Tag Archives: religion

Faith Is Not a Substitute For Facts

Someone has a completely backward understanding of reality.

I was reminded of this by some recent comments on some of my YouTube videos, where a theist disagreed with my  take on God and causality, insisting that all kinds of things about God were true when they had absolutely no way of objectively determining anything about God, God’s characteristics or God’s abilities.

Now this is nothing new, it happens all the time, theists of all stripes will make claims about the supposed characteristics of their gods and demand that because they believe it, it has to be true.  But that really makes no sense, especially when trying to convince a skeptic of the veracity of your claims.  So to demonstrate this, I just made some equally unjustifiable claims about a supposedly magical leprechaun that created the universe.  This leprechaun is eternal and exists outside of the bounds of time and space, making it the first cause.  Why?  Because I say so.  Because my empty and baseless claims about something I have no conceivable way of knowing anything about are every bit as valid as the empty and baseless claims made by the theist.  And I have just as much faith that my empty and baseless claims are true, therefore, I win.

This didn’t please the theist and I’m not surprised.  They don’t like having the absurdity of their own positions pointed out to them.  So what do they typically do when they get shown how ridiculous their claims are?  Either turn to insults or turn to faith. Of the two, insults tend to win out, but sometimes they will go the faith route, as though faith actually serves as a substitute for facts.  And usually when they find out just how ineffective faith actually is, that turns to insults anyhow.

But that’s really the thing, faith doesn’t matter.  How you feel about a thing doesn’t change what that thing actually is.  If God exists, then God exists regardless of whether or not you have faith.  God’s characteristics are what God’s characteristics are, no matter how strongly you believe otherwise.  Wishes and dreams only matter when they directly correlate to reality.  Just believing that God is omniscient and omnipotent and omnibenevolent doesn’t actually make any of that so.  It is true only if it is true, not because you desperately want it to be true.  Trying to bring faith to a rational discussion is like trying to bring a feather to a gunfight.  You’re just asking to get shot down.

Will Christian Churches Perform Gay Weddings?

This is an interesting question that has come up recently and one that, depending on your view, you might have a very different take on.  Of course, since the Supreme Court decision that legalized gay marriage across the United States, religious organizations have vocally condemned it because, according to their religious beliefs, gay marriage is a horrible and awful thing and they will never, ever, ever consent to such an evil thing. But will they eventually give up and start offering gay weddings?

I think they will, they said the exact same thing 50 years ago when interracial marriage became a big deal and today, almost without exception, they perform interracial marriages without batting an eye.  In fact, a lot of them pretend to have been early adopters of interracial marriage equality, even though we all know that they weren’t.  So will the same thing happen with gay marriage? I think it’s inevitable.

See, the reality that a lot of religious people don’t want to address is that most churches are in this for  the money and influence. It’s nice to think that they care about doctrinal purity but they really don’t.  The Catholic Church, for example, knows that without butts in pews every Sunday, they have no money coming into their coffers and with no ears listening to their sermons, they have no influence over the people.  When they start suffering losses, as they are right now, they start making changes. That’s where things like Vatican II came from, they were losing their cash cows and needed to adapt to changes in society. That’s why you saw churches getting rid of choirs and bringing in folk music.  That’s why you saw churches getting rid of Latin and bringing in English or Spanish or whatever other languages that their parishioners spoke.  As with any other business, it’s adapt or die and like it or not, religion is a business.  They have payroll to make, they have buildings to maintain and they have an infrastructure to pay for.  If they get to the point where they have bills to pay, they will make whatever changes they need to and justify those changes any way they can in order to make money.  Let’s not fool ourselves.

So how long will it take?  It’s already started.  There are plenty of Christian churches that already perform gay marriages, with more joining in every day.  A majority of Americans favor gay marriage whether the churches like it or not.  As we see more and more Americans flooding out of the churches, those churches are going to have to change their strategies in order to stay relevant and solvent.  In the end, they’ll have no choice.  Either give the people what they want or go the way of the dodo.  In either case, we win.

Theists Have Nothing

I’m sure this is something that every atheist who ever takes on religion has seen, but it  still pisses me off every single time it comes up, as it has a couple of times recently.  You know, the theists who say “we have evidence, we’re just not going to show it to you because you’ll refuse to see it!”  This recently happened over on my YouTube channel, where a theist popped into one of my videos, spouted all kinds of insults and when I told him to present his evidence, he said “I will, I promise, but first answer all of my questions” and when I did, he just deleted all of his comments and ran away.  I wish I could say I was surprised.

This is closely related to the other theist statement, “I don’t have to prove anything to you, I feel God in my life all the time!” Well how the hell do you know that?  You simply identify something in your life as God, you haven’t objectively determined if it actually is this God thing that you worship, you just assert it.  And as I’ve asked for years, and gotten no credible response, how do they actually know that this thing they supposedly experience is their god and not the devil of a competing pantheon, sent to lead them astray?  What tests have they actually performed to know that this isn’t the case?  None, of course.

And while they’re right, they don’t have to prove anything to anyone, there is no law requiring them to trot out their proof, that doesn’t mean that if they can’t or won’t do so, they won’t look like idiots.  Try to imagine how scientists would be viewed if they did the same thing.  “We can prove that our scientific hypothesis works but we don’t want to.  Na na na na boo boo!”  They’d be laughed out of the scientific establishment, as well they should be.

But theists really don’t care.  Their beliefs are emotional, not intellectual.  They believe things without evidence because it makes them feel good to do so.  And when someone points this simple fact out, they double down on blind faith because they have backed themselves into a corner.  They cannot admit to themselves that they have acted irrationally, they have to keep clinging desperately to that faith because without that, they have nothing.

Maybe that’s just the truth though. They have nothing.  Nothing at all.

Too Stupid to Know They’re Stupid

I keep running across these numbnuts who really are too stupid to know just how stupid they actually are.  You know the kind of people I mean, the ones whose idiocy makes your head explode?

So this time out, this idiot shows up saying that having gays on television is somehow a horrible thing because it disrespects the rights of the religious not to have it “in their face”.  Of course, when I pointed out that there is religious programming on television, not to mention religious references all over the place, somehow that didn’t disrespect the rights of people who didn’t want it “in their face”. But if he wants to cast this as a respect thing, then why shouldn’t we expect the religious to respect the rights of atheists?  Of course that would be totally out of the question, wouldn’t it?  He  doesn’t respect gays, and by this time of the discussion, blacks and other minorities, at all.  He doesn’t want to see homosexuals.  Ever.  Anywhere.  He doesn’t want his kids to even know they exist.  It is a violation of his religious rights to even live in the same world as gays, and apparently blacks.

I had to point out that gays and blacks are born that way.  They have no choice in the matter.  But you know what isn’t inborn? Religion!  Religion is a choice!  You can choose which stupid beliefs you hold, most notably in this case, whether you think being gay is a sin.  So instead of expecting gays and blacks to hide so it doesn’t offend his delicate sensibilities, maybe he ought to just stop believing such ridiculous things in the first place.

