Archive for the 'atheism' Category

10
Mar
10

Memorial And Remonstrance

James Madison Explains the Establishment Clause

This is not in the Constitution, mind, but it is illustrative as the “Letter to the Danbury Baptists” on the clear meaning of the Establishment Clause of the First Amendment to the Constitution. People need to read this occasionally as a reminder of why the Framers made clear that while the people of the U.S. are majority Christian this is not a Christian Nation, nor a Christian Government. Aside from the fact that the majority can not be trusted to protect the rights of the minority, a government itself can’t get the entirety of one religion right. How can it get the myriads of Christian religions right in order to make sure that the laws it passes and enforces conforms to them?

I also find that the whole idea that there is for each Christian Church the claim that is has “The True Teaching” of Christianity a great illustration that there is no way that a democratically elected government, even if it were allowed to be officially Christian, could avoid oppression and heresy of non-majority sects of Christianity. The additional protections afforded atheists, Jews, Muslims, and all manner of religious beliefs is a guarded position that we get as a byproduct of the differences that the Founders saw in the often violent and warring disagreements between two such similar religions as the Anglican and Roman ones.

Without ado, Madison Explains it All:

To the Honorable the General Assembly of the Commonwealth of Virginia
A Memorial and Remonstrance Against Religious Assessments

We the subscribers , citizens of the said Commonwealth, having taken into serious consideration, a Bill printed by order of the last Session of General Assembly, entitled “A Bill establishing a provision for Teachers of the Christian Religion,” and conceiving that the same if finally armed with the sanctions of a law, will be a dangerous abuse of power, are bound as faithful members of a free State to remonstrate against it, and to declare the reasons by which we are determined. We remonstrate against the said Bill,

1. Because we hold it for a fundamental and undeniable truth, “that religion or the duty which we owe to our Creator and the manner of discharging it, can be directed only by reason and conviction, not by force or violence.” The Religion then of every man must be left to the conviction and conscience of every man; and it is the right of every man to exercise it as these may dictate. This right is in its nature an unalienable right. It is unalienable, because the opinions of men, depending only on the evidence contemplated by their own minds cannot follow the dictates of other men: It is unalienable also, because what is here a right towards men, is a duty towards the Creator. It is the duty of every man to render to the Creator such homage and such only as he believes to be acceptable to him. This duty is precedent, both in order of time and in degree of obligation, to the claims of Civil Society. Before any man can be considerd as a member of Civil Society, he must be considered as a subject of the Governour of the Universe: And if a member of Civil Society, do it with a saving of his allegiance to the Universal Sovereign. We maintain therefore that in matters of Religion, no man’s right is abridged by the institution of Civil Society and that Religion is wholly exempt from its cognizance. True it is, that no other rule exists, by which any question which may divide a Society, can be ultimately determined, but the will of the majority; but it is also true that the majority may trespass on the rights of the minority.

1.

2.
Because Religion be exempt from the authority of the Society at large, still less can it be subject to that of the Legislative Body. The latter are but the creatures and vicegerents of the former. Their jurisdiction is both derivative and limited: it is limited with regard to the co-ordinate departments, more necessarily is it limited with regard to the constituents. The preservation of a free Government requires not merely, that the metes and bounds which separate each department of power be invariably maintained; but more especially that neither of them be suffered to overleap the great Barrier which defends the rights of the people. The Rulers who are guilty of such an encroachment, exceed the commission from which they derive their authority, and are Tyrants. The People who submit to it are governed by laws made neither by themselves nor by an authority derived from them, and are slaves.

3.
Because it is proper to take alarm at the first experiment on our liberties. We hold this prudent jealousy to be the first duty of Citizens, and one of the noblest characteristics of the late Revolution. The free men of America did not wait till usurped power had strengthened itself by exercise, and entagled the question in precedents. They saw all the consequences in the principle, and they avoided the consequences by denying the principle. We revere this lesson too much soon to forget it. Who does not see that the same authority which can establish Christianity, in exclusion of all other Religions, may establish with the same ease any particular sect of Christians, in exclusion of all other Sects? that the same authority which can force a citizen to contribute three pence only of his property for the support of any one establishment, may force him to conform to any other establishment in all cases whatsoever?

