Can I have your stuff during lent?

datePosted on 17:21, March 24th, 2009 by Kosmic Kurt

I was talking with someone who told me they gave up chocolate for lent. I like chocolate so I got the idea that perhaps I could offer up my services to to consume their chocolate for them. In fact, why not offer to consume all of the items that Catholics give up for lent. We non-theists do not believe in sacrificing the things we enjoy for some non-existent imaginary friend. So, this would be our way of reaching out to our religious friends and showing them we are good people who want to help them. If we all did this every year it might bring us closer to together and ease tensions between theists and non-theists. Just an idea.

US Endorses Gay Rights

datePosted on 12:32, March 18th, 2009 by Kosmic Kurt

Today the United States officially endorsed the United Nations declaration that calls for the decriminalization of homosexuality. What does this have to do with Atheism? The Vatican and all Islamic countries opposed it. They opposed it because it goes against their silly superstitions. The declaration sends a message that religious dogma should not dictate public policy. Whether you approve or disapprove of homosexuality, your opinion should not be based on religious rhetoric.

Secularism Is On The Rise

datePosted on 14:00, March 10th, 2009 by Kosmic Kurt

Trinity College of Hartford Connecticut has released its American Religious Identification Survey for 2008. The results have been posted all over the internet in one form or another. For those who haven’t read it, the link to the actual report is below. Yes America is becoming more secular! Atheists and Agnostics have increased more than any of the religious groups – 6.8%. The biggest losers were mainline Protestants with a reduction of 5.8%. Specifically, the report categorized Atheists as having a presence in the United States of 0.7%, or 1,625,000 people. Those listed as none/no religion (which includes Atheists) is a whopping 15% of the population, or 34,169,000 people!

Many Christian sites have been crying that a more secular America means a decline in values. Far from it! This is wonderful news. I would argue that the United States is becoming “more moral,” rather than less. A more secular America means more people are accepting the reality that this life is the real and only life they will ever have. So, perhaps they will take better care of it instead of vesting most of their time fantasizing about an after life that will never come. A more secular America can lead to less hatred, prejudice, repression and all of the other “gifts” that religion bestows upon humankind. More and more people are leaving mainline religions and questioning the very concept of a personal god. Most importantly, more and more people are realizing that they do have control over their lives. They need not be slaves to ill-conceived superstitions written thousands of years ago by barbaric tribal elders.

http://b27.cc.trincoll.edu/weblogs/AmericanReligionSurvey-ARIS/reports/p1a_belong.html

When I read this I did a double take. It’s kind of hard to believe. The House of Representatives of the Oklahoma State Legislature is trying to pass a resolution that they disapprove of Evolutionary Biologist Richard Dawkins and the teaching of evolution:

  

…NOW, THEREFORE, BE IT RESOLVED BY THE HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES OF THE 1ST SESSION OF THE 52ND OKLAHOMA LEGISLATURE:

THAT the Oklahoma House of Representatives hereby expresses its disapproval of the current indoctrination of the Darwinian theory of evolution at the University of Oklahoma and further requests that an open, dignified, and fair discussion of this idea and all other ideas be engaged in on campus which is the approach that a public institution should be engaged in and which represents the desire and interest of the citizens of Oklahoma.

THAT the Oklahoma House of Representative strongly opposes the invitation to speak on the campus of the University of Oklahoma to Richard Dawkins of Oxford University, whose published statements on the theory of evolution and opinion about those who do not believe in the theory are contrary and offensive to the views and opinions of most citizens of Oklahoma…

(From House Resolution 1014)

  
This is a perfect example of why there is so much conflict between science and religion. The State of Oklahoma Legislature, apparently completely scientifically illiterate, is wasting it’s time bashing scientists and science in general. It sounds like a deliberate attempt to get science removed from public schools. Oklahoma has a long history of trying to get religious doctrine imposed on its residents. By formally denouncing science and scientific discussion they are just proving to the rest of the world how backward and archaic they truly are. The next step will probably be to formally support creationism as an “alternative” to science in the classroom! The University invited, and most likely paid for, Dawkins to speak. Hopefully the students that are privileged to hear Dawkins speak will be empowered to run for public office and replace the morons currently running their state. In the mean time, I will add Oklahoma to Kansas, Tehran, Islamabad, and all of the other places I shall never visit.

