Monthly Archives: March 2013
A Facebook page called LGBT Libertarians recently posted this photo in response to the Supreme Court listening to oral arguments in the Prop. 8, which banned same-sex marriage in the state of California, and Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA), which does not allow for federal recognition of any marriages that are not between one man and one woman, cases.
This is what they had to say:
I do NOT support “marriage equality” and neither should you and I’ll tell you why. “I support Marriage Equality” is just a euphemism for, “I believe the state is the proper authority on who can and cannot get married, so as such I believe the state should approve gay marriage”. I say FUCK THIS. Everyone no matter if you’re black, white, transgendered, queer, asexual, heterosexual, polyamorous, or monogamous has the RIGHT to enter into whatever legal arrangement he/she wants to with anyone else via voluntary private contracts.
So in conclusion don’t ASK the State to recognize Gay Marriage, rather DEMAND that it stay out of the institution of marriage altogether!
I agree with the part of the sentiment that the government shouldn’t have a say on which marriages it recognizes, but my contention is with the claim that the government should stay completely out of marriage.
There are many legal benefits that come with marriage, including, and probably most importantly, the right of attorney. If the state doesn’t recognise any marriage or union, who is to say that the person(s) you are with have the right to say to the doctors, “Pull the plug” or “I want them to get this procedure,” etc.?
Concerned Women for America: Supporting gay rights will lead to discrimination towards heterosexuals
I don’t like Starbucks. I don’t like coffee, in general really. I don’t like the smell, the taste, nor the sight of coffee. Starbucks is like the epitome of everything I hate. Overpriced shit.
Concerned Women for America seems to agree with me. Yesterday, CWA’s Chelsen Vicari wrote on their blog about how Starbuck’s policy of non-discrimination towards LGBT people will lead to discrimination towards heterosexuals and conservatives.
What’s next, Starbucks? Two separate drinking fountains for liberals and conservatives or “now hiring” signs reading, “Heterosexuals Need Not Apply”?
She cites a Gallup poll that shows that 40% of Americans identify as conservatives while only 21% of Americans identify as liberals and less than 2% of Americans identify as gay. This is supposed to scare Starbucks, I guess, since they might lose business.
Well, good. Starbucks should lose business.
I fucking hate seeing Starbucks every-fucking-where I turn. I hate people and their pretentious behaviour while they hold a Starbucks cup, as if that somehow makes them sophisticated intellectuals with valuable opinions.
I’m not a homophobe (obviously), but I support Concerned Women for America and their campaign to end Starbucks!
Bring it down!
Shayrah and I decided to go to church yesterday. It is the first time I have ever gone to an actual church, at least, according to Shayrah, since Kingdom Hall (what Jehovah’s Witnesses call church) doesn’t count apparently. It was also my first time in a so-called mega-church, so two cherries popped in one. It was Shayrah’s millionth time in a mega-church, since she grew up with them in Sacramento.
It’s called Fellowship Church in Grapevine, Texas, right outside of Dallas near DFW International Airport. It is the third largest mega-church in the United States with about 24,000 weekly attendees, and it’s about a stone’s throw (is that a phrase people still use today?) away from me.
When this place was being built, I remember thinking that it was going to be just another warehouse. Then I saw the giant cross in the centre of the building being built. Seriously, it looks like a warehouse. In high school, I had a German exchange student, and he looked dumbstruck at the thing when we passed by it on the way home from the airport. He asked, “That’s a church? It looks like a warehouse.”
I drive by this place every day on my way to work. This was my first time ever going inside. The closest I have ever gotten before was dropping my younger sister off there once (she was only going to hang out with friends, as my sister is an… apatheist, I guess?).
As soon as Shayrah and I drove up, we noticed that it looks more like a mall and had the feeling of a concert (they even had security directing traffic). They had these very welcoming all-glass doors with a book store and coffee shop entrance to the side. We went to the coffee shop to get a drink and muffin before the 11:30 service (we went late, because we were sleeping in like godless heathens).
The coffee shop looked like a normal coffee shop you would walk past in a downtown area or in an actual mall. It had modern tables, paintings on the walls, television screens, etc. I felt like I was in Starbucks. Then again, I don’t go to Starbucks ever, but this place was far cheaper than Starbucks, which is probably very on purpose.
The book store looked like the spitting image of a Barnes & Noble. The only difference is that all of the books were, obviously, Christian books and other materials. They even had an entire section dedicated to books and DVDs by Ed Young, the founding pastor of Fellowship Church, who reportedly makes over $1 million a year.
