Archive for the ‘ Conspiracy ’ Category

Is Anti-Theism A Valid Position?

mephistopheles hesitant has a pretty decent post here in which they attempt to address, as a response, a post that was derogatory of anti-theists. I don’t want to go over the all of that territory as mephistopheles hesitant makes a fair go at it. I simply want to comment on some few sentences they used at the end. Their concluding paragraphs are below, complete, emphasis is mine.

The anti-theists have made a courageous engagement with questions about the place of religion in society. This is an important discussion that we need to have, not just because of Islamist terrorism and gay marriage, but because religious modes of thinking and being are part of our society and they compete in the marketplace of ideas. Anti-theists like to talk about religion as if it is a set of shackles from which we need to free ourselves. It is an extreme point of view, but we should acknowledge that some anti-theists sincerely want to help religious people to know that human beings are not inherently guilty, that we should not fear open questioning in the pursuit of truth, that you do not owe a cosmic debt—which you cannot physically or spiritually repay—to your Creator for a transgression you did not commit. Anti-theists are “spreading the good news” that you do not bear the mark of Cain or the stain of Adam. With this comes liberation and increased personal responsibility. If you commit an action so horrible that no person will forgive you, there is no hope of ultimate redemption. There is no second chance.

While they are not anti-anti-theist I take issue with some thoughts they have:

There are many shortcomings in the anti-theist arguments. They lack nuance. Mostly, they lack an understanding of the anthropology and sociology of religion. They’re not political science or psychology or philosophy experts, either. They’re informed citizens trying to open up dialogue about questions that matter. Is there purpose in the universe? Is there an afterlife? Is there an all-loving Creator? Do such beliefs, if false, serve any good purpose in the world? All theists have to do is actually defend their beliefs against criticism. That’s not asking much.

Now, don’t take offense at the anology but this is a lot like one of the Rabbi’s sitting down to dinner with Moses and trying to convince him that these Egyptian fellows really aren’t that bad and they deserve a more nuanced and civil discussion about the matter, and how being terse, impassioned, and sometimes angry really isn’t doing the Jews any favors. All the Jews have to do is defend their belief in freedom against tyranny. Maybe a couple of good debates or something?

I’m not anti-theist. It’s a mistake to believe ridding ourselves of religion is the only option, or the best option. It’s not practical, and people are right to sound the alarm bells of bigotry and intolerance. Anti-theists have so far been careful about walking the fine line of anti-theist and anti-Christian or anti-Muslim. GA42’s points are important to consider, because we know what happens when extreme views fall into the hands of the mob. We have to correct anti-theists when they characterize all religious people as “illogical” or “irrational” or “stupid.” We have to be wary of dogmatism and ideological homogeneity in our beliefs, theistic and atheistic.

Now, when you think this paragraph through it will make sense. Read it again, several times if you have to. What is being asked for here? Who is legislating thought crimes into law? Who is legislating oppression into law? Who is legislating theological thought into law? Don’t be bigoted toward the tyrants he asks. Interesting way of putting things. In the position of theology there is no central ground save perhaps for agnostics. A parley for compatibility is nothing less than asking the enemy to put their weapons down. We know how that works out in the effluence of human affairs. Yes, I’m sort of saying that any capitulation at all is complete capitulation. Despite the violence that religion reigns down on humanity this is not a war of attrition it is a war of ideas – once side fighting for complete dominance and the other fighting for a secular world with freedom of thought for all.

We can all improve our attitude, our tone of voice on the issue of religion. We’re perfectly capable of talking about religion without resorting to hostilities. We can have strong feelings about a subject and attack peoples’ ideas without attacking the person. Theists have long had a privileged voice in society, and my hope is that nonreligious persons will no longer feel afraid to express their beliefs openly. As obnoxious as the anti-theists are, they are affording us all the ability to be more public about our opinions on religion. We should thank them for that.

Anti-theists well can talk about religion without resorting to violence. It’s a position we’ve been forced to endure for many centuries because anything else meant death, often a horrible death. Some modern countries still have blasphemy laws that carry very harsh penalties and death. Anyone that forgets that has forgotten the lessons of war, of history, of humanity. We are still a very long way from living in a society where expressing atheist ideas is safe. To believe otherwise is to fail to understand this society at all. When it indeed is safe to talk about our thoughts on religion perhaps then it will be time to consider that more nuanced approach. Until that time theists are not deserving of a nuanced civil discourse. They will get it, but they are not deserving of it.

