Archive for the ‘Religion’ Category

Deliberations With a Friendly Bigot

September 22, 2009

I’m writing this from Antalya, Turkey. I’m currently on vacation with my girlfriend, and it’s safe to say that minus the horrible stomach aches I get in the mornings from eating like a filthy swine and drinking sub-lethal (or almost lethal) amounts of alcohol – we are having an awesome time, thank you very much.

The purpose of this post is not to tell you how much fun I’m having. That, on its own, is not particularly interesting. I wish to write a few paragraphs about a guy called Safa, he’s our Turkish “special guest” (NO, we did not have a threesome). Einat met Safa this one evening while I was otherwise doing my best not to vomit the copious amounts of vodka I consumed earlier on. They had a friendly chat, and we set up a date for us three later on.

The following evening, Safa, girlie and me met at the main bar, ordered a few drinks, and started chatting away. We also proceeded to rendezvous with two of Safa’s friends from Iran (!!). You’re probably thinking right now: “oh, he had ‘deliberated’ with bigots. He met Iranians, hence title of post, enter altercations by angry Jews and Iranians”.  Nope. First of all, it was almost impossible to communicate any meaninful messages to our two Iranian friends, let alone shout at them with righteous indignation. Their English was quite bad, and other than that, they only speak Farsi, which is utter gibberish to me, pretty much the same way Hebrew is to them.

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Exodus is Bullshit, Passover is Bullshit

April 16, 2009

Passover is over (heehee), and finally, we are allowed leavened bread once more. Most of the time, living in Israel doesn’t require constant endurance of religious inanity. Religious inanity is there, alright, but most of the time, I don’t get to feel it.
I feel it most strongly on Yom Kippur, when everybody is fasting, no cars are allowed, and everything is closed, without exception. I feel it in the weekends, when buses aren’t operational, and a lot of businesses are closed, preventing me from doing anything fun without a drive to Tel-Aviv or other neighboring towns.

In passover, I feel it in my stomach. See, I don’t eat that Matzos crap, not in any version whatsoever. It’s shit.

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Hilarious Christian Zealot

March 4, 2009

Over at Odd Innuendo, in a garden variety post about Hitler not being an atheist (and some stuff on why Stalin’s atheism has nothing to do with him being an insane dictator) – the comments boomed.

One of the comments was by a one “alan” who,it seems, is some sort of Christian zealot, who believes that the only version of good in this world is the True Christian variety (yes, he actually pulled the “No True Scotsman” spiel on me).

At first, I was having enough fun seeing alan squirm with the indefensible position that Hitler was, for some reason, an atheist (he used the words “I am a devout catholic” in 1941. Maybe he wasn’t much of a catholic, but catholic he was, and people like Fred Phelps are still considered to be bathshit insane Christian).

But sooner than later, the argument turned into a debate on biblical morality (with occasional puns about atheists being assholes every now and then, sigh.)

The hilarious part was when I noted some examples from Deuteronomy and Leviticus which, putting it mildly, color God and the bible in negative hues. Stuff like stoning homosexuals, stoning witches, stoning adulterers, stoning unruly children, et cetera.

This is the hilarious bit.

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I Am as Religious as Albert Einstein

February 21, 2009

“The fairest thing we can experience is the mysterious. It is the fundamental emotion which stands at the cradle of true art and true science. He who knows it not and can no longer wonder, no longer feel amazement, is as good as dead, a snuffed-out candle. It was the experience of mystery—even if mixed with fear—that engendered religion. A knowledge of the existence of something we cannot penetrate, of the manifestations of the profoundest reason and the most radiant beauty, which are only accessible to our reason in their most elementary forms—it is this knowledge and this emotion that constitute the truly religious attitude; in this sense, and in this alone, I am a deeply religious man…. Enough for me the mystery of the eternity of life, and the inkling of the marvelous structure of reality, together with the single-hearted endeavour to comprehend a portion, be it ever so tiny, of the reason that manifests itself in nature.”,

In Einstein’s religion’s terms, I have no qualms declaring words like this as prophetic, inspiring – in their appeal, similar to that which the religious hold divine.

And it does not require, and would be wasted upon,  a deity.

