Category Archives: apostasy

Oppression

Oppression

The lot of a not quite smart animal just bright enough to pick the least hazardous path toward the future, oppression builds as societies age and politicians wrestle to gain power and control. America has apparently reached an age where the importance of watchfulness is important. Of paramount importance, of course, is to know what to look for and why.

The typical atheist’s regard for religion is despisement. I believe that results from misapprehension of the ties between religion, politics, and the never-ending struggle for power and control. The misapprehension is not just an American failing, it is worldwide. It originates in the mind games the rich and powerful play against all the layers of humanity they consider to be “beneath” them. They may have been born with that status already in place but they still shit the same as you, and need to wipe the same way, too. Their status rises from our acceptance, their own, plus whatever blood may have been shed or deals have been made to buy it. That is true across the board, for the wealthy, religions, and politicians, with few exceptions.

A more correct view of religion would show it, politicians, the greedy rich, and every form of priest, unburdening our pockets of everything of value we may once have hidden there. Never take me at just my word. Listen to, and analyze, their every word. Don’t choose gullibility. Practice healthy skepticism. Ask questions and Google for answers. What would it look like for him to be lying?– telling the truth?– the opposite of the truth? What do I have for verification? How did I learn to trust that source?

We oppress ourselves as much by believing false information as by every other means. Not every politician, rich or religious person, banker, priest, preacher or rabbi harbors dishonest aims. Most may, in fact, be known to uphold the highest of scruples. Observe to learn: what do your leaders harp on? Do they express worry about their followers backsliding or jumping ship? If your initial indoctrination was much the same as theirs, it will be harder for you to spot the holes in their logic. Of what do they accuse people? An old saying warns us, “for every finger pointed in accusation, four point at the accuser.” It is hard to think one’s own side might be wrong in any way, but nobody is perfect. Check: which side is pointing fingers? Do they have facts on their side?— or do they depend on rabble-rousers to stir emotions in their crowds while offering little of substance.

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Objective Morality

pigsingR

Objective Morality

What I have been reading about under that label does not deserve its credits. Objectivity requires a measurable condition be present for testing. That which cannot, in some verifiable way, be compared against a discernible standard cannot be deemed objective. The problem with finding that standard for morality results from poorly defined and misunderstood terminology.

First, we must define what we mean by “morality” with words available to common understanding from a good dictionary. What we find there boils down to three more words: motivation and concern as relevant to behavior.

The religious appear to have the easier pass with “Do as God instructs” but, since no god named God has ever been shown to be present, people are forced to acquiesce to the thousands of stand-ins purporting to speak for it, a circumstance that leaves believers with mixed messages to puzzle through and no definite standard to guide them and no way to verify. Even the important instruction, to rely on faith, the basis on which the whole setup depends in order to avoid accreditation as a scam, cannot be verified beyond the unsourced written script. No wonder statistics show them to be many times less moral than atheists.

That, along with the history and real-time observations of their behavior, leaves no other choice but to conclude that the morality religionists pose as objective (observable, measurable), if it exists at all, is subjective (of internal origin, imaginary, prejudiced), originated in some unknown ancient person’s head. That it gives undue attention to that which offends a god rather than that which causes actual harm, loss or injury, implies they are more about worshiping the god than about morality.

Since the Jesus character effectively nullifies honoring parents in the New Testament, that one can’t count. Yes, the remaining Nine Commandments tell you not to kill, but you still have to eat and they don’t tell you what. It will offend your neighbor if you covet his wife, or his ass, but you can kiss both if lust does not get into your heart. The heart is not the body part to look at for a demonstration of lust. Since, in most places, that part is required to remain hidden in mixed company, how can that be considered objective? If the reason for morality is only to hide “dirty” impulses and cover the the dirt crust on your body, the religious interest adds only maintaining appearances to their moral edicts. The only current source of validated, verifiable instruction aimed at good behavior will be found in a secular book of ethics.

Written entirely with OPEN OFFICE.

No Sin

NoSinR

No Sin

Words like sin, evil or morality are often resisted by atheists, who are apt to see them as something that, like the god named God, has no demonstrated existence. The common good seems easily discerned, enough so that adults accept it for the most part. We all recognize good and bad behavior and most of us could describe it with little effort; those who can’t will agree or disagree with others’ descriptions with ease. How does that happen?

Sin, evil, morality, values, principles are words. Words mean things to those who read and hear them. The conversation becomes lopsided when one side refuses to recognize terms the other side spouts with impunity. Sin and evil are powerful words, poignant with churchly suggestions of ethereal meddling. Secular people ought to love them and revel in the powerful expressions they enable, but we resist. Why?

