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FF Podcast (Audio) 49: I’m an Atheist Pero Respeto Naman, Guys

FF Podcast 49 - I'm an Atheist Pero Respeto Naman, Guys

This week, we talk about the Pennsylvania kid who is facing two years in prison for simulating oral sex with a Jesus statue.

Filipino Freethinkers Podcast (Audio) feed

Filipino Freethinkers Podcast (Audio) feed

Filipino Freethinkers Podcast (Audio) on iTunes

Filipino Freethinkers Podcast (Audio) on iTunes

Posted in Audio, audio podcast, Freedom of Expression, Religion, Secularism, SocietyComments (1)

FF Podcast 49: I’m an Atheist Pero Respeto Naman, Guys

This week, we talk about the Pennsylvania kid who is facing two years in prison for simulating oral sex with a Jesus statue.

You may also download the podcast file here.

Filipino Freethinkers Podcast feed

Filipino Freethinkers Podcast feed

Filipino Freethinkers podcast on iTunes

Filipino Freethinkers podcast on iTunes

Posted in Media, Podcast, Religion, Society, VideoComments (1)

A Conversation with Richard Carrier

This week, we talk with the historian and philosopher, Richard Carrier. We talk to him about the evidence for Jesus’ historical existence (or lack thereof), whether God enjoys being gang banged, and Atheism Plus.

His book, On the Historicity of Jesus: Why We Might Have Reason for Doubt, will be out June 2014.

Watch his lecture, “Is Philosophy Stupid?” from Skepticon 6.

Conversations for a Cause is a series of interviews with celebrity freethinkers, part of an online donation drive to support ongoing Typhoon Yolanda (Haiyan) relief and rehabilitation efforts.

You may also download the video files here: Part 1 and Part 2.

Filipino Freethinkers Podcast feed

Filipino Freethinkers Podcast feed

Filipino Freethinkers podcast on iTunes

Filipino Freethinkers podcast on iTunes

Posted in Philosophy, Podcast, Religion, VideoComments (0)

Pro-RH Catholics: Please Create a Pro-RH Church

Dear Pro-RH Catholics,

You’ve been asking the Vatican for pro-RH reforms for over four decades. During that time, your leader, the Pope, has made it absolutely clear that to be Catholic means to be anti-RH. You have been called “fake Catholics,” “cafeteria Catholics,” and even “oxymorons.” You have been told that if you cannot obey, you should just leave. Your Pope has answered requests for reforms by saying he prefers searching agnostics over fake believers.

You have no control over what your church officially does and decides. Yet you have fought long and hard to cling to your Catholic identity. I respect that, but I respect even more the fact that you recognize the moral value of RH despite the denigration of your detractors. So I’m suggesting that you consider indulging them.

What if you left the Roman Catholic Church completely and formed your own one? It would be identical to your old church, except for one critical difference: it would be pro-RH officially. Of course, your new church will no longer be recognized by the Vatican.

But what would losing Vatican recognition do anyway? If you cared about the Vatican’s official position, you wouldn’t be pro-RH Catholics. This implies that you don’t think the Vatican is the highest authority.

You probably think that Jesus Christ is, and that He is pro-RH. So don’t you owe it to Jesus to create a church that truly represents Him? If you create a church with pro-RH bishops and priests — and you’ve claimed that there are many of them — don’t you think that Jesus would let them represent Him even without the Pope’s permission?

Surely you don’t think Jesus gave the Vatican unconditional power. If the Catholic Church suddenly taught that child abuse was a sacrament, do you think Jesus would still be OK with them representing Him? Similarly, do you think Jesus would have a problem with good bishops just because they removed the “Roman” in “Roman Catholic”?

So you should have no doubt that Jesus will bless this Pro-RH Church that you are forming. Being a pro-RH God, it’s even reasonable to think He’d bless it even more. Your new church may not be as extravagant as your old church, lacking the expensive decorations and extravagant costumes (and you won’t have billions in reserve for that occasional child abuse settlement). But I don’t think a carpenter’s son who was born in a manger would care much for appearances.

I don’t think Jesus would mind plain silverware.

You may find the different surroundings striking at first, but I’m sure you’ll get used to it soon. Because you can keep almost everything in your new church the same as your old one. A blind person attending a Pro-RH mass wouldn’t be able to tell the difference. At least not until the priest sermons about the importance of informed choice, freedom of conscience, and of course, contraception.

Imagine not having the urge to walk out because you vehemently disagree with your priest. Imagine not feeling tricked whenever you’re asked to kneel, bow your head, and then pray against the RH Bill. Imagine not thinking twice about donating money that could be used to fund anti-RH campaigns. Imagine not feeling cognitive dissonance about supporting an anti-RH institution that claims to represent the pro-RH God you have faith in.

Forming a new church would surely take some courage, not to mention resources. But it wouldn’t take a lot individually if you did it together. If most of you joined this new church, yours would still be the largest church in the Philippines. Since most Catholics are pro-RH, you’ll be bigger than the Roman Catholic church.

The Philippines would now be predominantly Pro-RH Catholic (which it already is anyway). Your new bishops — who will actually represent your RH stance — will have more clout than your old bishops, who can no longer claim to represent 80% of the population.

Knowing the danger of bullying bishops, your new leaders probably won’t use their religious authority to meddle in politics. And they wouldn’t even have to. Because from now on, your representatives will no longer fear pressure from the bishops.

Anti-RH legislators who were just bullied by bishops could change their position. Closeted pro-RH legislators could now openly support the RH Bill. The passage of the RH Bill will finally be a reality, enshrining RH as a fundamental human right. This alone should make you consider forming a pro-RH church. Pro-RH Jesus would be pleased.




It wouldn’t hurt to disassociate from an organization that censures progressive theologians and nuns, discriminates against women, LGBTs, and non-Catholics, protects pedophile priests more than potential child abuse victims, and thinks that you deserve to burn in Hell.

Posted in Advocacy, Personal, Religion, RH Bill, Secularism, SocietyComments (12)

Fernando Poe Jesus: The Catholic Mythos and the Filipino Action Star

I remember wanting to be an action star. I also remember how sad I was when I realized that it’s not practical to be an action star in real life. But the myth of the action star did affect me as a person deeply. Because of the action star, my idea of masculinity has been distorted, as I often associate being a man with not crying, beating up bad guys, and growing sideburns.

