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cleanhippie

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Member since: Sat Jul 3, 2010, 12:24 PM
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American churches projected to become more relationship, community and Jesus oriented

It is no secret that more and more Americans are no longer affiliated with organized religion. That does not necessarily mean that they are no longer believers or spiritual in some way, but as the Pew Research Center's Forum on Religion & Public Life pointed out in October, "this large and growing group of Americans is less religious than the public at large on many conventional measures, including frequency of attendance at religious services and the degree of importance they attach to religion in their lives."

This trend worries church leaders, who fear America's pews may go the way of Europe, where church attendance has been on a steady decline. Speaking at a summit about the future of America's churches, British church leader and consultant Mike Breen doubted that the American church would go the way of Europe, where the church has withered. He indicated that America's entrepreneurial spirit will provide the drive and the flexibility for the church to survive and thrive in the future.

At the recent Future of the Church Summit, sponsored by Group Publishing, Summit participants predicted a number of likely scenarios for the American church in the next ten years:


1. Emphasis on relationships. Whereas the church and congregational worship today are largely spectator-oriented, the new coming trend will prioritize spiritual growth through personal relationships.

2. Return to Jesus. The current church is preoccupied with the "ABCs" — attendance, buildings and cash. A Summit pastor said, "We need to deal with the idols of the church." The coming church will highly focus its mission, goals, measurements and message on Jesus.

3. Community focus. The church of tomorrow will be much more engaged in addressing the needs in the community. The church will be known more for its members' relational acts of compassion outside of church walls, taking ministry out rather than waiting for outsiders to come in and sit.

4. Conversationally oriented. The current church relies primarily on one-way messaging — from the preacher/teacher at the microphone. The new church will rely more on person-to-person conversation, sharing messages of God's love with one another. Churches will begin to trade pews for conversation tables.

5. Rise of the laity. Shrinking resources will trigger fewer paid ministry positions — and more reliance on unpaid ministry work. The concept of "the priesthood of all believers" will re-emerge.


http://www.goddiscussion.com/104100/church-future/

Cenk Uygur articulates the views of atheists-agnostics about religion dictating morality

Because of the death of 31-year-old dentist and expectant mother Savita Halappanavar, who was having a miscarriage but denied an abortion because a heartbeat was allegedly detected in her dying fetus, protests over Ireland's ban on abortion are igniting. The BBC reports that about 2,000 people protested outside the Irish parliament in Dublin and another 40 protesters gathered outside the Irish embassy in London. Hundreds of women in Ireland are protesting, calling for legislative change, NBC reports.

A majority of people in the politically-Catholic country opined in a recent poll that abortion should be legal to save the life of the mother, but the laws are murky and the government has been slow to deal with the issue. The Catholic influence in governance is so strong in Ireland that it wasn't until 1985 that people over the age of 18 were allowed to purchase condoms without a prescription, Cenk Uygur and Ana Kasparian of The Young Turks said (see video below). Although the Catholic Church has a powerful sway in the nation's government, there has been a sharp and steady decline in self-declared Catholics attending Mass.

Uygur then went on an explosive rant about religion, articulating a view that many of today's nonbelievers and to some extent, un-churched "spiritual but not religious" people hold, perhaps explaining in part why an increasing number of people want nothing to do with religion. For those without video access, here's what he had to say:

I think fundamentalist religious people that take it to this kind of extreme are the most immoral people in the world. So it's not like "Oh, hey, religion, it's morality or they're just the same as everybody else." No, no, no. They're not the same as everybody else. When you take stupid laws that don't make any sense that aren't even in your Bible -- it doesn't even say you shouldn't have an abortion in your Bible -- and then you apply it to everybody whether they are in your religion or they're not in your religion, whether they agree or they don't agree, and then some people die because of it, that's as an immoral act that you possibly could do. And why? Because no, no, no -- some emperor, Constantine, 1,600 years ago made a political document that he said Jesus might have said or Jesus' friends might have said 400 years before -- this is so stupid! How dare you? How dare you let her die like that?

And now we have these Neanderthals in America that want to take us back to these dark ages with thousands of these bills across the country, trying to walk back reproductive rights. I can't believe we're having this conversation and in so many states, they're winning it.

