Why atheists advertise on buses 1

By Tom Quiner

A typical bus ad for evangelical atheists

Does God exist?

This question is in the news more than ever.  We live in strange times.  Atheists have become evangelical.  Here in Des Moines and around the world, they advertised on buses last year in an effort to recruit acolytes.  Nationally, their books are best sellers.  Christianity is now under attack more than ever. Why?

After all, Christianity offers a message of hope to believers, namely eternal salvation.  Their belief system makes the case that there is more to life than the pain and superficiality of this world.  On the other hand, atheism offers no hope. An atheist denies the possibility of God’s existence.  So why are atheists working so hard to make converts?  And why in the world would anyone be attracted to such a nihilistic philosophy?

Atheism appeals to some for political reasons and to others for moral reasons.  Let’s start with the political.

The Judeo-Christian religions claim man was made in God’s image.  The great psalmist, King David, said God knew us “before we were born.”  If you accept that premise, it is very difficult to sanction abortion.  You’ll note that the political Left in this country has something in common:  they embrace abortion on demand at any point in a woman’s pregnancy.  In addition, they are disproportionately atheistic when compared to the rest of America.

You may ask if I have any proof of that claim.  Yes.

The Pew Forum on Religion & Public Life surveyed 35,000 Americans on how religious attitudes influence values.  The differences between atheists and evangelical Christians, for example, are profound.  Only 13 percent of atheists believe abortion should be illegal in all or most cases, compared with 61 percent for evangelical Christians.  This is not to say that all atheists are liberal.  They’re not.  Statistically, though, more are concentrated in the political Left.  They are motivated to attract adherents to their own “religion” in order to advance their political agenda.

Do people really become atheists because of politics?

I’m suggesting that people without faith tend to view the world through a different political prism than people with faith.  The atheist ads on Des Moines buses let the faithless know that “they’re not alone.”  In other words, join our club.  Let’s change the world … in our image, not a phony god’s.

What’s the other reason for evangelical atheism?

In the eyes of some, religion has caused more harm than good in this world.

Think about the attack on the World Trade Center and Pentagon.  Think about the Spanish Inquisition, about the Salem Witch Trials.  Think about all the people who have been killed in the name of God or Allah down through history.  As best selling atheistic author Christopher Hitchens puts it, “God isn’t so great.”  A lot of non-believers are sick of what they view as self-righteous pontificators who try to cram their religion down others’ throats, when they themselves lead less than exemplary lives.  They view Christianity in particular as being hypocritical.

I would respond by saying that although many bad things have been done in the name of God, those actions are in direct contradiction to the Christian beliefs they represent.  On the other hand, the 20th century witnessed cold-blooded carnage in the name of atheism like history has never seen.

Without God, there is no such thing as good and evil.

Without God, we are merely automatons whose actions are subject to the whims of our genes and environment.

Without God, art itself becomes ugly.

So why are atheists organizing to spread their gospel of non-belief?

Because without God, they are liberated to make society’s rules subject to the whims of the day.  Do you trust unrestrained human nature?  I don’t.

I choose God.

How much confidence do you have in Congress? Reply

By Tom Quiner

The Pelosi Congress generates the least confidence of any in history

The Gallup Poll surveyed Americans about their attitude toward critical institutions. The poll was conducted July eight through eleventh.  Gallup asked people if they have alot/great deal of confidence in various institutions.  Here are a few high points.

The military and small business ranked highest, with 76% and 66% confidence respectively.

Congress finished dead last with but 11% confidence.

The biggest drop came with the institution of the Presidency which fell 15% from last year, down to 36%, but still higher than President Bush’ 26% confidence rating in his last year in office.  Congress and the military both saw their confidence rating drop 6% from last year.  Newspapers enjoyed an anemic 25% confidence rating.

Why does Congress elicit such little confidence?  What do you think?

Does Congress represent your interests … or theirs?  Based on Gallup, I suspect the latter.

Do they exercise statesmanship or partisanship?  Based on Gallup, I suspect the latter.

Do they pass clean, understandable legislation?  Or do they create 2000 page bills that they haven’t even read that unelected bureaucrats will end up interpreting … and imposing on us?  Based on Gallup, I suspect the latter.

I am bothered that not only Congress is held in such little confidence, but all institutions surveyed, including our churches and schools, are less than 50% with the exception of the military, small business, and the police.

We all are connected in one way or another to critical institutions in our communities.  We have some serious work to do to rebuild confidence.  Let’s get started.

Should you be free to choose? Reply

By Tom Quiner

What an interesting question!  It depends on the context, doesn’t it?  It depends on the principle involved.

I pose the question in light of the great exchange in the video above between the late, great Nobel laureate economist, Milton Friedman, and a college student who is allegedly Michael Moore.  (I don’t know if it is really Mr. Moore, nor does it matter for purposes of this discussion.)

