Equal Rights: WWJD?

"Those who deny freedom to others deserve it not for themselves, and, under a just God, cannot long retain it."--Abraham Lincoln, letter to H.L. Pierce, April 6, 1859.

A christian friend of mine recently asked,

“What Scriptural precedence would a Bible believing Christian use to justify voting for a candidate who is for abortion or same-sex marriage?”

Personally, I do not like abortion. I don’t know anyone that is pro-choice that want women to have abortions. Wanting women to have the choice of what to do with their own bodies, and wanting them to choose abortion, are drastically different things.

I don’t see where Jesus ever mentioned abortion or homosexuality. He did not mention for gay people (people he purportedly knew we’re gay before they were born) not love another of the same-sex.

However, He did mention a few things:

Love your neighbor as yourselves. Matt. 22:39

Take care of the poor. Matt. 19:21

Take care of the sick. Luke 14:13-14

Be a peacemaker. Love your enemies. Could be taken as, don’t be a warmonger. Matt. 5:9, 39, & 44
He spoke against greed. John 2:14-15, Luke 12:15, & Matt. 6:24

Pay your taxes. Matt. 22:21

So, I can surmise, all of these things should be higher on the list of importance than abortion or marriage equality, when I’m trying to choose who to vote for. Jesus knows everything. He could’ve mentioned it had he wanted to.

Webster’s dictionary defines a Liberal as,

“one who is open-minded, not strict in the observance of orthodox, traditional or established forms or ways.”

The scriptures most people use against homosexuals is Leviticus 18:22 and 20:13.

The same god that said homosexuality was wrong, also said that many other things were wrong. Many things that Christians conveniently ignore.

For instance:

Eating shrimp.

“Whatsoever hath no fins nor scales in the waters, that shall be an abomination unto you.” -Leviticus 11:12

No tattoos!

“Ye shall not make any cuttings in your flesh for the dead, nor print any marks upon you: I am the LORD.” -Leviticus 19:28

Play with a (real) football.

“Of their flesh shall ye not eat, and their carcase shall ye not touch; they are unclean to you.” -Leviticus 11:8

Men cutting their hair.

“Ye shall not round the corners of your heads, neither shalt thou mar the corners of thy beard. “-Leviticus 19:27

Wearing clothing with mixed fabrics;

polyester blends, or plant more than one type of seed in your garden.

“Ye shall keep my statutes. Thou shalt not let thy cattle gender with a diverse kind: thou shalt not sow thy field with mingled seed: neither shall a garment mingled of linen and woolen come upon thee.” -Leviticus 19:19

You may reply with, “Jesus did away with those things.” Then why still hold to discriminating against gay people? Could it be that you ignore, or explain away what you like, but insist on keeping what you agree with?

Paul, in the New Testament, Romans 1:26-28, 1 Cor. 6:9, and, 1 Tim. 1:8-10, seems to condemn gays, depending on the translation, so we must obey him. But he also tells women, “be silent in the church”, 1 Cor. 14:34, and he suffered them not to teach, 1 Tim. 2:12. Yet, those verses are pretty much ignored. Explained away by saying, “Times have changed”. Yet, we can’t offer gay people the same courtesy of modernization? And, we insist on voting against people who are for granting them equal rights under the law.

Mark 10:8-12 forbids divorce, yet, that is rampant in the church. But allowing two people who love each other, and are in a committed relationship together, to marry, that will destroy straight marriage?

1 Tim. 2:9 says, “In like manner also, that women adorn themselves in modest apparel, with shamefacedness and sobriety; not with broided hair, or gold, or pearls, or costly array”. Yet, we don’t try to legislate against women from wearing make-up, jewelry, or having her hair done by beautician. But those pesky gay people, God still dislikes them.

I guess what changed it for me is, when I stopped seeing people who were gay as doing something disgusting, and started seeing them as living, caring, human beings, that are searching for companionship, just like straight people. I do not define my marriage by what straight people acts we enjoy. Marriage is much more than that. Gay people deserve that same right. Don’t define them by what you think they are, or what they do, but, as fellow human beings deserving of respect and dignity.

