Jump to content



  • Posts

  • Joined

  • Last visited

  • Days Won


albeto. last won the day on August 1 2015

albeto. had the most liked content!


22,064 Excellent

Profile Information

  • Gender
    Not Telling

Recent Profile Visitors

1,787 profile views
  1. I believe here's your disconnect. People who use the bible to justify oppressing, endangering, violating, assaulting, neglecting, killing, and bullying others do so because they don't "feel convicted" that they are violating the faith, because they too have "read the bible and know what sin is." The whole point of the After School Satan club (getting back to the topic), is to show children the difference between *knowing* what's up by virtue of using observation, data collection, analysis of the evidence, experimentation, and results being held accountable to the criticism and opinion of others with similar training and knowledge, and "knowing" what's up by virtue of feeling convicted.
  2. You're not "way off" and appreciate your comment. I would only offer a single correction. I do not think the world would be a better place if everyone eschewed religion. I think that's an impossibility, so it is not a hope or a desire or even a fleeting fantasy. Humans are by nature superstitious animals. It's one reason we are such a successful species, actually, and because it's perfectly natural, it would be silly to hope it somehow all goes away. If I'm an evangelical, I'm an evangelical for rationalist thinking, humanitarian behavior, and evidence-based public policies. Religion often gets in the way of these things in my opinion, but when it doesn't, I have no beef with it. So I've been looking for an example of a "militant atheist," and the best I can find is a very offensive one by the name of Chaz Stevens, from the Church of Satanic Activism (not the same as the Satanic Temple). Some may recognize him as they guy who puts offensive displays up at Christmas next to nativity scenes. He's offensive, he's unapologetic in his approach: "I am crystal clear on what needs to be done … nothing less than the removal of religion from government. Won’t happen in my life, nor yours. But, it’s a good fight, a worthy cause." (quote found in link) But he's not dangerous by any standards. He's offensive, he's divisive, he's angry, he's impossible to ignore if you live in an area he targets, but does that make him "militant"? Who has died at his hands? What property has been destroyed or vandalized by his work? What rights is he blocking or threatening to do away with? "Militant" in this respect, simply means "really, really, offensive," whereas when it's used religiously, it means oppression or terror or death. This double standard does not escape me.
  3. It appears to me as if you're thinking of it from the perspective of the person offering the love. The old analogy of not letting a toddler cross the road alone is an analogy of showing love through protection, or establishing boundaries ("reasons my kid is crying" is a fun meme that often illustrates this, may I present exhibit A). But we're talking about adults making personal decisions parents don't approve of. We're not talking danger. A parent *believing* there is a danger, and subsequently withholding resources previously offered and accepted in good will and trust, may feel the love, but the adult child will feel manipulated, pure and simple. It's manipulation precisely because access to the gift is now tethered to obedience. What makes it worse is that the "danger" is in the opinion of the parent and not the child, cannot be corroborated in any way, and because the child is an adult, which puts it off to a whole 'nuther category of selfish and controlling. When gifts are offered, and then withheld due to behaviors that threaten the emotional comfort zone of the giver, many of us simply choose to reject the gifts altogether, as well as any intimacy offered by the giver, especially if that intimacy is simply another level of manipulation. As we mature, we learn to find alternatives places for important gifts like affection, money, and freedom. The strings just aren't worth it. I'm not talking about a "toxic" relationship here, or an abusive one, just one that's unpleasant enough to warrant distancing oneself, physically and emotionally, long-term. The way the parent feels is intellectually helpful to know, but the experiences themselves contradict these life-long messages and ultimately override any lip-service message repeated. That kind of thing messes with a kid's head growing up - hearing one message and experiencing another. It's dishonest, it's deceitful, and it doesn't inspire trust or respect. No love lost when moving on, kwim? In this situation, I would imagine the parent and the child have a life-long relationship of trying to control through offering and denying desired resources. I would argue that a person who has to control others in order to maintain their own emotional health isn't displaying love at all, but extreme neediness. Those of us who have grown up like that often learn to recognize the difference between love and meaningless assurances of love. Sadly, many children don't recognize this, and continue the cycle with their children. It is, after all, "the way things are" in their world, it's what they know. They've learned the game, they think it's universally played. This is why I think intimacy can become a form of manipulation, even if the manipulator genuinely feels loving.
