Monday, 18 May 2009

Raising atheist kids?

Building up to a rant for a while now... partly brought on by this rather unpleasant comment to a post of mine. (Someone has issues...)

It was a conversation I had about my children growing up. What they might become and that I will be proud of what they will achieve. Also if they happen to follow a faith, it would be their choice.
But it was the comment (well intentioned) of 'that's good' about referring to faith that has been bugging me.

Correct me if I am wrong, but isn't it a christian DUTY to raise your kids as christians? Certainly all the marriages and baptisms I've been to have STRONGLY suggested it.

So it's OK for christians to educate/impose/indoctrinate beliefs but when an atheist puts forward their opinions...

I was lucky enough to have been brought up in UK which is mostly agnostic or apathetic towards religion. And I was not influenced by my parents to what I should believe. I became an agnostic while in a church primary school and an atheist by the time I was in my teens. I came to my own decision after a lot of introspection. In my twenties I considered some form of spirituality but after observing and talking to a range of people I realised that you don't have to have a 'faith' to be good.

I don't think I can bring myself to go as far as Richard Dawkins and claim that religious upbringing is a form of 'child abuse'. Parents have a right to bring up children by their moral standards and I have no right to criticise. I think I am doing my best; they honestly think they are doing theirs.

However. I will teach my children to think critically. I will encourage them to question why. I would expect them to find out things for themselves and think seriously about why someone else might want you to believe what they believe.
I will encourage them to give people a chance. To try not to judge others on first impressions. Always try to end an argument; never to start one. Bare in mind the consequences of your actions. And try to do what you feel is right.

It's a big task. And I suspect I will make many mistakes. What I will NOT do is bring up children on the morality of a flawed 'holy' book full of contradictions, mythology and patronising devotion to a personification of ancient mankind's ignorance. My children deserve better than that.

Rant over. ;-)

Saturday, 16 May 2009

Richard Dawkins interview & Anti-religious bell ringing

Bit of a short post, but here are two links you might be interested in. :-)

The 5 minute Richard Dawkins interview

And Liverpool Cathedral will play an 'anti-religious' song with the church bells today!

Thursday, 14 May 2009

Jesus action figure - Part 2

Straight from the pages of Ephesians 6:11-17

Finally, be strong in the Lord and in his mighty power.Put on the full armour of God so that you can take your stand against the devil's schemes.

12 For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the powers of this dark world and against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms.

13 Therefore put on the full armour of God, so that when the day of evil comes, you may be able to stand your ground, and after you have done everything, to stand.

14 Stand firm then, with the belt of truth buckled round your waist, with the breastplate of righteousness in place,

15 and with your feet fitted with the readiness that comes from the gospel of peace.

16 In addition to all this, take up the shield of faith, with which you can extinguish all the flaming arrows of the evil one.

17 Take the helmet of salvation and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God.

OK, so I couldn't find a 'belt of truth' but I think that the 'Axe of Unnatural Death' and the 'Power Glove of Heathen Smiting' more than make up for it. ;-)

It appears that our 'One TRUE god(tm)' figures have been returned to stores amid claims that the box was empty. Sorry but NO refunds will be given as it is clearly not our fault you can't see it!

God is watching you having sex.

I LOVE the diversity of christianity!

Behold a link about a polish priest (who is celibate) offering advice about sex in marriage. It's already sold out in Poland.

"Every act - a type of caress, a sexual position - with the goal of arousal is permitted and pleases God."

Now, if I was a believer... I would be a little unnerved! ("Oh, come on darling, let's do it for Jesus. Think of it as a prayer...") The same god, who I hasten to add, is pleased by the smell of a burning goat.

Sorry, but the comedy is too much to bear. :-D

Read the article here!
... and feel free to add your own jokes / comments / opinions.

Wednesday, 13 May 2009

Look what I got for my birthday!

It's an action Jesus figure!

OK, I'll admit that my eldest son thought he would look cooler with a 'Power glove' and an 'Axe of Unnatural Death'. But, hey! I could start a NEW sect of christianity here! Someone is surely going to believe in it.

This was a present from JL for my birthday, quite possibly because she has a faithful representation of the FSM (bless his noodly appendages) hovering over her desk at school.

Any ideas or adventures for Jesus, please feel free to add to the comments. :-)

Sunday, 10 May 2009

It's my birthday!

Ever since the 11th May 1971, the FSM has been kind enough to keep me from floating off into space for 38 orbits around the Sun! (Blessed be his noodly appendages!)

So let's all have a sing along! :-D

Regular posting will commence soon... after all, I am in the middle of a 'Fun-filled holy war' where, I hasten to add, my VERY SOUL is at stake!!!

Saturday, 9 May 2009

I'm a happy atheist! So why don't people believe me?!? Aarrggh!!!

