Saturday, September 24, 2011

Dear Parents Thinking of Contacting an Exorcist...

Most of the time when I watch "real haunting" shows, I do so because either 1. someone else turned it on and I'm too lazy to leave the room or procrastinating or 2. I go looking for logical fallacies and things to laugh at.

But... do you know what I don't find funny about those shows? Exorcisms! Why do these people call exorcists? Usually it seems to be because their family member is acting strangely in a destructive way and their religious beliefs tell them that the most likely cause of such behavior is demonic possession.

So... exorcisms are fine in movies and fiction... but in the real world, in the 21st century.... people should know better! People can have their religious beliefs... but they should STILL know better.
Shouldn't it tell them something that the catholic church is "iffy" about exorcisms now-a-days and most catholic priests won't perform them?

Exorcisms belong in the 1600s, when people had no knowledge of psychology and mental illness.
Sure... yeah... it's in the Bible... but! Again, the people of the Iron Age didn't understand mental illness any better than the people in 1692 Salem, during the infamous witchcraft trials!

So... I'll admit, the science of psychology is still rather new, but the advances made in the century that it has been around are incredible enough to make anyone seeking exorcisms or prayer ALONE to "cure" a person acting abnormally, EXTREMELY irresponsible!
In fact, these people aren't helping their "patients" at all... they're hurting them. Same goes for the people, like scientologists and many fundamentalists who denounce psychiatry.

Science isn't perfect, but it is the best we will ever have... and unlike faith healing and exorcisms... which haven't really changed since the stone age (besides which gods/ spirits are invoked of course) psychology and psychiatry are always updating themselves. They come up with solutions to psychiatric issues the way real science does... experiment through the scientific method, careful meticulous research, brutal peer review, demanding replication of results by a different party, and years of case study by countless clinical and research psychologists. THAT is how the truth is found.

So... if you are considering calling an exorcist to "drive the devil out of your child" you should consider that psychiatry and psychology are the best solutions to these type of problems that we have... the least harmful... the most reliable... and the most likely to make your child a functioning member of society again.

The Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM) - currently used is the DSM IV - but scientists are looking forward to the DSM V which is set to come out in the next couple of years or so - is the "Bible" of scientific psychology and psychiatry that is compiled by the American Psychological Association and updated on a regular basis... note again that the DSM V the newest update is due out soon and will once again revolutionize our understanding of Mental Illnesses and other Psychiatric Disorders. This is what all credible psychiatrists (the ones with a medical degree who diagnose mental disorders and prescribe medications) use in their practice. Everything is done on the best available scientific knowledge and on an individual basis - taking note of the patient's age, sex, medical history, current medications, etc. This is why psychiatry is reliable... it is as reliable as any other form of medicine, and psychiatrists aren't quacks or agents of the devil... they are certified medical doctors (as much as your family doctor) who genuinely care about their patient's welfare and take their Hippocratic Oath very seriously.

So... if you find that you child is screaming profanities, talking to themselves - not an imaginary friend but truly "psychotic talking to self", speaking nonsense syllables, writing profanities or nonsense or symbols on the walls, undergoes a sudden personality change, engages in self-injurous behavior like obsessive cutting, scratching, pulling out hair (btw, psychologists call this problem "trichotillomania"), or trying to commit suicide, refusing to eat, unusual mood swings, refusing to get out of bed, etc.
Well... when you pick up that phone DO NOT call an exorcist or "faith healer"! Find the number of a psychiatrist and get an appointment so that your child can get the help he or she deserves from a loving parent.

This is a heart-felt plea from a student of psychology.

Saturday, May 28, 2011

The Rapture 5/21/11 - Another Apocalypse that didn't happen

 May 21, 2011 - The Rapture and the beginning of the end of days...


