Tuesday, November 30, 2010

There's a Medication for That

One day, you'll kick yourself for not reading this.

Why is it that if I told you Samara from The Ring was stalking me, you'd carry me to the psych ward kicking and screaming, but the religious get a pass for exactly the same sort of belief?

Yeah, right. The paranormal world of Fringe exists in the minds of the writers and the designs of the producers, but don’t be fooled into thinking that there isn’t a very real and very dangerous parallel universe that intersects ours on a minute by minute basis. The Bible is as stuffed as a holiday turkey with accounts and examples of these two worlds colliding with shocking and life altering results. Now you can deny or ignore this truth, but that does not make the reality of the spiritual world any less real. You are living in the fringe, so I would highly recommend being informed and aware of how to survive and conquer.

Umm . . . I don't think that word, "reality", means quite what you think it means. Seriously, this is the plot to Hellblazer, only he seems to think of it as really, really real, you know, like the desk I'm sitting at. Apparently, I need some holy water, a vial of dragon's breath and silver bullets . . .

Survival tip #1 - Open your eyes!

Useful advice for both slow and fast zombies, really.

Because you possess an eternal soul, you have two levels of awareness. One, obviously, is what you observe on a physical level, but that is only half the equation.

Wut? Two levels of awareness? Can you prove that? At all? If not, you're on the same level as that guy on the bus who swears the KGB put microwave receivers in his fillings.

Can you imagine? The servant thought they were completely outmatched - but in reality there was an angelic force surrounding their enemies that dwarfed their numbers by comparison. Ask God to make you aware of His presence and protection even in the midst of the most frightening circumstances.

There's that word again: reality. He must be using some alternate definition I am unaware of. *checks dictionary* They're unaware of it, too.

Survival tip #2 - Open Fire!

Don't hesitate with zombies, but unless you have the appropriate ammunition for werewolves and vampires, I'd recommend trying to hide or running away. Otherwise, you'll just piss them off.

Far too many Christians live on the fringe of the fringe. We sometimes think that being a Christ follower is occasionally showing up for church, praying before meals and tests, and reading the Bible when the mood strikes them. Hey guys, that’s like being drafted into the military during war time and showing up to the battle armed with an i-Pad and wearing footy pajamas!

Unless it's an imaginary war and your imaginary foes are armed with imaginary weapons, in which case an iPad and pjs are just as useful as anything else.

Bottom line: there is no neutral position in this war. You either take your journey with Jesus Christ seriously, or you will be seriously rocked.

RAWKED! lol. Anyway, I'm an atheist, and I have not noticed any RAWKing, so . . . not so much.

Get in the game

EA Sports called, they'd like to have a discussion with you about copyright infringement.

by suiting up each day with the armor God has graciously provided us: Be ready! Let the truth be like a belt around your waist,

the truth will hold up my pants?

and let God's justice protect you like armor.

Considering the news coming out of countries where Christians really are persecuted, I don't think it's like armor so much as it's like not having any protection at all.

Your desire to tell the good news about peace should be like shoes on your feet.

knee high, strapped and buckled? interesting.

Let your faith be like a shield, and you will be able to stop all the flaming arrows of the evil one. Let God's saving power be like a helmet, and for a sword use God's message that comes from the Spirit (Ephesians 6:14-17, CEV).

Good luck with your imaginary shoes and your imaginary belt and your imaginary shield and your imaginary helmet and your imaginary sword. Have you considered imaginary greaves to complete your outfit?

Survival tip #3 - Open your mouth!

Generally not a good strategy against zombies, although it's possible you could persuade werewolves or vampires to kill you quickly.

This battle is about the destiny of humanity - which includes your friends who don’t know about the good news of Jesus Christ.

Ah, I love imaginary battles about imaginary destinies. Which is why I play video games. Which I know aren't real.

You are living in a dual reality where the physical and spiritual worlds collide each day in a battle for souls.

That no one can prove in the slightest. Which separates it from reality in that, well, not reality.

Here's my advice, while we're discussing imaginary dangers and ways to deal with them: never run from anything immortal. It attracts their attention.

pic link

Monday, November 29, 2010

How Many Times Do We Need to Learn This Lesson?

This is, or was, Alisa Wilson. She could have been saved. She wasn't.

Here's the thing about health insurance companies: they're in the business of making money. Full stop. Finis. Done. That's it.

