Archive for October, 2009

Abortion Anxiety

Posted in Atheist, belief, Bible, biological traits, faith, humanity, medical, nature, random, religion, science, thoughts with tags , , , , , , , on October 29, 2009 by chouck017894

Thoughts in regard to news that an extreme fringe group of anti-abortionists is trying to drum up cash for legal defense of Scott Roeder, killer of Dr. George Tiller who tried to provide for women seeking safe abortion.

Ask most anti-abortion supporters where in the Bible it is stated that inducing abortion is forbidden and they dutifully allude to three or four selected biblical verses, especially the sixth Commandment forbidding killing.  Other verses cited are in regard to the conceiving of one special person such as a man who is allegedly meant to be a “prophet” or who is to become king.  Because God is referred to as having worked in the womb of some certain woman for God’s special purpose, none of the verses used as authority declare or even imply that God is the active participant in every conception.

A favorite bit of anti-abortion propaganda is a phrase in the first chapter of the book of Jeremiah, verse 5, that goes; “Before I formed thee in the belly I knew thee…”  If these Bible pickers would just read the rest of the passage, the words there do not support their argument.  The phrase held in such fanatic respect was allegedly spoken to Jeremiah personally, to whom God also allegedly said, “…before thou camest forth out of the womb, I sanctified thee, and I ordained thee a prophet of nations.”  The soliloquy continues through verse 10 and elaborates on Jeremiah’s call as “prophet.”  So, unless everyone is to play the role of “prophet” to nations it cannot be said of them, “…before I formed thee in the belly I knew thee.”

Another favorite bit of cherry picking the Bible is Psalms 139:13-16, supposedly composed by King David, that alludes, “…thou hast covered me in my mother’s womb.”  And, “My substance was not hid from thee, when I was made in secret, and curiously wrought in the lowest parts of the earth.  Thine eyes did see my substance, yet being unperfect; and in thy book all my members were written which in continuance were fashioned, when as yet there was none of them.”  So, once again, only one particular pregnancy was personally activated and it does not support the claim that every conception is God-ordained.

The third popular selection of holy word ferreted out by anti-abortionists comes from Luke 1:39-41 that describes the unlikelihood of a fetus (who was to become John the Baptist) carried in Elisabeth’s body leaping in his mother’s womb when Mary, pregnant with Jesus, greeted her.  That passage is taken by anti-abortionists to imply that all gestating fetuses are sentient persons; but once again the account is in regard only to a “prophet” allegedly ordained by God. 

Religious dogma too often celebrates ignorance, such as the untruth that self-aware physical personhood begins at conception.  A fertilized egg—a zygote—within a woman’s abdomen becomes active with 23 chromosomes from her egg and 23 chromosomes from a man’s sperm.  The resultant single cell that evolves then contains all the DNA to initiate a cellular glob, but that cellular mass has only the potential to evolve into a physical independent being.  The unproven assertion that a cognizant human exists is not a scientific or holy fact.

During the gestation period, a simple cell amoeba becomes activated by drawing upon nutrients and oxygen supplied by the carrier, which then converts (evolves) into biological energy which causes cells to divide, multiply and grow.  The developing energy-substance, although containing all 46 chromosomes for a potential human being, is not yet endowed with consciousness of self.  It is still simply a growing amoeba, meaning that it is without consciousness of personhood.  This is the indifferent method as described in Genesis by which all life in nature was programmed to renew itself.

Although a zygote, the fertilized egg, does contain all 46 chromosomes that can involve and evolve as a potential human, it is alive only as a mass of cells that are multiplying as an energy substance which continues to lack any consciousness of self.  That energy-mass will react to stimulus around itself just as “dead” tissue can be made to jerk by electrical stimulation, but it does not and cannot exist except by drawing all necessary life stimulants from its carrier.  Until the developing mass can breathe and take nourishment with a smattering of consciousness, it remains only a potential person.

Abandonment of Life

Posted in culture, humanity, life, meaning of life, random, thoughts with tags , , on October 26, 2009 by chouck017894

(In memory of a 17-year-old boy who committed suicide because he was made to feel guilty about being gay.)

