Wednesday, November 15, 2006

My Half-Year of Hell With Christian Fundamentalists

When Polish student Michael Gromek, 19, went to America on a student exchange, he found himself trapped in a host family of Christian fundamentalists. What followed was a six-month hell of dawn church visits and sex education talks as his new family tried to banish the devil from his soul.

"They also wanted to know whether I drank alcohol. I admitted that I liked beer and wine. They told me I had the devil in my heart. My host parents treated me like a five-year-old. They woke me every Sunday morning at 6:15 a.m., saying 'Michael, it's time to go to church.'"


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Gay Marriage Rights 'will invoke God's anger' (Updated)

For the sake of the peaceful future of this nation, members of this Parliament must stop provoking God to anger as the men of Sodom and Gomorrah did, and came under His judgment."

Meshoe said adultery, sexual immorality and homosexuality were grave sins in God's sight as they were a transgression of His law and defiled a marriage relationship between a man and a woman.


Update: The bill passed.


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Tuesday, November 14, 2006

Toys for Tots Program Rejects Talking Jesus Dolls

Bible-quoting toymaker surprised its offer of 4,000 dolls was turned down

According to one2believe’s Web site, the button-activated, bearded Jesus doll recites Scripture such as “I tell you the truth, no one can see the kingdom of God unless he is born again” and “Love your neighbor as yourself.”

Bill Grein, vice president of Marine Toys for Tots Foundation, in Quantico, Va., said the offer was turned down because Toys for Tots doesn’t know anything about the religious affiliations of the children who receive its gifts.

Grein said Tuesday, “Kids want a gift for the holiday season that is fun.”


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Pregnancy Centers Found to Give False Information on Abortion

So why is it we almost never hear in public about the lifelong traumas of going through an uplanned, unwanted pregnancy, which may well have happened in spite of a woman's best efforts at contraception or due to other circumstances beyond her control


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Monday, November 13, 2006

The Two Commandments

"Try real hard not to kill anyone -- unless, of course, they pray to a different invisible man than the one you pray to"

Letting Go of God

"And I thought, wow. For all of those people who believe every word of the bible is true, they can't even have read the first two chapters!"

"So I felt eager to finally read this book. This book that I always wanted to take the time to read, but I really never had. And I was happy to see that the Old Testament starts out with two conflicting stories about the origin of the universe. One, where Adam and Eve are created at the exact same moment -- and then in the next chapter, a second creation story where Adam is created first and Eve is created out of his rib after he gets lonely.

And I thought, wow. For all of those people who believe every word of the bible is true, they can't even have read the first two chapters...

I knew the Bible had nutty stories, but, I guess I thought they'd be wedged in amongst an ocean of inspiration and history. But instead the stories just got darker and convoluted...

So what if matters to you most is your own loving behavior? Should we be willing to give up our ethics for God?...

First off, Jesus is much angrier than I expected him to be. I mean I knew that Jesus got angry with all those money changers in the temple and everything, but I didn't know that he was so angry, so much of the time -- and very impatient...

And it was hard to stay on Jesus' side when he started to say really aggressive, hateful things. Like in Luke, Jesus says that he is like a king who says, 'Anyone who does not recognize me, bring them here and slaughter them before me.' Or in John, chapter 15 where Jesus says that anyone who doesn't believe in him is like a 'withered branch' that will be cast into the fire and burn. In Matthew he says, 'I come not to bring peace, but a sword.' And then in Luke, 'If you don't have a sword, sell your clothes and buy one.'

Then Jesus just starts acting downright crazy. Like in Matthew, chapter 21, when a fig tree doesn't have a fig for him to eat, Jesus condemns the fig tree to death. That's right, Jesus condemns, a fig tree to death. Not a parable by the way, just Jesus pissed off that the fig tree didn't have a fig for him to eat when he wanted one -- Not exactly the prince of peace who taught us to turn the other cheek.

The Bible, the 'Good Book', the 'Good News' -- I was so disillusioned with the Bible I didn't think it could get any worse, but it did...


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Top 10 Reasons Gay Marriage Should Be Illegal

  • Obviously gay parents will raise gay children, since straight parents only raise straight children.
  • Gay marriage will encourage people to be gay, in the same way that hanging around tall people will make you tall.
  • Straight marriage has been around a long time and hasn’t changed at all like many of the principles on which this great country was founded; women are still property, blacks still can’t marry whites, and divorce is still illegal.
  • Gay marriage is not supported by religion. In a theocracy like ours, the values of one religion are imposed on the entire country. That’s why we have only one religion in America.
  • Straight marriages are valid because they produce children. Gay couples, infertile couples, and old people shouldn’t be allowed to marry because our orphanages aren’t full yet, and the world needs more children.