Gee, thank you, religious council of stupid

January 14, 2009

As all Israelis not living inside a bathtub know, the city of Ashkelon has joined the fray of rocket-bombed cities as of December. About six months ago, construction works for a defensive extension to the city’s “Brazili” hospital building were ceased.

Was it because of Ashkelon no longer being in danger? Was it for a lack of funding? Maybe, for some reason, it was simply impractical to build airtight bunkers in a place full of sick, possibly contagious human beings?

No. The construction works were halted because ancient tombs were found within hospital area, making it a knot in Rabbinical knickers. An airheaded lot of religious acolytes prevented a life-saving construction project because of supersitition and dimwitted idiocy.


20 days into the war, and the great masters of stupid had indulged the terrified citizens of Ashkelon by leniently allowing construction to proceed, as a part of “Pikuach Nefesh” (life-saving exception to the Halacha code).

Gee, thanks a friggin’ bunch, you blithering twerps!

There are some times in which I truly, in all sincerity, hate religion.

The Jack-of-All-Trades Is a Master of None

January 14, 2009

Some voices (of the batshit insane variety) in Israel cry out for armageddon. All you foreigners reading here are probably not unfamiliar with such messianic tantrums, and this is also probably not an exclusively Israeli/Jewish/whatnot phenomenon.

One Shmuel Shmueli, some sort of ultra-orthodox wingnut fundamentalist, has published an ad in the Israeli daily newspaper, “Ye’diot A’haronot”, calling for a preemptive strike against Iran.

I’m going to leave aside the paranoid rantings of this poor, neglected soul, (oh, if only malign idiots such as Shmueli were neglected and ignored rather than just sad and insane) and focus on an idea I had after reading his ad.

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If Religion Binds Us, We’re Doomed

January 4, 2009

Last night, I read an article about 5 Israelis who were (or possibly are) in close contact with Hamas officials and leaders. One of them was a settler, a rabbi, who became a good friend of A-Zahar, one of Hamas’ most powerful and influential leaders.

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What It Takes To Convert An Atheist

December 24, 2008

Over at the atheist mecca of Pharyngula, yet another broiling comment section ensues due to the latest conversion of former atheist blogger, The Raving Atheist (who apparently will be “The Raving Theist” from now on). (more…)

Who’s The Culprit?

December 3, 2008

It is often said (mainly by apologetics, and in a way, that’s how they’re defined) that religion is not to blame for religious bigotry or for religiously-motivated violence. The garden variety argument is that even though evil people can be religious, it is not religion itself that is responsible for their crimes and evil deeds.

An interesting discussion has sprouted at Sisyphus Fragment, and most interestingly so, the line of defense was held not by religious apologetics, but simply by everyday rational, coherent, intelligent people. The crux of their argument is that religious people would be ignorant to simply use religion (or brainwashed, and the difference is tricky) as a means to do evil, and that religion is not the only thing that’s being used to promote evil causes. This is very much true, and since no one said that religion is the only cause for evil, quite irrelevant in the defense of religion as a culprit.

An interesting argument defending religion arose when someone said that religion itself is not evil, but can be manipulated by evil men, and those attacking religion is not only pointless, but can be counter-productive. I’m not going to say anything about it being counter-productive not because I can’t imagine it being productive, but because I much rather base such a claim on credible sources and not just scatter historical examples and thought experiments.

What I will say, however, is that it is an interesting reduction of human evil to say that no doctrine of its own is culprable, including religious doctrine, but that only human beings are. In that respect, Nazis aren’t culprable by their adherence to the party, but only by the fact that they gassed prisoners to death (well, it’s more complicated than that, but the example is clear enough).

Anyway, I can’t completely disagree with that, and in many respects, I sometimes get the feeling that religious people get too much heat merely by entitling themselves religious. Religious people, like everyone else, pick and choose what they think is right or wrong (and many of them will agree, even elusively, that their morals are not dictated by the bible. No surprise there). So, this definitely flies in the face of every graffitti that goes “Christians are shit”, and even though a lot of well-intending atheists might sympathize (especially former Christians) with that sentence, I don’t.

But is Christianity, itself, a culprit? Obviously, Judaism will share the same cell should Christianity gets thrown to the tanty, but is it guilty of the crimes people commit in its name?

