Showing all posts for #Secular Vs. Religious
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He Boiled For Your Shirt

Published April 19th, 2011 by Bobby Henderson

I’ve added a few additions to the store, including the “He Boiled For Your Sins” shirt above. I got some upset emails about the ‘He Boiled’ designs posted here before (some of you will remember Kaitlyn’s He Boiled poster from a few weeks ago), and at the time I felt it was too polarizing to add to the store. But a few things have turned me around since then.

I talked with some of the upset people and tried to understand why this design, more than others, irked them. What I heard was that they felt it was directly mocking Christianity, directly mocking Jesus for his sacrifice and you’re wrong to question what I know to be True. The conversations were for the most part civil, but I detected a sticking point around the idea of Original Sin.

There is a strong belief that Jesus died for mankind’s sins among this group, and a strong belief in Original Sin – the idea that we are born guilty, or born with a tendency towards a sinful lifestyle. Only “belief” is not a strong enough word – they felt it was unshakable truth, and that questioning this was the highest offense.

I feel everyone has a right to their beliefs, but I also feel strongly that no ideas are above scrutiny, and that Unquestionable Truths have dangerous potential, whatever the idea at the root of it. The context makes it an unstable force, not necessarily the content.

Original Sin is True, therefore unbaptized babies in non-Christian countries are doomed to Hell. The people who can believe this without inner conflict are under the influence of an Unquestionable Truth.

So then, the shirt. Is there value in questioning in what Can Not Be Questioned? I think there is, and I think the people who do the questioning are working for the cause of reason. Some people will only see our group as being willfully disrespectful. Some of us will only see theirs as culture that values irrationality, that rejects reason. But I have talked to many religious people who believe faith is not a virtue – or at least, that faith is not necessarily a virtue – who value reason more than dogma. These people don’t feel threatened by our group. All in all, I think this shirt is a force of good in the world and I hope most people will get that.

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Indiana Abortion Drama

Published April 7th, 2011 by Bobby Henderson

“I mean, do a group of old white ladies govern what goes on with my balls? No. They don’t. But this is what happens in America. Old white men who believe in an invisible man in the sky get to say what goes on in all women’s vaginas.”  — Ned Hepburn, Death and Taxes.

fatwhite
Old white men

Death and Taxes magazine has an enlightening article on the showdown in Indiana over abortion you might want to check out.

Some background information: Indiana republicans are attempting to pass a bill to make abortions illegal after the 20th week.  Democrats are opposed, and back and forth discussions have turned nasty – at one point Eric Turner, a republican House of Representatives member, suggested women may fake a rape in order to get an abortion.

As much as I want to stay away from political (and emotionally charged) issues, it seems that there is something more insidious happening here that needs attention.  It’s plain this is less about governing and more about pushing a conservative, religious, agenda.  More and more we’re seeing this brazen attitude where government officials are doing “God’s work” – not always explicitly declared, but not uncommon, either – and more worryingly, no longer is this seen as an extreme position by many.  A disturbing number of people don’t see anything wrong with this, they somehow think that state capitals and courtrooms are a proper venue for these ideological battles. 

Regardless of personal views on abortion, we all have an interest in keeping these discussions out of government. At a time when the economy is on the edge of collapse, when we are fighting multiple wars, when millions are unemployed or underemployed, our government is spending time arguing over personal ideology. This is precisely why religion was meant to be kept out of government.

What do Pastafarians think about the abortion issue?  I for one believe that Life begins at the Creation of the sperm, and that sperm, as potential human lives, deserve equal protection given to fetuses and grown children.  Think of the billions of sperm needlessly killed by such things as hot tubs and tight-fitting underwear.  In the future we will learn to save every sperm Created, so these potential lives can each develop into human adults as the FSM intended.  Who’s with me? 

Join me at Save-Our-Sperm.org  (a work in progress).

sos400

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Kentucky considering “academic” bible classes

Published February 13th, 2011 by Bobby Henderson

sen.bowen

The Kentucky Post reports the state of Kentucky is considering allowing the Christian Bible to be studied in school.  

