Pondering nature's patterns: 1-28-09
Saving Jews in Poland: 1-30-09

Our presidents and faith: 1-29-09


If you missed Newsweek editor Jon Meacham speaking in Kansas City this week at the conclusion of the annual Festival of Faiths, you really missed a wonderful evening of conversation and insight from one of the brightest young minds in the country.

You need to promise yourself to keep the Festival of Faiths bookmarked and to make plans for the third annual version later this year.


I was honored to be asked to introduce Jon to the audience at Yardley Hall at Johnson County Community College and to moderate the Q&A after he spoke. The photo here of us proves that we both showed up for the event.

If you want just a two-minute excerpt from Jon's talk, which focused on the presidents and their approach to religious matters, click on the link below. In it, he's speaking about Thomas Jefferson and other founders and their decision that freedom of religion would be vital to the future stability of the new nation --  a freedom Meacham called a "rickety but enduring" structure.

Download Jon Meacham

A few highlights from Jon's talk:

* Our Founding Fathers purposefully did not use much overtly Christian language in the founding documents. Knowing the recent European history of sectarian strife, they sought to avoid that.

* "We're not a Christian nation. It's a theological impossibility." And a constitutional impossibility.

* Reinhold Niebuhr is the theologian feels most in tune with.

* "Literalism is for the insecure."

* The presidents who were our best theologians were Jefferson and Lincoln.

By the way, Meacham's latest book, which I haven't yet had a chance to read, is about Andrew Jackson. You'd think all us Jackson Countians would want to give it a read, right?

* * *


Yes, there's lots of connection between religion and our presidents, but also religion and the Super Bowl, that profoundly spiritual event taking place this weekend in a huge temple, as this report makes clear. Is sports a religion in this country? To quote Sarah Palin, you betcha.

* * *

NOTE: I tried to add a search function here last week that would let you search my blog but I couldn't get it to work right. So I've killed that one and added one that does work -- or seems to. Check it out on the right side of this page just above the Google ads. Bill.


adam harrison

"Literalism is for the insecure."

Indeed, because if you read the Constitution literally, you won't find separation of Church and State.

(And I always wondered, does that mean "SEPARATE BUT EQUAL", like the Supreme Court used to interpret race relations? LOL!)

So those who want to find what they want can read the Contitution liberally, but if, for example, you want the "thump the bible thumpers" THEN you can read the Bible Literally.

(By the way, I also tried to call the KCFreethinkers information line. Will G. is correct, it is nothing but a recording, and there isn't a snowball's chance in H... that KCF will call the oppostion back. I think he just wants to get people on tape. LOL!)

adam harrison

By the way, KCF, don't bother telling me I should have left a message. JC, as per his last post yesterday, has done that several times...since he thinks you may be worth debating, while I do not...and of course you have never called when you think you might have to actually produce real arguments. (And to keep up the pretense that you are ignoring people while you say nasty things about them on your site which has NO FORUM AT ALL where anyone can repond! LOL!

adam harrison

I am always amused by the irony of the frequent claim that America was not a Christian nation...and of course it isn't and wasn't...and yet at the same time Christians are blamed for slavery.

And yet the people who could have stopped it, Jefferson is a KEY example, was no Christian, and is claimed to be a "great theologian" and yet was a slave owner who was sexually involved with his slaves.

If nothing else, he could have freed them as an example.

Go figure.

Dolores Lear

This week's Daily promise, 1/29/09: Overcoming discouragement brings great blessing
What, me worry?
"So I tell you, don't worry about everyday life—whether you have enough food, drink, and clothes." Matthew 6:25 NLT
"Give your burdens to the Lord, and he will take care of you. He will not permit the godly to slip and fall." Psalm 55:22 NLT"
The mistrust of anxiety
Words of encouragement from the Master are always welcome. The stresses of life come upon us and a brother or sister in Christ reminds us that He is in control. He is sovereign, He knows when the sparrow falls, He numbers the hairs on our heads, He clothes the lilies of the field. He says not to worry about our life, and we welcome the suggestion as an encouraging pat on the back."

Says Who? What is Faith? If GOD/God gave the Resources Equally on Planet Earth, to all the fish, fowl, and animals, why did 'He' not give them to Humans also?

