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"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.

Typesetting, a film

Do You Speak Handset Type? Type High from Lynn Kiang...

Errol Morris and El Wingador

This link is to a nine minute film by documentarian...

Boulet's "Darkness" comic is the best thing I've read in ages

And it's oddly sweet. Perfect for Valentine's or Lupercalia or whatever. This is the first page. There are 40 more. Read it. The Bouletcorp -- Darkness

Today's Amazing Tumblr: Planned Parenthood Saved Me

A voice telling a personal story can be a very powerful thing. This tumblrblog collects personal stories of how Planned Parenthood made lives better. Planned Parenthood Saved Me
I have never used Planned Parenthood, but I thank them every day for saving my mom. I was seventeen, my mom 40, when she began bleeding more and more often. She was in constant pain, but she didn’t have health insurance (she was recently laid of during the 2008 recession) so she was unable to go to a normal doctor. So, after convincing her that her health really was important, she went to Planned Parenthood. They found over a dozen tumors in her uterus, one almost the size of a baseball. If she hadn’t gone then, they may not have caught it in time. The people at PP helped my mom get on emergency healthcare, helped her find a compassionate doctor to have her tumors removed and perform the hysterectomy she was denied after having me (it seems you weren’t allowed to choose whether or not you wanted more kids back in the early 90’s.). I donated to Planned Parenthood today, and I will do so every month for as long as I can. I owe Planned Parenthood everything—without them, I wouldn’t have my mom.