Friday, August 1, 2008

Labels...labels...we got so many labels....

There's a BIG discussion going on over at one of my favorite sites about this graphic:

With maybe the exception of one* of these men, these are all individuals I greatly admire for their deeds and positions on matters political, religious and scientific. As little as a year ago I would have wanted this image emblazoned on a t-shirt I could wear or a poster I could hang in my office. makes me uncomfortable. I don't think any of these individuals would have self identified as an atheist. More to the point I see this as another attempt by otherwise well meaning people to ram what is more of a political statement down the throats of theistic-leaning people. This makes we who would honor these men little better than some of the theistic-apologists we are fighting against.

The identities of some of these men are obvious. If some readers cannot identify all of these men, don't feel bad, they are:

1. Albert Einstein
2. Samuel Clemens aka Mark Twain
3. Charles Darwin
4. Thomas Jefferson
5. Ben Franklin
6. Ernest Hemingway
7. Abraham Lincoln
8. Carl Sagan

I think we all get hung up on labels and claiming dead people as our own instead of leaving them as they are: individuals. It is true that like many things the meanings of words changes over time and what we define as atheism today is very different from the definition you'd receive from people of different times. Might be of some interest to my theist friends that Pagan Romans referred to early Christians as atheists, because the Christians didn't believe in the Roman Gods.

For my part I consider myself atheistic insomuch as I don't believe in the Gods as described by any of the religions of man. I share this characteristic with almost ever one of the names listed above. This not an arrogance! Far from it! It is because I feel the characterizations of God offered thus far by the faiths of men do a disservice to the very concept of God. Ascribing to God traits which are similar to the 7 deadly sins is anathema to me. God is far bigger and better than that. The agnostic part comes into play on the question of the existence of God in general. I cannot KNOW for certain whether there is or there is not a God. What sort of evidence would I consider acceptable and verifiable evidence of an eternal and omniscient and omnipotent God?

"Any sufficiently advanced technology is indistinguishable from magic."
- Arthur C. Clarke

Given that seemingly self-evident truism ... would God be capable of convincing me of his existence? I think He would be up to the task, as He would know me better than I know myself.

A fellow commenter reworked the above image in such a way that made me much happier and is much more in keeping with the spirit of the individuals represented. This one makes me smile and does my non-conformist heart proud!

Let's not label each other or history any more!


*Contest!!! Given what my faithful readers know of me; Name which one of these individuals, I think, does NOT belong there. For extra credit... why?

Thursday, July 31, 2008

The World according BUSH...

...and his apologists!


What does it mean....

Interesting article in the NYT...

Does this change anything for believers? I suspect not.

Is this much ado about nothing?


Ummm try and look at her eyes gentleman...

And now I poke a little fun at astrology....

...clearly the astrologers couldn't predict the earthquake that hit Cali the other day.

For some reason and I can't put my finger on it I can't remember what color her hair or eyes were.



Gimme, gimme, gimme!!!

One of my hobbies, as many of you know from Deb's blog, is collecting 1/72 scale World War 2 Aircraft models. Some I build from kits, some I buy fulling assembled in die-cast metal. My home office has two shelves stuffed with my current collection. B-17's, B-24's, B-25's, P-51's, P-47's (my favorite), Corsairs, Hellcats, Zeros, Stukas, Messerschmitts...

My latest covet:
Not to be released till November though. BLAST!

Incidentally my 40th birthday is October 12th, I will be needing some consolation!

Nothing says, 'I love you, Rob' like a diecast model airplane! I'm just speaking the truth here.


From the files of "The bizarre"

I have an ex who was a student of Wicca. To many of you that is akin to Satan worship, which is interesting to me in that Wicca doesn't really have a devil per se. I look at Wicca as kind of a corny 'peace love and granola' trendy sort of pseudo-spirituality. More of a response to the overtly paternal nature of the Abrahamic faiths. I think it mainly harmless, though many who come by would disagree with me. I'm not going to get into that right now. Yet again I digress...


I heard this story on the way to work.

Seems a lass in Indianna accidentally ran a 3 foot sword through her foot (would this qualify as stigmata) while performing a Wiccan ritual in a cemetery (and these people wonder why the scare the be-jesus out of Christians). I don't even know how you'd do that!


