My photo
Welcome to The Secular Gospel According to Jess! In this blog you’ll find everything from cartoons that make me laugh, to quotes that inspire me, to stories of my own personal experience when it comes to dealing with religion and pretty much everything in between. The title of my blog is intended to be ironic, as one doesn’t often hear the word, “gospel”, associated with secularism, but my intent is to preach, for lack of a better word, what I think gospel should really be about: love, rationalism, fairness, equality, human rights, science and truth. Enjoy!

Tuesday, May 31, 2011

Thank you, Jordan!

Top Ten Signs You're a Fundamentalist Christian

10 - You vigorously deny the existence of thousands of gods claimed by other religions, but feel outraged when someone denies the existence of yours.

9 - You feel insulted and "dehumanized" when scientists say that people evolved from other life forms, but you have no problem with the Biblical claim that we were created from dirt.

8 - You laugh at polytheists, but you have no problem believing in a Triune God.

7 - Your face turns purple when you hear of the "atrocities" attributed to Allah, but you don't even flinch when hearing about how God/Jehovah slaughtered all the babies of Egypt in "Exodus" and ordered the elimination of entire ethnic groups in "Joshua" including women, children, and trees!

6 - You laugh at Hindu beliefs that deify humans, and Greek claims about gods sleeping with women, but you have no problem believing that the Holy Spirit impregnated Mary, who then gave birth to a man-god who got killed, came back to life and then ascended into the sky.

5 - You are willing to spend your life looking for little loopholes in the scientifically established age of Earth (few billion years), but you find nothing wrong with believing dates recorded by Bronze Age tribesmen sitting in their tents and guessing that Earth is a few generations old.

4 - You believe that the entire population of this planet with the exception of those who share your beliefs -- though excluding those in all rival sects - will spend Eternity in an infinite Hell of Suffering. And yet consider your religion the most "tolerant" and "loving."

3 - While modern science, history, geology, biology, and physics have failed to convince you otherwise, some idiot rolling around on the floor speaking in "tongues" may be all the evidence you need to "prove" Christianity.

2 - You define 0.01% as a "high success rate" when it comes to answered prayers. You consider that to be evidence that prayer works. And you think that the remaining 99.99% FAILURE was simply the will of God.

1 - You actually know a lot less than many atheists and agnostics do about the Bible, Christianity, and church history - but still call yourself a Christian.

Offensive teachings of Jesus.

On scapegoating:

Matthew 26:28: “For this is my blood of the new testament, which is shed for many for the remission of sins.”

Christopher Hitchens makes the point that this is the most immoral doctrine in all of Christianity:

“Is it moral to believe that your sins, yours and mine, can be forgiven by another person? Is it ethical to believe that? I would submit that the doctrine of vicarious redemption by human sacrifice is utterly immoral. The name for that in primitive Middle Eastern society was scapegoating. You pile all the sins of the tribe on the goat, you drive the goat into the desert to die of thirst and hunger, and you think you’ve taken away the sins of the tribe. The doctrine of the atonement abolishes the concept of personal responsibility on which all ethics and all morality must depend.”

On family:

Luke 14:26: “If any man come to me, and hate not his father, and mother, and wife, and children, and brethren, and sisters, yea, and his own life also, he cannot be my disciple.”

Sorry, but there’s no way I’m going to love a 2,000-year-old Palestinian messiah figure more than my own family.

John 2:4: “Jesus saith unto her, Woman, what have I to do with thee? mine hour is not yet come.”


Luke 12:52: “For from henceforth there shall be five in one house divided, three against two, and two against three.”

Matt. 10:35: “For I am come to set a man at variance against his father, and the daughter against her mother, and the daughter in law against her mother in law.”

One of Jesus’ prophesies that has unfortunately come true.

On slavery: Jesus acknowledges slavery but does not denounce it.

Matt. 10:24: “The disciple is not above his master, nor the servant above his lord.”

Matt. 20:26-28: “And whosoever will be chief among you, let him be your servant.”

On honesty:

In John 7:2-14, Jesus is intentionally deceitful.

On self-mutilation: Jesus encourages self-mutilation.

Matt. 18:8: “Wherefore if thy hand or thy foot offend thee, cut them off, and cast them from thee: it is better for thee to enter into life halt or maimed, rather than having two hands or two feet to be cast into everlasting fire.”

