Tuesday, August 30, 2011

The only thing confusing about this...

Is how this can be confusing...  Maybe if Payne would stop interrupting my BFF Bill Nye, he'd be able to get his point across.

 Fox News must have the dumbest viewers in the country.




By the way, I love Bill Nye. LOVE him.

-SkepticallySara

Sunday, August 28, 2011

Ok, you get a bonus post today

Only because I found this right after I posted the video on evolution.

I've posted from Monick's blog before because she's awesome and I love her, but today's was extra awesome, so I'm going to post the same video she posted.

The guy is a satirist, but apparently whoever Monicks was out to lunch with was a Christian who thought this guy was for real...  it makes me chuckle.  Watch the video or go to hell!!!!!!!!!


-SkepticallySara

Well crap.

I was hoping to see a rhinocrocoduckpus in my lifetime. Oh well.

Take 10 minutes out of your busy day to remind yourselves that your brain works, and watch this video.


-SkepticallySara

Saturday, August 27, 2011

The Friendly Christian

I was out to dinner with an atheist friend of mine tonight and we were somewhat loudly discussing anything and everything that came to mind, including skepticism and atheism, when a man at the bar two seats down from us butted into our conversation and asked us if we were agnostics.


"No" we replied. We fell off the fence.

"So you found God, then?" he asked.

"No, we fell to the other side" my friend responded.

The man was confused.

"We are atheists" my friend and I said in unison.

Crap. I knew we were in for it now. While I was proud of my friend and I for not hiding behind a lie to get this guy to leave us alone, all I really wanted was to, in fact, be left alone.

But, the guy pleasantly surprised me. Yes, he gave us a little schpeal. But, just a little one. And it wasn't a "convert or you are going to hell" kind of message. It was one of kindness and love.

And while the guy made himself look completely ignorant, his heart was in the right place, not in a hateful place. He seemed like a truly good Christian.

And one that we might have easily converted to our side.

-SkepticallySara

Sunday, August 21, 2011

The Help

I went to see the movie "The Help" today.



It was a wonderful, heartwarming story about racism in the south during the 1960's, and a small group of women telling their stories to try and overcome it.

It got me thinking though...what if you replace the African American women in this story with atheist women? I imagine our stories would be just as shocking and just as world-changing.

So, I want to hear stories from atheist women about how we've been treated. In fact, I'll open it up to all atheist--men, women, children, and everyone in between. Tell me what kind of hardships you've faced because of your religious preference. Tell me stories about how you've gotten the upperhand and times when you've tried, but failed at getting the upperhand.

Tell me about relationships that were strengthened and those that were torn apart because of the inability of the loved ones in your life to accept you for who you are.

Have you ever feared for your life because you have a different way of looking at the world?

Tell me about it.

If you have ever had a story to tell, here is your chance. I want to hear it. Leave it here, in the comments section, or email me skepticallysara@gmail.com.

Maybe we can change the world.



-SkepticallySara

Thursday, August 18, 2011

Wednesday, August 17, 2011

Spare the rod, keep the child alive...

This is a sad day for me.  I've just stumbled onto this video from CNN about a child who was beaten to death because their parents believed that it was the right way to discipline her, based on the Bible and a book that was written about how "God" wants you to discipline your child.

Why do people still do this?  What justification can you give for beating a child for 7 hours straight?  What crime can a child commit that could deem them deserving of such a heinous punishment?

I hope you all give your children an extra hug tonight.  My heart is broken for little Lydia.





-SkepticallySara

Monday, August 15, 2011

The Secession of Texas

I came across this website tonight...

http://www.texassecede.com/

And while my first instinct was to be somewhat offended about this, I started thinking, and maybe it's not such a bad idea after all...

I mean, this guy came from Texas:

George W. Bush


And this one too:

Rick Perry

And they keep trying to force Creationism into their childrens' textbooks, which in turn would force creationism into all of our childrens' textbooks because Texas is the largest purchaser of textbooks in the country, and apparently whatever decisions they make get passed on to the rest of us.

But!

There's this.  A victory.

 "Here's the head-exploding part for the creationists. Not only does the final version of Holt not include creationist arguments against evolution, but they also include language explicitly affirming Darwin's theories..."


Haha, I love it!  I love science!!!


Screw you, Texas.


-SkepticallySara


P.S.  Maybe we should get rid of Alaska too...