Also, I was not very popular in high school (or ever) because I liked leather and denim jackets, even when the weather was warm. But this article is not about my personal issues. It’s about being psychologically messed-up by the greatest B-movie archetype in the world – the Action Star!

My dad is a big fan of Mr. Action Star himself, Fernando Poe Jr. In fact, he had VHS copies of most, if not all of his films. When he first established a video shop when I was a kid, I think he bought all the FPJ films and we watched one every night. One Christmas, inspired by all the action awesome, my dad bought every one of my brothers a pellet gun so we could all practice together, and he also taught us how to do a Chinese get-up (I don’t know what it had to do with FPJ. I’ve never seen FPJ do a Chinese get-up).

To us, FPJ was a mythical figure, a divine savior; he’s the hero who comes and provides salvation to a community at the brink of despair – because they believed in him. FPJ was like a cool Catholic Jesus.

I’m making this comparison because I think the action star has ties with the Catholic mythos. This myth of “the chosen one” has been a very popular concept in Catholicism (Jesus) and I think that that this “chosen one/savior” mythos is partly to be blamed for the Philippine’s political culture. In other words, I’m saying that we have some terrible government officials because we believe in action stars (among other things, of course).

Catholic faith is among the things many Filipinos are proud of. The fact that the Philippines is the only country left in the world without divorce is kind of primitive, but for some reason it is considered by many Filipinos as something to be proud of. In fact, the term devoutly Catholic is an adjective many Filipinos pretend to identify with.

The “chosen one/savior” myth inspired by Jesus fiction is permanently installed in the Filipino collective unconscious. This myth is often manifested in local fantasy movies and television shows like “Captain Barbell,” “Sugo,” “Mulawin,” and “Panday.” Such shows have one thing in common: a savior comes and saves the day.

The popularity and constant resurrection of the savior archetype is a manifestation of the Filipino’s Catholic desire to be saved. Unfortunately, what often comes with the desire to be saved is an attitude of fatalism – an acceptance of helplessness and powerlessness. An eagerness for “the next life.” Instead of fighting to gain control of their own situations, these people pray for a hero. If the hero doesn’t happen to come, it’s okay because everyone’s going to heaven, especially the poor, because according to the local priest, the poorer you are on Earth, the bigger your castle is in heaven.

The savior’s modern equivalent, of course, is the action star. If you’ve ever seen a single Filipino action movie, you’ve probably noticed a few things:

1) The hero never dies.
2) The hero never runs out of bullets.
3) The hero can kill an entire army all by himself.
4) The hero always saves the day.
5) The hero only gets hit on the shoulder.

Such reinforcement in media constructs the archetype of a savior who doesn’t need anyone’s help, who can save the world by himself. Again, this culture of hero-worship is not unique to the Filipino. The Westerners have their Chuck Norrises and Tim Tebows.

The Philippine context, however, is unique in that it seems as if the average Filipino has no capacity to distinguish between fantasy and reality:

1. Antagonists of popular telenovelas suffer much verbal abuse (in real life) from fans of the show they star in.
2. Fans of love teams such as “Kimerald” (Kim Chiu + Gerald Anderson) rage when they realize that these kids are no longer dating in real life.
3. Many of our action stars are voted into important government positions.

I think one of the reasons why action stars are voted into these positions is because they symbolize the solo-savior-Jesus archetype ingrained in the subconscious of many Filipinos. When voters fall in line to vote, what they recall are the roles these people play and the superhuman deeds these actors achieved in the movies.

The shows Filipinos have made to entertain themselves, unfortunately, have convinced majority of their population that a savior would come to save them from poverty.

Even worse is that Filipinos assume that this savior – whoever he is, whatever his qualifications are – can save the country all by himself, without their help, because that is how saviors are; they single-handedly save communities. What we might have, in the end, is a voting population who votes for their favorite superheroes and expects their heroes to save them, without their help.

As long as the messiah myth persists, people will continue to wait for one, and vote for one. They will continue to wait and expect to be saved, rather than work to save themselves. In order for people to start saving themselves, they must realize that the savior, whether his name is Jesus or whatever, is a myth and that he’s not coming.

Posted in Entertainment, Humor, Personal, Politics, Religion, SocietyComments (0)

Black Nazarene, Black Opium

As the dust settles from another year of the Feast of the Black Nazarene, we again hear numerous reports of stampedes and injuries. Just shy of 1000 people were injured during the feast.

The feast is characterized by literally millions of devotees (largely comprised of children dragged along by relatives, the elderly, the infirm, the disabled, and the poor) moving along with an over 400 year-old statue of Jesus throughout the streets of the city of Manila. As in the tradition that St. Veronica (derived from the Latin for “true image”) wiped Jesus’ face as he marched to his execution, true believers scrimmage to wipe white cloths on the statue. The devotees shuffle and push against each other just to get a touch of the Black Nazarene wooden idol, which is believed to have magical powers of wish-granting.

Millions, particularly the poor, skip out on work (which likely earns them barely enough for a living) in the hope that the statue will turn their fortunes around. Of course, they are only met by rains and crushing stampedes. We can, naturally, expect at least some of the devotees to have a lucky day. It is practically certain that at least one of the poor and sick people marching in the streets of Manila will enjoy a significant cash windfall or be healed of a serious affliction—just by random chance. In fact, if none of the 3 million reported attendees had at least a marginally interesting anecdote of supposed providence, then something would be quite peculiar about the Feast of the Black Nazarene worthy of deeper investigation.

The familiarity of the Jesus story has anesthetized us from what is at the heart of the ritual. Millions of men, women, and children are parading around with a wooden statue of a bloodied victim of torture, capital punishment, and God-sanctioned human sacrifice. The Black Nazarene is an ironic pornographic celebration of violence—the overt violence of the past and the more subtle violence of the present.

The media attention to this event is huge, as expected for any congregation drawing millions. However, it is quite disgusting how society has made a spectacle of the poverty, ignorance, and anguish. And though, like the Feast of the Black Nazarene, the supposed terror threat appears to have been based on zero intelligence, the broadsheets praised not the fact that the threat was not plausible and celebrations were able to commence safely, but that the devotees ignored the warnings regardless of credibility. (In fact, some devotees relished the prospect of mass murder as an opportunity to test their faith.)

