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Friday, December 28, 2007

Intro: Reason Driven

Robert Price starts out by giving some history on his experiences as a evangelical christian for at least 12 years, and how he came to be an unbeliever. He has come to see fundamentalist christianity as a narrow-minded view of life, and in fact that narrow-mindedness is seen as a virtue in christianity, whereas it as seen as a vice in all other aspects of human existence.

3 deficiencies resulting from religion are next cited.

  1. Morally, one remains stuck in ancient dogma. Unable to develop a personal moral sense, one is motivated to "one true" version of morality under threat of hellfire.
  2. Intellectually, growth is halted. Questioning or getting the answers on your final theology exam wrong will result, again, in hellfire. Better sit down, shut up, and bow to your (preacher) God.
  3. Personally, growth is stunted. Religion "gives you a slate of answers before it has even occurred to you to ask the questions." Vote with the party line, and don't bother about developing personal maturity. "The Christian is told to take his problems and 'leave them with the Lord,' 'leave them to the altar'. Not even God can grow up for you."
Confession of sins and worship of idols are discussed, and the christian's unwillingness to get "his or her own life, not the life of Jesus to be lived through the Christian." The myriad of biblical interpretations are cited, resulting in opinions given by pastors that are to be taken on faith as the word of God. And when the interpretations fail, the fall back is the fallible understanding of man. He then describes an instance of what happens when christians become disillusioned and unconvinced of their own faith.

Price then explains the difference between purpose and reason. Purpose, in Warren's terms, is given from an outside entity. There is no control or input. Price refers to Warren's "model of the fundamentalism-driven life." "A reason driven life denotes a life lived by means of rational thinking and choosing." In other words, reason is derived from the individual themselves, within their environment and relationships with other beings. Price speaks of the importance of going "to something", not simply a negative disbelief in another system. He identifies himself as a humanist, and humanism as an alternative to religion.

Throwing up our hands and assuming an all-powerful God throws out the wonder available to us in this life. Price believes the universe is morally neutral, and human "impose our own order and meaning upon it. There is no already determined meaning somewhere else..."

The only God is humanity. "We face the blank canvas of our lives and decide what meaning, what artwork, we will trace thereon." I especially like the rebuttal to the assertion that "human life is rendered meaningless if it must end in death."

"I have never been able to see how an otherwise meaningless life would suddenly become meaningful if you added an infinite amount of it."

Finally, Robert Price wants us to know that he does "not much care what you end up believing, partly because you should not jump to conclusions." I enjoy his candor and promotion of skeptical thinking, even of his own work.

Series Index

Intro: Purpose Driven

Rick introduces his book as your personal guide to "prepare you for eternity."

He talks about the significance of 40 days in this program in terms of biblical references. He states that "God considers 40 days a spiritually significant time period," and lists several biblical examples.

There are 4 features he introduces as resources throughout the chapters.

  1. A Point to Ponder - "Nugget of truth that summarizes a principle"
  2. A Verse to Remember - "Bible verse that teaches a truth"
  3. A Question to Consider - "..help you think about the implications of what you have read and how it applies to you personally."
  4. Discussion Questions (in the appendix)
He then (warns) us that the bible is quoted extensively, over a thousand times.

Then he lets you know that he's been praying for you to "[discover] what God put you on this planet to do."

Another note, there's an encouragement to find an "accountability partner" to help you through this 40 day program.

Series Index

Thursday, November 29, 2007

The Amazing Color Changing Card Trick

Richard Wiseman did a fantastic job here with an example of how the human brain can be tricked in relatively simple ways. I heard about this from the podcast "Point of Inquiry". Be sure to check it out.

Atheist and Christian duel on God’s existence

My favorite parts (although I've heard them so many times, I should be bored by now):

  • "...packed audience of students and visitors ...with some cheering for Fitzgerald and others sporting Bibles in hand and wearing t-shirts warning that only Jesus can save you from Hell."
  • "Yuon, as a Christian apologist... based much of his argument against Fitzgerald’s atheism on the claim that only a being with omniscient knowledge of the universe could know for certain that God does not exist."
  • "One point on which Fitzgerald and Yuon were more or less in agreement was that the existence of God cannot be proven through naturalistic reason, a point which Fitzgerald used to refute God’s existence and which Yuon took as evidence that Fitzgerald had no rational basis on which to make that claim."
  • "...Fitzgerald asked Yuon whether a number of incidents in the Bible ascribed to God which he found repulsive — such as the massacre of the Midianites by Moses or Paul’s mandate that women remain silent in church — could be considered just, to which Yuon responded that if God ordered it to be done then it was correct."
  • "...Yuon doubted that Fitzgerald could make any definitive moral judgment without an absolute concept of good and evil."
  • “Jokes I’ve heard about atheist groups are that you can’t have them because at every meeting everyone would just go, ‘So, you believe in God yet? No.’”

The Standford Daily
November 28, 2007
By Andrew Valencia

The Fellowship in Christ at Stanford (FICS) sponsored a debate last night between an atheist and a Christian apologist in Tresidder Oak West, meditating on one of the oldest and most important philosophical questions: Is there a God?

Representing the atheist viewpoint was David Fitzgerald, a prominent author and coordinator for San Francisco Atheists, while Chang Yuon of Grace Church in Pleasanton supported the Christian side. The two debaters squared-off before a packed audience of students and visitors from both sides of the issue, with some cheering for Fitzgerald and others sporting Bibles in hand and wearing t-shirts warning that only Jesus can save you from Hell.

The nearly two hour-long debate kicked off with the sounds of “Eye of the Tiger” by Survivor. At the onset, Fitzgerald made it clear that he and Yuon, who have debated each other before in other venues, do not take theological arguments personally.

