Archive for the 'Uncategorized' Category

Welcome to 2011!

Hey everyone! I feel like I’ve fallen off the face of the earth lately, at least when it comes to my blog so sorry for the long absence. I’ve been sick since mid-December with a cold and on top of that I recently caught a bad cough and I feel like I’ve been run over by a steamroller, so I haven’t been in the mood for writing lately. 2011 can only get better from here!

I hope everyone had a wonderful holiday season.

You may have noticed I was a huge failure when it comes to positive thinking month. I’ll try to extend it into January but I won’t make any promises! If you were hugely disappointed in the lack of positive thinking stuff fear not! Here’s Gem Newman’s take on Startled Disbelief:

Alright now I’m going back to feeling sorry for myself. Hope to be back soon!

Rufus Wainwright’s Atheist Christmas

I happened to turn on the TV to This Hour Has 22 Minutes just as this came on:

Merry Saturday Night, atheists!

PS: Woohoo I can embed videos now!

PPS: Aw it’s been a long time since I’ve watched 22 Minutesmemories!

A Couple of Quick Notes

I just thought I’d point you in the direction of a couple of additions I made to the right side-bar. There’s a button now where you can subscribe to my posts – so if you want to be emailed every time I post go ahead and sign up! My current tally of only 5 subscribers makes me sad, but maybe that number will go up now that it’s convenient! Maybe! A girl can dream 🙂

Also, there’s this awesome thing towards the bottom of the side-bar that counts the amount of people that have vistited from different countries. I just added it in July so it’s only been counting visits since then, but still there have been some people visiting from interesting places. I wish they would comment! I mean, yesterday somebody visited here from Angola, how cool is that? There have been visits here from 122 different countries – this is why I love the internet.

How Can Women Stay Catholic?

I’m sorry about the rare posting lately, July has proven to be a crazy month. I bought a house so I’m packing up the apartment, looking for new tenants for our old place, I’m also in a wedding party for a wedding next week, going camping with the fam soon and getting ready for a trip to Europe next month. So I think I’m excused for my poor attendance on my blog lately!

What prompted me to write today was a post on Friendly Atheist. You may have heard about this recent news out of the Catholic Church:

The Vatican today made the “attempted ordination” of women one of the gravest crimes under church law, putting it in the same category as clerical sex abuse of minors, heresy and schism.

The new rules, which have been sent to bishops around the world, apply equally to Catholic women who agree to a ceremony of ordination and to the bishop who conducts it. Both would be excommunicated. Since the Vatican does not accept that women can become priests, it does not recognise the outcome of any such ceremony.

I want to talk about the question (more like a questatement) that Hemant Mehta posed on his blog post in regards to this news:  “I really want to know why any self-respecting women would remain in a Church that treats them so poorly.”

It’s an interesting thing to think about, and I’m sure a lot of atheists would have a hard time seeing why any person would remain in the Catholic Church even before these new rules came out. I know I express all the time my incredulity at anyone who stays in any religion. But really, for most of my life I was religious, and there are billions of people out there who have no problem belonging to religions that tell them they’re worthless without their god of choice.

So why is it that people will go on believing in a religion that has so little respect for them?

Here’s the comment I posted on the Friendly Atheist post:

When I was a Catholic I accepted that as a woman I was inherently inferior to men due to Eve’s mistake. Stupid, I know…but if other Catholic women think like I did then they’re not self-respecting women, so the Church’s declaration would probably just be swallowed like all the other bullshit the Church dishes out.

I want to elaborate a little on that because it got me thinking back into the mindset I had when I had no problem accepting such a harsh doctrine.

Growing up my parents never pigeonholed us into gender roles. My brother played with Barbies and I played with Hot Wheels and they never discouraged us from doing non-girly or non-boyish things. So where did this idea come from that I’m inherently inferior to men? I think it started when I was in highschool and I became friends with a couple of evangelical Christians. We had our spares together, and my friend would bring her Bible and we would discuss various topics of interest to Christians. I only had a passive interest in my Bible until she started telling me about this and that inspirational story, and that’s when I started really looking at the thing (of course I looked selectively like a true Christian would, see the post on my childhood Bible).

I think that once you allow yourself to be immersed in the culture of Christianity it’s only natural to start to believe things like abortion is always wrong, homosexuality is a sin, women should stay in their place, etc. I believed that the Bible was true, and I believed that God was good and loving. I also bought into that crap about humans being sinners who need to repent. I believed that all humans had to pay for the mistakes of Adam and Eve, and somehow it didn’t cross my mind that God was at fault for putting the apple in the garden to begin with. And of course, I believed that Jesus would save me from my sinful ways.

I remember once telling someone…I can’t remember who it was, or what we were discussing…I think I was telling someone why I believed feminism is stupid, and my reasoning was Eve ate the apple and that’s why women have the joy of menstruation and that’s why our job is to serve men. Women have to pay for her mistake, too bad, so sad. I have no idea if that’s really what the Bible said, but it was enough that it seemed like something that the Bible would say, because it was nice to have a pat answer.

Christianity was easy. It had black and white responses for almost everything. Rather than delving into the complicated ethics of abortion, I could just refer back to “thou shalt not kill.” I think that’s a large part of what drew me to the religion. I thought I had all the answers, and I felt like I was in on the secret to everlasting life in heaven. It’s a nice feeling provided your thoughts don’t drift to those poor souls who haven’t heard the good news.

