Stop Being an Angry Atheist!

I have not done a blog in a while but I came across a great topic…atheists that are always angry for no reason. Some are just so angry…I’m surprised their head does not explode every time they look down at their money…

I will start by saying there are certainly things atheists should be upset about but I will limit this to US politics. There are things we should be upset about such as creationism (intelligent design, or whatever you want to call it) being taught in science classrooms, gays not being allowed their Constitutional right of marriage, and really any LAW being passed on because of religious beliefs. These are legitimate reasons to be upset, but so many atheists are offended by things that do not matter. I will explain why they do not matter, but first, I will list a few of them…

-In God We Trust on our money
-The Ten Commandments outside a court house
-Swearing in on a Bible
-“Merry Christmas”
-Any religious symbols
-And Thanksgiving

The last one is what led to me creating this blog post. I read the following blog. I will post the link to it but I must warn you about the content on other blogs. The blog directly above it shows a naked man and the blog itself is pretty hate filled.

http://studiousatheist.wordpress.com/2014/11/27/thanksgiving/

Here is the entire post…

“Today people all over the USA will be feasting over their tables, stuffing their already fat asses until they can’t walk. All this because of a holiday instituted to thank “God” for things. Really? Do we really need this holiday? We know there are not magical sky fairies up in the sky. There is no one to thank because we do things ourselves. No sky fairies come down to help us, cure us, teach us and so on.

The holiday supposedly originates with the Pilgrims who were a bunch of prude Christians from the Puritan cult. This is the same cult who killed women believing them to be witches (Salem). We are taught that they made friends with the Native Americans and had this feast. But we know they slaughtered the Natives of this nation, robbing them of their land.
This is fucked up! Also, President Obama “pardoned” turkeys at the White House making the sign of the cross with his hand as if he were the pope! What the fuck?? This is endorsing a religion by the Commander in Chief!”

Seriously? Are we that upset about it? Why? I personally enjoy Thanksgiving because I have a family and our family enjoys getting together. I get to talk politics, religion, and conspiracy theories with Uncle Bill and I get to take pictures of my kids with their cousins. It also allows me to cook a dish for the family and watch football all day on a Thursday. Does my family pray before they eat? Yes they do…and I do not pray because I do not believe in God. I sit quietly for 10-15 seconds while they do because it is the respectful thing to do.

What does Thanksgiving really mean? I do agree it is not an EVENT we should celebrate, but let’s be honest, Thanksgiving is about consumerism. Stores typically open on Thanksgiving and stay open though Black Friday, the biggest shopping day of the year. That is then followed by Cyber Monday. It is not about sitting around and worshiping the Christian God.

The atheist in the blog post is so upset the President pardons a turkey to do a blog post about it? My response to that and the other things I listed above is…who cares?

Is it technically promoting religion? One could make that argument and I am sure a number of atheists would enjoy plugging up our court systems to make it. But why? By a show of hands, who has actually watched the Presidential pardon of the Turkey? That’s what I thought…of the few people that have watched it how many felt deep religious meaning behind it? I am willing to bet nearly every Christian just shrugs it off and did not think of religion at all. The only people that feel something religious towards it are the atheists that are so offended by it.

In God We Trust on our money…who cares? It still spends the same. Put a picture of the devil or Mickey Mouse on it, I could really care less. Atheists act like a person is going to look down at their dollar bill and be sucked into Christianity.

The Ten Commandments outside a court house…who cares? Are those the laws of our nation, no, it is about as relevant as a statue of Richard Dawkins outside a court house would be.

Swearing in on a Bible…who cares? Like someone is or is not going to tell the truth because, Jesus…You tell the truth because perjury is a crime…or you lie because you do not want to go to prison. The President is sworn in on a Bible…yes, to run our secular government…

Merry Christmas…if you are upset when someone says that to you, you are an asshole. That is the same when someone says “God bless you” or “I’ll pray for you.” They are wishing you well, showing empathy, or giving you their support. If you cannot see that or are offended by that, you are an asshole. Seriously, did someone spank you too many times as a kid in the name of Jesus?

Religious symbols…who cares? I am talking about the people that complain EVERY TIME they see any type of religious symbolism ANYWHERE. Get over it, you do not have the right to not be offended. If you are allowed to hold up “God hates fags” signs at a military funeral, I’ll put up my damn Nativity scene.