It is taken as a badge of honor that the devotees suffered for 22 hours—from the mild discomfort of crowding and walking barefoot to the intolerable pain of being trampled—in a desperate appeal for things to change for the better, if only they could get to touch an old block of wood. Stories such as those of the man with a disability, unable to walk on his two legs, are elevated as exemplars of faith and worthy of emulation. Suffering is glamorized as a bargaining chip, in exchange for which, God will grant them respite from the day-to-day torment of poverty and illness. Life on earth is reduced to a theological economy that runs on agony.

There is an often misquoted observation by Karl Marx that “religion is the opiate of the masses” or some other paraphrasing. The quotation in context reads: “Religious suffering is, at one and the same time, the expression of real suffering and a protest against real suffering. Religion is the sigh of the oppressed creature, the heart of a heartless world, and the soul of soulless conditions. It is the opium of the people.”

Marx was not merely comparing the addictive and reason-diminishing qualities of the drug to religion. He was pointing out that religion is an illustration of despair from those whom state and society have failed. It is the imaginary relief for those who have been prevented access to real consolation.

Those who flock to briefly brush against the Black Nazarene are those whom our society has forced to take solace from fictitious sources. That we celebrate and glorify the misery and debasement of our fellow human beings—whether in the form of one Jesus Christ or three million of his devotees—is vile.

Image credit: GMA News Online

Posted in Religion, SocietyComments (14)

Heaven On Their Minds

In Andrew Lloyd Webber’s rock opera Jesus Christ Superstar, Judas sings Heaven On Their Minds, expressing his concern about how Jesus’ influence was getting dangerously out of hand. With a hindsight of 2000 years, let us look at how Judas’ forewarning fared over the centuries.

My mind is clearer now
At last

All too well
I can see
Where we all
Soon will be
If you strip away
The myth
From the man
You will see
Where we all
Soon will be

Over the next 2000 years we’ve seen just where Jesus’ disciples have been – all over the globe conquering entire nations. Most of their followers haven’t stripped the myth from the man, and the new leaders wanted to keep it that way.
You’ve started to believe
The things they say of you
You really do believe
This talk of God is true
And all the good you’ve done
Will soon be swept away
You’ve begun to matter more
Than the things you say
If Jesus really did exist, it would not be impossible for his fans’ delusion to also get into his head. After all, he was only human. Other humans even took after him, but while most of us readily dismiss these modern-day messiahs as frauds, we do not apply the same skepticism to someone who claimed as such 2000 years ago..

Listen Jesus
I don’t like what I see
All I ask is that you listen to me
And remember
I’ve been your right hand man all along
You have set them all on fire
They think they’ve found the new Messiah
And they’ll hurt you when they find they’re wrong

Unfortunately, most of them never found out they were wrong. And the ones they hurt were those who would not acknowledge their beliefs.

I remember when this whole thing began
No talk of God then, we called you a man
And believe me
My admiration for you hasn’t died
But every word you say today
Gets twisted ’round some other way
And they’ll hurt you if they think you’ve lied

It got twisted so badly that countless people got killed because of a lie. The problem with Jesus’ teachings is that he never wrote them down himself. It was always his disciples who wrote, “Jesus said…”. That itself is already hearsay. Compound that with the fact that there were no printing presses at that time, so stories were passed on verbally or written manually from generation to generation. If Jesus really did exist, we cannot know for sure if those red-letter passages in the Bible were really spoken by him.

Nazareth’s most famous son
Should have stayed a great unknown
Like his father carving wood
He’d have made good
Tables, chairs and oaken chests
Would have suited Jesus best
He’d have caused nobody harm
No one alarm

And instead of building churches, we would be building shelters for the homeless. No trees would have been sacrificed to house a deity believed to have created those trees.

Listen Jesus, do you care for your race?
Don’t you see we must keep in our place?
We are occupied
Have you forgotten how put down we are?
I am frightened by the crowd
For we are getting much too loud
And they’ll crush us if we go too far
If we go too far

If Judas were alive today, he would probably have said, “Listen Jesus, do you care for the world, don’t you see into war it’s been hurled? We have occupied, have you forgotten how influential we are!”

Listen Jesus to the warning I give
Please remember that I want us to live
But it’s sad to see our chances weakening with ev’ry hour
All your followers are blind
Too much heaven on their minds
It was beautiful, but now it’s sour
Yes it’s all
Gone sour


Posted in ReligionComments (1)

Musings of a ‘Jesus Fan’

jc“It has become a commonplace that, were Jesus to return today, he would be appalled at what is being done in his name…. We owe Jesus the honour of separating his genuinely original and radical ethics from the supernatural nonsense which he inevitably espoused as a man of his time…” — Richard Dawkins

Most, if not all, of the earliest Christians in ancient Rome were branded atheists because they frowned on the emperor cult and refused to recognize the Emperor as god, even as many of them were arrested, tortured and killed — so explained the documentary “Rivals of Jesus” shown in The National Geographic Channel. Indeed, these early Christians were atheists with respect to the Roman emperor/god. They were, shall we say, atheists for Jesus.

Similarly, today’s Christians (Catholics included) are atheists with respect to other gods, in the same manner that other religionists are to the Judeo-Christian god. Uniformly, we’re all atheists with respect to Zeus and Thor. And does anyone still pray to the Flying Spaghetti Monster?

Physicist Mano Singham wrote: “If one asks followers of one particular god why they do not believe in a different one, you will usually find that they argue much like atheists, citing the lack of evidence or reasons for belief. The difference is that they apply the rule only selectively, to rule out all other gods except their own preferred one, although there is no empirical difference between them.”

My take is that the plethora of gods ultimately makes a god-believer a theist and at the same time an atheist. If you’d not get schizoid with that…!

However, not a few religionists would argue that no matter what religion one belongs to, and even with the different name(s) for the god(s) he/she worships, these names universally refer to the same and only one God. Aha! the “only-one-God” with multiple bios and resumes? Like the three-hundred or three-persons-in-one? The latter sounds more like the sacheted Nescafe!

Additionally and not necessarily relevant, what explains the fact that Buddhism does not have a god? Would nothing or none be the same as the Abrahamic God?

