Tuesday, February 28, 2017

Held Captive by the Tyranny of Superstition

Recently on youtube I watched this video by Canadian psychologist and professor Jordan B Peterson:

This got me thinking about the way in which the Left tends to deal with Islam, treating it with kid gloves lest they offend someone, a treatment they would never ask for in favor of Christianity. As I discussed in my previous post I generally lean Left and by many definitions I'd be far enough Left to consider myself a Liberal or even a Progressive if I chose to adopt those labels but I cannot. This attempt to push through an "anti-Islamophobia" motion is a great demonstration of what I was talking about in my last post, about the Moral Authoritarians on the Left who now seek to silence anyone who says something they deem offensive or immoral.

Free Speech is and ought to be one of the most staunchly guarded liberal principles and individual freedoms. The Motion, Motion 103, uses the vague and ill-defined term Islamophobia.

It is an outrageous thing that we live in a world which is willing to be held hostage by the superstitions of others. That we in Western democracies must fear retribution for criticizing Islam and it's prophet is a testament to how dangerous the delusion of fundamentalist Islam is. One cannot and should not legislate respect. I cannot be forced to respect Islam nor should I need to fear punishment if I decide to disrespect its tenants, texts or prophet.

There is something very sinister about allowing ourselves to lose a freedom to appease the offended, people so offended they go out of their way to murder people for disrespecting their religion. There are people in the West so delusional and blind to how dangerous Islam is (mostly due to be sheltered from it's reality abroad) that they will decry any disrespect of Islam more vehemently than they will the violence and evil done in the name of Islam by extremists. Those Muslims who accept Western values should have no problem with their prophet or faith being doubted and disrespected anymore than a Western Christian cares when someone makes a joke about the Pope or even Jesus himself.

The brilliance of freedoms like Freedom of Speech is that they do not exist to favor one ideology, one political position, one religion, or one group over any others and that is where hate speech measures and vague terms like Islamophobia come in and begin chipping away at the equal treatment of free speech. Freedom of speech is for all individuals in a democratic society to enjoy and yes that brings with it the risk that someone will say things that you find offensive, disrespectful, vile, disturbing or yes even HATEFUL.

Again, to reiterate, I am under no obligation to respect Islam or it's prophet, just as I am under no obligation to respect Jesus Christ, Zeus, or the Tooth Fairy. There is no reason why I should not be able to blaspheme against every god and goddess mankind has ever dreamt up.

The video shows the problem with using such poorly designed terms like Islamophobia. If I draw a picture of Mohammed, even one as nondescript as the picture in the video, am I now guilty of a hate crime against the 1.8 billion Muslims in the world? There are people masquerading as Liberals and Progressives who would say yes and shame me for drawing such a thing. Where is the LINE? Why am I now held hostage having to tip toe around on eggshells when I want to criticize the religion of Islam in a way that would never be tolerated if it was Christians seeking protection?

And all of this under the guise of protecting a minority. The issue stems from the fact that ideologues and people engaged in identity politics alike cannot separate their ideas from themselves. People latch onto a characteristic such as their religious faith and feel personally attacked when someone insults their religion. In some sense that's understandable, but is it reasonable to start curtailing freedoms? Especially when the extremists don't just get offended, they get VIOLENT.

And then the religious wonder why atheists spend so much time arguing against their beliefs. Isn't it obvious how dangerous superstition can be if taken to extremes?

No one should be under the tyranny of someone else's beliefs, we are individuals and our freedoms should be our own AND YES that includes the freedom to insult, mock and disrespect as long as it doesn't cross the line into violence or threats. If you feel threatened or angry about a cartoon drawing of Mohammed, or anything else for that matter, that is caused by irrational superstition and is not deserving of protection or of removing freedoms for others.

Friday, February 17, 2017

Moral Authoritarians and Why the Left is Losing


Naturally part of my journey out of Christianity and out of the morally puritanical fundamentalism I was raised with was learning to become more open minded toward the idea of differing viewpoints. It would be easy to say that everything I believed in was challenged along the way but this is only partially true. Despite my religious upbringing the Conservative political views of my Father never quite transferred to me completely. Even though I spent much of my teenage years and early adult life being anti-abortion I also spent them being anti-Bush, anti-war and, after an eye opening assignment in a criminal justice class, anti-death penalty.

Despite my Father talking about the 'gay agenda' as if it was some dark conspiracy lurking in the shadows devised by Satan himself I supported the idea of gays having civil partnerships that were equal to what a marriage was (though at the time I suggested we win over the religious by not CALLING it marriage even though it would be legally equivalent).

Since 2008 I have largely considered myself to hold the same sorts of political views. I am a Left leaning person with Libertarian tendencies when it comes to various issues of personal liberty. For example I don't think the government should be locking up drug offenders for minor offenses involving drugs intended only for their personal use. I don't think Prostitution should be illegal and I think the rights of sex workers are important and they shouldn't be treated as criminals.

I have avoided attaching myself to any political labels because there is no platform that best describes me. For example I may have a Libertarian view on drugs but I don't share that view when it comes to guns, I think that in the case of guns we need stronger controls, but that's because in that particular case the needs of the many (namely to not be shot) outweigh the "needs" of those who pretend they need massive magazines and super deadly assault weapons.

According to a recent political test this is where I stand:

I have taken lots of these tests in my life and while all of them differ the results are generally similar, I tend toward the Left and I tend toward the bottom (Libertarian) side.

And yet with the recent election and the current political climate I have never felt farther from those I once considered my political peers. It's not that I supported Trump, I didn't care for either him or Hillary. On the Left I supported Bernie Sanders because while I do not share all of his views his positions aligned the closest with mine AND he didn't appear to be controlled by corporate money. On the Right side of the spectrum I would have settled for Rand Paul because his Libertarian tendencies make him the obvious choice for me even if, again, I do not agree with all of his stances.

What we got were by far the two most lackluster candidates in my lifetime.

I thought perhaps the loss to Trump would have caused the Left to do some soul-searching as to why they lost the election despite predicting a landslide victory for Hillary. Instead the immediate aftermath of the election was to continue the character assassinations and moral elitism that had so soundly lost them the election.

You see there is a contingent of folks on the Left, a pernicious and extremely vocal minority that many are calling the Regressive Left, the Illiberal Left, the Authoritarian Left, etc. These are moral authoritarians who have declared anyone who disagrees with them a bad person merely for their political positions.

What's that you say, you don't support letting millions of refugees from majority Muslim nations into America? You must be a xenophobic racist and an anti-Islamic bigot. There couldn't possibly be good reason for concern, nope, you're automatically a terrible person for even holding a different opinion.

