Posts tagged ‘doubters’

Boycott Pepsi?

I just read a call to boycott Pepsi, as the blogger relates the offense, for omitting “under God” from the Pledge of Allegiance so as not to be divisive.  Pepsi supposedly did that when printing the phrase “one nation…indivisible…” on cans.  The call came from a Christian I know.  To put words in her mouth, she is probably saying that the Pledge should be recited as Congress has dictated it.

It took about ten seconds of my time to search on the words “Pepsi Pledge of Allegiance” to find that this is a rumor started about a decade ago over something Dr. Pepper may have done.    The “one nation…indivisible” phrase, it would seem obvious, is what one might say in saluting the nation.  “One nation, under God” is a religious observation.

Once again, though, we nonbelievers would have received the default discrimination, one that some beverage company would have tried to save the world from–sticking religion into everything–when religion was the intrusion in the first place.  (I’m sure you know, but around 1954 in the communist-obsessed environment overheated by Senator Joe McCarthy and others,  Congress thought they’d trip up the Commies but injecting God into the Pledge–the same environment that brought us Vietnam–because Commies wouldn’t say “under God” if it was in the Pledge.  Will someone one please answer my question:  Why would the Commies say the Pledge as it was?  And if they were going to falsely recite the Pledge, why wouldn’t they falsely Pledge to God as well?).

That’s what it is, you know.  A Pledge or acknowledgement that we recognize that the U.S. nation is under God’s charge and loyal to Him.  I would venture to say that the communist threat from within has passed… so is Congress likely to remove the phrase?   Congress has not only shifted Right, it has shifted even more to the Christian Right.  Individually, those congressmen and senators will tell you that their first loyalty is to God… just like their radicalized Muslim brothers would.

You may be familiar with my theory of why or how the religiously affected get that way (Religion is God’s Way of Showing Us it’s a lot Earlier in Human Evolution than We Thought).  If they are deceived, even if willingly, that makes ours a rough row to hoe.  Everywhere that religion encroaches, once it’s there, it’s locked on.  Marked territory not only to never be freed again–the religious are blind to it.  It no longer is open to question.  Religion gets a free ride, a pass.   It is outside the questions, outside the equation of things that can be examined for fairness or equality.

That’s why it is so hard for us to gain any ground even though religion has encroached so much into are world.  Blind justice may treat us fairly, but not if justice is blinded by religion.  Why do they think they should be able to treat us unfairly?  Well, they pay lip service to tradition, but it’s the underestimated effect religion has on the religious that  they are most blind to.

If you consider civil rights laws, and rest assured that is the field where the discrimination against us lies, we are being discriminated against due to religion.  The bigots among the religious say we can’t be because we have no religion.









July 19, 2014 at 4:20 pm Leave a comment

Dousing the Constant Fire?

A couple of months ago I discovered Point of Inquiry, the internet radio show/podcast of the Center for Inquiry. It’s an oasis in the desert of uplifting secular audio that’s (not) out there.   Go find it–there’s a lot there for us–a true resource.

I’ve been working my way backward through the audio archives there.  One program that caught my eye was the episode named “Spirituality: Friend or Foe? – Adam Frank and Tom Flynn.” Adam Frank takes a somewhat similar position to my own–that there can be secular spirituality, something that’s fulfilling to the human spirit.  That’s great and gives us an avenue worth pursuing.

Unfortunately, I’m goaded into writing about Tom Flynn’s position. He says this dabbling with the ideas we call spiritual puts those of us who are asking these questions in a domain that can’t be called “hard atheism.”

This I have to wonder about.  I’ve taken Jennifer Michael Hecht’s test (Doubt, a History…) and I am fully and 100% hard atheist according to her test.  I didn’t have a single answer that wasn’t materialist and atheist. So is Jennifer’s test incomplete or somehow faulty?  I don’t think that’s the case, but certainly I might not be objective since I’m one of the defendants in this case.

It’s not coming through here, but I was really downed by Tom Flynn’s words.   I wish the talks could have been reversed so that the upside could have been the last thought, but it couldn’t be that way.  Without the introduction of the idea of some sort of secular spirituality the topic wouldn’t have had a starting point.

Chris Mooney, host for that episode, argues in the general direction of Adam Frank and that there might be a secular way to accomodate a sort of scientific spirituality–awe in the presence of the universe and it’s wonders, for example.

Flynn says we confuse the issues when we say we are atheist and materialists and then say we are spiritual.  (You might note that my thesis that we are “spiritual” because we evolved into religiosity [I’d call it a sort of spiritual drive or need] might be a special case that does overcome that problem and clears up the impasse that the language seems to hold).

Flynn says the average person thinks “spirit” means God and disembodied souls, and in the U.S., there is a spiritual order to the world.  Further, that we (godless) defeat our goal for rational understanding of the world and misrepresent our world view when we use that language.

