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Go to: A Religious Military? Spiritual Fitness Test or Rationality Fitness Test?

followmyleader 's Avatar Jump to comment 26 by followmyleader

Very nice speech, but the probability of a given American serving in the military is overwhelmingly determined by his or her economic class, and his or her family members' prior military service. And what that means, in trems you can take to the bank, is that kids from the former Confederacy serve in proportionally higher numbers than kids from the former Union States. The decidedly poorer quality of education in the defeated Southern states contributes to this over-representation. So it's hardly astonishing that the military pulls hard on the teat of "God" in its effort to orient and motivate its recruits. Not a lot of them had read Braudel.

If you don't spend all your online time on the Dawkins site, then you may know that Israel is considering yanking the military exemption from the Ultra Orthodox, the worst religious parisites on earth. David Ben Gurion accommodated them because he assumed that they would die out in a generation. In the United States, we have almost the opposite problem. The brainwashed Christian teenagers go out and fight these brainless and immoral wars against defenseless but equally brainwashed Muslims, while we cool-minded seculars go shopping and pretend that we care.

Imaginary solution, as every proposed solution is:

Make military service compulsory, period. "Tiitle 9" may get your daughter killed. No deferrments. If you're a C4 quad, we'll find something you can do with your mind. If you have Down's Syndome, we'll harness your good nature and brave love of life. If you're in a coma, we'll dress you in a uniform and count your days of service. To borrow from the cheesy film adaptation of Robert A. Heinlein's "Starship Troopers," "Everyone fights. Nobody quits" No one is allowed to slink off, like our former President Shrub. If this were our national policy, how often would be deploying troops overseas?

Thu, 12 Jul 2012 15:53:34 UTC | #948975

Go to: Locked Out: How the Church Responded to their Pastor’s Coming Out

followmyleader 's Avatar Jump to comment 88 by followmyleader

Teresa: I'm sorry, yet not sorry, that this happened to you. If, as they say, no good deed ever goes unpunished. then your uncountable good deeds, over decades, finally caught up with you, in a sort of ersatz excommunication. You can continue, if you choose, to counsel and comfort and assist. I hope you will choose to soldier on, because it would be a shame to waste the skills you've developed in that area. You and I share the same moral compass. You can, in time, become bilingual in empiricism and superstition, and use both, in appropriate portions, to help those in pain and fear. As an Atheist with a Big Red "A" EMT, I do this all the time. When we pick up a metabolically messed-up nun with Alzheimer's, as we do about once a week, given our proximity to a facility for superannuated nuns, I happily say the rosary with her on the way to the hospital, if she's saying it, while taking her vital signs. I have malice toward none, charity toward all. I hope that you won't turn against those who have spurned you. They know not what they do,

Fri, 27 Apr 2012 15:53:27 UTC | #937754

Go to: Why Are You Atheists So Angry? 99 Things That Piss Off the Godless

followmyleader 's Avatar Jump to comment 79 by followmyleader

I'm perhaps the rare atheist who was raised one, and later examined my atheism in light of the consolations and motivations of religion. Years ago, an infant niece died of SIDS. When I arrived, hours later, her ashen mother was holding a towel up to her breasts, to catch the still-flowing milk. The family is Roman Catholic, and the family priest, whom I knew, and now know better, arrived, and at least momentarily stabilized the family. As an EMT-B, I'd categorize his performance as paramedic-level intervention. Call his interventions a bunch of juju, if you wish, but he gave the family what it needed,on the worst day of their lives. They needed assurance that their dead baby's unbaptised soul would not suffer in the afterlife. Sounds stupid, I know, but that's what they were afraid of. If you laugh at the fears of a couple who have just lost a child, you're not human.

I hope that we can someday exit superstition, but am not holding my breath. Scott Atran's writings have stronglhy influenced my thinking about the depth and durability of superstition. Shortly after the baby's death, I "outed" myself as an atheist, to the dead baby's father, who is a passionate and reactionary Roman 'Catholic. I count him among my friends, and believe he counts me as one of his. We've celebrated births and marriages and mourned deaths together, and eaten a hundred Thanksgiving and Christmas dinners together. I strongly disapprove of his use of marijuana, believing as I do that buying illegal drugs is tantamount to supporting terrorism. And I've told him so. But one thing at a time. If we don't love, or at least like, those we wish to change, we haven't a snowball's chance in Hell.

Fri, 23 Mar 2012 15:55:30 UTC | #929882

Go to: RD.net no longer banned in Turkey!

followmyleader 's Avatar Jump to comment 118 by followmyleader

Mustafa Kemal, gleeful demolisher of both caliphate and sultanate, created modern Turkey, which is doing rather well at the moment. Ataturk would be jumping up and down with joy that secularism can now be advocated through the airwaves of his beloved land. If only an Italian Ataturk could eliminate the papacy! I'm kidding. Superstitious Westerners can't function without their hobgoblins, and far be it from me to confiscate them, even if I could. A lot of them are my friends and relatives, for Heaven's sake, and I don't 't have the guts to tell close relations my age that there's no Santa Claus. I've learned from Scott Atran that people are superstitious for reasons devolving from evolutionary biology. I look down on no one, and think that my fellow atheists need to work a little on their anger-management skills.

Tue, 26 Jul 2011 18:27:56 UTC | #854365

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