Friday, September 18, 2009

Religious idiocy abounds

Pastor Manning: Obama is the Antichrist

Pastor Manning calls those whites that voted for Obama are racist. He also refers to Obama as the Antichrist of the Bible.

jeba8888 sums it up: “Pastor Manning….You are an idiot…..You’re just another dumbass with no credentials mouthing off… I am sure you will find your share of cattle who will follow your insane messages”

Unfortunately, what jeba8888 says is true…the world is full of unthinking, human cattle.

Here is Frank Shaeffer speaking out against this sort of thinking on the Rachel Maddow Show. Surprisingly, Frank Shaeffer is a god believing Baptist who condemns the extremism of many of this fellow believers. Listening to him in this video, you might get the impression that he really is an atheist in disguise. I am sure he is being accused of this by the Christian fundamentalist extremists he is condemning.

Here’s the video

"Engaging with Iran is like having sex with someone who hates you" ~ Christopher Hitchens

Christopher Hitchens in his recent article in Slate online.

“Living in the Islamic Republic,” wrote Azar Nafisi in her book Reading Lolita in Tehran in 2003, “is like having sex with a man you loathe.” This verdict has gathered extra force and pungency as the succeeding years have elapsed and as more women have been stoned, hanged, beaten, raped, and silenced. Lately has come the news that Iranian men in prison are being raped, too, for trying to exercise their right to vote. And now the U.S. government has come to a point where it must ask itself: What is it like to enter negotiations with a man who loathes you and who every Friday holds public prayers that call for your death?

Last Friday brought the news that the Obama administration had accepted an offer from Tehran, delivered the preceding Wednesday, for the holding of what the New York Times called “unconditional talks.” It was further reported that the administration had spent “less than 48 hours” deliberating whether to respond to the invitation, which yields the interesting if minor detail that this must have been the most significant decision taken by Obama’s people on or about the eighth anniversary of the attacks of Sept. 11.

Hitchens goes on to state his concerns about Iran and its uranium-enrichment program and its theocracy’s hatred of the West.

First, it has become ever clearer that Iran’s uranium-enrichment and centrifuge program has put it within measurable distance of the ability to weaponize its nuclear capacity. Second, it has become obscenely obvious that the theocracy is prepared to govern by force alone and to employ the most appalling measures to remain in power without a mandate.

While Hitchens says he is all for talks without preconditions, he presents these two questions:

Do we seriously expect the Islamic Republic to be negotiating in good faith about its nuclear program?

What do we know about the effect of these proposed talks on the morale and the leadership of the Iranian opposition?

Read on and then share what you think about what Hitchens has to say.

"Culture of Silence" starting to talk

Usually shit rolls downhill, and took awhile to come out but finally cases of sexual abuse by priests in the Pope’s own backyard are now emerging “in a country where reports of clerical sex abuse were virtually unknown a decade ago.”

Italy grapples with priest sex abuse accusations

A yearlong Associated Press tally has documented 73 cases with allegations of sexual abuse by priests against minors over the past decade in Italy, with more than 235 victims. The tally was compiled from local media reports, linked to by Web sites of victims groups and blogs. Almost all the cases have come out in the seven years since the scandal about Roman Catholic priest abuse broke in the United States.

One man’s disturbing personal account:

VERONA, Italy – It happened night after night, the deaf man said, sometimes in the priest’s bedroom, sometimes in the bathroom, even in the confessional.

When he was a young boy at a Catholic-run institute for the deaf, Alessandro Vantini said, priests sodomized him so relentlessly he came to feel “as if I were dead.” This year, he and dozens of other former students did something highly unusual for Italy: They went public with claims they were forced to perform sex acts with priests.

For decades, a culture of silence has surrounded priest abuse in Italy, where surveys show the church is considered one of the country’s most respected institutions. Now, in the Vatican’s backyard, a movement to air and root out abusive priests is slowly and fitfully taking hold.

It’s about time. The Catholic church must be held accountable (any other organization would be shut down for this sort of organized crime). The “culture of silence” must end.

