Tag Archives: humanist

Common Misconceptions About Atheists and Atheism

Atheism has been garnering plenty of attention lately, mainly negative attention due to its position that disparages the beliefs of more than 80% of the world population. There are many outspoken Atheists – Dawkins, Harris, and the late Christopher Hitchens to name a few – but Atheism remains very much an anathema within society. Spirituality, along with superstitions, is revered above all else, and to deny it is to declare war on personal beliefs. In this “war”, many absurd claims have been made about Atheists and Atheism. It is important that we confute these claims, filtering out the stupidity and foolishness just so we can move on to issues of actual significance.

Atheists eat babies
Probably the most ridiculous of all claims, but nonetheless, as an Atheist, I’ve learnt to turn every baffling statement into humour. This myth has its origins in blood libel, which is the (Christian/Catholic) false accusation that enemies of Christ murder children for ritualistic purposes. Christianity has a strong vampire-blood-flesh fetish, so it’s no surprise that the negative antipode of their claims would revolve around the exact same fetish.

A little note to theists, if you are inviting me over for dinner, I like my babies medium-rare, preferably with a side of steamed carrots and cauliflower, lightly salted. Thank you.

Yummy!

Atheists are satanist, devil worshippers
From an Atheist’s perspective, god – especially the Abrahimaic versions of god – is the bigger devil than the devil himself. He is misogynistic, homophobic, murderous, and cruel; all round not a very nice bloke. Not to burst the religious bubble or anything, but Atheism assumes the convincing position that there are no deities or any supernatural beings, which would include Satan or the devil. However, if I tried extremely hard to be stupid, I could understand the logic of this claim:  it originates from the religious arrogance that concludes if you deny god, you are on the devil’s side.

Atheists hate god
I’ll keep this sweet and short: We can’t hate an entity that does not exist; but the idea of god, along with the various fictionalized doctrines, will receive universal criticism from Atheists because of its detrimental effect on the human race.

Atheists are immoral
Morality (and its origins) is probably the most heavily-debated topic between the religious and the non-religious. I’ll shamelessly allow the words of Sam Harris to make this point for me, because he speaks my mind on this matter, a little more eloquently.

If a person doesn’t already understand that cruelty is wrong, he won’t discover this by reading the Bible or the Koran — as these books are bursting with celebrations of cruelty, both human and divine. We do not get our morality from religion. We decide what is good in our good books by recourse to moral intuitions that are (at some level) hard-wired in us and that have been refined by thousands of years of thinking about the causes and possibilities of human happiness.

We have made considerable moral progress over the years, and we didn’t make this progress by reading the Bible or the Koran more closely. Both books condone the practice of slavery — and yet every civilized human being now recognizes that slavery is an abomination. Whatever is good in scripture — like the golden rule — can be valued for its ethical wisdom without our believing that it was handed down to us by the creator of the universe.

On a more personal note, my experience with charity has shown me that Agnostics and Atheists tend to be more helpful than religious people. The religious herd tend to have conditions attached to their morality, riddled with hypocritical questions such as, “Are the orphans Christians/Muslims?”

Atheism is a religion
I wrote about this a while back (link). To reiterate my view on this:

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

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“I don’t teach children religion because I refuse to impart something that’s littered with doubt. Only give children certainty. Life will provide them with all the doubt they’ll ever need. I shouldn’t contribute to that.”

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Why Do I Care?

A few weeks ago, someone asked me: Why do you care about what religious people think? Why can’t you just go on living your life, letting people believe what they want to? Why must you attack and fight against religion? 

About five or six years ago, while I was still a student at Carleton University (Ottawa, Canada), I attended an exhibition and talk on Female Genital Mutilation (FGM) at the university. I can’t recall the details of the event – the date or the organizers – but there was something I could never forget. There was this one photo of a young girl, probably aged 9 or 10 years old, sitting in a pool of blood and urine, with a discarded razor not far away. What bothered me was that the girl wasn’t crying, the salt lines of dried tears were visible on her face, but there was something horrifying in her eyes – they were dead and hollow.

I wasn’t vocal about my anti-religious stance back then, and neither did I become one right after that experience. As the years passed, I began rationalizing the world around me, coming to the conclusion that I am an Anti-Theist and a Humanist. Throughout this journey of discovery, I never forgot that horrifying image of that little girl. The eyes, those morbid eyes, never left me.

I am no hero or saviour, nor do I intend to be one. However, if there’s even one person in this world being subjected to such abhorrent evil, we must care. We must fight against it, we must annihilate the source of this injustice. There are many more malfeasance being perpetrated by religion – rape, murder, slavery, oppression, homophobia, and genocide, to name a few. I must oppose these moral crimes, not because I hate religion, but because I cherish humanity. If we don’t care for the weak and the innocent, the helpless and the oppressed, who will then? God? I don’t think so.

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Reason Rally: The Power of Reason and People

On March 24th, 2012, Washington, D.C. hosted the world’s largest secular event. The Reason Rally is a movement-wide event sponsored by the country’s major secular organizations. The intent is to unify, energize, and embolden secular people nationwide, while dispelling the negative opinions held by a religiously-biased society.

Here are the two best quotes from the event, in my opinion.

Adam Savage, host of MythBusters:

“I have concluded through careful, empirical analysis and much thought that somebody is looking out for me. Keeping track of what I think about things, forgiving me when I do less then I ought, giving me strength to shoot for more than I think I am capable of. I believe they know everything that I do and think and they still love me and I’ve concluded after careful consideration that this person keeping score is me.”

Richard Dawkins

“How is it conceivable that the laws of physics should conspire together without guidance, without direction, without any intelligence to bring us into the world? Now we do have intelligence. Intelligence comes into the world, comes into the universe late. It’s come into the world through our brains and maybe other brains in the universe. Now at last — finally — after 4 billion years of evolution we have the opportunity to bring some intelligent design into the world. We need intelligent design. We need to intelligently design our morals, our ethics, our politics, our society. We need to intelligently design the way we run our lives, not look back to scrolls — I was going to say ancient scrolls, they’re not even very ancient, about 800 BC the book of Genesis was written. I am often accused of expressing contempt and despising religious people. I don’t despise religious people; I despise what they stand for.”

A tribute video to Christopher Hitchens that was broadcasted at the rally.

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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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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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