Wednesday, February 28, 2007

Tuesday, February 27, 2007

Archaeologists, scholars dispute Jesus documentary

CNN has a article up on the Tomb of Jesus. The controversy over the Discovery Channel documentary should be interesting. I mentioned it to a Christian friend today, he rolled his eyes and asked "why would somebody do this?". I've been wondering myself.

One of the caskets even bears the title, "Judah, son of Jesus,"

Its not enough to claim Jesus was just a man, Cameron asserts that Jesus had a son with wife, Mary Magdalene. His assertions undermine the very basis of the Christian faith. The odd thing is, when I think about it, what Cameron suggests is plausible. Jesus was just a man, his story grew in the telling.

New Edition of the Bible Says Evolution Is True

I really don't know what to say here besides WTF? Do we really need a bastardized bible that incorporates science into the narrative and uses Tony Robbins for source material?

If you believe that we evolved from apes, that Genesis is great poetry, and that the Universe is billions of years old, can you still enjoy reading the Bible?

Bronx school teacher and book artist Ruth Rimm thinks she has an answer. Her latest book series, the "Lost Spiritual World," is a lavishly illustrated, "postmodern" edition of the Bible for skeptics, seekers, and people of different faiths.

"There may be a profound message behind the miracle stories, but the big bang and evolution implore us not to read things literally," Rimm says. "Most Americans would rather discover the spiritual truths behind the religious metaphors, especially given how fundamentalism is impacting public life with a narrow view of religion."

Unless this is a complete hoax, it qualifies for nutball status as new age pseudo-religious crapola.

Don't forget to watch the Parable of the Gorilla.

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Blogroll Update: disambiguation

Disambiguation has joined the Atheist Blogroll. How many of you can define micromanaging? Disambiguation nails it with Case studies in disingenuousness: "micromanaging" the war.

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Interview with Founder of "Council of Ex-Muslims"

Spiegel Magazine interviews ex-Muslim Mina Ahadi about here efforts to help women leave Islam in it's Power of Faith issue.

An Iranian human rights activist living in Germany has formed a "Central Council of ex-Muslims in Germany" with 40 others and has received anonymous death threats after declaring she wants to help people to leave the religion if they so desire...

...Ahadi has been put under police protection in recent days. Renouncing Islam can carry the death penalty in a number of countries including Iran, Saudi-Arabia, Afghanistan, Pakistan, Sudan and Mauritania.

People like Mina Ahadi are equivalent to our American civil rights workers who braved lynch mobs, hate, and murder to help build a better country.

I don't think it's possible to modernize Islam. We want to form a counterweight to the Muslim organisations. The fact that we're doing this under police protection shows how necessary our initiative is.

Because of Ahadi's stand, she requires police protection. Something is broken in Europe - they give too much power to Islam. Power that is undeserved.

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Church screens Life of Brian

Back in the day, Monty Pythons' Life of Brian caused a near riot at the church I attended. Members demonstrated outside of local theaters. Bible studies and youth group meetings were dedicated developing protest material, writing letters, and planning acts of civil disobedience. By day, I  worked to stop the film, by night I watched the film at a local drive-in.

Pastor Ken told us anyone who watched the movie was sinning against God and would go straight to hell. I was already well into developing serious doubts about my faith by the time the movie was released, so the threat of eternal damnation did not scare me. Plus, I was a skeptic even as a kid, I needed to see it for myself. The movie turned out to be one of the funniest films ever produced. The controversy faded quickly, at one point even prompting embarrassed chuckles from people who were gung ho for burning down theaters a few months before.

I was surprised to see Life of Brian in the press again. It seems a UK Church is set to screening it for it's members.

Some condemned the 1979 film as blasphemous, because of its story of a Jewish man who is worshipped as the Messiah and then crucified.

Now the Anglican St Thomas the Martyr church in Newcastle is due to screen the film on Friday as part of a project with the independent Tyneside Cinema.

The Reverend Jonathan Adams said he had the backing of his congregation.

Why would a church want to watch Life of Brian? Why would they subject themselves to such blasphemy again? ...Because it's funny!

Rev Adams said: "Jesus of Nazareth is not some sort of hot house plant that we need to protect from criticism and scrutiny.

"Actually I don't think the film does that. But it does poke fun at some of the stupidity and hypocrisies of people who profess religious faith. 

Take that Pastor Ken!

Monday, February 26, 2007

Blogroll Update: Memoirs of a (G)a(y)theist

New blogger Daniel Stoker has joined the Atheist Blogroll with Memoirs of a (G)a(y)theist.  Check out his first post, Where are America's gay atheists, for an intro.

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Atheists profiled in the press

The Wisconsin State Journal has a flattering profile of Dan Barker and Anne Laurie Gaylor of the Freedom from Religion Foundations.

At the Madison headquarters of the Freedom From Religion Foundation, Dan Barker's office is one floor above the office of his wife and co-president, Annie Laurie Gaylor. So naturally, she had a sign made for his door that reads "The Man Upstairs."

Godless, yes. Humorless, not so much.

The two atheists also are proving to be far from powerless.


It is always nice to see positive press.

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Sunday, February 25, 2007

On my reading list: Jesus Land

Book Review: Jesus Land by Julia Scheeres @

I just finished reading Jesus Land, which descrlbes the heavy-handed treatment of the author, Julia Scheeres, and her adoptive Afro-American brother David at a Christian camp for supposedly troubled teenagers, the New Horizon Youth Ministry's enclave, Escuela Caribe, in the Dominican Republic. But their stay at Escuela Caribe was only part of the tale.