Sarah Palin...in a bikini








Sunday, August 14, 2011

Jesus Camp

I spent my Saturday evening watching the most horrifying film I have ever experienced.  It was titled "Jesus Camp" and was about Evangelical Christians who brainwash their children by sending them to mega churches and Bible camps.

Instead of giving a synopsis of the movie, I'm going to talk about why this kind of childhood indoctrination is bad.

It's bad because these people use their children to further their own agenda, whether it's right or wrong.  These people use their children to "spread the word" and yell the praises of an imaginary being that the children probably wouldn't have ever decided on worshiping by themselves, if they had been allowed to grow up and let their reasoning skills develop before being forced to learn religion.

There was a child who said he was "saved" at 5 years old because the world didn't feel right before.  He was a pre-teen during the documentary.  Do you remember how the world "felt" before you turned 5?  I sure don't.  And even if I did, I know that the way the world has "felt" to me has changed on an almost daily basis...  5 years old is way too early to be choosing a religion!

The children were also being told false "facts" about U.S. History, including their false belief that this country was founded on the Christian religion.  (ahem... "Christianity neither is, nor ever was a part of the common law." -Thomas Jefferson, letter to Dr. Thomas Cooper, February 10, 1814)  They talk about how this country has fallen apart ever since "God" has been taken out of the schools, but what they fail to realize is that there are countless studies that show that secular nations like New Zealand and Norway who have a much higher rate of happiness, peace, and general well-being.

These Christians teach their children that Creation is the only way that the world could have happened, and teach their children to scoff at evolution, which has been proven because evolution is "just a theory."  (The scientific definition of theory: an explanation or model based on observation, experimentation, and reasoning, especially one that has been tested and confirmed as a general principle helping to explain and predict natural phenomena.)  We are closer in relation to our chimpanzee neighbors than rats are to mice.  How can these people look at all the evidence and still say evolution *can't* be true?

The problem is that the people who are teaching these children have been in denial for so long that they no longer know how to listen to anyone else's point of view but their own.  The problem is that these people think that what they "believe" is the truth, and everyone else's beliefs be damned, no amount of evidence in the world can change their minds, since they, too, were indoctrinated during childhood and the message is buried so deeply down inside them that there is no going back.

What they don't realize is that the "message" these people are carrying came from other human beings.  The book that they study was written by human beings, and the stories have been told by human beings.  We have been taught by human beings and human beings have killed in order to protect this idea of a deity.  They have never once had any proof that a god exists.  Nobody but humans have told them about god.  Nobody.  Think about that.

As scientists, we have evidence.  As a skeptic, I don't believe something until I see the evidence behind it.  And there has been no evidence to support the existence of a god, Christian or not.

If you have time, watch the movie.  It will change your life.



-SkepticallySara

Thursday, August 11, 2011

An Epiphany

I stumbled onto this video tonight and I thought it was too great not to pass on.


-SkepticallySara

Tuesday, August 9, 2011

What happens when we die?



A few months ago, my mother's dog died.  He was 16 years old, blind, senile, and incontinent with such bad arthritis that some days he couldn't walk, so as an adult looking at the situation, I was comforted by the fact that he wasn't suffering anymore.

My four year old daughter, however, was not.

"What's going to happen to him?" she asked me as we were at the emergency veterinary clinic (he just happened to take his turn for the worst while my mother was on vacation and I was dog sitting).

As an atheist myself, sharing the child-raising responsibilities with a Baptist co-parent, I had no idea what to tell her.  I have been sitting quietly on my beliefs, not vocalizing them to my daughter, as not to offend the rest of the family, as well as trying to avoid confusing her.  Everyone else may tell her that God is great, but if her own mother tells her that there is no God, then how could a four year old reconcile these two ideas?

So, the dog was lying on the clinic table, and we were saying our goodbyes, and my daughter asks "What's going to happen to him?"

I sighed.  "He's going to die and go to Heaven," I told her.  Immediately, I regretted saying that.  Immediately, I realized that I, the only person in her family who is capable of reason and critical thinking about tough subjects such as God, just lied to her, which is sure to confuse her even more in the long run.  Sure, I had good intentions.  I didn't want my daughter to be sad.  I wanted her to feel like her beloved friend was going to a better place.  But did I do her any favors by feeding into this delusion?

No.  I wish I had told her the truth.  That when the body dies, all the chemical and electrical impulses stop, the body begins to break down and decompose, and eventually, the tiniest particles of our previous forms become something else, like a flower, another animal, or even another person.  I wish I had told her that there are no souls, but our deceased loved ones will live on forever in our memories, and even though they aren't here anymore, we can take comfort in the fact that they knew we loved them.

