Monday, October 29, 2007

Who's the fool now?

That "joke" that was sent to me (April Fool Joke) which originated from a Christian relative really bothered me and I want to discuss why.

First I have to premise this by saying I was never a Christian. As a child I felt a disingenuousness in the church that prevented me from trusting it. Besides everyone knows that virgin births are impossible and I couldn't bring myself to believe. Christianity was what I was most familiar with so that's were I started when I felt I needed to belong somewhere. I started by studying different denominations of Christianity. I was familiar with the Southern Baptist denomination and knew that because of my past I would not be accepted by them. I looked into Methodist, Pentecostal, 2nd Baptist, etc. and that I couldn't buy into the rules and dogmas of these and other denominations. Reading the Bible, which every good Christian should do, confused me. After talking to a few ministers about my confusion I decided that if the Bible couldn't stand on its own it shouldn't be used as the handbook for Christianity. I also found out that most Christians don't read the Bible in it's entirety and cherry pick thru it, most times by just attending services, for their own values and morality. That really bothered me.

My next path was to study the Eastern Philosophies. Thru yoga I studied Buddhism and became familiar with the Seven Noble Truths and the path to enlightenment. Fortunately for me I also became familiar with the supernatural aspect of this religion and was disappointed in the departure from reality. I soon abandoned this area of study.

Another thing that I noticed as a child is the total uselessness of prayer and how random events were taken as an answer from God. As I child I was unable to separate the hits from the misses and noticed that the misses were totally ignored or taken as mysterious actions from God. Even as a child it made no sense to me.

As I abandon the Eastern Philosophies I noticed in my studies a particular group of people on the Internet said all the things that had been bothering me about religion. These were the freethinkers, agnostics, and atheists. I began to read about secularism and how the founding fathers consciously kept religion out of our Constitution because of the atrocities committed by theocracies of their day. I began to see that Christianity lies about many things to keep us ignorant and bound to the church. (Evolutionary biology is a huge target now and it's incredible the lies that Christians are buying into. It's sad and embarrassing. Unfortunately it's a testament to the reason the US is lagging behind countries such as China and Russia in medical science.)

Then our country was hit by a terrorist attack now known as 9/11. I listened to as people like Pat Robertson and Jerry Falwall claimed that we brought these attacks upon ourselves by being a secular nation. I listened as I found out these terrorists were extremely religious people who martyred themselves so they and their families would be assured a place in paradise by killing infidels. Religion was the common denominator and I sought to find out why.

This is how I became a non-believer. I wanted to know about Christianity and I found out many things about it that didn't add up. The more I discover about religion verses the natural world more the natural world makes better sense. Natural science as yet to provide proof of a supernatural force that created something as huge as the universe and something this powerful would leave evidence. defines fool as:
1. a silly or stupid person; a person who lacks judgment or sense.
2. a professional jester, formerly kept by a person of royal or noble rank for amusement: the court fool.
3. a person who has been tricked or deceived into appearing or acting silly or stupid: to make a fool of someone.
4. an ardent enthusiast who cannot resist an opportunity to indulge an enthusiasm (usually prec. by a present participle): He's just a dancing fool.
5. a weak-minded or idiotic person.

I think we can all agree that these definitions are what most English speaking people would use when referring to a fool. The little you know about me, by these definitions, I am not a fool. And, I might add, my atheist friends are not fools either.

Saturday, October 27, 2007

Stupid email

What a nice thing to get sent from a relative. All this means to me is that this person is mean, vindictive, and uneducated. Please see this page for a rational explanation of this kind of misguided humor. (If you can't get to this link, cut and paste:

Great Answer from the Judge

In Florida , an atheist became incensed over the preparation of Easter and Passover holidays. He decided to contact his lawyer about the discrimination inflicted on atheists by the constant celebrations afforded to Christians and Jews with all their holidays while atheists had no holiday to celebrate.

The case was brought before a wise judge. After listening to the long passionate presentation by the lawyer, the Judge banged his gavel and declared 'Case dismissed!'

The lawyer immediately stood and objected to the ruling and said, 'Your honor, how can you possibly dismiss this case? The Christians have Christmas, Easter and many other observances. Jews have Passover, Yom Kippur and Hanukkah... yet my client and all other atheists have no such holiday!'

The judge leaned forward in his chair and simply said, 'Obviously your client is too confused to even know about, much less celebrate his own atheists' holiday!'

The lawyer pompously said, 'Your Honor, we are unaware of any such holiday for atheists. Just when might that holiday be, your Honor?'

The judge said, 'Well it comes every year on exactly the same date - April 1st! Since our calendar sets April 1st as 'April Fools' Day', consider that Psalm 14:1 and Psalm 53 state, 'The fool says in his heart, there is no God.'
Therefore, in my opinion, if your client says there is no God, then by scripture he is a fool, thus April 1st is his holiday!'


Way to go, Judge!

