Friday, December 19, 2008

Credence for Anti-Religious Atheist Assblocks

It all started with the usual anti-religious fanatics (misidentified as atheists) doing what they can to start shit over Christmas. Nothing new as usual. Just the usual attempts to shit on the solemnity and goodwill of the season that includes an assload of sacred, humorous, jolly, solemn, and joyous holidays, culminating in the national holiday of Christmas.

The blog that inadvertently inspired this post was Shaw's blog, Progressive Eruptions. She was covering the atheist sign in Washington state's state house. I'm not going to rehash the story (as it's already over), but there was one sentence on the sign that I want to revisit:

"Religion is but myth and superstition that hardens hearts and enslaves minds."

The reason I wanted to revisit it was a comment I made along the way:

"And as for the content of the sign, I don't totally disagree with the message."

I figgered Shaw would have to ask what part I didn't disagree with. But, like with all women, I found myself disappointed in the end. So let me tell you (and avoid the inevitable shoe or Barack Obama commemorative plate being thrown). First, the sentence above I cannot agree with, as it contains absolute statements of what could only be described as "faith" (ironic for someone who does not "believe"). I'll have to modify it:

"Religion is too often driven by myth and superstition that sometimes hardens hearts and enslaves minds."

Now this is not to say that religion is bad. In fact, religion, on the balance, has done more good than bad over history. It has brought us to where we are in history, from stability in a world of perpetual conquest back to the beginning of time to a group of men who risked their lives and fortunes and sacred honor to build a country based on the rule of law and the limiting of government.

But religion (as opposed to personal faith, which I don't question if the person lives theirs) is a human construct, with all the fallacies and potential for corruption that is inherent in such a thing (the worst of all human constructs being government, of course). It can be driven by myth and superstition, which then becomes dogma (trust a lapsed Catholic on this), which then requires wise leadership to bring us back from madness (or crusades, or inquisitions, or witch trials). And it can harden hears and enslaves minds. It can be perverted for evil purposes, like the morons (to whom I won't link) who were protesting soldier funerals but now are singing about Santa taking us to Hell.

But that's why I believe in moderation in your religion (but not necessarily faith). By that I don't mean moderate viewpoints that blur the lines of right and wrong (depending on your religious views, of course). I mean that you live your life by your beliefs, and you let your example lead people to the light, rather than smacking people in the face with your zealotry for your god (or lack thereof). And you always remember that you will rarely find people that see God the way you do, and that, as you would reject their religion when it is vomited at you, they will be just as unyielding when you crap your dogma in their ear.

So the answer is to never let your heart be hardened or your mind enslaved by your beliefs, but to remember that God speaks through us all. It's really a matter of listening.

31 comments:

Name: Soapboxgod said...

Anyone that would find fault with that message likely does so because of the very fact that they know it to be true. Religion, pure and simple, is mysticism. There are those that implore a sort of "since you can't disprove the existence of God/Jesus, et al. then they must be true and/or exist".

The problem with religion for me is that it had become a sort of doctrine which man was to define man's purpose in life. It was often times a purpose not clearly defined other than some abstract servitude to some higher power. And, he was told to heed this calling without ever questioning his reasons for doing so.

It is within my nature to question everything. And so, I began to question this premise time and time again.

I questioned how it was that this perfect being was sacrificed for the sins, not of himself, but the sins of others; how it was that the good was then destroyed for the sake of the evil. And I began to turn away from this symbolism within the Christian doctrine that preaches sacrificing the good for that which is not.

It continues to be the gospel which is preached to this day. This blind unquestioning sort of servitude; this "false altruism" that we must sacrifice ourselves and our virtue for someone elses vices without questioning whether or not they are deserving of it.

Toad734 said...

Well, of course religion isn't a myth; religion is very much real. Your revised sign works but they could have just replaced God with religion to make it more accurate. It's not that I say that I can prove without a shadow of a doubt that God doesn't exist but no more than someone can prove, or even provide evidence that he might. Religion and God were first used to explain things which could not be understood. We understand a lot more know but we are not all knowing. This is why the number of Atheists and non religious people are growing, especially in America and the West. Sadly, we don't breed as fast as the religious nuts.

As I drive to Indy next week I will undoubtedly see a sign southbound and one northbound on I-65 one of which says "Hell is Real", and the other that says something about Jesus or God being real. Why don't these signs get the attention the Atheist signs get? They aren't going to convince anyone. It's not like I am going to all of the sudden start praying to Jesus because a stupid sign tells me to. They are wasting their money. And I think the Atheist, with their sign, may be taking the wrong approach. It needs to be more subtle and they need to simply point out fallacies and contradictions in the Bible to at least prove that the Bible is wrong, was written by Bronze age tribesman, many who we know nothing about and some were even illiterate and that this book as been edited and translated by man over and over again to fit their agendas. That is all provable and can start to cast doubt on the idea of religion and God but to just say God doesn't exist or religion is a myth just pisses the mouth breathers off it isn't constructive. Other than the fact that for once, the Christian right gets the bullshit shoved down their throat for once instead of the other way around which is what the rest of us usually have to endure. That, and of course it pisses off the religious right and that's always a good time because God knows they piss us off.

