Freethought

Those Seven Savage Hitchens Carpet Bombs…

 


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Sunday School: Instruction Manual for Life

 

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Jesus and Mo

 

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Freethinker: Natalie Angier born on this day in 1958…

 

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From FFRF

On this date in 1958, Pulitzer Prize-winning science columnist for The New York Times Natalie Angier was born in New York City to a Jewish mother and a father with a Christian Science background. She attended the University of Michigan for two years, then transferred to Barnard College, where she studied English, physics and astronomy, and graduated with high honors.

At 22, she became a founding staff reporter for the science magazine Discover. Throughout the 1980s, Angier worked as a senior science writer for Time Magazine, as an editor for the women’s business magazine Savvy, and as a professor of journalism in a graduate program at New York University. She began writing for The New York Times in 1990 and won a Pulitzer after just ten months on the job for a series of ten feature science articles.

Her hit books include Natural Obsessions (1988), about the world of cancer research, The Beauty of the Beastly (1995), and the National Book Award finalist and New York Times bestseller, Woman: An Intimate Geography (1999), which has sold over 200,000 copies. Woman won a Maggie Award from Planned Parenthood, was nominated for the Samuel Johnson Award (Britain’s largest nonfiction literary prize), and was named one of the best books of the year by the Los Angeles Times, the Chicago Tribune, People magazine, National Public Radio, amazon.com, Publisher’s Weekly, Library Journal, and the New York Public Library. In 2002, she edited The Best American Science and Nature Writing, and in 2010 The Canon: A Whirligig Tour of the Beautiful Basics of ScienceRichard Dawkins describes The Canon as “an intoxicating cocktail of fine science writing,” and Barbara Ehrenreich says of it, “Finally, Nature has a found a biographer who’s up to the task.” Angier received the American Association for the Advancement of Science prize for excellence in science journalism, among many awards and honors. Her writing has appeared in numerous magazines, publications and anthologies. She began serving a five-year term as the Andrew D. White Professor-at-Large at Cornell University in 2007, previously filled by Oliver Sacks, Toni Morrison, Jane Goodall, and others who were “distinguished contributors to cultural achievement.”

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Angier, a self-proclaimed “lonely atheist,” was a guest on Freethought Radio in 2006. In The New York Times Sunday Magazine (Jan. 14, 2001), Angiers outed herself as an atheist in the article, “Confessions of a Lonely Atheist”: “I’m an Atheist. I don’t believe in God, Gods, Godlets or any sort of higher power beyond the universe itself, which seems quite high and powerful enough to me. I don’t believe in life after death, channeled chat rooms with the dead, reincarnation, telekinesis or any miracles but the miracle of life and consciousness, which again strike me as miracles in nearly obscene abundance . . . I’m convinced that the world as we see it was shaped by the again genuinely miraculous, let’s even say transcendent, hand of evolution through natural selection.” She continued, “I may not believe in life after death, but what a gift it is to be alive now.” Angier received an Emperor Has No Clothes Award at the 2003 national convention of the Freedom From Religion Foundation. She is married to and has a daughter with Rick Weiss, a science reporter for the Washington Post.

“Sure, I’m a soapbox atheist. But she [my daughter] doesn’t have to take my word for anything. All she has to do is look around her, every day, to find the bible she needs—in the sky, sun, moon, Mars, leaves, lady bugs, stink bugs, possums, tadpoles, cardinals, the wonderful predatory praying mantises that have gotten really big and fat this year on all the insects this rainy year has brought. Life needs no introduction, explanation or excuse. Life is bigger than myth—except in California.”

—Natalie Angier, during her acceptance speech of the Emperor Has No Clothes Award at the national FFRF convention in 2003

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Freethinker: Roll to Disbelieve — The Handbook

 

I had a GM once who used random objects when he didn't have a miniature that was the right size or whatever. One day we're fighting something and he gets out this gigantic stuffed six-sider and sets it down in front of our tiny little 1" minis. We were totally O.O (Dagny Mol, CC.)

I had a GM once who used random objects when he didn’t have a miniature that was the right size or whatever. One day we’re fighting something during a game and he gets out this gigantic stuffed six-sider that’s the size of a basketball and sets it down without a word in front of our tiny little 1″ minis. We were totally O.O (Dagny MolCC.)

From 

Hi! I’ve noticed an uptick in new folks lately and have gotten some emails asking me why I call my blog what I do, so I thought that today–the most chocolate-y day of the year, so to speak–was a good day to bring everyone up to speed. I haven’t written about it in a long time and I’ve learned a lot since then. So today I want to show you what “rolling to disbelieve is” and what it feels like to make your roll at last.

I was Christian for the first half of my life, deconverting in my 20s a couple years after graduating from college. And oh boy was I Christian. My entire Christian “walk” (that’s Christianese for someone’s journey through the religion to, I suppose, enlightenment) seemed like one long search for this gauzy notion of TRUE CHRISTIANITY™ that I was sure must exist out there somewhere.

Somewhere, if I searched hard enough, I’d find a group that was practicing the ideals of Jesus the way Christians everywhere should be, and I’d finally be okay. Looking back it’s both laughable and tearjerking to think of how anguished I was over the misery, dysfunction, and hypocrisy I saw around me, and of how hard I worked to find that group. I kept going from group to group trying to find the one that was doing Christianity right–and in the process, spiraled down into worse and worse groups and even almost ended up in Waco right around when that David Koresh stuff was going down (with a different and arguably even worse cult, though).

