Showing posts with label Twisted Christian Morality. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Twisted Christian Morality. Show all posts

Friday, April 18, 2014

Crucifixion Friday - Easter "Joy"!

A torture/execution device is the universally revered symbol for the religion of "love"?
































Even when I was a practicing Catholic, I never quite wanted to "celebrate" the Christian remake of Easter. I was happy to celebrate spring, rebirth, flowers blooming, days getting longer, the Easter bunny and coloring eggs to symbolize fertility and new life - in short, all the aspects of the ancient festival of Eastre that most people enjoy celebrating at this time of the year. But the human sacrifice myth that Christianity grafted on to Easter has always repulsed me.

I think one of the most puzzling and disturbing things about theism is that belief seems to alter the human mind so that otherwise rational, good and decent people are able to accept a doctrine of "salvation through human sacrifice" without apparent discomfort.  In fact, Christians not only embrace this doctrine as the truth, but they consider it to be a beautiful proof of the love of the Biblical god.  Without any apparent irony, most Christians regard the story of the torture and execution of the son-god, Jesus, as the very zenith of joyful good news.

Oh happy day -?!
In any other context, human beings who think bloody human sacrifice is acceptable, let alone good, would be considered sociopathic. An entire culture of them would be considered monstrous. Yet, human sacrifice to gods - bloodshed for religion - is accepted as a normal part of human culture even to this day in some parts of the world. Only in a religious context is such depravity considered not only acceptable but laudatory.

The concept of redemptive blood sacrifice disturbs me on many levels.  It disturbs me that people are told that humanity is in need of redemption - that we are sinful, "filthy rags" condemned by our very nature to an eternity of torture in hell unless we seek "salvation" from a deity - when it is the deity which they also believe created our human nature in the first place. More important is the chilling reality that people accept this vile, self-loathing doctrine. I wonder at the twisted psychology of a faith that teaches little children that they are sinful, hell-bound creatures, and then goes on to tell them that their only path to salvation must be through a bloody human sacrifice that allegedly occurred 2000 years ago.

It disturbs me that the deity that millions of people worship is believed to require a blood sacrifice to expiate the sinfulness of its own creation in the first place. It seems incredible that an all-knowing, all-powerful, all-loving god - whose alleged desire is to welcome humanity into its presence - would deliberately create humankind with a curious, independent and impulsively immature nature and then subject the first humans to a life or death test which requires incuriousness, unquestioning obedience and experienced maturity.

It disturbs me that millions of people worship a god that would condemn all humanity for all eternity because of the inevitable failure of the two prototype humans to pass that impossible test because of the limitations of the very human nature with which that god endowed them.  It could make sense - albeit "sense" of the most malevolent kind - if people acknowledged that the god is a viciously manipulative tyrant which only fear compels them to keep praising and worshiping, but instead Christians insist that the mythical monster is a "loving" god.

It disturbs me that the cruel, capricious, psychopathic behavior which is the nature of the Biblical god - it is evident throughout holy scripture that God is all that and worse - must be called just, holy and glorious by its worshipers. Believers never seem to wonder why their omniscient and omnipotent god would require total, abject obedience in the first place nor why it could not - or would not - think of a more humane way for its followers to avoid eternal hellfire for the "sin" of being what they were created to be. It never seems to occur to believers that the deity they truly believe in is actually an awful, even evil character.

Christians refer to the Passion and Resurrection stories as the most "joyful" part of scripture.  I understand that they think it is the most important part - indeed it is the very foundation of the Christian faith - but I do not understand how people can remain so uncritical of this "salvation".  I find myself wondering how people can suspend normal human horror at such violent cruelty in this one celebrated instance, calling it necessary and good. Their insistence that a god that can do anything somehow needed someone to die a violent, painful death to satisfy its thirst for vengeance and that this capriciously cruel demand is the greatest love humankind will ever know strikes me as very sad.

Human beings fear death more than anything else. Al Stefanelli writes that through most of history, the horror of dying spawned many versions of the Savior story.  Probably human beings then, as now, felt an awful impotence in the face of their inevitable demise and that sense of impotence may explain the continued acceptance of a doctrine of human failure leading to misplaced faith in irrational belief.

But, while fear and a sense of impotence may explain the willingness of believers to accept a savior myth, I feel that it is early religious indoctrination and psychological manipulation which leads people to sublimate their normal, healthy human aversion to wanton cruelty and to accept the meanest of human impulses - in the guise of Godly judgement - with hardly a murmur of protest. Cruelty is called kindness, evil is called good and contempt is called love. Such is the bizarrely twisted Christian moral compass.

I suspect that the early Christian conquerers co-opted the pagan Eastre celebrations of springtime fertility not simply to 'win over' pagans to Christianity (they generally achieved this through intimidation and persecution anyway), but to make Christianity more palatable to the masses by entwining a terrifying and immoral doctrine with the more hopeful, joyful celebrations that most psychologically healthy human beings naturally prefer. By fusing the repugnant with the refreshing, Christianity keeps its adherents off-balance and confused about what ought to be the clear difference between goodness and evil.

I do not believe that the Biblical gods - or any gods - exist, but I do think that the idea of such a god - and the repulsive religious doctrines built around it - ought to be resisted by all morally healthy people with every ounce of vigor that they can muster.

Could it be that Christians are more uncomfortable than they admit with the blood sacrifice "salvation" doctrine?
Maybe that explains the popularity of pagan Easter symbolism!

Wednesday, May 29, 2013

The Bible in Under 11 Minutes



Back in March, I posted Dusty's first segment on parts 1&2 of The "History" Channel's "The Bible" - a Christian propaganda piece of monumental proportion.  The series was heavily promoted and, cashing in on the false presumption that a series on the History Channel would actually be... oh I don't know... historically accurate and factual, the producers managed to cull a very large audience for their proselytizing Christian lying for religion. Dusty cuts through all the nonsense and points out the laughable inconsistencies and ferociously vindictive evil described as god's love in the so-called "good book".

Here is Dusty's hilarious recap of parts 3 & 4 of that dishonest series presenting mythological horror stories as "historical" programming.  It is definitely Not Safe For Work (language, gruesome nature of Biblical mythology), but is definitely worth a viewing by those with strong constitutions (and few triggers). Caution:  graphic violence, rape, murder, blood.

Good job highlighting the twisted Christian "morality", not to mention the political agenda behind this sleazy propaganda.

via cultofdusty


Saturday, May 4, 2013

Homeschooling Revisited


Why are there so many infants in this homeschooling logo?  Curious!


























(Updated with reader Elise's comment and my response below)

I have been curious about homeschooling lately. I have always been pretty certain that I do not have the temperament for it, because even though I always loved spending time exploring with my kids when they were younger - not to mention reading with them and amassing a book collection worthy of small library status - I knew that I lacked the organizational skills and the stick-to-it-iveness necessary for success. I have to admit, though, that some days the idea of sailing around the world with my partner and our kids - providing them with the best darn home-schooled education imaginable -  is very tempting indeed!