Message to the Christian right who don't like Atheist signs: Don't look at it, don't subscribe to it. I don't get mad seeing advertisements for tampons just because it isn't something I would never buy. I may never be able to buy a Porsche but it doesn't anger me that they advertise Porsches. Same difference.

Toad734 said...
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Toad734 said...

Oh, and I would say the outcome of religion at the very least cancels itself out as to how much of a positive and negative impact it's had on the world. Don't forget, mal treatment of women, slavery, mass suicides, terrorism, genocide are all things which have been justified by religion, not just the crusades, 9/11 and the witch trials. Sure, a lot of religious organizations do a lot of charity work and help the poor and that's a good thing but don't pretend we need religion in order to have good morals. Almost all the 10 commandments originally came from Hammurabis code of laws which were secular. We didn't need a God to tell us how to not be assholes. Society came up with laws on its own, void of God's commandments. I and my father are both Atheists and have killed, blown, molested, conquered, far fewer people than the Bin Laden, the Catholic Church, Ted Haggard, IDF, Hammas, etc. We pay our taxes, do favors for people,give to charity, don't steal, don't kill, do drugs, fight,rape, etc. Proof that you don't need a religious foundation to be a good person or have a good society. We live and let live, more than I can say for most theistic religions both historically and today.

Toad734 said...

"If a man abide not in me, he is cast forth as a branch, and is withered; and men gather them, and cast them into the fire, and they are burned"
– (John 15:6)

"But those mine enemies, which would not that I should reign over them, bring hither, and slay them before me."
– Luke 19.27


"Through the wrath of the LORD of hosts is the land darkened, and the people shall be as the fuel of the fire: no man shall spare his brother."
– Isaiah, 9.19

Bullfrog said...

The pharisees and saducees that were contemporaries of Christ had "religion" nailed. They prided themselves in keeping the Ten Commandments, but His response to them was to call them, "white-washed tombs" because they had forgotten the 2 most important commandents: "Love the Lord God with all your heart, mind, soul, and strength." and, "Love your neighbor as yourself."

These things are a matter of personal faith, and "religion" can never accomplish them.

Name: Soapboxgod said...

"Love your neighbor as yourself."

It goes back to my fundamental point. Dare we ask if your neighbor is worthy of it?

Love is very much a virtue. And, in order for it to be virtuous, i.e. for it to have intrinsic value, it must then be reserved and dispensed by and for those who value it the same.

Shaw Kenawe said...

Religion is but myth and superstition that hardens hearts and enslaves minds."

The reason I wanted to revisit it was a comment I made along the way:

"And as for the content of the sign, I don't totally disagree with the message."

I figgered Shaw would have to ask what part I didn't disagree with.


Dear Patrick,

I don't want you to be let down by the opposite sex again, so here's the reason I didn't ask "what part of the message don't you agree with." Because you didn't STATE that there was a PART of the content of message that you didn't disagree with.

You STATED ""And as for the content of the sign, I don't totally disagree with the message."

I understand that to mean the ENTIRE message, since you did not qualify it.

So. I have NOT disappointed you. But please, give me more time, and I probably will. But always unintentionally.

Now I've got to get back to making everyone's Christmas merry and bright.

Later. Because this is such an interesting discussion. Don't shut it down yet, okay?

Dave Miller said...

Soapbox, while I understand your thoughts on whether someone is worthy of that love, the whole point of Jesus life was to love, care for, and bring reconciliation to an undeserving people.

You have imputed your values onto a teaching by someone who would disavow your desire for conditional love.

Satyavati devi dasi said...

Well.. I don't know.. I'm not Christian so maybe I ought to just keep shut on this.

Patrick M said...

I think I'm just going to sit back and listen rather than comment, except:

Toad: You (and your particular ilk) are the reason the religious right has its power.

Shaw: I make statements that invite branches off from the same tired-assed dogma to something new, interesting, and constructive.

So I'll let you get back to making merry, I'll go back to being disappointed. :)

Plus, I have my room to finish cleaning and presents for the younglings to wrap.

Saty: You are as qualified as any Christian or any atheist (except Toad, of course) to comment. So have at it.

Bullfrog said...

If we love only those we feel "deserve" it, then we are blinded by pride and have made ourselves the judge of another person's heart. If we love the unlovable, that love is not based on condition and is really love.

Obviously, Christ loved us with an absolutely sacrificial love and as He stated, "A slave is no better than his Master..."

Shaw Kenawe said...

But that's why I believe in moderation in your religion (but not necessarily faith).--Patrick

"moderation...religion" those two words do not work. I don't know of any religion where, at least in the beginning, people were NOT fanatics willing to kill or be killed for their dogma. Once you get a group of people who follow someone or some philosophy that tells you how to live here so that you get a better life in the hereafter, you have the makings of real disaster. And history is full of proof of it.

"My Karma Just Ran Over YOur Dogma" --favorite bumpersticker.

By that I don't mean moderate viewpoints that blur the lines of right and wrong (depending on your religious views, of course). I mean that you live your life by your beliefs, and you let your example lead people to the light, rather than smacking people in the face with your zealotry for your god (or lack thereof).

