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Member since: Mon Jan 26, 2015, 05:15 PM
Number of posts: 9,789

About Me

bilingual, bipedal homo sapien

Journal Archives

January 20th anti-Trump protests in Chicago:

From the article:

Two organized demonstrations in Chicago on the day of Donald Trump's inauguration merged into a single if splintered downtown protest with crowds chanting in opposition to the new president as they marched through the streets.
After speeches at Daley Plaza, protesters took to the streets and a large crowd gathered at Wacker Drive and Wabash Avenue, across the Chicago River from Trump Tower. Police stopped them from crossing the river to get to the skyscraper.

It was cold and damp, but that did not stop thousands from gathering at 3pm in Daley Plaza. There were many speeches in Spanish and English with a common theme of resistance and the necessity to continue protesting and challenging Trump's version of normal.

And we will continue.


The GOP Congress setting the example for US workers.

For the entire year (of 2016) the House is (was) scheduled to be in session for 111 days.


Paul Ryan has a plan. Part of the plan is to reform Social Security by requiring actual workers to work until the age of 70 before collecting benefits.

Now little Paulie has lived in the Washington DC swamp his entire adult life. He earned 174,000 a year as a Congress member, and earns $223,500 as Speaker of the House. Little Paulie had the House in official session for 111 days in 2016, leaving plenty of time to go home to Wisconsin and to fundraise. So he has no experience in the real world where people work hard for many years in hopes that they can collect Social Security or possibly a pension when they retire.

So when the GOP talks of reforming Social Security, meaning to force people to work until 70, does anyone here think that the irony ever occurs to them?

Boycott LL Bean? Why not WalMart also?

If one wishes to boycott LL Bean, a relatively small business, because one family member supported Trump, why stop at LL Bean? WalMart is run by an extreme right wing family of greedy capitalists, as is Amway.

WalMart drains money from communities by demanding, and receiving, tax breaks to build their monster stores. These stores siphon off business from smaller community businesses, and Walmart workers frequently depend on state aid to survive. WalMart is a leech draining money from the economy and putting it into the pockets of 6 people who have a combined wealth greater than the bottom 40% of Americans.

Amway is a classic pyramid selling scheme.

Uber is a scheme to enrich the creator of the app.

Amazon is another plantation employing thousands of poorly paid and constantly surveilled workers.

So why just LL Bean?

Wheres the GOPs Health-Care Plan? (byKatrina vanden Heuvel)

From the article:

For six years, Republicans have voted more than 60 times to repeal and replace the Affordable Care Act. “Repeal and replace” was a staple of Donald Trump’s stump speech. Give us control, Republicans promised, and what Mike Pence promises as the “first order of business” will be repeal and replace.
Only one problem: There is no plan. Republicans have hundreds of ideas but no replacement plan and no consensus. So now the same politicians who couldn’t come up with a serious plan in six years are considering a new idea: repeal now and replace later. Use the arcane rules of a “reconciliation” bill to push through repeal; replacement plan to come later. Promise. Trust us, they say, we’ll come up with something in a few months, or a couple of years, with a “few bumps along the way,” as Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) said . (“Bumps” is a euphemism for sick Americans losing health care, giving new meaning to the phrase “road kill.”)


The GOP has no plan, just as the GOP has no actual plan for governing. The GOP is a wholly owned subsidiary of the 1%.

Kellyanne Conway: Stating the obvious

I know that this sounds silly. It is not any sort of deep analysis but I have to say it.

One does not have to go any further than her name to know all there is to know about Kellyanne.

Conway is her last name. Con way. The way of the con. The name says it all. Con way.

So when she opens her mouth to spew anything, remember that she follows the way of the Con.

Today's sermon is on intolerance:

Our reading is from the Gospel according to C.S. Lewis, from Mere Christianity, and it deals with intolerance.

