Wednesday

Burial vs Cremation - Environmental Impact.



Burial vs Cremation - Environmental Impact 


Islam prohibits body embalming and cremation, and despite no reference in the Qu'ran, tradition dictates the burial of the body within 24 hours, with the head facing Mecca.Similarly Judaism prohibits cremation and burial must be within 24/48 hours.A biodegradable casket is used and no embalming.
Protestant Christian burials have few requirements dictated.
Catholicism prefers that the body be present for the funeral and if the person is to be cremated, that is done after the funeral, the ashes are to be buried in an urn, not scattered or kept on your bedside dresser.
Hinduism has no burial, all bodies are burned, with ritual differing from region to region.
________________________________________

Without any religious dictates what are your options. Weighing up the advantages and disadvantages.

With decreasing land available for burial and an ever greater need to produce food, Cremation was/is seen as a modern cleaner alternative to burial with less of an environmental impact, but is it a cleaner method?


Traditional graveyards provide a finite amount of burial space, with the recycling of graves in the UK only currently permitted in London. 


Coutts conducted research with Carlton Basmajian, the urban planning professor at Iowa State University. 76 million Americans are projected between 2024 and 2048 to reach 78, the average life expectancy. If they were all buried in standard graves it would require 130 square miles of grave space, which is approx  the area of  Las Vegas, before allowing for roads, pathways and trees.
Though contrary to popular belief, embalming is not a legal necessity, unless the body is being transported by air. Traditional Jewish funerals do not use embalming, a technique where chemicals are injected to temporarily prevent the decomposition of the body. It's done mainly for viewing purposes, an embalmed body looks more natural and can improve the look of a diseased or traumatized body .

As the body decays the chemicals leak into the surrounding environment and little is known about the affects of this on land and water. 827,060 gallons of embalming fluid is buried in the United States each year. Any possible problems with burial are overcome with woodland burials and even more so with most woodland burials placing less of an emphasis on embalming and more on the use of biodegradable materials.


Burial grounds provide communities with green areas providing habitat for much wildlife. Burial grounds will often be home to the oldest trees in an urban area and the aesthetic advantages are obvious. 

Cremation is seen as the cleaner and more modern method, but has been found to release harmful greenhouse gases.

As well as water vapor, emissions include carbon dioxide, carbon monoxide, nitrogen oxide, sulphur dioxide, hydrogen chloride gas, hydrogen fluoride, mercury vapour.  Compounds such as benzenes, furans, acetone are also emitted, these react with the hydrogen chloride and hydrogen fluoride under combustion conditions to form polychlorinated dibenzodioxins (PCDDs) and polychlorinated dibenzofurans (PCDFs) both of which are carcinogens. A study by the Cremation Association of North America has found that filtering crematorium fumes has little effect on the toxins released. However the harmful emissions only makeup a very small fraction of harmful global emissions.

Benefits with cremation often overlooked,  include the recovery of hip and joint operation implements for return to the NHS in the UK and or recycling of said implement.

With both methods having advantages and disadvantages, I personally would elect for a woodland burial with no embalming and using only biodegradable materials.

In a world where woodland is being razed to the ground or damaged in the pursuit of profit, if burial grounds require woodland preservation and save such woodland from destruction, that can only be a good thing. 

A Swedish company see here is trying to overcome both problems by turning the body to compost within just a few months. The body is freeze dried, by being frozen to minus eighteen degrees centigrade before being placed into liquid nitrogen. Then with the use of sound wave vibration the body is turned to an organic powder. The dust then has further water removed by being passed through a vacuum chamber where the mass is greatly reduced. At this point the dust can be disinfected and either cremated of buried. 
Promessa has won awards from the Green Organisation as well as received recognition from UNESCO for the environmental benefits of the Promession process.



Fancy being freeze-dried to dust?



You may prefer to be liquefied. Alkaline hydrolysis, developed by Resomation in Glasgow, UK, dissolves the body by heating it in a chamber containing water and potassium hydroxide.
Whatever you preference, it's unlikely to be the way you wish without your instruction. Have you made a will and let your wishes be known to family and friends? 


What would be your preferred method of disposal?


Friday

Of Course My Religion Is The One True Religion. How Arrogant.


OF COURSE MY RELIGION IS THE ONE TRUE RELIGION.




www.forlackofabettercomic.com


Watch atheist/antitheist videos here.

Wednesday

God Told Pope Benedict To Resign.

Benedict, or to use his now formal title, Pope Emeritus, said he resigned because 'God told him to' during what he described as a "mystical experience", a Catholic news agency reported.

Pope Emeritus is reported by the Zenith agency to have told a visitor, who wishes to remain anonymous,"God told me to do it".

Benedict told the mysterious visitor, that God did not speak to him in a vision but in what he fancifully called "a mystical experience", adding that Pope Francis' actions confirmed to him, "God wanted it this way".

The Italian Media is more inclined to accept, Benedict's decision to resign was influenced by the numerous scandals surrounding the Vatican, from the cover up of child sex offenses, to financial irregularities and accusations of laundering.  Not forgetting the documents released by his butler detailing scandals at the Vatican stretching right across the board. 

The majority of Catholics will no doubt elect to believe his resignation was motivated by a sign from God, rather than the more serious underlying criminal activity.

Reuters

Sorry I'm A Christian. - Chris Tse

SORRY I'M A CHRISTIAN - CHRIS TSE.





I am a Christian.
I’m sorry

I’m sorry for the way that I come across
So fair and fake friendly and full of myself so judging your spiritual health by the words that you say and the way that you dress and the things that you do
Or maybe just judging you

I’m sorry for the way I live my life.
So confident of my own beliefs that I would never think to think about thinking about yours

I’m sorry for the wars
Iron clad crusaders are mounting studs and drawing swords with such spirit but the spirit…
[Something about the spirit being out and the sword of the spirit was the word]
but the word was with God and the word was God and they preached this as they marched on the holy land.
Singing and praying
And killing and slaying.
And preaching and healing
And raping and stealing.
It’s ironic that they lined their pockets in the name of God
Just like the priests who lined their pockets in the name of God.
Just like the people you can’t stand because they always raise their hand and spread their faith and hate and judgment in the name of God.
I’m sorry that I take the name of God in vain – or rather I’m sorry that I stain the name of God. Defending my selfish actions and selfless actions pertaining to the will of God.

