Monthly Archives: December 2016

Christianity in tatters as ancient discovery questions nativity (again)

For the umpteenth Christmas running, skeptics and freethinkers have called into question the reliability of Christianity after a bargain hunter discovered the oldest nativity scene ever found — an ancient artifact depicting three wise men and a baby.

The artifact, now badly sun-faded and covered in crisps, was found in the stock room of a charity shop just outside Lurgan, during an attempt to find a pair of suit trousers for a Job Seeker’s interview / funeral.

“It contains imagery that is completely identical to the Christmas story. But it predates it by thousands of years,” said antique dealer and atheist thinker, Flutura Templeton-Windsor.

“This discovery places a huge question mark over what Christians have been brainwashed to believe, because it proves that the Christmas story was ripped off from an earlier myth – just like The Da Vinci Code tried to tell us,” Templeton-Windsor said with her mouth.

The artifact features three uniquely attractive men, some cracking fashion sense, and a baby.

“It could be interpreted as cover art for a mildly-amusing but completely forgettable piece of performance art, with the zany demeanor of the men, and the comedy pee stain, but other details make this just like the Christian nativity,” said Templeton-Windsor.

She noted that the wise man in the middle is sporting a quite brilliant moustache, symbolising the majesty of the events that would follow.

“Thousands of years ago, moustaches were associated with fertility and new birth, so this is concrete proof that this is about the birth of something awesome,” Templeton-Windsor said.

The artifact becomes even more true when the other wise men are taken into consideration.

“The wise man on the right, like the one in the middle, has an open-necked robe, exposing a generous burst of chest hair. Back then, chest hair was only displayed by men who were seen as “stars” in their community. As we all know, the Christmas story involves a star that came from the east. He’s a star and he’s in the east of the picture. It all fits.”

Experts aren’t sure what purpose the wise man on the left serves, or if he ever did anything of note again, but a second similar artifact, found underneath the passenger seat of a police-auctioned Ford Capri, has him wearing a sweet purple turtleneck. This is hugely significant, explains Templeton-Windsor:

“As well as purple signifying royalty, which God-botherers believe Christ to be, purple turtles were seen as mythical creatures, often appearing in the art of many ancient cultures. He is secretly telling us that the Christmas nativity is also a myth. Just look at his cheeky wee face, if you don’t believe me.”

Like every Christmas when these stories rear their peer-reviewed heads, experts believe this discovery will be too much for Christendom to bear and expect to see a sharp decline in church attendance as a result.

“No doubt this will throw Christian believers into chaos,” Templeton-Windsor said with a scoff. “Much like those Horus memes did last year and, the year before that, the Zeitgeist film that I never bothered to watch but quote relentlessly on Facebook.”

How not to argue for abortion

One thing that has become clear in the debate about abortion in Northern Ireland (and everywhere else) is that, in lieu of a single convincing argument, abortion proponents like to carpet-bomb the conversation with multiple terrible arguments in the hope that quantity will make up for quality. This is because abortion-choicers have already decided that pro-lifers are ignorant women-hating rubes who wish to impose their religious views on everyone else, so why even try and come up with a convincing argument?

Exhibit A: This Belfast Telegraph Facebook thread on Liam Neeson’s abortion-choice advocacy. There are too many awful abortion-choice arguments here, so I’ll respond to the best of the worst.

don't like abortion, don't have one

The common “don’t like abortion, don’t have one” argument confuses objective claims with subjective claims. When a pro-lifer says abortion is wrong, they’re making an objective claim that abortion unjustly takes the life of a defenceless human being. In other words, abortion is objectively wrong for everyone, regardless of whether one likes it or not. It misses the point entirely, like saying, “Don’t like wife beating? Don’t beat your wife!”

Subjective claims cannot be deemed right or wrong as they are matters of personal taste. You cannot reasonably argue that cheese and onion crisps are objectively better than ready salted crisps. But objective claims are different. They can be evaluated as true or false based on the evidence. “Every successful abortion intentionally ends an innocent human life” is an objective claim based on evidence. If you think it’s wrong, prove it with science and facts. Anything else is intellectual laziness.

“Shut up, you silly man!” is basically what this comment is saying. Instead of defending the abortion-choice view with facts and reason, this person is trying to censor the pro-lifer by attacking their gender (but, oddly enough, not Liam Neeson’s gender). But: arguments have no gender.

Furthermore, there is no such thing as a “woman’s perspective” on abortion that trumps all rational inquiries into the issue. Feminists – let alone women in general – have no single view on abortion. The ability to bear children is irrelevant. And who says men can’t physically bear children? This is 2016!  Oh, the transphobia!

bad abortion arguments

Two terrible arguments for the price of one here. Scientifically, we know “Embryos, zygotes and foetuses” are distinct, living, and whole human beings. It doesn’t matter what names we give them. Sure, they differ in appearance but not in nature. This is such an obvious truth that not even abortion providers deny it. Faye Wattleton, a former President of Planned Parenthood, said: “I think we have deluded ourselves into believing that people don’t know that abortion is killing”.

Philosophically, there are only four differences between the embryo you once were and the individual you are today: size, the level of development, environment, and degree of dependence. None of these are value-giving properties. Humanness determines human value. And the unborn are human beings.

The second bad argument here is the absurd idea that in order to be against abortion, you must first care about already-born children. This is like some sort of ultimatum a movie villain might make: “If you care about the hostages, you’ll give me the gold bullion”. Or, “If you care about animal rights, why aren’t you adopting all the turkeys this Christmas?”

Maybe pro-lifers do care about already-born children, maybe they don’t (they do). But I don’t see how an alleged unwillingness to care for a child justifies the deliberate killing of one.

bad abortion arguments

The idea that personhood begins at birth (or that a “person” and a “human” are separate things) is not an argument, but an arbitrary and unqualified assertion. When pushed, the pro-choicer will probably respond by defining “person” as a self-conscious, thinking, and intelligent being. It is these qualities, say pro-choicers, that give human beings the status of “person” and therefore the right to life.

There are a couple of serious problems with this, though.

First, why is a capacity for thought, self-awareness, and intelligence value-giving in the first place? And why a particular degree of development? Why not full development? Is an adult human with an IQ of less than 40 a non-person? If not, why not? Says who? These are questions that abortion advocates never adequately address.

Second, and rather scarily, all of these qualities don’t happen until after birth, meaning newborns are also disqualified. After all, infants are not self-aware and cannot make conscious decisions until (at least) a few months after birth, so what’s wrong with infanticide? Same goes for comatose patients, dementia sufferers, and the sleeping.

It is true that “Being against abortions will not stop them,” and, “Having abortions illegal will not stop them”. So what? By that logic, should we legalise murder, domestic violence, and burglary? After all, being against those things and making them illegal doesn’t stop them. Nonsense. The core question is the status of the unborn: Are they human beings? If so, we should legally protect them like any other vulnerable group.

“I will hunt you down, I will find you, I will kill you” – said the abortionist to the unborn child.

In sharp contrast to the lazy and ill-thought out pro-choice arguments above, the pro-life position is robust. It stands up to scrutiny. Pro-lifers contend, based on philosophy and scientific facts, that no human being, regardless of how developed they are or where they’re located, should be excluded from the community of human persons. It is an inclusive view open to all, especially the weak and powerless. Pro-life means equality, in the truest sense of the word.