Health insurance companies are not in the business of keeping people healthy or saving lives or anything else other than making money. They take your money in the form of premiums and in order to keep that money, they have to pay as few claims as possible. By "claims", I mean "procedures or medicines that keep people healthy or alive."

That is the goal of a health insurance company, to pay for as few medicines or procedures that keep people healthy and/or alive as possible. From the perspective of profit, an organ transplant is a cost, a waste of money, less profits. Therefore, an organ transplant is, like all other "claims", something to be avoided at all costs. Including human life.

That's why tragedies like this happen:

It was this practice of frivolous denials that ended up costing Jacksonville, Florida woman Alisa Wilson her life. For months, Wilson, her family, and the surrounding community had been pleading with her HMO to approve coverage for a liver transplant. Although Wilson was enrolled in the state’s Medicaid program, she was not guaranteed care because she was “forced to join a private plan as part of a Gov. Jeb Bush-era experimental overhaul of the program,” meaning she had to deal with a private, for-profit insurance company to get her care, not a government agency accountable to the public.

Alisa Wilson died because allowing her to die maximized profits. She died for money. Morally, I really can't see the difference between what happened to Alisa Wilson and a person who kills their spouse for the insurance money. Either way, a person died so somebody else could have more money.

Death panels, indeed.

I Finally Got Mail. I Wish I Hadn't.

You may be familiar with Barbara Curtis at mommylife.net. I've done one post about her in hell, and we've talked about her a couple of times at freejinger (for all your fundy discussion needs). She makes a living with her website, as in its income is so important to her that even though she felt amazon was supporting pedophiles (she willingly joined the Catholic Church, btw), she still had to keep her amazon affiliation to pay the bills (the Catholic Church has a justification for that. Shocked, shocked I am!)

To reiterate, the person who sent me this email is a professional blogger. A person who willingly, knowingly and for recompense puts their opinions, thoughts and beliefs on the internet for the world to see.

From: Barbara Curtis
Date: November 26, 2010 2:17:48 PM EST
To: personalfailure@ymail.com
Subject: Loving you no matter what

It's like the title to a bad 80s power ballad.

It is really sad that you are not content to hate me but try to stir up others' hatred. Sad for my daughter 17-year-old Maddy who found this What kind of hatred drives this?

So . . . Barbara writes articles, of her own free will, to be posted on the internet, on controversial subjects. Then she is both shocked and appalled- not to mention all think of the children!- when someone publicly disagrees with her. On a small message board.

On the subject of hatred, what Barbara found was my, and others', reactions to two articles she wrote. (I found the links to these articles on her website, btw. Keep that in mind.) One stated that if you use birth control, you are sending your children the message that you hate them. The other stated that postpartum psychosis is not an excuse for any behavior and women like Andrea Yates should be tarred and feathered in the public square. In order to make the children feel safer, you see.

I consider those opinions hateful. YMMV, but that's the nature of the internet, Barbara. People disagree and do so publicly. If you can't handle that, if your daughter can't handle that, then that's your responsibility, not mine. I didn't make you write those things and I didn't make you post them on the internet. Especially considering that you posted, on the internet, a personal matter regarding your daughter in which you called her a bad mother. That was something. Something nobody needed to see.

I would really like to heal this situation. I've never tried to cause you harm and just because we disagree on issues shouldn't be enough to cause this kind of hate speech.

Hate speech? I disagreed with you, I didn't call for genocide. Get a grip.

Could Maddy and I come visit you in PA? Could you come visit us? We are really not far away from each other.

Yes, why don't I give the random internet lady my home address? Nothing could go wrong there. I should probably also give her my social security number, date of birth and mother's maiden name. Or, I could spend hundreds of dollars I don't have to visit random internet lady. That's a valuable use of my time- concerning a post on a message board. That totally makes sense. Heck, I take vacation days every time someone on the internet disagrees with me. I sincerely hope no one in North Korea disagrees with me, I have no idea how I'd get across the border.

Reading your blog entries - admittedly I haven't read many - I see you think of yourself as not hating, yet this is a case where actions speak louder than words.

I'm so hateful! Meh, I'd feel worse (or, you know, anything) if this weren't coming from a birther who posted a personal family matter for the world to see.

I would never try to harm you in this way.

I disagreed with you, I didn't set your house on fire.

