I post mostly messages and commentary about religion and politics, and the scary occasions when they collide.
I am a: Liberal, Green, Christian, Math teacher
Lover of Math, Philosophy, Animals, Civil Rights, and Arguments of all kinds.

28th September 2014

Post reblogged from Sloshed San Diegan with 3 notes

sloshedsandiegan:

It kind of sickens me that people with terminally ill children so heavily favor prayer and religion over medicine. Prayer wont heal your kid, medicine will. God didnt help your child, doctors and medicine did. I really cant believe that this is 2014, and yet we still have sooooo many people left in this world who choose an uproven god over medical practices and practitioners which have been proven time and time again.

Ok… I understand the anger behind things like this, but I wanna clear up a few facts:

-“People with terminally ill children” do not heavily favor prayer and religion over medicine. ONE SECT favors prayer and religion over medicine, and some of them happen to also have ill children. And when they do, most of them, too, turn to medicine in addition to prayer. As do the vast majority of ALL religious people.

-Prayer does appear to have beneficial affects on health. Whether you believe that’s due to a placebo(and those are pretty darn effective too), or a loving God, there’s no compassionate or logical reason to deny people something that makes them feel better when facing illnesses.

-Not all medical practices are necessarily beneficial, and we are far too over-medicated and over-diagnosed as a society. Rest or prayer for example, would be far better advised than taking antibiotics for most common colds. In psychiatry, in particular, there’s a lot we don’t know about how medications affect the mind(or if they do at all), yet doctors will keep prescribing them as a form of false hope or the desire for profit… not unlike a lot of unscrupulous “faith healing” practices that non-believers are so quick to condemn while giving a free pass to the medical-industrial complex.

Lest anyone claim I’m biased in favor of faith healing: I’m not. I don’t know if I believe in that either. But I do know that doctors have prescribed me medications that didn’t work(and encouraged me to keep taking in spite of horrific side effects, some of which I STILL suffer from, years later), expensive tests that were completely unnecessary, and they will admit to ignorance on the actual effects of many “recommended drugs”. For all these reasons, I dislike and distrust the medical profession as a whole.

Vaccines are a good thing, and it’s selfishness and ignorance that would lead anyone to refuse to vaccinate their kids. The rest of it still warrants some reasonable scrutiny and investigation.

27th September 2014

Link reblogged from سلام with 24 notes

The myth of religious violence | Karen Armstrong →

thepeacefulterrorist:

"It is now considered admirable to die for your country, but not for your religion."

26th September 2014

Link reblogged from Letters To My Country with 41 notes

My escape from North Korea →

letterstomycountry:

Hyeonseo Lee had to learn two languages, lie to immigration officials, bribe border police in Laos, beg officials at a South Korean embassy, and rely on the kindness of strangers to finally free herself and her family from North Korea.  This twelve minute TED talk is worth your time.

24th September 2014

Post with 5 notes

Teaching religion to children

I very much do not agree with the parenting philosophy that says that the right way to present religion to children is by saying, “Everyone has their own opinions, some people believe in God and some don’t, etc, etc.”

Yes, everyone does have their own “opinions”, just like everyone has their own favorite colors. But religious faith is part of actual history, philosophy, and politics, and is far more complicated than just one opinion versus another. Scientology is not “equally valid” compared to Christianity, or Islam, or Paganism, or a whole list of other religions that I don’t believe in personally. There are ways to determine credible beliefs from those that are less credible, and decide for yourself what is likely to be truth. There are logical reasons why we hold certain traits about God to be true and reject all others, and logical reasons why some philosophical ideas are more popular than others.

But it is completely unreasonable is to expect a CHILD, with no prior knowledge or instruction, to figure out what is true, and what they should believe about life. It comes across as either lazy parenting or a more diplomatic way of saying “I want to raise my child to be atheist/agnostic”- because if one’s parents have no respect or understanding for religious tradition or history, why would we expect their children to have any*? At the very least, the parent should be able to explain their own beliefs, and how they reached that conclusion.

Regardless of what your personal feelings of any religion are, ignorance is never a positive trait. Don’t encourage it in children.

(*Not that I object to children becoming atheist/agnostic, but it should be a well-reasoned conclusion and a genuine choice.)

Tagged: religionsecular humanismatheistatheismchristianityislamscientologyphilosophychildren

23rd September 2014

Post with 2 notes

Caring just enough to complain

Tip for atheists: Exploitation of poor people isn’t nearly as convincing an anti-religion argument as helping those people would be.

Tagged: religionatheistatheismpictures of povertyslacktivism

22nd September 2014

Post with 1 note

Desired belief

"If God didn’t exist, humans would invent Him anyway!"