The book review was written by blogroll memeber Terry at Rupture the Rapture.


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WWMD What Would Muhammad Do?

If this true-to-life image of Muhammad, the self-proclaimed prophet of Islam, offends you more than the murder of thousands of innocent people explicitly in the name of Islam and Allah each year, then it means that you are definitely a Muslim (or at least a well-known type) and this page is for you.

As a Muslim, you know that life is full of tough choices.  Do you behead or not behead?  Have adult relations with your buddy's 9-year-old child...?  Take a female sex slave... ? 

Read it all

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Blogroll Update: Lemons and Lollipops

And now for something completely different. Lemons and Lollipops is a family oriented blog written by an atheist. Instead of the normal fare of atheist themed posts, you will find delightful posts focused on her family and daily life, with the occasional godless post mixed in. Enjoy!

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Saturday, February 24, 2007

Blogroll Update: Zen Curmudgeon

Zen Curmudgeon, a new blogger,  has joined the atheist blogroll. His introductory post is Sex Attacks Blamed on Bat Demon. He forgot to mention The Aquabats!

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Jesus' burial site update

I blogged about a documentary claiming to have found the tomb of Jesus a few days ago.  it seems that I left something out. James Cameron is the man behind the documentary.

Brace yourself. James Cameron, the man who brought you 'The Titanic' is back with another blockbuster. This time, the ship he's sinking is Christianity.

In a new documentary, Producer Cameron and his director, Simcha Jacobovici, make the starting claim that Jesus wasn't resurrected --the cornerstone of Christian faith-- and that his burial cave was discovered near Jerusalem. And, get this, Jesus sired a son with Mary Magdelene.

No, it's not a re-make of "The Da Vinci Codes'. It's supposed to be true.

Well if James Cameron says he found Jesus, he must be right. He found some big missing boat, right? OK - call me a skeptic.

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Blogroll Update: Born Again Atheist

New blogger Born Again Atheist joins the Atheist Blogroll and explains why he (or she?) is born again in Why "Born Again".

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Digging in the Romney dirt

Mormon presidential candidate Mitt Romney has polygamists in his family tree.

While Mitt Romney condemns polygamy and its prior practice by his Mormon church, the Republican presidential candidate's great- grandfather had five wives and at least one of his great-great grandfathers had 12...

...Other Mormons have run for the White House, including Romney's father in 1968 and Sen. Orrin Hatch, R-Utah, in 2000. But Mitt Romney's stature as a leading 2008 contender has renewed questions about his faith and its doctrines.

Romney no longer supports polygamy, nor does the Mormon church. Of course, the Mormons changed their position on polygamy after the United States made it illegal. With Romney as president, he could work to change the law. I hope not. I don't think I can handle more than one wife.

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The Meaning of Bumper Stickers


At At times I see bumper stickers and do not understand what I see. Take this one "Prayer Changes Things" - what things? it is a catchy phrase, but what is the context? Besides the obvious "I believe this statement", I find bumper stickers annoying and intrusive. I don't care what you believe, eat, wear, endorse, how many kids you have, or who is your copilot. I want you to get out of my way so I can get were I am going.

I have a camera with me all the time. When I see something odd, I shoot it. Take the NOTW sticker, it is a plug for Christian themed clothing. I've seen the stickers for a year without understanding what they mean. I was disappointed when I realized it was a commercial venture.

I recently moved my bumper sticker collection to Flickr. Check them out if you are interested.

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Vjack on Superstition in Politics

Vjack at Atheist Revolution has an excelled post called Superstition in Presidential Politics: Implications for Obama. He takes Obama to task for come out with religious fanfare when Obama himself says the does not think Americans have a "litmus on religion".

Nutball Alert: Pastor David J. Meyer

J.K. Rowling's newest Harry Potter book, Deathly Hallows will be published on July 21. I have a news filter setup to catch Potter related news bits. One such item, Harry Pot Head from pure journalism offered up an old essay from Nutball pastor David J. Meyer called Harry Potter: What Does God Have To Say.

On July 8 at midnight, bookstores everywhere were stormed by millions of children to obtain the latest and fourth book of the series known as "Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire." These books were taken into homes everywhere with a real evil spirit following each copy to curse those homes. July 8th was also the 18th day (three sixes in numerology) from the witches’ sabat of midsummer. July 8th was also the 13th day from the signing of the United Religions Charter in San Francisco. Now we have learned that the public school system is planning to use the magic of Harry Potter in the classrooms making the public schools centers of witchcraft training.

I can only say that Meyer seems odd, and that I'm not sure he's plugged into the same God as others of his ilk. Read it for yourself. Afterward, visit the complete library of his tracts for more bizarre perspectives on occult penetration of popular culture.

Gay rights, Baptist style

Anti-gay Rev. Lonnie W. Latham was busted for soliciting gay sex from an undercover police officer in January of 2006. Since then he has resigned as pastor of the South Tulsa Baptist Church and from the executive committee of the Southern Baptist Convention. As his case moves to trial, his defense affirms his homosexual tendencies - he has a right to have anonymous gay sex.

His attorney, Mack Martin, filed a motion to have the misdemeanor lewdness charge thrown out, saying the Supreme Court ruled in the 2003 decision Lawrence v. Texas that it was not illegal for consenting adults to engage in private homosexual acts.