The thing is that for most of these things the only people feeling religious significance from them are atheists. Are some of them technically unconstitutional? Yes, but who cares? The only people they affect are the uptight, angry atheists. We should focus on important issues that actually affect people and society, things like marriage equality and keeping religion out of science class.

Here is the thing the angry atheists do not realize (well do, but ignore it…) You do not have the right to not be offended and you do not have freedom FROM religion.

Contrary to popular belief the United States IS a CHRISTIAN nation…it is ALSO a SECULAR nation. It was also FOUNDED as a CHRISTIAN nation and a SECULAR nation. We have something called a separation of church and state (which I am sure most atheists have thrown in the face of Christians a time or two,) which means we can be both secular AND religious.
Around 75% of Americans are Christian (with another 5% being religious.) If 75% of a country’s population were 75% atheists, we would call it an atheist nation.

The United States was also founded as a Christian nation. The vast majority of the groups that came here were Christians. They were different sects or denominations of Christianity that came here to escape religious persecution in Europe. The people were Christian.

The Founding Fathers also had Christian influences. Many of the Founding Fathers were Christians and believed religion played an important role in society (not necessarily in government.) There is one thing none of the Found Fathers were…atheists. Thomas Paine is most frequently pointed to as being an atheist, but he was a deist, like the rest of the Founding Fathers. Deism by definition is the opposite of atheism but before you object, please read the next paragraph.

One thing is certain…the United States was founded as a SECULAR nation (and a Christian nation.) The Founding Fathers came out of Enlightenment Philosophy and secularism. I have heard many atheists argue that Enlightenment Philosophy and deism were the REJECTION of Christianity. This is simply false. Many people rejected the Church or aspects of Christianity, such as Jesus’ divinity and the Resurrection, but the deist god was certainly the Christian God. In any case deism, by definition, is the opposite of atheism. Either way, all of this came out of a Christian culture and had Christian influences.

This was not a country founded by atheists, but by Christians and deists using Enlightenment Philosophy to establish a nation with a SECULAR government. It was never intended to be an atheist nation or a “religion free” nation, simply that religion was not supposed to be in the government.

This is a Christian nation and you are FREE to be an atheist, but you do not have the right to not be offended. If that is too difficult for you, I suggest you move to an atheist nation.

The whole point is that atheists should put their time towards things that actually mean something and stop being angry for the simple excuse to be angry about stuff that does not matter. When you complain about every little thing it makes you lose credibility on legitimate topics. People think “just another atheists complaining about nothing.” Stop shooting yourself in the foot…

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Is Sam Harris being Unfairly Attacked or is he a Dishonest Hypocrite?

I am very familiar with Sam Harris. Richard Dawkins is the only one of the Four Horsemen I have read more of. I have bashed Dawkins and Bill Maher for their views on religion but have only briefly mentioned Harris, so here is a blog for him. He came to my attention again when he was on Real Time with Bill Maher, where Ben Affleck gives the both of them a pretty good beating. Ben Affleck is spot on in his analysis. Here is a link to the video. I will address specific parts later in this bit…

Ben Affleck is not the first person to criticize Sam Harris, in fact, it happens quite frequently. Harris has actually responded to his critics on his website, and actually covers two of the points I wish to touch on. Here is a link to his responses to critics…

http://www.samharris.org/site/full_text/response-to-controversy2

If you read that, you will see one of his biggest grips is about people calling him a racist and a bigot. He states “Such defamation is made all the easier if one writes and speaks on extremely controversial topics…”

Sam Harris is either completely missing the point of the criticism (or intentionally avoiding it,) which is the same point Ben brought up in the video. He is not being criticized for talking about controversial issues. He is not being criticized for calling out the Jihadists and Islamists, he is being criticized because he LUMPS ALL MUSLIMS TOGETHER. He says he is not, and that there are decent Muslims, but this is completely dishonest. Both Sam and Bill proclaim they have numbers, and Sam Harris was nice enough to provide us with some. In the video, Harris says that Jihadists and Islamists make up roughly 20 percent of the Muslim world. So according to Sam Harris, 20 percent is “most?” He is defining and condemning an entire religion based on 20% of them? He also uses the term “conservative Muslim” but fails to give a number.