4.
Because the Bill violates the equality which ought to be the basis of every law, and which is more indispensible, in proportion as the validity or expediency of any law is more liable to be impeached. If “all men are by nature equally free and independent,” all men are to be considered as entering into Society on equal conditions; as relinquishing no more, and therefore retaining no less, one than another, of their natural rights. Above all are they to be considered as retaining an “equal title to the free exercise of Religion according to the dictates of Conscience.” Whilst we assert for ourselves a freedom to embrace, to profess and to observe the Religion which we believe to be of divine origin, we cannot deny an equal freedom to those whose minds have not yet yielded to the evidence which has convinced us. If this freedom be abused, it is an offence against God, not against man: To God, therefore, not to man, must an account of it be rendered. As the Bill violates equality by subjecting some to peculiar burdens, so it violates the same principle, by granting to others peculiar exemptions. Are the quakers and Menonists the only sects who think a compulsive support of their Religions unnecessary and unwarrantable? can their piety alone be entrusted with the care of public worship? Ought their Religions to be endowed above all others with extraordinary privileges by which proselytes may be enticed from all others? We think too favorably of the justice and good sense of these demoninations to believe that they either covet pre-eminences over their fellow citizens or that they will be seduced by them from the common opposition to the measure.

5.
Because the Bill implies either that the Civil Magistrate is a competent Judge of Religious Truth; or that he may employ Religion as an engine of Civil policy. The first is an arrogant pretension falsified by the contradictory opinions of Rulers in all ages, and throughout the world: the second an unhallowed perversion of the means of salvation.

6.
Because the establishment proposed by the Bill is not requisite for the support of the Christian Religion. To say that it is, is a contradiction to the Christian Religion itself, for every page of it disavows a dependence on the powers of this world: it is a contradiction to fact; for it is known that this Religion both existed and flourished, not only without the support of human laws, but in spite of every opposition from them, and not only during the period of miraculous aid, but long after it had been left to its own evidence and the ordinary care of Providence. Nay, it is a contradiction in terms; for a Religion not invented by human policy, must have pre-existed and been supported, before it was established by human policy. It is moreover to weaken in those who profess this Religion a pious confidence in its innate excellence and the patronage of its Author; and to foster in those who still reject it, a suspicion that its friends are too conscious of its fallacies to trust it to its own merits.

7.
Because experience witnesseth that eccelsiastical establishments, instead of maintaining the purity and efficacy of Religion, have had a contrary operation. During almost fifteen centuries has the legal establishment of Christianity been on trial. What have been its fruits? More or less in all places, pride and indolence in the Clergy, ignorance and servility in the laity, in both, superstition, bigotry and persecution. Enquire of the Teachers of Christianity for the ages in which it appeared in its greatest lustre; those of every sect, point to the ages prior to its incorporation with Civil policy. Propose a restoration of this primitive State in which its Teachers depended on the voluntary rewards of their flocks, many of them predict its downfall. On which Side ought their testimony to have greatest weight, when for or when against their interest?

8.
Because the establishment in question is not necessary for the support of Civil Government. If it be urged as necessary for the support of Civil Government only as it is a means of supporting Religion, and it be not necessary for the latter purpose, it cannot be necessary for the former. If Religion be not within the cognizance of Civil Government how can its legal establishment be necessary to Civil Government? What influence in fact have ecclesiastical establishments had on Civil Society? In some instances they have been seen to erect a spiritual tyranny on the ruins of the Civil authority; in many instances they have been seen upholding the thrones of political tyranny: in no instance have they been seen the guardians of the liberties of the people. Rulers who wished to subvert the public liberty, may have found an established Clergy convenient auxiliaries. A just Government instituted to secure & perpetuate it needs them not. Such a Government will be best supported by protecting every Citizen in the enjoyment of his Religion with the same equal hand which protects his person and his property; by neither invading the equal rights of any Sect, nor suffering any Sect to invade those of another.

