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Lynne - www.kcfreethinkers.org
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Steve Jackson, And everyone else concerned about the deterioration of civil discourse in politics- Here's your recourse - join the Coffee Party Movement! There is one right in Overland Park, and probably one in KC MO as well. http://pressreleases.kcstar.com/?q=node/30986
Toggle Commented Mar 16, 2010 on Name-calling at Unfettered Letters
Our military has been stretched to such limits that it's now okay to let in ex-cons, drug addicts, people with a history of mental illness but some people still want to drum out gays? Did you notice that most of the signatures on that letter against repealing don't ask, don't tell were military people who were RETIRED? (And in one case, dead! His wife signed for him.) There are gay soldiers who have served bravely and don't deserve to be shoved in the closet or drummed out. The young people (including straight troops) serving now already know there are gays in the military and don't care. They just care about who is going to have their back in combat! The younger generation is more accepting, less hateful - even among those who are conservative on other issues. Full equality and acceptance for gays is just a matter of time.
Do Christians hate Zeus? I'm wondering because Zeno said atheists hate God. Is it possible to hate something if you don't believe it exists? Do you hate unicorns, Zeno? Do you understand the difference between being annoyed at one particular person and being prejudiced against an entire group of people?
Toggle Commented Mar 13, 2010 on Scouting open to all at Unfettered Letters
Scouting is only open to all if you mean the Girl Scouts. The Boy Scouts went to the Supreme Court for the right to call itself a religious organization (even though it has a government charter) so that it could legally discriminate against atheists, gays and kids with gay parents. If you are really interested in scouting for all, see: http://www.scoutingforall.org/
Toggle Commented Mar 13, 2010 on Scouting open to all at Unfettered Letters
JT, by definition if God can't predict the future then God is NOT all knowing. The idea that God is all knowing is a central tenet of Christianity, so I don't know how you could possibly get out of the corner you've painted yourself into. To all - I've answered all of the questions that some of you claim "atheists" have not answered here.
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Goldstein Squad, You wrote:"Lynne, it is simply not true that the folks at KCFS promoted simply science and only brought up religion when they faced opposition. There were a number of Militant Atheists on their board, who specifically argued that science, when properly pursued, led to atheism." Did they argue that in a public forum at a KCFS event, or on their own time? There is a difference between an organization taking a theological position and individual members still being allowed to express individual opinions when they are not representing the organization. If certain members of KCFS think properly applied scientific thinking leads to atheism, they have a right to their own personal opinion when not wearing their KCFS hats, so to speak. I'm sure that there are some religious members of KCFS who think that learning about the world by scientific means is an activity full of religious significance. They are also entitled to their opinions when not wearing their KCFS hats. And as for certain other atheists speakers/writers who are in favor of the Iraq War: I can agree with someone on atheism and enjoy hearing their arguments without agreeing with every single thing they say on other subjects, such as politics. They are not the equivalent of atheist priests or saints. Not everything in religion has a parallel with atheism.
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JustThinking, Wow, you really handed me quite a gift. Read what you wrote and then consider what follows: >REALITY: If a 'choice' could be perfectly predicted, then it is not a choice. If a 'choice' could be perfectly predicted, then you had *no* choice. Don't you believe in a god who is all knowing? Can't an all knowing being perfectly predict the future? According to what you wrote above, if such a God exists then logically, free will can NOT exist. To put it another way: JT's premise: Perfect prediction would mean there is no choice, no free will. Christianity's premise: God is all-knowing. 3rd premise: God is able to perfectly predict the future. (Follows from premise number 2) Therefore, if God exists there is no free will. Logic 101, ladies and gentlemen! I will take my bow! Thank you, thank you! I'll be here all week!
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About Catholicism and cannibalism - I don't think literal cannibalism is the issue. Fine, it's not "real" cannibalism but isn't it pretty obvious that it's symbolic cannibalism? On the other hand, the cross itself is a symbol of violence (among other things, too). There's probably a ton of symbolic violence in our culture - religious and otherwise - that we don't even think about. A little introspection once in a while is a good thing, I think.
