Priest fired for saying the wrong magic words?

I wrote this post on Facebook last night and maybe it’s worth expanding here…

Earlier, Josh asked me to explain the definition of satire…

Funny how difficult it is (for me anyway) without looking it up. I explained it as using humour to criticize something, to mock it, and often using parody for the mocking part, which creates an equal but absurd criticism of the thing. So it uses humour but is really serious.

My example was telling him about that priest who was forced to resign because of 20 years of botched baptisms, because he said “WE baptize you in the name of Jesus” instead of “I baptize you…”, and that my parody of it was to write a status on here suggesting he botched the baptisms because he forgot to say “abracadabra”.

But it’s a great example, isn’t it? I mean, the more I think about it, the more similar it is. He didn’t say the right magic words in a meaningless ritual, and absurdly, the church now claims all those baptisms “don’t count”. It’s so fucking stupid, it almost parodies itself.

Imagine believing in such absolute fucking hogwash.

Here’s an article about that priest. The story is legit.

It’s even been commented on by Father Nathan Monk here… He’s a former priest but now atheist and writer as well as social media personality – one who often triggers angry Christians because he still uses the Father moniker. The thing is, he’s a qualified Catholic priest, so he an use that if he wants to. Anyway, his point is that the church isn’t playing by its own rules here… They allow any baptized person to perform a baptism in certain contexts, and accept baptisms from Christian converts of other Christian religions. So why be so hard on this priest? It’s fucking goofy.

Why do I mock religion?

Recently a creationist commenter posed some questions asking why I disbelieve in his god, questions which were hard to take seriously. I asked others for help on how to answer his comment without being sarcastic, but they were even more harsh than I was, calling it word salad, amongst other things. I did write a post in response to his lengthy comment, but it doesn’t feel right to me. Maybe I’ll still publish it, with his full comment text, but in the meantime, I’d much rather write about how I came to mock religion as I do now.

The idea for this one came to me via a memory, triggered by the way someone reacted to a Facebook post of mine yesterday, a post which led to me sharing this: (I don’t know why the FB embed is not displaying. It worked before publishing and now it isn’t, so I’m using an image instead.)


Let’s wind back that clock, shall we? The year was 1985, my first year of high school. Standard six, or grade eight as they call it now. I’d had a fairly protected upbringing, by parents who were devout Roman Catholic, and my mother in particular was paranoid about other religions (their youth programs and so forth) being more fun than the Catholic Sunday school and youth programs we attended, which were very much old school.

That alone is ironic, come to think of it. In her own way, my mother recognized the harm of indoctrination, and was worried that my brother or I might be sucked into some other more modern church. (I highly doubt there was much of a chance of that happening to either of us, for different reasons. She should have given us more credit. Mind you, as a parent, I understand.) But getting back to the point, my protected upbringing meant my only exposure to Christianity was though the lens of our weekly attendance at Mass, and Sunday school. She didn’t even like the idea of us going to other Christian churches, which suited me fine because I didn’t much like the idea of that either.

So… imagine my surprise when some twat handed out Gideons Bibles at school and I actually read mine. It was the first time I didn’t get cherry picked Bible verses through the lens of the parish priest, and… wow! What a lot of bullshit! Fucking pages and pages and pages of lineages of men, such as Joseph. It’s like they just put random writings together. Sorry, I can’t refer to which chapter and verse because I’m not interested in looking that up, but clearly whoever made sure they showed that Joseph descended directly from David was unaware that he allegedly didn’t father Jesus. It’s blatantly obvious when reading that, that some writers were quite unaware of the daddy is god and mommy is a virgin claim, and at the time of that writing, Jesus was shown to be descended from David. (The same David who was mysteriously celebrated for taking a ranged weapon to hand to hand combat, and cheating, shooting his opponent before the man could even reach the battlefield. Kind of like taking a gun to a boxing match. That cunt.)

