The essence of ministry: 8-28-09
Are we all Hindus? 8-31-09

Colleges' religious roots: 8-29/30-09

All over America there used to be (and in many places still are) colleges and universities that have religious roots.


This weekend is a good time to think about that because it was on Aug. 30, 1856, that the Methodist Episcopal Church founded Wilberforce College (now Wilberforce University) in western Ohio. It was just the second institution of higher education in the U.S. created for African-Americans. Click here for some Wilberforce history.

Although nearly all religious communities in America support the idea of public education, paid for with dollars from taxpayers, many also have offered private, or parochial, alternatives. This has been good for America. I say this as someone profoundly dedicated to public education.

It took American society time to adopt the idea that higher education should be publically supported, so most of the early colleges and universities in the U.S. were private, and often they had religious sponsors.

In its early years, even Harvard, founded in 1636, was essentially in the business of training clergy for Puritan congregations, though, as this history says, it never had a formal affiliation with any denomination.

My own denomination, the Presbyterian Church (USA), long has been a leader in education, creating colleges all over the country. Many still are affiliated in some way with the denomination, though the church now provides precious little funding for them.

And certainly the Catholic Church in this country has created some of our best colleges and universities -- from smaller schools, such as Rockhurst University in Kansas City, to Notre Dame and Catholic University.

Well, no doubt you can name Baptist, Lutheran, Jewish, Mormon, Methodist and other colleges and universities with religious roots and connections. And I say our faith communities deserve thanks for adding much richness to our educational traditions.

* * * 


The Vatican secretary of state says Pope Benedict XVI has no intention of reversing reforms adopted by Vatican II. It would be intriguing to read a thorough study of how Catholics around the world now view the changes that came out of the second Vatican council in the 1960s. There indeed still is division, with what I think is a small but dedicated and vocal minority who think Vatican II was a major error, heretical and invalid, while by far most others are on board with most, if not all, of the reforms that emerged. But that's just my guess.

* * *

P.S.: If you missed the lovely eulogy of his father by Ted Kennedy Jr., whom I met a few years ago when he came to Kansas City to give a speech, here's the text of it. Just to clarify, this text misspells the name of author Shelby Foote.

* * *

P.S.: For information about the health care forum I'll be moderating Sunday starting at 3 p.m. at Community Christian Church in Kansas City, click here, then scroll down a bit.


Dolores Lear

All Schools, Private and State, teach some Knowledge about our Planet and the Universe. They teach about Natural, Secular and Religious Life on Earth.

But now we also have the High Tech Science Knowledge of Spaceships and Space Travel and Human Reproduction in the Lab. Are Humans on Earth the only Human Race in the Universe to do this?

Or does past Religion and Myth, have a message of other Humans in the Past with this same High Tech Knowledge, called God, or Spirit, for the Supernatural Humans in our Image?

The Supernatural God/Us in Genesis, Created Life on Earth, and traveled in Space in fiery chariots, and Created Perfect Humans in our Image. Is that Supernatural Imagination, Humans carried down through Religion?

We also have teachings today of how Life Evolved on Planets from ?, but they do not include Supernatural Human Gods in our Image.

Why? Because Humans today are just Evolving up to this Supernatural High Tech Human Knowledge?

All the past Human Killer writings about Gods, were just people's imagination of what we today call High Tech Science? Like people today write about Science Fiction Killer Humans in Space?

Or could it be possible Religious and Myth writings are about a Superior Race of Humans, that Do have High Tech Eternal Physical Life After Birth, on Planets and in Spaceships. Where did the Gods come from in our vast Universe?

Are Colleges and Universities really teaching all the Past High Tech Knowledge on our Home Planet, about High Tech Human Gods that came to Earth in the Past?

Is it possible today, with Perfect High Tech Reproduction and Colonization, to travel in Space and Colonize a new Home Planet Base, like in Genesis 1?

Is that what the Saved Religious Writings and Myth tell us with a High Tech Translation? What is Knowledge?

