What the bible is really missing
For quite a while now I've known there was something wrong with the Bible... something... missing. But no more...

Only the +7 Blood of Christ can defeat the Price of the Damned!
I mean, honestly, great mythology. That's some really creative and out-there stuff. Now I know it's not as consistent as a lot of the other modern mythologies like Star Wars (there was that strange kiss in the movie, but nothing like contradictions in the Bible), and the fan fic just doesn't make as much sense, but I still have to be impressed. However, it's really the stuff that surrounds the cannon that's the most interesting. Seriously, raising gholems by writing the word "alive" on the hand or curing blindness with the "abracadabra" spell (yeah, really), that's just waiting to be put into a good game.
"You have rolled a 9, you have now removed the blindness spell cast by the great Ziz. Ziz drops from the sky racing at your golem, what would you like him to do?."
Really, that use of the Bible just makes way more sense than living your life by it.

Why I'm not a christian...
When your life changes in a major way, like when you completely reanalyze your belief system, some times you become so caught up in the aftermath that you loose track of the event. I felt so robbed and betrayed by the lie I believed, and the misguided people who spread it, that I lost track of what caused me to change my views. I know now all the reasons not to believe, but until recently I had really forgotten that key thing.

It's funny, I can argue against the logic of faith all day:

In I Samuel 15:2-3, God commands the genocide of the Amalek people. Not only does the Benevolent Creator command His people bring death to this nation, he expressly commands the murder of infants and children. Even the most devout follower should cringe, but it's often passed off as "acceptable for the time." Lets make this quite clear. Genocide is not acceptable in any time or place, under any circumstance. To argue otherwise would be to reject the most basic foundations of human morality (which is often what religion asks one to do). Even the most vaguely rational individual should realize that what this passage commands is an atrocity. At the very least one should be able to see that this is clearly not moral. But the main selling point of the book that contains this passage is it's ability to be a moral guide.
So here we find the paradox: the Bible is the highest moral guide, yet clearly it's morality is unreliable so the individual must filter it's advice through his or her own moral reasoning. But if the individual's morality is more accurate than the guide, what is the point of the guide? If you have a compass that randomly points the right way, so that you need to verify it against a more accurate compass... what's the point of the first compass? Yet some would argue that this Bible is primarily of God, yet is written by man and therefore is flawed so we must, ourselves, find the God in it. This could make sense, but how do we verify what is of God and what is not? If one thing could be wrong, don't we need to question *everything* to verify it's validity? What tools can we use? One would assume we'd use logic to guide us, but when we apply logic to the story of Jesus we find that the very core of this faith is broken. Here's what I mean.
An all powerful being could cleanse sin without the need to cause the horrible death of an innocent man (that is the very definition of the omnipotence God is supposed to posses), therefore the death of this 'savior' is either unrelated to the cleansing of sin, or God is not all powerful. This leaves three possible interpretations of the story of Jesus, all of which provide solid arguments against belief in Christianity.

1) God had another reason to torture your Jesus. Given His all powerful nature, we must therefore assume God is evil.
2) The story of Jesus is not "of God" and should be stricken from the Bible.
3) God is not all powerful. If God is not all powerful then God is not some special being, but simply a more powerful version of us. To a less advanced culture our technology rings of God, why would Christianity be right but they be wrong?

This logic clearly shows that, without a doubt, Christianity is a faith without value. But logic is not powerful enough to overcome the blindness. From within religion there is haze of fear to doubt. Religion itself is not driven by reason, but by pure emotion... or by something even deeper and more powerful that creates this emotion. Religion is driven by an instinctual fear that is so powerful it has sustained life for eons. It is an instinctual drive that predates logic, and even the faintest hints of understanding. Before Jesus, or Aristotle, or Lucy, before our mammalian ancestors, or even amphibians, walked on land, before all but the first clumps of cells, there was the will to live. Built in to us at the deepest level is the most powerful of all our drives, the desire to perpetuate our existence. Water, food, shelter, sex, these are not only the foundation, but they make up 3 of the 5 levels of Malsow's hierarchy. One could even go further and argue that esteem and actualization both represent a desire for the perpetuation of our memory and therefore ourselves. One could then further suggest that on some level the entire focus of any given human life is the struggle for survival followed by the quest for immortality. This is such a basic an overwhelming force that, on some level, it permeates every instant of life and guides every action.
This drive is so great that we would imagine ourselves, or the essence of ourselves, to be somehow immortal. This is the very pith and marrow of religion, all else is but butteressing. Christian Apologetics is only a structure built to silence the rational mind from screaming out the obvious: you only believe because you are afraid not to.
So then, how could logic even begin to influence something driven by the most powerful force in human existence? Logic cannot dispel such a mythology thorough outward parody. Nor will attacks on surrounding logic do any more than add epicycles to an already Ptolemaic model of faith. No, only a focused deconstruction at the root of belief is of any value.

