UPDATE: A little further below I announced the date of the return of the SEB Podcast as February 20th at 3PM. As it turns out, Dave is apparently very highly in demand at his current job and as such a big super-secret project he’s involved with has already resulted in us having to postpone the return of the podcast just hours after we settled on a date and time. The new date will be March 6th at 3PM. We now return you to our original entry.
If you’re a long-time visitor to SEB then you know that at one point in time, I attempted to start a podcast with Dave Hill of ***Dave Does the Blog. In the past 11 years since we started it in February of 2010, we have managed only ten total podcasts. If you look in the podcast section of the blog, you’ll see that we managed to do the first four in the same year with only a couple of months between them. Then the fifth was nearly a year later with the next two also coming in within a couple months of each other. The eighth one, again, came nearly a year after the seventh. The ninth, however, well it was over three years later in 2015. Jinkies!
I hear you saying, “Wait a minute! You said you did ten podcasts, but there’s only 9 listed in the podcast menu!”
Yes, the tenth was done as a live-stream in Google Hangouts which I apparently never got around to adding to the podcast menu. Probably because I was going to strip the audio from it and save it as a MP3 file. You can find it here on my YouTube channel. It was streamed on May 6th, 2018 making it almost three years ago that we last sat around shooting the shit. Naturally, this means it’s time for Dave and I to make another one.
So, that’s what we’re going to do. On February 20th at 3PM EST I will haul the desiccated remains of the Stupid Evil Podcast from the shallow grave it’s been lying in along the railway tracks and prop it up for another go. You can either watch it live as we stream it as we will once again doing it as a video stream or catch it later once it’s been archived to my YouTube channel. Google Hangouts streaming, which we used last time, is no more having been replaced by Google Meet. Which I think is the same damned thing with a new name. That’s probably what we’ll be using, but I’ll need to double check and make sure it’ll do what we want. I’ll leave a comment with exactly what we’re using once I know for sure.
As always, we’re looking to you guys for topic ideas. Yeah, Dave and I have a lot to catch up on, but it never hurts to find out what you guys want us to talk about. It doesn’t even have to be anything we’d know anything about, though it might make for a better answer if we know at least a little about it. Got something? Leave a comment below or on social media and we’ll try to address it.
It’s been a long time since someone last showed up and left a comment challenging my atheism on SEB, but someone going by the moniker “James” felt it was his time to shine. In the grand tradition of drive-by commenters, “James” picked a 14 year old entry not written by me that is tangentially related to religion — Defining “Culture War(s)” — upon which to unleash his indisputable logic.
OK, I’m building this up way too much. He sounds like an idiot. In fact, I’m not entirely convinced he isn’t trying to pull a Poe, but for the sake of this entry we are going to assume he is sincere and that his comment reflect his actual beliefs and state of scientific literacy. Let us begin.
So just a thought, God doesn’t exist so you think why then if government’s don’t believe and scientists don’t believe, why are they looking for the ark, why are important people and government scientists trying to find the ark of the covenant.?
They aren’t. Sure, some individuals may be looking for it, perhaps even some otherwise legit scientists, but there isn’t one government body out there that is seriously looking for the Ark of the Covenant. Nor are they hoping to find the Holy Grail, or the Spear of Longinus, or the Crown of Thorns, or any of the other supposed holy relics that mythology tells us about. If you have evidence showing otherwise, I’d be happy to take a look at it.
And since all intelligent life such as humans cows dogs fish ex… must have Male and female the reproduce how can a molecule split and form Male and female at the exact same time.
Molecules don’t have a gender. Molecules are a group of atoms bonded together, representing the smallest fundamental unit of a chemical compound that can take part in a chemical reaction. It is clear from this question that you don’t understand what molecules are or how they work so perhaps you should read up a bit more and reconsider the question you are asking.
And since the first dinosaur was discovered in 1819 how can the bi bible in the book of Job verse 42 to 45 describe them perfectly even breathing fire, wait scientists only discovered they could breathe fire in the 90s .
The first dinosaur fossil was identified in 1815 and determined to be some kind of “giant lizard” in 1824 by William Buckland and even then we didn’t know that it was a “dinosaur” as that name wasn’t coined until 1842 by Sir Richard Owen.
