From Whence Comes the Unbeliever’s Happiness?

Blast from the past…

by Betty Brogaard

The subject of atheism and its meaning have been covered eloquently and clearly by many *freethinkers. My purpose, therefore, is not to reiterate what atheism is or what the word means. At this juncture, I simply want you to know why atheism as a life philosophy increasingly appeals to more and more people who are dissatisfied with religion in general. My goal is to spotlight religion’s negative impact, usually through guilt, in day-to-day lives of ordinary people. My aim is to tell you how atheism enhances one’s life – more specifically, my life.

Continue reading “From Whence Comes the Unbeliever’s Happiness?”

God is in control. Aren't You Glad You Went Green?

Many of you probably have  seen this email about the Icelandic volcano eruption. It was forwarded to me by a retired-Lutheran-minister in-law. He, more than likely, received it from one of his former parishioners. (Ah, yes, he taught his congregations well.) I would love to tell all of them: “If God is always in control, then he must have caused the volcanic eruption in the first place.” Actually, whoever wrote this admitted as much by the use of “a single act of God.”

God is in control—ALWAYS!!!!!

Aren’t You Glad You Went Green?

6 billion people try for 5 years…. then the earth burps, and it’s all for naught!

For all of you out there in America and across the globe who have fought so hard to tackle that hideous enemy of our planet, namely carbon emissions, I have some really bad news that will be very painful for you to process. But it is my duty to pass it on to you anyway.

Are you sitting down?

Okay, here’s the bombshell. The current volcanic eruption going on in Iceland, since it first started spewing volcanic ash a week or so ago, has to this point, NEGATED EVERY SINGLE EFFORT you have made in the past five years to control CO2 emissions on our planet. Not only that, this single act of God has added emissions to the earth estimated to be 42 times more than can be corrected by the extreme human regulations that have been proposed for annual reductions.

I know, I know…. (now have a group hug)…it’s very disheartening to realize that all of the carbon emission savings you have accomplished while suffering the inconvenience and expense of driving Prius hybrids, buying reusable fabric grocery bags, sitting up till midnight to finish your kid’s “The Green Revolution” science project, throwing out all of your non-green cleaning supplies, using only two squares of toilet paper, putting a brick in your toilet tank reservoir, selling your SUV and speedboat,
going on vacation to a city park instead of to Yosemite, nearly getting hit by a car every day while riding your bicycle to work, replacing all of your one dollar light bulbs with ten dollar fluorescent light bulbs that don’t give as much light or last as long (and you cannot dispose of ANYWHERE legally)…well, all of those things you have been doing all this time, at great inconvenience and great expense, have all gone down the tubes in just the past week…

The volcanic ash emitted into the Earth’s atmosphere in the past week has totally erased every single effort you have made to reduce that evil beast, carbon. And, those hundreds of thousands of American jobs you helped move to Asia with expensive emissions demands that were put on American businesses… you know, the ones over there that are creating even more emissions than when the companies stayed

home creating American jobs, well that must all seem really worthwhile now. I’m so sorry. And I do wish that there was some kind of a silver

lining to this volcanic ash cloud but the fact of the matter is that the brush fire season across the western U.S.A. will start in about two months and those fires will negate your efforts to reduce carbon emissions in our world for the next two years!

So grab a Coke, give the world a hug, and have a nice day while Al Gore contemplates suicide!

I forwarded this on to some of my freethinking friends. None of their responses were positive. In fact, they were a bit disgruntled that Christians have this attitude. Here is what one of them, with a background in Christian fundamentalism before “seeing the light“ of unbelief, wrote back to me:

I think you should respond to this, Betty. [I didn’t. What good would it have done?] He is really nasty, isn’t he?? Just what the world needs now . . . folks like him. The last line is just about as “nice” as his fellow Christians that are “praying” for Obama’s death… So now, with this attitude, we’re supposed to “give up” trying to do any more green things for our planet? Oh, I forgot, we shouldn’t care . . . Armageddon is near . . . and all these wonderful folks will just be “swept
up in the clouds,” and to hell with future generations that have to live here on this planet….

If you’re interested, here is an interesting website with an article from a Russian scientist who says that volcanic eruptions slow global warming:

http://en.rian.ru/russia/20100429/158805885.html

Whether this scientist is correct in his assessment, I simply don’t know. Actually, I hope he is.

Posted by The Painful Truth for Betty at 5/28/2010 05:03:00 PM
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Formative, Normative, and Cultural Doctrines

In the introduction of my book, The Homemade Atheist, I asked, “Why are there so many different doctrines on the same subject from the same book? It has been an enigma to me for years that if God exists and is perfect, and if he indeed has a standard by which all should live, why doesn’t everyone understand the truth he apparently meant to convey in the same way?

Wide variations in belief exist in all religious systems partly because of three main methods of scripture interpretations: (1) formative; (2) normative; (3) cultural.

  • The Formative Method, according to some Biblical scholars, includes glossalalia which was not intended to be used throughout the life of the church. Speaking in tongues is only addressed at any length in the Book of Acts (where actual languages seem to have been spoken somewhere on earth to establish the legitimacy of the church) and the first epistle to the Corinthians where “unknown” languages were spoken and interpretation had to be given. These “spiritual gifts” might have been given because there was yet no New Testament. The Formative Method is also sometimes used to explain the deaths of Ananias and Saphira after they lied to the Holy Spirit in the person of Peter. Their deaths, also, may have been recorded to give the new religion God’s sanction. And even though lying still goes on in the church worldwide (no pun intended), I don’t see wholesale death occuring in “holy” sanctuaries today because of deceit and lying.
  • The Normative Method of interpretation establishes an unchangeable standard or pattern for believers everywhere and at all times. Examples in this case would be proper Christian conduct (especially for women) at home and in communal worship, prophesying and preaching (which many believe are quite different), and the Lord’s Supper. (References: 1 Corinthians 11 and Galations 3.)
  • The Cultural Method is used by denominations claiming that the entire Bible was influenced by cultural conditions at the time of its writing such as length of hair for both sexes. And especially concerning women, since females today are most often as educated as males are, it is, therefore, so say some scholars, appropriate now for women to teach, pray, and preach in worship assemblies. But this argument from cultural bias could be used to dismiss anything in the Bible if it does not suit someone’s sensibilities in the modern world.

I am not lobbying for either the formative, normative, or cultural methods of interpreting scripture. To me, the real question is whether the Bible is the inerrant Word of God and how one can tell. As I read it, there are many unfulfilled prophecies, scientific inaccuracies including the mention of mythical beasts and the belief that the earth has corners and is flat in this revered work. And a perfect God is its author?

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