So, I just started work at a new office last week. Upon introducing myself to the various student workers (I work at a college) one asked me flat out if I was a Christian. This was a follow up to her previous statement that the "lord" told her about an opportunity to study at Hebrew University in Israel. Seeking to maintain my integrity I politely replied to her query: "no, I'm atheist". So, I was in the uncomfortable position of outing myself as an atheist in my first week on the job. Oh, did I mention a nun works in my office as an Admin Assistant! Awkward!
When will Christians learn to acknowledge the privilege they have in our society? This is unacceptable behavior in my opinion, but due to the omnipresent Christan privilege in American society, such remarks are viewed with complacency by most. Any comments, suggestions on dealing with Christian privilege?
Hey thank you for the question. Really the best advice I could give when dealing with people you’re unfamiliar with would be avoid the big issues, mainly politics and religion. In a workplace especially it is entirely inappropriate and depending on how it happens could be considered illegal.
Short personal story. When I was a supervisor at my previous job a policy was implemented against any hats or head covering. I had someone on my team who would always wear a do-rag on his head. I told him he had to remove it because of the new policy and he said he wouldn’t because it was part of his religion. Not thinking any better at the time I asked him what is your religion. I ended up being reprimanded for it.
Christians often don’t realize how much privilege they get in the USA. It especially bothers me when they attempt to turn it around and talk about how they are persecuted or mocked. Atheists are one of the few groups left that most people see no issue in demeaning or mocking. I honestly wish there was an easy way to deal with that issue but like all groups that have worked for acceptance it is going to be a challenge.
I’d say going forward it is probably best to avoid religion in the work place, especially when you work around a lot of people that are strongly religious. Thankfully most everyone I work with now is a techie person or computer dork, there seems to be a much higher % of Atheists and non-believers among people that work with computers in my experience. We’re all pretty open and able to talk to each other but it sounds as if you’re in a position where that’s not going to be an option. You could of course take the other option and be even more vocal about it, where t-shirt (if your company allows it) that express your views, and engaged with people in religious discussions. Chances are that is probably only going to increase any animosity and especially when you’re new to a job that may not turn out the best.
It’s unfortunate that the two options boil down to keeping your beliefs to yourself or possibly agitating people around you. If people tended to keep their beliefs to themselves it probably wouldn’t of been an issue at all. If it impacts you negatively at your job though you need to be sure to report it. No one should be treated poorly at their work because of their religious beliefs. In the work place is about the only time I don’t mind Atheism being lumped in as a religion so that it receives the same protection that religions do. Good luck with everything.
The other day I had someone send me a message where they referred to themselves as a “disciple” of Jesus. If you ever happen to encounter anyone who uses this unfortunate choice of wording it might be helpful to remember Luke 14:26 from the bible.
"If anyone comes to me and does not hate his father and mother, his wife and children, his brothers and sisters—yes, even his own life—he cannot be my disciple."
It would have to suck to be a disciple of Jesus. Kind of strange that he only wanted people who hated everything to be his disciples when he was supposed to be all about love and kindness. Good thing that chances are most of the stuff in the bible never happened and was never said.
Cheers for your blog! I find that I share a lot of your views in the majority of topics you cover, especially those concerned with religion and its effects on people. However, the only topic I seem to find inadequately “resolved” is your stance on agnosticism. In one of your recent questions, you responded "Being unsure (though) is not a position on it’s own and at some point the decision has to be made one way or another." I actually disagree with you. See, I'm an atheist, even though a lot of my beliefs (or rather lack-of) point towards agnosticism, I like using the finality of the term "atheist" to describe myself, but that doesn’t mean I’ve discarded an agnostic point of view. Agnosticism is definitely the defining line between belief and non-belief, but it’s also a safe middle-ground, if you learn to see it this way:
The way I see it is that if (and that's a huge if) some “higher power” exists, "it" would be something beyond the human mind. The metaphor I most use when it comes to “god” is that “god” has no self-fulfilling purpose, “god” is kind of like the square root of a negative number: something “imaginary” and impractical in the real world, but most importantly, something vastly unfathomable (albeit unnecessary). Personally, I despise the term "god" only because it humanizes the concept of the incomprehensible matter that humans have learned to worship and revere. I don't even like calling "god" a supreme "being" because even that implies consciousness, and again, consciousness is irrelevant only because "god" would be beyond the conscious and tangible.
When you take “god” out of the picture, you have atheism, but when “god” takes itself out of the picture, you’d have agnosticism. Agnosticism is vaguely defined as a questioning stance, but if people learn to see “god” in the way I just described, as the intangible, I’d say that a majority of people wouldn’t be questioning its existence, but rather, whether they need to adhere to the belief of it so dearly.
Thank you for your comment. The question of agnostic/Atheist is something that has gone on for a while. My view on it is perhaps a bit different then some because I don’t think the idea of “knowing” God is relevant to the discussion at all. Since the term agnostic technically refers to our inability to know if God exists or not it is really an entirely different subject then being Atheist or theist. I agree in a sense that knowing is not applicable with God. If there was any ability to know anything we would most likely already have something to base that on.
I have often had theists agree that this is the case. If that is the case though it really negates the very idea of theism, it completely undermines it. If God was able to listen to us, to answer prayers, to affect the world, to watch our daily activities, these would all be things that would be at least in principle testable. We would be able to see something to give us this inclination. Either God must be completely removed from all ability to communicate or contact with human beings, which means there is no reason to be concerned with him at all, or he can and the idea of him being beyond any human understanding doesn’t hold up.