And you know his response?  Religion isn’t a choice!  Apparently this imbecile thinks that religion is genetically determined.  He could not understand that people do not pop out of the womb believing in gods.  It was at that point in time that I just washed my hands of him, he had been on the forum for all of 4 days and had already completely blown any credibility he had.

Unfortunately, he’s not alone, there are plenty of these people who have zero credibility.  They have an extreme emotional attachment to their position, whatever it happens to be, and nothing anyone can say will ever sway them from their fanaticism. And when you point it out, they act like they’re the only ones in the right because they’ve got a mental block against even considering that they could possibly be wrong. In this case, this individual is so absolutely certain that his religion, and only his religion, is right, that anyone who doesn’t share his narrow-minded beliefs has to be wrong.  In fact, based on a lot of what he has said, apparently he thinks that everyone knows he’s right and is purposely rebelling against his God, for some bizarre reason, because they enjoy being reprobates.  Don’t ask me, it makes no more sense when he says it.

This is the legacy of people who believe things about which they have never applied rational thought and there are unfortunately a lot of them out there.  These are people who are so stupid, so deluded, so absolutely self-assured that everything they think has to be true because if it isn’t, their entire view of reality comes tumbling down, that they can’t even step back and examine their beliefs rationally.  They are entirely unable to be objective.  They just believe because believing is the only thing they are capable of doing.  That and being stupid.

Philosophy Isn’t Reality

To be honest, I’ve been struggling recently to find a lot of religious topics to talk about.  It’s weird, over on my YouTube channel, there is plenty to cover religiously but I can’t find anything political, but here the opposite is true.  I talk about political subjects non-stop and outside of Horror Show Sunday, I have to fight to find anything religious to say.

But I’ve been involved in a discussion on atheism, with the tired old canard about atheism being faith that gods don’t exist, instead of the lack of belief in gods, being tossed around by the religious.  No matter what anyone says, they will never acknowledge that you can be an atheist and not have a strong, blind faith in the factual non-existence of gods.  I think it’s because they’re fighting against the word, not against the concept.  They hate the term.  If you call yourself an agnostic, they don’t care.  Heck, you can call yourself a tuna fish sandwich and they’ll be fine with it.  You’d just better not use the word “atheist” or they freak out.

So as the discussion has gone on, we’ve started to talk about why people are religious in the first place and we started discussing that people are afraid of things they don’t understand and therefore, simply make things up, or adopt ideas others have made up, to explain the things they can’t comprehend.  That’s the basis for religion.  I had a theist come back and attack me, with the following:

By the same token, atheists make up their own solutions to make themselves feel better when the say there are no gods…then run away from the origin of the universe discussion. I guess the origin of the universe isn’t an important enough philosophical discussion?

But that doesn’t describe any atheist I have ever seen.  Atheists don’t make up anything.  They wait until the objective evidence points to a credible solution.  If it doesn’t, they don’t simply invent an emotionally comforting belief system, they say “we don’t know”.  Apparently, admitting our current ignorance is the same as running away.  It is a fact that while we have a lot of good ideas on the origin of the universe, with a lot of solid mathematical support for those ideas, we just don’t know for sure.  We’ve hit a point in our current knowledge and current understanding of science beyond which we have not been able to travel. This is likely a temporary thing, but it doesn’t mean that there’s some imaginary god-figure in the sky, it means we just don’t have the kind of answers that theists seem to want.

Far too many theists want to go dancing down the philosophical primrose path on purely scientific matters, as though noodling their navels can somehow solve our lack of evidentiary answers.  It doesn’t.  Philosophy is not reality.  It does not give us the same kind of answers, in fact, I’d argue that in most cases, it doesn’t give us any credible answers at all.  It’s a way of thinking about things, not about discovering the factual truth about things.  You cannot get to real-world answers through philosophy. You cannot solve world hunger with philosophy.  You cannot heal someone with philosophy.  You cannot explore the stars with philosophy.  You can’t achieve any demonstrable, factual results with philosophy.  That’s not what philosophy is.  But when it comes to religion, that’s usually all they have in their tool bag.  They have no objective evidence.  They have no science.  The have no demonstrable facts.  All they have is hand-waving philosophical bullshit and they think that because that’s what they have to rely on, that everyone else ought to value that approach as well.

Well we don’t.  And we shouldn’t.  Because that kind of philosophical nonsense is all you have left when all of the credible methods fail.  Sure, philosophy has its uses, but scientific endeavors in the real world isn’t one of them.  It’s trying to hit a nail with a feather.  You’re going to get nowhere real fast.  And that’s exactly what I told this guy, we’ll have to see how he responds, or if he does, as I suspect, just throw around a bunch of insults and run away, doubling down on his own stupidity as usual. It’s the religious way, I guess.  That’s why I have no respect for them whatsoever, they haven’t earned it.

Hiding Your Beliefs

I’ve noticed a new brand of hate-monger out there who detests homosexuals, but for entirely unstated reasons. They deny being religious, but also refuse to talk about religion at all.  This is a new class of debater who seems to think that if they hide their beliefs, the true source of their hatred of gays and women and non-Christian religions, that their faith can’t be blamed for their hatred at all.

I suppose I first noticed these people late in the legalized gay marriage debate, not long before the Supreme Court had a rare moment of rationality and decided on equality for all.  These people would show up, state their opposition to gay marriage, and indeed to homosexuality in general, but they would never give any reason for said opposition.  They were careful to avoid mentioning religion at all and when asked point blank about their beliefs, would be entirely non-committal.  Eventually, some were even denying having any religious beliefs at all, even though all of their arguments were framed entirely religiously. When asked why they opposed homosexuality, they gave stupid answers, like it being “unnatural”, which is entirely untrue, and it might just offend someone’s beliefs.  Whose?  Oh, those guys over there, not theirs, of course, but someone else!  They’re always intensely concerned about offending someone else.

I think it’s painfully obvious that these are religious zealots who have learned, probably through painful experience, that using their own beliefs as justification for their hatred just gets their beliefs attacked, therefore they go to great lengths to pretend to be non-religious, but that just makes their entire argument absurd.  Essentially, you have people who are pretending to have no reason whatsoever for believing what they claim to believe, they just do.  But if there’s no reason, at least none that they are willing to articulate, then what’s the point of having a discussion with someone so non-committal?

Of course, these are the exact same people who, if someone insults Christianity, immediately rush to its aid.  For people who supposedly aren’t Christian, they’re certainly very protective of it and use the exact same arguments in its defense as open Christians do.  Imagine that.

I’m sorry, but if you feel you have to hide what you are because being what you are makes you look like an irrational idiot, then maybe your beliefs aren’t something you should hide, they’re something you should change.

Discussions with the God-Soaked

I walked into Yoshinoya today for lunch and at one of the tables was four guys, all holding hands with their heads bowed and their eyes closed.  They all had Bibles sitting on the table.  So I went and got into line and they all stopped praying and one of them got up to go order lunch for everyone else.  Now I have no idea what they were praying about, but it struck me that they were asking for God’s guidance for their lunch menu.