Freethinkers: Freedom From Religion Foundation

 

1CBSMorning

It’s another week and another busy period for us here at the Freedom From Religion Foundation.

Unlike the weeks before, this week the lion’s share of our time and energy was not spent focusing on the Trump administration. Instead, we were active in a number of different directions.

A lot of local activity
So, we did what we’ve done in regular times: We kept an eye on local and state-level institutions for violations of state/church separation. We warned a South Carolina school district about a reading of an overtly Christian book to an entire elementary school. (We’ve put up some of the images from the book for you to look at.)

We’re having to refight another local-level battle, though. A Minnesota city is backtracking on its removal of a cross from a public veterans park. The Belle Plaine City Council seemingly caved in to immense local religious pressure and is permitting the cross to be put back up. We’ve told the city council members that if this is done, FFRF will propose for the park a memorial of its own: to atheists in foxholes. Reply awaited.

Another local-level legal battle seems to be going well for us so far. In a case where FFRF filed an amicus brief, a Florida judge says a prayer lawsuit against a high school athletic league should be tossed out.

Bill Maher explains why he criticizes religion…

 


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Freethinker: Thomas Edison born this day in 1847…

 

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From Freedom From Religion Foundation

On February 11, 1847, Thomas Alva Edison was born in Ohio, the youngest of seven. The inventor – famed for reading Gibbon’s Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire before the age of ten, and for vowing at age 12 to read the entire contents of the Detroit Public Library – was largely self-taught.

Supporting himself at a very early age, Edison sold newspapers, worked for railroad companies and became a telegraph operator. He invented the incandescent light bulb, the phonograph, the motion picture camera, and improved the telegraph and telephone, becoming a highly successful businessman and manufacturer.

Edison, who held more than 1,300 US and foreign patents, famously noted: “Genius is one percent inspiration and ninety-nine percent perspiration.”

Edison, who died in 1931, told The New York Times in an interview (June 8, 1915 edition): “I am proud of the fact that I never invented weapons to kill.”

A lifelong freethinker, one of his oft-repeated lines (for which we could find only secondary sources) is: “So far as religion of the day is concerned, it is a damned fake. . . . Religion is all bunk.”

In an interview with The New York Times (October 2, 1910) Edison said: “I cannot believe in the immortality of the soul … I am an aggregate of cells, as, for instance, New York City is an aggregate of individuals. Will New York City go to heaven? …. No; nature made us – nature did it all – not the gods of the religions.”

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Sam Harris: Science can answer moral questions…

 


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Church and State: Hitler Was a Faithful Christian, and His Germany a Christian Nation…

 

Adolf Hitler chancellor of Germany is welcomed by supporters at Nuremberg.


From John Patrick Michael Murphy
Council for Secular Humanism

In George Orwell’s 1984, it was stated, “Who controls the past controls the future, who controls the present controls the past.” Who is going to control the present-fundamentalism or freedom?

History is being distorted by many preachers and politicians. They are heard on the airwaves condemning atheists and routinely claim Adolph Hitler was one. Hitler was a Roman Catholic, baptized into that religio-political institution as an infant in Austria. He became a communicant and an altar boy in his youth and was confirmed as a “soldier of Christ” in that church. Its worst doctrines never left him. He was steeped in its liturgy, which contained the words “perfidious jew.” This hateful statement was not removed until 1961. “Perfidy” means treachery.

In his day, hatred of Jews was the norm. In great measure it was sponsored by two major religions of Germany, Catholicism, and Lutheranism. He greatly admired Martin Luther, who openly hated the Jews. Luther condemned the Catholic Church for its pretensions and corruption, but he supported the centuries of papal pogroms against the Jews. Luther said, “The Jews deserve to be hanged on gallows, seven times higher than ordinary thieves,” and “We ought to take revenge on the Jews and kill them.” “Ungodly wretches” he called the Jews in his book Table Talk.

Hitler seeking power, wrote in Mein Kampf, “… I am convinced that I am acting as the agent of our Creator. By fighting off the Jews. I am doing the Lord’s work.” Years later, when in power, he quoted those same words in a Reichstag speech in 1938.

Three years later he informed General Gerhart Engel: “I am now as before a Catholic and will always remain so.” He never left the church, and the church never left him. Great literature was banned by his church, but his miserable Mein Kampf never appeared on the index of Forbidden Books. He was not excommunicated or even condemned by his church. Popes, in fact, contracted with Hitler and his fascist friends Franco and Mussolini, giving them veto power over whom the pope could appoint as a bishop in Germany, Spain, and Italy. The three thugs agreed to surtax the Catholics of these countries and send the money to Rome in exchange for making sure the state could control the church.

Church and State: Church atrocities receded in Europe because of the Enlightenment…

 

From Church and State, UK

Excerpted from Holy Horrors: An Illustrated History of Religious Murder and Madness by James A. Haught. Copyright © James A. Haught, 2002. All rights reserved.