Let’s use Sam’s logic. According Gallop polls, over 40 percent of Americans believe in creationism. 40 percent is double the 20 percent Sam Harris uses to describe the “Muslim World,” so by his reasoning Sam Harris is just a stupid American that believes in creationism.

Honestly though, Ben and the others make the best argument for those types of numbers. They are the classical racist arguments. They are literally the same as saying “this percentage of black people commit crimes therefore…” They use minority numbers to condemn an entire group of people, to justify their prejudice. Harris backtracks on this claim and states this…

“Okay, I’ll give you what you want. There are hundreds of millions of Muslims who are nominal Muslims, who don’t take the faith seriously, who don’t want to kill apostates, who are horrified by ISIS, and we need to defend these people and prop them up and let them reform their faith.”

The fact that Harris says he is not talking about ALL Muslims (even though it is clearly obvious that he is,) is clearly false. He has never said anything positive about Muslims and now he is saying we need to defend them? He has done this type of thing before… in his book Letter to a Christian Nation, he puts a lumping disclaimer at the beginning of the book. It reads as follows…

“Consequently, the ‘Christian’ I address throughout is a Christian in a narrow sense of the term. Such a person believes, at minimum, that the Bible is the inspired word of God and that only those who accept the divinity of Jesus Christ will experience salvation after death.”

“In Letter to a Christian Nation, I have set out to demolish the intellectual and moral pretensions of Christianity in its most committed forms. Consequently, liberal and moderate Christians will not always recognize themselves in the ‘Christians’ I address…”

“I engage Christianity at its most divisive injurious, and retrograde. In this, liberals, moderates and nonbelievers can recognize a common cause.”

To me, this seems fair enough. This book is about the more conservative Christians, the literalists, and not all Christians. It is similar to my lumping disclaimer about atheists. I read his entire book based on this statement and man did it piss me off when I got to the end.

There is a chapter at the end named The Problem with Moderate Religion. In this bit he craps on the very people he is claiming to not be talking about…Here are some selected quotes…
“Religious moderates also tend to imagine that there is some bright line of separation between extremist and moderate religion. But there isn’t. Scripture itself remains a perpetual engine of extremism…”

“Another problem with religious moderation is that it represents precisely the sort of thinking that will prevent a rational and nondenominational spirituality from every emerging in our world.”

“By living as if some measure of sectarian superstition were essential for human happiness, religious moderates prevent such a conversation from ever taking shape.”

At the very least he is guilty of being a horrible writer, lacking the capability to use the correct language to present his views and opinions. However, I find it more plausible that he is dishonest and a hypocrite. How can one say they are only talking about extremists and then say that liberals, moderates, and nonbelievers can recognize a common cause, and then follow that up by saying there is not really a difference between extremists and moderates?
I will emphasize it again…the reason he is being criticized is because he is being dishonest and inconsistent. To Sam Harris, one is either religious or not, there is no middle ground. You are either an atheist or religious extremist. Sam Harris does not like or respect people of religion. That is the definition of bigotry and that is not an unfair attack, it is a conclusion based on his writing about people with religious beliefs.

I have not taken his writing out of context, merely point out contradictions, but one of his biggest complaints of critics is that people take what he says out of context. He points to a bit which Chris Hedges criticizes him about preemptive nuclear war. I have also pointed this out in other blogs because it is one of the most troubling things he has ever written. Here is the bit, copied from the link I posted at the beginning…