Will Graham

Regarding public schools, student Chad Farnan taught Mr. Corbett a lesson in Consitutional Law.

The first amendment prevents the establishment of religion, and also prevents denigrating it.

Will Graham

Bill, I see you are moderating a CIVIL DISCUSSION on Faith and Health Care reform at Community Christian Church tommorrow at 3:00.

Why were you chosen as the moderator?

After all, you moderate this blog, and it is filled with accusations that believers are "psychotic", "delusional", and suggestions that they "crawl under a rock and die.".

Not to mention that they SHUT UP and KEEP THEIR BELIEFS TO THEMSELVES.

IF that is your idea of "moderation" I can't wait to see the CIVIL DISCUSSION you are going to moderate! LOL!



Tarsier eyes

Tarsier skull, courtesy Bone Clones Tarsier skull
Picture courtesy Bone Clones®

Most nocturnal vertebrates, from owls to cats, have a membrane behind their (backward) retina, the tapetum lucidum. This reflects back any stray photons, giving the retinal pigments a second chance to pick them up. Seems like a good idea, yes?

It is strange, therefore, that the creator saw fit to omit this apparently very useful piece of design from nocturnal tarsiers (and other nocturnal primates, such as bushbabies, owl monkeys etc). These cute little prosimians clearly need to see well at night. At least, we can assume so, because they have eyes so huge that each is larger than their entire brain! These vast eyes can barely be swivelled in their sockets, so the tarsier design requires the addition of an extremely rotatable neck.

If they were designed to see in the dark, think how much better they could do so with a tapetum lucidum behind each retina too! Alternatively, if they had one, perhaps they would not need such huge eyes. A waste of materials, perhaps? Or might this be design constrained by history?

(The designer also forgot to include a tapetum lucidum in the eyes of owlet nightjars (Aegothelidae), and of the Galapagos swallow-tailed gull, all of which would presumably benefit from having it. And he obviously was not bothered about the low-light visual abilities of humans either, for we too lack a tapetum.)

adam harrison

The standard conflation between Intelligent Design and Optimum design is a very flexible Straw Man.

That all organisms would not have optimum design on a planet of finite resources is not inconsistent with information carrying content of the organisms structure.

And, after all, no finite organism can have every characteristic, and all them serve a role in the biosphere.

Such conflation indicates not only a Willful Ignorance of the conept of Intelligent design, but an ignorance even of biology, ecological balance, and such engineering concepts as redundancy.

Of course, actual understanding of such concepts is neither the point or the agenda of such posts, now is it? LOL!

adam harrison

By the way, have you all noticed the Little Russians latest pet phrase?

"Crawl under a rock and die."

At least he has added something to "christian brains are delicious" and "hanniable Lector is going to clone you a new brain." That stuff was a broken record after darn near two years!

To be fair, I shouldn't complain; a number of believers have said I should encourage his work! It says where he and his buddies are coming from, and would like to take us if they could, better than anything I could ever say.

And who knows? Maybe his tactics will work! After all, they did wonders for his homeland!

Red, I go to bible studies because it is fun. Sometimes I’m prepared before I go, sometimes I’m not. I like impromptu. Just go in and talk. I like to see how they think. Their first hand responses from questions, not like in a book, or movie or whatever, instead, live. For me, it’s fun.

I also like to see how they first react to us being an atheist. It’s always different.

Oh,…I do read other books.

Hell, Red. We have all been duped at one time or another. We just have to move on….I like new stuff, music, movies, books, sciences…its all fun.

Fun is fun.

Wasn’t much traffic last night on the streets of Westport. Sort a dead for a Friday. The music a half block away was probably the reason.

Also the Xs must have been called by god to some other spot. You just can’t trust that guy.

I did hand a couple of fliers. Two guys ask us for money while we were on the corners, walking the sidewalks, talking, enjoying the cool night…

John told the first one we were atheists and he was offended. Yes, offended. He mumbled something gave us a look and was on his way…

The second one asked for a quarter from each of us and said god bless you. Don told him we blessed our selves. I believe it was John who said we were atheists and he was on his way, but not before he laughed and said, “then bless yourself.”