Chapter 15: Enlightenment

During the 1700s, religion’s throttlehold upon Europe slowly loosened. Religious killing still occurred, but with decreasing frequency. Sporadic examples:

In 1723, the bishop of Gdansk, Poland, demanded the expulsion of Jews. The city council declined, but the bishop’s exhortations roused a mob that invaded the ghetto and beat the residents to death.

Women still were burned occasionally as witches-in Scotland in 1722, in Germany in 1749, in Switzerland in 1782.

From 1702 to 1710, Louis XIV’s efforts to stamp out Protestantism caused Camisards of southern France to burn Catholic churches and kill priests. Catholic troops were sent in, slaughtering whole villages. Camisard leaders were executed.

The Inquisition was still alive, chiefly in Spain, but its horrors were few (perhaps because Spain had hardly any secret Jews, Muslims, or Protestants left to kill).

In 1715, Protestants were violently persecuted in the Rhineland Palatinate, and in 1732, Archbishop Firmian forcibly expelled 20,000 Protestants from Salzburg province.

Christians still accused Jews of stealing holy wafers and stabbing them to crucify Jesus again. An execution for host-nailing happened in Nancy, France, in 1761. Christians still accused Jews of sacrificing Gentile children, but massacres were rare. A late exception was the killing of 128 Jews at Bucharest in 1801 after Orthodox priests raised the blood libel.

Why did church atrocities recede in the West? Because a new social climate was spreading—the Age of Reason, the Enlightenment. Philosopher Hegel called it “the Age of Intelligence.” The growth of scientific thinking and open discourse brought an awakening of human rights: a sense that people should be allowed to hold differing beliefs without risking death.

Thomas Paine born on this day in 1737

 

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From FFRF

On this date in 1737, Thomas Paine was born in England. Paine wrote “Common Sense” in 1776, fanning the flames of the American Revolution. On the cutting edge of revolution, Paine is best known for his political writings. No better index to Paine’s character can be found than his reply to Franklin’s remark, “Where liberty is, there is my country.” “Where liberty is not,” said Paine, “there is mine.” Without the pen of Paine, said one contemporary, the sword of Washington would have been wielded in vain.

A radical freethinker in the 18th century mode of deism, Paine wrote the classic criticism of the bible, The Age of Reason (1792), completing the second volume under arduous conditions of imprisonment in France. “I believe that religious duties consist in doing justice, loving mercy, and endeavoring to make our fellow creatures happy. I do not believe in the creed professed by the Jewish Church, by the Roman Church, by the Greek Church, by the Turkish Church, by the Protestant Church, nor by any church that I know of. My own mind is my own church.”

Organized religion was “set up to terrify and enslave” and to “monopolize power and profit.” Paine repudiated the divine origin of Christianity on grounds that it was too “absurd for belief, too impossible to convince and too inconsistent to practice.” He was vilified for his unabashed analysis of the bible when he returned to America in 1802. Even a century after his death, Theodore Roosevelt referred to Paine, the man who named the United States of America, as “a filthy little atheist.” Notable quotes: “. . . my country is the world, and my religion is to do good.” – Thomas Paine, The Rights of Man. D. 1809.

“Whenever we read the obscene stories, the voluptuous debaucheries, the cruel and tortuous executions, the unrelenting vindictiveness, with which more than half the Bible is filled it would be more consistent that we call it the word of a demon than the word of God. It is a history of wickedness that has served to corrupt and brutalize.” —Thomas Paine, The Age of Reason (1792)
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The Martyrdom of Bruno by the Christian Inquisition…

 

Burning Bruno, drawn by Watson Heston.
Burning Bruno, drawn by Watson Heston.

From The Truth Seeker

In the 1880s, the world’s freethinkers adopted Italian philosopher Giordano Bruno as one of their martyrs. A victim of the Roman Inquisition, Bruno was burned at the stake in 1600 for his heretical views. In an effort to honor Bruno, freethinkers mounted a campaign—spearheaded in America by The Truth Seeker—to build a monument in Rome near the Vatican. In 1889, the Giordano Bruno monument was unveiled amidst frenetic protest by the Roman Catholic Church. The Vatican vehemently opposed any monument honoring Bruno, especially one erected on the spot where they burned the freethought martyr. Pope Leo called the effort a “sacrilegious deed.”

It was the Inquisition of Venice, in Italy, that brought Giordano Bruno, astronomer, philosopher, and Freethinker, to the stake. Bruno (born in 1548) chose the church as what he supposed was the least of three evils, the two others being the law and the army. He found that his choice was the worst he could have made.

In the pursuit of his studies Bruno stumbled against the dogmas of the Trinity, Transubstantiation, and the Virgin Birth. He discussed these subjects with his brother monks of the convent of St. Domenico Maggiore, Naples. Reaching heterodox conclusions, he was proceeded against by the maser of the novices. Again, when in full orders, the father provincial fell upon him with accusations of heretical tendencies, and realizing the grave danger of a second process against a relapsed heretic, he fled from Naples and took the road to Rome. Here he learned that the accusation would soon follow him, and made his way to Genoa. He found no place to rest. His wanderings led him to Geneva, the home of Calvinism, where he discovered shortly that Protestantism was as narrow as Romanism. “The two churches,” as Bartholmess says, “were governed by the same principle of jurisdiction – the criminality of heresies. Whoever believed wrongly, that is to say, otherwise than the Holy Office or the Venerable Consistory, believed nothing; and he who believed not committed the crime of treason to God, and deserved capital punishment. Persecution hence became a sacred duty, an act agreeable to God. The greater its intolerance, the greater its value.”