The late, ex-atheist, C.S. Lewis once wrote:

“ If you are a Christian you do not have to believe that all the other religions are simply wrong all through. If you are an atheist you have to believe that the main point in all the religions of the whole world is simply one huge mistake. If you are a Christian, you are free to think that all these religions, even the queerest ones, contain at least some hint of the truth. When I was an atheist I had to try to persuade myself that most of the human race have always been wrong about the question that mattered to them most; when I became a Christian I was able to take a more liberal view.”

C. S. Lewis (1960). Mere Christianity (New York: MacMillan)

What Lewis is referring to is the many paths argument. That there can be many paths to God, and many paths that result in a good life. Each person might have their own personal path, and that path might contain elements from a number of belief systems.
But if some atheists must, as a function of their beliefs, reject all other paths as false, what does that say about these atheists?

Now, if this definition by C.S. Lewis of what it is to be an atheist is correct, does this mean that atheists are sui generis intolerant of all forms of religious belief? Before we consider that, it would be good to consider another source which defines what it is to be an atheist. To help me, I went to the American Atheist site.

The reason no one asks this question a lot is because most people have preconceived ideas and notions about what an Atheist is and is not. Where these preconceived ideas come from varies, but they tend to evolve from theistic influences or other sources.
Atheism is usually defined incorrectly as a belief system. Atheism is not a disbelief in gods or a denial of gods; it is a lack of belief in gods.


So C.S. Lewis defines atheism as believing that all religions, and all believers, are mistaken.
The American Atheist site rejects the word belief when describing atheism. I cannot speak for them, but perhaps their idea is that the word belief is too loaded with religious connotations.
But no matter if one believes in a god or does not, neither belief is provable. The concept of atheism can no more be proven than can the concept of a god. Theism, or non-theism, is a belief system.
We believe in things like religion, or philosophy, or political things, even though we cannot demonstrate that what we believe is provable in a scientific sense.

And the point of all of this, this sermon on intolerance, is that intolerance is a very human failing. It is not limited to certain groups of people, it is universal. We can read of centuries of Christian intolerance for non-Christian belief systems, but we can also read of the intolerance for theism that was and is demonstrated by the non-theists who govern in Russia and China.

And we can see the obvious intolerance, expressed as condescension and mockery, that people like Richard Dawkins exhibit when referring to people of faith. The condescension that is referenced by C.S. Lewis in his book. The idea that people of faith are simply wrong about their faith because Dawkins has come to the conclusion that there is no God. And because Dawkins has arrived at this conclusion, he apparently must go out and preach the Gospel of anti-theism. In my mind, this makes Dawkins every much as intolerant as any theist who denounces all other beliefs as sacrilege.

In conclusion, we must always remember the words of Jesus from Mathew 7:5 when he said:

First remove the beam out of your own eye, and then you can see clearly to remove the speck out of your brother's eye.

Go in peace brothers and sisters.

Expelled from Boston Atheists for Thought Crime

Regular followers of this group might notice that some memes are constantly promoted when speaking of people of faith. Prominent among them are the supposed intolerance of believers, and of course the meme that religion and science are incompatible. As to the second, the actual existence of scientists who also follow a religion should be enough to disprove any simplistic arguments that one must choose between religion and science.
But the first, regarding the supposed intolerance of believers, is repeated so often here that one would think that intolerance was a nearly exclusive attribute of believers.
So in the spirit of information, and to get a view into the mindset of some atheists, (note I said some, not all) I present:

From the article:

Recently, my own right to free speech was flagrantly violated by Boston Atheists (BA), of which I’d been a member for many years.  Boston Atheists is the largest group of non-theists in Massachusetts; it has meetups (brunches, etc) and an e-mail discussion list.
Shortly after Donald Trump won the presidential election, members of BA considered a special meeting to plan protests against “Trumpocracy”.  People on the discussion list went mad, accusing Trump of every conceivable form of bigotry and of being a new Hitler.  I then joined the discussion, pleading for calm.  After only three posts, two from me and one from “Cara”, I was kicked out


I will reiterate that this article deals with one group of atheists, and says nothing about the entire community of atheists.

