Posts Tagged ‘ politics ’

Groundhog Day… All Over Again

Twelve years ago some people did some incredibly stupid things. As a result, people died. Not just a few like on a redneck camping trip gone wrong or a group of dedicated individuals trying to find Santa’s house. We’re talking thousands of people. If  you add the almost 3000 people who died in NY on 9/11  that to the number of CHILDREN who died of starvation and starvation related illnesses that day, it totals up to 20,000 dead in one day … bumping the average death count of innocents up by less than 15%… for one day.

Children Die TooIt’s done and over. There is not one thing that any of us can do about it. Perhaps we can get together and try to stop our governments from spying on us. We can fix hunger related deaths. The WHO has a plan and they are not the only ones. Still, today there will be thousands of people trying to make a buck off the death of some people in NY rather than trying to stop the death of 17000 kids daily. Yes, today, yesterday and every day.

Religion and bad politics robbed us of safety, security, and our sense of realism. We worry over the dead instead of the living. We are bound to do this every year for a long time. The human race is truly fucked up sometimes.

Sure, if you knew someone who died that day there are bad memories but who among us does not know someone who has died. If you want to commemorate 9/11 I urge you to do so by donating to a charity working to end hunger. Worry about the living, not the long dead.

You can search to see who is raising funds for first responders and how hard the make the 9/11 play. Not all of them give even a penny to NYFD or their families. Stop worrying about the dead. Worry about the living, those that need your help and those that just want to take your money. Next year maybe you can make a big deal out of helping charities stop hunger. Let the dead rest…

 

 

Remember … The Dream? The Day It Died?

It’s that time again, Memorial day. A time to remember the dead. Those innumerable lives lost in the wars against ideologies, aggression, and often in aid of promoting ignorance and greed. We are far from being a pacifist race. We hairless apes like a good dust up. The more violent the better, right? MMA, Boxing, Roller Derby? Remember them?

 

 

The practice of decorating soldiers’ graves with flowers is an ancient custom. Soldiers’ graves were decorated in the U.S. before and during the American Civil War. A claim was made in 1906 that the first Civil War soldier’s grave ever decorated was in Warrenton, Virginia on June 3, 1861, implying the first Memorial Day occurred there. There is authentic documentation that women in Savannah, Georgia decorated soldiers’ graves in 1862. In 1863, the cemetery dedication at Gettysburg, Pennsylvania was a ceremony of commemoration at the graves of dead soldiers. Local historians in Boalsburg, PA, claim that ladies there decorated soldiers’ graves on July 4, 1864. As a result, Boalsburg promotes itself as the birthplace of Memorial Day. — Wikipedia

 

Celebrating and remembering the dead is the best you can do after you decided to send them off to die? It seems the decent thing to do, right? Just monkeys killing monkeys killing monkeys…

 

The value of war …

 

Remember the dead of wars

Nagasaki remembers…

We saw Hiroshima today — or what little is left of it. We were so shocked with what we saw that most of us felt like weeping; not out of sympathy for the Japs but because we were revolted by this new and terrible form of destruction. Compared to Hiroshima, Berlin, Hamburg and Cologne are practically untouched … The sickly sweet smell of death is everywhere.

  — photographer Bernard Hoffman — September 3, 1945, to LIFE’s long-time picture editor, Wilson Hicks

Yes, remembering the dead is the best thing that we can do. There’s no point in thanking them silently before picking up and spending all the war money on space travel. There’s no point really in thinking their sacrifices are really worth something more than creating space between this war and the next. Lets not forget the past, lets live there. Lets not look to the future… it’s a daft and scary place. Just ask Neil:
Yes, remember the dead and what they died for. When we stop dreaming it will be all we have left to do.

Do not go gentle into that good night,
Old age should burn and rave at close of day;
Rage, rage against the dying of the light.

Though wise men at their end know dark is right,
Because their words had forked no lightning they
Do not go gentle into that good night.

Good men, the last wave by, crying how bright
Their frail deeds might have danced in a green bay,
Rage, rage against the dying of the light.

Wild men who caught and sang the sun in flight,
And learn, too late, they grieved it on its way,
Do not go gentle into that good night.

Grave men, near death, who see with blinding sight
Blind eyes could blaze like meteors and be gay,
Rage, rage against the dying of the light.

And you, my father, there on that sad height,
Curse, bless, me now with your fierce tears, I pray.
Do not go gentle into that good night.
Rage, rage against the dying of the light.

