Friday, June 15, 2007

Fascinating piece here by Brian Whitaker. A suitable rebuff to those who seek to blame the death of Banaz Mahmod on almost anything but the people actually responsible — the male members of her own family.

Your blog is titled not just "Atheist" but specifically "atheist mum." This suggests to me that bringing your children up to rely on logic and reason and their own brains rather than a mouldy old book is of primary concern in your life. I know you don't post very regularly, but I would really like to read more about how you are brining your children up with secular values in a very religion-oriented society.
You're right, Chaucer's Bitch, it is of primary concern in my life. Unfortunately it has been knocked off the top spot lately by my son's problems at school. As I've mentioned before, he has Asperger's and is being relentlessly bullied. He's out on a 15 day exclusion at the moment, and the battle to keep him from being permanently excluded is taking up every waking hour I have spare once I've dealt with the thorny business of keeping our heads above water financially. I have loads to say, but sadly, little time to say it. It's good to know you're interested, though, and I will be back.
Oh, dear! I wish you both the best. I myself suffer from Asperger's, and was likewise bullied and teased every day for 12 years through my education. There was a spell when my parents really didn't think I would finish high school, never mind about university. I wasn't diagnosed until I was about 22, so no one really knew what was wrong with me and I didn't receive any kind of support services.

I'm not saying this to try to "one-up" your troubles, only to let you know that there IS light at the end of the tunnel, good things CAN be achieved, and if you or your son would ever like a sympathetic and understanding ear, you are welcome to use mine. You can reach me at and I will give you my phone number should you desire it at any time. Best wishes, and hang in there.
Thanks, that's really good to know. He's resistant at the moment, but little does he know I'm beavering away trying to get a support network established that he might just find useful before too long.
Of all the questions you will ask yourself in life, probably the most
important is, Am I good enough to go to Heaven? The way to find this
out is to ask yourself if you have obeyed the Ten Commandments. Most
would answer the question, "Well, I've broken one or two, but nothing
too serious, like murder, etc." So, let's go through them and see how
you do:

1. "You shall have no other gods before Me."

Is God first in your life? Do you love God above all else? Many years
ago, I purchased a T.V. for our children, but the first evening we had
it, I arrived home from work and found that they didn't even bother to
greet me. They were too busy watching television. I turned it off and
explained to them that if they ignored me because they preferred to
watch T.V. they were setting their love on the gift rather then the
giver, a wrong order of affections. In the same way, if we love
anything—husband, wife, children or even our own lives—more than we
love God, we are setting our affection on the gift rather than the
Giver, which is a transgression of the First Commandment. In fact, the
Bible says that we should so love God that our love for Mom and Dad
and brother and sister should seem like hatred compared to the love we
have for the God who gave those loved ones to us.

We are also commanded to love our neighbor as much as we love
ourselves. Jesus spoke of a Samaritan who found an injured stranger,
bathed his wounds, carried him to an inn, gave money for his care and
told the inn-keeper that he would pay for his expenses. We call him
the good Samaritan, but in reality he wasn't "good" at all, he merely
obeyed the basic command to love his neighbor as himself. That is a
picture of how God expects us to love our fellow human beings. We
should love them as much as we love ourselves...whether they be friend
or foe.

Have you loved God with all your heart? Have you loved humanity as
much as you love yourself? You be the judge. Will you be innocent or
guilty on Judgment Day of breaking that Commandment? I'm not judging
you—I'm asking you to judge yourself before the Day of Judgment. The
sentence for breaking this Commandment is death.

2. "You shall not make for yourself any graven image."

This means that we shouldn't make a god to suit ourselves, either with
our hands or our mind. I was guilty of this. I made a god to suit
myself. My god didn't mind a "white" lie or a fib here and there—in
fact, he didn't exist. He was a figment of my imagination, an "image"
which I shaped to suit myself. Is your God the One revealed in Holy
Scripture? If not, then you have made your own god to suit
yourself—you have committed the oldest sin in the Book. Scripture
warns that no idolater will enter the Kingdom of Heaven.

