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Friday, 29 June 2007

I've Been Tagged

Looks like I've been tagged by Mojoey . The rules are as follows:
  • We have to post these rules before we give you the facts.
  • Players start with eight random facts/habits about themselves.
  • People who are tagged need to write their own blog about their eight things and post these rules.
  • At the end of your blog post, you need to choose eight people to get tagged and list their names.
  • Don't forget to leave them each a comment telling them they're tagged, and to read your blog.
Here are my 8 facts/habits:

1) Fact - I'm deathly afraid of heights, especially as a child. Nowadays if I'm in a situation where I have to encounter heights, I simply grit my teeth and keep moving. As a child I would just freeze.

2) Fact - I really, really hate housework. But even worse is typing up the first draft of my thesis. In fact, I find things that suddenly need to get done, rather than working on my thesis. But I only have a couple more pages to get typed in and proofread to get my first draft done. Yeah!

3) Fact - I was never very religious as a child and was raised in a non-religious household. When I was 17, I realized that organized religion was a load of crap. This realization occurred when I was forced to attend an "inspirational" (read religious) presentation at high school. I could not believe the crap that people were nodding their heads in agreement to.

4) Habit - I have a bad habit of chewing my nails. As a child, my parents tried everything to get me to stop. Even hot sauce on my nails did not stop me.

5) Habit - I love a good cup of tea first thing in the morning at work and in the afternoon before I leave work. I think I acquired this habit from my grandmother who always drank tea in the morning and afternoon.

6) Fact - I love a good juicy and very rare steak. I can't stand it when a restaurant overcooks my steak. Other people have told me that I'll probably end up with mad cow disease or something.

7) Fact - I enjoy working with my hands. It's a nice change from the strictly intellectual work that I do during the week. I love to garden, build stained glass panels, and am into amateur rocketry.

8) Fact - I love animals and have never in my entire life been without a pet. Currently I have a very silly Siamese cat.

It took a while but here are my eight victims, I mean tagged blogs:

The Atheist Experience
The Allen Zone
The Happy, Religion Free Family
Christian Follies
The Angry Astronomer
DEVOUT Atheist Godless Grief
The Lippard Blog
The Secular Outpost

And if you already have been tagged, well, the pool of the untagged is getting smaller and smaller. Hey, this is what should happen in vampire movies, isn't it?

Friday Fungus: Fried Chicken Mushroom


The Fried Chicken Mushroom (Lyophyllum decastes) grows on compost and leaf mold.

Kindergarten Theology

Looking at Christian dominionism from the outside, I observe that its adherents seem to be very emotionally immature. The reliance upon unquestioning obedience, the absolutism, the simplistic philosophy, the irrationality, and the anger and lack of understanding towards those who have different viewpoints are the behaviors of a small child or an immature adult.

The reliance upon heaven and hell to motivate good behavior is like a small child needing punishment and rewards from a parent. This is exactly like the behavior of a five year old. Why can't they do good for its own sake rather than to avoid punishment or to get a reward? Its all about themselves, not others. Luckily for me, I did not grow up in that sort of environment. It seems from others that I have met who did grow up in that environment, it would be very hard to get out of. A couple of people I know tell me that they matured out of this type of Christianity. They no longer attend these types of churches.

An example of someone who has changed is the Rev. Carlton Pearson. In this video, observe his earlier preaching style, compared to after he deconverted from dominionist, fundamentalist Christianity. He almost seems like a raving maniac in the earlier footage compared with the more thoughtful, tolerant and mature style he has now. They have declared him heretic and he lost most of his congregation. But I'm sure that he can live with himself much easier now. Money and power are not everything. NPR also did a special on him in This American Life in 2005.

I think this story illustrates exactly that dominionist Christianity is all about power with money a close second. These preachers are very often wealthy and seem to gravitate towards trying to influence and control politicians or their flock members. And those people that I know that are in dominionist fundamentalist Christian churches seem to crave being controlled and parented. It must have been very difficult for Pearson to give up all of the power, prestige, and wealth he had in his church.

In future posts I'll continue this theme relating to both family members and co-workers. I've had encounters where the person has either tried to control me directly, lost interest in friendship when they realized I would never convert to Christianity, threatened me with death, or shown incredible ignorance of their own religion.

Sunday, 24 June 2007

Sinner's Discount

My husband and myself went out to eat at a local Chinese buffet today. We were escorted to our table by a young woman with a strong Chinese accent. She asked what we thought was "Are you a sinner?"

We looked at each other in bewilderment, WTF? My husband asked "What?" She replied "Are you a sinner?"

