This post is a part of the “Empowering Unbelief” weekly column in which arguments for naturalism and secular humanism are discussed from a lay perspective.The central problem of dogma is that it discourages inquiry. If you just know something to be true — or, more to the point, want something to be true — then it’s simply no use to go about actually investigating whether or not it is. No amount of evidence is sufficient to dissuade you, because in dogmatic worldviews everything is nice and simple. It’s far easier to think there are angels and demons lurking about helping and hurting people than it is to try to understand chaos theory and statistics. It’s more emotionally satisfying to believe that, in the end, everyone gets what they deserve.
But, evidence aside, do we really want there to be a Heaven and a Hell?
Despite 15% of Americans who believe in Heaven but not Hell, the two usually go hand-in-hand. Heaven is a place of wondrous bliss — eternal joy with God and all in his kingdom. The ultimate reward for faith and/or good deeds. Meanwhile those who wound up in the wrong faith (or no faith) and/or sinned one too many times are condemned to suffer forever in Hell, a fiery abyss of torture and torment.
Ignoring the obvious injustice of eternal damnation for anyone, this column centers on the even more unimaginable torment of finding yourself among the “lucky” who make it to Heaven.
The World Reacts to the Debt Ceiling Debacle As our Debt Ceiling debate looks more and more dire, it’s important to see how this dysfunction looks to the rest of the world – the other countries who we depend upon to buy our treasury notes and lend us money. Needless to say, we’re not looking too great.
The Third Party Scam Supposed ‘independents’ looks to the political gridlock and see the problem as two ideologically opposed parties and the solution as a ‘rational’ third party. David Sirota undercuts this prevailing storyline by showing how similar the parties are – they are both entirely corporately owned. These ‘independents’ (Michael Bloomberg, Thomas Friedman, John Avalon) are being disingenuous at best.
USDA Suppresses Report Concerning Factory Farming Interesting report from Mother Jones regarding a report that was suppressed by the USDA. The report, done by a USDA contracted researcher, showed a correlation between the rampant use of antibiotics on factory farms and the growth of antibiotic-resistant bacteria MRSA. With this dire consequence, it’s imperative that we look to different ways of procuring food than through factory farms.
Bernie Sanders: Voice of Reason As Obama has forsaken any debt plan that has any revenue gains in it, the left is justifiably angry. Senator Sanders gave an impassioned speech on the Senate floor decrying his behavior. This speech was initially an op-ed written by Sanders in the Wall Street Journal.
Primary Challenge to Obama? Interesting segment from Friday night’s Countdown. David Shuster interviewed Ralph Nader about the growing call for there to be a primary challenge for Barack Obama in 2012 not with the intent of defeating him but to push the debate and ultimately Obama’s policies to the left.
Continuing Homophobia in Sports An article from the current all Sports edition of The Nation written by Sherry Wolf. As gay marriage gathers support nationwide and homophobia appears to be waning (slowly but surely), professional sports survives as an oasis for homophobia. No current players in the NBA, NFL or MLB are openly gay, and it appears that only after retirement is it seen as ‘ok’ to come out. This is a great article that brings in some history that even I wasn’t aware of.
The Troubling Undertones of Transformers 3 As the third Transformer movie makes millions upon millions of dollars, it’s important to look and see what sort of political messages that it might be using in undertones. With rampant sexism, nationalism, militarism and even a bit of racism, you have to ask the question – why do we give this product our money?
Thanks again for reading and keeping informed! Please share this article and others on the site to get the progressive message out there! Or, feel free to comment, I’d love to have a good conversation or a debate.
Sources: Alternet, Think Progress, Salon, The Nation, Mother Jones, Common Dreams, Wall Street Journal, Current.
Each week, “Vegan With Reason” challenges mainstream meat-loving individuals to take another look at the food they eat, and encourages vegan and vegan wannabes to fight the good fight… all from the perspective of a recently clean meat addict.