So I told that story because it reminded me of this. Have you ever tried to hold a conversation with someone, on any subject you care to name, and they were unable to engage on any level without bringing religion into the discussion constantly?  These tend to be the people, I’ve noticed, that carry a Bible with them constantly and read from it every second they have.  I guess it  could be a Qur’an for the more Islamically slanted.  But these are people who are unable to talk about any subject under the sun without making it about God.  Politics?  God!  TV shows?  God!  The weather? God!  These are people who are just incapable of speaking rationally about any subject there is.

Now I suppose that a lot of them are new converts, “on fire” for Jesus or whatever.  They’re just obnoxious.  I have literally seen discussions about the most innocuous television shows ruined by these God-botherers and I don’t even think they intend to be disruptive, they simply can’t think in any terms outside of religion.   I mean, you try asking if they saw Dancing With The Stars and there first reaction is to start quoting the Bible at you.  You can be talking about food and they’re talking about what people ate in the Old Testament.

These people are just sad.  They have no friends outside of their insular little church group.  They cannot relate to anyone who doesn’t share their religious beliefs.  It isn’t like they’re trying to proselytize all the time, they just have nothing else that they know but the contents of their silly religious book.  As frustrating as it is to have to deal with them, it’s really pretty sad to see how horribly their religious beliefs have poisoned their ability to deal with the real world, even talking about mundane day-to-day things.  Living 24/7 within the pages of an ancient book of mythology and entirely unable to climb out, even for a moment, really destroys your quality of life.  I’m not mad at these people, I pity them.  So should you.

And before anyone asks, I couldn’t identify any particular religious group or sect of the four men, they weren’t wearing white shirts and nametags and there were no bikes parked outside that I could see. All of their Bibles were different so it didn’t look like they were all from any weird sect.  I wasn’t about to ask what kind of religious stupidity they were engaged in, I just got my lunch and left shaking my head.

So has anyone else run into these unrepentant Bible-thumpers?  How did you deal with them?  I’d really like to know.

The Constitution is not All

Got another one that got me in trouble.  I seem to do that a lot, don’t I?  Some crazy fundamentalist Christian libertarians started making a ruckus, claiming that because the Constitution doesn’t specifically grant the federal government the right to control marriage, the Supreme Court ruling is invalid and states get to decide who can get married and who cannot.

Yeah, I know, where do I find these idiots, right?

So I asked what if some state, hypothetically, decided to legalize child marriage, would that be fine?  Or, to answer another person, what if some state decided, theoretically, to legalize rape, would they be okay with it?  This is more applicable in the first question because, whether any of these people like it or not, marriage in the United States and indeed in most other places in the world is a civil contract.  It’s a legal, not a religious thing.  In the United States, what is legal and binding in one state, marriage-wise, is legal and binding in all states.  If someone got married in one state where said marriage is legal and moved to another state where said marriage was not legal, they would still have a legal marriage.  This has already been well-decided, there are no legal questions on this matter whatsoever.  So, just as gay couples went to states where gay marriage was legal, then went home to states where it was not and had to be treated like they were legally married, a couple could go to a state where child marriage was legal, then come back and move in next door to you.  Is that acceptable?

Not surprisingly, not a single one of my fundie Christian libertarians thought it was.  I guess state’s rights only work when it’s something you agree with, huh?  In fact, you can go wherever you want with this.  What if Utah, for example, decided to reintroduce polygamy.  Good, even if that means that all states are now effectively forced to accept polygamous couples?  Or what if some state gets taken over by fundamentalist Muslims who want to impose Sharia law and execute heretics?  Is that okay?  The Constitution actually forbids Congress from passing any law stopping it.  How many people do you think would follow a strict constitutional interpretation?  Not many, I wager.

The problem with these strict constitutionalists is that they don’t recognize that it just doesn’t work.  There are lots of things in the modern world that the founding fathers could never have imagined or foreseen.  The Constitution doesn’t mention a thing about speed limits on the nation’s highways, yet the federal government can issue a national speed limit, whether the libertarians like it or not.  The founding fathers had no way of knowing that cars would eventually exist.  They didn’t know about airplanes, but the federal  government controls the nation’s skies and controls where people are allowed to fly. They didn’t know about nuclear weapons, but if they had, they would absolutely have written into the 2nd amendment a limitation on private citizens owning them, no matter what the libertarians seem to think.  But they didn’t know so they didn’t include them.  The list goes on and on.  The farther we go, the less applicable the specifics in the Constitution actually are.  A lot of the concepts remain good ideas, but how they specifically apply to the modern world does not.  That’s why we have the Supreme Court, to make these determinations.  I’m pretty sure that if the founding fathers were around today, they’d be ashamed of what we’ve become and perhaps ashamed of no group more than the libertarians whose absurd worship of a piece of paper has stopped them from thinking for themselves.

But what can you expect from a group of people, like the ones in this particular example, who worship both the Constitution and the Bible and don’t stop to think about either?

Theists Don’t Know What Evidence Is

Honestly, the religious really are stupid.  Have you ever asked a theist for evidence for the existence of their god and they will throw all kinds of entirely unrelated nonsense at you that really has nothing to do with what you asked for?  It’s happened a lot lately, I think they realize they have nothing at all to offer but they have to do something or look like complete fools.

One Mormon, responding to my request, claimed that the Book of Mormon mentioned the Egyptian name Ammon a lot. Ammon is the most common ancient Egyptian name.  Therefore… GOD!  Uh… what?  Yeah, it is as stupid as it sounds.  The problem is, that isn’t answering the question that was asked at all.  Even if you are going to say that something gave Joseph Smith that information, how do you know it was God?  How do you know it wasn’t aliens or something else?  Leprechauns perhaps?  I’m asking about the existence of God and unless you can draw a direct and demonstrable causal link between God and your supposed event, you’re not addressing the question one bit.

I suspect that theists understand this, consciously or otherwise, and are simply trying to avoid looking foolish when they have nothing at all to present.  Instead, they make claims that have nothing at all to do with the existence of God and just make an irrational leap from that claim to God being real.  They also don’t like having this pointed out, as our Mormon friend did. The second I didn’t take his argument about the Book of Mormon seriously, he got pissy and took a quick powder, tossing some insults along behind him.  Apologists hate being caught with their theological pants down, I guess.  You either get unrelated arguments or the claim that if you can’t prove them wrong, they don’t have to prove themselves right.

It’s times like this that I shake my head, chuckle to myself and leave them to their self-imposed ignorance, knowing that everyone watching is either equally as deluded as they are, or has realized that their emperor is standing stark naked.  Either way, I win.

The Possible and the Actual

I’m sure you’ve heard that old canard, the one that goes “atheists are just as religious as theists because they have faith that gods do not exist!”  Yeah, I’m sure you’re rolling your eyes right now.  Anyhow, I’ve had one theist trying to throw a twist into the whole mess without actually understanding that their twist doesn’t actually mean anything.

See, he’s arguing that gods are “possible” because anything that is not patently impossible is, by definition, possible, in some extreme sense of the word.  Okay, I can buy that.  It isn’t absolutely impossible that there’s a big monster in Loch Ness that nobody has ever been able to produce a shred of objective evidence for, that means that, in the set of extreme possibilities, there could be something there.  But that doesn’t mean that there actually is something there.  Could be and are, those are not synonyms.

