I’ve addressed the Catholic League in a prior post, which amounted to a disappointing lack of action from an organization that seems to be content in its role as a repository for outdated views on the world and society. I really wish they would have contacted me.
In the absence of a good story to tell about Catholic visitors, let’s talk about the religious freedom to discriminate. Catholic League’s Bill Donohue makes inconsistent and ignorant claims about a wrongful termination lawsuit filed by a teacher against a Catholic school. The teacher is a gay man who got married, was so happy about it he posted about it on Facebook, and promptly got fired. You know, for being married.
I woke up Wednesday morning to the news that Donald J. Drumpf will be the 45th President of the United States of America. This news is historic on so many levels. I can’t think of many good things that will come out of this Presidency. My thoughts follow:
NOTE: I’ve now had a full day to process this information and am still having trouble with the reality of the situation. This post has been written over the course of two days and may not even fully describe the potential threat to America Drumpf’s Presidency poses.
1. Drumpf’s Presidency legitimizes the worst in us
Throughout his campaign, this man has done everything he could to scare the living crap out of the American people, using phrases like “third-world country” and “war zone” to describe our infrastructure and cities. While this sensationalism is obviously false, and (for example) numerousreports – based on actual data over the past few decades – show that crime is down nationwide, the anxious, frightened voter base he’s garnered takes it as confirmation that they’re in real danger and cements the wrong-headed idea that our government has failed us. In short, he has bolstered intellectual laziness over honesty with the words, “Trust me.” And his voter base did. You don’t have to scour social media very thoroughly to find more examples than you want of expressions of these ideas.
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:
I don’t often weigh in on abortion because my views on it are complicated and it’s an even more controversial topic than religion. Since I will never personally know the joy — or terror — of being pregnant I feel that any view I adopt regarding a woman’s reproductive rights ought to be every bit as compassionate as it is logical. Ultimately I feel it comes down to an individual woman’s right to decide whether or not her body will be used as an incubator for a potential human being. Let’s discuss the post above.
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:
n a previous post I discussed the “good enough” mentality that most Christians have regarding their faith and the infallibility of the scriptures. That post aimed broadly at the Christian faith overall but there’s a sinister implementation of this mentality I’d like to address now. This post pertains to the “good enough” mentality regarding the Theory of Evolution.
Above is a Christian parody of the Descent of Man illustration from a fairly well-written Revelife article on the Christian misunderstandings of evolution. You may want to take a minute and read it. This post will still be here when you get back.
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.
I’ve been in a number of debates in person and online where emotions flared and the conversation eventually boiled down to a variant of the following:
Why can’t you just respect a person’s beliefs?
Here’s the problem with that: not all beliefs are created equal and not all are worthy of respect. The person saying the above is usually emotionally invested in the beliefs I’ve questioned and is usually unable to present any rational reason for a person holding those beliefs in the first place. What they’re really saying is, “Since I can’t defend my untenable beliefs I really wish you would leave them alone so I don’t feel like I have to!”
I was emptying out a three-ring binder yesterday and found a paper I had written on August 3, 1999 for a Philosophy 1100 class at Webster University. I still considered myself a Christian in 1999 and it wasn’t until the following year that I even entertained the idea that I might be agnostic or an (gasp!) atheist. I’ll continue to document that journey through my regular posts, but I wanted to take a moment to transcribe this paper and show that even I, on the verge of a huge shift in worldview, could cling to the most outrageous and fallacious arguments in the hopes of retaining that failing grasp on a faith that had, for most of my life, defined me. In a strange and somewhat satisfying twist I’ll address my own faulty reasoning and debunk myself. Enjoy!