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Atheism Is a "Faith"? Not So Fast... (Part 2)

I would like to offer this rebuttal to another commonly touted theist idea. They say, "Well atheism requires a certain level of faith. My religion requires a certain level of faith. Therefore, atheism is a faith and what we have here is a conflict of faiths."

Let me make this simple. Belief in absolutely anything requires a certain amount of faith. That does not make the belief in and of itself a faith.

If you were to pick something off the ground you have a certain level of faith that it will fall to the ground. Sure, you could tell me you don't have any faith in it because you've seen it happen before, so you know it will happen this time. But what if this time is different?

What's different between your faith that the object will still fall to the ground and a faith in the existence of faeries? Since both ideas require a certain level of faith, would it make sense to conclude that both ideas are equally valid?

OF COURSE NOT! This is the exact same thing Christians (or any theists) try to make you believe when they say to you things such as, "Well, since evolution requires a certain level of faith, any idea I have or am about to present to you is equally valid."

Imagine the laughter theists would receive if they started out with, "Well, since gravity requires a certain level of faith, any idea I have or am about to present to you is equally valid." Whether you believe in ideas such as evolution or not, that belief certainly shouldn't be hinged on that type of "logic". Granted gravity is more immediately observable (therefore requiring less faith), it is the same flawed "logic"!

Update: I should also point out that one is so much more certain that gravity exists over a belief in faeries due to the fact that belief in gravity requires less faith than a belief in faeries. We apply this thinking to most everything in life. It only makes sense. The exception being theists who somehow feel that deities and religions are somehow shielding from this type of logical thinking (and not even all religions, only the one they happen to subscribe to at the moment!).

Sunday, November 12, 2006

Atheism Is a "Faith"? Not So Fast...

People who do not believe in supernatural entities do not have a "faith" in "the non-existence of X" (where X is "fairies" or "goblins" or "gods"); what they have is a reliance on reason and observation, and a concomitant preparedness to accept the judgment of both on the principles and theories that premise their actions. The views they take about things are proportional to the evidence supporting them, and are always subject to change in the light of new or better evidence.

"Faith" - specifically and precisely: the commitment to a belief in the absence of evidence supporting that belief, or even (to the greater merit of the believer) in the very teeth of evidence contrary to that belief - is a far different thing, which is why the phrase "religious thinktank" has a certain comic quality to it: for faith at its quickly-reached limit is the negation of thought.


Read part 2 of this rebuttal here: Atheism Is a "Faith"? Not So Fast... (Part 2)


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Very Sad

Video Game Where Jews and Atheists Must Be Killed or Converted Due for Christmas

If the heathen won't convert, the player can kill them.

A video game about a Christian militia slaughtering Jewish and atheist New Yorkers who won't be converted in the name of a particular brand of Christianity will be on the shelves of more than 10,000 American retailers in time for the Christmas season, including Wal-Mart, Best Buy, Target, Circuit City, GameStop, EB Games, CompUSA, Amazon.com, Costco and numerous others. The video game is a spinoff of the wildly successful collaborative novels about "the rapture" by conservative fundamentalist minister Tim Lahaye.

In Left Behind: Eternal Forces, kids will assume the role of a member of a "Christian" gang wandering the streets of a post-apocalyptic Manhattan, killing or converting as many Jews, Atheists, and other unsavory types in the employ of the Anti-Christ as possible to get to the next level. If the heathen won't convert, the character can kill them.


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Why Not Adult Stem Cells?

In a recent article, an anonymous poster responded to a comment made by one of our users who asked, "Why not just use adult stem cells?" as opposed to using embryonic stem cells. The anonymous poster who responded to this comment did a very good job summarizing this important issue and this will hopefully clear things up for those asking the same question.

Adult stem cells are not a substitute for embryonic stem cells. Embryonic stem cells have the ability to become any other kind of cell; adult stem cells do not. If you want to study how the entire body develops and differentiates into different kinds of tissue, you need to study embryonic stem cells; there is no substitute.

Stem cells offer at least four avenues for new medical therapies:
  1. They could be used to grow tissue for transplant. This is very attractive since there aren't enough organ donors to meet current needs.
  2. Stem cells could be used for much more effective drug testing. Drugs can be tested on tissues grown from human stem cells rather than tested through animal trials (where results can be misleading) or through human trials (which are expensive and time consuming).
  3. Stem cells could be used to study diseases as [they] develop much more quickly and certainly much more repeatably than by observing the disease develop in a person.
  4. Stem cells could be used to tailor therapies to individuals.