Atheism

Do Atheists Wants to Turn the United States Into an Atheist Nation?

anti atheist sign

The short answer is no!

I do not know of one atheist who is working to turn the United States into an atheist nation. I do know a number of atheists who are working very hard to stop theocrats from turning the United States into a Christian nation.

Most atheists want neutrality. Theocrats want authority, domination, and control. When it comes to government and public education, atheists want Christian dogma checked at the door. Atheists want science taught without creationism and other mythical Bible stories being part of the curriculum. Christians are free to learn about creationism at home or their house of worship.They are also free to home school their children or send them to a Christian school. However, when it comes to the public schools, evidence-based science is the only science that should be taught in the classroom. Atheists expect public school classrooms to be free of sectarian prayers, Bible readings, and attempts to proselytize school children.

Atheists want oaths and prayers to God banished from the halls of Congress and any place our secular government does its business. Atheists want the first amendment and the separation of church and state strictly applied. Atheists know that the United States is a secular state and they expect the government to function as a secular state.

Atheists promise to fight attempts to use government funds and programs to support churches and private religious schools. Atheists promise to work to end church tax exemption, clergy tax exemption, and the clergy housing allowance. The fight is direct and to the point…there is no place in the United States for state sanctioned, state funded religion.

Atheists respect the right of religious people to believe what they want and they ask Christians to extend atheists the same courtesy. Atheists have no desire to turn the United States into an atheist state and they sure as hell do not intend to let theocrats turn the United States into a Christian state. Atheists know that history clearly shows that when church and state are one, people die and freedom is lost.

Note

I speak generally about atheists and atheism. I know I can not speak for all atheists.

Right Wing Family Values and the World’s Greatest Freak Show

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Guest Post by Vyckie Garrison. You can find her blog at No Longer Quivering.

Do you remember when it first dawned on you that your relatives are all a bunch of crackpots and weirdos?  Seems like I was around 8 or 9 — my mother worked all night in the casinos and slept most of the day, leaving me alone to protect my naïve older sister from the depraved advances of Mom’s alcoholic boyfriends and worry about my big brother’s drug addiction. I couldn’t count on my grandparents to help — they were too preoccupied with their own divorce, dating, and remarriage dramas.

“Holy sugar,” I thought to myself, “these people are seriously messed up!”

That’s about the time the fantasies began.  My home, I imagined, was a three-ring circus — and my relatives were the freaks and the clowns.  In my daydreams, I was not really one of them.  No — surely, I was of aristocratic origin.  My REAL family were royalty in a faraway Kingdom and I was born a beloved Princess in a fancy castle with many servants and my own Fairy Godmother.  Somehow, I’d been separated from my blood kin as an infant — I was captured by gypsies and sold in a black market adoption — that’s how I ended up being raised by this group of crazies!

bates family

The Bates Family

ABC’s Primetime Nightline recently aired a segment featuring the Gil & Kelly Bates family — a conservative, Evangelical mega-family of twenty.  The Bates, who are close friends of JimBob & Michelle Duggar of TLC’s “19 and Counting” fame, hold to the extreme fundamentalist ideals of the growing “Quiverfull movement.”

During the one-hour special, Gil, Kelly, and their children explained the family’s lifestyle which, to all modern appearances, represents a throw back to the imaginary 60′s-style “Leave It to Beaver” family combined with strict, Victorian Era sexual mores and the atavistic gender roles of ancient goat-herders. The Bates eschew all forms of birth control and adhere to the marriage model of the biblical Patriarchs — with Gil as family leader and Kelly as submissive “help meet.”  Kelly and the girls adorn themselves in modest, hand-sewn dresses, while Gil and his clean-cut sons teach bible study and participate in local Tea Party politics. Aren’t they lovely?  Don’tcha wanna be just like them?

I sure did!  I left home at 15 and embarked on a quest to recreate my long-lost perfect, happy family — my REAL courtly family, where I truly belonged.  After a false start involving marriage at 16, a baby at 19, and divorce after seven years of abuse rivaling the most astonishing freak show acts Mom’s circus family had ever performed — I remarried, found a “bible-believing” church, and worked hard within the Quiverfull counterculture to implement the best of the best biblical family values into our home life.  I had six more children. I homebirthed, homeschooled, and home-churched. I submitted to my husband and joyfully sacrificed my time, energy and talents to build him up and help him to succeed.  I published a “pro-life, pro-family” Christian family newspaper to inform and encourage other Christians to defend “Traditional Family Values.”

