Thursday, August 29, 2013

Hate God?

If you ever have the delightful experience of meeting a theist who claims that you just hate god, you can say:

"I don't hate god, I hate irrationality."

We have to remember that our ideas are superior to those of the religious.  Superior both intellectually and morally.  When dealing with believers, almost all of whom are wildly and grossly prejudiced against us, just keep returning to those ideas.  Truth and rationality will always be superior to irrationality.  It just takes more time for some people to see this.

Wednesday, August 28, 2013


Here, in my usual nutshell form, is my reason for thinking that atheism is actually the true path to "enlightenment".

"You already are one with the universe, you just don't know it.  Enlightenment is realizing it."

Atheists know this, though I don't know how many of them have actually realized it consciously.  If they give it the thought it deserves, I think they will see that this is true.  We are all simply a manifestation of the universe.

We living beings are what happens in the universe when the conditions are right.  In some of the instances of life, a lifeform may become sufficiently aware and intelligent to realize what he or she truly is:  A bit of dust granted the temporary privilege of consciousness; the universe waking up to take a look at itself.

Once one realizes this truth, the petty struggles of mankind seem foolish at best, monstrous at worst.

Tuesday, August 27, 2013

Newton, the Fanatic

I recently published two posts concerning Isaac Newton's character and proper place in intellectual history based on the BBC documentary, Newton:  The Dark Heretic, about his life and less well known works.  Often held up by believers as an example of a "smart" believer, Newton actually illustrates some rather disturbing things about religion and the harm it has done over the centuries.

Much of what Newton accomplished can be attributed to his religious fanaticism.  Apparently, he worked on his academic pursuits every waking minute as a way of keeping his mind off temptations of the flesh.  This propensity of his is very common amongst the most religious (the fanatics).

This is where the "smart" believers originate.  Generally, they are not so much intelligent as very well educated.  Their achievements come from their complete dedication to academic pursuits.  They achieve this complete dedication by pouring all their sexual energy (and their egos) into their studies.

This is one of the dirty secrets of religion.  Religions achieve power both by numbers of adherents and by the positions those adherents occupy in their society.  Teaching that sexual urges are inherently evil causes many in the flock to sublimate those urges and use them to drive other achievements that can help the church.

Those who cannot resist the urges are encouraged to marry and have as many children as possible.

Thus, the church uses the most powerful of urges to further its own cause at the expense of the members of the flock.  They are convinced to either dedicate their entire lives to achieving power on behalf of the church or to raising more members for the church.  Either way, their entire lives are essentially taken by the church--to the detriment not only of the church members but to the detriment of society as a whole.

Those who achieve power are there largely to engage in systematic discrimination in an effort to further the interests of the church.  Those who become breeders have caused our world to become overpopulated, which threatens the well-being of all of us.

This relentless, remorseless, manipulative quest for power helps explain why so many religions are obsessed with sex.  Religions obsessed with sex are more likely to survive and achieve power in a society for the reasons I mention above.

Monday, August 26, 2013

Believe In Nothing II

In my previous post on this topic I suggested that one response to the charge that "atheists don't believe in anything" is to say that we believe in reality.  It occurred to me recently that this response lacks sufficient emotional punch, in part because it is circular (i.e., assumes that atheists are right and that our view is reality) and, more important, because it lacks a moral aspect to counter the moral condemnation implicit in the "believe in nothing" accusation leveled at us.

So, I would like to suggest that a better response is:

"Atheists believe in the truth."

That is our primary concern:  Is the assertion at issue true.  Concern for truth is moral and is morally superior over any view that does not concern itself with the truth.  Of course, if you continue the conversation with a believer after using this reply, you will have to explain to him why this is an accurate statement about atheists but not about religious people. 

Accepting a proposition on faith is, by definition, not a determination based on an assessment of its truth.

Sunday, August 25, 2013

What's Wrong With Theocracy?