It looked even more like a mall, because about 99% of all the people there were not in their so-called “Sunday’s Best” clothing. There were t-shirts, jeans, hoodies. We even saw some bikers in leather jackets and biker boots. I think I was the only young person there that looked presentable.
Growing up in Kingdom Hall, we were always required to look good and wear nice clothing. The typical “Sunday’s Best.” I, for some reason despite Shayrah’s advice, decided to wear a dress shirt, dress shoes, and slacks. She looked like she was going to the mall. I guess I actually expected people to look nice in God’s house. Shayrah kept saying, “These places say, ‘Come as you are’ to attract more people.” It makes sense, from an advertising standpoint. Don’t make people think that church is some fancy thing you do once a week that requires you to dress up.
After eating our muffins, Shayrah and I went into the auditorium to see the service. First thing I noticed was that everyone had their arms in the air in that stereotypical “Jesus-come-into-me” way. The music that the band, which was on its own level above and behind the main stage, was playing was very powerful and had this kind of rock style to it. Shayrah pointed to the singers on the main stage and said in my ear, “That was me at one point.”
Shayrah had to point out at many times to me that mega-churches will not do or say anything controversial or hateful (i.e. homophobic), as they are “seeker-sensitive” churches that simply want to bring in as many people as possible, because it brings in more money.
Speaking of money. After the singers were all done with their opening song, the church played a quick commercial (and I’m going to continue to refer to it as a commercial, because this was meant as advertising, just not explicitly) of one of its members. The commercial tells the story of this man and his three or four-year-old daughter and how she was diagnosed with leukemia in 2010.
The man and his wife talk about the social structure of Fellowship and how it enabled them to take care of their daughter while still being able to take care of the rest of their lives. I remember they said something along the lines of, “I don’t know how I would have had the hope or courage to continue without Fellowship,” as if, without the church, people are hopeless.
Their daughter’s cancer eventually went into remission. The audience applauded at this. Not once during this five minute commercial did anyone, let alone the parents, ever mention the doctors who worked tirelessly to save this girl’s life. All they thanked was Fellowship.
That’s not the worst part though!
Immediately after (and I seriously mean immediately after) the video, one of the singers from before came out and asked for money! They passed around offering plates, and he also explained how they could use their credit cards to donate outside in the lobby. So convenient, isn’t it? Just swipe my card and my money goes to an organisation that is using the cancer of a little girl, who could have died, to make more money!
Why was there not just outright disgust throughout the audience of hundreds? Why were there not people, these good Christian people, throwing the offering plates on the ground and spitting in the faces of the ushers? Why was no one outraged like I was? No, people just plopped their money into that plate, probably thinking their money was going to somehow save more little children with cancer.
If Shayrah had not been there, I probably would have charged the stage and done what Jesus would have and flipped a couple of tables over for their heartless money-worship (if only there had been tables on the stage to flip).
But anyway. Before I get entrenched in a rage-filled, caps lock rant about this shameless exploitation of a child’s cancer…
The announcements, being made by Pastor Ed Young, tried to reach out to first time visitors very strongly. If it was someone’s first time going, they were asked to go to a specific part of the atrium after the sermon where they could meet with others and do something; I don’t remember exactly what they said it was for, and I never went to check it out. They even had these prayer request cards on all of the seats that had check-mark boxes that asked if it was someone’s first or second time attending.
They are good marketing ploys, I must admit. Make them feel very welcomed for coming and try as hard as possible to make them come back (to give more money).
Now, when the sermon finally started, it was apparently a series being run by a guest pastor for the sermon series Pain Management. The pastor speaking when we came was a guy by the name of Greg Dowey, who is from Columbia, South Carolina, where Fellowship apparently has a branch (along with two in Miami, Florida and several throughout the DFW Metroplex).
The sermon itself, which was about what Christians can do to deal with pain, whether that pain is emotional or physical or whatever else it may be, was very vague. Yes, it had a general message of how Christ helps people deal with all kinds of pain, but the message itself was watered-down so as not to offend anyone.
Again, they are seeker-sensitive. If they offend anyone, it hurts their profits, so they purposely avoid stepping on people’s toes and actually using the teachings in the Bible, like the ones that say to not associate with unbelievers (2 Corinthians 6:14) or to kill gays (Leviticus 20:13; Romans 1:26-32) or anything that might, you know, be actually in the Bible.
