Wednesday, August 29, 2007

Another Republican bites the dusk

We're getting lots of rain today. It was expected. I did manage to get a 3 set doubles tennis match finished before the rain and have an interesting discussion about religion with my friends. Seems I was in the company of liberal Christians and agnostics. We were discussing the apparent hypocrisy within the Republican party with this most recent news about Senator Craig from Idaho. You got to admit that it seems the party with the "Christian family values" platform seems to be having the most problem with scandals. Prostitutes, homosexual behavior, pedophilia; tsk, tsk. The Democrats haven't had a problem since Clinton got a BJ in the oval office. At least that was from a consenting adult of the opposite sex! If you think this Craig thing is overblown just remember how the Republicans treated Bill.

Saturday, August 25, 2007

My Reaction to CNN's God's Warriors - Christianity

To any Christians reading this blog: Do you feel comfortable letting any one of these different Christian denominations take over our government? What happens if the Catholics get the NE, the Methodists get the Midwest, the Baptists get the south, and the Episcopalians get the west? What side will you be on? How horrible is that war going to be? Don't be naive in thinking this won't happen. The Protestants and Catholics fought for years in Northern Ireland. There will be issues that start wars. If there is no war, how would you feel about having to move to the area where your religion is better represented? How do you feel about being put in jail for the thought crime of thinking a movie star or a member of the same sex is good looking or has a nice body? Or having the government censure a cool movie because of an obscure moral dilemma that the religious police feel we can't be exposed to? Who makes that decision? What if you feel the decision is unfair? How would you feel about going to prison for watching an illegal copy of said movie? How much time should a woman spent in prison for having an abortion? How about for an abortion after being savagely raped? Raped by her father? Gang raped? How much time should a doctor spend in prison for performing such an abortion? Which one of the 10 Commandments should be posted in classrooms and courthouses: the Catholic one or the Protestant one? Be careful not to offend the majority religion or you will go to prison. Just which Christian denomination provides the prayer in school? Should the Blessed Mother be included in these prayers, why or why not? Should we divide the Catholics and Protestants up for prayer and leave poor atheist Timmy in the hallway to be teased later? I have many, many more questions, but these should be enough to provoke some thought.

One of the biggest glaring problems I saw was the wealth associated with these Christian groups that are trying to interject their morality into our government. Didn't Jesus say....oh, never mind, I'm sure Christians feel it's irrelevant in this case. Where do you think this wealth comes from? Do any of you give to your church? How would you feel if you knew your money was being spent to force others to believe as you do? Why would you be OK with that? What if your religion wasn't the right one and you were being forced to adopt religious dogma you're uncomfortable with? Who makes that decision? You get the idea.

The power these people want is another glaring problem. As we all know power tends to corrupt, and absolute power corrupts absolutely. These people want absolute power over every little aspect of our lives. When Lord Acton said this in 1870 he was referring to Pope Pius IX and the dogma of papal infallibility. As much as you may not want to believe it being a Christian doesn't make one immune to such corruption. We don't have to look far in our immediate past to see the evidence of this statement.

What have we learned by watching this show? The religious don't have the cornerstone on morality and it's been proven time and again it can't be legislated. (Alcohol Prohibition in the 1920's as one example.) What is it that these people really want? It's simple: money and power, and tight control over me and you and our thoughts. Perhaps you'll be happy in such a world, but I suspect once it becomes clear what these people want under the guise of morality and family values you'll see a backlash like one that has never happened.

One thing I was disappointed about after watching this show was the lack of reaction from non-religious people. I really wanted to hear from the other side; the rational, secular humanist side that values the rights of each individual including the freedom of and from religion and right to privacy. Just from listening to what these religious leaders were saying about secularists we are hugely misunderstood. Not only are we misunderstood, but in some cases your religious leaders are lying to you about us. People like us include Thomas Jefferson, James Madison, George Washington, and many others. These people were not Christians and they were not atheists; they were great men with a vision of keeping government from influencing our churches and our churches from influencing our government. It goes both ways. This great vision is under attack and we need to stop powerful Christians from turning our government into a theocracy.