“It should be of particular concern to us that the beliefs of Muslims pose a special problem for nuclear deterrence. There is little possibility of our having a cold war with an Islamist regime armed with long-range nuclear weapons. A cold war requires that the parties be mutually deterred by the threat of death. Notions of martyrdom and jihad run roughshod over the logic that allowed the United States and the Soviet Union to pass half a century perched, more or less stably, on the brink of Armageddon. What will we do if an Islamist regime, which grows dewy-eyed at the mere mention of paradise, ever acquires long-range nuclear weaponry? If history is any guide, we will not be sure about where the offending warheads are or what their state of readiness is, and so we will be unable to rely on targeted, conventional weapons to destroy them. In such a situation, the only thing likely to ensure our survival may be a nuclear first strike of our own. Needless to say, this would be an unthinkable crime—as it would kill tens of millions of innocent civilians in a single day—but it may be the only course of action available to us, given what Islamists believe. How would such an unconscionable act of self-defense be perceived by the rest of the Muslim world? It would likely be seen as the first incursion of a genocidal crusade. The horrible irony here is that seeing could make it so: this very perception could plunge us into a state of hot war with any Muslim state that had the capacity to pose a nuclear threat of its own. All of this is perfectly insane, of course: I have just described a plausible scenario in which much of the world’s population could be annihilated on account of religious ideas that belong on the same shelf with Batman, the philosopher’s stone, and unicorns. That it would be a horrible absurdity for so many of us to die for the sake of myth does not mean, however, that it could not happen. Indeed, given the immunity to all reasonable intrusions that faith enjoys in our discourse, a catastrophe of this sort seems increasingly likely. We must come to terms with the possibility that men who are every bit as zealous to die as the nineteen hijackers may one day get their hands on long-range nuclear weaponry. The Muslim world in particular must anticipate this possibility and find some way to prevent it. Given the steady proliferation of technology, it is safe to say that time is not on our side.”
This is the first bit of his response…

“Clearly, I was describing a case in which a hostile regime that is avowedly suicidal acquires long-range nuclear weaponry (i.e. they can hit distant targets like Paris, London, New York, Los Angeles, etc.). Of course, not every Muslim regime would fit this description.”

Once again, he is trying to throw in the “not all Muslims” but once again he fails to use language that would support that statement. In addition to that, he makes it seem as if he is talking about ANY hostile regime, not just a Muslim one. This is Sam Harris taking Sam Harris out of context. If the book, chapter, or even section was about US foreign policy, he might have an argument, but this bit has nothing to do with that. If one looks at his book, they will see this is in the chapter titled “The Problem with Islam,” in a section titled “Jihad and the Power of the Atom.” In this section there are two paragraphs before the bit I quoted above. This is not being taken out of context, it is purely about the problem with Islam and he justifies preemptive nuclear strikes.

Harris attempts to disguise his beliefs by saying something like this would be “horrible” and “insane,” but he said it, and he makes an excuse for it…

“I have just described a plausible scenario in which much of the world’s population could be annihilated on account of religious ideas that belong on the same shelf with Batman, the philosopher’s stone, and unicorns. That it would be a horrible absurdity for so many of us to die for the sake of myth does not mean, however, that it could not happen. Indeed, given the immunity to all reasonable intrusions that faith enjoys in our discourse, a catastrophe of this sort seems increasingly likely.”

So basically he is saying “you made us do it because you believe in a myth and are unreasonable?” Harris is admitting it may be acceptable to kill tens of millions of innocent people! This is sick. Once again, I call this Hitler type stuff. This is not being taken out of context, it is not about US foreign policy, this is about the problems with Islam. There is absolutely no reason for this bit in his book unless he believes this is a legitimate option to dealing with Muslims.

Is Sam Harris being unfairly criticized? He is only being unfairly criticized if he admits he is a horrible writer that adds meaningless stuff to his books and that he is incapable of getting his real message across. I doubt this is the case though. I would not be allowed to speak in the same room with him because of his credentials compared to mine, ask him, he will tell you. The only logical conclusion is he is being fairly criticized, not for discussion the difficult topics, but by lumping all religious people together. He constantly, and clearly, says contradicting statements, whether that is in his speaking or writing. Maybe he is legitimately confused about how he feels about religious people, but then tell us that. Based on his words I think it is more apparent that he knows exactly what he believes and is upset when people call him out on it, as is any racist or bigot when you call them out on it. Anyone feel free to correct me if you think I AM wrong…

A Convo about Sharia Law

I decided to make this a blog post so that I could post the pictures. This came out of a Twitter conversation regarding Islam as law in Muslim countries…

@yedimisteolm
To expand, it is not that my views are peaceful, it is that this is the way to create progress. Violence has never created peace. I am all for condemning fundamentalists but often those fighting against the fundamentalists are moderates of the same religion. Look at the Middle East right now. Who is fighting against the radical Muslims? With the exception of the US intervention, it is Muslims. We need to prop these people up, make them allies, not vilify them. People like Sam Harris are wrong, moderate religion does not breed fundamentalism. The Islamic Empire used to lead the world in science and philosophy. We have the ancient Greek texts today because of Muslims. Fundamentalism destroyed all of that. Moderates are obviously capable of logic, reason, and secular societies.

