Saturday, January 17, 2009

Friday, December 19, 2008

Interview with Edwin Kagan on Christian radio show

Here is an interview with Edwin Kagin of American Atheists on a show called "The American View." To give you a foretaste of the tone of this program, here is a snippet from their mission statement (the whole thing can be found on their website, linked at the bottom of the post):

To those who will accuse of us of desiring and trying to bring about “a Christian America,” we unashamedly plead guilty though the accusation is far too modest and somewhat muddled. To be sure, we desire a Christian America, and a Christian world, a Christian galaxy and a Christian universe. And, over time, by His grace, we hope to demonstrate that all these things already belong to the Lord Jesus Christ because He created them all and they are His property. This is why all knees must bow to the Lord and all tongues confess that He is the Lord — because He is!

The interview is about the Kentucky Homeland security lawsuit and atheism and government in general. Basically, Edwin completely pwns him on this show. It's rather fun to listen to the host getting hot under the collar every time Edwin catches him in a contradiction or tight spot. And you can tell Edwin is enjoying it, too.

Here are a few things to look for in the show:

  • Edwin quotes the Bible to John Lofton (the host) but the host just dismisses everything, saying that Edwin can't possibly understand the Bible because the things in the Bible are "spiritually discerned." Whatever that means.

  • The host claims that Christianity is not a religion, therefore acknowledging God in the country's laws is not "establishing religion." He even says, if I remember correctly, that he "hates religion."

  • The whopper comes at the end, where Edwin asks the host if he believes that people have the right to worship as they please and he denies it saying "There is no right to worship a false god!" When Edwin brings up that it is a right according to the First Amendment, the host says that must really be "holy writ" to him--and he obviously dismisses the idea that the Bill of Rights actually has any authority whatsoever in this area.

This is what my boyfriend had to say about the show.

...if you listen to anything, start at the 41st minute.

This shows how crazy the fundamentalists are.

"Government rulers should be ministers of god"

"Americans have no right to worship a false god..."


This is scary...

The show is here: The American View Interview with Edwin Kagin

Thursday, December 18, 2008

It’s a Narnia Christmas

I wish I'd put these ideas together in my head. I've been a long time fan of both Christmas and Narnia--and both are strange conglomerates of Christian and pagan mythology. In fact, I learned a whole lot of pagan mythology from reading the Chronicals of Narnia. And from learning the origins of Christmas traditions as well. I think this author has a very good point to make.

Op-Ed Contributor
It’s a Narnia Christmas
Published: December 18, 2008
Christmas is conglomeration of pagan, Christian and secular traditions, and when people call for a return to its pure, authentic roots, they’re missing an essential quality of the holiday.

Read the rest of the story by clicking on the linked title.

Tuesday, December 16, 2008

Are you a hardcore atheist?

This is a list I copied from The Friendly Atheist (at his invitation) to see if I really qualify as a hard-core atheist. According to him, if I highlight at least 35 of these, then PZ Myers will soon be taking lessons from me. LOL Whatever :)

Anyway, here goes:

Participated in the Blasphemy Challenge.

Met at least one of the “Four Horsemen” (Richard Dawkins, Daniel Dennett, Christopher Hitchens, Sam Harris) in person.

Created an atheist blog.

Used the Flying Spaghetti Monster in a religious debate with someone.

Gotten offended when someone called you an agnostic.

Been unable to watch Growing Pains reruns because of Kirk Cameron.

Own more Bibles than most Christians you know.

Have at least one Bible with your personal annotations regarding contradictions, disturbing parts, etc.

Have come out as an atheist to your family.

Attended a campus or off-campus atheist gathering.

Are a member of an organized atheist/Humanist/etc. organization.

Had a Humanist wedding ceremony. (May highlight this sometime in the future :))

Donated money to an atheist organization.

Have a bookshelf dedicated solely to Richard Dawkins. (Well, not a whole bookshelf.)

Lost the friendship of someone you know because of your non-theism.

Tried to argue or have a discussion with someone who stopped you on the street to proselytize.

Hid your atheist beliefs on a first date because you didn’t want to scare him/her away.

Own a stockpile of atheist paraphernalia (bumper stickers, buttons, shirts, etc).

Attended a protest that involved religion.

Attended an atheist conference.

Subscribe to Pat Condell’s YouTube channel.

Started an atheist group in your area or school.

Successfully “de-converted” someone to atheism.

Have already made plans to donate your body to science after you die.

Told someone you’re an atheist only because you wanted to see the person’s reaction.