I am perfectly happy to admit that a lot of gods that have been described are not patently impossible.  They could exist. We have no evidence for them, we have no rational reason to think that they do, but it is possible that they do and have just been hiding from us.  There are plenty of gods that are patently impossible, they are logically contradictory and simply cannot exist, but for the rest, sure, they could be there.  But theists are not saying that their particular god could exist, they are saying that their particular god *DOES* exist.  They aren’t saying that maybe there’s a god of some sort out there, they are saying that there absolutely is a god, it’s this particular god, and anyone else who believes in any other kind of possible god is simply wrong.

So this isn’t about what is possible and what is impossible, this is about what is real and what is unreal.  Most atheists don’t say that there are no gods for an absolute fact.  All theists say there is a god as an absolute fact.  This whole argument falls apart once people recognize that.  Now that I’ve pointed this fatal flaw in his thinking out, I suspect he’ll just throw around a bunch of insults and run away, never acknowledging that he was wrong because the religious are unable to do that.  Their views are faulty.  Their beliefs are unsupportable.  Their honesty leaves something to be desired.

Name-Calling for the Win!

I think it’s funny how many people think that just calling someone else a name will make whatever point they were making just go away.  I’ll point out that the religious have no justification for their religious beliefs, that they have no evidence for their gods and their supernatural claims disintegrate under even the most cursory evaluation and instead of either admitting that simple fact or trying to defend their views, what do they do?

They call me names and they pretend that somehow, that makes my points vanish.

Well news-flash for you people, calling me a name for pointing out the failures of your beliefs is ridiculous.  Telling me that I’m a big mean poopie-pants doesn’t change the fact that you believe things for which you can present no objective evidence.  If it makes you feel better, that’s pretty pathetic , but it doesn’t change reality.

But really, what else do these people have?  They can’t actually compete in the rational court of ideas, they can’t demonstrate that anything they believe is actually true in factual reality, they can only keep repeating their irrational dogma and whenever anyone calls them on their theological bullshit, they can break down and cry and complain that someone hurt their precious little feelings and now they’re going to hold their breath until they turn blue.  Is this honestly the best that any of these people can do?  Are they so emotionally stunted that they can’t see how utterly pathetic that is?  The idea that their emotional comfort trumps all else really is sad, but it’s also commonplace today.  People think they have a right to be happy every second of every day and if anyone ever says anything that discourages them, they don’t reconsider their own positions, they just get mad. They can never be wrong.  They can never be unhappy.  They can only flail back pathetically and pull childish playground tactics because there’s no way that anything could ever not make them ecstatic.  What a truly pathetic world we live in today.

If the positions you take and the things you believe cannot stand up to evaluation, then you need to re-evaluate the things that you believe and the positions that you take.  Throwing a hissy-fit and pouting and flinging insults is a truly immature thing to do, but lots of people live their lives on the lower end of the maturity scale.  Whether it’s the feminists screaming “misogynist!” every time someone calls them on their factually incorrect bullshit, whether it’s a theist yelling “bigot!”  because you mention that their beliefs are absurd, screaming names has taken the place of intellectual debate for a lot of people and they’re just not bright, or mature enough to realize how harmful what they’re doing is to their position.

But they don’t care, do they?  For them, rampant emotionalism is all and facts?  Facts are for chumps.

Not How Reality Works

I find it funny, in light of other posts I’ve done recently, how the far right is getting just as bad as the far left.  It used to be, and maybe this is just my perception, that it was mostly the left who had a tenuous grasp on reality, but now I’m seeing it from the right as well.

In a recent discussion about the Supreme Court, someone kept saying that the Supreme Court couldn’t legislate law, they couldn’t do this and they couldn’t do that.  They even pointed out a statement by Justice Scalia in the recent gay marriage case that the Supreme Court has no ability to legislate law. Okay, fine, it isn’t supposed to work that way, but in reality, it does.  You can say how things are supposed to work all you want.  It really only matters how they actually work.  The rest is wishful thinking.  It’s like saying everyone is  supposed to follow the law so we can just disband the police.  Well, in reality, everyone doesn’t follow the law, that’s why we have police in the first place.

But a lot of people just can’t seem to get it through their heads.  The real world doesn’t always work as we think it’s supposed to. Our ideals aren’t always the same as the harsh facts.  There is an unfortunate subset of people who are convinced that the ideals are always true, even when it demonstrably isn’t the case, and they spend a lot of time whining when the ideals aren’t followed. Yes, everyone ought to follow the speed limits.  No, everyone isn’t going to do it.  As I’ve said many, many times, one of the basic parts of maturation is accepting reality as it is, not as you desperately wish it might be.  In the political arena, the Supreme Court is supposed to rule only on the Constitutionality of various laws and cases brought before them.  They are not supposed to use their own social, political or religious beliefs to make decisions.  They do anyhow.  Even Scalia, heck, especially Scalia, does this every damn day.  Is it right?  No.  Is it supposed to happen?  No.  Is it going to change any time soon?  Unfortunately no.  So let’s stop pretending that everyone is going to magically realize how wrong they’ve been and change their ways.  They’re not.  They’re going to be hypocrites, like Scalia, who only pays attention to some things and entirely ignores others, just because it makes them happy.

The world would be a much better place if we could just do that, but again, that’s not reality and accepting reality… well, you know.

You Don’t Have to Like the Law

This used to be something I only saw from the left, but today, it’s something that both ends of the political spectrum  engage in with wild abandon.  They seem to think that if you don’t like the law, if you don’t think the law is just or if you think it is discriminatory, you get to simply ignore the law and pretend it doesn’t exist, and of course, suffer no ill consequences for doing so.  Your opinion suddenly becomes more important than the law.

This came up again recently in debating the relatively recent case of a high school football coach who went out in the field after a game to pray.  He was instructed by the school to stop doing so, it could be interpreted as a violation of the separation of church and state.  He refused and got fired and is now suing the school.  That’s fine, but what he did was a clear violation and he got canned for it and I feel no sympathy  for him.

But then you get the religious right who will defend anyone doing whatever they want in the name of their  religion because, as we talked about on the podcast a while back, they think that their religion overrides everything else. Sorry guys, it does not. Representatives of public institutions, and that includes public schools, cannot promote one religion over another at any time, period.  The school offered him a private place to go pray if he wanted, he refused, he wanted to make a public spectacle of it. Fine, so be it, he got what he had coming to him, but now the right are whining that since the law is “unjust”, people can just pretend it doesn’t exist at all and continue to do whatever they want.  Sorry, that’s not how the law works.  It applies to everyone and whether you think it’s just or not, so long as it is in effect, you are expected to follow it or suffer the consequences thereof.  It doesn’t matter if that makes you happy or not, it is a fact of life.

