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Just Like Seein’ Bigfoot

You know how whenever anyone sees Bigfoot or the Loch Ness Monster or Ogopogo, they’re so freaked out that they can’t snap a decent picture of what’s obviously, definitely, not horseshit and is instead really right in front of them? So what you get is something that looks like a large, blurry man in a Bigfoot suit:

Bigfoot Classic

Or a snorkeler with a Monster-Shaped Sock Puppet:

Loch Ness Monster

Or I guess sometimes yes, they do get a decent picture of Ogopogo. Watch out, kids!

Ogopogo

Well that’s how I feel when I see a Women For Romney bumper sticker. Let me tell you something – they are OUT there. You just have to keep your eyes open. My friend Spang and I call each other when we see them – ohmygod, ohmygod, OHMYGOD! TOM! I SAW ONE!

Then we get cosmos. Other than that, we’re pretty manly.

But not the bumper sticker. I’ve never been able to get a clear picture of one, but here’s an artist’s rendition straight from my own personal Google Image files:

Women For Romney

See? It’s pink – that means chicks dig it. And some of the letters are all fancy, like a girl wrote it on her notebook, a girl who doesn’t just “like” Romney, but who “‘like’ likes” him. Sometimes they don’t even get bumper stickers, they just spray paint their whole Romney-ending name all over their car, as if they’ve already married him and his First Wife. Stephanie Meredith Romney! In a big heart, you know.

But anyway, today I saw this cryptozoological wonder cross my path:

Bigfoot2

Holy shit! Christians For Obama!

At first, I didn’t even comprehend it. Why would Christians ever vote for a guy who is not only a Muslim, but also a Satanist AND an Atheist? FROM KENYA?

I don’t know, but this guy not only did it, but he’s permanently bragging about it on his car! Who’s driving it, Mothman??

I’ll tell you, it was a spiritual experience, like looking the Abominable Snowman right in the eye across a card table, thinking, “He’s got the jack. He doesn’t have the jack. HE’S GOT THE JACK!”

Surely you can relate. Anyway, someone needs to fly me to Loch Ness or to Bigfoot Town (Canada? Seattle? I don’t know where Bigfoot lives) cause do you see how I calmly stopped texting while I was driving, and snapped a picture of the Sasquatchmobile? I’m like motherscratching Steve McQueen, baby.

Cool, now I have to go run this by some network execs, make some scratch. Don’t show anybody, blogosphere, because it’s not worth any money that way.

Bigfoot SuitNow, I know a lot of you are like, Tom, that could just be a Jesus Fish Eating A Darwin Fish bumper sticker wearing a Christians For Obama bumper sticker suit. Like when those knuckleheads said they had Bigfoot in a freezer and instantly, pre-Tom-On-Facebook, someone came to my desk to show me their Facebook page and asked me what I thought of it.

I said, “Well, shit, I’d say that’s either Bigfoot in a freezer, or it’s a Bigfoot Suit in a freezer. And since we already know there are Bigfoot suits, and since we don’t know if there’s Bigfoot, etc., etc. etc.”

Well – we’ll just have to let Science decide, and Science can tell History, and someone from Television can give me a check, is how I think this works. I’m going to get a new suit and a steak dinner, you guys stay here in case my studio check shows up.

 

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Local Church Bangs Head Against Wall To No Avail

EinsteinSupposedly, Albert Einstein (pictured to the left, rocking my own personal haircut) once defined insanity as something like “doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results.” For example – and again, sorry to keep bringing up McDonald’s – but getting a McMuffin, taking a nasty, gristle-paste bite of it, spitting it out and swearing to God you’ll never eat one again. Then six months later, hmmm – those McMuffins used to be pretty good, I think I’ll swing through there and grab one.

Crazy Town. If you want a McMuffin in 2013, you need to go to an organic market and buy the ingredients and make it yourself, or take the ingredients to your Mom’s house and ask her to make it over and over til she does, even if you’re 41.

Science and Church, of course, don’t always get along so well, and as such I was amused and not particularly surprised to see this article: Copper Thieves Rip Off Church For The Fifth Time.

