The Phil Ferguson Show – 104

Posted by Phil Ferguson on January 24th, 2015 – 1 Comment – Posted in Uncategorized

Guest – James Croft

Rotary International

“Whatever Rotary may mean to us, to the world it will be known by the results it achieves.” —Paul P. Harris

Our 1.2 million-member organization started with the vision of one man—Paul P. Harris. The Chicago attorney formed one of the world’s first service organizations, the Rotary Club of Chicago, on 23 February 1905 as a place where professionals with diverse backgrounds could exchange ideas and form meaningful, lifelong friendships. Rotary’s name came from the group’s early practice of rotating meetings among the offices of each member.

Our ongoing commitment


Rotarians have not only been present for major events in history—we’ve been a part of them. From the beginning, three key traits have remained strong throughout Rotary:

We’re truly international. Only 16 years after being founded, Rotary had clubs on six continents. Today we’re working together from around the globe both digitally and in-person to solve some of our world’s most challenging problems.

We persevere in tough times. During WWII, Rotary clubs in Germany, Austria, Italy, Spain, and Japan were forced to disband. Despite the risks, many continued to meet informally and following the war’s end, Rotary members joined together to rebuild their clubs and their countries.

Our commitment to service is ongoing. We began our fight against polio in 1979 with a project to immunize 6 million children in the Philippines. By 2012, only three countries remain polio-endemic—down from 125 in 1988.

Find a Rotary club almost anywhere in the world on this page….

Learn about Rotary Youth Exchange.

Are you interested in learning a new language or meeting new people? Rotary Youth Exchange is the opportunity of a lifetime for the more than 8,000 students who participate each year. By sharing your own culture and embracing a new one, you help foster global understanding—and learn a great deal about yourself and your home country in the process.

Help Rotary End Polio NOW!

Rotary, along with , has reduced polio cases by 99 percent worldwide since our first project to vaccinate children in the Philippines in 1979. We are close to eradicating polio, but we need your help. Whether you have a few minutes or a few hours, here are some ways to make a global impact and protect children against polio forever.

Is Rotary a Christian Organization?

Paul Harris saw the importance of this and discussed it in two places in his book, The Rotarian Age. He said:

To create a harmonious environment for the fellowship that held clubs together, Rotary discouraged religious and political positions. (p. 91)


“The 1905 members of the Rotary Club of Chicago, so valued the friendship of their fellow-members that they put a ban upon religious and political discussions, fearing that they might become disturbing factors, and they were richly rewarded for their foresight.” (p. 59). [emphasis added]

James CroftJames Croft

James Croft is a Humanist activist and public speaker who has swiftly become one of the best-known new faces in Humanism today. He is a graduate of the Universities of Cambridge and Harvard, and is currently studying for his Doctorate at the Harvard Graduate School of Education. As a leader in training in the Ethical Culture movement – a national movement of Humanist congregations – he is an in-demand public speaker, an engaging teacher, and a passionate activist for human rights. James was raised on Shakespeare, Sagan and Star Trek, and is a proud, gay Humanist. His upcoming book “The Godless Congregation”, co-authored with New York Times bestselling author Greg Epstein, is being published by Simon & Schuster.

Blog: Temple of the Future

Ethical Society of St. Louis

The Ethical Society of St. Louis is a welcoming home for a group of people from various religious backgrounds in the major faiths, as well as agnostics and atheists, who come together to celebrate our journey through life and affirm our ability and responsibility to lead ethical lives of personal fulfillment that aspire to the greater good of humanity.

Some of our members and visitors concurrently attend their more mainstream houses of worship (such as a churches or synagogues) sometime during the week and then join us on Sundays and, perhaps, during the week for our other programs.


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NOTE: This post is part of an ongoing education series. This information is for educational purposes only. This information does not constitute investment advice. Please consult with your financial advisor before taking any action.

For planning advice contact Polaris Financial Planning.



The Phil Ferguson Show – 103

Posted by Phil Ferguson on January 24th, 2015 – Be the first to comment – Posted in The Phil Ferguson Show

Guest – David Fitzgerald

Guaranteed Mutual Funds

Details and math behind a sample “Guaranteed Mutual Fund”.

David Fitzgerald

Fitzgerald lectures across the nation at secular events and universities. He is best known for his multimedia presentations “The Ten Thousand Christs and the Evaporating Jesus” as well as “The Complete Heretic’s Guide to Western Religion”. In November 2010 he presented his research at Skepticon 3 in a presentation titled Examining the Existence of a Historical Jesus

Get “Nailed: Ten Christian Myths That Show Jesus Never Existed at All” on audio book!