This kind of complete disrespect for the law is really problematic as it is a clear sign of the disintegration of society.  Certainly, this started with the liberals in the 60s, but it has grown to the point where anyone who doesn’t want to follow society’s dictates thinks they can get away with doing whatever the hell they want.  It used to be called civil disobedience, a way to get your message across by violating the law and then paying the consequences.  Now, it isn’t about a message, it’s about getting your own way.  Nobody wants to pay the consequences.  They just want to do what they want to do.  That’s where things start to fall apart.

But this is really why I think that the modern religious right aren’t conservative because respect for the law is a large part of that ideological position and they simply do not have it.  They don’t respect the Constitution, at least not when it says something they don’t want to hear.  They don’t respect the law.  They don’t respect the government.  They don’t respect authority.  They stomp their feet and hold their breath like little children and pout until they get their own way.  This cannot  be allowed to stand in any civilized nation.  You don’t have to like the law.  There are ways to change the law.  You can’t just ignore it because you don’t feel like following it.  That is not an available option.

Assholes at McDonalds

I don’t know what it is about the local McDonalds, but every single time I swing by there in the morning to grab myself some breakfast, invariably I wind up sitting near some wingnut religious asshole who, in an extremely loud voice that everyone in the place can hear, pontificates to his friend about how rotten America is and how religion is all that we need to make it great again. Today, some gray-haired old shit was whining that America was a godless communist country that needs God and we should, get this, execute all atheists before God punishes us all.  It was all I could do not to stand up and cuss this fucking prick out, I ended up grabbing the rest of my food and leaving before I started an incident.

A couple of weeks prior, after dropping my car off at the dealership, which is across the street, I got some other asshat describing anyone who doesn’t buy into his particular  brand of fundamentalist Christianity as “serving Satan”.  I wouldn’t say, because I don’t go to McDonalds for breakfast very often, but I seem to be batting 100 on the religious asshole-o-meter recently.  I can’t recall any other group in any other restaurant being loud and obnoxious, just the hyper-religious pricks and just McDonalds.

So what gives?  Is there an invisible sign outside that says “Assholes Welcome”?  Can’t I enjoy my Deluxe Breakfast in peace without having some loud-mouthed jerk ruining it?  What the hell is up with this?

I guess my question is, does anyone else notice these things?  Do you get accosted by religious windbags while you’re trying to enjoy a quiet meal?  Is there some kind of pattern, or is it just my local Mickey D’s?  Let me know in the comments if you’ve seen anything similar.  I’m actually kind of curious.

Making Excuses for Religion

I always find it absurd how many people out there, religious and atheists alike, will go to extreme lengths to make excuses for religion.  Religion is never the cause of anything.  Religion is never to blame.  Most recently, this has had to do with the San Bernardino terrorist mass shooting as I see people jumping through absurd hoops to excuse the actions of Syed Rizwan Farook and Tashfeen Malik, saying that religion couldn’t possibly have had anything at all to do with the massacre.

Bullshit.

Come on, Farook and Malik were both completely radicalized Muslims who had sworn allegiance to ISIS.  Farook was involved in planning an aborted terrorist attack in 2012.  They planned this thing for more than a year, the guns were bought for them more than a year before the attack, they borrowed $28k to help fund the attack and to care for their child once they were gonem this wasn’t some common workplace violence, this was a full-blown terrorist attack, done for religious reasons.  Anyone who thinks otherwise is an idiot.

But that doesn’t stop the fact that all signs point to religious motivation.  Somehow, these people are allowing their feel-good fantasies to get in the way of reality.  Unfortunately, this is not at all uncommon.  This happens every time religion or religious beliefs do something horrible.  People look for reasons to deflect blame from religion.  It was workplace violence!  They were just insane!  Well yes, they were, but their religion was part of their insanity.  If they weren’t insane, they wouldn’t have held such ridiculous beliefs.

What really surprises me are the number of non-religious people who do this.  I mean, we know that the hyper-left are just apologists for Islam because it’s practiced primarily by brown people, but come on, you people know that Islam is just as idiotic as Christianity, how could you possibly condone such things?  But then again, I wouldn’t be at all surprised to find these ridiculous progressives claiming that it’s awful for white people to enslave brown people, but if brown people want to enslave white people, that’s a-okay!  These people disgust me.

It is a fact, like it or not, that ideas can and do influence behavior.  Ideology can change how you act.  Religion is an ideology. Why pretend otherwise?  It is neither harmful or harmless inherently, but when it becomes harmful, as radical Islam has proven to do, then we need to place the blame exactly where it belongs, on this failed and dangerous philosophy.  The same goes for radical Christianity or radical Buddhism or any other religion.  Let’s stop pretending that spades are not spades and just deal with reality as it actually is.

You Can’t Demand My Approval

This is certainly a topic I’ve addressed in the past, but it keeps coming up and people just don’t seem to get it.  In fact, this was the Main Event topic for the final, albeit aborted, episode of season two of the podcast. That’s really why I wanted to address it here because there are a lot of people out there who think that not only do they get to do whatever they want, which I have no problem with, they get to demand my approval for their actions and if they don’t get it, they start screaming that it’s unfair and somehow I’m a big meanie.

Nothing could be further from the truth.

Unfortunately, this comes from pretty much all sides.  Now in particular in this case were Christians who seem to think that it isn’t enough that society allow them to celebrate and believe as they wish, especially during the Christmas season, they want society to actively validate their beliefs.  This can be seen in things like the Starbucks coffee cup debacle, where Christians were pissed off because Starbucks didn’t print advertising for their particular holiday on their cups.  Starbucks didn’t say anything negative about Christmas, they didn’t put down Christians, they didn’t do anything, they just neglected to pay lip service to Christian beliefs.  I actually support that decision because, again as I’ve pointed out before, if you can’t cater to everyone, it’s best to cater to no one, that way nobody is left out.  But Christians don’t feel that way, they want everyone to ride them around on their shoulders and celebrate their religion and that’s just not the way it works.

But likewise, we see the same mindset on the left.  It isn’t good enough for people to allow gay marriage, they expect people to celebrate it.  They expect people to validate it.  They want everyone to like it.  Well sorry, some people aren’t going to, for whatever reason they have and guess what?  Those people who don’t like gay marriage have every right not to like it as you do to support it.  So long as they are not getting in the way of people getting married to the legal partner of their choice, what do you care how they think about it inside?  But liberals do.

See, people have every right to hate anyone they want, for any reason they want.  They don’t have a right to act on it, but they certainly have a right to feel however they choose to feel.  Whether you or I respect those beliefs are irrelevant, what goes on in their head is entirely their business and I would never try to stop them from thinking whatever it is that they think, so long as those socially unacceptable thoughts don’t actually harm others.  But to a lot of liberals, it isn’t enough to just get out of the way of gay marriage and overall equality, you have to actually feel it, you have to give up whatever non-liberal thoughts you have and buy into political correctness and that, my friends, is complete bullshit.