This hits pretty close to home for me, because not only did I live in Grove City for three soul-crushing years, I believe that’s the church where my War On Ash Wednesday post took place. I am not sure about that – I have to admit that churches sort of blur together to me. You remember how on the OSU campus there was a Kentucky Fried Chicken, Pizza Hut and Taco Bell all rolled into one? Called it the Kentaco Hut?

Well I do, and that’s pretty much church to me. Mosques I can distinguish because they’re round and look like space churches. Otherwise, they are basically a series of tall, pointy buildings where several times a year fish fries are held.

And I shouldn’t bag on Grove City like that. It’s really not that bad anymore. In fact, if I were mayor of Grove City, that’s what it would say on the signs when you entered the city: Grove City – It’s Really Not That Bad Anymore!

HamburglarAnyway, here’s the situation. Copper thieves keep rolling up to the St. John’s Evangelical Lutheran Church and taking their copper spouts. You might be thinking, say Tom, I know that city like the back of my hand, and that church is three blocks away from the Grove City Police Headquarters. That’s odd.

Yes, and as crackerjack as the Grove City Police really are, I can think of an even more compelling question. Why don’t the copper thieves burst into flames like Nazis prying open the Ark of the Covenant? Why aren’t they wiped clean by the Wrath of God?

I don’t know. Mysterious ways, and whatnot. Free will. The Almighty doesn’t go around micromanaging anything except sexual orientation and tithing and how long He can allow women to be held captive by crazy men and then still get credit for their freedom (ten to twelve years, depending on local zoning codes). Everything else is a barrel-o-monkeys. Go ahead and knock it, but The System Works!

At least that’s my understanding. But religion aside, it does strike me as sort of funny that thieves keep a-stealing the copper, and the church keeps a-buying more, and putting it back. That seems a lot like banging one’s face against a wall over and over.

“The trouble with this last time was I replaced everything and one week later, they took it all again,” said Michael Esposito, whose title is not disclosed, so I guess he’s not the Pope or anything. I imagine he’s the guy in charge of maintenance at the St. John’s Evangelical Lutheran Church, and it sounds like he could use a little input here.

Five times seems like a lot. Die Hard learned that, on their fifth one, hopefully. Five robberies is Too Many.

Die Hard 5Right now it’s like a berry patch, the gang just plucks all the copper berries, goes back to the hideout for some copperberry pie, and then waits for the berries to grow back. And four times in a row, the solution has been, well, let’s put the same stuff right back where it was with no changes to our security whatsoever, we’ll just pray that the copper thieves get tired of all the free copper and leave us be.

I’m all for prayer, don’t get me wrong, but back in college, I used to shoot pool with Bigfoot and the Tooth Fairy and God and Randy Butler. I learned quite a bit, let me tell you. For example, in terms of defense, you want to leave the cue ball up against the rail if you know you don’t have a shot and Bigfoot’s up next. Drives him crazy. And the Tooth Fairy can’t make a straight-in shot if you put Cher on the jukebox – that’s foolproof.

And the other thing I learned is, for clarity’s sake, God wants you to pray. He sure does. But when you’re finished praying, He wants you to get up and do something, preferably something to facilitate what you’re praying for. He’s the Almighty, not your intern. Paddle the boat, all right?

Slowly but surely, the gang over at St. John’s Evangelical Lutheran Church is internalizing the mysterious lessons the copper thieves are teaching them. For example, according to the article, the damage is “usually a little over $3,000” so “the church is considering putting video surveillance in the parking lot.”

Yep, that’s usually my assessment when someone clips me for three thousand dollars, five times in a row using the same, exact method and means. Hmmm. Maybe we should tighten up security around here. Or at least consider it, which according to the article is all they are currently doing.

There does, however, seem to be something ironic about needing video surveillance to watch a Church. I’m not going to mention any names, but I thought Somebody was Everywhere and Knew When We Were Sleeping, and When We Were Stealing Copper Spouts.

But I guess I might have Somebody confused with Santa Claus. How on Earth could I have done that?

Bad Santa

 

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Blinding You With Science Class

french modelLet’s be very careful here. At first glance, this horrifying story brought to us by an alert but anonymous reader, looks like a trap.

