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Showing posts from January, 2017

Not Surprised

By Carl S ~ N ew Years evening 2017. My wife's church had a bonfire to celebrate New Year’s Day. I told her they were late; the pagans celebrated solstice with a bonfire, in December. It's no surprise a church would copy a pagan ritual. Christianity stole all its beliefs from the pagans and adapted them. Let's talk about people and their actions. Could you reach that point, described by some, where, “nothing surprises me?” If you were a soldier in combat, chances are you'd see killings and atrocities you thought you would never have accepted. After many, one becomes jaded. If you are married to a spouse who cheats on you, you won't find the news a “shocking revelation” if a celebrity has been unfaithful for years. Can you think of a person who would never surprise you, but surely, others? It used to surprise me when game show contestants would throw away thousands of U.S. Dollars on a gamble. Now I'm only disgusted. We know that many people are willing t

What Good is God?

By Carl S ~ B elievers tell you your prayers weren't answered because, “You didn't have enough faith.” Why should you need any faith? How can one person’s believing something more intensely than another change the outcome of a petition to an invisible being? Why would an all-powerful deity care? Doesn't a god realize that, when you need real help you need it now, and should receive it now, no conditions required? If Christians believe, according to their scriptures, that their heavenly father will not give a stone to his children who ask for bread, why are so many of them accepting stones and blaming themselves for absence of bread? Did belief in God do anything for the Jewish people who prayed for deliverance in concentration camps? What good is a god who does nothing about that? Useless. If he was in any way human with super powers, he'd be prosecuted and maybe, executed, as guilty of genocide. Did all the prayers and sacrifices to all the gods prevent the co

Have We Already Passed the Tipping Point?

By WizenedSage (Galen Rose) A ll positive social changes of a sweeping nature seem to involve a tipping point. The abolition of slavery, women’s suffrage, civil rights for blacks, and broad social acceptance of gays all appeared to be beyond the reach of Americans just a few generations ago. Those who spoke out and worked to overturn the entrenched, tradition-bound norms were often judged to be tilting at windmills, or trying to turn the tide with a spoon. And yet, in each case, a generation eventually came along which achieved the improbable, and the norms of all of these except slavery were overturned within the last 100 years - the last two, civil rights for blacks and broad acceptance of gays, both within my adult lifetime. There may be some lessons here regarding a tipping point for our country’s religious saturation, as I shall explain. I went to a small city high school of about 1,200 students during the late 1950s and early 1960s, and didn’t know of a single gay student

Paradigm Shift

By Marlene Winell ~ In thinking about the new year, I was reminded that in leaving religion, everything is new. The adjustments related to losing comforts are quite serious but the liberating elements are profound as well. In essence, “reclaimers” go through a massive paradigm shift. I wrote about this in my chapter in the forthcoming volume, The Oxford Handbook of Secularism . The following is from that writing. Paradigm Shift T o borrow the language of philosopher and historian of science, Thomas Kuhn, an individual goes through a personal paradigm shift in order to become a secular person. The concept of “paradigm shift” or “scientific revolution” was famously developed by Kuhn (1962) as a way of understanding scientific progress. According to Kuhn, a paradigm is a “constellation of beliefs shared by a group”, or “a constellation of findings, concepts, values, techniques etc. shared by a scientific community to define legitimate problems and solutions.” A paradigm shift happen

Women Doing Street Epistemology

By Karen Garst ~ Epistemology = “The theory of knowledge, especially with regard to its methods, validity, and scope. Epistemology is the investigation of what distinguishes justified belief from opinion.” T his blog post is about Street Epistemology (SE). I interviewed three women who have learned about its methods and have engaged in conversations with people who hold religious beliefs using these methods. Because of the length, I have not used every answer to the questions I posed. A special thanks to Christine, Lynnsy, and Violet for responding to my questions and a special thanks to Anthony Magnabosco who introduced me to them. 1.         How would you define SE? Street Epistemology is a set of conversational tools for conducting respectful dialogues with individuals about their deeply-held beliefs. The idea is to use these tools and techniques to help both conversation partners understand the belief in question, explore the ways of knowing used to justify the b

A Therapist's Journey Out of the Faith

By Mark ~ I am a marriage and family therapist.  I wrote the following paper in 2010 while in grad school and thought others may find it useful in their faith journey. I posted a shorter version of this in 2011. .  This version goes into more detail about my background and process. I n a class on spiritual formation at an evangelical Christian university, one would think that the spiritual journey would move toward a deeper Christian faith.  However, I have found that as I have explored the purpose of spirituality in my own life as it relates to psychotherapy, I have made a deliberate shift away from orthodox Christianity. Both of my parents are Christians.  My grandmother dedicated my dad to be a missionary from a very early age.  But instead, he decided to be a pastor and then ultimately pursued business.  He was raised in the Christian and Missionary Alliance Church in Canada.  God was against a lo

Free. And Damned Glad of It

By Carl S ~ I 'm damned happy to be free, answerable to no gods, free of concerns about pleasing or not pleasing them. I don't need gods to tell me to treat others as I would be treated; by nature, I do that already. I reject the “charity” that makes others feel obligated, especially the obligation to pray before receiving it. At the same time, I reject the commands of a God that I should treat any humans as of less value than me. And I despise the shame-and-blame game used by any god's employees to condemn the innocent “carnal desires” of humans. I prefer to live in an uncaring Universe; it gives me freedom to care about the things calling for my concern and attention; not only enabling others to live, but to enjoying living. An uncaring world focuses me on the enjoyment of my own limited time of life. I prefer temporal and unexpected changes to a fabricated future of eternal stagnation. I am free to challenge, to go where believers fear to tread, to find no rea

Special Victims Unit

By Carl S ~ A fter many years of contributing to charities, I realized most of them help, defend, and end the creation of even more victims. Indeed, these goals explain my writings. Everyone who comments on “Ex” is a victim of religion, even those who protest. Ranting trolls are victims still defending the beliefs that keep them in bondage. Their parroting of threats and promises results from religious indoctrination. I contribute to the Southern Poverty Law Center, Doctors Without Borders, Human Rights Watch, and Planned Parenthood, for examples. Also, SNAP (Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests). Every one of them is involved with human rights, and each one concerns religious violations of those rights. The Center For Inquiry promotes reason, the scientific method, and humanism against religious superstition, the perpetuation of lies, and fear. I frequently cite scientific evidence to refute the claims of Christians. Science is not only “the method we use to keep from fo


By Ben Love ~ I ’m pretty much obsessed with truth. In fact, I would go so far as to say that my obsession with truth has driven most of what I’ve become as an adult. I spend just as much time pondering how “truth” should be defined as I do grappling with what it is. I’ve expressed lengthy rants on this topic elsewhere, but I think, in the end, truth is best defined simply as “that which just is.” This answer might fall below the lofty standards expected of an intellectual writer, but I really do think this is the best way to define the term. Somewhere at the heart of reality is to be found some sort of  ultimate actuality , something that just  is —and this we call “truth.” Whatever that truth happens to be is exactly what I’ve spent much of my life attempting to ascertain. Whatever the truth is, I want to know it. But not everyone feels that way. As Friedrich Nietzsche said, “There are two different types of people in the world, those who want to know, and those who want t