I had felt sorry for they guy. He had lost so much. I figured letting him off the hook for his alleged crime was enough punishment. Now, I would have to say, let the hypocrite roast. If there is any justice in the world, he should have a long public trial, after which he is freed because the jurors see the logic in his argument.  He's gay, and he has the right to have gay sex any time he wants - Oh, and he's also a total hypocrite, we cannot forget that part.

Friday, February 23, 2007

Blogroll Update: Everyday Humanist

Everyday Humanist has joined the Atheist Blogroll. As an introduction, try Fight Faith-Based Initiatives - Rally in DC Next Week.

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Sam Brownback is a religious man

...and he wears it on his sleeve. This alone should be enough to keep him out of office. Brownback call himself a Wilberforce Republican in an obvious attempt to pander to the religious right. His strategy must be to aggressively  show himself as more religious than any other candidate. He's going to have a hard time with all the fundie ass kissing that John McCain has under this belt.  

If you don't know who Wilberforce is - think Amazing Grace.

The Kansas senator is running with the association. Two weeks ago, he introduced a bill to honor the British abolitionist, and today, he will participate in a panel discussion following a screening of “Amazing Grace” in Los Angeles.

Nothing says I want to be President more than riding on the coattails of somebody else's work.

Jesus’ burial site found

...0r so claims a new documentary.

The cave in which Jesus Christ was buried has been found in Jerusalem, claim the makers of a new documentary film.

If it proves true, the discovery, which will be revealed at a press conference in New York Monday, could shake up the Christian world as one of the most significant archeological finds in history.

The coffins which, according to the filmmakers held the remains of Jesus of Nazareth, his mother Mary and Mary Magdalene will be displayed for the first time on Monday in New York.

Of course this means the whole Jesus ascended to heaven thing was made up, and by extension, the whole Christianity thing is made up too.

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Thursday, February 22, 2007

Atheist Group Takes on Bush Initiative

Annie Laurie Gaylor and the Freedom From Religion foundation is moving ahead with a lawsuit challenging the Bush administration's faith-based initiative. it looks like a tough fight, but worthy of our support.

"When they can prove there's religious content in those programs, they've been quite successful and they've won a few cases," Lupu said. "When they've tried to go after the initiative as a whole, they've been less successful."

The case goes before the Supreme Court next week. You can read the brief here. It's interesting to note that the Bush administration is arguing that taxpayers have no standing when it comes to how the executive branch spends funds, but taxpayers have standing when the issue is originates in congress. The Bush administration's position seems inconsistent.

I found an interesting reference to the FFRF at Stop The ACLU. I don't think they like us much.

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Sex abuse victims' advocates go after Southern Baptists

If you read Sex abuse victims' advocates go after Souther Baptists closely, it leads one to think that not only are all catholic priests pedophiles, but all Baptists ministers are as well. Call me skeptical, but it seems like the scope of the allegations are beyond reason.

"I believe kids are not safe in Southern Baptist churches," said Brown, who runs a Web site called the Voice to Stop Baptist Predators.

Are all Baptist children at risk? I don't think so. Yet if you read Stop Baptist Predators you will think so, it reads like a pedophile rogues gallery.

  • Pastor Steve Gaines knew at Bellevue and kept quiet.
  • Minister Tom Messer knew at Trinity and kept quiet.
  • Pastor Larry Reynolds paid "hush money" in child molestation case with BGCT as a party.
  • Minister James Crittenden urged newspaper not to run Southmont story.
  • Senior Pastor Mike Roy "allowed Davies to continue working around the church's children" despite the allegations against him - and 2 more boys were molested.
  • Minister Jimmy Moore knew for decades at FBC-Farmers Branch and kept quiet, and then made the same mistake again.

There is not doubt that authority figures have the means, influence, and opportunity to take advantage of those in their care. The Catholic Church is a great example. The scale of the abuse points to systemic problems within the church, however, it is illogical to assume the same problem exist within the Baptist church. The two organizations hold little in common.  The assumption one has to draw is that pedophilia is a religious affliction.

I've had my own brush with sex abuse within a church. Just last Tuesday I was looking at the record of a deposition I gave for a case involving three members of a church I attended in the 70s. I could not substantiate the claims made by the three people bringing suit. I could only give a general impression of unease with the youth pastor/choir director involved.

The allegations were graphic, and fit the pattern of some of the stories I read at Stop Baptist Predators - only my experience indicates the allegations may be exaggerated, especially when you consider the time involved. I can barely even remember the events, how I am going to testify to in a "he said, she said" type scenario? Like I said, call me a skeptic. This reminds me of the 80s era hysteria over child sex rings, coupled with some big money lawsuits. The combination of the two makes for some level of dishonest embellishment, if not downright falsehoods.

Just say no to Islamization

The UK has a problem, the Muslim Council of Britain wants to completely overhaul the education system to suit the needs of Muslim students, even at the expense of non-Muslim students.

Demands for a ban on “un-Islamic” activities in schools will be set out by the Muslim Council of Britain today.

Targets include playground games, swimming lessons, school plays, parents’ evenings and even vaccinations.

And the calls for all children to be taught in Taliban-style conditions will be launched with the help of a senior Government education adviser.

Professor Tim Brighouse, chief adviser to London schools, was due to attend the event at the capital’s biggest mosque.

His presence there was seen as “deeply worrying”, and a sign that the report was backed by the Government.

Source: Daily Express - Muslims: 'Ban'' un-Islamic schools

The UK should keep schools secular. immigrant populations should adapt to the ways of the host nation, Muslim attempting to  transform the UK into a Islamic state should be confronted and stopped. No religion deserves special status. 