In the past twenty years these people have increasingly risen to the forefront of much of the political discourse under a great deal of different names. The problem is now an entire generation of people have grown up believing that not only are Conservatives the enemy but that anyone who holds an opinion different to them is not just a political foe but a genuinely bad person deserving of scorn, social shaming or outright violent treatment.

In the past few years this has been taken to the extreme to the point where I can't go anywhere on the internet without hearing about how someone who used to be a conservative has been upgraded to being in the "alt-right" and then has been upgraded into being an outright Neo-Nazi. This insanely obtuse stupidity has become so prevalent that I am now in the position of having to defend people I don't even like and disagree vehemently with those I once considered on the same side of the issue as me.

Milo (sans Otis)

Take, for example, the case of professional troll Milo Yiannopoulos. Milo has made a career off of saying controversial things to the point where it is difficult to tell when he is joking and when he is serious. By no stretch of the imagination is he someone who represents my political views. Even on things that I do agree with him on, such as the rise of radical Feminism being a problem, I tend to disagree with his methods or the language he chooses. Suffice it to say that if Milo took the same political quiz I did we'd have dissimilar views.

I've only been aware of Milo's existence for about two years and in those two years he has gone from being labeled a Conservative troll to being labeled part of the Alt-Right to now being outright claimed as a Neo-Nazi by some "Liberals".

Milo is often invited to speak by Conservative groups at Universities, keyword: INVITED. When one of his talks actually takes place it is often taken over by protesters who do whatever they can to shout him down. When protesting isn't enough however bomb threats are sometimes called in, or, as in the recent debacle at UC Berkley, violence and criminal behavior is employed.

Anyone who is in favor of free speech wants BOTH of the people pictured here to speak, especially if they have been invited. Note that Milo has been upgraded to a full F5 nuclear threat Neo Nazi. Note the language being used "Republicans" "demand" "freely". This was written by an ideologue and a nitwit. Milo doesn't DEMAND to speak, nor do Republicans make demands on his behalf. MILO GETS INVITED TO SPEAK.

What we have are a bunch of radicalized young people who have been taught that when they believe they are morally superior to someone they can employ violence and criminal behavior in order to silence that person. Any opinion they deem too harmful to be heard, by their own standards, can be either shouted down or shut down outright using rioting, violence or the threat of violence. And in order to justify this action all they have to do is declare Milo a Neo-Nazi, a characterization that is so far off the mark it is reminiscent of those calling Obama a Communist or the actual Anti-Christ.

Obama was not a Communist, Obama wasn't even a proper Democratic Socialist. Milo isn't a Neo Nazi (though he is a total asshole and troll) and yet the moral authoritarians of the Left already have their minds made up that their views are SO SUPERIOR to his that he isn't even entitled to speak at an event he was invited to.

This is why so many are rejecting the idea that these new radicals are even Liberals. One would assume that being Liberal means standing up for Liberal principles, principles such as freedom of speech.

Evelyn Beatrice Hall once summarized the spirit of Voltaire, a hero to many free thinkers and skeptics, as believing this:

"I disapprove of what you say, but I will defend to the death your right to say it"

We now have a generation of young people who reject this Liberal principle. Why? Because they heard someone say something offensive. Somebody said something racist, or homophobic or transphobic and so from that moment forth anything else that comes out of their mouth might as well be coming from Hitler himself. For each of these Moral Authoritarians there is an invisible line and once you cross it you are declared a fundamentally bad person or perhaps just declared a Nazi or fascist. Make the wrong joke, use a slur even in jest, and you are dead to them.

This is why the Left is losing the culture war. Every time I see some dumbass post about how Islam is really a religion of peace or anyone who voted for Trump is a racist I am pushed into a position defending people who I wholeheartedly disagree with. I may disagree with a Trump supporter who wants a Wall on the Southern Border but are we going to pretend that illegal immigration causes NO real world problems? I may disagree with an administrations bumbling attempt at an executive order banning travel from seven war torn Muslim countries but are we going to pretend that Islamic migration hasn't caused terror attacks and other issues to multiply in Europe?

Being anti-illegal immigration isn't a xenophobic stance to take, it isn't even a Conservative stance. How is it that these Regressives do not have a grasp of how nuanced this issue is? Even I, someone who recognizes that borders are invisible lines that we must one day erase if we are to move forward as one species toward a brighter future, understand that in the immediate present we can't just let everyone who wants to get in into our country. Is it possible to understand the poem quoted beneath the Statue of Liberty AND not want people to come here illegally? I think so.


Part of this new Puritanical movement of Left-wing ideologues are celebrities and corporations doing their part to take full advantage of anything going on in politics. It started innocently enough with companies that used to come out in favor of gay marriage or you'd see a news story about Target not having a "girls toys" and "boys toys" distinction in their toy section.

Now, however, companies use this to win favor and publicity. Everyone wants to boycott everything. Recently Uber, an alternative taxi service app that exists just to get transportation decided to let their drivers drive during a taxi union strike. The strike was protesting Trump's "Muslim Ban" executive order and thus, by not joining in the protest, Uber was seen as in league with Trump.

At this point anyone remotely sympathetic with Trump is a Nazi or Nazi sympathizer and may or may not be a Sith Lord secretly assisting the Trump administration to the construction of a new Death Star. So naturally we were supposed to all jump on the Virtue ChooChoo train and boycott Uber because their decision not to protest means they are racist anti-Muslim bigots who probably grind Syrian refugees up into a fuel for their cars.

In the meantime we have dumbasses who want to boycott Star Wars, or Netflix, or Starbucks for the opposite reason, because they attempted to have too much diversity?

So we have a bunch of jackasses all shouting into their echo chambers and we have corporations who are playing both sides of this ideological war for brownie points. Good fucking grief.

Nazis, Nazis Everywhere

The Left is losing the culture war and a big part of that is due to the Moral Authoritarians declaring everyone they remotely disagree with as racist, sexist, homophobic, etc. Part of this is is a natural hyperbolic extension that we might expect to see from irrational young people arguing on the internet. Unfortunately now this hyperbole has bled through into the mainstream political discourse.

Recently internet sensation "Pewdiepie" has come under fire from mainstream news outlets such as the Wall Street Journal for making numerous racist and anti-semitic jokes as well as jokes about Nazis and Hitler. We now have something once considered a respectable news outlet essentially fishing for clicks and controversy by taking a whole bunch of clips out of context. This has led to the claim by Social Justice types and other Moral Authoritarians that Felix (pewdiepie) is himself actually genuinely a racist and anti-semite.

Once again I am put in a position of having to defend someone I do not even care for. I've never been a fan of pewdiepie, I find his content immature and pandering, but these accusations are outlandish and bordering on slander/libel/defamation.

When everyone you disagree with is a racist, a fascist or a nazi you might want to rethink the way you're defining and using those words.