Once again a small group of fundamentalist Christians [with an outlet in my city] preached the return of Jesus Christ and the rapture of true believers on a specific date. Strangely this date did not coincide with the "December 21, 2012" apocalypsers. Instead, the rapture was predicted for May 21, 2011... and the end times to happen some time later. Not surprisingly, these same May "rapturerers" were also YECs [Short-hand for "Young Earth Creationists" - i.e. believe the Genesis myth literally and thus believe the Earth is between 6,000 and 10,000 years old - never mind science... they're in denial about that.] In fact, they came up with this date with an impressively complex set of mathematics based on their version of the age of the earth, supposed timing for the events of the bible, and a literal interpretation of Revelations - you know, that mushroom trip of a book written by someone named "John" in the later part of the first or even the second century.
O_o Thorough, but wrong
[To see the full "calculations" for this rapture that didn't happen visit their webpage: ]

So this prediction was started by a strange guy named Harold Camping.

Anyone want to buy a nutjob? lol
So, when May 21st came and went, I wonder how the christians reacted? Well... I didn't have to go far to get an answer.

Fox News reports that Harold Camping said "he got the date wrong and was off by 5 months." I was off by 5 months... oops! Oh really? Well, isn't that interesting.

Of course The Thinking Atheist had something to say about this:

But, actually this isn't the first time that Christians have predicted the "End Times" In fact, people have been predicting the end of the world since it began. But for the sake of brevity I will list only Christian Apocalypse predictions. For a full list see the source site listed below.
Check this out:
1st Century Originator- Jesus -
"Jesus said, "Verily I say unto you, there be some standing here, which shall not taste of death, till they see the Son of Man coming in his kingdom." (Matthew 16:28) This implies that the Second Coming would return within the lifetime of his contemporaries, and indeed the Apostles expected Jesus to return before the passing of their generation."
2nd Century Originator - The Montanist Christian Sect
"The Montanists believed that Christ would come again within their lifetimes and establish a new Jerusalem at Pepuza, in the land of Phrygia. Montanism was perhaps the first bona fide Christian doomsday cult. It was founded ca. 156 AD by the tongues-speaking prophet Montanus and two followers, Priscilla and Maximilla. Despite the failure of Jesus to return, the cult lasted for several centuries. Tertullian, who once said "I believe it just because it is unbelievable" (a true skeptic if ever there was one!), was perhaps the most renowned Montanist. (Gould p.43-44)"
247  Originator - Early Christians
Rome celebrated its thousandth anniversary this year. At the same time, the Roman government dramatically increased its persecution of Christians, so much so that many Christians believed that the End had arrived.
380 Originator - Tyconius
The Donatists, a North African Christian sect headed by Tyconius, looked forward to the world ending in 380.
Late 4th Century Originator - Saint Martin of Tours

St. Martin of Tours (ca. 316-397) wrote, "There is no doubt that the Antichrist has already been born. Firmly established already in his early years, he will, after reaching maturity, achieve supreme power." (Abanes p.119)

500 Originator - Sextus Julius Africanus
oman theologian Sextus Julius Africanus (ca. 160-240) claimed that the End would occur 6000 years after the Creation. He assumed that there were 5531 years between the Creation and the Resurrection, and thus expected the Second Coming to take place no later than 500 AD. (Kyle p.37, McIver #21)

995 Originators: Christian Mystics
The Feast of the Annunciation and Good Friday also coincided in 992, prompting some mystics to conclude that the world would end within 3 years of that date. (Weber p.50-51)

1284 Originator - Pope Innocent III
Pope Innocent III expected the Second Coming to take place in 1284, 666 years after the rise of Islam. (Schwartz p.181)

1504 Originator - Sandro Botticelli
"I Sandro painted this picture at the end of the year 1500 in the troubles of Italy in the half time after the time according to the eleventh chapter of St. John in the second woe of the Apocalypse in the loosing of the devil for three and a half years. Then he will be chained in the 12th chapter and we shall see him trodden down as in this picture."