9.
Because the proposed establishment is a departure from the generous policy, which, offering an Asylum to the persecuted and oppressed of every Nation and Religion, promised a lustre to our country, and an accession to the number of its citizens. What a melancholy mark is the Bill of sudden degeneracy? Instead of holding forth an Asylum to the persecuted, it is itself a signal of persecution. It degrades from the equal rank of Citizens all those whose opinions in Religion do not bend to those of the Legislative authority. Distant as it may be in its present form from the Inquisition, it differs from it only in degree. The one is the first step, the other the last in the career of intolerance. The maganimous sufferer under this cruel scourge in foreign Regions, must view the Bill as a Beacon on our Coast, warning him to seek some other haven, where liberty and philanthrophy in their due extent, may offer a more certain respose from his Troubles.

10.
Because it will have a like tendency to banish our Citizens. The allurements presented by other situations are every day thinning their number. To superadd a fresh motive to emigration by revoking the liberty which they now enjoy, would be the same species of folly which has dishonoured and depopulated flourishing kingdoms

11.
Because it will destroy that moderation and harmony which the forbearance of our laws to intermeddle with Religion has produced among its several sects. Torrents of blood have been split in the old world, by vain attempts of the secular arm, to extinguish Religious disscord, by proscribing all difference in Religious opinion. Time has at length revealed the true remedy. Every relaxation of narrow and rigorous policy, wherever it has been tried, has been found to assauge the disease. The American Theatre has exhibited proofs that equal and compleat liberty, if it does not wholly eradicate it, sufficiently destroys its malignant influence on the health and prosperity of the State. If with the salutary effects of this system under our own eyes, we begin to contract the bounds of Religious freedom, we know no name that will too severely reproach our folly. At least let warning be taken at the first fruits of the threatened innovation. The very appearance of the Bill has transformed “that Christian forbearance, love and chairty,” which of late mutually prevailed, into animosities and jeolousies, which may not soon be appeased. What mischiefs may not be dreaded, should this enemy to the public quiet be armed with the force of a law?

12.
Because the policy of the Bill is adverse to the diffusion of the light of Christianity. The first wish of those who enjoy this precious gift ought to be that it may be imparted to the whole race of mankind. Compare the number of those who have as yet received it with the number still remaining under the dominion of false Religions; and how small is the former! Does the policy of the Bill tend to lessen the disproportion? No; it at once discourages those who are strangers to the light of revelation from coming into the Region of it; and countenances by example the nations who continue in darkness, in shutting out those who might convey it to them. Instead of Levelling as far as possible, every obstacle to the victorious progress of Truth, the Bill with an ignoble and unchristian timidity would circumscribe it with a wall of defence against the encroachments of error.

13.
Because attempts to enforce by legal sanctions, acts obnoxious to go great a proportion of Citizens, tend to enervate the laws in general, and to slacken the bands of Society. If it be difficult to execute any law which is not generally deemed necessary or salutary, what must be the case, where it is deemed invalid and dangerous? And what may be the effect of so striking an example of impotency in the Government, on its general authority?

14.
Because a measure of such singular magnitude and delicacy ought not to be imposed, without the clearest evidence that it is called for by a majority of citizens, and no satisfactory method is yet proposed by which the voice of the majority in this case may be determined, or its influence secured. The people of the respective counties are indeed requested to signify their opinion respecting the adoption of the Bill to the next Session of Assembly.” But the representatives or of the Counties will be that of the people. Our hope is that neither of the former will, after due consideration, espouse the dangerous principle of the Bill. Should the event disappoint us, it will still leave us in full confidence, that a fair appeal to the latter will reverse the sentence against our liberties.

