Skeptophilia (skep-to-fil-i-a) (n.) - the love of logical thought, skepticism, and thinking critically. Being an exploration of the applications of skeptical thinking to the world at large, with periodic excursions into linguistics, music, politics, cryptozoology, and why people keep seeing the face of Jesus on grilled cheese sandwiches.

Monday, July 1, 2013

Gays, god, and forest fires

Many of you have undoubtedly been following the news of the horrific wildfires, last week in Colorado and this week in Arizona.  Thus far these fires have cost millions of dollars in damages and at least 21 lives, 19 of whom were members of an elite firefighting team who died this weekend in a blaze near Phoenix.

These fires are thought to have multiple causes.  The southwest saw record or near-record temperatures last week, coupled with low rainfall.  Some people also attribute the severity of the fires, especially in Colorado, to the population explosion of the pine bark beetle, which has killed huge stands of ponderosa pines all through the Rocky Mountains.  But in so attributing the fires to these reasons, people are ignoring the role of the most powerful natural-disaster-creating force known to man:


Yes, gays.  According to Colorado pastors Kevin Swanson and Dave Buehner, the recent fires are god's wrath against the people of Colorado for their liberal attitudes toward homosexuality.

In an interview on Generations Radio, the two ministers were clearly in agreement about what was going on here.  Said Buehner, "Why Colorado Springs?  Understand that Colorado itself is a state that is begging for God's judgment.  How did we do that?...  Our legislative session opened up this year and their very first order of business, their most pressing order of business..."  Swanson then interrupted with, "... they could hardly wait, they could hardly wait..."  And Buehner finished, "Like the first day, was to pass a Civil Union Bill, which is an uncivil bill."

And, of course, the whole thing wouldn't be complete without some mention of gay guys kissing, in this case State Senate Majority Leader Mark Ferrendino kissing his partner when they found out that the Civil Union Bill had passed, a photograph of which appeared on the front page of the Denver Post.  Said Swanson:

"When you have a state where the House leadership is performing a homosexual act on the front page of the Denver Post two months ago?  Does God read the Denver Post?  Do you think He picks up a copy of the Denver Post?  He gets it.  God gets the Denver Post."

Delivered right to His Almighty Doorstep, I'm sure.

Then, the question came up as to why, if god was trying to smite Colorado for supporting gays, the fires hit the religious and conservative areas near Colorado Springs, rather than far more liberal bastions of Denver or Boulder.  Buehner said, "Judgment begins in the House of God," as if that made complete sense, and added that the fact that god hadn't yet destroyed the entire state was an "act of grace."
What strikes me about all of this is that god, for all of his supposedly omnipotent smiting power, so often chooses to smite parts of the world with disasters that they pretty much already had happening beforehand.  He sends earthquakes to places that are on fault lines and near subduction zones, hurricanes to the Gulf Coast and US Atlantic Seaboard, tornadoes to the American midwest, and catastrophic forest fires to the southwestern United States and the arid parts of southern Europe.  Funny thing, that.  If I didn't know better, I would think that this meant that these events are purely... natural.

The other thing that crosses my mind, here, is that if gays really are behind all of this, maybe they should flex their muscles a little.  Hey, if you have this kind of power, why not enjoy it, especially since god's aim seems to be a bit off?  You guys could be the next generation of Mad Scientists -- but instead of rubbing your hands together and cackling maniacally before firing up your Laser Cannons, all you do is stand around and kiss, and god smites, say, Omaha.

It'd be even better if you could figure out how to target this force a little better.  Wouldn't it be cool if, for example, you could kiss and have god send a tornado to destroy the Westboro Baptist Church?  If I thought that would happen, I would happily kiss a guy, and I'm not even gay.

So anyhow, that's today's news from the Wacko Fringe Religion Department.  As I've pointed out before, however crazy this stuff sounds to nonbelievers -- and even, I hope, to most sensible Christians -- it really is completely consistent with the behavior of god as laid out in the Old Testament.  So these guys, however they seem like they're in dire need of jackets with extra long sleeves, are actually just preaching what the Holy Book says.

I'm not saying it's sensible, mind you.  I still think the folks who believe this stuff are crazy as bedbugs.  All I'm saying is that it's consistent.

Anyhow, I guess I'll wind things up here.  It's time for me to go take a shower and get dressed, which will offer me several more opportunities to break some Old Testament rules.  Maybe if I wear a shirt woven from two different kinds of thread (such an important rule that it was mentioned twice, Leviticus 19:19 and Deuteronomy 22:11) then god will smite Ann Coulter.

Hey, it's worth a try. 


