Saturday, June 30, 2012
Friday, June 29, 2012
Friendly Response To A Christian Apologist
Guest Post: Dancing On Pinheads by Colby Hess
"Sure we fit. We wouldn't be here if we didn't."
Conservative Radio Host to Tom Latham (R-IA) : Let’s pistol whip some nuns!
Richard Dawkins, Daniel Dennett, Sam Harris & Ayaan Hirsi Ali
PZ Myers - Sacking The City Of God!
The Thinking Atheist's 'Afterlife'
TEDx - Reid Gower: Defining the Frontier
An Objective Moral Lawgiver?
An Interview with Martin S. Pribble
Could A God Prove Its Existence?
Who Invented Christ?
Jesus Vision Goggles Are Now Available!
In Which I Answer Leah Libresco’s Moral Philosophy Concerns So You Don’t Become A Catholic Too
On Harassment and Policies: An Open Letter to Skeptic and Freethought Leaders
Thanks to @Godless_Savage for the heads up on this speech. I had never seen it before. Go forth and follow him.
Ancient Chinese pottery confirmed as the oldest yet found
An Interactive Map of the Dark-Money Universe
NASA finds hidden ocean on Saturn's moon Titan
The Big Bang Didn't Need God
In U.S., 46% Hold Creationist View of Human Origins
Catholics Call Lesbian Employee's Lawsuit an Attack on Religion
Why So Little Religious Politicking in This Presidential Election?
Case shines light on obedience in Catholic church
Christian School Suspends Gay Student, Fires Mother
Today's Reasons to Quit the Catholic Church
LA Voucher Students Taught Creationism, Climate Change Denial, and Bigotry
GOP Opposes Critical Thinking: Party platform paints original ideas as a liberal conspiracy
Mysterious Fairy Circles Are 'Alive'
The galaxy that shouldn’t be there
CHUCK NORRIS STILL SUCKS
A Three-Minute Song by Tim Minchin
I laughed. A lot.
Thursday, June 28, 2012
Wednesday, June 27, 2012
Many people have at some point heard, or are at least vaguely familiar with the question, “How many angels can dance on the head of a pin?” – a reference to the pointless theological debates that consumed much of European academia during the latter half of the Middle Ages. Although it turns out this particular phrasing was most likely never actually discussed (not appearing in print until hundreds of years later as a retroactive jab at Thomas Aquinas and his “scholastic” brand of philosophy) it continues to serve as a handy metaphor for any dubious intellectual endeavor lacking in apparent practical value and without any foreseeable means of resolution.
Questions of this sort, while no longer at the forefront of serious scholarly inquiry, haven’t completely subsided in the modern age, especially in the United States where we have the unusual distinction of being by far the most religious of any advanced, industrial nation. As the so-called “culture wars” rage on unabated in the run-up to the 2012 presidential election (with back and forth volleys ranging from Rick Santorum’s failed candidacy to President Obama’s recent declaration of support for gay marriage), the subject of religious belief and its role in American politics has been pushed to the forefront of national discourse, and with it has come a revival of interest in a wide range of formerly obscure ideas relating to God and his role in the universe.
Most visible and controversial among these various heretical doctrines to emerge, and standing in direct opposition to the mainstream Christian beliefs still held by a majority of the populace, is the moral and philosophical position that God is completely imaginary; that he is nothing but a vestige of primitive ignorance and confusion about the workings of nature, and that it is therefore up to humans alone to determine what is best for our species. Rooted in science and fueled in large part by a perceived religious overreach in all manner of secular concerns, this passionate and vocal “new” atheism has burst onto the scene over the past decade – a rapid resurgence of a phenomenon that had gone virtually unnoticed in the U.S. since the days of Robert Green Ingersoll and the “Golden Age of Freethought” at the close of the nineteenth century.
