something to ponder on the fourth of july

Which of the following is more inclusive and better represents the ideals of maximum freedom as outlined in the US constitution? (h/t)

I pledge allegiance to the flag of the United States of America, and to the republic for which it stands, one nation under God, indivisible, with liberty and justice for all. I pledge allegiance to the flag of the United States of America, and to the republic for which it stands, one nation under the gods, indivisible, with liberty and justice for all. I pledge allegiance to the flag of the United States of America, and to the republic for which it stands, one nation under no God or gods, indivisible, with liberty and justice for all. I pledge allegiance to the flag of the United States of America, and to the republic for which it stands; one nation indivisible with liberty and justice for all.
Interjects that the person must adhere to a monotheistic belief system. Interjects that the person must adhere to a polytheistic belief system. Interjects that the person must not adhere to any theistic belief system. Does not interject any presuppositions about religion. The person is free to believe whatever they want.

Happy Independence Day, y’all. As the German philosopher Friedrich Nietzsche said, “The individual has always had to struggle to keep from being overwhelmed by the tribe. If you try it, you will be lonely often, and sometimes frightened. But no price is too high to pay for the privilege of owning yourself.”

I invite you to read that quote 1nce more. Have fun today. 🙂

thanksgiving heretic

this question was posed on the skepchic blog:

When you spend time with your family (direct or distant) for the holidays, do you have to temporarily change anything about yourself, skeptical, religious or otherwise?  Do you find yourself acting differently either for the sake of harmony or simply because that’s how you’ve always related to them (no pun intended)?  Is that good or bad?

yesterday was thanksgiving, and thus i was around much of my family. running late for dinner, i threw on a shirt out the door we fly to mom and dad’s.

i did not read what was written on my random shirt, however:

Rebel of Faith

it’s a cool-looking t.- a slim-you-down black, painted with those ruby-red heretic words. problem is, the ruby red caught everyone’s eyes. first was my dear 80-year old mormon grandmother’s. her eyes were better than i had imagined: “rebel of faith?”, she inquired.

“yes, it means rebel FOR faith”. i quickly responded. i was lying, and i was proud of my apostasy, but not to my grandma. not when she has lived a long life FOR faith. so deep was her belief in her holy fairy tale for all of these years that the very neurons and connections in her mind can never again be unwoven. critical thinking and skepticism will not squeeze through the plaque and cholesterol polluting her mind’s neural tubes.

it’s over. SHE’s almost over. i say go with the flow. leave her happy. let her leave happy. when i noticed i had an extra shirt in the car, i changed it for her. and by the look on my mom’s face, i could see she felt relieved as well.

it was just a random shirt from my closet, without any agenda meant by me. i am proud of my heresy, and proud to be a “rebel of faith”, but thanksgiving this year was of a much higher quality leaving religion aside and focusing on family.

[here are some great links on thanksgiving]:

Happy Chrismahanukkwanzakuhsolsticemas!

Christmas this year was a ton of fun. last year i was in hawaii and the vacation-side of our hawaii trip was incredible, the holiday-side wasn’t so great. i had a couple of siblings who never wanted to leave the condo to go to the beach, go on hikes or do anything, and this caused some contention between us (our parents had spent a lot of money on the trip).

this year has been great, though. i feel the “christmas spirit”, i got a few days off of work to be with my family, cuddled as a family in bed this morning and will be surrounded by loved ones today. yesterday i spent the day last-minute shopping at our two local malls with all of my brothers and sisters and best friend. my grandma and my parents visited our new apartment. we hid the coffee-maker. my dad had a very special holiday-rant about “his amazing god-made heart and how his man-made mechanical valve (which is sustaining his life right now) just doesn’t compare to god’s marvelous creations (which didn’t last sixty years of human wear and tear). i thought it was incredible to see someone knock the very thing that saved his life- science. in the room there were also two survivors of surgery and one cancer survivor as well. we all owed our life to science. a hundred years or so ago we’d all have been dead. that was the norm for thousands of years now, was to expect a short lifespan- even with religious prayer and blessings being commonplace. life-expectancy didn’t change until science changed it.

our daughter has been so sweet this holiday season. she’s 7, and whenever anyone asks her what she wants for christmas, she says “just love”. she’s really sweet. no, i don’t think she’s deprived of love from her parents, haha, it probably has something to do with the fact that she just recently had a b’day full of presents and that her room is already overflowing with toys from us, her grandparents and her aunts and uncles. she’s borederline spoiled. but that’s what she always says is that she just wants love. very cute and mature, i think. she said she’s the only one in her class that said that to her teacher, too. “another boy said he wanted the whole world”, she told us later. whenever she asks about the existence of santa i let her think it out for herself. she usually ends up doubting but i can tell she likes to “play along” in the tradition like most kids do.

so i’m very thankful that this year was a good one for me and my family and i look forward to having this special time allotted culturally to be able to be with my loved ones. i also look forward to making some goals for the new year, and celebrating the holidays with some good parties.

to all my friends out there- MERRY CHRISTMAS!

…and remember to relax…christmas is fun! it doesn’t have to be true just like halloween doesn’t have to be true We don’t have to believe in a thing to like it.

and now for some skeptical links for christmas: Continue reading