Archive for category Atheism

Why I’m embarrassed to admit that we homeschool our kids

Being a skeptical, secular homeschooling parent is a tough gig these days. If you don’t want to stay isolated in your basement with your kids, it’s important to find a local homeschooling group. They can provide field trips, educational opportunities, support and resources. They can also provide the lulz.

We belong to a local group that maintains a strong secular focus. They will not allow posts on “potentially controversial topics” such as religion or politics. While I’m all for freedom of speech, some places have to be provided as safe zones where a narrow focus needs to be maintained. And in this group, educating our children is our focus. It is not a place to get bogged down in flame wars about Right vs Left or Jesus vs Zeus (Zeus would totally kick Jesus’ butt in a cage match. One word: lightning bolts (I know, it’s two words. Deal) Just sayin’).

I was going somewhere with this, I swear. Oh, yeah, the lulz. Sometimes a gem slips through the moderation cracks, like this post that just came through. It has to be shared; it is a moral imperative.

The post reads as follows:

Defending your Christian Faith in a Secular World Class For Home School Middle and High School Students
35 week class
Beginning in September 12, 2011 – May 21, 2012
Day: Monday 3:00-4:30 (meet once a week)
Cost: $10.00/ per class; paid one month in advance
Location: Crossings Community Church
Teacher: Mrs. Joanne Whitaker – New Life Christian Certified Teacher and BA Psychology / Education* Home Schooling for 8 years (2003- present )

Wow. Just, wow. As humorous as this is in and of itself, it gets better. Here’s the justification for the need for such a class.

Survey Data from Barna Research Group and USA Today

Most teens and young adults will reject their Christian faith after leaving high school and attending college. Christian Apologist, Frank Turek at crossexamined.org gives the following reasons why Christian youth in America are leaving the church:

• 70-75% of Christian youth leave the church after high school and Intellectual skepticism is one of the major reasons they walk away.
• Most Christian students are not equipped to resist rabidly anti-Christian college professors who are intent on converting their students to Atheism.
• College professors are five times more likely to identify themselves as atheists than the general public.
• More than half of all college professors view Evangelical Christian students unfavorably
• The “new atheists” — Richard Dawkins, Sam Harris, Christopher Hitchens — are writing books and are growing in popularity.

The reason for this exodus is that Christian youth in America are not being taught to cross examine the skeptical and atheistic views they encounter when they leave home and attend college classes and also socialize with Non Christians who have a Worldview opposed to a Christian Worldview

1 Peter 3:15 But in your hearts revere Christ as Lord. Always be prepared to give an answer to everyone who asks you to give the reason for the hope that you have. But do this with gentleness and respect…

OH NOEZ! Dem evil athiests be WRITING BOOKS! TEH HORRORZ!

Ahem. Pardon the outburst. I was just terrified for a moment about those Non Christians and their Worldview. Ok, actually it was the Random Capitalization that really frightened me. But seriously, these pious kids are having to “…reject rabidly anti-Christian college professors who are intent on converting their students to Atheism”? I didn’t realize that they were all going to have PZ Myers as a prof 😛 And Yahweh forbid that they encounter  “…skeptical and atheistic views” out in the big bad world! They might just adopt some of that there “Intellectual skepticism” and then the church would really be fucked, wouldn’t it?

Because they want to attract as many lemmings zombies cult members followers as possible, they’ve graciously provided us with the curriculum that will be used in this stellar example of Christian Apologetics.

Class Description

Christian apologetics – is that branch of Christianity that deals with answering any and all critics who oppose or question the revelation of God in Christ and the Bible. It can include studying such subjects as biblical manuscript transmission, philosophy, biology, mathematics, evolution, and logic. But it can also consist of simply giving an answer to a question about Jesus or a Bible passage. The latter case is by far the most common and you don’t have to read a ton of books to do that.

Nope, you only gotta read one book. But it’s a good book, don’t ya know!