Dylan Thomas

How To Criticize Islam Politely?

There are plenty of arguments about whether Hitler was Christian and just how much evil was done by atheist people in the world and on and on. That said there isn’t much question about the motivations for the killing of a soldier in England on Wednesday. So the question of how to confront the problems that Islam creates continues…

 

About right now, I am out of give-a-damns for political correctness when dealing with the ‘sensitivities of Islam’ and trying to get common sense out of the whole thing. So here  you go… check the lyrics

 

 

Oh, there seem to be plenty of Muslims back peddling and speaking against this one act. That’s a drop in the ocean compared to what they do not speak against but should. Cry me a river already. Why can’t you just say it? Islam attracts the crazy like stink on shit. Then it keeps hold of it, lets it fester, spurs it on till it can’t keep control over it anymore…

 

 

What Did You Just Ask?

What Did You Just Say?

To Celebrate My 500th Post

Well, it’s here. Some time back (see link above), I said that I’d like to celebrate 500 posts with an Ask Me Anything (AMA) of sorts. I Think that I’ll not put any limits on what kind of questions, but I will say that I might not choose to answer in a way that you like … don’t be sad, sometimes that happens.

You can see the topics I post on for inspiration or just pull a question out of your hat.

You can ask here in the comments or at the email address: myatheistlife at G mail dot com

Please, if asking in the comments, start a new paragraph with QUESTION: at the beginning of the line.

QUESTION: Please ask your questions like this.

Heads Up

There are  a couple of topics which the men in black will not allow me to talk about:

  • Faster than light travel
  • Cold fusion
  • Tasteful mother’s day gift giving
  • Why your sports team sucks
  • How I know that you need to do laundry

Other than that, ask away.

MAL

Here’s To Moderate Aunt Jane… Bless Her

Moderate religion? No thank you. Isn’t that like moderate paedophilia? Maybe it’s like being just a little pregnant?

Here’s another good video… go subscribe, enjoy

Are You Guilty?

In the USA there are lots of people who still discriminate against GLBTQ members of society. No, they don’t make them use different bathrooms or sit in the back of the bus but there are situations which happen every day that show discrimination is loud and clear to this group of people.

 

 

Outside of raging bigots, the main support for discrimination against GLBTQ people is from adherents of monotheistic religions. I get flack from time to time for stating that even calm, mild, happy, liberal Christians are just as bad as the fundamentalists. The story of Amanda Brown’s Fathers is exactly what I’m talking about. There are far too many people who act inhumane to these groups. There are far too many people who are simply bigots to these groups. These inhumane bigots feel justified in their in/actions because of their monotheistic religious beliefs. That’s right. Mild mannered aunt Jane is an inhumane bigot. Maybe she doesn’t appear that way when you’re around her, but give her a chance to act on that bigotry and you see what happens?

That’s right. Kindly aunt Jane worries about the homosexual agenda when the only real agenda is that of monotheistic religions to oppress GLBTQ people. If anyone wants to give me flack for that stance they had better be calling the Kansas City Mo Police Chief and emailing/writing to the Police Chief their concerns and outrage at the very poor way their officers handled this situation. If you are liberal monotheist and think you’re not part of the problem, you’d better be speaking out in support of these loving husbands. If you’re not religious and think secular and faith communities can work together you’d better be all over this making sure your faith-y friends are speaking up in support of these loving husbands.

I’m sick and tired of being told that I’m negative and then having to read about news stories like this. I’m on the right side of history here. Bookmark this article and others like it. When the apologists and accommodationists talk about working together – show them these articles and tell them their work is cut out for them. They need to get off their bibles and out in the world stopping this kind of bigotry and hate from ruining the lives of others.

That’s right – mild aunt Jane is a bigot and if you’re not going to tell her, I will. Take this opportunity to break the news to her in a kindly manner. She _IS_ going to be told.

On The Topic Of Religion…

When people talk about religion they talk about a lot of things. The more moderate the beliefs of someone are, the more they are willing to tolerate differing beliefs. They will even tolerate a deistic notion of god. As long as you believe they are willing to work with you and despite thinking you are wrong they will not oppose you directly because you have one thing in your favor – you believe the one big lie. You believe in a god. They will even justify your differences as a different view of the one god… as long as you believe the big lie like they do. Fundamentalists won’t tolerate any such nonsense, for them you must believe as they do or you are ‘of the devil’ and destined to return to hell. Even if you’re minding your own business, fundamentalists will find you. If you’re gay, just different, or can be called a witch, they’ll have you killed.