Alas, we were all born without faith, without belief, without any clue whatsoever of the god-hypothesis. That’s pretty clear. It’s only when indoctrination started in varied stages of our life in various little and big ways did we begin to consciously or unconsciously adopt the faith in a non-existent god — either by having that faith slowly instilled in us or forcibly rammed down our throats.

* * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * *
I can’t remember in my childhood when Santa Claus and Christmas socks were first introduced to my gullible Christmas gift-excited mind; or the moment in our house when I first saw pictures and icons of Jesus’ face, as a baby in a nativity frame or as a half-naked man crucified, and somebody whispered to me saying “he’s the son of God.”

But I do remember viewing a TV program months after 9/11, wherein a little girl was asked who the man in the picture (Bin Laden) shown to her was. Without hesitation she quickly answered : Jesus Christ.

Pardon the kid, but you know the popular image of Jesus is so embedded in our minds that many geniuses could see him about anywhere: From formation of clouds to burnt marks of a toasted bread, from abstract designs of bathroom tiles and soiled urinals to worn out soles of flip-flops. Yet, a National Geographic documentary posited that Jesus may have looked like a dark-skinned, curly, beardless man resembling that of the Judas character in the rock opera/ film “Jesus Christ Superstar.”

Which leads me to gutsily croon this Rice/Webber non-Christmas “carole”:

Every time I look at you I don’t understand,
Why you let the things you did get so out of hand,
You could have managed better if you had it planned,
Now why’d you choose such a backward time and such a strange land?
If you’d come today you could have reached the whole nation,
Israel in 4 BC had no mass communication.

Well, Judas-looking or not, Jesus would have topped Google search hits if the net and Facebook were already in vogue when he was rumored to be walking on water or raising the dead in old Galilee or thereabouts. Conversely, if he were to show up in these parts in this post-Marcos era, he would be an admirable heroic human rights activist, and would possibly be listed as a victim of torture (read: crucified), and/or unfortunately gone desaparicido. Partly because Jesus possessed the radical ethics that Dawkins describes him to have!

Now, this question intrigued me the happy holidays through: If Jesus were to return today, would he be an atheist or agnostic, too? My gut feel: Yes, probably! You know he’s depicted in the bible to have knowledgeably debated with religious elders when he was still a kid. He was, at the very least, a maverick.

* * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * *
When I was still a pre-schooler, I had difficulty distinguishing Jose Rizal from Andres Bonifacio. It seemed I saw Rizal in Bonifacio and vice-versa. It was only when I was able to recognize the old (’70’s?) two-peso bill wherein, if memory serves, Bonifacio and Mabini shared “topbilling” on the banknote, and contrasting it to Rizal’s one-peso bill did I clearly define who was who. So you can say that money educates the ignorant about history, and also makes hero-worshippers out of pre-schoolers. And oh, how brilliant was that person who originally thought of deflecting money-worship toward other forms of fanaticism.

Anyway, my drift here is: To be a fan of popular celebrities or historical figures brings its own strategic reward. A fan values the admirable traits of the idol/role model and perhaps deliberately emulates his/her attributes, then most likely in the long evolutionary process, somehow those characteristics are replicated in meme-like fashion thereby enriching the human gene pool. Good to hear, thus, there are Catholic followers of Martin Luther King, non-Mason fans of Rizal, or Noranian admirers of Vilma.

But I maintain that atheist ‘fans’ of Jesus must not be confused with atheists for Jesus. You see, I’m no more than a mere Jesus fan now.

Worshipping these celebrities and historical figures as gods is altogether a delusional matter, as one Rizalista cult proves to be no ordinary fans club. Go figure that woman-member who was interviewed on TV about her interpretation of the “INRI” that’s associated with the crucified Christ: She emphatically lectured viewers that the “R” stands for “Rizal”. Arrrrr…!

Posted in Others, ReligionComments (2)

The Black Jesus (The Black Nazarene)

6a00d8341c570653ef00e54fc78bf88833-800wiEvery January 9, thousands of devotees from all walks of life come to Quiapo to take part in the procession as a way of strengthening their faith or fulfilling their “panata” (vow) to the Feast of the Black Nazarene.

The Black Nazarene is a life-sized, dark-colored, wooden sculpture of a “black” Jesus Christ carrying a cross held to be miraculous by many Filipino devotees. Its original carver is an anonymous Aztec carpenter and the image was transported by a galleon from Acapulco, Mexico by the first group of Augustinian Recollect friars sent by Spain. Legend has it that the Black Nazarene was charred black because of a fire that broke out on the galleon during its trip to Manila from Mexico. It arrived on May 31, 1606, in this form and has always been depicted as such.

It was transferred from its old home from San Nicolas de Tolentino in Intramuros to its present site in Quiapo, Manila at the Saint John de Baptist Church (Now called Minor Basilica of the Black Nazarene) in 1787 by then Archbishop of Manila, Basilio Sancho de Santa Junta y Rufina.

On the day of The Feast, the church doors open wide and the pilgrims of the area and abroad search for healing and hope. They wave white towels and throw them towards the statue hoping for the chance to touch the image too. The procession begins and the statue in its gilded carriage moves slowly as honored participants dressed in maroon pull the carriage along ropes as thousands of barefoot devotees follow along. The procession followers walk barefoot to mirror Jesus as he walked on to Mount Caramel.

It is said that only the body of the Black Nazarene is displayed in the procession, the original head portion of the statue is safely protected in the Minor Basilica of the Black Nazarene tucked away in the high altars.

Just last January 9, 2010, it was estimated that at least two million devotees of the Black Nazarene flooded the area from Luneta to Quiapo to join the holy procession. Walking barefoot, these devotees will endure the intense heat of the midday Sun, the crushing crowd and the hot asphalt pavement just to touch or wipe a towel on the body of the paraded idol.

So why do you think these devotees will do all that trouble?

Let see…I think it’s all about petitions – the request for some benefit or a reparation of a grievance. Come on guys…you won’t do all those sacrifices without expecting any compensation. It’s really a form of ancient worship. Our ancestors created elaborate ceremonies and rituals to please the gods so rain will fall on dry rice fields. Sacrifices and fasting are required for a bountiful harvest.

Biblical speaking, such practices are forbidden (unless you’re a Roman Catholic) Exodus 20:4-6 is quite clear in the issue.