I wish I had taught her how to really cope, so in the future she would be prepared, instead of just handing off the job to some imaginary deity.

I feel like I failed her in that instance.  This was possibly the first time that I should have really rose to the occasion as an atheist parent, and I blew it.

This was a learning experience for me.  Next time, I will allow myself to take a breath and tell my daughter the truth.  Next time a tough subject comes up, I will give us time to talk it out together, so as to encourage her developing critical thinking skills.  Next time, I will leave the childhood indoctrination to her father, where I can't use myself as a shield to block the nonsense coming in her direction.

Next time, I absolutely will not rely on God to do my job.

-SkepticallySara

Monday, August 8, 2011

My favorite F'ed up Bible quotes (pt. 1)

Rather than bore you with a much-too-long account of how my crappy day went, I thought I'd just share a list of some of the many screwed up Bible quotes that have contributed to my atheism.

"No one whose testicles have been crushed or whose penis has been cut off may be admitted into the community of the Lord."   (Deuteronomy 23:2 NAB)


"The people of Samaria must bear the consequences of their guilt because they rebelled against their God. They will be killed by an invading army, their little ones dashed to death against the ground, their pregnant women ripped open by swords."   (Hosea 13:16 NLT)


"He who spares the rod hates his son, but he who loves him takes care to chastise him"   (Proverbs 13:24 NAB)


"When a man strikes his male or female slave with a rod so hard that the slave dies under his hand, he shall be punished.  If, however, the slave survives for a day or two, he is not to be punished, since the slave is his own property."   (Exodus 21:20-21 NAB)


"Happy those who seize your children and smash them against a rock." (Psalms 137:9 NAB)


"In that day those the LORD has slaughtered will fill the earth from one end to the other.  No one will mourn for them or gather up their bodies to bury them.  They will be scattered like dung on the ground."   (Jeremiah 25:33 NLT)


"A priest's daughter who loses her honor by committing fornication and thereby dishonors her father also, shall be burned to death."   (Leviticus 21:9 NAB)


So the Sovereign LORD says: "I will pour out my terrible fury on this place.  Its people, animals, trees, and crops will be consumed by the unquenchable fire of my anger."   (Jeremiah 7:20 NLT)  (This guy's supposed to love us unconditionally???)


"Does not even nature itself teach you that if a man has long hair, it is a dishonor to him, but if a woman has long hair, it is a glory to her?  For her hair is given to her for a covering."   (1 Corinthians 11:14-15 NAS)  (What about Jesus?  Didn't he have long hair, according to every single picture of him, ever?)


"When a man sells his daughter as a slave, she will not be freed at the end of six years as the men are.  If she does not please the man who bought her, he may allow her to be bought back again.  But he is not allowed to sell her to foreigners, since he is the one who broke the contract with her.  And if the slave girl's owner arranges for her to marry his son, he may no longer treat her as a slave girl, but he must treat her as his daughter.  If he himself marries her and then takes another wife, he may not reduce her food or clothing or fail to sleep with her as his wife.  If he fails in any of these three ways, she may leave as a free woman without making any payment."   (Exodus 21:7-11 NLT)


I'm interested to know...what are some of your favorites??  Add them to the comments section!


                                                                      -SkepticallySara

Sunday, August 7, 2011

Happy Birthday Randi!

James Randi...the Amaz!ng Randi...or just Randi.

In other words, this guy:


My hero.  My inspiration.  The reason I'm a skeptic.

Today is his 83rd birthday.

James Randi has made it his life's goal to educate the world about the fraud involved with faith healers, psychics, magicians, spoon benders, and every other charlatan out there.  His organization, the James Randi Educational Foundation, offers One MILLION dollars to anyone who can scientifically prove that they have paranormal ability.  This contest has been going on since 1964, when Randi put up the first $1,000 in the challenge, and thanks to donors, the prize has grown to the size it is now.  So far, nobody has been able to claim it.  Randi has even publicly challenged famous "psychics" like Sylvia Brown and John Edward, but they refuse to take the challenge.  That should tell you something....

Coincidentally, if you think you have what it takes to win the $1M, here is the link to the challenge:
http://www.randi.org/site/index.php/1m-challenge.html

But, back to Randi.  I had the pleasure of going to the JREF's annual "The Amaz!ng Meeting" this July.  This meeting is held every year in Las Vegas and famous skeptics come in from all over the country, and all over the world to speak.  Randi hosts the meeting and all of the proceeds go to support his foundation.  It was a truly amazing experience to see him speak.  He's a tiny little man with a gigantic heart.  Here are some of my favorite pictures from the event:

Randi and Richard Dawkins


Randi speaking

Me meeting my hero!!!!!
I love James Randi.  I wish there were more people out there like him.  I want to be more like him.

