“The Debbie and Carrie Show” is finished!

Starting in April, I downloaded an app called Plotagon and began using it to write and produce episodes of a series that came to be called “The Debbie and Carrie Show”. Earlier references to it are here:

A series made using Plotagon to promote Unitarian Universalist ideals

_______________

Race and Being a Witness

Now the series is officially finished. Here is a link to it:

And here are the major characters in it.

Debbie Smith: A 13 to 14 year old girl living in a small town somewhere in east Texas. She is a lesbian and was raised an atheist. She was originally designed to be an “anti-Sophia” (Sophia being the girl featured in the “Caleb and Sophia” video clips made to promote the Jehovah’s Witness cult). Played by a character model I created.

Debbie Smith

Original appearance (Episodes 1-15).

Debbie Smith 2

Later appearance (episodes 16 to 33)

Sandy Smith: Debbie’s mother,  originally a Christian but became atheist as a teen. Moved from Tulsa, Oklahoma to the small Texas town after her divorce. Later inherits an estate worth over 20 million dollars from her ex-husband. Played by “Ms. Green”, a pre-made character model in the Plotagon app, because of her resemblance to the mother in this Caleb and Sophia video.

Sandy Smith

Cruel Mercy: After Rev. Dave Owen tries to pull a publicity stunt in front of Mrs. Smith’s restaurant, she has him arrested, but then quickly bails him out to prevent his jailing from generating sympathy from the members of Owen’s church. She and several others then proceed to give Rev. Owen a series of tongue lashings over his contemptible stunts.

Carrie Sims: A 13 to 14 year old girl who is Debbie’s best friend and later her love partner despite saying she is not lesbian. Like Debbie, she was raised atheist by her lesbian mothers. Her last name comes from the video game The Sims.

Carrie Sims1

Original appearance (Episodes 2 to 18, played by “Lizzie” a pre-built character model)

Carrie Sims2

Later appearance (Episodes 19 to 33, played by a character model I created)

Driven to Suicide: Averted, in that Carrie attempts suicide in episode 17 after suffering a nervous breakdown, but is saved by her mothers.

Jessica Sims: A beautiful white lesbian who came from Boston. She met her future wife, Lucy, at a restaurant and literally saved her life after Lucy was fired from that place. She is Carrie’s birth mother. She was raised an atheist, but she was also the one who came up with the idea of forming a Unitarian Universalist fellowship in the town as a means of helping her daughter and Debbie resist the bigotry that was common there. Played by a pre-built character model.

Jessica Sims

Hypocrite: In episode six, Jessica says no one should be treated as an outsider by the members of the Unitarian Universalist fellowship, only to say to Miss Jenkins when she comes to visit, “Shouldn’t you be at YOUR church?” Justified as Jenkins was the homophobic teacher who hurt both her daughter and Debbie. Jessica gets better once it is clear Miss Jenkins has no hostile intent.

Lucy Sims: Jessica’s wife, who was raised a Jehovah’s Witness, but was disfellowshipped after coming out as a lesbian. Carrie considers Lucy to be as much her mother as Jessica. Played by a pre-built character model.

Lucy Sims

Angry Black (Wo)man: Subverted. Lucy is against ALL bigotry as both a black person and a lesbian and she sees Carrie not as a white girl at all, but as her beautiful daughter, and even is distressed that her black (and Jehovah’s Witness) relatives refuse to accept Carrie as a family member.

Carla Jenkins:   English teacher of both Debbie and Carrie at their school, her Baptist zealotry caused her to begin using the Bible as a text in her lessons, eventually causing the Smith and Sims families to sue her and the school over this. She was hired as a teacher by her uncle, who was the school principal. Played by a pre-built character model.

Carla Jenkins

Well-Intentioned Extremist: From babyhood, she was brainwashed to believe that everyone had to be a Christian to be saved, which caused her to violate the rights of non-Christians like Debbie and Carrie.

Heel Realization: This happens in episode four when Jenkins is confronted by Sandy Smith over Jenkins’ threat to expel Debbie from school. Sandy tells Jenkins a Bible story, one in which Moses and his followers commit an actual act of genocide and mass child rape against a neighboring people. This badly shakes Jenkins’ Christian faith.

Nepotism: Carla Jenkins owed her teaching job to her uncle and even took cash from him as a sign of her loyalty to him only to learn later the money had been embezzled by the uncle from the school funds. She was then fired by her uncle’s successor.

Heel-Face Turn: After realizing that her faith is on shaky ground, Carla makes peace with the Sims and the Smiths and by the end of the series she is their firm ally, condemning Rev. Owen for his gross bigotry and hypocrisy to his face.

 

Jason Laker: A friend and classmate of Debbie who, despite being raised Baptist, opposes the bigotry of Miss Jenkins and others against the Sims and Smiths. Eventually leaves the Baptist church and joins the Unitarian Universalist fellowship, though he remains a Christian. Played by a character model I created.

Jason Laker

Victoria: Sister of Lucy and still a Jehovah’s Witness. Came to visit Lucy to tell her their mother was dying of cancer, but she, along with her son Scott and her mother, refused to accept Carrie as their niece/cousin/granddaughter. Played by a pre-built character model.

Victoria

Hypocrite: Jehovah’s Witnesses are supposed to be against racism and other forms of prejudice, but it is obvious that Lucy’s black relatives have a problem with Carrie being white; the fact that Carrie is being raised by lesbian mothers is merely the excuse given for their rejection of her (and of course, anti-LGBT bigotry is as problematic as racial prejudice in any case).

Rich Smith: Ex-husband of Sandy Smith and father of Debbie and James, he had a highly questionable moral character (he had cheated on Sandy), but claimed he was getting better. Was killed by the ex-husband of Mary, the woman he was about to marry. Played by “Paul” a pre-built character model.

