Freethinking for Dummies

Skepticism, secular humanism, social issues

Help For People Recovering From Religion

The organization Recovering From Religion has started a hotline for those who are recovering from religion.  This is in response to all of the “…countless emails and phone calls from people seeking help on their journey away from faith, at all hours of the day and night”.

If you are recovering or have recovered from religion, you know how terribly painful a process this can be.  Not only are you abandoning a life-long set of beliefs, but you face ostracization from friend, family, and co-workers.  You also live with the fear of the negative reactions you may receive when people find out you are an atheist.  

I have applied to answer the Hotline and to help out with their Facebook page.   If you are recovering from religion, or are an life-long atheists, and want to help, go and apply.  It is a great cause that will help the millions who are struggling with losing their religion.

June 23, 2013 Posted by | Atheism, Religion, secular humanism, Skepticism | , , , , | Leave a comment

My Best Friend is a Magic Jewish Zombie!

I was browsing my favorite art site, deviantart.com, a few days ago and came across this painting.  A nicely done picture of Jesus titled, My Best Friend.  My tollerence of bullshit was very low at that particular time (lower than it ususlly is!).  In a fit of pique I left a simple, harsh, comment, “I’m sorry”.  I am not usually so blunt, espeically with someone I’ve never met.  I probably should have just ignored it and moved on. I didn’t and now I have an interesting situation to deal with.

Today, the artist who made that picture sent me a note.  Here is the exchange:

hey dear jay
from ~dianedianediane
to =primowalker
i read your comment on my work.,my best friend,….and this has many interpretations…
may i ask your reason for being sorry…so that i may comment accordingly my friend…
Re: hey dear jay
from =primowalker
to ~dianedianediane
I’m sorry that your best friend is someone who doesn’t exist, or at least who you can’t see, touch, or hear. I believe that this life is precious and that it is all that we are sure that we have. For me, to put emotions into something that you can’t be sure is there is a waste. It does you and the people around you a disservice. By expending time, emotion, and even love on something that may or may not be real takes that time, emotion, and love away from the people around you who need it here, now. 

I am not trying to say that you shouldn’t believe in Jesus, but you live in this world with people who love you and need you. Make the most of it and give yourself and those you love every minute you have, every bit of love that you can. If after doing this, you feel you still have time and energy left for Jesus, great. But to say that he is your best friend is an insult to your real friends, who are here now and who need you.

I doubt anything I say will make a difference.  She seems honest and sincere and I tried to answer her question honestly and sincerely.  Of course, I could be totally off base, after all, she calls me her “best friend”.  Maybe that is just how she addresses everyone she knows, including the magic Jewish zombie man.

** If you are interested, you can see my photography and writing at my deviantart page.

April 13, 2011 Posted by | Atheism, Religion, Skepticism | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 10 Comments

Pray For Japan. Or Maybe Do Something That Actually Helps.

I’m getting sick of seeing “Pray for Japan” signs and slogans everywhere on the Internet.  How is praying for Japan going to help?  If god actually cared about Japan in the first place he wouldn’t have allow the earthquake and tsunami to happen so why ask him now to help people he obviously was intent on destroying in the first place?  Unless he didn’t want the earthquake and tsunami to happen, then he is not all powerful so why bother asking him to intervene?  If he didn’t have the power to stop it in the first place what makes you believe that he can do anything to help now?  Ah, you say, the earthquake and tsunami were his will. Well then, if it was his will, the why try to get him to do anything since whatever is going to happen is also his will so prayer wouldn’t make a difference anyway.

Prayer by its very nature is an attempt to get god to do something that we want him to do, or in other words, to try to get him to change the outcome of a future that he has already planned out anyway.  In this case then, prayer is useless.  God has decided what will happen and asking for things to work out differently than what he has planned is useless, so therefore prayer is useless.  The only reasonable course of action in a universe with an all-knowing god is to just go with the flow.  If you pray and it works out how you wanted, it was going to be that way anyway so your prayer effectively had no effect.  If you pray and it doesn’t work out the way you wanted then it wasn’t god’s will and again, your prayer had no effect.  Praying does nothing to help or change anything because god has already decided what is going to happen anyway.  Of course all this assumes that an all-powerful, all-knowing god even exists.  You all should know by now how I feel about that.

