Archive for the ‘ Mormons ’ 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.

Can’t We All Just Get Along?

The never ending discussion on the compatibility between science and religion asks if they can get along and coexist. The argument, no matter how it is stated, comes down to this: Science has facts, religion has faith. As long as religion has faith it will remain incompatible with both science and reality. Believers might argue that their faith is compatible with science yet they will not allow for someone else’s faith being compatible with their own. When believers can’t even get their ‘faith’ coherent but decide to disagree with the best method we have of knowing the world around us then it is completely incompatible with science.

A religion that is not incompatible with science would be one that requires no faith. Would that be a religion?

Can’t we all just get along?

NO, we can’t as long as you are unwilling to be a full participant in reality.

Before anyone thinks I’m calling all believers stupid, just stop. This is a reaction to the discussion of compatibility and not simply your particular point of view. That said, if you want to feel offended, that is your prerogative, just don’t expect an apology.

 

 

You Don’t Know … So Here You Go, You’re Welcome

There is not much that I can add to this except that Sam and I don’t agree on all things but on this video mashup, we’re in synch all the way.

Enjoy… then go buy presents for people that already have more than they need…

Religion Is A Scam

I found this on a blog – not saying where or linking. They don’t need extra views from me.

This is one of those pieces that sounds like ‘why can’t we all just get along?’ but in the end it’s pleading to listen to goodness of religion is not unlike Narcissus gazing into the calm waters of a shallow pond. Yes, we are encouraged to join in the shallow goals and claims of the religious. Ignore the bad parts, come look at the lovely parts and be with us, join us. Do not pay any attention to the ugliness waiting around the corner if you do. That’s not going to get ‘you’… come enjoy the lovely parts with us.

So lets see how this all really works out if you apply a critical mind to it:

Religion, if used constructively, is a tool for explaining life in a comforting manner. In this context, it’s not about infallible technical explanations — because really, that data is not available — it’s about explaining life in a way that’s easier to deal with and in a way that leads to enjoyment. Simply, religion can be a means to attain satisfaction with life.

  • If used constructively? – Right. That’s exactly how it gets used in movies and dreams. In the real world it is used to justify all the evil you can think of.
  • Explaining life in a comforting manner – Right, so the fact that a gamma ray burst could fry us all tomorrow can be explained in a comforting manner. Every six seconds a child dies of starvation or starvation related illness – how is that explained in a comforting manner? Over cheeseburgers and a shake?
  • Infallible technical explanations? – Lets skip those because we don’t have those. No, you don’t need them if you just do as I say.
  • An explanation that leads to enjoyment and satisfaction with life? – Apparently all that enjoyment leads the clergy to depression

And just because religion has been used for manipulative and destructive purposes, and as a way to stubbornly retain the past, doesn’t mean the concept can’t benefit modern civilization. If effectively utilized, religion is not the antithesis of progress, but the pathway to it.

  • Well, over 2000+ years it has not benefited civilization unless you call the progress of war and death a benefit
  • Oh, it’s just a pathway to progress… 400 years to apologize to Galileo. Yep, that’s progress. Don’t worry about the anti-marriage equality, anti-abortion, anti-health care, witch hunts or any of that other bad stuff. Really, religion is about progress… in the same way that icebergs are about making cruise liner movies

 

Ideas such as the underlying unity of all lifeforms, the rejection of selfishness, the fulfillment of purpose, the non-finality of death — these tenets can be reinforced through doctrine and adopted by anyone seeking satisfaction from life.

  • Underlying unity of all lifeforms? – Oh, you mean common ancestry? Doh, fucked that one up too.
  • Rejection of selfishness? – except for stuff like this: “Mission Congo” Exposes Robertson’s Greed
  • Purpose? – oh do tell, what is our purpose here? Practice for heaven? Fight the non-believers?
  • Non-finality of death? – really, what is more final than death, it means this life is over. Your dreams of an afterlife are just that, dreams.
  • Tenets need reinforcing? Yes, doctrine and indoctrination. That is how reasonable people make choices… not.

We can’t prove the underlying nature of life, not even after thousands of years of civilization — so we’re left with ideology — with religion. It is in our interest then, to admit the unknowableness of life and try to piece together a set of ideas to not only cope with life, but to excel within it, facilitating our satisfaction and enjoyment.

