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.

“Islamic” terrorism or just terrorism?

American policy currently avoids the term “Islamic terrorism” and “Islamic radical” to—if I understand the president’s position—avoid appearing to be at war with Islam. Republicans, though not themselves addicted to calling a spade a spade, see the Administration’s persnickety word … Continue reading

Posted in Politics | 1 Comment

Does Giuliani love America?

I know. Stupid question. Meaningless to ask; impossible to answer. To a biased observer, however, the question (or allegation, if so worded) is enough to get the intended point across; it is much like being charged as a child abuser. … Continue reading

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National Prayer Breakfast 2015

Despite the warnings of our founders about mixing religion and government, proponents of religion call upon government to support their teachings whenever possible. That runs from the schoolroom to the halls of the White House and Congress. Well, it isn’t … Continue reading

Posted in Church and state | 1 Comment

Finding unbiased news

In a political discussion last year I accused my correspondent (politely, I hope) of intentionally seeking out biased news sources. He confronted me with a question that—if I may translate loosely—was “OK, wise guy, where can one find unbiased sources?” … Continue reading

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A handshake with deism

I’m an a-theist, but am also an a-deist. At the level of discussion, I enjoy arguing with both theists and deists. But, contrary to what you might think, I’ve no problem with deists. By and large, theists who ask, “Do … Continue reading

Posted in Atheism and other freethought | 1 Comment

Escaping the evil of sin

I am going to bore myself with this topic quite soon, but I’m compelled to go just a bit further due to a comment I received. Whether one agrees with my position not, I would’ve thought my somewhat idiosyncratic differentiation … Continue reading

Posted in Secular humanism | Leave a comment

Sin and evil

The post on sin (the most recent one) has stirred interest. One respondent feels the word is too negative, though surely the Biblical idea of sin is about as negative as it can get. If sin is tantamount to kicking … Continue reading

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The sin of sin

I’ve been pondering sin lately—not sinning (as in a pastime), but sin (the concept). In short, it is a primitive and ridiculous idea. Besides leading to burdensome, unnecessary guilt, it impedes ethical progress. In other words, sin itself is a … Continue reading

Posted in Morality, Religion's costs and foibles | 4 Comments

Dying

I’ve been thinking about dying. Again. Regrettably, I must spoil the drama of that opening assertion. I am not planning suicide. I have no known terminal disease (except, of course, life itself). I am not depressed, nor even given to … Continue reading

Posted in Life, living, and death | 1 Comment

Thanksgiving

Today in America is Thanksgiving Day (Canada’s was last month), a federal holiday in the U. S. since 1863 during the Civil War. It enjoys widespread acceptance across all economic levels, personal philosophies/religions, geographic regions, and political positions. The iconic scenario … Continue reading

Posted in Pleasure, enthusiasm, and awe, Secular humanism | 2 Comments

God is love?

“God is love” is a comforting idea. I rather like it. But it’s more wishful than sensible. In fact, as to the Biblical God, the notion is downright bizarre. The idea of an all-loving God arises in part because the … Continue reading

Posted in Atheism and other freethought | 1 Comment

Voting day, voting daze

Today across America citizens go to the polls to choose a select group from among themselves to make governmental decisions on their behalf. We cast votes for a special few not only because there are so many governmental decisions to … Continue reading

Posted in Politics | 2 Comments

The epidemic isn’t Ebola

Ebola may yet cause a widespread effect in America, though it’s not at all clear that it will. Prevention and treatment have seemed to be slow off the mark, expert opinion has been modified, and the country has teetered between … Continue reading

Posted in Politics | 1 Comment

Simplified reader comment feature

As of now, all previous posts (a few over 70) have been edited to conclude with the standard comment section most people expect to find on blogs. (Previously, comments had to be directed to a separate email address, johnjustthinking.com, and … Continue reading

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Freedom of religion requires freedom from religion

Among my memberships, I’m a life member of the Freedom from Religion Foundation (atheists and agnostic members) and a member of Americans United for Separation of Church and State (religious and non-religious members). I believe I am more committed to freedom … Continue reading

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

E pluribus . . . . whatever.

