Private Sector Says ‘No’ To Indiana Bigotry

Joe Skipper / AP )

Gov. Mike Pence (R) of Indiana has risked sending his state into a fiscal downfall with a recent decision to sign into law a pro-discrimination bill dressed up as Christianity. This bill was put forward by the corrupt, immoral people of Advance America who want to protect hatred for others over the protection of ideals like freedom and liberty.

In response to this extremely stupid and anti-gay bill the State of Indiana has already begun to suffer. Marc Benioff, CEO of Salesforce.com, canceled all programs that required travel to the state. The Gen Con gaming conference and the NCAA also both expressed publicly that this may cause a change in future venues within the state.

If these radical bigots don’t start accepting that their religious beliefs do not amount to an excuse to commit acts of discrimination against others they are welcome to be free of the boycott.

Otherwise … #BoycottIndiana!

Song Lyrics: “Take Me To Church” by Hozier

Take Me To Church” by Hozier

My lover’s got humor

She still giggle at a funeral

Knows everybody’s disapproval

Should’ve worshipped her sooner

If the heavens ever did speak

She’s the last true mouthpiece

Every Sunday is getting more bleak

Fresh poison each week

We were born sick, you heard them say

My church offers no absolutes

Tells me worship in the bedroom

The only heaven I’ll be sent to

Is when I’m alone with you

I was born sick, but I love you

Mend me to be well

A-men, amen, amen

Take me to church

I’ll worship like a dog at the shrine of your light

I’ll tell you my sins, and you can sharpen your knife

Offer me that deathless stare, good god

Let me give you my life

Take me to church

I’ll worship like a dog at the shrine of your light

I’ll tell you my sins, and you can sharpen your knife

Offer me that deathless stare, good god

Let me give you my life

If I’m a pagan of the good time

My lovers is sunlight

Keep the goddess on my side

See the mantle sacrifice

Drain the whole sea

It’s some shiny

Something meaty for the main course

That’s a fine looking high horse

What you got in the stable

We the lot of starving faithful

That looks tasty

That looks plenty

This is hungry work

Take me to church

I’ll worship like a dog at the shrine of your light

I’ll tell you my sins, and you can sharpen your knife

Offer me that deathless stare, good god

Let me give you my life

Take me to church

I’ll worship like a dog at the shrine of your light

I’ll tell you my sins, and you can sharpen your knife

Offer me that death-less stare, good god

Let me give you my life

Chapel Hill Shooting: Atheists / Anti-theists Are Responsible?

Craig Hicks, charged with shooting death of 3 Muslims in N.C.

Some less than spectacular people out there on the Inter-webs are calling for vocal atheists and anti-theists to own up to the Chapel Hill Shooting being our version of the Charlie Hebdo Massacre. No, we won’t be doing that. At least not at this time. Should the available facts on record change, such as a confirmed manifesto being released, any reasonable person would adjust their views to include this. But what we have here is a horrible tragedy with no clear motives, nothing more. Charlie Hebdo was killing in the name of religion being held higher in importance than freedom of speech and human life; no comparison.

Standards of acceptance of evidence is probably the core difference between atheists and theists. For instance: I don’t see any evidence that is at all compelling for a historical Jesus of Nazareth nor for a God of Abraham. The commonly used “personal experience” routine is crap on multiple levels but mainly because people lie to further their own goals all the time and religious labels don’t instantly cure a person of unethical behaviors.

I’ve studied the Bible at length, researched non-canonical texts, applied the standards of historical veracity to both the Old and New Testaments and none of it amounts to the claims of “divinity” and “divine truth” made by Bible-believers. At the most, and this is being very generous, there was a Jewish rebel priest put to death by the Romans that had a chain of hearsay turn him into a demigod in the eyes of certain men who were all born around a hundred years after his execution.

Islam and the Quran are different in the sense that the central figure is much, much more so a verified historical figure but shares in the same issues of the Torah and the Bible where none of the claims to divinity and ultimate truth are any more compelling than when the Greeks, Egyptians or the Pagans wrote of their mastery of the ethos of life and contemplation. The endless contradictions anyone can find with enough time spent with almost any “holy book” placed to the side, the issue with any form of religious extremism boils down to dehumanizing those who will not conform to the point where an act of torture or murder upon them is not only acceptable but mandated from on high.

Thing to remember here is some people believe in UFOs and anal probes but it’s rare to the point of being unheard of that one of them would go shoot up a skeptic conference in the name of being unhindered to spread the message of the coming alien overlords to the masses. But both radicalized Christians as well as Muslims, and even the heavily pacifist Buddhists, have done exactly these kinds of actions in both isolated and organized acts of violence. All this in recent decades and not even bothering to dredge out old history books citing violence over the centuries committed in the name of religious “purity.”

