From the comedic genius, Tim Minchin:
Category Archives: Atheism
“The fool hath said in his heart, there is no God.” Psalms 14:1
A few months ago, I was browsing one of my favorite blogs, and came across a post that I immediately knew I would reference today.
The post is entitled Happy Atheist’s Day. It was written by B.T. Murtagh, author of QuarkScrew. Here is an excerpt:
“The fool hath said in his heart, there is no God.” Psalms 14:1
I can’t count the number of times I’ve had a smugly ignorant theist throw this line at me, like I’d never heard it before, blithely ignoring the fact that I don’t give any credence to the source. I’ve finally decided that I’m just going to adopt and own the putative insult in their psalm, much as the early US adopted the “Yankee Doodle” song. That makes today Atheists’ Day for me (I speak for no one else). Fine, I’m a fool!
The question remains, of course: ”What kind of a fool is he?”
After reading the post in its entirety, which I highly recommend, I am happy to join B.T. in embracing the title of fool.
Happy Atheist’s Day!
This video discusses many of the logical holes in the concept of hell. It also briefly touches on free will.
More From QualiaSoup Good stuff!
I don’t have much time for posting lately, but I found this and wanted to share it with you:
I have something to say to the religionist who feels atheists never say anything positive:
You are an intelligent human being. Your life is valuable for its own sake. You are not second-class in the universe, deriving meaning and purpose from some other mind. You are not inherently evil—you are inherently human, possessing the positive rational potential to help make this a world of morality, peace and joy.
– Dan Barker, Losing Faith in Faith
Via Positive Atheism
A blogger by the name of Possummomma posted an essay her daughter wrote in school. She called it a “pop essay”; the students did not know the topic in advance. Here is what Possummomma’s daughter wrote in response to the question: What do you want for Christmas?
What I want for Christmas, by Possum#1
There’s a movie that’s frequently shown in twenty-four hour blocks in which the main character, Ralphie, wants nothing but a Red Ryder BB Gun for Christmas. Ironically enough, he’s asked to write an essay about his Christmas desire by a slightly shrewd teacher and told that he’ll shoot his eye out. As I glance around this classroom, I see that many of my friends are feverishly pumping out manifestos dictating what gadgets and goodies they wish to find under their Christmas tree on the morning of December 25th. My mind, however, is reeling over the presumption that my public school teacher has addressed our classroom and assigned an essay in which she presumes that the entire lot of us are Christian or celebrate Christmas.
I take another look around my classroom and notice that Mahmeed is absent-mindedly cleaning underneathe his fingernails with the cap from his pen. Emily is feverishly trying to catch my eye and, having done so, mouthing the words, “I don’t celebrate Christmas…I’m Jewish.” in a quizzical manner. Jayden is doing what he normally does during such pop essays: he’s looking out the window- probably wondering where his parents will get the money for January’s rent and feeling guilty for daring to think about a gift. He’s pretty sensitive.
I have never admitted it to any of my friends, but I think I must be an atheist. My mother is an atheist and has always told me to find my own path to spiritual comfort. I think I must be an atheist because I can’t fathom any God who would allow the celebration of the birth of his son to become a time when my friends are consumed with thoughts of how they can convince Grandma to buy them a new Nano Ipod while other kids are wondering how their parent will manage the rent. What do I want for Christmas, I want a less assuming teacher. I want a teacher who thinks past the standard “What I want for Christmas…” assignment when she’s aware that three out of her twenty students probably don’t celebrate Christmas. I want a world where my friends will be asked to write essays about how they might use their winter vacay’ to help other people. I want my mom to be healthy again. I want my grandmother to quit smoking. I want my grandfather to quite bugging her about it. But most of all, I want to not get an “F” on this assignment because you get angry with me for saying all of the above. Merry Christmas, Mrs. “X”* (name changed to protect identities).
If that don’t make a momma proud…
The teacher wrote this at the end of the student’s essay:
[Possum#1], thank you for your thoughtful remarks. I don’t think you’re an atheist but I respect your empathy for your friends. Please see me after class today. A+
Possum #1 reported that the teacher said she couldn’t be an atheist because her “ability to care for others feelings isn’t an atheist trait.” The teacher attributed the girl’s compassion to her own god, calling it a “very Christian attitude.”
In response to someone spamming Bible verses on her blog, Dam, author of Raising Kids Without Religion, wrote a post asking what the spammer (and those like him) expect Bible verses to mean to people who see the Bible as nothing more than folklore and fairy tales.
I’ve often wondered, myself, why some Christians take this approach. In an effort to demonstrate just how meaningless the words are to people who don’t believe in them, I posted a Wiccan chant for Ezekiel, the Bible spammer. Apparently it’s a spell used by Wiccans to bind troublemakers.
I thought it was funny.
Well, who the heck knew that a cute little poem about bubbles and cauldrons would make the poor guy loose his ever-loving mind? Actually, I suspect he did that a long time ago, but my little joke certainly did set him off.
According to Zeke, copying and pasting a Wiccan chant makes me a witch! In fact, he has dedicated an entire page to me on his blog, entitled, Lottie the Witch! I’ve been called a lot of things, but never a witch. Not in the literal sense, anyway.
I’m absolutely charmed!
