The Soul Scapegoat

What do you do when someone is doing something you don’t agree with, but you can’t definitively say why it’s bad? Well there’s one thing that you can always claim is feeling something even though there is no physical or emotional stimulus by which to measure it:

“It may not be bad for the body, but it’s bad for the soul.”

That’s what someone said to me when he was trying to explain to me why homosexuality is a bad thing, because for some reason this argument is still going on in Orem, God Damn Utah.

Yes, claiming something happening to the soul is a great way to shut people up for a few seconds because, for some reason, even many atheists are reluctant to say it doesn’t exist. If they don’t call it a soul, they’ll call it something else: Life force, energy, aura, or sometimes even just something.

Why are people so drawn to the idea of invisible, intangible things that they have no reason to believe exist but still think they have a complete understanding of what’s good and bad for it?

“You should really try meditating from time to time, Taylor.”

“That’s never really been my thing. I just don’t get anything out of it.”

“Well you should really give it another shot. It’s good for the soul.”

Dude, shut the hell up. That’s a really condescending statement. Insinuating my life is somehow less fulfilled because I can’t appreciate this one thing that makes you feel better from time to time. Attacking someone’s “spiritual fulfillment” is one of those masked pretentious arguments. The non religious type that brings up the soul is the kind of guy that wants you think his life is so well put together and he’s reached total nirvana- not that he’d ever admit that. No, it is his habit to act continuously humble, act like there’s so much about this “big amazing world” he doesn’t understand and how he just wants to go see all of it. The type of guy who never gets angry and always has a big fucking grin on his face.

I know your life isn’t as great as you want me to think it is, man.

This is one of the first image results for "soul." Makes about as much sense as any other interpretation.

This is one of the first image results for “soul.” Makes about as much sense as any other interpretation.

Going back to that example, how is saying that any different than telling me I should pray? They’re both insistences that there’s some supernatural experience I’m missing out on because I’m not getting it right.

What I really love about the fact that I don’t get anything out of prayer or meditation is that it’s apparently because I’m “not really trying.”  That’s beautiful. In an exercise that is literally just sitting and concentrating on something, I’m somehow not doing it right (And here is where the religiously pretentious will shake their heads and say “he just doesn’t get it”).

No, the real problem is that after I sit there long enough I don’t instantly believe that the slight shift in my physical being is god or enlightenment. I’m not going to fucking sit there and fall prey to confirmation bias. I won’t tell you that whatever you feel is fake, so don’t fucking tell me that my not feeling something is because I’m just not trying. Screw you, man. I was 10 once, I gave prayer an honest shot. Didn’t do anything for me. It was always an empty feeling. Are you going to insist that’s my fault? I wasn’t skeptical back then, I believed what everyone told me to believe, but I never felt what they told me I was going to feel.

The soul is a nice imaginary construct people have created to give them a term to measure progress in things that really aren’t making any difference in their lives at all.

“Go for a walk, it’ll be good for your soul.”

…. Man, there’s like 50 other reasons taking a walk is good for you, and you chose to go with that one? What the hell does that even mean? You may as well have told me it would be good for the humours. Seriously, sit down and explain to me what you mean by that statement. How is that good for my ‘soul’?

They can’t do it. All they’ll do is use a lot of buzzwords.

“It just fulfills you and clears your mind.”

You could have just said it clears my mind in the first place. Saying its good for my soul gives me no clear idea as to what will be beneficial about taking a walk. I’m just going to go out there hoping it makes me feel better without any inkling as to what will be improving.

But that is what people who promote the soul concept want you to feel like. Because without a clear marker as to why it’s good or bad, it’s impossible to say that it isn’t. Homosexuality, masturbation, tattoos, cursing, there’s absolutely no legitimate reason why these things are bad, but god damnit, they’ll twist your soul until it’s black and shriveled.

Meanwhile celibacy, which causes so much frustration and physical pain because it goes against your body’s natural instincts and every fiber of your being will scream at you “FUCK FUCK FUCK”, is good for the soul. Why? Well because it’s godly. Don’t you want a nice, clean, pure white soul? You may not feel better physically or emotionally, but in pretend land you’re doing fantastic!

