Saturday, July 3, 2010

My New Motto

"Atheism is not a religion, it's a personal relationship with reality." - Comment posted at Greta Christina's Blog by "Dr. Dave."

Wednesday, June 30, 2010

New Look, new blog

It's been a few months since I posted anything on my old blog. One reason is my sister had found it though my twitter account and it seemed to extinguish any hopes of her wanting to have a positive relationship with me. Not that I can blame her; this blog can be seen as hostile towards people who believe in god. And she a believer; hook, line, and sinker.

I have reason to believe that she has told others in the extended family about my blog. And that's OK. Unfortunately the result is they think I'm the kind of person that will antagonize them with my "horrible" atheistic views. Funny, that's something I've never ever done to anyone in my family.

There are several characteristics that are common in fundamental evangelical Christians (FEC) that are pervasive in my family. Three which come to mind are arrogance, close-mindedness, and the ability to be offended at the slightest provocation. Since I'm the kind of person who is open and honest to a fault FEC's can't stand being around me. I know this for a fact, I've tested it.

But there is another reason the FEC's in my life don't like me. A study conducted by the University of Minnesota found that atheists are still the most disliked minority group in the US. Here is a sampling of the survey:

I would disapprove if my child wanted to marry a member of this group....

Atheist: 47.6%
Muslim: 33.5%
African-American 27.2%
Asian-Americans: 18.5%
Hispanics: 18.5%
Jews: 11.8%
Conservative Christians: 6.9%
Whites: 2.3%

The biggest glaring fact this survey shows is bigotry is very much alive and well in America. I guess that's not a big secret. The next fact that I see is that 47.6% of Americans have no idea what an atheist is.

This is a common thread I see in other atheist's blogs where they are shunned by family. Love of an unseen, unproven God and the corresponding religion trumps the love of the atheist family member. In fact, within my family and I suspect others as well, there is no attempt to educate oneself as to what and atheist/freethinker/humanist is and what ethics they embrace. In other words there is no attempt to get to know the atheist or to find an "excuse" to love them.

I'm not sure what my relatives think of me. I suspect they think I'm a bad and terrible person. Why they think this of me I have no idea. I've always been nice and cordial and I've always behaved in a normal way around them. I've laughed at their jokes, made a few of my own, I've cried at funerals, and have made a point to "fit in" to a certain degree. I do have to say that I've always felt like an outsider. A quality that I think one is born with and no amount of indoctrination can overcome. I was a nerd, a geek, different. The atheism is a byproduct of my differentism.

I know. I have written this "family thing" to death on my blog. My husband has grown weary of my complaints and, over the past year, they have all but stopped. The contact I have with the FEC's are nonexistent at best and I think they are happy with the situation too. In fact, with no much to go on, I'm absolutely sure of it!

Saturday, March 20, 2010

Thoughts to ponder

I came across this video from a young black atheist who ponders why poor people believe in god and what the consequences are in believing in said god. He makes some very good points, all of which I have seen in my family of origin.

One of the major harms in believing in god is the mistrust is encourages in academia and in science. I admit that whenever I hear about a new discovery I will be skeptical until I either read more about it or experience it myself. Believers don't do this. They follow the "status quo" of their church or the others in their in-group. My first hand experience has been when talking to a member of my family of origin about the death penalty I was told that no matter what evidence I provided her mind was not going to change. The fact that she was adamantly unwilling to listen to another POV or reconsider a position taken by her church and community speaks volumes of the control that religion (belief in god) has over people.

Monday, March 15, 2010

Crazy things religion will make one do

Polk woman who died alone while fasting was following God's call, husband says

So on Feb. 7, she locked herself in a bedroom to pray and fast. She brought water and prayer requests and told her husband not to bother her.
"This is what I have to do," she told him.
For more than three weeks, Boyd, 55, didn't emerge. Her family could have come to her aid if she needed help, but her husband wanted to respect her wish to be alone. He figured she'd be okay, just like the last four times she fasted.
But on the 26th day, family members forced the door open. They found her dead.
Another good reason to be an atheist!

Sunday, March 7, 2010

Myths of Atheism dispelled nicely

This is a video that would help my super-duper religious relatives understand how much they have misunderstood me and the position of atheism in general.

