Monthly Archives: February 2012

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The Dark Reality of Life

Chris, as soon as I saw the stern lines on the doctor’s face, I became an Atheist. I knew, in 5 seconds, that this god which I prayed to just the night before as my wife sobbed on my shoulders, does not fucking exist. Or, he does not care, and he does not deserve any form of recognition in my mortal life.

On the drive home, I was angry – at what, I don’t know. But somehow, I felt a latitude of control. I can’t find the exact word to express the feeling. Of course, I was devastated that my 2 year-old boy has Leukaemia. There was this assertive voice within, strong and certain. Fuck this, I am not going to sit around in prayer circles and beg for help. This god can’t be real if he cursed my innocent child with such cruel fate. I’ll be damned if I waste my days on stroking his ego. I love my son too much to place his future in the hands of a crock. And when he is cured through the endeavours of modern science, I will remind him that he was the one who fought against Leukaemia – it was his strength, his will – and not some grace from an imaginary god. And also, to be thankful to the doctors, the nurses, and the people who helped him along the way.

This is not me being angry at god, or anything like that; the dust and the emotions have settled. This is me accepting reality for the sake of my son. I have always suspected it, I presume sometimes it takes a tragic incident to rock the boat.

He is right, sometimes it requires an acheronian situation to shock the system, allowing us to realize the truth. I left religion, becoming an Atheist after a similarly tragic occurrence, not because I was angry, but because the idea of a supernatural being, controlling the universe in some capacity, can’t possibly make any sense in a rational and logical forum; especially as innocent, blameless human beings are dying every single day.

I am not here to seek sympathy, nor is he. I am not here to celebrate that a fellow human being, a friend, has become an Atheist, definitely not under these circumstances. I am here to laud his courage. It’s easy in times of distress to sink deeper into the comforting fallacies of religion – What is religion if not the opiate of the weak and the fearful? Instead, he found the strength to accept the truth of reality, putting aside frivolous beliefs to focus on the battle he’s about to face. He will need every ounce of it, but at least he isn’t wasting it on wailing out to a supposititious god, harbouring any form of false hope. I am merely glad that he has decided to face up to it believing in himself, in Science, and in humanity. The most difficult moment in an individual’s life is confronting the harrowing truth that you only have yourself to depend on in this world – and if you fail, there’s no one else to blame.

That’s life, bad things happen, and it happens without any justifiable reason. It’s how you choose to deal with it, that’s the difference.

Note: My friend has allowed me to share this on my space as long as he remains anonymous. I can’t recall the conversation word-for-word, but I tried my best to remember his exact words. Personally, I felt this was an important story to share. A valuable lesson in life, reminding us that strength and courage comes from within ourselves, regardless of whichever god you choose to light a candle for. Stay strong buddy, stay strong… 

Atheism, is it a religion?

A federal court of appeals ruled yesterday Wisconsin prison officials violated an inmate’s rights because they did not treat atheism as a religion.

“Atheism is [the inmate’s] religion, and the group that he wanted to start was religious in nature even though it expressly rejects a belief in a supreme being,” the 7th Circuit Court of Appeals said.

The court decided the inmate’s First Amendment rights were violated because the prison refused to allow him to create a study group for atheists.

Brian Fahling, senior trial attorney for the American Family Association Center for Law & Policy, called the court’s ruling “a sort of Alice in Wonderland jurisprudence.”

“Up is down, and atheism, the antithesis of religion, is religion,” said Fahling.

The Supreme Court has said a religion need not be based on a belief in the existence of a supreme being. In the 1961 case of Torcaso v. Watkins, the court described “secular humanism” as a religion.

Fahling said today’s ruling was “further evidence of the incoherence of Establishment Clause jurisprudence.”

“It is difficult not to be somewhat jaundiced about our courts when they take clauses especially designed to protect religion from the state and turn them on their head by giving protective cover to a belief system, that, by every known definition other than the courts’ is not a religion, while simultaneously declaring public expressions of true religious faith to be prohibited,” Fahling said.

Taken from WND.com.

Is atheism a religion?

According to Routledge Encyclopedia of Philosophy, “Atheism is the position that affirms the non-existence of God. It proposes positive disbelief rather than mere suspension of belief.”

I am sure there are long, drawn out arguments regarding the issue, often with the semantics being manipulated to suit the case.

