A Collection Of Atheism-Related Quotes

atheist-i-am

“Through the prior assumption that his beliefs of faith are true, the Christian necessarily concludes that any ‘conflict’ between reason and faith is a mistake. He does not want contradictions, so he will refuse to accept anything as evidence of a contradiction. There is no apparent contradiction that cannot be explained away — even if it entails the castration of the Christian religion and the sacrifice of reason.”

George H. Smith, Atheism: The Case Against God

“Whenever a man imagines that he need only believe the truth of a proposition, without evidence … he becomes capable of anything.”

Sam Harris, The End of Faith

“Because religious doctrines are supposedly ordained of God, the religious adherent cannot easily question the teachings of his chosen church, even when those teachings are provably false. The scientist, on the other hand, is most rewarded when he proves the conventional wisdom wrong and revolutionizes our understanding of the universe.”

David Mills, Atheist Universe

“At this very moment, millions of sentient people are suffering unimaginable physical and mental afflictions, in circumstances where the compassion of God is nowhere to be seen, and the compassion of human beings is often hobbled by preposterous ideas about sin and salvation.”

Sam Harris, Letter To A Christian Nation

“Monotheists have to practise intellectual gymnastics to explain how an all-knowing, all-powerful and perfectly good God allows so much suffering in the world.”

Yuval Noah Harari, Sapiens: A Brief History of Humankind

“Religious faith is, precisely because we are still-evolving creatures, ineradicable. It will never die out, or at least not until we get over our fear of death, and of the dark, and of the unknown, and of each other.”

Christopher Hitchens, God Is Not Great

“Being an atheist is nothing to be apologetic about. On the contrary, it is something to be proud of … ”

Richard Dawkins, The God Delusion

 

Is Atheism A Bad Idea?

Atheism

He was an Atheist for 40 years, then one day, he became Catholic. (Or so he claims. I suspect a troll.) Not A Catholic – merely Catholic. He and I had some words. They grew too numerous for a comments column…. so here we are again.

And how miserable does atheism make you? Choosing it is a bit like choosing to be fatherless in the world. Left to your own devices.

For someone claiming to be Atheist for forty years, his assumptions and questions are bewildering. He seems to imply that morality must be applied from outside. A moral framework must be accepted internally, even if it is supplied from the outside. I know “Good Catholics” who believe in divorce and remarriage, gay marriage, and priests being married – all ‘sins’ to the church. Atheism does not make people miserable. It frees them to enjoy the natural beauty of the world and the Universe, revel in the companionship of friends and family, and be proud of how much better they’ve made and left it all.

He seems to feel that he needs some kind of social and moral crutch. Most Atheists want to be left to their own devices. They have the strength of will and character to deal with life and reality on their own. Is he too stupid or lazy to formulate and apply his own moral code??

True Atheists simply do not see convincing evidence of the existence of God, or gods. They do not “choose” to be Atheist. Anyone who claims they do, or that someone else did, is mistaken and often an intentional liar.

Do you have children? Do you have a set of values? How do you pass them on? Do you even want to pass them on or do you want to just let the thousands of ancestors of yours who struggled to survive only for you to say, “eff it, my line is OUT”? (He wants me to continue to be Christian – and fruitful – simply to please my dead predecessors??!)

I have a set of values – Do unto others, as you would have others do unto you. – which is neither original, nor exclusive, to the Bible. Do the greatest good for the greatest number. I passed them on to my children, and now to our grandson – who received a small award in college for his assistance to others. I not only told them to aid and be kind to others. I showed them how, by doing it myself. From empirical observation, our practiced moral values are better than many ‘Good Christians.’

I certainly feel my/our moral values should be passed on. Some of my ancestors were deeply religious. Others were completely not, but I’m sure that all of them would agree and be proud of me and the good I do.

I hear you and agree with most of what you say, however, I don’t condemn all of Christianity because some people abuse it or make it look bad. But let me ask you this question, beyond those phrases like “do unto others” how do you guide someone to resolve complicated moral issues? Do you ever talk with your children about morals? Is that enough to lead a person through every moral quagmire he or she might face? Not in my view.

He doesn’t say why he feels that’s not enough. Perhaps I’m simplistic, but I do. Adultery is wrong – not necessarily a sin – but wrong. Her husband may beat her, or ignore her. That makes it more complicated, but that’s social, not moral. It’s still wrong. You wouldn’t want to be her husband, nor her to be your wife. You’re not doing unto others, nor the greatest good for the greatest number.

