There’s a guy named Michael Egnor who has a blog he calls “Egnorance.” I’m not making this up. Anyway, he recently wrote a post directed at JT Eberhard asking a crapload of questions in the hopes that he’d be able to highlight how stupid he thinks the recent court decision on the Cranston High School prayer banner is. Nevermind the guy isn’t an expert on the Constitution and nevermind he’s not a judge — he just has a really strong opinion on how wrong the experts on the matter are. Well, because I’m bored and because it irritates me that these types of challenges sometimes go unanswered I’ll pick his post apart and address all of his questions to the best of my ability (JT already did).
I haven’t weighed in on the Cranston prayer banner ordeal yet, but I’d like to take a moment to recognize this young lady as a true patriot and an American hero. Jessica Ahlquist took a stand, not for her beliefs, but for the beliefs of every person in this country against an overwhelming tide of ignorance and hatred. She saw a divisive, sectarian prayer hung in a public school and asked that it be removed so that students and educators of all faiths (or none) could feel equally represented and respected. Jessica knew that this country was not founded on Christian principles but a desire to get away from an oppressive religious regime and allow everyone the freedom to choose what and how they’ll worship. Jessica knows this. Christians do not.
I saw a video recently from some kid who seems to have it all figured out. His thought process is a lot like mine was when I was a kid: my parents told me what to think, I adopted it as my own, and I knew I was right. His video is titled, “Atheism Sucks.” Dislikes on this video currently outnumber likes 3,113 to 89. You can watch it here:
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I speak out quite a bit on the subject of same-sex marriage and LGBT (lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender) rights. I speak out because I feel very strongly that individuals and/or groups of people shouldn’t be discriminated against. You don’t have to be gay to fight for gay rights any more than you would have had to be a woman to fight for women’s suffrage or an African-American to stand for racial equality. You merely have to recognize that there’s a very outspoken and powerful movement among Conservative Christians and homophobes in this country who wish to ensure that LGBT people are kept in closets. These are the same detestable people who got all up-in-arms about the repeal of Don’t Ask; Don’t Tell (never mind that regardless of whether people were asking/telling, there were still homosexuals serving in the military all along).
s a Christian I believed that my prayers were not only heard by god but that my prayers were important enough to initiate action. As with any Christian, my basis for believing this was not grounded in reality but in scripture:
Very truly I tell you, whoever believes in me will do the works I have been doing, and they will do even greater things than these, because I am going to the Father. And I will do whatever you ask in my name, so that the Father may be glorified in the Son.
Clearly, the quotes attributed to Jesus define prayer as a sort of tangible, telepathic request which (in Jesus’ name) will be heard and granted if the person praying has even the slightest bit of real faith. Jesus describes the amount of faith necessary in Matthew 17:20 as a mustard seed (long considered the smallest seed). That’s not a whole lot of faith, by anyone’s standards. However, if this amount of faith is attainable why aren’t more prayers answers and more miracles performed/observed? The answers to these questions don’t come easy (to a rational mind) but I’ll detail the Christian thought process — or, at least, the thought process as I understood it while I was a Christian — and give my best answer.
I have no reservations about saying “Merry Christmas” to people or having it said to me. The truth is, a majority of the population in this country celebrates Christmas. Even if someone doesn’t celebrate it they’re aware that this time of year marks the celebration of the major holiday known as Christmas. Saying “Happy Holidays” and “Merry Christmas” is really interchangeable…unless you’re a hardcore, right-wing conservative Christian (also known as “Fox News host”). To me, “Merry Christmas” has become as generic as “Kleenex.”
ne thing religious people cannot stress enough is that they’re all about family. Their organizations even have names like Focus on the Family and the American Family Association (branded a hate group out of MS). For the most part I find this to be true so long as everyone’s keeping the faith and maintaining the status quo. I can say from my upbringing (aside from corporal punishment and having no say in church attendance) that our Christian family was very tight-knit and we spent a lot of quality time together. It wasn’t perfect, but it was far better than a lot of other families I’ve seen. Now, to clarify, some of these not-so-happy families I’ve seen are religious as well so it’s not as though they have a corner on the market. I’m just speaking to the Christian view that family is important.
As I said, religious families are close-knit and happy so long as everyone’s keeping the faith. They don’t say, “The family that prays together stays together” for no reason. It’s literally true. I found this out myself when I started to upset the status quo of my family and I was made to feel like an outcast. My family’s treatment of me was mild compared to what some people endure at the hands of their religious parents, grandparents, and siblings.
Rick Perry’s “Strong” ad (you can click the link if you haven’t seen it; I refuse to embed it into my blog) has been getting a lot of negative press lately. I’ve been fuming about just how incredibly stupid the guy is for the last couple of days but haven’t as yet done a whole lot of commentary on the thing. I wanted to make a YouTube video in response but I didn’t get around to it and it doesn’t seem like it would be timely and relevant anymore. Then again, it’s such a timeless tragedy that people like Perry even have a voice in politics I may still make that video. For now, I’ll devote a few minutes to a blog post dedicated to all of the “duh” in this ad. Luckily, it’s so easy I won’t even have to strain myself.
hen I was a Christian it seemed like everything I saw pointed to the truth of god’s existence. I had the Bible, my parents’ word, my Sunday School teachers and preachers, any number of books and pamphlets, and nature itself bolstering my faith. I felt like I had good reason to believe what I did and I didn’t even have to look for evidence: everything was evidence!
That is, until I actually started examining my beliefs and my reasons for holding them. What I found was not that the evidence for god was strong, but that I was willing to accept pretty much anything as evidence so long as it adhered to my preconceptions. Those things that didn’t conform to my beliefs were simply ignored without any thought at all.
In my news feed on Facebook I will be served a daily dose of Christian affirmations from friends. In this series of posts, which I call “Facebook Affirmations™,” I will post and discuss some of these gems. Here’s the affirmation for today: