Open Thread

One wedding and two graduations to attend in the span of two days.

I’ll be gone for most of the weekend.

Consider this an open thread!

Ask questions, start discussions, be respectful, and I’ll moderate comments when I get the chance.


[tags]atheist, atheism[/tags]

  • Fumui

    I have a question:

    In light of the recent events in Burma, I’ve felt the want to help contribute to an aid organization. But as there has been much criticism of the charitable nature of atheist groups, I would like to find one such group to give to over the myriad of other christian based organizations.

    But at the same time, I’m not sure if I should give as the Burmese Junta is being dicks and not letting in aid.

    Any ideas?

  • Julie

    What’s the criticism of charitable atheist groups?

    In the end, does it matter whether the group is Christian, Jewish, Muslim or atheist, as long as the group is getting food and aid to survivors?

  • Adrian

    Which atheist groups (I think you mean “secular”, don’t you?) are being criticized and why? When I last looked, the secular groups tend to be much more efficient at distributing food and aid to the needy because they don’t waste any time and money proselytizing or trying to build churches, instead they actually provide things that people need and want in this life.

    There are some Christian groups which don’t, but you need to scrutinize them closely to ensure that your money isn’t being wasted on these selfish, self-serving self-aggrandizing causes at the expense of human health.

  • http://mygoddlessdrama.blogspot.com/ Stacy

    I would like to discuss the Duggar’s having their 18th child. You may have seen them on the Dsicovery Health Channel. As a parent of two little ones and a SAHM, I sit and try to wrap my head around WHY they live this lifestyle. I would love to have more children, but I have logical reasons not to. Is it that their almost obsessive religious convictions have literally warped their logic? I mean, I read about them for an hour yesterday, and they seem so happy, level headed, healthy and mentally stable… It just baffles me that they want to have ” as many children as God will allow”. I know the urge to procriate is strong in humans, but where does nature’s urge to reproduce intersect with religious fanaticism? I am completely enthrawled with this thought process right now. I think part of me is horrified, and part of me is jeleous. Thoughts?

  • Siamang

    Fumui,

    I give to Doctors without Borders.

    Here’s what they’re doing in Myanmar.

    MSF teams are increasing their efforts in some of the worst-affected areas of the Irrawady Delta: Bogaley, Pathien (Bassein), Laputta, and southwest along the Pathien (Bassein) River
    A full charter with 40 tons of supplies is departing from Bordeaux, France, Friday, May 9, 2008 at 4 pm CET. Planes with 160 tons are planned for the coming days
    MSF has 43 international staff and 1,200 national staff throughout the country, 70 staff in southwest delta area with many more on the way. Teams are treating wounded, distributing food, and providing water and relief items
    MSF is continuing its efforts to get increased access for staff and relief material.

  • Siamang

    Here’s something worth cheering.

    Mitt regrets omitting atheists from speech

    I think that this is something positive. I think that the noise of rabble-rousing atheists may have made us visible enough to cause folks to think about us.

    “Upon reflection,” Romney said at the Metropolitan Club in New York City, “I realized that while I could defend their absence from my address, I had missed an opportunity – an opportunity to clearly assert the following: Nonbelievers have just as great a stake as believers in defending religious liberty.”
    If a society decides to outlaw a faith or ordain a state faith, it may be the nonbelievers who are first likely to be condemned, Romney said. And such an action, in the end, should scare everyone, he added, because an attack on someone because of what he or she believes – or doesn’t believe – hits at the very idea of religious liberty.
    “A coercive monopoly of belief threatens everyone,” Romney said, according to prepared remarks, “whether we are talking about those who search the philosophies of men or follow the words of God.”

    Okay… that last part sounds a little condescending. But he was doing pretty good up until then. I still hear a little bit of “you follow the word of man, I follow the word of ALMIGHTY GAWWWD!!!” in that one.

    Here’s how I think he should have phrased it:

    ‘…whether we are talking about those who see the world through a religious or a non-religious perspective.’

    I think that’s more respectful of both viewpoints.

    Here’s how I might SIAMANGLE Mitt’s quote, if I wanted to turn-the-tables on the quote to illuminate Mitt’s gaffe:

    A coercive monopoly of belief threatens everyone, whether we are talking about those who search the philosophies of men or follow the words of men who claim to speak for God.

