Monthly Archives: May 2009

How do we approach the debate?

Maybe it’s just me, but it seems like most atheists, agnostics, freethinkers, etc. approach theological debate as a hobby, while theists approach it as the driving force behind their entire worldview. It’s strange; when I was a believer, everything I did was influenced by what I believed. The debate was the most important thing in my life. Now that I’m not a believer, I approach the discussion as entertainment and an intellectual exercise. I could take it or leave it; it’s just something to pass the time.

Am I alone in this view?

That’s not to minimize the larger issues behind the influence of religion on our society; I’m talking about <span style=”font-weight: bold;”>just</span> the debating here.

Church Visit: Schenectady Church of Christ

On March 15, I visited Schenectady Church of Christ. I’ve been in a Church of Christ before; my longtime ex-girlfriend was born and raised in one, and we went together several times. For those of you not familiar with their theology: Read the Bible. Take it literally. That’s all there is to it. Continue reading

The Insanity of the “Angry Atheist” Stereotype

[time to play theist’s advocate, briefly.]

Boy, those atheists sure are angry. They’re always mocking religious people, degrading their deeply-held beliefs and sniping at them with pompous, elitist remarks.

Who are they to tell us what to believe? Our beliefs give our lives hope and meaning. They help guide us to behave in the ways we should behave and stand up for what’s right.

Not to mention how many smart people there are who believe what we do, and how many contributions have been made to the arts, culture, and society by the teachings of our various faiths. Where would we be without religion?
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I Doeth Good

There are two nearly identical sections of the Bible (in the book of Psalms) that say that atheists cannot possibly do good – in fact, that we do works of abominable iniquity and that we are filthy.

Yesterday, I spent seven hours working with Habitat for Humanity, both working on a couple of new houses and helping gut an old house that’s set for renovation.

By Christian doctrine, what I did was a terrible thing and is not worthy of praise. By my own judgment, I did something that helped provide a real, material benefit to real people with real needs. I did a good thing. And I’ll be looking into getting my atheist group to join me next time.

So much for Psalms…

Hating Gays for Jesus (also, they’re icky)

The following is from a letter to the editor in my local newspaper:

Bible clear in opposition to homosexuality

Re May 7 letter, “Don’t use Bible to oppose gay marriage”: Mr. Hunt’s ideology is exactly what is wrong with our country today.

First and foremost, our country was built on Christian values. Second, Mr. Hunt mentions how we should keep the Bible out of our lawmaking. This is where our country has been misguided in the worst way. Without God in our lives, there are no laws, morals or family values. What we would then have is a type of society in which there are no consequences.

Whether or not Mr. Hunt or Bill Maher want to accept it, there is a God, and there are rules he wants us to follow. One may interpret some things differently, but without any reasonable doubt, in no way is gay marriage an acceptable lifestyle. It is not normal or acceptable behavior for two of the same sex to be engaged in a sexual relationship. To be honest, it is flat-out disgusting.

This does not make me a bigot, hatemonger or bad person.

The opposition for gay marriage is a force to be reckoned with. I, for one, strongly support a normal marriage, which is between a man and a woman.

Sean Dufresne

Amsterdam

Mr. Dufresne is, of course, entirely wrong. Let me explain how.

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Betraying the Lie

Advocates of the non-science of Intelligent Design often respond indignantly to the claim that ID is really nothing more than a religious claim dressed in a thin garment of scientific-looking language. We know, definitively, that this is the case, and the words of Michael Egnor of the Discovery Institute – the major pro-ID group – demonstrate this repeatedly. A recent post on the Discovery Institute’s “Evolution News and Views” blog offered a rebuttal to a blog post by Dr. Jeffrey Shallit. Dr. Shallit was reviewing

a piece by McGill philosopher Margaret Somerville in the OCUFA publication Academic Matters. (OCUFA is the Ontario Confederation of University Faculty Associations.)

I haven’t bothered to read the whole piece yet; it seems to be the typical drivel about how universities are becoming “intolerant” of “alternative ideas” and that anyone the author doesn’t agree with or whose position the author doesn’t understand is a “fundamentalist” scientist. Continue reading

Facing “Harsh” Realities

When I was a kid I used to be obsessed with the idea of psychic phenomena – ESP, psychokinesis, astral projection, et cetera. I even did a “research project” in elementary school on the subject of paranormal investigations. I was an entirely credulous person; if something had even the slightest shred of ‘evidence’ to it, I was likely to dive into it head first, assuming it was true until I was proven wrong (which I never was, of course, since I basically only looked into the ‘evidence’ provided by believers).
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