The Bible does not describe them perfectly nor does any dinosaur so far discovered breathe fire. Again, if you have evidence to the contrary that comes from a source other than a Creationist website, I’d be willing to look at it.
There is much more, like how can God be 3 in the same the father the son and the holy ghost let’s think for a second I have a human body something in me thinks and leaves the body also something guides me from within.
The Trinity is nonsense. I’m not sure what the hell you’re trying to offer as proof here other than more nonsense.
O I can’t prove this, let’s see my body is 43 and my mind or spirit doesn’t know time because it is eternal it thinks my body can preform like it was 18 try doing at 43 what you did at 18 the body says know but the spirit says go…
I’m 52 and I have no problems knowing that my body cannot perform like it did when it was 18. If you’re really 43 and are holding onto this much nonsense then I would suggest you seek out a good therapist; and by that I mean not a physical therapist.
…with this small detail say everyone who believes in God is wrong what do we have to loose, but what if we are right what do you have to loose…
I was wondering how long it would take to get to Pascal’s wager and here we are. There are a whole host of problems and assumptions made by this argument that I won’t get into here (see the link above if you want to know them all), but one of the big ones is that it assumes God doesn’t care if your belief in him is the result of hedging your bets rather than a sincere belief he exists. If God is only interested in True Believers than someone who only believes because of the risk of Hell is probably not going to fare well. It also begs the question of how one makes oneself believe in something he doesn’t believe in “just in case.” Do you believe in Santa Claus on the off-chance he might exist? Think of all the presents you could be missing out on!
but if you choose not to believe it is really your choice, no one else will be faulted.
Thank you, Captain Obvious.
1 thing that is proven we all are appointed to die once, I don’t know of anyone who has cheated death.. I think you must be very brave to not believe and take a chance of not knowing God, 100 years seems long,I couldn’t imagine a eternity….
There’s nothing brave about not believing in something that doesn’t exist. It isn’t brave to not believe in the boogey man or fire breathing dragons or Big Foot or unicorns and it’s not brave to not believe in God(s).
As for eternity, I didn’t exist for millions of years and it didn’t bother me one bit. I doubt it’ll bother me much after I’m gone.
In January of 2015 my brother chatted with me on MSN Messenger (remember that?) about a mailing he got from an organization calling itself Saint Matthew’s Churches. They had sent him the amazingly wonderfully amazing Anointed Jesus Prayer Rug which, they promised, would perform a legitimate miracle by opening its closed eyes if you just stared at it long enough and prayed.
The idea was that “Jesus sees your needs” and all you had to do to be financially blessed by the Son of God was say, “Yes, Lord Jesus, I do need Your financial blessings upon me and my family’s finances!” and then send a “seed gift” to the folks at Saint Matthew’s Churches along with the prayer rug. After all, you have to spend money to make money, right? Apparently the same rules apply with God. Though you’d think you’d get to keep the prayer rug. I guess they didn’t have enough to go around even though it was clearly a cheap printing on low-quality cloth.
They also had a big form to fill out where you could check off what things you were struggling with and then they’d pray for God to help you with those things, but the big thing they kept emphasising in the package was just how much money other people had been “blessed” with. One woman got $46,000 after praying to the rug and sending it back with her seed gift and another person got $10,000. You can read my original blog post about it here.
Fast forward 14 years and I come home from work to find this envelope waiting for me in my mailbox:
When I saw it was from Saint Matthew’s Churches I knew I recognized the name and as soon as I opened the envelope I knew why. It’s the same scam as my brother got almost a decade and a half ago.
Well, not quite the same as there is no amazingly wonderfully amazing miracle Anointed Jesus Prayer Rug this time. No, this time it’s a Prosperity Handkerchief. Production values have definitely gone down over the years as the Anointed Jesus Prayer Rug was printed on something resembling cloth whereas this Prosperity Handkerchief doesn’t perform any miracles and is clearly printed on a standard 8×11 sheet of copier paper. Seriously:
The spiel, however, is very close to the original. Using this amazingly wonderfully amazing Prosperity Handkerchief has resulted in folks having all manner of Spiritual, Physical, but — most important of all — FINANCIAL blessings rained down upon them from the Good Lord above. God sees that you need money and He’s willing to be most generous so long as you’re willing to be generous first with Saint Matthew’s Churches.