The reasons, I think, are threefold: Conflation, resistance to metaphors, and the incomplete picture of existence most people have, thanks to the archaic dogma normal to our cultures.

  1. Conflation: the mixing together of secular and supernatural concerns is an unfortunate byproduct of religion that guarantees that most religious “knowledge” is erroneous.

  2. Metaphors: picture-words can be accurately used or made to lead others astray. It seems like blasphemy against the idea of atheism to refuse this powerful tool to defend against constant attacks by those using religion to shield their political agendas.

  3. 4-d existence: We can present events and processes as 4-dimensional existences because a complete picture requires a display of their time-lines. Understanding anything anything as 4-dimensional grants acknowledgment of its existence. It does not deny anything about ourselves, but requires that we be shown as a complex assemblage of events and processes, each running its own course.

  4. We need to update our dispersal of knowledge; the public’s information and misinformation about science is now absorbed, rather than taught, from such sources as advertising, movies, politicians, games and the like, which bodes ill against a correct common awareness of facts from which the average person can benefit by making informed decisions and better choices. No one will do a web search for something of which they are unaware.

Written entirely with OPEN OFFICE.

No Sin

NoSinR

No Sin

Words like sin, evil or morality are often resisted by atheists, who are apt to see them as something that, like the god named God, has no demonstrated existence. The common good seems easily discerned, enough so that adults accept it for the most part. We all recognize good and bad behavior and most of us could describe it with little effort; those who can’t will agree or disagree with others’ descriptions with ease. How does that happen?

Sin, evil, morality, values, principles are words. Words mean things to those who read and hear them. The conversation becomes lopsided when one side refuses to recognize terms the other side spouts with impunity. Sin and evil are powerful words, poignant with churchly suggestions of ethereal meddling. Secular people ought to love them and revel in the powerful expressions they enable, but we resist. Why?

The reasons, I think, are threefold: Conflation, resistance to metaphors, and the incomplete picture of existence most people have, thanks to the archaic dogma normal to our cultures.

  1. Conflation: the mixing together of secular and supernatural concerns is an unfortunate byproduct of religion that guarantees that most religious “knowledge” is erroneous.

  2. Metaphors: picture-words can be accurately used or made to lead others astray. It seems like blasphemy against the idea of atheism to refuse this powerful tool to defend against constant attacks by those using religion to shield their political agendas.

  3. 4-d existence: We can present events and processes as 4-dimensional existences because a complete picture requires a display of their time-lines. Understanding anything anything as 4-dimensional grants acknowledgment of its existence. It does not deny anything about ourselves, but requires that we be shown as a complex assemblage of events and processes, each running its own course.

  4. We need to update our dispersal of knowledge; the public’s information and misinformation about science is now absorbed, rather than taught, from such sources as advertising, movies, politicians, games and the like, which bodes ill against a correct common awareness of facts from which the average person can benefit. No one will do a web search for something of which they are unaware.

Written entirely with OPEN OFFICE.

Labels

labels

Labels

People unaware of the atheists they know have been mistaught a one-dimensional view of us. Since it is impossible to sense a one-dimensional object, maybe that’s why we escape notice. The worst people are the aggressive ones who deny that we understand ourselves and strive to gas-light us into believing “in” their description of atheism. What gall people can have, that drives them to insist that other people don’t know the thoughts in their own minds.

Think of people carrying their knowledge and opinions around in buckets, each of which bears a label naming the contents. The atheism bucket is empty. Call me ignorant all you want, that changes nothing. Empty remains “full of nothing but air.” There is nothing to discuss. Take your gas light and your own hot air back home.

I am what the religious people call an “apostate”. That label means I once had religion in a bucket but turned it over to dump. It didn’t pour as easily as I expected, as it was full of a stinky substance I saw once when a commode overflowed. It has been draining more than fifty years, and most of the religion is gone. Looking at the blob of poop that encircles my upturned bucket, I can see why the religious would expect atheism to be a set of beliefs that drive an agenda. They really don’t know how well off that makes them for that to not be true. I can see how the poop oozed out in layers of beliefs, all of them bound into the religion, a united concoction all tied to the main belief. With that being true of all religions, it must also be true of atheism. This requires an experiment.