I don't live in a vacuum and do realize that my super-duper religious relatives ever understanding me is a pipe dream at best. I get it. My facebook experiment was a tremendous success in my mind. I figured I'd be able to friend many of my super-duper religious relatives but I also figured many of them would either drop my friendship, block me, or just ignore me. Except for a couple of exceptions, mostly from people who are not close relatives, I have been right about how my super-duper religious relatives have treated me. It's been a sad experience but one which I can slam the door on for good.

Sunday, February 28, 2010

How to believe in god

From an article by Sam Harris at the Washington Post in the On Faith section Harris details how to trick oneself into believing in something that rationally cannot exist:

How to Believe in God
Six Easy Steps

1. First, you must want to believe in God.
2. Next, understand that believing in God in the absence of evidence is especially noble.
3. Then, realize that the human ability to believe in God in the absence of evidence might itself constitute evidence for the existence of God.
4. Now consider any need for further evidence (both in yourself and in others) to be a form of temptation, spiritually unhealthy, or a corruption of the intellect.
5. Refer to steps 2-4 as acts of “faith.”
6. Return to 2.

Like Harris says, this method has worked for billions, and it will work for you too.

Giving up my god-belief wasn't as hard for me as some because I never saw what was noble about believing in childish things like the virgin birth or the resurrection. I remember being embarrassed for the people who would walk up to the preacher to accept Jesus. Jesus was the same as Santa Claus or the tooth fairy to me, just as unbelievable and just as silly. When I experience that arrogance from some of my super-duper religious relatives I have to cringe inside. How does believing in or having faith in something so incredible make them better than me? It doesn't. To me they seem gullible and a bit dumb. There's nothing noble about that.

Saturday, February 27, 2010

Atheist Meme of the Day

"We don't know anything for sure, therefore it's reasonable to believe in religion" is a terrible argument. Even though we can almost never have certain knowledge, we can still evaluate evidence and make reasonable conclusions about what's probably true. And there's no good evidence suggesting that any religion is probable, or even plausible."

Wednesday, February 24, 2010

Why I am Pro-choice and Pro-woman's rights

I've had a concern troll making comments on my abortion post which made me want to clarify my position. I deleted his posts (I'm assuming this was a man) because the information he posted was irrelevant and added nothing to the argument of freedom of choice. All of what he posted was false information anyway.

Most of my friends are pro-choice and we have all talked about this subject a great deal. None of us are FOR abortions. In a perfect world it would be a wonderful to wake up and have complete control of our reproductive systems. In this perfect world we would also have complete control of our personal lives and the people around us so our pregnancy would be a wonderful and trouble-free experience. You know, without some guy running out on us or abusing us or withholding affection just because of an unexpected pregnancy. What a great world it would be to have perfect health insurance and be guaranteed nothing terrible would happen.

Unfortunately that is not reality. Many of us are fortunate and have wonderful experiences getting pregnant and raising a family. Many of us are not. I was one of those. My ex-husband and I planned to get pregnant and when I did he copped out and claimed he wanted nothing more to do with me. I was unemployed, scared and alone. I had no money, no family, and no support. I was devastated and in no condition emotionally or physically to go through a full term pregnancy. I sought out many solutions but the best one for me was to start over. I don't remember where I went but I do remember the women at the clinic being understanding and compassionate. I was made aware of my choices and my risks and I never regretted my decision.

There are many stories like that and more. The circumstances don't matter. What matters is that women are able to get an abortion that is safe and legal. Once this procedure becomes illegal it becomes unsafe and deadly. Why? Because if a woman needs to end a pregnancy for whatever reason she will find a way to get one. That might mean trying to induce a miscarriage on her own by taking a chemical that might kill her or harm her, or she may use another way where she could bleed to death. What is certain is if a woman wants an abortion making it illegal won't keep her from trying to end an unwanted pregnancy.

This is why I'm pro-choice. The reason I am pro-woman is because I want my sisters to have choices: safe, healthy choices that will give them and their families the best life has to offer.

That's it. I don't care one bit if anti-choicers think a zygote is really a person. I don't care if a women has had 6 abortions. I don't care that anti-choicers think this is some sort of conspiracy or tyranny. I don't care, I don't care, I don't care. The only thing that matters is that women have a choice to do whatever they want with their bodies and that it is legal and safe. If you don't want an abortion, don't get one. That is your choice.