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Chimpanzees 'hunt using spears'

Via Steve Troiano of digg - Chimpanzees "hunt with spears"

Chimpanzees in Senegal have been observed making and using wooden spears to hunt other primates, according to a study in the journal Current Biology.

My favorite comment off the digg thread:

Sure, today they're only using spears but it's a slippery slope. It won't be long before they're rounding us up for sport and the Statue of Liberty's up to her neck in sand.

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God: The Failed Hypothesis

A new book by Victor J. Stenger makes an argument that science can prove that god does not exist. God: The Failed Hypothesis, How Science Shows That God Does Not Exist, is bound to stir up controversy among theist and atheist alike.  

Many authors claim that modern science supports the proposition that God exists, but very few authors have directly challenged this assertion. Physicist Victor J. Stenger points out that if scientific arguments for the existence of God are included in intellectual, not to mention political discourse, then arguments against his existence should also be considered. In God: The Failed Hypothesis, Stenger argues that science has advanced sufficiently to make a definitive statement on the existence — or nonexistence — of the traditional Judeo-Christian-Islamic God. He invites readers to put their minds and the scientific method to work to test this claim.

My initial reaction to this book is negative. I'm a big fan of Kant's two spheres philosophy, science describes the physical, religion the metaphysical, the two do not explain each other. Of course, I'll read the book before I pass final judgement.

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Blogroll Update: Alien Atheist

There is an Alien Atheist living among us somewhere in Northern California. His blog is new and 100% Atheist. Check it out, he thinks all politicians should be atheists! What a great Idea.

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Wednesday, February 21, 2007

Ellison endorses Obama

Muslim Rep. Keith Ellison endorses Sen, Barack Obama. Somehow, this does not seem like good news.  

Rep. Keith Ellison, D-Minn., said on Tuesday that he is backing Illinois Sen. Barack Obama in his campaign for president.

"Not because he's black," said Ellison, who is black. "That's identity politics. I reject identity politics.

"He speaks with a unifying spirit," Ellison said.

Obama has already been lambasted as the apostate Muslim candidate by conservative commentators. Collecting Ellison's endorsement will only provoke further attacks.

How To Start a Religion

Really, I'm not kidding. - The Uncyclopedia has step-by-step instructions for starting a religion. Maybe I can start a religion based on Atheism. After all, I'm constantly told that Atheism is a religion... Now, who are my target followers?

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Blogroll Update: Atheist Says What

Atheist Says What is the newest addition to the Atheist Blogroll. Take a look at Brownie Points where he scores some "just in case" points with a priest

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Tuesday, February 20, 2007

The Official God FAQ

An outstanding resource.  


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What happens when a country gives up religion?

According to Martin Varsavsky - Nothing much.

Religion in Spain is mostly becoming tradition. People marry in churches because they are beautiful and full of history, not because they actually practice. They still teach religion in most schools, but to most it is as if they were teaching Spanish history, the history of a country that used to be religious but is not anymore. Now the only religious group in Spain are Muslim immigrants, whose views on society are surprisingly similar to those of the Franco...

What's wrong with those pesky Muslim immigrants anyway? How can anyone dislike public nudity? Unless of course it's me that is naked, in which case I don't like it at all.

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Blogging is not a crime

Blogging is not a crime unless you live in Egypt and criticize Islam. Then, not only is it a crime, but your own family will turn against you, even to the point of asking for the application of a Sharia law, which gives people three days to repent, followed by the application of the death penalty. It does not seem likely that Abdul Kareem Nabeel Suleiman will be killed, Egypt has some small level of protection within the courts. However, he still faces up to 11 years in prison for the charge of "Contempt of Religion".

I am not sure if atheist describes Kareem. He seems more like a secularist, fighting religion in a country where free speech and freedom of religion are not tolerated. He's been accused of being an apostate, but claims only to be voicing a dissenting opinion. Whatever his religious standing is, he is one us and desires the support of Atheists and free thinkers the world over. The Free Kareem website has much more information. His blog is located here.

via Michelle Malkin - let our government know how you feel.

Contact the State Department:

Public Communication Line

Office of Public Liaison
Bureau of Public Affairs
U.S. Department of State
2201 C Street NW, Room 2206
Washington, DC 20520-2204

You do not know the lord

in this video, Mitt Romney responds a Christian heckler by acknowledging the diversity of the nation and adding "we need to have a person of faith leading the country". Romney manages to make me happy and sad in same sentence. I am pleased with his tolerance of all faiths, but unhappy with his statement, which one can take to mean atheists should not lead the country.

Roger L. Simon: McCain runnin' scared

Oh yes - McCain is scared and has no possible way to win the general election. What is he thinking? 

This pandering to get nominated is one of the weaknesses of our two-party system and, with this long election season, it is particularly so. The abortion issue is a clear example. If McCain were to win the Republican nomination on a strong anti-Roe platform, he would have extraordinarily difficult, almost impossible, time in the general election, especially if facing a woman (Hillary).

Pandering is disgusting. I destroys the character of the politician and forever weakens his position in the eye of the public. Why do they do it?

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Hillary has a blog

Everybody seems to be blogging these days - except Hillary. She has a writer.  I need to get a writer. I'll get on it right after I get a reader.

