Tag Archives: tolerance

Rights

 

 

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Rights

Rights are just one of many similar things that bother the heads of atheists. They don’t really exist but we make them exist by agreeing to honor them. That’s why I tend to speak and write about such examples of quasi-reality in terms of persistence more than existence. This is very important to a full understanding of atheism and I shall have to pay strict attention to my wording from now on. Quasi-real “things” don’t exist in reality; they persist only for as long as some people find ways and reasons to support them. When their time runs out, most will leave on their own.

Use government for an example

Government, at various levels, and by agreements pounded out at the very beginning and since the beginning of the U.S.A., was granted the role of defender of our rights. Government also persists in that state of phantom reality, and so must be accepted by its intended constituents to gain its authority; or else, authority must be asserted by force as in the olden days. The quasi-real contrivances of mankind are so subject to manipulation people can hardly be blamed for qualms about trusting them. As time passes and manipulation progresses, watchful eyes lose their vigilance to age. As new generations come and go, tradition sets in and watchfulness becomes about the developing traditions. From early on, religion asserts itself and makes its presence known and rights become lost to the guise of public protection. Other influences work to promote special interests, greed, power struggles, all aiming to acquire undue advantage for some dishonest person or group.

Whether atheist or Christian, saint, sinner or “none of the above”, our rights are designated as equal. That means no person can claim rights denied to others nor deny to others any lawful rights others enjoy. It means no person can enforce a claim of elevated status due to religion or wealth. It means no person can be legally subjected to persecution for their religious beliefs or their perceived absence. At least, it once did.

We must learn to practice equality. It is not knowledge we possess at birth. We leave it to chance and hard experience, make innocent actions illegal by following a monotheist religion’s prescription or “just in case”. The poor results show throughout our American society, in crime, murder, imprisonment rates, stress rates and more. The precepts sound simple but we seem unable to get past our prejudices to make them work. That,“I will defend your right to practice your beliefs and you will defend mine”, “Your rights begin and end with you and mine begin and end with me,” plus “We will go beyond our differences to defend our families and territories against invaders.”

Another Example

The preachers and priests who contrived organized monotheism released upon the Earth an inevitable development in the evolution of religion. Monotheism, if you have forgotten (or never been informed) was built on the premise that only one god created, and rules, over the heavens and Earth.

Perhaps by accident, those who chose to describe the nature of this god as “immaterial”, albeit in rather dated language, chose the most appropriate term available. This 14th century word also, according to Merriam-Webster, applies to ghosts, spirits and other incorporeal specters, all of which require belief and acceptance in order to persist. Words not in use until relatively recent centuries will find their origins in apologia, where doctrines develop separately from the main guidebook formed by the scriptures regarded as sacred. Except for those scriptures, all else can be different between any two establishments.

Visit a Local Church

You can sense it upon entering the building. Some exude happiness. Some give such a sense of sorrow you need to cringe. Some, plain and simple in pastel colors, give no hint of what to expect. And then, never to be forgotten, there’s the church where you pushed the door open and jumped back, amazed to hear echoes of the minister’s last sermon ringing through the rafters. Though they all addressed their god by the same name, no two versions of the-god-named-God will be identical. Calling on them by the same name doesn’t make it right. That would have the same effect as naming multiple fraternal sisters all “Sarah” and making them figure out, each time you pray, whose name you don’t know this time.

What Does Any of This Have to do With Rights?

If this is at all true, preachers and priests have nothing to answer to beyond the members of their own congregations. They would be kept too busy tutoring their flocks about all the gods and demons, plus learning about new ones “discovered” locally and in nearby towns and cities. New gods get absorbed into the culture as do those from nearby.

Rights” and “freedom” are non-words in monotheism. “They represent blasphemy. They were planted in your mind by agents from Satan. They put you in danger of Hell fire. If we had been able to use our guillotine on Jefferson and his damnable cronies, you would not know to be lusting after such iniquitous pipe-dreams now.” “As you have already admitted in this blasphemous piece, individual rights do not exist. All rights are held by the church.”

I am sorry, but I have already asserted in this rather astute work of mine, that churches can only exist by the agreement of individuals. You will have to accept before that I will argue with you. Otherwise, you don’t understand it. Individuals have objective existence. Until individuals agree about it and provide an edifice or place, churches don’t.

 

Don’t Believe?

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Don’t Believe?