Full sickening story here

H/T to ChuckA once again…

Another mailbag...

Here is a new one…I will let you read this:

Regarding the idea that there are all kinds of religions out there making all kinds of claims and each thinks they are right: This is true. And it is true that it is “all a matter of what people choose to believe”. The important question is, is one’s faith (that is, what they choose to believe) a blind, unreasonable faith, (like atheism, or Muhhamedism, for example) or is it a faith backed up by the evidence? The bible is backed by evidence. It is filled with perfectly fulfilled prophecies. No other book or belief system on the face of the earth is even remotely like the bible. Here’s a prophecy written down 2000 years ago. In 2009, take a look around as this is preparing to be implemented.

Yes, it is a matter of what people choose to believe. And atheism is not a “faith”, and it’s Islam or Muslim, not “Muhhamedism”. And no, the Bible is not backed with “evidence”. It’s fiction backed up with more and more fiction. “Prophecy? What prophecy? There have been many “prophecies” from many religions. And in 2009 it is appalling that there are folks who live by the writings in an ancient mythology book of gruesome fairy tales.

[ed. note: Just to clarify what I mean by "it's a matter of what people choose to believe"...The god believers have a choice about whatever type of god they choose to believe in, according to whatever prejudices, bigotry, desires, and needs they might want to support. Atheism is not a "faith" but a lack of belief in gods and goddesses. Hope that clears that up.]

Thursday, September 10, 2009

Rise of Atheism

This was posted at the site of The Council for Secular Humanism, a FOX News story on the rise of Atheism, with quotes from Michael De Dora from CFI-NYC. Is this an attempt to reach out or is it simply as one critic states a " a puff piece, something for the neo-cons to view from afar without getting too close for comfort." What bothered me is they had to put in the atheist who values religion baloney at the end. Judge for yourself:

Right Wing Art Museums

Wednesday, September 09, 2009

Tensions of mealtime prayers

Richard Wade at The Friendly Atheist site wrote a post on a subject that affects all of us atheists who have relatives and friends who are god believers and must pray at mealtime. I am respectful when visiting family and friends who must say prayers before eating. I do not participate by bowing my head and folding my hands, I do sit quietly and let them do their thing. I even am respectful and quiet when we go to restaurants with god believers and do not eat till they have said their magical incantations to their imaginary friend. I do not roll my eyes, do not tell them they are really talking to themselves, and I would never interfere with what they feel they need to do. I especially would never interfere with the raising of their children no matter how I feel about them indoctrinating their little ones to believe in and talk to an imaginary being. It is not my place as long as the child is not being abused and is loved and cared for. Everything else is none of my business and I keep my opinions to myself unless they try to convert me or ridicule my non-belief or tell me I am going to go to hell, etc.

Richard's post tells of a family problem where the religious folks will not reciprocate when it comes to respect of non-believing family members, going so far as to force the child of the non-believers to fold their hands while others are praying. I would have a big problem if one of my friends or family members actually reached over and clasped my child's hands together and insisted they talk to an imaginary being they cannot even fathom.

Respect goes both ways. While god believers are in my home I will do things my way and expect them to just utter their prayers to themselves and not make a deal of it the same way as when I am in homes of god believers and sit respectfully while they say their mealtime grace and not make a big deal of it.

But the thing is, sometimes they DO make a big deal of me not having my head bowed, my eyes closed and hands folded. They say it is insulting to them and to their imaginary friend. I have been through this a few times. If we just stay in another room until grace is said, then we are also the bad guys, we are told we are disrespecting them. But when they come to our house they still bow their heads and pray and utter to themselves in my presence and I am to say nothing or else I am disrespecting them. No thought at all about them disrespecting me and what I believe.

They want everything their way. They think that my opinions and beliefs are irrelevant, and in order to keep the peace, it is usually me, the atheist, who must give in and be tolerant and cater to the ways of the religious folks. And they wonder why we get angry.

Another funny fundie comment

Here is a quote pulled from a comment thread at another site from Joe B about Noah's flood...this is one of the funniest ones I have heard in awhile.