Nearly all Atheists hold at least a very small part of agnosticism in them. For me I hold as much agnosticism to God as I do to unicorns, fairies, leprechauns, and just about any other mythical creature you can imagine. It is quite possible that some sort of energy or entity exists that is beyond our understanding. It is possible, but I certainly don’t think there is, at least nothing even remotely close to what we often term “God” to be. I don’t think there is the slightest bit of solid evidence to say there is and if we did have sufficient understanding of whatever this power or force was we would have no reason to continue to refer to it as God.
The reason I say you have to make a decision one way or another is because to simply say I don’t know leaves you in a stance of limbo. If you say you simply can not know then you remove yourself from all discussion on the subject. You’ve already stated that it is impossible to know, which means you can’t really contribute anything concrete to the discussion on existence or non-existence. Even if you do not know there is an answer one way or the other. The question has an answer even if you refuse to commit yourself one way or another.
That is why you must eventually decide what you’re going to believe. I don’t want to be so bold to say that all rejections of belief in God is de facto acceptance of Atheism but in a technical sense it is true. You’re going to chose to live your life either under the belief that God does exist, or that he doesn’t. How you chose to live your life in that sense in probably a much better indication of which way you’re leaning in belief. If you live life under the assumption that God doesn’t matter/is impossible to know you’re really living your life pretty much like an Atheist. Even if you can’t bring yourself to make a decision one way or the other you’ll have to live your life under one presumption or another.
As an atheist who went to a Christian school from middle through high school, I resent that comment accompanied with the last picture about Christian schools being easy. The school I attended was one of the most prestigious academic schools in my state and I can guarantee that it was anything but "easy" most of the time.
Don't fall into the trap of siding with anyone who has the same base value as you.
Fine Christians can have challenging schools as well. Private schools do often have higher educational standards then public schools. Christians answers to how things happen are easy answers. Better clarification? I understand your point but am fairly sure you understood mine as well.
I'm openly an atheist, but I considered myself agnostic for many years. This was not because of familial or peer pressure; I was not afraid of others' reactions, but rather of the notion of a world without a higher power. I considered the idea unrealistic, but still felt comforted by it, as so many people do. I think that might be very common as well. Thoughts?
I agree with you. It is something that is a big comfort to a lot of people, especially when transition from being a believer to a non-believer, it may be hard to let go. Changing the way you think and interact is something that takes getting used to. I’ve always see being agnostic as a good transition period but not something people should settle into and maintain. Going from believing to not being sure to eventually not believing is a natural progressions. Being unsure though is not a position on it’s own and at some point the decision has to be made one way or another. The idea of comfort and consolation though is definitely something that slows or prevents people from moving away from faith.
So every Catholic and Christian hyped the first Exorcist since I was in elementary school. They told me that to get the full experience of it, I need to watch it alone on a dark night with the surround sound on. So I did. I honestly was not spooked or felt anything. I felt like I wasted my time, but it was interesting non the less. I was wondering if more Atheist are like this with Exorcist movies, or am I the select few?
I’ve been told the same thing and really wasn’t blown away at all when I watched the movie. People have told me it’s one of those things were people used to be easier to scare. If you look back at the old Twilight Zone series most of them are considered pretty tame by today’s standards. I still personally like the show. I imagine most people wouldn’t be too impressed with the movie anymore. Atheists just get to laugh at it a little more for reasons that believers probably wouldn’t. “The power of Christ compels you!!” Surrrrrre it does….
You mentioned that saying you're agnostic is a complete cop-out. And as an agnostic, I completely agree. I don't believe there's anything spiritual going on in the world, and it's all nature. But the word "atheist" is so offensive to my Christian friends and family that I'd rather not deal with their condescending bullshit, so I tell them, "I take the stance that we just don't know, and so choose not to tell anyone else that they're wrong." Even though most of them are. But then of course anyone who wants to actually discuss things with me and not preach at me will be told that I believe in nature, not mythology.
Thank you for your message. I think there is actually a pretty large number of people that do that. Simply stay on the agnostic side to avoid any conflict. Hopefully once Atheists become more accepted people will be less afraid to be open about it. It seems to be one of the things that prevent Atheists from gaining more acceptance and momentum, so many people afraid to admit to their Atheism. I definitely understand why some people do it, so I don’t really fault for you for that. I just hope things can change enough that you’ll one day feel comfortable being able to be honest about your beliefs and views on religion. Thanks for sharing it.
Makes me realize why I should just delete my Facebook page. I just had to deal with someone who compares homosexuality to child molesters, cause child molesters are just “born that way” too but we see no problem in discriminating against them. If we accept homosexuality as being natural because they are just born that way isn’t it a “slippery slope” until we say child molesters are okay because they’re born that way? How are people in this country so fucking stupid sometimes to be able to just spew out erroneous ignorant statements for the whole world to see and see no problem with it? It’s even worse then the conversation I got into earlier where someone said we shouldn’t teach evolution in schools because it contradicts the teachings of religion and that may upset people. Guess what people if science says your religion is wrong, chances are your religion is wrong. If your religion is wrong, and it “upsets” you or “offends” you to hear the truth that is your problem. Why do we have to bend over backwards for accommodations in ignorance? I understand we like to accommodate people, we respect diversity, but making such extreme accommodations for nothing more than complete ignorance and an overly righteous sense of self entitlement? Why do we do this to ourselves, why do we allow ourselves to live this way…. sorry America, I try hard to love this country but you make it so damn hard sometimes. Sorry this is pretty random, I just have to vent.
What do you think of this?
