P.O. Box 6675 • Lakeland, FL 33807 Humanist http://hawcf.org CommonSense email@example.com April 2010 A NEWSLETTER OF THE HUMANIST ASSOCIATION OF WEST CENTRAL FLORIDA Volume No. 13, Issue 4 A CHAPTER OF THE AMERICAN HUMANIST ASSOCIATION (AHA) AND AN AFFILIATE OF THE COUNCIL FOR SECULAR HUMANISM (CSH) America, Religion and Dubious Alternatives The Problem of Theodicy Science—What More By James W. Williamson, M.D. [Dr. Williamson, a member of our chapter By Robert P. Tucker, Ph.D. [Dr. Tucker, a founding member of our Could you Ask For? and longtime Humanist advocate, is chapter, received his Ph.D. in Theology A Special Treat—Join us on a retired cardiologist and currently lives from the University of Chicago. He was in Orlando. Editor of a magazine for physi- chair of the Dept. of Religion and Philoso- Saturday, April 17 at 11 am: We phy, Yankton College, Yankton, SD, and cians, CENTRAL FLORIDA PHYSICIAN, he has con- have a New Time and Place tributed articles to various freethought pub- former professor of Philosophy and Bible (see map and directions on p. 2) lications and regularly submits letters to the at Florida Southern College, Lakeland.] WE HAVE A FOURFOLD TREAT FOR ORLANDO SENTINEL. He served on the boards PICK UP ANY NEWSPAPER in any of Humanists of Florida and Atheists of city on any day and read it. Somewhere APRIL: The coveted return of Dr. Florida. E-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org] Robert Tucker to our lectern, plus in the world there has been an earth- TWO lively discussion presentations, IN ALL AGES, the public has clamored quake, a volcanic eruption, a tidal plus the opportunity to meet new for magical cures, many of which are wave, a flood, a drought, a forest (or perhaps old) humanist friends now recognized in retrospect as irratio- fire, a tornado, a hurricane, a blizzard, from the Tampa Bay area, at this joint nal or even comical. Many people are an avalanche, or some other “natural HAWCF-CFI meeting. unaware, however, that even in this disaster” which has resulted in the First, A MERICA IS N OT A C HRIS - age of effective scientific medicine suffering and deaths of untold TIAN N ATION : Dr. they are embracing pseudo-scientific numbers of animals and people. Tucker will sur- therapy that in the future will be looked Turn on any radio and there you vey some of the back on in the same way. can hear about the latest case of history of the pop- Quackery became big business someone lying to someone else, of ular but mistak- after the Civil War fueled by the one person stealing from another, e n b e l i e f large scale manufacture of patent of this business defrauding its that the United medicines and their distribution in customers, of that corporation States was inten- frontier areas by “medicine men,” selling dangerous and defective tionally and legal- who traveled in horse-drawn wagons merchandise, of some country de- ly founded as a covered with ads for patent medi- valuing its money, of another nation Christian nation. He will survey some cines. This type of distribution discriminating against large segments recent and rather startling (and eventually developed into full-blown of its population. possibly unsettling) instances of medicine shows with acrobats, Watch television or scan the Inter- this false belief in action. elephants, and magic acts to entertain net for a while and you can see the W AYS OF K NOWING : S CIENCE VS . a gullible audience. swollen bellies of starving children, R ELIGION —in the second half, Dr. Many of the patent medicines’ claims were not encumbered by logic. Continued on p. 6 Tucker will offer a 14-point anal- ysis of the great differences be- CONTENTS: The King of Pain was good for bald- tween the epistemologies, goals and ness or deafness, or whatever the CALENDAR language of modern science and Continued on p. 4 April–June 2010 Continued on p. 2 CONTENTS April 12 ................. Humanist Dinner APRIL MEETING Dr. Tucker for HAWCF & CFI—April 17 ... 1 April 17 ......................... Humanist Meeting Dubious Alternatives ................................ 1 New Date and Location for this 11 am Saturday, April 17 The Problem of Theodicy ........................ 1 month—See Article on this very Seffner-Mango Library Atheists on Front Page in Lakeland ......... 2 special meeting on Page 1 above, Government and Prayer—Ever and Ever .. 3 plus Map on p. 2 410 N Kingsway Road May 10 .................. Humanist Dinner Erratum ................................................... 8 conveniently located just off I-4 May 18 ............................ Regular Meeting Book Review: Brief History of Death ......... 9 in Seffner (813.273.3652) ... What is Humanism ................................ 10 June 14 ................. Humanist Dinner see driving directions on page 2. Lakeland Humanist Dinners ................... 11 June 22 ........................... Regular Meeting Religious Fracas at of the Lakeland chapter of Athe- March 15, Wachs and Curry ists of Florida) and Rob Curry returned, accompanied by John Lakeland City Council (executive director of Atheists of Kieffer, president of Atheists of THERE IT WAS—RIGHT ON THE Florida) objected to the standard Florida. During this appearance, all FRONT PAGE of the Lakeland practice of opening prayers recited three speakers encountered hostil- Ledger : A THEIST G ROUP C HAL - by local clergypersons, stating that ity and argumentativeness from some LENGES L AKELAND C OMMISSION the practice amounts to “divisive commissioners, and the Mayor O V E R P R AY E R ! C a r y M c M u l l e n , (and) unfair” treatment for the non- appeared to be combative and the Ledger’s religious and dismissive, interrupting all three Religion Editor, for those hav- during their time for speaking. on March 12 re- ing nontradi- CBS News affiliate 10CONNECTS ported on a tional beliefs. interviewed EllenBeth Wachs and major story in the The Ledger John Kieffer for a story that ran city, to wit: “The r e p o r t e r on the 11 o’clock news: A THEISTS Lakeland City pointed out that B LAST L AKELAND C ITY C OMMIS - Commission is leaders from SION. View the video at http://wtsp.com/ being chal- Lakeland’s news/local/story.aspx?storyid=127598. lenged on its pol- Beautiful Lakeland—let’s keep its Jewish syn- As March ended, EllenBeth icy of beginning agogue, Tem- Wachs and Rob Curry just con- nature beautiful its meetings with ple Emanuel, cluded individual meetings re- prayer, part of an effort by are also exerting pressure on the city quested by Commissioner Justin a state atheist organization that is council … recently they urged the Troller and Mayor Fields, scheduled targeting the practice at other city county’s public boards to be for Monday, March 29, 2010. We’ll councils in the region. City leaders “completely nondenominational” follow up on further developments cannot recall being challenged on when opening their meetings with next month. the practice before, and say they prayer. Do you have an opinion about may be facing an on-going con- Read the full story online at http:// these events going on in Lake- troversy with the atheists, including www.theledger.com/article/201003 land? Should the humanists put the possibility of legal action.” 