I’m sorry for being intolerant.
For trying to talk down to you, for trying to talk over you, for not letting you talk.

I’m sorry for not walking the walk. For being a hypocritical critical Christian. Criticizing your lifestyle while my own lifestyle styles itself like the televangelist’s hair. All slick and sly and slippery… (something about a syllable sliding into your ear)… but that’s my greatest fear.
That the steps I take won’t match the words I speak so when I speak all you hear of me is a weak hypocritical critical Christian. Doing one thing and saying another. Loving my friend, but hating my brother – it’s a show.

I’m sorry I get drunk on Saturday’s and go to church on Sunday’s to pray for my friends who get drunk on Saturday’s.
And on that note, I’m sorry for making the church about the pews and the cross and the steeple, because the building is not the church; the church is the people.

I’m sorry that I hate you because you are gay.
I’m sorry I condemn you to hell because you’re gay instead of loving I jump to hatred. Mouth open and tongue preaching, eyes open but not seeing that you are the same as me just a fucking human being.

I’m sorry that I only hang out with Christian friends and we only do nice Christian things like pot luck dinners and board game nights. While in the night a man beat his girlfriend again. Another homeless man dies again. Is this the that my own pride has been but here I am with my same friends again, but see what I always forget is that Jesus didn’t come to hang out with the priests and the lords, no. He hung out with cripples and beggars and whores.

Love.

I’m sorry for history. For native tribes wiped out in the name of the church. Lodges burning. Stomachs churning and yearning for justice as mothers, screaming and bleeding, pleading for their young ones are dragged away to church schools where they were abused.

I’m sorry for the way that I refuse to learn your culture, instead I just came to spread the gospel - and the plague.

I’m sorry that I stand at the front doors of abortion clinics screaming at fifteen-year-old girls as they enter instead of waiting at the back door to hug them as they leave.

I’m sorry for taking my wars and my faith to your lands when historically your lands is where my faith was born. And in the face of the storm I realize that if God is Allah and Allah is God, then why are we shooting instead of sharing? Why are we launching instead of learning? Why are we warring instead of walking together? Why are we taking instead of talking together? Why are we bombing instead of breaking bread together? You see I think looks down and He’s sad. And from His right hand throne above, Jesus asks “where is the love?” And if it takes Wil.I.Am and Justin Timberlake asking the same question for us to start asking the same question then where the fuck are we headed?

So I will take this stage to be my chapel and this mic to be my confessional, and in the presence of God and of you, the blessed, I confess I am a Christian. I’m sorry.




Saturday

Atheists Are More Successful Than Christians.


ATHEISTS OUTPERFORM CHRISTIANS. 


UK Atheists Are More Successful Than Christians.




In the UK, the number of Christians in England and Wales fell by 4 million over the last ten years. 

One in four atheists hold executive positions or have a job in one of the professions, compared with less than a fifth of Christians holding any such position.

The breakdown of employment and religious belief, produced by the Office for National Statistics from the 2011 census, confirms campaigner's claims Christians find it harder to get to the top.

The report showed high levels of senior and professional employment among the Jewish and Hindu communities.

Barrister Andrea Minichiello Williams, a member of the Church of England’s General Synod, said: ‘If you hold views that are contrary to the prevailing orthodoxy you are seen as potential trouble. This is a real phenomenon. Christianity is now a bar to appointment or promotion.’

Economist Ruth Lea, of Arbuthnot Banking Group, said: ‘Jews and Hindus are proportionately so much more successful than Christians. Ambitious people tend to come from minorities.
'Christians are the majority group, and they do not seem so ambitious and hard working.’
Miss Lea, who is an Anglican, added: ‘There doesn’t seem to be any discrimination here. What these figures say is that if you are determined you can make it.’

Source: BBC

Tuesday

Bart Ehrman on Mythicists - From - "Did Jesus Exist"


Bart Ehrman, 'Did Jesus Exist', discusses Mythicists, those who think the story of Jesus has been totally made up.





After a relative hiatus, the mythicist view has resurfaced in recent years. In chapters 6 and 7 I review the major arguments for this position, but here I want to say something about the authors themselves, a doughty and colorful ensemble. I have already mentioned Earl Doherty, seen by many as the leading representative of the view in the modern period. By his own admission, Doherty does not have any advanced degrees in biblical studies or any related field. But he does have an undergraduate degree in classics, and his books show that he has read widely and has a good deal of knowledge at his disposal, quite admirable for someone who is, in his own view, an amateur in the field. His now-classic statement is The Jesus Puzzle: Did Christianity Begin with a Mythical Christ?  This has recently been expanded in a second edition, published not as a revision (which it is) but rather as its own book, Jesus: Neither God nor Man: The Case for a Mythical Christ. The overarching theses are for the most part the same between the two books. By contrast, Robert Price is highly trained in the relevant fields of scholarship. Price started out as a hard-core conservative evangelical Christian, with a master’s degree from the conservative evangelical Gordon-Conwell Theological Seminary. He went on to do a Ph.D. in systematic theology at Drew University and then a second Ph.D. in New Testament studies, also at Drew. He is the one trained and certified scholar of New Testament that I know of who holds to a mythicist position. As with other conservative evangelicals who have fallen from the faith, Price fell hard. His first significant book, The Incredible Shrinking Son of Man: How Reliable Is the Gospel Tradition?, answers the question of the subtitle with no shade of ambiguity.

 The Gospel tradition about Jesus is not at all reliable. Price makes his case through a detailed exploration of all the Gospel traditions, arguing forcefully and intelligently. Price has written other works, the most significant for my present purposes being The Christ-Myth Theory and Its Problems, which is due to be published (as I write) within a few weeks. I am grateful to Robert and the publisher of Atheist Press for making it available to me. That publisher is Frank Zindler, another outspoken representative of the mythicist view.

