Parent-teacher interviews were last week, and both of my children received stellar reviews. What pleased me most wasn't how bright they are or how well they did in their studies, it was what their teachers had to say about their individual character. Both are kind, helpful students who work well with others and create a better environment for all. Hearing that brought a huge smile to my face.
My 11-year old son and 9-year old daughter have been raised without a stitch of religion. They weren't baptized, have never prayed and don't believe in heaven, hell or an afterlife of any kind. They're not being kind to others as a means to go to heaven, they're being kind to others because they want to and were raised to treat everyone the way they'd like to be treated.
To be clear, I didn't raise my kids to be atheists or to regard all religion as fiction, I merely raised them without any religion at all. We discussed world religions the way we discussed geography or history. When one of them wanted to talk about god or heaven or hell, we talked about it openly. I'd do a lot of listening. Each on their own arrived at the conclusion that religion was man-made and purely symbolic story telling.
I've been married twice, once at Old City Hall by a Justice of the Peace and once in an art gallery by an Officiant. The word "god" wasn't uttered once in either ceremony.
I'm very much looking forward to the birth of my third child in the spring. He or she (I'll know which next week) will not be baptized and will also be raised without religion.
I wasn't raised without religion. I grew up in a typical Catholic home, collecting sacraments, going to church on Sundays and attending Catholic schools until University. I believed what my parents told me to believe. It wasn't until my 20s that I truly saw everything with my own eyes.
Remove the shackles of religion and experience true freedom. It's easy if you try.
I hear there's a Rapture scheduled for May 21, 2011. Christian radio host Harold Camping says May 21 will be the date of the Rapture and the day of judgment "beyond the shadow of a doubt". Who am I to argue with Harold Camping?
If this Saturday is the Rapture, and only 200 million people will be raptured, I'm betting I'll be left behind. That's going to suck five months from now when the world ends.
I have two questions for everybody: Is there a Rapture this Saturday and are you one of God's elect people?
The Associated Press is featuring an article about Marie Exley. Marie seems normal enough, she's a 32-year-old Army veteran from Colorado Springs, except for one thing... She believes the end of the world will begin May 21, 2011.
To get the word out, they're using billboards and bus stop benches, traveling caravans of RVs and volunteers passing out pamphlets on street corners. Cities from Bridgeport, Conn., to Little Rock, Ark., now have billboards with the ominous message, and mission groups are traveling through Latin America and Africa to spread the news outside the U.S.
"A lot of people might think, 'The end's coming, let's go party,'" said Exley, a veteran of two deployments in Iraq. "But we're commanded by God to warn people. I wish I could just be like everybody else, but it's so much better to know that when the end comes, you'll be safe."
In August, Exley left her home in Colorado Springs, Colo., to work with Oakland, Calif.-based Family Radio Worldwide, the independent Christian ministry whose leader, Harold Camping, has calculated the May 21 date based on his reading of the Bible.
This entry isn't to bash religion or to promote atheism, it's simply to point out the fine line between faith and crazy. A large group of people believe on May 21 they'll be taken up to heaven, while everyone else will remain on earth for a period of torment, concluding with the end of time. If you heard that from a homeless guy downtown, you'd label him crazy. I don't see the difference between the homeless guy downtown and folks like Marie Exley.
She's crazy. And when May 21 comes and goes and Harold Camping's cult is still with us, they'll make up a different date.
People will believe and do some crazy shit in the name of God.
As many as 100,000 may die from the earthquake in Haiti. Haiti's infrastructure was poor before this natural disaster, the tragic consequence of poverty and corruption, and now there is both chaos and devastation.
The world must help Haiti, even if they did make a deal with the devil. Literally. Just ask Rev. Pat Robertson.
If God is so great with all that omnipotence and such, you'd think he'd find a loophole in this deal Haiti struck with Satan. Luckily for Haiti, Pat Robertson is here to pick up the pieces. Bless his ignorant and insensitive heart.
St. Matthew-in-the-city is a progressive Anglican church in Auckland, New Zealand. They recently created some controversy by erecting the following billboard.
The Vicar of St Matthew-in-the-City, Glynn Cardy, said the billboard was "attacked by a knife-wielding Christian fanatic". That was actually the fourth attack on the billboard in two days.
Archdeacon Cardy earlier said the billboard was designed to let people outside the church realise that many Christians and church leaders did not believe in the literal virgin birth, and did not believe that was the true meaning of Christmas.
"We're out to critique the idea of a male god impregnating Mary and the literalism of the virgin birth.
"The topic is ... something the church has talked about for centuries, but what is new is that we have the audacity to laugh at something quite so ridiculous as a male god sending sperm down to impregnate Mary," he said.
At the risk of becoming rather unpopular during this Christmas season, I've got to ask. Does anyone actually believe that Mary miraculously conceived Jesus while remaining a virgin?
If you ever find yourself in Petersburg, Kentucky, you've got to check out the Creation Museum. Thanks to the Creation Museum, I just learnt that our Earth is only 6000 years old and man and dinosaurs once coexisted.
Although that contradicts absolutely everything science has taught us, it must be true if it's in a museum. If you're under the false assumption Earth is approximately 4.5 billion years old, and that the dinosaurs became extinct 65.5 million years before human beings arose, get your ass to Kentucky and "prepare to believe."