In fact I feel great fondness for you as a couple of your posts remind me of myself when I was a young counterculture person working in corporate America (AT&T in Washington DC in the late 60s). I too hate inauthenticity and power relationships. But whereas I used to hate people who exemplified those things, I've learned as I've grown older - and since having children with disabilities (who've truly taken me into another dimension) that all of us are disabled in some way, limited by our life experiences, hurts, etc

Um, okay. We're all disabled. We all have trouble opening store doors and getting up a flight of stairs. We all have chronic pain and . . . you know what, no we don't. I agree that experiences shape and change us, but it's not the same thing as disability. "I used to be a hippy like you!" isn't really effective when the intended audience does not consider themselves counter cultural, btw.

I don't hate anyone and I certainly wouldn't hurt someone as you have tried to hurt me - and my children.

I disagreed with you on the internet. You'd think I poisoned her well the way she's going on about it. Seriously, read that sentence again. Now try to imagine any way that applies to publicly disagreeing with an article on the internet.

In fact, I've made it my life's work to try to help moms in practical and spiritual ways as they raise their children.

Good for you. I'm not sure how "birth control is hateful" and "postpartum psychosis is a poor excuse" is helpful, but whatever.

What you don't see is the hundreds of emails I receive.

What I can't figure out is why you have time to email me, let alone visit me. Hundreds of emails, four children with special needs at home and endless time to email and potentially drive hundreds of miles to meet the person who dared to disagree with you. Unbelievable. I'd say to get a life, but as far as I can tell, she should already have one. A rather engrossing life, in fact.

I know I'm far from perfect, but having come from the background I do (poverty, foster homes, abuse) and having spent my early adulthood in complete self-centeredness and hurting others, I know that it is possible to change. And I know from my adult kids that anyone can become a good mother. Not perfect, but trying each day to do a better job.

I'm not sure what this has to do with anything. I didn't call you a bad mother. I called you out on calling other people bad mothers.

Why would you attack someone like that? Why would you dig up a 10 year old article and try to stir up slander and viciousness?

Honey, it's slander if it isn't true. You wrote those words. You linked to those words.

I think you need to check your own authenticity.

BWAHAHAHAHAHA! I need to check myself before I wreck myself!

Life is truly about making mistakes and growing from them. Perhaps you can shift your paradigm, open your mind, think outside the box - and go for hope and change - the real hope and change that comes from growing and learning to love rather than hate.

I think you need to calm down. Although if you getting worked up always leads to a mashup of Dilbert, The Matrix and Office Space, I may well keep "provoking" you. With my disagreements. On the internet. Maybe it ought to be a rule that everyone has to start out at 4chan before entering the rest of the internet. It would give people perspective.

Again, I have never done anything to harm you and never would.

Me neither. See, we do have something in common.

As I have told you, and as I discussed on my blog earlier this week,

In which she called me a troll. Yes, a blog post, a few comments and a discussion on a message board are trolling in Barbaraland. I don't suppose there's any way to get Dennis over to mommylife, is there?

I actually feel great love towards you,

No, you don't. You don't know me. Love is a special, beautiful thing and to say that you feel it for some random person you've never met cheapens it terribly.

pray for you and am blessed whenever I see your comments. You have certainly brought out the best in me. I would truly love to meet you and be an example of healing rather than hurt.

Dear science, that it is some weapons grade passive aggression right there.

Look, Barbara, this is the internet. People disagree. It's not hatefulness, it's not trolling, it's not anything but an exuberant use of free speech. Get over it, hug your kids and move on.

Saturday, November 27, 2010

Policies of the Empire

When I become Empress of the Entire Freakin' World, all prescriptions for antidepressants will come with a sloth. We will be the happiest Empire in all of ever.

pic link (and h/t to Cynical Nymph)

Friday, November 26, 2010

There's Going to a Remarkable and Entirely Coincidental Dropoff in Quality Soon

Fantasies. I have them.

That's right. I'm working Black Friday. No reason, just cause.

That's right, I'm working Black Friday until 1pm, even though we were told noon on Wednesday, and I set up my day for leaving at noon. No reason, just cause.

I just got a memo. Our sick days are being cut from 4 to 2. There is a reason for that. As meanboss so eloquently put it, the economy sucks, we have no other options, so he can do whatever the fuck he wants. No reason, just cause.

I predict a remarkable, and entirely coincidental, dropoff in the quality of work around here. No, reason, just cause.

Thursday, November 25, 2010

I'm Thankful for . . .

Not being a turkey.

No, I'm not getting all militant vegetarian on you. As a child, it really used to bother me that everybody was supposed to be thankful while turkeys clearly had nothing to be thankful about. Meh, I guess that's pretty much America in holiday form.

