Showing posts with label Homosexuality. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Homosexuality. Show all posts

Tuesday, February 25, 2014

William Lane Craig Argues For Same Sex Marriage (Sort Of)

On a Q & A a while back I think William Lane Craig inadvertently made the case for legalized same sex marriage! It happened on a question regarding, "Could God's Moral Commands Be Improved?" The questioner asks whether the commands god gave the Israelites could be improved upon. And Craig responds that, "God’s commands can be contingent upon the realities of the human condition relative to the times and places of the recipients of those commands," and that there is "a distinction between moral law and civil law." Craig continues, "Ancient Israel under Moses was a theocracy: God was the head of the government. We don’t live in a theocracy, so many acts which are deeply immoral (like adultery) are not illegal."

So here Craig seems to draw a distinction that what may be wrong in the eyes of god should not always be illegal. He seems to agree, writing:

Even though adultery is not illegal in a non-theocratic society, it remains a sin that that is deeply immoral in God’s sight. Since we live in a non-theocratic society, we should not try to make everything that is immoral also illegal.

But now the obvious question arises. If adultery is a sin in the eyes of the Christian god, but should not be illegal, then what argument does the Christian have against same sex marriage being legal? If a Christian like Craig can excuse adultery, which seems to cause far more damage to society than SSM, then he should also support the legalization of SSM since after all, we like in a non-theocratic society.

Now I know Craig is against SSM, but what defense does he have that allows legalized adultery, but not SSM? Is it because our society is "sexually promiscuous" as he says in the Q & A? Well homosexuality is promiscuous too. Does SSM cause more harm? Arguably adultery causes more harm because one is being deceived and it ruins marriages and families. Does it violate nature somehow? Craig has even acknowledged that homosexuals do not choose their sexual orientation, so homosexuality should be in god's plan, for some reason. Craig's arguments against SSM are laughable and pathetic, and deeply embarrassing for a man so well educated in philosophy. His attacks on SSM are the result of his absurd Christian worldview, which is why I could never accept it as the truth. Given Craig's apparent acceptance that secularism is a good thing that we "should" have, to me, it means that theists should be fine with SSM becoming legal since they hypocritically already support lots of other "sins" of lesser consequence being legally permitted.

Saturday, February 22, 2014

Did Jesus Ever Get An Erection?

The whole idea that Jesus was the embodiment of a perfect human being never sounded plausible to me. If Jesus was indeed perfect and divine, then I wonder, did he ever at any point in his life, get an erection? If he did, then must have had lust, and according to Christians he wouldn't therefore be perfect. But if he didn't ever get sexually aroused was it because he was incapable of it, or did his moral perfection somehow prevent it?

The philosophical question I have is, if Jesus got sexually aroused, is it compatible with moral perfection? The absurd notions of moral perfection are what I'm confused by. Jesus is said to never have had lust in his heart (which means he wasn't a normal human), and so presumably that means he never got an erection, even when he was a baby or a teenager. This is a ridiculous idea if there ever was one. So we can entertain a logical paradox here just like the old question of whether god can create a rock so heavy he cannot lift. So the question is, could Jesus be tempted with sex so powerful, that even he could not resist getting an erection? If no, Jesus was impotent, and that means god couldn't get it up and god would somehow be omnipotent but also impotent, and the Christian notion of a perfect man would be one with no sexual desire and who cannot get an erection. If yes, then the lust Jesus would have had would have negated his moral perfection.

Presumably Jesus was capable of getting an erection, in that he had all the necessary hardware needed to achieve lift-off. But due to his moral perfection (according to Christians) he would not ever need or desire something such that it would result in an erection.

Some have suggested Jesus was really gay and his celibacy was really just him hiding his sexuality in a culture that prescribed the death penalty for homosexual sex. If Jesus existed, I think it is quite possible. It would have provided a loop-hole around his idea that looking at a woman with lust is akin to adultery. And being that he never spoke our against homosexuality explicitly further suggests that maybe he was actually gay. I have no idea of this of course and I am only speculating. I'm officially an agnostic as to whether Jesus actually existed. But the question of whether Jesus ever, or could ever get an erection is one I don't think many Christians are unprepared to answer.

Thursday, December 5, 2013

Hipster Atheism

When I'm out drinking around town and strike up conversations with strangers, I often want to talk about beliefs. I'm fascinated about exploring other people's worldviews. Lately, most of the young people that I've talked to have all been atheists. This may not come as a surprise given that I live in New York - a very liberal city and a third of all Americans under 30 have no religion, but here in New York the number of atheists/non-theists seems to be much higher than a third. It seems to be a majority.

New York has one of the largest hipster communities in the world, and Williamsburg (which is only a few miles from where I live) is considered the official hipster capital of the world. I don't have official statistics, but in my experiences with the hipster community, atheism or agnosticism seems to be rampant. Atheism seems to be "cool" with the fashionably conscious. It's very rare - almost never, that I run into a young person who actually believes in a theistic god within the context of a particular religion. While I think it's fucking awesome that so many young people are catching onto atheism in numbers that have never been seen before in the US, I certainly want to keep atheism a plausible intellectual position and not just some trend that will be jettisoned once it gets too popular. That's because once something goes "mainstream," hipsters are required to hate it by law, and the growing popularity of atheism might backfire if "uncool" people in backwards parts of the country start embracing it.

Tuesday, October 29, 2013

Bill Maher Is Right On Islam

Many liberals are too afraid to criticize Islam lest they be accused of being called "racist" or "islamophobic." But of course, Islam is a religion, not a race, so opposing it can't be racist by definition. And I think being concerned about the threat that the Islamic world poses is more than justified. Because Muslims are a minority in the West and they've sometimes been targeted because of their religion or appearance, many liberals automatically treat them as if they're untouchable to criticism, similar to how Jews have historically been given so much protection because of the holocaust and the discrimination they've gone through. It seems to me that the only people willing to step forward and duly criticize Islam are right wing Christians and outspoken antitheists like Bill Maher, Richard Dawkins and Sam Harris.