Welcome to the campaign's new blog. I'm Crystal Patterson, and I'll be blogging for the campaign as Hillary travels around the country meeting all of you and sharing her vision for America. I was the one asking your questions during Hillary's live webcasts (if you missed them, you can watch them here). I look forward to getting to know all of you as the campaign moves forward, and to hearing your ideas, stories, questions, and opinions.
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Monday, February 19, 2007

Women should wear chastity belts

It will help prevent sex crimes, at least that's what Abu Hassan Din Al Hafiz, a Muslim cleric, thinks.

Women should wear chastity belts to prevent rape, incest and other sex crimes, a prominent Islamic cleric in northern Malaysia was quoted as saying Friday.

Because... we all know women want it. It is better if their ability to be rapped is impaired by a chastity belt because men cannot be held accountable for their urges... I guess this kind of thinking worked in the Dark Ages. Even my 11-year-old son would recognize this as faulty reasoning today. You might as well put women in sexless head-to-toe body raps, keep them indoors,and away from men, and, don't even think about letting women get an education. Because, smart is sexy and therefore further fuel for Muslim men who cannot seem to control their urges (btw - we call them sex offenders here)

When countries rely on religion to define laws, the morality police will enforce dress codes, ensure women wear chastity belts, and punish women for the sins of men. The rule of law is the only hope, law free from the influence of a rabbi, priest, or cleric. Law based on the fundamental principles of freedom, self-determination, accountability.

The sad thing is that one of our own Presidential candidates is calling for abstinence in his own form of political sellout to the religious right. Calling for Abstinence is the first step on the fundamentalist road which leads to chastity belts and morality police. John McCain thinks he will ride the morality vote into the White House. It will be his ruin.

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oh yes - this guy is Jesus

A minister in Florida things he is Jesus Christ. I think he is nuts.

The minister has the number 666 tattooed on his arm.

But Jose Luis de Jesus Miranda is not your typical minister. De Jesus, or "Daddy" as his thousands of followers call him, does not merely pray to God: He says he is God.

"The spirit that is in me is the same spirit that was in Jesus of Nazareth," de Jesus says.

Honestly, how do people dream this crap up? Jim Jones and David Koresh should be enough of a warning. People like this are dangerous. Jose Luis de Jesus Miranda is another nutball cult leader who should not get on inch of positive press. He lives fat on the donations of his followers and preaches a bizarre form of personality worship, with him as the deranged divine ego at the center.

You can watch a CNN video here - he claims that he cannot die and that he is the reincarnation of Jesus.

"I do greater things than Jesus of Nazareth... I am greater than Jesus"

Nutball, nutball, nutball.

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The call to prayer

The Vespers bells tolled on Friday evening calling faithful Catholics to prayer, I was half a mile away picking up Hawaiian food when I heard the bells. Even inside the restaurant I could hear the beautiful notes from the belfry at Saint Pius V. The bells have a wonderful tone. The notes carry for miles. On a clear night, I can even hear them from my home a couple of miles away. The sound brings to mind dark sanctuaries filled with incense and chanting.

Deus, in adiutorium meum intende. Domine, ad adiuvandum me festina. Gloria Patri, et Filio, et Spiritui Sancto. Sicut erat in principio, et nunc et semper, et in saecula saeculorum. Amen. Alleluia.

The call to pray is a background part of my community. It enrich's the fabric and is as natural as the sounds of the birds chirping each morning. As an atheist, I am not offended by the sound, nor would I complain about the noise, it is more like music anyway. Would I feel the same if it were a Muslim call to prayer? I would have to say, I don't know. I've never actually experienced it myself.

As Islam grows in America, cities are dealing with the traditional Muslim call to prayer. Controversies arise frequently, some make it into the press. The most common complaint is that the loudspeaker broadcast is a nuisance that disturbs the peace and quite of the neighborhood.

Listen to the call to prayer for yourself. In my opinion, the Muslim call to prayer is every bit as beautiful as the the sound of church bells. Beauty is not the issue though, the community must ask, is the broadcast too loud to bear? In most cases I've read about, it appears that volume is the issue. When residents hear it through the walls of their homes five times a day, the call becomes a nuisance.

I do not see the difference between the two. One call uses bells, the other call uses an amplified loudspeaker. Both must observe community and heath standards or loose the privilege of broadcasting. For my part, I have to ask - is this tradition even necessary any longer? We have ample means to remind ourselves of time based obligations. Alarm clocks, cell phones, and all manner of electronic gear can service the need. Why bother the neighbors?

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lgf: Nashville Cabbie Runs Down Students

Violent religion rears its ugly head again - a Nashville Cabbie runs down students after an argument over religion. It is interesting to note that most LGF comments assume the driver is islamic. I do too, it is a natural prejudice on my part and something I am not proud of. Prejudices aside - this is yet another example of the hate differing view on religion engenders.

Mojoey survival tip #1: Never discuss's religion with a Cabbie.

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Blinded by Science: Stuck in Creationism

Discovery Magazine has a review of Answers In Genesis's new Creationist Museum. Bruno Maddox wrote the article. 

In the beginning, wrote God in His epic, loosely autobiographical best seller, The Bible, the Lord made the heavens and the Earth. Pondering from the vile comfort of the Marriott in Hebron, Kentucky, I assumed that this single statement represented the bulk, if not the entirety, of creationist ideology. Hence the name, I reckoned in a flash of insight. God created everything; if something exists, then God created it. Yes, that's what they believe, those creationists.

I can see myself heading to Kentucky soon. I am intrigued by this work of fiction. Like any good lie, their elaborate construction will start to unravel the moment skeptical minds focus on it. I want to get a look inside before the reset the the skeptical world tears it apart. From Maddox's account, it sounds like we have our work cut out for us.