As we know, sometimes the French model you met on the Internet is not a French model, and often snippets shared on Facebook can backfire on you. We all snap it up as evidence that someone (Sarah Palin, President Obama, the NRA, the Catholic Church) has said or done something unbelievably stupid, and then it turns out that the snippet is false, and now we’re the ones who look stupid for sharing it.

Like the other day I saw someone post a three year-old image of the Obamas saluting the flag with the wrong hand over their hearts. Further evidence that Obama hates America, was born in Kenya, wants to take your guns, and eats babies, yes?

No. All you have to do is google a couple of key phrases and you end up on Snopes.com, where the photo was debunked years ago. Apparently a similar photo was done of Tom Daschle back in 2003, but with less effort – his wedding ring was on the wrong hand, his buttons on his coat were on the wrong side – and so it was easy to see that it was simply a mirror image of a real photo.

The Obama image was also doctored, but far more carefully. They moved the ring, moved the buttons, and were in general very, very careful in putting together their destructive, anti-American lie which they then distributed around as evidence that the Obamas were destructive anti-Americans.

But they missed a few things – medals on a soldier’s coat in the background, the part in Michelle’s hair – and it became very easy to see that the image was mirrored and then photoshopped from a real picture of the Obamas with the correct hands over their hearts.

At a ceremony observing 9/11. That’s the level of reverence the photo-fixers have for America, dudes. They took a photo from a 9/11 ceremony, made a lie out of it, and then tons of Republicans snapped it up and made their hilarious Republican noises while they humped its leg.

Anyway, not too hard to get the truth out of it. Like taking toast from a hamster, one might say. So on that note, let’s be careful about this image, yes?

Science Quiz

Already I’m suspicious. I would expect a 4th grade science quiz to say the teacher’s name, or the chapter number, or practically anything except “4th Grade Science Quiz.” So my first impression of this was, “Probably not.”

Well, let’s see what Snopes has to say. Here’s their article on it, which has it still up in the air. They had the same obvious problems with it, but then they were contacted by someone who said he was the father of the student who took the test. This guy even provided the hilarious second page – which I got from google, not from Snopes, because Snopes sort of yells at us there about not taking their stuff. Calm down, Snopes, it’s not your quiz either, right?

Scienc Quiz page two

The questions and answers are face-palmers, that is for sure. The parent declined to reveal the school until the end of the year, for fear that the student would get suspended, or hollered at, or possibly burned at the stake as a witch, and I don’t blame him. But again, we’re suspicious, aren’t we? The mystery source of the mystery test from the mystery school.

Sure, but, I don’t think that we’re worried about this particular student; her dad already said he corrected the error – or ball of errors. I think that if you’re alarmed by this photo, you’re alarmed that it represents a real trend playing itself out in some rural schools like a live action Simpsons bit. Whether or not this particular test is real barely matters. What matters is, do people teach this at all?

In particular, that last question – What do you say when people claim the Earth is billions of years old? The accepted answer is “Were you there?”

Notice that the kid got a 100% but she forgot the question mark. Back in my day, we rode buses to school as opposed to dinosaurs, and we lost a little credit if we forgot punctuation marks. Still, one has to wonder – does anyone really think that’s a reasonable reply to someone claiming the Earth is billions of years old?

Yes. Ken Ham, for example – president and CEO (which cracks me up) of Answers In Genesis – US. That’s all he does is go around reminding people to ask scientists if they were there billions of years ago to verify the Earth’s age. And if you weren’t there, then I guess you’ll have to take Ken Ham’s word for it that it’s only a few thousand years old, even though you also weren’t there thousands of years ago, and neither was Ken Ham.

I love how Mister Ham gets defensive right off the bat on his website. The first Frequently Asked Question is Can Creationists Be Real Scientists? Mister Ham’s reply:

“Many secular and atheist groups mock Answers in Genesis and the Creation Museum for not being scientific. However, some of the most influential scientists past and present have been and are creationists (see below).”

Comes right out and says he’s used to getting mocked, which is nice, and not just because it’s good to hear that folks are appropriately mocking him.

mad scientistIt’s also nice because there is only one type of scientist known for saying things like “They mocked me, thought I was mad, but I showed them, I showed them all!”

