Archive for October, 2006

How does it feel to be an atheist?

October 31, 2006

Atheistic opinions and articles are easy to find. There are plenty of well known atheists who have written books debunking religious superstitions. I’ve never read anything that talks about what it feels like to be an atheist. Specifically, an atheist surrounded by religious people.  This is for people who “just can’t imagine what it would be like to live a life without god”.

It’s surreal being surrounded by people who believe (or profess to believe) in supernatural beings. These people base life changing decisions on concepts that an atheist believes to be fantasy.  To give yourself a chance to experience this, try the following exercise:

Picture a world where most of the people you know believe in Leprechauns. They sincerely believe that Leprechauns really exist. Give that a second to sink in. Now, not only do they believe in Leprechauns, they believe that the little folk are actually quite interested in human affairs. You can’t ever see these little people, but your entire family believes them to be real. People also believe that Leprechauns can hear your thoughts. Further, it is believed that sometimes the Leprechauns might answer your unspoken requests. This is generally accepted to be possible only if you’re a devout believer.

In addition to your family and colleagues all believing in Leprechauns, the leader of your country does too. He often talks about the grand schemes of the Leprechauns. He has gone to war and seemingly invoked the will of the Leprechauns to do it. He seems like a frighteningly stupid man and apparently is happy to seek counsel from small, shamrock loving, invisible creatures.

Finally, obviously, you DON’T believe in Leprechauns.

The feelings that you can imagine yourself having roughly approximate how it feels to be an atheist.

Another exercise that might give you an idea how it feels is to consider how you feel about religions other than your own. Most people these days are fairly “tolerant” of other religions. I’m suggesting you picture yourself converting to another religion. You will experience many instinctive reactions and internal arguments when you do this. Those apprehensions are probably the same ones atheists feel about your religion. Sure, you’re tolerant of other people’s beliefs but, put simply, you think they’re wrong. Not only do you think they’re wrong, you probably think they’re a little … challenged … for believing them.

You probably think that Scientology is a little wacky? Do the Mormons come across as being a little bit off kilter to you? Does the Wiccan religion seem like hogwash? Atheists feel exactly the same way about all those religions. They just feel that way about your religion as well.

There are many questions you, as a religious person, might want to ask when you find yourself talking with an atheist. In most cases, your answer to the same questions will involve God. Be aware that the atheist thinks you’re deluded. Your answer may as well have included references to Leprechauns.

Oh, and next time you hear George Bush speak about God, substitute Leprechauns or Zeus or Baal instead of God. Yes, the most militarily powerful man in the world has the adult equivalent of an imaginary friend.  That should give you a very clear picture of how atheism feels.

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The God Delusion

October 29, 2006

If you haven’t read Dawkin’s latest work, “The God Delusion“, you should.

It’s a step by step smack down of religious nonsense. The case Dawkins presents is very compelling.

We live on a planet that is almost universally deluded. You don’t have to look very far to find a person who will happily profess to believe in an invisible overlord in the sky who watches their every move. The invisible overlord cares very deeply about ridiculously petty things. Think about that for a minute. This being created the universe and everything in it. The creation was accomplished using sheer force of will. However, after having demonstrated this awe inspiring ability, the being now gets REALLY upset if two dudes want to shag each other? Or someone makes statues. Or works on the sabbath or …. well you get the drift.

It’s far past time when people woke up to themselves and realized that religion is an intellectual virus. It’s all well and good to believe in fantasy, but when 44% of the American population LITERALLY believe that Jesus is going to return to earth in their lifetime, it’s time to wake up and smell the bullshit.

Dawkins says it far more elegantly than I ever will. Stupidity on the scale of organized religion just makes me mad 🙂

Read the book, it’s worth it.

Profanity

October 13, 2006

Damn.  Shit.  Fuck.  Cunt.

They’re all “offensive” words.  So how come they don’t offend me?

I’ve been thinking about it a lot lately.  I’ve come to the realization that individual words don’t offend me.  Intent can offend me.  Words are just … well …. you know, words.

Isn’t it vastly more offensive to verbally assault someone than to swear?  Isn’t malicious, vicious, hurtful intent more offensive than swearing?  Words can hurt.  Words can be offensive.  It’s just that the words commonly deemed to be profanity are not really offensive at all.  How these words came to be offensive no longer matters.  They are now offensive simple because that’s the way it is.

Think about it.  To people who don’t speak English, there is nothing offensive about the configuration of letters that make up the word “fuck”.  Nothing at all.  There’s nothing offensive about the phonetic structure of the word.  The sound it makes when I say it doesn’t offend anyone who has never heard the word before.  This is because there is absolutely nothing that’s inherently offensive about the word itself.  It’s a grouping of letters, much like any other grouping of letters.

The only reason you know it’s offensive is because you were taught that it’s offensive.  It’s really not.  The most offensive language I hear doesn’t involve profanity.  Take the hateful bile that spills from Ann Coulter’s mouth.  None of her publicly available comments (at least the ones that I’ve read) contain profanity.  Yet I find them deeply offensive.  They would be no more or less offensive if they included profanity.  It just wouldn’t matter.

Normally people’s closed mindedness doesn’t bother me that much.  However, I watched 9/11 on CBS the other night.  Actually, that’s not quite true, I watched it on the web.  I watched it, in large part, because the AFA (American Family Association) had circulated a petition against it.  The petition was apparently created due to the profanity in the documentary.  I watched it.  The profanity I recall is someone saying “Holy shit!” about five or six times as one of the towers came crashing down.  Someone else might have said “this shit is fucked up” later in the movie.  Maybe it was “That’s fucking sick!”, I don’t really recall.