So, I would say, going by Jesus’ words, I would vote for someone who values taking care of the poor (by food and housing assistance, taking care of the sick (Like the Affordable Care Act is beginning to do), regardless of their ability to pay, and someone who isn’t talking about expanding our already bloated military budget, and pursues peaceful resolutions first, over threatening war.

I prefer that over a person whose main objective in life is to amass as much wealth as they can, especially at the expense of others. To make money while putting thousands out of work because their jobs had been sent over seas, that is in direct contradiction with the words of Jesus above. How is that caring for poor families, the sick, children and the elderly?

It isn’t.

…to be continued.

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Faith: Make Believe For Adults

As I was driving down the road the other day listening to Jerry DeWitt’s talk about the doctrines of faith and works.  Then it hit me, “Why do Christians feel the need to ‘prove’ that their god is real with ‘evidence’?”

faith/fāTH/Noun:
  1. Complete trust or confidence in someone or something.
  2. Strong belief in God or in the doctrines of a religion, based on spiritual apprehension rather than proof.

Does the fact that they’re ‘looking’ for evidence to support their claims mean, on some level, probably subconsciously, they know that their supernatural friend story sounds ridiculous?    Doesn’t this mean that their so-called faith is just pretending to believe the unbelievable because they think it’s virtuous?    Faith, by the definition above, doesn’t require evidence.  Just believe.  If  real evidence contradicts what a person believes to be true, it would force them into a state of cognitive dissonance, or, eventually, dismantle their faith.

cog·ni·tive dis·so·nance/ˈkägnətiv/

Noun:
discomfort caused by holding conflicting cognitions (e.g., ideas, beliefs, values, emotional reactions) simultaneously.

Mark Twain said, “Faith is believing what you know ain’t so.”

Stephen F. Roberts said, “I contend we are both atheists, I just believe in one fewer god than you do. When you understand why you dismiss all the other possible gods, you will understand why I dismiss yours.”

If you can point out what is wrong with other religions,  then you can understand why those other religions can do the same to yours.    Who’s right?

God Chooses His People By Where they Live

God Chooses His People By Where They Live

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Heartburn, Cancer, and God.

RxSince my admission that I no longer believed in any gods, I’ve begun to see life in a completely different way.  It’s short. I no longer believe in the promise of an afterlife.  But instead of being completely without hope, I’m inspired  every day, and see that I need to make the best out of my remaining life, because I am not promised another.   I’m also getting ready to turn 40, and I’m a husband and a father.   The minor aches and pains that I used to brush aside as, “no big deal”,  I’m starting to think that they might be a fairly big deal.   I don’t worry so much about the actual dying or what comes after, parts, as much as I think about, “What will my family do?“  Don’t get me wrong though, I want to stay here as long as I can.  I’m in no hurry to check out.  Some people tell me that I’m just going through my mid-life crisis.  I like to call it, my awakening.  It’s the first time I’ve ever seen life for what it is, good and bad.  It’s not a crisis; it’s fantastic.

Last month I went and had my DOT physical done.  The Department Of Transportation requires that truck drivers be re-certified every two years. It’s a joke among drivers that, “I have to go piss in a cup and cough for the doctor.”   My blood pressure was bordering on high and my urinalysis showed trace amounts of blood.  The nurse that tested the sample said that it was probably nothing.  When I was with the doctor, he said nothing of the sort.  He didn’t give a damn about making me feel better.  “Blood is usually an early indicator for … (scary voice) CANCER.”

Three or four months ago while driving on evening, I had this slow building pain in the center of my chest.   The longer the night went, the worse it got.  Nothing I did or took helped.  I finally just stopped and laid in the sleeper of my truck writhing in pain.    After about 30 minutes of that, I started thinking of all the awful things that it could be.  I searched for the nearest hospital in my GPS, and was going to go if it didn’t start letting up, and soon.   It passed my mind that, “You’re going to die.”  But, It quickly started going away.   Later that week, when I was at home for the weekend, I had another bout with this same un-relenting pain.  I spent 3 hours on the floor rolling in pain.  Finally, I decided to go to the emergency room.  Fast forwarding a bit,  when I finally got to my personal physician, it turns out, it was just acid reflux or Gerd.  With medication, that’s not been an issue since.  Well, at least until yesterday.  Man! It was a rough one.

