John B Hodges's Blog – July 2010 Archive (15)

"Ought". Where I part ways with Objectivism.

August 16, 1998. First post to IOS discussion list. All "oughts" are
hypothetical.


Greetings-
I do not call myself an Objectivist (large "O"), because I differ on
a number of significant points. Rather, I call myself a Secular
Humanist, and at times a Freethinker. These are broader terms,
referring to larger sets, than Objectivist. All Objectivists qualify
as Secular Humanists, and all Humanists…
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Added by John B Hodges on July 30, 2010 at 4:13am — 10 Comments

Stuff I've written on abortion



Some reposts from my "attic":

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(JBH) I'm bewildered by this argument. (That this argument happens at all.)…

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Added by John B Hodges on July 24, 2010 at 11:22am — No Comments

Sequential Reincarnation

I received a revelation from God last Thursday.


God has decided that the system of Heaven and Hell was just not working. Torturing prisoners had grown boring, and hymns of praise even more boring. So he has abolished Heaven and Hell and set up a new system of sequential reincarnation. When you die, your soul will go to the back of a line. When you reach the front of the line, you go into the next available human body.


He has declared…
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Added by John B Hodges on July 24, 2010 at 10:30am — No Comments

Who is the Enemy?

(This was written shortly after September 11, 2001, for a general audience.)


I've followed, more or less, the discussions about who the "enemy" is, in the "war on terrorism"; the "Clash of Civilizations" thesis, and so forth. I confess I think of it in different terms. The enemy is theocracy. It comes in Islamic, Christian, Hindu, Jewish, AND secular forms.


The freethinking, skeptical, scientific "frame of mind" is functionally and…
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Added by John B Hodges on July 12, 2010 at 1:45pm — No Comments

Jesus on Hell

I have sometimes encountered Christians who argue that the concept of a fiery Hell was not part of Jesus' original teaching; rather that it was introduced some centuries later by Church theologians. For easy reference, I have collected the following.
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Matt 3:12…

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Added by John B Hodges on July 12, 2010 at 1:23pm — No Comments

Atheist Ethics in 500 Words

ATHEIST ETHICS IN 500 WORDS. John B. Hodges, Dec. 21, 2007.


How can you have any ethics if you don't believe in God?


The question must BE questioned. How can you have any ethics if you DO believe in a god?


Religious folk misunderstand morality at its roots. Religion teaches a child's view of ethics, that "being good" means "obeying your parent". Just as religious faith is believing what you are told, so…
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Added by John B Hodges on July 12, 2010 at 1:07pm — 2 Comments

"The Rapture Has Already Happened"

I propose, as an idea for a bumper sticker, "The Rapture has already happened."



Elsewhere on this blog I have posted an essay, "The Ethics of Jesus", in which I reported what I had found by collecting everything Jesus is reported to have said about what we should DO. I…

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Added by John B Hodges on July 10, 2010 at 9:04pm — No Comments

Corliss Lamont's Definition of Humanism

August 24, 1997. Corliss Lamont's definition of Humanism.


Recently I sent in my dues to join the American Humanist Association. They sent me a "welcome packet" including the Humanist Manifestos I and II, and a book, THE PHILOSOPY OF HUMANISM, by Corliss Lamont. First published in 1949, considered a classic. (Copyright currently held by Half-Moon Foundation, Inc; all rights reserved.)


There is a lot in that book, but I thought I would…
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Added by John B Hodges on July 10, 2010 at 8:45pm — No Comments

Determinism Irrelevant

Years ago I decided that the issue of "free will vs. determinism" is irrelevant to questions of ethics, and untestable with respect to matters of science. Since then I have tried to avoid wasting time on it. But it comes up every now and then in Freethinker circles, and many people are lured into arguing at length over it.


Our ordinary practice is to ascribe "free will" to beings which are conscious and intelligent. "Conscious" meaning that they have an internal…
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Added by John B Hodges on July 7, 2010 at 2:33pm — 13 Comments

The Uncensored Ten Commandments

The theocratic Right is conducting a "Hang Ten!" crusade, to get the Ten Commandments posted on the walls of government buildings such as schools and courthouses, to give government endorsement to them. But the versions posted are usually edited and paraphrased, creating a false impression. Perhaps people would be more wary of these efforts if they read the original text, and understood the "divinely ordained" penalties attached. The following quotes will help put the Commandments in…
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Added by John B Hodges on July 7, 2010 at 2:11pm — 9 Comments

Why Separation?

I had a victory on Oct. 31, 2001, got one of my essays printed in the Roanoke Times, at the top of the "commentary" page.


Wednesday, October 31, 2001
Authority from the governed, not from God
Church-state separation stands to reason




By JOHN…
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Added by John B Hodges on July 7, 2010 at 2:03pm — 1 Comment

The Apple



Would you bite the apple that gave knowledge of good and evil? Read on.


We find ourselves alive and conscious. What shall we do with our lives? Beware "fishers of men". If we demand that someone else supply us with a purpose, someone else may DO just that. Purpose is ours to choose.


There is a natural "default" purpose, which we may choose if we like. We all have parents, as did they, back to the beginning of life.…
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Added by John B Hodges on July 7, 2010 at 1:58pm — No Comments

The Bait, The Hook, and Deism

January 28, 2002, AACHAT... The Bait, the Hook, and Deism.


Deists are not atheists, they definitely believed in a god, and this has never been a secret. Even so, Atheists should count Thomas Paine and other Deists as friends and allies.


Religion has two aspects, the Bait and the Hook. There are lots of different kinds of bait. Relief from fear of death or misfortune, relief from loneliness by means of an imaginary companion, art,…
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Added by John B Hodges on July 7, 2010 at 1:50pm — No Comments

Holier Than Thou

Ocober 11, 1999. What is the measure of "holiness"? Different traditions seem to have different standards.


Most of the measures I will discuss can be seen as variations on obedience. There is some Supreme Authority, and holiness consists of obedience to this authority; hence "holier than thou" directly means "more obedient than thou". But the variations can be significant.


I first learned about spirituality from Ananda Marga (a sect…
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Added by John B Hodges on July 7, 2010 at 1:46pm — No Comments

Why Be Ethical?

April 12, 1997; Trying to address the question of "Why be ethical?" Why
care about other people, why work to make the world a better place? A
collection of reasons.


"What IS ethical?" and "Why BE ethical?" are two DIFFERENT questions,
but the answers are related. Different answers to the first make the
second a different question. If a theory of ethics does not answer the
second, its answer to the first is…
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Added by John B Hodges on July 7, 2010 at 1:33pm — No Comments

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