Believe


 

When it comes to beliefs, I have two lists. The list of things I don’t believe in is much longer than the list of things I do believe in.

I DON’T BELIEVE IN:

Gods.

 

 

I think that the idea of Gods or a God stems from the arrogance and insecurity of human nature. We so desperately need to think that we are special that we conjure up a deity that watches every move we make.

Which leads me to my next point. I don’t believe that we are all special. By definition, to be special is to be distinguished or different from what is ordinary or usual, therefor it is impossible for all of us to be special.

Magic.

 

 

This includes, but is not limited to, Crystals, Runes, Tarot Cards, Palm Reading, Astrology, Numerology, Voodoo, Vampires, Werewolves, Fairies, Elves, Sprites, Leprechauns, Wizards and Witches. Although I do like to suspend my disbelief and watch movies about the subject, to me, magic is (as Sheldon Cooper would say) hokum.

Love.

 

 

The idea of romantic love as described by fairy tales, books, movies and the media is unattainable. For that to exist, human beings would have to be either inherently trustworthy or eternally forgiving and we are neither. I’m not saying that there isn’t beauty in commitment to another person, or that two people aren’t capable of a life together. Just that the reality never looks the same as the ideal, so perhaps we should stop looking for the ideal.

Justice.

 

 

Don’t get me wrong, I have a very strong sense of justice. I just don’t believe that justice/fairness/equality really exist in this world. I do think it’s worth striving and fighting for, but we are a long way from having it.

Anything a man says when he has an erection. (no image or explanation needed)

And the list goes on… and on… and on.

 

I BELIEVE IN:

Choice.

 

 

Our lives are what we create through the choices we make. If you don’t think you have a choice in any given situation, either you’re not looking hard enough or you just don’t like (or are afraid of) the choices you see. Fear of the unknown is what most often stops us from choosing happiness. It’s often easier to stay with the familiar than to explore new territory, even if the familiar is making you miserable, but there is always a choice.

Proof.

 

 

If you can’t prove it to me, chances are, I won’t believe it.

 

Myself.

 

I am the only person I can rely on to look out for my best interests. I am the only person I can trust (most of the time). I am the only person I can truly know, warts and all. If I’m not okay with where I am, I have only myself to blame and only I can fix it. Sure, others may offer advice, but in the end, it’s up to me if I choose to take it. My life begins and ends with me, so I had better like myself… and I do.

This list is complete.

 

 

Thou Shalt Not Kill?


 

Yesterday’s post brought with it some very interesting comments. One, in particular from a lovely Christian lady who said “The idea that people can take my religion and decide that “Thou shalt not kill” is negotiable makes my heart sick.”

This got me thinking quite a bit about the commandment, Thou shalt not kill, perhaps the most impossible commandment to abide.

Every one of us commits mass murder on a daily basis. Yes, PETA members, even you. When we are walking outside, we kill countless number of insects. Every time we scratch or wash ourselves, we kill thousands upon thousands of bacteria. We kill without thinking about it all day every day. We kill to feed ourselves. Even the most vegan of vegan people are killing plants in order to sustain their own lives. When a lion kills a limpy gazelle we say it’s thinning the herd or it’s natural selection at work. If all life is sacred, then what makes insects so expendable?

We, as human beings are members of the animal kingdom. We are hard-wired to kill, just as all other parts of the food chain are instinctual killers. It seems that only us humans have put in place a set of rules regarding when it is okay to kill and when it isn’t. For instance it’s okay to kill another person in self-defense, or in defense of others.

Then there’s the fact that humans are the only species that kills for sport. How do religious hunters reconcile their breaking of the number one commandment?

As an atheist, I can’t help but look at sweeping statements like thou shalt not kill and question its meaning. If it is taken literally, we are all going to burn in hell for simply stepping on a spider. If taken as thou shalt not kill other humans, then why are we inventing exceptions to the rule, like self-defense, or killing in the name of God? (which makes no sense if he told you not to kill in the first place)

A little religion is a dangerous thing because it teaches us to deny and ignore who we are at our most basic core. We pretend to be better than animals when it comes to killing, when in fact we are far, far worse. Animals don’t kill just for sport. Animals don’t keep souvenirs of their kills hanging on the walls of their dens. When a lion looks at a herd of gazelles, he purposefully picks the lamest, weakest or oldest one to take down so that the herd will continue to replenish itself. When a hunter looks at the same herd, he wants to bag the biggest, strongest, most magnificent specimen for bragging rights. When are we going to drop the pious, holier than thou crap and admit to being the self-serving hypocrites that we actually are? It’s great to strive to be more than that. I think we should be striving to back up our own lofty opinions of ourselves. But until we admit to what we really are, we cannot know how far we have to go.

