Archives for category: religious issues
The quintessential New England
clapboard church as
Hindu Temple

Maine is changing. Within the last 15 years, an influx of refugees, immigrants, and asylum seekers have transformed this once staid and homogeneous State into something approaching diversity. And although the latest census figures show that Maine has the second highest percentage of white’s in the nation, diversification is making its presence known.

Maine’s first Hindu Temple, the former First Universalist Church of Scarborough and South Buxton, is now the State’s first and only community temple. I like the way they’ve complemented the classic white clapboard facade with colorful trim. Inside it’s more exotic with brightly decorated walls, burning incense, and pictures of Ganesh and other gods.

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The quintessential New England
clapboard church as
Hindu Temple

Maine is changing. Within the last 15 years, an influx of refugees, immigrants, and asylum seekers have transformed this once staid and homogeneous State into something approaching diversity. And although the latest census figures show that Maine has the second highest percentage of white’s in the nation, diversification is making its presence known.

Maine’s first Hindu Temple, the former First Universalist Church of Scarborough and South Buxton, is now the State’s first and only community temple. I like the way they’ve complemented the classic white clapboard facade with colorful trim. Inside it’s more exotic with brightly decorated walls, burning incense, and pictures of Ganesh and other gods.

The election of the new Pope has many people hoping that Pope Francis will bring about reform in the Catholic Church. That’s possible, but the Catholic Church, like religion itself, has one fundamental problem. It’s built on supernatural beliefs and myths. Religion isn’t based on science or empirical evidence. It’s based on faith. Religion attempts to explain the world and the meaning of life through stories. It provides solace by offering a “life after death,” and affirms that good will triumph over evil. Not bad ideas. Religious stories make for fun reading, but as a guide to morality or as an explanation for the world is absurdity.

As an atheist, I view the world as fundamentally physical and knowable. Reality is what we can perceive with the senses, and detect with scientific instruments, or predicted with models, such as black holes. Science is better than religion at explaining the way the natural world works, and it’s not saddled with intolerance and bigotry.

The fact there’s a new Pope makes little difference to me, but for some people, it’s a big deal, and that’s sad. 

The election of the new Pope has many people hoping that Pope Francis will bring about reform in the Catholic Church. That’s possible, but the Catholic Church, like religion itself, has one fundamental problem. It’s built on supernatural beliefs and myths. Religion isn’t based on science or empirical evidence. It’s based on faith. Religion attempts to explain the world and the meaning of life through stories. It provides solace by offering a “life after death,” and affirms that good will triumph over evil. Not bad ideas. Religious stories make for fun reading, but as a guide to morality or as an explanation for the world is absurdity.

As an atheist, I view the world as fundamentally physical and knowable. Reality is what we can perceive with the senses, and detect with scientific instruments, or predicted with models, such as black holes. Science is better than religion at explaining the way the natural world works, and it’s not saddled with intolerance and bigotry.

The fact there’s a new Pope makes little difference to me, but for some people, it’s a big deal, and that’s sad. 





From Slate magazine comes another example of religious hypocrisy. This time it’s the Roman Catholic Church. (Who would have thought!) In this case, a Roman Catholic Church hospital chain is arguing that a seven month-old fetus is not a human life as part of its defense in a wrongful death lawsuit. This argument stands in stark contrast to the Catholic Church’s staunch (and official) position that fetuses, embryos, zygotes, and even fertilized eggs are people. As with so many things, people will say one thing, but practice something completely different when it’s in their self interest to do so. 




From Slate magazine comes another example of religious hypocrisy. This time it’s the Roman Catholic Church. (Who would have thought!) In this case, a Roman Catholic Church hospital chain is arguing that a seven month-old fetus is not a human life as part of its defense in a wrongful death lawsuit. This argument stands in stark contrast to the Catholic Church’s staunch (and official) position that fetuses, embryos, zygotes, and even fertilized eggs are people. As with so many things, people will say one thing, but practice something completely different when it’s in their self interest to do so. 

The Great Plains is certainly different. Politically it’s deeply conservative. More conservative than I imagined. The other day, I had a discussion with a seemingly bright person that is active in local Republican politics. (He attended the 2008 and 2012 Republican Conventions, and even ran for political office.) He’s not dumb nor is he atypical; but, he illustrates one of the many problems facing the Republican Party: a blatant disregard and ignorance of science.

While discussing the abortion issue, I asked him when he thought life began. His response was interesting. He said, life begins “before conception.” (Did he mean to say that individual sperm and ovum constituted life and should be afforded legal protection?) I tried to inquire further, but he soon became flustered, and it was apparent that his knowledge of reproduction and science was extremely limited. Ignorance can be excused in most people, but it shouldn’t be disregarded or unaddressed, especially when spoken by a person in an “influential” position. (This person happens to be an Evangelical minister.)

Was I surprised by his response? Not really, since he had earlier stated that “Christianity should be the national religion.” (Whatever happened to “Separation of Church and State?”)

The Great Plains is certainly different. Politically it’s deeply conservative. More conservative than I imagined. The other day, I had a discussion with a seemingly bright person that is active in local Republican politics. (He attended the 2008 and 2012 Republican Conventions, and even ran for political office.) He’s not dumb nor is he atypical; but, he illustrates one of the many problems facing the Republican Party: a blatant disregard and ignorance of science.

While discussing the abortion issue, I asked him when he thought life began. His response was interesting. He said, life begins “before conception.” (Did he mean to say that individual sperm and ovum constituted life and should be afforded legal protection?) I tried to inquire further, but he soon became flustered, and it was apparent that his knowledge of reproduction and science was extremely limited. Ignorance can be excused in most people, but it shouldn’t be disregarded or unaddressed, especially when spoken by a person in an “influential” position. (This person happens to be an Evangelical minister.)

Was I surprised by his response? Not really, since he had earlier stated that “Christianity should be the national religion.” (Whatever happened to “Separation of Church and State?”)

Very funny!