I find a new bucket and fill it with water, which I then dump. When I look inside, the bucket is empty. Verification: Maybe water is not a thick enough substance? I fill the bucket with grain and dump it: Empty. I try sand and dump it out, with the same result: Empty. After that, I get inspired: Mud is about the same consistency as poop! I carry my shovel to the garden, fill it up, dump it and … empty but for some crap stuck around the edges. Excited to be so vindicated, I return to my old religion bucket, kick it loose from the ground, peer inside, jump into the air, and sing, “I’m free, I’m free, I’m free!” My religion bucket is very old and shows its age. I can go empty-handed, now, so I toss it toward the trash bin. I don’t need to carry an atheist or an apostate bucket. I am free to think my own thoughts.

To get to the point of this, take a look around yourself next time you’re with a group of people. Imagine each of them carrying a bucketful of beliefs. If you know their various religions, try to imagine then voluntarily joining forces to take over the world.

Next, try to imagine attempting to gather up people of all faiths to form an army intended to conquer a territory in the name of one that is not involved. Now, study that idea and you will find a few of the beliefs that some atheists follow. Notice how the incompatibilities between those beliefs duplicates what you find with religions.

So, yes, atheists have beliefs, philosophies, even religions; all of which bear their own labels, none of which is ‘atheism’. Think of ATHEISM as “absence of beliefs about gods, including that gods exist and that gods do not exist.” Think of ATHEIST as “a person who asserts that no demonstrable evidence supports the existence of any gods, nor of any realms designated ‘superior’ to nature.”

Each belief bears its own label. There are no ‘kinda’ beliefs. To my mind belief is either present or absent. When belief in gods is absent, people of all sorts apply ATHEIST as a label to name something that does not exist. Whatever individual atheists may happen to believe “in” bears a different label according to what each accepts as true. Rather than engage in foolish arguments, why not perform a simple experiment: Ask an atheist. Science will give you much truer answers than any religion.

Bad Labels

BadLabels

Bad Labels

Labels that mislead about the contents hidden in a container, book, baked goods, or any sort of vessel would deserve the irate condemnation it would earn for any commercial establishment. Surely, no one would purposefully mislabel even a competitor’s container that might be on display. To offer, “I thought it would be better for you than what you asked for,” as apology would gain new labels, like ‘crook’, ‘con artist’ or ‘shyster’ for the perpetrator. “Who are you, to think you can make such decisions without my permission? What’s wrong with you?”

Honest business practices, upon which we all depend, require all proprietors to provide honest labels on all products on display for sale, including those from competitors, and to not make false and misleading statements about competitors in any manner.

It seems that Christianists (those people engaged in spreading, defending, and arguing for the Christian religion, often by attacking competitors) would see from events in the commercial world how their pushy, dishonest tactics backfire, made worse by the interference of trolls. When the trolls push the same message as the Christianists, their very similar tactics appear as though from the same army, just different soldiers. Neither the Christianists nor the trolls seem capable to realize that, as businesses engaged with the public, religions are bound by the same ethical principles as all the others. If they intend to stay in business.

Fear, Feuding and Force don’t work anymore except among semi-literate populations and the impoverished. Doubt gets provoked the same as it would if the makers of toothpaste, dish soap, or your favorite car tried those same counterproductive tricks. Imagine the lawsuits that would plug our courtrooms shut if every business with little to offer elicited the disgust of their current and former customers by resorting to the shoddy tactics on which Christianists rely.

And, yes, I am aware that “Christianists” is a label I have found on the internet being very similarly used. Like the term’s originators, I recognize there are two kinds of people who consider themselves religious. There is the quiet kind, confident enough in their beliefs to teach by example, wise enough to council silence when approached with an argument, stalwart enough to stand up against obvious dishonesty, and whose belief is strong enough so they seek the company of like-minded people.

The Christians know this message is not about them, for they recognize the Christianists from my description. They know this message offers a way to separate the seeds from the bedding so that everyone can learn that love pulls together, while hate drives apart. As the atheist in this story, I believe everyone should learn all we can about the Christianists so we can recognize when we are getting swindled, and to keep ourselves from becoming like them.

Written entirely with OPEN OFFICE.

Moralizing

Moralizing

Moralizing

There is no position on which people are so immovable as their religious beliefs. There is no more powerful ally one can claim in a debate than Jesus Christ, or God, or Allah, or whatever one calls this supreme being. The religious factions that are growing throughout our land are not using their religious clout with wisdom. They are trying to force government leaders into following their position 100 percent. If you disagree with these religious groups on a particular moral issue, they complain, they threaten you with a loss of money or votes or both. I’m frankly sick and tired of the political preachers across this country telling me … that if I want to be a moral person, I must believe in A, B, C, and D. Just who do they think they are?” —Senator Barry Goldwater, R-Arizona, Congressional Record, September 16, 1981.