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Bill on what Eboo Patel said: "The extremists of all traditions belong to one tradition, the tradition of extremism." He said those extremists should thus not be honored by being included as a member of any religion. And if they try to tell you they are acting in the name of Islam or Christianity or Judaism or any faith, simply say you don't believe them because people of those faiths don't act that way. The religion of extremism is the religion of authoritarianism. That's an important point that should not be overlooked. As for the rest of it, that is the wrong approach but it discourages introspection into aspects of one's theology, institutions or practices that could be reformed in order to discourage authoritarianism. It isn't only extremists that have authoritarian (extremist) tendencies - look at Milgram's experiment on obedience. Most people have some tendency toward authoritarianism (and therefore extremism.) Every religion has a dark side. Instead of pretending it doesn't exist, you need to bring it into the light and make changes! To take another example, look at the Catholic Church pedophile scandal. Their response was to assume that because these men were good Catholics those kids must be lying, because Christians don't do that, do they? Or maybe some of them thought - hey he sounds remorseful and asked God to help change him, so I'm sure he can change, right? So they tried to hide the problem by transferring these priests to other parishes to protect the church instead of shedding light on it so they could protect the children. So you don't ask - how can we disown the extremists so we can get better PR? - you ask, how can we prevent more of our own from turning into this? Anything else encourages more of the same.
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Will, I'm glad you and your friends did show up and that you enjoyed Josh's talk. I don't get how you connected the political discussion to either of the organizations being a "front for atheism" though. Getting science and only science taught in public school science classrooms has political opposition, and as such some political strategy is important (even if it's not as interesting as the science-based part of the talks). Unfortunately, all of the political opposition happens to religion-based so it's impossible to discuss their politics without also discussing their religion. But the reverse is not true - good science education is supported by people of various religious backgrounds. Yes there are atheists in AUKC and KCFS but there are also religious people. If you think either group is not diverse enough, you could always join. (I'm being serious, not facetious.)
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About the Elizabeth Smart case, this is complicated by the fact that not all mental illness is going to qualify you as incompetent to stand trial or (later) insane. Sanity only means you can distinguish between right and wrong - it doesn't mean you are mentally stable. The issue right now, though, isn't sanity but competence to stand trial. So the perpetrator can be bat-crud crazy but as long as he understands the charges against him and has the ability to pay attention and understand what's going on in court, he still has to stand trial. And I think it's possible that a mentally healthy person could hold some crazy religious ideas AND that a crazy person could be sincere in their beliefs, no matter how crazy those beliefs might be. Obviously this guy held some religious ideas that were dangerous - and engaged in harmful behaviors that seemed to stem from those religious beliefs - but did those beliefs make him crazy or was he attracted to those beliefs because he was already crazy? I don't know but another interesting question is - how much distinction is there really between criminal behavior and mental illness? Don't you have to be somewhat crazy to engage in criminal behavior in the first place? It's hard to understand how a mentally healthy person could make those kinds of choices.
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I'm glad there is daycare for poor kids. Daycare is really expensive. After doing the calculations, we figured out that it is better for me to hang onto my part-time job long enough to get a high paying job, rather than getting a low paying but full time job right away. Why? Because in a low paying job nearly all your income goes toward paying for daycare! The crazy thing is that with computers and the Internet, many jobs can be done at home. Employers should be more open to work-at-home, flex hours, on-site daycare. This is not the 1950's anymore, most mothers have to work. And year-round school would help because summer camp prices are outrageous. I could only give my kids 4 weeks of summer camp this year (although I realize that's 4 weeks more than poor kids get!) I can't even imagine trying to get by on minimum wage.
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Oops, I mean it doesn't mean we CAN'T make choices. We make choices, but those choices are not based on mysterious free will. They are based on who we are - which is a combination of our innate tendencies, our experiences and our learned patterns of thinking.
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Lack of free will doesn't mean we can make choices. We make choices all the time. Free will is the idea that we can make choices absent of any reason for us making those choices. We have REASONS for everything we do, whether it be a genetic predisposition, events in our lives that influence who we are or a learned pattern of thinking that leads us to make the decisions that we do. "Free will" is the idea that the choices we make come from nowhere - that it's just magic that we make one choice over another.
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>Choices would necessarily transcend the natural, BZZZ! Wrong! Humans are part of the natural world. Therefore, nothing we do is supernatural.