Okay I’d better get back to the topic, which is why Catholic women stay in a church that treats them like second-class citizens. When you’re a part of a church you generally buy into the idea that you’re a sinner, and that this church has the answers you need to gain entry to heaven. The problems that exist in the world are caused by the evils of humans rather than of God. You trust the church leaders because they speak with authority, they’ve studied the religion all their lives, they must know what God wants you to do.

Once you’ve accepted this then it’s in your best interest to act how your church wants you to act. When I went to church on a regular basis with my family, I revered our priest. I felt like when he shook my hand or handed me the sacrament that I was getting a special gift from a holy person. I trusted that what he taught was the truth, and I thought that all churches were probably like mine because what I was being taught just seemed to make sense.

It’s hard for outsiders to see why someone would associate themselves with an organization that, it seems, is always in the news for the horrible things it says and does. But when you’re indoctrinated to believe that you’re a worthless sinner, you don’t have self-respect, and you go along with what the Church wants you to do because that’s the way to be saved from your horrible self. Although it may seem from the outside that women shouldn’t belong to an organization that has so little respect for them, that’s just the harsh reality that the believer accepts. You believe that the Church has your best interests at heart, and that when they say something like “the ordination of women is a crime,” they’re really just trying to save the souls of would-be female priests.

A Chart Explaining Intelligent Design has a funny article about intelligent design logic, I especially love this chart:

The Struck By Enlightning Guide to Skeptical Podcasts

In case you haven’t noticed, I have a new page! I love podcasts, and skeptical podcasts have helped shape my critical thinking skills. So since I have become acquainted with so many podcasts I thought I would write up a guide for those who don’t have time to listen to a million podcasts, and want to narrow down their options.

So please click here to visit that page. Keep in mind it’s an ongoing project, so I have many more that I still need to review. But if you have a podcast to recommend for my review on the topic of science/skepticism I’d be happy to subscribe to it and add it to my to do list.

Abortion – the Reality Show

This is an interesting idea…a reality show (BUMP) that follows three women with unwanted pregnancies as they decide whether or not to keep the baby. And viewers get to decide what they do.

If you’re disgusted don’t worry, it’s all done with actors, and it’s simply a way to open up dialogue on what people go through when making a decision about getting an abortion:

BUMP+ The Experiment is an attempt to determine whether story can succeed where nearly four decades of angry rhetoric and political posturing have failed.

Inspired by President Obama’s call to people on both sides of the abortion debate to open the lines of communication and find workable solutions to the problem of unintended pregnancies, Yellow Line Studio is starting that conversation inside the safety zone of a fictional world based on real life situations.

Is our society willing to give it a try? How authentic are these characters? And how serious are we about an open, honest exploration of this controversial topic?

You tell us. Please.

The BUMP pilot premieres January 22, 2010. We can’t predict how it will end because we’re waiting for your input to finish the upcoming episodes.

That’s right – their choice is up to you.

Full disclosure: we’re thinking outside the ballot box here. (Real life isn’t that simple; and, besides, haven’t we all had enough of politics clouding this complicated issue?) We’ll be crafting the episodes to reflect the ongoing discussion on our website boards, so sign in and start talking. We can’t have a conversation by ourselves. Please be kind, though; and remember that we’ve already heard every argument on both sides. In this forum, we’re looking for authentic stories, honest communication, and – hopefully – a continuing dialog. We may even incorporate your experiences into future episodes; but no matter what, you have our promise that your feedback will determine the final decisions for our characters.

Watch the episodes. Share your story. Join the conversation. Their choice is (really) up to you.

I think this is brilliant. The show is going to be shaped by peoples’ real experiences with abortion, and hopefully it will give anti-abortionists some insight into what women considering abortion as an option really go through.

The pilot and the first episode are up here.

Do you think show is a good idea?

add to Digg it add to ma.gnolia Stumble It!

Haiti – How You Can Help

In case you’ve been living under a rock, Haiti has suffered an extremely devastating earthquake, and they desperately need your help.

If you want to do something to help, here are some charities that need your donations:

Doctors Without Borders


Yele Haiti

The Red Cross: USA, Canada

The Charity Navigator has tips for deciding who to give your money too, and efficiency ratings for charities. Make sure you read this!!

And lastly, the Foundation Beyond Belief tells you which charities to avoid (ones that focus more on proselytizing than on helping), and which ones are more secular.

There are also several ways to donate via text message. Check your local news to find out what the options are for your area.

My Reading List (New Page)

I added a new page to my blog…my reading list!

Here’s the intro text from that page, (or you can just click here to go to the page):

I decided that it might be fun to share my reading list. I love books and I have a huge stack lined up to read, so I’ve just made a quick list for now and I’ll update it as I find the time.

Please feel free to make recommendations or to discuss any of the books I’ve read in the comments below.

Oh, I should add, I won’t be buying any books on faith, theology, apologetics, etc. (unless they’re the skeptical kind). I find those kind of books incredibly tedious, so don’t bother recommending those. But if anyone wants to send me one then I’ll put it to the top of my reading list and blog about it extensively 🙂

I can’t wait to hear your recommendations!

On Death

I try to act all zen about death, but in all honesty it just sucks.

My husband’s family suffered a tragic loss, a loss that came far to early, this Christmas.

And you know what? It’s absolute shit.

It’s shit that her loved ones have to suffer the loss, it’s shit that her smile won’t light up any more rooms, it’s shit that she won’t get to do all of the things she was so excited about.

I hardly knew her, I only saw her once or twice per year, but that doesn’t make her death any less tragic. I can’t imagine the nightmare the people close to her are going through right now.

I have to stretch really hard to think of anything positive that can come out of this, and I don’t want to. She should be alive right now and it’s unfair that she’s not.

Death sucks.

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