Archive for the ‘Religion’ Category

Mike Huckabee describes the political debate I want to see.

August 26, 2012

“This could be a Mount Carmel moment. You know, you bring your gods. We’ll bring ours. We’ll see whose God answers the prayers and brings fire from heaven. That’s kind of where I’m praying: that there will be fire from heaven, and we’ll see it clearly, and everyone else will too.”

Mike Huckabee, rallying Southern Baptists to support Representative Todd Akin (R-MO) in his campaign.

This is very interesting to me even aside from the implication that “good Christians” should believe like Romney, Ryan, or Akin – and the Republican Party Platform – that abortion should never be legal, and like Akin and Romney that rape somehow isn’t rape if it results in pregnancy.


I mean, look at that quote: I am sold. I want to have these charlatans who claim to know the mind of god stand before the world and have a miracle competition. As the judges we can get The Amazing Randi, Penn and Teller and any other stage magicians willing to watch for fraud. To enter the competition, contracts must be signed saying that anybody who tries but can’t perform a miracle has to tithe to the National Center for Science Education for the rest of their lives.

Anybody who actually performs a miracle before all the world suddenly has a much greater reach and audience.

I can see no possible downside… except to charlatans.

 

Mike Huckabee quote found through Political Wire.

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Pussy Riot and a How-To for government

August 22, 2012

To recap: The Russian government and the Russian Orthodox Church are using their joint power hand in glove and the art collective and political protest group Pussy Riot held a “Punk Prayer” protest in the Cathedral of Christ the Savior. They sang and danced in protest and were, although disruptive, nonviolent.

3 members of the group were arrested, charged with “hooliganism” and sentenced to 2 years in prison. Which is ridiculous and an abuse of state power.

I will state right out front that I admire Pussy Riot and other protesters who issue challenges to a harmful status quo, who challenge political power and/or religious dogma.

But I am not arguing that people should be allowed to disrupt other groups meetings without any legal repercussions, either. After all  if majorities could ruin minority gatherings anytime they wished, tyranny of the majority would be stating the case mildly.

So what would be a sensible way to approach such an issue? How about this:

If the protest is violent, charge the protesters responsible for violence. Treat as you would any other violent crime.

If the protest is nonviolent but disruptive, charge the protesters with disturbing the peace, charge them, give them a court date and release them on their own recognizance. At the court date, the judge can let them choose between forms of community service.

If the protest is nonviolent and minimally disruptive (protesters are not preventing normal communication or activities within a space, etc. beyond their mere numbers) ignore them, you’ve got nothing. Leave them alone unless the situation changes.

Atheism Plus Social Activism

August 19, 2012

Atheism Plus logo suggestions by Jadehawk

First, if you haven’t read Jen’s call to action, go read it and the follow up. I have to say: this is the movement I thought I had joined.

My reason for becoming an atheist- the reason I started losing my faith and questioning religion- was because of biblical passages that were anti women, anti homosexual, pro slavery and pro disproportionate response. Yes, I am an atheist because I don’t believe in god, but that is just the definition. I didn’t question the existence of god first. I questioned the morality of god:

I asked how could God kill children with bears just because they called someone baldy? Couldn’t the prophet have used a beneficial miracle or just good works to show that other things are more important than outward appearances? How could it be deemed appropriate by an omnibenevolent and omniscient being to create homosexuals and then declare homosexuality to deserve death by stoning? If it was a sin, why would God make some people have the urge and others without? And how could two adults being in love ever be a sinful thing?

I asked how God could make women the property of their fathers, to be bought for marriage. How could God decide that war and slavery was correct and that virgin women captured in battle were prizes for warriors? I asked how God could flood the whole world and kill everybody for being sinful when he made them to be sinful in the first place.

And the sick thing was, I wasn’t asking “how crazy is this god?” I was asking “how sinful am I that I can’t even begin to understand God’s Perfect Morality?” I was questioning God’s morality to understand it: and thought that it was evidence of my sinful state that I failed to understand.

But it wasn’t understandable as morality because it wasn’t morality. Even when I realized that, I didn’t stop believing in God. At first I simply decided that the bible didn’t properly record His morality. It took me a long time of exploration and questioning before I finally rejected the god hypothesis. But it was the immorality of the Christian Bible that started me questioning.

And it is my humanism that makes me blog as an atheist. My atheism itself might be just a conclusion about rejecting a premise because of insufficient evidence, but pointing out that lack of evidence is a means to an end: that of freeing minds from the shackles of religion, and undoing the social harms done in its name.

If you think that humans deserve equal rights, that women and men are equal, if you think that death sentences by stoning or otherwise deliberately carried out slowly are barbaric, and that love between consenting adults is something to be celebrated rather than to be opposed, if you think that distinctions in pigmentation are trivial and the social differences that result are profoundly terrible and that slavery and rape can never be justified, then you should oppose religion. But you shouldn’t stop at religion.