Tuesday, February 23, 2010

Republicans are stupid!

There, I said it. OK, let me rephrase: Religious Republicans are stupid!

Got your attention?

State Delegate Bob Marshall of Manassas says disabled children are God's punishment to women who have aborted their first pregnancy.
He made that statement Thursday at a press conference to oppose state funding for Planned Parenthood.
"The number of children who are born subsequent to a first abortion with handicaps has increased dramatically. Why? Because when you abort the first born of any, nature takes its vengeance on the subsequent children," said Marshall, a Republican.
"In the Old Testament, the first born of every being, animal and man, was dedicated to the Lord. There's a special punishment Christians would suggest."

Mr. Marshall just pulled that statement out of his ass. There is no proof that this happens. In fact, you know what usually happens to the first born in the bible? That's right: death! The first born are sacrificed to god, up to and including Jesus. Nothing is said or implied that anything happens to the others born into the family...nothing! Mr Marshall says this crap because he knows that Christians will accept it and will even applaud him without any proof.

At least he apologized...sort of.

To read more visit here and here.

Sunday, February 21, 2010

Why I'm not a Republican anymore

I was raised by very conservative parents and by a very religious mother in a very conservative, religious part of Texas. I was also indoctrinated into the Republican Party.

This unto itself is not a bad thing. I believed what I was told about the Republican Party and didn't really give it much thought. But after awhile I started paying attention to what was being said and what was actually happening to the Party I thought was looking out for my best interests.

This has all changed over the last 5 years for me.

Republicans in general are hypocrites and liars.

What's worse is they don't care if they get caught. They know that we (as a society) have very short memories. They also know that religion gets a free pass by the gullible and delusional. Unfortunately the United States, as wonderful as it still is, is full of gullible, delusional, lazy and ignorant people ripe to believe that the Republican Party, the Party of Jesus, wouldn't dare lead them astray.

There is a force in the United States right now that doesn't have the middle class or the families living at the poverty level's best interest in mind. It is so insidious that it has even convinced these poor people who are barely making ends meet that they are the ones to support. If I was a believer I would swear it looks like Satan had his hand in this.

There are a few Republicans I admire and I wish there were more of them.

Am I a Democrat? I would say that I agree with most of their politics. If being pro-choice, in agreement with equal rights for women, gays, minorities, for the public option and health care reform makes one a Democrat then I'm am proud to be among them but I don't want to paint myself into a corner. There are problems in both parties, to be sure, but I find the Republicans to be less about the common person and more about rich people and about misleading the middle class. I don't want to be associated with that.

Saturday, February 20, 2010

I hope this isn't true....but

A Republican being booed by....Republicans?

I found this video LOL hilarious on so many levels. Republicans are supposed to hate the gay, aren't they? This man spouting this hate is totally right based on the platforms of the ultra right wingnut base of the Party of Jesus. Why was he being booed? Could it be that he was so obviously wrong? When the camera panned over the crowd I swear it looked like they couldn't believe what they were hearing. Pure gold!

The power of free speech. It's wonderful when someone uses it to let us all know what a douche-bag one is!

Damn I love this country!

Lecture at Planned Parenthood

Last night I attended a lecture by Darrel Ray at Planned Parenthood in downtown Houston last night. I had to park my car across the street and as I walked toward the entrance I noticed a couple of guys walking around. I asked them where the entrance into the building was and, instead of answering my question, one of the men asked me what was going on in the building. I suppose he had seen lots of people who were obviously not getting abortions walking in and he was naturally curious. Well I was totally not ready for a protester so I answered his questions. I told him about the lecture and that it was being attended by atheists. He asked me then if I was an atheist and I proudly said that I was. His demeanor then drastically changed and tried to hand me a leaflet which I only kept after his third attempt at begging me to read it. As I was walking away he says, "Do you know where you're going? They kill babies in there!" Argh! I wish I had been warned but it was past 7pm and I never imagined they would be out there at that time. I angrily told him that I had an abortion several years ago and I never regretted it. Then I made a beeline to the nearest trash can and loudly informed that man that I was throwing his shit away.

