Monday, December 20, 2010

A Christmas Letter from Ricky Gervais

Ricky's Christmas Letter

This letter is both funny and eloquent. Along with Tim Minchin's White Wine in the Sun, this sentiment represents my own views of Christmas and religion quite well.

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

I've been looking for this quote for some time now. I couldn't remember the source until I ran across it serendipitously. The quote poignantly captures the state of mind that I've been mired in for so long. If I'm not able to "come out" soon to my family and friends, I'm afraid I'll lose my sense of self.

No man, for any considerable period, can wear one face to himself and another to the multitude, without finally getting bewildered as to which may be the true.

-Nathaniel Hawthorne, The Scarlet Letter, Chapter XX: The Minister in a Maze

Friday, October 22, 2010

Civil Rights for Homosexuals

The idea of America is that people should be free to live their lives without interference from an oppressive government. So long as we don't harm others, "the pursuit of happiness," however we define it individually, is the central tenet of our freedom.

Gays aren't seeking special treatment; they're seeking equality under the law. Right now there are special rules in place to specifically exclude homosexuals from the benefits of civil society. The repeal of these bigoted rules is the goal here, not the establishment of privileges that the larger community does not have.

It's our patriotic duty to demand equality for all. Historically we've had this discussion regarding women's rights, the end of slavery, and the civil rights movement in the 1960's. In each case, hindsight offers a very clear perspective that discrimination is unethical and immoral. At some point we have to embrace a true equality for all. It's about time we realized it.

Sunday, September 19, 2010

Nazis, religion, and atheism

Here's a good source of info regarding how the Nazis dealt with religion and non-belief.

Pharyngula discussion

Saturday, June 26, 2010

Biblical Origins

Here's a great 10 part discussion of the content in misquoting Jesus. It's a good look at the real origins of the Bible.

Bart Ehrman on Biblical Origins

The beginning discusses the problems of copying the text for the first several hundred years after the events took place.

Interesting dilemmas:

The Parable of the woman caught in adultery was added to John 7-8 in about the 10th century.

Ending of the book of Mark originally had the women in the tomb instructed to tell the disciples to meet the risen Jesus in Galilee, but they fled and didn't say anything to anyone because they were afraid. Scribes later added 12 verses. 16:9-end. Woemen do tell disciples to meet in Galilee, they do meet in Galilee, and Jesus tells them they can handle deadly snakes, speak in tongues, and drink poisons without being harmed.

Mark Ch. 1 - Jesus heals the leper. Several ancient manuscripts say that Jesus got angry when he healed the man.

Luke - scene of crucifixion varies greatly from Mark's. Jesus is totally in control and consoling in Luke, but confused and distressed in Mark.

Tuesday, March 2, 2010

A very reasonable post from Pharyngula

Woo peddlers drive me crazy, and Deepak Chopra is a repeat offender. PZ Myers wrote a funny post, and this user comment balanced his humor with a sensible response.

A quick question for Deepak Chopra

Posted by: Antiochus Epiphanes Author Profile Page | March 2, 2010 12:22 PM

but I'd like to know what evidence can be shown against the position that if EVERYONE was honest and helpful that the world's problems wouldn't be solved!?

The world's problems don't all arise from dishonesty and selfishness. If everyone were honest and helpful, diseases would still exist, there would still be conflict between the needs humans have for food and water and our need to preserve biodiversity, we would still need to find ways to obtain energy more efficiently, we would still need to solve conflicts concerning humane animal use, blah, blah, blah.

Also, the argument that "spirituality" promotes honesty and kindness is taken as a given. I would challenge that notion. Further, "spirituality" provides no cure for ignorance, a serious problem.

Promoting knowledge and rationality would be much more effective at solving the problems of the world than honesty and kindness.