15.
Because finally, “the equal right of every citizen to the free exercise of his Religion according to the dictates of conscience” is held by the same tenure with all our other rights. If we recur to its origin, it is equally the gift of nature; if we weigh its importance, it cannot be less dear to us; if we consult the “Declaration of those rights which pertain to the good people of Vriginia, as the basis and foundation of Government,” it is enumerated with equal solemnity, or rather studied emphasis. Either the, we must say, that the Will of the Legislature is the only measure of their authority; and that in the plenitude of this authority, they may sweep away all our fundamental rights; or, that they are bound to leave this particular right untouched and sacred: Either we must say, that they may controul the freedom of the press, may abolish the Trial by Jury, may swallow up the Executive and Judiciary Powers of the State; nay that they may despoil us of our very right of suffrage, and erect themselves into an independent and hereditary Assembly or, we must say, that they have no authority to enact into the law the Bill under consideration.

We the Subscribers say, that the General Assembly of this Commonwealth have no such authority: And that no effort may be omitted on our part against so dangerous an usurpation, we oppose to it, this remonstrance; earnestly praying, as we are in duty bound, that the Supreme Lawgiver of the Universe, by illuminating those to whom it is addressed, may on the one hand, turn their Councils from every act which would affront his holy prerogative, or violate the trust committed to them: and on the other, guide them into every measure which may be worthy of his [blessing, may re]dound to their own praise, and may establish more firmly the liberties, the prosperity and the happiness of the Commonwealth.

Comment:

“Madison’s Memorial and Remonstrance was written in opposition to a bill, introduced into the General Assembly of Virginia, to levy a general assessment for the support of teachers of religions. The assessment bill was tabled, and in its place the legislature enacted Jefferson’s Bill for Religious Liberty.” ( Source: Hensel, Jaye B., Ed., Church, State, and Politics Washington D.C. Final Report of the 1981 Chief Justice Earl Warren Conference on Adovcacy in the United States)

Thomas Jefferson had drafted The Virginia Act for Establishing Religious Freedom in 1779 three years after he wrote the Declaration of Independence. The act was not passed by the General Assembly of the Commonwealth of Virginia until 1786. Jefferson was by then in Paris as the U.S. Ambassador to France. The Act was resisted by a group headed by Patrick Henry who sought to pass a bill that would have assessed all the citizens of Virginia to support a plural establishment. James Madison’s Memorial and Remonstrance Against Religious Assessments was, and remains, a powerful argument against state supported religion. It was written in 1785, just a few months before the General Assembly passed Jefferson’s religious freedom bill.

13
Feb
10

Indifferent to the Bible and Christian Theology

A Primer on Atheism

I am an atheist, and that means simply that I do not accept the existence of a supernatural controlling entity in this universe. I can allow for a small, unlikely probability that such exists but beyond that I find no reason to behave nor live as if there is a master entity that needs me to conform to its described moral authority. I use the word described here in the etymological sense. From Wiktionary:

From Middle English descriven < Old French descrivre < Latin dēscrībō (“‘I copy off, transcribe, sketch off, describe in painting or writing’”) < de (“‘off’”) + scribere (“‘to write’”);

The source of the moral authority is inscripturation, which is written and copied doctrinal text made by people to source their claims of the knowledge of the Word of the Master Entity (by whatever name.) Both Hector Avalos and Bart Ehrman have dealt convincingly with the weakness of the claim of supernatural authorship of the Bible as used by Christians.

And I appreciate their work, I really and sincerely and truly do. But, the fact is that I am rather indifferent to The Bible. I have read it and I tried to live by it as a youngster and teen because I believed that studying the Bible is important to living a Christian Life. Now that I no longer am a Christian, and practice no religion, I don’t need to know more about the Bible except as a source of cultural literation as referenced in common phraseology and poetry. I only need it as much as I need a background in Shakespeare or Roman, Greek and Celtic Mythology. I only need it enough to know what is referenced when a writer or a speaker I encounter uses something from the Bible. That’s it.