“We are not Jerry Springer guests, we are not gladiatorial opponents,” Fitzgerald said. “Chang and I actually like each other very much, we just think the other is completely wrong.”

Throughout the course of their debate, Fitzgerald and Yuon disagreed fundamentally on issues regarding the nature of the universe, the validity of the Bible, the philosophical basis for knowing good and evil, science and, most importantly, whether it is possible to prove or disprove the existence of God.

Yuon, as a Christian apologist, spoke in defense of the existence of the Christian God, and based much of his argument against Fitzgerald’s atheism on the claim that only a being with omniscient knowledge of the universe could know for certain that God does not exist.

“For Christians it is not that God is only in the things we cannot explain, but in all the things we can explain,” Yuon said. “Dave has to subscribe omniscience to something else. In order for Dave to be a consistent atheist, he has to be an inconsistent one.”

One point on which Fitzgerald and Yuon were more or less in agreement was that the existence of God cannot be proven through naturalistic reason, a point which Fitzgerald used to refute God’s existence and which Yuon took as evidence that Fitzgerald had no rational basis on which to make that claim.

As the focus of the discussion shifted towards more specific aspects of the Bible and Christianity, Fitzgerald stated a long list of instances in which the Christian God of the Bible is portrayed as a barbaric and cruel “Bronze Age” deity, whose behavior was more like that of a “drunken, bipolar God.”

During the question exchange, Fitzgerald asked Yuon whether a number of incidents in the Bible ascribed to God which he found repulsive — such as the massacre of the Midianites by Moses or Paul’s mandate that women remain silent in church — could be considered just, to which Yuon responded that if God ordered it to be done then it was correct.

Fitzgerald cited “reason” and “compassion” as his grounding principles, while Yuon doubted that Fitzgerald could make any definitive moral judgment without an absolute concept of good and evil.

“Human values are important to us because we are human,” Fitzgerald said. “Yes, everyone has morality around the world, but not everyone agrees on what is moral.”

The responses from the audience throughout the debate were as mixed as the composition of the attendees. While some laughed openly at Fitzgerald’s biblical comparisons, others reacted with open disapproval.

Following his claim that, “you never see atheists flying airplanes into buildings or stoning heretics,” one audience member stood up and shouted, “Stalin did! Stalin did!” Fitzgerald replied that Communism, as he sees it, is a form of political religion. Later on, Yuon incited a similar reaction from a member of the audience, who reacted to his assertion that Jesus died only for his followers by shouting, “Jesus died for everyone!”

As the debate concluded, neither of the speakers, obviously, had been convinced by the other’s arguments and still remained firm in their respective convictions. As Fitzgerald put it, “no matter how well we debate tonight, the universe is going to keep on going just the way it always has.”

There were mixed reactions among student attendees as to how well the two men presented their claims.

Some thought the results were not well balanced.

“I am a Catholic, so I do believe in God, but to be honest I thought the atheist definitely got the better of the Christian,” said Charlie Capps ‘10, who faulted Yuon for basing his arguments too heavily on a Calvinist doctrine, stating that Yuon “does not speak for me.”

And for others, simply the presence of the debate on campus was a refreshing change of pace. Cathy Bonn ‘11, an agnostic, said she had a lot of fun listening to the debaters argue. But this is the first event on campus she has heard of that has incorporated the atheist perspective.

“Jokes I’ve heard about atheist groups are that you can’t have them because at every meeting everyone would just go, ‘So, you believe in God yet? No.’”

Wednesday, November 28, 2007

Turkish prosecutor probes whether atheist book "The God Delusion" assaults values

Another example of religion's propensity to stifle free thought and free speech.


The Associated Press
Published: November 28, 2007

ANKARA, Turkey: A prosecutor is investigating whether to prosecute the Turkish publisher of a best-selling book by atheist writer Richard Dawkins for inciting religious hatred, reports said Wednesday.

Publisher Erol Karaaslan said Wednesday he would be questioned by an Istanbul prosecutor as part of an official investigation into "The God Delusion" written by the British expert in evolutionary biology.

The investigation follows controversy about free speech in Turkey after Nobel Prize-winning author Orhan Pamuk went on trial in 2005 over comments about historic abuses in Turkey.

Karaaslan could go on trial if the prosecutor concludes the book incites religious hatred and insults religious values, and faces up to one year in prison if found guilty, Milliyet newspaper reported.

The prosecutor started the inquiry into the book after one reader complained that passages in the book were an assault on "sacred values," Karaaslan said.

Karaaslan said he will be questioned Thursday and faces prosecution both as the book's publisher and translator. The book has sold some 6,000 copies in Turkey since it was published by his Kuzey publishing house in June.

No one was available for comment at the prosecutor's office.

The European Union, which Turkey hopes to join, is pressing Ankara to change laws that curb free expression and do not fit within the bloc's standards of free speech.

Turkey has said it will soften a much-criticized law which makes denigrating Turkish identity, or insulting the country's institutions, a crime.

Pamuk went on trial over his comments about the mass killings of Armenians by Ottoman Turks in the early 20th century, but the charges were later dropped. Pamuk was later awarded the Nobel prize for literature in 2006.

Turkey contends the death toll has been inflated and the deaths were the result of civil unrest, not genocide.

Sunday, November 25, 2007

Egypt Jails Christian Woman for Father's Conversion

This is what religion does when it has enough power, regardless of whether it's Christianity, Islam, or any other form of mythical fantasy worship.

From http://www.christianpost.com

By Ethan Cole
Christian Post Reporter
Sat, Nov. 24 2007 09:37 AM ET

An Egyptian Christian woman has been jailed for her father’s brief conversion to Islam over 40 years ago which made her legally a Muslim despite her official papers stating that she is a Christian, her lawyer said Thursday.

