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My Last Post? May 19, 2011

Posted by jetson in Personal.
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2 comments

I feel compelled to throw out some final thoughts, since the end of the world is upon us! Yep, May 21, 2011, according to this Pastor. Oh well, so much for my plans to become a rock star.

Anyway, of course I don’t believe anything this nut has stated, and neither do most of the Christians I personally know. Weird though, wouldn’t it seem that all Christians should heed this particular warning? I mean, if they know Jesus will return, and the world will be destroyed, how do they know it won’t be this Saturday? What if this pastor has a luck guess? It’s not entirely impossible. I digress.

So, what would you do if you knew the world was ending? I haven’t given it that much thought, but here are some of my ideas. I would definitely want to be with my closest family members, currently my wife and young son. I would definitely eat some really great, and not too healthy meals. I would play my guitar as loud as my amplifier will go! What else?

Let’s see, Giving away money or possessions would be a waste of effort really. But it might be fun to visit someplace I have never been to – assuming I had enough time. The more I think through this, the more I end up just being with my family, and maybe closest friends if possible. I’m somewhat of a recluse socially. I would rather be at home than running around in my community.

I know that the world is not going to end this Saturday, and I really do wish that people would never take this stuff so seriously. Even if you have a strong belief that there is a plan to end the world as we know it, there is simply no reason to spend your life fearing it, or hoping for it. We should be living our lives as though we have one chance to do it, and to do it with compassion and freedom to explore our aliveness.

If you are a believer, keep believing, but don’t worry about this nonsense!

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Christian Persecution May 8, 2011

Posted by jetson in Personal.
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5 comments

Are Christians being “persecuted” around the world? Or maybe in one part of the world, like the U.S.? That’s what some Christians would have us believe. For example, one friend told me that not allowing the Ten Commandments to be hung in a U.S. Courthouse is active “persecution” or restriction of religious freedoms guaranteed in the U.S. Constitution. Removing prayer from public schools is another restriction on religious freedoms. But they are completely missing the point of religious freedom.

There is simply no rule or law that say’s a person cannot pray in a public school. No one in the government is telling people that they are not allowed to practice their religion in a courthouse. What is actually going on, is the removal of government endorsement of a specific religion. That’s why the Ten Commandments cannot be hung in a government courthouse. That’s why public schools, funded by tax paying citizens, cannot endorse a specific religion, by opening school each day with a Christian prayer.

To be sure, there is evidence through recent surveys that people are leaving their religions at a faster rate than in the past. Non-belief is growing, and switching denominations is more popular as well. Younger people are not attending church at the same rate as in the past as well. But I see that as a reflection of personal decisions and values from people who don’t seem to have a need to be told by a church, exactly how they should be living their lives. It may also be the result of the Catholic Priest pedophile scandal, as well as the 9/11 bombings, and resulting ten year “war on terror”, which seems laced with religious ideology as a basis for hate.

One common reply on this issue is that the United States was founded on Judeo-Christian principles and morals. That the founding fathers were Christians, and even held religious services in the Capitol Building long ago. But I say that doesn’t really matter. If we want to stay true to the spirit of this country, we must never allow a specific religion to be endorsed by our government, or in any way forced upon citizens who are not Christian. It makes no difference how many people in this country claim to be Christian. If the founding fathers wanted this to be a “Christian Nation”, they would have explicitly stated so, and they would not have provided a platform where religious freedom was a central idea.

Religion does not make a person better, or morally superior, to others. That takes personal responsibility, courage, and the willingness to accept that we each have a right to be here, and to enjoy our time on this planet without the fear of being looked down upon by someone who claims a moral high ground. This country is great because it allows everyone to believe, worship, and pray to whatever idol they so choose. We’re even allowed to invent a religion if we so need to. It’s time that those Christians who think they are being persecuted, to look in the mirror, and ask themselves what it really means to be a Christian, and stop whining about persecution. Not to mention there are 400,000 Christian churches dotting the United States that prove otherwise!

Been Gone May 1, 2011

Posted by jetson in Personal.
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16 comments

I’ve been away from the blog lately. I’m still a heathen, but I’ve been busy on different forums doing the good work of the outspoken non-believers. One of my activities is somewhat of a private forum, where I was debating and discussing with people I see every day! That is weird, to say the least. But, we’re all good friends, and we really try hard not to get too abrasive. I will say, it is very difficult, and I can feel some pressure from both sides, which tells me we are edging closer to a fatal point where no useful dialog can actually occur.

After thinking about that last sentence a bit, I am inclined to ask myself why I debate with theists. It seems that there really is no point, when both sides are sure they are right, and seem unwilling to consider the other side. But that’s how it goes in our human world, I suppose. As an atheist, I would not accept the reality of a god without something tangible. And if that showed up, I like to think that I would simply accept that there is a real god. I can’t say what that would do for my specific approach to gods and religions, but I won’t deny that which is demonstrably true, through observation, evidence, and facts.

I am not certain at all what would cause a theist to abandon their beliefs. My instinct tells me that it would require a specific and thoughtful journey of research, rational thinking, and stepping outside of the faith. I have heard that some people are looking for a true support group to switch to, which is very difficult to find if you live amongst a highly religious group of neighbors, and work mates. The power of family, friends, and neighbors is strong, and difficult to escape from when matters of religion, and sometimes other world-views are prevalent. When enough guilt or shame is “in the air”, many people will elect to just go along, and stay quiet.

One thing that has surfaced for me recently, is the idea of writing a book. It seems daunting, and I am certainly not a professional writer, but it could be an interesting project. The focus, without giving away the full idea, would be on the differences between believers and non-believers. I’m still tossing the idea around in my head, so I won’t say any more right now.

I’ve also been thinking a lot about the respect of ideas in the debate between belief and non-belief. I was thinking just today, that I have been called out, almost directly, but not quite, on what my goal is in “attacking” a belief system that I don’t even believe in myself. After some thought, I decided that it is certainly a fair question. And I have an answer. But what I would like to know, is why it is seemingly OK and/or socially acceptable to assume that believers are correct, and to give their ideas respect, just because. After all, this debate only has one answer; there is a god, or there is no god (yes, there could be multiple gods, but I’m going for simplicity).

In the end, atheists think they are right, and believers think they are right. So, technically, neither side deserves more respect than the other. But it seems apparent to me that the non-believer side is far less socially accepted. As I watched a clip from Christopher Hitchens recently, he was talking about believers who sent him messages asking if he was now ready to accept Jesus (he has been in the hospital in cancer therapy). And Hitchens basically said that it would be unbelievably rude for atheists to go running into hospital rooms to convince the dying patients that the whole religion thing was a scam. And that’s only one example where belief in a god is given special status as more socially acceptable than non-belief.

Anyway, I’m going to start writing some more – even though no one is listening! (Except for you three…)