My answer to that is “not exactly”. Evil people will find some other way of grinding their axes at other people’s expense even if the Abarahamic religions never existed. The flip-side of that is that good men or women, or good-intending ones, might wrong their fellow mortals simply because the bible tells them so. They might even feel a horrible pain while doing so, and will even hate themselves for not being committed enough. They will feel a two-layered guilt: sympathy to the oppressed and servile guilt to their Master, the one who decreed that they should do things they really don’t want to, and really think they shouldn’t.

So addressing religion as “guilty” is meaningful only in the respect of specific laws and decrees that plainly, in a non-open-to-interpretation-way (see Deuteronomy), state that evil should be done. This is not an indictment of all religious people and not even of all religious laws or canonized books. This is an indictment of very specific laws that were barbaric when they were written (by whoever) and they’re still barbaric today, and religious people and athiests who aren’t, well, insane, will agree on that.

Jeff, a charming soul who also happens to be a Christian, would probably never even dream of committing any crimes in the name of Christianity or Jesus Christ, and he would agree that killing homosexuals is an evil decree (he won’t agree that that’s what the bible says, but if he did, he would agree it’s an evil religious decree).

So the real culprit is between the lines, not on the cover of the bible. Religion does not go to prison, only the written text in its holy books that sends good men to do the work for evil ones.

Yes, We Can (rob you)!

November 28, 2008

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For all you non-Israelis (erm, there’s about 6 people who read this blog and I suppose 5 of them aren’t 🙂 ), let me just point out that Shas is a Hebrew acronym for “Shomrei-Torah Sfaradim”, this means, literally, “Sefardic observers of the Torah”, or in short, the ultra-orthodox Jewish party.
I’m not a political expert, but my experience with Shas is that they are a sectarian party. They work almost entirely for the benefit of their electorate, which is, well, not a big issue unless you’re in Israel, where there’s about a dozen or so types of electorate, and if you unite a certain parasitic electorate (I’ll get to that right away), you basically give a foothold to a bunch of lazy, sanctimonious thieves in the Knesset (the Israeli parliament).
Now, now. I’m not saying that Shas doesn’t do charitable things, like try to help the poor (religious poor, anyway) and promote socialist agendas (maybe as a side-effect to, say, their insistence on using tax-payer money to sustain the multitudes of the huge families that the ultra-orthodox are mandatory to found as per the Torah),

but –

well, Shas seems to really dislike the idea of personal freedom (an fundamentalist political party with an anti-liberal agenda? Say it ain’t so!).

In many respect, they are an anti-freedom party. If Shas was the sole party in Israel, then Israeli law was indistinguishable from Senhadrin law, and that means literally a Jewish theocracy.

So far, what Shas mainly does is try to ban pornography (fuck that!), censor internet material (guess who they want in charge of reviewing the “inappropriate material”?) and ban public transportation on Saturday (something that’s actually quite widespread in Israel already).

What I found mind-numbingly ironic is that Shas’ current campaign slogan is “Yes, we can!”, just like, yep, you said it, Barack Obama’s successful slogan. It’s so cute. They think that if it got the American people to vote for a guy who isn’t an obvious hack, then the Israeli population is going to be duped into voting for the most self-serving, anti-democratic, fundamentalist party in the Jewish political spectrum, (well, maybe there’s worse, this IS Israel, after all)

Anyhow, it’s made extremely ironic due to the fact that the ultra-orthodox refuse to serve in the IDF because they must practice the Torah (oh yeah? I REALLY wanted to start this biology degree here at 18 and not at 23, you bearded sacks of shit!). These assholes pay about 4 times (!) less than I do to social security, as Yeshiva boys, to be precise. (A student, of any kind, who works, immediately has to pay social security as per the type of work he’s in, say, self-employed people like me have to pay 9.82% of our income to social security, they have to pay about a quarter of that).
Every time Shas reveals its intentions to the public, every political move, every bill proposed, every statement given, it’s always anti-democratic, anti-civil-rights, religiously bigoted and ultimately, anti-humanity. This party is actively trying to promote a world that has no freedom, and endless power to a caste of corrupt avaricious acolytes.