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We’re disturbing and smug!

 Palin carrying cross

A friend sent me an interesting article from the Opinion page of “The Independent”, a British newspaper.  It was written by Mark Steel.  If you want to see the complete article, go to:

http://www.independent.co.uk/opinion/commentators/mark-steel/

You’ll find it.

Mark states that the only thing as disturbing as the religious is the modern atheist.  He goes on to say that, “it’s not the rationality that is alarming, it’s the smugness.”  He feels that we do not try to understand modern religion.

Well, I don’t know.  I do not think that he is describing me.  In fact, I wonder how many American atheists he is describing.  Smug?  Maybe a little but that is not the problem.  I am scared as hell! I really don’t have any problem with someone attending some non-proselytizing church, say, Anglican, or Unitarian and thanking some god for having allowed the sun to rise that day.  I might feel that they are wasting their time, but they are certainly entitled to do it.  Further, they are entitled to be left alone in their religions, and I feel that I am obligated to leave them alone.  So far, so good.

Suppose, however, that this godly person (who, by the way, happens to be a public school teacher) decides to join a more aggressive church and, as a result of her conversion decides that she has a calling to teach her 20-30 students her beliefs.  Is she still entitled to be left alone?  I would say, “Absolutely not”.  This person is taking impressionable minds and teaching them ancient superstition as if it were fact!  This is not acceptable!  Schools are where we impart knowledge to our future generations.  It is too serious to be fuzzy minded about it!

 People argue that “facts” continually change.  Well, yes, we know more now than we did 100 years ago.  It seems to be as sure as anything could be that we are not going to suddenly discover that Zeus or Apollo or any of the other ancient gods and prophets were “for real”.  Superstition and mythology is taught elsewhere (e.g., churches).

Atheists, Agnostics, Humanists (and well-meaning religious people) have to fight back much more strongly if we hope to save this country.  Fighting back means, to me, making sure to vote, paying attention to who is running, attending political rallies and asking possibly embarrassing questions regarding the separation of church and state.

Right now, we have hundreds of thousands of school children being duped by taxpayer funded religious propoganda.  In 2009 the Texas Board of Education voted to present “all sides” of the “controversial” evolution issue.  Trouble is, it isn’t in the least bit controversial — unless you think that the bible can be used as a science book.  They also voted to remove from the curriculium any reference to the strong scientific consensus that the universe began more than 13 billion years ago.  Maybe in another 100 years with refined or yet-to-be-discovered scientific equipment we will get a better number but, it seems very certain that we are not going to go down to 5000-years (the Jewish calendar).

In March 2010 the Texas School Board decided to remove Thomas Jefferson from the list of people who have inspired change worldwide.  Why?  Well, he is the one that first penned the phrase “separation of church and state”.

 After a public outcry, the reference to Jefferson was reinstated, but Texas students are now told that our founding was influenced by the Judeo-Christian legal tradition.  This is far from the truth.  Indeed, the enlightenment developed in opposition to biblical law, and the founding fathers were strong proponents of the enlightenment.  This is why they wanted a strong separation between church and state.

The Obama administration has embraced strong standards, developed by the National Governors Association (mostly Republicans, by the way).  But, unfortunately, it was only in mathematics and language skills.  The religious lobby has gotten so strong that the NGA won’t touch history or science.  That is very sad! So, here we are.  In the beginning of the twenty-first century we are trying to decide whether or not we teach our children the truth about science and history — or throw in religious bias.  This is a very sad time for the United States of America.  Our country is declining incredibly fast — mostly due to fundamentalist Christianity.

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One comment on “We’re disturbing and smug!

  1. Eons ago one of my Chinese history professors explaining Taoism, Confucianism and other Oriental ism’s was challenged by a student who was calling it all superstition. The professor, obviously not a Christian, but just the Chair of the Chinese History Department answered back with a chuckle and said “You can believe in your own superstition., they can believe in their own superstition.”

    No amount of rationality will ever make the religious, and particularly the right wing Christians, back down and consider other points of view. Centuries ago Christians believed the earth was the center of the universe and that slavery was O.K. because the Bible said so. It took the dying of the old replaced by the new to accept new knowledge. The challenge of atheism is refreshing because it makes you think. Copernicus challenged the Christianity of his time. The earth was not the center of the universe. The Catholic church went after him with bare knuckles to destroy him. Today we know who won that match. Atheist thinking is not smugness, but a challenge to make people think like centuries ago when Copernicus said “The earth is not the center of the universe and I can prove it !”

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