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John B Hodges's Blog (53)

Essay- "The Other People" by Oberon Zell

(This is an article by a man named Oberon Zell, founder (if I recall Correctly) of the Church of All Worlds. I think it deserves wider distribution. -JBH)


"We Are the Other People" by Oberon Zell

"Ding-dong!" goes the doorbell. Is it Avon calling? Or perhaps Ed McMahon with my three million dollars? No, it's Yahweh's Witlesses again, just wanting to have a nice little chat about the Bible... Boy, did they ever come to the…


Added by John B Hodges on November 12, 2014 at 9:39am — 2 Comments

reference comment re. "This country was founded on Christian Principles"

I have always wanted to ask WHAT "Christian Principles" they think this country was based on. "Please quote for me something Jesus taught that we could recognize as a founding principle of the United States." Not laying up treasures on Earth, but instead selling all you have and distributing to the poor? Not resisting evil, but instead turning the other cheek? Following the entire Law of Moses down to the last Iota, except the dietary laws? Abstaining from all sin even in your thoughts, even…


Added by John B Hodges on August 13, 2014 at 4:22pm — 9 Comments

Reference comment on Christianity

As an atheist I spent some years reading philosophy to gain an understanding of the secular foundations of ethics, and reached an understanding that satisfied me. (for those interested, see ). Then I heard a Christian declare that the Absolute Truth about ethics was the teachings of Jesus. So I asked "What DOES Jesus teach about ethics?" I went through the…


Added by John B Hodges on May 25, 2014 at 6:05am — 1 Comment

John Adams quote re. non-divine origin of United States government

In his, "A Defence of the Constitutions of Government of the United States of America" [1787-1788], 

John Adams wrote: 

"The United States of America have exhibited, perhaps, the first example of governments erected on the simple principles of nature; and if men are now sufficiently enlightened to disabuse themselves of artifice, imposture, hypocrisy, and superstition, they will consider this event as an era in their history. Although the detail of the formation of the American…


Added by John B Hodges on May 17, 2014 at 10:32pm — 8 Comments

Quotes from the "Founding Fathers" on religion

These were collected by Bill Perdue, I copied them from a comment he made on AlterNet. -JBH


"I have examined all the known superstitions of the Word, and I do not find in our

particular superstition of Christianity one redeeming feature. They are all alike, founded on fables and mythology. Millions of innocent men, women and children, since the introduction of Christianity, have been burnt, tortured, fined and…


Added by John B Hodges on March 8, 2014 at 5:15am — 6 Comments

Quotes from Thomas Jefferson

I cannot take credit for this compilation of quotes from Thomas Jefferson. I found it in the comments section of an article on Alternet.


Millions of innocent men, women and children, since the introduction of Christianity, have been burnt, tortured, fined and imprisoned; yet we have not advanced one inch towards uniformity.

-Thomas Jefferson, Notes on Virginia, 1782

But it does me no injury for my neighbor to say there…


Added by John B Hodges on November 6, 2013 at 3:58am — 2 Comments

Open Letter to the Saved

John B. Hodges

September 25, 2007.



Added by John B Hodges on August 26, 2013 at 4:57am — 1 Comment

A Letter_to_the_Editor regarding Ethics.

On April 19, I read a commentary in the Roanoke Times by Clonnie_Yearout; Yearout (gender unknown) was arguing for Creationism and against "Darwinism". I sent the following in reply. The Times printed at least two letters (by other people) replying to Yearout, but not this one.  

FROM: John B. Hodges

(contact info)

TO: Editor, letters page

I would like this considered for a COMMENTARY or OP-ED.


Clonnie Yearout's commentary ("A Tale of…


Added by John B Hodges on May 4, 2013 at 4:23am — 1 Comment

Short post on ethics.

I saw an article on or perhaps AlterNet, and reading the comments I was moved to comment myself; I assembled the following out of material I already had on my blog, but in the comments I got several compliments on it, so perhaps this is a happy combination of elements. -JBH


Religion has its benefits and harms. One of the major harms that it does is to teach a false theory of ethics.



Added by John B Hodges on May 4, 2013 at 4:11am — 1 Comment

Dividing an Inheritance Three Ways

I once saw a TV movie, probably a BBC production, probably a movie version of a classic novel, a period costume drama set in England in the 1800's. It had several protagonists we were supposed to care about, and lots of soap opera. One protagonist was a man around 30 years of age, a minor relative of a wealthy family who had never been successful himself. Due to a tragedy, the major members of this family had died, and the whole estate was going to be divided among the more distant…


Added by John B Hodges on March 7, 2013 at 11:47pm — 4 Comments

Upgrading Our Democracy


In America we do democracy by dividing the territory into districts, and electing one representative from each district. We elect them by plurality, that is, by whichever candidate gets the most votes, whether or not they get an absolute majority. If there are three candidates, a candidate can win with 40% support, for example.

