The Stereotype in Religious Beliefs Article

Religious Beliefs

I just read a moderately interesting article about how atheists, agnostics, and Christians are stereotyped in regards to their religious beliefs. The article pretty much confirms anything you’d suspect. Most people stereotype others based on their religious beliefs or lack thereof. That’s not what I’m going to be writing about today.

I want to discuss the extensive comments thread on the article. Now, I didn’t peruse all 1,322 comments on the article but I did scroll down far enough to get a general impression. No one discussed the actual article. People certainly had strong opinions on the religious beliefs of one another and things get quite political at times. As to the study? Nada.

What was the Study?

The study was pretty simple in design. Do people stereotype atheists, agnostics, and Christians differently? The premise being that, generally speaking, people think atheists are more likely to behave in a morally deficient manner. The big difference in this study is that it separated atheists and agnostics rather than grouping them together.

The results were exactly as predicted. Atheists were considered the most likely to behave immorally, followed by agnostics, with Christians being viewed as the least likely to engage in amoral practices.

Exactly what the study expected to find. The authors did some interesting things with the those who filled out the questionnaires by sometimes defining atheism and agnosticism and other times allowing the users to give their opinion without the definitions.

The Results of the Study on Religious Beliefs

To my, atheist mind, it’s a predictable result. It’s exactly what I’d expect. No big deal, study confirms the stereotypes exist and play out pretty much in a standard way.

The Comments

Ah, now we get to the interesting part of the article. The comments. After reading the article, I planned to comment my thoughts that the results pretty much matched expectations of the stereotypes of religious beliefs. No one else seemed to be on the same wavelength.

Not that people didn’t anticipate the results, they just filled the comment sections with more study fodder. Basically, everyone spent their time talking about moral expectations of people based on their religion and political views. I saw much back and forth on the actual definition of atheism and agnosticism. This of course, is exactly what the study was not about.

The study wasn’t about the actual morality of atheists, agnostics, and Christians. It was about stereotypes others have of those group in regard to their likely moral behavior.

It seems no one actually read the article, big surprise there. The atheists, agnostics, and Christians simply listed out their stereotypes of one another and argued about it. I found this humorous. I suspect you, valued readers, are less amused than I.


They needn’t have done the study at all. Just pretend to do the study and post the article. The comment section tells the rest of the story.

Tom Liberman

Cremated and Unable to Rapture Lawsuit

Rapture Lawsuit

There’s an interesting lawsuit making its way through the courts in Arkansas against a funeral home that cremated the remains of man against his and his family’s wishes. The man believed that if cremated his body could not ascend to heaven during the rapture. The lawsuit indicates the cremation caused significant emotional distress on the family.

It’s been a while since I wrote a legal blog as I’ve been preoccupied with entertainment and I thought I’d chime in on this one, particularly after reading the comments. The comment thread on the story seems focused on the idea that god can do anything and the man’s beliefs and that of his family are wrong.

I’m happy to say your beliefs are not on trial, whatever they might be.

The Rapture Lawsuit

It seems pretty clear to me that when the Roller-McNutt Funeral Home cremated the remains of Harold D. Lee they violated a contract. They certainly acknowledge as much, waived all fees and returned the deposit to the family.

The family members believe Lee’s cremation means he cannot ascend to heaven. Thus, the rapture lawsuit. I’m not going to get deeply into religion in this blog as we’re talking law, but we must consider it to some degree. Here in the United States, we have something called Freedom of Religion. People can have whatever religious beliefs they want without fear of legal ramifications.


If the Lee family believes Harold can’t get into heaven, then that’s what they believe. It doesn’t matter the vast majority of comments involved the idea an all-powerful deity isn’t restricted by a cremation. The comments largely ridiculed the family for this belief. The Lee family believes it so, and that is their right. That’s all that matters. Not your opinion nor my opinion of their grief.

It’s important to understand mental anguish in regards to the rapture lawsuit is not debatable. If they claim to be anguished, they are anguished. You cannot prove someone is or is not suffering mental anguish. As nonsensical as this atheist finds their beliefs, I cannot argue against their anguish.


The thing the court must decide in this rapture lawsuit is what actual damages the family suffered. Seeing as the funeral home refunded all fees there are no immediate financial damages. However, if the family can prove the anguish of the event caused them to miss days of work, firing from work, suffering financially, then the rapture lawsuit has merit.

It’s clear the funeral home made a terrible mistake. Personally, I want to be chucked, wearing only my beloved St. Louis Cardinals jacket, into a hole and left to the worms. Sorry for any damage that image burned into your brain. If the funeral home did something else, it’s possible my family members might be anguished. No matter her or his anguish, they have to prove damages in the lawsuit.

Getting into Heaven

The court cannot offer damages for the ascension, or lack thereof, of Harold into heaven. You cannot assign a price that. Nor could my family sue religious organization if they performed some rites that supposedly sent my non-existent spirit to heaven.

I won’t mince words here. I don’t want to go to your imaginary heaven. I’m morally and ethically disgusted by the Judeo-Christian-Islamic god as depicted in your holy books. I want no part of it. But my family can no more sue for damages for you believing I ascended than the Lee family can sue for their belief in the lack of his ascension.


If the Lee family can prove their emotional distress caused them damages, the funeral home will have to pay. They made a terrible mistake and the family member’s anguish cannot be debated.

Tom Liberman

Should Christians Welcome Death?

Christians Welcome Death

The questions of should Christians Welcome Death is an interesting one and in the news of late because Reverend Tony Spell said exactly that in encouraging his religious followers to attend church amid the Covid-19 Pandemic. It’s important to understand that Spell is absolutely correct with his Christians welcome death sentiment. What, what, what?