Accusing Pewdiepie of being an actual racist is like accusing Larry the Cable Guy of being an actual redneck, he is literally a comedian playing a character.

Melania's Naked Pictures

One of the incidents that stands out to me as indicative of the Moral Authoritarians we now have shouting on the left came when I saw numerous posts about Melania Trump's Nude photo shoot with GQ. I saw people on the Left who were staunchly pro-Hillary (and presumably therefore pro-woman) going after Melania Trump as if it were somehow shameful that our new First Lady posed naked FIFTEEN FUCKING YEARS AGO.

This immediately made me angry, very angry. I had always thought that women wanted equality and I've never heard of people shaming men who pose naked for magazines. I've certainly never heard a man complain that other men are degrading themselves by being models or pornstars. In fact usually I hear men lamenting the fact that they are not attractive enough (or perhaps lack the stamina) to be male models or pornstars.

There is nothing, absolutely nothing, shameful about a woman posing naked. Why should there be?

At any rate these photos were taken fifteen years ago, long before there was even the slightest rumble of Trump running for Presidency or indeed higher office of any kind. HOW ON EARTH was Melania meant to have the FORESIGHT to turn down this modeling opportunity? How could she, or indeed ANYONE, have possibly predicted that Trump would not only run for President but win?

I guess it turns out I'm more of a Feminist than some Hillary supporters, since they don't believe it's okay for women to also be models. I am once again having to defend someone I otherwise wouldn't bother defending because the moral busybodies on the Left have to feel like they're winning a victory. Why not retroactively shame a woman for making a bold and empowering life choice by making some bizarre socially puritanical (conservative) claim that nude modeling is somehow degrading and shameful?

It was very reminiscent of the insane conspiracy theorists who thought Michelle Obama was transgender. Anything to feel like they're winning.

Ideologies Make You Look Like a Fucking Idiot

This is the world you get when instead of looking at each issue with any kind of rational or skeptical thought people make political judgments based on an ideology that they have decided to take hold of. Ideologues in the political sphere aren't much different to those in the religious sphere. They will defend even the most illogical aspects of an ideology even when there are opposing viewpoints staring them in the face. It's very easy to just declare an opposing viewpoint as immoral and declare yourself better than the other person.

When in doubt just ignore any valid points the other side has. If you're opponent is on the right they're probably a Fascist or Nazi and if they're on the left they're probably a Communist. Just skip any attempt at nuance or understanding and go right to declaring yourself superior and right by default. And if all else fails remember to shout down your opponent or start a riot because nothing conveys the superiority of your position like a hissy fit that ends in you almost burning down your own city or University.

Presidential election got you down? Just declare anyone who didn't vote for your candidate a racist sexist homophobe who hates America, drowns puppies and probably thinks Hitler was a swell guy. Declaring your political peer a Nazi doesn't make YOU look like the crazy one, not at all! They're all deplorable anyway, otherwise they'd agree with you, because you're the best person who ever lived!

During the election no one ever told me why I should vote for Hillary, they only told me that a Trump vote was a vote for racism, xenophobia and other deplorable things. Frankly I found both candidates deplorable and voted for neither. The act of not voting at all probably makes me an enemy to plenty of these insane ideologues.

I'm Tired

The political landscape of our nation has shifted, in many ways it has shifted farther to the right BUT in other ways it has shifted farther toward the Authoritarian side and that is the side that scares me most of all.

I'm tired of feeling alienated from those who I would otherwise generally agree with and having to defend endlessly those who I disagree with but still believe deserve their say without being considered inhuman monsters. I shouldn't have to feel as if I've been left alone here when I don't think my stances are all that radical or different from the average American. Where is the voice of reason when the fringes of both parties are BOTH deplorable and regressive?

The Left NEEDS to regroup and get away from those rising to the top of that chart. This new movement of Left Wing Puritans is a big reason why the Left is losing the current culture war. The more they try to strangle to voices of those they deem deplorable the more people will rally to those causes, for good or for ill.

You can't defeat the ideas you view as bad ideas by simply declaring the people who espouse them as bad immoral or bad people. You can't character assassinate away bad ideas and the more people you label nazis the less meaning that word has.

When everything is racist, sexist and homophobic... nothing is.


Thursday, February 2, 2017

Atheists Can't Explain...

One of the most common complaints I hear from believers and apologists is that atheists do not have explanations for many of the phenomenon that believers claim God as an explanation for. The most common example of this is the origin of the Universe. The idea is that because scientists and atheists still admit that the origin of the Universe is shrouded in mystery and difficult to explain that the lack of an explanation exposes some inherent flaw in atheism itself.

Part of the confusion is the false notion that atheism is a belief system or set of ideas that is taken up by non-believers as a replacement for religious beliefs. Atheism is merely non-belief in gods. It has no other stipulations. Someone can be utterly non-scientific and illogical and still be an atheist.

So Atheists are under no obligation to explain anything simply because they are atheists. Atheism is not a worldview or a set of beliefs, rather it is a non-belief.

In one of my earlier blogposts I talked about how the lack of an answer doesn't suddenly make God a viable option. It isn't as if we search for an answer scientifically and then when none can currently be found we give up and leap to supernatural conclusions. Yet that is the kind of leap theists apparently expect when they berate non-believers about the fact that they don't have an explanation for something.

I've also seen the Problem of Evil and Problem of Suffering directed at Atheists. For believers in an all powerful benevolent deity the conflict is obvious, evil shouldn't even be capable of existing, the Universe should be perfect and suffering should be an impossibility. For Atheists however there isn't any confusion or conflict about the Problem of Evil/Suffering and yet I hear believers throw this back towards atheists as if it is meant to stump them.

Sorry but the world is full of bad people who do evil things. We live in an indifferent and sometimes chaotic Universe despite it also having regularities and allowing the evolution of life. Suffering is a survival mechanism, a suffering organism knows it has to change its behavior or environment if it wants to thrive again. This is why you feel pain when you touch something hot, your body is warning you of danger. Suffering is the reaction of a living being to conditions that aren't conducive to the continued existence of that being. Without a God evil and suffering are not mysterious in the slightest.

But even if an atheist can't form an explanation for some reason  I fail to see how that makes the magical explanation any more viable. In primitive times it might have seemed impressive when a villager claimed that gods brought the rain because of a recent human sacrifice. A village skeptic raising the issue of what evidence there was that the two were correlated might have been laughed at, after all, the skeptic has no alternative explanation as to where the rains actually come from and why they came when they did. The fact that the village skeptic doesn't have an explanation doesn't mean his skepticism is wrong and that the absurd supernatural explanation is right.

Something completely unreasonable or outright impossible doesn't become plausible because there aren't any other explanations.