I am a staunch believer in Occam’s razor, which states from among competing hypotheses, selecting the one that makes the fewest new assumptions usually provides the correct one, and that the simplest explanation will be the most plausible until evidence is presented to prove it false. My stance on religion is rather simple and straightforward: Religion refers to the belief in a supernatural being, which in and of itself has some form of afterlife may it be the Abrahamic heaven and hell concept, or Hinduism-Buddhism reincarnation cycle. These are all elements I reject, without having the need to dwell on the semantics and the complexities of the definitions.

Religion: The belief in and worship of a superhuman controlling power, esp. a personal God or gods.

Belief: An acceptance that a statement is true or that something exists.

Atheism: The belief that God does not exist.

As an anti-theist, I follow no specific philosophical creed or code, and almost every aspect of my life principle stems from my humanistic journey in life thus far. Granted, there are plenty more out there for me to experience – it’s a work-in-progress.

Therefore, I reject any notion that atheism is a religion, or remotely close to anything resembling it.

As the famous line goes,”Calling Atheism a religion is like calling bald a hair colour.”

What do you think? Atheism, is it a religion?

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Yes, complications in life almost always require our personal guiding hand to amend the wrongs in our human journey.

But sometimes, there are no solutions, no amendments. Life just happens; bad things just happen, very much like the good things. It’s the incessant delusion of man to hope for a remedy, a fix for the unfixable, that leads us down the tormented path of false hope.

It’s not giving up, it’s moving on, moving forward. It’s being courageous enough to accept the chaotic randomness of the world we populate, while understanding that the purpose of life is to first live it to the fullest; understanding and deciphering it is not mandatory.

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Notable Atheist: Roger Ebert

“I know it is coming, and I do not fear it, because I believe there is nothing on the other side of death to fear. I hope to be spared as much pain as possible on the approach path. I was perfectly content before I was born, and I think of death as the same state.” 

“My opinions have been challenged. I had to defend what I believed. I did some more reading. I discovered fractals and Strange Attractors. I wrote an entry about the way I believe in God, which is to say that I do not. Not, at least, in the God that most people mean when they say God. I grant you that if the universe was Caused, there might have been a Causer. But that entity, or force, must by definition be outside space and time; beyond all categories of thought, or non-thought; transcending existence, or non-existence. What is the utility of arguing our “beliefs” about it? What about the awesome possibility that there was no Cause? What if everything…just happened?”

 

“The truth hidden below the surface of the story is a hard one: Nothing makes any sense. We do not get what we deserve. If we are lucky, we get more. If we are unlucky, we get less. Bad things happen to good people and good things happen to bad people. That’s the system. All of our philosophies are a futile attempt to explain it. Let me tell you a story. Not long ago, I was in the middle of a cheerful conversation when I slipped on wet wax, landed hard, and broke bones in my left shoulder. I was in a fool’s paradise of happiness, you see, not realizing that I was working without a net–that in a second my happiness would be rudely interrupted.

I could have hit my head and been killed. Or landed better and not been injured. At best, what we can hope for is a daily reprieve from all of the things that can go wrong. And yet, even so, there is a way to find happiness. That is to be curious about all of the interlocking events that add up to our lives. To notice connections. To be amused or perhaps frightened by the ways things work out. If the universe is indifferent, what a consolation that we are not.”

 

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Mixtape 01/sable

http://8tracks.com/mixes/597518/player_v3

01/sable from Chris_lim on 8tracks.

Wildly off the ungodly path here, but here’s a personal music mix for the world to enjoy.

P.S. I was at St. Jerome’s Laneway Festival over the last few days, hence the downtime on the site. I hope the wonderful tunes will serve as an apology.

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The Struggle of Hamza Kashgari

Saudi Arabian writer and journalist, Hamza Kashgari has been arrested in Malaysia (on Wednesday, 8th of February 2012), while attempting to flee to New Zealand where he was seeking political asylum. He has become a criminal in his own country for comments he made on Twitter deemed insulting to the Prophet Muhammad, despite apologizing and explaining his comments.

On your birthday, I find you wherever I turn. I will say that I have loved aspects of you, hated others, and could not understand many more,” read one of his three tweets that was later deleted.

Another reads: “No Saudi women will go to hell, because it’s impossible to go there twice.

In an interview with the Daily Beast, a US website, Kashgari said: “I was demanding my right to practice the most basic human rights – freedom of expression and thought – so nothing was done in vain.”

Blasphemy is a crime punishable by execution under Saudi Arabia’s strict interpretation of Islamic sharia law.

Malaysian authorities have yet to comment on whether Kashgari would be extradited to Saudi Arabia, but if the decision is made to extradite, death awaits him.

Read more here.

