Posts tagged Atheist
Posts tagged Atheist
Honoring Albert Ellis, Skeptic, Humanist, Atheist & Founder of REBT (Rational Emotive Behavior Therapy) and grandfather all Cognitive and Cognitive Behavioral Therapies, on the 100th anniversary of his birth.
Image via FFRF
Is God Great? A Debate - Christopher Hitchens vs John Lennox
It’s great to see this debate is finally available for online viewing!
Backstory: Christopher Hitchens visited Alabama a few years ago in an effort to bring a much needed dose of reason and rationality to my neck of the woods.
Along the way I noticed the infamous “Go To Church Or the Devil Will Get You!” sign off I65 between Montgomery and Birmingham. My wife took the below pic on a later trip.
It was a long drive but well worth it. When the debate started, Hitchens didn’t seem to be in top form—probably due to the cancer he had not yet been diagnosed with—but he handled Lennox rather easily since the good mathematician reverted to sermonizing, basically arguing that the historical evidence for Christianity and Jesus is strong and cited the Bible itself as his infallible reference.
I had thought since Lennox often touted his scientific background when promoting his books and appearances, he would at least try to fabricate some sort of scientific evidence or mathematical proof to support his views but alas, this was not the case.
I remember fondly standing in line after the debate waiting to get my copy of God Is Not Great and Thomas Paine’s Rights of Man: A Biography signed and being surprised that the Hitchens line was much longer than the Lennox line. No small matter since the debate was being held at a Christian university with a crowd of over 1700 attending.
After about an hour of waiting in line, Christopher signed my books and graciously agreed to let a nice couple in line with me, Robert and Mary Posey, take the picture below with their camera phone which they sent to me a couple of days later.
This is a memory I will cherish always.
A chaplain under Col. Brian Duffy’s command posted an essay entitled “‘No Atheists in foxholes’: Chaplains gave all in World War II” on the base website (implying it represented government policy) which derided the service of atheists in the military in Christian Supremacist terms.
After taking prompt & courageous action in defense of his troops’ 1st Amendment rights, Col. Duffy is now under attack by the extremists of American Family Assn. Christian supremacists.
Signing this petition will express your support for his actions and counter one asking him to reverse his stance.
Please support Col. Brian Duffy by signing this petition.
God’s Commandments VS Man’s Commandments
We are now engaged in an emotional debate about placing the Ten Commandments in courts, schools, and other public places. Proponents maintain that these commandments are the basis of our moral code and our legal system and therefore should be posted in our tax-supported institutions. However, the real reason for such a policy is to convince people that god exists and that it is active in human affairs. You can be certain that if anyone attempted to put the Noble Truths of Buddhism or the commandments of the Koran in those places, one would hear a hue and cry that would not cease until such commandments were removed.
An important argument for not placing this religious icon on tax-supported walls is because they are not only simplistic and naive, but they also reveal an intolerant god who allows no competition and requires constant praise. The Ten Commandments are not and never were the basis of moral law or of our legal system.
The Ten Commandments, supposedly dictated by god to Moses, are merely ten of the many commandments given to the Jews. The Bible has many other commandments. A few examples follow:
God’s commandments are not and never were the basis of human laws and morality. Humans create laws and moral codes for the benefit of humanity, not for the benefit of god.
There are commandments and rules throughout the entire Bible, which need to be updated and revised. You too can find the outdated laws if you read the Bible with thought and logic.
Let us now look at the Ten Commandments of the Judeo-Christian faith, which are held in such reverence and awe.
Frequently it is said, “The Ten Commandments are the best rules for human behavior that have ever been written.” However, we would have no difficulty in coming up with better commandments. The Ten Commandments of Jehovah, the Jewish God, were passed on to the Christians. Omit the “thees” and “thous” for readability.
The Ten Commandments Jehovah ordered the Israelites to follow in Exodus 20 were:
1. To have no Gods other than Jehovah.
2. To make no graven image or likeness.
3. Not to take the name of Jehovah in vain.
4. To rest every seventh day and call that day holy.
5. To honor your father and mother .
6. To never commit murder.
7. To never commit adultery .
8. To never steal.
9. To never swear falsely or give false testimony.
10.To never envy people or covet what they have.
As you evaluate these commandments, you can see they are a mixture of religion and morality .In terms of morality, Benjamin Franklin was willing to throwaway all of the commandments which were not applicable to man. So am I.
Those religious commandments, which were ordered so god would be treated with reverence and respect, could be easily excluded, as they have nothing to do with man’s relationship with man-i.e. morality.
Commandments one through four have little to say in today’s world. They are simply evidence of god’s insatiable desire to be loved, respected, and adored. The first commandment is silly if there is only one god. With far-flung nations and vastly different languages, people in different communities would refer to the same god by different names. How do we know that Allah was not the same as Jehovah? If there is only one god, why is god worried about other gods? Can we tell it, “Hello! There is nobody else.”
If we follow the second commandment, we will have to destroy a significant part of art. The Taliban in Afghanistan did just that by destroying priceless images of Buddha. We are hypocritical in this area as we come up with euphemisms to get around this command.
As to number four, what doctor, politician, clergyman, or mother can rest the seventh day of the week?
Now what can we say about the other six commandments? We can agree they have some relevance to morality and the world today, but they need to be brought up to date. In fact, they would have been improved upon long ago if people did not keep insisting that god wrote the Bible.
The fifth commandment, to honor your father and mother, is fine if you have an honorable father or mother. However, if your mother were a drunken, drug-addicted woman who dropped you at an orphanage, it would be hard for you to honor her. Or suppose your father was one of those males who when asked why he fathered so many illegitimate children and then failed to support them responded, “I can’t help it ‘cause my sperm is so strong.”
