Stopping the alternative behavior madness

20120517-095110.jpgSo then the Lord Jesus, after he had spoken unto them, was received up into heaven, and sat down at the right hand of God.

Mark 16:19
American Standard Version Bible

Today I want to talk about evil – an evil that we have tolerated for far too long in this society. I’m talking about a sickness that we permit to be paraded around us, and it’s a deviant behavior must be stopped.

You know what I’m talking about, but speaking out isn’t enough. It’s time for action – time to start enforcing, with wrath and vigor, the purity of body that the our most holy books mandate. We must rise up and take these willfully, woeful souls who choose to ignore historical tradition and spiritual truth and smite them.

Their argument that they cannot control their natural inclinations is absurd. The devil tests us all with desires and temptations that take us down the road to eternal torment. For us to let these freaks of nature walk among us is an abomination.

But there’s hope! We can rise out of this dark time and return to the world as it should be. We can have a world where those who choose to communicate, gesture and state their identity with this grotesque defect are dispatched from our very shores.

So let us raise our righteous hand. We will change the laws. We will take to the streets. We will pull these demons from their homes and show them that waving their natural inclinations in the face of our children will no longer go unpunished.

For these reasons, I encourage you join me, brother and sister. Salute your beliefs and take them to their logical conclusion. Let us all write to our legislators today and join our fight.

Together we can make sure that people who are left-handed will not be allowed to be married in America. Because, after all, Jesus sat at the right hand of God, not his left.

And lefties don’t deserve rights.

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Why I won’t call myself an atheist again

I’ve never been comfortable calling myself an “atheist.” It’s too negative, too provocative and too limiting. There are many things I am not. A theist is simply one if them.

But after watching this brief video featuring co-monikered research physicist, Sean Carroll, I realized two things. One, I think I’ll be much more comfortable calling myself a naturalist than an atheist.

Two, when someone else articulates your beliefs far better than you ever could, it’s time to start talking about something else.

And no religion, too?

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I really want to be patient with people. I know how hard it is to let go of a beautiful fantasy, be it about country, child or religion. But, as James Randi observed, no amount of acceptance can turn a belief into a fact.

Why are we even having this conversation in 2012? I totally get it if we were living in the tall grasses of the savanna. Lacking better information, I’d say the notion of forces that transcend the natural world might be downright logical. But come on. How can people in a society riddled with proof of the richness in scientific thought continue to cover their collective eyes and ears?

The common response by most is that the world would be a cold place without a divine purpose. That may or may not be the case, but the utility value of a belief doesn’t support its authenticity.

When I was a kid, my teachers would ask, “if everybody was leaping off a bridge, would you?” That question always made me uncomfortable. Not because the obvious answer was “no.” But because I couldn’t see the distinction between which actions I was supposed to embrace blindly and which ones I was supposed to apply critical thought.

I’m not tempted to leap much these days, off of bridges or into faith.

Why you’re probably wrong about gay rights

My liberal friends insist that society should leave gay people alone because gay people are born the way they are. My conservative friends insist that homosexual feelings may be natural urges, but so are homicidal urges.

I can’t believe how far off the mark both camps are.

Gay people, transsexual people – hell, the whole LGBT alphabet soup – have rights because INDIVIDUALS have rights. That’s it! It’s really that simple. Gays have the right to be gay because no one has the right to use force to stop them from doing something that doesn’t infringe upon the rights of others.

Our inalienable rights as sovereign individuals permit…no demand that we tell others to “back the fuck off” if they try to take those rights away from us. If your god, holy book, parents – whatever – tell you that being gay is wrong and you buy it, great. Good luck with that.

So say it with me, my conservative and liberal friends, respecting individual rights protects your right to pray and your right to be gay.

If you want to tell somebody what to do, for Pete’s sake, go have another freakin’ kid.

Why atheists should attend church

You don’t need religion to have a religious experience.

(Hold the phone, Captain Literal, there’s some truth to this potential paradox.)

For many, a “religious” experience simply means something, as my friend Paul notes, that “transcends” the moment. This transcendence can imply moving from the natural to the supernatural. Or, as I’m asserting here, the experience can merely be a gestalt — the sum of the sensory experiences of the moment, combined with the thoughts and memories of the person beholding them, that creates a new experience larger than the sum of its parts.

Whether this experience can be explained by the touch of a supernatural entity or the activation of a region of the brain is, while metaphysically fascinating, beside the point.

A moment that I recently experienced was unexpected and profound. At the end of a particularly intense work day, I went to the beach by my house. I played in the water for a few minutes, dried off and began my trek from the shore back to my car. Sunset was nearly upon us. As I walked back, I realized that 100 or so people had gathered on the beach. Some were sprawled on beach blankets, some were talking softly at picnic tables and others seemed to simply pause, as if they were waiting for something to happen.

I realized that the group was there for a shared purpose; and a shared belief. Each individual had come to this place to behold something beautiful, something special. It was the golden disc of the early evening sky sinking behind the expanse of ocean before us. In its last few moments of visibility, no one spoke. We all watched for that exact moment when the sun would disappear from our view. When it did, everyone clapped.

This event, I believe, was held in an impromptu church. Here we were, strangers, united only in our desire to experience someone bigger than ourselves, who experienced something that transcended the details of the event itself. Did we all experience the same thing? No. But by the sounds of the clapping — the physical “amens” if you will — a great many did.

It was a powerful moment. It made me think about my youth, attending Catholic masses. The mass didn’t speak to me much, to be frank. I suspect that I simply wasn’t the right audience. But I do remember that many seemed to be quite taken by the experience. So, too, are those I see on television who attend Baptist revivals or faith healings.

I wonder if all of theses people really believe the minutiae of their holy books or simply want to experience the transcendent? If the latter, it seems that gathering together, sharing an experience with others who value sharing an experience, was a helpful ingredient.

Last week’s Reason Rally, which ranged from the silly to the profound, may have hinted at the very premise of my proposition. Maybe everybody, in one form or anther, needs to attend “church” once and a while.