I am aware that my own background in religion and my own personality colors my sense of indifference to the Bible. I grew up Catholic, and for my early years our exposure to the Bible was largely limited to those passages read by the priest or lecterns at Mass. Catholics don’t have a tradition of regular Bible reading, and that is one of the reasons that Fundamentalists think that Catholicism is Satanic. Catholics, instead, derive doctrine from Earthly authority as expressed by the leaders of the Church and inspired by two of the three members of the Trinity. (No one can understand a word from the glossolalial Holy Spirit!)

It was as a born-again Christian, a brief embarrassing period of my life as a teenager, that I bought a Bible complete with a leather book jacket and decided to read the whole thing through. It’s a confusing book. It is all over the map with weird contradictory stories and moral codes. Other people have gone into detail on this, so I don’t really feel the need to waste more time on writing more about what you likely already know about The Bible. Keep in mind that it is not a book, it is a set of books that are joined together by Canonical Authority as determined by councils of theological scholars who decide what to keep and what to toss. This is all supposed to be under the divine inspiration of the Laird Above All. The one who speaks to some but not others and seemed to describe a society in which those in power were to maintain power in order to keep us safe from God’s Wrath.

I didn’t care for The Bible all that much. Except for the titillation in Song of Solomon, the rest was a book of genocide as Joshuah and David and those warrior kings cleared the way for the Jews to colonize Palestine, a book of nonsensical rules to keep women and slaves and children in their place and to justify killing gays, a book that taught that we are worthless to God because of our sinful nature and needed to accept Jesus’ death and resurrection for us to even entertain the idea that we will get the opportunity to worship him directly in his presence for eternity when we die. Ugggh! It is a book intended to create a fear as dreadful as the madness demanded by Cthulhu, the fear of Apocalypse, war, pestilence, hunger, famine and extreme natural disaster followed by an eternity of either bliss or agony. To me, eternal bliss is as horrifying as eternal agony: mind-numbing boredom followed by more mind-numbing boredom ad-infinitum.

So, the prospect of eternity with a choice of six on one hand and a half-dozen on the other doesn’t lead me to a Pascal’s Wager reliance on the Christian Faith to protect me from Hell. If I am wrong, I am wrong but I doubt it.

I am indifferent to the Bible and don’t need to spend a great deal of time debunking it to justify my atheism. When I was newly atheist back in the nineties, I belong to an atheist society and one of my fellow members spent a great deal of time posting “Shocking Biblical Contradictions” in public forums. I read a few of his posts, which were series of verses from the Bible that directly contradicted each other. Nice. But I soon grew bored with the idea. Since my atheism had little to do with The Bible, I wanted to look at atheism outside of the context of a debunked Christianity.

And I still do. The local group of which I am a member often has speakers and guests on our media outlets who have written books disputing the historicity of the events as described in the Bible, or more contradictions in the Bible, or the failures of textual criticism to establish the Scriptural Authority of the Bible. I confess that I quickly tune out. I tune out of discussions of interpretation of the Koran, the Talmud and the Veddas. And while I found the Poetic Eddas fun to read, I spend more time on interpretation of the theological guidelines therein than I do with other scriptures.

I am also indifferent to Christian theology. It doesn’t help me guide my life other than to amuse me that there are doctorates built on arguing over nothing more substantial than the number of angels that can dance on the head of a pin.

This is why I find amusing the criticisms of writers such as Dawkins and others. His books on religion betray a lack of depth of knowledge of Christian Theology, apparently. But why should we give the matter so much importance? I guess so that smart people can justify their faith, and their faith can’t be attacked by atheists if we don’t use the most sophisticated arguments of the atheists of centuries past. Without advanced theology, we have no business discussing the lack of evidence for the existence of God, right?

