Your visit is about to take a ghastly turn. Hand in your tickets, step through these gates, and abandon all hope. You are about to enter...
THE GODLESS HOUSE OF HORRORS!
Bwa ha ha ha ha!
Those right-wing haunted houses, with the blood-stained abortions and the same-sex weddings performed by Satan -- they have nothing on us. I scoff at them. Ha, I say, and yet again: Ha. We have atheist nightmares far worse than Ray Comfort's bananas.
Pregnant women, people with heart conditions, and children under four feet tall: please step this way to the simple list format version of the Carnival. No bad imitations of Vincent Price will emerge there to haunt your dreams.
Those of you with the constitution and courage to face the House of Horrors... come this way.
Our first exhibit would seem to be an innocent one. But it may prove the most dangerous of all. Master Luke of lukeprog.com arms you for your journey into godlessness, with 16 Techniques of Critical Thinking. Brains! Brains! He wants brains!
And armed you must be. For now we plunge headlong into the Dangerous thought of Islaskye at The Mutt's Nuts. What danger might there be, you ask, in a simple talk from an elderly Mormon prophet? Read on, and witness the ghastly spectacle of deconversion and independent thought!
Not content to rend an elderly man of the cloth into irrelevancy, the godless heathens must now attack the very foundation of our civilization -- the dictionary itself. Sensitive souls may want to turn away, as A.C. Chase rends the Good Books with his bare hands, in Define Atheist, posted at Alexander the Atheist.
Now let us relax for a moment, in this pleasant green field... but wait! It's not a church picnic! It's a battlefield, filling up with the ghosts of the millions slaughtered for religious faith! And Tangled Up in Blue Guy is there, attempting to comprehend the origins of religious violence, armed only with his own mind and the Fighting Words of Hector Avalos. Religion And Scarcity -- a shocking sight to behold.
And is this an evil twin? Some twisted experiment in cloning gone horribly awry? No! Tangled Up in Blue Guy has returned from the beyond! His traveling companion: a hideous hybrid, half science teacher and half preacher, bred in a laboratory hidden deep in the caverns of some twisted monastery. Is Your Pastor Teaching Biology? Do you dare to look?
Now we reach the creature who some consider the most hideous monster of all. Submitted for your approval by Romeo Vitelli of Providentia: Charles Darwin, the mad genius who could kill with a mere idea. Was his friend and travelling companion Robert Fitzroy Dying of Evolution? Will YOU be the next victim?
And now we step into a dimension where nothing is as it seems. The atheist community: a circle with no center, where soft atheists are firm and resolute, and a Radical Atheist is calm and reasonable. Atheism defined, at One Less God Than You. Step into the circle... if you dare.
Quick! Quick! Into the car! Surely the highway is our only route of escape from this madness! But what's this? Even here, on this great symbol of American freedom, the horrors still pursue us! Holly Ord of Menstrual Poetry is standing in the road, a fifty-foot woman brandishing Nontheistic Billboards! Even here, Holly? Must you bring the horror even here?
But this Buddhist monastery... surely we can find sanctuary here? Ah, yes, here where the gentle poet Socratic Gadfly reads under a smiling, serene statue of the Buddha. His poem: so gentle, so soothing, so... critical of Buddhism? Insistent that it is a religion and shouldn't get a free pass? NOOOO! We try to flee from the horror of Contra Buddhism I… and he reappears, blocking our path with the continuation of his fiendish ode, Contra Buddhism II. .The Philosophy of the Socratic Gadfly: fear it, for it may be the last thought you ever think.
We return with a sigh of relief to the more conventional horrors. Skeletons, ghosts, ghouls. And here's a lovely example. Skeletal, whiter than white, spewing venom at every turn... but what's this? It's a living person? The Whited Sepulchre demands that you look at What Ann Coulter Got Right. Or Not. And he dares you to think the unthinkable -- that perhaps, just perhaps, this ghastly creature is a fair representation of Christianity after all.
Continuing our tour of horrors, we see a brain: a human brain, the brain of a true believer, twisted and contorted and turned in on itself like some hideous hybrid imagining of Escher and Giger. A crowd stands around it, jeering and mocking; but it doesn't listen, the scorn of the crowd only makes it contort further to block out the cacophony. Norman Doering visits us from A Blog from Hell, to gently suggest that you Don't try this at home.
Now listen, if you dare, to the ravings of an arrogant, psychotic, delusional, manic-depressive bastard tyrant. But look closer -- that tyrant is our Lord and Saviour, Jesus Christ Himself! The Gay Black Jew believes that Jesus is Preventing My Success. He is doomed! Doomed, I tell you!
And we're not yet finished with the terrifying ravings. No, not by a long shot. We come now to an Evil Rant of a False Prophet. The 29th rant, to be specific… and the numerologists all know what number 29 signifies. It signifies... POWER! Evil Rant #29 -- The Power of Disbelief! Can you withstand the sheer mental force of this Twisted Jenius?