Tuesday, June 26, 2012
Last week I wrote “So You Want to Misrepresent Atheism?” as a response to a Christian apologist who wrote “So You Want to Be an Atheist Apologist.” Although I rarely respond to a comment with a lengthy post, I thought my retort was too long and involved to simply reply in the comment section. Also—to be honest—I don’t mind the dialogue.
The following block quote is the response from the original author after I posted a link to my response essay on his site.
Thanks for your interest in my post. It was not meant as an attack on atheism or a misrepresentation of atheism. On one hand, it comes from my own experience as an atheism twenty years ago or so. I was that passive atheists who did not care if other people were religious. I know find myself confused as to why atheists spend so much time attacking religion.
On the other hand, some of the things found in this post come from my own recent interactions with atheists. You asked for references to some of what I said, while I do not have the books with me right now, they did come from reading Hitchens and Dawkins. Things like dismissing the Bible, come from conversations I have had. A historian will look at the Bible, not as an inspired text but as a historical document similar to other texts of the time, with strengths and weaknesses. Some of the atheists I have spoken to have dismissed this and have said the religious status the Bible has removes it from the discussion. I hope you do not take that position.
By the way, I am planning a similar post on Christian apologists as well. I believe sarcasm should be shared with everyone.
My response (posted here and on his site):
Thank you for taking the time to read my post and respond. I would like to begin by stating that if it was indeed a sarcastic piece (which in theory I could appreciate); in my opinion the sarcasm needs to come from a place of truth and not simply mocking outliers and fallacies. Of course the outliers are free game, but they should not be used to represent the whole. For example, I would never use the Westboro Baptist Church as an example of all Christians in a critique or comedic post. Not only would that be misrepresentative it would just not be funny because the reader knows it not to be true. As with any group, there is plenty of stuff to make fun of atheists for; however the examples in your post were too specific to a small minority that were used to represent the entire group, or they were simply fallacies that theists employ against atheists all the time (i.e. the “morality” dig). I honestly and truly do not care if atheists are made fun of, satirized or mocked. Such is your right and I would be a hypocrite to say otherwise. Have at it, man! I might even laugh if it’s done well. I just thought that your post fell into the trap of fallacies that theists repeatedly use against atheists instead of looking at atheism and actually teasing out something new and insightful. In short, we’ve heard it before and much of it is wrong.
If you really are writing one about Christians I would give you the same exact advice.
Secondly, I will respond to the two points in your comment: 1) atheists attacking religion, and 2) the historicity of the Bible.
“Why do atheists attack religion?” We hear this so often it becomes a cliché. “Why do atheists spend so much of their time thinking and talking about something that they do not believe exists?” Usually there is a second part to that where it is assumed that we’re just “angry at god”, we still “really believe”, etc. I too was once but a simple nonbeliever waffling between agnosticism (or what I erroneously thought what ‘agnosticism’ was) and atheism (the ‘passive’ kind). I cared not what others thought about god. I just thought they were wrong, but no big deal. It was a carefree life devoid of having to think too hard about some of the bigger questions of human existence and how the “answers” people came to influence their actions in the real world.
As I said in my response to your post; what happened was that I and many others have come to the realization that passive atheism is a liability. There are too many dangerous results of religious belief. Now, before you balk, let me say that of course not all religious belief and religious people are inherently dangerous. That is obviously untrue.
The era we live in, and I’m you see it too and can agree, is one of ideological strife. Everyone is clamoring to ensure that their views are heard and respected. That is fine. There are others, however, that do not simply want their beliefs to be heard. They want their beliefs to be obeyed. Their beliefs require them to not simply voice their opinion. Their belief requires everyone to submit to their opinion. Or else! I will not bother to list all of the religious instances of this (there are also political instances, of course) as the list is too long and would only be tedious. I am sure you can think of many examples as to what I am referring to. It is, after all, everywhere.
