Thursday, April 30, 2009

On Evangelicals and torture

photo © Adrian van Leen for CC:PublicDomain


Survey: Support for terror suspect torture differs among the faithful

WASHINGTON (CNN) -- The more often Americans go to church, the more likely they are to support the torture of suspected terrorists, according to a new survey.

More than half of people who attend services at least once a week -- 54 percent -- said the use of torture against suspected terrorists is "often" or "sometimes" justified. Only 42 percent of people who "seldom or never" go to services agreed, according the analysis released Wednesday by the Pew Forum on Religion & Public Life.

White evangelical Protestants were the religious group most likely to say torture is often or sometimes justified -- more than six in 10 supported it. People unaffiliated with any religious organization were least likely to back it. Only four in 10 of them did.


The religious group most likely to say torture is never justified was Protestant denominations -- such as Episcopalians, Lutherans and Presbyterians -- categorized as "mainline" Protestants, in contrast to evangelicals. Just over three in 10 of them said torture is never justified. A quarter of the religiously unaffiliated said the same, compared with two in 10 white non-Hispanic Catholics and one in eight evangelicals.

I think this goes back to my theory that "being saved" subconsciously translates into "I can do anything I want, no repercussions.". After all, you're already forgiven of all your sins. Whereas groups who have to "earn" their salvation by actually following the Bible (instead of just reading it over and over again), doing the dreaded "good works", and treating others as they would be treated are less likely to torture. The least likely are those who don't believe in an afterlife, so they have to make this life count.

Problem is, the people who pay for this one are not the believers. It's our men and women in uniform. See, when we don't follow the Geneva convention when we capture the enemy, why should the enemy follow it when they capture our people? Matthew 7:12 actually does directly apply here:

Therefore all things whatsoever ye would that men should do to you, do ye even so to them: for this is the law and the prophets.

Funny how the Atheists get this more than the Evangelicals do.

Monday, April 20, 2009

Heartfelt sorrow

This may only matter to the knitters, but Kay over at Mason-Dixon Knitting lost her husband over the week-end. Sincerest condolences to her and her family.

Saturday, April 18, 2009

On the financial crisis

Please note: The next video in line is the first that addresses the Obama administration. The previous four videos address the actions of the Bush administration.

The Divine Meeting

Sunday, April 12, 2009

What does an athiest homekeeper do on Easter Sunday?

Well, for one thing, she calls it "Easter", knowing full well that the term is a riff off Ostara, the pagan celebration of harvest fertility. She's not going to be calling it Resurrection Sunday, because she's not buying it.

She goes through her usual Sunday routine. Many of the first morning details are too personal, but eventually the floor is swept, the breakfast dishes are washed, and the pets are tended to. If she had children eggs would be hidden before they got moving, odds are by her husband, before he went to work at dawn.

She bids a Happy Easter to all her friends on the web, and updates her blog.

About 2 o'clock she'll put out the decorations. Earlier than that and you're tempting fate and the cats far too much. Around about 3 she'll put the ham in, wash the potatoes for boiling, and cut up the salad. Around 4:30 her Mother will come over, bearing rolls and asparagus and artichoke dip. They will sit down with tea and call all the assorted other relatives, who are all Catholic, and bid them all a Happy Easter. When her husband gets home at 6:30 dinner will be waiting.

Best odds has her Mother going home before 8, when she will settle with her husband and her knitting.

Now, why, you may ask, is an atheist doing anything special on this particular day?

Because...she wants to.

Simple as that.

Happy Easter everyone.

Friday, April 03, 2009

On open-mindedness

I would like to take this moment to introduce the logical fallacy of the circular argument. According to Douglas Walton:
"Arguing in a circle becomes a fallacy of petitio principii or begging the question where an attempt is made to evade the burden of proving one of the premises of an argument by basing it on the prior acceptance of the conclusion to be proved."[6]
The generally accepted format of the fallacy goes something like this

* 1. P.
* (any number of premises)
* Therefore, P.

Or, to put it more specifically

* The Bible is true.
* The Bible says it is true.
* Therefore, the Bible is true.
(False. Something cannot prove itself)

* The Bible is true.
* Many people believe the Bible is true
* Therefore, the Bible is true.
(False. Just because many people hold a belief, that does not make the belief true. Ask yourself this: Aprox. one billion people believe in reincarnation. Is that also true?)

* The Bible is true.
* The Bible has been around a long time.
* Therefore, the Bible is true.
(False. Many writings have been around a long time. Are the Greek, Roman or Norse myths also true? Are Apollo, Poseidon, or Odin still up and about? Just because something has been published for a long time does not make it true.)

* The Bible is true.
* God says it is true.
* Therefore, the Bible is true.
(False. The god in question is only mentioned in the Bible. This brings us back to our first argument.)

Now I am willing to remain open-minded, if you can come up with factual evidence. In the meantime, if you choose to believe it's true, go right ahead. I'm certainly not going to stop you. But do not expect me to bring my behavior in line with your beliefs. I'm not intentionally trying to, or trying not to. If it happens to happen, it is just a coincidence. Although it may be used as proof that even atheists can make good neighbors.