The lecture was wonderful, but it took several minutes to calm myself down before entering the conference room. This may be my opinion but people who protest outside of Planned Parenthood are ignorant, and proudly so, of what this organization is truly about. The mission statement of Planned Parenthood is "to ensure that all women, men and teens have access to safe, affordable health care and accurate information. That’s why Planned Parenthood is a plan you can love with." It seems to me that these protesters are also against the freedom of people, both men and women, to seek affordable health care and they also hate women. This makes me angry on so many levels.

I got my first pap smear and my first month of birth control from Planned Parenthood in Sinton, Texas. My mother took me. I was 17 years old. 

At the moment Planned Parenthood is experiencing the yearly "40 days of harassment" based on the religious observance of Lent. What an ingenuous way to pervert god's message, but I digress. I've been made aware of this from a HCoF friend who has been a volunteer escort for several years. He knows that I don't work and has been gently convincing me that I should do this. Well, after being confronted on the sidewalk by a protester I signed up. I told them that I didn't think I had the discipline to ignore the stupidity of the protesters and that I'd have to do something else. They laughed and said it would be no problem. I was impressed with the causal dismissal the staff had of the protesters. I guess they have become so used to their insanity and ignorance and they knew there was no hope for them. 

Friday, February 19, 2010

What I think about religion (and other things affirmed with no proof)

"What can be asserted without proof can be dismissed without proof." ~Christopher Hitchens

Wednesday, February 17, 2010


As a child growing up in a religious household I don't remember giving much thought to the idea of hell. I think I dismissed it so easily because it was hard to imagine that God (the one in my head) could not be so evil as to condemn people who never heard of him to such a horrible place. The explanations my mother gave were so vague that I wasn't convinced. I also have a hard time imagining what those excuses were over 40 years later.

Christopher Hitchens, in the video above, describes Christianity in a way I think I always saw it, even as a child. The story on it's own merits is hard to believe in a rational way. Now that I've educated myself on the history of the bible, it's translations over several millennia during widely differing political climates, there is no way I could ever accept Christianity at face value not to mention on it's moral standing.

His challenge is also worth noting: show evidence that any moral action inspired by religion could not also be accomplished without reliance on the supernatural. I'm still waiting too.

Tuesday, February 16, 2010

Another example of bad behavior from Christians

My last post was about my secular morals being superior to some Christian morals. I've argued that before when discussing how my super-duper religious relatives have blocked my emails or have unfriended me from facebook. When I had my first blog on AOL (this is my 2nd blog, btw) I surprised at the venom from Christians when they would comment on my posts. They were so hateful and nasty that I had to calm myself down after reading them. It took several months to get used to the vitriol but by then I got bored with the constant attacks and stopped posting.

I've had this blog for a few years and, although I don't get much traffic now, the comments are much more sane and reasonable. But that's not the case everywhere. Christians are still the majority and when they feel that can bully someone around they do with such glee. This article is only a small example of what ignorant and arrogant Christians will do when they know they can get away with horrible, bad behavior and know that the powers that be will not dare call them out on it. I feel bad for this teacher but know that eventually she will have to quit and move on if she is to get any satisfaction out of her job. I wish her well.

Friday, February 12, 2010

Superior morals?

One of the things that has always bothered me about Christians/Republicans/my religious family is their smugness about their moral standing. I want to comment on the reasons why they are wrong.

I want to discuss two issues that I find I differ from the above groups diametrically. The first issue is the death penalty. I have lots of reasons for thinking the death penalty is immoral but I'll only mention one because it should be the one that changes minds...and it doesn't. Our justice system is so flawed that we convict and sentence lots of innocent people to death row. That system is not going to change in the near future. Our states are killing innocent people because of this flawed system. I have used this argument before and it rarely changes minds. (That's a subject for another post, BTW.)

The second issue is equal rights for homosexuals. Again I have lots of reasons I think the current bigotry against this small group of people is immoral but I'll focus on one. We should not be using the opinion of the majority of the state to dictate what rights a minority can have. Imagine that we are back 40 years when African-Americans were fighting for equality and the abolition of the "separate but equal" laws. This is exactly what gay people are fighting for and it is shamefully immoral to deny them the same rights heterosexuals enjoy.

