Ohmygod. ROYALTY is so fucking amazing. #awesome
At the solemn memorial service for the victims, held in the beautiful National Cathedral in Washington, an address was permitted from Billy Graham, a man whose record of opportunism and anti-Semitism is in itself a minor national disgrace. His absurd sermon made the claim that all the dead were now in paradise and would not return to us even if they could. I say absurd because it is impossible even in the most lenient terms to believe that a good number of sinful citizens had not been murdered by al-Qaeda that day. And there is no reason to believe that Billy Graham knew the current whereabouts of their souls, let alone their posthumous desires. But there was also something sinister in hearing detailed claims to knowledge of paradise, of the sort that bin Laden himself was making on behalf of the assassins.
-Christopher Hitchens, god is not Great: How Religion Poisons Everything
700 words I don’t particularly expect anyone to read
Today I spoke with a friend briefly via facebook. About five months ago, he moved to Colorado to take a job, and I have not seen him since. This physical separation significantly dented our friendship; we went from roommates for a year to seeing each other a few times per week to not seeing each other for months.
The peculiar thing is that I once believed his views were far too leftist for me; that his view of the world was very different from mine. This did not affect my relationship with him. I did not think anything less of him or anything better of myself. We were simply two friends with differing opinions. Our conversations were usually lively and productive: we challenged each other, we valued each other’s opinion, we learned from each other.
I cannot place the moment, day, or even month that it happened, but I am now decidedly atheist. It was a very long, gradual process. I had certainly traveled down a path away from faith, from fervent conviction, to carelessness, to apathy, to disbelief. I firmly believe that organized religion suppresses free thought and skepticism. Among the qualities of human nature, I consider skepticism to be of the utmost merit and importance.
This newfound strength in skepticism has led me to acknowledge the things that I know to be true, and the things for which I have no evidence. Claims unsupported by evidence are not necessarily unwarranted, nor are they immediately to be dismissed. However, they most certainly should be questioned. The shortest path to forming beliefs logically and rationally is simply to ask the question, “Why?” Someone must have known this at some point, but didn’t bother to teach it in schools, teach it to the young, or preach it on the streets.
In regards to differing opinions on social issues, arguments that can’t logically or empirically answer the question “why?” usually lose. Toward that end, I believe the only logical view on any given social issue is epitomized by the French laissez-faire. If something does not directly infringe upon your right to life, liberty, and happiness, it has no business being illegal. Gay marriage? Abortion? Gun ownership? Drug use? Prostitution? Doesn’t bother me. Do what you want, but do it by yourself. I don’t need more laws to know what’s wrong and right. What’s right for me isn’t necessarily right for everyone else. Would I prostitute myself? No. Does someone else prostituting him- or herself subject me to prostitution? Absolutely not. So what’s the problem? Doesn’t bother me. I won’t be visiting a prostitute but that doesn’t give me the right to tell others not to. Live and let live. Can’t we band together and agree to be different? Let’s agree to disagree. Let’s agree to celebrate freedom and celebrate our differences. Let’s be open-minded.
My moral beliefs aren’t dictated by dogma or doctrine other than my own. I will decide what is right for me and I respect every other citizen’s right to do the same. I have made my own informed decisions. My only duty to others is to encourage them to make their own. Instead of preaching, “abortion is murder,” why don’t we preach “abortion is a serious medical procedure that should be thoroughly researched before making an informed decision about”? I suppose the latter doesn’t roll off the tongue quite so well. If God loves us and gave us free will, wouldn’t he want us to make our own well-informed decisions about what is right and wrong instead of declaring what is right or wrong and allowing us to choose “incorrectly”? The idea makes no sense.
Today my friend told me, “I didn’t know you question faith as much as you do, David.” As I read the simple sentence, I felt a strange wave of emotion roll over me. The same wave of emotion, in fact, that drove me to begin this journal post. This statement proclaimed to me what I had yet to proclaim to myself. My friend and I aren’t so different despite our desultory differing views. We’re more alike now than ever for one simple reason: we each know what we believe in.
Is God willing to prevent evil, but not able? Then he is not omnipotent.
Is God able to prevent evil, but not willing? The he is malevolent.
Is God both willing and able to prevent evil? Then whence cometh evil?
Is God neither willing nor able to prevent evil? Then why call him God?
Economics Made Easy Part 3
… is now online! Go check it out; you might learn something!
Working on my Macroecon mini-series some more
Prepare yourself, tumblr.
Fury said to a mouse
That he met in the house,
"Let us both go to law:
I will prosecute you.
Come, I’ll take no denial,
We must have a trial:
For really this morning
I’ve nothing to do.”
Said the mouse to the cur,
"Such a trial, dear Sir,
With no jury or judge,
would be wasting our breath.”
"I’ll be judge, I’ll be jury,"
said cunning old Fury:
"I’ll try the whole cause,
and condemn you to death.”