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Posts from the ‘Local Stuff’ Category

12
Feb

My Trip to the Faith Healers

I attended a faith healing service in Bella Vista, AR this weekend. I don’t know how relate this event in a funny or interesting way. Whenever I think about it, I’m left completely speechless. I even chickened out and didn’t confront anyone afterwards for conversation. I just wanted to get away from there.

I went with four friends from my atheist group. We tried our best to keep our heads down to avoid being kicked out. It seems this behavior was well advised, because I later found this in an article on the website of one of the hosts:

C) WHAT TO WATCH OUT FOR

1. Tactfully remove spectators – Just as there is power in agreement, the converse is true, that the healing power may not flow if there is no agreement in the spirit. So, if people around you lack faith in believing God for healing to take place for the sick person, tactfully ask them to stand aside or leave the room (Mk5v37-42, Mt13v58).

Of course, you don’t want any pesky skeptics in your audience. They make it harder for the crowd to maintain their shared delusion.

There were many testimonials given. One of the hosts claimed she was cured of paralysis and deafness in one ear when she first met her husband. He prayed over her and she was instantly healed. She was up and moving around within one day.

Here are some of the things we saw:

  • A man was cured of blurry vision. After being “healed”, he claimed everything was now in focus. He left declaring, “I’ve gotta go test this out!”
  • A healer blew in a man’s ear to cure his deafness. He claimed it was better.
  • A lady was “cured” of her diabetes.
  • Another lady was “cured” of an enlarged heart.
  • A woman was supposedly cured of a broken arm. She did not have a cast. Her arm was in a sling fashioned out of what appeared to be a pillowcase. I assume this is because these kinds of people don’t visit doctors. The healer declared that the bones were “now snapping back into place”. She seemed very happy.
  • Many people with headaches and pains in various places were prayed over. The healer would blow on their foreheads and they’d fall over backwards onto the floor. Someone behind them would catch them, and they’d get a blanket put on them.

Near the end, one of the women in our group got called to the front to be healed. The guy said that she didn’t know it, but one of her legs was shorter than the other. He did a trick wherein the legs appeared to grow out to the same length. He said if she had any back pain, it would be much better now. Another woman in our group then got called up, and they did the same trick on her arms.

James Randi explains how the “leg lengthening” trick works in this video. The explanation starts at 2:26.

Of course, the women hadn’t volunteered themselves. They got called out by the hosts. Did they just want us to not leave without having an “experience”? Did they think the women in our group would be more susceptible to being fooled?

Will the lady with Type II Diabetes now stop taking her insulin? Does the lady with an enlarged heart have medication that she’ll now stop taking? Do any of these people have children that don’t get taken to the doctor? I worry about the real-world effects of these beliefs.

One of the booklets passed out at the event, 100 Divine Healing Facts, says:

If it is not God’s will for you to be well, it would be wrong for you to seek recovery even through natural means.

If it is God’s will for you to be well, then it is only logical that the best way of recovery is by divine means.

In another section of the same book:

Asa died in his sickness because he sought not the Lord, but to the physicians; while Hezekiah lived because he sought not to the physicians but to the Lord.

In other words, going to the doctor is against God’s will.

From the website of one of the hosts:

D) WHY ARE ALL NOT HEALED

1. Lack of Faith – The disciples were unable to set the demon possessed boy free due to a lack of faith (Mt17v20).

2. Lack of Discernment.

3. Doubt and unbelief.

So, if you’re not healed, it’s your fault! You filthy sinner, you.

I just don’t know what to say. It’s fun to watch Benny Hinn on YouTube and laugh at people going crazy. But seeing people in my own town falling victim to this stuff is just really sad. It kinda makes it real, y’know?

Links:

http://www.gwhr.us/

http://www.asyougoministries.com/

 

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31
Jan

Local Woman Raises Husband From The Dead

Lest you think my last post on astral traffic cones was a trivial matter and not worthy of my blogging efforts, let me give you an example of spiritual beliefs applied to a more serious situation.

