Jonas Salk’s 100th birthday and the conquest of polio

29 Oct

christianagnostic:

One of the most important medical advances in human history!

Originally posted on Why Evolution Is True:

I was still young when polio was a scourge of the world, and I well remember being terrified of getting the disease and having to spend my life in an iron lung, or walking with braces. The disease peaked in the summer, and we were always told to avoid public swimming pools, where you were supposed to be especially susceptible to the virus.

Then, Jonas Salk (1914-1995), after years of field trials, announced a successful killed-virus vaccine in 1955, when I was five. I got inoculated, as did everyone else, and within a few years polio was no longer a fearsome scourge of Americans (it took longer to tackle the rest of the world).  As Wikipedia reports (and they have a nice article on Salk)

By 1962, polio had become almost extinct [in the U.S.], with only 910 cases reported that year—down from 37,476 in 1954.

The Guardian describes the field trials:

In 1954, over 300,000…

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Voter Lookup

27 Oct

Young Life Pushed My Son to Suicide: An Update

22 Sep

About one year ago, Mechanic Dude stopped by and began to share his story.  A story that ends in tragedy…suicide.  You can read MD’s account of it here. But  beyond the tragedy of his son’s death, was the frustration he felt towards Young Life and the role he feels it played in his son’s decision to take his own life.  The reactions here on the Christian Agnostic and Young Life Watch have been mixed. Some Young Life folks have expressed sympathy, others have expressed a mix of sympathy towards MD but do not understand how he can blame Young Life.  But beyond that, a few have come in guns blazing and accused MD of making up the whole story, in an orchestrated effort to “take down” Young Life. The comment that pushed me to actually confirm MD’s story was this comment:

I have been around Young Life for more than a decade now and this story just absolutely DOES NOT line up with this organization. I have met people on every level of the organization, from the president and national board of trustees all the way down to the local area staff and volunteers, and none of this falls in line with Young Life. Here are my issues… Why is it that NOWHERE on the internet can you find a story about a teen committing suicide on a school property in or even near Reno, NV in 2007? Something like this would have had TONS of press. These days you should be able to substantiate that sort of account online. Yet i haven’t been able to do so at all. Why is it that when i called the Reno police dept., they have no record of this happening on any school property in the city or county? But even if that is me being calloused or insensitive, here is the other issue- THERE IS NO SUCH YOUNG LIFE CAMP IN LAKE TAHOE. Young Life doesn’t own any camp property in Lake Tahoe, or Nevada for that matter. There is not even another non-YL camp called “The Lake Tahoe Camp” in Nevada that maybe Young Life may had used. The author of this story either made this place up, or seriously got some facts incorrect. It sounds like, to me, someone is on a vendetta to attack the Young Life organization and is willing to fabricate a story and manipulate the emotions of others to succeed in their vendetta. And it sounds like the moderator of this website, along with many readers, have fallen for his every word. christianagnostic- for years now i have read your blog and comments on this site. While i disagree with your stance and position, I have generally found you (while in my opinion biased and one-sided) thoughtful and careful on what you both write yourself and allow on this site. Clearly you have always had an agenda, but have gone about that respectfully. I have appreciated your thought and care when publishing. But if you seriously are going to continue to allow this on your site, I believe you have lost your credibility, as the facts in these allegations are completely not true. I’d give you a pass on not researching things yourself because your emotions likely got wrapped up in this story (understandably). But now you know- Young Life doesn’t even own a camp there, so this just ridiculous, and the rest of the story should be taken with a grain of salt. I have been to Young Life camps for literally dozens of weeks of summer, and camp properties around the country over the last 10 years. I have seen many kids become Christians, and MANY MORE choose to not be Christians. NEVER in my life have i seen any kid reprimanded or treated poorly for not choosing to be a christian. These staff people would have been FIRED IMMEDIATELY, as it goes directly against Young life’s policies. Are you kidding me? This is absolutely absurd. This story just proves to me how easy it is to get on the internet and just write something, and ANYONE will believe it, regardless of how true it really is. I have seen people’s responses saying they will not have their kids involved in Young life because of THIS story. If they don’t want them involved because they don’t like Young Life’s methods, that is one thing, and i can respect that. But this is libel. Anybody (someone hurt by YL in the past, someone anti-religion, etc) could get on this site and completely fabricate a story and everyone will believe it. CA- you preach against young life’s deceitful tactics. if you want your site to be one of integrity and credibility, you should really research stories before you republish them yourself. But if it is your mission to beat up and damage an organization by any means necessary, including lies and deceit, then i guess by all means carry on.

To be honest, I was a little shocked at the vehement insistence that this story was a “fabrication”  based on a “vendetta”.  But none the less,  MD responded that he would be more than willing to confirm his story with me in private, so I could say with confidence that this is no fiction and that this is a real Father who is grieving a real son. I have to say, that I felt wrong about making MD prove his story to me.  I’ve never made other folks who state “I’ve been a YL area Director,  I am a current Young Life leader, etc….”  have to prove these claims.  Why make MD do it?  But after a long break from the blog, I was able to converse with MD off the blog and he provided just enough information for me to confirm for myself, that his story is true.

