Freethought

Sam Harris Utterly Destroys Religion and Religious Beliefs In 2 Hours of Rational, Intelligent Discourse…

 

“I think religion is the most divisive and dangerous ideology that we have ever produced. It is the only ideology that is protected from criticism both from within and without… All people are atheists with respect to everyone else’s religion. We are all atheists with respect to all of the thousands of dead gods that lie in that mass grave called Mythology…”

~~

Freethought: Born on This Day — Thorstein Veblen

 

t
From Freethinker Bulletin

On this date, July 30, 1857, Thorstein Veblen was born on a farm in Valders, Wisconsin. Veblen conducted his undergrad studies at Carleton College, did post-graduate work at Johns Hopkins, and earned his PhD at Yale in 1884.

He taught at a variety of schools, including the University of Chicago, Stanford, and University of Wisconsin. His book,The Theory of the Leisure Class, 1899, was the most famous of the nine he wrote.

Many progressives, ranging from Charlotte Perkins Gilman to Margaret Sanger, were strongly influenced by it. In it, Veblen introduced the term “conspicuous consumption.” Veblen also studied the place of science in civilisation. While an evolutionist, he repudiated the unscientific application of evolution known as “social Darwinism.”

Abby’s Story: No Longer Alone…

 


~~

Losing Faith: Yahweh or the Highway…

 

 

From theramintrees
‘Atheism happened to me when I wasn’t looking. Theism happened to me when I wasn’t thinking.’ A timeline of some key memories around my personal experience of religion, running from my earliest memories to my emergence from it into atheism.
~~

 

Loving Jesus But Not the Bible

 

b
From Neil Carter

I don’t follow the Bible, I follow Jesus.”

When I was a Christian, I used to say things like this all the time. I used to say “It’s about Jesus, not the Bible” for the same reasons that I used to say “It’s a relationship, not a religion.”  I was trying to distinguish my own particular variety of the Christian faith from all those lesser creations of men because unlike theirs, mine was The Real Deal. I had recovered True Christianity™ unlike all those millions of misguided yahoos who insisted they had done exactly the same thing but with wildly divergent results.

Those poor souls were taught to be a “people of the book,” but I knew better.  I knew that those who truly understood their book should have understood that making the book central goes against what the book itself intended.  The book just leads to Jesus and for that reason Jesus trumps the book.  If at any point the book seems to disagree with Jesus, you go with Jesus.  These were the distinctions I learned to make, and they made sense within the context in which I lived at the time.

Now that I’m outside of that context, I’ve got people throwing those same distinctions at me and I’m having a hard time getting them to see that this talk only has meaning to those who share their implicit trust in what the Bible says.  Yes, I promise I’ve heard these disclaimers and clarifications before, and for what it’s worth, I recall them having meaning for me as well at one point in time.  Like them, I once sought to present a portrait of a God who was attractive and winsome.  “It is his kindness that leads you to repentance,” I would maintain, hoping to convince others (as well as myself) that my Supreme Being was supremely likeable, and far more concerned with “fellowshipping” with us than with judging or condemning us.  That’s all well and good, but…

No, it’s not your opinion. You’re just wrong…

 

fFrom Houston Post

I have had so many conversations or email exchanges with students in the last few years wherein I anger them by indicating that simply saying, “This is my opinion” does not preclude a connected statement from being dead wrong. It still baffles me that some feel those four words somehow give them carte blanche to spout batshit oratory or prose. And it really scares me that some of those students think education that challenges their ideas is equivalent to an attack on their beliefs.-Mick Cullen

I spend far more time arguing on the Internet than can possibly be healthy, and the word I’ve come to loath more than any other is “opinion”. Opinion, or worse “belief”, has become the shield of every poorly-conceived notion that worms its way onto social media.

There’s a common conception that an opinion cannot be wrong. My dad said it. Hell, everyone’s dad probably said it and in the strictest terms it is true. However, before you crouch behind your Shield of Opinion you need to ask yourself two questions.

1. Is this actually an opinion?

2. If it is an opinion how informed is it and why do I hold it?

Does God Speak To You?

 

g~~

Born On This Day: Atheist Actors Daniel Radcliffe and Woody Harrelson…

 

a

From The Freethinker

On this date, July 23 in 1989, actor Daniel Jacob Radcliffe. above left, was born to a Protestant father and Jewish mother in London. Radcliffe was selected for the 1999 BBC television production of David Copperfield to play the young title character.

