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Natural Selection & Survival of the Fittest

Posted on 22 August 2014 by That Heathen Girl

             I just had a conversation with The Secular Nerd about this and thought I’d share my thoughts with you. These are just observations I made, and I am no scientist. Let us know what your thoughts are on this subject in the comments!

 

 

“Survival of the Fittest”

Evolution

If you’ve heard this, you probably think of it in terms of who is physically strong to survive.

Well, let’s have a little example:

Say two people are preparing for a fight, standing a few feet or so apart. Bob is tall, built, very strong, very health. Frank is frail and skinny.

Now if you took those two and said, of course Bob would survive, look at him! He could crush a guys skull with his bare hands!

Now add in a weapon for Frank. Say some kind of gun. Who do you think would survive now?

The problem with “Survival of the fittest” is that it’s turned into “Whoever has the biggest gun and has the best shot survives”.

We don’t fully realize how much our viewpoints have to change in order to adapt to our species evolution. Natural selection can’t work the way it’s supposed to if the weak carry an AK-47.

Those weak genes will just get passed on instead of strong genes. Say Frank in this scenario has some kind of health issue. Nothing life threatening but something nature wouldn’t want passed on to affect their children. Say they we’re fighting for a mate, and Frank wins because hey, he’s got a fucking gun!

Bob would have had the genes necessary to create strong healthy children. However, since the population of Earth is now well over 7 Billion, and overpopulation is becoming an issue, natural selection doesn’t jump in anymore because nature is trying to curb the human population.

If you look at the way nature changes around us, you’ll notice how Humans are very very slow to evolve now. It’s because we’re at the top of the food chain. Other species change around us all the time, to adapt to predators. Humans have an unfair advantage since our brains are more evolved, so we make weapons. Those species in turn slowly change their way of staying alive as Humans fight amongst ourselves.

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Let’s hope it never comes to that, though it would be kinda adorable.

Viruses are probably the only other species that have killed as many humans besides humans themselves. Think about that. The Black Plague hit China and Europe, taking out a hefty chunk of their populations. It could happen again.

Nature and humans have always battled each other out to dominate the food chain, and it’s only a matter of time before we either destroy ourselves, or nature does it for us.

I shall leave you with a good quote:

“It is not the strongest or the most intelligent who will survive but those who can best manage change.”
― Charles Darwin

What do you guys think of Natural Selection?

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Top 5 Movies That Poke Fun At Religion

Posted on 30 June 2014 by That Heathen Girl

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Every now and then I like to sit back, relax, and relieve stress…

                By watching movies of course! And what better way to easy some tension than by laughing at the insanity that religion can be. I did leave out documentaries for this particular list so I could do a different one later, but until then check out my list for Top 5 Movies That Poke Fun At Religion:

 

5. Carrie


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Carrie was Stephen King’s first novel and was made into a movie in 1976 (and a remake, but we won’t get into that), telling the story of a young girl suffering at home from an abusive overly religious mother. It speaks volumes when you watch their interactions and the kind of things Carrie goes through at home and at school. I can’t imagine how horrifying it would have been to get my period at school and have no fucking clue what was happening to me. I’d think I was bleeding to death too!

 

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How am I not dead right now?

                The mother takes the cake in this movie, showing how an oppressive religious environment can cause someone to snap, especially someone as impressionable as a teenager. At least everyone gets what’s coming to them in the end right?

 

4. Saved!

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A little know movie, Saved! satirizes the lives of students at a Christian high school, showing how one wrong move can cause you to be ostracized and demonized in a heartbeat. Mary, played by Jenna Malone, ends up having sex with her boyfriend Dean after he tells her he might be gay. She hits her head and sees a vision of Jesus, telling her to do everything in her power to help him. Well what does any Christian girl do to make sure her boyfriend isn’t gay? She has sex with him. Not surprising, she ends up pregnant, and a cascade effect occurs as all her friends abandon her.

