McCain on Religion

March 5, 2008

faithwatch
PFW:29


The Price of Atheism

February 17, 2008

Sorry I’ve just been posting videos lately. I’m in the middle of the spring tour and haven’t had much time to dedicate to TGR lately.


My Answer to A Letter

February 4, 2008

Recently, there have been some comments on my post “Satirical Web Site Gets Taken Seriously.” The latest one directed me to a site called “Talk Jesus”, in particular a post by an administrator named Chad who posted a letter to all atheists who deny God. At first I thought it was weird for someone to deliver a letter to atheists via a Christian web site (not to mention one that is extremely difficult to register for), but then I realized that they had people to distribute the letter via leaving comments on atheist blogs. The letter is in the form of “Do you think it is a coincidence that…” and I will address each “coincidence” separately.

Here’s my personal letter to all atheists who deny GOD.

Dear Atheist,

Do you think its a coincidence that…

of billions of stars and planets in the many galaxies, only earth has life, and abundance of it?

the sun is 400 times the size of the earth’s moon, 400 times further away from earth than the moon, yet they look both proportionally the same size in our sky?

the sun lights the days nicely, while the moon glimmers in the night sweetly and the clouds bring forth rain to water our crops, which bring forth food in your stomach?

First of all, how do you know that this is the only planet with the necessary conditions for life? I suggest that you realize exactly how big the Universe is (and similarly, how small we are) by watching the Pale Blue Dot video. Even if we are the only one with life as we know it, we’re starting with the end result and then asking “Isn’t it a coincidence?” Of course it may seem that way to you since you’re living on the Earth you ask about.

Second – regarding the size of the Moon and the Sun. For that we look to a little thing called science (see what I did there? I linked to it, assuming you’re unfamiliar). The reason they look the same has to do with something called Angular Size. Here’s an experiment with angular size you can do at home.

Third – You wouldn’t be asking these questions if the conditions on the Earth weren’t perfect for life. Our life has been constructed to be compatible with the Earth. If the sun was less present, for instance, and temperatures were high enough to sustain life, then we would be different – our eyes would be different and our skin would be different. Look at some of the underwater creatures that live in a light-depraved environment and see what I’m talking about. What I’m saying is you’re constructing your argument based on the fact that “it’s a coincidence” that conditions are perfect for life. It’s not a coincidence at all: our life is the result of the perfect conditions. And that, my friend, is what they call “biology.” You might not know about biology like a thief might not know about a police officer.

Do you think its a coincidence that…

birds in the air whistle sweet songs and dogs show unconditional love?

your body heals naturally when you cut yourself, or you become sick and it goes away?

humans have intangible senses, called emotions where we feel love, hate, anger, sadness, happiness, shock, confused, hurt, healed, and so forth?

I do not think its coincidence that birds sing. Like humans, birds use sound to communicate. They sing to greet each other, to define their territories, to let their parents know they’re hungry, to attract a mate, to warn each other of approaching danger and to tell each other about good feeding spots. And dogs show unconditional love because (SPOILER ALERT) they don’t have a very good short term memory.

Regarding healing – Firstly, lets not lump all healing together in the same breath. If you cut your skin, it heals because skin cells are constantly growing and exfoliating. You cannot see them doing it, so you probably forget that its happening. I think its funny that people are amazed that skin heals but aren’t amazed that hair grows back. It’s the same process. The body is creating more of you as parts of you fall off. Our outer structure is contstantly dying, falling off and regrowing. That’s a fact of life. But what about amputees? That doesn’t grow back? What’s your biblical explanation for that?

Regarding humans – Emotions are not a sense. There are only 5 senses (can you name them all?). Emotion is a function of the human brain and is influenced by psychological and sociological factors. We have a complex brain with the capacity for long term and short term memory, so we are able to evaluate the processes that our brain creates like anger or suffering. You act as if love, pain, anger, etc. are these mysterious conditions that have never been studied. They have been studied in great detail but you would not know that just like a thief wouldn’t know the location of a policeman.