Had to think twice before screaming “Oh God!” during sex. Or you said something else in its place.

Lost a job because of your atheism.

Formed a bond with someone specifically because of your mutual atheism (meeting this person at a local gathering or conference doesn’t count).

Have crossed “In God We Trust” off of — or put a pro-church-state-separation stamp on — dollar bills.

Refused to recite the Pledge of Allegiance.

Said “Gesundheit!” (or nothing at all) after someone sneezed because you didn’t want to say “Bless you!”

Have ever chosen not to clasp your hands together out of fear someone might think you’re praying.

Have turned on Christian TV because you need something entertaining to watch.

Are a 2nd or 3rd (or more) generation atheist.

Have “atheism” listed on your Facebook or dating profile — and not a
euphemistic variant.

Attended an atheist’s funeral (i.e. a non-religious service).

Subscribe to an freethought magazine (e.g. Free Inquiry,

Have been interviewed by a reporter because of your atheism.

Written a letter-to-the-editor about an issue related to your non-belief in God.

Gave a friend or acquaintance a New Atheist book as a gift.

Wear pro-atheist clothing in public.

Have invited Mormons/Jehovah’s Witnesses into your house specifically because you wanted to argue with them.

Have been physically threatened (or beaten up) because you didn’t believe in God.

Receive Google Alerts on “atheism” (or variants).

Received fewer Christmas presents than expected because
people assumed you didn’t celebrate it.

Visited The Creation Museum or saw Ben Stein’s Expelled just so you could keep tabs on the “enemy.”

Refuse to tell anyone what your “sign” is… because it doesn’t matter at

Are on a mailing list for a Christian organization just so you can see what they’re up to…

Have kept your eyes open while you watched others around you pray.

Avoid even Unitarian churches because they’re too close to religion for you.

Well, that is 22 for me.

Thursday, December 11, 2008

American Atheists on the Kentucky Homeland Security Lawsuit

After having read the Brief, I was curious as to exactly why AA was asking for damages. This part of the suit has been critisisized by some who otherwise support the suit such as The Friendly Atheist. I have just now found the explaination from AA as to why they are asking for damages, and I think it sounds reasonable enough.

Why are we asking for Damages?
Frankly, because we have to. The US Supreme Court has determined, in a terrible decision last year, that citizens cannot sue the government for church/state separation issues without damages. We must abide by this decision to have standing.

However, we can and will drop this lawsuit for VERY minimal costs to the fine citizens of Kentucky if the State Attorney General declares this one provision illegal and takes it off the books. Of course, the longer they wait, and the more they fight, the higher the costs which must be recovered.

There is also more Q&A about the suit at

Wednesday, December 10, 2008

This atheist knows her Bible :)

You know the Bible 98%!

Wow! You are awesome! You are a true Biblical scholar, not just a hearer but a personal reader! The books, the characters, the events, the verses - you know it all! You are fantastic!

Ultimate Bible Quiz
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An Agnostic Christmas

As we are approching the Winter Solstice and Christmas, I think the words of Robert G. Ingersoll are most appropriate. I pulled this text from an agnostic christmas. If you appreciate the sentiments of Robert Ingersoll, I encourage you to check out more at An Ingersoll Christmas.

The Agnostic Christmas
by Robert G. Ingersoll
The Journal, New York, December 25, 1892

AGAIN we celebrate the victory of Light over Darkness, of the God of day over the hosts of night. Again Samson is victorious over Delilah, and Hercules triumphs once more over Omphale. In the embrace of Isis, Osiris rises from the dead, and the scowling Typhon is defeated once more. Again Apollo, with unerring aim, with his arrow from the quiver of light, destroys the serpent of shadow. This is the festival of Thor, of Baldur and of Prometheus. Again Buddha by a miracle escapes from the tyrant of Madura, Zoroaster foils the King, Bacchus laughs at the rage of Cadmus, and Chrishna eludes the tyrant.
This is the festival of the sun-god, and as such let its observance be universal.

This is the great day of the first religion, the mother of all religions -- the worship of the sun.

Sun worship is not only the first, but the most natural and most reasonable of all. And not only the most natural and the most reasonable, but by far the most poetic, the most beautiful.

The sun is the god of benefits, of growth, of life, of warmth, of happiness, of joy. The sun is the all-seeing, the all-pitying, the all-loving.

This bright God knew no hatred, no malice, never sought for revenge.

All evil qualities were in the breast of the God of darkness, of shadow, of night. And so I say again, this is the festival of Light. This is the anniversary of the triumph of the Sun over the hosts of Darkness.

