Dear Catholic League, Again

Charlotte Catholic High School

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to a disappointing lack of action from an organization that seems to be content in its role as a repository for outdated views on the world and society.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.

Continue Reading

The Voice Of God

Doctor Praying

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.

Continue Reading

Examining the Bible: Genesis, Part V

In Genesis 7, god finally gets down to the killing.  If you’re a Christian you view this as a story of love and compassion for a righteous family who trusted god with their lives and eternal souls.  If you’re like me you view this as a horrific failure on the part of an inept, morally bankrupt deity.  As usual, I have several problems with this story and I’ll discuss them all in detail.  Let’s begin!

Continue Reading

Therefore, God

Steve Buscemi

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:

  1. Whatever begins to exist has a cause,
  2. The universe began to exist, therefore,
  3. The universe has a cause.
Continue Reading

You Cannot Defeat Terrorism

ISIS Fighter

With violence erupting anew and the controversy over bans on Muslim immigrants and terrorism, I feel it’s important to comment on the state of things and a fundamental misunderstanding of terrorism on the part of our elected officials. To whit:

Terrorism isn’t a person. It isn’t even a people. It’s an ideal.

ISIS Fighter
…and we will raise the flag of Allah in the White House.

This is where things get sticky. Our government officials have stated that we will “defeat terrorism” and that we’re already doing a pretty decent job of it. But what’s the measure being used? How can you tell how many people – ordinary, disenchanted, naturalized citizens of the country – are being influenced by this ideal and how they’re responding to our attacks on a vague notion of the “perversion of the religion of Islam?” The answer is, you cannot. To prove that, look at the recent attack in Orlando where, at what seemed to be the last minute in a seemingly uninformed statement by the killer, a natural-born United States citizen pledged allegiance to ISIS and murdered 49 people. He’s not alone.

Continue Reading

Beliefs Are Not For Voting

Believing in God

If I could summarize this post in one sentence it would be this:

Your personal beliefs are not what’s good for the country.

Let me clarify. A belief system is personal, subjective, and evolving. The things you believe aren’t necessarily the things your neighbor believes. Often, the things you believe aren’t the same as the person sitting next to you in your church, mosque, temple, or support group. You may feel strongly about a topic or issue but it would be incredibly arrogant for you to assume that everyone else does – or should. When you hold a personal belief it’s virtuous for you to live your life according to that belief but it’s evil for you to try to force others to do the same, regardless of your intentions.

Merriam-Webster defines “belief” as follows:

  • a feeling of being sure that someone or something exists or that something is true

  • a feeling that something is good, right, or valuable

  • a feeling of trust in the worth or ability of someone

Notice the word “feeling” used in all of these definitions?  Feelings are personal and cannot be objectively shared across an entire population.  Your feelings are fine when they stay inside of your personal bubble but you should not attempt to extend that bubble to other people – especially when they don’t want to be inside your bubble, no matter how safe and warm you think it is.

Your beliefs are formed by your personal experiences in life (or opinions you’ve adopted from other people with or without justification), which shape your feelings about the things you encounter. It’s easy to see that other people have lived different lives with different backgrounds, different family dynamics, and different experiences than you. Knowing that, why is it so hard to see that your beliefs don’t apply to them? It doesn’t matter that you feel your beliefs are correct and it doesn’t matter whether you think your beliefs make sense. There will always be someone out there who disagrees because they’ve formed their own (often incompatible) beliefs on their own life experiences and most likely feel that theirs are correct and make sense.

The things you believe now aren’t the same as the things you believed when you were five years old or 15 years old because you’ve matured and learned more about how the world works since then. 15 years from now it’s entirely possible that your belief system will have changed – sometimes in drastic ways.

Your vote doesn’t just affect you. Think about that when you think about voting. If your primary concern is which candidate shares more of your personal beliefs than the other, you’re using the wrong criteria for your decision. You should be worried about which of the candidate’s beliefs are going to make it into his or her policy and how that policy will affect the citizens (not just the religious ones) of this country and people around the world.

Stop being selfish with your vote.

Nonsense Laws: Window Tint

This has nothing to do with religion but I’m kind of worked up over it and wanted to share some thoughts. Last night I was pulled over by a very courteous and friendly police officer who was (a) admiring my Mustang and (b) wondering if my windows were tinted too dark.  They are, and I’m fully aware of this.  However, I’ve chosen not to rectify the situation because I feel that the law makes no sense.  I’ve essentially agreed that any tickets I may receive for my tinted windows are a tax for keeping my window tint.  That aside, I’ll detail all of my thoughts on the law below and would love to have some feedback from my readers (if any are still hanging around).

Tinted Mustang
How you doin’?
Continue Reading

Hyper-Patriotism

I downloaded an app for my iPhone called “Thumb.”  This app allows you to ask questions and get answers from random strangers, with thumbs-up and thumbs-down ratings.  It’s mindless entertainment, as are most social apps.  Anyway, while thumbing through questions I stumbled across one depicting a Marine Corps drill team with the caption, “Respect and honor????”  I’m not sure why so many question marks were necessary.

Continue Reading

Spiritual vs. Imaginary

Believers have long argued for the existence of beings in the “spiritual realm” which affect the physical universe but cannot be physically detected (except in very certain circumstances and with very few exceptions).  This is convenient, of course, because the believer is free to posit whatever entity he or she wishes without having the arduous task of defending that assertion with actual evidence.  What does “spiritual” mean though?  The dictionary defines it as follows:

1. of, pertaining to, or consisting of spirit; incorporeal.
2.  of or pertaining to the spirit or soul, as distinguished from the physical nature.

That doesn’t really tell me much.  If we’re talking about incorporeal things apart from the physical nature, how is this any different from being imaginary or fictional?  Why do we make such a concessionary definition for a word like “spiritual” when the end result is really the same?

Continue Reading
1 2 3 6