The reason for the bottleneck was because of the local flood of Noah that wiped everybody out exept for the humans on the ark. This wiped out so many that the human race had to start over again. This is powerful evidence for the local flood of Noah.

Is this a pull quote from “Fundies Say the Darndest Things” ? Or is this a satirical comment? Or an eight-year-old trying to regurgitate some of his religious brainwashing?

A “local” flood would wipe out ALL humans??????? Powerful evidence for the “local flood of Noah”…


Sunday, September 06, 2009

The Gum Nebula

If you look closely at the center of this image you might just see the Flying Spaghetti Monster! He exists! (click on image to enlarge)

Explanation: Named for Australian astronomer Colin Stanley Gum (1924-1960), The Gum Nebula is so large and close it is actually hard to see. In fact, we are only about 450 light-years from the front edge and 1,500 light-years from the back edge of this cosmic cloud of glowing hydrogen gas. Covered in this 41 degree-wide mosaic of H-alpha images, the faint emission region is otherwise easy to lose against the background of Milky Way stars. The complex nebula is thought to be a supernova remnant over a million years old, sprawling across the southern constellations Vela and Puppis. Sliding your cursor over this spectacular wide field view will reveal the location of objects embedded in The Gum Nebula, including the Vela supernova remnant.

Another Duggar about to climb out of the clown car!

Arkansas family prepares for baby No. 19

Yes, I know this is getting old…and we knew it was going to happen since this woman obviously has a serious mental problem that makes her keep getting preggers and collecting children as if they were Cabbage Patch dolls! Seems this family is trying to create their own little town of Duggarville where everyone is related and everyone can inbreed, keeping out those evil-utionists and pro-choicers and they can all praise Jeebus together for blessing them with strong sperm, uteruses and vaginas.

What is really happening is this woman thrives on the attention she gets from being pregnant. And they can keep the sideshow going in order to keep interest in their spectacle via a television program where the entire family gets attention.

And what gets me is that these folks get tax exempt status for having their own self-created congregation that you and I pay for. And what does this do to health care costs? How many dependents does their private health care insurance allow? If not all kids are covered, how do they afford medical care for all these extra kids? And what if everyone did this? What about the impact on an already stressed natural environment?

The Duggars should have their heads examined, literally. This is not normal behavior. A normal wife, even a Christian one will say whoa hunny, I am not a baby making machine! And normal husbands will understand that they cannot put their wives through such physical stress which can be dangerous even under the best of care.

Friday, September 04, 2009

Obama's plan to talk to school kids met with fear and paranoia

No matter what your political affiliation, having your child be able to see and hear any president speak should be a great opportunity and something they will always remember.

On September 8, President Obama will be talking directly to students across the U.S. live on the White House website. Instead of looking at this as a positive thing for their children to hear a message from their President himself, Yahoo blogger Lili Ladaga tells us that “parents and conservatives are blasting the president, calling the speech an excuse to brainwash American children.” This idea is ludicrous. How will the country ever be a united country when ever attempt at bringing us together is treated with paranoia and distrust.

Presidents speaking directly to school children is nothing new as Ladaga points out:

Both Presidents George Bush and Ronald Reagan gave nationally televised speeches aimed specifically at students. In 1989, Bush delivered a televised anti-drug speech, and Reagan’s 1986 commencement speech and Q&A session was “beamed over public television into 171 school districts,” according to the L.A. Times

Was this brainwashing to have Bush warn of the dangers of drug use? Was it wrong for Reagan to tell young people to work hard in school in order to be good citizens? Republicans will say “well, that was different.” I think it could be considered brainwashing to have “I’m proud to be an American” piped in through my kids’ school sound system day after day after day while they were in elementary school. Now that IS brainwashing. Conservatives don’t think it’s brainwashing or indoctrination to keep “Under God” in the Pledge of Allegiance that kids have to say every day, but it is. The ones whining about Obama’s upcoming talk are the same ones who keep pushing for prayer in public school and for religion to be taught side-by-side with science, and don’t think there is anything wrong with that. But gasp, a liberal Democratic president telling their kids to stay in school and work hard and teachers asking for them to offer their ideas of how they can help the President is going to brainwash them?

