Sunday, July 11, 2010

Facebook Follies: A Church for Farmville

Not content to build their useless, non-tax-paying houses of worship in just about every town in the U.S., believers in the magical, invisible sky guy are now banding together to ask for a church for Farmville, the extraordinarily popular Facebook game in which virtual farmers tend virtual farms.
Farmville! Perhaps ruined by the pathological pest of a silly belief in the supernatural. Is nothing sacred?!

"Oh, look God and neighbors! I'm such a good believer, that I even have a virtual church on my virtual farm for my virtual farmer to virtually worship a virtual God. Isn't that wonderfully admirable and worth extra points on my frequent worshiper card?"

Two of my Facebook friends (so far) have recommended the "ask Farmville for a church for your farm!" page to me, asking me to "like" it.

I do not, could not, like it for my farm,
I would not, could not, want it near my barn,
I would not like it with my sheep-y,
I do so think the idea's creepy,
A place to worship a magic, made-up guy,
Would stink much more than my pig sty,
I do not want a church,
No way, no how,
To think I would,
Well, Holy cow!

The only way I'd support a Farmville church if it is designed to immediately be declared abandoned, and then, allow Farmville farmers to convert (no pun intended, although I like it) the empty building to a more sensible, useful purpose. Perhaps a nature center, a science lab, a childcare center, or a shelter for the lost animals who are always wandering onto farms. I can think of dozens of acceptable uses for a church on Farmville, but adoring an invisible, magical sky guy isn't one of them.

Tuesday, July 6, 2010

Science vs. God of the Gaps--why the odds are against God

And now, I take a momentary break from writing about my encounters with the irrational, in order to post something rational: this "Atheist Meme of the Day: 'God of the Gaps' is a Bad Argument" from Greta Christina's Blog:
Science doesn't understand everything" is a terrible argument for religion. Supernatural explanations for the world have been replaced by natural ones thousands of times. It's never once happened the other way around. So if we don't currently understand something, why would we assume that it's probably supernatural? Pass it on: if we say it enough times to enough people, it may get across.

Monday, July 5, 2010

On Twitter: My Christian Followers

I'm both bemused and amused by the growing number of my Twitter followers who are Twitter Christians. These are not my friends and followers who also happen to be Christians, but Jesus-tweeting strangers who have decided that they should follow me. 

It began last week when, much to my delight, I discovered the Christian Coalition had become one of my Twitter followers. And almost every day since then, another Twitter Christian--someone whose tweets have a primarily Christian content, and who usually has a Christian-focused website too--has decided to follow me. I'm not quite sure what to make of this.

My guess is that these are people who follow anyone whose tweets contain a key word like "Jesus" or "Christian." A few weeks ago, something similar to that happened to me when I tweeted some quotes from Olympic ice skater Johnny Weir (who I adore). One of my tweets mentioned Johnny's love for Balenciaga purses, and shortly after, a twit selling designer purses started following me. Later, I tweeted a quote from Johnny that contained "Long Island," and gained a follower who collected and retweeted Long Island related gossip. Both eventually apparently realized that I was unlikely to follow them back, and/or that I wasn't going to provide them with appropriate tweets to retweet, so they stopped following me.

The other two possibilities for my new Twitter Christian followers are a bit more creepy, yet still amusing:

The first is that they're hoping to make me see the error of my atheist ways, and embrace their own particular brand of irrationality. But, really, they need to face reality in at least this instance. I'm not going to follow them back. I'm not going to visit their websites except for material to poke at on this blog. And if they start tweeting me, I'll just block them.

The other possibility that crossed (no pun intended) my mind is that the Twitter Christians are just keeping an eye on me--the old "keep your enemies closer." Although that seems very unlikely given that in the atheist world and the blogosphere, I'm a nobody.

I've tried checking to see if other atheists on Twitter also have a fairly large proportion of Twitter Christian followers, but most of the atheist bloggers I thought of have many more followers than I have--too many to count the number of Twitter Christians among them.

I suspect that if my new Twitter Christian followers actually read what I tweet, and/or follow the links provided in some of them to this blog, they will either be horrified and/or angry, and stop following me. Or, admittedly more unlikely, they will read, learn, think, and see the error of their ways. 

Either way, it's good.

Sunday, July 4, 2010

Facebook Follies: Celebrating the Fourth of Jesus

I saw this on my Facebook newsfeed several times today, July 4th: 

WELCOME TO THE UNITED STATES OF AMERICA...Please remember only two defining forces have offered to die for you... JESUS CHRIST and the AMERICAN SOLIDER. One died for your soul the other for your freedom. If you agree... copy and paste in your status... GOD BLESS THE USA!!!!! GOD BLESS OUR SOLDIERS!! 

