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Archive for November, 2009

Targets of Flesh

The purpose of the military is to defend the country. It is not to prop up hopeless governments in irrevocably divided countries by serving as targets of flesh.

Thanksgiving 365

I’m turning into a crochety curmudgeon (so did my patron saint, George Carlin, but he was much funnnier about it). I am increasingly annoyed by highly organized, one-virtue-focus holidays, especially government-designated ones. I don’t need the government to tell me when to be grateful.

It is nothing less than the battle to rescue humanity from centuries more of ignorance and bigotry, persecution and murder in the name of religion. Each generation is like a new inning, no outs, batter up. Repeat the truth, over and over and over. Then if, when one is breathless and exhausted, a single believer comes to question and abandon his God, his afterlife, his end-times, his holy book…it will have been worth it.

Like other deities, Oprah changes form. One hour a day is not enough. No! There must be 24/7 Oprah. She’s going to end the show and have her own network, so that her subjects need not lack — even for a single moment — knowledge of what the Goddess wants them to do. She is reincarnated, now a disembodied spirit, always there for us. Is this sounding familiar?

And there is more to come. Mushy-brained fawning Paul Begala and other fatuous talking heads on CNN speculate on whether she would run for President. Yes, she could! they all agreed. She has everything you need, i.e., image, fan base, and money. So yes, America will elect her after Obama’s second term. Her face will be on huge screens everywhere, just as in the dystopic sci-fi movies. She will convince Americans to abandon the Constitution (it’s too hard to understand anyway) and make her President for Life.

We discussed how tolerant atheists should be of believers. I suggest we split the person from the fantasy as much as possible. Beliefs exist apart from an individual, and you’re not stupid just because you’ve been programmed to accept (or blithely go along with) religious belief. There was some discussion of working with religious moderates, and I pointed out that there were two kinds: (i) issue-oriented people, real religious believers with a conflict (e.g., Catholics for gay rights) and (ii) wishy-washy go-alongs, non-boat-rockers, people who refuse to turn a rational eye on religion’s ravings.

The “anything you’d rather not be doing” definition of work is the simplest and purest I have enountered. It defines work as no more than what it is: giving your time and energy FIVE or SIX days a week to create the monetary energy to sustain you during the, say, 15% of your life you’re not working, as well as to save for some future time when youi won’t have to work (when is that?). This sounds like a losing investment for the worker: five days a week, 50 weeks a year, is a LOT of your life.

What about linguistics not as a source of cocktail party chatter… or as a way to play linguistic “gotcha” games of correctness and one-upmanship –but as a legitimate branch of knowledge, as the search for truth? What do the facts of language tell us about ourselves and the way we shape our world and manipulate each other? If these subjects are never discussed, then all the bullshit and manipulation can continue unquestioned, and for some people that is unquestionably a good thing.

The costs of reverse discrimination continue to pile up. The Muslim murderer at Fort Hood was allowed to remain in his position, even promoted, despite his avowedly radical views (anybody who puts the Shari’a above the Constitution should be immediately and dishonorably discharged). To do otherwise would, it was felt, be politically incorrect. I do hope the victims’ families understand this logic. I sure don’t.

The video made me close my eyes and bite my lip with grief at the prospect of another life lost to religion.

Paying for Praying

“I prayed for freedom for twenty years but received no answer until I prayed with my legs”
Frederick Douglass
If we humanists weren’t so passive as a group, busily planning meetings where we talk to ourselves, the Trib story on the possibility of insurance companies’ reimbursing for prayer would not have gone unnoticed, and perhaps would have […]

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