For years now I've wondered, why did I wake up? What was it for me that was important enough to let go of the promise of life? What actually drove me to realize the fallacy, and accept the reality of death? It is complex.

I was entrenched in apologetics, defending my belief in God so much so that I actively pursued the arguments against it. But no matter the weight or value of the argument, none could penetrate the walls that imprisoned my rational self. A cognitive dissonance grinds at the rational mind entrapped by a promise too good to be true; there is a dark secret that the faithful are afraid to let themselves know. The promise of salvation is a gift that should not be accepted for selfish reasons, but the only reason pursue it is for the perpetuation of the self; to be Christ-like is to embrace the ultimate sacrifice, but to pursue eternal life as one's primary focus is the realm of the devil. I realize this may not be the universal perspective, but in my intense pursuit of the divine I came to this revelation:

1) To truly be saved one must strive to be Christ-like.
2) To be Christ-like is to be driven by complete selflessness, willing to sacrifice even one's soul for the good of others.
3) To be Christian is to accept this gift of eternal life.
4) But to seek eternal life, even through a moral life of sacrifice, is to be driven primarily by the selfish desire for life... and therefore, not to be Christ-like.

It was then I realized that even if I gave my life for the greater good I would only be doing so in order to avoid death. And then I realized that I had lived my life as a Christian out of fear of death. This fear had been pounded in to me again and again, but not with fire and brimstone. Fear came with the soft face of kindness. I was raised in faith, but when I became old enough to question is when the real pressure came. "Jesus," they said, "offers you a wonderful gift, all you need to do is take it." "Jesus," they said, "died to bring you life." "Jesus," they said, "loves you so much he offers you life." But from the outside I can see what they didn't say: if Jesus offers you life, the inverse is death. Follow or die. The promise of eternal life, is a veiled threat of eternal death. This doesn't take much to see, but a mind clouded with fear will choose blindness.
But the promise could not be fulfilled as long as I wished to pursue it, so it was worthless. So now this is now where I stand, realizing that I will die. I think I am more moral realizing that there is no forgiveness (but I still make HUGE mistakes). I know that salvation is found in the ideas I spread to others, and I can accept that. And even if I do nothing with my life, even if I'm completely forgotten, I know I have touched at least one person and the effects of that will be felt forever. So now that I have no God, and no hope of immortality, I am finally at peace.
Without this God, without this pursuit of the unattainable, I have felt the divine. I have glimpsed the face of God in numbers. I have tasted perfection in code. Seeking to make myself a better tool to serve humanity (so that I might be remembered) I have had greater epiphanies, more intense spiritual awakenings, than ever when I followed the path of God. And you know.... there are times I am so amazed by the beauty of everything that I just don't care about mortality. In seeking understanding I have become, if only for a brief instant, actually enlightened. And honestly, to Know is greater than any other experience I've ever found, and I would trade all the promised immortality for just a second of true understanding.

"Fear? If I have gained anything by damning myself, it is that I no longer have anything to fear." -- Jean-Paul Sartre

I stole that quote from google, but I agree. And now I sound smarter than I am.


my laws of user friendly computing....
1. There should be at least 5 ways to do everything, and at least one way to do everything from the cli
2. Every way to manipulate a resource should be directly accessible anywhere that resource is accessible. E.g. file sharing should include printer sharing, printer configuration should allow sharing; Cd ripping, burning, and mounting should all be accessible through an fstab interface; anywhere music is found (xmms, gstreamer, the file system, etc) cd burning should be possible through a simple interface.
3. Gui configuration should NOT interfere with cli or web-based configuration. Everything needs to work together. This is why we establish standards.
4. Configuration files should remain backwards compatible for as LONG AS POSSIBLE. Depreciated variables, settings, and methods should remain for at least 10 years unless they pose a security risk.
5. Any configuration interface should keep the same configuration as long as possible.

ok, all that is probably obvious, but both linux and windows would do well by following those rules. People need things to be easy, and need easy ways to associate abstract ideas with physical things.

Here's an idea...
When information is king, those who control information become Gods. A god can remake the world in his or her image. Imagine a world made in the image of the internet. A world where race, age, and gender are not a factor. A world where the most valuable commodity isn't money, but knowlege. A world where force conciedes to intellect and violence becomes illogical.
A god can be brutal or benign. Which side are you on?

Reinterpreting Christianity
So, I've been arguing religion and I've come to some very interesting reinterpretations of the christian faith. First we must plow through a little doctrine and come to a few shared (and generally stupid) conclusions. These conclusions are generally in line with SOME christian teachings, not all.

