I am a staunch advocate for kids. I think this is because I have a better recollection of my childhood than most adults.
From the file of “Innocent children in America have fewer rights than murderers on death row,” let’s look at kids and how their parents make them (or do they?) practice religion.
Very few religious parents admit that they force religion on their kids. To a degree, many of these parents are probably right in that their kids at least went along with the motions. Many people who are atheists as adults tell me that they liked religious services and groups as kids because they got to be with their friends.
I know my mom forced religion on me. After a while, I actively resisted it. Surely, there were others like me. It’s telling, though, that few, if any, parents are likely to admit they imposed religion on their kids.
Here’s what the world would look like if parents *did not* impose religion on their offspring: Parents would leave the kids alone and not drag them to services or religious events. Once the kidlets came of age, let’s just say 18, the parents would offer to take junior to a religion fair of sorts and let the free market decide. Offspring would make their own choice as to what religion, if any, they would join and the religion wouldn’t necessarily be that of their parents. Since that’s not the way things are, offspring tend to be whatever religion the parents are.
In secular matters as well, many adults tend to think that the tenets of freedom and democracy don’t apply to children. Many adults behave as if kids simply deserve worse because they are kids. Even though there are many secular examples of this, forcing religion on a kid strikes me as particularly useless.
I reckon most adults in the U.S., even many religious ones, would reject the idea of forcing an adult to go to religious services, but to force children to do so is taken for granted as “acceptable.”
In some areas of my religious upbringing, notably summer camp at Camp Ramah when I was eight, religiosity could get very onerous. If you were 8 years old, would you want to be forced to comply by rules including no reading or writing on Saturday (or listening to music, turning on the lights, etc.)? Praying for a half hour before breakfast? Yep, that’s demanding, all right. It’s all the more obnoxious when the parents didn’t subject themselves to the demands of Godliness. My mom essentially said, “These religious laws are too burdensome for me, so instead I’m going to impose them on my kids.”
That is what religion is like, folks. It’s forceful. Not in the same sense as, “Kids, brush your teeth,” “Kids, eat your vegetables,” or “Kids, do your homework or you’ll have to work at McDonald’s your whole lives,” but a very special kind of forceful.
Our kids deserve better. Our kids deserve freedom. Kid power!
Yes, it has been a while. I am a mom to a young kid. That’s my excuse for everything now 🙂
Lately, I’ve found myself consumed by the subject of physical beauty, specifically facial, and perhaps more so that of men. Probably this is because male facial attractiveness seems harder to define and there is less written about it, and partly because it’s because I’m attracted to men, not women.
As far back as I can recall, I’ve always been a very aesthetic person. While it’s not a new question, I’ve been looking with more curiosity lately at what we mean when we say that someone is (facially) attractive. We talk about things like a strong jaw or chiseled features, but what does that mean exactly? I couldn’t find the answers that I was looking for when I did some research, which would have involved geometry. What sort of feature do we mean by chiseled? What sort of nose, lips, etc?
Why is it that a few seemingly small differences in things like bone structure result in something that we call “beautiful”? Just a quirk like the shape of the jaw or cheekbones, the size of the eyes in the face, etc. determine this.
This is so important since attractive people get the goodies in life: pretty much everyone is aware of this. This seems to be even more so for attractive women. Women and girls will do pretty much anything to be more beautiful and hence reap greater rewards in life.
Also, what percentage of the population is attractive? Many times, it seems to me that there are a lot of beautiful women out there. Does it seem like a higher percentage if you are looking at one age group, namely young adults?
And finally, am I hot enough?
From the category of “questions I’m too lazy to research,” how is it that famine happens on such a large scale? From what I understand, hunger is always been a problem, even when the human population was less than 1 billion people, so the growing population can’t be the only factor. Also from what I understand, we *do* have enough food to feed everyone in theory, but it’s getting the food to those who need it that is the sticky wicket. Why is food distribution so difficult/impossible? What, if anything, can we do about this?
I realize this isn’t the worst problem to have, but my list of books to read is easily in the thousands. I have a ton of bookmarks on my browser of sites I’d like to take a better look at, many of which are blogs in which I’ll want to read most entries, so each blog could take several hours. Never mind other media like magazines, movies, TV series, etc. Yes, I don’t “have” to consume all these media, but I feel a bit overwhelmed and on a different level, afraid I’ll miss something interesting or important.
I seem to add to my book list faster than I can subtract from it.
Do any of you feel the same way? If so, what do you do about it? Or do you just accept the fact that you can’t do it all?
Remember my Christian Kitsch contest a few years back? Good times. The outcry about the gift shop at the National September 11th Memorial Museum reminded me of those good times. After looking at the products (see the link) that the museum gift shop offered, I was left going, “That wasn’t so horrifying. They could have sold products way more tasteless than that.” Off the top of my head, how about BBQ charcoal briquettes shaped like the World Trade Center towers? Now that’s tasteless.