In 2003, we were honored as Family of the Year at the Nebraska Family Council’s “Salt & Light” awards. I’d finally made it! I had built my own Magic Kingdom where my husband reigned as King and I was his Queen, the children were our loyal subjects and we could all live happily ever after …

Like the Bates family, we were the perfect picture of the “biblical family values” fantasy — an idealistic vision of big, happy families: devoted husband and wife surrounded by a passel of respectful, obedient children — we were all sweetness and smiles.  It is this mesmerizing dream world which energizes and motivates Tea Party Republicans like Rick Perry and Michele Bachmann to work tirelessly to implement the “pro-family” theocratic agenda into every aspect of American society: not only in politics, but religion, family, media, education, business and entertainment.

Fundamentalist Christians are convinced that contemporary American society is the World’s Most Spectacular Display of hideously mutated, diseased and anomalous freaks.  ”Step right up folks!” the preacher yells, “and witness a grotesque parade of ho-mo-sex-uals, lesbians, Wiccans, radical feminists, godless liberals, secular humanists, and …” (congregation gasps!) “Muslim extremists!!”

Simultaneously fascinated and horrified, respectable religious parents scramble to shield their innocent children’s eyes and ears from the depravity and corruption of “The World.”  They homeschool and form special Chastity and Creation Science clubs designed to insulate and isolate their vulnerable young from the miscreants and most depraved elements of popular culture.

It’s completely understandable and normal for preteens to create imaginary worlds — their own private, safe hideout where they can dream of nobility, of rising above and doing so much better than the clowns running the Big Top’s Museum of Mutantstrosities.  The grown-ups watch in silent, knowing amusement as kids disavow their relatives as “psychos” and “bozos.”

But when otherwise responsible, Christian adults in recent years set out on a mission to create a radically distinct way of life based on “biblical family values,” the resultant countercultural movement known as “Quiverfull” has become an all-too-real Hall of Mirrors horror show.

In my own life, perpetual pregnancies destroyed my health, and my indiscriminate acquiescence to my husband’s every whim transformed him from a loving father into a tantrum-throwing tyrant. Burnout and disillusionment led to abuse, neglect, family disintegration and a particularly nasty divorce.

When the dust settled, I took a good look at myself in the mirror.  I could no longer deny the strong family resemblance — I saw my mother in my own face staring back at me.  After all those years of fighting and denial, I had to finally accept the fact that I really am one of them — I belong to these crazy people.  I, too, am a conspicuous oddity — a bizarre spectacle and an embarrassment to my own noble children.

Funny thing is … these days, I don’t mind so much being associated with my misfit clan of circus freaks.  Life experience has given me perspective and a deep appreciation for the inevitable realities and desperate circumstances which deformed and mutated Mom and the rest of us into shocking and extraordinary creatures worthy of society’s disquietude and awe.

Black market adoption fantasies and youthful idealism are important wayposts on the journey to adulthood.  Rebellion against blatant injustice, hypocrisy, moral compromise and the myriad of other common grown-up failure is a healthy manifestation of a kid’s personal power and strong moral agency.  Arrogant and annoying, yes — but in moments of truth we have to admit, the kid’s got a point.

Society sucks.  Bigotry, racism, inequity, corruption, greed, depravity, malevolence, and all manner of evil abound. Let’s just face the fact that in many ways, the contemporary American social and political scene has devolved to become the World’s Greatest Freak Show.

No wonder Tea Party Patriot families like the Bates and the Duggars escape into their own personal fantasy-land.

Ironically, with maturity comes humility — along with a profound sense of connection and belonging to that wacky bunch of buffoons who share our DNA.  We see our people with new eyes.  Sure, Grandma’s got a beard and Uncle Stan is a charlatan — Aunt Betty’s such a lunatic, she may as well have two heads.  But in the end, they’re all we’ve got.  That perfect, royal family whom we imagined searched frantically for us for years and never gave up hope that one day we would return to our true home?  They’re not real.  Cousin Roger is real — never mind that he doesn’t have a lick of sense and the only thing he’s good for is shoveling elephant shit — he’s the one who truly understands you, knows all about you, and loves you anyway.

