two of every species of life on board, that’s your choice – it’s completely ridiculous, but it’s your choice.

But we’re talking about elected officials who have to represent all the people of their state, and represent their state as it relates to the country as a whole.  They have a voice in how children are educated and how laws are implemented.

And they’re getting credit for a harmful and willful ignorance of reality.

It’s a downright fucking shame.

Outlawed, Part 4

Outlawed:  No more posting inspirational quotes on Facebook or Twitter unless you’ve actually read the source material from whence said quote came.

If you’re quoting Gandhi, or Ben Franklin, or Lincoln, or Robert Frost, or Thomas Jefferson, or JFK, or Gibran, or Aristotle, or Mark Twain, or….

…the least you can do is read the book, speech, poem, or whatever it is that the quote came from so you know what the fuck it means.

There’s probably nothing dumber than finding a few brilliant words someone else said about something you don’t know about and then repeating it as if it means something entirely different.  I can’t even believe I have to say this, but this is where we’re at as a society.

I won’t bother reading anything.  I’ll just take a snippet that someone else found important, then apply it to something in my own life, then repeat it like I know what I’m talking about.  Bang!  Now I sound smart and well read.

And this should apply especially to the Bible.  People post Bible quotes on Facebook and Twitter every day.  There are even dumb applications that do it for you so that you don’t have to find them yourself.  And I’d be willing to bet that something like 95% of the people doing this have never read the Bible.  Not once.

Here.  I’ll try.

If a man commits adultery with another man’s wife–with the wife of his neighbor–both the adulterer and the adulteress must be put to death. – Leviticus 20:10

When a man strikes his male or female slave with a rod so hard that the slave dies under his hand, he shall be punished.  If, however, the slave survives for a day or two, he is not to be punished, since the slave is his own property. – Exodus 21:20-21 NAB

If within the city a man comes upon a maiden who is betrothed, and has relations with her, you shall bring them both out of the gate of the city and there stone them to death: the girl because she did not cry out for help though she was in the city, and the man because he violated his neighbors wife. – Deuteronomy 22:23-24 NAB

See how that works?  Good stuff right?  But then again, those 95% who never read it don’t know that nasty stuff is in there.  Either that or it’s just, you know, a metaphor (it’s not).

So from now on, let’s just try to skip the ridiculous quotes.

I would say, let’s just try to start reading…

…but we all know that isn’t going to happen.