Loren Miller's Blog (87)

The Civil Atheist - Theist Discussion: How to Get There

In my last blog entry, I reported on what I thought was a rather extraordinary event: a YouTube discussion between Dr. Michael Jones, his wife, both theists, and Atheist Nexus member Steve Shives, along with a number of both theist and atheist participants, in what was entirely a calm, civil and downright amiable discussion on topics regarding both belief and the lack thereof.  Steve certainly seemed to think that both the discussion and its contributors were notable as well, as he gave a…

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Added by Loren Miller on August 16, 2013 at 2:30pm — 1 Comment

Something of a Rarity: A Civil Theist - Atheist Discussion at "The Place"

For about the past year and a half or so, I have been a fan of the work of A|N member, Steve Shives, and in particular, the videos he has produced on YouTube.  My initial introduction was via a series of videos he did on Lee Strobel's The Case for Christ, reading that book from an atheist's…

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Added by Loren Miller on August 14, 2013 at 9:23am — 1 Comment

Daniel Dennett's Prediction - The Decline and Fall of Religion

Yet again, we have a case of a video which is too significant to just put up as one more snippet to watch.



There have been and are multiple conversations on Atheist Nexus regarding the rise of atheism and the fall of irrational belief.  Some of these discussions deal in anecdotal data; some with established studies and their results.  What Daniel Dennett has done here, for our benefit, is to pull a great deal of information together regarding both those parameters, what they are…

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Added by Loren Miller on June 20, 2013 at 9:54am — 5 Comments

Of Wardens and Caretakers ... and Gods...

Warden Henry Brubaker has seen Wakefield Prison as it is, from the inside. He initially entered Wakefield incognito, as an inmate, sufficiently schooled in its practices and usages not to be caught like an unaware first-timer. He comes forward after an incident with an enraged death-row prisoner and proceeds to attempt to do something the prison board never expected: to actually reform the prison.



His efforts meet resistance from all quarters. The prisoners figure he’s…

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Added by Loren Miller on June 18, 2013 at 9:15pm — 5 Comments

"The Great Evangelical Recession"

Yesterday evening, while waiting in the car for my stepdaughter as she did some shopping, I was listening to our local NPR station.  The show was: “Q, with Jian Ghomeshi,” and one of his guests was one John S. Dickerson, pastor of the Cornerstone Church in Tempe, AZ and author of the book, The Great Evangelical Recession.  It would appear as though some evangelicals have recognized that their numbers are dwindling and that their title “evangelical” has been besmirched by, among…

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Added by Loren Miller on May 29, 2013 at 8:00am — 6 Comments

It Can't Happen Here...?

A long time ago, Frank Zappa and the Mothers of Invention put together a track entitled: “It Can’t Happen Here.”  Exactly what it was or is that can’t happen here is never particularly mentioned in the song, but ol’ Frank seems to be adamant that whatever “it” is, it ain’t coming down around here (wherever “here” is) ... or maybe it is.



It was a long but productive week I spent in Dallas.  Helping bring a system up, teaching a…

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Added by Loren Miller on May 4, 2013 at 3:38pm — 17 Comments

Religion – STILL At It

It was just one more article from the Huffington Post about Stephen Hawking, the Big Bang, and the fact that no god was necessary to make the whole business happen.  I’ve probably seen dozens of such articles over the past four or five years and watched him discuss the matter with people like Larry King.  Same stuff, different day,…

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Added by Loren Miller on April 18, 2013 at 8:02am — 6 Comments

Roger Ebert: 1942–2013

Pardon me if I keep this short and sweet.  Roger Ebert left an impression on me from the time I first saw Sneak Previews on WTTW-11, Chicago Public Television.  I found a near-instant affinity for his style and candor in how he reviewed movies.  I was not always in agreement with his point of view, notably on one of my faves: Gladiator, but I still wanted to know what he thought about a movie.  There was hardly a time when a review of his was disappointing or failed in…

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Added by Loren Miller on April 4, 2013 at 6:45pm — 8 Comments

North Korea - Where Do We Go From Here?

It should be news to no one that North Korea has been upping the rhetoric in the past few weeks regarding its relationship (if you can call it that) with its neighbor to the south as well as with the United States.  Its new leader, Kim Jong Un, has been making increasingly belligerent war noises, starting with the launch of a three-stage rocket in December of 2012, followed by a test of a nuclear device in February of this year.  More recently North Korea severed all “hotline” communications…

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Added by Loren Miller on March 30, 2013 at 8:42am — 10 Comments

"Habemus Papem" - Again

I wrote the following back in April of 2005, not long after the election of Joseph Ratzinger as Pope Benedict XVI.  I wasn't quite a fully-blown atheist back then, but I was bordering on atheism as I looked at the RC church and the issues it was confronting then.  I was well aware of the festering child abuse scandal and the church's poor response to it, as well as other issues related to their absolutist point of view.  I look at now and read what I wrote then and can't help but note that…

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Added by Loren Miller on March 14, 2013 at 8:21am — 4 Comments

David Silverman "The Rally is OVER! (Now What?)"

