Thursday, December 30, 2004

Volkswalking and Geocaching

Today I went volkswalking and geocaching. Volkswalking is a non-competitive walking sport in which you maintain record books (events and distance) and seek to build upon your past achievements. The sport provides incentive to continue walking. I maintain an event book only and don't record distance. Today my partner Jan and I did the Utica Square year-round walk. There is a 5K and a 10K option. The walk begins and ends at the Med-X Drugstore. We did the 5K walk. This was walk number 170 for me. After I complete walk number 175, my present book will be filled up. Then I will start on the next book (events 176-200). To see what it's all about, go to

Along the way we found two geocaches. Geocaching is a fairly new sport in which participants use a GPS receiver to locate hidden caches. We found two caches along the walk route. Later we found two additional caches in the area. To learn more about geocaching go to

Sunday, December 26, 2004

Yesterday's earthquake and God-belief

The big news today is that an earthquake and tidal wave in southeast Asia has killed thousands (5,000 reports CNN) and the toll is bound to rise. This event should raise doubts in the minds of God-believers about the accuracy of their beliefs.

The Psalmist writes of God that "his mercy endureth forever." However, his mercy was not to be found yesterday. We regularly hear that God is all-powerful and all-good, but he can't be both of these. Either this God wanted to prevent these massive deaths but lacked the power to do so, or he had the capability of preventing the quake but chose instead to do nothing. So which way is it? You can't have it both ways.

If God is all-knowing as most believers claim, the least he could have done would have been to provide a warning of the coming event. Imagine if you had some advance knowledge of a looming tragedy but would not share the information with others. Were it later discovered that you knew what was about to happen but had chosen to keep quite, you would at the least receive the moral condemnation of fellow citizens, but could possibly even be subject to being charged with a violation of law. Many people believe their God knew the earthquake was about to occur. It apparently concerns them not at all that their God kept mum.

Will humanity ever overcome its cowardly obeisance to its imaginery Gods?

Friday, December 24, 2004

Religion Watching

If you are like me, you are fascinated, and sometimes frightened, by the activities of religionists. I am a longtime watcher of religionists. One of my religion-watching tools is the program "Religion and Ethics Newsweekly" which comes on Channel 11 (OETA) on Sunday afternoons at 2:30. (I'm often at a meeting at that time and will videotape it for later viewing.) Below is a description of part of the program for this coming Sunday, Dec. 26.

What were the most significant news making events of the past year in the world of religion and ethics? In this special year-in-review panel, WASHINGTON POST columnist E.J. Dionne, program managing editor Kim Lawton and NEW YORKER staff writer George Packer join host Bob Abernethy for a discussion and analysis of the past year's top news stories impacting the faith community, including: terrorism and the Iraq war; values and the 2004 Presidential election; the death of Yassar Arafat; the continuing struggles within Christianity over homosexuality; financial ramifications for the Catholic Church resulting from the sex abuse scandal; the culture war between liberals and conservatives; and Muslim tensions in Europe.

Thursday, December 23, 2004

What happened at those meetings?

I attended the meeting of the Humanist Assn. of Tulsa on Sunday. There were twelve members present. In the business portion of the meeting we elected officers for 2005. The officers for 2005 are: Dan Nerren, president; Randy Bradley, vice-president; Marilyn Clarke, secretary; Dan Nerren, treasurer; and Larry Hicks, program director. Howard Kelley and Barbara Frey won the door prizes. Howard selected a subscription to Church & State magazine and Barbara chose a subscription to The Oklahoma Observer.

The program was our annual celebration of HumanLight. After giving a brief background to HumanLight, I read Edwin Kagin's letter to his niece. Next Larry Hicks read "A Christmas Story" by Jean Shepherd. I closed with a reading of Dylan Thomas's A Child's Christmas in Wales.

Several members brought treats to eat. This was our final meeting of the year.

On Tuesday, the December Atheist Meetup was held in the cafe of Barnes & Noble Bookstore on 41st St. There were eleven people present for this event. Two attendees were first time participants. Five of the eleven were HAT members. There were six men and five women. (I mention this to dispell the notion that only men attend atheist meetings.) The theme was "Atheist Advocates." Several of us told about an atheist advocate and read something from his or her writings. Some of the advocates chosen were Barbara Ehrenreich, Michael Scott Earl, Bertrand Russell, Mark Twain, and Dan Barker.

One participant, Dana Turney, brought a sackful of books (mostly freethought) which she gave away to those present.