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The World is Changing, Get Over It. August 29, 2010

Posted by jetson in Personal.
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I simply cannot let my personal views on gods and religions go as public as I would like. But one day, I hope I can stand shoulder to shoulder with anyone, and be a non-believer, without fear of ridicule. I’ve been told that post-modernism is creating too much change within society, and that this change is immoral, or at least bad. The changes are things like same-sex marriage (equal rights for consenting legal adults), abortion (a woman’s right to control what happens to her own body), and the building of Mosques in New York City (which I happen to think is a really bad idea, and I do not support it at all).

Immigration is another point of contention. Our great country, our melting pot that used to welcome everyone, has become intolerant to pretty much anything that many consider wrong, bad, or immoral. And where do they get these views? The Bible! Or the Koran, in the case of Muslims. Yes, we all have to bow to the superior morals and teachings of some religious group (overwhelmingly Christian in the USA.) Apparently, we all have to sit back and pay close attention to those Christians, as they obviously know what is best for us all.

I have my own message for these morally superior Christians. The world is changing, get over it. The real problem here is that they don’t like things changing. They truly want everything to be “the way it used to be”, whatever that is (and boy is it different for each of them!) I say, too bad Christians, you are not the boss of me, or of anyone. And the fact that you don’t like something is fairly unimportant on the grand scheme. Big deal, I say. Get over yourselves.

This country is NOT a Christian nation. It is a mix of religions. Christianity is popular here, I get it. But that’s about where it ends. Keep your Christian beliefs, and your Muslim beliefs, and all other forms of dogmatic thinking and ancient mythology, to yourselves. Nobody cares what you think, any more than they care what I think, as a non-believer. The difference from where I stand, is that I have no intention of asking Christians or Muslims to behave differently because I don’t agree with them. I want them to enjoy their beliefs, and LEAVE EVERYONE ELSE ALONE. If you don’t like the United States, go find your own country – this one DOES NOT BELONG TO YOU.

You see how that works? Christians, you don’t own this country. Period. You can’t even get your own religion together to the extent that each Christian denomination agrees with each other. Leave the rest of us alone, for God’s sake! If I was going to get on my knees and pray, I would pray that your God would send you all a message to behave, and to live, and let live. Isn’t that what Jesus was all about? (don’t answer that!)

Anyway, the United States is changing. It has always been changing. It is changing because people and attitudes are changing. Things are NOT the way they used to be, precisely because PEOPLE are not what they used to be. In fact, if recent studies that show a rise in non-belief, or abandonment of religion are true, I would say that people are tired of being told how to act based on mythology, and invisible sky characters. People are tired of hearing the bigotry and hatred against homosexuals, and they are tired of being told that everything they do is a sin. They are tired of allowing Islamic extremists to impose Sharia law on otherwise innocent humans. It’s all very, very sick, and very sad.

I KNOW I am a good person. I don’t sin, I never have. I make mistakes, just like everyone else. I learn how to be a better person by making adjustments to my behaviors and attitudes, and by maturing over time. I try to teach others, like my child, how to think, and how to consider the world around them. I support any activity that attempts to remove unnecessary division created by dogmas and stupid ideologies.

The world is changing. We have a black president from a mixed parent family. We have women on the Supreme Court. We have states that fully support and recognize that consenting adults should be allowed to be married, just like everyone else. These things are not open to debate on whether they are good. They are simply the right thing to do. No one has moral superiority no matter what group they are in. But everyone has the capacity, and should have the ability to allow each of us to live peacefully among each other without ridicule and harm.

Get over yourselves, you’re truly embarrassing to the human race if you can’t.

What Would Jesus Think? August 15, 2010

Posted by jetson in Personal.
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What would Jesus think about the state of Christianity today? Well, to be honest, that’s not even a proper question, since it is quite clear that Jesus never intended to create this thing called “Christianity”, and have it split up into more than 38,000 sects, each having the truth about Jesus’ message.

