“Natural Disasters Require Our Help, Not Our Prayers” Times Leader 3/17/11 Letter to the Editor

I submitted the following Letter to the Editor to the Times Leader and it was published today. We need more rationality in these local papers…far too many writers write about glorifying God and how he’s going to save the world. He’s not.

For some reason, my 250-word letter was cut! I’ll post the “full” 250-word version here instead.

Don’t Pray for Japan, Donate Money

The recent devastation in Japan has led many well-meaning believers in God to pray, but their prayers are ultimately futile and display an obvious contradiction in their supernaturalistic worldview. Theists believe that God created the universe and that everything happens according to his will, but the reality of natural disasters serves as defeaters to both of these beliefs. We should not expect a universe plagued with earthquakes and other natural disasters if God exists; God could have easily designed the universe in a different manner. What, then, should we take from this information? Seeing patterns of disaster and realizing that the universe is ultimately indifferent to human life should lead us to the conclusion that belief in an omni-God is irrational.

Natural disasters have nothing to do a “fallen nature,” unless, of course, you believe that the way God made us is a license for us to suffer, but being made in a disordered condition and punished for it is quite sadistic. If you believe that “God has reasons beyond us,” you’re forced to fall into utter moral skepticism and would have to also believe that rape, murder, and other actions might not be evil because “reasons are beyond us.” If God exists and does nothing, he’s hardly loving because he can “snap his fingers” and make all the horror stop without effort.

Instead of praying to God, return your concerns to the natural world and donate money to charitable organizations such as the Red Cross.

Update: King’s College Should Serve Meat on Fridays during Lent

During the Lenten season, King’s College removes meat from ALL dining locations on campus and forces students and faculty to abide by the Catholic tradition of fasting from meat on Fridays regardless of their religious beliefs, lack of religion, or general disagreement with the Catholic tradition of fasting. Some King’s College students are not traditional Catholics in the sense of following all traditions and abiding by them. Many believers in the Christian god do not subscribe to church teaching and have their own views of how they should worship god and abide by church teachings. King’s College should serve meat on Lenten Fridays so that the fast is an option and authentic. Serving meat will respect the choices of meat-eaters, not financially burden those who wish to purchase meat on Friday, and assure that the college’s mission statement is upheld. Read More

I’m interviewed by local author Kenny Luck

 
 

A few months ago, I was interviewed by local author Kenny Luck about my complaint against the nativity scene at the Luzerne County Courthouse. I discuss my background, the nativity, atheism, and much more in a 40 minute audio interview [file no longer available].

I’m going to be featured in a chapter of his upcoming book, NEPAtized, that is scheduled to be relased in April of 2011.

Since 2008, Northeastern Pennsylvania has been the crossroads for presidential politics, the national media, and, above all: Fraud. Dominating the headlines are stories of greed and controversy; news reports that reveal the corrupt, the immoral, and the idiotic. With so much attention given to the region in recent years, it inevitably leads one to ask: Who and what defines us?

NEPATIZED! investigates the most recent scandals, controversies, and corruption in Northeastern Pennsylvania. With more than thirty interviews by local politicians, media figures, and activists, this book takes a critical look at some of the people and events that have redefined the region. Lou Barletta’s anti-minority rage; Bishop Martino’s divinely-inspired bigotry; and Steve Corbett’s cacophonous diatribes are all part of, what the author calls, “a spectacle of unequivocal idiocy.”

With wit and intellect, author Kenny Luck’s fact-filled expose, complimented by Ted Michalowski’s engaging illustrations, explores the region through the people who have helped to mold it: Lackawanna County Recorder of Deeds Evie Rafalko McNulty, former WILK host Kevin Lynn, Filmmaker Josh Fox (“Gas Land”), Political Scientist G. Terry Madonna, Union Leader Michael Milz, Blogger Dan Cheek, and King’s College student Justin Vacula tell the recent story of Northeastern Pennsylvania in their own words, their roles in shaping it, and their grievances against it.

 

Wilkes University Discussion about Holiday Displays

Constitution Day Announcement [Wilkes University]

Come celebrate the U.S. Constitution on Constitution Day, Friday, September 17! Join Dr. Kyle Kreider and local attorney Don Brobst as they discuss “The First Amendment, Religion, and Luzerne County: The Constitutionality of Holiday Displays on Courthouse Grounds.” Mr. Brobst will be speaking about the Establishment Clause and the recent First Amendment squabble over the nativity scene located on courthouse property. The talk will be from 1:00 pm to 1:50 pm in the Ballroom (Student Center). If you have any questions, please contact Dr. Kyle L. Kreider at kyle.kreider@wilkes.edu or by calling x4473.

Published On: 9/14/2010

http://www.wilkes.edu/pages/194.asp?item=59234&category=Today

Psychic LTE Published [Times Leader]

I’m not against people who present psychic services with the very clear purpose of entertainment.

I’m not against parents who want help to find their children.

I’m not against people who seek psychic services and who understand that the services aren’t “real.”

What I am against, though, is people who say that they have supernatural powers and don’t offer their services as entertainment. Self-proclaimed psychics offer false hope and can exploit people who often are in very desperate need of assurance, are very afraid and are desperate to find missing persons.

Pauline Bailey, a resident of Pittston, recently contacted psychic Carla Baron with sincere hopes of finding her missing daughter. According to Baron’s website, phone sessions range from $155 to $310. I’m not sure whether the Pittston resident was charged for the services of Baron, but there is little doubt that other individuals have been charged.

There is no compelling evidence that people have supernatural powers. If psychics such as Baron do have powers, they should submit themselves to experimental testing and prove their abilities. Until this is done, everyone should be very skeptical.

I have challenged Baron to a test of her psychic abilities and also have referred her to James Randi’s “The One Million Dollar Paranormal Challenge.” As of this writing, she has not responded to my message.