Rich Smith

Jerk with a Heart of Gold: Rich recognized that Sandy’s divorcing him was his fault. He eventually sought to redeem himself by getting involved with a woman half his age, Mary, who already had five kids. She became pregnant with Rich’s baby, but she, along with Rich and all her children, were exterminated by her vengeful ex-husband.

James Smith: Son of Rich and Sandy and brother of Debbie. He had little respect for his father because of Rich’s cheating on Sandy, only tolerating him when they were together. Eventually came to regret his self-righteous attitude. Was even more irreligious than his mother and sister. Played by a character model I created.

James Smith 

Tara Conlan:  Meets Debbie and Carrie at a rock concert and learns about their Unitarian Universalist fellowship from them, which she joins, despite living in a town 100 miles away from the one of Debbie and Carrie. After being disowned by her parents for rejecting their Catholicism she moves in with the Sims and eventually moves again to Boston to work with Jessica’s mother at her cat shelter. Played by a pre-built character model.

Tara Conlan

Mrs. Sims: Jessica’s mother, she is so devoted to cats that she runs a cat shelter in Boston where she cares for and sterilizes stray or abandoned cats before releasing them or giving them homes. Wears a hat shaped like a kitten as a sign of her profession. Was raised Catholic, but became atheist as an adult. Played by a pre-built character model, the “crazy cat lady”.

Mrs Sims

Rev. Dave Owen: A Baptist minister and the greatest enemy of the Smiths and the Sims. Played by a pre-built character model.

Rev Dave Owen

Big Bad: The original motivating force behind Miss Jenkins’ attempts to indoctrinate the kids in her English class. Later sends an offensive letter to the Sims and finally tries to disrupt their and Sandy Smith’s restaurant, the Tuscany Tavern, resulting in his arrest and jailing. He is then bailed out only to receive a series of reprimands from people in the town he had antagonized.

 

Mr. Hernandez: The principal of the school after Miss Jenkins’ uncle was fired. He in turn fired Miss Jenkins, but was later persuaded to give her another chance by, ironically, Mrs. Smith. He was also impressed by Debbie and Carrie after getting to know them. Played by a pre-built character model.

Mr Hernandez

Dr. Drake:  The doctor at the hospital who treated Carrie after her suicide attempt.  He privately told Rev. Owen about Carrie and was shocked when Owen then sent a letter to the Sims attacking them over the incident. Despite being a Baptist himself, he condemned Owen for this breach of trust, while also recognizing his own wrongdoing about it. Played by a pre-built character model.

Dr Drake

A non-theist version of “One Man, One Woman”

This is a direct sequel to Jehovah, the Homophobe.

For reference, here is the video again:

What if the mother and daughter in that video had been atheists and not Jehovah’s Witnesses? Let’s rename the children and retell the story.

Debbie: “Look, Mom! I drew our family in school today!”

Mom: “Oh, wow!”

Debbie: “I didn’t have time to finish James’ face.”   (Mom chuckles.)

Debbie: “Carrie drew two mommies. She said they are married to each other. My teacher rejected her picture, saying Carrie’s mommies are living in sin. That made Carrie cry. What does that mean?”

Mom: “Your and Carrie’s teacher has a common view of gays and lesbians as sinners or even diseased because of their sexuality, but that is based mainly on religious bigotry. Thousands of years ago, when most of the world’s religions were being founded and spread, most people lived in tribal groups. Marriages were usually not just relationships between individuals, but also alliances between families or even nations. So fathers would often arrange for their children to marry members of other families and then those children would be expected to produce the next generation as adults. But the problem was that gays and lesbians couldn’t have children with each other, so they were useless for procreation. Because the founders of the great religions and the writers of the scriptures of these religions mistakenly believed that people could choose their sexuality, harsh punishments were often called for in an effort to force young people to avoid being gay or lesbian and try to be straight instead. Today, we understand how foolish and ignorant those people were and that’s why prejudice against LGBT people is fading away.”

Debbie: “What can we do to help Carrie?”

Mom: “Her rights are being violated by the teacher. If they haven’t done so already, Carrie’s mothers need to consult a lawyer and try to take legal action against the school. Let me talk to Carrie and her mothers so they can know what to do.”

 

Tribute to Nick Karean

Strictly speaking, as an Honorable Skeptic, I do not expect to have followers of my ethical philosophy. Nor am I a blind follower of anyone (because then I wouldn’t be a skeptic). No, not even Carl Sagan, though he was a idol of mine in childhood and he was one of my direct influences in the creation of my standard of ethics. But there is one person whose vision so closely mirrors my own, and even exceeds it in many ways, that I must pay tribute to him as a brother in arms against ignorance, superstition, and self-serving bigotry: Nick Karean.

Nick Karean

His Facebook profile: https://www.facebook.com/nickkareans

His YouTube channel: https://www.youtube.com/nickkarean

His blog: https://nickkareanhobbyshots.blogspot.com

He lives in a nation split between Buddhists, Muslims, Christians and Hindus, among other religious communities, yet he was a fundamentalist Christian early in his life, just as I was. Eventually, however, he learned to get away from that and developed critical thinking, becoming one of the strongest advocates for reason, science and objective truth I’ve ever known. He currently travels in his free time and captures his experiences on photo and video which he shares on his blog and his YouTube channel.

I invite all who know me to also join with him.