Shadia Nagui Ibrahim, 47, was sentenced Wednesday to three years in jail on the charge of fraud for stating she is a Christian on her marriage certificate, according to Agence France-Presse.

Under Egyptian law, a person’s official religion is based on the father’s religion.

Nagui Ibrahim’s father converted to Islam in 1962 after leaving home when she was two years old. Three years later he reconciled with her mother and returned home, re-converting back to Christianity. He had someone forge his document to say he was Christian.

In Egypt, it is extremely difficult to near impossible to officially change one’s religion from Islam. However, it is easy to officially change one’s religion to Islam.

The man who forged Ibrahim’s document was arrested in 1996 for creating dozens of false documents. In the process, the man confessed he made false papers for Ibrahim.

Authorities detained Ibrahim and informed Shadia that on paper her father and her are still Muslim.

Under Egyptian law it is illegal for a Muslim woman to marry a Christian man.

Although she was unaware of her father’s conversion, she was charged with “providing false information on official documents” for stating she was Christian on her 1982 marriage certificate, according to AFP.

Nagui Ibrahim was sentenced to three years in 2000 but her case was dropped. However, in August she was again detained and on Wednesday sentenced to three years after one brief court session, her lawyer said.

Her case follows another convert legal battle earlier this year which threw Egypt in an uproar. An Egyptian man who converted to Christianity from Islam, in an unprecedented act, sued Egypt for rejecting his application to officially change his religion on his identification papers.

Covert Mohammed Ahmed Hegazy was forced into hiding because Muslim extremists threatened to kill him for leaving Islam after his case made national headlines.

Egypt has no law banning conversion from Islam, but the country’s Muslims look upon apostasy very negatively with some even calling for punishment by death.

Egypt’s population of 80 million is about 90 percent Muslim and only about 10 percent Christian. Although the percentage of Christians in Egypt is small, it represents the largest Christian population in the Middle East.

Responses to "Eight reasons why I am not an atheist"

1. The religious are discontent with purpose as-is, and invent their "ultimate purpose". In the process, they devalue that which is truly valuable in a human life.
2. Supreme arrogance exists where those who require evidence for their beliefs are accused of "suppress[ing] the demands of logic."
3. This false dichotomy leaves out the option that the religious never put on the table. "We do not have enough evidence to know" is a reasonable position, reverend.
4. "An atheist must suppress all notions of morality." See my previous articles here.
5. This one is true. The natural world is amoral. Good and evil are human constructs. They are real, and judgments are made based on socio-cultural standards and traditions. See #4, the absence of an absolute and universal moral standard does not mean a lack of morality.
6. You must be joking. I could just as easily assert that you are arrogant to not agree with me that there is a magic crystal from the alien Jujuboo race lodged in a sacred rock within the core of Earth's moon. Arrogance is a belief system based on mythology where the amount of evidence and your assertion of truth are inversely proportional.
7. Multiple reprinting does not make any writing historically accurate. Unbiased, eh? I wonder why all the gospels were not included? I wonder why many of the writings took place generations after the supposed events? I wonder why the scriptures were off limits to anyone outside of the church for the first centuries of their existence? Extraordinary claims require extraordinary evidence for me to believe them. For you, apparently not.
8. Humans are animals, and a product of evolution by natural selection. Your statement about "blind chance operating on the primordial ooze" clearly indicates your ignorance of the Theory of Evolution by Natural Selection. Please read a book other than the Bible, for instance try "The Origin of Species" by Charles Darwin.

From http://www.mcall.com/

Eight reasons why I am not an atheist

November 24, 2007

1. An atheist assigns himself to life without ultimate purpose. Yes, atheists enjoy smaller meanings of life like friendship and love, pleasure and sorrow, Mozart and Plato. But to be consistent with his atheism, he cannot allow for ultimate meaning. If the atheist is honest, he will admit to feeling that there is something more to existence, something bigger. Someone said, ''The blazing evidence for immortality is our dissatisfaction with any other solution.''

According to Scripture, God has ''set eternity in the hearts of men'' (Ecclesiastes 3:11). To maintain his position, the atheist must suppress the feeling that there is more to life than what is temporal.

2. The atheist must suppress the demands of logic. He is like the man who finds an encyclopedia in the woods and refuses to believe it is the product of intelligent design. Everything about the book suggests intelligent cause. But if he accepted such a possibility, he might be forced to conclude that living creatures composed of millions of DNA-controlled cells (each cell containing the amount of information in an encyclopedia) have an intelligent cause. His bias against God will not allow him to accept this.

3. The atheist has to believe in miracles without believing in God. Why? Well, one law that nature seems to obey is this: whatever begins to exist is caused to exist. The atheist knows that the universe began to exist and since the universe is, according to the atheist, all there is, the very existence of the universe seems to be a colossal violation of the laws of nature (i.e., a miracle). It's hard to believe in miracles without God.

4. An atheist must suppress all notions of morality. He is not able to declare any quality to be morally superior to another. Such admissions require an absolute standard of goodness and duty. Without this, there is no basis for an atheist to declare peace better than war or love better than hate. These are simply alternative choices without moral superiority.

5. The atheist must conclude that evil is an illusion. For there to be evil, there must also be some real, objective standard of right and wrong. But if the physical universe is all there is, there can be no such standard (how could arrangements of matter and energy make judgments about good and evil true?). So, there are no real evils, just violations of human customs or conventions.

6. The atheist must also live with the arrogance of his position. Although he realizes that he does not possess total knowledge, his assertion that there is no God requires that he pretend such knowledge. Although he has limited experience, he must convince himself that he has total experience so that he can eliminate the possibility of God.

7. The atheist must also deny the validity of historical proof. If he accepted the standard rules for testing the truth claims of historical documents, he would be forced to accept the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead. The account of Jesus' resurrection is strongly validated by standard rules for judging historical accuracy. The extensive manuscript evidence of eyewitnesses to the resurrection is presented in an unbiased, authentic manner.