They pastor also tried to make jokes and seem personable, to try to seem like someone who is down to Earth, even though their head is up their… in the clouds.
This guy also apparently has a Twitter, and on the jumbo-trons they had surrounding the stage, they had his Twitter handle @GDowey and #painmanagement. They are trying to use modern social media to connect to the youth to seem hip and cool. They also apparently have an iPhone and Android app. I’m not joking.
The beginning of this pastor’s sermon was about his wife who has lived in pain for twenty years or so. He says that doctor after doctor couldn’t help his wife; he even went to the Mayo Clinic once. Well, I guess science is useful when it might help you, but when it can’t, because science can’t progress like religion can where it can just make things up, I guess you need Jesus then.
Enough on the specifics of the actual talk. The pastor himself had a very powerful voice with a very rhythmic way of speaking. It was very politician like. It was very moving to hear him talk, even though I knew he was a snake oil salesman.
As the music from the band behind him slowly started to drift back in as the pastor was beginning the end of his talk, I realised that this is not a sermon. This is not a lesson about Christ’s love or of God. This is a show. An act. A sketch. A performance on his part to put his face out there and bring in money. That is all these churches are about. Money.
After the sermon, Pastor Ed Young came back out and again pushed for first time visitors to see a specific part of the lobby afterwards. He also used a tactic that I have been meaning to use for my student group. Crowd source advertising.
He talked about an event that Fellowship is going to be having in downtown Dallas on Good Friday, and he pushed these “six packs,” essentially six advert cards, that everyone would receive on their way out of the auditorium. He said that, even in casual conversation, people should be handing these cards out to people to advertise the event (and more importantly the church). It really is a good idea. Make your members, the literally thousands of them, do your advertising (and proselytising) for you.
These people are smart. Yes, what they believe is illogical by my standards, but they know how to advertise. They know how to socialise and make an engaging event that will draw in tens-of-thousands of people. Mega-churches are becoming the norm. Those classic churches we see that only fit a couple of hundred people at the absolute most will soon become relics in America’s religious culture.
Soon any specific or in-depth Christianity will be long gone too. We will only have these sermons that preach vague messages of love and the importance of coming to Jesus. Yes, it will still have the irrational aspects, like blind faith and even possibly the social implications of affecting public policy, but it will be so watered-down it won’t be recognisable as a religion anymore, but instead as a social club.
This is probably the one misconception of atheists that is completely contrary to the reality of the situation. The reason most atheists left religion is because we know so much about religion.
And science backs this up. As Alise pointed out in her post, in 2010 Pew released the results of a survey that showed that, although evangelical Christians knew more about their own religion, with atheists coming in at a very close second, atheists knew more about world religions and religious history overall.
Alise also talked about how the documentary Lord, Save Us from Your Followers, a documentary that I personally have not see yet but want to now, had a “mock ‘Family Feud’ game show about various faith issues, and the atheist team cleaned up time and again against the various Christian teams. Over and over they had a better understanding of the Christian worldview than even the Christians did.”
It simply is not because of a lack of knowledge or ignorance or religion that atheists are not religious anymore or never were. To assume so about someone, let alone all or most atheists, is the real ignorance, and it is simply prejudicial. If you want to know if someone is actually uninformed about religion, just ask them. Start a conversation with them that can be held respectfully so that both parties can learn from one another.
From my own conversations with religious people after leaving religion, yes, there are things I have learned about Christianity and other religions, but it is usually minor things that have not caused me to all of a sudden change my mind and revert to religion. And for the most part, when I start talking to Christians, I am the one teaching them things they did not know about their own faith, and it is not usually minor things too.
I remember once I had to teach a Christian friend of mine about the Gospels and how they severely contradicted one another, especially when it came to the death and eventual resurrection of Jesus Christ. In fact, since Easter is coming up, I recommend that everyone, Christian and atheist alike, read a piece by David Fitzgerald, author of Nailed: Ten Christian Myths That Show Jesus Never Existed At All, called “The Ultimate Easter Quiz.”
My upbringing taught me much about my former faith and allowed me to be a very knowledgeable Christian and is what led me to become a knowledgeable atheist.
Of course, with more and more atheists are becoming parents, it is important that we continue to stay informed and teach our children about religion so that they don’t get sucked in by the ploys that are being employed by fundamentalists to infect the next generation. My partner, Shayrah (who is also very knowledgeable about Christianity and called herself “The Atheist Bible Thumper” while she was on YouTube), teaches her daughter (my stepdaughter) about all kinds of religions, including Christianity. She likes to call it a “religious vaccination.”