This post is from a local group that does faith healing services:

Well we broke in the New Year with some excitement and a display of God’s power and love. On the evening of January 2nd my husband, Tony, was not feeling well and asked me to pray for him. I prayed and we went to bed. In the middle of the night I heard a loud crash and called out to Tony, asking him what the noise was (since I had noticed he wasn’t in bed). He replied that he didn’t know so I got up to investigate and found him lying on the floor in the bathroom. I asked if he was ok and he replied yes, I’m fine.

As I spoke with him I could tell that he didn’t even recognize that he was lying down. After a minute or so I said, “Why don’t you sit up and see how you feel”. He sat up and talked to me a little more and then his head fell on his chest. My first thought was “No, this is not going to happen like this!” I started commanding him to wake up as I laid him down. He opened his eyes, looked around and then his eyes rolled back into his head and he breathed out one big breath and that was it. I started yelling, “Tony, in Jesus name WAKE UP!” I repeated this many times. During this time I felt compelled to give him 2 chest compressions and only 2. I also slapped his face a few times and kept yelling (very loudly), “Tony, in Jesus name WAKE UP!” At one point a voice said, “You better go call 911” and I thought to myself, no I am not leaving Tony like this. After maybe a minute or so (it’s hard to tell when you’re in that type of situation) he opened his eyes and said, “Boy, I feel better than I have felt in the past week.” All I could say (repeatedly) was “Thank You Jesus, thank You Jesus, thank You Jesus!”

He laid there for a couple of minutes and then stood up, looked at himself in the mirror and said, “Wow, I’m white”, I said “I know, I think you better go lay down.” We went back to bed, prayed some more and went to sleep. We both woke up in the morning and went into work about an hour late. All day the enemy kept saying, “That isn’t normal, you didn’t do enough”, meaning that he should have gone to a doctor. But after a while I replied to this lie from the devil, “You’re right, it’s not normal, we were never meant to be normal, Praise God!” As the day progressed I could hear Tony’s voice get stronger and stronger (over the phone). A couple of days later he told me that he felt 100% back to normal.

I thank God that I have had good training and that my mind was renewed and knew what to do. I immediately recognized this as a spiritual attack and stood my ground and declared how it was going to be. I thank God for His faithfulness, His truth, His promises and most of all His love for us.

28
Jan

Out of the Darkness and Into the Light

Tonight, at the Fayetteville Freethinkers meeting, I met Jerry DeWitt. Jerry is a former pastor who’s recently lost his faith. In fact, he’s a part of The Clergy Project, a secret group of current and former ministers who no longer believe in God.

Here’s his blurb on the Recovering From Religion site:

Jerry DeWitt became a non-believer after more than twenty-five years of Pentecostal ministry in his home state of Louisiana. His ministry experience begin at the early age of seventeen and included evangelizing across the United States and being the assistant pastor of two United Pentecostal churches as well as one Apostolic church. During his dilemma with doubt Jerry ultimately held the senior pastorate of two very unique congregations, one charismatic dominionist and the other non-denominational

In his Louisiana town (population 10,000), people used to used to shake his hand and ask him when he was going to run for mayor. His intended mayoral run was to be in 2014. Now, he feels sick to his stomach at the thought of having to go out to Walmart or the Post Office. As of October last year, people now know he is a nonbeliever.

Caring about the truth drove a wedge between Jerry and his faith. All Christians, at some point, will inevitably find some kind of problem in scripture. How they react to the problems they find determines their future. Some may shrug it off, preferring to be happy and ignorant. Those who care about the truth, however, could be in trouble, for they will dig in and uncover a host of other problems.

The second wedge between him and his faith was a love of people. Apparently, caring for people is a necessary component before the Problem of Evil will have an effect on you. He cited being disturbed by the babies who drowned in the Great Flood. He also mentioned that even the worst people who ever lived probably didn’t deserve to be tortured in hell for infinity.

He said as a pastor, you are personally responsible for people’s suffering. They come to you with their problems all the time, and you have to be able to explain why it’s happening to them. At some point, he explained, his love of truth and people began to make this process harder and harder. At some point, he said, the questions people asked became louder than the answers.

Anyways, I won’t spoil his talk. He’s an excellent speaker. 25 years of experience will do that to you. Maybe his talk will find its way on Youtube one of these days.

