Friday, January 19, 2007

"...In The Hope That I Can Make Our Voices Heard by The World"

By Jumah al-Dossari, JUMAH AL-DOSSARI is a 33-year-old citizen of Bahrain. This article was excerpted from letters he wrote to his attorneys. Its contents have been deemed unclassified by the Department of Defense.

I AM WRITING from the darkness of the U.S. detention camp at Guantanamo in the hope that I can make our voices heard by the world. My hand quivers as I hold the pen.

In January 2002, I was picked up in Pakistan, blindfolded, shackled, drugged and loaded onto a plane flown to Cuba. When we got off the plane in Guantanamo, we did not know where we were.

At Guantanamo, soldiers have assaulted me, placed me in solitary confinement, threatened to kill me, threatened to kill my daughter and told me I will stay in Cuba for the rest of my life. They have deprived me of sleep, forced me to listen to extremely loud music and shined intense lights in my face. They have placed me in cold rooms for hours without food, drink or the ability to go to the bathroom

But, why, after five years, is there no conclusion to the situation at Guantanamo? For how long will fathers, mothers, wives, siblings and children cry for their imprisoned loved ones? For how long will my daughter have to ask about my return?

If I die, please remember that there was a human being named Jumah at Guantanamo whose beliefs, dignity and humanity were abused. Please remember that there are hundreds of detainees at Guantanamo suffering the same misfortune. They have not been charged with any crimes. They have not been accused of taking any action against the United States.

Show the world the letters I gave you. Let the world read them. Let the world know the agony of the detainees in Cuba.


Join the ACLU


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Thursday, December 28, 2006

God Hates Shrimp

Leviticus 11:9-12 says:

9 These shall ye eat of all that are in the waters: whatsoever hath fins and scales in the waters, in the seas, and in the rivers, them shall ye eat.
10 And all that have not fins and scales in the seas, and in the rivers, of all that move in the waters, and of any living thing which is in the waters, they shall be an abomination unto you:
11 They shall be even an abomination unto you; ye shall not eat of their flesh, but ye shall have their carcases in abomination.
12 Whatsoever hath no fins nor scales in the waters, that shall be an abomination unto you.


Deuteronomy 14:9-10 says:
9 These ye shall eat of all that are in the waters: all that have fins and scales shall ye eat:
10 And whatsoever hath not fins and scales ye may not eat; it is unclean unto you.


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$93.2 billion given to religious organizations, $38.6 billion to education.

And we wonder why there are so many people who would seriously claim the entire universe is not more than 6,000 years old or throw the "theory" of evolution into the same category as fairy tales.


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Tuesday, December 26, 2006

Hindui Cruelty Results In 10 Year Old Girl Lose All Fingers

For those of you who are unfamiliar, Hindus traditionally believe in a "caste" system. Essentially, they believe that you are born into a certain live based on how you were in your previous life. So if you are born to wealthy parents, you must have been a good person in your previous life. If you are born to impoverished parents, that must mean you were a bad person in your past life. Same goes for people born with disfigurements and so on.

It's basically a really fucked up excuse to not care about anyone who is less fortunate than yourself. It's also worse than that. Some even use it as a fucked up excuse to not only not help those who are less fortunate, but to actually inflict harm upon people less fortunate in order to further punish them for their supposed bad deeds of their past lives.

An enraged landowner chopped off all five fingers of a 10-year-old girl's hand with a sickle after catching her stealing a few spinach leaves from his property in eastern India, a news report said Monday.

Khushboo, the daughter of lower caste laborers, was foraging for edible herbs near the railroad tracks of her village in Bihar state when she mistakenly entered the fields of upper caste landlord Pankaj Rai, The Hindustan Times reported.


Aside from Christians suppressing medical treatment and murdering doctors, and even aside from Muslims flying planes into buildings and expressing violence against anyone who speaks out against Islam, and even aside from Jews being violently cruel to people born a certain way...

The caste system that some Hindus still practice is just another one of those things that comes to mind when people ask why I actually actively oppose mythologies such as Christianity and Hinduism.