  1. Can behaviour be 'consistent' with such an inconsistent text? The Bible is full of contradictions, so by the basic principles of formal logic, *anything* can be deduced from it (this may be part of the problem, though it's generaly regarded as a flaw with modern formalism). Adding further facts to a set of statements which already contain contradictions can't eliminate the contradictions (and thus induce consistency); only changing some of the extant, contradictory facts/statements can.

  2. Religion saps our strength as a nation. We need real world answers and real world action to real world problems.

  3. Will these idiots ever go away? When they die, will their sons and daughters take up delivering these horror stories and statements to make bad matters worse? Why do religious people disregard science? The church has ignored amd enslaved and jailed men with scientific minds that could have brought mankind answers to disease and dispair. How much farther along we would be today without religion?

  4. Christianity is Boot Camp.

    If someone in the training group doesn't make their bed correctly, everyone's going to be doing pushups for it. Statistics dictate that, out of 60 trainees, there is always going to be at least one trainee who makes their bed wrong. The first week of training, everyone is taking these scenarios seriously... "Dude! Learn to make your bed!"
    4 or so weeks in, nobody is upset anymore at the guy who can't make his bed right... pushups are happening regardless. Playing into the fear and repercussion gives way to ambivalent obedience. Everyone understands the charade and plays their part.

    "If gays kiss, God will smite us!"

    *yawn* "Yeah... Whatever."

  5. Still don't understand why Colorado and not some other den of iniquity such as, for example, New Zealand - I mean New Zealand is about to allow gay marriage (law has passed, takes effect in a month or 2) - so why not a few plagues to sort THEM out before they rush to Sodom?? New Zealand also has legal prostitution, gun control, is more-or-less socialist, and increasing number of atheists and any number of other obviously ungodly traits but seems unaffected by much wrath at all.....

    1. New Zealand has Australians as neighbours. They're pretty much inundated with wrath already. ;-]
      -- llearch

    2. 1200 miles of ditch keeps most of them out, but makes Australia close enough for sunny holidays. About 15% of New Zealanders live there now, so it's a bit hard to say who has been inflicted upon who!! :)

  6. I like the last idea. I'm willing to try almost anything to smite Ann Coulter.

  7. What's the difference between the mainstream Christian right and Westboro Baptist church again?

  8. Then, the question came up as to why, if god was trying to smite Colorado for supporting gays, the fires hit the religious and conservative areas near Colorado Springs, rather than far more liberal bastions of Denver or Boulder.

    Boulder Flooding this week. hmmmmmm. If you all cant see whats happening your blind as the guy leading this country.

  9. I guess you may not know that gays are also the cause of floods in Great Britain, according to some representative of god or God; his opinion was reported by a few British papers, with, for some reason, not very flattering comments. Next we'll learn that they also control earthquakes and tsunamis. Who knew that my friends James and Cameron, a gay married couple, had such powers. BTW, I don't get why god did not smite Canada - we have gay marriages for years and years by now.

    1. God almighty has just reasons for His decision making.

  10. GOD EXISTS. I would like to say that I am a proud Mormon. I believe I am not an ignorant person, and I have a very open mind. I try to make sense of the world and my beliefs regardless of the source or regardless of the source. I love science by the way. love it. and the only way one can really know if God is real is to open their mind to the possibility of its truth and truly seek. some find this out easier, some never do in life, some sooner, some later. its not something you can really prove to somebody else. people will just refute what is shown. the mind is powerful it can justify and explain its way around many things. have you ever truly tried to seek out to know God? here is my opinion, here is my belief. and please don't base what these ministers are saying to be the overall "Christian" belief of God, his judgment, and their strange argument of God burning Colorado because of gay people in it but the part that was burned was the more conservative area. because that does not make sense to me. im not saying that God would burn or is going to burn or kill the "gayer" area of Colorado, im not saying he wont or that things like that don't actually happen. and by the way I have thoroughly researched homosexuality and I know that there are a number of people that are born gay, and what the neurological difference is in the mind and all that. the question is, if that person believes or knows that God does not want people to act out in homosexuality, are they going to suppress it or try to not do it and use the gospel and Gods help to find happiness in their life, or are they going to act on it and do it?

  11. It is unusual to reply on old text but I have to share this with you all :)
    In 2014. there were huge flood in my country. It was mix of several factors, human errors and unexpected rains but high ranking orthodox church official (actually second in command line)publicly, on tv in presence of several whiteness in studio, said that reason for floods was Austrian singer (transgender) who won Eurosong contest earlier that year. Studio guests were probably in shock and one of them asked how can Austrian singer be guilty for floods in Serbia? Mitropolit (his official rank) replied - yes, but tv audience from Serbia probably voted for her/he!
    Had to share, it is important that stupidity has no borders!