12/NEWS/3125036. forth an opinion on the matter? Let At the council meeting of March 1, Not covered by the Ledger was a us hear from you about your ideas 2010, EllenBeth Wachs (director follow-up story: Two weeks later, on of freethought life in Lakeland, Florida. April Meeting Dr. Tucker has served as a member 579 for Mango-Thonotosassa Roads, Continued from p. 1 of the Boards of Florida District UUA, Turn right, but move to the left lane traditional religion. and the UU in the Pines. He is a Turn left at the first traffic light, onto Robert P. Tucker received his Founding Board Member of Human- US-92 E/FL-600 E/E Hillsborough M.A. and Ph.D. degrees in Theology ist Association of West Central Florida. Ave for 1.5 mi from the University of Chicago, His wife, Roberta, is a professor Turn right at N Kingsway Rd for 0.4 mi Chicago, Illinois; his B.A. degree in of French Literature at the University Library will be on the right Religion and Philosophy, magna of South Florida in Tampa. Their From Lakeland: Take I-4 West ... cum laude, from Texas Christian daughter, Erin, is a lawyer in New Take exit 14 for McIntosh Rd University, Ft. Worth, Texas. He is York City. Turn left at McIntosh Rd for 0.5 mi a member of Phi Beta Kappa. Driving directions to the Seffner- Turn right at US-92 W/FL-600 W/W Dr. Tucker’s career combined Mango Library: Hillsborough Ave for 2.1 mi teaching and ministry. He taught From Tampa: Take I-4 East ... Turn left at N Kingsway Rd for 0.4 mi Religion, Philosophy, Ethics and Take the middle lane in exit 10—Route Library will be on the right Logic at Yankton College (Yank- ton, South Dakota) and at Florida Southern College (Lakeland, Florida). Exit 10 I-4 Exit 14 He has served congregations in Texas, Illinois, South Dakota, Nebraska, US HIGHWAY 92 Virginia and Florida. Rte 579—Mango Parsons Avenue From 1995–2008, Dr. Tucker served Kingsway Road McIntosh Road as the Minister of the Unitarian Road Universalist Congregation of Lake- land, Florida. Now retired, he is Minister Emeritus of the Congre- gation. Library Common Sense 2 April 2010 Does Government Foster Though called a “breakfast”, the Clinton and an array of religious National Prayer Breakfast is more— leaders and foreign dignitaries Prayer Discimination? it’s a series of events that take attended the February 4 breakfast. By Nan Owens place the entire week of the Obama called on the attendees to THIS ISSUE OF COMMON SENSE breakfast. Members of Congress hold step outside their comfort zone to seems to be rife with corrections to private meetings with American and bridge divisions and unite around the March 2010 issue ( see , the international individuals and groups common goals. errata on page 8). In my article to discuss issues of The National Day of Prayer is com- last month, I mixed up the interest—there are ing up next month on May 6. The 2010 National Prayer Breakfast with regional breakfasts, chairperson is Shirley Dobson, well the National Day of Prayer. The luncheons and dinners, known to religious and seculars National Prayer Breakfast, held in plus hospitality suites alike. And, yes—to volunteer at an Washington, D.C., each year on (e.g., a Florida suite, a event you must be a Bible-thumping the first Thursday of February, origi- Middle East suite, etc.) evangelical Christian. Not only is this nally was called the Presidential for people to meet and unconstitutional, it is meant to prosel- Prayer Breakfast. The National Day build relationships out- ytize. For more information, visit of Prayer is held on the first Thursday side the official sphere. www.nationaldayofprayer.org/. of every May. Outside of slightly differ- Last month I reported on a New The Freedom From Religion ing names, sponsors and dates, there York Times article stating that a Foundation has filed a federal is little difference between the Washington ethics group had asked lawsuit broadly challenging the two events. Both are sponsored by President Obama and Congressional federal law that designates a aggressive far-right organizations un- leaders to abstain from this year’s National Day of Prayer and requires constitutionally seeking to mix religion Breakfast because religious and a National Day of Prayer Proclama- into the highest reaches of our gay rights groups in protest had tion by the President. Public Law 100- American government and convert organized competing prayer events 307 sets the first Thursday in May America into a theocracy. in 17 cities. In general this “breakfast as “National Day of Prayer.” The The organizational information I “ has been much criticized by organi- Foundation is seeking a declar- referenced last month actually zations such as American Atheists ation that the law violates the Es- referred to the National Day of Prayer. and the Freedom From Religion tablishment Clause of the First The National Prayer Breakfast is Foundation, who describe it as violat- Amendmentto the U.S. Constitution, organized on behalf of the members ing separation of church and state. alleging that a Focus on the of the United States Congress by But Obama chose to attend the Family Task Force, chaired by Shirley The Fellowship Foundation, a con- prayer breakfast, which has been Dobson, is “working hand-in-glove” servative Christian organization more held in Washington for more than half with the government in organizing widely known as “The Family.” In a century and attended by every the National Day of Prayer. keeping with the Family’s use of president since Dwight D. Eisen- Tell us what is going on in secretive influence, neither the hower. Accordingly, Vice President your city next month as we fol- Family nor the National Prayer Biden, congressional leaders, Sec- low up on this travesty of religious Breakfast has a web site. retary of State Hillary Rodham coercion. Despite objections from Democrats More Government and and civil liberties groups who called the tionalizing religious speech. Rep. Kelli Stargel, R-Lakeland, ar- Religion Mischief effort “patently unconstitutional,” the gued the proposed law does not pro- Once again, the battle over school House PreK-12 Education Committee mote religious indoctrination. “If I don’t prayer has come to the Florida Legis- approved the prayer bill (HB11) on a agree with a prayer that someone is lature—with predictable results. The largely party line, 10-3 vote. saying, I sit there and think of some- House PreK-12 Policy Committee Rep. Greg Evers, R-Baker, a thing different. You are not forced to approved a measure last month co-sponsor of the legislation, said: believe something just because you that would allow public school “This is not necessarily a prayer bill. heard it.” students to initiate and lead prayers at This is a rights bill.” Religious speech and public school functions such as football Courtenay Strickland, a lobbyist for schools are a polemic combination games and the senior prom, and would the Florida American Civil Liberties that has long drawn legal debate. In allow teachers to pray with the stu- Union countered: “This is not about pro- Florida, lawmakers regularly introduce dents. tecting free speech. It is about tram- school prayer bills with little success. The bill prohibits teachers, adminis- pling on the free exercise of religion.” Rep. Dwight Bullard, D-Miami, said trators and school boards from “dis- Others complain that the bill creates the proposed law could create new dis- couraging or inhibiting the delivery of the potential for minority students to ciplinary problems if students use it to an inspirational message,” which be marginalized, arguing that govern- promote hateful or discriminatory includes a “prayer or invocation.” ment has no business institu- speech. Common Sense 3 April 2010 Dubious Alternatives that “alternative medicine” would be a including sudden death. Continued from p. 1 rational substitute. 