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The Atheist President January 20, 2011

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As America slips further down the dangerous path of irreconcilable division, politicians on both sides of the fence have only made matters worse with their fear based decision making, mud slinging, and worst of all, complete uncooperation with one another. Even in times of prosperity, these behaviors would be considered unacceptable, but to see this going on when America’s future is currently in a bit of a crisis is a crime against every US citizen. When many are quick to lay blame to those that got us where we are, it would be even more damnable to have an opportunity to fix things and squander it. Upon originally learning of the crisis, Americans were quick to act by voting for change and when that change did not come quick enough, Americans again voted for change by shifting power. We can all safely assume that America would like to change, though I am sure that many of us would argue about exactly what kind of change it is we need.

Change is difficult enough to achieve for the individual, so it is no surprise that America is having such a tough time of it. It’s almost as if we can see the mountain that we are about to crash into and we are only willing to slow down instead making a sharp turn. I would still like to think that we are capable of turning the wheel of this beat up old hot rod. The problem we seem to have with grabbing the wheel is that everyone is turning in different directions and even when most of us want to go in a particular direction, the engine we’ve installed fails. The way our politicians have been conducting business in the last few decades is counter to how a useful and productive organism works. I don’t know of a single person that would not be willing to compromise if they knew it could help others, nor do I know of anyone that is willing to publicly announce their complete disdain for another individual, nor do I know of anyone that would willingly let self serving organizations guide them on the decisions they make for their family. When people say that politicians have lost touch with America, it should also include that they have lost touch with democracy and civility. Looking at our representatives, one could get the impression that all Americans are spoiled brats that throw tantrums and insults to get their way, yet everyday I see differently. If Americans are typically a kind and considerate people, why then are we represented to be the opposite?

So, how are we to escape the vicious spin cycle that appears to be leading us in no direction but down? In my humble and very willing to admit that I may be wrong opinion, we are going to need to oust the demagogues and replace them with leaders that have the ability to rationally consider things and communicate with openess and compassion for opposing views. In order to ensure that any of this will ever work, we Americans must quit looking for leaders that play to our emotions and instead look to those that display critical thinking skills. This will give us a higher probability of electing a leader that can not only use logic and pragmatism to make better decisions about America’s myriad of problems, but also present a more informed argument for why tough decisions were made. It’s not realistic to expect that we can just set aside all differences for the sake of compromise, but having a leader that is always open to changing opinions based upon credible evidence will at least keep opposing views permanently on the table. This kind of openess will help to satiate those that disagree with decisions being made. This kind of openess can only come from someone that is willing to set aside personal bias and majority held opinions in order to clearly and rationally examine issues.

If we are to ever get serious about solving some of America’s various woes, we will have to come to grips with the fact that some of our own opinions may not be supported by the evidence. All of the opposing views can’t all be right. I’m not so sure that we are sufficiently ready and willing to start looking to only unfiltered evidence for decision making. I do know that it will be easy to tell when America is ready to start making more informed and thus better decisions, as it will be the day that America has elected it’s first reason based (atheist) President. One can only hope that this change occurs before we have completely wrecked our once great hot rod of a nation.

The Incompatibility of Freedom and Islamic Sensitivity. January 8, 2011

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With over 1.5 billion adherents or nearly 25% of all of people on planet Earth, one could easily make the mistake of believing that Islam is filled with secure and self assured followers, yet it is with the smallest infraction that many Muslims react with outrage and violence. Considering that Islam is the majority religion in over 50 countries, it’s quite shocking to see so many Muslims up in arms over a silly offense like blasphemy. By overreacting to criticism, often with violence, Islam is sending a message to the rest of the world that it is not ready or willing to enter socities based upon freedom. With violent reactions aimed primarily at apostates, Christians, nonbelievers, and Jews, many Muslims tell the rest of the world that Islam is not meant to be tolerable. As much as Islam demands respect in the countries it doesn’t control, it tends to pay very little of the same respect to differing beliefs in it’s own lands. While violence and intolerance is clearly a trait of radical Islam, it’s the doctrine of Islam itself that supports these behaviors. To the moderate Muslim, Islamic doctrine does not endorse violence and intolerance, yet the Quran clearly instructs every follower to kill those that will not convert and lie about the plans to do so. When the Quran instructs followers to spread their faith at any cost, how can any rational person accept that Islam’s goals are to live in peace side by side with people that don’t believe the same way? If Islam truly wants the rest of the world to open it’s arms in embrace, maybe it’s followers should consider removing any instances in their doctrine about killing us and accept that everyone should be free to say whatever they may.

To show that I am reasonable and fair minded about my examination of Islam, I would like to say that Islam offers a much better way of dealing with poverty in Zakat than any Western society I can think of. Zakat is a tax that Muslims pay from their accumulated wealth, which is then given to those that are in need. Even though Zakat is a worthy idea for ending poverty, it’s not without it’s faults. Besides helping the poor, Zakat can also be used to help pay for the spread of Islam. Why is that all religions, with their claims for helping mankind, can’t just do so without indoctrination? If anyone was serious about ending poverty, they would focus the entirety of their poverty tax/tithes on doing so.

Christianity’s Alternate Reality January 5, 2011

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Imagine for a few seconds that you are trapped in an alternate reality where what is fake is taken as real and what is crazy is taken as sane. Done? Now imagine that this backwards alternate reality is colliding with your own and threatening to take over by rewriting your history, your science, and your very purpose. Done? Welcome to the year 2011 on planet Earth.