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A Good Parent Never Teaches Right From Wrong

Most people seem surprised when I tell them I became an atheist as early as 13. I’m more surprised that anyone could continue to believe into that stuff well after the age where they start thinking for themselves, but I’m an arrogant prick, so whatever.

The truth is I always kinda knew I was an atheist. All my time in Catholic school I went along with it because adults told me it was true, and you go to school to learn things, right?

Man, what a joke that makes religion class.

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Empathy Trumps Love

Love is constantly being shoved down our throats as the most beautiful, chaotic, frustrating, and rewarding emotion to ever exist.

Ugh. Enough already. Despite what Japanimation tells you, love isn’t some all powerful force that helps us overcome any obstacle. It’s a term we invented to describe an abstract concept we feel towards people who we tolerate slightly more than the rest of society.

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The Secular Scene is Too Damn Depressing

In my anniversary post I mentioned that I was hesitant to reenter secular society and Scott of Skeptic Meditations asked me what that meant.

The world of vocal atheists is a depressing one.

When you reacquaint yourself with the popular outspoken voices of secularism you’ll mostly be listening to complaints about the world and harsh attacks on people of faith. That’s not to say the situation isn’t similar in religious circles, but I don’t think fighting fire with fire is the appropriate response here.

There are very few vocal atheists promoting positivity. Everyone seems to be consumed by arguments and screaming how things should be. Look up popular secular YouTube channels. It’s almost exclusively people talking about what religious people did wrong this week.

Man, I’m a gamer. All my negative energy is spent complaining about everything wrong in that industry (Mother characters got cut from the new Smash Bros? For what? Doctor Mario? Are you friggin’ kidding me?). I don’t have any to spare!

The fact is that when we do nothing but argue over every issue our beliefs and principles become a very dark place in our minds.

It’s not that recognizing problems and injustices in the world is bad; it’s that the monologue usually consists only of talking about how wrong it is. I believe that if we talk more about the goal and ideal then we present a positive picture. People will be less inclined to start arguing or take sides and instead work co-operatively to achieve a utopia… An actual utopia, not a literary one that’s destined to fail to teach a lesson about hubris.

When you only talk about what’s wrong, there will always be people who disagree with you and start an argument. When you talk about the goal, it’s less confrontational and more “hey, we can do something good if we try!” Which may be cheesy and not as fun, but in the long run we’re better off.

Reminding each other that there is a simple, positive goal that we all agree upon makes it easier to achieve the goal. The goal is beautiful, uplifting, makes your outlook better and encourages you to reach for the sky.

When someone tries to promote a cause you completely disagree with, like taking evolution out of school, don’t immediately take the confrontational stance. Instead, ask why. Make an effort to empathize their reasoning and then come up with a counter argument that is more accommodating to their thoughts and beliefs rather than ruffling their fathers by obstinately saying “you’re wrong.” They are wrong, of course, but you’re not going to convince them of that by acting like the know-it-all opposition.  The goal in this situation is: Best education for our children. Both sides can agree on that, work from there.

It’s not easy. Fighting is more sensational, more fun, and keeps things interesting, but it doesn’t get shit done.

I didn’t want to get back into the secular scene because I cannot stand seeing everyone too busy fighting about everything to actually accomplish anything. I became a humanist because I love the philosophy that mankind can achieve anything it sets its mind to. Angry, depressing, derogatory blogs, vlogs, and tweets make me believe it a little less every day.

Karma Sucks

Karma is an afterlife substitute.

I am often surprised by the number of atheists I know who, when someone does them wrong, they say “karma will catch up with them.”

I thought part of being an atheist was abandoning the concept that the universe has some sense of “fair.” Existence isn’t fair. The guy who cut in front of you at the checkout line and made you miss your ten o’clock appointment did not just invoke the ire of an intangible force that demands punishment for crimes.

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Don’t Be A Cutie

I don’t ask questions, don’t promote demonstrations,
don’t look for new consensus, don’t stray from constitution
if I pierce the complexity I won’t find salvation
just the bald and over truth
of the evil and deception

there is an inner logic,
and we’re taught to stay far from it
it is simple and elegant,
but it’s cruel and antithetic
and there’s no effort to reveal it

 

I figured out what I love most about Isaac Asimov’s writing: he has an extremely entertaining and gratifying method of reasoning.

