Tuesday, July 1, 2014

Do ideas have rights? Hobby Lobby/Rant Edition

With the Supreme Court ruling in favor of Hobby Lobby today, I can't stop asking myself a few questions about its broad implications. As an atheist, I don't hold a belief in a god or gods. By the same token and contrary to popular belief in Christian circles, my atheism is not a system of belief. I look at it as a base position or neutral ground. I assume nothing and live my life accordingly. But with the ruling today I keep asking myself when is it OK for the rights of the religious to trump those of other religions or non-religious people? I haven't given it much thought yet and I am still contemplating but a few notable things did occur to me.

Monday, December 9, 2013

Belief is Overrated

Sometimes the best intro is no intro. With that said, something has been on my mind a lot as of late and I have to talk about it. Belief or faith is severely overrated. According to Dictionary.com both belief and faith have similar meanings, "confidence in the truth or existence of something not immediately susceptible to rigorous proof." or in the case of faith, no proof at all. Without hard evidence both belief and faith can be outright rejected. There must be some quantifiable reason or evidence to support your belief. If not then I don't even need a reason to not believe it. As the late Christopher Hitchens so profoundly put it, "What can be asserted without evidence can be dismissed without evidence." But I feel the implications of "Hitchens' Razor" go far beyond the scope of the religious debate it is centered around.

When I look at the current state of politics in DC, it literally makes me queasy. It is filled with nothing but demagogues, ideologues, and true believers. People so utterly and wholly entrenched in their brand of political dogma, that even whispering or muttering the word compromise can get you fired. People so rooted and fixed to one belief that the idea of working together is anathema to all political parties. But why? To answer that I think I need to step on some toes and give you two numbers. 9 and 25.

The current approval rating of our United States Congress is, getting ready for this, 9%! Let that sink in for a moment. Now I normally don't trust most polls outright but the fact that this number is so low would say to me that it might have some validity to it. Now let's move on to the next number by asking a question. Knowing that the current congress approval rating sits somewhere around 9%, what would you say is the retention rate of sitting Congress members from this last election? You guessed it, 95%! How is this even possible? Which brings me to the stepping on some toes part. A mixture of faith, belief, and gullibility. These political hucksters take advantage of America's credulity and willingness to trust. What has our credulity bought us? Take a look around. And if you are in the 9%, then there is nothing I can say anyway.

The massive problem with this is it fosters a tremendous unwillingness to change and without change you become stagnant and out of touch. Welcome to America. We are slowly falling behind in almost any "measurable".

All of this reminds me of a current documentary called Inequality for All. The movie points out how the income disparity is bad for the economy and America in general. He makes a good case for why but a scant but biased view of how to fix it. I know Michael Shermer's book, The Believing Brain, goes into the science behind why we believe what we do but the more I think about belief itself I find it useless. Sure it's fine to believe that income inequality is bad for the economy and we can admit we have a problem. But because we are so entrenched in our political beliefs we are unwilling to tackle the problem objectively, following the evidence where it leads. Social Security could and most likely will bankrupt us according to current projections but we simply won't fix it because of our unwillingness to look outside the box and be objective about the problem.

I could really go on and on about this but I feel like I've made my point. What is belief if it isn't supported by evidence? Nothing. Useless, nothing.

Monday, June 3, 2013

I'll go easy ...sorta ...maybe...

Two years ago I hit a wall. I wanted to delve into my own personal reasons of why I had lost my faith but it went no where. After announcing that I would being doing some introspection I thought to myself how would it sound? What do I include? The whole story or just small snippets of major events? I really couldn't decide on a format. I was pretty much creatively cock blocked by my own mind. Two years later, I realized why I had such a hard time doing so. Context.

Saturday, June 1, 2013

Holy F@#%!!! Has it really been 2 years?

I don't know if it's the epic orchestration of horns, strings, voices, synths and drums by Jo Blankenburg along with the also massively epic badassery of Two Steps From Hell but I am currently feeling a bit nostalgic. But if I have learned anything from my past, it's that memories can be deceiving. So I guess I am feeling a bit ironic ...or something or rather. But I digress.

Damn! Has it really been two full years since I've blogged about anything? Crazy. As any blogging atheist knows, the internets are full of us mad bloggers. So I guess being lost in the fray of us baby eating atheist bloggers I decided to take a break from the blogosphere. Not that it matters. I never really wanted to use this as a mode of reaching out to fundies and other Christians and change their minds. It was really about me. Writing was always about a release. Catharsis. If anyone knows me and my surroundings they would understand why. While I do not live in the Bible Belt or any other hot bed for Bible thumping and alter boy diddling--I actually live in Washington State about 40 miles south of Seattle just outside of Tacoma--I am heavily surrounded by beliebers or believers or whatever they call themselves.

Which actually brings me to my point and purpose of, well, writing. Well it's actually my two year silence or absence that's my point. Now I am confused. It's what is contained in that two years of nothingness that actually has me doing what I love to do. Which is writing if you haven't guessed already. Ready? Cue massive anti-climax. Family. This past two years I have spent a great deal of time with my family and I have learned a whole shit sack of new things to know about my family. Vague I know but it'll make sense sooner or later, maybe.

The last time I wrote a blog post on here it was about introspection and why and how I lost my faith. I was what I called a "bubble" Christian and watched my world implode into one big doody pile. But I never really had any context. Why did it happen? Why me? When I looked at my family they were practically all still firm Bible totin', dino ridin' Jesus lovin' Christians. So I spent this last two years talking to my family trying to finger out why the guy in the $6000 dollar suit lost his faith but his family didn't C'MON! After two years, I am still searching and confused.

