July 26, 2011

An American Holy Crusader or the Next American Scourge

By Francis Nye

On Fox news the other night presidential candidate, Herman Cain asserted that the American people have the right to ban mosques. This statement just left me stunned.  Did I hear right?  Is Mr. Cain calling for an American Crusade against Islam within the borders of the United States?  Is Herman Cain’s plan to demonize and dehumanize a group of people like Hitler did with the Jewish religion?  Is the GOP by indorsing this man going down the same road as the Nazi Party?  This kind of blatant bigotry reminds me of how the Nazis came to power, by blaming all the woes of Germany on a group of people.  This eventually led to millions of deaths and the destruction of much of Europe as we all know.  

What amazes me even more is how someone can run for the highest office in the United States and not understand the fundamental rights that were laid down in the Constitution. It is not like the freedom of religion clause is hidden in the Bill of Rights. For crying out loud it is in the very first amendment. 

“Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment or religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof…”

In other words the government of the United States has absolutely no right to ever ban a particular religion even if there is a perceived argument that it may be violent in nature.

Even if one could argue that it is constitutional to ban certain religions (which it is not) once you start down that slippery slope you could open a very messy can of worms, worms that could eat away at the very fabric of our society.  The United States could be not only open a door to potential genocide but be embroiled in religious civil wars much like Europe had been in its history prior to the American Revolution.  The American founding fathers in a sagacious manner saw the danger of this and correctly prevented it from happening thus far in America by creating this pur sang document of liberty, the Bill of Rights with its First Amendment clause.

All individual rights such as freedom of religion, freedom of speech, right to bear arms, due process of law, and prohibitions against warrantless searches and seizures are important concepts in American Liberty.  In other words it is what has created American freedom and prosperity.  The Bill of Rights is what separates the people of the United States and from countries like China, Libya, or Iran for example.  To strike down any of these rights is a path to tyranny and injustice.

Religious freedom is so fundamental that I am shocked at this man’s ignorance of it.  Such rhetoric should immediately disqualify anyone from a serious run for the White House.  This kind of hate speech is a clear indication that we are dealing with someone that is of inferior education and low self-esteem.  I watched some of his campaign ads on You Tube after hearing of his propose ban on Islam.  After peeling away the atmosphere of flair and panache that all campaign ads seem to have now-a-days, one starts to see some of the hidden subtext of his campaign, mainly Christian bigotry. 
 
With the type of oratory Mr. Cain is espousing he is either ignorant, a religious bigot, or both.  In the American quest for prosperity and optimism for better times I hope the American people would not be bewitch by such a personality when it comes to the 2012 GOP primary debates.  America does not need a religious war heaped upon the mounting funeral pyre of problems it is now experiencing.  What America needs is people that inspire a willingness to comprise and an air of compassion to quench the flames of its troubled times.  I think these qualities more than anything will heal the ills of the American way of life and drive forward its enduring pursuit of happiness and success.

July 19, 2011

Flying Spaghetti Monsters Can Now Drive

By Francis Nye

After three years of persistence, Niko Alm of Australia was finally allowed to pose for his driver’s license photo wearing his religious head cover, a pasta strainer.  Mr. Alm belongs to The Church of the Flying Spaghetti Monster (FSM), which is a lighthearted faith. Members of the FSM are self-confessed atheists. Strangely enough; or not, one of the tenets of their religion is that if you choose you can wear a pasta strainer as a head covering. Not my cup of tea but to each their own as I like to say.  The officials in Australia at first didn’t know what to think about Alm and his pasta strainer so they requested that he submit to a medical interview to see if he was "psychologically fit" to operate a motor vehicle. Now one would think after dealing with the public as these license officials do that one would be inured to these flights of fancy. But I guess not by their over-reaction.  I mean come on.  Are not all religious people a little delusional anyway?  