In a recent Sunday New York Times column, Thomas Friedman opined about the advantages of pluralism over separatism in sociopolitical organization. He mentioned the official motto of the United States, e pluribus unum. When I was a child, I learned … Continue reading

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The Bible gets its due . . . but no more

Yesterday I was reading a small book on marital fulfillment by a Christian friend. He’d donated it to my wife and me, understandably proud of its having been published. I don’t normally read “how to” books based on religious scripture, … Continue reading

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Respecting religion

I’m not concerned here with forced respect, such as saluting a superior officer. I am concerned with respect for individuals freely given, unrelated to their nationality, race, gender, status, or philosophy. In a way, it bespeaks a quiet love of … Continue reading

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But you must believe in something!

Many times I’ve heard these words from a Christian who thinks disbelief in his or her theology means no beliefs at all! The obverse of that well-intended coaxing is more in the form of an accusation: “You don’t believe in anything!” … Continue reading

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Atheism yes, but enthusiastic atheism?

In discussion a few days ago I made an offhand remark about my “enthusiastic atheism.” It occurred to me later that the term, though an accurate description, is an uncommon one. What on earth could even be important, much less … Continue reading

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September, then the Fall

Today, September 5, is the anniversary of my “becoming a Christian” in 1948. I was ten years old—about what my denomination called the age of accountability—when I decided to walk down the aisle during the invitation hymn that Sunday morning, profess … Continue reading

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My atheism: reason or reaction?

Over the years it’s occasionally been suggested that my adamant position about religion is due to my strict upbringing in a conservative Christian sect. In the experience of other atheists I’ve known, that convenient analysis appears to be common. Sometimes … Continue reading

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Jesus saves . . . from what?

“From what” is not meant as a trivial or joking question. It is legitimate and serious. Just what is Jesus able and willing to save us from and why is that help needed? Christians are obsessed with the perfectly normal words … Continue reading

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

Sin

I’ve been pondering sin lately—not sinning, but sin—and how primitive and downright ridiculous the idea of sin is: besides leading to burdensome, unnecessary guilt, it impedes ethical progress of humanity. Sin is a religious notion. It’s part of various religions’ … Continue reading

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Theists and a-theists

Perhaps the most significant disagreement among atheists these days concerns our range of attitudes toward liberal branches of religion. Although my thoughts about that apply to the liberal wings of all religions, I’ll focus here only on Christianity. In most … Continue reading

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Two worlds

I sit by the window in a beautiful, upscale restaurant having Sunday morning coffee with my beloved Sunday New York Times. I’m by the large window only partly for the light, but also because I’ve always liked seeing a city … Continue reading

Posted in Life, living, and death | Leave a comment

We don’t have a prayer

Theistic religions put a lot of stock in prayer, perhaps Islam most of all. Most atheists look upon prayer with skepticism or outright derision, but socially we tend to conduct ourselves with quiet disregard. Religious folks, to their credit, often … Continue reading

Posted in Faith and reason | Leave a comment

Everything happens for a reason . . . or not

“Everything happens for a reason.” I’m sure you’ve heard these words as often as I. The best I can say for the phrase is that it is usually meant to comfort someone who’s experienced a bad turn of fate. (OK, … Continue reading

Posted in Atheism and other freethought, Faith and reason | Leave a comment

Preppers all!

A friend directed me to a “preppers” website-whether as a joke or a friendly warning, I’m not sure. If you don’t know what preppers are, you’re in the same ignorant state I was in until a few hours ago. Preppers … Continue reading

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Our national day of prayer

Today, May 1, is the date pronounced by the Congress for Americans to pray for the nation. Prayer has long and widely been rumored to produce results, but has never been demonstrated to do so. True, prayer can surely be … Continue reading

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Political correctness

In a conversation a few months ago I was accused of espousing a particular view because it was “politically correct.” I was briefly offended, since the comment implied that I reached my opinion based on something other than my own … Continue reading

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Perverting the meaning of freedom of religion

We Americans have long prided ourselves on our civic birthright of individual freedom. Although our history has not consistently honored that ideal, a mixture of empty rhetoric and genuine intentions continues to profess it. Varying public sentiments, court decisions, and … Continue reading

Posted in Liberty, Politics | Leave a comment

Concentration deficiency

You may have noticed that I’ve not written a new post for a few weeks. It’s likely I’ll not do so for another few weeks. Preparing material that finds its way into this blog requires not only time, but the … Continue reading