If you really want to help Japan, donate time or money to organizations that are actually doing something to help.  Pray if it makes you feel better, but don’t assume that your prayer will in anyway help anyone.

March 19, 2011 Posted by | Humanism, Religion | , , , , , , | 6 Comments

I Seem to Have Hit a Nerve

My last post, Hitler – The Last Refuge of a Theist, seems to have hit a nerve among skeptics and atheists. I’ve seem some excellent comments regarding the truth about Hitler and his supposed support of Darwin and evolution. Among them is the following outstanding comment from fribnit.

“The single “scholarly” work of which I am aware that promotes a Darwin-Hitler connection is a piece of propaganda funded by an “Intelligent Design” promoting group called Discovery. The book, called From Darwin to Hitler by an “Historian” named Richard Weikart, is widely discredited as nothing more than propaganda.
As stated above, the Nazi’s burned Origin of the Species. Evolution was among the areas of scientific study derided by Hitler as “Jew Science”. Interesting in that Darwin was not Jewish.

It offends me deeply when someone uses the Hitler card in such a patently false manner, intended to discredit with guilt by association.

As Jay points out, Hitler self identified as a Christian. He felt that “The Almighty” guided and approved of his actions. Certainly the Christian-Hitler connection is much stronger than any supposed Darwin-Hitler connection.

I do not blame “Christianity” for the actions of Hitler and the Nazi scum, nor do I blame “Christianity” for the atrocities of the KKK, who also consider themselves “God Fearing Christians”. I don’t even blame “Christianity” for the Spanish Inquisition (Hundreds of years before Darwin) or the Crusades. I hold as responsible the people that conceived and committed these atrocities.

Long before Darwin, The Greeks and Romans and many others, considered themselves separate races from, and superior to, other people on the planet. Long before Darwin people of a variety of races considered other races to be less than human and tried to eliminate or enslave them. Human history is littered with attempts at genocide.

Believing in Intelligent Design or Creationism in the face of all the SCIENTIFIC evidence to the contrary is a remarkable exercise in willful blindness.
Trying to discredit Evolution by claiming it inspired one of the greatest atrocities in the history of man is vile and despicable and a pathetic attempt to defend the indefensible: “Intelligent Design”.”:

There are several very good points made here. Hitler did self-identify as a Christian and did, if we can believe his written and spoken words, that the “Almighty” was guiding him and supporting him.

The Nazis did burn copies of On Origin of Species and considered evolution a “Jewish” science. Burning copies of a book that describes a theory you supposedly support is incomprehensible.

Eugenics is not based on Darwin’s theory of evolution by natural selection, but rather artificial selection, or breeding. Just as humans have bred animals for thousands of years, Hitler and his cohorts believed that they could breed better humans and even set up communities where Aryan men and women were paired, married and had children. A major goal of the Holocaust was not just to kill the Jews and other “undesirables”, but to remove them completely from the human gene pool by both exterminating those who existed and breeding the various percentages out of these genes out of the remaining population.

This type of evolutionary selection is anything but natural, which is what Darwin’s theory is all about. Those who wish to use the Nazi example of eugenics against evolution show a gross lack of understanding of Darwin’s theory of evolution by natural selection and of history.

To compare Darwin and his theory of evolution by natural selection to Hitler and the Holocaust is intellectually dishonest and reprehensible. It is a desperate ploy by people who can find no reasonable and cogent arguments to support their religious beliefs. It shows the narrowness of their world view and the smallness of the intellect.

February 15, 2011 Posted by | Religion, Science | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 6 Comments

Hitler – The Last Refuge of a Theist

My childhood friend who was upset about my trashing of the bible as a source for moral authority has now commented on my Happy Darwin Day post:

Kerry D. Fitts commented on your post.
Kerry wrote: “don’t forget to credit Darwin with the nazi’s and the Holocaust Hitler was a big fan of darwin and his eugenics”

Ah, bringing up Hitler and the Nazis, the last refuge of scoundrels. Oh, wait, that is patriotism, we are talking about religion and science. We could apply Goodwin’s law, but I’m not sure that really applies. Still, dragging the Nazis into it is always bad form, unless you are discussing history.

I say to you, Kerry, that what hitler believed or promoted from his understanding of evolution is immaterial to wether Darwin or evolution is correct or bad.