These wrongs exist outside of religion as well: religion is merely a transmission device that causes the ideas within to be more resistant to change. But we need to oppose misogyny and racism, homophobia  ableism and xenophobia wherever they may be. And while we are at it, we should fight the undervaluing of labor and the overvaluing of capital. Opposing these things helps everybody, whether you are privileged or oppressed on any particular question doesn’t change that: as a white person, it is in my interest to oppose racism just as it is in the interest of a straight person to oppose homophobia.

This especially goes for the situation of social movements focused on achieving progress in one facet of human rights: ignoring the other facets doesn’t work. You can’t claim to be working for human rights, and then say “Yes, but not for those people.” Just as the gay rights movement had to reform to include lesbians, the atheist community has to embrace women, the LGBTIQ community, people of color and has to embrace their issues as well. This should be a natural fit – as I pointed out, those issues are our issues – but I know we are going to have to work to make up for those activists who only care if an issue effects white straight males.

For everything else…

August 19, 2012

Funny hat: $9

Book from hotel:$0

Threatening eternal torture while claiming the moral high ground: Priceless

Some things are priceless, for everything else: there’s self awareness.

Zombies win in a battle of brains.

July 30, 2012

Although they may be accused of unsportsmanlike behavior: after all, they picked the Westboro Baptist Church as their opponents.

And what did the Westboro Baptist Church do to deserve this ravenous, ravenous attack?
They were just minding their own business:
Protesting military funerals.

Republican Sabotage of Employment.

July 13, 2012

Every single time we have had a recession, we’ve countered it by increasing public sector employment. Republican and Democratic administrations both do this, and it works. More people employed means more money in circulation, more demand for things other than bare essentials, and more of a market in which businesses can thrive.

So why did Republicans kill the American Jobs Act? Why have they promoted austerity?

It is because they know this, and wanted this to happen:

It is because they want the economy to fail and Obama to take the blame. It is because the Grand Old Party has fallen to the lowest common denominator, and too many Republican politicians are now traitors to their country: economic saboteurs of the U.S.A. and those who dearly desire to be its workforce.

We cannot allow them to succeed. We cannot allow a status quo where traitors are rewarded with high office for sabotaging the country and where our government is in the hands of those who not only believe government is the problem, but who make government the problem.

Found by way of Political Irony.

See the resemblance?

July 10, 2012

See how sad all these atheists look?

So, so sad.

So don’t approach atheists, kids, especially not at 7 in the morning on a weekend.

Save Greta Christina.

July 9, 2012

My friends, I come to you today with a special plea. One of the Secular movement’s greatest writers is in trouble:

When Pat Robertson admitted that human morality has advanced beyond what the Bible says regarding slavery, it caused Greta Christina to react with reckless optimism:

I assume Pat Robertson will now be taking back everything he’s said about homosexuality, women, the coming Armageddon, and whether Hurricane Katrina was God’s punishment for America’s abortion policy. He will soon be openly rejecting the very notion that morality should be based on an internally inconsistent, wildly inaccurate text written thousands of years ago, and will be embracing a humanist philosophy of basing morality on what most helps people and supports a flourishing society for all.

#holdingmybreath

We cannot allow such a wonderful and passionate person as Greta to be so cruelly rent from us, from Ingrid, and from her cats.

I suggest drastic action. I suggest we inundate Pat Robertson with appeals regarding the parallels between the ways Biblical morality fails in each instance Greta cited and that which he has already conceded.

I further suggest we send Greta copies of each message so that even if Pat Robertson does not overcome his Biblical Bias, Greta might still be jarred out of her increasingly purple state.

Please, join with me: One message a day could save this poor atheist blogger from turning into a human blueberry and exploding, similarly to Violet in Charlie and the Chocolate Factory.

Tom Cruise is Tom Cruise Crazy

July 9, 2012

“Tom Cruise is so in love with Katie, at least all his people tell him so.

And while he thinks that she’s a very special lady, it’s probably not the way he’d choose to go…”

I have an excuse to link to Sweetafton23!

Best wishes to Katie… and to Tom Cruise. I hope things work out better for both of them now that they are no longer stuck together.

Scientology, on the other hand… I wish Anonymous redoubled on it.

Maybe sticking to reality is safer than believing in demons

July 7, 2012

If you are a pastor and one of your church members tries to beat the demon out of your head, maybe you should consider sticking to humanism and leave off the supernatural teachings.

And if you are in a congregation, maybe you should compare what you observe at every other point in your life to what you are told by someone with a financial incentive to keep you believing what they say.

Thanks to Jessica at Friendly Atheist.