Posts tagged ‘freethinkers’

Creationism could be coming to a high school near you

I wrote to Congressman Jim Buchy of the Ohio House about an alert I received that repealing Common Core Curriculum in the high schools could be used as a way re-open the path for Creationism to be injected in high school curriculums.  I’ll repeat the text of Rep. Buchy’s letter below the document to make it readable.  The original document seemed difficult to copy here.

 

 

buchy

 

Rep. Buchy’s email:

“Dear Douglas,

Thank you for contacting my office with concerns regarding House Bill 597.  I support this bill and recently voted it out of the Rules and Reference Committee, to be considered on the floor.

House bill 597 is not about getting creationism to be taught in public schools.  Instead, the bill aims to repeal Common Core in the state of Ohio in order to put control of schools back in the hands of local government and parents.

I support House Bill 597 because I do not agree with the Common Core standards, and neither do the majority of constituents I have heard from.  I haven’t, however, received one email or phone call from a constituent that shares your concerns.  The fact is that the 84th House District, myself included, is made up of many fine Christian people who [sic] people that God does have a place in everyday life.  If I find that a lot of my constituents would support a bill that requires creationism to be taught in schools, I would consider that very idea.

Thank you for contacting me regarding this important matter.  Please do not hesitate to contact me regarding further state issues.

Please help me determine key issues for this General Assembly: Complete my Legislative Survey.  Please follow the link.

Sincerely,

[signed] Jim Buchy

Jim Buchy

State Representative

84th House District

JB/bps”

I initially responded with the next two paragraphs when I was under the weather with a cold, then recently expanded my reply to the following:

From Douglas Falknor to Rep84

Dear Representative Buchy,

I’m saddened to hear that. Education was once the liberator of thought and did its part to free western civilization from religious dogma. It bears noting that the repeating of scientific and historical facts was punishable by death then. Now the lessons being taught by creationists reject objective knowledge in favor of religious belief posing as fact.

Even though there’s been a tradition of government held hostage by religion in this country, education has been free up ’til recently. If you take these steps backwards you may spawn home taught fundamentalists who over time may achieve a level of literal fundamentalism worthy of eastern madrassas and beyond what most Christians today would consider reasonable.

To test the rightness or wrongness of teaching creationism to America’s youth, you need only substitute the teaching of any other religion’s origin myth in place of it. Only that would be fair to the other religions. Or are our high schools only Christian schools?

The near total domination of the culture by Christianity for two hundred years has not served Christians well with respect to learning to treat other religions with equanimity. The greater diversity of race, for instance, has kept the unequal treatment of minorities on the American Christian radar (TV) screens until the culture has made a modicum of concessions in the treatment of those who are of different races and ethnicities.

Christians, however, have not had enough experience with believers of other faiths to know appropriate etiquette in their interactions with them… so sensitivity in the treatment of others—treating others the way you want to be treated—has lagged behind in the arena of religion. (…and nonbelievers? Christians send death threats and hate mail…and don’t see the reflection of themselves in their actions.)

There’s always been this confusion over whether America is a Christian nation or everybody’s nation. Even George H. W. Bush got it wrong. Why? It was the religion talking. The more religion focuses the full spectrum of the public’s attention on its misbehavior the more apparent it becomes that those affected by religion should recuse themselves from actions that would impose their religion on others. Shouldn’t this include those who would rule us? Or are our rulers agents of religion first before our democracy?

We recognize this bondage to religion in the fundamentalists of other religions. It’s not so obvious to us in ourselves. We inherit this devotion to religion naturally. See the evidence for this in Religion is God’s Way of Showing Us it’s a Lot Earlier in Human Evolution than We Thought on Audible and Amazon http://www.amazon.com/Religion-Showing-Earlier-Evolution-thought/dp/B00I8U6YWC/ref=asap_bc?ie=UTF8.)

Douglas Falknor

January 4, 2015 at 5:33 pm 1 comment

a row of posts RE: freethoughtblogs.com

If you like the flow of different ideas steadily washing over your mind, there’s freethoughtblogs.com.  Several blog posts of interest were That Allegedly Liberal Media on a Pew study of positive vs. negative media reports on presidential candidates.

The Newt Gingrich article was of special interest as I saw him in the last Republican debate make some rather inane observations.  “Does faith matter?  Absolutely.” Gingrich said.  “How can I trust you with power if you don’t pray?” As this article points out, and I was so stunned to hear, Gingrich said that Americans should value religion first, above morality and knowledge.

