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Thursday, 30 July 2009

Why Bill Muehlenberg spreads misery

In order to unpick and subject to reason, criticism and ridicule the ramblings of Bill Muehlenberg, it is necessary to try to understand why theocrats like him spend such a lot of their time writing bigoted and condemnatory articles about people who don't want to adopt his particular brand of bullshit.

Certainly one of the reasons is that he passionately believes in "heaven" and "hell" - you know, the sort of stuff wicked and deranged adults tell children about to try to make them behave:

The current Christian generation does not like to talk much about sin or hell. [CS] Lewis reminds us of these awful biblical realities. But he also reminds us of the even greater realities of the love and mercy of God, and of his Son who came to rescue us from the bondage of sin and the punishment of hell. These are truths which we all must embrace and affirm.

In the above quote I'm not sure I've ever seen the words "realities" and "truths" so roundly abused. Would Bill care to cite any evidence for the existence of eternal reward or eternal punishment, and once he's done this, would he care to cite the criteria for entrance to each?

Of course he would not. How could he? The problem is that it's all in his head, and made worse through his "interpretation" of scripture. The Old Testament, as we all know, positively recommends genocide, slavery, the routine rape of women (see the vile story of Lot), infanticide (several times) and a whole host of incredibly wicked and immoral acts that the "loving" and "merciful" god carries out - though we're told it's perfectly moral if it's God or god's chosen people doing it. In the New Testament, women are similarly treated with scorn and as something sinister and less than human, and we have the contemptible scapegoating of Jesus, and alleged vicarious guilt on everyone born thereafter. If this works for you, Bill, then fine. But leave me and anyone else who sees through the bullshit out of it.

One of the many stupid mistakes of logic Bill makes is that he thinks there's a need for the promise of heaven and the threat of hell in order for people to behave themselves, and that without the moral instruction of the bible, people would just go around murdering one another. What, like other animal species? To the theist, the reality that chimpanzees and other apes, as well as other mammals who live in groups like elephants, wolves, lions, whales, dolphins, walruses... (I'll stop there)... don't go around murdering one another, but live peacefully together and support one another through reciprocal altruism and kin bonding. They may kill to protect their own group or kin from a threat from outside, but all the above species and many more manifestly don't just go around murdering one another. To the theist this is a huge problem. Why not? How can they, without a bible and the threat of heaven and hell, know not to do that? Or do they have their own "bible" and "moral code" that they understand intuitively? To the theist - all their work is ahead of them. To the rationalist, it's clear that members of the same species routinely murdering one another would be evolutionary suicide and quickly lead to extinction. We tolerate others because of our inherited genetic history, not by believing in fairytales.

Bill's second logical fallacy is that now that he'd studied a lot of books on theology he's in a position to tell you what god's will is. Note how smugly convinced he is that once he's dead he'll be on the fast track straight to heaven.

"Look god," he'll say (OK, OK, I know there's no god as well, it's just a metaphor, go with me on this) "I spent my whole life railing against non-Christians, against homosexuals, against secularists, against liberals and accommodationists. What's my reward? Do I get to suck your cock?"

Suppose for a moment that he is right and there is a heaven and hell (I know it's ridiculous, but just suppose it). How surprised would Bill be to be told he's going straight to hell for interfering in other people's lives, campaigning to deny them rights, and showing extremes of intolerance and bigotry, and thus making the misery in the world that bit bigger?

There are obvious historical contexts that indicate clearly why the alleged bible writer Paul may have had a bee in his bonnet about homosexuals, as the practice was commonplace in the Roman world, who were after all the oppressors and foreign occupants of Judea at the time of Jesus. "What have the Romans ever done for us?" But people like Bill are too narrow and stupid to understand context or to even want to imagine for one minute that using their farcical beliefs as a prop or moral shield for their vile bigotry is reprehensible, and morally as well as intellectually null and void.

He wants everyone else to go to hell so he can be on the fast track to heaven. But by living such an immoral life, interfering with and condemning others, he's creating a hell on earth. It's a shame there's no hell for him to go to.

Friday, 24 July 2009

Bill Muehlenberg on Peter Tatchell.

