Monday, March 23, 2015

Why can't I just let it go?


I've been blogging on here for nearly two years and most of the time I'm fairly level-headed. Even when I'm on Omegle or the Thinking Atheist, I generally stay patient, so it might be interesting to learn that my patience seems to wear off when I'm with my theist family members.

There was a period when I got away from writing on here and I even left the forums; I like to refer to this time as my acceptance period, but that period is over and I'm trying to be active again.

While I never have been religious, my deconversion really didn't come until about two years ago. That process began when my family (mother, SIL) started going off the deep end with their recommitment to Catholicism. Their overzealous attitude and claims of daily miracles started to become too much for me to swallow. So I ratcheted up my investigative journalism training and dived deep into the questions of religion.

As you may know from earlier posts, I came out clean on the other side (just like Andy Dufresne in Shawshank) as a full-blown atheist. In the past two years, I've had some debates with them, mostly via email with my SIL (those have been well-documented on here), but we got to a point where we calmed down and didn't talk about it anymore.

Every once in a while, though, my mother will bring up something peripheral about religion or morality and we end up debating/discussing/arguing. And this is the crux of my post here: Why can't I just let it go?

And I tend to lose my patience when we discuss this stuff. I'm so patient with virtual strangers, yet when I'm with my mother, who is 74 and not exactly the healthiest person, religion always works its way into our conversation and I always end up losing my patience with her until she taps out. Whenever she hears something completely rational from me and it makes her think for just a split second against her dogma, she runs (metaphorically of course).

I think I'm impatient because I'm let down by her ignorance. In most parental-child relationships, you grow up idolizing your parents, thinking they are basically superheroes. But as you get older, you start to realize your parents are only human. And with my parents, they are starting to succumb to irrational behavior, and I'm not just talking about religion. As an atheist, I am very aware that this is the only life I have and the only life I'll have with them.

So why can't I just let this go? Why don't I just bite my tongue and listen to the bullshit? Why can't I ignore the "Praise Jesus" exults and the "GOD bless you" wishes (petty I know)? Even when we're having a non-religious normal conversation and I mention something that seems remarkable, my mom will say, "Swear to god!" She is so engrained in her ways that I just can't help myself when I get the chance to give her some info to which I know she isn't privy.

My mother and I have always butted heads about mundane bullshit and it has never affected our relationship. It's almost how we communicate. If it's not an argument then it's not important enough to discuss. But when it's religion, all the wheels fall off of the vehicle.

Finally, I think my urge to always want to discuss this with my family is because I grew up in a household where my parents wanted to know what was going on in my life, what I learned in school or at work, etc. Secularism is very important to me and I hate seeing so many people succumb to these lies and practices. So when I'm at my parents' home, I want to tell them everything that I've studied/learned because I know they have no idea these things exist.

But shouldn't I be able to to just let it go? It's been more than two years since I "came out" and yet the resentment and need to be right is not fading at all.

Thanks for reading.

Thursday, February 19, 2015

QB thanks God when it's convenient

In a video on the Players Tribune website today, Seahawks QB Russell Wilson said he's having a little trouble letting go of the interception he threw to lose the Super Bowl to the Patriots.

"One yard. I'd be lying if I said I haven't been thinking about that one yard for the past 17 days. ... How could I not feel like I let (the fans) down? ... The most important thing at quarterback, and a leader in general, is accountability. So what happened in Super Bowl 49, I take full responsibility for it."

Interesting sentiment considering two weeks before the Super Bowl he said this of his four interceptions against the Packers before winning the game in OT.

"That's God setting it up, to make it so dramatic, so rewarding, so special. I've been through a lot in life, and had some ups and downs. It's what's led me to this day."

So God made thousands of Packer fans and players absolutely miserable and heartbroken because Russ had a rough life and wanted a little drama in his sporting events. Funny that it never crossed Wilson's mind that God made him throw THAT final pick to make the Super Bowl dramatic. Maybe God likes the Patriots more than the Seahawks, ever think of that Russ?

Or maybe you should stop being so arrogant as to think there's some supreme being who concerns himself with the outcome of trivial sporting events. Idiot.

