Who, When, Why –10 Times the Bible Says Torture is OK

Here’s an excellent post by Valerie Tarico. It’s really not surprising that many Christians condone torture, considering that the religion is built around a divine threat of torture. How could one categorically condemn something that god does?

ValerieTarico.com

torture - job_story__image_9_sjpg1176When conservative Christians claim that the Bible God condones torture, they’re not making it up. A close look at the good book reveals why so many Christians past and present have adopted an Iron Age attitude toward brutality.

The first half of December 2014 was painful to many moderate American Christians who see their God as a God of love: A Senate inquiry revealed that the CIA tortured men, some innocent, to the point of unconsciousness and even death; evidence suggested that this torture extracted no lifesaving information. A majority of Americans responded by giving torture the thumbs up, with the strongest approval coming from Christians, both Catholic and Protestant. Faced with moral outrage, including from within their own ranks, Christian torture apologists took to the airwaves and internet, weaving righteous justifications for the practice of inflicting pain on incapacitated enemies.

torture implementsAs morally repugnant as this may…

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Is American atheism heading for a schism? So what else is new?

Is American atheism heading for a schism?” Peter McGrath asks in today’s Guardian. He’s writing specifically about the new Atheism+ movement that’s started in recent weeks. And, hilariously (and soooo appropriately) he embeds the above clip from Monty Python’s Life of Brian. McGrath writes:

The founders of Atheism+ say clearly that “divisiveness” is not their aim, but looking through the blogs and voluminous comments in the two weeks since A+ was mooted, trenches have been dug, beliefs stated, positions staked out and abuse thrown. A dissenting tweeter is “full of shit”, while, according to one supporter, daring to disagree with Atheism+’s definition of progressive issues and not picking their side makes you an “asshole and a douchebag”.

It took 700 years from Constantine renaming Byzantium in his own honour to papal legates circulating letters of anathema that split the Roman and Orthodox churches. Atheism, in its public, online life, has started exchanging internet anathemas – perhaps we should call them inathemas – in little more than a decade.

So is American atheism heading for a schism? That’s like asking, “Are my cats going to fight today? Or will this be the first day of their lives together that they leave each other alone and get along?” Continue reading

Orwellian language and religious “liberty”… the latest from the ACLJ

It may be shooting fish in the proverbial barrel to criticize the American Center for Law and Justice for faulty reasoning, but today I’d like to look at a specific example of how the religious right uses deceptive language to frame the discussion of religious liberty.

In an article posted a few days ago, “Atheism on the Rise as Groups Seek to Censor Faith,” the author warns about the rising number of challenges from groups that are “attempting to remove every vestige of our religious heritage as a nation from public life.” Continue reading

What is Pretentious Ape?

You. You are the Pretentious Ape, you silly human, you.

OK, me too. All of us.

In naming this blog, I was partly inspired by John Janovy, a biologist at the University of Nebraska, who wrote:

A human being is, in the final analysis, an ape that tells stories, only a fraction of which are true, then acts on the lessons of those stories regardless of their veracity. (Pieces of the Plains, 2009, p. 158)

But I thought a blog called “The Storytelling Ape” might lead to disappointed parents and children coming in from Google and expecting some virtual gorilla to tell them stories. (What a blog that would be! What wonderful stories might an ape tell? So much better than, say, dog stories, which would mostly be about chewing things and getting toys stuck under the couch.) Continue reading