Further, it was blatantly obvious to me as a thirteen year old reading the Bible that it described all kinds of things that never happened. And I do mean never. Where does one go from this kind of revelation? Well, it seems most Christians just put that doubt out of their heads and find excuses to carry right on believing. I tried. I wanted to believe so I told myself that maybe some of the stuff was nonsense but the idea of god and Jesus and the creation and heaven were true. But I did also mock that stupid verse from Revelation. It struck me as hilarious that this was the source of the Beast, 666, and all that as used in various horror movies like The Omen. But actually read it and it’s a bunch of mumbo jumbo. So I wrote it all over the school desks (along with a couple of other things and drawings that I won’t mention here)… I wrote it along with the chapter and verse, and can you guess how other people responded? They didn’t believe those words actually came from the Bible. Because like me, they had never read it.

So you could say I had a crisis of faith, because I read the Bible. Because I saw it for what it really was. But I tried to hang on, force myself to keep believing, because to my father, being Catholic was very important. It was a strong part of his identity. I went through with my confirmation at age 14, and didn’t speak of my doubt to anyone. By the age of 15 my reasoning went like this: Why should I believe that other people, born into a different religion such as Islam, who believe just as sincerely as we do, will be punished for all eternity? Just because they were born to parents who taught them a different religion to me? Why? Even if I assume a god exists, why would he be so cruel? It’s a birth lottery; nothing more.

I’d lay awake at night wondering about such things. In some moments I did believe, and wonder why this god would punish those other innocent people. In other moments, theirs was the true religion, and I’d be the one to suffer in Hell because their god would punish me for being born into the wrong religion. And then like most people (I imagine), I’d put those thoughts away during the day and focus on other things that teenagers focused on.

I have mentioned before, a school acquaintance named Meri, from Finland, who prompted me to lose my faith. Perhaps I gave her too much credit, so this time, including the paragraphs before this one, I’m writing the whole story. That was my state of mind – extreme confusion, because I saw everything in the Bible as pure nonsense, and yet I believed, kind of. I clung to that belief with a thread. Then one day, I heard a girl crying. Her name was Meri, and she spoke with a funny accent. No one liked her because she was different. A group of boys were jeering and laughing at her and even my friend Dale, who I thought was a nice guy, was smirking at the absurdity of her not believing in god.

I approached her because I felt bad for her, because I was quiet and shy and different to most people, because I also isolated myself. So I asked her what this was about, and she asked me, “Do you believe in religion, and god?” I said “Yes, I do”, to which she responded, the tears barely dry in her eyes, “Why!? Why do you believe? It’s so stupid.” And just like that, seeing that it was acceptable to doubt, I stopped believing. Because I had no reason to believe. If I’d had the words to answer her in those few seconds before my belief vanished forever, I’d have said, “I believe because I’ve always believed, because I know that god is real. I know it in my heart.” But I didn’t know any such thing. That was the simple fact. The only words I could form were the sheepish, “I don’t know (why I believe)”, but the reality was, my mind was racing – I went from “knowing” god is real to knowing with absolute certainty that this god was made up by men.

I did at one stage believe that mocking religion, or scoffing at the absurdity of it, as she did, might trigger others to think, to have that moment of clarity and change their minds, as it did for me. But it’s never happened. Maybe I was naive to think it could? Most likely I think, it was inevitable that I’d end up atheist – the complete loss of faith was already cemented in my doubts and she just provided the final nail to crucify those beliefs. But regardless, that is only a small part of why I mock religion. At sixteen years old, I still thought that for the most part, religion was a good thing, that it taught useful virtues and values, and that religious people were good people. I was wrong.

I should have known from the way those good Christian boys treated Meri, but I didn’t see it. Not yet. But dear reader, doesn’t my story of her seem slightly familiar? And no, I don’t mean because I have written about her before. Others have made movies using a very similar plot. I’m thinking of Kevin Sorbo with his God’s Not Dead trash. It’s a familiar narrative, one shared by 1000001 edgy Facebook Christians who share their persecution narratives, except in their fiction, it’s atheists who condescend to them and bully them. Let me make this crystal fucking clear: We live in a credulous world where people, the majority are held together by blind faith and magical thinking, where most people are driven by apophenia and take comfort in their fictional everlasting life, where the atheists are the exceptions, and where we are very much at the receiving end of bullying and harassment. It’s been this way for hundreds of years.

