I used to think about that kind of answer when I’ve heard people say that in the past. Like, I heard someone say that and thought, hmm, so when you move to a new town, and the people there aren’t the same faith as you, does God tell you to slaughter them all, and cut the fetuses from their mothers and dash it upon a rock before killing the mother too? ‘Cause he told the Israelites to do that when they invaded Canaan. Yeah.
Last night, my 13-year-old daughter, Sydney, strolled into the bedroom and plopped herself on the bed and said, “So, Dad, there was sort of an awkward moment at lunch today. You know my friend, Sara? Well, we were at lunch and the topic of religion came up. People were talking about Heaven and Hell, who God sends to Hell, and Sara, who is a fundamentalist, said that her church taught her that people who don’t believe in God go to Hell. It was kind of awkward, because I was sitting there thinking, ‘Well, then I guess, according to her, I am going to Hell,’ I didn’t say anything because I did not want to make her feel bad. It was no big deal, since I don’t believe in the afterlife. But it was a little bit uncomfortable.”
While the article is interesting, despite a couple editing errors (shouldn’t those be checked before being published?), most concerning to me is the casually written second paragraph where he says that in their public school system, there’s an unofficial fundamentalist education where they take the kids just off campus to teach them the “truth” of their religion. I’m curious as to whether that occurs during school hours, and if so, why hasn’t it been stopped? Sheesh.
This is my favourite Xmas song. Nothing else comes close, not even the Pogues’ “Fairytale of New York”.
He’s finally released a studio recording. All proceeds go to the National Autistic Society. Details at http://www.timminchin.com/2012/11/30/white-wine-in-the-sun-2012-now-available-on-itunes/
See, this is what Xmas is about for me too — it’s certainly not about some dead guy, it’s about seeing my family, seeing my friends, not worrying about work and travel, just enjoying the company of loved ones with a hot fire and treats aplenty.
In January of 1954, just a year before his death, Albert Einstein wrote the following letter to philosopher Erik Gutkind after reading his book, ‘Choose Life: The Biblical Call to Revolt,’ and made known his views on religion. Apparently Einstein had only read the book due to repeated recommendation by their mutual friend Luitzen Egbertus Jan Brouwer. The letter was bought at auction in May 2008, for £170,000. Unsurprisingly, one of the unsuccessful bidders wasRichard Dawkins.
Translated transcript follows.
Recommended reading: Einstein and Religion.
Princeton, 3. 1. 1954
Dear Mr Gutkind,
Inspired by Brouwer’s repeated suggestion, I read a great deal in your book, and thank you very much for lending it to me … With regard to the factual attitude to life and to the human community we have a great deal in common. Your personal ideal with its striving for freedom from ego-oriented desires, for making life beautiful and noble, with an emphasis on the purely human element … unites us as having an “American Attitude.”
Still, without Brouwer’s suggestion I would never have gotten myself to engage intensively with your book because it is written in a language inaccessible to me. The word God is for me nothing more than the expression and product of human weakness, the Bible a collection of honorable, but still purely primitive, legends which are nevertheless pretty childish. No interpretation no matter how subtle can (for me) change this. … For me the Jewish religion like all other religions is an incarnation of the most childish superstition. And the Jewish people to whom I gladly belong … have no different quality for me than all other people. As far as my experience goes, they are also no better than other human groups, although they are protected from the worst cancers by a lack of power. Otherwise I cannot see anything “chosen” about them.
In general I find it painful that you claim a privileged position and try to defend it by two walls of pride, an external one as a man and an internal one as a Jew. As a man you claim, so to speak, a dispensation from causality otherwise accepted, as a Jew of monotheism. But a limited causality is no longer a causality at all, as our wonderful Spinoza recognized with all incision…
Now that I have quite openly stated our differences in intellectual convictions it is still clear to me that we are quite close to each other in essential things, i.e. in our evaluation of human behavior … I think that we would understand each other quite well if we talked about concrete things.
