Get a Jesus Body!

So the other day I'm walking through a Tokyo-area shopping center, and in a drug store I see stacked boxes of Jesus Body! (exclamation mark theirs).

What's this? Communion crackers? No, those would make for grisly boxes of actual Jesus flesh (or so the priests insist). The tomato-red Jesus Body! boxes I saw are a diet product – 180 tablets of slimming ingredients.  Readeth thou more

The Vatican's Express Exorcist

Exorcism?

Here in the second decade of the 21st century, you might think that the only exorcism still to be found in the Church involves casting altar boys out of their robes. But while that may form the mainstream of Catholic clerical practices, good old-fashioned hellspawn expulsion remains on the Vatican's menu of imaginary services.

A lot of folks lately have been talking up the story of "Father" Gabriele Amorth, cross-slinging demon-buster of the Holy See, who claims a Vatican-roaming Satan himself is behind Church improprieties ("the Devil made them diddle", I guess). Reading words about – and by – the 85-year-old priest is a trip into utter lunacy, of course, but I gotta say it's awfully entertaining wackiness. Here are some things I've learned about the Church and the exorcist biz in particular: Readeth thou more

God-addled politicos keep speaking in (idiot) tongues

An addition to yesterday's Texan Democrats (a little) less religious than Republicans: Let's take things up from one state to the national level. In Republicans v secular America, Dan Kennedy of Guardian News and Media reports on the latest machinations by a party salivating over the prospect of religion-based control over the US populace. Readeth thou more

In the beginning was the word of the day

Hey, it's religion week on the popular A.Word.A.Day mailing list!

A.Word.A.Day broadcasts a new word every day for the vocabulary nuts out there, and it's always a welcome ping in the mailbox. It's not a place where you'd expect to see a religion-related message of any kind, but as the list kicks off a week of sacerdotal offerings, I was surprised to see this short paean to free thought leading off today's installment: Readeth thou more

Which one of you is wrong? How do you know?

Over at Common Sense Atheism, Luke Muehlhauser shares how he "came out" and told his religious family about his atheism. It's a valuable experience; many, many people who lose religious faith (or realize they never had it) wrestle with the question of how to break the news to family. ("How do I tell them?" seems one of the most common questions asked by callers to atheist TV show The Atheist Experience.)

The comments below the post show lots of appreciation for Luke's tale, as well as the expected (but mostly short and civil) back-and-forth involving believers who find fault with the post. Until a comment by "Siamese", a loooong screed making God-filled claim after claim with, as you might guess, zero evidence or even argument. Out-of-thin-air assertions like these:

Heaven does last for eternity and those who chose a personal relationship with Jesus while on earth will be united with God. This unity does not imply the experience of pleasurable earthly activities; rather, it is an experience of selfless love and adoration for the God of all creation...

God desires a personal relationship with each human, in order for this relationship to occur he provided each human freedom of choice. If he had not given human beings the freedom to reject Him, all humans would go to heaven and be united with him, but their choice to be with him would have been a programmed fact...

Since God is loving and just he respects the decisions one makes and will eternally separate himself from this individual on judgment day...

And so on. Run of the mill stuff. What kills me about such blather, though – and what we too often led slide by without challenge to the claimant – is that the above claims are not only refuted by atheism, they're refuted by religion. It can't be said often or strongly enough: Every religious claim a believer can make is refuted first and foremost by the majority of religious believers not adhering to the claimant's particular minority faith/sect/denomination. When atheists want to refute a religious claim, they always have to get in line behind the throng of believers shouting "You've got that wrong" (often followed by further brilliant commentary such as "Infidel!", "Heretic", "Blasphemer!", "Hell-bound!", and the like).

Why should the atheist – or anyone – accept one minority claim over countless additional minority claims? The argument will typically bounce off the listener, but it has to be said again and again anyway. So here's my humble response left in the Common Sense Atheism comments: Readeth thou more

Pages