4) Adverse interactions with patient had. Colder’s Liquid Beef Tonic David Eisenberg, director of the prescribed medications. Only Harvard Medical School’s division about one third of patients tell was sold as a cure for alcoholism, even for research and education in comple- their physicians about alterna- though it contained over 26% alcohol. tive products. Simmons Liver Regulator was a mentary and integrative medical 5) Using alternative therapy in remedy for everything, including “dis- therapies stated that, “I think the place of proven medical treat- gust for food and prostration of the news is complementary and alternative ments. This action can have system.” One of the best patent medi- medicine use by the U.S. public is serious or fatal results. cine sellers of the nineteenth century here to stay.” He may be right, but The government has played a large was Dr. Miles Compound Extract of many in the medical field are disturbed part in making CAM mainstream, and Tomato, guaranteed to reach a by the trend, since most CAM therapy much of the government promotion has person’s “weak” spot. Today it is has not been evaluated by well- been by one individual, Democratic known as ketchup. designed investigations, and those Senator Tom Harkin of Iowa. In 1992 Rather than being an amusing and that have been evaluated are over- he was a powerful member of the interesting relic of history, the whelmingly found to be ineffective. appropriations subcommittee in charge “medicine man” still operates in our Wallace Sampson, founding editor of of the National Institute of Health midst. He is spiffed up and hardly the Scientific Review of Alternative (NIH) and slipped a line in the report recognizable any longer. He operates Medicine, summed up the situation accompanying the appropriations out of attractive shops, offices, succinctly: “They are either un- bill that created the NIH Office of hospitals, and medical education proven or disproved. Acupuncture is a Alternative Medicine (OAM) with one facilities. What he dispenses is backed placebo. Homeopathy is one step million dollars in seed money. up with impressive pseudo-scientific above fraud. It goes on and on. The In 1999 President Clinton signed into jargon and poorly designed studies. fact that they are so widely used is law an appropriations bill that changed He spreads his message widely to evidence for how gullible large the name of the Office of Alternative a eager public with advertising dis- segments of our society are.” He Medicine to the National Center pensed by the best public relations has also stated: “Most alternative for Complementary and Alternative firms. The harsh designation of “quack” medicine is quackery by another name.” Medicine (NCCAM). The budget was is hardly ever associated with him. The most frequently used form of pumped up to 50 million dollars a He is now practicing “complementary CAM is the intake of dietary and year, which enabled the organization and alternative medicine” (CAM). herbal products. Currently, the only to establish a national center at In our culture, “alternative medicine” legal requirement for these products Bastyr University, a naturopathic col- is any healing practice that is used is that they cannot be promoted as lege outside of Seattle. in place of conventional medicine. It preventing or treating disease, and Harkin is a great believer in alterna- includes measures that lack scientific the Federal Drug Administration can tive therapies. His conviction in these proof or that have already been intervene only when a product is modalities was cemented when he disproved, such as naturopathy, shown to be harmful. The reality is that concluded that his hay fever had been chiropractic, herbalism, traditional these products often are promoted for cured by bee pollen. There is no Chinese medicine, Unani, Ayurveda, the prevention and treatment of dis- evidence in the scientific literature that yoga, biofeedback, hypnosis, hom- ease, in spite of the legal requirements. bee pollen can cure anything, and it eopathy, acupuncture, and others. In addition to a gross misdirection can cause life-threatening allergic “Complementary medicine” refers to of our precious healthcare dollars reactions. And the Federal Trade the same measures used in addition toward largely placebo therapy, there Commission fined Harkin’s bee pollen to conventional medicine. Note care- are other problems with dietary and distributor 200,000 dollars for false fully that for the rest of this article herbal products: claims. the unwieldy phrase “complementary 1) Lack of standardization. When His main motive in establishing and alternative medicine” will be the few herbs that have active the Office of Alternative Medicine abbreviated as CAM. ingredients are assayed, the appears to have been to promote amount is often lower or higher More than one-third of adults and the use by the public of alternative than stated on the label. nearly 12% of children use CAM, therapies, and little scientific in- 2) Contaminants. Sometimes the according to a large federal survey remedies contain pesticides, vestigation was done. Harkin crit- released in 2008. Overall, the use of heavy metals, carcinogens, icized the “unbendable rules of CAM appears to have stabilized and bovine products (remote risk randomized clinical trials” and, citing compared to a study done five years of “mad cow disease”). his use of bee pollen, to treat his earlier. 3) Occasional serious or even allergies, stated: “It is not necessary The problem with the designation fatal side-effects. Ephedra prod- for the scientific community to “alternative medicine” is that “alter- ucts have been the most dan- understand the process before the native” suggests an equal status with gerous since they have pro- American public can benefit from conventional medicine and implies duced adverse cardiac reactions, Continued on p. 5 Common Sense 4 April 2010 Dubious Alternatives good studies that it has done could and is lacking at present; Continued from p. 4 just as easily been done by other Second, increase science edu- these therapies.” Harkin’s office re- departments of the National Institute cation and scientific (critical) portedly pressured the OAM to of Health with more scientific vigor thinking in schools. These fund studies of specific “pet the- and better public communication. measures over time would prob- Despite its negative findings, ably be the most effective; ories,”including bee pollen and NCCAM has continued to promote Third, scientists themselves antineoplastons. must be actively involved in When the OAM became the the proliferation of CAM by offering educating members of the gen- NCCAM, one of the main goals was grants to money-starved medical eral public about science and to evaluate alternative therapies with education facilities. 