Friday, October 29, 2010

The Evils of Halloween (With Special Commentary By Me!)

In a few days, it will be Halloween once again. A time for carving pumpkins, dressing up, and trick-or-treating door-to-door. A fun innocent time, right?

Or is it?????? (Note the extra question marks for dramatic affect)

Join me as I go through this classic Jack Chick tract exposing the Satanic agenda that is Halloween (with MST3K commentary throughout).

Basil Bub? That alone should win the Most Obvious Use of Foreshadowing.

Here's the #1 rule of horror films: when you hear that such-and-such a place is the sight of a grisly murder, you will NOT be okay!

Performing a satanic animal sacrifice usually doesn't help, either. Also, what kind of serial killer forgets his chainsaw? I mean, that's just bad etiquette.

If that isn't the most bad-ass line since, "Say hello to my little friend," I don't know what is!

Well at least the cat got out safe.

Oh no, it's a campy cartoon Satan! Run for your lives!

The saints? You mean the New Orleans Saints? WHO DAT!

He looks more confused than shocked. Maybe Satan frequents that church a lot.

Getting rid of Satan is that easy? I'll have to remember that next time.

Wait, a couple of panels ago Satan said it was his birthday. Make up your mind, Jack!

Pastors had soul patches even back then?

For a guy who dresses like he's from Seattle, he sure looks like he needs a coffee fix!

You mean when I hand out Snickers to kids, I'm really giving them tickets to Hell? Holy crap!

Well I haven't read anything about spikes in human sacrifice numbers, so I guess we're okay for now.
FACT CHECK: Jack-O-Lanterns really come from the old Irish legend of Stingy Jack (source: Wikipedia).

So when kids come to my door for Halloween this year, I'm going to dose them with holy water. You can't be too careful, you know!

Interesting enough, the phrase "personal savior" is nowhere in the Bible.

There you have it, folks. So let's celebrate October 31st the Christian way: by nailing 95 theses to the nearest Catholic church's door!

Monday, October 25, 2010

If Evolution is True, Why Help the Poor

You ever see a sermon title that just makes you cringe? How about this one?

Friday, October 22, 2010

Yes, Christine, There Is a Separation of Church and State

Originally posted on my personal blog.

I've deliberately avoided talking Christine O'Donnell on this blog (although I've made fun of her a few times on Facebook), but after this debacle I just have to say something.

For those too lazy to watch the entire video, it's from a recent debate between O'Donnell and her Democratic opponent Chris Coons. At one point, Coons mentions that the U.S. Constitutions says the church and the state should be separated. O'Donnell responds, "Where does it say that in the Constitution?"

COONS: "It's in the First Amendment. 'Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof. . . .'"

O'DONNELL: "You're telling me that's in the First Amendment?"

*record scratch*

Oh. My. God.

Now, I'm not an expert in the Constitution. I'm just a smart-aleck blogger. Nevertheless, let me try to clear things up to anyone else who might be confused.

First, let's start with the actual text of the First Amendment:

Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances." (Emphasis mine)

True, the First Amendment does not literally say "separation of church and state." However, as Thomas Jefferson explained in an 1802 letter to the Danburry Baptists:

"Believing with you that religion is a matter which lies solely between man and his god, that he owes account to none other for his faith or his worship, that the legitimate powers of government reach actions only, and not opinions, I contemplate with sovereign reverence that act of the whole American people which declared that their "legislature" should "make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof," thus building a wall of separation between church and State. Adhering to this expression of the supreme will of the nation in behalf of the rights of conscience, I shall see with sincere satisfaction the progress of those sentiments which tend to restore to man all his natural rights, convinced he has no natural right in opposition to his social duties." (Emphasis mine)

In order to protect religious freedom, the institutions of the Church and the State must be separate institutions with different functions. The State serves to protect rights and keep order, while the Church serves to nourish the soul. If the Church and State become one institution, you'll get either religious persecution or a theocracy. Or both. And I don't know about you, but I don't want either one!

However, that's not to say that people of faith cannot vote based on their values. Far from it! I believe, as people of faith, we should speak out about issues we feel strongly about. As Martin Luther King once said, "The Church is neither the master of the State, nor the slave of the State, but the conscience of the State." We should keep the two institutions separate, that's all.

Hopefully that clears things up.

