Saturday, January 31, 2009

Ceremonial Deism: The National Religion

Ever wonder why, when we pledge allegiance, we say "under God"? Ever wonder why our money says "in God we trust"? Do you ever wonder why these phrases, which seem to endorse and establish some sort of religious belief, i.e. god, are sanctioned by the US government? Even when the constitution explicitly forbids the establishment of religion? You are not alone.

Many people have wondered and complained, some through the courts. The US Supreme Court, in its infinite wisdom, settled on an explanation termed "Ceremonial Deism", a phrase coined by the former dean of Yale Law School, Eugene Rostow. Ceremonial Deism is a legal term used in the United States for nominally religious statements and practices deemed to be merely ritual and non-religious through long customary usage.

Ceremonial deism is offensive to everyone. The non believer is offended for obvious reasons. But the serious believer is also offended. The supreme court is allowing "in God we trust" on our money and "under God" in the pledge of allegiance because these phrases are deemed to be "merely ritual" and "non-religious". Hence the Supreme Court is telling the devout believer that when they say "under God" in the Pledge or read "in God we trust" on our money there is nothing of religious significance going on, merely some meaningless ritual.

Hence the Supreme Court offends everyone while pleasing no one. More than this, by allowing these religious phrases to be sanctioned by the US government, the Supreme Court is violating the first amendment to the constitution. The US Supreme Court, by embracing the explanatory force of Ceremonial Deism, is, in deed and word, establishing a national religion. This
defacto national religion is, paradoxically, empty of any true religious faith or conviction; a religion that is shallow, superficial and without consequence.

And that is where we now stand. A little known phrase, Ceremonial Deism, stands as the official national religion, a religion that is by definition, merely empty ritual devoid of any religious depth or significance. Is this what we want for the USA?

Wednesday, January 21, 2009

Atheists use Obama to promote secularism

The American Humanist Association will be using Obama to promote the virtues of secular family life. The AHA will use Obama's image in a prominent ad to be included in a special inauguration issue of the Washington Post. The ad praises the non-religious upbringing of Barach Obama. Obama's mother was a staunch defender of secular humanism.

Monday, January 19, 2009

Obama Dreams

Something fantastic is about to happen. What are your thoughts as we approach this momentous occasion? Do we dare to dream? Are we damaged goods bound by cynicism and disappointment? Or can we make a fresh start, and recreate an America that is loved and respected abroad, while being civil and compassionate at home?

Sunday, January 18, 2009

The greatest 16 minutes of the 20th century

The greatest 16 minutes of the 20th century.

Many of us know Martin Luther King Jr.'s 1963 "I Have a Dream" speech from snippets and news clips. If you have time for reflection today, watch it here, all the way through. It's unmissable. In an era of open injustice and brutal hatred, King challenges his listeners to actively build a better world for themselves and their children. We know the highlights, but watching the whole 16-minute speech makes the context of '63 shatteringly clear, and underscores the clarity and power of MLK's vision.

Legalize it!

Legalize the Medicinal and Recreational Use of Marijuana

Burning Bush

Good bye monkey-boy!

Saturday, January 17, 2009

Mormon Gulag

something to investigate further:

Geneticaly Modified Organisms

 It is of paramount importance that all genetically modified food and other modified consumer products be clearly labeled. The public deserves to know and to have a choice.

As we move forward into this brave new world we need transparency and rigorous testing. We must hold the multi-nationals to a strict standard and write laws and regulations that reflect the fundamental fact that corporations are here to serve people; people are not the servants, property, or guinea pigs of the corporations.

With that said, I am not anti-science or even against the use of GMOs. I am for fairness and transparency.

Social Networks

Facebook is like 8 track tapes, something else will be here soon. If anything such communication will become more prevalent. It is nevertheless odd. There are somethings people will tell strangers they will not tell certain (real world) friends or relatives. We are in the process of learning how to construct our virtual self. We will all be looked back upon as odd and primitive. I suspect future generations will have even more complex levels of communication

Sunday, January 11, 2009

Meet the Brights

What is a bright?

