Category Archives: Religion

Adrift

About to make a serious mistake?

Two men were adrift in an open boat, and it looked bad for them. Finally one of them, frightened, began to pray.
 
“O Lord,” he prayed, “I’ve broken most of thy commandments. I’ve been a hard drinker, I cheated on my wife, I gambled, but if my life is spared now I’ll promise to never again…”
 
“Wait a minute, Jack,” said his friend. “Before you promise anything, I think I see a sail.”
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  • From the Internet

Similies

PHILOSOPHY is like being in a dark room and looking for a black cat.
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METAPHYSICS is like being in a dark room and looking for a black cat that isn’t there.
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THEOLOGY is like being in a dark room and looking for a black cat that isn’t there, and shouting, “ I found it!”
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SCIENCE is like being in a dark room and looking for a black cat that may or may not be there . . . using a flashlight.
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From the Internet
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And that’s no joke. Sorry.

Be wary of this man.

blame I think this may be the guy I wrote about yesterday. Remember? The one who said, “God is watching over us” while eleven people died? Be wary of this man.

I just found this guy’s picture on Facebook and thought I ought to post it here, because you probably know him. If not, you almost certainly know somebody like him.

He’s conservative; he probably votes Republican, though he’ll tell you he’s politically independent; and he thinks the United States is a Christian nation, even though our Constitution never mentions Christ. He loves sinners–well, except maybe faggots and godless, atheistic secular humanists–and wants to save them from themselves and the world from them. He honors the presidency of the United States, but despises our President; and he loves our country so much he wants to tear up the Constitution and establish a theocracy. By force, if necessary.

He’ll tell you climate change is “the biggest fraud ever perpetrated against the American people,” even as we complete the hottest year in the history of climate studies. He’ll lie to your face and claim it’s not true that 13 of the 14 hottest years on record have been since the turn of this century and the other one was 1998. He’ll laugh about the possibility that sea level could rise enough to notice, even while small island nations prepare to be swallowed up by the waves.

He’ll say that “if you tell your kids they came from animals, they’ll act like animals.” Then he’ll claim we were all made out of dirt.

This man is a Fundamentalist. What makes him dangerous is not just that he’s so wrong about so many things, but that he’s absolutely certain he is right about them. Ask him what could potentially shake his faith in his beliefs and he’ll probably answer truthfully, “Absolutely nothing.” He is so certain, in fact, that he wants you to live your life according to the dictates of his conscience.

Saudi Arabia is ruled by men just as certain of their wrong ideas. Iran is ruled by men just as certain of their wrong ideas. North Korea is ruled by a man just as certain of his wrong ideas. America needs leaders who get their ideas and ideals from science and reason and compassion, and who understand they might be wrong about anything they believe and willing to learn better.

Be wary of this man. Be very wary of this man

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“God is watching over us.” Really?

Devastation from Saturday's tornado in and near DallasViolent storms ripped through the North Texas area late Saturday, spawning tornadoes that killed 11 people, damaged more than 100 homes, and destroyed at least 39 others. Destruction was widespread and terrible in Dallas, GarlandRowlett, and nearby areas.

I found this post on Facebook, and it expresses my thoughts perfectly.

Joyce Rutter quote from Facebook

I couldn’t find the quote, but I have no doubt somebody said it. It’s the kind of stupid thing somebody always says.

Tornado damage Decembr 27, 2015 in Rowlett, TXGod gets thanks but not blame?

A tornado kills people and wrecks homes and property and God gets thanks because it wasn’t worse. People forget God is reputedly the One Who sent the tornado in the first place.

If He gets credit for the good, why doesn’t He get blame for the devastation He apparently sent?
Heavily damaged area in Rowlett, TX December 2, 2015If God was “watching over” somebody, it must not have been those eleven people who died. Or the many more who were injured. Or those who lost their homes.

An all-powerful god who could help a few people could just as easily have saved everybody, if He wanted to. So the question has to become, “Why didn’t He want to?”Debris of homes after tornado in Garland, TX December 27, 2015

Why did God only “watch over” some people?

Isn’t He supposed to be a god of love? Well, do loving people let other people suffer and die when they could easily prevent it?

And that’s not all.

Heavily damaged residence is seen December 27, 2015 in the aftermath of a tornado in Rowlett, TX

Days of violent storms caused chaos on highways across the South and raised the death toll to at least a total of 28.

Yeah, God was watching over us, all right.

If a loving, all-powerful god had been watching out for us, there would have been no tornado. Any 8-year-old ought to understand that.

Car in a flooded drainage ditch after Saturday's tornado in Rowlett, TX, Sunday, Dec. 27, 2015

Yet leaders and followers alike feel their faith has been strengthened after every disaster. Why? Because THEY didn’t die. So they “know” their Imaginary Friend was looking out for them.

Just them, and nobody else? Well, them and whoever else was lucky enough to have survived.

Damaged mobile home park after Saturday's tornado in Garland, TX, Sunday, Dec. 27, 2015

Most of us were just lucky. That’s all.

Why can’t people just realize they were lucky? Lots of people were lucky, but others suffered and died. No loving God watched over North Texas Saturday night.

In fact, there is not the slightest shred of convincing evidence that any god even exists.

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Valerie Tarico: Recovering From Religion

Dr. Tarico, known to her friends as Valerie, is a  highly intelligent and outspoken atheist, as well as a trained psychologist. Her Youtube channel says this about her:

Tarico On Evidence - recovering from religionValerie Tarico is a psychologist and the author of Trusting Doubt: A Former Evangelical Looks at Old Beliefs in a New Light and Deas and Other Imaginings. She is actively engaged in dialogue that aims to find common ground between theists and freethinkers, in particular by focusing on humanity’s shared moral core. She is a founder of WisdomCommons.org, an interactive site that allows users to discuss virtues that emerge repeatedly across secular and religious wisdom traditions. Her “TrustingDoubt” channel on Youtube offers tips and insights for recovering fundamentalists.

