Monday, December 12, 2011
Shall Every Knee Bow?
Billy Graham put the point below vividly. He said that there is a "God shaped hole" in people. I think there is. I was very religious in my teens and still find religion moving even though I am the most utter atheist intellectually. And I did send my son to a church school
It seems to me that we evolved to be religious as a way of coping with life at a time when life was nasty, brutish and short -- JR
By Rich Kozlovich
There was an article that I came across today that states, “Many atheist scientists take their kids to church”! The article went on to say that; “about one in five atheist scientists with children involve their families with religious institutions even if they do not agree with the teachings, according to a study done by Rice University and the University at Buffalo.” The article pointed out that “The findings surrounding atheists shouldn't be too surprising, since the Pew Forum Religious Survey taken back in 2008 that showed 21 percent of self-described atheists responded that they believe in God.”
Does everyone really find this to be extraordinary? Anthropologists have noted that in every culture in the world, and in all of human history, religion has played an important role in people’s lives. There was one prominent atheist, Antony Flew who claimed at the end of his life that he was now a believer. Why? Is it true ‘there are no atheists in foxholes’? Of course the explanation was the he had lost his mind. Even Albert Einstein, who was not a religious person in any sense and absolutely rejected the idea of a personal God, rejected the idea of atheism.
For the believers among my readers the explanation is simple; we are designed to believe. For the unbelievers among my readers the explanation is simple also. There is no other logical explanation!
Believing takes on many forms. For some it has to do with a higher power. For others it can take on the worship of oneself and for others it can take on the worship of some philosophy or other; but we all seem to have the desire to look to some higher explanation for existence and human existence in particular. But one thing seems clear; ‘believing’ is inherent to our genetic code. Otherwise how can anyone explain why so many have believed so much over so long a time of human history in so many different cultures? Of course, the problem for the unbelievers among my readers with this explanation is that they would then have to explain how that genetic code was designed in that manner…or designed at all for that matter…. if there is no higher power.
I do find it fascinating how some can believe that Intelligent Design is “a pig that won’t fly”! The design is so complicated that it defies explanation how infinitely small mutations over millions or billions of years could bring us to what we are now. Whether one disagrees or agrees with evolution, I question how anyone can say that there is no designer. Some feel that an intelligent designer used evolution. Some feel evolution is a mistake constantly making more mistakes and changing everything all the time all by accident. I wonder how anyone can explain how this can happen by accident and develop successful organisms since "geneticists estimate that 99 out of 100 mutations are harmful, and about 20 out of the 99 are lethal."
I also have to wonder how any organism could “know” which mutations were beneficial over a million years or so since the complexity of the design would require some kind of organizational planning. Take a woman’s monthly cycle. It is amazingly complex! The right amount of chemicals, hormones and enzymes would have to come into play in exactly the right sequence of time in order to finish the cycle. However, if a woman becomes pregnant during the cycle another whole set of chemical conditions would come into play. How could any organism "know" how to plan for two diametrically opposing end results? Remembering that there are untold species in the world that have cycles unique to themselves. That means that this would have to be done an incalculable number of times in an incalculable number of organisms. We are to believe that this happens through a series of positive accidents that would overcome all of these deadly accidents! Isn't that a form of belief, i.e. faith? It does seem to defy logic...or science as it were!
How would an organism know what chemicals to develop over millions of years? How did the organism know that hormones and enzymes were needed and how did the organism know how to organize them? How did the organism know which chemicals would work harmoniously together and how did the organism know what the conclusion would be afterward without some sort of plan?
Which brings me back to the beginning! If life started in the ocean in some chemical rich soup, through some accidental electrical discharge, how did that cell, or group of cells replicate themselves? Evolutionally thought would require millions of years of mutations before the next step to propagation would come into being. If that is so; how did they replicate? Wouldn’t the presumption be that these cells already had an amazingly complex chemical make-up that would create an end result? If so; doesn’t that imply planning and design? Doesn’t planning and design require intelligence?
I find it interesting that many of the people I respect, communicate with and read regularly are atheists. Funny thing is that I find I enjoy their commentaries. They have a keen understanding science and are only interested in the truth and are willing to follow it wherever it leads. Why is it that so many really bright and courageous people are unwilling to believe?
I can understand anyone’s reason for not subscribing to any religious group. The sanguinary history of the world’s religions has not done much to inspire confidence over human history. So I can understand someone being un-religious, and I can understand why someone would believe that there may be a higher power that doesn’t interfere in the lives of humanity. I can understand why people might not be sure and proclaim to be agnostic…although I consider that to be pragmatic atheism. What I can’t understand is how anyone cannot believe that there must be a planner behind this phenomenally complex reality we call....existence!
Never, in the history of Britain, has the fact that Belgium is 30 miles away mattered less
I think Britain should leave the EU and join NAFTA instead. I am sure they would find Americans and Canadians a whole heap easier to deal with. A similar language and legal system is a heck of a good start. And airfares between London and New York are very reasonable these days. Lots of Brits shop in NYC anyway -- JR
At last a British Prime Minister has done it. Finally, a leader has been prepared to put the national interest first and say 'no'. The taboo has been broken. David Cameron's refusal to sign us up to any new European treaty could have profound consequences.