Do you think its a coincidence that…

you were born from a lady’s womb and you will die a death, without choice of either?

the complexity of dna is so mind boggling, that scientists worldwide now have gone from ‘no god’ to claiming a “Divine Creator”? (read)

your body’s anatomy is complex, so fine and so articulate that you wonder how this “accident” came to be?

Again, you’re arguing if I think it’s coincidence that life works the way it does. I’m not sure how to answer a question like “do you think it’s coincidence that you’re going to die without a choice?” Might as well ask me “do you think it’s coincidence that the sky is blue and you didn’t ask it to be blue?”

Regarding the complexity of DNA, the structure as we know it has really only been known since the late 1950’s and if you’re talking about the human genome project, it is mapped out to about 92% completion. By “scientists worldwide” I hope you realize you’re talking about a very small percentage of all scientists.

The human body and it’s structure is no accident. Atheism does not claim that the origin of man or the Earth was an “accident.” It is indeed complex. But that does not point to any sort of creator.

Do you think its a coincidence that…

there are endless variety of delicious fruits, vegetables, nuts, wheats to make infinite delicious recipes to satisfy our hunger?

there are thousands and thousands of exotic amazing land animals and thousands more amazing sea creatures?

you have eyes so you can see, ears so you can hear, heart so you can feel, mind so you can think?

It is not a coincidence that there are endless variety of fruits. If the same fruits grew everywhere, it would point more toward a creator. But they don’t. Because different growing conditions based on levels of available sun, minerals in the soil, and weather conditions create different opportunities and variety of crops. Our hunger would be satisfied if we ate nothing but one type of food all the time, which I’m sure is what people had to do before they started traveling and trading across nations. You think your Hershey bar is a coincidence. Before the necessary beans were shipped to an area nearby, you wouldn’t have even had one.

Again with the complexity of biology. It is amazing and beautiful to look at the thousands of variations of creatures on this Earth. They have all developed due to the same conditions we have.

The last point here goes back to the circular reasoning that I keep talking about. You ask if its coincidence that we have eyes so we can see? You would never ask this question if we didn’t have eyes to begin with. And if we had a lobster claw for crushing nuts because nuts made us run, you would ask me if that was coincidence too.

Do you think its a coincidence that…

there are thousands of recovered artifacts proving the validity of Scripture, the Holy Bible itself? (example)

those who have faith in Jesus Christ witness miracles, worldwide? (read)

almost all Old Testament prophecies have been already fulfilled and more continue being fulfilled? (read)

There are. Because the Bible was indeed written a long time ago and has been believed for 2,000 years. Many of the stories within the Bible are very similar if not identical to stories found in other (some even older) religions. Folklore has been passed down for centuries. In the eternal game of telephone, stories are passed down while names, places, and details get varied slightly from person to person.

While you claim a supernatural power has allowed people to witness miracles, never has an actual “miracle” been proven. If you can prove a miracle caused by the supernatural, this man will give you a lot of money.

The reason you think the old testament prophecies are fullfilled is the same reason people believe Sylvia Brown is really psychic. Half of the things she says are so vague that they could apply to anybody. When she finally gets specific, she’s wrong a lot of the time. Of course these “misses” are overshadowed by the few “hits.” Many people claim Nostradamus prophetic. But his writings are so vague and dependent upon translation and interpretation that anyone could make them appear to predict anything.

Do you think its a coincidence that…

a farmer plants the seeds, yet the farmer does not make the seed grow and the farmer never initially created the seed?

that fruits and vegetables have seeds so that they produce more fruits and vegetables?

your body needs vitamins and nutrients found in GOD’s natural foods such as fruits, vegetables, fish, meat, wheat?

Okay, this one is laughable. You’re asking if I think its a coincidence that a farmer grows crops from the seed that he bought at the store? Do I also think its coincidence that I didn’t create my car, yet it runs when I turn the key? I think that maybe you skipped some biology classes in school. Frankly I’m concerned with the educational system in this country and whether or not they’re still teaching biology as a subject.