8. Finally, the atheist must admit that human beings are not importantly different from other animals. According to the atheist, we are simply the result of blind chance operating on the primordial ooze, and differing from animals by only a few genes. Yet the wonders of human achievement and the moral dignity we ascribe to human beings just do not fit with the claim that we are no different than the animals.

The atheist's problem with belief in God is not the absence of evidence but the suppression of it. This is what Scripture teaches. ''For since the creation of the world God's invisible qualities -- his eternal power and divine nature -- have been clearly seen, being understood from what has been made, so that men are without excuse. For although they knew God, they neither glorified him as God nor gave thanks to him, but their thinking became futile and their foolish hearts were darkened. Although they claimed to be wise, they became fools.'' (Romans 1:20-22).

The Rev. Steve Cornell is senior pastor of Millersville Bible Church Millersville, Lancaster County.

It's Come to this: Atheist about to Pray

Grant, please get an editor, or at least someone to read your articles before you post them. There are several instances in which you fail to form complete sentences.

There's an assertion that if the author were in a Muslim country, they would respect Islamic practices and so non-christians should do the same in the US. First, we have separation of church and state in the US, whereas in many Muslim countries, Islamic law and governance prevails. Secondly, the US is not a christian nation, regardless of how much you want it to be so.

I applaud Michael Harvey's willingness to put himself out there to protest the insidious practice of religious observance in connection with city council meetings.

From http://www.theconservativevoice.com/article/29378.html

by Grant Swank

November 24, 2007 12:00 PM EST

So we no longer agree to a Judeo-Christian heritage. God is tossed out like old day bread. Allah is permitted his due in public schools where separate rooms are provided Muslims for prayer mats. And now an atheist is about to stand before his city council to "pray."

Jesus said that in the last days there would be false prophets and false christs. They are aplenty today. Some of them are wrapped in atheist's garb, appearing as the secular saviors for the community-the world.

So it is that Fox News reports that Michael Harvey takes to the pulpit, that is, the council lectern. He's about to pray. To whom? For what? Expecting in return?

He champions that there's nothing "out there" to pray to except reason, science, and so forth. So he's about to offer his petition or praise, whichever, to the noone in the skies in order to bring some sort of earth-bound wisdom to the council proceedings.

Of course, his intention is not any of the above. His motive is to drive further the hammer fist into the Judeo-Christian heritage of America. Go to a Middle East country, as I have, and be a gentleman and a lady. When you see the mosques to your right and left, realize that you are in a Muslim country. Respect the Islamic adheretns as they do whatever they. That's their heritage.

When world travelers come to America, they should be gentlemen and ladies enough to respect the Judeo-Christian heritage. It was the bedrock of our nation. It led to God's smile upon our best endeavors. It opened us up to His discipline when necessary; it provided us His blessings when warranted. In all, God was never far away; to many He was as close as breathing.

That's why when I was in Frederick MD High School, we had devotions to start the day. I recall the woman faculty sponsor who helped organize them. When it came my turn, I read a passage from the Bible then offered a brief prayer. Those in the classrooms were silent. They listened. With that the entire school began the school day by beseeching God for His overview. Very good. No riots. No complaints. No picket signs. It happened and we were better for it.

Of course you can fill in the blanks as to what would happen today if that were even entertained as an option. Yet Michael can go to the Tampa City Council with his whatever to the no one there as if he's followed proper protocol. In some totally secular rooms, I suppose he is doing just that. But when it comes to the city council in America, it's a very very tragic day-not just a sad day, but a tragic day.

If the country on the course it's on, it won't need a prophet to spell out the wrath of God quotient around the corner. Gloom and doom? Time will tell.

In the meantime, Fox News reports: "Atheist Michael Harvey was about to give the invocation at a Tampa City Council meeting when some members became angry. A debate continued for nearly 30 minutes until three members walked out.

"Mary Alvarez left saying she shouldn't have to 'listen to an atheist sit here and tell me what I should or should not believe in.'

"Tampa atheists were granted permission to speak during the invocation after scolding the council for praying to 'invisible men in the sky.'

"Harvey doesn't believe in God so praying for civic wisdom for public servants, the whole idea behind any invocation, was impossible.

"'All I was trying to get across was that if they're going to be guided by something let them be guided by things we know work... reason... logic, science,' Harvey said.

"Inviting an atheist to lead a prayer seems foolish, said Luis Lugo of the Pew Forum on Religious and Public Life. "It doesn't make any sense to be praying in essence to 'whom it may concern.'"

Saturday, November 24, 2007

President of Evangelical University Resigns

Those wacky christian leaders have all the fun.

Published: November 24, 2007

TULSA, Okla., Nov. 23 (AP) — Facing accusations that he misspent university money to support a lavish lifestyle, the president of Oral Roberts University has resigned, officials said Friday.
Skip to next paragraph
Robert S. Cross/The Tulsa World

Richard Roberts, of Oral Roberts University, is said to have misspent university money.

The resignation by Richard Roberts was effective immediately, according to an e-mail statement from George Pearsons, the chairman of the university’s Board of Regents.

Mr. Roberts, the son of the televangelist and university founder Oral Roberts, came under fire with the university after three former professors filed a lawsuit last month that included accusations of a $39,000 shopping tab for Mr. Robert’s wife, Lindsay, at one store; a $29,411 senior trip to the Bahamas on the university jet for one of Mr. Roberts’s daughters; and a stable of horses for the Roberts children.

Mr. Roberts had been on temporary leave from the evangelical university, fighting the accusations. In a recent interview, he and his wife denied any wrongdoing.

Mr. Roberts, who took over as president in 1993, has said the lawsuit amounted to “intimidation, blackmail and extortion.”