Here in the U.S. it is not simply a disagreement on how to run the country it has become a disagreement on how to run our lives. Again, leaving the strictly political ideologues out of this (of which I am skeptical); there is a powerful network of religious groups that want nothing more than to instill their religious worldview on the rest of us. This takes the form of institutionalized homophobia, institutionalized misogyny, institutionalized religious intolerance, institutionalized morality, etc. One may not agree with how another conducts their life but that doesn’t give anyone the right to tell others how to live their lives. Ever. These people are dangerous to the individual, society, the country and the world. In America, I am not talking about fundamentalist Muslims. I am talking about fundamentalist Christians. They work for Dominion over all and they do not care what it takes to establish it. I will fight them tooth and nail to protect not only myself, but my fellow citizens, irreligious and religious alike, from being forced to obey their laws and morality.
Conversely, while I think religions are false and foolish I have no right to enforce what anyone should believe (or should not believe) or how to believe or whether or not one can even worship. I have every right to say it is false and foolish. I have every right to scream that from the roof tops. You can scream until you’re blue in the face about the saving power of Christ. It will sure as hell annoy me but I think you have the right to do it unless you use the power of the state or state agents to do so. The government should be secular from the bottom up so this power never gets confused or abused by anyone. Religious or not. Pray in school! I don’t care. Just don’t enforce prayer in school or somehow make it exclusionary. Similarly, one can teach Creationism all they want at home or in church (yes, I cringed typing that). It is just not appropriate in a publically-funded school/agency.
Pardon my assumption, but this is where I usually get a response about how atheism wants to push itself on everyone else. No. No it does not. Atheists have every right to voice their opinion and attempt to “de-convert” the faithful if that is someone’s wish. To object would be the height of hypocrisy for an evangelical religion such as Christianity. Atheists, generally, want to remove religion from an entanglement with the government for the good of all. A secular state protects everyone by not being involved in the discussion. All the energy and money spent on fighting these battles should be put to better use by not introducing them via the state that represents all different types of ideologies and religions.
“He that would make his own liberty secure, must guard even his enemy from oppression; for if he violates this duty, he establishes a precedent that will reach to himself.” --Thomas Paine
As to the historicity of the Bible; I am no expert. Aside from having read it in it’s entirely a few times and then looking up various passages more times than I can remember, I would not say that I “study” it. However, the point I was making in my response to your post is that it is deeply flawed book, not the least of which is its historicity. I have never claimed the Bible to be useless either philosophically or historically. It’s certainly not a great book for philosophy (downright heinous at times), but it has its moments. Historically, there is some value to it, but by and large there are too many holes, inconsistencies and inaccuracies for it to be truly useful. There are a plethora of historical claims that are provably false within the Bible. If I am going to study history I am better off with another book. Again, I’m not going to hash that all out here, because I would suspect you know that to be true or can use the computer to find out for yourself. While the two men are not fond of each other you should check out Bart Erhman and Richard Carrier for non-theistic takes on the Bible. Erhman is a little more forgiving, fyi.
Finally, the last point I would like to make revisits the “passive atheism” discussion. For me personally, once I came to the realization that faith is an inadequate mode of operation and that theistic and religious claims are false, whether harmful or not, it becomes a lost cause on respecting it. The mechanism of belief (faith) is dangerous because it can allow any claim or belief to be believed. It is a useless method to determine what is true or not. It is, however, a fantastic method to believe what one wants to believe. The difference being that a properly skeptical person that arrives at atheism is not operating via faith. It is completely rational to reject theistic and religious claims. The onus is on the claims of the believer.
If you are interested in understanding this point more please read two of my recent posts entitled “The Premise of Atheism: Rejecting the Positive Assertion” and “Above All…Faith.” I think those two essays sum up my reasoning rather well.
Monday, June 25, 2012
“It seems the height of antiquated hubris to claim that the universe carried on as it did for billions of years in order to form a comfortable abode for us. Chance and historical contingency give the world of life most of its glory and fascination. I sit here happy to be alive and sure that some reason must exist for ‘why me?’ Or the earth might have been totally covered with water, and an octopus might now be telling its children why the eight-legged God of all things had made such a perfect world for cephalopods. Sure we fit. We wouldn't be here if we didn't. But the world wasn't made for us and it will endure without us.”