Teach it as mythology (I’m not trying to offend anyone by calling it that). That is what our schools already teach when it comes to the Greek and Roman religions, which people did seriously believe was the truth at one point in time. Our schools teach the Iliad and Odyssey as literature, not as factual works.
David G. McAfee, author of Disproving Christianity and Other Secular Writings, has a B.A. in both English and Religious Studies, because he finds religion a fascinating phenomenon to study, and I agree. I recently took a Religion and American Society class at my college, because I wanted to learn more about religions, not because I wanted to convert to any of them.
I also recently went to my local mega-church just for the experience. More on that to come later though.
Religion is a fascinating part of our culture and of human history. It should be learned about by everyone, especially if you are religious. It helps build bridges between the religions communities and between the religious and nonreligious. It builds tolerance and understanding that yelling at each other over the internet will never do.
Next week’s edition of The Christian Guide to Atheists will be: it takes more faith to not believe in a god.
Thanks for reading.
Salon recently published an excerpt from Frans De Waal’s new book The Bonobo and the Atheist: In Search of Humanism Among the Primates. In this excerpt, he claims that atheists, or what he calls “neo-atheists,” are just as “dogmatic as [the religious] they deride.”
Calling himself non-religious, De Waal gives some backstory on his upbringing as a Catholic in The Netherlands and how it was important to him during his youth. He then immediately goes into lumping atheists and theists into the same bunch (emphasis mine).
In my interactions with religious and nonreligious people alike, I now draw a sharp line, based not on what exactly they believe but on their level of dogmatism. I consider dogmatism a far greater threat than religion per se. I am particularly curious why anyone would drop religion while retaining the blinkers sometimes associated with it. Why are the “neo-atheists” of today so obsessed with God’s nonexistence that they go on media rampages, wear T-shirts proclaiming their absence of belief, or call for a militant atheism? What does atheism have to offer that’s worth fighting for? As one philosopher put it, being a militant atheist is like “sleeping furiously.”
De Waal, although a European, lives in the United States, let that be made clear. He actually lives in Georgia, so this makes it even more bizarre as to why he utterly fails at realising why atheists care and do what we do and chooses to actively bash them for their supposed “dogmatism.”
He apparently does not see, or refuses to see, the harm that religion causes. Yes, it may not be “religion per se,” but it is the dogmatism that only religion (and possibly certain political ideologies, like communism) can offer. Atheism cannot be dogmatic. I’m not even going to pull the “Atheism is just a blah blah blah” argument. Yes, people can be jerks and be atheists, but there is nothing to be dogmatic about.
Yeah, Sam Harris, Richard Dawkins, Matt Dillahunty, the late Christopher Hitchens, and other prominent atheists can be mean when they are talking about religion. Are they justified?
Hell yeah they are! The simple fact that De Waal can’t or won’t see the harm from religion does not somehow make atheists “dogmatic.”
He then tries to give an explanation as to why atheists can be so militant.
Possibly, the religion one leaves behind carries over into the sort of atheism one embraces. If religion has little grip on one’s life, apostasy is no big deal and there will be few lingering effects. Hence the general apathy of my generation of ex-Catholics, which grew up with criticism of the Vatican by our parents’ generation in a culture that diluted religious dogma with an appreciation of life’s pleasures.
I know many people who were hardcore believers that are lax-atheists, and I know many who were lax-believers who became active atheists. I also know people who were raised atheists or non-religious and became atheist activists. His conclusion that dogmatic theists make dogmatic atheists simply does not work.
There are many other reasons why Europeans are less-religious than their American counterparts. Religion just does not have the stranglehold on European politics and daily life that it does here in the United States. Living in the US, Waal should see that, but he instead chooses to bash atheists some more for their fanaticism.
De Waal goes on and on through this excerpt about how atheists are dogmatic, bringing up an interview with David Silverman, President of American Atheists, when he went onto Fox New’s The O’Reilly Factor and Bill O’Reilly said the now famous line, “Tide goes in, tide goes out. Never a miscommunication.”
Now, De Waal mocks O’Reilly for his outright stupid remarks and then tries to lump Silverman in with him simply for being arrogant. Being arrogant, and yes Silverman can be very arrogant at some times, apparently means you’re just as bad as the willfully ignorant person who is a highly rated television personality with millions of viewers who actually believe the words that come out of his mouth.