Hey thanks for the message. First off I do like Cody’s page (seekthetruth-islam) and have talked to him quite a few times in the past. He has some interesting views on Islam, in an ideal settings of course. He seems like a good guy but he knows we don’t generally agree on a lot of things. The article is pretty long, I don’t usually respond like this but will just bullet point a few of the main things I disagree with.
- Atheism is not dogmatic. Individuals can perceive it to be dogmatic but there is no official dogma of any kind to Atheism.
- I agree that human being are born with rights that should be basic. It does not mean that these rights do not need defending. It also doesn’t mean that people won’t seek to remove those rights from people. Just because we have rights that we all agree are basic does not mean they were given to us by some creator. It also doesn’t mean people can’t seek to take these rights away. It’s simply something that we as human beings have decided to agree upon.
- Simply because we can imagine a being that we would consider to be “perfect” does not mean for any reason such a being would ever exist.
- Saying that our senses can be deceived by others has always been true. Hence the reason people came up with stories about miracles. Just because our senses aren’t immediately able to understand how an illusion is pulled off doesn’t mean that we do not rely on our sense to understand how the illusion was pulled off once we have more information. Just because we can be deceived by our senses doesn’t mean we don’t also use our senses for reasoning and understanding. Being able to reason is not some ability outside of human function.
- The idea of the universe being infinite or not really doesn’t relate to how relevant Atheism is. I personally often wonder about the idea of if the universe is actually infinite or just currently beyond our perception. Either answer could be true because we have no way or knowing. Whatever the answer is though it neither validates a religion or invalidates Atheism in any way.
- Lots of people worship the God of the gaps. The God of the gaps should not be an intellectually satisfying answer because it remains a lack of answer. Saying I don’t know God did it is is giving up on the problem. It is an attempt to escape any type of real answer. It’s a common tactic among the religious and not surprising that people often fall into the grip of religion because of these perceived gaps in understanding. They want some answer and whether it is the right answer or not doesn’t seem to matter as much as having some answer.
As I’ve said I do like his page. He is a very devout Muslim, now. I just think that he is seeking to answer questions with God that could have other answers. He embraces an idealized version of Islam that he then twists and contorted it to meet what he wants his world view to be. There have been many answers to questions I’ve seen that he’s posted where he justifies how his belief is compatible with Islam but there are a great many Muslims who would strongly disagree with a lot of his views. He often seems as if he is attempting to prove to himself that Islam is a peaceful religion as much as he tries to prove it to everyone else. I don’t mean any of this to be disrespectful I just think he’s going down a road of mysticism to try and answer his questions instead of working hard to develop truth.
I don't know if you've answered this before but, how do you think the world will end? Zombie apocalypse? Robot take-over? Terminator domination? 2012? Some sort of divine judgement? I'm completely serious. But if you want to answer in a joke, please do so, but make it vivid.
I have been asked about 2012 a few times. I guess for the most part it depends on what you mean for the end of the world. If you mean a death of all of humanity I think that will most likely happen from something at our own hand. A few people start letting off bombs and everyone goes a little crazy.
Even though that will not initially wipe out all of humanity the fallout and lack of resources afterward would probably send our species the way of 99.9% of all the others. It is a possibility the number of people could dwindle down to a small group and they eventually recover, but it would be extremely difficult. I think that is the most likely scenario for all humanity being wiped out. Artificial intelligence take over though is a pretty creepy scenario that definitely has some possibilities to it.
If you mean the actual end of the world and all life on it then I think we’d have to look more to natural disasters. Huge meteor impact, sun eventually going super nova, something along those lines. Life is pretty resilient and the end of humanity wouldn’t be the end of all life in most cases.
Haha, what's you're opinion on Flying Sphagetti Monster? Like, your honest opinion :P?
Well I try and be honest with all of my opinions. I actually have a friend I work with who is a Pastafarian. At least as much as anyone can really be a Pastafarian I guess. He has a FSM decal on his car and whenever religion comes up he’ll talk about the FSM. He often gives little sermons as well, just for fun of course.
I talked to him about it one day and sort of mention how most people consider Pastafarian Atheists or at least agnostics. He said no no we do believe in the FSM, it is a religion to us. I had to point out the real difference is that their religion is a spoof and they all realize it, no one takes it direly serious. He agreed to that and it pretty much sums it up.
It’s a funny goofy spoof on religion. They don’t take it serious, if all religions took that stance then there would be much less issue. People can have fun with it if they enjoy it but since it’s an obvious spoof on religion it can’t really be considered with any serious discussions on religion. The funny thing is though he is just as plausible as any other God.
Personally im not a big fan of Richard Dawkins as i think he's a bit of an arrogant cock, however there is a quote by him that i live by (no, not flying spaghetti monster) he says " What worries me about religion is that it teaches people to be satisfied with not understanding." and struck out to me. Religion was created to explain away what man didn't understand in a time when we were perpetually terrified of everything. Now that we understand so much more, i can't see why people need to constantly cling to this fictional character for support. Are they still so fucking afraid?
I love Dawkins myself. He can’t seem to escape the arrogant ass accusations but I understand why. He’s been having the same arguments forever and people keep resorting to the same unfounded tactics to try and dispute what he says. When it comes to evolution especially no one compares to Dawkins.
I do think a lot of it is fear. People don’t ever want to admit believing in God because of fear but that is probably the biggest underlying cause in all of it. Fear or not knowing why we’re here, fear or what is going to happen after we die, fear that we need other things/people to give our life meaning and validation or it’s all for nothing, fear of the things in our life that are beyond our control, fear that we can’t control those things but have the urge to feel as if something or someone must. So much fear that can be innate to people, but the easiest way to escape it is to shut off your brain and turn on a big flashing neon GOD sign to explain it all away. Everyone is afraid of something, but religious people are often afraid of truth and reality.
