Posts tagged ‘humanists’

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.

IT’S NOT DUE TO OUR RELIGION THAT WE ARE BEING DISCRIMINATED AGAINST.  IT IS, RATHER, BECAUSE OF THEIR RELIGION THAT THE BIGOT DISCRIMINATES AGAINST US.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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

The Echo of the Eons

Consider a man, an early man, maybe 100,000 years ago or a little more.   Just like his animal counterpart of 4 to 5 million ybp, he thinks there’s someone out there in the dark.   He can hear this someone in the wind.   It may be the same someone who brought the fire.  They remember a lightning bolt that appeared to be thrown to the clan but then struck a tree.  Was it the gift of fire?  Or was this force evil?  Did he try to strike the clan?  Or was it just a warning?  They tried to keep the fire, but didn’t know how. 

 “Uuhhh.  Uhhhh.”  They asked the fire to come back.  Nothing happened.  

The next time they thought this powerful One was coming (they thought he hid in the storm clouds), they repeated their plea.  “Uuhhh.  Uuhhh.”  Nothing.   All the men came into the tribe’s clearing.  They all began, “Uuhhh.  Uuhhh.”  It was a distressing noise.  The strong man rammed his staff on the ground.  It startled the others.  He tamped a spot softly with his staff.  He tapped the spot harder and harder, then he spoke the word on the beat.  “Uuhhh!   Uuhhh!”  He leaned toward the others emphasizing the sound and the beat.  “Uuhhh!  Uuhhh!”  Slowly they joined in.  And as one, they raised their voices, Uuhhh!! Uuhhh!!”    Nothing happened.

 The next time storm clouds gathered, the clan assembled on their common ground.  The strong man pounded the ground.  They all chanted, “Uuhhh!  Uuhhh!!”  After a while, they became tired.  As they were about to give up, lightning struck in the distance.

 Renewed, they began chanting again.  “Uuhhh!!  Uuhhh!!”   The strong man continued pounding the beat.  The leader of the hunt stepped before the men and spread his fingers wide.  He made his hands quiver as if it was a prelude to some coming event.  The men, continuing the chant, spread out into the open meadow beyond the clan’s compound.  They kept their voices strong.  It was hard to hear them over the gathering storm so they stood their ground.  One of them motioned to the man farthest out to stop.  He was into a creek up to his shins.  A blinding bolt of light burst out of the man’s chest and he fell dead into the stream. The crackle of thunder reached the others.  Son of a bitch! the strong man said, though, in the words of their day, “UH uh uh UUUUHHH!!”

 When the next storm gathered the men again met on the pounded ground of the clan’s common.  The strong man tamped the beat, the others chanted.  The leader of the hunt palmed the air in front of him with both hands indicating the men should stay put.  There were a few lightning strikes visible, but no fire appeared.  This went on for a few months.  The men started stamping their feet to the beat of the chant.  It seemed to ease the monotony of the monotonal chant. 

 At the next storm and chant session, a weird little guy, who’d yet to hit the first animal on a hunt, had his spear with him!  He started tapping it to the beat of the strong man’s staff and the tribal chant.  Every so often, after a downbeat, he’d raise his spear toward the storm and it caused the men’s emotions to swell until they let out a yell.  The tribesmen looked at each other.  One by one, they slipped away and returned with their spears.  Before long, the tribe was tapping their spears, chanting, and pointing toward the storm and shouting in unison, “UUUHHHH.” 

Soon enough, the lightning struck a tree on the meadow.  The hunt leader motioned for a couple of men to fetch the fire.  As they got to the tree, lightning struck again.  They both fell dead.   “UH uh uh UUUUHH!” said the strong man.

April 14, 2013 at 9:33 am Leave a 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.