He also brings up Christopher Hitchens and his “serial dogmatism,” as Hitchens was a Marxist, then a conservative, then an antitheist, etc. and claims that some of us “crave dogma.” That may be true for some people, but that does not make all or even most of “neo-atheists,” which is a strawman to begin with, these dogmatic people with unfounded beliefs in the supernatural that lead them to wage war, commit genocide, persecute women and gays, and so much more.
De Waal also says, “I would be surprised if a single member of the audience [of an atheist and theist debate] changed his or her mind as a result of the debate, either from believer to nonbeliever or the other way around.” Yes, one conversation is not going to change someone’s mind. That does not mean atheists should not try to change the minds of the religious. David Smalley, of Dogma Debate Radio, after a debate being held in a church had a man come up to him who said, “I’ve been coming to this church for thirty years, and you’ve given me a lot to think about.”
I don’t know what it is about certain non-religious people, but many of them seem to have such a disdain for atheist activists. What I think it is, is a failure to see the importance of being secular and of fighting for secularism. They think that just because something is absurd, like religion, then it is not worth talking about and anyone who fights against it is being just as absurd.
They fail to see that religion is invading public policy in America. Religion is forcing its way into the science classroom by claiming persecution from the liberal atheist academia that want to kill God and ban religion. Religion is creating other problems too.
With abstinence-only sexual education (what I like to call “lack of sexual education”), southern states, by far the most religious of the states, are those with the highest concentration of teen pregnancy. The southern states also have the highest rate of STD infection.
It is because of religious dogma that these sorts of things happen. It is the constant shame and guilt surrounding sex and sexuality, caused by religion, that has caused this. What has “atheist dogma” (for lack of a better phrase) ever done? Made some people upset on the internet? Made some people question their religion? Oh no! So irrational and dogmatic!
De Waal needs to educate himself on American politics, not bash atheists and secularists for actually doing the things that keep religion out of his personal life and give him freedom from religion. De Waal has this false sense of superiority, because he’s not active in promoting reason, skepticism, and secularism, and he’s proud of it.
This XKCD comic, one of my personal favourites, perfectly sums up my response to De Waal actually.
Recently, I wrote about Republican Senator Rob Portman coming out in support for same-sex marriage, and the hate that he had received from some on the religious right, such as Joseph Farah of WND, who compared gay people to serial killers.
Well, it seems that Peter LaBarbera of Americans For Truth About Homosexuality has something to say about this as well.
LaBarbera says that the Republican Party is trying to “out-gay” Democrats in “pandering to a Sin movement.” He also says (emphasis mine):
Here is a dose of Politically Incorrect truth: homosexual behavior is sinful (read: always wrong in the eyes of God), unnatural, destructive and yet – thankfully – changeable. To become homosexual-affirming because someone you love announces he or she is homosexual is the antithesis of “tough love.” It’s like telling a loved one who is has a drug problem: “I love you so much that I’m going to send you a five ounces of cocaine every month, because that’s how much I care.”
Yes, we should treat gay family members as drug addicts, because, obviously, homosexuality is just as harmful as a drug addiction. Obviously. We should have interventions and send them off to rehab, because homosexuality is just like shooting heroin or snorting coke.
Was I sarcastic enough there? I don’t know. It’s hard for me to not resort to sarcasm, as it helps prevent my brain from exploding when exposed to such idiotic bigotry.
And it’s not just “wrong in the eyes of God.” According to many Bible verse, Old and New Testament, God wants us to kill gay people. Are you not a God-fearing man, LaBarbera? Why doesn’t your movement of conservative Christians just start criminalising homosexuality and start stoning gay people?
Here are just some of my favourite parts of LaBarbera’s piece (emphasis mine):
In the midst of the CPAC gathering, news broke that Sen. Portman had flip-flopped on homosexual “marriage” because his 21-year-old son Will is a homosexual. Thus Portman succumbed to the emotionalism and illogic that dominate post-Christian America. Employing some awful theology, he kicked God to the curb — as is becoming habit in a land that increasingly mocks its own national motto, “In God We Trust.”
Portman’s tragic defection and moral weakness play right into the Left’s ubiquitous narrative that same-sex “marriage” is unstoppable. Don’t buy it. In politics and life, only death and taxes are inevitable. Remember that radical feminists used to say that the abortion debate was “settled”; now they’re losing that cultural battle for hearts and minds.