I’m not a biblical scholar, nor am I a historian, or an archaeologist. I’m just someone who was born into a family that loosely held onto Roman Catholicism as its church. I went to church, sunday school, and eventually through each of the seven sacraments deemed important to that denomination. More recently in my life, I’ve realized that all gods throughout history are from the imaginations of humans – including God of The Bible and, depending on which sect you follow, Jesus the son of the God, and the actual god of The Bible (no, it wasn’t meant to make any sense.)

Anyway, for the sake of argument, I can agree that Jesus was a human who wandered in a region of our planet preaching the word of the god he believed in – just as hundreds of others were doing at that time. Specifically, if you follow the historians and true biblical scholars, Jesus preached that one should love God, abide by The Law (the Old Testament Law), and prepare for the coming Kingdom of God. He was apocalyptic – the end of the material world was coming. To me, he was deluded, just like all the other humans who believed in these types of prophecies. So how did we end up where we are today?

God had his chosen people in the Old Testament. God led these people from slavery to the promised land. Along the way, God commanded these chosen people to slaughter cities, and to take whatever they needed along the way. And suddenly, there was Jesus. Of course, the Jewish believers were unimpressed. And apparently, none of the contemporary historians had much to say about Jesus either. With the exception of the Gospels, written decades after the death of Jesus, there is almost no written words regarding the activities of the human named Jesus – the man that some claim was God himself. Jesus only came to let people know about God.

He never proclaimed that the next 2,000 years were to be used to build Christianity, fight for the religion, kill non-believers, and generally create massive division among humans all across the planet. The murders of millions of people over the years are not the message that Jesus brought. Those things were done because of misguided humans who used scripture to determine who should live and who should be murdered. Sure, there are plenty of bizarre commands throughout scripture that could be used to support murder. But the message from Jesus, as most churches would agree, was love – and the golden rule. Turn the other cheek. Let he who is without sin, cast the first stone.

It is my personal opinion that Jesus did not preach to create a new religion called Christianity. Rather, Christianity was created by those who were convinced that Jesus was actually God. And they did so with force, in many cases throughout history. The blood of millions is on the hands of those men who made it their mission to murder people who did not agree with them, or who did not follow their interpretations of scripture. Jesus, if he was real, was a simple preacher for the god he believed was real. Saying he was actually god does not change what he did while he was here. It reinforces the delusion that people espouse when they don’t know the facts.

Moreover, there was no New Testament to speak of when Jesus was around. It took another three hundred years to finally settle on the books that comprise the New Testament. That in itself speaks volumes to the idea that it was humans who could not agree to the words that many claim are divine! Jesus uttered many phrases, apparently, and those phrases were written down by memory, by some authors. What are the chances that those utterances were remembered as they were actually spoken, decades after the fact, from indirect “witnesses”?

While Christianity has obviously spread and become the largest religion on the planet, it has also created more division among it’s own believers than any other religion. This cannot possibly be what Jesus was trying to do with his ministry. One would think that if Jesus truly wanted to create a religion, and call it Christianity, he would have said so in no uncertain terms. Where is it written in scripture that Jesus wanted Catholics, Protestants, Baptists, Seventh Day Adventists, Mormons, and all of the rest of the denominations? Where is it written that Christianity was to replace Judaism as the one true religion?

I can almost feel sorry for the Jews in this case. They had their book, they had their god, and then along came the people after Jesus died. Historically, Christianity is a split from Judaism. It really is that simple when looked at academically. And given the fact that their book is called the New Testament, it is even more obvious that the new book was designed to replace, or at best augment the Old Testament (no, I don’t agree with the OT prophecies, they are far too vague and weak to be considered worthy of recognition.)

Christianity will be around long after I am gone, I’m sure. The division will also remain, and if one were to model the splitting into denominations and sects, one could easily argue that the division among Christians will get worse. I have not personally met any Christians who even consider the massive number who disagree on scripture to be problematic. They honestly never give it much thought, is my guess. And why should they? They have their church, their preachers, and their own beliefs. So why would they be concerned about what everyone else believes?