There’s no denying it. The bible is clear what awaits Christians after their death and who would not want that? The question is the essence of Pascal’s Wager which I argued against in a previous blog. Those of you who argue for Pascal’s Wager must also agree that Christians welcome death.

Now, you might ask, why not just encourage Christians to commit suicide? Believe it or not, that’s exactly what Christians were doing before Saint Augustine decided to interpret, Thou Shall Not Kill to mean Thou Shall not Kill Thyself. I won’t go into his logic on the subject, let us just accept church doctrine.

What Spell is saying is that going to heaven, essentially dying, is a good thing in the mind of any true believer and I find no flaw in his logic. If that’s the case but Christians must also not commit suicide, we have a fairly clear path. Engage in behavior that is life-threatening as often as possible. A clear way to do this, particularly if you are elderly or health compromised, is to put yourself in a position to get a disease that might well kill you. Gather at churches to pray and if you get Covid-19, if you get sick, if you die, more the better.

Naturally, you are risking the lives of those around you as well, but that’s not a big deal because it’s all god’s will anyway. If he wants me to contract Covid-19 from you and then pass it along to my elderly mother, causing her death, that’s all good anyway, even though she doesn’t believe in your god.

If you believe that the bible is the word of god; you believe that adulterers should be stoned, rapists must be punished by being forced to marry their victim and pay the father, and that Christians welcome death.

To be clear, I don’t welcome death. I love life. I want more living. More pretty girls. More time at the gym. More time with my friends. More whiskey. More good food. More laughs. More, my friends, give me more! Then again, I’m not a Christian and I never will be.

Tom Liberman

Being a Good Christian

Good Christian

What do I see as Good Christian behavior? Selfish, angry, violent, intolerant, murderous, money-worshipping, self-righteous, arrogant, bereft of personal responsibility. These are the words the immediately leap to my mind. Now, I’m an Atheist so feel free to look at your disgusting religion through rose-colored glasses and ignore me. I’m telling you what I see.

I recognize there are many people, some my friends, who claim the Christian faith and are not these things, but those who think of themselves this way are the outliers. I’ve had many conversations with Christians who don’t agree with mainstream doctrine in regards to transgenders, Muslims, homosexuals, atheist, Democrats; yet you support the leaders that make statements against these people. Good Christians are you, and I see your vile behavior every day in media outlets of all kinds.

That’s not me, you say, I’m a good person. Yet, you sat in your churches day after day listening to the hatred and did nothing. It’s not that you are losing your religion, it’s lost. You sat in silence while it descended into hate fueled, fact ignoring, cruelty and outright evil. You did nothing and now it’s gone. So, don’t tell me you’re a decent human being, you are part and parcel of it all, don’t fool yourself.

Now you try and post kind, helpful things on your Social Media outlets in an effort to pretend you are not part of the disgusting, murderous, cult that, on those infrequent occasions you actually consult your morality, sickens your stomach. You are the problem; you are a Good Christian.

Good Christians are willing to sacrifice anyone who disagrees with their doctrine, they do not care, they do not help, they are invested in hurting anyone and everyone who they see as a threat. Good Christians fund this hate-machine that spews its bile on everything decent and kind.

A Good Christian really isn’t about religion anymore. They are a social movement, a political movement, a monolithic assault on freedom, which is a subject I take quite seriously.

Don’t fool yourself, you are a Good Christian and that’s not anything to brag about.

Tom Liberman

The Vulnerability of the Faithful to Scams

Vulnerability of the Faithful

With Covid-19 spreading around the United States and the rest of the world I wanted to address a topic that has long been on my radar, the vulnerability of the faithful to scams. People of deep religious convictions are considered faithful. This means they believe in their deity without proof, I do not mean to ridicule, that’s the necessity of faith. If their deity were to reveal itself in absolute terms, that would eliminate the nature of faith which is crucial to many of the devoted. This belief without proof makes those so inclined, in my opinion, vulnerable.

The vulnerability of the faithful is not something new. Turkey has an entire industry devoted to giving tours to the wreckage of Noah’s Ark. Confidence tricksters have long known that attaching the words “good Christian” to their endeavors will allow them to take money far more readily from the faithful.

This vulnerability of the faithful was first demonstrated to me years ago when an acquaintance of mine got involved in a patent scam. She paid tens of thousands of dollars to get the patent approved. I happen to know a very good patent attorney and when I tried to dissuade her from the path, to speak with him, she just looked at me and told me that it was a “good Christian company.” I gave up.

We are once again seeing the vulnerability of the faithful, this time in relation to a terrible disease. Cures are being peddled across the United States and often their targets are good Christians. They appeal to the faith of these people. This appeal is the main weapon such confidence tricksters have in their arsenal. Believe me, trust me, I know better than those other people, those scientists. I know you’re afraid but give me some of your money and I’ll make it all better.

I completely accept those of faith believe in their deity with absolute conviction and there is little or nothing I can say to dissuade them. That being said, please, keep your faith to religion. Do not let it drive your thinking in more practical matters. Don’t buy a car on faith. Don’t send your child to a daycare on faith. And, absolutely, do not buy a cure for Covid-19 based on faith. It’s not only your life at stake but those around you. Not to mention the money.

