Tuesday, June 30, 2009

Where Does Morality Come From If It's Not From God?

For some reason, conservative can't seem to figure out why people would behave themselves without the threat of Hell to keep them in line.  For those of us who do so because we have empathy and the ability to reason it seems pretty obvious.

You can read the editorial I wrote about it here. It's one that everybody seems to be quoting.

Thursday, June 25, 2009

Cute Things Kids Say

A few days ago, I was eating dinner with my friend, her son, my partner and three of his ex-girlfriend's kids. The three youngest (all boys - 7, 9, and 12) were being very naughty. I had been talking about abstinence only education earlier, with the youngest child's mother. While the boys were acting up, I jokingly said to her that maybe abstinence only education might work if all young teens were required to watch kids acting that naughty on a regular basis.

A few minutes later, the twelve year old asked what abstinence was. Not being the child's parent or guardian I told him that it means to abstain and that to abstain means to not do something, like to not have dessert would be dessert abstinence.

He replied, "Oh, I thought abstinence was a religious thing, like it means you don't believe in God."

Monday, June 22, 2009

Why Do Atheists Care About Religion? - Part Two, Society

The dominant religions in America teach that only they are right and that any other belief serves their opponent, Satan. Their belief systems hold that those who do not follow that specific belief system are sinful, evil, and immoral. This leads to intolerance, not just of atheists but of people who don't share the same belief system or don't practice it exactly the way they do.

People's behavior is affected by their beliefs, sometimes even dictated by their beliefs. If people have beliefs that are different from mine and antithetical to mine, I have a great reason to be concerned. I believe in freedom of expression, human rights for all, freedom of religion, and separation of church and state. These beliefs are the polar opposite of the most visible Christian conservative beliefs.


Saturday, June 20, 2009

Update on Daniel Hauser

Apparently, Daniel Hauser, the 13 year old boy whose parents denied him modern medical treatment for his cancer, is now doing well after getting the court-ordered chemotherapy.

The tumor has shrunk and young Daniel is on the mend. However, according to Dan Zwakman, a spokesman for the Nemenhah religious group to which the Hausers belong,"Everybody is pleased that the tumor is shrinking, of course. The goal is to get rid of the cancer, but they'd rather be doing it without the chemo."

Apparently, the family believes that the progress Daniel is making towards recovery has come from the vitamins and minerals he's been given to boost his immune system rather than from the conventional treatment he has received. The Hausers' belief system holds that the world was created with everything needed to heal the sick and to sustain the well, that the only remedies one should use are natural ones. Unfortunately, the Nemenhah religious group and others like them are unable to extend this to sciences and things they consider unnatural. It's bizarre that modern medicine would be rejected on these grounds as everything used in modern medicine comes from the very same world.

The Nemenhah religious group is not an actual Native American tribe, but a religious group founded by an ex-convict in 2000. The group is supposedly based off of Native American principles. To become a member one must pay an entry fee of $250 to be "adopted" into the "tribe" and then pay dues of $100 per year afterward. Not only does the religious group insist upon natural medicines, the group's founder sells them to the members.

The parents faced no real consequences for the psychological abuse and medical neglect of their son and they still have custody of the child though his mother tried to flee the country with him to escape the court-ordered medical care. Sadly, young Daniel Hauser will probably grow up convinced that modern medicine is evil and that he was healed by his church instead. But at least it now looks like Daniel Hauser will get to grow up.

Superstition can be hazardous to your health.

Friday, June 19, 2009

Why Do Atheists Care About Religion? - Part One, Politics

Atheists in America care a lot about religion. This may be primarily because religious groups in our country have a great deal of political power.


Tuesday, June 2, 2009

Marriage Equality PSA Points Out Other Religious Marriage Laws

I came across the loveliest video on YouTube after a tip from Will over on The Happy Atheist Forum. It is a public service announcement type skit about equal marriage.

As we all know, the vast majority of objections to marriage equality come from religious folks who take them straight from the Bible. This skit talks about the other Biblical marriage traditions we've let fall by the wayside in the name of humane behavior.

It seems to me that if we can so easily discard those other biblical laws regarding marriage, why not this last one - that marriage must be between a man and a woman? It makes about as much sense as any of the others.

Not only is discarding this Biblical law the humane thing to do, it's the thing any country that separates Church and State should do.

Monday, June 1, 2009

Ask an Atheist

I've created a new page on Squidoo called Ask an Atheist in which I invite people to ask me atheist relevant questions. So far, I've gotten some decent questions and it looks like it will be pretty fun overall. I've set it so anyone can comment both in the Who's More Afraid of the Other, Atheists or Believers? duel and in the Ask an Atheist module but I've set it so all comments must be approved. Foul language, even in comments can get a lens re-rated into invisibility so I thought it would be good to filter them for this lens.