Great article from Politico about the formation and motivating factors for the inception of the Religious Right. If you want to understand why your missionary parents believe what they do about abortion and state rights, you owe it to yourself to read this. Their ideas were intentionally constructed and spoon fed to them. Anytime an evangelical starts talking about abortion, remind them that evangelicals used to support it: The Real Origins of the Religious Right
Posted by Clamence/The Chaplain on June 1, 2014
Posted by Clamence/The Chaplain on May 10, 2014
Posted by Clamence/The Chaplain on July 19, 2013
Found this interesting article, on CNN today, about some researchers who have categorized atheists into six different types: Behold the 6 Type of Atheists. I am a 1, 2, and 4 atheist, apparently. What type are you?
Posted by Paulo on January 27, 2013
I took this picture a while back while travelling to the coast in North Carolina on vacation. Not sure why, but something about it makes me laugh, as if Ronald McDonald and the huge church cross in the background, the kind that you see scattered all over the American South almost as much as the golden arches, somehow fit together. He’s got his little rules written out for how to play in his playground, and standing under the cross he’s looking like a Moses figure or something… anyway, I thought maybe some of you might see the humor in it. Enjoy!
Posted by Paulo on August 14, 2012
Neil deGrasse Tyson is an astrophysicist, so he knows what he’s talking about. Just watch the video, it’s pretty funny too. I love this guy…
Posted by Paulo on May 4, 2012
How many times in my own life have I heard Christians, Muslims, and whoever else lamenting about how evil this world is and how they can’t wait for this world to end. The late Christopher Hitchens says it much better than I ever could.
Yes, he sounds like an arrogant bastard in the beginning but don’t let that put you off. Keep going and listen to what he has to say. He is dead on.
Posted by Paulo on February 20, 2012
This is the only thing I like about Easter: Cadbury Caramel Eggs. Chocolate on the outside and chewy caramel on the inside. I stopped by Walmart today on my way home from work and saw that they were there. Every year, that’s how I know Easter is right around the corner.
Posted by Noraa on February 4, 2012
Now that the Chaplain has left us, I guess we have no regular antagonist for the conversation. So I’m going to throw a thought out there I’ve been mulling over for some time now: pantheism.
I like this definition, although you could put it a number of other ways: “Pantheism is the view that the Universe (Nature) and God (or divinity) are identical. Pantheists thus do not believe in a personal, anthropomorphic or creator god. The word derives from the Greek (pan) meaning “all” and the Greek (theos) meaning “God”. As such, Pantheism denotes the idea that “God” is best seen as a process of relating to the Universe. Although there are divergences within Pantheism, the central ideas found in almost all versions are the Cosmos as an all-encompassing unity and the sacredness of Nature.”
I’m just curious as to what a group of “non-believers” feel about the idea. Let me ask that you not get too hung up on semantics. The word “god” and the suffix “theism” are very touchy, but from a pantheistic perspective I think they only have a vague semblance to the Christian fundamentalist use of the words.
I have been kind of embracing this idea lately. I guess you could argue it’s just me trying to fit my Christian upbringing together with my more current secular views. To me it just more accurately expresses how I perceive as the connected nature of the reality we live in than the word “atheist” and the like. There is something almost “magical” about life and the way everything ties together and works, in my experiences. While I realize that the “magicalness” of it is purely my perception of natural laws and processes, I believe my perceptions merit the right to have some bearing on how I label my view of reality.
I wasn’t really sure how to bring up this topic but I’ll leave it at that…….
Posted by Clamence/The Chaplain on January 4, 2012
I wanted to write all of you to share some final thoughts about my secular life, my connection to the world of evangelical Christianity, and to explain why I will soon be leaving my role of co-adminstrator and contributor to this blog. The epistolary form thus seems most appropriate; consider this a goodbye letter.
Let me start with the beginning of the journey that brought me to the creation of this blog. When I was suspended from a Christian college for missing too many early-morning, weekday chapel services (and after having already completed 2 1/2 years of my education), I made a pretty clean break with my Christian beliefs. It took a few more years to get to my Devil’s Heart Experiment, but for the most part I had little contact with church-going Christians and thought about religion very rarely. This period was followed by the completion of my undergraduate and graduate degrees at a secular state university–again, I was only occasionally immersed in a Christianity-drenched setting.
