Saturday, June 30, 2007

YouTube - Disturbed - Remember

Since I'm on a Disturbed kick right now...Here is a song by them that really helped me a lot during my early atheist days, when I was first making the escape from Christianity. I listened a lot to that Believe album during that time. Thanks Disturbed!



Sensation washes over me
I can't describe it
Pain I felt so long ago
I don't remember
Tear a hole so I can see
My devastation
Feelings from so long ago
I don't remember

Holding on, to let them know
What's given to me
To hide behind
The mask this time
And try to believe

Blind your eyes to what you see
You can't embrace it
Leave it well enough alone
And don't remember
Cut your pride and watch it bleed
You can't deny it
Pain you know you can't ignore
I don't remember

Holding on, to let them know
What's given to me
To hide behind
The mask this time
And try to believe



Blind your eyes to what you see
You can't embrace it
Leave it well enough alone
And don't remember

Cut your pride and watch it bleed
You can't deny it
Pain you know you can't ignore
I don't remember

If I can
Remember
To know this will
Conquer me
If I can
Just walk alone
And try to escape
Into me

YouTube - Land Of Confusion Disturbed

Cool animated music video! I love this song, and the video really have something to say about war and the greed behind it--both in Iraq and elsewhere. The animation makes me want to see some Pink Floyd too :)

YouTube - Land Of Confusion Disturbed



Ah, speaking of Pink Floyd.

Friday, June 29, 2007

I've been tagged!

Stardust has tagged me with a new meme. Here are the rules, in my own words.
  1. First post the rules.
  2. Post eight (8) random facts/habits about oneself.
  3. Anyone who is tagged needs to write a new blog entry including the rules and their eight (8) facts/habits.
  4. Tag eight (8) other people with blogs to participate in the meme, and list their names at the end of the blog post.
  5. Leave a comment at each of the tagged blogs and let them know they have been tagged. Refer them to your blog post so they can read and find out what you are talking about.
So, here are my 8 random facts/habits:
  1. I ride the bus to work, and ride my bike from home to the bus stop and then from the last bus stop on to to work.
  2. I have a picture of Darwin posted in my computer/reading room.
  3. I have a current obsession with kayaking, and have shopped a lot for my own kayak. But I'm torn on how much I'm able to spend and where in my apartment I'd store the thing if I bought one.
  4. I'm a vegetarian, since April this year. I have not really even been tempted to go back to eating meat, much to my own surprise.
  5. I seldom listen to radio other than NPR anymore, and that is only when I'm in my car. Which is not often during the work week anymore.
  6. I am volunteering at Bernheim Forest and working though their Naturalist-In-Training program and learning all about how to connect people with nature. And I've been learning how to identify lots of locally native plants--It's been really fascinating!
  7. I get really pee'd off when someone still doesn't get that global climate change is an issue that needs to be addressed. And I need to learn to pick my battles!
  8. A lot of the times when I find a bug in my apartment, or elsewhere in a living place or car or something like that, I'll look closely at the bug and decide that it's actually really cool and I'm not going to kill it. I take it out if I can. Unless it's a tick, mosquito, or gnat--these can expect no mercy from me.
Alright--now I need to see if I can find eight other bloggers who have not already been tagged! It looks like pretty much the whole atheist blogroll has been infected already.
  1. Star of Star's Journal of Random Thoughts
  2. Contemplative Activist
  3. Action Skeptics
Ok, this is a lot of work. I think this meme has been very effective already--I'll add the other 5 later if I find any more willing hosts.

Wednesday, June 27, 2007

A camp they can believe in | Chicago Tribune

Man! I wish I could have gone to these when I was young! Maybe I'll volunteer at the next one, who knows?

A camp they can believe in Chicago Tribune


A camp they can believe in
Ohio's Camp Quest lets young atheists enjoy summer fun with like-minded children


By Ron Grossman
Tribune staff reporter

June 27, 2007

CLARKSVILLE, Ohio -- At the same time youngsters at Bible camps across the nation are reciting, "Now I lay me down to sleep; I pray the Lord my soul to keep," kids at Camp Quest are climbing into their bunks, confident there is no one out there to hear those prayers.

Proudly proclaiming the motto "Beyond Belief," Camp Quest bills itself as the nation's first sleep-away summer camp for atheists. Founded in 1996, it has inspired four similar camps across the nation for children whose parents are either opposed or indifferent to religion.

