Archive for the Religion Category

More Islamic human rights

Posted in Religion with tags , , on September 26, 2008 by St. Bastard

A 28-year-old Russian woman and a 30-year-old Lebanese man were arrested in Dubai and put on trial. Normally, this is where you’d read that they were smuggling opium, but their crime was far more atrocious than that. They drank juice in public.

Shame! Scandal! Oh, the delinque… wait, what?

Yes, they are on trial for drinking juice and were arrested because:

In accordance with the Federal Penal Code of the United Arab Emirates, a public intake of food and beverages during daytime hours of the month of Ramadan is forbidden by Article 313. The article stipulates the punishment in the form of either a monetary penalty – up to 2,000 dirhems ($555) – or even a term of up to one month in prison.

Ah, sharia law… Is there no idiocy that it can’t commit?

(h/t to RichardDawkins.net)

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Why religion matters in politics

Posted in Politics, Religion with tags , , , , on September 25, 2008 by St. Bastard

We know that there isn’t supposed to be a religious test for political office, and the vast majority of the secular community suports that. Including me. However, there is another level to this that is more obvious this year than it has been in the past.

Our current president, may he fade from the public eye soon, started a war based on what he thought was god’s decree. This year, we have the democrats falling all over themselves to gain the christian vote, but the real shock to the non-theists came with McCain’s choice of Sarah Palin as his running mate.

Palin is a Pentecostal christian. When someone jokingly refers to people speaking in tongues and praying for the end of the world, it’s the Pentecostals that actually belive that shit. This is when I started thinking about the religious test for office in a different way.

Could you imagine Palin getting all riled up, for instance, in front of the UN?

Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon: Vice President Palin, you have requested to speak to the Assembly about peace in Israel. The Secretary General yields the floor.

VP Palin: BLAARGHARGH hummina hummina woop! woop! falrgindle gret marnia digglet paferndum! Pref! PREF! Charligndle freep vardenbingle wibble wobble!

Yerp.

General Assembly (as one): HOLY SHIT!

No, let me say that this is never going to happen. I just wanted to lighten the mood before I talk about what really bothers me about Palin, or any people who share her weird religious beliefs, potentially running this country. This is the belief that we are in the end-times and the second coming of jesus is “nigh”. Worse, they believe this is a good thing and want it to happen in their lifetime.

This belief infects all of their thinking. Why bother dealing with global warming. We’ll be in heaven soon! Why try to end war in the middle east when it’s a sign of the end times? Why bother improving anything at all when the world’s time is so short? Jesus will sort it all out when he gets here again!

Having this kind of thinking in our highest office frightens the shit out of me. I wouldn’t want to see President Jim Jones and I don’t want to see Vice President Palin. Religion, when it affects secular values and how you will affect the world, must be a consideration when voting for a candidate. Until religion is something that is not a factor in politics, I’m afraid it very much is a test for office.

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Student forced to pray for Jesus’ forgiveness

Posted in Religion with tags , , on September 21, 2008 by St. Bastard

From Blabbermouth via richarddawkins.net:

Former ROB ZOMBIE guitarist and current SCUM OF THE EARTH frontman Riggs‘ 13-year-old son was reportedly reprimanded by his eighth-grade art teacher for wearing an inappropriate t-shirt in the classroom. The art teacher allegedly insulted the student in front of his peers, dragged him out of class into the hallway and forced him to pray on his knees for forgiveness from Jesus Christ. Later that day, the principal had commented that “we will have to have a board meeting about the situation.”

There’s more to the story from the links above, but this quote captures the gist fairly well. The shirt that the teen wore was a concert tee from his father’s band that showed a monster crucified. I can see how this may offend certain people, however the appropriate response is not to trample all over a kids Constitutional right of freedom of speech then force him to supplicate himself to a man that’s been dead for thousands of years.

We’re supposed to have a separation of church and state in this country. It was one of the founding doctrines of our government. Yet it is still so easy for one person to say “To hell with that, I’m going to use my authority to force my religion on this child”. This teacher has abused her authority in a particularly egregious manner by insulting a child in front of his peers, then stealing his rights to free speech and free religion, if only for a moment.

Let’s imagine this kid’s humiliation of being ripped out of the classroom, then taken into the hall, forced to get on his knees in front of the teacher, then forced to ask the forgiveness of a fiction. A teacher has abused her position as a state employee to further her own religious agenda. She should be relieved of her job. This is child abuse, plain and simple, and it should disgust anyone who reads it, especially Christians!

However, I foresee that there will be no Christian outcry. I see in my mind the nods of approval from any Christian who hears about this, reveling in this teacher’s righteousness, wishing it had been them to teach this child his place. To them, freedom of religion is no more than a tool to legislate their religion, and dominate the will of any who differ in their beliefs.

