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Archive for the ‘religion’ Category

‘Tis a Sad Day in The Old Country

Posted by honestpoet on January 2, 2010

A lot of my ancestors come from Ireland, so I’m sad to report this tidbit: starting January 1, 2010, blasphemy is now illegal there, punishable by a sizable fine. So Atheist Ireland has published a list of banned quotes in their attempts to draw attention to this travesty of jurisprudence (they rightfully assert that the law should be protecting people, not ideas) and get it reversed.

I’m sure, at some level, the good members of the Oireachtas are hoping to protect people…probably hoping to prevent incidents of retaliation, like when Muslims kill people when they get their panties in a bunch (their religious feelings being, apparently, more important than someone else’s life) like with the Danish cartoons, or that documentary, the maker of which (Theo van Gogh) ended up assassinated in the street in Amsterdam (if you haven’t watched it yet, you really should check out Religulous, which we watched again this Christmas). Who knows, maybe the Catholic extremists have been inspired, or at least someone fears they have. Maybe some folks miss the violence of the Troubles.

Sigh. But we don’t protect people from violent religious nutbars by silencing criticism of religion. We do it by talking about religions in a reasonable manner. ALL religions that have lasted on this planet have learned to tolerate dissent. It’s how they adapt and evolve. Yikes, my Irish brethren! Get your heads out of your arses! If instead the Irish Catholic Church has been inspired by the Taliban, I’d say they’re headed for trouble, for sure.

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Posted in atheism, fundamentalism, Islam, Muslims, religion, separation of church and state | Tagged: , , , , , , , | 5 Comments »

Please Don’t Divorce Us! Stand Up for Love (and Sign this Letter)

Posted by honestpoet on February 17, 2009

Look at these lovely, loving people and tell me they don’t have the right to pursue happiness like anyone else.

Go to this link and add your name to this letter to the Supreme Court.

We, the undersigned, share President Barack Obama’s view
that for too long, issues of LGBT rights have been exploited
by those seeking to divide us. It’s time to move beyond
polarization and live up to our founding promise of equality
by treating all our citizens with dignity and respect.”

Yet, on December 19, 2008, Ken Starr and the Prop 8 Legal
Defense Fund filed legal briefs defending the constitutionality
of Prop 8 and seeking to nullify the marriages of 18,000
devoted same-sex couples solemnized before Prop 8 passed.

The Supreme Court will hear oral arguments in this case on
March 5, with a decision expected within 90 days.
We, the undersigned, ask that the Court enforce the equality
promised to each of us by our constitution and invalidate Prop
8. So doing will protect all loving, committed couples in
California — including the 18,000 who said “I do” last year —
and prevent the initiative process from being a tool for
stripping vulnerable minorities of precious constitutional rights.

As Americans who believe in the rule of law and fundamental
civil rights, we know that Ken Starr and the Prop 8 Legal
Defense Fund’s shameful attempt to nullify equal protection
and all these bonded unions will be condemned in the eyes of
history. We know that, ultimately, love will prevail, no matter
how hard they try to fight it.

Thanks again, Nan.

Posted in anti-establishment clause, Building a Better World, Christianofascism, freedom, gay rights, marriage, monoculture, politics, religion, separation of church and state, sexual freedom | Leave a Comment »

Jesus and Mo: More Comic Relief

Posted by honestpoet on February 8, 2009

Here’s another great source for comic relief I’ll be adding to my blogroll. Too much.

Posted in humor, Jesus, religion | Tagged: , , | Leave a Comment »

Biological Underpinnings for Spirituality

Posted by honestpoet on December 25, 2008

Because I recognize that our consciousness is centered in the brain, I always figured they’d eventually figure out how spirituality and the brain are related. Well, this article reports how they’ve shown that when an area in the right parietal lobe is suppressed (whether through lesion, injury, or meditation), one is more spiritual. It’s the “me-defining” area, so it makes sense, considering that the key to spirituality, as the various scriptures point out, is selflessness.

