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Showing posts from June, 2016

Why You Can't Go Home Again

By Carl S ~ M y wife asked me to accompany her to an after-church party for her pastor's wedding anniversary. I have avoided telling her I don't respect the man in the first place, but it's only one of many reasons I won’t go. It's this way, if anyone is out of place there, it's me. I am an alien to that alien environment. I’ve had to go into the building before. It's unsettling to be the only free person in the place. No room there except for small talk or another unctuous utterings that begin with, "Sometimes the Lord." You feel like saying if faith is so important to you, you should be ready and willing for big talk about it. Oh sure, the church attendees are tolerant, "as long as he stays in his place." Long ago, I was made aware of how African-Americans reacted to this tolerance. Church-goers are nice and "charitable" when talking to me. It's policy. And I do talk to individuals there. Individuals are okay. It's wh

Karma Really Is A Bitch!

By LoveShack ~ T here is woman who was my friend, who is so scared of the notion of Hell and so brainwashed by her preacher and the little congregation she is a member of, that she will not and cannot question anything that is taught to her by her church. She, along with a few other Facebook friends,will post Christian memes and I usually just ignore them and go on to something else. Now, I know that everyone has a “right” to believe what they want and post whatever they like to their page. It is this “right” that I have focused on that has helped me remain a little bit more comfortable with not overtly challenging or voicing my new thoughts on the topic of religion. But then she posted this meme: Maybe many of you have seen this before, but I had not. It triggered such a response in my psyche! It hurt a nerve. I think it was because I saw it in a completely "new light" instead of in the "oldlight" of rote childhood religious indoctrination. I re

Where does morality come from? - part 1

By John Draper ~ T here’s a great episode on The Simpsons that opens on the scene when Moses descends to the foot of Mount Sinai with the Ten Commandments. Homer the Thief is chatting in a friendly, nonjudgmental manner with Hezron the Carver of Graven Images and Zohar the Adulterer, when Moses emerges from around a rock. “The Lord has handed down to us Ten Commandments by which to live,” Moses announces. “I will now read them in no particular order: Thou shalt not make any graven images!” Hezron the Carver of Graven Images throws down his chisel angrily. “Oh my God!” he says. Moses continues: Thou shalt not commit adultery! Zohar the Adulterer looks down sadly. “Ah well,” he says, “looks like the party’s over.” And Homer the Thief is loving all this, reveling in his friends’ misfortune. “Hey, Moses,” he chuckles, “keep ’em coming!” To which Moses announces: Thou shalt not steal! And we all know what Homer the Thief says next: “D’oh!” Like all effective satire, the

Why Many Evangelicals Find Donald Trump Simply Irresistible

Is it Trump's god-complex or God's Trump-complex? Either way Trump and Jehovah have an awful lot in common. P eople have been scratching their heads about how so many “family values” American voters who claim to love Jesus can follow Donald Trump. What ever happened to love thy neighbor, and if you have two coats give one to the poor, and turn the other cheek, and feed my lambs, and the meek shall inherit the Earth? Some horrified Christian leaders have gone so far as to say a person can’t be a Christian and a Trump supporter. Of course times are hard and, in fairness, fear and downward mobility do weird things to people, including Christians. And some folks, whether Christian or not, are congenitally horrid. But shouldn’t Bible belief inoculate earnest believers against someone who seems like the polar opposite of Jesus? Perhaps the problem is that Trump is a lot like a different Bible character—one who also is the polar opposite of Jesus in many ways, but who young

Free Will, Guilt, and Innocence

By Carl S ~ S ome research seems to indicate there might not be such a thing as free will; that our choices might result from forces beyond our control. Some claim other non-human creatures act from "instinct," so they might argue that that goldfinch I'm watching now is not exhibiting confusion of mind as whether to stay at the feeder or not. I'll argue that bird, and definitely crows, make free choices, based on observing their behavior. We're all in nature, making decisions. Religions depend on our having free wills, for without them, they couldn't judge and damn us on their terms. (Although the Christian doctrine of predestination might as well eliminate free will, since individuals will be condemned or rewarded, in spite of what choices they make.) All religions teach children should be shamed and/or punished, for being "willful." Some things are obviously in favor of free will. For example, when my wife or somebody else tells me, “Why th

