I'm a geek, an atheist and [somewhat] pro-science but I still love Christmas so is it any surprise that I love humorous pieces like this one? It's arguably one of my all-time favourite pieces of Christmas fun. Bear in mind this was first published way back before the millennium so some of the figures are a little dated; for example, there are probably around two and half billion children in the world today compared to a mere two billion back then.
There exists precious little verifiable evidence for the existence of the Christian messiah, Jesus Christ, and that which does exist is at best anecdotal with much of it flawed and presumed fake. My assumption is that Jesus Christ never existed because there is no specific need for a real messiah to form the root of the Christian myth since common traits with pre-existing religions suggest aspects of the character, if not the whole, to be based on earlier myth rather than a real person. This article explains my current reason for taking the stance I do.
I think it's fair to say that religions generally request, often demand, respect from us all as if they believe we should believe their views are in some way the equal of those that accept science as the focus of discovery and explanation.How about Christianity?
"The Book of Creation" by Tony Hendra and Sean Kelly is a parody of one of the biblical books of Genesis. It is aimed more at creationists and fundamentalists than it is at moderate Christian believers. Perhaps of greatest interest to those of us who can remember them, Hendra and Kelly were once part of National Lampoon, an American humour magazine which ran from 1970 to 1998. It did the rounds during my early online debating years but was subsequently included in Hendra & Kelly's book, "Not The Bible".
In England, near the town of Ringwood, there is a secret camp. Nestled into a secluded part of the New Forest, protected from even airborne prying eyes by dense foliage and a locked gate, sentries patrol to discourage people on foot. Dozens of serious-looking people, men and women, mostly in their late twenties, walk quietly between clean huts. They are the vanguard of the atheist terrorism movement.
"The Lottery" is a short story written by Shirley Jackson, first published in the June 26, 1948 issue of The New Yorker. It has been described as "one of the most famous short stories in the history of American literature". The story describes a fictional small town in contemporary America, which observes an annual rite known as "the lottery", in which a member of the community is selected by chance to be stoned. It is implied in the story that the lottery is practiced to ensure the community's continued well being. Readers' initial negative response surprised both Jackson and The New Yorker: subscriptions were cancelled, and much hate mail was received throughout the summer of its first publication. The Union of South Africa banned the story. The story has been dramatized several times and subjected to much sociological and literary analysis. (Wikipedia)
How do the lyrics go? "So, this is Christmas and what have you done? Another year over, a new one just begun." It's worth thinking about. What have you done? Why do we even do Christmas? Don't get me wrong, I like Christmas; it's a season when people are generally nicer to each other, a time when people give each other gifts, there's good company, good food and the demon drink. Religion just gets in the way! This blog post was written by someone I don't know but is interesting nevertheless.
Are we humans really as special as we think we are? Is mankind really worth saving? This is a question, especially in light of recent societal and political developments that has got me thinking. Don't get me wrong, I think there are plenty of people out there who are nice but I have to wonder if being "nice" is enough and these days the level of hatred, especially online hatred, is enough to make one throw one's hands in the air and walk away in disgust muttering, "Bah, humans! Really not worth the effort!"
When I am ill, I go to a doctor because they are more qualified than I am in the areas relevant to my health. It would be fair to say that I consider the medical profession the authoritative guide to medical issues. That said, I welcome the medical professions cautious acceptance of some "alternative" medicines or therapies. Enter the faith healer, one who claims to use spiritual powers to cure ills without medical intervention.
In our more liberal countries, there is much comment on human rights. Which rights are, to coin a phrase, 'inalienable' and which are assigned by laws? It took civilisation to instil them into the fabric of society. If rights are dependent entirely upon the society in which a person lives, that means that there could be somewhere with no rights for its citizens at all, a different culture, with different standards and rules.