I actually think I am doing fellow non-believers a disservice when I bite my tongue and refrain from comment on inherently unreasonable things I read at other (and mainstream) websites. I actually believe that no matter what the consequences, when we read dogmatic statements about real life it is our duty (hey, I was tempted to say "sacred duty") to point out to fellow readers the inanity of, e.g. the personal involvement of God in the daily lives of human beings I use my real name in my comments and thus put my professional career on the line, and I'd like to believe I am doing it for good (and in so Catholic a city as this, heroic) reasons: in what dark recess of my mind lurks a non-altruistic, perhaps even masochistic, purpose.
This week in one of our district courts, a hearing is being held on orders of a higher court to find out if a woman named Overton is guilty of murdering a child by making the boy swallow Paul Prudhomme-Emerill-type Cajun seasoning. (My favorite, not that it matters, is one called Slap Yo' Mama.) Salt, unfortunately, is toxic in large quantities and this boy went into convulsions, the question being, did he have a mental condition that is known to the profession, a tendency to eat enormous quantities of anything he liked. (The boy was not quite right, if you know what I mean.) The Court of Criminal Appeals sent the case down from Austin to Corpus Christi (all right, yuks aside) so that medical testimony could be better developed; the higher court could affirm, reverse and send down for retrial, or reverse and let the woman go free.
There is a dimension to all this that I hesitate to bring up lest I be viewed (even on this site) as a nasty old crank: religion. The spirit of Chris Hitch is in me, saying religion poisons everything, and I hasten to add, "Even court cases." You see, Ms. Overton had some evangelical types paying for her defense and appeals, including some big guns this time around. (One of her lawyers is Gerry Goldstein, the Guru of Bill of Rights lawyers statewide.) The claque people are convinced they know Overton well, that she is a devoutly religious person, and thus, she could not possibly have intended her boy die of sodium toxicity. They filled the gallery at trial. They spoke to TV reporters. Wonder no one told them that Ms. Overton's sanctity had nothing at all to do with whether she was guilty or innocent. Overton's church was God-certain of the woman's innocence, though "twelve good and true" found her guilty. The Christian losers vowed to get her case reversed at any cost.
Today, in its online version, the local paper carried a comment to all this by a reader who said "God's will she will be released...." I wrote back that a good, omnipotent God would not have allowed the child to die in the first place.
I agree. It is necessary to speak up when we see injustice and/or falsehoods promoted.
Generally, I am unabashed to mention that I am a non-believer. If someone references God or faith in a casual conversation, I give my take on the same situation (and generally can do so in a non-conflictual manner) from an atheist and reason based perspective. If they mention faith as their reason for believing something, I will mention the reason based reason. For example, "faith" in their Church. I might acknowledge that we all seek community support, being the social primates that we are! Then I may relate to their need for community support by saying that as I dont believe in faith and have been very disappointed by my reading and understanding of the Bible and the context in which it was written, I find my support and inspiration from Community Volunteering.
Or if people reference God, I can usually understand what they are saying and relate to it by referencing love. For example, just yesterday, a mother was talking about her son and instructing him to be polite to his fellow classmates--as a child of God he was told to be good and loving. I told her I agree, and although we are atheist, we tell our kids that life is for loving one another. She blinked a little, but smiled a genuine smile back to me.
I just care most about carving out a space in public life to express myself authentically. If others do not believe as I do, I am still certain we will find common ground in our shared humanity. And if we cannot, then I have to question their real motives.
It should be apparent to Ms. Overton and her evangelical friends that their loving, omnipotent god either:
1. Agrees with the verdict.
2. Too bust answering the other billions of prayers coming his way.
3. She and her evangelical friends picked the wrong christianity from the 38,000 different denominations in the world. (so are not REAL Christians)
4. Their loving omnipotent, omnipresent, omniscient god does not exist.
Feel free to add to this list...
You are correct that a
"that a good, omnipotent God would not have allowed the child to die in the first place."
Did they publish your comment?
It's just like this, an online story + comment where anyone can post. But they have one of those "inappropriate" icons 'neath every comment so that anyone offended by it can complain, but I don't know if it was removed later. I never bother to check such things.
Good for you James for speaking-up and using your real name. I have been trying to do that more often. We should stand-up for reason and not be scared to. I know sometimes people can't, even for safety-reasons! I HATE when someone is defended in court as being "a good christian" or that they regularly go to church, like that has ANYTHING to do with whether they are guilty of a crime or not.
We also had an ambulance chaser charged with holding himself out to be a lawyer and then sending the cases on to P.I. attorneys. When it came time for sentencing, his character witness was the bishop (RCC) and it was brought out that his testimony was bought by generous contributions to the local Catholic charities. Anyone seen the movie, True Confessions? It's all true. The priests are whores for the Vatican.
I agree as well. I'm rather unpopular around these here Kansas parts because of my opinion on religion. I'm generally the first and only one around here to "hitch slap" people for their stupidity and contradictory ideals. It's not very popular in the bible belt. I will continue to do so, though, because everyone that knows me personally will tell you I'm the most honest mother-F-er they know.
Hitch-slap! LOL Andy, that's GREAT! Did you come up with that? I've never heard it before.~ Melinda
Isn't that an irony there, an atheist being more honest than a Christian? I am not saying it is an anomaly mind you, but an ironic fact. Also, the statisticians have proved that atheists, again ironically, know more about the Bible than persons of faith. Familiarity breeds contempt.