Friday, March 29, 2013

Marriage Equality According to Religious Young Adults

And Why They Should Think Before They Hold Up Signs

Recent events have proven to be perfect evidence for my idea that raising children in a devoutly religious household is perhaps the worst parenting tactic. Originally, I intended for this post to be centered on the benefits of discovery learning as opposed to direct instruction. Discovery learning teaches a developing mind to think critically, logically, and figure things out. Direct instruction will result in a closed mind, which has only leaned how to regurgitate beliefs, thoughts, and behaviors as taught by an instructor.

A study summarized by Alison Gopnik in her article How Babies Think displays the phenomenon perfectly. In this experiment, an interesting toy with dozens of buttons and levers was given to two groups of toddlers. The ultimate goal was for the toddlers to push a series of buttons and levers in the proper order, which would cause the toy to shower the toddler in confetti and make noise. The control group had an adult “instructor” show the child a very complex, multi-step way to make the toy go off, while the other group was left to explore the toy on their own. The “instructed” group never diverged from the way they were taught, tediously repeating each complex step without ever exploring to see if there was a better way. Meanwhile, the “discovery” group found multiple and much simpler ways to work the toy.

But more on this later.

This strictly instructional teaching method is used by religious groups and cloaked by the term “faith”. Don’t ask questions, even if nothing we teach you makes sense, just have FAITH. It’s right because God says so!

This “God’s way or no way” mentality generally persists throughout childhood, into young adulthood when the religious zealot is now granted the right to vote. And once the religious conservatives receive the right to vote, they use their vote to take rights away from people who aren’t part of their in-group. This point has been beaten so deep into the ground but I feel the need to reiterate… Why the fuck do you care if the LGBTQ community has the same rights as heterosexuals? How the hell does it affect YOU and YOUR ability to please your God. If YOU don’t want to enter a homosexual relationship, you don’t have to. Mind your own Goddamn business.

The Internet has been overtaken by the Supreme Court’s debate over California’s Prop 8. I was pleased to see a multitude of pro marriage equality signs by individuals of all backgrounds, ages, and even some religions. I acknowledge that not all religious people are closed-minded and well, mean. But I was also disgusted to see a page on Buzzfeed that displayed about a dozen disgracefully idiotic anti marriage equality signs. Here are a few of them and why I think the people holding the signs are fucking imbeciles.  

I don't even know where to begin with this guy. His sign isn't even written in intelligible English (he may be a foreign language speaker so I won't criticize too harshly). But the crux of the issue with this sign is that "God's law" is in no way shape or form Constitutional law. You as an individual may choose to follow God's law, but you may not impose your God's law on anyone. 

A lot of problems here. First and foremost (another argument that's been beat into the ground), the Bible says a lot of shit that even the Church considers outdated or irrelevant. The next problem with this sign is that this young man (let's call him Judas) believes that his way of being raised as a child is the only way. Judas feels that being raised by a mother and father is the only way to turn out to be an "amazing kid". Clearly Judas has not met any children of homosexual couples; I'm quite sure they'd rather be in the care of two loving moms or two loving dads than in a broken home, single parent home, orphanage, foster care, or on the streets. Either way, Judas has no right to impose his own upbringing on every child, just because he turned out amazing doesn't mean it would work for everyone. 

Again, it appears that Bible study and homeschooling don't stress grammar or proper English. I don't understand how this girl's love for God will change if James marries Matthew and Suzy marries Sally. You can love God all you want; I don't think he'll blame you when marriage equality passes. After all, when it does pass, won't it be His Will? 

This is not a theocracy. Marriage IS a right implicit in "life, liberty, pursuit of happiness", as well as the equal protection under the law provided by the 14th amendment. 

These three are perhaps the worst because they display no evidence of higher level thinking. There is no logic here whatsoever, simply regurgitation. 

I could go on forever, but will spare you. To end on a bright note, Buzzfeed also featured a page of responses to these anti-marriage equality signs. The difference in intelligence is made painfully clear... Here are some of my favorites. 

