Jessica Ahlquist, Patriot

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.

Jessica Ahlquist, Patriot

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Atheism Sucks!

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:

[Video Removed: s7QXhGLZW00]

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Good Enough For Me, Part II

Inn 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.

Christian Descent of Man
"If any monkey pick up his cross and follow me..."

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.

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Lowering the Bar

Whenhen 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.

Christian evidence
Christian? Evidence? Hmmm.
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Dear Catholic League

JT Eberhard recently posted a story about an “Adopt-an-Atheist” program proposed by Bill Donohue of the Catholic League. I, like many others, think this is a great idea! I’d love to have the Catholic Church send a few unsuspecting saps my way to try to justify the behavior and beliefs of the Catholic Church, its clergy, and the whole of Christianity. If you’re an atheist and you want to be adopted by the Catholic Church, you can fill out this contact form and let them know.

Come at me, bro
Seriously, Bring It!

Here’s my invitation:

Dear sirs,

I recently got wind of the “Adopt-an-Atheist” program proposed by Bill Donohue and want to congratulate you on such a wonderful idea! As an atheist activist myself, I’d like to let you know that I’m effectively orphaned from gods and as such up for adoption. Since no gods have contacted me as yet, I avail myself to humans to rescue me from my spiritual broken home and make me feel wanted again.

You see, I’ve personally been guilty of anti-Catholic bias. More accurately, I’m biased against all untestable, unfalsifiable claims to the supernatural and the people in leadership positions who exploit the gullibility of other human beings. It’s not just Catholicism, if you want to know the truth. It’s all forms of manipulation, greed, abuse, oppression, ignorance, violence, intolerance, and bigotry. It’s a bias against people who enable others to harm children by looking the other way. It’s a bias against those who avoid responsibility for their actions by claiming that a cosmic “good guy” forgives them unconditionally so long as they apologize telepathically. I’m most certainly biased and I think the only way for you to show me the light is to adopt me and put some real time and effort into helping me see exactly why all of this is OK. You certainly have your work cut out for you.

I suppose the worst that could happen is that I talk some sense into whomever you send my way and you lose a tither. In that case, you shouldn’t look at it so much as the Church losing money but as the world gaining one more rational, responsible, compassionate human being. I said before that your idea is wonderful and I mean it. Send us some Catholics! We love the challenge.

You can reach me any time at jon(at)willisweb(dot)com or via my contact form on The Wayward Willis, http://willisweb.com.

Yours truly,
Jon

If they get back to me (their contact form says they have a high volume of requests so they may not answer all e-mails), I’ll most certainly be posting up the results here. I doubt anything will come of this because the religious community seems to be all talk and no action but you’ll hear it here first. Stay tuned!

Respect for Respect’s Sake

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!”

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Facebook Affirmations, Vol. III

This post has been a long time coming and I’ve waffled on whether or not I’d actually write and post it.  Now that I’ve put some more thought into it I can’t see a reason not to post it and what’s more, I think it’s very important in an enlightened age to open these types of ideas up to scrutiny and even ridicule in the hopes of educating people on why the things they believe may be harmful (or at the very least, not helpful) and why they should have good reasons for believing what they do.

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:

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In the Beginning…

S everal times during my childhood I heard a pastor preach on the creation story in Genesis.  While I was still a Christian I thought it was just about the coolest story I’d ever heard — every time I heard it.  Here’s the run-down:

In the beginning there was god.  God got the urge to create stuff so he fashioned a planet with land and water and light so he could put plants and animals on it.  In order to make this his crowning achievement he then placed humans and a talking serpent on the planet.  The habitable area on this planet was constrained to a garden, in the middle of which was a tree that god had created knowing that it would destroy the humans someday.

Genesis Chapter 1
In the beginning, GOD...

Pretty awesome, right?  Well, kind of.  When I was a Christian I followed along in my book while the pastor read and never asked questions.  This is how the sermon almost always went:

Genesis 1: 1 — In the beginning, GOD.  Now, that’s all I need to know.  This tells me that god was always there, is there now, and will always be there even after I die.  Praise the lord!”

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The Tithe That Binds

There’s a very strange movement in some Christian circles called “The Prosperity Gospel” that posits some kind of supernatural investment scheme where the more money you give to god (read: churches and/or pastors) the more material wealth god will give to you.  While most Christian denominations denounce this theology as false or even blasphemous most of them also have their own, more subtle versions of the prosperity gospel whether they know it or not.

 

Becoming a Millionaire God's Way
God wants you to be rich!

The churches in which I grew up always passed the offering plate/basket around during services expecting members to give at least 10% of whatever they had.  This is standard practice for Protestant churches under a doctrine of tithing.  Some churches go as far as asking (“asking” is a funny word since the whole thing is done with an air of, “if you don’t, god will know”) the congregation to make pledges as to how much they’ll give for the year.  This helps the church make a budget but it also very clearly shows the churches are just businesses.

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