Digital Chum - Virtual fish guts and other nonsense

holiday

Thanksgiving Table

The dining room table all set for Thanksgiving dinner… seating twelve.

Thanksgiving Table

(Lori had to make the table cloth because we couldn’t find one long enough.)

Fireworks from my kayak

Lori and I went to Watsontown for the 4th of July weekend and went out on the Susquehanna River with some friends to watch the fireworks. I’m pretty sure it was the best time I’ve ever had watching fireworks. The sound carried right up the river. The reflection on the water was beautiful. It was relaxing. There were no crowds.

I got some video but it’s a bit grainy because my video camera isn’t very good in low light, but it gives a little bit of the sense of the evening.

Christmas Animatronics

There’s something creepy about animatronic bears.

I was  at a friend’s mom’s Christmas party yesterday and her house is amazingly decorated with animatronic characters, four Christmas trees, animated villages, lights, bows, bells, garlands… the works. It’s wonderfully festive.

Some of the animatronic characters are in a bit of shadow and while looking at the slowly-moving bears, I was just a little bit creeped out… so I decided to run with it and took some video using my phone. Adding a bit of not-particularly-festive music changed the whole vibe from festive to disturbingly creepy.

There you have it!

Happy Zombie Jesus Day!

Thanks for dying, Jesus! This candy is AWESOME!

…and just to be fair and poke fun at the secular side…

The Easter Bunny still scares the living shit out of me.

A Better Approach

At the beginning of last month, I wrote about the Freedom From Religion Foundation‘s sign at the Olympia, Washington capitol building, stating that I wasn’t all that pleased with the approach they took with the wording of the sign. Since then, I’ve read a lot (and I mean a lot) of commentary about that situation and have decided two things.

First, I think the point of displaying the sign wasn’t to further atheism, per se, but was more to demonstrate the point that government buildings shouldn’t be hosting religious displays of any kind. Not only was the FFRF’s sign displayed, but because of the “open door” policy required due to the Alliance Defense Fund’s lawsuit, there were displays requested  for other “religions” as well (Pastafarianism, Festivus) including an application by the Westboro Baptist Church to put up a sign declaring that “Santa Claus Will Take You To Hell.” It turned into quite a fiasco which, to anyone who wasn’t too incensed to miss the point, demonstrates in grand fashion just why religious displays have no place in government buildings.

Second, I still don’t think it was the best approach. FFRF’s stated goals are (from their bylaws) “to promote the constitutional principle of separation of state and church, and to educate the public on matters relating to nontheism.” I think both of those goals are admirable and could have been accomplished in a way that would have brought far less scorn to atheists.

I read this article today by David Gleeson (who has a similar view about the situation) and was impressed with his suggested alternate message.

At this season, may reason triumph over fear and superstition, and may we renew our commitment to life, love, and the bonds of our shared humanity.

That’s good stuff.

David makes a number of other good points in his article as well and I especially agree with him about the absolute statements in the FFRF’s sign. Dan Barker of the FFRF should know better. Lack of evidence does not necessarily mean lack of existence. It might. It might not. We don’t know and we cannot possibly know… for certain. Claiming to know with certainty cripples us in the same faith-based trap as religion. Based on the evidence (or lack thereof in this case), I can believe there is no god, but I cannot know there is no god.

So David’s softer, more positive message is a winner in my book. I think it would have been a much better approach. It  probably still would have stirred up enough controversy to make the “separation of church and state” point, but it would have done it without putting another black mark on atheists.