I'm so sick of people's religion, man. I'm so sick of it. And constantly, no, you have to do my religion, you have to do my religion -- f*** off. Why do I have to do your religion? I don't. I don't believe your religion. I don't believe it, get it through your thick skulls. I don't give a sh*t about it. I don't care if it's fundamentalist Christianity, fundamentalist Islam, fundamentalist anything -- It's voodoo. I don't give a sh*t! You're not going to run my life based on your dumba*s beliefs. If you come with logic and reason and we have a conversation, about, hey, here's a reasonable basis for this law, okay, fine. Then we'll talk about it. But if you come to me (saying) my sky god, I think, two thousand years ago, told a f***ing bush, and he talked to f***ing Moses, and then he said, well, if there's a seed in your body ... and then some dumba*s pope interpreted that 1,500 years ago as saying hey, maybe you shouldn't do this or that and hence, I'm going to let your wife die, f*** you! Fundamentalist bulls**t.


http://www.goddiscussion.com/104141/ireland-cenk-morality/

FFRF asks Obama to drop religion in presidential oath; so can you

The Freedom From Religion Foundation has sent a letter to President Obama asking him to reject the way this country politicizes religion. The Constitution, which prescribes the oath in Art. 2, Sect. 1, does not contain the “so help me God” language or require use of a bible. As FFRF has always done before presidential inaugurations, we are asking President Obama to honor the Constitution on Jan. 21 by omitting that religious verbiage from the Oath of Office.

Secular Americans are the fastest growing religious identification demographic in this country. It’s time politicians stop pandering to the religious right and start courting us.

November 8, 2012

President Obama
The White House
1600 Pennsylvania Avenue NW
Washington, DC 20500

Dear President Obama:

Congratulations on your re-election. I write to respectfully ask you to re-examine the use of religion as a political tool in your second term as President. The November election highlights the country’s rapidly shifting demographics. The electorate’s religious affiliation is changing more quickly than any other metric, including race. In 1990, 8% of Americans were nonreligious. When you were elected in 2008, 15% of Americans identified as nonreligious. Now that number is 20%.

More strikingly, 1-in-3 Americans under 30 now identify as nonreligious. This is the demographic that, by a wide margin, elected you in 2008 and again in 2012. It is the 30-and-unders who are our greatest supporters and are the future of this country. Their votes will decide future elections. More and more they are tired of leaders injecting religion into politics.

The shifts towards marriage, sex, and race equality, and the acceptance of non-nuclear families all coincide with the secularization of America. For secular America, religious rhetoric is empty. Religious justifications for government action are hollow arguments invoking an authority that we reject. Politicians often use religion to pander to their base, but we find such rhetoric exclusionary and distasteful.

You called Nov. 5 “the last day that I will ever campaign.” This term limitation is a gift. You are not beholden to any future constituency. This term is a chance to do something that no president in recent memory has done: reach out to secular Americans. In the past, that might have been politically costly. But this recent election shows that it will be politically costly not to reach out to secular America. We are the future. Use this second term to build a legacy by rejecting the way this country politicizes religion.

You can start on January 21. When you stand to reaffirm your oath, do so using the language of the Founders. Eliminate the religious verbiage. While you’re at it, why not place your hand on the Constitution instead of a bible? The oath, laid out in Article 2, Section 1 of the Constitution, is secular (no hand on the bible, no “so help me God”): “I do solemnly swear (or affirm) that I will faithfully execute the Office of President of the United States, and will to the best of my Ability, preserve, protect and defend the Constitution of the United States.”

The “so help me God” tradition violates the Constitution in the act of promising to uphold it. The ritual alienates the demographic that elected officials must rely on in the coming years. It excludes the people that put you into office and runs against the wishes of the people that created your office. The Constitution does not mandate religious oaths; it prohibits them.

Use this term to create a legacy worthy of the Founders. Restore the presidential oath to its original form and begin the necessary process of divorcing American politics from religion.

I will never forget the lines of your first inaugural address, recognizing nonbelievers:

We are a nation of Christians and Muslims, Jews and Hindus — and non-believers. We are shaped by every language and culture, drawn from every end of this Earth; and because we have tasted the bitter swill of civil war and segregation, and emerged from that dark chapter stronger and more united, we cannot help but believe that the old hatreds shall someday pass; that the lines of tribe shall soon dissolve, that as the world grows smaller, our common humanity shall reveal itself; and that America must play its role in ushering in a new era of peace.



The final tribal allegiance that must dissolve is not sex, or race, or sexual orientation. It is religion. Private citizens are free to maintain that allegiance if they choose, but it is time our government abandoned it. Please do not passively wait for a revelation of “our common humanity.” Lead us into that new era of peace and unity by separating politics from the division religion sows.

