Sunday, January 27, 2008

What’s So Bad About Religion?

From An Apostate's Chapel:
The first problem that I have with religious beliefs is that [...] acting on the basis of false beliefs can lead to ill-conceived, even harmful, behavior and decisions.

The second problem I have with religious belief is that believers do not live in vacuums. Their religious beliefs are not always private and those beliefs do affect others [...] in numerous ways.

The third problem I have with religious beliefs is the persistent entreaty that I respect religious beliefs simply because they are religious.

(read the full article)

Teaching Lies Jeopardizes America's Future

Came across this recent post on Atheist Revolution, while reading a particularly brilliantly written item, the subject of my next post. This article makes several very important points. Well worth reading.
My son is about to enter college. He is studying history and secondary education with an eye toward becoming a high school teacher. I have begun paying a little more attention to the subject of education and have become more than a little bit concerned. My concern is more about "Christian" education (home, parochial or ‘bible’ schools) and the possible damage this education (or lack thereof) may be doing to the future of America. This potential damage comes on more than one level: social, economic, and political.

(full post)

Saturday, January 26, 2008

"Love Bomb" Misses the Mark

From Deconversion Bible, a new Atheist blog:
This post was inspired by vjack's article on Christian Culture.

I don't know how many atheists are intimately familiar with the evangelical and cultist tactic called a love bombing. I saw an article about it on Truthdig. The article discusses overt, sinister examples of the tactic where evangelical leaders consciously direct the group members to carry this out. I think sometimes it's just a little more subtle and love bombing is far more extensive than what we give it credit for. I'd like to broaden the applicability of love bombing here because I think it gives valuable insight into a whole set of Christian behavior.

I've always been aware of many Christian behaviors that are built into and thought of as the Christian lifestyle itself. The group members themselves often aren't even meant to be aware of the reasons for their own actions. And often, the group members are so well conditioned into this lifestyle that the group can carry out sophisticated coordinated efforts even with no leader at their center. It's automatic.

I don't think there's a single atheist who hasn't heard Christian leaders calling on their churches to go out into their cities and treat everyone in a loving, caring manner. They always stress the homeless, prostitutes, and even those "inner city" people. Churches then encourage their members to put together friend-making activities such as progressive dinner parties for new recruits. And smaller groups are encouraged to voluntarily go off the deep end with things such as cuddle parties or "ice breaker games" such as this. Christians are obsessed with inventing or adopting superficial friend-making activities.

(Full post)
The full post is well worth reading, along with vjack's Christian Culture post that inspired it and in turn How do you escape a cult when it's all around you? posted by layla on to which vjack responds.

Friday, January 25, 2008

On Genies (and other irrational beliefs)

A husband took his wife for her first game of golf. The wife promptly hacked her first shot right through the window of the biggest house adjacent to the course. The husband cringed, "I warned you to be careful! Now we'll have to go up there, find the owner, apologize and see how much your lousy drive is going to cost us."

So the couple walked up to the house and knocked on the door. A warm voice said, "Come on in." When they opened the door they saw the damage that was done: glass was all over the place, and a broken antique bottle was lying on its side near the pieces of window glass.

A man reclining on the couch asked, "Are you the people that broke my window?"

"Uh...yeah, sir. We're sure sorry about that," the husband replied.

"Oh, no apology is necessary...! Actually I want to thank you. You see, I'm a genie, and I've been trapped in that bottle for a thousand years. Now that you've released me, I'm allowed to grant three wishes. I'll give you each one wish, but if you don't mind, I'll keep the last one for myself."

"Wow, that's great!" the husband said. He pondered a moment and blurted out, "I'd like a million dollars a year for the rest of my life."

"No problem," said the genie. "You've got it, it's the least I can do. And I'll guarantee you a long, healthy life!"

"And now you, young lady, what do you want?" the genie asked.

"I'd like to own a gorgeous home complete with servants in every country in the world," she said.

"Consider it done," the genie said. "And your homes will always be safe from fire, burglary and natural disasters!"

