Atheists Aren’t the Bogeymen You’ve Been Told They Are.

This has been doing the rounds at atheism focused blogs. DiMortuiSunt, despite the title, is not really about atheism, though that is how I identify myself when people ask.

The nice thing about this video is that it shows that atheists aren’t the bogeymen religious leaders want you to think they are. They’re your neighbors and friends and they want the same thing out of life everyone wants: happiness.

Baby Steps

Salt Lake City Temple

If you look back in the archives of the site you’ll find a heated discussion on several posts regarding the California Proposition 8.  While I opposed Prop. 8, and still do, and the LDS church’s involvement in it is what ultimately convinced me to have my name taken off their records I still held out the hope that the Church would come around on their LGBT stance, as they did with Blacks in the Church.

It seems that a small step toward fully accepting LGBT into the Church has been taken.  The Mormon church still thinks homosexual relationships and acting on homosexual thoughts is still a sin, but they no longer consider thoughts of such activities a matter for confession and therapy.  This seems like a tiny, inconsequential step, and in many ways it is.  But, it’s also a big shift from what has been standard church policy and not what I expected from a Church run by conservative, old, white men.

I’m hopeful that this is a first step and that as LGBT’s rights are recognized in the United States and across the world the LDS Church will continue to revise its procedures and statements until one day one of their prophets has the revelation that God loves LGBTs just as much as he loves the rest of us.  If it doesn’t then the hope and nostalgia I still carry for what was a very large part of my life will die as will my respect for an organization that does a great deal of good work in this world.

I’m hopeful it won’t come to that though.  They have taken this step and they’ll eventually take the others and the hateful bigots who hide amongst the many good people in the LDS church will have to find a new way to cover their hate.

You can call me a dreamer, that’s okay I’m in good company.

A short review of the Pope’s book, Jesus of Nazareth

Now seems like an apt time to talk about my reading of Pope Benedict the XVI book, Jesus of Nazareth, considering he is in the middle of a historic visit to the USA. The best that can be said about it is that it’s short. It could be shorter, there really shouldn’t be so much to say about a carpenter who lived in the first century AD, and who either fancied himself a demi-god or happened to have the right group of friends who fancied him to be. If you’ve walked through your local bookstores religions section though you’ll notice a great deal of thick books expounded on Jesus’ remarkable role in the history of the world, they’re also usually full of greek and latin words. These are the types of books that look good on a bookshelf. I suspect though that if Jesus’ message was so simple and clear you wouldn’t need several 1000 pages to explain to someone. But anyway back to the Pope’s book

It’s all right I guess, I’ve been told by numerous sources (New York Times, Washington Post, etc…) that Benny is one smart guy, he was John Paul’s head theologian. The man can certainly string an argument together and he does, but it always falls apart when we get to of Jesus. Which is the problem with Christianity (or Islam, or Mormonism) Benedict really wants us to believe that Jesus is God, and he holds up the Bible, and the fuzzy feeling he and millions of others get when they think about him as justification for his beliefs. This doesn’t work for me, because Scientologists get the same fuzzy feeling from reading Dianetics and thinking about L. Ron Hubbard, and I know at least two guys who get it when thinking about Playboy magazine. Perhaps I’m missing something, but I can’t see why the age of the Bible and the number of its followers should separate it from the weirdos in the latter two groups.  The Judeo-Christian God isn’t any more legitimate than the Flying Spaghetti Monster or He-Man, he just happens to be followed by a hell of a lot more people. Which brings us to the ultimate problem I have with Jesus of Nazareth, I don’t have any faith. I can follow the Pope’s arguments up until he makes the leap that leaves logic behind and goes head-long into faith…

I could also mention the Pope’s tired argument that if everyone just believed as he did all our problems would go away. If we all just scurried back to the 12th century where the Catholic church controlled their lives but also their thoughts. I’m sorry I don’t believe a sincere belief in Jesus as the Savior of the World and the Catholic Church as his instrument here on earth would stop people from finding reasons to hate and kill each other. In fact the history of western civilization only confirms my belief.