It is perfectly reasonable to dismiss, without an alternative to offer, any supernatural explanation proffered without evidence of it's own. Ideas stand and fall on their own merit, not on the lack of an explanation from the ideological competition. At any rate there is a ton of evidence suggesting that all known gods humanity has ever worshiped are fictional but even if there were not it doesn't make the gods a good explanation for anything.

UPDATE: I plan to do more posts on this blog mostly because Hubpages.com has introduced mandatory professional editing which I cannot stand the idea of. I have no desire to have my written work messed up in order to make it conform to some made up bullshit standards someone else has of what my writing should be. As such you will likely see old posts of mine from hubpages get moved here. It may take me a few months or more to make the move so bear with me (if anyone is even reading this!).

Wednesday, December 16, 2015

Sargon of Akkad vs. Big Lundi - Feminism and Consent

Usually I use this blog sparingly and only to talk about religion and religious arguments or skepticism and pseudoscience but I've just sat through one of the most painfully tedious debates I've ever seen and I feel compelled to talk about it. The debate in question was an informal off the cuff livestream between youtube user Sargon of Akkad and youtube user "Big Lundi". If you want to watch it here, but be warned it's two hours of two people talking past each other and getting nowhere (though to be honest the same can be said of most atheist vs theist debates or debates in general).

I'll start by explaining who I am and what I believe because labeling oneself is very important (apparently) to anything online that might attract Feminists or MRAs or Social Justice Warriors. The whole issue of Feminism has only really become of interest to me since the discovery of Sargon's channel thanks to Armoured Skeptic. Before that I viewed Feminism as a taboo subject not to be discussed because it's one of those words that means different things to different people and tends to just piss everyone off. To a really hardcore radical Feminist I'm sure Feminism means something like "the movement to dismantle the patriarchy and eradicated gender based oppression". 

To many Feminists, however, the dictionary definition is what they use to identify who is and is not a Feminist. And the thing is for a long time I did consider myself a Feminist, or at least Feminist leaning, though I rarely used the word because of the obvious confusion over what it actually means. Ironically I am someone who gladly adopted the word atheist, another label with a ton of working definitions some of which have negative connotations, but was very tentative on using the label Feminist despite fully supporting equality of the sexes.

Once I discovered Sargon's channel and began absorbing his content though I decided that I am DEFINITELY a Feminist. I don't mean that I'm going to start parroting Anita Sarkeesian or dismantle the establishment, I mean that as far as the vanilla dictionary definition is concerned I AM A FEMINIST and I refuse to let fucking crazies on the internet have that word as if they are the one true Feminists using the one true definition.

So I'm a skeptic. I'm an atheist and anti-theist (I was raised Pentecostal Christian). I'm also a Feminist and a Humanist and politically I would probably fall somewhere in the Left-leaning Libertarian camp. I'm also a straight white cis male  but I support gay marriage and equality as well as transgender rights and equality. I support equality across the board.

With all of the labels out of the way I can say that on the vast majority of subjects he talks about I side with Sargon although I think a lot of the time he paints with a broad brush or says things that he knows other people will take out of context or jump all over (which may sometimes be intentional).

This discussion with Big Lundi was painful but in particular I want to focus on the nonsense Lundi spouted about consent, rape/sexual assault and intoxication. According to Lundi if two people are drinking and one is visibly intoxicated while the other is merely a little buzzed, and they both consent to sex the one who is less impaired is now guilty of either sexual assault or rape for not refusing sex. Lundi holds that this is the case even if the person who is more drunk makes the move to try to sleep with the less drunk person.

 Throughout this portion of the debate Lundi continuously conflates - and doesn't grasp the difference between - legal culpability/responsibility, moral responsibility and social responsibility. He seems to think that because it is a dick move to agree to have sex with someone who is way more drunk than you are that this makes it, at the very least, sexual assault. Quite frankly this is retarded.

There is a difference between something being your moral responsibility, social responsibility and legal responsibility. For example, if I father a child it is my legal responsibility to pay some amount to help raise that child, even if no longer in a relationship with the Mother I legally have to pay child support. It might be my social responsibility to raise that child to be a productive member of society. It might be my moral responsibility not to abuse, neglect or otherwise knowingly harm the child. 

These are distinct categories though not mutually exclusive (obviously some things, like murder, theft, rape, etc, are immoral, illegal and socially abhorrent). Obviously paying child support might be seen as fitting all three categories, while raising the child to be a productive member of society might only be a social responsibility.

Sargon does his best to try to get Lundi to see his points both about how drunk people are still held accountable for their decisions/actions and on how Lundi is conflating different forms of responsibility. But here's a hypothetical that I think could elucidate the point further and it's much better than the stupid "my friend goes to play in traffic" one that Lundi trumps up.

Let's say you have two friends, Steve and Dan, who are hanging out drinking at Steve's house. Steve is visibly intoxicated, he's noticeably more drunk than Dan. They're watching football on Steve's big screen TV. Before Dan leaves Steve repeatedly propositions Dan to take his big screen TV home with him and keep it. Dan says no at first but Steve insists, it's a gift freely offered from one person to another. Dan shrugs and decides to take the TV home despite knowing his friend is pretty damn drunk.

Now if Lundi is right than when Steve wakes up the next morning and realizes he gave away his big screen TV Steve can actually ACCUSE DAN OF THEFT and press criminal charges. Dan is now a THIEF, an actual CRIMINAL worthy of being PROSECUTED. Why? Because according to Lundi Dan is "taking advantage" of his friend. Personally, to me, it seems stupid to say that Dan is a criminal for accepting a gift from his friend, drunk or not.

(Keep in mind here that I'm talking about criminal proceedings not civil ones. The question is should Dan be considered a thief and a criminal)

Maybe it is a dick move for Dan to keep the TV, maybe Steve feels so betrayed by the fact that Dan kept the TV that he breaks the friendship off. Maybe Dan is socially ostracized for keeping the TV because Steve tells everyone he knows that Dan is a shitty friend. In other words it is completely possible that Dan has done something immoral and socially irresponsible without doing anything criminal... and that is the point of confusion that Lundi doesn't seem to get. I don't see a reason why Dan has committed a crime or why the law should consider him a thief.

In that same vein I don't think it makes sense that consensual drunk sex where one side is noticeably more drunk makes the person who was less drunk a rapist.

One thing I think Sargon could have done to make his point a little clearer is swap the gender of the people in the example. In the hypothetical it is the man who has had little to drink and the woman who is very drunk and is coming on to him. To Lundi this is apparently rape (or at least sexual assault) and this man should be in prison and labeled a sex offender for not refusing to have sex with an attractive woman who is coming on to him. However if it were the other way around would Lundi really defend this insane stance? 

