The fascinating belief in the Nibiru cataclysm conspiracy theory

Have a look at these two screenshots I grabbed last night…

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Besides the fact that these people seem batshit crazy, there are a few things I find fascinating about this…

First, some background info for those who have never heard of the Nibiru cataclysm. (Read that Wikipedia link for the long version.) A man named Zecharia Sitchin left us with some fanciful mistranslations of Sumerian cuneiform (ancient carvings on stone tablets). And when I write “fanciful mistranslations”, what I mean is he couldn’t read the ancient glyphs at all, so he made up his own translations based on what he thought the pictures looked like. And… Tada! Ancient Aliens was born. He wasn’t the only one but let’s stick with him. So ancient mythical gods, the Annunaki, became aliens on a mysterious planet, called Planet X or Nibiru, which, on a 3600 year elliptical orbit, passes very close to us every once in a while and causes all kinds of chaos. Also the aliens were the ones who seeded life on earth, or something like that.

Of course all of that is pure bullshit, and real translations of the Sumerian cuneiform exist and are even indexed online so anyone can read them. (Start here.) No planets or aliens or any of that stuff can be found in the real translations but that doesn’t stop people from believing.

The basic premise of the cataclysmic conspiracy theory is that Nibiru has been on a collision course with us since the 1980’s and this was somehow covered up by [insert shady government or NASA or New World Order here]. And now, it is here, even though it failed to end the world in 2003 and 2012 and other dates. And even though nobody can detect it, and a rogue planet (or sun depending on which variant of the conspiracy you believe) would be easy to detect in the solar system. Note that the Nemesis sun theory, also mentioned in the screenshot comments, is another belief in a hypothetical companion or “twin” to our sun. Some people seem to have conflated the Nibiru and Nemesis conspiracies, so for some it’s a planet, while for others it’s a star, and then there are those who believe in an entire solar system.

Anyway, I became fascinated with the conspiracy back in 2012, and I thought that when the world failed to end, people would stop believing. But they didn’t. Instead, they adjusted their beliefs to explain why they couldn’t see Planet X (like the fake sun claims in the screenshot), or saw “signs” of it in other things. (Just like people who believe in Jesus/God, et al, see signs to confirm what they want to see.)

But there are a couple of interesting things to take out of this:

  1. Fundamentally, this is a conspiracy with a base of racism. White people who refuse to accept that ancient people built amazing structures such as the pyramids (because to them everybody who isn’t white is stupid, inferior, and incompetent), so therefore those structures were built by aliens.
  2. Aliens here is just a synonym for god/magic. It’s the same as any other magical thinking where the unknown gets replaced by a placeholder: God, aliens, magic… all amount to the same thing.

Thus what we have here is the birth of a new religion. It’s not called a religion… not yet. But it’s only a matter of time. Of course that means debating these people is pointless as they have an unfalsifiable hypothesis, just like god/Jesus, et al. But it is interesting to see a new religion forming before our very eyes.

Update: (worth mentioning) This is a right wing conspiracy, in much the same sense as evangelical Christianity is generally right wing or “conservative”. So belief in other conservative conspiracies is common. In other words, these are mostly white people, many are American and Donald Trump supporters, as well as fascists. Other conspiracies like chemtrails, New World Order, Obama “birthers”… are all thrown into the mix. Religion is often regressive, even this new one.

Update two: Confession… I believed in this conspiracy myself overnight some time in 2012. It was, after all, a year before I stopped using methamphetamine. I read about it while I was high on meth and in my paranoia, I believed it at first. The idea of a conspiracy and scientists knowing the truth but hiding it to avoid mass panic didn’t seem so crazy, until I came down. Then I read up about it properly, looking from all angles, but mostly with the hilarious realization that these people had about as much sense as I did while out of my mind on amphetamines…. except they are like that all the time. And thus my interest in conspiratorial belief was born. I was obsessed with it back then as it was something to “tweak” on, and I have remained fascinated, though no longer obsessed, ever since.

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“I don’t know” never means God did it.