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

A Note on Hiring Practices

This is rather random, and I suppose relates to the Great Unemployment Debate and What It Feels Like to Be Poor, but mostly it's just an insight into . . . well, life, as many people live it.

A friend of mine, whose small business collapsed a little after the economy did, finally thought he had a job. He answered a job ad that specifically stated the job was as a driver. The company picks up uniforms and linens from nursing homes and restaurants, launders, disinfects and presses them and then drops them back off. My friend was hired and instructed to come in for training.

He was not given the keys to a truck.

He was led in to the building where they launder the uniforms and, given a mask, shown the laundry facility and then asked if he had an up-to-date Hepatitis B shot. My friend, who is violently allergic to so many things it's easier for him to list what he's not allergic to, removed the mask and left, jobless.

This is not an uncommon tactic among companies that need to fill unpleasant, low paying and/or potentially dangerous jobs. I've been a victim of it myself, more than once. Telemarketing companies or companies hiring for extremely low level sales jobs will frequently list their jobs as "customer service" positions in order to entice people to apply. Telemarketing is hell and I salute the brave Indians doing that work. I've also never had a low level sales position where I didn't get screwed on commission. Which is, of course, why these companies have to lie to get people through the door.

They'll even lie once you're through the door. I learned to ask, straight out, if positions were customer service or sales. Then, I turned down a bank teller position (very low paying) for a "customer service" position that paid $2/hr more and was more convenient to get to. I specifically asked if the job was sales or not and was told, unequivocally, that the job involved no sales. I did figure out the recruiter was lying when I started having to sell things.

This is life at the bottom rung of the ladder. Consider that the next time someone starts mouthing off about how lazy those of us at or near minimum wage are.

Here I Am, Ray's Impossible Person

Ray claims that the only person who doesn't pray is the person who isn't experiencing trouble.

Show me someone who says he"s never prayed, and I will show you someone who has never been in severe turbulence.

Ray, I'm right here. If I haven't experienced severe turbulence, I don't know who has. My own illness, my husband's MS, my MIL's heart failure, my own mother's health problems, job loss, money woes, mental illnesses among family members and friends . . . other than natural disasters, name a turbulence, I've ridden it out.

And I have not prayed.

Not once. Not for a moment. You know why? I don't believe in the sky daddy, Ray. Praying to a god, any god, would be like praying to my shoes. A pointless waste of time that won't change a thing. You know what I've done instead? Things that improved the situation or improved my mood. Praying won't do either, so I haven't done it.

What I think is truly odd is who did pray. Jesus.

Jesus went to a mountain to pray . . . Jesus continued all night in prayer.


Why would Jesus, who is God, pray to God? He prayed to himself. Stop and think about that for a second. That makes no sense at all, at least not in the supplicatory sense of prayer, the begging of favors and mercy. Who begs themselves for anything?

Then Jesus failed to answer his own prayers to himself.

Really, the more I read the Bible and actually pay attention to what's in it, the less sense it makes.

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Why Do People Believe In God (in Their Words)

Oh, my. I am so embarrassed for some people.

I believed in God because I was raised to. My parents took me to church for the first time 12 days after I was born. (Christmas mass.) Once I started actually thinking about it for myself, a process that began in the first grade, I eventually came to the conclusion that I did not, in fact, believe in any god of any kind.

So, I am always very interested in why others believe, although generally it's because they were raised to believe, as well. (I'm talking about base belief, not switching from one religion to another, or switching from one sect to another within the same religion.)

Honestly, these reasons for believing are mind boggling in their lol wut?ness.

Tonight at my Bible study I asked this question to everyone, why do you believe in God? I thought I would ask the same question on RR.

Someone said " Do you believe in you wife? You do because you got to know her, it's the same with Jesus"

I assume by "wife" you mean "actual living person you can actually meet", not "invisible friend", right? You do see a difference between the two, right, because if not, I'm just going to assume there is no wife.

Life and the incredible design and genetic programming within living things is way too complex. There had to be an incredible being who designed and created what we see even though it is a world marred by sin. For atheists to think that random processes, time and chance could create anything is just fairy tale thinking and of course it is passed off as science.

Of course if you can think straight thus far, the next step would be to meet that creator in His revelation, found in the KJV for English speaking people.

Thank you.
Sherlock Holmes

Um, wut? The first paragraph is an appeal to irreducible complexity, not actually proof, but what is the second and why did Mr. Holmes show up?