We did, and a few feet away he shook hands with his next ‘Mark’, all smiles…fantasizing about that next drink, I thought.

People are entertaining. They both smelled of alcohol. Jesus did like his wine.

Oh well, it was still fun. The Beaumont club on Pennsylvania was Rockin’! Great night with my heathen friends. Continued

Continued We had great conversation over dinner at McCcys. Four new members showed. Interesting people. One was a new young author. All the new people had good stories to tell how they got where they are in life.

Trapblock last night said, “The Truth does not change with the times”

Aw, but yes it does…That is why genocides are brought to surface and less are happening. Why women, minorities, gays and us have more rights now. Religion can no longer, legally, suppress us, torture us, kill us, silence us. The truth is: as a successful society we have to be fair.

Trapblock, you, and others, are behind the times. I feel you have to get out of the box and experience for yourself or you will never know what is fair and why people think the way they do….

Last night Trapblock said, “If you don't believe in Hell you just might end up there.”

You know, I have asked this question at the bible studies we attend. And as they look puzzled how to answer sometimes, I will add – while they look at each other for group conformation, - I will say, You know on bott radio I keep hearing here lately that the concept of hell, is not a firey lake, or a smoldering, sweaty dungeon beneath the ground – but hell is the separation from god. Hell just keeps on morphing. As god keeps on evolving.

I here this interpretation more and more among Xs.

Red, this is another reason I go to bible studies. I like it first hand, instead of sitting with a glass of wine and ridiculing others why they do things. Continued


Bill, I'm going to try to learn more about Vatican II. I'm glad to hear the Pope isn't going to overturn any of the reforms, as it seems like Vatican II was a real step forward for the Catholic Church. I've been reading that young priests actually tend to be "older" in theology than older priests. I also think that our society, in general, has been experiencing a strong uber-conservative backlash.

Iggy, we've been enjoying the evolution videos that you provided links to on Thursday. We're going to finish up watching "From Ape to Man" today. My 9yo is truly fascinated by the fact that our fish-ancestors didn't grow limbs for the purpose of walking -- but rather for the purpose of navigating swampy vegetation growth while fleeing predators.

It was also interesting to hear the Creationist on there, who believed everything came to be in 6 days. My daughter says it just makes more sense to see it as every day representing an age of time. Since it obviously takes such a long time for these kinds of changes to happen. And she wonders if we're still evolving.

Just like handing out fliers at Westport. Or a conversation with someone at a store when they say something like: “do you know why we are having bad times now? Because god is showing this to us. We can’t no the good times unless we have bad times.” A woman actually told me this two months ago. Gee thanks god for taking 40% of my salary. I only worked 46 years to learn a lesson like this. Can you believe this kind of thinking?

Will posted last night at 9:53, “Are the rest of you so afraid of this a. .hole that you are a afraid to tell him off?”

Will, you like stirring up trouble because you are unhappy, I think. You twist what others say to fit your own agenda. Which I believe is to warp it to god. Show me god, Will. You won’t answer because you can’t…

Living in the natural world and believing in the supernatural world must be very confusing. Perhaps if you stop listening to others and paying attention to how the world evolves will help. Perhaps break your mold and post at a different time and see what happens. The brain is very mysterious. Not god.

Hey. Everybody is invited to show up at Black dog café tonight at 7. No subject. Just talk. There is something happening at Black dog every Sat. night at 7. Continued

Bill said, “All over America there used to be (and in many places still are) colleges and universities that have religious roots.”

Of course ‘ROOTS’ is a metaphor. Religion doesn’t grow in the ground, earth. Dirt. With water and fertilizer. It continues on because “every time you say of read it you make another copy in your brain, It has become what it is, because: Every time you read it or say it you make another copy in your brain. There is a big difference. Real….or…make believe. You decide which is common sense.

