Friday, September 25, 2015

A Believer's Inquiry Part II: Of Gnomes and Gods

The following is the second of two email exchanges between myself and believer author Dick Gist.  Once again, if I am not appropriately representing your position/s as freethinkers, or even if I am, please feel free to comment on the blog article by clicking on "comments" at the end of this article on my blog,  or via this link    Thanks!


Over the years I’ve “buried" a number of inadequate gods, and each experience was one of doubt and pain and sadness. But each time, a greater god appeared. I’m curious. In order to reject or deny a god, one must have in mind that which he/she is rejecting, and it would be interesting to know what that is for people (just a suggestion). I have to tell you, I don’t get enough stimulation of the sort I get from you, so I really appreciate your input.

The best,

I'm a little at a loss as to your experience with "inadequate gods" and how atheists might relate to it vis-a-vis understanding which god one is rejecting.  It may be owing to the possibility that you are too invested in the "Everyone must have 'something' to believe in!" mindset that most theists seem to have, and seem to be unable to get beyond. But here's my best attempt at answering your question: 

As an atheist the very concept of a god has as much meaning to me as the concept of gnomes has to you.  You reject gnomes at face as not real, a non-existent creature, a creation of man's mind.  You do not need to substitute your rejection of gnomes with some other mythical creature; nor do you have to analyze what gnome qualities you reject.  I'd bet dollars to donuts it's not even a consideration.

Similarly, atheists' view God/gods of any flavor; with any  attributes or temperament; from any culture, time period, or civilization;  as just one more "gnome".  We don't need to find some replacement. 

In lieu of dependence on / belief in supernatural beings, most atheists tend to invest their lives in scientific reality, reason; in family and friends; in education, civility, fairness, and justice; in empathy for those less fortunate and the ethic of reciprocity; trying to make the here and now in the only world we will ever know as good as it can be.   No boogieman, or man-god, or four armed elephant god need apply. 

This is often difficult for the religiously indoctrinated to wrap their arms around, an alien concept, their having known nothing else but supernaturalism. 

Alas, while belief in gnomes is harmless, belief in supreme beings and the expectations and requirements they are  perceived to demand from their followers and practitioners is often quite malevolent and destructive. That is what makes me an anti-theist as well as an atheist.

Anyway... I'll work this aspect of our exchange into a second blog, and invite my readers to add their own perspectives.  We have no doctrine or dogma, so  I'm speaking for myself and from info gleaned from my association with many non-believers over the years.

Yours in reason,


Friday, September 18, 2015

A Believer's Inquiry Part 1: Of Gods and Aliens. Your Participation Requested.

Occasionally I receive emails from believers asking my perspective on religious matters / matters of belief. I try to be has helpful as possible to aid them in understanding the atheist perspective.  The other day I received one from a believer and fellow author, Dick Gist.  We have exchanged two email discussions thus far. This is Part 1 of a two part discussion. 

I am posting our exchange here to solicit your active input as to whether or not my answers represent my readers' positions. Since atheists do not share anything in common except having no belief in God or gods, I am always cautious in providing input that may be mistaken for "doctrine" or "dogma", since we have no such thing. I'm hoping you will share your thoughts, objections, agreements, alternative views so as to give Dick (and I) greater insights to atheist thought.

PLEASE, share your input on my blog page by clicking on "COMMENTS" located at the end of this article on my blog site. Or by clicking on the following link (or copying and pasting it into your address bar) which will take you to this article's comments page. It would be greatly appreciated by Dick and I.  Thanks in advance.

Hello Bart,

Dick Gist here "You don’t understand the Bible because you are Christian" is my most current book.  I have a question I hope you might respond to. And as I ask I realize there probably is no one answer. When an atheist says he/she does not believe in God, does that mean the theistic god of Judaism and Christianity (a lot of we believers reject that one), or does it mean an atheist believes we are alone in the universe? I’m reminded of Buckminster Fuller’s words, “Sometimes I think we are alone. Sometimes I think we’re not. Either way the thought is staggering.”

Busy here, and enjoying periodic give and take with the fundamentalist element, one a relative who recently grieved that I’m on my way into eternal darkness. Almost enough to tempt one towards atheism.

Hope you are well. I suspect the colors might be beginning to change there.

Dick Gist

 Hi Dick,

So nice to hear from you.  I am familiar with your book and have read some excerpts. Nicely done.  Having read the Bible more than once myself, the KJV and NIV, and after years of debate with Christians, your premise that they don't understand the Bible because of its Jewish roots is dead on.  In fact, very few have even opened its cover,  by my experience. 