This morning my 5:30AM toilet visit was entertained by this status:

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I’m not complaining. I needed some motivation to shit. Thanks, oh enlightened one…

I replied to it with only two words: False dichotomy. Do I need to explain all the faults here? Here are a few of them…

  1. The opposite of creation is not some other kind of creation.
  2. The opposite of “I don’t know” is not creation by an intelligent designer. There is no opposite to it.
  3. The argument from first cause simply moves the problem to a magical answer named god that is assumed not to have a cause, violating it’s own premise (Everything has a cause and the first cause is god, but god does not have a cause), but is defined as something you are not supposed to question. In other words, special pleading.

As with all such arguments, the theist believes he knows his god is real. Now there’s absolutely nothing wrong with that. That’s literally what faith is. And as long as you are making a statement about your faith, it’s all good. But you shouldn’t pretend to be logical.

There’s nothing logical about starting with your assumed conclusion and working backwards. It’s intellectually dishonest. I know this is what’s going on because I used to be a believer. Since the person is indoctrinated, he assumes his god exists, then does not admit it but instead uses motivated reasoning to come up with a pseudo-logical argument that comes to conclude what he assumed upfront. (That was not enough for me. Fundamentally that is why I lost my faith as a teenager.)

Making that leap is equivalent to writing the non sequitur, “One plus one is equal to two. Therefore dogs are better than cats.” There is no logical connection between the two sentences, other than the one in the brain of my hypothetical person in this analogy. Likewise, every argument for a god does exactly what my example does… but usually in a way that jumps through a few more hoops. Bullshit baffles brains and the verbosity and/or apparent sophistication of such arguments fool the ignorant as well as those who make the same assumption. But such “logic” isn’t logical at all and never fools anyone who actually can think critically about the subject.

When you examine the arguments raised in this poll, they are very weak. God is nothing more than an alternative to “I don’t know” and is synonymous with magic. In other words, magical thinking.

One of the worst arguments for an afterlife ever (The law of conservation of energy)

I’ve been down for three days with a muscle spasm in my lower back. So, since the pain is still significant even though I can walk now, here’s the shortened version of this post…

Although I don’t participate in atheist vs theist debates any longer, I am still a member of a couple of debate groups, and this dumb argument shows up from time to time, always presented by a man (we are the dumber gender, seriously) who is pretentious, smug, and arrogant… and keen to show how clever he is with overly verbose arguments.

Since I’m in pain and lazy, I’m going to illustrate how stupid the argument is by putting it in a table, side by side with a similarly lame argument.

Law of Conservation of Energy lame argument for an afterlife Example of begging the question
Premise Assume the existence of a “mind” separate to the brain, that controls the brain. (Let’s call this a soul, shall we?) Assume A.
Inference Energy is never lost, blah blah blah, some verbose crap here that distracts you from the assumption made up front. Introduce B, C, & D.
Remove B, C, & D.
Conclusion Therefore a soul exists and lives on after the body dies. Therefore A.

If you can’t see what’s wrong with that argument, you have “issues” with your logic. To be fair, the argument is normally sneaky about the assumption made up front, but it’s always there. The person making the argument puts a lot of effort into their argument inference… a lot. So much that it may be difficult to read, what with all the scientific jargon and elaborate sophisticated language. But none of that changes the fact that the energy lost in death can be perfectly explained by decomposition… or combustion in the case of cremation. Bullshit baffles brains but any argument that assumes its conclusion in the premise is wrong.

To clarify, this argument pretends to be scientific and logical because the argument inference tries to make out that some mysterious energy must be left over after a body dies, and that energy is the soul. Normally people respond only to the argument inference, as the writer intended, but the problem is that the argument always assumes this mystical energy existed separately from the body to begin with. Take away the entire argument inference, as lengthy and verbose as it is, and you will observe that the soul was already assumed to exist in the premise. It just wasn’t called a soul.


Edit… Here’s a real world example of a variation of the above argument, and as I explained in the post, it’s by a man who is as smug as he is stupid, but is keen to show how clever he thinks he is. From a debate group I was added to without asking a while back, so I tend to respond there but treat everything I see as fair game to share outside the group.
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Reminder: You don’t have to debunk flat earthers…

You may have noticed a common theme on this blog is my fascination with belief despite no evidence to back up that belief, or belief in spite of evidence to the contrary – which comes to the same thing really. So imagine how baffling a time of year Easter is… when nearly everyone around me believes that around 2000 years ago some dude came back from the dead after three days, complete with his wounds but somehow alive, and then flew up into the sky to his deity daddy. But today I’ll rather write about something else that most, but sadly not all of us… do not believe: the flat earth.

