Friday, January 16, 2009

sins most grievous

Which sins are the worst sins? The deadliest? Murder? Genocide? Oh, no. According to the Vatican's The Apostolic Penitentiary, "abusing the confidentiality of the confessional by revealing the nature of the sin and the person who admitted to it" is a far worse sin than murder or genocide, forgivable only by the Pope himself. And, of course, defiling the Eucharist is considered a "sin of extreme gravity."

Let me translate this for you: a priest who hears a confession of continuing child abuse and does the right thing by reporting this crime to the authorities is a far worse sinner than a serial killer. A professor who defiles a "sacred" cracker (alongside symbols of other religions and unreligions) is a greater threat to humanity than those responsible for the genocides in Rwanda, Darfur, Bosnia, Nazi Germany and so forth.

A person who uses common sense and reasoning is more of a religious criminal than a person responsible for hundreds or thousands of gruesome brutal deaths. And people wonder why I'm not religious!

Wednesday, January 14, 2009

I got demons! They're multiplyin', and I'm loo-oo-oosin' contro-ol.

Sins. Seven of them. The deadly kind. So deadly in fact that they even spawned a movie in which Brad Pitt got to whine a forever memorable "Awwww, what's in the box?"
Feared and shunned (though not in the Bible), a certain pathway to the various levels of Hell (as described by Dante Alighieri and not anywhere in Scripture), they most likely stem from the "eight evil thoughts" of the 4th century monk Evagrius Ponticus, as reworked by Pope Gregory I in 590 AD (and may have been inspired by a far earlier pagan list). Apparently exiled to a monastery for inappropriate relations with a lady of some import, Mr. Ponticus proposed to pontificate about that which he felt free to do, but which we must not. From his hypocritical ways (I see this theme throughout much of religious teaching, don't you?), we have received the Seven Deadly Sins (each with its corresponding demon, of course, and its corresponding virtue).

sin - demon - virtue
Lust - Asmodeus - Chastity
Gluttony - Beelzebub - Temperance
Greed - Mammon - Charity
Sloth - Belphegor - Diligence
Wrath - Satan/Amon - Patience
Envy - Leviathan - Kindness
Pride - Lucifer - Humility

I'm no Christian, so I don't buy into sin or demons or any of that gobbledygook, and I'm continually amazed that there are people who actually literally do. Sure, there are activities best avoided, and sure most things are better for you in moderation, do unto others as you want to be done (heh heh heh), but demons? Real actual demons making you do things? Please.

Oh yes, sayeth the honorable and sincere Reverend Bob Larson of the Spiritual Freedom Church (freedom from demons, I guess, since he professes to be an exorcist, not freedom to be spiritual as you might see fit). Apparently, it's not your fault if you do bad things, no, you've got actual real demons inside you and the best way to get them out is to hit you with a Bible and pray at you while you writhe around on the floor. You bark, you growl, you claw, you drool. You sleep four feet above your covers. Shit, man, I could do that. I watch TV.

The History Channel (and all its affiliates) has been pissing me off lately. Sure, they do history, but they seem to throw in a lot of unsubstantiated woo-woo. Deadly triangles, aliens, UFOs, monsters, prophets... Usually presented as fact with an opposing (skeptical, rational, scientific) viewpoint very rarely included. Earlier this month (probably to coincide with all the New Years Resolution bullshit) they had a special on the deadly sins, one a night for (you guessed it) a week. But really it was just a seven hour plug for Rev. Larson's church and his supposedly healing hands. Every sin can be exorcised, every demon battled and defeated. There are apparently no earthly reasons for addictions or obsessions or compulsions -nope, it's all demons and only Rev. Larson (for a nominal fee, I'm sure -and have you seen his TV show?) can save you from them.

Never mind that an actual exorcism has to be approved by the church ahead of time and it's very hard to get approval to perform one legitimately.

Check out paranormal investigator Joe Nickell do his best to layeth the smacketh down on the Reverend on CNN:

(If you want to know which one is the revered Reverend, pick at the one who looks like a whiny frightened putz)

Fuck sin. Try moderation. There is nothing wrong with any of the "deadly sins" unless you overindulge, which is true for pretty much everything on this planet. Give me a break. Calling something a sin is just a way to make people feel bad about themselves for being completely human.

Besides, sins change over time. Any time anyone tells you that a certain something stems from scripture or Christian tradition, ask them if they wear cotton. And then tell them to stick it. And then ask them how they feel about the Pope's "seven modern social sins": environmental pollution, genetic manipulation, obscene wealth, infliction of poverty, drug trafficking, morally debatable experiments, and violation of the fundamental rights of human nature. And then tell them to stick it again.

But if you still doubt me (really? you doubt me?), Bob Larson has provided this helpful Demon Test® so you can determine your risk potential for demon possession. For point of reference, I am "at low risk for demonic oppression/possession" and I indulge in the seven deadlies quite regularly. But should you ever find yourself to be at high risk for demons, by all means find yourself a psychologist and get some practical help. Or I will smite the crap out of you.

And I'll leave you with my favorite sin:

more animals

Though, to be fair, he says:

Funny Pictures
more animals

Wednesday, January 7, 2009

still a favorite

This just makes me smile every time: the answer to the question "Has the Large Hadron Collider Destroyed the World Yet?"

I know, I know, it's broken right now, but I still love the collider. I can't help it. It's the world's largest and highest-energy particle accelerator, it is a collaboration with over 10,000 scientists and engineers from over 100 countries as well as hundreds of universities and laboratories, it is ridiculously expensive, outrageously complicated and the source of endless debate and predictions of doom. What's not to love?

Besides, according to Brian Dunning, the LHC will yield unprecedented findings medicine, clean energy production, unified field theory, computing and astrophysics. Plus, it can so easily be misspelled as the Large Hardon Collider. That's just good clean fun.

Thursday, January 1, 2009


Nine for ’09: Resolutions for Secular Citizens

As an American who is grateful for a Constitution that prohibits the incursion of religion into politics and government, I resolve to:

Speak out and speak up about my beliefs and values
Since when is “secular” a dirty word? Why is it okay to bash atheists? I will claim my beliefs and defend my values at work, in book clubs, at the dinner table and any chance I get.

Join a local group -- it always starts at the grassroots
MeetUp is a great place to find like-minded folks in your own zip code. Plus, most of the Secular Coalition’s member groups have local chapters.

Become a walking, talking billboard for my beliefs
I will shop for merchandise from the Secular Coalition or the OUT Campaign or First Freedom.

Help build the secular constituency in my own political party
I will become involved in my local Democratic, Republican, Greenor Libertarian party organization.

Do my homework and keep up with issues affecting me
I can start with these great blogs: The Friendly Atheist, Rant & Reason and The Wall of Separation. I will also check out FFRF's Church/State FAQ’s for a handy legal primer.

Become a super e-activist
When I get Secular Coalition Action Alerts I will forward them to friends, family and colleagues and ask them to sign up because this is how you build a movement. I can even upload a Secular Coalition logo and URL into the signature file for all my e-mails!

Become a citizen lobbyist
When an Action Alert asks me to contact my leaders in Washington, I will. When it asks me to come to Washington for lobby days, I will. When I can’t come to Washington, I will contact and meet with my Congressional representatives in my home district.

Write letters to the editor and call radio shows

It’s called the media because the press mediates, literally, between citizens and their representatives. I will make sure my views are part of the conversation – especially in my local news outlets.

Give my time or money to groups that share my secular values
I will contribute to the Secular Coalition or its member organizations and learn about other groups that advocate for me and my beliefs.

Thanks, Lori Lipman Brown and the Secular Coalition for America!!!