Category Archives: atheism

Have You Talked with Your Kids About Pledging Allegiance?

The original Pledge salute was eerily similar to the Nazi salute, so it was changed to hand-over-heart.

Are you a bad American if you refuse to recite the Pledge of Allegiance? Are you a bad parent if you encourage your child to opt out of the Pledge in school?

Not at all. In fact, sitting out the Pledge of Allegiance, and encouraging your children to do so as well, can be seen as an affirmation of certain important values that are sadly lacking in modern America. One could even argue that sitting out the Pledge is itself a noble act of patriotism – or, at least, that those who opt out are by no means any less patriotic than those who participate. (Note: the right to refuse participation in the Pledge has been guaranteed by the United States Supreme Court(link is external).)

It would be a mistake to assume that the Pledge of Allegiance is an exercise that somehow unites all good citizens. Most Americans – liberal, moderate, or conservative – are decent and loyal citizens who appreciate at some level the nation’s core values: freedom, equal rights, democracy, and the fundamental principles embedded in the Constitution. They may often disagree about how to define and apply those values, but that’s simply the nature of a pluralistic, open society. With such a diverse population and a wide range of viewpoints, it shouldn’t be surprising that many see little value in a pledge exercise.

At a minimum, parents should talk with their kids about the Pledge – about what it means, what it doesn’t mean, and even its history. For starters, kids should understand that the exercise is voluntary, because many schools don’t inform them of this. And whether individual children decide to participate or not, all kids should understand that nonparticipation is not unpatriotic or disrespectful in any way. The reverse side of the same coin would point out that participation doesn’t make one a patriot.

In fact, serious participation in the exercise might require a child to make affirmations that run contrary to a child’s core personal beliefs or matters of conscience – and this of course could be unhealthy and problematic. Some families may not believe that the nation is “under God,” for example, whereas others may not feel that we truly provide “liberty and justice for all.” Others may simply have objections to pledging to anything. Families grappling with such issues are part of the fabric of the nation, and they should be appreciated and supported, not criticized.

For any humanist family, and for many others as well, there are numerous issues relating to the Pledge that are worth discussing. A few of them would include:

The Loyalty Oath Problem. No matter how much you love your country, you could question the wisdom of any recitation that essentially amounts to a loyalty oath. To be good citizens, must we visibly and publicly pledge our allegiance? And must even childrendo so – on a daily basis? It’s interesting that the Founding Fathers never felt it desirable to promote such loyalty recitations from citizens. (In fact, the Pledge wasn’t even written until 1892(link is external), a full century after the founding era.) The framers, as men of reason with Enlightenment values, most likely would have been aghast at the idea of citizens being expected to regularly recite a loyalty pledge.

Promoting Nationalism. We can love our country while still being skeptical of nationalism. We can agree that America is a marvelous place, from sea to shining sea, and that the principles upon which it was founded are worthy of exaltation – but that doesn’t mean we should constantly encourage widespread feelings of nationalism. History shows that national pride (in America and elsewhere) can be overdone, that it can lead to militarism and a diminished appreciation of outsiders. Nationalism can be seen as a manifestation of the human tendency toward tribalism, and such “we-are-so-great” thinking is hardly an impulse that should be encouraged. Beyond our borders are fellow human beings whose worth and dignity should not be disregarded. As such, maybe we shouldn’t instill our children with a daily dose of national superiority.

Racist and sexist roots. Liberty and justice are fine values, but they are hardly a comprehensive statement of important American values. When Francis Bellamy, a socialist, originally wrote the Pledge in 1892, he considered including the values of equality and fraternity in the recitation, but he was discouraged from doing so. It seems that too many Americans – particularly those in leadership positions – were opposed to equality for women and African Americans, so inclusion of those values would have been too controversial. Thus, by excluding those values, the Pledge as it appears today reflects not-so-subtle invidious attitudes of racism and sexism – reason enough to pass on participating in it.

The ‘Under God’ Problem. Many Americans don’t even know that the “under God” wording was added to the Pledge in 1954, during the McCarthy era. Interestingly, in asurvey released this week(link is external) by the American Humanist Association, when Americans are informed about this history over one-third support removal of the words and a return to “one nation, individible.” Obviously, a statement that the nation is “under God” is contrary to the sincerely held beliefs of atheists, humanists, and other religious skeptics. That didn’t bother the Knights of Columbus(link is external) and other religious groups that lobbied for inclusion of the phrase, but it obviously bothers many nonbelievers The survey showed over 90 percent of atheists oppose the affirmation, as do more than one in five believers. As the Pledge currently reads, it defines patriotism by drawing a circle that excludes millions of atheists and humanists who of course are perfectly good citizens. That alone is reason for many to opt out.