I’ve argued with a few flat earthers over the past couple of years, and in the process picked up a few points worth mentioning…

  1. When approached by a flat earther, you don’t have to prove the earth is not flat. You have made no claim. If someone claims the earth is flat, the burden of proof lies on them to back up their claim.
  2. If you point out to them that the ancient Greeks calculated the approximate circumference of the Earth using shadow lengths, a known distance, and geometry, they simply assert this did not happen.
  3. Every image shared by a flat earther to prove the earth is flat actually proves it is spherical. For example, images taken out of passenger planes… Perspective would work differently on a flat earth. Imagine an ant suspended one millimeter above a chess board… depending on its eyesight, it would be able to see quite a long way. Likewise, perspective on a flat plane would allow us to see all the way to the blurry edge, or at least pretty damn far. Aerial photos would look completely different to the way they do.
  4. Gravity on a flat plane would be weird. Since it pulls us towards the center of mass, it would only work the way we know it in the middle. As we move away from the middle towards the edge, it would be like traversing a gradient that gets steeper as you go, until the very edge would be like a 90° angle and we’d fall sideways. Of course flat earthers get around this by asserting that gravity does not exist.
  5. GPS would not work and all the science they taught us would be wrong. Of course flat earthers insist that satellites don’t exist so presumably GPS works using magic.
  6. if the stars are mere twinkly lights on the dome as they believe, that does not explain why people living in the southern hemisphere like myself see different constellations to the northern hemisphere. Of course flat earthers simply assert that this is not so.
  7. Come to think of it, there should be some fucked up kind of refraction and reflection going on in the dome when you look towards the edge.
  8. All navigation systems are a lie, apparently.
  9. If you manage to get a flat earther to reluctantly answer, “Where is the edge?”, they will normally tell you something about it being controlled by the government, or NASA, or something. In other words, the entire edge is being policed, right around the circumference of the Earth. Never mind the size of the conspiracy required (excuse me for ignoring the conspiracies required for earlier points), but policing the entire edge would require the cooperation of all governments, more ships than I can imagine, and probably more people than the entire population of the planet.

That’s just a few points off the top of my head. So, next time somebody tells you the earth is flat, don’t argue. Just politely remind them that they are an idiot and tell them to fuck off.

Critical thinking is not for everyone? (Enneagrams)

Recently at work we had to take Enneagram tests, followed by a three week course on the subject, in three weekly two hour meetings, given to us by an expert.

My view of those personality tests:

  1. If you force people to answer leading questions that pigeonhole them into a bunch of set categories, you will get results that look similar to the categories involved.
  2. The rest of it does not follow logically, or psychologically, or scientifically, and is not based on a foundation that’s in any way rational.

To clarify, there are nine personality types, and apparently I am a reformer, type one. But each type has (to avoid their jargon) an unhappy path and a happy path. In other words each type can be in a healthy or unhealthy state, and in that state, they take on the characteristics of another personality type. However, we were given explanations neither for how these arbitrary major types are selected, nor how their preset paths to the healthy and unhealthy states work. That is, the arbitrarily selected personality types take on preset characteristics of other arbitrary personality types, and this has no foundation in… well anything really.

Can you guess why these explanations were not given? (Bait and switch, baby!) Of course, it’s because the enneagrams are based on pseudoscience. Why does each type have preset paths to another type? This is where the pseudoscience comes in. You can find a decent explanation here. It’s also clear that other skeptics have a similar view to me. See this skeptics stack exchange question. It happens to be about the same test that we took at work. There’s no answer posted, but the view of skeptics is clear from the comments.