 Zindler is also an academic, but he does not have credentials in biblical studies or in any field of antiquity. He is a scientist, trained in biology and geology. He taught in the community college system of the State University of New York for twenty years before—by his own account—being driven out for supporting Madalyn Murray O’Hair and her attempt to remove “In God We Trust” from American currency. Extremely prolific, Zindler writes in a number of fields. Many of his publications have been brought together in a massive four-volume work called Through Atheist Eyes: Scenes from a World That Won’t Reason. The first volume of this magnum opus is called Religions and Scriptures and contains a number of essays both directly and tangentially related to mythicist views of Jesus, written at a popular level.

 A different sort of support for a mythicist position comes in the work of Thomas L. Thompson, The Messiah Myth: The Near Eastern Roots of Jesus and David. Thompson is trained in biblical studies, but he does not have degrees in New Testament or early Christianity. He is, instead, a Hebrew Bible scholar who teaches at the University of Copenhagen in Denmark. In his own field of expertise he is convinced that figures from the Hebrew Bible such as Abraham, Moses, and David never existed. He transfers these views to the New Testament and argues that Jesus too did not exist but was invented by Christians who wanted to create a savior figure out of stories found in the Jewish scriptures.9 Some of the other mythicists I will mention throughout the study include Richard Carrier, who along with Price is the only mythicist to my knowledge with graduate training in a relevant field (Ph.D. in classics from Columbia University)

Tom Harpur, a well-known religious journalist in Canada, who did teach New Testament studies at Toronto before moving into journalism and trade-book publishing; and a slew of sensationalist popularizers who are not, and who do not bill themselves as, scholars in any recognizable sense of the word. Other writers who are often placed in the mythicist camp present a slightly different view, namely, that there was indeed a historical Jesus but that he was not the founder of Christianity, a religion rooted in the mythical Christ-figure invented by its original adherents. This view was represented in midcentury by Archibald Robinson, who thought that even though there was a Jesus, “we know next to nothing about this Jesus.” I will indicate more fully later, I think Wells—and Price, and several other mythicists—do deserve to be taken seriously, even if their claims are in the end dismissed.15 A number of other mythicists, however, do not offer anything resembling scholarship in support of their view and instead present the unsuspecting reading public with sensationalist claims that are so extravagant, so wrongheaded, and so poorly substantiated that it is no wonder that scholars do not take them seriously. These sensationalist books may have a reading public. They are, after all, written to be read. But if scholars take note of them at all, it is simply out of amazement that such inaccurate and poorly researched publications could ever see the published light of day

. IN 1999, UNDER THE nom de plume Acharya S, D. M. Murdock published the breathless conspirator’s dream: The Christ Conspiracy: The Greatest Story Ever Sold.16 This book was meant to set the record straight by showing that Christianity is rooted in a myth about the sun-god Jesus, who was invented by a group of Jews in the second century CE. Mythicists of this ilk should not be surprised that their views are not taken seriously by real scholars, that their books are not reviewed in scholarly journals, mentioned by experts in the field, or even read by them. The book is filled with so many factual errors and outlandish assertions that it is hard to believe that the author is serious. If she is serious, it is hard to believe that she has ever encountered anything resembling historical scholarship. Her “research” appears to have involved reading a number of nonscholarly books that say the same thing she is about to say and then quoting them. One looks in vain for the citation of a primary ancient source, and quotations from real experts (Elaine Pagels, chiefly) are ripped from their context and misconstrued. Still, in opposition to scholars who take alternative positions, such as that Jesus existed (she calls them “historicizers”), Acharya states, “If we assume that the historicizers’ disregard of these scholars [that is, the mythicists] is deliberate, we can only conclude that it is because the mythicists’ arguments have been too intelligent and knifelike to do away with.”17 One cannot help wondering if this is all a spoof done in good humor.

 The basic argument of the book is that Jesus is the sun-god: “Thus the son of God is the sun of God” (get it—son, sun?). Stories about Jesus are “in actuality. ased on the movements of the sun through the heavens. In other words, Jesus Christ and the others upon whom he is predicated are personifications of the sun, and the gospel fable is merely a repeat of mythological formula revolving around the movements of the sun through the heavens.”18 Christianity, in Acharya’s view, started out as an astrotheological religion in which this sun-god Jesus was transformed into a historical Jew by a group of Jewish Syro-Samaritan Gnostic sons of Zadok, who were also Gnostics and Therapeutae (a sectarian group of Jews) in Alexandria, Egypt, after the failed revolt of the Jews against Rome in 135 CE. The Jews had failed to establish themselves as an independent state in the Promised Land and so naturally were deeply disappointed. They invented this Jesus in order to bring salvation to those who were shattered by the collapse of their nationalistic dreams. The Bible itself is an astrotheological text with hidden meanings that need to be unpacked by understanding their astrological symbolism. Later we will see that all of Acharya’s major points are in fact wrong. Jesus was not invented in Alexandria, Egypt, in the middle of the second Christian century. He was known already in the 30s of the first century, in Jewish circles of Palestine. He was not originally a sun-god (as if that equals Son-God!); in fact, in the earliest traditions we have about him, he was not known as a divine being at all. He was understood to be a Jewish prophet and messiah. There are no astrological phenomena associated with Jesus in any of our earliest traditions. These traditions are attested in multiple sources that originated at least a century before Acharya’s alleged astrological creation at the hands of people who lived in a different part of the world from the historical Jesus and who did not even speak his language. Just to give a sense of the level of scholarship in this sensationalist tome, I list a few of the howlers one encounters en route, in the order in which I found them. Acharya claims that:  The second-century church father Justin never quotes or mentions any of the Gospels. This simply isn’t true: he mentions the Gospels on numerous occasions; typically he calls them “Memoirs of the Apostles” and quotes from them, especially from Matthew, Mark, and Luke. The Gospels were forged hundreds of years after the events they narrate. In fact, the Gospels were written at the end of the first century, about thirty-five to sixty-five years after Jesus’s death, and we have physical proof: one fragment of a Gospel manuscript dates to the early second century. How could it have been forged centuries after that? We have no manuscript of the New Testament that dates prior to the fourth century. This is just plain wrong: we have numerous fragmentary manuscripts that date from the second and third centuries. The autographs “were destroyed after the Council of Nicaea”. In point of fact, we have no knowledge of what happened to the original copies of the New Testament; they were probably simply used so much they wore out. There is not a scintilla of evidence to suggest that they survived until Nicaea or that they were destroyed afterward; plenty of counter evidence indicates they did not survive until Nicaea. “It took well over a thousand years to canonize the New Testament,” and “many councils” were needed to differentiate the inspired from the spurious books. Actually, the first author to list our canon of the New Testament was the church father Athanasius in the year 367; the comment about “many councils” is simply made up. Paul never quotes a saying of Jesus.

