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cleanhippie

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

Journal Archives

Secretary of State John Kerry: Freedom to ‘Not Believe’ is a ‘Birthright of Every Human Being’

Earlier today, the U.S. State Department released the 2012 International Religious Freedom Report. The annual report sheds light on abuses of religious freedom worldwide and reinforces America’s commitment to make those freedoms “an integral part of our global diplomatic engagement.”
The report itself makes references to atheism (albeit in a very loose way):

Fifteen years ago, the U.S. Congress took a momentous step in support of religious freedom when it passed the International Religious Freedom Act, establishing within the Executive Branch the position of Ambassador at Large for International Religious Freedom. With this measure, the U.S. government made a bold statement on behalf of those who were oppressed, those who were persecuted, and those who were unable to live their lives at the most basic level, for the simple exercise of their faith. Whether it be a single deity, or multiple deities, or no deities at all, freedom to believe — including the freedom not to believe — is a universal human right.


http://www.patheos.com/blogs/friendlyatheist/2013/05/20/secretary-of-state-john-kerry-freedom-to-not-believe-is-a-birthright-of-every-human-being/


It's happening.


More at link.

Virginia lt. gov. nominee: Not sorry for hate speech ‘because I’m a Christian’

xpost from GD

The Republican nominee for lieutenant governor in Virginia says that he is a Christian and has no reason to apologize for his history against of hate speech against LGBT people, liberals and abortion providers. It was only after African-American minister E.W. Jackson won the nomination at the Virginia Republican Party Convention last week that many became aware of his history of saying gay people were “perverted” and “sick people psychologically.”

“Homosexuality is a horrible sin, it poisons culture, it destroys families, it destroys societies; it brings the judgment of God unlike very few things that we can think of,” he said last year. He has also called Democrats “slave masters” and compared Planned Parenthood to the Ku Klux Klan.” “Liberalism and their ideas have done more to kill black folks whom they claim so much to love than the Ku Klux Klan, lynching and slavery and Jim Crow ever did, now that’s a fact,” Jackson said in a 2012 interview.

On Tuesday, Jackson told reporters that he had no intention of apologizing.

“I say the things that I say because I’m a Christian, not because I hate anybody, but because I have religious values that matter to me,” Jackson told reporters during a campaign event in Fredericksburg, according to The Washington Post. “Attacking me because I hold to those principles is attacking every church-going person, every family that’s living a traditional family life, everybody who believes that we all deserve the right to live.”

“So I don’t have anything to rephrase or apologize for. I would just say people should not paint me as one-dimensional.”



http://www.rawstory.com/rs/2013/05/22/virginia-lt-gov-nominee-not-sorry-for-hate-speech-because-im-a-christian/

Virginia Lt. Gov. nominee: Not sorry for hate speech ‘because I’m a Christian’

The Republican nominee for lieutenant governor in Virginia says that he is a Christian and has no reason to apologize for his history against of hate speech against LGBT people, liberals and abortion providers. It was only after African-American minister E.W. Jackson won the nomination at the Virginia Republican Party Convention last week that many became aware of his history of saying gay people were “perverted” and “sick people psychologically.”

“Homosexuality is a horrible sin, it poisons culture, it destroys families, it destroys societies; it brings the judgment of God unlike very few things that we can think of,” he said last year. He has also called Democrats “slave masters” and compared Planned Parenthood to the Ku Klux Klan.” “Liberalism and their ideas have done more to kill black folks whom they claim so much to love than the Ku Klux Klan, lynching and slavery and Jim Crow ever did, now that’s a fact,” Jackson said in a 2012 interview.

On Tuesday, Jackson told reporters that he had no intention of apologizing.

“I say the things that I say because I’m a Christian, not because I hate anybody, but because I have religious values that matter to me,” Jackson told reporters during a campaign event in Fredericksburg, according to The Washington Post. “Attacking me because I hold to those principles is attacking every church-going person, every family that’s living a traditional family life, everybody who believes that we all deserve the right to live.”