Both the fundamentalists and the more liberal groups are equally offensive. The fundamentalists are clearly offensive. We need only look at the Westboro Baptist Church to understand this. There is not much doubt that these groups are hate group which offend the very nature of being human. The real problem is the liberal believers. Their belief and behavior is much more tolerable, no doubt. The problem comes in two parts:

  1. They are tolerant of fundamentalists
  2. They teach the big lie to their children and support those that want the big lie taught in schools

Yes, it IS a lie.

 

http://sagestone.files.wordpress.com/2012/09/dictionary-series-philosophy-truth.jpg

 

When you tell a story that you know you have no evidence for and that there is plenty of contrary evidence then what you are doing is lying. It does not matter that “your heart is in the right place” … what you are doing is teaching a lie. You are subverting the truth.  Excusing yourself because you think it does no harm is yet another lie.

We didn’t see believers protesting at the trials of those parents that did nothing but pray as their children lay dying of preventable medical conditions. That’s right. All those liberal believers also think those parents behaved in a criminal way. Deep in their psyche they know that prayer does not work. Whether they admit it or not they know that belief on it’s own is no explanation and causes harm. They know there is no evidence for their god. They just don’t want to admit it. It’s much nicer to hide under the covers and stay comfy rather than acknowledge that the house is on fire.

I encourage everyone to focus their discussions of and about religion on one simple topic: truth

If the discussion is not about truth and fact then it is completely wrong… or close enough to completely wrong.

Liberal belief is not better or less harmful or more tolerable. It’s just as wrong as bat shit crazy bible thumping hate mongering fundamentalism. I don’t care if they tell the lie nicer. It’s still a lie. The harm it does may not be immediate, but it is just as certain, just as lethal.

How Far Away Was Yesterday Tomorrow?

On my page ‘When Religion Dies’ I wrote about the death throws of religion. At the time it seemed like that is what we would be seeing for a while. I didn’t know then that it was the beginning of an avalanche of anti-theism. Let’s be honest, the rise of the nones is anti-theistic. In the doctrines of theism, if you are not with them you’re against them. I did not anticipate the The Clergy Project, the rise of the ‘nones’, the sheer number of blogs and youtubers, the number of anti-theist books and on and on.

Today I got a comment on this page:

Brave post.

I replied: It would have been brave a decade previous, today not so much
Not to you and me, but a lot of others still can’t speak out loud their truth about religion. But, absolutely, we’ve come a long way. Thank you.

This made me think. I replied: It is still often enough more convenient to use pseudonyms than real names, but at least people are speaking out now. When I first thought I might be atheist, I couldn’t name one other person that I knew was an atheist except for Madeline Murray O’Hare. Now I can name dozens, visit with them, drink with them, laugh with them, and talk freely with them.

I find that an inspirational statement, if you think about it. In just my lifetime, the world has changed that much. Then I got this:

Yes, with regards to what you just wrote, that is true. I was referring to people speaking out about their real feelings about religion and their religion in general, all the conditioning that says it’s a faux pas. My religious views are something I tend to keep to myself, outside of proclaiming I’m an advocate for tolerance and believe in kindness and acceptance for all. Thanks for the great conversation.

To me, this validates as necessary all the blogging and youtube videos and books and even the vitriol that we’ve witnessed in the past couple of years. So despite what might be found in the open letter included below, speak, read, write, talk, communicate. The only way to lose the right to be non-theistic is to not use that right. Clearly there are a growing number of people that would like to tell you how to use it. Not me. I won’t tell you how to. Just fucking use it!

If you can’t blog, make you a ‘God Hates Fags’ sign and cut the bottom third off of it… walk around speakers corner with that if it’s all you feel comfortable doing. Activism has no rules. Atheism has no rules. Anti-theism has no rules.

If you want to be a humanist or whatever, check their rule books. My atheism doesn’t have any!

An Open Letter to the Secular Community

April 2, 2013

The leaders of major secular organizations have issued a united call for more civility in online discussions, pledging to use their best efforts to improve the tone and substance of such discussions. The entire letter can be found on our website. Ronald A. Lindsay, president & CEO for the Center for Inquiry, and Tom Flynn, executive director of the Council for Secular Humanism, are signatories to the letter.