With friendly thanks and best wishes,
Governmental religious expressions are not harmless.
In disputes over church-state separation, “ceremonial deism” has become a legal doctrine heavily relied upon by those who wish to defend governmental religiosity. Though the concept has been around for decades, ceremonial deism has been seen with increasing frequency since 2004, when it was used in a concurring opinion by Justice Sandra Day O’Connor to uphold the “under God” wording of the Pledge of Allegiance.
It always bugs me that “Christians” seem to forget (more than just the other laws of Leviticus) that the New Testament, the whole thing, negates the Old. By dying for humanity, the Christ figure destroys the old way, and allows us to live in peace and harmony, loving you neighbor, turning the other cheek, etc. How sad is it that they need atheists to tell them about their own religion?
.- An Orthodox rabbi criticized atheism masked as science, citing a prominent biologist who said scientists should undermine religion to advance popular acceptance of evolutionary theory.
Rabbi Moshe Averick, a columnist for the Jewish magazine The Algemeiner Journal, chided a recent article by University of Chicago professor Dr. Jerry Coyne which depicted religion as an opponent of evolutionary theory and as something associated with social dysfunction.
“It is clear that Dr. Coyne is not promoting Science, he is promoting Atheism and all that it entails,” Rabbi Averick said in his April 24 column. “Coyne sees his role as being much greater than that of just a professor teaching a scientific discipline; he has donned the mantle of Atheologist and is spreading the good word wherever he can.
This is an example of dishonesty at its finest. “Theistic Evolution” is one of the grandest contortions; it is one of the most dishonest attempts to preserve the Abrahamic faiths. Evolution does undermine the Judeo-Christian and Islamic myths, and anyone who claims otherwise is deceitful. This is what such religions have come to; their once lofty and seemingly absolute truths are actually lies and rather than accepting the facts, they’re distorting the facts in an attempt to preserve their cherished traditions. It’s appalling. What’s more appalling? Read some of the comments below the article. The ignorance in this country is absolutely disheartening.
Most religions started as methods of controlling populations. Many developed, and some started as a way to manage the rampant emotions people experience, with some educated (for often in the past the clergy controlled the knowledge too) person consoling or giving advice.
Then we grew up; now that we have access to information, now that education isn’t just through the faith, now that we have actual experts to help us with our problems, we just don’t need that crutch. Sadly though, the crutch needs us, and it won’t be discarded.
School vouchers and the religious subversion of church-state separation
Under the pretext of parental ‘choice’, the right is using vouchers to establish religion in public education – with Romney’s blessing.
“Choice” is such a nice word that everybody wants to have it on their side.
“Choice” is also a fuzzy word, which may be why Mitt Romney is willing to call himself a supporter of “school choice”. In the strange language of education politics, “choice” sometimes means advocating the partial privatization of school systems through charter schools – which Romney supports. It can also indicate support for voucher programs, which is another thing altogether – and which Romney is said also to support.
Charter schools are constrained by the same laws and policies that, for example, prohibit public schools from endorsing religion. Vouchers, on the other hand, allow parents to use public money to pay for private, mostly religious schools that are largely unaccountable to the public. So, for example, a voucher school may use your taxpayer dollars to teach its students that the earth is 6,000 years old. And a number of such schools now do just that.
I’m getting a little fed up with both religion and the problems plaguing American schools today.
Because if you’re going to subscribe to a book filled with made up shit and claim that it’s the word of an omnipotent omniscient benevolent being, then subscibe hard. Don’t just say oh yeah I pick and choose I don’t know but I think there’s something maybe. Either hocus pocus no work on Fridays or bunsen burner there’s no such thing as a soul. Because otherwise it’s like me saying yeah, I know that The Lord of the Rings wasn’t real… But I think Gollum was.
This actually isn’t funny. It’s a legit Google search item because of the article by that title. It’s a great read; it’s an argument for how ridiculous zealots’ arguments are in regards to homosexuality, etc. Google it yourself and give it a read.