Treating animals as if they were humans or ascribing human characteristics to animals, which is what anthropomorphism means, is gaining more cultural ground every day and giving farmers who produce meat a huge headache. Things have gone so far that some people equate eating any meat with cannibalism.
Good grief. But if the human race decides not to eat meat anymore, what can I say? I am not infallible in matters of faith and morals like the Pope is supposed to be. Come to think of it, I wonder what the Pope has to say about animal rights because the accusation of cannibalism was often leveled at early Christians to make fun of them. Christians believed, and Catholics still do, that, during the communion service, bread actually, literally, not symbolically, transubstantiates into the body of Christ when the priest pronounces the words “this is my body” over it. Critics of early Christianity said that if someone truly believed that, then they were cannibals to consume that transformed bread. Silly, perhaps, but by the same token I could accuse today’s more extreme animal rights defenders of cannibalism for consuming all those tiny microbial animals in the bread they eat.
From Celebrity Atheists
On ‘radical atheism’:
“If you describe yourself as “Atheist,” some people will say, “Don’t you mean ‘Agnostic’?” I have to reply that I really do mean Atheist. I really do not believe that there is a god – in fact I am convinced that there is not a god (a subtle difference). I see not a shred of evidence to suggest that there is one. It’s easier to say that I am a radical Atheist, just to signal that I really mean it, have thought about it a great deal, and that it’s an opinion I hold seriously. It’s funny how many people are genuinely surprised to hear a view expressed so strongly. In England we seem to have drifted from vague wishy-washy Anglicanism to vague wishy-washy Agnosticism – both of which I think betoken a desire not to have to think about things too much.”
On the burden of proof:
“I don’t accept the currently fashionable assertion that any view is automatically as worthy of respect as any equal and opposite view. My view is that the moon is made of rock. If someone says to me “Well, you haven’t been there, have you? You haven’t seen it for yourself, so my view that it is made of Norwegian Beaver Cheese is equally valid” – then I can’t even be bothered to argue. There is such a thing as the burden of proof, and in the case of god, as in the case of the composition of the moon, this has shifted radically. God used to be the best explanation we’d got, and we’ve now got vastly better ones. God is no longer an explanation of anything, but has instead become something that would itself need an insurmountable amount of explaining. So I don’t think that being convinced that there is no god is as irrational or arrogant a point of view as belief that there is. I don’t think the matter calls for even-handedness at all.”
On the arguments for religious ideas, contrasted with those for evolutionary biology:
The Freedom of Thought Report is an annual survey on discrimination and persecution against non-religious people in countries around the world. The latest report is available free to download.
The first report was published in 2012 on International Human Rights Day, 10 December. In his preface to the report, the United Nations Special Rapporteur for Freedom of Religion or Belief, Heiner Bielefeldt, said:
“As a universal human right, freedom of religion or belief has a broad application. However, there seems to be little awareness that this right also provides a normative frame of reference for atheists, humanists and freethinkers and their convictions, practices and organizations. I am therefore delighted that for the first time the Humanist community has produced a global report on discrimination against atheists. I hope it will be given careful consideration by everyone concerned with freedom of religion or belief.”
For the 2013 report we asked two victims of anti-atheist persecution to provide the introductory remarks. The cases of Kacem El Ghazzali and Alber Saber, from Morocco and Egypt respectively, also feature in the report. They said:
“In spite of international treaties and conventions, many states discriminate in subtler but important ways. And this has a global impact. Laws against “insulting” religion in relatively secure, relatively secular countries, for example, are not only analogues of the most vicious blasphemy laws anywhere in the world, but help to sustain the global norm under which thought is policed and punished.
We welcome this report. The world cannot fix these problems until they are laid bare.”
In 2014, in their preface, Gulalai Ismail and Agnes Ojera, both working to promote human rights in Pakistan and Uganda respectively, said:
“The rights of the non-religious, and the rights of religious minorities and non-conformists, are a touchstone for the freedoms of thought and expression at large. Discrimination and persecution against the non-religious in particular is very often bound up with political suppression, with fears about progressive values, or with oppression in the name of religion. Humanists and secularists are often among the first to ask questions, and to raise the alarm when human rights are being trampled, when religion is misused or abused, or — even with the best intentions — if religion has become part of the problem. Silence the non-religious, and you silence some of the leading voices of responsible concern in society.”
Sam Harris Reads and Discusses the First Chapter of his August 2004 Book: The End of Faith… the first and seminal book of the New Atheists…
My name is Arian Foster, and I am openly secular.
My beliefs in regard to the existence of god is, I don’t know. I have no idea. I’ve done a lot of research, a lot of digging on my own, and I think that that’s the first step as human beings is trying to understand the world we live in. And then if there is anything, I was trying to understand that, as well. But I just don’t think we’re there yet to have any proof either way, so it’s hard for me to buy into all of it.