Let It Go… my analysis of its lyrics

In an earlier blog entry, I spoke of the experience of people leaving their former religion and seeking personal freedom. I also referred to a song that seems to speak of that experience. Here is that song again:

And here are the lyrics:

The snow glows white on the mountain tonight
Not a footprint to be seen
A kingdom of isolation
And it looks like I’m the queen
The wind is howling like this swirling storm inside
Couldn’t keep it in, heaven knows I’ve tried
Don’t let them in, don’t let them see
Be the good girl you always have to be
Conceal, don’t feel, don’t let them know
Well, now they know
 
Let it go, let it go
Can’t hold it back anymore
Let it go, let it go
Turn away and slam the door
I don’t care what they’re going to say
Let the storm rage on
The cold never bothered me anyway
 
It’s funny how some distance makes everything seem small
And the fears that once controlled me can’t get to me at all
It’s time to see what I can do
To test the limits and break through
No right, no wrong, no rules for me
I’m free
 
Let it go, let it go
I am one with the wind and sky
Let it go, let it go
You’ll never see me cry
Here I stand and here I stay
Let the storm rage on
 
My power flurries through the air into the ground
My soul is spiraling in frozen fractals all around
And one thought crystallizes like an icy blast
I’m never going back, the past is in the past
 
Let it go, let it go
When I’ll rise like the break of dawn
Let it go, let it go
That perfect girl is gone
Here I stand in the light of day
Let the storm rage on
The cold never bothered me anyway
 
And here is my interpretation of those lyrics.
 
The snow glows white on the mountain tonight
Not a footprint to be seen
A kingdom of isolation
And it looks like I’m the queen
 
When you realize that a religion you based your entire life around is not true, or at least not suitable for you, you don’t just lose that religion, you lose the COMMUNITY that religion creates, and thus you feel terrified about what may happen to you later. We humans are social animals, so this is indeed trauma on a grievous scale.
 
The wind is howling like this swirling storm inside
Couldn’t keep it in, heaven knows I’ve tried
Don’t let them in, don’t let them see
Be the good girl you always have to be
Conceal, don’t feel, don’t let them know
Well, now they know
 
At first, you may try to pretend to still believe in and follow your former religion, but this is no long term solution if you value your integrity. And eventually, those in the faith closest to you may figure out you are just pretending and condemn you, rightfully, as a hypocrite. The sooner you come out with the truth about yourself, the better.
 
 
Let it go, let it go
Can’t hold it back anymore
Let it go, let it go
Turn away and slam the door
I don’t care what they’re going to say
Let the storm rage on
The cold never bothered me anyway
 

Once you turn that corner and admit openly you have abandoned your past faith, your fears will be replaced with inner peace, perhaps the same inner peace the religion itself was supposed to give you. Now you can face the others who still follow your old religion and refute their claims. The controversy (cold) wasn’t the issue; you were just on the wrong side of it!

It’s funny how some distance makes everything seem small
And the fears that once controlled me can’t get to me at all
It’s time to see what I can do
To test the limits and break through
No right, no wrong, no rules for me
I’m free
 
People who reject all dogmatic religions do so because they realize the rules of those religions are not grounded in reality. The only rules and laws that should ever matter are those that serve real needs of real people in real time. Religions can’t do that!
 
Let it go, let it go
I am one with the wind and sky
Let it go, let it go
You’ll never see me cry
Here I stand and here I stay
Let the storm rage on
 
So now you can prove that leaving a religion won’t destroy you as a person, but make your life better!
 
My power flurries through the air into the ground
My soul is spiraling in frozen fractals all around
And one thought crystallizes like an icy blast
I’m never going back, the past is in the past
 
Leaving an oppressive religion increases your creativity, allowing you to  explore possibilities that you were fearful of before. And that justifies your leaving and makes you see there is no point in ever turning back.
 
Let it go, let it go
When I’ll rise like the break of dawn
Let it go, let it go
That perfect girl is gone
Here I stand in the light of day
Let the storm rage on
The cold never bothered me anyway
 

The religion you left promised you light, but it was a lie; you only became truly enlightened once you left it and found what was right for you. You stopped seeking moral perfection once you recognized it never existed. Instead, you make up your own standards and live by them. Just as I did in 2005:

 

An Honorable Skeptic

Advice for people leaving or thinking of leaving their religion.

In reddit, there are many subreddits that are made as support groups for people doubting or denying the religion they were raised in and wanting to leave it. This blog entry is for those people.

Here is a list of those ex(religious) subreddits.

https://www.reddit.com/r/Exittors/     (A general subreddit for various people leaving any religious group allowing them to  compare notes and see how much alike they are.)

https://www.reddit.com/r/exchristian/

https://www.reddit.com/r/excatholic/

https://www.reddit.com/r/exmormon/

https://www.reddit.com/r/exjw/     (A subreddit for former Jehovah’s Witnesses, not to be confused with ex-Jews)

https://www.reddit.com/r/exmuslim/

https://www.reddit.com/r/exjew/  (THIS is the subreddit for people who have rejected the Jewish religion, even if they are considered of Jewish ethnicity.)

https://www.reddit.com/r/exAdventist/    (For those who reject Seventh Day Adventist teachings)

https://www.reddit.com/r/exscientology/

https://www.reddit.com/r/EXHINDU/

https://www.reddit.com/r/excoc/      (For those rejecting the “Church of Christ”)

https://www.reddit.com/r/thegreatproject/     (Another subreddit for people wanting to tell stories about leaving their religion.)

And last but certainly not least (at least to me):  

https://www.reddit.com/r/exbahai/

Warning: Do NOT go to a religious group of any kind and openly state you want to quit their religion. All that will do is start a fight you don’t need to be involved in. Examples:  

Once you decide what you really are, you can join a subreddit that defines you in a positive rather than a negative way. Such as:

https://www.reddit.com/r/atheism/

https://www.reddit.com/r/agnostic/

https://www.reddit.com/r/Humanist/

https://www.reddit.com/r/skeptic/

https://www.reddit.com/r/UnitarianUniversalist/

Finally, here is a song for all those ex(religious) people in the world to celebrate their freedom from whatever cult or dogmatic bullshit they were once in:

 

 

Bigotry in Religion

When I rejected the Baha’i Faith in 2004, I also rejected theism itself, reasoning that if any God-centered religion could have been true, the Baha’i Faith was because it was the newest and most progressive in nature. So I could not revert to any older faith, not even the Christianity I had been raised in. They had already failed, and once I understood that the Baha’i Faith was also a failure, I couldn’t believe in God at all.