The Complete Heretic’s Guide to Western Religion, Book 1: The Mormons

The Mormons


David’s other books under the name of Kilt Kilpatrick

Under The Kilt


Movie about Mormons – September Dawn



The Mormon “Space Jesus”


Space Jesus


Humanist Community Forum (2014-01-19): Ten Beautiful Lies About Jesus


Please like the Facebook page…

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NOTE: This post is part of an ongoing education series. This information is for educational purposes only. This information does not constitute investment advice. Please consult with your financial advisor before taking any action.

For planning advice contact Polaris Financial Planning.

The Phil Ferguson Show – 102

Posted by Phil Ferguson on January 24th, 2015 – Be the first to comment – Posted in The Phil Ferguson Show

Guest – Andrew Seidel

The Lottery as my retirement plan.

“You are 21,574 times more likely to get hit by lightning then winning the Mega Millions with one ticket.”

What is an Index Fund.

Northwest Mutual Internship

“The Northwestern Mutual internship is a waste of time. It’s nothing more than you selling insurance to your friends and family. There are many opportunities out there that are much better.”

Andrew Seidel

Andrew Seidel

He has written a book on International Human Rights Law and his essay on the role of religion in government and the founding of our nation placed second in the FFRF’s 2010 graduate student essay contest. Andrew is a former Grand Canyon tour guide and accomplished nature photographer; his work has been displayed in galleries in Colorado, Texas, Florida, Louisiana, and Maryland. He joined the FFRF staff as a constitutional consultant in November 2011.

FFRF challenges Piedmont, Ala., ‘Keep Christ in Christmas’ themed parade .
According to the Piedmont Journal, the theme “reflect[s] our strong belief in prayers.” The city’s annual Christmas parade is set to be held at 6 p.m. on Thursday, Dec. 4. Piedmont High School’s track and field team will reportedly serve as grand marshals.
School board meetings open with a prayer, and often include bible readings and proselytizing by board members. Board President James Na injects Christianity into many of his official statements, FFRF’s legal complaint notes. At one typical meeting, Na “urged everyone who does not know Jesus Christ to go and find Him,” after which another board member closed with a reading of Psalm 143.
FFRF has remained consistent throughout this ordeal: Public schools should not be allowing the distribution of bibles, atheist materials or any other religious or nonreligious material. Religion is best left to the private sphere.
Kapparot coincides with Yom Kippur, the Day of Atonement. Hasidic Jews grab a chicken by the wings and swing it around their heads three times to transfer their sins to the bird. According to the Jewish Encyclopedia, while swinging the birds, the soon-to-be-redeemed supplicants chant, “This be my substitute, my vicarious offering, my atonement. This cock [or hen] shall meet death, but I shall find a long and pleasant life of peace!”

Some legal battles the Freedom From Religion Foundation is fighting….

You can join or donate to the FFRF here….


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NOTE: This post is part of an ongoing education series. This information is for educational purposes only. This information does not constitute investment advice. Please consult with your financial advisor before taking any action.

For planning advice contact Polaris Financial Planning.



Secular Family Values Do Well

Posted by Jim Newman on January 16th, 2015 – Be the first to comment – Posted in religion

doing goodMany religious people claim that without religion they would have no moral compass. Many people become more religious so they can have a moral compass, to overcome personal difficulties. Combine this with the desire for comfort and it is a potent mix. Yet, as more families grow up without religion they show they do quite well also, anyway.

Far from being dysfunctional, nihilistic and rudderless without the security and rectitude of religion, secular households provide a sound and solid foundation for children, according to Vern Bengston, a USC professor of gerontology and sociology….

He was surprised by what he found: High levels of family solidarity and emotional closeness between parents and nonreligious youth, and strong ethical standards and moral values that had been clearly articulated as they were imparted to the next generation.

“Many nonreligious parents were more coherent and passionate about their ethical principles than some of the ‘religious’ parents in our study,” Bengston told me. “The vast majority appeared to live goal-filled lives characterized by moral direction and sense of life having a purpose.”

This really should’t be a surprise as the diversity of religions through time has not shown any to be an obvious advantage even if one is extremely forgiving. The issue for many is not so much the past as now. Do religions help people now? That is, if we exclude the so called extremists and fundamentalists–which doesn’t seem quite fair.

Phil Zuckerman agrees.

My own ongoing research among secular Americans — as well as that of a handful of other social scientists who have only recently turned their gaze on secular culture — confirms that nonreligious family life is replete with its own sustaining moral values and enriching ethical precepts. Chief among those: rational problem solving, personal autonomy, independence of thought, avoidance of corporal punishment, a spirit of “questioning everything” and, far above all, empathy.

For secular people, morality is predicated on one simple principle: empathetic reciprocity, widely known as the Golden Rule. Treating other people as you would like to be treated. It is an ancient, universal ethical imperative. And it requires no supernatural beliefs. As one atheist mom who wanted to be identified only as Debbie told me: “The way we teach them what is right and what is wrong is by trying to instill a sense of empathy … how other people feel. You know, just trying to give them that sense of what it’s like to be on the other end of their actions. And I don’t see any need for God in that.

Many religious people will say these natural laws are just their religion for the unwashed. The Golden Rule is after all the Golden Rule. Yet if the Golden Rule is accessible without religion why have religion? Is that baggage helpful?

“If your morality is all tied in with God,” she continued, “what if you at some point start to question the existence of God? Does that mean your moral sense suddenly crumbles? The way we are teaching our children … no matter what they choose to believe later in life, even if they become religious or whatever, they are still going to have that system.”

Being good is something that occurs aside from religion not because of it.

Jim Newman,

Pope Says We Cannot Make Fun Of Faith

Posted by Jim Newman on January 15th, 2015 – Be the first to comment – Posted in Catholic Church

SRI LANKA-VATICAN-RELIGION-POPEI guess I shouldn’t be surprised the pope has come out against blasphemy. As nice a guy as he makes out to be he is still the pope, and Christian.

Religious freedom and freedom of expression, he said, are fundamental human rights. But they are also not a total liberties. “There is a limit,” he said, speaking in Italian. “Every religion has its dignity. I cannot mock a religion that respects human life and the human person.”

Do you find it odd that secularists are often called a religion which would mean that secularists are worthy of dignity? Further that secularists shouldn’t be mocked because they respect human life and the person?

The Pope also condemned the Paris violence. “One cannot offend, make war, kill in the name of one’s own religion, that is, in the name of God,” Francis said. “To kill in the name of God is an aberration.”

I mean really. What does this mean? Abortion is bad because it kills a person but insisting people breed beyond resource capability is OK? Following a sacred text that kills entire cities and floods an entire planet is OK? Even considered as allegory, images and stories of genocide are not respecting human life.

But that is god killing others and that’s OK. Nevertheless, breeding to death is also OK because god would make women barren if he wanted the breeding to stop. Well you’d think god would make war and hate stop as well if saving lives were the goal.

Killing in the name of god? Is not the pope agreeing that blasphemy is a sin punishable by elimination from an after life? Isn’t that killing in the name of god? Of course he’s no judge. He doesn’t need to be it’s in the text that even Catholics consider literally true, why be redundant?

He broke it down in everyday terms, something that is coming to be known as classic Francis teaching style. “If [a close friend] says a swear word against my mother, he’s going to get a punch in the nose,” he explained. “One cannot provoke, one cannot insult other people’s faith, one cannot make fun of faith.”

So we can’t make fun of anything without consequence. I thought this was about mocking faith but apparently we can’t mock anything. Dour, dark, and devilish Calvinism is alive and well where humor, mocking, and criticism are not allowed. Just follow authority darkly, with a smile or grimace–you choose.

We can’t make fun of faith but we can insist that non followers are either damned or not going to heaven. We can praise biblical stories of genocide, slavery, and ostracism as lessons of strength for faith and obedience though.

Supposedly this is an interfaith engagement. I wonder if that means religions that follow satan, are anti godly, or worship harm to people? Abrahamic religions do all of course. Evil is necessary for free will, anti godly sins and doubt are signs of true faith, and being happy at biblical stories of revenge is normative.

“…to kill in the name of god is an aberration.”

Then why doesn’t the pope desanctify all of the past popes and saints that did go along with wars, inquisitions, and missionary cruelty. I guess some aberrations are OK if they are in the right religion doing god’s work.

Once again we have a puppy pope that says he’s kind but pees on you constantly.

image source

Jim Newman,

Political Cartoons, Charlie Hebdo, and the Internet

Posted by Jim Newman on January 14th, 2015 – Be the first to comment – Posted in politics

political cartoonsThe most astonishing thing for me to arise from the recent massacre of Charlie Hebdo was my realization of how few political cartoonists remain in the United States. Gary Trudeau was the last of mainstream cartoonists. Cartoonists in general are a disappearing species. The New Yorker is an obvious example of a magazine that continues to employ them but there are few. I am not sure whether it was the conversion of print to digital where line art lagged in technological support–photo’s and text can be transferred easily and immediately–the lack of art being taught in public education, or Americans support of righteous and indignant political commentary but not humor. Are we all so damned sincere that we can’t be bothered with cartooning?