It’s really telling of the Christian household, especially overly Christian, as they don’t speak to their children about sex and sexual safety. Personally, the best part of the film is Eva Amurri, who plays Cassandra, the only Jewish girl in a Christian school. Her jokes are hilarious and the part where she starts speaking in tongues in order to freak out the students at an assembly is priceless. She even attempts to rip her shirt off in order to shock the masses.

 

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She’s speaking God’s language! Hallelujah!

3. The Invention of Lying

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Ricky Gervais, well known Atheist, stars in this film in which people live in a world without lying. Meaning no can lie. Ever. Meaning, no religion. However, when Gervais’s character’s mom is dying in a hospital, he tells her of a wonderful afterlife, introducing lies for the first time. Everyone takes him at his word, shocked and awed that maybe there is a great man in the sky and maybe there is a Heaven. Who knew making a religion was so easy?

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A little tooo easy.

                The point I took from the film is to make you realize how easy it is to dissuade people, and how if you tell a lie often enough eventually it becomes the truth to them.

 

2. Dogma

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Dogma is a great film when it comes to poking fun at religion. Two angels, Loki and Bartleby, have been living in Wisconsin as a punishment after being cast out of heaven. After discovering a loophole in the Catholic Dogma that would allow them back in, they set out for New Jersey to find this church that will ‘cleanse them of sin’. Loki’s (Matt Damon) exchange in the beginning of the film at the airport are hilarious, as he convinces a nun that it’s really not even worth it.

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What have I been doing with my life?

                Kevin Smith had some amazing actors brought into this film. Making Alanis Morissette God was just icing on the cake, and watching her prance around the church yard doing handstands says a lot about the Christian God. It makes God out to not only be a woman, but to be childish and forgiving in the most nonsensical ways.

 

1. Monty Python’s The Meaning of Life

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I think this film pretty much speaks for itself. You’ve got songs like “Every Sperm is Sacred”, which makes fun of the Catholic’s views of masturbation, and “Galaxy Song”, which speaks heavily on evolution. It’s basically a slap in the face to the Catholic church, and certainly a fun movie to watch in order to get a good laugh.

Monty Python’s been pretty famous for making films that poke fun at religion, and any of them could have made this list, so be sure to check them out as well.

 

Honorable Mention: The Life of Brian

life of brian

Social Media has spoken, and so with all the requests, I present an honorable mention of The Life of Brian (or substitute “Meaning of Life” with it). The Life of Brian can best be summed up by IMDB‘s storyline writeup about it: Irreverent satire of Biblical films and religious intolerance focuses on Brian, a Jew in Roman-occupied Judea. After joining up with an anti-Roman political organization, Brian is mistaken for a prophet, and becomes a reluctant Messiah. – The Secular Nerd

 

So there you have it, the Top 5 Movies that poke fun at religion, hope you enjoyed the list! What are some of your favorite movies out there? Any that didn’t make the list? Let us know in the comments!

Until next time,

– That Heathen Girl

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Top 5 Movies about Demonic Possession

Posted on 29 June 2014 by That Heathen Girl

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   I don’t know about you, but when I was a kid growing up in the deep south movies like these would scare the shit out of me. Religious fear makes seeing what could be lurking in the dark that much more frightening, and our imaginations run wild. Now that I am older (and wiser), it is interesting to see how these kinds of movies still scare people so much. I’m a huge horror movie buff myself, have been even when I was still religious. What’s even more interesting, is going back and re-watching these movies that used to strike the fear of God into me. So here are what I think are the best movies about possession.

 

5. Rec


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   I don’t go for foreign horror films often, but when Rec came out I thought, zombies? Hell yeah I wanna see some zombies! The story is about a group of people trapped off and quarantined because of a virus that has been spreading throughout their apartment building, causing people to become bloodthirsty, screaming and trying to tear you to pieces. Sounds very zombie like right? Well, by the end of the movie you find out whatever is making people want to eat your face off is actually demonic in nature. Fancy that. A tenant in the upstairs apartment had been messing with the occult and a mean rabies virus. Apparently this guy that owns the apartment was working on what looked like a biological cause for demonic possession on behalf of the Vatican.