Couple things I don’t understand about this quote. Acknowledge first that there’s a difference between “God” and “religion”, and also a difference between the many different types of religions:

1. If God didn’t exist, we would still want to believe that the universe had been created by a benevolent, compassionate, omnipotent being. The argument I take from this is that anything people really want to believe is true can’t possibly be true. Easily demonstrable as a logical fallacy: I want to believe my mother loves me. Assuming her word can be trusted, this is  also likely to be true. Other things I may want to be true, or may have no opinion about, but either way, there is no logical relationship between my belief desire and the truth or falsehood of the actual event. Thus, if it is true that I- and by extension, other human believers- want to believe in a God, then that belief has nothing to do with His existence. I.E. the quote is not an argument for disbelief, but a logical fallacy.

Tagged: religionlogicchristiangodatheism

22nd September 2014

Post with 1 note

Recycling crafts

I was talking with someone about recycling earlier today, and it reminded me of Africa, as many random things do. I found it a bit odd that volunteers(mostly upper-middle class white college students) who go to Ghana are expected to teach the locals about recycling and reuse, when many of them already have a better grasp on the concept than most Americans. They don’t really have a choice not to.

One of my favorite examples was at a pub in one of the larger villages: Over the entrance someone had strung up what looked like a bead curtain. When you got closer, it was lines of bent bottle caps strung up with black plastic bags. It might not sound like much, but it was pretty from a distance, well-made, and up close very interesting to look at. I always wanted to try to make one myself, but stores here don’t give black or plain colored plastic bags for groceries(and BUYING them would defeat the point), and I don’t really have much reason to buy glass bottles anymore. But I would like to make some sort of project like that with materials that are common.

Tagged: conservationpeace corpsghanaafricarecyclingcraftsreuseenvironment

22nd September 2014

Quote reblogged from Lit by the fires of the numinous with 854 notes

These atheist activists are the sort of people who want to use my story as proof that religion is horrible to women but aren’t willing to listen to what I have to say about sexism in our culture at large. They are the sort of people who are eager to use the shooting of young education activist Malala Yousafzai by the Taliban to prove how horrible religion is for women but somehow fail to mention that Malala is a Muslim who speaks of drawing her inspiration to fight for gender equality from the Koran. This is not standing up for women. This is exploiting women as merely a tool in a fight against religion.

Libby Anne, Do They Care About Women, or Simply Bashing Religion? (via entanglingbriars)

I think this is important, but I don’t believe it has anything to do with atheism as an ideology. I’d love it if it turned out that abandoning religion(or certain types, anyway) would lead to gender equality, as at least that would make for an easy solution. Turns out that misogyny, like most everything else, is frustratingly complicated. 

21st September 2014

Post with 6 notes

The beautiful things we value

I get so tired of seeing the “all women are beautiful!” messages. Nice thought, I suppose, but I don’t see the point of replacing one arbitrary, purely physical standard of female worth with another one. And, I’m not beautiful. I think I’m average looking, extremely awkward, and fail utterly at doing any of the things considered “feminine”. 

But I also don’t dislike the way I look. I have no strong opinions about my appearance either way. What I do think of myself, however…

- I’m creative and a decent writer

- My coworkers regularly call me a “math genius” and defer to my judgment on math related things

- I’m a pretty good novice programmer

So… why does it matter whether I’m beautiful?

Tagged: feministfeminismbeautywomenfemale

21st September 2014

Photo reblogged from Chronicles of confusion with moments of clarity with 3,478 notes

halftheskymovement:

In Bangladesh, prostitution is legal, and poor families sometimes sell their girls to the brothels for as little as $200, from as young as nine years of age. In order to mask how young some of the prostitutes are, brothel owners use Oradexon on them, a steroid intended for cattle. Oradexon is highly addictive and deleterious to the girls’ health, but it fattens them up, giving them a more mature, older appearance, which then makes the girls more appealing to the brothels’ customers.
“It is a basic violation of human’s rights to force malnourished, poor underage girls into consuming Oradexon on a daily basis to enhance unnatural physical growth and energy,” Bangladeshi advocate Naila Hussain Chowdhury, founder of Women4Empowerment, says. “The sex trade is using steroids to make young girls physically develop faster and unnaturally. This is a frightening development.”
Learn more via The Daily Beast.

halftheskymovement:

In Bangladesh, prostitution is legal, and poor families sometimes sell their girls to the brothels for as little as $200, from as young as nine years of age. In order to mask how young some of the prostitutes are, brothel owners use Oradexon on them, a steroid intended for cattle. Oradexon is highly addictive and deleterious to the girls’ health, but it fattens them up, giving them a more mature, older appearance, which then makes the girls more appealing to the brothels’ customers.

“It is a basic violation of human’s rights to force malnourished, poor underage girls into consuming Oradexon on a daily basis to enhance unnatural physical growth and energy,” Bangladeshi advocate Naila Hussain Chowdhury, founder of Women4Empowerment, says. “The sex trade is using steroids to make young girls physically develop faster and unnaturally. This is a frightening development.”

Learn more via The Daily Beast.

Source: halftheskymovement