Apparently, he thought he was living during the Tribulation, and that the Millennium would begin in three and a half years or so, which is understandable given the fact that he is known to have been a follower of Girolamo Savonarola. (Weber p.60)

1656 Originator - Unknown
Believed to be a possible date for the end of the world, 1656 is the number of years between the Creation and the Flood. (Skinner p.27)

1700 Originator - Puritans, John Napier, Henry Archer

The end of the world, according to some Puritans. (Kyle p.79)
John Napier's doomsday calculation #2, based on the Book of Daniel. (Weber p.92)
The date of the Second Coming, according to Henry Archer, a Fifth Monarchy Man. Archer made this prediction in his 1642 book The Personall Reign of Christ Upon Earth. (McIver #158)


1850 Originator - Ellen White - Founder of 7th Day Evangelists
Ellen White, founder of the Seven Day Adventists movement, made many predictions of the timing of the end of the world. All failed. On 1850-JUN-27 she prophesied that only a few months remained before the end. She wrote: "My accompanying angel said, 'Time is almost finished. Get ready, get ready, get ready.' time is almost finished...and what we have been years learning, they will have to learn in a few months." 10

1914 Originator - Jehovah's Witnesses
1914 was one of the more important estimates of the start of the war of Armageddon by the Jehovah's Witnesses (Watchtower Bible and Tract Society). They based their prophecy of 1914 from prophecy in the book of Daniel, Chapter 4. The writings referred to "seven times". The WTS interpreted each "time" as equal to 360 days, giving a total of 2520 days. This was further interpreted as representing 2520 years, measured from the starting date of 607 BCE. This gave 1914 as the target date. When 1914 passed, they changed their prediction; 1914 became the year that Jesus invisibly began his rule.

February 13, 1925 Originator - Margaret Rowan
According to Margaret Rowan, the angel Gabriel appeared before her in a vision and told her that the world would end at midnight on this date, which happened to be Friday the 13th.

1936 Originator - Herbert W. Armstrong
Herbert W. Armstrong, founder of the Worldwide Church of God, told members of his church that the Rapture was to take place in 1936, and that only they would saved. After the prophecy failed, he changed he date three more times. (Shaw p.99)

1952 Originator - Billy Graham
In 1950, a young Billy Graham stated "We may have another year, maybe two years. Then I believe it is going to be over." (Source: Article by Hugo McCord)

August 9, 1969 Originator - George Williams
Second Coming of Christ, according to George Williams, leader of the Morrisites, a 19th century branch of Mormonism. (Robbins p.77)

April 1, 1980 Originator - Willie Day Smith
Radio preacher Willie Day Smith of Irving, Texas, claimed that this day would witness the Second Coming.

September 27, 1994 Originator - Harold Camping [Deja Vu? lol]
Harold Camping, head of Oakland's Family Radio and host of the station's Biblical discussion talk show Open Forum, predicted the end in his book 1994? He calculated that the Tribulation would end on September 6, followed by the Last Day and the Second Coming of Christ between Sep. 15 and Sep. 27.

December 25, 1999 Originator - Martin Hunter
The Second Coming of Christ, according to doomsday prophet Martin Hunter. (Oropeza p.57)

October 4, 2005 Originator - John Zachary
The end of the world, according to John Zachary in his 1994 book Mysterious Numbers of the Sealed Revelation. The Tribulation was to begin on August 28, 1998. (McIver #3477)

April 29, 2007 Originator - Pat Robertson
In his 1990 book The New Millennium, Pat Robertson suggests this date as the day of Earth's destruction. (Abanes p. 138)

And Finally... the latest Failure

Harold Camping, whose rapture predictions failed in 1994 and 1995, decided to jump back in to the date-setting game, predicting this as the day of the Rapture. His prediction attracted major publicity. "The Bible Guarantees It", the billboards proclaimed, and thousands of people around the world actually fell for it.