Hitler also used Christianity and his Christian beliefs to justify almost everything about his regime. Check out these quotes by Hitler to find out just how prominent a role Hitler gave Christianity in his words and deeds.

Based on these copious quotes should I then say that Jesus and Christianity should be given credit for the Nazis and the holocaust as well? If anything, the prevailing Christian belief that the Jews were Christ killers is and was at the core of the anti-semitism that produced the horrors of the holocaust.

The fact that you seem to feel so threatened by a scientist and a scientific theory that you would stoop so low as playing the Nazi card shows me that you are deeply affected by cognitive dissonance caused by your religious beliefs. It is obviously pointless to continue discussing these topics with you as you are too entrenched in your dogma to make them productive.

February 14, 2011 Posted by | Religion, Science | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 18 Comments

Coexistence?

A dear friend of mine posted some disturbing videos from Indonesia of people being stoned to death for one religious offense or another on her Facebook profile to highlight the terrible violence that religion continues to inspire. She changed her profile photo to
wpid-174270_830719950_2402185_n-2011-02-13-18-21.jpg

I found what I consider to be a much more accurate version of the Coexist sign above,

wpid-sexist_by_dailyatheist-small-2011-02-13-18-21.png
*by http://dailyatheist.deviantart.com/. Used with permission.

I’m not a graphic artist, but I’m sure if I had the talent I could come up with other signs that contained more “truthiness” that the Coexist one.

Of course, the Coexist message represents something to strive for and as such it serves its purpose well. If religious coexistence was a fact, we wouldn’t need the logo in the first place.

While I fully support efforts for peoples of all faith to coexist, my feelings, as I said in my response to one of the videos, is that to coexist we must see each other as fellow humans, not as believers and unbelievers and until we can throw off all vestiges of religions, that can never happen. As long as people allow religion to guide how they live their lives, the violence and hatred will continue. That doesn’t mean we shouldn’t try, but we need to be realistic about just how insidious the influence of religion really is and how very difficult it will be to change that.

February 13, 2011 Posted by | Religion | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 13 Comments

Happy Darwin Day!

It is Darwin Day! This is a day to remember the huge effect that Darwin’s On Origin Of Species and the theory it describes has had on the biological sciences. Everything we know today about modern genetics, micro-biology, and medicine has evolution at their foundations. The high yield crops that feed billions, the powerful antibiotics and vaccines that save millions of lives every year, the cutting edge medical technologies that promise cures for diseases as diverse as Alzheimer’s, Parkinson’s, and diabetes rely on knowledge that has evolution at their foundation. Evolution is one of the most powerfully explanatory, predictive, and useful scientific theories since Newton devised his theory of gravity.

To celebrate, go and read the 1st (and best) edition of On Origin of Species for free.

I’ll leave you with this picture from Tree Lobsters which expresses the awesomeness of Darwin and his theory:

wpid-chuckdarwin4-2011-02-13-11-12.jpg

February 13, 2011 Posted by | Science | , , , , , | 2 Comments

The Bible is the Literal Word of God; Except When Its Not

Atheist Revolution has a nice entry about how the bible condemns public prayer. I’m waiting to see what kind of spin the Christian apologists will put on that one. I have talked about this whole, the-bible-is-literal-except-for-the-parts-I-don’t-like phenomenon before here. There is a technical name for this, coined by Penn & Teller; it’s called BULLSHIT.

I want to quote from that piece of mine that I mentioned above and elaborate a bit on it:

Jay Walker: So how do you decide what parts of the “Old Testament” to believe and which parts not to? I thought the whole bible was the word of god? I’m not asking to be sarcastic, I’m honestly curious.

Bob Santaniello: It isn’t a decision; I believe as you said, all of the Old and New Testaments is the true word of God as given to men by the Holy Spirit. The deciding part is to hermeneutically figure out to whom the different parts were written, why things were written, the cultural surroundings in which they were written, the style of writing – poetry, symbolism, narrative, prophetic – most all can be found in them. The more I study God’s word, the better I come to understanding Him and in building a relationship with Him – and how to live according to His word. 1 Corinthians 2:14 tells how Bible truth is revealed to mankind.