To your question:  I 'd say there is one answer, and it's relatively simple - atheists do not have belief in ANY God or gods, period.  I'm comfortable speaking for atheists when I say we take all gods to have been inventions of man - made in man's image, one might say - with all of man's most malevolent attributes (i.e. jealousy, anger, hostility, vengeance, barbarism)  and some of the good ones too...albeit with an even more intense level than the emotions and attributes of man... supercharged so to speak.

I have also yet to meet an atheist who does not totally dismiss the supernatural as well as God/gods, although nothing in the definition of atheist / atheism prohibits one from believing in ghosts, faeries, demons and leprechauns, et al, aside from one's common sense and innate skepticism. 

As for being alone in the universe I can only speak for myself and most atheists I know.  It is highly unlikely, in my opinion, for earth to be the lone planet to sustain life among the billions and billions of planets in the vastness of the universe.  The very fact that earth supports life is evidence that life can exist elsewhere, given similar conditions. Thus, no...we are not alone, in my opinion. [Note: this is much different than believers in God / gods, who believe God/gods exist based solely on faith, with no observable evidence or supporting examples.]  Whether that life / life form is more or less advanced than us is any ones guess.  

Hope that answers your question.  If you do decide to "come to the dark side" as we freethinkers like to joke, be sure to let me know so I can be among the first to congratulate you on your final stage of evolution toward modernity.

Yours in reason,


Bart Centre
AKA Dromedary Hump, "The Atheist Camel"

Friday, September 11, 2015


Fourteen years ago today my eldest son experienced first hand the horror of the 911 attack. That morning he escaped World Trade Center Tower II as his mom and I waited for hours to know if he was alive or dead.  Almost three-thousand other Americans, and their tens of thousands of family and friends who loved them, were not so lucky.

For as long as my son, my wife and I live, that day will be indelibly etched into our memories.

No prayers for the fallen; no accolades to an imaginary being for sparing our son's life while said fantasy being allowed thousands to die in agony and fear.  No.  Just sadness at our nation's losses, and anguish at the suffering made possible by religious fanaticism. 

 'Science flies men to the moon, religion flies men into buildings.'  -Victor Stenger

Tuesday, September 8, 2015

“All Glory goes to God.” : The Ultimate Delusion of the Religiously Afflicted.

After four and a half days in jail for contempt of court, the Kentucky county clerk religious fanatic who refused to issue gay marriage licenses because of her religious convictions has been released.  .

The faithful were jubilant as she emerged from the jail; waving cutout crosses, signs with religious verse, and of course, the obligatory Confederate battle flag.  Because nothing says freedom, support for justice, and equal rights under the law like the Confederate flag.

Sandwiched between Mike Huckabee, the Al Sharpton of the right; her lawyer from Liberty University, a school that makes an associates degree from a third rate community college look like a doctorate; and her husband, the ultimate caricature of the white Southern under-educated trailer dwelling redneck dressed in his overalls and a straw hat … the three time divorcee and protector of family values and the faith proclaimed “All glory goes to God.”

To paraphrase Saturday Night Live’s Dan Akroid: “No, Kim…you ignorant slut…all glory goes to the reason and sanctity of a secular judicial system.”  The judge released her with the understanding that she will not interfere with her deputy clerks issuing marriage licenses to any qualified applicants including gay couples.

But never mind reality - Jesus set her free. For you see she serves “a living God” who, quite coincidentally, hates gays as much as she does, but who also it seems telepathically told her it’s cool to eat shrimp, marry four times, and wear her tacky polyester/cotton blend garments… never mind the biblical  admonishments against those things.

If there was ever a reason to despise the South and Christian fanatics it was the scene outside that jail - a veritable orgy of religious delusion and religiously supported bigotry. I sense this will embolden other office holders to misinterpret the judges reasoning and  largess and test the waters by similarly defying the law of the land. 

But it is of no matter. Gays will now be legally married, even in that Kentucky county. The protestations, and hallelujahs, praises and appeals to their god thing will not stop the advancement of freedom and equality, and the evolution of civility…anymore than did their for-bearers’ invoking the bible as justification for segregation and opposition to mixed marriage.  And as annoying and grotesquely laughable as that jail house celebration was, in the end, that’s all that matters.

{ Note:  My thanks to those of you who emailed me asking about my absence and expressing concerns for my health.  I’m well rested and eager to resume sharing my perspectives on religion.  Thank you all for your patience and continued support. - Hump}