Here is an excerpt from the first link above, illustrating the rationale behind the way the personality types relate and the selection of the preset types that they take on under healthy and unhealthy states:

An enneagram is, literally, a drawing with nine lines. Figuratively, however, the enneagram is a New Age mandala, a mystical gateway to personality typing. The drawing is based upon a belief in the mystical properties of the numbers7 and 3.* It consists of a circle with nine equidistant points on the circumference. The points are connected by two figures: one connects the number 1 to 4 to 2 to 8 to 5 to 7 and back to 1; the other connects 3, 6 and 9. The 142857 sequence is based on the fact that dividing 7 into 1 yields an infinite repetition of the sequence 142857. In fact, dividing 7 into any whole number not a multiple of 7 will yield the infinite repetition of the sequence 142857. Also, 142857 x 7 = 999999. And of course 1 divided by 3 yields an infinite sequence of threes. The triangle joining points 3, 6 and 9 links all the numbers on the circle divisible by 3. To ascribe metaphysical or mystical significance to the properties of numbers is mere superstition and a throwback to an earlier time in human history when ignorance was considered a point of view (apologies to “Dilbert” and Scott Adams).

As you can see, the pseudoscience behind the enneagrams is numerology. Just because there is some mathematical relationship between a bunch of numbers when you divide them by each other does not mean that personality types assigned to those numbers have characteristics of those numbers. Numeral systems are in any case simply a representation of numbers that people came up with. In other words, an abstraction, a map to represent real concrete things. Any “mysterious relationship” between numbers is simply a quirk of the numeral system itself. Would a numeral system other than base 10 yield the same “mysterious” relationships between numbers? I don’t think so… But to apply other things, in this case types of personality… to those numbers, and read something into that… well that’s just silly.

If you go ahead and read the Skeptic’s Dictionary link above, it should be clear that it’s all nonsense. Enneagrams may have some merit, because once you force people to answer questions that put them into a broad category, the category will apply to them… somewhat. But the rest of it is pure bullshit. The reports read like a bunch of Barnum statements which could apply to anybody. Primed to credulously accept them because the broad categories seem applicable, people who take the test then buy into it without really noticing.

And yet, nobody else in the office has my view. I wouldn’t rate myself as much above average a critical thinker. But everybody else in the office seem to have approached the subject very credulously indeed. (Unless of course some kept their skeptocism to themselves.) I don’t believe Enneagrams are harmful because the vague, general descriptions in the reports based on them do contain things that apply to everybody, so by following them when dealing with others, we may accidentally consider their thoughts and feelings. So it could do some good… by accident. The person running the coaching I was part of was quite obsessed with it and did seem to help people, but I have seen such zeal before, in others obsessed with other personality tests, as well as religion, 12 step programs, astrology, and psychics. The placebo effect is real.

To be fair, I did keep an open mind. But open does not mean that I accept claims without checking them out. And the claims made by Enneagrams do not check out. Of course nobody who buys into Enneagrams will read this and accept my conclusion. I am, after all, being critical, and a true believer will likely deduce that I am just doing what a type one does in writing this, thus everything written here can be dismissed as exactly what a reformer would write. More broadly, they could probably write off every skeptic as being a reformer too.

How I stopped believing in religion–Part Two (the rest)

By popular demand…. where popular means as requested by my one loyal reader, friend, and commenter from Sweden, here follows the second part. This one will be short.

By the time of my Confirmation as a Roman Catholic at fourteen years old, I was having serious doubts. I mean, I already didn’t believe in almost everything they taught in Sunday school, but as a teenager, I started thinking about other religions. I didn’t know any of them in detail, but I realized that was quite unnecessary.

I realized that I was taught my religion was the One True Religion, but so were other people. Everybody I knew sincerely believed in Christianity, but other people sincerely believed in other religions. The only difference between us and and them was the location of birth and religion of our parents.

How could our god, who was so loving and good, sentence others to eternal punishment just for being born into the wrong religion? It makes no sense. There seems to be two ways people respond to this dilemma:

  1. Assume all religions contain some kind of universal truth, ignore the differences, and cherry pick what they have in common.
  2. Realize the truth – that the only thing in common is belief. Whether that’s an evolutionary need to believe or something else doesn’t matter.