On Friday, Mr. Roberts said in the statement: “I love O.R.U. with all my heart. I love the students, faculty, staff and administration, and I want to see God’s best for all of them.”

The professors also said in the lawsuit that Mr. Roberts had required students in a government class to work for the campaign of Randi Miller, a candidate in the 2006 Republican primary for mayor of Tulsa. Mr. Roberts has denied that.

Tim Brooker, one of the plaintiffs, accused the university of forcing him to quit after he had warned Mr. Roberts that requiring students to work on Ms. Miller’s campaign jeopardized the university’s tax-exempt status.

Mr. Roberts received a vote of no confidence last week from the university’s tenured faculty.

The regents will meet Monday and Tuesday to decide how to conduct a search for a new president, Mr. Pearsons said in the statement. Executive Regent Billy Joe Daugherty will temporarily assume the president’s administrative responsibilities.

Growing Evangelical Movement Finding New Ways To Proselytize

I love this part:

Nemtsov struggled with his religious beliefs for another decade, but now he is considering devoting himself to Christian evangelism. “I don’t want anyone to burn in hellfire,” he says.
I suppose christian's aren't using hell as a fear factor motivation anymore, eh? :-)


Sunday School for Atheists

This is awesome, and may be something very applicable to non-theists out there. We don't need to believe in an imaginary friend to have healthy social activities like this available for our kids.

From http://www.time.com

Wednesday, Nov. 21, 2007

Sunday morning at The Children's Program at the Humanist Community of Palo Alto, California.
Kathrin Miller for TIME

On Sunday mornings, most parents who don't believe in the Christian God, or any god at all, are probably making brunch or cheering at their kids' soccer game, or running errands or, with luck, sleeping in. Without religion, there's no need for church, right?

Maybe. But some nonbelievers are beginning to think they might need something for their children. "When you have kids," says Julie Willey, a design engineer, "you start to notice that your co-workers or friends have church groups to help teach their kids values and to be able to lean on." So every week, Willey, who was raised Buddhist and says she has never believed in God, and her husband pack their four kids into their blue minivan and head to the Humanist Community Center in Palo Alto, Calif., for atheist Sunday school.

An estimated 14% of Americans profess to have no religion, and among 18-to-25-year-olds, the proportion rises to 20%, according to the Institute for Humanist Studies. The lives of these young people would be much easier, adult nonbelievers say, if they learned at an early age how to respond to the God-fearing majority in the U.S. "It's important for kids not to look weird," says Peter Bishop, who leads the preteen class at the Humanist center in Palo Alto. Others say the weekly instruction supports their position that it's O.K. to not believe in God and gives them a place to reinforce the morals and values they want their children to have.

The pioneering Palo Alto program began three years ago, and like-minded communities in Phoenix, Albuquerque, N.M., and Portland, Ore., plan to start similar classes next spring. The growing movement of institutions for kids in atheist families also includes Camp Quest, a group of sleep-away summer camps in five states plus Ontario, and the Carl Sagan Academy in Tampa, Fla., the country's first Humanism-influenced public charter school, which opened with 55 kids in the fall of 2005. Bri Kneisley, who sent her son Damian, 10, to Camp Quest Ohio this past summer, welcomes the sense of community these new choices offer him: "He's a child of atheist parents, and he's not the only one in the world."

Kneisley, 26, a graduate student at the University of Missouri, says she realized Damian needed to learn about secularism after a neighbor showed him the Bible. "Damian was quite certain this guy was right and was telling him this amazing truth that I had never shared," says Kneisley. In most ways a traditional sleep-away camp--her son loved canoeing--Camp Quest also taught Damian critical thinking, world religions and tales of famous freethinkers (an umbrella term for atheists, agnostics and other rationalists) like the black abolitionist Frederick Douglass.

The Palo Alto Sunday family program uses music, art and discussion to encourage personal expression, intellectual curiosity and collaboration. One Sunday this fall found a dozen children up to age 6 and several parents playing percussion instruments and singing empowering anthems like I'm Unique and Unrepeatable, set to the tune of Ten Little Indians, instead of traditional Sunday-school songs like Jesus Loves Me. Rather than listen to a Bible story, the class read Stone Soup, a secular parable of a traveler who feeds a village by making a stew using one ingredient from each home.

Down the hall in the kitchen, older kids engaged in a Socratic conversation with class leader Bishop about the role persuasion plays in decision-making. He tried to get them to see that people who are coerced into renouncing their beliefs might not actually change their minds but could be acting out of self-preservation--an important lesson for young atheists who may feel pressure to say they believe in God.

Atheist parents appreciate this nurturing environment. That's why Kitty, a nonbeliever who didn't want her last name used to protect her kids' privacy, brings them to Bishop's class each week. After Jonathan, 13, and Hana, 11, were born, Kitty says she felt socially isolated and even tried taking them to church. But they're all much more comfortable having rational discussions at the Humanist center. "I'm a person that doesn't believe in myths," Hana says. "I'd rather stick to the evidence."

Friday, November 23, 2007

"Fundamentalist Atheism"

This is rich. Dawkins gets accused of expressing "anti-Judaism", which I suppose is probably true in a strict sense, but of course Dawkins is for pointing out the logical fallacies in any religion, not just Judaism. And of course, he is attacking the ideas, not the people. It is interesting how quickly they threw out the "anti-Judaism" comment in light of the negative connotations associated with it.

Check out the third to last paragraph. This is awesome. They are trying to hint that Dawkins is aggressive because of "the fact that today’s intellectuals do not automatically embrace atheist positions any longer." As if Dawkins is only frustrated because his position is untenable or something. No, atheists are aggressive and frustrated because we are sick of you trying to force your fantasy fanaticism down our throats.