Since the 50’s Communist scare, beginning with the artificial inclusion of the phrases “In God We Trust” and “One Nation Under God” into our secular democracy, there has been a concerted effort by many Christians to create an alternate reality that allows them to live blissfully in a pseudo world where everything they believe is real and there are no doubts about that at all. The effort towards building upon this pseudo world seems to have ramped up in the last decade. Christians everywhere have been flocking to this shadow world made of search engines that censor out anything against Christianity, a willfully biased online encyclopedia called Conservapedia, several museums that build up the pretend reality of Creationism, both radio and television stations that have been created only for the purpose of spouting out Christian approved news and views, many different dedicated social networking sites that shield Christians away from mingling with heathens and other infidels, modified versions of popular songs to fulfill and replace the Christian’s need for some decent tunes, and a growing number of home schools that work as a whole to ensure that the pseudo world will continue to survive and thrive. For Christians, this pseudo world is their answer to an encroaching reality, a way to have a sustainable future in a world that is quickly leaving them behind.

The alternate reality that Christians have built for themselves could be an important indicator of things to come, for it has long been known that living in denial is a stage of grief. According to the Kubler-Ross model of the five stages of grief, denial is usually a temporary defense and is generally replaced with heightened awareness of positions. We can only hope so.

As a former Christian, I can sympathize with those going through the denial stage. When I first lost my faith I experienced a tremendous amount of grief. I have heard many other stories by ex-Christians about the pain associated with losing faith. If Christianity is indeed grieving, there could soon be an explosion of depression among Christians. If you are a person that is experiencing depression related to losing your faith, don’t despair for there is help. You can start by looking here.

Unifying Reason January 4, 2011

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While I am certain of my ignorance when it comes to the rules of nonprofits like the Freedom From Religion Foundation, I am not so certain that humanism, secularism, atheism, or whatever you want to label it, is getting the most benefit out of having so many splinter groups. I understand that many of these groups play very different roles and understand the importance of diversity, but we should at the very least have a loose coalition for those times when we need a strong unified front to combat our enemies. As I’ve stated, I am not certain what the limitations are on nonprofits and they very well may be required to be a soviergn entity, but I think it is worth speculating about the possibility for a single unifying foundation that is capable of uniting the entire spectrum of secular nonprofits.

I would love to hear what other more knowledgable people have to say regarding this proposal. The FFRF has about 16,000 members and they are our largest National group. Surely we can do better than that. There are mega churches in Texas with more than 16,000 members.

2010 in review January 2, 2011

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The stats helper monkeys at WordPress.com mulled over how this blog did in 2010, and here’s a high level summary of its overall blog health:

Healthy blog!

The Blog-Health-o-Meter™ reads Wow.

Crunchy numbers

Featured image

A Boeing 747-400 passenger jet can hold 416 passengers. This blog was viewed about 3,400 times in 2010. That’s about 8 full 747s.

In 2010, there were 23 new posts, growing the total archive of this blog to 41 posts. There was 1 picture uploaded, taking a total of 18kb.

The busiest day of the year was December 23rd with 56 views. The most popular post that day was Jesus=Love? .

Where did they come from?

The top referring sites in 2010 were twitter.com, facebook.com, paper.li, en.wordpress.com, and refzip.com.

Some visitors came searching, mostly for jesus middle finger, middle finger, jesus, middle finger jesus, and i hate jesus.

Attractions in 2010

These are the posts and pages that got the most views in 2010.

1

Jesus=Love? September 2009
45 comments

2

Errors in Genesis October 2010
17 comments

3

About September 2009
2 comments

4

My response to Terry Mirll’s letter to the Daily Oklahoman editor. December 2010

5

Nature of prayer. October 2010
5 comments

Our Story So Far: Part 2 January 1, 2011

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The following article is a literal interpretation of God’s creation of man. While I fully intend to add heaps of snark, all information presented will be referenced directly from the Bible.

Our story so far last concluded with God’s creation of man and everything else in the Universe. As the story goes and after the all knowing God had approved of his own work, he then decided that he needed a little nap. It was then, with God’s reawakening and further interactions with humanity, that things quickly began to go awry. The all knowing God, allegedly being all knowing and such, somehow did not forsee just how un-good his creations actually were. The all knowing God must have also known in advance how he would deal with the un-goodness of his creations. A bit later into the creation story, but still entirely relevant, God looked down upon his creations and decided that nearly all of them had become so un-good that they were beyond repair. After realizing this, which he would have already known, the loving God decided, regardless of the lives of innocent animals and unborn children, that he would wipe out his own failures by drowning nearly every one of the inhabitants of earth. The biggest problem I have with the Biblical creation story is that an all knowing and all powerful God would have not been capable of creating flawed creations and, even if he was capable of creating flawed creations, an all knowing God would have known and avoided the entire outcome to begin with. Logically, it appears that God created his creations for the sole purpose of destroying them. If Christians take the creation story as a literal account of what actually transpired, then how can they continue to justify a pro-life stance? God is obviously a pro-choice supporter or he would have never allowed himself to perform the global abortion of humanity, which ironically must have included at least a few women carrying late term fetuses. It stands to reason that God is the most prolific abortionist of all time.