PZ Pharyngula wrote the famous “Courtier’s Reply” to explain the weirdness of the claim that atheists need to have advanced degrees in theology in order to justify being atheists. It’s a transparent allegory, easily recognized as a claim that the onus is on the the theists to prove their case. Atheists are free to just get on with your lives to live them.

I am indifferent to the Bible and Theology, intellectually. My concerns come in when they are used to create a false moral authority that interferes with personal liberties, as in what is happening in Australia now. (That’s just one example.)

12
Jan
10

Reply to Dairy State Dad

Regarding Dawkins and Fundamentalist Atheism

In response to this post, I have started a comment exchange at Dairy State Dad’s blog. (DSD is a Unitarian.) His comment field is limited to 4096 characters, and I didn’t know how much I needed to trim so I brought it over here.  This comment is unedited, but left raw as I had typed it there, so I beg pardon for anything unusually worse than my normal copy.

One of the things that is important to understand is that all atheists, some of whom have to be cornered into admitting it, is that we are all agnostic. The labels “atheist” and “agnostic” are most often placed within the same scalar of belief, but they are actually functions of different belief concepts. Atheism is a function of how one responds and chooses to live and act on our lack of belief or faith that there is/are supernatural actors/creators, and is ultimately a recognition that the likelihood of such is so low as to be negligible and we use philosophies such as humanism to guide us where religion is lacking.

Agnosticism is a recognition that we can be wrong, because ultimately no one can “know” by the very definition of supernaturalism. So, atheists can be both atheists and agnostics. If you re-read even the introduction to “The God Delusion,” one thing that Dawkins spells out is the reason that he approaches the book in the way that he does, to approach largely the fundamentalist aspects of religion, is that this is what most people are familiar with in our western society; the insistence that the Supernatural Actor has an influence and interest in the natural. This can’t be demonstrated using any method of objective investigation, of course.

Were Dawkins to have fully covered all of the religious experiences and forms of expression (including liberal and moderate forms,) the book would have been twice as long.

This book was aimed at atheists, and a large segment of the religious who are intended to read it and learn about where we get our ideas and concepts rather than as a definitive scholarly work. It was intended as a popular work, to counter the prevalence of such weighty religious tomes as those published by Rick Warren, Joel Osteen and those writers who take the existence of God as “givens” not even to be seriously examined. It was not intended to be the definitive scholarly work, nor was it intended to be a daily guide for atheists. It was written to show people how to approach the ideas and discuss and engage in them at a popular level and not intended to replace the heavier works of philosophy.

Further, it is also intended to help secularists who are fighting the urge of government to give automatic deference in the forming of laws to the religious when it comes to ethical questions. I am sure that it alarms you as much as it does me that there are Bishops and ministers who are working very hard to intimidate our legislators into preventing any financial support in the health bills for the poor and working class who need access to birth control and abortions based on some misguided concepts as “dignity of life” (which is not extended to the collateral damage of children in the countries the U.S. is currently engaged militarily.)

People, even those of you who are religious yet accept your faith and its subjective experience, should be willing to challenge the source of that faith to see if in fact it is a product of societal teaching, a product of the manner in which our brains process information or even if it is a genuine experience of commune with the Supernatural Actor, without fear of approaching it.

If Dawkins, Dennett, Harris and Stenger write books for the popular public, it is not to demand that society abandon religion; and that is why it is not fundamentalist. The hope is there that people will examine why faith is so pervasive, why it is not congruent with science and even to look into the current research into the role of myelin in the experience of mind and self. If there is a dualistic nature to man and spirituality, then can it be demonstrated or is there the possibility that we create it as a self-serving delusion aided by the inherent religious approach in our society that teaches children from a young age that duality is a “given?” It shouldn’t be seen as a given, and that is what these four are trying to say.

Hitchens is a different sort of writer, of course, examining the dangers inherent in clinging to religious belief and he may be the one who can most closely be described as a fundamentalist in his distaste for the effects of religion on society.

