Archive for November, 2011

Unlike You

November 29, 2011 2 comments

I am an antitheist.
You do not believe as I do, probably.
You would condemn me, for I am…

Pro-human. Pro-animal.
Pro-equal rights for ALL people. Pro-civil liberties.

Pro-freedom of thought. Pro-free speech.
Pro-freedom of the press. Pro-Enlightenment.
Pro-science. Pro-reason.
Pro-education. Pro-consequentialism.
Pro-accountability. Pro-intellectual.
Pro-small business. Pro-honesty.

Pro-empowerment of women. Pro-abortion rights.
Pro-environment. Pro-green energy.
Pro-privacy rights. Pro-sexual freedom.
Pro-secular government. Pro-rule of law.

Pro-religious freedom. Pro-freedom from religion.

Anti-Christianity. NOT Anti-Christian.
Anti-Judaism. NOT Anti-Jew.
Anti-Islam. NOT Anti-Muslim.
Anti-religion. NOT anti-believer.

Anti-religious oppression. Anti-outlawing of religion.

Anti-lies. Anti-excessive force.
Anti-monetized politics. Anti-corruption.
Anti-discrimination. Anti-disenfranchisement.
Anti-stagnation. Anti-isolationism.

Anti-monopoly. Anti-propaganda.
Anti-laziness. Anti-stupidity.
Anti-ignorance. Anti-absolutism.
Anti-quick judgments. Anti-supernatural explanations.
Anti-suppression of information. Anti-religious tyranny.
Anti-thought crime. Anti-suppression of speech.

Anti-human rights violations. Anti-genocide.
Anti-atrocity. Anti-animal cruelty.

…so would you condemn me?
I do not believe as you probably do.
For I am an antitheist.

Categories: Atheism Tags: , ,

The Good Christian

November 14, 2011 Leave a comment

I have a bit of a memory problem, and as such, large chunks of time will simply vanish from my mind until dislodged by some random bit of association. As a result, the timeline of these posts is likely to be a bit scattershot. I will now tell you of the one person I’ve ever known who both wore her Christian faith on her sleeve and was every bit the “good Christian” that they all seem to claim to be.

In early 2001, I found what I truly consider to be my first “real” job. I was working as, basically, technical support for the business-to-business web site of a decently sizable banking institution. I was single, out of school and the schedule was lovely: 12:00 PM to 8:00 PM. Best of all, pay was semi-monthly, meaning that I was paid on the 15th and the last day of each month. This meant that it was simple to set up automatic payments for most of my bills and know that the money would be there. All in all, things were pretty good.

It was a big place, which meant my contacts were mostly limited to members of my own department. One of these was a woman, named Marcia. Contrary to the urgings of the Peanuts center of my brain, this was pronounced as “Mar-see-ah.” She was a black woman, looked to be in her early forties, and rather strikingly defied the walking stereotypes that were on display around the floor. I realize that sounds terrible, but I’ve always felt that if one dislikes stereotypes, one should actively work to prove them wrong, rather than legislate them out of existence. At any rate, Marcia had something of an “Aunt May” sort of vibe to her, though certainly not that old. She did have reading glasses and I recall that she did like the little shawls, though.

Marcia was a very unassuming woman. She was soft-spoken, nice to everyone she met (that I knew of), and simply of a gentle disposition. If office politics were getting to me, she was the one I could speak to for some perspective and a friendly ear. She knew my beliefs and never judged me for them. Her desk was not ostentatiously decorated. She had some pictures of her kids, one Christian devotional quote thingy (one that was of particular significance to her), and that was it. She wore a very simple cross around her neck.

She never presumed to call herself a good Christian. In fact, she never spoke of her faith at all, unless asked. She didn’t even allude to Christianity, other than in the literary sense (suggesting I “extend the olive branch” to someone with whom I was at odds, for some reason or another). I always admired her, and in a maternal sort of way, I think I kind of loved her. She was, in a very real sense, the kind of woman I wished my mother was: always warm and open, non-judgmental and willing to listen. I wish I had not lost contact with her.

I dare say, if all Christians were like Marcia, then the world would genuinely be a better place. There would be no need for the “New Atheist” movement. Perhaps we could still attempt to live and let live. But sadly, I don’t think there is any going back.

Question, Criticize… uh… okay, I’m out of witty alliteration.

November 11, 2011 Leave a comment

First of all, let me say that this is in response to and in support of the sentiment espoused by Maryam Namazie, with her blog entry on the reactions of Muslims to the caricature of Muhammad on the cover of Charles Hedbo.

First, after printing this oh-so-disgusting caricature (really?), they got firebombed… and then, in a move of spectacular attitude, they printed it again, just to prove a point. Personally, I admire their commitment, and wish American publications had this level of journalistic integrity.

It has been said many times, and by wiser men than I, that it is possible to attack the belief without attacking the believer. Personally, since my stance falls more in line with that of Christopher Hitchens, I have no problem with attacking the believer, either… but I digress.

None of these religious beliefs are or should be exempt from mockery or scrutiny. They should not be placed on a pedestal, much less locked in a sealed room where no one can get a close look at them.

I have said before (many times, in fact) during my numerous informal theological debates that religion is merely another set of ideas, and that every idea exists to be challenged and attacked, continually and mercilessly, from every possible angle and in every conceivable way. This can, will and must continue indefinitely. If the idea cannot withstand the assault, it will crumble to dust, as it should. If it can, then it will come out like the end product of a rock tumbler: with the detritus and rough edges gone, polished and beautiful… something that anyone could take out and show to others and say, “Look what I’ve got,” with the same simple, childish joy and pride of ownership that we had as children when we knew we had come into possession of something truly worthwhile.

No aspect of theological thinking, particularly and especially that of the monotheistic religions, can withstanding the kind of attacks that I’ve described above. The faintest touch of reason drops off large chunks of the whole, though the believer will desperately scramble to keep the crumbling edifice together through the force of sheer will, duct tape, and perhaps some Gorilla Glue. The joke is often made of very old cars, “If not for all the rust, I don’t know what would hold that thing together.” The comparison seems very apt, in my mind.

As hard as the theists try to fight back against the Enlightenment values that created the United States (and yet, that the Founding Fathers had to publicly suppress, in order to keep the masses in line), the world is a changing place. You cannot stop people from learning. Not even in an Islamic state.

Eventually, people grow tired of living under the lash. I commend the people at Charles Hebdo for doing what was right, rather than kowtowing to the will of religious zealots. Know that you have one more supporter across the Atlantic.

Categories: Atheism, Internet, Journalism