Much of what goes on here, amid the cornfields of southwestern Ohio, is little different from any other camp. Campers canoe on the Little Miami River, practice archery skills and go on nature hikes.

To be sure, they also engage in some unusual rainy-day discussions of philosophical issues. Children who barely come up to an adult's waist toss around terms such as "circular logic." And those nature hikes focus on the beauty of evolution, unaided by any unseen hand.

Atheism has been experiencing a revival, as it were. Some national surveys show the numbers of non-believers growing. Books hyper-critical of religion are best-sellers. The biologist Richard Dawkins argued in "The God Delusion" that religion is just that. Faith as the source of all evil was explored with burning passion by Christopher Hitchens in "God is Not Great: How Religion Poisons Everything."

But more than a training ground for a movement, Camp Quest is a place to set down the burden of being different.

Children who grow up in Christian households have the emotional security of being in the nation's majority. Members of religious minorities have similarly minded friends and relatives. But coming from a family that does not believe in God often sets a child on a lonely road.

Frieda Lindroth, a first-year camper, recognized that her first day at Camp Quest.

"'Wow!' I said to myself, 'I'm not alone,'" said Frieda, 12. She recalls being an atheist since the 2nd grade.

For its inaugural season, Camp Quest drew 20 campers. This year, it enrolled 47 young people, ranging from 8 to 17 years old, for its weeklong session at a campground rented from a 4-H group. About 100 others will attend Quest's daughter camps in Michigan, Minnesota, California and Ontario, Canada.

A Harris Interactive survey in 2003 found that 9 percent of Americans don't believe in God, while another 12 percent are uncertain about the issue. Even if their numbers are lower, the Secular Coalition for America calculates that the ranks of non-believers are larger than the combined number of religious Jews, Mormons, Jehovah's Witnesses, Presbyterians, Hindus, Muslims and Eastern Orthodox Christians.

Camp Quest's founder, Edwin Kagin, thinks non-believers have become more outspoken as a reaction to the religious right. School boards have inserted "intelligent design" into their curricula almost as fast as the courts can veto such measures.

Kagin and his wife, Helen, founded Camp Quest out of frustration with what they saw as a forced march to theocracy. His father was a minister in a family line of Presbyterian clergy tracing back to John Knox, the great Scottish reformer.

"But I went to college and started reading books my father had preached against," said Kagin, 66.

Kagin has a full beard, a rolling gait and a sardonic delivery reminiscent of Mark Twain, as played by Hal Holbrook. He became active in atheist causes but was frustrated by lawyers hired to fight them. So he got a law degree and became the legal director of the activist group American Atheists.

In the 1990s, the Boy Scouts, a chief sponsor of camping in America, began excluding atheists and gays from its leadership. That prompted the Kagins to create an outdoorsy alternative for non-believers.

"We wanted a camp not to preach there is no God," said Kagin, "but as a place where children could learn it's OK not to believe in God."

Many Camp Questers have wrestled with that issue on their own, among them Sophia Riehemann, a 9th-year camper. She long avoided the words "under God," during recitations of the Pledge of Allegiance at school.

"This year, I stopped getting up and saying the Pledge," said Riehemann, 16, who, like other campers, reports that it is taxing constantly negotiating with the world of believers. "Here at camp, that little barrier is finally down."

Like many campers, Riehemann comes from a home that stresses a scientific explanation of reality in place of the biblical account. Similarly, the dining room walls at Camp Quest are hung with portraits of notable free-thinkers and scientists, ranging from Darwin and Einstein to Woody Allen, honored for giving comedic expression to religious skepticism.

Riehemann notes that a secular perspective takes away childhood joys other kids have, such as Christmas. But that doesn't bother her. "They have Santa Claus," she said, "and we have Isaac Newton."

Like Riehemann, other campers report the painful experience of publicly declaring their lack of religious belief. Like gay people, they call it "coming out."

Allison Page, 9, read a book of Bible stories and decided they "were just silly." When her classmates found that out, they called her names and threatened her. That prompted her parents to home-school Allison. They sent her to camp so she would have summertime playmates.

Allison reports finding the Bible incompatible with her experience of life. An only child who'd like to have siblings, she was stumped by the story of Cain and Abel.