Well, that’s just mad scientists, right? Who else opens with that?

To be fair, he does show us a list of people who have degrees, and I think a list of people on your website is as good as peer review, isn’t it?

No, it’s really not. And also, you don’t find a lot of respected, peer-reviewed scientists headlining their work “Am I really a scientist? Or am I a hilarious nut case? Here’s a list of folks I know who will vouch for me.”

“Were you there?”

That’s the new Inherit the Wind moment? That’s your modern, philosophical stance?

SCIENCEWe don’t know because we weren’t there? Hell, we barely even know if there was a Holocaust by that version of the scientific method. Shit, you guys know there was a Holocaust, right? I’m not even going to google Mister Ham and The Holocaust, although if you’re starting a band, that’s what you should name it.

As for the specific test, I’m going to make a prediction, and we should find out more in June, when the Mystery Source reveals the Mystery School. I think the quiz is real, and that Mister Ham or someone like him has a general curriculum book out there with general tests and quizzes for anyone who wants to teach Christian Science, Ham-Style, and I think that’s why it’s so general – 4th Grad Science Quiz.

Do I think it’s a big deal? Not to me, I haven’t been writing checks to the Mystery School. But I’ll bet it’s a big deal to the Mystery Source. We’ll just have to wait and see.

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Earlier: Kirk Cameron and the Art of Asshattery

 

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Godspeed, Holy Spaghetti Monster Warrior

I don’t even know where to start.  Do you know about the Church of the Flying Spaghetti Monster?

Well, I linked to their website there, but basically, it started when the Intelligent Design movement began, and certain religious groups started pressuring schools to teach it alongside evolution in Science class, as an alternative theory regarding Life, the Universe, and Everything.

So a bunch of hilarious, smartass atheists showed up and said, well, we just started a church too, and in our church, we believe that the universe was created by a Giant, Flying Spaghetti Monster, and since there’s a pretty similar amount of evidence for both concepts, we want you to teach our theory alongside Intelligent Design.

If you do nothing else at all today, you really need to read this hysterical Open Letter to the Kansas School Board from a concerned member of the Church of the Flying Spaghetti Monster, and if you finish reading it and you still have a problem with the Pastafarians, then you, my friends, have a problem with me.

Does the Church of the Flying Spaghetti Monster have to pay taxes?  I don’t know – good question.  I sure hope not, because that would seem to violate the First Amendment.  We don’t get to say, hey your religion’s too dumb to qualify, because then well..

Well – let’s just all agree that lots of religions are pretty dumb.  Not yours, of course – yours is cool and valid and makes perfect sense and I’m totally a big fan of it.  Just settle down and don’t blow anything up or shoot anybody – your God is extra super definitely the One True God and we all know it. 

It’s cool.

But learning about other religions is always a good thing, even if we know they’re false because they’re not in English or they’re not about Jesus or whatever.  Multicultural and mind-expanding and intellectual, and that’s us, blogosphere.  So let’s crack our minds open a little and see what we can learn, yes?

For example, who is the Messiah, the Prophet, the CEO, the Main Guy, of the Church of the Flying Spaghetti Monster?  Who is their Thulsa Doom?

I mean, the Christians have Jesus, the Jews have Moses or Abraham or Whoever.  And the Muslims have He Who Nobody Is Allowed To Draw So I’m Sure As Hell Not Going To Blog About Him.  And even the Scientologists have Tom Cruise.

The fact is, the Church of the Flying Spaghetti Monster is too young to have a bunch of temples or statues or even a Main Guy.  But there appears to be a Holy Warrior rising among their ranks – meet Niko Alm, an Austrian Atheist, Pastafarian, and possibly the baddest ass to ever blast through the doors of whatever Austria’s BMV is called.

See, Niko Alm wanted to wear a spaghetti colander on his head in his driver license photo, in keeping with the strict religious requirements of the Church of the Flying Spaghetti Monster (he’s Orthodox), but in general, you’re not supposed to wear hats in those pictures.