To your most recent tweet…
Use_of_Sharia_by_country.svg

No, I am not wrong. Just because they share some aspect of Sharia law in their governing system does not mean that is the law of the land. As defined in the picture, some of those countries only use Sharia law in more personal things, such as marriage. This is due to cultural reasons, which were a big part in the make-up of religion. Why are their different branches of Islam? It is due to culture. We see this in the United States, especially with the gay marriage argument. It is entirely religious and many of our laws are based on religion, yet many would argue the United States is very secular.

As for the countries shown in the map, how many of them have had female leaders? A lot of them have. Yet Saudi Arabia is very oppressive towards women. Who is right and who is wrong? Is there a right or wrong? One of the countries highlighted is the United Arab Emirates. They are very secular and have women in a lot of their highest positions. Women even walk around in bikinis.

DSC01190DSC01219
Picture 316Picture 303

Is this a violation of Sharia law?

I am not condoning the horrible ways places like Saudi Arabia implement it but I have been to countries highlighted in your picture and your vision is very skewed. Shall we look at your picture more closely?

Too add to the debate, you just sent me this picture…

islam

To start, these two picture completely contradict each other. In the first picture, countries in the green color… “Members of the Organisation of Islamic Cooperation where sharia plays no role in the judicial system.”

In your second picture, in the orange, it states that converting a Muslim is a crime. How is converting a Muslim a crime when Sharia law plays no role in the judicial system? Maybe the people made these laws based on their religious or cultural views, but they are not supported by the judicial system, according to your sources.

Here is another picture…
Islam_percent_population_in_each_nation_World_Map_Muslim_data_by_Pew_Research.svg

According to this picture and your pictures, Sharia law is stricter in many Muslim MINORITY countries. Ethiopia, for example, is a Christian majority country, yet it follows Sharia law? This is due to a point I have made in other blog posts…this is a cultural thing, not a religious thing. People claim female genital mutilation is a Muslim problem, yet it is a problem in Ethiopia, a Christian country.

Let’s go back to your first picture again…

Use_of_Sharia_by_country.svg

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Application_of_sharia_law_by_country

(Green) Members of the Organisation of Islamic Cooperation where sharia plays no role in the judicial system. Muslims are a minority in some OIC nations.

(Yellow) Countries where Sharia applies in personal status issues (such as marriage, divorce, inheritance, and child custody).

(Purple) Countries where Sharia applies in full, covering personal status issues as well as criminal proceedings.

(Orange) Regional variations in the application of sharia

The only countries that practice Sharia law in full (according to your sources) are the ones in purple, or not the majority. This is a smoking gun and PROVES Islam and religion is not the driving force in most Muslim countries. Posting those two pictures together is done either out of propaganda or ignorance because neither one of them is representative of those countries.

Where are the Conservatives and Atheists When it Comes to North Korea?

When we were first considering bombing ISIS I was against it. I said we need to stay out of the Middle East. Many people, usually Conservatives, tried to take the moral high ground and tell me what horrible people the people in ISIS were. Atheists also make the argument that Islam is the problem. I make the argument we should have never gone to war in the first place with Iraq but Conservatives tell me what a horrible person Saddam was.

Obviously Conservatives and atheists want to validate any military action by saying “they are bad people” and “Islam is bad.” They want to be the world police. But I ask you this…If you hold the moral high ground, if you are ridding the world of evil, I ask you, where the hell are you when it comes to North Korea?

Here is a bit about a former body guard for Kim Jong Il.

http://www.cnn.com/2014/11/06/world/asia/north-korea-bodyguard-kim-jong-il/index.html?hpt=hp_t1

In the article he talks about how this family rules based on fear, that they will simply cut people’s head’s off when they are having a bad day. This does not come as news to anyone with moderate knowledge of what is going on in our world. This is not new. Here is the Wikipedia page on their prisons…

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Prisons_in_North_Korea

The UN has compared North Korea to Nazi Germany, some say it is worse…

http://theweek.com/article/index/256523/north-korea-isnt-nazi-germany-mdash-in-some-ways-its-worse

In addition to this North Korea has poked fun at us by advertising it is testing nuclear missiles.

