Author Archives: John Bruce Carver

About John Bruce Carver

I am a U. S. citizen living in Atlanta, Georgia, having grown up in Chattanooga, Tennessee, and graduating from Chattanooga High School. I served in the Electronic Security Command of the U. S. Air Force before receiving a B.S. degree in business/economics and an M.Ed. in educational psychology, both at the University of Tennessee at Chattanooga. I then completed a Ph.D. in clinical (and research) psychology at Emory University. I have two daughters and three granddaughters. An ardent international traveller, I have been in over 70 countries for business and pleasure. My reading, other than novels, tends to be in history, philosophy, government, and light science. I identify philosophically as a secular humanist, in complete awe of the universe including my fellows and myself. I am married to my best friend, Miriam, formerly of the United Kingdom and Canada.

America’s celebration of ignorance

“Deplorable” does not apply to half of Trump supporters—as Hillary Clinton exaggerated, then retracted—but it definitely applies to Trump himself. Since founding of the republic voters have had wildly diverse opposition to candidates’ positions, but we’ve long assumed they at least … Continue reading

Posted in Politics | 3 Comments

Islam – 2

In my post “Islam – 1”  (June 28) I promised further “musing” about this fraught topic. Of more than 130 in this blog thus far, these posts on Islam involved the most time and led to the most consternation. Americans’ … Continue reading

Posted in Church and state, Politics | 3 Comments

Sunday at church on Gay Pride day

My wife and I went to church a couple of months ago; a rare experience for us both. Invited by close Canadian friends in Toronto, we attended the Sunday morning service of their liberal Protestant congregation. We were honored to … Continue reading

Posted in Gays and other LGBTQs, Life, living, and death, Morality | 4 Comments

Belief in versus belief that

“Do you believe in god?” How commonplace that question is! It can be heard far more frequently than “Do you believe there is a god?” But who cares about the difference? Aren’t they the same question? Isn’t the questioner looking … Continue reading

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Religion’s unearned harmlessness—1

One of the purported features of theistic religions is that—even in the absence of evidence for their extraordinary claims and even if completely fabricated—they are essentially harmless; they are innocuous. As to Christianity, it is said to have given the … Continue reading

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The immorality of religion’s morality

Religious people in the major religions regularly contend that authoritative morality comes exclusively from whatever god they espouse. Religion-based moral codes do contain some sensible rules of behavior, but are awash in shibboleths more damaging than helpful. In terms of … Continue reading

Posted in Gays and other LGBTQs, Morality | 2 Comments

Islam (1)

I was asked to subject Islam to the same degree of critique I aim at Christianity. Although I’ve frequently explained that Islam is already included in my criticisms of “Abrahamic religions” (or more broadly, “theistic religions”), I must admit having … Continue reading

Posted in Church and state, Politics | 4 Comments

America’s birthday is next week

Not July 4, 1776? Right. Not. A group of nine relatively friendly, independent former colonies of England became the United States of America on June 21, 1788! Into the world was born a new country (so I wrote June 17, … Continue reading

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Why my vehemence against Christianity?

Well, it isn’t just Christianity, but any theism, and even broader, any supernaturalism. But this post concerns the narrower question: what drives my formidable and publically expressed anti-theism. I have been asked about my “attacks” on religion by persons who know … Continue reading

Posted in This blog, this blogger | 2 Comments

God is neither good nor loving

How anyone can seriously say “God is love,” never fails to astonish me. Most observers know a few Jehovah stories of heinous acts. I grew up with them, but while aware of quite a few, I’ve never sought for and … Continue reading

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Sincere religious belief

The Christian Right has become greatly attached to this phrase. The most recent application is whether a business owner should be compelled to conform to the law if doing so is unacceptable in the owner’s “sincere religious belief.” Lately, freedom … Continue reading

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God, a failed hypothesis

God is a hypothesis, one that’s never been confirmed. I’m referring not only to the assumed Jehovah and Allah, but the thousands of supernatural deities humans have invented over the ages. Uncannily, very little “proof” is enough for believers to … Continue reading

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Leaving everything behind: the refugee crisis

In northern Greece in April my wife, a neighbor, and I were volunteers serving Syrian, Kurd, and other refugees fleeing their war-torn homes, seeking to get to middle and northern Europe. Macedonia had closed its border with Greece just a … Continue reading

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Atheignosticism and the unseen seculars

You’re right. There’s no such word as atheignosticism. However, the orthodox versions—atheism and agnosticism—can be just as bewildering. This post expands on my May 18, 2013 post, “Atheist, Agnostic, it’s So Confusing,” in which I explored the various meanings ascribed … Continue reading

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Batshit crazy, the stupid party

These two phrases were uttered not by Democrats, but by prominent Republicans (Sen. Lindsey Graham, Gov. Bobby Jindal). Conservative author Matt K. Lewis said that although conservatism used to have “big, thoughtful ideas,” it has “lost its intellectual bearings.” The … Continue reading

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Awe, we can be earnest, too!