It took us a moment to realize she meant "Are you a senior?"

We answered "No."

I must have been reading too many books about the religious right this summer. But while we were eating my husband mentioned that he too thought she was asking if we were "sinners".

Saturday, 23 June 2007

Blog Rating

Online Dating

Mingle2 - Online Dating


Wow, my blog seems to be pretty mild, rated PG with the following remarks:
  • assholes (3x)
  • death (2x)
  • dead (1x)
I guess horse and ass sized penises don't really count.

Friday, 22 June 2007

Sanctimonious Bastards

This story really pisses me off to no end, Doctors' beliefs hinder patient care. As a woman, I really object to the substandard care that is offered to woman, especially in reproductive health. These doctors seem to think that they are best qualified to make the most personal decisions over a woman's reproductive choices.
But Boyer remained haunted by the ER doctor's refusal — so profoundly, she hasn't been to see a gynecologist in the two and a half years since. "I haven't gotten the nerve up to go, for fear of being judged again," she says.
How dare this prick of a doctor set himself as judge of someone. Has he ever been in her shoes? Of course not. What a double standard here. Men's choices don't seem to be a problem to these assholes. A man can get a vasectomy or condoms or Viagra and I don't see anyone stopping them. But a simple prescription for the pill or a morning after drug seems to let some doctors start playing god.

Perhaps NOW or some woman's organization needs to start protesting when cases like this happen. I would be happy to grab a sign such as This Hospital Discriminates Against Women, No Double Standard for Reproductive Care, or Stop Playing God with Women's Health Care, etc, and stand outside of a medical clinic or hospital.

Friday Fungus: Dog Vomit Slime Mold


The Dog Vomit Slime Mold (Fuligo septica) is usually found growing on damp wood.

Tuesday, 19 June 2007

A Girl's Gotta Have Her Standards

In the movie, Real Genius, the character played by Val Kilmer asks his professor's girlfriend "If there's anything I can do to you, just let me know." She replies "Can you hammer a six inch spike through a board with your penis?". He answers "No." She responds with "A girl's gotta have her standards."

Well according to Ezekiel 23:20:
For she doted upon their paramours, whose flesh is as the flesh of asses, and whose issue is like the issue of horses.

A woman named Aholibah really, really, liked big penises. A girl's gotta have her standards.

And these should help.

Onward Subversive Fundy Christian Soldiers

I'm currently reading a copy of With God on our Sides: One Man's War Against an Evangelical Coup in America's Military by Mikey Weinstein and Davin Seay. Being a former military officer, I am quite dismayed at the changes that have occurred since I left a decade ago. See the Military Religious Freedom Foundation for more information.

It now seems that the Chaplain program has been throughly taken over by fundamentalist Dominionist Christian ministers. See Theocracy Watch and the Yurica Report for more details on Dominionism. Very, Very scary. Especially when America's military is involved. I spoke to Mikey Weinstein at a book signing last week and I asked him if these Dominionist chaplains were connected with the growth of hate groups that have appeared in the military in the last 5 years. He quickly answered "Yes." He did not give any more details. I had the feeling that he really did not want to say anything at the current time. This may have to do with the fact that he and his family are getting death threats.

When I went through Officer Training School in the early 80's, the only overt religious problems I encountered were that Christians would get an extra 5 merits a week for church attendance. I thought this was quite unfair to all of us non-Christians. My roommate asked if I wanted to to to church with her. I said why not, its an easy 5 merits. I could snooze or read during the service. After the service, it was announced that another 5 merits would be awarded for bible study.

Merits and demerits were totaled each week, and those having less than 5 demerits could go off base or over to Lackland Air Force base for the weekend. Merits and demerits canceled each other out. It was a lot better than staying stuck at OTS for the weekend.

I went to the bible study. When topics for the study were asked for, I volunteered the story of Lot and his daughters. Heh Heh Heh. The chaplain was not amused. But what could he say? The story was in the Bible after all and I was "searching for a moral to the story". The moral seemed to be Incest is Best? He did not really want to pursue the story at all and changed the topic. I asked again for another discussion, this one about the all of genocide in the Old Testament. The chaplain asked me why I was there. I mentioned that I could earn 10 merits for church and bible study and that was why I was there.

It was funny to see the look on his face when I said that. And it was obvious that I knew the Old Testament a bit more than a lot of the Christians there. After the bible study class, we talked a bit and I let him know that I had lots more "questions" about the bible and would bring them up in the next bible study. He then said that I did not have to attend either church or the bible study and would get my merits as well. My roommate was really surprised when I told her later. And I was able to sleep in on Sundays.