And on a final note, I’ve recently been hiring at work and I noticed that an unfortunately high number of people come in that simply do not fit the corporate image that we maintain.  We’re a suit and tie company, absolutely no visible tattoos or piercings, you need to be presentable to high class corporate clients at every level of the company.  The janitor doesn’t have any different requirements than the CEO does.  A lot of people came in covered in tattoos that could not conceivably be covered up and they were all turned away.  I had one woman with blue hair who similarly didn’t get the job.  Sorry, that’s the reality, you have no place at our company.  One guy who had tattoos over virtually every inch of skin, plus just massive ear-holes where he had his lobes stretched, couldn’t get it through his head that he didn’t qualify because of his life choices.  He kept saying “are you saying something is wrong with me?”  Well, yes, something is wrong with you, but I’m not going to say that.  You don’t fit our company image.  Sorry.  Try elsewhere.  I was waiting for this idiot to either start crying or to start threatening a discrimination lawsuit. Look pal, being a tattooed freak with holes in your head is not a constitutionally protected class.  Don’t be stupid.  But they don’t want to accept that actions have consequences and those actions may harm their future employability.  They want everyone to accept them as they are and put up with their eccentricities and if anyone refuses, they freak out.  Sorry, life doesn’t work that way.

So while I’m no longer surprised by these kinds of attitudes, it isn’t going to change any of these idiots’ minds. They want the world to love them as they are, to support whatever causes they support and to be seen as wonderful whether they are or not. They don’t comprehend cause and effect, action and responsibility, they think that anything they do ought to be okay and the world should not only tolerate how they choose to be but celebrate it.  Sorry, you’re going to find yourself sorely disappointed and, in the case of these idiots who draw all over themselves in permanent ink, largely unemployable in the professional world and they will have no one to blame but themselves.

Just What Is Religion?

This is actually a more difficult question than you might imagine, lots of people with lots of agendas have reasons to claim that religion is many different things.  I bring this up because in a recent debate, a fundamentalist Christian kept insisting that atheism is a religion, which, of course, it is not.  So I asked why they thought that and they pulled out a dictionary definition, presented here.

re·li·gion
rəˈlijən/
noun
  1. the belief in and worship of a superhuman controlling power, especially a personal God or gods.
    “ideas about the relationship between science and religion”
    synonyms: faith, belief, worship, creed; More

    • a particular system of faith and worship.
      plural noun: religions
      “the world’s great religions”
    • a pursuit or interest to which someone ascribes supreme importance.
      “consumerism is the new religion”

Now I think most people would agree that the initial definition given is pretty accurate, a belief in a supernatural or superhuman power, gods or a god.  However, instead of going with that definition, he picked the bottom definition that says “a pursuit or interest to which someone ascribes supreme importance.”  But that’s so absurdly vague that it really means nothing. Consumerism isn’t a religion because consumerism has nothing to do with a belief in a supernatural or superhuman power, gods or a god.  Nobody in their right mind would agree to such a definition because it literally fits anything.  Anything that you really enjoy, by that definition, is a religion.  That means woodworking is, for me, a religion.  Or stamp collecting.  Or reading books.  Or blogging.  Or my  family.  Every single thing that I enjoy is now a religion, which really makes the whole idea of a religion completely irrelevant.

But he was adamant and the reason he was adamant is because he was desperate to cast atheists in the same mold as he, a fundamentalist Christian, was.  This is very commonplace among theists, they don’t want anyone to criticize them, but if someone can, they want to put the other person into the exact same camp so they can be similarly criticized for the same thing. That’s why they use really vague, meaningless definitions for things, so they can pretend that their critics are hypocrites.

Of course, that’s not the case and eventually, I had to stop talking to this idiot because he was accusing me of having religion after religion after religion, which really just shut down the whole conversation, as was his goal.  These people don’t want to listen to reason, they aren’t reasonable, they just want to hold the blind and completely unjustified faith that they have and nothing is going to get in the way.  That’s why these idiots believe the stupid things they do.  Logic never intrudes on their beliefs.

So the next time that a theist tries this with you, point out that they’re not using the main definition, the understood definition, of the term and be ready to just walk away because it’s unlikely they’re going to care.  Some people you can’t talk to, you can only shake your head at sadly and realize they’re just not very bright.

CoE Mad About an Ad

Oh look, it’s the latest example of religious entitlement, this time coming out of jolly old England.  The Church of England put together an advertisement that would never get shown on television, but now they are expecting movie theaters to show their ad and when theaters balked, they started crying it was a violation of their right to free speech.

Okay, a couple of things.  First off, this is England, they have no right to free speech like we do in America.  They just don’t. And if they did, it wouldn’t apply to private individuals or businesses either.  Nobody in their right mind thinks that you can obligate a private citizen or a privately owned business to provide you a platform to air your religious screed.  Theater owners and the overarching group that decides what can and cannot be shown as advertising in theaters rejected the ad because they were afraid that it might offend people of other faiths.  I don’t know about that, particularly, but where do you stop?  When the Muslims show up and want to do the same thing, do you let them? How about the Scientologists?  There has to be a limit and when you’re talking about religious and political advertising, the only place to stop is before you start.  That’s something that groups in America have learned as they get increasingly angry that they have to let other religions set up displays in parks, etc.

[youtuber youtube=’http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vlUXh4mx4gI’]

I do support the right of these theaters to decide not to go down the religious rabbit hole, I’m just a little surprised, although I shouldn’t be, at the reaction of the CoE.  After all, they wouldn’t allow anyone to advertise another religion in their churches, would they?  So why should they be upset that a business would refuse to advertise their religion?

Most Reverend Justin Welby said he finds the decision “extraordinary”, adding “this advert is about as offensive as a carol service or church service on Christmas Day.”  Well, depends on where you put it.  I’d certainly be offended if they tried to hold their church service in the middle of a shopping center, it just doesn’t belong there.  I also think their threats of legal action is ridiculous.  England has an Equality Act, which bans commercial organizations from refusing services on religious grounds, but wouldn’t that open up the churches, which let’s be honest are commercial organizations, open to the public and begging for money, from banning advertising from other religions?  I’d say it would, although that’s just common sense and we all know that religion has none.

So please, keep your religion out of Star Wars and Star Wars will keep fun and entertainment out of your religion.  It’s only fair after all.  Even Carrie Fisher, speaking on this supposed controversy, thinks people ought to get a life.  I agree.

Why Do These People Have Jobs?

Seriously, I have to keep wondering, and this is almost always in the deep south, but why do these idiots have jobs? Why do the people in the south keep electing these morons to represent them?  Okay, yes, the reason is because the voters are just as stupid as they representatives they elect, but I’m really getting tired of that as an excuse.

So in Tennessee, as should come as no surprise, the Blount County commissioners plan to take up a resolution begging God to forgive them for the recent Supreme Court ruling on gay marriage.  Commissioner Karen Miller’s proposed resolution will grovel before an imaginary friend and promises “to protect Natural Marriage, from lawless court opinions, AND THE financial schemes of the enemies of righteousness wherever the source AND defend the Moral Standards of Tennessee.”

Well guess what?  You already have an oath that you swore to uphold and defend the Constitution of the United States of America and, whether you like it or not, that includes the decisions of the Supreme Court.  Just like the whole Kim Davis thing, you don’t get to have your cake and eat it too.  You don’t get to draw a government check and then refuse to do all the things that you swore you’d do when you were elected to office.  It just doesn’t work that way.

