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Blunderov
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I Hear Peter Stark Eats Babies Too
« on: 2007-03-15 13:30:13 »
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[Blunderov] Finally! A politician who admits to being godless. Well done that man The response has been predictably emotional.

"The liberals in Congress want to throttle any school child who bows his or her head..."

Interesting echo of the blood libel formerly reserved for Jews? At any rate an outrageous
appeal to emotion that dishonestly invokes the supposedly "sacred" state of childhood.

"...they want to establish a right for liberals to bash Christians and berate God around the clock."

Perhaps I'm missing something but I thought we, (or anyone actually- not only 'liberals' are unbelievers) already had these rights. (I, for one, fully intend to proceed upon this assumption.)


Pharyngula : I hear Peter Stark Eats Babies

I hear Pete Stark eats babies, too
Category: Godlessness • Politics
Posted on: March 15, 2007 11:18 AM, by PZ Myers

Wow. Pete Stark has been raked over the coals by the Christian Seniors organization—what a wicked man he must be.

"It is sad but not surprising that the current Congress has produced this historic first—one of its members has denied God," said CSA Executive Director James Lafferty. "The liberals in Congress want to throttle any school child who bows his or her head in prayer, but they want to establish a right for liberals to bash Christians and berate God around the clock.

Well, you know there is a real shortage of schoolchildren to throttle. If we liberals went at it at the pace we wanted, we'd be knee deep in dead children. We've been exercising restraint in our child-throttling initiatives for years in order to preserve the supply.

It's the real reason we're pissed off at the Republicans. Here we've got this new resource of pious children to throttle in Iraq, and they just squander it by throwing bombs at the place. It's a damned waste, the kind of impersonal mass destruction that only benefits the greedy child-killers at the top of the corporate food chain; we liberals believe everyone should get the therapeutic benefit of killing good godly babies. That's really the difference between us, isn't it?

"It is time for religious members of Congress to push back. A simple declaration of a belief in God by members of Congress on the House floor will be greatly informative for the American people. Members who wish to expand could use the 'special orders' portion of the House calendar to elaborate but a simple "I believe in God" will suffice.

I predict a stampede for the steps of the legislature and Fox News cameras. An invitation to a public display of piety? Oh, boy!

"Congressman Stark's statement is a very sad benchmark for America. It could be the moment which defines the decline of our country or it could be the spark which marks an important day. That would be the day that religious Americans stood-up to the liberal bullies who are so determined to use the power of government to silence prayer and every other religious expression of free speech.

You know, Pete Stark only admitted to being a Unitarian and not believing in a deity. He is not a fire-breathing atheist, but here he is being accused of wanting to throttle children, suppress free speech, and destroy America — things which neither he nor a truly evil godless fellow like myself has any desire to do. Keep this in mind next time you quiver in trepidation at the rhetoric of those angry New Atheists. We're not going to bring down the wrath of the Religious Right on you, all it takes is any freethought of any kind.
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Re:I Hear Peter Stark Eats Babies Too
« Reply #1 on: 2007-03-19 06:47:47 »
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[Blunderov]"Stark" if I'm not mistaken, means "strong" in some Scandinavian languages. When Peter Stark was told that he was courageous to make his position on god so unequivocal he replied that it is not so. He contends that what takes courage is to stand up in public and say "let's tax some rich people to help some poor kids."

A strongman indeed.

Here is some rather decent writing by Sam Harris on the subject.

http://bellaciao.org/en/article.php3?id_article=14571

God's Dupes
19 March 2007, 07:38:58 AM

PETE STARK, a California Democrat, appears to be the first congressman in U.S. history to acknowledge that he doesn't believe in God. In a country in which 83% of the population thinks that the Bible is the literal or "inspired" word of the creator of the universe, this took political courage.

Of course, one can imagine that Cicero's handlers in the 1st century BC lost some sleep when he likened the traditional accounts of the Greco-Roman gods to the "dreams of madmen" and to the "insane mythology of Egypt."

Mythology is where all gods go to die, and it seems that Stark has secured a place in American history simply by admitting that a fresh grave should be dug for the God of Abraham — the jealous, genocidal, priggish and self-contradictory tyrant of the Bible and the Koran. Stark is the first of our leaders to display a level of intellectual honesty befitting a consul of ancient Rome. Bravo.