Violence and Religion

Let me start this by quoting The Unassuming Atheist (emphasis added by me)

Were the Fort Hood and Charlie Hebdo murder sprees or Boko Haram massacres caused by Islam? Are the Central African murder sprees caused by Christianity? A yes answer is far too simple. But violence, tribalism, and mutually exclusive truth claims are built into in our sacred texts and traditions. As a consequence, religion around the world continues to disinhibit lethal violence at a horrendous rate. For us to vilify Muslims or Christians or any group of believers collectively is to engage in the familiar act of cowardice we call scapegoating. It means, ever and always, that we end up sacrificing innocents to appease our own fear, anger and thirst for vengeance. But for us to ignore the complicated role of religion in violence is a different kind of cowardice, one that has been indulged by peace-lovers among the faithful for far too long.

It doesn’t really matter how you slice it, to be fair it is necessary to state things in the manner above. Religion doesn’t cause violence but it damn sure disinhibits it. Wait, let’s rethink that. Religions and their holy texts actually call for violence and war. That religion and violence are connected so tightly is no accident. What the Unassuming Atheist is trying to say is that only batshit crazy people actually go through with the violence. All the sane religiously deluded people are too chicken shit to do what their holy books tell them to do. Wait, maybe they’re not True Christians or True Muslims or True Jews… who knew?

 

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For a group of people to tell me that they follow a book full of bat shit crazy violence and marching orders to kill those who do not believe but that their religion is not a religion of violence, that true-believers do not adhere to such things and that violent believers are just nut-jobs that have nothing to do with them is to piss down my back and try to tell me it’s raining.

Yeah, and the neo Nazi party is not anything to do with the original Nazi party, am I right? No, they have nothing in common. The Neo Nazis are peace loving political movement, not a violent genocidal group of whackjobs. You believe me when I say that, right?

Okay, so if you tell me your religion is the religion of peace and I can go to Google and find 100s of thousands of pictures of religious violence, violence created by believers, and violence created in the name of the deity I’m going to spit in your face. Yes, that’s offensive but it is also a proper response to telling me that monotheism is peaceful.

The Unassuming Atheist wants us to believe that religion simply does not inhibit violence. To a degree I’d be willing to agree with that. Humanity is a violent species but we did get it honestly. There was a large part of human history where live and let live was okay. There was enough land to keep us separate. The world is a much smaller place now. This is no longer possible and religious violence is no longer tolerable. Religion is no longer tolerable. Yes, it’s okay to say that. If religion was out busy trying to jail and punish the violent nut-jobs that are following their holy texts we might be able to forgive moderate believers. That is not what is happening and I can’t forgive them. Oh, sure, many of them have no clue what to do.

Well, here are a couple of clues:

  • Leave your violent religion behind. Just get out.
  • Condemn the violence with the strongest possible measures. Turn vigilante.
  • Start telling the public sphere who is right and who is wrong where violence is concerned. Be vocal. Make sure the world knows where you stand.
  • Then put your money where your mouth is – support those that hunt the violent ones down and kill them. Start spending your money on feeding the hungry, clothing the poor and so on.

When the pious can do this the world will gain. Humanity will gain.

Renounce the violence by punishing the violent people who claim your religion. Stand up, deliver, speak out. The longer that moderates remain quiet the more tyrannical the violent ones become. Weed your own gardens believers. Then, just maybe, we can believe that your religion is one of peace.

Faith And Violence

I know that there are many believers who think their faith is non-violent. This post is about that very point.

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I would like all and any theists to show me how their faith is non-vilent.

I get it,  you yourself are not violent. I’m asking you to show me that your sect is not violent. Show me how it is hat I should not consider your belief a part of a violent sect. That’s right, I am presupposing that your belief is violent and I’m asking you to show me that it is not so. Show me that your belief and sect has never been violent. Show me that your sect has never been and will not be violent.

 

Go on, show me

 

No God To Protect Me

There is also no devil out to get me. All the demons which are supposed to be inside me are in my brain. My thinking and thoughts. These are not demons but simply bad patterns of behavior. I can change those even if I need to get help to do so.

What theists don’t seem to understand is that this whole possession and devil thing remove the value of free will in choosing to be heaven bound. Despite their efforts to get inside the pearly gates, they can be defeated by evil and it is supposedly beyond their control. That’s right. Now ask them what happens to those who were possessed and died before the exorcism? No, they didn’t think that one through as far as I can see.

What is the definition of ‘demonic possession’ then?

