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########################################################### ########################################################### ______ / / / / / /__ __ / / ) (__ / / (__(__ __ |\ ( ) ) / / | \ | / / . _/_ . __ / . __ __ | \ | / / / / ) / ) / / ) __ ) / ) ) \| (__(__(___(__(__(___(__(__(__(__(__(__/ (__ =========================================================== *The*E-Zine*of*Atheistic*Secular*Humanism*and*Freethought** =========================================================== ############################################################ ###### Volume II, Number 1 ***A Collector's Item!***##### ################### ISSN 1201-0111 ####################### ####################### JAN 1995 ########################### ############################################################ nullifidian, n. & a. (Person) having no religious faith or belief. [f. med. L _nullifidius_ f. L _nullus_ none + _fides_ faith; see -IAN] Concise Oxford Dictionary The purpose of this magazine is to provide a source of articles dealing with many aspects of humanism. We are ATHEISTIC as we do not believe in the actual existence of any supernatural beings or any transcendental reality. We are SECULAR because the evidence of history and the daily horrors in the news show the pernicious and destructive consequences of allowing religions to be involved with politics and nationalism. We are HUMANISTS and we focus on what is good for humanity, in the real world. We will not be put off with offers of pie in the sky, bye and bye. ############################################################ ############################################################ =><====><====><====><====><====><====><====><====><====><== || Begging portion of the Zine || ==><====><====><====><====><====><====><====><====><====><== This is a "sharezine." There is no charge for receiving this, and there is no charge for distributing copies to any electronic medium. Nor is there a restriction on printing a copy for use in discussion. You may not charge to do so, and you may not do so without attributing it to the proper author and source. If you would like to support our efforts, and help us acquire better equipment to bring you more and better articles, you may send money to Greg Erwin at: 100, Terrasse Eardley / Aylmer, Qc / J9H 6B5 / CANADA. Or buy our atheist quote address labels, and other fine products, see "Shameless advertising and crass commercialism" below. =><====><====><====><====><====><====><====><====><====><= || End of Begging portion of the Zine || =><====><====><====><====><====><====><====><====><====><= Articles will be welcomed IF: ( they are emailed to: ai815@FreeNet.Carleton.CA; or, sent on diskette to me at the above Aylmer address in any format that an IBM copy of WordPerfect can read; ) and they don't require huge amounts of editing; and I like them. If you wish to receive a subscription, email a simple request to ai815@FreeNet.Carleton.CA, with a clear request for a subscription. It will be assumed that the "From:" address is where it is to be sent. We will automate this process as soon as we know how. 1994-05-08 Yes, please DO make copies! (*) Please DO send copies of The Nullifidian to anyone who might be interested. The only limitations are: You must copy the whole document, without making any changes to it. You do NOT have permission to copy this document for commercial purposes. The contents of this document are copyright (c) 1994, Greg Erwin and are on deposit at the National Library of Canada You may find back issues in any place that archives alt.atheism, specifically mathew's site at Currently, all back issues are posted at the Humanist Association of Ottawa's area on the National Capital Freenet. telnet to, and enter at the "Your choice==>" prompt. ARCHIVES Arrangements have been made with etext at umich. ftp to directory Nullifidian or lucifers-echo. For America On-Line subscribers: To access the Freethought Forum on America Online enter keyword "Capital", scroll down until you find Freethought Forum, double click and you're there. Double click "Files & Truth Seeker Articles" and scroll until you find Nullifidian files. Double click the file name and a window will open giving you the opportunity to display a description of the file or download the file. And thanks to the people at the _Truth Seeker_, who edited, formatted and uploaded the articles to the aol area. /=\_/=\/=\_/=\/=\_/=\/=\_/=\/=\_/=\/=\_/=\/=\_/=\/=\_/=\/=\ Shameless advertising and crass commercialism: \_/=\/=\_/=\/=\_/=\/=\_/=\/=\_/=\/=\_/=\/=\_/=\/=\_/=\/=\_/ Atheistic self-stick Avery(tm) address labels. Consisting of 210 different quotes, 30 per page, each label 2 5/8" x 1". This leaves three 49 character lines available for your own address, phone number, email, fax or whatever. Each sheet is US$2, the entire set of 7 for US$13; 2 sets for US$20. Indicate quantity desired. Print address clearly, exactly as desired. Order from address in examples below. Laser printed, 8 pt Arial, with occasional flourishes. _________________________________________________ |"Reality is that which, when you stop believing | |in it, doesn't go away." [Philip K. Dick] | |Greg Erwin 100 Terrasse Eardley | |Aylmer, Qc J9H 6B5 Canada | | email: ai815@FreeNet.Carleton.CA | |________________________________________________| _________________________________________________ |"...and when you tell me that your deity made | |you in his own image, I reply that he must be | |very ugly." [Victor Hugo, writing to clergy] | |Greg Erwin 100 Terrasse Eardley | |Aylmer, Qc J9H 6B5 Canada Ph: (613) 954-6128 | | email: ai815@FreeNet.Carleton.CA | |________________________________________________| Other stuff for sale: Certificate of Baptism Removal and Renunciation of Religion. Have your baptism removed, renounce religion, and have a neat 8" x 11" fancy certificate, on luxury paper, suitable for framing, to commemorate the event! Instant eligibility for excommunication! For the already baptism-free: Certificate of Freedom from Religion. An official atheistic secular humanist stamp of approval for only $10! Poster 8x11: WARNING! This is a religion free zone! All religious vows, codes, and commitments are null & void herein. Please refrain from contaminating the ideosphere with harmful memes through prayer, reverence, holy books, proselytizing, prophesying, faith, speaking in tongues or spirituality. Fight the menace of second-hand faith! Humanity sincerely thanks you! Tastefully arranged in large point Stencil on luxury paper. 4. Ingersoll poster: "When I became convinced that the universe is natural" speech excerpt. 