Maher called out the liberals on his panel the other week for bending over to Islam while neglecting that a very large portion of the Islamic world is antithetical to common liberal values. The same Western liberal who'll passionately protest against anyone infringing on their abortion rights, will refuse to criticize the Islamic world where they still stone to death adulterers, deny women basic equality, and jail homosexuals and bloggers for violating Sharia law. It's totally hypocrisy, and it needs to be called out, as Maher rightly does. Liberals need to stand for liberal values, no matter who's against them or where they're being violated.

Wednesday, October 23, 2013

Why Ted Haggard's Sexuality Is Symbolic Of The Relationship Between Christianity And Facts

Back in 2006, we all got to witness the spectacular decline of conservative anti-gay Christian pastor Ted Haggard, who it turned out was secretly paying a man for gay sex. I remember what a ride that one was to watch. Watching religious hypocrites fall from grace is first class entertainment for atheists. I mean, what atheist wouldn't want to hear about some ridiculous religious figure turning out to be doing the very thing they spent so much time railing against in the name of their god?

If Haggard's initial fall from grace wasn't enough, we were all further given an encore not long after when it was announced that he was declared "completely heterosexual" after being "cured" of his homosexuality through counseling. It was hilarious because any educated person knows that sexuality cannot be cured or repaired by mere counseling or therapy. Sexuality is innate. All ex-gay therapy can do is teach a gay person how to repress their desires and live in dissonance with themselves. That's all the evidence has ever shown it capable of doing. (See here.)

Ted Haggard's cognitive dissonance on his sexuality forced by his Christian belief that being gay is a sin is symbolic of the kind of cognitive dissonance Christians in general must endure in order to maintain their religious faith with the constant sting of the secular sciences and politics challenging them. Suppressing scientific facts and the moral atrocities of god in order to maintain the faith is a lot like gay Christians suppressing their sexuality. I debate with Christians all the time online and I'm always entertained by the kind of cognitive acrobatics they must deploy in order to maintain that the Bible is the word of god, and that their god is good. I've dealt with so many Christians for example who will deny the evidence for evolution at all costs to the point where they will compromise logic and sanity in order to do so.

Monday, September 2, 2013

Dispatches From The Wall Of Separation: Military Proselytizing & Ex-Gay Therapy

Being an atheist, I am deeply concerned about issues related to secularism. I recently asked a conservative Christian blogger if he could name a few issues regarding secularism and religious freedom that concerned him and I told him that I would write about them. So the two issues he came up with are the issue of the US military threatening servicemen with a court martial if they talk about their faith, and the recent law passed in the state of New Jersey criminalizing therapy for minors even when they want to resist same sex attraction. So let's take a look at these issues in relation to the separation of church and state.

Issue # 1 - the US military is planning to court martial service members for publicly sharing their faith. 

According to two reports from Fox News (the most fair & balanced name in news by the way) and from, I was astonished to read that they said the military is considering a policy that will court martial service members who publicly professes their faith in any context, even in private conversations among friends. This would presumably also apply to military chaplains, pretty much preventing them from performing their job. But this seemed too outrageous to be true. And I've had several close friends who were in the military and they all said that military proselytizing is rampant. 

So I looked around further, and according to, the Fox News report was a sham. It took a statement from the military out of context and sensationalized it, no doubt to appeal to conservative anti-Obama viewers just looking for a reason to validate their fears that he's really a secret Muslim who hates Christians. According to Factcheck:

The Pentagon merely restated its long-held policy that military members can “share their faith (evangelize)” but “not force unwanted, intrusive attempts to convert others … to one’s beliefs (proselytization)."

They also reported that a Pentagon spokesperson named Lt. Cmdr. Nate Christensen clarified the initial report after the Fox News fuck up saying, "If a service member harasses another member on the basis of race, color, sex, religion, national origin, age, or disability, then the commander takes action based on the gravity of the occurrence. Likewise, when religious harassment complaints are reported, commanders take action based on the gravity of the occurrence on a case by case basis."

So it is not the case that the mere mention of one's religious faith gets one court martialed, one has to essentially harass another service member with their religion for any action to be taken. And even then such instances are handled on a "case-by-case" basis. So the concerns of the Christian blogger are likely based prematurely on a misinformed news source.

Sunday, September 1, 2013

If I Were A Christian, What Kind Of Christian Would I Be?

An interesting thought experiment recently occurred to me. If I were a Christian, what kind of Christian would I be? The idea popped into my head while recently debating a few different Christians on several fronts. Now mind you, I don't think I could ever actually be a Christian, certainly not without actual evidence that it's true. But if I somehow converted, what possible kind of Christianity could I embrace, given my life-long atheism?

Well first, there's the idea of denomination. What denomination would I pick? I was raised in a culturally Catholic environment, but I dislike the Catholic Church so much, that I don't think I could ever call myself a Catholic. The same is pretty much true of the Eastern Orthodox Church, which is pretty much just another form of Catholicism. I actually think that Protestantism would appeal to me more, and there are over 40,000 varieties of it. I do like the openness of the Episcopal Church, but it does resemble Catholicism a bit too much. It could be said that the Episcopal Church, which is just the American branch of the Church of England, is Catholicism lite.

The evangelical churches bother me a lot, especially because they're so fundamentalist. And I'm not crazy about Baptists. In fact, pretty much all the Calvinist denominations sicken me. So it seems to me that if I were somehow a Christian, I'd have to be non-denominational. I'd essentially have to have my own theology, and interpret Christianity my own way.