60% of standard scientific thinking. rigorous scientific studies . After ten medical schools, 95% of osteopathic Fourth, the general public should years of evaluating many herbal and medical schools, and 85% of nursing screen candidates for Congress other alternative health remedies and schools teach some form of CAM. as to their scientific knowledge spending 2.5 billion dollars, the sad With a few exceptions, it is not taught and their ability to use scientific fact is that not a single one has as an objective scientific appraisal thinking. been found effective. Popular but from an advocacy viewpoint. Sometimes I slip into a funk worry- herbal remedies such as St. John’s The significance of this spread of ing about why some of my fellow wort, echinacea, saw palmetto, and CAM to medical education facilities is human beings aren’t more rational. Per- ginkgo biloba were no more effective appraised clearly by Dr. Wallace haps a heavy dose of Dr. Miles Com- than a placebo. Sampson, the CAM expert who was pound Extract of Tomato (ketchup) Despite these definitive sci- mentioned earlier: “Teaching about will reach my “weak spot” and lift entific studies, NCCAM has never alternative medicine implies accep- my spirits. stated that these measures were tance of it and potentially creates more ineffective. Dr. Stephen Barrett, a re- gullibility and less critical, objective Book Review: A Brief tired physician who runs Quackwatch, thinking. This will be felt in many a web site on medical scams, states: indirect ways, including judgment er- History of Death Continued from p. 9 “There’s been a deliberate policy of rors, misguiding people with severe never saying something doesn’t diseases, and tax standards and laws.” the secularization of attitudes about work. It’s as though you can only Instead of the “medicine man” of death reflect the secularization of speak in one direction and say a the nineteenth being relegated to society and relationships in society different version or dose might give his proper place as a historical relic, generally. different results.” And even if negative he still walks proudly among us en- In the past, the body was kept findings do reach practitioners of joying great respect and adulation, whole in expectation of a physical CAM and its enthusiasts in the public, sometimes even in the halls of our resurrection; it took a lot of time and there often is no effect on behavior most prestigious medical educa- cultural changes before cremation since such conclusions are based on tional institutions. Steven P. Novella, became an accepted practice. In faith rather than evidence. Assistant Professor of Neurology, the past, funerals were highly reli- The biggest waste of taxpayer Yale University School of Medicine gious and focused on the loved-one money by NCCAM is repeating tests is certainly right when he states we joining family in heaven; today, even on measures that have already been are in “the golden age of quackery priests have shifted the focus of disproved by good scientific studies and anti-science.” many funeral orations to the person’s and studying measures that have no What can be done to counteract life and accomplishments. Burial near scientific rationale for working. this embrace of quackery and anti- a church used to be standard practice; An example of repeating studies science by many in the general today it’s increasingly common for on measures that are already dis- public? I am under no illusions that ashes to be scattered around some proved is a study on chelation ther- any measures will eliminate quack- site with special personal significance. apy underway on 2,300 patients, even ery and anti-science entirely, but Bottom Line though smaller controlled trials certain ones over time can be helpful. This history of beliefs and practices have been negative (and a sci- My suggestions are these: surrounding death, dying, and grieving entific rationale is lacking and deaths First, eliminate NCCAM and is too complex for one book, but have occurred). Examples of funding do any research with a reason- Douglas Davies’ A Brief History of studies that violate the basic tenets able chance of a positive result Death is a great introduction. Davies under already established units touches on so many different reli- of science are these: therapeutic touch of the National Institute of gious, artistic, philosophical, and for wrist fractures in postmenopausal Health. For political reasons women; use of Reiki for patients with secular matters that you’ll probably this will be difficult since true be- advanced AIDS; distance healing lievers in CAM in congress want to read more. Given the impor- in wound healing. strongly support the organization. tance of these beliefs and practices, Clearly, by any objective standard, Strong public pressure to it’s certainly a subject worth learning NCCAM has been a failure. Any accomplish this will be needed more about. Common Sense 5 April 2010 The Problem of Theodicy lem there is for any monotheistic angel wagers that the loss of his Continued from p.7 religion. It is the one fatal disease health, prosperity and family will the shattered cars and wrecked lives that theologians must cure if they reveal Job’s lack of faith. Yahweh which come from drunken driving, the are to prevent the “death” of their “god.” permits the angel to “test” Job. Hurt battered faces of spouse abuse, Theologians most often express and angry at the suffering he en- the broken buildings and bloodied the problem of theodicy as this dures, Job bewails his predicament. corpses of terrorism and war. question: “How can there be evil “Friends” come to comfort him, but Evil! That’s what these things are. when [their particular] god is good then they tell him he is at fault, that I don’t mean some supernatural, and omnipotent?” his sins are the cause of his suf- metaphysical, mythological mumbo- Theodicy is not a problem for fering. Job denies this and turns jumbo! I mean plain old ordinary, atheists, of course, since the exist- directly to his god to protest his everyday down-to-earth evil: bad ence of evil can be easily explained situation and to plead his innocence. things happening to good people and as the inevitable consequence of Yahweh eventually responds, where- animals! such natural processes as wind and upon Job repents (!), has his good That’s what evil is, and it’s every- water, fire and air; and as the result life restored, and lives happily ever. where! of the biological requirements evol- [1:589f] No one is immune, not even ution has instilled in all living crea- While it may seem simple, the people who believe they ought to be. tures, and by the selfishness, igno- book of Job is really quite complex. One day newspapers carried this rance and stupidity of all human More than that: it marks a pivotal story with the headline, “Roof Col- beings. Nature, unlike divinity, is not turning point in Hebrew religion. lapse Kills 30 People in Church” : expected to be good, and so the Job is complex, first of all, be- “A church roof collapsed over a presence of evil does not constitute cause it is a mythological folktale packed congregation early Saturday, any self-contradiction in the natur- and not an historical chronicle. killing at least 30 people and injuring al scheme of things. Nothing in the story can be taken 538... Theodicy is also not a problem in literally, for every element is a symbol “About 1,300 people were at the polytheistic religions where some of of something else. [1:588-601] church in Osasco [Brazil] when the roof the gods are good, some of the gods Job is complex, secondly, be- came crashing down... are evil, but none of the gods is in cause it has had numerous authors “We were praying and had our charge of the universe! They may and editors with differing points of eyes closed. When we opened meddle in earthly affairs, but ulti- view. Originally the story circulated them, the building was falling,’” mately it is Fate which determines in