America After 9/11

Do you really think America wasn’t involved in torture, secret prisons or wanton death and destruction before 9/11?

The record shows that they existed before. In fact, 9/11 was in many ways a REACTION to those things, not the cause of them. The USA has NEVER lived up to the virtues Temporal Flush mentions here. Read Zinn’s “People’s History”. The myth of America may survive in the minds of many Americans who don’t read the history of their own country, but outside if the US borders, many people know the other side of the story.

All 9/11 provided was justification to be more aggressive with programs that had been running for many decades in one form or another and continue today under the Obama administration.

There are two Americas – the mythical one that most Americans seem to believe is real, the country that are the good guys, the white knight, the protector of democracy and freedom – and then there is the real America, the one run by corporations and the wealthy elite, the one that, for the entire country’s history, has oppressed the poor and the weak in countries around the globe and at home. The one that stole land at the point of a gun, first from the Native Americans, then from the Mexicans, then from the Cubans, then from the Alaskans, then from the Hawaiins. The one that built its power and wealth on the back of the slave and segregation and imported Chinese labour. The one that did and does deal with the most despicable dictators around the globe to protect American corporate interests.

9/11 may have brought some of the other America to your attention, but it’s a mistake to think that it started then. It’s always been there. You just weren’t paying attention.

Proof that Mormons aren’t allowed to think for themselves

As some of you may know, my girlfriend Christine (aka @fddlgrl) is a “formon” (that’s an ex-Mormon, I have to thank Mr Deity himself for introducing me to that term). She grew up in Utah in a tiny, mostly-Mormon town, the full deal but she broke away from the church when she was about 18.

Anyway I know she’s had lots of debates with active church members about Prop 8 (the Californian law, sponsored in large part by the Mormons last year, which banned gay marriage) and whether or not Mormons are allowed to speak out against it without being ostracized. This clip supports her argument that Mormons can’t speak out without fear of retribution. This guy tried expressing his disappointment with the LDS’ church’s support of Prop 8 and watch what happens.

(source: skepacabra)

So what does this tell us about religious organisations like the Latter Day Saints? They don’t appreciate it when people inside the church start thinking for themselves. Why not? What do they fear? That one person actually thinking for themselves might start a trend? If they aren’t scared, why not let the guy speak his mind? If they are so sure of the moral superiority of their position, why not allow, in fact ENCOURAGE, free and open debate?

Because, my friends, religion is an act of mind control. It exists to pray on the minds and the wallets of the weak.

This is the same reason Father Peter Kennedy was defrocked from the Ca$holic Church earlier this year and why Father Bob Maguire in Melbourne has been told to resign. They had the temerity to think for themselves instead of obeying orders and sticking to the script.

If you are a member of either of these religious “institutions”, I invite you to argue with me in the comments section below.

Debunking Jesus with “Bread From Heaven”

The author of the Bread From Heaven blog wrote a post recently trying to suggest that there is some historical credibility for the myths contained in the New Testament by comparing it to other ancient documents. Following is my discussion with BFHU in the comments section of his or her blog.

Cameron Reilly, on September 10th, 2009 at 5:47 am Said:

The main difference between the NT and the other documents in the table is that the other authors (except, of course, Homer, and it’s well understood that The Iliad is a myth) claimed to be documenting the life of a supernatural being with superhuman powers. The more ridiculous the claims of ancient documents, the more skeptical any intelligent person is likely to be. Especially when those claims aren’t supported by a single eyewitness or any other evidence. And, let’s face it, the NT is full of ridiculous claims.

bfhu, on September 10th, 2009 at 5:04 pm Said:

The New Testament claims ARE supported by eye witnesses. As for “ridiculous claims” all I can do is quote St. Paul:

I Cor 1:18

For the message of the cross is foolishness to those who are perishing, but to us who are being saved it is the power of God. 19For it is written:
“I will destroy the wisdom of the wise;
the intelligence of the intelligent I will frustrate.”
20Where is the wise man? Where is the scholar? Where is the philosopher of this age? Has not God made foolish the wisdom of the world? 21For since in the wisdom of God the world through its wisdom did not know him, God was pleased through the foolishness of what was preached to save those who believe. 22Jews demand miraculous signs and Greeks look for wisdom, 23but we preach Christ crucified: a stumbling block to Jews and foolishness to Gentiles, 24but to those whom God has called, both Jews and Greeks, Christ the power of God and the wisdom of God. 25For the foolishness of God is wiser than man’s wisdom, and the weakness of God is stronger than man’s strength.

