Atheism and religion

Starbucks Cup
Yesterday I was at the Central Station of Utrecht. There we decided to get some coffee at one of the Starbucks there.
Every year Stabucks has a specially designed cup for the Holidays Season. So they have this year, a colourful and bright design I would say. I really like it, but again is not everybody happy with it.

Again? It happens very often that people are not happy with the design of their Holiday Cup. And who are not happy with it? Conservative christians! Who else I am close to say?

According these folks Starbucks is supporting the LGBTQ community. First thing that hits me here right away is: And if they do, what is wrong with that?
But with the statement in my head echoing that Starbucks supports the LGBTO community and I look at the cup, I hear myself say “Wot???”.

It seems that it has been decided that the two hands holdings each other are the hands of two women. And we all know that two women holding hands are lesbians (duh, my head starts to hurt).
The thing is, there is no official statement about the gender of the hands. And I really wonder why should there be an official statement.
Even the designer of the cup says nothing about this none-issue created by people who seem to have nothing better to do. He stated: “I like the idea of hands at the center point, a symbol of connection, love and giving joy — whether it’s wrapping presents or decorating a tree, writing cards or enjoying a mug of cocoa”. And that is all there is to it.

Maybe this year’s promotional video of Starbucks is related to this controversy. There are at a certain moment two women holding hands… and yes, clearly for these people two women holding hands are lesbians (argggghhh… my head). And even it was meant as two lesbians? Nothing wrong with that I would say. Not everyone is that narrow minded and people should finally stop with pressing their own opinions, convictions and beliefs upon others. Sadly, I have say that specially religions are guilty of doing this (but not alone…).

Conservative christians having problems with the Holiday Cup of Starbucks are nothing new, It is a recurring event since 1997 when they made the cup purple! Yes, I mean purple! How can they make a cup purple? Bah, purple is a lovely colour. How can you have problems with a colour, apart from liking it or not?

You can see here all the holiday cups since 1997: 20 Years of Starbucks Holiday Cups.

And as far it concerns me: Go to Starbucks to enjoy their coffee. If you don’t like their coffee, then stay away from there. But please stop creating this kind of stupid none-issues.

Rob

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Is The Bible 100% Accurate

by Sanne on

Is The Bible 100% Accurate? This pastor believes so. And I, as you may already have suspected, I don’t think that this is correct.

The video below is created by Alex J. O’Connor (or Cosmic Skeptic, which is the nickname he goes by. He is a science enthusiast, atheist and vlogger. I have seen this video already about a year ago. By pure coincidence, it popped up on my screen today. And while watching it, I realized that I still love it as the very first time I saw it.

I really like it how this young man makes his view on things clear. While being very respectful, he makes his opinions very clear. I admire people who are capable of doing this.

So just as Alex I don’t believe the bible is 100% accurate. Far from that even.

Enjoy the video. And if you don’t agree with what he says, which is completely acceptable, please show the same respect as he does.

In the YouTube video there are a number of links mentioned, please find them below:

Sanne
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Trump and the LGBT community

by Sanne on

Not my president, Trump and the LGBT community
As a lesbian woman I am very concerned about things I currently see happening in the United States and then specially the things around the LGBT community. I may not understand everything completely and I do not understand the political system of the United Stated as whole, but all the news I read and hear is not good at all.

It was said to me that Trump, now that he is elected as president, he has to repay for all the votes from all those “true” Christians that gave him their votes and act on their wishes. Things like ruling out same sex-marriages and make it possible to deny services to people of the LGBT community (for those who do not know, LGBT stands for Lesbian, Gay, Bi-sexual & Transgender… although I assume every one knows)

Once Trump claimed that people never should be discriminated on sexual orientation, it seems he has forgotten this claim completely.
Remember the matter of Kim Davis who refused on religious grounds to marry persons of the same gender? Trump gives support to the First Amendment Defence Act (FADA for short) and that will make discrimination like that of Kim Davis legal. And Trump said that he will not support the Marriage Equality Act.

FADA would prohibit the federal government from taking “discriminatory action” against any business or person that discriminates against LGBT people. The act distinctly aims to protect the right of all entities to refuse service to LGBT people based on two sets of beliefs: “1. Marriage is or should be recognized as the union of one man and one woman, and 2. sexual relations are properly reserved to such a marriage.”
But reading above statement more carefully it also shows that this law can be used against unwed parents and single mothers.