It’s way cool, imo, that they’re proving this scientifically. I was talking to my daughter yesterday about how important it is to fight our instincts for selfishness. Of course, Ayn Rand would roll over in her grave, and it’s true that martyrdom and survival are opposing goals, but it’s also true that for those for whom greed is a value, happiness is an unattainable goal. When one focuses constantly on the self and acquisition, enough is never enough, and happiness recedes from your approach like a mirage in the desert.

I also like it because it shows how even atheists can practice a beneficent spirituality (good for themselves and for others) without requiring them to subscribe to a belief in the supernatural that they find irrational and therefore unacceptable. The article also points out that this egolessness is sometimes experienced by appreciating — and “losing oneself in” — the beauty of nature or art, something I’ve long found to be personally rewarding.

Posted in atheism, buddhism, consciousness, mysticism, neuroscience, religion, spirituality | Leave a Comment »

Sam Harris on the Importance of Breaking Religion’s Spell

Posted by honestpoet on November 18, 2008

Here’s an excellent bit from the question and answer period after a debate with Rabbi Wolpe. I’ve been watching a lot of Mr. Harris on YouTube, and I have to say that I like him even more than Richard Dawkins. Don’t get me wrong, I love Dawkins, but, as an American, Harris is more aware of the need to speak with the religious politely and without snarkiness. Dawkins can come off a bit smug, which is a mistake when dealing with the American religious, who already feel beset and belittled, and whose defense mechanisms thereby fly up as soon as the subject is broached with any sort of superior attitude.

Here’s another bit: Sam Harris at the TruthDig conference, talking about how beliefs have consequences, and why the taboo on not examining religious beliefs needs to be lifted.

Here he is talking about the relative morality of various books of the Bible and what would happen if as a society we actually followed it.

And one more, at the Idea Festival in Aspen, where he disputes a lot of common misconceptions about atheism:

If you’d like to hear more of what he has to say, here’s the link to his website, which includes links to a number of articles and videos (including the full debate with Rabbi Wolpe). His thinking is even more in line with my own than Richard Dawkins’s. Dawkins and the rest of the recent crop of atheistic authors turn their backs on mystical experience, whereas Sam Harris, while approaching it as a skeptic, acknowledges that there’s something there to examine that could prove worthwhile, perhaps yielding up that which religions seek but never truly find, tied up as they are in their supernatural superstitions and dogmatism. He’s experienced contemplative states and acknowledges that they can lead to an increase in the ability to experience empathy and compassion, which are clearly in short supply these days.

A neurobiologist, he was motivated to start writing by the events of 9/11, and his focus is on the affect of beliefs on behaviors. Some people have painted him as some sort of warmonger Islamophobe, but that’s hardly the case when you read the suspect passages in context. Does he say that people holding the beliefs indoctrinated by Islam can be led therewith to bad behavior? Absolutely, but that’s hardly the same thing.

Posted in atheism, Building a Better World, catholicism, Christianity, Christianofascism, climate change, economic crisis, evolution, feminism, freedom, fundamentalism, gay rights, genocide, global warming, hegemony, history, homophobia, Iraq, Islam, Jesus, Jews, Koran, language, literature, marriage, mental illness, misogyny, monoculture, morality, Muslims, peace, psychiatry, religion, religion and science, Richard Dawkins, ridiculous beliefs, science, secular humanism, secularism, skepticism, terrorism, the Bible | Tagged: , , , , , , , , | 4 Comments »

Sarah Palin Linked to Second Witch-Hunter and Spiritual Warfare Network That Sees Catholics As Demonic

Posted by honestpoet on October 24, 2008

Nevermind Hindus, Muslims, or Jews. Even most Protestants don’t have it right, and a civil war among the protestants will be necessary to purge the churches of demonic influence before Jesus will come again. I just read this article over at HuffPo, and I have to say that I think Sarah Palin should be kept as far away from power as possible, not just in this election, but for forever.