“So I don’t have anything to rephrase or apologize for. I would just say people should not paint me as one-dimensional.”



http://www.rawstory.com/rs/2013/05/22/virginia-lt-gov-nominee-not-sorry-for-hate-speech-because-im-a-christian/

Ex-Hasidic Mother Loses Custody of Children (might jeopardize the children's religious upbringing)



A 32-year-old mother from Monsey, N.Y., has lost custody of her children due largely to what a judge described as the mother’s inadequate religious observance. Kelly Myzner, mother of three boys, ages 5 to 8, recently had her children removed from her home, following a custody battle that ended with a ruling in favor of the Hasidic father.

In a ruling dated April 22, 2013, Judge Sherri L. Eisenpress, of Rockland County Family Court, ordered the custody transfer “despite the children’s expressed wishes.” The judge acknowledged that the mother has been the children’s primary caretaker, that the children were “extremely bonded” to her, and that she appeared to be “far more involved and vigilant” about their care than the father. Still, the judge worried that the mother’s lax religious observance would “tremendously confuse” and harm the children.

Complicating the case are allegations of physical and sexual abuse brought by the mother against the father, and the judge’s speculation that the complaints were only a ploy to alienate the children from their father. Myzner claims that she had no such intentions, and the court ruling acknowledges that the father regularly used corporal punishment coupled with a bad temper.

On May 14, after an unsuccessful bid for a stay on the order, the children were removed from Myzner’s custody. Due to pending investigations against the father on abuse complaints, the children were placed in foster care.

http://www.unpious.com/2013/05/ex-hasidic-mother-loses-custody-of-children/#.UZoynLvvhQM.facebook

Neil deGrasse Tyson's remake of Carl Sagan's 'Cosmos' headed to Fox in 2014


Neil deGrasse Tyson's reboot of astrophysicist Carl Sagan’s groundbreaking documentary series, Cosmos: A Personal Journey, is finally on its way to television. Fox made the official announcement during its advertising upfront presentation at New York’s Beacon Theatre on Monday, reports The Los Angeles Times. The series has been in the works for years, and will be making its long-awaited premiere sometime in 2014.

The 13-episode series is being produced, surprisingly, by Seth MacFarlane of Family Guy fame. As far as the hosting gig goes, it’s hard to imagine who could be a better fit than Tyson, who first met Sagan as a 17-year-old applicant to Cornell University, having been personally invited by the famous scientist to "come check out the lab."

It will be interesting to see what the team has planned for the new show. The Sagan original became the most successful US public TV series of all time relying primarily on the astrophysicist’s elegant expositions of the universe, while today’s science programming largely takes its cues from sci-fi, revolving around flashy computer animation and dramatic visual effects. At the same time, Fox might not seem like the most obvious home for a high-minded astrophysics series, although the network believes that even without a huge financial return, the series "could have a cultural impact."

http://www.theverge.com/2013/5/13/4328390/neil-degrasse-tyson-remake-carl-sagan-cosmos-headed-to-fox-in-2014


Woot!

Secular Coalition for R.I. Successfully Urges Gov. to Sign National Day of Reason Proclamation

The Humanists of RI and The Secular Coalition for RI are pleased to announce pursuant to their request, that on April 30, 2013 Governor Lincoln D. Chafee issued a State of Rhode Island Gubernatoral Proclamation officially declaring May 2 the Day of Reason in Rhode Island. In doing this, Governor Chafee helps raise awareness thoroughout the State of Rhode Island of the importance of Reason as a guiding prinicipal of our secular demoracy.

Humanists of RI and the Secular Coaltion of RI join with The National Day of Reason, a consortium of leaders from within the community of reason endorsing the idea of a National Day of Reason. This observance is held in parallel with the National Day of Prayer, on the first Thursday in May each year. The goal of this effort is to celebrate reason—a concept all Americans can support—and to raise public awareness about the persistent threat to religious liberty posed by government intrusion into the private sphere of worship.

Humanism is a progressive philosophy of life that, without theism and other supernatural beliefs, affirms our ability and responsibility to lead ethical lives of personal fulfillment that aspire to the greater good of humanity. Humanists of Rhode Island are dedicated to good works and service
projects that will best demonstrate our ideals.