Like it’s not bad enough that my parents were like two blind mice in their Catholicism and they made me spend all those Sunday morning wasting my fucking time in Mass and Sunday school, and all those months… actually years worrying about Hell and endless torment; like it’s not bad enough that my son had to be subjected to that bullshit too; we can’t even have Facebook groups especially for atheists without some willfully ignorant buffoons trying to proselytize to us and “save” us.

Your arguments are vapid, full of fallacies, ad hominem, appeals to irrelevant authority, argumentum ad populum, begging the question, and outright nonsense. And no, I don’t need expertise in fucking philosophy to reject your assumption that a creator exists. Philosophy isn’t about that – you’re simply equivocating, hiding behind words that you don’t understand to justify an assumption that makes no sense whatsoever, but is based on what you think you know with your brainwashed mind, not on evidence. And no, I do not need to know theology to understand that it is all nonsense when it is obvious from the outside that studying it is simply a matter of studying the innermost details of the made up shit. I don’t need to smear the shit on my nose to know that it stinks. And I certainly do not need to feel compelled to respond to such presumptuous passive aggressive statements masquerading as questions.

But by the way, there are many people who have studied theology and concluded that it is bullshit. And if you really want to play the argumentum ad populum game, then boy do I have bad news for you.

But getting back to my personal story, things took another turn when I was around 18. By then an atheist but not public about it, I spent a year in the old apartheid army, due to conscription. There I heard preachers preaching a strange brand of Christianity I hadn’t heard before, where they read “purity of races” right into their Bibles. I don’t remember what Bible verses once again, but it doesn’t matter. They were pretty convincing, to each other at least. So Christianity was used to justify racism and white supremacy, and a law known as the “Group Areas Act” back then which forced people of different colour to live in separate neighbourhoods. Since then I’ve heard of others with similar racism, people who claim that black people are the “sons of Nod”, the cursed descendants of Cain who murdered his brother Abel, and they use this to justify their belief that white people are superior.

You had to jump through some hoops for the racism to make sense just the same as you do for those who use the Bible to justify homophobia – where the righteous man, Lot, offered up his two daughters to be gang raped by a group of men who wanted to get to the two angels in his home. That verse is used to justify that the men were gay (because they wanted the angels). But it is OK that he offered them his daughters? Why offer his daughters to gay men? And why is it OK to offer women to be raped?

Speaking of Lot and family, his wife was allegedly turned to a pillar of salt for daring to turn her head. Who turned to witness this? But Lot one day got both his daughters pregnant and that’s not a problem. But by all means, don’t be gay. That’s wrong.

Right now, there are Americans spouting the same kind of rhetoric that the boneheads did in the old South Africa. In fact, they’re super popular among the right wing here. Racist scum, the lot of them!

Here’s a fact that too many people are blind to see: Extremism, while it may well exist only on the fringe, is the truest form of any ideology. Religion is all about elitism, the belief that you are right and everybody else is wrong. Taken to its natural extreme, it’s all about hate.

But just as many Christians are willingly blind and ignorant to the nonsense of their own religious texts, so are they blind to the hatred of their beliefs taken to the extreme. It’s not just that your beliefs are absurd, whether you’re like that commenter with his presumptuous Gish gallop of just asking questions, or you’re one of those edgy “I identify as black” white Christians attacking transgender people, or you’re an American politician hiding behind “traditional marriage” to justify homophobia, or you’re just a normal churchgoing person who turns a blind eye to all the harm that your religion does… I see through you. I mock you along with the subject of your belief, because you deserve it. By failing to open up your mind to reality, by not rejecting religion and all the harm that it does, even if you are not one of those vile evil people I have mentioned, you do enable them.

Apparently accepting multiple bullshit magic dudes at face value is better than accepting only one?

I soooo wanna reply to her in two days when my ban gets lifted. I’ll probably get unfriended but still…


I believe English is not her first language (she’s Polish), so “yet we the same time brush off…” is an error. She’s Jewish. It’s a slight error but I’m mentioning it just to clarify what she means.