As you look through the scans of the brochure they sent me below, note the lack of specificity of the rewards compared to 14 years ago. Clearly the number of folks complaining about this scam to the BBB and various charity watchdogs has had an impact. Instead of “this woman got $46,000” it’s now “I used this [Prosperity] Handkerchief and … I received [a huge financial blessing].” I guess so long as you make the testimonials vague enough and put shit in brackets with lots of underlines then it’s A-OK.
I also find it amusing how so much of the artwork and styling looks like something crapped out in the 1950s. They claim to have been established in 1951 so I suppose that’s not surprising, but you’ll note that in that last scan above there’s a very modern roll of hundred dollar bills and a Cadillac SUV that has been crudely photoshopped in. Sure, folks got jobs and raises and just plain old happiness, but LOOK AT THE MONEY AND CARS!
“But,” I hear you say, “what about the miracle?” Well this time they have something even BETTER than a miracle! They have a PERSONALIZED PROPHECY! You may remember seeing something about that on the back of the envelope up above. You’re not supposed to open it until after sunset the day after you get the mailing for reasons that are never specified. Additionally, you shouldn’t open the prophecy until after you have sent the paper handkerchief and your “seed” money back to the church. If you’re not going to send the money then you must DESTROY the prophecy without reading it!
Ha! Yeah, I’m not sending them shit and I am reading this supposedly highly personalized prophecy that God dictated to them to send to me even though He could’ve saved on postage if He’d just show up and tell me Himself. I wonder why “He” doesn’t just do that?
Wow, that was, underwhelming. Lots of generic talk about a “greater purpose” that I “haven’t discovered yet” and “the power was IN YOU ALL ALONG” bullshit. I’ve seen phony psychic readings that were more specific than this claptrap.
Lastly, we have the final page that has the “what other shit other than money do you need us to pray for you which we totally won’t do” form. I particularly like how personalized the opening is: “Dear … Someone Connected with This Home, Who Needs Prayer and God’s Divine Help and Blessings… In the name of The Father, The Son, and The Holy Spirit. ” Yeah, that’s totally not my name.
So, yeah, 14 years later and they’re still at it with a few tweaks to the message to stay just this side of legal. I suppose I shouldn’t be too surprised as they were at it for longer than that prior to my brother telling me about them.
When I first wrote about them in 2005 I mentioned that Saint Matthew’s Churches made $26 million in 1999, which was the last year they made their tax records public. As of 2007 it’s estimated they were pulling down $6 million a month. That’s a lot of sheep being fleeced. Mostly elderly sheep too. They construct their mailing lists specifically to target older believers many of whom are the least likely to be able to afford sending along money and you can bet your ass that those who do will find a whole lot more prayer scam letters showing up in their mailboxes.
In that original post about these asshats I said that I was torn between feeling angry that the religiously gullible are being taken advantage by an unscrupulous organization and feeling that they’re getting what they deserve for being gullible sheep to begin with. That hasn’t changed much over time and neither has the tactics of Saint Matthew’s Church. So I suppose the only thing to say is: buyer beware.
I’ve been writing up TMFWMYC articles for years now and if there’s one thing I’ve learned from them it’s that when Jesus speaks to you, nine times out of ten, you’re probably better off ignoring him.
Take the example of James A. Mucciaccio Jr. who did about $50K of damage to his 2000 Ferrari coupe when he heard the call to drive it off a Palm Beach dock into a lake from none other than the Son of God himself:
Police said Mucciaccio told them he was waiting for a friend to pick him up by the dock. When the officer told Mucciaccio he couldn’t park on the dock, Mucciaccio reversed toward the road but then suddenly switched into drive and drove into the inlet “at a high rate of speed,” the report says.
Police said Mucciaccio, who Palm Beach Fire-Rescue said was uninjured, “was able to exit” the car before it sank and was eventually helped onto a boat by a passing fisherman.
After reaching shore, Mucciaccio walked back to the officer, police said, and said Jesus told him to drive off the dock “and into a 6-foot window.” Mucciaccio also told police, “Money is going to be irrelevant in two days; remember to smile,” according to the report.