1. Children have untainted souls, i.e. there isn't such a thing as original sin. If there was such a thing as original sin then an aborted fetus would go to hell to be tortured eternally without ever having a chance to redeem itself. That's pretty much morally repulsive, and if you can accept that as being "justice" or "ok" then you're just fucked up anyway and my new interpretations are pretty in line with what you consider OK.
2. Animal sacrifice cleanses sin, but only temporarily. In order to attone for sin a soul must be destroyed. Only a soul that is without sin can be a proper offering because a tainted soul is just being destroyed for it's own sin. Jesus had an untained soul and could therefore be the sacrifice for all sins.
3. The importance of Jesus is that he took on the burden of hell, he gave up his soul, so others could go to heaven.
4. A fetus has a soul

Christianity's new views on abortion...

Christ went to hell so others could go to heaven. The only way to go to hell so another can go to heaven is by killing a child who's not yet capable of sinning. In doing so you commit a sin, but the child goes to heaven because the child is without sin. The word christian means christ-like. The most important thing christ did was go to hell so others could go to heaven. The only way to follow that is to kill children. The ultimate way to be a christian is to kill children. The most true christian course of action any individual can take is to become an "abortionist" because by doing so one accepts the burden of hell and in doing so sends hundreds of souls to heaven.

Christianity's new view on child sacrifice...

Jesus claims that he is the only way into heaven, but given 1 & 2 it seems there's another way. By following the traditional jewish practices for animal sacrifice one could transfer his own sins to an infant (since the infant has no sins of his/her own to attone for) then sacrifice this infant and cleanse himself of sins. In doing so even the anti-christ could enter heaven without the help of Jesus.

...and if you don't want to believe that

In order to make the above untrue (given our assumptions) it would be necessary to accept that children don't have souls until they're capable of committing sins. The thing that seperates animals from humans is the soul. If a child doesn't have a soul, that child isn't human. Murder only applies to killing people. If kids aren't people then it's ok to kill them until they have souls. Since a mentally retarded person doesn't understand the difference between right and wrong, that person is incapable of sin since sin relies on the ability to tell right from wrong. So severly retarded people, according to our new christianity, aren't people so it's ok to kill them.
So now we understand how George Bush rationalized it when he ordered the execution of retarded people.

so in conclusion

HAHAHAHHHAHAHAHHAHAHAHHAHAH christianity is evil. Ok, so these aren't generally shared assumptions. These assumptions rely on something called the age of accountability which isn't accepted by more fundimentalist religions. Catholocism, for example, states clearly that all human kind was tainted by the sin of adam and therefore an aborted fetus would go to hell. However, if Catholocism chose to accept the age of accountability doctrine without denying the souls of children, given the rules of dogma (that which is true for the church on earth is true in heaven) and the fact that god's existance is dependant on god never being wrong, it would be possible to kill god by poisioning yourself then sacrificing a child thereby entering heaven without the help of the church, jesus, or god, proving god wrong and anihiliating him. Now THAT's some shit.

50 messages in 3 hours
LOL, I started a theological argument in convert_me about original sin and the problem of evil. Yeah, that shit was fun.

I am the excess population

I worked at a school as a technical support specialist. At the same time I was building software for that school that could be used by school districts around the world (open source). I build a samba server for this school. I've shown my worth again and again.
Recently I was "asked to leave" because some of the faculty didn't like the way I looked. They said I was "setting a bad example for the students"....

I'm a highly skilled professional and yet I'm fired for my appearance. Not because I wear "Fuck Authority" patches, or anything like that. No, I know this is a school. I dress in cut-off dickes work slacks and work shirts. I keep my punk gear for my days off. No, I was informed I'd broken a dress code I'd never read... that actually wasn't available to the public for another week...
I have 2 large rings in each ear, a nose ring, and a dread hawk. No matter how highly skilled I am, (I have an AS degree in computer science) I can't get hired. I can't even get a chance. The only way I can dress how I want and be who I want to be is as a criminal. Anyone think that maybe typical rural American narrow mindedness might have something to do with the underground society? There is a complete hatred of free expression central to American business culture, is it any wonder so many of our youth opt in exchange for some form of liberty? The only people who are truly free to express themselves physically are piercers and tattoo artists...