For the Apologetic portion of this course, I will be utilizing Josh and Sean McDowell videos. I will also include Summit Ministries Understanding the Times which consists of explaining Worldview such as learning about other religions, Postmodernism, Secular Humanism, Marxism, Atheism, Agnostic, and other various views that oppose Christianity. The third resource in teaching Apologetics is I will provide Scientific facts that rebuke Evolution using Does God Exist? Kit: Building the Scientific Case (TrueU) by Stephen Meyer produced by Focus on the Family.

Ooooooh, not just scientific facts but “Scientific facts”! Who knew that thousands of hours of research, observation, genetic  and fossil evidence could be rebuked by a Kit you can buy? From a hate group called Focus on the Family no less!

Creation vs. Evolution, The Big Bang Theory, Intelligent Design – I will be utilizing Darwin’s Dilemma DVD by Stephen Meyer, Ray Comfort and Kirk Cameron Evolution DVD (The Way of the Master), and other various resources to give concrete evidence so students can defend their faith to support Creation and rebuke Evolution.

Mrs Whittaker, did you… I mean… you actually are going to show this with a straight face? Ray Comfort and Kirk Cameron? Srsly? I mean, c’mon, the banana? The epitome of intelligent design? I literally busted out laughing at this. This has got to be a poe, right?

Furthermore, utilizing Dr. Kent Hovind and Eric Hovind – beginning in 1989, Dr. Hovind’s ministry continues to grow as he has spoken more than 900 times each year in public and private schools, churches, university debates, and on radio and television broadcasts. His humorous, fast-paced, illustrated seminars provide documented evidence against the unscientific theory of evolution that goes against Scripture. The information presented concerning dinosaurs in the Bible (including a few that are living today) reflects his extensive study in the field of Crypto zoology. Dr. Hovind’s mission is to strengthen the faith of believers, to confound and to convince the evolutionists, and to win the lost to Christ.

Apparently grammar is not critical to “confound and convince the evolutionists”. Neither is obeying the law. And I gotta say, I had no idea these loons were delving into “Crypto zoology” to back up their ridiculous claims, though I suspect they really mean cryptozoology. Did you know Mr and Mrs Bigfoot were on the Ark? It’s true, I read it in the bible. Or something.

I know, this is getting tl;dr, but it’s just so chock full of goodies I can’t help myself!

Christian Psychology – My major in college was Psychology; therefore I am going to educate the class on the theories and theorists that they will be learn about in college; however using a Christian perspective. The various areas of Psychology will include: Behavior; Nature, Nurture, and Human Diversity, Developing Through The Life Span, Personality, Thinking and Language, Intelligence, Social Psychology, Perception, Learning, Emotion. Many of the theories are Atheistic and we will be discussing; the difference between a Secular World view and Christian View of each theory. Psychology, Science, and History are the main courses that require students to defend their faith.

Again, grammar and sentence structure are NOT important for defending your faith in an imaginary sky daddy who loves dead babies and foreskins.

Hey, did you know that “Personality, Thinking and Language, Intelligence, Social Psychology, Perception, Learning, Emotion” are Atheistic? You will after you take this course!

Ok, we’re in the home stretch now.

World Religions – we will be studying other religions so that we understand what others believe so that we can rebuke other religions and also witness to other people about Christianity. It is easier to witness when you know what other religions believe (Scientology, Hinduism, Buddhism, Islam, etc…)
[emphasis mine]

In conclusion, after completing this course students will be able to attend college and defend their faith instead of questioning it or even turning away from it.

Home School Students will receive ½ semester High School Psychology Credit and a ½ semester Bible Credit for taking this class – both elective credits

I would SO love to go to this class but I know that I wouldn’t be able to keep my smart-ass mouth shut. Besides, I’m probably already blackballed  by this homeschool group for previous transgressions. So if anyone wants to go and write about this, I’ll fork over the bucks and post your results here.

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I totally want to go to this conference!

Greta Christina has released the schedule for the Very Big Atheist Conference of 2011 and it looks AWESOME!

The schedule for the Very Big Atheist Conference of 2011 has been finalized! There are some very exciting sessions planned, and some of your favorite atheist bloggers, writers, and activists will be there — so be sure to get your tickets early!