non-Hebrew lands [1:590] as an Maria Aparecida Costa, said... what happens: not only to men and oral folktale in the second millennium, “I fainted, and when I woke up, women, but to the gods and god- B.C.E. Then it was written down in I was buried.” desses themselves! Because they a Hebrew version around the time Firefighters were not certain why of King David. [3:613] It was not are impotent prisoners upon the Great the roof collapsed, but they Wheel of Becoming polytheistic until some 500 years later that it said the building was more than 40 years old. The roof was sup- deities can co-exist with evil, there came to be re-written in the version ported by heavy wooden beams being no contradiction between evil we have. that may have rotted... and their divine natures, and thus no Yet a third complexity arises from In a building large enough to seat problem of theodicy. the fact that the version of Job we 1,300 people, the ceilings would have The matter is altogether different have is the unification of two sep- been quite high. It would have taken a in any monotheistic religion , how- arate editions. One was written as long moment for the roof to reach the ever. The book of Job offers a perfect prose and appears as the prologue floor. In that time, some of the people example. and epilogue of our book. The other might have heard something—a snap, Most of us know Job fairly well. It was poetic, and it constitutes the a ripping, a tearing—and some might has been called “the greatest bulk of our book of Job. The complex- have looked up and seen the ceiling monument of wisdom literature in ity here lies in there being different coming down towards them. Imagine the Old Testament.”[1:588] Martin gods and different Jobs in each their utter astonishment at such a Luther said that it is “magnificent edition! The Job of the prose portion thing! What safer refuge could there and sublime as no other book of is patient and willingly suffers the be than the house of one’s god?! scripture.”[1:588f] Tennyson called it slings and arrows of his outrageous What safer activity could one be “the greatest poem of... [all] times,” fortune. The Job of the poetic section doing than praying?! How could such [1:589] is boiling mad at his god, and vigor- evil happen if one’s god were good At first glance, the story of Job ously protests what has happened to and omnipotent?! seems pretty simple. During a meeting him. [1:589] That is the question, and it has a of the Heavenly Council, one angel Most readers don’t notice these name: “theodicy” (from Leibniz; theos/ doubts the faithfulness of human two different Jobs. As one scholar god, dike/justice). [1:601] beings. When Yahweh cites Job as has written, “This ignorance is Theodicy is the greatest prob- an example of a righteous man, the Continued on p. 7 Common Sense 6 April 2010 The Problem of Theodicy question of theodicy for the first time estimated. But, alas! With that shot, Continued from p. 6 among the people who were now all of his ammunition was spent: the clearest among those who refer to called “Jews,” and the first to do so author of Job was not capable of the ‘proverbial patience’ of Job” and was the book of Job. answering his own question! treat him as a model of piety. That Like the pre-exilic Hebrews, Job That is why when Yahweh finally portrait only applies to the prose knew he was a good and righteous speaks “one wonders if he has beginning and ending of the book, man. He also knew he was suf- even heard Job.” [1:599] As Jewish and not to the much larger poetic sec- fering. The author of our version of Job theologian, Martin Buber wrote: tion. [1:589] used his friends as a literary device “What God says does not answer A fourth complexity exists be- to symbolize the old, conservative, the charge; it does not even touch cause later editors have heavily orthodox—and false—theology of upon it.” [ Ibid .] Instead, Yahweh modified the text to tone down its divine retribution. [1:595] They belittles Job and tells him that as a heresy and make it seem more claimed Job’s suffering was due to his finite creature he is too stupid to orthodox.[1:591] This element is sins, but Job knew better! He aban- understand the workings of an infinite directly related to Job’s also being doned their “windy words” [1:597] deity. Then Yahweh rebukes Job for a pivotal turning point in the history and sought out his god, only to find being so audacious as to ask ques- of the Hebrew religion. that Yahweh had gone into hiding! tions in the first place. [1:600] The radical change which occurs “Oh, that I knew where I might find The book ends with Job com- in Hebrew theology becomes vis- him... Behold, I go forward, but he pletely capitulating. He “repents” at ible when one understands that the is not there; and backward, but being angry over his unjust treatment. background which Job is repudiating I cannot perceive him; on the left He ceases to question why his god is the ancient “doctrine of divine hand I seek him, but I cannot be- has abused him. For such “acts of retribution.”[1:595f.] From the exo- hold him; I turn to the right hand, but faith,” he is “rewarded” and lives dus until the Babylonian Exile, the I cannot see Him.” [Job 23:3, 8-9] happily ever after. Hebrews believed that their god, It was bad enough that Job had The book of Job succeeds bril- Yahweh, was an omnipotent deity, fallen into the pit of the theodicy liantly in showing that the old, the creator and sustainer of the problem, but now there fell in on top conservative, orthodox Hebrew doc- universe, a good and just god who of him another theological disas- trine of divine retribution is false: no balanced the scales of justice in this ter whose formal name is “deus deity balances the scales of justice life (which was essential since pre- absconditus,” the Vanished God! in this life. Anyone with eyes can exilic Hebrews had no belief in life In every religion an experience see that good people suffer, evil after death). Such divine retribution all too common is that when the people prosper, the rich get richer and appears in every pre-exilic biblical going gets tough, sometimes the the poor get poorer! writing (especially Deuteronomy deity gets going...and disappears! Theologians admit that “the book and Proverbs). [1:581f, 595] That long Even Jesus on the Cross understood of Job does not end with a resolution period of naive and unsophisticated that: “My God, my God,” he cried to the problem of suffering.... The theology eventually came to an out “why hast thou forsaken me?” mystery of suffering is left ra- end, however, when finally, one cat- (Matthew 27:46) tionally unanswered, as it is fin- astrophic event, changed everything. Job eventually got his audience ally unanswered in the Bible as a That event was the Babylonian Exile. with Yahweh. He addressed theodicy whole.”