11"x17" See the June 1994 issue of the _Echo_ for full text. $15 Order from the same address as above. /=\_/=\/=\_/=\/=\_/=\/=\_/=\/=\_/=\/=\_/=\/=\_/=\/=\_/=\/=\ ============================================================ Neat books available from H.H. Waldo, Bookseller! Books by Ingersoll! Henderson's 19th Century Freethought Cartoons! Holy Hatred, by James A. Haught......................$21.95 The Trouble With Christmas, (signed by the author) by Tom "Anti-Claus" Flynn............................$13.95 Evolution & the Myth of Creationism, by Tim M. Berra......................................$ 8.95 Freethinker's Pictorial Text Book, (1 & 2, separately) reproduction of 1890 and 1898 books by Watson Heston, by Bank of Wisdom Freethought Hero Emmet Fields .....$30.00 and many, many more. Ever changing inventory. Friendly letters and news from Robb Marks, Proprietor. add $2 postage/handling for first book & 0.50 for each additional book. Send 2 first class stamps for H.H. Waldo's current catalog. TO: H.H Waldo, Bookseller P.O. Box 350 Rockton, IL 61072 or phone 1-800-66WALDO !!! tell 'im: "that nullifidian guy sent me!" ============================================================ /=\_/=\/=\_/=\/=\_/=\/=\_/=\/=\_/=\/=\_/=\/=\_/=\/=\_/=\/=\ TABLE OF CONTENTS 1. The Redemptive Power of Human Suffering, by Greg Erwin 2. A few of the good old Patriarchs, From _The Freethinker's Pictorial Text Book_ 3. CAIRO CONFERENCE--SUCCESS OR FAILURE? by Stephen D. Mumford Ph.D (from Freethought Today) 4. "Mysterious Dave" Mather, by Robert M. Wright from _Freethought on the American Frontier_, edited by Fred Whitehead and Verle Muhrer 5. Excerpt from '"W.": The West Turning Infidel from _Freethought on the American Frontier_, edited by Fred Whitehead and Verle Muhrer 6. Letter from TH. 7. From _The Language Instinct_ by Steven Pinker 8. Child Abuse and Christianity 9. Errata =========================================================== || BEGINNING OF ARTICLE || =========================================================== The Redemptive Power of Human Suffering The redemptive power of human suffering is the formal name of a Roman Catholic doctrine. The idea behind it is one of the foundations of christianity. It also pervades certain sects of Islam, and with a slight twist becomes karma in Hinduism and Buddhism as well. It is one of the most pernicious ideas ever invented, and one that every humanist should be constantly fighting against. It is one of those christian ideas that pervade and poison large areas of western society, even those which are not under church jurisdiction or even usually thought of as religious. As Dr Wendell Watters showed so ably in _Deadly Doctrine_, the perverted ideas of life-hating misogynists in the early christian churches made the possession and expression of normal sexuality nearly impossible for most of those in western society, even those who are not formally christians, for the last two millennia. Such "fall-out" ideas as the inferiority of women, the debilitating effects of sexual activity, woman as temptress, woman's "proper place," women as naturally more emotional and less rational than men are all due to myths based on judeo-christian ideas. Similarly, the magical idea of sacrifice, which is simply the idea that you can influence a ghost (ghost is merely the native Anglo-Saxon word for the Latin-based "spirit," they mean the same thing) by destroying something valuable, is the very foundation of christianity. In magic, the bigger the favour that you want from your favourite ghost, the bigger the sacrifice you should make. An ideal christian is ready to kill his children if the ghost asks for it. So, as destroying a human life is a large sacrifice, as was demanded of Abraham, and as carried out by Japhtheh and others in the Old Testament, following Yahweh's commands, destroying an innocent life would be an even bigger sacrifice, and killing a god would be the biggest sacrifice of all. Of course, all of this is magical nonsense, thought up by ignorant barbarians who had no idea what made crops grow or rain fall from the sky. The idea of the sacrificed saviour god had pervaded the Mediterranean long before the beginning of christianity. Mithras, Adonis, Dionysus, Tammuz, Horus and many, many other gods had incarnated themselves, lived and been sacrificed only to rise again, bringing eternal life to their followers who sincerely believed the myth and swore to practice the rules demanded of them. The incarnated god basically a pagan idea and does not come from Judaism. This idea was christianized by making the sacrifice of the god an infinite sacrifice for everybody's sins. Of course, you first have to convince everybody that they are guilty and full of sin, just for being alive. That is the first evil influence of christianity: its reliance on guilt, and the desperate need to convince everybody that they are utterly depraved and filled with sin. Because of its reliance on guilt and its belief that the torture-death of the messiah magically saved everybody, the idea has come about that pain is a good thing, and has a magical benefit. As anybody with sense can see that there is no benefit visible here and now, the reward for your pain is put off to the sky after you're dead. The resistance of christianity to the use of anesthetic in the last century was based on this idea: if the ghost wanted you to suffer, you shouldn't be allowed to avoid it, especially women, who were cursed by the ghost in the genesis myth to suffer during childbirth. The ban on suicide is based on this idea plus the concept of slavery: seeing that the ghost made you, body and soul, you are his property, therefore if the ghost created you for the purpose of suffering through a lifetime of misery and pain, your only option is to endure it. Suicide would be destruction of the ghost's property, just like a slave running away, is theft. The current resistance to assisted suicide is also based on this: the ghost is not satisfied unless you have suffered to the full extent that he wants to wring from you. Cutting the torture short in any way is cheating. Note that it is perfectly acceptable to get yourself killed as long as it is not for your own benefit. There is nothing in christian or catholic doctrine which prevents you from becoming a bodyguard, or from throwing yourself on a grenade during a war, or deciding to put all the other passengers in the lifeboats first. You are only prohibited from killing yourself with your own benefit in mind. Many of our ideas about suffering and endurance are based on this magical type of thinking, and should be discarded. This is not to say that we cannot put off certain pleasures in order to achieve a long-term goal, or simply enjoy working hard in order to reach an end. However, there is nothing to be gained by simply enduring pain; it is not