The film was well-received in Britain, and it helped land Radcliffe a small role in the 2001 Pierce Brosnan movie, The Tailor of Panama. During filming, there was a massive search in the UK to find someone to play Harry Potter in the film version of the J K Rowling creation. Jamie Lee Curtis, on the set of The Tailor of Panama, sized up Daniel Radcliffe and told his mother, “He could be Harry Potter.”

Indeed, Radcliffe became immortalized as the star of the eight-movie Potter series. Radcliffe also acted in December Boys (2007), My Boy Jack (2007), and had his first theatrical role in the critically acclaimed West End play, Equus (2007).

Answering a question about what God would say to him when he arrives at the “Pearly Gates”, he told James Lipton during a 2008 appearance on Inside The Actors Studio: “‘Bet you’re surprised to see me’ … because I’m not, as I said, religious.”

Christianity disproved beyond a reasonable doubt…

 

c
Website here
~~

Where is the grave-yard of dead gods?…

 

g
From H. L. Mencken (1922)
[Repost]

What lingering mourner waters their mounds? There was a day when Jupiter was the king of the gods, and any man who doubted his puissance was ipso facto a barbarian and an ignoramus. But where in all the world is there a man who worships Jupiter to-day? And what of Huitzilopochtli? In one year–and it is no more than five hundred years ago–50,000 youths and maidens were slain in sacrifice to him. Today, if he is remembered at all, it is only by some vagrant savage in the depths of the Mexican forest. Huitzilopochtli, like many other gods, had no human father; his mother was a virtuous widow; he was born of an apparently innocent flirtation that she carried on with the sun. When he frowned, his father, the sun, stood still. When he roared with rage, earthquakes engulfed whole cities. When he thirsted he was watered with 10,000 gallons of human blood. But today [in 1921] Huitzilopochtli is as magnificently forgotten as Allen G. Thurman. Once the peer of Allah, Buddha, and Wotan, he is now the peer of General Coxey, Richmond P. Hobson, Nan Petterson, Alton B. Parker, Adelina Patti, General Weyler, and Tom Sharkey.

Three Ways Religion Hinders Empathy…

 

condescend

From Neil Carter

In the last week I’ve written a couple of confrontational posts charging that people around me have mistreated both me and the woman I’m dating for little other reason than our being atheists. First I told the story of how I lost a teaching job two years ago when a student outed me to my administrators in the Rankin County School District. BTW, that’s the same school district that Hemant Mehta posted about earlier this morning because they’re in the news yet again for violating a judge’s order to keep sectarian religious demonstrations out of school functions. They just can’t seem to help themselves. And in case you’re wondering, no, I haven’t had anything to do with these cases that have been making the news. They’re doing this without my help.

Two days later I wrote about a Christian father cutting his only child out of his will as punishment for being an atheist (and for refusing to quit dating one—namely me). Before he died, he behaved really rudely and said a lot of nasty things to me even though I did nothing but show the utmost respect for him and for his family.  His treatment of both me and his daughter added a bitter taste on top of the grief already present upon his passing. I explained in that post that a man in his position could easily find verses to justify cutting family off in the name of Jesus because the statements are there, clear as day.

Being a Christian: “It’s a horrid existence…”

 p

From Jeff
Godless Mom

I never sought to be an ‘Atheist’, in the strictest sense of the word. I’ve always identified myself as a seeker of knowledge and of ‘input’ . . . which I suppose is why I related to the movie ‘Short Circuit’ and the character of Johnny 5.

I was brought up in a Protestant Catholic home of sorts, primarily in the Alberta prairies right smack in the early 60’s . . . a decade that didn’t really happen there until the late 70’s. It was because of the time and place that Christianity was the ‘norm’, if you will. It was sporadically taught in schools, prayer was always mandatory, and I had gone to Sunday School. I’d often hear of God’s ‘love, kindness, and charity’ . . . but it was definitely not universally used. We were struck by teachers, by preachers, by nuns for the slightest infraction, even questions that were nothing less than curiosity seeking information. The fact that we were never allowed to question the motives or wonder aloud why certain events happened in such strange ways, or why ‘God’s servants’ had to resort to such drastic anger when they spoke so often about this apparently elusive ‘love’ certainly cemented some perverse ideas in my young mind.