There is little spoken in the  media or in social conversation about the quiet desperation and depression that leads people to commit suicide.  That seems an odd avoidance when one considers that in the United States alone more than 33,000 persons kill themselves every year.  That is the eleventh leading cause of death in the US.  It is estimated that twelve to twenty-five attempted suicides occur per every suicide death.  Statistics show that nearly four times as many males as females die by suicide, with the age group of 15 to 19 year olds figured into the research; and more than six times as many males as females commit suicide in the age grouping 20 to 24.  That should be alarming enough to accept that suicide is a major health problem—a preventable health problem and is a subject that needs to be more openly addressed.  Most suicide attempts are not attempts for attention, but are commonly due to extreme distress. 

Several factors can figure into suicide risk, from mental disorder, substance abuse, family violence—which may include physical or sexual abuse, or peer pressure that makes one feel less than “normal.”

For anyone that seems to be coping with suicidal thought, please consider:

  • Talk with someone, a friend, family member, a therapist—even if you may not feel social.
  • Avoid any form of substance reliance.
  • Make friends with sunlight for at least 30 minutes: bright light can ease the shadows of depression.
  • Set aside at least two 30-minute periods a day for some activity that gives you pleasure and relaxation.  Avoid things at which you might fail.
  • Set priorities; they give a sense of control, even of predictability.  Keep a list of your accomplished self-administered tasks.
  • And finally, give attention to your physical health—which means attempting a well balanced diet, not skipping meals, doing some form of exercise for 30 minutes a day, and get all the sleep you need.

For anyone who has experienced the suicide of some family member, friend, or even a casual acquaintance, the emotional scar remains for a lifetime.  There is always the nagging question of why?  And it is common to keep the questioning locked up inside, where it festers with remorse, anger, guilt at not having better communicated with them—and it all gets salted with resentment at the echoing emptiness that is sometimes felt.  There is always that question, why couldn’t someone have seen the warning signs?  If we had just noted  the little warning signs we could have spoken up, we could have made a difference.  Even now, knowing all we know of suicide rates, our silence can be deadly.

Victimizing Gays is to Mock Jesus

Posted in Atheist, belief, Bible, biological traits, Christianity, culture, faith, freethought, humanity, life, logic, random, religion, sex, sex taboos, thoughts with tags , , , , , , , , on October 26, 2009 by chouck017894

There are attitudes of religion, and an attitude, we should remember, is not a given truth, it is simply an affectation of cultured disposition.  This assessment was spawned by the recent news that opposition to same-sex marriage had been whipped up in the state of Maine by the very same bigots that managed to pervert equal justice in the state of California.  Behind the scenes those Christian groups claiming to hold exclusive access to Heaven’s discrimination list were, by their practiced intolerance, mocking the teachings of the one they claim as their savior.  In their self-absorbed practice they intentionally subvert the early teachings credited to Jesus in the New Testament of love one another and have canonized prejudice instead.  Jesus’ words of love and tolerance simply are not good enough for them!

There is, of course, extreme hypocrisy in their attitude.  This is most glaringly apparent in those known collectively as the Religious Right or Fundamentalists who love to pick and choose Bible verses out of context to stir up hatreds.  For some unexplainable reason they seem to believe that their sins will be  forgiven by God’s grace, but that some other persons who by circumstance of their “intelligent design” chromosomal makeup are inclined to same-sex attraction are held to be rejected by their designer.  In spite of the man-written Bible verses of God’s supposed “laws,” the chromosomal arrangement of a person cannot truthfully be said to run counter to those “laws,” nor is the resultant lifestyle of those persons merely their “choice” to live rebelliously.

Perhaps we should note that research on marriage has shown that around fifty percent of those who subscribe to the religious right happen to be divorced and have remarried.  And of that category over eighty-five percent of those who divorced have remarried.  According to the man-composed book of Luke 16:18, “Every one who divorces his wife and marries another commits adultery, and he who marries a woman divorced from her husband commits adultery.”   In other words, those using the Bible as a weapon have themselves chosen a sinful lifestyle according to that interpretation of spiritual worthiness.  So the right-wingers choose to indulge in hypocrisy to gratify their ego but demand that gays must turn from their “sinful” lifestyle.  It is much more blessed in their opinion to “go forth and multiply” and contribute to world overpopulation.