Being a scientifically literate person, I'd of course have to keep what we know about cosmology and biology into my theology. So I'd be a Ken Miller/Francis Collins type of theist. I'd believe in a god who simply created the universe, then stepped back and let it all happen according to the natural laws, and who then stepped in when the time was right. I'd probably also be spending my time trying to convince other Christians as to the truth of evolution and big bang cosmology. But, I'd have a problem with this because evolution is so necessarily cruel that I cannot imagine any all-loving god deliberately choosing this as his desired way to bring about human beings. So I'd have a theological problem here: I would not logically be able to believe in an all-loving god. My god would have to be capable of cruelty that is not necessary for any reason at least through his indifference to animal suffering. That would actually fit into the character of the angry Old Testament god.

Tuesday, August 6, 2013

A Funny Irony About Life

Isn't it funny how atheists tend to be more interested in religion than most religious people are? I mean, almost every atheist's blog (mine included) is plastered with rants and raves about this god and that god and this religion and that religion. The very people who disbelieve all these things tend to be the most obsessed with them.

Oh what would life be with out irony?

But the reason why atheists tend to be obsessed with religion is the same reason why black people tend to focus on race relations, and women tend to focus on gender relations, and gay people tend to focus on sexuality: You tend to focus on what you're passionate for and what you're against. So black people are focused on racism and racial equality; women are focused on sexism and gender equality; gay people are focused on oppression of homosexuals and equal rights for the GLBT community.

Atheists tend to be passionate about secularism and defending their worldview from hostile and ill-conceived attacks from those who are religious. One way to fight for secularism, besides being active in the political arena (and voting!), is to promote a healthy naturalistic worldview as the rational alternative that makes the best sense of the evidence against stereotypes and misunderstandings.

Less religious people will mean more secularism. Period.

Monday, July 29, 2013

Keepin' It Secular (A Debate On Gay Marriage)

The other week I had a debate with a Christian over that onerous issue of gay marriage. He's a guy I've come to know through several philosophy and debate group meetups. Although he's a pretty conservative Christian of the Calvinist strip, he's actually a decent guy and I enjoy conversing and debating with him. We are always able to set aside our differences and engage each other with mutual respect even after long heated discussions. That's the way it's supposed to be.

Last month he had challenged me on gay marriage at a debate meetup. He's against it, I'm for it. Then last week, at a philosophy discussion meetup I challenged him again on it. I wanted to get to the root at what his justifications are for beings against it are. Here's what argument ultimately boils down to:

  1. Gay sex doesn't lead to the procreation of the species, therefore
  2. it is unnatural.
  3. Because gay sex is unnatural, gay marriage should not be recognized by law.

This is a common argument that many opponents are giving against gay marriage because they can try to appeal here to nature and not to their Bible. So let's break down this argument as I did during our debate on it. 

First, I made an objection to his definition of unnatural as relating to procreation with the fact that oral sex and anal sex doesn't lead to procreation, and yet it is recognized by law. He supports the right for sinful sex acts to be performed among consenting adults, but says that gay marriage is different because marriage by definition is between a man and a woman. He get's this definition from somewhere in the Bible.

So I objected with the fact that the Bible allows incest, polygamy and child brides. He said, as pretty much all Christians do, that god tolerated those things but didn't approve of them. But after debating him on the fact that the Bible does endorse those things, not just tolerate them, I said to him that we live in a secular democracy, and that there is no reason why in a secular country, we should use a Biblical definition of marriage (even though it is disputed that the Bible only endorses a one man + one woman combination). He insisted that it's part of nature that homosexuality is a mutation and is therefore unnatural. So I probed this further.

I argued that if homosexuality is a mutation, a deviation from the natural order, it is still natural. Natural means "of nature" and since gay people are born the way they are, homosexuality is natural and even found in animal species. He said this was controversial, but even if true, still wouldn't warrant the rights of gay people to marry. He also has concocted this theory that as gay people gain more power, they will teach people to be homosexual in the hopes of one day turning everyone gay. Now this absurd theory - if we can even call it a theory - diminishes his credibility enormously on his stance against gay marriage because it exposes what may be behind his real motivations.

Friday, July 12, 2013

A Question To A Theistic Evolutionist On Lust

If god used the evolutionary process to make human beings, then why would god use a process that would knowingly embed lust into our very nature and then make it a sin to have lust?

For example, in virtually every species, especially mammalian species, there is one gender that is sexually aggressive, usually the male. There must be one gender that initiates reproduction in order to ensure the survival of the species. The impetus of this initiation is sexual lust. Lust is necessary to ensure the survival of all species. A male must desire more than he can ever have to increase his odds of his chances of finding a mate. That's built right into the evolutionary process - naturally.

If god designed it that way, then his blue print for sexually reproducing species included the necessary requirement of lust. God would have known that humans would be no exception to this rule, and that sexual lust would be the impetus driving our species as well. But then, according to theists, after millions of years of a lust driven survival-of-the-fittest routine, god decides that with humans it is a sin to have lust in one's heart and to even think about a women who is not your wife in a sexual way, much less act on it. And this only applies to males.

Does this honestly make sense? Why would god use evolution, knowing that it would embed certain behavioral traits into our very DNA and nature, only to suddenly tell us that these very traits that god designed into us (via evolution) are sinful and forbidden? Why not just create humans without lust? Or without evolution? And when it comes to homosexuality, why not just make it so that no humans have homosexual desires? Why make some people born with homosexual lust only to forbid its practice under penalty of death? God would have to be at least partly sadistic in order to have designed it this way. The easy option for me has always been to delete god out of the picture. But for theists who refuse to do that, how do you explain this dilemma?

Tuesday, July 2, 2013

Summer In The City - Debate Meetup

Last weekend I attended a local debate club meeting in Bryant Park. It's a monthly gathering of debating enthusiasts. We get together in a circle, a topic is voted on, and then we debate either for it or against it. Sometimes we're organized into groups where one group has to debate for or against an issue against the other group, and sometimes we debate as individuals.