 Acharya has evidently never read the writings of Paul. As we will see, he does quote sayings of Jesus. The Acts of Pilate, a legendary account of Jesus’s trial and execution, was once considered canonical. None of our sparse references to the Acts of Pilate indicates, or even suggests, any such thing. The “true meaning of the word gospel is ‘God’s Spell,’ as in magic, hypnosis and delusion”. No, the word gospel comes to us from the Old English term god spel, which means “good news”—a fairly precise translation of the Greek word euaggelion. It has nothing to do with magic. The church father “Irenaeus was a Gnostic” . In fact, he was one of the most virulent opponents of Gnostics in the early church. Augustine was “originally a Mandaean, i.e., a Gnostic, until after the Council of Nicaea”. Augustine was not even born until nineteen years after the Council of Nicaea, and he certainly was no Gnostic.

Taken directly from Bart Ehrman's Book.


 CLICK BELOW IF YOU WOULD LIKE TO BUY THE BOOK. 


 

Charlie Chaplin's Final Great Speech - From The Great Dictator.


Charlie Chaplin's Final and Greatest Speech From The End Of  The Great Dictator.




Greed has poisoned men’s souls; has barricaded the world with hate; has goose-stepped us into misery and bloodshed. We have developed speed, but we have shut ourselves in. Machinery that gives abundance has left us in want. Our knowledge as made us cynical; our cleverness, hard and unkind. We think too much and feel too little. More than machinery we need humanity. More than cleverness, we need kindness and gentleness. Without these qualities, life will be violent and all will be lost. The aeroplane and the radio have brought us closer together. The very nature of these inventions cries out for the goodness in man; cries out for universal brotherhood; for the unity of us all. Even now my voice is reaching millions throughout the world, millions of despairing men, women, and little children, victims of a system that makes men torture and imprison innocent people.

 To those who can hear me, I say “Do not despair.” The misery that is now upon us is but the passing of greed, the bitterness of men who fear the way of human progress. The hate of men will pass, and dictators die, and the power they took from the people will return to the people. And so long as men die, liberty will never perish. Soldiers! Don’t give yourselves to brutes, men who despise you and enslave you; who regiment your lives, tell you what to do, what to think and what to feel! Who drill you, diet you, treat you like cattle, use you as cannon fodder! Don’t give yourselves to these unnatural men—machine men with machine minds and machine hearts! You are not machines! You are not cattle! You are men! You have a love of humanity in your hearts! You don’t hate! Only the unloved hate; the unloved and the unnatural. Soldiers! Don’t fight for slavery! Fight for liberty! In the seventeenth chapter of St. Luke, it’s written “the kingdom of God is within man”, not one man nor a group of men, but in all men! In you!

 You, the people, have the power, the power to create machines, the power to create happiness! You, the people, have the power to make this life free and beautiful, to make this life a wonderful adventure. Then in the name of democracy, let us use that power. Let us all unite. Let us fight for a new world, a decent world that will give men a chance to work, that will give youth a future and old age a security. By the promise of these things, brutes have risen to power. But they lie! They do not fulfill their promise. They never will! Dictators free themselves but they enslave the people! Now let us fight to fulfill that promise! Let us fight to free the world! To do away with national barriers! To do away with greed, with hate and intolerance! Let us fight for a world of reason, a world where science and progress will lead to all men’s happiness."

 Charles Chaplin.



Sunday

I Can Typing.

I can typing. 





Monday

Misogynist Pope Francis Cracks Down On US Feminist Nuns.

POPE FRANCIS REAFFIRMS VATICAN MISOGYNY.


Pope Francis has reaffirmed a crack down on US nuns, as promised by his predecessor Pope Benedict. Leadership Conference of Women Religious (LCWR), a group that represents more than 80% of the 57,000 Catholic nuns in the US, must change its ways, in a ruling the Vatican said on Monday 15TH April still applied.

In 2012 a Vatican report said the LCWR had serious doctrinal problems with promoting 'radical feminist ideas' not compatible with the Catholic faith, criticising its soft line on birth control and homosexuality.

 On Monday, the Archbishop Gerhard Ludwig Müller head of the Vatican's doctrinal department and Archbishop Peter Sartain of Seattle; assigned to correct the group's failings met with the leaders of the LCWR.
 "Archbishop Müller informed the LCWR presidency that he had recently discussed the doctrinal assessment with Pope Francis, who reaffirmed the findings of the assessment and the programme of reform," the Vatican's statement said.

In April 2012, the doctrinal department criticised the LCWR for challenging bishops and for being "silent on the right to life," saying it had failed to make the "Biblical view of family life and human sexuality" a central plank of its agenda.

 The nuns supported President Barack Obama's healthcare reform, part of which makes insurance coverage of birth control mandatory, while U.S. bishops opposed it. Many nuns said the Vatican's report misunderstood their intentions and undervalued their work for social justice. Supporters of the nuns said the women had helped the image of the Church in the United States at a time when it was engulfed in scandal over sexual abuse of minors by priests. They were praised by many fellow Catholics and the media for their work with the poor and sick.

 This reaffirming of the reforms smacks of the usual misogyny displayed by the Vatican, making the protests by many Catholics to our recent misogyny accusation, with the publishing of a yet to be verified quote by Cardinal Bergoglio, extremely vacuous.



The quote is yet to be verified, and in attempts to verify the quote it's apparent the state news agency of Argentina has large chunks of news missing from the archives covering the pertinent dates; omissions inconceivable considering Bergoglio was Archbishop of Buenos Aires.

The accuracy of the quote is important, but far more interesting is the ongoing investigation to the missing news records and other stories the research is uncovering, we will document all findings in the very near future.