Is the Greed, Unsharing, Killing Generation Birth, Death and Rebirth Lifestyle on Earth, God Given, or Satan Given?

What is GOD, God, and Satan? With our High Tech Science it is Time to review all Past Writings and Myths.

And Prove the Truth, that the Lord God, in Genesis, a Human, also gave the Resources, Free to Humans, as well as all Other Species. Why are GODs Resources up for Sale?

If God is for Us, who can be Against Us? Satan? Our Brain Washed Misbred Selves?

Why do Humans have Generation Mouth Worship, Hate, Inequality, Haves and Havenots, and Killing of all Life on GODs Planet? Because they Love GOD, God and Jesus?

Gods Equality Rules should be followed, by Living Humans on Earth, not Dead Humans in Heaven.

Iggy - www.KCFreeThinkers.org

If you'd like to carpool to the events and back from Kansas City please, RSVP to [email protected] Several freethinking groups from Topeka, St. Joseph, Kansas City and other Midwestern areas will show up. We'll drive in my hybrid (I can take 3 people comfortably - 1 in front, 2 in back or unfomfortably 3 in back :o) I have wi-fi hotspot in my car so if you have a laptop bring it and you can roam the Net on several computers while we are driving there and back.

FREE tickets to Richard Dawkins Lecture in Omaha on Wed, March 11 7:30 p.m.

The famed evolutionary biologist and well-known critic of religious tenets is the 9th, and perhaps most controversial, Holland Lecture speaker. The talk, entitled "The Purpose of Purpose", will explore human's obsessions with purpose and our need answer the question "What is it all for?".


Richard Carrier will be debating William Lane Craig on the Resurrection of Jesus on March 18 at Northwest Missouri State University in Maryville, MO (1 hour North of St. Joseph MO - 2 hour drive from Kansas City)

More details to follow.

Iggy - www.KCFreeThinkers.org

Why should I respect these oppressive religions? - by Johann Hari

Whenever a religious belief is criticised, its adherents say they're victims of 'prejudice' The Universal Declaration of Human Rights stated 60 years ago that "a world in which human beings shall enjoy freedom of speech and belief is the highest aspiration of the common people". It was a Magna Carta for mankind – and loathed by every human rights abuser on earth. Today, the Chinese dictatorship calls it "Western", Robert Mugabe calls it "colonialist", and Dick Cheney calls it "outdated". The countries of the world have chronically failed to meet it – but the document has been held up by the United Nations as the ultimate standard against which to check ourselves. Until now.

MORE AT http://richarddawkins.net/article,3553,Why-should-I-respect-these-oppressive-religions,Johann-Hari

Elevating Science, Elevating Democracy by Dennis Overbye, NY Times

All right, I was weeping too.

To be honest, the restoration of science was the least of it, but when Barack Obama proclaimed during his Inaugural Address that he would “restore science to its rightful place,” you could feel a dark cloud lifting like a sigh from the shoulders of the scientific community in this country.

MORE AT http://richarddawkins.net/article,3552,Elevating-Science-Elevating-Democracy,Dennis-Overbye-NY-Times

Dolores Lear

Matthew 6:24. KJV "No man can serve two masters: for either he will hate the one, and love the other; or else he will hold to the one, and despise the other. Ye cannot serve God and mammon." In Luke 16:13 also.

So what does this teach us? Put God before Humans? Is that possible in a Heterosexual Body Birth Society, with No Sharing, and so many Masters? Family, Religion and Government?

Matthew 6:19-23. "Lay not up for yourselves treasures upon earth, where moth and rust doth corrupt, and where thieves break through and steal: But lay up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where neither moth nor rust doth corrupt, and where thieves do not break through nor steal; For where your treasure is, there will your heart be also. The light of the body is the eye: if therefore thine eye be single, they whole body shall be full of light. But if thine eye be evil, thy whole body shall be full of darkness. If therefore the light that is in thee be darkness, how great is that darkness!"

How many Misbred Humans, and Havenot Humans, can only see darkness? Is this because they do not see God, and Serve Him?

Or is it because of their Family Genetics, and the Environment where they are born? Who does Serve GOD, the Maker of our Home Planet Earth?

No One can Pick their Parents. or Environment, or their God, when they are born. So why do Humans have so many Unfavorable Environments, for Babies to be born in, and Children to be raised in?