I find this reasoning baffling. Believing in multiple people doing the impossible and defying the laws of physics and reality isn’t better than believing in just one magic dude. You might be tempted to think it’s even worse, but not me… I’d say it’s about the same. One magic man vs many magic men – same shit, different dogma.

I always find it weird when people claim their religions are better than others. It’s like saying “My magic is the real magic because my magic is real.” Except it isn’t real. It’s just that you’re indoctrinated to believe in your magic and not the other magic.

It’s all bullshit.

Edit: Hey, this meme makes the same point…

I do think she makes one point though, by accident. There is a lot more going on in the Old Testament. God speaks to Abraham, commands men to cut off part of their penises, kills some dude for pulling out rather than impregnating his dead brother’s wife, there are many prophets, god himself gets to commit genocide more than once… A lot.

In fact, the tone is so different, it seems like a different god, and once you get past the superficial bits that appear to follow on, it should be clear that this isn’t the same god at all. It’s just a bunch of people with a new religion who appropriated the culture of an old one that they stole bits from. They even went as far as retconning the purpose of Judaism to be all about Jesus. Of course the Muslims retcon Christianity in a similar manner. I find it all quite hilarious.

Atheists don’t believe in gods. That’s the whole definition of atheism… technically.

Every now and then I see a nonsensical question something like this:


But then, is it nonsensical? It is for me. (And all the other atheists who laugh reacted.) But I, and they, don’t speak for all atheists. Or do we?

Atheism is simply the disbelief in gods. That’s it. But ironically even that short definition is loaded, at least when I write it. I do not define it as the “disbelief in god”, but the “disbelief in gods”. There’s a subtle difference.

A theist, for example a Christian, might define atheism as the “disbelief in god”. That’s because they assume their god is real, and the concept of god itself is based solely on their own one. To them, their god is “God”, in other words “the god”. As for me, my concept of god changed. The Christian god claim is one of many. None of them are more significant than any of the others. The words of anyone’s religious texts thus aren’t useful or convincing, or evidence of anything other than that their claim exists.

When I was sixteen and stopped believing, I would have defined my own atheism as the “disbelief in god” because my concept of god was still based solely on the one I was taught about at my Roman Catholic church and Sunday School. But then I also still believed in an afterlife, so this is why the question interests me… But I’m getting ahead of myself.

Can an atheist believe in an afterlife?

Of course! You can believe in Tinkerbell, unicorns, whatever the fuck you want.

Should an atheist still believe in an afterlife?

Probably not.

The thing is, when you start to think critically, you logically adjust your beliefs. There’s a natural progression. Almost every critical thinker starts at the same place… The bearded magic man in the sky who created all the things. We all reject that idea right off the bat because it is obvious nonsense. Some people might stop there, and if that’s good enough for them, that’s OK.

But most of us atheists aren’t just atheists. We’re critical thinkers and skeptics. We examine why the idea of a god is silly, and it is because there’s no evidence. There isn’t any evidence of a “remote” mind being separate to our brains either. In other words, souls are made up things too. An afterlife is likewise a made up thing. Ghosts don’t exist outside of our imagination. And so it goes on. Of course we’d all like to be reunited one day with the people we love who have died. Of course we are all afraid of nonexistence, and the promise of life eternal is attractive, but no amount of wishful thinking makes these things real.

So sure… you could be an atheist who also believes in an afterlife, the supernatural, and so on. But if so, you are likely either new to atheism, or you’re an idiot. You can’t be a critical thinker and believe in such things though. If you believe in such things and call yourself a critical thinker, you’re wrong, but thanks to the Dunning Kruger effect, you won’t take my word for it.

To conclude, I don’t claim to speak for most atheists, technically. But just as I used “technically” in the title. I don’t speak for most, but technically I kind of do, because being an atheist, at least for those of us who started out religious, involves a process. We don’t shed all our irrational beliefs at once, but it happens gradually. So most of us will laugh at the idea of an atheist who believes in an afterlife.

A harsh as my words may seem, I have only recently begun to see what it means to be an atheist who never believed in the first place. My son, now 13 years old, is second generation atheist. For a while I didn’t have control of his upbringing and it seemed like he would be indoctrinated, but he is now definitely a nonbeliever. He doesn’t remember ever believing, and his view is much as I imagined mine would have been if I’d never believed at all. Things like the idea of a god are just plain silly to him, and that makes me proud.