Matt. 5:29-30: “And if thy right eye offend thee, pluck it out, and cast it from thee: for it is profitable for thee that one of thy members should perish, and not that thy whole body should be cast into hell. And if thy right hand offend thee, cut it off, and cast it from thee: for it is profitable for thee that one of thy members should perish, and not that thy whole body should be cast into hell.”

Mark 9:45: “And if thy foot offend thee, cut it off: it is better for thee to enter halt into life, than having two feet to be cast into hell, into the fire that never shall be quenched:”

On saying “you fool”:

Jesus says that anyone who says “Thou fool, shall be in danger of hell fire” (Matt. 5:22), but then in Matt. 7:26 he says that “every one that heareth these sayings of mine, and doeth them not, shall be likened unto a foolish man.” So Jesus may be in hell.

On world peace
Matt. 10:34: “Think not that I am come to send peace on earth: I came not to send peace, but a sword.”

Luke 12:49: “I am come to send fire on the earth; and what will I, if it be already kindled?”

(Re-blogged from

Monday, May 30, 2011

Why is raising children religion-free still taboo?

The height of narcissism.

"...When something good happens to Christians, like feeling the spirit while praying or seeing some positive change in their life, we’re told that God is good. But when nine million children die every year before they reach the age of 5 (that’s 24,000 children a day, a thousand an hour, 17 every minute) in agony and through no fault of their own, we’re told that this is all part of God’s plan.

It’s not only tiresome when otherwise intelligent people speak this way, Harris says, it is morally reprehensible. This kind of faith is the height of narcissism. Given the misery that is being imposed on some helpless child at this moment, this kind of faith is obscene. To think in this way is to fail to care sufficiently about the welfare of other human beings.

To feel gratitude is psychologically healthy, but let’s give credit where credit is due. I often cringe when I hear people say how blessed they are, because the implication is that others who are less fortunate have somehow failed to find God’s favor."

(Re-blogged from

Tuesday, May 24, 2011

Music to my ears?

The Human Rights Campaign released this story yesterday.

"We are excited to release new polling today that shows the nation’s Christians stand firmly on the side of LGBT equality. A new HRC poll released moments ago, in partnership with Greenberg Quinlan Rosner Research, shows the majority of Christian Americans oppose the discriminatory Defense of Marriage Act, favor protecting lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender (LGBT) people from discrimination, and support anti-bullying laws. Armed with this information, hundreds of clergy from across the country will lobby members of Congress tomorrow during HRC’s Clergy Call for Justice and Equality.

Key Findings:

Overall, 68 percent of Christians (compared to 70 percent of overall respondents) strongly favor or somewhat favor protecting LGBT people from discrimination in employment, housing, and public accommodations. Seventy-four percent of Christians (76 percent overall) favor a law prohibiting bullying and harassment against LGBT students or the children of LGBT parents. Eighty-six percent of Christians (85 percent overall) believe their faith leads them to the conclusion that the law should treat LGBT people equally. Seventy percent of Christians (74 percent overall) agree that when religious leaders condemn LGBT people it does more harm than good.

View the polling results, as well as a detailed analysis of the cross-tabs at"

As much as this is music to my ears, I have a feeling that the Christians polled were among the moderate ones and not the Bible huggers. Regardless, 68% is FAR too low of a percentage. I still can't honestly believe that it's 2011 and not even 3/4 of the population recognizes that LGBT people are just as human as the rest of us and therefore deserve the same rights.

"I Agree."

"To most Christians, the Bible is like a software license. Nobody actually reads it, they just scroll to the bottom and click "I Agree."

(Re-blogged from monumentstowhereihavebeen).

Monday, May 23, 2011


"To explain the unknown by the known is a logical procedure; to explain the known by the unknown is a form of theological lunacy."
-David Brooks

Saturday, May 21, 2011

The Rapture

"Gary Daniels, 27, said he planned to spend Saturday like other believers, “glued to our TV sets, waiting for the Resurrection and earthquake from nation to nation.” But he acknowledged that his family was not entirely behind him.

“At first there was a bit of anger and tension, not really listening to one another and just shouting out ideas,” Mr. Daniels said.

But his family has come around to respect — if not endorse — his views, and he drove from his home in Newark, Del., on Monday night in a van covered in Judgment Day messages to say goodbye to relatives in Brooklyn. “I know I’m not going to see them again, but they are very certain they are going to see me, and that’s where I feel so sad,” he said. “I weep to know that they don’t have any idea that this overwhelming thing is coming right at them, pummeling toward them like a meteor.”"