This would be very pleasant if this behavior was real. Unfortunately, lots of religions expect and command that their followers convert the infidels and nonbelievers so that they too can share in the glory of the next life, thereby making people who don't want to convert quite miserable in this life. I can't count how many g-d families have been ruined because daughter fell in love (or vice versa) with a man whose religion was not the same as hers. Horrible, sad, ungodly stories--from the first time someone said "My religion/god is the one true religion/god" to his neighbor.

Like Patrick, I was raised in the Catholic faith. I am now happily a nontheist. And there IS a difference between an Atheist and a nontheist. An Atheist says "There is no God." I say "I have no belief in a god."

And I think this way because there simply isn't enough evidence out there for me to think otherwise.

I think religion has served a purpose: Chartres Cathedral, for example, Michelangelo's "Pieta" is another, and Mozart's Requiem Mass in D minor.

Science explains a lot for me, and what we don't know now, will eventually be learned. There's mystery and beauty all around us. I don't need a belief in a deity to understand that.

Patrick M said...

Shaw: And I think this way [nontheist] because there simply isn't enough evidence out there for me to think otherwise.

4 word: OJ is in jail!!!! :)

If that doesn't prove there's a higher power, you're hopeless.

Satyavati devi dasi said...

I don't know of any religion where, at least in the beginning, people were NOT fanatics willing to kill or be killed for their dogma.

Check with the Jains.

I'm not 100% sure on that, but I'd be willing to put some money on it.

As far as comments on the rest: I'll get to it. I just got home from my mother in law's and you know I need debriefing time.

Jennifer said...

"Message to the Christian right who don't like Atheist signs: Don't look at it, don't subscribe to it."

That is an interesting statement coming from someone that does not want to hear about the "dreaded Jesus." I am guessing from your statement, that it works both ways?

There will be those that take religion too far, we all know that.

I do not jam my faith down anyone's throat. That doesn't mean that I can't talk about it out in public or with someone. It doesn't mean that I can't share my experiences. How does that threaten anyone?

I've always felt that actions speak louder than words. I try and be a witness to others by my actions. Words are useless unless accompanied by actions.

Jennifer said...
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Toad734 said...

Patrick:

Actually, judging from the last election, my ilk is why the religious right is no longer in power.

Shaw Kenawe said...

Saty,

Ah yes, the Jains. Forgot them. They are so respectful of life that they have "sweepers" walk before them so that they do not accidently step on an errant insect. I think they also cover their mouths when they walk so a bug doesn't accidently fly in?

Patrick M said...

Toad: one name proves you wrong and Obama knows it: Rick Warren

Satyavati devi dasi said...

Shaw:

Yup.

Imagine how absolutely barbaric we must appear to them.

Actually, imagine how barbaric we are.

Satyavati devi dasi said...
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Arthurstone said...

Wow.

It's clear why you're divorced. Suppose the women in your life share a similar sense of disappointment?

Patrick M said...

Arthur: Who are you talking to? I have to ask because I'm not sure.

But just in case you're talking to me, I've been fortunate to never be chained in marriage. In addition, the women in my life have been nucking futs. How nucking futs, you would ask? I had to throw the last one out because of her incessant need to cling, and I got full custody from her.

So I'm the one feeling any disappointment in relationships. However, that's why I looooooove the Internet.

Toad734 said...

Its a publicity stunt to prove to the Christian right that he isn't a Muslim and that he is a uniter. As many have pointed out he is one of, if not the most liberal senator in Congress, liberal and Christian right go together like a grease fire and water.

Patrick M said...

In that case, he's bullshitting just to snap up votes with no meaning behind it. Which means "Change We Can Believe In" was bullshit as well.

And it's you that acknowledge this.

Toad734 said...

He is still a politician. It's not like he is going to have a spiritual advisor as Bush had in Haggard who is going to influence the course of history.

Patrick M said...

Okay, you voted for what you believe is a soulless politician then?

Good luck with that.

Toad734 said...

No, he is doing a job trying to unite the country and there are people out there who hate him. This is merely a shout out to the Christian right and it is indeed a pastor he has met and knows. Would you rather him choose Rev. Wright?

They are already going to beat him up for using his full name, he might as well save some face with them. I am not saying I agree with his decision. Although Warren is better than most TV evangelicals, he is still a strict fundamentalist who preaches hate and intollerance and frankly, doesn't really understand the message of Christ. That being said, what religious figure doesn't fit that description in one form of another. I wish he would keep the whole thing and administration secular. I mean, mixing religion and politics has worked so well for the rest of the world.

Who knows, something like this could be something that convinced people like my mother, who are pro life, anti gay marriage, but pro-universal health care to support him the next time around assuming he doesn't legalize gay marriage and hand out free abortions at elementary schools. I know, Obama and McCain had virtually the same stance on gay marriage but the absence of guys like Warren in his corner made it a hard sell to people like my mother.

Patrick M said...

Actually, I was hoping for a J Wright sermon. It would be a hoot.

Toad734 said...

Agreed