I am repulsed by this petition.  It was designed to stop the showing of a tribute to the true heroes of 9/11.  Yeah, they swear.  So fucking what?  They rushed up into a burning building that eventually crashed down around them.  They risked (and many gave) their lives to save others.  The AFA gets its panties in a bunch because in the shock of it all there was swearing?  Are you fucking kidding me?  The heroism was in your face.  The documentary was amazing.  It almost makes me cry that someone wants to prevent it being screened.  It’s insulting.  I’ve heard the term “unamerican” bandied around a lot lately.  You want to find something unamerican?  Look for people who try to stifle free speech.  There’s a pretty good chance you’ll find some unamerican shit under the same rock they’re hiding under.

I’m guessing, given the shtick used on the AFA website, that they’re “worried about the kids”.  I got a news flash for ya, jag offs.  Kids already know all these words.  All of them.  You’re not keeping it away from anybody.  You’re not making a difference.

There’s a TV series called “Battlestar Galactica” that’s a remake of a series I watched when I was a kid.  It’s set far in the future when humanity has colonized space.  Their profanity appears to be the word “frack”.  Now to understand the usage of this word, it appears to be usable in all cases where present day people would use the word “fuck”.  What the frack was that?  Oh frack, I’m hit!  Frack this, I’m outta here!  Stuff like that.  The funniest thing about it is that it doesn’t offend anyone who is watching it.  The word, for all intents and purposes is “fuck”.  However, because some of the letters have been changed, it’s not offensive to us.  Think about that.  How does that make any sense?

You want offensive words?  Drugs.  Terror.  War.  Lies.  Distrust.  Crime.   Poverty.  Illiteracy.  Racism.  These words offend me.  They offend me because they’re real problems.  Stop wasting my fucking time with your bullshit petition you petty minded little fucks.  Do me a fucking favor.  Solve some real issues and forget about words that offend you simply because they’re “offensive”.  I said above that the AFA isn’t making any difference at all on this issue.  I’ve realized that it’s because the issue they’re addressing is the wrong one.  They are completely missing the point about what constitutes offensive language.  Until they get that straight, they’ll continue being irrelevant and vastly more offensive than anything they’re trying to censor.

So as far as I’m concerned AFA are a damned cunting pack of jag offs who have shit for brains and can go fuck themselves.  I sincerely hope they find that offensive.

Rage

October 12, 2006

How the hell did we get here?  I was trying to explain the current American social and political climate to a friend overseas.  I just found myself getting angrier and angrier.
Writing this down won’t change anything, that’s not the point.  I’m just hoping it might make me feel better and, right now, maybe that’s enough.

Nobody trusts politicians.  Nobody ever has.  There’s something unwholesome about the world they live in and the way they accomplish things.  I’m not saying they start out corrupt.  I’m sure many of them have the loftiest goals in the beginning.  It’s how they end up that stinks.  In this country, it’s a nightmare that just keeps getting worse.  The ever present feeling that no matter how fast you run, you can’t outrun the bad guys.  You can’t outrun them because they’re everywhere.  They control the damn country.  Literally.

Not trusting politicians is one thing.  The state of affairs in this country at the moment is a completely different ballgame.  It seems to me that everyone, the administration, the press, the public … everyone knows that Bush is lying.  Including him.  Maybe especially him.  It’s getting pretty insulting.

I want you to visualize something for me.  Seriously, give this a try.  Think of all the people you know who are under say …. 40 years of age.  Now, of those, picture the one (or two) that you’re closest to.  Preferably a child or sibling.  Now, picture them being sent to Iraq by our “war president”.  Finally, picture them lying broken and dead in the dirt.  I know it’s hard, bear with me.  They’re lying there dead, you’re never going to see them again, speak to them again, hold them, hug them, kiss them again.  They’re gone.

For me, the first question that springs to mind when I do this is simple; Why?  Why is my nephew dead?  Why is my father, mother, brother, uncle, aunt, wife, husband, son or daughter dead?  Georgey?  Straight answer please?  For once in your miserable fucking life, you piece of shit, answer the fucking question.  Don’t give me some bullshit about a war on terror.  Iraq had nothing the fuck to do with that.  Don’t give me some bullshit about freedom and regime change.  You seem happy enough with the bunch of crazy motherfuckers that run Africa.  So why?  Tell us the fucking truth.  You’re supposed to be a god fearing man, check out commandment number nine.  How about bearing a little less false witness?  You know that you can’t change the commandments to retroactively protect yourself, right?   Just making sure.

Murdered.  Murdered by lies.  Murdered by deceit.  Murdered by hubris.  Murdered by a halfwit asshole who likes to play the cowboy, the gunslinger, the hero.

To a certain extent, what’s done is done.  What matters is the truth.  You owe it to the people who elected you to tell the fucking truth.  You owe it to the memory of the dead in Iraq (and the dead Iraqis too, NOT just the Americans) to tell the fucking truth.  You owe it to the families of those who died on 9/11 to come clean and admit that whatever the war in Iraq was about, it wasn’t about 9/11.  9//11 might have given you a pretext to go to war with Iraq, it didn’t give you a reason.

You owe it to everyone who has ever fought for what this country used to stand for.  You owe it to every person whose blood has been spilled to provide the freedoms you’re whittling away.  You seem to think you’re a tough guy.  That’s fine, be tough.  Tell the truth no matter how hard it is.  You tough enough big guy?

By the way, I read today that you’ve now killed more Americans in Iraq than were killed on 9/11.  Yes, I actually meant that you killed them.  You didn’t shoot them yourself, but you may as well have.

“I’m a war president” – George W Bush.
“Fuck you George, you halfwit asshole.”  – Me