Friday, October 15, 2010

Run and Hide From Bradlee Dean

This morning on Christian Nightmares, I saw this delightful promo video for You Can Run But You Cannot Hide International:

Oh man, I think I'll need two hands to count everything that's wrong with this! Let's see:

1. This video talks extensively about the Constitution, but did you notice how many times they mention the Bible? ZERO!!!

2. In fact, I don't think they even mention Jesus in this video!

3. First they say YCRBYCH has been in business since 1998, then they say 1999. Maybe it started December 31 of '98?

4. Bradlee Dean has a bigger anti-gay agenda than Albert Mohler. Here's what Dean had to say about anti-gay bullying legislatures:

“The state-run media is going after the schools for resisting the homosexual indoctrination. The homosexuals are now blaming — they are playing the victims — the homosexuals are now blaming their stance as the reason that young homosexuals are committing suicide because of the schools’ intolerance to the lifestyle of homosexuality.” (Source: The Minnesota Independent

5. I see flags, but no cross. Huh?

I could go on and on, but I think you get the message. And the message is this: RUN AND HIDE FROM BRADLEE DEAN!!!

Tuesday, October 12, 2010

Mormon Mondays (on Tuesday): The Book of Mormon Challenge, Part 1

Joseph Smith is probably one of the most fascinating men to come out of American history. He can be viewed as many things, but the most interesting to me is viewing him as an author. Coming from the outside, I view the Book of Mormon as a novel, with Joseph Smith as the creator of it. This immediately puts me at odds with the Saints, but that is to be expected. One of the “proofs” used to show that the Book of Mormon was not a work of fiction created by Smith is something called “The Book of Mormon Challenge.” It’s pretty interesting, and I’m going to go over it point-by-point over the course of a few blogs:

Point 1. “Write a history of ancient Tibet covering a period from 600 B.C. to 450 A.D. Why ancient Tibet? Because you know no more about Tibet than Joseph Smith (or anyone else) knew about ancient America.”

So the challenge starts off with an immediate display of stupidity. I don’t get this one. Ancient America was not as foreign to Joseph Smith, an American, as ancient Tibet would be to the person taking on the challenge, presumably as an American. Disregarding geography, there are enough anachronisms, such as horses and steel in the New World, to say that the point doesn’t really work. Even if you’re uneducated, you know something about the country you’re born in. And if you’re living off the land like the Smith family did early on, you’re familiar enough with it to make guesses. Even if he had only a smattering of education, history had to be a part of it. Therefore, this is a dumb point.

Point 2. “You are 23 years of age.”

According to this challenge, being 23 means you’re incapable of writing a really long text. Charles Dickens wrote The Pickwick Papers when he was around 24. I don’t feel like this point is worth going more into for that very reason.

Point 3. “You have had no more than three years of formal school education, and have spent your life in backwoods farming communities.”

And here we get into the main problem with this challenge. To put it bluntly, as revered as he is, this challenge paints Joseph Smith as an idiot. It doesn’t take into consideration the insanely religious environment he grew up in. How is it impossible that someone who’s been surrounded by religion his entire life, and probably heard a great deal of preaching, can go ahead and pour out his interpretation of it into a novel? People tell stories all the time, and considering that a number of key plot points were lifted from others texts (such as View of the Hebrews and the King James Bible), this isn’t some mind-bogglingly difficult task. It’s not like he pulled The Brothers Karamazov out of a hat.

Point 4. “Your history must be written on the basis of what you now know. There was no library that held information for Joseph Smith. You must use none. There is to be no research of any kind.”

Really, he knew no religious history whatsoever? None? Well, maybe that isn’t so hard to believe. When you find the River Laman, let me know. Also, I have to wonder if the creators of this challenge know the first thing about writing a novel. Smith’s history came from the Bible, which he knew intimately. Why is it so hard to believe that he could take what he knows from the Bible and apply it to other locations, or use it as a template to create further stories? Storytelling is an integral part of being human. It’s something that everyone does, even small children, and it’s not something that always demands a large amount of research.

Point 5. “Your history must be 531 pages and over 300,000 words in length.”

We’ve already covered this. Once again, it’s possible for a 23 year old to write something really long. It’s also possible for that thing to be a history based on previous knowledge gained from just being around other people and working the land.

Point 6. “Other than a few grammatical corrections, you must have no changes in the text. The first edition as you dictate it to your secretary must stand forever.”