The earlier NT account of the teacher (as given in Mark and Matthew) that became restructured into corporate religionism said this: “Judge not, that you be judged.  For with the judgment you pronounce you will be judged, and the measure you give will be the measure you get.” (Matthew 7:1-2)

Shouldn’t the devotees of “my way only” religionism explain just how homosexuality is a greater “sin” than the unholy adultery indulged in through divorce?  How are gays such a threat to “family values” or a menace to children?  Very few homosexuals are actually pedophiles, except maybe in the church.  Since the bulk of those who divorce remarry, the result is that over fifty percent of the children in the nation are victims of torn-apart families and endure the trauma of having to merge with strangers as “family.”  Add to this that step-parents are too often the culprits in a high percent of child abuse cases.  That is a lot of abuse, and it is not due to gays in society.

Attacking a small percentage of society to cover up their  own transgressions is an appalling way to demonstrate an alleged faith in higher wisdom.  Making war on a minority segment of society that simply loves their own does nothing constructively for society.  Slogans such as we love the sinner but hate the sin” is nothing more than empty, pompous rhetoric.  As Einstein observed, “You cannot simultaneously say you love someone and use your power against them.”  And why do the right-wingers consistently ignore the famous quote attributed to Jesus: “Let ye who is without sin cast the first stone”?  To indulge in the attempt to rationalize their own sins away while spouting hatred for other lifestyles “in god’s name,” the Right Wing and Fundamentalists choose to mock the one they claim as their savior.

It is written in Mark 12:31 that Jesus said, “You must love your neighbor as yourself.  There is no greater commandment.”  Not only are a percentage of neighbors probably homosexually inclined, but so too it is likely that one or two are in your immediate family as well.

Freedom of Faith & the UN

Posted in Atheist, belief, culture, faith, history, humanity, life, politics, random, religion, thoughts, Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , on October 25, 2009 by chouck017894

Freedom of faith—the awareness that every being in Creation has their own link to the Creative Source—is not an ideology favored by persons hungry for worldly power. Unlike the United States where freedom of faith and of speech was set down as two of the cornerstones of democracy, many other regions of the world have not been blessed with such an intelligent approach to government.

After World War II, as nations sought intelligent means of cooperation among nations, the ideals that had led the United States into the world’s major power became the model upon which the United Nations was established in 1948.  Freedom of speech and faith was recognized as the premium means of encouraging understanding and tolerance among nations.  Thus these principles of man’s equal rights became enshrined as a universal Declaration of Human Rights to which every member nation must set their sign of approval.  And guided by that Declaration the United Nations has continued to function as the forum where promotion of peace and human rights have been honored and upheld.

But there is an upcoming annual attempt by some member nations to slyly undermine those noble principles which they declared to have accepted.  The cover for that annual move to curb religious freedom bears the innocuous sounding title The Defamation of Religion Resolution.  Buried beneath that headstone, however, is the intent to silence the words or actions that are judged to be detrimental to a particular religion—and that religion just happens to be Islam.  In other words, the true purpose of that annual proposal is the attempt to silence anyone who might hold a differing faith, or no faith at all. 

The driving force behind that annual move to savage the UN Declaration of Human Rights is none other than the Organization of Islamic Conference composed of 57 countries with a heavy Muslim majority.  Their objective, when analyzed, is hardly a peaceful one.  It is clearly, as Leonard A. Leo, chair of the United States Commission on International Religious Freedom observed, a deceitful attempt to “create a global blasphemy law.”

Certainly the Muslim proposed Resolution is not concerned with genuine religious freedom; it is concerned totally with protecting their own  man-conceived religious practices.  Tolerance, charity and love are not exactly the strong points of Islam, as is indicated by their repressive governments where anyone deemed as offensive or who dares to speak out against a favored sect or religious practice is punished severely—even with death.