It leaves the rest of Euroland free to forge ahead on fiscal fusion – a common tax policy, single economic policy, and ultimately a single government. As early as March, most of the new Euroland's laws will be made in Brussels and economic rules in Frankfurt.
But Britain need no longer be part of it. Instead of Britain leaving the European Union, this week's events raise the intriguing possibility that the rest of Europe might quit instead – leaving us bound together by a trade arrangement, and not much else.
'But we'll be isolated!' howl the Europhiles. Predictably, the BBC has spent the past couple of days grimly warning that Britain is now heading for the sidelines.
The same clownish commentators who a decade ago told us that we were 'little Englanders' for not wanting to join the euro have taken to the airwaves to say much the same again. There is, insist the advocates for everything European, a danger that we will be shut out, cast adrift in a hostile, friendless world.
Listening to such claims, I wonder how the Europhiles imagine that this country ever rose to global prominence in the first place? It was precisely when our leaders started to say 'no' to entanglement in endless European imbroglios that this small island off the north-west coast of Europe became a global economic and commercial powerhouse. Far from being fearful of detaching ourselves from Europe, doing so might allow us to resume the role we successfully played for centuries.
Almost 500 years ago, Henry VIII was even more intransigent in his European negotiations than David Cameron. He did not just take on the leader of France, and the then grand continental elites. He repudiated the entire idea of Papal supremacy. The breach that followed was not simply a matter of theology – or of his trouble with wives. It helped set us apart from Europe and many of Europe's titanic power struggles in the years that followed.
In the 17th Century, Stuart monarchs tried to align themselves – and the rest of us – to Europe again. We got drawn back into continental power politics – even bailing out several of the king's continental cronies.
Perhaps, like the Europhile elite who today insist we bail out the eurozone, the Stuarts felt more in common with the princely rulers of Europe than their own people who they left to pick up the tab. When Charles I lost his head, he was executed by those suspicious not only of the king and his Europhile courtiers.
Cromwell and the Parliamentarians – like the great mass of British voters today – were instinctively distrustful of continental entanglements. They felt they had more in common with East Anglian settlers living in the New World than with the French or the Dutch in the Old.
By the mid 17th Century, we were well on our way to being more than merely European. We planted colonies across the world: America, Australia, New Zealand and Canada. When the wealth created by trade with these colonies sparked the industrial revolution, we found many of our greatest markets in India, China and south America – not just in Europe. Far from being 'little Englanders', by the end of the 19th Century we were trading with the whole planet.
When Europhiles claim that it is Britain's historic role to join the eurozone, they have presumably never heard of its precursor, the Napoleonic Continental System?
Like the eurozone, the Continental System was a single market, protected by high tariff walls designed to keep out cheaper imports. Like the eurozone, it was doomed to fail precisely because the longer its members remained part of it, the longer they were cut off from global trade and prosperity being created elsewhere on the planet.
The single European currency is just the latest in a long line of attempts by European elites to arrange the affairs of the Continent by grand design – from Napoleon's France to Kaiser Bill's Germany and beyond.
What is remarkable is not that David Cameron should find himself reverting to the traditional British detachment. Rather it is that it should have taken Britain's political leaders so long to have reached this position 40 years after we made the historic mistake of joining the Common Market.
When Britain joined what became the European Union in the early Seventies, it accounted for 36 per cent of global GDP. It has been downhill ever since. By 2020, what we joined will account for 15 per cent.
Far from being a member of the world's most dynamic trade bloc, we have shackled ourselves to a corpse. While the euro club has been in decline, the world on which we turned our back has prospered.
In the past decade alone, China's economy has expanded by more than 140 per cent, India's and Brazil's by more than 70. The fastest rising economic indices in Europe, meanwhile, are likely to be those for debt and inflation.
Advocates of closer British integration into Europe often like to point out that we still do more trade with Belgium, than with China, India and Brazil combined.
That is precisely the problem. Outside the moribund West, the world is witnessing an explosion of wealth creation. Indeed, the economic take-off in China, India, Mexico, Brazil and east Asia today is perhaps without any precedent in human history. We could be part of it if we would only detach ourselves from sclerotic Euroland.
Far from taking a step into the dark, we would be rejoining old friends. Britain could once again take her rightful place as part of the global Anglosphere – that sprawling collection of English-speaking countries, with which we already have much in common; Australia, Singapore, India, Canada, New Zealand, South Africa, the United States.
Britain has a long history of independence from Europe. Indeed, we have been at our happiest and most successful as a people when we have stood apart from a continent of grand power politics and grand designs, and instead joined in with the whole world.
If, in the age of steam trains and sail boats, we were able to forge such close links with millions of people around the planet, think of the possibilities in the age of the internet.
Never has geographic proximity been less important when determining economic success. Thanks to broadband and Skype, competition and markets located half a world away is a mouse click away. The fact the Belgian coastline is a mere 30 miles away has never seemed so unimportant.
