tagged w/ Agnostic
Because if there’s a genuine ethics out there that applies because it actually is so, maybe just maybe I’m actually obligated to do something about whatever it is I see wrong in the world, and I see plenty. I don’t just mean living a green lifestyle with as little footprint as is practical, donating to charities, voting one ticket or another, writing letters, or protesting. That’s all well and good. But might I not be obliged to take up something more direct like clearing minefields? Or contributing to the general welfare by a more judicious use of my time and talents? Is free time a luxury? Is luxury a guilty pleasure? Because if so, I should rather be off my ass somewhere agitating for change for the better in some way. I should be placing myself in harm’s way commensurate with my ability to make a positive difference. Depending on which way a person believes, I may even need to join the military (a thought which has actually crossed my mind with varying degrees of seriousness in the past).Because if there’s a genuine ethics out there that applies because it actually... more
The writer, journalist and contrarian Christopher Hitchens has died at the age of 62 after being diagnosed with an oesophageal cancer in June 2010. Vanity Fair, for which he had written since 1992 and was made contributing editor, marked his death in a memorial article posted late on Thursday night. Since we know you all loved the Hitch we are repeating the brilliant tribute programme 'Stephen Fry and friends on the life, loves and hates of Christopher Hitchens' this weekend at the following times:
Friday 16 December 10pm
Saturday 17 December 2:30pm
Sunday 18 December 6:30pm
Here is a who's who guide to all of Christopher's friends who featured in the programme.
Christopher Hitchens was born April 13, 1949 to is an Anglo-American author and journalist. His books, articles and essays have made him a prominent public intellectual and a staple of talk shows and lecture circuits. He has been a columnist and literary critic at Vanity Fair, Slate, The Atlantic, World Affairs, The Nation, Free Inquiry and a variety of other media outlets. He was named one of the world's "Top 100 Public Intellectuals" by Foreign Policy and Britain's Prospect.
In 2010 Hitchens was diagnosed with esophageal cancer.
Below are some of Hitchen's best moments ever caught on camera - please add your own favourite Hitch clips below.
The writer, journalist and contrarian Christopher Hitchens has died at the age of 62... more
Supreme Court rules giving tax credits for donations to religious schools is not violation of 1st AmendmentGoodbye tax payer standing - the government now can encourage majority religions through tax credits... and there is nothing you can do to challenge it. Thank you Justice Kennedy.
From the article:
"In the Supreme Court’s 5-to-4 ruling about a school-choice program in Arizona, Justice Anthony Kennedy’s opinion leaves intact a program that has disbursed almost $350 million of state funds, most of it to schools choosing students on the basis of religion.
The holding all but overrules a landmark decision of the Warren court, Flast v. Cohen. As Justice Elena Kagan says powerfully in her first dissent, “by ravaging Flast in this way,” the majority “damages one of this nation’s defining constitutional commitments.”
The First Amendment’s establishment clause — “Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion” — is meant to protect citizens even when they are not harmed. Before, under Flast, a taxpayer could ask a court to enforce this central right. Now, under this ruling, a taxpayer all but can’t, and any government can use the tax system to avoid challenges to financing of religion.
The only difference between cases considered under Flast since 1968 and the current one is the means of government spending. In past cases, it has come through appropriations. In this case, the money comes through a tax credit: any taxpayer can redirect up to $500 of what he or she owes the state to a nonprofit that uses the money for scholarships. What the court calls a tax credit and Arizona calls a voluntary cash contribution is, concretely, a redirected tax payment.
Justice Kennedy, in an opinion clearly intended to overturn legal precedent, says that the program’s financing comes from taxpayers taking advantage of this credit, not from the state, so the taxpayers bringing the lawsuit can claim no harm from the state and lacked standing to sue. To Justice Kagan, “this novel distinction,” has “as little basis in principle as it has in our precedent.” Whether a state finances a program with cash grants or targeted tax breaks, the effect is the same. Taxpayers bear the cost.
Since the Flast case, she writes, “no court — not one — has differentiated between these sources of financing in deciding about standing.” In five cases where taxpayers challenged tax expenditures, the court has dealt with the merits “without questioning the plaintiffs’ standing.” The court has relied on some of these decisions as “exemplars of jurisdiction” in other cases. (“Pause on that for a moment,” the justice entreats.)