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Cliche portrait of the Virgin Mary, check!

   This Spanish film is shot just like the Blair Witch, jumping on that “found footage” bandwagon. They did manage to do a really good job, it kept you wanting to look away because you knew at any minute something was going to come out of nowhere.

  Quarantine is the American remake of Rec, staring scream queen Jennifer Carpenter. She did a pretty good job I think, I love her as a horror actress but the Americanization of the film made it seem a bit lacking in comparison to the Spanish original.

4. The Evil Dead

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   I will admit this now, I haven’t seen the original Evil Dead yet. I did, however, watch the remake. I know, I know, it’s probably not near as good.

   The Evil Dead centers on five University students taking a trip out to an isolated cabin for spring break. I won’t use their names, because both versions have different character names, but in both one goes nuts and ends up possessed. One thing after another leads them all to question who is possessed and who isn’t, and trying to stay alive in a place where even the trees will attack you (and in some cases, rape you). There is a more comedic value as the films go on, showing a more humorous side to demons and how silly it all really is.

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3. Constantine

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   Oh, how I adore this movie. Constantine took a very modern approach to demonic possession. Keanu Reeves plays Constantine, a chain smoking exorcist who seeks out demons hiding in humans to gain favor back into heaven. You see he had a little run in with some razor blades at a young age and ever since he’s been able to see angels and demons. I’m sure we all know how the Catholic church feels about suicide. Oh, and he’s also dying of lung cancer.

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Fuck it.

   The film is great in the exorcism scenes because he makes it look like such a chore, and the way all these creatures fit into the human society and prey on the weak. The conversation between Constantine and Lucifer is great, their casting choices were good in that regard. Their exchange is very nonchalant and business like.

 

2. The Exorcism of Emily Rose

The_Exorcism_Of_Emily_Rose

   In regards to the horror aspect of this movie, I love it. The idea was great, the story was great. Laura Linney was great. However, it went the path most movies with anyone Atheist of Agnostic goes, they become believers.

The Exorcism of Emily Rose
The Witching Hour? Shit I smelled sulfur at around 3am, I better go back to Jesus!

     Jennifer Carpenter plays a girl who dies after a parish priest performs an exorcism on her. Linney’s character, a defense attorney named Erin, takes his case after he is charged with negligent homicide. Watching the court and seeing the flashbacks is like seeing two different worlds when you watch it as an Atheist. It’s like, you want to be on the side of the state, but all the flashbacks make you feel for this character. The actual exorcism scene is amazing to watch, Jennifer Carpenter goes all out and you can feel the hatred coming off this character. It’s certainly a movie I would recommend.

 

1. The Exorcist

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   Ahh we knew this would be number one! The Exorcist came out in 1973, and has sense been regarded as one of, if not, the scariest movie of all time. Rumors of strange occurrences on set spread after the film’s release, many sequels followed, and Linda Blair would always be remembered as that possessed kid that pukes on a priest.

    If you haven’t seen it, I’m sure you know the basic premise, so I won’t explain. I watched this movie when I was 13 years old, when I was still religious and went to church camp and Sunday school and all that fun stuff. So you can imagine what seeing that movie would do to a preteen Jesus freak. It was the first and only time I ever had to sleep with the lights on.

Now of course I can appreciate the horror aspect more; every time I watch it I actually find humor in some of things they made this kid say.

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     In any case, to go back and re-watch some of these movies and see what religious fear does to people is an interesting experience. Try it one day and see what I mean, maybe get in a few good laughs if you’re like me and find it all very humorous (I am sick and twisted at times though).
For now that is all until next time!
– That Heathen Girl

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My First Secular Convention: Reason In the Rock

Posted on 28 October 2012 by That Heathen Girl

Mike Thom speaks about the National Atheist Party

As you have seen already, Reason In the Rock was a major success and played host to many amazing secular speakers. I was honored to take photos of the event for the website and was blown away by all the amazing people I met there. It was my first time to experience such an event and could not believe how much I’d been missing out on.