"According to Jaschke hell has not played a prominent role in the churches during the last 50 years."
You've got to be kidding me, right? Let's try to downplay the nasty parts even though it doesn't make our position any more tenable. It's bullshit anyway, I've been to enough church services in recent memory to be able to provide eye-witness testimony to the fact they still try to scare the shit out of kids with hellfire.

From Christian News Today

Dawkins Accuses Christians of Spiritual Abuse German Bishop Challenges Atheist’s Views of Old Testament

By Wolfgang Polzer

MAINZ (ANS) -- Professor Richard Dawkins, one of the world’s best-known
atheists and evolutionists, has accused Christians of committing spiritual abuse, if they teach their children the existence of hell.

Dawkins, author of the bestseller “The God Delusion”, took part in a television debate on the German channel ZDF, November 15. His opponents were the leader of the main line Protestant Churches in Germany, Bishop Wolfgang Huber, and the Roman Catholic auxiliary Bishop Hans-Jochen Jaschke.

Dawkins said both Protestant and Catholic clergy in America threatened children with hell’s torment, if they do not believe. Dawkins also criticized modern theology for selecting more or less arbitrarily which bible passages were acceptable. He described the God of the Old Testament as a malicious and cruel figure.

Bishop Huber rejected these allegations and called them an expression of anti-Judaism. God’s history with Israel was one of liberation from slavery, he said. In this context the Ten Commandments were given to Israel.

The Christian faith manifests itself in love, said Huber, even the love of one’s enemy. Such a love could not be explained without God. The Bishop conceded that there are controversial views of hell. But it was also inappropriate to speak of a “cute God”. Everyone is accountable to God, Huber said.

He accused Dawkins of presenting a “very fundamentalist atheism”. The aggressive tone of his arguments could be a result of the fact that today’s intellectuals do not automatically embrace atheist positions any longer.

According to Jaschke hell has not played a prominent role in the churches during the last 50 years. Religious education concentrated on teaching trust and confidence. A child was assured of being accepted by a loving God.

Jaschke emphasized that the key to biblical understanding is Jesus Christ. “Never believe for one moment that all evil will cease, once you have got rid of religion,” Jaschke warned Dawkins.

Controversy erupts after schools pull 'atheist' book

"God knows" that these christian organizations need to make sure this godless content isn't polluting the minds of young adults. Why, they might even start thinking for themselves, "god forbid!"

From http://www.ctv.ca

Updated Fri. Nov. 23 2007 3:10 PM ET

The Centre for Inquiry and the Canadian Secular Alliance is calling an Ontario school board's decision to remove a children's book from its library shelves, "an overt example of the discrimination against atheists by the religious."

The Halton Catholic District School Board ordered "The Golden Compass" to be removed from library shelves at dozens of schools after receiving a request for review from a member of the community.

The book, written by popular British author Philip Pullman, has won numerous awards including the Maine Student Book Award and the American Library Association's Best Books for Young Adults award.

Justin Trottier, executive director of the Centre for Inquiry Ontario, is urging the books be returned to shelves "so that libraries may continue to be places of learning and imagination."

"Some of our greatest authors, philosophers and scientists have been atheists. If books written by atheists are banned for not conforming to Catholic worldviews, will the school board proceed to ban books deemed pro-Muslim, pro-Buddhist, or even pro-Protestant if they are critical of Catholicism?," Trottier asked in a statement on Thursday.

"Pretty soon the only book in their library may be the Bible."

The board -- which oversees some 43 elementary and secondary schools in Ontario -- has pulled the book from public display and two other Pullman titles from the "Dark Materials" trilogy. The books are available to students upon request.

Committee to review book

Scott Millard, manager of library services with the board, told CTV.ca on Friday that the review has been board policy since 1990 and that "any community member has the right to request a re-examination of learning or library material."

"We are an integral part of the community and people have the right to ask us about the resources we have," Millard said.

The Halton board has since set up a 12-member committee to review the book and recommend whether it should be available to students.

"It represents a wide variety of people, trustees, teachers, principals and consultants so that we have a wide variety of input," Millard said.

After reading the book, the committee will complete an evaluation form that examines a "wide variety of criteria" including grammar, plausibility, language, plot, etc.

"We're evaluating the book 'The Golden Compass' -- we're not evaluating the author, it's the book we're looking at," Millard said.

A memo issued by the board says the books are "apparently written by an atheist where the characters and text are anti-God, anti-Catholic and anti-religion," the Toronto Star reported.

After evaluations forms are received, the committee will submit recommendations to the board of trustees, who will then vote on whether the book is suitable for students.

More controversy

The Dufferin-Peel Catholic board in Ontario is also conducting an informal review into the content of the book. Staff members have been asked to read the book and report back on the plot, the newspaper said.

Similar concerns prompted a Catholic organization in the U.S. to urge parents to boycott a movie version of the book that is set for release next month.

Trottier compared the recent backlash to the campaign against Salman Rushdie's "The Satanic Verses."

The novel prompted Iran's Ayatollah Khomeini to issue a fatwa -- a religious edict -- against the author for insulting Islam that spurred death threats and inevitably forced Rushie into exile.

"While the campaign against 'The Golden Compass' is a mere microcosm of the 'Satanic Verses' affair, it is still an overt example of the discrimination against atheists by the religious," Trottier wrote.

Pullman, known for his "legendary atheism" in the British press, has never shied away from his controversial views on religion.

"The trouble is that all too often in human history, churches and priesthoods have set themselves up to rule people's lives in the name of some invisible god (and they're all invisible, because they don't exist) -- and done terrible damage," Pullman writes on his website.

"In the name of their god, they have burned, hanged, tortured, maimed, robbed, violated, and enslaved millions of their fellow creatures, and done so with the happy conviction that they were doing the will of God, and they would go to Heaven for it."