From state Senator Bowen:

No doubt about it, the most important book ever written and obviously, it’s had so much influence on our society and all of Western civilization.

Senator Bowen sponsored the Bill “which would direct the state Department of Education to develop a course curriculum around the Bible, which local school councils could then approve for teaching in their schools.”

The bill was approved by Kentucky’s State Senate and now goes to the House for review.

Ostensibly the purpose of the legislation is to ensure that the teaching of the bible is taught in the context of literature or as a part of culture.  That would be nice.  Of course this blurring of the separation of church and state will cause overreaching by those who feel its their Duty to God as it has in the past.

I would love to see a comparative religion course made mandatory in public schools across the US.  

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Grassley’s megachurch probe was BS

Published January 10th, 2011 by Bobby Henderson

grassley

Unbelievable.

Senator Grassley of Iowa’s Evangelical Finance Probe was released this week.  A lot of us were hoping these megachurches would be scrutinized for their most flagrant abuses: the obscene salaries, the private jets and luxury cars, the politicking.  Most of us are shocked these sham broadcast ministries can exist as tax exempt non-profit organizations in the first place, but it is stunning that because they’re religious institutions they don’t have to file detailed financial disclosure reports to the IRS.  So we were glad that Grassley and team were investigating.

Well now the report is out and we know what they were doing the last three years and investigating was not it.  Out of the six broadcast ministries looked at only two cooperated, and *zero* subpoenas were issued by investigators.  What a scam. 

Grassley offered this statement, which I have been trying to parse for a while but I’m having trouble because it’s such bullshit:

The staff review sets the stage for a comprehensive discussion among churches and religious organizations.  I look forward to helping facilitate this dialogue and fostering an environment for self-reform within the community.

Translation: we will ask churches to be good.  Hey if that doesn’t work, perhaps another three year investigation in which nothing is investigated is in order.  You sir, Senator Grassley, are a fraud.

Here are some depressing articles about this mess:

CNN’s take

Huffington Post

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Tides are proof of God

Published January 7th, 2011 by Bobby Henderson

President of the American Atheist Group, David Silverman, went on the O’Reilly Factor to talk about the group’s “You KNOW they’re all SCAMS” billboard campaign.  Bill O’Reilly said it was insulting to religious people.  Silverman says it’s the truth and how can the truth be offensive. 

YouKnowItsAScamBillboard600

I will admit I laughed when I heard about the billboard.  I can imagine the response it will get in Alabama.  Anyone remember the Top Gear episode where they did a road trip through the south and wrote controversial slogans on each others cars?  Made me think of that.

manloverulesok2 nascar_sucks

I will also admit I have a grudging respect for Bill O’Reilly – because as much of a pompous ass he is, and as often as he is wrong about so many things, I find him intellectually honest.  I believe he believes what he is saying, and you can’t say that about everyone.  [Edit – I got a lot of flack for that statement. Maybe deserved. But still I believe there is a difference between what he is doing and what Glenn Beck is doing. Both are asses but I believe O’Reilly sleeps well at night and doesn’t believe himself to be a fraud.]

But here is one of those things O’Reilly says that leaves you stunned.  There is proof of (presumably a personal Christian) God because of Tides:

O’REILLY: I’ll tell you why it’s not a scam: the tide goes in, tide goes out. Never a miscommunication. You can’t explain that.

SILVERMAN: The tide goes in, tide goes out?

O’REILLY: The water, the tide comes in, it goes out, Mr. Silverman. It always comes in, it always goes out. You can’t explain that.

Here’s the video:

In response, friend of the Church of Flying Spaghetti Monster, Mr. Stephen Colbert, had Astrophysicist Neil Degrasse Tyson on The Colbert Report to give a scientific explanation for the tides:

As always, the problem with the false religion/science dichotomy leaves the masses ignorant of the Flying Spaghetti Monster’s influence over everything.

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Atheists Never

Published January 1st, 2011 by Bobby Henderson

Very interesting, slightly depressing site, courtesy of Willie.  If you’re interested in crazy things done in the name of religion, this is the site for you.

