Cognitive Dissonance: January 2012

Cognitive Dissonance

Cognitive Dissonance: a discomfort caused by holding conflicting ideas simultaneously The theory of cognitive dissonance proposes that people have a motivational drive to reduce dissonance. They do this by changing their attitudes, beliefs and actions. Dissonance is also reduced by justifying, blaming and denying.

Monday, January 23, 2012

Top 10 RIDICULOUS contradictions of Christianity.

Back in the day when I was still a brainwashed, mindless zombie of a Christian none of these things would have alarmed me, and I cannot explain why.  Now, on the outside looking in they seem patently ridiculous, mostly because they are.  How do you break through the wall of superstition the religious have built around their minds and restore their ability to think and reason?  Is it a change an outsider can effect?  Or does the change have to be organic?  I wish I knew.

10- You vigorously deny the existence of thousands of gods claimed by other religions, but feel outraged when someone denies the existence of your god.

9- You feel insulted and "dehumanized" when scientists say that people evolved from lesser life forms, but you have no problem with the Biblical claim that we were created from dirt

8- You laugh at polytheists, but you have no problem believing in a Trinity god

7- Your face turns purple when you hear of the "atrocities" attributed to Allah, but you don't even flinch when hearing about how God/Jehovah slaughtered all the babies of Egypt in "Exodus" and ordered the elimination of entire ethnic groups in "Joshua" -- including women, children, and trees!

6- You laugh at Hindu beliefs that deify humans, and Greek claims about gods sleeping with women, but you have no problem believing that the Holy Spirit impregnated Mary, who then gave birth to a man-god who got killed, came back to life and then ascended into the sky.

5- You are willing to spend your life looking for little loop-holes in the scientifically established age of the Earth (4.55 billion years), but you find nothing wrong with believing dates recorded by pre-historic tribesmen sitting in their tents and guessing that the Earth is a couple of generations old.

4- You believe that the entire population of this planet with the exception of those who share your beliefs -- though excluding those in all rival sects -- will spend Eternity in an infinite Hell of Suffering. And yet you consider your religion the most "tolerant" and "loving".

3- While modern science, history, geology, biology, and physics have failed to convince you otherwise, some idiot rolling around on the floor speaking in "tongues" may be all the evidence you need to prove Christianity.

2- You define 0.01% as a "high success rate" when it comes to answered prayers. You consider that to be evidence that prayer works. And you think that the remaining 99.99% FAILURE was simply the will of God.

1- You actually know a lot less than many Atheists and Agnostics do about the Bible, Christianity, and church history -- but still call yourself a Christian

Saturday, January 7, 2012

Traditional/Family Values - a misnomer.

As I've been watching the Republican debates, and reading articles and blogs about the candidates I have noticed a couple of terms that are being used a lot, "traditional values" and "family values".  What do these terms mean when we examine them in historical and cultural contexts?  Having been a raging, right wing, Tea Party Patriot Republican at one point in time (don't hold it against me now, please) I am familiar with what these terms mean to the candidates, specifically Rick Santorum, Mitt Romney and Michelle Bachmann (who has dropped out of the race, thank goodness).  To them "traditional/family values" are labels that mean a "Christian" household, with a married man and woman and 2.4 children.  To them this represents a healthy, moral standard for a "family" and they believe (assuming I'm not totally mistaken, and I'm nearly positive I'm not) that this is the only acceptable possibility.  They base this on the teaching of their respective religions, Santorum being Catholic has a definition which differs slightly from Romney's.  Since Santorum was the motivation for this particular Blog, let's stick with his for now.  Romney is a Mormon and the foundation of his cults ridiculous beliefs should be so obviously ludicrous I shouldn't have to say much about them for most thinking people to know that anyone who can believe that crap is frankly, stupid.  The followers of the cult of Mormonism must be somehow so psychologically damaged that they cannot discern obvious fact from fiction.  I'm already off topic, as frequently happens, please allow me to return to the definition portion of this discussion.

Wikipedia defines Family Values as: "Promotion of 'traditional marriage' and opposition to sex outside of conventional marriage, including pre-marital sex adultery, polygamy, bestiality, and incest.  Support for a roll back of aspects of feminism and support for a traditional role for women in the family.  Opposition to same-sex marriage, support for traditional education and parental involvement in that education, including such things as vouchers for private, non-secular education.  Support for complementarianism opposition to legalization of abortion and support for policies that instead encourage abstinence and adoption support for abstinence education exclusively regarding risks associated with early sexual activity such as teen pregnancies and sexually transmitted diseases while not teaching such topics of sex education as human sexual behavior, safe sex and birth control support for policies that are said to protect children from obscenity and exploitation."  Furthermore, Santorum has said on more than one occasion that he believes that all birth control/contraception should be illegal!  This is a specifically Catholic position, in fact the Pope has told Catholics in countries in Africa that have epidemic levels of AIDS/HIV that if they use condoms, they will go to hell.  - - See full article here. 

