Friday, November 30, 2012

Friday Link Dump 11/30/12

Don't get the reference? Watch the video in this link
and be sure to check out our next podcast
episode where we talk about the interview.
Left Hemispheres
Current Events

Random Interest

Thursday, November 29, 2012

David Reis: “Gospel Truth(s): A Critical Interrogation of the Good News”

via David Reis, a Religious Studies Instructor at the University of Oregon:

On November 6 I delivered a presentation in Dr. Peter Boghossian’s Atheism class at Portland State University.  The talk, entitled “Gospel Truth(s): A Critical Interrogation of the Good News,” examined the literary composition of the gospels, addressed text critical problems, analyzed the issue of literary genre, and offered an explanation for Americans’ persistent belief that these texts were either written by God or divinely inspired.  The presentation was videotaped and is now available on my YouTube page.  Please take a look!


Does the Universe Have a Purpose? feat. Neil deGrasse Tyson

via minutephysics

Monday, November 26, 2012

The Salvation Army Continues Their Long Tradition of Christian Bigotry

Australian “queer” journalists (not my label) Serena Ryan and Paul Dillon recently interviewed the Salvation Army’s media relations director in Australia, Major Andrew Craibe.  During that interview Craibe made a statement which would shock no one who pays attention to the Christo-fascist Salvation Army

Ryan: According to the Salvation Army, [gay people] deserve death. How do you respond to that, as part of your doctrine?

Craibe:  Well, that’s a part of our belief system.

Ryan: So we should die.

Craibe: You know, we have an alignment to the Scriptures, but that’s our belief.

As the original article points out, the Salvation Army guiding document (secondary to the Bible, one would suppose) is the Salvation Story: Salvationist Handbook of Doctrine which, the “alignment to the Scriptures” in question is Romans 1:18-32. To quote the Bible; which for the sake of beating it over your head is either the inerrant “Word of God” or the inspired “Word of God” depending on the level of cognitive dissonance and doublethink in the believer.

            Romans 1:18-32 (NIV)

18 The wrath of God is being revealed from heaven against all the godlessness and wickedness of people, who suppress the truth by their wickedness, 19 since what may be known about God is plain to them, because God has made it plain to them. 20 For since the creation of the world God’s invisible qualities—his eternal power and divine nature—have been clearly seen, being understood from what has been made, so that people are without excuse.

21 For although they knew God, they neither glorified him as God nor gave thanks to him, but their thinking became futile and their foolish hearts were darkened. 22 Although they claimed to be wise, they became fools 23 and exchanged the glory of the immortal God for images made to look like a mortal human being and birds and animals and reptiles.

24 Therefore God gave them over in the sinful desires of their hearts to sexual impurity for the degrading of their bodies with one another. 25 They exchanged the truth about God for a lie, and worshiped and served created things rather than the Creator—who is forever praised. Amen.

26 Because of this, God gave them over to shameful lusts. Even their women exchanged natural sexual relations for unnatural ones. 27 In the same way the men also abandoned natural relations with women and were inflamed with lust for one another. Men committed shameful acts with other men, and received in themselves the due penalty for their error.

28 Furthermore, just as they did not think it worthwhile to retain the knowledge of God, so God gave them over to a depraved mind, so that they do what ought not to be done. 29 They have become filled with every kind of wickedness, evil, greed and depravity. They are full of envy, murder, strife, deceit and malice. They are gossips, 30 slanderers, God-haters, insolent, arrogant and boastful; they invent ways of doing evil; they disobey their parents; 31 they have no understanding, no fidelity, no love, no mercy. 32 Although they know God’s righteous decree that those who do such things deserve death, they not only continue to do these very things but also approve of those who practice them.

Well…that’s pretty disgusting if you ask me, but then again I am just an atheist. What do I know about morality, not demonizing people, and commanding eternal and divine punishment? It's juts not in my wheelhouse. 

Going into damage control is the Salvation Army’s Major Bruce Harmer who stated:

“…the interview has led to a serious misunderstanding of our teaching…” and the Salvation Army “does not believe, and would never endorse, a view that homosexual activity should result in any form of physical punishment. The Salvationist Handbook of Doctrine does not state that practising homosexuals should be put to death and, in fact, urges all Salvationists to act with acceptance, love and respect to all people.”  

That is as long as they don’t act on their natural tendencies, of course. Its Ok to be gay, just don’t act gay. MOAR REPRESSION!

Harmer continues:

“This is a misunderstanding of the text referred to. The Scripture in question, viewed in its broader context, is not referring to physical death, nor is it specifically targeted at homosexual behaviour. The author is arguing that no human being is without sin, all sin leads to spiritual death (separation from God), and all people therefore need a Saviour.”