Wednesday, February 18, 2015

Omegle means madness

Another Omegle conversation when I was bored at 1a. What I found particularly interesting this time was how quickly it escalated and that "atheism" was one of the topics this person had as an interest. If you want to challenge/discuss atheism with me (or anyone) then why give up at the end in a typical hit-and-run fashion? Here's the whole conversation and it's not too long.

Me: What's up.
Him: Atheist?

Me: Yep U?

Him: So you like talking about it? No I am not
Me: Sure, it's a conversation starter

Him: I am a Roman Catholic
Me: I was

Him: I see, You were Catholic?
Me: Yes

Him: What made you leave?
Me: Lots of things, to be honest. I was never very religious to begin with

Him: I see. But you lost your faith in God completely?
Me: Yes, completely. No faith.

Him: You have faith. Just not in God.
Me: Well, faith in the secular meaning of confidence, but not as in to believe in something despite no evidence

Him: So you believe there is no objective moral truths? Yes, I see.
Me: That is correct. All morals are subjective.

Him: So evil really does not exist then. Correct?
Me: People do bad things, people do good things. It takes religion for good people to bad things.

Him: And raping and torturing kids could be ok. It takes religion for what?
Me: You mean the raping and torturing that god endorses in the bible? Religion makes people do bad things. I thought that was pretty clear

Him: Nope. God never endorses evil. That is the result of our sins and failures. God created everything good. Religion makes me do bad things? How is that?
Me: Sorry, can't agree with you there. First, I don't believe there is any god, but if you're talking about the god of the bible, my morals are superior to his

Him: How can you say that objectively?
Me: It's not objective, it's subjective.

Him: But I am religious and you said religion makes people do bad things
Me: It does, I didn't say all people. I don't know you. You could be an exception

Him: So, being subjective, your morals are not greater than God's. It's just your opinion
Me: Ha.

Him: What good does atheism bring to the world? Do you think that if religion never existed the world would be at peace?
Me: It is my opinion, yes, that genocide, infanticide, rape, stoning homosexuals and children to death is evil, and your god enforced that. He is a petulant tyrannical ass. And yes, the world would be at more peace for sure.

Him: Can you quote where scripture states that? It would be? Haha. Ok.
Me: Atheism isn't a movement. I've read the bible from front to back more than once. Don't pretend like you don't understand the OT. Think about the wars and turmoil going on right now.

Him: Scripture scholars would disagree with your interpretations.
Me: Please. Read Exodus again

Him: Most wars are not religious wars. Unless you are unfamiliar with history as well.
Me: Read the OT again. There is no misunderstanding explicit instructions on how to own slaves, and the millions killed in the OT in war trumps all. More people have been killed in the name of religion than in any other "cause"

Him: Yes. But slaves came from human choices. Not God
Me: Is the bible the inspired word of god? Nope. You are wrong my friend. Sorry

Him: Yes it is. The Bible is inspired by God. Yes.
Me: The bible explicitly says how to own slaves, when you can rape women, etc. There's no defending it. And I'm not wrong. 9/11 7/7 Inquisition Crusades Ethnic cleansing, Ireland's prot-cath war ... I could do this all night.

Him: Abortion kills 3300 babies a day in the USA
Me: No it doesn't. They aren't babies. You're brainwashed

Him: Oops. I guess that beats all the wars combined.
Me: Nope, you're wrong.

Him: They aren't babies. Wow. You are ignorant. What are they? Monkeys?
Me: Ignorant? They are fetuses, gametes, zygotes. Not babies.

Him: See what atheism did to you? And a fetus is not a stage of development? Like infant, toddler, etc?
Me: Ha, atheism has nothing to do with this. At all. You don't have the right to tell a woman what to do with her body. And no, it's not a stage of development. Is a toddler a baby? By your rationale, sperm is a baby. You're the ignorant one.

Him: Ok. Bye. Stupid is as stupid does. God bless you. One day you will know.

What I'll take away from this, aside from my aforementioned comments, is how easily angered people get when things like this get discussed. And I actually laughed out loud when I read where he said I was ignorant. I don't know why I do this. I do enjoy it, and a couple of times I did get some people to open their eyes, if only for a bit. I'll keep doing it because it's convenient to just fire up the iPad and try to bring a little rational thought into the world.