"It just doesn't make sense," Allison said. "A brother wouldn't kill his brother."

Sheridan Scott, 10, encountered hostility on the front lines of atheist activism. He and his mother are part of a group of Florida atheists that raises the banner for non-belief in public places.

"As a hobby," he explained. "But some people are so hostile, yelling at us: 'You will go to Hell.'"

Ed Golly, a camp counselor, belongs to the Florida atheist-activist group. When members saw Christian revivalists preaching on the streets of a Tampa night-club district, they mounted counterdemonstrations.

"We hold up banners saying, 'Jesus is not Coming' and 'No Prayer in School,'" said Golly, 55, a volunteer like all the staff.

A small-craft pilot, Golly flies his airplane to camp and takes campers up in it. They gleefully report that, at least as high as a Cessna can go, there is no evidence for a God in the sky.

Much of the learning at Camp Quest is similarly non-directive. Atheism isn't so much advocated as set alongside traditional belief systems. There are meal-time talks on various religions. Campers debate questions such as, "Would the world be better off without religion?"

Many of the young people come to more measured conclusions than Dawkins and Hitchens, acknowledging religion has some virtues, like providing some people a sense of community.

But at the final campfire, it was obvious how most Camp Questers come down on the question of belief. The young people giggled and laughed through skits and songs, savoring for one last moment being just one of the gang.

For the concluding act, Edwin Kagin stood in front of the crackling flames, pounding an oversized walking stick worthy of a biblical prophet. He broadly impersonated an evangelical preacher, exhorting his congregation to believe in the unseen.

"Who needs proof, if we have faith?" he asked.

All around the campfire, young hands went up.

----------

rgrossman@tribune.com
Copyright © 2007, Chicago Tribune

Thursday, June 21, 2007

This world is my home . . . - Testimonies of Ex-Christians

This world is my home . . . - Testimonies of Ex-Christians

This really brings back some memories for me. It's a post to Ex-Christian.net that I wrote in October 2003, just a few days after my Mom had finally found out that I was an infidel. I sent in an essay that I'd written to Mom, at her request, explaining just why I rejected Christianity. It still resonates with me today.


What happens when you try to believe two contradictory things at the same time? Such as the belief that the universe is ruled by the laws of science and that the universe is controlled by a supernatural being. Or that I am a good and worthwhile person and also that I am so horrible that I must lean on God’s mercy to avoid hell. Or “creation-science”? A few years ago while I was still a Christian I read _1984_ by George Orwell and was introduced to this notion of “double-think.” The book is not really about religion (at least not that I remember) but when I read about double-think I couldn’t stop my mind from making the connection to religion – even though at the time I refused to consider the implications.

I was an agnostic for a long time before I realized it or was willing to admit it. I prayed and nothing happened, I went to church and nothing changed. During revivals I kept going to the altar and genuinely expected God to work changes in my life and to guide me, but nothing ever happened. And nothing happened in the churches I went to that was not brought about by pure human effort – however much they “gave God the glory.” I longed for a “personal testimony” so I could tell people what God had done in my life – but I couldn’t think of anything that would convince me, much less anyone else. I was always afraid of witnessing although I was well versed in my faith and in the bible. But at the same time I felt I had to witness—if I didn’t tell them about Jesus and warn them of hell, I didn’t really care and I would be held responsible for not warning them of eternal consequences. I had read Christian apologetics like Mere Christianity, by C. S. Lewis and More Then A Carpenter by I don’t remember who. I could talk and debate with other Christians about what the bible said, because we all believed in the bible. But when it came to trying to convince an unbeliever that the bible is reliable, I was clueless. None of the arguments were convincing to me! Even though I accepted them because I already believed.

Eventually double-think can wear a person down, and it made me depressed for a long time. I went to a church school for my first two years of college and after the initial high (I thought it was because of God that I was able to attend there, and thus had something to say about what God had done in my life) I found myself in low spirits most of the time. What was being said in the chapel services was not what was taught in the academic courses on religion I was taking. In class I was learning about how the bible was put together by councils, and how Isaiah 53 was not even a messianic passage. I also learned about the multiple schisms and disagreements about basic tenants of Christianity in the early Christian church. Things like how much is Jesus god and how much is he man! I had thought there could not have been a question about this at all! I remember being close to tears in the library as I studied and pondered this on more than one occasion. If god could not have been more clear in his revelation of the truth back then—as to avoid all the schisms and disagreements on disputable passages—what kind of clarity can we expect today?