The sixth commandment, to never commit murder, is workable, but only if you know the difference between killing and murder. All societies have justified killing in war, self-defense, and to protect their family and property .We should keep that commandment to protect our kith and kin. The anti- abortionists shouting murder should look up the definitions and learn the difference between murder and abortion. They should consult a zoology book and learn the difference between a sperm, egg, fertilized egg, morula, blastula, embryo, fetus, and child. I must admit a certain pessimism concerning this, as they have their marching orders from god and are not subject to reason or logic.
Number seven, never to commit adultery, can be improved upon. Once again we must define our terms before we discuss them. Adultery is defined as sexual intercourse between a married man and a woman not his wife or between a married woman and a man not her husband. That is a very limited aspect of human sexuality. By that definition, oral sex, masturbation, and even sex between unmarried couples are not addressed. We certainly need better guidelines concerning the full range of human sexuality.
Number eight, not to steal, speaks for itself.
Number nine, not to swear falsely or give false testimony, needs to be kept around.
Commandments six, seven, eight, and nine have been in every society since the inception of mankind. They predate Christianity by eons.
Number ten, not to envy and covet, is impossible and against man’s basic instincts. Envy and covetousness are the backbone of our capitalist system. Both envy and covetousness are frequently worthwhile and lead to activities that will satisfy acceptable needs and desires. In many instances, envy leads one to strive and work toward a worthwhile goal. It may even stimulate one to become a better person. The problem comes when envy and covetousness get out of hand and lead to antisocial behavior such as stealing.
So my friends say, “Okay John, if you’re so smart, why don’t you come up with a better set of commandments?” And I have.
I begin with a caveat. These commandments do not come from on high. They are not delivered on gold plates, tablets of stone, or written in concrete. They are subject to changes and amendments. They should be discussed frequently and changed as technology advances and society changes. So here goes with the first edition of the commandments according to man:
1. You will accept responsibility for all of your actions.
2.You will honor and respect those individuals who have nurtured, cared for, taught, and been kind to you.
3. You will not commit murder.
4. You will not steal.
5. You will not lie
6. You will be charitable with those assets which are not necessary for your health and well-being.
7. You will use your sexuality in such a manner as not to hurt yourself or others.
Since seven is my lucky number and I believe I in luck, I will stop here. I will leave it to the reader to, pick them apart, criticize them, and come forth with better commandments.
For those of you who do not want to accept my seven commandments, may I suggest that the first ten amendments of the Bill of Rights be placed on public walls?
If it were not for our Founding Fathers who recognized my right to freedom of expression, some religious nut would have put me in jail for writing this book! The religious fanatic would have claimed that I violated the third commandment.
god.com by Dr. John A. Henderson
Okay, if you managed to get to this point, I assume you consider the above excerpt fairly interesting and worth your time. That being agreed upon, I would like to invite all readers of this post to contribute their own “Ten Commandments” or suggestions:-)
I admire Dr. Henderson for his contributions to the world and all he has accomplished throughout his life. I also respect him for having the courage to write this book, even though he waited till end of his career to do so.
Although I’m against the idea of ‘commandments’ in the first place, if commandments must exist, I think the ‘Christian’ commandments as well as Dr. Henderson’s seven can be improved upon and added to and I am very confident that many of you are capable of doing just that.
Peace, love and all that other good stuff…TPO
“One of the most important things you learn from the internet is that there is no ‘them’ out there. It’s just an awful lot of ‘us’.”
— Douglas Adams, August 29, 1999
This quote comes from a very prescient article first published in the News Review section of The Sunday Times on August 29th 1999.
Source: How to Stop Worrying and Learn to Love the Internet
Although “the Department of Defense currently does not allow humanists to identify as humanists on their official records… if a humanist dies, then they can be buried under a humanist headstone.”
Very encouraging, take that DOD!
"Knowing how to think empowers you far beyond those who know only what to think."
— Neil deGrasse Tyson
Lizzie Crocker on why Susan Sarandon and other powerful women are distancing themselves from the word.
Susan Sarandon refers to herself as a humanist instead of feminist for political reasons. What do you think of the distinction? Does being humanist eradicate the need for the word “feminist”?
As someone noted in the comment section of the article, there are certain aspects of humanism that overlap in some ways with feminism, but the two are separate philosophies. That being said, I think deciding to back away from the term “feminist” because it has been demonized and distorted by it’s enemies is a personal choice just like that made by those who choose to back away from the term “atheist” or “liberal” for similar reasons.
Personally, I don’t think this is a winning strategy because whatever label one decides to embrace, it too will eventually be transfigured into some unrecognizable caricature of it original meaning. A modern example would be the term “progressive” which was meant to be a replacement for “liberal.”
W. Kamau Bell
When KellyAnne Kitchin began home schooling her three sons three years ago, she had difficulty finding curriculum programs that fit her atheist and humanist beliefs.
So Kitchin, 33, cobbled together what she could. She left out one geography textbook’s description of the earth as God’s creation and another’s disdain for Darwin, and substituted her own point of view — that no supernatural powers guide human beings, who alone have the power to improve the world.
She also found many online forums for home-schoolers were unwelcoming. Some had statements faith members needed to agree to. On others she was made to feel unwelcome because of her lack of beliefs.
So Kitchin has formed an online group of like-minded home-schoolers from across the country. She hopes to create a lending library of resources that humanist, atheist and other nonbelieving home-schoolers can use with confidence.