— Stephen Jay Gould, "Pleasant Dreams," An Urchin in the Storm, New York: W. W. Norton & Co., 1987, p. 206.
Jan Mickelson: "There’s a bus full of nuns headed towards Washington to lobby against the Ryan plan. Do you guys, do you have any power to pull the Nuns on the Bus over and pistol whip them?"
Tom Latham: "It’s always fun to be on your show." [Laughs]
via Faith in Public Life
Tom Latham: "It’s always fun to be on your show." [Laughs]
via Faith in Public Life
Saturday, June 23, 2012
Friday, June 22, 2012
Coming Out Is Hard To Do (Especially If You Now Champion Evil) “If she is now Catholic, then she kisses the ring and trades her freedom for hierarchy, homophobia, genocide, protected pederasty, and misogyny. They do not actually bend on this. Canon Law is Canon Law...Her reservation about the church's stance on homosexuality is cute, liberal pap.”
Atheist blogger Leah Libresco converts to Christianity Ooh, national news! It must have been important!
An Incredibly Poor Defense of Faith Maybe someday I will find something written by a Christian apologist that doesn’t make me roll my eyes. Someday...
Davey And Goliath Video And Memes I love these. I used to watch Davey and Goliath all the time. I can still hear the stupid dog’s voice in my head. “Hello Daaavee.”
Stream Gojira's new album - L'Enfant Sauvage
"The Unity of Life is an Empirical Fact."
An old friend and classmate of mine is running in the NYC Triathlon for The Leukemia and Lymphoma Society’s (LLS) Team In Training. I asked her to kick cancer in the crotch for me. Please consider donating/sponsoring.
This Is Atheist Charity Same charity as above, but a different event.
How Lies Spread My in-laws are nice enough to not watch Fox News when I’m around, but they say things that give it away. Last weekend I heard all about the drone surveillance of American farmers. I was skeptical, but also eating their food.
Scapegoating Ever wonder where the Christian concept of sacrifice for the forgiveness of sins came from?
When animals light up: Bioluminescence
HENRY ROLLINS: Who's the crazier man? Zen Pencils with another great one.
As America grows more polarized, conservatives increasingly reject science and rational thought
"Faith: Pretending To Know Things You Don't Know" by Dr. Peter Boghossian
Random Deepak Chopra Quote Generator Honestly, who could tell the difference?
Scientology and Dead Space: how the horror series may carry a hidden message of religious skepticism “‘From their perspective, it makes sense. Some of them, when they see how it all goes down, they have a crisis of confidence.’ In fact, Dead Space 3 will explore what happens when followers of Unitology see what the prophecies really mean, and have to decide whether to abandon their religion or trust in their faith and the teachings of the church.”
Does a galaxy filled with habitable planets mean humanity is doomed? Nah.
All 786 Known Planets to Scale
The Letter - Jehovah's Witness Mother Ends Relationship with Atheist Son This just made me sad. I actually wrote some commentary for it and then decided against it using it. I figure I should just let this speak for itself.
Drug Enforcement Agent Won’t Admit That Crack Is Worse Than Marijuana Amazing. Stupid, but really amazing if you think about it.
Humanity escapes the solar system: Voyager 1 signals that it has reached the edge of interstellar space It has taken my entire lifetime for Voyager 1 to accomplish this. While this is an fantastic achievement, we need to do better.
Is the New Testament Reliable? Spoiler Alert! → No.
Paul Verhoeven Finds Backing And A Writer For Controversial Jesus Christ Movie
My Secret Atheist Blog: No Longer A Slumdog Book Review - Part 1 - The 4/14 Window This is really interesting. I never heard of this before.
Vatican accuses media of "imitating Dan Brown"
VatiLeaks Puts the Pope in Publicity Hell
Exhausted in the Vatican Anachronistic and dying. *clasps fingers together and mutters* “Excellent."