Tom Liberman

Sherry Tina Uwanawich and the Million Dollar Curse

Sherry Tina Uwanawich Curse

There’s an interesting story in the news about a woman named Sherry Tina Uwanawich because the courts ruled she defrauded a family of $1.6 million by claiming they were under a curse. Uwanawich was ordered by the court to repay the money and sentenced to more than three years in prison. The argument of the government is that there was no curse and the money was fraudulently obtained.

So, why am I writing about this incident? Uwanawich took advantage of a gullible family and stole their money, she deserves what she gets, right? Well, in the same way you think curses aren’t real, I think religious salvation isn’t real. How much money is given to churches for fake salvation? I’m sure many of my friends and readers are certain that religious salvation is real but so too the family Uwanawich exploited was certain curses were real.

There are many people across the globe who believe in curses. There are many people across the globe who think it’s not a globe at all and give money to Flat Earth organizations. There are many people across the globe who believe all sorts of nonsensical things. The point here is that if Uwanawich is guilty of fraud, so too are many other organizations.

Can we prove curses aren’t real? Can we prove god isn’t real? Can we prove there isn’t a teapot orbiting the sun midway between Mars and the Earth? Perhaps Uwanawich actually saved the family from a terrible curse and their $1.6 million was well spent. The amount certainly pales in comparison to the amount of money various churches collect from their devotees. People pay money to those who take advantage of their nonsensical beliefs all the time and yet, for the most part, we don’t find it criminal. What’s different about this case?

Don’t get me wrong, what Uwanawich did to that family was reprehensible, but do the family members not bear much of the responsibility? They certainly handed over the money eagerly and willingly and presumable avoided the dread consequences of the curse.

In that far distant future in which Atheists come to power should they have the ability to put your local religious leader in jail for defrauding you? It’s a question needing an answer and I’ll happily tell you what I think. No. Religious beliefs, whether curses or salvation, should be out of the purview of the courts. Believe what you want and suffer the consequences, financial or otherwise, that’s your business.

Tom Liberman

Human Trafficking and David Miscavige of the Church of Scientology

David Miscavige

There is a story breaking about a woman suing the Church of Scientology and its chairman, David Miscavige for, among other things, sex trafficking. I’m convinced this lawsuit was spurred by the conviction of NVIXM founder Keith Raniere over similar charges.

I wrote a blog back in April of 2018 about why charging Raniere and his associates with a crime for their sex cult activities was a bad idea and the subsequent conviction and this lawsuit further hardens my position. Basically, if anyone, for any reason, stays somewhere where perhaps they don’t really want to stay, they are going to be able to bring charges against whatever entity convinced them to stay.

I would guess your first reaction would be this is a good thing. No one should be convinced to stay somewhere they don’t want to stay. However, I don’t think there is an organization in the country where someone hasn’t been talked into or threatened in some way in order to make them stay. It is common behavior for a church to threaten anyone who is thinking about leaving with ostracization from the religious community. Anyone who decides to stay in the church to avoid such is now a victim of human trafficking in accordance to the way those ridiculous laws were written. The church is liable and the leaders, like Miscavige, are subject to imprisonment.

It’s not just churches, it’s virtually every voluntary organization in the world. People will always have doubts about continuing to be a member of such groups and if they are told about certain consequences should they choose to leave, it can easily be construed as a threat and thus subject to these poorly imagined laws that are on the books in virtually every state in the nation.

Don’t get me wrong, if someone is physically restrained, drugged into submission, blackmailed, or otherwise coerced into staying; there should be an investigation to see if the law was broken. That being said, the way human trafficking laws are currently written, being interpreted, and enforced, I doubt there is a single one of us who hasn’t been so victimized.

Is it possible a group of mean girls from the local junior high might be thrown in prison for threatening to refuse another girl entry into some social group if she refuses to join their clique? You may laugh but that’s where we are heading and it is why we must be so careful not to legislate morality.

If someone wants to be a sex slave, or work long hours for some nonsense religious organization like that of Miscavige; that’s their business. Not yours. Not mine. Not the governments.

Tom Liberman

How Coke Became Religious Symbology in San Cristóbal de las Casas

San Cristóbal de las CasasI just read an interesting article about how San Cristóbal de las Casas in Mexico is plagued by diabetes largely related to the consumption of about half a gallon a day of Coca-Cola by residents of the community. The article is interesting in a number of ways but the thing that struck me was the inclusion of Coke paraphernalia in religious ceremonies.

Coke has a large factory in the region that was established fifty years ago and has been producing the sugary beverage ever since. Because the plant is essentially next door, the price of the soda in the region is quite affordable; the result being the enormous average consumption of residents. This combined with changing weather patterns, limiting rainfall in the area, has meant soda is actually cheaper than water for many of the residents.

What’s fascinating is the fact many people in the region believe, after two generations of exposure to the soda, that it has healing properties. They use Coke bottles in religious ceremonies and the so-called “traditional” healers in the region use the soda to treat a variety of ailments. This demonstrates, with little room for argument, how quickly humans can incorporate idiocy into their religion of choice. To be clear, I’m an Atheist. I think all religion is nonsense and I find this series of event exposes many of the natural roots behind religious belief as a whole.

The idea is relatively simple. We human monkey beasts are really good at spotting patterns but sadly we also see patterns where they don’t actually exist. If a child is sick, drinks some coke, and then gets better; we see a causal relationship where one does not exist. If a dog eats a particular treat from china and immediately becomes very sick; we see a pattern. If a child begins to show autistic symptoms after receiving a vaccination we see a connection. The connection, the pattern, is not real. The treat didn’t make the dog sick and the vaccination didn’t harm the child. No amount of double-blind studies can convince us otherwise. We saw the two things happen in succession and we are convinced.