Um...the first edition of the Book of Mormon is different from the one currently circulating. I recall reading that several instances of “and it came to pass” were mercifully deleted. Also, I like how the author of this challenge covers his rear end by saying “other than a few grammatical corrections.” Sorry, you can’t pick and choose what is and isn’t divinely inspired. If there are grammatical errors in your holy book, then God put them there.

Point 7. “This record is to contain the history of two distinct and separate nations, along with histories of different contemporary nations or groups of people.”

Because we all know how hard it is to be creative. Ask a fan of science fiction how difficult this is to do and get back to me.

I’m going to stop here, because there are 30 separate points, and I don’t want to overdo it here. I’ll get to the other points sometime in the future, but here’s my take on these first seven challenges:

In order to make the creation of The Book of Mormon seem miraculous instead of just damn impressive, the author of this challenge paints Joseph Smith as a backwards, ignorant fool, which he most certainly wasn’t. The author completely disregards the heavily religious nature of the “burned over district” and tries to imagine Smith living in an environment that wasn’t overly religious. Smith grew up in a time and place where new religions and charismatic preachers were commonplace sights, and not anomalies. The author also downplays human creativity and the ability to put information out of a wide variety of sources. A person could never visit the library, turn on a TV, listen to the radio, or go on the internet and still find out what’s going on and hear other people’s theories about history and faith. Further, the size of the Book of Mormon gets mentioned, and I’d like to point out that if the book was dictated rather than written by Smith, then that means that he had an even easier time of it, since oratory and oral history were much more common in the past than now, and a less demanding task for someone with only a few years of education. Plus, I think we all know that Smith had some access to books, so this challenge so far is insultingly stupid.

The later challenges are better, and I probably won’t have snippy retorts to all of them, but so far the task of writing The Book of Mormon seems difficult, but not completely impossible. You know what else is difficult? Reading Finnegans Wake. That doesn’t mean that it can’t be done and that people haven’t already done it.

Monday, October 11, 2010

The 140 Bible, continues

Hopefully I'll have something of more substance later, but until then, check out my latest project on @The140Bible. You can read about what it's all about here.

Should you want something that's longer than 140 characters, you can get semi-regular deeper doses by visiting the projects new website:

Friday, October 8, 2010

Introducing Hope Exists

If you either follow me on Twitter or are friends with me on Facebook, you've probably noticed this new thing I've started called Hope Exists. For a while I've felt God call me to do something to reach out to people who are feel alone, unloved, lost, and completely broken. I've pushed it aside for months, but with the recent death of Tyler Clementi I feel like God is telling me, "Do it now!"

So I've created Hope Exists, which is a place where people can come, tell their stories, and have hope. It's broken people supporting other broken people. I know that with my trials and tribulations, I would not be here if it wasn't for people supporting me. So I've decided it's time to return the favor.

The blog can be found here.

The community Facebook page (which includes a message board) can be found here.

And you can follow Hope Exists on Twitter here.

Hopefully it will save a life.

Monday, October 4, 2010

Do You Want Your Google Search Jesus-fied?

There really aren't a lot of original Christian ideas...there are just lots of copies of popular things (i.e. "Got Milk?" shirts that are transformed to "Got Jesus?"). So I guess I shouldn't be surprised that there are Christian search engines, but alas there is (actually there's a search engine for all the popular religions out there, which is just weird).

You can read the whole story here. Or try the search out for yourself by visiting I encourage you to type Porn, Sex, and watch those filtered results pour in!

Type in "Barack Obama" and the first result is "Is Barack Obama the Anti-Christ"! Type in "George Orwell" and you get "Christian Distractions" (but make sure you set it to match all words).

Friday, October 1, 2010

Doug Giles: Evangelist for American Jesus

Because nothing says Jesus like heavy metal music, wild game hunting, and right-winged politics, here's Doug Giles!

Giles is right about one thing. I think, from time to time, Christians need to speak out on issues that affect us all. However, as you see in this video, Giles is your typical "Christian = Republican" pundit who worships the American Dream more than God. He even goes far to suggest that we'll have to answer to God on Judgment Day for not voting Republican. Maybe it's just me, I can't find anything in the Bible that suggests you need to vote Republican to do God's work. (I should point out, though, that I am NOT suggesting it's a sin to be a Republican. I'm just saying God does not belong to one particular political party or ideal.)

I think I'll send Giles a copy of John Howard Yoder's The Politics of Jesus.