I mean, just look at the first day’s lineup!

FRIDAY, APRIL 1

Coexist1:00 PM
Why Are Atheists Bothering to Have a Conference to Talk About What They Don’t Believe In?
Concerned Ecumenicalist Interfaith Council
(attendance optional)

Hemant Mehta2:15 PM
Maintaining a Rep as a Good-Natured Teddy Bear While Delivering Lethal Smackdowns to Theists
Hemant Mehta, “Friendly” Atheist

Narwhals3:30 PM
How to Get the Narwhal Song Unstuck From Your Head When PZ Mentions It For the Twentieth Time
Pharyngulite Hordes

Cracker6:00 PM
Reception
Cheese and “Crackers”
Sponsored by PZ Myers

I am soooooo registering! It’s gonna be a blast!

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This is why I won’t sit down and shut up

My 7 year old son was playing with a couple of neighbor kids, brothers, who apparently asked if he went to sunday school. My boy answered in the negative. When told that he was going to hell for not attending, he replied by informing them that he didn’t believe in hell. Which led to the revelation that he didn’t believe in god, either. Okay, no biggie, just a few kids feeling out their beliefs and discussing them with peers, right? Not so much. See, while reasonable folks see their kids being exposed to various religious beliefs as a good thing and use the experience to foster discussion, that’s not how these evangelicals roll. No, the correct response, as these two kids told my son, is to say that they are not allowed to play with him anymore on account of him not believing in god.

What. The. Fuck.

These are 7 year old kids we’re talking about! They play. They run around. They talk about shit. If your faith in a (imaginary) god is so weak it can’t survive talking to a 7 year old who thinks for himself then what’s the point of it?

Fortunately, my kid does think for himself. And after a bit of conversation about the situation, he just replied, “You know what mom? That’s a silly reason to not be friends. I have enough friends.”

So to you people who whine that we atheists are too loud and ask why do we make a big deal about it: this is fucking why. Because generations of kids are being indoctrinated since birth to mindlessly parrot what they are taught. And what they are being taught is intolerance and bigotry.

So I’m going to stand up and be loud. I’m going to point out that, according to your own mythology, this Jesus fellow you worship hung out with “sinners” like tax collectors and prostitutes. He didn’t avoid those who thought differently from him and he didn’t treat them like second-class citizens. I don’t see where he said, teach your children to shun and avoid godless kids, either. I guess that must be in the New Conservative Revised Version of the bible.

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I am disrespectful – Repost: Where I Stand

This issue has recently come up again in my life. I feel it’s important to put out there once more where I stand. In short, people deserve respect, not ideas. Your belief in a supernatural being who rules the universe, but can’t be seen, heard, felt or in any way, shape or form empirically shown to exist, does not mean that I can’t question it. Or make fun of it. Or get angry at the actions that people take in the name of said being. And I’m going to do that publicly. For too long, atheists have been forced, sometimes by violent means, to keep quiet.

Guess what? I’m not going to shut up and sit down. If it’s not disrespectful to post messages asking people to pray to your mythological deity or thanking it for some random coincidence, then it’s not disrespectful for me to post messages saying that there are no gods or that I love the amazing diversity of life thanks to the process of evolution. And if you’re going to make even more ridiculous claims about the earth only being 6,000 years old or you try to force your religion into our legal system, I’m going to call you on it and tear into you. Suck it up.

Below the fold is a repost of my original post back in 2008 called Where I Stand.

Read the rest of this entry »

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I want to kick Jesus in the nuts!

I am royally pissed off right now. I mean seriously pissed. Back in 2008 I came out as an atheist. I fully expected some friends or family to have a hissy-fit, but the idea that there would be workplace ramifications never entered my mind. In my place of employment, that kind of crap is kept outside. All that matters is what kind of code I write and how I manage my team. Apparently that’s not the case for everyone.