  4. This argument is used generally only with those new to debating such topics. Many articles and essays have been written to explain the appeal, and the failure, of this particular tu quoque (“you tooâ€) fallacy, and I won't waste the time or the good will of others reading repeat it here. This is a short attention-span, light-hearted, fairly spot-on response. I think that's exactly what's happened, but then, I think this same misunderstanding explains most (all?) accusations of "militant atheism." What's wrong with going to the source itself? They answer frequently asked questions, and explain what their mission is. Upthread you made a reference to Catholicism. Are you Catholic? I ask because I was Catholic, and began my homeschool journey on a homeschool forum populated with mostly Evangelical Protestants. We constantly fielded questions and accusations of what our faith supposedly was, according to people who did not share or understand the faith. I want to respect the Satanic Temple in the same way I appreciated when someone respected me enough to believe that my faith was what I said it was. Like others, I cannot find any dangerous or militant elements in this club (even when using the word broadly). It's an after school club that offers a tried and true way to understand and know the world around us. Kids are curious, I hope the clubs are fun. Anyway, I've found that when I go for too many rounds here some people assume I'm trying to insist on having the last word, or am being uncivil. I'll go now, but I wanted to thank you for taking me seriously and being so kind. I appreciate that. I'm happy to continue any of these ideas in PM. I believe we can include up to 5 people in a single PM.
  5. Thanks for this. For some perspective, when I see the word "militant" used with regard to some religious action, I expect it to be accompanied by some level of violence and aggression. "'Militant Christians' bombed another women's health facility where abortions are offered." Or "'militant Muslims' kidnapped school children and sold them as slaves for profit." Whereas "'militant atheists" don't stop asking, 'Why should this particular public policy revolve around faith-based claims that cannot be corroborated by any evidence, or when in fact the evidence suggests the contrary?'" Do you see the disconnect here? Violence and terror vs. exposing hypocrisy or injustice? This interests me because as someone who has been tagged as a "militant anti-theist," I would say I don't relate to this at all. (I bolded the phrases to divorce them from the specific analogy) Upon what do you base this premise? To bring the topic back to the Satanic Temple, I don't get the impression they exist to deny children Christian experiences. Do you see the After School Satan club as "attacking" Christianity in some way? Or do you not consider the Satanic Temple a "militant anti-theist" group?
  6. Here's where I disagree with you. I don't think these years are years "when you know everything and are invincible." I think these are the years when maturity and experience inspires the kind of courage and natural autonomy to exert increasing degrees of independence. It's natural, and I would submit it's a good thing. Not agreeing with a parent, even over "big" issues like sexual behavior, shouldn't be interpreted as a power play, control, rebellion, stubbornness or anything else, IMO. That perspective implies the adult is right and the young adult is wrong. But why? Why is the older person right by default? Why can't the older person be expected to change their mind if that's more in compliance with reality? Why is it not acceptable for two individuals to come to an agreement that while they maintain the same general moral value, their behavior may differ and that doesn't betray this value. TM, I grew up in a family like your friend's. There was one message told our entire lives (unconditional love, blah blah blah), and another one we learned through action (conditional affection). You may think there's a difference between love and affection, but I can tell you from my and my siblings' point of view, there is no functional difference. Feeling love for someone but withholding affection feels identical to having love withheld. What I would do: After freaking out (not about cohabitation, I'm another one who thinks it's valuable, but about watching my kid embrace a behavior I find antithetical to my own moral code), I'd start a long-term, mini-sectioned conversation. We'd talk about morals, mine, theirs, what our cores really are, why they are important. I've done this with a very rebellious child, and over the months and years have come to conclude that while we go about our lives in very different ways, the fact is we do share the same deeply held moral beliefs. We just express them differently. This has led to a mutual respect that not only fosters a strong relationship, but it helps when surprises come up. I would not tether a gift like college tuition to compliance to my comfort zone, which is how this feels to me. It's how my parent's relationship feels to me and my siblings, and it's deeply hurtful. It's manipulative, selfish, and messes with one's self esteem. No doubt my parents would be appalled to hear this as this was never their intent. Nevertheless, a lifetime of experiencing a certain message makes that message stand out loud and clear, even if they didn't know that was the message they were conveying. Even if it wasn't the message they wanted us to take away from our relationship. But the message can't be retracted and our relationship is not nearly as strong as I'm sure they'd like. They mind, I don't. I've learned to emotionally divorce myself from them to some extent and it's much better this way. They can't hurt me, and if your friend doesn't want her children to emotionally distance themselves from her, she might want to consider rethinking her approach.