Bill Muehlenberg's view on homosexuality, which he writes about ad nauseum on his blog, is that it's a lifestyle choice and homosexuals ought, for the sake of Christians like him who just can't tolerate living with people who get on with their lives without his say so, to "become" heterosexuals and good Christians whilst they're at it. Indeed, the very presence of homosexuals in society is enough to get Bill thumping his pulpit in disgust until his chin quivers and his face contorts and he lets out a stream of anguish. Oooooooooooohhhh, that felt good.

He starts off one (of over 150) articiles on homosexuality in the following way:

It is nice to get a bit of honesty on the issue of homosexuality. It does not come our way very often in the mainstream media. And when this honesty comes from homosexual activists, it is even more refreshing. Indeed, when heterosexuals tell the truth about homosexuality, they are dismissed as homophobes.

So many canards in only one paragraph, and with instant ad hominems - the obvious inference that all homosexuals are liars - and with the usual automatic assumption that he's in the right (which is soooo obvious he never bothers to back it up) your eyes glaze over in this land of the non sequitur. And poor, victimised, martyred Bill wonders why it is that "I have been saying similar things for years, and have been howled down by the homosexual lobby as bigoted, intolerant and homophobic." Surely not, Bill? What have you done to deserve that? Those nasty people not agreeing with you?

However he really does think he's onto something big here, and goes on to say:

A very revealing case of homosexual honesty comes from Peter Tatchell, an Australian-born, British-based homosexual activist, who spills the beans on the “gay gene”... Indeed, he is honest enough to admit that the jury is still out on the science of all this...
Spill the beans! Yes, that's right, Bill believes that homosexuality is one big conspiracy. He's such a loony he actually believes that millions of people have nothing better to do that be gay for their lives with the express intention of upsetting nutjobs like Bill Muehlenberg! Talk about a persecution complex!

Anyone who's ever read any of Bill's work will not be surprised to learn that he simply contorts Tatchell's words to mean the opposite of what he said because Bill doesn't understand the science behind genetic determinism.

Bill is such a simple-minded prick he actually believes that if a "gay gene" can't be isolated, it proves his position that he thinks it's just a choice, and gays could equally well choose to be heterosexual if only they weren't so stubborn. If he knew anything about genetics he'd know that the genome is more of a recipe than a blueprint, with different parts influencing others at different times during an organism's life. Like a pack of cards, you can't usually isolate one bit that does one thing and another bit that does another thing, without the whole genome crashing down around your ears. There are dozens of different genes interacting for things as simple as eye-colour and skin tone. The genes that control aging are incredibly intertwined. Thinking that there should be a "gay gene" is as stupid as thinking that there's an "aging" gene and if we all had it removed we'd live forever. But then, logic is not Bill's strong suit.

But if he persists in saying that it's all a choice, then other people will continue to tell him that he's a vile, deluded, ignorant, bigoted fuckwit.

There's a deeper reason why he spectacularly fails to understand the genetics behind this issue, and that is that he has a problem with "evolution" and Darwin in particular, but I will save that for another exposure of the idiotic wailings of this foolish man.

But with homosexuality being right at the top of his list of topics for his blog - by a country mile - does anyone else think the lady doth protest too much? He doesn't like to see gay people getting on with their lives because he never had the courage, perhaps? There's none so bitter and homophobic as a deeply repressed homosexual. If he can't enjoy his life - nobody else can! That would be a good motto for this man.

Keep spreading the hate and the lies, Bill. I'm sure Jesus loves you for it.

Friday, 17 July 2009

Bill Muehlenberg Verses Richard Dawkins

Yes, that's right. Bill hates Dawkins with a passion and rants against him in many of his blogs. The trouble is, he's never actually read any of Dawkins's books, as his pathetic straw man rebuttals all too painfully show. If he has read any, he certainly hasn't understood them.

Here are some choice quotes from the mighty intellect of Muehlenberg when he's discussing Richard Dawkins (a world renowned intellectual).

Many years ago when I read the short volume by atheist Bertrand Russell, Why I Am Not a Christian, I thought: there is not much substance to this. Generalisations, straw men, red herrings and misrepresentations seemed to characterise the book. In many ways that is how I regard Dawkins’ book. It is longer, more sophisticated and more comprehensive, but it bears the same traits as found in Russell’s l927 tract.

Note he fails to give any examples. Well, I don't know about you, but I'm convinced.