There are lots of reasons I'm given from Christians/Republicans/religious people for these opposing views on these two issues. The reasons are always religious. When it comes to the death penalty the reasons for their closed-minded acceptance can be traced to the myths of a vengeful God in the Old Testament of the bible. And again, the bigotry against homosexuals clearly originates from this Old Testament. There is no other reason for it.

It is disturbing to me that religious people are smug and outwardly proud of their morals, morals that are harmful to people and cause lasting pain and anguish to families. What do you tell the family that spend all of their money on trying to prove that their father is innocent only to see him get murdered by the state for a crime he didn't commit? How about the couple that want to spend the rest of their lives together, as their friends have been able to, that they can't get married just because they are a same-sex couple?

This is cut and dry. It is immoral to single out a small group of people who aren't hurting anyone and make laws to discriminate against them. It's also immoral to kill a group of people when our justice system still cannot guarantee that each person is 100% guilty. Fortunately as we progress through time these issues will become painfully clear. Already the old bigots are dying off and being replaced by people who are comfortable with gay people and want them to have the same rights as straights. With the acceptance of DNA testing it's becoming clear that a high percentage of people on death row are indeed innocent. It is also very expensive for the state to kill people and it's becoming better policy to convict without parole. Time will tell.

Thursday, February 11, 2010

No Comment

(Rick Perry is the current Republican Governor of Texas, the state I live in. He is very religious and has very conservative family values. In other words he is for abstinence only sex education, against equal rights for homosexuals, for the continuation of our barbaric death penalty, wants to secede from the Federal Government, turns down federal grant money (stimulus package for creating jobs), and likes Sarah Palin.)

Tuesday, February 2, 2010

Equal time

This video is how some people treat an argument that has two or more sides to it. For a good example of this one could watch Fox News or just turn to the Texas Board of Education to see it in action. I've also seen this personally in a very subtle way. For example I was told one time that I was not allowed to take pictures of crazy roadside anti-abortion signs because I would be making fun of the signs on the Internet. When I asked later why that was a problem I was told that those people are entitled to their beliefs and making fun of them is unethical (or something like that).

Many, many years ago the KKK was brought down by an infiltrator that made fun of their secret ways in newspaper articles. Perhaps it was wrong to do this because those people were entitled to their beliefs that can harmed others?  But, this person would argue, the anti-abortion view hasn't harmed anyone. The assassination of Dr Tiller in his church in front of his family isn't harming anyone? The signs I was told not to take pictures of were in Wichita, Kansas. How's that for disturbing?

Friday, January 29, 2010

And I doubted myself?

Many years prior to being "blocked on FB by a super-duper crazy religious relative" I felt that this particular relative hated me. Hate is a strong word and I use it in its most forceful context here. When I was born I had the misfortune to have been named after this particular relative. It's an unusual name, one which I would imagine she and I were the only people in the US with. And yes, I got teased in school because of it. It bothered me that I shared this name with someone who so venomously hated me. So I changed it.

When I first started my FB experiment and I got this particular super-duper crazy religious relative to friend me I thought, "Mmmmmmm...." Several weeks went by and I thought perhaps I was wrong, perhaps she really does love me and I made a mistake by changing my name for the reasons I stated. But it was too much for her to take I guess. I made the tragic mistake of criticizing her politics, even ever so slightly for her sensibilities. When she unfriended/blocked me my first thoughts were, "Why did I ever doubt myself? I was so right in changing my name and I'm so glad I did it."

Before I actually went though the task of changing my name I thought long and hard over the reasons. It hurt me to think that a relative who I had grown up around could just hate me so quickly and causally. As I thought about this particular relative and her daughter it occurred to me that Christianity was perfect for their type of personalities. They are the Christians that type everything in ALL CAPS on the Internet and refuse to watch any other news station other than Fox News. They are the people who think Sarah Palin is a smart woman who was divinely destined to be the next President but that "nigger" got in her way. They are the people who will not consider that they might be wrong and are not open-minded enough to consider a different idea. They are stagnated in their worldview and they are perfect for that conservative crazy mind-set that we see so many Christians gravitate towards. I couldn't, in good faith, be named after a person like that so I started the process of changing my name in 2007.