Zombies! Zombies want your brain! Zombie-master Exapologist has brought back the reanimated corpse of Leibniz, to devour your brain in a thought process twisted beyond all reason. He calls it The Leibnizian Cosmological Argument, posted at Debunking Christianity. I call it... madness.
But no more mad than the madness... of children. Wild, uncivilized, slaves to their emotions and desires... is there any creature on this earth more terrifying? Is there any hope that they might someday brought into decent society... or do they need the brutal fist of God to keep them forever in check? Jeremy Adam Smith at Daddy Dialectic offers More kids vs. religion… but is his offering a gift of hope, or another horror in Pandora's box?
Are you feeling a bit overwhelmed? Perhaps a little music might cheer you up. adam h is here, from ...And That's How You Live With A Curse, with a lovely instrument designed to calm the most ravaged soul. He picks it up and begins to play... "But no!" he cries. "Help, demons in my guitars!" A follower of Jimmy Swaggart says so -- it must be true! Flee from the evil guitar, before the demons emerge from it to devour your soul! Flee, I tell you!
We flee towards a more soothing sound. The chanting in the distance... so mesmerizing... so repetitive... so... MADDENING! What are they saying, over and over and over and over again, droning like an army of the hypnotized undead? "Atheism... Is... A... Religion!" "The... United... States... Is… A... Christian... Nation!" And there's more! Will the voices never tire? Spanish Inquisitor has fallen victim to the most fiendish torture instrument ever devised by an inquisitorial squad -- Things I'm Getting Tired Of Hearing, repeated over... and over... and over...
As we pass the skeletons that line these darkened corridors, two of those skeletons begin to stir, to move towards you... to speak! More skeletal than skeletons, even -- stick figures, almost -- and yet they think and speak so clearly! So rationally! You may not believe your eyes, but Thad Guy can present you with First Hand Evidence of their tragic fate.
The darkened corridors twist, and twist, and twist some more... a dizzying labyrinth, culminating at long last in the Puzzle Room. Escaping is a simple matter, really it is: make sense of an ancient book, reconcile a few contradictions, and you're free to leave. But the pages... they twist and turn before your eyes… They make no sense! But they have to make sense! But they make no sense! Hell's Handmaiden hands you the book with a regretful sigh, saying, "I'm sorry! Really. I am."
And now from these darkened, twisted walls emerge two more spectres of the undead! It's the ghosts of the tyrants, Stalin and Hitler, returning again and again... and again and again and again... to haunt our every waking hour. But never fear: Alonzo Fyfe, the Atheist Ethicist, is here to defend us, with his flaming sword of Moral Outrage.
And a wizard has joined us on our journey through the corridors of terror: a kindly wizard it would seem, wise and good, strong and noble. Perhaps he can defend us against the evils that surely lurk around every corner? But look closer: his true face emerges from behind his cloak, and he is revealed to be... A HOMOSEXUAL! How ever shall we carry on with this shocking news? The Christian Right has help for us... but the Ridger at The Greenbelt is blocking them at every turn, suggesting that we have The right to face the truth. Who shall we believe? And won't somebody please think of the children?
So far on our tour, we have avoided the painful spectre of the misshapen and the deformed. But No more Mr. Nice Guy! is showing his true grisly colors at last, as he forces us to gaze upon the sickening sight of a man forever cursed with a foot in his mouth. Dinesh D'Souza, or D'inept D'loser -- see him, and weep for us all.
Now Barry Leiba is Staring At Empty Pages. Staring, and staring, and staring. He is hypnotized, entranced, horrified by what he sees: a parade of would-be kings of the most powerful country in the world, all claiming to be driven by some unseen, unproven "higher power." And they speak of nothing else! Speak, Barry begs them -- speak of your Qualifications for the job! Speak of budgets and laws, experience and expertise! But cease this endless droning about the invisible powers that drive you, lest your madness bring ruin to an entire nation!
We've been deceived by the seductive sounds of poetry before. What fresh hell awaits us from the seemingly blissful poetic voice emanating from Heather Annastasia's Politics Blog? What is she so star-struck by? The actual stars? Without God? Yes, she says. Now. Turn away now, I say... or risk being forever seduced by the siren song of the physical universe.
Ah, but perhaps our nightmares are over at last. A tropical breeze wafts over our faces, and a gentle spirit is here to guide us: a local healer, with no worldly thoughts to corrupt them, and a simple wisdom that far surpasses our own. This healer is accompanied by Chris, at nomad4ever, who tells us this healer can show you How to free your spirits, body and mind. Completely! But is that a smile of encouragement... or of mockery? Wicked, deceitful mockery? His smile splits into a hideous grin, and his derisive laughter follows as we flee in terror yet again.
And as we race down the passage, we encounter still more ghoulish madmen! They seem to worship a piece of brightly colored cloth... and yet they tear it into pieces with their bare hands! What bizarre cult is it that worships their holiest of holies by ripping its very fabric into shreds? Ron Britton at Bay of Fundie begs them to stop, to Protect the Constitution, not the Pledge. Will they come to their senses... or will they turn on Ron, and on us?