But I’m sure Niko was thinking, Hey, some women are wearing Muslim head wraps and I want to wear my sacred spaghetti strainer, and I’m going to put the SYSTEM on trial.

Actually, if you read the article, you’ll find everyone going out of their way to point out that there really wasn’t a legal battle, that Niko just failed to pick up his license for a couple of years.  But oddly, the article does say that the police made him go through a psych evaluation to make sure he was sane enough to drive.  I mean, nobody has ever asked me to do that, even though we can probably all agree that someone along the way should have.

No legal battle, nothing to do with his batshit religion – but you made him prove he wasn’t crazy.  I gotcha, Austrian Police.  Why don’t you make them all wear meatballs on their shirts next, round up Pastafarians into “re-education camps?”  I’m watching you pricks.

Anyway, No problem, said Holy Warrior Niko Alm.  I’m sane as shit.  Proceed with your psychological evaluation.

And they did, and then they said, “Okay, well, Rock on, sane guy.”  And then he got his driver license photo with a spaghetti strainer on his head.

We were going to let him do it anyway, insisted the police.  Shut up you bunch of lying cops, said local blogger Tom Chalfant.  You were not.

Obviously, the guy is about one half being hilarious and one half making serious philosophical points.   After all, what defines a religion, and just how far should we as a society bend over backwards to accommodate every single bonkers form of it?  And on a weird side note, why does the article call him a “self-proclaimed” Atheist?

Who else would proclaim it?  Ever hear someone referred to as a “self-proclaimed Catholic?”

And also obviously, he seems to have deliberately structured his experience to appear that there was more of a controversy than there really was – and gee, that doesn’t sound like a real religion, does it?  That would be like insisting every single year that there’s a War on Christmas, even though really, it’s just people acknowledging the existence of holidays other than Christmas during Christmas Month (which is what it’s called, you bunch of socialists.)

I don’t know about you, but it warms the cockles of my heart to know that Niko Alm is out there, his knuckles white on his steering wheel, his spaghetti colander perched firmly on his head, his faith unwavering, his grin intact.  Ridicule him all you like – the article seems to feel free to – but understand that you are ridiculing a mirror, and that at least Niko Alm is in on his own joke.

Tom Cruise, for example – he doesn’t seem to know how funny Scientology is.  And there’s a Republican presidential candidate out there who’s into American Jesus and Magic Underpants.  And they both look normal in their driver license photos – oh, but they’re not.  They’re not.

Take the fight to them, grant no quarter, and Godspeed, Niko Alm, Holy Spaghetti Monster Warrior.  May the wings of religious liberty never lose a feather.

 
5 Comments

Posted by on July 27, 2011 in News/Commentary, Uncategorized

 

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Jerks, And Their Big, Offensive Signs

Look, when you put up a big sign with something you think on it, that’s your right and I’m all for you.  But it really makes you sound full of crap when you try to pretend that you aren’t being offensive on purpose.

After all, you’re not talking to the people who already think the same thing you put on your sign are you?  Follow my logic here – if they already think that, then they don’t need to read it off of your Brobdignagian sign.  So you’re talking to the people who don’t think whatever is on your sign, because you want them to stop thinking whatever they think, and you want them to think what’s on the sign.

I can be a real jerk sometimes, there’s no doubt about it.  But the big difference between a blog and a sign on the highway or on the side of a bus is, you don’t have to read my blog.  Signs are designed to get their message into your brain before you’ve decided whether or not you want to read them.

Like the bench signs which read “SEE?!  Bench signs work!”

They sure do.  Signs are like little psychic blowgun darts shot at you by tribes of indigenous marketers.

So check out this group of Canadian Atheists who like to put up signs on the sides of buses which read “”Extraordinary Claims Require Extraordinary Evidence” with “Allah, Bigfoot, UFOs, Homeopathy, Zeus, Psychics, Christ” provided as examples.

On their website, they elaborate a little more, musing about why people get ridiculed for believing in Bigfoot, but revered for believing in Allah or God.  Although, it does not appear that anyone’s getting revered in this particular situation, does it?

The man behind these ads, Mr. Justin Trotter, insists that he is not trying to be offensive. 