Kids More Likely To Be Molested At Church Than In Transgender Bathrooms…

 

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From Reddit

In just 1 month, 13 pastors were arrested for sexual assault & rape. Another was arrested for selling 68 babies, another for a DUI & a priest is in trouble for orgies & pimping out women. All the while, religious GOP lawmakers in 6 states filed anti-trans bathroom bills to “protect women and kids.”

Former children’s pastor arrested in Alabama for the second time for sexual abuse of a child under 12. 1.

Georgia youth minister arrested for having sex with a 14 year old 2.

Pastor in Charlotte charged with 9 armed robberies. 3.

Pastor in California arrested for sexually assaulting a 12 year old. 4.

Tennessee worship leader charged with exploitation of a minor. 5.

Minnesota pastor beat a boy for “testing God.” 6.

Pastor in Jamaica arrested after being caught doing some naughty things in his car with a 15 year old. 7.

Wellington Pastor is charged with sexual assault of a minor. 8.

Mike Pence Is A Theocrat. His Christian Supremacist Followers Seek To Take Over America. Seriously.

 

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“Imagine a world where Christian Supremacists plot a theocratic takeover of Washington, with the help of the Vice President. You’ve just crossed over into — 2017 America.”

From Daily Kos

Despite all the hand wringing and hysteria about the upcoming “presidency” of Donald Trump, the plain truth is that the Trump campaign stated in no uncertain terms that Vice President Mike Pence will in fact be in charge of “foreign and domestic affairs.”  What will that look like? Again, plainly, Mike Pence is not only the de facto leader of the Republican party, which is no longer the party of conservatism but is now the party of nationalism; but more importantly Mike Pence is at the head of another, far more dangerous Republican group, the “Christian Supremacists;” who are committed to taking over the government of the United States of America.  Preposterous, you say? Please read further.

Mike Pence found religion at approximately the same time that he found a way to succeed in politics. When asked about his religious conversion, Pence has stated that listening to a Christian music festival in college called him to Jesus. However, Pence’s appearance on the airwaves and his appearance at Grace Evangelical Church in Indianapolis both took place in the late eighties, early nineties, perhaps coincidentally.

Pence’s start in radio came when he lost a second Congressional race in 1988 and was commiserating in his law office when he got a call from a Rushville, Indiana woman, Sharon Disinger, who made him an offer he couldn’t refuse.  Disinger wanted Pence to host a talk show on her small radio station in Rush County. Disinger told Pence that his hero, Ronald Reagan got his start in radio; and it goes without saying that Pence had other heros, notably Rush Limbaugh, whose fame on the airwaves Pence openly aspired to.

Pence’s primary hero, however, was evangelist James Dobson. Dobson invited Pence on his radio show on October 5, 2016 and Pence proclaimed that being interviewed by Dobson was, “the greatest honor of my entire life.”  Dobson is virulently anti-gay as is Pence. Dobson is the founder of two anti-gay organizations, Focus On The Family and the Family Research Council and through those two groups Dobson proselytizes anti-gay hate doctrines thinly veiled with evangelical and pro-family language.  Dobson blamed the tragic shooting at Sandy Hook Elementary on same-sex marriage, and has also gone on record as stating that same-sex marriage could lead the U.S. into another civil war. Dobson’s political awareness is as astute as Ben Carson’s, if even.

Freethinker: Isaac Asimov born on this day in 1920…

 

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From FFRF

“Properly read, the Bible is the most potent force for atheism ever conceived”

On this day in 1920, Isaac Asimov, a self-described “second-generation freethinker” and one of the world’s most prolific authors, was born in Petrovichi, Russia. He moved with his family to Brooklyn, New York, in 1923, and became a naturalized citizen in 1928. Isaac taught himself to read by age five. At age seven, he taught his sister to read.

He sold one of his earliest published short stories, “Nightfall,” in 1941, which was eventually voted the best science-fiction short story ever written, by the Science Fiction Writers of America. Asimov graduated from Columbia University with a bachelor of science degree in 1939, earned his M.A. in 1941 and a Ph.D. in chemistry in 1948. He was hired by Boston University’s School of Medicine to teach biochemistry the following year, although he had never studied biochemistry. He wrote a textbook on the subject in 1951, became associate professor of biochemistry in 1955 and professor in 1979, although he stopped teaching in 1958 to devote his life to writing.

I, Robot, (1950), is the title of Asimov’s first collection of short stories (a recent movie was based on one of the stories). Employing the “Asimovian Law of Composition,” which meant writing from nine to five, seven days a week (often closer to 6:30 a.m. to 10 p.m.), he averaged at least 12 new books a year. Asimov won five Hugos, three Nebula Awards, and his best-known “Foundation” trilogy was given a 1966 Hugo as “Best All-Time Science-Fiction Series.” Nonfiction works by Asimov were typically encyclopedic in range, such as his well-known Asimov’s Guide to the Bible (1968) and Asimov’s Annotated Paradise Lost (1974). He wrote a series of popularizing books on science and history, and even a guide to Shakespeare.