Actors portraying the Nifty family:
citizens of the world!
Anyway, this week I have had more than the usual number of those days and thoughts about sailing away have been drifting pleasantly across my mind, so this morning - just for fun - I decided to look into what kind of resources are out there to help people like me. You know: people who like to daydream about how cool it would be to sail the world with teenaged offspring, living off the grid- independently and self-sufficiently! - learning new skills (maybe the kids could learn a few things, too) and generally becoming quite literally the coolest family on the planet!  The same people who fail to consider the challenges and frustrations of trying to help said offspring finish their high school education while gallivanting around the globe (killjoy!).

Everyone knows that the homeschooling movement in the USA is dominated by religious fundamentalists - the movement was actually inspired by Rousas John Rushdoony, the Calvinist father of American Christian Reconstructionism - but I happen to know at least one secular homeschooler (Hi Jenn!)  so it has to be at least hypothetically possible that not everything connected to homeschooling would have to be drenched in the blood of Jesus.

Yikes! Website banner for Homeschooling Books.com
Education in the shadow of the cross? That is just creepy.
This morning, I decided to idly surf the web to see what resources would be out there for a parent seeking curricula, textbooks and supporting materials in order to provide a good, non-religious homeschooling experience for her children.  I found a secular homeschooling website!  The Secular Homeschool Community homepage lists forums, blogs, groups and resources tabs for homeschooling parents who wish to provide their children with an excellent, broad-ranging, thorough education that is not based upon religious dogma.  Excellent!

Perusing the google search page again, I typed in homeschool textbooks to see how easy it might be to find books and materials to support a homeschooling curriculum as suggested on the website.  At the top of the search results was Homeschooling Books. I clicked on it only to discover that it was obviously geared toward the Christian homeschooling community in spite of its deceptively bland website name and description.

The next site I opened, sporting an equally bland name (Homeschool Supercenter!) looked much more promising.  Their textbook menu included specifically Christian resources and texts, of course, since the majority of homeschooling families are homeschooling for explicitly religious reasons. But at the top of the menu - even before the undoubtedly more popular Christian resources - were several categories of secular textbooks!

Feeling delighted that the second most referred site on the google search for homeschool textbooks offered resources for secular homeschooling, I clicked on the secular science tab and voilà!  A little intermediary page of full curricula packages popped up. On it, not one real science package was featured, but prominently displayed on the top line was "Apologia", a creationist vomitus of Biblical mythology and anti-education, wrapped up in a fancy package with a SCIENCE label slapped on it.

I have news for the Homeschool Supercenter:  creationism is not science. Calling it science does not make it science. Slapping on a SCIENCE label not only will not make that creationist dreck science, but it is false advertising as well.

8th edition of a creationist textbook
Further perusal of that site unearthed what looked to be some actual science resources, but after the bait and switch in the first layers of link clicking before finding the real science buried under the stealth religion, I am not sure it would be wise to purchase them.  I think a secular homeschooler would need to research every text she is considering for her children.

It must be interesting - not to mention a constant training ground for investigative skills - for secular homeschoolers to avoid the traps that appear to have been laid for them by the Christian homeschool movement. Presenting religious mythology in sciency-looking packages and hiding religious dogma in sciency-sounding language in textbooks and materials is the sneaky tactic used by the religious right to trick people into buying that garbage. If they are really lucky, they hope that people will buy into the nonsense, too, thus fulfilling the greater goal of the religious education strategy, which is to deny children a full education - especially denying them an understanding of the scientific method, free thought and skeptical critical thinking skills - thus keeping them ignorant, fearful followers of the teachings of their church.

Parents are free, of course, to deny their children a full education. In fact, it appears that millions have decided to do just that. Encouraged by anecdotal data which point to superior performance of homeschoolers compared to public school educated children, many homeschool parents are rightly proud of what their children  - and they - are able to achieve. But those "statistics"* hide the complete story. Standardized tests can only test what children can regurgitate under less than ideal conditions, not how well-devloped their critical thinking skills have become. There is no way to know whether they have been taught to simply memorize actual scientific theories (which they are told are lies) for testing purposes, while being taught that religious mythology is the actual truth which they must believe or face eternal damnation.

Christian homeschooling websites often post
 optimistic - and totally fabricated - charts like this.
Homeschooling parents who use religious texts for science and history education deny their children access to reality. Worse, like the sciency-sounding but educationally bankrupt creationist textbooks and materials with which homeschoolers dazzle each other and obfuscate reality, the Christian home-schooled child evinces an educated-sounding pseudo-intellectualism which masks a chasm of ignorance so deep the child may literally never be able to climb out of it.

The Christian homeschooling movement continues to grow. According to hopeful Christian homeschooling websites (quickly google** "homeschooling statistics" or similar), it will continue to grow a lot.  I wonder if secular homeschooling is likewise growing?  I am going to keep my eye on this topic because it is related to some other things I am working on about education and the power of the religious right.

Meanwhile, however, I will just keep dreaming!


*My own informal search on the internet for a source of this type of "statistic" report outside the homeschool community turned up zilch. All of the charts and diagrams showing homeschooling superiority that filled pages of goggle** search results came from homeschooling websites and blogs.
** I accidentally typed "goggle" instead of "google", but really, I did sort of goggle at it, too.

                                           ********************************

There is a short string of old comments below the original Hmm...Homeschooling post which I won't republish here. If you are interested in reading what a Christian apologist has to say, then you can read it here.

The reason why I am reposting the essay now is to post an unexpected new comment which arrived back in January. It took me several days to notice the new comment on a much older post, but when I did I was pleasantly surprised by the thoughtful effort that the reader had given to it.

I was knee-deep in other projects through most of the winter, so it took me awhile to get back to this topic and to reply to the comment, which I think deserved an equally thoughtful reply. Thank you for your patience, Elise, and thank you again for an excellent contribution!

Here is Elise's comment and my response:


I see I'm a little late here, but I wanted to chime in. There is more than one homeschooler who is doing it for completely secular reasons. I really appreciate your point of view, and thoroughly enjoyed reading your article; particularly, "the Christian home-schooled child evinces an educated-sounding pseudo-intellectualism which masks a chasm of ignorance so deep the child may literally never be able to climb out of it." I might have to use that one some time. I really feel strongly that you are right about that, except that being a Christ-follower does NOT equate to being an empty-skulled, blind tow-er of the line of BS spewed by so much of the Christian Right. I (mostly) identify as a Christian, as do my children (by their choice), but we are solidly liberal in religious matters, and we certainly do teach evolution and the Big Bang. We also boycott Chick-fil-A, and support Starbucks, both of which decisions I have used as mini-lessons about social responsibility and equal rights. I am a strong believer in a well-rounded education, and in teaching the actual truth, rather than some narrow-minded group's stunted view of it.
You are completely right that there does seem to be a hidden agenda in much of the material available to homeschoolers. So much so that I have found it necessary to first skim descriptions of all resources and discard any that mention anything remotely Christian before I waste my time with it. It's so sad!

I am saddened, not merely that you feel the way you clearly (by the comments) do about Christianity, but more so that Christianity has failed so miserably to project anything remotely Christ-like for you or others to find uplifting. I was raised wholly Christian, but have recently come to realize that Christianity, as a religion, is a farce. Your quote of Pascal is dead-on. And I have recently come to realize that Christ himself (even if you only read him as an interesting historical figure) was radically anti-religion! I am starting to see that the Atheists and secularists have more in common with Christ than most Christians! But I maintain that there are more secular-minded homeschoolers than you probably realize. I am part of a secular group in our community that has discussed Pagan spirit days that lead to Halloween, the Yuletide and Hanukkah this past year. You might have to look a little harder for us, but we're there. Don't discount all homeschoolers as Religious nuts!