Then I discovered science. I transferred out of the Christian college (for various reasons) and enrolled in a secular university near my home. And one of the first courses I took was Introduction to Astronomy, since it covered a natural sciences requirement and because I’ve always been fascinated with the night sky. In the first secular science class I had since middle school I learned about the evolution of stars and cosmology and the cosmic background radiation—predicted (!) leftover of the Big Bang. (WOW! An actual acurately fufilled prediction! This is more then religion ever delivered!) Later, this lead me to read a bit about the theory of evolution and realize that all branches of science are connected—deny one of them (like creationism does to evolution) and you might as well throw all of them out. The evolution of the cosmos and that of life on earth are closely connected, after all. Also, I realized that in science, theories and hypothesis are made and tested and if they do not describe reality as we know it they are thrown out. This is the self-correction of science; ideas that are false are eventually displayed as false and discarded. Unlike religious dogma, which is not open to challenge and has perpetuated error for centuries at a time. I decided that natural explanations of the world were superior to supernatural ones, and by this time I was on my way to agnostic-atheism. This naturalistic view made sense to me, and didn’t require me to force absurd beliefs on my mind.

The Christians would say “This world is not my home” because they are expecting to go to a home in heaven in the end. But as for me, I am a natural part of the universe, and I belong here—not as an artifact placed here by some god, but as a natural phenomena in my own right. This world, this universe, free of angels and demons and heaven and hell, is my home.


Sex: Female

URL: HomePage

State: Kentucky

Country: USA

Became a Christian: Not sure, raised into it from a very young age.

Ceased being a Christian: Gradual deconverson over about 4-5 years. . . started considering myself an atheist at age 23 (this year).

Labels before: Nazarene

Labels now: agnostic-atheist, bright, skeptic, humanist

Why I joined: raised that way

Why I left: Continually asked myself why I believe and decided eventually that there are more good reasons not to believe.



A letter to my mother:

Why I Don't Believe in Christianity

First I want to thank you for your patience and ask you to continue to be patient with me. I am sorry that my attitude has not been the best around you - but this, I suppose, is a consequence of trying to hide my thoughts and feelings about what I know you hold very dear to your heart. Lately I have seen where I have been wrong and I've been trying to behave better. I've been afraid for a long time that you would find out about my disbelief, and have thought long and hard about how to break it to you. Of course, now that you have figured it out, I no longer have to worry about that.

(By the way, I have never heard of an organization called "the church of the infidels." [She originally confronted me about my unbelief--after she found www.infidels.org in the family computer history and connected this with my recent disregard for church-- by asking why I choose the "church of the infidels."] When you first used the term I was shocked that you brought up the subject and took it to mean that you know that I am an infidel, unbeliever, apostate, or whatever words you with to use. I prefer to think of myself as a skeptic. But when I got over the initial shock, the term offended me very much. This is only to say that I would like for both of us to avoid emotionally-charged language when talking to one another on the subject of religious beliefs. Even if you think you are simply saying it "the way it is." It only leads to hurt feelings, and that can't do any good at all.)

Before going in the reasons for my disbelief, I want to point out what my reasons are not. First of all I did not do it to try to hurt anyone or to break away from the family. Once when I was looking into the Catholic Church you said something about me disregarding my family heritage. Personally, I think the reasons for the religious beliefs of a person must go beyond simply what they were brought up to believe. You know this. "God has no grandchildren," as they say. Another reason that is not why I left Christianity is because I want to indulge in some new sin without worrying about the consequences. Besides not going to church, my lifestyle has not changed--nor has my sense of morality (for the most part, my morals have not been based strictly on religious doctrine anyway). I have not indulged in any sin except perhaps the "sin" of disbelief, of which I have tried to repent of many, many times before I gave in. I wish I had a dime for every time I prayed "Lord, I believe. Help my unbelief!" and "Keep me from falling." Something about my mind simply will not accept belief (without doubt) of things of which I am simply not convinced.

