Thursday, January 31, 2008

Same-Sex Marriage=In God We Trust?

If you recall, I argued for the fight against having the word "God" on currency and in the Pledge of Allegiance. I started my argument by acknowledging that it was, in fact, a petty fight. However I also acknowledged that it was a breach of civil rights and that it was an injustice. All injustices must be righted, I then reasoned. Well, I found a wonderful video on youtube ( ) that made me realize how petty a fight the current fight about marriage is. Same-Sex marriage bothers some people, however the word "God" bothers some people.

The only difference between the two that I can see (after a few hours of thinking about it) is that the people who are against same-sex marriage are arguing that if we allow same-sex marriage, all sorts of terrible and perverse things will start to happen. They argue that if we wish to allow same-sex marriage, we are not only going against the Holy Word of God, but we are going against nature. They argue that we will be falling into a terrible, immoral way of living.

Well, to hell with them! In essence, I think that if two people want to commit to a stable, monogamous, life-long relationship, they should be allowed to, regardless of sex, race, creed or age (with obvious restrictions to minors (they are not old enough yet to make that sort of decision, even if they are allowed to make an opinion about it)).

The Government is not there to dictate morals. They are there for two purposes. The first of these is to keep themselves alive and to earn money for their employees. The second of these purposes is to protect their citizens.

So, if the argument over the word "God" in the Pledge and on our currency is a small and petty matter, so is the issues of gay marriage.

Please leave comments of your own opinion. If you wish for me to talk about something in a future post, please be sure to email me at Please include the words "Tolerance and Peace" in the subject line, so that it is not kicked back by my SPAM filter. Thank you.

Tuesday, January 29, 2008

Religious American Elections....?

As much as I hate to admit it and as much as I am against it, religion plays a very large part in American politics. As appealing as Thomas Jefferson's "wall of separation between Church and State" is, the idea has not caught hold on the masses in the freest country in the world. As tolerant as people have become towards the black community and towards women, tolerance runs thin with non-theists and atheists.

Poor Mitt Romney is having a hard time getting votes because he belongs to the Church of Latter-Day Saints. Mike Huckabee is raking in the religious right's vote hand over fist. Barack Obama is doing well, despite having his religious preference questioned (the average, uninformed voter (e.g. my father) believes him to be a Muslim) is doing well in the race. In fact out of the four major (or at least, major in my mind) remaining candidates (H. Clinton, B. Obama, M. Huckabee, and M. Romney), only one does not have his or her religion acting with or against them.

I personally dream of one-day going into politics (something I believe that I have shared with this blog before). However, if I do not start to disavow myself as an atheist, I probably will never get elected into anything more than perhaps City Council-Member.

"In a free and open society," begins a famous speech by former-President John F. Kennedy, and while President Kennedy was speaking about Secret Societies, I am speaking about free and open societies. I personally do not believe that any society can be called free and open until all creeds and all faiths and all "races" (do not agree with labeling different humans as belonging to different races, but more on that later) and both sexes and all people regardless of disabilities and all people regardless of sexual preference (with regards to protect children and all people who wish to infringe upon somebody else's rights) are accepted. (I just re-read that and it makes no sense, so I am going to recap it below.)

I believe that a society cannot be called properly free and open until all people's regardless of any differences are accepted. This acceptance, of course, stops when one person wishes (and tries) to infringe upon the rights and freedoms of another person.

I suppose what I am trying to say is that, although America has come a long way in the fight for Civil Liberties, and that it has come a long way in the fight to give every man (and woman) his or her rights, the country has not come far enough.

"How many years can some people exist before they're allowed to be free?"goes the old Bob Dylan song (Blowin' in the Wind).

All I can say in answer to this question is that it won't happen until those people fight, tooth and nail, for their freedom. Whether they fight non-violently (as Gandhi did) or violently (the Civil War), they still must show that they do not support the offenses being brought against them.

They must show that they are resilient and they will not stand injustice. A people who are not free and are being oppressed must show it. They must show the hardships they are forced to bear.

The writer's of the groups, the painters, the composers, all of the artists should join arms to show to terribleness of their oppression. Any political leaders that the group has (whether the political leader that agrees with the group because he or she is in the group or because he or she sees the oppression does not matter truly) must use all their political influence in effort to liberate the group. Every layman who belongs to the group should incorporate its message into his or her everyday life.

In the end, conciousness must be raised. No longer do we say "chairman" but instead we say "chairperson" because we do not wish to be considered sexist by society. Feminists have even changed the way that we as a people think.

If atheists could do this, we could change the way that freedom is viewed.

Please leave comments of your own opinion. If you wish for me to talk about something in a future post, please be sure to email me at Please include the words "Tolerance and Peace" in the subject line, so that it is not kicked back by my SPAM filter. Thank you.