Far be it from an atheist to stick his nose into other peoples beliefs and business regarding the delusion that their god is the one true god. But given the fact that Christianity claims to provide the answers to eternal life, or eternal damnation and hellfire, I would think that any reasonable Christian who wants to make it to heaven would be at least a little bit concerned about who Jesus really was, and what he really wanted while he was preaching. Of course, dropping the delusion altogether is another option, joining the ranks of horrible people like myself in the everlasting lake of fire that is sure to come at the end of my life!

Jesus would probably be quite disgusted if he were to see where his ministry has led us today. Then again, if he is God, he already knows! See you all in hell!

Is Religion a Pre-requisite for Morality? May 13, 2010

Posted by jetson in Personal.
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Here I go again, assuming there is a god, in order to have a discussion! Anyway, let’s take a look at this question and see where it leads. I have heard from many Christians who believe that God provides them with a moral base for their lives. Some even go as far as practically admitting that without God, they would be unable to act morally? I find that almost impossible to believe. Although, I have had two otherwise normal friends, who said that if God asked them to kill a baby, they would do it. To be fair, they had no choice but to assume that their “real” God was “really” asking them to do such a thing, and thus, they chose to submit. How they can distinguish a real God command from their own imaginations is beyond me.

I like to ask believers if there is anything good that a Christian can do, that cannot also be done by a non-believer. The intent of the question is to challenge them on human acts of kindness, as an example. So the challenge would be to name an act of kindness, or goodness, that physically cannot be done by one who has no god belief. I have yet to hear a single response outside of some things that are done as part of a church ritual or service, which the non-believer could easily do, but chooses not to be involved in church services. However, even those actions don’t hold anything morally superior over others outside of that belief system.

Non-believers are free to take any action they choose, without regard for specific church rules or restrictions on such actions, so you could almost argue that there may be some actions that a non-believer could do, which would be frowned upon by some churches. However, if the church deems it a bad thing, or inappropriate in some way, they would never acknowledge the act being good if done by a non-believer. What if an atheist was handing out condoms in a poverty-stricken area of Africa, resulting in fewer cases of aids through heterosexual contact between married couples? The Catholic church has deemed this a sin, and tells these people that the use of condoms is a sin. No matter what your church leaders say, they simply cannot continue to ignore the fact that using condoms saves lives in these areas.

I think I can argue that religion is not a pre-requisite for morality. Even if a person gains a set of morals through religious indoctrination early in their life, if they drop their god belief, or switch to a completely different religion, they do not automatically start behaving immorally. I have directly challenged some progressive Christian friends on this issue. They have no basis whatsoever to claim that I am less moral than they are, yet they argue their case as though they do have that superiority. They know me, and they know that they cannot directly challenge my morals simply because I claim no god belief. Yet, I sense that they silently claim victory.

The truth is, there is simply no credible evidence that non-believers are less moral. Unless non-belief itself is categorized as immoral, then we have to also consider that moral sets from one religion to the next are not the same, so each religious group gets to claim moral superiority over everyone else! This is an issue that comes up a lot in internet discussions, and it saddens me to think that modern humans still believe that people can’t possibly behave without religion.

Why Did God Create the Universe? May 7, 2010

Posted by jetson in Personal.
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If you have never given much serious thought to the size of the known universe, you really should. It is staggering, almost beyond belief. It is difficult to imagine the sub-microscopic planet we live in when it comes to how it compares to the rest of the known universe. I don’t know how to even begint to explain it, really. I’m not sure I could really do it justice.

Some of the greatest minds of modern time have pondered the question “why are we here?”. For many humans, this question seems to invoke some level of “spiritual” consideration. There must be a reason why humans are here. But is that reason any different than why giraffes are here? Do people really think that humans are so much more important than giraffes, in some grand scheme? I think they do believe this. And I think they feel justified, simply because they asked the question, and the giraffe, apparently, has not.