People with Gods


Each day on Twitter, I post my quote of the day tweet. The other day, the quote I posted was, “Gods don’t kill people. People with Gods kill people.” – David Viaene. One of the responses I got to this quote was, “people without Gods hold it down in the killing dept just as well. It’s a human problem.”

While I take no issue with the fact that there have been many killings done at the hands of people without Gods, the problem I have with the above statement is with the phrase, “just as well”. I decided to do a little research on the subject and here is what I came up with.

While there is really no way to tally the amount of individual murders committed by individual atheists, there are some numbers to be found when one looks at State Atheism, for instance in Mexico, under President Plutarco Elias Calles, there were at least 40 priests killed between the years 1926 and 1934. In the Soviet Union, Marxism-Leninism ideology sought to eliminate religion from the state entirely. In the period between 1922 and 1926, 28 Russian Orthodox Bishops and more than 1200 priests were killed. In Cambodia, under the Khmer Rouge, the estimated death toll is between 740,000 and 3 million. In the Mongolian People’s Republic, the Soviets launched a full-scale attack on Buddhism in 1936 where between 30,000 and 35,000 lives were lost. In North Korea, in the late 1940′s 166 priests and religious were killed or kidnapped. Using the high estimates, the total adds up to 3,036,434 deaths. Which, is a very substantial number.

On the side of people with Gods, I am only including the tally of one  mass killing.  The Holocaust, which took place between 1938 and 1945. Christians like to tell you that Hitler was an atheist, but, by all accounts, Hitler was a Catholic raised, Christian who espoused his belief in Jesus Christ (albeit an Aryan Jesus Christ), which makes him a man with a God. “As a Christian I have no duty to allow myself to be cheated, but I have the duty to be a fighter for truth and justice.”- Aldof Hitler  There were 5.9 million Jews, between 2 and 3 million Soviet POWs, 1.8 to 2 million Poles, between 220,000 and 1.5 million Romani, 200,000 to 250,000 disabled people, 80,000 Freemasons, between 20,000 and 25,000 Slovenes,  5,000 to 15,000 homosexuals, and between 2,500 and 5,000 Jehovah’s Witnesses killed in the Holocaust. Even using the low estimates, the death toll is 10,227,500 or more than 3.3 times the number killed by Atheist States in 5 different instances.

The reason to only include the Holocaust on the side of men with Gods was because, all of the Atheist State examples I used were from the 20th century and I didn’t want anyone crying unfair if I used examples like the Crusades, the Spanish Inquisition, the Thirty years War or the French Wars of Religion, which all took place in  different eras, when people were not as enlightened as they were in the last century.

I do agree that killing is part of human nature, and I am positive that, even without a belief in any sort of deity, people would find something to fight about on a mass scale. My point here is that belief in a god seems to be a pretty popular reason to kill people. Here’s a question to think on… is God the reason, or the excuse?

Us vs. Them


Lately the world has been reminding more and more of the Dr. Seuss book about the plain bellied Sneetches and the star bellied Sneetches. This book should become required reading for children and adults alike worldwide. It’s a simple story about how we focus too much on our differences and forget how alike we actually are.

Everywhere I look there’s a fight going on. Liberals vs. Conservatives. Women vs. Men. Straights vs. Gays (and the whole LBGT community). Whites vs. Blacks (and Hispanics, Asians, Indigenous Peoples etc.) Theists vs. Atheists. Rich vs. Poor. The list goes on and on to the point where there is fighting between sub-groups of each group.

When are we going to collectively wake up and realize that we all share this planet and these petty arguments only serve to distract us from moving forward in life. I identify myself as a feminist, an atheist and a Canadian, but first and foremost I am a human being, a life form on this planet. I respect all other life forms who share space on earth with me. Yes, I like to state my opinions, and invariably those opinions will be opposing to those of others, even to the point where they may offend others. My intention is merely to bring my viewpoint into the collective fray of opinion that we have created as a global online community.

While I identify myself as a Canadian, I am hardly patriotic. I see no sense in patriotism. Something as random as where you were born shouldn’t give you a sense of pride. You didn’t build the place. I can understand a feeling of nostalgia for your home town/country, but patriotism is just another way to separate ourselves from others and to incite anger. At its worst, patriotism is used to brainwash young men and women into dying for their country. In reality these soldiers are not dying for their country, or even for the beliefs of their country (a mass of land can have no beliefs… the people in any given country will have a widely varied belief system). They fight in wars created by smaller groups of men who can’t get past the whole might makes right theory of winning an argument. (I am aware that I am simplifying here.) Patriotism is simply my Dad is better than your Dad.

