The organization Recovering From Religion has started a hotline for those who are recovering from religion. This is in response to all of the “…countless emails and phone calls from people seeking help on their journey away from faith, at all hours of the day and night”.
If you are recovering or have recovered from religion, you know how terribly painful a process this can be. Not only are you abandoning a life-long set of beliefs, but you face ostracization from friend, family, and co-workers. You also live with the fear of the negative reactions you may receive when people find out you are an atheist.
I have applied to answer the Hotline and to help out with their Facebook page. If you are recovering from religion, or are an life-long atheists, and want to help, go and apply. It is a great cause that will help the millions who are struggling with losing their religion.
This vile piece of hate came to my attention the other day:
Atheists are not technically human beings (they have no soul) therefore they are not protected by our nations laws and bill of rights.
Now, based on his other tweets, TeaPartyTony is nothing but a hate spewing, racist, misogynistic jerk. I try to avoid these types, but what made this stand out for me was the part about Atheists having no souls.
Given some of Tony’s other tweets, he expects to see atheists burn in hell, but here he says we have no souls, so I guess we can’t go to hell. I doubt Tony sees the conflict between his two statements, but then again, I’m guessing that he probably doesn’t care. In either case, he is putting atheists in a class of people who he considers to be subhuman.
This tactic of declaring those who you dislike as less than human goes back into antiquity. We like to think of ourselves as good people, or at least as adhering to some kind of moral code. To hurt or kill another human goes against most peoples’ moral code, so when they find themselves in conflict with others outside their group they have to find a way to rationalize the hate they feel. They need to make their opponents less than human, less like them. This allows them to resolve the cognitive dissidence that they have to grapple with by treating another person badly.
Religion has a very effective way to dehumanize people. It can claim that the hated group either have no souls, or more commonly, have souls that will be tormented in hell forever. In this way, they become not so much less human, but less worthy of being treated like humans. Using religion to dehumanize someone is even more effective than the usual method of just calling someone inhuman. By claiming that their god has decreed that the hated person(s) are damned, all responsibility for hating, persecuting, hurting, and killing another human begin falls on the god, not his/her/its followers.
It is a very insidious, and very effective, way to justify treating others as less that deserving of the same rights that you have.
Atheists are not technically human beings (they have no soul) therefore they are not protected by our nations laws and bill of rights.
There is a well known example that supporters of science use when refuting the idea of a perfect creator. The example is the laryngeal nerve. This nerve supplies motor function and sensation to the larynx. What is unusual about it is that, even though the larynx is located in the throat in most invertebrates, it follows a path down from the throat, into the chest, and back up to the brain, rather than the shorter and more obvious route of going straight from the throat and up to the brain.
In referring to Richard Dawkins use of the laryngeal nerve argument, Wikipedia states:
“The extreme detour of this nerve (over fifteen feet in giraffes) is cited as evidence of evolution as opposed to intelligent design. The nerve’s route would have been direct in the fish-like ancestors of modern tetrapods, traveling from the brain, past the heart, to the gills (as it does in modern fish). Over the course of evolution, as the neck extended and the heart became lower in the body, the laryngeal nerve was caught on the wrong side of the heart. Natural selection gradually lengthened the nerve by tiny increments to accommodate, resulting in the absurdly circuitous route now observed, which, if designed, could only be described as unintelligent.”
I’ve heard this argument against intelligent design given many times and in different ways, some more effective than others, but as is often the case, humor and satire can serve to drive the point home much better than any physical evidence or well articulated argument can.
Jonathan Rosenberg draws the funny, topical, and skeptical Scenes From A Multiverse. Today’s installment address this particular augment with great hilarity and precision. It is a perfect surgical strike against the idea of a perfect creator, and leaves us with the conclusion that god either does not exist or, if he does, is just plain stupid. The next to the last panel says it all.
I think that the one of the most compelling reasons that I have chosen not be believe in any supernatural god(s) can best be summed up by the picture below. Look at it. Think really hard about it. If you do you will begin to understand what lead me to shed my supersitious beliefs.
By hull612 (Otherwise known as Jon)
I was browsing my favorite art site, deviantart.com, a few days ago and came across this painting. A nicely done picture of Jesus titled, My Best Friend. My tollerence of bullshit was very low at that particular time (lower than it ususlly is!). In a fit of pique I left a simple, harsh, comment, “I’m sorry”.
Today, the artist who made that picture sent me a note. Here is the exchange:
i read your comment on my work.,my best friend,….and this has many interpretations…
may i ask your reason for being sorry…so that i may comment accordingly my friend…I’m sorry that your best friend is someone who doesn’t exist, or at least who you can’t see, touch, or hear. I believe that this life is precious and that it is all that we are sure that we have. For me, to put emotions into something that you can’t be sure is there is a waste. It does you and the people around you a disservice. By expending time, emotion, and even love on something that may or may not be real takes that time, emotion, and love away from the people around you who need it here, now.