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Here’s the link: AtheistsNever.com

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Nativity showdown

Published December 12th, 2010 by Bobby Henderson

nativitypetitionhq

There’s some drama over a Christian Nativity scene displayed on the lawn of a county courthouse in Indiana.  The Freedom From Religion Foundation demanded the removal of the display on first amendment violation concerns and now locals are fighting.  It’s the same fight every Christmas and I get tired of writing about it.  

Now for the shock:

These Christmas fights bug me, honestly.   I am a supporter of the FFRF and of some of these secular and atheist organizations, but sometimes I am shaking my head and wondering what they are thinking.  You might get this scene removed but you do so much damage to our cause in the process.  You don’t think these perceptions matter?  Then what is this all about?  These Christmas fights make us look like such assholes, that’s all I’m saying. They are not reciting prayers in a state building or anything on that level.  A Nativity scene is barely religious, it’s like a cross necklace.   End of rant.

What do you guys think?

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Kentucky’s Ark Encounter

Published December 7th, 2010 by Bobby Henderson

ArkEncounter

The New York Times reports:

the state of Kentucky The state has promised generous tax incentives to a group of entrepreneurs who plan to construct a full-size replica of Noah’s ark, load it with animals and actors, and make it the centerpiece of a Bible-based tourist attraction called Ark Encounter.

Since Gov. Steven L. Beshear announced the plan on Wednesday, some constitutional experts have raised alarms over whether government backing for an enterprise that promotes religion violates the First Amendment’s requirement of separation of church and state. But Mr. Beshear, a Democrat, said the arrangement posed no constitutional problem, and brushed off questions about his stand on creationism.

“The people of Kentucky didn’t elect me governor to debate religion,” he said at a news conference. “They elected me governor to create jobs.”

Gov Beshear, you can expect the Church of Flying Spaghetti Monster theme park submission soon.  

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Creepy

Published November 22nd, 2010 by Bobby Henderson

They use words such as Love and Family but I hear hate and anger in their tone.  These people scare me.  I started a new category named ‘creepy’ for them. Lou Engle is an Advisor to Sarah Palin, by the way.

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Florida evolution showdown – part 2

Published January 20th, 2008 by Bobby Henderson

darwin1.jpg

My Clay Sun has published a report on the recent Clay County School Board meeting:

Despite impassioned opposition from science experts, teachers and some clergy, Clay County School Board members unanimously resolved Tuesday night that evolution should be presented as a theory, and not fact, in the classroom.

The board passed a resolution, proposed by Superintendent David Owens, asking the Florida Department of Education to reword its newly proposed state standards, which presents evolution as “the fundamental concept underlying all of biology and is supported in multiple forms of scientific evidence.”

The Baker County, Florida, School Board approved a similar resolution a month ago.

The Florida State Board of Education is scheduled to vote Feb. 19th on proposed changes to state science standards.

Creationists will likely continue their campaign that evolution is “just a theory”, and as such should not be presented as fact. Their argument is that unless a theory has been “proved”, it is no more valid than any other theory. They don’t realize – or choose not to acknowledge – that most theories in science have not been “proved”, and it’s not the purpose of science to provide dogmatic proof of anything.

Scientists will likely continue to get worked up and make compelling logical arguments that will go right over the Creationists’ heads. They’ll not accept that appeals to logic don’t work on those who have abandoned logic for faith.

Here are some links if you’d like to read more.

My Clay Sun report on the Clay County School Board resolution

Florida Today article on the upcoming State School Board vote

Florida Citizens for Science coverage of the issue

We need to decide how we’ll proceed …

{democracy:4}

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An elaborate spoof on Intelligent Design, The Gospel of the Flying Spaghetti Monster is neither too elaborate nor too spoofy to succeed in nailing the fallacies of ID. It's even wackier than Jonathan Swift's suggestion that the Irish eat their children as a way to keep them from being a burden, and it may offend just as many people, but Henderson puts satire to the same serious use that Swift did. Oh, yes, it is very funny. -- Scientific American.


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