Our rights to life, liberty, property, and the pursuit of happiness
can only be secured by a state strictly separated from religion

29 February 2012

Video: The Meaning of Faith

By Diana Hsieh

In Sunday's Philosophy in Action Webcast, I discussed the meaning of faith. The question was:

Is it wrong to use "faith" to mean "trust and confidence in a person"? Some people talk about having "faith" in their friends or in themselves – and by that, they mean that they trust and have confidence in those people. Is it wrong to use "faith" in that way? In other words, blind faith is wrong, but is all faith blind faith?
My answer, in brief:
The term “faith,” when used to refer to trust or confidence in a person, suggests that such is not justified or warranted based on facts. That’s why I avoid the term, and I suggest that others do the same. However, a person is not corrupt for using it.
Here's the video of my full answer:
If you enjoy the video, please "like" it on YouTube and share it with friends via social media, forums, and e-mail! You can also throw a bit of extra love in our tip jar.

Join the next Philosophy in Action Webcast on Sunday at 8 am PT / 9 am MT / 10 am CT / 11 am ET at www.PhilosophyInAction.com/live.

In the meantime, Connect with Us via social media, e-mail, RSS feeds, and more. Check out the Webcast Archives, where you can listen to the full webcast or just selected questions from any past episode, and our my YouTube channel. And go to the Question Queue to submit and vote on questions for upcoming webcast episodes.

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24 February 2012

Sunday Webcast: The Meaning of Faith

By Diana Hsieh

In my live Philosophy in Action Webcast on Sunday morning, I'll be answering a question on the meaning of faith that might be of interest. The question is:

Is it wrong to use "faith" to mean "trust and confidence in a person"? Some people talk about having "faith" in their friends or in themselves – and by that, they mean that they trust and have confidence in those people. Is it wrong to use "faith" in that way? In other words, blind faith is wrong, but is all faith blind faith?
Go to www.PhilosophyInAction.com on Sunday at 8 am PT / 9 am MT / 10 am CT / 11 am ET to watch me answer this question live and join in the text chat. If you're not able to join the live webcast, an audio recording of my answer will be posted in the webcast archives on Sunday afternoon or Monday morning. Be sure to check out the other questions on tap for this week's webcast too.

I'd love to hear your own answer to this question! Please feel free to post it in the comments.

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23 February 2012

Video: Judging Religions as Better and Worse

By Diana Hsieh

In Sunday's Philosophy in Action Webcast, I discussed judging religions as better and worse. The question was:

Are some religions better than others? Do certain religions encourage rationality more than others? Do some promote better moral systems than others? I am curious both about different forms of Christianity (Catholic, Protestant, Unitarian, Mormon, etc.), as well as other religions (Judaism, Islam, Hinduism, Buddhism, Baha'i, etc.). Should rational atheists respect followers of certain religions more than others?
My answer, in brief:
Religions are better or worse in their core doctrines and in their effects on a culture. However, due to the complexity of religions – not merely as ideologies but also as a cultural movements – they can't be easily judged as better or worse. Also, just because a person claims to be an adherent of a given religion doesn't tell much about what he believes or practices, nor whether they are honest.
Here's the video of my full answer:
If you enjoy the video, please "like" it on YouTube and share it with friends via social media, forums, and e-mail! You can also throw a bit of extra love in our tip jar.

Join the next Philosophy in Action Webcast on Sunday at 8 am PT / 9 am MT / 10 am CT / 11 am ET at www.PhilosophyInAction.com/live.

In the meantime, Connect with Us via social media, e-mail, RSS feeds, and more. Check out the Webcast Archives, where you can listen to the full webcast or just selected questions from any past episode, and our my YouTube channel. And go to the Question Queue to submit and vote on questions for upcoming webcast episodes.

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08 February 2012

My Body, My Choice

By Diana Hsieh



This is why I take abortion rights so seriously and so personally. If a politician can't understand and respect my right to control my own body, then I can't trust him to respect any of my rights.

For further details, see Ari Armstrong's and my recently-published essay, "The Assault on Abortion Rights Undermines All Our Liberties.

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06 February 2012

Rights Are Inalienable But Forfeitable

By Diana Hsieh

In my recent Philosophy in Action Webcast discussion of the death penalty, I mentioned Craig Biddle's discussion of the fact that rights are inalienable but forfeitable. As promised, here's footnote 46 of his excellent essay, Ayn Rand's Theory of Rights: The Moral Foundation of a Free Society

... If rights were somehow inherent in man by virtue of his being man, then we could never punish people who violate rights--because using retaliatory force against them would violate the "rights" that they "inherently" have and that they thus always retain by virtue of being human. Because Rand's theory is based on and derived from the observable requirements of man's life, it is not afflicted with contradictions regarding those requirements. On Rand's theory, rights are inalienable, in that others cannot take away or nullify one's rights; but they are also forfeitable, in that one can relinquish one's own rights by violating the rights of others. If and to the extent that a person violates the rights of others, he relinquishes his own rights and may be punished accordingly. His choice to violate rights places him outside the purpose of the principle and thus the scope of its protection. Again, one cannot claim the protection of a principle that one repudiates in action.
If rights were inherent in human nature, based purely on DNA or species-membership, then the advocates of "personhood for zygotes" would be right: the fertilized egg would have a right to life. However, on an objective theory of rights, rights cannot apply until the fetus is biologically separated from the woman. Only then does the fetus -- then a baby -- enter the social context necessary for rights. For further details, see Ari Armstrong's and my recently-published essay, "The Assault on Abortion Rights Undermines All Our Liberties.

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02 February 2012

The Gay Lifestyle

By Diana Hsieh

This satire on the "gay lifestyle" is too damn funny. Here's a taste:

I live the gay lifestyle, the gay lifestyle that is often mentioned by some Republican candidates for president. For those who are unfamiliar with the lifestyle, this is a typical day:

7:00 a.m. I wake up, and just as I have done every morning since puberty, I choose to be gay today. This will come as a great relief to my gay, homosexual, male lover who lies beside me. Because being gay is a choice, our relationship is a gamble day to day. Even though we have both chosen to remain gay and to be together every day for the past 16 years, we never take anything for granted. One of us just might throw in the towel one day and give up the lifestyle.

7:30 a.m. I take a gay shower and let the gay water rinse off my gay body.

8:00 a.m. I have a gay breakfast of cereal with milk, and a good, strong, gay cup of coffee. I am fortified for another day of ruining the fabric of American society.
Go read the whole thing!

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