Archive for the ‘ Politics ’ 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.

#FuckThePope – Fight Fire With Fire

I am sincerely offended by the tyranny of theistic belief. Theists can only go so far before they should expect a response.

 

 

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Pot, meet kettle.
Fight fire with fire, get the marshmallows out, let’s watch the world burn, Pornography for pyromaniacs of thought.

 

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They burn all that encroaches on their monolith, striking jawbone with stone axe to resolve the merest insult.

Apes using fire and brimstone to create a heaven on Earth in the belief that forging fires make steel, not realizing that wild fires of unconscionable belief simply raze the forests of reasonable existence. They are certain of their belief and profoundly unaware of their unthinking push to have us again living in trees.

 

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Stupid is as stupid does. Education is the answer until you have to implement it at the end of a gun. Just pull the trigger and let the world burn!

 

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The question then, is how do you teach a bigot to love? Especially when he is the representative of god on Earth?

 

Christianity Out Of Context

I’ll admit this up front, I’m going to base this post on a paragraph taken out of context from another post (read it here) I’m not even going to mention the blog named ‘Roll To Disbelieve’ or that the OP is about Ryan Bell in some way. Nope, not going to do any of that. I’m going to take this all kinds of out of context. Here is the paragraph that woke me up like a bucket of cold water. (emphasis is mine)

I should not be surprised by this comparison. She genuinely thinks that as her religion loses cultural dominance that “iniquity will abound,” and even cites a Bible verse (Matthew 24:12) she thinks props up her assertion that Christians today are living in the “Endtimes,” that mystical apocalyptic ending of the world that will involve the Rapture, then (or before or during the Rapture, depending on exactly what Christian you’re talking to) a period of great persecution called the Tribulation, and then the Battle of Armageddon and the final destruction of the planet Earth, which in the minds of many Christians like her will start when her religion experiences a great “falling away.”

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I read the above paragraph (whole post actually) and as I did it occurs to me that the belief that without religion that iniquity would abound in the world is a belief that can ONLY be held by people who are absolutely, positively, without a doubt, beyond repair, ignorant of the news.

We are living in, one of the most peaceful time in human history, but there is this:

Studies demonstrate the world is becoming less violent, and that human warfare is on the decline. There is one aspect of the human existence, however, that continues to ignite humans to commit violence and atrocities against fellow humans. A major new study published by the Pew Research Center shows that religious hostilities reached a 6-year high in 2012.

We can look at the news and see ‘random’ ‘psychotics’ attacking police officers while chanting to their deity. There are no stories of atheists attacking cops while shouting there is no god.

Then there is Evangelicals trying to kill the gays wherever they can:

The Uganda Anti-Homosexuality Act, 2014 (previously called the “Kill the Gays bill” in the western mainstream media due to the originally proposed death penalty clauses) The legislative proposal would broaden the criminalisation of same-sex relations in Uganda domestically, and further includes provisions for Ugandans who engage in same-sex relations outside of Uganda, asserting that they may be extradited for punishment back to Uganda, and includes penalties for individuals, companies, media organisations, or non-governmental organisations that know of gay people or support LGBT rights.

Do we need to look at how much money the LDS wasted trying to prevent same sex marriage in a different state?

It is estimated that the amount of money the US government loses in tax exemptions for religions could feed the hungry, clothe and house the homeless and improve our medical services every year, year on year, because the amount that religion steals from the rest of us is perhaps as much as $71 billion a year.

I’m just getting started. Do we have to mention the mess that the Roman Catholic Church has made around the globe by abusing and raping children? Do we need to put links to every Christian pastor who raped or stole? Do we have to example every mega-church pastor’s problems? I don’t think so. The news is littered with stories about the religious doing iniquities left, right, and center.

That doesn’t even begin to cover the self proclaimed religious politicians and lobbyists and their iniquity. There are more convicted felons in the houses of congress across the US than there are employees in most small businesses. Go ahead, Google that one.

Back when everyone was a ‘believer’ and religion ruled Europe they had a name for it, it was called the dark ages. Toward the end when humans began to decide that we needed a different way, one of the first was some pissed off barons who took King John out in the woods and made him sign the Magna Carta and it is these precepts of law (and others) which were spread around the world, refined here and there by various colonists as they gained freedom. Forget the believer’s god and its hell, people should be afraid of law enforcement and citizens with guns. Those citizens do not like to be robbed, raped, and treated poorly. Those citizens created revolutions across most of the globe now. While they did not choose to eliminate religion most of them  have removed religion from government… for a reason.

Before you get all huffy, from this we can easily conclude that being part of a religion (even an integral part) does not make you a good person.