When something becomes as prevalent in society as Coke has in San Cristóbal de las Casas there will inevitably be coincidental incidents between the product and events in the region. People see these as related to one another and quickly seize upon supernatural explanations. Thus, we see Coke and religion heavily intermixed in the region.

We do not see Coke being worshipped in other places in the world because there is no logical reason to do so. Religion is largely a product of seeing patterns where they do not exist. We lean against a tree and soon our child recovers from an illness. A ha! The tree must have supernatural properties that healed the child. We beseech an invisible, undetectable god to solve a problem for us and the problem is sometimes solved. A ha!

To me, the worship of Coke in San Cristóbal de las Casas is no different than the worship of a man on a cross. I’m sure many find the latter far more palatable than the former, from a religious perspective at least. I don’t.

Tom Liberman

Rodrigo Duterte has Finally Gone too Far

Duterte god stupidThe Philippine President, Rodrigo Duterte, has often angered people for many statements and policies but he has finally gone too far for the Christians of his nation. He called god stupid. This is enough for Catholic Bishop Arturo Bastes to declare Duterte a madman with dictatorial tendencies. Duterte’s other sins have not raised quite as much outrage from the religious community.

Let’s take a look at what the Duterte regime has done since he was elected in June of 2016. He has publicly urged citizens of the Philippines to kill drug dealers and drug users wherever they find them. He said, “Hitler massacred three million Jews. Now, there is three million drug addicts. I’d be happy to slaughter them.” He has described drug users as not human. Any number of the killings appear not to be related to drugs in any way but simply murders carried out with drugs as the excuse. The murders were never prosecuted.

Duterte ordered the military to attack towns in the Marawi district because they might be harboring ISIS terrorists. Those assaults led to the displacement of over a million people and an enormous amount of suffering that continues to this day as the infrastructure of the region is largely destroyed and many of the former citizens are living in unsanitary camps. The terrorists were supposedly evicted although the history of the lasting effects of such actions would suggest they will return quickly enough or simply move somewhere else.

All of that was tolerated, if not supported, by his believers. But now they say he’s gone too far. In discussing the biblical story of Adam and Even Duterte came to the conclusion that god set up a ridiculous test for the young couple and because they made a decision that god apparently wanted them to make, it is moronic for all of their descendants to be branded with original sin. His exact words were, “Who is this stupid god?” and “You were not involved but now you’re stained with an original sin … What kind of a religion is that? That’s what I can’t accept, very stupid proposition.”

Even his supporters, those who believe he did the right thing in encouraging citizens to murder one another without trials simply because they were drug addicts, think he’s gone too far this time.

I’m an Atheist and I think Duterte actually got this one right. I still think he’s an evil man despite his correct interpretation of biblical insanity. I still think he’s a murderous dictator. His being right in this instance doesn’t change my overall opinion of him.

My question is what does it say about a person who supported Duterte in his desire to kill drug addicts without any judicial proceedings, without any attempt to help them recover from their addiction, to make no effort to determine if they were even drug addicts or dealers at all but simply close his eyes to the murders; but who draw the line at his assessment of the concept of original sin as stupid?

You tell me.

Tom Liberman

Exorcism Requests on the Rise

exorcismCases of people asking for demons to be expelled in rights of Exorcism are rising rapidly in at least Italy if not elsewhere in the world and the Catholic Church is responding by holding a conference on the subject. The church hopes to train more priests capable of properly performing the exorcism. There are apparently many young priests who find the entire process questionable and refuse to take part. Good for them.

I’ll be honest right out of the gate, I’m an Atheist. Just as there is no god there are no demons. What people consider demonic possession is generally one of two things. It is mental illness or someone who has done something horrible and is unwilling to accept the consequences of their actions. According to the church, if someone is possessed by a demon they are not responsible for their actions. It’s a good thing our legal system is absolutely not based on the Judeo/Christian religious teachings. Can you imagine if it was? Would any Christian ever be guilty of anything, ever again? It’s a free pass.

The Old Testament is pretty much devoid of anything resembling a demonic possession although there is a very questionable incident that depends on a favorable translation to fit even remotely into the idea. Exorcism is almost entirely based on scripture that references first Jesus and then his disciples casting out demons with a simple command.
If Jesus could do such a thing it must mean that demons do exist. If demons exist then they must be able to take possession of a person and force them to do things they would otherwise not do. It seems clear to me that people are capable of the most vile and disgusting acts of inhumanity without any supernatural intervention whatsoever. There is also plenty of evidence of mental illness which, until quite recently, was treated in horrific ways.

The issue that presents itself is people are increasingly of the opinion they are possessed by demons. The church and its priests must deal with this phenomenon. It is absolutely real to them and to be treated in the same way any other problem is handled. If a person has a cold, treat it. If a person is possessed by demons, treat it.
There is a list of supposed symptoms that the afflicted will sometimes display if it is a demonic possession rather than mental illness or a simple ruse, but there little or no ability to distinguish between them.

My problem with all of this is twofold. Believe what you will. That’s religious freedom. But when mentally ill or criminally irresponsible people are being treated for exorcism; it means they are not being treated for their real problems. That makes me both sad and angry.

I’m not foolish enough to think that I can change anyone’s mind on this issue. Either you believe demonic possession is possible and can be treated with an exorcism or you think it is complete nonsense. I’m just sad and angry.

Do you believe Demonic Possession is real and Exorcism a Remedy?