Most followers of the Abrahamic religions regard non-theists with contempt, and they are encouraged to have this bigoted attitude by the scriptures of their religions. Here are some noteworthy examples.

The first is from the Bible.

https://www.biblegateway.com/passage/?search=Psalm+14&version=NIV

Psalm 14

For the director of music. Of David.

The fool says in his heart,
    “There is no God.”
They are corrupt, their deeds are vile;
    there is no one who does good.

The Lord looks down from heaven
    on all mankind
to see if there are any who understand,
    any who seek God.
All have turned away, all have become corrupt;
    there is no one who does good,
    not even one.

Do all these evildoers know nothing?

They devour my people as though eating bread;
    they never call on the Lord.
But there they are, overwhelmed with dread,
    for God is present in the company of the righteous.
You evildoers frustrate the plans of the poor,
    but the Lord is their refuge.

7 Oh, that salvation for Israel would come out of Zion!
When the Lord restores his people,
let Jacob rejoice and Israel be glad!

From the Quran we have this:

2: The Cow

6 As for the Disbelievers, Whether thou warn them or thou warn them not it is all one for them; they believe not.
7 Allah hath sealed their hearing and their hearts, and on their eyes there is a covering. Theirs will be an awful doom.
8 And of mankind are some who say: We believe in Allah and the Last Day, when they believe not.
9 They think to beguile Allah and those who believe, and they beguile none save themselves; but they perceive not.
10 In their hearts is a disease, and Allah increaseth their disease. A painful doom is theirs because they lie.
11 And when it is said unto them: Make not mischief in the earth, they say: We are peacemakers only.
12 Are not they indeed the mischief-makers ? But they perceive not.
13 And when it is said unto them: believe as the people believe, they say: shall we believe as the foolish believe ? are not they indeed the foolish ? But they know not.

Here’s another example from the Gleanings of the Writings of Baha’u’llah:

www.bahai.org/r/207266714

CXIV (that’s Roman numerals, it would be 114 in Arabic numerals)

Know thou for a certainty that whoso disbelieveth in God is neither trustworthy nor truthful. This, indeed, is the truth, the undoubted truth. He that acteth treacherously towards God will, also, act treacherously towards his king. Nothing whatever can deter such a man from evil, nothing can hinder him from betraying his neighbor, nothing can induce him to walk uprightly.

As a non-theist who has personally known many other honorable non-theists, these passages show the writers of these scriptures to be as ignorant as it gets when it comes to the true character of atheists and agnostics.

My strict ethical standards are defined here:

https://dalehusband.com/about-the-author/an-honorable-skeptic/

I have seen plenty of examples of treacherous and dishonest behavior from people who profess to believe in God.

Atheists do not reject theism because they are corrupt (though to be fair, some are). They cannot behave treacherously towards one they do not believe exists. To disbelieve in God is not evil, merely a different point of view. Saying otherwise is hate propaganda.

Ethical standards only make sense if they come from reality and are applied to reality. People are real. God(s) may not be. And if your only source of ethics is religion, what happens if a religious leader commands you to commit mass murder and rape?

This attitude of bigotry towards non-theists was used to justify the nonsense written by Hugh Ross, as recorded here:

Insulting and Libeling Unbelievers

And we simply shouldn’t accept that anymore.

James Randi, supreme champion of skepticism, has died

https://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/f/f5/Preferred_official_head-shot_from_James_Randi_Educational_Foundation.jpg

I first heard of James Randi, who died on October 20, 2020, back around 1990 shortly after I deconverted from Christianity. He and his skeptical research on Christian “faith healers” like W. V. Grant and Peter Popoff wasn’t directly responsible  for my rejecting Christianity, but reading his book “The Faith Healers” (which included a foreword by my childhood idol Carl Sagan) was enough to make me decide to NEVER be Christian again.

But while he could lead people to the truth about religious and paranormal claims being false, he couldn’t force people to give up their delusions.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/James_Randi#Magician

Randi has been accused of actually using “psychic powers” to perform acts such as spoon bending. According to James Alcock, at a meeting where Randi was duplicating the performances of Uri Geller, a professor from the University at Buffalo shouted out that Randi was a fraud. Randi said: “Yes, indeed, I’m a trickster, I’m a cheat, I’m a charlatan, that’s what I do for a living. Everything I’ve done here was by trickery.” The professor shouted back: “That’s not what I mean. You’re a fraud because you’re pretending to do these things through trickery, but you’re actually using psychic powers and misleading us by not admitting it.”[37] A similar event involved Senator Claiborne Pell, a confirmed believer in psychic phenomena. When Randi personally demonstrated to Pell that he could reveal—by simple trickery—a concealed drawing that had been secretly made by the senator, Pell refused to believe that it was a trick, saying: “I think Randi may be a psychic and doesn’t realize it.” Randi consistently denied having any paranormal powers or abilities.[38]

Maybe some people who believe in such things really are insane. As for me, I will always go where the evidence leads me and not deny clear truth or accept falsehoods for the sake of my personal comfort, just as James Randi did not.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/James_Randi#Personal_life

“One day, I’m gonna die. That’s all there is to it. Hey, it’s too bad, but I’ve got to make room. I’m using a lot of oxygen and such—I think it’s good use of oxygen myself, but of course, I’m a little prejudiced on the matter.”

Quoting such humorous wit is a good way to remember him.

 

Ed Brayton has died.

One of the most ethical atheists in the world was Ed Brayton, whose blog Dispatches from the Culture Wars I used to read often. He and I did have a falling out over different views of feminism (we are both pro-feminist, he was just more radical than me) and I forgot about him for a long time. And now I have learned he is dead.

Some of you no doubt know this already, but I have decided to end my battle to the death with death. I’m entering hospice care and would like to slip into the eternal abyss in the next couple weeks. I reached the point where I simply have no fight left in me. I wish it were not so. But I have a few things to say first.