We are a product of our environment. You’re looking at the environment and saying “well don’t you think its STRANGE that this is all suited perfectly for us?” NO. We are the way we are BECAUSE of the environment we live in.

Do you think its a coincidence that…

you just happened to be here on a Christian site reading this letter? (read)

Hahahaha. No. But as I stated earlier, I do think it’s odd that you posted your letter to atheists on a Christian forum. Try posting it at http://www.atheistnetwork.com/index.php. But if you’ve got people to spread the little “letter” around to atheist blogs, then no it’s not a coincidence. It’s called a hyperlink.

And finally – the dumbest quote ever being used to try to make a point.

Quote:
“The atheist cannot find God for the same reasons a thief cannot find a police officer.”

An atheist is not looking for God – and a thief does not seek out a police officer. I suppose this is what this is MEANT to mean. But what if I want it to mean that an atheist does not need God and a thief does not need a police officer. And why is it assumed a thief cannot find a police officer? Isn’t that what happened every time a thief got caught? Maybe you’re arguing that the police officer FOUND the thief. In that case, did he put the thief in prison through supernatural miracles? Or through physically grabbing him and pushing him into the back of a police car? I could go on, but I think you get my point.

********
UPDATE
********

I wanted to go over to the JesusTalk forum and let Administrator Chad know that I answered his letter. I urge you all to do the same, but in registering, I encountered their forum rules which I thought were HILARIOUS. Here they are:

Talk Jesus is mainly about two things. Praising Jesus Christ and sharing Truth with others. It is not for speaking against Scripture simply because you are in disbelief. If you disagree with the Word of GOD, please leave unless you came to learn the Truth as told by GOD in Scripture. If you are an unbeliever, it is likely you’ve been led here by GOD so you may learn about His love for you found in Jesus Christ alone.

/:* Talk Jesus is Not a Debate Forum *:\

Talk Jesus: Ten Commandments

1. Treat others with respect when posting
2. No profanity or slangs
3. No links unless you meet 2 requirements
– 50 posts minimum in the forums
– request Chad’s permission via private message
4. No False teaching of Scripture
5. Do not gossip
6. Cite author(s) when copying/pasting articles
7. Provide Scripture when making a biblical point
8. Share Talk Jesus with everyone you love
9. Abide by forum posting etiquettes
10. No soliciting

Tip: Pray before you post

Rules for Signatures & Avatars

* No custom avatars. Choose from our selection.
* No images *WTF? No images in your avatar? haha
* No advertisements
* No links
* Maximum 2 lines (approx. 50 characters max per line)
* Maximum 2 colors *God will smite you if you combine 3 colors

Rules for Posting in Forums

* Proper Editing Guideline: (click here to read)
* Max 2 colors allowed
* Do Not Post
o only smilies, no text
o one word responses
o double post
o all CAPS (considered shouting)

Infractions

You get a simple warning via private message if you break a rule. Please respect the community. Its a privilege to be here, not a right. You get banned immediately if you curse, insult someone else, preach anything outside of Scripture purposely.

Chat Room & Shoutbox Etiquette

* no flooding
* no insulting
* no gossiping
* no prayer interruption
* no solicitation

Photo Album Rules

* Clean family friendly photos
* Comments must be polite and Christ mannered
* No provocative photos allowed

Warning

I take harassment seriously. If you are here to cause trouble, remember every action is literally recorded and logged. Do not assume you can hide behind “proxies” or get away with wrongdoings. GOD is watching your every move. Be wise, respectful and humble yourself. You know your intentions and I know mine.

Jesus Christ! It’s an Internet forum. Lighten the hell up!