I love how he keeps putting quotes around “marriage,” as if that automatically makes it not a marriage.
The fact is, the “gay” movement is propped up by the media — most of whom are liberal Democrats who could care less about God’s moral law and historic Judeo-Christian teaching on sex and marriage. As de facto cheerleaders for the LGBT (Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender) agenda, the media these days are giddy with excitement. They love nothing more than a conservative or a Republican who, like Portman, sells out on social issues.
The media is only as liberal as the conservatives who own them.
Here’s how the Homosexual-Media Complex works: “mainstream news” outlets incessantly promote homosexuality and gender confusion (think Piers Morgan’s fawning CNN interviews with “Chaz” Bono). Meanwhile, they downplay or ignore inconvenient truths like the many ex-“gay” men and former lesbians who have left homosexuality behind.
You apparently downplay or ignore the inconvenient truth that those “ex-gay” men and women did not leave homosexuality behind, only homosexual behaviour, and even that is highly questionable. The only reason these people have “left homosexuality behind” is because of bigots like you that make them think falsehoods about themselves by making them feel guilty and ashamed of behaviour that is not harmful to anyone, let alone you.
However, “ex-gay therapy” is harmful. It is harming people. You are harming people, because your religion dictates that you should, because you care more about some god than about your fellow man.
You don’t want to save these people from some eternity of punishment. You don’t want to see them “changed,” because you have their best interests at heart. You’re just a bigot. You just don’t like gay people.
It is the height of folly to dumb down conservatism and jettison the wholesome dictates of the Bible and Christianity because the “Glee” Generation has a new idea about sodomy. Instead, principled conservatives need to fight back against politically correct shibboleths and bravely stay the course; defend transcendent Truth against modern, secularist lies; affirm marriage (one-man, one-woman) and virtuous morality for everyone; and return to reason and the biblical idealism of yesteryear.
He wants to return to the “biblical idealism of yesteryear.” That “idealism” involved the stoning of gay people (and of atheists and many others). Should we return to that?
In other words, we conservatives and people of faith need to stare down LGBT intimidation, scoff at Political Correctness, and defy the corrupt media’s relentless propaganda redefining evil as good and good evil (Isaiah 5:20). We must stop being lazy and instead do intellectual battle against a Nature- and God-defying sin movement that strives desperately to transform a human wrong into a “civil right.”
Onward, Christian (and conservative) Soldiers.
That last sentence was not my emphasis.
A few days ago, Sen. Rob Portman (R-Ohio) reversed his previous stance and has chosen to support marriage equality, two yeas after his own son came out as gay.
In an interview with the Columbus Dispatch, Portman said, “It allowed me to think about this issue from a new perspective and that’s as a dad who loves his son a lot and wants him to have the same opportunities that his brother and sister have.”
It is great that more prominent politicians, especially Republicans, are coming out (no pun intended) in favour of same-sex marriage and have regretted their decision to support the Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA) in 1997, including President Bill Clinton, who signed it into law.
The thing that is so notable about this is the reaction from the right.
WorldNetDaily editor Joseph Farah just released a piece titled, “Be glad Portman’s son isn’t a serial killer.”
It’s as bad as it sounds.
He starts the article off with a Bible verse, Psalm 11:3, “If the foundations be destroyed, what can the righteous do?”
After revealing the obvious that Senator Portman’s son is gay, Farah writes (emphasis mine), “I guess we should all be grateful Rob Portman’s son didn’t choose to become a polygamist or a serial killer.”
He then rambles on about morality and sums it up nicely in this statement, “Few are willing to say it anymore, but I will: Morality is determined by God, not men.”
Probably the best part of the article is this gem (emphasis mine):
Portman’s statement about two people making a lifetime commitment to love and care for each other is very touching. But it’s not what marriage is about. People make such commitments all the time. Parents make lifetime commitments to love and care for their disabled children. They don’t generally marry them. Siblings sometimes do the same thing. I trust Portman is not advocating incestual relations as next on his list of reflective changes in the law.
Double whammy. Slippery slope and strawman!
He then goes on for a while about how polygamy is on the rise and how it is higher in demand that same-sex marriage.
