In a world dominated by magical thinking, superstition and misinformation, give yourself the benefit of doubt. This is one skeptic's view of the Universe; natural wonders and supernatural blunders.

"Tell people there’s an invisible man in the sky who created the universe, and the vast majority believe you. Tell them the paint is wet, and they have to touch it to be sure."

-George Carlin

“If people are good only because they fear punishment, and hope for reward, then we are a sorry lot indeed”.

-Albert Einstein

“Skeptical scrutiny is the means, in both science and religion, by which deep thoughts can be winnowed from deep nonsense.”

-Carl Sagan

The person who is certain, and who claims divine warrant for his certainty, belongs now to the infancy of our species. It may be a long farewell, but it has begun and, like all farewells, should not be protracted.

-Christopher Hitchens

 

Regardless what you think and believe, science shows human beings know very little. Our eyes register only 1 percent of the electromagnetic spectrum in the universe. Our ears detect less than 1 percent of its sound wave frequencies. Human senses—our brain’s vehicles to understanding the world—leave much to be desired. In fact, our genome is only 1 percent different than that of a chimpanzee. Amazingly, despite the obvious fact no one really knows that much about what is going on with ourselves and the universe, we still insist on the accuracy of grand spiritual claims handed down to us from our barefoot forefathers. We celebrate holidays over these ancient religious tales; we choose life partners and friends over these fables; we go to war to defend these myths.

It’s not our job to toughen our children up to face a cruel and heartless world. It’s our job to raise children who will make the world a little less cruel and heartless.

L.R. Knost (via dailydoseofstuf)

Religious Children Struggle To Separate Fact From Fiction

The ability of young children to distinguish fact from fiction varies considerably with exposure to religion, two new studies have found. Children who did not attend parochial (religious) schools or church were significantly better at identifying characters in religious or fantasy stories as pretend than those who did. The studies have been published in Cognitive Science.

Pastor, Parishioners Admit To Cruelly Torturing 13-Year-Old To ‘Scare’ Him Straight

A California pastor and two of his parishioners admitted to torturing a 13-year-old boy at a church-run group home in an attempt to “scare” him straight.

Lonny Remmers, 56, admitted to torturing the teen during a Bible study session. Remmers, the head of Hart Worship Community Church in the small town of Corona, ordered two men, Nicholas Craig, 24, and Darryll Jeter Jr., 30, to “scare” the boy straight because he was acting up. The boy was then driven to a remote area, beaten and forced to dig his own grave, according to court documents.

He was forced into the grave, while men threw dirt on him as if they would bury him alive. They then removed him from the hole, took him the home, allowed him to shower, and then rubbed salt into his wounds, the documents said.

They also tied him down and sprayed mace in his face, which caused his nose to bleed.

The next day the torture continued when they twisted the boy’s nipples with pliers in front of a dozen other men.

The three men pleaded guilty Monday to assault with a deadly weapon, inflicting corporal injury on a child and making criminal threats. They avoided a kidnapping charge by pleading guilty, the New York Daily News reports.

Remmers is expected to be sentenced to two years in prison. Craig and Jeter were given one year of home confinement and three years of probation.

The boy was allegedly brought to Remmer’s church, which has 15 to 20 members, by his mother. His mother and sister are both church members. The boy, who was not identified, had been confined to a men’s home as a disciplinary action.

(Source: opposingviews.com)

Tell us the truth about the children dumped in Galway’s mass graves

Sean Ross Abbey, a home run by nuns in County Tipperary, from where 438 babies were secretly exported to the US for adoption. Photograph: Brian Lockier/www.adoptionrightsalliance.com

The bodies of 796 children, between the ages of two days and nine years old, have been found in a disused sewage tank in Tuam, County Galway. They died between 1925 and 1961 in a mother and baby home under the care of the Bon Secours nuns.

Locals have known about the grave since 1975, when two little boys, playing, broke apart the concrete slab covering it and discovered a tomb filled with small skeletons. A parish priest said prayers at the site, and it was sealed once more, the number of bodies below unknown, their names forgotten.

The Tuam historian Catherine Corless discovered the extent of the mass grave when she requested records of children’s deaths in the home. The registrar in Galway gave her almost 800. Shocked, she checked 100 of these against graveyard burials, and found only one little boy who had been returned to a family plot. The vast majority of the children’s remains, it seemed, were in the septic tank. Corless and a committee have been working tirelessly to raise money for a memorial that includes a plaque bearing each child’s name.

For those of you unfamiliar with how, until the 1990s, Ireland dealt with unmarried mothers and their children, here it is: the women were incarcerated in state-funded, church-run institutions called mother and baby homes or Magdalene asylums, where they worked to atone for their sins. Their children were taken from them.

According to Corless, death rates for children in the Tuam mother and baby home, and in similar institutions, were four to five times that of the general population. A health board report from 1944 on the Tuam home describes emaciated, potbellied children, mentally unwell mothers and appalling overcrowding. But, as Corless points out, this was no different to other homes in Ireland. They all had the same mentality: that these women and children should be punished.

Ireland knows all this. We know about the abuse women and children suffered at the hands of the clergy, abuse funded by a theocratic Irish state. What we didn’t know is that they threw dead children into unmarked mass graves. But we’re inured to these revelations by now…

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Bodies Of 800 Babies Found In Septic Tank At Irish Unwed Mothers Home

The bodies of nearly 800 babies were found in a septic tank near an Irish home for unwed mothers in Galway.

The infants were likely buried in secret at St. Mary’s Mother and Baby Home. Run by nuns in Tuam for 36 years, the facility supposedly helped women get a new start until it closed in 1961. Their children were not so lucky.

Many of them died from neglect, malnutrition and complications from illnesses like pneumonia, measles, tuberculosis and gastroenteritis.

The mass grave was uncovered by a local historian, Catherine Corless, who is asking authorities to investigate the facility as well as construct a memorial on the site….

…Homes for unwed mothers run by the Catholic church were common in Ireland in the 20th century, according to the Global Post.

One such home, Sean Ross Abbey in Tipperary, was depicted in Dame Judi Dench’s Oscar-nominated movie “Philomena.”

“When daughters became pregnant they were ostracized completely,” Corless said. “Families would be afraid of neighbors finding out because to get pregnant out of marriage was the worst thing on Earth. It was the worst crime a woman could commit, even though a lot of the time it had been because of a rape.”…

godlessmen:

"Bedtime Blessings for Boys" - books for brainwashing children never stop creeping me out - "Praying for others is the absolute best thing you can do!" Is it really? Source: Source and comments

godlessmen:

"Bedtime Blessings for Boys" - books for brainwashing children never stop creeping me out - "Praying for others is the absolute best thing you can do!" Is it really?

Source: Source and comments

Resources for Atheist Parents

Thankfully, there are many fabulous resources available both for parents and for kids to navigate this world without religious guidance. Here are just a small sampling…

Yet another reason that I deplore organized religion

helvetebrann:

I waited a day to post this in the hopes that I wouldn’t be so furious. It didn’t help much.

In order to avoid presenting any identifying information about this story, it does have to be vague. I’m going to be talking about one my students, whom I shall now refer to as X. X…