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Sunday, February 18, 2007

Let the pandering continue

McCain: Roe v. Wade should be overturned

I do not support Roe versus Wade. It should be overturned," the Arizona senator told about 800 people in South Carolina, one of the early voting states.

John McCain does not have a snowballs chance in hell of getting elected. He keeps courting the nutball right, and losing anybody who would of voted for him from the center. McCain is done.

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old details

I was inspired and humbled after attending the opening of Ansel Adam: Classic Images at the Bowers Museum today. I never quite feel worthy after looking at the work of a master, especially Adams. He sees light in a way that I do not. I am not even sure if I could learn the technique.

I pulled my ever present camera out and shot a few good frames after the show. I liked this shot the best. It is of an antenna from an old Toyota Corolla. I put a few more photos from my day up at my other blog.

I highly recommend the Ansel Adams exhibit. It is 75 original photographs representing his very best best work. My favorite photos were present, as were some I had only read about.

Carnival Of The Godless #60

COTG # 60 is up at Unscrewing the Inscrutable. Don't bother looking where is was supposed to be hosted, you won't find it.

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Blogroll Update: bits of starstuff

Bits of starstuff has joined the Atheist Blogroll. He is currently hosting the "My favorite Quotes" meme. He nails one of my favorite Carl Sagan quotes.

If we long to believe that the stars rise and set for us, that we are the reason there is a Universe, does science do us a disservice in deflating our conceits?

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Our turn toward fascism

I am a hobbyist photographer - I carry my camera everywhere and shoot whatever I please. I've been stopped by the police a few times, but nothing bad has ever happened - which is odd for me because I'm always getting into trouble of some sort. I saw this short article on Digg care of welvis and shuddered. I don't like the direction our country is heading, not one bit.

Gov. Jodi RellAccording to the police, the taking of this photograph in a public street constituted a criminal act.

Source: New Haven Independent: Your Anti-Terrorism $$$$s At Work



Photograph by Ken Krayeske

Hartford Police Chief Daryl K. Roberts gave the reason for Krayeske's arrest as  "he breached the parade route". and not that he took a photo of the Governor. Roberts assertions are disputed by eyewitnesses. Apparently, Krayeske was standing on the curb shooting pictures as the Governor walked past.

Before the the parade, the police circulated a printed document containing current and past drivers license photos. The police felt Krayeske was a risk because of his political activism and statements he made on a website. How the police arrived at Krayeske being a safety risk is questionable - he seems more of the potentially embarrassing type of activist than the dangerous type.

In a case of like this, one would expect people to say that they were over zealous, apologize, and get on with life. Not so in Connecticut. The case is going to court. Krayeske entered a Not Guilty plea on January 31.  He has support in the State Legislature.

A key legislative leader, Rep. Michael Lawlor, D-East Haven, judiciary committee co-chairman, said last week that the flier made Krayeske look like "public enemy No.1" and led to an overreaction by Hartford police - who arrested him about 1:20 p.m. and held him in custody, with bail set at $75,000, for 12 hours, until it was too late for Krayeske to appear outside Rell's ball.

Well, it looks like I have another item for my news filter. 

Saturday, February 17, 2007

Pastor, felon, snitch, author

A California pastor received 18 months probation for selling his church out from under its congregation. The price of his freedom was purchased by becoming a jailhouse snitch. Randal Radic is another great example of Christian leadership.

A Ripon pastor who sold his church out from under his congregation won't serve time in prison under the terms of a plea bargain accepted Friday.

Radic took his hypocrisy one step farther - he's written a book about his life, the Sound of Meat. I hope he chokes on it. What a nutball.

NPR : Is America Too Damn Religious?

I know the answer to this, it's easy. YES.

The event was an Oxford style debate. I found it entertaining, and enlightening. I would have loved to have attended. The event emphasized how superficial my thinking is. When I hear an articulate, well organized argument, it makes me want to hit the books. There is so much I don't know. The debate had several such arguments. It left me thinking. What do you think? Is America Too Damn Religious? 

in a vote before the debate, about 67 percent of the audience agreed with the motion. After hearing the debate, more than 70 percent agreed with the motion, roughly 24 percent were opposed and about 5 percent were undecided, concluding that America is in fact "too damn religious."

You can listen to the 1 hour 34 minute debate here. Enjoy.

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Word up for Rudy

 Rudy is not selling his soul to the religious right.

With the bare fact being that no Republican in recent memory has been able to win a major contest without at least the tacit backing of the religious right, Rudy Guliani might be trying to buck that trend.

Source: Rudy Guliani Opts Out of Religious Broadcasters Meeting - Associated Content

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What would Jesus do?

I often ask myself this question. Even as an Atheist, the principles of love and peace that Jesus may have taught are beautiful. For example, I always try to help people in need. I would like to think I would never turn my back on somebody requesting aid. Yet that is what a Christian doctor name Gary Merrill did.

In Bakersfield, California Dr. Gary Merrill, Pediatrician, turned away Tasha Childress and her daughter because of the way they look. Ostensibly sighting the teachings of Christ as justification of his decision.

The doctor said he was just following his beliefs by creating a Christian atmosphere for his patients. Of course, creating a Christian atmosphere by excluding those that don't fit his definition of "good" or "Christian" does not seem very Christ like. In fact, is seems opposite - evil.