This week I have something special for you. Author of the Cookbook The Happy Herbivore and blog HappyHerbivore.com Lindsay Nixon agreed to do an interview with me over Skype. For those of you vegans that are unfamiliar with The Happy Herbivore blog and have not checked out her cookbook The Happy Herbivore… shame on you.
Lindsay S. Nixon is a rising star in the culinary world, praised for her ability to use everyday ingredients to create healthy, low fat recipes that taste just as delicious as they are nutritious. Lindsay’s recipes have been featured in Vegetarian Times, Women’s Health Magazine and on The Huffington Post. Lindsay is also a consulting chef at La Samanna, a luxury resort and four-star restaurant in the French West Indies. You can learn more about Lindsay and sample some of her recipes at happyherbivore.com
Debt Ceiling Today, after much publicity, John Boehner’s bill passed the house, and then failed in the Senate (as everyone knew it would). So, now what? There are only a few days left until the deadline to get something done, and average Americans are fearfully watching this debacle. It really does seem that Republicans are truly willing to run this country into the ground for ideology and to oust President Obama. This whole thing is embarrassing, scary, and disgusting.
5 Arrested Protesting Eviction In Illinois, a mother and her three sons were going to be evicted from their house, and it drew protesters; it also drew the police, who arrested the protestors for “Criminal Trespass and Obstruction of Justice.” The mortgagor was attempting to work on a loan modification with the bank, which didn’t work out, and now doesn’t have anywhere else to go. This story is far too common, and people like this are the people who are being forgotten by our country. People get evicted every day, and as long as they are sight, they are out of mind. Also, how sad that people protesting a woman and her children being thrown out of their house were arrested. Of course we don’t know all of the details behind this story, but it appears to be a highly unfortunate situation, made more unfortunate by the fact that people who were trying to defend the defenseless were punished for doing so. Sad.
Religious Fanatics and the Debt Ceiling This is a really great article about religion and how it influences those who would push our government to default. Definitely a great read!
Murdochgate! Well, it’s been a few days since we’ve heard much about Mr. Murdoch and his corrupt empire, but employees of the New York Post were told to keep any documents that might relate to the phone hacking scandal. The plot thickens, and authorities are still trying to find out what, if anything, illegal was done in the United States.
Scientist Suspended Charles Monnet, the scientist that first “rang the alarm” about climate change, has been suspended, among other stories. Read on for this past week in science.
War On Whistleblowers ”Despite being largely vindicated, Thomas Drake’s life was all but destroyed, while Jim Risen spent years facing the prospect that he’d have to go to prison in order not to reveal his source. That climate of fear aimed at those who expose government wrongdoing is the prime outcome, if not the prime goal, of the Obama administration’s war on whistleblowers.”
Thousands Unfollow Obama Barack Obama has a twitter account (@barackobama) that I, too, follow. On Friday, his account basically spammed everyone by sending out a ridiculous amount of tweets with House members’ twitter addresses. I saw these tweets and elected to ignore them, but I guess some people were annoyed enough to cut the President’s account off. Though this isn’t front page news, I think it illustrates how politicians need to learn how to use social media better – it is surprising that out of all of them, Obama’s account was the one to commit this faux pas. He was a pioneer online during the last presidential election, but now, not as much. Obama uses his account for spam, Sarah Palin uses her as the equivalent of an interview…. c’mon, politicians, get it together, or get off of twitter.
Thanks for stopping by, have a great weekend, and stop by later for some more news!
Sources: CNN, The Chicago Tribune, Pandagon.net, The Huffington Post, Daily Kos, Salon, The Washington Post
The International Monetary Fund (IMF) has wreaked havoc on third world nations, burdening them with crushing debts and then forcing governments to enact massive austerity measures on their own people as to allow Western corporations to move in and exploit the newfound resources and cheap labor. While many know of the IMFs infamous policies, the origins of this tool of neocolonialism also should be examined.