All children whether they come from Democratic households or Republican should be able to think of something to offer as a suggestion to help the president, even if the Bible believing ones say “I will pray for him” (which is what they most likely will do.) This is not a brainwashing session. Some people and the media circus have been using fearmongering to make Obama look as if he is about to do something terrible to their children.

Now it would be wrong if teachers are forcing kids to draw posters supporting Obama’s issues, or making speeches promoting Obama’s stances, but is that really what is going to happen? Some conservatives I have talked to say that is exactly what they are worried about.

Here are some of the opinions about the whole thing:

“I sent my children to school to be educated NOT indoctrinated.” — justamom

[but it's okay to indoctrinate their kids in their churches] (my emphasis)

“The fact that people want to keep their kids from hearing the President of the United States encourage them to do well in school shows a true level of ignorance.” — Firefey

[Yes, indeed it does. They are afraid their child will be presented with another idea other than what they hear from home indoctrination.]

“As an [sic] 9th grade student, I’d like to say that 1. I’m not sure why everyone is so scared that we’ll all be brainwashed by the President … 2. My school is one that is not allowing us to watch the speech, and quite frankly, I’m pissed.” — Willbw

[High school students and older elementary school students are offended at not being allowed to hear what the president has to say and form their own opinions.]

Obama stated the intention of his talk last month:

I’m going to be making a big speech to young people all across the country about the importance of education; about the importance of staying in school; how we want to improve our education system and why it’s so important for the country. So I hope everybody tunes in.”

How is asking for ideas from the students themselves indoctrinating them? Why aren’t parents taking advantage of this opportunity to discuss with their children the pros and cons of the current educational system and what can be done to make it better instead of “indoctrinating” them with their own prejudices and fears.

Pope says atheists to blame for global warming

This is the biggest bunch of crap I have heard in awhile. The Pope has stated in a recent speech that atheists are responsible for the destruction of the environment.

Excerpt from the Pope’s speech:

“Is it not true that inconsiderate use of creation begins where God is marginalized or also where his existence is denied? If the human creature’s relationship with the Creator weakens, matter is reduced to egoistic possession, man becomes the ‘final authority,’ and the objective of existence is reduced to a feverish race to possess the most possible.”

Micha J Stone of the Portland Humanist Examiner responds:

The irony is that any historical evaluation places the blame for global warming and the degradation of the planet firmly in the lap of Christians and the Catholic church. The Holy Bible, a book atheists firmly reject for good reason, claims that God gave man dominion over the earth. Christians, including Catholics, took these words to heart. They used those words as carte blanche, a justification for all manners of planetary abuse.

Thank you Micha for putting the blame back where it belongs.

Micha goes on to say:

Christianity, and Catholicism, are historically anti-environmental. In fact, if blame is to be placed for the current global environmental crisis, it is to be placed squarely upon the Judeo-Christian tradition. The fact that Christianity is anti-environmental is no secret. Indeed, many Christians have taken a perverse pride in claiming their dominion. For example, James Watt, who became U.S. Secretary of the Interior under Ronald Reagan in the early 1980s, wrote an influential and damning article entitled “Ours Is the Earth”. Watt, speaking for countless Christians, made it abundantly clear that for believers the earth is “merely a temporary way station on the road to eternal life…The earth was put here by the Lord for His people to subdue and to use for profitable purposes on their way to the hereafter.”

Exactly. Why should they care about the planet while the ultimate cosmic paradise is out there waiting for them in some other dimension?

So Pope Ratzi, I call bullshit on this one.

Terry Sanderson, President of the National Secular Society, commented:

“This is rich coming from the leader of an organisation that has plundered the world to enrich itself. As he sits in his golden palaces, surrounded by unimaginable luxury and material wealth, he lectures the rest of us about restraint and greed. We have nothing to learn about environmentalism from this hypocrite.”

Terry invites us to Read the whole, inflated, self-serving speech

Then if you care to, you can read though some of the comments in this thread.