Many times when I mention the threat posed by the religious right in America, I get a dismissive response.  The thinking usually seems to be that if we just give the theocrats some school prayer and vouchers and overturn Roe v. Wade for awhile that will keep them happy.  This seems quite bad enough to me, but even more disturbing is the full implication of tearing down the wall of separation between church and state:  We must remember that religious notions of power are universal.

So, if you meet someone who doubts whether separation of church and state is really that important, just point out:

"Once you give someone arbitrary power, you have given him all power."

Religion is a limitless theory.  It covers whatever the members of the religion say it covers, and does so in the way they say is right.

That's bad enough for a supposed hypothesis of fact, but when you turn it into a political theory, it's clear you are proposing giving someone arbitrary and capricious power over all aspects of your existence.

Newton, the Narcissist

In my earlier post on the many disquieting things one learns about Isaac Newton from his private writings I provided a link to a BBC documentary regarding his life as revealed in his private writings.  One of the things revealed was the extent to which Newton was a classic case of religion as an expression of pathological narcissism.

Newton, it seems, was convinced that he was chosen by god to learn god's secrets.  Thus, his obsessive study of alchemy, mathematics, and the solar system were a product of his devotion to the god that had "chosen" him to perform these tasks.

In the link provided in my previous post, there is a quotation from the producer of the documentary that is quite revealing but not contained in the documentary itself:
"Producer Malcolm Neaum says: 'Newton prayed daily for the end of the world which he believed would herald the Second Coming of Christ. This would usher in the 1000 year rule of the Saints and Newton believed he would then take his place as Chief Saint.'"

Saturday, August 24, 2013

Newton, the Heretic

In their vain attempts to prove that religious belief isn't limited to those with limited intellects, religious people often point to Isaac Newton to prove their point.  As I pointed out previously in my post on this subject, Newton had to be religious because he lived in a time and place that was wildly intolerant of those who were not.

For this reason, it was inevitable that any early scientist in European history would be religious.  It was virtually impossible to survive at all if one were not--much less get an education and be able to publish one's works.

In fact, Newton lived in an age where even disagreements that seem minor to most people living today could result in the ruin of a career or a life--and could even result in the death penalty.

Newton himself provides an example of this.  He came to believe that the doctrine of the Trinity was untrue, a later imposition upon Christianity by the early Catholic Church.  This made him guilty of heresy (which is just Greek for choosing to think for yourself).  He had to keep this opinion to himself until he was on his death bed because revealing it would have ruined him or even resulted in his death.

Newton was also a dedicated alchemist.  One might even say that he was obsessive in his pursuit of alchemy.  These aspects of Newton's life are explored in the BBC documentary "Newton:  The Dark Heretic".

The documentary explains that Newton's hagiographers convinced the world that he was the first of the age of reason.  This was only possible, however, because most of his writings were in his own secret code and kept from the public.

In 1936, many of his previously unpublished (and perhaps never even previously read by others) were sold at auction.  The economist John Maynard Keynes bought a large number of them.  After breaking Newton's code, he was shocked to discover that Newton was not the man of reason that Keynes and many others thought him to be.  Keynes said of him:

"Newton was not the first of the age of reason, he was the last of the magicians."

Tuesday, August 20, 2013


Today is Earth Overshoot Day.  For those who haven't heard of it, Earth Overshoot Day is the day in the year on which human consumption of the earth's resources exceeds the amount the earth can replenish within the year.  In other words, the day on which we began to consume our children's legacy, the very future of the planet as a viable home for mankind.  With each passing year, this day comes earlier and earlier, which bodes ill for the future of mankind.

Once again, I am wondering how anyone can claim to be pro-life when he or she supports practices and policies that threaten the very future of mankind.  It seems to me that those who seem to be working toward the extinction of mankind (not to mention a huge number of other species) cannot accurately call themselves pro-life.

Tuesday, August 13, 2013

A Film Clip About the Origins of Christianity

Below is a film clip that I found on YouTube the other day.  It lays out a plausible theory that Christianity and other religions originating in the Middle East are based on early Sun worship and astrology.  I cannot vouch for the credibility of the factual assertions.  In fact, I suspect that some may be hyperbole or wishful thinking.  The film is, however, quite illuminating and entertaining. 