23
Jan

Inklings of Feelings

At the church I visited last Sunday, there were talking up their missionary work in Mexico. They also encouraged church-goers to go on mission trips themselves. The speaker explained why people should go like this:

These types of trips can be very rewarding. You may think of all the reasons why you shouldn’t do it. We all have responsibilities. But if you just feel a tiny nudge, or any inkling at all that maybe you should go, that’s God talking to you! Don’t ignore the Word of God!

It scares me to think of people figuring out life decisions based on inklings of feelings. I prefer a reasoned weighing of the pros and cons. If you just blindly go for something without thinking about it first, who knows what the consequences might be?

This also reminds me how great a revelation it was to me that my thoughts were just my thoughts and nothing more. I ascribed supernatural origins to some of my inner thoughts. I made decisions based on those thoughts. It made me happy, but it was not truth. Which is more important?

Also, to any religious folk who may be reading this, you might find this video by DarkMatter2525 interesting.

16
Jan

Atheists in Church: Part 3

Yesterday, my atheist friends and I attended First Baptist Church of Bentonville.

This was a larger church than I had attended before (I actually sat on the 2nd floor balcony). Unlike the Pentecostal and Charismatic churches we went to before, this church did not have people yelling, cheering, waving their hands around, groveling on the floor, or talking in tongues. Most attendees appeared to be extremely bored and just sat or stood passively listening. The people that sung along to the music did so quietly to themselves. The kids at this church seemed just as bored as the kids in the other churches.

It made me wonder what people at this church are getting out of the experience. At the other churches, I could see the influence of the “holy spirit” on them. The experience clearly moved them emotionally. I couldn’t tell just by observation that people here were getting anything at all from the sermons or the music. The people we spoke to afterwards were clearly passionate about their faith, however, so perhaps some people just aren’t active in large group settings?

IMG_0116One mother actually took her daughter (who appeared to be around 8 years old) down to the front to be “saved”. I remain extremely skeptical that someone that young can understand all the implications of what they’re getting into.

There was a part where five couples with newborn babies were brought onstage. It seemed nice in that it was a celebration of new families and new futures, but I couldn’t tell if people were cheering the new babies or the fact that those babies would be raised with Christian values. At one point, I was sure I heard the speaker refer to the raising their kids as “ministry”. Is raising kids considered ministry? Perhaps I misheard.

Parents should really let their kids decide these things for themselves. I’m not sure how I could expect a fundamentalist Christian to not indoctrinate their kids, though. When your religion colors everything you do, how can it not affect your relationship with your kids? Maybe it’s not that easy. I think there’s some middle-ground, though. For example, the newcomer’s pamphlet referred to the church’s “Preschool Ministry” (ages 2-Kindergarten). How, exactly, does that work, ministering to 2-year-olds?

Last Saint Patrick’s Day, I had both my daughters absolutely convinced that there was a leprechaun in the house hiding their things. We would leave little notes from the leprechaun, where he’d taunt the kids and declare that they’d never catch him or get his pot of gold. I even downloaded voice modulation software and recorded a message from “The Leprechaun” himself (more taunts, of course). I burned it to a CD and put it on a table for them with a note. They were SO angry when they discovered it was a ruse.

My point is: little kids will believe anything they are told, and it’s not right to take advantage of that and just start shoving our own beliefs in their head. We need to give kids the tools to figure things out for themselves.

Other highlights, which I’ll have to expand on in later entries:

  • There was a guy from Mexico who was “saved” during one of the church’s mission trips. He told his story, which I’ll write about later.
  • The topic of the sermon was abortion. It was pretty over-the top. The pastor showed a picture of a 36-week-old baby in the womb and declared, “Under the law, this is a fetus”. Then he showed a picture of a newborn baby and said, “This is a baby”. Since they looked the same, it was intended to show the ridiculousness of the law in saying fetuses aren’t people. Then he talked about how bald-eagle eggs are considered eagles, and you get a fine for destroying those.
  • There was a bible study class afterwards. The instructors were very nice, and it was a good opportunity to have atheists and Christians engage in healthy dialogue. I have not seen such open dialogue before. We had militant atheists talking to creationists who believed humans and dinosaurs walked the Earth at the same time, and no one got offended. I think more atheist groups should attend classes like these.
29
Dec