I read all the blue markers. This is good Bill. I like that you are concerned about public education – since that is vastly our education - but I fail to see the reality about this. It does seem that what you talking about is true, these organizations were for the underdogs. Too bad most Xs were not. To bad we can’t teach in these fair, higher educational places, reality. Which excludes supernaturalism- god –

There are no formulas or methods to prove superman exists.

And if superman does exist, does he have human qualities like jealousy, hatred, revenge, want to live forever, love, compassion, fairness, want to learn so we live longer in the natural world?

Perhaps the god concept was just a lot of wishing based on how we are…how we think, how we survive. Perhaps it was help at one time but now we understand the brain better and we no longer need space daddy…

Time to move on…

Peace For the Sake of Goodness Cole


Oh, well, I just learned that the members of Call To Action have been excommunicated. So I guess there's not really a way to become a dissenting Catholic.

But, anyhow, we are going to Black Dog tonight.

adam harrison

Atheists love going to Westport! It helps their reasoning!

adam harrison

Those who present evolution as holding that our ancestors grew limbs or underwent any other evolutionary change for any "purpose" whatsoever do not understand current mainstream evolutionary theory.

The present views is that certain mutations were "selected" because they offered some advantage AT THE TIME.

There is no "purpose" whatsoever.

And COLE MORGAN, why do you say Will is stirring up trouble? You and your troll buddy are the ones who come on here almost every day calling people names and now telling them to die.

Get over yourself. You are the one who has become what you accuse others of.

adam harrison

I am unclear as to why most normal people would want to spend a Saturday night with you at the Black Dog, Cole.

So many other things to do in the real world! LOL! Especially on Saturday night.

From your public expression here, you obviously are not that educated, and are full of invective and name calling. It is apparent from what you have to say here that you have little knowledge of History, Philosophy, Science or Literature other that what you might glean from You Tube or Wikipedia.

So, thanks but no thanks.

7 pm Black dog café in Lenexa, tonight. Any one can come.

You and your purpose, Adam, leads back to bronze age thinking.

If you are so smart why do you have an imaginary friend in your head? How ‘s that egg?

Oh, wait a minute, I get it. I’m not smart enough to know god is there. Well, you know what they say, “Ignorance is bliss.”

Adam said, “I am unclear as to why most normal people would want to spend a Saturday night with you at the Black Dog, Cole.”

So normal is believing in make believe? Go to the media and tell them about a miracle or something god tells you and see what happens.

This is fun:

Steven Pinker 1of3: The computational theory of mind

Peace For the Sake of Goodness Cole



On the agenda is one chapter from the New Testament. The outline for the last week had specific verses - and 10 verses out of 23 for that particular class have been completely bypassed from the discussion of this chapter in NT. This study will finish the chapter - 3 more verses are not discussed in the chapter and then the rest of the verses are.

Having read the chapter and paying critical attention to the missing verses, I can see why - they are "inconvenient" to explain what is meant and what is "actually" said and they come across as "completely" going against Jesus' teachings. Will be fun to find out why they are missing.

If you are interested to attend this Bible study, please, e-mail for information.

There will be a 1 hour notice given about the address of the church with the map for directions - this will be plenty of time to get to this church from anywhere in the Metro area.
This Tuesday 7:30 p.m. we will show up again at Bethany Lutheran Church in Overland Park for the Bible Study.

A perfect thing to discuss will be the new Lutheran docrtrine on taking on openly gay and practicing sex gays and lesbians. Fits perfectly with the conversations we had last week - I told them what would it mean that one night you go to bed a "bigot" and in the morning there is a "new understanding from god". This church is part of the Missouri Synod, so it's much more conservative but a good example to show to the "crazies" nontheless that there are many other Lutherans out there who are totally different from them - and "less crazy".


Adamh/Will Graham have a problem with spending time on Saturday night at Black Dog Coffee house and chatting with atheists. OK.

They don't have a problem of showing up at a Bible Study though and "putting up a show" for the religious people there to demonstrate to them that atheists are easily intellectually defeated. Hmmmmmmmmm - BUT THEY NEVER SHOW UP TO ANY OF THE EVENTS!!!

