Tuesday, January 27, 2009

Being Intolerant of Intolerance: Where’s the Dilemma?

Recently I posited that it wouldn’t bother me a whole lot if Rick Warren died an early natural death. I wish he would. Frankly, there is enough intolerance and oppression that those who promulgate it, is its poster boy, have no value to me or a freedom loving society, as far as I am concerned.

Voicing this in an atheist blog I was chastised by a fellow nonbeliever:
“Who is allowed to set the standard on what "tolerance" is? A follower of Warren's can easily point out that you're being intolerant of Warren and his views.”

Well, to paraphrase that famous quote about pornography: “I may not be able to adequately define intolerance, but I know it when I see it.”. There is a vast difference between someone being intolerant of granting full human rights to a minority, and describing my disgust for Warren and my wish for his natural demise as intolerant. The difference is plain: My wish to see Warren suffer a natural early death does not stand in the way of his First Amendment rights to preach / endorse / practice his intolerance. I do nothing to impede that right. My wish has no measurable effect.

On the other hand, Warren's supernaturalist doctrine which drives his speech, activism, actions, and those of his followers, directly obstructs attainment of equal rights for those who’s sexuality is different from his/their own. His actions have had a measurable effect, most recently in California on Proposition 8. That’s intolerance.

If my distain and wish is intolerant then we may as well call abolitionists "intolerant" for their vocal opposition to slavery/ slave owners. Would anyone have called anti-Nazi sentiment "intolerant", and thus comparable to the intolerant anti-Semitic genocidal actions of the Nazis themselves? Such a concept is a perversion of the term.

At best I could be described as radically opposed to prejudice and injustice and thus “intolerant of intolerance”. At worst I can be tagged a mean-spirited-death-wishing- godless-heathen. Albeit, to a Nazi, a slave owner, or a Christian homophobe activist, calling my attitude and ill wishes toward them "intolerant" might make sense ... but only to them, and thus who gives a shit?

Friday, January 23, 2009

I Found Him!!! My Search is at an End!!! Hallelujah!!

That’s right, you heard me. I found Him! My quest is finally over. No, not Jesus or some incarnation of a similarly mythical sky-monkey, better. I found “The Stupidest Fundie on the Internet”.

As atheists you are no doubt skeptical. You might say: “Oh come now, Hump, you exaggerate. With all the imbecilic Christian whackos running loose you can’t possibly be sure he’s the stupidest.” I understand and respect your reservations. Indeed, you are entitled to proof. Here it comes. You be the judge.

“Glenn” wandered into an atheist blog I peruse frequently. Initially I pegged him as an atheist joker because of the outlandish statements he was making. But it turns out he has his own blog that confirms his creationist, Satan / Jimmy Hendrix connection, bible as literal, man riding dinosaurs, end of the world coming, science rejecting, fire and brimstone mania. The following is just a sample taken verbatim from his comments in that atheist blog over just three short posts:

“Science has now proven the theories of the bible to be correct.”

“This team, went out in the 80's and dedicated their whole lives to finding any evidence to prove the bible correct. They found 3, Noahs ark, Soddom [sic] and Gommorah [sic], and the Ark of the covenant [sic].

“If you look at the most recent findings from Dr Kent Hovind and his crew .... Dinosaurs were buried with man.”

“If the big bang did happen, then why are not all the plannets [sic], suns, stars and moons, spinning the same directions? which they are not!???”

“DO you think humanity is now worthy enough to be spoken to by God? no way, if he was to speak you would perish as we are not devine [sic] enough to withstand it.”

“Archaeologists have spend the last 40 years trying to prove Evolution correct, which they have failed, but in turn have proven that the bible is more accurate than any other theory.”

Naturally when asked for evidence of, support for, any of his statements of “fact”, he never responds. Where can we find the Ark of the Covenant now that it has been discovered? No answer. What physical laws require all planets to rotate the same direction? Nothing. Who are these accredited archeologists? Nada.

I imagine that when he says these crazy things in fundie groups he is hailed as a veritable prophet and lauded for his “scientific knowledge” and devotion to the Lard. He wasn't smart enough to discern the implications of making these inane statements to a group of fundie Christians, and making them to thinking people. He abruptly disappeared.

If there was a Golden Globe award for “Most Moronic Christian in a Supporting Role”, I’d put this clown up against anyone you can come up with. He is the best argument I can find for retroactive abortion and how religion encourages ignorance and cultivates stupidity. Here’s his blog; it’s a hoot. Leave your intellect at the door: http://almosttheend.blogspot.com/

Monday, January 19, 2009

A New Beginning, and a Nagging Question.