There are also big worries among same-sex couples concerning the adoption of children. Conservative Christians claim that a child should be raised by a man and a woman, not by two parents of the same sex. his all may lead to that same-sex couples are not allowed to adopt children and that is of course something really bad.

It is said to teach creationism in school again and allow prayers into the class again. This is also bad for the majority of the LGBT community (and not alone for them). I am really convinced that a school should not be driven by religion.

It seems that the Trump administration is going to be very white and very male. This will be a big step back from the administration of Obama.
Trump’s administration hold people that want to keep Guantanamo Bay open, anti-abortion regulations, expanding coal-burning power plants, doubt climate change, opposes the raise of the minimum wage and much of this kind of things. Really scary.

Don’t get me wrong, I know a lot of open and free minded people from the US, but it scares me to see that what is going on there.

Over here in The Netherlands also not everything as it should be. For me personally that worst thing that happened during the last years (since I changed jobs) was some name calling. Not nice, but I can live with that.
Sadly I have to say that right now I am very happy I am not living in the United States of America!

Sanne
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Heretic Christmas

by Rob on

Although “tradition” seems to proclaim that you should not decorate your house for Christmas while “Sinterklaas” (which is celebrated in The Netherlands among other countries) is still in the country, we will start with the Christmas decoration this weekend.

I know that I have talked before about Christmas and its origin, but it is something that keeps my interest and every year I learn something new.

Kerst marktplaats/Christmas market

The origin of Christmas

That Christmas is not an Christian celebration by origin is generally accepted I think. The origin of Christmas goes way more back then Christianity.

Celebration the birth of Jesus on 25 December is based on pagan traditions or better said, by celebrating it on that day the Christian Church tried to get rid of these pagan traditions. According the bible Jesus was born in fall somewhere between 4 and 7 before AD…. that is, if Jesus has ever existed at all (but that is another discussion).

It all started with the midwinter celebrations. Ancient Germanic tribes celebrated on December 21 that the days became longer. Yule or winter solstice was celebrated throughout Northern Europe. Often with all sorts of cults and rituals. Of some celebrations is known that the oak tree was central.

In the Scandinavian languages Christmas is still called Jul.

Although the dating as December 25 predates pagan influence, the later development of Christmas as a festival includes elements of the Roman feast of the Saturnalia and the birthday of Mithra.

Kerstversiering

Customs of Christmas

Christmas, and all the customs around it, is one big collection of influences of all different cultures.

The Christmas tree itself find it origin in pagan believes. Way before Christianity in Europe people already decorated there homes around Saturnalia (in December). They decorated living trees with small pieces of metal to honour their god Bacchus.
Decorating a home with evergreen boughs was strictly forbidden by the Christian Church in the 3rd century. And the decorated Christmas tree, as we know it now, is only since mid 19th century around.
There have been quite some disputes around the Christmas tree. In America William Bardford, a Calvinist, tried to “stamp out these pagan traditions of Christmas”.

The Christian custom of “kissing under mistletoe” is related to what used to be a sexual agreement of the Druidic sacrificial cult. Also nice to know is that the berries of the mistletoe are poisonous and were used during Druid rituals to poison their human sacrificial victim.

In pre-Christian Rome, the emperors compelled their most despised citizens to bring offerings and gifts during the Saturnalia (in December) and Kalends (in January). Later, this ritual expanded to include gift-giving among the general populace. The Catholic Church gave this custom a Christian flavor by re-rooting it in the supposed gift-giving of Saint Nicholas

