Sunday, February 24, 2008

Thoughts and Prayers

An old HS friend's parent passed away this weekend from emphysema. After emailing my condolences I decided to call to let my friend know that I cared very much for him, especially in this time of immense emotional pain. We talked for over 30 minutes and I let him tell me how he felt and his feelings about his father's present state. As much as I disagree, based on the available scientific evidence to the contrary that an afterlife exists, I always chose to listen and not argue the finer points of accepted Christian dogma during these difficult times. I'm not callous or insensitive to the comfort people feel in their beliefs and it's not my duty to take that away. My friend appreciated my kind words even though I felt I didn't offer much comfort by talking about heaven and better places. I may not pray for my friends and family but it doesn't mean I don't care. I care very much and always wish I could do more, which is what we all do whether we feel guided by a supernatural force or not.

One of the problems I worry about is seeming to be an asshole when I struggle with finding the right words. Mostly what I try to convey is support and love. If there is anything I can do I offer my services. What more can we do?

How do you handle situations like this?

iPod update

The atheist podcast environment has been changing a lot lately and I've updated my list by adding a few more and providing links to the websites of the podcasts.


Friday, February 22, 2008

Jesus found me!

That's right, Jesus came to lock my cable box. Comcast sent him to make sure no one will be able to steal the signal. At first we had a major failure to communicate, as he isn't from around here, but we managed to get though our differences and he complimented me on how nice I was. Jesus was very sweet, I should say. Nice eyes!

I wrote the above paragraph to my religious relatives in a family email and NO ONE thinks it's funny. Dang!

Suppose they aren't aware that "Jesus" is a common Hispanic name in these parts?

Monday, February 18, 2008

Obama is NOT a Muslim

I finally got that email from a fundy, retarded relative who refuses to fact check anything that looks like it came from a Christian (what? they never lie!). I always address these issues by referring everyone on my family email list to with hopes that some of these people will get the hint to look this stuff up on their own. I'm happy to report that I have reached a few people but the majority still won't bother.

After going back and forth with one relative who seems genuinely interested in the truth (small "t" also known as facts) she emails a letter where she is concerned that Mr. Obama could possibly be forced to become a Muslim because his paternal grandfather was Muslim.

This is my response:
I'll get back to you on this. Research is required before I can answer this question. What I do know from my studies on religion, some of it being Islam, is if you are not a Muslim you are not of any concern. (I think Jews are a problem but that is not what we are talking about so I won't refer to it here.) If you convert to Islam you have reached salvation but if you convert to another religion you are condemned to death and will not be accepted back into Islam. I believe shunning and perhaps death is part of the process.

I have never read or heard that if you are a Christian (or another faith) and your paternal grandfather is Muslim then you are a Muslim. I think you are considered a non-Muslim and thus not a concern of other Muslims. Being Christian is mildly acceptable and considered convertible.

If Mr. Obama lived in a Muslim country and was an average citizen and was a Christian with relatives that are Muslim then that might be a problem. Obviously this is not the case.

If I had any thought that Mr. Obama could be forced to accept Islam or Sharia Law just because he was related to a Muslim I would not consider voting for him. As an American (and most of us feel the same way) we take our freedoms very seriously, especially the freedom of religion and of speech. There would be no way one could force or insist that I accept a belief just because my grandfather was X religion. I would be surprised if Mr. Obama didn't feel the same way.

On the other hand, I feel that his unique background will give him the upper hand in our foreign policy.

Anyway, how could Mr. Obama be forced to be Muslim? I suppose someone could take his family hostage and "force" him that way. That would be quite an interesting and explosive scenario.

Anyway, I'll get back to you when I find something out. This may require some digging.

Does anyone know the answer to this question? I'll post if I find it. Also, if I've written something that is not factual please post the correction in the comments. Unfortunately, being that I'm surrounded by Christians and was raised in a Christian environment I'm mostly familiar with Christianity.

Thursday, February 14, 2008

Happy Valentine's Day (yeah right!)

Just a few thoughts about the significance of this date. For me this is just another day that's been manufactured to separate me from my dollar. It's a great idea, no doubt, but I find it lacking in feeling and sentiment. Sure, we all love our significant others, but to designate one special day out of the year seems disingenuous. We already have special dates, like anniversaries and birthdays, so this seems excessive to the point of being disgusting. So this year Mr Squirrel and I agreed not to get each other cards or flowers and will have a nice evening together with a little wine and dinner. I will admit to making him a special dessert with cream, marshmallows, and pineapple but that's as sentimental as I'll get!

Monday, February 11, 2008

What I did for Darwin Day

Tomorrow is Charles Darwin's 199th birthday. His contribution to biology is extremely important and today the facts behind the theory of evolution by natural selection contribute greatly to our quality of life. To celebrate this event Saturday I attended a lecture series at Rice University put on by the Houston Freethought Alliance with my friends from church. The lectures I attended were: So...What exactly is Evolution by Dr. Lesley Campbell, Darwin: The Man and His Work by Jim Ashmore, and The Evolution of the Eye by Dr. Graeme Mardon. All these lectures were great! I learned more about how evolution is studied in the first lecture; I was already very familiar with Charles Darwin's life but I wanted to see if I would learn any information I didn't know; but the last lecture was by far the most interesting. The construction of the eye is very complicated, no doubt, but Professor Mardon made a great point that the eye doesn't look unintelligently designed. In fact, he says, the human/primate eye is poorly designed and only evolution through hundreds of millions of years can explain it. His lecture was fascinating! It's a shame that creationists in our state are working hard to keep this information out of HS biology.

Thursday, February 7, 2008

Habits in Voting

I've noticed that the voting statistics on the current presidential candidates during these primaries as follows: Women are voting for Clinton, blacks are voting for Obama, evangelicals are voting for Huckabee or Romney, and white men are voting for McCain. OK, I'll admit that very simplistic, but here's the point: People are not consciously thinking about who is the best person for the job. Or, in other words, they think the best person for the job is someone like themselves.

I'm rethinking how I'm going to vote and why.

Updated the iPod Podcast list


Feel free to lift a few and if you like them let those folks know where you got them. (Or not.)


Wednesday, February 6, 2008

Burning question

Lent. What a weird concept. Giving up ice cream or sweets for an omnipotent deity seems to be an exercise in futility. Do you really think God cares? Sorry, but doing something that's good for you doesn't seem much of a sacrifice; and shouldn't you be doing it all the time anyway?

So it's really not a sacrifice.

OK, now I'm really confused!

Can someone explain this to me in a way in which it doesn't sound crazy?

Sunday, February 3, 2008

Pat Condell's latest rant

Simply brilliant!

Sign the Petition!

I wanted to draw your attention to this important petition that I recently signed:

"Adopt Florida Science Standards"

I really think this is an important cause, and I'd like to encourage you to add your signature, too. It's free and takes less than a minute of your time.


Saturday, February 2, 2008

Going to see Expelled?

Read this first.

This article pulls no punches. It also makes one wonder: When are these seemingly intelligent people going to "get it" about creationism? I'm surprised, disappointed and, frankly, confused as to why reality and truth doesn't set well with them. My biggest problem is the lying. The information on evolution is so easy to get that there is no excuse (other than lying for Jesus, which is OK I suppose) for this lack of knowledge on their part.

I see this stubbornness within my fundy relatives too. I'm beginning to think they're just lazy and thinking "God dun it" is easier.

Which is it fundies? Too lazy or is it too hard for you to understand?