Archive for Religion

Moving Forward

Posted in Atheism, Christianity with tags , , , on March 29, 2008 by carriedthecross

Wow, it’s been a while since I’ve been on here.  Life has been busy lately… midterms and papers, work and family have kept me pretty bogged down.  But I thought I should check in to my little world here, so here I am.

Countdown to graduation (or emancipation, as I like to look at it) is at 49 days.  It’s exciting for many reasons, most obviously that I’ve paid my dues as an undergrad and am ready to move on.  More importantly though, I’m starting to realize that soon I will leave a world dominated by evangelical Christianity.  I’ve often reminded myself that atheism is not a comprehensive worldview, it is not a unified group of people and it is not the end of knowledge; for me, my de-conversion from Christianity was only the beginning of a new chapter in exploring life.  In 49 days, I think that will truly come to fruition.
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Further Thoughts on Ethics, Post Jesus

Posted in Ethics with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on March 5, 2008 by carriedthecross

When I was a Christian, I would oftentimes become frustrated while attempting to understand a moral sentiment put forth through biblical text.  Why in the world would God make absolute morality so ambiguous?  When Moses wrote, “thou shalt not kill,” did he mean “thou shalt not kill” or did he mean “thou shalt not kill without just cause?”  What about abortion? War? Poverty? At times a golden nugget in Scipture would pop out that seemed to make things clear, but there was always a level of ambivalence that I felt was never fully appreciated by the mass of Christianity.

Upon looking to my struggles through developing a proper hermeneutic of Scripture to find a moral system fair to the text, and the supposed author of the text, I cannot help but laugh.  Wading through the waters of religious dogma to discover an absolute morality seems so much easier than developing a moral system beyond a conception of a divine transcendent being which by necessity decrees certain actions “good” and certain actions “bad.”  When I left Christianity–in fact, in my preparation to leave Christianity, even–I recognized that I would somehow need to construct (or not construct, perhaps) a new moral system.

So where to begin? Well first I had to assess if in fact there was morality.  Without Christianity, is moral nihilism the path to go?  Or perhaps there is morality, but it is subjective.  Maybe there is still some sort of objective morality existing independent of humanity.  What a mess!  As I collected my thoughts and began to sift through the arguments and counter arguments, I found myself most convinced by the though of Spinoza (there is nothing that is inherently ‘good’ or ‘evil’), Hume (moral values simply correspond to our social engrained sentiments and passions) and more recently Bernard Williams (actions are described as “good” or “bad” not in a universal sense, but through individual passions and social construction).

In other words, no objective morality exists.  Continue reading

The West Wing on Religion

Posted in Atheism, Christianity, Politics with tags , , , , , , , , , , on March 1, 2008 by carriedthecross

Anyone who knows me knows that I love the West Wing. I watch very little TV, but I could watch the West Wing all day long. During the show’s run, it spoke eloquently about religion many times. Here are some favorite intersections of the West Wing and religion:

In this scene, President Bartlett lays the smack down on a Christian radio show host who calls homosexuality an abomination. Bartlett eloquently points out that evangelicals ignore many other uncomfortable portions of Leviticus:

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Good science, bad conclusions; Bad science, bad conclusions

Posted in Atheism, Christianity, science with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , on February 27, 2008 by carriedthecross

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I’m a firm believer in giving credit where it is due, whether or not I agree with a person. I’m a relatively liberal Democrat, but I recognize there are Republicans who have done and are doing great things.  I don’t want John McCain in the White House next January, but I see no need to assail his character or to deny that he has done good things as a Senator.  Similarly, I am hesitant to throw out the baby with the bathwater in the case of Christian scientists.

I am not a scientist.  I would feel inappropriate delving too deep into scientific questions on this blog because I feel unprepared and unqualified to contribute much to the scientific debate.  I will leave it to others to debate science.  However, in this case the topic transcends the realm of science and moves into the realm of politics, education and philosophy.  

I am no fan of the Intelligent Design movement.  I agree with the general prognosis that it is nothing more than repackaged creationism in its ultimate goals.  At the same time, there are those in the ID community that I think are well intentioned, if wrong.  There are men and women who I think are good scientists, even if they come to some bad conclusions.

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Does God Love Everybody?

Posted in Atheism, Christianity with tags , , , , , on February 26, 2008 by carriedthecross

Perhaps the greatest appeal of the Christian faith, at least in our time, is the notion of unfettered love. The idea of a God who loves unconditionally, and seeks to empower mankind to do the same is desirable in a seemingly disinterested world. I will admit that still yet I find the idea of an omni-benevolent God to be psychologically alluring. But I am not certain that the Biblical God fits that criteria.Everyone who has ever attended a Sunday School class knows John 3:16, “For God so loved the world…” 1 Timothy 2 states that God wills for “everyone to be saved and to come to the knowledge of the truth.” That is a nice thought, but does God’s track record as recorded by his own followers in the Bible match up to that idea?
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Religious Unaffiliation on the Rise

Posted in Atheism, Politics with tags , , , , , , , , , , , on February 25, 2008 by carriedthecross

The New York Times front page has an article Americans Change Faith at Rising Rate, Report Finds. The article is based on a report by the Pew Forum on Religion and Public Life. It mostly centers around the idea that denomination loyalty is eroding and that many Americans have switched from the faith group in which they were raised.

What I find interesting–and encouraging–is the number of Americans who are unaffiliated (atheist, agnostic, or nothing in particular) is rising substantially.

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I cannot help but become excited by the idea that religiously unaffiliated Americans are the fourth largest religious group. I look forward to the day that American atheists and agnostics have the same amount of weight as American Christians or American Jews. It is saddening, and in fact infuriating, that to be a viable candidate for public office (especially for the presidency) an individual must bend over backwards to affirm their belief in some transcendent father figure who wants to impose his morality on America via the nations Commander-in-Chief. The idea that a presidential candidate must pass a religious litmus test is just pathetic.

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Christian Kitsch: Witnessing With Bible Tracts

Posted in Atheism, Christianity with tags , , , , , , , , , , on February 25, 2008 by carriedthecross

When I came across this little jewel I knew not whether to laugh or cry. My friends, I introduce you to the humors and horros of Chick Publications.

A noble, God-fearing man has embarked on a quest to help well-intentioned, but far too meek Christian evangelicals spread the Good News of Jesus Christ. How? Through Christian tracts. Learn how to witness to all of your friends!

Shopping? Hand a tract to the chasier, leave a tract in the changing room or slip a tract into the pockets of unpurchased clothes! Want to witness from home? Leave tracts on the coffee table for guests or slip a tract into the envelope when you pay your bills!

Want to share your faith, but too mild mannered to do it? Just leave a tract. Learn how to witness to a Muslim*,

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