RJ for Antitheists


(Reuters)

Sunday

Inside Job 2008 Financial Crisis



2010 Oscar Winner for Best Documentary, 'Inside Job' provides a comprehensive analysis of the global financial crisis of 2008, which at a cost over $20 trillion, caused millions of people to lose their jobs and homes in the worst recession since the Great Depression, and nearly resulted in a global financial collapse. Through exhaustive research and extensive interviews with key financial insiders, politicians, journalists, and academics, the film traces the rise of a rogue industry which has corrupted politics, regulation, and academia. It was made on location in the United States, Iceland, England, France, Singapore, and China.





To watch the entire video you will need to install the veoh player. It's a perfectly safe application; just be sure to deselect any options selected by default when installing,  unless you want a veoh toolbar with extras.

Thursday

Church Taxation Could Not Increase Representation - Antitheists.


Church Taxation Could Not Increase Representation.

A common objection to church taxation is it  having to afford religion greater representation in politics. Since church and state separation seems to work only one way, it's hard to see how this argument is valid.

Religion spends $390 000 000 lobbying government on issues such as abortion, contraception and bioethics, to name just a few. See the Pew Report here.

Religion involves itself in campaigning to overturn policies already passed by government, as with Obamacare and the recent aggressive Catholic opposition to contraception and other female reproductive services being offered to their employees.

Freedom from the pulpit campaign pastors have been endorsing political candidates since 2008, directly breaching the Johnson Amendment of 1954 prohibiting political candidate endorsement. The pastors have recorded their actions and provided the IRS with evidence of them breaching the amendment in the hope an action will be taken and the amendment struck off as unconstitutional. Sadly they are probably right and also why the IRS has failed to act for four years. The Johnson amendment was introduced to silence communist non profits at the time, it was never intended to silence religion. This rather odd out of place exception to religious involvement in government explains why lobbying to the extent religion does is constitutional, but candidate endorsement is not. We're unlikely to see a change in religious lobbying, far more likely is the Johnson amendment being deemed unconstitutional.

Religious bias in US law is prevalent and harms ordinary Americans, and in extreme cases results in the death of children. Religiously biased laws favor the practice of religion over the welfare of children, even if the religious parent's actions result in the child's death. Sean Faircloth writes brilliantly about this in his superb book "The Attack of the Theocrats", a link for which can be found at the foot of this page.

US soldiers proselytize Christian religion abroad in places like Afghanistan handing out bibles and other similar actions designed to expand Christian numbers, despite this being totally unconstitutional, not to mention against the US military's regulations.

How exactly would taxation mean greater representation for religion compared to what it enjoys today?  The tax exemption afforded religion in the US is according to a Tampa Uni calculation, costing the USA $71 billion dollars annually. The ending of this exemption would affect religion's ability to lobby government to the extent it does and likely reduce the representation religion enjoys, not increase it. The removal of tax exemption has already been deemed by the supreme court to not affect the free practise of religion and therefore is not unconstitutional.

The worry in the USA must be the increasing way the constitution is read and interpreted with a biblical lens favorable to the Christian religion, Christians fill influential positions and as legislatures, judges and politicians, this trend is unlikely to change in the near future.

What is the answer to the Christian take over of the one document designed to protect the USA from such dominance by one religion?

The soundtrack is Tax Free by Joni Mitchell. The superb book by Sean Faircloth, The Attack of the Theocrats, foreword by Richard Dawkins. click below for details.
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Monday

Interview With Primo Levi - Antitheist Blog

Primo Levi Interview.


(Excerpts from Ferdinando Camon, Conversations with Primo Levi, Marlboro,Vt : Marlboro Press, 1989)

CAMON: You're not a believer?

LEVI: No, I never have been. I'd like to be, but I don't succeed.

CAMON: Then in what sense are you Jewish?

LEVI: A simple matter of culture. If it hadn't been for the racial laws and the concentration camp, I'd probably no longer be a Jew, except for my last name. instead, this dual experience, the racial laws and the concentration camp, stamped me the way you stamp a steel plate. At this point I'm a few, they've sewn the star of David on me and not only on my clothes.

CAMON: With whom did you have that argument?

LEVI: If you remember The Periodic Table, he's the one mentioned as "the assistant" in the "Potassium" story. He's a believer but not a Catholic; he came to see me after my release to tell me I was clearly one of the elect, since I'd been chosen to survive in order for me to write Survival in Auschwitz. And this, I must confess, seemed to me a blasphemy, that God should grant privileges, saving one person and condemning someone else. I must say that for me the experience of Auschwitz has been such as to sweep away any remnant of religious education I may have had.

CAMON: Meaning that Auschwitz is proof of the nonexistence of God?

LEVI: There is Auschwitz, and so there cannot be God. [On the typescript, he added in pencil:] I don't find a solution to this dilemma. I keep looking, but I don't find it.

Source

Antitheist Atheist Shirts and Tshirts.


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IF MARY HAD HAD AN ABORTION, WE WOULDN'T BE IN THIS MESS - ANTITHEIST SHIRT


Antitheist Shirt
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I think, therefore I'm not religious.


Antitheist Atheist Shirts
Antitheist Atheist Shirts by DONTPRAY
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Nihilist.




Antitheist Mug

AntitheisAtheist Mugs
AntitheisAtheist Mugs by DONTPRAY
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Scarecrow Jesus Offends Christians and Burns.

Scarecrow Jesus Offends Christians.


Scarecrow Seen As Jesus Christ By Radical Extremist Christians in Essex 


Radical extremist Christians reacted angrily to the erection of a twenty foot scarecrow for the benefit of local children in Billericay Essex, UK.

The twenty foot scarecrow built to promote the farm's activities for children over the Easter holiday period was slammed by Christians for mocking their lord and savior Jesus Christ, obviously because the scarecrow was mounted in a messianic pose and clearly ridiculing Jesus.

Note for Christians: Scarecrows are erected arms stretched, that's how scarecrows work. To take offense over scarecrows mocking Jesus shouts volumes about how you really view your Jesus Christ.
David Finkle the general manager at Barleylands said before the scarecrow was torched to the ground,

" the scarecrow doesn't have hands, feet or any nails, bailing twine only. 
It took us ages to make his giant patchwork jacket and he is complete with raffia hair which changes in the wind.  I want to bring children's learning to life and I made the scarecrow so people knew about the Books, Cooks and Scarecrow week we're holding. Kids can make scones from scratch and then go out and make their own scarecrows. I think it's a shame that children don't do as much outside and we want to change that and bring their learning alive. He's a brilliant example of a scarecrow stuffed with straw."

