Stop the Hypocrisy, NOW!

On the blog Why Evolution is True, we find this entry that seems to have nothing whatsoever to do with evolution, biology, or even science at all.  Instead, it is all about hypocrisy in religion:

http://whyevolutionistrue.wordpress.com/2010/03/18/dennett-and-lascola-study-on-nonbelieving-clergy/

Imagine being forced to go to work every day and, as part of the job, profess something that you absolutely don’t believe.  More than that: at least once a week you have to publicly profess it, and also counsel other people on the explicit premise that you share the beliefs you reject.  In other words, you’re forced to live a lie.

No one is forced to do anything like that.  The issue is that you have a job that makes you money and enables you to influence others. That sounds like a strong motivation to keep doing it, but there are alternatives.

Why do these preachers stay in the faith and on the job? Three reasons, mostly.  One is financial: what else could they do with their training if they left the ministry? Often they have neither equity (living in church-owned houses) nor pensions.

What about simply switching to become ministers of Unitarian Universalist churches or hold some other position in the Unitarian Universalist Association? You do not have to believe in the Bible as the Word of God to be a UU!

http://huumanists.org/

You can also profess liberal Christianity in the UUA and not be hypocritical:

http://www.uuchristian.org/

Another, and perhaps more important, reason is that an admission of unbelief  would shock and disappoint their friends and family.  This is a very powerful motive, for facing the truth would rip asunder your network of social and family support.

Where is the unconditional love that Christians are supposed to have for people? And wouldn’t being open and honest about unbelief be just as likely to cause others to defect as well?

Finally, many of these preachers like their work, especially the part of the job that involves helping troubled people……..There’s absolutely no doubt that faith, and religious institutions, have provided important help for those in need or in trouble.  Some religions do this more than others.

There is no reason why they cannot do work like counseling or doing charity work, even if they are atheists.

But isn’t it a shame that there aren’t secular communities where those with altruistic instincts can “minister” without hypocrisy or fear?

That last remark irritates me.  The UUA may not be “secular”, but it provides exactly the sort of framework needed by those former Christian ministers. And then there are these many groups:

http://www.freethoughtpedia.com/wiki/Secular_charities

Nice going, Jerry Coyne. Your obsession with bashing religion only made yourself look ignorant! And that would not be the only time you did that!

The downfall of Greenpeace

Greenpeace is a hard-core environmental group that first become known for trying to stop whaling activities by direct interference with the whalers. But that was decades ago. And now it has pulled a stunt against another culture that has destroyed its credibility forever.
Peru Plans to Charge Greenpeace Activists for Damage to Nazca Lines

Pie charts and privilege.

The basic conflict between conservatives and liberals can be illustrated by the following pie charts.

In the first, we see a typical arrangement in which a certain class that is privileged gets most of what they want, leaving only a little for members of a non-privileged class.

PieOne A truly just society, one that liberals would favor, would have an arrangement like this:

PieTwoBut this would cause the formerly privileged group to have less, which would go against their interests. But what if we could enlarge the amount of resources so that everyone could have more?

PieThreeSounds ideal, no? But conservatism depends on social inequality, so instead they might push for THIS instead!

PieFourIt does not matter how large or how small the pie is, as long as a privileged class gets most of it, period!

Maybe that explains this:  http://dalehusband.com/2009/07/13/the-absurd-scam-of-reaganomics/

The Bible and a flat Earth

About a decade ago, I was having a debate on evolution with a couple of Christian bigots. And the issue of the Bible teaching the Earth being flat came up. When I suggested this, they vehemently denied it.

The Bible says the Earth is round, Dale. He sits enthroned above the circle of the earth, and its people are like grasshoppers. He stretches out the heavens like a canopy, and spreads them out like a tent to live in. -Isaiah 40:22- So much for that argument…. Dale. Christians aren’t idiots.

And to prevent you from claiming that “Circle” does not mean “Sphere”, and playing a little word game, the English translation of the Bible was written in the English vernacular of that time. They used the word “circle” to describe the shape of anything round, like a melon, or a grapefruit, or a round rock. So don’t go there. This isn’t Geometry class.