  7. According to the Satanic Temple FAQ, they do identify as religious. They do not promote non-religion and secularism, they promote religion, "divorced from superstition": Nor are they saying religious worldviews should be excluded (they have a religious worldview remember, just not like yours). They're saying if the public sphere is open to the promotion of one religion (ie, Christianity, for example through a monument dedicated to the ten commandments, or the cross), then by law, and in reality, it should be open to all who ask. They're asking. They're asking in a most publicly unavoidable way, and while this may ruffle the feathers of those who believe Satan to be a real person (or person-like being), nevertheless it must be tolerated in a society that offers freedom and liberty equally. When one's feathers are ruffled, there are law-abiding ways to go about addressing the offence, and the Satanic Temple is doing just that. They are acting in compliance with the law. I submit that the push-back they get, both in legal action and in pleasant conversation like we see in this forum, exposes just how tolerant society is to religious inequality. There has been unchallenged privileges for many generations. I just learned it wasn't until the Vietnam war that military dog-tags offered religious identity other than Jewish or Christian. Muslims and atheists and Sikhs and Hindu and every other military person who identified with a different religion simply kept quiet (or were ignored). The assumption that only the Abrahamic religions need be taken seriously (and even that is debatable depending on who one speaks with) is one kind of privilege that some people are fighting back against, not just with regard to dog tags and military headstones, but after school clubs, too. In my opinion, their policies are clever because they kill two birds with one stone. They address the religious inequality that often gets a pass in society because most people are either innocently ignorant of the problem, or apathetic about the issues. And they address the religious indoctrination of school-aged kids by offering seemingly "safe" and "friendly" programs in what should be religiously neutral ground (public school) that are in fact designed to teach a certain worldview is right, a certain worldview that is considered harmful and dangerous to an increasing number of Americans. They address them by exposing them, and they expose them by taking advantage of their legal rights. They just turned it up to 11, and now everyone hears it. The squeaky wheel and all.
  8. Thanks, 8circles! I find conversations like this really interesting as well. There are so many things that catch different people's attention, different angles that one person finds more important than another. It's been interesting to watch the things people are focusing on. A few examples: Polite and tolerant are social skills, which, grateful as we are to run into them, is actually not a part of the equation here. Some people have better "people skills" than others. We can't all be like Captain Picard, eloquent and articulate and calm under pressure. But then, neither are we all like Christian Bale, ranting the moment our [comparatively low] tolerance for frustration is breached. Most of us fall somewhere in the middle, and even this changes from day to day. But really, this is about allowing all religious organizations the opportunity to benefit from the same law. Liberty Counsel, a Christian legal advocacy group that promoted the Equal Access Act of 1984, now states it will offer pro bono legal counsel to the schools "targeted by this disruptive group." (source, The Friendly Atheist) One might ask, what is disruptive about teaching kids about free inquiry and rationalism, and the scientific basis for which we know what we know about the world? What do they imagine is going on? What could possibly be dangerous about teaching science? Teaching the difference between the scientific inquiry and faith-based inquiry shouldn't be a threat, and yet it really does seem to be perceived in just this way. No one comes out and says this, but consider what is being said: (my computer is attributing this quote to Luanne, but it belongs to Anacharsis) What is a "militant anti-theist"? What kind of military techniques do these extremists use? How do they harass people? In what way is "harass" being understood here? In what way are anti-theists, militant or otherwise, potentially "dangerous" from a Catholic perspective, or any Christian perspective? What' the perceived threat here? There seems to be one, and it's not just found here in this little community (nor does Anacharsis or others bear any blame for expressing this general opinion). Consider the letter the Liberty Counsel sent to Roskruge Bilingual School in Tucson, Arizona this week: There are misleading statements inspired to raise a certain emotional response. For example, the Satanic Temple does not hate Christianity, nor does it seek to force permissible expressions of Christian belief from the public sphere - only to ensure the same legal right extends to all religions. Look how it's being challenged before it even gets off the ground - promises of legal service and inspiration of fear and persecution through misinformation and vague accusations. No one is being forced from the public sphere. The public sphere is just that - public. It belongs to everyone, not just the majority, not just those who have the most representatives in office. That means it belongs to Satanists too. If a local government opts to allow one religious group to set up a public forum, it must by law allow all. The Satanic Temple is taking advantage of this law, but any religious group can. Any. Anyway, as one who identifies as an anti-theist herself (that is to say, I believe behaviors inspired by theistic beliefs produce more negative effects than positive), I'm not sure how I *could* be militant. I suppose I could threaten bodily harm or vandalize property, but is this what "militant anti-theists" are understood to be doing? While this is done once in a while (can't think of any examples off the top of my head), there's no comparison to the violence and aggression inspired by religious beliefs. So I'm at a loss with respect to understanding what a "militant anti-theist" is, much less what danger I, or someone like me, poses. The only danger I can think of is that we take the opportunity available to those enjoying a free exchange of ideas to challenge certain assumptions and faith-based claims. In general, we remain a minority voice in society. According to the Pew Research Center, "In the 2014 Religious Landscape Study, self-identified atheists were asked how often they share their views on God and religion with religious people. Only about one-in-ten atheists (9%) say they do at least weekly, while roughly two-thirds (65%) say they seldom or never discuss their views on religion with religious people. By comparison, 26% of those who have a religious affiliation share their views at least once a week with those who have other beliefs; 43% say they seldom or never do."
