Atheist v Anti-theist

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I feel it’s time I clarify something.  There is a very distinct difference between an Atheist and an ANTI-Theist.  An atheist is just someone who does not believe in the supernatural.  In fact, it’s kind of a silly term to begin with.  Like Nonsmoker or Unsweetened tea, it is a term used ONLY because a majority exists in opposition.  Personally, I don’t enjoy identifying myself through someone else’s hobby but since language evolves slowly, I will bear with the term for now.

As for what an anti-theist is, we turn to what MANY fundamentalists think all atheists are.  An anti-theist is someone who opposes religion.  Completely and utterly.  Like an Anti-abortionist, Anti-fur, Anti-gun control person.  They actually DO identify themselves as an opposing force.

For example, everyone who does not smoke is a nonsmoker.  The Truth campaign is ANTI-smoking.  Most Anti-smoking people are nonsmokers but I am sure even a handful of them are hypocrites.  The same goes for anti-theists and atheists.

Now, just like in the smoking example, not all anti-theists are irrational and full of vitrol.  Yes there are PETA level fanatical anti-theists who hate everything even remotely associated with religion.  Usually these people have very deep, personal reasons for hating religion.  Then, of course, there are rational anti-theists who simply enjoy debating the what-ifs of a future without religion.  They see this as a utopia ideal of humanity.

I fall sometimes in the later category but not very often.  What I am most days is just a human being who happens to not believe in the supernatural.  And it’s not really something I chose to do.  Much like many nonsmokers who have just never smoked, I have never really believed anything at face value.  So it’s not like I had to shed some shackles of faith or “quit smoking”.

Still, I am constantly misjudged and mislabeled by Church advocate groups and religious Apologists who believe any criticism of a religion or church is rude and immoral.  If I call a rapist a rapist or a murderer a murderer I am simply stating a fact.  Does it really matter if they are a priest or a rabbi?  Much like some hypersensitive people tend to play the race card or the sex card, I find many apologists use the religious freedom card.

How can someone fail to see that rape is rape, murder is murder and discuss the human rights and legal terms of a case?  It’s simple.  Inject racism, sexism, or religious persecution. Now any commentary is skewed through the bias of the observer.  Because I am atheist, I am accused of “attacking religion” when I say Scientologists should be held accountable for child abuse.

Look, I understand the importance of free speech and I really do believe that IF all religions conducted themselves like any fandom we would have far fewer social problems and could coexist.  But as things stand now, all I can do is debate and try to change minds one at a time.  All I can do is vote for people who support equal rights for ALL citizens.  And if voting for someone with pro humanist, pro science viewpoints makes me “anti religious” then I guess diabetics are really just anti-sugar.

*edit: fixed some typos. grrr *

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Thoughts On Libya and Israel

I still wonder why a minority of about 11% of the country still has such powerful influence on American politics? There are larger minority groups that get ignored and/or treated like crap while Israel is still some “top priority” issue. Why are we, a baby new country on the grand scale, so indebted to a tiny middle east country involved in a 2000 year old war over some silly “holy” land? I don’t get it. Innocent Americans keep getting killed in the crossfire in what is essentially a fail holy war between two religious factions fighting over their “rights” to some supposed “holy” sandbox. And meanwhile anyone who helps either side keeps dragging their entire region/culture down the hole.

I am an American speaking for the 13% Atheist community with ZERO vested interest in Jews or Muslims who would like to stop living in fear of being killed in the crossfire of this religious gang violence. You wanna blame someone for Libya, how about we start back at our pointless INVOLVEMENT in the Middle East to begin with? Muslim terrorist aren’t mad at America cause we’re “trying to steal their oil” lol.. The terrorists are mad that we 1. claim to be a “Christian nation” and let Evangelicals take over our Military one chaplain at a time and 2. defend Israel every time she whines for help. How about you stop pretending this is a “political” or “economic” war and face facts. Without the religious differences between Christians, Muslims and Jews there would be NO reason for Hamas or Al Quaeda etc. You’d be acting like the neighbors and communities you are.

Next time I hear a theist of one of the Abrahamic religions blame ANYONE but themselves for this crap I am going to scream. Bitches need to shut up and go READ The books they pretend to follow. You’re all the same religion, based on the same God. Just too loyal to your own version of spin off fanfiction to realize it.  Gaza Strip isn’t the site of some genocide race war.  It’s a civil war between neighbors who only hate each other based on how they pronounce god and which prophet they think was right.

Religious Intolerance Hate Crime in the News

This week has been a busy one for violence and hatred fueled by theists killing theists and theists attacking people they disagree with.  I think it’s time all these sane, level headed, moderate believers I keep hearing about start speaking out against these men and women who make your faith look like trash.

 

Lynched for Being Gay

A young man and his partner were beaten by members of a local church for being homosexual.  And that Deacon and Pastor also happened to be his father and uncle.  Lovely.  The best part was reading how the congregation and local sheriff stood by and watched it happen. This is called public lynching.  http://www.addictinginfo.org/2011/10/04/pastor-orders-his-flock-to-beat-gay-couple-arriving-at-church/

 

Mistaken Muslim Shooting?