Christians hating scarecrows and taking offense is far more important than any motivational and educational benefits offered to children.

The majority of local people loved the scarecrow and thought it was a great addition to the community,, many quoted as  saying how "fabulous" the scarecrow was and "what a great bit of fun it was."


Cyanide and Happiness come to mind with this cartoon of Scarecrow Jesus.


Scarecrow Jesus Attacked By Arsonists

Tragedy struck twice on the night of Thursday 21st Feb 2013 at Barleylands. The fire service was called to a fire started at the base of the scarecrow 11.23pm, thanks to their rapid response, the scarecrow's destruction was halted, but arsonists returned again the same night to complete the job. Sadly at 00:10 Friday 22nd February the scarecrow was torched for the second time and destroyed.

Unsurprisingly the extremist Christians top the list of suspects, the determined effort to destroy the scarecrow surprised local police. Offended Christians responding angrily to the scarecrow last week, leave locals suspecting the same Christians, but police say they are continuing with their investigation.

Christians Suspected of Burning Scarecrow to the ground in double arson attack.The initial attack on the scarecrow was thwarted by the local fire service's rapid response. A second attack approx thirty minutes later succeeded in the scarecrow's destruction, it was torched and burned to the ground.
The giant twenty foot scarecrow was the only target, and police were surprised at how determined the arsonists were to see this particular scarecrow torched and destroyed. A smaller less impressive scarecrow was left standing.
Any person with information please contact Essex police, your scarecrow could be next.

Radical Christians Force 'Jerry Springer the Opera to close'.


Reactionary Offended Christians are on the increase in the UK:
It wasn't so long ago extremist reactionary Christians in the UK closed down 'Jerry Springer The Opera'. Their protests prevented a children's hospice receiving a substantial donation from the planned benefit gig. The Christians threatened to picket the hospice and forced the organizers to ask, "the show not go on." They sadly bowed to threats made by Christians.

To see more on this, Stewart Lee reports below.  
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Sunday

Antitheist Shirts. Stylish Quality Clothing - Fully Guaranteed

Antitheist shirts are top quality and all come with a full satisfaction guarantee. Available in many styles, colors and sizes.
Antitheist Shirt - I swear it's for medicinal purposes only.






Antitheist shirts.
Don't pray for me, make me a sandwich.
I think, therefore I'm not religious.
42
Atheist Sex God
Agnostic. How the hell do I know?
Nihilists, you can say what you like about socialism, at least it's an ethos.

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Tuesday

Antitheist Quality Stylish Shirts - Don't Pray For Me, Make Me A Sandwich

Quality Stylish Antitheist Shirt - Don't Pray For Me, make Me A Sandwich.


See the link below. The sizes have been reported to not be overly generous. So if you're a size medium and do not like a snug fit, you might prefer to try the larger size. You can customize the size and colors, and there's a wide selection of styles and fabrics. The shirts displayed are just examples of what we have available.

Don't Pray For Me - Antitheist T-Shirts.
Don't Pray For Me - Antitheist T-Shirts. by DONTPRAY


Also - I think, Therefore I'm Not Religious.
Available in a selection of styles, colors and sizes. All sales go towards financing campaigns and overheads. Thank you very much for your support, we hope you enjoy your shirt.

Monday

The Atheist Tabernacle Choir Lyrics




If you don't believe in God, clap your hands!
If you don't trust the lord, clap your hands!
if you reject the possibility of a deity, then clap your hands!
And join the Atheist Tabernacle Choir!

We're not going to cross that... Jordan River!
It don't even exist, that...Jordan River!
To be honest, it's an outmoded religious metaphor,
That Jordan river, yes
We're the Atheist Tabernacle Choir!

Sing six feet deep, that's where I'm goin'
Six feet deep, no after-livin'
Six feet deep, yup it's depressin'

We're not going to reach the...Promised land!
There's no such thing as the....Promised land!
It's a cynical notion dreamed up by priests in collaboration with landed interests in order to subjugate the masses, that...Promised Land!
It's the Atheist Tabernacle Choir!

Sing, in a wooden box! That's where I'm headin'!
A wooden box! Forever deaden!
A wooden box! No resurrectin'!
A wooden box! Yep, it's depressing

If you believe in nothing, sing out loud!
If you think it's a cobblers, sing out loud!
If you find the whole idea of personal freedom circumscribed by the seemingly-arbitrary activities of a supreme being, then! ...sing out loud!
(And join the Church of England!)
Or the Atheist Tabernacle Choir....

Not Halleuluah!
Don't praise the lord!


The War You Don't See - John Pilger.




A superb award winning documentary by John Pilger, and includes Bradley Manning's Apache helicopter Wikileak. This film has been so aggressively copyright protected  it's difficult to find in the US or Europe. The film below should stay for a while, since it's embedded from a Russian site.

The film is shocking, eye opening and one of the best films to expose the use of the media, and the attitude of  the military in modern war. Bradley Manning is a hero and should be decorated, not prosecuted as is happening at present.

The use of the embedded reporter shows how managed the news is, and without Bradley Manning and Wikileaks, we would have less of an idea how these war crimes are executed.

John Pilger is an excellent investigative journalist and on a par with Bradley Manning, and Julian Assange. If the US is so embarrassed by the leaks, perhaps they should stop acting and behaving in a way that is so shameful.

The only people afraid of the truth, are those in the wrong, and or with something to hide.




With talk of Iran and weapons of mass destruction,  it all sounds so familiar.

Wednesday

Catholic Church In Crisis - Antitheist

This is a fantastic discussion and one the church certainly should be having. Jamila Bay does a superb job of explaining the injustices of the Catholic Church and why it's increasingly becoming irrelevant to the modern world, especially on issues concerning women.
Crosstalk asks whether the Catholic church will ever recover from the numerous scandals and what changes if any will take place after Ratzinger's exit. Joining Jamila are Nancy Hughes, Terence Tilley and presented by Peter Lavelle.



Please say our web page for the CAMPAIGN TO ARREST THE POPE where you can download your copy of "The Case of the Pope".