Because the evidence of his existence is simply too compelling to leave any other answer but a resounding "YES!" Creation has his marks and "signature" all over it, his word, the Bible has been proven time and again as accurate and true...

Not to mention no one can explain the re-emergence of Israel in their own land with their own culture and language after 1400 years, unless He exists.

Irreducible complexity and . . . the Jews? Because no one has ever maintained a culture for that long before, you know, other than the Chinese, or Indians or aborigines on various continents, you know, other than that.

I have been made into a completely new person gradualy over the last 7 years since I acepted Christ. I feel Him so strongly it just feels like I am wrapped in His heart. I cant describe it. So I know Jesus is real. Also when I read His Word I feel so very connected like His Word is alive. I was created for Him and I rest safely now thanks to Him!

So, you didn't believe in God until 7 years after you believed in God? Even allowing for that stunning abuse of logic, I've changed in the last 7 years, too. Has anyone not?

Because He says so in His Word....and it is by faith.

I believe in God because the Bible says so. I believe in the Bible because God says so and round and round in circles we go, we die not of death, we die of vertigo.

Because He lives inside of me and that's how I know He's real.

You know, like tapeworms.

This is the same with me. Since I was very little, as far back as I could remember I always believed there was a God. I don't know how I knew it, I just did. My Grandmother was saved and she would talk to me about God and I guess I just believed everything she said, but I don't remember ever not believing in Him. Hmmm......

Wow, it's almost like I've never really thought about it, hmmmm . . . .

Because I can feel Him. Because His prophesies have come true. Because nature is systemized. Because He rose from the dead and had a lot of witnesses. Because believing in Him is just plain common sense. You just know. Because prayer has changed me. It's one of those things. You just know. I have questioned it because I used to over analyze. One can analyze their own self out of existence. The wake up call for me was literally seeing the flip side of Him. That is those of the under world and I don't believe I'm crazy in that respect. Seeing is believing. And oh ya, you just know.

I just know. And I've seen demons. Ya know.

I completely echo what onceblind said. I believe in anyone I have had a conversation with. Not just a monologue. If God didn't answer back, it would be difficult for me to believe. But, we have had a dialogue. I have spoken to Him and He has spoken back. That's why I believe. I heard His voice stronger than ever on April 14, 2005. I had prayed about two young ladies I was attracted to. I asked God which one He wanted me to have a relationship with--to ultimately be with until death. I asked Him that on April 10. Four days later I received an answer. God had spoken Heather's name to me, and that was it. Two years later, we got married. That's just one example out of many. That's why I believe.

Auditory hallucinations: changing lives since April 14, 2005.

Same for me pretty much, I was raised with a Christian background so there was never really a time in my life when I did not believe in God in some way, but understanding the complexity of our world and how accurately the Bible describes science related matters that were not discovered by the modern sience until recently really made my faith strong. Biblical prophecy as well, one has to have an extremely hardened heart not to acknowledge how amazing it is and that it had to come from outside of our space and time.

Scientific marvels like four legged bugs and bats being birds. Astounding! Not to mention all the biblical prophecy that has not come true and never will.

So . . . people believe just because, because they're parents did, because of circular logic, a lack of understanding of science and because they haven't actually read the Bible. Interesting.

Monday, November 22, 2010

Not. A. Religion.

You made kitteh double facepalm and headdesk.

Did you know that at one point, 30% of conservatives thought Stephen Colbert was serious about the Colbert Report? Almost 1 in 3 failed to see the obvious satire right in front of them. Hell, at one point, people thought Jonathon Swift was totally serious about eating Irish babies.

So it should come as no surprise that an awful lot of Christians think the Darwin Fish is the same sort of symbol as the Jesus fish.

Yet here I am, simultaneously headdesking and facepalming. (Easier on your head, harder on your hand.)

Despite its anti-religious stance and lack of a theistic belief, Secular Humanism is a religion just as Christianity is one, argued [David Noebel].

. . .

For starters, Christianity has the Christian Ichthys as one of its religious symbols while Secular Humanism has a developing religious symbol: the Darwin Fish. And like Christianity, Secular Humanism has clergy members that perform social ceremonies and preach a faith that is just as dogmatic: theological atheism, naturalism, spontaneous generation, and moral relativism, among other beliefs, Noebel points out in his book.