I’m not a religious person. I never was – well, let me take that back. I grew up in a Muslim household. My father was Muslim, and I used to pray five times a day. And I think the big thing with him was he didn’t want us to…he didn’t want to pigeonhole us into any belief. He believes in freethinking kids, and so I think that was the biggest gift my parents ever gave me: they let us be freethinkers. So, after a while, I just didn’t feel right to me. I didn’t have anything against it; I just didn’t understand why we were doing some of the things we were doing.
Thanks to Bruce
If the stars fall down on me
And the sun refuse to shine
Then may the shackles be undone,
And all the old words, cease to rhyme.
If the skies, turn into stone,
It will matter not at all,
For there is no heaven in the sky,
Hell does not wait for our downfall,
Let the voice of reason shine,
Let the pious vanish for all times,
God’s face is, hidden, all unseen,
You can’t ask him what it all means
He was never on your side,
God was never on your side
Let right or wrong, alone decide,
God was never on your side.
See the ten thousand ministries,
See the holy righteous dogs,
They claim to heal
but all they do is steal,
Abuse your faith, cheat & rob.
If god is wise, why is he still,
When these false prophets
call him friends,
Why is he silent, is he blind,
Are we abandoned in the end?
Let the sword of reason shine,
Let us be free of prayer & shrine
God’s face is hidden, turned away
He never has a word to say
He was never on your side
God was never on your side
Let right or wrong, alone decide,
God was never on your side.
(No, No, No)
He was never on your side,
God was never on your side
Never, Never, Never, Never,
Never on your side [x2]
God was never on your side,
Never on your side.
From ROBERT INGERSOLL (1833 – 1899)
One great objection to the Old Testament is the cruelty said to have been commanded by God. All these cruelties ceased with death. The vengeance of Jehovah stopped at the tomb. He never threatened to punish the dead; and there is not one word, from the first mistake in Genesis to the last curse of Malachi, containing the slightest intimation that God will take his revenge in another world. It was reserved for the New Testament to make known the doctrine of eternal pain.
The teacher of universal benevolence rent the veil between time and eternity, and fixed the horrified gaze of man upon the lurid gulf of hell. Within the breast of non-resistance coiled the worm that never dies. Compared with this, the doctrine of slavery, the wars of extermination, the curses, the punishments of the Old Testament were all merciful and just.
From WILL PARRISH
The people who fund American politics are already breaking spending records in the 2016 election season, collectively pouring billions of dollars into national, state, and even some local contests as they attempt to tighten their existing firm grip on the country’s political windpipe. At the same time, top candidates in each major party – namely, Trump and Sanders – have made opposition to the influence-peddling and favor-dispensing role of so-called “special interest” campaign financiers one of their signature issues.
To what extent do large campaign contributions factor into Mendocino County elections? Not much. For comparison’s sake, consider the fundraiser George Clooney hosted over the weekend for presidential candidate Hillary Clinton, perennial favorite of Democratic Party right-wingers, that cost $33,400 per person to attend. That’s roughly as much as each candidate raised overall in the most recent competitive Mendocino County Board of Supervisors race, the Third District contest of 2014.
From TODD WALTON
Under The Table
“Nuclear power is one hell of a way to boil water.” Albert Einstein
Listening to the Giants bombard the Dodgers last week, I decided to pay a couple bills. This year, so far, for the first time since I was a kid listening to Lon Simmons and Russ Hodges doing the radio broadcasts, the boys are winning games with strong hitting rather than great pitching. Mays, McCovey, Cepeda, and Alou were a scary battery for any pitcher to face in the 1960s, and today we’ve got Panik, Posey, Pence, Belt, Duffy and Crawford smacking the ball around the park, not to mention our ace Madison Bumgarner taking the loathsome Clayton Kershaw deep in their first meeting of the year.
So I opened our PG&E bill and found two notices of requests for rate increases. PG&E wasn’t asking for my approval of these proposed increases, they were informing me that they have asked the CPUC (California Public Utilities Commission) to allow them to jack up our rates again. These announcements always strike me as disingenuous since PG&E is not a public utility, though it should be, and the CPUC approves everything PG&E wants as a matter of course, though they shouldn’t.
“I’ve never been happier since I quit my 30-year addiction to Jesus.” – A Former Believer
To a medical researcher, the word addiction has a specific biological meaning. But in common vernacular, it means approximately this: the state of being enslaved to a habit or practice or to something that is psychologically or physically habit-forming, such as narcotics, to such an extent that its cessation causes severe trauma.
Based on this definition some religious experiences seem a lot like addictions—at least that’s what former believers say.
Blogger and former Christian Sandra Kee, looks back at her family history and sees religion and addiction as a messy tangle: “My family for several generations was in a dysfunctional and addictive religious life, using God (or what we believed about God) as a drug. Many of the family who left religion simply traded for another addiction. The generations that entered into religion did so to escape alcoholism and other addictions (though it wasn’t called addiction back then). Many who remained in religion developed additional addictions as well.”
From Dave Smith
Contrary to the video of Hitchens above, before his death at 62, Christopher Hitchens, the uber-atheist and best-selling author of “God Is Not Great: How Religion Poisons Everything,” considered becoming a Christian claims “The Faith of Christopher Hitchens: The Restless Soul of the World’s Most Notorious Atheist.”