Start small. Start by honoring the secular intent of the oath. In its altered, religious form, the oath is a symbol of the disregard this country has shown for its Constitution in the name of God. Our once silent minority will no longer remain silent as politicians trample the document we hold sacred —the Constitution. Honor the oath as you recite it on January 21 and lead us into the new era you promised four years ago.

With hope,

Andrew L. Seidel
Attorney
Freedom From Religion Foundation



http://www.secularnewsdaily.com/2012/11/ffrf-asks-obama-to-drop-religion-in-presidential-oath/


National ad campaign promotes KidsWithoutGod.com on buses and online

In an effort to strengthen and support kids and teenagers who don’t happen to believe in a god, the American Humanist Association is promoting its newly created website: KidsWithoutGod.com. This engaging resource offers a welcoming home for humanist, atheist and other non-traditionally religious kids where they can find information untainted by supernaturalism on a wide range of topics, including religion in public schools, science, discrimination, sexuality, and reading suggestions.

“Whether they already made up their minds to reject supernatural explanations, or are just questioning, it’s time to make available an online resource that’s built just for kids without God,” said Roy Speckhardt, executive director of the American Humanist Association. “These kids may be from traditionally religious families, or from families like that of President Barack Obama, whose mother was a secular humanist. KidsWithoutGod.com will be a friendly online community for kids who might be too shy to ask an adult directly what it’s like to be good without a god.”

To make sure this new resource becomes familiar to kids across the country, the American Humanist Association is spending over $30,000 on an ad campaign promoting KidsWithoutGod.com. Advertisements will appear on 140 Metro buses in Washington DC, including 20 king-size exterior bus posters. The campaign also includes online ads that will appear on the family of websites run by Cheezburger.com and Pandora, as well as Facebook, Reddit, Google, and YouTube. Requests to purchase ads on websites run by Disney.com, National Geographic Kids and Time For Kids were turned down based on the content. KidsWithoutGod.com is actually two websites, one for teens and one for younger children, both accessed through the same domain.

“With the plethora of websites geared toward teaching kids about Christianity, Judaism, or Islam, we’re pleased to add humanism to the discussion,” added Speckhardt. “Kids should know there’s another way to learn about morals and values—it doesn’t need to come from traditional religion.”

http://www.secularnewsdaily.com/2012/11/national-ad-campaign-promotes-kidswithoutgod-com-on-buses-and-online/

Agnosticism and Atheism: Five Misconceptions, Five Quotes By Okla Elliott

(The fol­low­ing clar­i­fi­ca­tions of pop­u­lar mis­con­cep­tions do not by any means exhaust the num­ber of spu­ri­ous claims made on the sub­ject, but I hope they will help dis­pel some of the most ram­pant inac­cu­ra­cies afoot in the cul­ture. I also hope the quotes and the video will be shared widely via social media. The more we can spread these sorts of intel­li­gent and care­ful thoughts, the bet­ter peo­ple can under­stand the grow­ing phe­nom­e­non of agnosticism/atheism in this and other coun­tries. It is not my goal to con­vince any­one of any­thing here, but rather to make sure we all have the facts straight so that we can all choose for our­selves what we want to believe.)

1. The most com­mon mis­truth lev­eled at athe­ists is that they are com­pletely cer­tain that sci­ence is right and believe sci­ence explains every­thing in human life. While there may be a few of these peo­ple run­ning around, none of the major spokes­men for athe­ism over the past century—Bertrand Rus­sell, Jean-Paul Sartre, Aldous Hux­ley, Christo­pher Hitchens, Sam Har­ris, etc—maintain this view. In fact, Sartre pointed out that the gap between the bio­log­i­cal facts of the body and what he called “the lived body” (where our con­scious­ness and expe­ri­ences take place) is so huge that sci­ence could never reach the core of our phe­nom­e­no­log­i­cal expe­ri­ence. Mar­tin Hei­deg­ger, another well-known athe­ist of the twen­ti­eth cen­tury, was famously anti-technology and claimed that “sci­ence does not think.” Hux­ley was crit­i­cal and prais­ing of science/technology in equal mea­sure. And Har­ris has said that just because we might know the chem­i­cal make-up of choco­late, this does not decrease or increase our plea­sure in eat­ing it. So, none of the major spokes­men for athe­ism have actu­ally argued that sci­ence has all the facts and that it can explain every aspect of our lives, and no athe­ist I know per­son­ally holds this posi­tion. Sci­ence is one of many tools we have in our lives, and it is cer­tainly one of the most use­ful ones, but like all tools, it is fal­li­ble as well as use­ful. And the use­ful­ness of sci­ence has lim­its, like the use­ful­ness of any tool. Fur­ther­more, it is impos­si­ble to main­tain that sci­ence is infal­li­ble, since we hear every day that some old the­ory has been debunked or some new tech­nol­ogy has super­seded an older one. It is there­fore merely a straw-man the reli­gious side of this debate has con­structed to mis­rep­re­sent the actual views of atheism.