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Tom Liberman

Pascal’s Wager is all about Integrity

pascal's wagerI was watching my favorite Atheist Based show, Atheist Experience, when they once again took on the topic of Pascal’s Wager. For me it all comes down to integrity. But, I’m getting ahead of myself. What is Pascal’s Wager?

The idea is an interesting study of probability and decision theory. The premise is that a belief in god will bring an almost infinite reward, eternal happiness in heaven. If, on the other hand, you do not have such belief, you suffer eternal damnation. This is where the wager becomes a true bet rather than a religious argument. What is there to lose or gain in belief or lack thereof?

Let’s say you could wager a penny to win a million dollars. No matter how long the odds of the bet, you’d most likely take that gamble. It’s essentially the same thing as spending a dollar on a lottery ticket when the reward is hundreds of millions of dollars. The single dollar you spend has no real effect on your life and the reward is so enormous, it’s worth taking.

Even if you are almost certain god does not exist, the reward of believing and the punishment for not believing makes it silly to do anything else. Why not believe? You don’t have to go to church, you don’t have to express that belief to others, your life doesn’t really have to change all that much. You just have to believe to get the reward and barely give up anything at all.

Well, that is if you don’t value your integrity. For me the loss in believing is that I’m lying to myself, I’m lying to my family, I’m lying to all my friends. I don’t believe in god. I think the very idea is rather silly. I am certain there is no heaven and if it existed, I wouldn’t want to go as it is run by a misogynistic, murdering, despot.

If I decide to believe in god in order to get a reward although it is against everything my rational mind derives; I have no integrity. What won’t I do? Lying, stealing, cheating, raping, murdering are now on the table, as long as doing so likely benefits me. Why wouldn’t I kill my parents to get the money I’d inherit, particularly if I was certain to get away with it? Here is some news for you; I wouldn’t seek to murder anyone, or rape anyone, or steal from anyone; no matter how certain it was that no one would ever find out. Because doing that to other people is wrong, just as if they did it to me.

Pascal argues that believing in god doesn’t hurt me in any way. That is where he is wrong. Stating that I believe something that I do not destroys my own sense of self-worth. I would be living a lie. My integrity would be gone. If I were to do such a thing I would loathe myself for the rest of my life.

The idea behind the wager itself is worth discussing. The concept of risk-reward is something you should think about when making decisions in your own life. What have I to gain and what is there to lose? Those are questions that should be answered before making major life decisions.

In this case the potential loss is greater than the reward, at least for me. The question is valid, I hope my answer is clear.

Tom Liberman



Biblical Morality Attacked in Jordan

moralityMany people are cheering the government of Jordan for removing a clause in their legal code by which a rapist is exonerated of their crime if they marry the victim. I, on the other hand, find this attack on biblical morality an affront to religious freedom.

The bible is quite clear on this subject. Deuteronomy 22:28-29: If a man is caught in the act of raping a young woman who is not engaged, he must pay fifty pieces of silver to her father. Then he must marry the young woman because he violated her, and he will never be allowed to divorce her.

In the United States, the First Amendment to the Constitution is quite clear about Religious Freedom. The government shall pass no law that infringes on my right to practice religion freely. In the Bible, it is stated quite clearly that if I choose to rape a woman who is not engaged or married, my punishment is that I must pay fifty bucks to her father and marry her. That seems like plenty of punishment to me. I mean, maybe I just wanted to rape her because she was wearing really hot clothes and showing a bit of ankle. A man has his needs. Now I’ve got to marry the ho and I’m not even allowed to divorce her!

Before this affront to my religious freedom I would have applauded Jordan for applying biblical morality to their legal code and only wish the United States, whose own legal code is clearly and completely based on the bible, do the same. I mean, if I want to beat my slaves and they don’t die within a day or two, that’s totally my right. If I kill a dude who has the nerve to say God Damn It and thus violate the Third Commandment, I’m merely following biblical morality. It’s clear to me punishment for such a crime should be death, I mean, it’s third on the list of commandments and therefore of greater concern than murder.

Jordan has caved to the pressure of secularists who somehow think that men can come up with morality that is more just than that provided by an all-knowing, all-powerful God. If God says a rapist must marry the victim then that’s the way it should be, not to mention the $50 bucks!

Now, I know some namby-pamby, cry-babies are going to say, hey, what about the woman who was raped? Maybe she doesn’t want to marry her rapist. Give me a break, she’s soiled property now. Nobody is going to marry that ho after I raped her. I’m far and away the best options she’s got. I’m doing her a favor.

I don’t understand how people can possibly imagine the word of god has less weight than any legal remedy created by men. I mean, it is men who create the legal code. Women exist merely to glorify me and tell me how great I am. That’s what a wife should be doing, serving her man, by that I mean the fellow she is lucky enough to marry after he rapes her.

Secularists can suck it! Don’t cave my Jordanian brothers! Reinstate the Rape Clause because that’s what God says.

Tom Liberman

I am a Strange Atheist

atheistNot that I’m a strange person, which I am, but the more I encounter other Atheists the greater struck I am by how I came to be an Atheist. I’ve rarely run into an Atheist who wasn’t religious first. Someone who found that what they were being taught didn’t correspond with their experiences of life. I wasn’t necessarily born an Atheist but I was raised in a largely non-religious household. I was never religious and I never believed in a god.

I thought today I’d talk about my experience in coming to Atheism. As I said, I was born in a non-religious family. My mother dabbled with Buddhism but there were no religious ceremonies in my house and I never went to any sort of religious service. My parents were divorced when I was very young and my father married an Orthodox Jew. So, there was a lot of religion when I was over there every other weekend, but I wasn’t asked to take part for the most part. I read the section during the Seder reserved for the young boy of the family, the Four Questions, but that was pretty much the extent of any indoctrination.