Christmas: A Great Opportunity to Proselytize

My 8-year-old daughter was proselytized to again at her grandparent’s house. The relatives knew my wife and I wouldn’t be there to intervene, so she was taken into a room for 20 minutes and given a lecture on “the reason for the season”. They covered Jesus, loaves-and-fishes, the resurrection, the whole nine-yards. She was also told that she would be getting a bible and that she should read it cover-to-cover.

089860f81cbored_girl_jpgOf course, this has already happened once before. They know we are atheists and they don’t care. There wasn’t any crying this time, though. She was just bored and annoyed. She said she just found a hole in the blanket and stared at it the whole time.

When my oldest was in kindergarten, another child told her she was going to burn in hell for not going to church and that they couldn’t be friends anymore. Terrible, huh? Well, it happened again two years later when our youngest child went to kindergarten. That’s just what this place is like. People teach their kids to be bigots.

My kids don’t want to hear about religion. They think it’s boring and stupid. They just want to watch cartoons and play with Webkinz. That’s the main reason I never talk to them about it, despite being obsessed with the topic myself. I respect my children’s wishes. The more people keep trying to push this stuff on them, the less they care to hear it. Kids are funny that way.

I found a website today that’s entirely dedicated to preaching to children. This article on the site is particularly relevant:

Too Much Church! 5 Dangers Facing Over-Churched Kids

[…]

4. They Don’t Feel Their Lostness: Many over-churched kids don’t know what life is like without the comforts of faith. Their brain say ‘forgiveness’ before their heart feels ‘I’m sorry.’ Because they know about grace, they have never really struggled much with guilt.

Yes… that’s the problem. Kids don’t feel terrible and guilty enough. We’ve got to make them feel despair so we can get them hooked!

The pastor at the church I visited recently mentioned in his sermon that the meaning of Christmas was to proselytize to unbelievers. I asked him about it afterwards, and I didn’t misunderstand him. That’s the meaning of Christmas to him: to convert unbelievers. Not spending time with family, not loving your fellow man. Proselytizing. Somehow, all this war on Christmas nonsense make sense to me now. It’s a ruse to preach to people.

Tonight, my daughter told me, “I just want to believe what I believe and people to leave me alone about it.” With whole websites, books, and organizations dedicated to getting children entrapped in this stuff, I doubt she’ll be left alone about it anytime soon.

26
Dec

Challenging Beliefs and Respecting People

My atheist group meets Friday nights at a bar. We’re not exclusively atheist, though, since our goal is mostly socialization. We have some members who are spiritual and even claim a liberal Christian among us. The guy who’s a Christian we’ll call “Steve” for the purposes of this story.

One night, another member who does not know Steve walks up next to him, and the following conversation ensues:

“Man, I fucking hate Christians.”

Steve turns to guy and says, “Then you hate me.”

He responds, “Oh… ahh…sorry.” , then turns and starts talking to someone else.

Everyone in our groups laughs every time this story is told, mostly because we all embarrassmentrespect Steve and he knows it. This was an isolated event. I think we all feel a bit humiliated that we were represented this way, though. Along with the laughter, there is always a facepalm or two when this story is told. We, as a group, would like for no conversation between an atheist and a theist to ever transpire this way.

I think belief in God and the supernatural are dangerous ideas. As a former believer myself, though, I understand where people are coming from. They have fallen victim to biases inherent in the brain. Lacking knowledge is not their fault, and I don’t judge them for it.

Many people think if you attack their beliefs, then you are attacking them as a person. They will accuse you of calling them stupid when all you said is that they were wrong. Obviously, this is a defense mechanism to keep deeply-held beliefs from being challenged.

If you actually did call them stupid, though, it undermines your entire argument. Not logically, but emotionally. People respond well to being treated with respect. If we want to make people comfortable with having their beliefs challenged, we need to be very careful to avoid ad-hominem attacks. Mutual respect is the only way to convince people that it’s okay to have their beliefs challenged.

