Musings on Atheism, Belief, and Statues

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The website godchecker.com lists roughly 4,000 “weird and wonderful Gods, Supreme Beings, Demons, Spirits and Fabulous Beasts” which have been worshipped since the beginning of recorded history. Many are still being worshipped.  It’s quite an amusing and exhaustive collection of deities, demons, and demigods like saints. All gods and demons are, at least to me, weird, albeit not wonderful except as expressions of our limitless imaginations. Ditto with the rest of the supernatural baggage that comes with deities: reincarnation, ghosts, angels, an afterlife, souls, saints, … click below for more ↓

Musings on the Post-Xmas Days

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I am glad to have reached the first week in January of 2024 without telling a lot of people to simply fuck off and leave me alone during the past month. The urge is, I’m afraid, great and growing stronger every year. The Xmas season does that to me, beginning as it does in early September, when Canadian Tire and other box stores start putting Xmas lights and decorations on display for sale. The selling season continues through the late fall when suddenly every radio … click below for more ↓

That Fake War on Xmas

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In my part of Canada the “war on Xmas” begins in September when some local box stores start putting Xmas ornaments and decorations out, sometimes just after Labour Day. By mid-October there are whole store sections dedicated to pushing gaudy, offshore-made, increasingly tacky lights and displays. Then the canned Xmas music starts infecting shoppers through tinny ceiling speakers. Xmas tree lots spring up in mall parking lots. It’s a cultural virus being spread among us. The Resistance (aka me) comes forward to bravely ignore these … click below for more ↓

Are Secular Nations Happier?

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Are less-religious or more secular nations happier than religious ones? Studies suggest yes. Personally, I would certainly be happier in a more secular nation if it meant fewer angry, nasty, fanatic believers like the Westboro Baptist congregation (see picture, right), or the faux-faith anti-mask/anti-vaccine, pro-disease protestors,* or any of the frothing anti-choice, anti-abortion protestors who appear around medical clinics. I suspect many among us would also live much more happily without their disruptive, often vicious, pseudo-religious behaviour. But as a democratic, liberal society we are … click below for more ↓

The Dude, the Tao and the Dharma

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I suppose it all began with Benjamin Hoff. Hoff was one of the first contemporary writers to attempt to distill Taoism in a lighthearted form for Westerners when he wrote The Tao of Pooh in 1981, a very successful book still in print. It was on the New York Times bestseller list for 49 weeks. A decade later, he followed with The Te of Piglet, less successful (its message somewhat diluted by Hoff’s extraneous political and social commentary) but also still in print. Not that … click below for more ↓

Empathy and The Dog Allusion

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Empathy, writes Martin Rowson, is one of the things that make us human, make us civilized, allows us to interact without tearing one another’s throats out. Without it, we’d have no civilization; we’d be like the beasts of the fields. And we’d have no dogs or gods, either. Empathy is what makes us own pets and be religious. That’s one of the thought-provoking ideas Rowson tosses around in his book, The Dog Allusion (Vintage Books, London, 2008). The title, as I’m sure you are aware, … click below for more ↓

Godless – The Truth Beyond Belief

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https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=cfwuvMpmQJM “Godless – The Truth Beyond Belief” investigates one of the last frontiers in civil liberties and human rights: Atheism. So reads the opening sentence on the website of a new film about atheism and society. It asks, “can you be good without god?” Well, yes, you can. That’s the whole point of secular humanism, philosophy and the entire Buddhist faith. Morality is a choice we make, not a divine command. It also hides another question within its folds: can you be good and still have … click below for more ↓

Electing atheists

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A recent story on Religion News discusses the DNC’s concerns about former presidential candidate Bernie Sanders’ religion. Not that he was Jewish, but that he might be a closet atheist. And that send the DNC-crats over the roof. Scary, eh? You can’t elect an atheist in America. You can elect liars, cheats, adulterers, misogynists and creationists (and sometimes all in the same person…). But not atheists. Even Donald Trump, whose murky religious beliefs remain cause for much speculation, overshadowed by his overt worship of power … click below for more ↓

How Many Virtues?

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The Greeks had but four cardinal virtues: prudence, justice, temperance, and courage (or fortitude). To this, many centuries later, the Catholic church (notably Aquinas) added three theological virtues: faith, hope, and charity (or love). These are the seven basic virtues of Western culture. But they’re not the only ones. In 410 CE, Aurelius Clemens Prudentius listed seven ‘heavenly’ virtues in his religious poem, Psychomachia: chastity, temperance, charity, diligence, patience, kindness, and humility. Writing in the New York Times recently, David Brooks said. It occurred to … click below for more ↓

Atheist Spirituality?

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Andre Comte-Sponville’s elegantly-written book, The Little Book of Atheist Spirituality, has occupied much of my thoughts and reading time these past few weeks as I try to grapple with his message. I find I need to re-read sections of it, perhaps more than once, to digest and weigh all of the ideas presented. I’m more accustomed to the polarizing polemics of Hitchens, Harris and Dawkins, and their militant atheism; French philosopher Comte-Sponville’s reasoned and gentle approach quite threw me off guard. Hitchens, Harris and Dawkins … click below for more ↓

Conrad Black: Wrong on Religion, Again

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Atheists renounce and abstain from religions; they don’t reform them. So said Conrad Black in a recent National Post column. Black seems to be increasingly theological in his writing; perhaps he has had some sort of epiphany in prison. If so, it seems to be pushing him towards a Pauline-style intolerance and exclusivity, religiously speaking. That attitude is not conducive to dialogue, but it certainly suits the writer. And, as he has been in the past, he is wrong about both religion and atheism. He … click below for more ↓

Canadian Ambivalence Towards Religion

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A new Angus Reid poll underscores the changing, ambivalent nature of Canadian attitudes towards religion, but there are many things about the poll that concern me and make me question its methodology and whether an inherent bias influenced the results. First of all, what is “religion”? That may seem obvious, but there are conflicting definitions, and often religion is used interchangeably with the terms faith and belief,  although that is incorrect usage and they are, in fact, different. I think it’s important to be clear … click below for more ↓

Conrad Black: Off the Rails

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I generally read Conrad Black‘s columns for their entertainment value, but I also read them for the language. Black is the best tosser of pithy epithets since Spiro Agnew*. And like the former US VP, he’s a pompous git who puffs up his intellectual feathers like a pigeon in heat – that puffery of sound and fury that signifies nothing more than an ego he has to bring along in its own carriage. He is very amusing that way. Now to be clear, I have … click below for more ↓

Hate Crimes Against Non-believers Growing

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We all know about the hate crimes religious believers commit against one another, against people of a different faith. It’s headlines news, almost daily. Protestants against Catholics. Sunnis against Shiites. Muslims against Christians. Hindus against Muslims. Buddhists against Muslims. Christians against pagans. Christians against Jews. Muslims against Jews. Cults against anyone and everyone against cults. Pick a faith and it’s been involved in attacks, intolerance, intimidation, and killing sometime in its history. Even the normally pacifist Buddhists have been. Religions have been fighting with one … click below for more ↓

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