You can’t help but appreciate the way  Mr. Friedman engages the young man and forces him to think, to wrestle with a principle.

The young man has a problem with Ford Motor Company’s decision to not put a $13 part on the Pinto back in the 1960’s knowing full well that two-hundred deaths could occur as a result of their economic decision.  His chagrin seems reasonable, don’t you think?

Mr. Friedman’s response is that “no one can accept the principal that an infinite value can be put on an individual life.”  This, too, seems reasonable.

The young man disagrees, but then offers that he is a supporter of abortion rights. He explicitly states that he does not believe that human life is sacred, that principles have to be balanced.

This young man very much articulates the triumphant philosophy of the Democratic Party today.  Human life is not sacred if it is in the womb.  It can be discarded, and even more, someone else should have to pay for it.  However, their philosophy categorically rejects Mr. Friedman’s central principle:  “Individuals should be free to decide how much they’re willing to pay to reduce the chance of their death.”

The recent healthcare debate touched on this principle.  Democrats reject Friedman’s timeless arguments.   Instead, they passed legislation which reduces the consumers freedom to choose, and in fact, goes either further by requiring someone else to pay.

Are we free to choose?  Yes, if it involves aborting your baby.  No, if you would prefer not to purchase health insurance.

Should we penalize marriage? 1

By Tom Quiner

Society has a vested interest in marriage.

The institution was established thousands of years ago as society’s way to protect wives and their children.  To this very day, we see measurable benefits to traditional marriage:

Marriage reduces poverty.  The poverty rated for single mothers with children is five times higher than married women.

The poverty rate for single fathers is two-and-a-half times higher than married men.

Two-thirds of all poor children live in single parent households.

Marriage is the engine for a healthy society.  Government policy should reward marriage, not punish it. Unfortunately, a new study on President Obama’s economic policies reveal that marriage will be penalized more than ever.  The study can be found at Concerned Women for America.  The name of their report is “Obamanomics: A Summary of the Analyses and Commentary Related to the Financial Impact of ObamaCare on Women and Families.”

According to the report, President Obama’s policies will expand the “marriage penalty.”  Here are the highlights:

  • Married couples could be paying as much as $10,000 more for being married.
  • It will encourage cohabitation and divorce because of increased insurance premiums and fees for being married.
  • It will discourage married women from working because of higher tax rates.
  • Young married couples and empty nesters will be hit especially hard.
  • Financial effects are perpetual and, thus, cumulative.
  • ObamaCare increases the magnitude of the disincentives for marriage.
  • By encouraging single parenting, the bill will increase poverty.
  • It rewards the 70 percent of unmarried women who voted for President Obama in 2008.
  • The majority of taxpayer-stimulus jobs went to women, even though men suffered the majority of job losses during the current recession — costing taxpayers trillions of dollars per year.
  • Current welfare programs cost almost $1 trillion per year (twice as much as national defense, and nearly the size of the federal deficit).
  • ObamaCare is projected to add another $2.5 trillion to the cost of welfare programs.

How do we reduce poverty?  Through traditional marriage.  How can we expand poverty?  By penalizing traditional marriage.  President Obama’s policies pursue the second path according to Concerned Women for America.

Democrats take cynicism to new heights 3

By Tom Quiner

Governor Chet Culver should be ashamed.

A group called “Iowans for Responsible Government” have been running attack ads against Republican candidate for Governor, Terry Branstad.  They smear Mr. Branstad as being too liberal, that he would make Bill Clinton, Nancy Pelosi, and Barack Obama proud.

The goal of the ads was to tip last months Republican primary to Bob Vanderplaats.  The ads failed.

So who is this group that spent $760,000 in anti-Branstad ads?  Was it some right-wing group?  No, it turns out it was the Democratic Governor’s Association, Governor Culver’s biggest campaign donor.

Rather than use the three-quarters of a million dollars to promote a positive message and bolster Culver’s sagging reputation, they instead tried to equate Branstad’s record with the fiscally disastrous record of Mr. Culver and his national liberal soul mates.  In other words, they said Branstad was bad because he was too much like … a Democrat!

Knowing who ran the ads, does it seem deceptive?  Of course.

Does it seem hypocritical?  Of course.

Does it seem cowardly?  Absolutely.

I don’t view the Republican party as being particularly saintly, either.  However, Governor Culver’s allies have ratcheted up cynicism to new heights at a time when we voters desperately are looking for straight shooters who can balance a checkbook.

Governor Culver flunks on both counts.  I’m disappointed in him.  I say that not because of political differences. Republicans and Democrats can have legitimate and honorable differences of opinion when it comes to government policy.

But this whole affair is sleazy.

It’s dishonest.

It dishonors the Governor’s office.

Iowans deserve better.