After that, Farah says this:
…Portman is the vice chairman of the National Republican Senatorial Committee whose sole job is to raise money for Republican Senate candidates in 2014. How would you like to be an anti-establishment Republican Senate candidate who affirms that holy matrimony is an institution created by God in the Garden of Eden with Rob Portman doling out money to Republican Senate candidates? This is one more very important reason not to send a dime to the NRSC or to Karl Rove’s super PACs. Give your money only to the campaigns of worthy candidates.
People like Todd Akin and Steve King don’t represent a threat to the future of the Republican Party. People like Rob Portman and Karl Rove represent a clear and present danger to its future.
Yes, keep fighting amongst yourselves.
“What they are pushing is not morality, it is moral relativism.” Subjective morality is still morality. And I fail to see how morality created by God is not a form of moral relativism. Just because it is created by a deity and not by a human being does not make it anymore special.
Do you believe in the God of the Bible?
Here’s what He said about marriage in Genesis 2:24: “Therefore shall a man leave his father and his mother, and shall cleave unto his wife: and they shall be one flesh.”
Here’s what He said about homosexuality in Leviticus 18:22: “Thou shalt not lie with mankind, as with womankind: it is abomination.”
Do you believe in Jesus as your Lord and Savior?
Here’s what He said about marriage in Matthew 19:4-6: “Have ye not read, that he which made them at the beginning made them male and female, And said, For this cause shall a man leave father and mother, and shall cleave to his wife: and they twain shall be one flesh? Wherefore they are no more twain, but one flesh. What therefore God hath joined together, let not man put asunder.”
Do you believe the Apostle Paul was divinely inspired in his New Testament writings?
Here’s what he said in Romans 1:18-32: “For the wrath of God is revealed from heaven against all ungodliness and unrighteousness of men, who hold the truth in unrighteousness; Because that which may be known of God is manifest in them; for God hath shewed it unto them. For the invisible things of him from the creation of the world are clearly seen, being understood by the things that are made, even his eternal power and Godhead; so that they are without excuse: Because that, when they knew God, They glorified him not as God, neither were thankful; but became vain in their imaginations, and their foolish heart was darkened. Professing themselves to be wise, they became fools, And changed the glory of the uncorruptible God into an image made like to corruptible man, and to birds, and fourfooted beasts, and creeping things. Wherefore God also gave them up to uncleanness through the lusts of their own hearts, to dishonour their own bodies between themselves: Who changed the truth of God into a lie, and worshipped and served the creature more than the Creator, who is blessed for ever. Amen.
For this cause God gave them up unto vile affections: for even their women did change the natural use into that which is against nature: And likewise also the men, leaving the natural use of the woman, burned in their lust one toward another; men with men working that which is unseemly, and receiving in themselves that recompence of their error which was meet.
I’m going to ignore that God just made gay people.
And even as they did not like to retain God in their knowledge, God gave them over to a reprobate mind, to do those things which are not convenient; Being filled with all unrighteousness, fornication, wickedness, covetousness, maliciousness; full of envy, murder, debate, deceit, malignity; whisperers, backbiters, haters of God, despiteful, proud, boasters, inventors of evil things, disobedient to parents, Without understanding, covenantbreakers, without natural affection, implacable, unmerciful: Who knowing the judgment of God, that they which commit such things are worthy of death, not only do the same, but have pleasure in them that do them.
Whom are you going to believe – the Creator of the universe or Rob Portman?
I actually can’t believe that he quoted the verse where it says gays should be put to death. He seemed to gloss over Leviticus 20:13 earlier, which said the exact same thing.
I guess, since the Apostle Paul was “divinely inspired” by God, gays should be killed (along with atheists and all other sorts of people).
This is the sort of stuff that comes from the religious right. Hate. Bigotry. Threats of death and violence that are veiled under “religious freedom” or “religious expression.”
But I’m going to trust Rob Portman over the “Creator of the universe,” even if he is a Republican. At least Rob Portman is real.
Our next myth is the idea that atheists find life to be meaningless. As always, be sure to read Alise’s post on the subject.
This is constantly asked of me now as an atheist, “How do you find meaning without God?” Sometimes it is just yelled at me, “Your life has no meaning, because you don’t have God in it!”
When I was a Christian, I did actually think that without God, I would have no purpose. I mean, what purpose is there to life without the reward of Heaven or punishment of Hell? What reason is there to live this life if, in the end, it just does not matter, because we all will eventually die?
The simple answer is that atheists find meaning in their own way. As Alise said, atheists will reject the idea of an “objective meaning to life,” one that is not forced onto them by a deity or religion. We have a subjective meaning to life, but it is still a meaning, and we usually find this kind of meaning to be more valuable, because we found it on our own instead of having it handed to us.
