Posts tagged ‘God’

July 14, 2012

Stop Blaming God

The Bible is often used to give credibility to statements. Preachers back up their sermons by citing Biblical phrases offering book, chapter and verse, an invitation for the congregation to follow along and many do. The layman does the same but in a less rehearsed way. A favorite heard often lately “If there is a man who lies with a male as those who lie with a woman, both of them have committed a detestable act; they shall surely be put to death.” (Lev 20:13) is one of the Bible quotes concerning gay sex. Rom 1:26-27, 1 Tim 1:9-10, 1 Cor 6:9, Genesis 19:24-25 and Lev 18:22-23 also condemn the practice on threat of death and eternal damnation. You don’t have to actually engage in the act. Condoning and encouraging it counts the same in God’s eyes. Being an “accessory to the crime” is punishable too and God has inventive ways of retribution according to the stories of the Bible so it’s life and death serious.

It’s the Gospel

When a person is opposed to gay marriage, sooner or later, the Bible is usually part of their argument. That should be end of discussion. God condemns it and He is the highest authority. If you are for marriage equality you are against God and are therefore a heretic or at least misguided. To use the Bible as a moral compass and legal decree, one must assume the ancient text is the inspired word of the Almighty Himself. If that’s true then other Bible quotes are just as valid. The above passages pertaining to homosexuality are taken from the Old Testament as are these: 1 Timothy 2:15 says only women who have children will be spared hell. Prostitution is punished by burning the woman alive according to Leviticus 21:9. Exodus 21:7-10 says men can sell their daughters into slavery. This list of Bible quotes no sane person can condone could go on for page after page.

Not such a credible source

I don’t think any person ever decided to be against gay marriage because of the same book that tells them it’s ok to sell their daughter. Then again maybe they have. People claim the Heavens and the Earth was created by the same God that told them through the words of the Bible that the Sun revolves around a flat Earth. I think people who oppose gayness are repulsed by the sexual act which translates to immorality. If it grosses you out then it’s gross, period. Other people, such as me, draw the immoral line at harm. Allowing children to be hungry is immoral for example. Gay male sex is just as disgusting to me as any hetero male but it’s not immoral – as if it’s up to me to judge one way or another in the first place.

The Point?

It’s not God, it’s you. Admit it. I can somewhat respect an honest intolerance but how reprehensible is a cowardly person who hides behind an entity unaccountable to anyone? “How convenient” to quote the Church Lady of SNL fame.

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February 1, 2012

We’re all agnostic

It’s true. Everyone is, by definition, an agnostic. A small percentage of us admit to it but it’s true for all. If you consider yourself religious and chances are great that you do, whether you like it or not, again, by definition you are agnostic. Great, now that it’s settled we can all get along.

Allow me to explain

Theism is the belief in one god. Atheism rejects the concept of god(s). Agnosticism follows the gospel of ‘I don’t know.’ It sees shades of gray. It is a nuanced term which requires a more complex explanation but can be summed up within three major categories of thought.
1) The Pragmatic or apathetic agnostic, as Bill Maher often describes his view: (a) there is no credible evidence that proves or disproves a deity and (b) if there is an omnipotent creator it is not affecting the natural order of life so the question is pointless. 2) Agnostic atheists do not believe in a deity but are not certain one does not exist. 3) The agnostic theist admits to a belief in a higher power but it’s not necessarily the God as defined in popular religious texts.

One thing binds us all

People have faith or belief in God but no matter how strong the faith, how certain the belief it’s not a knowledge of God. They do not know. The only difference in the agnostic theist and theist is one defines their views honestly. What’s so difficult in admitting you don’t know? You don’t, you know. Atheists don’t know either. All atheists will admit they don’t know for certain whether or not a very broadly defined alien entity beyond our comprehension (call it God) lives in the expansive universe. Lack of absolute certainty is universal and total.

The payoff

Theists receive the ultimate reward for their loyalty, an eternal afterlife in paradise. Some might reinforce their belief with Pascal’s Wager, the ‘what if you’re wrong’ argument aka hedging your spiritual bets, nothing to lose but everything to win. It’s a selfish reason to adopt a selfless philosophy but let’s not quibble about motive. What if non-believers are wrong? That we cannot say but we do understand the ill effects of faith.