Vatican Acknowledges Evolution Again

datePosted on 16:11, March 3rd, 2009 by Kosmic Kurt

Cardinal William Levada, head of the Vatican’s Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, said today that the Catholic Church does not impede scientific realities like evolution. He further went on to say that even though evolution is a reality, it does not prove there is no God. Levada said atheists like evolutionary biologist Richard Dawkins were “absurd” to think that evolution disproves the existence of God.

The good Cardinal obviously has it slightly wrong. Evolution disproves the “need” for a god. With the forces of evolution guiding our development, there would be nothing for a god to do. Besides you can not disprove something that does not exist in the first place. However, at least he made a very clear statement that the current Catholic Church supports the Theory of Evolution. Levada also said that intelligent design is “unscientific” and should not be taught along side of evolution in school classrooms (Fundamentalists take note). Of course we have heard this all before and then the Vatican reversed it’s position.

Wisconsin Schools to Hold Graduation in Churches

datePosted on 10:17, February 19th, 2009 by Kosmic Kurt

 

Four Southeastern Wisconsin public high schools and a public community college are planning to hold their graduations at a church. Brookfield East, Brookfield Central, Mukwonago High School, New Berlin Eisenhower High School and Waukesha Country Technical College are all planning on holding their graduation ceremonies at the Elmbrook Church in Brookfield Wisconsin. This clearly violates the rights of the students at these schools. The Elmbrook Church is a Christian church complete with a large crucifix and plenty of Jesus signs and banners. Public schools that are funded by our tax dollars cannot choose to endorse one religion over another. The Supreme Court has ruled on this several times. School officials have claimed that graduation is not mandatory and that if a family is offended they need not attend. We’re talking about graduation, one of the biggest milestones in a child’s life. “Not to attend” is not an acceptable option! This is so unfair and irresponsible that I implore everyone reading this to please write to these school districts and ask them to reconsider their choice of locations for their graduations. Our children deserve far better than this.
Below is the contact information for all of the school districts.

Elmbrook School District
Superintendent Matt Gibson
13780 Hope St.
Brookfield, WI 53005
Fax: 262-901-0056
Email: matt.gibson@elmbrookschools.org

Mukwonago School District
Superintendent Paul A. Strobel
423 Division St.
Mukwonago, WI 53149
Fax: 262-363-6272
Email: strobpa@mukwonago.k12.wi.us

New Berlin School District
District Administrator Dr. Paul Kreutzer
4333 S. Sunny Slope Rd.
New Berlin, WI 53151
Fax: 262-786-0512
Email: paul.kreutzer@nbexcellence.org

Waukesha County Technical College
President Dr. Barbara Prindiville
800 Main St.
Pewaukee, WI 53072
Fax: 262-691-5593
Email: bprindiville@wctc.edu

Happy Birthday Darwin and Lincoln

datePosted on 09:58, February 12th, 2009 by Kosmic Kurt

Today is the two hundredth anniversary of the birthdays of both Charles Darwin and Abraham Lincoln. Two men who changed the world in very important ways. Both men created sweeping paradigm shifts of values and knowledge that continues to affect us today.

Here in the United States Lincoln is looked at as the epitome of honesty and integrity – the very essence of what being and American is all about. He was the emancipator of an entire race. His words are quoted as much as, if not more, than any other president. However, Lincoln was also a non-Christian deist. In fact, he was more agnostic than anything. It was Lincoln that said,

“The Bible is not my book and Christianity is not my religion. I could never give assent to the long complicated statements of Christian dogma,” and “My earlier views of the unsoundness of the Christian scheme of salvation and the human origin of the scriptures, have become clearer and stronger with advancing years and I see no reason for thinking I shall ever change them.”

Whereas Lincoln was a man of little faith, Darwin actually studied religion at Cambridge to become a priest. He later changed his mind after his trip aboard the Beagle. Darwin gave the world a working mechanism to explain the diversity of life we have on Earth. But he did far more than that. Darwin got rid of the last process that theists could claim as belonging to a god. By explaining how life came to be, Darwin eliminated the need for a god altogether. Darwin’s shift in thinking was one of the most profound in all of history. All of the great deists and agnostics that came before him (including Jefferson, Adams, Paine, Franklin, Ingersoll, and even Lincoln) would have been atheists if they had read Origin of Species. Thomas Paine and Robert Ingersoll, in particular, made some of the most scathing and penetrating attacks on Christianity in all of literature. Yet they could not let go of the idea that there needed to be some type of “creator” for there to be life. Darwin eliminated that need.

We owe both these brave and brilliant men our admiration and gratitude. Happy Birthday!