I’ve been fortunate in life to have a fortifying sense of awe . . . or maybe I’m just sophomoric and easily impressed. I’m serious about atheism and secular humanism, but the most accurate label that fits my day-to-day living … Continue reading

Posted in Life, living, and death, This blog, this blogger | 2 Comments

No rage against the dying of the light

John Long died on Sunday morning, October 12, 2014. Because he chose to. I had met John Long, J.D., a year earlier due to his letter to the editor in “The Secular Review,” published by the Center for Inquiry. He … Continue reading

Posted in Life, living, and death | 4 Comments

A belated apology to my father

I just want to say I’m sorry. Fifty-five years too late. John Bruce Carver, Sr., my father, died 55 years ago today. I was not yet 23. He was not an educated man, having gone only through the eighth grade … Continue reading

Posted in This blog, this blogger | 7 Comments

Flirting with theocracy

Fundamentalist American Christians as a group can no more be trusted to mean “religious liberty” when they say it than the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea can be trusted to really mean “democratic.” My home state of Georgia, accustomed to … Continue reading

Posted in Church and state | 1 Comment

Democrats vs. theocrats

Republicans were a party of intellectually respectable politics only a few decades ago, so much so that its take on economics, particularly fiscal policy and free markets, won me over. Later, however, the path went sadly downhill from Ludwig von … Continue reading

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Christian lying

Is a large segment of Christianity culturally addicted to lying? I don’t mean the unproven and unprovable foundation on which all religions are built, such as utter faith without evidence in a myriad of meticulous propositions about supernatural beings and forces. … Continue reading

Posted in Morality, Religion's costs and foibles | 1 Comment

Believers/unbelievers and charity

Are people of faith more generous to those in need than unbelievers? Scriptures of the Abrahamic religions encourage—some even demand—charity. Charity is one of Islam’s five towers of the faith, divided as I understand it largely into zakat, a type … Continue reading

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To the ramparts . . . atheists are coming for your Christmas trees!

Oh, my. Here it is already the first third of December gone and I haven’t even begun my part of the annual War on Christmas! Bill O’Reilly of FoxNews, who has bravely protected Christmas from marauding atheists for a number … Continue reading

Posted in Religion's costs and foibles | 2 Comments

Planned Parenthood and pandering politicos

As if enough disinformation about abortion has not been spread by politicians lately, the domestic Christian terrorism in Colorado last week has stirred heated rants on the political right. Don’t get me wrong, the left is quite capable of misinformed … Continue reading

Posted in Politics | 1 Comment

You can’t put God in a test tube. Why not?

I’ve long wondered why Christians and other theists ignore the successful truth-seeking process of science when dealing with whether a god exists. Quite often I’ve been told, “You can’t put God in a test tube.” This phrase, a fairly common … Continue reading

Posted in Science and society | 9 Comments

American exceptionalism, American bloviation

Much of the world has long noted—often with affection, often with contempt, often with disparagement—that Americans, along with a frequently charming can-do attitude, are sold on themselves, their power, and the purity of their national motivation. I, too, have an … Continue reading

Posted in Politics | 2 Comments

Secular humanism goes beyond atheism

Many of my blog posts concern atheism or atheism’s relationship with theism. It would be understandable to think that my major identity is atheist. But it is not. My major identity is secular humanist. Unfortunately, in the United States if … Continue reading

Posted in Morality, Secular humanism | 5 Comments

Religion in the public square

The term public square has become popular in Religious Right language in recent years. There is a great deal of umbrage taken that liberals and atheists have pushed religion out of the public square. Many Christians complain about the “attack” … Continue reading

Posted in Church and state, Liberty | 2 Comments

Christian bullying (Part 2)

This the second of a two part series on Christian bullying. In case you missed Part 1, here are excerpts to set the stage for Part 2: Our country was designed to accommodate citizens of whatever convictions about religion, with … Continue reading

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Christian bullying (Part 1)

It’s in the nature of many religions to bully those outside religion in general and even outside their own specific faith. Christianity and Islam are the worst offenders. Examples abound through history: Catholics versus Protestants, Shia versus Sunni, and religious … Continue reading

Posted in Morality, Religion's costs and foibles | 1 Comment

Blasphemed lately? Watch your back!

The word blasphemy is not as frequently heard in the Western world as it used to be. But among the faithful the concept has not gone away. (Christians often condemn blasphemy in words and deeds while avoiding the seemingly archaic … Continue reading

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…but there are things science can’t explain

I can’t say how many times I’ve heard this phrase from theists. It is, at the same time true and, as an argument, meaningless. Many theists must think it proves something, for it’s asserted as if it defeats any argument … Continue reading

Posted in Science and society | 2 Comments

Want a god? Make up a good one!

Virtually without doubt, the thousands of gods we have loved, feared, and worshiped over the eons, we’ve had to invent ourselves. But as powerful as many of them have been reputed to be, they couldn’t create themselves. To exist even … Continue reading

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One hundred blog posts!

