Wednesday, February 28, 2007

Thoughts Tonight...

I'm sure we have all asked these questions at one time or another, but what's the big deal? What makes it so difficult for people (Christians specifically) from understanding the concept of simply NOT accepting their faith? I run into this so often, and so often I tend to keep quiet simply due to the fact that I understand for the most part people "needing" their faith. The part that irritates me the most is the arrogant claim that it is the "ONLY" way! or if I don't accept their faith I'm doomed for hell...

This brings me to my actual thought tonight. My opinion's of the strategies used to witness. These are arranged in what I've experienced and methods that I've seen first hand used by people in an attempt to witness to me.

#1) The nice approach.
This method is typical and the one encountered the most. In this situation they simply try to witness by leading a "good" life, being kind to others, and throwing in a "Thank God", or some other blip like "Today is a wonderful day that God has made", etc... I don't mind these people because they are genuinely nice people, and usually I can carry on great conversations with them. This is the majority of those that I have encountered recently. (Granted this is only true if my lack of belief in a god does not come up witch it hardly ever does simply because I'm not really what I would consider an Evangelist for the atheist cause. I live my way and let them live theirs.) As a footnote, these are typically the ones that will not often discuss Politics or Religion.

#2) The "Visit" approach.
Now, this is the next most common encounter, and to be fair, I've usually done something to increase my chances of this happening. Typically, it's because I actually went to a "Church" function and that required me to attend a service. I can't really blame the individual for coming by the house to see if I'll come to church again since I did make the initial visit regardless of the reason I went, by attending the function or service Knowing full well what was going to happen, it would be quite dumb of me to not expect at least 1 or 2 visits by either the pastor or members of the church wondering if I'd come back. This is further complicated in the fact that my in-laws regularly attend the church and are probably constantly reminded of their "Wayward" son-in-law that keeps their daughter and grandson from being raised in church. Anyway, moving on... This visit is usually very cordial. Most of the time it's just an open invitation to come back some time and is mostly a very friendly encounter. Usually stated like: "It was great to see you in service xx Sunday's ago, would love to see you again" or something similar, and they do not ask questions. That's #3...

#3) The "Visit" Approach, but they ask a question.
This one has sub-categories, because right off the bat even before they ask the questions they have already formulated what they think the reason is that I don't go to church. Here are a two examples of typical opening "phishing" lines used:
Q1) "Why don't you go to church? Have you been hurt before by church?"
A1) No, I was not hurt in church, but yes I used to attend frequently. However, I no longer attend. At this point, the conversation gets a bit more dynamic. If they are Really interested, then i might attempt to begin explaining why.. Otherwise, if they are only interested because they have ammunition they are waiting to use... I will usually just drop it, and end the conversation.
Q2) "Do you ever feel like your missing something from your life?"
A2) Of course! Doesn't everyone at some point feel like they are missing something? Just because I may be feeling slightly down or left out, Does not mean that your god can fill that need. As a matter a fact, I will promise you that even with your faith you too will still have that empty feeling on occasion. It's perfectly natural.

Unfortunately, these last type of "Visits" rarely end on an upbeat note. Usually, because they find it so difficult to understand that you could possibly be living a full, happy, and content life without their religion or their god. They have been convinced that the only way to be "Truly" happy in life you must be living for their god. In addition as soon as many christians encounter someone that will not accept their faith, I think it causes them to consider the possibility they might be wrong.. This creates a cascade effect and in a moment they go from polite to indigent. Because the simple fact that you exists is in direct contradiction to what they believe and creates a paradox for them. If they are wrong, then their parents were wrong, and they've been living a lie... and the anger usually escalates depending on the person. This almost always end with them ending the conversation by saying "I'll be Praying for you" or "One day you'll understand". etc..

This brings up some funny comments I've heard. Once during a healthy discussion, I was told that my "Intelligence was blinding" me. Another time I was told that I "Should not read books". Both comments were just rather amusing, thought I'd share :)

Saturday, February 24, 2007

Church and State Issues...

