Cognitive Dissonance: January 2011

Cognitive Dissonance

Cognitive Dissonance: a discomfort caused by holding conflicting ideas simultaneously The theory of cognitive dissonance proposes that people have a motivational drive to reduce dissonance. They do this by changing their attitudes, beliefs and actions. Dissonance is also reduced by justifying, blaming and denying.

Thursday, January 27, 2011

Islam, the religion of peace?

A video was released on the internet today of a 19 year old girl, covered by her burkha, buried up to her waist in the ground, being stoned and then shot to death in Afghanistan in August of 2010. Why, you ask? Because she declined to take part in an arranged marriage (after being sold to a man for $9,000) and ran away to be with the man she loved in Pakistan. This according to the "Sharia" or holy law of the Koran is considered adultery and is punishable by being stoned to death. The young woman who's name was Siddqa was lured back to her home village in Afghanistan after being assured that no harm would come to her or her husband, Khayyam if they returned to see her family.  This was a fatal mistake, they were drug out of her families home in the middle of the night, convicted by a "kangaroo" court of local religious officials and sentenced to death by stoning.  At this point she was buried up to her waist in a 4 foot deep hole in the ground and pelted with rocks the size of her head. However she survived the stoning and was then shot in the head at point blank range by an AK-47.  Her husband was then led out into the same space with his hands behind his back and was also stoned to death.

The videos of these kinds of barbaric acts are scarce, but the occurrence of these kinds of atrocities are far too frequent in countries that are ruled by religious laws.  Yet we still hear members of the Islamic faith trying to sell us the idea that it is a peaceful religion.  I would go so far to say that no religion can claim to be peaceful, least of all Islam. The entire globe is in the grip of fear due to constant threats from religious zealots who claim that Allah has charged them with the task of taking the lives of those who do not believe the same things they do.

The ignorant, archaic ideals that drive people to commit these kinds of crimes need to be stamped out in every country and culture around the globe!  How do we accomplish a task of that magnitude?  I have no idea, but I choose to join the ranks of people who simply believe in the sanctity of life for no other reason than the fact that I value mine and I want my fellow human beings to have the most productive and fulfilling life as possible.  

Monday, January 24, 2011

It's already the last week of January!

I realize I said this blog would focus on Politics & Science in addition to all the religious stuff I've been writing about, so I figure it's about time to make good on that promise.  So, since the State of the Union speech is on Tuesday of this week, I'm going to switch soap boxes and try to focus on the politics aspect of the blog this week.  I'd also like to make a couple posts about some of the recent advances made in science.  I am headed to Washington DC this coming weekend and am planning on spending some serious time at the various Smithsonian Museums, hopefully I'll get some serious inspiration while I'm there for some science updates.

I hope everyone is well, and you haven't written me off as an extremist Atheist already! haha.

Cheers everyone,

Sunday, January 23, 2011

Don't confuse your beliefs with Knowledge, unless you have knowledge of your beliefs

"The study of theology as it stands in Christian churches,is the study of nothing; it is founded on nothing; it rests on nothing; it proceeds by no authorities; it has no data; it can demonstrate nothing."  Thomas Paine

Creation vs. Evolution/Intelligent Design is one of the most hotly debated topics of our time.  Fundamentalist Christians believe that the genesis account of creation is literally true, and that god created the earth in 7 days.  We now know that this is absolutely ridiculous, and it's painfully obvious that whoever wrote the book of Genesis (or rewrote it) had no scientific knowledge and was simply trying to fill in the gaps of their understanding with something to explain the appearance of life on earth. Which is what mankind has been doing since the beginning of recorded human history, using god(s) to fill in the blanks.