And the parade of the deformed returns, as Jeff at The Big Picture presents us with a tragically hideous sight: a man with his vocal chords located in his backside. He speaks of ancient, unchanging truths, and yet his mouth is irreparably disconnected from his brain! The Genius of Talking Out One's Ass, Jeff calls it... but what evil genius created this monstrosity?
We return for a moment to the more familiar, almost comforting horrors: skeletons, ghosts... and of course witches. No ordinary witches, of course; these are Wicca witches, burning candles and lighting incense and forming naked power circles in the moonlight. What magic are they weaving in these eerie hallways? None! comes the cry from James Grant's Livejournal. A torrent of foul language spews forth from Mr. Grant's fevered lips, as he mutters under his breath, Gotta pull the plug on it.
But hell hath no fury like a Christian scorned. We come now to a stomach-turning sight. Those with weaker hearts may wish to turn away, for we now gaze upon... a local newspaper giving more prominent placement to a story about an atheist event than a story about a Christian event! Austin Cline presents Christian Privilege: Christians Can't Understand when Atheists Given Attention posted at About.com Agnosticism / Atheism. Of course they can't understand! The atrocity is unfathomable! What kind of God would allow it?
And an even more unthinkable sight awaits you. Brace yourselves... and Watch Alister McGrath Take a Very Long Time To Say Very Little! Gape in fascination, cringe in disgust, as an eminent, respectable theologian attempts to order from a restaurant menu and engage in telephone sex. Andrew the Sexy Secularist! brings you this spectacle, and dares you to keep your eyes on the hideously mesmerizing sight!
But what sin could be more terrifying, more monstrous, than the sin of Pride? Could God himself have predicted the hideous spectacle of Atheist pride? In the Book of Mormon, no less? C. L. Hanson visits from an innocent-looking Main Street Plaza, to shamelessly parade this sinful pride before a petrified throng.
Escape lies just down this passageway, into the sanctuary of this church. Yet the monsters pursue us even here! What's that creature bearing down on us? It's a bird, it's a plane, it's... RoboPope! And the church erupts into battle, as Mark A. Rayner at The Skwib presents to us the Robo-schism... and cackles in unholy glee.
And the battle spills out into the corridors, joined by millions of the faithful, living and dead, battling for supremacy over the wastelands. What are their battle cries? "Our faith is a faith of peace!" "Our faith is a faith of war!" Their hideous screams dissolve into hysterical gibberish, as Dale of faith in honest doubt begs the battling minions for answers, or even a moment of coherency, in Is Christianity a Religion of Peace?
We turn away from the bloody battle, averting our eyes with a tear. But our field of vision begins to blur inexplicably, filling up with visions of some ghastly symbol. Is it the mark of some cackling demon? An ancient rune unleashed by an evil wizard? Or is it... the new "atheist symbol"? adam h of ...And That's How You Live With A Curse brandishes it before us all, mesmerising helpless onlookers into a hypnotized zombie-army, prepared to do their Master's bidding at a word.
And the zombie-army is mobilizing at Master Dawkins' command: battling it out in an appalling, fascinating spectacle of gladiatorial games, where only the survivors are allowed to reproduce. All Hail the Darwinian State! cries the cheerful iconoclast. You cannot bear to watch… and yet you cannot turn your eyes away.
But turn away you must. For you must brace yourself against the wicked onslaught of Steven Alleyn, of More Opinions than Assholes. A seemingly gentle soul, he has a truly insidious power: the power to toss us all off of the planet and into the cold, uncaring universe, with no God to save us or even care if we live or die. And this ghoulish lunatic has the temerity to suggest that we're better off? Gasping for air, struggling for life in the vacuum of space, he demands that we find Significance in Insignificance? He is mad, I tell you! Mad!
We are nearing the end of our tour of horrors... but look out! A ghost train is heading in our direction! And it's a runaway! Picking up momentum every second, Atheism In America is hurtling towards us at an impossible rate of speed! And vjack of Atheist Revolution is egging it on, trying to give it direction and make it more powerful than ever! What heathen crew is making this train so ungodly strong? That's right... it's YOU! You, my godless visitors to my little House or Horrors... YOU are the fuel! This breakneck speed, this wild momentum... YOU are responsible!
Bwa ha ha ha ha!
So on this terrifying note, at last we conclude our tour of the Godless Haunted House… but wait! What's this? Your gracious hostess herself? Her face... it's transforming! She seemed so polite, so well-mannered, so fair and reasonable... but her face is contorting, into a hideous visage of rage! It's Greta Christina, with Atheists and Anger, spewing forth facts and figures to madden herself further! And now there's a mob of hundreds behind her -- half of them baying for her blood, the other half every bit as enraged as she, and gearing up for action!
Flee before them! Scatter into the Carnival, disappear into the flash of the carousel and the sweet stench of the funnel cake... where no horrors, no ghouls, no nightmares await you.
Until Ray Comfort's bananas find you in your dreams...
The next Carnival of the Godless will be held at Aardvarchaeology on Nov 11, 2007. Godless bloggers, submit your posts... if you dare.