The US Postal Service plans to sell 56 buildings — so it can lease space more expensively — and the real estate company of the California senator’s husband, Richard Blum, is set to pocket about $1 billion in commissions.
Sunday, January 18, 2015
Wednesday, January 14, 2015
Religious men, even ones who regularly read about deities sanctioning violence in their holy books, don’t usually feel the license to kill, of course. In fact, you might expect the opposite. After all, religious people are more likely to do good than other people. They volunteer and donate blood more often than non-believers. They give more money to charity. In most psychology experiments they are more generous and less dishonest than atheists, and in the real world, they commit fewer crimes and abuse illegal subtances less, too. In fact, in the majority of the 39 countries polled by a 2014 Pew study, people say that a belief in God is required to be a moral person. That opinion was most common in poor regions such as Central Asia, and West Africa. But 53 percent of Americans also agree that religious belief makes you more ethical.Really? Religious men who regularly read about deities sanctioning violence are more generous and less dishonest than atheists. What the fuck? What study says that? None of this is true.
Tuesday, January 13, 2015
He showed me other tools too, each with its own story and each offering a new service that helped put food on his table. He explained that I should get my own tool box and learn how to use the tools so that I too could take care of myself, and eventually, take care of my own family. I did not realize he was speaking metaphorically until much later. I have a large metaphorical toolbox these days and I use it all the time.
He gave me once more piece of advice, “Lock your tool box. You never know when those sneaky coloreds will come around and steal you blind.” I can still hear his voice in my head.
I knew then that he was a racist. So was my grandmother and virtually evey other adult in my life at that time. I would go my own way eventually. I left behind the racist parts of my grandfather and family, and embraced a life rich with many people, experiences and cultures. I bring this up now because I just read a story about a man and his ideas, which are mostly good, but he’s under attacked for comments he made that offended others. It turns out the man is a bit of chauvinist. My problem, as with all things these days, is that I do not see the problem with a chauvinist/racist/misogynist as an all or nothing game. Just because a man (or woman) holds an opinion or an attitude which are at odds with my own, does not mean I reject all of his ideas out of hand. Ideas stand on their own merit. I do not understand those who reject the whole over a part that is rotten, or use the rotten to justify killing the whole.
I eventually confronted my grandfather over his racism. It was hard, but he eventually softened. He had to. His exposure to better ideas left few other options.
Sunday, January 11, 2015
As a general rule, I keep a wide array of Facebook friends from within all aspects of the atheist community. I rarely unfollow, although I do so if the atheist in question is stupid. I don’t have time in my life for stupid. I don’t think many of us do. I also unfollow those who e-beg, be it people who dream of being Youtube barons or those who simply cannot pay the rent. My reasons are simple, in the case of the wannabe Youtube barons, I think it helps develop the equivalent of an atheist version of professional clergy. I’m not a fan of being an atheist first and then something else. I prefer the title of writer, photographer or project manager who happens to be an atheist. In the case of those who e-beg because they cannot pay the rent, I have no way of determining if their needs are real, so I prefer not to participate.
In some cases I unfollow Facebook friends. It usually starts with the words “Trigger Warning” and is followed by some obviously controversial topic meant to incite an argument simply for the sake of arguing and… weeding out the ideologically impure. I unfollow because I don’t want to read it, nor do I want to be sucked into the stupidity of publicly vilifying a fellow atheist over his or her position on a controversial issue.
I don’t think the atheist community on Facebook is a good place to hang out, so I rarely do. It beats Reddit though…
Saturday, January 10, 2015
When I first watched the channel back in August of 2014, I thought it was a premature concept. It’s still premature, but now we can also add stale. Why are the slotting low-quality video programs? I like the podcast version of the Atheist Experience well enough, it’s a good way to waste an hour while commuting around LA, but who wants to watch two talking heads while they chat up a caller? Why must I watch a show I can get via Youtube or a podcast? Why is there no new content? Why is there no original content? Why would people sit in front of their PCs to watch this via a published schedule when the content is available on demand via Youtube and other services? It makes no sense.
When I tuned in today, I was struck by the thought that I may have watched the same Atheist Experience that last time I watched I fired up the show. I don’t think AtheistTV is a thing. I think it might have died in birth.
Two people who say that as children they were sexually abused by a leader in a Hillsboro Jehovah’s Witnesses congregation filed a $10.5 million lawsuit Monday – among the first in Oregon to accuse the religious organization of hiding decades of sexual abuse.
Attorneys for Velicia Alston, 39, and an unnamed man said the Jehovah’s Witnesses leadership continues to cover up sexual abuse against children by leaders. They say it is more than a decade behind other organizations, such as the Catholic Church, that have been forced to address their problems through many years of civil litigation.Source: Jehovah’s Witnesses under fire from former congregants who say child sex abuse was hushed, by Aimee Green.
Wednesday, January 07, 2015
"The church was asking me to confess my sins, when I felt like God had done far worse things than I've ever done," he says. Like "standing by and not really doing much for the world that's full of war and conflict and despair, loss.
"I looked at my own life and I felt that way. I'd just gotten divorced. I was just really angry at God for disappearing on me when I needed him most."This is a common story I hear from former Christians who have lost their faith. Where is God? Why is he hiding? It resonated with me. Where is God in this mess of a world? Anyone?
What bothers me is that his original church, a fundamentalist Bible Fellowship Church, would not allow for a divorced pastor. Peters had to leave the church. They had endorsed him for service as a Army chaplain, but when he returned damaged by the experience and in need of love, his religion, in the form of his church, abandoned him. That’s when you know faith is screwed up. Believers acting in accord with doctrine, it damages so many people.