Of course, it doesn’t really mean what it says. The “spiritual death” line is a pathetic defense. That is an after-the-fact excuse and rationalization. Romans 1:18-32 is quite clearly disgusting. Even if you were leave out Verse 32, reading that passage is stomach-turning in its religious hate all on its own. Verses like these only become symbolic interpretations when it is necessary while other verses are held true and must be held as true. How is it decided which to follow and which to ignore? It cannot be religiously inspired morality informing people their religious morals are outdated, incorrect, or heinous. I wonder where it comes from...

Go on….think about it. 

Friday, November 23, 2012

Black Friday Link Dump 11/23/12

Yesterday was the Thanksgiving holiday here in the U.S., which invariably makes this the consumerist nightmare called Black Friday.  I, your intrepid and diligent blog contributor, am not participating in Black Friday.  Instead, I am sitting by the fire with a glass of buttered rum, so that I may bring you the latest and greatest in re-linked news. Like this.

Our Stuff



Here's your Black Friday video.

Saturday, November 17, 2012

The Left Hemispheres Podcast Ep07 - I'm doing it right, you're not supposed to enjoy it

This week Andy from Laughing in Purgatory is back to visit. Andy, Steve, Nick, and Jack discuss the election fallout, christian sex practices, and the pros and cons of indoctrinating children.
Show notes:
As always please direct questions, comments, suggestions, or discussion to us via email at Of course you can also find us on Facebook, Google+, and Twitter @lefthemispheres.

Friday, November 16, 2012

Friday Link Dump 11/16/12

Just videos on LH this week. I’m trying something new this week in the FLD. The first section is atheism/antitheism/religion related stuff. The second section is politics mainly the collective conservative post-election freakout. Last, but certainly not least is the science section.

It’s not a debate.

Thursday, November 15, 2012

A Debate on the Existence of God: The Cosmological Argument -- F. C. Copleston vs. Bertrand Russell

via Reason Broadcast.

I highly recommend you check out Reason Broadcast's post on this as they put a lot of work into transcribing the entire thing.

Friday, November 9, 2012

Friday Link Dump 11/9/12

I can't stop posting these guys.

Thursday, November 8, 2012

Open Letter to Conservative America

I see a lot of conservatives/Republicans dumbfounded about the election results, wondering about the state of America, and where it has gone wrong. Here's why I think you lost and will continue to lose moving forward.
If your platform were really what you claim, fiscal conservatism, small government, lean but effective law; the conversation would be much different. In fact, many in the center and even on the left would gladly sit down and see what we could do together. The problem is your backward social policy.
The majority of Americans can see what the GOP is: the party of the past. Your base is predominantly old, white, male Christians who resent/hate minorities, women, and anyone who thinks differently. Oh, and your irrational disdain and fear of gays would be laughable if it wasn’t so disgusting and virulent. Most people, most good people, do not like to demonize others let alone their fellow citizens. You make demonizing people a major part of your platform and the propaganda that motivates your base. Let me repeat that: you demonize people as a means to inspire people. And your base eats it up. Whether it’s denying adults the fundamental human right to marry whomever they wish, painting other religions as stupid or evil without looking in the mirror as to how stupid or evil your religion is, or actually believing that anyone—especially your fellow Americans that have different political ideas and solutions—are immoral and treasonous. We know all this because it’s all you talk about. You have nothing to add to the conversation but vitriol. Your biggest idea is to suggest we tear the whole thing down. Probably so you can try and rebuild it the manner only you approve of.
Those on the right are fond of parroting patriotic lines about liberty, but how do you envision this liberty? It is a liberty for those willing to follow your very narrow and myopic vision of the universe. All justified with nothing more than arguments from authority demanding submission to your ideals and morals. There is nothing about your rhetoric or actions that suggest liberty. In fact it is the opposite. Conservatism is tyrannically holding people to the ideals and traditions of a past that never existed, or more importantly, one that no sane person would want to return to.
The vast majority of your attacks on President Barack Obama have been not only ineffective but delusional and dividing. The unhinged nature of your hate—which really is largely racism— doesn’t allow actual governing to take place. There are real and valid criticisms of Obama's policies. However, these rational conversations cannot take place while you bang the drum of racist demagoguery, dictatorship conspiracies and for fucks sake anti-Christ claims. Y'all are fucking crazy. No rational conversation can occur regarding how to improve our collective fate while you allow, participate and encourage extremists to take the wheel.
In short, there is nothing wrong with the direction of America. There is something wrong with your archaic, stagnant beliefs and policies. You're an endangered species. Either adapt or go extinct. Personally, if it should be the latter I and many of your fellow Americans won't miss you.

What the Religious Right doesn't realize is, part of the reason conservatives are losing ground is batshit, delusional statements and beliefs like this. You're old. You're wrong. You're dinosaurs. Just fade into extinction.