I found a picture the other day where someone had a peace sign with the label ''peace'' and a cross labeled 'real peace' I would link to the picture but I couldn't find it. Have you ever seen a picture like that? Any thoughts on pictures like that?
I have seen a lot of similar pictures in the past. It boils down to a lot of the ego that many Christians have. Believing that the only way to achieve peace is to have everyone believe exactly what they believe. They imagine if everyone was Christian we could all just join together and hold hands and be happy. Even if somehow everyone suddenly converted to Christianity there would be fighting over which version is the best. People who subscribe to that type of thinking are ego maniacal and verge on the level of intellectual terrorists. Believing all other ideas but their own must be wiped out in order for their to be harmony and order. It’s nothing more then divisive propaganda.
I've been reading through all of your blog and I finished it today! Just dropping a note here to tell you how much I absolutely love it; you're my favorite Tumblr. :) I've been an atheist for years and it's really refreshing to read someone as articulate as you.
I've been arguing about the concept of free will and an omniscient god with a friend--she maintains that just because God knows your decision, doesn't mean you don't have free will, while I contend that you don't actually have free will because you were going to choose it all along, according to God. Her rationale, as far as I can see, is that you have the delusion of free will--right before you actually make the decision, you have the opportunity to choose all of them; they are open to you, and God didn't take them away. Her example: "If you were to choose between blue and green, and God knew, that doesn't affect how or why you chose it." Then I argued that if you were going to choose green, and if this supposed God knew you were going to choose green, then it didn't matter if he also gave you orange and red, because you would choose green; however, she doesn't [or refuses to] understand my point. x.x I'd be interested to read your opinions on it and how you might argue this, or if it's really a hopeless cause.
Keep up the excellent posts and have an amazing day. :)
Thank you so much for the message. Always nice to hear that people appreciate my page. The idea of free will is one that I’ve always considered a little bit strange. It’s never really made sense to me how anyone can say there is an omniscient God but yet we have free will to do whatever we like. Not to mention what would be the point of being omnipotent if you’re omniscient? You already know how everything will turn out, so there is no reason to be all powerful. Does omniscient God have the omnipotence to change his future mind?
It is really just a logical contradiction to say that you can chose whatever you want but your choice is already known. To say everything is predetermined but we chose our own destiny just doesn’t make sense. It’s hard to understand how people can delude themselves so much. I guess when they have already deluded themselves in other areas it just comes about naturally.
The thing that bothers me most about this vision of life is it makes it all so meaningless. It demeans it far more then people claim Atheism demeans the value of life. No matter what you chose it doesn’t matter. Everything is already set out, nothing you do changes anything. Who really wants to live like that? Who wants to be nothing more then a puppet acting out a roll in some cosmic play? It is so disturbing to me that so many people want to that to be true.
I don’t know if there really is a way to reason with your friend on this particular issue. So often when people are so embedded in their religion that they can close their eyes to all logic and reasoning it is nearly impossible to drag them out. The only thing you can hope to do to reach your friend is to make small steps. Try and figure out what compels her to believe this is true. Explore why she wants it to be true, or thinks it has to be true. Let her know there are alternative views and ways to think of it. That it does not have to be her view on the world unless it is sincerely what she wants the world to be. If it is what she wants, then there is no point in trying to change her. Religious people will go with what is convenient and comforting over what is truthful and honest 9 times out of 10. Thanks again for the comments, I appreciate it.
Can I just ask a few certain things?
1) If you don't believe in God, then why bother caring about whether other people do? And why is it so important to debate and argue against a possible deity's existence?
2) Doesn't it slightly unnerve you that there's no proof or evidence that there is no God, and that there is no way to prove this, and thus you could be horribly wrong?
3) Lastly, I've never had a full answer from an atheist, only vague mentions...but how do you believe that everything came to be? Why is there something rather than nothing? A self-existent (eternal) universe, self-creating universe, illusion universe, created universe?
Hey thanks for the questions. I’ve been asked all of these before at some point but don’t mind responding again. My followers often change around a bit and these are some of the more common questions I’m asked.
1. Obviously I do not believe in God/gods but it is not my goal on this page to convince other people of that. I share my point of view and defend it fiercely but what people personally chose to believe is not what I take issue with. My issue is with religion. There are no two ways about it I absolutely hate religion and expressing that is my main goal. Someone chosing to believe in God on their own does me no harm, but religion does lots of harm.
I am an active Atheist and the more involved I get in the online community the more I want to help. I feel it is important to be a consciousness raiser for Atheism. So much is misunderstood or feared about it that just letting people know we’re real people and nothing scary is something that needs to be done. In that sense I can be seen as an advocate of Atheism but my overall goal is to show how parasitic religion is.
2. The burden of proof is not on the Atheist. The burden of proof should be solely with those that want to claim they know there is some kind of God or gods. As I’ve said many times before it is impossible to prove non-existence. If I tell you I can fly you have no reason to believe me. If I say you can’t prove that I can’t and that means you have to believe me you’d rightly think I’m crazy.
I could be wrong but I see no compelling reason as to why I am. I am no more afraid of meeting the Christian God when I die then I am of meeting Allah, Shiva, or Ahura Mazda. I am not claiming I know exactly what will happen when you die. I am claiming though that no religions know any better then any of us. I have tried to liberate myself from the fear religion pushes onto those that follow it about all of the “what ifs” that could happen.
3. Chances are you will never get a full answer to that question. The truth is there is no real answer, yet. Atheists rely on the truth, facts, and real information available. There simply is no way to answer that right now. The big bang started everything into motion and for the diversity of life we have we know Darwinian evolution is the only reasonable option.