My very good friend, who I shall call “Fucked by Jesus” or FBJ for short, was recently outed at work as being an atheist. Her place of employment is rather saturated with love of the lord, but it’s a huge organization with lots of public scrutiny, so while I expected to hear about some discomfort from the petty whisperings of narrow-minded theistic co-workers, I didn’t expect to hear about a full-blown attack being perpetrated against FBJ by the organization itself. Her internet access has been cut off, TweetDeck and iTunes uninstalled from her PC, her shit rifled through and they moved her to a new cubicle. No idea if that was to bring her closer to Jesus or what.

In the interest of fairness, if there is a policy against having applications like TweetDeck or iTunes installed, then they are legally within their rights to remove them. But I’ll bet you the price of a new bible that there are other, god-loving employees there with those applications installed who haven’t been touched.

This whole thing is fucking bullshit. I suspect that it is even illegal. She is being subjected to an extremely hostile work environment due solely to her religions preferences (or lack thereof). I think the ACLU needs to get involved. This kind of shit shouldn’t be happening in the 21st century. I thought the Inquisitions became passe after the Dark Ages. WTF?

Hang tough, girl! You’ve got the entire atheist community behind you on this one. No one fucks with the CyberLizard’s friends. I’ve got a whole pack of chupacabras just waiting to be unleashed on their asses. Just say the word.

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Happy Blasphemy Day!

As I’ve already mentioned, today is Blasphemy Day. I’m personally celebrating by sitting around in my Jesus/Mohammed underoos (Jesus on the front, getting nailed to my tree and Mohammed on the back, wiping my ass).

My buddies Jason and Dan both express (much better than I) the importance of what, to some, might seem to be a silly and pointless exercise. It may be silly, but it’s far from pointless.

Go read them, I’m too tired to write anymore. I kicked off Blasphemy Day by having hot sex in the wee hours of the morning while shouting (whispering, really; didn’t want to wake the kiddos), “oh god, yes, jesus christ, that feels good…” so I’m a little tired today. If you’re as tired as I am, then just sit back and enjoy this visual:

Help me, Obi-wan, you're our only hope!

Help me, Obi-wan, you're our only hope!

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Blasphemy Day International is almost here!

And so, like a good little lazy blogger, I don’t write anything about it until the day before. Hey, I could have posted on the day after, so cut me some slack! Unfortunately, I have absolutely nothing planned. Hmm, maybe my mere existence can be construed as blasphemy. Nah, cop out. How ’bout I go fart in a church? On purpose. Without saying “excuse me”. Anyway, I’m sure y’all can come up with some creative ideas.

What is Blasphemy Day? Well, according to the founding organization, the Center for Inquiry,

Blasphemy Day International

Blasphemy Day International

Blasphemy Day International is a campaign seeking to establish September 30th as a day to promote free speech and to stand up in a show of solidarity for the freedom to challenge, criticize, and satirize religion without fear of murder, litigation, or reprisal. The event was created as a reaction against those who would seek to take away the right to satirize and criticize a particular set of beliefs that have been given a privileged status over other beliefs.

Blasphemy Day International is a volunteer-coordinated campaign administered by the Center for Inquiry as part of its Campaign for Free Expression. For more information, go to http://www.centerforinquiry.net/campaign_for_free_expression.

I call it good old wholesome family fun. Unless you’re in Ireland. It’s illegal there.

Go ye therefore and blaspheme in all nations, in the name of Thor, Horus and Cthulhu. RAmen.

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It’s almost like you were there with me. Almost.

One more about the debate, then I’ll shut up, I promise. No I don’t.

I’d skip to about :48 seconds in. The intro is craptacular. This is just part one. I haven’t watched it yet. I don’t have to see it, Dottie. I *lived* it.

h/t @RelUnrelated for finding this for me.

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The Great Faith Debate Recap

Christopher Hitchens vs. Dinesh D’Souza. Mano y mano. Two men wielding nothing but intellect on the battlefield of reason. Unfortunately, one of them left their intellect at home, probably sitting on the dining room table where they forgot to pick it up before heading out the door. I do that with my wallet sometimes.

