Saudi Arabia Declares Atheists Terrorists

king-abdullahIn an attempt to silence political dissent Saudi Arabia rebrands atheists as terrorists and of course anyone who disagrees with wahhabi is an atheist.

Article one of the new provisions defines terrorism as “calling for atheist thought in any form, or calling into question the fundamentals of the Islamic religion on which this country is based”.

Joe Stork, deputy Middle East and North Africa director of Human Rights Watch, said: “Saudi authorities have never tolerated criticism of their policies, but these recent laws and regulations turn almost any critical expression or independent association into crimes of terrorism.

The laws are also meant to stop peaceful protestors and to prevent Saudis from fighting in Syria and gaining weird ideas against monarchy.

Might want to delay that trip to Dubai.

We would never have had this problem if these nomadic tribalists had not been living on top of enough oil to make them the worlds biggest producers back in the 70′s. Further if we had paid any attention at all to the evidence of global warming already present then and changed our energy demands. Further if globalization had meant supportive commerce and not coercion to conservative policy.

Jim Newman, bright and well

www.frontiersofreason.com

Timidity Trap Delays Vital Action

timidityPaul Krugman discusses the reticence in liberals to really go for it as the Timidity Trap. Too afraid to speak and act out fully they go half way and fail.

And I’d argue that an important source of failure was what I’ve taken to calling the timidity trap — the consistent tendency of policy makers who have the right ideas in principle to go for half-measures in practice, and the way this timidity ends up backfiring, politically and even economically.

In other words, Yeats had it right: the best lack all conviction, while the worst are full of passionate intensity.

Just when will a pacifist kill someone to defined something worthy? What is your passion in humanity and would you die for it?

As a recent softer example, it also speaks how liberals got disgusted that one could openly express joy at Fred Phelps death. It seems unseemly. If liberals continued their distaste for Fred Phelps in his grave and after death, LGBTQ oppressors would get a stronger message that we really mean it when we say we support LGBTQ rights and won’t tolerate their oppression.

Jim Newman, bright and well

www.frontiersofreason.com

Tomas Halik Wins Templeton with Fuzzy Catholicism

Tomas_HalikTomas Halik thinks he stumps atheists when he says his god is a mystery and poses the question of what does god look like? I think god looks like Tomas Halik…

That is why I like to begin my dialogues with atheists with the question, “What does this God, in whom you do not believe, look like?” and sometimes, after my partner in dialogue tells me about his image of God – as a heavenly policeman or a big daddy behind the scenes of our world – I say, “Thank God you do not believe in such a God! I don’t believe in such a God either.”

Huh? How in hell would we know what god looks like? Atheists trusting there is no god means we can’t possibly describe a nonexistent thing because existence precedes essence. How can we describe something that has no trace–what qualities does nothing-yet-shown have? This is a transparent rhetorical trap. This is beyond bullshit to sophistry that has nothing to do with examining the topic nor even discussing the god of his, Tomas Halik’s, bible–only a god that looks like Halik.

Ordained a Catholic priest he knows damned well how the bible and his Catholicism describes god. By claiming god is a mystery and unknowable, multilayered, he sets himself apart from the vast majority and becomes a gnostic mystic at best and just plain bullshitter at worst. The Council of Nicea made sure to exclude all of the mystics and gnostics from the bible(s).

He marches in bright compliance to the Templeton Prize ($1.8 million) which he won this year. Which means he is a professional bullshitter. The Temlpeton foundation wishes to get people to believe in religion by diluting it to any kind of goodness or value as spirit.

…affirming life’s spiritual dimension, whether through insight, discovery, or practical works.

Halik sounds like A New Age wonder boy. Get the crystals and drums.

 He is a great Mystery. Sometimes I find myself agreeing with atheists when they say there is no God, if by that they mean there is not a God who is “a thing among other things.” In this they are correct.

Bullshit. He like other Templeton misfits make absolute claims to things. (Even his idea is a thing. Even his mystery is a thing. Masturbating with words won’t help.)

  • If you’re altruistic there is god.
  • If you have feelings of awe there is god.
  • If you have feelings of humility there is god.
  • If you have a sense that there is more there is god.
  • If you have a sense of authority there is god.
  • If you doubt there is god.
  • If you eat there is god.
  • If you orgasm there is god.
  • If you just believe, make the leap, there is god.
  • God exists… God moves us…God makes us…

And on and on. Hailk speaks that there is a heaven, eternal life, and on and on. Halik in no way believes god is mystery or he would shut up about it and get on with living a moral life. Even if he denied every bit of all Abrahamic documents he would worship the mystery and do good having faith that god wants him to do good, whatever good means–how would you know by your god? Maybe god wants the poor to suffer, die, messaging a lesson–how do you know in any way what god thinks once you abandon your canon. The fact that you do abandon some canon shows you think your church is bullshit.

Why don’t you be honest? Quit the wrong-headed church and just live a moral life as a fellow human? Start a secular organization to which all may attend.

But then, quite often, this partner in dialogue will admit, “But you know, I am not an obtuse materialist either. I also know there is ‘something’ beyond us.” This is why I say that the most influential religion in the Czech Republic today is not atheism, but “something-ism”: People believe that there must besomething, even though they will not call it “God.” And this is a challenge for the theologian, to continue this dialogue and to interpret this “something.”