good for anybody to seek out pain, suffering is morally neutral, the evil suffer as well as the good, and merely enduring pain benefits no one in the real world. I take this opportunity to wish everybody a Happy Year's End, as we usher out the last week of the year (the seven days from the 25th to the 31st) ;-) and a Happy New Year, as we celebrate the beginning of the New Year. Let us put off the superstitions and attitudes of the past, and make 1995 a humanist year. If I had a suggestion for anybody's resolutions it would be: "get yourself excommunicated." Reduce the numbers of officially religious people in the world. ========================================================= || END OF ARTICLE || ========================================================= "Everywhere in the world there are ignorance and prejudice, but the greatest complex of these, with the most extensive prestige and the most intimate entanglement with traditional institutions, is the Roman Catholic Church." H.G. Wells =========================================================== || BEGINNING OF ARTICLE || =========================================================== A few of the good old Patriarchs, >From _The Freethinker's Pictorial Text Book_ ADAM The original pattern after the image of Javeh. A miserable coward who threw all the blame of the apple difficulty on his wife. NOAH The first drunkard on record. Cursed one of his boys because he accidently saw his shameless debauchery. ABRAHAM Tried to murder his son. Denied his wife. Debauched his hired girl and turns her and his illegitimate son out in the wilderness. LOT Got so hilarious over his escape from Sodom and loss of his wife, that he got blind drunk and piously assisted his own daughters in their incestuous depravity. JACOB Polygamist. Defrauds his brother, swindles his father-in-law, and is criminally intimate with his serving girls, like unto his Grandfather Abraham, only more so. MOSES Murderer. Confidence man. Originator of the infamous law against witches. Orders the slaughter of innocent women and children, but saves all young girls for immoral purposes. JOSHUA A cold-blooded butcher with no more mercy in his nature than an Apache Indian! [The Apaches, or at least certain of them, were notorious for their cruelty towards captives, and the notoriety seems to have been based on actual occurrences. At least their descendants do not claim that god endorsed their ancestors' behavior. --ed.] DAVID Man after God's own heart. Polygamist. Adulterer. wife stealer. Murderer of Uriah. Exterminates helpless noncombatants, and owing to his unbridled lust is afflicted with a nameless disease. (See Psalms xxxvii 5-7) SOLOMON Reputed to be very wise, but whose wisdom was chiefly expended in hunting wives and concubines. A man notoriously licentious and who became a tyrant and an idolater in his old age. ELISHA A man of God who was so sensitive about his personal appearance that he caused forty two innocent children to be mangled because they made remarks about his bald head. ========================================================= || END OF ARTICLE || ========================================================= "The keystone dogma of the Christian ethics is the anti- physical principle of Buddhism: Whatever is natural is wrong. The mission of the Galilean ascetic, like the gospel of Buddha Sakyamuni, was a declaration of war against nature. According to the doctrine of Pessimism, our natural instincts are our natural enemies; life is disease, and death is it only cure; the pursuit of earthly happiness is a chimera, and enjoyment in all its forms only serves to strengthen the fatal delusion; emancipation from the bondage of life is the summum bonum, and can be attained only by mortifying our natural desires. The instinctive love of joy is wrong--the path of self-affliction is the road to salvation." Felix L. Oswald, "The Secret of the East" quoted in _Freethinkers Pictorial Text Book_ =========================================================== || BEGINNING OF ARTICLE || =========================================================== CAIRO CONFERENCE--SUCCESS OR FAILURE? by Stephen D. Mumford Ph.D Moments after the Cairo conference concluded, I overheard a conference organizer in a corridor claim that the conference was a huge success. Many others have now made similar claims. While they may believe this themselves, I believe they are doing humanity a disservice by making such claims, whatever their motivations. I am convinced that the Cairo meeting was a failure. Why? According to the preamble of the conference document, the stated mission of the meeting was to decide on a plan of action for the next 20 years that would advance the goal of population stabilization below the medium United Nations projection of 9.8 billion in 2050. A Study published by the _American Journal of Obstetrics and Gynecology_ on July 15, 1984, examined the abortion and population growth experiences of 116 countries. This study showed that no country has ever achieved a growth rate below 1% without widespread use of abortion. By widespread use, I mean abortion rates of 350 (in the few developed countries with excellent contraceptive services and sex education) to 500 or more (mostly in developing countries) per 1000 live births. (Approximately one-third of pregnancies in the United States end in abortion and thus the U.S. rate approaches the 500 abortions per 1000 live births. The Cairo conference retained the 1984 Mexico City position on abortion advocated by the antiabortion Reagan administration. The position holds that: (1) women do not have the "right" to choose abortion; and (2) that abortion must not be recognized as a legitimate family planning method. Abortion *is* a family planning method. It is foolish to claim that abortion is not a method of family planning as Vice-President Al Gore did just prior to and again during the conference. Sixty million women get abortions each year for one reason--to control their fertility, and thus plan their families. Women should have the right to have an abortion. Abortion is not an immoral but a moral choice both for the individual woman and for the rest of us--in this overpopulated world of impoverished people destined to become even poorer. These abortion issues were certainly the two most important questions to be resolved by this conference. The Vatican won on both counts. What are the implications of this outcome for the stated mission of the conference? First, there will be no widespread use of abortion in most countries. Second, abortion will continue to be strongly discouraged by law-- thus supporting the position that it is immoral. Abortion is made unsafe by being illegal, further discouraging its use. Without widespread use