I never even really thought much about religion growing up. I suppose I called myself an Agnostic because I didn’t really want to tell anyone there was no higher power. People seemed so sure. It wasn’t until I was in my mid-thirties that I started to learn about Critical Thinking, Ayn Rand, Libertarianism, and that sort of thing. Up until then I pretty much stuck with the Agnostic line.

One day I asked myself why I didn’t believe in Zeus at all but was willing to accept the idea that god might exist. So, then I was an Atheist and I’ve been one ever since. I didn’t come to it by studying the bible and many of the logical problems therein. I think that makes me rather unusual. I’ve learned in the ensuing years about all sorts of issues with the bible but not until after my epiphany.

My knowledge of the bible, the koran, and the torah is pretty weak. I’ve learned a fair amount simply by having to perform research in order to counter particular religious arguments and by watching more well-versed Atheist discuss the subjects.

I think one of the important things about me being an Atheist is that I simply cannot believe in god or whatever. It’s not really a matter of choosing to believe or not; I don’t, I can’t, I’d be lying if I said anything else. To my way of thinking there is clearly no higher power. The various interpretations of that higher power don’t make any sense and are largely filled with vile stories of awful atrocities committed by said deity. If your god revealed himself to me in some undeniable way, I’d tell it to bugger off, I want no part of you. Frankly, I’d assume it was some jerkoff alien with sufficient technology to be indistinguishable from magic trying to yank my chain.

Life hasn’t been tough as an Atheist. I don’t think I’ve ever faced discrimination or ostracism because of Atheism, or Agnosticism from when I was younger. I’ve never had a friend refuse to talk to me or associate with me because of my thoughts. And my thoughts were not secret. I went to college in Idaho and many of my good friends were very religious. Some of my great friends even today have quite strong faith.

I’ve definitely faced ostracism but mainly because I’m a socially awkward fellow, I don’t blame my lack of religion, just my lack of social skills.

That’s pretty much it. I’m not trying to convince anyone to be an Atheist. I’m not complaining or bragging.

Tom Liberman

Chess versus Islam

ban-chess-muslimsI read a story from the Associated Press about a Twitter war that is raging because a prominent Saudi Arabian, Grand Mufti Sheikh Abdelaziz Al Sheikh, declared that Muslims should not play chess.

No big deal? Just some religious kook making an outlandish statement? I disagree. For Al Sheikh to make this statement there is clearly backing for it in the fundamentalist Islamic world. Scholars have warned against the game in the past.

So why is this a big deal? Because many of the finest chess players in the world are from the Middle East and are Muslims. Chess originated in Asia and Muslims introduced the wonderful game to the western world. It has a long and important tradition in the Middle East and players are very dedicated to the game. Perhaps more dedicated to chess than to their religion.

And that’s important. It is also the way things should be. You should be more loyal to the things you like than to a religion or to a nation. That is the heart of the Libertarian political belief. We should associate with those who enjoy the same things as us, and let others do the same.

I don’t like playing with dolls but it’s not my business if you do. I love playing chess and spend my time watching chess videos and playing the game with acquaintances from all over the world. And it’s none of your business how much time I spend doing it! Nor would it be the business of any leader of whatever religion I happened to believe. I’m an Atheist for public record so it’s a moot point in today’s argument.

I happened to be born in the United States of America and a chess playing friend happened to be born in Iran. What is important is that we both enjoy playing chess. That is our bond and it has nothing to do with the circumstances of my birth or an edict from a ruler or religious leader. It is my choice to play chess with those who also enjoy the game.

I hope my chess playing friends, who happen to be Muslims, recognize this ridiculous statement for what it is. It’s simply an attempt to control them by restricting the things they love. Sound like anything governmental or religious leaders have done to you? Maybe you need new leaders or perhaps you should give up on the idea of an organized religion altogether.

That being said, religion itself is not the problem here, it is the twisting of power to control adherents that upsets me and hopefully some of my friends. If you believe in Allah, God, Lucifer, the Earth Mother, or any other deity, that’s cool. It’s your business and I don’t much care. Would that everyone else felt the same way.

I play at Lichess and GameKnot and my user name is tomlib. How about a nice game of chess?

Tom Liberman
Sword and Sorcery fantasy with a Libertarian Ideology
Current Release: The Girl in Glass I: Apparition
Next Release: The Gray Horn

Phil Robertson’s Story of Murder, Rape, and Dismemberment

Phil RobertsonThanks to my Facebook friends I just read an interesting story about Duck Dynasty star Phil Robertson.

Robertson examines the thought processes of a family who is brutally murdered, raped, and dismembered by a group of insane people. He does not mention a second family but the comparison is there, if not overtly mentioned. One family is an atheist family while the other is presumably Christian. Robertson thinks his story is about the world not having a right and a wrong without God, but surprisingly that’s not what it’s about at all.

The real idea is that the family being murdered, raped, and dismembered must be dismayed to know that the men doing this will not be judged in heaven. That a Christian family will take comfort while they are being murdered, raped, and dismembered in the fact that the perpetrator of the crime will eventually be judged and thus can apparently be less distressed about their murder, rape, and dismemberment than can the atheist family. The atheist family must simply go through the torment without the satisfaction of knowing the horror they face will be visited a thousand fold on the people murdering, raping, and dismembering them. The Christian family is thus less distressed by their own horror knowing that their god will inflict a worse punishment. Thus they are likely fairly happy to be murdered, raped, and dismembered.

