Archive | August, 2009

Hubbard on Theology

Theology, by diverting the attention of men from this life to another, and by endeavoring to coerce all men into one religion, constantly preaching that this world is full of misery, but the next world would be beautiful — or not, as the case may be — has forced on men the thought of fear where otherwise there might have been the happy abandon of nature.

— Elbert Hubbard

Posted in Religion1 Comment

A Positively Fanatic Orgy of Freethinking

Here’s Albert Einstein, in Autobiographical Notes, on how he became a freethinker:

Through the reading of popular scientific books I soon reached the conviction that much in the stories of the Bible could not be true. The consequence was a positively fanatic orgy of freethinking coupled with the impression that youth is intentionally being deceived by the state through lies; it was a crushing impression. Mistrust of every kind of authority grew out of this experience, a skeptical attitude toward the convictions that were alive in any specific social environment — an attitude that has never again left me, even though, later on, it has been tempered by a better insight into the causal connections.

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Posted in Meetup, Organization2 Comments

Faithful Dad, Faithless Dad

Inspiring PictureConsider two father-and-daughter stories:

There was an atheist couple who had a child. The couple never told their daughter anything about the Lord. One night when the little girl was 5 years old, the parents fought with each other and the dad shot the Mom, right in front of the child. Then, the dad shot himself.

The little girl watched it all. She then was sent to a foster home. The foster mother was a Christian and took the child to church. On the first day of Sunday School, the foster mother told the teacher that the girl had never heard of Jesus, and to have patience with her. The teacher held up a picture of Jesus and said, “Does anyone know who this is?” The little girl said, “I do, that’s the man who was holding me the night my parents died.

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Posted in Religion10 Comments

Diet for Christians: Less Spam, More Meat

Christian spam has been overflowing from text messages and chain emails into Facebook apps and status updates. I’d wager that these Pascal’s Wagerers haven’t even read a fifth of the supposed source of their spam. This inspired me to challenge them in a status update of my own:

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Posted in Religion7 Comments

Cory's Legacy

Tears were shed, speeches were made, and political lines were drawn.

After the dust had settled, all that’s left is to take a step back and ponder on everything that had just happened.

Everyone had his or her own opinions to air. To some, she was a saint; to others, a national hero. But in the heart of it all, Cory was a symbol of the hope for the Filipino people for a better future. Unfortunately, like any other powerful symbol, they can easily be misappropriated for all the wrong reasons.

There will be no shortage of people eager to ride on the attention and support such powerful symbols are getting. Religion has the penchant for elevating noteworthy historical figures into either sainthood or martyrdom, thus claiming for itself every noble, selfless act that person has ever done in his life, no matter what the original intent was.  Whether they were really doing it for themselves, for their family, their country, or for some other ideal, history will be remember their deeds in light of how it served the purpose of a higher being.

Political marketing runs along the same lines, riding on the popularity of someone or something else – be it a celebrity, a controversial figure, or even a tragic victim that has captured public sympathy. Manny Pacquiao was yesterday’s news. He was everyone’s meal ticket a few months back because he represented the Filipino’s fighting spirit and indomitable will. The pambansang kamao that became the pambansang endorser.

But now, the memory of Cory is the hot item of the moment. She embodied the Filipino’s fight against tyranny while maintaining our humanity. A feat, in itself, is admittedly quite impressive even by today’s standards. The fight for freedom is rarely bloodless, as history can attest. Now, more than ever, everyone wants to be associated with her and the glory days of EDSA… the media, the church, aspiring electionables, retailers now mounting product campaigns with the Cory-Ninoy theme, and everyone else in between. Let’s face it; she’s now more bankable dead than even during the height of the EDSA revolution. The dead can’t protest how their name is being used, no matter how over-commercialized or contrary to one’s own personal philosophy. But on the bright side, death has a funny way of re-shaping our perspective on things: we become less stingy with the praises and less critical of someone who’s passed on.

No, I don’t blame Cory for all the political grandstanding being done in her name by the media, politicians, and even her own family. All throughout her political and civilian life, she’s consistently been a very simple person with no illusions of grandeur. She had a role to play, at great personal risk to herself, but she did it nonetheless. She wanted justice for her slain husband; the Filipino people needed a symbol to rally under. It was a mutually beneficial setup and everyone was happy with the outcome. Was she the best sort of leader the country needs? No, she was there simply to prevent those who would do more harm in her place out of office.

