Been A While Since I Had A Good Rant……..

Taken from my Facebook newsfeed……

Ok, so, it has taken 12 years before i have had to deal with this subject in the school system. My children go to a public school. My 12 yr old 7th grader is taking an Eastern Global class, and currently their unit is on paleolithic and neolithic time period, with evolution of man. That being said, my son came home from school with some pretty serious questions, ones that i am not sure how to answer. In this family we are firm believers in God, and His creation of man. His questions:
Do I have to sit through this unit in class?

What If i do not believe what they are teaching?
Am i allowed to tell the teacher he is wrong?
Am i allowed to debate his teaching? (PS…anyone who knows my son, knows that debate is his FAVORITE thing to do)
Seeking out responses from parents who have gone through this, as well as friends who are teachers who have been placed in this same situation.
Thank you in advance.
My first reaction was to wonder at what point did your religion give you a right to randomly sit out of any class you disagree with?  This is a public school, after all.  If you are so hell bent on preserving your faith based beliefs at the cost of sheltering your children from any alternate ideas, you  (1) are doing them a disservice (2) are obviously not so very comfortable that they will not change their opinion based on new information (3) very clearly need to send them to a private school to continue sheltering them in the bubble you store them in when they are away from your side.
Out of 26 responses so far, every single one actually agrees with the poster that the school MUST make an accomodation for religious beliefs.  Sorry, disagree.  If your religion demands that you plunge your head into the sand (along with your children) and ignore, deny, and avoid all exposure to science based disciplines, it is your right to follow said religion.  I do not think that should give you the right to demand special treatment from a public school though.  Keep your kids home and teach them whatever you want.  Send them to a private school whose curriculum you agree with.
Personally, I tend to think that things like this are far more important and far more worth making a stand about.  Our children are our future.  They need, and deserve, access to all the wealth of knowledge we can give them.  To hamper their education because it doesn’t agree with what they are taught in Sunday school simply puts a burden on the rest of society.  When they reach maturity, they will be at a disadvantage because of the gaps in their learning history.  They will be at best, a generation of sheep, easy prey to whatever political party panders to their uninformed or slanted beliefs.  At worst, they will be carried by that part of society who were able to realize their full potential.
That doesn’t seem much of a gift to your children, and I don’t find that to be super parenting, either.

Logically Illogical Logic

If you believe, believe with all your heart.  If you have a strong faith, and it uplifts you and makes you happy, that is a wonderful thing.  But if you want to convince and convert others to your point of view,  you are just going to have to make some sort of sense.  Statements like this, uttered with total conviction, simply do not have the effect you are striving for when talking to me.  I am not mocking your belief, but I can’t respect it much, either, when it sounds this silly.  I certainly can’t take you seriously when you claim to speak for a creator that endorses your silliness.

godly jealousy

Or, to put it another way…… (as a family member once said to me) “I think THAT bookcase looks more like THAT bookcase, than THIS bookcase looks like THIS bookcase.”

Very interesting. I have often pondered the correlation between the slow disassociation from strong church ties and lifelong unquestioning faith that seems to follow increased exposure to that big ‘ol world outside the church. It does seem that the more you are exposed to free thinkers, examiners, & questioners…..the more you begin to see the inconsistencies of your religious upbringing.  I guess the moral of that tale is that if you want to remain part of your flock, you must remain a sheep.

Recovering Agnostic

Religion seems to fear secularism. I often hear people saying that secularism is a threat to religion, or treating it as synonymous with atheism. I find these arguments rather odd – secularism has no relation to religion, being a position that can be held by all beliefs or none, and it actually protects believers from persecution by ensuring that no religious belief can take precedence over others and claim the right to enforce its own particular dogma in the public sphere. But my own experience makes me wonder if that fear of secularism might be more rational than I previously thought.

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Oh, Yay, Another Ramble On Tolerance………

A word on values, tolerance, and our ever vanishing civil liberties.