In less than eighteen hours from this typing we will have a new President. The hopes of a nation are vested in this man. We face trying times and critical challenges, some of it thanks to his predecessor’s actions or inaction. Even the majority of Americans who didn’t vote for him hope for Obama’s success. To hope other wise would be insanity.

Obama’s installment as the most powerful man on the planet is a historic occasion, and spells a new beginning, certainly for people of color, but also hopefully for our government, our nation and the world at large.

But, at the dawn of a new day marked by the passing of the torch to Obama from the man who was arguably one of the worst Presidents this country has ever endured, one question keeps nagging at me about Bush’s presidency. It’s a question that will never be asked of him nor ever answered. Here it is:

“Mr. President, as an avowed Born Again Christian; believing as Saint Paul did that leaders are selected by God’s provenance; believing that His Will can be ascertained by prayer and reflection … do you believe that the positions you assumed and the actions you took were the result of divine guidance and thus the reason that you do not recognize nor regret your gross misjudgments, deceptions, incompetence, or inactions?”

“Is it because you fulfilled God’s Will that you bear no guilt nor feel called to apologize for the pain you have caused this country and so many millions of other people around the world?”

Of course even if the question were posed I wouldn’t expect an honest answer. To do so would likely confirm what I already believe: that a man of marginal intellect accepted the council, and made this country’s polices the hostage of, Neo-cons and right wing religious zealots all while believing it was with the blessing of some divine mythical dead Jew.

I hope this new beginning is so successful that this nation will never again be tempted to hand over leadership to the arrogance and infirmity of the worst kind of superstitiousness and self imposed ignorance. Once in a life time is enough.

Thursday, January 15, 2009

Waterboarding, Hypocrisy and Theism: Another Trinity (but this one is real)

I was listening to the confirmation hearing of Attorney General Nominee Eric Holder on NPR today. I have a few bones to pick with him related to his Bill Clinton days, but all and all he’s qualified for the job and will be confirmed.

But the big headline that came out of today’s hearing is Holder stated that Waterboarding is torture. Like that is some kind of revelation. Anyone who knows how Waterboarding is conducted, what it does, would recognize it as torture. The US even prosecuted Japanese military officers for using the technique on American POWs in WWII. They were hung as war criminals. Waterboarding was inflicted on heretics during the Inquisition.

So who claims it’s not torture? What kind of disingenuous, completely ignorant, or self deceiving, hypocritical jerk would believe it NOT to be torture? GW Bush , self proclaimed Born Again Christian; Dick Cheney, Methodist; Donald Rumsfeld, disgraced Secy. Of Defense under Bush, Presbyterian; John Ashcroft, disgraced Attorney General under Bush, Assembly of God - Born Again Christian; Alberto Gonzalez, disgraced Attorney Gen. under Bush, Catholic.

Oh hell, the list is endless! Just about every right wing, evangelical, Jesus loving, God fearing Christian in congress, on a radio talk show, or behind the televangical pulpit denies waterboarding is torture. Yet, I do not know of ONE atheist who is familiar with the technique who denies waterboarding is torture.

But how can this be?? The evidence is overwhelming; the precedence of WWII prosecutions is glaring; the fact that it is inflicted only on those from whom we wish to extract information is telling. If anyone has any doubt and wanted empirical evidence one way or another, all they’d have to do is submit themselves to waterboarding and within a minute they’d have a first hand confirmation.

What am I getting at? This:
1) Evidence and fact mean nothing to fanatical theists. Once they “believe” something evidence and facts are deceptions to be ignored and denied.

2) Christians seem to have a proclivity for torture. Perhaps a trait stemming from the Inquisitions and witch trials. A God given right it would seem.

3) Fanatical Christians are hypocrites, recognizing torture only when Christians are the victims. It’s never torture when they administer it, when it suits their agenda.

4) Christian torture deniers shun the Scientific Method, thus would never voluntarily submit themselves to the test … believing a lie is enough.

5) The much vaunted “higher ethics and morality” of Christians is a bald faced lie.

Saturday, January 10, 2009

Atheist Axioms?

Educated people understand that atheism has no dogma, doctrine or dictates. The only qualification to be an atheist is to lack belief in God/gods (weak atheism), or to reject the existence of God/gods as real (strong atheism).

However, there is certain commonality of ideas, precepts, axioms whatever one wants to call them, that seem to be shared by most Freethinkers. Whether one had these ideas, and thus became atheist as a result, or one developed these ideas as a result of their becoming atheist is unclear to me. Possibly it’s both. I tend toward the former.

The following is a list of those ideas/axioms. They are not entirely my own, albeit, I have added to the list, revised, and expanded them. They come from “The Secular Web” at Infidels.com. It’s a great resource website for atheists, or those wishing to understand atheism. Here’s their link: http://www.infidels.org/library/modern/mathew/intro.html

I’d be interested on people’s take on this list. Does it represent your thoughts as an atheist, or agnostic? Agree, object? Are there others that deserve consideration?

