Oh for fuck’s sake. Honestly, people, you need to get a grip on reality here. Sorry, but this stuff just drives me bonkers… Just because the clouds do something you’ve never seen before doesn’t mean it’s a sign from God or that the “end times” are near. Even if it was a sign, what is it trying to say? “Hey look, I’m a big round rainbowy cloud”? You’d think if God wanted to give us a sign, it would be something that left nothing to interpretation. (And please don’t say your faith tells you this is a holy event, because we both know that’s quite a stretch.)
Costa Rica Cloud Formation: Scientists Explain Cloud Formation As Christians Celebrate Sign From God
One woman who posted a photo of the mystery said it looked “like the end of times.” She said the “skies opened up as if it were the end of times — It was truly a beautiful glimpse of what our God has in store for us on the day he comes back.” Another Escazu resident, Jessie Montealegre, said she was also was amazed by the sky phenomenon. “It was breathtaking,” she said. “It’s like a sign of God.”
But wait! This looks very familiar… I think I’ve seen God’s handiwork like this before!
Anyway, leave it to the killjoy scientists to burst this heavenly bubble and ruin everything with their science and reason and stuff:
However, experts said the cloud has a less divine explanation — a rare phenomenon known as “cloud iridescence.” Eladio Solano, a meteorologist with Costa Rica’s National Meteorological Institute, said the colorful effect is caused by the sun’s light being refracted by water droplets and ice crystals in the cloud.
OK, all snarkiness aside…I get that religious people take comfort in things they believe to be signs from heaven. It probably feels really good to think you’ve made contact with something “out there.” But when you start seeing an all-powerful Supreme Being in mundane things like clouds, toast, or even brain scans, maybe that is the sign you should pay attention to — it’s telling you that you’re taking this stuff a wee bit too far.
I agree with some of what this guy says about today’s atheist movement. There are a lot of angry, bitter, even hateful atheists out there who are relentlessly vocal on social media. (I’ve written dozens of pissy posts about Christians and their antics, but I don’t think they were hateful. Well, maybe a couple.) But the presence of Asshole Atheists shouldn’t cause one to flee from the Atheist label altogether. You can still declare your non-belief and not be a frothy-mouthed Dawkins/Hitchens/Harris worshipper…even though they have some good things to say, ahem.
Can having an aversion to Christians (or Muslims, whatever) be called xenophobia, as the author implies? I’m not sure. I guess I’m Christianophobic…but even when the “phobics” like me call themselves atheists, is that any reason to hide yourself in the shadows? Guilt by association? That’s why we have personal blogs, my friend. Get one and spout your opinions like the rest of us! It’s kinda therapeutic. 😀
Why I Drifted Away from the Atheist Movement
But for at least a couple years, from sometime in 2006 until sometime in 2009, I was a militant atheist, dashing off dozens of blog posts condemning religious thought for promoting murder and mutilation. I thought we, the atheists of the world, were railing against injustice and speaking truth to power.
Atheism felt just and true and important. But no longer. What happened?
According to the latest Pew report, almost 1 in 5 Americans identify themselves as “spiritual but not religious.” In other words, they have some feeling, some intuition of something greater, but feel allergic to institutions. Yet as we approach Passover and Easter, it’s important to remember that it is institutions and not abstract feelings that tie a community together and lead to meaningful change.
You know what?
Organized religion can provide the structure that many need for their spiritual pursuits, but it’s not for everyone and can’t possibly fulfill the spiritual needs of everyone. Not to mention the tiny fact that it has also been the greatest source of human-inflicted death and suffering the world has ever known. For example do I really need to mention the Catholic institution and the countless lives it has destroyed? Whoops, I just did. I think organized religion has enough power, thank you.
To claim that non-religious or “spiritual” people have no moral compass or can have no impact in the world is more than a bit elitist. If someone wants to just be “spiritual” and they’re happy without churches and dogma, and their beliefs do no harm to others, why should that bother those entrenched in the institutions?
I just can’t identify at all with this mentality that religious beliefs are 100% beyond scrutiny. Threatening (or committing) violence against anyone who says something negative about one’s beliefs is, to me, a form of mental illness. Bad programming. Labeling critics as “racists” is marginally less crazy, but still absurd. Does criticizing the Westboro Baptists make someone anti-white? It’s stupid logic and I’m amazed that the secular left is engaging in it.
But this should apply to any religion — if violence is an acceptable means to an end, your beliefs deserve to be judged by the world at large. Put humanity first, because that’s the one thing we all have in common. (Good luck with that, right?)
New Atheism should be able to criticise Islam without being accused of Islamophobia
Surely, rational discourse should be permitted to tiptoe cautiously along the hallowed corridors of the house of Islam without the guards frogmarching it out, bellowing allegations of racism and bigotry. Cannot we not agree that the real issue is whether the critiques of Islam proffered by today’s prominent atheists are correct? For instance, does Islam fall short when it comes to women’s rights? Does it trample free speech while enforcing its own precepts, by the sword if necessary? By all means, apologists may disagree with the likes of Harris and biologist Jerry Coyne. But what signal is sent by a refusal to permit the issues to be even debated?