24
Dec

7.5 Ounces of The Grandmother

“Hi new person. Welcome to our group! We usually hang out here at the coffee shop for a while, and then go around to the bar later. What sort of stuff are you interested in?”

“I’m on a voyage of discovery. I had a dream last night where I came to your group and shared my knowledge with you. So, that’s why I‘m here. If you could see the things I’ve seen, you’d KNOW THE TRUTH!”

“What are you talking about? What truth?”

“Everything is alive, man… the rocks, the trees… the Earth! What you see around you isn’t real. This table… it isn’t real! It’s just atoms. There are things beyond our reality!”

“Okay… how do you know this?

“I know.”

“Okay. How can I know?”

“Well, first, you need to get yourself a shaman. He’ll take you out to a remote location somewhere in nature. Then, you need to take 7.5 ounces of The Grandmother. Then, you transcend reality and become one with the universe. Then you’ll KNOW!”

“… the what? The Grandmother?””

::speaks in hushed tones::

“Yeah. It’s a type of mushroom. I don’t like to say it that way, in case the cops hear!”

5 hours later, after mind-numbing conversations about the meaning of the universe, how belief and knowledge are really the same thing, and reality isn’t really real, only the visions experienced while on The Grandmother are real….

“You guys aren’t being very open-minded. I thought you guys were free thinkers!”

Frustrated_Man_with_Hands_on_Head_42-18982323

25
Nov

Christians Weigh in on Gelato Mio Story

In case you’re not already sick to death of the Gelato Mio story, this radio show out of Springfield will make you want to puke.

http://media.jsonline.com/audio/KSGF_Nick_Reed_112211_Hr2a_PODCAST-Skepticon_Sign_Gelato_Mio.mp3

The part we’re interested in begins at about 9:30.

Things I learned from this show:

– Atheists are angry inside for no reason at all.
– Banning one group of people from your store based on their beliefs is perfectly okay, but making fun of someone’s beliefs is HORRIBLE.
– There’s no tangible difference between ridiculing a belief and banning a group of people from a business.
– Andy should not have apologized because a) He did nothing wrong and b) It just emboldens the atheists.
– Atheists only chose to have the convention in the Bible Belt to piss off Christians.
– All Christians should frequent this store because Andy stood up for what he believed in.
– It’s not about atheists, it’s about the Left. Leftists think being open minded is to believe whatever a leftist believes.
– The sign didn’t violate the Civil Rights act because atheism isn’t a religion. So, Religious people should get protection from discrimination, but non-believers shouldn’t.
– Springfield citizens should not donate money to the Gilliioz Theater because they let Skepticon happen.

My friend Jason Bathon wrote the radio host this letter in response:

Hello Nick,

I recently listened to your radio program and wow do you have everything backwards. I am WAY more offended by your insults, comments, and ignorance about the SECULAR/SKEPTICAL community than I could have ever began to have been by the sign at Gelato Mio’s. Do you happen to have the same fact checkers as Sarah Palin, Michelle Bachman, and Bill O’Reilly?

So allow me to break down your commentary:

1. Skepticon was not just for “atheists, non-theists, religious skeptics”. It is a SKEPTIC convention. Since you obviously do not understand a skeptic or skepticism “refers to any questioning attitude of knowledge, facts, or opinions/beliefs stated as facts, or doubt regarding claims that are taken for granted elsewhere.” -Wikipedia
http://skepticon.org/about.php

2. Your mocking of the term “Skepticon” is completely unwarranted and juvenile because what other simplistic way would there be than to call a convention of skeptics “Skepticon”. If you are so original, please tell us your best, most accurate proposed titles for us. I would also like to know what specifically you “feel sorry for us” about for “a number of reasons”.