This is not the only way democracy can be done. Other countries, fully democratic, do it in other ways. The way we do…


Added by John B Hodges on January 16, 2013 at 7:30am — 2 Comments

Proportional Representation Using Simple Paper Ballots

(JBH) The following is something that I wrote a few years ago, for a list of supporters of election reform.


Subscribers to this list are likely to already be supporters of proportional representation. The method of PR most commonly used around the world, Party List, uses simple ballots easily counted by hand.

In Party List, each organized political party publishes a list of their candidates, in order of priority. Voters vote for one party.…


Added by John B Hodges on January 16, 2013 at 7:26am — No Comments

ABOLISH Gerrymandering! Enact Proportional Representation!

Gerrymandering is the deliberate drawing of district lines in such a way as to distort representation of subgroups of the population.

Consider Case 1: Suppose that a population is divided 60%/40% over some longstanding, continuing dispute. The A's have 60%, the B's have 40. The B's typically live in urban areas, the A's in suburbs and rural areas.

There are five districts, each of which elects one representative to the legislature.

If the A's are drawing the…


Added by John B Hodges on January 16, 2013 at 7:16am — No Comments

Historical Jesus Irrelevant.

Recently I read an exchange of views between freethinkers about whether there was a historical Jesus that gave rise to the legends, or whether the Jesus character was entirely mythical. I found myself entirely unmoved.

I went through the four gospels to collect everything Jesus is reported to have said about what we should DO, all of his alleged ethical teachings. I wrote up my findings here:



Added by John B Hodges on January 2, 2013 at 4:07am — 3 Comments

An Effortless Diet, revisited October 2012

I am a male standing 5 feet 10 inches, now 60 years of age. Almost three years ago, in January 2010, I stepped on the scale and saw 215 lbs; I decided to take action to begin losing weight. I have lost a bit over 35 lbs so far. I call what I have done a "Lazy Man's Diet" because it has been effortless; I have never gone hungry, never done exercise beyond what I was doing before, never suffered cravings or felt deprived. I have never counted calories, never weighed or measured my food beyond…


Added by John B Hodges on October 28, 2012 at 9:03pm — 6 Comments

A Lazy Man's Diet

August 11, 2011. A sizeable percentage of Americans are overweight or obese nowadays. I'll speak of my personal approach to this problem. A Lazy Man's Diet.

I am a single male, in my late 50's, 5'10" in height. I was very skinny growing up; in my 20's I weighed 130 lbs. In my 20's I was also vegetarian ("sattvic diet", including dairy), and I did not own a car, walked a lot. In my 30's I got a steady job, bought a car, adopted the "standard American diet" (also known as the SAD diet),…


Added by John B Hodges on June 16, 2012 at 8:03am — 4 Comments

Yes, Christian Fundamentalists are Teaching Genocide in Our Schools.

Katherine Stewart has an article on AlterNet:

Are Christian Fundamentalists Teaching Genocide in Our Schools?

There are many people who don't believe in a god but who don't call themselves atheists, because they don't regard it as important. They…


Added by John B Hodges on June 2, 2012 at 7:18am — 1 Comment

Two Arguments From The Debate

At Virginia Tech, on Wednesday evening March 21, there was a debate on the question "Does God Probably Exist?" I wanted to post comments on two of the arguments given.

One argument given was the "fine-tuning argument". One of the debaters was studying high-level academic philosophy, and they stated it thus:

Given the fine-tuning evidence, a life-permitting Universe (LPM) is very, very epistemically unlikely under the non-existence of a fine-tuner, and is not unlikely if a…


Added by John B Hodges on March 22, 2012 at 2:22pm — No Comments

200-word letters on atheism and morality



Linda Whitlock (Dec.18) repeats yet again the "blood libel" against unbelievers, that only Creationism offers any basis for ethics.

Whitlock has it backwards. Religion offers no basis for ethics. Religious morality consists of obeying the alleged will of God, as reported by your chosen authority. But obedience is not the same as morality. If believers wish to make war or keep slaves or oppress…


Added by John B Hodges on January 31, 2012 at 2:28pm — 1 Comment

Atheism and Honesty

Tom Jacobs has an article on AlterNet: Why Are People Still Afraid of Atheism?


The major point of the article is that atheists are less trusted because they don't believe that they are constantly watched by supernatural enforcers of social norms. 

I suggest this reply:…


Added by John B Hodges on November 25, 2011 at 1:35pm — 1 Comment

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