I occurs to me that I've not truly expressed my beliefs and what I hope to show the world in my blog.
Yeah, a blog. Everybody and his donkey has a blog. Not a big deal.
I really don't care. This is MY blog, and I hope to tell the world what I think about just about anything that comes to mind. There are, however, some issues that are more important and will (have been) blogged about more than others.
Separation of Church and State
Harm from Religion
Science and Technology
Apple, Inc. products and similar cool stuff
Now, taking this one step at a time, here goes.
Separation of Church and State
I am an American citizen. I have spent over 40 years of my life serving the United States Government and have taken two oaths to support and defend the Constitution. One was military - four years, and the other the civilian oath for Federal Civil Service - 36 years, all of that at the FDA.
The Constitution has as part of its first Amendment the guarantee of religious freedom. Two clauses, one to keep the government out of religious affairs, and one to keep religions out of government affairs. Together, they protect all Americans from any one religion (or religious sect) from dominating the government and dictating religious affairs to the rest of the country. A clause in the Constitution itself forbids any religious test of office, going further to protect us from religious influence.
It isn't perfect, as today's struggle to keep fundamentalist Christianity from overturning the US Constitution and creating a Theocracy is proof of. (Yes, Dominionists really ARE trying to do that.)
I am opposed to that, and am avowed to do anything I can to support separating religion from public affairs. The First Amendment provides excellent cover for religious folks to go to church and even practice their religion in the privacy of their own lives without the rest of us interfering. It also guarantees them the right to associate with others of like belief.
The oaths I took obligate me to protect the rights of ALL Americans, religious and non-religious, and I WILL do that, but I will NOT support anybody forcing their religious practices on anyone who does not believe. I will also not support anybody forcibly stopping people from believing in a god, either.
Believe how you want, practice - or not - as you wish. But you cannot use the power of the government - Local, State or Federal - to force your religious practices on the entire country.
I am pretty much an Independent. I am registered in Maryland as a Democrat - mostly because that's the best way I see to use my vote. I refuse, on principle, to vote for a Republican, until that party regains its senses and dumps both the religious loonies and the Tea Party extremists. If they ever do, and become a viable party with sensible and competent leaders, then I'll begin looking at individual Republicans running for office again.
I support universal single payer health care, legalization of marijuana, reasonable limitations on firearm ownership, separation of Church and State, immediate measures to curb human contributions to climate change, a reasonable balance between human and animal habitation of our planet, strict control over our capitalistic economic system, including harsh prison sentences for economic leaders who endanger the system by emphasizing private gain, government programs to assist the unfortunate and the impoverished.
I am in complete support of full, free public education, from pre-school through four year University level. There is nothing more critical to a functioning and healthy democracy than a fully educated and reasoning citizenry, and it is our obligation to future generations of Americans to see that they receive the full benefits of the best education this country can provide. Nothing else is as likely to eliminate poverty than that.
I am in full support of full and complete equality of all human beings, regardless of race, sex, gender identification or sexual orientation. Human rights are HUMAN rights, and no sub-classification by arbitrary label has the power to abrogate any of those rights, no matter what label that may be.
I also explicitly support the freedom of women to choose their own way when it comes to procreation. Or the choice to NOT procreate. They have the right to choose to carry a pregnancy to term or not, and in consultation with the physician of their choice, the right to end that pregnancy however is appropriate to their individual circumstances, should those circumstances demand it.
I have seen the evidence and firmly am of the opinion that the group known as Dominionists are determined to overthrow the United States government as a democracy and transform it into a theocracy. I will publish and repost whatever information I see to bring awareness of them and their activities to public light, in an effort to persuade as many people as possible to oppose their lunacy.
I am a firm atheist. I do not believe in a god of any kind, and believe that religions of all kinds represent some form of confidence game with the purpose of gaining political and economic power for whatever priestly or guiding group controls the organizations supporting worship of any particular god or gods.
While I do see the lack of evidence for a "historical Jesus" as lacking, which makes that historicity unlikely, I think that the more important point is that since there is no god, there can have been no son, so even if there WAS a man whose existence may have been overblown into legendary status, the claims of godhood cannot be true, by definition. Ergo, stop bothering me with it.
Being an atheist is similar to not believing in the tooth fairy. The word defines something I DON'T believe in, not what I do. There are other, more positive things that define my ethics and my moralities.
Harm from Religion
I believe that the widespread belief in religion brings harm to all mankind and retards our progress into the future.
It does so by causing people to filter reality through a false lens, altering their responses and making them do things which actively harm others as well as, often, themselves. It causes people to make political decisions based on bronze age ethics and morals in an age where such practices have long been discarded as cruel and unusual, causing turmoil, dissension and violent political strife and, often, war. It causes people to make claims on land based on ancient legends and stories backed by no more than books of dubious authenticity and provenance - claims which have roiled the entire globe with violence and untold turmoil for decades, with little possibility for any reasonable settlement.
It breaks up families, promotes child abuse, opposes public education and encourages people to blindly follow authorities who have no competence or ability to lead, and often, only lead to aggrandize themselves.
It encourages entire sects of people to disbelieve climate change based on a false sense of believing that god will somehow come back to repair the damage we have done.
Historically, it has encouraged its believers to kill those who do not believe the same as themselves, and many sects still do so today. Many of these will kill apostates.
I could go on, but you get the gist of what I am saying.
I believe that when human beings die, our personality dies with the death of the body, in which the personality resides. There is no soul, no spirit. No ghosts. Yes, ghost stories may be fun, and scare the crap out of your younger siblings, but there is no basis for believing in their existence.
Spiritualism is, in short, something that resides within ourselves, and gives us the ability to improve the way we use our minds. It helps us to balance ourselves, removing stress and tension and improving our mental state of mind.
It does not connect us to a greater power, nor does it make us one with the Universe.
Science and Technology
I believe that mankind will improve our standard of living, our health and our relationship with the rest of mankind as we learn more and more about the Universe, how it works and how our own biology works. I encourage the continued activities of people the world over to invest in the continued and growing research and development of science and technology.
Apple, Inc. and all its products.
I love Apple. I love its tech, I love its products. I will occasionally talk about anything I see as cool that they are coming out with.
As knowledgeable about Science and the universe as we may be, any scientist will tell you that the whole point of science is to discover the things we do NOT know. I like to occasionally explore the weird stuff that indicates things we may still be ignorant about.
I am at heart, a secular humanist. This pretty much sums up what I feel.
- A conviction that dogmas, ideologies and traditions, whether religious, political or social, must be weighed and tested by each individual and not simply accepted on faith.
- Commitment to the use of critical reason, factual evidence, and scientific methods of inquiry, rather than faith and mysticism, in seeking solutions to human problems and answers to important human questions.
- A primary concern with fulfillment, growth, and creativity for both the individual and humankind in general.
- A constant search for objective truth, with the understanding that new knowledge and experience constantly alter our imperfect perception of it.
- A concern for this life and a commitment to making it meaningful through better understanding of ourselves, our history, our intellectual and artistic achievements, and the outlooks of those who differ from us.
- A search for viable individual, social and political principles of ethical conduct, judging them on their ability to enhance human well-being and individual responsibility.
- A conviction that with reason, an open marketplace of ideas, good will, and tolerance, progress can be made in building a better world for ourselves and our children.
Robert W. Ahrens