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Biblical opacity—a Christian dilemma

Christians are confronted by what appears to me to be an unsolvable dilemma. Their holy book, even if you ignore its overwhelming translation problems, is open to so many interpretations as to bewilder. That is distressing inasmuch as most Christians … Continue reading

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Costly comfort

One of the more beautiful claims made for religion is that it offers comfort in the face of misfortune and death. Of course, comfort in a world of pain, disappointment, and loss has immense intrinsic value. While the basis for … Continue reading

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Family love

Due to the virtually simultaneous deaths of brothers-in-law last week, I’ve just spent three days with fifty or so extended family, not one of whom is an atheist or, at least, an “out” one. Largely, my family’s denominational identity is … Continue reading

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Is secular humanism a religion?

It is not uncommon for people to use atheism and secular humanism interchangeably. Both are vociferously condemned by the faithful; it is not clear that they know the difference. Atheism has little philosophical content. We humans come into the world … Continue reading

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Is atheism itself a religion?

For centuries atheism has been considered the lack of religion. Modern religion apologists, however, have turned logic on its ear and declared that atheism is itself a religion: the religion of rejecting religion! (There may be ancient roots of this … Continue reading

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There must be “something out there”

Life consists of profundities, occasional great wisdom, and enough trite, boneheaded statements to make one give up on language. For whatever reason the universe frequently sprinkles weird thoughts on our otherwise reliable brains, the hackneyed phrase that came to mind … Continue reading

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An atheist with religious loved ones

My rejection of Christianity began when I was 19 or 20 while posted to an Air Force base in Germany. To my knowledge, my family-of-origin had never experienced one of their own abandoning the faith. Theirs, I should note, was … Continue reading

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Should science class include religion?

A reader recently asked why Neil deGrasse Tyson said in a video interview that religion should not be allowed in the science classroom. I’ve had the pleasure of meeting and hearing this charming and humorous astrophysicist, but of course I’ve … Continue reading

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Are atheists offended by religion?

I can’t speak for atheists. I can only speak for myself. This atheist isn’t normally offended about anything. Fact is, this world holds an abundance of awesome experiences and affectionate relationships. Being mad much of the time would be very, … Continue reading

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The epistemic fog of politics (#1)

I am in constant distress about politics no matter who is winning, who is being exposed, and even who has policies that delight me. Political discourse in the United States has deteriorated to a point I’ve never seen. Before my … Continue reading

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Morality is too important to be left to religion

What is the most important attribute of human societies? Among the important are inquisitiveness, sense of beauty, technical cleverness, and affectionate bonding. I am musing about that this rainy morning in Atlanta; maybe that’s what rainy days are for. My … Continue reading

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What’s God have to do with religion?

Whether there’s a god is normally fought out between religious people and irreligious people, as if god=religion and no god=non-religion. I make the case that if there is a god (or even God), nothing even then would point us toward … Continue reading

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Merry Krismas!

I like Christmas. My wife and I normally have a tree and exchange gifts. When our granddaughters were young—and geography and travel permitted—Christmas in alternate years we gathered with my daughters, their husbands, and their kids, with the usual overeating … Continue reading

Posted in Atheism and other freethought, History | Leave a comment

God-given rights?

When I was a child growing up in America’s south, I could be forgiven for misspelling “damn Yankee” as one word; after all, that’s the sound that conveyed our intent, damnyankee. “God-given rights” also long ago acquired that single word … Continue reading

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Making atheism useless

I have been an atheist for over a half century. During most of that time I have wished the term weren’t needed. Believe me, I can find something else to do. (Actually I do anyway. I am lucky to have … Continue reading

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Thanksgiving: Whom does an atheist thank?

OK, fair question. When Christians thank God or pray thanks “in Jesus’s name,” what are the atheists in their midst doing? Well, let me settle one thing right at the outset: atheists are as thankful and appreciative of good fortune … Continue reading

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Atheists in public office

The framers of the Constitution that officially created—and as amended still governs—the United States of America were sensitive to the detrimental effects of government entangled with religion. The Constitution is not anti-religion by any means, but it is neutral about … Continue reading

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