Don’t get carried away with your skepticism without first giving it a lot of good, honest thought. Skepticism for the sake of appearing skeptical solves nothing. Those atheists who claim to have purged their minds of all beliefs have granted their accusers the upper hand with that unnecessary claim. Taking that philosophical position enables them to back you into the corner where nothing is true. Do you really believe that our perceptions of reality misinform us? —then, you support a belief. Can you demonstrate how that belief is true? —then, you have either demonstrated that you have a belief, or that you still haven’t mastered the art of fiction. Or, maybe, both.

I suspect the multi-layered composition of reality befuddles thinking about it, especially when we fail to recognize the borders that separate the layers.

Calling them layers probably also contributes to befuddlement, which is why we more properly refer to them as ‘realms’. They are not under foot; we stay immersed in them. The realms are named “micro”, “macro”, and “cosmo” with the suffix “logical” appended to each, plus a suspected multiverse that may remain forever beyond human apprehension. Somewhere in that never-to-be-known portion, prehistoric people asserted a supernatural realm most scientists would place in abeyance since it, too, cannot be verified.

I believe that entire approach to understanding reality yields the most accurate simulation of truth possible with the tools available in our time. I believe that because I see the technology and predictions from science improving over the years while the scoffers on the other side lose ground, become less convincing to more people, and increase the rate of killing each other over who has the best answers.

I do have their answer: “None of 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.

Merit

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  Merit

I believe Mr. Clemons was on to something when he made that statement. I have heard— and you must have, too, if you have lived very long—people lamenting about accident victims, “He died so suddenly, I don’t think he had time to be forgiven!”

I often wonder, while reading some words he expressed as Mark Twain, how many of such sentiments I might share with him, if we both had said, or written, every thought that had wandered through our minds. No, I am not staking any claim to greatness I have definitely not earned. Nor will I, at my age, live long enough to earn it, and I am too plain-spoken to lull asleep that many people. It’s just that I wonder what he would have to say in today’s world about people who violate every rule of common decency expressed in all the holy books of Earth, by demonizing other people, and then beheading, electrocuting, poisoning, bombing, or just plain killing them, all the while self-assured of their own deservance of a great reward.

By what treacherous vanity do villains gain sway over the lives of others, themselves protected against repercussions by the general sentiments into which they reside? Where is the merit of so many such situations so commonly thriving in every locale on this ball we all share, even to the point of conflicting in each other’s territory? By support of what law do they violate even the statutes of their own religions? I believe that, in many cases at least, the answer to that can be found in their apologetics.

Meme Evolution

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Meme Evolution: from grunts to words

Memes are most easily understood as ideas that people want to copy and share. This chart of Abrahamic memes is as accurate as I could make it with limited resources. I revised it once and will do so again when verified errors are brought to my attention.

That religion memes developed right along with written language should make sense, as language must be copied and shared to make conversations possible. Writing adds the sense of vision to word of mouth stories and makes them more memorable and accurately repeatable, and, so, provides a benefit for people who cannot read. Those who could read probably told closer to the same version to their listeners, which increased believability and acceptance by appearing to provide verification. Writing also made fiction more believable, and propaganda easier to spread, and religions became political tools.

Modern religions did not suddenly appear fully developed in their present form. They evolved by borrowing ideas from older religions, then stealing or slaughtering their adherents. Religious memes evolved as people around the world fought to develop the “best” possible religion in each area.

This chart depicts the development of the meme that has lately been called ‘Abrahamism’ from simple tokenism into the four ecclesiastical threads still ongoing. The timeline for this chart starts at the bottom and runs upward.  The original thread called Christianity seems to have almost died out and its name to have been confiscated by Catholicism and Protestantism, and, later in the United States, by most candidates for political offices. These are dangerous times in this world.

Liberty

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Liberty

I want to talk about the last time I defecated, and describe in detail all the accompanying sounds and smells. I think you should agree, after very little consideration, that the right to walk away from what you do not want to hear is equally as important as my right to tell it, and no one should ever be forced into enduring such potentially traumatic events.

I may wish to tell you, “For lack of evidence, there is no god named God,” for I might wish to save you from the grief and stress that comes from chasing after a chimera. You, with equally good intentions to steer me away from the fire pits of Hell, want to tell me, “I have faith and don’t require evidence.” You have every right to tell me and I have every right to tell you. You have every right to walk away from my voice, and I have every right to do the same. Were wisdom to prevail, we would find other entertainment to share.