Evolution, in spite of what your pastor says on Sunday is not a fabrication by a group of men and women under the control of a the devil.  Evolution is a scientifically proven theory (if you're unfamiliar with the word 'theory' when used in a scientific context, you should look it up before you say something that will expose your ignorance) with consistent and predictable results in regards to the outcome of empirical experiments conducted across a broad spectrum of scientific disciplines.  Biology and genetics both confirm the hypothesis of evolution, as do geology and paleontology through the geological column and fossil record as do plate tectonics and radiometry.  If you're not familiar with the fossil record, you might be interested to know that fossils do not just appear in groups of the lifeforms we're familiar with today (which they would if they appeared on earth over the course of a week).  They appear in order, over billions of years starting with simple, single celled organisms and progressively get more and more complex, with apes and humanoids appearing 1.8 and 1.3 million years ago.  You might also have heard your pastor say that "humans did not descend from apes" and that's absolutely true.  It's just another poorly understood argument that creationists use to attempt to debunk evolution.  Humans (homo erectus) evolved along side of apes from another type of humanoid, however you might be interested to know that our DNA only differs by about 1% from apes, we just took another branch on the way up the evolutionary tree.  If you find these subjects confusing, or if they're just out of your personal scope of knowledge, then consider this simple fact about astronomy.  We know for a fact at what speed light travels (186,282 miles per second) and we also know how far away the furthest galaxies are in our universe are.  It's simple math then to deduct how long it would take light from the stars in those galaxies to reach us here on earth.  I bet you can't guess how long it's taken the light from the furthest stars to reach earth?  4.5 billion years, the same approximate age of the earth, and another incontrovertible scientifically proven fact.  This is just the tip of iceberg in a long list of hard evidence demonstrating the facts of evolution.  The answer from "creationists" is the equivalent of a 2 year old child plugging his/her ears and stomping his/her feet on the ground while yelling "no, no, no it's not true".  When asked why it's not true, the only answer they can give is, "because the bible says it's not".  The bible was written by men and most of the genesis stories were borrowed from Mesopotamian folklore and other cultures that predate Christianity.  If you don't believe me, then just do the research for yourself, the flood story and the creation story are simply borrowed modifications of earlier attempts to explain phenomenon that ancient humans simply couldn't understand because they didn't have the scientific knowledge we have today.  

The reason the bible claims the earth is only 6000 years old is because 2000 years ago when it was written, the authors only had 4000 years of written history to base their writings on.  Why only 4000 years?  Because that was when the first written records of human history began.  Cuneiform, the earliest written language appears about 6000 years ago, explaining the reason for their assumptions about the planet's age. If you find yourself among the extremely unfortunate group of fundamentalists that believe that the Genesis account of creation is true and the earth is only about 6000 years old.  Then please explain why god would conspire with nature to perpetrate a vast and elaborate fraud?  Why would an all powerful creator cause light from distant stars to appear to have taken billions of years to reach earth?  Why would god give us no explanation as to why the geological column shows fossils appearing in order of complexity in accordance with a 4.5 billion year timeline that appears constant throughout the entire universe?  Why did he create river beds and ocean floors with hundreds of thousands of annual sedimentary layers?  Why would he create continents that obviously once fit together, and continental drift explained by plate tectonics that appears to have taken billions of years to move into their current positions on the globe?  The evidence for evolution and an old earth is incontrovertible, to deny it in spite of the facts is idiocy. 

There is no god, the story of Jesus isn't confirmed in any written accounts from the time when Jesus was said to have been alive.  What about the gospels you might ask?  I doubt your pastor has explained to you that the first "gospel of Jesus" wasn't written until about 70 years after the death and resurrection of Jesus was supposed to have occurred.  This means that the story of Jesus was passed down for 70 or more years by word of mouth.  Have you ever played the game where a group of people sit in a circle and a secret is whispered to the person to next to you, then passed around the circle until the final person says the secret out loud?  Every time I have played this game the secret that reached the final person never even remotely resembled what the original person had said.  Yet millions of people hold these ridiculous, contradictory stories of Jesus as absolute, universal truth in spite of the fact they're obviously fabricated.  If you have the capacity to be objective, simply open your eyes to the facts and use common sense and you too can be free from the evil tenets of religion.

Good luck.

Tuesday, January 18, 2011

The religious right

Jerry Falwell said "I really believe that the pagans, and the abortionists, and the feminists, and the gays and the lesbians who are actively trying to make that an alternative lifestyle, the ACLU, People For the American Way, all of them who have tried to secularize America. I point the finger in their face and say 'you helped [9/11] happen."  Fred Phelps Sr. and his congregation from Westboro Baptist church regularly picket the funerals of dead American service members. As well as the funerals of the victims of last weeks shooting in Tuscon also claiming that these tragedies are God's judgement for the acceptance of homosexuality in the United States. Erick Erickson, the right wing blogger, self proclaimed evangelical Christian has also sited homosexuality as one of the reasons for the tragedy in Arizona.  This week he wrote on his blog that "people should be focusing on a saving faith in Jesus Christ", and pointed out that Congresswoman Gabrielle Giffords was Jewish and that she should be thankful for a second chance at eternal life. Apparently, even though she is a member of God's chosen people (see the old testament) she was doomed to an eternity of hellfire. This is the same Erick Erickson who called Supreme Court Justice David Scouter a "goat fucking child molester". Additionally he said Justice Scouter should be "beaten to a bloody pulp" and said he would "pull a shotgun" on any government employee that tried to make him fill out the American Community Survey.  Just today in another display of hypocrisy from the right, Sarah Palin attempted to decry the inflamed rhetoric she accused the media and left wing of with more of the same kind of speech and said she would not be silenced.  I don't think there is anything I want more from that lunatic then some silence.