The Rote Recitation Problem. In an age where critical thinking is hardly a widespread phenomenon, it’s hard to see how the act of reciting any pledge in unison with a large group does much good. Even if the Pledge of Allegiance were a perfect statement of national values – which it is not – it certainly isn’t a reflection of independent thinking. Group activities can indeed sometimes have value in an educational environment (reciting the alphabet, for example, or singing songs). But they are usually done for a short time – a few days, or perhaps a few weeks – until the lesson or the song is fully learned and appreciated, and then the class moves on to something else. However, a daily recitation of a pledge of national loyalty, for 13 years, is an indoctrination, not an education.

A Declaration of Independence. Just as participation in the Pledge exercise discourages independent thinking, nonparticipation is an act of independence. The nonparticipating student is making a statement of sorts – not a statement of disloyalty, but a statement that tells others that he/she will not be herded and given words to recite. The intelligent, independent thinker knows what her values are – and certainly does not need a dailygovernment-sponsored exercise to define them or instill them.

These are some of the reasons that good, decent Americans are sitting out the Pledge of Allegiance. Critics of nonparticipation might object, and they might even accuse nonparticipants of disloyalty. The late Sen. Joseph McCarthy, famous for witch hunts that, not coincidentally, were occurring as the Knights of Columbus was lobbying for insering “under God” into the Pledge in the early 1950s, would have called such nonparticipants disloyal and subversive. This, however, would prove my point. If those claiming to be the “real” patriots can accuse nonparticipants of disloyalty merely for opting out of a recitation, we have forgotten the meaning of patriotism. If anything, such accusations should encourage even more critical thinkers to opt out.

Humanists know that recitation of words does not make a patriot, nor does waiving a flag or putting a yellow magnet on one’s car. If you want to be a good American, talk is cheap – but there’s nothing unpatriotic about critical thinking and personal independence.

Follow on Twitter: @ahadave(link is external)

David Niose’s new book is coming out this fall. Preorder Fighting Back the Right: Reclaiming America from the Attack on Reason

Peace and Critical Thinking

by Jerry Bierens December 2, 2015

Forming a better world through logic, reason and critical thinking.

There is nothing more important than finding ways that we can all live together, in [world] peace and harmony.

This has been the ultimate challenge since we first learned to talk and to [try to] figure out problems that we face on a daily basis.

First what are the things and challenges that we must conquer to achieve peace and harmony on this one habitable planet we all share?

We are all creatures with needs and wants, and we, as brothers and sisters, should be able to construct a basic set of things that are necessary to achieve this goal of reasonable caring for each other and the wellbeing of all, not just the rich and powerful.

To start, what causes most discord amongst humans? Well, we all need food and shelter. That is at the top of the list of needs.

Second, there is, not just the basics as mentioned above, but the fact that we will not live long without understanding certain things that are critical, like being clean, learning what is unhealthy and why we get sick, whether it be physical or mental.

Since I’m not a physicist or a physician, I can only talk from a critical thinking and common sense point of view and how we acknowledge the problems that come from just being humans that have differences.

We do not live in the trees and socialize with just some grunts, body language and an order of social hierarchy understood by the group anymore.

We now have evolved into many social groups with many different languages. We have populated this planet from nearly pole to pole, with some exceptions, like the North and South poles. We visit there and have outcamps there, but we mainly do not generally live there.

Besides all these differences, there are things that are common to the areas where we live, and these certainly affect how, and why, we do certain things, and that is one source of what causes discord and prevents us from easily obtaining this elusive world peace.

If we all spoke the same language, had the same skin pigment and we were nearly identical, that would be a good thing, but it just isn’t that way.

Still it’s not imperative to have all those things and be that way. We can still live long and healthy if we can achieve peace and harmony by choosing to ignore these minor differences (after all, we now know for certain that all humans share a minimum of 10% sub-Saharan African DNA), and learn to get along for the good of all and in the best interests of all.

Let’s explore that as directly and as basically as we can.

The things that cause conflict and that must be solved to obtain this possibility of “world peace” can be identified with logic and reason.

We have wars because we have social differences, conflicting religious superstitions, want the same land or it can be just a lack of communication and understanding.

We can only get to the next possible level, of ending wars, feeding and taking care of each other by reasoning through things using critical thinking, logic and reason.

We need to choose to use our logic and critical thinking first, since one of the main problems we have, and have fought wars over for centuries, is the differences in our superstitions, otherwise known as religion.