Questioning the Quran and its contradictions, for example, is enough to allow gross violations of human rights.  There are “blasphemy laws” in Pakistan, as an illustration, that are routinely used against Christians and other minorities as reason for arrests and inhumane treatment.  If the UN ever voted in favor of the deceptive Defamation of Religion Resolution, the world would then find the blasphemy laws held up as justification for selectively restricting religious speech of minority communities.  It is then but a tiny step toward selectively curtailing civil dissent and  muzzling any criticism of the political structure in power.

Sex Attraction, A Bogus “Spiritual” Dilemma

Posted in Atheist, biological traits, Christianity, culture, freethought, humanity, life, logic, medical, naturalism, random, religion, science, sex, sex taboos with tags , , , , , , , on October 19, 2009 by chouck017894

(There was enough sex-charged spam feedback on a previous post, Thoughts on Gay Marriage, to merit a few other comments.)

Chromosomes and the chemistry of the brain determine a person’s behavior and their attraction to other persons functioning on a similar wavelength, so to speak.  The effect of sex chromosomes and the chemical sex hormones do not have an undeviating manner of lining up or assembling according to one’s general anatomical features as adherents of radical religious prejudices choose to pretend.  Furthermore, anatomists know there are considerable variations in the human brain—its shape, thalamus, structure of the cerebrum, etc.—that are extremely variable and are as individual as an individual’s fingerprints.  Mental and/or sensory properties connected with brain structure may align within widely diverse ranges, and no two person will ever be exactly the same—not even “identical” twins.

The chromosomes chemically control the total development of the body, the brain and intelligence.  These do so in a wide range of ways throughout a person’s life.  Within these God-allowable differences there is left open the allowance for great diversity of life and love expressions.  Therefore, for religious or political factions to pretend that only one narrow expression of life or love is expected by “god” to be striven for by all  individuals is contrary to the manner in which the physical human organism was created.  If one believes that “intelligent design” is at work and responsible for all manifestations, then religious or political demands for one-style-only expressions of personal affection amounts to sacrilege.

Those who wax with rigid divine certainty regarding same-sex attraction would do well to remember that studies in the difference in development of body and brain have shown that the brain needs considerable amount of body to function well.  On the other hand, it has been medically authenticated that the body needs very little brain to exist.  Radical religionists seem to be out to prove this.

The physical body differences of male and female provides personal consciousness with only a representation of the interactions that take place between the chemical code in the chromosomes and the chemical process that contribute to physical body differences.  In other words, the chromosomal and chemical “design” decrees great tolerance in human physical, mental and emotional expression.  This is problematic only for those who choose to work themselves into hysterical prejudice and hatred for anyone that finds personal expression in a differnent manner from themselves.

 No, Virginia, there is no “gay gene,” but there is something that is infinitely grand: the God-allowable differences for all life expressions.

Government and Religion

Posted in Atheist, culture, freethought, Government, history, life, politics, random, religion, thoughts with tags , , , , , on October 17, 2009 by chouck017894

Thomas Jefferson—chairman of a committee of five to prepare a draft of the Declaration of Independence from England, elected to the Continental Congress in 1775 and 1776, Secretary of State under the first President of the United States, and himself the third President—was adamant that church and state must be kept separate.

Jefferson wisely rejected advice from religious representatives who sought to pressure him to institute days of prayer, and said that he believed that government officials did not have legal justification to call people to pray.  Jefferson spelled out his position and that of the nation’s Constitution with this observation:

  • “I consider the government of the United States as interdicted by the Constitution from intermeddling with religious institutions, their doctrines, discipline or exercises.”   He further clarified this, saying, “Every religious society has the right to determine for itself the times for (religious) exercises and the objects proper for them, according to their own particular tenets, and this right can never be safer than in their own hands, where the Constitution has deposed it.”

One of the numerous milestones during Jefferson’s two terms as president was the definition of treason by the Supreme Court—in the Justus Erich Bollman case (1807) which established an important precedent in the law of writ of habeas corpus and the crime of treason.  The principle laid down was that an actual levy of war, and not merely an intention to levy war, must be established to convict a person of treason.  Today we must ponder finer points of habeas corpus and treason, and whether this precedent covers the deliberate lying to lead the nation into an unnecessary war. 