Yet again, religious fanaticism rears its evil head. The persecuted writer merely expressed his personal thoughts on Prophet Muhammad’s teachings, expressing admiration, displeasure, and doubt, while recognizing the misogynist nature of Islam. This is not an issue of atheism versus religion; this is a human rights issue. Is it wrong to express doubt? Aren’t we all merely humans? Is it punishable to stand up for women’s right in a country which treats mothers, sisters, daughters like second-class citizens?

Freedom of speech is at war with religion, unfortunately, the retarded religious masses seem to be winning at the moment.

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Notable Atheist: Björk

Question: “Given the chance, how would you change the world?”

“It’s a big question. Getting rid of religion would be a good start, wouldn’t it? It seems to be causing a lot of havoc.”

 

“I’ve got my own religion, Iceland sets a world-record. The United Nations asked people from all over the world a series of questions. Iceland stuck out on one thing. When we were asked what do we believe, 90% said, ‘ourselves’. I think I’m in that group. If I get into trouble, there’s no God or Allah to sort me out. I have to do it myself.”

“I’ve been reading about reincarnation, and the Buddhists say we come back as animals and they refer to them as lesser beings. Well, animals aren’t lesser beings, they’re just like us. So I say fuck the Buddhists.”

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“Only the very ignorant are perfectly satisfied that they know. To the common man the great problems are easy. He has no trouble in accounting for the universe. He can tell you the origin and destiny of man and the why and wherefore of things. As a rule, he is a believer in special providence, and is egotistic enough to suppose that everything that happens in the universe happens in reference to him.”

Robert Green Ingersoll

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Christians, Coconuts, and Cuckoos

The following tweet was from a Christian nut-job, sent to @GODisNOTrealBRO – who by the way is a solid bloke; follow him on twitter if you fancy seeing a smart person trample all over stupid people.

Christian nut-job tweeted, “Stop wasting your time refuting god when the evidence for his existence sits right there inside a coconut.

The statement above invoked both humour and frustration in me. Humour, because this Christian came to the absurd conclusion that his god must be real since there’s a little bit of tasty liquid inside a coconut. However, once the laughter and comicality settled, frustration seeped in. This is exactly the kind of buffoonery religious people spew to justify this almighty being they want to worship.

Look at all the beauty in the world around you, how can there be no god?

All the wonderful species in the animal kingdom is absolute proof that god exists.

Religious heads such as pastors, priests, imams, swamis, and monks, constantly use nonsensical rhetorical statements to peddle their laughable beliefs. They get away with pseudo-philosophical bullshit simply because they tap into this supernatural realm that people dare not question, no one wants to be blasphemous. It’s the catch-22 of religion’s control mechanism – we can say whatever we want, whenever we want, but question its validity, and god will be angered.

Before we proceed, allow me the words to clarify why in fact the sweet nectar within a coconut has nothing to do with God, Santa Claus, or the Tooth Fairy; with a little help from wiki.answers.com: –

“Why do you think coconut trees live near a beach, a sea, or a ocean? When the dirt is wet the roots absorb the water. Then the water goes through the roots and the tree cleans the water from the salt, which causes the water to enter the coconut. 

But still you are thinking how does the water get in? The stem has a hole. Before you take the coconut off the tree, the coconut has a hole too, so the water goes through the hole and reaches the coconut. 

Finally, one more interesting point to note: younger coconuts have a lot of water and only a little of the white pulp and older coconuts have only a little water and a lot of white pulp. 

The whole process may be termed as osmosis or we can also say this is capillarity.”

What makes this whole Christian-coconut debacle worst is that instead of spending 2.5 seconds on Google searching for the scientific answer of coconut water/juice, this Christian decided to attack an atheist on Twitter with a statement that only proves himself an idiot. He could have utilized the technology Science has blessed him with to seek out the answers in life, but the nut-job decided that that’s a little too difficult, instead focused his time and energy on shouting at those who do not believe the same fairy-tale that he does.

I do not need the bible or Jesus to answer the questions of the world around me, I have Google.

It is frustrating and infuriating; simply because religious people stem from all walks of life. And on the surface, not all of them are utter fools. But then, through this faith system they have established over their lifetime, they have become blinded and narrow-minded. Yes, it is undoubtedly a form of stupidity, but the assumption is that after years of being brainwashed with religious mantra, instead of applying their intelligence to seek out scientific evidence, they fall back on the safety net of “god” and his “wonders”. My personal experiences with religious people whom I call friends have been such, where in most aspects they are quite apt and smart. However, once in a while, they will have a Jesus-slip or an Allah-slip – stolen blatantly from Freudian-slip – which reminds me that they aren’t that smart after all.