Real Time: Religion in Politics

January 20, 2008

Huckabee Wants to Change Constitution to Include “A Living God”

January 15, 2008

faithwatch
PFW:27

Mike Huckabee, according to the Drudge Report, recently said that The Constitution must change:

“I have opponents in this race who do not want to change the Constitution,” Huckabee told a Michigan audience on Monday. “But I believe it’s a lot easier to change the Constitution than it would be to change the word of the living god. And that’shuckabee wants to change constitution what we need to do — to amend the Constitution so it’s in God’s standards rather than try to change God’s standards so it lines up with some contemporary view.”

This couldn’t be further from what the founding fathers of this nation intended. Please help put a stop to this man’s political endeavors by letting people know what the founding fathers intended when they purposely did not include a mention of “God” in our Constitution.


American Atheists on Faith and Politics

January 14, 2008

faithwatch
PFW:26

American Atheists President Ellen Johnson has posted a fantastic monologue about Faith in Politics and John F. Kennedy. I’ve transcribed the speech below. I feel that it would be important to spread the transcript and/or video as much as possible, especially in the coming year. She poses the question “Would JFK be electable today with his stance in the issue of the separation of church and state?”

Here is the full transcript:

Welcome, and thanks for visting the American Atheists Web site. I’m Ellen Johnson, President of American Atheists. By the time you see this video, the Iowa caucuses will be history. We still have 11 months to go until the 2008 Presidential Election, and odds are, that even right after the New Hampshire and Michigan primaries, we still won’t have a clear fix on who will be the nominees for Republican and Democratic Parties. One thing is for sure, however; religion and religious faith are playing a disproportionately large element in the race for the White House. And nearly all of the candidates feel the pressure to declare religious belief as a credential for public office.

Surveys indicate that the overwhelming majority of voters are mostly concerned about issues like: the budget deficit, war in Iraq and healthcare. A small but well organized coterie of evangelicals though, exercise a disproportionate amount of influence — especially inside the Republican Party. They vote, and they vote as a block. They’re well organized and when they vote, it’s not the Constitution or secular policies that guide their decisions. They’re convinced that America was, or is, or should be, a so-called “Christian nation” where the Bible is a template for how government and society should operate. We can all learn a lesson from their organizational skills and commitment to their cause.

Could John F. Kennedy be elected President of the United States today? It’s doubtful, given the current theo-political climate. Back in 1960, when JFK won the Democratic nomination for President, religion was a major campaign issue. Kennedy was a Roman Catholic and no Catholic up to that point had been elected to the White House. And in 1960, people were wondering if Kennedy’s Roman Catholicism somehow compromised his ability to serve the United States over the Vatican.

John F. Kennedy was one of the few Presidential Candidates who openly and proudly enunciated his support for the separation of church and state. Today that is almost a taboo phrase, “separation of church and state.” Mitt Romney uses it occasionally — so does Reverend Mike Huckabee. Ron Paul doesn’t even think that it should exist! He says, “The notion of a rigid separation between church and state has no basis in either the text of the Constitution or the writings of the founding fathers.”

Most candidates today repeat the myth that the separation of church and state is not in our Constitution or that its a legal fiction or that it simply means that the government cannot tamper in the affairs of religion. But all of those claims are simply wrong. It’s true that the words “separation of church and state” are not found in the Constitution, but that doesn’t mean that it’s not part of our legal code. The words are an interpretation of what the Establishment Clause means. The First Amendment guarantees freedom of religion, which is the free exercise clause. And it guarantees our freedom from imposed or government compelled religion. That’s the Establishment Clause. Our courts have been consistent over the past 50 to 60 years that the First Amendment was intended to erect a wall of separation between state and church.