This Tuesday 7:30 is Bethany Lutheran Bible Study - they know where the chruch is and let's see if they show up this time? ;o) - this will be fun!

Will Graham/Adamh/James Christensen - have not received an e-mail from you yet saying your "whole team" will show up for the new Monday 7 p.m. Bible study or just you alone/or two of you - your two stories of the same brain. Just heads up... so you would not continue lying that you and the Master Debater and Glorious Leader James Christensen requested the info. You will be given 1 hour notice this time - enough time to show up. If you are running late a coupe of minutes, no problems - your god will forgive you for the "show" you'll put up.

Hope to see you on Tuesday 7:30 p.m. then at Bethany Lutheran? - you have the address.

Yum Yum Yum - Christian troll brains taste like Chicken! Do I hear "chicken?" Yep, "chicken" hiding under the rock and crying out in the night for attention and just about ready to be "slaughtered" by the surgical precision of the Holy Noodley Appendage of His Holiness Flying Spaghetti Monster adminsitered by the only and last prophet Hannibal Lector.

"Chicken!" - it does your body good!


Christian trolls wrote>>>>>>Bill, I see you are moderating a CIVIL DISCUSSION on Faith and Health Care reform at Community Christian Church tommorrow at 3:00. Why were you chosen as the moderator? After all, you moderate this blog, and it is filled with accusations that believers are "psychotic", "delusional", and suggestions that they "crawl under a rock and die.". Not to mention that they SHUT UP and KEEP THEIR BELIEFS TO THEMSELVES. IF that is your idea of "moderation" I can't wait to see the CIVIL DISCUSSION you are going to moderate! LOL!

Wow, are you Christian trolls coming to this event tomorrow??? Please, post here or e-mail (if you are "grady", "jbcatty" or "jeremy7" don't bother - your e-mail addresses have been permanently blocked and all your e-mails are deleted) - we may get together with you and chat after the event - maybe have dinner and "show of your intellectual prowlesss" while at it?

Do you Christian trolls have guts to actually "ever" meet with us and "put up a show?" - if not at the church, then you can come to any of the events freethinkers have and do it.

Why wait? - let's do it tomorrow after the event? Then there is this new 7 p.m. Bible Study on Monday, 7:30 p.m. Bible Study at Bethany Lutheran Church on Tuesday - opportunities abound...

Or do I hear that your brain tastes like "chicken?" Yum, Yum, Yum... "Chicken!"

Cannot wait to meet you in person and look into your delusional Christian eyes.


Just Thinking,

You have disappeared as if the quantum mechanical world absorbed you... What happened? It is not like you? Have you accepted Islam? Or Scientology? Or have you become an atheist? I am curious to know. I never put up an "evil eye" against you (per Matthew 7 :o) and told you to crawl under a rock? Have you dug yourself in at your own volition?

My understanding is that you have been part and parcel of this blog before we ("sinners' and "fool" atheists) showed up here? Where are you? I hope you can still contribute with your comments, scientific insights and Biblical quotes?

Over past couple of days, some great chats ensued - especially from "righteous" Xians about "non righteous" Luthernas.

We need your insights into the "crazy" Xians, Just Thinking... Don't let the world down.

Glad you like the YouTube videos - there are a couple of guys on it who have absolutely fabulous channels on science, logic, history, relgion, cosmology, paleontology, physics, evolution, abiogenisis, etc. I'll look them up one day and post.
More fascinating and troubling news on the 11 year old girl who has been kept captive for 18 years by a religious nut in California.

How come we never hear about "non believers" holding anyone hostage, raping and then justifying this all through the word of "Charles Darwin?"

I was intrigued by the "robot" like appearance of the kids and the perpetrator as desribed by UCLA secuirty offiers - reminds me of many Christians I meet during our Bible studies who act like robots and "always" look towards their minister before they say something.


adamh, thanks for the clarification; yes, I do realize that when I talk about our fish ancestors' "purpose" for growing limbs, what I'm really talking about is the reason WHY limbs gave fish an advantage in the conditions with which they were dealing at that time. Science really is the coolest detective story ever.

