Wednesday, October 27, 2010

Zeitgeist: Debunked

A friend recently asked me if I had seen the movie Zeitgeist. I had not because, apparently, the cave I have been living in did not have access to the correct internet. My internet only had stuff about zombies and Harry Reid. Which may or may not be the same thing; it's a blurry line these days.

At any rate, the movie in question -- easily found on YouTube in multiple parts -- begins on the topic of religion, moves on to 9/11 and then into the depths of the Federal Reserve. Though the idea of running these three topics together in one movie is a tried-and-true formula for success, make no mistake that the filmmakers in this instance are a refreshing breath of originality and heartwarming heart-throbbiness. Or something.

Getting back to reality, the truth is that, considering the intent of the movie, it is a ham-handed attempt at promoting conspiracy theories backed with ridiculously poor research. I could go into a lot of detail about how bad, but others already have done that very well; we will just cover the most absurd parts about the section on religion and leave the government portion for my other site (that's why I have them, so I can reference myself).

The entire premise of the portion on religion is obvious: Christianity is a myth just like all the other myths that came before it and Christianity is even worse because it plagiarized those older myths to make its own new one and really pull the wool over the world's eyes. Oh and that anyone who believes it is stupid.

There is, of course, a huge problem with approaching a "documentary" in this fashion: when one's mind is made up at the beginning, it's tough not to make all the evidence fit into one's preconceived notions about what is really true. Though you probably just don't know because you are sheeple, anyway.

But the predetermined outcome of the approach doesn't matter much when considering that most of the "facts" used to support the thesis are, well, wrong.

An example from the movie:

Broadly speaking, the story of Horus is as follows: Horus was born on December
25th of the virgin Isis-Meri. His birth was accompanied by a star in the east,
which in turn, three kings followed to locate and adorn the new-born savior. At
the age of 12, he was a prodigal child teacher, and at the age of 30 he was
baptized by a figure known as Anup and thus began his ministry. Horus had 12
disciples he traveled about with, performing miracles such as healing the sick
and walking on water. Horus was known by many gestural names such as The Truth,
The Light, God's Anointed Son, The Good Shepherd, The Lamb of God, and many
others. After being betrayed by Typhon, Horus was crucified, buried for 3 days,
and thus, resurrected.

Wow. That would be pretty big evidence that Christianity was a rip-off of another religion. If any of it were true. At all.

Does this guy really believe that he is the only person to come across this knowledge? Considering that, umm, no one anywhere with any sort of "education" in history has any sources that can back this up. The movie maker has completely fabricated a list of statements that have no relevance to history. Perhaps he studied at the school of Michael Moore... Did it even occur to the makers of the film that December 25 would have zero relevance during the time-period he is referencing? Considering the very definition of "calendar" is rather ambiguous when spanning thousands of years and different cultures, what meaning does that day have in regards to ancient Egypt?

This does not even consider the fact that very few (if any) Biblical scholars attribute Jesus' birth to that particular day (probably in the late spring or early summer), nor does it address that "Christmas" was not a Biblical holiday, but rather one adopted by man several centuries after the life of Christ. To accuse Christianity of stealing an older myth based on this day implies that this day was part of Christianity's beginning; that is a most absurd idea, indeed.

The site linked above goes into much greater detail than I have here (or will) on the subject of this movie. However, I use it as an example of one over-arching principle: stupidity. No, really. There are a great number of people out there who believe they are going to "open the eyes of the people" to the "real truth." Yet these voices generally follow the same formula: the "establishment" has pulled the wool over the collective eyes of the public about an event/organization/industry that is, in reality, pure evil and out to get you. In your sleep. Or something like that. And it is their duty to shine the light on this great evil so that others can see the real truth.

And, generally speaking, they always have the same defence when their factual errors -- or just complete lack of knowledge -- are pointed out: "Hey man, I'm just asking questions!" To this I say, hogwash. They know exactly what they are doing, even if they are clueless to the facts; their goal is to "bring down the establishment" and it is an ego-driven motivation that compels them; their end goal is to have everyone realize how they knew all along, even when others were oblivious to this real truth.