The Darwin Fish, or evolve fish, is not a religious symbol. It's satire. If you were to ask a group of atheists/secular humanists what the symbol of atheism is, you'd get a blank look. Some of us, online, have adopted such things as the scarlet A, but it's not an agreed upon symbol of all secularists. (Trying to get atheists to agree on anything is like herding cats. I once participated in a discussion about whether or not a nonsymbol is as symbolic as a symbol and if it is, is it still a nonsymbol. Don't ask.)

As for clergy members: lol wut? I assume he means people like Hitch, Dawkins and Myers, but clergy? You'd have to stretch the definition of clergy to meaninglessness to consider any of the more famous atheists to be clergy. And dogmatism? See above. Plenty of atheists have little to no opinion on spontaneous generation, we're all (religious or not) morally relative and naturalism? I'm calling that science, and if you post things on the internet, you like it, too.

The author also references in his book the 1943 decision by the Second Circuit to grant conscientious objector status to Mathias Kauten, not on the basis of his belief in God, but on the basis of his "religious conscience."

"Secular Humanism is a religion. It's just as religious as all the other religions in the world," Noebel asserted to students.

"Now, they deny it to the last drop only because they were caught. They caught themselves on conscientious objectors so they had to declare themselves somewhat of a religion."

So, I looked up the Kauten case, and I can't find the original decision, only commentaries on it, or references to it. According to several references, this case is sealed until 2020, so I don't know where Noebel got this from.

EDIT: (big h/t to [redacted])

Noebel is something of a liar, it seems. [redacted] got me a copy of the Kauten case, in its entirety, and the Court stated outright that Kauten was not a religious man:

We hold that Mr. Hardy's interpretation was well founded. [HN3] In order to avail himself of his privilege a registrant must establish that his objection to participation in war is due to "religious training and belief." It must ex vi termini be a general scruple against "participation in war in any form" and not merely an objection to participation in this particular war. Moreover, the conviction that war is a futile means of righting wrongs or of protecting the state, that it is not worth the sacrifice, that it is waged for base ends, or is otherwise indefensible is not necessarily a ground of opposition based on "religious training and belief." Though the registrant may have been entirely sincere in the ideas he expressed, his objections to reporting for induction were based on philosophical and political considerations applicable to this war rather than on "religious training [*708] and belief." They, therefore, were properly overruled, but not because he lacked membership of any sect or organization whose religious convictions were against war. Such a status was necessary to obtain exemption under the Act of 1917, but the provisions of the present statute are more generous [**10] for they take into account the characteristics of a skeptical generation and make the existence of a conscientious scruple against war in any form, rather than allegiance to a definite religious group or creed, the basis of exemption. We are not convinced by anything in the record that the registrant did not report for induction because of a compelling voice of conscience, which we should regard as a religious impulse, but his declarations and reasoning seem to indicate that he was moved by convictions, however sincere, of quite a different character.

In other words, while Kauten was believed to be sincere, and to hold beliefs that one would normally associate with religion, he was not religious. Atheism is not a religion.

In fact, the Court did define religion in its decision, and secular humanism ain't in it:

It is unnecessary to attempt a definition of religion; the content of the term is found in the history of the human race and is incapable [**11] of compression into a few words. Religious belief arises from a sense of the inadequacy of reason as a means of relating the individual to his fellow-men and to his universe - a sense common to men in the most primitive and in the most highly civilized societies. It accepts the aid of logic but refuses to be limited by it. It is a belief finding expression in a conscience which categorically requires the believer to disregard elementary self-interest and to accept martyrdom in preference to transgressing its tenets. A religious obligation forbade Socrates, even in order to escape condemnation, to entreat his judges to acquit him, because he believed that it was their sworn duty to decide questions without favor to anyone and only according to law. Such an obligation impelled Martin Luther to nail his theses on the door of the church at Wittenberg and, when he was summoned before Emperor Charles and the Diet at Worms, steadfastly to hold his ground and to utter the often quoted words: "I neither can nor will recant anything, since it is neither right nor safe to act against conscience. Here I stand. I cannot do other. God help me. Amen." Recognition of this obligation moved [**12] the Greek poet Menander to write almost twenty-four hundred years ago: "Conscience is a God to all mortals"; impelled Socrates to obey the voice of his "Daimon" and led Wordsworth to characterize "Duty" as the "Stern Daughter of the Voice of God."

Mr. Noebel, you are a liar.


Mathias Kauten sought conscientious objector status to avoid the draft in 1940 not from religious belief, he admitted to being an atheist or agnostic, but because he distrusted the Roosevelt administration and disagreed with the war.