Indeed, there are atheists and there are atheists. The garden-variety don’t like religion, don’t like God and don’t like people who do. Then there is the especially hard-core variety. These are atheists who are on a mission, an evangelistic crusade to save the world from religion. They hate religion and are convinced it must be eradicated at all costs. Such atheists have every bit as much zeal and fanaticism in their secular jihad as a religious person ever will. Richard Dawkins is a classic example of the atheist storm-trooper.

Yah, that's right. Richard Dawkins's days are very busy. He springs out of bed to throw acid in girls' faces who want to attend school, then he sets off explosions in hotels and on busy streets in the name of atheism. After lunch he arranges for his "followers" to fly planes into buildings. Once he's done that, he orders everyone who disagrees with him to be slaughtered. He claims he knows the only truth. Yah, Bill, that Dawkins is just as bad.

The Oxford biologist has been spewing forth anti-religious bigotry and animosity for some time now.

Change Oxford biologist to bearded American fuckwit and anti-religious to anti-gay and "PING!" as if by magic, you have conjured up Bill Muehlenberg. Poor you. Only this time the description fits.

The other is the overwhelming arrogance, pomposity and self-assuredness of the author. He can admit to no wrong, and will not allow any quarter from his enemies.

Where in the book do you find this, Bill? That's right, you don't. Have you seen the third edition of The Selfish Gene with 100 pages of footnotes citing new work by scientists and admitting mistakes in the original? No. You see, science and scientists can do that, and it makes them better and more respectable. Whereas religion claims it's never wrong. Doctrine of infallibility, anyone?

But leaving aside the sheer nastiness and arrogance of the author and his style

The sheer hypocricy of this made me laugh for about half an hour.

His superficial assault on the gospels are wrong on almost every count. He claims they were “written long after the death of Jesus, and also after the epistles of Paul”. While the gospel of John was probably written sometime in the 90s, Mark could well have been written in the late 50s or early 60s. Matthew and Luke also were written sometime in the 60s. And the writings of Paul were most likely penned between the late 40s and the mid 60s.

Yah, so that makes it a superficial assault. What's half a century in an illiterate place with only word of mouth story telling, full of credulous goatherds. So the stories that are eventually written down by people who never even met Jesus or any of his apostles and weren't even born at the time are, what? Reliable?? Eye-witness accounts???

Who else do we know of living so long ago having such reliable testimony?

FFS. It's like talking to a child. Which explains why none of the 60-odd historians working at the time of Jesus mention him at all. Anything in Josephus? Tacitus (only very possible fleeting mention of a Jewish troublemaker)? Suetonius? Pliny the Younger? You guessed it - zip. As any historian will tell you. As for who else, try Alexander the Great, Aristotle, Julius Caesar: pretty much any historical figure from the ancient Graeco-Roman world, you fuckwit.

He also makes this bizarre claim: In both Testaments “‘Love thy neighbor’ didn’t mean what we now think it means. It meant only ‘Love another Jew’.” Of course everything about Jesus – both word and deed – argued just the opposite.

Again, ask any reliable historian. Yawn.

And one can ask where exactly this love and respect is supposed to come from in a dog-eat-dog Darwinist world. If species survival is the main point about life, how does such a concept as love fit in? Sure, Dawkins offers the usual Darwinian case for altruism, but one is left far from convinced.

Proves he's never read any Dawkins, nor understands the first thing about reciprocal altruism. Yep, unless we're told how to be good by a sky fairy, it'll be fucking in the streets all the way down. The bible's just so much more convincing. What a fucking retard.

But the facts of history are quite clear. Our atheistic regimes have been history’s greatest killing machines.And as I already wrote, atheists have been responsible for more killing in the world than any other group. Hitler and Stalin, for example, certainly did believe in what they were doing, and they certainly did believe they were right.

So he's not even bothered to read The God Delusion before attacking it in such an infantile and unconvincing way. There's a whole chapter on this in Dawkins's book, and in Hitchens's God is Not Great. Hitler was a Catholic. The Roman Catholic Church supported his appointment and encouraged the people to bring Mussolini into power. As for Stalin, there's no correlation between his atheism and the people he killed. You may as well say millions died because he had a moustache. The same mistake is made with Chairman Mao. Millions died because they starved because Mao was an idiot who got his policies wrong and nobody dared point this out to him. His atheism is irrelevant.