Let us all hope for the triumph of Light -- of Right and Reason -- for the victory of Fact over Falsehood, of Science over Superstition.

And so hoping, let us celebrate the venerable festival of the Sun.

Monday, December 01, 2008

Atheist group sues homeland security

American Atheists and a group of 10 plaintiffs from Kentucky (including a couple people I know) are suing to get this silly law repealed:

39G.010 Kentucky Office of Homeland Security executive director -- Duties -- Delegation of duties -- Notification of disaster or emergency.

(1) The Kentucky Office of Homeland Security shall be attached to the Office of the Governor and shall be headed by an executive director appointed by the Governor.

(2) The executive director shall:

(a) Publicize the findings of the General Assembly stressing the dependence on Almighty God as being vital to the security of the Commonwealth by including the provisions of KRS 39A.285(3) in its agency training and educational materials. The executive director shall also be responsible for prominently displaying a permanent plaque at the entrance to the state's Emergency Operations Center stating the text of KRS 39A.285(3). . . . .

And KRS 39A.285 (3) says:

39A.285 Legislative findings.

The General Assembly hereby finds that:

(1) No government by itself can guarantee perfect security from acts of war or terrorism.

(2) The security and well-being of the public depend not just on government, but rest in large measure upon individual citizens of the Commonwealth and their level of understanding, preparation, and vigilance.

(3) The safety and security of the Commonwealth cannot be achieved apart from reliance upon Almighty God as set forth in the public speeches and proclamations of American Presidents, including Abraham Lincoln's historic March 30, 1863, Presidential Proclamation urging Americans to pray and fast during one of the most dangerous hours in American history, and the text of President John F. Kennedy's November 22, 1963, national security speech which concluded: "For as was written long ago: 'Except the Lord keep the city, the watchman waketh but in vain.' "

Effective: March 28, 2002
History: Created 2002 Ky. Acts ch. 82, sec. 2, effective March 28, 2002.

See the problem? As my friend (one of the plaintiffs) has said, if this is allowed to sit on the books, it is likely to be used as a justification for further erosion of the separation of church and state in the future.

It is a blatant violation of both the US Constitution and the Kentucky Constitution.

The Section 5 of the Kentucky Constitution states the following:
No preference shall ever be given by law to any religious sect, society or denomination; nor to any particular creed, mode of worship or system of ecclesiastical polity; nor shall any person be compelled to attend any place of worship, to contribute to the erection or maintenance of any such place, or to the salary or support of any minister of religion; nor shall any man be compelled to send his child to any school to which he may be conscientiously opposed; and the civil rights, privileges or capacities of no person shall be taken away, or in anywise diminished or enlarged, on account of his belief or disbelief of any religious tenet, dogma or teaching. No human authority shall, in any case whatever, control or interfere with the rights of conscience.

Text as Ratified on: August 3, 1891, and revised September 28, 1891.
History: Not yet amended.


Here is a story about the suit in the Lexington Herald-Leader: Atheist group sues homeland security

So here is an example of how you apply the Bible to modern life?

I just found this on Pharyngula: Langford's Praying Even Harder Now. Maybe his repentance last April wasn't all that sincere?

Right--somehow I overlooked this story earlier in the year. It's just wierd . . .

Forget improving the police force to help a city's crime problem: Try sackcloth and ashes and prayer!

Birmingham Weekly reported two weeks ago that the mayor purchased 2,000 burlap sacks for ministers and other community leaders to wear at a Plan 10/30 summit.
To many Christians, sackcloth and ashes symbolize humility and repentance, but the mayor’s decree came dressed with the usual accoutrements - printed on fine, invitation-stock paper and wrapped in a bright silver folder, adorned by the magic hat logo Langford commissioned for the city last year.

In the decree, Langford said that Birmingham’s crime problem “pails” (sic) in comparison to the biblical City of Nineveh.

The proclamation tells the Bible story of Jonah and the city of Nineveh: “Whereas Chapter 3, verse 5 & 6, of the Book of Jonah, Old Testament states, that the people of Nineveh believe God and proclaimed a fast and put on sackcloth from the greatest of them even to the least of them,” the resolution reads.


Click here to read more.

Understand the Difference Between Theism and Atheism - wikiHow

Note: This article is not my original work, but I think it is useful. And the site gives permissions for bloggers to repost the article, so here it is. Enjoy, and let me know what you think. :)

Understand the Difference Between Theism and Atheism - wikiHow

How to Understand the Difference Between Theism and Atheism
from wikiHow - The How to Manual That You Can Edit

Throughout human history, there have been people of faith, and people who do not believe in any supreme being. Problems occur when one side misunderstands the other. This article will help you avoid those problems.


