1.25.2022

Understanding Why Jesus Heals Some Ailments But Not Others

amputee sports

The question of why Jesus heals people with certain ailments but not others is an interesting one. My guess is that it may have something to do with him being a fictional being, but I will set that aside for now and consider three other overlapping possibilities. The astute reader will likely protest that these are not three different possibilities at all but merely minor variations on the same. I won't argue with that.

Part of God's Plan

First up, we have to consider the possibility that the ailments Jesus won't heal serve a purpose in the grand plans of some sort of god. Just because we are not informed about the nature of this plan does not mean there isn't one for each of us. If the contents of the "holy" bible provide any clue, this is a god that really enjoys testing people with suffering. Perhaps the ailments that are never healed fit into that cruelty somehow. After all, it is rather difficult to read that particular book and not come away from it convinced that this god is monstrous.

1.23.2022

Climate Change and the Coming Apocalypse: Paying a High Price for Inaction

pickup truck drifting

One of the main reasons I've always loved October was the change in the weather it used to bring. The Mississippi heat and humidity subsided, and going outside was finally appealing. It looks like those days may be gone unless the end of 2021 was just a fluke. While we had the sort of brief cold snap in October that usually marks the beginning of improved weather, we I found myself having to mow the grass into December. I've never even had to do this in November much less December because grass was never still growing. This was the warmest December I can recall and the humidity even returned after a brief reprieve.

1.20.2022

Laughing When Someone Makes Stupid Statements in Public

laughter

When someone with a large public platform uses his or her platform to say something thoroughly stupid, I think that laughing is a perfectly acceptable response. I'm not using "stupid" here to mean something about which reasonable people can and do disagree; I'm using it more of an absolute sense.

Want a specific example? How about David Barton's claim that the god he believes in uses bad weather to punish humanity for doing things it does not like? Perhaps such a belief would not have seemed so stupid a couple hundred (or a couple thousand) years ago, but it seems awfully stupid now. And if that's not stupid enough for you, consider Jim Bakker's claim that Pat Robertson can control hurricanes through prayer, a claim Robertson has made himself. We do not expect to find people who believe they can control the weather outside of psychiatric hospitals and prisons (which have largely replaced psychiatric hospitals in the U.S.) these days. I don't know about you, but I'm not about to ignore such statements merely because they are religious in nature.

1.18.2022

Social Costs of Opting Out of Religious Traditions and Atheism

hiking alone

I found much I could relate to in Bill's recent post at Dispassionate Doubt: Five Reasons Why I Identify as Atheist. But it was his first reason that really got me thinking: "I had nothing to lose." You see, Bill came to atheism late enough in life that he really didn't have much to lose by identifying himself as an atheist. As he said,

Most of my family and friends were either dead or saw things somewhat as I did. Any estrangements had already happened for other reasons. I no longer worked, so I had time to learn.

Clearly, those of us who recognized that we did not believe in gods early in life and made the decision to identify ourselves as atheists when we were young may have had a different experience. Depending on where we lived and the details of our lives, we may have had more to lose by doing so. This got me thinking about the costs of identifying oneself as an atheist and which ones we might have incurred.