The Catholic Church is said to recognize 4 characteristics of demon possession:
1. Knowledge of a language previously unknown by the victim.
2. Knowledge of hidden or secret things.
3. Demonstration of superhuman strength.
4. An aversion to the things of God.
I found hundreds of sites that define possession or influence of evil spirits. No, there is no single definition. Look at this one attributed to Catholicism: Speaking in tongues is right out. Knowing secret things… how would you know someone knows secret things? That’s a mind fuck right there. Superhuman strength? What exactly is that? Humans have some serious strength when adrenaline kicks in. Does that count? An aversion to the things of god… hmmm, guess I must be possessed.
The point is this, there is no definition of what demonic possession is nor it’s effect on the victim. It literally could be anything the church (pick your favorite version) doesn’t agree with. The RCC sends specially trained priests (women can’t do this) to do exorcisms. Yes, only these specially trained people can tell the difference between ‘real’ possession or demonic activity and your ordinary every day crazy. What that amounts to is that one more time the church has the ability to proclaim you as sick or broken and only the church can fix it or heal you. If your nose is working you should be smelling a scam at this point.
Now, back to the title…
If there is no demon to possess me, there is no god to protect me. That sounds logical enough, but is it? Maybe there is a god but no demons. Well, does your religion believe in demons? If so, your god probably isn’t real either.
Maybe there are demons and a god and that god just doesn’t care enough to protect us from demons?
Maybe the god sent the demons to do what they do because he enjoys the show?
The chances that your church believes in a real god drop by 100% if they believe in demonic possession. They believe in not one but two imaginary beings who are supposed to be interfering with your life. How can you have free will with all that bs happening? If there is no free will, what is the point of religion?
There is no devil and all my ‘demons’ are of my own making. Without a devil, what need have I of a god? Perhaps our gods are of our own making too. I think so.

Enough Of This Cretard’s Misdeeds

If you haven’t seen it yet, here is the showman in action. Like a side show carney he knows just the right questions to ask, rapid fire, leading the person along to a conclusion he wants to hear. It’s hardly logic and no where near useful.

Here are some of the things that creationists have not witnessed that I wish would have been pointed out in the movie. They probably were but were edited out thanks to the honesty of our christian apologists. Like ‘Expelled’ it’s complete fail.

  1. Did you witness creation?
  2. Were you there in the garden?
  3. Did  you drown in the flood?
  4. Did you witness Jesus being crucified?
  5. Did you witness his return to life?
  6. Did you witness any of the miracles Jesus was supposed to have performed?
  7. Did you watch John write his book?
  8. Did you … oh never mind…. you’re just a troll

You believers have seen nothing of your ‘evidence’ first hand. You have to read about it in a book like science students except they can repeat the experiments and visit the museums holding the fossils for themselves. They can examine the data and evaluate it for themselves. All you have is a dusty old book that has been hacked on till it seems criminal and still doesn’t make any sense. All you have is a story for which there is precious little actual evidence and lots of evidence that strongly indicates that the stories in that book are false. Lies. Wishful thinking.

Because all the experiments and evidence for science still exists, we can go back and re-examine it. Your book is open to interpretation but you insist that your interpretation is correct despite the believers who say you are mistaken. Science corrects itself on re-examination. Religion? Never… oops, mea culpa, the Pope has been forgiving people and says evolution is true. Who would have thought? Then again, the Pope is not a true christian, right?

The Truth *WILL* Scare you

The trouble with conspiracy theories is that they are bullshit. It’s not that conspiracies don’t happen but there is a big difference between the conspiracies that are real and the one’s people make Youtube videos about – Nobody predicted the real ones or knew about them until they were uncovered and that is where the real one’s stopped. The fake one’s never have an ending, they just keep going and going and going.

Recently a reader pointed me to the “The Truth May Scare You” series by Knowthetruthstudio on youtube

 

 

I looked around and the only people referencing these videos are apocalypse survivalists and end-times ministry types. The kind of people that are certain the world is coming to an end for one reason or another and they don’t much seem to care what will cause it as long as it happens. That’s the kind of thing that scares me… these people, not the movie… it has very little truth in it. I commented to the reader and thought I’d share it here because nobody seems to be offering any balance to these videos yet.

 

When I see a new conspiracy theory, I approach it with several guiding principles:

What seems to good to be true is.

Never attribute to malice what is sufficiently explained by ignorance.

http://www.scientificamerican.com/article.cfm?id=why-people-believe-in-conspiracies

I have knowledge of complex systems, big data, networks and so on. I can tell you how to cripple a city or country with less than 25 people involved. The conspiracy theories pale quickly in comparison to actualities of life. They are clunky and inefficient with nefarious goals that have no real meaning. Understanding where our superstitions and traditions come from is very important.

