Sunday, November 26, 2006

Book of the Month: The End of Faith

Sam Harris' The End of Faith challenges us to take a hard look at religion in the modern world and wonder why we still refuse to apply reason and evidence to it when we require rationality for any other subject of debate. As Harris argues (and I agree), we need to make this change sooner rather than later because Iron Age beliefs can quickly become the means to our extinction in an age of nuclear weapons.

Harris initially confronts the most obvious religious problem in the world today: militant Islam. His main point is that all Islam is militant and not a religion of peace. For proof, one simply needs to read the Koran where every single book has calls for Muslims to kill infidels. It's refreshing to see an author confront the truth of the matter rather than skirting the issue and saying the Islam has been "hijacked by radicals." Only with the true nature of the problem in sight can we even try to address the problem.

However, Harris does not limit himself to Islam. He turns equally against Christianity and shows how destructive of an influence it has become in the US. Many of his arguments can be found throughout this blog. Correctly arguing that no modern Christian derives thier morality from the literal word of the Bible, Harris makes a plea for people of faith to confront the true issues of the day with reason rather than outdated poetry and realize that clinging to religious dogma would be considered a sign of insanity if only everyone else wasn't doing it. Consider the following quote from The End of Faith: "Jesus Christ - who, as it turns out, was born of a virgin, cheated death and rose bodily into the heavens - can now be eaten in the form of a cracker. A few Latin words spoken over your favourite burgundy, and you can drink his blood as well. Is there any doubt that a lone subscriber to these beliefs would be considered mad?" I just hope enough Christians can get the message. I doubt they will, but The End of Faith will at least provide rational people with quality ammunition to argue their point.

Sunday, November 19, 2006

Quote of the Week

"Behead those who say Islam is a violent religion."

- From the banner of a British Muslim protesting the Danish Muhammed cartoons. Ironic? I think so.

Tuesday, November 14, 2006

The Root of All Evil - The Virus of Faith (Part 2)

As promised, here's part two. Enjoy.

Monday, November 13, 2006

The Root of All Evil - The God Delusion (Part 1)

This is an excellent documentary (from which the Ted Haggard clip came) by Richard Dawkins, an Oxford professor and scientist. In it, he argues that religion does more harm than good in the modern world. I don't necessarily agree with his call for complete atheism, but I do think he's correct about the ignorance and hatred that comes from blind faith and organized religion. All in all, it's an interesting look at the rise of intolerant religion in the modern world. I'll post part 2 shortly.

Saturday, November 11, 2006

Kieth Olbermann: Making it Up

Even though he might sound a bit extreme in his views, Kieth Olbermann of MSNBC makes some excellent arguments concerning how President Bush has basically trashed the Constitution to do what he wants and how we have allowed him to do it. It's good stuff. As I said before, hopefully the change we voted for in Congress will have an effect.

Friday, November 10, 2006

Ted Haggard's Ignorance is Amazing

Check out this clip from an interview with Ted Haggard (the conservative pastor from Colorado Springs' New Life Church who turned out to be gay). It's amazing how he tries to invoke science while not understanding anything about it. He obviously has no idea that using the Bible as a source of scientific thought does not follow the scientific method at all. No wonder it's so hard to argue with people like this. I also love the reaction of the interviewer. It's pretty much the same as mine would have been.

Democrats Win Control of Congress!

Finally, the American people voiced thier disgust with the policies of the Republican-controlled government and voted them out of control of Congress, proving that the Religious Right is a majority in this country. Only time will tell, but hopefully the Democrats will reverse our country's course and once again bring rationality to the government. I guess we'll see once the new Congressmen take office in January.

Tuesday, November 07, 2006

Americans Don't Want Abstinence-Only Education

A new study has shown that only 18 percent of Americans support abstinence-only sex education. This is just more proof that the Religious Right is terribly out of touch with mainstream America. Now people just need to vote and show that the Christian Right truly is a monority and that their sway over the Republican party will no longer be tolerated.