Tuesday, February 17, 2015

Afterlife conundrum

I got to thinking today about afterlife. We (and by "we" I mean atheists) like to mock the concept of hell because the idea of a finite crime being punished with infinite torture is not only unjustified but it's laughably imbalanced.

But I've never heard or read anyone discussing the other side of this. Would it be fair to receive infinite bliss for finite mediocre compliance? Everyone could do better while they're alive. There's always something more you could have done. If being imperfect just once, like not believing in Jesus, could land you in the lake of fire for all of eternity, then shouldn't you have to be perfect to earn eternal happiness? And even that would be imbalanced.

I also have heard many theists rationalize the cruel injustices of this finite life by saying those who were savagely wronged will be rewarded in the afterlife. But what's more rewarding than eternal bliss? I mean, do these people believe there are degrees of bliss in heaven? Do some people have it better than others? Maybe some have wings while others have wheels on their feet?

I gotta tell ya, it would piss me off if I were gang-raped daily for 10 years, watched my family get murdered and then get killed myself in the most painful way possible only to arrive at the Pearly Gates to see some guy who had an easy "blessed" life getting the same treatment as me. This is why the whole afterlife concept falls apart as a reward. If there is any kind of mediocrity in heaven then why call it heaven? Yet we are told those who suffer here on Earth have it better there in heaven. And I have to admit I would be pissed if I led a good life and saw that others received a better heavenly experience for eternity.

And one last thought: If we're tempted by Satan on this finite planet and we fall victim to his charms, doing his work, etc., and we're sent to hell where Satan resides, why would he carry out punishments on us when we did what he wanted? How many people ask you to do something, you do it and then they punish you for doing it? That would be insane. As atheists, we don't believe in any god. If there were a god, then being an atheist in most religions would be a sin and we'd go to hell. Wouldn't Satan love to have us there and reward us?

An afterlife makes zero sense logically.

Wednesday, January 14, 2015

Omegle Oh My

I was bored the other night and decided to try to pick a debate on Omegle. While I know this guy didn't deconvert, I did make him think. I eventually introduced to the conversation the impossible faith paradox that Dr. Truth used on a popular Christian Forum a few years ago. The paradox really had him struggling to answer and caused him to admit he would have to rethink some things. Ultimately he fell back on the old chestnut that God is too complex to understand but I held his feet to the fire on that.

He said he once had doubts but feels we can never have proof so he just basically gave up on his doubts and started believing again. He also basically admitted he takes the best of all religions and follows that and he used the "all gods are God" stance, meaning you can't ask him why he doesn't believe in Zeus because he would say Zeus is God but just from Ancient Greece, etc.

Anyway, if you're interested, here's the entire conversation. I'll use attribution but eventually I'll just leave the space in between comments be the indication that the speaker has changed.

HIM: What's up?

ME: Just wondering about religion.

HIM: That's cool. What are you wondering about?

ME: Never been much of a believer. Wondering what makes people believe without proof.

HIM: Well... What do you consider proof? physical evidence? Evidence that you can feel with your senses?

ME: Well, tangible info, data, yes, actual evidence of real things, not stories or myths

HIM: I don't think our senses are real proof, our senses lie to us

ME: How is that?

HIM: Well... I don't have a proof that anything exists... This could all be a dream... I only know that I exist, like Descartes says "I think, therefore I am" People can't really prove anything

ME: So why believe? I know the Descartes' quote, but you could be a brain in a vat.

HIM: Exactly... which means that physical evidence is meaningless...however, there are different kinds of evidence that could be taken as valid.

ME: So life has no meaning? And I didn't think evidence was subject to gradation. It's either evidence or not, no?

HIM: You heard of Thomas Aquinas?

ME: Sure, and his proofs were refuted rather easily.

Yes?

Yes, from the books I read about him, yes, lots of logical fallacies.

HIM: Anyway... I don't believe my senses, and physical evidence... Only thing that is really evident is that I exist, and that my heart exists... So I tend to follow my heart... and it leads me to religion...

ME: Ah, ok. See I follow my brain. That must be the difference.

You mean you follow common sense?

No, I follow facts and science.

If we think about it... a long long time ago, common sense was that earth was flat... that was the only option... and now we laugh at those people, who knows how people in the future are going to laugh at our common sense

Sure, but that's the essence of science and the downfall of religion in a nutshell. The bible says earth was flat, science proved it wrong.