Yeah, so... the second coming didn't come... again.

Given that many Christians have spent 2000 years sitting around waiting for the world to end, and so far, their savior is a no show. One wonders... besides this being very disturbing [an orgasmic obsession with the death of everything that is]... doesn't anyone have a better use of their time?

Just a though.

Friday, April 22, 2011

Pro-life Radicals Lying and Decieving Congress! Shame! Shame! Shame! [Expanded]

The original versions of this blog post can be found at and under the discussion forums.
This is an expanded version

The Link at the Top [click title!] is to the original article that this blog post is based on.

This article on had me angry and appalled, but not necessarily surprised in anyway. Afterall, the religious right has been known to use all kinds of immoral, deceptive, and down-right evil practices to force their will on others. This time they successfully deadlocked congress over the issue of "providing funds to Planned Parenthood" by lying about Planned Parenthood and using all too familiar scare tactics.
[Secular News Daily's Home Screen]

They KNOW they're lying too. Senator Kyl [R, AZ] stated that "90% of the activity Planned Parenthood does is abortions." 
[It's actually the other way around]

[Highlight from Original Article]

It became blantantly obvious that this wasn't a mistake but a lie, because when confronted with his incorrect statement he said "it was not intended to be a factual statement." Yeah? Well then why the hell did you say it? In front of congress none the less!

Does he really think he's fooling anyone by saying "it was not intended to be a factual statement?!" Why can't he grow a pair and ADMIT that he was LYING to further his agenda to prevent reproductive health services to women.

Do these people have ANY shame?! ANY morals?! Will they go to any lengths to bring about their agenda?! Even resorting to deception and a lack of caring for the enormous amounts of human suffering they are causing?! 

Apparently this is the truth about them. If the devil is real... they are it.
I am a woman... and what they are proposing is inhuman. As inhuman as the proclamation by Martin Luther who said "If a woman shall die in child birth, let her die because it is her duty to provide children." Apparently he must have taken the passage in 1 Timothy literally: "...Adam was first formed then Eve. And Adam was not deceived, but the woman being deceived was in the transgression. Not withstanding, she shall be saved in childbearing, if they continue in faith and charity and holiness in sobriety." - 1 Timothy 2: 13- 15

How did I take this? Well, basically I got 2 thing out of this: 1. The "Original Sin" is all woman's fault.
2. The woman can only be saved by having babies - so [it seems] infertile women are doomed to eternal torment in Hell. 

[Wow! Love of God all over here!]

Perhaps the "pro-lifers" believe this too?
A note to Pro-life atheists and secularists... KNOW THE CROWD YOU'RE IN WITH! Make no mistake... this fiasco was NOT about abortion at all! It was an effort to further restrict access to birth control and sexual health information.

Shame on ALL of those so-called "pro-lifers" that participated in slandering Planned Parenthood! or maybe they should be called "anti-sex, pro-lyers, no-choicers!"

Monday, February 28, 2011

The Three Little Pigs 2.0

Most people are familiar with the classic story of the Three Little Pigs. Well I am here to present a new story for the Three Little Pigs... many of the same elements will be there... but with a new moral.

Once upon a time there were three little pigs. One day they were too old to live with their parents anymore so their parents gave them money and sent them on their way to make a life on their own. Each little pig had to build a foundation for his or her way of life. And each little pig was confident that his foundation would be strong and protect him against life's troubles.

Each little pig decided to choose their own way of securing themselves against hardship. Little Pigs 1 and 2 decided that they would be best with a quick and easy way to go about it. The first little pig gathered straw from a nearby fundamentalist church that practiced faith healing. He was certain that his straw, which he called "faith in the power of the Lord Jesus Christ" would protect him from any harm. Through the power of prayer, the Lord would be his guardian and protector. So, he built his house of faith straw.

