August 9, 2020

Those Pesky Parables

fishing boat bible

Have you ever wondered why the Jesus character depicted in the Christian bible stories supposedly used those wonderful parables instead of speaking directly about matters as one's eternal soul? It seems like he would have wanted to be as clear and unambiguous as possible in such a high-stakes situation. After all, people's "souls" were at risk! Did he use parables just to entertain or inspire his audience, or did he have another purpose in mind?

Given the lack of clear evidence to support the existence of a historical Jesus from outside the bible, I suppose we don't have much choice but to consult it for answers. Fortunately, countless Christians over the ages have assured us that any answer anyone could ever seek to any question can be found in the pages of their magic book. I suppose it must be our fault we didn't figure out important scientific discoveries like germ theory from reading it. But yes, we should consult it here to see whether it can shed any light on why Jesus apparently preferred not to speak plainly to his audience.

August 8, 2020

In Celebration of Your Own Personal Boycott

ballons in the sky

There are at least two kinds of boycotts. The first is what we almost always think of when we think of a boycott. It involves people banding together to boycott something while encouraging others to do the same. It is an example of collective activism. Collective because we are trying to bring in as many people as possible to join in our boycott and activism because we are trying to bring about change through our boycott. Most of the calls for a boycott you see on social media are this type. They call attention to a perceived injustice and encourage others to join in.

The second kind of boycott is probably more common than the first even though we don't hear about it nearly as much as we hear about the first. This is the personal boycott where I decide for whatever reason that I am going to boycott something. This type of boycott isn't really about activism. It is more likely to be about me (or whoever else is doing the boycotting) getting fed up with something and deciding that I am no longer going to support it. The reason we don't usually hear about these boycotts is that the person doing one is doing it for themselves and isn't necessarily interested in broadcasting it or trying to get others to join it.

August 6, 2020

Outgrowing Faith

Back in 2010, we learned that evangelical fundamentalist Christians were no longer the fastest growing religious group in the United States. That honor had shifted to nonbelievers, a diverse group of people who have little in common except that they do not believe in gods. I can't imagine this was received as good news by most evangelical fundamentalist Christians; however, I noted at the time that it was an excellent time for Christians who had been questioning their faith to examine the possibility of life without superstition. And for those who were not yet questioning their faith, perhaps they should consider this news an invitation to start.

Questioning Faith

When it comes to beginning to question one's faith, there are many places where one might start. It seems to be that one great one could involve examining some of the many myths about nonbelief, especially atheism, many religious believers have been taught by their families, friends, and churches. Even a little research will quickly reveal that much of what one has been taught about atheists is false and bigoted. Fortunately, it is easier than ever to counter these falsehoods. With impressive sales of books about atheism, the explosive growth of atheist-oriented material online, and increasing numbers of atheists coming together to support one another, we are eroding the stigma of atheism, slowly but surely replacing misconceptions with reality.

August 5, 2020

What Do Humanoid Aliens Reveal About Our Gods?

alien in ufo

Have extraterrestrial beings the Earth? I should probably re-phase the question to make it clear that I am not particularly interested in whether "ancient" aliens might have visited the Earth and built various things long before humans were created by the Christian god. Something more like this might be better: Have aliens visited the Earth sometime between 1950 and today? I picked 1950 because I've been told that was when America was "great," and I needed to pick a date. Many people, including some atheists, believe they have. Are they right?

Come to think of it, I'm not sure I find that question terribly interesting either. If they have, we don't have much evidence that they have. It is probably better to assume that they haven't until that changes. That said, the question about whether aliens have visited us does raise a related question I find more interesting. Why is it that almost all the accounts of aliens involve humanoid creatures? Whether we're talking about the classic "little green men" or the more modern gray aliens, they are all humanoids.