Through logic, reasoning and critical thinking, we can lose our delusion that keeps these sects of religions alive and negatively affects our ability to get along. Using religious superstition and faith in things unseen, and without empherical proof, can be equated to a form of mental deficiency. Why? Because religion causes a lack of critical thinking and the ability to use our brains to dispell myths for what they are, fake and imaginary.

That is a necessary step and it won’t come easily, but can be done.

All religion is based on superstitutions and a belief in some “god” (take your pick, there have been around 2700 of them to choose from) and mainly it’s the huge “elephant in the room”, so to speak.

Faith without evidence is not a good thing. It deludes our thinking to the point of being the one thing that really harms us as a species. It causes hate and mistrust and that leads to conflicts.

Let’s face the truth here. All religions were invented by the people that were literate at the time versus those that weren’t for the sole purpose of keeping the peasants under control and in “their place”. We now know that as a fact and it’s just plain wrong.

There is no real use for these superstitions, or any religion anymore, and they are in fact the biggest source of conflict we have. It’s not logical. No one needs religion, superstions or belief in an unseen and invisible entity to be a moral person.

That is also a fact that can be verified through how many people are in jail/prison, have a higher education and generally live a moral life. (Atheists account for less than 0.2% of prison inmates, are generally smarter and have a generally better education)

Anyone, through the use of critical thinking, and if they use it to honestly look at all [their] religions, should, with logic, only come to one conclusion. God is imaginary.

Eliminate religion and superstition and what’s left?

Well, there’s these things to consider:

We will always have conflict over territory and land but without the insanity of religion, those differences, and most of these things could be resolved with reason, logic and cooperation.

I’m not calling for a new world order or a central government, just the fact that this one big stumbling block, religion, is at the root of us not being able to live in peace, with the good of all humanity, as the most critical, important thing. After all it is in the best interests of us all. War is not.

Then we must look at the way we treat this one planet that we need, as the next important issue for the good of all and for our very survival as a species. We are currently doing a lot of damage, some of it irreversable, to our air, land and water.

We must take care of this planet, our only home in this vast universe, at least for now, and just putting emphasis on eliminating this one thing (religion) would be a great start on that path.

My suggestion is to read many books, instead of just one terrible one, [take your favorite pick, the bible, quran or torah] and there are many out there that are readily available.

As a first book, I suggest the book, “How God Works” by  Marshall Brain as it teaches us how to use logic and critical thinking to end our superstitions and belief in fake, non-existent entities.

There is a path to a peaceful future and I believe it goes through this path of logic, reason and critical thinking. Yes, I am an Atheist.

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Are You Afraid of Critical Thinking?

The extremists that now make up the bulk of the GOP, brought to us through the fringe faction, called the Tea Party, have nothing to add to the progress and advancement of America or the human race. They are delusional and their participation in a democracy will only cause considerable damage. There is no upside with these people.
Because of them and their propensity to claim that ‘god’ “talks” to them (why does god only talk to stupid people?) and because of my agnostic view of religion, (I’ve had since I was about 5 or 6 years old), I have come to the realization that all religion and every “god” is imaginary and are all man made myths and fairy tales. And also that a democracy has no room for this fractured type of doublethink.
I firmly believe in the 100% separation of church and state. You are free to believe all the myths you want to, just keep them out of our government and laws (and lawmakers).
Going to the next step, with much research and a completely open mind, has brought me to the fact that, knowing these things, I find that Atheism is the only answer that makes any sense at all.
Here is a thought that I believe to be a valuable tool for theists to stop their doublethink and come to a new realization in the way they view this world, their religious beliefs, and how critical thinking is not a threat to them, but a new honest path to living.
Think about positive change worldwide and how it is possible with the right examination of what is provable and what is merely mythological. Here is a profound statement, writer unknown.
The way to change the world is to change people’s minds. As more and more people openly discuss the fact that “God” and “Allah” are completely imaginary, the world becomes a better place. The people who believe in “religion” look sillier and sillier. Eventually, religion becomes a fringe activity that is meaningless.
More can be found at this at this site and here;
If you truly are a good person, can allow new reasoning and critical thought, then you have no valid reason to not go there and read and evaluate the proven evidence we now have through science that proves that all gods are imaginary.
So if you’re a reader of this article and think that you possess an open mind, now is the time to prove it to yourself, or are you afraid of critical thinking?

Religion Has No Place in Education

Here’s some good news on the separation of church and state front.
We must remain vilgiant as these delusional types are continually trying to intertwine their (fake, man made) religion into our secular government.