This got me thinking (which is rare indeed), what are tasteless September 11th items? So I found this article, 9/11 Memorial Merchandising: Where Should We Draw the Line? The truly tacky items in this article, as far as I can tell, are not in the National September 11th Memorial Museum gift shop.
Somewhat tangentially, I’ve heard of this interesting item. While I wouldn’t describe it as tacky or tasteless exactly, neither would I want it at the memorial museum.
So, should I make this a contest? What’s the tasteless-est 9/11 product out there? And should I be shocked that there is a market for tacky tasteless 9/11 memorabilia?
New atheist bio. I’m going to try to post more often again. Motherhood and lack of optimism have gotten in my way.
“Hello. My name is Joyce. I’m 45 years old and consider myself a recovering Catholic. I read the article about the priest who left the priesthood and is now atheist. Reading
his story helped make me feel so alone with the guilt of not being the perfect Catholic the way my parents especially my Mom raised me to be. As a child I enjoyed Mass and felt a deep love for Christ. As I grew older that’s when all the dogma set in. I was told if a person missed Mass on Sunday and weren’t sick it was considered a mortal sin. That meant if I happened to die without receiving absolution my soul would go to hell. It was a very rigid upbringing. As I grew older I felt I could never measure up to the church’s doctrine. My Mom told me if she used any form of birth control besides the approved method of the Church which was called the rhythm system, she could not receive holy communion. As an adult I knew birth control was the responsible thing to do when married. The love of Christ, slowly faded and the worry of committing a mortal sin overwhelmed me. So I pulled away.
Since then both parents have died. It was a relief not having to measure up to my mother’s expectations of me any more though I miss her deeply.
Recently I have been educating myself in science. Attending Catholic schools we were not taught anything about evolution. Basically we learned about the solar system and God created it. I have read so much. What I have come to find is that all religions are basically the same. A copying mechanism for man to deal with the debilitating awareness of death. Back before man had scientific explanations I can see why they created a supernatural being to explain natural phenomena. During this time science has proven so much. Evolution is fact. There are many believers even fanatics that insist creation is the truth based on faith only. How the believers stay close minded is the fear that if they don’t accept Jesus as their savior and he died on the cross so that sins would be forgiven they will not be ‘saved’ and go to hell. Fear is a powerful force. It’s alive and well!
I don’t and cannot understand why a loving forgiving God would require a blood sacrifice for sins to be forgiven? All those innocent lambs and then the final sacrifice is God’s own son? Suffering a horrible crucifixion? That isn’t love. That’s just sick. Why not simply just forgive? If an all knowing God made us, he would know our human weakness? He set us up for failure.
I cannot understand the reason behind this? An logical person would say this is insane!
The reality is man wrote this and fabricated the story. It reflects the rituals of that time. If it were to happen today, it would be consider a sick and dangerous cult. No question about it.
The difficult part is feeling the need during difficult times to want to belong to a loving church for emotional support. When I look back on my life, it wasn’t my faith that got me through, it was the love of my family and close friend. So in reality would you agree that the religious whom find strength in their faith are really doing the work themselves and using their faith as a crutch. In reality, God, god’s, angels and saints are imaginary beings. The only difference is that I am looking at life realistically. We are born and we die. No afterlife, no heaven, no hell( thank God lol).
People say faith is what gets people through crisis. Can’t a person find that inner strength from within?”
Sarah again here. What I want to say to Joyce is I’m sorry about losing your parents. Having never lost someone before, I can’t say that lack of faith in religion would support me, but clearly you found that you didn’t need religion to get through your grief. I think many people, even some atheists, would say that the best thing about religion is that it supports people during the loss of a loved one (“Mom isn’t really gone. She’s in heaven.”). I personally see religion as a double-edged sword during times of grief, but you are living proof that it’s possible to grieve in a healthy manner without faith.
I realize this is old news, but I heard about this months ago on NPR and it really bugged me:
In Phoenix, A New Quest For Diverse Public Pool Lifeguards
One of my favorite comments to this article was: “Just who I want to save my butt when I’m drowning or having trouble is some kid who isn’t a strong swimmer. I ALMOST hope one of their graduates fails at saving someone to show how stupid this ‘quota’ system is. Give the job to the best QUALIFIED person to apply.”
I my own self commented:
“I agree with the other comments. NPR should not be showing sympathy to kids who are ‘uncomfortable’ with lifeguards who are of a different race. This is racism, plain and simple, and NPR is complaining that these kids will not learn how to swim because the lifeguards are white. In catering to the kids’ alleged
‘need’ for same-race lifeguards, you are simply perpetuating racism. How would you like it if I said that I only wanted to swim in a pool that had Jewish lifeguards? You’d think I was pretty sick.”
I don’t know why this keeps preying on my mind since it doesn’t affect me (I’m not a lifeguard, don’t live in Phoenix, etc.). Ordinarily, I like NPR, so the fact that I disagree so much with the tone of the article feels funny.