"And now," the couple asked in unison, "what's your wish, genie?"

"Well, since I've been trapped in that bottle, and haven't been with a woman in more than a thousand years, my wish is to have sex with your wife."

The husband looked at his wife and said, "Gee, honey, you know we both now have a fortune, and all those houses. What do you think?"

She mulled it over for a few moments and said, "You know, you're right. Considering our good fortune, I guess I wouldn't mind, but what about you, honey?"

"You know I love you sweetheart," said the husband. I'd do the same for you!"

So the genie and the woman went upstairs where they spent the rest of the afternoon enjoying each other. The genie was insatiable.

After about three hours of non-stop sex, the genie rolled over and looked directly into her eyes and asked, "How old are you and your husband?"

"Why, we're both 35," she responded breathlessly.

"No Kidding," he said. "Thirty-five years old and both of you still believe in genies?????"

Thursday, January 17, 2008

Doubting Your Faith?

From Atheist Revolution:
This is for the Christians out there who find yourselves doubting your faith. You are going to receive a lot of advice from your fellow Christians about how doubt will strengthen your faith and may even bring you closer to your god. I'm not here to argue with that or to tell you that such a perspective is necessarily wrong. I just want to point out that there is another possibility you should at least consider. What if the doubt you are experiencing is a healthy sign that your rational mind is trying to break free from a tradition of superstition?

(full article)

Wednesday, January 16, 2008

The Enemy Within

This Man Has No Business Being President
“I have opponents in this race who do not want to change the Constitution. But I believe it’s a lot easier to change the Constitution than it would be to change the word of the living God. And thats what we need to do is amend the Constitution so it’s in God’s standards rather than trying to change God’s standards so it lines up with some contemporary view of how we treat each other and how we treat the family.”
--Mike Huckabee

Hello so-called mainstream media? Are you listening? Why is the coverage of this story so sparse on the major networks? Granted, this guy will not likely be elected and granted changing the constitution is very difficult indeed - this is a good example of the reasons for that - but this is an indication of this guy's mindset.


Keith Olberman on MSNBC:

The single greatest threat to church-state separation in America is the movement known as the Religious Right. Organizations and leaders representing this religio-political crusade seek to impose a fundamentalist Christian viewpoint on all Americans through government action.
--Americans United for Separation of Church and State
The goal of undermining this foundational principle of our nation poses nothing less than an existential threat to our most basic rights and freedoms, and to the United States of America itself. Does this constitute treason?

The United States of America was founded for the very specific purpose of protecting its citizens at large from the religious leanings of a subset of society. To weaken or eliminate such separation quite literally destroys the very freedoms the United States stands for and the purpose for and meaning of its existence as a nation.

Monday, January 14, 2008

Evolutionary Politics: Why we should care what candidates think about biological evolution

From reasononline:
Biological evolution became a hot topic in the presidential campaign last May when Republican presidential hopefuls were asked during a debate if "there was anybody on the stage that does not agree, believe in evolution?" Three held up their hands, Sen. Sam Brownback (Kan.), Rep. Tom Tancredo (Colo.) and former Gov. Mike Huckabee (Ark.). Evolution deniers Brownback and Tancredo have now dropped out of the race. So what do all the remaining candidates—Republican and Democratic—think about biological evolution? And does it matter?

(full article)

Wednesday, January 9, 2008

We can beat Iran - but not by fighting

From the International Herald Tribune:
We can beat Iran - but not by fighting
Interesting perspective. Worth reading.

George W. Bush: The Frank Burns of Modern Politics

I came across this little tidbit while searching for something else (of course) but one line from it caught my attention:
"George W. Bush is the Frank Burns of modern politics."
This analogy is right on target and the post, though a few years old now, is still worth a quick read.

Sunday, January 6, 2008

Straight Talk from Bill Maher on Conan

"You can't be a rational person six days a week…and on one day of the week, go to a building, and think you're drinking the blood of a two thousand year old space god."