No respected atheist anywhere is advocating you solve your disputes with acts of murder or that the best way to silence an ideological opponent is to kill them in their home or place of business. But I could troll the right-wing radio Christian waves for awhile and bring back some moron who is doing exactly that and same with the nationalistic Islamic newsgroups and forums. This would not in turn implicate all Christians and all Muslims in those statements but only those who identify with the speaker’s views which is not an easy thing to assess unless someone declares it to be so.

Deah Barakat, his wife Yusor Mohammad Abu-Salha and her sister Razan Mohammad Abu-Salha.

 

As always when I cover tragic stories my deepest condolences go out to the family members and friends of the victims of this horrible event.  I do not speak merely for myself when I say that this man should face the full force of the legal justice system and hopefully this will bring you some measure of peace.

The Bible Reloaded on YouTube

biblereloaded

In my Internet wanderings I came upon a rather interesting YouTube channel
hosted by Jake & Hugo called The Bible Reloaded.”

They take a unique approach in how to use their channel in the ambitious
attempt to read the narrative of the entire Bible (NIV) on the Internet.
Not only this but most importantly they provide context for the topics
they raise and even have done a video outside of canonical texts to
provide further context still.

This ongoing project has caught my attention and is a worth a look.

Episode 1: Genesis

Cut It All Right In Two

Right in Two” from 10,000 Days by Tool

Angels on the sidelines,
Puzzled and amused,
Why did Father give these humans free will?
Now they’re all confused,

Don’t these talking moneys know that,
Eden has enough to go around?
Plenty in this holy garden, silly monkeys,
When there’s one you are bound to divide it,
Right in two,

Angels on the sidelines,
Baffled and confused,
Father blessed them all with reason,
And this what they choose,

Monkey killing monkey, killing monkey,
Over pieces of the ground,
Silly monkeys give them thumbs,
They forge a blade,
And when there’s one,
They’re bound to divide it,
Right in two,

Monkey killing monkey, killing monkey,
Over pieces of the ground,
Silly monkeys give them thumbs,
They make a club,
And beat their brother down,
How they survive so misguided is a mystery,

Repugnant is a creature who would squander the ability to life an eye to heaven conscious of his fleeting time here,

Cut it right all,
Right in two,

Fight over the clouds, over wind, over sky,
Fight over life, over blood, over prayer,
Over head and light,
Fight over love, over sun,
Over another, Fight…

Angels on the sideline again,
Benched along with patience and reason,
Angels on the sideline again,
Wondering when this tug of war will end,

Cut it right all,
Right in two,

Right in two…

::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::

I cast the Judgment of Solomon upon my fellow Americans.

This swaddled child of fragile democracy passed down to us from generations of proud Americans shall be for neither the leftwing nor the rightwing — we shall divide it in half. For we cannot come to terms and no aggrieved party shall ever be satisfied henceforth.

Just as the internet already has become complete in its utter division and quartering-off into tightly bound untouching spheres; as shall the the Union be broken forever and the United States shattered to nothing but individual states so that if any union is to be formed it may be formed anew. The same sword that the slew the free web should also slay the entire United States for the electronic landscape is but a mere reflection of what we are as a modern people and as a modern society.

We as a people, as a political and deliberating body, do not communicate any longer and as such it is time to crush the false former preconception that there is such a structure in this world called “The United States of America” as such an entity does not currently exist.

There is but one fair solution: we part our ways from the notion of unity altogether.

People need not tolerate one another any longer, we shall cast our entire social structure into rigid fixtures that do not touch one another. People need not be confused by differing views any longer, we shall keep our intellectuals isolated unto themselves in tight-knit groups that do interact with each other let alone the outside world.

Freedom and liberty can be redefined, just as morality and justice have been in the present day.

We will survive, but first we have to lay down and die.

We will thrive, but first we must lay our head in the guillotine.

Former-Evangelical Frank Schaeffer Speaks Out

frank_schaeffer

Frank Schaeffer

“In my evangelical days I would have said: ‘Well if you are not in the church I belong to you’ll be lost, maybe burn in hell forever.’ I don’t think that way anymore.”

“A certain type of certainty that writes off other people based on the fact you may disagree with their interpretation of some theological or philosophical idea is just crazy. And it‘s crazy for this reason: It’s got nothing to do with peace and love. It‘s crazy practically. Look, we are like ants–our view of the universe is like ants on a roadside watching passing traffic. We live a few years, we read a few books, we draw a few conclusions, we try to love the people around us and we are gone. Anybody who can stand up in the middle of this process and say ‘I am absolutely know I’m right about something’ I think is hooked into a kind of deadly uncertainty that simply can‘t exist.”


