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Christianity

Omnipotence in Question

God is omnipotent… or so we are told.

Dictionary.com defines “omnipotent” as:

1. almighty or infinite in power, as God.
2. having very great or unlimited authority or power.

I’m going to go with the first definition since this is the one that would undoubtedly apply to “God” of Christianity and Catholicism and to “Allah” in Islam. I’ve never heard a religious person say that their god has only limited power, so I think it’s a fair assumption that the first definition is applicable.

The question is often posed to theists, “If God (from here on, also meaning Allah) is all-powerful, why is there disease (or imperfection or evil or disbelief, etc)?” The answer invariably boils down to a “free will” argument. Summarized, God created everything in a state of perfection, but gave man free will to choose his own actions. Man then chose the “wrong” path (eating the apple) and that was pretty much the end of perfection. After that, we basically drove off the genetic cliff which explains why some people wear glasses, some get cancer, some need braces, etc.

(I’m going to leave aside the argument that perhaps Adam wasn’t perfect if he was capable of choosing the wrong path, therefore God didn’t make a perfect creation, therefore God isn’t perfect… or omnipotent.)

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More on the Foundations of the US Government

I read this article today giving more detail on the secular foundations of the US Government. There’s some great information here that continues to help dismiss the absurd claim by the religious right that the USA was founded as a Christian nation. Sadly, facts don’t seem to persuade the anti-intellectuals who cannot manage a simple grasp of US history and who refuse to actually read the Constitution and Bill of Rights.

Here’s the article by Carol V. Hamilton on the History News Network of George Mason’s University.

http://hnn.us/articles/47323.html

Attempted “Logic” Fails

On the website CantonRep.com, Ron L. Dalpiaz wrote a letter to the editor about the Freedom From Religion Foundation’s “Imagine No Religion” billboard in Canton, Ohio. The letter appeared on December 18th, 2008.

Mr. Dalpiaz evidently does not approve of the billboard, nor does he approve or agree with the FFRF’s Annie Laurie Gaylor’s comments about religion. That’s understandable. I don’t always agree with everything she says, either, even though I’m a FFRF member. One of the wonderful things about this country (the USA) is our freedom to disagree and express our disagreement. The First Amendment of our Constitution guarantees that.

In that light, I would like to point out the logical failings of Mr. Dalpiaz’s statements and show that, in numerous cases, his statements are the exact opposite of what is actually true. Sadly, I see this kind of illogical rhetoric all the time and it’s frustrating to say the least.

Here’s the letter (quoted) along with my comments.

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What War on Christmas?

I found an editorial on iReport.com and thought it was a well-written statement about the alleged “War on Christmas” that is much touted by Fox News and many of the religious right.

The writer, Indy609, makes a clear distinction between the “separation of church and state” and a “war on Christmas,” something which seems to confuse a lot of people at Fox News. After giving examples of lawsuits and/or efforts to maintain the First Ammendment Separation, he notes…

None of these is the same as removing all religion from public life, not by the longest stretch of logical maneuvering.

Where are the lawsuits seeking to end Christian broadcasting? Where are the protests seeking to remove Christian-themed holiday music from the mall? Where are the referendums seeking to cover up the road signs in every town showing you the way to the nearest church? Who has sought to stifle candidates expressing their religious preference? When has anyone has advocated shutting down Christian bookstores? Where are the attempts to block the entryways to churches? Where are the ravenous letters opposing faith-based network programming such as “Touched By an Angel” or “Joan of Arcadia”? When one goes walking on any Main Street, America, this month, is Christmas not apparent in every direction?

Wanting to have a nativity display removed from a government building is not a “War on Christmas.” It’s an attempt to maintain freedom of religion. Put the display in any one of the beautiful churches in towns and cities across the entire country… where it belongs.

What’s the point of putting a nativity display (or other religious displays) in a government building when there are obviously more appropriate places for it? The answer? There isn’t a valid point.

Here’s a link to the editorial. http://www.ireport.com/docs/DOC-164454

Hitler was not an atheist.

I am tired of hearing Christian theologians try to make the case that Hitler’s atheistic beliefs caused the deaths of untold millions.  Hitler was not the poster child for atheism. Hitler was the poster child for nationalistic bigots. Let me set the record straight for all of the historically challenged who keep asserting this incorrect belief.

Hitler was NOT an atheist.

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The Ten Commandments: Why most of them aren’t even good suggestions (Part 2)

The source for the following essay is Deuteronomy 5:6-5:21.

Well, here we are with commandment two.

You shall not make wrongful use of the name of the LORD your God, for the LORD will not acquit anyone who misuses his name.

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Founded as a Christian Nation? No.

One of the common claims that tends to irk me more than some others is the claim that the United States was founded as a Christian nation or based on Christian principles. This misconception has been refuted a multitude of times, but the refutations always seem to fall on the deaf ears of self-righteous, Christian ignorance.

The claim is usually made during political discussions, but the intellectual morose of the argument is evident regardless of context. I most frequently hear the statement from people who don’t have the information required to back up the claim and who refuse to acknowledge any evidence that threatens to penetrate their self-imposed cocoon of ignorance. For good reason, it seems, since if they did choose to acknowledge the evidence, their claim would be simply invalidated.

Looking at the text that the Founding Fathers of the United States of America used makes it unquestionably evident that a “Christian Nation” was not what they intended to create.

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Inhibiting Education

I was speaking with a co-worker this morning and she was telling me about her son’s recent experience at school. Every year, the school takes the seventh-grade students to a local community health center, divides the boys and girls, and gives each group a presentation on bodily changes (of both sexes) that will soon be happening (if they’re not already). Basically, it’s sex-ed biology… puberty, hormones, etc.

This year, evidently there were some parents who complained that they didn’t want their children subjected to that presentation. My co-worker didn’t know how many parents complained, but her son said that one girl is a (vocal) Christian and her mom complained. It’s probably a safe bet that any parents who complained did so because of their religious beliefs. Granted, there could potentially be other reasons, but it’s unlikely.

Because of the parental complaints, all the students were given a presentation on drug use instead of the planned “Your Developing Body” curriculum. While education about drug use is definitely valuable, it seems to be, given the age of the students, a second-rate substitute. Learning about puberty and the biological changes that they’ll be going through is more time-sensitive for that age group than learning about drug use.

I have two issues with this situation.

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The Ten Commandments: Why most of them aren’t even good suggestions (Part 1)

The source for the following essays is Deuteronomy 5:6-5:21.

How many times has the debate on religion begun, only to end in short order with the religious apologist arguing that what you say may or may not be true but you can’t argue that the TEN COMMANDMENTS weren’t a great contribution to out collective civility.

Wrong. I can. Lets take them one at a time. Over the next ten weeks I’m going to be discussing one commandment per week. Here goes.

“I am the Lord your God, who brought you out of the land of Egypt, out of the house of slavery; you shall have no other gods before me. You shall not make for yourself an idol, whether in the form of anything that is in heaven above, or that is on the earth beneath, or that is in the water under the earth. You shall not bow down to them or worship them; for I the LORD your God am a jealous God, punishing children for the iniquity of parents, to the third and fourth generation of those who reject me, but showing steadfast love to the thousandth generation of those who love me and keep my commandments.”

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