It’s a question of philosophy that has been asked for ages. Any answer someone provides you is simply their guess or interpretation. We have a much better understanding of the universe now than we did 2,000 years ago and perhaps some day will know even more. Until then the best anyone can do is speculate. The answer of “God did it” should not be any more satisfying in any respect then genuine curiosity and skepticism. Simply saying God did it provides the same amount of explanation as saying I don’t know.
So everyone knows about the few passages in the Bible that seem to condemn all homosexuals as sinners. They have been often quoted and debated, but what about the story that seems more favorable to homosexuality? The story of David and Jonathan from the old testament. I have rarely seen it mentioned but even in biblical terms it stops just short of saying how well they “knew” each other.
1 Samuel 18:1
1 After David had finished talking with Saul, Jonathan became one in spirit with David, and he loved him as himself.
1 Samuel 18:3-4
3 And Jonathan made a covenant with David because he loved him as himself. 4 Jonathan took off the robe he was wearing and gave it to David, along with his tunic, and even his sword, his bow and his belt.
1 Samuel 20:41
41 After the boy had gone, David got up from the south side of the stone and bowed down before Jonathan three times, with his face to the ground. Then they kissed each other and wept together—but David wept the most.
2 Samuel 1:26
26 I grieve for you, Jonathan my brother; you were very dear to me. Your love for me was wonderful, more wonderful than that of women.
Of course it could simply be a platonic relationship. I don’t want to speculate on the love lives of two men I’ve never met and that have been dead for thousands of years, but has to make you wonder…
What're your views on Islam exactly? I go to a Catholic school and next semester I'm studying World Religions, and my friends that had it this semester said Islam isn't that bad. Who's bullshitting, the school or us? I want to go into the class knowing what's true and what's false about what they believe so I can correct my teacher on it. Apparrently the school teaches that Muhammed didn't have an under-age wife but I thought that was in the Quran? Stuff like that.
Thanks for the question. A lot of what I feel about Islam is sort of laid out in the post I put up earlier today. With any religion if you only present one side of it you can make it look positive and peaceful. With most religions what is taught to the masses is not the same topics of conversation behind closed doors and with people higher up in the pecking order. They reserve the more ludicrous ideas and tactics for those that are already indoctrinated with the more basic beliefs.
If you really want to learn about Islam I would encourage you to do some more research on your own. Muhammad did have a child bride, the story of A’isha isn’t really one that is even contested. I won’t offer to link any sites on information because there is so much information on Islam out there that most of it contradicts other information you’ll see on other sites about Islam. Just like trying to find a “true” Christian it’s impossible to find a “true” Muslim, there is just no such thing.
So pulling out an idea that has been out there for a while to get people’s opinions on it. It was originally put forward by Richard Dawkin in The God Delusion. The idea of an anti-Pascal’s wager:
Suppose we grant that there is indeed some small chance that God exists. Nevertheless, it could be said that you will lead a better, fuller life if you bet on his not existing, than if you bet on his existing and therefore squander your precious time on worshiping him, sacrificing to him, fighting and dying for him, etc.
Just wanted to put it out there to see what people’s opinions on it are, any thoughts?
I agree with the anon that posted about the pictures. While you do seem to have valid points in text arguments, most of the pictures I see posted here just show a lack of understanding for religious topics. It's kind of distracting.
Not sure how they show a lack of understanding. Any pictures I post I at least in some way agree with, which is why I post them. Plus the pictures help to spark discussion that get me the asks and messages I receive. Not sure why people are down on them, but I assure you I don’t lack an understanding of religion.
I saw your post "This will probably come across as angry…" and was amused by it. I've run into that "read it in Arabic" argument before. South Asian people are far different than "us". (I'm Irish but naturalized American.) They see things differently than "we" do, than Europeans and Americans do. Their outview is not precisely like ours. So it might seem correct that the language in which you read an information would change your opinion of it.
I served in Afghanistan with the National Guard. I was not a front line soldier by any means. I'm a freight tech, which is the fancy way to say I drive a forklift. I unloaded airplanes.
We always had an interpreter on hand because about a third of the freight had local writing on it and there were local vendors we had to talk to or field calls from.
One day there were six prisoners being held at the hanger I was working in. They were being transferred to a jail. They were chatting with our interpreter. He was laughing and I asked him what had been said. They had commented that it was funny the Army were jailing them for being combatants. One of them had said that if the situation were reversed, had they captured U.S. soldiers, they wouldn't have wasted all this resource transporting or jailing--they just would have killed them. These captive saw the situation differently than "we" did. Our behavior didn't seem correct. It was ridiculous to them.
I had to admit it DID seem funny after they explained it that way!
Which of the desert religions do you think poses the most imminent threat to world order as we've come to know it? Judaism, Christianity (Protestant or Catholic?), or Islam?
Hey thanks for the message. Definitely an interesting story, worth sharing on it’s own. Seems that post got a little bit of attention and for the most part people seem to agree with it. I only noticed a few people that wanted to nit pick still that yes it does make a difference. It may be preferred to read it in Arabic, it may of been intended to be read in Arabic, but it doesn’t make it a different story. Asian Muslims still pray to Allah and still read from the Quran, the difference in interpretation and daily application is probably more related to cultural issues.
Being Irish I’m sure you know first hand the issues Catholics and Protestants have all too well. In Ireland in particular the conflicts between those two groups is definitely a huge issue. On a global scale though Islam is much more of a threat to world peace and safety. In it’s current form Islam as a religion is very dangerous. The tension between many groups of Muslims and the Western world, or other Muslims, or even their own countries is extremely high and seems always just shy of boiling over and of course it occasionally does.
