Welcome to Thursday Coffee Hour. This is an open topic thread so help yourself to the goodies and sit a spell and let us know what is new with you. In Greek mythology Gaia was the personification of Earth. Gaia is also the name of a theory that posits that the organic and inorganic components of Planet Earth have evolved together as a single living, self-regulating system.
Mohabat News, an Iranian Christian news service, quotes Mohamaad Ali Isfenani as announcing to the public and Parliament in a recent meeting:
“As some people may not comply with our current Islamic legal system, we must regard 9 as being the appropriate age for a girl to have reached puberty and qualified to get married. To do otherwise would be to contradict and challenge Islamic Sharia law.”
According to recently released statistics reported by Mohabat news, in the past few weeks over seventy-five female children under the age of 10 were forced to marry much older men in Iran.
Ever have one of those days where you just want to go back to bed?
Todays is one of those days for me. It is a cold 43.6 °F , with wind, and rain. Dirty dishes in the dishwasher. flickr has been upgraded. Could not find the share - html links. Contractor hasn't shown up to finish a job. Darn cat's in heat again. Wait what?! Hear I kid about the cat.
Thank you to p50, smileycreek and navjo for your flickr help!
Spoke to soon, now flickr is not responding. Spinning, spinning.... Finally I can post a photo.
How about you? How are you? I need some serious hugs! Smiles. Laughter.
This is a Street Prophets Open Thread. All subjects, art, photos and quotes welcome.
Realistically, if Kaitlyn were male, this wouldn’t even be news. First, because her girlfriend’s parents wouldn’t consider it breaking the law if their daughter was dating a guy who happened to turn 18 in the course of their relationship. But even if Kaitlyn was male and they didn’t approve of him, they could still abuse the law.
This law is statutory rape. Statutory rape is defined as any adult who takes sexual advantage of a minor’s inability to formulate good choices, or for the protection of mentally incapacitated people, regardless of age. This law was never intended to be used by parents as a way to destroy the lives of people they felt were unworthy, not only of being a part of their family, but being a part of anyone’s family. The pedophile law is forever on purpose. It needs to be. However, this wasn’t meant to label teenagers as pedophiles for the rest of their lives, simply because their girlfriend or boyfriend’s family didn’t approve.
OK, the title is slightly misleading--Blitzer didn't know she was an atheist until after he asked, but that's kind of the point--it was an unbelievably inappropriate thing to ask.
I suppose it's better than asking whether she thanked Jesus, but still.
Aside from the presumptive nature of asking her that question, there's also the implied insult that such a statement makes about those who didn't survive. I guess if God was "watching over" the survivors, it means, by definition, that God didn't give a shit about the ones who died, right?
Leave it to Pat to use the latest tragedy to spew his twisted version of Christianity. Yes, it's the fault of the people who live in Tornado Alley that their homes get hit by tornadoes. Of course, Tornado Alley actually takes up a large part of the central part of our country, leaving one to wonder where Pat thinks people should live, if you include his lumping in earthquakes and floods. I'm not sure if there are any places that are completely free of natural disasters, but if there are, I am sure that we couldn't fit everyone into it.
Welcome to the Tuesday Coffee Hour here on Street Prophets. This is an open thread where we can hang out and talk about what’s going on in our worlds. I thought I’d start today’s discussion by looking at some ducks swimming in a small creek.
War veteran and Atheist tosses hat into Mayoral race in LaGrange, Georgia
Candidate actually believes that the citizens in his city should have a politician working for them.
Vice President of PR/Marketing Bernard "Flash" Kellish says, "The National Atheist Party is honored to support Mr. Smith's run for Mayor of LaGrange, not only because he is an atheist running for office in the bible belt, but because his platform is solid and he is not accepting contributions. That to me is not only extremely refreshing, but an inspiration of things to come. In my opinion, America needs more candidates like Mike Smith."