I've never liked debating on the other side of an issue that is opposite my views, but it is good to be challenged in such a way. I arrived late, and had to quickly learn the topic and argue for a position within minutes of arriving. The topic was whether you were for or against political correction. Being highly knowledgeable on a conglomeration of subjects, I was able to easily throw in my 2 cents into the argument without much hesitation.

Later we debated the legitimacy of foreign intervention (such as with the debate over Syria) and I referenced a blog where I wrote about "Just War" and used the criterion Hitchens used to justify the Iraq War to make a case that foreign interventions - especially in cases of genocide are sometimes warranted. It went over well and it gave my argument the awe of expertise.

Monday, June 24, 2013

Homosexuality: The End Of Christianity?

I was reading an interesting article a while back that argued that the recent precipitous decline in religiosity in the US and of people affirming faith in Christianity is not due to the arguments of New Atheists like Richard Dawkins or Sam Harris, but rather is due to the rapid increase in public acceptance of homosexuality and same sex marriage.

The argument goes like this: as more and more Americans embrace a tolerant attitude towards homosexuality, they find themselves increasingly at odds with the church, and as churches across the country refuse to progress and accept a more tolerant approach on homosexuality, this is causing a rapid falling out with the church, especially amongst younger people. It seems plausible. Since 81 percent of Americans under 30 support same sex marriage, why would a young person want to sit in a church and spend time listening to a pastor or a priest lecture them on the evils of homosexuality, abortion and other hot button issues that even the majority of Americans as a whole support?

Thursday, March 28, 2013

Why Reason Matters In The Gay Marriage Debate

Why do secularists feel so passionately about the use of reason when it comes to making informed moral decisions? Because our moral values and laws should be based on the most informed, most pragmatic, most practical and rational, and the most scientific and evidence based reasons that are humanly available. They should never be solely based on what has traditionally been done or believed, or what a certain book believed to be divinely inspired says, or be based on some strict ideology exempt from criticism and reform.

The Supreme Court of the United States is taking up the legality of the Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA) and the role of states and the federal government on gay marriage. It is amazing how fast public opinion has changed on the gay marriage issue. The issue first confronted me back in the summer of 2004 when president George W. Bush was running for reelection and it was the hot button social issue. At first I wasn't sure about it. It seemed kind of weird to me. But this was only because I had not really thought about it at all prior to that time and I was making a judgement purely on my emotional reaction to it. Over the years I warmed up to the issue of gay marriage as I became more educated on the matter and of sexuality in general.

I just recently saw a debate between Pastor Doug Wilson and columnist Andrew Sullivan entitled "Is Civil Marriage for Gay Couples Good for Society?" Andrew makes a very emotional opening speech and Pastor Wilson essentially makes the slippery slope argument basically saying that if we allow gays to marry today, Muslim polygamists are going to demand to be able to marry 4 wives tomorrow.

Although there is no evidence that this is the case at all, the main rebuttal Andrew presents is that polygamy is not a state, it's not an orientation, same sex attraction is. Polygamy is therefore a preference, it's not a sexual orientation; no one is born needing 2 or 3 wives. A man may wish to have more than 1 wife, many men do, but a polygamist gets to have at least 1 spouse where as a homosexual would not be allowed to have one if current discrimination continues. That's the meaning of equality: gay people just want to be equal to their heterosexual counterparts. And finally, if a man can have 4,5,10,20,or 50 wives, it upsets the male to female balance ratio making it harder for other men to find wives.

There are still a great many number of religious conservatives who believe that homosexuality is a choice, like the way going to Baskin-Robbins and picking out an ice cream flavor is a choice. They think all gay people are really just straight people who are just tempted by sin. Their ill-informed religious worldview just won't allow them to accept that gay people are born the way they are, and so they'll say things like, "There is no gay gene!", and "There are ex-gay people who have been made straight by the power of the lord!" And of course I naturally have to laugh in response to such confident nonsense. Even if there isn't a gay gene, to anyone educated, sexuality is obviously a complex arrangement of hormonal influences in the womb and neuro-physiological development of the brain.

But while on the slippery slope argument anti-gay marriage proponents seem to love making, let me address a few of them briefly.

Pedophilia - underage children are not old and mature enough to make the kind of important decisions like consenting to a marriage requires. In cultures where children are allowed to marry, it is often their parents that arrange it for them whereby the child has no say in the matter. Consent requires a person of legal age and most scientific research deems that age somewhere around 16-18 for most people. The same goes for sex with children. Pedophilia harms children and takes advantage of them, that's why young children are not able to consent to sex.

Bestiality - animals also cannot consent to marriages and are also in the same class of vulnerability as children are when it comes to sex. Marriage allows such things as the power of attorney amongst spouses and that role cannot be fulfilled by an animal. Can you imagine a lawyer having to deal with a horse or a dog when dealing with a divorce or its spouse's death? There needs to be a human recipient who can give a civil consent in such legal matters. A human being can own an animal, but there is simply no need for them to be married to the animal since all the legal benefits of marriage have no practical application between species.

Think, understand, and form judgments by a process of logic. That's the definition of reason. It is very hard to make the case against gay marriage if you cannot appeal to religion. But in a secular democracy like ours we champion individual liberty, equality and freedom of the will so long as it doesn't hurt anybody. Gay marriage harms no one, and the slippery slope arguments made by dissenters are unfounded and fallacious.