A major turning point in my very young mind (a precocious six or so), was when I recalled asking a nun . . . “Why didn’t God just let Jesus live, and have him become a king to lead the people and teach them to be good?”

Oops. Wrong. Yelled at, and swatted for that one. “Don’t question God’s will or ways! If we don’t trust God, he will punish us!” (give or take a word or two . . . that was 46 years ago). Was given five straps per hand . . . big ol’ leather barber’s belt.

Okay, that was a fucking red flag. I spent the rest of my life learning, reading, and delving primarily into fiction. I never fit in, never bought the story, even though for the next ten years of my life it was ‘The Way’ or ‘The Truth’. I had different ideas, just due to the lack of what was seemed to be just bad planning, nonsensical rituals that never accomplished anything . . . of course, neither did prayer (but for a few years I had wondered if I wasn’t ‘worthy of attention’). Suffice to say, I had internalized a lot, and was afraid to speak my mind about it. Such is the way of any Bible-belt society. Fear rules . . . love and respect are afforded to you if you slavishly obey. I was not such a person so easily turned into some invisible person’s lackey.

Three stupid questions Christian Believers ask of Freethinkers…

 

f1
From Free Thought Blogs

A pastor tells his flock three things to ask an atheist. You don’t even have to read it to know that a lot of stupidity will follow. But I’m game, give it a shot, believers, and ask me those three things — I’ll try to answer through the incredulity and laughter.

What do you do with your Guilt?

What guilt? I don’t have any guilt at all about imaginary things, so I’m not at all distressed by imaginary Eve eating magic fruit in a fantasy land. When I do feel guilty about wrongs done to real people, I try to make amends to them — casting the debt onto the shoulders of a 2,000 year old dead guy really doesn’t help at all.

What about you? Do you think it’s enough to pray silently and ask Jesus to forgive the bad things you did to real people?

Being a Christian Today…

 

1
From AR

I know what it is like to be indoctrinated into Christianity from an early age, experience doubts about what I had been taught, and gradually emerge on the other side of a long struggle as an atheist. The fact that I went through this many years ago limits my ability to understand what it is like for young people today. I went through this process before the Internet, and that alone is a powerful illustration of the gulf between my experience and theirs. And so, I don’t know what it is like to be a Christian, experience doubts about my early indoctrination, or to discover atheism during the Internet age. I can only imagine that young people going through this today face a somewhat different set of challenges than I did. I wonder sometimes what it would be like to be a young Christian these days.

Not Everyone is Christian

When I was a Christianeveryone I knew was a Christian. They weren’t all the same kind of Christian, but I considered them all Christian. Whether they were Protestants, Catholics, or Mormons did not matter all that much. This was a function of the lack of religious diversity where I grew up, but it was compounded by the lack of information to which I had access. In my childhood, I did not have access to anything other than pro-Christian material. I was not exposed to any of the other world religions.

It seems like Christians today would be far more likely to know that there are people right in their own communities who are not Christian. And if they don’t because they live in areas with little religious diversity, social media is going to bring them into contact with plenty of non-Christians. They are going to encounter plenty of non-Christians online, including some atheists. I’d have to think that it would be almost impossible for them to maintain the view that everyone is Christian like them.

Ex-Christians and Life After Christianity

5 good reasons to think Jesus never existed…

 
j

From Valerie Tarico

A growing number of scholars are openly questioning or actively arguing against Jesus’ historicity…

Most antiquities scholars think that the New Testament gospels are “mythologized history.”  In other words, they think that around the start of the first century a controversial Jewish rabbi named Yeshua ben Yosef gathered a following and his life and teachings provided the seed that grew into Christianity.

At the same time, these scholars acknowledge that many Bible stories like the virgin birth, miracles, resurrection, and women at the tomb borrow and rework mythic themes that were common in the Ancient Near East, much the way that screenwriters base new movies on old familiar tropes or plot elements. In this view, a “historical Jesus” became mythologized.

For over 200 years, a wide ranging array of theologians and historians—most of them Christian—analyzed ancient texts, both those that made it into the Bible and those that didn’t, in attempts to excavate the man behind the myth.  Several current or recent bestsellers take this approach, distilling the scholarship for a popular audience. Familiar titles include Zealotby Reza Aslan and  How Jesus Became Godby Bart Ehrman

Obamacare’s Victory Is Yet Another Remarkable Defeat For Christian Fundamentalist Psychos…

 

p

From Patheos

Christian psychos want to shred the social safety net so that people have no option but to turn to churches when they need help…

You know it’s been a big week when the Supreme Court once again upholding Obamacare is only the second biggest story to come out of the court. But I wanted to write about this ruling and what it means.