Since The Secular Nerd covered what happened at Reason in the Rock, I wanted to share with you how much it empowered me. What really hit me most was that a lot of the speakers had gone through what I myself had gone through. Jerry DeWitt and Teresa MacBaine’s stories really hit home because they too were recovering from religion like I had been and still am in certain aspects. My father, who is an overly religious man, had kept me in the dark for years with his preachy ways and forcing me to go to church. I did what most kids would do in that situation, I believed him. I went to church camps and and even a missionary trip to Arlington, TX for these people. I don’t think of it like a waste of time, just one of those mistakes you make in life that make you who you are.

JT Eberhard mentioned something that hit home with me about Columbine, and how Christian’s target their youth by telling them to say yes if it ever happened to them. When I was in my early teens I was still attending church at the time, and they showed this video of Christian youth groups speaking out about how they would say yes and so should you. I remember sitting there thinking, “Is this really what I would do? What I should do?”.

Of course now the answer is obvious, but it took me until the age of 17 to finally break away from my father. When Jerry talked to The Secular Nerd and I about Recovering From Religion I was so excited because I realized that I would finally get a chance to help those who also had gone through what I had and I can’t wait to share my story with them and help them to recover from religion.

Thank you everyone who came to Reason In the Rock and I am so glad to have met every one of you. Lauren was especially fun to hang out with! I can’t wait to become more involved and help others. See you all at Skepticon!

-That Heathen Girl

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Pre Reason In The Rock VIP Get Together

Posted on 27 October 2012 by The Secular Nerd

Jerry DeWitt, Teresa MacBain, Myself, and Seth Andrews

In the first twenty minutes of being at the Pre Reason In The Rock VIP Get Together, Jerry DeWitt and Teresa MacBain violated the “Thou shall not covet thy neighbors burger” commandment. Teresa and Jerry were lusting for it! By the way, it was an amazing burger.

This was the first time I had met Teresa MacBain and Seth Andrews in person, but have had correspondence with them through e-mail/Facebook for Reason In The Rock planning. Over on the other side of the room, JT Eberhard was doing magic tricks, and singing (He has an amazing singing voice) in Spanish. The room was completely electrifying with this many awesome people in the room at once.

“That Heathen Girl” and Susan, president of Arkansas Society of Freethinkers

That Heathen Girl and I had a great time talking to all of them, and just sitting back and watching how happy godless people are, sitting around, just having fun. Reason In The Rock article soon to come!

All I have to say, is if you aren’t at Reason In The Rock, you are seriously missing out.

-The Secular Nerd and That Heathen Girl

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http://mofrw.org

Barnes Claims ‘God’ Chooses to Bless Rape Victims with Pregnancy

Posted on 01 September 2012 by That Heathen Girl

    Barnes Claims ‘God’ Chooses to Bless Rape Victims with Pregnancy

http://mofrw.org

image © http://mofrw.org

Rape and abortion are subject matters that most people avoid talking about. It’s one of those moral things that people are afraid of speaking out about for fear of persecution or a lecture.

First, let me paint you a picture. Imagine that you’re a woman, and you have just been violently attacked and raped. You go to the hospital to get examined, police are asking you questions, and you go home upset and feeling completely dirty and violated. Let’s say about a week later, after your work has been suffering because you can’t stop thinking about what happened, you find out you’re pregnant.

Now, regardless of your religion and background, would you really think that God had blessed you with a child?
Sharon Barnes, a high ranking republican, was quoted by the New York Times as saying:

“Abortion is never an option.”

“If God has chosen to bless this person [the rape victim] with a life, you don’t kill it.”

This was pretty much all she said on the matter. She may not have wanted to elaborate because she didn’t want to explain what the woman who had been raped is supposed to do for the next nine months. Sure she could give it up for adoption, but would you really want to carry around a baby you never wanted in the first place?