Sunday, August 19, 2007

A Response!

My cousin finally answered my email. It's a typical response from a typical Christian. You'll see what I mean:

I was shocked and hurt by your statement above. I said what I did intending it to be a humourous statement in much the same way my mother would say she never contemplated divorce but had thought of murder. My mother was not serious and neither was I. I HATE conflict of any kind and will go out of my way to avoid it. My faith in Christ is teaching me to deal with conflict with love and understanding, rather than avoid it. I have never had anyone tell me I am angry/violent until you did.

What is it about Christians that you always look for the worst?

In Christ's love,
Your Cousin

This is my response:

I don't know you or your mother personally and I didn't know that you and your mother are not serious people. I really thought you were being honest and I wanted to know why you felt this way. No offense was meant, just simple curiosity.

Your question really doesn't make sense but I'll try to answer what I think you might be asking.

The beef I have with some Christians is that they don't seem to objectively look at reality. Most things are filtered thru an ancient, outdated holy document and it leaves the Christian saying and doing irrational things. For example: it has been proven that homosexuality is not a choice, yet just because the bible says it's an abomination a lot of Christians oppose same-sex marriage. Rationally, it makes no sense to keep these basic rights from a group of people based only on suggestions made by ancient Jewish men more than two thousand years ago. It also makes no sense in light of the evidence that people should keep this opinion. I say if you don't like same-sex marriage then don't marry someone the same sex as you.

There are the same prohibitions on eating shellfish but I don't see Christians protesting shrimping or serving the delicious crustacean at restaurants.

Another flaw I see in some Christians is the ability to be offended very easily. In all the discussions I've had with you and the others I have yet to be offended. I guess the reason is the information I rely on can stand on it's own merit. You can take it or leave it. I really don't care. Christianity on the other hand calls on you to defend the religion. The Bible demands it of you. It's a personal attack if I criticize God, Jesus, or the Holy Spirit and as a small child you are taught to defend this personal relationship. This is what it seems to me based on reactions I've gotten from many Christians. Please correct me if I'm wrong.

Now, I do know many Christians that don't behave in this way. Many of my Christian friends are liberals who feel strongly that gay people should have the same right to marry the person they love just as straight people do. Many feel strongly that women should have the right to do with their bodies as they see fit. This is a basic right to privacy. If you don't like abortions then don't get one. Others feel it's a shame our president can't overcome religious bias to help people in the future with stem-cell research. Many more feel our Christian president lied to us to go to war with Iraq and we should get out now. Those are the Christians that have given careful thought to what their religion says and how it should be applied to the modern, real world. Perhaps it's as our other cousin says, they are not real Christians. What do you think?


Several things I found wrong with her response. First is her immediate defensiveness and attempt to place the blame of ad hominim on me. Her email to me in which she states if she were God she would've killed human beings many times over should have been prefaced with the statement "Oh, I'm only joking!" We have never joked with each other in the course of our emails so there was no reason for me to assume she was attempting to be funny.

Another thing that bothers me about her email how she ends it "In Christ's love." She knows I'm an ardent atheist and that this phrase is meaningless to me, so I can only assume she's feeling pretty superior and ignores the fact that there's a way to end a note where both of us are happy, such as the way I ended mine.

One more thing about her response; she completely ignores the last email and focuses only on how hurt she is. Oh, the humanity!

I'm beginning not to like her very much.

Saturday, August 18, 2007

Response from last letter

It's been several days since I wrote my fundy cousin and I still haven't received a response from her. As with most difficult questions I believe fundies will dismiss them as being unanswerable from their point of view, or perhaps they honestly think that Satan has possessed me and to engage in a discussion is a sure way of inviting evil into their lives. I'd like to think my last letter struck a real nerve as to how immoral her thinking is to say if she was God she would've killed us several times over already. Simply amazing that such a loving religion could invoke such a violent response.