Tea Party family values are the fundamentalists’ desperate attempt to deny their own imperfections, vulnerability, and their inescapable mortality.  Sure it hurts that they look down on us regular folk — those of us who make no pretense of actually having our acts together — they avoid being seen out in public with us, they disown us, and they shrink away in fear of catching our cooties.

But take heart — perhaps they’ll grow up.

I did.  Not saying I don’t still sometimes get all starry-eyed and visionary over the possibility of influencing our society for the better — I’ve got a bit of spunk left in me and I’m doing what I can to stick it to The Man.  But I no longer think of myself as qualitatively different or “other” than all the rest of my fellow human beings — my family.  My freakish, crazy, wonderfully imperfect people.

I don’t believe in God anymore, but I still have faith.  I have hope and I trust that collectively, we’re all gonna make it — we are learning from our mistakes and growing more compassionate.  Our shared experiences make us wiser and I have confidence that better times are just ahead.

How God Reminds Us Every Day That We Are Little More Than Worms

original sin

Alas! and did my Savior bleed
And did my Sovereign die?
Would He devote that sacred head
For such a worm as I?
Issac Watts, Alas! and Did my Savior Bleed

Whenever we find that our religious life is making us feel that we are good-above all, that we are better than someone else-I think we may be sure that we are being acted on, not by God, but by the devil. The real test of being in the presence of God is that you either forget about yourself altogether or see yourself as a small, dirty object.
C.S. Lewis, Mere Christianity

But I am a worm, and no man; a reproach of men, and despised of the people.
Psalm 22:6

How much less man, that is a worm? and the son of man, which is a worm?
Job 25:6

O wretched man that I am! who shall deliver me from the body of this death?
Romans 7:24

Original sin

Vile

Wicked

Hater of God

Worthy of torture and death

According to the Bible, we are the lowest of low, little more than a dung beetle or a worm. Thanks to Adam and Eve eating fruit from a tree in the Garden of Eden, every human being is born a sinner, a hater of God worthy of having the judgment and wrath of God poured out on their head. None of us can escape this condemnation. As soon as the egg unites with the sperm in the womb of a woman, a new vile and repulsive sinner is created.  We don’t become sinners, we are sinners. Or so says Christianity.

What better way to attract and keep congregants than to convince them that they are broken, helpless, hopeless sinners who need glued back together with Jesus glue that can only be found at First Baptist Church on Main Street Anywhere, Ohio. And when the Jesus glue doesn’t last and bits and pieces  of one’s life start breaking off, congregants are told to go to confession or walk the sawdust trail to an old-fashioned altar and get a resupply of Jesus glue.

And the cost for this wonderful, sin erasing Jesus glue? EVERYTHING. Your life, possessions, money, and family now belong to God. If it wasn’t for the Jesus glue, the Christian would still be like Humpty Dumpty, a pile of brokenness at the bottom of the wall. Since Jesus paid the ultimate price for sin, the least the groveling sinner can do is obediently follow him until they die. If they do this, then Jesus will give them a room in God’s Trump Hotel, a room they will rarely use since they will be spending most of their time praising and worshiping God. And even in heaven there will be a final judgement for every Christian, a time when God will comb through the events of the Christian’s life, reminding them of all the times they sinned and how lucky they are that God is allowing them to enter his heaven.

After several weeks of rain, we’ve finally gotten a break and are able to work in the yard and garden. Weeds are growing prolifically, and I am certain I heard them laughing at Polly and I as we, with aching muscles and bones, reached down to pull them up from the ground. I was so fatigued and in pain today that I laid on the ground and crawled along the flower beds pulling weeds. As I was doing this, I contemplated the wonders of  Christianity. That was sarcasm, BTW. These Bible verses came to mind:

 And unto Adam he said, Because thou hast hearkened unto the voice of thy wife, and hast eaten of the tree, of which I commanded thee, saying, Thou shalt not eat of it: cursed is the ground for thy sake; in sorrow shalt thou eat of it all the days of thy life; thorns also and thistles shall it bring forth to thee; and thou shalt eat the herb of the field; in the sweat of thy face shalt thou eat bread, till thou return unto the ground; for out of it wast thou taken: for dust thou art, and unto dust shalt thou return. Genesis 3:17-19

If you like to grow things, you know that weeds come with the territory. If you don’t pull them, they will take over and soon your yard looks like a movie set for a post-apocalyptic thriller titled The Revenge of  the Weeds.  As you pull the weeds, just remember that weeds are a reminder from God that you are a vile worm, worthy of death. If you are a Christian, every weed you pull is a reminder of how vile you were before God saved you. Have you ever wondered why God doesn’t apply salvation like Roundup? One application and the weeds are dead. One application of Jesus and all sin is eradicated. Why wouldn’t God do this? Wouldn’t it make life more enjoyable, not only for Christians, but God? Surely, God gets tired of Deacon Bob going to the altar every Sunday to confess his child porn habit?