  9. This is a really, really important issue, and one the After School Satan club will (hopefully) tackle. The question is, do subjective explanations of one's personal experiences accurately explain the natural world? Maybe so, maybe not. How can one tell? Well, different methods have been trusted throughout history, but there's been only one methodology that has been shown to be the most accurate and reliable. It's founded on making observations, collecting data, doing experiments, analyzing data, exposing results to peers so they can catch any unknown, personal biases (which we all have, and hardly ever see in ourselves). This is the exact kind of thing these After School Satan clubs ought to be exploring, imo, because religious and superstitious beliefs really do feel like accurate explanations of the world and if we want to solve our problems, it behooves us to be right.
  10. I disagree with your first statement. Mockery, satire, and parody are long established ways of exposing perceived injustices. From Ben Franklin, to political cartoons, to Saturday Night Live's Weekend Update, mockery of problematic policies and people has been a popular tool in the toolbox of criticism. People have routinely mocked those in power to bring attention to situations argued to be unfair, detrimental, or downright absurd. The more negative attention a policy receives, the more likely it is to be modified. So, not only is mockery one way to counter ideas perceived to be unconstitutional, it's often an effective way. Being a "jerk" is a purely subjective call, and while it can be lobbed both ways (as that's how subjective opinions work), it's ultimately a distraction from the point being made. The Satanic Temple is making a statement that legal rights should not be suppressed. After Congress passed the Equal Access Act of 1984, after-school bible clubs were deemed perfectly admissible on public school grounds, just like any other club. Well, the Satanic Temple's "After School Satan Club" is another club, and it has the right to gather kids for a specific purpose. In other words, what's good for the goose (Christian churches) is good for the gander (Satanists, Muslims, pagans, atheists, LGBTQ, etc). Other secular groups have offered similar clubs, but they don't really catch on. The Satanic Temple has something that others don't - they're instantly recognizable. While many may find the name of the temple personally insulting, it shouldn't be a distraction from the function of the club - focusing on free inquiry, rationalism, the scientific basis for what we know about the world. It should also be noted, this club is offered only in districts where the Good News Clubs already exists (source, The Friendly Atheist).
  11. As I recall, it is. At the time I was a practicing catholic. Now I'm an atheist. I don't recall any religious stuff in there, but it's been years. Hopefully the "look inside!" options will give you an idea in case my memory is faulty.
  12. When my kids were little (certainly shorter than me), I liked the book 20 Teachable Virtues. It's simple and quick to read, good examples, and explains how these virtues can be highlighted and emphasized naturally throughout the day. I found it far better than any lesson plan, as these topics come up spontaneously, and that's the best time to draw attention to them - when they're relevant, right then and there.
  13. My problem with this aligns with my problem with referring to religion as I stated just above. People decide subjectively what "practicing my own faith" means, and how much it should justify hostile behavior towards others. From "Religious Freedom" bills that protect some form of unethical discrimination against a non-threatening group, legislation that promotes religion in schools, religious regulations that protect the worst kinds of criminals, certain "rights of passage" that cannot be justified by any reasonable or rational arguments, the idea of "practicing my own faith" can easily be found justifying aggressive, harmful behavior towards those who are punished for not adhering to the "right" religious behaviors. Work places ought to be safe for all their employees, just like towns and cities ought to be safe for all their citizens. Practicing a religious faith shouldn't be licence for hostile activity against others, and while I don't mean to suggest you take advantage of that yourself, the argument not only allows for it, it promotes it when chosen. To me, that is unjustifiable, and that's why that argument (not you personally, but the impersonal argument itself), "obey the laws of the land until such laws interfere with me practicing my own faith" is problematic. To bring it back to the OP, in what way could creating a hostile work environment for a non hetero-conforming employee be considered "practicing one's own faith"? I can't imagine it, but people have conceived of arguments that promote just such a thing. Then they push for legislation to make that hostility protected under law. It's barbaric, in my opinion, to deny individuals their own autonomy because it doesn't conform with the popular religion of that culture. It's no less barbaric to do so informally, such as in the workplace, even when it violates no law.
  14. Volunteers for Peace has volunteer programs internationally for teens. It's not a "camp" in that there's entertainment and activities. There are camps nationally and internationally, from 1 - 3 weeks, and they all have the purpose of volunteering for some community in some practical way. This is not a political or religious group, it's roll up your sleeves, and help out while meeting some really fascinating people and seeing the world in a safe way. Developing her photography skills would be a bonus for everyone. (facebook page) Just a thought for another day, maybe. :)
  15. If they keep coming back, you might return the favor by handing out more accurate, and certainly more amusing pamphlets.
  • Create New...