HIM: Interesting, can you show me where the Bible says the earth is flat? which verse?

ME: Daniel 4:10-11
Matthew 4:8
Luke 4:5
Isaiah 40:22
Isaiah 11:12 (four corners)
Revelation 7:1
That enough?

HIM: I've said this many many many times before, The Bible is not literal, Almost everything in the Bible are metaphors and stories In Daniel 4:10, he talks about a dream. However, still... the Bible is one very corrupted book

ME: Why ask for specifics if you then say it's all metaphorical? And I agree, the bible isn't worth the paper it's printed on. So what religion are u?

Well.. I don't really follow any religion

But you're religious?

I'm more my own person .. Yeah I'm extremely religious

Wait, how can you be both?

both?

Well, not follow a religion and be very religious.

I'm religious but I follow my own religion I guess. I think in my own head.

Wow, you have your own religion?

I don't follow any dogmas

Are you looking for tax breaks? LOL So what do you base your religion on?

Lol no.. haha... I just follow my own belief. Well... I agree with many things different religions say, but I don't agree with any of them completely. I think there is only one God, the Creator.

So cherry-picking what you like? That sounds like most religions. What led you to believe in one creator?

I was interested in theology a lot, and I have established what I believe into

This one god, must be the Abrahamic god, yes?

Well... I think there is no "Abrahamic" God, just "God" - only one. If you say it that way, it's like there are multiple of them, and one of them is Abrahamic but I know what you mean, and yes.

So you're a deist? Or do you think this creator is concerned with your day-to-day activities?

Well... the other one

Deist?

No. I think the creator is concerned with my day-to-day activities. But actually.. I'm open-minded...

So that is definitely derivative of Abrahamic religions

HIM: If someone can prove me wrong... why not? Well.. yeah I have a lot of Abrahamic influence in my belief

ME: Well, the burden of proof is on you, not the other way around. I wouldn't prove there isn't a god since I'm not making that claim.

Well.. as I said before, I don't think anything can be proven, so I tend to follow my heart...You're an Agnostic?

You could say that. I don't really think anyone can be gnostic when it comes to this subject

Yes?

Sure, how can you know for sure? You said it yourself.

Well.. I said I can't prove anything...

Exactly

So, I don't have proof

Which means you can't know. You can hope, you can have faith, but you can't be gnostic that this creator exists

Well... I have faith... but I don't have proof..

Right, faith (as far as religion is concerned) is believing in something despite there being no evidence for what you believe

yes

So not gnostic, but agnostic

Yes, So it seems that I'm not gnostic

Cool, glad we agree

If you put it that way

ME: Right. Not judging either, just saying. Do you ever have doubts?

HIM: well... I used to... but not anymore...although It hasn't been proven to me, I'm pretty certain in belief

Can you tell me why for both? Why you had doubts and why not now?

Well... I had doubts because I didn't have proof... But now... I don't think It could be proven. I just believe... although I have no reason to

But isn't that reason to continue to doubt?

I guess I can't explain it... Well.. it could be...

Why don't you believe in, say, Zeus

Well.. Zeus, seems to be another Indo-European name for god, that word is related to roman Jupiter (Zeus pater), and Sanskrt word "deva", and english words "deity" and "divine"

Ok, so you fall into the category of "Everyone's god is just the same god through the ages and I believe in one god."

well.. yeah. I believe in God, how ever they call it

And polytheistic religions got it wrong?

Well... There are theories that they evolved from monotheistic religions...

ME: Well, the Abrahamic religions evolved from a polytheistic platform. And Hinduism is older than Christianity for sure and as old as Judaism, and it's essentially polytheistic.

HIM: Hinduism today is an interesting example... it is similar to Christianity, and in it's early stage it. Well, here's what they believe into in Hinduism:
The world was created by Brahman. Brahman is an complex abstract entity that isn't a creature, nor it belongs to any race. So.. Brahman is God. Brahman has 3 forms: Brahma (God the creator), Vishnu (God the maintainer) and Shiva (God the destroyer) According to some traditions, Brahman has 5 forms
They also believe in incarnation, and one of incarnations of Vishnu is Krshna. God-human. Son of God. Vishnu, Brahma, Shiva, Ganesha, and many more are called "devi" They are a race. A race above humans. But there is nothing above Brahman

ME: So, polytheistic, essentially, and Brahman is the god that is the same as Zeus and YHWH in your mind?