I think that the chaplain was probably a nice guy who really did not like the fact that merits were given for church attendance. He was a Methodist minister, not fundy like a lot of the current chaplains. I think in the current situation with all of the evangelical chaplains now, I would probably have not even gone at all. No matter how many merits I could earn.

Sunday, 17 June 2007

Piety Throwing Contest

All of this overt religiosity is really getting quite tiresome. I've come to expect this from the Republicans, but now it seems the Democrats are getting into the act as well. What the hell does someone's religious viewpoints and opinions of the hereafter have to do with how they will perform their job?

The latest spectacle was the Democratic debate/interrogation by CNN several days ago. I don't recall the interviewer's name but she sure felt like she had to stick her nose into each candidate's personal religious views. Even more incredibly each candidate answered her instead of telling her to mind her own business. Hillary Clinton started to tell the host that she looked down on wearing one's religion on one's sleeve. But she gave in and followed with her personal testimony as well. WTF? The latest podcast from FFRF has a part about the debate/interviews. Go over to FFRF's podcast archives at http://www.ffrf.org/radio/podcast/ and click on the Jun 9th episode. In the podcast,they also have President Kennedy's great speech on the separation of church and state.

It seems obvious that the American public is getting fed up with all of this piety being thrown around by these over enthusiastic Jesus supporters. This is probably why the number of unbelievers is increasing in the polls. People are getting sick and tired of these intolerant assholes shoving their religion in everyone's faces. Perhaps this is why atheist books have been selling so well for the past several months. See an excellent story, Rise of the New Atheists, over at alternet for more details.

I hope the momentum continues well past the fall of the religious types. But it seem that as religion grows and becomes threatening to our liberties, all of us unbelievers come out of our closets and force the religious zealots to back down. Then we go back into our closets and the cycle repeats. I hope this does not happen this time around.

In a sense, this is a larger and more public version of what has been happening in my husband's family. He has three brothers, one who is not very religious, one who is a Baptist lay-minister, and another who is a very right-wing Catholic. It's always amusing to watch the religious brothers try to "out-religion" each other every time the family gets together. Of course each of them is not amused by my amusement of the spectacle as one tries to act more pious than the other.

Wednesday, 13 June 2007

Atheist Blogroll

Mojoey has a great list of atheist blogs on his blogroll.

Fundamentalist Fantasy

In We Stand Awed at the Heights, PZ Myers over at Pharyngula really gives Stanley Fish a good verbal once over. There is just so much in this post which I agree with and PZ states much more eloquently than I ever could. Especially the following:
What we atheists are saying is that we need to turn away from those powerless rationalizations, no matter how poetic they might be, and recognize that their power and their appeal flows from their humanity, not their religiosity. Forget god, that empty hulk, that great vacuum that humanity has stocked with its fears and dreams, and look at what we have created and felt instead. When someone weeps over a dead child or creates a great poem, it should matter not at all what some priest imagines his pantheon is doing. Take your eyes off your hallucination of heaven—what's real are that woman's tears, that child's triumph, that grain of sand, that bird on wing. The meaning is derived from the reality of what we see and feel, not some convoluted vapor and self-serving puffery about an abstract concept like "god".
I've known a older, married woman who spent her life thinking that the Rapture would happen at any moment. She spent most of her life caught up in this warped dream, never really making much of her life. She let her house get run down and unlivable after her husband died. Why waste the money when Jesus is coming any day. When she died, her children could not even sell the house. The house was in such bad shape it was condemned by the city. She had no insurance or burial policies at all. Her children had to borrow money to bury her. She was a devote of the PTL club, who probably got most of her money.

Being caught up in the dream of heaven as she was, is as narcissistic as one could possibly get. It is all about the big reward for one's self, screw everyone else. This is what I think in my most overly cynical moments. Most of these people are probably genuinely afraid of death and are desperately hoping to live in the afterlife. What is really sad is that they waste their only shot at life, dreaming for what is to come.

Initial Post

I moved over here to Blogger from Wordpress.com. Wordpress.com allows more flexability with pages but I was unable to add java script to my blog without having to pay for it. So much for an anonymous blog.
I write technical documentation as a part of my job, but I've never tried writing in a blog before. So dear readers, you will have to put up with my rather amateurish attempts at doing it bloggy-style. I haven't decided what topics I will focus on in this blog, perhaps I'll simply comment on whatever strikes my fancy. I plan to try to comment every day or so unless I'm on travel or vacation.