I posted this on the Heaving Dead Cats blog and I thought it deserved a post on mine too. One of the accusations I have had made at me, several times of the years, is that I cannot be a happier person than someone who has discovered their imaginary friend. (Or has a 'relationship' with imaginary friend, or discovered the 'truth', or 'opened my eyes', or had an 'experience'... blah, blah...)

"Being an atheist has made me a happier person. I adore the wonder of nature, the chaos of life, the randomness of quantum physics, the vastness of the universe, the possibility of ‘god particles’, the possibility of extraterrestrial life, seeing true altruism in strangers, learning about different cultures, art, music and love.
I love being free to enjoy, appreciate and have these experiences without having to worry about offending any non-existent creatures. Sheeple (I love that term!) only demean themselves by having to attribute their ignorance to ‘god’."

Seriously, how could I be happier? (OK, Arsenal in the Champions League final, grrr....) I have a great family, fantastic job, my health, kind friends and a sparkling wit only matched by my innate charm and wisdom. If unfortunate things happen, I don't whine, blame, pray, sue, beg etc... and I certainly don't (in a weakened state) seek an imaginary friend. If you are an optimist, you don't need false hope!

We do NOT have a 'god shaped' hole in our hearts. That's just another bl***y stupid metaphor created to convince the weak minded. (Create a problem and sell the only 'cure' ) Having a 'god' in my life would mean I would have a new 'priority' - above my family, above my ambitions, dreams and humanity. And if you are the sort of person willing to do that for some perceived reward in one of the many afterlifes on offer, then well done. Just don't expect me to be impressed.

I am happy. And if you can't understand that, then I truly pity you.
(Rant over) ;-)

Friday, 8 May 2009

Petrified trees prove the bible is right. *sigh*

When someone challenges me, I usually have to respond. (It's a weakness.)

Alrighty then. Petrified trees. Apparently there are VERTICAL trees that go through the layers of strata. Therefore the fossil record is rubbish.

With no further research, (and let's face it that COMPLETELY proves the bible) it would appear a problem to geologists.

However... what is not mentioned is the fact there are many more horizontal trees in the same area. Roots are non-existent and bark is missing from one side - this really shows that it was not covered by layers of ash while it was growing. The strata is actually flat - inconsistent with slopes that would have been covered with such trees. Mt Etna eruption provided an excellent example of how trees blasted out of the ground by volcanic eruptions can cause upright conditions.

There is more information in detail

I have a lot to thank JL for. I'm learning so much! :-)

Challenging science

The nice christian, JL, in her quest to convert my (rather pleasant) heathen ways went on the attack about carbon dating and it's 'wildly inaccurate' results.
Being on the back foot, I had some misconceptions about carbon dating but, in my defence, they were craftily worded fundie traps which I fell into. (eg. saying that carbon dating cannot measure age of fossils, so what proof is there?)

However, EVEN IF carbon dating methods were wrong, just because 'the bible says so' is not magically the only viable alternative. *sigh*

Tree rings are accurate to 9000 years. Pay attention - this is something most kids learn in primary school! You won't find a 50 year old tree with thousands of rings. NEWSFLASH - Trees predate the Abrahamic god! "But the bible says the sky pixie made trees! Whhhaaaahhh!!!!"

Redshift - How light frequency is affected by the fantastical speeds of astronomical phenomena moving away from us (creating light towards the infra red spectrum)

Carbon dating is a very good way of estimating. The biggest inaccuracies have occured when objects of 20000 years old have had an error of 3500 years. An error margin of up to 17%.
Even accounting for this extreme measure - hmmm - basic maths here - more than 6000 years!

The trap I fell into (because I simply don't know everything) was that you cannot use carbon dating for fossils. (Or diamonds, which are REALLY old! I just assumed that being made of carbon... doh!).

The above link explains more concisely the methods used and refutes the claims of creationist (and I use the word sarcastically) 'scientists'.

JL's mission was to get me to doubt scientific reasoning and to not take scientific opinion as the truth. And yes, we SHOULD not just believe everything we hear. We must make informed decisions based on evidence. We must be willing to accept that with our limited knowledge and senses (we can only see a razor thin slice of the EM spectrum for example) that we will make mistakes and improve upon our knowledge.

And that is what I love about science. For every opinion, theory and proposal in the public domain, it must be tested, scrutinised and every possible attempt is made to prove it wrong or come up with a better explanation with the evidence and reasoning to back it up. It is inspiring, it is challenging, it is dangerous, it gives us the tools to make sense of this amazing existence... it is truly humbling to realise that there is so much in existence that we will never know.

What I find demeaning, insulting, patronising, illogical and offensive to human intellect is that theists label 'don't know' with 'god'.

Science has been answering many 'don't knows' for centuries. People no longer need to fear myths and superstitions; worry about angering vengeful gods; conduct strange rituals; wear lucky charms etc. Thanks to science, we have grown up and matured as a species.

