Monthly Archives: December 2007

FSM 2 v ID 0

from The Frame Problem via Daily Kos

Remember in 2005 when advocates for the Flying Spaghetti Monster played a major role in having Intelligent Design removed from Kansas public school science classes?

Well this time they’ve managed to stop it happening at the Polk County School in Tampa, Florida.

I congratulate Bobby and his fellow Pastafarians

 

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more atheist letters

Todays Sydney Morning Herald newspaper had seven (7) letters to the editor under the banner: In the beginning, there was a set of universal values. All basically saying that we don’t need a god to give us a moral authority. These were in response to a letter yesterday under the banner: We cannot have Christian values without God’s laws and mercy. Which in turn was a response to a letter the day before titled: Beware of confusing religious values and beliefs.

One of the underlying themes in the letters today is the theory that if you take away god then there is nothing stopping you killing, stealing, cheating, etc. Which is just so ludicrous it’s ridiculous. Religious people just don’t think it through, here are some points all religious people should consider before they try and say that ‘without god there are no morals’:

  1. Which God – there are many religions on this planet and they all have their morals; so which one is right?
  2. Other Societies – there are billions of people on this planet who don’t believe in your particular god, many don’t even believe in a god, they aren’t all killing each other.
  3. If your God no longer existed – think what would happen if your god didn’t exist, would you suddenly start killing, stealing, etc; I’d like to think not.

There are also a few more points on my FAQ 1 page.

As I said the other day, there are quite a few letters to the editor lately which are quite critical of religion and Christianity, and I am very heartened by this.

 

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RRS, Breaking The Spell and Smoking

There have been some interesting debates recently in regard to the tactics Rational Response Squad (RRS) use. Some do not like the very “in your face” style that RRS use in ‘promoting’ atheism. Others, like myself, can see that various tactics are necessary in order to promote a point of view, whatever that point of view is. I don’t agree with everything that RRS says and does, however, I read their blogs and essays and find some of them very good, hence the link on my site. I also read a lot of other atheist blogs and don’t agree with everything they say, or the way they say it, either. Such is the diversity of life and views on everything, from religion, to sports, to cars, to whatever.

We can agree to disagree on some of the tactics used, but we (all atheists) need to remember that all that binds us together is no belief in god(s). The main aim, I see, is to reduce the power and influence religion has on everyone’s daily lives (separation of Church and State, conflicts between different religions, etc).

Which made me think – What do people want to happen to religion, I’d love to hear your views.

Co-incidentally I have recently started reading Daniel C. Dennett’s book ‘Breaking the Spell’. Dennett, like many others, is of the opinion that science can, and should, study religion. Like many others I am also of the opinion that religion should be held up to scientific, philosophical and general study and debate. Religion should not be above criticism when it is warranted.

In Dennett’s book he poses the question: “What do we know about the future of religion?”. Three of Dennett’s proposals are:

Religion is in its death throes… in which religion plays at most a ceremonial role.
Religions transform … into … creed less associations selling self help… … more like a sports fan.
Religion diminishes in prestige and visibility, rather like smoking…

I particularly like the last proposal and his analogy to smoking:

…it is tolerated, since there are those who say they can’t live without it, but it is discouraged, and teaching religion to impressionable young children is frowned upon in most societies and actually outlawed in others….

Where I live (and in most parts of Australia) smoking is banned in all indoor public places, in fact some local councils are looking at banning smoking in some outdoor public places. Advertising is banned in all media (though the movie industry has been clever/evil in promoting smoking) and cigarette packets carry health warnings. It has been proven that not only is smoking harmful to the user, but also to the innocent bystanders. It is getting to the stage where smoking is only permitted in the home or special places for smokers (it’s even banned in cars if children are on-board). Thus as much as possible, without actually banning it, smoking has been greatly limited and the impact on young impressionable people has been reduced.

I quite like the analogy between smoking and religion and would like religion to go the way of smoking. Where it used to be thought of a good idea, but has since proven to be not so, and also not necessary. It is still permitted but severely frowned upon if you try and inflict it on anyone else.

 

So what do you want to be the future for religion?

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Amazing Christian Logic

Because something is unbelievable, you should believe in it.

From The Australian an article on the end for God, which I thought was a good atheist piece until I got toward the end:

You’d have thought … that the Son of God … would enter the world in a way that would leave no doubt who he was or that he existed.

But he chose instead to come in a way that ensured just about the maximum room for doubt; …

That God would choose to come among us in such a way is so strange, so inexplicable, so unbelievable, it compels us to believe.

I would have thought that it would compel you to think it was all a load of rubbish, but hey, that’s just me.

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East West 101 ep3

Sorry for the delay, but here’s my quick review on East West 101 from last week.

It seems like this show is going to cover every nationality and religion by the time it’s finished. This week (well last week actually, seeing as I’m writing this 4 days after the event) centered on a couple of drug dealers, and an innocent bystander, being shot and the hunt for the killer(s). A couple of the suspects were of Pacific Islander descent, so Sonny plays a bigger role in this episode. The main suspect was Greek, and the drug dealers were Lebanese (I think I remembered that right) so we cover a few nationalities tonight.

Meanwhile Ray is completely disintegrating and being investigated by the internal affairs squad in reference to the murder of the drug dealer who sold the drugs to his son.

This week the religion covered was Catholic or Anglican (didn’t quite get which) of which the character Sonny used to attend the particular church in this episode. There is an excellent scene where Sonny is trying to get some information from the priest/minister. Sonny accuses the priest of not helping the unemployed youth in his parish, as he says:

If you are not part of the solution, you are part of the problem.

Sonny accuses the priest of knowing that most of the money that the women were donating to the church came from the ‘ill gotten gains’ of their sons; but not doing anything about it.

usual disclaimer – I try and remember what happens and then write my view on it; so some details may be a bit inaccurate.

This weeks episode covers the slaying of a Vietnamese couple.

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In the news

There has been some excellent letters to the editor in the papers recently. Such as the one in response to Fred Nile and company trying to ban a new Muslim School. Max’s suggestion – close all religious schools. Couldn’t agree more.

David from AFA directed a response, titled ‘War on Religious Vilification‘, to Cardinal Pell, after Pell said religion has been unfairly blamed for wars.

I don’t know if it’s just that I’m noticing it more, or if it really is an upsurge in atheists writing into the paper, but there certainly seems to be more people quite willing to ‘have a go’ at the religious these days.

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Archbishop Turns Atheist?

from shm.com.au

The Archbishop of Canterbury, Dr Rowan Williams, the leader of the world’s Anglicans, has described the Christmas story of the three wise men as nothing but a “legend” and says not all followers must believe in the virgin birth of Jesus.

Well you don’t say.

The Archbishop also went on to say:

…there was little evidence the three wise men had existed.

I could have told him that. There’s also little evidence of Jesus, Moses, Noah, and a whole lot of other people mentioned in the bible, had ever existed.

He also said:

…the son of God was likely not born in December.

If Dr Williams keeps this up he’ll end up being an atheist. 😆

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