A De-conversion Poem

By curlew ~ I once was blind but now I see. It wasn't an epiphany. I used my head. I thought instead. What good is this religion? Prayers unheard. Read the word. Pretend it really matters. Sing the songs. Right your wrongs. Listen while the preacher blathers. The Bible is a very big book. Completely full of gobbledygook. I learned it well. Enough to tell. It's a human composition. By a 67-year-old ex-Christian and ordained Southern Baptist preacher.

How the Internet is killing religion -- Part II

By John Draper ~ I n my last post , I said that the Internet is killing religion because of the profusion of information critical of the church. It works, whichever church is church to you. I went on to say that the church reeling most from the Internet was the Mormon Church, particularly because it had a paper trail not found in other monotheistic religions. You can fact-check the Mormon Church on the Internet, I said. Now I want to move on to the most telling reason the Internet is killing religion—starting with the Mormon Church. The Internet isn’t just about information. It’s about connections. We’ve found truth doesn’t come from On High. It comes from the network. Here’s how it used to work, pre-Internet: You were in some religion, probably because you were raised to be part of that religion. (For example, the Pew Survey found that Islam is the world’s fastest-growing religion, not because more people are converting to Islam but rather because Muslims have more babies th

The Need to Know

By Carl S ~ T here's an old country and western song that's sung by a man to the one he loves, and in it he’s wondering about how faithful his beloved is or was. In it is the phrase, "How many, I wonder how many. But I really don't want to know." We all have feelings about some things, but they don't always relate to love. Oftentimes, they deal with losing our illusions. Little things I've repeated that stop believers in their tracks. Things they really don't want to know: 1. Meister Eckhart, a German Catholic mystic who lived from 1260-1327. "God is good, is not good. God is love, is not love. God is just, is not just, etc. He goes on to say those descriptions are comparative ones based on human experiences, ergo, applying them to God limits our explanations of the attributes of God; which are beyond comprehension. Oh. Uh-huh. (Read apologist definitions of what "God" means, and you'll also find their convoluted "explana

Edgar Cayce, Astrology, and Other Bullshit

By WizenedSage (Galen Rose) ~ C arl S. recently shared a small quarterly magazine with me that provided a ton of laughs and tickled my curiosity. It was titled, “ Venture Inward ; the magazine of Edgar Cayce’s Association for Research and Enlightenment .” From Wikipedia: “Edgar Cayce (1877-1945) was an American mystic who answered questions on subjects as varied as healing, reincarnation, wars, Atlantis, and future events while claiming to be in a trance. A biographer gave him the nickname, ‘The Sleeping Prophet .’. . . Some consider him the true founder and a principal source of the most characteristic beliefs of the New Age Movement.” The book advertisements in this magazine provided a taste of what Cayce and this organization are all about. Much of Cayce’s “work” had nothing to do with religion, yet he could perhaps be described as a heretical Christian. The title of one of the books advertised is “ Edgar Cayce’s Past Lives of Jesus ,” and it doesn’t get much more heretica

Religious Right Sex Rules are Plain Old Mean

By Valerie Tarico ~ Religious conservatives want an exclusive right to dole out the privilege of sexual pleasure and intimacy on their own terms—and leave a lot of people out. S exual intimacy and pleasure are some of humanity’s most cherished experiences. The so-called “best things in life” include natural beauty, fine dining, the arts, thrilling adventures, creative pursuits and community service. But love and orgasms are among the few peak experiences that are equally available to rich and poor, equally sweet to those whose lives are going according to plan and to many whose dreams are in pieces. Religious conservatives think that these treasured dimensions of the human experience should be available to only a privileged few people whose lives fit their model: male-dominated, monogamous, heterosexual pairs who have pledged love and contractual marriage for life. Some true believers—especially those in thrall to the Protestant Quiverfull Movement or the Vatican—would further