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The Echo Chamber May 25, 2011

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For every atheist that speaks out, there is often a reciprocal event taking place that may be going unnoticed. It is often the case that most of the people surrounding atheists have never been exposed to the arguments offered up for atheism. We can never really expect that others will see the clarity of rational thought just by hearing our words alone, but we can expect that individual atheists are interrupting the believer’s continuous loop of positive religious feedback. If enough of us atheists choose to break through to the believer’s religious echo chamber, we can create a tapestry of negative feedback. Working as a wall of reason to challenge every public display of religion, atheists may be able to turn the tides against the absurdly favored perception of religion. We know without a doubt that religion is the wrong path for humanity and being free from it’s grasp, we are able to clearly see as no others that it is an inherently dangerous worldview. It appears that it is only a matter us working harder to become the collective force that is capable of finishing off the old irrational beast. Much like the child that is surrounded by people consistently telling them that lying is wrong, the chances that our message will be heard increases every time an atheist speaks up. In my opinion, the power of the individual outspoken atheist cannot be stated enough.

Alone, we will nearly always fail against the great ocean of rational illiteracy and religious lunacy. When we speak alone, it’s likely much easier for the religious world to write us off as kooks, but together we may be able to break down even the most indoctrinated Religionist. The flaw in all of this is that there are many atheists that perceive that they have too much to lose in speaking out. I must ask though, at what point do atheists choose to suffer for the cause? For me, it was knowing that I couldn’t suffer the loss of employment.

What assurances would you need before you would be willing to go public? What would make you comfortable enough to speak out? Would you speak up if your government began embracing theocracy?

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Religion, Child Abuse, and Exposure to Adult Sexuality March 26, 2011

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20110326-031528.jpg

Anyone that has ever read the Bible (I mean really read the Bible) knows that it contains some very explicit sexual content. In Genesis alone the Bible contains the following pieces of bad advice:

19:1-8 Rape virgins instead of male angels
24:2-3, 9 Place your hand “under the thigh” (sexual organs) of someone swearing sacred oaths
25:1-6 Keeping mistresses is not adultery

Since there are literally hundreds of sexually inappropriate Bible verses, should our children really be made to read them? Better yet, should children really be included in the debate regarding adult sexuality? Apparently, Westboro Baptist parents feel that they should. The Westboro Baptists regularly trot out their poor children to hold signs regarding what they view as sexual depravity. Surely, if they have instructed their children to hold up these signs, they have also explained to them what they mean. As a child welfare worker, I can say with certainty that when kids get exposed to adult sexuality, whether by accident or on purpose, they will have questions. Most kids simply do not have the context to understand things of a sexual nature. If Westboro parents are exposing their kids to the knowledge of adult sexuality, some at six or seven years old, and then using the Bible as a guidebook for explaining everything, their kids could be at serious risk. It’s not a stretch to say that a case could be made to show that Westboro parents are neglecting to protect their children’s welfare every time they parade them out with sexually explicit signs.

Isiah 36:12″…you, will have to eat their own excrement and drink their own urine?”

Religion Must Go: Why Accomodationism Fails. March 22, 2011

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“The Christian resolution to find the world ugly and bad has made the world ugly and bad.” – Friederich Nietzsche

I won’t pretend that the following examples are fully representative of the current status between atheists and their religious opponents, though it could be argued that at one time or another these relationships have turned out pretty fucking bad for atheists. Religion, by it’s very nature, is an enemy to reason and thus an enemy to atheism. There are striking resemblances in the relationships of atheists and religionists to those of the Nazis and Jews, African Americans and the KKK, Islamic extremists and freedom, and Eminem and Vanilla Ice. I can say with reasonable certainty that none of the above named groups will ever be capable of buddying up for any extended period of time.

“I am myself a dissenter from all known religions, and I hope that every kind of religious belief will die out.” – Bertrand Russell

It is a matter of fact that certain groups of people are inherently in opposition to one another. Because the beliefs and values of these oppositional groups are so far divided, these groups will never be able to find a middle ground to work with. When I say that these groups will never be able to find middle ground, I’m speaking of the groups as a whole and not subsets or individuals in these groups. I know that it very common for individuals to set aside their differences, but I can’t imagine, under any circumstances, that the KKK is going to begin allowing African Americans in as members. I also can’t imagine that Christianity, or Islam for that matter, is capable of changing it’s stance on homosexuals, women’s rights, and atheists. Neither religion currently has the capability to edit out the hate filled verses aimed at these groups. I don’t know about you, but I’m not comfortable with accommodating a groups that feels that I should either be killed, shunned, or burning in Hell.

“Religion is fundamentally opposed to everything I hold in veneration–courage, clear thinking, honesty, fairness, and, above all, love of the truth.”- H. L. Mencken

At this point, I’m not here to argue about who is right and who is wrong, I am simply trying to show that religion, as a whole, is incompatible with atheism. I say this, as I know that many people on both sides are wishing for a future where all sides are walking hand in hand. I fully admit that I often desire this outcome too, it’s just that it may never be possible. Even if I feel that it is highly unlikely, I can still hope right? Even though I admit that I don’t believe that there is chance for hand in hand cooperation, I am by no means calling for an end to the efforts and I am in no way saying our battle should ever resort to violence. What I do feel, much like Reagan’s stance on not negotiating with terrorists, is that atheists everywhere should be focusing more of their time on efforts that reduce religion’s power and sway. I’m not claiming to know what strategies work, but I can reason out that finding common ground is only going to take us so far. Even if atheism was able to mesh with religion, history has shown us that it will only be a matter of time before religion takes a new fanatical turn and we are again victimized by it’s violent dogmatic irrationality.