First, a profound thank you to those of you who turned this blog into a community. It has meant the world to me that it has become not merely a place for me to write, but a place where we shared ideas and values and helped fight the battles for equality, justice and liberty. Thank you all so much. Also to my fellow bloggers here. You have all added to my life immeasurably and I am forever grateful.

I’m also very grateful for an amazing group of friends and family who have gone way above and beyond to support me and love me. And to the doctors, nurses and aides who have taken care of me along the way. But it’s a time like this that makes one evaluate their life and most important beliefs. So, to that task.

I am not afraid of death, but I am afraid to die painfully and with suffering. My hope is that hospice will put me on a morphine or dilaudid drip and knock me out so I don’t feel anything, then I can just slip away. That’s essentially what happened with my dear friend Connie a few years ago. And I hope we can do it at home, as we did with her. I’d rather be with loved ones than in a facility. I’ll stay either with my best friend Rick or my parents.

Regrets? Mostly about the things I’ll never get to do now. I would love to have made Secular Quemanism a reality. Perhaps someone else can run with the idea now in my place (Mike Slomka? Bueller?) I still think it’s a great and important idea. I won’t be able to continue to advocate for humanism as an important philosophy. That sucks. I just have so much more to say and do.

My greatest hope is that after I’m gone the world continues to become more fair, just and equal. What else could we possibly hope for and work for? I urge you all to keep fighting the good fight for those core values. Who should you look to for leadership? I nominate Dale McGowan, the finest example of humanism I know, and Matt Dillahunty. They should be the public face and voice of this movement, not Dawkins or Krauss or Shermer.

Don’t be sad about this, be hopeful. I got to make the decision myself and spare others from that awful task. I did it while still of sound mind, if not body. That means the world to me. I maintained my self-determination until the end.

In closing, let me just say thank you again. You made my life better, richer and more fulfilled and who could ask for more? Goodbye, one and all. I will miss you as I hope you will miss me. Be good to each other along this incredible journey.

P Z Myers, who I was once also a fan of and later came to dislike, paid tribute to Brayton.

A sad announcement from Ed Brayton

Ed Brayton and I had some contentious disagreements back in the day, but we managed to put all that behind us and set up the Freethoughtblogs network with a mutual understanding that we needed something beyond the atheist movement, some kind of organization that would support diversity and social justice and not just tearing down religion. He named the network — we agreed that we didn’t want “atheist” anywhere in our label, even if we were effectively an atheist group, because even then the word was getting tainted — and he and I together made the initial investment in the site. We owe a lot to Ed.

Unfortunately, he’s also suffered from serious health problems over the years, and left the network he built to run a blog on Patheos. This was an amicable decision with zero drama behind the scenes or in front of it — he just decided that he couldn’t cope with the day-to-day chores of management, and just wanted a space where he could write with no pressure.

His health has worsened. He’s been in and out of hospitals for a while. People have been asking me how he’s doing, since his postings have become intermittent, and I don’t know either! Unfortunately, he just posted this to Facebook:

I’m giving up and calling in hospice. I just can’t do this anymore. To those who know me in real life I love you and I’m sorry. I did my best.

He always has done his best, and he will be missed.

_________________

Ed Brayton has died

___________

In Memoriam: Ed Brayton

Next Sunday, 27 September, we’ll be remembering the life of Ed Brayton in a conversation.

If any of you would like to share a few words, write to me and I can send you a link. If you’d rather not make a direct appearance, show up and leave a comment in the chat — I’ll read some of them into the record.

Again, I had disagreements with both of them, but these were minor; I never considered either of them to be as treacherous and dangerous as someone like Thunderf00t, Wahid Azal, or others on my enemies list.

Rest in power, noble warrior for truth and justice. Those skeptics and progressive activists who live after you will continue the fight.

 

A non-theistic explanation for “My own spiritual experience”

First, read this earlier blog entry:

My own spiritual experience

Today, I finally came up with a credible explanation for what happened. The timing of my leaving the mall must have meant that when the family became stranded, their minds became overwhelmed with stress because of the summer heat. They began broadcasting their emotions without realizing it, and my own mind in turn was close enough and sensitive enough to detect their feelings even without being aware of the exact source. Then I drove directly  to the source of the broadcasting. It was a case of me having a strong sense of empathy, even without any reference to religion.

My experience wasn’t proof of God’s existence and certainly wasn’t proof that the Baha’i Faith was valid; I would have sensed the family’s need regardless of my religion, or lack thereof at the time.

Having figured that out, atheism now seems more acceptable to me personally than it was before. So I will now call myself atheist.

 

Go follow iilluminaughtii on YouTube!

I have discovered a YouTube channel that seems to be dedicated to the type of investigative journalism you would think ALL newspapers, magazines, and websites that are media sources would do often to expose frauds in the world. Alas, they don’t, so YouTube personalities often have to do it. And this channel is one of the best at it!

https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCpDmn2FfVYdPIDwRTcf5-OA

I first took notice of this amazing lady when I came across her videos slamming PETA, the animal rights extremist group.

And most recently:

But her main focus is exposing MLMs for their shady practices. Here is one of her early videos giving a general description of them and how they are related to cults.

She then gives more specific descriptions of certain companies.

I almost got sucked into the Primerica scam back when I was married and living with Cheri in Arlington, Texas.

Then there is Avon, a company I have known about for most of my life:

She also slams EA, despite it not being an MLM:
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_Iforpv4mpE

No target is too big for her to take on. She even goes after Nestle, the giant food company!

Blair, I LOVE you! You are awesome!

She is also in other places on the internet:

Her Twitter account:

She has an account on Discord:  https://discord.com/invite/iilluminaughtii

She is also found on Twitch:  https://www.twitch.tv/theiilluminaughtii

She is also on Instagram:  https://www.instagram.com/iilluminaughtii/

This is her actual appearance:

View this post on Instagram

✨✨

A post shared by Blair (@iilluminaughtii) on

Her fans can gather here on reddit:
https://www.reddit.com/r/iilluminaughtii/

I think I will be following her for a long time to come!