In a separate, related Wikipedia article titled "Traditional Values" the first paragraph (and most pertinent paragraph to this discussion) states: "In its own right "traditional values" simply means the values coming from tradition rather than any specific philosopher, moralist, or writer. This means the "traditional values" of non-Western societies may be wildly at variance from any Christian Right notion of Family values. Societies based on traditional values often embrace animism and ancestor worship rather than any Abrahamic religion. Confucianism also tends to place high value on the maintenance of traditional culture and values. It is related to the concept of traditional authority and folk culture." - - See full article here. 

The definition provided by Wikipedia for "family values" does an excellent job of comprehensively outlining exactly what I would have used a a definition myself at one time.  However, to call these values "traditional" is problematic at best.  Santorum and others who subscribe to the idea that these values are traditional have no grasp of history whatsoever and are most likely unable to define anthropology as anything other than a retail store.  This definition of "family values" is based on what is commonly referred to as a "biblical worldview", even though most of these ideas are not found in the bible, or have been taken out of context and skewed to fit the needs of the chauvinists responsible for developing them.   The only society/societies where these ideals would be considered traditional is in western culture(s), specifically western cultures that are/were at one time dominated by one brand or another of the Christian religion.  Some of these ideals are fine, I wouldn't argue for the merits of things like bestiality and incest or argue against parental involvement in education, however the vast majority of these beliefs are antiquated and patently ridiculous.  The anti-feminist positions of these people are offensive and the idea that sex education is "wrong" or "immoral" is backwards and asinine, especially considering that rates of teen pregnancy is significantly higher in the church than in secular society.  The issue of abortion is a touchy subject, but the idea that the government should have any say in what a woman does with her body is contemptible.  As for the issue of same sex marriage, it's high time we (as a society) stop telling people how they can and cannot live their lives and excluding people who genuinely love each other from reaping the same benefits as same sex couples.  Again, especially considering the divorce rate within the church is higher than 60% now, and again higher than average compared to the secular community.  It is obvious that the Christian/Catholic version of "family values" is not only antiquated and preposterous, but an utter failure in regards to protecting their ideal way of life.  The only thing their version of "family values" accomplishes is the further oppression of women, alienating and harming perfectly healthy, loving, gay families, suppressing social progress, suppressing academic/scientific progress through religious education and stigmatizing sex, which is a perfectly natural act which should be enjoyed when engaged in responsibly by consenting individuals, not abhorred and treated as some kind of immoral act.  

The portion of the definition I quoted from the second Wiki article basically drives home one of the points I am trying to make, "traditional/family values" is a misnomer.  There is no such thing as the term is totally relative, they should be called "religious ideals" (because that is exactly what they are) and they should be mocked and marginalized with extreme prejudice.  I say it often, religion is the cause of the vast majority of suffering in the world and has been for centuries.  We know now that Christianity is built on a foundation of lies, the bible has been proven to be false historically, and the supernatural claims made therein which were used to explain phenomena we didn't yet understand such as the origins of life are obviously implausible.  Furthermore, using the bible as a guide for moral living is detestable!  The 10 commandments are laughable as far as the claim that they originated from an all knowing, all powerful being.  Their origins are blatantly human and they are nothing more than common sense.  Other than the narcissistic, repetitive commands not to worship any other god(s) the 10 commandments could have been written by a kindergartner.  By comparison the bible contains far more immoral acts than moral/ethical instructions.  It's pages are rife with things like murder, rape, genocide, infanticide, slavery and a vast array of other blatantly immoral and abhorrent acts.  Anyone who claims that it is the ultimate source of morality either hasn't read it, doesn't understand it, or is a psychopath.  Furthermore, according to several centuries of work done by a fairly large group of scholars we also know that Jesus Christ aka Jesus of Nazareth is also a fictional character.  Given the overwhelming evidence, which is chronicled in numerous books, essays and other similar sources, it is hard to believe that anyone capable of rational thought would still subscribe to any of the nonsensical versions of religion remaining.  It's high time that people stand up for what is ACTUALLY right and did everything in their power to expose the evil, harmful, antiquated tenets of religion, specifically Christianity in all it's forms as it is the greatest threat to the welfare of our country today.  Some people may immediately bristle and say I'm wrong and that Islam is the greatest threat to our nation, and while I agree that Islam is a threat, and is responsible for more damage worldwide in this day and age than Christianity is, the fact remains that Christians can and will tear this country apart from the inside out if we fail to act and allow them to grab the reigns in Washington DC.  As for claims that our country was founded on Christian principles, by Christian men, this claim is also demonstrably false, and I have addressed it at length in a previous blog, so check it out.

