Monday, November 30, 2009

Study from About Standing for the Pledge

A young boy doesn't stand for the Pledge of Allegence and most people are offended by this act. What they fail to realize is that we don't have to stand for the pledge. It's a freedom we enjoy as citizens of this great country.

Here's a study of what happens once people are educated about our rights.

Daily Meme from Greta

Atheists are not atheists because we want to be free of the restrictions of religion. We are just as moral as religious believers, and our codes of ethics are just as serious. And in any case, religion clearly doesn't make a reliable foundation for restricting unethical behavior. Pass it on: if we say it enough times to enough people, it may get across. ~ from Greta Christina's Blog

Christianity is actually an immoral mindset. One can sin all they want, in fact, I'll argue that they can be of the worst kind of person, and all they have to do is accept Jesus as their personal saviour and "presto!" instant redemption. Horrible monsters are sharing a pew with you while singing praises unto the lord. Wonderful. The motivation to be a good person is not there.

On the other hand, an atheist lives a quiet life donating what she can to charity, volunteering for human rights causes, and being a good, kind person in general. Just because she doesn't believe that a god sacrificed himself for a cause he could've solved by himself without all the blood and gore she is believed to go straight to hell. Oh, and that this god still loves her and want only the best for her but makes himself out to be impossible to prove because we have to have faith that he exists. Does this sound moral to anyone? To have the ability to rationalize the way we do (science, anyone?) this god can make himself known with no problem what-so-ever.

In the 21st century why is faith is still considered a virtue?

Sunday, November 29, 2009

Daily Meme from Greta

Atheists do not hate god, and we are not angry at God. Atheists don't believe in God. We're not angry at God, any more than we're angry at Zeus or leprechauns or any other supernatural entities we don't believe exist. Pass it on: if we say it enough times to enough people, it may get across. ~ from Greta Christina's Blog

But we are angry at what people do as a result of believing in God. There's a difference.

Thomas Paine Quote

"To argue with a man who has renounced his reason is like giving medicine to the dead." ~ Thomas Paine

Prayer doesn't work - The Mayo Clinic Says So!

Mayo Clinic Releases Studies on Spirituality and Health

ROCHESTER, MINN., Dec. 12, 2001—A study that appears in the December issue of Mayo Clinic Proceedings outlines the importance of religion and spirituality in medicine with many patients, but notes it is difficult to prove that the result is better health from intercessory prayer—prayer by one or more people on behalf of another.

Mayo Clinic researchers found that their study of intercessory prayer had no significant effect on patients' medical outcomes after hospitalization in a coronary care unit.

The single-center, randomized, double-blind, controlled trial was conducted at Mayo Clinic in Rochester, Minn., between July 4, 1997 and Oct. 21, 1999, among 799 male and female patients aged 18 years or older, who were admitted to Saint Mary’s Hospital coronary care unit and were discharged with a cardiovascular diagnosis.

For the rest of the article click here.

I've known for a long time that prayer doesn't work. I tried it to jump start my mediocre life when I was on my own in my late teens and early to mid 20's. In my mid 20's prayer didn't save my marriage, and in my 30's prayer didn't end the suffering of my late father-in-law. What Christians would say to me is that my prayers were answered, just not in the way I thought they should be, but that's not the promise that is in the bible:

Matthew 21:21-22 (King James Version)

21 Jesus answered and said unto them, Verily I say unto you, If ye have faith, and doubt not, ye shall not only do this which is done to the fig tree, but also if ye shall say unto this mountain, Be thou removed, and be thou cast into the sea; it shall be done.

22 And all things, whatsoever ye shall ask in prayer, believing, ye shall receive.

So according to the bible, and this is the KJV, whatever I asked for, being that I believed with all my heart, should have been granted to me.

During this time I began to notice that things would happened to me, whether I prayed for them or not, in a random fashion. So I quit praying and still good things and bad things happened at an amazingly random pattern. Having stopped praying I figured out that if I made better decisions more good things happened than bad things. Then I did research about the decisions I was making and I was able to increase the good things that happened to me and decrease by a huge margin the bad things. I noticed that rational and critical thinking trumped prayer every time.

Then a horrible thing happened to us. My husband's father had a stroke and went into a deep coma. For over a week he lingered in hospice, just laying there with his eyes shut and his mouth wide open. It was distressing to watch and the only thing that occupied my mind was that he had to die to be at peace. So at 36 I started to pray again. I prayed for God to end his suffering and to end ours as well. I prayed for about 5 or 6 days before I finally gave up. Obviously there is no one that could do anything that was listening and the only person that could do anything legally was God, so either he didn't care or he didn't exist. The God I was brought up to believe was a caring God so that part was eliminated from the equation. That left only one conclusion, God didn't exist. I never prayed again.

Shortly after that event my husband had to undergo triple bypass surgery. I went into this situation as an educated person by asking lots of questions and finding out that my husband's surgical team was one of the best in the country. By this time prayer was a meaningless act of desperation so it never occurred to me to engage in it. As anticipated, the surgery went well, my husband had no complications because of his young age and good health, all factors which were explained in great detail to me.