I could not agree with Schaeffer more in regards to the true harm in fundamentalist belief structures.

This “deadly uncertainty” is my only issue with the religious right.

There has to be some room for doubt or else you can justify the worst of crimes as simple religious practice.

In my view absolutes are weakness, and allowing for consideration is an element of true strength.

book_patience_with_god

You Only Have Three Choices

There are endless possibilities within contemplation and creative expression. An infinite number of ways to view, reflect, express and ponder.

But as to the confines of reacting to our environment there seem to be only three options. Only three choices.

:::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::

{+ Positive +  ( = Neutral = )  – Negative -}

{+ Creation +  ( = Equilibrium = )  – Destruction -}

:::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::

Let’s use an every-day example:

You wanted to go on a bike ride today. Unpredicted heavy rains have come to your area and are not expected to leave for several days.

In a positive outlook, this is a chance to catch up on reading, housework or perhaps to spend time with friends and family.

In a neutral outlook, this rain has no effect on your day and you may go ride your bike anyway or you may stay indoors due to the rain and both events are equally desirable to you.

In a negative outlook, this rain has ruined your day and no matter what activity you engage in you will resent deeply that fact that you are not riding your bike.

The ‘bike riding’ example is more or less what we most often from motivational speakers and self-help books. The concept that if you change your outlook on life you can attain happiness in your life now, instead of waiting for the perfect job or the perfect mate to fill that hole.

I don’t fully subscribe to this logic. I see all people as first and foremost human beings. And human beings have all three of these reactionary options available to them no matter what choices they have made prior to this moment in time.

I don’t condone negative and destructive behaviors, but I see them entirely human acts to commit.

I don’t condone utter apathy and ignorance of your emotions, but I know most have strong and often private reasons for behaving as such.

And finally I don’t support viewing all the world and your part in it as purely positive and affirming. We must strive for such a goal, must reach toward such heights without pause or question. But to believe we are not flawed nor perfectly capable of destruction and causing pain unto others is a flawed perspective.

I see a lot of people using different words to describe the same thing.

I say positive and negative, someone else says ‘evil’ and ‘good.’

I say creation and destruction, someone else says ‘angels’ and ‘demons.’

In my mind it is all the same elements expressed in different fashions. Humans trying to paint a picture using symbols but failing to recognize the source of these ‘evils.’

We are the source. We drew the line in the sand that says what is ‘right’ and what is ‘wrong.’ Whatever religious beliefs a person might have there is a serious need to recognize that negative elements in all societies such as greed, hatred, violence and slander are acts committed by human beings.

My perspective allows no one to excuse their unkind and hostile behavior as acceptable in any way. I only seek to point out that all of us work within the same confines of human emotion and human irrationality. Rather than try to define our species as something it is not and never was, a perfect race.

People Who Voted McCain Hate Obama, Big Surprise

I follow politics on both sides of the coin.

In my view the turning point for the McCain Campaign was the selection of Sara Palin.

The Thinking Conservatives removed their support in droves while the Limited Conservatives found a new poster-child for Partisan Logic.

Aside from the racism allowed to crop up in the Republican Campaign and the market crash under a Republican President, the Conservative Americans who actually think about their positions for longer than the span of a thirty second sound byte could not accept the ‘Say it so, Joe’ Logic and the overall presentation of John McCain’s pick for VP.

Many asked themselves and openly begged the question:

“If John McCain made this bad a decision for Vice President, then how can we trust him to make the right decisions on the war on terror.”

I am trying to draw a connection between the Obama-Hate Committee found on right wing radio and FOX Broadcasting with the vague demagogue figure of religious and moral authority found in the Governor of Alaska and her bid for the vice-presidency in 2008.

I think this group is just loud, and well-funded. Most, if not all, popularity of extremist presidential bashing from the Media Republicans comes from people who want theocracy and the destruction of American Liberty in the name of unfounded ideologies.

There are of course exceptions and a rare pack of conservatives can formulate a fair review of the Obama Presidency thus far, but they increasingly move into the minority as Media Hacks and Partisan Pundits rule the conservative-media.

Two Stories Worth Note From Scientific American

“Meditation on Demand” by Peter B. Reiner

“Why People Believe Invisible Agents Control The World” by Michael Shermer

Talking About God and Science

An anonymous man once impressed this image upon my mind:

I was doing one of these things awhile back and there was this guy in the room with a huge chip on his shoulder as soon as I said the word ‘God.’ This guy was huge, almost seven feet tall and arms like a gorilla. He told me there wasn’t no such thing as God and on top of that since nobody in the room could do a damn thing about him that he was God as far as it mattered. So I put a challenge to him. I emptied out a dresser, moved it out into the center of the room, and had everyone help me fill the bottom drawer with all the training weights we could. Then I told him to lift it up high. He struggled and moved it around more than I thought he would. But he couldn’t get it off the ground. Then we had everyone in the room, with him, try and lift the dresser. It came up from the floor so easily we almost hurt ourselves, surprised at our mutual strength. When we all sat down again after replacing the dresser and the weights he asked me what was the point. I told him that when he walked in that door today he thought he was God and now he can see that some things are outside his power. The God in everyone else with himself included was stronger than he could ever hope to be alone. So he was not God. But God was still present in the room, between all of us and stronger than any of us.