These do not seem like nice people.

Although the terms ‘intercessory prayer’ and ‘prayer warrior’ are widely used in Christianity, Sarah Palin has been been claimed, as a member, by one very specific and well defined prayer-warfare network: the Global Apostolic Prayer Network, formerly called the “Spiritual Warfare Network”. This ‘prayer warfare’ network considers Catholics, and everyone else who does not share its particular interpretation of Christianity to be under demon influence and damned to hell; it hunts witches and is mapping out “demon influences” in cities and towns across America.

Global Apostolic Prayer Network leaders compare Catholicism to Freemasonry and have conducted prayer warfare which they claim may have helped to kill Mother Theresa. One top leader and apostle of this spiritual warfare movement endorses the activities of church-based Central American death squads.

On September 6, 2008, Norwegian Spiritual Warfare leader Jan-Aage Torp confirmed that Sarah Palin was currently a ‘prayer warrior’ in Mary Glazier’s prayer-warfare network.

Glazier has claimed that in 1995 her network drove an employee of the Alaska State Prison System, whom Glazier had accused of witchcraft, out of Alaska with ‘spiritual warfare’. As Glazier told Spiritled Woman Magazine,

“As we continued to pray against the spirit of witchcraft, her incense altar caught on fire, her car engine blew up, she went blind in her left eye, and she was diagnosed with cancer.”

And just in case any of you kind, forgiving Catholics want to pray that these people actually hear Christ’s message of the brotherhood of man, don’t bother:

The Global Apostolic Prayer Network…claims that a planetary-level demon spirit blocks prayers of Catholics from reaching Heaven.

All I can say is, wow. What century is this? Even after this election (which I’m pretty optimistic will NOT land Sarah the Prayer Warrior anywhere near the White House), I think we need to be vigilant that this Global Apostolic Prayer Network not continue to subvert democracy and rationalism around the world.

Posted in anti-establishment clause, catholicism, Christianity, Christianofascism, fundamentalism, Islam, Jesus, Jews, John McCain, mental illness, monoculture, Muslims, politics, prayer, religion, ridiculous beliefs, separation of church and state, terrorism, witchcraft | Tagged: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 7 Comments »

Campbell Brown Nails It Again: So WHAT if He WAS an Arab?

Posted by honestpoet on October 15, 2008

I’m really starting to love Campbell Brown. When the ignorant lady at a McCain rally recently said she couldn’t trust Obama because he’s an Arab (she didn’t quite manage a sentence as complex as that, but it’s what she tried to say), McCain corrected her by saying that no, Obama is a decent family man (that’s the opposite of Arab?). Ms. Brown decided that the underlying assumption that Arab and Muslim are slurs finally needed to be addressed:

Now, anyone who reads this blog knows I’m not keen on religion, and that one of the things I am keen on is the separation of Church and State. And key to that separation is the idea that it shouldn’t matter what religion someone is (despite the fundies’ paranoia and Turkey’s misunderstanding of what secularism means, it does not mean getting rid of religion entirely) when they run for public office. It also shouldn’t matter what ethnicity someone is, which is more to the point with the word Arab, though I know for the ignorant folk like this McCain supporter Arab and Muslim are synonymous, since they’re clueless of the fact that there are actually secular and Christian Arabs, and, for all I know, Buddhist and Hindu and Wiccan and Zoroastrian Arabs, as well, especially here in America where they are free to choose.

America is not a Christian country. America is a free country where people of all religions or no religion can and must coexist, and I’m glad some people in the media are starting to speak up about it.