Let's say there's a woman with a crush on a guy, she's very attracted to him but he always puts her in the "friend zone" when she tries to flirt. They are at a party and he drinks a ton of beers and becomes visibly intoxicated while she only has a few and is thus not nearly as impaired. In his drunk state his inhibitions are lowered and thus he sees her in a new light, he feels bad for all the times he put her in the "friend zone" and decides to give her another chance. He makes the first move on her and she, having feelings for him, goes through with it despite the fact that he is clearly more drunk than she is, she consents to his advances and they have sex.

The next morning, according to Lundi, this man should be able to call the police and have this woman arrested for sexual assault merely for accepting HIS advances.

Now personally for me I think this changes things, because male sexual desires are always seen as filthy, base and vile. Men are animals, dogs, predators, and are supposedly just out there trying to fuck. That is how society portrays male sexuality and for the most part men accept these horrible stereotypes of themselves (call it internalized misandry if you want). 

But this innocent woman in this scenario, this flower, this paragon of beauty and creation, is apparently a rapist just for following her desire to have sex with this man she really likes by accepting his advances... a man who CLEARLY CONSENTED.

If Lundi had his way and men started reporting women who were more drunk than they were as criminals, and started setting up support groups for assaulted men, would Feminists support them? Would Feminists admit that those women are horrible people? Or would they say, "now hey wait a minute, regretting a bad decision the morning after ISN'T RAPE or ASSAULT"? Would they come to their senses?

Now again this isn't to say that this sort of behavior is socially acceptable or moral behavior. Dan taking Steve's TV IS in fact a dick move in the same way that Marsha taking Steve's dick (in my gender swap example) is also a dick move socially speaking - maybe even MORALLY speaking. But it IS NOT A CRIME and should NOT BE A CRIME.

Lundi argues that when you are visibly intoxicated you are NOT ABLE TO CONSENT. This implies that you lose all agency and responsibility for decisions you make at least in cases where that decision involves other people agreeing or disagreeing. But Lundi takes it a step further when he starts talking about indirect responsibility in regards to NON-INTERVENTION. That is to say if you drunk friend says, "I'm gonna go walk in front of a bus" and you don't intervene to prevent their injury you are in some sense responsible for their actions. This to me is ludicrous and Sargon seems equally baffled by it.

Only a Sith Deals in Absolutes

Central to Lundi's idea seems to be a "all that it takes for evil men to triumph is for good men to do nothing" philosophy but the way he sells it it comes off much more like "if you're not part of the solution you are a part of the problem" or even worse a George W Bush Revenge of the Sith style, "if you're not with us you're against us" attitude. If you are not actively trying to prevent bad things from happening to everyone around you at every turn you are automatically responsible in some part for bad things that happen. I don't know how to break this to Lundi but we're not fucking omnipotent or omniscient.

As an example let's say I'm talking to a friend and one he quips "Man I am so sick of this job, I'm gonna fucking kill my boss!"

My natural assumption, unless he looks or sounds unusually deranged and I think he may have truly snapped, is going to be to assume he's being hyperbolic and exaggerating. I'm not going to report him to the authorities just because he said that. Now let's say hypothetically he does kill his boss the next day. Am I really going to sit there and hold myself responsible? Because I failed to fucking predict the future? 

Let's give Lundi the best case scenario and the benefit of the doubt by bringing up a very famous example, the death of Uncle Ben in the many incarnations of Spider-Man. Spider-Man blames himself for the death of his Uncle despite the fact that it wasn't his fault. Spider-Man had a chance to stop the thief but didn't because he was selfish. Now personally I've always felt like what happened was not Spider-Man's fault because there's no way he could predict some two-bit crook with a bag of cash turning into a killer (and the person he killed being his uncle) and that he wrongfully blames himself for the actions of a criminal. 

With that said Spider-Man does have some responsibility that comes with his power but he is not omniscient, there is no way for him to predict the future. In truth Spider-Man is the victim of a tragedy that befalls his Uncle and his family as a whole, the twist of fate being that he could have prevented it IF he had acted but as I've said there's no way he could have known... we should not be blaming the victim. It isn't helpful to say Spider-Man is RESPONSIBLE for Uncle Ben's death in the same way it is wrong to say a woman's short skirt is RESPONSIBLE for her getting sexually assaulted. Hindsight is 20/20, telling a woman that she might have avoided rape if she wore more conservative clothing doesn't fucking help and certainly should never be used to take responsibility away from the actual criminal who committed the crime. 

Another important thing to understand in this whole conversation is FEELINGS of responsibility. As stated above in the example about drunk sex it may very well be a dick thing to do if the woman in our example has sex with the drunk man even if he is the one coming on to her. If he is well and truly impaired we may even say that she is taking advantage of his impairment despite the fact that he has made the first move. 

BUT people can feel varying degrees of guilt, responsibility and/or obligation all without ever actually doing anything wrong. There can be a feeling of guilt without doing anything immoral, illegal or even breaking any social norms. FEELING as though you've done something wrong is not always an indicator of what is actually wrong. 

There can also be a feeling that you were taken advantage of, when that wasn't actually the case.

When Sargon admits that it's a shitty thing to do to have sex with someone who is clearly more drunk than you Lundi reacts as if he's just caught Sargon in a trap as if there's no way Sargon couldn't agree that it should also be illegal since it FEELS WRONG in some way. This is not the case at all. 

In the example I gave of the television Dan might feel great about keeping Steve's TV or he might admittedly feel guilty and give the TV back and apologize and try to stay friends with Steve but regardless of what he feels HE IS STILL NOT A THIEF for accepting a gift from his drunk friend.

The rest of the debate was far less interesting. The first part of the discussion is about the nature of labels and it was during this part I realized Lundi's tactic of being backed into a corner - thinking for a moment - and then twisting words around (or putting words into Sargon's mouth) and then acting as if he'd proved a point.

On the Wage Gap I feel like I disagree with Sargon when he says that implicit biases don't affect business as a whole, Here in the USA Donald Trump is considered a legitimate candidate (but then so was a man named Barack Hussein Obama). I think it's safe to say that there is some implicit bias at least here in the states though I'm sure it varies from region to region (I'm sure its probably worse in the Bible belt for example). However he is absolutely right that there's no way to fix implicit biases other than through arbitrary quotas that do away with meritocracy. The whole notion seems to me similar to thought crime and very difficult to correct for or eliminate.

The aggravating thing is I want to be on the side of women, I am a Feminist and I refuse to give up that label (pry it from my cold dead white straight cis hands!), I absolutely consider myself supportive of the LGBTQ community and racial and ethnic minorities. But radical Feminism and Social Justice Warriors so often cross into new frontiers of stupidity (and sometimes outright hatred) that I sometimes find it hard to believe what I'm hearing/seeing.


