Austrian driver’s religious headgear strains credulity
An Austrian atheist has won the right to be shown on his driving-licence photo wearing a pasta strainer as “religious headgear”.
Niko Alm first applied for the licence three years ago after reading that headgear was allowed in official pictures only for confessional reasons.
Mr Alm said the sieve was a requirement of his religion, pastafarianism.
The Austrian authorities required him to obtain a doctor’s certificate that he was “psychologically fit” to drive.
The idea came into Mr Alm’s noodle three years ago as a way of making a serious, if ironic, point.
A self-confessed atheist, Mr Alm says he belongs to the Church of the Flying Spaghetti Monster, a light-hearted faith whose members call themselves pastafarians.
The group’s website states that “the only dogma allowed in the Church of the Flying Spaghetti Monster is the rejection of dogma”.
In response to pressure for American schools to teach the Christian theory known as intelligent design, as an alternative to natural selection, the Church of the Flying Spaghetti Monster wrote to the Kansas School Board asking for the pastafarian version of intelligent design to be taught to schoolchildren, as an alternative to the Christian theory.
In the same spirit, Mr Alm’s pastafarian-style application for a driving licence was a response to the Austrian recognition of confessional headgear in official photographs.
The licence took three years to come through and, according to Mr Alm, he was asked to submit to a medical interview to check on his mental fitness to drive but – straining credulity – his efforts have finally paid off.
It is the police who issue driving licences in Austria, and they have duly issued a laminated card showing Mr Alm in his unorthodox item of religious headgear.
The next step, Mr Alm told the Austrian news agency APA, is to apply to the Austrian authorities for pastafarianism to become an officially recognised faith.
Online survey author alleges atheists have better sex lives
Psychologist Darrel Ray, who was raised in a conservative Christian household, conducted an online survey to determine the impact of religion on sexual satisfaction.
Ray set out to confirm whether his own experience- that his sex life vastly improved when he ditched religion- bore out among others. Ray, who authored the book The God Virus: How God Infects Our Lives and Culture, sought out 14,500 people who had once been religious or raised in a religious environment before becoming atheist or agnostic. What Ray discovered is that guilt seems to heavily influence sexual satisfaction in many specific subsets of Christianity.
The survey did not adhere to social science study guidelines, but Ray reported the results as follows:
Those who had been raised Mormon with their strict views about sex, showed the highest rating among those who had sexual guilt with an average score of 8.19 out of 10. Others with similar responses were Jehovah’s Witness, Pentecostal, Seventh Day Adventist and Baptist.
Catholics, on the other hand, rated their guilt at 6.34 and Lutherans came in at 5.88. Atheists and agnostics were the lowest in guilt at 4.71 and 4.81.
University of Texas at Austin associate professor Mark Regnerus dismissed the survey as biased and said Ray’s methods were “unscientific,” adding:
“It appears that it was a ‘fill it out if you want to’ kind of survey that is not random, not nationally representative, and relies entirely on self-selection,” he said. “In other words, they have data from people who felt like filling out a survey on atheism and sex. As a result, I am not surprised at their findings.”
Regnerus said the results were based on “hearsay or guesswork,” and opined:
“I don’t fault the author for running the survey he did, but it does display research methods which do not meet the standards of most published social science.”
Indeed, the results would have been a bit more interesting even just stacked against responses from religious folk who consider themselves sexually satisfied. Do you agree with Ray’s findings? Does religion or lack thereof significantly affect your view on sex?
Easter heavy metal gig planned for Northcote venue in sin bin
THE Baillieu Government will move to ban a bad-taste concert being staged on one of the most sacred days of the Christian year.
Easter Mass 11, featuring Christian-hating heavy metal bands, has been planned for a Northcote venue on Good Friday, mocking the day’s religious significance.
It would be headlined by Sydney shock group Jesus Christ – a tribute act to deceased US punk rocker GG Allin, who typically defecated and urinated on stage, rolled in faeces, consumed excrement and committed self-harm.
An online advertisement for the event says: “On this, the most important day on the Christian calendar, the Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ will be destroying himself not for your sins, but for your pure entertainment.
“Performing communion at the mass service will be … Reverend Hackxwhore, Pastor Jigsaw Torture and Father Drongo.”
But Consumer Affairs Minister Michael O’Brien said the State Government would move to ban the event under liquor laws covering offensive images and religious vilification.
“I have asked the director of Liquor Licensing to look into whether this tasteless and moronic promotion complies with the Liquor Control Reform Act,” Mr O’Brien said.
