An addition to yesterday's Texan Democrats (a little) less religious than Republicans: Let's take things up from one state to the national level. In Republicans v secular America, Dan Kennedy of Guardian News and Media reports on the latest machinations by a party salivating over the prospect of religion-based control over the US populace. Readeth thou more
Over in the US of A, modern culture divides the nation into two wildly polarized, at-each-other's-throats, black-vs-night, white-vs-day, Spy-vs-Spy (?) factions: Republicans and Democrats. (The big sad joke being, of course, that the two are slightly different variants of the same bland centrist position.) Readeth thou more
What? People are angry at Elton John for suggesting Jesus was gay? Says the star-spectacled one:
I think Jesus was a compassionate, super-intelligent gay man who understood human problems.
(Via Richard Dawkins' site)
Jesus? Gay? Well, what do we know about Jesus from writings, legend, and religious art? Readeth thou more
Is it just me, or are these the same faces?
David Lee Roth
If it weren't for Carl's untimely departure, I'd have to ask whether the beloved astronomer was ever spotted shouting "Bill-ions upon bill-ions of stars!" while doing high-jump splits off a Cornell podium. Readeth thou more
Hey, it's religion week on the popular A.Word.A.Day mailing list!
A.Word.A.Day broadcasts a new word every day for the vocabulary nuts out there, and it's always a welcome ping in the mailbox. It's not a place where you'd expect to see a religion-related message of any kind, but as the list kicks off a week of sacerdotal offerings, I was surprised to see this short paean to free thought leading off today's installment: Readeth thou more
The Age's article Beyond Belief, an overview of "new atheism" and atheism in general, is generating comment over a few points that don't ring true with actual atheists. (See Michael Bachelard's story on the New Atheism - a response by Russell Blackford.)
My instant beef with the article was one small claim. This: Readeth thou more
Over at Common Sense Atheism, Luke Muehlhauser shares how he "came out" and told his religious family about his atheism. It's a valuable experience; many, many people who lose religious faith (or realize they never had it) wrestle with the question of how to break the news to family. ("How do I tell them?" seems one of the most common questions asked by callers to atheist TV show The Atheist Experience.)
The comments below the post show lots of appreciation for Luke's tale, as well as the expected (but mostly short and civil) back-and-forth involving believers who find fault with the post. Until a comment by "Siamese", a loooong screed making God-filled claim after claim with, as you might guess, zero evidence or even argument. Out-of-thin-air assertions like these:
Heaven does last for eternity and those who chose a personal relationship with Jesus while on earth will be united with God. This unity does not imply the experience of pleasurable earthly activities; rather, it is an experience of selfless love and adoration for the God of all creation...
God desires a personal relationship with each human, in order for this relationship to occur he provided each human freedom of choice. If he had not given human beings the freedom to reject Him, all humans would go to heaven and be united with him, but their choice to be with him would have been a programmed fact...
Since God is loving and just he respects the decisions one makes and will eternally separate himself from this individual on judgment day...
And so on. Run of the mill stuff. What kills me about such blather, though – and what we too often led slide by without challenge to the claimant – is that the above claims are not only refuted by atheism, they're refuted by religion. It can't be said often or strongly enough: Every religious claim a believer can make is refuted first and foremost by the majority of religious believers not adhering to the claimant's particular minority faith/sect/denomination. When atheists want to refute a religious claim, they always have to get in line behind the throng of believers shouting "You've got that wrong" (often followed by further brilliant commentary such as "Infidel!", "Heretic", "Blasphemer!", "Hell-bound!", and the like).
Why should the atheist – or anyone – accept one minority claim over countless additional minority claims? The argument will typically bounce off the listener, but it has to be said again and again anyway. So here's my humble response left in the Common Sense Atheism comments: Readeth thou more
The situation: A school wants to take 6th and 7th graders to a Fossil Discovery Center to attend a Rocks and Mineral Festival.
The problem: Those awful people are going to tell little Johnny – oh heavens! – that rocks are old!
From I bet that kid is popular in class at the Fail Blog: It's a simple field trip permission slip defaced by a barely-literate parent who thinks a Mineral Festival needs to begin and end with Jesus. The scrawl reads: Readeth thou more
If you've got an atheist blog, consider adding your vital info to The Atheist Blogroll. You can see a feed from other blog members to the right; head to the Blogroll site itself to see all 1000+ blogs on the list.
It's one more small way that the widespread, fractionated, largely independent, and often invisible atheist community can show off its impressive true size. Ask Mojoey at Deep Thoughts if you'd like more info. Readeth thou more