Obviously I went with number two. I didn’t quite put it all together, not then, not at fourteen years old, but I did get closer at around sixteen when confronted by an atheist, and then it took me less than thirty seconds to realize that I was comfortable with rejecting everything about my religion. And all the other religions. (Actually I didn’t call myself an atheist until years later, and also didn’t come to grips with rejecting the idea of an afterlife. But that doesn’t matter here. This post is only about me saying goodbye to belief in religion.) If Christians can reject other religions without knowing their doctrines and belief systems, and for example Muslims can do the same, then so can I. I can reject them all. It isn’t about the subject of the belief, it is about belief itself. It doesn’t matter what god or belief system you grow up with, they are all very much the same. And they all indoctrinate you the same way. It would be illogical to assume any of them contain any truth.

My first post could be rewritten about any other religion by someone who grew up with a different religious background, because when you look at any religion closely, they all believe stuff that’s batshit crazy. I still don’t understand why believers believe, because I have realized that it was natural for me to reject religion in general. With all my doubts right through childhood, for me atheism was inevitable – a natural part of growing up. I don’t grasp why it isn’t that way for everybody.

It also works if you don’t work it.

Apologies for the lack of posts of late. I’ve been busy… deadlines at work, bugs to fix, some of them my fault, and the taking over of a mess of a half implemented project by a fellow senior programmer who was fired, have kept me busy. When I’m not at work, I’m resting my drained brain. In addition, my ex and her daughter are back, and have been for a month or so now. Josh’s sister, Aishah, is in grade 0 in a school just down the road, and I now have to take both of them to school and pick them up after, so suddenly I am a parent to not only an almost eleven year old, but a five year old too. So time to write is not something I have a lot of.

Regardless, today I found myself reading a recovery blog by someone who once linked to this one, and found that she referred to that awful bit of recovery jargon I despise, “It works if you work it so work it, you’re worth it.”

Fuck that shit. You don’t have to work a 12 step program. If it works for you, that’s great, but it’s not for everybody. As a rule, I assume anything that involves repeating annoying platitudes is bullshit. And I don’t recall a single instance of this assumption ever being shown to be wrong.

Funny how it worked for me. I’ve kind of come full circle. Thrown out of a life of chaos into rehab in late 2009, I assumed that everything they told us must be true. I assumed at first that recovery “wisdom”, which dismisses the general populace’s view of addiction as ignorant, to be useful. I believed that they were right to brush off what most people believe and that the approach to recovery taken by 12 step programs was the way to go. I brushed off my own skepticism and doubts about 12 step programs even though they seemed like obvious bullshit to me. And I paid for that. I paid dearly. Because I trusted too much and had faith in a program that could never sustain my sobriety, I limped along to 9 months clean, and then sprinted back into active addiction and stayed there for another three years.

In the end, what saved me was the rejection of 12 step programs and the idea of a higher power, sponsor, and so on, and embracing my own responsibility for the poor choices I’d made, as well as finding my own way, a way inspired by my love and devotion for others above my own selfish need for self-gratification. I now believe more or less the same about addiction as I did in the first place. I literally learned nothing in any 12 step program.

In short, I focus on my life. I have not once, in this five and a half years clean, “worked” on my recovery. I’m too busy living my life… Working on my work and writing the best software that I can, focusing on my son and keeping him happy, and lately, spending much time with his little sister who insists that I swim with her. Life is good. Living it and focusing on those whom I love is better than any high I ever got from meth, and my life as an addict is nothing but a distant and fading memory.

My fascination with people who have beliefs that defy reality

I just spent two days sick after getting food poisoning from a chicken, bacon, and cheese burger at Wimpy in Eastgate.  It was not a pleasant experience, especially the first day because apart from the obvious symptoms, my whole body went lame. It was the sickest I’ve ever been (and to be honest I seldom get sick) and I had no idea that food poisoning could be so unpleasant. But it also triggered an odd memory for me, which is why I’m writing this today…

For many years, I’ve been fascinated that there are people who hold beliefs that contradict reality. And I don’t mean Trump supporters or others whose beliefs are clouded by hateful biases and prejudices. I mean people whose beliefs are based on things that are not, were not, and never will be real in this universe. This applies to people who believe in doomsday conspiracies like the Nibiru cataclysm, those who insist the Earth is flat, and those who believe in conspiracy theories. So now I have remembered how my fascination began.