Election Day!

Please, go to your local polling station today and voice your opinion. If you want a change, by all means, vote for change, and help steer the country off the dangerous course it has begun to take under the Religious Right-controlled Congress. It's your right, so exercise it!

Monday, November 06, 2006

Quote of the Week

"Guns have little or nothing to do with juvenile violence. The causes of youth violence are working parents who put their kids into daycare, the teaching of evolution in the schools, and working mothers who take birth control pills."

–Tom DeLay, Former House Majority Leader, on causes of the Columbine High School massacre, 1999

Saturday, November 04, 2006

Oh, You Hypocrite...

You gotta love it when a leading Conservative Christian goes gay-bashing and then you find out that he was having sex with a male prostitute at the same time. On Friday, a man came forward claiming to have been paid to have sex with Ted Haggard, leader of the New Life Church in Colorado Springs and a leading member of the National Association of Evangelicals. If true, maybe some congregations of the Religious Right will actually think twice about listening to the hypocritical hate that their leaders spout on a regular basis and start to think for themselves. But I doubt it. They'll probably just crucify Haggard and eagerly eat up whatever his successor has to say, no matter how ignorant or hateful his beliefs are. For more information, click here.

Wednesday, November 01, 2006

Ann Coulter on Newsnight

If you haven't heard the ignorant, hateful, and arrogant crap that spews from this woman's mouth...well, I'll let you see for yourself. Whatever you do, don't give this woman money and buy her books.

The Christian Right's Victim Mentality

One of the most bizarre parts of the Religious Right’s current political efforts is their victim mentality. They feel that godless liberals in the government have been waging a literal “war” against everything Christians stand for and want to destroy Christianity as a faith by pushing Christians to sin (if you need proof, just look at this fundraising letter from the Traditional Values Coalition). Conservative Christians argue that when the various courts in the nation support gay marriage and abortion, they are actually trying to destroy the faith and values of Christians throughout the country.

If you ask me, that’s a stupid argument. The courts have never forced anyone to marry another person of the same sex or forced expecting mothers to go through an abortion. They have simply given people the choice to do so. That’s what freedom is all about. If you don’t like it then don’t do it. Don’t blame others for your problems.

Furthermore, the Religious Right needs to stop arguing that the 1st Amendment requires the government to legislate in favor of Conservative Christian values. More than anything, it looks extremely ignorant because that’s exactly what the 1st Amendment prohibits. However, it’s always dangerous to label someone as stupid, so don’t think the leadership of the Religious Right doesn’t know what it’s doing. Fear has always been the most powerful political motivator in history. Just look at the events following 9/11. The populace supported Iraq simply because the administration successfully played off our fears of terrorism. When a religious leader tells his congregation that there is a liberal-sponsored war being waged against them, and does it in a riveting manner, the resulting emotions can quickly carry a crowd’s opinion towards the desired conclusions.

Conservative Christians’ victim mentality has gone so far that they have an interesting obsession with the idea that they are “soldiers” battling for the survival of their faith. I was watching the unsettling preview for the documentary Jesus Camp (you can see it here), and it shows just how martial the Religious Right has become. I wonder how many of them realize that they are “battling” to limit their own freedom. Can’t they see that government favoritism towards religion can quickly turn against them if another religious group rises to prominence and dominates the government in the same way the Christian Right hopes to dominate it themselves? Then they’d actually see a real rather than imagined assault on their faith.

The Christian Right needs to take a step back and realize just how free they are, stop blaming others for their problems, and quit acting like the government’s courts have been picking on them. The government does not tell any religious group in this nation how to conduct itself and (theoretically) should only step in when a religious group is harming others. Perhaps the change needs to come from within the Religious Right movement itself when its members demand that their leaders stop misleading them and stop distorting the way the American government operates. Unfortunately, I doubt that will happen, so the rest of us need to do what we can and keep this minority from dominating our lives the way they would like to.