David Peters wrote a book: Death Letter. I plan to read it.
“Religion, a mediaeval form of unreason, when combined with modern weaponry becomes a real threat to our freedoms. This religious totalitarianism has caused a deadly mutation in the heart of Islam and we see the tragic consequences in Paris today. I stand with Charlie Hebdo, as we all must, to defend the art of satire, which has always been a force for liberty and against tyranny, dishonesty and stupidity. ‘Respect for religion’ has become a code phrase meaning ‘fear of religion.’ Religions, like all other ideas, deserve criticism, satire, and, yes, our fearless disrespect.” –Salman RushdieI fear no religion. Fuck you Islam. Pictures tell a more powerful story than my simple words:
From Paris, via Reddit.
Via Cyprien on Twitter
Via J.K. Rowling on Twitter.
Via Banksy on Instagram - this gives me hope.
Tuesday, January 06, 2015
Pastor James Worley of Powell Valley Church in Oregon, was arrested on 37 sex crime charges.
…including two counts of rape, 20 counts of sexual abuse, 11 counts of sodomy, one count of attempted sodomy and three counts of using a child in a display of sexually explicit conduct.Pastor Thomas Wilson of Smithville Baptist Church in New York, was arrested on a charge of sexually assaulting a young girl.
Wilson is accused of having sexual contact with a nine year old girl in the village of Sackets Harbor during the spring or summer of 2008…”I only opened one email. I am afraid to read any more.
Monday, January 05, 2015
See this face? Does it look like somebody who can abuse children? No? That’s because anybody is capable of this type of abuse. A pastor is just a man (or woman). There is nothing special about being a pastor. Anybody can be one. Anyone…
How well do you know your pastor or your youth pastor? Why give another person unsupervised access to your child? Why take the risk that the nice man telling bible stories to your children is not only taking advantage of young minds but young bodies as well?
Hypocrisy. Deal with it.
I found a new (to me anyway) person today. While listening to Brett Mckay’s The Art of Manliness podcast #95 on my drive home. Brett interviewed Brian Koppleman who wrote, among others, the screenplays for Rounders, Knockabout Guys, and Ocean’s Thirteen. While discussing a writing technique called morning pages, Brian tries to write three longhand pages each morning. His disclosure came out naturally and suddenly. Referring July Cameron’s the Artists Way, he said, "The book has a lot to do with spiritually. I’m an atheist.” (37:20)
His Wikipedia page also shows that he is an atheist.
Brian Kopplemen has a podcast called The Moment on Grantland.com
Saturday, November 29, 2014
I follow photography. It's my thing. It's a lifelong hobby that brings me joy and happiness. I also follow religion and belief too. It brings me less joy and happiness, but it tends to make me think and that is okay. Sometimes photography and religion mix. Like this story about actress Jena Malone.
On Friday, Jena Malone turned 30, debuted her first solo photography show and celebrated the release of her latest film, The Hunger Games: Mockingjay (Part 1), which went on to have the biggest opening weekend of any movie this year (though she only appears for a few seconds). All three pivotal events make up what she calls a "crazy triangle" influenced by Saturn Return, or the life-changing astrological transition that she says she's been in the thick of for the past two years.
"crazy triangle" influenced by Saturn Return, or the life-changing astrological transition... Wait, what? Everything was moving along well until we took a turn towards astrology, and then the story went south.
I was originally attracted to the story because of the images. I was curious. What would the young photographer Jena Malone produce? I hoped for interesting and got what looks like photos that my mom would take while on vacation. Her show is a vanity showcase of little substance, but her life looks worse. Astrology, triangls seeds… It all feeds my thinking that successful actors are just people with access to more of everything than the rest of us. They are people with all the same kookie hangups, shallow thinking and limitations as the rest of us. Why do we treat them special? Why do we idolize them? Why do we treat a woman whose experience in photography is limited to studying photography at a Jr. college as if her snapshots of Burma are special?
I find myself asking a lot of questions these day. One that comes to mind often is, what is the real role of a pastor? With all the negative media coverage these days, I have ample evidence of what a pastor’s role should not be. I have precious little exposure to what a pastor's role should be. I need to fix that. If I am to highlight problems in religion, I think balance is required.
I can find nothing redeeming in the words of Pastor Earl Carter.
“I don’t hate gays, I’m just like the doctor who hates disease, I fight the disease,” Carter added. “My gospel is like chemotherapy. We try to get to the disease. And the police fighting crime, what are we fighting? Or are we making concessions for these sins?”
The words, “My gospel is like Chemotherapy” stand out. Chemotherapy is a horrible analogy and brings to mind suffering and pain. Pastor Earl Carter is saying that it is his job to bring suffering and pain to LGBT people. Does that sound anything like the message of Jesus?
Thursday, November 27, 2014
I read and despair… I know lots of people who think like this.
“Even if I’m going to drop my kids off, or I need to park somewhere, I’m like, ‘OK God, you know I’m in this parking lot, you know any place you can open up for me would be great!’ I just have this relationship- I’m not dumbing down prayer. What I’m doing- it’s just part of my life.”
The Christian notion that god listens to our silly prayers and then intervenes in the lives of people to make our desires come true makes no sense at all when one considers the concept of free will. Why do people think this way? In Victoria Osteen’s scenario, god would stop running the universe to make Mr. Nobody stop his shopping and open a place close to mall for the princess of Christian bullshit to park. I mean, wtf?
(Via Progressive Secular Humanist.)