Here’s what I learned after about 10 minutes on the internet: MD’s son was a minor (17) when he committed suicide on the campus of his High School.  Some of the postings I found on-line were fellow classmates of his son and they describe essentially the same details that MD describes about his son.  He was bright, well-liked, and the sort of person that no one could believe he would ever do such a thing. For all those who believe that MD’st story is a fiction, you are wrong. It is not a fiction, it really happened and I’d appreciate it if you’d show a little respect and sympathy for a man who has lost a child in the most horrible way you can imagine. I think most of us will understand if your experience of Young Life is different than his….but he is entitled to say what he feels about Young Life,  just as you are free to disagree with what is said.  But it’s time to move past the petty arguments of whether this event actually occurred .

A Response 

Without trying to speak for MD, let me try and clear up some of the questions that were raised in the comment above:

  Why is it that NOWHERE on the internet can you find a story about a teen committing suicide on a school property in or even near Reno, NV in 2007? Something like this would have had TONS of press. These days you should be able to substantiate that sort of account online. Yet i haven’t been able to do so at all.

Well you can, but you’d probably have to know who you were looking for, and since MD does not wish to splash his family’s name all over the internet, then it may be hard for you to find any info online.  Also, suicides do not get a ton of press…I mean, yes-if you were already famous-then it will get lots of press.  But in my own recent experience, I know families who have lost son’s to suicide-guess what-no press, no articles, no nothing.  They were minors, so if the police were involved, the child’s name would not be released to the public or the press.  Your assumption that this sort of information would be all over the internet is incorrect.

Why is it that when i called the Reno police dept., they have no record of this happening on any school property in the city or county?

I really don’t know for sure, but it is my understanding that you can not request a police report over the phone.  And again, you’d have to know which incident or investigation you were looking for, in most cases.  You can click here to see what it usually takes to receive a copy of a police report.

THERE IS NO SUCH YOUNG LIFE CAMP IN LAKE TAHOE

Actually, there is a YL camp in Soda Springs, CA.  When I lived in Norther CA, we would have referred to this whole area as the Lake Tahoe area.  Soda Springs, Truckee, Emigrants Gap, Donner’s Pass, are all within a short drive of the actual west side of the Lake and would qualify as part of the Lake Tahoe area.  Even Reno’s airport is named the Reno-Tahoe International Airport.    Besides all that, Young Life does sometime rent facilities it doesn’t own.  In my own experience, YL would rent a facility in Harvey Cedars NJ and we also held some YL weekends at hotels in the Baltimore Inner Harbor area.

christianagnostic- for years now i have read your blog and comments on this site. While i disagree with your stance and position, I have generally found you (while in my opinion biased and one-sided) thoughtful and careful on what you both write yourself and allow on this site. Clearly you have always had an agenda, but have gone about that respectfully. I have appreciated your thought and care when publishing. But if you seriously are going to continue to allow this on your site, I believe you have lost your credibility, as the facts in these allegations are completely not true. I’d give you a pass on not researching things yourself because your emotions likely got wrapped up in this story (understandably). But now you know- Young Life doesn’t even own a camp there, so this just ridiculous, and the rest of the story should be taken with a grain of salt.

Well this comment feels like a back handed compliment.  I appreciate this person taking the time to read my blog for years and the compliment that you find me thoughtful and careful.  As for biased,  I am not sure what to say.  My experiences and opinions are my own, but I also allow anyone who differs with me to do so.  If I were completely biased, I wouldn’t allow you or anyone else who disagreed with me to comment.   You may want to ask yourself, how much of your own emotions and bias come into your allegation that MD’s story is not true.

I have been to Young Life camps for literally dozens of weeks of summer, and camp properties around the country over the last 10 years. I have seen many kids become Christians, and MANY MORE choose to not be Christians. NEVER in my life have i seen any kid reprimanded or treated poorly for not choosing to be a christian. These staff people would have been FIRED IMMEDIATELY, as it goes directly against Young life’s policies. Are you kidding me? This is absolutely absurd.

I am glad to hear that this is your experience.  In most of my own time in Young Life,  I saw pretty much the same thing….but not always.  I did witness some pretty hostile reprimanding at a Young Life camp on more than one occasion.  I’ve even seen some pretty unkind arguments between leaders and area directors at some others.  Just because you haven’t seen something doesn’t mean it hasn’t happened.

After all,  I’ve never witnessed YL leaders sexting teens, but it has happened.  I’ve never known leaders that were having sex with one of their YL kids, but it has happened at Timberwolf and Castaway.

Suffice to say, experiences of Young Life can be very different from person to person. I just plain tire at the accusations that I am out to get Young Life, or that MD’s story is the reason some kid doesn’t get to go to camp.  I am out to share my story and to allow others to share their stories as well.  If a parent reads this site and then decides that their kid isn’t going to camp or Young Life-then you haven’t earned the right to be heard.

