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Showing posts from January, 2012

Chip-on-the-shoulder-fil-A

I have to admit, I'm rather surprised at how passionate some people are getting in their attacks against Chick-fil-A.  This story has been circulating around.  And for a while now, I've seen people accuse CFA of being "anti-gay".  But, personally, I think this is just one more example of an overreaction.

To be fair to gay rights activists and those others who say things like this, I have to point out that gay people take this issue personally for good reason.  Being told that you're not allowed to marry, or that your relationship is not based on real love, or many of the other hurtful, thoughtless things that people say is certainly offensive and depressing.  And it's very personal because it's about one's personal life--there's no way to make it not be personal.  So, all of the emotion that gets poured into the activism is quite understandable.  However, like any other emotion, I think there comes a time when it needs to be reined in.

So, Chick-…

Lessons from Javert

Conrad and I just watched Les Miserables yesterday.  I love the music and I love the story--as tragic as all of it is.  I was surprised when Conrad told me that for him the most sentimental part was when Eponine died because to me, that was always a part of the story that I didn't really notice very much at all.  Eponine was (to me anyway) just a minor character and her story a side plot.  Certainly, she is pitiable (for being raised by the Thenardiers if for nothing else) and I don't mean to dismiss that at all, it just never stuck out to me.
But, the story that I think is extremely tragic is that of Javert.  Javert spends his entire life serving the law and exacting justice.  He identifies himself with the law.  He hunts down Jean Valjean everywhere he goes.  He devotes his entire life to justice.  He knows nothing of mercy or compassion.  His world view is so black and white, so absolute--there is no room for error, no room for forgiveness, no room for exception.  And then,…

What is not religion

I remember when I was a young child, I found a video my dad had that was a man (probably a Fundamentalist Christian) arguing for the case that America is a Christian nation and was founded as such.  I recall at one point that he argued that atheism is a religion.  That was probably the first time I had heard such an argument, and it may have even been one of the first times I heard the word "atheist".  Since that day, I have heard the argument many times by many different people.

One time, I even said it to my office mate who was atheist.  This would become the first time I was exposed to an argument against the claim that atheism is a religion.  His case was that religion usually involves some sort of ritual or ceremony (baptism, communion, etc), of which atheism is devoid.  At the time, I thought it was a rather weak argument.  And I still think it's only part of a complete argument (just as cereal is part of a complete breakfast).

I don't really want to argue her…

Hitchens v god

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I'm rather ashamed to admit that I just recently discovered Christopher Hitchens. And, while I normally add my own thoughts and commentary to videos when I post them here, in nearly every Hitchens video that I've encountered, I have not a single word to add. He is so articulate and does such a good job of presenting his case that I couldn't possibly add anything to it.

 I would definitely be interested if any of my readers have any comments to make in regards to what Hitches says in this video. Enjoy.

Vlog

I have started a video log.  The link to the vlog itself is here.  I will also be putting my videos on my YouTube channel and you can subscribe to the video podcast via iTunes.

I'll continue to maintain this blog, as I have done.  We'll see if my vlog and this blog converge at some point in the future.  For now, I'm basically just explaining some of my background information.

I hope to keep my vlog updated every week or so.  The first part of the semester is usually slower than the second part, so I might slow down after Spring break, but we'll see.  As usual, any and all input is appreciated.

The Fear of Opposition

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I came across this video on my Facebook newsfeed.  As far as the main thrust of the guy's speech, I'd say that he's making a mountain out of a molehill.  I don't believe that personalized ads or search results are even remotely dangerous.

One thing he talked about did pique my interest, though, and that was when he pointed out that Facebook started filtering out his conservative friends from his newsfeed simply because he clicked on his liberal friends' profiles more often.  I've known that Facebook's been doing this for a while--I'm not certain exactly how long that's been, but it's never bothered me either.

However, it did make me think about why that is the case.  Obviously, part of the reason is that Facebook's just trying to make it easier to find the things you're more interested in and filter out the things that you're less likely to be interested in.  In my opinion, that's not necessarily a bad thing.  What I do think i…

Identity

Most of my posts are just my own musings.  Some of them are based on actual knowledge--fact, evidence, and whatnot.  And some, such as today's are my own musings, but triggered by a nugget of wisdom uttered by someone else.  For the inspiration of today's post, you have my friend Scott to thank.  In a discussion concerning religious debate, Scott said that (I'm paraphrasing) one problem that believers have is that they identify themselves with their beliefs.

I understand that believers hold their beliefs very dear to them.  This much I know for certain, because that's exactly how I was when I was a believer.  In fact, I even posted about how there's evidence to support the idea that not only are religious beliefs deeply emotionally ingrained in a person, but that they are also linked to a person's survival instincts.

What is sometimes difficult to communicate to a believer, in having a religious debate, is that when I attack a particular religious belief (eg,…

Religious Freedom: A rebuttal

I encountered this article from the LDS Newsroom on Facebook today.  So, I wanted to post my response to it.  It smacks of paranoia, with the tone of "If you disagree with our religious convictions, then you're infringing on our rights to believe as we choose."  I'll pick a few passages from the article to comment on, and then perhaps give more commentary on the article as a whole.
Contrary to what some may assume, religious freedom is not simply the freedom to worship or to believe the way one chooses, though these are essential parts of it. Neither is it just for religious people. Okay, you've got my attention.  If religious freedom isn't simply the freedom to practice the religion of your choice, then tell me what is it?  As for the second sentence, I wholeheartedly agree.  Religious freedom is also for people like me who wish to have no part of religion, and we should be free to do so.  Non-religious people should be free to be non-religious without being…

Lessons from Doctor Who

Doctor Who is probably my all-time favorite TV series.  My dad really liked it, and recorded just about every episode that was ever aired in America.  I remember one time (probably around the time I was in middle school) I went on a Doctor Who binge and just watched tape after tape of these recordings.  I've always been interested in science fiction and in fantasy.  I love Star Trek and Star Wars as well (I think it's silly that so many people feel like they have to choose one or the other--I like both equally well).

At any rate, I have to admit that as fun and exciting as the old Doctor Who series were, I really like the new series.  My favorite doctor is, of course, David Tennant (the only other option for real Doctor Who lovers being Tom Baker).  Just the other day, Conrad and I were watching the two-part episode which are the last that the Doctor spends with Rose Tyler.  Near the beginning of the first part, the Doctor made a statement that caused me to reflect.

When the…