3. You claim that the owner “Andy” was “out in front of his store and hearing people… and they were just being nasty and hateful about Christians and Christianity. Ripping Christianity, mocking it and using language thats highly offensive. This is what they do, they get together and just bash Christians”. According to the apology letter that Andy sent, he walked down to the Gilioz Theater while the convention was in progress, particularly while a speaker by the name of Sam Singleton was on. Sam Singleton was having an Atheist Revival to point out the ethos of religious indoctrination and proselytism. Pointing out how the use of language, neuro-linguistic programming, anchoring, guilt, tone, etc can be easily used to manipulate and persuade religious believers. What Andy heard was the use of the word “goddamn” in place of the word “amen” to point out the same as above. I might also mention that the entire reason people were going to his place of business to being with was because he was getting many people from Skepticon due to the agreement that he made with the Skepticon organizers to give patrons 10% off while they were there for the convention. Lastly, we do not mock christianity, Sam Singleton was just illustrating the tactics used by the heads of congregations to influence its members. It does not matter what religion they were from. We are equally offended by ANY religious group that uses these techniques.

4. Andys sign “Skepticon is not welcome at my christian business” is NOT freedom of speech. It is discrimination. It would be the same if it said “Blacks are not welcome at my white business” or “People attending the Susan G Komen Race for the Cure are not welcome at my cancer free business” or “Gays not welcome at my straight business”. If you do not have a problem with this sign on sheer principle then you should at least be able to look at if from a legal and moral perspective and understand the implications. If he would have been outside protesting with a sign that said “Skepticon is not welcome in this christian community” THAT would have been free speech, but when one takes on the responsibility of a business owner there are more implications than that.

5. You claim that “our sole purpose is to get together and talk about how moronic and foolish people who believe in god are, have their sensitivities ruffled”, again, I’m afraid you are missing the point entirely. We have many goals and objectives, none of which are to “talk about how moronic and foolish people who believe in god are”. If we talk about religious people, it is usually in the context of how detrimental religion is on the world. I believe it is more of a learning disability, or a learning incorrectly disability because once you stop believing in reality, you are entering the realm of psychosis.

6. You talk about our “belief system”. Being non-theist or atheist or poly-atheist is NOT a belief system. It is a LACK of a belief system. You are an atheist just as much as any of us, we just happen to believe in one less god than you. You do not believe in Zeus or Dionysus or Allah or any other of the gods throughout time either.

7. We did not go on line to “destroy his business” or “trashing online his business” or “destroy this guy”. We got online because that is how most of us communicate and it is the fastest. We wanted to warn other skeptics that we were not welcome and also talk about his lack of judgement and the possible legal implications of his message, thats it. The overwhelmingly negative response from the skeptical and secular community was not only warranted, but justified. The reaction was not our fault for talking about it, the reaction was his for posting the sign. If you want to assess blame, blame it on the person discriminating against a huge minority of the US.

8. As for the apology, I feel it was sincere but still wonder if it was because he really felt that he had made an error in judgement or just because he got caught being a bigot? If it was sincere, then I accept his apology, but I will still never spend money at his place of business. If it was because he got caught, then the ramifications of his misjudgment will be of his own doing. When I first saw the sign I actually respected him for at least letting us know where we should not spend our money unlike other business that felt the same but realized that money doesnt discriminate, people who have the money do, and continued to take our money.

9. As for skeptical “morals”, we get our morals from the same places you do. We get them from our friends, our family, our environment, etc. YOU DO NOT GET YOUR MORAL FROM THE BIBLE YOU RETARD (well at least not all of them). If you did you would be cool with things like slavery, rape, murder, incest, sexism against women, genocide, stoning, ritual sacrifice, etc etc etc. You can get just as many, if not more, of your morals from reading Aesops Fables. Religion, or in your case, Christianity does NOT have the patent on morals, nor does the bible clearly define or stick by them.

10. Making fun of someones name, again juvenile, nothing more needs to be said about that, grow the fuck up.

11. Church of the Flying Spaghetti Monster. The Church of the FSM was created in conjunction to the argument of “intelligent” design. From Wikipedia: “The “Flying Spaghetti Monster” first appeared in a satirical open letter written by Bobby Henderson in 2005, protesting the decision by the Kansas State Board of Education to permit the teaching of intelligent design as an alternative to evolution in public school science classes.[3] In the letter, Henderson parodied the concept of intelligent design by professing belief in a supernatural creator that closely resembles spaghetti and meatballs. Henderson further called for Flying Spaghetti Monsterism to be allotted equal time in science classrooms alongside intelligent design and evolution”. As you can see it was not made up specifically to make fun of other religious gods, it was made up to point out the silliness of a deity in regards to needing a “designer” and how you can not prove that your “god” does not look exactly like the FSM, i.e. the FSM could be argued to be THE “god” just as easily as any other deity. As for the “flagrantly unamerican” part, what is more unamerican, keeping the separation of church and state as our forefathers intended or forcing your religious beliefs on the rest of the country?