The human population wouldn’t suffer, Africa alone has a fertility rate of four to five births per woman every year.

So how would ‘God’ choose to let women who are raped get pregnant? Christianity is all about compassion isn’t it? Shouldn’t a good ‘God’ prevent something terrible like that from happening?

I bet Sharon Barnes would be whistling a different tune if she got raped.

– That Heathen Girl

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First Medical Marijuana State of the South?

Posted on 29 August 2012 by That Heathen Girl

img courtesy of Wired.com

image courtesy of Wired.com

 

First Medical Marijuana State of the South?

   Living in Arkansas, we’ve all been subjected to southern society and their demands. It is impossible to avoid religion and conservatism. Statistically speaking, there are more ‘immoral’ people living in the bible belt than anywhere else. Some Christians can spend more time converting than helping people down here.
For a long time, the state of Arkansas has been the strictest as far as pot laws are concerned. However, this month the Arkansas’ Secretary of State office confirmed that the issue will be on the ballot this November.

I like so many others could really benefit from Medical Marijuana, instead of polluting our bodies with narcotic medications to kill the pain. At least marijuana isn’t addictive and doesn’t cause horrible withdrawals. For those of you that aren’t familiar with some of the things it can do, it can:
-relieve chronic and neuropathic pain
-increase appetite
-decrease nausea
-relax muscles

For someone that suffers with chronic pain, it could do so much for them. However, down here in the south it could prove to be difficult to convince conservatives of it’s benefits. Marijuana is already all over the south, being sold to people, which is in fact illegal. However, even if a Medical Marijuana Dispensary opened up in Arkansas, that wouldn’t mean that everyone would be smoking pot. It would just mean that the people that really need help could go to the doctor and get a prescription for it. It would be just any other prescription you could get, and people do sell them on the streets too but you don’t see them getting all bent out of shape about that.
The Family Council Committee, a group whose purpose is to instill traditional family values through politics, said they would be fighting the proposal. Jerry Cox, the President of the committee, issued a statement saying:

“Substance abuse creates very real problems for families,” Cox said. “If a husband or wife is addicted to something, it’s going to put a strain on that marriage. It’s going to put a strain on their kids. If you think we have problems with marijuana now, just wait until it becomes legally available.”

Wait, how can they be addicted to something that isn’t addictive?
He also went as far as to bring smoking into the statement:

“It’s the only medicine you smoke. The health community has spent almost fifty years trying to stop smoking. Now a group of people wants Arkansas doctors to start encouraging just that: Smoking for your health. It just doesn’t make sense.”

Now, just to clarify, Cigarette smoke is way more harmful than the smoke from marijuana. I do agree that the smoke itself can be harmful, but scientist have found that it is not the plant itself that is harmful. Depository’s always have plenty of other marijuana products for patients. All pain medications have side effects and harmful long term effects such as liver damage. Besides, there are always pot brownies.
My point is, I’ve been trying to inform as many people as possible so that when November gets here, people will vote for the legalization of medical marijuana. It would mean that the people of Arkansas could get the help they need. I know I will be voting for it when November 6th gets here.

– That Heathen Girl

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The Hunger Games Series: Review

Posted on 25 August 2012 by That Heathen Girl

The Hunger Games Series by Suzanne Collins Review
(Warning! Major Spoilers)

Let me start off by saying how much I was looking forward to reading the series after I found out the movie was coming out. The idea of something so messed up like that peaked my interest, as I’m always looking for interesting reads. Basically the story is about Katniss Everdeen and her family and friends of District 12; the area that specializes in coal mining for the Capitol, which is a huge city that houses President Snow. Every year the Capitol hosts the Hunger Games, which was created in order to remind the citizens of the 12 districts who was boss. Back in the day a rebellion within the districts had broke out and in order to keep his people from turning on him, he instituted the Hunger Games and wiped District 13 off the map.