I am familiar with church politics. My family, going back as far as anyone can remember, has been driven to be involved in their church’s operations, usually as board members and Sunday school teachers. One thing that has vexed me is the reality that most people in the South that attend church regularly are unprepared for anything that steps outside of tradition. Preachers have to take care with what they allow themselves to say in their sermons. The past two hundred years have revealed startling information that would have turned religion on its head if it had been shared with its followers. I do not want to go into that now, but careful reading of the bible and other books written by the growing number of theological scholars along with historians of antiquity are good sources for what has been skillfully kept from congregations in most parts of the world. I’m speaking of Christianity, since this is my background, but this trend seems to be consistent everywhere. It’s for this reason that my preacher’s sudden statement of the steady decline of religion was not backed up by anything more than what is evident such as the dwindling number of young people that attend church or involve themselves in other ways. I semi-consciously made myself open to being receptive to the reasons for religion’s decline as they made themselves evident.
Let me just say that I do not believe that the decline of religion is due to young people being less involved. If they are dropping away from Christianity, or their respective religion, I see that as a symptom of how religion has failed to embrace Jesus’ message of love and offers too great an emphasis on the super-natural among other things that are rarely explained. Is it difficult to understand that a young person would need to have been raised in the church to find supernatural events genuinely plausible or even an adult? I was well into my twenty’s when I had my first serious George Carlin or Bill Maher moment; when a person finally says, “Now let me get this straight…..”. I find that moment of doubt to be nearly as precious as the first time I realized that I was paying attention in church.
The data is irrefutable. The world’s religions are beginning to decline. Church membership is very slowly shrinking, though hardly noticeable in the United States, but far more apparent in Europe. These European churches are easily seen from high-speed rail along each nation’s less populated countryside, noticeably empty and in ill repair.
Other than the emphasis on the benevolent super-natural there is the pervading message of doom clearly spelled out in the Book of Revelation that fundamentalist Christians claim belief. Back when Tim LaHaye and Jerry B. Jenkins’ ‘Left Behind’ series was gaining popularity, I believed their books were a reflection of what was to come. Being familiar with Revelations helped me understand the story from one novel to the next. The theme was consistently negative, and meant to frighten the reader into being an obedient follower of whatever the bible dictated. It would be accurate to say that the reader could find what they were looking for depending on their devotion and expectations. Both of these factors gradually changed for me as I learned more about the origin of John’s mysterious book to the seven very young churches of the first and second centuries.
My family’s devotion to Christianity gave me the valuable experience of growing with and speaking to a wide variety of people within the faith with still varying beliefs. In conversation the elements of anticipation, expectation, and fear prevailed. Many of the people I met anxiously looked forward to being caught up into the clouds with Jesus during his Second Coming, but also expecting that most people would be stuck here to suffer through the Tribulation. Even as I was sure that my destiny awaited me in the clouds, I feared for those that would be left behind. What an odd expectation for a child, but I believed it until just a few years ago.
Inevitably, a person that believes in the Book of Revelations as being prophetic must also expect great horrors to occur before Jesus will reign here on Earth. The goal being to be with Jesus and eventually to be in God’s physical presence requires the events made clear in the bible; rumors of war, pestilence, disease, starvation, and anything else that can be imagined that may kill us. This is a very odd series of horrors to be looked upon with glad expectation. The mentality is akin to being told that you’re going to win the lottery, but first everything you love has to be subject to destruction and you may be grievously injured. Many are so zealous for this approach to being with God that they yell “bring it on” with smiles on their faces.
New adherents are often discouraged from being a part of Christianity knowing this long-taught expectation and approach to having a final audience with God. Couple this with newly revealed information that has been kept from us for centuries, and we face the unfortunate obstacles that cripple not only the Christian faith, but the paths to God that most religious people follow. This includes Islam; the religion that is basically a mix of Judaism, Christianity and what lengths Arabic tribes will go to in their quest for water.
Do the religions of the Western hemisphere require a degree of pessimism? The argument set before you is that they do. Is this a message that encourages converts or retains those sitting in church pews on Sunday morning? How could it?
Where does a message of hope and love fit in? Many take comfort in the words of Jesus. I presume not to tell you what Jesus actually said. To know that takes a special devotion to the historical Jesus, Jewish culture, bible literacy and a healthy ability to tell the difference between irrational politics and reason.