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Will, You seem rather upset that the opposition to you and your Radical Religious Right friends is on to your political machinations, and that we're effective in promoting the democratic ideals of pluralism and diversity. What, only the RRR is allowed to be politically active? I also noticed that Jim and your other friends did not disrupt our event as you said you would. Turnout far exceeded our expectations. We had a PACKED room! We had to put up extra chairs, there were so many people! This event, co-sponsored by the Greater Kansas City Chapter of Americans United for Separation of Church and State - and by Kansas Citizens for Science - was a roaring success, and you just can't stand it Will, can you? Poor Will. You and your friends must be really depressed right about now. Maybe you need some ice cream to cheer you up. You know, Ben & Jerry's makes some really good ice cream. My favorite is Stephen Colbert's Americone Dream. Better watch which store you go into, though, or you might just see one of our fliers still up on the bulletin board!
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Bill, you won't believe this. You heard of mystery shoppers? Well now there are people who pay other people to be mystery visitors in church. There was an online ad in the KC Star saying "get paid to go to church" with this website: https://www.faithperceptions.com/Default.aspx (And no, people, I'm not recommending it!) I have never heard of such a thing before. Seems like capitalism run amok to me, but what do you church-goers think of the idea that the person in the pew behind you might be a paid "mystery visitor"? Although I've never been active in a church, I've been active in several non-profit organizations and it seems to me that if you want to know what people think of how you run things, why not just ask them?!
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I followed the link to the article on worldwide religious changes. I wonder, is the last sentence a deliberate pun? :) "The reports suggests that when it comes to tracking religious change, there is a strong case for suspending belief."
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Susan wrote: >I think hospital chaplains are really choosing the path of love >and understanding, over the path of pushing their point of view. This is real >love, to meet people where they are at and BE the love of God to them. This is good news. I have no problem with hospital chaplains being available to a wide variety of people who might want their services with no agenda but to be helpful. When I was younger I used to be a little nervous about answering the "religion" question on hospital forms until I understood why they were asking.
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adamh wrote: Lynne, we all know that you are in agreement with Cole and Iggy. Who ya kiddin? On which issue Adam? Do you even read my posts or just assume all atheists think alike? I never said there was no historical figure named Jesus who started the Christian religion - but I'm an atheist so that must be what I think, right? Funny how many people seem to know what I think better than I do.
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Will, I notice you take what Iggy or Cole say as what ALL atheists think, ignoring completely that either I haven't said those things or that I disagree. Is that because I don't fit your stereotype and therefore can't prove your case for you, or you just have a problem with women?
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On Nov. 6 -The Greater Kansas City Chapter of Americans United for separation of church and state (possibly with Kansas Citizens for Science - they're still thinking about it) will host a panel discussion called 150 Years Since "On Origin of Species": How did a scientific model (evolution) become a church-state issue? Details at http://www.aukc.org/Darwin.pdf
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Bill, Aasif Mandvi from the Daily Show (satirical news hosted by Jon Stewart), one of the Muslims on that list, and who is from India, is very funny. Please see this clip: http://www.thedailyshow.com/watch/wed-august-19-2009/shah-rukh-khan-detained-at-newark (he appears halfway through the clip)
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I re-read the old posts. Nobody threatened suicide. It was a hypothetical question. I'm sorry but anybody who doesn't understand the difference between a suicide threat and a hypothetical question has a very serious reading comprehension problem. Go take English 101 or something. Seriously.
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JT, You seem to have a problem with authority, namely that you fail to recognize that because authority figures are not perfect, that doing the right thing sometimes requires rebellion. If you don't teach your kids the difference between a caring authority and a selfish, invalid authority then they may fall victim to the latter. Here are some examples of good disobedience: 1- German families helping the Jews escape Nazi Germany were rebelling for a good cause. 2- The small minority of subjects in Stanley Milgram's experiment on obedience who refused to follow orders to increase the "shocks" and discontinued the experiment - they rebelled for a good cause. 3- Underground railroad. People helping slaves escape the South to freedom. 4- The Civil Rights movement employed the use of civil disobedience to fight segregation laws. They'd go to a segregated establishment and deliberately sit in the "wrong" section. It was a very effective tool for furthering the cause. 5- Abused children brave enough to turn in their abusive parents. 6- Abused women protecting themselves and/or their kids by getting rid of an abusive spouse. It may be true that divorce always hurts kids but being abused hurts them much worse. 7- The US War for Independence (against the British)- the ultimate rebellion against authority without which the USA would not exist! Our country was founded on rebellion. Where is your patriotism? :) 8- Um...didn't Jesus rebel against the Roman authorities of his time? (Come to think of it, isn't he usually depicted with long hair as well?)
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