Thursday, April 29, 2010

Put Down Your Old KJV Red Letter, The Good Book Just Got a Whole Lot Better

The Holy Bible.  It's been translated into 2400 languages and over 300 English translations alone, but when you get right down to it, they all contain the same boring, outdated, hard-to-get-through dry text.

But not any more!

How Many Meters in a Foot?
Now there's a way to read about the loving power of the Ultimate Father-Figure in Kyle Holt's "The Bible in Rhyme".  Yep.  Rhyme.

How many ten-year-olds can stand to sit through a dreary sermon that involves phrases like: "Unto the woman he said, I will greatly multiply thy sorrow and thy conception; in sorrow thou shalt bring forth children; and thy desire shall be to thy husband, and he shall rule over thee."

Ugh.  Can't you feel your eyes glazing over?

Now take a gander at this little ditty from Genesis 3, with rhyme:

"Never will your kind view Eden again.
All are shut out for your cognizant sin.
Man, you shall toil and work in the earth.
And woman, your pain will come giving birth.
You’re banished! Get out! All three of you go!"
Then God set a guard at the Tree of Life so
we’d not be let in, but always we’d know
that this was how woman and man fell so low.

You can't help but try to sing it as you dance and smile, reading about God's wonderful forgiving spirit.  Be sure to pick up your copy today, and get your kids involved!  They'll have a great time learning how to regurgitate doctrine while beginning a long-lasting emotional attachment to ideas that make them feel good.  'Cause come on, I dare you to read this and not feel good:

Though everyone knew of the things God had spoken,
the men muttered angrily, "Our God is broken!
Why worship Him? Can He not see our power?
We're greater than Him. Come, let's build a tower
and show Him that He should be worshiping us."
But God saw their plan, and was filled with disgust.
"Man never changes, so I must change him."
So he twisted their tongues and confused all of them.
And he scattered mankind, confounding the rabble
and that's why it's called the Tower of Babel.

(From page 7, Genesis 9:18 - 11:32.  And remember kids, the perfect word of the Living God contains ZERO contradictions or errors because it was inspired by a god who does not author confusion!)

I dread how they sugar-coat the Numbers conquests.


Tuesday, April 20, 2010

Why Some People Need A God: Ignorance

In conclusion of this three-part miniseries, we take a look at what is most likely the main reason for some people to need gods or god-like figures in their lives: ignorance.  I call it the main reason because it ties together nearly all other reasons.  In part one, we discussed the fear of the unknown that drives some people to seek invented and unsupported answers -- in other words, being ignorant of the causes and reasons for those unknowns.  Part two discussed companionship, bred from ignorance of the unknown future, and the need for father-figures and "soul-mates".

You Don't Need Empty Answers
Staring into the maw of the unfamiliar and trying to make sense out of it is something we humans do pretty much constantly.  It should be no surprise that there should then arise a grand answer to fill those unsettling gaps. There are those who chose to remain purposefully ignorant of scientific knowledge and understanding, and that's a shame.  But there are a large portion of moderate believers who are clinging to religious beliefs in order to not have to learn or attempt to learn the answers to life's deep questions.

But once you remove yourself from the realm of religion, you begin to see the reality of the world, and fear actually diminishes.  You start realizing that the world is what you make it, how you behave and live your life is ultimately up to you, and the way you treat others matters in this one and only life you get.  Sure, we'll all be ignorant about something at some time or another, but it's how we handle that fact that determines the course and nature of our lives.

You Don't Need A God
If you've read this series and are a believer of some kind, I encourage you to challenge yourself with the following exercises.  Think about what you would need to change in order to live without God.  Think about what God actually "does" in your life that you can't find any other way of accomplishing.  Try taking off the theist mindset and view the world -- perhaps only momentarily -- without the need for your deity.  Imagine you and your family and friends having to live and help one another through hardships on your own, with the help of only each other.  Hopefully you'll find that you do much of this already, you only give God the credit.  Maybe you'll grow closer to becoming a person who doesn't need a god.


Friday, April 9, 2010

Why Some People Need A God: Companionship

We are by nature social creatures, and when we are young sometimes it's difficult to find other children to play or "practice" with.  Just as our brains create dreams probably to function as training grounds for exploration of situations and emotions, our brains also dream up daydreams and imaginary friends to help us learn to socialize.

Talking to Yourself
Or perhaps it goes a little deeper than that.  Perhaps the child with an imaginary friend needs said friend for companionship.  In The God Delusion, Richard Dawkins reprinted the classic poem by A. A. Milne, "Binker", to illustrate the point of how children create and use imaginary friends to serve needs for companionship.  The child in the poem plays with his imaginary friend, teaches him to talk, and shares sweets with him -- all the while realizing that grown-ups don't "get it".

This deep-seated need for companionship gets expressed in the embodiment of so-called spiritual things.  Gods, Great Spirits, and other deities serve the basic social needs of some people.  Once we see a god as nothing more than an imaginary friend, we realize the same power exists: to comfort, to commune.  God fills the gaps in people's lives who need someone to talk to; to understand what they're feeling or explore questions.  God relieves the tension we feel and supports our natural desires for companionship.

You See it Too
Not only that, but another layer gets added on when believers fellowship with each other.  Suddenly, a very real person with the same imaginary friend becomes a companion, and subsequent stories can be shared that reinforce the feelings supplied by the deity.  Where the imaginary entity fails (in the lack of physical embraces, for example), the other believers succeed.  This is a powerful social reality that has direct, lasting consequences and effects in the lives of real people, and is not to be overlooked. 

Even if you, reader, are a believer in a god (or perhaps an imaginary friend), I encourage you to think about the idea that your deity is nothing more than a concept you invented.  Think about what that would entail, and note the similarities if that were the case.  I think you'll find, probably initially to your horror, that the similarities are immense.  Your God hates the things you hate, loves the people you love, and will understand you deeper than any other person.  How is that any different than Binker?