Religion is very much the same thing. My God is better than your God. Wars are fought, blood is shed and for what? In the end, there is no end. I mentioned that I identify as an atheist. You won’t see me on a religious battleground. Atheists don’t believe in God, yours or anyone else’s. This, for some reason gets religious folks all riled up, to the point where they wish us harm. I wonder if they are angry at atheists because we found a way out of church on Sunday and burning in hell for acting like humans act every day. In the eyes of theists, atheists have no shame, so what stops them from committing heinous acts of atrocity? Interesting viewpoint. I could ask the same of religious people. It seems your God is simply there as an excuse for the atrocities you commit. Atheists may not have some invisible Santa Clause watching over us and making a naughty and nice list, but we do have a conscience, same as you, that tells us when we are crossing our own moral line. Without going any further into argument territory, honestly, I don’t care what you believe in or don’t believe in. Religion is just another way we have of separating ourselves from others and inciting anger.

A while ago I wrote a blog entitled ‘What Do Women Want’ about feminism and what it really boils down to. In it, I state, “Women want the same freedoms, rights and privileges that are afforded to men, no more, no less.” It’s unfortunate that we still don’t have this. It’s unfortunate that we have to fight for this, but, unlike patriotism and religion, it’s a cause worth fighting for. However, like patriotism and religion, the fight for women’s rights stems from the idea that there exists a group of people who are superior to another group of people. This simply isn’t the case. Just as no one country is the BEST country on earth and no one religion is the one TRUE religion, no one sex is the GREATER sex. As Shakespeare said, “If you prick us do we not bleed? If you tickle us do we not laugh? If you poison us do we not die? And if you wrong us, shall we not revenge?”

Whether we have stars on our bellies or plain bellies, we are all Sneetches.

Unless, of course the conspiracy theorists are right, and this is happening…

Fear of the unknown


As an atheist, I’m proud to say I DON’T KNOW. Heck I will even shout it from the rooftops. I don’t know how the universe came to be. The truth is no one does, no matter how concretely sure they come across, no matter how much they believe, deep down the one thing we all have in common is WE DON’T KNOW.

There are many theories as to how the universe came into existence, for instance, science gives us the Big Bang Theory (so do Chuck Lorre and Bill Prady, but that’s not the Big Bang Theory I’m talking about here). Religion gives us the theory that some deity or another created the universe.

What happens after we die? Another good question with the same answer I DON’T KNOW. The truth is no one knows, but this question causes so much anger, delusion, violence, war, murder, hatred and FEAR, yes fear. The difference between theists and atheists is that atheists aren’t afraid to say I DON’T KNOW. Believers are so afraid to even entertain the concept that they don’t know the answers to these questions that they will bulldoze over those who deign to challenge their theory. Scientists relish the opportunity to challenge a theory. This difference is beautifully illustrated in the “interview” below.

O’Reilly’s smug condescension is simply a mask for his fear of the unknown and a weapon used to silence logic. Now look at what happens when Richard Dawkins is allowed to get a word in edgewise.

Another example of how theists stifle those who they see as their opponents (atheists are not the enemy, by the way, we just want to be allowed to express our own beliefs) is illustrated here, through violence.

And here, again through smug condescension.

Notice how the believers are trying to show hypocrisy on the part of the non believer by trying to prove she has faith in something… anything? What I find funny is their go to was money… something Jesus was adamantly against. It has always baffled me that religions and religious types don’t see their worship of the almighty dollar, euro, peso, yen, etc as flying directly in the face of their religious teachings, but I digress.

What theists need to understand is that atheists aren’t persecuting you. If you want to know who is really being run ram shod over, take a look at this.

In conclusion I would like to share a short back and forth I had on twitter with a self-professed Christian woman.

Her- Ain’t no such thing as an athiest . Pastor Anderson said so.

Me- Ooh, say hi to the pastor for me. Time for him to understand the difference between real and imaginary.

Her- Ignorance cannot be helped . I’ll just pray for you :)

Me- Why, so I can be ignorant too? Ignorance is bliss. Have a blissful day.

Her- Ignorance may indeed be bliss , but i’m not ignorant . Have fun rotting in Hell – literally .

Me- That’s very Christian of you.