Friday, November 16, 2007


The best tactic for effectively brainwashing any population will always be to go for the children, as this video so explicitly states. It is highly immoral, but morality is artificially defined by the religious, so I do not expect those truly indoctrinated to see anything wrong with selling this fantasy to children before they have the capacity to think for themselves.

I especially like the part about going a step beyond, and using indoctrinated children to propagate a false reality even more quickly. It's like shortening the life cycle on the self-replicating religious disease, so that it may be passed on more quickly. Brilliant!

How do you know you are saved?

The message: Feel this guilt so that my religion appears useful in your life. View the beauty of the natural world instead as something that is trying to make you "...entrapped or enslaved to the things of this present evil age..." Be sure to reinforce this paradigm as often as possible so that my religious establishment appears ever more necessary in your life.

God Knows

I realize that your religion is a consolation to you. It is extremely difficult to accept the fact that a loved one has passed away. I suggest you do try to accept it however, and deal with the reality of the situation. A belief in heaven or hell, or any kind of life after death, is the default because it is easier to deal with during difficult times. Critical thought and an examination of what truly makes this life worth living will help you deal, truly deal, with the loss of a loved one.

The G-Shaped Hole

I know what you mean. I felt a hole in my heart while Christian. When I discovered religion to be a lie, I also found that hole wasn't really there, I had created the sensation of it through the guilt-ridden Christian beliefs that had so long plagued me. I now know that morality, happiness, love, and fulfillment are best found through personal responsibility and critical thinking. My religion had been a barrier and a crutch. Thank you for reading the words of someone who believes differently than you do.

Lion and Lamb : Pressure and Persecutions of Christians

Christians are persecuted? Try being an atheist sometime. My ability to apply critical thinking in matters of life, death, and why we are here is at odds with the majority of Americans, and Christians impose an artificial barrier between myself and them as a result. I respect your right to voice your opinion, but Christians are nearly the last group in the running for the "most persecuted award".

Devil Is A Liar: Cowboy

The devil made me do it. That way I don't have to take responsibility for my actions. Amen brother.

Thank god for godtube

I found my new favorite website, godtube.com.

There will be no end to content providing horror and agony for the critical thinker. Or, fodder for my blog!

I'm going to take the comments I leave on godtube.com and copy them here on my blog, because I have a feeling there is a good chance my comments will be taken down from that site, and/or my account will be suspended. Who knows, I'm new to the site. We shall see.

The Elephant Principle

This analogy is used a great deal. How does it have anything to do with religion, I wonder? The blind men are using their sensory perception to gain knowledge about various parts of the elephant. This is like the process of science, whereby eventually it is possible to know more and more, and perhaps even the ultimate truth. Religion is like the blind men living in a universe where no elephants exist, and coming up with various imaginary representations of what an elephant deity might be like. In that reality, all of them are dead wrong, and have absolutely no credible evidence to support their particular elephant part beliefs, let alone any evidence for the elephant itself.

Saturday, November 3, 2007

Let the Bodies Hit the Floor

The best salesmen are preachers. Or is it, the best preachers are salesmen? Same difference. A "tribute" to Benny Hinn.

Friday, November 2, 2007

Dawkins: Designed and Designoid Objects

Sunday, October 28, 2007

15 Answers to Creationist Nonsense

Scientific American article here.

MP3 version here.

Sunday, October 14, 2007

Scary Look into Scientology

I really don't care if they want to be recognized as a religion. As far as I'm concerned they are on equal footing with all other religions. They are just more creepy than most religions today. It seems logical that Christianity or Islam had similar origins. All of their books talk about destroying non-believers, and at different time periods those who were truly indoctrinated have all followed those instructions.

Unfortunately, brainwashing programs are not viewed to be immoral by the majority of people. If they were, I suppose most religions would be guilty. Certainly, indoctrinating children under the age of 18 with unsubstantiated beliefs seems very immoral to me. Scientologists seem very adept at indoctrinating adults though, they've got it down to a 'science'.

Example of Scientologists

The Fraud of Scientology

Thursday, October 11, 2007

This makes me furious

Indoctrinating and brainwashing children. A staple of religiosity.

Tuesday, October 9, 2007

Sam Harris with Tucker Carlson

Saturday, September 29, 2007

Extreme Mormons

Door to Door Atheists Bother Mormons

This is awesome!

God Doesn't Exist? Prove It!

The Atheist Delusion

Tuesday, September 25, 2007

Hovind Contradictions

The Hovind "Theory"

Monday, September 24, 2007

Zeitgeist - Religion: The Greatest Story Ever Told

Sunday, September 16, 2007

Dawkins owns Quinn

Quinn does an unbelievably adept job at showing how inept his arguments are. I especially like the part where Quinn is pressing Dawkins saying that he doesn't know the origin of matter, and somehow pulls out of his hat that his god hypothesis somehow explains something. At this point, I said outloud, "That is the exact problem of religion. You can not accept the FACT that the human race does not know something. You feel compelled to make something up. An atheist is simply someone who appreciates intellectual rigor enough to not be satisfied with making something up when he doesn't know."

Saturday, September 15, 2007

Richard Dawkins and Alister McGrath

Friday, September 14, 2007

Hovind's creationists illegally censoring free speech

It is inevitable that the likes of Haggard, Hovind, and their groupies get caught in their immorality at some point. So many others go undiscovered. When you preach irrational and immoral ideas based on blind faith dogma, these things go with the territory.

Richard Dawkins - The Atheism Tapes

Monday, September 3, 2007

Steven Weinberg

The Compton Effect

Buy it here!