Islam does not have a single voice, a prominent religious leader, or a central core that it can look to. Any idiot who can get people to listen to him can call themselves an Imam and declare they are an expert on Islam. It’s part of the reason you have so many small off shoot Islamic groups. Also part of the reason you have such variety among the Muslim communities. One group can say to kill all non Muslims, the other can say love all non Muslims, and they’ll say to each other that they are the “true” Islam. It is the same battle Christianity has constantly.
Christianity does have a violent bloody past, so does Islam. Christianity works very hard to distances itself from that past but a vast majority of Muslims seek to embrace it. The protests over changing Pakistani blasphemy laws shows just how archaic some can be. Many groups of Muslims cheered and were over joyed about the attacks on 9/11 in the USA. There are many polls available out there but the % of Muslims that support attacks on civilians is astounding. The same for suicide bombers, the number of people that support such tactics is shrinking but the fact that there are still some that do support it is atrocious. Yes as I always say I know not all Muslims are this way but the current state of Islam in many areas of the world is a very scary situation. Thanks again for the message and sharing the story.
I think you would be a much happier person if you just turned the other cheek and didn't care about what isn't real.
I am generally a happy person. Just because my blog sometimes seems frustrated or aggravated doesn’t mean I’m not happy. A lot of times people that are socially aware or advocate against particular injustice in society can end up letting it get to them and bring them down. Religion does that to me at times, but I don’t let it make me a cynical person. I do what I do because it’s a topic of interest for me and I feel the information should be shared. Don’t get a vision of me as some angry little man sitting in a dark basement screaming at the world for all it’s injustices, that’s not me. :)
but I have to say it. I am sick of Muslims that act like being able to read Arabic is some special magic decoder ring. Reading about Muhammad in Arabic he is still the same dick he is if you read about it in English. When learning about the Quran I did due diligence in checking often 2 or 3 other translations on a particular passage I found to be odd or confusing. It drives me nuts that so many Muslims will say well, you have to read it in Arabic to really understand it. Really? Does that make a difference? If so many Islamic scholars who have read it in Arabic can’t come to a consensus as to what the translation is do you really think your magic decoder ring is going to do any better? This whole idea of something being impossible to translate is complete and total crap. If the words have multiple and unclear meaning, that means translated or reading it directly you’ll still have the same problems. Virgins or raisins? If two people read it in Arabic and get two different answers, how is this the answer to understanding anything? It is something pushed so often by defenders of Islam as if when you read it in Arabic you get a whole new story where Muhammad’s flying horse shits rainbows and he says to give ice cream to the infidels. UGH! Okay, end of pointless rant.
I like your tumblr a lot. Your personal story about your grandmother is absolutely fascinating and lovely and sad.
I wanted to ask you why you think religion is such an awkward topic to discuss. It seems like people are more willing to talk about the intimate details of their personal lives (with complete strangers, might I add) then their religion.
I’m so glad a few people are still digging back into my old stuff and checking out the personal story I posted. I really need to put a link to it in my description or something to keep it on my first page somehow. It really helps with the whole “why are you an Atheist” question I often get. Plus it’s very personal so it means a lot to me.
As far as why religion is so off limits, it is because people have been duped into believing it should be. We have trained ourselves and each other that religion has a sacred special place that makes it off limits. We’re not supposed to talk badly about it, because it’s beliefs people hold to deeply and for some reason most everyone has bought into it. Why can’t we? We simply can’t, that’s what we’ve been told.
Part of the reason I could see it happening in modern times is because people become embarrassed by it. If you tell someone you are a Christian you invite all sorts of questions like do you really believe in Noah’s flood? That Jesus was born of a virgin? That the earth was created in 7 days just 10,000 years ago? Or many of the other ridiculous claims Christians often make. Having to ask and be asked such questions by otherwise reasonable adults should be embarrassing. Having to admit to being an adult that holds strong to fairy tales isn’t something most people want to volunteer for.
People also generally seek to avoid conflict and argument in their daily lives. Most any discussion on religion will inevitably get to a point where the two parties can not agree. These aren’t just ideas though they’re “beliefs” which means they’re treated as being so much more important. They aren’t usually things people want to discuss, they’ve already chosen their belief and are usually resistant to contradictory information. Facts and ideas are easy to change but when someone labels it as a “belief” it can be near impossible to change.
There are probably lots of reasons as to why people feel awkward when talking about religion. I’m sure there are may more then the few I’ve listed here and I’ve talked about others at different times. I think that is really something people need to get over. If you’re going to treat the topic so seriously it should be open for discussion. It should be able to be ridiculed and discussed the same as any other topic.
Are there any well written faith blogs that you follow? I've found that yours is the best Atheist blog for me personally: your posts are well written and cohesive, and, most importantly, I can understand them. But I want to even out my dash, hear all sides of the story, if you will.
Thank you for the question I definitely appreciate it. For quite a while I did follow a lot of pro-religion blogs but have recently cut back on it. I do enjoy seeing the other side of things but often feel a compulsion to make snide comments at a lot of things that I see. I do still on occasion but I figure it’s best not to follow someone if it’s just going to be antagonistic. Many of the faith blogs I ended up following I started following because they posted something either anti-Atheist or pro some ridiculous ideas and it caught my interest.
I am probably not the best person to recommend unbiased faithful blogs. I do know however that I have quite a few Christians and other people of faith that follow my page. Some do it for the irony, some do it to argue, and some actually like me. Hopefully they could provide you with a few recommendations of pages they enjoy. Thanks again.