Mother Teresa As Never Seen Before

PORNO MOTHER TERESA


Irish state held responsible for Magdalene Laundries


(Reuters) - Many of the women and girls subjected to harsh discipline and unpaid work in Ireland's now-notorious Magdalene Laundries were sent there by the Irish state, an official report said on Tuesday.

The laundries, run by Catholic nuns, have been accused of treating inmates like "slaves" for decades of the 20th century, imposing a regime of fear and prayer on girls sometimes put in their care for simply falling pregnant outside wedlock.

Irish governments had in the past denied blame, emphasising the laundries were private institutions, but the 1,000-page report concludes there was "significant state involvement", with one in four inmates sent there via various arms of the state.

The laundries, depicted in the award-winning film "The Magdalene Sisters", put 10,000 women and girls, as young as nine, through an uncompromising regime from the foundation of the Irish state in 1922 until 1996.

The report's findings follow investigations into clerical sex abuse and state-abetted cover-ups that have shattered the authority of the church in Ireland and rocked the Catholic Church's reputation worldwide.

"Many of the women who met with the committee experienced the laundries as lonely and frightening places. For too long, they have been and have felt forgotten," said the report, compiled by an inter-departmental government committee established in 2011.

"None of us can begin to imagine the confusion and fear experienced by these young girls, in many cases little more than children, on entering the laundries - not knowing where they were, feeling abandoned."

Groups representing survivors of the Magdalene Laundries - named after Mary Magdalene, the "fallen woman" of the gospels - asked Prime Minister Enda Kenny to apologise on behalf of the state and want a compensation scheme to be established.

Kenny stopped short of the full apology demanded, saying the Magdalene Laundries was not a "single issue story".

"To those residents who went through the Magdalene Laundries in a variety of ways, 26 percent of them from state involvement, I am sorry for those people that they lived in that kind of environment," Kenny told parliament.

Justice for Magdalenes, a group comprised of former inmates, family members of those who died and human rights activists, said Kenny's statement fell far short of a sincere apology and that what could have been a positive day had "been ruined".

"I LOST MY YOUTH"

Years of crisis over sexual abuse of children have prompted several Irish bishops to resign. Last month a new head of the Roman Catholic Church was appointed to succeed Cardinal Sean Brady, whose tenure had been plagued by allegations he failed to warn parents their children were being abused.

Unlike other harrowing reports where priests were found to have beaten and raped children in Catholic-run institutions, no allegations of sexual or physical abuse were made against the nuns at the laundries, Tuesday's report said.

However former inmates, one in 10 of whom died in care, the youngest at 15, described the atmosphere in the laundries as cold, with an uncompromising regime of physically demanding work and prayer enforced by scoldings and humiliations.

Many women still find it difficult to tell their stories, the report said. The committee, chaired by Martin McAleese, husband of former Irish President Mary McAleese, was only able to survey 100 "survivors".

Some, like Mary Currington, were too embarrassed to talk about their past until recently. Housed in a laundry against her will from 1963 to 1969, she only told her now husband about her experiences after he asked her to marry him.

Currington was sent to the laundries after being brought up in Ireland's now defunct Catholic-run industrial schools, themselves the subject of a 2009 report that labelled them places of fear, neglect and endemic sexual abuse.

Born to an unmarried mother, she returned to the nuns for help aged 18, only to be sent to a laundry where her name was changed, long hair cut and clothes replaced by rags. Expect for a 30 minute break for exercise, her days were spent behind a sewing machine.

"They locked me up for six whole years in that place. I lost my youth," the mother-of-two, known to the nuns as Geraldine, told Reuters from her home in England.

"All your life was about prayer, what did it do for us? They enslaved us, most of them were very horrible people. I don't know how they said they were people of God, they were not people of God... It's ruined my whole life."

TO SEE THE FILM THE MAGDALENE SISTERS, CLICK HERE. THANKS.

Monday

Gay Marriage - Peter Tatchell - Crosstalk

GAY MARRIAGE


 Peter Tatchell is a gay rights campaigner,  he does a superb job fielding opposition to gay marriage arguments.
"Stop interrupting, don't be so rude.."




Crosstalk asks: Should same-sex marriages be accepted? What’s driving the change in the institution of marriage? Are equal marriage rights democratic? Why aren’t civil unions enough for gay couples? And if marriage is about love and the emotional needs of adults, then what about their children?


Tuesday

Israel Is Not Representative of Decent Jewish People.

Israel is not representative of Jewish people, this letter from 2008 shows the feelings of many prominent Jewish people over Israel's actions and the treatment of Palestinians.



The Guardian, Wednesday 30 April 2008 In May, Jewish organisations will be celebrating the 60th anniversary of the founding of the state of Israel. This is understandable in the context of centuries of persecution culminating in the Holocaust. Nevertheless, we are Jews who will not be celebrating. Surely it is now time to acknowledge the narrative of the other, the price paid by another people for European anti-semitism and Hitler's genocidal policies. As Edward Said emphasised, what the Holocaust is to the Jews, the Naqba is to the Palestinians.

 In April 1948, the same month as the infamous massacre at Deir Yassin and the mortar attack on Palestinian civilians in Haifa's market square, Plan Dalet was put into operation. This authorised the destruction of Palestinian villages and the expulsion of the indigenous population outside the borders of the state. We will not be celebrating.

 In July 1948, 70,000 Palestinians were driven from their homes in Lydda and Ramleh in the heat of the summer with no food or water. Hundreds died. It was known as the Death March. We will not be celebrating

. In all, 750,000 Palestinians became refugees. Some 400 villages were wiped off the map. That did not end the ethnic cleansing. Thousands of Palestinians (Israeli citizens) were expelled from the Galilee in 1956. Many thousands more when Israel occupied the West Bank and Gaza. Under international law and sanctioned by UN resolution 194, refugees from war have a right to return or compensation. Israel has never accepted that right. We will not be celebrating.

We cannot celebrate the birthday of a state founded on terrorism, massacres and the dispossession of another people from their land. We cannot celebrate the birthday of a state that even now engages in ethnic cleansing, that violates international law, that is inflicting a monstrous collective punishment on the civilian population of Gaza and that continues to deny to Palestinians their human rights and national aspirations.