12. The Golden Rule, or “Do unto others as you would have them do unto you” did not have its beginnings in the bible as many may believe (as with almost everything else in there). It is probably the oldest philosophy known to man about how we should treat each other. It has been found in many different texts hundreds, if not thousands, of years before your precious bible stole it as well. From Wikipedia “Statements that mirror the Golden Rule appear in Ancient Egypt in the story of The Eloquent Peasant.[7] Rushworth Kidder states that “the label ‘golden’ was applied by Confucius (551–479 B.C.), who wrote a version of the Silver Rule. Kidder notes that this framework appears prominently in many religions, including “Hinduism, Buddhism, Taoism, Zoroastrianism, and the rest of the world’s major religions”,[8] and Simon Blackburn states that the Golden Rule can be “found in some form in almost every ethical tradition”.

13. We can “dish it out”, but we “cant take it”. We can “take” anything, as long as YOU and anyone else who also dishes it out can take it. Why? Because we have SCIENCE to back us up, not faith. You talk about “hypocrisy” in reference to us, but what is more hypocritical, us dishing it back to Andy when he dished it out to begin with or you calling us hypocritical for doing so? WE TOOK it when Andy posted the sign. That doesnt mean we can dish it right back to him, or in my case, more to you because as bad as Andy’s sign was, it pales to the line of filth and lies you dished out on your program here. IT IS THE RELIGIOUS that can dish it out and not take it. You want to be able to talk shit about all the non-believers all day long, tell us we are going to hell, have your kids tell our kids they are going to hell, try to make us feel like you can talk about us all day long, but as soon as we start to give it back you ack all “how dare you insult my faith” and run away with you fingers in your ears screaming “LA LA LALALALA lalala “…. THAT IS HYPOCRITICAL.

14. The continual reference to us akin to “liberals”. Being skeptical does NOT make someone liberal. While some of us may be liberal, that does not mean that we do not have Conservative as well. Being liberal or conservative are personally held viewpoints and are not all inclusive with being a skeptic. Skeptics follow where the science takes us. If following the most current and accurate science makes someone a liberal then I guess you are correct, but of course that is not the case.

15. Christianity vs. Muslim faiths. Again, we do not discriminate against religions. We equally dislike ANY religion that teaches immoral, dangerous, and unscientific lessons. Christianity and Muslim faiths are more alike than they are different. If any of you had taken any time to read about them you would understand that. Now I will say that, as Americans, we are more concerned with Christianity because it is the most dominaent religion of the US and it is also the largest religious group trying to influence politics in the US.

16. You will probably never hear a skeptical person defend ANY religion, let alone the Muslim faith. You build up this straw man “leftist” argument so you can tear it apart and claim victory over your easily defeated foe, but we are SKEPTICS, that doesnt automatically make us “leftists”. If you believe, as Jesus claimed to in the bible, that we should take from the rich and give to the poor, you are still a christian, but that does not automatically make you a socialist too. I also do not feel like even real “leftists” defend the Muslim faith. I do not know where you are getting your “information” from, but man, I honestly do not know how you can get SO many thing wrong in such a short period of time. I dont know if it is willful ignorance or just plain stupidity, but either way, you are really good at whichever.

17. You (the Springfield area) have a “level of respect for each other” that we dont? IF that were the case, sir, we would not be having this discussion. Having a discriminatory sign up at a place of business because of what you heard at a convention you walked into IS NOT RESPECT. Or at least not the respect that I am aware of. Maybe that IS the definition of “christian” respect, but not the traditional one. If your definition of respect is “let my and my fellow Christians talk shit about you and dont try to say anything back or I will feign persecution” gambit then I guess you are correct again, but as with EVERY other point you have made, you are WRONG.