As an atheist, I believe that we need to see more of this kind of progress. Then someday possibly a widespread awakening that all religion is fake and has no place in our governments worldwide will be the order of the day.

Theologies NEVER WORK!!! They harbor ancient myths as law and oppress and violate the rights of billions everyday. We must change if we are to save this planet and have a population free from discrimination and hate.

http://www.patheos.com/blogs/friendlyatheist/2015/07/13/mississippi-school-district-forced-to-pay-up-after-violating-court-order-and-repeatedly-promoting-christianity/?utm_source=SilverpopMailing&utm_m

Get you very own clean energy here: 

https://myenergy.arcadiapower.com/referral/by/jerry2380

Religion Causes Hate

 When I saw this picture on a post online, I saw red and a lot of anger at religious delusion and hate that it promotes.  

And people look at me like I’M the crazy one when I say that I’m an atheist.22109_686827548105850_3688404719116650903_n

 Religious delusion has never been a good thing, EVER, but in this day and age to have a planet that, by the best estimates has a population of (www.worldometers.info/world-population) about 7 billion+, and to have a large percentage of them suffering what can only be called a mental illness (religion), and the fact that any kind of mass awakening happening anytime soon is just a fantasy of mine, well you start to see the picture.

This kind of ancient thinking (which is promoted in all religious texts) might be on the rise among the deluded ones, that must number in the billions now (www.atheistempire.com).

Not a good thing for world peace.

 Worldwide acceptance that there is no “God” may be the only answer to human survival and true peace on earth.

 These delusional people all have that fucked up (arrogant) attitude that their “Sky God” is the only “RIGHT ONE”, and have proven time and time again that they’re more than willing to go to war over that, and well, I don’t see a happy ending to this.

   Without a majority of mankind losing their religious delusions and working as one race, the human race, for the good of all, with greed, hate and bigotry all put in their proper place, which is the garbage, I don’t see a happy ending here as long as religion is in the way. Think about8c2b7a69c301a100bb11c12464ab21a7 it.

Cognitive Dissonance

by Damien Lee Thorr, 02/19/2015

Today I would like to discuss cognitive dissonance. Specifically about how theists reject science in spite of the overwhelming evidence and how to keep their ignorance out of law, government, schools and our bedrooms.

We need atheist unity to combat politicians who attempt to sneak their beliefs into our laws and violate our freedoms. It made me very angry today when I read the news about the Arabian rape victim who was sentenced to 6 months in prison and 200 lashes. All because by Muslim law, a woman is forbidden to engage in sex before she is married. Clearly, the injustice speaks volumes about how mythological beliefs and ignorance must be kept out of government, courtrooms and laws.

When arguing with a theist, does anyone else ever think things like “if I had a dollar for every time I hear ‘I don’t care how much evidence you have, I’ll never give up my faith’, I would be pretty wealthy”?

One of the many things I encounter with people who believe in mythology (Christianity, Islam, Judeism….), is that no matter how much scientific and archaeological evidence there is out there that debunks their beliefs, they reject it as “opinions”. Isn’t that a pretty good example of ignorance?

Archaeological research indicates that there are NO writings outside of scripture (which are all mythological accounts), that document anything about Jesus.

There were several writers during the first century who reported the current events of the time (political, social, natural disasters and artistic) and not one mentions anything about him.

Additionally, if he was so famous, raising the dead, curing cripples, walking on water, turning water into wine and raising a ministry of hundreds of thousands and so angered the Jewish people and Romans alike, there would be much reason to report something about him….. but there is silence.

There are not even any Roman court documents that mention him in spite of the fact that scripture suggests he was tried by Pilate himself. Keeping in mind, the Romans were meticulous at keeping records of everything they did to demonstrate to their superior intelligence to reinforce their hold on the people they conquered. Everything was accounted for.

One must also keep in mind that there are no birth records, death records, tax records (as the Romans taxed everyone in the region), rabbi records and there is not even any record or mention of a last name. There are simply no documentations or any real life accounts about him during his alleged existence.

He is basically another man-invented deity attached to allegorical stories like the rest of them: Thorr, Horus, Osiris, Zeus, Odin, Metzli, Xenu, etc…..

I constantly hear evangelists and apologists cite Josephus but it is irrelevant. Josephus was not a contemporary and NEVER wrote anything about him.

For a start, Josephus was born in the year 37 CE (Common Era) and the alleged crucifixion took place somewhere between 29 CE and 34 CE. In other words, he was not around to document or witness.