Sorry, but I don’t buy this guy’s “conversion” from atheism simply by reading the Bible and asking “experts” — he was obviously not an atheist to begin with. There are far too many contradictions in the Bible about the resurrection, especially since the Gospels were written between 40-70 years after the supposed event. If you do enough reading about this, it’s quite clear that it’s not historical fact but rather than a mixture of resurrection myths which were common at the time, along with a dash of politics. Does this mean Osiris also resurrected? Or Inanna? Or Mithras? Does it really matter? Take the message of the myth to heart, but don’t confuse myth with historical fact.
How Easter Killed My Faith in Atheism
I quickly determined that the alleged resurrection of Jesus was the key. Anyone can claim to be divine, but if Jesus backed up his claim by returning from the dead, then that was awfully good evidence he was telling the truth.
For nearly two years, I explored the minutia of the historical data on whether Easter was myth or reality. I didn’t merely accept the New Testament at face value; I was determined only to consider facts that were well-supported historically. As my investigation unfolded, my atheism began to buckle.
It’s only fair, isn’t it? Oh, I see. You want to indoctrinate children into your religion without any competition. Not with the Freedom From Religion Foundation on the case.
Atheists win right to pass out materials at Florida high schools
If the Christians get to do it, then so should we. That was the winning argument of atheists who fought for access to several Florida high schools to distribute group documents — same as evangelicals did with Bibles in January.
“We want to close the door to religion in schools, not open it to Freethought,” said David Williamson, an organizer with the Central Florida Freethought Community, the Orlando Sentinel reported. “[But] if they’re going to have a religious discussion on campus, we need to be a part of it.”
“Intolerant agnosticism”, he says. Oh don’t get me started on who’s intolerant, Pope. You and your minions have zero room to talk. Also, doesn’t he know that agnostics can’t commit to anything enough to be intolerant? 😀
“Today’s regnant agnosticism has its own dogmas and is extremely intolerant regarding anything that would question it and the criteria it employs,” the Pope said before a gathering of 10,000, which included outgoing prime minister, Mario Monti, who has avoided expressing an opinion on gay marriage.
Can’t handle a challenge to your willful ignorance of church/state separation so you’re going to toss words like “terrorists” around, eh? Because you’re soooo oppressed as a white Christian. I wonder how that makes war vets feel to hear you say that — you know, the ones who fought actual terrorists. What an ass.
Virginia County Official Calls Atheists ‘Terrorists’
A Virginia county courthouse is once again at the center of Christmas controversy after an elected official called members of a local atheist group “terrorists.” Ken Reid, a supervisor representing the Leesburg district, was not happy after local atheist leader Rick Wingrove criticized Loudoun County-sponsored holiday displaysplanned for the Leesburg courthouse lawn, The Washington Times reports.
“None of the religious organizations in the county have had any problem with what we’re doing,” Reid told newspaper in a story published Monday. “It’s strictly this group of terrorists. They’re fanatics who basically want to stamp out religion in all public life and property.”
Tensions about separation of church and state during the holidays have been high in Leesburg for several years, with the lawn of the courthouse at the center of the battle.
Of course students might be confused. They’ll be challenged to really think about their beliefs and why they believe them. If other religious groups can have a recruiting presence on campus, why not the non-religious? Anyone feeling threatened by the presence of atheists likely feels some doubts they don’t wish to face.
And that name: Faithful Soldier School of Evangelism. Oh, *barf*.
Campus atheism will ‘morally confuse young people’
MEMBERS of the Faithful Soldier School of Evangelism near Milwaukee aren’t happy bunnies. For the last ten years this bunch of delusional screwballs have had access to the University of Wisconsin-Madison… To share the Gospel of Jesus Christ on campus.
But they are about to have competition, and this displeases them no end. According to this report, an atheist group at the university is set to receive almost $70,000 of student fees to fund its programmes and events for the 2013-2014 school year.
Check out this headline: “Studies say atheists, believers both do good, but for different reasons.” Well, no shit. Ya mean atheists don’t just run around kicking babies and stomping on puppies? Well I’ll be kajiggered!
Researchers at the University of California, Berkeley conducted three experiments that show less religious people perform acts of generosity more from feelings of compassion than do more religious people. The findings were published in the current issue of the online journal Social Psychological and Personality Science.
Their results challenge traditional thinking about what drives religious people to perform acts of kindness for others.
via The Washington Post
And get a load of this quote:
“We find that nonreligious people do feel compassion for others, and that those feelings are strongly related to whether they choose to help others or not.”
So it’s an amazing discovery that nonreligious people actually feel compassion for others? For fuck’s sake! It’s like they’re studying some sort of brand-new species or alien life form: the nonbeliever with a sense of right, wrong, and compassion.