Dr. Merrill made a value judgement based on tattoo's. He choose to believe that a women who had tattoos could not possibly be a Christian, and therefor did not deserve service for her innocent and ill child. It is discrimination of the worst sort, sick and corrupt. I wonder if the color of the mother's skin played a factor?

It is his right to deny service under the law. But, was it right to do so? How does a doctor turn his back on a sick child? How does anyone turn their back on a child in pain? How does a Christian turn their back on a sick child in the name of his religion? Dr. Gary Merrill does not sound "Christian" to me, he sounds like a self-righteous jerk.

Part of the Hippocratic Oath reads:

To keep the good of the patient as the highest priority.

The Duties of a Doctor reads:

Make the care of your patient your first concern

Dr. Merrill was within his rights to refuse service. He made himself a hypocrite by doing so, and he is a poor example for his faith.

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The difference between science and faith

This diagram by Ken Grandlund says it all.

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Father of Shooter Believes Someone Told His Son to Kill People

This is disquieting news. Who Could possibly want to equip and train a disenfranchised violent Muslim youth to go on a killing rampage?

The father of Trolley Square shooter Sulejmen Talovic apologizes over and over for the ordeal. Suljo Talovic says no one who knew his son saw this coming, and he believes someone pushed him to do it.

Suljo Talovic doesn't know where his son got the guns or how he learned how to use them.

Suljo Talovic, Father of Shooter: "Somebody got (the guns)…and maybe (they were) training him and tell(ing) him (to), ‘go shoot somebody.'"

Question: So you think that somebody influenced him maybe to do this?

Suljo Talovic: "Yeah. I think somebody."

Talovic says the tragedy is taking a toll on his family.

Repeatedly, in a lengthy interview with KSL Newsradio, Talovic expressed the sentiment that someone trained and pushed his son to kill. He apologizes for the ordeal, saying it makes him feel horrible, like killing himself.

Source: - Father of Shooter Believes Someone Told His Son to Kill People

Friday, February 16, 2007

They still don't trust us

Hat tip Charly of Ansatz for the results of a gallop poll which looks at the religious backgrounds of candidates. Atheist are still at the bottom of the heap.

If Your Party Nominated A Generally Would You Be Comfortable In Voting Well-Qualified Candidate For WH '08 For A WH '08er Who Was ___, Would You Vote For That Person?

                          Yes No
Catholic 95% 4%
Black 94 5
Jewish 92 7
A woman 88 11
Hispanic 87 12
Mormon 72 24
Married for third time 67 30
72 years old 57 42
A homosexual 55 43
An atheist 45 53
Source: USA Today/Gallup: Watch Out Old Divorcees.

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Feed the Muse: Marian Jordan Lewandowski

I hesitated before I hit the "delete forever button" in gmail after a quick look at my spam folder. I saw something that did not look spam-like. I open the email to find an invitation to exchange links with a remarkable photographer named Marian Jordan Lewandowski. I first watched his short web movie, Happiness. It game me chills. This man has a remarkable eye. his imagery evokes emotions.

His photography website, MJL Photography, devoured an hour of my time. I looked at every picture. At one point I even stopped to take notes. I admire the way Marian composes his photographs. He inspires me to work harder on some of my own projects. Inspiration is what life is all about.

From his bio I learned that Marian is a Christian with a healthy world view:

The most beautiful thing that a human being can experience is the possibility of true dialogue; my website is such an attempt - my private but open dialogue with the world, with other open-minded, sensitive people ..."

Marian Jordan Lewandowski is an excpetional photographer. He has earned a link on my sidebar.  

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Blogroll Update: CaroLINES

CaroLINES has joined the Atheist Blogroll and has the honor of becoming our 200th blog. That's right - 200 blogs have joined since I started this project just a few short months ago. Woohoo!

Take a moment to get to know our newest member. CaroLINES' introductory post is about Hitchhiking. I was lost in the first paragraph - what the hell is a Hillman Avenger?

,,,reminded me of the only time I've ever picked up a hitcher. I had an old Hillman Avenger (I think it avenged the fact that I bought the damn thing), with a bigger engine, same transmission and a busted radiator. Somewhere along the way someone had "upgraded" the engine to a staggering 1300cc, from the original 1100cc...

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Blogroll Update: Rank Atheism

Rank Atheism has joined the Atheist Blogroll. Check out Misleading premises in arguments: Propositional Logic for an introduction.

The potential for rhetorical abuse and misleading premises makes propositional logic a minefield. For this reason, scientists and philosophers recommend formal reasoning as an alternative.

Something tells me arguing with Alan Mackenzie might be fun.

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Thursday, February 15, 2007

Atheist since 5, crossdresser since 6

CaroLINES: talks about becoming an Atheist.

I've been an atheist since about 5. It precedes my gender-awareness by about a year, and has caused almost as much trouble. I was sitting in Sunday School when I startled myself with an insight that I still find telling. In a flash, I ended up questioning the entire construct of religion, and as a result became "very atheist" (for wont of a better term) before I knew such a thing was possible...

More and more Atheist are telling their stories. CaroLINES is a little more interesting than mine.

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The Jews are behind evolution!

Via the Neural Gourmet - The Jews are behind evolution!

It makes me proud to be an American - but happy I live in the great state of California - Georgia and Texas have something in the water which breeds stupid fundamentalists.

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Not my porn!

I know this might be old news to some, but another Christian group is trying to invade our privacy with their ineffective vision of morality. This time the focus is on pornography. (X3) is dedicated to breaking porn addictions, because deep down, we all love to see naked women.

You know, I have this friend....

