Freethinking for Dummies

Skepticism, secular humanism, social issues

The Newtown School Shootings – When There Are No Reasons

After the horrifying shootings at the Newtown, CT school, Bryan Fisher, Director of Issues Analysis for the American Family Association proposed that God could have stopped the shootings, but didn’t because apparently it was God’s way of saying:

“Hey, I’d be glad to protect your children, but you have to invite me back into your world first. I’m not going to go where I’m not wanted. I am a gentleman.”

A Gentleman?! Fisher’s “gentleman” god sounds more like a child throwing a tantrum because he didn’t get what he wants. A gentleman doesn’t sit by while 20 children are killed in cold blood just because he wasn’t picked for the team on the playground. I will tell you who does act like this: a coward; a sociopath; a sick and twisted, sadist.

Fisher’s god is an iniquitous and malefic thug. A god who can stand by and allow 20 innocent children be massacred is not a god worthy of praise or worth following. If such a god does exist and wishes me to believe, never mind support, that the innocent must die for the sins of the guilty, then I will proudly stand before him and tell him to kiss my ass and to send me to hell. I’d rather spend an eternity in hell than give the slightest support to such a evil creature. I thought that Jesus was the innocent one who was supposed to died for all of our sins, or did he just not get it right and now God feels that he must allow tiny children to die instead in order to pay for the supposed ills of our society? Where does God’s mercy and forgiveness come into all this? Apparently it doesn’t.

The fact is that 20 innocent children and 7 adults are dead. They aren’t dead because God is punishing us. They aren’t gone forever because of homosexuality, secularism, evolution being taught in our schools, or Obambacare. There is only one reason that they are dead: because a man walked into to the school and shot them. Period.

I’m not going to try to make this a sermon about gun control, or better access to mental health care, or any other political or social issue. That is something that we, as a society, must decide to do something about (or, as is often the case, do nothing).

We like to try to place blame when terrible things happen to us. We can’t stand the thought that something so horrific could happen for no reason as all. The reality is that nature doesn’t care and the universe doesn’t care. They just are. We, on the other hand, can and do care. Instead of seeking a reason beyond the the simple one stated above, we need to care for each other, help each other, and most importantly, cherish each other, every moment of every day. We must stop worrying about what comes after this life and focus on living each day as if it were our last, because, as we’ve been seeing far to often lately, life can be taken from us in the blink of an eye.

December 15, 2012 Posted by | Religion, secular humanism, Social Justice | , , , , , , , , | 2 Comments

Pro Life – A Satanic Plot

Edwin Kagin beautifully defends a woman’s right to choose in this tongue-in-cheek piece.  It is funny, but powerful.  Read it.

January 17, 2012 Posted by | Humanism, Religion, Social Justice | , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

The (Believers) Problem of Evil

Isaiah 45:7

King James Version (KJV)

I form the light, and create darkness: I make peace, and create evil: I the LORD do all these things.

For those who believe in a god, especially a loving, merciful god, evil is a real problem.  Some say that satan causes evil in the world, others that evil is god’s way of testing our faith.

As far as I can see it, these, and other arguments like them, all fall flat.  I could write a whole book against these arguments (and many have), but instead, I think my position can be summed up with the following quote attributed to Epicuris:

Is God willing to prevent evil, but not able? Then he is not omnipotent.
Is he able, but not willing? Then he is malevolent.
Is he both able and willing? Then whence cometh evil?
Is he neither able nor willing? Then why call him God?

The first quote, from Isaiah, pretty much shows that the god who Christians like to claim as being a god of love, is also a god of evil.  Their Bible is pretty unequivical about it: the LORD creates evil.  It really can’t be any other way, if, as they say, their god created everything, for by default, he must have created evil as well as good.

To surrender the cause of evil to an unseen and amorphous entity is to refuse to take any responsibility for the evil that humans visit upon each other.  When you accept that evil is a product of human activity, you can then look it straight in the eyes and tackle it head on, instead of pawning it off to an imaginary god or gods.

There are many reasons that I am an atheist; there is my love of science, my thirst for knowledge, and my instance on truth, no matter how ugly it may be.  Still, the two quotes above make a very powerful, yet simple, argument against believing in any god or gods.  They are a beginning point for shuffling off the imaginary coil of belief and moving onto a life of real responsibility those with who we share this planet.

December 3, 2011 Posted by | Atheism, Religion, Science, Skepticism | , , , , , , | 2 Comments

Miracle Mineral Solution – How Bleach Can Cure the World!

 

I listened to the Righteous Indignation podcast today where they interviewed Jim Humble, the creator and promoter of Miracle Mineral Solution.   The interview was very interesting and revealing.  It was interesting in the sense that it was fascinating to hear Mr. Humble commit just about every logical fallacy that I’ve ever heard of.  It was revealing in that it became obvious that Jimbo is either completely deluded or an evil genius.  