During and since World War II, political objectors have appealed to the courts for c.o. status, The most significant case has been that of Matthias Kauten, an artist of "atheist or at least ...agnostic" persuasion. In addition to challenging Congress' right to pass laws like the draft which infringe upon the "individual qualities of a person," he disliked the Roosevelt administration and viewed the draft as its answer to unemployment. Further, to quote a Department of Justice Report, "he has stated it is not right to act unfriendly to Japan and now to seek to protect ourselves from the consequences of our wrongdoing.... During his travels [he] has witnessed the animosity which exists among the different peoples of Europe and this has strengthened his opposition to war."

The Justice Department supported the local board's decision to deny Kauten c.o, status. "There is no doubt that the Registrant is sincerely opposed to war but this belief emanates from personal philosophical conceptions arising out of his nature and temperament, and which is to some extent political." An Appeals Court in turn supported the local board's decision, both because Kauten's opposition was to one war and not to all wars, and because "his objections ... were based on philosophical and political considerations ... rather than on 'religious training and belief.'" It observed in passing that "in the early days of the draft, many thousands of the American people distrusted our foreign policy. If men holding such views had been ipso facto classed as conscientious objectors, the military effort might have been seriously hampered."

The significance of the Kauten decision is not that the draftee was denied c.o. status, but rather that in doing so a court ruled that "a conscientious objection to participation in any war under any circumstances ... may be the basis of exemption under the [1940] Act." Kauten's humanitarian convictions might have qualified him for exemption because of a broad definition of "religious training and belief." The Kauten court viewed religion as "a response of the individual to an inward mentor, call it conscience or God that is at the present time the equivalent for many persons of what has been thought a religious impulse." Operating under this definition, that court later reached its verdicts about Phillips and Brandon where humanitarian convictions were also at issue, and the Supreme Court drew on the Kauten reasoning in its broadened definition of religion in the Seeger verdict. Kauten's convictions did not exempt him, however, because "Congress intended ... not to give exemption to the great number of persons who might object to a particular war on philosophical or political grounds." A c.o. may thus be one who opposes all wars on humanitarian grounds but not one who objects to a particular war on political grounds.

Here's what Noebel is hanging his hat on:

The Kauten court viewed religion as "a response of the individual to an inward mentor, call it conscience or God that is at the present time the equivalent for many persons of what has been thought a religious impulse."

So, basically the Court didn't know how to qualify an atheist/agnostic for the purposes of conscientious objector status, so they defined religion broadly enough to include conscience. Um, I kinda fail to see how that makes atheism (Kauten did not identify as a secular humanist, though Noebel does seem to use atheism and secular humanism interchangeably) a religion.

Let me put it another way. Current law regarding abortion puts the woman's right to choose above the rights of a fetus inside her body. Does Noebel believe that to be true? I'm going with no. He's cherry-picking what Court decisions mean to him. Roe v. Wade proves nothing, Mathias Kauten proves I am as religious as the Pope.

Sadly, no.

Now I see Noebel's obsession though, and it ain't Jesus, unless Jesus is spelled m-a-m-m-o-n:

Secular Humanism is among the worldviews taught at one of Summit’s Student Worldview Conferences, a two-week program that teaches young evangelical Christians how to defend their faith and Christian worldview against major competing worldviews.

He makes his money this way. Of course secular humanism must be a religion. Otherwise, he can't charge for a two week program on how to defend against it.

Noebel noted that while the worldviews associated with Christianity and Islam have the largest number of adherents, it is Secular Humanism that has caused more Christians to walk away from their faith.

He attributed the trend to the dominance of secular humanist ideas and teachings in public schools, saying secular humanists "run" the public school system from elementary school to graduate schools.

"Out of Secular Humanism, the one big appeal has always been Darwinism," he said. "More Christians have probably stumbled in their faith over Charles Darwin than just about anyone else, more than Karl Marx."

Oh, you mean science! Okay, then. Sure. As the slacktivist has pointed out, a religion based on the denial of basic science is a brittle faith indeed. You need only to learn the lie of one portion of it, i.e., creationism*, for the whole thing to fall apart. That's not Darwin's fault, asshat.

pic link

*Sadly, it's not just creationism. Watch in amazement as one person defends their faith by positing that our eyes create light, clap with delight as another claims the earth is flat and accelerating, or expanding at quite a fantastic rate.

Really, You Don't Know. Now Shut Up.