*  *  *

An Open Letter to the Secular Community

It is an amazing time to be part of the secular movement. Look at what’s happened in 2012 alone.  We held the Reason Rally, the largest event our community has ever had, which brought over 20,000 atheists, humanists, and other secular people together on the National Mall. We are growing, attracting new people, and drawing more attention than ever before.  A big part of that growth is thanks to our large and dynamic online community.  Online secular communities have helped people encounter new ideas, deepen and broaden their thinking, and even change their minds.

A Problem with Online Communication

At the same time, the fact that so much of our community is online brings with it certain challenges.  Communicating primarily online can make it difficult to recognize each other’s humanity. Online we don’t have the same vocal and physical cues to tell us what another person means by his or her comments, so it’s easier for misunderstandings to develop. The instantaneous and impersonal nature of online communication also makes it much easier for these misunderstandings to escalate, or for civil arguments to turn into bitter fights. Like many online communities, our comment and forum threads all too often become places for name calling and even threats, rather than honest dialogue based on mutual respect. Between the small but vocal number of abusive participants (often called “trolls”) who hurl threats and insults, and the overheated rhetoric of some ordinarily friendly and reasonable people, our online environment is in danger of turning toxic. Fortunately, our secular values of reason and compassion give us tools to rise above the lowest common denominator of online communication.

Our Position and Our Pledge

We, the leaders of the undersigned national secular organizations, pledge to make our best efforts toward improving the tone and substance of online discussions. The secular movement as a whole is friendly, welcoming, and committed to the use of reason and evidence as a means of resolving disagreements. We refuse to allow the deplorable conduct of a few to debase the reasonable, appropriate, and respectful conduct of the overwhelming majority of our community.

We seek to promote productive debate and discussion. We firmly believe open and candid discussion is the most reliable means of resolving differences of opinion and bringing about needed change.

Insults, slurs, expressions of hatred, and threats undermine our shared values of open and candid discussion because they move us away from an exchange of views supported with reasons.

Of course we will disagree with each other on some issues, but we can do a better job of expressing our disagreements. We can resolve to avoid mischaracterizing the positions of others, relying on rumors as the basis for our opinions, and using inappropriate tactics such as guilt by association. Instead, we can give one another the benefit of the doubt, strive to understand the whole story, and de-escalate rhetoric to foster more productive discussions. We can become better at disagreeing by treating each other like reasonable human beings.

It takes patience to educate people, but we can change how people think by having a constructive dialogue.  If that weren’t the case, we wouldn’t bother in the first place to communicate online about important issues.

The Debate over Sexism and Feminism

Before listing some specific recommendations regarding improvement of online communications, we have observations about one particular set of interrelated issues that has engaged much of the secular community in the past year, namely sexism within the secular movement, the appropriate way to interpret feminism, and the extent to which feminism, however interpreted, should influence the conduct, policies, and goals of movement organizations. This set of issues is worthy of careful consideration, but in a few areas our positions should be very clear.

The principle that women and men should have equal rights flows from our core values as a movement. Historically, there has been a close connection between traditional religion and suppression of women, with dogma and superstition providing the rationale for depriving women of fundamental rights. In promoting science and secularism, we are at the same time seeking to secure the dignity of all individuals. We seek not only civil equality for everyone, regardless of sex, but an end to discriminatory social structures and conventions – again often the legacy of our religious heritage—that limit opportunities for both women and men.

Unfortunately, the discussion of these issues has suffered from the same problems that plague online discussion in general—although arguably to a greater extent.  Some blogs and comments actually exhibit hatred, including rape threats and insults denigrating women. Hatred has no place in our movement. We unequivocally and unreservedly condemn those who resort to communicating in such a vile and despicable manner.

Our Approach

Here are some things that we plan to do to make our online secular community a place where we can exchange ideas and views instead of insults.  We hope that others may also find this approach useful.