This ties into related posts I’ve made about that radical connection from deep within our evolutionary (which is now deep within or gene) of GODANDCOUNTRY.    I’ll leave those arguments for the other posts.  I’ll let Herb Silverman (Secular Coalition for America) have the last word on this topic, “We may be the last minority against whom intolerance and discrimination are not only permitted, but also sometimes promoted by politicians.”

October 22, 2011 at 11:59 am Leave a comment

A god to die for

I commented on the Freethought Blog.

The general question by their reader  was this:

“Hey Martin, I have a dilemma and was hoping for some quick advice on how to handle a situation. I am a part of a theology group here on FB and during one of these exchanges a Christian (fairly fundy) said he would die for his god and asked what I would die for.

My response was that it sounded like jihad. Was this a good approach I guess is my question? I’m pretty sure (with the fundy part) he’s just not going to get where the similarities are between jihad and fundamental christianity but I can try right? lol

Any advice is appreciated.”

MY RESPONSE:

[To set this up: I first default to understanding.  Maybe it’s not as straight forward as just dealing with the issue, but understanding can be a lot and I’ve often found myself left with nothing here in the Bible Belt and it took years to gain the only thing possible: understanding.]

I think Richard Dawkins disputes the thesis that religion was an evolutionary adaptation, but it was the missing piece of the puzzle for me. I’ve been scratching my head for many years as to how religion could have such a universal grip on humanity when it seems so counter-intuitive given religion as we know it.

Whenever I hear a question about an aspect of religion, I’m taken back about a hundred thousand years to consider the underlying source.

Dying for their religion? Sounds like a strange concept to us.
Take that back 100,000 years in human evolution, though, and it was a pact, a pledge, to the tribe. It was a brotherhood, with serious initiation rites, blood rites, and it was solemn and binding. A binding stronger than kin and marriage.

This is one reason why the “God & country” linkages seems to continually resurface. It was reflective of an underlying super-reality, a reality that hunter-gather clans could (or tried desperately to) relate to. It was the realm of the supernatural. The natural world was beyond their understanding.

The projected a power or great father behind the world and worked hard on their identity as his subjects.

Would they die for God & clan and the culture they created around this identity? Oh, yeah. And the clans that did have members who’d make that sacrifice produced more offspring–and here we are.

October 15, 2011 at 1:08 pm Leave a comment

Out of the Wilderness

This is my first entry to this blog so be gentle.

This blog is for freethinkers, humanist, and otherwise godless heathens however they got that way.  I’m trying to move beyond rabid atheism.  Aiming for the higher road is doing that for me.

What’s beyond atheist fundamentalism?  Maybe some acceptance of the other world.  The religious are everywhere–you knew that.  You also knew well the mode of tolerance.  After all, we live it.

I see this shift for me within the frame work of the movement.    We are in something of a civil rights-like movement.  The question is where?  Are we in the militant phase?  Do we need to get the larger community’s attention?  Or can we come off that a bit and expect and receive some respect, at least, enough to continue the dialogue that’s been started?  I think we can.

I’m coming out of a long and lonely winter in the Bible Belt.  Within the decade I listened to a preacher giving the invocation at my daughter’s high school graduation start by shouting at us that there is a god.

My wife stopped me from outing myself in protest with the question, did I want to ruin my daughter’s life?  Being outed would also have ruined my business in the community.  Those are the stakes in the rural midwestern communities.  I’m more interested in the community for us to participate in.

It’s only been a few hundred years since nonbelievers got to meet
each other when one of us was burned at the stake.  It was a short and unsatisfying relationship.  I’m hoping for a little more for us.

Share.  How did you get here?

I was ‘helped.’  Fundamentalist, here, are literalist about scripture and dogma.  They are also in a tough spot.  Their beliefs have to be literally true for them to be believers. Their forerunners were the folks who brought you the ‘science’ that the earth was the center of the universe.  That’s why creationists are still trying to re-write the science books, and with some success if you follow the Texans who are dictating the science textbooks for the nation.

I was blind-sided by that one.  I had a very well written biology text in high school in the 1960’s, meaning evolution, as the primary organizing principle at work in nature, was covered.   But it wasn’t ’til my second daughter, who graduated 5th in a class of 270, had completed advanced biology told me in conversation that she’d never heard that humans were primates.  I did have a little foam form in my mouth over that one.

Still, I think our (yours, mine, and anyone who’s interested) rational discussion is another way to start a dialogue that can enlarge to encompass believers who can learn not to behave badly toward us.

So, again, share.  How did you get where you are today?

July 8, 2011 at 4:10 pm 2 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


Hello

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.