So the bible is literally true, except when it is poetic, symbolic, or whatever else the apologist decides best fits his current bullshit explanation of the “word of God”. For some reason, the all-powerful, all-knowing god, although he writes quite persuasively, can’t seem to write very clearly. You would think that a deity the likes of which Christians describe would be able to get his message across clearly and succinctly. I’ve known 9th graders who were able to write much more lucidly and get their point across with infinitely more clarity that this all knowing, all add-your-grandiose-trait here, ne plus ultra deity (I used to teach high school English so I’ve seen plenty of 9th grade writings so I know that of which I speak.)

The bible is ragtag collection of manmade texts with no self-consistency of facts, theology or history, if anything, the contradictions within them are glaring and numerous. There are numerous sources that I could cite, two excellent ones are Biblical Nonsense: A Review Of The Bible For Doubting Christians, by Jason Long and Self-Contradictions of the Bible, by William Henry Burr. You can also google “bible contradictions” and that will turn up hundreds of sites with thousands of examples.

Christians would have you believe that the bible is akin to a sports or game rulebook for living life.
Here is an exercise that you yourself can do to approximate the clarity and explanatory power of the bible:

  • Acquire rulebooks for baseball, basketball, polo, monopoly, chess, poker and horseshoes.
  • Carefully tear each page out of each rulebook.
  • Throw all the pages up in the air. (It would help if there was a fairly stiff breeze).
  • Collect them all up and throw them into one big pile.
  • Organize them into a stack so that all pages are orientated the same way.
  • Staple, tape, or bind them all together in a binder.
  • Now, on the outside of the binder write, “The Bible”.

Viola! Your very own rule book that makes just as much sense and was organized in much the same way the book Christians call their bible. You and your friends will have just as much trouble figuring your book out as Christians do theirs.

If you do decide to try this experiment, please, for the love of all that is good, burn your book as soon as you are done leafing through it so that some nut doesn’t find it and start preaching that he’s found the true way to play the game of life.

February 11, 2011 Posted by | Religion, Skeptical | , , , , , , , , , , , , | 3 Comments

Frank Zappa on The Christian Right’s Growing Influence on Government

Here is an interview with Frank Zappa where he discusses the danger of the Religious right’s growing influence within the U.S. Government. It was relevant then during the Reagan era and it is just as relevant now.

This is hosted on my sister site, Freethinking4dummies.org. This a bit more personal than my blog here, so if you are interested about the guy behind Freethinking For Dummies, enjoy!

February 8, 2011 Posted by | Religion | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

Comments on Atheism and Gender Equality

Here is an illuminating comment on my earlier post from a reader, Sas, and my reply:

  1. Thanks for this . I have been appalled by some men’s attitudes – I left Christianity hoping for an equal world and was horrified to see the same old crap in the atheist camp. ” girls are naturally less intelligent that’s why they go to church ” No you twat, church has free childcare and you don’t get touched up.Treat women right and they’ll join you.Also try to understand that liking men and sex doesn’t mean they will sleep with any man – ESP not the older ones who think we are gagging for a father figure…wpid-94fe68a35b9b4a2c0ba2445621a62470-2011-02-8-16-27.jpg Comment by Sas | February 8, 2011 | Edit | Reply
  2. Ps lots of men don’t like sex and will make you feel bad for asking for it. Strangely they lie about that to their male friends.wpid-6f2daef3a2c555a4bdb80036526e0f36-2011-02-8-16-27.jpg Comment by Sas | February 8, 2011 | Edit | Reply
  3. Sas, I agree with you completely. Men need to understand that just because a woman is sexually liberated doesn’t mean she will sleep with everyone, especially them. Yes, biology is powerful. Yes, males evolved to try to have sex with as many females as possible in order to pass on their genes. But to use this as an excuse to treat women solely as sexual objects is disingenuous and wrong. This only supports the theists’ contention that atheists are all amoral darwinists. We are moral creatures who have the benefit of intelligence and rational thought to rise above our evolutionary imperatives, especially when they interfere with our ability to responsibly interact with each other.wpid-402c429e71fcb15b380d58cd3ca72867-2011-02-8-16-27.jpg Comment by Jay Walker | February 8, 2011 | Edit | Reply

February 8, 2011 Posted by | Atheism, Humanism, Skeptical | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

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