This is a sensitive issue because on social media bullies and ignorant jerks have excused their viciousness by saying it’s all a joke. Death threats, rape threats, and many other promises of harm are dismissed by these bullies as jokes and can’t the victims just take a joke. A backlash has been the desire to have trigger warnings where anything remotely offensive would be flagged to prevent unnecessary harm. Another solution has been to eliminate anonymity as that is often the shield to hide the source of hideous remarks, drop a bomb from the dark.

Cartoons of criticism are quite different than threats of harm. A cartoon is posted for one to see as they wish. Threats are directed to others in comments and posts very specifically and personally. Social media is a kind of public space as a hyper public space. Never before has it been so easy to make personal remarks to people that otherwise one wouldn’t have access. Never before has it been so easy to mistake criticism for personal attack. Context vanishes in disconnected threads of discrete bubbles.  With the penchant for short sentences and comments how can one possibly communicate effectively with a simple “that’s great” or “that sucks” both of which easily morph to “you’re great” or “you suck”.

So much so that commenting on grammar and style is the new ray gun of lowest common denominator attack. We once laughed at people for how they dressed or looked and now we laugh at people for how their text looks. As if typo’s and grammar mistakes represented the content within. Business has spent considerable time demanding everyone to dress appropriately, dress for success, and only the marginalized creatives can vary. Appearance is so important in spite of insisting that appearance doesn’t count.

So much so that someone like J Lo can show up at an awards show with her breasts on near full display but no one should comment on them or that, like a challenge to not see the obvious under tacit agreement that appearance is everything and nothing. A kind of nuanced politics of sexuality that most people can’t get.

In my own experience, I have had remarks taken for criticisms when they weren’t. Especially in forums of women’s voices where nerves are raw from near constant abuse and the block finger is near bloody from needed use.

In reading comments of others so many are more of some sort of me-too echo than what I would call a comment. Just say anything to show you showed up. It has been noted that social media aggravates the tendency to build inclusive circles of like minded people insulated from outsiders if at all possible. For marginalized people it is good to find like minded friends. It also contributes to confirmation bias and balkanized politics.

Another result with such buttons as Like, Up, and Friend is the yielding of subtlety and nuance to yes-no polarity. You’re on the bus or off. Make a mistake and be defriended. Maybe that’s good as some of the threads I have followed have been so painfully and extravagantly drawn out that you just wish the damned discussion would be stopped and who cares who is right. It’s a pornographic discussion of distempered disagreement. At least interactively, face to face, communication could be more complete. Indeed facial expressions and vocal tone are often the most important part of a conversation.

The easy ability of access and criticism does cause too many to attack without any content. Bullies have quoted Diogenes thinking that peeing on people is good commentary when of course Diogenes was making specific coherent statements and not just peeing because it satisfies some inner desire for aggression and ego boosting. “I don’t like what you believe so I’ll just pee on you to show you’re wrong.” Hard to think about content when you’re wiping the pee off.

Since feminism has been a dear subject in my family I have seen where being a good feminist or discerning real feminism from not can occupy an incredible amount of time. Where ostracism of those who aren’t really feminists becomes too much like high school social battles where it’s nearly life and death to which clique one belongs.

Yet, social media bullying definitely can cause PTSD and it is understandable that at some point people say enough and build up shields and walls to keep them sane.

America really doesn’t have a good history of humor and political disagreement. Our Calvinistic background makes us so damned serious and sincere, because the issues are just so vital and important, that we can’t joke about them. Yes, people lie and exaggerate but that actually shows the intensity of belief–righteous indignation and offense leads to the ends justifying the means. If it isn’t true it should be true. If this case isn’t true then creating a case that isn’t real is still true because there is some such case somewhere.

Our religious background has also caused us to disallow criticism and certainly not humorous criticism. Which Abrahamic character laughs in the sacred texts? Rather, in spite of so called free will choices, the real issue is to obey and follow and not even think a sin much less whether or not to address its sinfulness. The pulchritude of democracy has been so vitiated that too many claim that cussing is as sinful as murder. Indeed, many Americans took to postmodernism as support that everything is relative and hence relatively equal, forgetting that postmodernism was to destabilize those chain-bound relations in the first place.

And yet the internet has allowed many new cartoonists to express themselves but one has to hunt to find them. They won’t be on a corporation’s home page. Charlie Hebdo was dying and had little readership. I wonder if this last hurray isn’t just that. A good send off where everyone shows up, says they loved them, and then buries the entire project.

image source

Jim Newman,