I saw Darrel speak a couple of years ago when his book The God Virus had just come out. It’s a pretty good book and definitely a good metaphor, even if I think the metaphor is a little stretched in places. Either way, Darrel is a good speaker and it should be a really interesting talk!
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Conclusions: This study confirms the importance of the foreskin for penile sensitivity, overall sexual satisfaction, and penile functioning. Furthermore, this study shows that a higher percentage of circumcised men experience discomfort or pain and unusual sensations as compared with the uncircumcised population. Before circumcision without medical indication, adult men, and parents considering circumcision of their sons, should be informed of the importance of the foreskin in male sexuality.
Conclusions: Circumcision was associated with frequent orgasm difficulties in Danish men and with a range of frequent sexual difficulties in women, notably orgasm difficulties, dyspareunia and a sense of incomplete sexual needs fulfilment. Thorough examination of these matters in areas where male circumcision is more common is warranted. (link)
Of course, male genital mutilation was in the news last fall after it was found that Rabbis were fellating freshly mutiliated babies and some of these were getting herpes and dying. The rabbis protested that it was their “freedom of religion” to fellate these young boys they’ve just mutilated. I think that freedom of religion stops at the point where it involves mutilation of the human body, including both male and female genital mutilation, and sexual abuse of children, including the fellating of freshly mutilated boys by rabbis.
I fully and emphatically support bans on all genital mutilation (with the exception of only medically necessary mutilation and only to the extent to restore proper function) for anyone who is a legal minor, like in Germany. Circumcision without medical necessity is immoral and it should be illegal to mutilate your child, especially when the only end is to placate an imaginary friend in the sky.
Apparently during the Super Bowl (I say apparently because I don’t care about sports and didn’t watch it) there was a commercial for Atheism:
[UPDATE - apparently this was a video for scientology (another nonsense religon) that someone edited to be for atheism.]
I think it’s great that religion is losing it’s grip on people and fading away. I sincerely think that faith is the single most evil thing ever thought by humans.
Another example of the fading away of religion is “Atheist Churches” that attempt to salvage the good parts of organized religion with the irrationality of religion. There is a great value in gathering together in friendly groups to enjoy each other’s company, to learn and think with each other, and to experience a sense of community and belonging. After all, we are, as Aristotle says, political animals (he means “social”).
Although I applaud these efforts, one major problem still remains: atheism is the lack of a belief. As I argue in “The Irrationality of Atheism,” being an “atheist” just means you don’t believe in a god. It is not itself a belief. The problem with this, as I argue in “Shattered Illusions,” is that atheism is a cognitive void. People can’t just lack beliefs, they need to believe in something. This is one reason why when we, as Objectivists, argue against religion, we must do so in a positive way that replaces that anti-life ideas of religion with pro-life ideas and values that will help people live good and happy lives. This point can’t be stressed too much and is the same point I made in “Inspirational Philosophy“:
If we don’t take a positive tack, if we don’t take the moral high-ground and argue on moral terms, if we merely attack and never build, then we lose. In order to win, to truly win, an argument or a culture, you must present positive reasons why your course of action is the better one, how it is the moral one, and give people something to believe in and to fight for.
In order to win the world, you must give people a morality worth living for: you must help them find meaning.
Ultimately, I’m glad “atheism” is growing, but we need to exploit this while it’s happening and show people that they can still have moral and meaningful lives without religion and its antiquated morality.
I remember September 11th, 2001. I was a senior in high school. It was early morning on the East coast and I had just gotten to Government class. Someone rushed into the room saying that “a plane had flown into a building in New York.” We, the class and teacher, were incredulous that something like that could happen, so we turned on the TV that was in the room and watched the fires burn after the first crash. Then I watched live as the second plane slammed into the second tower. We were all…I’m not sure I can even put it into words. A great tragedy was unfolding before our eyes and as the second plane hit, it was clear it was no accident. We watched the worst attack on US soil in more than 200 years unfold before our eyes and we all sat there silently, shocked by what was happening on the news.
I remember it all too clearly and how I felt that day, the day I saw America and all that she stood for attacked.
I am still shocked today, not so much by the attack, but by what we have failed to learn from it. On September 11th, we were not attacked by “terrorists”. On September 11th, we were not attacked by just Islamists. On September 11th 2011, the ideals of a secular America came head to head with the ideals of religion. It is not terrorism or just Islam that is our enemy, it is religion at its very core.
September 11th is one more instance in a long battle between those who believe in reason and this world and those who believe in faith, magic, and other worlds. Reason and faith are incompatible and completely hostile to each other: it is either/or. Either you believe that men are free to live their own lives, pursue their own happiness, and achieve their own values in a world that is real; or you believe in magic, mysticism, talking father figures in they sky, and any other nonsense you can come up with about golden plates in New York or aliens on interstellar 747′s. You can either have civilization and reason or the barbarism of religion. You cannot not have it both ways. Religion is irrationality through and through and irrationality is poison to the mind. You must purge yourself of the poison of religion. You must see it for the threat that it is in all its instances and you must fight against it.
On this September 11th, commit yourself to the purity of reason and renounce all forms of irrationality and faith so that we don’t have to watch the rest of civilization fall as we watched the twin towers fall.
One of the things I hate most about christianity, and there is oh so much I hate about it, is the christian propensity to find offense in everything they don’t like and to feel indignation when they are rebuffed: their feeling that they are always right and everyone else is always wrong. This is exemplified by the case of Dan Savage a week or so ago who rightly criticized christians for attacking gays and gay rights, because of the supposed biblical basis for this, while ignoring the rest of the craziness in the bible. In short, for the complete lack of any integrity that christians demonstrate when they pick and choose from among their god’s completely true and without error book of revelations.
Savage’s speech, at a 3,000-student gathering of young journalists in Seattle, linked bullying of gay kids with biblical denunciations of homosexuality. Savage, noting the Bible also banned masturbation and the eating of shellfish, said, “We ignore the bullshit in the Bible about all sorts of things.”
In the speech, Savage, citing Sam Harris’ “Letter to a Christian Nation,” said the Bible gave instructions about how to treat slaves. If the Bible erred “on the easiest moral question that humanity has ever faced … What are the odds that the Bible got something as complicated as human sexuality wrong? 100 percent,” said Savage. (LINK)
If there really was a god and I actually believed it, you can be damned sure I wouldn’t violate a single sentence of a book of his revelation. Of course, it’s just a fantasy, so I don’t have to worry about it. But you think that people who did believe in it would be more serious about reading such an important book and living by it every moment of every day.
I think it’s funny how many christians don’t know the origins of most of the easter symbols. Why, for example, are bunnies and eggs associated with zombies? The answer, of course, is the early christians adopted the pagan symbols for fertility: rabbits that multiply quickly and eggs that are the symbol of life about to begin. This is because the pagans respected nature and tried to stay in tune with it and in the Spring, animals begin to reproduce so that their young can be born under conditions that make it much more likely they will survive and be ready to face the winter. The christians, however, perverted these natural symbols and stripped them of all meaning, such that now there are bunnies, eggs, and zombies, but no apparent connection between them. Thus, does christianity pervert all that it touches.
I think that this Spring we should forget about the zombies and celebrate fertility by reflecting on the role of sexuality in our lives. I think we should celebrate reproduction by thanking our parents and grandparents, if they’re still alive, and appreciating our children, if we have any. I think that we should remember that we are animals, a very special kind, to be sure, but animals nonetheless and we should not rail against this fact of nature, but embrace it and our animality. In short, we should do away with christian mythology and celebrate our lives and our sexuality.