  • Moderate blogs and forums.
    Any organization or individual engaged in blogging or administering a forum has an obligation to moderate comments. Slurs, threats, and so forth beget more of the same. Keeping our online spaces free of these elements creates a civil climate that makes it much easier for people to engage issues productively.
  • Go offline before going online: pick up the phone. 
    When you hear that an organization or member of our community is doing something that you think is wrong or bad for the community, call and talk with them, find out what they are actually doing and why they are doing it.  If you don’t have a phone number, send a private email and arrange a time to talk.  So much of the time there’s more to the story, and talking to another person on the other side of the issue can help us more fully understand the situation.  Plus, a phone call makes it easier for people who are making mistakes to change course, because they aren’t on the defensive as they would be after being called out publicly.
  • Listen more.
    We miss the nuances and differences within “the other side” once an issue becomes polarized, while continuing to see our side as filled with nuance and distinctions.  There is a tendency to stop listening and treat everyone associated with an opposing position as a monolithic group. People can be painted with views that aren’t their own just because they may disagree with some aspects of your own position. We should listen more so we can see distinctions among those with opposing views and start to move toward a more accurate understanding of the issues rather than being deadlocked into two entrenched camps.
  • Dial down the drama.
    It’s tempting to overuse inflammatory and derogatory rhetoric. It gets attention. We should be cautious about using this tactic within our community because of the long-term damage it does to relationships and morale. When critiquing people within our community, everyone should remember that our goal is to persuade our allies to see our perspective and modify their opinions. Insults don’t change opinions; they harden them.
  • Be more charitable.
    We should remember that the purpose of argument within our community is to come to shared and correct conclusions that move us forward, not to score points against the opposing side. To that end, we should apply the principle of charity, which tells us to aim our argument against the best interpretation of the opposing arguments rather than picking off weaker versions. By applying the principle of charity we will elevate the discussion so we’re actually talking about our real differences, not just engaging in a pointless exchange.
  • Trust but verify.
    Before we believe and repost something we see, we should ask ourselves about the evidence provided and the context. It’s easy for multiple people saying the same thing to look like a lot of evidence, but if their statements are all based on the same original source, they do not constitute independent verification. We should look for the original data and corroboration from independent sources before believing and spreading claims.
  • Help others along.
    We should remember that we weren’t born knowing the things we know now. To get to the reasoned conclusions that we’ve reached, we learned by reading, thinking, and talking with others. When we encounter someone espousing a view we think is based on lack of knowledge or experience, we should remember that we have all held ill-informed views. We should cultivate patience and try to educate instead of condemn.

By improving our online culture, we can make this movement a place that engages, fulfills, and welcomes a growing number and increasing diversity of secular people.

Sincerely,

David Silverman, President, American Atheists
Rebecca Hale, President, American Humanist Association
Roy Speckhardt, Executive Director, American Humanist Association
Chuck VonDerAhe, President, Atheist Alliance of America
Richard Haynes, President, Atheist Nexus
Ayanna Watson, CEO, Black Atheists of America, Inc.
Mandisa L. Thomas, President, Black Nonbelievers, Inc.
Mynga Futrell, for Brights Central, at The Brights’ Net
Amanda Metskas, Executive Director, Camp Quest
Ronald Lindsay, President and CEO, Center for Inquiry
Tom Flynn, Executive Director, The Council for Secular Humanism
Jan Meshon, President, FreeThoughtAction
Joseph McDaniel Stewart, Vice President, FreeThoughtAction
Margaret Downey, Founder and President, Freethought Society
D.J. Grothe, President, James Randi Educational Foundation
Stuart Jordan, President, Institute for Science and Human Values
Jason Torpy, President, Military Association of Atheists and Freethinkers
R. Elisabeth Cornwell, Executive Director, Richard Dawkins Foundation for Reason and Science
Edwina Rogers, Executive Director, Secular Coalition for America
August E. Brunsman IV, Executive Director, Secular Student Alliance
Todd Stiefel, President, Stiefel Freethought Foundation
Fred Edwords, National Director, United Coalition of Reason

The New Pope Is A Murderer

Well, perhaps not exactly so, but complicit in the deaths of thousands of people each year. He runs the church that tells people to behave in ways that will kill them so they can make their imaginary friend happy. It might not say condoms are evil in the holy texts, but men found a way to extract that rule from the books anyway.

The one thing that would be simple to do, easy to live with, and could improve the reputation of Catholicism would be to change stance on birth control and condoms. No, they can’t do that because what this world needs more than anything else is starving and suffering people who pray to a god that is not there.

You should stop by and check out a few videos from StarStuffPress

 

 

FUCK THE POPE!

It’s Just Half A Penny! Get Me To The Sea!

My readers will generally know that I’ve been a fan of Neil DeGrasse Tyson. You’ll be relieved to hear that I still am.

HELL FUCKING YES!

Spread this one around. Every senator and congressional representative needs to see this, again and again.

 

 

 

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