A barbecue and meat tray offer is to be held at the gig on Good Friday – a strictly meat-free day for Catholics and some other Christians, but a religious holiday observed by all Christian faiths to commemorate the crucifixion of Jesus Christ.
Religious groups are expected to picket the April 22 event at Northcote bar 303 if it goes ahead. Anglican Archdeacon Andrew Oddy said the gig insulted people’s faith.
“The timing of the event is utterly insensitive and to have it on Good Friday is simply designed to cause offence,” he said.
Performer “Carcass” Butcher said the concert was “just a bit of harmless fun”.
The Brumby government unsuccessfully attempted to shut down a controversial Mother’s Day kickboxing tournament, called Mother’s Day Mayhem, in 2009.
Note: Given the propensity of Christians to continually deceive themselves with this argument, I have decided to bring this back to the front of my site. In case you are wondering, I often prefer to use the informal indicative rather than the more formal subjunctive. – May 2005
IF CHRISTIANITY IS TRUE
Wayne Everett Orgar
Over the past few years, one of the most frequent comments I have heard from Christians is paraphrased as follows:
If Christianity is true and I believe, than I have eternal life.
If it is true and I don’t believe, I have eternal punishment.
If it is false and I believe, than I will have only lived a lie.
This is nothing more than Pascal’s wager watered down. Bet on Christianity and you lose nothing.
WRONG! You lose plenty.
First, though, let’s recognize this is only a statement of fear and presents evidence of nothing except the fear of hellfire and brimstone. Supposedly, believing in Christ on faith is the key to salvation. Believing in Christ because it is a safe bet is not faith and disqualifies you from salvation. This is fear, not the courage of one’s conviction.
This argument provides no evidence for a god or for gods.
It presents no evidence of an afterlife.
It presents no evidence for the truth of Christianity or the belief that these practices will bring you that eternal life. You still have no guarantee that being a Christian brings eternal life if there was an afterlife.
It represents a false dichotomy. The choice is not between Christianity and atheism. It is a choice among atheism, Christianity, and the thousands of other religions that respective believers think will get them eternal life. If eternal life existed, it could belong to only the Hindu.
If Christianity was false and you believed, you could lose more than a life of lies. If Shintoism were true instead, you would lose eternal life. You better get out there and believe in Shintoism to hedge your bet.
Consider the underlying reasoning behind the argument and it falls apart.
If religion A is true and I believe, than I have eternal life.
If religion A is true and I don’t believe, than I have eternal punishment.
If religion A is not true and I believe, than I will only have lived a lie.
You could use this to justify believing in any religion. Just substitute Islam for religion A. If you use this reasoning to justify believing in Christianity, the moral principle of fairness requires you to allow other religions to use it with equal justification and hope of salvation. Otherwise, you are being hypocritical and you are deceiving yourself.
You could use it to hold conflicting beliefs and be in total self-contradiction. Why would anyone respect this argument?
Now back to my original point. You have plenty to lose with Christianity
You lose a lot of time and money on religious organizations and icons, time and money that could be better spent on real problems.
You have to worry about guilt and shame from the imaginary concept of sin. Big brother is watching.
You have to stand on your head and do verbal gymnastics to “apologize” for ridiculous Bible stories and verses.
You have to worry about the increasing knowledge of the facts of the universe and try to rectify them with the Bible, written by people who knew nothing about their universe.
You have to worry about the increasing civil rights of women and other minorities such as homosexuals, atheists, ethnic groups, and other religious groups that are increasing in this country.
You have to constantly worry about non-believers watching your behavior as Christians and pointing out that you do not behave any better than non-believers.
You have to worry about your friends and family going to hell for an eternity. If you don’t worry about this, you either don’t truly believe or are a very callous individual.
You have to worry about breaking arbitrary “rules of men” that were attributed to a supposed deity thousands of years ago.
You have to worry about those secular humanists (all 20 of them) that have taken over every school, government body, university, media outlet, and ice cream stand in the country.
I could list more. I found no comfort from Christianity. It is not a sure thing and I certainly would not want to bet my life or well being on it.
February 2006 – The stupidist thing a Christian has ever said to me in regard to this is that non-belief in Christianity has consequences and the above is therefore not true. Other religions have no consequences? Tell that to an Islamic believer who insists that Christians will go to hell!