I grew up in an atheist household, and we had some discussion of morals but it was very infrequent. Until atheism offers me the discipline of continually working to be a good person, I decided I’m done with it. And given that atheists or secularists tend to not marry or have kids at nearly the rates of religious people, how do you expect your values to live on beyond a generation or two?

I don’t view life – or religion – as a contest to be won. I hope to influence my descendants, and society in general, by my example. I would not dare to attempt to impose my code on others. People who do that are called ISIS. I believe my opinion to be the best, but if it dies out after I do, that’s not my problem.

Unlike Religion, Atheism has no real structure. There is no Pope, no hierarchy, no Bible, no tenets, no dogma, no sin, and no handy rule-book with a ready-made list of acceptable actions. People have to work that out on their own. He makes no mention of belief in God, Jesus Christ, salvation, Heaven, or everlasting life. He just wants someone to hold his moral hand and lead him down the Holy Garden path. It’s like someone wanting to save the Earth from Global Warming, but buying a Hummer because it has cool wheels.

Hummer

Jim says

“The reason you returned to religion is self interest. That’s how it always is. Just because you failed to find a meaningful life outside of faith, you have joined the herd to find solace. I, and many like me, find complete satisfaction finding our own way in the world. You on the other hand, profess belief in something you don’t believe, to have community. That is hypocrisy and lacks integrity.

There is no meaning but what you make it. Searching for it inside of prearranged dogma is cheating yourself of possibilities. Spirituality comes in billions of options that are quite fulfilling outside the plug-and-play religions. It’s even true inside religion. Everyone just picks the parts they want to believe anyway. Your mind has now been hijacked by the herd.”

 

Book Review #18

Extraordinary Popular Delusions & the Madness of Crowds

Extraordinary Popular Delusions & The Madness Of Crowds

I am ticked off…. or rather, this book is ticked off the reading list challenge that I don’t follow.

It was originally published before I was born – more than a century before. It was first printed in 1841. The copy that I got on an inter-library loan was reprinted in 1980. It had 3 prefaces – the original, a slightly revised version when the author had it reprinted 30 years later, and yet another from the 1980 re-release.

The 1980 instigator was taking a University Psychology course, when he thought he heard the instructor speaking of an old book about The Madness Of Krauts. He didn’t realize that Germans were called Krauts, that far back. A check of the University library showed him his mistake, but since the copyright had long expired, he felt that he could make a little money by having it reprinted.

This book was a disappointment, yet also a delight to me. Even since the ‘70s, there have been great changes and improvements in psychiatry and psychology, but since I only knew of the 1980 publish date, I hoped to get some fairly up-to-date insights into mob behavior. The 1841 composer rendered none of that. He only provided recountings of historical events which were notable for mass delusion.

These included the likes of the monetary bubble, collapse of the Louisiana Investment scam/scandal, the sad failure of the earliest attempt at a German Crusade, and the ongoing hysteria of the witch hunts. While the historical details were interesting enough, he delivered them all with the long-winded panache of someone reciting a Life Insurance actuarial table.

With the German Crusade, 100,000 young men were said to have started out, but only a handful survived, even to reach Constantinople, because of fighting among themselves, and with the armies of states and countries they marched through and denuded for food and drink.

As usual, the section on the witch hunts provided the worst atrocities. It was both a Church and State viewpoint that, “Because of the seriousness of this offence, none who are accused of this horrid crime shall escape torture to make them confess their sins. It is better that a million shall die, than that one witch shall be allowed to escape.”

Even while trying to do good, the well-intentioned did bad. As the witch-hunt frenzy was ebbing, a minor member of British Nobility tried an experiment. He was unconvinced that torture-induced confessions, and especially the naming of other witches, was valid.

He was acquainted and friends with, two Jesuit priests who acted as judges at the torture trials. To convince them of his viewpoint, he used a woman accused and imprisoned as a witch. They all attended the torture chamber, and he acted as interrogator. He had the woman stretched on the rack, and afflicted with the gamut of horrible tortures. Within a day, she admitted that she was a witch. Skillfully using leading questions, he also had her claim that the two Jesuits were wizards, calling them by name.

As they left the building, leaving the poor woman to her undeserved fate, the senior priest said, “It is well that this was done by a friend, rather than by an enemy.” And so, the witch-hunt frenzy slowly died, but not before thousands of innocent people also suffered and died.

This book is old enough to display some of the some of the English language’s spelling shifts. Words like ‘showed’, and ‘shown’ were printed as shewed, and shewn. While it was not what I thought I was getting, still it was an interesting read.

I Know That I Promised

Island

I know that I promised, and I know that most of you have read about it, but this story was just too precious, not to comment on.

American Is Killed by Bow and Arrow on Remote Indian Island

John Allen Chau had to know that what he was about to do was extremely dangerous.