Today, we celebrate Independence Day. Wouldn’t this be a good day to cast off the belief  that we are broken sinners in need of salvation and forgiveness?  Only one life, twill soon be past, only what’s done for, scratch that, and then you’ll be dead. Enjoy life, living each moment to its fullest. As a man in his late fifties with declining health, I know that the ugly specter of death is stalking me. If I don’t enjoy life NOW…when will I do so? Since no life awaits me beyond the grave, shouldn’t I make the most of this life? Proverbs 27:1 says:

Boast not thyself of to morrow; for thou knowest not what a day may bring forth.

Good advice, but not for the reasons Christians think. This verse stresses to the Christian the importance of being saved, of having sins forgiven, and preparing to meet God face to face. As an atheist, I read this verse and it says that life is short. There is no promise of tomorrow and no one knows what might happen. So, live! Live each moment of every day as if it is your last, because some day, sooner than you think, it will be.

My Son Thinks I’m Going to Hell by August Stine

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Guest post by August Stine

August Stine is the author of the book  The Modern Confessions of Saint August Stine

In spite of the fact I am a former fundamentalist Christian and ex-pastor, my minister son and his family think I am headed for Hell. This is my response to him. I use the pen name of August Stine to protect my son.

Different Family Beliefs

Your faith is important to you.

My beliefs are important to me.

We pray to the same God every day

For me, He is the Caring Creator;

Who cares about my well being

To you, He is the fearful God

Who demands obedience.

I believe Jesus was a spiritual man but not God.

I believe Jesus said some great words of wisdom

And I am sorry he had to die on the cross.

You believe Jesus died for the sins of man

And his salvation is a gift from God.

I do not believe this, but let’s suppose I did.

Didn’t you say salvation was a gift?

If it is a gift, why do I need to do anything?

You say I am going to hell unless . . .

You even give me the words I should say—

“Jesus, forgive my sins.”

Do people go to hell for not saying these words?

What if I wait until just before dying and then ask?

What if I meant to ask Him for years but didn’t?

You say “Too late—you missed your chance!”

This is God we are talking about isn’t it?

Is God limited by time or death?

On the other hand, if salvation is a “gift,”

Do I really need to ask Him for forgiveness?

The Bible says God freely gives this gift.

Where did all these attached strings come from?

Why conditions on God’s unconditional love?

New converts are told their Christian duties.

Tithing is one—not too bad—it is do-able

Unless you are unemployed or on minimum wage.

But the heaviest of all these burdens is . . .

People go to hell unless we show them Jesus.

So their salvation is in our hands . . .

I thought salvation was a gift.

Why is this huge ugly rope attached to this gift?

Am I responsible for my neighbor’s salvation?

Why am I involved with another man’s salvation?

Why does God need Me?

Suppose I want to play golf on a nice day,

But my neighbor dies and goes to hell . . .

And it is my fault . . .

Because I did not tell him about Jesus.

Please don’t tell me

God is so awful and demanding.

Why am I involved in someone’s eternal choice?

I thought God loved me and my neighbor.

Because of His heavy guilt trip,

I can’t even play golf without God on my back

I cannot believe God dearly loves me . . .

But loads me down with guilt trips

About darn near everything I do.

If I truly am a child of God,

Why do I have to be afraid of Him?

Why can’t I enjoy God

And let Him fix the world?

I thought that was His job.

Scripture says God is with us always;

If so, “Come on God, let’s go play some golf.”

Sacrilegious Humor: Catholicism by Frankie Boyle

This is the eleventh installment in the Sacrilegious Humor series. This is a series that I would like readers to help me with. If you know of a comedy bit that is irreverent towards religion, makes fun of religion, pokes fun at sincerely held religious beliefs, or challenges the firmly held religious beliefs of others, please email me the name of the bit or a link to it.

Today’s bit is Catholicism by Frankie Boyle.

Warning, many of the comedy bits in this series will contain profanity. You have been warned.

Video Link