Never Seems to be a Two-Way Street.

There are a couple of websites showing the efforts of Christians and atheists trying out various churches.They observe how the church operates, the members and its community, sermons, etc. There have been a couple of books like I Sold My Soul on EBay by Hemant Mehta of Friendly Atheist and Joe and Casper Go To Church by Jim Henderson and Matt Casper of ChurchRater. These books are about non-believers attending a variety of churches and reporting about the experience.

Looking at various sites like ChurchRater, and reading the comments left there by various religious posters, I get the sense that Christians are very anxious for atheists to attend their churches. But I don’t get any sense of the Christians wanting to reciprocate by attending any atheist meetings or events. I don’t see any Christians actually attending an atheist or skeptic event. Perhaps this has happened, but it seems to be very rare.

I see atheists going to churches, Christian events, and talking with Christians and trying to understand them better. I see Christians talking about themselves with the atheists, and somewhat trying to understand atheists. Jim Henderson, an ex-pentecostal minister, seems like one of the few who actually listens to what an atheist has to say without having an underlying motive of trying to get the atheist to be Christian.

I’m skeptical of the motives of some of these Christians. Perhaps a few aren’t in this to get converts and only want to meet new friends. I’ve had Christians approach me in friendship, only to loose them as friends the moment they find that I’m interested in learning about them, but have no interest in becoming one of them.

To me this whole business seems to be awfully one-sided. I live in the LA area, and regularly go to events at the Center for Inquiry West. What about any of you Christians out there? Are you willing to get to know us? I’ve gone to church with family and friends before to see what it’s like, but have never had anyone ask to go with me to anything atheist or non-believer oriented.

Eating Someone and Not in a Good Way

What is wrong with Texans these days? You have crazy people killing their children by stoning them, chopping them, and microwaving them. Now you have a crazy man who killed his girlfriend, then called the cops to report both the crime and the fact he was eating her body.

Christopher McCuin called 911 early Saturday morning to report a particularly grisly crime. The Dallas Morning News says he “calmly described murdering his girlfriend and cooking her ear.”

When police arrived at his house in Tyler, Texas, the paper says the 24-year-old tried to hold them off with a kitchen knife but eventually surrendered after a short standoff. When cops entered the residence, the paper says they “found a human ear boiling in a stovetop pan and raw flesh on a nearby plate, with a fork stuck in it.”

Just sickening. And guess who told him to do it?

McCuin claims he was guided by God, investigators tell the Tyler Morning Telegraph. “When he said God told him to do it, one of the investigators looked at him and just said, ‘What did you say?’” says Lt. Larry Wiginton of the sheriff’s department.

A God delusion indeed.

Challenge Religion Social Ranking Site

I’ve noticed the Challenge Religion website which uses an algorithm called SocialRank to determine how one’s web site rates against a list of sites. They have a video of how they rank, but I’ve not had time to go through it. It appears to use page visits, number of posts, and perhaps post relevance to the category of blog the blog seems to belong to. I’m not sure of this and I’ll check into it. I’m really surprised by this blog getting into the top 100 consistently. I don’t really post that much, and a lot of what I post is snark.

All Your Sciences Are Belong To Us

Over at Pharyngula, PZ Myers has been discussing how the anti-science cranks have been trying to revise as many sciences as they can or seem to be unacceptable to them.

You’ve got to appreciate an honest kook. He knows that, in order to support biblical creationism, it’s not enough to critique biology — you’ve got to get right down to the roots and revise all of physics, chemistry, geology, and astronomy to take down the perfidious lies of the League of Scientists.

Oh and over at Good Math, Bad Math Mark Chu-Carroll has come across nutcases who think that Math will drive one to godlessness. I’ve not seen this before.

After seeing my recent post about a relativity denier, a reader sent me a link to another extremely amusing anti-relativity site. (In fact, I’ve received a bunch of links to anti-relativity sites; I’m only posting the most amusing ones.) This one has several particularly amusing properties, but from my point of view what makes it such a great target is that it uses the mathematical precision of relativity as part of its argument against it. You see, math is ultimately the basis of a grand anti-religious conspiracy to replace god with randomness and evolution!

All right, now you’re talking. I didn’t get a degree in Applied Math for nothing. Now, I can apply my evil math skills to bring across the innocent godly youth and have them worshiping at the bloody altar of calculus and optimization theory. Soon, we will overtake all of society. All will be praising the glories of complex analysis as they chant. All hail pi and e. All hail our evolved master Cthulhu, Ph’nglui mglw’nafh Cthulhu R’lyeh wgah’nagl fhtagn. Let us glory in his holy randomness.

What really tops this, was the license plate I saw one the way home from work today. It said BLYND and the surrounding plate holder had a bible verse about ignoring what you see, but using faith instead. This attitude is why some people prefer to remain in a world wholly of their own devising, totally ignoring the reality that surrounds them.

Update:

Looks like The Count has been corrupted by the evil maths. Courtesy of Cectic, hat tip to Hement Mehta of Friendly Atheist.



Happy New Year 2008

Well looking back at 2007, I’ve seen a lot that gives me hope for the future. We have atheist authors selling atheist books that end up on the best seller list. We have lots of people turning against the overzealous religious nuts trying to establish a theocracy. I hope these trends continue into 2008 and beyond.