Saturday, August 29, 2015

Mysticism, Superstition and Christianity

One of the things that Christians often say to reassure themselves and each other is that Christianity isn't an ordinary religion; that it's somehow special. Some even say that Christianity isn't a religion at all because of how fundamentally different it supposedly is from all over religions.

To those on the outside of the cult this claim seems utterly absurd. Christianity is one of three Abrahamic faiths built on the same foundation - JUDAISM. About two thirds of the Christian scriptures are actually older Jewish works with the New Testament only making up twenty-seven books of the Bible which has a total of sixty-six (some versions have more or less). Even within the New Testament constant reference is made to the Old Testament, so in what way do Christians contend that their religion is different, it's just Judaism plus a sprinkle of their own flavor.

Within this little extra portion the Christians have Jesus who is usually a big part of the argument that Christianity is different, because rather than getting into heaven on the merit of whether or not you do great things or are a good person Jesus offers his life and salvation even to the most wicked and fallen among us. This policy of vicarious redemption, this suspension of justice and wrath to save the wicked, is meant to make God seem more loving or merciful but actually it turns God's judgment into a complete joke.

God is said to be just and yet he is willing that a murderer get into Heaven for the act of accepting this sacrifice but not willing that someone who gives their whole life to helping others but dies without accepting should get in. Let's say there is a soldier in the second World War who happens to be a believing Jew but who has not accepted Christ and he gives his life fighting to free his brothers and sisters from the clutches of the Nazis and protects the entire free world with his sacrifice. This man who fought and died for the freedom and well being of others would go to Hell in most versions of Christianity for the mere act of not accepting the impossible tale of Jesus. In an ironic twist this Jewish man would be tortured for eternity for staying true to the version of Yahweh he was taught in the Jewish scriptures and rejecting the false Messiah Jesus Christ.

The idea that God shows preferential treatment only to those who grovel repentant at his feet and revokes mercy from any who don't no matter their character or actions makes Christianity absurdly unjust. Christians celebrate this, however, and look at it as one of the advantages of Christianity. Indeed this doctrine does help Christianity bring people in by taking advantage of the guilt of those in our society who have done something wrong. This is why prison evangelism is so strong and why conversions in prison are so common, because Christianity has made itself appealing to criminals.

But to those who aren't a part of the super secret club of Christianity the whole doctrine makes it repugnant and even more so when you consider the price, an innocent man's life. Christians claim to love Christ while in the same breath hoisting their sins gladly onto his shoulders so they can walk away without the burden of their guilt scot-free. If they truly knew Jesus and loved him would they not choose, instead, to take the punishment they deserved? In truth they love Jesus only because he did something for them, only because in his blood they are set free, and they happily WASH themselves in the blood of an innocent man.

Symbolism, Structure and Myth

Another point on which Christians insist is that their religion has better archaeology to back it up than any other. This is a heavily debatable point especially since no archaeologist has ever uncovered proof of the supernatural claims of any religion. So no religion stands on better footing when it comes to proving the reality of their supernatural claims.

Often we see Christian apologists like Lee Strobel, William Lane Craig, etc trying to make the historical case for Jesus as if it isn't enough to take it on faith as if there need be proof. Rather than own up to the fact that they believe it in spite of its absurd claims they attempt to establish, laughably, that the superstitious conjurations of their sacred texts are not just the writings of adherents and zealots but are historical accounts worth taking seriously.

Jesus, they say, isn't just a figure from their faith, but is a real historical figure who really performed magical miraculous deeds and really rose again. In doing this however Christians miss out on the big slam-dunk home-run aspect of their faith that makes them just another religion - the use of spooky superstitious horseshit and symbolism.

What makes the Gospels myth and not historical accounts is their use of symbolism, allegory, themes and story-telling techniques that seem at home in mythology but make no sense when taken out of context and reinterpreted to be literal truth. Take, for example, the arbitrary period that Jesus stays in the tomb.

Christians will say that it was three days, but Jesus died on Friday and was raised on Sunday, the real amount of time he was dead is one day, he simply "rose on the third day". Now if Jesus really was the son of God and really lived in real historical times what in the fuck was the point of staying dead for a day? What took Jesus so long to come back to life?

Now some might say, "he went down to Hell and redeemed souls who had died before he came" but this is actually a legend invented hundreds of years into Christianity it's not in the Gospels. The answer is symbolism and story structure. Think about the dynamics of what happens in the story. The Disciples are torn, beaten, Peter has cursed Christ before the cock crows, they are back in Jerusalem moping around. They believe Jesus is dead and buried. This is a low point in the story, it's a moment of doubt where no one knows what to believe anymore, and then, like the sun rising again after the darkest night, Jesus returns.

And the Gospels all tell it differently. John, the latest Gospel written, has Thomas still doubting until he sticks a finger in Jesus' wounds. The original version of Mark dramatically and mysteriously ends on a cliff-hangar where the women find the tomb empty, talk to an enigmatic man and then simply scatter in fear.

The story of the dying and rising hero is so common throughout ancient times and even today in our modern myths and stories we always have a moment where our heroes look beaten only to rise from the ashes.

What other reason can there be for the delay?

In fact why would Jesus need to have died at all, in reality the idea of washing in his blood is SYMBOLIC, it's a spiritual concept, not a physical one. The idea that this MUST BE a real retelling of the real adventures of a real flesh-and-blood savior is absurd and the idea that somehow the existence of these intricately woven pieces of mythology is evidence of a historical Jesus is highly questionable at best. That isn't to say no one ever existed to inspire some of the legends rather I am saying that Christians miss the forest for the trees.

Superstition is a sign of Humanity's Design

The Old Testament is riddled with superstitious rituals and absurd claims. Witches and necromancers are considered real things and there are strict rules for "ritual cleanliness" that, if not followed, can result in you being a target for the wrath of God himself. There are, of course, detailed instructions on how to butcher an animal and make it an offering for Yahweh, and how to sprinkle its blood and arrange its organs to best please God.

Why would this be part of your religion? If you indeed claim that this God of the Old Testament is the same one you serve why in the hell did he require such bizarre and barbaric things as animal sacrifices? Why does he bear such a striking resemblance to an invention of the human mind, a warlike plague-bringer who sits upon a throne and demands the smell of burning flesh to appease his anger - AND YOU THINK THIS BETTER than ancient pagan faiths? You think this superior?

There is only one description I can think of for such practices - superstition. The sort of thing that makes people throw salt over their shoulder or take care not to walk under a ladder - the idea that somehow the rules of reality are governed by unseen forces that can be appeased or manipulated through the use of ritual or magic. And the Old Testament claims that magic, curses, speaking to the dead and bringing the dead back to life are all possible even without God and any who do these dark things are to be put to death.