So, in the incredibly off chance that this blog may stumble across his computer screen, I just want to say Happy Birthday to the man that changed my life.  I love you Randi!!

As a happy birthday present, I'm going to donate to the JREF.  If you want to donate as well, tax deductible donations can be made at www.randi.org

'Til next time,
                                                        -SkepticallySara


P.S.  Here's a little video about Randi speaking of Homeopathy.  If you have 8 minutes, take the time to watch it.






Saturday, August 6, 2011

Crazy Christian Colleges

I was out to dinner with some atheist friends of mine and the conversation turned to a book by Kevin Roose called "The Unlikely Disciple" about a non-insane guy who went undercover at Liberty University for a semester.  Now, I don't know how much you know about this specific university, but I would rather take a bullet to the brain than go to this school.  It is Jerry Falwell's university and "Bible Boot Camp," complete with a brainwashing program for all of the malleable young minds that come through the door.
I'm not going to give away the secrets of this book, but here are some excerpts from the website:


I grew up in the ultimate secular/liberal family (my parents are Quakers who used to work for Ralph Nader), and I went to Brown University – a school that, by Falwellian standards, is only a notch or two above Sodom and Gomorrah. But during my sophomore year at Brown, I decided to enroll at Liberty as a transfer student, hoping to learn about my Christian peers by living among them for a semester. The Unlikely Disciple chronicles the fascinating, entertaining, thought-provoking experiences I had during my semester at Liberty. Such as:
  • Singing in the choir at Rev. Falwell’s legendary Thomas Road Baptist Church
  • Struggling to keep up in my impossibly hard Bible courses
  • Getting to know the guys in my dorm, whose personalities ranged from clean-cut pastors’ kids to foul-mouthed rebels
  • Going on a spring break mission trip to Daytona Beach, where fifteen Liberty students and I tried (and failed) to convert drunken co-eds
  • Experimenting with prayer
  • Attending a meeting of “Every Man's Battle,” Liberty’s on-campus support group for chronic masturbators
  • Going on dates with Liberty girls
  • Interviewing Rev. Falwell for Liberty’s campus newspaper (which, in a twist of fate, ended up being the last print interview of his life)
  • Learning some valuable lessons about the value of tolerance, the complexities of faith, and the future of America’s culture wars
This is going to be my next read, and if you're interested in learning about how to get into the minds of the brainwashed, I might suggest that this be your next read as well.  

                                                                                                        -SkepticallySara

P.S.  The last two days have been long days, but I'll get into some more interesting stuff soon.  I promise!  

Friday, August 5, 2011

Some Inspiration

Now is not the time for atheists to back down.  No longer should we live and let live, as the same courtesy is not extended to us.

For those days that you can't remember why you're fighting the fight...

http://alstefanelli.wordpress.com/2011/08/05/now-is-not-the-time-for-atheists-to-back-down/

Thursday, August 4, 2011

Hi, Hello, and Welcome!

This is SkepticallySara.  I start this blog in hopes of spreading awareness and tolerance of REASON.  Living in the Bible Belt (North Carolina), and being an “in the closet” atheist for the majority of my life, it was hard for me to speak up.  But I’m starting to find that there are more and more of us out there.  And after attending a wonderful skeptic’s conference in Las Vegas this July, I’m determined to seek out the ones that are in hiding because they feel they may be condemned, berated, and abused, and give them the strength to stand up for themselves. 

You are not alone.  If you get nothing else from my blog, I hope you get that message.

I also have another goal.  I am going to join forces with the Secular Lobbyist groups in taking down the theocrats that are ruining our country, and I hope you will too.  I’m not talking about issues like crosses on public property, but bigger issues like Women’s rights (Nobody, including an invisible/imaginary being, has any say about what a woman does with her body!), Federal Funding and Tax exemption for churches, Religious based child abuse, and more!  It’s got to end!

I will share articles I find of interest, secular parenting tips, people I follow on Twitter, and anytime I get fired up about a subject, you can bet it will wind up in these pages. 

Speaking of Twitter, you can follow me @skepticallysara

Thanks for joining me.  I hope you stick around for the ride.
                                                                                                                -SkepticallySara