On a second level it is interesting in that an atheist family will also not be comforted by the fact that god is standing right there, watching, experiencing, and allowing the murdering, raping, and dismembering to happen because there is a purpose behind it. One of the purposes apparently being that eventually the murdering, raping, and dismembering men will go to hell where they will suffer eternal torment and burning because god allowed them to murder, rape, and dismember the Christian family. The Christian family will be comforted by the fact that god is standing at their side, watching and allowing, because it is part of The Plan!

The third and final level I find interesting is that the murdering, raping, and dismembering parties will have the rest of their lives to realize what they did was wrong and genuinely confess their sins. Then those people committing the murder, rape, dismemberment will get into heaven where they can presumably apologize to the family for all the murdering, raping, and dismembering and both groups can live together in eternal bliss.

Perhaps that’s even why God allowed all that murdering, raping, and dismembering in the first place. So that the person committing the atrocities would feel remorse and turn their life around. Thus the murdered, raped, and dismembered family will have served their purpose in the eyes of the Lord.

Hooray, everyone wins.

The poor atheists on the other hand will know that their murder, rape, and dismemberment was not part of God’s plans but just the actions of a group of insane people. Thus they will somehow suffer more.

What does this story really tell us? That Robertson, and anyone who agrees with him, are sick people.

Tom Liberman
Sword and Sorcery fantasy with a Libertarian Ideology
Current Release: The Black Sphere
Next Release: The Girl in Glass I: Apparition

What if Atheists Proclaimed lack of Faith in Satan?

god_vs_satanI was watching a video from the Amazing Atheist on YouTube just now, he’s rather humorous although a bit free with the profanities for my taste, when something he said caught my attention.

In the video he is railing against a True Believer, we’re not really sure if Christian or Muslim. The person accused him of not being an Atheist but being a Satanist. It’s a ridiculous comparison of course. Anyone who is an Atheist believes the chance the devil is down in hell is equal to that of god being up in heaven, that being no chance at all.

That wasn’t what struck me though. I suddenly asked myself a question. What if all Atheists started to proclaim their non-belief in the devil rather than their non-belief in god? Would that make a difference to the religious community? Certainly Judaism has no devil at all so they might actually consider it an acceptable idea but what about the Christians and the Muslims?

Would they be happier if we Atheists went around railing against the stupidity of the devil? How worship and/or fear of such an imaginary creature is irrational. What if Atheists marched with “There is no Satan” banners? If they said things like, “Hiding from your imaginary devil friend again?”

I think the answer is self-evident. The lack of belief in Lucifer would be as abhorrent to someone of faith as is the lack of belief in god. To deny the existence of Satan is one in the same as denying the existence of god. To deny one is to deny the other! A Christian or Muslim has to believe in the devil as much as they believe in god.

Still, the image of Atheists parading around with anti-devil signs made me laugh a little. It’s all the same to an Atheist after all. Why not?

Tom Liberman
Sword and Sorcery fantasy with a Libertarian Ideology
Current Release: The Black Sphere
Next Release: The Girl in Glass I: Apparition

Malarkey – The Boy Who Didn’t Go To Heaven – Along with Everyone Else

alex-malarkeyThere’s an interesting story in the news today about a young man whose story was made into a book. He was in a coma for a couple of months and when he came out of it he made up a story about going to heaven.

This comes as a huge surprise to me. Obviously not because he made up the story, I knew that all along, but because he admitted to making up the story. That’s a real shocker. Once someone commits to a massive lie, as did Alex Malarkey, it’s unusual to see them admit to it. Usually, like say Vice President Cheney and the weapons of mass destruction evidence, they won’t back down regardless of the evidence proving their story was a lie.

At first I was ready to applaud Alex for his admission but as I read the article it became clear to me that perhaps his motivation was not simply coming forward with the truth. It seems clear he is angry that the book publisher, author (his father), and others are making a lot of money off of his name and this rankled his sense of fairness. Lying for the last six years apparently not so much. Fooling millions of people with his lie didn’t bother him as much as the fact that someone else, his father the author, was making money off of his name. Once his parents divorced and mom wasn’t getting her share of the profits, suddenly it was a lie.

Good for Alex for coming forward, I suppose, but I’m not all that impressed. He is still using religion in his quest to get what he wants. He makes an excuse for himself by saying that only the bible is accurate (nonsense, of course) and that all men lie. Perhaps we all do lie about some things, particularly to ourselves, but all of us don’t lie about what we experienced in a coma. Some of us have more character than that. I’m willing to give Alex a small break because he was a young boy when he told the original lie but his coming out now, six years later, and apparently with the soul motivation of his lack of remuneration for the book doesn’t garner my sympathy.

The most ridiculous quote from the now suddenly honest Alex is: They should read the Bible, which is enough. The Bible is the only source of truth. Anything written by man cannot be infallible. Hey Alex, the bible was written by men.

Alex’s message largely seems to be driven from his mother who admits that she knows what it is like to be pulled in. By this she means she willingly participated in the scam because she thought it was going to make her a lot of money. When she finally realized it wasn’t she suddenly gained a conscience.

The whole thing is despicable. From beginning to end. I have no kind things to say about Alex, his mother, the book publisher, the book author, or anyone involved in this money grubbing scam. I have no doubt we’ll be hearing more from Alex and his amazing conversion in the future, although this time he and his mother will be sure to get the contracts right so they reap the profits.