A bright is a person who has a naturalistic worldview
A bright's worldview is free of supernatural and mystical elements
The ethics and actions of a bright are based on a naturalistic worldview
Is Your Worldview Naturalistic?
Think about your own worldview to decide if it is free of supernatural or mystical deities, forces, and entities. If you decide that you fit the description above, then you are, by definition, a bright!

On this website, you can simply say so and, by doing so, join with other brights from all over the world in an extraordinary effort to change the thinking of society—the Brights movement.

Reason and Purpose
Currently the naturalistic worldview is insufficiently expressed within most cultures, even politically/socially repressed. To be a Bright is to participate in a movement to address the situation. (Note: the upper case Bright signifies someone who fits the definition and registers on this Web site.)

There is a great diversity of persons who have a naturalistic worldview (free of supernatural and mystical elements). Some are members of existing organizations that foster a supernatural-free perspective. Far more individuals are not associated with any formal group or label. Under the broad umbrella of the naturalistic worldview, the constituency of Brights can undertake social and civic actions designed to influence a society otherwise permeated with supernaturalism.

The movement's three major aims are:

Promote the civic understanding and acknowledgment of the naturalistic worldview, which is free of supernatural and mystical elements.
Gain public recognition that persons who hold such a worldview can bring principled actions to bear on matters of civic importance.
Educate society toward accepting the full and equitable civic participation of all such individuals.

Tuesday, January 6, 2009

Atheist Manifesto

There is no god, or anything else that would qualify as supernatural.

Don't buy the lie. Faith is an excuse for not thinking. Belief in god is intellectual suicide.

Be brave, be strong, face the truth: we are animals here on this planet, mammals that live and die like any other mammal.

There is wonder and mystery and beauty in this world; don't waste this one life believing in some silly superstitious non-sense.

The atheist needs to prove nothing. The atheist accepts the natural world as it appears. It is the believer that must prove there is some invisible force, the proverbial old white dude in a white robe pushing all the buttons in some magic control room that no one can see.

In short, the burden of proof is on the believer.

Belief in god is dangerous; belief in god leads to war, death, pain and miserey; belief in god is a tool of oppression.

Be a zealot for the truth. It is a crime that people teach children that there is a god, and a heaven and a hell.  To force a child to accept such non-sense is an insult to the intelligence and should be treated as child abuse.

Everytime the atheist makes people more aware of the possibility of atheism it is a victory. Anytime the atheist can plant a seed of doubt it is a victory.

The fact that a majority may believe in the supernatural is not an argument for the supernatural.

At one time the majority thought blacks inferior, thought the sun revolved around the earth, and even that the earth was flat.

The majority has a horrible track record.

And it is funny how the Xians love to threaten the non-believer with hell. No doubt Jesus would be proud.

Nevertheless, we must face the truth, again and again and again. Much damage has been done.

The truth: there is no god; jesus is some dead dude, not divine but no doubt charming, and just another bag of rotting flesh.

I encourage all believers to give up the shackles of faith, the bondage of belief, the cursed darkness of religion, and be born again into the sweetness of reason and light.

Be a hero. Be an atheist!

Friday, January 2, 2009

feed your head

check this out

the veil on current

check out the pod on current

The erotic aspect of the hijaab is fascinating. On one hand the covering only heightens mystery and the erotic. And yet the whole idea of the hijaab was to somehow de-eroticize women, and this for their own protection.

The whole mess is terribly sexist. It is as if we are prisoners of gender and sexuality, and so must perform the grossest contortions.

The west is not immune to such contortions, as the pod points out. Indeed, fake boobs and the hijaab can be seen as two sides of the same coin.

Yet there is often a backward ignorance around the hijab. It enforces an immature impression that every man is just a dog in heat and that every woman is such a great temptation that they must cover themselves so that the men will be able to maintain control of themselves. This notion is silly and naive. More than this it is insulting to assume all men are sexual children who can not control their actions.

No doubt the most important thing is that a woman has a choice to cover or not. When a woman is forced to cover she is a victim. To force a woman to cover is to oppress that woman.

I voted this up.

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