World War 2 and Bretton Woods
Due to the protectionist policies that occurred during the period of the Great Depression, the founders of the IMF wanted to create a global economic organization that would “ensure exchange rate stability and encourage its member countries to eliminate exchange restrictions that hindered trade.”  In addition to the Great Depression, “socialists, communists and anarchists had high credibility [at the end of WW2] because they were the leaders of the Resistance to Nazi occupation,”  which had American and British economic elites worried. Thus, in order to make sure that leftists didn’t come into power and to back the business classes, the US and British “required international institutions that would promote capitalist policies and strengthen the power of the corporate sector”  which became the IMF and the World Bank.
Two Party System Fails in Debt Ceiling Talks In a political reality where the contentious disagreements are between two plans that are far more similar than different, it’s time to look at the system as a whole to see if there are deeper problems at hand. As John Boehner tries to pass a plan that has no chance becoming law, Truthout identifies the real force that has pushed both parties into acting against the public interest – corporations.
Investment in Infrastructure Would Create Jobs As we enter what Nancy Pelosi called the ‘Age of Austerity,’ increased funding to things like infrastructure seem like a thing of the past. Looking at the actual numbers, however, it makes so much sense to do it at this moment. Creating jobs and fixing problems at a fraction of the cost compared to what waiting them to get worse would cost.
Dispelling the ‘Anti-Choicers’ A great post by Amanda Marcotte today – a concise list on Alternet pointing out ten things she would like to say to anti-choice activists. Most of them dispelling rumors and outright lies. Points like this could be key to turning back the all-out attack that women’s reproductive rights are under at the state level.
15 Years in Prison for Taping the Police As more and more candid recordings are emerging of police overreach and outright brutality, a crackdown is coming down on the practice from a strange angle. Laws already on the books against wiretapping are being used to punish and intimidate individuals into not recording these incidences. Beyond the shock that the police are trying to eliminate this growing tactic that ensures accountability, there’s just something so hypocritical about the fact that the federal government can now wiretap any U.S. citizen without a warrant but a citizen can’t record a police officer doing their job without risking prosecution.
Tea Party Representative Sued for Missed Child Support Rep. Joe Walsh is being sued by his ex-wife for over $117,000 in missed child support payments. Walsh, who has made hay for slamming the President for the national debt, has claimed that he doesn’t owe that much (that ‘he’s had no more trouble with child supports payments than any other average guy’). Regardless of the amount, it’s still a shocking refusal to fulfill his obligations.
Conservative Media Ignores Heat Wave Another example of the conservative denial of Climate Change: Scream about how cold it is in winter and stay quiet during the summer. As more and more statistics come out continuing to verify the warming climate, it seems to be harder and harder to ignore the facts without obviously lying. Rush Limbaugh’s claim that heat index numbers were now political and factual seem to be more the norm than the exception.
Al Sharpton Refuses to Criticize Obama Not much for me to add to this story. Al Sharpton, MSNBC’s replacement host for Cenk Uygur (Who was forced to leave because of his criticism of the Obama administration), stated in an interview that he would ‘never criticize the president.’ This is beyond partisanship, this is favoritism. To claim that anyone is infallible and beyond reproach is sad. Just sad.
Victory for Solidarity: the End of the NFL Lockout As sports outlets call the end of the NFL Lockout a victory for fans, it’s important to look back and see that the NFL Players Association achieved a large portion of what they wanted. Standing up in solidarity against billionaire owners who were hellbent on taking a greater share of the revenue, the Players were able to hold their own, improve safety conditions and get even more to help retired players. In the current narrative of the attack on organized labor, it’s important to look to this example as both a victory and inspiration.
Thanks for reading and staying informed! Please share this article and others on the site to continue to get the message out there!
Sources: Truth Out, Huffington Post, Fire Dog Lake, Alternet, Talking Points Memo, Think Progress, Salon, Edge of Sports