Part of the goal of this site is to document the stupidity of religion -- both for and against. But another side is to look at the motivations people have for pursuing the things that they do; we all have our biases, but there are those who are so blinded by a goal that they blatantly ignore facts in pursuit of it. My motivation is to get you to laugh at those very people and call them names, but be justified in doing so because you are totally smarter than they are. After all, you read this site, don't you?

Sunday, October 17, 2010


Welcome to the new blog, focusing solely on religious issues. For those new to the "Twisted" series of blogs, I encourage you to check out the other ones to get more of an idea of where I am coming from. For everyone else, this one will be devoted to finding and exploring all of those issues that makes religion somewhat ridiculous at times.

A quick statement of fact: I am a Christian. It is at the very core of everything I do and say and drives how I live my life. It is, in short, the most important part of my life.

That being said, however, I am not what many would deem as a "typical" Christian. How so? Well, that is much easier to answer over the course of several posts discussing issues ecumenical in nature; I can't just lay out everything to begin with, after all. In other words, even if you are an adamant atheist, you may very well find some things of interest here. In fact, part of the reason the question of how I am not typical will be answered by discussing the very nature of what the term "typical" even means.

As an example, let's take a look at a recent article written on the premise that more and more young people are declaring themselves atheists and the cause of their chosen path:

So, why this sudden jump in youthful disaffection from organized religion? The
surprising answer, according to a mounting body of evidence, is politics. Very
few of these new "nones" actually call themselves atheists, and many have rather
conventional beliefs about God and theology. But they have been alienated from
organized religion by its increasingly conservative politics.

During the 1980s, the public face of American religion turned sharply right. Political
allegiances and religious observance became more closely aligned, and both
religion and politics became more polarized. Abortion and homosexuality became
more prominent issues on the national political agenda, and activists such as
Jerry Falwell and Ralph Reed began looking to expand religious activism into
electoral politics. Church attendance gradually became the primary dividing line
between Republicans and Democrats in national elections.

But is this accurate? Has organized religion become "increasingly conservative" and "turned sharply right"? I would say this is short-sighted, but that would give people with glasses a bad name.

Abortion became a more prominent issue in the 80s, and this is evidence for organized religion moving to the right? Seriously? I'm sure it has nothing to do with the fact that Roe v Wade was in 1973 and then grew to be a major political issue every day after the decision was handed down. No, that can't have anything to do with it. And it is also highly likely that homosexuality was considered perfectly okay within religious circles before Boy George hit the music scene.

Of course both of these notions are equally ridiculous and blatantly ignore the facts. Christianity, as a whole, has always been opposed to abortion; it simply became a political issue when our country's supreme court decided to make it legal. Likewise with homosexuality; at no point in history has Christianity looked favorably upon the act itself; it has only become a hot-button political issue as activist groups started pushing for rights.

Keep in mind, this has nothing to do with my views on whether those issues are right or wrong; that is an entirely separate issue. This speaks solely to the ludicrous notion that Christianity is somehow "moving right" of where it used to be. The simple fact is that our country and its politics have moved decidedly left and Christianity has stayed more or less the same on major issues (though I would argue that organized Christianity, as a whole, has moved slightly left as well, it has still stayed far to the right of where our country has moved).

The article addresses two main points of which this blog will focus: One, the inaccurate views many hold of organized religion, and two, the ineptitude of organized religion at certain historical junctures to police itself according to its own doctrine (and, with certain religious views, why the doctrine itself is the root cause of problems). Both of these topics have proven an endless supply of humorous discussion, and I'm sure that they will continue to do so.

A Twisted Sense of Religion is, in its essence, about poking fun at the absurd side of religion while still trying to understand the source of a great many confusions and misconceptions that exist regarding the topic. In other words, I hope to make you laugh and think at the same time; so don't be surprised to see jokes about priests and rabbis walking into bars while throwing out algebra problems. That's how we roll here.