Mr. Chau, thought to be in his 20s, was floating in a kayak off a remote island in the Andaman Sea. He was about to set foot on one of the most sealed-off parts of India, an island inhabited by a small, highly enigmatic tribe whose members have killed outsiders for simply stepping on their shore.

Fishermen warned him not to go. Few outsiders had ever been there. Indian government regulations clearly prohibited any interaction with people on the island, called North Sentinel.

While I was reading this story, I wondered what this guy was – some sort of super-jock survivalist, out to prove that he had was the biggest dick??! Then came the punch line.

But Mr. Chau pushed ahead in his kayak, which he had packed with a Bible. After that, it is a bit of a mystery what happened. On Wednesday, the Indian authorities said that Mr. Chau had been shot with bows and arrows by tribesmen when he got on shore. It was a “misplaced adventure,’’ said Dependra Pathak, the police chief.

No, it wasn’t!! There is no mystery. This was not “an adventure.” This self-made martyr was an unwelcome Christian missionary, too arrogant and stupid to stay out of harm’s way. The article doesn’t say if he was a Jehovah’s Witness, but apparently there are even some Indian people who don’t like telemarketers. 😯

He violated the laws of India, which clearly forbid him from interfering with the natives. He violated the rules of his own missionary group, who urged him not to go, and he disobeyed Christ’s own Biblical directives. Jesus said to go by twos, to spread the word. Christ obviously knew the need for backup, but Chau insisted on going alone – probably because he couldn’t find anyone else crazy enough to go with him.

Christ said, “If you offer the word to a people, and they refuse it, depart from that place and leave them.” Chau swam ashore one day, and the natives shot arrows at him, obviously not willing to accept him (or Him) and The Word. The only arrow to hit, struck his Bible. He believed that God had spared him. Instead of departing from that place, he swam back out to the fish boat, but returned the next day.

He is apparently unmarried and childless, so he qualifies for the Darwin Award. He’s not your usual, testosterone-infused gym-jock. He is was something even worse – A faith-infused Jesus-Jock. At least he managed to kill only himself.

I repeat from my post, “What’s wrong with a comfortable delusion?” Because, not every time, but ultimately, and inevitably, it leads to the likes of:

Jim Jones and the Jonestown Massacre – 918 good Christians dead.
Uganda, Nov. 2018 – more than 918 black Christian sect suicide deaths
David Koresh and the Branch Davidian standoff in Waco – 75 faithful and 4 FBI agents dead
Heaven’s Gate cult mutilation and suicides – 39 dead
Solar Temple Order – 74 dead in Quebec, France, and Switzerland
South Korean ‘Benevolent Mother’ sect – 32 poisoned and strangled

And these are just the recent, penny-ante examples. How about the Inquisition, where thousands were horribly tortured and executed, or the Crusades, where hundreds of thousands died on faraway battlefields, or through disease or starvation, including excess population children?

And these are still penny-ante! How about the delusionally manipulated European peasants of the Dark Ages?? The Church convinced them that cats were the minions of Satan, so they killed them all off – which allowed rats to proliferate – which promoted the growth of fleas infected with bubonic plague – which killed off over 1/3 of the total population of Europe…. Millions and Millions!

Anyone who doesn’t see, or denies the relationship, is more than comfortably deluded. Not to seem harsh, but, aside from the FBI agents in Waco, I don’t really give a damn. It’s a self-solving problem. It’s about as important as being unfriended on FaceBitch: it’s like the garbage taking itself out. 😈

Delusion does nothing but hold us back. Truth is far more important than all of the soothing lies and should be sought in all instances. I know that sometimes the lies can give you temporary peace, but in the end, somebody always gets hurt.

What’s Wrong With A Comfortable Delusion?

What’s Wrong With A Comfortable Delusion??!  Take a look here.

Delusion

Some Christians get upset when others argue against all their unproven assumptions. There’s everything from the ranting and raving, “How dare you disagree?” to a less confrontational, honest request for quiet acceptance of their beliefs and actions.

This morning, I found a YouTube video from The Atheist Experience, with the above title. Then I came down to read the newspaper, and found this article.

Farmer burned down barn, shot at house

Actions a ‘cry for help,’ judge says, sentencing man to 22 months for arson, firearms offences

In a ‘cry for help’, a depressed and guilt-ridden Mennonite farmer set three fires on his property – including one that burned his barn to the ground, killing seven cattle and a horse, causing $400,000 damage. Later he shot five or six times at his house with a .22 caliber rifle, while his wife and two young children were inside.