Love of God? Love of Brothers/Sisters of Life? Love of Being Good Caretakers of GODs Planet Earth, their Physical Home?


Dolores Lear


If GODs Planet Earth is Given to All Life Species, and the 'He/She' God, our High Tech Human Ancestors, put Humans in Charge, why are Humans the Killer Species, that sells GODs Resources, instead of the Caretaker Species that Shares All with All Species?

Did GOD or God, or any of the Gods on Earth, put Killers in Charge of our Home Planet?

LIFE is for the Living, not the Dead. Why not work as Hard for Life and Equality for All Species, as Fallen Humans work for Death to All Species and their Home Planet?

Why not have Equal Sharing of GODs Resources, instead Unequal Killing and Toxic Pollution and Nuclear Bombs?

Who are our Two Masters? Actions Speak Louder, Than Words of Prayer by Killer Mouths, in Public and in Pagan Temples.

Christians sing "'Stand Up! Stand Up For Jesus!" What does this mean? Stand Up with our Mouths, instead of with our Hands?

Why do Humans make Temples by their Human Hands, and let the Planet Temple of GOD, our Bodies and our Earth, be destroyed?

Is this Standing Up and Serving GOD, God and Jesus, or, Satan? Where are the Children of GOD, God, and Jesus? In the Green Revolution? Is it too late to Save GODs LIFE Temple?

Eternal Physical Life, is Not for the Dead and Dying Humans on a Home Planet, or in a Spaceship, nor, in a Religious Heaven After Death.

Life After Generation Birth, Death and Rebirth, is the Return of GODs Elements, to GODs Element Storehouse to be used again.

Eternal Physical Human Life, is for the Living Humans After Birth, on Planets and in Spaceships.

Iggy - www.KCFreeThinkers.org


On yesterday's topic of "natural patterns & self organization in nature...

I came across this piece with just one paragraph about future of evolutionary research from some major researchers in the field and this one stood out... Thought you might like it.

Chris Wills

The biggest gap in evolutionary theory remains the origin of life itself. We now know that life began, probably near volcanically active zones, about 3.8 to 3.5 billion years ago, at a time when there was no free oxygen in the atmosphere. In the laboratory it has been possible to replicate such conditions and produce amino acids, primitive membrane-like structures and some of the building blocks of DNA and RNA. More recently, it has been found that, along with protein enzymes, RNA can catalyse chemical reactions, and it has even been possible to construct RNA molecules that can copy parts of themselves. But the gap between such a collection of molecules and even the most primitive cell remains enormous.

Chris Wills is professor of biology at the University of California, San Diego

Stuart Kauffman

Darwin changed our thinking as much as any scientist. Life, as zoologist Ernst Mayr said, only makes sense in terms of evolution. But major issues arise, such as the fact that Darwin did not know about self-organisation. Abundant work over the past four decades has begun to show that self-organisation plays a role along with natural selection in the order in biology. One example is that lipids spontaneously form liposomes, the hollow bilayered vesicles that must have yielded the cell membrane. Another is the spontaneous order in genetic regulatory networks, the understanding of which may lead to regenerative medicine and new cancer therapies.


Iggy - www.KCFreeThinkers.org

On patterns & self organization - Continued...

Simon Conway Morris

"Evolution's biggest gap? Quite simple, old boy." Professor Mortimer leaned back and grinned. "Evolution equals change? Naturally, but that is only step one. What is life? A spectacular tightrope walk on a gossamer thread between vast regions of crystalline immobility and chaotic flux. If you don't like that metaphor, try thinking of a pack of cards a mile high with an elephant perfectly balanced on the top. And then there is its uncanny self-organisation. Cells to consciousness - impressive, isn't it? Darwin got it right, and so did Newton. But then physics had Einstein. Perhaps now it is biology's turn."

Simon Conway Morris is a professor in the department of Earth sciences at the University of Cambridge


Attenborough reveals creationist hate mail for not crediting God

Sir David Attenborough has revealed that he receives hate mail from viewers for failing to credit God in his documentaries. In an interview with this week's Radio Times about his latest documentary, on Charles Darwin and natural selection, the broadcaster said: "They tell me to burn in hell and good riddance."