Flynn goes on to say the average person thinks they’ve just caught us in an inconsistency or being hyp0critical.  And that we, too, need something trandscendent (acutally, Flynn calls it ectoplasm–a Ghost Buster reference?)  to get us through the night.

Chris Mooney says the word spirituality may be undergoing change.  Flynn says it hasn’t completed that change and that he’d like the language dropped altogether.  If not, society will assume that we, too, need an “invisible” means of support.

Flynn says he thinks Sagan, Einstein, Asimov might all be called religious humanists.  When he was trying to find his way, he examined their thoughts, but when they spoke of this awe in high blown terms he moved on looking for purer atheists.

Flynn says the “spiritual” language is unnecessary.   It is rather loose language that we need to clean up and state more clearly.  Flynn does offer that if we mean what we say by that language, then we certainly have a right to say it that way.

Mooney asks what is the appropriate way to address the explanation of meaning in our lives.

There is no big “M” Meaning because we don’t believe there is such meaning out there.  That each of us finds our own way to determine the meaning of our lives.  And that such an effort is far superior to an imposition of an external meaning upon our lives and world (I took quite a bit of license with the latter, but I think it is consistent with what Flynn said).

Flynn says there’s a lot of lore in religious circles to the effect that there are no true atheists because everyone needs something transcendent in their lives.    Flynn says there really are atheists and it is us and we need to be recognized, that we do exist, and that we need to set an example to show that we can lead good lives.

I can see both side’s points.

What do you think?

November 5, 2011 at 2:18 pm 4 comments

‘Tis the season

I’m torn when I see the atheist billboards that may be offending Christians.  On the one hand, the consciousness of the public needs raised.  They need to know we are here.  Without catching the attention of mainstream society, they forget about us.  And it’s too easy to imagine that they want to forget about us.

On the other hand, if we offend Christians at Christmas time, are we doing ourselves any good?  Granted, it reaches other freethinkers, doubters, brites and it supports and, perhaps, heartens them.

I hope the billboards, bus advertising, and other outdoor media are taken as an invitation to dialogue.   For the most part, they aren’t the most offensive statements that could be devised.  The advertising may have been ordered without concern or care whether anyone on the otherside of the cultural divide is insulted.  Fair enough.

We may be missing the opportunity to forge alliances across the lines.  Not all Christians are radical fundamentalists or evangelists.  I saw an enlightened young man in a short televised interview say that rather than pursue the course of the old guard, he wanted people’s lives to be better because a Christian lived in the neighborhood.  That sounds like the true Christian spirit to me, but not something we’ve heard from those who railed against atheists and humanists in the past.

I suggest we keep that young man’s ideal in mind.

At the same time, I also wonder if we have raised the public consciousness sufficiently?  We’re not like a racial minority.  We’re not openly visible.  And in some ways we’re farther behind the GLBT community in gaining respect.  Granted, our treatment hasn’t been as harsh in recent history.

There are now a few atheists in political office.   Perhaps there’s less job discrimination.  Or is it just easier for us to keep quiet?   The gays have been gaining ground in church–one area where I think we’ll always lag.   The gays have been in the TV sitcoms for years.  I don’t think we’re there yet.

Undoubtedly, Christianity holds sway in the U.S.  (I’m dumbfounded when I hear them say they are such a put-upon minority.)  As some kind of majority, they get their way.  For people of conscience, when they respect us, they’ll care that they haven’t been respecting our feelings and rights.

It seems to me that the question is, how best do we gain respect?    Are we still in the protest phase?  Do we need to march?  Are we in the awareness/consciousness-raising phase?  Or are we ready to dialogue?   It could be all the above depending on our target audience.

We need to maintain a dialogue (which could entail starting one).  I suggest we sidestep their fundies and dialogue with the Christians who want us to be happy they’re here.

December 15, 2010 at 10:28 pm 4 comments


I write for agnostics, freethinkers, atheists and humanists. In my nonfiction, the purpose is the celebration of our noble human spirit. The general pursuit may be Evolutionary Theology, though believers seem to populate that field (so maybe it's evolutionary Humanism). By looking at who we are and where we came from, we can derive much meaning, and perhaps more importantly, understanding, as well as some sense of where we could go.

Religion is God’s Way of Showing Us it’s Earlier in Human Evolution than We Thought

This title is an upcoming book at the publisher's now. I'd like feedback on this title. It's meant to make people think and feel something. And to hint at things for both believers and non- on multiple levels. The book is of a wider scope, though, one which is ultimately a way to grasp more meaning for ourselves. Believers are always telling us our lives don't have meaning without a god. We often counter that it's more meaningful to be looking for our own meaning than to be arbitrarily ascribed it by an imaginary supernatural being. Ultimately, and this is what I think is unique about this book, you'll see how we can be just as spiritual in our own way. Since we've inhertited a capacity for religion (some more than others) as an evolutionary adaptation, believers and non- are both potentially spritual in the same way--but it is an earthly, secular spirituality in which we all can share.