  • http://unorthodoxatheism.blogspot.com Reed Braden

    In the end, does it matter whether the group is Christian, Jewish, Muslim or atheist, as long as the group is getting food and aid to survivors?

    Yes. The group should be neither Christian, Jewish, Muslim or Atheist. It should be secular and not even touch the subject of religion or non-religion. Christian relief groups waste money on proselytising to grief-stricken disaster victims in the moments when the LAST thing they need is a Bible. They did that in Louisiana after Katrina and they’ll do it again in Burma. I’ve not heard of a major Jewish, Muslim or Atheist charity for Burma, so I will assume our two options are Christian and secular. The obvious choice, for anyone, should be secular.

    Even if there were other religious or Atheist alternatives, what does giving food to people have to do with religion and why must religious people sprinkle everything they’re involved with with a thick and bitter coating of religion?

  • Richard Wade

    Siamang, sorry if I’m cynical about this.
    I think the only opportunity Romney regrets missing was the chance to get more votes. This subtly condescending remark is the best he’s ever going to make since he doesn’t actually respect nonbelievers, he respects only their clout.

    His above statement does nothing to cancel out his now infamous “religion of secularism” speech delivered last December, where he was kissing the ass of the evangelical religious right, tying to say “Hey, I’m on your side, join me against those evil nonbelievers.” Fortunately it didn’t work. In this recent statement he has not recanted that statement, in my opinion. Without a specific repudiation of his earlier speech, either he was being a disingenuous manipulator then or he is being a disingenuous manipulator now.

    More likely both.

    With Romney’s movie star looks, he should quit politics and go to Hollywood. He could make a lot more money reciting that kind of fiction than this kind.

  • Darryl

    Romney’s a dick, a pandering dick. Richard’s right. He’s now running toward the middle in anticipation of a general election in which he hopes to be McCain’s running mate. What a major loser. How is it that our country has produced people like this?

    Now for something completely different. Or, maybe not. I heard this from Bill Maher, and I thought it was so well put:

    Jerry Falwell found out that you could launder your hate through the cover of God’s will: he didn’t hate gays, God does.

  • http://www.matsonwaggs.wordpress.com Kelly

    Fumui, you might check this out:
    http://www.humanistcharities.org

  • http://atheistrevolution.blogspot.com/ vjack

    Gone for most of the weekend, huh? I’d be happy to steal as many of your readers as possible while you are away. Seriously though, enjoy your break.

  • http://ranaban.blogspot.com RNB

    “One wedding and two graduations” … but was it a religious wedding?

    I guess we’ll read about it next week ;)

  • Karen

    I know the urge to procriate is strong in humans, but where does nature’s urge to reproduce intersect with religious fanaticism?

    They’re part of a far-right fundamentalist movement called “Full Quiver,” which opposes birth control based on the idea that god is sovereign and he should decide how many children a family has, not man.

    Frankly, this is the same kind of religious kookiness that creates people who refuse medical treatment. In terms of this particular family, at this point it seems to be some kind of an ego trip. They sure get a lot of attention, don’t they?

    Surely the mom and dad don’t have anywhere close to the time or energy needed to properly parent (let alone educate!) this many children, so it would seem that they’ve enlisted the older kids to do most of the job for the younger ones.

  • http://thearizonasingularity.blogspot.com/ Fumui

    Thanks for all of your suggestions! I’ll give the groups suggested a further look.

    Julie and Adrian,

    Its not that there is criticism of a specific organization. Atheists have been criticised for not donating as much porportionally as christians or other religions to charities. Whether or not this has a basis in fact, it is true that there are many more non-secular charities than secular ones. So, I just want to kill two birds with one stone: do what I can for the tragedy unfolding in Burma and help out the reputation of secular charities with a donation.

  • Jen

    Stacy,

    My feeling on the matter has something to do with the screwed up relationship between women and religion. Now, we all know that there is a limit as to the number of pregnancies a woman can go though (I have heard 23- the woman who had 69 children had 23 pregnancies). It is not good for a body to go though that many pregnancies- really, one baseball team is all you need. But- when a woman is constantly pregnant (and Michelle has spent, what, 12 years pregnant?) she has less time to get out, be with people, learn, move up at a job, etc. I am not saying that women can’t raise children at home, but Michelle lives there, teaches her children, and goes to church with them in a Duggar-family church- she can’t exactly ever grow as a person outside of her family.