From listening to his halting, folksy way of speaking, the first impression is that he is simply deluded, but later we found out that he created a church to promote the healing properties of his Miracle Mineral Solution, or MMS.   When he was asked why he decided to use a church instead of a traditional non-profit organization to promote MMS, he rambled on about how Jesus told his disciples to go out and heal.   

When asked about an article in which he used the Catholic Church’s tax exempt status and the separation of church and state as examples of how this gives his organization more power than a non-profit, he fumbled around for a bit before admitting that it was a bad example to use given the abuses of the Catholic Church.

What strikes me about this, though, is that he obviously gave a lot of thought to how organizing as a church would allow him to skirt many of the laws and restrictions that a non-profit would be held to in providing health care using a product that can only claim testimonials and anecdotal evidence for its efficacy.  This shows him to be, in my book, a true charlatan. Evil genius it is!

The claims he makes for MMS are myriad and track perfectly with typical pseudoscientific claims.  It can cure cancer, HIV, malaria.  It can treat serious burns by lowering the PH of the burn area, which he claims is highly acidic, even though he has no medical research whatsoever to back up this claim.  In fact, he has no medical research at all to back up any of his claims.  When called on this, he spouts the usual clap-trap about modern science not wanting to believe the truth about his claims, invokes the evils of modern medicine, and goes on the seal the deal with anti-vaccination rhetoric. 

To quote his website:

“The answer to AIDS, hepatitis A,B and C, malaria, herpes, TB, most cancer and many more of mankind’s worse diseases has been found. Many diseases are now easily controlled. More that 75,000 disease victims have been included in the field tests in Africa. Scientific clinical trials have been conducted in a prison in the country of Malawi, East Africa.”

Strangely, he doesn’t not include links to these “scientific clinical trials”.  I wonder why?

This guy is treating people around the world with what is essentially bleach.  That’s right, bleach.  He advocates putting bleach on burns, open wounds, and drinking it to cure any number of maladies.  

Jim Humble should be locked up for peddling a dangerous product to innocent people, as well as practicing medicine without a license, but since he operations mainly in Africa, he is probably immune from prosecution here in the U.S.

 

May 16, 2011 Posted by | Social Justice | , , , , , | 1 Comment

Heaven & Hell

 

John Shook has a great piece on the Center For Inquiry blog about how religion isn’t about hope, but personal wish-fullfillment, control, and our secret desire for revenge.  Here are two paragraphs that nicely sum up what I want to talk about today:

Heaven and hell are more about enforcing moral retribution upon everyone, and not about loving consolation for everyone. I said earlier that religion personally is largely about private wish-fulfillment. But at the social level, religion is mostly about imposing a public moral system. And not just any moral system – religions with heavens and hells have moral systems about obedience, vengeance, and retribution. With heaven and hell, private wish-fulfillment nicely pairs up with public moral-expectation. God delivers love to us because we feel deserving of that love. God delivers vengeful retribution upon others because we wish we could do it to them ourselves.

When believers say, “My God is all about Love!” what they are actually saying is that God really loves them and doesn’t love others. These are the kind of people who can’t feel truly loved unless someone else doesn’t get that love. Such a childishly selfish attitude, barely tolerable from the three year-old pushing the older sibling away from the parental lap, is entirely despicable from adults. Yet religious societies take this to the public level, effectively frightening members into obedience, and warning outsiders not in that good company that they will suffer for it. Join our religion, the message rings out, or else you’ll get hell for it!

I’ve read several blog posts today about this subject of heaven and hell and how you can’t have a heaven without a hell.  Except for Unitarian Universalists, all most no religion, especially forms of Christianity, has a concept of Heaven without a corresponding hell.  The problem with this, besides the horrific fact that so many people seem to take pleasure at the potential eternal suffering of others, is that hell just doesn’t fit in with the concept of a god of love.  God is seen as a parental figure, someone who makes the rules and rewards or punishes and who we always want to try to please.  What parent would willingly send their child somewhere where they would be tortured and tormented?  Only an sick, sadistic parent would.  So if there is hell, then god is a sick sadist.

Religious belief like this is, as John says, childishly selfish.  It has pain and punishment for those we are jealous of built right in.  The only real love there is the love for those we choose to love and for ourselves.

This is why I take a humanist approach to life.  Humanism has at it’s core the wellbeing of all people, everywhere.  When you put all people on a level playing field and treat them all equally, then you can’t help but act in the best interests of everyone.  Of course we have to take care of ourselves and our loved ones, but humanist ideals say that we shouldn’t do that at the expense of others.

As John sums up in another of his posts on the same subject:

Give me a morality, a humanist one, that finally centers on the one life that we all know we have.

March 20, 2011 Posted by | Atheism, Humanism, Religion | , , , , , , , , , | 15 Comments

   

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