Hi. I am an atheist and mostly I agree with you. I think religion is kind of ignorance and banishing it must be considered like alphabetization. But your blog and your expression about religion is very offensive, sometimes rude. And I got an impression that quite often you lose your point concentrated at being offensive and cynical. Though without offence you cant change nothing, and I admit it, but Don't you think there is other way to change this world or let's say, detoxicate the world from religion? I personally think its education.
Hey, well thanks for the message. I have no idea what you mean by it being like alphabetization really. Anyways, regardless of that you are welcome to whatever opinion you’d like about me but I feel I go through a lot of effort to be generally nice and productive in my replies. I try to treat serious issue seriously and reserve ridicule for the topics that I believe are so far fetched that they no longer deserve to be validly discussed.
As far as the pictures the majority of them have valid points, regardless of if they come across as being rude or not the point is valid. Sometimes getting in people’s faces a bit is the best way to get their attention. If I filled my blog with posts about how I think religion isn’t very nice and probably not the best idea chances are people would pay less attention then me being honest with the fact that I hate religion and find it to be disgusting parasite on humanity. I just have to be honest with that and if it is rude or offensive to someone that is unfortunate but I find religion to be rude and offensive. It offends intelligence.
I do think that education would be an excellent way to help make a positive change in the world. I would love it if narrow minded bigots, misogynists, and religious fundamentalist took the time to educate themselves further. The problem is that even though the information is out there and available people chose to ignore it. Those that want to be educated often will be and those that don’t want to be will ignore it. Religious fundamentalists are about the best example available of people that consciously avoid education or deliberately seek out mis-information. I think education would be great but the majority of the time it’s missed by the people that need it most.
haven't stalked u enough to know but what's ur views on buddhism? if u have any. theravada buddhism if we're gonna be exact.
Thanks for the question. Buddhism is something I have been asked about in the past but haven’t responded to in a while. With the fact that I say I hate all religions I have to be fair and include Buddhism in that grouping. Buddhism though is a religion I have less issues with than any of the Abrahamic religions. To start with it is technically Atheistic, and it also doesn’t proselytize to non-believers. It doesn’t have a concept of Hell or eternal damnation, it states existence is suffering. So overall it does have a lot of things going for it that the vast majority of other religions don’t.
The main issue I take with Buddhism is the goal that it states for people and how people are to achieve it. I have read a lot of teachings on Buddhism and spent quite a lot of time meditating in the past. It can be relaxing and really can be a beneficial experience for many people. The problem for me was that it takes up so much time. I would spend several hours a day meditating and would often sleep less or spend less time with people as a result. It distracted me from real life and it was like walking around in a semi-conscious stupor.
Buddhism states that reaching enlightenment is a journey. A nearly endless journey that will involve multiple life times. Many life times worth of meditating and learning about the world and universe. It sets up an unrealistic and unattainable goal that almost no one could ever hope to achieve. It asks you to dedicate your life to that journey though by casting off all worldly possessions and concentrating on nothing but your own spiritual development. It asks you to ignore those around you, the real world and humanity in pursuit of some goal that will nearly always be just outside of your reach.
As I’ve said I definitely find Buddhism less offensive and dangerous then most other religions. At it’s core it is a peaceful religion but is also an extremely self centered one. It removes you from reality and asks that you dedicate all of your energy and time to furthering your own mind. Not even in a sense of attaining knowledge and becoming more aware of the world but just in the sense of meditating and exploring the capabilities of your own thoughts. I definitely find it less objectionable then most religions but it is certainly not for me and most people that truly seek to live under the guidelines of Buddhism have to almost completely remove themselves from society.
Hello. I was looking for a good Atheist Tumblr like this. Fight the Faith and I h8 Religion were good blogs, but I wanted some good argumentative points, and not just a few quotes and pictures. That's when I found this site, and it's exactly what I was looking for.
Now for the question: I am 14 years old and an atheist. I started to lose my religion when I was 13, and questioned it a few times way before then, but it only just really hit me last summer, while pondering my beliefs (Why? Long story.) I live in a extremely Christian, Republican family of 5. I guess you could call them the fundie type, but I don't think they are that extreme. I have to go to church and Sunday school on Sunday, confirmation on Monday, and youth group on Wednesday (the youth pastor fits the definition of "religious nut" perfectly). I want to tell my family about my atheism, but I'm afraid to. I looked it up online and most people are saying I should wait until I'm independent from living with them. I can definitely deal with that, but I feel like I can't take some of the things they're putting me through with a closed mouth. Some of it is just plain asinine. (My confirmation class is supposed to evangelize at a shopping mall in a few weeks. Seriously?)
Have you ever been in this situation? And if so, can you tell me what you did? Thanks.
Hey, thank you for the message. I definitely enjoy Fight the Faith and ih8religion’s pages a lot. I do my own thing though which is a little bit different I guess. I’m glad a lot of people tend to enjoy my page. It’s also a magnet for hate mail and trolls but that’s what you get on the internet.
As for your questions I have been asked this a few times in a way. The idea of coming out to your family as an Atheist. In a religious family it can be very difficult sometimes, it can be a sensitive topic. Obviously you know your family better than I do. Being under 18 you have to treat the topic a little more delicately. At 18 if you want you can say I’m an Atheist deal with it if you so chose but until than things need to be handled a little more sensitively.
Usually I suggest for most people to ease into the topic slowly. It comes as much less of a shock if your parents already suspect that you may be doubting your faith before you flat out let them know. Possibly approach the topic with some curiosity. Bring up to your parents some of the questions that bother you about religion. Use the opportunity to further explore your point of view. It’s possible if you bring to them the questions you have trouble dealing with they may be able to provide a new perspective, or it may strengthen what you’re already feeling. Either way it’s an chance to learn and open communication between you and your family.