    A woman who is constantly pregnant has no chance to gain economic freedom. And really, that is what modern birth control and safe, legal abortion give women- a chance to gain economic freedom. No wonder the crazies hate it.

    I also have to throw this out there- if the Duggars were black, and receiving the charity that they receive, they would be called the worst names in the book.

  • http://mygoddlessdrama.blogspot.com/ Stacy

    Thanks Jen and Karen. I have been wondering what “full quiver” meant! I am seriously wondering if any Atheist families out there have over 6 kids. I mean, just for the hell of it. I bet there are very few. Religion definately influences reproduction. I do believe its because of the roles women are “supposed” to play in their various religions. I did a paper in college called ” The Immaculate Deception – The Subjugation of Women Throughout Religious History” ( back in 1994!) for my Women’s History class. It was a huge stepping stone in my journey from Catholic school-girl to Atheist. How I went from Anthropology scholar to a Stay at Home Mom is a thesis paper in itself. In fact as I write this, and my two kids scream, beg, beat my legs and mash the keyboard, I wonder how Michelle Duggar has 17 kids, because I find just two to be extremely annoying at times. lol

  • cipher

    In fact as I write this, and my two kids scream, beg, beat my legs and mash the keyboard, I wonder how Michelle Duggar has 17 kids, because I find just two to be extremely annoying at times. lol

    It’s very simple, Stacy. Fundies beat their kids and scare the living daylights out of them with threats of eternal damnation.

    Atheists tend not to have large families because, as Hemant has acknowledged – we eat babies.

  • cipher

    Just for the record – virtually all Jewish philanthropies are secular organizations. They don’t proselytize, and they aren’t interested in the state of people’s souls. American Jewish World Service (www.ajws.org) is an example. They provide aid and establish grassroots programs, and they have a four-star rating from Charity Navigator. They have a Burma program going on now.

  • Karen

    It’s very simple, Stacy. Fundies beat their kids and scare the living daylights out of them with threats of eternal damnation.

    ;-) I know this is tongue in cheek, but seriously I’m sure they run a pretty regimented, discipline-and-rules-heavy household.

    A) They would have to be, just to manage co-existing with that many people and B) I know some people in the Full Quiver/homeschooling/fundy set and they are extremely authoritarian parents. And my friends “only” have six kids! The other thing about them is that the older girls barely graduated from their homeschool high school courses before they were married and (immediately) pregnant with kids of their own.

    I also have to throw this out there- if the Duggars were black, and receiving the charity that they receive, they would be called the worst names in the book.

    What – are they getting federal money or private charity?

  • cipher

    I know this is tongue in cheek

    Karen, I am deadly serious. It’s part of the cycle of abuse, resulting in the mindset, “I’m so bad that I deserve nothing better than eternal damnation. I’m lucky that God would even condescend to do anything to save me.” The indoctrination alone should be regarded as a form of child abuse.

    They’re operating at a very primitive level. Even the brightest of them, the ones attending Ivy League schools (and don’t even get me started on that) can’t see beyond the level of reward and punishment. They are deeply, obsessively attached to hierarchy, authority – especially parental authority. This is why they go apeshit whenever we talk about making corporal punishment illegal.

  • http://friendlyatheist.com Hemant Mehta

    “One wedding and two graduations” … but was it a religious wedding?

    I guess we’ll read about it next week ;)

    It was a religious (Hindu) wedding.

    A nice one, too… though nothing I’d ever want for myself :)

  • Pingback: Friendly Atheist » 2008 » May » 11

  • Jen

    What – are they getting federal money or private charity?

    I don’t really follow them, because the whole idea of rewarding them makes me ill, but I believe they receive money for being on the shows on the Discovery Channel, and they don’t have to pay taxes on their huge home, because it was declared a church.

  • Karen

    and they don’t have to pay taxes on their huge home, because it was declared a church.

    ROTFL! oh my god…


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