Wednesday, February 16, 2011

Why I Don't Hate God...

If you're like me, then you're a non-theist who's tired of being told that you "hate God."  Obviously, I can't hate God, because God isn't real (if you're religious and reading this blog, please substitute "because I don't believe in god" for "because God isn't real" in that last sentence, for the sake of argument). 

Bernard Schweizer has come along to save the day with his book called "Hating God:  The Untold Story Of Misotheism."  Schweiser makes the distinction between the Atheist (who says there is no god) and the Misotheist (believes that God is loathful and not deserving of worship).  I'm not sure why it has to be an entire book, but I bet it's really interesting.   

South Dakota Putting A Target On Abortion Doctors?

This isn't fooling anybody, and anyone who supports this bill in its current language either has an agenda, or is completely stupid.  The bill deals with defining "justifiable homicide," or when it's not against the law to kill a person.

"Homicide is justifiable if committed by any person while resisting any attempt to murder such person, or to harm the unborn child of such person in a manner and to a degree likely to result in the death of the unborn child. Homicide is justifiable if committed by any person in the lawful defense of such person, or of his or her husband, wife, parent, child, master, mistress, or servant, or the unborn child of any such enumerated person, if there is reasonable ground to apprehend a design to commit a felony, or to do some great personal injury, and imminent danger of such design being accomplished."

Supporters of the bill argue that it's aimed at people who intend to "illegally" kill an unborn baby, and they argue that abortion in South Dakota is legal, therefore this isn't intended to protect abortion doctor killers.  However, the bill clearly states "if there is reasonable ground to apprehend a design to commit a felony, OR to do some great personal injury..."  Hmmmm, what other way is there to "harm an unborn baby" other than by committing a felony to do so?  Maybe to abort the baby?  Obviously, the language of this bill protects people who kill abortion doctors.  Whether or not this could stand up as a defense is secondary.  The issue is that somebody could actually murder an abortion doctor with the idea that they'll be immune to punishment because of this bill.  This is seriously socially irresponsible. 

Thursday, February 3, 2011

Christian Superstition Means Support For Mubarak

Here's a great article on Glenn Beck's 180 turn on supporting Democracy in the Middle East.  It's pretty hypocritical to me that anyone associated to the Tea Party, which claims to desire "revolution" in this country in order to pursue "freedom" and a "return to our constitution" (ie: stop having to pay taxes) would oppose another nation whose people are in the process of real revolution because their freedoms are genuinely trivialized, and their constitution has been altered to the whims of an autocratic ruler.  That's right Tea Party, this is what a real revolution looks like.

But it makes perfect sense if you look at how Fundamentalist Christians view the Middle East.  Egypt has been viewed as friendly towards Israel, and Christians believe that we must support Israel at all cost, or we risk being on the wrong side of the battle of Armaggedon.  Therefore we must support Egypt, else Israel could fall into the hands of Islamic radicals who'd join forces with Iran to oust God's chosen people.  It's all in the book of Revelations.  John Hagee, one of the biggest blow hards of all pro-Israel-at-all-costs Fundamentalist Christians recently posted an update on his website that includes this quote (in big, fat, appropriate John Hagee caps):  "REMEMBER THIS; THE DAY AMERICA FAILS TO HELP ISRAEL IN ITS DAY OF TROUBLE IS THE DAY GOD ALMIGHTY WILL SEND AMERICA A DAY OF TROUBLE AND NO ONE WILL COME TO OUR AID."  No doubt, much of the rhetoric you will hear in support of Mubarak (or in opposition to the protestors) stems from this same Christian idea. 

It is a precarious situation, and there is a real possibility that Egypt could become an Islamic theocracy, but would that be worse for the people of Egypt than their current situation?  Many of them don't seem to think so.

The bottom line is that Mubarak has grossly abused his power and the people of Egypt aren't taking it laying down any longer.  Mubarak has announced that he will not run for President again, but that isn't enough for the people of Egypt, and why should it be?  They do not trust the election system, and they aren't dumb enough to think the game will have changed simply by the President letting his term expire.  A presidential candidate from an opposition party was jailed in 2005 after contesting the questionable election results.  It's pretty obvious that the system itself needs to be scrapped to prevent this sort of corruption in the future.  How can anybody oppose a revolution under these circumstances?    

Obviously, I'm not in support of an Islamic theocracy.  I hope the people of Egypt opt for democracy, but I realistically cannot expect them to.  Not when their crooked president has misrepresented democracy to his people for 30 years.

Tuesday, January 25, 2011

Can Conservative Christians Support Homosexuals?