Science is not the enemy of religion but religion has suffered because of it. Ahhh, life was so much SIMPLER 6000 years ago.

Conclusion: Just because science freely admits the limits of our understanding and is constantly trying to improve its knowledge doesn't make the bible true! (Bl**dy obvious I know, but SOME PEOPLE... tsk)

Thursday, 7 May 2009

Conversations with a (nice) christian.

This is a response to my 'Alpha Course' post. (If it has scrolled off the bottom of the page then 'clicky!' )
'JL' is one of those nice christians who (in my experience) make up the majority of christians that are willing to talk to me. Currently we are in the middle of a friendly 'holy war' at our school, where she is trying to get me to appreciate Jesus and I am bestowing the gift of Pastafarian knowledge. I have shown her undeniable evidence of FSM's power by making her jump and pointing out how the kind FSM brings her safely back to Earth with his noodly appendages. (He loves us all and keeps us safe - FACT!)

Randomfish, I believe I might even have been the long-haired born-again that suggested an Alpha course to you.

Yep, The most recent one.

It's not like you have anything to lose, anyway :-p

Well, my scientific reasoning for one...

re: 'based on a relationship, not knowledge'
It always makes me smile that people get so OUTRAGED that the Bible is younger than Jesus, or at least most of it. That it's been *gasp* ADDED TO(!!!111) over the years. Of course it has. Ours is a living God. He didn't just speak once 6000 years ago (you heard right, DB!) and that was it. If you develop a relationship with your living God, he will speak to you. And he will tell you do not have a religion based on laws, you have a new life based on His loving gospel.

We agree here. Religion (especially christianity) has evolved. It has HAD to! Let's face it, if we had the same thinking as we did 1000 years ago, you would look pretty stupid now.
We don't get ill because god is punishing us. We get better because we 1) take medicine or 2) naturally get better over time.
Gods don't live in the sky. We are not the centre of the universe. Evolution is happening. The Earth is over 6000 years old. Morality is not owned by any religion...
Damn those astronomers, doctors, biologists, historians, geologists, philosophers...! They have had to make those crrraaaazzzyyy christians do some drastic rejigging of what to believe! LOL.

'Faith is more important than logic'

Logic is more important than blind faith. Blind faith is an insult to intelligence and reason. Blind faith can be harmful. For example, feel my pain when Arsenal lose! (Thankfully rarely!)

Don't pretend that you have faith in nothing, that faith in itself is ridiculous. You have faith in love, if nothing else, surely.

I DO have faith in humanity; kindness of strangers; love and hope. They are essential for understanding our humanity. I just don't attribute an imaginary friend to fill the gaps in knowledge.

Logic tells me that you can't get evolution from one species to another, only within species. Science tells me that even after thousands and thousands of generations of fly mutations, a fly is still a fly. So how did every living species in the world evolve from a fish? Including, presumably: turnips, scabies mite, chinchillas, sharks etc etc? Are you not putting your faith in a straaaange theory of evolution, hmmmmmm? ;)

Fellow humanists/ atheists, JL is a really nice person and please do not judge someone on their lack of understanding of evolution.

'Because of who god is, we will always have questions'
Of course. And let's face it, when Jesus came and proclaimed himself the Son of God, not many people believed him, and what more proof could God really give us? Perhaps you would like a book full of graphs and diagrams, haha.

I proclaim to be the leader of Alpha Centauri. Can you see the problem with that? Jesus was not the first prophet to claim to lead the Jews. He happened to be the most famous. Stories told, generations later, wrote the gospels with a bias to make him more holy. Events were taken from a wide variety of religions (resurrection, death on a cross, virgin birth, claim of godhood, miracles, 12 followers, betrayal, ascension) sometimes even directly rewriting existing religions. See Dionysus, Osiris, Mithra...
Jesus, the man, existed.
Jesus, the son of a god, sadly (but it would actually have been rather groovy) is HIGHLY UNLIKELY. More likely a work of fiction and copyright theft.

"You are sinners and in need of a lord and saviour".
Hell for you probably isn't the same idea of hell for me. I think there is a cartoon idea based on lakes of fire with a little red devil with pitchforks. In reality, to me anyway, hell is death; it is separation from love and joy; from contentment and safety and the Lord. For me, now that I know the Lord, no pit of burning sulphur could ever hold as much sadness and fear as separation from His love. But that's just me.

Ahh, you refer to the 'nice' Hell. Depends on how literally one takes the bible doesn't it? Even Jesus refers to Gehenna.
Two very useful sites below
and this is pure class. (This nutter is doing theism no favours!)

And finally...
My final point I made in a rather fun theological debate is that JL is ACTUALLY a 'humanist with an imaginary friend'.

Peace to you all.