Ancient Turtles Died Copulating ▲ eh?
Joe The Plumber & the Bible vs. Science Such a moron.
Finally, A Map Of All The Microbes On Your Body “The human body contains about 100 trillion cells, but only maybe one in 10 of those cells is actually — human. The rest are from bacteria, viruses and other microorganisms.” Cool.
UGANDA: Police Raid LGBT Meeting
Almost 120,000 Christians pledge to vote for Jesus Christ as president this November This is almost certainly a massive overstatement, but it’s nice to think that some people are so stupid as to remove themselves from the voter block.
David Barton * shakes fist*: 'Many of the Clauses we Find in the Constitution are Literal, Direct Quotations out of the Bible' Right Wing Watch challenges “anyone to find these "literal, direct quotations out of the Bible" printed anywhere in the US Constitution.”
Report calls on government to back open access to science
A Size Comparison Chart of 20 Real-Life Spaceships With the Starship Enterprise
Fight Church I can’t even explain why I find this so funny. I just do.
George Takei Fires His Phaser at Facebook
Mark Ruffalo and Tom Morello launch Robin Hood tax plan to outlaw Wall Street excess This...this is actually a good idea!
Thursday, June 21, 2012
I just find this incredibly sad. Although relationships in my family haven’t always gone smoothly for various reasons, religion and the lack thereof being one of them, it has never even come close to this. I can’t imagine receiving this letter.
I transcribed it after the jump.
Wednesday, June 20, 2012
Samuel Wurzelbacher, aka Joe the Plumber, aka Gun Control Caused the Holocaust, explained to Christian Broadcasting Network’s David Brody on the 700 Club how his pastor convinced him of the truth of Christianity. Wurzelbacher’s pastor claims the truth of the Bible since it has never been revised, whereas science books are revised all the time!
“‘Revision Seven.’ He said, ‘now look at the Bible, what does it say’? I said, ‘Holy Bible.’ He said, ‘see any revisions on it Joe’? I said, ‘no.’ He said, ‘the reason why is because this is God’s word…man’s always looking for an answer, that’s why it’s revised.’”
That is airtight reasoning right there, son! Not to mention it is completely false. The Bible has been revised a number of times and has specious sources to boot. Science is, of course, going to revise itself often based on the accumulation of information, revision and correction. It admits its mistakes. If it didn’t it would be useless.
It has to be noted that Right Wing Watch likes to point out that the pastor “…seems to believe that faith and science are incompatible….” (emphasis mine)
That’s because they are. One can still operate via science in one instance and faith in another, but that is the result of compartmentalization. They are utterly incompatible in unison.
via Right Wing Watch
Every once in awhile I come across theistic apologetics so profoundly “circular” that my first reaction is to ignore it. Actually, “circular” isn’t exactly the right word. Nick used the word “pap” in a post yesterday and I really like that word. “Pap” is something that is lacking in “substance or value.” The word also means a “soft food for infants or invalids.” I laughed as I typed that. Faith = pap. Yeah…yeah I like that.
The apologetics in question here is in a blog post entitled “Challenging Atheism’s Definition of Faith” by The Confident Christian. As the title implies, we atheists are apparently unaware of the true definition of faith. We are subsequently schooled on its proper meaning. I’m not going to do a word for word dissection to counter this post, because this is already pretty long and there is way too much irrelevant filler. Pap if you will…
Part 1: Intro - Nietzsche and Faith
The article begins with the author admitting a grudging respect for Nietzsche, who is apparently “an honest atheist.”
So many atheists want to live with one foot in the Christian worldview and one foot out. Not Nietzsche. He took his medicine like a man and followed the atheistic worldview to its logical conclusions. Then he went crazy.
I’m not exactly sure what the author means by having “one foot in the Christian worldview and one out,” but I’ll make the assumption it means nothing and is simply flowery and specious language inserted to get a dig on atheists. Of course any true atheist worth his salt will end up where they belong: insane. That’s not fallacious at all!