Everyone who knows me knows that the biggest bone I have to pick with conservative Christians regards their view of homosexuals.  I'm specifying "conservative Christians" because I think we all know liberal Christians who have a much friendlier attitude towards gays.  Us non-theists are never going to be able to convince Christians that homosexuality isn't a sin.  It's not our place to tell people of faith what to believe inside their faith.  Us non-theists don't believe in sin anyhow.  But there's nothing wrong with letting Christians know when their actions or statements towards homosexuals aren't respectful or loving.  Every good person can and should speak out against mistreatment and discrimination.

I've tried to keep up with a Christian cause that I read about on Friendly Atheist.  It's called "Changing the Face Of Christianity."  While I don't agree with some of what CTFOC has to say right now, I absolutely support the direction they seem to be heading.  Their mission is to hold up a mirror to themselves and try and reverse the public image of Christianity.  At the time of the Friendly Atheist interview with CTFOC founder Brad White, I was happy to accept that Mr. White had completely missed the mark.  Some of the things he said, and some of the things that were on his website were offensive.  After personally communicating with Brad, and researching more conversations he's had since the interview, I think that he's learning about how to cummunicate better to those who don't share his Christian perspective.  The jury is still out, as it should be.   
Here's a quote from his site, which I either didn't previously notice, or I didn't previously take seriously:  "One of the things we would ask in this subject area is your patience with our ministry."  I've decided to give him the benefit of the doubt. 

Most importantly, after reading a communication between himself and Craig James, I've been inspired to look more critically at my own approach to communicating with believers.  I'm encouraged, and I now think that Christians can change their perspective on homosexuals.  It is clear that in time homosexuals will certainly have equal civil rights.  It's bound to happen as long as it continues to receive support.  In the mean time, it's easy to get angry and yell at people about what we feel is an obvious thing, but it doesn't do any good, even if we're right.       

Wednesday, January 19, 2011

What's Wrong With Learning Chinese?

Some people (you can probably guess who) are actually bitching about the Chinese language being offered in public schools. They've been complaining for a while, but with Chinese President Hu Jintao visiting the USA, the talk is heating up a bit. Do we really have that many conspiracy theorists out there?

Chinese taught in schools isn't a "sign that Obama will lead us into Communism." It's not a sign that China is taking over the world (not exactly). It's the recognition of a changing world and a changing global economic landscape.  Education needs to prepare people for the future, and that's what's happening.  Sure, China is funding many of these programs. Who cares? We send thousands of people into the world to teach English, and the world is better for it.  This isn't any different.  Kids want to learn Chinese so that they can get good, interesting jobs.  We shouldn't take that away from them because some people are frightened bigots. 

Tuesday, January 11, 2011

The Lost Boys Vote On Sudan Separation

The Lost Boys of Sudan are voting this week for North/South Separation of Sudan.  Sudan has a violent recent history of civil war, with the northern Muslims (who have controlled the country) literally hunting down and killing the southern Christians and Animists.  Starting in the mid 1980s, an entire generation of Sudanese children traveled on foot to flee the Texas sized country, surviving against all odds.  Many of them now live in the United States, but they are scattered all over the world.

The Lost Boys are hopeful that their homeland will gain independence and finally be free from Sharia law, which was one of the major issues that started the civil war in 1983.  It's estimated that over 2 million Sudanese were murdered by the violent Muslim regime.

If you haven't seen it yet, you should definitely check out the documentary called "God Grew Tired of Us."  It's an amazing story of hope and human triumph, as well as a reminder of the potential horror of religious regimes.


Friday, January 7, 2011

Tibetan Monks Learn Science in USA

It looks like the Dalai Lama makes sense sometimes.  He's sent 6 monks to the US to study science, in an effort to better educated future generations of monks and nuns in the knowledge of the physical world.  The best part of the article is when the Dalai Lama is quoted saying "Even Buddha himself said 'All my followers shouldn't accept my teachers out of faith, but out of constant investigation.'"  I think that most religious leaders would consider this approach to be threatening, so the Dalai Lama deserves some credit. 

Obviously, the monks are going to struggle grasping the concepts of science, as most of them are in their 30s and don't even understand the basics of biology and chemistry, but this is clearly a step towards "nlightenment"for them. 

They're also shopping at the dollar store, and use Facebook as a way to communicate with their friends back home.  Emory University, where the monks are studying, has translated math and science books to the monk's native tongue, which has enabled this project to take place.  The Dalai Lama has planned on introducing science and mathematics into his teachings for more than 20 years.