Why I am an atheist – Harry Salzman

This could be a much longer response, going over my background and
struggles with religion, how good it felt to believe that there was
always someone invisible watching over me, that there was someone who
saw all injustice and ensured that it all came out right in the end,
but frankly, I don’t think there’s anything there that you haven’t
already read or experienced yourself.

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Hasn’t changed a bit in half a millennium

Archaeologists are digging up a Tuscan convent and have found some skeletons that might include the remains of Lisa Gherardini del Giocondo, also known as Mona Lisa. She’s still lovely after all this time.

One investigator has been going through the bones, trying to identify the dead woman, so they can apply forensic reconstruction to her skull.

Wait…why?

I mean, we already know what she looked like. I can understand general historical research on Renaissance remains, but pawing through the graveyard to find one famous person simply to reconstruct a face we’re already familiar with seems peculiarly ghoulish — nothing but a sensationalistic game. What question does this answer, what do we learn from this pointless exercise?

Fortunately, I’m not the only one who wonders about that.

But not all experts are convinced by the claims of Dr Vinceti and his team. Dr Kristina Killgrove, an anthropologist at University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill in the US, said on her blog: "Although the excavation is being carried out in a professional manner, Vinceti’s quest to dig up the ‘real’ Mona Lisa is not grounded in scientific research methodology." She added: "The news media’s breathless coverage of it threatens to signal to the public that archaeologists are frivolous with their time, energy, and research money."

Maybe, once they identify the skull, they can send it off to the Louvre and mount it on the wall next to the painting. <sarcasm>That’ll be informative.</sarcasm>

Whoa — they’re literally dehumanizing atheists

I didn’t realize how thoroughly the Catholic church regarded atheists as sub-humans, but Michael Nugent documents it all, straight from the hierarchy’s legion of mouths. It is literally a Catholic teaching that atheists are “not fully human”.

The Catechism of the Catholic Church, Part One, The Profession of Faith, reads: (27) “The dignity of man rests above all on the fact that he is called to communion with God;” and (44) “Man is by nature and vocation a religious being. Coming from God, going toward God, man lives a fully human life only if he freely lives by his bond with God.”

In 2012, Pope Benedict, in a letter to a Catholic meeting in Rimini, wrote that “every person is created so that he may enter into dialogue with the Infinite… To truly find himself and his identity, to live up to his being, man must turn and recognize that he is a creature, who is dependent on God.”

In 1998, Pope John Paul II, in an apostolic message delivered in Croatia, said that “A culture which rejects God cannot be considered fully human, because it excludes from its vision the One who has created man in his own image and likeness, has redeemed him through the work of Christ, and has consecrated him with the anointing of the Holy Spirit.”

In 1995, Pope John Paul II, in a homily at Saint Joseph’s Seminary, Yonkers, USA, said that when he was addressing the United Nations: “My task is not to speak in purely human terms about merely human values, but in spiritual terms about spiritual values, which are ultimately what make us fully human.”

In 1986, Pope John Paul II, in an Angelus statement in Adelaide, Australia, said that “Jesus did not come to lay burdens upon us. He came to teach us what it means to be fully happy and fully human.”

That’s just a small sampling. Fortunately, I don’t share their bigotry: I regard all Catholics as my fellow apes.

Exploration Day is slowly gaining momentum

Check out the website! Sign the petitions! Read Maggie Koerth-Baker’s summary! Exploration Day is the cool idea to rename Columbus Day, to strip out the ugly historical implications — we celebrate the genocide of the first inhabitants of the American continents? — and build up new and positive associations. I’m all for it. Now we just need to get people with some clout behind it.

Well, that was a waste of a few hours

I sort of watched the presidential debate last night (actually, I was working on my computer the whole time with the debate on in the background — I am so far behind in everything). It was…disappointing. Both sides swapped exaggerations, Romney, as usual, dodged on all the specifics and successfully avoided mentioning any details that he could be pinned down on, while someone slipped Obama a mickey. He was sluggish and hesitant, and seemed to be taking the safe strategy of avoiding any conflict. In a debate. In a campaign he could still lose. It was a debate about domestic issues and the economy, and Obama didn’t bother to mention that Romney has written off 47% of the electorate as moochers.

Getting sucked into bickering over how many billions of dollars are going to which program is pointless when it fails to expose the substantial ideological differences between the two parties. It was like watching two accountants bicker. Except I did notice one of the accountants invoking God at length near the end.

Can Jim Lehrer retire now? Please?

Why I am an atheist – Dustin

I remember during my youth I was pretty “spiritual” and believed in an after life,  a higher power, etc. I didn’t affiliate myself with any particular religion. I would take a cursory interest in the main ones, but always being an independent (some would say stubborn) thinker I reveled in figuring things out for myself. Why my starting position was that of a spiritual nature I’m not wholly sure of. I wasn’t raised in a religious home or had anyone close to me during my impressionable youth that was overly religious. Maybe it was simply the general consensus in the environment I grew up in – anyway.

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AAAAAAAIEE! CATHOLICS!

All right, Deacon Duncan owes me. He cruelly pointed me at a site where a Catholic tries to justify his faith.

Just that phrase alone is enough to send alarms in your head whooping, doesn’t it? You know it’s going to be a pointless exercise in sophistry, and the only reason you might be tempted to follow the link is to see how awful it is. If you are a connoisseur of bad reasoning, go ahead — it’s an excellent example of the genre.

After the prelude, in which he says that he’s trying to explain his belief to atheists why Christians exist, here is his very first sentence.

Any philosophy that claims that there exists nothing supernatural cannot grant purpose to suffering.

I lost my will to read further. He needs to examine his premises: why must there be a purpose to suffering?

I had stopped caring. But I glanced ahead through the long, tortured prose and shameful excuses for logic (purposelessly, I suffered), and found this little jewel of a dingleberry of thought:

All atheism has its ultimate source in Jesus Christ then, for by his death he negated the existence of God. And in his death, sin itself died, for he became sin itself. And if sin died, suffering died, for suffering is the result of sin. And if all suffering died, than death itself — the ultimate human suffering — dies.

What the hell…do not try to understand. It’s a Catholic thing. Just soak your cortex in a childhood of lies, and while it will never make sense, you’ll just accept without questioning, which is all a good Catholic wants.

I gave up. But I thought I’d check the comments to see if somehow, magically, that fecal slurry somehow resonated with anyone, and gosh, it did.

I love how simply you put it when you said “Christianity doesn’t end suffering. It just redefines it as a positive.” I think a lot of Christians don’t understand why they suffer, and knowing that their suffering is united with Christ’s is beyond comforting.

Catholics. Their logic is of another realm.