of abortion, population growth rates cannot be pushed below 1% per year, and any hope of stabilizing population growth is destroyed. So the goal of stabilizing global population growth becomes unattainable, and that was the stated mission of the Cairo conference. The Holy See won and humanity lost. Conference organizers should admit this. The Vatican frankly dominated the Cairo conference. Most attendees were shocked that the Holy See both had the power to stop the conference in its tracks for six days, and had the resolve to exercise this power so publicly. In my view, this education of the participants was the most important outcome of the meeting in Cairo. Now it is time to examine more closely the Holy See's motivations. Its claim that "morality" is driving its behavior does not stand up to critical analysis. Most Americans, including American Catholics, already reject this claim outright and have widely accepted all family planning methods and abortion for themselves. Even the Vatican's Pontifical Academy of Sciences recently rejected this claim and urged limits on family size to avert "insoluble problems" cause by runaway growth, recommending that family size be limited to about two children per couple. I believe the Pontifical Academy position--and of Catholics and the rest of us who plan our families--occupies the moral high ground. Something else other than "morality" is really driving the Holy See's behavior: Pope John Paul II himself has identified an even more powerful motivation-- institutional survival. The outcome of the conference brought to mind a statement made in 1979 by Hans Kung, arguably the world's leading Catholic theologian. Kung wrote, "The only way to solve the problem of contraception is to solve the problem of infallibility." In this single sentence, Prof. Kung identified the core of the world's population problem. When Vatican Council I, more than a century earlier, adopted the principle of Papal infallibility in 1870, the intellectual leadership of the Church objected on the grounds that in due time the Church would find itself inescapably down a blind alley, followed by inevitable self- destruction for the Papacy. In 1966, the Papal Commission on Population and Birth Control submitted its report to Pope Paul VI recommending that the Church change its position on birth control. A minority report, recommending no change, became the basis for _Humanae Vitae_, the 1968 papal encyclical banning birth control. It was coauthored by Cardinal Karol Wojtyla, now Pope John Paul II, and reads: "If it should be declared that contraception is not evil in itself then we should have to concede frankly that the Holy Spirit had been on the side of the Protestant churches in 1930 (when the encyclical Casti connubii was promulgated), in 1951 (Pius XII's address to the midwives) and in 1958 (the address delivered before the Society of Hematologists in the year the pope died). It should likewise have to be admitted that for half a century the Spirit failed to protect Pius XI, Pius XII, and a large part of the Catholic hierarchy from a very serious error. This would mean that the leaders of the Church, acting with extreme imprudence, had condemned thousands of innocent human acts, forbidding, under pain of eternal damnation, a practice which would now be sanctioned. The fact can neither be denied nor ignored that these same acts would now be declared licit on the grounds of principles cited by the Protestants, which Popes and bishops have either condemned or at least not approved." In a May 15, 1980 letter to the German Bishops' Conference, John Paul II said, "I am convinced that the doctrine of infallibility is in a certain sense the key to the certainty with which the faith is confessed and proclaimed, as well as to the life and conduct of the faithful. For once this essential foundation is shaken or destroyed, the most basic truths of our faith likewise begin to break down." In these two quotes, Pope John Paul II acknowledges the obvious. Birth control became the "blind alley" the intellectual leadership so feared in 1870. (A chapter in my new book has been devoted to this topic.) Thus, in effect the Church cannot change its position on birth control without the real prospect of destroying itself. As a result, the institution has defined morality in such a way as to attempt to prevent self-destruction--by saying that birth control is morally wrong. Demands that the teachings of the encyclical Humanae Vitae, which banned contraception and abortion, be followed are made to insure survival of the institution itself. In my view, it is undeniable that institutional survival motivated the Holy See to behave as it did at the Cairo conference. *********************************************************** [Freedom from Religion] Foundation member Stephen Mumford has authored a new book, _The life and Death of NSSM 200: How the Destruction of Political Will Doomed a U.S. Population Policy_ available from the Center for Research on Population and Security, P.O. Box 13067, Research Triangle Park for $18.95 plus $4 for handling. ========================================================= The Freedom From Religion Foundation publishes Freethought Today, an approximately monthly newspaper. Subscription is $20/year. Membership in FFRF is $35, single and $40 household, and includes the subscription. The folks at FFRF do a remarkable job of fighting freethought legal battles all over the US. They have an impressive number of successful legal challenges to municipal creches, ten commandments, idol funding. Currently, they are challenging the "god" motto on American money. ========================================================= || END OF ARTICLE || ========================================================= 'Faith' means not *wanting* to know what is true. [Friedrich Nietzsche] =========================================================== || BEGINNING OF ARTICLE || =========================================================== "Mysterious Dave" Mather, by Robert M. Wright from _Freethought on the American Frontier_, edited by Fred Whitehead and Verle Muhrer [Robert M. Wright, born in 1840, was from Maryland, but "took a notion" at age sixteen to go West, where he settled on a farm near St. Louis, Missouri. Subsequently, he went to Dodge City, Kansas, and became a contractor for cutting hay and wood, and hauling grain. Achieving prominence as a merchant, Wright served as postmaster, and then as a four- term state representative from Ford County. Later historians have tended to give "Mysterious Dave" the last name of Mather, instead of Mathews, as Wright has it.] _______________________ {From _Dodge City: The Cowboy Capital_ (Wichita, Kans.: Wichita Eagle Press, 1913)} Once