Archive for the ‘Religion’ Category

Church and Inflatable Doll Sex

Friday, July 2nd, 2010

What do the acts of having sex with an inflatable doll and going to church to worship God have in common?

To be satisfying, you have to fool yourself into believing it’s real.

Just Say No To Groups!

Thursday, August 13th, 2009

Liberal, conservative, communist or libertarian.  Democrat or Republican.  Catholic, Jewish, Born again Christian, Muslim or Hindu.  Millions of Facebook members unabashedly advertise their affiliations.  What are you?

This question is inherently offensive because of its implicit assumption that I would mindlessly associate myself with a group whose members share common opinions on a smorgasbord of topics.  Such wholesale acceptance of a canon without critical evaluation is intellectual atrophy.  Each group has plenty of dogma that is downright silly, so I refuse to join.

Take conservatives who are against giving girls human papilloma virus (HPV) vaccinations, which prevent cervical cancer.  The reason: HPV is transmitted through sexual intercourse, and virtuous young woman should abstain from sex.  Is getting cancer a just punishment for promiscuity?

Liberals are no better.  Anti-smoking zealots used reports of the dangers of second hand smoke to push for legislation that bans smoking from public places.  When those studies were shown to be flawed, the liberals resorted to ad hominem attacks on the scientists who pointed out the errors in the methodology.  Though I am not a liberal (nor anything else), I support a ban on smoking in public places based on my own selfish reason that smoke literally makes me sick.  I don’t need a flawed study to validate my cause.  We should all be honest about our motives, and judge issues solely on their merits.

Rather than seek the truth, groups fervently bend and remold the facts to further the cause.  Rather than consider each issue logically and unbiasedly, group members are energized by their unquestioned faith in the broader agenda.  It’s comforting to associate with a group whose members share the same viewpoint.  Our minds conveniently filter out conflicting data and uncritically accept group dogma – a sure recipe for belief in the absurd.

Imagine all of the resources that would be set free to combat killer diseases if we didn’t waste money on homeopathic cures and alternative medications that are known to be ineffective.  Imagine all the time wasted debating ideology when we could be solving real problems.  Reason and honesty, applied to one issue at a time, would lead to sensible ideas and efficient solutions.  Real progress requires that we divest ourselves of our present group membership, and start fresh.

You’ve probably heard, “I am a pro-choice Catholic who really doesn’t believe in transubstantiation.”  “I go to Synagogue for cultural reasons.” “I’m liberal but understand the benefits of capitalism.”  You might as well be a vegetarian who eats meat.  Just say no to groups!


Given the frailty of memory, how can we trust in the accuracy of the Gospels?

Thursday, November 13th, 2008

In her book “The Myth of Repressed Memory,” Elizabeth Loftus describes Ulric Neisser’s experiences with what are called flash-bub memories.  The morning after the shuttle Challenger exploded shortly after take-off,  Neisser asked students at Emory University to write about how they learned about the disaster.  Two and a half years later, he asked the 44 students to recall that same experience.

While most of the students described their memories of the event as vivid, not one of the students gave an account that was completely in accord with their description that was recorded the morning after the Challenger disaster.  And a third of the accounts were widely inaccurate.


God fares poorly in 2008 elections

Friday, November 7th, 2008

The election is over and the votes are in.  Despite all the prayers from the religious right, Obama has prevailed.  As a consolation, California’s Proposition 8 passed, making gay marriage illegal.  However, the new law is being challenged by opponents who charge that it is unconstitutional.  Although about $70 million was spent on P8 (according to the San Francisco Chronicle), in the end, the issue may be decided by the courts.

God did not do so well in other state initiatives.  South Dakota voters turned down Measure 11, which would outlaw abortions but included exceptions for rape, incest and pregnancies that threaten the life or health of the woman.   Colorado’s Amendment 48 was defeated by a 73% to 27% margin.  It would have amended the Colorado constitution to define the term “person” to “include any human being from the moment of fertilization” and would have applied that definition to laws providing protection for natural and essential rights.


How will God vote?

Saturday, November 1st, 2008

Pam Olsen, co-pastor with her husband of the International House of Prayer in Tallahassee, Fla. is praying to God to influence the election.  On MSNBC, she is quoted as saying, “We have just days to pray that someone who upholds the sanctity of life and marriage between one man and one woman will win.” Olsen supports Republican John McCain.  She is organizing a marathon of prayer, fasting and Bible reading at the Capitol starting Saturday until the state’s polls close. “The outcome is up to God,” she said.

In California, voters will be considering Proposition 8, a constitutional amendment that would make same sex marriage illegal by defining marriage as only between a man and a woman.  Religious groups from around the nation have been mobilized in support of Proposition 8; and some religious leaders have been asking the faithful to pray for its passage.

If Proposition 8 fails, it’s clearly a sign from God that He endorses same sex marriage, or maybe that God does not have the power or the will to sway the election.

Can’t wait until November 4th to find out how God’s will will be done…


Argument against a personal God

Wednesday, August 6th, 2008

As I see it, there is no evidence that a personal God exists in the form described in “Holy” books such as the Bible.  The basis of our belief in God is in ancient written records and oral tradition.  Not only are these sources known to be an unreliable method of transmitting information; but if taken literally, one can find many statements that are inconsistent with reality.