The author is Larry Alex Taunton, an evangelical Christian who knew Hitchens for three years and, he says, had private, unrecorded conversations with him about Christianity.
“At the end of his life, Christopher’s searches had brought him willingly, if secretly, to the altar,” Taunton writes at the end of the book. “Precisely what he did there, no one knows.”…
Full article here…
From GENE LOGSDON
The Contrary Farmer
That’s an easy one for me— burning off the asparagus patch in the early spring. Just something about lighting up the new growing year. After so long staring out the windows at one snowfall after another, we can finally go outdoors and not have the wind freeze our faces. And it takes a bit of knowhow. We wait for the perfect morning. There needs to be a slight breeze, enough to blow the fire briskly over the bed, but not brisk enough to blow sparks into the woods. The dead asparagus stems need to be dry enough to burn readily and completely. We light the dead foliage at one end of the patch and carry burning stems with forks, dribbling fire down the row. Something satisfying about how the fire does all the work while we lean on our forks, or sit in lawn chairs, keeping watchful eyes so no little errant flame sneaks out into the leaves and dead grass bordering the patch. And there are no bugs. The result is not only that many asparagus beetle eggs are destroyed, but the fire leaves a nice black covering on the patch to soak up sunlight warmth and make the new shoots come up a little quicker.
“What Is Man?”, published by Mark Twain in 1906, is a dialogue between a Young Man and an Old Man regarding the nature of man. The title refers to Psalm 8:4, which begins “what is man, that you are mindful of him…”.
It involves ideas of destiny and free will, as well as of psychological egoism. The Old Man asserts that the human being is merely a machine, and nothing more, driven by the singular purpose to satisfy his own desires and achieve peace of mind. The Young Man objects, and asks him to go into particulars and furnish his reasons for his position.
The work appears to be a genuine and earnest debate of his opinions about human nature, rather than satirical. Twain held views similar to that of the Old Man prior to writing “What is Man?”. However, he seems to have varied in his opinions of human freedom.
It was published anonymously in 1906 and received such little attention Twain claimed to have regretted its publication. After his death in 1910, the New-York Tribune published a feature on it. Criticism at that time focused on its dark and antireligious nature.
Isaac Asimov apparently had in mind this story when he wrote “… That Thou Art Mindful of Him”, since Asimov’s title is from the same Bible verse, and two of Asimov’s robots debate the same subject.]
From WILLIAM EDELEN (1922 – 2015)
The Contrary Minister
Blessed are the Atheists, Agnostics, Deists, Mystics, Humanists, Free Thinkers, Taoist, Buddhist and all others who do not have an archaic, primitive God in their mind/brains.
Blessed are they for they do not believe that a God is on their side.
Blessed are they for they do not participate in holy wars, Jihads or Crusades.
Blessed are they for they would never be martyrs for the “Glory of God.”
Blessed are they for they do not condemn others as heretics or infidels.
Blessed are they for they do not conduct inquisitions nor slaughter millions of women as “witches.”
Blessed are they who do not participate in sectarian violence, nor harass little Catholic school girls walking through their neighborhood.
Blessed are they who do not twist biblical words to condemn homosexuality as a sin, nor to condemn a woman’s right to choose.
Blessed are they who would never say that a terrorist act is God’s punishment against those who do not believe or think as they do.
Blessed are they who know that the only hell that exists is right here on earth created by man. And that it is in man’s hands alone to create a heaven here on earth through intelligence, empathy and love.
From Robert Ingersoll (1833 – 1899)
Should parents, who are Infidels, unbelievers or Atheists, send their children to Sunday schools and churches to give them the benefit of Christian education?
Parents who do not believe the Bible to be an inspired book should not teach their children that it is. They should be absolutely honest. Hypocrisy is not a virtue, and, as a rule, lies are less valuable than facts.
An unbeliever should not allow the mind of his child to be deformed, stunted and shriveled by superstition. He should not allow the child’s imagination to be polluted. Nothing is more outrageous than to take advantage of the helplessness of childhood to sow in the brain the seeds of falsehoods, to imprison the soul in the dungeon of Fear, to teach dimpled infancy the infamous dogma of eternal pain—filling life with the glow and glare of hell.
No unbeliever should allow his child to be tortured in the orthodox inquisitions. He should defend the mind from attack as he would the body. He should recognize the rights of the soul. In the orthodox Sunday schools, children are taught that it is a duty to believe—that evidence is not essential—that faith is independent of facts and that religion is superior to reason. They are taught not to use their natural sense—not to tell what they really think—not to entertain a doubt—not to ask wicked questions, but to accept and believe what their teachers say. In this way the minds of the children are invaded, corrupted and conquered. Would an educated man send his child to a school in which Newton’s statement in regard to the attraction of gravitation was denied—in which the law of falling bodies, as given by Galileo, was ridiculed—Kepler’s three laws declared to be idiotic, and the rotary motion of the earth held to be utterly absurd?