Unlike Huckabee and Romney and other candidates who want to showcase their religious beliefs as a credential for public office, John F. Kennedy embraced both elements of the First Amendment. He supported the right of people to believe in and practice their faith, so in long as those beliefs were not forced on other people. He also enunciated the principle that the state should not serve the church — any church — including his own. He opposed the official diplomatic recognition of the Vatican, complete with ambassadorial exchanges, fearing that it was unconstitutional and gave his own church too much power. Kennedy declared that if elected to the Presidency, he would put the Constitution first — not private religious beliefs. He also sent a clear message to the Catholic hierarchy that they should not interfere in the political affairs of the United States. Wherever Kennedy went, he was hounded by ads, picket signs and charges that he was a stalking horse for Roman Catholicism. Most of these accusations came from Protestant groups. So Kennedy, true to his style and principles, confronted his accusers during an historic appearance before the Greater Houston Ministerial Association at the Rice Hotel in Houston, TX on September the 12th, 1960. Let me read you some of the quotes from his speech and then ask yourself if any candidate today would have the guts to stand up for these principles.

He began his talk to over 600 Protestant ministers by say that there were “far more critical issues than religion.” He said, “The hungry children I saw in West Virginia; the old people who cannot pay their doctor bills; the families forced to give up their farms; and America with too many slums, too few schools and too late to the moon and outer space.” And he said, “They are the real issues which should decide this campaign and they are not religious issues for war and hunger and ignorance and despair know no religious barriers.”

Kennedy blamed religious sectarianism, especially the obsessive focus on his private Catholicism, as being responsible for obscuring what he called “the real issues” of his campaign. And just minutes into his talk, he put it all on the line. He said, “I believe in an America where the separation of church and state is absolute — where no Catholic prelate would tell the President, should he be a Catholic, how to act; and no Protestant minister would tell his parishioners for whom to vote; where no church or church school is granted any public funds or political preference; and where no man is denied public office merely because his religion differs from the President who might appoint him or the people who might elect him.”

Kennedy’s enlightened vision of a secular America — a polity free from religious dogma — is like night and day compared to our current political climate. I particularly like these following quotes from JFK.

“Whatever issue may come before me as President on birth control, divorce, censorship, gambling or any other subject, I will make my decision in accordance with these views — In accordance with what my conscience tells me to be the national interest and without regard to outside religious pressures or dictates. And no power, nor threat of punishment, could cause me to decide otherwise. But if the time should ever come — and I do not concede any conflict to be remotely possible — when my office would require me to either violate my conscience or violate the national interest, then I would resign the office.”

We’ve come a long way since the 1960 campaign and yes, there has been progress in defending separation of church and state thanks to groups like American Atheists. But we need to work very hard to make the politicians aware that a quarter of the United States population are not religious. We are a huge voting block. If we non-religious Americans make our issues our primary concern on election day, then we can make our voting power work for us.

Vote your atheism first, and together we can enlighten the vote. Thank you for visiting our Web site, I’m Ellen Johnson.


TGR Commenter Offers Atheists Television Spot

January 11, 2008

In a comment to my post “Holy Shit,” Randy let us know:

I guess people just came from nothing….yeah, that makes sense, nothing caused everything to evolve. Brainless waste of time this is to claim there is no God. There is a TV program in VA and NC that would gladly have you as their quest to prove this nonsense you are promoting. If you know of any atheist that would take this offer, please send them my way. We will provide them with free airtime to make these claims and glady debate them on this…..we have done it many times and nobody is willing to do anything but blog about it….come on TV and debate this nonsense

First of all, Randy – there’s a reason no one will debate you. You’re not open to the debate. It’s not a neutral debate by any means and therefore would be ridiculous. Even in the recently televised debate between the Rational Responders and TV’s Mike Seaver, the debate came across horribly boring. One side stated their opinions as the absolute truth, then the other side stated theirs. Meanwhile, neither side listened to the other. In your comment, you ask an atheist to “prove” there is no god. How exactly does one prove a lack of existence in something? (Why doesnt god heal amputees?) Can you prove that the Easter Bunny doesn’t exist? Can you prove that psychic phenomenon doesn’t exist? Aliens? UFO’s? Zeus? Santa? Tooth Fairy? How does one go about it?

Just to be fair, I’ve posted your request on several athiest message boards in case anyone would like to hold you to your one-sided “debate.”