A friend and colleague of Jefferson, James Madison, was an American statesman now recognized as the “Father of the Constitution,” and he served as the fourth president of the United States.  Madison had made the notable contribution to the Virginia State Constitution in a clause granting a “free exercise of religion”—one of the earliest provisions for religious freedom in American law.  Features of the Virginia constitution were later incorporated into the Constitution of the US.

Events led Madison to recognize the danger of too much central authority in a democratic government.  And being familiar with the Dark Age history of Europe, he recognized as well the danger to democracy of religion being mixed into government.  After he had been manipulated by religious representative into issuing a few religious proclamations, he found himself bitterly regretting that he had done so.  He later wrote, “There is not a shadow of right in the general government to intermeddle with religion.  Its least interference with it would be a most flagrant usurpation.”

Today we in the United States find a relentless move by extreme religious factions to take advantage of the religious freedom that Jefferson and Madison championed, and they brazenly attempt to subjugate true democratic principles that elevated the nation to a world power. 

  •  Related post: Corporations Shaft America, Sept. 19, 2009.

Thoughts on Gay Marriage

Posted in Atheist, belief, Bible, Christianity, culture, faith, freethought, history, humanity, life, politics, random, religion, sex taboos, thoughts, Uncategorized with tags , , , , , on October 17, 2009 by chouck017894

Not too long ago in our alleged “everyone is equal” USA democracy, the courts of many states justified bans on interracial couples marrying while still claiming that “persons of color” and whites were treated equally.  Many even pointed to the Bible, the alleged “word of god,” as their authority for the practice of racially inspired prejudice—a book that nowhere ever condemned slavery as immoral.

In later form religious inspired hatred, having been legally thwarted in their racial discrimination, was turned to same sex attraction as the ultimate no-no in their hate-wrapped assessment of what is required for spiritual purity.  The nation was forced  to witness the true colors of religious ethics when the proposal was presented in the state of California for granting same-sex couples contracts of marriage.  With multimillions of dollars pumped into the state of California from the Utah-based Mormon church, the lies were spread that in allowing two persons of the same sex to openly commit themselves to each other in a legal contract would somehow jeopardized heterosexual marriages, and that such legal recognition would in some unstated manner encourage homosexuality!

The Utah-based Mormon elders bought off the California residents with those fraudulent assertions and Proposition 8, allowing same-sex marriage rights, was defeated.  The Mormon elders wallowed in their ego-gratifying rationale, and gallingly insisted that the measure ensured that men and women were treated equally—they just couldn’t openly and respectfully pledge devotion and dedication to someone of the same sex.  Again the radical religionists pointed to the Bible as their standard of pretended virtues.

Oddly, Jesus, who is portrayed as having meandered around the country with a group of males whom he had instructed to abandon their families to follow him, said absolutely nothing about same sex attraction.  During their male-only three-year travel indulgence, apparently none of them did a lick of work.  Even so, prejudicial judgment can still be fired up with concocted divine disapproval.  The favored verse in the book of Romans used to fan hatred of same sex attraction happened to have been written c.100 CE, and was part of a social comment that was inspired by the  declining population in Rome at that time.  Making a huge issue out of  same-sex attraction—which happens to occur all through nature—as soul-endangering begs the question that if it is such a horrendous threat to spiritual purity then why was it not a concern put forth in the Ten Commandments, for example? 

The fraudulent religious-inspired indignation of same-sex couples avowing loving commitment to one another as being reason for denial of legal commitment is nothing more than spiritual pretense.  If that is the rationale for opposing loving same-sex unions, shouldn’t we also question the Court’s decision that allows such persons as tax evaders, deadbeat parents, hardcore criminals, and even Death Row inmates the right to marry?  There was never a “Proposition” ever put forth for public approval or disapproval—or Mormon intrusion—as to whether or not those persons should be allowed to marry. 

Apparently jimmying prejudice into the California State Constitution through pressure of lies of out-of-state rightwing religionists—whose founder just happened to indulge himself with fifty-two serial “wives”—was not recognized by the California voting citizens as a glaring example of dysfunctional democracy.

  • See related post: Breeding for God, Sept. 25.