The Secular Coalition for Rhode Island and the Secular Coalition for America share the common mission to increase the visibility of and respect for nontheistic viewpoints in the United States, and to protect and strengthen the secular character of our government as the best guarantee of
freedom for all.

http://secular.org/news/secular-coalition-rhode-island-successfully-urges-gov-sign-national-day-reason-proclamation

Fabio Martinez Castilla: Abortion is Worse Than Child Rape, Says Mexican Archbishop

Fabio Martínez Castilla, Archbishop of Tuxla Gutiérrez sparked some controversy over remarks made on Tuesday at a homily in the Metropolitan Cathedral of San Marcos, by claiming that “abortion is much more serious than rape of children by priests.”

(Let's see that again for the obtuse among us:

“abortion is much more serious than rape of children by priests.”
“abortion is much more serious than rape of children by priests.”
“abortion is much more serious than rape of children by priests.”
“abortion is much more serious than rape of children by priests.”


Appointed Archbishop last May by then Pope Benedict XVI, Castilla went on to clarify that both abuse and abortion “quantitatively do much harm and deserve punishment.” He is a firm believer in the Church’s stance on contraceptives and condoms as “patches” to avoid responsibility.

--snip--

Pope Benedict XVI himself sparked controversy in Latin America when, in a 2007 trip to Brazil, he insinuated that politicians who had advocated for abortion rights ought to be excommunicated from the church. “Yes, the excommunication isn’t something arbitrary — it’s part of the code,” the pope remarked.

With regard to abuse cases, though the former pope was the first to openly apologize to victims of sexual assault by priests, his message was often mixed: “In the Church, priests are also sinners. But I am personally convinced that the constant presence in the press of the sins of Catholic priests, especially in the United States, is a planned campaign, as the percentage of these offenses among priests is not higher than in other categories, and is perhaps even lower…”

http://www.policymic.com/articles/39225/fabio-martinez-castilla-abortion-is-worse-than-child-rape-says-mexican-archbishop



“abortion is much more serious than rape of children by priests.”
“abortion is much more serious than rape of children by priests.”
“abortion is much more serious than rape of children by priests.”
“abortion is much more serious than rape of children by priests.”
“abortion is much more serious than rape of children by priests.”
“abortion is much more serious than rape of children by priests.”
“abortion is much more serious than rape of children by priests.”
“abortion is much more serious than rape of children by priests.”


I've said it once if not a hundred times: It's not the pope or the bishops that are the problem now, it's the laity. It's those that continue to support this terrible institution with their time, money, and support.

Would any of our Sophisticated Theologians™ here at DU care to comment on this?

I’m a big fan of Dr. Maarten Boudry, a Belgian philosopher who’s a research fellow in the Department of Philosopy & Moral Sciences of Ghent University. Boudry has spent a lot of time showing that religion and science are incompatible, attacking the distinction between “metaphysical naturalism” and “methodological naturalism” (a distinction much beloved by accommodationists), and generally pwning “Sophisticated Theologians™.”

--snip--

But today I’m presenting something else: a real Sokal-style hoax that Boudry has perpetrated. He informed me yesterday that he had submitted a fake, post-modernish and Sophisticated-Theological™ abstract to two theology conferences:

By the way, I thought you might find this funny. I wrote a spoof abstract full of theological gibberish (Sokal-style) and submitted it to two theology conferences, both of which accepted it right away. It got into the proceedings of the Reformational Philosophy conference. See Robert A. Maundy (an anagram of my name) on p. 22 of the program proceedings.

To save you the trouble of downloading it, I reproduce below, with Boudry’s permission, “Maundy’s” abstract. Note that he made up a college, too, but the quotation from John Haught is real.