Will Graham

KCF, the DEAL is on IF you post TONIGHT where the Monday night Bible study is.

I will tell you one last time; this 45 minute notice (now ONE HOUR) will NOT WORK!

We have to have notice at least one day in advance to arrange transportation for the group. Unless YOU are hiding something, like you don't even have a study picked out yet, that is a reasonable, LOGICAL, request.

As to the Lutherans, I don't care what you do at the Lutheran study and am not interested. I am not a Martin Luther fan.

So, Monday night is one IF you say TONIGHT where it is.


(Oh, as to J Christensen, you said you didn't want to talk to him about ANYTHING, so he wants you to quit calling his office and e mailing him.)

Red Biddy

Richard Dawkins has a good arguement for atheists joining with the nicer aspects of religion in his essay "Atheists for Jesus".

The "in your face", Bible study activities of atheist trolls, Cole and Dybal, which they seem to enjoy so much, are not doing the cause of freethinking in Kansas City much good. Making idiots of themselves, handing out leaflets in the Westport area sounds like a technique employed by the Salvation Army/Jehovahs Witnesses and other religions - probably not going to gain many converts that way, if that is their intention - if anything it's more likely to put people off !
Don't get too upset, Will G, Adamh et al - freethnkers have their fair share of atheist loonies, just as Xians have their share of "loonies" like Fred Phelps and family. They are just getting their "fun" by trying to show off how intellectually superior they are (or think they are !) to believers, they are not of course, but it's how they get their kicks.


Red Biddy, you must know there is seriously no comparison between what Cole and Iggy are doing, and what Fred Phelps and his followers are doing!

Yes, I know Iggy's been saying "crawl under a rock and die" a lot lately -- but I have met him, and he seriously would not feel delighted to hear that anyone here had died or was suffering in any way. Whereas I saw a video where one of Phelps's granddaughters was talking about how happy it made her to think of sinners burning in hell for all eternity.

With Iggy there is not hate -- just (I think) a sort of desire to shock people into seeing his version of reality.

And Red Biddy, I feel (as I think you do) that we now have room for both old and new music, art, literature, etcetera. Especially now that we're able to record, so things don't have to just "die out" if they're beautiful enough to be timeless.

My family and I just enjoyed visiting with Cole and some other freethinkers at Black Dog this evening -- just a relaxed evening out on the patio. Cole, it was fun hearing about the cat of your childhood!

On that Catholicism thread I started on the mothering message board, someone thought I'd enjoy learning about Dorothy Day and the Catholic Worker Movement -- and wow! You don't even need to be Catholic to be a part of this. I even located a Catholic Worker House near my home (and there's another one in midtown). They have clarification meetings where people brainstorm about social problems. There are also opportunities to volunteer, both in direct service to the poor and in social activism.

This Monday they'll be discussing the death penalty in their clarification meeting.

Red, we are received quite well at westport. Most of the people were not put off by us. Sitting around doing nothing, is doing nothing.

If women sat around talking about doing something, instead of doing something, where do you think they would be now?

Those alien eggs seem to have no prejudices. Inertia gets us nowhere.

Cole and Dybal are not the only idiots In Westport handing out fliers. There are several. Thinking old gets us nowhere. Awareness always works.

Whenever anything becomes of great issue in America, it always wins…


How about we stop hanging onto superstition. Do we follow old religion or new? Which one is more fair? Follow that one. But it would be best if we put more time in the promotion of sciences.

I enjoy talking with young people about sciences. As a friend of mine, Julie, said, “we a sowing little seeds.” Sounds biblical, huh?

We had a great meetup tonight at black dog café.

Susan and her family dropped by tonight. Susan and her husband, Bud, are so attentive to their children. Wonderful parents. Bud would entertain their two daughters while Susan was able to talk with us. continued

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