What we do not share is a right to harm or endanger each other. Helpful or harmful acts done to or for others are subject to the rule of reciprocity or reciprocation. We can sense that in the feeling of indebtedness kind acts induce, the urge to get even for mean acts, and our awareness of such urges in others. The Principle of Mutual Authority provides an alternative statement of reciprocity by turning it around so its importance to the perpetual defense against attacks from religion may be recognized. In the same way that to take upon oneself the authority to offer a hug grants the offer’s recipient the authority to return the hug or refuse it, it is true that an attack invites a rejoinder. Since the attacker has taken an autonomous authority to act in some fashion, that action also carries autonomous authority forward to its recipient. Autonomous authority to act in refusal, for example, if one so chooses. Action is required in any case, for good reasons, the main one being to bring the problem to an end.

Our aim, overall, must be to assert our right to respond with factual information to things that are offensive, wrong, or lies, or to assert a right to offend someone in exchange for his right to offend. The accompanying aim, however, is to avoid personal attacks and keep the topic about the subject and not each other. Any offense must be from the topic, then, and not a personal attack on your opponent.

We ought to not be lax about this principle: If others grant us ‘authority’ by their actions toward us to respond in a relevant manner, any absence of response asserts a willingness to receive such actions all through the future by silently granting them ‘authority’ to continue. Moreover, it soon erases any ‘authority’ to respond to them.

Before you offhandedly disagree with that, stop to ponder first how things actually work. Somewhere in the depths of consciousness we are aware of how true it is, and from that awareness arises such concepts as “nip this in the bud” and “put a stop to this before it’s too late,” or “If you don’t tell him right now, he’ll just keep on doin’ it.” We all know, in the depth of our beings, that such sayings are from human experience, and can use this principle to explain why.

 

Reality 101 by Lloyd H. Whitling (paperback – September 2002)

“We believe Reality 101 is one of the best independently published books on the market.” Rec’d 3/4/06 in a letter from Airleaf Publishing and Bookselling. Buy it, read it, and see for yourself.

Belief in Atheism

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Belief in Atheism

Actually, atheism is like the god named God in that it doesn’t exist. Believers believe in God, and believers believe in atheism, but believing fails to make anything exist. ‘Atheism’ is a made up label from religion used to accuse atheists of all kinds of evil, but the only creed atheists agree about is, “there is no factual evidence that supports the existence of a god named God.” The only creed panatheists agree about is, “there is no factual evidence that supports the existence of any god(s).” With only absence of beliefs as a creed and a condition, atheism cannot be something to “believe in” because it contains nothing beyond that statement of negation. Atheists may “believe in” many things and accept many others as true. Not all atheists support all the same beliefs, and all their beliefs will be recognized by their own common labels among the non-atheists with whom they share those beliefs.

Evidence gets a different treatment with a similar result. Usually, evidence is directly accessible to one or more of our animal senses. It is not something to “believe in” because we can know what it is and verify that with others. “If it looks like dead fish, smells like dead fish, and tastes like dead fish, it is dead fish.” An indirect approach, requiring experimentation after making a prediction, requires data: “If it looks like dead fish, smells like dead fish, I predict that at least 95% of those we try to give it to will agree it is dead fish.” Or, “If we put a ten pound open box of it in the hot sunlight ten hours, then transfer it to a warm room where people wait for us to interview them, I predict that most will agree they were in the presence of dead fish if asked, ‘What is that I smell?’ I also predict that, due to guilt or self-doubt, fewer will acknowledge smelling anything if the box is kept hidden from their sight.” To learn if any of that is true requires an experiment. That is science.

Predictions that make acceptable statements about acceptable evidence get accepted as hypotheses. If a hypothesis passes its trials well enough to deserve trust, it gets accepted. If it fails, it gets rejected/revised and retried/set aside for further study/or consigned to abeyance. Acceptance of a result does not mean it is “believed in”.  Science proposes nothing that requires belief or to be believed ‘in’. Nor does it deny anyone that right if they so choose. Those who criticize atheists for any kind of beliefs are pressing a moot idea, or else, without justification, seeking to elevate their own beliefs to the higher plane enjoyed by atheism and science.

Thank you, Tommy, for finding Today’s Sign :)~