Now, to say that iniquity would happen if religion disappeared is blindingly stupid. The laws don’t stop these people and religion certainly doesn’t stop them. In fact, for much of it, it is religion that makes their crimes possible or often enough the religion hides their crimes.

Why do we allow such people a public speaking post? This is exactly the kind of person that should be laughed at and mocked and shamed into silence. That one thought is so stupid it is offensive.

 

 

Where Are All The Dead Christians?

It’s that time of year again. Christian’s believe they are persecuted while they spend their money on themselves instead of helping the needy. Children are starving to death around the clock, but it’s important to them to argue that they are persecuted. War rages on several continents yet the supposed attack on their holiday is news worthy. I don’t think they actually know what their ‘christ’ tried to teach them. If they lived those lessons they’d be a much more tolerable bunch.

Yet, here we are, once again. People arguing for the defense of their deity. As a non-believer I’d simply like to see some credible evidence to show they have standing in this argument. That is, I’d like to see where they are harmed. Personal feelings do not count as standing. There must be evidence of harm.

The harm principle holds that the actions of individuals should only be limited to prevent harm to other individuals. John Stuart Mill articulated this principle in On Liberty, where he argued that, “The only purpose for which power can be rightfully exercised over any member of a civilized community, against his will, is to prevent harm to others.”[1] An equivalent was earlier stated in France’s Declaration of the Rights of Man and of the Citizen of 1789 as, “Liberty consists in the freedom to do everything which injures no one else; hence the exercise of the natural rights of each man has no limits except those which assure to the other members of the society the enjoyment of the same rights. These limits can only be determined by law.”

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The rightfully free expression of thought does not cause harm unless it can be shown that by promoting one line of thinking it does harm to individuals who do not hold this line of thinking to be true.

It is at this point we can postulate that Christians claiming harm by the supposed ‘war on Christmas’ is in fact harming other religions at this time of year. Any standing that they have holds true also for those of other religions and those of no religion. Deductively, we can reason that the supposed war on Christmas (religion) is nothing of the kind, in any sense. It is simply expression of thought which is not in agreement with Christianity. If this supposed war gives the Christians legal standing then they have legal standing anywhere a mosque or synagogue is erected. We can also reason that the supposed war on Christmas is nothing more than a ploy for theocracy that benefits Christians. This in turn is in violation of the Constitution. By this I reason that the very phrase ‘war on Christmas’ is both heretical and unconstitutional. It is self defeating in its arguments.

All of this is said without yet even defining the meaning of the word war: a state of armed conflict between different nations or states or different groups within a nation or state.

Where are the dead Christians? If there is a war, can we go ahead and start killing them?

What the F is Egalitarianism

It is not an easy word to say, doesn’t roll off the tongue and does not appear in the daily 24 hour news cycle. So? What is it?

I always go to Merriam-Webster for definitions because I like them

1:  a belief in human equality especially with respect to social, political, and economic affairs
2:  a social philosophy advocating the removal of inequalities among people
This seems quite reasonable. So why is it so hard to achieve?
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I don’t want to cast aspersions where they are not warranted but I should point out that religion has been in charge for over 2000 years. Perhaps we should try this without religion?
Thoughts?

The Sound Of Religion Dying

I love the sound of religion dying. Yes, it has a sound. The cries of the religious whining about how they aren’t special anymore. The blog 410AD id doing just exactly that whining.

 

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For those you who think atheists are out to get you, this next bit is for you.

You are either misinformed , wilfully ignorant, or dishonest. Atheist do not wish to remove “..every religious reference – especially Christian ones – from public life.” They only want the government to stop using tax dollars to erect them or maintain them and prevent the government and its many agencies from displaying favoritism of one religion over others and none at all. Atheists want the government (federal, state, local) to treat all religions and no religion equally, not giving special dispensation to any single religion or group of religions. When the government et al is allowed to give preferential treatment to one religion over others, the others and those of no religious belief become second class citizens.

I presume that you’d like everyone that is not Christian like you to be a second class citizen. Your speech is bigoted and smacks of someone crying because their religious privilege is being questioned and removed. Go on, use the O word. Yes, just because Christians can’t act like they are above the rest of us they think they are oppressed. I’ve got news for you. Read your book. Nowhere in your holy book does it say you should have privilege. In fact it says much the opposite. So not only are you crying about not having special privilege you are being a hypocrite to boot. Yeah, I get to criticize your behavior. You aspire to be christ-like so the mandates for your behavior are laid out in a book that all can read. I’ve read it and I can tell you this much, you’ve got a long way to go before you can be said to be christ-like.

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.

 

 

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