I met her online a few years ago when she sent me an article about science and religion for my previous website, NoBull.ws. I’ve also reported on one of her books, Leaving the Fold – A Guide for Former Fundamentalists and Others Leaving  their Religion, on this blog. I’ve enjoyed participating in (mostly by reading) her WisdomCommons. Valerie has always been congenial, but forthright about what she believes. Just the kind of person I like!

Recovering From Religion

Valerie’s path to recovering from religion was different from mine, but equally traumatic. I identify with her thoroughly.

Ahmed Mohamed Moving to Qatar

Ahmed Mohammed

Ahmed Mohamed and his family are moving to Qatar.

Mohamed’s sister, Eyman, reportedly confirmed that the family will only be in the U.S. for a few more days before relocating to Doha. Mohamed Elhassan Mohamed, the teen’s controversial father, added that he looks forward to moving his children to a nation in which they “can study and learn” while “being accepted by that country.”

Yes, Ahmed is the same 14-year-old boy who was arrested recently in Irving, Texas, for bringing a clock to school. His English teacher and principal said it was a “hoax bomb,” even though there was nothing in it that looked like an explosive.

Evidently Qatar appreciates bright students.

Eyman Mohamed asserted that Qatar is “basically like America,” noting that the decision to move was based on a generous offer her brother received from the Qatar Foundation for Education, Science and Community Development. “Our family has been overwhelmed by the many offers of support we have received since the unfortunate incident of Ahmed’s arrest,” a family statement explained.

I have no idea why she thinks Qatar is “basically like America,” but that’s beside the point.

I’ve known several exceptionally intelligent boys and girls in my lifetime who would now be young or middle-age men and women. I hope I had some beneficial influence on several of them, possibly encouraging an interest in science or technology. Or, at least, education. In the long run, it’s usually difficult to be sure. I would have loved to have met Ahmed.

Unfortunately, he will apparently be lost to the United States; and that’s a crying shame. We need to keep our brightest students and encourage them to complete their education here and help make our nation great again. It is insane to drive them somewhere else to help make some other country great instead!


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“It looks like a bomb.”

Ahmed's clock

Nearly everybody seems to say “It looks like a bomb.” Of course, I’m talking again — hopefully for the last time — about Ahmed Mohammed’s clock (above) that caused all the commotion recently.

Ahmed didn’t “invent” a clock. That seems clear enough. What was different about this clock that made him think he had invented something is not clear. Nevertheless, he was proud enough of it that he wanted to show it off to his engineering teacher.

Unfortunately, the alarm went off during English class, and the English teacher and Principal went bonkers. You’ll remember, I’m sure, that nobody thought it was a bomb. The boy was arrested and taken away in handcuffs because they thought it was a “hoax bomb.” They said it looks like a bomb!

suitcase bomb

Here’s a real suitcase bomb on the left and another on the right. See the difference?

These bombs have actual explosives, which you can see in both of them. Ahmed’s “hoax bomb” doesn’t have anything to explode. It’s just a tangle of wires and electronic elements.

Hackett Suitcase Bomb

I wonder what an actual hoax bomb clock would look like? Here are a couple I found on Google.

The clock on the left definitely looks like a bomb to me. It was meant to.

clock hoax bomb

The “hoax dynamite” explosive is just wooden dowel pins covered with brown paper and bound with electrical tape, but it looks real to me. This definitely looks like a bomb.

The clock on the right (below) is designed to look like a C4 bomb.

clock hoax bomb

The fake C4 plastic explosive is nothing but gray modeling clay, but it looks like a bomb.

Ahmed Mohammed has a reputation as a tinkerer and likes to think of himself as an “inventor.” His friends pay him actual money for some of his gadgets. So nobody should have been alarmed (no pun intended) when it dinged. This “model student” who had never been in trouble before brought his current project to school to show it off to people he thought would appreciate it.

Who would have thought so many supposedly intelligent, educated, and trained people would have thought it looks like a bomb? Who would have thought such an exceptionally bright and well behaved student would have been (mis)treated like a terrorist by people he trusted? People he thought were on his side?

Objective Morality? You Can Have Mine.

Objective morality?

Many religious people like to claim there can be no “objective morality” — whatever that is — without a god. If by objective morality they mean universal or unchanging morality, well, very few of them want that any more than I do. They just think they do. More accurately, they don’t think about it. Stoning for picking up sticks on the Sabbath Day? (Saturday, by the way. Sunday has never been the Sabbath.)

Stoning non-virgin brides? Or for unruly children? Slavery? Forced marriage to their attackers for rape victims? Slaughter of every individual — old men, women, children, tiny babies, and even the livestock and pets — in the country of your enemy when you win a war?

This is objective morality.

This is the “objective morality” of the Old Testament. It isn’t good now, and it wasn’t good then. It was horrible! It’s the kind of “objective morality” you get from the Christians’ god. From some other gods, it’s even worse!

We’ve improved our morality considerably in the last 3,000 years, because it’s not eternal. It’s not “objective.” We’re able to change it as we better learn what’s good for people and societies. We still have a long way to go, but we’re gradually getting there.

Let’s hear it for a better, more flexible morality.

I’m glad we have a morality that can mature and improve as we learn and think. Who cares whether it’s “objective” or not?

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