Tuesday, March 12, 2013

Catholic Sex Scandal

I haven't written at all about the Pope's decision to resign because I really don't care about it. But when the news came out of his resignation, it was accompanied by yet another sex scandal perpetrated by priests. I'd like to add a few thoughts on the subject of why so many priests seem to be entangled in sex scandals involving young boys. To me, the obvious reason why is because priests are forced to take a vow of celibacy. It is not natural for a human being to be able to suppress their sexual desire because we are all to one degree or another, sexual beings. Sexual desire in Christianity has been likened to an addictive craving for gambling or sweet foods, but science tells us that that is not exactly the case. Sexual desire is not some addiction, it is natures way of ensuring the survival of the species by making it want to reproduce. When suppressed it can deviate in peculiar ways.

Now I don't think that taking a vow of celibacy makes one a homosexual pedophile, rather, the desire for male children in most cases already exists in people who become priests. What better place is there to hide such desires than in the priesthood? Priests are not expected to marry and engage in sexual relations with adult women, so a man who's attracted to boys can hide under the cloth and be free from societal pressure to marry and be attracted to women. The same is also true for regular homosexuality and that's why the priesthood is a haven for repressed homosexuals in desperate need to hide their sexuality. 

The best thing the Catholic Church can do to alleviate the problem of homosexuality and pederasty in the priesthood is to change back the rules for priests and allow them to marry and have sex as Protestant denominations do. Or better yet, allow priests to be openly gay while serving their church and god so that the "issue" of homosexuality is no longer an issue. The pederasty however can not be allowed for obvious moral reasons, but allowing consenting adult homosexuality and priests to marry would be an obvious starting point. Now I feel that most Christian denominations will eventually come around to accepting homosexuality, it's only a matter of time. And when they eventually do, since Christianity frowns upon all sexual relations outside of marriage, many will actually take the position that gay sex is only right within marriage and do 180 degree about-face on their current stance on gay marriage!

The Differing Moral Concerns Of Liberals & Conservatives

Now I'm not a professional demographer, but I sometimes like to reflect upon the differences between what liberals and conservatives think are the most important issues facing us today. Liberals generally care about equal civil rights, the environment, economic inequality, healthcare, corporate special interest in government, reproductive rights, and gun control. For conservatives, it's issues like immigration, the deficit, secularization, religious liberty, abortion, traditional marriage, big government and the overreaching of government power, terrorism, gun rights, and taxes.

I'm a pretty liberal guy on most social issues and I happen to fall in line with most of my fellow non-believers when it comes to politics. But some of the social issues that I am most concerned about, like corporate special interest in government and economic inequality, are not shared by most conservatives - who also tend to be the most religious Americans. And I've wondered, "Why is that?" Why aren't conservative Christians more motivated by the fact that most of our politicians are in the pockets of the richest banks and corporations, who are using their power and influence to make it so that they can continue to profit at the expense of the American worker and the environment? Why are conservative Christians up in arms over the idea of two men or two women marrying each other, while the ever increasing big money influence in politics barely passes their radar? If Jesus were alive today, I believe he'd be just as angry as I am about the role of big money in government.

I strongly believe that the preoccupation of conservatives on social issues like gay marriage and abortion, is helping to allow big business to take over government. Why? Because it allows a political party like the republicans to pounce on these social issues by offering candidates that capitalize on them, all while they give into big business' agenda, and economically screw over the very people who voted them into office. So while conservatives are protesting over Tom and John getting married, their senators and representatives are busy crafting economic policies that allows big business to get even more rich in such ways that very little of that wealth trickles down into the middle class. This to me is one of the greatest moral abomination of our day that very few conservatives notice, and it's tragic.

Friday, January 18, 2013

Does Religious Fundamentalism Help Atheism?

It's just too easy to poke fun at religious fundamentalism, but recently I was wondering whether it can actually help increase the numbers of atheists. The rise in atheism and decline in religiosity in recent years might be due in part to people becoming disillusioned with the messages they are hearing coming from religious fundamentalism. Hearing that god hates fags and that evolution is really just part of a worldwide conspiracy from scientists and people in academia to turn people away from god so they can better perpetuate the homosexual agenda, actually can help people turn away from religion.

It seems plausible. Think about it. Imagine you are a kid today growing up in a Christian household. As you get older you learn the scientific point of view of the world in school and through the internet. Overtime this makes more and more logical sense compared with religion. You now have an irreconcilable conflict between science and faith. In most cases as you grow older, especially when you get to college, you're going to side with science because it is evidence based and not faith based. Accepting evolution is just the first step. Using your knowledge of biology and science you also conclude like most people that homosexuality is natural and not a sin. Now when you hear fundamentalists preaching that the earth is only 6,000 years old and that homosexuality is a lifestyle choice, you will likely regard them as uneducated fanatics.

If religious fundamentalists pit the debate by making a person choose between religion and science, or evolution and Christianity, religion will lose in the long run. No properly educated person is going to believe that the universe was created in six literal days just 6,000 years ago. Many theists today recognize this and so they've adapted their interpretation of their faith to incorporate evolution. I predict that doing so will be the only way religions like Christianity will be able to survive in reasonable numbers into the 21st century.

So this brings me back to my opening question. I think religious fundamentalism actually helps atheism quite a lot because rational people can easily point the finger at fundamentalists and make fun of them and argue about the problem of extremism. Many educated young people are simply going to reject religion if it means they must compromise their scientific knowledge of how the world really operates. The growing acceptance of homosexuality is also going to make people who call it an evil sin become so marginalized that no rational person will want to be a part of a religion that holds those beliefs. The bottom line is that fundamentalism brands religion and religious people as being uneducated, unscientific, close-minded, hateful, intolerant fanatics; a belief that rational educated people don't want to be associated with.

Evolution says that those who cannot adapt will go extinct. Religious belief will have to adapt if it doesn't want to go extinct. But, I want religion to go extinct or at least get as close to extinction as much it can. So, I technically should be in favor of religious extremism and fundamentalism. I want fundamentalists to hold up their signs that read "GOD HATES FAGS"; I want them to believe evolution is a conspiracy and a hoax; I want them to believe Jesus rode on the back of a dinosaur; I want them to believe in Noah's flood and Jonah living inside the fish. Nothing actually helps grow the number of skeptics, free thinkers, agnostics and atheists than having to hear someone who believes these things are actually true.