To dissect a conspiracy theory takes a lot of effort because you have to explain ALL the stuff that the theorist did not. Had they given full information and scientific study of what they present, there would be no more conspiracy to talk about. This is a clue that it’s false when you find they answered fewer questions than they raise.

With that said, lets have a review after watching 9 of the videos in a 15+ part series. This thing plays out much like Zeitgeist so you know the basic set up.

The reply is ‘what if it is true though?’  — Truth is stranger than fiction in many cases. Why hide it if you can contrive and complete  your conspiracy in the wide open?

I would say that your fears/concerns might be valid if the manipulation were coming only from one source. The truth is that many groups are trying to manipulate us, all at the same time. Funnily enough, they all have differing agendas, the most common of which is to part you from your hard earned money/resources.

Most of the people that talk about ‘they’ or ‘the government’ in conspiratorial tones have no valid reason or motivation for why ‘they’ do what they are supposed to do.

This particular series leans very heavily on Christian narrative to demonize the music industry as Illuminati, which to this day remains an amorphous label that has no real definition from one usage to the next. A look at Wikipedia will show what I mean.

All of the symbolism in these videos can be traced to memes. Ronnie James Dio popularized the horns in metal when he joined Black Sabbath and it was all him till pop music (BSpears) started doing it too. The 666 sign became a meme. Remember when rock music was demonic? The theme here in the videos is that nobody uses these meme/signs except as deep meaningful symbols of their hidden agendas. No, it couldn’t possibly be part of the act… not at all. In fact, these videos lean strongly on the implied thought that nobody uses symbols without knowing what they mean. Do you know why people say ‘bless you’ when someone sneezes? Why black cats are bad luck? Why talismans are lucky?

How self conscious would people have to be to avoid ever using a sign without thinking about it after it has become a meme? This business of looking for evil behind every bush and back is the business of witch hunters. Oh yeah, modern witch hunters all happen to be … you guessed it… Christians.

Pulling the whole series apart would take a long time. They explain nothing but work hard to lead you down the path to think what is not true without them telling you to think it directly. Some questions:

Why is all the evidence mainly from black musicians?
Why is all the evidence mainly from the music industry?
Where are the world leaders in this information? Oh yeah, hand signs.
Where is the motivation? What is the goal? Control? Of what, for what?

The only thing these videos are leading you to is a wrong conclusion about unrelated things which ‘seem’ to somehow be related if you buy into the Christian end times narrative. Did they point out anyone making the horns sign and say ‘no, this guy is not Illuminati … he’s just playing up for popularity’ ? Nope, they want you to think every time it is used it is because of some unidentifiable group of people who are trying to control the world. Control that they can’t explain the motivation for nor explain what will happen when it is gained.

Even if one or more of the pictures are of ‘Illuminati members’ making a hand gesture, these films do not show this to be true nor give credible reason to think their conclusion is true. lmagine for a moment if you were running a secret society. Would you popularize the hand signs or would you invent more if they got popular as memes? Now, as they are memes, anyone using them can’t be trusted to be what the hand sign seems to mean they are. It becomes pointless.

Just as we talk about people being ‘angels’ or ‘demons’ to characterize their general demeanour, we borrow from the occult in various ways. The group most guilty of borrowing from the occult is in fact the Christian religion itself. The Christian narrative in these videos is unapologetic for what the Christian religion has borrowed from the occult but all too happy to say that if anyone else does it they are in league with the devil (as if such a being existed). This is to say that everything presented is done so as to lead you to come to a conclusion that ‘they’ are out to get us while never actually explaining anything. Such stories make compelling books of fiction, but as “truth” it fails every test of logic and reason.

One would do well to note from other sources exactly how deeply entrenched in Christianity the US black music scene is. Paranoia and persecution complex in US religious groups is in high gear right now. If you isolate events to the black music industry you can find enough to make a convincing sounding story to support a persecution complex. Their use of famous people telling you to think critically is a trick to get you to think believing the hype in the video is to think critically… it’s not. When you think critically about these videos it’s not hard to see the bullshit shining through.

The actual truth will scare you. Learn about how likely it is that we could be hit by a large meteorite, or fried by gamma rays, how close the doomsday clock is to midnight and so on.

Do any of my readers feel differently about conspiracy theories? Let me know.

 

Thanks for reading

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