Passively watching The Voice, I heard an amazing singer named Chris Blue who did a version of Smokey Robinson’s “The Tracks Of My Tears” that raised the hairs on my arm.
He managed to turn Alicia Keys around and get on her team, and she’s lucky to have his talent on her side. After his performance, Chris offered up a personal story that went something like this:
This is my fiancée who has battled bone marrow cancer and [some time ago] during surgery she flat-lined. I asked god to heal her and he did, so I made him two promises: I would marry this woman and I would try out on this show.
My issues with this statement (and statements like it) stem from the apparent disconnect with reality and a lack of awareness as to the human element of this story. I understand that people maintain deeply held religious beliefs and that those beliefs entail crediting that person’s chosen deity with miracles, coincidences, and happy accidents. I understand that, in the absence of a simple explanation for an event, it becomes easier and more natural to fall back on the “god did it” mantra and stop thinking about it.
As egregious as Donald Drumpf’s missteps in this election have been, few people have really drawn any real attention to the following fact: Mike Pence is worse. Sure, Drumpf may be the one spouting all of his nonsense, inciting fear and hatred, and generally being a bigoted asshat but Mike Pence is still his Vice Presidential running mate who waves away, justifies, or adopts Drumpf’s harmful rhetoric. It’s one thing to “just be yourself” and be an outwardly awful person but another thing entirely to pretend to be a man of principle while refusing to take a stand and distance yourself from the awful person. You’ve always heard that you’re judged by the company you keep and, in this case, Pence is an awful person.
Pence has had ample opportunity to stand on American values and make what would be an enormously historic statement in American politics by simply saying, “I cannot in good conscience back a man who would undermine American democracy with abandon” and formally remove himself as Drumpf’s running mate. Think of how Pence would be remembered for decades – maybe centuries – just by making a single gesture of patriotism and moral fortitude! He could be one of the most famous politicians of all time!
Theist debaters, in attempts to compete with their non-theist counterparts have developed arguments based on logical rules to explain why they believe (and notice we’re still using the word “believe”) that a god or gods are necessary beings that, in actuality, exist. One such argument is the Kalam Cosmological Argument, which goes like this:
JT Eberhard’s contributor, Christina, wrote today of an article regarding atheist billboards in Colorado and the reaction of a “research fellow” from Focus on the Family named Glenn Stanton. He calls the billboards “bad manners” because they mock the beliefs of no less than 70% of Americans. The billboards read as follows:
God is an imaginary friend; Choose reality, it will be better for all of us.
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:
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:
John 14:12,13 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.”