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February 03, 2012

"Why I am an atheist and a naturalist"

I find stories of people who were raised super religious and turn to atheism in their adult life fascinating. This is an especially good entry in the genre. And a very, very long one. He takes meticulous care to go point by point through his life showing all the tiny steps that led to his realization. Why I am an atheist and a naturalist -- Tempus Fugit by Mark Jaquith
9/11 and Islam I was 18 and a freshman in college on September 11th, 2001. That day stirred up a lot of things in my mind. Until then, I’d been fairly laissez-faire about religious pluralism. I was of the opinion that people could believe what they wanted, and that no religion was inherently bad. I tried to hold on to that belief after 9/11. “These are just extremists…” I said. “There’s nothing inherently evil about Islam.” Everyone was talking about Islam all the time. “Religion of peace!” “No, a religion of death!” I bought a Qur’an, and started reading it. I was shocked by how blatant its message of subjugating and slaughtering infidels was. And by how brutal its treatment of women was. The terrorists weren’t extremists as far as the Qur’an was concerned. I got into arguments online. At first I was on the side of the “terrorists are perverting their scriptures” argument. Then, once I actually studied the scriptures, I was on the side of the “no, this stuff is vile” argument. An uncomfortable thing happened: people started combating me with Bible verses. And they weren’t substantially less vile. I was presented with Bible verses condoning slavery, genocide, rape and plunder. Pretty much all of the most heinous crimes I could imagine were sanctioned in the Bible. I finally began to see religion as a potential force for evil in the world. I saw it as being a justification for all sorts of atrocities. The hijackers of United flight 93 shouted “God is great” as they flew a plane full of people straight into the ground. The Nazis during World War II had belt buckles that proclaimed “Gott Mit Uns” (God with us). The Crusades. The Inquisition. Slavery. Religiously justified immorality. Looking at history, everyone seemed to think God was on their side. And the product of that belief was misery and suffering. I found that I had pivoted from being slightly skeptical of my purported religious beliefs, to being outright opposed to the great majority of them, and even being opposed to the idea of religious doctrine in general.

So this is today's worst ever story

A mother brags on the internet that she hid emergency contraception from her mentally-an-eight-year-old adult daughter who was brutally raped. Possibly forcing her daughter to carry to term the baby of her rapist. She also thinks that Plan B causes an abortion, which isn't true. Women refuses to give raped daughter EC, brags about it on internet.

February 02, 2012

Today's Awesome Tumblr: Tea Party Jesus

Contrasting quotes from prominent Christians--especially politicians--with paintings of Jesus. Tea Party Jesus

January 27, 2012

Rhode Island town turns on high school girl after she sues to have a prayer display removed from her school

Rhode Island City Enraged Over School Prayer Lawsuit - NYTimes.com
A federal judge ruled this month that the prayer’s presence at Cranston High School West was unconstitutional, concluding that it violated the principle of government neutrality in religion. In the weeks since, residents have crowded school board meetings to demand an appeal, Jessica has received online threats and the police have escorted her at school, and Cranston, a dense city of 80,000 just south of Providence, has throbbed with raw emotion. State Representative Peter G. Palumbo, a Democrat from Cranston, called Jessica “an evil little thing” on a popular talk radio show. Three separate florists refused to deliver her roses sent from a national atheist group. The group, the Freedom From Religion Foundation, has filed a complaint with the Rhode Island Commission for Human Rights. “I was amazed,” said Annie Laurie Gaylor, co-president of the foundation, which is based in Wisconsin and has given Jessica $13,000 from support and scholarship funds. “We haven’t seen a case like this in a long time, with this level of revilement and ostracism and stigmatizing.” The prayer, eight feet tall, is papered onto the wall in the Cranston West auditorium, near the stage. It has hung there since 1963, when a seventh grader wrote it as a sort of moral guide and that year’s graduating class presented it as a gift. It was a year after a landmark Supreme Court ruling barring organized prayer in public schools. . . .