Actually, for a long time I was convinced of the truth of Christianity. I'm not sure where my doubts began, perhaps gradually with the continuous replacement of supernatural causes with natural ones the more I learn about the world and about science. I'll do my best not to embellish my memories - the human mind can work wonders at interpreting events when trying to make a point! Remember the W.O.W. [Wisdom of the Word, a Bible study program] meeting where we were going around the table and talking about experiences/situations where we have seen God (or, more appropriately, seen God at work)? When you came to me my mind drew a complete blank. I was not playing games, but was taking the exercise very seriously and did not want to make anything up. I could not think of a single thing that I could attribute to God, nothing at least that I could not much more simply attribute to human or natural causes. I figured that I was just inexperienced or not looking hard enough. But I still can't think of anything I could attribute to God that I could not more easily attribute to more natural causes.

For a while my faith was based totally upon the Bible. If you could have shown me that the Bible said something, I would believe it. After all, there were all those prophesies that Jesus fulfilled. But which of them were really intended as prophesies in the first place? I remember learning from my Introduction to Biblical Faith class that I took at [name of church-sponsored school] that my personal favorite prophesy, Isaiah 53, was not even considered to be a messianic prophesy by the Jews. (I wish I still had my book-I don't trust my own memory very well in this.) And it doesn't all fit Jesus either-"He shall see his seed" (Isaiah 53:10) -what does this mean? I take "seed" to mean descendants (it does say "offspring" in the NRSV)-but Jesus had no children. And where in the Old Testament does it say that the messiah must be killed and then be raised to life on the third day?

I know that you are a lot more studied in Biblical prophecy than I am, and if you want to pick out a few prophesies and write a paper to demonstrate how they are genuine messianic prophesies and not after the fact coincidences that parallel the life of Jesus as portrayed in the Gospels, then I promise I will read it. I am skeptical, but open to evidence. (In fact, if I wasn't open to evidence I wouldn't be skeptical but rather dogmatic.) Saying that the Gospel writer cited it as a prophecy is not sufficient. Nothing would point to the authenticity of the Bible like a few genuinely specific fulfilled prophesies. However, in the absence of such prophesies I can see no evidence of the Divine Revelation in scripture-and thus no reason why I should believe in the Bible as containing the one and only Truth.

You asked for two paragraphs? I didn't think I'd be able to squeeze all of this into two paragraphs. But here is what you asked for specifically-the benefits of non-belief. These are totally subjective, of course. And, of course, whether or not religion or disbelief makes me feel more comfortable or not is irrelevant to the truth of it all. You may have these things within the framework of faith. I didn't.

  • The ability to be honest with myself about my doubts-freedom from the guilt I felt about my honest thoughts.

  • Ability to stop worrying compulsively about the state of my salvation. Among other things (not including the behavior of other church members-they really are wonderful people!), this made me extremely depressed during and after church services, and that is the main reason why I stopped going to [name of church deleted] and didn't want to go back.

  • Now able to live more in the present moment--life before death is worthy of my full attention.

  • Not feeling like I have this huge responsibility to push Christianity on all my friends (I nearly drove [name deleted] completely away because of this one. He is still a believer, by the way. I haven't tried to "de-convert" him.)

  • Freedom from the feeling that I am really a horrible person (would go to hell if not for the mercy of God, deserved to be on the cross, etc) but that God just loves me for some completely unimaginable reason. (It was never said like this in so many words, but my mind couldn't help but draw this conclusion.)

  • Confirmation. A naturalistic worldview has the advantage of verifiability. Though some scientific theories cannot be tested directly, they at least spin implications (hypothesis) that can be tested. Scientists have been wrong before (used to think the Earth was central to the universe, for example), but ongoing discovery and testing tend to correct those mistakes. It's an ongoing, progressive learning process. For this reason, I accept a scientific worldview as being more reliable than a religious one.

  • I still retain humility at all the things I know that I don't know. I don't have the answers to the world's problems and I don't pretend that I do.

You might say that I have misunderstood what I have been told about Christianity and that my trouble is simply the result of the devil messing with my mind. If this is correct, then I should simply stop thinking for myself at all and follow blindly the teachings of the church. I would also have to blindly believe that there is a devil in order to accept this line of reasoning in the first place. Same with original sin, a concept that gave me difficulty from the first time I heard it. You have to believe the teaching of Christianity that we are born guilty in order to believe that Christianity can save us from that innate sin. It goes in one big circle.