Tuesday, December 11, 2012

How To Talk To A Muslim: Debating Homosexuality Part 3

Continuing from part 2 of my dialogue and commentary over homosexuality with a hard line Muslim Gareth Bryant which basically turned into a written debate, we address deeper issues of morality within the Islamic framework. Gareth basically comes to the conclusion that he is in a way forced to take as a fundamentalist Muslim, which is that the Qur'an has the final word on what is right and wrong, and that any critical thinking that can be used to justify better moral alternatives are the result of selfish acts of "ego & desire".

I present to you this debate as an example of how trying to have a rational debate with a fundamentalist Muslim on almost anything is futile, because when it comes down to the detail, they just invoke the Qur'an as the supreme authority on what is right. As atheists, we all know how difficult dealing with fundamentalists of all religions can be. Tactically, we must force them to justify their beliefs using reason and science because we know that on most points of disagreement, whether scientifically or morally, they have no case outside of their religious texts. Even if you never win them over through argument, it is important that it is made apparent to them that their beliefs are not justifiable outside their religious texts and that using those texts to justify their texts is not a valid method in the realm of logic and reason.

The debate stemmed from Gareth's critique of gay-friendly mosques. He doesn't acknowledge that they should even exist since he believes homosexuality is a sin and that it is un-Islamic to name a mosque after a sinful act. What I care about is how he justifies the sin of homosexuality in Islam, but is OK with forcing prepubescent girls into arranged marriages with older men which Islam condones. He never makes a rational argument to support his position even after many attempts by me to squeeze one out. Please enjoy this insight into the mind of a fundamentalist Muslim.


Islam is probably the last bastion of absolute intolerance towards homosexuals. It is because Islam has not gone through an enlightenment period. It probably will eventually as Western influence and modernity forces it to. Tariq Ramadan has voiced a slightly more modern view a Muslim could have towards homosexuality that I personally think is a step in the right direction, but not quite there yet. He says although you might not personally agree with the homosexual lifestyle, it can be acknowledged that people have the right to freedom, and privacy, and to live their lives differently than what Islam says is true. But if Muslims think that homosexuality is a choice, and think they can cure it somehow with Islamic philosophy, their efforts will be a waste of time and hopelessly futile and instead should best be used towards alleviating the poverty and suffering, that of course you believe allah willed for, created and designed.


Firstly, Homosexuality is, just like any other sin that people choose to do, a choice. I know people personally, whom have become Muslims, and they were Homosexuals, before they became Muslims. And, they have admitted, publicly, that Homosexuality is a choice & sin.


What kind of evidence is that for anything? Anecdotal evidence is not science, it is about as scientific as revelation. I can just as easily say I know someone who heard the voice of an angel named Maroni telling him that Mormonism is the one true faith. Would that make Mormonism true? Your friend could be bisexual, in which case they can be both gay ad straight at the same time, or they could’ve been faking their homosexuality, or are faking their heterosexuality now. They’d have to be hooked up to a machine that measures whether they get aroused or not when exposed to homosexual imagery. Saying they are “straight” means nothing, anyone can lie about anything. Religious people like you base far too many “facts” on what a few people say.


You claim that Homosexuality is normal & natural. Now, if this were true, then: one, how do you explain the fact that there is no such thing as a “Gay-Gene”; two, how do you explain a straight man, in prison, who gets raped, and because of whatever reason (most probably pressure from fellow-inmates or shame), decides to be Homosexual. Are you saying that all of these men, whom have succumb to rape were all Homosexual from the very start, they just needed to get raped, in order to activate their Homosexual nature that was hiding inside of them, dormantly?

Or, better yet, how about a young person, regardless of being male or female, whom was sexually-molested as a child; are you saying that they were really Homosexual, all along, but just needed to be sexually-molested, in order to activate their Homosexuality?

To really believe this would be utterly retarded.

Monday, December 10, 2012

How To Talk To A Muslim: Debating Homosexuality Part 2

Some theists today take the position that religious "holy" books are not meant to be books of science, even while they all do indeed make factual claims. Nevertheless, you can interpret many of these claims as symbolic parables. With Islam you generally get a more strict interpretation of the stories with in the Qur'an and this makes talking to Muslims a bit more difficult. Being that I live for debate and challenge when I come across a theist I feel is uttering nonsense, I call them out on it. One Muslim named Gareth Bryant wrote about how he thinks Western culture is turning people gay. He insists that homosexuality is a choice, and that it can be "activated" like a button from a situation like going to prison, or being taught that it is OK. His Islamic view point forces him to believe homosexuality is a choice, because if it is biological than this brings up some serious theological issues for him. He offers only personal anecdotes and one-off examples of bisexual celebrities showing their ability to switch their sexuality from hetero to homo as proof that homosexuality is a choice, and he even plays up the term "sexual preference" saying that it denotes a preference - as in preferring vanilla or chocolate.

So I challenge him on several points and even offer 7 physiological findings that show differences in gay people from the general population. He offers nothing in response as a rebuttal and from this it is obvious that his position is not scientifically based, but instead based on his own close minded ignorant religious world view. Now he doesn't represent all Muslims, and on his blog there were many Muslims who voiced opposition to his views. He does however offer a very typical conservative hard line Islamic approach to various issues on sexuality that a growing number of Muslims are moving away from.

Below is our dialog going back and forth on the issue of whether homosexuality is a choice taken from the comments section of his blog post about "Princess-Boy", a boy who's fond of wearing girl's clothing who Gareth thinks is a “Homo-In-Training”.