Various quotes regarding Nietzsche’s view of faith are given and then we are told that “99% of all skeptics and atheists” would agree. That’s an assumption and mind-reading. We’ll get to a Nietzsche’s quotes later.
Let’s take a look at what real Biblical faith is and see if we can’t redeem the word from the faulty image that’s painted by today’s unbelieving culture.
Oh the “real Biblical faith.” Do tell!
Tuesday, June 19, 2012
Coming out is hard to do. I know. You’re never sure how people are going to react. I’ve gotten the full spectrum of reactions, everything from “Awesome, me too” to “No, you’re not” to the ever popular “You know you’re going to hell, right”. I’ve never asked that people accept my atheism, just that they respect my right of conscience. That’s why when I read about Leah Libresco’s announcement that she’s switching sides, I didn’t feel the need to jump all over her. Even the fact that she continued writing "as an atheist" for another month after her realization didn't bother me. In a way, it was kind of expected. I read her blog off and on, always more interested in how she was going to argue her point rather than what she was arguing. She was a "theist's atheist", much as S.E. Cupp is, although I would have hesitated to make that comparison. That is, until I actually read her post explaining her conversion.
I wasn’t upset that she had become a theist, just disappointed. That she “feels” morality is a person is about as ridiculous a reason as I’ve ever heard for belief in the supernatural. It’s weakness couched in sophistry. That she wants there to be some force for good in the universe doesn’t change the fact that she can’t possibly know whether or not there is; and the fact is that the universe behaves exactly as we’d expect it to without a supreme moral agent working for good. Not to mention she ignores every other argument in favor of non-belief. All this didn’t really seem worth my time to rebut.
A conversion to Roman Catholicism, however, is worth a rebuttal. Of all the religious traditions available, she chose one of the most wretchedly immoral of the lot. With everything that the Catholic Church has done and believed throughout its history and all that it continues to, she chose it?
The church of the golden throne and the starving child.
The church of the Madonna and dying mothers.
The church of Highest Truth and greatest lies.
If she is now Catholic, then she kisses the ring and trades her freedom for hierarchy, homophobia, genocide, protected pederasty, and misogyny. They do not actually bend on this. Canon Law is Canon Law (unless the Pope changes his mind). Her reservation about the church's stance on homosexuality is cute, liberal pap. They don't care if it makes you squeamish. I expect more Lewis and Chesterson (really, Leah those are the philosphical shoulders you stand upon?), and probably some Teilhard de Chardin. You know, to show us how good Catholicism is. How about some Francis of Assisi? I mean, seriously? St Patrick's Breastplate?
In the comments, some asked her why not deism, Unitarian Universalism, or some other moderate form of belief. Given her choice, I’m wondering why not Wahhabi Islam?
I have always contended that I am open to the existence of the divine, that I will gladly shed my atheism for belief in the presence of evidence. What I have never, and will never concede, is that the divine powers of any of the extant religions are examples of good moral agents, and especially not the tyrannical god of Abraham. If that were to be the god of this world, I would fight it with every fiber of my being, no matter the futility.
I wish Leah well on her journey. She has said that her conversion is not over. I certainly hope so.
Monday, June 18, 2012
Sunday, June 17, 2012
I haven’t written a dissection in a while and then I read So You Want to Be an Atheist Apologist? by Stephen J. Bedard. I don’t typically think these types of posts need any kind of intro so I’ll just get to it.
Somehow you have found yourself believing that there is no God. Perhaps you never had faith, perhaps you lost faith along the way. At first it was just nice to sleep in on Sundays and to not worry about any religious rules stopping you from having fun. But passive atheism has become boring and now you want to do more than just not believe, you want to encourage other people to stop believing as well. That is what this post is all about, training you to be an atheist apologist.
