Why I Don’t Like the Breast Cancer Facebook Meme

'Breast Cancer Awareness Month' by Zack Jones

I like it on a hook.

If you’ve been on facebook lately and seen ladies post status messages like “I like it on the floor” or, “I like it on the chair,” they aren’t talking about sex (and aren’t you glad my “hook” wasn’t about doing the nasty?). The statement describes where you keep your purse, but the purpose is to raise awareness about breast cancer during National Breast Cancer Awareness Month.

Yeah, I rolled my eyes too. I’m not a fan. But why would a woman dislike a viral campaign that promotes a good message? In short:

  1. How is a suggestive statement about where you place your purse supposed to raise awareness about a deadly disease? I don’t think it does—even if people are buzzing about it.
  2. One in eight women will be diagnosed with breast cancer in their lifetimes. How will this meme do anything to influence what steps women take to protect themselves from further risk?
  3. My father died from breast cancer. Men get it too, even though it much more rare. All the pink, purses, and focus on women doesn’t help my own grief. It may be selfish, but it’s honest. Don’t forget the men.
October 7, 2010  |  memes, personal  |  15 Comments

Ape, Not Monkey

One of the very best comic strips for laughing over religion, skepticism, politics, and science is the delightul Ape, Not Monkey by Jeffrey Weston. Often what Weston can illustrate in four panels is more than I could say in a long-winded blog post. Check out some of my favorite editions:

I also included Ape, Not Monkey in a previous edition of hilarious comic strips.

Atheists Know More about Religion

photo by C4Chaos

Thanks to a new survey by the Pew Forum on Religious & Public Life, we can now claim that not only are intelligent people less likely to believe in god, but those unbelievers also know more about religion than religious people. As if American atheists needed even bigger egos (simmer down, people!).

Two reasons for this are stated in the article:

American atheists and agnostics tend to be people who grew up in a religious tradition and consciously gave it up, often after a great deal of reflection and study, said Alan Cooperman, associate director for research at the Pew Forum.

“These are people who thought a lot about religion,” he said. “They’re not indifferent. They care about it.”

Atheists and agnostics also tend to be relatively well educated, and the survey found, not surprisingly, that the most knowledgeable people were also the best educated. However, it said that atheists and agnostics also outperformed believers who had a similar level of education.

Another is that religious followers are often so focused on their own beliefs that they do not research, think about, or fully understand other religions. This doesn’t go for everyone (obviously this study doesn’t prove that), but it would make sense that if someone believes their beliefs are right and perfect, that it wouldn’t matter as much what the “other people” believe.

One thing this study and the publicity of it might do is help believers realize that many atheists and agnostics are not like ignorant children who haven’t yet heard the “good news.” We’ve heard it, we’ve thought hard about it, and we’ve even believed it for a time, and yet we still reject it.

The amusing part of the article to me is that oftentimes people involved in a specific denomination of Christianity don’t even understand that denomination’s theology. Such as:

A majority of Protestants, for instance, couldn’t identify Martin Luther as the driving force behind the Protestant Reformation, according to the survey, released Tuesday by the Pew Forum on Religion & Public Life. Four in 10 Catholics misunderstood the meaning of their church’s central ritual, incorrectly saying that the bread and wine used in Holy Communion are intended to merely symbolize the body and blood of Christ, not actually become them.

I feel a little sorry for the ministers. Sometimes all you can do is sigh…

September 28, 2010  |  christianity, religion, society  |  21 Comments

Changing Opinions: 4 Controversies in the Past 5 Years

We’re all allowed to change our minds. I’m not sure if this is a credit to my character or a blight on it, but I’ve changed my mind about many varying topics over the past—sometimes from one extreme to another. A lot of these changes happened because I went off to college and was finally out from under my parents’ influence. Having to find your own way and discover how you feel about certain ideas sometimes inspires radical shifts. I was a perfect example.

Another reason I’ve been moving from one side of a debate to another is my radical switch from Christianity to atheism. When I was a believer, I always knew what to do and what to believe in because it was an established system in my religion, my family, and my community. Atheism flung me outside all of those groups quite suddenly, and I had to do even more thinking on my own. With no one to tell me what to believe, and not much practice being a truly critical thinker, I had a lot of catching up to do! In fact, I know I’m still not done reconsidering my positions. Perhaps I never will be.

I came up with four examples of how I’ve shifted my opinions in the past five years.

every time you maturbate, god kills a kitten

photo by Tony Case

1) Masturbation

Then: A few years ago after wobbling between “masturbation is a sin” and “if it’s awesome, why not?” I settled on the view that masturbation was okay so long as you didn’t lust. This is a popular position in some Christian circles because it allows the person the physical release, but it keeps people from sinning according to Jesus “Thought Police™” Christ (see Matthew 5:28).

Now: My new guiltless sexuality and self-confidence are mainly a direct result of leaving Christianity. Now I’m not ashamed of my actions nor filled with self-loathing about being a sexual person. I can embrace healthy expressions of this side of my nature; I can be mature and wise about it instead of secretive and ignorant. The human body is an amazing thing, and we should enjoy it!

Check out my previous post on masturbation.

Click below the cut for three more…

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