2. Another com­mon mis­rep­re­sen­ta­tion of athe­ists is that they are cer­tain there is no god and have a kind of arro­gance in this cer­tainty.
Again, this is not the posi­tion of any of the major spokes­men for athe­ism. Sartre said you can never defin­i­tively prove god does not exist, as have Rus­sell, Hux­ley, Har­ris, Dawkins, etc. Their posi­tion is that they have been offered insuf­fi­cient evi­dence for any par­tic­u­lar god’s exis­tence (be it Vishnu, which 1.2 bil­lion peo­ple claim exists, or Yah­weh, which 2.2 bil­lion peo­ple claim exists, or Odin, which only twenty thou­sand or so claim exists). In effect, nearly all athe­ists are actu­ally agnos­tics in that they admit there is the pos­si­bil­ity of a god or many gods exist­ing. They have merely decided to ten­ta­tively believe that there are no gods until suf­fi­cient evi­dence is offered to change that posi­tion. This is why the terms agnos­tic and athe­ist are nearly syn­ony­mous. Athe­ists might think it con­sid­er­ably more prob­a­ble, though not cer­tain, that no gods exist, whereas agnos­tics would per­haps say it’s a 50/50 chance that some sort of god(s) exist. Athe­ists are there­fore merely fur­ther along the spec­trum of incredulity than agnos­tics, but both admit the pos­si­bil­ity of god(s) exist­ing. [Side note: There are com­pet­ing def­i­n­i­tions of these terms, of course, and they are famously dif­fi­cult to define. We could, for exam­ple, draw dis­tinc­tions between those who are epis­te­mo­log­i­cally agnos­tic ver­sus those who are meta­phys­i­cally agnos­tic, but my point here is not to quib­ble over def­i­n­i­tions, but rather to show that athe­ists are by no means com­mit­ted to some sort of absolute cer­tainty about the nonex­is­tence of god(s) or the effi­cacy of sci­ence or what-have-you.]It is, in fact, quite often those with faith who say that they have cer­tain knowl­edge of their deities’ exis­tence. They even often claim that no amount of evi­dence could ever sway them from this cer­tainty. This is pre­cisely the oppo­site of the atheist’s posi­tion. If evi­dence for gods exist­ing were offered, athe­ists would hap­pily accept it and alter their belief. So, here again, the reli­gious side of this debate has mis­rep­re­sented the athe­ists and agnos­tics of the world, and it is in fact guilty of its own accusation.

3. It is often claimed that athe­ists can­not be moral. This claim seems very odd to me for sev­eral rea­sons. First off, Bertrand Rus­sell and Jean-Paul Sartre founded the Inter­na­tional War Crimes Tri­bunal, and both protested the Viet­nam War long before it became pop­u­lar to do so. Rus­sell agi­tated for equal rights for women, and he went to jail as a con­sci­en­tious objec­tor dur­ing WWI. He like­wise lost posi­tions at uni­ver­si­ties for tak­ing prin­ci­pled anti-war and pro-civil lib­er­ties stances. Sec­ondly, the claim that I can­not be moral because I do not believe in some god (or group of gods) offends me per­son­ally. I have never mur­dered any­one, never tor­tured any­one, never set any build­ings on fire, don’t cheat on my sig­nif­i­cant other, et cetera; and I refuse to own a car out of envi­ron­men­tal con­cerns, refuse (mostly) to eat meat out of eth­i­cal con­cerns, and have agi­tated for the equal rights of LGBT cit­i­zens every­where, among other such activ­i­ties. In short, I do not think my athe­ism has led me to be any less moral; if any­thing, it has helped me to be more moral. Which brings me to my third point: There is no evi­dence at all that believ­ing in a par­tic­u­lar god makes one moral. If any­thing, the never-ending cases of child molesta­tion by Catholic priests, the reli­gious zealotry that leads to sui­cide bomb­ings, the mur­der of abor­tion clinic doc­tors, and the oppres­sion of women by Chris­t­ian, Hindu, Jew­ish, and Mus­lim reli­gious insti­tu­tions should cause peo­ple to won­der if reli­gion isn’t more likely to cause one to be immoral. In fact, if you believe there is some higher power that has the right to con­demn oth­ers to death and you believe you have direct con­tact with that higher power, you might be will­ing to kill other humans in that higher power’s name. But if you hap­pen to believe, as athe­ists do, that humans are what mat­ter, not some deity or set of deities, then you are more likely to view human well-being as the high­est moral value and more likely to con­sider your high­est moral oblig­a­tion to be to other humans, not to some prob­a­bly nonex­is­tent higher power.

http://www.secularpost.net/2012/11/15/aa5/


The rest is at the link...