“Thou shalt not make unto thee any graven image, or any likeness of any thing that is in heaven above, or that is in the earth beneath, or that is in the water under the earth: Thou shalt not bow down thyself to them, nor serve them: for I The Lord thy God am a jealous God, visiting the iniquity of the fathers upon the children unto the third and fourth generation of them that hate Me; And showing mercy unto thousands of them that love Me, and keep My Commandments”

Is Jesus a Nazarene or from Nazareth?

There is a lot of issue concerning the word Nazareth in Jesus’ title. Are we saying that Jesus was from Nazareth or if he’s a member of the Nazarene sect?

Christians will gladly point to Matthew 2:23 for the answer.

And he came and dwelt in a city called Nazareth: that it might be fulfilled which was spoken by the prophets, He shall be called a Nazarene.

But a thorough search of the Old Testament will turn up nothing. There isn’t any prophet in the Old Testament that prophesied it. In fact, the town of Nazareth is never mentioned in the Old Testament.

Excuses varies. Some suggest that Matthew refers to Isaiah 11:1 yet Isaiah and the whole Old Testament never indicated or even implied that the Messiah will be called a “nester”.

There are also who would say that the Nazarene in Matthew refers to the Nazirite. If you are not familiar with it, it can be found in described in Numbers 6:1-21.

It is said the person that took the Nazirite vow should follow the following:
1. Abstain from wine, wine vinegar, grapes, raisins, and according to some — alcohol and vinegar from alcohol.
2. Refrain from cutting the hair on one’s head.
3. Avoid corpses and graves, even those of family members, and any structure which contains such.
So, is Jesus a Nazirite?
Jesus couldn’t have been a Nazarite by vow because He didn’t live alone or apart, He drank wine, and He touched and raised the dead.

Also, Matthew was clear that Jesus was called a Nazarene (Nazaraios) because he lived in a town called Nazareth. So there! The issue about “natser” or “natsar” or nazir” has no bearing. Matthew 2:23 is a “fulfillment” of a non-existing prophecy.

Is it possible that Jesus and his black counterpart are just stuff of legends? I’ll just leave this thought to the devotees…as Ol’ Bernie Russell once said, “Historically it is quite doubtful whether Christ ever existed at all, or if he did we know nothing about him”.

Posted in ReligionComments (5)

The Greatest Love of All

I was preparing my first cup of coffee for the day when my ears picked up that song by Jamie Rivera, Tell The World of His Love. I admit this was one of my favorite religious songs; it even put tears in my eyes whenever I heard this song because of the “powerful” message it conveys.

That was before.

“For God so loved the world
He gave us His only Son
Jesus Christ our Savior
His most precious one”

The story of how god “sacrificed” his only son to save us from our sins is a central belief in Christianity. This story is appealing to many people who see it as the ultimate example of love and god’s goodness. But then again, is it?

I have three problems with Jesus’ crucifixion story; they are the following:

1. Jesus didn’t stay dead, did he?

Sacrificing your life (or your son’s life) could be considered as the greatest love of all, but the problem with the Bible story is that Jesus was resurrected after three days. It’s not even a sacrifice in the same way as those firemen who sacrificed their lives (and the future of their loved ones) whenever they respond to a fire scene. How could we consider it as the ultimate sacrifice when god himself knew that Jesus would rise again after three days? I firmly believe that most people, given the chance, will choose to torture and “kill” their only son to save the entire human race from damnation provided that their son will return in mint condition after three days.

2. He died because of our sin which was supposed to originate from the fall of Adam and Eve.

“Why did god put the tree of knowledge in the garden?”

“Why did he create it (the tree of knowledge) in the first place?”

I remember when I asked this question to a religious group. They replied with “that’s a good question, give us your number, and we’ll text you so that you could attend our worship service and then you can ask our pastor”. Unfortunately, they never contacted me. The story of the origin of sin and the subsequent redemption of Christ is one of the most absurd stories I know. Humans made the mistake of eating the fruit of a tree that god himself put there (and god even introduced it to humans) and he can only forgive us by murdering his son who will eventually rise from the dead.

Ezekiel 18:20 states thatThe person who sins is the one who will die. A son won’t suffer punishment for the father’s iniquity, and a father won’t suffer punishment for the son’s iniquity. The righteousness of the righteous person will be on him, and the wickedness of the wicked person will be on him.

3. The crucifixion itself.

God was supposed to be the creator of everything and yet, for some reason, the only way he could think of redeeming us is through the death of his only son. We should kill his son so he could forgive us. Can’t god think of any better (and more humane) way for human redemption? Anyone who watched Mel Gibson’s very graphic movie Passion of the Christ will never take crucifixion lightly again. Calling it murder is an understatement. It is also interesting to note that most people find the ritual sacrifice of animals as terrible and yet they applaud the human sacrifice of the Bible. Can’t god just give us another way? One that doesn’t include murder and blood sacrifice?

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" Jesus who?"

LaughingJesusBWMost readers may think that I am fooling around if I say that I do not really know whom this Jesus H. Christ is. In the first place, this Jesus is so popular like the Marlboro Man and the Beatles, it is quite impossible to say that you do not know who this Jesus is.

N. Geisler even wrote some chapters on his fundy book, “When Skeptics Ask” devoted to this Jesus character and even compares Jesus to other religious or philosophical people. Therefore, this Jesus person is that important huh. Talk about being Mr. Big Shot!

Most Christians that I have chat in the Internet asked me what is it like to live without Jesus Christ in my life and they always insisted that have I felt Jesus have already done something special in my life; Now here’s my answer, NOTHING, NADA, ZIP and lots of it. That statement can really piss off any Christian.

And to top it all, Christians still insist that he is a god. So how can I say something like that? Maybe Christians who are reading this might say that I’m just being unfair, bias and they will never tolerate anybody that trash talks their Savior.

Oh come on, I’m just saying facts here.

So you think Jesus is really that important huh? OK…let’s talk about it. Let’s talk about Jesus!

HERE’S THE FACTS! This Jesus fellow never really contributed much to society in general. On the whole, Jesus said little that was worthwhile. He introduced nothing new to ethics (except hell). He instituted no social programs. Being a god, he is supposed to be “omniscient,” he could have shared some useful technology or medicine to the Hebrews, yet he appeared ignorant of such things. Let’s put this statement in a more specific manner.