Sikhs wear turbans.  Ignorant extremist Christians think anything in a turban is a terrorist.  Gunman goes crazy and shoots up a temple of Indian worshipers.  Rings familiar for those Sikh murders after 9/11.  Same tragic story, yet again. http://www.cnn.com/2012/08/06/us/wisconsin-temple-shooting/index.html

 

White Southern Baptist Church Bans Black Wedding

So, shocker, racism is alive and well in the South thanks to the churches who continue to lie to the locals once a week.  The sunshine in this story is that some Baptists are actually speaking out against the church.  Some. http://www.ktul.com/story/19149217/baptist-leaders-call-on-church-to-reject-racism

 

Amish Beard Haters Gone Mad?

Interfaith violence between rival Amish groups.  Beard chopping to “send a message”? http://www.edmontonjournal.com/life/Amish+charged+with+beardcutting+attacks+reject+plea+deals+trial/7012616/story.html

 

Hate-Speech and Hate-Crimes are ok as long as Jesus or Mohammad made you Do It

The Federal Govt has upheld that religious bigotry and violence (even the kind that fuels murder and aggression against innocent people) is totally legal as long as you have the excuse of religious indoctrination to back your actions.  http://sdgln.com/news/2012/08/03/federal-appeals-court-hate-crimes-act-stands

and that’s just the US.

 

The rest of the world seems to be falling apart for the very same, THEIST driven hatredhttp://www.washingtonpost.com/world/middle_east/syria-rebel-video-claims-to-show-abducted-iranians/2012/08/05/42f69d04-df0d-11e1-8d48-2b1243f34c85_story.html

http://www.reuters.com/article/2012/08/06/us-egypt-idUSBRE8740JB20120806

http://allafrica.com/stories/201208060154.html

http://global.christianpost.com/news/jerusalem-gay-pride-parade-protested-as-impurity-and-abomination-79376/

 

Dear society: GROW THE FUCK UP.  Your personal religious OPINION (yes, that’s ALL it is) does not give you the right, freedom, or free reign to treat other human beings like target practice, trash or animals.  YOU are the criminals. YOU are in the wrong.  And it is YOU who are making all religions look like extremist cults.  So have at it moderates.  We atheists shouldn’t have to fight all your battles for you.  Speak up and clean up your houses from the inside.

“Born Religious” No Longer in My Head

So you remember that post I made back on the 3rd?   Apparently I’m not the only person wondering whether religious inclination is genetic.  Picked up a May issue of MIND and saw this:

http://www.scientificamerican.com/article.cfm?id=are-we-born-to-be-religious

It was interesting except for a few points.  But those are more nitpicking about semantics than the overall topic.  It did reconfirm some of my ideas though.  For example, studies HAVE shown that certain personality traits find it easier to shuck the religion of their youth while others are more easily swayed to stay faithful.

My semantics complaints were more terms like “agreeableness” and “self-controlled” etc.  It made it sound like religious people hold monopoly on assisting others and selflessness.  When in reality the definitions were more detailed than the negative feelings we attach to these terms.  “Agreeableness” just means one who is less likely to disagree with others.  But that is not always a good thing.  Nazi Germany would be a quick example of how speaking out and fighting the norm can be a noble action even if it gets you labeled as “disagreeable”.

In short, people who are inherently questioning, pushing against norms and curious about science and facts tend to find it much easier to embrace atheism.  Common sense sounding, but it should help you in any future debates.  That fanatic you are trying to sway may not be receptive to any sort of logic, plea or empathy so save your energy and put it somewhere positive instead. 😀

Baby I was Born This Way: A Thought Experiment

While passing time on a walk this morning a thought struck me.  Since my thoughts tend to border on rambling let me explain:

Premise 1: Race issues are prevalent in media and social networking sites.

Premise 2: Homosexuality and Atheism do not get as much “air time”.

Premise 3: Race is harder to “hide” than one’s sexual orientation or religious preference so it’s more noticeable.

Premise 4: Many people still believe that homosexuality is a choice and almost everyone believes religion is a choice.

Now my next thought was this:

WHAT IF Atheism is like homosexuality?  An inherent personality trait which one can chose to act upon but as far as “urges” are concerned, you are hard wired internally.  Now I know I said before that we are all technically BORN atheists. But let’s go down a different path just for fun.  Say we are all predisposed to be atheists just in the definition that we do not know of any religion yet.  But what if some of us are just natural born skeptics and some are just naturally born believers of the supernatural?

For example.  I never had an imaginary friend.  That’s not to say I never had an imagination or that I do not enjoy fiction.  I have just always been pretty adept at separating the two.  I believed in Santa only so long as I believed it was physically possible for him to actually exist.  I believed in fairies, dragons, demons etc all for the same reason.  I genuinely believed they existed until further investigation and curiosity proved me wrong.  And I was tearing apart mythology at the same rate I was tearing apart electronics to see how they worked.

So, what about people who have always had “faith” in things like Santa, ghosts, big foot, UFOs etc?  Perhaps they are just genetically inclined to the supernatural.  Perhaps they did not become religious merely because of how they were raised.  But perhaps they are just more inclined to put faith into fantastic ideas no matter what the source.  I am willing to bet that if such research were conducted studying varying levels of skepticism throughout childhood, we would find that  those of use who managed to break the spell of faith were already showing intense levels of curiosity and impetuousness as children.

I have always wondered what would happen if we spent more time teaching children to embrace curiosity, critical thinking and questioning the source of authority.