Thursday, May 19, 2011


I saw this on someone's Facebook profile, and this is exactly why atheism carries such negative stigma with it. People don't understand what it's all about and this is a perfect example!

"Atheism: the belief that there was nothing and nothing happened to nothing and then nothing magically exploded for no reason, creating everything, and then a bunch of everything magically rearranged itself for no reason whatsoever into replicating bits which then turned themselves into dinosaurs. Makes perfect sense."

How many things are wrong with this statement? Too many to list.

Atheism is not a belief system. You can't believe or not believe in something you don't think even exists. Atheism is a way of looking at the world that does not accept or need "God" to be the reason for why things are the way they are. That is not a belief. It requires no faith or mystery to accept. It is a simple fact.

And just to be clear, everyone is well aware that science does not have an answer to the question: "Why is there something rather than nothing?" We do not know where the matter came from that eventually exploded, forming the material that allows for life to exist. That does not mean that "God" is the answer to that question. THERE IS NO ANSWER AT THE PRESENT TIME. Perhaps one day we will find one. Until that day comes, some people will continue to happily make up stories to try and answer the question, and others will reconcile themselves to the FACT that there is no way to know.

I proudly count myself among the latter group.

Does it really matter?

Let's start by asking a question: Does it matter? It has been proven, conclusively, that God does not answer prayers, that God did not write the Bible and that Jesus is not God. In other words, the God of popular religion is imaginary. But does it really matter? What difference does it make if half of the people in the United States want to believe in an imaginary being? What does it hurt?

Let's ignore the danger that can be found in the ashes of 9/11/2001, and the subsequent events in Afghanistan, Iraq, Madrid and London. There are many zealous and misguided Muslims who believe that, through Jihad, they must kill non-Muslims -- Christians and Jews in particular. Let's ignore that.

Let's ignore the ill effects of religion around the world over the last several decades. We have Muslims killing Christians (and vice versa), Jews killing Muslims (and vice versa), Protestants killing Catholics (and vice versa), Shiites killing Sunnis (and vice versa), etc., etc. All of it is completely pointless, because all human gods are imaginary. But let's ignore all of that killing and destruction.

Let's also ignore all of the insanity that religion has brought us through the ages -- the crusades, the witch hunts and all the rest. Let's ignore it because it's all water under the bridge.

Even in the United States -- a modern, advanced nation -- religion creates problems. The delusion created by Christianity is so extreme and so pervasive at the moment that we have Supreme Court justices and politicians who publicly claim that God handed down the Ten Commandments to us in the Bible (see chapter 13). These justices and politicians are speaking about a book that openly advocates slavery and misogyny along with many other notions that are beyond absurd. Yet no one can question their claims in public because it is far too dangerous (see next section for details).

To have otherwise intelligent Americans babbling on about an imaginary God like this is dangerous, if for no other reason than this one: If so many people are this delusional in the area of religion, it makes you wonder where else they harbor equally significant delusions in their thinking. In addition, religion in America is now actively restraining scientific research and social progress. The problem that American scientists are having with stem cells is just one of the many manifestations of the problem today.

There is also growing evidence that the delusion of religion may cause significant social dysfunction. Statistical research is revealing the problems that go with religious delusion. For example, a recent article in the Journal of Religion and Society points out that religion is correlated to the significant social difficulties that we can see in America:

In general, higher rates of belief in and worship of a creator correlate with higher rates of homicide, juvenile and early adult mortality, STD infection rates, teen pregnancy, and abortion in the prosperous democracies (Figures 1-9). The most theistic prosperous democracy, the U.S., is exceptional, but not in the manner Franklin predicted. The United States is almost always the most dysfunctional of the developed democracies, sometimes spectacularly so, and almost always scores poorly. The view of the U.S. as a “shining city on the hill” to the rest of the world is falsified when it comes to basic measures of societal health. [ref]

The prevailing view is that religion is harmless even if it is delusional. That turns out not to be the case. America is the most religious country of those studied in the developed world. America also has the biggest problems in terms of things like homicide, juvenile and early adult mortality, STD infection rates, teen pregnancy, and abortion.

Religion is delusion. A planet full of delusional people is not healthy.