If God (character from The Bible) created the entire universe, and everything in it, including the planet we live on, there must have been a reason. God must have wanted this universe. Did God have a purpose, or a mission, or something in mind when he decided to create this universe, and subsequently, this earth – with us humans asking why? If everything happens for a reason, then there must be a reason that God created the universe and everything in it. Does anyone know what the reason is?

Many claim that we humans cannot know the mind of God (ignoring the fact that those same humans seem to actually know the mind of God). If we cannot know, then isn’t it true that we can only guess? Is it even important to know Gods reason for creating the universe and everything in it? Let’s see…

  • God created the universe because he wanted to?
  • God needed humans to worship him?
  • God was lonely?
  • God created humans because humans need God?
  • I’ll stop there because I think this question is best answered by those who believe God created the universe, and understand exactly why. Let’s get some feedback!

    Deeply Offensive March 28, 2010

    Posted by jetson in Personal.
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    I have heard this phrase tossed about in debates and discussions over religious beliefs, or the lack of religious beliefs. My bias tends to see the phrase tossed at atheists more often than the other way around. “When you attack Christianity, it is deeply offensive to Christians.” This is an example of something I might read in the forums and blogs. What exactly does the phrase “deeply offensive” really mean though?

    It’s not hard to agree that there are grades of offensive. A sentiment can easily be more or less offensive, perhaps on a sliding scale from least to most. The problem though, is that I don’t see many atheists spewing real hatred or vitriol in their dialogues. I know it happens, but it is certainly a minority of atheists who are just mean and hateful people. I think that when someone uses the phrase “deeply offensive”, it is a way of trying to dissuade or belittle a person for attacking or not respecting their personal beliefs.

    Personal beliefs are not something that deserve respect. Let me repeat that. You personal opinions and beliefs do not deserve respect. Respect must be earned. And it is not earned by holding a belief! Earning respect for your beliefs is actually very easy. Rule number one; don’t expect respect. If you hold a personal belief, such as a belief in a particular god, it will not be respected by everyone. In fact, some people who believe in a different god will be offended! Yes, offended!

    I am not personally offended by peoples personal god beliefs. I am offended when they use those beliefs to act or behave in a way that is superior to other humans. You see, when you are “deeply offended” by one who doesn’t agree with your personal beliefs, then you must feel that you are superior to them, or you must feel that they think they are superior to you in some way. Why else would something be deeply offensive? If a Muslim does not believe that Jesus is God, then should a Christian be deeply offended? I don’t think so. I think the Christian should go on believing that Jesus is God. The Muslim could be deeply offended that Christians are placing a human as a god!

    Deeply offensive, when it comes to personal religious beliefs is a very weak position for a true believer to take. It directly challenges their beliefs. It makes the believer appear to be unsure of their own beliefs, to the point that they must proclaim they are “deeply offended”. On the other hand, as an atheist, I am deeply offended when religion enters into the secular aspects and laws of societies. I am deeply offended when real action is taken on behalf of personal beliefs, such as real hatred and ridicule of homosexuals, or laws that directly exclude certain people from benefits based on personal beliefs. These things are examples of real action on behalf of personal beliefs. You see, atheists are in no religious camps, demanding respect for their personal beliefs. They are simply responding to the real actions taking place throughout the world, where religious dogma interferes with society in a way that is, well, deeply offensive!

    Same Sex Marriage March 7, 2010

    Posted by jetson in Personal.
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    The year is 2010. Exactly 4,410 years since the first recorded homosexual couple in history.

    From Wikipedia: (Link)

    The first recorded homosexual couple in history is commonly regarded as Khnumhotep and Niankhkhnum, an Egyptian male couple, who lived around the 2400 BCE. The pair are portrayed in a nose-kissing position, the most intimate pose in Egyptian art, surrounded by what appear to be their heirs.

