There is nothing that is too obvious of an absurdity to be firmly planted in the human head as long as you begin to instill before the age of five by constantly repeating it with an air of great seriousness.
– Arthur Schopenhauer
Followers of the riveting “Zachary’s Brain” series of posts will know that the narrative is not a Gothic horror tale…but something that is just as disturbing: resisting the religious programming of a child.
Added by Alan Perlman on April 14, 2014 at 3:00pm —
Back in the day, a trip to my grandparents' row home in South Philly, for Passover or the Jewish New Year, was preceded by a family movie in Center City. The theaters were huge and ornate -- not at all like your bare-bones cineplex; the movies were usually Biblical and always accompanied by chocolate covered cherries.
Of course, we saw Charlton Heston as Moses. I think Ben-Hur got sneaked in there, as well as Israeli-themed movies like the heart-rending Exodus,… Continue
Added by Alan Perlman on March 22, 2014 at 2:23pm —
In respose to a post about a pretty mediocre study of "types" of atheists (indeed all A/N belong to one of the six categories, antitheists," who regard religion as dangerous fantasy and warn of its many harms and evils), I posted the following categories of religous (non-)belief. Readers are welcome to contribute/commment.
(1) atheist/antitheist/"ignostic" (doesn't care, doesn't worry about it)
(1a) work in progress - trying to free oneself from… Continue
Added by Alan Perlman on July 13, 2013 at 7:30pm —
I was contacted by www.askimo.com , a new internet portal featuring video interviews of experts talking on their field of expertise. I decided that my field of expertise would be “what the Torah really says” (since I am one of the few laypeople who has actually bothered to find out), along with related questions about atheism, blasphemy and the “clear alternative to the Torah” (It's SCIENCE!).
The questions were partly supplied by me, generally… Continue
Added by Alan Perlman on May 8, 2013 at 1:00pm —
In an email exchange, an old friend and fellow English-prof colleague wrote this:
"I know you're 'the Jewish atheist,' but don't you feel a strong sense of identification with the Jewish ethos, aside from religion? You've sought out Jewish wives, and friends to some degree could be, the way I might seek out writers as friends. I think of my former Catholicism not angrily but gratefully. When I grew up, I decided on my own that I didn't believe. But my Catholic education was excellent;… Continue
Added by Alan Perlman on May 2, 2013 at 12:23pm —
"In America it is sport that is the opiate of the masses."
"Pro football is like nuclear warfare. There are no wionners, only survivors."
"Serious sport has nothing to do with fair play. It is bound up with hatred, jealousy, boastfulness, disregard of all rules, and sadistic pleasures in witnesssing violence: in other words it is war minus the… Continue
Added by Alan Perlman on February 4, 2013 at 8:20pm —
“The Biblical account of Noah’s Ark and the Flood is perhaps the most implausible story for fundamentalists to defend. Where, for example, while loading his Ark, did Noah find penguins and polar bears in Palestine?”
“We have fools in all sects and impostors in most; why should I believe mysteries no one can understand, because [they were] written by men who chose to mistake madness for inspiration… Continue
Added by Alan Perlman on November 16, 2012 at 8:30pm —
“Men never do evil as completely and cheerfully as when they do it from religious conviction.”
“The religions of mankind must be classed among the mass-delusions of this kind. No one, needless to say, who shares a religious delusion ever recognizes it as such.”
Back in the day, the insane were considered evil, possessed. You had to beat, torture or drown the demon within. But the… Continue
Added by Alan Perlman on November 11, 2012 at 3:44pm —
“God is the immemorial refuge of the incompetent, the helpless, the miserable. They find not only sanctuary in His arms, but also a kind of superiority, soothing to their macerated egos: He will set them above their betters.”
“I find it necessary to wash my hands after I have come into contact with religious people.”
Recent A/N threads have generated much thoughtful… Continue
Added by Alan Perlman on August 25, 2012 at 5:02pm —
“If God wants us to do a thing he should make his wishes sufficiently clear. Sensible people will wait till he has done this before paying much attention to him.”
“I cannot believe in a God who has neither humor nor common sense.”
W. Somerset Maugham
Followers of the riveting “Zachary’s Brain” series will remember that Zach is my 6-year-old stepson (7 this month) whose task of configuring the world – his… Continue
Added by Alan Perlman on August 10, 2012 at 8:30pm —
“Without knowing the force of words, it is impossible to know men.”
I recently heard some women discussing a “women’s spirituality group.” They wanted to determine whether there was such a thing as “female spirituality”?
It’s impossible to say, since no one can really be sure what someone else means when he/she uses this word.
Spirituality is very popular these days. Everybody wants to be known as “spiritual.” That’s not… Continue
Added by Alan Perlman on June 14, 2012 at 6:00pm —
“I always wondered how much my soul was worth. So when Cinemax asked me if I’d go on camera to interview soft-core porn stars on the set of its new series, ‘Sin City Diaries,’ in return for $2,000 and a free night in Las Vegas, I discovered that my soul was worth some amount less than $2,000 and a free night in Las Vegas.”
In other writings I have defined two of the most vague yet most powerful religious buzzwords – “God”…
Added by Alan Perlman on June 13, 2012 at 2:00pm —
“Men make themselves believe that they believe.”
“The idea of God is the sole wrong for which I cannot forgive mankind.”
Marquis de Sade
What does it mean to “believe in God,” as 95% of the population professes to do? As an academically-trained linguist and a secular humanistic Jew, I’ve thought about this question for many years and listened to how people answer it. I’ve collected several…
Added by Alan Perlman on June 12, 2012 at 3:00pm —
“Imagine the Creator as a low comedian, and at once the world becomes explicable.”
“Infidel, n. In New York, one who does not believe in the Christian religion; in Constantinople, one who does.”
“Properly read, the Bible is the most potent force for atheism ever conceived.’
“Our Bible reveals to us the character of our God with minute and remorseless… Continue
Added by Alan Perlman on June 7, 2012 at 8:29pm —