[1:600-1] In 597 B.C.E. Babylonia conquered head on. “The flaw, he cried, is not That word, “mystery,” is the the- Judah and began deporting the in himself but in God, who is respon- ologians’ way “out” of the problem Hebrews into exile. Ten years later, sible for his misery. Instead of car- of theodicy. When asked, “Why is Jerusalem fell and its Temple was ing for a mortal creature, God is like there suffering?” Maimonides and destroyed. In the minds of the a capricious tyrant (Job 9:18-19), a Buber, Augustine and Aquinas, Hebrew faithful, evil pagan heathens savage beast (Job 16:7, 9), a treach- Luther and Calvin all reply: “It’s a had caused the suffering and deaths erous assailant (Job 16:12-14).” divine mystery!” of the righteous, and all the [1:596f.] Job “set himself up as We are creatures, they say, while, Yahweh had apparently stood the judge of God.... Like Prome- infected with Original Sin, bereft of by doing nothing! It simply was theus, Job is a titanic figure who the supernatural grace that once no longer possible to pretend that doubts, rebels, and shouts defiance guided our reason, left with only Yahweh was the lord of history, at God.” [1:597] our fallen and fallible mentality, and for everyone could see that he The genius of the book of Job so there are many things we was not rewarding the good and lies in the fact that, at long last, a cannot know, should not know, will punishing the evil! After the Exile, Hebrew writer has become theologi- not know. Such “divine mysteries” there began to appear a new kind cally sophisticated enough to ask are beyond human understanding. of Wisdom Literature, such books the question of theodicy! It took That’s what the theologians say. as Job and Ecclesiastes. These over 1,000 years for that to happen, Philosophers, however, say some- documents began to raise the and its profundity cannot be under- Continued on p. 8 Common Sense 7 April 2010 The Problem of Theodicy theodicy. They ask, “How can a good the question of theodicy is no more Continued from p.7 and omnipotent god exist, when there serious than asking “What size thing else! is evil? shoe does Santa Claus wear?” Three hundred years before the Unless we are willing to sacrifice But, if there is a god, then birth of Jesus, the Greek phil- our intellects and believe in Original theodicy remains the ultimate osopher Epicurus summarized the Sin and divine mystery, we are left and fatal challenge to any belief problem of theodicy in these words: with only three options: that such a deity is both good The gods can either take 1. We might conclude that a and omnipotent. away evil from the world and god does not exist, that theism Sources will not, or being willing to do is mythology, and that so-called  Anderson, Bernhard W. Understanding the so cannot; or they neither can “experiences of God” are merely Old Testament, 4th Ed. Englewood Cliffs, nor will, or lastly, they are both the epiphenomena of brain New Jersey: Prentice-Hall, 1986. able and willing. If they have chemistry as psychologist Michael  Buehrens, John A. and F. Forrester Persinger’s research suggests . Church. Our Chosen Faith. Boston: Bea- the will to remove evil and con Press, 1989. cannot, then they are not Such atheism clearly avoids  Oxford Annotated Bible, Revised omnipotent. If they can, but will the problem of theodicy. Standard Version. H. G. May and not, then they are not bene- 2. We might conclude that a B. M. Metzger, Eds. New York: Oxford Uni- volent. If they are neither able god exists and is omnipotent versity Press, 1962. nor willing, then they are and could destroy evil but  Persinger, Michael. Neuropsych- neither omnipotent nor benevolent. does not because s/he is not ological Bases of God Beliefs. New York: Lastly, if they are both able good. No one likes this ap- Praeger, 1987.  “Roof Collapse Kills 30 People in Church.” and willing to annihilate evil, proach because, “if god is not The [Lakeland, Florida] Ledger. 6 Septem- [then] how does it exist? [300 good, then god is not god.” An evil ber 1998. A6. B.C.E.; 6:298] god is a demon whom no self-  Woods, Ralph L. The World Treas- Two thousand years later, the Brit- respecting person would worship! ury of Religious Quotations. New ish empirical philosopher, David This option is useless. York: Garland Books, 1966. Hume surveyed the history of the- 3. We might conclude that a ology and concluded: “Epicurus’ old god exists and is good and would destroy evil if s/he could, A Correction from Dr. Tucker: questions are still unanswered.” [1779; but s/he cannot because s/he Our fellow Humanist, the much ibid.] is not omnipotent. This is the op- respected and beloved, Dr. David Philosophers recognize there are tion which most nonfunda- Reifsnyder, M.D., sent me a private “pseudo-statements” and “pseudo- mentalist theists take and this email that I was historically inaccurate questions.” That is, there are sen- is why they tend to accept about penicillin in my March 2010 tences which appear to make asser- the “Process Theology” which comes out of the metaphysics article on Immanuel Kant. I had tions or inquiries, but which turn out of Alfred North Whitehead paraphrased incorrect information to be inherently meaningless gib- and Charles Hartshorne. [2:177ff.] from Lawrence M. Hinman’s Ethics berish because the combination Belief in a benevolent but less textbook. David cites the Journal of of words used in them constitutes than omnipotentdeity is compat- the American Medical Associ- logically impossible self-contradic- ible with recognition that evil ation, 126:63-64, September 9, 1944. tions called oxymorons. exists and arises from the Below is the rewritten paragraph An example of a pseudo-statement interplay of natural forces and from (the number 8 source being David’s is this sentence: “An omnipotent god human freedom. But is such a words in his email; 4 being Hinman): ought to be able to create a rock so weakened deity really attractive? In the 1930s, the U.S. Government heavy he could not lift it.” That, of A good, omnipotent creator could began a project to determine the course, is absurd, for if an omnipotent have invented a universe in which or- long-term effects of syphilis on god were unable to lift that rock, ganisms lived by eating dirt and drink- men. At that time “mercury and he would no longer be omnipotent! ing salt water. But that is not the world arsenicals were used to treat syphil- The same problem occurs in the we have; and for living things to go is and had a high side effect inci- pseudo-question of theodicy: “How on living in this world, they must kill dence.” Also, “up to at least 25% can there be evil, if God is good and and eat one another, which is surely evil. of individuals with syphilis spon- omnipotent?” There can’t be! The Similarly, humans could be total- taneously cure themselves.” All this made a long-term study diffi- existence of evil and the existence of ly controlled by some deity, like cult since most patients were being a good, omnipotent deity are mutual puppets on a string, and then they treated and quickly cured. So, it exclusive, self-contradictory things. could be forced to do only good was decided that a group of black There can be one or the other, but deeds. But in such a world men would be used as human lab not both. humans would have no free will. rats. These men had already been Given the fact that evil exists Freedom is only possible where diagnosed as having syphilis, but undeniably, whereas the existence there is evil. Not even omnipotence they had not yet been told that of deity is merely a belief, philosophers can change that. they had the disease. They never invert the traditional question of If theology is only mythology, then Continued on p. 11 Common Sense 8 April 2010 how religions have tried to explain Hope underlies the human drive for BOOK REVIEW and deal with death, but also how death is handled from philosophical, meaning; it fuels the processes pro- ducing the sense of transcendence in political, and even artistic perspectives. life. The human being, self-conscious Davies begins his