The religious right continues to make themselves look like idiots, and I personally thank them for helping those of us with the ability to think on our own prove our point.  On the other hand, we really should stop putting the spotlight on people like Sarah Palin, the media is giving them a platform they wouldn't have on their own.  Put some focus on the humanists, agnostics and atheists, the homosexuals and pagans and all the other groups that are being blamed by evangelical Christians for so called "social decay" for a change.  Listen to their words of comfort and kindness that come from a place of genuine concern for other human beings with no ulterior motives.  When I turn on the news I feel like I'm watching a ping pong match of ridiculous ideals and empty words bouncing back and forth from the far left to the far right.  Put some focus on the middle!

I don't have a whole lot more to say on this subject, these people's words and actions do all the work.  In the meantime I'll work on finding some real balance in a country that desperately needs some.

Be fair.

Monday, January 17, 2011


I recently joined a website called, it's a site devoted to supporting people who have left the Christian faith.  I am also a fan of the website on Facebook, so I see a lot of the articles and forum topics that are posted/updated on a daily basis.  There's a theme that I see in a vast majority of the stories that people submit, rejection.  The people who say they believe in love and reconciliation are the first people to damn their so called loved ones.  Maybe it's because they recognize the fact that what they believe is by definition insane and they wish they had the courage to admit that there is no god.  Personally I have experienced quite a bit of this kind of treatment from my family and friends.  I think everyone who chooses to confront me has their own reasons for why they disagree or dislike the choices I've made and they're entitled to their opinion.  I have thick enough skin from a lifetime of verbal and emotional abuse that it just rolls of my back.  However, some of these kids who I'm reading about are genuinely distressed by the hateful, spiteful, ignorant reactions from their family and friends.  So I'm going to challenge the "Christians" to put the rubber to the road and actually demonstrate the love you say that Jesus showed the world, if you really believe all the tenants of the Christian faith then you believe that you are just as unworthy as the next person.  So live that way and show some love, kindness, acceptance and grace to people who don't subscribe to the same things you do.

If I was still pounding pulpits and thumping bibles I would be very concerned that people are receiving so much more love, kindness and respect from so called "godless" people than from the Christians in their lives.  Personally, I can say that except for 2 people, literally 2 I have gotten nothing but negativity, judgement and condemnation from the religious folks in my life.

More insightful people might accuse me of being angry, and I will not deny the fact that I am indeed hurt and angry.  I feel cheated, slighted and like I missed out on some of the best and most important parts and childhood and adolescence.  I take that into account every time I write something like this.  In fact, a personal fear of going overboard and lashing out in a way that would make me just as big of a hypocrite as the people I'm addressing has held me back from commenting on these thoughts and feelings until today.  But I feel like if these words only reach one set of ears and spare one person the heartache of being rejected by the people they love and respect it's absolutely worth it.

I'm so sick and tired of the hypocrisy.

Monday, January 10, 2011

Lies, Fear & Propaganda!

In response to the shooting in Arizona on Saturday, the Christian Extremist group from Westboro Baptist Church, best know for their "God hates fags" slogan released a statement saying they were thankful for Jared Loughner, the alleged shooter and proclaimed that god sent him.  They also stated that they will be picketing the funerals of the victims of this henious crime, which includes a 9 year old girl who was born on 9/11/2001 which they claimed as a sign from god that her murder is somehow symbolic.