Asimov was an atheist: “I am Jewish in the sense that if an Arab wanted to throw a rock at a Jew, I would qualify as a target as far as he was concerned. However, I do not practice Judaism or any other religion.” (March 17, 1969 letter). Asimov called himself “an orthodox, practicing atheist” (April 29, 1988 letter). Asimov wrote: “Properly read, the Bible is the most potent force for atheism ever conceived” (Feb. 22, 1966 letter). He also observed, “I must say that I stand amazed at the highly intelligent people who have taken so much of the Bible so seriously” (Oct. 28, 1966 letter). “Nobody but a dedicated Christian could possibly read the gospels and not see them as a tissue of nonsense” (Nov. 1, 1966 letter). “I would not be satisfied to have my kids choose to be religious without trying to argue them out of it, just as I would not be satisfied to have them decide to smoke regularly or engage in any other practice I considered detrimental to mind or body” (Aug. 22, 1963 letter).

“I am prejudiced against religion because I know the history of religion, and it is the history of human misery and of black crimes” (March 27, 1976 letter). Elected in 1985 as president of the American Humanist Association, Asimov rejected an offer to support “Jewish” humanism: “I want to be a human being, nothing more and nothing less” (June 21, 1985). (All letters cited from Yours, Isaac Asimov, a Lifetime of Letters, edited by Stanley Asimov, 1995). Asimov noted that “it is an excellent sign that the right wing is trembling before a few thousand Humanists. We are weak and yet feared. Let’s give them more cause to fear!”

Upon his death at age 72, he had written more than 470 published books, covering every category in the Dewey Decimal System, fiction and nonfiction. Asimov was married twice, and had a son and daughter. Isaac’s death from heart and kidney failure was a consequence of AIDS contracted from a transfusion of tainted blood during his December 1983 triple-bypass operation. D. 1992.

“Just the force of rational argument in the end cannot be withstood.”

—Isaac Asimov, Winter Solstice Speech before the New Jersey Freedom From Religion Foundation, Dec. 22, 1985

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Atheist Christmas…

 

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From The Archives
ROBERT INGERSOLL (1833 – 1899)
The Great Agnostic

Again we celebrate the victory of Light over Darkness, of the God of day over the hosts of night. Again Samson is victorious over Delilah, and Hercules triumphs once more over Omphale. In the embrace of Isis, Osiris rises from the dead, and the scowling Typhon is defeated once more. Again Apollo, with unerring aim, with his arrow from the quiver of light, destroys the serpent of shadow. This is the festival of Thor, of Baldur and of Prometheus. Again Buddha by a miracle escapes from the tyrant of Madura, Zoroaster foils the King, Bacchus laughs at the rage of Cadmus, and Chrishna eludes the tyrant.

This is the festival of the sun-god, and as such let its observance be universal.

This is the great day of the first religion, the mother of all religions—the worship of the sun.

Sun worship is not only the first, but the most natural and most reasonable of all. And not only the most natural and the most reasonable, but by far the most poetic, the most beautiful.

The sun is the god of benefits, of growth, of life, of warmth, of happiness, of joy. The sun is the all-seeing, the all-pitying, the all-loving.

This bright God knew no hatred, no malice, never sought for revenge.

All evil qualities were in the breast of the God of darkness, of shadow, of night. And so I say again, this is the festival of Light. This is the anniversary of the triumph of the Sun over the hosts of Darkness.

Let us all hope for the triumph of Light—of Right and Reason—for the victory of Fact over Falsehood, of Science over Superstition.

And so hoping, let us celebrate the venerable festival of the Sun.

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Why It’s Time to Call Bullshit on Prayer Requests…

 

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From Valerie Tarico

Asking God for help is not as harmless as it seems. 

Around the world and across America, people ask God for favors large and small, and praying gives them comfort. People pray over dying pets, dying parents, wars, forest fires, food, football games, parking spaces, tests, super-shopper discounts, erectile dysfunction, and excessive flatulence.

In the face of terrorist tragedies or natural disasters (sometimes called “acts of God”), preachers and politicians call for more prayer. And why not? It costs them nothing and earns them points. Public opinion and even the Bible are on their side. “Cast all your cares on him, for he cares for you,” said one Bible writer. “Ask and you will receive,” promised another.

Even though research shows that prayer requests don’t have any measurable effect—that God, at best, operates at the margins of statistical significance—pro-prayer platitudes and scripts are cherished and repeated and handed down from generation to generation. As a child at Camp Good News, I crooned along with my fellow campers: God answers prayer in the morning, God answers prayer at noo-oo-oon, God answers prayer in the eeevening . . . My youth pastor explained why it didn’t always seem that way: Sometimes God says yes, he told us, sometimes He says no, and sometimes He says wait. Forty years later, Christian children and youth still memorize the same lines.

Atheists, agnostics and other secular activists may think prayer is hogwash, but a lot of other people like praying and they like to think that it works. So, why not just leave the habit alone? It seems harmless enough. “Prayer makes us feel good.  It gives comfort.  It’s a way to feel like we’re doing something important with minimal effort,” says former Evangelical Seth Andrews.

It may even have other benefits.

Possible Perks from Asking God for Favors

The case against priests, preachers and evangelists…

 

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From Church and State

How long would religion last if there was no special profit in it for those who carry on religious propaganda?