Carbon dating is based on a man-made Science, then maybe the Bible is right about the age of the Earth, and the Science is wrong.” I cringed when a close friend muttered those words. Friendship prevented me from slapping him with my leather gloves across his face.

As a child attending Sunday school, I remember my teachers telling me how God created the world and the universe, and he has a purpose for every single thing he created. They make you sing propaganda songs: “he’s got the whole world/in his hands/he’s got the whole world/in his hands”. That can’t be true right? Because if God does have the whole world in his hands, he’s either an irresponsible drunk who cares little for his creations, or an evil comedian with a fetish for hate and destruction.

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Notable Atheist: Rafael Nadal

Almost every bad thing that happens in life comes from some form of radicalism, it only unleashes problems that should be fixed. You are entitled to have your likings, sympathies, beliefs, but you should always respect the opinions of others, never insult them. The same happens with religion. You can be religious, or atheist, christian, muslim… whatever, but I think the atrocities that people committed in the name of religion are too much. For me, religion is the main cause of mortality in history.

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Religious Fanaticism

Excerpt from The Economic Times:”First Salman Rushdie, now Taslima Nasreen – end of cultural tolerance?” 

KOLKATA: The cancellation of the release of controversial author Taslima Nasreen’s autobiography at the famed Kolkata Book Fair has thrown the spotlight on the destructive clout of religious fanatics in a city once known for savouring cultural pluralism.

Last week’s incident, coupled with the Salman Rushdie controversy – when the Booker awardee had to call off his visit and then his much-anticipated video address at the Jaipur Literature Festival following security threats triggered by some Islamic groups’ protest – would go down as another instance of Indian authorities and parties kowtowing before religious rabblerousers.

While the Rushdie episode saw the political parties and the government, in the words of novelist Vikram Seth, “knuckling under” an “enforced disgrace because of power and politics”, the only difference here was that publishers went ahead with the launch of the book at the fair, despite the hostile attitude of organisers.

The seventh volume of Nasreen’s book ” Nirbasan” (Exile), which deals with her life after exile from Kolkata in 2007 and which almost nobody had read before the release, saw religious fundamentalists protesting against the launch.

Hours before the release function, the organisers telephoned the publishers, People’s Book Society, asking them to cancel the programme due to “logistical problems”. But later it transpired that some Islamic groups had approached the authorities and the city police against the book release.

A top official of the organising body, Publishers’ and Book Sellers’ Guild, confirmed the development and stoutly defended its decision to stop the launch.

“We cannot allow any such thing to happen inside the Book Fair premises which can hurt the interest of the common people coming to the fair. We cannot allow anything that may hurt the religious sentiments of any community.”

Be it Jaipur or Kolkata, political parties remained mum or played it safe, ahead of the Uttar Pradesh assembly polls where Muslims will constitute a key vote segment.

Read full article here

How long are we going to allow religious fanatics to dictate what we can or can not do?

Freedom of speech is the freedom to speak freely. The term freedom of expression is sometimes used synonymously, but includes any act of seeking, receiving and imparting information or ideas, regardless of the medium used.

The right to freedom of expression is recognized as a human right under Article 19 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights and recognized in international human rights law in the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights (ICCPR). Article 19 of the ICCPR states that “[e]veryone shall have the right to hold opinions without interference” and “everyone shall have the right to freedom of expression; this right shall include freedom to seek, receive and impart information and ideas of all kinds, regardless of frontiers, either orally, in writing or in print, in the form of art, or through any other media of his choice”. Article 19 goes on to say that the exercise of these rights carries “special duties and responsibilities” and may “therefore be subject to certain restrictions” when necessary “[f]or respect of the rights or reputation of others” or “[f]or the protection of national security or of public order (order public), or of public health or morals”. 

Why is it that we, atheists, humanists, and free-thinkers, must tolerate their religious views, but they won’t tolerate ours?

I am tempted to justify that statement by stating that perhaps they have a lower IQ level, hence making it difficult to form logical and objective analysis. Or maybe, it’s the arrogance of Abrahamic religious texts – Islam, Christianity, and Judaism – that perilously proclaims itself the truth, while mortally condemning all other belief systems.

There is no evidence that this “God” exists – none whatsoever! Religious fanaticism is the equivalent of a child murdering his parents in cold blood because they told him Santa Claus is a fictional character. For governments to give in to such insolence is dangerous, because it provides the fanatics a sense of justification to their lofty beliefs. Religious fanaticism is not a third-world problem, it’s a global issue that’s threatening to silence the intelligent and the rationalist, while celebrating the crazy and the irrational.

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