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Sunday, December 24, 2006

Original Pledge of Allegiance Didn't Mention God, Added in 1954

Quick fact, most still don't know:

In 1954, Congress after a campaign by the [Catholic organization] Knights of Columbus, added the words, 'under God,' to the Pledge.


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The Christmas Hoax: Jesus is NOT the "Reason for the Season" (Updated)

Along with all the griping going on about the so-called "War on Christmas," we've been seeing a lot of wagging fingers reminding us at every opportunity to remember the "Reason for the Season," and inevitably, these folks are referring to Jesus. The truth is, not very many of the traditions associated with Christmas are Christian- or have anything to do with the birth of Jesus.

So how did a raucous Pagan celebration become associated with Christianity? Very intentionally.* At the time the date of Jesus birth was officially assigned as Christ's birthday, Rome was pretty thoroughly Christianized, but the former pagans were more reluctant to give up the holiday than they were their gods. After brushing aside inconvenient facts (such as the bible's own accounts placing the birth of Jesus in the spring), the names were changed- but the holiday remained the same. Elements of popular Pagan nativities were borrowed to create a backstory fit for the new god, from the heralding star to the shepherds visiting the newborn in his cave.


Updated: I've changed the link to a much more well written article.


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Wednesday, December 20, 2006

Rate of Premarital Sex Has Remained Constant Since 50's

More than nine out of 10 Americans, men and women alike, have had premarital sex, according to a new study. The high rates extend even to women born in the 1940s, challenging perceptions that people were more chaste in the past.

“The data clearly show that the majority of older teens and adults have already had sex before marriage, which calls into question the federal government’s funding of abstinence-only-until-marriage programs for 12- to 29-year-olds,” Finer said.

“It would be more effective,” Finer said, “to provide young people with the skills and information they need to be safe once they become sexually active — which nearly everyone eventually will.”


Personally, I am shocked and appalled. How dare people choose to engage in healthy, enjoyable behavior. I, for one, think that we should not instruct young adults to use condoms. That way, when they inevitably engage this type of appalling behavior and have not been instructed to use any sort of protection, we can actually say it's unhealthy! That way we can mask our religious rhetoric under the banner of "health".

Those "liberals" are always trying to get me to instruct my teens to use condoms if they engage in sex. But that's just encouraging them to engage in dangerous sexual behavior! That's also why I never instructed my kids to use a fire extinguisher. That's just encouraging them to set themselves on fire! But that's just what those liberals want to happen!


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Haggard’s Church Launches Witch Hunt to Out Closeted Gay Staffers

The Soviet-style turn-in-your-neighbors pogrom has already produced results, with the announcement of the resignation of an associate pastor.

Just think: If Jesus had encouraged his apostles to rat each other out, perhaps he would have gotten wind of Judas’ scheme to turn him over to the Romans, and he could have avoided the whole cruxifixion, ascending-into-heaven thing.


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An Inconvenient Truth For Christians

This Christmas, let's not forget about this striking character of Greek Mythology. Let me first make it clear that Mithras significantly predates the story of Jesus.

  • Mithra was born of a virgin on December 25th in a cave, and his birth was attended by shepherds.
  • He was considered a great traveling teacher and master.
  • He had 12 companions or disciples.
  • Mithra's followers were promised immortality.
  • He performed miracles.
  • As the "great bull of the Sun," Mithra sacrificed himself for world peace.
  • He was buried in a tomb and after three days rose again.
  • His resurrection was celebrated every year.
  • He was called "the Good Shepherd" and identified with both the Lamb and the Lion.
  • He was considered the "Way, the Truth and the Light," and the "Logos," "Redeemer," "Savior" and "Messiah."
  • His sacred day was Sunday.
  • Mithra had his principal festival of what was later to become Easter.
  • His religion had a eucharist or "Lord's Supper," at which Mithra said, "He who shall not eat of my body nor drink of my blood so that he may be one with me and I with him, shall not be saved."