He’s inherited my sarcasm too, so when religion is imposed on him, he can be quite rude about it. (Good.) But like many second generation atheists, he has not inherited my passion for going out of my way to mock creationists. As long as they don’t push their religion onto him, he leaves them be. (Even better.)

But… sorry loons. I won’t leave you alone. In fact, even if I were (hypothetically) to know that a loon reads this blog obsessively, looking for things to use against me, I’d deliberately sneak in the occasional bit of false ammunition that only he would understand for him to load his mental blanks now and then, just to fuck with him.

Now this here is a fallacy

I’ve mentioned this group before. It’ a group of mostly bigots, many of whom are transphobic.

But I’m just posting this as an example of how stupid people can be when debating, and why it’s a waste of time to engage with them.

Regardless of what you think about transgender women, and ignoring that people aren’t numbers in a mathematical equation, this is still a fallacy of composition.

By this lady’s logic (excuse me but I always misgender transphobes), we should be able to take the statement, “gay men are men”, which is obviously true, and reverse it, because according to him we can reverse all true statements just like equations, and thus it must mean that all men are gay. Because mathematics! And science!


Belief. What a strange and dangerous thing it is.

All I ever need is the truth, but I all ever want is affection.
Masquerade as Jesus Christ, and suffer the crucifixion.

Songwriters: Brown / Adams / Hussey / Hinkler
Belief, lyrics © Universal Music Publishing Mgb Ltd., Universal Music Mgb Songs

Belief fascinates me. But unlike Mr Hussey’s naïve words suggest in one of my favourite songs referenced above, in the real world our beliefs tend to affect other people rather than ourselves. We make decisions that affect the lives of others, some of us even imposing our views on other people, views based on things we assume to be true, our beliefs, but belief is very often neither based on evidence nor truth, even when it comes to people who claim to care about evidence.

I just saw this meme shared by someone, unironically used to justify his belief in religion.


I find that ironic, of course, because it makes more sense to use that analogy when referring to religion itself, which most people believe in because of indoctrination. But it isn’t really a good analogy at all. It’s one of those statements that seem profound but lacks substance when one think about it. One could also use use it to justify the belief that we are living in a simulation… (Just by the way – I disagree with them completely. We do not live in a simulation.)

For fuck’s sake… so many people believe that we do live in a simulation, or upon hearing of the idea, they feel that the arguments in favour of it are compelling; so many don’t see it for what it is – an unfalsifiable claim that pretends to be profound while in reality is nothing more than seeing the world through the lens of our current technology and its limitations. In 100 years or so, the simulation idea will make as much sense as us now imagining the universe in terms of the industrial revolution, or using technology like X-Rays or Gamma Rays to explain everything. I’m thinking of the old comics… it made sense that the Hulk turned into a monster because of gamma radiation, and Spider-Man gained his powers from a “radioactive” spider, because at the time, radiation represented the lay person’s understanding of science and its limitations, just like computers and simulations represent our limitations right now. Eventually though, scifi will move on, hopefully to something less stupid than the fear-mongering “we are living in a simulation” nonsense.

And yet, once we have made up our minds that we believe in something, we treat that thing as fact, as our reality. A while back I wrote about my fascination with those who believe in the Nibiru cataclysm conspiracy theory (a subset of an “End Times” conspiracy theory)… I’d joined a group of believers on Facebook and tried in vain to explain to them that everything they believed was nonsense, but in the end they threw me out of their group. Actually it’s worse than that one example alone. If you search for all my posts with that tag you’ll see that before they kicked me out, they called me a troll and a scumbag, among other things, rather than face the prospect that maybe we’re not living in “End Times”. That’s the other thing about belief, you see… You believe what you want to believe. People who believe we are living in “End Times” want that desperately to be true. And the same applies to other beliefs but I’ll get back to that.

