I am an atheist, and I am responsible for many things.
As an atheist, I am responsible for promoting the pursuit of truth. I am neither bound by ideology nor held hostage by dogmata, but rather speak in the simple manner of a child. "Why?" A favorite phrase of 3-year-olds is the underlying question of Atheism. When the answer is, "Because I (or God, or Allah) said so . . ." the discussion ends.
Often forgotten are the elementary rules of logic:
1. Extraordinary claims require extraordinary evidence.
2. That which can be asserted without evidence can also be dismissed without evidence.
As an atheist physician, I am responsible for your life. Once again, anyone who comes to me and is injured or ill owes a debt of gratitude to those before us who were not afraid to ask, "Why?" Your ability to survive a heart attack or a fall from your treestand are all much greater today due to the scientific methods of Medicine.
As an atheist American, I am responsible for protecting the Constitution. The United States of America was formed as a secular union. The Establishment Clause of the First Amendment forbids the preference of one religion over another, or religion over non-religion. Our founding fathers could not have been more clear.
As an atheist father, I am responsible to love. My ability to do so is augmented by the fact that I am not encumbered with the guilt and shame inherent in the doctrine of religion. The practice of disowning one's offspring seems to be a primarily religious exercise. How sad and patently ridiculous.
I will continue to urge my children to ask "Why?" What will you do?
Patrick Carey, M.D.
What good comes out of smoking?
I am writing this on behalf of the millions of people who have died from smoking. In our country, we have copious laws to prevent accidents and death from occurring. Speed limits are set to keep car accidents from happening and blaze orange is to be worn during hunting season to ensure a safe hunt. If our society is working hard to enforce these laws, then why wouldn't they abolish something that is harming people of all ages?
There are a large number of tobacco farmers in the United States today. According to "Truth about Trade and Technology," a nonprofit advocacy group led by American farmers, there are 355,000 acres of land that are being cultivated for tobacco, which would mean doing away with this drug would economically effect these farmers who make a living on selling this crop Although eliminating tobacco and cigarettes will be no walk in the park, our society should, however, take a step forward and try to reduce this drug to make for a healthier future because it could save many lives of people and help better our society. One law that could be made is for all smokers to only be allowed to smoke on their properties, banishing all public smoking.
In my opinion, there isn't a good reason for having cigarettes. It is unethical to keep selling a product that has the power to kill smokers or the non smokers around them. My final question: Can anyone tell me what good comes out of smoking?
Christmas, Huckabee and customs
Once again the annual Christian ritual "The Slaughter of the Little Trees" is upon us. I read once somewhere this is an old pagan ritual.
The Christians had no traditions of their own yet, as Christianity was quite new. In order to fit in and not appear as outsiders or insurgents, they participated in and eventually adopted many pagan traditions, including Christmas (no one really knows exactly when Jesus Christ was born, and there was an existing pagan holiday around Dec. 25. Likewise for Easter and Halloween.)
Many people today are adapting to the ubiquitous "Christmas," by cutting down trees, acting holy and peaceful, and generally blending in. However, as the Christians slowly stole and changed the pagan holidays for their own use, others are secretly doing the same for Christianity now. One day Jesus will barely be mentioned, but instead great homage will be paid to a dual god system, probably Master and Visa. (As Mighty George says, "Don't be afraid to shop.")
I just heard a talk radio rant-ist going ballistic over people using the term "holidays' instead of 'Christmas.". He said he would use Christmas with an "in your face" manner, stating he would force Mr. Christ on others whether they liked it or not. It seems like a sure way to kill Christianity in the long run.
The ruckus and pushing never stops. People are arguing over the Mike Huckabee ad, cleverly showing a cross moving across the background. Although not offensive to me, it is distracting, so I can't believe it was unintentional. Religion shouldn't be a part of politics, but that's his "faith".
It brings to mind a question I was asked long ago, when I was a Christian: what if Jesus had been hung instead of crucified? Would millions display hangman's nooses today?
Christmas spirit is like snowflakes
It is Christmas day and I sit here at my desk watching a few snowflakes slip, sliding to earth. They float on their downward journey as if gravity itself has no influence on them whatsoever. For a few brief seconds they have an identity, a shape and a beauty all their own. They twist and turn showing off their beauty and their new found acrobatic skills. Then suddenly they reach their destination, and are silently absorbed and lost into the mounds of those that have gone before them, and now they cease to exist, gone for all eternity.
The spirit of Christmas that held me in its grasp for these few short and busy days is also fading away for another year. The gifts have been exchanged and the recipients have gone back to their busy lives in a flurry of hugs, kisses, and well wishes. The cookie tray has been picked over for the last time. The tree is bare, empty, and unlit. The Christmas carols that still flow from the radio are now just a subtle reminder of another Christmas past, and they too will soon fade away for another year.
Tomorrow people will get on with their busy lives once more. They will be a little richer for the fellowship they found this Christmas, but it too will pass and the troubles of a weary world will settle back into minds that for a few brief moments had found peace, love, and happiness. It's almost as if the spirit of Christmas that lived in us so briefly, can only exist in us for this short and concise time, and then like the snowflake that lived so briefly and fell, it too is dissolved and gets lost in the clutter.
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