Christmas

And then Santa Claus

Nicholas was born in Parara, Turkey in 270 and later became Bishop of Myra. He passed way on 6 December 345. It was not before the 19th century that he was named to be a saint.
He was one of the bishops who worked on the new testament in 325 (Council of Nicaea) and there they described the Jews as “the children of the devil” who sentenced Jesus to death.
The Nicholas cult spread North through Italy and people started to give each presents on 6 December, the day that Nicholas passed away (We here in The Netherlands, and other countries, we still celebrate “Sinterklaas” on that date).
In Northern Europe the celebrations around Nicolas were adopted by German and Geltic pagans. As they merged Nicolas into their own culture Nicolas lost his Mediterranean appearance. He got a beard, was dressed in cold protecting clothes and mounted a horse that could fly.
To please the pagan people in Northern Europe, the Catholic Church Nicholas cult adopted Christmas and taught that they should give gifts on December 25th instead of December 6th.
Early 1800’s Washington Irving wrote a satiric novel about the Dutch culture called “Knickerbocker History”. In that novel a white bearded man riding a flying horse called “Santa Claus” (“Sinter Klaas”) was more then once mentioned.
Some years later Clement Moore wrote. after reading “Knickerbocker History”, a poem about Santa Claus. And with this poem the 8 reindeers and the delivering of the presents through the chimney were introduced.
From 1862 through 1886 Thomas Nast made many cartoon images of Santa Claus for Harper’s Weekly. He almost completed the image of the modern Santa Claus. Nast placed the home of Santa Claus on the North Pole, give him his elven helpers and the book with good and bad deeds of all children of the world.
In 1932 Coca Cola hired Haddon Sundblom to make an advertisement with Santa. Here Santa got his cheerful and chubby face. Coca Cola insisted on a bright and red suit.
And there is was… Santa Claus, a mixture of a Christian crusader, a pagan god and an commercial idol.

Happy holidays everyone

Rob

 


Credit photo’s: Rob)


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Some times it is so clear that people really don’t get it. First, before continuing, let me introduce someone…

Pat Anderson is an American Christian television evangelist, entrepreneur and political activist for the Christian right wing. He predicted in 1976 that the world would end in October or November 1982 (which didn’t happen as we know now for sure).
On 22 August 2005 Robertson called in his television program for the murder of Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez. He said that Venezuela under Chavez would be a breeding ground for communist infiltration and Muslim extremism for the entire American continent.
After the earthquake in Haiti on 12 January 2010, he reported that the disaster was due to a pact that was closed by the founders of Haiti with the devil.
Also he said that acceptance of homosexuality could result in hurricanes and earthquakes, and an atom bomb at the US State Department would not be a bad thing.

There is a lot more to tell about this person, but I think by now you already know what kind of person this is!

Well, this Pat Robertson has done it again (and why should be surprised about that… old habits die hard, as they say and that seems for this man also true).

He was asked on his television show if it would be okay if Christians invite family who are atheist to a wedding. His answer to this question shows he really doesn’t understand it.

This was his reply:
“Well, what’s the big deal of inviting some family members to your wedding? I mean, you know, let ’em come to your wedding and see what’s there. But you don’t want them bringing Satanism into your wedding or some occult incantation. So by all means invite your family.”

That statement really me go “Duh… wtf…”

Because is atheism not the absence of belief in the existence of deities (or the rejection of belief that any deities exist or even the conviction that there are no deities)?

This is completely in contradiction with what Pat Robertson says. Clearly he doesn’t get the fact that “absence of belief in the existence of deities” also relates to a deity as Satan? He cannot be that dumb.
And it even gets worse when the lady that interviews Pat Robertson makes the remark that the atheists visiting that wedding might “be saved”? Duh… and double duh. Where does this arrogance of some Christians come from that they think that Atheists need to be saved? And what will they do… They will pray (and feel very good about themselves because they have “done” something).

Anyway, back to the question: Is Pat Robertson really that dumb that he doesn’t know the Atheists don’t believe in a Satan in the same way they don’t believe in a God?
No, I think he knows that very well. But what is better to connect Atheists directly to that what believers will see as the most evil thing in existence, the evil counterpart of their god? That makes for ignorant believers (and I am not saying all believers are ignorant, far from that even) it very easy to understand…. Atheists are evil!

Oh just to be very clear, this is not the first Pat Robertson made statements like this. He done it many times before.

And BTW, weddings have originally nothing to do with Christianity at all and it is a gift of God at least. Weddings were already around long before Christianity came around (and there are some very barbaric traditions related to it).

So….


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A qoute that made me think…..

by Sanne on

“I don’t believe in an afterlife,
so I don’t have to spend my whole life fearing hell,
or fearing heaven even more.
For whatever the tortures of hell,
I think the boredom of heaven would be even worse.”

Today I read somewhere the above quote from Isaac Asimov and it made me think.

Some religious people (no, not all) are so busy with their afterlife that it looks that they completely forget that there is a current life. But what if there is no afterlife and that when you die it just end of all. Everything stops, the light goes out and *poof*….. brain dead.

So you spend all your life for something that is not there. You wasted your life completely for nothing. What a waste…..

At least I could say when it turns out I was wrong: “Oops… so sorry!” (Although I am very convinced that I would not be able to say sorry when I am dead and that there is nothing or someone to say sorry to).


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