It is time religion is put in it's place, the history books!!!

Wednesday, January 4, 2012

From Xmas, to beyond!

It seems that the truth does not matter to fundamentalist evangelical Christians.  There is something that seems to block the ability of this group of people to be able to accommodate simple facts that are contrary to their beliefs.  I have repeatedly presented what most rational people would consider obvious proof that many of the fundamental assumptions made by Christians are false, however they continue to refuse to acknowledge even the possibility that they might be wrong.

Throughout the Xmas season I went on a special offensive, and offered up a variety of simple scientific, historical and archaeological facts via videos, articles and various online sources.  One of my favorite videos was done by a gentlemen by the name of Seth, he goes by the handle "The Thinking Atheist" on the interwebs.  ( - a link to his video titled, "To Xmas and Beyond").  He consistently does a good job of presenting the facts in a fun, snarky manner, which I always appreciate.  Anyway, the point is that he plainly presented the facts about the pagan origins of Xmas as a response to the fundamentalist claim that there is a "war on Christmas".  The fact is that Xmas has literally nothing to do with the birth of Jesus Christ as most Christians claim.  It is a mish-mash of Pagan traditions/holidays that was modified by the Romans to fit their new worldview after it became the state religion.  In fact, upon examination of the evidence the Christian account of Jesus birth appears to be a total fabrication.  Nazareth didn't exist at the time Jesus was supposedly born, there was no census, even if there had been the head of the household (men) would have been the only ones counted, and Mary almost certainly would not have traveled from Bethlehem to Nazareth on a donkey 9 months pregnant and King Herod has been dead for years.  These are just a few of the most glaring inconsistencies in the Christian version of the "Christmas" story.  There are disagreements even between the gospels of the events surrounding the birth of Christ.  If I were a Christian (and I was for many years) these facts (had I been made aware of them) would have presented a real problem for me.  The birth, life, death and Resurrection of Christ are at the core of the Christian gospel message, and if the historical facts surrounding the event(s) are almost certainly not factual, that makes the rest of the story even more unbelievable than it already is.  I am of course referring to the claim of the virgin birth, and the claim that Jesus was the human manifestation of the almighty god of the universe.

There are literally zero independent, objective accounts of Jesus birth, life, miracles, ministry, death or resurrection.  That means that literally the only source one has to draw their conclusions about Jesus is the bible.  Anyone who knows the facts surrounding the origins of the bible, the manner in which the current version we have now was written and then assembled, or "canonized" they know that it is unreliable at best.  This is a whole other blog topic, to really describe the events that have led up to the bible as we know it would be quite an undertaking, thankfully several very intelligent scholars have done that work for us.  Bart Ehrman in one of my personal favorites, another former evangelical wrote a book called "Forged" which comprehensively explains the who, what, when, where, why and how the bible came into being.  I suggest anyone who wishes to gain a comprehensive understanding of the origins of the bible should read this book.

So after a few weeks of informing my Christian family and friends, albeit somewhat antagonistically of the facts about the origins of Xmas I find myself dumbfounded by their utter inability to accept the truth.  What is it that keeps this branch of fundamentalist Christians from being able to accept the truth about their faith?  Why don't obvious contradictions about what they believe instill a desire to at least investigate the claims made by their religion?  How can I, or anyone else reach them?  Is it possible to break through the walls they've created to shed light on the fact that everything they believe is "Truth" with a capitol T, is absolute hogwash?  There has to be a key, a golden arrow, something that will speak to their dormant ability to reason that will wake them from their ignorance induced mental slumber.  I have made it my goal to find that chink in their armor, the loss of Christopher Hitchens has redoubled my resolve, I genuinely believe that humanity needs more men and women like Mr. Hitchens that are willing to stand up to the religious and challenge the erroneous, despicable tenets of their faith that are so obviously poisonous to everyone and everything they touch.  The quest begins anew in 2012, the quest to systematically dismantle the ignorant tenets of the religious!  Not just Christians, but all religions, beginning with the most toxic and working the way down the list until people can learn to live in reality.  I firmly believe that the biggest threat to humanity is religion, and for some unexplained reason in this age of scientific enlightenment and discovery the hold of superstition seems to be gaining strength.  We must not allow this to continue, the implications are dire.