The truth and its consequences

To properly embrace faith a person must suspend logic and rational thought. According to ancient texts of the Abrahamic religions the Sun revolves around a flat Earth. There are those who can do this and those who cannot. The two live in separate realities given what we perceive to be true is our reality, a circumstance that leads to misunderstandings and unintended consequences. Those who are comfortable with accepting the preposterous, unlikely and unverified to be true and indisputable make very poor decisions which ultimately affect us all.

I cannot know if a deity exists and neither can you

Is there a God and what role does He play if any? Is there an afterlife and what is the correct path to get there? If you answer this question honestly, that you are uncertain then you qualify as an agnostic theist at least. If you answered dishonestly and according to your faith then what good is your faith to you or society if it’s rooted in dishonesty? Agnostics distinguish themselves with three little words ‘I don’t know.’ It’s true of everyone. We are all agnostic.

Religion does three things quite effectively: divides people, controls people and deludes people.

~ Carlspie McKinney

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November 23, 2011

Heroic Battle to Save Christmas

‘Tis the season. Christmas warriors are again warning that the true meaning of the season is becoming a nostalgic thing of the past. “Remember to keep Christ in Christmas” is a popular saying this time of year. The phrase “happy holiday” is unwelcome and openly vilified by well meaning believers who fear one of the two most sacred Christian traditions is being lost in a wash of political correctness. People, whether friends, relatives or store clerk, will quickly and impatiently remind you that it’s “Merry Christmas!” if any other expression should slip the lips for a forgetful moment.

Half price halleluiah

Let’s assume that the “War on Christmas” ostensibly perpetrated by the far left and their allies, Atheists and radical Muslims, in an effort to fundamentally alter traditional American values has validity. Many think just that. The idea of Christmas has undoubtedly been under attack for many years but those secularist hippies cannot be blamed. The gross commercialization of this holy day has been wholly embraced by the white Christian culture. “Black Friday” is not the anniversary of an attack on Christmas by Muslim fanatics. Rather, it is an accurate representation of the real reason for the season.

Santa is a voyeur who watches me sleep?

Santa Clause is a magical and benevolent yet strangely disturbing character. Firstly, it’s a lie told to trusting children. It’s somewhat of a relief, however, to find out your parents are liars just knowing this mystical creature doesn’t actually know when you are sleeping, awake, bad or good for goodness sake. That’s one less set of eyes on kids at all times in addition to teachers, God, Jesus and those deceitful parents. What was the purpose, a six year-old may ask, and what else are they lying about? They must have laughed at me when I believed a 300 lb. man squeezed through the narrow chimney, about a billion times in one night.   Santa Clause is a cute concept even though it teaches kids the concept of propaganda, humiliation and skepticism.

Santa takes the Christ out of Christmas and replaces Him with another similar type figure, essentially one that is older, rounder, jollier and acclimated to cold weather.  Christian kids don’t get nearly as excited about the man of Galilee yet their parents, many of them, point to others who they claim demean Christ’s birthday by not saying Merry Christmas. They routinely say that Christmas is being taken out of schools, well, except the yearly Christmas play, parties and two-week Christmas vacation for all schools.

Sweet Baby Jesus

The saviors of Christmas might silently endure the phrase “happy holidays” if those godless, heartless, un-American civil libertarians would silently endure nativity scenes displayed on public venues. Seems innocuous enough, a manger along with the usual cast of characters adorning the library lawn for a few weeks a year. It is. It’s absolutely harmless and if other displays of religion were routinely tolerated, such as a mosque near the 9-11 Memorial, an argument, though constitutionally flawed, could be made for the manger. According to overwhelming evidence, the U.S. is a secular country therefore the pro-American stance is that church and state remain separate. It’s just a manger but it’s a founding principle that is at stake.

RIP

It’s generally those who would argue that this is a Christian nation who believes Christmas is being marginalized. Even this faction must agree that it is the Christian culture that killed Christmas long ago. There is no war to be waged. Happy Holidays everyone!

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April 30, 2011

Concept of God

The concept of God has evolved through the ages.  It has been the subject of intense contemplation and debate by philosophers, religious institutions and the ‘common man’ as well.

When the term ‘God’ is heard, many images come to mind depending on who hears it ranging from a father figure that controls the destiny of all men to an amalgamation of natural law to disbelief of any such notion. Because of this wide array of perceptions people have been shunned, excommunicated, tortured and killed when their viewpoint did not match the prevailing authoritative opinion.