upon a time, a long while ago, when Dodge was young and very wicked, there came a man to town, an itinerant preacher. In the present age you would call him an evangelist. Well, anyway, he possessed a wonderful magnetic power, he was marvelously gifted that way; he would cast his spell over the people, and draw crowds that no one ever dreamed of doing before. In fact, he captured some of the toughest of the toughs of wicked Dodge, and from the very first he set his heart on the capture of one Dave Mathews-- alias, Mysterious Dave--who was city marshal at the time, said to be a very wicked man, a killer of killers. And it was and is an undoubted fact that Dave had more dead men to his credit, at that time, than any other man in the West. Seven by actual count in one night, in one house, and all at one sitting. Indeed he was more remarkable in his way than the preacher was in his. Well, as I said, he set his heart on Dave, and he went after him regularly every morning, much to the disgust of Dave. Indeed he was so persistent, that Dave began to hate him. In the meantime, the people began to feel the power of the preacher, for he had about him an unexplainable something that they could not resist, and the one little lone church was so crowded they had to get another building, and this soon would not hold half the audience. finally they got a large hall known as the "Lady Gay Dance Hall" and fitted it up with boards laid across empty boxes for seats. There was a small stage at the rear of the building, and on this was place a goods box for a pulpit for the preacher. Now whether or not Dave had become infected by the general complaint that seized the people, or whether the earnest persistence of the preacher had captured him I know not. Anyhow, certain it was, he promised the preacher to attend the meeting that night, and certain it was, Dave would not break his word. He was never known to do that. If he promised a man he would kill him, Dave was sure to do it. It was soon noised around by the old "he pillars of the church, and the "she pillars" too that Dave was captured at last, and what a crowd turned out that night to see the wonderful work of God brought about through the agency of the preacher--the capture of Mysterious Dave. Soon the hall was filled to its utmost capacity, and Dave, true to his promise, was seen to enter. He was at once conducted to the front, and given the seat of honor reserved for him in front of the preacher, and Oh! how that preacher preached straight at him. He told of how wonderful was the ways of Providence in softening the heart of wicked Dave Mathews, and what rejoicing there would be in heaven over the conversion of such a man. Then he appealed to the faithful ones, the old "he pillars" of the church, and said to them, now he was ready to die. He had accomplished the one grand object of his life. He had converted the wickedest man in the country, and was willing now and at once to die, for he knew he would go straight to heaven. Then he called upon the faithful ones to arise and give in their experience, which they did, each one singly, and said, they too, like the preacher, were willing to die right now and here, for they knew that they, too, would go right straight to heaven for helping to carry out this great work. In fact, most of them said, like the preacher, that they wanted to die right now so they could all go to heaven rejoicing together. Dave sat there silent with bowed head. He told me afterwards, he never in all his scrapes was in such a hot box in his life. He said he would much rather to have been in a hot all-around fight with a dozen fellows popping at him all at once, than to have been there. He said he would have been more at ease, and felt more at home, and I expect he told the truth. Finally he raised to his feet and acknowledged he had been hard hit and the bullet had struck a vital spot, and at last religion had been poured into him; that he felt it tingling from his toes through his whole body, every to his fingertips, and he knew he had religion now, sure, and if he died now would surely go to heaven, and pulling both of his six shooters in front of him, he said further, for fear that some of the brothers here tonight might backslide and thereby lose their chance of heaven, he thought they had better all die tonight together as they had so expressed themselves, and the best plan, he said, would be for him to kill them all, and then kill himself. Suddenly jerking out a pistol in each hand, he said to the preacher, "I will send you first," firing over the preacher's head. Wheeling quickly he fired several shots into the air, in the direction of the faithful ones. The much-frightened preacher fell flat behind the drygoods box, as also did the faithful ones who ducked down as low as they could. Then Dave proceeded to shoot out the lights, remarking as he walked towards the door, "You are all a set of liars and frauds, you don't want to go to heaven with me at all." This broke up the meeting, and destroyed the usefulness of that preacher in this vicinity. His power was gone, and he departed for new fields, and I am sorry to relate, the people went back to their backsliding and wickedness. Review This is a wonderful collection of early freethought. I can testify that it is dangerous to possess for a confirmed bibliophile, as it has resulted in my purchase of Vols I and II of Watson Heston's cartoons (The Freethinkers' Pictorial Text Book), and a subscription to _Freethought History_, which is Mr Whitehead's quarterly newsletter, to contact with the _Truth Seeker_, the oldest continuing freethought magazine, and to compulsive orders from H.H. Waldo, see ad above. The religious right has managed a complete Stalinist-type revision/rewriting of history, so that most people, including most atheists, agnostics and freethinkers now believe that the American past was more religious, more puritanical and more church-going than the present. They have also convinced us that everybody of importance was a conventionally religious Christian in their own narrow mold. Poems cited here from Carl Sandburg, Vachel Lindsay, even Oliver Wendell Holmes, as well as letters to the editor, editorials, folklore, cartoons, and articles, show the vigor and acceptance of freethought during the frontier period, and clearly show that the RRR version of history is nothing more than hogwash. We tend to forget that you cannot trust a christian when it comes to matters dealing with what they perceive as prestige. They will always choose a lie or a falsehood, if it will advance their cause. The possibility exists, to be fair, that they are merely ignorant and deceived. You will probably enjoy all of this, certainly most of it; and be left wishing for