The Lord was looking out for me today, and my doctor had a cancellation, and I got in.  On my way to his office, I prayed, “Asclepius, Lord  god of healing and health, please don’t let me have cancer, and please don’t let me have had a heart attack.  Please don’t let my blood pressure be high.

After spending about an hour and a half at the doctor, and several tests, my EKG came back normal, “Bless his name!“.  My urinalyses came back negative.  “Hallelujah!“.   My blood pressure was high, though.  But I’m not worried.  “He has a plan, and He works in mysterious ways.

As human beings, we remember all of the times that we wished, prayed, or, flipped a coin, and got the result we wanted, but we forget all of the times that we wished, prayed, and flipped a coin, and we didn’t get what we wanted or needed.  It really doesn’t matter who or what you wish or pray to.  Like George Carlin said, “I choose to pray to Joe Pesci.  Sometimes I get what I want.”   It doesn’t really matter.    “We remember the hits and forget misses,” says Michael Shermer, Ph.D., author of Why People Believe Weird Things.

As it turns out, the original blood in my urine, was most likely all of the red dyes in the Crystal Light drink mixes I was drinking.  When I cut that out, the ‘blood’ mysteriously went away.   The heart attack I felt like I was having yesterday, was no heart attack at all.  It was just Gastroesophageal reflux disease.  God was so merciful not to give me a heart attack and die, but rather gave me something that feels like a heart attack, but without the big send off at the end.   My blood pressure was high for the first time in my history of checking.  Both the GERD and high blood pressure have nothing to do with gods or devils, but of me.  My habits got me here.  No one else made me overweight.  I did it.

I now see that life is just a series of causes and effects.  It’s all us.  No gods or evil spirits needed.

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Functional Atheists

Country Store

I  just stopped for a 10-100 (CB radio lingo for bathroom break) to refill my cup of coffee.    The place is set up like an old general store, with older people sitting around talking about the good old days and comparing illnesses.

As I filled my cup,  I could hear parts of the small talk between two older, southern Virginia country boys.   “Yeah, I’m 67, and all my friends are dropping like flies.”  As I turned around, I was kind of chuckling with them and chimed in on how, “…the aches and pains I used to not give a second thought in my teens and twenties, they’re starting to worry me a bit.”  We chatted for a few more minutes, then, as I was getting ready to leave, John, the one I’d been speaking to, asked me about my t-shirt.   “Where are you from?  DC?”   I felt  that tingling feeling in my scalp as the blood rushed to my head.  I was excited and nervous thinking about how I was going to explain what the rally was about to a stereotypical, southern, probably christian.    I told him that it was a rally to promote reason, especially in government.  We were also there to promote the separation of church and state.    He took it surprisingly well.

Living After Faith Podcast Hosts

 

As I started to leave again,  he made a racist evolution Obama joke that I debated on confronting him on, but decided to let go with a light scolding joke.   We talked about a bit of Darwin and reincarnation, then he made another joke,  “Obama said it was ok for me to come out of the closet as a queer, now.”   All of us around the table laughed.  I’m thinking, this guy is just a typical southerner.  Racist and homophobic, but considers himself neither.  I was partially wrong.

I told John that I was born and raised pentecostal, and had extreme views on homosexuals.  What changed my mind was,  when I met my first real, live, gay couple.  They didn’t fit any stereotype I’d been taught.  “I realized that they were just normal people”, I told him. I said, “When I stopped thinking of them in terms of gay sex, and instead, people wanting companionship, the debate was over for me.”

“Back in 1980, I had a life changing experience.  Change in a good way.”  John starts to tell me.  He tells me that he was pretty high up in the regional southern Baptist church hierarchy.  “They wanted me to start going around to all these churches in Alabama and Georgia and let all these ministers  know exactly what their position was to be on gay people in the church.  They told me that I was to preach that homosexuality was an abomination and it wouldn’t be tolerated”.  He continued, “Then I had my light bulb in my brain moment.  I’m not going to that.  We’re not supposed to judge these people; God is.”  He said soon there after, he resigned his position with the church.