So, I've been pondering the whole "separation of church and state" debates today. Simply because I followed the link from Atheist Revolution and I signed the First Freedom First petition then I sent out an email to some friends and family thinking they would also be in favor of the petition. (Yea, I probably should have known better) However, one of the recipients responded to me claiming the following:

1) There is nothing in the constitution that says there is a separation of church and state
2) It only states that the government cannot make one church the "Church of America"
3) that it was "Drummed up by communists" to cause trouble
4) that Every President from Washington to Bush has put his hand on the bible to take the oath
5) We do believe the bible is our only authority

Here was my reply.....

In Reply to Item #1 and #2 combined:

Bill of Rights

Article #1...
"Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or
prohibiting the free exercise thereof;"

I do not disagree that there is nothing in the constitution that says there is separation of church and state at least not using that exact wording (Althought there should be!). However, simply by the nature in how it is worded, it does at least in some part suggest that there should be at least some separation of religion and Laws that are passed. This (in my opinion) includes not making laws "respecting" or favoring a particular religion. Granted I'm not a lawyer, but I would interpret this to mean the government should not make laws that are either based or favored by a particular religion. Religion should simply not play a part in our government, it's a deeply personal matter and should remain that way.

In Response to #3 the claim this was "Drummed up by Communists"

The truth about the origination for the term "Separation of Church and State":

It was the result of "an inference made from a letter [President Thomas]
Jefferson sent to the Danbury Connecticut Baptist Association on January
1, 1802." President Jefferson was responding to a letter written by the
Danbury Baptist Association expressing concern about individual
religious liberty and its place in the new nation at the time
Jefferson's presidency was being initiated. President Jefferson agreed
with the religious association that "religion is a matter which lies
solely between man and his God." Affirming the Establishment Clause
within his letter, Jefferson rested any fears the association may have
had by expressing his convictions that Congress would "make no law
respecting an establishment of a religion, or prohibiting the free
exercise thereof, 'thus building a wall of separation between church and
state.'" And thus, the nation's concept of a "separation between church
and state" was born.

The above quote was taken from here if you would like to review it...

Reply to Item #4)

As for the claim that every President puts his hand on the bible when taking the oath is not entirely accurate and has little to do with anything about church and state. It is based on the persons belief as to what is used. If our President or any elected official was Muslim it would be the Koran and if he/she was Jew it would be the Torah or a Jewish holy text, etc..

Proof of this is available here and as a reminder just because the "Christian" faith has been the most dominant religion in regards to political office in America does not make in the ONLY religion in this country. Fortunately, this archaic idea is changing and people are beginning to see religion should be no part of politics. It takes very little research to understand what happens when religion plays too big a roll in government. Our Founding fathers understood this, why can't people get this today?

And actually not every President has used the bible, here are other examples:

"As for U.S. presidents, in 1825 John Quincy Adams took the presidential
oath using a law volume instead of a Bible, and in 1853 Franklin Pierce
affirmed the oath rather than swearing it. Herbert Hoover, citing his
Quaker beliefs, also affirmed his oath in 1929 but did use a Bible,
according to the Joint Congressional Committee on Inaugural Ceremonies.
Theodore Roosevelt used no Bible in taking his first oath of office in
1901, but did use one in 1905."

House members are sworn in together on the House floor in a ceremony
without any book, holy or otherwise. But in an unofficial ceremony,
individual members reenact an oath-taking so that it can be
photographed--a tradition dating from the beginning of the wide use of

and Finally Item #5:

I understand that some christians believe that the bible is the only authority, but our government should not take that same stance given that would mean it does in fact "push" a specific religion (Christianity), and that should be prohibited, Oh! wait it already is! I'm not saying our Political Officials can't be people of faith, but at the same time they should be free to have any faith, or none at all.