The passing fisherman who helped Mucciaccio to shore told police that Mucciaccio said he drove into the inlet because the “officer on the dock was Egyptian and he did not believe in Jesus.”
Now it’s possible that Jesus just doesn’t understand how cars are supposed to be utilized — it’s not like they were around in his time — but that seems like some really questionable advice.
Now I can already hear you furiously typing in the comments about how clearly this guy was nuts and Jesus didn’t actually tell him to drive his car into the lake, but the news article notes that the police haven’t stated if Mucciaccio had or would be charged with any crimes even though he did $1K of damage when he sideswiped a metal ladder that was town property on his way into the water. Clearly the police accepted his claim as God’s honest truth and who are they to stand in the way of an order from Jesus even if it doesn’t make any sense?
If you’re reading this then chances are the world failed to end on April 23rd, 2018. Again. This time courtesy of “numerologist” David Meade. According to Mr. Meade, today the sun, the moon and Jupiter will line up in the constellation Virgo fulfilling one of the signs from Revelation 12:1-2. Specifically, the bit about a woman appearing in the heavens “clothed with the sun, with the moon under her feet and a crown of twelve stars on her head. She was pregnant and cried out in pain as she was about to give birth.” Thus heralding in The Rapture via the appearance of the mythical Planet X passing by the planet causing all sorts of holy hell to break out.
One small issue: the sun, the moon and Jupiter won’t actually line up in the constellation of Virgo today. Jupiter will be in the constellation Libra, the moon in Gemini, and the Sun in Aries. At least from the Earth’s perspective. Also, Planet X is a myth.
One other small issue is that this isn’t the first time Mr. Meade has made this prediction. He made a similar claim last September and when, spoiler alert, the world failed to end he tried to shift the date around a couple of times, but the world persisted in spite of his predictions.
Hopefully, you didn’t sell all your belongings in preparation for this latest apocalypse as some folks have done in the past. It would’ve been a real shame if the world had ended today as this is the first really nice weather we’ve had this year and I’m planning on riding my new bicycle.
Plus, had it ended before I got to see Avengers: Infinity War I would’ve been super pissed.
On occasion my mother has recited a story about a deeply religious family member who refused to leave his armchair when his house caught fire due to his utter conviction that God would protect him. He died in that fire because God had other things to do at that moment. That bit of family lore came to mind when I read the following news item:
Bahari Shaquille Warren, 25, faces two counts child cruelty in Wednesday’s crash, according to Gwinnett County jail records.
Authorities said the mother was traveling northbound on Peachtree Industrial Boulevard when she crossed into the southbound lanes and drove head on into a pole, Channel 2 Action News reported. Her children, ages 5 and 7, were in the backseat.
According to the kids, Warren decided she needed to impress upon them that God was real and that he would protect them. The best way should come up with to demonstrate this was to drive into a pole with the kids strapped into the backseat:
“…Her eyes (were) closed and she was saying, ‘blah, blah, blah, I love God,’” the girl said. “She didn’t want us to just have a car accident. She wanted us to know that God is real.”
Police said Warren told her children to buckle up their seat belts before she rammed into the pole, Channel 2 reported. Warren later admitted to cops she intentionally crashed the car to prove to her children God is real.
One has to question her confidence in God considering she told the kids to buckle up just before ramming the pole. It’s not clear what she expected to happen, whether she thought God would prevent the car from hitting the pole or just keep them from being seriously hurt, but I’d argue the seatbelts and the design of modern day vehicles did more than God in terms of protecting them. Maybe she thought God would swap her out with a mother than wasn’t crazy.
The end result is the kids are OK and in the custody of their grandparents and mom went to jail with a $22,000 bond. God couldn’t be reached for comment.
Well, that was quick. Had someone who asked me to friend them two or three days ago unfriend and block me within the past 12 hours. I only agreed to accept the friend request because we had a mutual friend, but apparently she didn’t look first to see if she’d appreciate my point of view on things spiritual before sending out the invite.
It all started when she posted this Atheism meme on the right here to her wall. It was exactly the sort of thing I find hard to let slide by without comment. So I pointed out that Atheism has nothing to do with the Big Bang Theory or the Theory of Evolution. That atheism says nothing about a person’s beliefs beyond the fact that they lack belief in god(s). Above and beyond that, it misrepresents the science of both theories.