I really went into this expecting to hear a good debate. I hadn’t read or seen D’Souza before, but I’d heard the name and assumed that if someone of Hitchens’ stature was debating him, he must be a good christian apologist. They’d both have arguments and counter-arguments and it would be intellectually stimulating. I was hoping that it would make me think; make me consider things from a different view point. I didn’t think that D’Souza would have anything earthshattering that would totally turn me around 180 degrees, but I figured there would be points made that I would have to think about. Even if he were only good rhetorically it would be interesting.

What I wasn’t expecting was a complete lack of depth from D’Souza or so many examples of rather painfully wrong logic that my 6 year old could have countered. I honestly think that I could have done a better job for christian apologetics, and I’m an atheist. I’m not as well-versed in the formal logical fallacies or technical debate terms as I’d like to be, but there were copious examples of severely flawed logic; false analogies, arguments from ignorance, even some flat out factual inaccuracies. Several times I (and the people around me) couldn’t contain the expressions of stunned disbelief at something D’Souza said.

I was live Tweeting the event and was having some technical difficulties at the beginning, so I probably missed some of the details. Hitchens opened with 5 minutes on the question/topic What about God? The one thing that struck me was his comment that, of all the supposed virtues, faith is the most worthless. It doesn’t get us anything, doesn’t further our understanding of anything, it’s basically useless and can be downright dangerous. D’Souza’s rebuttal was based on false premises from the start. He tried to assert that he was debating on the same level as Hitchens, that he would rely on reason rather than scripture. And in order to prove that they were at the same level, he starts in with some nonsense about how religion is just as valid as science because neither know everything. Then he launched into some lame thing about how the jews 2000 years ago had determined that the universe had been created, had a definite beginning, and since science has now validated that, somehow that proves the existence of god. Or something like that. I honestly had a hard time making out exactly how what he was saying logically connected.

Due to my extensive Twitter coverage, I sort of lost track of which topic they were on. Supposedly there was a structure; 5 minutes to speak, two minute rebuttal and a two minute counter rebuttal. I think. It seemed that they went back and forth a few more times than that. I do recall that the moderator (who was really just an MC rather than a moderator) was pretty flexible with letting them have counter-counter-counter rebuttals.

I think the second question/topic was What about Science? D’Souza started this one off by claiming that the universe was so complex, that the signs of intelligence were embedded all throughout it, therefore it had to be created by someone/something. He basically trotted out the standard Intelligent Design stuff. There were many misrepresentations about what science is and does. Basically just a garbled mess.

Apparently D’Souza is from some parallel universe because he started talking about how “New Atheism” had gotten started as a reaction to the 9/11 attacks. Somehow all this loud atheism stuff was in response to islam. He then proceeded to say that, even though those attacks were motivated by islam, there were no other examples of religious violence in the world. Where are the buddhist suicide bombers? he asked. There are no hindu extremists or christians out there killing people, he maintained. Furthermore, he went on to claim that there are no historical examples of such religious violence. At this point, there were a lot of vocal exclamations of disbelief amongst the audience. I, among others, called out, “The Crusades!” when he rhetorically asked what examples of christian violence were there. The damn fool was actually trying to make the claim that only the muslims engage in religious violence. This wasn’t the only slam on muslims during the night.

Hitchens responded that it’s a pretty sad reason to be glad about christianity, because, hey, it’s not al qaeda. He then pointed out concrete examples of buddhist suicide bombers: the kamikaze, in WWII. Not to mention all the other explicit examples of religions hatred and violence. He said that you could replace the word “fascist” with “Roman catholic church” in a history of eastern Europe with out changing any other words and it wouldn’t make a difference. Hitchens continues by saying that love was essentially meaningless when it is demanded of you by religion.

During his rebuttal to the rebuttal (I’d kinda lost track as to who’s turn it really was), D’Souza said that any suicide bombings, any war, they weren’t because of religion. No, the leaders and the people involved just happened to be religious. He actually said that religion had nothing to do with the Israelis and the Palestinians, it was just about land.

