RSSCategory: Good and Evil

Neo-Humanist Statement of Secular Principles and Values.

October 21, 2012 | By | 1 Reply More

With today’s announcement of the death of Paul Kurtz, I have republished (below) his Neo-Humanist Statement of Secular Principles and Values. I decided to publish the content of this defining document regarding secular humanism (with permission to republish that Paul Kurtz gave in the original document), to make sure that it remains widely available. As you can see below, I was one of the signers of this document. I took an active interest in this document, which I consider to be well-drafted (I offered alternate phrasing for a tiny bit of the language, which Paul accepted and approved). This document, more than any other that I have seen, articulates the values by which I try to live my own life.

I would invite all readers to take a bit of time to review the Neo-Humanist Statement, and to share it widely.

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Paul Kurtz dies at the age of 86 – Advocate of Secular Humanism.

October 21, 2012 | By | 1 Reply More
Paul Kurtz dies at the age of 86 – Advocate of Secular Humanism.

Today I was saddened to hear of the death of Paul Kurtz. The American Humanist Association provided an announcement:

Humanists and atheists are mourning the death of humanist Dr. Paul Kurtz, former editor of the American Humanist Association’s Humanist magazine and founder of the Council for Secular Humanism, who died on Oct. 21, 2012 at the age of 86. His death means the loss of one of secular humanism’s most prominent advocates.

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Child rearing according to the bible

October 13, 2012 | By | Reply More

At Bible Funmentionables, Michael Morris points out some of the Bible’s advice on child rearing:

The Bible has been held up as the pinnacle of moral authority, so when the Bible says, “Do not lie,” we don’t lie. When the Bible says, “Do not steal,” we don’t steal. So when the Bible says,”Kill your juvenile delinquents,” do we really have any other choice?

The Bible delivers many examples of bad parenting. Lot offers his daughters to the rapacious mob of Sodom, so that the mob would be okay with not having their way with his male house guests. Thoughtful host, worst parent ever.

This is the same Lot that impregnated two of his daughters, and according to Wikipedia, “Christians and Muslims revere Lot as a righteous man of God.”

In the famous story of the sacrifice of Isaac, God at the very last minute stops Abraham from killing his son Isaac.

Along with the above advice on child raising, I offer the follow Bible advice regarding family values (this is a posting on Facebook–I cannot determine the original creator of the image):

Morris offer much more advice from the Bible, all of it reprehensible, including the requirement that we kill people who gathers sticks on the sabbath —Numbers 15:32-36.

With regard to all of the above advice, the bottom line would seem to be this: Don’t obey the Bible.

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More on the drone wars

September 29, 2012 | By | 1 Reply More

I’m sick of the undeclared drone war that the U.S. (led by President Obama) is waging against thousands people in the Middle East who have not been shown to be guilty of anything at all. Who are all these people we are killing? The Obama Administration says “Trust Us,” but I don’t. I’m tired of hearing the U.S. claim that these drone attacks are killing “insurgents” while more reputable sources show the bodies of civilians and children. This reckless use of drones is causing millions of people to HATE the United States. The drone wars are thus contrary to our national interest. Even if you very much prefer Obama to the insane GOP alternative this November, please speak up against the drone wars. The following cartoons were drawn by a friend of mine, Ray Gregory, who is no fan of the drone wars.

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U.S. drones raining terror from the skies over Pakistan: Your tax dollars at work

September 25, 2012 | By | 1 Reply More

We are our own worst enemy with regard to the way we use armed drones. We are refusing to acknowledge the damage being done to the U.S. given our indiscriminate use of these weapons. This new article at Huffpo gives some details:

A new study . . . contends that the U.S. use of drones to target suspected militants in Pakistan has had a “damaging and counterproductive effect” on the country and has killed far more civilians than previously acknowledged . . .

Working with the activist group Reprieve, the team of professors have added to the growing body of literature that argues, contrary to Obama administration claims, that numerous civilians have been killed, and many more traumatized, by the drone strike program.

“Drones hover 24 hours a day over communities in northwest Pakistan, striking homes, vehicles and public spaces without warning,” the report said. “Those living under drones have to face the constant worry that a deadly strike may be fired at any moment, and the knowledge that they are powerless to protect themselves.”

Relying on data compiled by the Bureau of Investigative Journalism, the study’s authors say that between 2,562 and 3,325 people have been killed in Pakistan since June 2004, and between 474 and 881 of them were civilians.

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The actual war on women, the supposed “war on religion,” and the fallout

September 23, 2012 | By | Reply More
The actual war on women, the supposed “war on religion,” and the fallout

George Lakoff writes about the actual Republican war on women and the supposed “war on religion”

A recent Gallup Poll has shown that, in the US, 82 per cent of Catholics think that birth control is “morally acceptable.” 90 per cent of non-Catholics believe the same. Overall, 89 per cent of Americans agree on this. In the May 2012 poll, Gallup tested beliefs about the moral acceptability of 18 issues total, including divorce, gambling, stem cell research, the death penalty, gay relationships, and so on. Contraception had by far the greatest approval rating. Divorce, the next on the list, had only 67 per cent approval compared to 89 per cent for contraception.

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Religion as a meaningful source of moral guidance?

September 14, 2012 | By | 2 Replies More

On September 13, 2012, the Dalai Lama wrote the following on Facebook:

All the world’s major religions, with their emphasis on love, compassion, patience, tolerance, and forgiveness can and do promote inner values. But the reality of the world today is that grounding ethics in religion is no longer adequate. This is why I am increasingly convinced that the time has come to find a way of thinking about spirituality and ethics beyond religion altogether.

For more, see this post on “Before it’s News.”

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What kind of person attacks rescuers?

August 21, 2012 | By | Reply More

From Glenn Greenwald’s new platform, the U.K. Guardian:

[A]ttacking rescuers (and arguably worse, bombing funerals of America’s drone victims) is now a tactic routinely used by the US in Pakistan. In February, the Bureau of Investigative Journalism documented that “the CIA’s drone campaign in Pakistan has killed dozens of civilians who had gone to help rescue victims or were attending funerals.” Specifically: “at least 50 civilians were killed in follow-up strikes when they had gone to help victims.” That initial TBIJ report detailed numerous civilians killed by such follow-up strikes on rescuers, and established precisely the terror effect which the US government has long warned are sown by such attacks. . .

It is telling indeed that the Obama administration now routinely uses tactics in Pakistan long denounced as terrorism when used by others, and does so with so little controversy. Just in the past several months, attacks on funerals of victims have taken place in Yemen (purportedly by al-Qaida) and in Syria (purportedly, though without evidence, by the Assad regime), and such attacks – understandably – sparked outrage. Yet, in the west, the silence about the Obama administration’s attacks on funerals and rescuers is deafening.

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How Ayn Rand destroyed a home

August 16, 2012 | By | 13 Replies More
How Ayn Rand destroyed a home

Salon presents a young adult’s description of how Ayn Rand destroyed her family. This vivid and intensely personal article by Alyssa Bereznak exposes the ugly underbelly of objectivism, summed up by the following words by Ayn Rand:

My philosophy, in essence, is the concept of man as a heroic being, with his own happiness as the moral purpose of his life, with productive achievement as his noblest activity, and reason as his only absolute.

I disagree with those who believe that Rand offers a path to a meaningful life. I see life as a yin-yang dynamic, a struggle we all have trying to balance our own needs and wants with the needs of the group. [More . . . ]

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