I don't know what to do about it either. Everywhere I go in this town people recognize me as the computer guy. "Man, this kid is a genius on computers," "Oh, your that smart kid. My kid went to school with you..." Blah blah blah... I hear this stuff all the time, but I can't even get a job at taco-bell because of the way I look. There's no point to this really, I'm just kind of pissed off that in a "free" country I can't deviate one iota from the norm without being threatened with starvation. Because I don't want to look like everyone else I am deemed as part of the excess population to be imprisoned for various invented crimes, executed, and disposed of. Doesn't that bother anyone else?
I guess that's not what bothers me as much as the fact that there are LOTS of people deemed to be part of the excess population, not for seeking freedom but for being born the wrong color in the wrong place. I guess what I'm trying to say is WHAT THE FUCK!!

There's no good way to tell your family you've married a Satanist. I've come to realize this. Even the Playboy method doesn't work. Playboy suggested that when you're introducing a significant other of a different religion or race to your xenophobic family that you first announce your significant other is of a different religion, different race, and the same gender. That way your family will be relieved when they find out the other two weren't true. It should work even if only the gender thing is true, that same sex thing is generally the real clincher in our homophobic society. The conversation should go like...

on the phone
you:I've met a wonderful new person, but it might take some getting used to, see he's a palestinian and he's Muslim.
family: he? palestinian?
you: yeah, we're coming over for dinner tonight.

at dinner
you: This is her, I was just kidding about her being a palestinian male
family: Boy, we were kind of worried for a moment there...
This doesn't work for Satanism though....

you:I've met a wonderful new person, but it might take some getting used to, see he's a palestinian and he's a Satanist.
family: Satanist?
you: yeah, we're coming over for dinner tonight.

at dinner
you: This is her, I was just kidding about her being a palestinian male
family: So you're a Satanist huh?

With my dad I could announce I'm brining my gay skinhead lover to passover and they'd still trip on my satanic wife. Does anyone else have the problems I have or am I alone in this?

My last /. post....
While talking about operating systems some slashdotters brought up religion, so I figured I'd post my little bit. The original post is here

RedLaggedTeut - Well, as for myself, my PC runs OT/NT
Well, as for myself, on my PC the operating systems installed are OT(old testament) and NT(new testament).

While I like how the OT is handling faults from a theoretical point of view, in practice I mostly use the NT, since applications keep on running and work together well.
Exluddite - Re:Well, as for myself, my PC runs OT/NT
Yes and things have really improved from OT to NT. Used to be that when the system crashed, you were down for 40 days, with NT you're back up and running in 3.
Anonymous Coward - Re:Well, as for myself, my PC runs OT/NT
I gave up the OT/NT system some time ago because it's outdated and restrictive. There are also several logic errors, and it hasn't yet found a good way to interface with the current standards of Science. I've seen some very creative third-party work on these problems, but usually they're clunky and work poorly
because of the closed nature of this system.
That's why I've switched to BN*UT based on the Skeptic kernel. With Belive Nothing *Until Tested, I can recompile my operating system as needed.

Lao Tsu and the nature of anarchism
The more laws and order are made prominent, the more thieves and robbers there will be.
--Lao Tsu

Roughly a millennium and a half ago a Chinese librarian wrote these words (and numerous others) about the way the world works (the tao). After spending his life tending the Imperial library, reading all the knowledge of China and observing the lives of men from all levels, he retired his post and wondered off into the country side. Before he left he was asked to write his collected knowledge. Now this book is called the Tao Te Ching.
He saw humans as part of nature, and any evolutionary psychologist will tell you he was ahead of his time. All his statements were based on this realization and recognition that humans are governed by natural laws and that generally human laws are juxtaposed to the natural order. Within the soul of the human is the ability to be free. It has been human history that for every step backward into the darkness of slavery and authoritarianism man has taken two steps forward into freedom and anarchy. Anarchists have been around for thousands of years. Anarchism will be around after governments are forgotten. It will be around long after it has lost it's name and it simply is the way that things are. Anarchism will be around until the last human dies, because anarchism is an essential part of the human spirit that cannot be destroyed.
As water flows down hill, so does humankind move toward freedom. Though it may be dammed by fear, or even pushed backward by it, there is always a gnawing, a lingering, in the soul for the power of self-determination. No dam will stand forever. It requires energy to stop the flow of nature, and eventually all forces that fight nature succumb to her power. Anarchism does not need to be created. It does not need to be given to society. Anarchism is within every human being. It only needs to be found. The way of nature is freedom, and nature has infinite patience.

... but it must be recognized that no one can be given the way. No person may walk the path for another, but only show that path. I don't know if freedom can be given. I'm not even sure if it can be taken. Freedom is within the self perhaps as much as morality. The government does not need to be crushed, it is irrelevant. Laws never meant anything to the moral person. If something is just you do it, if something is unjust you don't do it. Damn the consequences.
By becoming free within the self one can begin to achieve freedom in the external sphere. This is my belief and my experience.


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