  1. Understand what the terms "theist","atheist", and "agnostic" mean. The theist believes in a god or gods; the atheist does not have such a belief. This does not mean that the theist defends a deity or deities, or the atheist attacks deities. The atheist simply does not share the theist's belief. An agnostic is one who believes that the answer to such questions can never be known. That is, one can be an agnostic theist if one believes that a god/gods exist, but this cannot be proven. Likewise, one can be an agnostic atheist if one believes that there is no god/gods, but this cannot be proven. In a strict philosophical sense, some scholars would argue that we are all agnostics about everything (epistemology) because we can never truly know anything, including our own existence.
  2. Recognize that theists believe in a particular god or gods, but not all gods. In a sense, all theists are atheists about gods they do not believe in. This is an example of the pigeonhole principle in that an individual only has a logical pigeonhole for a single god or set of gods, but there exists additional gods. Necessarily, a theist must be an atheist about certain gods that do not fit into his or her pigeonhole. For example, no modern humans hold Zeus as a member of the set of true deities, so we are all atheists with respect to Zeus. The choice of gods for a particular theist is often determined by where he or she was born and the wishes of his or her parents or community, rather than by conscious choice. There are (relatively) few Buddhists in the United States; likewise there are few Christians in Japan.
  3. Keep in mind that an atheist does not necessarily hate the theist’s god, or any god; he or she simply lacks a belief in such a god/gods. An atheist cannot hate something in which he or she does not believe. Atheists may think theists foolish for believing in such things, be frustrated with theists who do destructive things in the name of their gods, or disagree with theists' moral principles, but he or she doesn’t hate a religious entity anymore than a theist hates the Tooth Fairy.
  4. Understand that atheism is not a religion. By definition, a religion is a belief in a superhuman controlling power. An atheist (as well as a secularist, humanist, or deist, among other ideologies) does not share this belief. As such, these ideologies are not religions.
  5. Notice that proponents of each ideology hold their beliefs strongly. Theists may view atheists as immoral because they do not believe in a god/gods, while atheists may view theists as immoral for believing in a god/gods. Both hold their beliefs strongly and necessarily make sacrifices by subscribing to one over the other. Understanding this will lead to more productive and personable debate which will further human understanding and community.
  6. Find a common ground. Notice that if you remove the supernatural elements of most religions, their moral code is very similar to that of atheists. Most ethical elements of many religions are agreeable to theists and atheists alike, e.g. the golden rule of Jesus: “Do unto others as you would have them do unto you," or as Rabbi Hillel put it, “Don’t do to others what you wouldn’t want done to you." Most people agree with that. Recognizing this common ground provides a buffer for the emotional issues surrounding belief vs. disbelief.
  7. Study your "opponent". Most atheists were once theists (or were raised in a theist tradition), but those who were not should consider the ideas of various forms of theism before discounting such ideas, and those who were raised as theists should study theist ideas with which they are unfamiliar. Many theists have been theists all their lives. As such, they have never considered the possibility that there is no god/gods. Before satisfying debate can occur, both parties must understand their opponent by critically examining their ideas.


  • To come to a broader understanding of human beliefs and understanding of life through folklore and religion, read Joseph Campbell’s works, including Hero With a Thousand Faces, and his series on Primitive, Creative, Occidental, and Oriental Mythologies. Whether theist or atheist, these works will help you recognize the common human experience, and the similar ways mankind has developed for understanding it across ages and cultures.
  • Some people promote the idea that atheism is a religion. It is not. It is simply the absence of belief in any god or gods.


  • Anytime you come to a balanced view on such issues, there will be people who try to put you back on an imbalanced path, e.g. "But what about all the horrible things (theists/atheists) have done?!" Just counter with the fact that throughout history people have done wonderful and horrible things regardless of belief or ethnicity, so there seems to be no correlation.
  • Likewise remember that just because someone in a certain religious group did something awful does not mean it's the religion's fault. People are individually responsible for their actions (and inaction), and many are inspired by their faith and courage into amazing acts of self-sacrifice and love.

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Article provided by wikiHow, a collaborative writing project to build the world's largest, highest quality how-to manual. Please edit this article and find author credits at the original wikiHow article on How to Understand the Difference Between Theism and Atheism. All content on wikiHow can be shared under a Creative Commons license.