Beliefs become dangerous when people with authority get to impose it on others, and one of the best examples of this is the so-called Satanic Panic of the 1980’s. There, people were in some case locked up in prison for imaginary crimes committed against their children, because of the religious zeal of others and the power of suggestion. There are few people more dangerous than rogue therapists and psychologists with religiously driven motivations who get to impose their views on the suggestive minds of children. They get to do major damage, not only to the suggestive children themselves, but also to the parents if their authority allows them to have a punitive influence on those parents, such as the case with the Satanic Panic example, but not limited to that.

Imagine someone with authority taking an interest in the welfare of a child, someone who prides himself or herself on an evidence-driven approach, yet who believes in religion and has some kind of fear of online paedophiles, much like the Q-Anon conspiracists but on the surface more based on legitimate fear of strangers… who lets that belief drive his decisions, even in the case of a non-religious child. You can’t have it both ways – the truth is, if you believe in religion, you cannot claim to follow evidence. It doesn’t work like that. Imagine someone like that imposing his own baffling technophobia on a child and barring that child from using the internet, despite the skills one obtain online are arguably more useful than anything they teach in school. This is only one hypothetical example but there are surely plenty of ways that someone with religious convictions and misplaced good intentions with authority can harm a child.

I can’t help wondering though… Knowing that certain fears are in truth a manifestation of the desires of those who believe them, why do people want to believe those things? I can understand if you want to believe in Jesus – you’ve perhaps bought the lie that we are born in sin and shame and you need this god to be saved (from this same god’s punishment, never mind the irony). But why would you want to believe we are living in “End Times”? Why would you want to believe in some kind of “leftist Satanic” organisation of evil online paedophiles? Why?

Going back to the Satanic Panic example, there are many essays and articles online linking it to current conspiracy theories such as Q-Anon. I wouldn’t have made that connection myself, but I have personally seen the harm that religiously motivated people with authority and influence can do to children, which is more in line with the way the Satanic Panic originally worked. The fact is, belief, and faith itself – which is nothing more than belief despite zero supporting evidence, is at last being recognized to be the harmful thing it truly is. Not universally, but that recognition is out there, and our society is becoming more secular, little by little. A world without religion, without faith, and also thus without conspiracy theories, would be a far safer place than the one in which we live now.

Let’s not forget how easy it is to fake images on the internet, OK? These are not real tickets for Trump’s 2nd inauguration.

Donald Trump may well be an idiot, and his faithful supporters may well be as smart as a pocket of potatoes when we add all their IQs, but… when something seems too good to be true, when it confirms what we believe or would like to believe, it probably is too good to be true. In other words, it isn’t true. We can all be victims of confirmation bias.

Case in point, there are plenty of memes and articles going around mocking Trump supporters for believing that he will be reinstated in August. He really said that he would, but that doesn’t mean he believes it. He probably isn’t that stupid. But wouldn’t we all on the left want to believe that his supporters really are that stupid?

So a Facebook friend tried to pass this off as if these are real tickets… I did not see one commenter who didn’t believe it. (Still about 26 days to go of my ban so I can’t point it out myself…)


The Dog Groomer just purchased 2 tickets to Dumpy’s second inauguration that will supposedly take place at noon, August 15, 2021, in front of the Capitol steps! He’s taking Mother-in-Law!Total price $2400.00! ‍

But a quick image search led me to the template on this page


Let’s not be so credulous, huh? If you look at the version he shared, it isn’t even a good Photoshop… The third-last line should also be visible in the bottom ticket, but whoever made the image didn’t bother with it.

8 ways to cleanse your lungs?

I’ve had this page open in a tab since someone sent me a link when I quit smoking more than two months ago. I still haven’t read it. I’m not going to.

Read it if you like, but it occurred to me that you don’t need to cleanse your lungs. Just breathe. Just fucking breathe. Inhale and exhale. But wait… you do that anyway if you’re not dead. So yah… don’t bother with cleansing your lungs. They’re not fucking dishes.

I wonder why the web is so full of woo? Isn’t it obvious that lung cleansing exercises are unnecessary? It should be. But we have become so accustomed to being consumers, even of information, we think there must be a fix for everything. You don’t need to detox your lungs or your colon or your vagina or whatever nonsense the snake oil salesmen/saleswomen want to sell you. Just use some common sense.