 We will celebrate when Arab and Jew live as equals in a peaceful Middle East.
Seymour Alexander
Ruth Appleton
Steve Arloff
Rica Bird
Jo Bird
Cllr Jonathan Bloch
Ilse Boas
Prof. Haim Bresheeth
Tanya Bronstein
Sheila Colman
Ruth Clark
Sylvia Cohen
Judith Cravitz
Mike Cushman
Angela Dale
Ivor Dembina
Dr. Linda Edmondson
Nancy Elan
Liz Elkind
Pia Feig
Colin Fine
Deborah Fink
Sylvia Finzi
Brian Fisher MBE
Frank Fisher
Bella Freud
Catherine Fried
Uri Fruchtmann
Stephen Fry
David Garfinkel
Carolyn Gelenter
Claire Glasman
Tony Greenstein
Heinz Grunewald
Michael Halpern
Abe Hayeem
Rosamine Hayeem
Anna Hellman
Amy Hordes
Joan Horrocks
Deborah Hyams
Selma James
Riva Joffe
Yael Oren Kahn
Michael Kalmanovitz
Paul Kaufman
Prof. Adah Kay
Yehudit Keshet
Prof. Eleonore Kofman
Rene Krayer
Stevie Krayer
Berry Kreel
Leah Levane
Les Levidow
Peter Levin
Louis Levy
Ros Levy
Prof. Yosefa Loshitzky
Catherine Lyons
Deborah Maccoby
Daniel Machover
Prof. Emeritus Moshe Machover
Miriam Margolyes OBE
Mike Marqusee
Laura Miller
Simon Natas
Hilda Meers
Martine Miel
Laura Miller
Arthur Neslen
Diana Neslen
Orna Neumann
Harold Pinter
Roland Rance
Frances Rivkin
Sheila Robin
Dr. Brian Robinson
Neil Rogall
Prof. Steven Rose
Mike Rosen
Prof. Jonathan Rosenhead
Leon Rosselson
Michael Sackin
Sabby Sagall
Ian Saville
Alexei Sayle
Anna Schuman
Sidney Schuman
Monika Schwartz
Amanda Sebestyen
Sam Semoff
Linda Shampan
Sybil Shine
Prof. Frances Stewart
Inbar Tamari
Ruth Tenne
Martin Toch
Tirza Waisel
Stanley Walinets
Martin White
Ruth Williams
Naomi Wimborne-Idrissi
Devra Wiseman
Gerry Wolff
Sherry Yanowitz

Stephen Fry - The Catholic church is not a force for good.

Stephen Fry - The Catholic church is not a force for good.

The Pope could decide that all this power, all this wealth, this hierarchy of princes and bishops and archbishops and priests and monks and nuns could be sent out in the world with money and art treasures, to put them back in the countries that they once raped and violated.

They could give that money away, and they could concentrate on the apparent essence of their belief, and then, I would stand here and say the Catholic Church may well be a force for good in the world.

But until that day, it is not.






 Stephen Fry's Intelligence Squared Debate, The Catholic Church Is not a force for good.

Saturday

MAKE ME A SANDWICH Hannibal Buress


I don't like when people say, I'll pray for you.
So basically you're going to sit at home and do nothing?
That's what your prayers are, you're doing nothing, while I struggle with the situation.
Don't pray for me, make me a sandwich or something, because I'm very upset right now and I can't make my own sandwich, so it would be cool if you could make me a sandwich or something instead of praying, because praying is lazy.

"We'll keep you in our thoughts"

With the other bullshit in your heads? No, keep me out of your thoughts, because I hear some of the stuff you talk about and if that's close to what you're thinking about, I don't want to be around that, so keep me and my family out of your thoughts, unless you're thinking of making me a sandwich.




Hannibal Buress - Make me a sandwich.

Wednesday

Dalai Lama Quote Beyond Religion.


Dalai Lama Quote Beyond Religion.
All the world's major religions, with their emphasis on love, compassion, patience, tolerance, and forgiveness can and do promote inner values. But the reality of the world today is that grounding ethics in religion is no longer adequate. This is why I am increasingly convinced that the time has come to find a way of thinking about spirituality and ethics beyond religion altogether.



Becoming a Freethinker and a Scientist By Albert Einstein


When I was a fairly precocious young man I became thoroughly impressed with the futility of the hopes and strivings that chase most men restlessly through life. Moreover, I soon discovered the cruelty of that chase, which in those years was much more carefully covered up by hypocrisy and glittering words than is the case today. By the mere existence of his stomach everyone was condemned to participate in that chase. The stomach might well be satisfied by such participation, but not man insofar as he is a thinking and feeling being.

As the first way out there was religion, which is implanted into every child by way of the traditional education-machine. Thus I came - though the child of entirely irreligious (Jewish) parents - to a deep religiousness, which, however, reached an abrupt end at the age of twelve.

Through the reading of popular scientific books I soon reached the conviction that much in the stories of the Bible could not be true. The consequence was a positively fanatic orgy of freethinking coupled with the impression that youth is intentionally being deceived by the state through lies; it was a crushing impression.

Mistrust of every kind of authority grew out of this experience, a skeptical attitude toward the convictions that were alive in any specific social environment — an attitude that has never again left me, even though, later on, it has been tempered by a better insight into the causal connections.

It is quite clear to me that the religious paradise of youth, which was thus lost, was a first attempt to free myself from the chains of the "merely personal," from an existence dominated by wishes, hopes, and primitive feelings. Out yonder there was this huge world, which exists independently of us human beings and which stands before us like a great, eternal riddle, at least partially accessible to our inspection and thinking.

The contemplation of this world beckoned as a liberation, and I soon noticed that many a man whom I had learned to esteem and to admire had found inner freedom and security in its pursuit. The mental grasp of this extra-personal world within the frame of our capabilities presented itself to my mind, half consciously, half unconsciously, as a supreme goal. Similarly motivated men of the present and of the past, as well as the insights they had achieved, were the friends who could not be lost.

The road to this paradise was not as comfortable and alluring as the road to the religious paradise; but it has shown itself reliable, and I have never regretted having chosen it.


Taken from Autobiographical Notes by Albert Einstein

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