Lest, anyone think I am overly hard on Christians... let me say here and now that I consider the Wiccan rituals as goofy and ridiculous.


Wednesday, July 30, 2008

The most ridiculous statement I have ever read:

"The freedom of religion means that no one has the right to attack, malign or grossly offend a faith tradition they personally do not have membership or ascribe all"

This was taken from the response of The Cofraternity of Catholic Clergy to PZ Meyer's desecration of a cracker.

Ummm...Padre? Come close I have a secret for you. Listen closely now.... The founders of this country wrestled power away from the likes of you BECAUSE of little bits of sophistry like the one you just uttered! I am neither inclined nor required to respect your insane little beliefs regarding transubstantiation. You want to engage in your silly little pagan rituals fine.....but i will treat them with the same silliness as I do Candle Magick, Tarot Cards and any other non-evidence based pile o'crap.

Perhaps the pious members of said organization yearn for easier and more godly times when they could deal with such blasphemers in their own enlightened ways!


This blog will be unmanned...

I am guest posting over at Deb's blog today...

Though I am a tad disappointed that no one has commented on my previous post!


Tuesday, July 29, 2008

Selective Quotations 101

It is always interesting (read: upsetting) to me how certain citizens are accused of historical revisionism with regard to their admittedly unpopular stances on the words of our founders. It is plain to me as it is to many today that our fore fathers, many of whom being very religious, saw the dangers of entangling the objective realm of government with the subjective realm of the spirit and pulpit.

On July 4th 1776, the Continental Congress, adopted a document outlining the States grievances with the British Crown and their intention to sever the bonds between themselves and said crown. This brilliant document was a refutation of an ideology or a dogma that had been sacrosanct in Christian Europe for nearly 2000 years: the divine right of kings. With the Declaration of Independence came the radical idea that governments are not sovereign, the PEOPLE are sovereign. To this day the idea of a monarch is anathema to Americans.

The writer of this seminal document, Thomas Jefferson, knew full well his intentions and what he meant.

Clearly our Glorious and Benevolent Leader, and current occupant of the White House AND his writers want to subvert or suppress Mr. Jefferson's words. Submitted for your consideration:

As is tradition, most sitting presidents on July 4th will administer the oath of citizenship to those who have completed the requirements of American citizenship. This 4th of July just past, Mr. Bush did so at Monticello, Virginia, the home of Thomas Jefferson. In a speech prepared for the occasion, Mr. Bush quoted from a letter Mr. Jefferson wrote to Roger C. Weightman on June 24, 1826, just ten days before his (Mr Jefferson's) death. He spoke of the rights of man. This is the relevant excerpt from Mr. Bush's speech:

Thomas Jefferson understood that these rights do not belong to Americans alone. They belong to all mankind. And he looked to the day when all people could secure them. On the 50th anniversary of America's independence, Thomas Jefferson passed away. But before leaving this world, he explained that the principles of the Declaration of Independence were universal. In one of the final letters of his life, he wrote, "May it be to the world, what I believe it will be -- to some parts sooner, to others later, but finally to all -- the Signal of arousing men to burst the chains, and to assume the blessings and security of self-government."

Sounds beautiful doesn't it? Yes good ole' Thomas prescient and relevant even today. Or is he? I wonder why Mr. Bush's speech writers* chose to redact a very important part of the original quote. The following is the FULL Quote with the curiously ommited part in bold:

"may it be to the world, what I believe it will be, (to some parts sooner, to others later, but finally to all,) the Signal of arousing men to burst the chains, under which monkish ignorance and superstition had persuaded them to bind themselves, and to assume the blessings & security of self-government. that form which we have substituted, restores the free right to the unbounded exercise of reason and freedom of opinion."

See the full text of Mr. Jefferson's original letter for yourself here.

Isn't just like a self-serving and pandering politician? Use that which supports your case and ignore that which doesn't.

Sorry Mr. Bush I know the truth. And it isn't what you and your political advisors say it is.


*Not for one second do I believe the Mr. Bush even knew about the letter he quoted from let alone write this speech! Mr. Bush couldn't string together a coherent thought that wasn't written for him if his life depended upon it.