Sunday School

Sunday School March 10th 2019

This topic contains 14 replies, has 6 voices, and was last updated by  Reg the Fronkey Farmer 3 years, 4 months ago.

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    Is atheism a big part of your self-identity? I never met a predatory atheist like in this stupid story but I have known many predatory Christians that prey on children to indoctrinate them.

    Couples that get married in a humanist ceremony are almost four times less likely to divorce compared with all other types of marriages.

    After centuries of killing and imprisoning atheists some theists think it’s time to talk. Yes, I could have reworded that line! Read on.

    A quick look at some of the horrors done by religion.

    This weeks’ Woo:  Lying with science: a guide to myth debunking.

    Climate Change: Why good politics and good Climate Science don’t mix.

    More sting operations to expose celebrity psychics because so many people are very gullible.

    The morality of meritocracy.

    I don’t think we live in a simulation but maybe I have not leveled up yet. Many theories are not shedding enough light on the early Universe. It’s not as if it is all fine-tuned just for us.

    Is the Anthropic Principle what scientists use when they’ve given up on Science and if so do we need to reaffirm the role of Science? Except of course for those scientists who are busy mimicking the possible origins of life back in the lab!

    Algorithms have already taken over human decision making.

    Moral zealotry and the seductive nature of Evil.

    Long Reads: The LGBT Switchboard.

    We pause to remember: The doctor that brings women back to life.

    This week I am reading this book: The Coddling of the American Mind.

    Some photographs taken last week.

    While you are waiting for the kettle to boil…..

    Coffee Break Video: Michael Shermer on the Problem of Evil. Paul Bloom on Empathy, Rationality, Morality, and Cruelty.


    Have a great week everyone!!




    Thanks, Reg!



    The atheist moniker for me is more like a rebellious tattoo than an overall identity. (Hmm, speaking of which I don’t like that rebellious has two Ls in it.)


    I have an atheist themed tattoo. It was done with the concept of  the Universe existing with no hand of any god involved in it. Just mostly empty space like an atom with just the electron spinning around it, like the Earth spinning through the galaxy. It was inspired by the “Pale Blue Dot” idea.

    I use the term “I am an Atheist” to help normalize it and to reclaim it from the religious who use it as a term of contempt. I don’t have a term to explain that I do not believe in fairies but then those who believe in fairies have never killed people for not believing in fairies. They don’t even try to have it taught in schools as being real.


    Thanks Strega 🙂



    Extraordinary Sunday School this week!



    Being an Atheist in urban Spain means little. If you say you’re an atheist no one is surprised. If it’s a religious person they change the topic. The bigger surprise is when you tell people your parents weren’t religious. That’s a shock to many people. Some are a little jealous.


    Thanks Davis. In Ireland it is getting to the point where people might give you a curious look if you say you are an atheist. The look conveys “Well, of course you are. Why would you be anything else”?? Atheism is the default position now. We roll our eyes if someone claims to be a theist.


    Simon Paynton

    Moral zealotry and the seductive nature of Evil.

    I think this is an interesting article, and it points out one of the most common reasons why religion can go “wrong” – moral “fierceness” – taking extreme measures in the cause of what we see is moral rectitude.  I believe it was Michel de Montaigne who advocated not being willing to die for a cause (Protestants vs. Catholics in his case), and instead, to take things more gently.

    I think the bottom line is, sometimes the measures we wish to take against an injustice are worse than the original injustice, or are otherwise not warranted in a decent society.

    Moral anger is perhaps the least forgiving kind of anger, because it believes itself to be in the right.

    I also think, plenty of people do evil and don’t have to justify to themselves that they are doing right, beyond satisfying their own desires.


    Daniel W.

    On the horrors of religion – I wonder if it’s all a manifestation of tribalism, and such an ingrained part of the psyche of Homo sapiens that it will never be fully expunged.

    Current social media – Facebook, Twitter, and others – foster like minds to unite, whereas they may have been more isolated in the past.  It seems to me that much of the intolerance and divisiviness seen today, use religion as a tool rather than the other way around.  In Nazi Germany, religion was not the central theme, it politics of resentment.  Khmer rouge didn’t seem religious based, but rather aimed toward a romanticized agrarian, utopian ideal that demonized “outside influences”.  The genocide in Rwanda was, again, politics of resentment, pitting the “aggrieved” group against the group perceived as having more privilidge, even thpugh the divisions were not always clear.  They were people who had religion, but not religion running the show.  Aztec and Inca empires were vast, but I don’t know whether religion was the perpetratorvor the tool of the ruling classes.  I agree, absolutely, that innumerable abuses have been done by religious leaders and followers, in the name of religions Cross cultures and continents, for most of history.  But what I wonder about is whether religion is the driver, or the car.

    Maybe it’s not a useful point.  I don’t know.  And I think religion is a false god, legitimately labeled as an opiate of the masses (not the only one) or possibly, the hallucinogen or crystal meth of the masses.  And religion is a tool of the demogogues – not the only tool, but a big one.   But I look in dismay at all of the manifestations of tribalism today, and see religion as just one tool of tribalism.  Sometimes I see that tribalism manifested in atheist conversations too.   Which dismays me, but again, is that tribalism actually part of what it means to be Homo sapiens?


    Daniel W.

    The first lines of the Spectator article –

    “The whole aim of practical politics,’ wrote H.L. Mencken, ‘is to keep the populace alarmed (and hence clamorous to be led to safety) by menacing it with an endless series of hobgoblins, all of them imaginary.”

    Apply so many places.  Not just articles about apocalyptic views regarding purported carcinogens, or insect-apocalypse, but also about everything in politics today.  While anyone who knows me would classify me as liberal, I’m tired of both left and right wing idealogues and rabble rousers and press and narcissists, using partial facts and blown up trivial stuff to foster and fuel alarm, resentment, and “see, I told you so!”  It’s hard to know what to believe.

    On the article’s focus on glyphosate, it does seem clear that the stuff doesn’t cause cancer.  I keep thinking, the cancer focus is a way to demonize the company Monsanto, but the company has done so much that is worthy of demonization – predatory practices, reducing genetic diversity, and others, we don’t need the cancer thing.  To use a (probably bad) analogy, it would be like saying you shouldn’t go to mass because the little crackers cause cancer.  Well, the Catholic Church has done plenty to be worthy of condemnation, but the little crackers don’t cause cancer.  Claiming “cancer” when it’s not true, damages credibility and is basically relying on tribalism in a way.


    I also like the Ambrose Bierce definition from his “Devil’s Dictionary

    Politics: A strife of interests masquerading as a contest of principles. The conduct of public affairs for private advantage.


    Simon Paynton

    The morality of meritocracy.

    This is a very interesting article, that I’m not sure I entirely agree with.  Meritocratic distribution of goods is included under the domain of proportionality – equal rewards per unit of work, and this is the basis of monetary exchange, for example.

    I have read that people think that society is much more meritocratic than it really is – people are too optimistic about how far hard work and dedication can get somebody.  However, hard work is better than being lazy and will get one further.


    You should read Marx – Well maybe we all should….I leave a copy of his work – Capital Volume 1 on the table beside the Book of Mormon whenever the Jehovah Witnesses come to recruit me :-). Usually they just stare at it, clueless.

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