I find meaning, my own meaning, by helping my fellow man and by making the world a better place for future generations. I find meaning by enjoying life and living it to the fullest.
As I write this, I am listening to music I absolutely adore. I am enjoying foods that I love. I am writing something that I think will make the world a better place, even if just a tiny bit. That is my meaning.
This is our one shot at life that we know exists, whether or not you believe in an afterlife. Might as well make the best of it while we still can.
Yes, atheists don’t believe in an inherent meaning to life, and that’s what gives us the opportunity to create our own meaning, to live independently of religiously-fueled meanings that we don’t want. Under the Christian doctrine, our only purpose is to worship God and Jesus, to spend our entire lives worshipping something.
And yes, I will die. Everyone I have ever known or cared about will die. You will die too. Does that mean that life is meaningless? Does that mean that our experiences and actions don’t matter? Absolutely not!
Live life while you still can. Give it your own meaning. That is all I can really say and hope for. That is all we can really hope for.
In Unweaving the Rainbow, evolutionary biologist Richard Dawkins wrote, very poetically, “We are going to die, and that makes us the lucky ones. Most people are never going to die because they are never going to be born. The potential people who could have been here in my place but who will in fact never see the light of day outnumber the sand grains of Sahara. Certainly those unborn ghosts include greater poets than Keats, scientists greater than Newton. We know this because the set of possible people allowed by our DNA so massively outnumbers the set of actual people. In the teeth of these stupefying odds it is you and I, in our ordinariness, that are here. We privileged few, who won the lottery of birth against all odds, how dare we whine at our inevitable return to that prior state from which the vast majority have never stirred?”
Next week’s edition of The Christian Guide to Atheists will be “Atheists are uninformed about religion.”
We have a new Pope, ladies and gentlemen. Still waiting for the announcement on exactly who that will be.
This new Pope, like every Pope before him, was elected by fallible men (and not appointed by God) and is somehow now given the power of infallibility.
Be sure to read my post on why atheists should care about who this next Pope is.
On Monday, the head of the Family Research Council, Tony Perkins, and one of the FRC’s senior fellows, Patrick Fagan, were discussing Fagan’s article about the 1972 Supreme Court decision in Eisenstadt v. Baird that struck down a Massachusetts law, one of their “Crimes Against Chastity” laws, that prohibited doctors from prescribing and pharmacies from selling contraceptives to single people.
The decision was a landmark case, as it was essentially ruled by the court that unmarried people should have the same equal protection as married people and that unmarried people had the right to have sex that was not solely for procreation.
Now, Perkins and Fagan have a bit of a problem with people have sex all willy-nilly (do people still say that? I honestly don’t know…) and not doing it just in missionary position, solely for procreation, and for the glory of God.
Why do they care what other people are doing when it is clearly not harming anyone?
Well, societies have always forbidden [sex outside of marriage], there were laws against it… In this case the Supreme Court said…they can do whatever they like… They just said no, singles have the right to contraceptives we mean singles have the right to have sex outside of marriage. Brushing aside millennia, thousands and thousands of years of wisdom, tradition, culture and setting in motion what we have… Society never gave young people [the right to sex outside of marriage], functioning societies don’t do that, they stop it, they punish it, they corral people, they shame people, they do whatever.
It is people like these that make me think, “This is why we can’t have nice things!”
They don’t even bring up how premarital sex causes Baby Jesus to cry or how it causes earthquakes or volcanoes and other acts of God, because God cares about what we put into our own bodies (or what we put into other people’s bodies)! That would be a very compelling argument as to why we should restrict people’s freedoms to do with their bodies what they want.
Did that sarcasm come through loud and clear enough?
Yes, certain societies did have laws against premarital sex, and these societies were usually the ones being dominated by religious indoctrination, whether Christian or not. People still took part in these activities, whether or not their societies had laws against it.
Now, the societies that did have laws against this did indeed “stop it” and “punish it,” and they tended to stone people to death, while the others went about their own business, because it was none of theirs to care about what someone else was doing that wasn’t harming them. So Fagan’s appeal to tradition, which is a logical fallacy but whatever, is only of particular societies that he happens to like.
These are the same people that supposedly want “small government,” because government is taking away our rights, or some other nonsense like that.
Conservative Christians: government so small, it can fit in your bedroom!