Fundy discussion on Arrogance

On a previous post in which I discussed Tony Snow's testamony and how it made him look arrogant, a fundy has decided that I'm wrong to attack his god belief. The last post she states:
arrogant? arrogant is someone who puts down a person who is going through cancer and someone who's dealing with all pain and suffering. it's somone who thinks there belief is better. i could argue the existence of God through science. it takes just as much faith to believe there is no God as to believe that there is. i just think before you put someone down you should know more about them. i'm angry too. i don't know why your dad had to suffer so much. I don't know why mine has to too. I do know that this world is full of suffering and pain, but also with happiness and Love. I hope in your journey you will find happiness and Love.

Typical fundy stuff. I felt inclined to answer in a gentle way:
Before you claim to know what being arrogant is please look it up in the dictionary. From

arrogant - 1. making claims or pretensions to superior importance or rights; overbearingly assuming; insolently proud: an arrogant public official.

This doesn't say anything about putting people down. What you and Tony Snow are doing is claiming to be special and claiming that that specialness helped to cure the cancer or helped to comfort you thru the cancer. In making this claim it makes those who have gone thru the same situation with different results as not as special. That is what Tony and you are doing.

Please post claims that science makes to the existance of God. I have searched and searched but have not found these claims. Just because you wish it so does not make it so.

BTW, I'm not the angry one here. I realize my father died as a result of his lifestyle. Period. No deity decided that his grandchildren were going to be denied his presence and his lessons just because this make believe sky daddy decided that with billions of souls in heaven that my father was needed there as well. It's much simpler than that. Dad died because he smoked for a very long time and he was genetically predisposed for cancer. My niece knows this and isn't troubled by the notion that god took her grandfather for a mysterious reason that we can't fathom. What a horrible thing for a young person to have to carry!

What you decribed lastly is called the "Problem of Evil." Epicurus says it best:

Is God willing to prevent evil, but not able? Then he is impotent. Is he able, but not willing? Then he is malevolent. Is he both able and willing? Whence then is evil?

-- Epicurus (341-270 BCE)

I have not attacked you or Tony Snow. In fact, I have wished you well and hope that you are finding good medical care. I have simply made an observation based on the above definition.

Please feel free to join the comments and help educated her.

Wednesday, October 24, 2007

Atheism's moral philosophy not consistent with Baylor's mission

Oct. 17, 2007

Article here.

I feel sorry for atheists. They are so much in the minority in American society and they are bound to feel some marginalization if not persecution.

Christians should be the last people to persecute anyone -- including atheists. But that doesn't mean Christians have to accommodate atheism as they tolerate and love atheists.

We have to recognize atheists' full freedom to believe God does not exist, but we don't have to embrace atheism as a social good. In fact, I would argue that atheism has no redeeming social value.

Atheism undermines values. How? Let's look at care for others. Yes, an individual atheist might care for other people. But when have you heard of an entire atheist organization serving the poor, the sick or the hungry?

So far, at least, atheists haven't demonstrated their concern for others in any organized way.

But more importantly, atheism undermines values such as care for others because it cannot explain why anyone should care for others. If there is no God or anything at all above nature, then nature is all there is. The law of nature is survival of the fittest. Why help the less fit survive unless there is a God who loves them because they are created in his image?

What argument can atheism marshal against "might makes right"?

Many atheists argue that caring for others can be encouraged based on self-interest.

But what answer can an atheist give (that is consistent with atheism) to the question, "What if I figure out a way to be personally happy and fulfilled while oppressing other people?"

There is no answer to that without appeal to someone transcendent to whom we are all accountable.

And atheism has no answer to social Darwinism -- the idea that society should not help the weak because it's nature's way to weed out the less fit.

Helping the weak goes against nature and if nature is all there is, well, why should we fight it? A person might choose to, but not because of any transcendent, objective obligation (such as that all persons are created in God's image).

Not only does atheism undermine values; it also undermines meaning. I'm talking about meaningful reality -- life with meaning and purpose.

German theologian Hans Küng wrote Does God Exist? An Answer for Today. In it, the maverick Catholic thinker argued that atheism can provide no basis for "basic trust" in the meaningfulness of reality.

The only logical option for the atheist is nihilism -- belief that nothing has any objective meaning or purpose.

Küng admitted that atheism is a rational "basic choice" and it cannot be proven wrong in any kind of absolute way.

But most atheists demonstrate their basic trust in the meaningfulness of reality by being outraged at evil and injustice, thereby demonstrating that atheism cannot be lived out consistently.

What makes something evil or unjust if nothing like God exists -- if nature is all there is? Only subjective choice either by an individual or a society. But that can change and it often does. Without God, the social prophet has no way out of relativism.

Baylor and universities like it exist to promote objective values and meaningful existence.

For them atheism is not benign, but the enemy -- even if atheists themselves are not.

Finally, let me repeat that I have nothing against atheists as persons and neither does Baylor University.