Well, I have just turned a quick comment into a bit of a rant. I apologize for that. I hope I wasn't too offensive to anyone with enough of a brain to think for themselves. In conclusion, my real points were: 1. You are right about homeschoolers being predominantly "Uber-Christian Right" morons pushing their agendas (and ignorance) on everyone. Like you, I'm saddened when I think of the generation kids being brought up to NOT think for themselves. 2. There are those of us who think homeschooling is the best option for the exact reason of offering our children a fuller, more rounded education. Traditional school is certainly not immune to the Christian Agenda. Finally, I'm trying to spread the word that not everyone who is a "Christ-follower" adheres to the Christian religious model of hate, bigotry, ignorance, and oppression of ideas. I have a suspicion that there are more of us than you'd think, but that we're so much more moderate or liberal that we just don't ever get heard above the spewing of the Right's idiocy. So I'm speaking up. Thanks for listening.
Cheers!

Hi Elise, thank you for your comment. I am glad that you speak up against bigotry when you see it, and that you are trying to teach your children everything that is good and positive about Christianity.
Before I respond to the excellent meat of your comment, I must respectfully object to the way you have characterized my argument as an attack on Christians using words like "morons", "empty-skulled" etc. I have never said anything like that because quite frankly I do not believe that. Christianity - and in particular its fundamentalist flavors - provides ample grounds for criticism and I try to be unstinting in my rebukes of it and all religions, but I reserve my stingers for the faith itself (including its powerful networks of promoters) not its lay adherents. Most people come to religious belief as children when they are defenseless against its effects on their psychological hard-wiring. I recognize that most believers are good people - many are highly intelligent, too - so you could say that I hate the 'sin', but not the 'sinner'.  :-).
I believe that allying oneself with the most powerful majority in this country is a very rational - if unreasonable - decision that millions of Americans make quite consciously. It's the smart, sensible thing to do. Rejecting religion is the irrational - although reasonable - thing to do. Publicly expressing unbelief is neither smart nor sensible because of the personal cost, though obviously for people who have higher moral values, the price for doing the right thing is one they may be willing to pay. For many other people, the social cost of coming out as an atheist is too high - they fear for their families, for example - and they must stay in the closet about their unbelief. In many areas, this is sadly necessary. I have said as much in many of my posts. It is dangerous to identify as a nonbeliever in our gods-soaked culture, and of course it is even more dangerous in some other cultures in the world. People who stay silent about their unbelief are rationally, sensibly choosing to remain within the fold where they and their children will be safest - sleeping with the enemy is safer than being identified AS the enemy by the majority which holds the power to make your life a living hell.
So, I'd like to make it perfectly clear that I do not think people who identify as Christ-followers are "morons" nor have I ever said anything of the sort. You can find examples of my writing about this here and here and here and here.
I thank you for pointing out again that there is a small but growing number of secular home-schoolers. I know several of them myself. The point of my article was that for people like them, the materials available for educating their children are nearly all religiously-based, though often the religious agenda is hidden in order to trick non-religious homeschoolers into buying those materials without realizing it. As you point out, this can easily happen unless a parent is very alert.
I sincerely appreciate your kind thoughts, but you need not feel sad for me or most atheists. Most of us feel we've made a very lucky escape from something immensely damaging and tremendously immoral. I, too, was raised in a Christian home and, contrary to your assumption about me, I grew up very much valuing the positive aspects of religion - so much so that I was well on my way to dedicating my life to a religious order in my late teens. 
I was a practicing Christian for 40 years. Although I am pretty sure that most religionists don't really believe it when they suggest that an atheist must either never have heard about how great religion can be OR was "hurt" by someone somewhere sometime and is just angry at religion, I would still like to point out that I, like most atheists, had a thorough religious upbringing - practiced a religion for years and loved my church - but came to understand that it is a morally bankrupt system of social control which harms people far more than it helps them. It was very difficult to give up the privileges and advantages that identifying as a Christian confers - belonging to a socially-acceptable (and quite powerful) community, fellowship, beloved rituals, music and a sense of cultural roots - but for most atheists the immorality of sincere religious belief left them no other morally defensible choice. 
There is a lot about religion that is good and appealing to all of us - that is why it survives even when people know on some level that it is, as you say, a "farce", that its doctrines are untrue and its claims to the moral high ground are deeply unconvincing. As I matured, I gradually realized that what is good about religion is what is good about humanity. It is human morality that imbues religions with their most beautiful aspects, but in most cases religious dogma provides a workaround for human morality to fulfill a political or social agenda (to concentrate power unto itself) which is chilling. Most good theists are good in spite of their religious beliefs, not thanks to them.
Most atheists are intimately familiar with religion. Many have read more of the Bible than most believers do. They know the theology and the dogma, and they understand where it leads when followed by true believers to its logical conclusion. It isn't lack of exposure to the "good news" that turns people into atheists. They understand what that message really is, and reject it for the opportunistic justification for power-seeking that it is. Whatever is good about religion is derived from human morality not the other way around. We literally are "good without gods". It is religion that seeks to thwart that human inclination toward empathy to fulfill its own ends. It is a lie that we need religion to have good morals; indeed, religious dogma codifies and justifies immorality. Religion's abiding lesson is obedience to authority, even if that authority commands that we persecute, rape, oppress or murder people.
Religious indoctrination begins in childhood for a reason - it is almost impossible for children to resist it when they are immature and dependent on parents for survival. The fear, guilt and anxiety which is inculcated through early religious instruction leaves psychological scars which few human beings can erase even if they grow up to embrace a more reasonable and moral world view. This is the understanding that underpins the religious insistence upon childhood indoctrination. And fear that we might be wrong - that eternal suffering will be inflicted upon unbelievers - is the lingering legacy of that early indoctrination that prods us to indoctrinate our own children, even if we attempt to transmit a kinder, gentler version of it to them. That lingering psychological fear, combined with the very real and rational awareness of the threat that a hostile, powerful majority poses to the actual physical and psychological safety of the unbelieving minority and our children seals the deal. We say to ourselves; "better safe than sorry".
For these reasons, I submit to you that children do not "choose" their religion. 
You sound like a thoughtful and thoroughly decent human being. I am so happy that you are trying to raise your children to be open-minded, well-educated and truly caring about their fellow human beings.
Thank you again for your thoughtful comment. I wish you every success in your homeschooling effort!

Thursday, May 2, 2013

National Day of Reason




Religious people in the USA will be pushing the National Day of Prayer into your face all day today. Yes, there has actually been a day mandated by Congress for the establishment of (Christian) prayer in nearly every government legislature, offices, schools and businesses throughout the land because, you know, the prioritizing of religious privilege had not been quite blatant enough before. There is another designation for today - the Day of Reason - but unlike the National Day of Prayer, it hasn't been widely publicized on national media or trumpeted proudly by our elected representatives.