When this case was argued last fall, the convolutions of the Arizona program seemed intended to mask its violation of the Constitution. The court’s ruling is another cynical sleight of hand, which will reduce access to federal courts while advancing endorsement of religion. "Goodbye tax payer standing - the government now can encourage majority religions... more
Agnostics may believe in the Universe, themselves or have faith and hope in humanity. It’s a mind set that allows you to explore your options at your own pace and take heavy religious claims with a grain of salt.
link: http://www.theologydegrees.com/so-there-is-a-higher-being-top-20-agnostic-blogs/Agnostics may believe in the Universe, themselves or have faith and hope in humanity.... more
1. Muslims do not recognize Jews as God's chosen people.
2. Jews do not recognize Christ as the Messiah.
3. Protestants do not recognize the Pope as the leader of the Christian
4. Mennonites do not recognize each other at Hooters or the Liquor Store.
5 . AGNOSTICS DO NOT BELIEVE IN ANY OF THE ABOVE .
6 . ATHEISTS ARE ALWAYS HAPPY
That is all.1. Muslims do not recognize Jews as God's chosen people. 2. Jews do not... more
I don't believe in religion, I don't believe in God, and I most certainly don't believe in miracles. That being said, despite my disbelief in deity, it is not uncommon for people to be perplexed as to why I still don't believe in their personal "miracles". Here are five reasons to best explain why I don't believe in the miraculous (being defined as "a marvelous event manifesting a supernatural act of a divine agent").
Reason 1: Lack of proof
Theists often say that they have proof of miracles in the bible. What they do not realize is that their holy books prove nothing. The miracles of Moses, Jonah, and Jesus have no more physical proof behind them than the fairy tale "jack and the beanstalk". If you believe that Jesus raised Lazarus from the dead, you can only do so by faith, there is no way to prove that that event ever occurred. Some people respond to this with the notion that we need to take the writers word for it. Although it is true that we rely on the method of "taking their word for it" when recording historic texts, it's important to note that I hold those other texts up to the same level of scrutiny. I take peoples word on the documentation of napoleons journey, but if I read that napoleon raised someone from the dead, or turned water into wine, I would be very skeptical.
Full article... http://www.helium.com/items/1632914-there-are-no-miraclesI don't believe in religion, I don't believe in God, and I most certainly... more
How are others finding life "beyond god"? If you are still in a religious community and wonder if you can safely and sanely exit, talk about it. There are, no doubt (excuse the pun), large numbers of believers who no longer believe. Where does someone go and who will understand? There are many of us who have done this and we understand.How are others finding life "beyond god"? If you are still in a religious... more
Righters, you may say this was in the constitution, but the real story is more strange that you might think. Also in the pledge of allegiance, under god was added in the fifties and I can not recite it as an agnostic. Also why in the world would you pledge to a scrap of colored material instead of just the nation?Righters, you may say this was in the constitution, but the real story is more strange... more
He says he's not trying to destroy your faith. He's not trying to bash the Bible. And, though his mother no longer talks to him about religion, Ehrman says some of his best friends are Christian.
Ehrman, a best-selling author and a professor of religious studies at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, is a biblical sleuth whose investigations make some people very angry. Like the fictional Robert Langdon character played by actor Tom Hanks in the movie "Angels & Demons," he delves into the past to challenge some of Christianity's central claims.
In Ehrman's latest book, "Jesus, Interrupted," he concludes:
Doctrines such as the divinity of Jesus and heaven and hell are not based on anything Jesus or his earlier followers said.
At least 19 of the 27 books in the New Testament are forgeries.
Believing the Bible is infallible is not a condition for being a Christian.
"Christianity has never been about the Bible being the inerrant word of God," Ehrman says. "Christianity is about the belief in Christ."
And so it continues... what do we think? Will there be a majority of agnostics in the U.S. in our lifetimes? Can our country and the world move "beyond" religion?He says he's not trying to destroy your faith. He's not trying to bash the... more
In the first Fireside entitled “Why Life”, the most basic questions of existence are both asked and answered. In the collection of his table talks entitled Some Answered Questions, Abdu’l-Baha builds a foundation for an understanding of the creation and purpose of the existence of all the levels or kingdoms within the natural world.