From there you can start to lay down further hints that you may be moving away from your faith. You could let your parents know that there are certain parts or certain stories that just don’t make sense. Let them know that you don’t feel comfortable telling other people what to believe because you’re unsure at times. Eventually if conversation is comfortable and your parents seem understanding and open to what you’re saying you may be able to let them know. Of course you can see how they react throughout and if they seem very resistant or upset by it, you may be better off waiting to tell them.
Thank you again for the question and I hope this is helpful in some way. If your parents are understand and open people that you can talk to hopefully you can find a way to start letting them know about how you feel. Again though you know them best so if they clam up and get scared from a single question, chances are you may need to wait a bit longer. Not everyone can accept something like that, but being a parent myself I have to hope most parent want to know what their children are feeling and thinking honestly. Good luck with everyone and if you have any other questions or need any help feel free to let me know.
"For the record, the “Prophet” you are talking about, never had sex with a 9-year old. Marrying someone is different than having sex with them. For a country that emphasizes sex and marriage a lot, you have a hard time grasping the difference.
And no, no village full of Jews was killed because they refused to follow him. There were rules of engagement that had to be followed. There was a grace period to be followed, and if no compromise is reached, then they are attacked. The goal of the attack is not to kill, but to subdue. Old men, women, and children were left alone. Only men carrying weapons were attacked, and that is only if they ATTACKED FIRST. It’s called Rules of Engagement, and it was part of the faith. If anything happened after that, it was because the FAITH was NOT FOLLOWED, and that has nothing to do with the god they follow, but it falls entirely on it’s followers for being IDIOTS.
I don’t mind you being atheist. I mind you hating religions because followers do stupid shit in it’s name. You might as well hate yoga and Buddhism and a bunch of other “religions” that are faith based because you hate them. But no one talks about yoga and Buddhism do they? Only because their followers are peaceful. Your problem is with the people who practice the religion, only because a handful interpret the texts the way they want to, to feed their personal agenda.
You can be a atheist but you don’t have a right to hate religion or followers of that religion. You’re just as close minded as the folk you berate and hate.
Do me a fucking favour though, if you ever want to learn about Islam, or any religion that is, read some books, and not just books from one author, or a fellow atheist, but a range of books, and then try to read the original texts, and figure shit out for yourself. You sitting behind a computer and citing other sites and copying shit from the Internet makes you look like an idiot. Oh, and don’t follow Asian Islam (Pakistan, India, Bangladesh, Afghanistan, etc). That shit is just fucked up and wrong."
Alright, I usually don’t respond to many asks on the weekend. After seeing you attach this to a reblog of my quote I put up last night, you then send it to me in a an ask anonymously. Not very sneaky. The Packers seem to have the game pretty well in hand though so I don’t mind responding to a few things. Muhammad did most likely have sex with a 9 year old girl. He arranged the marriage contract starting when she was 6 and then consummated the marriage at 9. If you would like further information, from a pro-Muslim source no less please feel free to check out this site. http://www.muslimhope.com/AishaNine.htm He was a pedophile. There is even a quote at one point on that page where a Muslim states “I bet A’isha was the happiest nine-year old girl in the world.” Yes, I’m sure she was so overjoyed to be molested by a 53 year old man.
The story of the village of Banu Qurayza is a long standing story in Jewish tradition. It states that roughly 400-900 people were put to death in cold blood. Details of who exactly provoked who will somewhat vary depending on the source you look to. It may be true that it was a simple military dispute but it is clear that this has impacted relations between Muslim and Jewish communities in some way. The majority of hostility between Jews and Muslims is more recent with the problems in Isreal, but you can’t over look the number or Quran verses that seem to call for death or persecution of Jewish people.
Thank you for your permission to be an Atheist although I didn’t really ask for it. I also don’t need your permission to hate religion, so I will continue to do that. It can displease you but to say that I “don’t have the right” is completely wrong and assanine to say. I have no idea who would possibly consider yoga to be a religion. Buddhism is something I have another ask about and will address it most likely tomorrow. I have stated I am not fond of any religions and expressed my views on Buddhism as well in the past.
I have spent a great deal of time learning about religion in the past. I’ll admit that I am still learning about Islam but it does appear that in at least one aspect I know a bit more then you. There are so many sources of information on Islam, and so much that contradicts others it is hard to get straight answers. I have tried to expand my knowledge to a great deal of sources. You have no idea what I have read or what I have studied and to speculate that I haven’t done research would again be completely wrong. Glad that you show your true colors at the end though but giving a biggoted blanket dismissal of all “Asian Islam” as being “fucked up and wrong”. I’m sure of course you follow the “true” Islam, right?
All people deserve respect, but not all ideas do. I don’t respect the idea that a man was born of a virgin, walked on water and rose from the dead. I don’t respect the idea that we should follow a “Prophet” who at the age of 53 had sex with a nine-year old girl, and ordered the murder of whole villages of Jews because they wouldn’t follow him.
I don’t respect the idea that the West Bank was handed to Jews by God and the Palestinians should be bombed or bullied into surrendering it. I don’t respect the idea that we may have lived before as goats, and could live again as woodlice. This is not because of “prejudice” or “ignorance”, but because there is no evidence for these claims. They belong to the childhood of our species, and will in time look as preposterous as believing in Zeus or Thor or Baal.
When you demand “respect”, you are demanding we lie to you. I have too much real respect for you as a human being to engage in that charade.