Edited to add: Nowhere in the article is the author identified as a Trump supporter, but the responses so far all assume that he is because of his remarks about Hillary Clinton. Remarks that have been made by many Democrats here and elsewhere. The point of the article, a point that many responders here are attempting mightily o to avoid, is that intolerance reared its head among a group of atheists.

Further edited to add:
I am linking to an article that the author linked to, an article that attempts to analyze why Trump won. It does so from what I consider to be a progressive perspective. Perhaps a confirmation that the person who was expelled is not a Trump supporter?

Again, edited to add:
The following is a link to Freethinker, which describes itself as an atheist publication. The article that is referenced in my post is under
the heading of censorship. Is censorship a demonstration of intolerance?

Kerry: UN Resolution Was in Line With U.S. Values

Secretary of State John Kerry laid out his case Wednesday for why the U.S. abstained from a United Nations Security Council vote to condemn Israel for its settlement activity, paving the way for it to be approved.

In the past, the US has always vetoed any condemnation of Israeli tactics both in the General Assembly and the Security Council. This action is long overdue, and the 14-0 vote is evidence that the US is not an outlier on this matter.

To read more:

Is the universe evil?

Some people postulate that because bad things happen, this is proof that God is evil. Some go so far as to say this is incontrovertible proof that God is evil.

Other people postulate that there is no God, that the universe sprang into existence due to a big bang, or some other as yet unknown and unexplained cosmic event.

No matter which belief you wish to support, if the mere existence of evil, or the fact of bad things happening, or natural disasters occurring, if this constitutes proof for you that God is evil, I have one question:

In your universe, the one where there is no God, is it the universe itself that is evil? Because the same disease and the same natural disasters and cosmic occurrences are still occurring.

Either way, according to my understanding of your logic, it seems to me that evil is seen as the default position.

What is a Biblical literalist?

What is a Biblical literalist?

I ask because I have been accused of being a Biblical literalist. And the term is used enough here in the religion group, that it would be helpful to define what is meant. I did a quick search and came up with a very few references.


Biblical literalism is a term used differently by different authors concerning biblical interpretation. It can equate to the dictionary definition of literalism: "adherence to the exact letter or the literal sense", where literal means "in accordance with, involving, or being the primary or strict meaning of the word or words; not figurative or metaphorical"


So, using this as a starting point, we come to:

Biblical literalism is the method of interpreting Scripture that holds that, except in places where the text is obviously allegorical, poetic, or figurative, it should be taken literally. Biblical literalism is the position of most evangelicals and Christian fundamentalists. It is the position of Got Questions Ministries as well.


One thing I would note is that when the word “obviously” is used, what obviously means is not always in fact obvious. So obvious is anything but.

And another view:

Ken Ham: Biblical Literalist:

Ken Ham might be called the very model of a modern anti-evolutionist. Although his view of the earth's origin is entirely fundamentalist, his techniques for spreading his message are cutting-edge: a huge mailing list, presentations with artfully done visuals, and a Web site he claims gets 3,000 visits a day. Ham is an Australian who came to the United States and launched Answers in Genesis, an organization devoted to debunking evolution. He takes a hard, literalist line, leaving no room for compromise on the role of evolution. He claims to have started 110 "creation clubs" in American schools. And he has a busy speaking schedule as he criss-crosses the country denying that evolutionary theory has any basis in truth.


All three of the definitions seem to agree that a Christian Biblical literalist is someone who holds that the Bible is generally the exact, inspired word of God. My view is much the same.
So when discussing religion here, if one is called a Biblical literalist it should be understood that the term refers to those Christians who believe that the earth is approximately 5800 years old, and that the Universe was created in 6 literal, 24 hour days. And that Adam and Eve are actual humans and not archetypes.


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