I spent yesterday afternoon visiting a friend in Southampton, which was a nice trip away from the Home Counties for a change. The weather was beautiful, and I hadn’t seen this friend in some time.
Anyone who’s travelled the UK motorways on a weekend knows that Sunday evenings tend to be a nightmare, as half the country are returning from day trips to the coast or city, so around 6pm and for a few hours it’s nothing more than a slow-moving queue. There were occasional fast patches, but then it would slow down again. I resigned myself to the long haul, and wasn’t too worried as it was still moving. Much better than the alternative.
As I passed Winchester Services, I noticed an old white Subaru estate zip onto the same carriageway alongside and eventually behind me, and immediately begin trying to weave through traffic in a bid to get ahead. For as far as the eye could see, nobody was travelling over 40mph, yet this guy figured he’d do his best to get ahead of, well, everyone.
Soon after, I see him try to get between the car off my left rear and me by straddling the lines for some time, so I tap my brakes to give him lights and see my nose dip, and he goes mental. He instantly forces his way between the car I’m slowly overtaking and me, pulls in front of me (I was perhaps 1.5 lengths from the car in front?) and stands on his brakes. I had to stamp on mine, and it was extremely fortunate that there was nobody close behind me. As I’m shaking my head and have my hands up in a “what the hell are you doing?” way, he sticks his arm out and gives me the finger and forks repeatedly — for minute or more, over and over.
Thinking that was that, a few minutes later after I’d managed to get into the left lane, I notice that he’s being slowed by traffic in the right lane, and I coast alongside him. The carload of people turn to look as I smile, point at the driver and do a cock-sucking motion. If I hadn’t taken my foot off the accelerator as I saw him lose it, he’d have slammed into me. He changed lanes straight into mine, trying to ram me or force me off the road. Utter psycho. I think his friends got him under control, as he zoomed off into the distance after that.
He looked like a white supremacist (or a football fan; it’s hard to tell), so I figured a gay reference would flip his switch. Spot on the money. Boy I know how to wind people up.
Aside from the shock of both of his overreactions, I was calm through the whole thing. But this guy was bouncing off the walls, even before I got involved. We’re all stuck in traffic — why be a dick?
A while ago I covered Pascal’s Wager, the logical fallacy used by some religious people to ‘reason’ non-believers into believing ‘just in case’ their particular god story is true. And then along comes a single image to cover it simply and succinctly:
When you then consider the likelihood that this is the only life we get — that there’s nothing once we pop our clogs — all of that suffering, brutality and ignorance becomes tragic.
Of course if there is a god of some kind, then he/she/it/them will appreciate the person who used the brains they were given, rather than hitching their horse to the wagon they were born next to.
Hat tip: LOLgod
The regular reader of this blog already knows that I’m a huge fan of Tim Minchin. So for some pure, unadultered, politically-incorrect fun, enjoy the following music video (probably not recommended for little ears):
Hat tip to PodBlack Cat.
Why reinvent the wheel when I can recycle last year’s seasons greeting?
Well, it’s that time of year again — the long-weekend that a number of Western nations observe as a national holiday: the pagan festival of Eostre, better known as Easter, where millions of people gleefully glorify in the brutal killing of their god, who was the son of their god sent by their god to cleanse the world from sins stipulated by their god, for the appeasement of their god.
I have a computer wallpaper that describes it succinctly:
Christianity, n.: Sending telepathic messages to a Jewish ghost letting him know that you will accept him as your master and to ask him to remove a magical curse that was passed down to you because an old woman that was made from the rib of her partner ate a piece of magical fruit from a magical tree because a talking snake told her to.
Ask me again why I’m an Atheist?
Those who recognise that monotheism is one god too many, know it as:
Zombie Jesus Day!
According to popular culture and today’s political-religious voices, this holiday all began with…
…the death of a Jewish martyr named Eashoa or Yashua (depending upon which etymology you follow) — who most people know by his translated name of Jesus or Isa — around 2,000 years ago. And then a few days later, it ended with…
…the apparent resurrection of the martyr to the least objective audience possible: Mary Magdalene, sometimes considered to be a love interest or equal leader. Major opposition to this last point is usually from the same people who naïvely think Jesus’s mother died a virgin. (All of this accepts, for the sake of argument, that the people in the story actually lived at that time, that Jesus was born to Mary, that he had a group of followers, etc).