Last year I sent a letter to a church elder that I have been corresponding with. Some excerpts from this letter are as follows:
“I’m not sure why you quote the Bible to me. No other book has caused more confusion and needless suffering among nations. The thinker has to reject the Bible as nonsense if considered in its entirety and in context. Examine the three versions of the Ten Commandments (Exodus 20, 34 and Deuteronomy 5). Exodus 34 is very different from the other two. How could a god forget its own commandments? No super-intelligent being would allow such errors in its holy book. Exodus 34 is the only version that says it is the Ten Commandments in text (Exodus 34:28 KJV). Christians don’t quote this version. They probably don’t know it exists and it reads like embarrassing nonsense.***
I remember the story of the devil taking Jesus up on a mountain to see all the kingdoms of the world to tempt him (Matthew 4:8-9). No such mountain is possible, given that the earth is a sphere! This would only work on a small, flat Earth. Of course, since Christians believe that Jesus was god, this temptation would be absurd. A god would already own the kingdoms of earth. The devil would obviously know this. Add to this the belief in the supernatural nature of the devil and Jesus and it becomes apparent that it would have been entirely unnecessary to go up on a mountain to see anything on earth. This story is irrational even if you don’t believe it literally.
Let’s be analytical about the alleged Jesus cursing a fig tree (Mark 11:12-14) because it didn’t bear fruit when he was hungry. Why did he not know that it wasn’t the season for fig trees to bear fruit? He was god, he was supposed to know all things. Why make the tree wither? This would highly irrational behavior for a god or a human.
Take a look at II Kings 2:23-24 (KJV). The context is a story of Elisha (not a parable or an example of what is not appropriate punishment) being teased by 42 children. The god sends two bears to kill (tare/devour) the kids. All kids tease and so do adults. No one deserves death for teasing, no matter how impolite it is. This is not an example of justice and morality. This is not the behavior of a rational, loving god. Why not just ground the kids for a week or make them wash Elisha’s feet for a month?
Flip back to Leviticus 21:16-24 (KJV). The context is god, telling Moses, to tell Aaron who can’t approach the altar in the sanctuary. This is one of the most despicable passages in the Bible. It essentially trashes people with disabilities and disfigurement and says that they are a “profanity”. Maybe I’m sensitive since I have spent a good deal of my life helping people with disabilities. This language is not loving, moral, or rational in any context.”
If these words were written in any other religious book, would you respect that book? Why respect the Bible? I could write much more about the many vulgar, irrational, and immoral passages in the Bible. However, it is up to the believer to read the Bible for himself or herself and discover what this book really says. After all, if you are claiming that this book gives you meaning in life, you’d better know what it really says.
When I was young, I was led around these passages. This is the way that young people are brainwashed. Once they believe, it is almost impossible for them to face the truth in adulthood. It is too difficult emotionally. I have found that when Christians are confronted with such passages, they become angry and attempt save face with weak excuses about the Bible containing good passages also. Nothing excuses the thinking demonstrated in the above passages.
I am still waiting for a response to my letter. What could the elder say to defend such language? What would you say to me?
***HINT, 11/25/2000 – Almost any public library has the information that can explain to you why this glaring contradiction exists. Find a book written in the past 10 to 15 years that summarizes the past 1000 years of Bible scholarship. Read for yourself what we have learned about the many people who wrote the Bible, when they wrote it, and why. Your life will not be the same.
Another great blasphemous tune, this time from the amazing Venom!
I swear… hell is going to be such an awesome place to be! Loads of hot busty women, beers floating around, and yes, LOUD FUCKING SPEED METAL 24/7!!! The only difference between the literal hell and physical existence is that there won’t be any annoying religious twats trying to tell people how to live their lives, or how they should feel somehow “guilty” for an act which they did not consciously choose to commit. Religion (Christianity is one too, stop trying to fancy yourselves as “just spiritual” because a Muslim could go to great lengths and be just as “just spiritual” as you) is self-loathing and it must die.
Proud to be in league…
I’m in league with satan
I was raised in hell
I walk the streets of Salem
Amongst the living dead
I need no one to tell me
What’s wrong or right
I drink the blood of children
Stalk my prey at night
Look out beware
When the full moon’s high n’bright
In every way I’m there
In every shadow in the night
Coz I’m evil in league with satan
Evil in league with satan
I’m in league with satan
Obey his commands
With the goat of Mendes
Sitting at his left hand
I’m in league with satan
I love the dead
No one prayed for Sodom
As the people fled
I’m in league with satan
I am the masters own
I drink the juice of women
As they lie alone
I’m in league with satan
I bear the devils mark
I kill the new born baby
Tear the infants flesh