Not that it was all in vain because I did learn quite a bit of good stuff but I'm still not fully satisfied because frankly it makes no sense to me maybe with the exception of my mother why these people haven't lost their faith when they can see everything I see and sympathize with my position. So before I delve into my introspection I would like to share some context and personal stories about my family and why to this day they do not "waiver" in their faith and why I have come out of this even more strong in my decision to leave mine behind.

Tuesday, January 4, 2011

Mega Belief: Introspection

After watching Evid3nc3's deconversion videos on YouTube over and over again I feel compelled to do a series of blogs. In this particular set of videos the author posits the idea that the reason why it is so hard for Christians to "deconvert" is because their belief isn't one giant all-inclusive belief, but, instead it is a series of smaller beliefs. I liken this to a balloon compared to a building. The more air you fill the balloon with the bigger it gets. But if you take any sharp object like a needle you can pop the balloon with ease. Now there are some Christians who are like balloons and in return are extremely fragile. With one sharp argument for atheism or against Christianity, you can pop their beliefs.  

While there are some Christians out there that have belief structures that are built like giant balloons, I would venture to say that the majority of them are more like buildings. Where you have smaller support structures that prop up your beliefs called your "Mega belief". If you take out a support beam, sure you get some structural damage but nothing to serious. In other words you can keep on in your belief. Now, you take out several beams over time and your building or Mega belief begins to fall apart.

As a quick side note I would like to make another distinction between the two. Balloons are incredibly thin walled and highly susceptible to popping contrasted with the thick, rugged exterior of a building that can withstand earthquakes and hurricanes.

I was a balloon Christian. I threw all my beliefs into one big pile until, JENGA!, it all came tumbling down. I crashed and burned hard. I didn't know what to do. I was lost. With no comfort blanket in hand I decided to move on and keep digging and pressing for the truth no matter what kind of pain or despair it brought upon me. I guess in the eyes of an atheist I was the lucky one. I didn't have to continue in my delusions any more. I could embrace the world as it was and is. But thats not how it panned out. I didn't embrace atheism right away. I explored its merits and found it to be the best position to hold about a year later. It gave me room to grow and learn. It gave me the oppurtunity to be wrong and keep seeking the truth. This might seem ridiculous but atheism drove me to become a building type Christian.

I know that is confusing so let me try and explain. Before becoming an atheist, I was an extremely fragile balloon Christian ready to pop. It wasn't until my beliefs popped did I know about other arguments for theism or in this case Christianity. So atheism helped me build a building only to tear it down. I could also say atheism made me a stronger more intelligent Christian and gave me reasons not to believe at the same time. I was discovering Christianity and atheism at the same time and in the end atheism was the stronger case.

In part 2 of this post I will explore my main reasons of disbelief and Christianity's objections.

Devin, VoD

Sunday, December 5, 2010

*Facepalm*

Some people just don't get it.  Here is a recent exchange on Facebook I had with a couple of Christian friends.

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

UNapologetics: Does God Create Evil?

About a year before I started traveling down my road towards atheism, I was in the extreme Christian minority--some might even call it the fringe. I belonged to a group of people who believed that God created all evil in this world. We even had biblical proof! I was pretty sure alot of people were familiar with Isaiah 45:7 where God says, "I make peace and create evil." But to my surprise I was completely wrong. When I would show my fundy friends this verse they would all decry and denegrate me saying I was taking said verse out of context. Being used to the accusation of taking things out of context, I just told them that if they had an alternate explanation they would like to elucidate by all means the floor was theirs. And of course they had nothing on the spot. But a couple of days later the friends I had showed the verse to said they had the answer. They had printed out a page off of the apologetics website CARM. I was extremely familiar with CARM. I used to peruse their website looking for things to critique and debate. So without further adieu here is the alternate explanation I was presented with.

Friday, February 19, 2010

Divine Confusion

As a Christian I used to view alot of things in a subjective manner or simply put, through the lens of Christianity. Especially when it came to things like Christian doctrine. I used to be infatuated with perusing Christian websites, trying to find the slightest error in their doctrines. I can remember going to the Christian apologetics website, CARM, and emailing them nasty, scornful letters telling them how wrong they were.

Friday, January 29, 2010

A Material World: Rejecting Miracles

I have often been asked or have asked my self even the question what if the Bible was historically accurate and consistent, would that be enough evidence?

Well lets say for a moment that there are no problems that plague the Bible. There are no problems with inconsistencies or contradictions. There are no problems with historicity. For the sake of argument lets say the Bible is a completely reliable text. Would that be enough?

Tuesday, January 26, 2010

Logically Rejecting Paul

If you would, I would like you to imagine something with me right now (I promise it won't take long)...

I want you to imagine your local pastor or church leader. It can be a he or a she but for the sake of redundancy I will be using a he. He must be a devout, pious follower of Christ. Some one you have known to be trustworthy and honest your whole church life. Now one Sunday morning your pastor comes up to the pulpit and anounces he will be leaving you. And sure enough to your surprise he is gone the next day.

Now imagine three years later your pastor returning to only stay with you for 15 days. During this time he vaguely talks about having visions. He expresses doubt and concern for his faith for reasons he did not reveal. Then he up and leaves once again.