exploration with and aware of living in an uncertain the Epic of Gilgamesh, the oldest world of risk and potential danger, A Brief History of Death known work of literature—yet as old has found it possible to face daily by Douglas Davies as it is, it still has the ability to life and hardship because of this atti- By Austin Cline as posted on his blog, speak to us directly because it tude of possibility and a sense that About.com. Reprinted with permission. addresses enduring human concerns: difficulty may be overcome. Editor’s comment: I have not read love and loss, death and grief, and Primary examples of this are of this book myself, but I found the immortality. It’s no coincidence that course religious myths about human book’s subject and Austin Cline’s this ancient text also deals directly origins and destiny, but these review intriguing. Would appreciate with such issues. aspects of human nature also any feedback on either this topic or Self-Reflection & Hope combine in secular ways, compelling the book itself. With the first week- Davies’ basic thesis is that despite us to learn more about humanity end in April “celebrating” the sup- and to seek ways to extend human all the variations in how humans posed gruesome death of a savior, have thought about or approached reach, human knowledge, and even it seemed that something more re- alistic and possibly helpful was in death, they have all been driven to human life spans. order for our readers. one degree or another by two basic Transcending Life & Death features of human nature. First, Central in all this is the concept of The book: A Brief History of Death we are a self-reflective species. No transcendence: belief or hope in the by Douglas Davies. Publisher: other animal seems to do what we ability to transcend death and thus Wiley-Blackwell. ISBN: 1405101830 do: ponder who or what exactly we transcend human life itself. Belief Summary are, why we are here, what we in souls and an afterlife is one PRO : should do with our time here, where obvious form, but even art, literature, • Compares and contrasts a wide we are going, etc.: and music can have this effect by variety of cultural beliefs & The history of death is a history of causing a person to feel transported practices self-reflection. Who are we? Whence outside and beyond their bodies • Even includes modern secular do we come, and whither go after and daily existence. developments in treatment of death? If there is an afterlife, what is Many rituals, religious or secular, death it like and how might we prepare for it? create the sense that one transcends • Covers religious, scientific, anthropological, philosophical, Second, our species is one the limited self by merging with a even artistic issues “condemned” to hope: in the absence larger human community, past CON: of proof, we hope for a future be- and present. There is even a kind • More on secular developments yond death, we have hope that of secularized after-life: cryogeni- might have been nice compels us to strive for higher and cally freezing the dead in the hope • Religious discussions rely too greater achievements, we have hope of future resurrection once medical heavily on western Christianity that encourages us to keep learning science progresses enough. Less DESCRIPTION: more and seek proof for what’s literal forms include the desire to • History and analysis of how happening, etc. have one’s ashes spread in water or people have dealt with death There is an optimism in hope that beneath a tree in the hope of merging over the millennia fosters human endeavor in a • Traces cultural changes, espe- with the larger natural environment. committed search for solutions Secularization of Death cially in the West to problems even when they • Deals with beliefs about the af- may appear insoluble. Hope Most books about the history of terlife, grieving, burial, etc. makes it more likely that indi- death focus on religion of course, Reviewing the Book viduals or societies will overcome but Davies gives some attention to Douglas Davies, a professor in adverse situations to survive the secularization of attitudes and the Study of Religion in the Depart- today and be even more prepared beliefs about death, too. The shift ment of Theology and Religion at to face adversity in the future. from religious to secular views about the University of Durham, specializes There is survival value in hope. life and death can be seen most in anthropological and religious Hope & Faith vividly in the shifting attitudes questions about death, mortality, Although hope isn’t the same as towards handling the dead body. and grief. His book A Brief History of faith, it is closely related and this is one What we think of and how we treat Death is part of Blackwell’s Brief reason why hope combines with self- the body of a deceased loved-one Histories of Religion series and pro- reflection to create myths and stories says volumes about our relationship vides a handy introduction to a wide about who we are, why we are here, and not only with the person, but with life variety of issues around death, dying, where we are going: and death itself. This means that and burial. It doesn’t just address Continued on p. 5 Common Sense 9 April 2010 AHA Defines Humanism What do Humanists believe? Common Sense is the newsletter [As published in THE HUMANIST magazine, A a Humanists believe that life is a natu- for members and friends of the Huma- bi-monthly publication of the American Hu- rally occurring process in the universe, that nist Association of West Central Flori- manist Association (AHA), 1777 T Street NW, humans and human consciousness da (HAWCF). Its purpose is to report Washington, DC 20009.] evolved on earth in the same way as all information and opinions of interest “Humanism is a rational philosophy in- other life on the planet, and that humans to members. formed by science, inspired by art, and will share with all other life the same ulti- Its articles are the opinion of the motivated by compassion. Affirming the mate fate. respective authors only and not ne- dignity of each human being, it supports Humanists believe that the application cessarily of HAWCF, AHA or CSH. the maximization of individual liberty and of human reason and the scientific method Permission to reprint articles in opportunity consonant with social and are the best means for discovery of truth this newsletter is granted to all Hu- planetary responsibility. It advocates the about the universe and ourselves. Human- manist/Freethought groups pro- extension of participatory democracy ists reject the notion that the application vided proper acknowledgement is and the expansion of the open soci- of intellect to all areas of human concern given. All others write for permission. ety, standing for human rights and social is in any sense vain or arrogant, and re- justice. quire that all claims to truth be supported Editor: Nan Owens Free of supernaturalism, it recognizes by credible, verifiable evidence. Associate Editor: Abigail Ann Martin human beings as a part of nature and Humanists believe humanity alone is responsible for its own destiny. All values— © April 2010 holds that values—be they religious, ethi- spiritual, ethical and social—have their All rights reserved cal, social, or political—have their source in human nature, experience, and culture. source in human experience, are prod- Humanist Assoc. of W Central FL Humanism thus derives the goals of ucts of evolving