It could be possible that this boy has gender identity issues. There are people born who identify with another gender, and it has nothing to do with the “Devil”, it is simply just a product of hormonal/chemical imbalances and issues with DNA, just like hermaphrodites are. I don’t know of this case but as long as the child is not forced or pressured into behaving how he is, there is no problem here. Your narrow minded Islamic world view forces you to look at everything being black and white, but our world is much more complicated than that. Human sexuality comes in a variety of shades.

You seem to think that all gay people are straight and then one day wake up and decide to be gay. Where is your scientific evidence of that? You know there are bisexual people who can identify as more straight or more gay, and can go both ways. That doesn't mean being gay is a choice. How could a straight man, make his penis get hard for other men when it doesn't do so naturally?

It is comforting to know that ignorant people like you are a shrinking and disappearing minority in this country, and eventually you will be a tiny fringe group of extremists complaining to each other why the world doesn't think like you. And the reason why is because you base knowledge on a book from the 7th century while ignoring much of modern science and blasphemy.


Well, since you’re an atheist, I’m going to move right past responding to this previous comment of yours, because, the fact that you can deny the existence of a divine-creator, yet believe that Homosexuality is something scientifically/biologically natural is more serious than the current topic-at-hand.

Firstly, I've never viewed anything as “black & white” as you’ve so foolishly presumed. I’ve simply viewed this particular topic based upon right & wrong, thus dictated by Allah, the Lord of the Universe, because it is He who decides what’s right & what’s wrong, what’s pure & what’s filth. And, since Allah is responsible for everything which exists, then, yeah…I’m of the position that He has the right to tell us what to do/not to do, how to live/how not to live.

Furthermore, chemical-imbalances have absolutely nothing to do with gender, because of the term, itself, “sexual-preference” anything that we inherit, biologically, is outside of our control. But, whom we are attracted to is within our control.

And, one of the even secular proofs of this are the following: Cynthia Nixon, one of the popular character-actresses from the SexAndTheCity franchise, not too long ago, recently announced that she was no longer a Homosexual, that she no longer lives that lifestyle; she spoke out concerning her choice to be a Homosexual, and this caught monumental media-attention. In fact, to the extent that, the LGBT lobby blasted her, and tried to pressure her not to say that “being ‘Gay’ is a ‘choice’.”, and, obviously, the reason why they would try to place pressure upon one of the most famous actresses in the world, right now, from taking a position like that, is simply because it completely shoots down their falsified-propagation that Homosexuality is something biologically-natural. And, that fact that she’s a very popular celebrity, people are going to be prone to take he very seriously, regarding this issue, based upon her personal-experience with being a former Homosexual.

Sunday, November 18, 2012

The Culture War: The Front Line of the Political Divide

As America sobers up to the reality of another four more years of Barack Obama, the never-ending culture war continues to rage. I remember back in 2004 when Bush Jr. was reelected and how bad I felt the next day, but this year the response from some losing republicans shows that they can be the biggest sore losers ever. They complain that the demographics have changed, that we're no longer a "traditional America anymore", that their is a secular liberal agenda sweeping the country aided by the media and the public school institutions, and that conservatism will shrink as the white evangelical demographic wanes. They believe this will make liberals and democrats unstoppable in the elections to come. Their fear is very palpable, and judging from the movements in all 50 states to succeed from the union, they are not going to be silent.

Now I hate partisanship, I really do, but I have to admit that I do support a liberal agenda. I support equal rights for gays, a strong wall of separation between religion and government, and laws based on science and reason that would include such things as the full legalization of marijuana and universal healthcare. Now I don't agree with liberals down the line, but I lean towards the left of most social and economic issues. I am an adamant (but fair) secularist, and a voter and I certainly do consider the religion and philosophy of the candidate I vote for. So I guess you can say that I'm a "soldier" in the culture war, or at least I'm part of its Reserves.

Now when we speak of the culture war in the US we are generally speaking about whether it is the general policies outlined from liberals or from conservatives that is in control in the White House, Congress and local government. There is also a culture war between secularists like myself, and those who want religion allowed in government and schools. So let's look at a few areas of the culture war and examine the impact around them.

The Liberal Bias

Now when looking at the "liberal agenda" sweeping the country as evident in this passed election cycle, you'll notice it's a reflection of the changing attitudes of the people. But the conservative will argue that this change in attitude in favor of liberalism is because the media and public school system is brain washing the youth and turning them into liberal robots. I have had several conservatives complain to me personally about this.

Here's what I have to say about this. First, I agree that most of the media and the public school systems have a liberal bias. But there is a reason why this is so and I've written about it before. Historically speaking, the liberal point of view is almost always correct on social issues. Think of slavery, women's rights, and civil rights. Conservatives were against all of the changes that came in these areas back when they were radical and controversial. Now they act as if they were always for them. And what was liberal yesterday, is conservative today. This is called moral progress. Conservatism, almost always backed by religion, is the greatest hindrance to moral progress.

Today one of the great civil rights issues is the struggle for equal rights for gays. Conservatives are against cultural and legal recognition of any aspect of the gay lifestyle. What angers them so much, is that they know they are losing the culture war on this issue and there is little they can do about it. And I guarantee you that in a few decades from now when being gay is no more as controversial as being black, or a woman, or left-handed, and gays have their equal rights, most religious conservatives will have came around to the liberal side on the issue, and will be trying hard to forget that they once were vehemently opposed to gays as they were towards women and black people.

So the liberal bias is justified, especially when you consider that in every generation, conservatives draw the line and say the buck stops here on moral progress. If we took that seriously, we'd still be back in the Jim Crow south. So no, moral progressives like myself will not allow religious and closed minded conservatives to draw moral lines where they expect everyone to yield to.