If this can happen with out wall of separation in place, what will this country be like if these religious nutjobs finally succeed in wearing that wall down to nothing?

Let’s all talk about Bill Maher

Posted in Religion with tags , on September 20, 2008 by St. Bastard

Bill Maher is opening a new mockumentary called “Religulous” due out in October of this year. I have a problem with this movie because Maher and his Borat croney have resorted to the same tactics of the Expelled retards in making his “shocking” flick: lies and manipulation.

See, Bill never allowed interview condidate to know that he was the one interviewing them. He even used a different name for the film to coax interviewees into  false sense of security. However, Maher is a champion of rationality, right?

As it turns out, not so much. Turns out that Rational Bill is against vaccines. He doesn’t belive that the polio vaccine was the cause of the dramatic drop in polio cases. And this is the rational man that is going to lead the way against religious irrationality? Not fucking likely!

When you are a rational person, when you are able to look at the evidence and make a decision, you have to use that rationality in every aspect of life. You can’t rail against the ridiculousness of the Easter Bunny and believe in Santa Claus. You can’t believe in gnomes, but not elves. When you promote rationality in one aspect of life, you are held to a higher standard in all others.

Thanks for your attempt at poking the religious right, Mr. Maher, but no thanks.

Comment Rescue: Another reason to not believe in god

Posted in Religion with tags , , , on September 19, 2008 by St. Bastard

I love Greta Christina’s blog. I’ve read her blog for years, but never commented until she wrote her reasons for not believing in god (Part 1, Part 2). I added a reason of my own in the coments for Part 2 which I will also quote here:

Kind of related to #9, but I think it’s solid enough as its own point:

There is no change or improvement of the moral precepts of a specific religion. Religion is supposed to be our guiding light to live a moral and decent life, yet it does not change to incorporate the new moral dilemmas that arise through time? Issues like capital punishment, stem cell research, equal rights regardless of sexual preference: religion looks at centuries-old documents for an interpretation of what have now become moral dilemmas, either as a truly new situation (stem cell research) or usually as an old situation that now merits closer attention (equal civil rights for GLBT).

A particular religion can rarely change their views on these matters, as they fear it will lessen their authority over the moral lives of its followers. However, secular morals, including the morals of religious adherents, do evolve, and when they evolve enough to make waves in a religion, one of two things happen: a small group of followers splinter into their own sect or, such a splinter group is too large, the religion will change. This second is a rarity that I’ve only seen in the Catholic Church, which seems to be fighting tooth-and-nail to keep their faithful.

If a group splinters off, then the same pattern will hold. It’s only when a religion is in danger of complete irrelevance and death that they will change a moral code to keep followers. There is no natural evolution of moral values because there is no questioning of them. Instead of thinking about what is truly right and wrong, they look for and interpret references in old books. If there is not thought on morality and ethics, then there can be no improvement on them, only stagnation and irrelevance. Since morality is a leading excuse to believe in god, I see the apparently inability of his doctrine and followers to improve morally as a prime reason to think it is all a fiction.

There is little in my life that I can’t relate to morality in one way o another. It’s just one of those things that I think about a lot. If the only change in the moral pecepts of a religion comes through force of its followers (i.e. secularly), then I see little use for god or religion at all.

A heartening story

Posted in Religion, Uncategorized with tags , , , on September 18, 2008 by St. Bastard

So, after that greeting, you may be primed to hear me go off on some superstitious claptrap or another, yeah? Well, tough. Instead, I have a good story to tell…

About a year back we had a party for my daughter’s fourth birthday. Some folks came early in order to help prepare for the festivities, which happened to be a Halloween-themed party. Now, these friends, two families are religious, one Catholic and one Protestant of some kind, but the adult talk didn’t turn to religion.

So, I go down to the basement to see what the three kids are up to, and they’re talking about angels. This is a subject that I haven’t discussed with the young ones yet, so I was interested to see LilB1’s reaction. The two religious kids were arguing whether god was an angel or not, and LilB1 asked me to settle the argument, “St. Bastard, ” or Daddy. Whatever. “St. Bastard, is god an angel?”

I replied, “Most people don’t believe that, kiddo” and I left it at that. Now, we had discussions earlier about heaven, and I told LilB1 that some folks believed that we go to heaven when we die and some people don’t. I then explained that I did not personally believe that and she would have to think hard about it and eventually decide for herself, but she didn’t have to worry about such things yet. I harbored no real hope that the discussion would take root.

However, I was very pleasantly surprised when, a few weeks after LilB1’s birthday, she came to me and said, “St. Bastard (or Daddy), angels aren’t real, are they?” I asked her what she thought, and she said “They’re not!”

It’s nice to know that I have as yet been successful in raising a thinking child.