18. Location of skeptical conventions. Skepticon is in Springfield because there is a NEED for it in the midwest and a lot of the people involved are from the area. You have TAM is in Las Vegas, Skepticon in Springfield, Texas Freethought Convention in Dallas, FreeOK in OKC, American Atheists Reason Rally in DC, American Humanist Association meeting in New Orleans, etc etc. Skepticon is not the only skeptical convention in the US.

19. Telling us that WE are the ones that are like “believe what I believe” or we are not open minded. Are you effing kidding me? Talk about the big HUGE pot calling the kettle black. I am not sure if you know what the definition of being a hypocrite is, which is dumbfounding to be because specifically of how many times you are guilty of being one.

20. As for the parts about not wanting non-theists in your business because someone may overhear us talking about something that may offend the other people, let me as you this. Would you be ok if ANY business had the right to kick you out of there place because you and some friends were talking about the gospel of Jesus Christ? How in your sick demented mind can you justify that retarded comment? OF COURSE it is not ok to ask people to leave for talking about ANYTHING, unless it is illegal or causing a disruption. Talk about persecution… Jesus… Do you people even know what that means anymore? I could not have THOUGHT of a better description of persecution that to tell a group of people they have to leave because of their beliefs (or lack thereof)…

21. For a book you seem to believe in, let me tell you a little bit about a man called Jesus. You see there was this man called Jesus that had all these decent ideas about how to treat each other. In one of the stories Jesus met a prostitute and he let her wash his feet. And even though she was a sinner, he accepted her and did not turn her away just because she was a sinner. IF you (or Andy) were “good” christians you would already know this story. I do not think either of you know, understand, or follow the bibles teachings, so I would not call you good christians, but if you were you would understand that according to your religion you are expected to accept all sinners and the bigger the sinner the more you should accept and try to witness to them, not put a fucking sign out turning them away. You are just a typical example of a horrible christian, that is all. Maybe you should read the story for your self, it is Luke 7:36-50.

In closing, I hope that you read every word of this. I hope that you respond. I hope that you invite me onto your show so I can prove what an ignorant, close-minded, discriminating, childish, bigoted, ass hole you really are. Somehow I doubt you have the balls to do so though, so I wont be holding my breath. Regardless, we know who is right and who is just a slimy commentator on a small town radio station who probably leads a more “sinful” life than his atheist countrymen.

Congratulations on being this weeks biggest douchebag on the radio.

Respectfully,

Jason Bathon

19
Nov

Skepticon IV: Day 1

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I’ve spent the last several years trying to build a good group of atheists in my small community. I’m not an activist. I just want to be able to talk to people without having to walk on eggshells all the time. I want to speak my mind and have it be okay, even if my friends disagree with what I say. I’m done with taboo subjects.

So, it’s been especially rewarding and therapeutic to spend the weekend with my friends and the hundreds of other atheists at the Skepticon conference. I find myself making obscure jokes to my friends, and strangers standing next to us will laugh and join in on the conversation. It’s great to feel like I’m part of a community, rather than some ostracized freak.

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The Creation Museum was fun, even if it was just a rinky-dink hole-in-the-wall. I’m not sure dinosaur toys and a projector in the back room really qualifies as a museum. Those poor people probably didn’t know what to think. The little snippets of conversation I keep hearing at this convention are priceless. I heard the following at the museum:

Creationist: “If you just studied genetics, you’d see it was true”.

Skepticon attendee: “Actually, I am a geneticist.”

Creationist: “Well! Good for you. Congratulations.”

Holy crap, I just about died. Man, I wish I could listen in on every conversation. Lots of interesting people here.

We also were treated to a screening of the movie Give A Damn. I have to give respect to the guys in this film. As someone who typically never gives a damn, this movie made me question that.

Afterwards, my friends and I joined the convention crowd at Farmer’s Gastropub and talked late into the night.

To everyone in attendance, thanks for making me feel like a part of something. And to everyone not in attendance, wish you were here.

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