However, that all changed with the emergence of the MySpace social-media application. One day, as I was browsing, I discovered a MySpace discussion forum devoted entirely to the Baptist, Missionary-Kid boarding school I had attended for three years in high school. The site consisted mostly of ICAers who were about a decade younger than me, but there were also quite a few people from my generation. My first contribution to the forum addressed an ongoing discussion about abortion. I wrote an even-handed and calm analysis of the arguments used to justify the pro-life and pro-choice positions. As the discussions went on over the next several months, I began to waste more and more time each night after work (or even at work) writing these endless rebuttals, explanations and defenses of my views on a whole slew of issues. Those writing marathons became increasingly fueled by bottles of wine and growing frustration, as my posts became more and more incredulous and aggressive. I was actually naive enough to think that providing a full deconstruction of Christian arguments and evidence would show MKs like me they’ve been living their lives based on falsehoods about the nature of reality. Crazy, right? I didn’t realize, at that time, most Christians don’t care about the evidence, or how meaning gets constructed through rhetoric and argument. It’s obvious to me now; I should have remembered that faith (belief without any evidence) is considered a virtue in their belief system–it has to be to perpetuate the belief in the make believe. Eventually, I went on a drunken rant where I insulted the intelligence of the folks I’d been debating, and I left the discussion group for my mental health.
I started this blog when I left that MySpace group. At the time, I discovered I was good at discussing and writing about Christian beliefs from an ex-Christian viewpoint, and it just seemed natural to continue what I had started. As it turns out, this is not a life-long mission for me. Rather, it is a process, and it is not an endless one. I’ve reached a point now where I have nothing new to say, as I feel like everything there is to say about the falsity of Christianity has been said. I needed to write about it to reason it out for myself and to test my arguments for leaks and holes. It’s been fun, but now I want to transition back to that time in my life when there wasn’t so much negativity (i.e. Christian ideas) floating around in my head. I want to be able, once again, to see a news headline related to Christians and to think, “Who gives a fuck?” Even debunking Christianity is a form of immersing yourself in it, and I want to wash that religion right out of my hair. Fortunately, I’m mostly bald, so I don’t anticipate any problems.
My plan within the next few days is to transfer all 119 of my posts to one of the other administrators on this site, so they will continue to exist. I’d like to especially thank Ann and Paulo for working on this blog with me from the very beginning and for writing such great posts and comments. Thanks as well to Jerry, prb3, dsc01, Noraa and Jester for acting as contributors and for writing such thoughtful comments and posts. Finally, thanks to you lurkers out there (JN!) who also made significant contributions to our discussions through your comments.
Posted by Clamence/The Chaplain on December 16, 2011
Here is a quote from Hitchens I found in one of the articles on the web that commemorates his life: “Faith is the surrender of the mind; it’s the surrender of reason, it’s the surrender of the only thing that makes us different from other mammals [...] It’s our need to believe, and to surrender our skepticism and our reason, our yearning to discard that and put all our trust or faith in someone or something, that is the sinister thing to me. Of all the supposed virtues, faith must be the most overrated.”
Posted by dsc01 on December 14, 2011
I’ve mentioned before that letting go of theism lifted a weight from my shoulders. It certainly did. Believing the unbelievable is an unbearable burden. Carrying constant guilt weighs a person down. But that doesn’t mean that disbelief doesn’t come with its own burdens to bear.
I am fairly “in the closet,” as an atheist, for a number of reasons, the primary one being the likely loss of my job, should I ever come out too publicly. However, whenever I can, I strive to be brutally honest–amiable, to be sure, but wholly unapologetic.
Now, my totally reasonable terror of losing my livelihood is ample evidence of societal discrimination against atheists. That’s only aggravating. The discrimination becomes a burden when it hits closer to home.
Recently, my wife and I were uninvited from an extended Thanksgiving celebration that we had been looking forward to. The bearer of the news, one of my best friends, ever, was pretty irate, but he had to keep the peace with his sister-in-law, who expressed annoyance at the invitation of non-family members. You know, in the grand tradition of the first Thanksgiving, which was about familial insularity and not communion with people one usually didn’t associate with (/sarcasm).
Eventually, it came out that my family–my wife and I, that is–was the specific problem. The aforementioned sister-in-law to my dear friend doesn’t trust us wicked atheists around her children.
And there is the burden. It’s one thing to be able to feel righteous indignation about discrimination in our society. It’s another thing to be barred from a family gathering (and I do consider this friend to basically be my family) because one is an atheist.
That’s pretty rough. And it’s a bunch of bullshit. And it hurts.
But that’s life, after all.