According to Christian legend, Jesus was born in the time when Palestine was under the rule of Rome. In those times, slavery prevails and very common. I was just wondering. What did Jesus say or did to abolished slavery? What’s worst, Jesus encouraged the beating of slaves. (Luke 12:47). He never denounced servitude, but quite the contrary, incorporated the master-slave relationship into many of his parables. Also, what did Jesus did to bring about something in the issue of International Relation. Surely, Christian says that Jesus was God, so is it impossible for a god to talk to Roman authorities and knock some senses in their heads? Well, today the United Nations is capable of putting conquering states at bay. I wonder why a god could not accomplish this feat.

Jesus did nothing to alleviate poverty. Rather than sell some expensive ointment to help the poor, Jesus wasted it on himself, saying, “Ye have the poor with you always” (Mark 14:3-7).

Does Jesus do something to champion woman emancipation, women’s right and intolerance toward other culture? No women were chosen as his apostles or invited to the Last Supper. In Mark 7:27 (“But Jesus said unto her, Let the children first be filled: for it is not meet to take the children’s bread, and to cast it unto the dogs. “). Imagine! Jesus equated non-Jews with dogs. It looks like Jesus teaches intolerance towards other religion and culture. Now just imagine what kind of a person will instruct his followers to kill in front of him those who don’t want him to be king ( Luke 19:27). By relating this incident, Jesus is implicitly condoning executions!

Christian believers say that Jesus turn water into wine, have healed the sick and resurrected the dead. Wow! Great feats of miracles! But when did this god-man turned health contagious? Did Jesus eradicate leprosy? Scientists, which are not gods, have eradicated small pox. So what disease did this god-man have wipe out when he was on earth? What he taught to his disciples was that sickness were caused by demons possessing our body or you need God’s forgiveness to be cure of your illness instead of teaching people that diseases are cause by tiny life forms called “germs”, and proper hygiene can lessen the chances of having a disease.

Christians say that Jesus made the blind to see and the lame to walk again. Have he taught the Hebrews how to cure polio or glaucoma? Have he taught the Israelites how to cure different ailments using simple medicinal herbs? How about teaching the Hebrews of turning dirty desert water into drinkable table water or a new agricultural technology that will make fig trees bear fruits even if it’s not fig season? All I have read so far in the Gospel is that Jesus knows how to curse fig trees. Does short time miracles really the only solution this god-man knows?

Now for Christians, Jesus is the sacrifice God use to take away the sins of the world. Hmmmm.. According to Jewish belief, you need to kill an animal to serve as a burnt offering for your sins. Does this mean Jesus is as good as a sacrificial goat? Beside, after Jesus is offer as a sacrifice like a temple animal to please God wrath to humanity, still sin is around every corner. Nothing really changed that much.

Christians will tell you that Jesus was send to us so we may have everlasting life. That is why it is very important to know Jesus. Yet the same Bible said to us that, “As the cloud is consumed and vanisheth away: so he that goeth down to the grave shall come up no more” – JOB 7:9 and “Man’s fate is like that of the animals; the same fate awaits them both: As one dies, so dies the other. All have the same breath; man has no advantage over the animal….all come from dust, and to dust all return. Who knows if the spirit of man rises upward and if the spirit of the animal goes down into the earth?” – Eccle. 3:19-21 NIV.

Now in a last ditch effort, a Christian might try to convince me about Jesus based on his moral teachings. According to Mr. Norman Geisler, Jesus moral was superior compare to Buddha, Lao Tse and Socrates. A certain person even tried to persuade me on liking this Jesus character because he claims Jesus taught us the Golden Rule. But Whoa! Wait a minute there. The Golden Rule is a universal rule and people like Confucius have already taught us that rule 3000 years before Jesus.

But does Jesus really have a superior moral standard?
1. “While he was speaking, a Pharisee asked him to dine with him; so he went in and sat at table. The Pharisee was astonished to see that he did not at first wash before dinner. And the Lord said to him, `Now you Pharisees cleanse the outside of the cup and of the dish, but inside you are full of extortion and wickedness. You fools! Did not he who made the outside make the inside also?…woe to you Pharisees! for you tithe mint and rue and every herb, and neglect justice and the love of God; these you ought to have done…'” (Luke 11:37-44 RSV).
Now this is an example of blatant rudeness! Imagine talking like this to someone in his house after he invited you to dine with him. Even if it were true, common decency dictated a more refined approach.

2. “So the devils besought him saying, If thou cast us out, suffer us to go away into the herd of swine. And he said unto them, Go. And when they were come out they went into the herd of swine; and, behold, the whole herd of swine ran violently down a steep place into the sea, and perished in the waters” (Matt. 8:31.32).
What had the owner or owners done to have their property destroyed by Jesus? What had the animals done to deserve such treatment? What happened to animal rights huh?

3. “Go ye into the village over against you; in the which at your entering ye shall find a colt tied, whereon yet never man sat: loose him, and bring him hither. And if any man ask you, why do ye loose him? thus shall ye say unto him, Because the Lord hath need of him. And they that were sent went their way, and found even as he had said unto them. And as they were loosing the colt, the owners thereof said unto them, Why loose ye the colt?” (Luke 19:30-33).
Are we to believe this isn’t stealing? Imagine seeing an unfamiliar person driving your car away while claiming the lord needed it.

4. “Verily, I say unto you, There is no man that hath left house, or brethren, or sisters, or father, or mother, or wife, or children, or lands, for my sake, and the gospel’s, But he shall receive an hundredfold now in this time, houses, and brethren, and sisters, and mothers, and children, and lands, with persecution, and in the world to come eternal life” (Mark 10:29-30).
This teaching is not only immoral, but erroneous as well. Jesus is saying that the reward for giving up your wealth and following him is far greater wealth; So that means people should do right in order to obtain personal gain, not because it is the right act to do. Self-aggrandizement is not a decent basis for morality.

5. “Then came to Jesus scribes and Pharisees which were of Jerusalem, saying, `Why do thy disciples transgress the tradition of the elders? for they wash not their hands when they eat bread.’ But he answered and said unto them, `Why do ye also transgress the commandment of God by your tradition?'” (Matt. 15:1-3).
The statement “Why do ye also” is admittance by Jesus that his disciples were violating a commandment of God. He doesn’t deny they are breaking God’s law; he simply says that his critics are guilty of the same offense.