3. "You shall not take the name of the Lord your God in vain."

Have you ever taken God's name in vain—instead of using a four-letter
word to express disgust, you've used His name? Hitler's name wasn't
despised enough to use as a curse word. If you have used His holy name
in that manner, you are a blasphemer and will not enter the Kingdom of

4. "Remember the Sabbath Day, to keep it holy."

I ignored this command for 22 years. Even though God gave me the gift
of life, never once did I ask what He required of me. I was guilty of
breaking this Commandment.

5. "Honor your father and your mother."

Have you always honored your parents in a way that's pleasing in the
sight of God? Ask Him to remind you of the sins of your youth. You may
have forgotten them, but God hasn't.

6. "You shall not murder."

Jesus warned that if we get angry without cause we are in danger of
judgment. If we hate our brother, God calls us a murderer. We can
violate God's Law by attitude and intent.

7. "You shall not commit adultery."

Who of us can say that we are pure of heart? Jesus warned, "You have
heard that it was said to those of old, 'You shall not commit
adultery.' But I say to you that whoever looks at a woman to lust
after her has committed adultery already with her in his heart."
Remember that God has seen every thought you have had and every sin
you have ever committed. The day will come when you have to face His
Law, and we are told that the impure, fornicators (those who have sex
before marriage) and adulterers will not enter the Kingdom of God.
Punishment for transgression of this Commandment is the death penalty.

8. "You shall not steal."

Have you ever taken something that belonged to someone else
(irrespective of its value)? Then you are a thief—you cannot enter
God's Kingdom.

9. "You shall not bear false witness."

Have you ever told a lie? Then you are a liar. How many lies do you
have to tell to be a liar? Just one. The Bible warns that all liars
will have their part in the Lake of Fire. You may not think
deceitfulness is a serious sin. God does!

10. "You shall not covet."

That means we shouldn't desire anything that belongs to another
person. The covetous will not inherit the Kingdom of God.

Who of us can say we are not guilty of breaking these Commandments?
All of us have sinned, and just as with civil law, you don't have to
break ten laws to be a lawbreaker, so the Bible warns, "For whoever
shall keep the whole Law, and yet stumble in one point, he is guilty
of all."

A little girl was once watching a sheep eat grass and thought how
white it looked against the green background. But when it began to
snow she thought, "That sheep now looks dirty against the white snow!"
It was the same sheep, but with a different background. When we
compare ourselves to man's standard we look pretty clean, but when we
compare ourselves to the pure snow-white righteousness of God's
standard—His Law, we can see ourselves in truth, that we are unclean
in His sight. That Law is the holy standard by which humanity will be
judged on Judgment Day.

This may sound strange, but the worst thing you could do at this point
of time is to try and clean up your lifestyle—you realize that you
have sinned, so from now on you will keep the Ten Commandments, do
good deeds, say the right things and think only pure thoughts. But
should a judge let a murderer go because he says he will now live a
good life? No, he's in debt to justice and therefore must be punished.

The Law of God is merely like a mirror—all a mirror does is show you
the truth. If you see egg on your face, you don't try and wash
yourself with the mirror, it's purpose should be to send you to water
for cleansing. Neither should you try and wash yourself with the
mirror of God's Law...that's not its purpose.

The sight in the mirror is not a pretty one, but if you don't face it
and acknowledge that you are unclean, then all that "dirt" will be
presented on Judgment Day as evidence of your guilt, and then it will
be too late to be cleansed.

Perhaps you think that God is good and will therefore overlook your
sins. But if you were guilty of terrible crimes in a civil court and
said to the judge, "Judge, I am guilty but I believe that you are a
good man and will therefore overlook my crimes," the judge would
probably respond by saying, "You are right about one thing; I am a
good man, and it's because of my goodness that I am going to see that
justice is done, that you are punished for your crimes." The very
thing that many are hoping will save them on Judgment Day, God's
"goodness," will be the very thing that will condemn them. If God is
good, He should punish murderers. liars, thieves, etc., and Hell will
be their dreadful fate.