I do not care what personal belief system anyone subscribes to, except at the point that it begins to attack or infringe on what I consider to be personal liberties.  Any ideology that endorses and promotes intolerance or repression is unacceptable to me.  Prior to that line in the sand, I love the prerogative of the denizens of this country to pursue their faith and beliefs.  It is a great and beautiful thing.  Unfortunately I see far, far too many instances of personal faith and ideals becoming public faith and ideals.  If you really feel that you must forcibly shoehorn every person you meet by sanctions and legislation into whatever odd shaped cubbyhole your religion happens to reside in……..perhaps you should go home, sit down, and really, really think about your own value system.  I think you may have diagnosed the problem correctly, but completely missed the actual source.

I have friends who are gay.  I have family members who are gay.  I worked with folks who are gay.  I find, increasingly, as time goes on, that I am putting that out there in my discussions of tolerance.  Why is that, exactly?  How is it that a narrow minded and fearful section of our society can force us to make such statements as if they matter?  It shouldn’t matter.  No more so than the fact that I have family, friends, and acquaintances with brown hair, or blue eyes, or who like jazz.  The only reason it even has to be repetitively brought to the forefront is that nobody is trying to criminalize, marginalize, penalize, attack, or shame anyone based on their hair color, eye color, or musical taste.

It’s a damn shame that such basic personal freedoms have to be dragged out into the public forum, like laundry on the line.  I want to believe, and I really do believe, that someday down the road nobody will even think to ask if so-and-so is gay, because it won’t matter.

As it should be.

Then we can begin to focus on things that actually matter, such as sustainability of fuel and food, the economy, and so forth.

Yep, that’ll be awesome.

In the meantime, we must yell loud and proud in defense of ourselves and our loved ones.  In defense of those we don’t know.  In defense of those we don’t particularly like. In defense of everyone.  Change never happens because of apathy or inertia.  Someone, somewhere, has to get up and start kicking over the conservative dominoes.

2 really excellent links, found on Anne Rice’s Facebook page. I could not have expressed these sentiments any better.  Any of you that are on Facebook, check out Anne’s page.  It is crammed with fascinating links and a great place to meet a diverse group.  Whether you are conservative or liberal, you will find interesting stuff there.  Plus, she is just incredibly interesting on her own.,0,4949641.story

Damn.  These people really scare the s*@t out of me.  Faith used as a bludgeon is truly frightening.  Anybody who fervently believes that their way is the only acceptable way, and refuses to compromise based on this belief, needs to be sent far, far, far away from any place in the government.  Practice your faith (whatever that might be) however you feel you must, but do it in the privacy of your personal life.  It is not my place to tell others what to think, or how to live, or how to manage their faith. Don’t you dare presume to tell me how to live or manage mine.

Pat Robertson: Tornadoes Could Have Been Stopped If People Had Prayed (VIDEO)

Pat Robertson: Tornadoes Could Have Been Stopped If People Had Prayed (VIDEO).

There seems to be a bit of a slant to the writing of this article.  Even shorn of the bias against Robertson, I still am not comfortable with his responses in the clip.  In an earlier post today I commented on my discomfort at the concept of a manipulative creator.  By the logic Robertson uses, nothing bad is ever God’s fault and yet he could stop all of it if we all just prayed a little more.  So, then, it IS at his will that these things happen; otherwise the addition of more prayer would make no difference.  You can’t have it both ways, Pat.  Either your deity watches as horrible things happen when he could intervene, simply because we don’t perform for him; or he cannot change these outcomes, in which case why claim prayer would make a difference?  It is insulting to the victims of these tornadoes (and to victims of any natural disasters) to place the blame on them and on society for not supporting your version of God.  That is a shameful way to try to win followers or drum up support for your faith.

Robert Klitzman, M.D.: Am I My Genes? The Question Of Fate, Free Will And Genetics

Robert Klitzman, M.D.: Am I My Genes? The Question Of Fate, Free Will And Genetics.