Monday, December 18, 2006

Saturday, December 16, 2006

Q & A: Why Are People Moral?

Why are people moral? If it wasn't for religion everyone would go out and murder people, but they don't, therefore God must exist!
-- Anonymous


In my experience, this is the most popular myth that theists use to try and explain why religion "must" exist. The most amazing thing about this myth is, in fact, the exact opposite is true. But before we get into that let me just cut to the chase and answer this question.

People are moral because, on a whole, being moral benefits us. People who are generally moral, have been the fittest. What we call "morality" is simply a set of behaviors that we believe, on a whole, will either benefit our prosperity or impede it. It is very important to understand that most people don't conscientiously think about it in this way. We don't have to conscientiously contemplate whether or not it is going to benefit us, on a whole, to go out and murder everyone we don't like, because our genes have done this for us. Our genes express this knowledge to us using emotion.

You see, people who were born that went on to murder everyone that they didn't like, or even committed lesser offenses, such as becoming thieves, simply did not prosper as well as those who participated in a 'give and take' relationship with those around them. That is not to say that there aren't exceptions. Certainly there are thieves who have prospered very well, murderers who got away with it and prospered, etc... However, on a whole, us 'give and take' folk outdid them.

Generally speaking, if you were a thief who went out and murdered everyone you didn't like, you would have a harder time finding people to help you hunt and get food, you would have a harder time getting laid, you would have a harder time receiving help in a time of need, and a whole host of other problems.

Your 'give and take' counterpart, however, would find it much easier to find a hunting partner, would find it much easier to get laid, would find it much easier finding people willing to help in a time of need, and so on and so forth.

What's to stop me, from coming to your house [and] killing you [and] killing your kids...[and] reproducing with your wife so my genes can get passed on. That's all part of survival [of the fittest].
-- http://youtube.com/watch?v=P7xcL0rezTc


The problem with that plan is the fact that on a whole, a group or community of individuals who participate in a 'give and take' relationship with one another are going to prosper better than your renegade family. If you've done that to one family, then other families would have a good reason to fear you might try to go after their family in the same way. Your renegade family would become outcast and more importantly you would become isolated. In the end a plan like that is very short sighted. Historically, people who behaved in such a way did not prosper -- at least not as well as their 'give and take' counterparts.

Now most people's genetics are programmed with the knowledge that such antics would be harmful to the prosperity of you and your offspring. So if most people where to seriously contemplate such a thing your brain would be flooded with a series of chemicals making you feel uncomfortable and unhappy in an effort to dissuade you from embarking on a spree like that.

See next Saturday's follow up article: Why are there people that are immoral?

Aside from the other points I've brought up, I find it to be a very self-defeating statement to say, "But for religion, people would not be moral." Are you saying to me that but for your belief in whatever religion you happen to subscribe to at the time, you would go out and murder people and steal stuff? Even taking into consideration a hypothetical world where there aren't laws and jail time for such offenses, you would seriously go out and murder someone you don't like?

Now getting to my earlier statement regarding religion actually causing people to actually be less moral; There are people who would answer "no" to the paragraph above, however, when they believe that a text such as The Bible is the infallible word of God, and God himself instructs readers to kill those who try to convince you of other beliefs (Deuteronomy 13:7–11), you end up with someone whom might have otherwise lived a moral life, but is being told murdering people who try to convince you of other beliefs is moral.

Naturally, the next question is usually, "Well then why isn't everyone moral?" I will be answering that next Saturday's article.

Updated Every Saturday: Question & Answer

I want to introduce this new section which will be updated every Saturday. Based on the questions I receive, the comments that are made on this very website, and even questions I've heard on TV interviews I've come to realize that the reasons that people believe in religion are really the simplest to explain.

I will be answering those questions here, every Saturday. Now I realize that most of my commentary contains some pretty profane language. With regards to these questions I will promise to simply be as cordial in my answer, as you are with your question.

With that said,

Send all questions to: articlesofreason@gmail.com.