There have been a few notable exceptions to the general bowing and scraping before the intimidation of religious power and a couple of mayors even proclaimed a Day of Reason to balance the national day of prayer. Most elected officials, however, refused to risk their careers by daring to champion the foundational principle upon which this country was built - the recognition that the establishment of authoritarian religion as a basis for any society leads to discrimination, injustice and eventually violence and brutal oppression. Instead, nearly all tugged their virtual forelocks, bowed their heads and murmured spells and incantations to one of the skygods in a show of obsequious respect for the dominant, hypervigilant, easily-offended, dangerously powerful Christian evangelical movement.

Those politicians - like non-Christians and non-believers everywhere - recognise the terrible truth. Religious privilege is so total, so oppressive and so vicious that to even suggest that forcing it on the population in the form of faith-based laws and "social services" might cause real harm to some citizens while reducing every citizen's liberty results in hysterical blowback. Fox "news" wasted no time this morning drawing an imaginary line spuriously connecting the Day of Reason to the Holocaust.

Oh, those silly, angry atheists!
Even the mildest criticism of religion unleashes the vitriolic pushback from religionists - usually in the form of mockery (he's an "atheist" angry at God he claims doesn't exist! harhar), followed by the inevitable comparisons between non-believers and monsters of history*. Hyperbolic language like that is not harmless. That kind of demonization of people who do not share the dominant faith in any society has paved the way for progroms, Inquisitions, burnings, genocides and brutal persecution for all of human history. Unbelievers know it and believers know it, too. They deploy this type of language as both a threat and a promise: Shut up and submit to our god-given authority or you will be targeted for the punishment that we believe your kind of evil deserves.

The religious right has been working tirelessly for several decades to seize the kind of absolute political, economic and social power which they have been imperfectly prevented from grasping since the United States of America was formed, largely thanks to the wisdom of the founding fathers who inserted the Establishment clause into the Constitution. But, theocrats are patient.  After the social revolutions in the 1960's they experienced a resurgence in energy and an implacable determination to take over the country once and for all, rolling back the clock on civil rights (especially women's rights). The first and most important step in their strategy was to promote the false idea that "secularism" is a religion like Christianity - although naturally secularism is a godless (and therefore evil) religious cult. By drawing a false parallel between "faith" and "godless secularism", they laid the groundwork to polarize society into "good" and "bad" camps, where the price of accepting anything outside of religion as possibly good for society was to be put in the "bad" camp. And those in the "bad" camp, being compared to Hitler and all, might just be righteously punished at some point, amirite?

Just for the record...
Seriously, if you truly believe that a group in your community is really just like the Nazis, then isn't it your duty to neutralize them to prevent them from subjecting innocent people to atrocities? Isn't that the reasoning behind the notion of "just war"? In fact, this is the very rationale behind the murders of health workers who provide abortion services. The far right has moved on to demonizing atheists, humanists and non-Christians of every religious stripe, including people who may think they are Christians but who fail to pass the litmus test of the religious right (many are just not true Christians, don't you know). Religious fundamentalists try to attack all of these people under the umbrella of hated secularism but they fail to realize that secularism is favored by many moderate religionists since secularism is, you know, NOT a religion but a philosophy of how best to ensure a just and free society. Hence, the 'not a true Christian' label is applied followed by increasingly pointed attacks on moderate Christians who are just not Christian enough.

In the past decade, as the destructive power of the Christian theocratic movement finally began to be so obvious that even religious moderates could not fail to notice it, a group of atheists began to push back against religious hegemony. Christopher Hitchens, Daniel Dennett, Sam Harris and Richard Dawkins have all written famous (and infamous) books on the dangers of handing unfettered power over to religious believers. Their work started a movement which has grown slowly but surely - containing both non-theists and theists who share a grave concern for the future of this country if theocrats continue to ride the wave of unquestioned religious privilege to the highest seats of political power.

Last year, Richard Dawkins teamed up with another outspoken atheist - physicist Lawrence Krauss - to make a movie about this movement and the vitally important work it is trying to do. The movie's premiere this week in Toronto quickly brought out the usual attacks and insinuations that without religion, human beings are reduced to hopeless nihilism:

Richard Dawkins and Lawrence Krauss double down on disbelief, the Globe and Mail, April 30, 2013.

New film examines science vs. religion, CNN belief blog, April 29, 2013.

A better and more thoughtful interview came at GlobalNews (Canada): Dawkins, Krauss have faith in 'The Unbelievers',  John R. Kennedy, GlobalNews, April 29, 2013.

Here is the official trailer for The Unbelievers. You need to see this movie!




One final word. It's been true for all of history and is still true today. It doesn't matter what flavor of religion they practice, when they carry their religious beliefs to their logical conclusion, true believers are literally capable of anything:























*I refuse to link to any of the sites which demonize rational, reasonable human beings in this manner, but a simple google search for "evil, atheists" should reveal as much as you need to see to understand that this is a real problem.

Friday, April 5, 2013

Barmy Bible Study - A Lesson On Obedience and Respect

God sends two bears to tear apart 42 little children for laughing at Elisha.  That's understandable, right?

































Yesterday, I posted about the creeping danger of extremist religion delivered directly to our schoolchildren in public schools. Today, I'd like to repost a Barmy Bible Study that relates to this issue. Reasonable people ought to challenge the accepted view that religion - and religious indoctrination - is benign or even "good" for children. Instead of simply skimming over the stories and "lessons" in the Bible and ignoring the very real horrors contained within the Good Book™, I'd like to challenge NiftyReaders to read - really read - what the lessons actually mean.

This week's Barmy Bible Study features Elisha and the She-Bears (bit parts played by forty-two little children).  Our text for this evening's study can be found in the book of Kings. I will post three different versions of the passage, since it is brief. It might be interesting to compare them (you go ahead; one version is more than enough for me): 
(Note: Atheists and other haters of GOD'S HOLY WORD, scroll past the blue text)

2 Kings 2:23-24
King James Version (KJV)
23 And he went up from thence unto Bethel: and as he was going up by the way, there came forth little children out of the city, and mocked him, and said unto him, Go up, thou bald head; go up, thou bald head.
24 And he turned back, and looked on them, and cursed them in the name of the Lord. And there came forth two she bears out of the wood, and tare forty and two children of them.

2 Kings 2:23-24
Darby Translation (DARBY)
23 And he went up from thence to Bethel, and as he went up by the way, there came forth little boys out of the city, and mocked him, and said to him, Go up, bald head; go up, bald head!
24 And he turned back, and looked on them, and cursed them in the name of Jehovah. And there came forth two she-bears out of the wood, and tore forty-two children of them.

(During the renaissance of fundamentalist Christianity in the early 1980's, a newer, more politically-correct and friendly Bible was developed. People needed a Bible they could understand; one that rounded off the rough edges a little, one that suggested that the "little children" might in fact have been the very kind of "youths" that so many modern Christians  fear and despise. A little gentle manipulation of the text here and there and voilà! An Old Testament version massaged just enough to soften the jagged Truth™within):

2 Kings 2:23-24
New International Version 1984 (NIV1984)
Elisha Is Jeered
23 From there Elisha went up to Bethel. As he was walking along the road, some youths came out of the town and jeered at him. “Go on up, you baldhead!” they said. “Go on up, you baldhead!”
24 He turned around, looked at them and called down a curse on them in the name of the Lord. Then two bears came out of the woods and mauled forty-two of the youths.