“It would appear that much of his angst arose from guilt that he felt over pursuing some secular interests that may have been contrary to his religious teachings.”

His lawyer was asked outside court about his secular interests. “He got a phone, as necessary for the operation of his cattle farm. The cell-phone was a Smart Phone, with access to the internet, and he started to retreat to the barn to watch Hollywood movies. So he was watching movies like “Superman” or something. It wasn’t pornography or anything.”

What’s wrong with a little comfortable delusion? Nothing, until it changes to psychopathy, and becomes uncomfortable, both for the deluded person, and the rest of society.

This is not an isolated incident, and it’s not restricted to Christians. The same paper contained an article about a Christian Pakistani woman who has been held in jail for 7 years, much of that in solitary, because a neighbor accused her of blasphemy. The raging mob demanded her execution, and that of the judge who finally freed her.

Don’t be deluded; it can be very dangerous.

Speaking of being deluded…. My contract says that I’ll be back here in a couple of days, I hope, with a new 100-word Flash Fiction.  Don’t let me down.  🙂

 

Bible Man Speak With Forked Tongue

Bible

Once again, I have found Christian Apologetics, the new Defenders of the Faith, doing exactly what they accuse Atheists, Agnostics, and other doubters of doing.  In the past year, I’ve seen at least three Christian blogs critical of a list of Atheist statements.  While each is composed slightly differently, the list of Atheist sins in each, is cut and paste identical.

It is undeniable that they often put forth nearly identical catch-phrases and responses. I mean, just ask yourself how often you heard these Atheist talking points:

  • There is no evidence for God;
  • God is not great;
  • Religion poisons everything;
  • Faith means believing something without evidence;
  • Atheism is just a lack of belief;
  • If you don’t believe in evolution, you’re a fool;
  • If everything has a cause, then what caused God;
  • That’s just a God of the Gaps argument;
  • Well, extraordinary claims require extraordinary evidence;
  • Religion is just wish-fulfillment;
  • Jesus is a zombie;
  • Metaphysics is bunk, I believe in what works;
  • I want evidence, not arguments;
  • God is just a delusion;
  • Religion is a mind virus;
  • Why doesn’t God heal amputees; and, finally
  • God is evil or a dictator or a maniac.

And these are just some of the catch-phrases that are routinely put forward by Atheists.

It wasn’t until I happened upon this soap opera evil twin triplet, that I realized I had a theme to rant about.  All three of them, and lots of others I’ve read, just complain about not wanting to encounter the routine list of Atheist denials of their unproven claims.

Amusingly, what they all seem to hope for, and invite, are newer, different, more creative and inventive, but easier to dismiss, arguments.  Like what??!  I don’t want to believe in God because he might be Scottish, wearing a kilt, and I don’t want to look up his skirt.  There’s enough big pricks down here on Earth.

I also noticed that, aside from whining about not wanting to be constantly faced with this list of reasons not to believe their claims, none of them actually did anything to refute any of it.  ‘Go ahead, prove the list wrong.  Offer proof of rebuttal for a couple of these claims – not Faith, or Belief – actual, provable facts.’  While a couple of the Atheist points are a bit aggressive, or colloquial, they all appear valid.  Religion poisons everything??  “I’ll gladly book you a trip to ISIS territory.  Take it up with them.”  If they want better rebuttals, they’re going to have to provide better claims, which are based more on evidence, rather than just their faith-based opinions.

Those who are firm in their faith seem willing to nod sagely and ignore all Atheist arguments.  It seems though, that the more unsure and insecure these Apologetics are, the louder and more frantic their wails are.

On that great Cosmic Scorecard in the sky, which they’re sure that Someone is keeping, having even the slightest doubt will get them sent to Hell.  Atheists’ arguments cause doubt, so they just want them to shut up.  What they’re doing is, trying to make it my job to ensure that they go to Heaven.  I’m too busy sinning and having no morals (according to them) to get around to that.  To Hell with them!  😉

Flash Fiction #59

Addiction

PHOTO PROMPT © G.L. MacMillan

WHITE RABBIT

As a little girl, Alice had enjoyed visiting her grandparents. She often spent time in the old storage shed behind their house. Her path to the back was blocked by the swivel frame of a mirror-stand.

When she was 13, she realized she could access the rear simply by stepping through the empty oval. She found a set of shelves with colored bottles and vials. A sign on one said, “Eat me”. Another was labeled, “Drink me.” Others said, “Snort me,” and “Smoke me.” She obeyed them all.

“And that,” she told the rehab psychiatrist, “is how I got addicted.”

***

Go to Rochelle’s Addicted to Purple site and use her Wednesday photo as a prompt to write a complete 100 word story.

#487