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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Philosophy Turned Me from Religion, Not Science

Perhaps one of the reasons I’m not one of obstinate “everyone who believes in god is an idiot” atheists is because my reasons for leaving faith are more philosophical than scientific.

Sure, when I was a kid my atheism started when I realized I only believed in god because adults told me to. When you start thinking critically for yourself you have to question it. I believe it must dawn on everyone that spirituality is completely incongruous with what we understand about the world around us. A choice must be made to put faith in the comfort of supernatural guidance or seek new answers.

Honestly, I don’t think any atheist turns from religion because god “obviously” doesn’t exist. I also don’t entirely believe the ones that claim they “wish I could believe in god.” The truth is that if you really want to believe in something you can convince yourself to, especially in religious matters. Confirmation bias will provide you all the proof you need that god exists. If you are of a more skeptical nature than it will do the opposite, no matter how much you “want” to believe.

I turned from religion because I completely disagree with the philosophies of supernaturalism. In fact, I despise them. That’s not to disparage those that don’t. If you find comfort in the idea that all powerful entities looking after you then that’s fine. It is a lifestyle I simply cannot abide.

To me a lifestyle with god is a life of submission and restraint. Why is it that every religion asserts humility and meekness? Judeo Christian: You are a child of god, he is your savior. Buddhism: in the beginning there’s so much wrong with you that most of your existence will be spent fixing it to reach nirvana. Hinduism: Seek awareness of god and the blessings of deities.

I am so fucking sick of hearing how our species is broken and wrong. How many times do we have to be reminded that people have done horrible things? Why is it that no one is born enlightened and great? Why must all our effort be put into seeking the perfect self?

Don’t misunderstand me. I don’t like arrogance, I don’t think anyone is born perfect, and I think we should all aspire to greatness, but it seems to me that religious and spiritual philosophy claims we are much farther behind in our development than we actually are.

Imagine a religion where you are told from birth that god created you with the expectation that you will be better than him. Instead of being born with the guilt of “original sin” (a crime you didn’t even commit), you are told that your species has so much potential it can surpass its creator. What kind of fire would that light in you?

We are not weak, we are not flawed, we are not predispositioned to sin and debauchery. Humankind is an awesome species that will reach out to the universe and overcome any challenge thrown at it.

I don’t need or want some all-powerful entity holding my hand as though I’m an accident-prone child. I can’t stand the idea of something that considers itself the ultimate authority watching me all the time, casting judgments in matters it has absolutely no business judging. How, exactly, is my participation in pre-marital sex an affront to god’s sensibilities? Why should it care? It baffles me that people who follow the strict tenants of the church hear all those rules and think “god sure is a great guy.” To me he’s an overbearing parent more concerned I do things his way rather than finding my own path.

Do you find comfort in the idea that every action is judged?

Do you find comfort in the idea that every action is judged?

When I was a kid I spent way too much time worrying whether my actions would send me to hell. I always wondered if god would be okay with my rationale for doing something that went against church doctrine. Man was that a horrible way to live. Who is god to judge me? All powerful, all knowing, creator of the universe, I don’t care! Why does it get to be the ultimate judge of every living thing?

I was so sick of the tenants religion gave that it was easy for me to accept that god doesn’t exist. I realize some people of religion might claim that I abandoned god as an “excuse to sin.” That I am so arrogant I believe my way is better than that of the almighty.

Please.

I have fundamental disagreements with the philosophy that made me more inclined to believe it untrue. Maybe if I agreed with them I would have clung to religion longer, but when you take an objective look at things god is a difficult concept to believe in. You’d have to really want to believe in religious philosophy to have faith in the supernatural.

In simpler terms: If I liked the idea of an all-powerful protector it would have been much easier for me to ignore the fact that there is no evidence supporting the supernatural. In the same vein, if someone was desperate and seeking answers, it would be much easier for them to accept the comforting thought of divinity and that everything is part of a plan.

So, evangelists and Christian “scientists,” please save your breath. Your promises of an otherworldly kingdom and questionable discoveries supported with pseudo-science will do nothing to sway me. Divinity is a hard pill to swallow, and without indisputable proof I will never believe in it. The idea of god is completely repulsive to me.

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.

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.

5 Dumbest Reasons People Think I’m an Atheist

A large number of religious people seem to have a hard time grasping how anyone can be an atheist. If you’ve ever seen those questionnaires for atheists a lot of the questions circle around the theme “how could you not believe?”

Guys, take a step back and think about which of the options is the harder pill to swallow.

This shock and awe at a person’s capacity to not believe in supernaturalism has led several religious to create some bizarre rationalizations for atheism. These explanations often belittle the intelligence and reason of nonbelievers. This way insecure religious individuals can feel better about themselves by disregarding the mental validity of those that disagree with them.

Here are five of the worst ones I’ve heard in my 10+ years without a god.

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An Atheist’s Mission

My ultimate goal is to teach all your kids that god is a lie and that only a hedonistic life where sin is an opinion rather than fact is the way to go.

I really shouldn’t make jokes like that considering the large number of people who skim sentences of my posts rather than reading the whole thing (the staggering amount of people who rescind their “likes” of my posts is evidence enough of that).

Often I’ll come across an evangelical type claiming that the “godless” are trying to steer your children away from the lord and put them on the dark path.

Dude, I hate kids. They can believe whatever they want, I don’t care. Not like a child has the capacity to really “believe” anything with rational conviction anyway.

Here’s the thing: most atheists have had people tirelessly try and convert them back to religion. My uncles’ (yes, I intended the plural form here grammar sticklers) housekeeper tried to do it to me just last week. In fact right now I’m hiding out downtown because I saw she brought a bunch of Christian literature with her and I just cannot listen to that spiel again. Many atheists realize how forthright attempts to convert are annoying and occasionally insulting.

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