But I do take offense, sir.  You see, I know Bigfoot.  One time I was in St. Louis and some pool sharks took me for eight hundred dollars, but then Bigfoot showed up and won it back for me and bought me some gyros.  Bigfoot is a friend of mine, and you, sir, are no Bigfoot.

It’s not like atheists are the only ones who like to put up offensive signs, though.  How about when I’m driving down the highway and keep having to take in gargantuan signs reading “HELL IS REAL!” or “SCREW YOU, TOM, YOU’RE GOING TO HELL!”  or whatever they say. 

It’s like damn it, I’m trying to drink a beer, here.  Calm down.

And don’t get me started on the Pro-Lifers and their Abortion Picture Trucks.  Speaking of People Who I’m Most Likely To Wind Up In Federal Court Discussing Why I Used A Cinderblock To Make Them Look A Lot Like The Pictures On Their Own Trucks.

Wait we weren’t speaking about that, were we?

Anyway.  Jerks and their giant signs.  You know, I used to be the kind of guy who wanted to sit and argue with you about the existence of God, but then I grew up and realized I’m stupid and so is everyone else.  It’s just so much easier to let everybody believe what they want to believe, without putting up big, faith-attacking signs.

That’s what bothers me the most about these guys.  They’re kind of going, what?  We’re just opening a dialogue.

Except no, you don’t have dialogues with giant signs.  You just look at them and get angry.  Or you put them up and feel clever.  There’s something like a hundred thousand dollars sunk into these signs – do you have any idea how many beers and gyros you could have bought for me with that money?  And if you did, I’d believe whatever the hell you said to believe, you know – I’m not complicated.

If someone has faith in their religion, I don’t want to alarm you but it’s probably doing them a lot of good.  The difference, so you know dudes, is that religion is about faith, and Bigfoot is not.

I think if humankind had spent the last several millenia erecting statues and temples dedicated to Bigfoot, then you’d probably find that people took him a little more seriously.  Right now, it’s pretty hard to come up with someone who even claims to have one of his turds.

Have you ever tried to prove that a turd came from Bigfoot?  Without another Bigfoot turd to compare it to, it’s pretty tricky.

Faith isn’t about evidence or turds.  It’s about believing without either of those things – I’m not sure that’s exactly how the Pope would put it, but whatever.

How’s about you leave them alone and focus on whatever good you want to do, godlessly.  Seriously, I’m all for you.  You’d be giving Atheists all over the world a better name, by refusing to engage in that tiresome, sophomoric arrogance that so often makes people stop listening to you.

Instead you’re putting up your own version of the HELL IS REAL signs.  Maybe you guys could all get together and scream Ford! Chevy! at each other, or perhaps Less Filling!  Tastes Great! 

Meanwhile the rest of us, those of us with a bunch of stuff to do, will go about our business, irritated but probably not particularly swayed either way, by your big, stupid signs.

 
9 Comments

Posted by on December 5, 2010 in News/Commentary

 

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Atheists Are Nice (2 of 2)

(This is the second of two parts. The first part is here.)

Personally, I don’t have a choice.  It’s that simple.  I can’t manufacture the faith that so many Christians seem to enjoy – I think it would be disrespectful to do so. 

I see religion, every single day, twisted by man into something destructive, something that breeds war, something that breeds abuse, something that breeds oppression, something that attracts and empowers predators.

Sure, I see the good things religion does as well, and in general I am not impressed.  Corporations donate to charity – it doesn’t make them good.  They get a tax write-off for it.

Churches don’t even pay taxes – they damn well better be doing some serious charity.

Now on a personal level is where I tend to see the most good.  A good person gets quite a bit out of religion – peace and security and the strength to keep right on doing good.  I think that if you’re going to get rid of your religion, you’d better hang onto the concept of goodness, and keep striving to emulate it.

But I have a hard time understanding why the divinity is so obvious, when evil runs amok within the church.  Some trapped miners spot a white butterfly that shouldn’t be there and everyone starts gaping about how it was an angel sent to protect them.  But the last time this happened, here in our country, the miners died.

Who decides when the miners get an Angel Butterfly?  Who decides when they get screwed?