One thing that I noticed about the points put forth in the film that was apparently not noticed by the writers and producers is the connection between an apparent mistranslation of one of Jesus' prophecies and current events, specifically global warming.

The film points out that when Jesus supposedly said that he would be with "us" to the end of time was actually a mistranslation.  The word used in the original text, "aeon", is better translated as "age" or "era".  Thus, what Jesus actually said was that he would be with us until the end of the age.

That point is significant because, as the film points out, Jesus was born at the beginning of the astrological age of Pisces, which will end around the year 2150.  At that time the age of Aquarius will begin.  Remember the Fifth Dimension song of the same name?  (Also, used in the Broadway show and movie "Hair".)

According to the song, in the age of Aquarius "peace will guide the planet and love will steer the stars".

The filmmakers did note that the symbol for Christianity is a fish and for Pisces is two fish (and they mention Jesus feeding a multitude--supposedly--with two fish and five loaves).  What they did not mention is that because of global warming many parts of the Earth may well be flooded by the year 2150--the beginning of the Age of Aquarius, which is the water sign.

If atheism were a religion, and I were superstitious, I might claim that this was a prophecy that Christianity would disappear around that time.  In fact, it may well disappear around that time because humanity may begin to realize that global warming and the resulting flooding and other forms of harm are a direct result of religion's influence on history.

After all, were it not for religion no one would be debating whether birth control should be used.  It is clear that our world is overpopulated and that global warming, not to mention the utter inability of our society to acknowledge it and make plans to stop it, is a direct result.

"Peace will guide the planet and love will steer the stars".  Hmm. . .  sounds like a prophecy of the end of religion to me!  If only. 

Here is the film.  Enjoy:

Friday, August 9, 2013


The essential difference between religious people and non-believers is that non-believers want information while religious people merely want confirmation.  In particular, they want the confirmation of others.  They make confirmation bias into an active world view.  In fact, it is usually one of the primary tenets of their religion that they should not seek information or think about things independently.

Non-believers, on the other hand, want to know the truth, even if it means learning they were wrong.  This is the primary reason that it is a waste of time to debate religious people--unless you are doing it for the benefit of a third party audience that might contain people with more open minds.  Non-believers and believers simply have different definitions of the point of the debate.  They define "winning" the debate differently.

If you are ever accused of being "unwilling to debate", "unwilling to listen", or "being close-minded", you can respond with:

"Non-believers seek information, believers seek confirmation.  Therefore, it is a waste of my time to debate you.  You are not looking for the truth."

You can also say:

"A person who takes things on faith is, by definition, close-minded.  That's you, not me."

Wednesday, August 7, 2013

The Lie that Nazism Was an Atheistic Movement VIII

Below is a very brief film clip from "Hitler: Tyrant of Terror" showing German soldiers swearing loyalty to Hitler.  Notice they swear "by god" and the oath is a "holy oath".  This is not the sort of thing one would expect from an atheist regime.  Not at all.


Science Deniers

I recently came across an article in Salon about the scientific method and those who deny its validity.  It's an excellent article.  Here is a bit that outlines its core thesis:

"People learned that science, as a tool, as a lens to create an upside-down way of looking at the world, made life better. Your natural tendency is to start from a conclusion and work backward to confirm your assumptions, but the scientific method drives down the wrong side of the road and tries to disconfirm your assumptions. A couple of centuries back people began to catch on to the fact that looking for disconfirming evidence was a better way to conduct research than proceeding from common belief. They saw that eliminating suspicions caused the outline of the truth to emerge. Once your forefathers and foremothers realized that this approach generated results, in a few generations your species went from burning witches and drinking mercury to mapping the human genome and playing golf on the moon."

The article is actually an excerpt from a new book by David McRaney, "You Are Now Less Dumb."  It sounds like it might be worth buying.  The author also has a blog called "You Are Not So Smart" and a previous book with the same name as his blog.