    Certainly there were homosexual relationships prior to that. Homosexuality is generally accepted in modern societies among consensual adults of a legal age (depends on legal ages of the country). What is not accepted is marriage beween these same consenting adults. Yes, progress is being made, but it is still not generally accepted. The question then, is why? What stops governments from enacting equal rights to marriage between couples of the same gender? What is at the core of this issue? Religion.

    Of course this is a blog, and I am not an expert, so this is simply my opinion. But honestly, I see no other compelling argument against same sex marriage outside of objections based on religious beliefs, rules, laws, or commandments. I have not heard one single argument that isn’t based on dogma that proclaims some level of moral decay as a result of anything related to same sex marriage. This is where I separate myself from any person who is against same sex marriage.

    I have friends who are gay. I speak to them on a regular basis. I have fantastic relationships with these friends for one reason – they are flesh and blood, just like me, and they are close friends. I love them as friends, and I would do anything for them, just as I would any other close friend. That’s what friends are, and that’s what they do. They are not heterosexual, but apart from that, they are literally no different than any other human being. To me, the same sex marriage issue has a face. There are real, kind, friendly, loving people behind this issue. Many are Christians! (yes, gays can believe in Christ, and He accepts them equally as He does anyone else.)

    I realize there are plenty of religious groups that support same sex marriage who are just as bothered by the bigotry shown by their fellow believers, but that’s not good enough. Human cultures and societies have changed over time, and while one could believe that things are getting worse, would they be willing to go back to a time in human history where things were supposedly better? They would have to be willing to give up what they have in this modern society and live within the rules and constraints of a time that is more to their liking. How about they go back and live in pre-Biblical times, say prior to 2400 BCE, where there was no recorded history of homosexual relationships?

    I didn’t think so.

    Creationists, You Were Lied To February 6, 2010

    Posted by jetson in Personal.
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    I feel sorry for some of you, but not for those of you who remain steadfastly ignorant, on purpose, of how life has evolved on our planet. The ones I feel sorry for are young children who are being deliberately lied to by people who think that the stories in Genesis reflect the actual truth about how the world and its life came to be, by the hand of their god. As a parent, I find it reprehensible that some parents allow their children to be dogmatically and religiously indoctrinated into a system of mythology and superstition that requires absolute suspension of disbelief, in order to hold on to their warm blanket of God.

    Richard Dawkins has said that believing that the earth is less than ten thousand years old is equivalent to believing that the distance between New York and San Francisco is less than ten meters. That is a scale of ignorance that defies logic, even to a young child. Yet every day, children are lied to, on purpose, by people who think they are doing right by their god, that they are somehow defending the honor of their god by plugging their ears whenever observable reality steps in and say’s hello.

    If you still want to believe that a god worked its magic and created everything, I can’t stop you, nor would I want to. But I will actively voice my opinion and concern when you deliberately lie to children by teaching them that something written by an unknown story teller, thousands of years ago, before humans learned what shape the planet is, is a fact. And when you teach them that science is wrong, and that science is atheist, or that science hates gods, or any other conflation between what real scientists have learned and contributed to humanity, you show your willingness to actually lie to your own children. For these things I will always speak out, and remind creationists that they were lied to by someone.

    We can remove the ignorance that has spread over the most powerful and free country in all of humanity if we just stop allowing mythology and superstition to insert itself where it does not belong. If parents want to take their children to church, and teach them about their religious beliefs, I have no problem at all with that (although I think that children should always be allowed to decide about religion when they are old enough to decide on their own.) Just keep your religion out of the public education system, stop worrying about what science is doing if you don’t care to embrace it, and don’t lie to your children on purpose just to defend your personal superstitions. It’s embarrassing as a fellow human to see this happening.