  • We don’t know the nature of life. Mind you, we did tell you what your purpose is and how to be fulfilled and satisfied. We’re going to make up the apparent dichotomy by giving you ideology… just some shit we made up… just for religion.
  • The first step is to admit that science can’t teach us anything. Only doctrine from bronze age men can give us knowledge and wisdom.
  • We have nothing newer than about 2500 years old, but we can show you how to cope with modern life AND excel within it. Look around you and see all the politicians and rich people and successful people who believe in gods. Don’t listen to any of these people or these people or these people or these people either. None of them are successful in this life because they don’t have religion.

There is nothing useful in this soggy whitewashed fluffy bullshit. This is like the guy with a windowless van offering candy to children. Isn’t it odd how many children get abused and raped by religion’s minions? I wonder why all this goodness attracts so many paedophiles. One can only wonder. Perhaps it’s the get out of jail free card or the insta-respect they demand from everyone for being good followers of an imaginary god who looks down constantly and does nothing about their abuses. I mean, fuck the children, right? They’re only kids. There’s no reason to come out of hiding to protect them… they’ll forget when they turn 18.

Fuck gods and these supposed well meaning people who  can’t take the time to examine their dogma and doctrine to find out why atheists don’t like them very much. Fuck the lot of them. They aren’t worth saving… let them drown in the backlash unless they learn to swim in the real world.

What Did You Just Ask?

What Did You Just Say?

To Celebrate My 500th Post

Well, it’s here. Some time back (see link above), I said that I’d like to celebrate 500 posts with an Ask Me Anything (AMA) of sorts. I Think that I’ll not put any limits on what kind of questions, but I will say that I might not choose to answer in a way that you like … don’t be sad, sometimes that happens.

You can see the topics I post on for inspiration or just pull a question out of your hat.

You can ask here in the comments or at the email address: myatheistlife at G mail dot com

Please, if asking in the comments, start a new paragraph with QUESTION: at the beginning of the line.

QUESTION: Please ask your questions like this.

Heads Up

There are  a couple of topics which the men in black will not allow me to talk about:

  • Faster than light travel
  • Cold fusion
  • Tasteful mother’s day gift giving
  • Why your sports team sucks
  • How I know that you need to do laundry

Other than that, ask away.

MAL

Here’s To Moderate Aunt Jane… Bless Her

Moderate religion? No thank you. Isn’t that like moderate paedophilia? Maybe it’s like being just a little pregnant?

Here’s another good video… go subscribe, enjoy

On The Topic Of Religion…

When people talk about religion they talk about a lot of things. The more moderate the beliefs of someone are, the more they are willing to tolerate differing beliefs. They will even tolerate a deistic notion of god. As long as you believe they are willing to work with you and despite thinking you are wrong they will not oppose you directly because you have one thing in your favor – you believe the one big lie. You believe in a god. They will even justify your differences as a different view of the one god… as long as you believe the big lie like they do. Fundamentalists won’t tolerate any such nonsense, for them you must believe as they do or you are ‘of the devil’ and destined to return to hell. Even if you’re minding your own business, fundamentalists will find you. If you’re gay, just different, or can be called a witch, they’ll have you killed.

Both the fundamentalists and the more liberal groups are equally offensive. The fundamentalists are clearly offensive. We need only look at the Westboro Baptist Church to understand this. There is not much doubt that these groups are hate group which offend the very nature of being human. The real problem is the liberal believers. Their belief and behavior is much more tolerable, no doubt. The problem comes in two parts:

  1. They are tolerant of fundamentalists
  2. They teach the big lie to their children and support those that want the big lie taught in schools

Yes, it IS a lie.

 

http://sagestone.files.wordpress.com/2012/09/dictionary-series-philosophy-truth.jpg

 

When you tell a story that you know you have no evidence for and that there is plenty of contrary evidence then what you are doing is lying. It does not matter that “your heart is in the right place” … what you are doing is teaching a lie. You are subverting the truth.  Excusing yourself because you think it does no harm is yet another lie.

We didn’t see believers protesting at the trials of those parents that did nothing but pray as their children lay dying of preventable medical conditions. That’s right. All those liberal believers also think those parents behaved in a criminal way. Deep in their psyche they know that prayer does not work. Whether they admit it or not they know that belief on it’s own is no explanation and causes harm. They know there is no evidence for their god. They just don’t want to admit it. It’s much nicer to hide under the covers and stay comfy rather than acknowledge that the house is on fire.

I encourage everyone to focus their discussions of and about religion on one simple topic: truth

If the discussion is not about truth and fact then it is completely wrong… or close enough to completely wrong.

Liberal belief is not better or less harmful or more tolerable. It’s just as wrong as bat shit crazy bible thumping hate mongering fundamentalism. I don’t care if they tell the lie nicer. It’s still a lie. The harm it does may not be immediate, but it is just as certain, just as lethal.

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