If you change the physical nature of this image of the huge man proclaiming himself “God” for a more intellectual design, one might evoke an image of a high-brow scholar scribbling out a formula that disproves the existence of God.

This is my impression of many atheists, and certain agonistics, I encounter. It seems to me that many have ‘thought God out of existence’ in the course of earnest and worthwhile studies. To my perception all science, and the nature of all knowledge itself, provides us with a constant ’unknown.’ Even in the absence of any religious background there is more than enough room for an understanding of the universe and life beyond simple reasoning’s of black-and-white logic.

While science shatters dogma and begs the eternal question simultaneously, it still does not negate the concept of a higher power.

Cast The First Stone

You may hear those of good-nature and even many secular-types say this:

“Let he who is without sin cast the first stone.”

While the message is of the highest importance to us as a people I believe much of this is lost in the changes of how we speak and write and even think in this modern world. The language of our forefathers resonates with some but not with most.

So the greatest of messages of our history are lost to time and to society. I am about to use a modern version of that common quote and I don’t want to be accredited but rather want you to use this on someone to make a better impression if ever in the situation where you might say the line above.

————————————————

“Let the perfect person among you throw the first stone.”

————————————————

Sin’ is not’ in’ if that makes sense to you at all. The word itself has almost no weight, at least compared to the centuries prior. ‘Perfect’ however is something that anyone can wrap their head around in terms of something that no one actually has about them as is the idea that we are all with some element of imperfection about us no matter what we do. The concepts of Original Sin and the Fallibility of Man were so common in the past that they were assumed to be understood in many messages.

I am only attempting to show why we keep missing the message in this national discussion of gay-rights, same-sex marriage and equality under the law.


Eric Lightborn
http://americapress.wordpress.com
December 26th 2008

Rick Warren and Barack Obama: What You Didn’t Know Already

In the 2008 presidential campaign for The White House there was something referred to as a “polling anomaly” surrounding Obama.

The evangelical and born-again Christians, that took polls, showed significant support of the candidacy of Barack Obama and held numbers higher than Bush’s numbers from 2000 and 2004 to a very significant degree. (PEW Research & other polling sources)

Those who were watching closely know exactly why Obama picked up a recordable amount of support in these religious fundamental communities, in fact it is fairly obvious. Obama, unlike McCain, never once shied away from the topics of faith in the media circus. Beyond that his words and visible convictions regarding religion, Jesus and God have been forward and direct instead of evasive and vague.

In the mind of many evangelicals the resistance to speaking openly about Christ translates to a resistance to Christ’s message in your life. Essentially, if the name “Jesus” or the word “God” cause you any discomfort then you must be against spreading The Word. Obama has never once spoken directly to the evangelical and born-again movements of America in his national rhetoric, yet he has somehow gained some amount of notable political support from them.

Any politician worth his salt takes every advantage afforded to him when it comes to being able to represent the people that elected him into office. Obama saw all the same numbers I did and I imagine found it confounding for a time that a group which normally doesn’t support Democratic agendas was showing support for his Presidency. This is a question I would ask of him among others should I ever have some of his time.

Rick Warren, along with hosting the second Presidential Debate, is a strong advocate for evangelical ideology and fundamental views of religion.

His rhetoric doesn’t provide equality for the gay community or for the views of the so-called radical religious movements of America (“New Age” ideologies). I completely disagree with his political positions and his opposition of Proposition 8 in California which I personally voted against.

This is what my point is in regards to the disgust expressed to his inclusion in coming public national events:

Since when does agreeing with someone have anything to do with loving them?

– Rick Warren, 12/21/2008

Rick said it for me. Since when does loving one another in a lawful and peaceful nation have anything to do with agreeing with your neighbor’s politics? I believe that given time we will have legal same-sex marriage but it could take awhile. In the meantime we need to not rip each others throats out every time something like this happens in America.

If Rick Warren were to be presented with a “National Spiritual Adviser to America” position or anything smacking of that … well then I’d be out in the streets throwing a whole big fuss about it.

Much love, as they say these days. Nobody gets left out when I say that.

Eric Lightborn

http://americapress.wordpress.com

December 23rd 2008