Today I read his short story “Reason” in which a robot comes to the conclusion that it was created by god rather than man. “god” is a huge Energy Converter on a space station. The robot, “Cutie,” convinces himself humans could not have created him because humans are lesser creatures (need sleep, inferior strength, etc) and it is impossible that lesser creatures could create a greater one

These are facts which, with the self-evident proposition that no being can create another being superior to itself, smashes your silly hypothesis to nothing.

Ah, a self-evident fact. Cutie considers his reasoning abilities to be far more advanced that his human creators, so why should he bend to what they tell him?

Cutie is also under the belief that there are no other planets, there are no stars, and there is no space. There is only life inside the station. His creators have him observe space and planets through a telescope to prove their existence, but even with evidence flat in front of his face he denies it.

Do you think I’m going to waste my time trying to pin physical interpretations upon every optical illusion of our instruments? Since when is the evidence of our senses any match for the clear light of rigid reason?

Then the creators have Cutie read scientific books full of evidence, facts, and statistics that make it very clear that stars and planets exist.

I certainly don’t consider them a valid source of information. They, too, were created by the Master- and were meant for you, not for me… Because I, a reasoning being, am capable of deducing Truth from a priori causes. You, being intelligent, but unreasoning, need an explanation of existence supplied to you, and this the Master did.

In a last ditch effort to force Cutie to come to terms with the truth of his existence, his creators build another robot in front of him.

You have merely put together parts already made… but you didn’t really create the robot. The parts were created by the Master.

Exasperated, the creators give up on trying to make Cutie realize the truth and come to this conclusion:

You can prove anything you want by coldly logical reason- if you pick the proper postulates. We have ours and Cutie has his… Postulates are based on assumption and adhered to by faith. Nothing in the Universe can shake them.

This is basically a more eloquent version of my statement a few posts ago that arguing religion is just a battle of make believe.

robot-cutie

Here is your explanation for how certain stubborn people can have undeniable facts put in front of them and still deny what they see.

I will not spoil the story for you by telling you how Cutie came to this conclusion or how it ends. I will say the climax does not involve a robot revolution. Asimov is far, far too brilliant a writer for anything trite as that, despite what that god awful movie would have you believe…

Often I come across blogs, books, and twitter posts where an individual claims that he has proven creationism true.

Well, Sir, let me shake your hand. You are the man who cracked the case. You, the man who has a majority of posts declaring to the world that Obama is an Islamic terrorist, are the world’s most brilliant researcher. Why isn’t everyone in world on their knees praising you? I’m sure your low readership is due to the scientific conspiracy to keep god down. I don’t know why the pope hasn’t canonized you yet, perhaps he’s part of the conspiracy. Damn it, people, stand up in your chairs and shout, this one man has proven creationism true and thus proved god true! He’s the most brilliant man the universe will ever know!

Thanks, guy.

I love how these people always say I have proof, I wrote the book, I figured it out. Right dude, I’m sure in between beers and screaming at Obama on the TV you found time to prove that which thousands of theologians have been trying to prove for hundreds of years.

Meanwhile those books on evolution that are peer reviewed, meticulously studied, and detailing observations and experiments that have been tested dozens of times over are all bullshit. Nothing but tawdry lies attempting to separate society from the good and almighty god.

These people are Cuties. They have very clear and well put together evidence that explains how the universe works and they deny it, postulating alternatives from their own twisted sense of “reasoning.”

As always I must point out accepting new discoveries is not abandoning god. I promise you a majority of scientists don’t care if people believe in god. The goal is to explain the universe in ways that replace the myths. Those answers are outdated, they don’t apply anymore, but that doesn’t mean a god couldn’t exist. It just means there were never two people in a magic garden with a talking snake!

Don’t be a Cutie. Embrace an ever changing understanding of the universe.

God Explains Everything!

Seems like every time I post on here I somehow get sucked into the world of religion vs atheism.

Outside of this blog I stay as far away from that shit as possible. It’s depressing and infuriating.

For instance, during my last foray I came across several over zealous Christians saying that god is the best, and most logical explanation for the world’s mysteries.

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