Humans, being social, improve their fitness through cooperation with other people. Even if survival of the fittest were taken as a basis for morals, it would imply treating other people well. From http://www.talkorigins.org/indexcc/CA/CA002.html

The modern conservative is engaged in one of man’s oldest exercises in moral philosophy; that is, the search for a superior moral justification for selfishness. ~ J.K. Galbraith

It is error alone which needs the support of government. Truth can stand by itself. (Thomas Jefferson, Notes on Virginia, 1782)

Morality in religion is about doing what has been declared necessary to appease a god. Secular considerations involve relationships and social behaviors, usually as set up by a central authority. Neither is satisfactory for very long due to doctrine creep and avoidance of evidence. Doctrine creep occurs when religion, due to the normal prodding of viral memes, seeks to insert its edicts into the law, and when commercial interests seek to use religion to influence the lawmaking process. Avoidance of evidence occurs in all those cases, and when laws result from opinions, simple offenses, “what might happen if…”, conflated associations, or other vestiges of vested interests, fear, threat, deal-making, inappropriate influence, or a long list of other items of potential harm or imbalance. Only by acting in honest accord with objective evidence can government maintain rectitude. Calling science a religion does nothing to change that fact.

In general, laws that are moral have no justifiable interest in the private interactions in which people engage unless it can show how harm or loss has occurred in each case, or in identical previous cases where the accuser can demonstrate an identical nature. Otherwise, they originate in religion or religiously held opinions, without the certification of evidence. Innocuous acts, blasphemy, choosing other than the majority’s religion, hate speech against ideas (not people), whatever might offend somebody, what could go awry but never has been shown how, ought always first be recognized as beneficial to a society and to never make harmless minorities into victims of overzealous lawmakers. Acts done against people (including hate speech) which induce loss or harm, to paraphrase Jefferson, ought to be the government’s only licit concern about us.

Those same lawmakers spend untellable hours, effort, and public money figuring together how to mesh moral edicts that originate in religion into law to put the power of government enforcement behind them. Suspect must include all laws against private actions involving no one else, bedroom behavior, laws about sexuality, dress and undress, or no dress, faux nipples, body hair, et al…

What must be made more apparent is that some laws wisely mitigate against acts known to induce private damage that will lead to public expense, but enforce them unwisely. Unhealthy food habits, constant drunkenness, overindulgence of all kinds, make obvious examples of that. Does arresting those who become their own victims seem like the best way to deal with them?—or should we continue to just let them suffer until the inevitable occurs? Might it not be best to simply steer them toward effective self-help? What, then, about those who cannot, or will not, be helped?

Maybe we should impose a moratorium on the creation of new laws, and put the legislators to work at unwriting or rewriting the bad laws they have already created, and enforce some standards all laws they’d keep or create thereafter must meet:

  • The Wall of Separation must not be bridged by government or religion:
    • No more favoritism;
    • No more freedom from taxes;
    • No more tax-free real estate;
  • Recognized standard of ethics must be upheld;
  • Banish lobbyists; they do more harm than good;
  • Bills must be considered individually—
    • No more riders;
  • Moral laws must be restricted to:
    • Protection of children from predators;
    • Define what constitutes harm done to others, cite supporting science; act on that according to evidence;
    • Define what constitutes loss caused to others, cite supporting science; act on that according to evidence
    • Apprehensions, opinions, expectations, fears of what could, may, might, etc happen do not constitute evidence; laws created without objective evidence to justify their need should be considered void (I would suggest holding such laws in an abeyance queue identified as “Awaiting Evidence.”

Now, while pondering that, think: We call the United States a constitutional nation because we have a constitution. Those who represent us in government, and we ourselves, have mistreated our constitution by acting as if it is a roadblock against our freedoms when we had shady business to conduct, or as too unimportant to care about when we failed to call out when others beat a path around it. Maybe we wrongly supported those paths and caused misery to others guilty only of disagreement. Such mistreatment appears evident from near to the beginning, with expression of a desire for paid clergy at meetings. Agreement about exactly when tax freedom for religious institutions began seems rare, from “very early on” to 1894 when income taxes began.

Funding to enforce illicit laws nationwide since the beginning must add up to a huge fortune. Add to that the cost of religion’s free ride, and ask yourself, “Why, other than being guilted into it, did our founders grant tax freedom to organizations they freely criticized as unproductive provokers of social turmoil?”

Written entirely with OPEN OFFICE.