Millions of priests, preachers, bishops, nuns, sisters, monks, secretaries, evangelists, and others of higher or lower degree derive their living from the continual life of the religions they preach. Most of these people have very easy lives. They are usually fat and well kept, wear good clothes, and have special benefits.

They work together like a vast political machine. It is to their personal advantage to work for the religion which supports them. They toil not, neither do they spin, yet their religious followers support them in comfort and even luxury. Many a country has miserable shacks for the people who provide ostentatious and costly temples, tabernacles, and cathedrals for the leaders who are able to influence them.

Besides the easy living, which priests and witch-doctors have had from the earliest times, they have obtained many special privileges.

They are exempt from the hardships, wounds, and death of war; they are free from military duty. In this case we have another instance of evolution. The priests and their workers have saved their skins while their followers were on the battle front. So naturally the priestly clan throughout the ages has survived in a larger proportion than the braver members of their congregations who have gone to war. But the freedom from going to war is an advantage enjoyed only by women and priests, religious students and other church hangers-on. This in itself is a reason why many preachers and priests stick to their profession. During the Second World War more than 150,000 of these parasites escaped military service.

Priests, preachers, nuns are entitled to special rates on the railroads, steamships, and other means of transportation, often half fare — which increases the cost to other travelers.

Ah, the Bible is so full of it…

 

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From Atheist Republic, GB

Still searching for a reason to return to my youth-religion, Roman Catholicism, I undertook to study the Bible, trying to assess what really was said about such items as the Annunciation and the birth of Jesus, hoping, too, to find references to such Church teachings as the Assumption of Mary. What I found was that Mother Church had constructed a whole wardrobe of yarns from its own cloth. No Assumption; no substantiation, in fact, for the whole Blessed Virgin Mary cult. Perhaps I was not surprised, as I had doubted features of the Holy Family story since I was young.

Having made a start on the Bible, I decided to read it from cover to cover, an exercise I now suggest to anyone who wants to further his/her atheistic bent. That the Pentateuch was a collection of tales to justify the political and military exploits of the Hebrew nation soon became obvious. The promotion of savage rules for living supposedly emanating from a kindly God was justification enough to cut my ties with any religion based on the Old Testament. That Paul continued the attack on women also energized my distaste for the New Testament.

Among the stories which annoy and disgust, is something lighter, the foolish yarn about Noah who purportedly built an ark (Genesis 6) which prevented every species on earth (except the unicorn) from perishing in an universal flood. The number of animals on board would vary, depending on which of the two versions, you want to accept; and, on how fast dinosaurs multiply (fundamentalists of many stripes believe that man and dinosaur co-existed). Totally impossible. Entirely misleading. But, excrementally funny, if you think about it.

On to the juicy stuff. So many stories teaching or approving of indecency, treachery, rape and murder. How to choose the more glaring examples? Lot (Genesis 11-14; 19 … particularly 19), being Abraham’s nephew, should be a good fellow to start the parade. His happy offer to let the mob at his door do whatever they want with his two virgin daughters, so long as they will not touch his two male guests, stands as one of the most vile examples of twisted thinking in the whole bible. It is comforting that the daughters lived to escape Sodom with their parents, though Lot’s wife didn’t make it, having looked back to see what was happening to her friends … which served her right, because Yahweh had warned her!  But, back to the tale … Lot is now an old man (still virile … it ran in the family) living in a cave in the hills with his two now-adult daughters who want to become pregnant. There are no men around, and they are too lame-brained to take their love to town, so they get their father drunk (this happens two nights in a row) and take turns sleeping with him to get pregnant. And it happens!  So drunk that he could not remember, he can still do the thing!  I guess that the girls told the historians of the time later on, when they discovered which way was downhill.

Why does religion cause so many problems?

 

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From Church and State, UK

If God were to exist, wouldn’t you expect there to be a huge benefit to those who follow and obey him? Why, instead, do we see the opposite?

For example, there is growing evidence that the delusion of religion causes significant social dysfunction. Statistical research is revealing the problems that go with religion. For example, a recent article in the Journal of Religion and Society points out that religion is correlated to the significant social difficulties that we can see in America:

In general, higher rates of belief in and worship of a creator correlate with higher rates of homicide, juvenile and early adult mortality, STD infection rates, teen pregnancy, and abortion in the prosperous democracies (Figures 1-9). The most theistic prosperous democracy, the U.S., is exceptional, but not in the manner Franklin predicted. The United States is almost always the most dysfunctional of the developed democracies, sometimes spectacularly so, and almost always scores poorly. The view of the U.S. as a “shining city on the hill” to the rest of the world is falsified when it comes to basic measures of societal health. [ref]

The prevailing view is that religion is harmless even if it is delusional. That turns out not to be the case. America is the most religious country of those studied in the developed world. America also has the biggest problems in terms of things like homicide, juvenile and early adult mortality, STD infection rates, teen pregnancy, and abortion.