There is a paragraph where he is mentioned in a much later version of the Josephus writings copied by christian scribes under the influence of Eusebius (235-339 CE), who arbitrarily edited the text and added a small paragraph about christ in the middle of two paragraphs where it clearly does not reflect relevance. It is evident by the paragraphs that follow which show zero relevance.

Additionally, if Christ was so famous and so important to the Jews and early Christians of the time period, why only such a short paragraph? And why only ONE, for that matter?

This has been determined by ALL scholars to be a forgery, especially since the passage does not appear anywhere in the earlier versions of the writings by Josephus, therefore, no writings of jesus exist outside of scripture. Therefore, it is all mythological.

The so called “eye witnesses” that Christians claim as evidence were born long after 34 CE (common era), the estimated date of the alleged crucifixion. So how could they have been witnesses to the resurrection if they were not even yet born to witness it? Christians are notorious for misrepresenting the facts.

Here are the facts regarding the “eye-witnesses” that Christians lie about: Flavius Josephus 37-100, Clement of Rome 38-102, Ignatius 35-107, Pliny 62-113, Suetonius 75-160, Tacitus 55-117, Polycarp 69-155, Justin Martyr 114-167, Lucian 125-180, Clement of Alexandria 150-211, Tertullian 155-230, Origen 185-254, Cyprian of Carthage 208-258, Eusebius 235-339. These findings have been confirmed and verified, yet, they reject it.

Sources: Oxford University Press, Dr. Bart Ehrman, Dr. Richard Carrier, Dr. Robert Price and David Fitzgerald.

As for Judeism, there is no evidence outside of scripture that Moses existed. No Egyptian records ever mention him nor a mass exodus of hundreds of thousands of jews and there is no archaeological evidence to corroborate that they were slaves and wandered through the desert for 40 years. That legend is a lie. Jews have tried using the defense that the Egyptians never documented their losses or defeats but that is not true since their defeat and conquest by the Romans has been well documented as well as the burning of Alexandria and many other defeats.

Muslims believe that the Qur’an contains a message from an all-powerful, all-knowing, infallible god. If this is true then it should not contain any errors or information that contradicts known facts about the universe. If even one error exists in the text of their holy book, then the claims of divine authorship and infallibility are not true. An objective evaluation of the Qur’an shows that it contains numerous scientific and historical errors and reflects a pre-scientific, 7th century view of the natural world.

Some apologists will contest those scientific errors in the Qur’an by appealing to metaphor, alternative meanings, or supernatural interpretations of the text. Even if we accept that alternative explanations were possible in every case, the wording and content of the verses often mimic the popular mythology and unscientific misconceptions of the time in which they were written. The author makes no clear or unambiguous statements that differentiate his understanding of the natural world from the common folklore of the people living in that era.

If the Qur’an was delivered by an all-powerful, all-knowing god, then he would have been able to foresee how such misleading statements would be understood by future generations and the doubts and confusions they have caused. This alone should be reason to reject any claims to divine authorship.

The worst part is that most theists are not at all interested in viewing the evidence that debunks their beliefs.

The problem with believers is that they cannot accept our atheism (they often feel threatened and they resort to insults and name-calling) because they feel they have “proof” to back up their claims in spite of evidence that debunks it all. The church controls gullible followers (who never question anything) with horror tactics, such as the threat of eternal burning hell. The facts remain that archaeological evidence demonstrates that it was man, in all cultures, who invented god/s to interpret and answer what he could not understand before we had science for valid, satisfactory answers.

When there is zero evidence to prove your imaginary god is real, that, within itself, is evidence he does not exist. However, apologists cling to their faith and one gets the feeling that a discussion with them is pretty much like administering medication to a corpse.

Turning water into wine, a woman getting pregnant without a man’s sperm, walking on water, a talking snake, raising the dead, the building of an ark to shelter and feed two of each species for more than a year, a woman transforming into a pillar of salt, a man swallowed alive by a whale for several days, the world being only six thousand years old, and resurrection…… These outrageous, untrue and impossible claims are nothing more than story-telling myths and should be the very first clue that the bible is not a newspaper from the past and in no way evidence of a god.

This doesn’t even touch the contradictions it is overwhelmed with!!!

Bottom line:

They all only believe their mythology because they have been lied to. They are clearly the product of the falsehoods their organizations teach and closed to the reality that there is no god, suspending rational judgment.

Long ago Christianity became the major mythological belief due to its gargantuan violence against those who opposed it. It was never about how true or divine it was because it never has been.

Today the Islamics use threats of violence in the same manner but they should know this:

WE WILL NOT YIELD TO ANY MORE MYTHOLOGICAL INSANITY THAT MASQUERADES AS REALITY!