What a terrible place Hell must be. If you read in the newspaper that
a man received a $5 fine for a crime, you could conclude that his
crime was insignificant. But if a man received multiple life
sentences, you could conclude that his crime was heinous. In the same
way, we can catch a glimpse of how terrible sin must be in the sight
of God by looking to the punishment given for it—eternal punishment.
Ungrateful humanity never bothers to thank God for His wonderful
blessings of color, light, food, joy, beauty, love, and laughter, so
He will take those blessings away from them. Instead of proving their
gratitude by obedience to His will, they use His name to curse. Their
punishment will be just but severe to the uttermost. Take the time to
read what Jesus said Hell was like in Mark 9:43-48. I am afraid for
you...please, look honestly into the mirror of the Law, then seek the
"water" that cleanses every sin. If you don't believe what I am saying
about the reality of Hell, it means you think God is corrupt (that He
hasn't the moral backbone to seek justice), that Jesus was a liar,
that the Apostles were false witnesses, that God's promises are
nothing but prefabricated lies, and there is no greater insult to God
than to call Him a liar. By doing so, you are adding to your
transgressions. Imagine if you reject the Savior, die in your sins and
find that what I have told is the Gospel truth? Then it will be too
late, you will be judged for you sins. If that happens, and your eyes
meet my eyes on the Day of Judgment, I'm free from your blood. I have
told you the truth, but if you choose to ignore it your blood will be
upon your own will have no one to blame but yourself.

Can you see your predicament? You are guilty of sinning against God
Himself, and, because you have a conscience, you have sinned "with
knowledge." Isn't it true that every time you lied, stole, lusted,
etc., you did it with knowledge that it was wrong?

Does the fact that you have sinned against God scare you? It should.
You have actually angered Him by your sin. The Bible says His wrath
abides on you, that you are an "enemy of God in your mind through
wicked works." But let fear work for your good in the same way that a
fear of jumping out of a plane at a great height would make you put on
a parachute. Let your will to live open your heart to the Gospel of

I am not the only one who doesn't want you to end up in Hell. We cared
enough to talk to you and risk your rejection, and God Himself is not
willing that you perish. To make clear what an incredible thing He has
done for you in the Gospel, let's look again to civil law: You are
standing in front of a judge, guilty of very serious crimes. All the
evidence has been presented and there is no doubt about your guilt.
The fine for your crime is $250,000 or imprisonment, but you haven't
two pennies to rub together. The judge is about to pass sentence...he
lifts his gavel, when someone you don't even know steps in and pays
the fine for you. The moment you accept that payment, you are free to
go. Justice has been served, the law has been satisfied, and what's
more, the stranger who paid your fine showed how much he cares for
you. His payment was evidence of his love.

That's what God did for you, in the person of Jesus Christ. you are
guilty, He paid the fine 2,000 years ago. It is that simple. The Bible
puts it this way: "he was bruised for our iniquities . . . Christ has
redeemed us from the curse of the Law being made a curse for us...God
commended His love toward us, in that while we were yet sinners,
Christ died for us."

It was no small thing for Jesus to die for us. The only thing that
would satisfy the demands of Eternal Law was the suffering death of
the sinless Son of God. What love God must have for you! He suffered
unspeakable agony, so that you wouldn't have to be punished for your
sins. His sacrificial death and resurrection mean that you need no
longer be in debt to the Law, and God can now grant you everlasting
life if you obey Him -- death no longer has a legal hold upon those
who belong to Jesus Christ.