In 1990 to 1991, thanks to being a white male South African who could not decide what to study and an unfortunate law of conscription, I spent a year in the old apartheid army. It’s kind of ironic that this was still the apartheid government, because the only thing that our troops ever had to do was be deployed to protect various people from the AWB, which was a right-wing racist nutjob Afrikaner group that made various threats. I write “our troops” and not myself, because I was a chef in the army. If I wasn’t on duty when the “reaction force” was called for, I faked being on duty or hid away somewhere where they couldn’t find me. Just because I had to be there against my will wasting my time for a year didn’t mean they could make me go out and actually shoot anybody, or lay in some bushes for a whole night waiting for some spineless white dude to make true on his empty threat. (I can handle a rifle though, and I’m not a bad shot. But I haven’t done so for 29 years now and have no interest in ever owning a gun.)

Anyway, I discovered something interesting as an army chef… There was an urban legend about army food containing something that caused temporary male infertility, that was supposedly added to the army food. I’d first heard about it from a teacher in high school. The most common story involved washing powder being added to the food. (Yeah, it’s dumb. I don’t know how that would work either.) There was even a name for the stuff, according to the urban legend. Unfortunately my memory does not include whatever that name was. Something like “blue balls”? I’ll write the rest of this under the assumption that your balls were supposed to turn blue, preventing unwanted pregnancies while you went AWOL and partied with the local Afrikaner girls, who had a thing for idiots in uniform, every night at the local jol.

Needless to say, the urban legend was not based on reality. Food deliveries arrived in the army camp by truck, from wholesalers used by restaurants too, and the food was packed directly into large freezers in the two mess halls of the camp. (But not the third empty mess hall where I hid from reaction force. This was Intelligence school in Potchefstroom, by the way. Strange, it was called “Danie Theron Krygskool” or DTKS but Google is giving me a completely different place when I search on that name.) Then we, the chefs, would remove the frozen meat and vegetables as necessary according to the menus we worked from. The food was good, by the way, with each meal including a meat, a vegetable, and a starch of some sort, plus lunch always came with a dessert and a cool drink while supper included a warm drink such as coffee or hot chocolate. Dessert was a large tray with some kind of instant pudding and canned peaches, or banana and biscuits, or something like that, and more importantly, there was one such tray between 8 chefs, so we got a great deal more dessert than the rest of the troops. Also I could sneak into the mess hall in the middle of the night to make myself toasted bacon and cheese sandwiches (with a whole pack of bacon).

The point is, there was no step along the way where anything to cause temporary male infertility could be added to the food. But do you think that anybody who believed in the conspiracy believed that? Noooooo. No, of course not. It didn’t matter that to those who asked me, I explained how it was impossible for it to be true. It didn’t matter if I showed them the sealed meat directly from the distributors in our freezers, and explained how the cooking worked. In fact, nothing I said mattered. They believed what they believed and that was that. In their eyes I was either a hapless pawn in the process of turning their balls blue and forcing their puny pee shooters to fire blanks, or I was an evil liar, part of the conspiracy, actively ensuring the toxins tainted their tiny testicles.

That was when I learned that those who choose to believe in a conspiracy will continue to believe regardless of any facts presented to them, so it’s been a while… 29 years have not shown me any different. I have never convinced anyone who believes in a conspiracy that they are wrong. It isn’t even worth trying. Don’t debate them – just mock them.

Aside… Imagine a world where men regulated the consequences of the actions of other men and actually tried to prevent unwanted pregnancies… just fucking imagine. This conspiracy about the old SA army is especially dumb. The officers knew that most (I can’t say all because I wasn’t one of them) of the troops went AWOL to local nightclubs every night and had unprotected sex, and instead of doing anything practical about it such as supplying condoms, they created rules to outlaw such activity, and then turned a blind eye to anyone breaking those rules. (I don’t remember anyone being punished for sneaking out of the camp at night. In fact I don’t recall anybody ever being caught. We, the same troops who snuck out at night, also took turns at guard duty.)