Well, that was my little encounter of the day. No wonder this pisses so many people off, If our government actually followed our Bill of Rights, Issues like Gay Marriage, Abortions, Stem Cell Research should not even be up for debate!! Since every single case made against them are done by religious organizations using their particular faith as the sole reason they are against them!!! I'm drifting into rant session now, so I'll stop :)

Wednesday, February 21, 2007

Religion and Schools

Was checking out BBC news this morning and came accross this:
BBC NEWS | UK | Education | Schools advised on Muslim pupils

What I disagree with was the term "Muslim pupils".. They are freaking kids!
"Its guidance aims to ensure state schools meet Muslim pupils' needs"
They need to just be taught as kids! If the parents have "special needs" they want to force onto their children, either keep them at home, or send them to a school that tailors to your religion, otherwise your child will be treated just like any other kid in school, and should follow the rules of that school.

and this:
BBC NEWS | UK | Education | Schoolgirl loses veil legal case

This article was just as dumb. No matter what your religion, I don't think a school should allow you to were a robbers mask. What the hell is up with that anyway. Makes them look like a damn raccoon. After the judgment this was the quote from the article:
They said after the judgment that the family were "bitterly disappointed".
Damn, cry me a freaking river, I'm so sorry that you were unable to force you religious convection's into the school system. I was "bitterly disappointed" when my school banned mini-skirts.

Tuesday, February 20, 2007

Iran defiant on nuclear programme

BBC NEWS | Middle East | Iran defiant on nuclear programme

Not much to say here, but to voice my opinion on the matter... Ahmadinejad has a good damn point. I agree with him, if everyone wants him to stop enriching uranium, then they should also stop their enrichment programs. I think that it's pretty damn hypocritical for America to just BULLY other countries around simply because we are "Scared" of what "MIGHT" happen or what "COULD" be done with the enriched uranium. That's pretty much what it boils down to.... America is turning into a scared, selfish, paranoid country. Yes, I understand the need to be cautious and keep a watchful eye... But come on! America is not the worlds Big Brother..... And if we continue to act like it, things will only get worse for us. Sure maybe I'm being a bit naive about the situation, still doesn't make it right.

Hey you can't do that because once you do, then you would be able to make this, and if you do that, then you might attack us, and that we can't let you do that.?

Shit, I say give them a pat on the back, help them out. They want to work towards cleaner ways to create power... That beats the shit out of what those fuckers in China are doing! China is throwing up at least 1 coal burning plant a month, and sending all their smog over to California! Thanks!!

It would not surprise me in the least if our asshole of a President falls for this shit and being the type of person he is, tries to invent some reason for us to invade! Damn Prick! I think the only reason his sorry ass is not been impeached yet is because nobody wants to see the #2 Dumb Ass as Commander in Chief! Cause then, someone might get shot... lol

Thursday, February 15, 2007

Bush Declares Iran’s Arms Role in Iraq Is Certain

Bush Declares Iran’s Arms Role in Iraq Is Certain - New York Times

This shit is really starting to piss me off. How much further are we going to let this man bury this country? You know damn well where he is heading with this. Next I suppose he is going to give the whole "If you are not for us, your against us" and then try to push that we should invade Iran!?! OH, or even better maybe he will admit that "Iraq" didn't have WMD's, there was a typo in the reports... they meant to say Iran!

I know I'm just speculating and ranting here, but damn I don't like this man as President.

Tuesday, February 13, 2007

Ignorance.. Is it really bliss?

I'm not sure if it's because I'm getting older, or if it's because I'm starting to actually listen to other people.... But... and don't get me wrong here, I think everyone is entitled to their opinion.. But some of this shit really gets annoying after awhile.