It was in the first quarter of 2008 that I swore in court that I wasn't changing my name for hidden or illegal reasons. It was not a happy day for me although I did feel some relief. I decided long before that date not tell relatives about my name change. I knew they wouldn't understand and that it would be twisted out of context. I didn't do it to make statement to them. I'll admit, it was selfish. I did it for me.

Wednesday, January 27, 2010

Quote of the Day

"Science makes a lousy religion and religion makes a lousy science." ~ Linda Rosa

Sunday, January 24, 2010

I'm tired of it...the double standard I mean.

My mother sent an email to many people (I was one) about Obama being a Muslim and some other stupid shit that I couldn't read much of. It was the typical crazy religious conservative stupid shit that those people believe just because they report it on Fox News. It makes a thoughtful and intelligent person sick to see what low levels the common person has sunk to.

I sent this back to her and her husband (because the email originated from his email address, otherwise it would've only been sent to my mother):

It's been brought to my attention that my political/religious opinion is not welcome so I'd like to ask that you guys please not send your political or religious opinions and emails to me. I think that's only fair.
I'm not angry or upset. I'm just tired of it.
Thank you.

I don't expect an answer but I do expect them to stop sending those emails. I'm just tired of the BS from those people.

Note: two days later and still no response. I'm not surprised.

6 Feb 2010: still no response to my email but the religious and political emails have stopped.

Thoughts of the day

Several thoughts as I was walking the dog:

Unfriending and blocking all because of one post? If so, that's stupid. Could it be that I was blocked for another reason?

It might be jealousy?

The intelligence of a friend.

The universe is so awesome it's hard to imagine accepting faith/religion as a way to view reality.

As I was walking my dog I was thinking a bit about the actions of my super-duper crazy religious relative and that there might be another reason why she unfriended/blocked me on Facebook. I had just changed my email address and for grins and giggles I sent a note to her daughter (also a super-duper crazy religious relative who has blocked me on Facebook several months ago) to inform her of a new email address for her to block. Yeah, I have a sick sense of humor and I really thought it was funny and appropriate and yes, petty. I'm sure she informed her mother and her mother may have blocked me because that. I can't sure since these events happened around the same time but it does make sense if you can wrap your brain around the weirdness of their strange morality.

But it could've been something else. I post a lot on Facebook about my daily events and my super-duper crazy religious relative might have just had enough of what a fantastic person I am. I think she's jealous of the fun I'm having verses the kind of fun she has, which has to suck. If this is what is going on, and I'm certainly not sure of it, then she is a sad person indeed. It must just burn her up that a heathen like myself isn't suffering because of my unbelief. (But that's OK because I'll get it in the next life...bwahahahahaha!)

My mind was really active this morning! My next thought was of my friend who I offended by explicitly stating that I thought she was too smart to believe in Christianity. She has since demonstrated behavior that has made me change my mind about her. If she reads this I want her to know that I apologize. I was wrong to say that about you. You have shown a willingness to believe in some other crazy stuff without evidence that I thought someone as smart as you would know better and you got mad at me for trying to give you solid facts. I will now treat you a lot differently from now on. You are now free to think that Oprah is good source for solid, fact-driven advice.

So after devoting too much time thinking about the stuff above and realizing it I thought "Ah, the universe is so wonderful it makes this crap look insignificant." Last night I walked home in the cold moonlight from a friend's home while listening to a couple of horned owls hooting to each other. It was awesome. I remembered looking up into the night sky while in New Zealand and seeing the Milky Way in its wondrous glory and understanding how primitive people could make a religion out of seeing all that. For me it was like "Of course they did! What else could they do?" I was then transported to the present and grateful for the science that allows me to be captivated by the facts of time and space instead of being blinded by superstition and myth.

Sometimes it takes me a long time to appreciate or to understand something, especially something that I thought was meaningful in my life. It's time to concentrate on the people who are present in my life, those who outwardly show that I'm meaningful to them, instead of trying to get people who just don't like me to like me. Duh!

Friday, January 22, 2010

Slap in the face

Not really, but I suppose that's what my super-duper crazy religious relative would like for me to think it is.

She dumped me. That's right, yesterday's post was about my super-duper crazy relative who is ultra sensitive and couldn't handle a comment from a different point of view and deleted the whole post. Then soon after she defriended me and blocked me.