I was shocked.  I wasn’t expecting first, this conversation, and second, for it to go this direction.   I realized that I was wrong for prejudging the man as a redneck or a hillbilly.    It reminds me to think, “you never know who you’re talking to.”  Something you or I might say might get someone to start thinking.  Or, they think already think about things like this, but don’t feel comfortable talking about them.  It is the south after all.

In my opinion, John is one of the “None’s” that David Silverman is referring to to when talking about the people he’s trying to reach with The American Atheists’ billboards.  John wouldn’t identify as an atheist or an agnostic, but for all intents and purposes, from what he told me, he lives his life as if a god does not exist.    A functional atheist.

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The Comedian

 

President Obama at the 2012 White House Correspondents’ Dinner.
April 28-2012

WASHINGTON — “This year’s primaries, the 2008 primaries, the General Services Administration scandal, even the Secret Service and Donald Trump were targets for President Barack Obama’s scattershot humor at Saturday night’s celebrity studded White House Correspondents Dinner.”

… Continue reading

 

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Your Faith Is Dead

I’m often asked a version of the question, “If you don’t believe in God, why do you talk about Him so much?”.
In this video, Christopher Hitchens explains more eloquently than I can:

  •  Why we must not be silent,
  •  Why it’s important for atheists to not allow themselves to be ashamed
  •  Why we must be bold in the face of opposition.

To the Christian friends I have left, even if your version of god has evolved into a nicer, kinder, more gentle kind of god, your religion is still based on the basic tenets laid out in the bible.  The world must end in an all out free-for-all before Jesus can come back. [Matthew 24]   If you agree, then why be afraid of Muslims blowing up the world?   Why have we spent the last 10 years fighting Islam from ending the world as we know it?  The more quickly it’s [The world] over, the more quickly Jesus will return.

If you:

  •   Have a home (or church) security system [Psalm 121:7]

Then I assert that you do not really believe your doctrine. You do not have faith in your god.  The evidence points to you not believing that he will return.  If you do not believe any of the above enough to live them in real world conditions, then why pretend?  This is why we [non-believers] speak up.  This is where religion does harm.   People shut the eye of reason.  They make excuses for why they do all of the above.

Adam Savage @ Reason Rally March 2012

Adam Savage at the Reason Rally March 20

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“It’s Me, Jesus”

God sacrificed Himself to Himself, to save us from Himself? Couldn’t an all powerful god just not create “fallen” humans in the first place? If not, the all knowing god knew we would sin, so in fact, he created sinners. Either that, or using Occam’s Razor, we created god in our image.

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Who Planted The Tree?

Executive Director of Recovering From Religion

Executive Director of Recovering From Religion

“If you hold on to any version of Christianity.  Any version.  Then you have to keep Genesis.   If you keep Genesis to any degree whatsoever, you can’t say, ‘Well, we’re gonna give God a break because it was really Adam that was disobedient and this and that.’   You have to go back and say, ‘Who planted the damn tree in the first place?’  That’s the question.  And if you gonna be pissed at God, that’s what it’s going to be about, for planting the tree.   Then you back up one more step and say, ‘He had to create free will so that people would love him with all their hearts’.  So then you say, ‘He’s going to literally allow billions of people to suffer, so that this handful [of people] that love God for real, so that He can enjoy the love of that handful – for real, despite what everyone else is going through’.  That doesn’t wash, either.  If I was ever going to be angry, I would be angry at that idea, and not at God at all.”  ~ Jerry DeWitt

 

Recovering From Religion   Thousands of organizations will help you get INTO religion, but we’re the only one helping you OUT.

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God Is Bi-Polar

"Here's God!"

"Here's God!"

;

If the Church is the bride, then Christ is a wife beater. In the good times, He’s nice and kind, as long as He feels like you’re giving Him all the love and attention He deserves. If at anytime he doesn’t think He’s getting your all, He could snap and beat you, possibly even kill you. It’s just easier if you pretend to love him.

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We Are All Atheists

That god everyone blasphemes when it storms, Zues.

That god everyone blasphemes when it storms, Zues.

 

“I contend we are both atheists, I just believe in one fewer god than you do. When you understand why you dismiss all the other possible gods, you will understand why I dismiss yours.” ~ Stephen F. Roberts

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