Monday, March 9, 2009

Abortion Morality

Recently a nine year old Brazilian girl, who, after complaining of stomach pains and taken to a hospital, was discovered to be four months pregnant with twins, allegedly after being raped by her stepfather. Pregnancies at such an early age are rare and there is literally no significant accumulated data on the outcomes of such cases but they are generally considered high risk pregnancies. Her doctor said, "She doesn't have a pelvis able to support a gestation of twins.''

Although abortion is illegal in Brazil
judges can make exceptions if the mother's life is in danger or the fetus has no chance of survival. After hearing reports from the child's doctor a judge approved it and an abortion was performed. Fatima Maia, director of the public university hospital where the abortion was performed, said the 15-week-old pregnancy posed a serious risk to the 36-kilogram girl. It's a sad and unfortunate situation that ended in the termination two fetal lives.

Enter the Brazilian archbishop, Jose Cardoso Sobrinho, who excommunicated all the people involved in the abortion, the girl's mother and the doctors included. The nine year old girl herself was spared, as being too young. The stepfather was not excommunicated because the church said that his action, although deplorable, was not as bad as ending the life of a fetus.

Marcio Miranda, a lawyer for the Archdiocese of Olinda and Recife in northeastern Brazil, clarified the Churches position by stating that the girl should have carried the fetuses to term and had a cesarean section despite the risk.

When hearing of the excommunication, Brazil's president, Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva, lashed out at the archbishop in outrage. Silva said that it was clear the doctors saved the girl's life by performing the abortion. The excommunications are, no doubt, just the result of the archbishop's "conservative attitude."

I see the Church's public excommunications as dramatic demonstration of their desire to exert power and authority over their followers. The church figuratively puts "heads on pikes" to make it clear to Church followers they depend on the Church for their salvation. This is not subtle persuasion but outright extortion. It demonstrates just how out of touch

But in times of declining submission to authority. Such public demonstration of authority maybe vital to their survival.

From the Vatican Cardinal Giovanni Battista Re said the attacks on Brazil's Catholic Church were unfair.

Saturday, February 21, 2009

Freedom of Religion

Within the last year I have undergone a rather dramatic change in my attitude toward religion. Although, I recognized religion was pretty much all BS when I was fifteen, I simply avoided expressing my opinion in front of believers out of the misguided premise that you don’t make friends by pointing out how just stupid other peoples beliefs are. I definitely knew it wasn’t for me but I was willing to wilfully ignore the stupid ideas possessed by the religious crowd for the sake of social tranquility. Now, I think I was guilty of really underestimating my own ability to bring about positive changes in society and I was guilty of underestimating the ability of people to come out of the mental fog created by religion. Afterall, I was able to break free of the spell. Others are certainly just as capable of breaking free of the mental bondage as I was.

Yes, I know we have a constitutional guarantee protecting freedom of religion but that doesn’t mean that religion shouldn’t be criticised.

If religions have a justifiable role in society at all, (which I doubt), - but if they do, religions need to acknowledge the internal contradictions and negative social consequences that result from certain beliefs.

If religious people want to evolve spiritually they need to incorporate skeptism as a basis for their spiritual growth. They need to be honest with themselves about the absence of certainty. When people pretend to know more than what is humanly possible to know only trouble can result. Rather than surrendering to the notion of faith - an absolute certainty in “God” - surrender instead to our true uncertain condition in the material world and then work to expand the limits of our knowing. That’s how we have managed to leave behind the mind numbingly stupid, backward, brutality of the desert Abrahamic traditions.

Thursday, December 25, 2008

The God Brand

In claiming that he was on a mission from God, Bush was using the God Brand. For millions of believers around the world the God Brand is easily recognized and accepted on its face value. American leaders consciously use the God Brand whenever they make it clear that they believe in God. And in some states there are laws prohibiting atheists from seeking certain political positions in local governments.

Would Bush or any politician dare stand in front of an image of Satan and declare that he was on a mission from the devil?

God is associated with goodness, love, mercy, justice, freedom, morality, family, etc. So politicians try to create an idealized image of themselves centered on principles that voters associate with the God Brand. Being successful at this can go a long way in the US toward reaching fund raising goals and garnering predictable support from the religious right and perhaps religious moderates.

Monday, November 10, 2008

Emotional Intelligence EQ and Religion

Religion stands as one of the most profoundly influential structures of man's creation. It endures despite its obvious lack of evidence or rational foundation. Its survival doesn't require reason or logic. It is based solely and completely in our emotions. Trying to reason people away from the nonsense of religion is unlikely to work because its core isn't in logic but rather its roots are buried in the nutrient rich soil of our emotions. We may logically know there is no God (a heavenly father) there protecting and guiding our steps through life but emotionally we feel his presence. We may find that our sense of ourselves as a person our very identity is bound up in our concepts of God and our "relationship" with him. To purge God would require a cherished aspect of our very nature as a person. And for a person who has spent a lifetime dedicated to building up and internalizing this God aspect of our identity abandoning God is inconceivable. We seem to be able to compartmentalize our thoughts and internally resolve conflicting between these domains even when we know that our concept of God and Scriptures don't conform to our scientific understanding of the world. How is that? How do we do that?

It is Time to Hold Ideology Responsible

Sunday, November 9, 2008


The Brights promote a naturalistic world view free from the outdated and limited authoritarian world views promoted by religions.

The Brights movement has three major aims.

  1. Promote public understanding and acknowledgment of the naturalistic worldview, which is free of supernatural and mystical elements.
  2. Gain public recognition that persons who hold such a worldview can bring principled actions to bear on matters of civic importance.
  3. Educate society toward accepting the full and equitable civic participation of all such people.