More legerdemain. Aaaah, atheists really do believe in something. They usually confess. And that something must be Halik’s catholic god. And anything that remotely seems spiritual proves catholicism true! Albeit a nonpope god, silly Vatican boys. If the church is stupid leave it. Start another one that is mystery based and shut up about god’s qualities to the rest of us that can’t possibly comprehend this solipsistic mystery of yours? You don’t need to know any kind of god to be good. Knowing god seems to be getting in your way of being good–you spend so much time denying the qualities of god all of your churches espouse.

The only truth I can find in the entire article about him at Templeton is

Truth happens in the course of dialogue.

And that has nothing to do with his catholicism–even with a small c. Dogma, cannon, hierarchy, testaments, church councils and revelation. He double talks his mystery. I don’t know yet I do…

Halík examines topics including whether evil in the world proves there is no God and whether God is an answer or a question.

Aaah, doubting is proof of god. Whatever you think god is it must be wrong but you have the answer. Fine throw away all of the sacred texts then and make no claims as to what god is, including his existence on any level other than some Schopenhauer sense that if you think something it must in some way be real. I trust there is no god and we’d better start treating the Earth better or go extinct. Tend the poor, help the infirm, save the Earth and shut up about the mystery of which you know no qualities.

But people of mature faith, when they come to this crossroads, are able to move forward. They move forward as believers, in spite of their doubts. Their main trait is the courage to enter into the mystery of God, into unknown territory, and not become exasperated. They can withstand the mystery of the unknown and they can withstand their own uncertainties. In this life, as St. Paul told us, “we see though a glass darkly” (1 Corinthians 13:12). It is only in the final eschaton that we shall see God face to face.

Freaky New Age crap. Love is God. I thought god was a mystery? If he is take off that stupid collar that makes you a Catholic priest with all of its baggage that you deny.

Love is not just an emotion – it is a great inner evolution of transcendence, in which we recognize that somebody is more important than ourselves.

We’re all believers and unbelievers? We’re all black and white, we’re all here and there? We’re all up and down? This obfuscation must work for you considering Templeton…but what integrity?

Believers have an unbeliever inside, and the so-called unbelievers have also a believer inside of them.

I believe I’ll have another beer. Sorry dude. When it comes to any Abrahamic god of your worship there isn’t the slightest trust in him, whatever him is. Halik knows me as well as he knows his god. Nada. You would have me buy a god in a sack, a pig in a poke.

What’s hilarious is he credits that atheists are, gasp, more open, more willing to question, more willing to engage in dialog. Ya think.

 I am always intrigued by the fact that I am often able to communicate with someone who proclaims himself to be an atheist more readily than I can communicate with many believers.

The man is a closet atheist that bullshits to inflate his dissonance that he knows it is bullshit. Come out, come out. Leave that cave. See the light.

He ends by pandering to some unbelievers to get them to think they are actually closer to god. Well, if god were truth, beauty, and goodness maybe in at least a Plato kind of way. Oh wait is god a concept? Huh? If ideas were god we’d all be polytheists.

He sallies forth with a final plea that we really wish there were a god. NO, I really wish Halik would start making sense. There are no kinds of gods thatI would wish for. None whatsoever. Halik shows the classic existential negative theology of ontology through accepting bullshit simply because you wish it were true and that if you insist it is true loudly enough it must be so.

There are other people who are not able to accept the existence of God but would like to believe; they have the spiritual desire to believe – they want God to be. I think that this second group of people, even though they may call themselves unbelievers, is actually nearer to God than the first group.

Halik proves once again that religion is nothing more than wishful thinking. And he gets paid for this shit. I want free meals for life!

Jim n

Is My Home A Good Investment?

640px-Belton_House_2006_GianoIs My Home A Good Investment?

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.

Like many things in the investment world – It depends.  Some say housing is an investment and I think it is more like an expense.  Clearly a home is and asset but, is it a good investment?

I looked around the web to find a good estimate of the average increase in home values and found this really cool chart.

united_states_housing_value

The amount your house goes up depends on: where you buy, when you buy and when you sell.  If you look at the blue line you will see that you could have purchased a house for about $125,000 in 1999.  That same house had a peak value of over $250,000 just 7 years later.  An average growth of 10% per year.  However, over the long run the increase is about 5% per year on this graph.  Historically, I think the rates are lower but let us use 5% for now knowing that it could be too high.

I will create two examples.  House A has a price of $100,000 and house B has a price of $200,000.  (To keep the math simple we will assume that you can by either house with $0.00 down)

If you get a 30 year fixed loan at 4% the monthly payment on house A will be $477.42 and house B will be $954.84 (the difference is $477.42 per month we will use that below).  The payment for house B would be twice as much – just as you would expect.

After 30 years of payments and constant growth in value of 5% every year house A would be worth $432,194 and house B would be worth $864,388.  House B’s value is $432,194 higher than that of house A.  Not bad for just an extra $477.42 per month.

But, what if you bought house A and invested the extra $477.42 in the stock market and you did that every month of every year for 30 years and made 10% return every year you would have a portfolio in excess of $940,000.

You could argue that the higher mortgage could help on your taxes and that is true if the interest is higher than your standard deduction or you are already itemizing.  On the other hand, you probably have to pay a lot more in taxes, utilities, repairs and insurance for the bigger house.  Don’t forget with a bigger house you will also need to buy more stuff to put in it.  Finally, you may have to pay 6 or 7% commission if you need to sell it.

For me, I would rather have $940,000 in cash than the extra $432,194 in home value but, your preference may be different.  You did have the advantage of living in a much nicer house for the last 30 years.  In the end, I recommend that you DO NOT buy the most expensive house you can.  I recommend you buy the most affordable house you can live in and invest the rest.  Nothing provides more security than cash!