Friday, January 25, 2008

We Trust Whom?!

I'm sure that you've seen the debate of In God We Trust and the Under God almost everyone has an opinion about it, so I think I'll share mine.

The first thing that anyone who is against removing these phrases from nationally-approved and regulated entities (namely, the Pledge of Allegiance and our national currency) points out is that this is a petty and tiny thing. While we could (and perhaps should) be working on cures for life-threatening and life-debilitating diseases, we are actually fighting over twenty letters, six words. Is this small-scale battle really unimportant? Why are we doing this petty bickering when we could join together and do something about the terrible-ness of the world?

My answer to this first issue is that yes, this is a petty battle. Yes, this is small. But it is no more small than feminists insisting that "chairman" should become "chairperson". The purpose of this battle to raise awareness and to change the way that people think. If the way that people think can be changed, then in the end how they treat other people can be changed also. While the injustices that atheists, agnostics and non-theists face are not near as bad as those that were faced by the African American community nor those faced by women nor those faced by the Jewish community for centuries, the injustices that atheists, agnostics and non-theists face are still injustices. In my country, atheists are currently the most hated groups. According to one survey, people would rather vote for a black, a gay or a woman than an as-qualified atheist for public office. I plan to go into politics at some point in my life, but if I wish to do that in my own country, I will have to renounce any and all ties that I have to the non-theistic community. So while this is a petty issue, in the end, it comes down to making all (wo)men equal, as it is put down in the Constitution of the United States of America.

The reason that the majority of Americans are fine with this injustice is that it is their belief and their world-view being promoted. If our currency said "In Allah We Trust" and the Pledge said "One Nation, Under the Prophet (May Allah Rest His Soul)" then the Christians would feel just as oppressed as a large number of non-Christians and non-theists do. But, several people (myself included) believe that although the religious right is not correct, they do not know any better. A good number of the evangelicalists were raised in their religion and have never had an outside view of it. And likely never will.

Let me give you an example. I raised the Easter Challenge in class to one of my more skeptical friends. The class in question was an honors class, so I figured that the people in there are more open-minded about things. A good 'ol Southern Baptist overheard our private conversation and had to butt in. So, I brought the challenge to him, and he could not fathom that there were contradictions in the Bible.

So, while we should be fighting bigger battles, any injustice is an injustice, and all injustices should be righted. I feel that putting these phrases in our Pledge of Allegiance and on our currency is showing preference to theists over non-theists. Even if you can argue that the arbitrary "God" on this money and in the pledge is a God for all faiths, non-theists are left out.

Please leave comments of your own opinion. If you wish for me to talk about something in a future post, please be sure to email me at Please include the words "Tolerance and Peace" in the subject line, so that it is not kicked back by my SPAM filter. Thank you.

Wednesday, January 23, 2008


So, yesterday I went on an epic-rant about education and things as such.

Today, I was proven right in a discussion with one of my "friends" (we're friends, but not very close friends at all).

He was talking about why one of the other people in the class and I always have in-depth conversations and the like (this friend is a true "Christian".... he doesn't judge anyone else, has never tried to even convert me. He wishes to understand my choice in being an atheist, but he and I never try to sway the other onto "our" side.) So he asked something along the lines of "Why do you two waste your time trying to figure things like that out?"

I answer first, "Waste.... our.... time?"

My friend caught up soon thereafter, saying "What do you mean by that?"

The other guy kept on, saying how it was a waste of time to worry about philosophy and the like. How a lot of people "waste" their lives looking for new elements and things like that. How we don't think about "important" things.

And I looked back at him and said, "What do you mean as 'important'?"

He couldn't answer, so I took it back up and asked him again, "I don't understand what you mean.... these things are important to myself and _______. Please tell us what you find important, and maybe we can find a reason to why you do not believe that our important things are not important."

It was quiet for a few moments, so my friend and I continued our argument about which side we would take during the "Fall" from Grace (assuming that Satan actually exists and all that jazz).

Later on, halfway through my brilliant (albeit half-stolen) defense of picking up Lucifer's side, he interrupted us again with basically the same question.

Please leave comments of your own opinion. If you wish for me to talk about something in a future post, please be sure to email me at Please include the words "Tolerance and Peace" in the subject line, so that it is not kicked back by my SPAM filter. Thank you.

Monday, January 21, 2008

Education's Turmoil

There is a problem with education in my country (the United States). The problem is that it doesn't happen. People in this country are very happy to take whatever someone tells them and believe it all day long without ever trying to find out if it is true.

I personally am still in high school, so I get to see first-hand the youth of today having a hard time thinking critically. I am in almost all AP (Advanced Placement, it's college-level work) and honors (higher than normal work, but not quite college-level) classes. However, I have a few classes with the "normal" students.