 

Mingle2 must be wiped out!

After receiving several harassing phone calls today from someone trying to get me to pay money for a package to be delivered to me that I didn’t even order, I have finally had ENOUGH of a dating site known as Mingle2!

www.mingle2.com

I made an account there about eight years ago. Here are screenshots of my profile there:

Mingle2A

Mingle2B

The very first message I got on the site was an introduction to it.

Welcome to Mingle2 – Please read!

PLEASE READ THIS ENTIRE MESSAGE. IT CONTAINS IMPORTANT INFORMATION

Mingle2.com is a free dating site. You can contact as many people as you like for free!

Our goal is to help you find relationships that matter in your life. Every day we work hard to make this happen.

To make the most of your experience here, please follow these simple guidelines.

  1. Be safe. Everything you need to contact people is available on the site. Be suspicious of people that message you and want to talk to you offsite via phone, email or IM in their first contact with you. These people are sometimes scammers who try to convince you to give them money. As a rule, NEVER give anyone you meet on the site money.
  2. Have fun. Start by uploading a good photo of yourself. People who upload a photo get 10X the activity of people without photos.
  3. Invest a little time in your profile. This is your first impression, make it count.
  4. Invite your friends. Dating doesn’t have to be lonely. Invite your friends and make it more fun. Get their advice or check out their friends.
  5. Spend some time in the forums. It’s a great place to meet other people.
  6. Use features like BLOCK USER on people you don’t like. It’s simple and effective
  7. Just have fun. Everyone here is here for the same reason, so just be yourself and have a good time, the rest comes naturally.

INBOX MESSAGING & INSTANT MESSAGING RULES

  1. If you are lewd, rude or crude in email messages to others, this can get you banned permanently. We store complaints and our system will ban you if you accrue too many complaints.
  2. Do not send people unsolicited “sexual” messages or else you will get banned when they report you.
  3. Do not spam or solicit funds from other users (duh!). You will be reported and banned.

Do people obey the rules of this site? Apparently not! I have made contact with a wide variety of women over the years, and it seems EVERY SINGLE ONE was a scammer! In most cases, women who were supposed to be in the Dallas/Fort Worth area would turn out to be in another state, like California, or even an African country! They and I would communicate for several weeks or months and inevitably, if they didn’t lose interest in me, they would demand I send them money or gift cards. After what happened to me in 2018, I would tolerate that crap no more! EIGHT YEARS IS LONG ENOUGH TO BE MADE OF FOOL OF!

A message from four years ago:

For your safety – Please read!

Because we are a free dating site, anyone can sign up – including scammers and other undesirable people. Since our inception, we’ve made user safety a top priority and we’ve built many systems to combat such undesirables. It mostly works and we are making improvements everyday. However, it is impossible to make a full-proof system.

So please be wary of anyone who asks you for money or who says he/she can make you money. Mingle2 is a dating site, not a financial service, right? You can also help us combat the problem by reporting that user.

If someone asks you to visit their “webcam” or go to another site that’s a “webcam” please ignore these scammers and report them to us. We are in no way affiliated with these scammers and work hard on banning them daily.

As always, we hope you enjoy the site and make some valuable relationships.

Sincerely,
The Mingle2 Team

I don’t believe them anymore. I now think the website itself is a scam and that most of the accounts there are Mingle2 employees, not real women. I will shut down my account and move on.

Mingle2C

 

Rebecca Watson warns about scammers

Watch this video:

Infomercials featuring techniques for “house-flipping” are often shown on TV late at night. I wonder if we should start protesting such crap. For my own view of “censorshit” on YouTube, see:

https://dalehusband.com/2013/02/20/copyright-abuse/

NOTE: That blog entry is now obsolete; YouTube no longer shuts down questionable videos due to copyright claims so quickly. Here’s hoping they won’t again.

Rebecca bashes another feminist for bullshitting:

Of course, opponents of feminism use such incidents to claim feminism itself is bullshit, so this fact checking is extremely important.

And can we PLEASE have fewer idiots and lunatics running for President of the United States? We already elected one such train wrecker in 2016!

Not to mention her condemnation of former friend Michael Shermer:

Who I wrote about here, here, and here.

She also slams warped and bigoted religious crap:

It is incredible how much alike the two of us are. Could we be siblings?

 

My Spiritual Odyssey

On October 20, 2018, I gave a talk about 50 minutes long at Westside Unitarian Universalist Church of Fort Worth detailing my life and religious and political views and how they evolved over the course of my life. I spent the first half of the discussion merely speaking for myself in general, and the last half answering questions from the audience to focus more on specific topics.
For a short version of that story see:

My Spiritual Journeys

I made reference to other issues that I have also dealt with on this blog, including:

An Honorable Skeptic

 

Why more people should join the Unitarian Universalists

 

Why I Abandoned the (Haifan) Baha’i Faith

 

Spiritual Orientation

 

Radical Reincarnation

 

Misdefining terms for purposes of propaganda

 

A bitter rant about Ayn Rand

 

John Wiley and Madaline Wampler

The title of this blog entry refers to two people that I dearly loved last year. And both of  them broke my heart, though not at the same time. But they ARE connected. Both professed to be Unitarian Universalists, like me. And I dealt with them both on Facebook. I will tell their stories through links and screenshots of my Facebook postings about them and those who commented on them. Continue reading

If Your Spiritual Orientation is HUMANIST…

happyhuman

Here is some advice to a person who has decided for whatever reason that he cannot believe in a god of any kind. This actually includes myself, so I may be biased here. Such a person may be called an atheist, an agnostic, or a secular humanist. For the sake of simplicity, I will lump all of them together under the Humanist label.