The level of stupid just kept rising with every sentence D’Souza spoke. As they got into the third topic, about science and religion, he drug out the old trope that because science has been wrong about things in the past, there’s no reason to assume that they’re right about anything they’re telling us now about the nature of the universe. Some more crap about Ptolemy and Newton and orbits and therefore god. I guess. I couldn’t follow his point.  Intelligent design made a comeback, something about Shakespeare writing Hamlet, therefore god. Because the universe is just like a book, but bigger. Since someone made a book, god made the universe. QED, bitches! (Not quite)

There was some other stuff in there, none of it was sticking to the wall. The next section of the debate was for each of them to ask the other a question. Hitchens went first by asking D’Souza, since your god is so good and you’re so confident in your particular god, which would you rather I (Hitchens) be: an atheist or a muslim. After a couple of hems and haws, D’Souza came out with, “I feel much safer debating you as an atheist.” Anyone else pick up on the muslim bashing going on here?

Now it was D’Souza’s turn. He asked Hitchens, have you ever had any doubts in your atheism and, if so, what caused those doubts. Hitchens went off on a tangent about Pascal’s Wager and how pathetic it really is. It’s basically saying that your god is too stupid to know the difference between real and fake belief. Getting back to the question (sort of) Hitchens says that if, when he dies, he finds out he’s wrong and he’s standing there before god, and god wants to know why he didn’t believe, he’ll tell him, you didn’t give me enough information to form that belief. And that anyone can make an honest mistake and that he was damn proud of this particular one.

This is getting long, so I’ll try to sum up. D’Souza claimed that the crusades weren’t really done in the name of christianity, because the leaders weren’t true christians. Yes, he actually used the No True Scottsman fallacy. He then tried to equate Marxism with atheism by quoting that line from Marx about religion being the opiate of the masses. Hitchens responded beautifully with the actual full quote from that book, and the context totally doesn’t bear out the interpretation that D’Souza was trying to claim. I’ll have to dig up the actual quote because I don’t remember the details. But it was a fantastic smackdown.

Here comes the part where my brain asploded. They were each asked some questions submitted via the internets. D’Souza was asked why, if god could heal as so many christians claim, he has never healed an amputee. The amazingly insensitive and completely assholic response? Well, they’re alive, aren’t they? Isn’t it better for them to be alive than dead? Besides, it’s all really about the spiritual healing. If there is any physical healing happening, it is as a tool of the spiritual healing.

This spew of offensive shit is what finally did me in. I found myself sitting there with my mouth open, totally snarkless. The good news was that was the end of the debate.

All-in-all, I was extremely disappointed with D’Souza’s performance. Hitchens was brilliant, and wickedly funny, but he didn’t even have to try. D’Souza made it way too easy.

Whew! Big post. Sorry for my long-windedness. Check out my stream on Twitter for the play by play action: @CyberLizard. Now that I’ve gotten the overview out of the way while it was still fresh in my mind, I can concentrate on my post about the experience itself. I got to meet the Orlando Atheists & Freethinkers group for the first time (which was cool) and there were many conversations to be had. And I even drank a beer! Well, Strongbow Cider, actually, but close enough. I’ll fill y’all in tomorrow.

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The Great Faith Debate: Final Update!

If you are planning on attending this along with members of Orlando Atheists & Freethinkers, here’s the final word on what’s going down. I hope I can find my way around UCF. It looks nothing like it did when I went there.

FINAL Update!

PARKING

Parking will fill up QUICKLY. Please come early. Those joining us for the 5:00 dinner will have the least stressful experience of all attendees. 🙂
Parking is FREE in Garage F and Garage D; however, we will be competing with students for parking. Parking in all other garages/lots is charged – you can find the yellow kiosks that take cash or credit in every garage/lot.

MEETING Areas

There is NO reserved seating for our group; however, we are going to attempt to reserve some seats together on the second level. Please look for the RED balloons. The doors to the event open at 6:00PM; you will be able to enter at 6PM and find our section.

How to find us:

5:00 – Dinner at Knightro’s (near Garage F, across from Tailgater’s)
6:00 – enter the Arena & look for the RED balloon OR
6:15 – meetup in front of the Box Office (RED balloon)
7:00 – debate begins
9:00 – (after debate) Tailgater’s Smokehouse (Near Garage F, across from Knightro’s)

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