Perhaps all I have to say comes down to this: I can't prove there is no God and you can't prove there is a God. But I am deeply suspicious of a claim that cannot, by its very supernatural nature, be proven nor disproved--especially a claim that demands that I devote my entire life to it.

Sunday, June 17, 2007

I encountered a misunderstanding of atheists yesterday.

As I'm on the topic of atheism and conflicts with others over this topic (see my last post from a bit earlier today), I guess I'll mention what happened yesterday. I'm taking Naturalist in Training classes at Bernhiem. (For more info on that see my other blog, Naturalist in Training). Anyway I was having a relaxed conversation with another guy in the program, mainly about a book called "The Time of Man" he was reading. Another regular in the program joined us and we where just sitting about talking. Something about religion came up and the other guy made a comment that anyone who sees the wonders in the world around them (and he gestured toward some of the natural wonders around him) must believe in God or else they are just soulless. This irritated me quite badly and I quickly pointed out that I happen to be in that group that he just called soulless (I actually just lifted my hand and said "I guess that's me then"). Then he says something to the effect that if I have any sense of wonder I would believe someday (He actually used a lot more words than that.) I just looked at him thinking "you don't know what the hell you are talking about" and I'm sure it showed in my face. I resisting telling him that I used to be a believer, and I did tell him that I see all the wonder around, I'm affected by it, I just don't call the source behind it "God". (Not those exact words but that was the point.)

Even as I type it out now, I'm still offended. But I didn't want to fight about it, so I soon joined the rest of the group and didn't bring it up again.

And just to head off the expected comments saying that I don't believe in a soul anyway, so why should I care? I don't believe in an eternal supernatural soul, that is true. But the soul being talked about in context was that core of personality and feeling that everyone has, regardless of their belief about supernatural things. And for anyone to suggest that I, as an atheist, don't have one of those is deeply, deeply offensive.

A slight altercation

I had an interesting experience today, in hindsight. As usual I went to Grampa's house today and ate lunch with the family. All well and good. When it got interesting is when my aunt started talking about how she had looked some into Native American cultures and discovered that the Cherokees she talked to seemed to be very private about their religious beliefs. She said she thought that it could be because when the white folks took over they tried to assimilate the Natives into their culture--and make them stop following their religion and telling their native stories. As a result, a lot of the old native stories and traditions were lost, and they are struggling to hold on to what they have left. (I'm not claiming to know anything about Native American tradition, just showing the line of the conversation.) Something was said (I don't remember if this was my aunt's own words, or if she was quoting someone else) that though the white people came here seeking religious liberty, they didn't intend to give that liberty to anyone here following the indigenous religions.

Somehow this lead to the topic of what kids should be taught about religion in the schools. (Had something to do with the transmission of culture to the kids, I think.) I'm not sure exactly how it happened, but Mom started going on how evolution shouldn't be taught in school. This got me started and I started going on about 'of course evolution is science', and how you can't teach biology without teaching evolution. Of course she disagreed on both points and said she didn't like my attitude toward Christianity. Which was puzzling in a way since I never said a thing about religion or Christianity (except a brief mentioning that no discoveries ever came out of creationism.) I even brought up that there are people who believe in both Christianity and evolution, even if I don't. Yet at the same time it was not puzzling in that it really got to the heart of what was bothering her.

Of course the argument had nothing to do with a scientific theory. To her it was my atheism and what she perceived to be an attack on her religion (starting with the conversation about how Christians oppressed the Native Americans and drove their religion underground). It seemed to me my Aunt was perplexed over why Mom was getting so upset when all she was doing was talking about historical matters. I got upset about Mom's apparent condemnation of evolution when I'm quite sure she has never studied it and didn't know what the hell she was talking about in claiming that it's not science. And her idea that it shouldn't be taught in schools--while I'm quite convinced that a person has not been education worth beans as far as science goes until they have a basic understanding of evolution. And this lead to a rather noisy altercation that ended in me stepping out for a walk around the block to cool off.

So, as I've suspected all along, there is definitely some tension between us remaining about this atheism vs Christianity thing. Driven underground in the effort to keep the peace but still there. I spoke to her later about how it was silly of my to get so heated over a scientific theory, and tried making some peace that way. But the tension does still linger...