  • Do not assume that because you have rejected theism that most people who accept a theistic religion are stupid. They may indeed have a different spiritual orientation than you. Respect them anyway, just as you would want them to respect you.
  • One of the worst things you can do to damage your credibility is to only care about the rights and dignity of your fellow non-theists and ignore everyone else.  Stand up and defend the rights and dignity of ALL religious people too, including Jews, Muslims, Christians, and others.
  • Just because you are non-theist does not mean that all other non-theists should be embraced. If a famous non-theist is known to be a racist, have committed acts of sexual abuse, or has committed theft or murder, reject him.
  • It is  true that people of various religions have committed atrocities against outsiders. But so have non-theists who followed an extremist ideology, like Communism. It is DOGMA that kills people, not religion.
  • You can find fellowship in the following organizations:  the American Humanist Association (https://americanhumanist.org/), or the UU Humanist Association (http://huumanists.org/). Also read this:

    Humanist Voices in Unitarian Universalism

In short, don’t be like Madalyn Murray O’Hair, the founder of American Atheists. Or Ayn Rand, the founder of Objectivism. Those two arrogant, bigoted extremists brought disgrace to atheism in America that is still a problem to this day. I wish neither of them had ever existed.

Lying Outright About the Moon Landings.

I’ve used this blog to deal with all sorts of ridiculous claims, dogmas and political crap over the past decade or so. Now my attention turns to lunar landing denialists.

According to these lunatics, NASA faked the moon landings as part of a vast conspiracy. Why they would ever claim such a thing is a mystery to me, but I guess some people just take comfort in believing that humans are simply not capable of achieving such feats. They need to grow up.

For the latest manifestation of such insanity, read this story:

http://www.foxnews.com/science/2017/11/20/apollo-moon-landing-was-faked-conspiracy-theorists-claim-with-new-photo.html

Continue reading

A tribute to Daria Morgendorffer

If only she were real and I was again a teenager, I would have been proud to be her boyfriend!

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Daria_Morgendorffer

https://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/en/1/10/Daria_Morgendorffer.png

While she is hardly perfect (which makes her realistic and thus acceptable to most TV viewers), she seems to embody more than most the Honorable Skepticism I follow.

Her first appearance was in the TV show Beavis and Butthead (B&B). Surprizingly, she didn’t seem to hate the morons as much as others did and they in turn respected her more than one might have expected:

http://www.dariawiki.org/wiki/index.php?title=Scientific_Stuff

When Daria got her own show a few years later, she blazed a trail for cartoon characters few ever dared to go before, or since.

Yes, I was a lot like Daria when I was her age, except I was a born-again Christian. But otherwise I didn’t tend to follow the crowd, I was very into science, and I wore glasses. Today, I am even more like her, having dropped Christianity for agnosticism.

I heard some years ago they were considering bringing back B&B, with all new episodes. They really should do that with Daria, with her now being depicted as a college student. This video gives an idea of what that would look like:

Here’s another fan video depicting Daria’s possible future:

While B&B were hardly role models for teenage boys, Daria is a great one for teenage girls! We need MILLIONS more girls like her, rejecting the shallowness of modern culture and embracing rational thought.

Five Stupid Things About Online Scammers

Inspired by atheist YouTuber Steve Shives, here are five stupid things I have noticed about online scammers.

  1. They use pictures of extremely attractive female models to misrepresent themselves, instead of real photos of their actual selves. A simple search with Google often is enough to expose the fraud.
  2. They often claim that one or both of their parents died tragically, to make you feel more sympathy for them and to simplify their made up backstories. Gee, that’s a lot of orphans out there!
  3. They usually contact men who live in a different state or country from them. If you are really interested in a relationship, why not someone local?
  4. They demand money from their would-be victims even before meeting the target face to face. What hubris!
  5. When their demand for money is refused, they turn hostile. Gee, that’s not likely to get the love you supposedly wanted, eh?

Another reason to despise Michael Shermer

For a  bit of background, read this:

https://dalehusband.com/2014/09/11/michael-shermer-traitor/

Now this once credible advocate for skepticism has thrown his credibility completely out the window for all to see. All to sell himself out to the forces of conservatism. Damn him!

http://www.politico.com/magazine/story/2017/04/donald-trump-religion-215033

Continue reading

Compassion and Human Dignity

One of the most powerful appeals of dogmatic God-centered religions like Christianity can be summed up perfectly in this song by Steven Curtis Chapman that was all over Christian radio back when I was a Christian. Even now, it is beautiful to me.

Sometimes His eyes were gentle
And filled with laughter,
And sometimes they cried;
Sometimes there was a fire
Of holy anger,
In Jesus eyes.
But the eyes that saw hope in the hopeless,
That saw through the fault to the need,
Are the same eyes that look down from heaven
Into the deepest part of you and me.

CHORUS
His eyes are always upon us;
His eyes never close in sleep.
And no matter where you go,
You will always be in His eyes, in His eyes.

Sometimes His voice comes calling
Like rolling thunder,
Or like driving rain;
And sometimes His voice is quiet,
And we start to wonder
If He knows our pain.
But He who spoke peace to the water
Cares more for our hearts than the waves,
And the voice that once said “Youre forgiven”,
Still says “Youre forgiven” today.

Sometimes I look above me when stars are shining
And I feel so small;
How could the God of heaven and all creation
Know I’m here at all.
But then in silence He whispers,
“My child, I created you too
And youre my most precious creation;
I even gave my Son for you.”

CHORUS
His eyes are always upon you;
His eyes never close in sleep.
And no matter where you go,
You will always be in His eyes,

No matter where you go,
You will always be in His eyes

Sometimes His eyes were gentle
And filled with laughter,

Christians often say that we are called to be like God and Jesus, to be as loving towards lesser beings as possible. Meanwhile, when we look at how atheists often present themselves on the internet, we see very little compassion or respect for the downtrodden and broken. Instead, we see bigoted crap like this from the “Amazing Atheist”:

No, you bastard, you know nothing about the topic of triggering….