culture, and are subject to POB 6675 Lakeland FL 33807-6675 life from human need and interest rather human critique and amendment. Humanists believe in the common moral To contact Newsletter Editor: than from theological or ideological decencies, including altruism, integrity, 727.424.2558 abstractions, and asserts that humanity must take respon- honesty, tolerance, compassion, and equal email@example.com sibility for its own destiny.” justice for all. To contact HAWCF: Humanists believe in individual liberty firstname.lastname@example.org Definitions of and responsibility, freedom of conscience and speech, and in free inquiry. They Humanism support separation of church and state, What is HAWCF? [ From the website of Hu- and are opposed to censorship. The Humanist Association of West manist Network News— Humanists believe each person has Central Florida (HAWCF) is a chapter Ed.] but one life to lead, here and now on this of the American Humanist Association earth; each of us must make the most of it dedicated to the promotion in our area Humanism is: in terms of creative work and happiness, and by respect for and cooperation with of a rational worldview free from de- “...seeking, without religion, the best others we can make this a better world. pendence upon supernatural belief in, and for, human beings.” Chambers Pocket Dictionary systems. “...a doctrine, attitude, or way of life HAWCF ... Vision & centered on human interests or values; Mission Statements OFFICERS especially: a philosophy that usually OFFICERS The Following Vision and Mission President rejects supernaturalism and stresses Statements were approved by the mem- Portia Westerfield ...... 863.425.3968 an individual’s dignity and worth and bership on December 19, 2006: email@example.com capacity for self-realization through reason.” Merriam Webster Dictionary Vision: HAWCF membership to grow to Immediate Past President more than 100 active members by 2010. Ken Schmidt “...a non-religious philosophy, based Media sources in Lakeland are aware firstname.lastname@example.org on liberal human values.” Little Oxford Dictionary that HAWCF exists. Non-Humanists be- Vice President gin to see Humanism, science, and secu- Jim Kroll ..................... 863.683.9228 “...an appeal to reason in contrast to larism as an ethical, nonthreatening email@example.com revelation or religious authority as a alternative to sectarian supernaturalism. Secretary means of finding out about the natural HAWCF has a committee structure of Orrinna Speese world and destiny of man, and also giv- active members performing tasks related firstname.lastname@example.org ing a grounding for morality... Humanist to our mission. ethics is also distinguished by placing the Co-Treasurers end of moral action in the welfare of hu- Mission: Al and Jane Eskenazi manity rather than in fulfilling the will 1) Actively increase the public aware- email@example.com of God.” Oxford Companion to Philosophy ness of the Humanist, secular worldview Newsletter Editor as a rational alternative to views based “The rejection of religion in favor of the Nan Owens ................ 727.424.2558 upon supernaturalism. advancement of humanity by its own firstname.lastname@example.org 2) Act as an informational, educa- efforts.” Collins Concise Dictionary Board Members at Large tional and social resource for members “A system of thought that centers on and others on all matters related to Ron Maslyk ............ email@example.com humans and their values, capacities, Humanistic, Rationalistic and Free- Daniel Whitt and worth.” American Heritage Dictionary thought ideas. DanieltheWhitt@aol.com Common Sense 10 April 2010 Humanist Association of West Central Florida A chartered Chapter of the American Humanist Association and an Affiliate of the Council for Secular Humanism Make check payable to HAWCF and mail to: P.O. Box 6675 • Lakeland, FL 33807-6675 • 863-644-0560 MEMBERSHIP Newsletter Only Individual Member $15 $25 Sustaining Member $100 Bishop $500 New Renewal Family $35 Cardinal $1000 Patron $50 Endowment Date: Name: Address: City: State: Zip: Phone: e-mail: I am interested in helping on the following activities The Humanist Association of Membership Recruit, welcome and orient new members to HAWCF West Central Florida is a Civic Action Promote Humanism within community and government 501(c)(3) non-profit educational Activities Develop and facilitate social activities for the membership. organization. Contributions are Programs Arrange/facilitate interesting programs for HAWCF meetings tax deductible as provided by Hospitality Facilitate social, housekeeping and refreshment activities for HAWCF federal and state law. Education Develop/provide humanist educational & historical materials for HAWCF Newsletter Write for or edit HAWCF newsletter Publicity Publicize HAWCF and Humanist activities in the community Correction WHEN AND WHERE? HUMANIST DINNER!! Continued from p. 8 were told. Nor were they ever treated. THE HUMANIST ASSOCIATION OF JUST A REMINDER: we usually hold Instead, they were “observed” until WEST CENTRAL FLORIDA usually an informal Humanist dinner gathering they died. The project continued until meets on the 3RD Tuesday of every on the 2 ND MONDAY 1972! [4:229f.] What makes that month at 7 pm (except July & August) OF EVERY MONTH at date significant is that penicillin at the UNITARIAN UNIVERSALIST CON- 6:15 pm. (“first used on a patient in Febru- GREGATION OF LAKELAND (UUCL), 3140 ary 1941") was “shown to be effec- NOTE THAT WE tive for syphilis and then came into Troy Avenue, Lakeland. MEET AT: common usage in the mid to late However, for our April Mt. Fuji Sushi Bar & Steakhouse, 40s” As David Reifsnyder, M.D., has 2607 S Florida Avenue in Lakeland written, “The real travesty was when 2010 Meeting: penicillin became available in the (in the Southgate Shopping Center) Meeting date is Saturday, 1940s, the study wasn’t terminated.” between Pablo and Oak Streets. April 17 at 11 am. See Map below. A special thank you to careful The meeting place will be and helpful readers such as David PLEASE JOIN US...BRING YOUR FRIENDS! Reifsnyder.—Robert P. Tucker, Ph.D. the Seffner-Mango Library. This location is convenient to I-4, In Cyber Space: S Florida Avenue and is just about half-way between Lakeland and Tampa. Beacon Road WEBSITE ADDRESS: Center for Inquiry Tampa and http://hawcf.org HAWCF are jointly hosting a talk by Oak Drive BLOG ADDRESS: our esteemed Dr. Robert P. Tucker. www.humanistcommonsense.blogspot.com See the address and map on page 2. Please visit each of these sites. Comments Mt Fuji Steakhouse GUESTS ARE ALWAYS WELCOME! or suggestions on either site are earnestly de- 2907 S Florida Av sired and should be brought up at meetings Notable “Quotes” or made directly to webmaster Ken Schmidt: Pablo Street God, as some cynic has said, is firstname.lastname@example.org Edgewood Drive Note: this newsletter can be printed from our always on the side which has the website with adobe acrobat reader. best football coach.—Heywood Broun Common Sense 11 April 2010 Address Service Requested Lakeland, FL 33807-6675 P.O. Box 6675 HUMANIST ASSOCIATION OF WEST CENTRAL FLORIDA April 2010 Inquiring Minds Want To Know... Was America founded as a Christian nation? Meet with Center for Inquiry Tampa on Saturday, April 17 for a Lively Discussion on this important Issue! See inside for exciting news. See inside for exciting news.
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