Obama Announces New Faith-Based Office

datePosted on 14:09, February 5th, 2009 by Kosmic Kurt

Today President Obama announced the creation of a new faith-based office at his National Prayer Breakfast. The new office will be called the Office of Faith-Based and Neighborhood Partnerships. Obama claimed that religions, as well as, the non-religious would be represented. It has also been rumored that he met with the Secular Coalition of America this morning too. However the SCA website does not have a favorable take on the news. I’m wondering if he presented his plan and the SCA opposed it. Obama claims that he is not endorsing any specific group or excluding any group either. But to give federal money to any religious organization is dangerous at best. Obama believes that by welcoming all religious groups, and non-religious groups, he is not breaking the First Amendment. Is it just me, or he sliding down a very slippery slope? So far Obama’s actions indicate that he is trying to unite EVERYONE. But some of us do not want to unite with hateful, divisive, prejudiced, uneducated bigots. Religion has no place in government, period! I acknowledge what he is trying to do, but I do not think I will be able to support it.

Thank You Mr. President

datePosted on 21:49, January 20th, 2009 by Kosmic Kurt

 

Like most, I was listening to President Obama’s inaugural address feeling uplifted and inspired by the “call to arms” for the rebuilding of America. Unlike most, I was also waiting for some acknowledgment that this new administration would reach out to the twenty-some million Atheists, Agnostics, Humanists and other Free Thinkers that have been purposely excluded from the American political process. I had no expectations because I am used to being discriminated against. But a small part of me hoped that maybe this once I would get an acknowledgment. Maybe Obama would do the unthinkable and acknowledge my existence. He did! In his words:

“For we know that our patchwork heritage is strength, not a weakness. We are a nation of Christians and Muslims, Jews and Hindus — and nonbelievers.”

It’s not much, but it’s enough. For the first time, in a long time, “non-believers” have been mentioned as part of the country. George Bush, the elder, said “… I don’t know that atheists should be considered as citizens, nor should they be considered patriots.” Obama, in contrast, acknowledges the fact that we are every bit a part of the United States as Christians, Muslims, Jews, and Hindus. It was a great event that I shall not soon forget. I will tell my grandchildren someday what I was doing when the president of the United States first said that non-believers are part of the nation. It even made up for the nauseous feeling I got from Rick Warren’s bigoted, discriminatory, inane nonsense and the three times Obama said the word god. (BTW Rick, half of the world and over 30% of this nation does not even think your bastard-child savior even existed) But that’s okay. The future is all about mending bridges and working together to overcome challenges. People like Rick Warren who would castigate others do not have a place in this country’s future. Today African Americans have had a huge victory. Along with their victory, we non-theists have had our own small victory as well. America, as a whole, has had a massive victory against prejudice and is on the correct road toward a better future. Our road is going to be a rough one, but thanks to you Mr. President, it perhaps just got a little bit easier.

A Sense of Hope for 2009

datePosted on 19:54, December 31st, 2008 by Kosmic Kurt

On New Year’s Eve people often look back on the previous year and make resolutions of action to take in the up coming year. This year will be no different. 2008 will no doubt be remembered for the terrible financial problems that have affected all of us. The world is a much different place than it was a year ago. Many of us are going to have even tougher times ahead as we all must adapt to our new set of circumstances. However, there is much to be happy and optimistic about, as well. 2008 is the year that Americans said “no more” to the horrors of the Bush administration. No more to the “war on science.” No more to endless military occupations of third world countries without any benefit for the American people. No more to the threat of stacking the Supreme Court against the beliefs of most Americans. And so on. 2009 holds great promise for many of us. We have the opportunity to recover from much that we have lost during the past eight years. Make no mistake though; we have a lot of work to do. The new administration may be more receptive to cultural equality and the rights of women and some minorities, but embracing atheists, agnostics, and other freethinkers is a whole other matter. Obama has openly endorsed right-wing religious fanatics (Rick Warren) and indicated he would continue to support faith based initiatives. The divisive and historically wrong idea that America was founded as a Christian nation is embraced by many. We, as free thinkers, must continue to be vigilant and fight to protect all of our constitutional rights. I encourage everyone to support action oriented groups such as The Freedom from Religion Foundation, American’s United for Separation of Church and State, and The Secular Coalition, to name but a few. With a little diligence we can make the United States the democracy it was intended to be. This year I resolve to make a difference! Happy New Year to all. May Darwin be with you.

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