I am not trying to say that you shouldn’t believe in Jesus, but you live in this world with people who love you and need you. Make the most of it and give yourself and those you love every minute you have, every bit of love that you can. If after doing this, you feel you still have time and energy left for Jesus, great. But to say that he is your best friend is an insult to your real friends, who are here now and who need you.
My last post, Hitler – The Last Refuge of a Theist, seems to have hit a nerve among skeptics and atheists. I’ve seem some excellent comments regarding the truth about Hitler and his supposed support of Darwin and evolution. Among them is the following outstanding comment from fribnit.
“The single “scholarly” work of which I am aware that promotes a Darwin-Hitler connection is a piece of propaganda funded by an “Intelligent Design” promoting group called Discovery. The book, called From Darwin to Hitler by an “Historian” named Richard Weikart, is widely discredited as nothing more than propaganda.
As stated above, the Nazi’s burned Origin of the Species. Evolution was among the areas of scientific study derided by Hitler as “Jew Science”. Interesting in that Darwin was not Jewish.
It offends me deeply when someone uses the Hitler card in such a patently false manner, intended to discredit with guilt by association.
As Jay points out, Hitler self identified as a Christian. He felt that “The Almighty” guided and approved of his actions. Certainly the Christian-Hitler connection is much stronger than any supposed Darwin-Hitler connection.
I do not blame “Christianity” for the actions of Hitler and the Nazi scum, nor do I blame “Christianity” for the atrocities of the KKK, who also consider themselves “God Fearing Christians”. I don’t even blame “Christianity” for the Spanish Inquisition (Hundreds of years before Darwin) or the Crusades. I hold as responsible the people that conceived and committed these atrocities.
Long before Darwin, The Greeks and Romans and many others, considered themselves separate races from, and superior to, other people on the planet. Long before Darwin people of a variety of races considered other races to be less than human and tried to eliminate or enslave them. Human history is littered with attempts at genocide.
Believing in Intelligent Design or Creationism in the face of all the SCIENTIFIC evidence to the contrary is a remarkable exercise in willful blindness.
Trying to discredit Evolution by claiming it inspired one of the greatest atrocities in the history of man is vile and despicable and a pathetic attempt to defend the indefensible: “Intelligent Design”.”:
There are several very good points made here. Hitler did self-identify as a Christian and did, if we can believe his written and spoken words, that the “Almighty” was guiding him and supporting him.
The Nazis did burn copies of On Origin of Species and considered evolution a “Jewish” science. Burning copies of a book that describes a theory you supposedly support is incomprehensible.
Eugenics is not based on Darwin’s theory of evolution by natural selection, but rather artificial selection, or breeding. Just as humans have bred animals for thousands of years, Hitler and his cohorts believed that they could breed better humans and even set up communities where Aryan men and women were paired, married and had children. A major goal of the Holocaust was not just to kill the Jews and other “undesirables”, but to remove them completely from the human gene pool by both exterminating those who existed and breeding the various percentages out of these genes out of the remaining population.
This type of evolutionary selection is anything but natural, which is what Darwin’s theory is all about. Those who wish to use the Nazi example of eugenics against evolution show a gross lack of understanding of Darwin’s theory of evolution by natural selection and of history.
To compare Darwin and his theory of evolution by natural selection to Hitler and the Holocaust is intellectually dishonest and reprehensible. It is a desperate ploy by people who can find no reasonable and cogent arguments to support their religious beliefs. It shows the narrowness of their world view and the smallness of the intellect.
My childhood friend who was upset about my trashing of the bible as a source for moral authority has now commented on my Happy Darwin Day post:
|Kerry D. Fitts commented on your post.
Kerry wrote: “don’t forget to credit Darwin with the nazi’s and the Holocaust Hitler was a big fan of darwin and his eugenics”
Ah, bringing up Hitler and the Nazis, the last refuge of scoundrels. Oh, wait, that is patriotism, we are talking about religion and science. We could apply Goodwin’s law, but I’m not sure that really applies. Still, dragging the Nazis into it is always bad form, unless you are discussing history.
I say to you, Kerry, that what hitler believed or promoted from his understanding of evolution is immaterial to wether Darwin or evolution is correct or bad.
Hitler also used Christianity and his Christian beliefs to justify almost everything about his regime. Check out these quotes by Hitler to find out just how prominent a role Hitler gave Christianity in his words and deeds.
Based on these copious quotes should I then say that Jesus and Christianity should be given credit for the Nazis and the holocaust as well? If anything, the prevailing Christian belief that the Jews were Christ killers is and was at the core of the anti-semitism that produced the horrors of the holocaust.