I thought about posting this video as I would most other videos I like, but having watched it, I think it deserves a bit more attention.



David Silverman, president of American Atheists, speaks to the FreeOK2012 convention on what his organization has been about, what it is doing now, and a vision for the future of atheism in the United States.



Dave gets fired up in this video (truth be told, I think he's ALWAYS fired up!), and he has every reason to be fired up.  Atheism is…

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Added by Loren Miller on February 16, 2013 at 10:27am — 5 Comments

Mea Maxima Culpa: Silence in the House of God

I have just finished watching a wonderfully done yet singularly disturbing piece: the HBO documentary Mea Maxima Culpa: Silence in the House of God.  In it, writer/director Alex Gibney exposes the depravity of the catholic church regarding sexual child abuse by priests, particularly but not exclusively in its defense of one Father Lawrence Murphy, who had a two-decade history of such abuse at the St. John’s School for Deaf Children near Milwaukee, Wisconsin.



There is no way…

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Added by Loren Miller on February 5, 2013 at 7:00am — 35 Comments

My Personal Take on Atheism-Plus

It seems that there is a lot of fuss being made in the atheist community regarding an apparent sub-culture known as "Atheism-Plus."  I've noted a few pieces here and there on Atheist Nexus regarding it, though I don't know as any particular consensus has emerged out of A|N on the topic.  I DO know how I feel about it, and a few weeks ago, I shared my point of view on Reason Being's blog, to wit:



My personal evolution to atheism was a long and slow one, probably starting with the…

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Added by Loren Miller on February 4, 2013 at 6:34am — 34 Comments

Power: Who Has It, Who Doesn't and How to Alter The Status Quo

In my last blog, I found myself focusing on the issue of an atheist "movement" and wondered whether such a movement would have to be bloodied in order to gain any ground against the theistic majority which holds de facto control in the culture of the United States.



Courtesy of Real Time with Bill Maher and a quote referred to by his guest, Rula Jebreal, I may not have gotten a hard answer, but an indicator of the thoughts of at least one person who has…

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Added by Loren Miller on January 26, 2013 at 7:00am — 13 Comments

Reflections on Seneca Lake, Selma, Stonewall ... and Atheism

While listening to Barack Obama’s second inaugural address this afternoon, I was struck by his mention of pivotal moments in past campaigns for rights for those who, before those campaigns took shape, were not the equal beneficiaries of the rights outlined in the US Constitution.  He mentioned Seneca Falls, which before this day I did not know was the locus for a convention in 1848 which focused on issues surrounding women’s rights and the seed for their right to vote movement in the US. …

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Added by Loren Miller on January 21, 2013 at 3:03pm — 18 Comments

The Wisdom and Warning of Bill Maher's "Religulous"

Bill Maher is a funny guy, though sometimes what he has us laughing at is as frightening upon further examination as it was comical on first impression.  Organized religion is exactly just such a facet of human life.  We can laugh at the ideas of a sky daddy and dust-men and rib-women for a while, but when people who seriously and devotedly believe in those and other fallacies attempt to superimpose their belief on an entire population, using government as the mechanism, the topic stops…

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Added by Loren Miller on January 10, 2013 at 11:15am — 10 Comments

Christian Proselytism in the Military

First of all, I want to direct your attention to Dennis Kelley's piece, "Wow. just...wow" (thanks, Dennis!). That is what has inspired me to write the following email to Congresswomen Marcia Fudge and Senator Sherrod Brown:



==================



I want to draw your attention to the following video:

 …

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Added by Loren Miller on December 25, 2012 at 8:08am — 9 Comments

I Have Just Found a Treasure

Said treasure is at a fellow-traveler's site: Atheist Republic.  Therein I have found a gallery of pictures with quotes which are truly FABULOUS.  They include quotes I have not encountered before, direct and powerful quotes which I am sopping up the way a dry sponge absorbs water.  Consider the following:…



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Added by Loren Miller on December 18, 2012 at 6:55pm — 9 Comments

A Meditation on Newtown, Connecticut

I was nosing about CBS News this morning, checking out coverage about the Newtown incident and other stories when I came upon the following.  Something to keep in mind: this 60 Minutes story was produced in March of 2000.







I'm beginning to wonder how many times we're going to have refer to the following quote before people are going to truly listen:



Those who cannot remember the past are condemned to repeat…

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Added by Loren Miller on December 17, 2012 at 6:56am — 3 Comments

Questions and Variations on a Theme

You tell me I must believe in your god.



Why?



Why should I believe in something which doesn’t show itself?  Why should I believe in a myth which violates the laws of physics, which insists not just on the improbable but the impossible and that which has been proven wrong?  Why should I believe something which was written by men who hadn’t the learning or intelligence my daughter had when she entered first grade?  Why should their ignorance carry more…

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Added by Loren Miller on October 11, 2012 at 11:35am — 3 Comments

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