Now of course, this is a pointless resolution, it means nothing at all and talking to imaginary friends in the sky isn’t going to change the crappy conditions that exist in Tennessee.  But part of the resolution also includes, get this, asking God to move his wrath to someone else.  Yes, they’re trying to sic God on some other unsuspecting state because they’re properly scraping and genuflecting.

And these people have jobs.  Why?  Why are the people of Tennessee so damn stupid?  And the people of Alabama?  And the people of Georgia and Texas and Arkansas and Florida and the whole messed up lot of them?  Sure, I know that not all of them are to blame, there are plenty of people who are pissed off at this resolution, but apparently, enough people support this kind of religious bullshit that these idiots keep getting into office.

Sorry, I will never understand that.

 

The Bitchspot Report Podcast #2.30

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Sometimes It’s Personal

Marco Rubio thinks God is more important than the job he wants, Saudi Arabia desecrates corpses, a girl joins ISIS and dies and the Planned Parenthood shooting and Christian hypocrisy. Then we talk about Turkey and Russia and why religion ruins everything.  Now get over there and listen already!

Purity Certificates, That’s Not Creepy!

This is a story that got a lot of attention, but it is hardly new, I’ve seen similar things over the years and it really doesn’t get any less creepy as time goes on.  A bride in Maryland presented her father with a certificate verifying her virginity before her wedding.

Now don’t get me wrong, I’m not saying there’s anything wrong with virginity, I think it’s actually important and not many people actually give a damn.  These days, “hooking up” is the norm and nobody actually thinks that waiting for that special someone is valuable.  I get that.  But I would never expect my daughters to go and get a medical examination and present a certificate to me that they haven’t been naughty before their wedding day.  That’s entirely between them and their husbands-to-be.  I have no strong feeling about it one way or the other, I am not a better father because my daughter hasn’t been sexually active, any more than I’m a worse one if they have.  They were raised well, I think they’re going to make good decisions in their lives, but whatever they do, they have to live with the consequences, not me.  And what is this guy going to do?  Hang it on his wall?  Did the doctor take pictures?  Oh look everyone, there’s a photo of my daughter’s pussy!  Let’s all marvel, shall we?

And besides, none of this proves a thing.  There’s a lot more you can do sexually than just exercise penis-in-vaginal sex.  I mean, I’m not the biggest fan of Garfunkel and Oates, but…

[youtuber youtube=’http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=j8ZF_R_j0OY’]

I’m honestly not sure about the absurd over-emphasis the religious put on sexual purity, I’m sure it all goes back to the days when your daughters were property and they had to be pure in order to get the best “price” when you “sold” them off into marriage, but come on, that was a long time ago, can we just knock it off?  Aren’t we supposed to be better than that?  Well, I guess the religious aren’t and for that, they ought to be ashamed.

 

Don’t Have to Learn in Home School

This is really, really sad.  The Texas Supreme Court actually has to hear a case in which the religious home schoolers are arguing that they don’t actually have to teach their kids anything in their “home school” because the rapture is coming and everyone is going to die anyhow.  And Texas has to actually consider whether learning anything is actually a requirement.

And of course, the religious whiners come out in droves, complaining that this is yet another case of religious discrimination, that parents ought to be able to teach their kids anything they want, or not teach them anything they want, and society should have absolutely no say in the matter.

Except that society has to pay the welfare costs for these uneducated dimwits who have never learned how to get a job, deal with the real world, and make their own way.  Society ultimately pays the costs for these numbskulls who never figure out how to handle reality because the only book they ever opened is the Bible.

Now don’t get me wrong, not all home schoolers are religious idiots, I know plenty who do very well and whose children outperform public school children.  That’s not really that hard because comparing home schools or private schools to public schools is like comparing apples to hand grenades.  Public schools have to take all comers, the mentally disabled, the entirely disinterested, the socially maladjusted, etc.  Private schools can take only the best and brightest, and since their parents have to cough up a bunch of cash, you can be sure that the parents are interested in their child’s education, unlike so many people whose kids just get dumped at public school because it’s cheaper than a babysitter.  So please, don’t assume that I’m critical of all home schoolers, just the ones who seem to think that not actually having to do anything or produce a decent product at the end is fine and dandy because Jeebus is coming back any day now.

These same people are the ones who fight requirements that their children should take state tests to prove they are learning what they are supposed to be learning.  I think I’ve pointed this out, but the only reason that home schooled kids actually perform well on these tests is because the testing is voluntary.  Only the best and brightest, the ones headed to college, are going to take these tests, the ones without two brain cells to rub together never bother and so the results are skewed much higher for homeschoolers, whereas public school students have to take the test regardless and this gives a more accurate result. If you’re actually interested in your “average” student, you have to treat all of them the same and that means requiring everyone to be tested, all the time, and those who consistently fail, they need to be denied the right to homeschool.  It is not, unlike some people seem to think, a constitutional right to home school.  It’s just tradition.  I think in a lot of cases, it’s a bad tradition, that a lot of these kids really belong in a traditional school setting, where they actually learn things, not just the Bible verses their fanatical parents feel like drilling into their heads.

But tell that to the religious crazies and they’ll act like the world is falling down around their ears, which of course, is what they really believe.  Are lunatics like that who we want educating the next generation?  I know my answer to that.

 

 

The Bitchspot Report Podcast #2.28

Bitchspot Report New Icon 500x276Just a bunch of craziness, conspiracy theorists galore, speaking in tongues, Ben Carson making a little sense, Satanic rituals at Planned Parenthood, losing your religion on the football field and creationists running education in Maine.

This week, I’m trying minimal editing, this is what the podcast really sounds like when we record, please let us know what you think!

Go here to listen now!

A Necessarily Limited Audience

I know that I’ve talked about this before, but I was recently speaking with a friend who wanted to know why I didn’t have a massive following, either here, with my podcast, or with my new YouTube channel.  Certainly, all of them have a decent following, get a decent number of hits and are all growing over time, but none of them are remotely close to superstar ratings.

Well, the answer is simple, I actually hold what many consider to be contradictory positions that I insist on talking about all the time.  They’re not actually contradictory, they are just uncommon to put together and since I don’t focus entirely on one subject or another, but cover a wide spectrum, I end up appealing only to a very small audience who, like me, holds these so-called contradictory views.

I can’t remember where I saw it, but I once saw a statistic that said that 20% of atheists were also conservatives.  I have no idea how accurate that is, it seems a bit high to me, but if we take it with a grain of salt, that means that the majority of atheists out there will not want to pay any attention to me because I oppose their political views.  I really detest not only many things that liberals, and especially progressives, want, but the justification behind their desires, which I find overly emotional and almost entirely without rational cause.  So I speak out against liberalism all the time, but as I’m an equal opportunity offender, I’m more than happy to go after the far-right religious pseudo-conservative in the Republican party who absolutely does not represent my secular conservative views.  So I tend to piss off people in the GOP, even though they aren’t likely to be non-religious to begin with.