6. “then shall he say unto them on the left hand, Depart from me, ye cursed, into everlasting fire, prepared for the devil and his angels. For I was an hungered, and ye gave me no meat;…” (Matt. 25:41-42) and “when he saw a fig tree in the way, he came to it, and found nothing thereon, but leaves only and said unto it, Let no fruit grow on thee hencefoward for ever. And presently the fig tree withered away” (Matt. 21:18-19).

Here Jesus failed to show the mercy his believers claim he has. An eternal curse resulting from disappointed hunger is hardly the reaction of a divinely merciful being equal to God. Killing a tree for lacking fruit isn’t indicative of a reasonably merciful and composed individual.

7. “the Son of man has come eating and drinking; and you say, `Behold, a glutton and a drundard…” (Luke 7:34 RSV).
If this comment is true, and there is little evidence to the contrary, Jesus’ character is, indeed, substandard.

8. “There is no man that hath left house, or brethren, or sisters, or father, or mother, or wife, or children, or lands for my sake, and the gospel’s, But he shall receive an hundredfold now in this time, houses, and brethren, and sisters, and mothers, and children, and lands…” (Mark 10:29-30).

Promising one’s followers immense riches is actually a form of bribery.

9. “So likewise, whosoever he be of you that forsaketh not all that he hath, he cannot be my disciple” (Luke 14:33) and “Jesus said unto him, `If thou wilt be perfect, go and sell that thou hast, and give to the poor, and thou shalt have treasure in heaven: and come and follow me'” (Matt. 19:21) and (Mark 10:21, Luke 3:11, 11:41, 12:35, 18:22) yet on Mark 2:15 it is said that “And it came to pass, that, as Jesus sat at meat in his house”. Jesus has a house while telling others to surrender their wealth.

10. Jesus said, “If I bear witness of myself, my witness is not true” (John 5:31) and later stated, “I am one that bear witness of myself…” (John 8:18). The logical conclusion to be drawn from combining these two statements is that Jesus disproved his own honesty.

11. Jesus told us to “Love your enemies, bless them that curse you” but ignored his own advice by repeatedly denouncing his opposition. Matt. 23:17 (“Ye fools and blind”), Matt. 12:34 (“O generation of vipers”), and Matt. 23:17 (“…hypocrites…ye are like unto whited sepulchers….”) These are excellent examples of hypocrisy.

12. “If any man come to me, and hate not his father, and mother, and wife, and children, and brethren, and sisters, yea, and his own life also, he cannot be my disciple” (Luke 14:26). “I am come to set man at variance against his father, and the daughter against her mother, and the daughter-in-law against her mother-in-law. And a man’s foes shall be they of his own household” (Matt. 10:35-36). When one of his disciples requested time off for his father’s funeral, Jesus rebuked him by saying “Let the dead bury their dead” (Matt. 8:22). Jesus never used the word “family” and he never married or fathered children. To his own mother, he said, “Woman, what have I to do with thee?” (John 2:4).

So what kind of family value does this Jesus taught us?

13. Jesus said that whoever calls somebody a “fool” shall be in danger of hell fire (Matt. 5:22), yet he called people “fools” himself (Matt. 23:17).

14. He appeared to suffer from a dictator’s “paranoia” when he said, “He that is not with me is against me” (Matt. 12:30).

And here are some more of Jesus so called “superior moral teaching”.
• Marrying a divorced woman is adultery (Matt. 5:32).
• Don’t plan for the future (Matt. 6:34)
• Don’t work to obtain food (John 6:27)
• Don’t save money (Matt. 6:19-20)
• Take the money from those who have no savings and give it to rich investors (Luke 19:23-26)
• If someone asks you for anything, give it to them without question (Matt. 5:42)
• If you lose a lawsuit, give more than the judgment (Matt. 5:40)

(Source: Biblical Errancy by Dennis McKinsey)

So when a Christian told me things about Jesus, and by comparing what history and Biblical mythology have to say about this person, I always ask the Christian back, “Jesus who?”

Posted in ReligionComments (12)

A Letter From Jesus

Apparently, I got a letter from Jesus! He has graciously thought to send me an invitation (via e-mail, I must add) to His Grand Party!

The Grand Party

The Grand Party

As proof, here is His letter, copied verbatim:

Dear loved ones,

As you well know, we are getting closer to my birthday. Every year there is a celebration for my honor and I think that this year the celebration will be repeated. During this time there are many people shopping for gifts, there are many radio announcements, TV commercials, and in every part of the world everyone is talking that my birthday is getting closer and closer.

It is really very nice to know, that at least once a year, some people think of me. As you know, the celebration of my birthday began many years ago. At first, people seemed to understand and be thankful of all that I did for them, but in these times, no one seems to know the reason for the celebration. Family and friends get together and have lots of fun, but they don’t know the meaning of the celebration.

I remember that last year there was a great feast for my honor. The dinner table was full of delicious foods, pastries, fruits, assorted nuts and chocolates. The decorations were exquisite and there were many, many beautifully wrapped gifts. But, do you want to know something? I wasn’t invited. I was the guest of honor and they didn’t remember to send me an invitation. The party was for me, but when that great day came, I was left outside, they closed the door in my face …. and I wanted to be with them and share their table.

In truth, that didn’t surprise me because in the last few years, all closed their doors to me. Since I wasn’t invited, I decided to enter the party without making any noise. I went in and stood in a corner. They were all drinking; there were some who were drunk and telling jokes and laughing at everything. They were having a great time. To top it all, this big fat man all dressed in red, wearing a long white beard entered the room yelling Ho-Ho-Ho! He seemed drunk. He sat on the sofa and all the children ran to him, saying: “Santa Claus, Santa Claus” .. as if the party were for his honor!

At 12 Midnight all the people began to hug each other; I extended my arms waiting for someone to hug me and … do you know … no one hugged me. Suddenly they all began to share gifts. They opened them one by one with great expectation. When all had been opened, I looked to see if, maybe, there was one for me.

What would you feel if on your birthday everybody shared gifts and you did not get one? I then understood that I was unwanted at that party and quietly left.

Every year it gets worse. People only remember to eat and drink, the gifts, the parties and nobody remembers me. I would like this Christmas that you allow me to enter into your life. I would like that you recognize the fact that almost two thousand years ago I came to this world to give my life for you, on the cross, to save you. Today, I only want that you believe this with all your heart.