Then some time afterwards, this strange and little-known sect was chosen to replace the polytheistic Roman pantheon as the official religion of the Roman Empire. The Roman Catholic Church was born, complete with its equally absurd Doctrine of the Trinity (one god is three gods but is really just one god — presumably to keep the polytheistic migrants from pantheism happy).
Protestants, particularly ones from modern fundamentalist sects, don’t like this fact but: Catholicism is Christianity. There was no distinction and, with the exception of the schism over the power of the Pope which lead to the formation of the Eastern Orthodox Church, it remained that way until the 16th century Reformation.
For those who haven’t yet completely signed over their rational and critical faculties, here’s the official story for those looking to join the club…
…and is only sanctified by you joining in the cannibalistic ritual of eating the god/man/father/son’s body and drinking his blood. No brains required. Brains…
The festival of the Anglo-Saxon pagan goddess Eostre (or Ôstarâ) celebrates the rebirth of life after the long cold winter by marking the coming of spring, and observes the lunar calendar (as seasonal events have done throughout much of civilisation). Most people know it as Easter, and have bought into the claim that it originated with the death of a religious fanatic around 2,000 years ago.
Easter did not originate with the death of Jesus any more than Christmas originated with his birth. As with most Christian holidays, it was piggy-backed onto pre-existing holidays of the culture in which it spread, and then was later enforced and rewritten by the Church as if the original never existed. Hence the Eostre/spring symbolism and timing for Easter, and the Yule/winter solstice symbolism and timing for Christmas. Easter is timed to mark the end of Passover — a national & religious celebration of the story of a brutal god murdering thousands of innocent infants — making them follow a lunar, seasonal calendar. Hence the fact that both occur at seemingly random times between late March and late April, matching the Jewish month of Nisan (also called Aviv, or spring), marking the timing of the barley harvest. And don’t forget the Easter egg and its symbolism of new birth/life.
Rebirth, new life, resurrection… recognising an ongoing theme?
I’ve clearly parodied the stories surrounding the crucifixion of Jesus, basing them in a more Catholic setting than Protestant as the former has been around the longest and the latter is cherry-picked from the former, but they serve to outline the outlandish beliefs surrounding the holiday being celebrated. I say celebrated, but the facts are that only a tiny percentage of the Christian population actually observe (or even know) all the requirements of this holiday, and the number of people who actually know the popularised Easter story is dwindling yearly. For most of the Western world, Easter is simply a 4-day long-weekend where we may have some nice meals and catch up with family, get away for a few days to the coast or snow, or do some DIY around the house to wash away the winter and prepare the house and garden for the coming spring and summer.
The latter is really what Easter is all about. We’ve come through the harsh winter, those of us left alive and healthy will now rebuild what winter has damaged, and life will begin again for the year — as can be seen all around with plant growth, spring lambs and the returned warmth of the Sun.
It’s a shame that some people voluntarily hang on to Bronze Age superstitions, from a time when humanity wasn’t enlightened enough to realise the reality of the annual wonders occurring around us this time
of year. I understand why church and political leaders encourage and propagate such absurdities as it ensures their unrivalled power — particularly when you can threaten disobedience with eternal torture in a place that the threatened cannot be certain whether such an evil torment exists or not (enter the fallacy of Pascal’s Wager) — but for otherwise intelligent lay-people to do the same thing feels like collusion or appeasement. Something similar to knowing that you don’t need to outrun the lion chasing you to stay alive, merely that you have to outrun the person next to you. It’s a sick rationale from a sick system borne of sick minds.
Despite what believers reading this may think or say: I do not hate people of religion. I can respect the person while despising the belief, whether religious or political. Beliefs do not stop a person from being human, nor from being worthy of treatment as such. That’s the nature of secular humanism.
Humanity is more important than invisible friends.
It was a headline I couldn’t resist — an homage to talentless copy editors worldwide.
But seriously, folks… why isn’t the Pope being questioned by the police? Christianity may have tortured and murdered countless people in the last 2,000 years, but they’re no longer above the law. To ignore it is to admit an unconscionable fondness for medieval theocracy.
Now imagine my surprise and delight to discover that someone has taken Still Alive and turned it into a brilliant science education and anti-Creationism video:
How cool is that? It made me laugh, I can tell you. My congratulations to the mixer/masher from whose mind this sprung.