Posts Tagged ‘god’


Praying for a Bailout

by PinPonPun in Atheism, Church and State, Politics, Ponderings

The automotive industry is in trouble and it appears that a bailout plan may be decided upon by the end of today.

Surely the Rev. Charles Ellis at Detroit’s Greater Grace Temple will believe that his actions yesterday were directly responsible for it as the congregation at one of Detroit’s largest choices gathered to ask God to have Congress deliver such a bailout. They actually had SUVs at the alter, as described in the Reuters article “SUVs at altar, Detroit church prays for a bailout” –

Local car dealerships donated three hybrid SUVs to be displayed during the service, one from each of the Big Three. A Ford Escape, Chevy Tahoe from GM and a Chrysler Aspen were parked just in front of the choir and behind the pulpit.

Ellis said he and other Detroit ministers would pray and fast until Congress voted on a bailout for Detroit’s embattled automakers. He urged his congregation to do the same.

How would praying and fasting accomplish help turn a Congressional vote, you might wonder? Well, apparently:

“It’s all about hope. You can’t dictate how people will think, how they will respond, how they will vote,” Ellis said after the service. “But you can look to God. We believe he can change the minds and hearts of men and women in power, and that’s what we tried to do today.”

I’m sure that, were there a God, he’d have better things to do than to monitor the United States’ Congressional decisions on the state of the automotive industry. Just a guess.

It amazes me sometimes what people think prayer can accomplish and the role they figure God will play directly in their lives.

UPDATE: The New York Times has an article as well, complete with photographs of the SUVs, adding this quote:

“We have done all that we can do in this union, so I turn it over to the Lord,” General Holiefield, a U.A.W. vice president for Chrysler, told the crowd. A vice president for the parts suppliers, James Settles Jr., asked those present “to continue your prayers, so we can see a miracle next week.”

Obviously we are a Christian nation if our Congress can create miracles! I wonder how Pete Stark feels about that?


Things Atheists Hate #2: Using Religion to Justify Racism

by PinPonPun in Atheism, Church and State, Politics, Things Atheists Hate

I’m really at a loss of words, sometimes, when I read articles like this one on The New York Times website. Really, with quotes like this it’s difficult to believe that were are in the year 2008:

“He’s neither-nor,” said Ricky Thompson, a pipe fitter who works at a factory north of Mobile, while standing in the parking lot of a Wal-Mart store just north of here. “He’s other. It’s in the Bible. Come as one. Don’t create other breeds.”

Or this:

“I would think of him as I would of another of mixed race,” said Glenn Reynolds, 74, a retired textile worker in Martinsdale, Va., and a former supervisor at a Goodyear plant. “God taught the children of Israel not to intermarry. You should be proud of what you are, and not intermarry.”

Or even this:

“He’s going to tear up the rose bushes and plant a watermelon patch,” said James Halsey, chuckling, while standing in the Wal-Mart parking lot with fellow workers in the environmental cleanup business. “I just don’t think we’ll ever have a black president.”

Why does it not shock me that these people were all found in a Wal-Mart parking lot? At least I know now that my fears of that mega-goliath shopping mecca are well founded.

One of the troubles I’ve had with reconciling religion, specifically Christianity, are its inherent contradictions. The Christian bible tells us that Jesus preached to “Love Thy Neighbor” — are the quotes above truly indicative of the love Jesus told his followers to exhibit?

Or have we simply regressed to earlier part of the 19th Century where prejudice was the norm and not only expected, but encouraged and fostered by our Judeo-Christian moral belief system?

This post is part of a semi-regular series of posts called Things Atheists Hate focusing on things atheists face each and every day that frustrate them, that anger them, and that cause them all sorts of annoyance.


One god for…….

by PinPonPun in Miscellany, Personal


One God For Al

Is it wrong that I want this car to be driven by Weird Al?

(picture provided by my friend C. — Thanks!)


Things Atheists Hate #1: Media Coverage of Polls

by PinPonPun in Atheism, Ponderings, Things Atheists Hate

The recent US Religious Landscape Survey featured some fascinating data about the religious make-up of the American populace, but the biggest number to come out of the survey was the infamous “21% of atheists believe in God” that stirred up quite a bit of discussion on the internet and in the media. Everyone had something to say about this stat; many found humor in the fact. 

Some posited that this indicated atheism was becoming more of a cultural designation as opposed to a theological statement; others thought atheists must simply be confused about what atheism really means. But everyone mentioned that same seemingly absurd phrase — “21% of atheists believe in God.”

Most people, however, simply repeated the quote as they found it in the media; few took the time to actually examine the poll question itself being referenced. As someone who previously worked for a firm that did considerable amounts of political polling, I was curious; when forming a poll, the particular phrasing of a question can easily sway or alter the poll results and it seemed odd to me that self-identified atheists, when asked “Do you believe in god?” would answer in the affirmative.

So imagine my surprise when I found that the actual question was:

Do you believe in God or a universal spirit? [IF YES, ASK:] How certain are you about this belief? Are you absolutely certain, fairly certain, not too certain, or not at all certain?

That wording shows that the oft-quoted phrase should actually be “21% of atheists believe in God or a universal spirit” — a statement with a potentially different meaning, especially depending on one’s personal interpretation of what a “universal spirit” is. Baruch Spinoza might have argued that he believed in a “universal spirit” despite not believing in any sense of personal or self-aware god; Albert Einstein might identify himself as an atheist and yet make the same claim,

In fact, there is a whole movement of “spiritual atheists” — those that do not believe in any god or gods but do believe in the possibility of either individual spirits or a universal one.

Yet still, the 21% number is bandied about further reinforcing ill-informed public opinion on the nature of atheism and providing those that already view atheists so negatively with another piece of faulty evidence they can use to support their theistic worldview. 

Atheists hate faulty evidence.