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?