Don't worry kids, you will soon believe:
injustice is justice*, viciousness is righteousness
and fear is love.
The Good News™ is not for the meek!
Oh wait...
For some reason, this part of the Elisha story does not make it into the Sunday school curriculum or Sunday readings in church often enough - and, strangely, it is not mentioned at all in the wikipedia entry for Elisha, (although I am pleased to report that this Bible character is presented on wikipedia as an historical figure and the (positive) stories about him are presented as objective historical facts rather than unverifiable Biblical mythology, which is awesome) - but it really ought to feature prominently in children's Bible study. Sure, it might be frightening to a few little children, but who ever said that the Truth™ would be easy to hear? The terrifying and depressing stories in the Bible are inexplicably called the Good News™, after all. All true Bible-Believers know that terror brings comfort just as cruelty means love and death is life in Christian theology. It only takes a little early Biblical training to semi-permanently mold the human mind to this spiritual knowledge.

The story of Elisha and the She-Bears is the perfect introduction to Biblical morality for young Christians. It beautifully illustrates the character of the Biblical god, not to mention the character of Biblical leaders revered by Bible-believers. This story helps settle, once and for all, any confusion about the source from which modern conservatives derive their moral values. Most of all, it underlines in easy-to-understand terms just how important it is to respect the religious and their religious beliefs. The first four Commandments handed down by Moses are not about how human beings ought to treat one another, but about respecting the god of Israel and recognizing that all social and political power belongs in the hands of His followers. Belief is everything; moral behavior toward one's fellow human beings is secondary. Let there be no doubt what the Biblical priorities are: We don't call it Bible-based morality for nothing!

Study Questions for Elisha and the She-Bears:

1. What happened to Elisha as he approached the city of Bethel?

2. How did he react to this?

3. How does the Bible tell us that Jehovah responded to Elisha's reaction and what does his response teach us?

You know the type; always mocking the godly.
Just look at them - the arrogant bullies!
The Bible tells us that Elisha was a prophet and a servant of Elijah, the greatest of the Old Testament prophets. After Elijah was taken up to heaven, Elisha was understandably elated because not only would he no longer be playing second fiddle to Elijah, but he had asked for and received a double portion of Elijah's spirit as a deathbed blessing (interestingly, Elisha later punished his own servant without mercy for the sin of greed, but I digress*). He proceeded to travel the Holy Lands letting everyone know that he was the top prophet at last. As he journeyed from town to town, Elisha was occasionally disappointed in the people he found there. When he was disappointed, he wasted no time before calling down the wrath of his god upon them.  As a "Man of God", Elisha was able to flex that power that comes with being a favored son of Jehovah, and like the god himself, Elisha never hesitated to use it mercilessly to crush those who displeased him.

Take the day he traveled to Bethel, for example. Perhaps he was feeling a little testy that day (and, come on, isn't a Man of God entitled to a grumpy day now and then?), so his reaction to the teasing of a group of little children will be entirely understandable. Here is what happened:

Elisha was approaching the gates of the city of Bethel. No doubt he was tired from his journey and feeling irritable. Perhaps his bald head was noticably shining with perspiration due to his exertions. Whatever the case may be, a group of little children from the town ran out to watch his approach and for some unknown reason began to tease and taunt him, using the timeless, sing-songing repetition that has characterized children's games for generations.

"Go on up, you baldhead! Go on up, you baldhead" they called out to him. Twice.

Now, that was clearly disrespectful. These little children, in their arrogance, were obviously mocking the Man of God. They were making fun of Elisha's bald, sweatily glistening head! They may even have been ignorantly parroting things they may have overheard their elders saying about Elisha - perhaps that he was trying too hard to emulate Elijah and might just as well ascend into heaven like his deceased mentor - we cannot know for sure why the children did what they did, and they may not, in fact, have had any motive except silly childish games, but still. Their youthful innocence and ignorance of Elisha's exalted role as God's emissary was no excuse for this rude behaviour. Nothing is ever a valid excuse for mockery of a religious figure or a religion. That is blasphemy! Blasphemers are the worst of the worst. And justice* must be seen to be done.

This will teach those smart-alecs to fear God!
Remember children: fear is love.
And vicious, capricious cruelty is God's love.
Remember that now, little ones...oh wait...too late!
So Elisha did what any Man of God would do: he called on Jehovah to right this appalling injustice - this unforgivable mockery of a godly man - the playful nyah-nyahing of laughing children who must surely have been little minions of Satan! You might think that the all-loving god of the Christian imagination would have gently chastised the little children, understanding that their behaviour was nothing more than a stage in the developmental path that the god himself, after all, had ordained for humanity. You might think that He would have counselled Elisha to smile patiently and go about his business as not only a Man of God, but also as a mature adult. You might think these things, but you would be wrong. Jehovah answered Elisha's call the Biblical wayand how! -->

Jehovah (aka "God") sent two ferocious bears - she-bears, naturally - which then proceeded to rip forty-two of the little children to pieces. The story goes that as the bears tore the limbs off little boys and girls and sank their massive teeth into tiny necks and torsos, Elisha continued on into the city of Bethel to spread the Good News™ of Jehovah's boundless love to the men within. Then, of course, he simply carried on his way to his next stop, Samaria. The Bible never does say how the townspeople of Bethel reacted later when they found the bloody, dismembered bodies of forty-two of their children. It moves smartly on to more important topics, obviously.

It may seem as though Elisha was indifferent to the suffering of little children whom he had condemned to terrible deaths for the "crime" of laughing at him, but we learn from this story that he did it for a good reason: disrespect for a "Man of God" - especially disbelief in the invisible and silent, unknowable and undetectable, yet omniscient and omnipotent creator god - is never to be tolerated. The One True Faith must be respected at all costs - revered by everyone, including the innocent, the ignorant and the unbelievers - and when it is not, the insult is so intolerable that anything is permitted.

Elisha stood strong against 
the little children.
Let Biblical justice be done!
In Bible studies all over Christendom, people nod in agreement and barely flicker an eyelid upon reading about the massacre of little children, because they believe in Biblical values, which are far superior to any mere humanist morality. They know that allowing little children to be torn apart by wild bears is nothing compared to the horror of allowing a Man of God to be ridiculed without dire consequences. Bible-belief lifts true Christians above the filth of mere human emotion and tender feelings for other human beings. These are the values that modern Christians strive to apply to their own lives, for the good of humanity. Those who will not bow down respectfully before the Christian religion clearly choose not to, and therefore they choose whatever they have coming to them. That's not bigotry, that's the Biblical way.

Every right-minded Christian understands that to be laughed at or mocked for one's beliefs, while it is expected, is an intolerable offense that the godly should never have to endure. As followers of the One True Faith™, righteous Christians must never be prevented from defending against insults using every weapon at their disposal.  Throughout history, of course, Christians waged wars, persecuted unbelievers and punished blasphemers mercilessly, just like Elisha and his god. But those were the good old days (whatever happened to just being able to burn heretics at the stake? That's another of our freedoms stolen by those damned liberals!). Today, right-wing Christians in the western world are prevented by secular liberal society from responding to criticism or mockery in the time-honored Biblical way, sadly, but some groups have devised ingenious ways of getting around the protection obstruction of the secular Constitution.