The fact that you seem to feel so threatened by a scientist and a scientific theory that you would stoop so low as playing the Nazi card shows me that you are deeply affected by cognitive dissonance caused by your religious beliefs. It is obviously pointless to continue discussing these topics with you as you are too entrenched in your dogma to make them productive.
A dear friend of mine posted some disturbing videos from Indonesia of people being stoned to death for one religious offense or another on her Facebook profile to highlight the terrible violence that religion continues to inspire. She changed her profile photo to
I found what I consider to be a much more accurate version of the Coexist sign above,
*by http://dailyatheist.deviantart.com/. Used with permission.
I’m not a graphic artist, but I’m sure if I had the talent I could come up with other signs that contained more “truthiness” that the Coexist one.
Of course, the Coexist message represents something to strive for and as such it serves its purpose well. If religious coexistence was a fact, we wouldn’t need the logo in the first place.
While I fully support efforts for peoples of all faith to coexist, my feelings, as I said in my response to one of the videos, is that to coexist we must see each other as fellow humans, not as believers and unbelievers and until we can throw off all vestiges of religions, that can never happen. As long as people allow religion to guide how they live their lives, the violence and hatred will continue. That doesn’t mean we shouldn’t try, but we need to be realistic about just how insidious the influence of religion really is and how very difficult it will be to change that.
A childhood friend on FB responded to my post, The Bible is the Literal Word of God; Except When Its Not. Here is what he said:
“have you read the Bible? or are you simply regurgitating ignorance from others? I have offered answers, yet I have not been taken up on this. Again, it is very irresponsible to propagate unsubstantiated opinions. Why this venom towards Christians and the Bible? If you wish to be an athiest be one, that is your right. Why the all out war on the belief of others. What is freethinking? Oh just freedom to think apart from responsibility and accountablity? Freedom from any form of religious thinking? Maybe free thinking should be folks who examine an issue and think for themselves. Not simply robots who cannot originate a though for themselves. Freethinking is a misnomer”
Yes, I’ve read the bible, cover to cover, at least twice, and many parts of it, the New Testament especially, many, many times over the years. It was this almost continual reading of the bible that made me see more and more contradictions that I just couldn’t rationalize away. Then I studied the history of the writing of the New Testament, how there were originally hundreds of gospels and competing camps of bishops supporting one version of the theology against the others. I learned about the political machinations that took place to arrive at the New Testament we have now. It was, totally and completely, cover to cover, created to fulfill political agendas of the most powerful bishops and the rulers who backed them.
Why do I have such venom toward the bible and the people who misuse it (I refuse to lump all Christians into one group as this would be irresponsible)? Ask Madeline Neumann, a 12-year-old girl whose parents, based on their religion, allowed her to die of diabetic ketoacidosis rather than save her life by allowing physicians to administer insulin and fluids. They thought prayer would save her. It didn’t. Ask the thousands of people who have been killed over the last 2000 years for their refusal to follow the prevailing version of Christianity. Ask the irresponsible ministers and political leaders who wish to brand homosexuals as immoral, second-class citizens. Ask the 156,000,000 women who’s reproductive organs are held hostage by a religiously motivated white, male, privileged class of cretins.
I wage an all out war on anything that conspires to take rights away from people. That includes holier-than-thou Christians, militant, closed minded Muslims, Zionistic Jews willing to steal and kill to get their land, white supremacists who wish to overthrow the U.S Government, wide-eyed, white, privileged Greenpeace and PETA people who would rater see millions starve and die of disease than allow GM foods and medicines tested on animals be developed that could save countless lives.
Christianity is my main focus because, almost without exception, all of the people in this country right now who would seek to take rights away from others self-identify as Christians and claim that their sense of morality comes from their religion. If things change and the largest group of privileged people in power become Muslims or Hindus or Wiccans, I’ll fight them just as loudly and forcefully.
I don’t claim to be able to tell people how to live their lives. As long as no one is being harmed, taken advantage of, or being forced either by law or by custom to kowtow to some group’s beliefs, then I say let people believe whatever they like. You can believe in God and Jesus, you can believe that Homosexuals will go to hell, but keep that belief within your churches and homes, don’t force it on others.
I don’t go door to door trying to get people not to believe in God. I don’t support any law that would outlaw any kind of religion or religious belief. I don’t lobby for my personal beliefs to be the law of the land, but don’t try to tell me that Christians aren’t doing that every day, in every town and state in the country. When the Christian majority (and yes, you are well over a 70% majority) tries to tell the rest of us what we can do and say and believe and think, then yes, I will fight for my rights and the rights of everyone else who are forced to listen to people tell us we are less American and less patriotic than they are because we don’t believe in their god. This country was founded on religious freedom (freedom for and from religion) and freedom of conscience, not on Christianity or any other religion. Yes, I will fight for that kicking and screaming, every fucking step of the way.