Lastly, if you read something here that you disagree with-by all means-feel free to post your feelings about it.  I may or may not have to time to respond, and others may or may not agree with you.

But please do me a favor…play nice.

Especially with those who are sharing stories of abuse and suicide.  It’s just a common courtesy to show some respect for those who are hurting and grieving.  It doesn’t mean you have to agree with them, or even believe them…but please remember that there’s enough pain and tragedy in this life.   Can we not add to it by beating up on those who are already beaten down?

Why I Quit Believing (Revised)

14 Jul

christianagnostic:

Thoughtful post explaining to a friend why they left the faith. There is much here that matches my own experience…enjoy!!!

Originally posted on godless in dixie:

The other day a close family member asked me to explain to her why I left the Christian faith.  Three years ago I did what I could to boil down my main reasons for doing so for a handful of friends, all of whom were pretty theologically-minded and had a ton of question and challenges afterwards.  That prompted a second, longer letter that enumerated some of the things which nudged me in this direction.  Those letters are there for anyone to read, but this time around I decided I’d rather just give it another try and start over.  It takes time to develop a comfortable vocabulary for explaining something as hard to nail down as this, and the passage of time makes some things a lot clearer.  Below you’ll find my updated attempt to answer this question.

I have to first say again that I don’t usually spend much time doing…

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It’s Not Me, It’s You: Children of Christian Narcissists

28 Jun

christianagnostic:

Long article…but well worth the read. This was not my experience growing up, but very much how my wife describes her childhood. Check it out…

Originally posted on godless in dixie:

godego

[Guest post written by Deanna M. Boudov]

If you are like me and you were indoctrinated as a Christian since birth by your character-impaired parent(s), you may ask yourself:  What came first, the religion or the personality problem?  Sometimes these two wonderful things just come together in one wacky, messed-up package.

Neil and I are in a group of what I like to think of as a union of sorts, an International Brotherhood of Survivors of Christianity.  We mostly just goof around on the internet, and on occasion meet up in Texas at a halfway-house for wayward adults. I am often shocked and heartbroken by Neil’s experiences in Dixie, and feel both guilty and grateful to live in the Northeast.  Here Catholics and liberal Christians may think you are a complete weirdo for not sharing their beliefs, but the most likely scenario is that you are not going to lose…

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Paul and Gena Suarez, Old Schoolhouse Publishers, Accused of Protecting Known Child Predators

25 Jun Featured Image -- 1413

christianagnostic:

Another sad story of abuse lurking at the top of the Homeschooling movement…

Originally posted on Homeschoolers Anonymous:

Screen Shot 2014-06-23 at 4.56.27 PM

By R.L. Stollar, HA Community Coordinator

Paul and Gena Suarez, owners of the “global homeschooling company” The Old Schoolhouse, have been accused by a former key employee of allegedly protecting several known child predators. Furthermore, they are accused of shaming and silencing members of their community who tried to stand up and do the right thing.

About the Suarezes and The Old Schoolhouse

Paul and Gena Suarez are the publishers of The Old Schoolhouse (TOS), a Christian homeschool magazine and self-described “global homeschooling company.” TOS has been called “one of the largest homeschooling magazines in America, and indeed, the world.” TOS’s vision is “to continue to lift up the Lord in every endeavor, every action, and every word spoken or written,” and that “as homeschooling grows, so TOS grows, and concurrently, that as TOS grows, more families will be introduced to home education through our many and varied resources.”

Paul and Gena Suarez. Source: http://thehomeschoolmagazine.com Paul…

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Mahaney Has No Clothes!

14 May

christianagnostic:

Excellent re-cap of all the lies and mistruths concerning CJ Mahaney, Josh Harris ,and the whole pastoral staff at Sovereign Grace’s former flagship church-Covenant Life in Gaithersburg, MD.
In short-they knew about sexual crimes committed against children and they did nothing, covered it up, and allowed a pedophile to exit their church and continue to abuse children for another 20 years. So much for all that Apostolic oversight they used to brag about…

Originally posted on Thou Art The Man:

1 Maheny t4g2

““But the Emperor has nothing at all on!” said a little child. “Listen to the voice of innocence!” exclaimed the father; and what the child had said was whispered from one to another. “But he has nothing on!” at last cried all the people. The Emperor was vexed, for he knew that the people were right; but he thought, “The procession must go on now!” And the lords of the bedchamber took greater pains than ever to appear holding up a train, although, in reality, there was no train to hold.”
-Hans Christian Andersen

1mohler

Al Mohler praising C.J. Mahaney:

10 Fast Facts Regarding Grant Layman & the Nate Morales Sex Abuse Trial
1) Grant followed C.J.’s evil counsel to cover up.  (Grant Layman is the brother in-law of C.J. Mahaney and until recently a pastor at Covenant Life Church.)
2) Morales’ crimes were never reported to police by C.J., Grant…

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