Whether their fellow citizens want it or not, Bible-believing Christians know that it is imperative that the United States be brought to its knees before them the one true god. Great strides have been made since the Reagan era made it clear that there were ways around the First Amendment, and Christian power in government and society has since grown enormous. Every level of government, every profession, every cultural sphere and every educational institution has been infused with the holy spirit in the form of planted emissaries of the favored Christian faith. It is time for the Christian Right to stand up even taller in defense of their faith: the criticism coming from liberals and moderates is intolerable and outrageous. It must be silenced. It is not simply free speech in a free country - it is persecution of Christians!

Turns out God and Guns is a
winning combination, after all!
Might makes right; that's the
Biblical way!
The story of Elisha and the She-Bears teaches us without ambiguity that the Biblical God is a mercilessly punishing god. To disrespect him - even unknowingly - is to bring his wrath down upon even the most vulnerable and innocent among us. Righteous, Bible-believing Christians know this Truth™and they fear it. The anger of the all-loving, all-powerful god is terrifying and there is no room for mutual understanding, acceptance of different beliefs or of ignorance. The Good News™ must be embraced by everyone - force-fed to them, if necessary - for the good of humanity.

Righteous, Bible-believing, born-again Christians will not be fooled by liberals who disguise themselves as Christians, either. So-called moderate Christians - who are too tolerant of others, who accept other people for who they are and who believe there may be many pathways to God - will never be accepted as real Christians by the true Bible-believer. Moderate, liberal Christians are like the little children who mocked the great Man of God, Elisha. They look innocent but they are false Christians, perhaps even the devil's minions and they, likewise, must be shown no mercy. It is hard Truth™, but true Christians know that they must be strong enough to do whatever is necessary to defend their beliefs. In the words of bible.org, "We need more Elishas, those who will stand fast and act in biblical ways leaving the results to the Lord." Wow. Indeed! How awesome is Biblical love!

Here is what every loving Christian parent knows: The lesson about God's righteous justice that they learn from the story of Elisha and the Bears is good for Christian children. Fear is good. We know this is true because the Bible tells us so. The Bible says it. We believe it. That settles it. However, there is always the danger that some Christians may recognise the raw, power-hungry psychological manipulation for what it is fail to accept and understand this wondrous mystery unless their beliefs are seared into their psyches through childhood indoctrination inculcated early and thoroughly. Might as well get them started in pre-school! Below you will find an example of a fun way to introduce the important message of the story of Elisha and the She-Bears to young children - use a colouring page! It's just the thing. Find your copies at any Christian supply store and start training up your children the right way today!

*Justice is injustice. Injustice is justice. The Bible is always right. This is Biblical logic. Get used to it. 'We need more Elishas' and, if the Christian right gets its wish this election, we will have them at long last. We could soon be enjoying a far more Biblically correct America. Praise God!

Class dismissed.

The child who coloured this page added a nice touch when he drew in the spurting blood.
This boy shows righteous promise! A future Elisha, perhaps?


Thursday, April 4, 2013

Teach Your Children Right!


A little girl at "Jesus Camp" expresses her "joy" in the Christian gospel while other children look on uncertainly.






























(Reposting this after reading recently on Butterflies and Wheels that this situation is accelerating. Previously posted in June, 2012):

Two recent FreeThoughtBlogs posts have brought attention to the improper use of public schools by fundamentalist religious groups to indoctrinate children into their terrifying "faiths". One would think that the public discussions of Jesus Camp, and the disturbing videos which came out about it, would have alerted concerned parents to the danger of letting religion have a free pass to indoctrinate their youngsters, but apparently not.  Religion is given a pass once more.  Actually, religion is not just given a pass but is still presumed to be, on the whole, a positive and good thing for children, even by parents who would be horrified if they knew the true intentions of religious proselytizers who have targeted their children for training as warriors for Jesus.

Both Ophelia Benson and PZ Myers posted this morning about the Good News Club, an explicitly Christian evangelical initiative of a group which calls itself the Child Evangelism Fellowship (CEF), whose number and influence in schools and communities has been growing at an alarming rate.  A recent article in the Guardian by Katherine Stewart (author of The Good News Club: The Christian Right's Stealth Assault on America's Children) has broken the story that the clubs, emboldened by the protection of a bad 2001 Supreme Court decision, are no longer bothering to even pretend that their real agenda is not proselytizing and grooming Christian warriors:

The CEF has been teaching the story of the Amalekites at least since 1973. In its earlier curriculum materials, CEF was euphemistic about the bloodshed, saying simply that "the Amalekites were completely defeated." In the most recent version of the curriculum, however, the group is quite eager to drive the message home to its elementary school students. The first thing the curriculum makes clear is that if God gives instructions to kill a group of people, you must kill every last one:

"You are to go and completely destroy the Amalekites (AM-uh-leck-ites) – people, animals, every living thing. Nothing shall be left."

"That was pretty clear, wasn't it?" the manual tells the teachers to say to the kids.

The Slaughter of the Amalekites
Asking if Saul would "pass the test" of obedience, the text points to Saul's failure to annihilate every last Amalekite, posing the rhetorical question:

"If you are asked to do something, how much of it do you need to do before you can say, 'I did it!'?"

"If only Saul had been willing to seek God for strength to obey!" the lesson concludes.

Even more important, the Good News Club wants the children to know, the Amalakites were targeted for destruction on account of their religion, or lack of it. The instruction manual reads: 

"The Amalekites had heard about Israel's true and living God many years before, but they refused to believe in him. The Amalekites refused to believe in God and God had promised punishment." Katherine Stewart, The Guardian.

These fundamentalist Christian proselytizing vehicles won the right to insert themselves into public schools under the deceptive and insidious ruling (one of the few majority opinions authored by the conservative Clarence Thomas) in 2001. In that decision (Good News Club vs Milford Central School), the Supreme Court Justice disingenuously agreed with the CEF defense that the clubs were not religious in nature at all, but were merely clubs performing the laudable function of “teaching of morals and character development from a particular viewpoint”. Nothing to worry about there, right? But, wait. Here is the CEF viewpoint, straight from their "About Us" webpage:

Jesus Camps and Good News Clubs:
nothing but good, harmless fun!
"Child Evangelism Fellowship® (CEF®) is a Bible-centered, worldwide organization that is dedicated to seeing every child reached with the Gospel of the Lord Jesus Christ, discipled and established in a local church."

Many parents uncritically accept these clubs as being what their deliberately kid-friendly name implies: a club for harmless fun and a sense of belonging, in the spirit of the Good News Bears. These parents either do not realise or do not want to realise that the raison d'être of Good News Clubs is to convert children and turn them into Christian evangelicals.  These clubs are designed to pull in children under false pretenses (in many cases offering after-school care which is almost irresistible to parents who are struggling with poorly paid jobs and a lack of affordable child-care which is becoming a national crisis) and then convert them to fundamentalist Christianity. The benign-sounding name, the lure of a fun-sounding "club" and the fact that the children are often strongly encouraged to join by respected authorities (the schools) are all part of an insidious strategy to gain access to children without the truly informed consent of their parents and, obviously, of the children themselves. School acceptance of these clubs, mandated by the Supreme Court, means that both children and their parents are deceived into thinking that the secular, public schools endorse these religious clubs - and that there is no deeper agenda - which is one of the main reasons why the CEF fought so hard and so dishonestly to get them into public schools in the first place.