Some kind of Prayer Bucket system?  Fill up the Prayer Bucket, get an Angel Butterfly?

God gets all kinds of credit when He appears to answer prayers, and then He gets a Mysterious Ways Pass every time He appears to ignore them.  I can’t get past it – I really can’t.

Not even trying to be disrespectful here, I just truly don’t understand.  But here’s the thing:  I am positive that some things which I don’t understand turn out to be true.  Sometimes I get older and wiser and the incomprehensible comes into focus, and makes perfect sense. 

That’s why I’m an agnostic – because I know I could be wrong. I’d be a real rube if I thought that I took Philosophy 101 and that’s it, got everything figured out.  I’ll tell you one thing I’ve got rock solid faith in – I am positive that I do NOT have everything figured out.

So once you’ve forced the Agnostic to decide he’s an Atheist, then you’ve really got him, because Atheism is hard to defend.  Logically, it’s hard to deny the existence of anything, if it could be anywhere in the universe and it’s invisible. 

That’s the purpose of the Flying Spaghetti Monster – you can use any argument supporting the existence of God to support the existence of the Flying Spaghetti Monster.  In other words, you can’t disprove the existence of the Flying Spaghetti Monster either, so that’s how philosophically valuable that train of thought is.

So, no, I’m not an Atheist.  I just don’t happen to believe in God, because I personally don’t have in my experiences any reason to.  Some Christians tell me that’s part of my journey, that God won’t take me until I’ve seen the light.  And okay, they’re trying to be nice – I appreciate it.

But before you get angry at the Atheist for appearing to tell everyone in the world that they are wrong, understand that if you are a Christian, you are telling billions of people they are wrong as well.

I mean, sure, 95% of the world has a religion, maybe a little more than that.  But that doesn’t mean it’s all of them versus the Atheists.  Because if the Christians are right, the Hindus are wrong and so are the Buddhists and the Scientologists and the ancient Greeks.  And they’ve got some pretty stark and obvious disagreements with the Muslims and Jews, you may have noticed.

Sure, I know you can tell me that maybe all religions are paths to the same Truth – but that’s not what the religions tell you.  They don’t say, “The gist of this is true, and as long as you sort of dig the gist of it, you’re going to be cool, dude.”

No.  Christianity for example says, “Thou shalt take no other Gods before me.”  Right there in the Commandments, baby.  You have to accept Jesus Christ as your personal Savior, or you’re going to Hell.  All you billions of religious non-Christians – the Bible says you’re wrong, oh yes it surely does.

If you’re a Christian you believe the Hindus are wrong just as surely as an Atheist believes you are.  Many of those Hindus are older than you, have believed longer than you.  So why is it you think the Atheist is a jerk and you’re a Christian Solider?

In fact, when you are religious, you are saying something slightly more rude and outrageous than the Atheist is.  All the Atheist is saying is, I don’t accept things on faith and I don’t believe things I don’t have strong reasons for believing. 

What a religious guy is saying is, my religion which I can’t prove and which I accept on faith, is right, but your religion which you can’t prove and which you accept on faith, is wrong.

There are no such things as invisible dinosaurs, except for my invisible dinosaur right here.  His name is Pete.

Standing there in a room full of people with invisible dinosaurs, acting like I’m some kind of a jerk for saying listen, maybe none of you all have dinosaurs.  I mean, wouldn’t we be able to smell their farts? 

Actually, I don’t even say that.  I just say, “No, I don’t have an invisible dinosaur, I’m not really into them.”   Sometimes someone throws a tomato at me for that.  Sometimes they throw them at my kids.

Yes, Atheists are nice, all right.  They’re just as nice as anybody else is.

But sure, I think every single one of us – religious or otherwise – could stand to be a little nicer.

 
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Posted by on October 8, 2010 in Unpopular Viewpoints

 

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Atheists Are Nice (1 of 2)

Certainly not all of them – believe me, I know.  Average Atheist for some reason really wants to scream and yell about how stupid believing something besides Atheism is.  Belittlement and arrogance and a loud voice – not very nice at all.

