Thursday, December 31, 2009

Blogging the First Year

I have completed my first year as a blogger. I have posted on topics from the legislature in Utah to my children and from Community Theartre to many posts on Atheism. I have transformed in the last year from an atheist to a militant atheist willing to challenge openly what seems to be absurd. No worries friends....No guns...I became militant when I openly stated my opinions.

I have gained 9 followers in the last year. Two are my own family members and the rest are friends and strangers who I have come to know from their blogs. I have found my blog listed on blogrolls on other bogger's sites and I have been flattered. I lost 1 facebook friend that I know of and could have lost more who silently blocked my content.

I have had prominent exmormons like Jeff Ricks leave comments on my blog and other known Mormon apologists like Valoel leave their marks.

The blog has been a jumping off for conversation in my home. Sometimes comments have included exasperated remarks like "what have you done now!" The conversations have raised interesting points and I have also been emphatically forbidden to discuss some topics..."I don't want you to write about this....not now!"

I hope to continue to blog at even a more frequent interval than I have in the last year. I suspect my content will be as controversial as it has over the last year. For that I will not apologize but I will say that I don't set out just to stir the pot. I write about things that are important to me and that I feel strongly about. I believe that free speech is not free and there is always a consequence to stating your opinion. I hope to gain new friends and to keep old ones.

Here is to a second year! Happy New Year!

Sunday, December 20, 2009

Christmas...means less now that my baby doesn't belive in Santa!

This time of year is very aggravating to me. We have a bunch of expectations to meet and even in times of plenty I struggle to succumb to the commercialism of the holiday.

When I was a kid who still had a belief in Santa...and in a god...this season was all magic. From the decorations to the cookies and fudge to the gifts and the anticipation. I loved the stories of a Night Before Christmas, The Little Drummer Boy, and A Christmas Carol.

As I grew older Christmas became tainted by the domestic issues my parents had and the expectations that my father had failed to meet or the unrealistic expectations that my mother had of him. But, for most of the years I lived at home there was someone who believed in Santa Claus.

I easily shed my belief in god at about age 16. The belief in Santa had be be pried from me at age 12. I suffered greatly at this time of year. I worried about the emotional health of my family and if Santa knew what I wanted for Christmas. The night before Christmas I would lay awake the entire night listening for Sleigh Bells and wondering how Santa would get down that chimney; which would lead him to the basement where I slept, and get upstairs without me hearing him. I became a Santa apologist. I was a hopeless romantic!

When I started having children of my own I still loved the whole idea of Santa...but hated the financial pressures the season brings. We did little to raise our children as Christians in fact we avoided most references to Christ in the season. When my oldest, Skyler was about four he was watching a "First Christmas" program on TV. He turned from the TV and asked emphatically..."who is this Jesus dude anyway?" When my youngest boy, Michael, was about 10 he was helping my wife set up a small nativity in the great room. He handed her a figurine of the baby Jesus and said, "Don't forget Noah". He only knew about Noah from the Veggie Tales cartoon that my Mother-in-law lent him despite my objection.

My youngest, Kiera, shed her belief in Santa last year telling us she had caught us a couple of years ago. She kept up appearances because of the "If you don't don't receive" mantra my wife would repeat all season.

For a Curmudgeon, I love to entertain, decorate my home, and to cook great meals for my family and guests. I am a designer at heart and each tree I put up is an experiment in a new theme, color pallet, each center piece is an opportunity to show Martha Stewart up!

I started this blog as a result of struggling with this question...'Why does an atheist celebrate Christmas at all?' A year later I an no closer to answering this question. I spent most of today shopping for gifts and supporting this artificial economy we have built around this holiday. I believe more this year than I did last that Christ was a legend and not a real person. I struggle to justify the celebration in his name or the financial stress this holiday puts on me and most of middle America. I celebrate it because my wife still loves it.....And I design a mean Christmas Tree!

Friday, December 11, 2009

Beware Vitriol Disguised as Benevolence

Lavar Christensen appeared on KCPW the other day pushing the Sutherland Institutes agenda. He believes that religion is under attack in the country and that the United States is a religious nation and that is what the founding fathers wanted it to be. Okay, I recently addressed the Christian Nation thing in a prior post and I am not going to rehash that now.

During the interview Lavar Christensen spoke in the soft monotone we are used to hearing during the LDS General Conference. But is is what he says not the manner that he says it that is troubling. When asked what he sees as the biggest threat to religious freedom now he says:

I think it is the loss of our moorings and our anchoring faith. The
confidence that our nation exhibited demonstrated in its first 150+ years as a
nation, marked by the adoption of the adoption of our national motto 'In God We
Trust', and the of the Pledge of Allegiance. All of those signs of
faith which are so much a part of our American culture are now being
chipped away.

I know that history is inconvenient when it does not support your position. The national motto that his country was founded on and one that still appears on our money is "E Pluribus Unum" which is Latin for "One from many" or "One from many parts." That is the secular motto that was born with the country.

The new motto "In God We Trust" did not come to us until 1956 at the beginning of the cold war. It is not the motto that gave us our exceptional ism as he alleges. The pledge of Allegiance was written in 1892, it was edited again in 1924. Both versions excluded references to god. In 1954 in the middle of McCarthyism and the "Red Scare" congress added "Under God"

You see we have not been marching away from god in the country. We have been marching toward god. It is in the last 50 years that we have pushed god on to our citizens because if they believe in god they are not communists. It has been less about god than it has been about pushing fear and imposing religion on the citizens in the same manner that "god" was taken from the peoples of communist nations.

Today it is the assertion that we are a Christian Nation. Because if we are a Christian Nation we are not Muslims. We use religion as a way to homogenize our people, a way to bind the tribe and to be able to determine who our enemies are. God is not a benevolent tool....It is a way to direct our vitriol

Thursday, December 10, 2009

Sex Ed...Health Issue or Moral Issue?

KSL, had an artice on it's website today that I found interesting. Syphilis rates are up dramtically in Utah. Whenever we see this as a trend it opens up a debate as to whether we give more sex education to our children or we push abstinence. One method reduces infection the other has proven to not. The following comment was posted with the article and I found it disturbing:

No, this is NOT a health issue, it IS a MORALITY issue. And those who choose to use their agency incorrectly will suffer both the spiritual consequences and in this case many times the physical consequences. People can try to ignore the consequences of sin, but they can not change them. Many people have become so far desensitized they are almost "past feeling" and no longer remember what it felt like to be pure and clean and have almost fully adopted their fallen state of being as "normal" reality. To them, the world is dark and to them it seems normal. These are the voices who usualy speak loudest agains purity and righteousness because they can no longer see or feel it and to them it is as if it no longer exists. They find their daily feed in the media which helps them to reinforce in thier minds thier fallen state as a normal reality, which keeps them from coming to the Lord and repenting so they might be healed. Indeed, as Paul said, "of such, turn away..."

Really? I am not sure how you can use your agency either use it or you don't. I wonder what the conversation will be at the poster's kitchen table when this poster's child comes down with syphilis or worse...HIV? Darling child you have a disease that was delivered to you by god because you ignored his teachings. Sorry you need to suffer because you were unclean.

COME ON PEOPLE! What are you thinking. Humans are sexual beings. It is in our DNA to have sex. Kids make decisions based upon emotion and desire. There is rarely any thought given to going to hell but tell them they could get sick....They will think twice about the method if nothing else.

Utah needs to pull its collective head out of the sand. Parents do not teach sex ed. They fail in that regard in every way in this state. When you combine religious voodoo with an ineffective policy you write a recipe for disaster. I believe the argument for comprehensive sex ed is the fact that your son might date my daughter!