Even in the New Testament rituals like Communion are set up, a symbolic act of mock cannibalism where you take in a part of the savior's flesh and blood. Many sects of Christianity today have other rituals, such as baptism, and let's not forget that both Jews and Christians cut the foreskin off of their male children, an act of ritualistic mutilation.

The point of bringing all this up is to make Christians wonder whether or not there is any reason to take all this stuff literally or to consider it necessary to read the Bible as if it is a history book. Apologists work hard to make Christianity sound somewhat historical to help ease the doubts of believers who treat the existence of God and the salvation of Christ as intellectual matters rather than merely spiritual ones. But all of those attempts fail utterly when you bring up the bizarre superstitions of the Old and New Testament, the fact that so many stories are riddled with impossible feats and mythic heroes and told with structure, symbolism and lessons to the story.

The question is, at the center of this very man-made religion with so much superstition and mythology, at it's core, are you confident that there is actually a God there?

When I dug down and read between the lines I found Christianity to be an invention of mankind and I have yet to see any evidence that it's beliefs mean anything outside of what they mean to those who already believe. Christians are welcome to the spiritual aspects of their faith, as empty as they may seem to me, but when they start asserting that it is real beyond their own belief in it they will butt up against those outside the cult who see it for what it is.

If you are a Christian and by some chance you stumbled upon this I'd ask that you do research. Read your Bible and study where it came from, how it was put together, how much it was changed and what it actually says. Don't take my word for it but also don't swallow down what some apologist or pastor says without questioning it. Remember that doubt is not something to be feared and no God worth a damn would ever punish you for it.

Thursday, August 27, 2015

The Lack of an Answer

One of the most commonly and openly committed logical fallacies that Christian apologists love to engage in is the use of mystery or the unexplained to propose that God is the best or only explanation that makes any sense. Often times they will steep a subject in it's own complexity and play up the intricate inter-workings or causes and effects that would have had to all come together to make this thing happen... so there must be some form of God, some agency, some purpose to it all.

This tendency to read agency into things is one of the foundations of superstition and therefore serves as a psychological crux propping up all of religion. The mysteries that apologists often exploit are those that human beings most desperately want answered. Where did we come from? What is the origin of the Universe? What is the meaning of our lives? Are we just here or do we have a higher purpose? And, if it is all by natural processes, how can that be so?

That last bit of question begging, asking HOW all this could happen by natural processes, is often the most plaintive of the questions, pulling at the hearts of everyone. Everyone wants to believe they were special and no one seems willing to accept the idea that natural processes can be responsible for everything.

Yet enduring mysteries, even ones that seem insoluble and without resolution, are not a call to invent something spooky or, even worse, to cower beneath the shadow of something spooky that ancient people invented thousands and thousands of years ago. It is utterly human to want to fill in those mysteries and even to invoke agency to do so but it is also ignorant and it is even more ignorant to merely choose whatever supernatural agent happens to have been handed to us by our parents or the society around us.

The fact that children most typically have the religion of their parents and that religious denominations are cut almost as hard as political and geographical borders is a telling one indeed. It says that many people share the psychological need or desire for a creator or some sort of superstition but it also shows how misguided they are to put their faith in the cults of the past.

And this brings in another fallacy, the idea that these ancient schools of superstition (Christianity, Judaism, Islam, etc) are somehow MORE likely to be true because they endured thousands of years. Of course they've changed and evolved a great deal in that time and the beliefs of believers are not only vastly different today than they were five hundred or even a hundred years ago but there are so many varieties of belief even within those religions. Sects diverging like a thousand splinters from a bolt of lightning all with varying beliefs but all with the certainty that they understand the answer to the mystery better than the others.

We all understand, at least those of us outside the cult do, that something like Scientology is a load of shit, absolutely devoid of facts at its very core - an exploitative cult with bizarre ideas about ancient galactic empires and brainwashed alien spirits. But in the same breath people will praise the unseen hand of the Jewish God - a warlike plague-bringer who, sometime in the early 1st century, dispatched a constituent part of himself into the womb of a teenage virgin so that this incarnated divine child could set up a new more merciful covenant with humanity and then, through a blood-magic ritual of atonement where he dies and returns to life, save at least some of us from the wrath we all deserved because two ancient people in a garden somewhere took bad dietary advice from a talking snake. For some reason we can all tell Scientology is bullshit but as a society we give something as old and big as Christianity a free pass to be as full of magical mumbo-jumbo as is possibly imaginable.

Feel free to use this quote:

So when someone appeals to mystery in a talk about apologetics, when they appeal to the vastness of the Cosmos, when they start talking about the "improbability" of it all coming together just so and then they run and hide beneath some Middle Eastern deity who murders children, supports slavery and brings down horrid plagues on the heads of any who displease him their reasoning is flawed. They have forgotten the very mystery they were just praising and instead invested in some horseshit humanity made up to fill in the gaps. This is why it's called a God of the Gaps argument.

This came up earlier this year when I was discussing internet celebrity Joshua Feuerstein and his absurd 100,000 dollar challenge to disprove God, the good pastor Josh makes a great appeal to mystery where he draws a circle and then puts a dot at the center. Our knowledge of the Universe is the dot and the circle, more or less, is the rest of what's OUT THERE, all of the UNKNOWN Cosmic goings on. The problem is that Josh's answer to this isn't to be inclusive. He's not asking people to become New Age gurus who accept and cannibalize different parts of all religions to build one big UBER religion, he wants you to abandon the idea of the mystery of the Cosmos immediately after you've agreed to it and agree to his bullshit theology. He only wants you to acknowledge that HIS God and only his God might be out there and, because you can't disprove it, that you're a moron for disbelieving as strongly as you do.

The problem isn't that Josh's God is impossible or is definitely not out there, it's that Josh's God is no more likely to be out there than any of the other shit human beings have believed in since the dawn of superstition. Josh isn't actually open to the vastly weird Cosmic intelligences, gods or not, that might be out there. He isn't interested in talking about Bleebblarp from the Irulian Galaxy Cluster who is an almost omnipotent psychic being that can bend time and space however he sees fit. Josh doesn't want to find out and isn't open to finding out that a group of super-intelligent interdimensional bunny rabbits were contracted by an even smarter more intelligent being called Marvin the Space Penguin to build our Universe.

Apologists making these arguments aren't open to the mystery actually being answered, they want to shove their already existing beliefs into the gap they've just opened. This is part of the proof that apologetics is just verbal masturbation, or a verbal circle-jerk. Christians making other Christians feel reassured that they aren't wrong by fallaciously appealing to mystery or complexity and making sure their God sorta kinda could maybe work as an explanation if you squint real hard, clap your hands and say "I do believe in fairies".