    God Can Defend Himself January 28, 2010

    Posted by jetson in Personal.
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    I read a lot of opinions and thoughts in the various blogs and forums that I frequent. I just picked up on the idea that God, if real, can certainly defend himself against any kind of opposition in the world. Seriously, if he is all powerful, the last thing he needs is a pack of apologists running around trying to defend him against those who don’t believe. I mean how much harm can I possibly do as an outspoken atheist? I don’t really have any original thoughts on atheism. I’m just regurgitating much of what I have heard, felt, or been exposed to.

    The pettiness of humans and their thoughts about God points out how ridiculous it would be to imagine that a real god needs to be defended by his followers. Maybe to God, an atheist is just like a little baby who isn’t getting his way, and is throwing a temper tantrum. If that is true, then surely it doesn’t help to have believers rally to God’s aid, verbally vomiting their beliefs across the bow of the blasphemous in an attempt to look good in Gods eyes. What a sad picture that brings up.

    I am an atheist. God is not real. God cannot possibly hurt me because he is an imaginary invention of human beings who have a strong need to believe that there is some divine meaning to our existence. God is an idea, and it’s not a particularly good idea either. There is literally nothing good that a believer can do that a non-believer cannot also do. No god is necessary to be a decent member of the society one lives in. God, if he were actually real, probably gets a great chuckle out of people like me, down here acting like I know what’s going on. Like a father who laughs at the first act of defiance from his young child!

    Trust me, God needs no help from his faithful flock of followers. An insignificant little infidel like me is not going to make one single bit of difference in Gods plans. In fact, I will go wholly and completely unnoticed by God.

    Finding God January 25, 2010

    Posted by jetson in Personal.
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    If one cannot find God on their own, then surely there is no God.

    The Irony of Intelligent Design January 17, 2010

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    I was watching some videos recently where an evolutionary biologist, and a doctor were discussing “intelligent design”. The first thing that struck me was the fact that the human body is often described as “designed”, or as “a machine.” This tends to subconsciously create the idea that there is a specific intent in the current human design, as though it has a blue print. Machines have blue prints, humans, not so much. We have a genome, and unless both doctors in the video are wrong, the genome is not a blue print, simply because there isn’t a single blue print. And also because there is no such thing as a “normal” genome that each human follows.

    The other idea that they touched on rather eloquently, was the fact that human mammals have flaws, that when taken at face value, would frankly be sent back to the manufacturer as defective – had they been designed and created according to some accurate blue print. When intelligent design proponents talk about the human eye, and claim that it must have had a designer, they fail to completely understand the useful mechanics of translating light into an image, such as with a camera, and how the human eye has multiple failures in comparison. For example, the human eye has a blind spot. This blind spot has a cause, which points to a flaw in its design, when compared to a camera lens for example, or when compared to other animals without a similar flaw.

    Another problem mentioned in the video was back pain, as a result of walking upright and not having a properly evolved backbone to sustain such a posture for our entire lifespan. There are plenty of other areas where the human body is clearly lacking when compared firstly to other animals, and then compared to actual machines, where design and manufacture by blueprint is a standard that the recipient of the machine has every right to demand be correct!

    The irony is that a simple understanding of the fragile human body, with its strengths, weaknesses, beauty, ugliness, and obvious shortcomings in many unfortunate cases, is that any god that is capable of creating a universe and everything in it, should be held accountable for the poor design and workmanship evident in humans. If God designed humans, then perhaps we need some sort of return policy, trade-in policy, or better yet, a replacement policy when things don’t turn out right for us individually with respect to our “perfectly designed” bodies.

    Disclaimer: I am not an evolutionary biologist, nor am I a doctor, so the above blog represents my opinion only. When it comes to claiming that some god designed me, as a human, I don’t need to be an expert to see the poor design, feel the back pain, go get glasses to adjust my failing eyesight, or see the evidence of diseases, infections, and birth-defects that this “perfectly deigned” god supposedly created. I am living proof that humans are a direct result of evolution, just like all life on our lonely planet.