Tuesday, May 17, 2011


A week or two ago I was in the library at the Fashion Institute of Technology where I am currently finishing my degree in Fashion Merchandising. I was buried in my laptop, focused on what I was doing, and so I barely noticed the girl who had approached me.

"Are you busy right now?" she asked. "Yes, I am," I said. "Why?" She responded, "Well, I am a Christian and I just wanted to show you this book..."

She proceeded to take a pamphlet out of her bag that was titled something like, "The such and such number promises of Jesus."

I immediately told her that I was extremely busy and that I did not have time to see her book, and she thanked me and left, presumably to go accost some other innocent library-goer.

After she walked away, I wondered at first whether this girl sought me out because I appeared to have a "godless soul." Then I realized that it would be impossible to tell me apart from a believer merely from my outward appearance. Sure, I wasn't wearing a Star of David or a Cross around my neck, but not all religious people make their faith obvious to outsiders in this way. I wondered how people of other faiths would have reacted to this girl coming up to them and wanting to preach to them about the salvation of their souls. I imagine that even another believer would feel uncomfortable being approached like that, especially in a place like a library, where people do not, in general, especially during the week before finals, go to be educated about other faiths that they may or may not choose to practice.

What this really comes down to is proselytizing. As much as readers of my blog may have gathered that I believe a world without religion would be a much better place, I don't mind religion so much when it is practiced in a personal manner and does not infringe upon the rights of others. But when someone approaches me in a library and wants to tell me about her beliefs, and religious conservatives are fighting against human rights every day, in the forms of "Don't Ask Don't Tell," "The Defense of Marriage Act", the "No Taxpayer Funding for Abortion Act", and crusading against stem cell research (that, might I add, has already cured numerous diseases), among many others, because they believe it goes against their Bible, that's when it starts to bother me.

Live and let live (a.k.a. leave people the fuck alone).

Contemplating the crucifixion.

Have you ever thought about how bizarre the crucifixion story is? Imagine the all-powerful, all-knowing creator of the universe sitting on his magnificent throne in heaven. He looks down onto earth and says to himself:

Those evil humans down on earth. I hate what they are doing. All this sin...

Since I am all-knowing I know exactly what the humans are doing and I understand exactly why they commit each sin. Since I created the humans in my own image and personally programmed human nature into their brains, I am the direct author of all of this sin. The instant I created them I knew exactly what would happen with every single human being right down to the nanosecond level for all eternity. If I didn't like how it was going to turn out, I could have simply changed them when I created them. And since I am perfect, I know exactly what I am doing. But ignore all that. I hate all these people doing exactly what I perfectly designed them to do and knew they would do from the moment I created them...

So here's what I am going to do. I will artificially inseminate a virgin. She will give birth to an incarnated version of me. The humans will eventually crucify and kill the incarnated me. That will, finally, make me happy. Yes, sending myself down and having the humans crucify me -- that will satisfy me. I feel much better now.

It makes no sense, does it? Why would an all-knowing being need to have humans kill himself (Jesus is God, after all) to make himself happy? Especially since it is a perfect God who set the whole thing in motion exactly the way he wanted it? The whole story of the crucifixion is absurd from top to bottom if you actually stop to think about it.

(Quoted from "Why Won't God Heal Amputees?")

See? The fashion industry does have a soul. Bravo Anna Wintour and Marc Jacobs for speaking out!

"As far as I'm concerned, having the right to say "I do" is as fundamental as the right to vote."

Monday, May 16, 2011

He's the man.

“Say what you will about the sweet miracle of unquestioning faith, I consider a capacity for it terrifying and absolutely vile.”
-Kurt Vonnegut

No establishment as persecution?

"I have to say, as someone who is not Christian, it’s hard for me to believe Christians are a persecuted people in America. God-willing, maybe one of you one day will even rise up and get to be president of this country - or maybe forty-four in a row. But, that’s my point, is they’ve taken this idea of no establishment as persecution, because they feel entitled, not to equal status, but to greater status."
-Jon Stewart

Why won't God heal amputees?

The most important question we should be asking about God?

Wednesday, May 11, 2011

Ignorance is bliss?

"They were satisfied with their lives, which had none of the vibrance his own was taking on. And he was angry at himself, that he could not change that for them."
-Lois Lowry (The Giver)

Monday, May 9, 2011

Orthodox Jewish newspaper photoshops Hillary Clinton out of Situation Room photo.