Whether the vision is born from religion or non-religion the result is the same and God is glorified

Yup, you heard that right.

Along with this...

Biblical values" has been used by many as a code for brutally enforced patriarchy, as have many other perspectives, religious and non-religious.


and this...

Atheist who have seen what is noble have other names. They all come to the same conclusion. Life has meaning! The list I offered is just an affirmation of that notion. It stands against all forms of nihilism and distortions which abound no matter he claims of many religious and non-religious alike.



Enjoy yourselves...

http://www.democraticunderground.com/121854428#post170

If we have determined that children are not able to have sex, drink, vote...

If we, as a society, have determined that children are mentally/intellectually incapable of making their own decisions about sex, drugs, booze, etc, why is it ok to force religious dogma/ideology onto them before the age of consent?

Australian Prime Minister creates commission to investigate child abuse in Catholic Church.

Prime Minister Julia Gillard has created a national royal commission that will investigate institutional responses to sex abuse against children in the Catholic Church.
There has been a steady increase in requests for a national inquiry after the New South Wales police determined that the church was covering up evidence of child sexual abuse by priests.

Gillard stated that the commission would be investigating all religious organizations, as well as state child care providers and the responses of state child service agencies and law enforcement.

Prime Minister Julia Gillard stated that the abuse is insidious and evil, and had acknowledged that many children have suffered abuse by those they tristed, and adults who were able to render assistance had failed to do so.

She had also stated her intent to speak to victim's groups, as well as community organizations and religious leaders.

http://www.goddiscussion.com/103836/australian-prime-minister-creates-commission-to-investigate-child-abuse-in-catholic-church/


If President Obama were to do this (as he should, IMO), the religious noise machine would explode, while the moderate believers stood idly by and watched the fallout.

Should a Constitutional Amendment ban religion from government?

With all the problems going on in the country today, Americans demand that our politicians put rhetoric aside and concentrate on the issues at hand. Whether it's getting people back to work, investing in education, strengthening our health care system or restructuring our tax code, Americans want to see action. However, conservatives these days seem to have their priorities all twisted up.

The Republican-lead House voted and passed a bill in November of 2011 that reaffirmed "In God We Trust" as the nation's motto adding zero jobs in the process. With overwhelming support, 369-9, the bill was passed without much of a fight. The issue of God in government has always been a hot button issue in politics, but a sensitive one as well. The conservatives in the religious right often hold their idea of "God" above everything else and push their faith into the lives of people who either don't share the same beliefs they do or don't want anything to do with them in the first place. The United States was not founded on God and isn't a "Christian Nation" by any means. The United States Constitution is a secular document and should stay that way. The words "God" and "Christianity" are never mentioned in the Constitution and religion is only mentioned sparingly starting with the First Amendment.

--snip--

At every turn the radical religious right seem to continue their agenda of pushing their beliefs on everyone in the country doing exactly what the Founding Fathers didn't want people to do. Whether it's their utter bigotry dealing with gay rights, the lack of concern for the poor as they continue to vote against programs that help them or the intolerance for people who might think differently than they do, something needs to change in the country to make it clear where America stands with religion. The constitution has twenty-seven Amendments and the question needs to be asked if number twenty-eight should be added as an official Separation of church and state. Banning religious ideology and religious text from government buildings, whether a courthouse or a school, should be looked into. People shouldn't be judged by what religious belief they hold, but as Martin Luther King said: "by the content of their character".

The United States is unique in that it has people from all walks of life with many belief systems. Some are Christian, others Jewish, maybe Muslim, Hindu or Buddhist. Others are atheist or agnostic and don't want anything to do with religious dogma, but rather follow a path lead by scientific facts than questionable religious text. No matter what your path is, it should be kept to yourself without any judgment of others. The confusing position of religion in government needs to be ironed out, and unless we take religious judgment completely out of government, things will just continue as they are, and that is a shame.

http://www.examiner.com/article/should-a-constitutional-amendment-ban-religion-from-government

I tried. I really, really tried.

Our new friend, Mr. Batty, has driven me to the point of trashing his thread and putting him on ignore.

WTF is wrong with that guy?
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