Monday, November 22, 2010

Full Disclosure

In the wake of scandal and hypocrisy surrounding clergy members lately, such as the 30-something-year-old youth minister who got nabbed for having sex with a 15-year-old member of his flock, and the anti-Facebook preaching pastor who-- whoopsie!-- we found out has had three- and foursomes in the past, it occurs to me that I, too, have a skeleton in my closet.  The kind of skeleton that if found out years and years from now might actually have an effect on my integrity.

I think the only way to fight this is to confront it head on.  After all, monsters live in the dark, as they say.  I believe that being up-front about this will go a long way in preventing a possible scandal (or at least head-shaking and eye-rolling) further on down the line.  Here it is.

I, the admin and founder of the Central Maine Atheist Alliance, have a tattoo.

Wait, it gets worse.

It's of a religious symbol.

Good Morning, Unfaithful! Today's Sermon...

Today's "sermon" comes from a British comedian by the name of Marcus Brigstocke and contains a special message to the followers of the three Abrahamic faiths (Islam, Christianity, and Judaism).

Thank you; letters to the usual place.

Friday, November 19, 2010

From : Bong Smoking Jesus

Now here's a Jesus I could get behind hanging out with.  (Click image to go to the seller's Etsy listing)

Also, the comment thread at Regretsy (click here) is a scream.

I've given it a try, thanks, and it's just not for me.

A lot of believers, at least those with whom I've interacted, seem to feel that if I would just give their faith a try, I'd be sure to "come around" to their way of believing (namely, Christianity) and be happier, at peace, etc.  I want to try to dispel some of that as honestly and compassionately as I know how; and I'm hopefull that those of you who run into the same situation may find something of use in it as well.

First--I'll make this as clear as I know how--I have given it a try.  I was actually raised Baptist.  I was introduced to the idea of God when I was four, shortly after my father died.  I'd never heard before of a man who could make everything, even whales (odd what parts of the conversation I can remember...).  As a child I went to Sunday School along with my (now) stepsister, and as I got older I went to VBS and Junior Church and later regular church.  I went to "Jet Cadets" with my Pentecostal friends.  I went to one church that had a choir and grape juice, and remember the warm fuzzy feeling when the minister/priest/whatever he was called (I was too young to get it straight) asked the whole congregation to pray for my cousin who had been hit by a car.  I remember how special and powerful it would feel to think that when I bowed my head and folded my hands, the most powerful being in the world could hear my thoughts and was listening and really cared.  Of course, at this time in my young upbringing, we'd mostly get the warm fuzzy parts: the Baby Jesus version more than the Crucified Jesus version.  I do remember it being drilled into us time and time again that if we just asked Lord Jesus into our hearts we'd be all set to go to Heaven no matter what we did in our lifetime.  No matter what.  Even as a child I knew a good insurance policy when I saw one, and that was just about as good as it got.  So I not only asked Jesus into my heart (though I never knew exactly why he wanted in a space as small as my fist), I did it on a weekly basis.

As I got older, fear started to take over.  

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

Podcast - Living After Faith

Found out about a podcast today called Living After Faith, which is geared toward people who have made the change from being faithful believers to non-believers.  Episodes are about 15-20 minutes long and cover issues such as PTSD and sexuality.

The podcast is from Dot and Rich Lyons, the latter being a former minister from a right-wing church who now embraces atheism.

Check them out here.

Monday, November 15, 2010

Richard Dawkins Answers Questions

The best part is the last part, where Dawkins reads some of his favorite hate mail with his charming British accent. If you must skip ahead, go on to that part. It's a scream.

Friday, November 12, 2010

The Truth Is Out There

Apparently there's been a UFO sighted over Harpswell, Maine.  The footage (after the cut) was taken by YouTube user "ilikewhatimseeing", who says, "They show for me! That is the only explanation I have, I meditate and ask for sightings and this is the results. Thank you."

Prayer vs. Work

I've got an online friend who's been having it rough lately.  Dialysis, loss of work, bills piling up, you get the idea.  As a friend it's hard to see someone having a hard time, knowing that you can't fix it for them.  Many believers, who can't be in a position to help, are quick to say "...but I'll pray for you."

Prayer is one of those things I have a hard time understanding, as it relates to faith.  If I am to understand correctly, a large part of faith involves believing that the Almighty Whatever has a big, perfect, ineffable plan for each and every person.  But then, people ask the Almighty Whatever for stuff through prayer.  Does this not suggest that the plan might be somehow, well, effable?  If Almighty Whatever is all-knowing and has it all figured out, why ask for anything at all?

So as you can well imagine, I for one am not content with saying "...but I'll pray for you" when a friend is in need.  Instead, I gave what very little I can spare (wishing it could be more!), and then asked a bunch of other people if they could do the same, and to pass the message along.  I don't know if it's enough to help him out of his rut, but I am confident that it got him a hell of a lot further along than if I'd prayed instead.

Said friend stated that he felt truly blessed by the people who have helped him out so far, and then apologized (half-jokingly, I think) to me for his use of the word "blessed".  But that doesn't upset me at all.  I think that blessings most certainly do exist; just that we humans are much better at it.

P.S.: The original post by my friend in need, with information to his PayPal, is here.

Thursday, November 11, 2010

Be Careful What You Wish For...

Global Warming Isn't Real (Thank God!)

Denying the existence of human-caused climate change is nothing new, especially to Republican legislators; but Congressman John Shimkus (R-Illinois) has offered the most compelling evidence yet against the existence of global warming.  See below.
It's almost a triple rainbow!  So intense!  What can this mean?!

That's right; from the folks who brought you the 6000-year-old planet, fig leaves, and Original Sin, the book of Genesis presents the indisputable reason that manmade global warming can not, will not destroy the planet.