Perhaps I let my guard down and felt that my relative liked me in spite of my irreligiosity. I made a comment I shouldn't have made and deserved what I got. I think that's what a few of my other religious relatives are thinking, if they know and have noticed the events that have come to past. Yeah, that's it, I should've known better.

But there's a double standard that I'm not used to. If you do something then it's OK for me to do the same, right? For example: we play nicey, nicey for a few days with an unspoken understanding that we don't talk about politics or religion. You also know that most people will agree with you and you feel very righteous about your position. I, on the other hand, am in the minority. I have different views and feel just as strongly as you do, which is why we have this unholy alliance between us. But suddenly something happens and you forget yourself and you say something political or religious. Do I now have the right to post or comment a dissenting view?

Of course not!

Now it just sounds silly, doesn't it? But this is the way my religious relatives play. I'm fine to have minimal contact with but once I voice an opinion that is (gasp!) different or thought provoking then all bets are off and I get ignored or blocked.

Unfortunately they, my super-duper religious relatives, are out-of -touch with the real world. They only watch Fox News and think that the religious right is looking after their interests. Anyone with a differing POV is considered the enemy who they are encouraged not to listen to. This is how my religious relatives treat me. I try to educated them with news about the Texas State Board of Education and the damage they are doing to our curriculum and I get totally ignored. I post a cute animal video or pictures and they comment about that.

I don't mention this to my husband very often. I tend to suffer in silence. When I do tell him about my frustration he shakes his head and says something negative about the intelligence that super-duper crazy religious people tend to exhibit. He's right. Intelligent people want to engage and be stimulated. They want their views to be challenged. Super-duper crazy religious people don't.

Facebook experiment, part 3 (or something like that)

Separating my family and friends from the rest of my irreligious Facebook page was the best thing I've ever done. The first hint was when my sister told me during our last conversation over a month ago that she was so glad that I did this. When I asked why she revealed that some of the comments on my posts had offended her. I had to chuckle at that. But I do feel bad that the Christian religion makes it's followers thin-skinned and easy to offend. When my religious relatives post about god/Jesus it doesn't offend me, but it does makes me sad that they are gullible to the point of being proud that they believe in something with no evidence. I want to help but I know they will cop an attitude and think "How dare Tina!" So for the most part I leave them alone to their delusions.

My family Facebook page also includes my tennis friends who I know can't be bothered with the concerns of the irreligious. And it's really none of their business anyway. A couple of them spout bible verses and their weird love of a guy that's been dead for several thousand years so I just hide them. The religious ones never post anything interesting anyway. I mean, what's interesting about private religious schools and devotionals?

Two things have recently happened on Facebook that I find fascinating. On my irreligious Facebook page my friend Jorge will occasionally post provocative statements that his Christian friends will comment on. The comments are usually defensive and end with a general faith statement that proves nothing to atheists. The last comment thread I participated in involved a commenter that felt the need to tell of a medical miracle that convinced her of God's presence and strengthened her faith. The only thing I saw was her inability to separate fantasy from facts. She saw divine intervention in a well run medical procedure where an atheist sees a team that is well practiced and well prepared. From her point of view, even if the people involved had died it would still be God's divine plan. It makes no sense.

The other thing that happened was a Republican senator got elected to Ted Kennedy's long time held Democratic seat in Massachusetts. Admittedly the Democrat that was running against him was pretty terrible and didn't deserve to win. It's not hard to see that it didn't take divine intervention to get the Republican elected. Besides he was good looking, young, and well spoken...just like the Democrat candidate that won the election in 2008. What was his name?

Anyway, one of my super-duper crazy religious (she would be proud I called her that BTW) relatives posted something like "a Republican got elected in Mass....God is soooooooooo good!" It was funny to me because it showed how out-of-touch these religious zealots can be and how uneducated they are about the real world. They close their minds, put their fingers in their ears and shout "Lalalalalalalala I can't hear you! And I don't care what you say!" I responded in a way that I thought was thoughtful yet thought provoking and went for a long walk with my dog. As we walked I thought that perhaps my post was too confrontational for my relative. When I got back home I deleted it and put something very mild down like "I'm glad that good looking guy got elected too." But about 10 minutes later I notice that my super-duper crazy religious relative deleted the whole post.