In conclusion, I realize the world can sometimes be a scary and unpredictable place. Being well informed and flexible, rational and unemotional, can only do so much to ensure that life is good. But prayer is just wishful thinking and can hold a person back from realizing his true nature!

Saturday, November 28, 2009

What offends me

It's been brought to my attention that I occasionally offend my relatives. This can't be helped. My pat response to that remark is that very little offends me. My atheism call be attacked all day long and I can't be offended. The reason is my atheism is based on reality and facts. It stands on it's own and I don't have to defend it.

But, as I thought about this further, there are things that offend me and offend me deeply. When people use their religion to justify acts of aggression or murder toward individuals or groups of people I am offended. The murder of Dr Tiller by a mentally ill man who used his religious views to justify murder is offensive. People who justify the oppression of women by referring to scripture offends me. The justification of preventing all people in our country to be free to marry the person of their choice by cherry-picking verses from the Old Testament while giving good, solid reasons to ignore eating shellfish is offensive. This is a short list but you get the idea.

By coincidence Pat Condell posted this video today which I whole heartedly agree with.

As I'm maturing within my atheism I'm discovering that extremely religious people are just going to hate me no matter what. I can show them what a caring and thoughtful person I am and it doesn't mean a hill of beans. All the struggling I've done trying to get my family to accept me has been an exercise of futility. The problem isn't me, it's that atheism is still not accepted in the general public and that religion gives these people a pass to treat us as second class humans. It's the nature of the beast (religion) that they will never accept us as equals.

So the anger is gone and replaced with sadness.

Friday, November 27, 2009

Another message of thanks from an atheist

Atheists are not ungrateful. Most of us are deeply aware of our good fortune, including the astronomical good luck to have been born at all. Our gratitude just doesn't go to God. It mostly goes to other people: people who have made life better, for us and everyone else. Pass it on: if we say it enough times to enough people, it may get across. And happy Thanksgiving! -- Greta Christina

At this point in my life's journey I am thankful for the ability to think for myself and to guide my life to a point of happiness and contentment. There is meaning to my life because of the people and activities I choose to have in my life. But I must say that even when I believed in a god I never had the belief that I was so important that God would bless me with a good life and yet choose to ignore another. It bothers me still when people give God credit for everything good that happens to them and yet ignore the bad things that happen to others.

Thursday, November 26, 2009

A Humanist Thankgiving Proclamation

by Robert Green Ingersoll

When I became convinced that the universe is natural--that all the ghosts and gods are myths, there entered into my brain, into my soul, into every drop of my blood, the sense, the feeling, the joy of freedom.

The walls of my prison crumbled and fell, the dungeon was flooded with light and all the bolts and bars and manacles became dust. I was no longer a servant, a serf or a slave. There was for me no master in all the world--not even infinite space.

I was free--free to think, to express my thoughts--free to live my own ideal--free to live for myself and those I loved--free to use all my faculties, all my senses, free to spread imagination’s wings--free to investigate, to guess and dream and hope--free to judge and determine for myself--free to reject all ignorant and cruel creeds, all the “inspired” books that savages have produced, and all the barbarous legends of the past--free from popes and priests, free from all the “called” and “set apart”--free from sanctified mistakes and “holy” lies--free from the winged monsters of the night--free from devils, ghosts and gods.

For the first time I was free. There were no prohibited places in all the realms of thought--no air, no space, where fancy could not spread her painted wings--no claims for my limbs--no lashes for my back--no fires for my flesh--no following another’s steps--no need to bow, or cringe, or crawl, or utter lying words. I was free. I stood erect and fearlessly, joyously, faced all worlds.

And then my heart was filled with gratitude, with thankfulness, and went out in love to all the heroes, the thinkers, who gave their lives for the liberty of hand and brain--for the freedom of labor and thought--to those who fell on the fierce fields of war, to those who died in dungeons bound with chains--to those who proudly mounted scaffold’s stairs--to those by fire consumed--to all the wise, the good, the brave of every land, whose thoughts and deeds have given freedom to the sons [and daughters] of men [and women]. And then I vowed to grasp the torch that they have held, and hold it high, that light may conquer darkness still.

Wednesday, November 4, 2009

How my experiment is doing - an update.

After being featured on the Friendly Atheist blog and reading through the 30+ comments after the post, I decided to make a few changes. The first change was to remove my political and religious views from my profile. It was dishonest to label myself Republican and Christian and my reasons for doing so were not noble. The second change I made was to remove my friend request from the cousin in question and let her make the decision of whether or not to friend me. Everything else is the same and I'm happy with the activity that I've gotten so far.

As of today I have 18 friends. Only 3 of them are not family members. There is no talk of God/Jesus/Christianity just yet but there nothing happening at the moment. No deaths, no one dying, no marriages, no births, etc. I plan to maintain my aloofness to religious talk as hard as that will be for me.

But this is why I have my other FB page. It's refreshing to be open and honest with people and for them to be the same back!

Being an atheist and a secularist has been the best thing that has happened to me. It's sad that the people that I should be closest to choose not to benefit from it because of fear and dogma.

Tuesday, November 3, 2009