Unfortunately, that’s only half of the equation needed to fix this mess. Not only do you have to throw out the bad, you have to replace it with the good. That’s the critical follow-through that has disappointingly been missing in our last few administrations. We know what we don’t like but we don’t know what we like. So we get stuck in this never-ending cycle of replacing crap with even more crap – quantity over quality. Needless to say, it’s a very wasteful system. With each iteration of electing “the lesser evil”, we wait till the corruption gets too obvious before we boot them out of power in yet another sequel to the EDSA revolution. Then we replace them with the same thing, just wrapped up in another package. Then the cycle begins again. We never learn. It’s like a tradition already. Sometimes, I wonder if we are not a nation of masochists, purposing electing bad leaders just so we can re-experience the glory of booting them out of power to re-live the grandeur of People Power over and over again.

And now, with the upcoming elections looming ahead, we again face the unsavory task of selecting “the lesser evil”. Just how less of an evil, we’ll just have to find out and live with our decision…. or mount another People Power revolution. But now with Cory gone, the magic of People Power may have just lost its luster for good.

Posted in Society9 Comments

Extras Atheism Subplot

Yesterday I saw the funniest Atheism-related episode ever. It’s from the third episode of Extras, a British sitcom written and directed by atheist Ricky Gervais. Here he is as the lead character, Andy:

Andy: I’m an atheist.

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Posted in Entertainment8 Comments

The Birds and the Bees and the Hymens and the Mens

But if any man be ignorant, let him be ignorant.

— 1 Corinthians 14:38

Let the woman learn in silence with all subjection.

— 1 Timothy 2:11

True or false:

  1. Men have hymens; women don’t.
  2. Women can lose their virginity from riding a bike.
  3. Women can drink alcohol to increase menstrual flow.
  4. Women can apply menstrual blood to their faces to prevent acne.
  5. Women can skip over three steps of stairs to shorten their period to three days.

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Posted in Religion, Science12 Comments

Save Your Love for the Living

There is not sufficient love and goodness in the world to permit us to give some of it away to imaginary beings.

— Friedrich Nietzsche, Human, All-Too-Human, 1878

Posted in Religion0 Comments

Hemant Mehta Interview

Hemant Mehta, the Friendly Atheist, has recently agreed to a short interview with us. He joins our other special guests, DJ Grothe and Dan Barker.

We need to brainstorm questions for all three guests, and I’ve created a forum thread for this, now updated with this good news.

Once again, I invite all of you, especially their fans, to help us think of good questions while we are working out the schedule of their interviews.

But as always, if the forum is not your thing, suggesting questions via the comments is most welcome. Thanks a lot!

Posted in Announcements, Organization1 Comment

August 16 Meetup: An Intellectual Orgy

SANY0108

When we started this group last February, we did so with a Big Bang. But after only several months our progress has been like evolution. Or even evolution in reverse.

Interest dropped, with fewer members attending the meetups and events. The mailing list and online forum didn’t have as much activity as they used to. Morale was low. We didn’t even have events for June and July, and aside from the meetups (now every other week because of the lower demand), we don’t have a big event planned for August.

But sometimes, something happens that reminds us why we continue to do this.

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Posted in Meetup13 Comments

Judas, the Traitor?

A traitor is someone who betrays.  Being a traitor requires first relationship. It can be as close as best friends; a husband and wife; an officemate; or the relationship can be as far as the Philippines is to a Filipino; or as an employee is to a company.

And because that person is a friend or an employee or of a particular nationality he or she is expected to act in the interest of the relationship which makes the proverbial knife in the back by this person to be one of the most painful assaults anyone can inflict another.

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Posted in Religion8 Comments

A Valuable Lesson

One Sunday morning, a man was reading 1001 Inspirational Stories when his wife interrupted him with troubling news: their son no longer wanted to go to church. Upon hearing this the father asked his son why.

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Posted in Stories9 Comments

FF Special Guests

Do you remember Cafe Sci’s event with Dr. Steve Jones? A bunch of us supported them when they interviewed him via Skype video in Fully Booked, Bonifacio High Street. The audience loved it, and Steve seemed to be enjoying as well. This planted the seed of an idea into our heads.

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Posted in Announcements, Organization7 Comments

New Forum Discussions

Hope you find one you want to discuss 🙂

  1. What’s the biggest challenge you overcame before coming out?
  2. Freethought Music: Epica (you have to at least check out the lyrics)
  3. Why are geeks often atheist?
  4. Are there any animal lovers in here?
  5. The right way to promote one’s stance
  6. Magic: The Gathering
  7. FF Mission and Vision (really need your input, guys)

See you in the forum!

Posted in Announcements, Organization0 Comments

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