"Ultra Orthodox Hasidic newspaper Der Tzitung is telling its readers like it isn't- by editing Secretary of State Hillary Clinton from the now-iconic Bin Laden raid Situation Room photo. Oy vey.

The religious paper never publishes pictures of women, as they could be considered "sexually suggestive." Apparently the presence of a woman, any woman, being all womanly and sexy all over the United States' counterterrorism efforts was too much for the editors of Der Tzitung to handle.

While saving precious vulnerable men from being driven mad with desire over the image of a woman may be in line with Der Tzitung's editors' ideas of piety, Jewish Week's Rabbi Jason Miller points out that the altered image violates a central tenet of the faith:

Der Tzitung edited Hillary Clinton out of the photo, thereby changing history. To my mind, this act of censorship is actually a violation of the Jewish legal principle of g'neivat da'at (deceit)."

Saturday, May 7, 2011

Me Atheist, Darwin great!

Atrocities in the Bible...just to name a few.

"Behold, here is my daughter a maiden, and his concubine; them I will bring out now, and humble ye them, and do with them what seemeth good unto you: but unto this man do not so vile a thing. But the men would not hearken to him: so the man took his concubine, and brought her forth unto them; and they knew her, and abused her all the night until the morning: and when the day began to spring, they let her go." (Judges 19:24-25)

"Wives, submit yourselves unto your own husbands, as unto the Lord. For the husband is the head of the wife, even as Christ is the head of the church: and he is the saviour of the body. Therefore as the church is subject unto Christ, so let the wives be to their own husbands in everything." (Ephesians 5:22-24)

"And the king said unto her, What aileth thee? And she answered, This woman said unto me, Give thy son, that we may eat him to day, and we will eat my son to morrow. So we boiled my son, and did eat him: and I said unto her on the next day, Give thy son, that we may eat him: and she hath hid her son...." (II Kings 6:28-29)

"The LORD will smite thee with the botch of Egypt, and with the emerods, and with the scab, and with the itch, whereof thou canst not be healed." (Deuteronomy 28:27)

Thursday, May 5, 2011

Nature vs. Nurture?

I don't think I have ever met a really religious person who was not brought up, from infancy, to be religious.

I have, however, met many agnostics and atheists who were raised religious and broke away from it, realizing that they believed what they did because they were told to believe it, but that they could discover other ways of thinking on their own.

I have NEVER met anyone who was raised in a secular household whom, upon reaching adulthood, became a devout believer in God. (Though I make an exception for anyone who has struggled with drug abuse or alcoholism and has enrolled in a 12 step program where they are taught, at a very low, desperate point in their lives, that they cannot get better and let go of their addiction without the help of God.)

Doesn't this suggest that it is not that we are born with a need or desire for God, but that it is through indoctrination from an early, impressionable age, that we learn to need and desire Him?

It's just a theory...

My boyfriend was raised in a traditional Catholic household and his parents and one of his two sisters remain extremely religious (read: Creationists). I don't think my boyfriend realized just how religious they were until recently, when a conversation between he and his father involving their mutual love of nature and the great outdoors lead his mother to suggest that he and his father take a trip to the Galapagos Islands.

Excitedly, my boyfriend added that another cool thing about the Galapagos Islands was that it was the place where Charles Darwin conducted his studies that resulted in the discovery of evolution by natural selection, and that he would love to hopefully observe some of the same species that lead Darwin to his amazing discovery.

"Yeah," remarked his sister sarcastically, "if you actually believe in that stuff."

Incredulous, my boyfriend pressed his family further, trying to understand why they refused to accept the ideas that Darwin proposed some 150 years ago and that are widely accepted among the scientific community.

"What I can't believe," said his father, "is that we're descended from a tadpole. Anyway,'s just a theory."

(Nevermind how much more difficult it is to believe even half of the things in the Bible.)

My boyfriend countered: "Well Dad, so is gravity."

His father proceeded to claim that the theory of gravity was something completely different and that we can accept a "theory" if gravity's what we're talking about, but if it's evolution, well then, the "theory's" no good.

Unsurprisingly, that conversation set my boyfriend off on one of the most fervent atheist kicks I've ever seen him go on. But who can really blame him?

Religious faith.

"As long as we accept the principle that religious faith must be respected simply because it is religious faith, it is hard to withhold respect from the faith of Osama bin Laden and the suicide bombers."

-Richard Dawkins