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Member since: Sat Jul 3, 2010, 12:24 PM
Number of posts: 19,705

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I think hell just froze.

Just a few minutes ago, a Religion regular who defends belief just said that religious experiences are a result of mental illness.

I imagine most extreme religious experiences, like the ones you describe, are symptoms of mental illness. The religious content is the result of mental illness, not the converse.

Yep, he agree that religious experiences are the result of mental illness. Yes, you read that correctly.

I would think he may want to argue what constitutes "extreme", but the agreement is there, and that is a place to work from.

Note: I'm not naming the poster or providing a link, for this is not a call-out of that poster. I just wanted everyone to know that he agrees that religious experiences are a result of mental illness.

I really love Rev. Al Sharpton.

I'm cooking dinner a few minutes ago and the Lawrence O' Donnell show is on the T.V. in the background. A commercial for MSNBC comes on with Rev. Al talking about making America better, yada, yada, yada, and he closes with...

"...and if we really want be a country that is One Nation, Indivisible, With Liberty, And Justice For All..."

I had to rewind the DVR to make sure I had heard that correctly. Yep, I heard it correctly.

Way to go, Rev. Al. You sir, are the fucking man!

Christianity and the pressure to believe

My ten-year old son, Joey, announced to me a while back that he is atheist. When he said that, it made me a little uncomfortable. For some reason, it feels a little different to me to hear a kid say “I’m atheist” rather than just “I don’t believe in god.” I’m not exactly sure why; maybe it’s the applying a label to oneself. I really don’t believe that kids this young are old enough, mature enough, or worldly enough to apply any sort of label like that to themselves – mainly because I’m not convinced they really understand what it means.


So when Joey recently confessed that talking about god makes him uncomfortable, I was curious. I asked him in what context – at home? At school? He said at school. Often his friends talk about god and church and it makes him uncomfortable. He feels like the odd man out, and suddenly he’s not sure what he believes. I’m glad he’s questioning things, I really am. But it’s made me realize that it’s possible that he (or any of my kids) might eventually adopt Christianity out of a sense of peer pressure – in order to fit in. Because we live in the Bible Belt of Southern California – it’s a very conservative, predominantly Christian, right wing community. At their tender young ages, a couple of my kids have already been told by their friends that it’s a sin to not believe in god, and that they will go to hell. That pisses me off.


I think religion and matters of faith should be matters for adults to contemplate. Most adults wouldn’t think about inculcating their children with particular political party agendas, because we, for the most part, accept that political beliefs are beyond children’s understanding, and it would be ridiculous to pressure a child to identify him or herself as Republican or Democrat. And yet, it’s a completely different story with religion. I’ve never understood how Christian adults rejoice when a child “chooses” god, or “accepts” Jesus Christ. Those children have been spoon-fed those beliefs from the time they were babies; there was never any choice in the matter.

It’s a confusing time for Joey. He’s on the cusp of adolescence, so maybe his beginning to question a lot of things is to be expected. When we had this conversation with him recently, I told him that the things his friends say about god are only things their parents and their churches have told them to believe, and that doesn’t make them true. We told him that he doesn’t have to decide anything right now about god or anything else. We told him that he has his whole life to think about it, and he may never decide, and that’s okay.


I urge the reader to follow the link and read the entire post for better context and understanding.

One part that stands out to me is this...

I’ve never understood how Christian adults rejoice when a child “chooses” god, or “accepts” Jesus Christ. Those children have been spoon-fed those beliefs from the time they were babies; there was never any choice in the matter.
I told him that the things his friends say about god are only things their parents and their churches have told them to believe, and that doesn’t make them true.

...and drives home a point I frequently try to make; that children who are indoctrinated into religion and told to believe or they will be punished in some way, is child abuse.

Nonbelievers Excluded from Interfaith Service, Despite Two Humanist Victims in Monday’s Bombing

Washington, DC— The Secular Coalition for America is disappointed and saddened that the nontheist community was excluded from the Interfaith Service taking place in the wake of Monday's marathon bombing—despite that at least two of the victims of the bombing were part of the nontheist community.

Celeste Corcoran of Lowell, Massachusetts, who lost both her legs at the knees in one of the bomb blasts, and her 18 year-old daughter, Sydney, who suffered severe injuries as a result of being hit by shrapnel, were part of the greater-Boston humanist community.

The Interfaith event, called “Healing Our City” is taking place at Cathedral of the Holy Cross and will be attended by President Obama and representatives from the Protestant, Greek Orthodox, Catholic, Jewish, and Muslim faiths.

“The tragic events on Monday affected people of many different faiths and none,” said Edwina Rogers, executive director of the Secular Coalition for America. “The organizers said they want to ‘heal the city’ and to do that, we need to come together as a community in these times of need despite our differing beliefs.”


“The very purpose of these types of programs are put on is to comfort the victims, their families and the community at large,” Rogers said. “To exclude the very community that at least some of the victims were a part of not only alienates the victims themselves, but also Boston’s vibrant nontheistic community and the nearly 20 percent of Americans who choose not to identify with a religion. We are grieving too.”


Georgia teen who shot parents wanted to read bible, not to do chores.