Demographic Changes

We are within a few decades of majority non-white US. This has caused a lot of concern and fear amongst mostly conservative thinking whites who fear that their long-held taken-for-granted majority and control over politics will fade. Even when considering that the percentage of white voters in the presidential election was 72%, higher than the percentage of whites in general, they fear living in a country where they'll be a minority. Now on immigration, I am a bit more conservative than the typical liberal. I support a strong border and control over who is allowed into the country. I support controlled immigration because I prefer that we diversify who enters the US so that it isn't mostly coming from Mexico and Latin America and instead reflects the world as a whole.

In short, I am fine with no one having the majority population, and I enjoy diversity. As long as we continue to assimilate immigrants, we can ensure that the US will prosper culturally in the years to come. Now how this affects the culture war seems obvious. The majority of non-whites vote democrat and voted for Obama. This seems like a win for the democrats looking forward, but I have a feeling that if conservatives liberalize their immigration stances, as it seems they will inevitably have to do, they can attract large numbers of Latinos. This is because Latinos are generally more religious and conservative on social issues and this actually has me quite concerned knowing that the largest growing ethnic populations immigrating to the US are socially conservative. I don't know exactly what kind of problem this could pose in the fight for secularism in the years ahead, but there is evidence that there is growing number of "nones" (no religious affiliation) among younger Latinos that mirrors that of whites.

Who is Winning the Culture War?

It seems that as the US becomes less and less religious, the trend towards liberal politics increases. This will spell good news in the years to come. Liberals are wining the culture war, so if you stand for equality, secularism, and for science and reason guiding our futures, rest assured that the theocrats are being kept at bay. This does not mean that we should declare victory; the war is not over and may never be, and its battles take place in schools and court rooms nearly everyday.

Finally, if there is just one point where I can leave an impression on your mind, it is that I urge you to think deeply about what you stand for, and make sure you have a damn good argument to back it up. That's what it means to be well informed, and that's what it means to be a critical thinker.

Monday, October 15, 2012

How To Talk To A Muslim: Debating Homosexuality

In debating conservative Muslim Gareth Bryant, I get to see how the mind of the devoutly religious behaves. When he wrote a blog post concerning the origin of sodomy and homosexuality, I once again had to call him out on his bullshit. Not only does he think homosexuality is wrong, he thinks it's a choice and that it originated from the fabled towns of Sodom and Gomorrah!

In this short exchange, I try to talk some sense into him by arguing that homosexuality is perfectly natural using a common sense argument that he never refutes. All he can do is use a trick of wordplay by insisting that the term "sexual preference" itself shows that it is a choice.

Some Brief Islamic-History (the origin of Sodomy & Homosexuality):


Homosexuality is natural, it always was, and it is no more a choice than being left-handed is a choice. Now I used to think like you about homosexuality when I was a teenager, which is to say – ignorant, but then I grew up and got educated on the matter. Homosexuality predates all the people in biblical lands in towns whose existence is even disputed by modern archaeology, because it existed in the animal kingdom long before humans evolved.
At any given time, at any given location, you are going to have a certain percentage of people that are gay – that’s just the way it is OK. To deny gay people their equal civil rights today, is tantamount to the denial of black people their equal civil rights generations ago. Why can’t we live in a society, where consenting adults can do what they want, sexually? If you don’t like sodomy, or gay sex, DON’T DO IT! Don’t watch porn, or the trash perpetrated by the movie industry. I’m an atheist and I don’t watch that crap. But don’t deny other people the right to do so.
If you don’t eat pork, fine. I respect your right not to eat it. Respect the civil rights of people in a free secular society like ours or go move to an oppressive Muslim majority country like Sudan.
Homosexuality is a choice: Allowing a man to insert his penis, or any other foreign, non-medically required item, into one’s rectum, voluntarily, is a choice; likewise, allowing one’s self to insert one’s own penis, or any other foreign, non-medically required item, into another man’s rectum, voluntarily, is a choice. Why do you think that Homosexuality is still classified as a “sexual-preference”? The word “preference” in and of itself, directly denotes the manifestation of the power of choice.
A homosexual act might be a choice, just as a left handed person can physically write with their right hand. But homosexual desire is innate as is being left handed. You and I are both men, right? You know and I know that we cannot force an erection at will, it has to just happen. How could a heterosexual man who gets aroused by women, suddenly make his penis only get aroused when he is with other men? Gay men cannot get sexually aroused to have sex with women so how can they pretend to be straight. You cannot just change your sexual “preference” like you can change your politics. And why would heterosexual men choose to be gay anyway if they are straight? So they can get their asses kicked more? It makes no sense. Why do animals like Bonobos engage in homosexuality, when they are not conscious of god or any silly divine commandments?
One thing I hate about religion is that is misrepresents human sexuality through the scope of man kind when we knew nothing of real science. That is why all religions are full of nonsense on matters of science, history, and human sexuality. And to those like me who aren’t brainwashed, it is painfully obvious.
The term “sexual preference” does not accurately describe sexual orientation and I don’t like the term myself. As does the term “sexual persuasion”. These terms was made by people ignorant of the truth. I didn't invent these terms so don’t hold me accountable to their ignorance.

I also make the comment here on the "sexually-deviant" nature of homosexuality comparing it to other Islamic morality:

What is normal in Islam? Marrying pre-pubescent girls? Slavery? Let’s make homosexuality illegal and bring back slavery the way it was in the 7th century to restore “morality” the way it should be. See why the West and the Islamic world will never get along?


Conservative Muslims today do not want to concede an inch on homosexuality, but they're willing to renounce slavery and forcing underage girls into arranged marriages with older men (at least some in the West are). These are both things condoned in the Qur'an but many Muslims are against them today. It is obvious that Muslims, just like Christians, pick and choose their morality from their "holy" books. 

Finally, we have science on our side concerning sexuality, and they don't. And that is why we will win this debate in the long run. So it is comforting to know that uneducated, conservative minded religious fanatics like Gareth are becoming more and more rare everyday. 


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