Saturday, June 16, 2007

Pale Blue Dot

This is a beautifully done video. Makes all the wars and battles and all the things we fight over seem a bit, well, insignificant. Sure they matter for the moment, but in the long run, and in the big scheme of things...well, just watch :)

Friday, June 15, 2007

YouTube - I'm Gonna Be

I absolutely love this song. And I had no clue who it was or what the song was called until I saw it on VH1 just a few minutes age. And of course I had to look it up on YouTube.

Enjoy!

Improvement of an old Christian Rock song

I don't remember how the rest of the song goes, but this was pretty popular during my Christian youth. I'm not going to name the song right here, just to see if anyone here knows what I'm talking about. I'll look up the rest and see if I can adapt it properly :)



What will people think when they hear that I'm an atheist?
What will people do when they find out it's true?
I don't really care if people label me an atheist,
'Cause there ain't no disguising the truth! Oh! Oh! Oh!

Wednesday, June 13, 2007

NPR : Loving Decision: 40 Years of Legal Interracial Unions

Wow this story is fascinating. And note the Virginia judges reason for upholding the conviction of Richard and Mildred Loving for being an interratial married couple:

Cohen and another lawyer challenged the Lovings' conviction, but the original judge in the case upheld his decision. Judge Leon Bazile wrote: "Almighty God created the races white, black, yellow, Malay and red, and he placed them on separate continents. ... The fact that he separated the races shows that he did not intend for the races to mix."


Interesting what people use religion to defend, huh? Another good reason that appeals to God should be banned from the courtroom, I think.

NPR : Loving Decision: 40 Years of Legal Interracial Unions

Tuesday, June 05, 2007

Monday, June 04, 2007

What’s So Dangerous About Darwin?

Nice Unitarian sermon on Darwin. Even with quotes from Richard Dawkins. That just makes me feel all warm inside for some reason :)

What’s So Dangerous About Darwin?

Sunday, June 03, 2007

Norbert Capek and Unitarian Universalism

Today's church service was special to me. It was the day that I, among a group of 10, was recognized in front of my congregation as a new member. As I've mentioned before, I attend First Unitarian Church in Louisville, Ky--the only church I've found where I can both participate fully and remain true to my own beliefs.

It was also a very inspiring service, honoring Norbert Capek, whose birthday was today. He was a Unitarian minister from Czechoslovak who founded a Unitarian church there. He had aspired to the Catholic priesthood but later as a Baptist minister. He had problems with the creeds and symbolism of each of these churches. So he left both of them in turn and joined the Unitarian church, eventually becoming a minister there. And he came up with the Flower Communion, which we celebrated at my church this morning.


"It is my ideal," he wrote, "that unitarian religion in our country should mean a higher culture. . . new attitudes toward life and practically a new race. . . . In short, unitarian religion should mean the next advanced cultural level of a certain people." The church's task, he felt,"must be to place truth above any tradition, spirit above any scripture, freedom above authority, and progress above all reaction."

(from http://www25.uua.org/uuhs/duub/articles/norbertcapek.html)


Tragically, he was arrested by the Nazi's and ended up spending the last years of his life in Dachau prison. He wrote this before he died, attesting to the strength of the hope he had found:


It is worthwhile to live
and fight courageously
for sacred ideals.

O blow ye evil winds
into my body's fire
my soul you'll never unravel.

Even though disappointed a thousand times
or fallen in the fight
and everything would worthless seem,

I have lived amidst eternity --
Be grateful, my soul --
My life was worth living.

He who was pressed from all sides
but remained victorious in spirit
is welcomed into the choir of heroes.

He who overcame the fetters
giving wings to his mind
is entering into the golden age of
the victorious.


You can read more about Capek at:
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Norbert_Capek
and
http://www25.uua.org/uuhs/duub/articles/norbertcapek.html

Friday, June 01, 2007

What kind of atheist are you?

You scored as Scientific Atheist, These guys rule. I'm not one of them myself, although I play one online. They know the rules of debate, the Laws of Thermodynamics, and can explain evolution in fifty words or less. More concerned with how things ARE than how they should be, these are the people who will bring us into the future.

Scientific Atheist

100%

Spiritual Atheist

92%

Militant Atheist

83%

Agnostic

33%

Apathetic Atheist

25%

Angry Atheist

17%

Theist

8%

What kind of atheist are you?
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