Nuclear weapons and human rights violations comparable to the holocaust, and you are silent on the issue? If you are going to take the moral high ground and validate our need to bomb the Middle East, you need to answer, where the hell are you on this? Are you simply ignorant on this topic because the media is not spreading their Islam propaganda? Maybe you need to rely less on propaganda to support your wars.

Culture vs. Religion: The Catholic Church

I constantly say that culture and society are more of a driving force than religion. Headlines the last few days have made this painfully obvious, so I wanted to quickly discuss it. The argument made by most atheists is that religion, and religion alone, cause people to believe the things they do and act how they act. Our perfect example to refute this claim comes from the Catholic Church.

When someone mentions Catholic, one thing comes to mind, the Pope. The Catholics are well known for having a Catholic hierarchy, lead by the Pope. The bishops are the successors of Christ’s apostles, with the Pope being the successor to Saint Peter. Basically what the Church says goes. To quote Wikipedia…

”The Church maintains that the doctrine on faith and morals that it presents as definitive is infallible.”

If the Church IS the Word, and religion causes people to hold the beliefs they do, Catholics would accept what the Catholic Church has to say about things. However, this is clearly not the case. The current Pope has said many things that go against Conservative Catholic beliefs but I will focus on the most recent story about the Catholic Church. Here is the headline…

Vatican proposes ‘stunning’ shift on gays, lesbians

http://religion.blogs.cnn.com/2014/10/13/vatican-proposes-stunning-shift-on-gays-lesbians/

In 2013 Pope Francis said about gays and lesbians, “who am I to judge?” When Pope Francis made the comment Catholics clearly did not follow his lead. Not only do Conservative Catholics judge gays, they actively engage in politics that deprive them of rights guaranteed in the United States Constitution. Apparently though, this latest statement was too much. The major quote from the Vatican is as follows…

“Homosexuals have gifts and qualities to offer to the Christian community. Are we capable of welcoming these people, guaranteeing to them a fraternal space in our communities? Often they wish to encounter a church that offers them a welcoming home. Are our communities capable of providing that, accepting and valuing their sexual orientation, without compromising Catholic doctrine on the family and matrimony?”

The article, and has previously been reported, the Catholic Church has become more liberal about topics such as birth control. This really upset Conservative Catholics and this was the headline a day later…

Under conservative assault, Vatican backtracks on gay comments

http://www.cnn.com/2014/10/14/world/vatican-backtrack-gays/

Here are a few quotes from the article…

“Under furious assault from conservative Catholics, the Vatican backtracked Tuesday on its surprisingly positive assessment of gays and same-sex relationships.”

“But many conservatives complained that the statement watered down church teaching and did not accurately reflect their discussions here, where nearly 200 Catholic leaders are meeting to debate pastoral approaches to modern family life.”

“In response to such reactions, the Vatican backtracked a bit Tuesday. In a statement, it said the report on gays and lesbians was a “working document,” not the final word from Rome.

The Vatican also said that it wanted to welcome gays and lesbians in the church, but not create “the impression of a positive evaluation” of same-sex relationships, or, for that matter, of unmarried couples who live together.”

Even though the Word of the Catholic Church, the Vatican, is definitive and infallible, and even though the report more closely sides with the Pope’s remarks, all it took was outrage from Conservative Catholics to send the Church running with their tail between their legs. They backtracked and tried to fix it by calling it a “working document.”

My question to you is who here is in control? Even though Catholics are split about 50/50 (according to Pew Polls and Presidential election stats) Liberal/Conservative, the Conservative half quickly and effectively made the Vatican, the definitive and infallible Word, change their statement.

Catholics that are opposed to gay marriage and other issues will certainly cite their religion as the reason for their beliefs, which will cause atheists to blame religion but this is ignoring the Liberal Catholics that support gay marriage and other issues. The fact that only half of Catholics hold these views, and the fact that they went against the Church and even changed the Church’s Word, demonstrates that Conservative Catholics are driven by CULTURE and POLITICS, not religion.