Personally, I would take far less comfort in the idea of an all powerful creator being ultimately responsible for any genetic difficulties I might have.  It would bother me far less to believe that such things simply occur in nature, randomly, without prejudice.  An omnipotent being, by definition, certainly has the capability to make us all free of disease or predisposition to disease.  Why, then, make some individuals with faulty genes?  Argue that things MUST be this way, then God is not omnipotent.  Argue that it is by INTENT, then God is at best totally unconcerned with us and at worst a sadist.  This is not a creator I feel comfortable going to when things go badly.  I do believe in free will, but not because a creator allows me to.  Actually, the idea that our free will exists because God wants it that way is faulty.  If it is at God’s sufferance, it isn’t free will at all.  Nope, I am going to stick to my belief that sometimes things just align slightly off kilter and genes combine to cause poor outcomes.  No malice involved.

My Unvarnished Look At Religion Today

I was baptized Church of Christ when I was an early teen but lost faith in the church because I disagreed with key elements of their church covenant.  Later on, I was baptized in the Baptist church.  I was raised as a child in the Worldwide Church of God.  I think I can fairly say I have a broad spectrum of experience with multiple faiths.  I have pretty much lapsed from regular attendance until just recently.  I have begun to go again for my 2 young sons, but am having some real struggles with the projected church viewpoint.

I was recently on an outing with a family member who asked me to listen to a cd of a sermon given by a guest preacher at the church her husband attended.  Just to clarify, she herself is a conservative Baptist but her husband is Church of Christ.  They take turns attending each church at evening services, but each attends their own on Sunday mornings. The one thing I think they have in common is extremist, ultraconservative beliefs.  Back to the cd………

It was a triumph of oratory.  The Checkers Speech of evangelism.  Scary as Hell.  This quiet, well spoken gentleman was espousing the need for Christians to look towards taking care of the “common grace”  they were tasked with by God.  Essentially, not only is it necessary to be delivered by grace, and to maintain grace through good works; to be able go to heaven (according to this gentleman) you must also effect change around you and convert everyone around you to Church of Christ beliefs.  This has some really nasty implications.  Besides basically turning the church into a bunch of BORG who want to assimilate everything and destroy what they have no use for, which is frightening enough, they are teaching that if every member does NOT act in this manner—-they lose salvation.  DAMN.

Now that’s how you raise an army of jihadists.  According to the authoritative Dictionary of Islam jihad is defined as: “A religious war with those who are unbelievers in the mission of Muhammad … enjoined especially for the purpose of advancing Islam and repelling evil from Muslims.”  Substitute Muhammed with Jesus Christ.  Substitute Islam with Christianity.  Substitute Muslims with Christians.  There you are, an excellent description of what I was treated to on that cd.  Again, DAMN.

I have been a staunch Conservative Republican since I turned 18 until the last couple of major elections.  As I saw the Republican party sell their souls to the uber Conservatives and Religious Right, I began to veer towards the Liberal Democrats.  I cannot say I agree with everything they stand for, but at least they don’t give me night sweats.

I will always believe that you can be spiritual and yet tolerant.  I am personally pro-life but politically pro-choice  I believe, with every ounce of my soul, that everyone MUST defend the rights of those they DO NOT agree with.  Not to do so will end in each fringe group being picked off and legislated away, one by one.  As each new precedent is set, a new lattice work of laws fall into place to chip away, more & more, at our civil liberties until none remain.  Never say “There ought to be a law”.  Say instead “I don’t agree with that, but it doesn’t hurt me personally & is none of my business”.

I can promise you that no matter what you do in your life, there are scores of people who think it is wrong and likely some who would like it prohibited.  We MUST respect each other’s liberties to expect the same courtesy.  I do not see, and never will, a single passage in the New Testament (which is the foundation of most of the really vociferous religions being heard in legislative circles right now) that can be taken to literally and without question command believers to live a life of fanaticism, intolerance, hate, and insanity masquerading under a mantle of morality and ethics.  That comes from sheep sitting quietly in pews and being spoon fed the spin that is put on the text.  The fault lies mostly in the presentation, and in the mindset of those who will not think, or question, and who lack the ability to make up their own minds without being told what the words mean by others who are carrying their own agenda.

Now to try to figure out if I have the ability to reconcile the beauty of the original underlying message with the screed of venom it has been coated in.  I believe almost any religion or creed in this world can be reduced to (1) Behave Yourself (2) Be Nice To Other People and (3) Mind Your Own Business.  If we could return to the simple message, it would be such a nice world.

What do you think?