Question for the day: Why are Christians so easily offended?

Friday, January 15, 2010

Leave comments!

Hey, I know my sister and brother visit my blog. Leave a comment and let me know you've been here!

Tina Marie

Losing friends and family

"Consider it: every person you have ever met, every person will suffer the loss of his friends and family. All are going to lose everything they love in this world. Why would one want to be anything but kind to them in the meantime?" ~ Sam Harris

I have an answer for this based on some treatment I've gotten from my family. "They don't give a fuck about you!" 

The secret is not to give a fuck about them either. Not so easy to do in my case.

Saturday, January 9, 2010

Again, Tim Minchin

Tim Minchin is one of my favorite people in all the world. He has a mischievous, charming manner about him and he is as cute as can be. Cute in a way one of my children would have been if I had children. He's funny and witty that is disarming without being offensive. The skeptical and humanist movement is benefiting greatly from his involvement as an entertainment figure.

In this clip he is discussing evolution. Here in the US evolution is not accepted by 50% or more of our population. I find this appalling but a Christian friend of mine says that these people who don't accept the facts behind evolution are entitled to their "beliefs." It's true, we have freedoms here. These freedoms allow us to believe all kinds of things from astrology to zombies without any proof whatsoever. We can live our lives in accordance to these beliefs and feel safe that we can legally fight to keep these beliefs even if they kill us. My friend thinks it's moral to not criticize people for believing in things that are wrong and are harmful and could potentially kill. She would also think it's wrong to make fun of these people. I disagree and I like the way Tim does it.

Monday, January 4, 2010

Quote of the Day

I heard this today on Episode 020 of Atheist Talk and have always felt this is one of the main reasons religious people are so adamant about forcing their "morals" on everyone else.

"Don't mistake righteousness for lack of opportunity."

In other words, since I can't do it neither can you.

I'm reminded of this video by Brit Hume:

Obviously, being a Christian doesn't automatically make one a moral person and becoming a Christian doesn't do so either. So what exactly is Brit Hume saying? I believe he's jealous that he isn't rich enough to get away with this kind of behavior and he's being righteous because of it.

I could be wrong. (But I doubt it!)

Sunday, January 3, 2010

Stephen Fry's Humanism

"That's to say God was absolutely everything a thousand or two thousand years ago because we understood almost nothing about the natural world, so it could all be God and then as we understood more God receded and receded and receded, so suddenly now he is barely anywhere."

Exactly! It's easy to look at a sunset or a cool looking cloud and say, "There's God!" But when your father is dying from lung cancer and all the praying everyone is doing hasn't done a thing, reality sets in and you realize there is no god. The universe is a horrible, deadly thing and is behaves this way because nothing created it. It just is.

Friday, January 1, 2010

I don't do resolutions...

I've done the New Year's resolutions thing before and I'm sometimes successful at keeping them. But several years ago I decided not to make them anymore but to live each day fully and happily with some rules to help me along the way.

Rules of Tina:

I conduct my life in a way I don't have to tell lies about myself.

I organize my day every morning and try to get all my errands done in a timely way.

I am considerate of the hard work my husband puts into each day and try to make it easy for him once he gets home. This means keeping track of all the bills, maintaining a clean house, meeting him at the door with a smile when he comes home, keeping him fed with food he likes, not being a bitch and no nagging. I also don't allow him to be bitchy or to nag. We have an agreement about such things and it's worked for a long time.

Keeping the above statement in mind but also doing this for my general well being I keep myself in relatively good shape. This means I maintain a certain weight. I don't over indulge or drink too much, although I do have a glass of wine almost every night.

I am a good friend. I listen and try not to ramble on about my own personal life. I try not to complain as I hate to hear when others do. I ask questions and engage in a caring and thoughtful way. Most important is to make eye contact and be agreeable when I agree and be respective when I don't.

When I'm wrong about something I immediately will correct myself. If someone points out my mistake I am grateful and will acknowledge that person. This particular rule I am most proud of. I've learned so much about myself and about the world around me. Unfortunately I've found that most people do not share this quality and it's caused me some sadness over the years.

This list is far from perfect but it works well for me and those around me. There is only so much one can do to maintain a healthy relationship with others and sometimes it's best to let go. Letting go is the hard part. I'm still working on that.