With this as the foundation for understanding the structure of creation, answers to questions and proofs of the reality of God are given and expounded upon. Proofs for the Divine Plan and those who revealed it to humanity are provided which open the door to the study of Religious, Cultural and Literary History as well.
The complete Fireside series is always given free of any price by any Baha’i acting under the Provisions of the Covenant of Baha’u'llah. This series is presented by the Great Grandson of Abdu'l-Baha.
The link at the top of the posting takes you to the website which has the videos in high quality.
Some older computers may have difficulty playing those so the links below will take you to the google version which is compressed differently to address this.
Here is the link to Part 1: http://video.google.com/videoplay?docid=1607387250711404247
Here is the link to part 2: http://video.google.com/videoplay?docid=-456249149580420930
Here is the link to part 3: http://video.google.com/videoplay?docid=3401103075913771917In the first Fireside entitled “Why Life”, the most basic questions of... more
ScienceDaily (Mar. 5, 2009) — Believing in God can help block anxiety and minimize stress, according to new University of Toronto research that shows distinct brain differences between believers and non-believers.
In two studies led by Assistant Psychology Professor Michael Inzlicht, participants performed a Stroop task – a well-known test of cognitive control – while hooked up to electrodes that measured their brain activity.
Compared to non-believers, the religious participants showed significantly less activity in the anterior cingulate cortex (ACC), a portion of the brain that helps modify behavior by signaling when attention and control are needed, usually as a result of some anxiety-producing event like making a mistake. The stronger their religious zeal and the more they believed in God, the less their ACC fired in response to their own errors, and the fewer errors they made.
"You could think of this part of the brain like a cortical alarm bell that rings when an individual has just made a mistake or experiences uncertainty," says lead author Inzlicht, who teaches and conducts research at the University of Toronto Scarborough. "We found that religious people or even people who simply believe in the existence of God show significantly less brain activity in relation to their own errors. They're much less anxious and feel less stressed when they have made an error."
These correlations remained strong even after controlling for personality and cognitive ability, says Inzlicht, who also found that religious participants made fewer errors on the Stroop task than their non-believing counterparts.
Their findings show religious belief has a calming effect on its devotees, which makes them less likely to feel anxious about making errors or facing the unknown. But Inzlicht cautions that anxiety is a "double-edged sword" which is at times necessary and helpful.
"Obviously, anxiety can be negative because if you have too much, you're paralyzed with fear," he says. "However, it also serves a very useful function in that it alerts us when we're making mistakes. If you don't experience anxiety when you make an error, what impetus do you have to change or improve your behaviour so you don't make the same mistakes again and again?"
The paper, appearing online in Psychological Science, was co-authored by Dr. Ian McGregor at York University, and by Jacob Hirsh and Kyle Nash, doctoral candidates at the University of Toronto and York University, respectively.ScienceDaily (Mar. 5, 2009) — Believing in God can help block anxiety and... more
You have likely heard that it is impossible to prove that God exists. You have heard wrong. Not only can the existence of God be proven, denying the proof undermines rational thought.
The Bible teaches that the existence of God is so obvious that we are without excuse for denying it.
Hoping that an alternate explanation for universal, immaterial, unchanging laws can someday be found apart from God, is a blind leap of faith, or wishful thinking. Isn't it interesting that this is exactly what professed unbelievers accuse Christians of?
Take a look at the proof and you make the decision. (Click the link above)You have likely heard that it is impossible to prove that God exists. You have heard... more
I think this video is fascinating. It's been a question which I've been going over in my head as of late so I was kind of happy to stumble upon this debate.
From the article:
Do skeptics, agnostics and atheists have anything in common with people of faith? The recent popularity of books on both sides shows many opinions but not much evidence of similarities. Theologian Michael Novak, author of No One Sees God, argues that believers and nonbelievers often share experiences, including times of doubt. Does doubt lead to disbelief? Does faith always involve leaving reason behind? In this Beliefnet Blogalogue, skeptic and journalist Heather MacDonald, takes on Michael Novak in a lively discussion. Join this conversation about faith and doubt, belief and reason, and whether there is common ground for believers and nonbelievers.I think this video is fascinating. It's been a question which I've been... more
"American citizens should be offended that our government makes theological statements on our behalf. By placing the phrase "in God we trust" on US currency, Congress has overstepped their bounds. Furthermore, it is insincere for any person who does not "trust in God" (atheists, pantheists, polytheists, etc.) to pass a note stating that he does trust in god.