 

Let’s examine the facts.  FSM members believe that their deity, the Flying Spaghetti Monster is invisible and indefinable. Christians believe that their God is also invisible and indefinable. Nothing so different there.  FSM beliefs states that global warming is due to a decline in piracy throughout the world, pirates being the original patriarchs of the FSM church. Christians for the most part deny global warming. That the theory of global warming is an elaborate hoax at best. The Church of the Flying Spaghetti Monster believes that heaven contains beer and a stripper factory. Sounds like a fun place where do I sign up?  Christians believe that everyone will have a mansion in heaven and the streets are paved with gold.  Really gold?
 

Most of the science community and the media according to FSM's Wiki page embrace this lighthearted faith. Christianity on the other hand is always at odds with science because they deny evolution; believe that the earth is 6000 years old, and other scientific explanations regarding nature and origins.  Christianity instead embraces the idea of a perfect garden in which man was created and was deceived by talking snake. FSM embraces ideas of equality while on the flip side Christianity treats women as second-class citizens and gays as abominations.  Not to mention they have had consistent wars against themselves and other faiths.  To the best of my knowledge The FSM church has not had a single skirmish with anyone.


All in all FSM is very benign and pigeon-lived compared to most mainstream religions.  So what is all the fuss? Is his make-believe religion really that strange when compared to accepted mainstream faiths? Both religions are absolutely wacky. Yet we have a double standard in Australia for some reason.

July 12, 2011

Atheists are the Blame for Global Warming

By Francis Nye

In a speech given at the Vatican Pope Benedict claims that the atheists are responsible for the destruction of our environment. To this I say the Pope is uninformed when it comes to matters of science and I allege he is in the business of divisiveness which in and of itself is un-Christ like.  If the Pope would have bother to open a science book and look into the research that has been going on for the last decade or more he could clearly see that people's lack in the belief in the Almighty has absolutely nothing to do with today's climate change. That in fact today's climate change has more to do with the burning of fossil fuels then it has to do with one's religious or lack of religious preference.

A recent article in the July 2011 Scientific American by Lee R. Kump entitled The Last Great Global Warming, does an excellent job explaining that not only is today's climate change’s main underlying cause fossil fuel burning, it also explains past climate changes that this earth has experienced.  During the Cretaceous period the earth experienced a hothouse effect because of volcanic eruptions. The earth at that time experienced a temperature increase of .000025°C per 100 years with an overall warming of 5°C. Again, during the Eocene period our planet experience yet another climate change due volcanoes and methane bubbling up from the ocean bottom. At that time the earth experienced a .025°C per 100 year increase in temperature with an overall warming of 5°C. These were the last two times the earth experienced climate change. In both of these two cases climate change was due to environmental factors caused by nature.

Today we are experiencing a 1 to 4°C per 100 years increase in temperature with an overall warming of anywhere from 2° to 10°C increase.  This increase is projected over the next 200 or 300 years. Make no mistake this kind of increase is man-made as the data clearly demonstrates.

We can expect the acidifying of our oceans, greater extreme weather than what we are currently experiencing now, continued melting glaciers, and a rise in our sea levels that will leave many living by the coast homeless or worse. Science predicts that there is going to be a poleward moving of many species, large habitat loss, coral bleaching, and extinctions on a grand scale.  All of which threaten the very existence of every single living creature.

For the Pope to make a statement that all of this can be laid at the feet of the atheists is not only absurd and ridiculous but further demonstrates how many religious leaders will go to any lengths including outrageous claims such as this in order to discredit what they feel is a threat to their belief system. In a time where we face the possible extinction of mankind in the near future because of our poor choices regarding our energy needs we do not need a world leader like the Pope who commands respect of literally millions of people to take this tack that is so transparent in its bigotry that he should be embarrassed for stating it in the first place. Who does he think he is anyway? 

