Archive for August, 2009

Nuts of all stripes

selling_religionThanks to Pharyngula, I’ve learned that the nutcase who shot up a gym in California wasn’t just a nut, he was a religious nut, who wrote this in his online diary:

“Maybe soon, I will see God and Jesus. At least that is what I was told. Eternal life does NOT depend on works. If it did, we will all be in hell. Christ paid for EVERY sin, so how can I or you be judged BY GOD for a sin when the penalty was ALREADY paid. People judge but that does not matter. I was reading the Bible and The Integrity of God beginning yesterday, because soon I will see them.”

What should be the reaction to this, if you’re an atheist who’s interested in being polite?

Well, obviously gloating would be impolite (not to mention kind of a dick move), and it’s equally impolite to go out of your way to bring it up as evidence of religion’s dangers. I’d say a better reaction is to save it up. Don’t harp on it, but don’t ignore it either.

Remember it, and keep it in your memory, just in case you find yourself faced with some religious nut who goes off on atheists for being immoral or whatever — particularly if he starts talking about how the kids who shot up Columbine High School were purportedly atheists.

At that point, the polite and respectful atmosphere that etiquette strives to maintain is already out the window. So you’re not causing a breach of etiquette by pointing out (politely if possible) that homicidal-suicidal nutcases can have all sorts of worldviews. And while you’re at it, you might want to make sure he’s not still buying into the false myth about the girl who was shot for saying “yes” when asked if she believed in God.

(cartoon via Chris Madden)

Sunday Sermon: Anti Christ Superstar

So, they’ve got a Bible verse about seeing Satan as lightning from the heavens, and claiming the Hebrew word for lighting is “baraq” and the word for heights (not “heavens,” but hey, it’s sort of close, right?) is “bamah,” so in Hebrew the name of the Antichrist would be “Baraq U Bamah.”

Gee, it’s good to know it’s not our current president — after all, his name is Barack Obama, and presumably an all-knowing and all-powerful God who was writing a Bible would know how to spell his name, if he were the guy.

Or maybe God is just teasing us, making the name close enough, but still different enough, that even He has plausible deniability. Or maybe it’s just His idea of a big practical joke. Maybe Regina Spektor is right — God can be hilarious.

Seriously, though, this is what I’m wondering: The Bible’s been around quite a while, and the Hebrew language has as well. If the name of the Antichrist could be figured out by applying those two things, why didn’t anyone do it before 2009?

Why didn’t they do it 100 years ago (or 200, or 800), and then keep their eyes open for someone with a name like that taking prominence on the national/international stage?