An unrelated, but awesome quote: “Imagine a puddle waking up one morning and thinking, ‘This is an interesting world I find my self in – an interesting hole I find my self in – fits me rather neatly, doesn’t it? In fact it fits me staggeringly well, must have been made to have me in it!’ This is such a powerful idea that as the sun rises in the sky and the air heats up and as, gradually, the puddle gets smaller and smaller, it’s still frantically hanging on to the notion that everything’s going to be alright, because this world was meant to have him in it, was built to have him in it; so the moment he disappears catches him rather by surprise. I think this may be something we need to be on the watch out for.”
– Douglass Adams

Thanks for your god. November 26, 2010

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As a low level government employee, I am often inundated with mass mailed holiday messages from my superiors. Luckily, most of these messages are generalized, inclusive, and fairly religion free. I really don’t mean to sound like a bitter holiday scrooge, but there are times, mainly when I am forcefully confronted with religion at work, that I am just not capable of keeping my mouth shut. Case in point, I recently got hit with a holiday message from one of my various superiors (actually in thus case my ultimate superior) so steeped in workplace evangelism, that I had to verify I hadn’t unknowingly gotten a job at a church. While the contents of this message was warm and respectful, the divisive religious undertones were unbearable. At one point, the writer just had to tell me about how they wished everyone could just understand that they are all special children of “God”, which god they did not say. While I fully disagree with that sentiment, mostly because delusions are not known for being beneficial, I understood that it was really meant as a wish for others to be better people. I too wish that some times and as long as I’m not being indirectly included into any overt religious stuff, I’m fine with silently disagreeing. The letter of course then went on to get pretty personal, eventually including me into prayers and assuming that I too would be thanking “God”, but still not revealing which particular one. Last I checked, I couldn’t find anything at all that could be remotely credited to god for any kind of thanking to be necessary. As a rationalist, I am always on the look out for my own illogical opinions, so I thought it best to ponder things further. Pondered to the point where I thought I could easily rule out with certainty that I needed to thank God for anything, I came upon something pretty profound that made me think that maybe I should be thanking my superior’s God. Without further ado, I give my thanks to my superior’s god in the Holy name of the Christian Thanksgiving Holiday (sorry to all of my Native American friends), for helping to inspire some people to sometimes do pretty good things. In all sincerity, I am very thankful for all of the Christians, Muslims, Buddhists, Wiccans (not so much to the Mormons or Scientologists though), Jehovah’s Witnesses, and other religionists that managed to gain courage with their irrational belief in my superior’s God to fight for freedom all across the world. I am truly thankful for these brave individuals and if they felt so inspired by their belief in God to willingly lay down their lives in the name of freedom, I must surely thank each and every one of their different gods. If it wasn’t for these people’s misguided faiths and superstitions, America may have never been able to defeat the opponents of freedom. To pay honor and to give thanks, I promise that I will use my freedom at every point that it is necessary and always cherish the fact that, because of the courage of many illogical people, no one, not even a workplace superior, can stop me from openly dissenting. My freedom to respond without fear of reprisal, specifically to blatant workplace evangelism by a superior has been bought and paid for by the martyrs of other people’s gods. I know of nothing more honorable than fighting for the freedoms of people you disagree with. Dissension is as American as deep fried Snickers and the Treaty of Tripoli. For that, I am more than thankful, I am hopeful that one day it will be integral part of human rights. After writing my response to my superior’s holiday message, I can’t help but wonder if they are still as thankful about including me into their religious practices.

Thriving without gods. November 11, 2010

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It stands to reason, when considering the “sacred” words of the holy books, that atheists should be some of the most miserable and lonely humans this planet has ever known. Shunned by our fellow humans at the behest of the gods, we should be seen as being the poor underlings to the vast and obvious greatness of the much more superior supernatural brain slaves. Wasting our precious time and brain power, not on the strength of telepathic prayer, we should be seen toiling away at our pointless and doomed endeavors, yet without a single prayer, most atheists have managed to live happy and productive lives all throughout human history. Without a bent knee, atheists have managed to not only make many important scientific discoveries, but have also done so with a mind towards the good of humanity. How is it then that atheists haven’t spiraled to a godless pit of despair? The answer is that atheist inferiority is a myth on par with the ancient miracles. Not that religionists are known for seriously considering evidence, but one look at the atheist population shows that things are drastically contrary to their indoctrinated and quite popular belief. It’s not just a little ironic that religionists lay claim to being able to achieve anything through the power of their gods, when in fact it has always just been us humans achieving what was once thought unachievable. It’s us, not the gods, that have proven the capacity for greatness. The truth is that it has always been and will always be just us. To religionists, this is a terrifying proposition, but to the atheist, this is just reality and reality happens to dictate that we are only limited by the lies we tell ourselves.

How religion has retarded humanity’s growth. September 9, 2009

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While people obliviously congregate in their choice of religious facility, do they ever consider what good they could do if they only stood up and went to work in the name of humanity? I am sure you have all heard the statement that “Two hands working can do more than a thousand clasped in prayer.” If we take this line of thinking even further and begin to imagine how many homes that could have been built in place of the massive religious infrastructure, the neglect we done to our fellow humans becomes all to clear. Without speaking in depth of the wasted availablility of helping hands, funding, and the future problem solvers that have been lost to countless religious wars, we still arrive at a humanity that’s had it’s growth stunted by the prevailing belief in religion. Religion is truly humanity’s achilles heel.    

One of the most heartfelt arguments about the shackles of religion.