At the reaping, Katniss’s worst fears are realized when her sister, Prim, is selected and she volunteers to replace her. Now, I won’t go into a huge spill on details since I’m assuming you read the books. She and Peeta are taken from their homes and forces to compete in a battle to the death between two other kids from each other district, a boy and a girl.

I have to say that the first two books were phenomenal. The detail of the food alone in the Hunger Games made it seem so real, and quite often I found myself hungry or cold or thirsty just from the description of Katniss’s senses. In Catching Fire, I was quite shocked to see that Katniss and Peeta were once again to take part in the Hunger Games, a ploy in which President Snow stated that the reaping would be using only winners of the Hunger Games as participants. The Quarter Quell was more interesting as far as the characters in the games, who were much older and wiser than the children they once were. The arena was even more fascinating; a large dome that resembled a clock, so that at certain times of the day specific areas would bring on deadly occurrences to kill the tributes. One section of the clock included jabberjays, birds that could mimic voices to trick them and drive them to madness.

Now, like I said, the first two books were pretty good. However, in Mockingjay, it seemed that Suzanne Collins just gave up. After they retreat to District 13, a place they once thought didn’t exist anymore, they settled into a very routine lifestyle, where they planned to fight the Capitol and use Katniss as a propaganda piece for their rebellion. You would think after the endless torment Katniss had to suffer along they way she get a bit of a break, but no. She ends up in the hospital two or three more times. Her friends die one by one, one of which was a guy who had just gotten married to his long time sweetheart. She was also a former tribute winner and was kidnapped by President Snow and had just reunited with him. Peeta ends up being batshit insane, having been tortured using tracker jacket venom to rewrite his memories so he’d kill Katniss. The worst part is, that after she manages to sneak into the Capitol and disguise herself to get closer to the mansion that houses Snow, she sees her sister, who was supposed to have been in District 13, get blown to bits along with a whole group of children. Best part is, and I hope you can sense the sarcasm there, she ends up being with Peeta after all the crap he did to her! I get that he was “tricked” but she even says he still has freak outs at the end of the book, but she just deals with it.

I can understand what she was trying to accomplish (Collins). I’ve written stories where the main character gets shit on constantly, not really catching a break until the very end. However, in this instance, I don’t feel like Katniss ever really caught a break. She didn’t even get to kill Snow like she wanted, she had to watch him die of whatever disease he already had. I just think she went too far with the sister dying. That was the whole point of her volunteering at the reaping. She could have saved herself so much misery. I really think that if Prim had been taking into the area she would have died, and Peeta would have won. Sure the whole mockingjay symbol wouldn’t have happened, but I think she still would have fought for the rebellion and I think they still could have won.

As for Peeta vs. Gale, I think she probably picked him just because he’s the only one that really understands her insanity.

All in all I’ll give this series a 3 out of 5 stars. If the last book hadn’t been such a let down I’d give it a better rating.

-That Heathen Girl

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The Dalai Lama had a point…

Posted on 24 August 2012 by That Heathen Girl

Image ©dreamstime.com

“This is my simple religion. There is no need for temples; no need for complicated philosophy. Our own brain, our own heart is our temple; the philosophy is kindness.” – Dalai Lama

What if all the religions sacrificed the need to build monuments and temples to their faith and instead built schools, houses, even hospitals. If they instead used kindness to their fellow man instead of living in fear of some unknown entity. Helping their fellow man because they care, not out of fear of some unknown entity. Not to say I condemn them for their beliefs, because I’m just not that kind of person. I live in the bible belt, and there can be up to 10 churches in one town around here. That’s just way too much! If they used that money to help the community instead of building fancier and fancier churches, they could help their fellow man.

I’m That Heathen Girl, and I figured since the Secular Nerd posted such a thorough opening post I’d introduce myself.
You can check out our bio’s to learn more about us. We will also have links to our personal sites at a later date.

The kind of posts you can look forward to from me are going to be the entertainment reviews. Some of my nerdy points of interest are:
– Books & Movies
– Graphic Design & Photography
– PC Gaming

Welcome to the site and enjoy!
– That Heathen Girl

 

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