Telling the magazine that he was asked why he did not give "credit" to God, Attenborough added: "They always mean beautiful things like hummingbirds. I always reply by saying that I think of a little child in east Africa with a worm burrowing through his eyeball. The worm cannot live in any other way, except by burrowing through eyeballs. I find that hard to reconcile with the notion of a divine and benevolent creator."

MORE AT http://richarddawkins.net/article,3551,Attenborough-reveals-creationist-hate-mail-for-not-crediting-God,Guardian

Will Graham

I am still waiting for Iggy to post his references to those "scientifical" peer reviewed "magazines, that provide a demonstration that all existence, life, mine and reason can be explaind by mindless natural causes.

That, or a return for call FOR ONCE! LOL!

Will Graham

Hey! I'd like a ride to the Carrier/Craig debate!

But how would I get in touch with you? You won't return calls, and you don't respond to e mails.

So if your offer is not legit, quit jacking around.

Will Graham

For those interested in the upcoming Carrier/Craig debate here is a list of the many other successful debates William Lane Craig has engaged in, including Bart Ehrman.


Will Graham

William Lane Craig debated Quentin Smith on the existence of God:


Dolores Lear

The Biggest Gap in our Past, is not how Life Began on Earth, but the Answer to Why the Human Species Kills Each Other, All Life Species, and their Home Planet.

Is this what Evolution up to High Tech does, make a Killer Human Species? From animals bones to Nuclear Bombs.

Science, so far, does not consider our Planet was Colonized? Even if we do Know this is possible, for High Tech Humans today, but not in the Past.

In Genesis, Earth was Colonized by the 'Lord God', in our Human Image, and did Reproduce Perfect Male and Female Human Clones, without Heterosexual Body Birth.

Can this be what Evolution does? Evolve up to our High Tech today. We reproduce Fetus' in the Lab and Know how to Clone?

Now we need to Evolve to Perfect Humans made in the Lab, like Adam and Eve?

Even when we travel in Space, will Humans Ever Find out, 'What' made the Elements, that made our visible and invisible Life in the Universes?

Can Life as we Know it, go back to the Source of the Elements that made us? Could we call this Source GOD, or just Chance?

Is Earth the Only Planet that has Life as we Know it? We have only had High Tech for 100 years and used most of it for Killing Each Other.

We Could Know this High Tech Truth in Genesis, about the Lord God, our High Tech Human Ancestors, with a High Tech Translations of all Scripture and Myth.

Will Humans ever Know any more about GOD than we do today? I doubt it. We will blow up our Planet, before we will Unite as One Equal Peace Human Species, on Spaceship Earth Home.

adam harrison

Bill, your praise of Jefferson tends to gloss over the fact that he was a SLAVE HOLDING non Christian.

Its ironic that atheists, who did very little to end slavery, try to condemn Christians who actually ended it...


Iggy - www.KCFreeThinkers.org

In the years of Christianity, slavery was a normal feature of the economy and society in the Roman Empire and well into the Middle Ages and beyond. Nearly all Christian leaders before the late 17th century regarded slavery as consistent with Christian theology. Slavery in different forms was a normal practice in the Christian world for 1,500+ years.

Centuries later, as the abolition movement took shape across the globe, groups who advocated slavery's abolition attempted to harness Christian teachings in support of their positions. However, they were forced to refer to the 'spirit of Christianity' rather than quote the Bible. On the other hand, those opposed to abolition and equal rights were able to and did quote numerous Biblical passages that permit and regulate the practice of slavery.

Passages in the Bible on the use and regulation of slavery have been used throughout history as justification for the keeping of slaves, and for guidance in how it should be done. Therefore, when abolition was proposed, many Christians spoke vociferously against it, citing the Bible's apparent acceptance of slavery as 'proof' that it was part of the normal condition. In both Europe and the United States many Christians went further, arguing that slavery was actually justified by the words and doctrines of the Bible.

"[Slavery] was established by decree of Almighty God...it is sanctioned in the Bible, in both Testaments, from Genesis to Revelation...it has existed in all ages, has been found among the people of the highest civilization, and in nations of the highest proficiency in the arts." Jefferson Davis, President, Confederate States of America.

"Every hope of the existence of church and state, and of civilization itself, hangs upon our arduous effort to defeat the doctrine of Negro suffrage." Robert Dabney, a prominent 19th century Southern Presbyterian pastor.


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