Friday, July 29, 2011

10 Secular Commandments!

Or more truthfully, 10 ideas to live by. This list was given to me by Heretic a couple weeks ago. Looks like it's from The God Delusion and I instantly liked and i thought i would share it with all of you heathens who tackle the mountain of forming your own moral and ethical system to live by. Enjoy.

1 - Do not to others what you would not wan them to do to you.
2 - In all things strive to cause no harm.
3 - Treat your fellow human beings, your fellow living things, and the world in general with love, honesty, faithfulness, and respect.
4 - Do not overlook evil or shrink from administering justice, but always be ready to forgive wrongdoing freely admitted and honestly regretted.
5 - Live life with a sense of joy and wonder.
6 - Always seek to be learning something new.
7 - Test all things: always check your ideas against the facts, and be ready to discard even a cherished belief if it does not conform to them.
8 - Never seek to censor or cut yourself off from dissent: always respect the right of others to disagree with you.
9 - Form independent opinions on the basis of your own reason and experience: do not allow yourself to be led blindly by others.
10 - Question everything.

And because i'm betting everyone is thinking what i thought when i read these, here are the origins of some of these:
1 - Confucius - Silver Rule
2 - Possible paraphrase of Hippocrates
10 - Euripedes or Thomas Jefferson paraphrase of question with boldness.
and I'm guessing all the rest our original, or are so paraphrased that they loose any resemblance to the inspiration.

Thursday, July 21, 2011

In Cognito

Small update on U-COR, they are having a BBQ with raffle an prizes this Saturday, however i'll end up being gone unfortunately and won't be able to make it. It's in Sandy UT and will be in the late afternoon and evening.

DRIFT and SHAAFT are now pretty much official, being the atheist groups down in St. George and at UVU. Counting the smaller and more unique groups in SLC there's about a dozen now that have formed into official organizations in Utah. I feel like now's as good a time as ever to come out of the closet as an atheist or agnostic or unbeliever. For Utah especially. UCOR has some 'big' plans for the near future.

At work i keep skipping around with my subtle books. Not literally skipping, but when i eat i read, just finished that Agnostic Reader book, couple weeks ago i was reading a book on human evolution, and now i've started Jesus Interrupted. Not that i don't read other books that really don't relate to religion or theism in any way, but probably half the time i have a book that makes the Mormon co-workers a little edgy. "Hey, jdog, what book you readin there?" , "Oh, a book on human evolution." , " ... " that's usually about it. Unless of course it's a co-worker who is undercover and maybe has read some of the same things as me. Starts a lively but short-lived discussion.

I don't want to sound like i don't like my co-workers though, it's just that almost ALL of them are active LDS! Sometimes it's almost like church. But they know their boundaries with the work atmosphere, and that if they can talk about religion then other people can voice their differences. Well, mostly. There's one co-worker, bless her heart, who doesn't have much tact in the way of asking personal questions. We had an interesting conversation last week:

Me "So you like science?"
Her "Yeah, i like genetics and biology."
Me "Yeah, i didn't use to ... but now my science shelf [bookshelf] is split between general and my genetics and evolution shelf."
Her, leaning in, "Oh, so you ... you believe in evolution?"
M "Well, i like to say i accept the Theory of Evolution, or rather, the Theory of Natural Selection, with a big t."
H "..."

M "When it comes to evolution there's enough facts that it's moved beyond a simple hypothesis, but what Darwin really brought to the table was a theory about natural selection, and it took a few decades but by the early 1900s we had enough evidence gathered for the theory that now it's hardly adjusted anymore. Really, for evolution it started with the Greeks, Plato and Aristotle being two basic examples [though Aristotle outlined the theory that would end up being true even though he fought against it, lol] and then those theories of course were lost [most libraries being burned by Christian sects] and not rediscovered till the Muslims found them and then the Christians dovetailed off their research and science."
H "[loosing or boring her] So, you don't believe the universe was created?"
M "No, i think creationism is just stupid. Well, let me specify young earth creationism. That's stupid, the earth is not 4 or 6000 years old."
H "No, the earth isn't 6000 years old."
M " Exactly, though America has one of the largest young earth creationist populations in the world. And to believe it you have to deny so much: evolution, biology, genetics, archeology, geology, astronomy, paleontology, basically all of science and just about everything the human race has ever learned about the world and the universe. It's just dumb."
M "I mean, i'm open to the idea that God or some entity started the ball rolling and then stepped aside, old creationism, but not young earth creationism[and i'm not really so open as i am more respectful of that view]"

Then at some point in all this i was asked if i also believed in the Big Bang and i explained the evidence for it, etc.... It was actually a fun conversation, and i may be one of the first non-LDS/non-believing persons she has ever had a real conversation with. If not then she must have a rote script for asking me what i do believe in cause it was almost cliched. Needless to say i need to just come out and tell co-workers i don't believe in gods to get rid of any possible confusion.