14184568_10207261404429809_5954210709831897282_n

That video comes from the same sort of atheist who claims that religion itself is a scourge to society. I referred directly to such an atheist fanatic while commenting on a much earlier blog entry:

https://dalehusband.com/2010/08/09/misdefining-terms-for-purposes-of-propaganda/#comment-677

http://pandasthumb.org/archives/2010/06/in-defense-of-m.html#comment-219719

truthspeaker | June 15, 2010 2:53 PM

It wouldn’t matter if all religions behaved like the Society of Friends and the ELCA. It is still based on the premise that believing in things without evidence as a virtue. As long as it starts with that premise – and it always will, because if it didn’t it wouldn’t be religion -, it will always be evil. There’s just no getting around it – promoting irrationality as a virtue is bad for humanity. No matter how much you polish the turd, it will still be a turd.

Both the Unamazing Asshole and the “truthspeaker” can go fuk themselves. Denying something does not disprove it, in both cases. And ignoring the good that religious people often do in the name of their religions is, well…..IGNORANCE!

I will rewrite the song by Steven Curtis Chapman to reflect how I wish white male atheists would conduct themselves, instead of only thinking about themselves.

Sometimes our eyes are gentle
And filled with laughter,
And sometimes they cry;
Sometimes there is a fire
Of righteous anger,
Deep in our eyes.
But the eyes that see hope in the hopeless,
That see through the fault to the need,
Are the same eyes that look within ourselves
To seek the best of what we can be.

Our eyes should always be looking;
Our eyes never close in sleep.
And no matter where we go,
We will always see with open eyes

Sometimes our voice comes calling
Like rolling thunder,
Or like driving rain;
And sometimes our voice is quiet,
And they start to wonder
If we know their pain.
But if we speak peace to the world
And care for their hearts anyway
Then the voice that once says “You are loved”,
Will say “You are loved” every day.

Sometimes we look above us when stars are shining
And we feel so small;
How can such tiny creatures on this one world
Make a difference at all.
But then in the silence remember,
That we exist in vast numbers too
And when we all work as one species
There is so much good we can do

Our eyes should always be looking;
Our eyes never close in sleep.
And no matter where we go,
We will always see with open eyes

Could that happen? Perhaps, but we would have to look to these:

http://americanhumanist.org/

http://huumanists.org/

http://iheu.org/

Because it is HUMANISM we all need, not just atheism. If the progressive humanists among atheists can defeat and drown out the conservative bigots, and then provide all the charitable and emotional needs of people who need help and comfort, then they will cause the final downfall of dogmatic religion around the world. Let it be so.

Ken Ammi, Enemy of Truth

Years ago, I discovered a blog which contained some criticism of the Baha’i Faith  and I eagerly copied a blog entry from it to support my own case against the Baha’i Faith, only to discover that the author was a hard-core Christian who was not nearly as critical of his own religion as he was of other faiths, a clear sign of dishonesty and bigotry. This was confirmed today when I found the new version of his blog and read its About page. I will post parts from that page here in green and italics and my responses in blue and bold.

http://www.truefreethinker.com/about

Continue reading

Ophelia Benson vs. Richard Dawkins

A few months ago, in response to a rumor that Ophelia Benson, an atheist and feminist activist, was also a transphobe (a bigot against transgendered people), she was targeted by a massive witch hunt similar to the one on tumblr stirred up against Lacy Green years earlier. As a result, Benson left Freethought Blogs (FTB) in disgust and founded her own personal blog elsewhere, badly damaging the credibility of FTB, so much so that one of its founding members, Ed Brayton, also took down his blog there and moved to another network.

Now Benson has been attacked again, in reference to Richard Dawkins suffering a mild stroke recently. Around the same time, he was disinvited to a skeptics conference and then just as quickly reinvited to it. The battle between them produced the exchange of the following statements between them and one of Dawkins’ fanatical followers. Continue reading

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 Health Ranger and the ebola virus.

I guess it was only a matter of time before that degenerate fraud calling himself the “Health Ranger”, Mike Adams, would jump on the ebola bandwagon to continue to promote the delusional views he professes about the health care professions.  For a background of why I despise that man, look at these earlier entries on my blog:

https://dalehusband.com/category/skepticism/natural-news/

He published THIS nonsense today! His words will be in bold red and my responses will be in italics and blue.

Ultraviolet light robot kills Ebola in two minutes; why doesn’t every hospital have one of these?

Continue reading

Michael Shermer, TRAITOR!

Take a look at this outrageous letter:

BxQuxvfCYAAiitS.png largeDinesh D’Souza was just convicted of a crime and he is also a conservative and Christian bigot and a supposed leader of skepticism is DEFENDING him by calling him honest and fair?! What next, Michael Shermer claiming the Earth is really flat and at the center of the universe?! D’Souza’s lawyer can defend him, so he does not need Shermer. And Shermer did not need to do this and make himself look like a backstabber of most of his fellow skeptics, including ME!!!

“Classical” Atheism vs. “Contemporary” Atheism

Once again, I find myself dealing with the tiresome issue of the competing definitions of Atheism. See my previous blog entries on this subject for references:

https://dalehusband.wordpress.com/2010/06/24/atheism-is-a-dogma-get-over-it/

https://dalehusband.wordpress.com/2010/08/09/misdefining-terms-for-purposes-of-propaganda/

https://dalehusband.wordpress.com/2011/07/26/make-up-your-minds-atheists/

https://dalehusband.wordpress.com/2012/09/01/richard-dawkins-is-an-agnostic/

https://dalehusband.wordpress.com/2012/10/05/is-agnostic-an-obsolete-term/

Now I learn that Aron-Ra, a fellow Texan and activist against promoting Creationist bigotry and lies in public schools, has not only accepted the “contemporary” definition of atheism, he asserts that the “classical” definition of it was a lie all along! Really??? Continue reading