Tom Liberman
Sword and Sorcery fantasy with a Libertarian Ideology
Current Release: The Black Sphere
Next Release: The Girl in Glass I: Apparition

Je Suis Charlie

charlie-hebdo-magazine-shootingI think almost all of us have read about the despicable attack in Paris against those who work for a French magazine called Charlie Hebdo. A bunch of religious nut-jobs decided they could further their cause by killing some people who posted cartoons of their prophet.

I’m not going to waste time denouncing these murderous scum. There are plenty of people already doing that. What I want to do today is try to explain, rationally and calmly, why such actions harm their cause greatly.

The thinking of the terrorist is that if they frighten people they can get them to do what they want. It’s a behavior that works in certain instances and thus those who promulgate its use are encouraged. The long term reality is far different. The embracing of terror as a weapon to achieve political gain is destroying the entire Muslim religion and laying waste to hundreds of thousands, nay, millions of young lives. While twelve innocent Frenchmen and women were killed, there is no doubt that the actions will result in the deaths of tens of thousands of innocent young Muslims.

Not just from retribution attacks but simply from the setback in relationship between nations. Countless young Muslim boys will look to this as an achievement and spend their own lives in the fruitless and eventually deadly pursuit of similar activity.

Young Arab men are dying everywhere in this world. Killing each other and trying to kill others. It’s a terrible waste of their lives.

This attack also inestimably set back any attempt to get people to respect Muslims, the Islamic world, or Arabic people in general.

If the terrorists hoped to have the cartoons of Charlie Hebdo splattered over every blog, every newspaper, every media outlet, papered onto every mosque in every western country, and generally shoved down the throats of Muslims everywhere, well, their actions were well-thought out.

If the murdering terrorists wanted to make enemies of rational people the world over then they have succeeded.

If they wanted Arabs who are trying to live in peace in Western countries to be beaten, ridiculed, or even killed by those seeking revenge, well, then their actions were certainly well-planned and carried out.

If, on the other hand, they hoped to gain respect from other people then they have failed. If the goal is to have people respect your prophet then the solution isn’t to murder those who don’t. That only generates hate. The result of the actions of these murderous scum will be felt by peace-loving Muslims all over the Western world. And not in a good way. If their goal was to gain respect, admiration, and acceptance of their religion … they have failed and failed tragically with horrific consequences for so many, mostly for those whom they think they represent.

So terribly sad. Twelve people dead and the exact opposite of the goal of the killers achieved. Everything they hoped to gain by their attack is destroyed instead. Stupidity. Useless rage.

The Muslim world better get their act together soon because enough attacks like this are eventually going to result in such terror and horror a million times over and not against cartoonists. Wake up Muslim world. Save yourself before it’s too late.

Je Suis Charlie
Sword and Sorcery fantasy with a Libertarian Ideology
Current Release: The Black Sphere
Next Release: The Girl in Glass I: Apparition

We were Blindsided – Misleading Headline

School District Bans HolidaysI just read an interesting article and was “blindsided” by the blatant and disgusting misleading blurb that accompanied the headline.

The story  comes from Yahoo news and involves a Maryland school district that decided to remove all religious holiday references from their calendar rather than include references to Muslim holidays.

The headline itself is accurate: School district strikes Christmas from calendar. It’s the blurb that is an example of the vile reporting that causes stories to enter into my Misleading Headline posts. “We were blindsided,” it states authoritatively.

I want you to think for a moment about the intent of that quote in this blurb. It’s an absolutely accurate quote. One of the parties involved in the situation said those exact words.


It was the Muslim organization’s representative. They are dismayed that the other religions had to have their holidays stricken from the calendar. They simply wanted Muslim holidays mentioned on the calendar. That’s it. Mentioned. Instead of mentioning a Muslim holiday the school district decided to strike all references. The reason is, of course, because they are not comfortable listing Muslim holidays but are keenly aware that they cannot exclude one religion while including others. Their solution is to remove all such references.

That’s certainly the choice of the school district and as an Atheist I’ve got not problem with such a decision. Good riddance, I say. If they wanted to include the Muslim holidays along with Jewish and Christian I wouldn’t have a problem with that either. Frankly, I don’t care either way.

My problem is with the blurb on the headline. Completely and totally misleading. It’s clearly designed to make people think the school board was somehow blindsided by the request from the Muslim organization. It’s not even misleading. It’s really just a flat-out lie.

Congratulations Yahoo News. You win Misleading Headline of the Week!

Tom Liberman
Sword and Sorcery Fantasy with a Libertarian Edge
Purchase The Broken Throne today!
The Black Sphere Coming Soon!


666 is not the same as 6 – 6 – 6

Monster Energy DrinkI’m rather ashamed I’m even posting this. The great Monster Energy Drink is Satan debate bores me to tears. Honestly. It’s so stupid that even talking about it makes me feel dumber. Just a quick fact and I’ll let you go on your way.

The Hebrew numeric system was not like the Arabic Numeral system we use. I’m going to go with a Roman Numeral equivalent just so it’s a little easier to understand. Hebrew numbers were like Roman numbers. They didn’t go by base ten. So the number eleven was not the same as two number ones next to each other.

Let’s examine the number six expressed three times in Roman Numerals.

VI – VI – VI

Now let’s examine the number six-hundred and sixty-six in Roman Numerals.


There you have it. Not the same.

Does the number six-hundred and sixty-six have any meaning? No.

Is Monster Energy Drink a sign of Satan? No.

Are we all dumber for having discussed this? No. Hey, at least we learned something about numbers!

Tom Liberman
Sword and Sorcery Fantasy with a Libertarian Edge
Purchase The Broken Throne today!
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