The truth is, there is not a person on Earth who has a good reason to believe that Jesus rose from the dead or that Muhammad spoke to the angel Gabriel in a cave. And yet billions of people claim to be certain about such things. As a result, Iron Age ideas about everything high and low — sex, cosmology, gender equality, immortal souls, the end of the world, the validity of prophecy, etc. — continue to divide our world and subvert our national discourse. Many of these ideas, by their very nature, hobble science, inflame human conflict and squander scarce resources.

Of course, no religion is monolithic. Within every faith one can see people arranged along a spectrum of belief. Picture concentric circles of diminishing reasonableness: At the center, one finds the truest of true believers — the Muslim jihadis, for instance, who not only support suicidal terrorism but who are the first to turn themselves into bombs; or the Dominionist Christians, who openly call for homosexuals and blasphemers to be put to death.

Outside this sphere of maniacs, one finds millions more who share their views but lack their zeal. Beyond them, one encounters pious multitudes who respect the beliefs of their more deranged brethren but who disagree with them on small points of doctrine — of course the world is going to end in glory and Jesus will appear in the sky like a superhero, but we can't be sure it will happen in our lifetime.

Out further still, one meets religious moderates and liberals of diverse hues — people who remain supportive of the basic scheme that has balkanized our world into Christians, Muslims and Jews, but who are less willing to profess certainty about any article of faith. Is Jesus really the son of God? Will we all meet our grannies again in heaven? Moderates and liberals are none too sure.

Those on this spectrum view the people further toward the center as too rigid, dogmatic and hostile to doubt, and they generally view those outside as corrupted by sin, weak-willed or unchurched.

The problem is that wherever one stands on this continuum, one inadvertently shelters those who are more fanatical than oneself from criticism. Ordinary fundamentalist Christians, by maintaining that the Bible is the perfect word of God, inadvertently support the Dominionists — men and women who, by the millions, are quietly working to turn our country into a totalitarian theocracy reminiscent of John Calvin's Geneva. Christian moderates, by their lingering attachment to the unique divinity of Jesus, protect the faith of fundamentalists from public scorn. Christian liberals — who aren't sure what they believe but just love the experience of going to church occasionally — deny the moderates a proper collision with scientific rationality. And in this way centuries have come and gone without an honest word being spoken about God in our society.

People of all faiths — and none — regularly change their lives for the better, for good and bad reasons. And yet such transformations are regularly put forward as evidence in support of a specific religious creed. President Bush has cited his own sobriety as suggestive of the divinity of Jesus. No doubt Christians do get sober from time to time — but Hindus (polytheists) and atheists do as well. How, therefore, can any thinking person imagine that his experience of sobriety lends credence to the idea that a supreme being is watching over our world and that Jesus is his son?

There is no question that many people do good things in the name of their faith — but there are better reasons to help the poor, feed the hungry and defend the weak than the belief that an Imaginary Friend wants you to do it. Compassion is deeper than religion. As is ecstasy. It is time that we acknowledge that human beings can be profoundly ethical — and even spiritual — without pretending to know things they do not know.

Let us hope that Stark's candor inspires others in our government to admit their doubts about God. Indeed, it is time we broke this spell en masse. Every one of the world's "great" religions utterly trivializes the immensity and beauty of the cosmos. Books like the Bible and the Koran get almost every significant fact about us and our world wrong. Every scientific domain — from cosmology to psychology to economics — has superseded and surpassed the wisdom of Scripture.

Everything of value that people get from religion can be had more honestly, without presuming anything on insufficient evidence. The rest is self-deception, set to music.

http://www.latimes.com/news/opinion/commentary/la-oe-harris15mar15,0,671840.story

By : Sam Harris
March Monday 19 2007



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Re:I Hear Peter Stark Eats Babies Too
« Reply #2 on: 2007-03-19 15:21:44 »
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That is a wonderfully written article. It makes me wonder what is the current Canadian political stance re: nonbelieving? Do any Virians out there have the scoop on that?

Non-U.S. countries in general really. Are they more "enlightened" across Europe for that matter?
*curious*
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Shouldn't robots have the same right as humans to have gender and express their sexuality?
_Clayton Bailey_
http://www.claytonbailey.com/monrobot.htm
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