HIM: And Brahman does not belong to a race, and Brahman isn't a part of "devi" he is above everything

ME: Gotcha

HIM: So they are not gods, since there is only one God

ME: Semantics. Let me ask, is this god of yours all merciful, all loving and omniscient?

HIM: Yes, He is a perfect being

ME: Do you believe he gave you free will?

Yes, And yes, he punishes people also

And do you believe in hell?

yes

Ok, I have a paradox for you

HIM: Actually.. I think he Is above good and evil, a perfect being

ME: How can an all knowing, all merciful, all loving god create humans knowing they would choose to go to hell of their own free will?

HIM: Who would chose with his own will to go to hell?

ME: Humans

HIM: Yes? There are humans that believe in hell, and want to go there? That are religious and want hell

ME: They choose to go there by breaking god's commandments

HIM: So they believe that it would send them to hell, and do it to go to hell? I don't think that's the case.

ME: Do you believe souls are in hell?

HIM: I think people break his commandments because they don't believe in heaven or hell

ME: Well that can't be true. People know about hell and still commit sins that will send them there. Regardless, God is merciful. Why create those people knowing they would go there?

HIM: He gave humans free will, and option to choose between good and bad,

ME: That's fine, but it doesn't answer the question.

HIM: Some will choose bad, but he is merciful And loving. And all-knowing, he knows they will commit these sins before they do. Are you asking why does He create people to burn forever?

ME: Sure, also, the fact that he's omniscient destroys free will.

HIM: Balance

ME: Balance? That's not an answer. He's merciful. Besides, who says we need balance? And if that is the case then you are saying there are going to be equal parts good and bad in the world. You're not going to bring up Sith lords and Jedis are you?

HIM: LOL actually, according to some, free will doesn't exist, everything is planned already... I don't know I don't have proof that it exists or that it doesn't, so I guess I'm agnostic about that lol

ME: Sure, it's a paradox. You can't solve it, which is why you need to think about what you believe. The five attributes I just asked you can't co-exist, yet you believe they do. But if you take hell out of the equation it works

HIM: hmm... Well... there are many paradoxes, what about time, what is time? was there a beginning of time? how can there be a beginning of time?

ME: I can see that made you uncomfortable because you changed the subject, just think about it. As for time, it didn't exist until the Big Bang

HIM: hmm what was before the Big Bang? nothing? how?

ME: There was no before

HIM: Well yes I don't know everything, actually I don't know anything, Like Socrates. Can you repeat the five attributes, let's think more about that.

ME: First, you ask what was before because you want to say there must be a cause (ala Aquinas) to which I say why? Because everything has a first cause? Then I ask, who created god? You'll inevitably say he always existed. I say, why can't a universe always exist?

HIM: Hmmm.

ME: Think on that, too. Anyway, the five attributes are:
1. God is omniscient
2. God is all-merciful
3. God is all-loving
4. Hell exists
5. You have free will

HIM: You have free will to choose between good and bad

ME: Sure, but there are a couple of things wrong with that. First, god is all knowing, so he knew when he created you that you would choose bad and then send you to the lake of fire. Second, if he knows what you will do, you don't have free will.

HIM: So it means that God wanted you to go to hell.

ME: And finally, he is loving and merciful. So if he wanted you to go there then he isn't loving and merciful. It's an unsolvable paradox of faith

HIM: So it means that the God is not all loving, because he wants, and knowingly creates people to go to hell

ME: Well, that's the paradox. All if those things can't co-exist

HIM: So.. the God wants that certain people burn. so.. he loves them, although he sentences them to hell... hmm...

ME: If hell exists, and he created them, and they go to hell, yes, it's his plan, and since those people will suffer then he isn't loving and merciful. That's not love or mercy. Still think those five things about your worldview?