I leave the last word to a Frenchman. When General de Gaulle vetoed Britain's application to join the European project, he declared that it was because when forced to choose between Europe and the open ocean, Britain always chose the open seas. He was right – and perhaps he understood our history better than we do ourselves.
How Europhile BBC turned triumph over Britain's veto into disaster
The BBC was accused of reporting Britain’s veto of the eurozone rescue plan as a national catastrophe rather than a tough decision David Cameron was forced to make.
Conservative MPs said the broadcaster’s ‘biased’ coverage began on Radio 4’s flagship Today programme and continued throughout the day on radio and television.
Presenters used solemn tones to inform listeners about Britain becoming isolated following David Cameron’s refusal to sign a new treaty.
In some cases, it was several minutes into news bulletins before the BBC got round to reporting Mr Cameron’s explanation of why he had resisted pressure to hand over more powers to Brussels.
On Radio 4’s 6am news bulletin, Justin Webb announced gravely: ‘Leaders of 23 EU countries are to draft a new fiscal pact to help stabilise their currency WITHOUT the involvement of Britain.’ He added: ‘President Sarkozy accused David Cameron of making a deal between all 27 countries impossible.’
It was a full two minutes into the broadcast before listeners heard Mr Cameron’s remarks explaining why he was forced into exercising Britain’s veto.
Mr Cameron’s refusal to give in to Germany and France’s demands was the lead story on most of the BBC’s outlets yesterday.
Concerned: BBC Business Editor Robert Peston gave 'grave' warnings about the eurozone veto today
Tory MP Peter Bone complained: ‘The BBC seemed to be using language that suggested it was a disaster. It was being pro-EU and anti-British, and it was in marked contrast to how other major news organisations reported it.
‘In fact, it was a triumph for Britain and a triumph for the Prime Minister. When it comes to Europe, the BBC is institutionally biased.’
Downing Street declined to comment, but insiders said Mr Cameron’s aides were resigned to him coming under attack from ‘pro-EU media outlets’ including parts of the BBC.
On Today, Business Editor Robert Peston informed listeners they should be ‘concerned’. He warned gravely: ‘For Britain, frankly, that is massively important because, if the eurozone goes down, the impact on the British economy will be hideous.
'It would inevitably tip us back into a very severe recession. So we should be concerned that this deal to save the world doesn’t seem to have materialised.’
On the BBC TV One O’Clock News, presenter Sophie Raworth began with: ‘David Cameron has dramatically refused to sign a new treaty designed to resolve the eurozone debt crisis’ – even though critics pointed out that the proposed treaty had merely sought to stabilise, rather than to resolve, the crisis.
Viewers then had to wait until almost 1.03pm to hear Mr Cameron’s remarks on the story.
Last year, BBC Director General Mark Thompson accepted the corporation had previously been guilty of a ‘massive’ left-wing bias. He also confessed that the BBC’s coverage of Europe had been ‘weak and rather nervous’.
A BBC spokesman said: 'The Prime Minister’s comments on the developments in Europe have been a central part of our coverage throughout the day. 'The coverage has reflected the story as it has unfolded and featured a wide range of voices.'
Atheist Group wants to inject negativity into a joyous season
A national atheist foundation plans to seek permission to hoist its own banner to join secular and religious Christmas displays on an East Texas courthouse square. The display surrounding the Henderson County Courthouse in Athens includes a traditional Nativity scene, as well as multiple Santa Clauses, elves, wreathes, garland, trumpeters, dwarfs, snowmen, reindeer and Christmas trees, the Athens Daily Review reported.
"We've got an array of decorations and feel that we are in compliance with federal law," County Judge Richard Sanders told the newspaper. "We're not pushing any religious down anybody's throat. These are holiday decorations we enjoy."
However, county officials received a letter Monday from the Madison, Wis.-based Freedom From Religion Foundation, which argued the seasonal display on courthouse grounds amounts to an unconstitutional endorsement of the Christian faith.
Foundation attorney Stephanie Schmitt says that since the county allows the nonprofit group Keep Athens Beautiful to erect the displays on the town square, they amount to a "public forum." Schmitt told the newspaper the group would ask to put up its own display.
Schmitt said the foundation had received 20 to 25 complaints this holiday season of religious displays it regards as illegal. In Elmwood City, Pa., the foundation has proposed hoisting a banner that reads: "At this season of the Winter Solstice, LET REASON PREVAIL. There are no gods, no devils, no angels, no heaven or hell. There is only our natural world. Religion is but myth and superstition that hardens hearts and enslaves minds."
Meanwhile, Henderson County Sheriff Ray Nutt said his office received a report Thursday that someone had defaced some of the figures in the display, but the markings were later removed.
Political correctness is most pervasive in universities and colleges but I rarely report the incidents concerned here as I have a separate blog for educational matters.
American "liberals" often deny being Leftists and say that they are very different from the Communist rulers of other countries. The only real difference, however, is how much power they have. In America, their power is limited by democracy. To see what they WOULD be like with more power, look at where they ARE already very powerful: in America's educational system -- particularly in the universities and colleges. They show there the same respect for free-speech and political diversity that Stalin did: None. So look to the colleges to see what the whole country would be like if "liberals" had their way. It would be a dictatorship.
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