Sunday, November 29, 2015


"No matter how we see our own authentic selves, we can't compel other people to see the same way. We can try to explain what we're really like underneath, but we know it's futile. That fact itself shapes our sense of self."
Ophelia Benson
"What is Identity?"
Free Inquiry December 2015/January 2016

Friday, November 27, 2015

Heartening, sort of

I find it positive that so few women trust the Church when comes to advice on reproductive issues. However, the tone of Timothy Morgan's "Survey: Women distrust churches for abortion advice" implies to some degree that women do turn to the church for advice on other matters. That I find quite disturbing. Even if you ignore all the incidences where various religious groups have blatantly lied or behaved in deceitful unethical ways the "Church" would still be a horrible source of advice in virtually all matters of concern. Religion is authoritarian and highly subjective by its very nature. Facts and reality play little to no role in any of its activities or beliefs. Making decisions based solely on opinion, hearsay, or outright fantasy is a terrible idea with potentially grave consequences. No one in their right mind should be taking advice of any type from religion, period.

Sunday, November 22, 2015

It's a fool's question

I've heard the question numerous times before and to be blunt I'm getting tired of it. Why so many people fall for such a stupid questions is truly mind-boggling. "Can Atheism Replace Religion?" is so loaded with ignorance it is almost surreal. Neither the author of this specific post, Michael W. Austin, nor the man being criticized seems to grasp that there is literally nothing to "replace." What trait or quality of religion do people really need? Which of those wants or needs cannot be satisfied outside religion? Virtually every positive outcome that has been ascribed to religion is neither innate or unique to religion. Again, there is no need to replace anything. The question only works if you make the most ignorant and foolish assumptions.

Christianity and patriotism

I found Benjamin Corey's recent post, "To Start Thinking Like Christians, We Need To Stop Thinking Like Americans", rather amusing. He seems to be saying that good Christians cannot also be patriotic. According to him if you think about Jesus to the extent that a good Christian should you cannot and should not think as much about your country. To some degree his logic does make sense. If Jesus and the coming Kingdom are the primary focus why would a Christian be all that concerned about any earthly matters, let alone those connected to a specific country? The thing about this that I find so entertaining is that I have no doubts that many of the same ignorant bigoted dumb-asses who froth at the mouth when you suggest that "under God" in the pledge is antithetical to our Constitution would agree with Corey without ever noticing the contradiction and hypocrisy of their stance.

Sunday, November 8, 2015


"Thankfully, we're moving in a direction where some feel it's not an act of courage simply to state that you don't believe in god. . . . We must continue to speak out, be honest about our beliefs."
Pete Stark
acceptance speech for the 2010 "Emperor Has No Clothes Award"
from the Freedom From Religion Foundation

The "ism" that never was

Even once you set aside the fact that atheism isn't actually an "ism" at all given that is defined by the lack of a specific type of belief system, headlines like "Is the New Atheism Dead?" are idiotic. Even as a rhetorical device it is incredibly ignorant and stupid. Ideas/concepts never really die since they never completely go away. Then, of course, there is the problem with the term "New Atheism." It never actually meant anything other than another round of slurs and misrepresentations of atheists. The only thing "new" in the past few decades has been a slightly higher level of willingness in the mainstream media to cover and publish atheists. In the past if an atheist wanted to publish a book on atheism they had to go to the smaller presses. Even then it was not always easy to get into print. The article also takes a funny approach to the latest from Pew. It parrots some of the talking points that have shown up elsewhere about America losing faith yet notes the discrepancy between a growing lack of specific religious affiliation and a consistence of religious beliefs. The author doesn't seem to have a direction yet insists on rambling on.

It may not be that difficult

The recent Religious News Service analysis piece "Non-religious voters present a puzzle for political parties" makes a few decent point but does overlook a few key points. I won't pretend to speak for all atheists let alone all of the "nones" but there does seem to be one political element that many of us can agree on; Separation of Church and State.

Markoe writes:
"The nones are also a difficult group for politicians to define and woo, said Dan Cox, research director at the Public Religion Research Institute. They’re not cohesive, in that they include atheists and agnostics but also believers unattached to religious institutions. And unlike the pursuit of an actual religious group, it’s not so clear how to connect with the millions of people defined by their lack of religious connections."

It is true that we are one of the most diverse demographics around. However, I have yet to come across any that fall under the "nones" label that particularly like being told by others what and how we should think. Most also seem to distrust or dislike religion being foisted on the rest of us. Seems to me that if a politician wants to court us as a group they would have to make it clear they will not use their own or accept others attempts at imposing religious views on the rest of us. That would mean clearly and consistently supporting the Separation of Church and State. That doesn't seem too "difficult" to figure to me.

Sunday, November 1, 2015

The sham of multi-faith dialogue

I agree that it is far better for different faiths to get along rather than harass and persecute each other but that does not mean that "interfaith" or "multi-faith" proponents and activists are not full of shit. I'm sure many of the groups that have been advocating for this approach to religion are well meaning but they fail to acknowledge some innate problems with this movement. Ultimately, all religions are divisive. Cooperation can only go so far. A recent post on the Patheos blog Uncommon God, Common God inadvertently admits to this rather important and disturbing flaw.

In the very opening paragraph of "Don’t Compromise on Multi-Faith Dialogue" Paul Metzger states,
"Moreover, while multi-faith engagement seeks to safeguard against manipulation and bait and switch strategies of evangelism, it also seeks to provide compelling reasons why one would/should become an adherent of a particular religious tradition."
Reread that sentence and think about what he's really saying. Right away you should notice the contradiction. The latter part of the sentence is explicitly about evangelizing. So, yes, the approach is at least partially about "bait and switch." Many individuals and groups really are as concerned with converting and spreading their favored faith over all others. That is not cooperative or tolerant. The  truth is that theists view their faith as having more merit and therefore all others are of lesser value. Why else would have continued to be part of their religion?