Part of being open-minded is admitting that you could be wrong. I openly do this, I openly admit Gods could be out there. All kinds of weird shit could be out there and I want to know if it is but faith, superstition, they're a hindrance not a help, they're far more likely to close a mind than open it. The lack of an answer is not proof that your answer is the only one and sticking an even bigger mystery into an existing one does not help.

Author's Note:

Okay so this was a very off the cuff and spontaneous post but Hubpages (where I do most of my writing) has redesigned their site to look like shit, removed feedback features that are fundamental to the site and has basically shit the bed 100%. Chances are you (who am I addressing this to? No one reads this shit) will be seeing more posts here and over on my Bible study blog: fuckthebible,wordpress.com

Thursday, April 9, 2015

If All The World Forgot Your God He Would Not Be Remembered

This religion thing really holds us back and the older I get the harder it is to see religion as a positive influence in any way. It really is a shame because religion provides people with a sense of community, of greater identity and destiny and can also help prompt people to give to charitable causes and get more involved with their fellow human beings. However religion also tends to hi-jack your identity and establish itself as an indispensable cornerstone not just of your individual life but of human civilization and society as a whole.

Religion takes certain functions that a normal secular community organization might perform. It feeds the hungry, gives money to causes, organizes community wide events, etc etc. So when it is pointed out that the ideas at the heart of religion, the doctrines and claims made about supernatural phenomenon, are actually false or at the very least unfalsifiable, people use the positive functions that religion has adopted as a shield.

And it works both ways. For when churches and sects of Christianity fail to properly execute these borrowed parts of society people will claim that religion isn't really ABOUT ALL THAT and is really about the message of Jesus' love. For example let's say a Mega Church Televangelist asks his congregation for money and uses that money on opulent hotel suites, private jets and high end prostitutes. When the transgressing Televangelist is at last discovered in his sin the excuse is that “not all churches are like that” and that “no true Christian behaves that way. This person is just in it for the money!”

Thus religion can shield itself from any ugly truth by being a chameleon, or more accurately a Chimera. This is why there are so many thousands of differing views, sects and denominations of the Christian faith, because over the years Christianity has developed a flavor for almost anyone. Hell there are even Christian Atheists, a term that seems an oxymoron at first glance.

The Catholic Church is a great example of religion hiding behind just how fiercely it is embedded into society and the collective consciousness.

The Catholic Church was once the authority on what people were allowed to believe. As many nations had officially adopted Catholicism there were times in European history where questioning and speaking against the Orthodoxy of the Church was punishable by death. Galileo, whose famous observations definitively overturned centuries of false geocentric dogma, was a victim of this very tyranny. The Christian faith, as a whole, not just in regards to the Catholics, made it quite clear that the average believer was not allowed to engage in free thinking when it came to their beliefs. While theologians often questioned and decided in committee various points of doctrine questioning whatever they ordained orthodox was not allowed.

Religion established that to question the truths it put forth was taboo, forbidden, and might get you killed or at the very least run out of town and cast out of society. Religion is thus made an intimate part of people's lives and their base of knowledge, so that questioning its truths was seen as more perverse and foolish than even questioning mathematics or logic. Whatever you believe, the truths of religion were above that, they were sacred.

I personally take offense to the idea that any idea can be sacred. In point of fact I hold that the only sacred truth is that no truth is sacred. Sacred here meaning above reproach or above disposal. We should be ready, at all times, to throw out utterly any truth shown to be false and to only adopt new truths tentatively and with an understanding that they might be temporary.

So when people say that we cannot or should not tear down the Catholic Church for their organized and merciless cover-up of institutionalized child molestation I can only assume that they are operating from the point of view that the Catholic Church represents core sacred truths that must be defended. But I find it insulting that those in power at the Vatican hide behind the centuries of mind-control they have instilled in the poor folks of Europe and the Americas to get away with their sinister criminal enterprise.

Make no mistake about it that the Catholic Church is, and always has been, a Criminal Organization designed to procure opulence, wealth, and influence. That last piece may seem like a rather minor one, influence, but it is actually the main currency that the Catholic Church uses to buy its immunity from both public scrutiny and international outrage.

By embedding itself so deeply in people's identities and lives religion assures that although the ideas at its core are untrue and often rotten that it will be defended and believed in for centuries to come. And yes despite moderate announcements to the contrary religious truths are often rotten to the core. If the Bible were not widely believed before being read, that is to say if an ordinary morally decent person were able to mature first and then encounter the Bible and read it, there would be no one on planet Earth defending the Bible as some source of truth, moral or otherwise.

The older I get the more it disgusts me to have to be discussing this stuff in the twenty-first century when our thinking should have gone far beyond the minor desert god El/Yahweh about whom ancient peoples in the Middle East wrote legends and stories. Allegories and fables with lessons and morals long outdated and lacking in use for modern humans as anything other than literary curiosities and mythological vestiges of when people were foolish enough to hold things as sacred or self-evident.

We are better than this as a species and as a culture. We will not move forward until we strip away the respect and protection that has been given to religious ideas under the guise of protecting people's feelings. Hell Churches are often exempt from TAXES! Although it is an uphill battle that will likely see little progress in any of our lifetimes I think it is necessary if the human race is to have any hope of moving on from this planet and making our destiny a positive one. We must emphasize that while it is your right and your “choice” to believe whatever you want that you live in a society of other beings who must interact with you and if your beliefs and superstitions continue to get in the way of normal progress, of scientific inquiry, of education, of social equality like gay marriage and LGBT rights you will not be unopposed.

Far from sacred religious ideas are often the most suspect, most superstitious and most often disproved. Just as the geocentric model was overturned by Galileo. Just as the idea that disease was caused by evil spirits was replaced by Germ Theory. Just as the magical spoken incantation that created life in Genesis has been overturned. We should not defend or leave un-assailed ideas that assert themselves as sacred. All ideas are open to scrutiny, and the fact that religious ideas resist this openness is a telling sign that those that laid the framework of religion and those that maintain that framework, the Apologists, Popes and Preachers, in some way know that it's all bullshit.

We will stop you, one day, from poisoning the minds of generation after generation and helping to squander the hopes of the entire human race. And this goes for all fundamental and supposedly sacred truths of politics as well, for politics is just as damaging and is holding us back just as much as religion is, if not more... but that is a discussion for another time and perhaps a different blog entirely...

Authors Note:

Okay so I haven't done a post here in a few years but I plan to start doing them semi-regularly, whenever I have something to say about Christianity or atheism that doesn't really fit for a hub on hubpages. By the way that's where I've been for anyone reading this or discovering this blog today I do most of my writing about atheism/theism on http://titen-sxull.hubpages.com/

Also I didn't draw any fun MS Paint stuff for this one, which used to be my MO on this blog way back in the day. So here's one I did recently for hubpages, just threw it together, it has no correlation to the post above:

Stay tuned for more ramblings in the future...