Two men were offered a parachute while seated in a plane. The first
man was told it would improve his flight, but the second man was
informed he had to make a 25,000 foot jump. when the flight struck
severe turbulence the first man took his parachute off because as far
as he was concerned it didn't improve the flight. but during the same
violent turbulence, the second man clung tighter to his parachute.
Each man's motive for putting the parachute on determined whether or
not they would keep it on. In the same way, the reason you should "put
on the Lord Jesus Christ" shouldn't be to find peace, joy, true
happiness, to have your marriage healed or your problems fixed, etc.
(to have your flight improved), but it should be to escape the jump to
come—because of the fact that you have to pass through the door of
death. Then, when the flight gets bumpy (when problems come) you won't
fall away from the faith.

What should you then do? Simply repent and put your trust in Jesus
Christ as your Savior and Lord. Don't put it off until tomorrow.

Would you sell an eye for a million dollars? How about both for $20
million? No one in his right mind would. Your eyes are priceless to
you, yet they are merely the windows of your soul. Your life (your
soul) is of such value, Jesus said that you should despise the value
of your eye compared to it. He said that if your eye causes you to
sin, pluck it out and cast it from you, for it is better to enter
Heaven blind than to go to Hell seeing. In other words, of all the
things you should prioritize in your life, it's not your health, your
vocation, etc., it's your eternal salvation.

Think of a man who has committed adultery. His faithful wife is more
than willing to take him back, so what is the attitude in which he
should approach her? It should be one of tremendous humility, asking
for forgiveness, and determining in his heart never to even think of
committing adultery again.

That's how you should approach God. If you are not sure how to pray,
read Psalm 51 and make it your prayer. Then put your faith in Jesus
Christ in the same way you would put your faith in a parachute. You
don't just "believe" it will benefit you, you actually trust yourself
to it by putting it on. Then, once you have made peace with God, read
the Bible daily and obey what you read.
wow, that's the best argument for disbarring anonymous commentators i've ever seen.

As you are so busy at the moment, would you mind terribly if i take the liberty to respond briefly to this exceptionally arrogant theist? i do hope i'm not over-stepping my bounds.

Dear Anonymous,
In my life I will ask myself many important questions, such as
1. Why do people base their entire lives upon preposterous notions of a supernatural being?
2. Why do people not grasp the difference between fiction and reality?
3. What is the good, right, just, fair, and moral thing to do in this, or any, situation?
4. How many licks does it take to get to the TootsieRoll center of a TootsiePop?

I will never ask myself the question "Am I good enough to go to heaven," because the question is meaningless and irrelevant. I have never seen any evidence that Heaven exists. Nor, for that matter, have you.

If you would like to discuss these matters further I would be happy to do so, but I suggest you pop on over to my blog at
and leave poor Atheist Mum alone; she has enough on her plate right now.
Thanks, Chaucer's Bitch, what a bampot old Anonymous is, eh? I was going to say I really hope that he (it's got to be a he, I reckon — just a feeling!) has all that stuff ready prepared and just cuts and pastes it. I couldn't be bothered to read it, never mind write it.
Way to go, CB!
Hey, A.M. How you holding up? Everything ok?
Not too bad, thanks for asking, although I'm still struggling to find the time to even think about blogging. Had a bit of rough spell over the past few weeks, but we're into the summer holidays now, so at least I'm not worrying too much about what's going on at school. Worrying about childcare while I'm at work instead…
I've just ordered a copy of a new book called "Parenting Beyond Belief", so maybe I'll start again with a review of that.
hey there. how's things? i hope you had a fun summer with your family. i presume your sun in back in school now, yes? got my fingers X-ed this year will be better than the last one.
Thanks for that. We're hoping the same. Great summer, very relaxing, but struggling a bit now that the kids are back at school. Things seem to be going alright so far for Max, academically anyway — he's been told he can sit his GCSE maths early — and so far he's had no major clashes with bullies. Now all I need to do is get my anxiety under control. Maybe if I can do that I might get around to doing some more blogging!
Hi there! I hope things are well with you and the family. I just wanted to stop by and say "hello" and tell you we haven't forgotten about you.
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actually, that's brilliant. Thank you. I'm going to pass that on to a couple of people.
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