Of course, philosophically, Atheists are at least as nice as anyone else.  Lots of Christians want to scream Bible quotes at Atheists for example.  Lots of them like to take signs to homosexual soldiers’ funerals that say “GOD HATES FAGS.”  Some of them even like to pretend to serve the Christian God, while actually using their powerful positions to molest children – that’s not a one time thing, you know. 

So don’t get too cocky about how much nicer Christians are than Atheists.  There are jerks and princes in both groups, no doubt about it. 

I don’t really sit around talking about my lack of a religion very often, mostly because there is no point.  Nothing good tends to come of it, when people find out I don’t believe in God, and that I’m not too worried about it. 

For example, when our children were younger and we lived out in the country, some of the parents wouldn’t let their kids hang out with our kids.  Because we were heathens.

Yes, they figured they’d better take that out on my kids – I guess that’s what Jesus would have done.  Kind of made me sick and really reinforced some of the things that knocked me off of religion in the first place.

I’m not even an Athiest for real – I’m an agnostic.  But the current trend in “discussing” religion or a lack of it is to accuse the agnostic of being a sissy, basically.  The argument goes like this:

Being an agnostic is really just a matter of deciding not to decide.  So you, Mr. Agnostic, lack the conviction to decide.  That’s weakness.  If you don’t even have the capacity to make a decision here, if you can’t even come out and say what you believe is true or false, then how are you so sure that everyone else’s convictions are wrong?

So then the Agnostic says, okay well, if I have to decide right this second, then no, I don’t believe in God.  Guess I’m an Atheist.

Of course, the main flaw right there at the center of that whole exchange is that you don’t have to decide right now.  Just like you don’t have to decide if it’s going to snow this Christmas or if you’ll be sick on vacation or anything else that you don’t have sufficient information to decide at the current time.

Some guy standing in front of you, swearing up and down that it’s going to snow this Christmas – you’d be positive that the guy knows no such thing, but you wouldn’t have the conviction to slam down your fist and insist that it’s NOT going to snow this Christmas.

Neither of you has any idea – that was the whole point.

The only way it’s imperative that you decide right now about religion is if you’ve already decided you believe in God, the vengeful kind who’s going to send you to Hell for not “deciding” to believe in Him.

If you already believe in That Guy, then absolutely – you better announce your convictions and start praying, or make the really weird move of deciding that you still don’t want to be a Christian, even though you truly believe you’ll go to Hell for it.  A lot like deciding to give a guy on the street a hundred dollars, just because he’s pointing a knife at you.

However, if things are the way the average Agnostic suspects, then although there may well be much more going on in the universe than we’re privy to, more than we can begin to comprehend, and although this particular life on this particular planet may not be the end, we have time to really mull over the decision.  In fact the way most Agnostics see it, that’s the meaning of life itself.

Deliberate, rational exploration of this very spiritual topic.  Starting from scratch, rather than starting from the concepts pounded into your head when you were a terrified child, concepts which bear a striking resemblance to Santa Claus on the surface.  Suspect concepts, the kind on which we’ve been burned before.

That’s usually what drives the initial leap from religious to skeptic – the desire to not get duped.

We felt duped by Santa Claus, definitely.  Parents and society at large said big fat guy drops off presents, watches us all the time, knows when we’re sleeping, etc.  Later on – a LOT later, it seemed to us, since it was our entire lives up to that point – they say, yeah, we were just screwing with you to keep you in line.

And suddenly we started wondering, how much else was told to us in order to screw with us?   To keep us in line?

And we also sort of start wondering, wait a second – how much was told to my parents and my family and my society, in order to keep them in line?  Have they figured out every single scheme, or are there still lies out there, lies we hold sacred, lies keeping us in line?

Most of the people I know who have lost their religions have a deep aversion to these two core concepts – being lied to, and being kept in line.

So we start looking around, reading up on what other people think, people with doubts, people without them.  We find that not only do many, many people believe many different things, they believe with the same zeal.  The conviction people have in their own faiths is less meaningful when you can see clear as day that at least some of them are wrong.

Because if some of them can be wrong despite such absolute conviction, then all of them can be wrong despite such absolute conviction.

(continued here)

 
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Posted by on October 8, 2010 in Unpopular Viewpoints

 

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