Sunday, September 2, 2007

Brian Flemming Interview

Tuesday, August 21, 2007

Dawkins on HardTalk

Part 1



Sunday, August 19, 2007

Pastor Kerney

Ted Haggard

Another Interview with Ann Coulter

An Interview with Ann Coulter

Jesus Camp

Part 1

Part 2

Creationist Rebuttal

From http://www.drdino.com/articles.php?spec=55

"Both Creation and Evolutionism start with philosophical assumptions. Evolutionists (traditionally) start with the assumption that God has no intervention in this world. This isn't a testable conclusion; they didn't come to this conclusion by science. Creationists have the philosophical position that God has partaken in the history of this earth, and that He has revealed the True history of the earth through His infallible Word."
This is extremely incorrect and a great example of how Creationist advocates dress up their theology in quasi-logical statements. Scientists do not start with an assumption 'the God has no intervention in this world.' Scientists start with evidence. Using this logic, you could also say that scientists start with the assumption that there is no Flying Spaghetti Monster. That doesn't mean that we should take the idea seriously.

Tuesday, August 14, 2007

The Dawkins Delusion

Why do Atheists care about Religion?

Very well said.

Sunday, August 12, 2007

Nice Guys Finish First

Why Are We Here?

I think this video and explanation are right on.

By the way, if you draw from this video the conclusion that humans will revert to apes by interbreeding, do not pass go. Do not collect $200. You missed the point and did not grasp the concepts. You'll have to think in terms of hundreds of thousands of generations, and in terms of the prevailing evolutionary processes involved over that amount of time and changes in environment.

Richard Dawkins Interview

I suppose we can consider ourselves lucky that only 3 out of 10 of these candidates do not believe in evolution.

Sunday, July 29, 2007

100 reasons why evolution is so stupid

If you have the unwavering patience to sit through a few hours of nonsense, it may be a funny experience for you to watch this. I am amazed at how some people can make assumptions with no evidence and pretend to adequately refute scientific theory which has tons of evidence to support it.

I especially like it when he says towards the beginning that we've never seen a star forming, therefore cosmic evolution is a hoax. His inability to step out of his own bible-slave paradigm for a moment of intellectual stimulation is incredible. If something takes millions of years to happen, and doesn't happen within a time short enough for his attention span or life, it must not be possible.

"Nobody's ever seen a dog produce a non-dog." -- Dr. Kent Hovind, DUI (Doctor of Unlimited Idiocy)

Friday, May 18, 2007

10 Questions That Every Intelligent Christian Must Answer

Tuesday, April 10, 2007

Lil' Bush "Evolution" Episode

Tuesday, April 3, 2007

The Product of Explicit Theistic Brainwashing

I came across this painful video of a poor, brainwashed idiot child who is obviously very troubled. His utter belief in the absolute truth of complete rubbish is like a car accident; so horrible yet you can not look away.

Don't disappoint me now, leave a comment about this post!

Saturday, March 31, 2007

Denis Leary on Religion

Tuesday, March 20, 2007

View On The Theory Of Evolution

The Theory of Evolution is only a theory, and not a fact. A look at the definition of a theory, some of the research, the question of biogenesis, and belief.

View On The Theory Of Evolution

Sunday, March 18, 2007

George Carlin On Religion

Friday, March 16, 2007

Good without God: Secular humanism and morality

Good without God: Secular humanism and morality

Sunday, March 11, 2007

We anthropomorphize God, why is that?

We anthropomorphize God, why is that?

Saturday, March 10, 2007

Being good vs. being religious

Being good vs. being religious

Friday, March 9, 2007

Is any one religion better than another?

Is any one religion better than another?

Wednesday, March 7, 2007

Ethics for Atheists

Ethics for Atheists

Tuesday, March 6, 2007

Biblical morality?

The Bible says to kill your wife, your daughter, your son, your brother, your friend, etc… if they worship other gods.

(Deu 13:6-10 NRSV) If anyone secretly entices you–even if it is your brother, your father’s son or your mother’s son, or your own son or daughter, or the wife you embrace, or your most intimate friend– saying, "Let us go worship other gods," whom neither you nor your ancestors have known,

any of the gods of the peoples that are around you, whether near you or far away from you, from one end of the earth to the other, you must not yield to or heed any such persons. Show them no pity or compassion and do not shield them.

But you shall surely kill them; your own hand shall be first against them to execute them, and afterwards the hand of all the people.

Stone them to death for trying to turn you away from the LORD your God, …

From http://www.goatstar.org/atrocities-committed-or-commanded-by-god/#worship%20other%20gods

Sunday, March 4, 2007

Atheists versus Agnostics - Demystified

Atheists versus Agnostics

Saturday, March 3, 2007

Is suicide an unforgiveable sin?

Is suicide an unforgivable sin?

Why speaking in the name of God is wrong

Why speaking in the name of God is wrong

The debate over creation and evolution

The debate over creation and evolution

Thursday, March 1, 2007

Reasons for reading the Bible from an atheist

Reasons for reading the Bible from an atheist

Deciding whether tithing should be based on gross income or net

Deciding whether tithing should be based on gross income or net

Wednesday, February 28, 2007

The Ten Commandments

The Ten Commandments

Why Atheism is wrong

Why Atheism is wrong

Sunday, February 18, 2007

How to become a better person

How to become a better person

Living life with optimism: Why life is more than just "death and taxes"

Living life with optimism: Why life is more than just "death and taxes"

Saturday, February 17, 2007

Why do people find it so unacceptable to be closely related to the apes?

Why do people find it so unacceptable to be closely related to the apes?

Monday, February 12, 2007

Exploring the effect life on other planets would have on religion

Exploring the effect life on other planets would have on religion

Saturday, February 10, 2007

Believing in ghosts

Believing in ghosts

God's personal name

God's personal name

Reasons not to believe in God

Reasons not to believe in God

Free will vs. determinism

Free will vs. determinism