But then again, how would they have explained THIS passage?

https://www.biblegateway.com/passage/?search=Matthew%204&version=NIV

Matthew 4: 8-10

Again, the devil took him [Jesus] to a very high mountain and showed him all the kingdoms of the world and their splendor. “All this I will give you,” he said, “if you will bow down and worship me.”

10 Jesus said to him, “Away from me, Satan! For it is written: ‘Worship the Lord your God, and serve him only.’[e]

Why would the devil have to take Jesus to a mountain to show him anything? If the Earth is a sphere, such a move is pointless. Only if the Earth is indeed flat does it make sense. Which is why I did not believe my opponents then and I certainly don’t now!

Of course, the story could be only a metaphor. But that would apply to almost anything else in the Bible, including the creation stories in the book of Genesis.

The costs of slavery

Until the American Civil War ended, slavery was a common institution in the United States. Often portrayed as cheap, it still had costs associated with it. These included:

1. Obtaining the slaves: They were often kidnapped from Africa and shipped across the Atlantic Ocean under cramped conditions. That cost money. The slave trade was eventually abolished long before slavery ended, but that had the effect of making the slaves already in America more valuable.

2. Buying the slaves.

3. Giving the slaves food, water, clothing and shelter.

4. Treating the slaves of illnesses and injuries.

4. Guarding the slaves to prevent them from revolting or escaping.

5. Burying or cremating the slaves after they died.

Now compare that with people who work today at minimum wage. If you can only afford food to feed yourself and your children, a place to live at, medical expenses, and to pay for your funeral when you die, how are you any better off, materially speaking, than slaves 200 years ago?

And if you wonder why some want the minimum wage increased, that is why!

Why did the Democrats lose this year?

It seems that everything that could have gone wrong this election cycle, did go wrong. Texas elected yet another Republican governor, Greg Abbott (I am so tempted to tell jokes about the comedy duo Abbot and Costello), Kentucky re-elected Sen. Mitch McConnell, the Republicans will control the Senate next year and the House of Representatives actually INCREASED its majority for next year! And that begs the obvious question: WHY?

You see, the Republicans these days have literally NOTHING to offer the American people but bigotry and have nothing to do but express HATRED for President Obama based on that bigotry. Over the past two years, the Republicans running the House tried dozens of times to repeal the Affordable Care Act, even while knowing those attempts would fail in the Democratic controlled Senate. Now they may try again next year, but President Obama will simply veto such attempts. As the old saying goes, “To repeat the same action, and expect different results, is madness!” The Republicans may even attempt to impeach and remove Obama from office like they tried to do to President Clinton, and that will most likely fail too.

So why did the Republicans win so massively this year? Because, quite simply, many people assume that anything bad that happens to America must be the fault of the President, so they blame him for those bad events, then they vote for the party that opposes the President, even though he had nothing to do with the issues involved. For example, President Bush Jr was not responsible for the screw ups of federal agencies that followed the impact of Hurricane Katrina on New Orleans in 2005. Likewise, Obama was not responsible for things like the ebola scare this year right before the election.  THAT WAS THE MEDIA’S FAULT! Hmmmm….

Part of the problem is that the Democrats as a party are much more diverse than the Republicans. Obama originally ran as a dedicated liberal but over time due to Republican opposition has moved toward the right, but that alienated many liberals who also consider themselves Democrats, resulting in them being reluctant to consistently support the President.

In fact, I would say the only reason Obama got elected at all was because the previous Republican President was so TERRIBLE! If Bush Jr had been half the President Bill Clinton had been, we would have elected McCain in 2008.

And maybe that is just the real issue, sadly. America as a nation just was not ready for an African-American President. We are still mostly racist bigots!

The ultimate discrediting of Libertarianism

Over the past several years I have gone from being sympathetic to the ideals of Libertarians because of their opposition to the Iraq War and their support for drug decriminalization, to being highly skeptical of some of their claims and dogmas because of practical experience. But now, I am ready to publicly declare that Libertarianism as a political force has been completely debunked and should be abandoned as unworkable. It should not be contained in either a political party called the Libertarian Party, nor in the Republican Party. And here is why: http://www.viralnova.com/walmart-turned-library/

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