Try reading the book, Bill. You might actually learn something.

This is even more incredible, Bill's rebuttal to Dawkins's The Selfish Gene:

Presumably in such a world truth means very little as well. After all, if humans are nothing but a bunch of selfish genes, then why should truth matter at all? If life is simply a purposeless struggle for survival, then why would it show any interest in truth or falsehood?

Yah, he's read the title. Nice try, Bill. Read the book before sitting at the grown-up table. You have no argument.

Tuesday, 14 July 2009

Vile Bill Muehlenberg and what he stands for.

But I Was Born That Way

This is a response to Bill’s diatribe called “But I was born that way.” Through most of this response I have merely transposed two words, yet the logic of his argument is unchanged – which just goes to show what woolly logic it is to begin with. Can you guess which words those are?

Bill says:

The most common Christian myth of all – and there are many – is that Christians are born that way, and cannot help being the way they are. We don’t judge a person born left-handed, or red-haired, they argue, so we should not judge a Christian either.

There are plenty of problems with this argument. The main one is the fact that tens of millions of Christians have left the Christian lifestyle after they have grown up and leant that everybody’s different and we can all rub along just fine together without being so insecure as to try to enforce their chosen lifestyle upon anyone else – all religious addictions are hard to kick - but it can be done.

But let’s just suppose for a moment that the Christian activists are correct in arguing that this is all just a matter of childhood indoctrination, with no choice involved. What follows if we accept such a proposition? If we really are the result of brainwashing, and we have to simply accept the hand that nature has dealt us, then this must have implications for all of us.

“For as long as I can remember, Christians have been explaining why they have no choice about their religious notions. And it finally dawned on me that their arguments explain why being anti-Christian is also not a choice but an innate predisposition beyond our power to restrain. This led me to embrace my convictions and stop trying in vain to repress who I am. Since millions suffer from this same condition, I’m hopeful that my epiphany will help others accept themselves and their convictions, too.”

He then offers some insights based on this newfound understanding of determinism and secularism. Here is one helpful insight: “If we can’t control whom we love, that’s because we can’t control our strong passions. But passions can be both for and against. And, just as Christian love is a passion which is impossible to control, I now know that my passionate anti-Christian feelings must also be impossible to control. I might wish I could change, but it’s hopeless. My judgmental tendency draws me as irresistibly as their ludicrous beliefs.”

And yet another insight: Christians claim that they have no choice in their beliefs: after all, who would choose a lifestyle that attracts so much criticism and rejection? But with our new understanding of determinism, things become clear:

“Who would choose to suffer discrimination, fear, alienation and family discord? I used to worry that this argument would prevent disapproving of any behavior at all, since it seems to entail the unusual conclusion that the more despised something is the less anyone can be blamed for it. But then I realized that I have been ridiculed, called intolerant and fired from an academic post for my beliefs on this subject. In fact, I’ve often thought how much easier my life in this culture would be if only I could lay down the burden of believing in superstitious nonsense and embrace philosophy and meaningful ethical discourse. Since no rational person in the United States in 2008 would choose to be anti-Christian if he didn’t have to be, it must not be a choice.”

The liberating vision of determinism helps in other areas as well: “It’s not like I went to bed one night thinking supportive thoughts about Christianity and then woke up the next morning committed to opposing it. It’s more accurate to say that one day I just sort of realized, almost to my horror, that I thought the whole of Christianity was wrong. I felt like I had been suppressing my innate moral voice because of social pressure and the respect we’re all meant to show to stupid people’s beliefs, before finally coming to terms with it. On top of my parents both being pro-religion and having lots of religious friends, I had actually taken a seminar on religious theory from Richard Mohr, one of the county’s most prominent religious philosophers. I would gladly have been Christianity-endorsant if I could have been. But all to no avail. And I clearly can’t un-choose what I had never chosen in the first place.”

Now, I’m not saying that I agree with the sentiments expressed above. Of course I think the tenets of Christianity, and all religious, are self-evidently false, but I’m happy to live with people believing what they like, so long as it doesn’t affect my life. Bill’s approach is one of stunning arrogance. He concludes:

Gee, it is indeed liberating when one comes to understand just how natural (and therefore determined) our behaviours and lifestyles are. I no longer have to feel guilty about my homophobia! That is tremendous news. I no longer have to deny or repress my true nature – I can just express it fully, and not care about those who would judge me. I can finally be true to myself.