For some reason, fundamentalists feel qualified to give advice in every situation- like if your meddling relative suddenly decided they had every degree on the planet because they read Chicken Soup for the Soul.

This is especially dangerous when such a person decides to give medical advice, and they all do eventually, at least when it comes to depression. Well, they all do, who have not actually experienced depression. People have a bad day and say, "I'm so depressed." Then they get actual, real depression and realize that, in comparison, a bad day is a vacation in Venice, all expenses paid, compared to depression.

I had one bout of depression at 16. That was plenty for me. That was 18 years ago, and I still remember, and fear, the absolute, soul-sucking, self-destroying utter bleakness of depression. It's like someone ripped out your soul, your joy, your capacity for happiness or creation or getting out of bed, and you're left stumbling around with this big, sucking wound that nobody else can see.

Now, imagine feeling that way, imagine feeling like breathing is such an effort, imagine feeling like that will never, ever end and the world will never have color or spring or puppies in it ever again, and someone tells you this:

Recently, I was asked this question: "What are some of God's cure for depression?" Here's my reply:

He allows or removes the following:

-Remove unnecessary luxuries
-Remove idols (Nahum 1:14)
-Allow trials and tribulations to enter for testing and purifying (James 1:2-6)
-Remove His favor/blessing (Deut. 28)
-Strip you of secrets; exposing them to the world (Romans 2:16, 1 Corinthians 14:25)
-Covers your mouth from complaining (Numbers 12)
-Disobedient children bringing you to your knees (Malachi 4:5-6)

As the Lord strips us of uselessness and vanity, we draw closer to a God who desires our obedience and devotion. As we draw nearer to God, depression and sadness fades. It is what our Lord longs for - a revival of hearts dedicated and committed to Him in whole-hearted worship.

If my people, who are called by my name, will humble themselves and pray and seek my face and turn from their wicked ways, then will I hear from heaven and will forgive their sin and will heal their land.

In other words, this gaping wound where your capacity for joy used to be? That's God's doing, because you're not being humble enough. If you were a little more obedient, a little more devoted, this wouldn't be happening. Oh, and he's probably going to make things worse for you. Because God is love.

Or how about this suggestion:

I'm curious how they define mental illness. People have always had emotions, but now if you have a few bad days or bad weeks, you can remember the TV ads you've seen with people who go from watching life from the sidelines to joining in - transformed by anti-depressants. You can go to the doctor, who will accept your self-diagnosis and put you on drugs. You become even less resourceful at pulling yourself out of a slump.

When I'm depressed, I resist the downward spiral by trying to do something physically productive - like cleaning out the refrigerator or closets. It does take some self-discipline to pull oneself out, but it can be done. And believers definitely have an advantage as they have prayer in their medicine chest.

Yes, if you were just a little neater, you wouldn't be depressed. Oh, and pray more.

This is not useful advice for the depressed. This is, in fact, dangerous advice for the depressed. This is, perhaps, useful advice for someone having a bad day. Tai chi has become my personal Xanax*. I find cleaning soothing, as well. Neither one of those things would have worked while I was depressed. You can't cure that kind of thing on your own (though it might lift on its own eventually, I wouldn't suggest trying to wait it out), and it's dangerous to suggest people ought to.

Bad days suck. Depression kills.

Every 100 minutes another teenager will commit suicide.

Suicide is the second leading cause of death among people between the ages of 14 and 25 in the United States.

The following statistics were taken from a recent survey of college and high school students by the CDC:

Twenty-seven percent of high school students said they had "thought seriously" about killing themselves during the past year. Eight percent said they had actually tried to kill themselves.

Ten percent of U.S. college students admitted serious thoughts about suicide. Seven percent had a suicide plan.

More than 30,000 Americans commit suicide each year, and 5,000 of these people are teenagers.

If you are depressed, get help. Call the Suicide Hotline, 1-800-784-2433, call 911, call a doctor. As hard as it is to believe, it can get better, and it will- if you get help. I got help, took the meds for a year, and now I'm just left with a memory. If you know someone who is depressed, or someone tells you they are depressed, encourage them to call a doctor. Do not tell them about the last time you had a bad day and how much better ice cream and half naked Russell Crowe made you feel.

*While I can see immediately what I need to do, trying to get my body to do it requires a great deal of concentration, leaving me unable to think about anything else. It's like a 20 minute vacation from my brain.

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Forever in Hell by Personal Failure is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NoDerivs 3.0 Unported License.
Based on a work at foreverinhell.blogspot.com.