But in my opinion, they are people of character and virtue in spite of their philosophy of life -- not because of it.

Dr. Roger Olson is a professor of theology in George W. Truett Theological Seminary.

This article and many others like it is why we atheists are misunderstood by Christians. Dr. Olson and many other Christians who feel compelled to write misinformation such as this don't personally know any atheists and have imagined that atheists are marginal people at best. I know many, many atheists and many, many theists and there isn't any real moral difference between these two very diverse groups of people.

Here's a small sampling of this man's mistakes and how I feel about them.

This guy says "So far, at least, atheists haven't demonstrated their concern for others in any organized way." There are many groups that atheists/secular humanists have formed: Freedom from Religion Foundation, Atheist Volunteers (I'm a member), Doctors without Borders (secular), and many others. Dr. Olson was too lazy to research and lies to prove a point.

Dr. Olson also says, "And atheism has no answer to social Darwinism -- the idea that society should not help the weak because it's nature's way to weed out the less fit." Dr. Olson's first mistake is to equate Darwinism with atheism. Being an atheist only means that we have no belief in God or gods. Period. We have no opinion, as a group, about Darwinism or social Darwinism. I personally find the idea of social Darwinism abhorrent and disgusting. I would never endorse anything Hilter or any other tyrant did in the name of racial purity or survival of the fittest. By the way, Darwin never used the phase "survival of the fittest." Evolution is about natural selection not "survival of the fittest." I would also add that Christianity has no answer to social Darwinism either.

Another lie Dr. Olson tells: Not only does atheism undermine values; it also undermines meaning. I'm talking about meaningful reality -- life with meaning and purpose. One of the most important aspect of being an atheist is that I know there is no afterlife. No singing with the angels, no eternal punishment from Satan. I'll be as nonexistent when I die as I was before I was born. Please, please give me proof of a heaven and I'll believe, but until then I live my life fully and give it lots of meaning until my last breathe of air and my last heartbeat. Atheists know that our lives have no meaning unless we make it meaningful. Just as every Christian does the best for each day she's alive, we do exactly the same, only without the promise of a reward/punishment in the end.

He ends his essay of lies by stating: But in my opinion, they are people of character and virtue in spite of their philosophy of life -- not because of it. Here's a surprise: I'm a good person because I'm an atheist. My morals don't come from an outdated book (the Bible) put together by a group of bishops in 325 CE just so Constantine could control the Romans. My morals, as I would argue that most of yours, come from wanting the best for me and my family and friends, for my society and, I might add, the world. My actions are guided by those wants and I give a tremendous amount of thought into why I feel this way.

An example of my morals verses Christian morals and the reasons behind this can be shown in the pro-choice/pro-life debate. I am pro-choice. When researching the arguments for and against abortion one finds that in countries where abortion is illegal women are still getting them in large numbers and many of them have died or suffered serious medical problems resulting from a "back ally" or self-induced abortion. Letting our country get to the state where a woman's reproductive health is in jeopardy is immoral. Instead of trying to make abortion illegal we should be making birth control and sex education more available and arming our daughters with information instead of scary religious dogma. This will make them more aware of how to prevent pregnancy, but will also give them a safe environment in which to obtain an abortion should they need it. Would you rather have your daughter alive and healthy or dead? Yeah, me too.

As you can tell, this article hit a nerve with me. It's bad enough that I get told what a good Christian I am every now and then, but I'm not a bad person because I'm an atheist. This man was arrogant because of his Christianity and condensing to atheists because he feels he has the moral high ground. What's sad about this is he wrote this article without a hint of research which basically means he lied. He lies for Jesus and he feels smug about it. Shame on him.

Saturday, October 20, 2007

Will start blogging again soon...

I've been suffering from a head cold for about 10 days and haven't felt any inspiration for writing. Hopefully this thing will be gone soon and I can resume my writing again. I do miss it. Until then enjoy this essay by Greta called Atheists and Anger. The comments and follow up are excellent as well. I found myself nodding in agreement with much that she is angry about and able to organized my thoughts around them. Perhaps I'll write on what I'm angry about someday when I'm feeling alot better.

Wednesday, October 10, 2007

Select a Candidate quiz

I'm not sure how accurate this quiz is but these are my choices in order:

Chris Dodd
Score: 49

Iraq, Immigration, Taxes, Stem-Cell Research, Health Care, Abortion, Line-Item Veto, Marriage, Death Penalty


Social Security, Energy

Hillary Clinton
Score: 42
Iraq, Immigration, Taxes, Stem-Cell Research, Health Care, Abortion, Line-Item Veto, Marriage


Social Security, Energy, Death Penalty

Barack Obama
Score: 42

Iraq, Immigration, Taxes, Stem-Cell Research, Health Care, Abortion, Line-Item Veto, Marriage


Social Security, Energy, Death Penalty

Tuesday, October 2, 2007

Another Sam Harris article

I haven't read it yet but I wanted to get it out there for you to read.