Tolerant, fair, and succinct. The logic is sound and no one gets hurt. 

I find it interesting that the young adults in favor of marriage equality are so willing and eager to not only discuss the issue with the opposition but also befriend the opposition. Take this as you will. 


Friday, March 8, 2013

Deity Shmeity

Even Atheists Have Friends 

I truly never thought I would enter the world of blogging: the “blogosphere” as the Internet savvy may say. But my unanticipated entrance into a new world has proven beneficial beyond my expectations. I expected to find few sympathizers (or none at all), since the topic(s) I tackle aren’t really intended for casual conversation. Atheism, agnosticism, skepticism, criticism are all subjects people fear to discuss, and with good reason. Persecution of the non-religious is perhaps the last bastion of true religious injustice. Atheism is the last remaining belief system that is not acknowledged by the government as a marginalized spiritual minority that deserves certain protections. (Okay, maybe Satanism or Vonnegut’s Bokononism are behind Atheism as far as government recognition goes).

Feeling utterly alone (and being okay with it), I continued my rampage of the Internet and found something surprising. The Atheist Blogroll has compiled a list of well over 1,000 blogs in the realm of atheism/skepticism. I found a few I particularly like, one in particular that I’d like to discuss: Deity Shmeity

I enjoyed this blog in particular because of how quickly the design caught my eye. Clearly the author (Grundy, as he is known on the web) is much more graphically capable than I am.


And also much more humorous. I admit I can be a bit dry and analytical in my delivery at times. As a life long introvert, I’m afraid my formal style is here to stay. But Grundy is to Atheism as Grumio is to Shakespeares’s Taming of the Shrew. Witty, intelligent, sarcastic at times, and never fails to make the reader laugh even in the midst of a serious situation. I am relieved that Grundy possesses such brilliance even after his strict Catholic education and experiences with Christian Science in his young life.  

While his career is based in Advertising, Grundy still finds time to post two or three times per week. And his posts feature a great mix of lengthy, thought provoking essays, as well as shorter thoughts based around a funny image. And his audience clearly enjoys his style, seeing as every post has at least a couple comments. In many cases, discussion between readers breaks out, and Grundy fuels the interactive environment by taking part in the conversation.  

Deity Shmeity has instilled in me a good feeling that atheists of all colors are out there and willing to speak up. Just as there are good Christians and bad Christians, good Muslims and bad Muslims, there will also be good and bad Atheists. But with blogs like my own, and Deity Shmeity, hopefully we can create a diverse community of analytical individuals who are willing to question, learn, and debate.

My hope for my own blog is to use logic so sound, that even the religious can’t deny the foundations of my arguments. Grundy’s approach is different: though still very logical, I worry his use of humor may immediately deter religious individuals from reading further. They may feel personally attacked or mocked rather than curious.

 And I’ll admit that I can be hostile as well (my criticism of Jesus Camp ensures that the Evangelicals will not be visiting this page). But between Grundy, myself, and everyone in between, we have all the bases covered. And hopefully, we’ll reach out to the doubtful and convert them to logic and reason. (If that doesn’t work, we could always send our young men on door-to-door conversion missions. That seems to work, right?)

Monday, March 4, 2013

Class is in Session

Surprise! It's Video Day. 

Well worth 10 minutes of your time. Everything I attempted to convey in my post referencing Jesus Camp, but more eloquently expressed and visually appealing by Xandar's Meteor.

I found the video via @RichardDawkins. To my surprise, Twitter can be rather resourceful (if you know who to "follow", though frankly I hate that Twitter deems its members "followers", but social media can only do so much).

Also, if you have 20 minutes to spare (30 in total if you watch both, and I can almost guarantee that the telly offers no half hour programs worth watching on a Monday evening), this TED talk by Alain de Botton is brilliant.

Clearly, I've been fervently surfing the web and have much more to share in due time.

Working on a new post as well, should be up before the day is out.


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