The phrase should be removed from our currency. Unfortunately, this issue is not urgent enough to affect the way that we vote, so we cannot rely on electoral politics to remove this insult against our conscious. Instead, we should directly remove the phrase from our currency.
Anyone can simply draw a line through the phrase on paper money. The next time you are waiting for your computer to boot, grab a pen and your wallet and cross out the phrase on all bills.
More dedicated activists can also remove the phrase from coins
This modification of the money does not seem to be in violation of the currency law of the US, as described in Title 18, Part 1, Chapter 17 , as these modifications are neither fraudulant nor do they render the currency unfit for use.
For some history regarding the use of the phrase, see the Wikipedia article on In God We Trust."
This does not necesarily need to spark a theological debate, as in, whether or not you believe in god- but rather one on why it's on our money and why or why not we should remove it.
I think it should be removed out of respect for the diversity of belief systems in this country,
"American citizens should be offended that our government makes theological... more
"Controversial billboards touting freedom from religion and separation of church and state are going up around the downtown Phoenix area this week.
The Freedom From Religion Foundation, based in Madison, Wis., paid advertising company CBS Outdoor to put up five signs that read Imagine No Religion.
"The message on the billboards will start to go up today and will remain there for a month," said Annie Laurie Gaylor, co-president of Freedom From Religion.
The organization said it is comprised of 12,000 atheists or agnostics and aims to promote free thought and the separation of church and state.
The group has put up billboards in other U.S. cities and so far, Gaylor said, there has been little opposition to the billboards, and she doesn't anticipate any issues in Phoenix.
Religious groups said they are seeing an increase in atheist activism.
"I don't have a problem with people expressing their points of view in public," said Bob Mitchell, senior pastor at Central United Methodist Church, whose congregation has around 420 members.
Mitchell said he hopes there wouldn't be backlash against the billboards, but he added he wouldn't be surprised if there were.
"I would prefer that there was serious tolerant dialogue that might emerge from this publicity campaign because it is much needed," he said.
State Sen. Linda Gray of Glendale is critical of the organization and its billboards.
Gray, a Republican, thinks the signs will be offensive to those who believe in God.
The five sites chosen by the organization for the billboards were changed after CBS Outdoor said they had to be 1,000 feet from any schools or churches, Gaylor said. The sites were finalized late last week.
CBS Outdoor was not available for comment over the weekend. ""Controversial billboards touting freedom from religion and separation of church... more
"Putting up a billboard saying "Imagine No Religion" at the base of Capitol Hill, in the heart of not-too-churchgoing Seattle, is a bit like preaching to the choir. So to speak.
Mike Christensen knows this. But he's OK with it.
When he paid for the sign about a month ago in support of the Freedom From Religion Foundation, his goal never was to change people's minds. It was to get people thinking and talking. And maybe, just maybe, get a few more members for the foundation, which fights for the separation of church and state.
"I like the phrase 'Imagine No Religion' because it doesn't make a judgment," said Christensen, 28, a software engineer from Redmond. "It provokes thought."
Christensen, an atheist, joined the Freedom From Religion Foundation several years ago because he thought the Bush administration was getting too involved in religion.
The 30-year-old foundation started its billboard campaign last year.
So far, it's put up about a dozen signs in seven or so cities, including Atlanta and Columbus, Ohio. The group has a billboard reading "Keep Religion Out of Politics" about six blocks from the Democratic National Convention in Denver, and plans to have a similar mobile billboard at next week's Republican National Convention in St. Paul, Minn.
The billboards are "to remind people that we're here too," said Annie Laurie Gaylor, the foundation's co-president and co-founder. "If we don't make our presence known, as the nonreligious, then religion just wins by default."
Really ...imagine no religion. What do you think the world would be like?"Putting up a billboard saying "Imagine No Religion" at the base of... more
But I do respect the right of other people to believe other than I do. The problem I have with setting aside time for prayer in school is that I believe it infringes on my right not to believe.But I do respect the right of other people to believe other than I do. The problem I... more
Lots of hair growth, for one.