The Christian church has long used childhood indoctrination to ensure that obedient and thoroughly cowed legions of believers continue to swell their ranks, providing them with the power of numbers, financial wealth and, of course, warriors willing to die for their god/church/divinely appointed rulers. It has always been in the interest of those who hold power to have a large faith following, and religion has provided both the means and the ends.

"Knock down all doors, all the barriers,
to all 65,000 public elementary schools in America
 and take the Gospel to this open mission field now!
Not later, now!"

(CEF  national convention keynote speech, 2010)
There was empirical evidence behind the oft-quoted assertion of St. Francis Xavier (one of the first Jesuits, a Catholic order of priests famed as educators): "Give me the child until he is seven and I will give you the man (alternatively: "and I care not who has him thereafter"). The well-educated, observant and intelligent Jesuits had noticed that people who are thoroughly indoctrinated in religious dogma in early childhood retain those beliefs throughout life, while people in whom religious belief has not been inculcated early are more difficult to convert - and to control. They realized, though they did not have the language to describe it yet, that the psychological impact of early indoctrination - particularly indoctrination based upon fear and confusion - usually lasts a lifetime.

Young children have no defenses against deliberate indoctrination. When they are taught to fear a god through stories which illustrate the god's relentlessly violent and implacably unforgiving reaction - not to lying, stealing and murdering which the Biblical god often condones and even orders, but to disbelief and disobedience - they learn the lesson through fear and they learn it well.  The Biblical god is a terrifyingly powerful "awesome" god and the one "sin" He will never forgive is lack of belief. The children are primed first with the "fun" and then the stories are told, gradually leading to the point when the children are tearfully, fearfully professing "belief".

Research has shown that one of the most powerful human motivators is fear, and one of the most difficult psychological challenges to overcome is irrational fear, especially fear that has taken root in the mind at an early age. Religious proselytizers know this, and this is why they are so insistent upon childhood indoctrination. Children are vulnerable to lifelong damage from the powerful emotional appeal of fear and guilt-based religious proselytizing.  They cannot "unthink" terrible thoughts which have been planted in their minds early. They cannot "unfeel" the horror and the fear that is elicited in their psyches through early Bible instruction.

Religious eschatology - and the terrifying images it evokes - is nothing less than psychological abuse of children. Yet, not only are parents permitted to subject their own children to these horrors, but religious groups are being permitted to sneak their fundamentalist religious indoctrination into public and private schools where they can prey on other peoples' children as well. In fact, gaining access to the children of parents who would not voluntarily subject their children to this violent, misanthropic and destructive theology is precisely the purpose of the Good News Club.

What we don't want to know
may seriously harm the USA.
The CEF is an explicitly evangelical, explicitly fundamentalist, explicitly and unapologetically dominionist Christian group and by continuing to be willfully blind to their purpose, parents are participating in the indoctrination of their children into extremist religion, whether they want to admit it to themselves or not. It is vital that more people speak out about this strategy of the religious right. They have already insinuated themselves into thousands of public schools in the USA and around the world, and they do not intend to stop until they have converted every child.

Telling ourselves that one powerful religious group really cannot take over like that or kidding ourselves that the first amendment will protect people from religious tyranny is being willfully blind, deaf and dumb. As we have seen with the concurrent (and not merely coincidental) strategy of powerful groups to get issues affecting minorities' Constitutional rights onto ballots so that they can be put to a majority vote, the longterm objectives of the conservative right wing have been carefully and patiently planned. There is a real danger that the majority can use its power and clout to force their view on the minority until the power is so nearly total that complete annihilation of opposing viewpoints is achieved. The 2001 case heard by the SCOTUS is where the freedom from religion part should have been upheld – but the court has also been swayed by the power of the Christian majority. The issue is now urgent.

PZ's post    Ophelia's post, Kill Them All, Children.



Sunday, March 31, 2013

The War on Easter!

Thank goddess, Christians are constitutionally protected from having to participate in pagan rituals!




























Mark your calendars, NiftyReaders. Today, I agree wholeheartedly with a fundamentalist Christian argument. According to online sources for Christian correctness, Christians have a big problem with Easter. The problem is that Easter is not Christian enough. In fact, Easter is not Christian or Biblically endorsed at all.


Hot cross buns?
Abominations!
Now let’s go to the other scriptures authorizing Easter. This presents a problem. There are NONE! There are absolutely no verses, anywhere in the Bible, that authorize or endorse the keeping of Easter celebration! The Bible says nothing about Lent, eggs and egg hunts, baskets of candy, etc., although it does mention hot cross buns and sunrise services as abominations, which God condemns. (The True Origin of Easter, the Reformed Church of God.org)

The name “Easter” has its roots in ancient polytheistic religions (paganism). On this, all scholars agree. This name is never used in the original Scriptures, nor is it ever associated biblically with the death and resurrection of Jesus Christ. For these reasons, we prefer to use the term “Resurrection Sunday” rather than “Easter” when referring to the annual Christian remembrance of Christ's resurrection. (What is the origin of Easter? ChristianAnswers.org)

Oh, those pagans with their "Happy Easter/Happy Holidays"! Unbelievers have been distracting Christians from the true meaning of Christianity's most important holidays for too long! Easter is all about springtime, flowers budding, bunnies, chicks and sex. So unChristian!  Resurrection Sunday is about the story of a dead man who disappeared from his tomb and is believed to have risen from the dead after a horrific execution. That's more like it! Ask any Christian, he will tell you: holidays don't get much more joyful than that!

Coloring eggs? 
That's a no-no, Christians!
For these reasons, I would prefer that Christians use the term "Resurrection Sunday" rather than Easter, too. It makes perfect sense for Christians - who happily profess to be washed in the blood of Jesus, after all - to name their own holiday something more appropriate to what it really is about. I enthusiastically support their right to begin calling their holy day by this name forthwith. Keep the Resurrection in Resurrection Sunday!

And while we are on the subject, why do devout Christians allow the secularists to win on Good Friday, too? Why accept the politically correct - and frankly much too bland - "Good Friday"?  Christians, call it what it is!  It is Crucifixion Friday! It is high time that Christians admit to the rest of the world - loud and proud - that their holiday is about blood, torture and a terrible death, not the Easter Bunny, jellybeans and a chocolate coma!

And about those Easter Eggs. No, no, no, Christians. Do you have any idea of the depraved history of these pagan symbols? Easter eggs are pagan symbols of a fertility goddess! ChristianAnswers can fill you in:

Most children and families who color or hide Easter eggs as part of their Resurrection Sunday tradition have no knowledge of the origin of these traditions. Easter egg activities have become a part of Western culture. Many would be surprised and even dismayed to learn where the traditions originated.
“The egg was a sacred symbol among the Babylonians. They believed an old fable about an egg of wondrous size which was supposed to have fallen from heaven into the Euphrates River. From this marvelous egg - according to the ancient story - the Goddess Astarte (Easter) [Semiramis], was hatched. And so the egg came to symbolize the Goddess Easter.”
Sneaky... but they're still eggs.
Wrong, wrong, wrong.
The idea of a mystic egg spread from Babylon to many parts of the world. In Rome, the mystic egg preceded processions in honor of the Mother Goddess Roman. The egg was part of the sacred ceremonies of the Mysteries of Bacchus. The Druids used the egg as their sacred emblem. In Northern Europe, China and Japan the eggs were colored for their sacred festivals.
The egg was also a symbol of fertility; Semiramis (Easter) was the goddess of Fertility. The Easter egg is a symbol of the pagan Mother Goddess, and it even bears one of her names.