On the Fourth of July, a secular holiday, we Americans celebrate our independence. Our freedom. Our birth as a nation. It's not about Jesus, for Jesus Frickin' Christ! In part, it's about freedom from religion, including freedom from your religion and your Jesus, so give the rest of us a break from this incessent, "I'm witnessing. Look what a great Christian I am. I hope everyone, including God, is favorably impressed."

Did it ever occur to you that many of those in the military who offer to die for you are not Christians--the atheists, agnostics, Deists, Jews, Muslims, Wiccans, Unitarian Universalists, and others? Guess they don't count, eh? And yet, they're willing to fight and die on behalf of even bigots like you.

Must you Jesus-shillers ruin every secular celebration by interjecting your silly mythology about the middle-Eastern, Jewish son of an invisible sky guy, who really is his own sky guy daddy, except when he's not (not to mention that both the daddy and son are sometimes a spirit who is not either one of them), who sent his son-self to die to save his human critters from his own punishment because they did some naughty stuff he designed them to do and always knew they would do from before time began? And who had to allow himself to be tortured and killed because he couldn't think of any other possible way to fix things? But who knew all along that he really was god and wasn't going to stay dead, and then, as he always knew would happen, after two nights in his tomb, he became undead and walked around until he flew up to heaven to be god with his father/himself.

Really? My brain gets swirly just trying to comprehend how any sane, reasonably intelligent, and reasonably educated person could possibly believe that. (Heh, maybe it's the "reasonably" that's the problem. Reason seems to be sorely lacking in your beliefs.)

You seem to think your many Facebook posts about your God and Jesus are something all your friends would agree with, or at least tolerate.

Did it ever cross (no pun intended) your mind that some of your Facebook friends--and this is shocking, I know--aren't Christians? (And at least one of your Facebook friends is--gasp--an atheist. That would be me. Boo!) And in fact some of us think your religious beliefs are superstitious nonsense on par with believing in Thor or Zeus or the tooth fairy?

How would you feel if I started regularly posting how ridiculous I find your beliefs, and self-congratulate myself for not being as credulous and irrational as you are? I don't. (I blog about you and my thoughts about you instead.)

I guess it also never occurs to you how tiresome your continual Facebook praying, preaching, and witnessing is. How narrow-minded you seem when you do it. How insulting your implication is that I'm not a real American because I don't share your Christian beliefs. Are you really that oblivious (a definite possibility, since so many U.S. Christians are)? Or is it that you just don't care about how I, and other non-Christians, feel when you post your Christian status updates?

And you don't need to "welcome" me to the U.S. I'm already in the U.S. I intend to stay in the U.S. I like the U.S. I like the freedom I have in the U.S. I really like the fact that I don't need to believe in your god to live in the U.S. But I really, really wish that I didn't have to visit your Jesus-filled, irrational, bigoted version of it.

Friday, July 2, 2010

Cancer did not make me lose my ability to reason

I wrote this as a comment in the Pharyngula thread "Jerk of the Day," which is about George Berkin's disgusting Christian joy over Christopher Hitchen's cancer diagnosis. Since I haven't had time to write anything new for a few days, I thought I'd repost my comments here:

When I found out I had breast cancer, I did not suddenly reject reason and start believing in an invisible sky guy who had a mysterious plan for me that included cancer.

The only faith I had was in the expertise of my doctors.

I let my husband and kids know that if I were in the hospital and a chaplain (or anyone else who wanted to comfort me with prayer or "good news" about god) ever attempted to enter my room while they were there, they needed to push that person back into the hallway (and yell blasphemous remarks as they did so), because if they didn't, I'd be forced to crawl out of my bed, and beat the god-shill with my bedpan. 

I also made clear that I want no prayer, hymns, and any other god-mentioning at my funeral, but I also noted that the funeral was for them, not for me, because I would be--you know--dead, so wouldn't know and couldn't care what happened at the funeral. Still, I hope that they would tell funny stories about me and drink a lot of margaritas. And I believe that that's more likely to happen than mass and recitation of the rosary, given that I have raised two godless children and am married to the most apathetic Protestant ever.

It looks like I'm going to be fine, and my doctors tell me I am unlikely to die of breast cancer (which only leaves everything else I can possibly die from.)

And while all my friends are patting themselves on the back that their "prayers were answered" and god cured me, I only praise my doctors and the other health care providers who used their skills and knowledge to obtain a good result for me.