The second little pig gathered sticks from a nearby New Age medicine shop. He believed in the power of crystal healing, homeopathy, and Chinese medicine. So he built his house of faith in the power of natural medicine and was confident that age-old untested remedies would protect him.

The third little pig decided to go the hard way and be a skeptic, taking time and energy to investigate claims and place bricks of only the ones that were scientifically sound to build his house. It was taking him longer, but he was confident that this would work better than what his brothers had chosen.

While he worked, sorting claims and examining them, his brothers made fun of him. They dance around him, calling him a fool and playing the flute. Little pig number 1 said, "You know that science can't be trusted! Only the power of God will save you! Why go to all this work when faith is the easiest thing in the world?"
Little pig number 2 said, "You know you're wasting your time! Natural medicine is the way to go! All the scientists have an agenda to give you harmful medicines and make you pay too much for them! I know this because the guru said so!"

The Third Little Pig looked at his brothers with a sigh... "Have either of you looked into these claims? How do you know they're true? Science may take longer and make mistakes, but they tend to be right in the long run!"

The other little pigs scoffed and laughed at him. "Hah!" They said laughing merrily, "We don't NEED to investigate these claims because science can't be trusted and it is too slow!"

As they made fun of him by dancing around and playing the flute the 3rd little pig sighed and went back to his work, ignoring them.

Eventually all three pigs were finished, with the third little pig being finished last.
Then one day in the midst of winter, an epidemic spread across the land. This epidemic was killing people by the thousands. The epidemic's name was "Wolf."

When Wolf came to the first little pig's house it knocked on the door and bellowed, "Little Pig! Little Pig! Open up! Or I'll blow your house in!"
The little pig became sick, but knew that god would protect him.
He answered, "Not by the hair on my chinney chin chin! Jesus Christ will keep you away evil disease!" And the little pig prayed and prayed to Jesus Christ for his almighty healing, but didn't seek out help from the medical establishment.

So Wolf huffed and puffed and blew in the little pig's house of faith straw... and the disease called "Wolf" devoured the little pig who had foolishly relied on faith healing.

The disease called "Wolf" then arrived at the second little pig's house.
"Little Pig! Little Pig! Open up! Or I'll blow your house in!"

The little pig became sick, but he knew that the power of alternative medicine would cure him.
He answered, "Not by the hair on my chinney chin chin! The alternative medicine gurus will heal me and keep you away!" And the little pig tried every method of alternative medicine he could think of to cure the disease called "Wolf" he used accupuncture, and chiropracters, homeopathy, and crystal healing... but he never sought out help from the medical establishment.

So Wolf huffed and puffed and blew the little pig's house of alternative medicine sticks in... and the disease called "Wolf" devoured the little pig who had foolishly relied on unproven alternative medicine.

Then the disease called "Wolf" arrived at the third little pig's house.
"Little Pig! Little Pig! Open up! Or I'll blow your house in!"

The little pig became sick, but he knew that the established and supported scientific medicine could help heal him. He answered, "Not by the hair on my chinney chin chin! Scientific medicine will take care of you!" And the pig called his doctor who prescribed him an antibiotic and slowly, but surely the pig became well, for he had sought out help from the medical establishment.

So Wolf huffed and puffed and huffed and puffed, but he could not blow in the third little pig's house in because he had built every brick on a foundation of accepted scientific knowledge and the power of real medicine was too much for him. The disease called "Wolf" moved on, in search of an easier target and the third little pig celebrated getting over the horrible disease. The End!

Just remember! Science isn't perfect, but it's the best thing we have! Don't run to pseudoscience snake oil salesmen! You CAN trust science!

Now watch this video! ^_^

© The Thinking Atheist
Used without permission

Sunday, February 13, 2011

The Bible Revealed Episode 2: It's Either Me or Him!

Hello! Thanks for the wait! I finally found another story in the Bible worthy of mentioning because of how ridiculous it is.

Here... our main characters are God and the Prophet who judges Israel, Samuel.