I want to share something with you. As many didn’t invite me to their party, I will have my own celebration, a grandiose party that no one has ever imagined, a spectacular party.

I’m still making the final arrangements. Today I am sending out many invitations and there is an invitation for you. I want to know if you wish to attend and I will make a reservation for you and write your name with golden letters in my great guest book. Only those on the guest list will be invited to the party. Those who don’t answer the invitation, will be left outside.

Be prepared because when all is ready you will be part of my great party.

See you soon.

I Love you!


P.S. Please share this message with your loved ones, before Christmas

Well, I thought, since He was nice enough to think of me and send me a letter, I thought I should do what any decent moral person would do; Answer his letter!

So here’s my letter to Him:

Dear Jesus,

Thank You so much for Your letter and Your invitation! You do not know how thrilled I am to hear from You! And to see that I’ve been invited to The Grand Party!That is such an honor!

However, I must ask, why are You claiming that December 25 is Your birthday? I mean, weren’t shepherds out and about when You were born in Your manger? Obviously, it was nowhere near December at the time! Probably closer to April. Are You sure Your Virgin Mom and Foster Dad didn’t lie to You about Your date of birth? Don’t worry about the “virgin birth” thingy, I can keep a secret. Plenty of couples who get pregnant out of wedlock change the DOB of their babies too to cover it up, so there’s not much to be embarrassed about.

I have to ask, why are You saying that no one invites You to “Your” birthday parties? I’m sure there are plenty of nutjobs… err… I mean… devout followers out there who DO invite You to their parties. Many of them actually leave a plate on the table just for You! But the thing is, your space is ALWAYS empty. I’m just saying, maybe You’d get more invites to even more parties if You actually attended them. You complain about the Fat Man in the Red Suit getting all the attention, but in fairness, he actually makes it to MANY of the parties, unlike You.

Now You’re saying that since most people didn’t invite You to the parties (and remember, it’s You’re fault for never ever attending any of the parties in the first place), You’re going to get back at them by making a grand party of Your own, and send an invitation only to a select few? I mean, most of my friends DIDN’T get this invitation when I asked them. Honestly, are you too cheap to send out more invitations by yourself that you need us to do the legwork for you?They even looked at me like I was crazy or something when I said: “Did Jesus Christ send you an invitation to His Grand Party?” .

Don’t you think it’s a bit childish? Isn’t that how an eight year old kid would act? You’re over 2000 years old already, for your sake! Have you not mentally grown up at all? Now that I think of it, why should I waste time and energy to attend a party that most probably will never happen anyway? I mean, you’ve been talking of this “Grand Party” of yours for almost 2000 years now, and you’ve got jack shit to show for it.

Heck, this invitation of yours DOESN’T EVEN HAVE A FRICKIN’ DATE! Because of that, many of your followers have resorted to making up half-assed guesses for the date of your “Great Party”. The generation you promised this party for is long gone, and chances are, your party STILL wouldn’t happen even after this generation of waiting followers are long dead. I guess you like the feeling of stringing us along, don’t you?

You know what? To hell with it. You can cancel this “invitation” of yours and you can take that golden guest book of yours and shove it where the sun don’t shine. Consider this my RSVP.



P.S. Your Real Dad is an crazy, petty, egomaniacal, murderous, misogynistic, baby-killing, tyrannical a-hole with a personality disorder. Tell him to get professional help.

Posted in Humor, Others, ReligionComments (10)

Of things concerning rock, paper, scissors, and other weapons

One of the common ways to decide things, or to just have fun with just your body parts is using the hand game jan-ken-pon or more commonly known in English as rock-paper-scissors. It’s quite a decision making tool, and it has been used in auctions and by CEOs in their companies to make decisions. This article is about the hand game, how to relatively improve it, and how to add some spices to it as well 😉

Read the full story

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Jesus and the Fig Tree

The story of the fig tree can be found in Mark 11:12-26 and in Matthew 21:17-22 . Most Christians I have encountered say it is a metaphor. But is it? If you read the following passages, it is not a metaphor, but a continuous narrative on that day before Jesus and his gang went to Jerusalem. Jesus was hungry and went up to a fig tree to get something to eat — and subsequently cursed the tree to death because it had no fruit.

Now, is this the way this “Jesus loves me” thing is supposed to act? Aside from the obvious question as to why Jesus, being so big on forgiveness here, did not forgive the fig tree (or even heal it). He even cursed it! In my interpretation, Jesus just woke up on the wrong side of the bed, that’s why he’s too crabby on that day. Anyway, the Fig-tree enigma just tells me that Jesus is not “all-good” as what Christian fundies are saying. It’s a myth. If the New Testament is as accurate as these fundies would have me believe, its main character, Jesus, is a dolt.

We can summarize the story so far as:
1. Jesus was hungry.
2. He looked for figs on a tree.
3. But it was not fig season.
4. So, because the moron didn’t get his way, Jesus killed the poor tree in retaliation.

Why did Jesus (if he’s a god) cannot even tell if it’s fig season? Can”t this nut even tell if its fig season? Remember that it is Passover season. Passover (Pesach in Hebrew) begins on the eve of the fifteenth day of the month of Nisan according to the Jewish lunar calendar. The date varies from year to year according to the English calendar, falling in March or April (that falls in springtime.) So, it’s not even a season where fig trees are supposed to have fruits! I thought Jesus is god and a god is supposed to be all-knowing?

If it wasn’t fig season, why would this moron look for figs? Is killing a tree for not bearing fruit out of season a reasonable response by any standard?

Now, what is the moral of that story? As a good Christian, if you asked for something and the guy failed to give it to you, kill him! Is that what your Jesus likes to teach? Sounds more like the MAFIA to me.
Furthermore, the Fig-tree story is another proof of biblical inconsistency. Compare Matthew 21:17-22 to Mark 11:12-14 and 20-26. Look closely, in the Matthew version, when Jesus cursed the poor fig-tree, it died immediately and his apostles saw it happened. On Mark’s version, the poor tree died sometime and was already dead when Jesus and his gang passed by it from Jerusalem. (Talk about accurate reporting huh.)

Now the Christians want me to believe that an All-Good God named Jesus exists, but the Bible says otherwise. Then, the Jesus is God concept doesn’t exist.
Jesus cursed a fig tree.

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