more. You will also learn a new affection for direct frontier language and turns of phrase. I particularly enjoyed: "If we could trade our ham-fat preachers for Good Samaritans at a ratio of 16 to 1, our brass-collar orthodoxy for pure morality, and about three hundred thousand brainless bigots and canting hypocrites for a yaller dog and lose him, Texas would be infinitely better off." Allowing for inflation, that would be 30 million brainless bigots and the entire North American continent, but still just one yaller dog to lose. One more excerpt before we leave the topic. =-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-= Excerpt from '"W.": The West Turning Infidel from _Freethought on the American Frontier_, edited by Fred Whitehead and Verle Muhrer If every freethinker in this country would boldly express his sentiments, Christians would be compelled to look up to us. They would be as cautious how they arraign us as we are now to oppose them. They would fear that they would lose our trade, even as we now keep silence lest we lose their patronage. We should not wait for preachers to tell us that the country is going to materialism. We should assert our own individuality and impart the information ourselves. It is no disgrace to say you are an Infidel. Say it and say it proudly. To be known as an Infidel is not nearly so dangerous as many imagine. If you come out boldly and manfully about it, the masses will respect you and your trade will suffer but little. Last week the Supreme Medical Examiner of a great Fraternal Insurance company for which I am local medical examiner, visited me for several days. In the course of one of our talks he said: "Doctor, to what church do you belong?" I judged he was a pious man, and my first thought was to say, "Well, I was raised a Methodist"; but then I thought, why should I be evasive just for policy, and I replied: "I am happy to say that I belong to the big church, the church of the world, the church to which fifty out of the seventy millions of people in this country belong. I am an Infidel, an uncompromising Infidel. Now to what church do you belong? "Well," he said, "I am a Methodist!" "And are you not just a little bit ashamed of it?" said I. "In this day of enlightenment and progress are you fully in accord with your best reason, when you say you are a Methodist?" The conversation that followed proved that he was almost as much a heretic as myself, and he respected my frankness, though the bold admission at first shocked him. He was unaccustomed to hear men speak out in such manner, but I was glad I did, for he liked to talk on that subject when he met a man with whom he could freely converse. I will admit, my frankness might have cost me my position with the company, but it didn't The fact is that a man's trade is not greatly affected nowadays by the open declaration of Infidel views. =-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-= You can obtain the book from Prometheus Books, 700 E. Amherst Street, Buffalo, NY 14215 phone (716) 837-2475 or fax (716) 835-6901 for an order or catalog. You can subscribe to Freethought History at Box 5224, Kansas City, Kansas 66119, for US$10 per year. =========================================================== || BEGINNING OF ARTICLE || =========================================================== Letter from TH. Message #19 (21 is last): Date: Wed Dec 14 17:53:03 1994 From: h??t@gt?? (T???y H??t) Subject: Re: Does God exist?? To: (Greg Erwin) Real mail that we get (honest): I have not put [sic] in where it might belong, because my fingers would have gotten too tired, or I would have to have written a [sic] macro. TH: Key of Knowledge The Key to understanding Heavenly things..... In Luke 11:52, he says, "Wow,unto you lawyers for you have taken away the key of knowledge." The lawyers at that time were the Pharisees. Also, In Hebrews 8:5, it talks of a tabernacle being a shadow of heavenly things. This tabernacle was build under divine instruction by Moses in the Wilderness. In Addition, 15 chapters in the book of Exodus explain in great detail how this tabernacle was to be made. This the key that is referred to by the messiah. The Pharisees did not understand the importance of it nor due the religious leaders today. Without going into a long speach I will make this explaination of the tabernacle brief.... GE: It is not brief. I will just note that anyone can take a jumble of nonsense from just about any book at all, and "prove" just about anything at all. You will note that the Greeks did the same with Homer's poems, the Jews do it with the OT, Christians do with the OT and NT, Muslims do it with the Qur'an and Hindus do it with the Gita and Vedas and Upanishads. If they all came to the same conclusion it might mean something. However, their conclusions are all remarkably different. The Pharisees were not lawyers, they were the members of a Jewish sect who believed in the strict observance of the Law, as they believed it was given to them through Moses by god. If you accept the truth of the fairy tales in the OT, then you believe that these laws were given to Israel and Judah directly by it, as well. If you suggested, back then, that they were not divinely inspired, and should not be kept in every detail, you would, according to those same laws, have deserved to die. Jesus also said that not one "jot or tittle" of those same laws should be changed or would be changed. If later, he started saying that the Law should be changed, then the Law which he had propounded before he was born (according to myth) condemned him, and he deserved his fate by the very Law which he had given to the Jews to live by. Sounds to me, like you christians are going to have a lot of explaining to do. TH: The tabernacle is a three in one structure, consisting of a Most Holy Place, Holy Place, and Court roound about. Moses was told to make this structure according to what he saw in the mountain (Exodus 25:9,10,40). This is the pattern of all things. For example, an atom consist of protons, neutrons, and electrons. Three parts, one atom. A cell is a neuclus, neuclolus, and a cell body. Three parts, one cell. GE: But a tabernacle has four sides and a top and a bottom, that's six. Oops, I forgot the inside and the outside. :-) Sub-atomic particles consist of six kinds of quarks. There are 100 odd naturally occurring elements. You forgot to include plasma, the fourth state of matter. TH: The earth is a core, a mantle, and crust. Three parts, one earth. An apple is a core, meat, and skin. Three parts, one apple. Man is a head cavity, a chest cavity, and an abdominal cavity. Three parts, one man. Romans 1:19-20 talks about understanding the spiritual thing by looking at the physical things. Most of all, the creator can be understand by this pattern too. 1 John 5:7 says, "There are three that bear record in heaven, the Father, the Word, and the Holy Spirit, and these three are one. How do I understand that??? Well, the Creator is Spirit and has the ability to manifest in three states of existence: GE: But nobody claims that the core is the whole apple or the bowels make up an entire person (except for a christian, maybe). Whereas this nonsensical claim is put forward for the christian deity. TH: 1) Pure Spirit - the source, substance, limits, and bounds of everthing. No shape of form. Acts 17:28 says," Within him we live more and have our being." This is the Father. GE: If it has no shape or form, how did Moses see its butt? How did it walk in the garden with Adam and Eve? How did OT prophets talk to it "face to face"? How did it write the 10 commandments with a formless finger? TH: 2) Incorporeal - Having shape and form of a man (angel) no flesh and blood. This is the Word or Son.