… I exulted in 2012 when the Supreme Court upheld Obamacare the first time, rejecting a claim that the law was unconstitutional. It turns out I spoke too soon, because there was another challenge waiting in the wings: King v. Burwell, a right-wing attack which sought to cripple the law rather than strike it down entirely.

Obamacare, like Romneycare in Massachusetts, is a “three-legged stool“: regulations on insurance companies, so they can’t turn people away or drop them for being sick; an individual mandate requiring everyone to buy insurance; and tax credits to help pay for insurance for people who couldn’t otherwise afford it. Some states have their own exchange websites where people can shop for insurance, but a majority use exchanges set up by the federal government. The King lawsuit focused on an ambiguous and obscure clause which said that the tax credits were available on exchanges “established by the state”, which they used to argue that the credits shouldn’t be available for policies purchased on the federal exchanges (even though the law directs the federal government to set up that exchange in the state’s place if the state declines to).

Jesus and Mo…

 
j~~

Meet The Middle East’s Atheist Preacher…

 
a

From The Daily Beast

In a region increasingly defined by its Islamic fundamentalism, Ismail Mohammed is vocal about his belief that there is no God. And he’s discovering that he’s not alone.

Ismail Mohammed is a YouTube preacher who’s trying to turn Middle Easterners into believers–in atheism.

Mohammed, 30, left Islam three years ago but he has become evangelical about his new faith. He created his YouTube channel, Black Ducks, in his Cairo home with no more than a computer, speakers and a simple 8 ½  by 11 piece of paper displaying the show’s logo. For an hour, Muslims across the region spend an hour with Mohammed describing why they left Islam and how the navigate a region where religion is seeped in every pore.

The videos’ production levels are shoddy but the implications are revolutionary in a region in which some countries, like Saudi Arabia, consider atheism a form of terrorism. Many believe leaving Islam should be met with death. Questioning faith, for some, is a form of insulting faith.

“There are people who believe I left Islam so I must be killed. But maybe if more and more atheists speak up, there will be less pressure and threats,” Mohammed told The Daily Beast.

Mohammed’s show is part of a proliferation of pro-atheist channels, magazines and blogs across the Middle East is arguably the latest iteration of Arab Spring. When Arab youth once sought to overthrow regimes, they now are embracing small, more tangible gains like freedom of expression.

The Deep History of Atheism And Why It Matters…

 

a

From Tim Whitmarsh

There has never been a more important time to be a humanist; to make our voices heard. The standoff between secularism and religion is becoming increasingly entrenched – and thanks in large part to the echo-chamber of social media, increasingly reduced to facile but powerful identity politics. Political parties in Europe, Turkey, Australia and the Americas risk the secular foundations of modern politics when they play the demographic game and go off in search of the religious vote.

But for all its urgency now, there is a long story to tell about atheism too. I’m a historian of Greco-Roman antiquity, of a polytheistic culture that was squashed in the fifth century AD (or CE, as many of us prefer to say) when the Roman Empire adopted Christianity and forcibly outlawed its alternatives. Today I want to convince you that it matters – and in particular it matters now – to think about the deeper history of secular ideals.

All of the arguments used today against the existence of gods were first raised by the philosophers of ancient Greece. All of them: from the problem of evil (how can a just god permit suffering?) through the omnipotence paradox (could an all-powerful god create an unliftable stone?) to the idea of religion as a human social construct designed to repress dissent. They had some wackier arguments too, which I’ll save for discussion at the bar this evening. But the crucial point is this. Our modern word ‘atheist’ comes from the Greek atheos, meaning ‘without god’; and with the word comes our entire sense of what it is to be independently-minded, critical, questioning of religious dogma. Take, for example, the most famous Greek philosopher of all, Socrates, who was executed in 399 BCE for ‘not believing in the gods of the city’ and ‘corrupting the young’. His motto was that ‘the unexamined life is not worth living’, and he insisted that all society’s values, ideologies and beliefs had to be justified rationally; if they couldn’t be, then they weren’t worth following.

Freethoughts of the Day…

 

1

3

2
~~

Follow

Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

Join 4,659 other followers