This article by Sam Harris puts it this way:

While most Americans believe that getting rid of religion is an impossible goal, much of the developed world has already accomplished it. Any account of a “god gene” that causes the majority of Americans to helplessly organize their lives around ancient works of religious fiction must explain why so many inhabitants of other First World societies apparently lack such a gene. The level of atheism throughout the rest of the developed world refutes any argument that religion is somehow a moral necessity. Countries like Norway, Iceland, Australia, Canada, Sweden, Switzerland, Belgium, Japan, the Netherlands, Denmark and the United Kingdom are among the least religious societies on Earth. According to the United Nations’ Human Development Report (2005) they are also the healthiest, as indicated by measures of life expectancy, adult literacy, per capita income, educational attainment, gender equality, homicide rate and infant mortality. Conversely, the 50 nations now ranked lowest in terms of human development are unwaveringly religious. Other analyses paint the same picture: The United States is unique among wealthy democracies in its level of religious literalism and opposition to evolutionary theory; it is also uniquely beleaguered by high rates of homicide, abortion, teen pregnancy, STD infection and infant mortality. The same comparison holds true within the United States itself: Southern and Midwestern states, characterized by the highest levels of religious superstition and hostility to evolutionary theory, are especially plagued by the above indicators of societal dysfunction, while the comparatively secular states of the Northeast conform to European norms. Of course, correlational data of this sort do not resolve questions of causality—belief in God may lead to societal dysfunction; societal dysfunction may foster a belief in God; each factor may enable the other; or both may spring from some deeper source of mischief. Leaving aside the issue of cause and effect, these facts prove that atheism is perfectly compatible with the basic aspirations of a civil society; they also prove, conclusively, that religious faith does nothing to ensure a society’s health.

Countries with high levels of atheism also are the most charitable in terms of giving foreign aid to the developing world. The dubious link between Christian literalism and Christian values is also belied by other indices of charity. Consider the ratio in salariesbetween top-tier CEOs and their average employee: in Britain it is 24 to 1; France 15 to 1; Sweden 13 to 1; in the United States, where 83% of the population believes that Jesus literally rose from the dead, it is 475 to 1. Many a camel, it would seem, expects to squeeze easily through the eye of a needle.

In other words, religion is harmful, not helpful. The reason is because God is imaginary and religious delusion is hurting all of us.

~~

 

God Is Imaginary…

 

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It is easy to prove to yourself that God is imaginary. The evidence is all around you. Here are 50 simple proofs:

  1. Try praying
  2. Statistically analyze prayer
  3. Look at all historical gods
  4. Think about science
  5. Read the Bible
  6. Ponder God’s plan
  7. Understand religious delusion

Go to Website for complete list here
~~

Sunday Song: Heaven is Satellite by the Hooters…

 

Thanks to Bruce

Hush little baby, don’t cry like that
God’s gonna buy you a Cadillac
He’s chosen you to do his will
You can spread the word in your coupe de ville

So jump in the river and learn to swim
God’s gonna wash away all your sins
And if you still can’t see the light
God’s gonna buy you a satellite

Look to the heavens and see it shine
Heals the sick and leads the blind
Tune it in and hear it say
It’s counting down to judgment day

So jump in the river and learn to swim
God’s gonna wash away all your sins
And if you still can’t see the light
God’s gonna buy you a satellite

Hey, satellite man, your time has come
Your word received by everyone
And should you fall, well, that’s okay
You love the ones that you betray

So jump in the river and learn to swim
God’s gonna wash away all your sins
And when at last you see the light
God’s gonna by you a satellite

So jump in the river and learn to swim
God’s gonna wash away all your sins
And when at last you see the light
God’s gonna buy you a satellite

Yeah, when at last you see the light
God’s gonna buy you a satellite
Hey, God’s gonna buy you a satellite

Look to the heavens and see it shine
~~

Ingersoll: Is Suicide a Sin?

 

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From The Archives
ROBERT INGERSOLL (1833 – 1899)
The Great Agnostic

* These letters were published in the New York World, 1894.

Col. Ingersoll’s First Letter.
I DO not know whether self-killing is on the increase or not. If it is, then there must be, on the average, more trouble, more sorrow, more failure, and, consequently, more people are driven to despair. In civilized life there is a great struggle, great competition, and many fail. To fail in a great city is like being wrecked at sea. In the country a man has friends; he can get a little credit, a little help, but in the city it is different. The man is lost in the multitude. In the roar of the streets, his cry is not heard. Death becomes his only friend. Death promises release from want, from hunger and pain, and so the poor wretch lays down his burden, dashes it from his shoulders and falls asleep.

To me all this seems very natural. The wonder is that so many endure and suffer to the natural end, that so many nurse the spark of life in huts and prisons, keep it and guard it through years of misery and want; support it by beggary, by eating the crust found in the gutter, and to whom it only gives days of weariness and nights of fear and dread. Why should the man, sitting amid the wreck of all he had, the loved ones dead, friends lost, seek to lengthen, to preserve his life? What can the future have for him?

Under many circumstances a man has the right to kill himself. When life is of no value to him, when he can be of no real assistance to others, why should a man continue? When he is of no benefit, when he is a burden to those he loves, why should he remain? The old idea was that God made us and placed us here for a purpose and that it was our duty to remain until he called us. The world is outgrowing this absurdity. What pleasure can it give God to see a man devoured by a cancer; to see the quivering flesh slowly eaten; to see the nerves throbbing with pain? Is this a festival for God? Why should the poor wretch stay and suffer? A little morphine would give him sleep—the agony would be forgotten and he would pass unconsciously from happy dreams to painless death.