First let me explain what happen a few weeks ago with my father. We were discussing politics and such, mainly me expressing my thankfulness that Bush would soon be gone. That led to a very brief discussion about the war, and that led to the up coming elections. Now for me, I have not come to a conclusion yet as to who I'm going to vote for and I admit it , I have not done much research except for excerpts and news clippings. However, since I'm a registered Democrat I usually lean that way :) Anyway, I had asked good ole dad what he thought between Hillary and Obama. To my surprise he actually got pissed. Ranting that he would never vote for someone with a name like that! And that there was no way in hell a Muslim would be elected president! Ignorance warning Ignorance warning !! Then the other day the same bull shit happen with my brother-in-law except he was claiming that Barack picked that name, hinting that he was Muslim... Ignorance warning Ignorance warning !! My first thought was WTF?!? Where are these people getting this information?!?!? The pastor? Are they just Guessing?!?! Maybe I'm not watching enough TV, but I have not heard that shit! What I've heard is that this is a good fairly open minded christian man, born in Hawaii who's father died when he was young. As far as I know he was born with his Obama name. As I said though, I have not read much about him... This I plan of fixing. Yesterday I bought both his books: Dreams from My Father (supposed to be sort of a look into his personal life) and The Audacity of Hope . I read the first few pages and was surprised to see he is in favor of Evolution ;)

Guess my point is, Ignorance is NOT BLISS and it makes people look pretty damn stupid! When in doubt , say you don't know, maybe formulate some sort of opinion, but then go out and do some reading....

Friday, February 09, 2007

Woefully inadequate...

After following some recent blogs... It has revealed to me that I know nothing. I have no problems admitting that my intellect or education does not rival that of the great scientists of this world, nor does it seem that I posses the wonderful ability to articulate sound arguments when it comes to debating the matters of the existence/non-existence of a deity. Most of what I rely on that brought me to where I am today has been the experiences growing up, from reading books in an attempt to increase my understanding of the world, from the many conversations with others, and from simple observations.

A few of thoughts on a few matters:

Are all those that religious closed minded and ignorant?
Of course not. If that were true, it is very likely we would not be allowed the freedoms that we have today. From my experience with other people based on my observations only, it does seem that people in general are lazy. At least when it comes to understanding their own faith. It seems they want to believe in a god and after life because that is what everyone else does. It also appears that they simply don't want to have to "Think" or "Reason" or even ask questions. Most people that claim to be Christians (that I know) don't even read their own bible! They go to church on Sunday, and accept verbatim everything that preacher says.

Do I think it is simplest in the Christian faith or any faith for that matter to attribute that witch can not be answered to a deity?
Absolutely! Science provides more logical and reasonable answers to questions about things better than simply attributing it to a god. This in my opinion can be backed up with History. Before medical knowledge existed, when people got sick it was attributed to demons, bad behaviour, or some other form of a non-holy life. We look back on those times and consider those people to have been ignorant and some of the remedies to be superstitious. It would seem to me then, if this happen in the past, and since our knowledge is continually increasing about the world around us that this will happen again. With each step we gain in science, biology, archeology, etc we come closer to understanding the world around us from a different and new perspective.

Why do I deny the existence of the Judaic Christian God?
Because most things attributed to that god can be dismissed (again in my opinion). Example: Being raised in a Pentecostal Church there were things that happen that are difficult to explain. Anyway, most of the notable events occurred when the entire congregation was in unison. During these times you could literally feel something was there. For a long time I had no explanation for this simply because there was nothing else that could be compared to. Until I went to my first "Secular" concert many years later. During one of the performers songs the entire stadium was singing in harmony. At that moment is when I realized; that was the commonality! It wasn't that god was in our presents, it was because a group of people were all participating in something together as one... It truly is a remarkable feeling almost overwhelming. The goosebumps, that tingling sensation throughout your body, but most certainly did not qualify as god. At least not the god of the Christian faith, why the heck would he/she/it be participating in a "Secular" song that was not uplifting to him/her/it??