(Ezekiel 1:26, Exodus 24:8-10) GE: Sorry, "incorporeal", as any dictionary will inform you [it could also help you with the spelling] means "having no body" it has nothing to do with having the 'shape and form of a man'. How would something that has no physical substance have a form? Liquids and gases have no form of their own. And while it is tempting to accept that JC is incorporeal in the sense of being the figment of various imaginations, somehow I don't think that this is what you mean, and he is usually seen as quite corporeal. (In the sense of having a body, not in your unique usage below.) TH: 3) Corporeal - Having fleshly part. This is the Holy Spirit.(John 1:14, 1 Tim3:16) GE: That's a good one. The *SPIRIT* is the one with the 'fleshly part.' THAT makes a lot of sense! Does that make Jesus pure spirit because he had a body? Am I a spirit (holy or otherwise) because I mainly seem to consist of a 'fleshly part'? Spirits have fleshly parts; being incorporeal means having a form; and things without form and shape have faces, fingers and butts. It's all clear now. TH: The Creator is one ETERNAL SPIRIT with three states of existence. One more example, H2O. H2O exist as a gas ( no shape or form), liquid (shape of container), and ice (concrete); yet, one substance. GE: If god wanted to communicate the idea that matter was composed of atoms and that atoms consisted of sub-atomic particles, what was holding him back from saying so plainly? You have found a number of threes. So what? The Temple has four sides. Six if you count the roof and floor. Where are the divine tetrities and sexities? Man has seven openings to the outside world. Medieval christians were certain that god had commemorated this significant piece of knowledge by placing seven planets in the heavens. Most of your analogies are nonsense anyway, an apple could just as easily be said to be seeds, core, meat and skin. Cells have membranes, vacuoles, mitochondria, DNA (which is a code written with four amino acids). The universe is composed of the four elements. There are two sexes. We've got two legs, two ears, two nostrils, two eyes, two sets of two cheeks. Good & evil, heaven and earth, dead and alive. Numbers are all around, it is easy to pick all the threes, or the fours or the fives or the twos and marvel at them, but not particularly useful. TH: By looking at the physical things we can understand the invisible Creator. The Creator is not a TRINITY but AN UNITY. The word "trinity" is not in the bible but the word "unity" is.(Deut 6:4,Zech 14:9) GE: By making up silly tales, we can play make believe about the pretend characteristics of a nonexistent figment of the imagination. Christian doctrine is that the creator is both unity and trinity: 3=1 1+1+1=1 3-1=3. The word trinity is not in the bible because nobody came up with the concept until the 3rd or 4th century and started inserting lines like the one you quote from John, if you've got a doctrinal squabble to solve, tampering with 'holy' text (certainly a form of lying, forgery) is nothing. Was god lying to the Jews about his trinitarianness, or merely concealing it when he had them proclaim, Shema Yisroel, Adonai elohenu, Adonai ehud? Not one hint of trinitarianism anywhere around. In fact, one gets the clear message that the Oneness of God is the absolutely most important thing that a believer should understand: no other gods, no semi- divine beings, no worship for anything except the One. Yet this is supposed to be necessary to one's salvation. Sorry Moishe, you don't get in, you don't know that 1+1+1=1! Christians finally settled this deep doctrinal question by having a series of wars, and the Unity guys (Arians) lost and were declared heretics by the Athanasians. Arians, however, were in charge of various parts of Europe, such as Iberia, well into the 7th century. If they had had better generals, there would be no trinity, because it certainly doesn't come from Judaism, or anywhere in the bible, but is merely a concession to the polytheism of the Roman Empire, as was the acceptance of Mariolatry as a substitute for the various goddesses, and prayers to saints in lieu of all the minor gods, along with a host of other baggage like adopting the Saturnalia and the birthday of Mithras or _Natalis Solis Invictus_ as the birthday of Jesus, and the spring festival in honour of the resurrection of all the nature gods, as the time of the crucifiction. The basic difference between the Arians and the Athanasians was expressed as: whether JC was of the same substance as (homoousious) the Father, or of "like" substance to (homoiousious) the Father. [My Greek transliteration may not be exact] Over this literal "iota of difference" about a million people were killed in the various conflicts. Anyone who says that they understand the doctrine of the trinity stands convicted of lying, as no one can understand what does not make sense. It is like claiming to understand the concept of colorless green or flavourless salt. TH: In addition, The creator told man to build three things: GE: Only three? Should we stop now? TH: 1. The Ark - it was made a Lower deck, Middle deck, and a upper Deck. Three parts,One Ark. GE: Port, Starboard, Fore and Aft, four sides, one Ark. Two of each "kind", but seven of the ones fit to be sacrificed. Do you really believe this fairy tale enough to base claims on it? TH: 2. The tabernacle - Most Holy Place, Holy Place, and the Court-Around-About. Three Parts, one ark. 3. Solomon Temple - Porch, Oracle, and Santuary. Three parts, one Temple. Why are things like that????????????? -- T???y H??t Like Dave Barry says, "I am not making this up!" =========================================================== || END/BEGINNING OF ARTICLE || =========================================================== >From _The Language Instinct_ by Steven Pinker 'Computer parsers are too meticulous for their own good. They find ambiguities that are quite legitimate, as far as English grammar is concerned, but that would never occur to a sane person. One of the first computer parsers, developed at Harvard in the 1960s, provides a famous example. The sentence _Time flies like an arrow_ is surely unambiguous if there ever was an unambiguous sentence (ignoring the difference between literal and metaphorical meanings, which have nothing to do with syntax). But to the surprise of the programmers, the sharp-eyed computer found it to have five different trees! 