Friday, January 29, 2016

Recent readings

This was going to be three separate posts, but I didn't want to look for three different pictures.

I really can't imagine where people get these ideas:*

 This distrust of atheists is a long-standing and widely-supported research finding. On all sorts of measures of likeability, warmth, and trust, atheists come out at the bottom, although there are hints in the poll that as more Americans identify themselves as unaffiliated with any religious tradition, this non-belief liability may be declining, if only slightly.
What's not to like about Sam Harris or Christopher Hitchens or Richard Dawkins?  Why would you dislike people who tell you you're stupid and ignorant and foolish if you don't "reason" the way they do?  Don't you find such an approach warm and trustworthy?

What the hell is wrong with you people?  Are you stupid of something?

*It's an interesting article although I have to say:  it restates what should be obvious as if it were a newly unearthed truth:

As with being honest, trustworthy, and brave, being religious is in the catalogue of character traits we are looking for, but it’s as likely to be appended to our preferred candidate as to be the reason we like that candidate in the first place.

We decide people we like but don't really know share all our preferences and peculiarities?  Who knew?

And in political news:


First, [Cruz] proposed allowing people to buy insurance plans across state lines. 

Because what insurance needs is even less regulation at the state level than it has now.

Secondly, he promised expanded health savings accounts.

Because people who can't afford health insurance CAN afford to save money for hospitalization.

 Finally he said, "we should work to delink health insurance from employment."

"So if you lose your job, your health insurance goes with you, and it is personal, portable," Cruz said. "I think that's a much more attractive vision for health care than the Washington driven top down Obamacare that is causing so many millions to hurt."

Because everyone wants to bring back COBRA, since it worked so well the first time (if you're that young, ask your grandfather.)

Honestly, I think they're just trolling us.

Third time is the charm!

I should be surprised:

Trump has other qualities that many evangelicals admit they admire: wealth and success and — don’t let this surprise you — ruthlessness. Trump first addressed a Liberty University audience in September 2012, after his failed presidential bid. In his remarks, he suggested to students that they need to “get even” with adversaries in order to succeed, prompting an outcry over whether this advice was compatible with Christian values.

At the time, Trump’s special counsel, Michael Cohen — without pushback from Liberty — told ABC News that he conferred with a Liberty official, who confirmed, in Cohen’s words, that “the Bible is filled with stories of God getting even with his enemies, Jesus got even with the Pharisees and Christians believe that Jesus even got even with Satan by rising from the dead. God is portrayed as giving grace, but he is also portrayed as one tough character — just as Trump stated.”

But I'm not.

Christian "evangelicals," the ones in the news all the time, the ones on Sunday morning talk shows, the ones known by name, are not and have never been interested in making American a "Christian nation."

They are, and have always and only been, interested in power.  Ralph Reed is their exemplar.*

Now, to say that is to place myself in a position of judgment, and that's not a place for a Christian to be.  But I am not judging:  I am not asserting "good" or "bad" upon this approach, although I think it antithetical to the teachings of the Gospel and of Paul (but of course I could be wrong).  I am simply pointing out that their interest has never been in bringing the nation to Christ; their interest has only been in rule.  For them, that's what politics is all about.

Politics should be about how we function as a nation.  That is the standard of Scripture:  the oikonomos, the rules of the household.    But politics invariably involves power; it leads to rulers, to those with authority over others, to decisions being taken out of your hands; which is not to say the better alternative is the vision of Ammon Bundy.  It is only to say that politics invariably involves power, and the "evangelicals" who get the most attention from the media are those most interested in having power.

Like, as I said, Ralph Reed.  Or just Jerry Falwell, Jr.:

Falwell later told a Christian radio program that he took Trump's advice to mean that often succeeding in life requires "being tough."

Because although the meek will inherit the earth, God helps those who help themselves, amirite?  And you wanna get anywhere in God's world, you gotta be tough with other people, knowwudImean?  Because winning isn't everything, it's the only thing!  I know Vince Lombardi said that, but I'm pretty sure Jesus said it first.

Or it's in Two Corinthians.  Doesn't matter, either way, it's right!

*Reed was supposed to have lost his "Teflon" in 2006.  He not only escaped accountability for his crimes, his Teflon never really got scratched.

Added Extra-Bonusy Stuff!

A tweet from Laura Ingraham:

This got lost today—but this is huge. Drug prices skyrocketing…why shdnt Medicare be allowed to negotiate prices? 

Responding to an idea put forward by Donald Trump.  Oh, and by Democrats, who as we all know, never propose anything that isn't evil and won't take away or guns and mean the downfall of America!

You can't make this stuff up.


  1. Sorry I didn't read this earlier, things have been kind of busy here.

    I think you might be interested in this P.Z. MYERS(!) post, and I quote, "When you let assholes be the public face of atheism, it’s no wonder we have a bad reputation."

    Now that I've exceeded the weekly quota for irony.....

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