Man’s perception of God can be characterized by using an old analogy.

Four blind persons were walking down the road when they came across an elephant.  None had encountered such an animal so they decided to examine different parts of the elephant by touch then compare experiences so as to identify it.

The person at the front end touched the trunk and deduced it was a snake. One crouched down and felt its legs then reported that this must not be an animal at all but a tree.  The person at the rear agreed that it wasn’t an animal because they touched its tail and concluded this object was a rope.  The fourth blind person touched the elephant’s side and thought it to be a wall. All four persons were describing the same thing yet reached very different conclusion.

Their only commonality is that they were all wrong.  The elephant represents the concept of God, the four blind persons, various religions of the world.  All are describing the same thing but none of their descriptions can be validated.  Therefore, “one should conclude that no individual religion has a corner on truth, but that all should be viewed as essentially equally valid or invalid” (Horner)

The contemplation of God is philosophical in nature.  God and philosophy have been inherently intertwined since the beginning of humankind.   Early philosophers such as Aristotle, Plato and Socrates were not affiliated with any particular religion, at least as it would be described by today’s standards.

These historically significant philosophers sought to explain the world and the concept of God by submitting metaphorical explanations to reprove their arguments.  Their general concept of the universe was that God was simply a metaphor for the universe.  They used this dual definition to provide a legitimate explanation for man’s existence.

This philosophical approach to understanding essentially ended when the Christianity dominated the rule of law and defined truths for people instead of questioning its own philosophies as the earlier intellectuals did.

Today, the concept of God for most persons of religious faith is somewhat finite, an almost human apparition with omnipotent qualities.  This is opposed to early philosophers and those who consider themselves rational thinkers.

In time, mankind will likely, albeit slowly, discount the religious definition of God for a more complex, less certain conception, much the same as those great philosophers thousands of years previous.

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April 17, 2011

A Critical Issue

Critical thinking is loosely defined as a conscientious, competent, reflective and reasonable thought process.  A critically thoughtful person has the ability to pose suitable questions, assimilate pertinent information in an organized manner, creatively and efficiently reason this information logically then come to a trustworthy and reliable conclusion.

This ability enables such a person to successfully navigate their lives in a world that bombards one with conflicting information.  The aptitude to think critically can only be learned; it is not inherent.

The critically thinking person is a critical evaluator of information; they are driven to search for evidence and reasons.  They develop this skill by cultivating particular patterns of thought such as learning to identify unfounded types of arguments and understanding the method by which to postulate and support merits.

The critically thinking person has both the skills necessary to seek out truth, evidence and reasons in addition to having a sufficient disposition to search for these things.

Similar concepts such as decision making, reasoning, logic and problem solving are associated with critical thinking.  Decision making entails evaluating advantages gained or lost if a course of action is followed, a process determined by specific criteria.

Reasoning involves reaching a conclusion beginning with a specific premise or given information.  Logic is concerned with the scrutinizing of argumentation which is the ability to construct and analyze arguments utilizing specific criteria.  Problem solving refers to narrowing alternatives so as to come to a favorable outcome.

Occam’s Razor principle is but one example of how critical thinking is practically employed.  This centuries-old principle remains a staple of the scientific thought process to this day.  Simply stated, ‘All things being equal, the simplest explanation is probably the correct one.’

Atheists have used this example of critical thought, specifically Newton’s version, to debunk the existence of God. However, they themselves are not sufficiently employing the critical thinking process.  While it is true that the existence of a God cannot be proven, it can neither be disproved as well.  It leads one to wonder about other aspects of their lives that they claim to know as a true.

A critical thinker is quite unashamed to admit they do not know even when they choose to believe.

Critical thinking allows a person to think independently and to automatically question other’s beliefs as well as their own.  Critical thinkers are inquirers.  They investigate issues without bias and continually ask questions which challenge authority, traditions, beliefs, doctrines, dogmas and the status quo in general.

Critical thinking is not simply the acquisition and retention of facts nor is it a skill which is used as one sees fit.  Once exercised, it becomes an integral part of one’s inner self, a tool that is utilized without conscious thought.  No point of view is summarily dismissed or accepted.  It is examined and challenged.  It is also, unfortunately, a far under-used commodity.