1. Time proceeds as quickly as an arrow proceeds. (the intended reading) 2. Measure the speed of flies in the same way that you measure the speed of an arrow. 3. Measure the speed of flies in the same way that an arrow measures the speed of flies. 4. Measure the speed of flies that resemble an arrow. 5. Flies of a particular kind, time-flies, are fond of an arrow. Among computer scientists the discovery has been summed up in the aphorism "Time flies like an arrow; fruit flies like a banana."' ********************************************************* Often I feel like I am arguing with those whose understanding is matched by the machine that decided that the last four are likely interpretations of the sentence. =========================================================== || BEGINNING OF ARTICLE || =========================================================== Child Abuse and Christianity It is no surprise that child abuse should occur in religious institutions. Given the core of Christian doctrine it would be a surprise to find a Christian institution that did *not* harbor a large percentage of child abusers. Those who wrote the Bible were undoubtedly familiar with child abuse, however, their familiarity and sympathy seem to lie with the abuser. The mythological image of God the father is uncomfortably similar to a typical child abuser's profile. He causes pain and misery, yet insists he is acting out of love. During the punishment, indeed, all the time, he insists on expressions of adoration from the victims. He demands absolute, unquestioning, instant obedience: kill your children, divorce your spouse, leave home and travel forever; no questions allowed, no hesitation permitted. Trivial infractions receive punishment monstrously out of proportion to the offence. Picking up sticks on the sabbath is punishable by death. Daring to help steady the ark results in instant death. He is inconsistent, tolerating the gross misbehavior of some, while punishing the trivial disobedience of others. Actually, like a typical bully, God extends tolerance to the powerful, and beats up on the powerless. Any hint of rebellion, any suggestion that this situation is not delightful, is immediately squashed. Like every bully, like all tyrants, he is always surrounded by sycophants. The offenses singled out for the worst punishments are those which might indicate any feeling of autonomy, self-esteem, or self-sufficiency on the part of the slaves. God and his priests always call this the sin of pride and suppress it severely. Heresy, which is self-sufficiency applied to thinking about God, is likewise singled out. This must lead to the victims suppressing in themselves all feelings of self-worth and most rational thought, simply in order to survive. Once you have taken the Bible as a model, it is an easy step to use children to gratify your sexuality and other needs. With the Bible for a model, it is easy to justify beatings, abuse and torture to enforce your will. In the myth of Lot, Lot knew that the visiting strangers were angels in disguise. The mob wanted him to send them out to be raped. Cowardly Lot offered them his daughters instead. Later, he slept with his daughters. Do you believe his story? Would you believe a father today who said his daughters got him drunk and tricked him into sleeping with them? Or might you think that the drunken lout of a father, got drunk (again) and raped his daughters? Of course, God in his wisdom, is not recorded as punishing any of them, but killed whatshername (Mrs. Lot) for being curious. In the myth of Job, God lets Satan kill Job's seven sons and three daughters, (as a test). At the end, Job gets seven new kids. (Mrs Job's thoughts on enduring another seven pregnancies are not revealed). Is it any wonder that Christians might consider children as so many replaceable property units? Consider the charming music of Psalm 109: 'May his children be fatherless, and his wife a widow! May his children wander about and beg; may they be driven out of the ruins they inhabit! ... Let there be none to extend kindness to him, nor any to pity his fatherless children!' Psalm 137: 'Happy shall he be who takes your little ones and dashes them against the rock!' How many beatings have be justified by Proverbs 3:12, 'for the LORD reproves him who he loves, as a father the son in whom he delights.'? Obviously, those outside of God's magic circle don't count for much. If you consider humanity as worthy of eternal damnation for something a remote ancestor did; if you condemn normal sexual feelings and other natural emotions as symptoms of depravity; and if you believe that it is necessary to your eternal salvation to mindlessly comply with nonsensical rules and force others to do the same ... it is no wonder that children in religious orphanages were beaten to death for minor infractions, or that they were forced to serve priests' perverted desires. The surprise would be Christians treating children as equals, acknowledging them as fellow human beings; encouraging them to think for themselves and not taking advantage of their powerlessness. When one fundamentalist actually calls for a minister to have a millstone tied around his neck and be thrown into the sea for the crime of child abuse, this will indicate that they are coming around. It will never happen. =========================================================== || BEGINNING OF ARTICLE || =========================================================== Errata "Errata", in the table of contents should read: "Erratum". ========================================================== || END OF ISSUE || ========================================================== Once again: ISSN: 1201-0111 The Nullifidian Volume Two, Number 1: JAN 1995. -- HUMANISM: an exaltation of freedom, but one limited by our need to exercise it as an integral part of nature and society. --John Ralston Saul If this is a humanist topic then I am President of the Humanist Association of Ottawa. Greg Erwin. ai815@FreeNet.Carleton.CA


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