Enemies of Reason

This video by Richard Dawkins is about people who believe in such superstitious things as astrology, psychics, and new age spirituality. I like it that he's focusing on other crazy belief systems other than religion. Perhaps an unsuspecting religious person will see themselves in this video but I suppose that would be asking too much.

Tuesday, August 14, 2007

Killing humans many times over?

A fundy relative and I were discussing the Bible and I realized she wasn't nearly as familiar with it as I was. I revealed to her that I had read it twice and was curious as to how many times she had read it. Here is her answer and some commentary which I found scary:
I have read through the entire Bible once, and sections from every book in the Bible another time. I hope that when I finally get totally retired and moved that I can read through it again.

After reading through it the first time I was awed by how patient God has been with people throughout the ages. If I were God I would have wiped out human beings many times over!!!
I shouldn't be surprised by her comments anymore. They seem spontaneous and without thought. I can't imagine what she was thinking when she wrote about wanting to wipe out humans many times over. Also, notice the multiple exclamations after that sentence. She truly thinks she's saying something profound.

The following is my response to her. I hope it gave her something to reflect upon.

As I was reading the Bible I was awed by how concerned he was with our sex lives. I was shocked by the amount of blood sacrifices he demanded. I was horrified by his determination to kill whole groups of people for trivial reasons. I was concerned with the two different creation myths, the two different flood myths, and the two different Ten Commandments myths. So you can imagine how confusing it is to a young teenage girl reading the Bible for the first time to find out that the all-loving, all-powerful, all-merciful God does not have these attributes. You do know that God wiped us out (except for Noah and his family) in Genesis. I remember thinking about all those poor innocent babies who died such horrible deaths by drowning. Did you ever think about them? Did you wonder why God killed those babies when he could've easily saved them?

I would conclude that your definition of patience is much different than mine.

Dr. Francis Collins opined that God exists outside time and space which is why he is immeasurable. Perhaps giving God this particular human attribute is an error since, according to this definition, he can pop in and out of reality at anytime he so desires. Therefore patience is not required, just the ability to travel thru time.

I'm curious as to why you would've wipe out the human race many times over if you were God? What is it about Christianity that makes you want to do this? Or are you angry about something?

For the record, such a violent thought as never occurred to me. I'm a pacifist.

Thursday, August 9, 2007

Harry Potter review and dolphins

I'm sorry it's been a few days since my last post. My DH's son and young teenage daughter were here for a week. It was fun but I was unable to get to my computer and devote the time nessassary for the blog. They are now gone and I have more time.

I finished the seventh and last Harry Potter book a couple of nights ago. Although I have to admit enjoying the whole series of books and the subsequent movies, I've been a little disappointed in the writing style of the author. There were a few inconsistencies and confusing behavior from the main characters. The treatment of some of the significant minor characters was frustrating and undeserved. I wanted to read more about them and less about Harry. I liked the book enough to cry at the end and be happy for the surviving characters and how they defeated evil to save the world.

Here's a bit of news that may have passed under the radar: The Yangtze River dolphin is extinct. Why is this important? This animal was a large vertebrate which is now extinct as a direct consequence of man's influence over his environment. Douglas Adams, a science fiction writer and atheist wrote this about the dolphin in a non-fiction book called Last Chance to See:
As I watched the wind ruffling over the bilious surface of the Yangtze, I realized with the vividness of shock that somewhere beneath or around me there were intelligent animals whose perceptive universe we could scarcely begin to imagine, living in a seething, poisoned, deafening world, and that their lives were probably passed in continual bewilderment, hunger, pain, and fear.

I was very moved by what those poor intelligent mammals must've felt as they died one by one from pollution and disease. We did this to them.

Anyway, try to have a great day.

Saturday, August 4, 2007

New Addition

I've been accepted!

Please find Mojoey's blog at Deep Thoughts to join.