Many Christians are optimistic that our religion can survive, but recognize that it must be redefined. I want to believe Christians can shed the elements of fear, and that those that are overtly zealous can eventually recognize how destructive the “God, guns, and country” message is to Christianity’s future. Those of us that want to change the direction of this beloved religion need to act soon, and if successful, those that are neurologically challenged may be overwhelmed with peer pressure and follow us into a real Kingdom of God that Jesus taught would one day come. One of my favorite saying attributed to Jesus is not in the bible, but I’ll offer it for those that believe in optimism and reject pessimism as a necessary element in our faith.
From The Gospel of Thomas:
The kingdom of heaven is within you, and all around you.
As you might expect, the wingnutosphere in Minnesota is in full meltdown over the state making same-sex marriage legal.
Less than 24 hours after Mark Dayton signed the bill into law, Bradlee Dean hit the ceiling on his radio show, "The Sons of Liberty." He claimed that Dayton had declared "war on God" by signing the bill, and warned that he was about to "learn how gravity works." He also claimed Martin O'Malley and other "criminals" who support gay rights could face the same fate. People for the American Way got a clip. You can also listen to the whole show here.
This weekend, another leading Minnesota wingnut, Messianic Jewish leader Jan Markell, told OneNewsNow that God is looking at a lot of things that are going on in Minnesota--and he doesn't like it.
"We're the occult capital of America," she tells OneNewsNow. "We certainly have more Islamic influence probably than any other place, other than Dearborn, Michigan. We're certainly one of the gay capitals, and now with homosexual marriage a reality, many Christians, solid pro-family-type people -- we don't know where to run to."To give you an idea of what kind of person Markell is, she thinks the 2011 earthquake and tsunami in Japan was a call for Japan to repent.
And Markell believes Minnesota Christians are concerned about God's judgment on the state.
"Whether it be economically or some weather-related kind of a tragedy, but God destroyed cities in the Bible over homosexuality; He speaks out on this issue in a very clear manner and calls this an abomination," the Olive Tree Ministries founder warns.
Wave–Particle duality is an interesting concept to think about. Did you know that in 1906 Joseph John Thomson received the Nobel Prize for proving that electrons are particles. And, that his son, George Paget Thomson, in 1937 was awarded the Nobel Prize for proving that electrons are waves. And both descriptions correctly describe light.
For some this is a paradox. What do you think? This is a Open Thread / Coffee Hour. So, what are you thinking about? What is for dinner? And, how are you today?
"How can you be moral without believing in God?"
"Isn't atheism just a religion?"
"Why are you atheists so angry?"
One of the challenges that Atheists face, just for identifying themselves as Atheists, are the questions people ask about Atheism. The challenge is that some people ask these questions sincerely trying to learn more about Atheism, but others are asking out of a sense of condescension and denigration, and how Atheists might answer these questions often changes depending on these distinctions.
By way of the diarist Karen, I read this post by Greta Christina: 9 Questions That Atheists Might Find Insulting (And the Answers).
This reflexive dismissal of our anger's legitimacy does two things. It treats atheists as flawed, broken, incomplete. And it defangs the power of our anger. (Or it tries to, anyway.) Anger is a hugely powerful motivating force -- it has been a major motivating force for every social change movement in history -- and when people try to dismiss or trivialize atheists' anger, they are, essentially, trying to take that power away.It is definitely worth reading in full whether you are a believer trying to learn more about Atheists, or a non-believer who would like a resource to point to instead of answering these same questions time and time again. It provides reasonable, succinct answers, it highlights the dehumanizing effect of these questions, and covers the majority of the major questions Atheists face.
Because basically, these questions often boil down to, "Why are you different?" and the answer is generally, "We're not that different, really."
Atheists still face a lot of hostility in this country. The LGBT community can be seen as a parallel situation. Until not too long ago, the majority of Americans disapproved of same-sex marriage. However, through fostering understanding and spreading the perception that LGBT couples are no different from heterosexuals, the community has slowly gained much wider acceptance. Only by encouraging believers to learn more about and empathize with Atheists will we reach the same level of acceptance.
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