Yes. Somehow I found myself not believing in god; as if belief in a deity is the default and non-belief is mind-bogglingly weird. As if disbelief is totally irrational. Also, the only rules that stop anyone from having any fun are religious rules? Religious rules like Deuteronomy 13:13-19, Deuteronomy 20:10-14, Deuteronomy 21:10-14, Deuteronomy 22:28-2, Deuteronomy 22:23-24, 2 Samuel 12:11-14, Judges 5:30, Exodus 21:7-11, Matthew 10:14-15, Matthew 10:21, Matthew 10: 32-37, Mark 7:9-10, Romans 1: 31-32, Romans 5:12, etc. just to name a sample. Has anyone read the book? Lest someone respond with “Well, that’s the OLD Testament. Jesus fixed all that!” I’m sure you are already aware of Matthew 5:17 and Hebrews 10: 28-29. People that think Jesus was all rainbows and kittens are deluded.
It takes gall and ignorance to think that morality comes from the Bible and can only be achieved via religion.
For the record Rev. Bedard, “passive atheism” didn’t get “boring.” It became a liability. I don’t know you and will not make assumptions about your beliefs, but there are many religious folk that would love to force their belief and “morality” on everyone else. There maybe even be religious people you disagree with and you wouldn’t want their beliefs and “morality” forced upon you. The aggressive atheists or atheist apologists are a reaction to growing fundamentalism and infringement on freedom of religion and the separation of church and state. It is not the other way around.
The first thing that you have to work on is attitude. Some of your atheist friends will tell you to ignore religious people and let everyone believe what they want. Do not listen to them. It is not enough for you to not believe, other people must join you in unbelief. In some ways your atheism is unfulfilled when there is even one person still believing. Look for any opportunity to tear down someone else’s faith.
Pretty rich coming from someone whose job and “passion is to present the truth of the Bible…” Do you not get paid to spread the Word?
People are free to believe what they want. You have that right and whether you accept the next point is irrelevant: I want you to have that right. I defend it. However, my disbelief and “atheist apologetics” is not an attempt to take the right of that belief away. I have every right to try and show what I think of faith and religion just as you have a right to preach. Your point is a double standard.
One of the atheists greatest weapons is that of offence. One of the reasons religion must be destroyed is that it is offensive. It is not just stands on moral issues or specific ethical rules that are offensive. Anything religious should be seen as offensive. If you are driving down a road and you see a cross that has been placed where someone has been killed in an accident, you should be filled with anger. They might claim that they placed it there to remember a lost loved one but their real reason was to shove religion down your throat. Do not let them get away with that. As an atheist apologist, it is your job to seek the removal of any public display of religion. You have the right to never encounter anything religious and you should fight for that right.
No. Again you are equating a lack of belief with a lack of morals. This is pathetic and false. More to the point of this paragraph; I do not care about public displays of religion as long they are not intertwined with the government. That’s it. Individuals and groups of individual’s have the right to public displays of religion. They do not have the right to use the state, state agencies or agents of the state, in any capacity, to further a religious agenda.
One of the things that atheism has going for itself is that it is the only intellectual worldview on the market. All religion is based on faith, atheism is based on fact. Sure, we don’t know how the universe started or how life began, but those are still facts, just facts that we don’t know yet. Every once in a while religious people will put forward a religious scientist or other academically recognized person. There is an easy way to respond. The fact that they are religious removes any clout they might have based on their intelligence, education or credentials. Religious people are uneducated, no matter how much education they have.
Yes, all religion is based on faith. You may be surprised to learn that atheism is not based on fact. I know! Crazy, right? An atheist…a scary antitheist...just said atheism is not factual! Well, that is because atheism is a lack of belief in a god or gods. One can neither prove nor disprove god’s existence. Facts are sadly lacking in that regard. However, the lack of facts obviously doesn’t make it impossible to have position on the matter. The premise of atheism is that there is no reason to believe in god so I don’t. Simple. The lack of facts also leads me to not believe in Vishnu, Odin and Xenu. You can see how this works if you try.