Monday, August 5, 2013

The Nature of God

I have mentioned before that the god of the bible and koran sounds like a psychopathic boyfriend who should be subject to a restraining order.  I recently came across this graphic making the same point and thought I would share it:

Have no one before me

Friday, August 2, 2013

A Real Christian Is Intolerant

One of the phenomena associated with religion that, frankly, makes me laugh, is the tendency of believers to accidentally speak the truth on occasion.  Most of the time they stick to the talking points provided by their leaders so as not to alienate the public.  On occasion, however, the truth slips out.  Such an occasion occurred during one of the "Atheist Experience" webcasts.  (If you are not familiar with these programs, I highly recommend them.  They are often quite entertaining in the "Fundies say the darnedest things" kind of way.)

In this case, the caller apparently did not realize what he was actually saying until the panelists laughed at him.  Though, in fact, what he said is not a laughing matter.  We all need to take it deadly seriously.  I am sure the panelists were simply amazed that he would actually say such a thing out loud, which is the same reason I laugh at such incidents.

What the caller said was that if a person is not intolerant, then he is not a real Christian.  Listen for yourself.  The video I am inserting here is on Youtube and is quite brief.

Thursday, August 1, 2013

The Golden Rule

One of the most pernicious aspects of religion is its claim to be the source of morality.  It is this false claim that is used to support its vicious bigotry and its specious claims to the right to power over others.  This claim is so baseless that it is a wonder anyone believes it.  Like religion itself, however, it survives by dint of repetition and childhood brainwashing.

Not too long ago, I came across a video of the religion writer, Karen Armstrong, asserting indignantly in a talk at a TED conference that religion is a force for good.

Ms. Armstrong, along with many others, tried to redeem religion by claiming that it is the source of the golden rule.  Yet, her presentation undermined her point by mentioning that Confucianism may have been the first tradition to express the golden rule.

Unfortunately for her argument, Confucianism is not a religion in the usual sense of the word.  It does not feature a belief in the supernatural or a supernatural entity.  It is a philosophy.  Confucius was not a religious leader in any sense.  He was merely a successful Chinese bureaucrat who became renowned for his wisdom and perspicacity. 

The fact that Confucius formulated the golden rule (500 years before Christ) without the help of divine inspiration or fear of divine retribution should make quite clear that it is a notion we can all understand and arrive at independently of any belief in the supernatural.

"Religion doesn't give us the golden rule.  The golden rule is just common sense and has been around longer than the religions that try to claim it as their own." 

What one sees with religions is that while they all spout the golden rule on occasion, they riddle it with exceptions--sometimes arbitrary, capricious, and cruel exceptions.  More damningly, religion creates an divide between the members of a religion and everyone else in the world, which causes the believers to see outsiders as bad and not entitled to the same treatment as those in their church. 

The history of religion shows rather clearly that this divide nullifies the golden rule with regard to those outside the believer's particular religion.  In fact, many religious doctrines and the preachments supporting them seem to be nothing more than thinly veiled ploys to demonize everyone outside that particular church.

"Religion gives people a way to get around the golden rule and still feel like they have done nothing wrong."

This aspect of religion is what makes it so useful to the psychopaths in the flock (often including the clergy).  By effectively nullifying the golden rule, religion turns the flock into a mob that can then be directed by its manipulative leaders to attack anyone the leaders choose.  Because they have been convinced that the golden rule doesn't really apply to whomever they are told to target, the members of the flock happily ignore it. 

In addition, usually the leaders of the flock will convince its members that morality requires that the "others" be punished.  This allows the members of the flock to attack with unrestrained fury.  The flock will often consist of bullies and others with emotional issues who are often only too happy to find a target for their repressed rage (more on this in a later post).

Thus, another potential response is to say:

"Religion allows religious and political leaders to manipulate others into committing atrocities and then console themselves afterward with the notion that it was necessary or that they have been forgiven."