This post has already become larger than I anticipated, but just had to get some of these thoughts out. Just because I might not have a Harvard education, or posses a large vocabulary, or know all the correct ways to present ideas through arguments does not mean I can't continue to try. Typically, I do not seek out to covert people to atheism... Why? Because, I reject religion for the simple fact they must be right. By nature of the Christian faith, it is the only way! This seems ludicrous to me. If it truly is the only way, then you would think god would have provided a means for his message to be easily seen by all instead of through education from an Evangelist.. I mean damn what good is being all powerful if you are stuck using your own creation as a messenger? of witch you made imperfect so you would know they are going to screw something up. lol

My thoughts for today :)

Wednesday, February 07, 2007

Tuesday, February 06, 2007

How to be a cult leader....

Thought this was pretty funny...Especially since it sounds like just about any religion...

Monday, February 05, 2007

What makes us different?

I pulled this from Philosophy Now

"Elephants Pause for Reflection"
What’s a girl to do when she discovers a large white cross on her forehead? In the case of Happy, an Asian elephant at the Bronx Zoo in New York, she raises her trunk and touches the cross on her mirror-image thereby passing a standard test known as the ‘mark test’. Happy’s response was on a par with those made when human children or great apes are presented with the test.

Happy, with her companions Patty and Maxine, were shown a very large mirror, and it was observed that after initial exploratory behaviour sniffing the mirror and looking behind it, the elephants took an increasing interest in their reflections. This led to each peering into its own mouth. There was no evidence of an elephant mistaking their reflection for that of another.

This self-recognizing trait is thought to relate to empathetic tendencies and the ability to distinguish oneself from others. The study was carried out by scientists from the Yerkes National Primate Research Centre, Emory University, and the Wildlife Conservation Society in New York."

Even though I don't cling to any religion in particular, this is where I think Hinduism and Buddhism gets it right. All life is sacred. Seldom do we hear people admitting that the animals of this planet can "think" or even dream or imagine, but I got to say... I have had some animals that exhibit if not similar then most definitely some type of behaviour that would be considered unexpected from what I was taught was an animal and is simply unaware of itself. For example, We once had a Saint Bernard. Excellent dog! He was like a Giant throw rug in the fact that he always wanted to lay by your feet keeping them warm. Of course most of us animal lovers that have pets always like to personify them, and according to dog trainers like Cesar Milan this is not always a good idea. However, more than on a few occasions we would wake up to hear soft muffled barking, and what sounded like something ruffing up the carpet. After further investigation we would find this big dog lying on his side sleeping but appearing to be acting out a scene as though he was dreaming. It's instances like this that lead me to believe that animals are more than just animals... sure they probably live more "instinctively" than we do, but that does not mean they are not "aware" of themselves or are not capable of cognitive thinking. Of course it's easier to take a big bite of that juicy cheeseburger if we don't consider that cow to be anything more than just an animal, but hell we have to simply admit we are carnivores. Don't get me wrong here, I'm not going to turn vegetation because "Wilbur" might actually be a thinking animal, I'm still going to eat my bacon in the morning....

This brings me to stem cell research.. yea i know kinda stretching here, but here is my honest opinion on that.... Do you eat eggs? If so, then we should be allowed to do stem cell research because your eating an embryo that has not yet divided. If you don't eat eggs, ok then you can be against stem cell research otherwise shut the hell up and lets move forward instead of being held back by religious zealots that think themselves God's gift to the planet... Oh shit that's right... the bible says they are. damn!

Teaching kids the right way?

Nursery children 'to be taught philosophy'

I found this tonight and thought it was a great idea!
Wonder if they could embrace this type of teaching in our country instead of trying push religious idea's; how about an honest attempt to increase their own reasoning abilities? Or would that be asking too much?

Friday, February 02, 2007

Maybe time for some t-Shirts?

Church State T-Shirts and Gifts : : Shop Over 35 Million Unique Products

I love some of these statements....

Mayor converts to Islam

Macon, Georgia, mayor converts to Islam -

Wow.... Anything is possible... Christians are going to love this huh?

I think it's a great thing! Now, lets just get an Atheist in office somewhere :)