Investigators in Columbus, Georgia say that a 15-year-old boy shot his parents because they asked him to do chores when he wanted to look up a Bible verse for a friend who wanted to be “saved.”

In a court hearing on Monday, Detective Amanda Hogan explained that the teen felt he had a mission to find the correct Bible verse for his friend on Thursday. But his parents insisted that he first complete his chores, which included getting an old comforter packed up so that it could be donated to Goodwill, according to the Ledger-Enquirer.

Hogan said that the boy’s rage grew overnight, and when he came home from school on Friday, he took a 9mm handgun from his parents nightstand and hid it in his room. After his parents returned from work, their son opened fire. Stepmother Kristi Askevich, 45, was hit in the right wrist. Randal Askevich, the boy’s 40-year-old father, was shot in the right hip.

When police arrived, they stayed outside the home because the parents were reportedly still being held at gunpoint. Randal Askevich later got his son to turn over the gun, and Kristi Askevich came outside to explain the situation to police.

Kristi Askevich told police that the boy was on several medications. Both parents were shocked that he had shot them.


The dangers of Religious indoctrination in action.

Why We Should Fear the Evangelical Adoption Boom

While it sounds wonderful when Christians spend more time focusing on kids who are already born instead of the embryos inside other women, the plan goes downhill when they see those adoptable children as little more than extensions of a ministry:

[The adopted kids] didn’t attend school, either; home schooling mostly consisted of [mother] Serene reading to the younger children. When the older kids watched a school bus drive past on a country road and asked why they couldn’t go, they were met with various excuses. So [adopted kids] Isaiah and Alfred worked with [father] Sam in his house-painting business or labored in [grandmother] Nancy Campbell’s immense vegetable garden while [adopted kids] CeCe, Kula, and Cherish cleaned, cooked, and tended to a growing brood of young ones. It was also the job of the “African kids,” as they called themselves, to keep a reservoir filled with water from the creek. CeCe hadn’t yet learned to read when Serene gave her a book on midwifery so she could learn to deliver their future babies. “They treated us pretty much like slaves,” she said. It’s a provocative accusation, but one that Kula and Isaiah — as well as two neighbors and a children’s welfare worker — all repeated.

Discipline included being hit with rubber hosing or something resembling a riding crop if the children disrespected Serene, rejected her meals, or failed to fill the reservoir. For other infractions, they were made to sleep on the porch without blankets. Engedi, the toddler, was disciplined for her attachment to CeCe. To encourage her bond with Serene, the Allisons would place the child on the floor between them and CeCe and call her. If Engedi went to CeCe instead, the children recalled, the Allisons would spank her until she wet herself.

Horrifying stuff. Even scarier when you realize it’s not limited to just this one family. Evangelical churches across the country are encouraging overseas adoptions for religiously-motivated reasons.


It's not just the Evangelical indoctrination of children into their religion, it's ALL indoctrination of children into religion we should fear.

Yes, I do have proof that god does not exist.

This is What Actual Christian Persecution Looks Like

Jonathan Merritt at Religion News Service has a fantastic article in which he talks about what real Christian persecution looks like:

As many as two-thirds of Christians in Iraq have fled the country to escape massacres and church burnings. There are reportedly fewer than 60 Christian churches left in the war-torn country, a fact that adds another level of critique to the prudence of waging such a conflict. Just this month, an angry mob in Pakistan torched 40 Christian homes. And even Lebanon, once a safe haven for Christians, is experiencing a mass exodus.

I think I speak for many atheists when I say I stand behind all those Christians who are dealing with those battles. They deserve better than that.

Now, on the flip side, what doesn’t qualify as persecution?

Pretty much all the stuff Christians complain about in the U.S.:

American Christians have a persecution complex. Whenever a public figure criticizes the Christian movement or offers believers in other faiths an equal voice in society, you can bet Christians will start howling. Claims about American persecution of Christians are a form of low comedy in a country where two-thirds of citizens claim to be Christians, where financial gifts to Christian churches are tax deductible, where Christian pastors can opt out of social security, and where no one is restricted from worshipping however, whenever, and wherever they wish.

Damn right. Hearing Christians complain about how tough they have it is like hearing Oprah complain about high gas prices: No one’s going to take you seriously because the rest of us play by the same rules and you have every advantage already at your disposal.

So why don’t Christians focus on the real battles instead of the fake ones? Merritt explains:

The answer, it seems, is that many of their attentions have been focused elsewhere. Some are too busy protesting Target employees who wish them “Happy Holidays” and others have been mobilizing to boycott JCPenney over selecting Ellen DeGeneres, an outspoken lesbian, to be their spokesperson. Isn’t it time that American Christians reinvest their energies in addressing the actual persecution of their brothers and sisters happening outside their borders?


If a restaurant owner were to throw out a group that prayed when they sat down to eat because prayer

"doesn't align with the atheist philosophy of our organization", this country would be in full-fucking crisis mode, all networks all the time.

The silence about this outright discrimination and bigotry is appalling, yet so expected.


There is a thread about this in religion, too.

It's gotten so bad that a jury allows "you atheist arseholes" to stand 4-2


What. The. Fuck.
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