The Paradoxes of Darwinian Disorder. Towards an Ontological Reaffirmation of Order and Transcendence.
Robert A. Maundy, College of the Holy Cross, Reno, Nevada


In the Darwinian perspective, order is not immanent in reality, but it is a self-affirming aspect of reality in so far as it is experienced by situated subjects. However, it is not so much reality that is self-affirming, but the creative order structuring reality which manifests itself to us. Being-whole, as opposed to being-one, underwrites our fundamental sense of locatedness and particularity in the universe. The valuation of order qua meaningful order, rather than order-in-itself, has been thoroughly objectified in the Darwinian worldview. This process of de-contextualization and reification of meaning has ultimately led to the establishment of ‘dis-order’ rather than ‘this-order’. As a result, Darwinian materialism confronts us with an eradication of meaning from the phenomenological experience of reality. Negative theology however suggests a revaluation of disorder as a necessary precondition of order, as that without which order could not be thought of in an orderly fashion. In that sense, dis-order dissolves into the manifestations of order transcending the materialist realm. Indeed, order becomes only transparent qua order in so far as it is situated against a background of chaos and meaninglessness. This binary opposition between order and dis-order, or between order and that which disrupts order, embodies a central paradox of Darwinian thinking. As Whitehead suggests, reality is not composed of disordered material substances, but as serially-ordered events that are experienced in a subjectively meaningful way. The question is not what structures order, but what structure is imposed on our transcendent conception of order. By narrowly focusing on the disorderly state of present-being, or the “incoherence of a primordial multiplicity”, as John Haught put it, Darwinian materialists lose sense of the ultimate order unfolding in the not-yet-being. Contrary to what Dawkins asserts, if we reframe our sense of locatedness of existence within a the space of radical contingency of spiritual destiny, then absolute order reemerges as an ontological possibility. The discourse of dis-order always already incorporates a creative moment that allows the self to transcend the context in which it finds itself, but also to find solace and responsiveness in an absolute Order which both engenders and withholds meaning. Creation is the condition of possibility of discourse which, in turn, evokes itself as presenting creation itself. Darwinian discourse is therefore just an emanation of the absolute discourse of dis-order, and not the other way around, as crude materialists such as Dawkins suggest.


I defy you to understand what he’s saying, but of course it appeals to those who, steeped in Sophisticated Theology™, love a lot of big words that say nothing but somehow seem to criticize materialism while affirming the divine. It doesn’t hurt if you diss Dawkins a couple of times, either. This shows once again the appeal of religious gibberish to the educated believer, and demonstrates that conference organizers either don’t read what they publish, or do read it and think that if it’s opaque then it must be profound.


http://whyevolutionistrue.wordpress.com/2012/09/25/a-sokal-style-hoax-by-an-anti-religious-philosopher-2/



Would any of our resident Serious Theologians™ care to respond?

Dad, what happens to us after we die?

Atheism to Defeat Religion By 2038 (photo update)

Countries with the best standard of living are turning atheist. That shift offers a glimpse into the world's future.

Religious people are annoyed by claims that belief in God will go the way of horse transportation, and for much the same reason, specifically an improved standard of living.

The view that religious belief will give way to atheism is known as the secularization thesis. The specific version that I favor (1) is known as the existential security hypothesis. The basic idea is that as people become more affluent, they are less worried about lacking for basic necessities, or dying early from violence or disease. In other words they are secure in their own existence. They do not feel the need to appeal to supernatural entities to calm their fears and insecurities. The notion that improving living conditions are associated with a decline in religion is supported by a mountain of evidence (1,2,3).

That does not prevent some serious scholars, like political scientist Eric Kaufmann (4), from making the opposite case that religious fundamentalists will outbreed the rest of us. Yet, noisy as they can be, such groups are tiny minorities of the global population and they will become even more marginalized as global prosperity increases and standards of living improve. Moreover, as religious fundamentalists become economically integrated, young women go to work and produce smaller families, as is currently happening for Utah's Mormons.

--snip--

Averaging across the two measures of atheism, the entire world population would cross the atheist threshold by about 2038 (average of 2035 for disbelief and 2041 for religiosity). Although 2038 may seem improbably fast, this requires only a shift of approximately 1 percent per year whether in religiosity or belief in God. Using the Human Development Index as a clock suggests an even earlier arrival for the atheist transition (1).

Is the loss of religious belief something fear? Contrary to the claims of religious leaders, Godless countries are highly moral nations with an unusual level of social trust, economic equality, low crime and a high level of civic engagement (5). We could do with some of that.

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/nigel-barber/atheism-to-defeat-religion-by-2038_b_1565108.html


Not a fan of the framing, that atheism will defeat religion, but the premise seems solid.

On edit: I found this photo that seemed appropriate for the article. Enjoy!


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