Do you hear that? Fables! Fertility! A Mother Goddess! The horror! Now, do you see why no true Christian should ever be caught dead dyeing eggs or participating in Easter egg hunts? Instead of an almighty (yet silent and invisible) creator god, the humble egg has been universally celebrated as a symbol of fertility and new life for thousands of years only because those people chose not to know any better. Dozens of cultures who observed the natural world around them, recognized the natural cycle of birth, life and death and celebrated the life-giving sunlight, moon cycle (reproductive cycle) and motherhood in the form of goddess worship were clearly unChristian, evil and pagan.

Easter eggs, chocolate bunnies, jellybeans and marshmallow chicks are all very seductive. They seem like delicious innocent fun, but they are not. They are dangerous temptations down the road to unbelief. They suggest natural sources of life and, with those eggs and chicks and hens and such, they are also suggestive of all of the necessary and naturally-occurring components of reproduction. They suggest that the plants and animals on the earth - including human beings - are actually born, live and die without the aid or interference of any deity. Of course, throbbing, pulsing, thriving, living reality cannot compete with the power of fervent, mystical religious belief (right? amirite?), but why should Christians risk it?

And just in case you didn't catch the recurring motif of feminine power in those evil, pagan myths, just look what else this Easter/Eastre "holiday" is all about (according to ChristianAnswers):

Nice try, Christians, but no.
... this adulterous and idolatrous woman gave birth to an illegitimate son, she claimed that this son, Tammuz by name, was Nimrod reborn.” Semiramis “claimed that her son was supernaturally conceived [no human father] and that he was the promised seed, the 'savior'” - promised by God in Genesis 3:15. “However, not only was the child worshipped, but the woman, the MOTHER, was also worshipped as much (or more) than the son!” Nimrod deified as the god of the sun and father of creation. Semiramis became the goddess of the moon, fertility, etc.

The woman, the MOTHER (!!1eleventy1!) was worshipped! If ever there was proof that Easter is an unChristian festival, this creation of a female god is it. Any mythology that pays respect to women - let alone that elevates one to goddess status - autonomous, powerful and life-giving - is a mythology that is antithetical to everything that patriarchal Christianity stands for.

And come on, look at that silly fable! It cannot hold a candle to the 100% true, God-breathed, divine message in the Bible describing the singular Truth of Christianity: An innocent and immaculate young virgin miraculously gave birth to a son. The Bible claims that this son, Jesus by name, was the son of God, conceived of the Holy Spirit (no human father) and that he was the promised Messiah - the "savior" promised by God in Genesis 3:15. Not only is the child, Jesus, worshipped as he should be, but his mother, Mary is also paid deference as only the Mother of God deserves to be.

Now, that is a story that has the ring of ultimate Truth™!

In the old fables of the Mystery cults, their 'savior' Tammuz, was worshipped with various rites at the Spring season. According to the legends, after he was slain [killed by a wild boar], he went into the underworld. But through the weeping of his mother… he mystically revived in the springing forth of the vegetation - in Spring! Each year a spring festival dramatically represented this supposed 'resurrection'...

Nope.
In the old holy scriptures of the One True Faith, the Christian savior, Jesus Christ, is worshipped with various rites at the spring season. According to the inerrant word of the Bible, after he was slain (killed by Roman occupiers), he died and descended into hell. But according to the will of his father, he mystically revived - bringing "new life" to the world - in Spring! Each spring, during holy days, worshippers dramatically re-enact the utterly unverifiable story totally true Biblical account of this real resurrection.

Thus, a terrible false religion developed with its sun and moon worship, priests, astrology, demonic worship, worship of stars associated with their gods, idolatry, mysterious rites, human sacrifice, and more. Frankly, the practices which went on were so horrible that it is not fitting for me to speak of them here.

Exactly.  We will speak no more about it. The Christian religion with its divine Son worship, priests, mysticism, belief in angels and demons, worship of holy shrines associated with visions of their gods, angels and saints, mysterious rites and liturgical human sacrifice ritual is so much more than this terrible false religion from which Easter has sprung. For one thing, Christians add ritual cannibalism after the ritual human sacrifice! Frankly, these practices are so obviously correct, righteous and good, that it is not fitting for any Christian to participate in anything else. The source of that whole springtime/ new life/ bunnies and eggs/ ickily feminine, fertility cultish, Eastery thing is a terrible, false religion. What kind of a legitimate spring/rebirth festival elevates a MOTHER over a son? Definitely not a Christian festival!

Easter is clearly an evil pagan festival which Christians ought to decry.

Absolutely not!
Christians ought to take a stand against this tawdry commercialization of Christianity's most glorious holiday and simply refuse to partake in it. Perhaps they could demand that retailers post Happy Resurrection Sunday signs in their stores. Insist that schools and businesses should be closed out of respect for Crucifixion Friday. Fight for the power to teach schoolchildren the Good News™- whether they are Christian or not - through faith-building activities. Why shouldn't they be able to put on an annual Passion Play in public schools? What little boy wouldn't love to portray the crucified Jesus? What little girl hasn't dreamed of being cast as the Blessed Virgin grieving over the broken body of her murdered son? Even the littlest Christians can partake in the spirit-filled fun by baking Resurrection Cookies with Mom. As Mom reads the appropriate scriptures, the little ones can beat nuts into pieces with a wooden spoon and imagine they are breaking the bones of their long-suffering savior†. Godly, wholesome, fearsome fun. Now, that is the way to celebrate Easter Joy Resurrection Sunday!

One might wonder if there is a better way for Christians to celebrate Jesus Christ's resurrection, the most important of all Christian holy days. In retrospect, it seems obvious that it would have been a better witness to the world if Christians had not attempted to “Christianize” pagan celebrations* - adopting the name “Easter” (Ishtar/Semiramis) in remembrance of Christ. Jesus has been obscured by painted eggs and bunnies. Attention has been shifted away from spiritual truth and toward materialism (clothing, products and candies with the wrong symbolism). Stores merchandise the name of Easter (not “Resurrection Sunday”) and sell goods that have nothing to do with Christ's death and resurrection.

I couldn't agree more. Leave that pagan Easter business to the heathens, Christians! Resurrection Sunday belongs to you and Easter belongs to the rest of us. You glorify divine capital punishment, substitutionary atonement and human sacrifice - we prefer bunnies, eggs and chocolate. You keep the Crucifixion in Crucifixion Friday and the Resurrection in Resurrection Sunday and we will keep the Easter in Easter. Sounds fair to me.


† Read the Resurrection Cookie link. Seriously, you can't make this stuff up.
Can I get an "Amen" to this, brothers and sisters?

That's right, Easter Bunny, just keep on hopping right out of the Christian calendar. 
And you can take your abominable eggs with you!