Click to embiggen.
Things went downhill quickly from there. Someone else asked what it was the meme was trying to say and I pointed out that it was a poor attempt to clapback at a similar meme on Christianity (also to the right). The difference between them being that the Christianity meme hits on actual tenets of Christian faith — everlasting life through belief in a resurrected god, the taint of sin, Eve and forbidden fruit, etc. — that sound ludicrous when you think about it whereas the atheism one doesn’t because atheism isn’t a religion that requires adherence to doctrine.
Then a fourth person made a comment about “a-theism” meaning they must be “a-gainst God” to which I responded with the fact that it’s hard to be against something that doesn’t exist. You may as well say you’re against Unicorns for all the sense that would make. That the word “atheism” has been around since before the 5th century and is derived from the ancient Greek ἄθεος (atheos), meaning “without god(s)”. When I next returned to this thread because someone had liked my comment I was surprised to see it had been deleted.
My new friend then started asking me if I didn’t understand “allegory”, but rather than take up the argument, I pointed out that a previous comment had been deleted. I said I was happy to have this discussion with them if it wasn’t going to upset them, but if my comments were just going to be deleted then I was certain I could find better ways to spend my time.
It was at this point that she took it upon herself to explain to me that her concept of god was less old-white-bearded-guy-in-the-sky than it was “Consciousness” with a capital C. She went on to tell me that there are no atheists in fox holes and that the reason I didn’t believe in whatever it is she considered to be God was because I lacked the curiosity and desire to truly know the truth.
One of the things that always irritates me is when someone who barely knows anything about me attempts to explain to me what I do and don’t know or how much effort I’ve put into understanding or learning about something. So I pointed out to her how arrogant it was to presume that I must not have been sufficiently curious enough or wanted to know the truth bad enough just because I don’t believe the same things she does. I said it was that kind of you-must-not-have-believed-enough “victim blaming” was, frankly, offensive. I pointed out that dismissing my viewpoint being a result of my apathetic curiosity was a lazy way to avoid having to provide support for her beliefs.
Of course, I was much more eloquent in my phrasing, but I’m trying to recall all of this from memory because it appears I’ve been unfriended and blocked as there’s no sign of the comments she had left on posts on my wall and I no longer see her in my friends list.
Not that I am at all bothered by this. Clearly she was happy to be my friend so long as we expressed similar viewpoints. Which, politically at least, we did. However, the moment I disagreed with her on her spiritual beliefs she couldn’t unfriend me fast enough. The thing about it is, I worked very hard not to suggest she was an idiot and even when I got irritated, I tried to keep it civil. I also attempted to drop the matter with a I’ll agree to disagree and move on, but she had to go and try and tell me how I had failed to be curious enough.
Chalk one more win up to my sparkling personality.
Jesus is known for being a bit of a practical joker and is always pulling pranks on people. Like the time he pretended to “die” and then showed up three days later just so he could freak out his mom, but this time his prank could’ve gotten someone seriously hurt.
Chad O. England, the latest target of Jesus’ weird sense of humor.
It seems Jesus thought it would be funny to call upon 33 year old Chad O. England of Tennessee while the poor sap was speeding along I-81 and tell him to close his eyes and let go of the wheel so Jesus could take over. You know, as a kind of co-pilot or something. Except Jesus didn’t take the wheel which resulted in Chad’s 2015 Toyota Tacoma truck veering off of the freeway and flipping over five times while bouncing off a rock wall before coming to rest in the emergency and right lanes of the road.
“He said that Jesus was calling him and advised him to let go of the wheel, and that’s what he did,” the report states. “He stated that he did not take off running, he was ‘being called and was traveling to bow before someone.’ He also stated he was not driving, but he was behind the wheel.”
Officers searched the wrecked truck and located about six grams of marijuana, a vial of white powder residue, which the driver identified as cocaine, the report states. The officers also said they found a couple partial pipes, rolling papers, a nearly empty bottle of alcohol and “huffing” cans.