X3's Mission Statement (pdf) makes for an interesting read. Apparently, porn addiction is not limited to the male of our species.

The problem isn't just for men. From mommies to working women, the ladies are among the top demographic struggling with porn addiction. Perhaps more quiet than the men, but struggling non-the-less. Women are finding it, devouring it, and destroying lives with the dirty little secret. If you are struggling, get help today.

Know you are not alone. Know there are other women who feel and have felt the same way you do right now. Most of all know there are others who have found hope and recovery living pure lives away from porn and sexual sin.

X3 gets Christian hate mail (because they are annoying).

I am sure that your website means well, but what do you think about a young child walking thru a parking lot and seeing a vehicle covered in the words XXX and CHURCH together, you send a mixed message and nobody thinks it is a good plan but you...

Is XXX a word?

In reading their Executive Summary - I found this interesting tidbit. They debate porn star Ron Jeremy.

XXXchurch is on college campuses debating the biggest male porn star in the world, Ron Jeremy. The Ron Jeremy debates are a great way for the message of X3church to hit an audience that embraces porn. In the 2006-2007 school year we anticipate 20 plus dates on different college compuses.

Somebody must have have tapped this. it would be YouTube gold.

They claim 60 million hits - could it be because they are viewed by the typical porn cruiser as the church of sex? I'm willing to bet 60 million hits translates to fewer than 60,000 interested people. The rest hit the back button real fast. Is it just me or does this seem funny in an odd sort of way?

How is it possible that not heard of this before?

Oh... I'm a science geek

- and proud of it. When did Science become the enemy?

Cluster Abell S0740

Photo Care of

The photo of cluster Abell S0740–an image that would have bedazed every previous generation of humans–probably didn’t even make it to the front section of your local newspaper.

I don't feel so special when I view images like this. The universe defies big, it defies our concept of god, it defies our science, our culture, and our knowledge, but it gives me hope - there is so much to learn.

Muslims converting to Christianity by the thousands in France

I read two blogs every day. Little Green Footballs and Dhimmi Watch. I've been a fan of Charles at LGF since he started posting after 9/11. Some of the people who comment on LGF are racist whack nutjobs, it is one of the reasons I rarely post there, but Charles does a good job of highlighting the dangerous side of the Islam - despite what his critics might might claim. The same goes for Dhimmi Watch, Robert does an outstanding job of representing the problems with encroaching Islamic fundamentalism. I might not hold the same political positions as these two men, but I find they fight on the same side in at least part of the war - fundamentalism is evil.

Dhimini Watch has a post highlighting Muslims who are converting to Christianity in France which is based on Muslims converts face ostracism in France from

Around 15,000 Muslims each year are converting to Christianity - around 10,000 to Catholicism and 5,000 to Protestantism....

Muslims who convert from Islam to Christianity become apostates. Under Islamic law, they risk death. converting is deadly serious business. It brought to mind a point I wanted to make about another religion converstion methodology. 

Mormons face problems similar Muslims when they seek to convert to any another religion (or become atheists), only without the whole "hunt you down and kill you" thinking that goes on is Islam. Mormons face intense social pressure to remain part of the church. Leaving is unthinkable because you are often cut off from your family and friends. The Mormons church will move to excommunicate wayward members, which places and even grater negative stigma on the person involved. Members who choose to leave often face moving away from their community and starting over. It can be a daunting decision, and prevents people from leaving as effectually as Islamic death threats. Coercive religious practices seem disingenuous when the real reason for the behavior is often control of a community. Mormons often do not understand the nature of the lies which bind them to their faith.

Religion is a beautiful thing. Really, it is.

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The five weirdest patron saints

You may never guess the names behind these patron saints, so just give in and follow this link for the answers.

Who is the patron saint of coffee and coffeehouses?

Who is the patron saint of grave diggers?

Who is the patron saint of cooks and tanners?

Who is the patron saint of prostitutes?

Who is the patron saint of flowers?

Patron saints are yet another thing I don't understand about religion. Long dead losers and weirdo's are immortalized as "saints", who are then worshipped as demigods by the faithful.  I don't get it. Do I pray to the patron saint of prostitutes if I want to find a hooker or is it the hooker who prays if she wants to find a john?

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Aardvarchaeology : History Carnival 48

Fellow Atheist Dr. Martin Rundkvist is hosting the 48th History Carnival  at Aardvarchaeology. Check it out.


GodTube is YouTube, except unpopular and for Christians only.

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China has low standards for use of the death sentence

A Chinese business executive was sentenced to death for swindling $385 million from investors in a bogus ant-breeding scheme. I’m sure his vital organs are on the way to a needy rich transplant patient.

read more | digg story

Wednesday, February 14, 2007

Trolley Square Video

If I ever need further proof for why I could never be a police officer, it is because I could not do what these brave men do. How do you run into gunfire without wetting yourself? The Trolley Square video clip is amazing. Videographer Jaron Densie desires some recognition for his actions too.

(KUTV) SALT LAKE CITY - 2News has acquired dramatic home video footage that was taken inside of Trolley Square during Monday’s shooting rampage that left five people dead and four others wounded.

Jaron Dansie was inside the mall when Sulejmen Talovic entered the building, pulled a gun and started shooting people at random. As he took shelter inside one of the shops on the first floor, Dansie pulled his video camera.

“What the… What the hell's going on?” Dansie can be heard saying on the video, in between a barrage of loud gunshots.

Violence like this give me nightmares. The full uncut video can be seen here.

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