These classes involve "Business Law", "Engineer Drawing", and "Algebra II". In these three classes, I get to mingle with the normal-level students (as well as some upper-level students in some cases). Seeing these normal-level students in action astounds me almost every day.

These students are part of what I propose as being the 90% of the world that society will not allow to think. Onto this theory of mine: I believe that society as a whole will not allow more than 10% of its population actually know what the hell is going on. At least, not a normal society. Some places actually encourage free-thinking and critical thinking.

This 10% usually ends up being the lawyers and the judges and the CEO's and the other "leaders". Some of them go on to be bums with dreams (artists, musicians who are never "discovered", et al), but overall these people end up being the successful leaders of society.

The 10% generally, however, limits the rest of the society's ability to critically think. They do this for various reasons. One of the most obvious that leaps to mind is that they wish to retain the power that they have carved out for themselves. Those who have power are afraid to lose it the old Sith maxim goes.

The problem with this model for a democracy (or a republic) is that well over the majority (think 90% instead of the magic 51%) is not able to make an educated decision about who should be running the country.

The point I am trying to make is that in a republic like America, we should allow more critical thinking and more individually tailored classes to help educate the masses.

I know what it is like to be talking to somebody and make an allusion to something (a Greek myth or one of the founders of this country or anything like that) and have the person stare blankly at you, only to, a moment later, say "Huh?! You shouldn't use such big words with me."

Would increasing that 10% to 20% be such a bad thing?

Would further increasing it later to 50% (through gradual steps) be a bad thing?

I have never before heard of a society who fell into decadence because its members became too enlightened or too open-minded, have you?

Please leave comments of your own opinion. If you wish for me to talk about something in a future post, please be sure to email me at Please include the words "Tolerance and Peace" in the subject line, so that it is not kicked back by my SPAM filter. Thank you.

Thursday, January 17, 2008

The Two "M's": Mythology and Morality

As an atheist, I understand the importance of ridding the world of religion. I also understand the non-theistic world's view on religion and why it is poisonous (Christopher Hitchens' god is not Great: How Religion Poisons Everything). But as a former theist (or perhaps I was a make-believe theist.... there will be more on this topic in an up-and-coming post), I also understand the comfort that religion can provide. The simple things, such as "having your place in the universe" as well as the large things like having your place in society.

Joseph Campbell argued in The Power of Myth how having these mythologies as a society helped to show our place in that society. Myths helped to show that we are a part of the larger whole. While the importance of feeling as though you are a part of the larger whole can be debated, in the end, having your place and knowing your part make for living life much easier.

However, Campbell also goes on to say that today's society has lost its myth. America has no mythology of its own anymore, no rituals in which it can partake. And without these rituals, we develop into terrible people who cut off our hair so that a drug test is impossible.

So, it comes down to it, is Campbell correct? Do we as a society need a mythology, even if it is a complete metaphor and is understood completely as a metaphor, or can we live in a world that has no rituals, where even the judges have lost their robes and the president is only a (wo)man?

If we atheists get what many of us want (for religion either to completely be destroyed or be completely secular-ized), will our society still have moral standards? Will it have the same level of moral standards? Will it have less? Will it have more?

I suppose that my opinion of the matter is that we are inherently good, until corrupted and indoctrinated by terrible organizations (like churches), and since we are inherently good, we will attain more a greater moral basis when we lose these organizations with an unhealthy obsession with how many times we say our prayers each day, with what we do in the bedroom (or where ever else you like to have sex), with how many times a woman must be beaten with a stick before she is considered clean enough to ask to be cleansed by a priest (with a mustache and testicles), and with saving every single soul, whether that soul will be a rapist or a saint. (I use the term saint just to mean somebody who is extremely moral, Thomas Jefferson, though undoubtedly a deist (and probably an atheist), is a saint.) I feel that once these unhealthy obsessions are removed from society, many terrible perversions will also be removed. Even if it takes a few generations.

Please leave comments of your own opinion. If you wish for me to talk about something in a future post, please be sure to email me at Please include the words "Tolerance and Peace" in the subject line, so that it is not kicked back by my SPAM filter. Thank you.

A New Start

Well, here is a start, I suppose, to a new blog. I hope that I can keep this one as active as some others that I read. When it comes down to it, I don't really know why I am starting this, except perhaps as a place to record my thoughts and observations about the world.

For the record, I am a liberal atheist who happens to live in the Deep South Bible Belt. Intolerance runs rampant here, but I am unsure if it is the same everywhere. So there you have it.

If you wish to get my word out (please) to other people I would love it if you pass my link out.

And I swear that the next posts will be better, if not daily.