So where are these people?  A lot of them abandoned the Republicans and joined the Libertarians and I really don’t like libertarians either.  Well, I don’t like some libertarians because the Libertarian Party tends to be a very diverse and chaotic group.  You have the people who just want to be left alone to do drugs, who don’t want to pay taxes, etc.  You have the people who are really only there because they’re sick of the Republicans, and I share a lot of commonality with this group.  Then you have the real crazies who have a quasi-religious belief in imaginary rights and magical laws that apply to everyone whether they want them to or not, but which nobody can actually prove exist.  Those are the people I tend to go after, they are the most vocal and most crazy, but because it isn’t really possible to differentiate between a large number of groups all using the same label every time you open your mouth, I tend to offend libertarians too.  Of course, I always specify that if something I say doesn’t apply to you, don’t take it personally, but they always seem to.

So let’s see, I’ve pissed off the liberals, I’ve pissed off the religious conservatives, I’ve pissed off the libertarians, who else? Well the non-rational, of course!  While most of these people, the liberals, the religious conservatives and the libertarians, fit into that mold, I find an unfortunate number of self-professed atheists who are also non-rational, either with regard to their atheism or with regard to other beliefs they hold.  Out of everything I oppose, being irrational is probably the highest on my list because all else springs from it.  I cannot stand people who do not think rationally, who cannot examine a proposition to see if it is supported logically, who do not expect evidence before they accept something as factually true, etc.  I was reminded recently that the majority of “serious” flat-earthers are also atheists, which I find sad.

I guess I can never expect a large audience because all of the things I talk about seem contradictory to many people. How can I be politically conservative and irreligious at the same time?  How can I oppose irrationality and libertarianism at the same time?  But I do and I’m going to talk about all of it and those who want to listen will, those who do not, will not.  I’m fine with it. I’ve been doing this for 11 years now, at least on the blogging side, much, much longer than that when you count all of my time online.  I’d rather reach the right people because the people who are not right aren’t going to listen to reason anyhow, be they religious, political or social, they’re all set in their ways of irrationality and beyond the pale of reason.  I write what I write, I think what I think and I get to all of it through reason and rationality.  If you don’t, if you use emotion and wishful thinking, then clearly, we’re not only not on the same boat, we’re not even in the same ocean.

This Is What We Ought To Fear

Of course, on the podcast, we talked about Theodore Shoebat and his batshit insane religious beliefs, and while some people might laugh off his extremist ways as entirely unrealistic, you have to remember that there are a small, but vocal minority of religious people out there who are completely on board with what he and his ilk have to say.  You have to remember that it wasn’t that long ago when people thought Muslim terrorism was a rare thing, then you had 9/11 and now you have groups like ISIS and Boko Haram, which is out openly murdering people they don’t like on religious grounds.  I never imagined that you’d get so many people so willing to act and that they’d get as much support as they’ve gotten.  Sure, they’re still in the minority, but an enthusiastic minority can still do a lot of damage.

So anyhow, back to Theodore Shoebat, who is openly antagonistic toward all the traditional Christian enemies.  He hates gays. He hates atheists. He hates other religions. He hates women.  He openly says that in his perfect world, which luckily only exists in his own head, he’d kill anyone who doesn’t follow his particular brand of Christianity to the letter.  Of course, he also thinks that because Jeffrey Dahmer had gay sex and was a cannibal, that we need to get rid of all of the gays and outlaw it from society.  This guy is a nutball, but he’s a nutball that unfortunately appeals to some people.

[youtuber youtube=’http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=F2U-jzuC6nY’]

But that’s really where it starts to get scary because where radical Islam was once relatively powerless, today it has plenty of followers who are willing to get gunned down for the cause as long as they get their 72 virgins.  What happens if Shoebat or one of the other religious crazies get that kind of social and political power?  I find it unlikely that some lunatic on YouTube might be leading a revolution, but you have plenty of crazies that we talk about all the time who do have a much larger following. Heck, listen to Michelle Bachmann sometime, she says the exact same things that Shoebat does and she was a member of the House of Representatives for 8 years! If crazy people can find other crazy people to buy into their load of crazy, it’s not beyond the realm of possibilities.  Heck, look at Hitler, who rose from a simple painter to become on the biggest butchers of the 20th century.  He did this on a populist and religious message, what’s to stop someone else from screaming a similar message, especially as fundamentalist and evangelical Christians are facing the downfall of their religious institutions in the west?

It’s just something to think about, that people with a religiously violent message and a conspiracy theorist belief are out there, speaking to the masses.  Most reject him as a kook, but for those that don’t, some are going to become fanatical and it’s those fanatics that are dangerous.  Maybe if we don’t necessarily fear them, we need to be aware of them and keep an eye on what they’re doing.

 

So Ignorant They Don’t Know They’re Ignorant

I know I’ve spoken at times about the theists who are so completely buried in their own mythology that they aren’t even aware that there’s anything outside of their mythology.  I ran into another one that got me rolling my eyes, this time a Jehovah’s Witness who was so impressed with what he considered Biblical prophecies, that when I pointed out to him that there were more credible explanations for his supposed prophecies, he freaked out.

So he came with those wonderful claims that the Bible authors knew things about the world that they couldn’t possibly have known, like the claim that the earth is a circle (Isaiah 40:22), that the earth hangs on nothing (Job 26:7) and that the universe spreads out (Job 9:8).  Now the last of these is complete nonsense, it is an assertion taken from a few words that is not defensible in any way, but the first two might be interesting if you didn’t know the ancient Hebrew conception of the universe.  Of course, if you do understand it, then these claims fit right in with this idea, an idea that is factually and ridiculously false.

But try telling that to this guy, who refuses to acknowledge anything that happens outside of the Bible.  His entire education in issues of mythology comes from between the covers of that book and if it doesn’t appear there, it doesn’t exist.  So I show him the above picture, a picture, by the way, which comes from the Logos Bible Company, but he just can’t accept it.  Never mind that it explains all of his claims perfectly well.  The ancient Hebrews believed that the world was a disk that floated upon the waters, held up by a rocky foundation.  Over the top was a hard firmament, upon which were the stars and other heavenly bodies.  Like pretty much all ancient peoples, the Hebrews were completely ignorant of how the universe actually operated. Their writings reflected that ignorance.  But here we have a guy who is not only equally ignorant of the way the universe works, he’s so ignorant that he doesn’t even know how ignorant he actually is!  And worse yet, he’s proud of it!  He can’t conceive of being wrong and that’s what makes discussing the matter with him so utterly  frustrating and pointless.

So I stopped and he’s still crowing how he won the encounter, but when you’re that absurdly ignorant, when you’re so proud of your lack of information that you refuse to fill in the holes in your knowledge, then you’re just a lost cause and that, I’m afraid, describes a large majority of active religious believers in the world today.  Not only do they not know anything about the real world, they don’t want to know.  They’d rather remain clueless than find out the actual truth that may disagree with their heartfelt religious beliefs.  To anyone reading, if that describes you, then you need some serious help, you have abrogated your responsibility to be a critical thinking,  rational and intellectual human being.  It isn’t something to be proud of.  It’s something to hang your head in shame over.