The immediately previous post (“What good are Christian soldiers without an enemy?”) was the hundredth I’ve posted since kicking off johnjustthinking.com on April 27, 2013—twenty-six months ago. Now seems an auspicious time to review just why I write this blog … Continue reading

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What good are Christian soldiers without an enemy?

Christians, most of whom are well meaning, seem unable to grasp how bullying it is to use the power of government to support their views. Christians, like Muslims, Jews, Atheists, and all else are totally free to practice and argue … Continue reading

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America chose liberty this week

For those who think their Bible trumps the Constitution in civil matters, this week has been disappointing. The theocratic lunacy of presidential candidate Mike Huckabee and other Christian fundamentalists appeals to and multiplies the ignorance of those who think “freedom … Continue reading

Posted in Church and state, Gays and other LGBTQs, Liberty, Politics | Leave a comment

Lust still OK, damaging sentient beings is not

I wrote in a recent post (”Lust,” June 16, 2015) that “Lust and damaging other people in the presence of lust are separable issues.” Naively, that statement seemed to me to be so simple and straightforward as hardly to merit … Continue reading

Posted in Morality, Pleasure, enthusiasm, and awe, Secular humanism | Leave a comment

Lust

OK, relax. This post comes with words only, no pictures Let’s consider lust. Not the symbolic sort like that for power and money—the lust I have in mind is the original type: desire for a sexual partner. What got me … Continue reading

Posted in Morality, Pleasure, enthusiasm, and awe | 4 Comments

The heavens declare the glory of god

My first attraction to science was a second grade fascination with astronomy, a world of enchantment found in the pages of The Book of Knowledge set of encyclopedias my parents had wisely furnished me. With no in-person adult guidance on … Continue reading

Posted in Pleasure, enthusiasm, and awe, Science and society | 2 Comments

Religious freedom to refuse service?

The current flap over refusing service to gay couples goes beyond refusing marriage licenses. One example is Jennifer Schoenrock of Waynesville, Missouri, a court clerk in Pulaski County, who is quoted as saying she will refuse to issue marriage licenses … Continue reading

Posted in Church and state, Gays and other LGBTQs | 2 Comments

Faith and certainty

A reader’s comment on my most recent post (”There’s nothing wrong with the Bible,” May 9, 2015) opined that “a thing does not ever really become a fact until all uncertainty is removed” and “where certainty ends, faith takes over … Continue reading

Posted in Science and society | 2 Comments

There’s nothing wrong with the Bible

I’ve been asked why I am against the Bible. I’m not. I am against neither the Bible, the Koran, the Upanishads, or any others of humanity’s religious antiquities. They are products of their times, creations of ancient people trying their … Continue reading

Posted in Faith and reason | 2 Comments

CNN finds Jesus . . . or doesn’t

A few weeks ago, CNN began a series titled Finding Jesus, subtitled Faith Facts Forgery. I watched the first instalment and most of the second with interest. Not interest in the Jesus story itself—though I rather like it as a … Continue reading

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What’s in a word, say, “marriage”?

This week the Supreme Court of the United States (SCOTUS) is hearing oral arguments concerning two cases brought on the matter of whether states’ denial of rights to marry (or rights to be recognized as married if the act was … Continue reading

Posted in Gays and other LGBTQs, Liberty, Life, living, and death | Leave a comment

Wretched and unfulfilled without Jesus

Recently I read how Christians can deal successfully with (that is, convert) unbelievers. The writer (please allow me to render the writer anonymous) says his recommendation is almost guaranteed to work. His method is to inquire into the unbeliever’s life, an … Continue reading

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Scientific method or just better thinking?

Since whenever our species or its predecessors began to wonder, the challenge of figuring out ourselves and our surroundings has confronted us daily. We know of the wanderings out of Africa into the Middle East, thence west to Europe and … Continue reading

Posted in Science and society | 1 Comment

The moral neutrality of extramarital sex

In my most recent post, I compared “revealed truth” (ostensibly divinely imposed) morals with those developed without feigned divine commands, the latter being based on minimizing the damage each of us might do to the “survival and flourishing of sentient … Continue reading

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Morality in secular humanism

When I’d been an atheist for no more than two years, one of my sisters put this question to the 22 year old me: “Even if you believe there’s no God, how can you not believe Christianity offers the highest … Continue reading

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Revisiting Selma

My wife and I saw the movie Selma. It is a dramatization, not a documentary, so could be expected to depart from an exact history. In this case, the most insistent complaint I’ve heard is over the portrayal of President … Continue reading

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That was then, this is now

When confronted with historical, horrific acts by Christians in the name of Jehovah and Jesus, today’s faithful frequently point out that civilization in general was harsher, more violent, and uneducated than now. Their argument is that previous mayhem was a … Continue reading

Posted in History, Religion's costs and foibles | Leave a comment