HIM: Hmm... Well.. Let's see... He loves everything, and let's say we do have free will, but he knows what we will do... he doesn't control us, so certain people choose to go to hell, he doesn't make them decide to go there, they choose by themselves, and he still loves them, and it's their fault they burn? what about that

ME: No, because in the end, if they end up there then he isn't merciful. The very definition of mercy is to relieve someone of their pain. If he loves you and is all merciful then he wouldn't let you go there. And he wouldn't create you if he knew you were destined for hell. Plus, the free will is still not there since he knows.

HIM: God is very complex, and human brain can't understand it, so there are many paradoxes that human logic can't solve.

ME: Nah, I'm not falling for that. Believers love to define their god and say what he thinks and does until someone with a rational thought or paradox comes along and then we can't understand him. It's too easy. The answer is there is no god and then everything makes sense.

HIM: hmm.. so you're atheist, not agnostic?

ME: Well, those aren't mutually exclusive

HIM: well.. I guess...

ME: Agnostic is knowledge, atheism is belief

HIM: ... You're a Atheist Agnostic, and I'm Theist Agnostic. It seems that way

Yes, but reverse it. I'm an agnostic atheist. Does that bother you?

HIM: no, everyone has their own brain and is able to think.

ME: Cool, I'm always interested in people's views

HIM: I can't ban anyone from thinking, and just because I think this way , it doesn't mean that is the only way

ME:'Exactly. Hey I enjoyed this. I gotta go to sleep. Thanks again for being so honest and listening

HIM: I enjoyed this too... you're welcome

ME: Cheers

HIM: Good night, mate. God bless you

ME: LOL. And Zeus be with u.

Friday, January 9, 2015

The hypocrisy of society

I know it's been a while since I've written, but two recent events have me fuming at the hypocrisy of society. First, obviously, is the attack in Paris. The other is the Canadian woman who kept her dead husband's corpse locked in a room in their house as she prayed for his resurrection.

How are these two linked? Religion, of course. And here's where the hypocrisy comes in: The woman pleaded guilty for failing to report her husband’s death, but the assistant crown attorney felt the widow meant no harm because it was her faith that caused her misdeed. So they withdrew the charges. 

Hmmm, wasn't it the faith of those Muslim morons that led them to riddle the magazine headquarters with bullets, rendering a dozen innocent people dead? Why hunt them down? They are only following what their holy book of errors tells them. 

It's another twist on cherry-picking, but instead of it being Christians or Muslims picking what they want to follow in their tomes, it's government institutions deciding which faith-based offenses are severe enough to pursue charges and justice.

While I may be blowing this little old lady's case out of proportion, it's the idea that faith gets yet another free pass that has me so pissed off right now. She should be charged to the fullest extent of the law, and maybe then she will snap out of her indoctrination enough to find reality. 

What's the answer? Separation of church and state in all walks of life, not just schools and government buildings. If someone breaks the law they should be punished, period.

/rant

Saturday, November 29, 2014

God's Wager

I don't understand why Christians (and any other deity-driven religion) can't see this logical flaw, and what I will propose kind of turns Pascal's Wager on its head in a different way. In the wager, we are told to just believe anyway just in case because while we may give up a human life of freedom, we'll have an eternal afterlife.  

Let's suppose there is a god, and for familiarity we'll use YHWH or the big JC. In the grand scheme of things, the lifespan of a human being is but a fraction of a fraction of a fraction of time when compared with eternity, yes? Why would any deity, who reportedly has been in existence forever and will be around forever, be concerned with humans believing he's real while we're on earth?

When you consider the alternative, that after death your soul would be eternal and could then be shown that god exists, you would clearly be a believer then and the payoff for god's ginormous ego would be limitless. Why would he leave it up to some shoddy book, a small population of uneducated goat-herders and the ensuing molesters and thieves to provide his proof? And for that matter, if he loves being worshipped or believed in, why wouldn't he just give us a choice after we died? Wouldn't he reveal himself to us and say, "It's me, believe or not?"

He would have so many believers and it would be for eternity. If he's truly the insecure egomaniac he's portrayed as in the bible, wouldn't he forgive "just in case" and reap the benefits of eternal belief by giving us proof after death? We'll call it God's Wager.

If you ask a believer this simple question, they'll say, "God is all about that faith, 'bout that faith, no reason. He's all about that faith, 'bout that faith, no reason."