Now let me conclude by admitting that of course Tallman and I are using a bit of humour here to make our case. But the point being made is quite serious indeed. Either we buy the logic of the determinists or we don’t. If being a Christian is genetically determined, then presumably all sorts of other behaviours are biologically and/or genetically determined as well.

In which case, if those concerned about homosexuality should just shut up, then perhaps those concerned about homophobia should just shut up as well.

Yes, that’s right, you heard him correctly. He’s jumping for joy because he’s found another way in which he’s allowed to be homophobic! He also manages to be a complete hypocrite because he doesn't anywhere else allow that homosexuality is natural and determined, otherwise he wouldn't insisting that gays must convert. But then, bad logic, bigotry and hypocricy are Bill's staples.

The usual reason he states (though he’ll usually say something sanctimonious about “loving the sinner”, though you’ll see no love from Bill for anyone who disagrees with his militant Bronze Age lifestyle) is that it’s in the bible, so he just has no choice. To be a good Christian demands him to be homophobic. His hands are tied. If he wants to spend an eternity giving BJs to Jesus then he’s going to have to hate the gays. This sort of unethical argument is so stunningly cowardly and pathetic that it’s tempting to deal with it here, but there’s plenty of time for that. No, the point is that Bill has now found an alternative reason for his hateful, bigoted views – he was just born that way. What’s self-evident to anyone who knows any homosexuality is that sexual preference is not a matter of choice, nor does it require embracing a “dangerous lifestyle” – like it’s all listening to Judy Garland or something. However, sorry, Bill, but you can choose to be a fuckwitted bigoted cunt. You can also choose to live and let live. Keep your reprehensible beliefs, but don’t try to convert everyone else. No homosexual is trying to convert you, are they? (And don’t say this is the gay lobby’s agenda, or you are even more fuckwitted than I originally imagined). Yeah, that’s right, it’s a divine mandate from the creator of the universe that Bill must treat gays like they’ve no right to exist (whilst holding completely hypocritical views on social Darwinism – ah, the intellectual and moral paucity of theological mindset). That’s right, Bill knows the mind of the creator of the universe and is in a position of authority to impose his will! Somehow he thinks believing this sort of nonsense and having god on his side bolsters his argument.

Though I do suspect that the lady doth protest too much. The most vocal homophobes normally hate it in themselves. Is Bill the next Ted Haggard? Does he have more than one beard? ;)

So good luck to you, Bill, now that you think you’ve found another reason to be a bigoted fuckwit. Just don’t be surprised when the rest of us laugh at you and see you for the vile hypocritical idiot you are.

Wednesday, 8 July 2009

Why this blog?

Well, put purely and simply, this is a rationalist, secular response to the rabid and bigoted bleatings of Bill Muehlenberg, an American who emigrated to Australia because they just weren't conservative and "Christian" enough in America for his liking. He keeps a blog called Culture Watch in which he frequently posts the most hate-fuelling rants against anyone he sees who stands in his way of his view of how people should live their lives.

The existence of homosexuals, pro-choicers, liberals, and pretty much anyone else who doesn't believe living by the literal interpretation of the bible is a good or sensible idea, is, to Bill, proof that Christians are being persecuted. Giving equal rights to all people is, to his warped religious mind, sinful and sure to end in the destruction of civilization. If anyone publishes any dissenting comment on his website, Bill may publish it, but only to threaten the dissenter with hell fire, throw straw man arguments at them, use ad hominem attacks, and then round up by sanctimoniously offering to pray for them. If the dissenter attempts to respond, Bill doesn't publish, thus conning his credulous followers into believing that he has scared the dissenter away with their tail between their legs through the awesome might of Bill's intellect, the devastating impact of his moral compass, and the intimidating amount of facial hair.

Yes, there are plenty of religious bigots in the world, so it does seem unfair of me to pick on Bill, but as I've had the personal experience, he's most in my mind. I won't be updating this blog too often, as I have other things to do besides mock this nasty little bully, but maybe if it takes off I'll encompass more religious bigotry, which I'll oppose whenever and wherever I come across it.

Right, weapons drawn, here we go.