I will translate this for modern audiences... then show you the actual text.

And so begins our story!

One day as Samuel was minding his own business the people of Israel, who never seemed to learn their lesson about sinning against their god no matter how many times he killed them, came up to Samuel.
As they approached, Samuel could immediately tell he was in for an earful!

"Oh boy," thought Samuel, "I am WAY too old for this prophet buisness!"

The people of Israel came up to Samuel in a crowd and said,
"Yo! Prophet guy! We want a king!"
Samuel replied, "What the Hell do you need a king for? You have God! And you've got me as your prophet and judge!"

The people said,

Samuel sighed and said, "Okay! Okay! I'll talk to God for you."

So, Samuel went to talk to God.

"Um... God... your people want a King."

God looked angry.

"Fine! Don't worry Samuel. They haven't rejected you, they've rejected me! I was their King, but they don't want me anymore. I'll GIVE them a King... but they're gonna regret it! It's either me or that stupid king! And trust me! They'll be back! They wouldn't abandon me! I'm God!"

"You tell those idiots of my people that if they REALLY want a king, I'll give them one. But that king will be REALLY mean to them! He'll send their sons into battle and steal their slaves and their crops and their stuff, and he'll abuse them and make them hate him! I will SEE TO IT that this happens! You DON'T reject God!"

God huffed angrily and left.

Samuel return to the people and told them what God had said.
"We don't care!" whined the people who never learn, "GIVE US OUR DAMN KING!!"

The End!

Okay... so here's the real text:

1 SAMUEL 8: 1 - 22

"As Samuel grew old, he appointed his sons to be judges over Israel. Joel and Abijah, his oldest sons, held court in Beersheba. But they were not like their father, for they were greedy for money. They accepted bribes and perverted justice.

Finally, all the elders of Israel met at Ramah to discuss the matter with Samuel. "Look," they told him, "you are now old, and your sons are not like you. Give us a king to judge us like all the other nations have."

Samuel was displeased with their request and went to the Lord for guidance. "Do everything they say to you," the Lord replied, "for it is me they are rejecting, not you. They don't want me to be their king any longer. Ever since I brought them from Egypt they have continually abandoned me and followed other gods. And now they are giving you the same treatment. Do as they ask, but solemnly warn them about the way a king will reign over them."

So Samuel passed on the Lord's warning to the people who were asking him for a king. "This is how a king will reign over you," Samuel said. "The king will draft your sons and assign them to his chariots and his charioteers, making them run before his chariots. Some will be generals and captains in his army, some will be forced to plow in his fields and harvest his crops, and some will make his weapons and chariot equipment. The king will take your daughters from you and force them to cook and bake and make perfumes for him. He will take away the best of your fields and vineyards and olive groves and give them to his own officials. He will take a tenth of your grain and your grape harvest and distribute it among his officers and attendants. He will take your male and female slaves and demand the finest of your cattle and donkeys for his own use. He will demand a tenth of your flocks, and you will be his slaves. When that day comes, you will beg for relief from this king your are demanding, but then the Lord will not help you."

But the people refused to listen to Samuel's warning. "Even so, we still want a king," they said. "We want to be like the nations around us. Our king will judge us and lead us into battle."

So Samuel repeated to the Lord what the people had said, and the Lord replied, "Do as they say, and give them a king." Then Samuel agreed and sent the people home."

Okay... commentary time!
Anyone else notice how petty and ridiculous God appears to behave when he hears that the people want a king? I mean... it's bad enough that he's jealous of other gods that apparently don't exist. But now he's jealous of a mortal. He's like that boyfriend that won't let you talk to anyone else or go out on weekends with your friends.

And when the people, who seem more like morons the further I get into the "Good" Book, still want a king... he gets all bitter and decides that he's going to give them what they want but "I know you'll come back to me... because I made your king an asshole. hmph!"

What is UP with this story?! And could God act any more like a human?