I hope you’ve enjoyed these anecdotes brought on by my diarrhoea and may you never have the misfortune of eating bad chicken…

Friendly reminder: Virgins don’t have babies

  • They don’t have babies now, and they didn’t thousands of years ago either.
  • Natural disasters aren’t caused by angry deities. Hurricanes in the US aren’t caused by God’s anger for [insert people you are prejudiced against here], and the plagues in the Old Testament of the Bible weren’t either.
  • Snakes don’t talk. They don’t now and they never did.
  • Women weren’t made from a man’s rib. We have the same number of ribs now, and we always did.
  • The whole world was never flooded at once. (Where did all the water go?)
  • People don’t come back from the dead. They don’t now, and they never did.

When I used to debate theists, I noticed different reactions to the impossibilities I’ve written above. Not everybody accepts them all literally, to be fair. Most avoid thinking about these things entirely. Some take some things literally and the rest is analogy. And some people, especially those who debate, take some bits literally and the same bits can be analogy, depending on the argument. The general trend is to accept specifics as being impossible in the moment, and call them analogy.

Analogy for what?

It’s easy to say… Well OK, the talking snake didn’t happen… But that’s analogy for Satan and god still created us; sure, virgins don’t give birth, but the other religions had virgin birth stories, so Christianity incorporated that to compete; sure, the other resurrections didn’t happen, but Christ was resurrected because he was special (Maybe he had magic beans?); the world wasn’t flooded all at once obviously, they just thought their small area represented the whole world; the plagues were blamed on God’s anger because the people were less advanced than we are, but the rest of those stories really happened for sure…

Why? Why explain away what can be explained away but continue to believe? There is no point. None of that happened. Every religion has a creation myth. Many had virgin births. Primitive people (and conservative evangelical Christian Americans) blame the gods’ anger at people they perceive as weak when things go wrong. It’s god’s anger at a minority, or a simple old woman who can’t defend herself… or someone similar. Someone they can punish on god’s behalf. The flood myths come from mythology much older than Christianity or Judaism and were likely part of the culture way back. But to then believe anyway is simply to believe what you already believe because you believe it. Because you’re indoctrinated.

All religious people know what indoctrination is. When a cult trends in the news because of something bad they did, you realize that members removed from that cult still hang onto their beliefs. You realize that something fucked up is happening with them psychologically, that they don’t want to stop believing, and that indoctrination must be similar to Stockholm Syndrome. But rather than calling their beliefs a religion, you call it a cult. Because on some level you know you are just as brainwashed, and you want to distance their beliefs from yours – convince yourselves that you are different to them. But you’re not. You’re just like them. Every atheist who has ever debated theists knows this.

Reminder: There is no objective morality that comes from your god. Not all Christians being homophobic demonstrates this.

One of the most common claims I read in atheist vs theist debate groups was that atheists have no morals. It’s the flip side of the argument from morality – the claim that morals come from your god. Incidentally, it doesn’t follow logically that atheists wouldn’t have morals, even if we were to assume the claim that they came from your god was true. Does disbelief “uncreate” your god’s creations?

I have always responded to this claim by arguing that morality is subjective, and that since moral values are different in different locations, even in the same year and same religion, this demonstrates that the claim of objective god-given morality is nonsense. But I forgot about something: homophobia.

asshole_god

Not all Christians are homophobic. That inconsistency should tell you something. Some of them claim that the Bible says homosexuality is a sin. Some do not. In fact, one has to reach and use some creative interpretation to find anything that truly refers to homosexuality in the Bible. As always, believers read their own morals into the Bible, so those who hate LGBTQ people will always tell you it’s a sin. Those who don’t, will not.

I don’t care what your Bible says about it. It’s a book of nonsense anyway. The only reason it matters to me is that these different interpretations of it apparently result in Christians who have very different moral values, right now. A couple of hundred years ago, Christians’ morality involved accusing people of witchcraft, and punishing them for it. So without even considering that Christians, who mostly no longer believe in witches, used to stone or burn them hundreds of years ago (and still  do in some remote places), we can see that right now, morality among Christians is subjective.

That’s the way it has always been. You get your morals regionally… from your parents, your peers, and the beliefs prevalent in society. Then, if you are religious, you read those morals into your religion, and claim that they came from your god. And as the meme used shows, if those “morals” happen to be hateful, you claim it’s not you, but the rules of your god.