Instead of this type of rhetoric this man has it in his power to affect real world change by calling for a reduction in the use of fossil fuels and an increase in the research, development, and implementation of renewable clean energy sources.  The followers of Catholicism should denounce this man and demand that their faith take a more proactive attitude towards clean energy and our environment. A new attitude is called for here by the Christians. This world should not be seen as a mere waystation on the way to the afterlife but as the birthplace of humanity. Everyone should treat this wonderful place we call home with love and respect that it deserves. It is not only our home but the home of countless of other species of life. Christians have a history of standing up for the unborn. Their passion towards the unborn and the life that it represents is unquestionable and at times remarkable. Can they not have the same attitude towards the earth? This planet is a living breathing organism in its own right also. Too polluted and treat it the way we do is shameful and disrespectful to future generations. I challenge today's Christians not to be like the Pope. Not to play the blame game or to inspire more hatemongering and divisiveness towards people that have different beliefs then there's but to become stewards of this planet we call home.

July 5, 2011

God is Just Getting Warmed Up

By Francis Nye

The other day one of my relations came to visit.  To protect the innocent I will refer to her as Jackie.  Jackie is a nice enough person but she is very deeply religious and as always she steered the conversation toward that end.  We were all making small talk when I had made the comment that it was going to be a hot Summer.  You see I reside in one of the warmer climates of the United States.  Jackie piped up and stated that all the sever weather that is being experienced around the world is God punishing us for turning our back on him.  I of course chimed in and said that it had nothing to do with God but with Global Warming or as some have come to call it today, Climate Change.  It is just like the religious to claim God’s influence into something they truly don’t understand.

So here we go again.  As Shakespeare so poetically said in Henry the Fifth, “Once more into the breach dear friends once more.” And the battle between theism and science was on yet again.  I would of course champion science and Jackie, well - she would defend stupidity. 

Jackie replied with, “Oh, I don’t believe in Global Warming it all just a lie.” 

“What about the melting glaciers around the world?  I said, “What about the rising sea levels?  What about the sever storms and floods and droughts?  How do you account for all the strange whether if not for Climate Change?  How about the fact that the majority of climate scientists agree that the data shows a trend toward warmer climates in our future?”

Jackie said that, “scientists do not agree on this.”

Astonished and perplex I said, “What scientists don’t agree?”

“Well you know scientists.  Most scientists.” she insisted.

That’s no answer.  If you can’t back up your facts then you don’t know what you are talking about.  The truth of the matter is that the National Academy of Science, the Pembina Institute, and the Royal Science Academy just to name a few do support the Climate Change theory.

Why is it, that science can provide facts and theists can only provide bible quotes as support for their argument?  Why is it so hard to believe science when it has proven that the earth is heating up because of man made causes? Why does God have to factor into the equation? 

Really God is sending us a message?  I can think of better ways for that message to come to us.  Why not just come down and say hey I don’t like the way everyone is behaving.  What’s with all the passive aggressive behavior anyway on God’s part anyway?  It seems childish to punish everyone by heating up the planet just because of a few bad apples. 

God is like our father right?  At least that what the Christians want us all to believe.   Now I am a father so I have an idea of what good fatherly behavior should looks like.  Let’s say I come home from work and my wife tells me one of our four children was caught shop-lifting today. Would it then be fair for me to spank all four of my children for the crime of the one and then not even bother to tell them why?  Just leave them to figure it out on their own.  No of course not.  That is silly and poor parenting to say the least.  But this is what people like Jackie want us to believe when they say God is causing Climate Change because some of us have turned our back on him.  He punishes all of us.  Think of all the innocent children that have died in some of these server storms or droughts.  What is the message there?  You’re bad so I will kill your innocent child and destroy your home with a tornado.  Is this what God said to the people of Joplin, Missouri recently?  If that is what you truly believe then I don’t want anything to do with your religion. 

It just sickens me to think that this acceptable behavior.  This sort of philosophy is why today’s religions are having such a hard time gaining converts.  Most people are not going to take the rap for everyone’s deeds.  It makes your religion seem unjust and unfair not loving or compassionate as it should be.

Just because you can’t explain something or you don’t agree with the data don’t interject God into the equation.  That just makes you look stupid and your religion uninformed.  Instead just say you don’t agree and provide some sound facts for your point of view or keep your mouth shut.  My father always used to say, “It is better to keep your mouth shut and appear stupid than to open it and remove all doubt.”