The other advantage of atheism is that atheism is the only ethical worldview. All religion is evil and history proves it. Century after century, religion has always been responsible for millions of deaths. Now every once in a while, a religious person will try and pin you down on this. Do not get caught up in the details of how many people died or what the actual role of religion was. Focus on on the big picture that religion kills.
Atheism is neither ethical, nor unethical. It just means that one doesn’t believe in a deity (I know I said this already, but I think I need to drive the point home). Individuals, and dare I say cultures, are ethical or unethical, regardless of religion. I won’t pretend to know the exact reason why, but morality is internal. You ignore plenty of Biblical laws and teachings. Why?
I think you are confusing the criticism from atheists that the religious have a tendency to be high and mighty when they have plenty of skeletons in their closet just like the rest of us.
What about examples of religious people who do good things and atheists who do bad things? Fellow atheist apologists have taken care of this. When we see religious people doing good things, they are either secret atheists who are afraid to admit their atheism or they are religious people who are acting like atheists and are acting in spite of their religion. What about bad atheists? That is easy as well. Those so-called “atheists” are either people who have made another worldview (such as communism) into a religion or have made atheism itself into a religion. Once they make that move into religious thinking and doing, they are setting themselves up for being as dangerous as religious people. So we see, even in this case it is religion that is bad and atheism that is good.
I have no idea where you got this. I have been around the block on the whole atheism vs. religion debate and have never heard the “secret atheist” conspiracy theory. Actually it’s a “No True Scotsman” fallacy and I have never seen it used in that regard. Plenty of Christians pull the “Oh well he’s not a real Christian…” shtick.
The second half of your paragraph here seems to be alluding to Stalin, Mao and Pol Pot. Well, yes, they used "atheism" as a means to subdue religion since religion, as a powerful political force, would have inevitably gotten in the way of their totalitarian political agenda. It was about power. Not about disbelief. Attributing this to “atheism” isn’t intellectually honest. It’s just lazy.
Here are just a few more hints on how you can be a good atheist apologist. Reject the Bible as a historical source. Once it was acknowledged as a religious text, it lost all historical value. Whenever you get confused, just bring up crusades, inquisition and Jihad. Those words answer just about anything. Do not listen to the actual arguments of religious people. This is not a conversation about seeking out the truth. You know the truth. Your job is to argue, ridicule, mock and whatever else you need to do to show that religion is bad. Do not get caught up in arguments about freedom of religion. Freedom of religion should be freedom from religion and therefore supports your position. Do not be tolerant of moderate religious people who mind their own business and feed poor people. As long as they are religious, they are as guilty as a Jihadist who blows up a plane.
C’mon, the Bible is an awful historical document. It’s not devoid of history. It’s just not a good a historical document. There is plenty of it that is provably false. C’mon…
By the way, I do listen to the arguments of religious people. I have for all 35 years of my life, but as of yet not heard a single argument that convinces me that religion, any religion, is valid. I find no truth in religious claims. Do I not have that right? Do you have some superior argument or evidence to the contrary that makes my disbelief invalid? Are you not arguing for the validity of your position while rejecting my ability to do so? Furthermore, is your post not mocking atheism? I don’t care that it does. I’m fine with that. Go right ahead. Obviously I am taking an opposing stance right now and to a degree mocking your position. So what? I find nothing sacred in religion. Rejecting and mocking religion is freedom of and from religion. Do I not have the right to ignore religion? That never happens since it is foisted upon me, but in theory should that not be the case?
Your straw man notwithstanding, tolerance of “moderate religious believers” is on a spectrum and I have yet to understand what “moderate religion” is. Can someone only believe “moderately”? Too often that is an excuse to not take a stand when their religion is used to condemn, discriminate and persecute “others.” Yeah…I’m not apologizing for that judgment.
There is so much more that could be said but this should give you a start. There is a big job to be done. While church attendance is down, belief in God is stubbornly solid. Do what you can to bring this world to atheism.
Good times, Stephen.