I have a really hard time remaining composed when talking about Westboro Baptist Church's campaign against gays, dead soldiers and their support for acts of terrorism and the wholesale murder of children and innocent human beings in general.  However, I think that is a normal reaction considering how totally and absolutely revolting their abhorrent ideals are.  The members of Westboro Baptist, Christians, and members of other faiths who share these and similar ideals are so diluted and psychotic that I can't seem to come up with language strong enough to convey my disgust.  While I will acknowledge that the beliefs held by Westboro Baptist are extreme, I know from my 20+ years of experience as an evangelical Christian (I now consider myself an ex-Christiant and Atheist) that the core ideals and sentiment of hatred towards homosexuals and any other group of people opposed to their beliefs is not isolated to this radical group.  Intolerance, ignorance, hatred and bigotry are rampant throughout the Christian, Jewish and Islamic faiths.  Homosexuals, abortion clinics, stem cell research, President Obama and the government are NOT the problem in this country, the extreme religious right and other similar religious organizations are the problem.  Ignorance is the problem.  Closed minds that refuse to recognize facts in light of overwhelming evidence are the problem.  People clinging to antiquated ideas and a god that offers eternal life because they're too afraid to acknowledge the truth about life and death are the problem.  Religious extremists trying to impose their ideas and "morals" on the rest of the United States and the world is not only a problem, it's a global emergency.  It's given rise to genocide, war, terrorism, slavery and a laundry list of unspeakable offenses and tragedies.  All in the name of what Christians and Muslims claim to be a loving god who is intimately involved in the lives of each and every person on the planet. If that is true, why doesn't he stop the slaughter of the very people he is supposed to love and care for?  None of it makes any sense, especially the vile ramblings of a groups who's ideals are comparable to a far less intelligible version of one of Adolph Hitler's rants.

So I think anyone and everyone capable of rational thought will admit that there's a problem, which begs the question.  What can we do to fix it?  I think many things have to occur to right this sinking ship, but first, I think we have to absolutely and totally remove all aspects of god and religion from politics, public policy, school curriculum, etc.  Second, we have to marginalize the religious right and all other religious groups and churches by acknowledging that they are in fact huge cults that survive on ignorance, fear, lies and propaganda.  Finally, we have to turn our focus to the future and making progress that is in the best interest of mankind in general, not in the best interest of religious groups, special interest groups or large corporations.  I know that most of the people I went to church with were convinced that Jesus would be returning before the end of their lifetime, so I'm confused as to why they're so involved in politics and public life.  They should be holed up in their underground bunkers preparing for Armageddon and leaving us to conduct our sinful lives in peace.  We will be offered a second chance after the rapture right?  So unless that happens (which would be some evidence actually in favor of the bible being true, of which there is literally none at this point) I will be moving on with my life, re-educating myself as quicly and thoroughly as possible in areas of study with an actual basis in facts and doing my very best to expose religion for what it is, false.

Friday, January 7, 2011

Fishes With Feet.

2 years ago I was hiking along lake Coeur d'Alene in the panhandle of Idaho. It's one of the most beautiful places on earth and I would know, my passport has 62 stamps in it. It was a Sunday afternoon in late March and I was doing what I frequently did while walking, I was praying. I reached the top of the hill, found my favorite spot on a mossy rock, sat down and stared out at the lake. At that moment, I realized something I think I had known subconsciously for a long time, no one and nothing had ever answered a single one of my prayers. Suddenly I realized that I was talking to myself. That snowy late Spring afternoon I set out on a journey to discover the truth about god. What I've learned so far is that there is no greater evil on this earth than organized religion. There is nothing more dangerous, hateful, ignorant, short-sited, murderous and vile on the face of this earth than the followers of god and the Abrahamic faiths.

With all that in mind, and being sick and tired of banging my head against a wall debating my friends, family and Facebook contacts, I've decided to systematically address the propaganda and lies put forth by the church. I'm also going to be sharing the advances of science in regards to the proof of evolution. Finally to round out the two controversial topics I plan on doing some political commentary as well.

There are 3 main pages associated with this Blog - Politics, Science and Religion.  Each page's title pretty well described it's content, I plan to update each page at least once daily with headlines, articles and other publications.  Additionally, I will update at least one of the three pages with an extended commentary composed by me.  I hope no matter where you stand on these issues that you'll find some substantial information here and answers to your questions.

Keep an open mind.

In progress.

About 2 years ago I began a journey that started with a couple of realizations about myself, my life and my situation.  2 years later, I've come a long ways and still have a long ways to go, but I finally feel like I have something to contribute.  I plan to use my tiny corner of the Blogosphere as a sop box, a place from where I will reach out and try to free people of the oppressive constraints of religion, share actual facts about the advancements of science and open people's eyes to truth about the people who are running their country and their lives.  I am sure the vast majority will find me extremely controversial, which is fine, I want to rouse people out of their seats, push the limits of their comfort zones, encourage them to investigate and understand what they believe and help them open their minds through the use of logic and reason.  Richard Dawkins hit the nail on the head in the introduction to his book The God Delusion, when he said people often don't realize they have a choice.  A choice to genuinely question the beliefs of their parents, of their childhood and of their society.  I not only suggest that we all have a choice, but we have a duty to all of mankind to investigate and understand everything we believe.