But Dawkins is accused of many personality traits he simply doesn’t have. I won’t say that we are close personal friends, but he knows me well enough that he is willing to let me introduce him to my own friends and colleagues. I have never seen him to be rude nor dismissive of anyone unless he is faced again with countering a misimpression of what he is trying to say and from a person who is attacking him personally for his own approach. He is unfailingly polite, even to the religious.

He is not fundamentalist in the sense that he says that only atheism can save us, but he is often accused of that by people who are not willing to reflect on the possible sources of their beliefs and that is a trait of religious people from all spectra. Perhaps the label fundamentalist is useful against such atheism because it deflects responsibility for self-examination

06
Jan
10

Blackford on the New Atheism

Angry Atheism

The Angry Atheists Hate God

The Angry Atheists Hate God

A friend of mine recently said on a podcast that there are angry atheists because we aren’t being heard. It was one of those things that I knew, but until she voiced it had not thought about concretely. It does explain a great deal about why the books of the New Atheists sell as much as they do. It does explain why the organizations of atheists are growing faster than they had in the past. It explains a great deal about why the pushback is so strong among both the religious and the agnostic and the “moderates” among us, those who just want everyone to get along and not argue about the question of religion.

Morality and ethics have long been considered to be the domain of religious thought, and reason too cold to be able to make decisions and judgments on issues of life, death and how we should treat each other. Religion, which is supposed to teach about “compassion” is the inheritor of Universal Truth about the dignity of life. Except for the fact that there are as many religions as there are grains of sand on the beach, and although each have their own Universal Truth they are in conflict over what that Truth is. And all of the enlightened theology is not going to help, because in the end that leads to arguments over the number of angels that can dance on the head of a pin.

The New Atheists may not be spreading any new enlightenment on the issue of the existence of God, but what they are passing along is the narrowing of the necessity of the existence of a Creator, or even a Spinoza-type God, one who is just fabric of space-time and whose intelligence is not enlightening towards humans nor a causal actor in our lives and world. They are attacking the claims of theology, that God is a causal actor with the discoveries in science of how nature works independently and how mind works independently of the supernatural entities that are said to be the directors of the play. They are pushing back against the “givens” of religion, and people don’t like that very much.

Religion is supposed to be there, and it is supposed to be a part of a child’s background and education in order for them to be fully developed and actualized patriotic citizens. When the New Atheists attack this “given” then we are angry and unreasonable and I would say being “politically correct.” Well, given that the term politically correct is a rather vague term that only means “something that I can dismiss out of hand without examining it,” that it is something that people use to be dismissive and disdainful and allows them to be asses without being open to criticism. Anybody that criticizes a person who has already played the anti-pc card is then by definition “pc.” Continue reading ‘Blackford on the New Atheism’

03
Jan
10

Censorship Through YouTube

If You Can’t Win With the Facts

Hat/Tip to Lousy Canadian. Who needs to drink more beer.

02
Jan
10

Perfected in Christ?

Who Needs to Be Perfected?

Christianity’s basic premise is that “All have sinned and fall short of the glory of God.”  This is is why Catholicism teaches that the Sacraments, based on the death sacrifice and re-birth of the Man-God Jesus, restore our individual glories so that upon transition to the afterlife our souls can be in the presence of the Creator.  This is why the Protestant faiths teach that Salvation is obtainable through acceptance of the sinful nature and the sacrifice of the Man-God Jesus and subsequent resurrection.

Continue reading ‘Perfected in Christ?’

01
Jan
10

Stop Being So Religious

From a 14th Century Iranian Sufi

Stop Being So Religious

What

Do sad people have in

Common?

It seems

They have all built a shrine

To the past

And often go there

And do a strange wail and

Worship

What is the beginning of

Happiness?

It is to stop being

So religious

Like

That.

I found this here, doing a google search on poetry for modern times.