Hi, I’m Stefanie and I’m addicted to religion…

 

img_2030From ExChristian Network

I have seen others refer to this as an addiction, and I have said this myself before. Sometimes I wonder, am I making to much of this? Is it just something that happened in the past and I’m over it? No.. It’s something I battle all the time. Am I sure all other ex Christians feel addicted? No, I don’t know…

That’s just it, I don’t know….

I have been in a relationship with someone who goes to AA. I go to support him, And I listen. I have to say that I went through a lot that they did, but I can’t tell them that, they will never understand. Its actually addicting to me to get into an organization. But I am an extremist and take it too far. I can’t help it and I don’t know when to quit, I end up getting hurt and hurting the people around me. Christianity hurt me and my family. I didn’t know when to quit. I had to be just what God ordered and I thought I was doing right. If I hurt you for the cause… I was doing right, or so I thought. I lost everything in his name, and I would do it again and again, and I would have died for this god as well. I gave him my money when I was going without food. I was supposed to have faith. I ended up stealing food and then believed I was going to hell for it. There was no mercy. But I couldn’t stop.

In God We (Don’t) Trust…

 

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From Freedom From Religion Foundation

For an overwhelming part of U.S. history, America’s motto was purely secular, “E Pluribus Unum” (From many [come] one). E Pluribus Unum was chosen by a committee of Jefferson, Adams and Franklin. Many Americans mistakenly assume our founders chose “In God We Trust” as the motto, but nothing could be further from the truth. Our founders were committed to a secular government. For most of U.S. history, our money was likewise free of religion.

Of all of the complaints over state/church entanglement received by the Freedom From Religion Foundation, none has received more complaints from our membership than the inscription “In God We Trust” on currency.

To learn more about how a religious motto supplanted U.S. secular heritage, read on and see the links below.

The Freedom From Religion sued the federal government in 1994 to have “In God We Trust” removed from currency and as our national motto.

The motto was put on all paper currency by an Act of Congress in 1955. The phrase was chosen as our national motto by an Act of Congress in 1956. It first appeared on paper currency in 1957.

The Foundation lawsuit was dismissed by a 10th-circuit federal judge on the grounds that “In God We Trust” is not a religious phrase. The Foundation appealed the dismissal.

Foundation Lawsuit Challenges “In God We Trust” Motto
Freethought Today, June/July 1994

“In God We Trust” Legal Complaint
Freethought Today, June/July 1994

“In God We Trust” Appeal 
Freethought Today, January/February 1996

In God We Trust Appealed To High Court
Freethought Today, May 1996

US Supreme Court Turns Down Foundation Appeal 
Freethought Today, June/July 1996

See Court Challenges
~~

Agnostic or Atheist?

 


~~

The New Way To Be Creepy For Jesus…

 

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From Roll To Disbelieve

“Make a tree good and its fruit will be good, or make a tree bad and its fruit will be bad, for a tree is recognized by its fruit. . . A good man brings good things out of the good stored up in him, and an evil man brings evil things out of the evil stored up in him.”

Matthew 12:33-35

It often takes a personal tragedy for Christians to realize that they can’t trust the religion’s party lines about much of anything. But once that tragedy strikes, it’s usually too late to do anything but feel regret for that misplaced trust.

One of fundagelical Christianity’s most cherished party lines is that people are meant to live in rigidly structured, hierarchical communities and to adopt very narrowly-prescribed roles in their relationships. One group gets all the power to make decisions and order everyone else around, and everyone else is supposed to obey without flinching. Not only are fundagelical leaders authoritarians, but their congregations tend to be in turn authoritarian followers. The dysfunction of the leaders makes sense to their followers, who are dysfunctional in different but completely complementary ways.

“Do what I say, and you will be safe and rewarded,” these leaders promise. It is a promise their followers desperately ache to see realized. But thanks to the nature of power in fundagelicalism’s deeply broken system, only one of those parties is going to get what they want.

The other party? Well, they get it in the shorts, as always.

Finding Out the Hard Way

Endless Absurdities of Religion…

 

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From Church and State UK

Pentecostalism—in which worshippers compulsively spout incomprehensible sounds called “the unknown tongue” (glossolalia)—has become a major world religion. An estimated three hundred million North Americans and Southern Hemisphere residents now attend churches where glossolalia occurs. This faith is surging, while most other branches of Christianity fade.

Santeria worshippers sacrifice thousands of dogs, pigs, goats, chickens, and the like to a variety of deities that are partly Catholic saints and partly African jungle gods. Bodies of the unlucky animals are dumped into waterways. Miami police patrol boats fish out the carcasses. Santeria (“way of the saints”) is somewhat similar to voodoo, but it arose among Spanish slaves instead of French ones.

Many millions of Hindus pray over models of Shiva’s penis. They make pilgrimages to a Himalayan cave where a penis-like ice stalagmite rises in winter. In San Francisco’s Golden Gate Park, many worshippers pray at a phallic-looking traffic barrier.

About five thousand fervent young Muslims have detonated themselves as human bombs in “martyrdom operations” to kill tens of thousands of “infidels.” The phenomenon peaked on September 11, 2001, when nineteen suicide volunteers hijacked four airliners and crashed them like projectiles to kill nearly three thousand Americans. The year 2007 had more than five hundred suicide attacks worldwide—well above one per day.