I am a little wary in talking about work because i don't wish to say anything detrimental, and i hope that comes across. I just wish there were more non-believers there ... or at least fewer Mormons ... so long as they weren't born-agains, or scientologists ... actually, i wish there were more scientologists.

Tuesday, July 12, 2011

Thoughts from a Former BYU Atheist

So regardless of whether or not I post on here I actually have plenty of thoughts and things I could post. Here's some random thoughts I'll throw out there and maybe write posts in the future, cause to be honest, writing on the blog has somehow dropped off my top ten things to do daily list.

The group is almost to 200, and may be over counting all the people who come hang out and do things but are not on the FB page. We still need more adults, but it's finally spreading out.

I don't think atheism is a religion. It has been brought up on here before, in the group, on the FB page, and in conversation with friends. I think there's actually some merit to this discussion as religions do not have to have gods but usually exclude other religion's gods ... which already atheism fits in to on one level. However, I think when you form a criteria for what religion is when compared to, say, just being spiritual, then compare those to atheism ... then you'd see atheism as anything but a religion. But more on that later.

I did my I Am An Ex-Mormon video. So did my gf. I was surprisingly nervous and so I don't think i did nearly as well as i would have hoped but i suspect Daniel will be able to save it.

Totally watched The Prestige with the Leavitt family, awesome movie and awesome family.

In the last month i think the Utah Valley group has gotten a couple dozen new people with the advent of summer and new semester approaching.

Have a few friends who are/were/or may be disowned by their families due to not believing in the church anymore. Go Mormons for the win!

I've read some new good books I will comment on at some point soon, some not related directly to atheism. Has anyone else noticed that the Atheism section at Barnes and Noble is about to need to spread to a second shelf? 5 years ago I don't think there was an atheism section, 2 years ago it shared space with Linguistics, now it's pushing out at the seams and needs a second shelf. Yeah, I think I joined the fad JUST before it was cool, go me.

One reoccurring theme I've seen lately is how Christian's didn't start the dark ages and Christian history is full of the greatest inventions. I talked about this before. How about Islamic culture led for science, especially after rediscovering the Greeks, and then Christianity dovetailed off them, and then how most of the greatest scientists from the later ages usually were Christian but not usually very strong in their faith and sometimes openly opposed popular theologies, and often were persecuted by Christian churches, plural. I don't see the correlation that Christianity means great thinkers, how about Europe produced a lot of innovations that overtook the world. And in that sense, how about China has usually led the world except for about 200 years and may be regaining it's position of leadership, which has been the norm.

Found another atheist at work, even though most employees are Mormons.

I feel completely disconnected from the atheist group in Utah Valley, and I'm usually too busy or tired to do anything with the groups up in SLC. Still, regardless of if i post or not people still find my blog and then join the group, lol.

Read a book on Judaism where it talked about how English was designed with some mal-intent against Jews and that the English language has specific words that are derogatory to Jews or misrepresent Jews and their beliefs where if we want to understand the Jews we may need to leave the English language behind at some points. Didn't take me long to wonder if this is also true of atheists, especially with English definitions of atheism compared to, say, Asian views of those who don't believe in gods.

Asian holy books are far more inspiring than the Qur'an and definitely the Bible.

That's it for now, ciao.

Wednesday, July 6, 2011

Long time no see

I've decided that I only want to post every other month or so. Nah, just kidding, but it has been awhile. As per the pic posted above usually it comes down to "blog post or one ... more ... turn ... on civ ..."

As anyone who actually follows me knows, Civ has won many battles. And now my computer is running slow and I don't care to keep typing and wait for my text to load every few seconds. So here's a nice spoof on that Miss America wtv evolution video. Till next time, enjoy!