Cameron Reilly, on September 10th, 2009 at 5:28 pm Said:

@bfhu – so who are these eye witnesses that support the NT? Name them.

bfhu, on September 11th, 2009 at 7:43 am Said:

The names of some of the eyewitnesses:

All of the disciple of Jeus:
1. Simon (to whom He gave the name Peter),
2. James, the son of Zebedee, and
3. John the brother of James
4. Andrew
5. Philip
6. Bartholomew
7. Matthew
8. Thomas
9.James the son of Alphaeus, and
10. Thaddaeus
11. Simon the Zealot;
12. Judas Iscariot
13. Mary, Jesus’ mother
And many others named in the various Gospels and letters that make up the NEW TESTAMENT.

St.Luke wrote the Gospel of Luke and the early history of the Church in his book of Acts. He consulted eyewitnesses in order to make an accurate account of the events surrounding the life of Jesus and later the Church He founded.

Luke 1

1Many have undertaken to draw up an account of the things that have been fulfilled among us, 2 just as they were handed down to us by those who from the first were eyewitnesses and servants of the word.

Luke again in Acts 1

In my former book, Theophilus, I wrote about all that Jesus began to do and to teach 2until the day he was taken up to heaven, after giving instructions through the Holy Spirit to the apostles he had chosen. 3 After his suffering, he showed himself to these men and gave many convincing proofs that he was alive. He appeared to them over a period of forty days and spoke about the kingdom of God.

Of the disciples of Jesus, who were the closest eyewitnesses to all that Jesus did, who wrote a book or letter preserved for us in the New Testament: Peter whose memoir was written down by Mark in the Gospel of Mark. Also, Peters two letters, I & II Peter. The apostle John in his Gospel and three Letters.

1 John 1

1That which was from the beginning, which we have heard, which we have seen with our eyes, which we have looked at and our hands have touched—this we proclaim concerning the Word of life. 2The life appeared; we have seen it and testify to it, and we proclaim to you the eternal life, which was with the Father and has appeared to us. 3We proclaim to you what we have seen and heard, so that you also may have fellowship with us. And our fellowship is with the Father and with his Son, Jesus Christ. 4We write this to make our[a] joy complete.
Walking in the light
5This is the message we have heard from him and declare to you: God is light;

Revelation 1 (John)

1The revelation of Jesus Christ, which God gave him to show his servants what must soon take place. He made it known by sending his angel to his servant John, 2who testifies to everything he saw—

Cameron Reilly, on September 11th, 2009 at 5:59 pm Said:

Can you find anywhere in Luke where he says that he spoke directly to those people? I think you’ll find he doesn’t. All you have in Luke is a document written by an anonymous author (the name “Luke” was given to it by Papias in the mid 4th century), who, although claiming to have spoken to eyewitnesses, in fact copied in large part from earlier works, namely “Mark” and the Q Source. At least, that is the dominant hypotethis in biblical scholarship currently. How much credibility can we give an author who makes false claims? Very litte, I’d say.

bfhu, on September 11th, 2009 at 6:48 pm Said:

That is your opinion and the opinion of he so called higher textual criticism which I do not accept. And neither do many other scholars. Those who do not want to accept the ancient faith and would rather debunk it have found an excuse with the faithless, doubting German higher criticism. This is the fruit of Luther’s Rebellion. Thanks for your comments but they are unconvincing.

Cameron Reilly, on September 11th, 2009 at 8:11 pm Said:

And therein lies the problem with your argument that there is some kind of historical evidence for Jesus. Your evidence falls apart at the slightest inquiry. You choose NOT to accept the position of historians and instead choose to “accept the ancient faith”. You are unable to provide any critical evidence to support the claim of an historical Jesus.

Comparing the New Testament or Old Testament documents to other ancient documents that are equally unsupported by evidence only serves to lead us to the conclusion that the Bible documents are EQUALLY AS UNRELIABLE as the other documents. We should be skeptical of all of them, especially though of the documents that claim to be a testimony of supernatural persons.

For example: an historical document that says “John went down to the shop and bought a loaf of bread today” is probably more reliable than a document of the same age that says “John waved his fingers in the air, muttered a secret incantation to the God Ba’al, and 12 loaves of bread appeared in a flash of light in front of him.”

So, for that reason, the NT and OT are likely to be MUCH less reliable historical documents than other ancient documents that make more reasonable claims.

Bionic Contact Lenses!

According to – it’s called “A Twinkle in the Eye” and these lenses have been fabricated with an LED, a small radio chip and an antenna.The unit is powered wirelessly by the RF electrical signal and represents the start of research that could eventually lead to screens mounted onto contact lenses inside your eyes.

This reminds me of Vernor Vinge’s novel, RAINBOWS END which was set about 20 years into the future when everyone wore contact lenses that had the net and all sorts of augmented reality overlays. I did an interview with Vinge about it which you can listen to here. Sign me up for this shit NOW.