Ha ha! What a joker! To be fair, Jesus was looking out for Chad as the man did make it through what is an impressively major crash with no injuries to speak of. However, he is going to need a new truck.
Now some of you might doubt this man’s claims because of the drugs found in his vehicle, but given what we know about Jesus’ fondness for pranks — is there a food item he hasn’t drawn a crude picture of himself and/or his mom onto? — I think it’s wrong to doubt the truth of Mr. Chad’s claim. After all, we know Jesus talks to people all the time.
Judge Jack Robison apologized to jurors for the interruption, but defended his actions by telling them “when God tells me I gotta do something, I gotta do it,” according to the Herald-Zeitung in New Braunfels.
The jury went against the judge’s wishes, finding Gloria Romero-Perez guilty of continuous trafficking of a person and later sentenced her to 25 years in prison. They found her not guilty of a separate charge of sale or purchase of a child.
I bet Jesus is pretty pissed with those jurors right now. At least the Judge can rest easy knowing that he did his duty in passing along the message.
Hopefully Jesus will return to some of his tamer pranks that don’t result in people losing their means of transportation and, for that matter, their freedom. Like when he told several different Republican presidential candidates that he wanted them to be President of the United States only to turn around and put a man wholly unqualified and disinterested into the office instead.
Conservative Christians like to make a lot of noise about morality despite the fact that they’re often not capable of adhering to the morals they insist the rest of us follow. Whether it’s the deeply religious fundamentalist who protests at the local abortion clinic that ends up getting an abortion the moment they have an inconvenient pregnancy only to go back to protesting abortion the next day or the Christian who rails against the evils of homosexuality only to be caught engaging in the very thing they decry.
So too it seems is this true about pornography. According to a study by Samuel L. Perry of the University of Oklahoma recently published in the Journal of Sex Research, there is no shortage of Christians who consider porn to bad yet still watch it just the same:
“Having studied what conservative Christians think about pornography as well as their consumption habits, I started to notice a bit of a discrepancy. In every study of which I’m aware, conservative Christians are far more likely than other Americans to reject pornography on moral grounds. There is basically no justification for it whatsoever in their minds. However, I also started to notice that, despite their unequivocal rejection of pornography, conservative Christians aren’t considerably less likely than other Americans to report viewing it.
“Sure, a number of studies show that, say, conservative Protestants and frequent churchgoers view porn somewhat less often than other Americans,” Perry told PsyPost. “But that’s not the case in every study. In some studies, for example, being a conservative Protestant or frequent churchgoer didn’t make much of a difference at all in terms of porn use.
He sat down and went through data from a 2006 Portraits of American Life Study (PALS) which tracks religion, morality, politics and other social issues and found that 10% of Americans who viewed porn as morally wrong still reported having watched it within the previous year.
“In fact, evangelical Protestants and other sectarian Protestant groups were the most likely of all religious groups to report the experience of ‘incongruence,’ saying porn is always immoral, but viewing it anyway. To put that in perspective, less than 6% of religiously unaffiliated persons reported believing porn is immoral but watch it anyway, compared to over 13% of evangelical Protestants or other sectarian Christian groups.”
Interestingly, this incongruence was only amongst the men as he found little evidence that religious women who held porn as morally wrong still viewed it anyway. Ironically for men, the more they attended church the more likely they were to view porn in spite of their belief it was bad:
“When I looked at measures of religiosity, I found there was an important gender dynamic at play. The connection between church attendance and prayer frequency and experiencing an incongruence between one’s porn beliefs and usage only applied to men. But as men’s church attendance or prayer frequency increased, their likelihood of experiencing that incongruence (believing porn is wrong, but watching it anyway) increased in a linear fashion,” the researcher explained.
“For example, among those Americans who ‘never’ attend church, only about 7% of men report experiencing an incongruence between porn beliefs and usage. But at the highest frequencies of church attendance, over 25% of men report experiencing an incongruence. That means that for those men who attend church services several times a week, roughly 1/4 of them say porn is always immoral, but they watch it anyway. The results were similar for prayer frequency as well. ”
All of that said, the data was limited enough that questions about frequency of viewing porn or why these men watched something they considered morally wrong couldn’t be answered. In the end it would seem “the power of your dick compels you” is the best explanation we’re likely to get.