Posted in anti-establishment clause, atheism, Barack Obama, buddhism, Christianity, Christianofascism, freedom, fundamentalism, Islam, John McCain, language, monoculture, Muslims, politics, religion, ridiculous beliefs, secularism, separation of church and state, witchcraft | Tagged: , , , , , , , , | 9 Comments »

McCain’s Spiritual Advisor is a Nut Who Wants Holy War

Posted by honestpoet on October 3, 2008

Here’s a scary video for you. This guy is a total nut. (He’s also quite wrong about the founding of America, btw, since our founders were actually Masons who, as their iconography shows, are very sympathetic to Islam.) At one point he says, in a frenzy, that “we were created for the conflict; we get off on warfare.” That sounds a lot more like Constantianism than Christianity to me.

Posted in anti-establishment clause, Christianofascism, Constantinianism, fundamentalism, history, Islam, John McCain, Koran, Muslims, politics, religion, separation of church and state, terrorism, the Bible | Tagged: , , , , , , | 9 Comments »

American Terrorism in Dayton, Ohio: Muslim Women & Children Gassed

Posted by honestpoet on September 29, 2008

Here’s a sad article about a horrifying incident of anti-Islamic terrorism perpetrated by Americans right here on our soil, against women and children attending a prayer service at a mosque. I think it’s no coincidence that this occurred after the distribution of fear-mongering anti-Islamic DVDs in newspapers by a pro-McCain group. I agree with the author of the article:

John McCain has a moral obligation to publicly censure the Clarion Fund; to denounce the inflammatory, anti-Muslim message of Obsession; and to do everything in his power to stop any further campaign activities by his supporters that have the potential to incite violence

What I really don’t get is that those who most fear and hate Islam are Christians, presumably, right? Would the Christ of the gospels have gassed women and children? I think not.

Posted in Christianofascism, freedom, Islam, John McCain, Muslims, prayer, religion, terrorism | Tagged: , , , , | Leave a Comment »

“Spare Me Your Reverse Snobbery”

Posted by honestpoet on September 23, 2008

Here’s a fabulous article from The New Republic about the anti-elite snobbery, written by someone from a small town who’s tired of hearing that Sarah Palin represents her. A must read for anyone who (like me) comes from a non-privileged background but doesn’t think that means we’ve got to agree with folk like the divine Ms. P.

Here’s a teaser:

Now I appreciate the effectiveness of insulting stereotyping as much as the next pundit, but I’m getting exceedingly tired of hearing about how much I scorn Sarah Palin because she is a hick chick from a hick state who didn’t go to Harvard. Please. I grew up in freaking Southeast Tennessee, in a smallish suburb of Chattanooga known as Hixson. (That’s right, pronounced hick-son.) I have spent more time at mudbogs, tractor pulls, county fairs, pig-roasts, dirt-bike races, and Wal-Marts than most of the anti-elite conservative whiners flapping their gums and wringing their hands over poor disrespected Sarah. I attended public high school, and the bulk of my classmates had Appalachian accents so thick they make Palin sound like a network anchor. The boys were hunters. The girls–myself included–had absolutely enormous hair. If any of my friends wasn’t a Christian, she had the good sense not to mention it to the rest of us, lest we try to save her soul at the countless revivals, church camps, and youth retreats we all attended. I was always smart but have never been an in-tel-lec-tu-al. (Shhhhh. Don’t tell my bosses.) And despite graduating second in my class, it never even occurred to me to apply to an Ivy League university. I went to college at Vanderbilt in Nashville–on scholarship, lest anyone assume that my family was upper-crusty.

Just like Ralph Peters, I KNOW Sarah Palin. Hell, in my younger days, I WAS Sarah Palin. (Well, minus being a crack shot.) The difference is I don’t fetishize my regular-gal roots and assume they make me special–much less qualified to run the country. And while I have indeed witnessed my fair share of cultural snobbery from some of my better-credentialed, coastal colleagues over the years, I’m not so defensive about where I come from that I feel the need to champion a wildly unqualified fellow hick whose politics I disagree with as a way to get back at everyone I know who has ever made a sniffy comment about big hair or small towns.

Posted in Christianofascism, feminism, fundamentalism, John McCain, politics, religion, separation of church and state, the Bible | Tagged: , , | Leave a Comment »