This isn’t even the only example out there of political correctness trumping reality. (As I like to say, would you rather be politically correct or actually correct?) Anyone out there know why this is such a bee in my bonnet?
I have a lot to say to the Phoenicians whose idea this “reverse racism” lifeguard thing is, but I think I’ll sign off for now:)
After re-reading my bible, The Tightwad Gazette, I realized I could buy yeast in bulk for a fraction of the price of those little envelopes. Since I make pizza fairly often, and occasionally other bread, I thought this was worth looking into.
First, I looked at yp.com for health food stores to find out if any of them sold yeast in bulk. I was frustrated (yet somewhat amused) that the results turned up vitamin stores and weight loss clinics, which I think of as neither health nor food. Ditto a search on natural food stores. A couple of the places that were actual health food stores I called and they did not sell yeast in bulk.
So, I googled yeast in bulk and found it on Amazon. I figured it would be worth it to pay shipping and handling if the savings were significant enough. Not only were the savings significant, but by buying 4 lbs of yeast, I could bring my purchase high enough to qualify for free shipping.
The yeast I usually buy is $1.69 for three envelopes of .75 oz each. According to the Hannaford site, this is $36.11 per pound (I never did the math before).
Compare this to the yeast I found and purchased on Amazon (I am not getting plugs for this or any other consumer info I might put on this blog). It is 4 lbs for $27.85, or $6.96/lb.
That is quite a difference! And, like I said, the shipping and handling was free, but even if I had to pay the $7 or whatever, I’d still be saving money.
I was worried about buying that much yeast at once, but according to the product’s page, it keeps a long time, and it got many excellent reviews.
As always, author Amy Dacyczyn knows what she’s talking about.
A reminder that, when grocery shopping, always compare “per unit” costs, which are often available in the pricing information. When I discovered that, it changed my life. Well, my shopping life, anyway.
I read a really interesting book, The Better Angels of Our Nature: Why Violence Has Declined. Its author, Stephen Pinker, is, like yours truly, a Jewish atheist.
There is a lot of interesting stuff in the book, but I wanted to mention something that relates to what I myself am struggling with: the truth about Islam and whether or not Islam itself is a problem. When I ask about this, people accuse me of bigotry (and usually of racism, which makes me cross since Islam is not a race). At any rate, here’s what Dr. Pinker has to say, and I think it sums it up:
“The impression that the Muslim world indulges kinds of violence that the West has outgrown is not a symptom of Islamophobia or Orientalism but is borne out by the numbers. Though a fifth of the world’s population is Muslim, and about a quarter of the world’s countries have a Muslim majority, more than half the armed conflicts in 2008 embroiled Muslim countries or insurgencies. Muslim groups held two thirds of the slots on the U.S. State Department’s list of foreign terrorist organizations…”
And that doesn’t include what I might refer to as “peacetime” violence, such as stoning to death for adultery, honor killings, amputation for theft, female genital mutilation, etc.
Hello Atheisterinos and others,
First, what I’m reading now (or technically just finished reading). Killer Stuff and Tons of Money by Maureen Stanton, which I found out about when the author came to speak about the book at my local library. Since I love antiques, flea markets, etc., this was pretty interesting. All the same, I’m glad I don’t try to make my living dealing with antiques and whatnot, since it sounds quite difficult. The early morning schedules alone would do me in. All this is getting me excited about going to the Brimfield antique and flea market, which I’ve gone to three times already.
I have a thing for antiques (not usually “fine” antiques, but more in the way of things you can actually live with that aren’t too expensive) and today took my baby, Jessica, to a new-to-me place in Manchester, New Hampshire, MillCity Antiques and Consignment. I am not getting kickbacks for saying this, but what a great place! I loved everything I saw so much, I think I want to move in. I especially loved the industrial items. Is it me, or is “industrial chic” a thing now? When did that happen?
When Jessica learns to talk, it’s just a matter of time before she complains about me dragging her to all these places. 🙂
On a completely different note, I’ve never been all that interested in celebrity gossip, but I like to gawk at the pictures of stars without their make-up, like these. Maybe it makes me feel superior for a few minutes or maybe it’s just schadenfreude to see the mighty fall. Of course, it’s possible that these photos are doctored to make the stars less attractive for my entertainment purposes.
All that aside, though, where are the men? You just know that guys like Sean Connery and Pierce Brosnan look like corpses without their make-up. I realize that physical attractiveness is a more important attribute in a woman, but surely it counts for something in men with these careers. So come on, paparazzi– don’t be sexist. How does Brad Pitt look when he rolls out of bed?
Just kidding. This is Not My God, a site for the personal aspect of atheism. I'm putting together a book with that title, having already 20 interviews lined up, but I still want to hear from more of you.
I've expanded the blog to include material not related to atheism, including rants, raves, consumer issues, curmudgeonly matters and other miscellany.
Read more about Not My God on the About page
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