Morality is not predetermined; it evolves and is defined by a culture / civilization to describe how that culture ought to work for the betterment of the group.

Be especially skeptical of extraordinary positive assertions. Extraordinary assertions require extraordinary evidence before they can be embraced.

If you want your life to have some sort of “meaning” beyond procreation and continuation of the species, it's up to the individual to develop that meaning.

There are no absolutes.

Search for what is true, even if it makes you uncomfortable or the answer is counter to your preexisting hypothesis.

Relying on some external power to change you is self deception; you must change yourself. Every person is responsible / accountable for their lives and actions.

Just because something's popular, widely “believed”, or has been “believed” for a long time doesn't mean it's true, or good.

Don't “believe” things just because you want them to be true.

All “beliefs” or hypotheses are open to challenge, questioning, and should be subject to testing by the scientific method.

Make the most of your life, it's the only one you'll have.

Monday, January 5, 2009

Got Spirituality?

“I’m not religious, but I’m spiritual.”

If I had a nickel for every time I’ve heard someone say that I’d have … well, $1.35.

Frankly, I have no fricken idea what they are talking about. The term “spiritual” comes with very heavy religious connotations; words like “supernatural”, “soul”, “incorporeal”, “sacred”, “ecclesiastical” pepper it’s definitions.

I view theist "spirituality" as part of their dogmatic mumbo jumbo. My position on them is pretty well established. Similarly, I dismiss nonreligious/ non-theists who call themselves “spiritual” as supernaturalist asshats worthy of suspicion if not outright distain.

As close as I can come to understanding "spirituality" as a concept to which I can relate is looking at the sky on a clear night, or an alpine view on a clear day, or the Sequoia National Forest on a misty autumn morning, or hear Beethoven’s 9th, and be moved to say "Wow!" in response to the awe and grandeur it evokes in me.

It’s human appreciation for the majestic beauty of the planet without breaking it down into it's natural / material elements. It speaks to our innate wonderment for the complexity and vastness of the universe, and the reality of our utter unimportance to it; or admiration for the beauty of man’s creativity, technology, great literary work, or symphony; or reverence and respect for a well structured scientific theory or philosophical concept.

To be emotionally invested in, or moved by, those natural phenomena is peculiar to humans… entirely natural, nothing spiritual about it. I imagine that one who cannot experience that kind of awe or emotion is devoid of imagination, and is empathetically and/or intellectually defunct, possibly even sociopathic.

On the other hand, anyone touting their holy, esoteric, mystical, magical spiritualism are either sanctimonious gullible theists or New Age sheeple. Both are to be avoided or ridiculed mercilessly.

Thursday, January 1, 2009

Happy New Year…the World is Going to End!!!!

If you’re reading this you survived New Years eve. Happy 2009! That’s the good news. The bad news is this means you have less than three years to prepare yourself for the End of the World.

Yep… you heard me. Prepare to bend over and kiss yer arse goodbye because the Mayan calendar runs out December 21, 2012. If you buy into the hype, the world will likewise run out. And, if you’ll believe everything you read on the net, Nostradamus wrote a quatrain that confirms the same year, as do the Hopi Indians. Hey, what more proof do you need?

Christians have always loved end of world predictions. They’ve been predicting it since the New Testament. They have a word, eschatology, which means the study of the end of the world in religious terms. There have been literally thousands of end time predictions down through the ages. Usually Christians making them … always wrong, obviously.

Invariably the predicting party attributes the failed prediction to a mathematical miscalculation. Often they will recalculate a new date. That one turns out wrong as well. Interestingly, the devotee’s of the cult / religious leader often retain their belief and maintain their faith even when the date comes and goes, and they haven’t beamed up. The Jehovah’s Witnesses are famous for this, but it’s not exclusively their idiocy.

Evangelicals / Born Agains expect the End Times to occur in their life time, they just don’t like setting dates. They’ve learned from experience not to be too specific… it’s just too embarrassing. However, to these theistically infirm death desiring clowns every hurricane, earthquake, forest fire, tidal wave, war, dip in the stock market, or election of an African-American president seems to be a harbinger of the coming Rapture.

But this 2012 thing has taken on a whole new dimension. Along with the usual Christian sheep who are prone to believe anything, every buffoon who believes in alien visitations, 911 conspiracy, psychokinetic energy, mind reading government satellites, astrology, etc., etc. has got the End of World Fever.

With the economic downturn we’re in, I’m trying to figure out how to cash in on this hysteria to supplement my income. End Time T-shirts? Crash helmets? End Times insurance? Mayan calendars with nude camel pinups?
Given the intellectual capacity of these believers this could be a gold mine!