But I’m a little worried too. Because later in the comments section, I copied and pasted a Bible verse. I’m thinking that if Zeke is right, then following his logic, I am now a Christian. Only I don’t want to be a Christian. I’ve done that before and it didn’t work out. Being atheist was fine, but I was getting a little bored with it, so being a witch would actually have been a refreshing change of pace. All the spells and incantations… It was going to be a lot of fun.
So now what? Do I get to keep being a witch since I copied and pasted a Wiccan chant? Do I have be a Christian again because I copied and pasted a Bible verse? Or maybe the bible verse just cancels out the chant and I can go back to being a boring atheist with nothing to live for.
I think I know how to solve this:
Teh Stupid! It burns! These goggles, they do nothing!
There, now I’ve quoted an atheist. And that’s no copy and paste job! I typed it all out, letter by letter, just to be extra sure that I’m really back to being atheist. Phrew! That was close. It’s great to be back to my old self.
And now that I’m back to my old self, let me tell you how deluded my buddy, Zeke, is. After I blacklisted his name and IP address so that all his spam comments and threats started going directly where they belong, he started emailing me the same shit through my contact page. In one of the emails he asks:
Whats with the multiple WordPress usernames you have all on the same IP?
There are a couple of problems with this. One, I have one username and no one else uses this computer. Two, I have not commented on his blog or corresponded with him in any way that would allow him access to my IP address. This was quite deliberate on my part.
Given that he’s asked this privately via email, it couldn’t be that he’s deliberately bullshitting to try and make me look bad somehow. So, I can only assume that he actually believes it.
<cue Twilight Zone music>
But wait there’s more! Zeke either has several other blogs or a few buddies who are just as, uh, confused, shall we say, as he is. I received a pingback from one of them and another one is so outraged, he’s reported my evil deeds to WordPress! How dare they allow witches to cast spells on decent Christian folks?! WordPress should only allow Christians to cast prayers on any moving target that strikes their fancy, and threaten people with eternal damnation for not believing in their invisible deity.
Yes, something must be done about Lottie the Witch, at once! Burn her at the stake, if they must, but stop her! Stop her now!
But here’s the part that really confuses me: Zeke claims that there is no power apart from Jesus which means that my so-called witchcraft can’t do jack. So then why all the outrage? Why piss and moan and complain to WordPress? Not that I’m a bit worried, mind you; it just doesn’t make sense.
Why go to so much trouble to stop someone from doing something that isn’t really doing anything anyway? Do they need WordPress as back up in case Jesus doesn’t come through and protect them from the witchcraft that doesn’t have any power in the first place?
It’s all very confusing.
I suppose I should actually thank ‘them’, though. All the links and hits I’m getting from them will help boost my Google rankings. Come to think of it, they’re actually helping me promote my Evil Atheist Agenda! Oh dear! Do you suppose that means they’re all atheists now?
I could make a special page entitled, Zeke And Friends: Evil Atheists. Or should I give them each their very own pages? What do you guys think?
In the last week or so, I’ve seen three posts on three different blogs, all asking the question, “Why pray?” As you can probably imagine, all of the authors addressed the question from different perspectives.
Despite their very different approaches, each one of them reminded me of a bit from the late George Carlin’s HBO special, You Are All Diseased, and I felt led by the spirit of George to share it with you here.
From the linked website:
[…] Pray for anything you want. Pray for anything, but what about the Divine Plan?
Remember that? The Divine Plan. Long time ago, God made a Divine Plan. Gave it a lot of thought, decided it was a good plan, put it into practice. And for billions and billions of years, the Divine Plan has been doing just fine. Now, you come along, and pray for something. Well suppose the thing you want isn’t in God’s Divine Plan? What do you want Him to do? Change His plan? Just for you? Doesn’t it seem a little arrogant? It’s a Divine Plan. What’s the use of being God if every run-down shmuck with a two-dollar prayerbook can come along and fuck up Your Plan?
And here’s something else, another problem you might have: Suppose your prayers aren’t answered. What do you say? “Well, it’s God’s will.” “Thy Will Be Done.” Fine, but if it’s God’s will, and He’s going to do what He wants to anyway, why the fuck bother praying in the first place? Seems like a big waste of time to me! Couldn’t you just skip the praying part and go right to His Will? It’s all very confusing.
George Carlin had a wonderful way of cutting right through the bullshit, didn’t he? And listening to him is so much better than just reading the text. So, shall we?
[WARNING: The following video contains strong language and content that some viewers may find offensive. It’s probably not work or kid friendly.]
It’s ironic, isn’t it? The Pledge of Allegiance, which describes the United States as “indivisible”, has become one of the most divisive issues among us.
I first read about this particular division at My Crazy Life. You’ll want to check out the video she has posted there. Mike Newdow is interviewed by a frothing-at-the-mouth Fox News reporter (as if that’s not a redundant turn of phrase!). It’s slightly amusing to watch as Mike maintains his composure, remaining completely rational, while she (I don’t know her name) can barely contain herself.
So what’s up in Vermont? CBS News reports:
(AP) No one is sure when daily recitations of the Pledge of Allegiance fell by the wayside at Woodbury Elementary School.
But efforts to restore them have erupted into a bitter dispute in this town of about 800 residents, with school officials blocking the exercise from classrooms over concerns that it holds children who don’t participate up to scorn.
See there? Small town folks can too be rational.
So what did this little school do? They arranged for students who want to participate in group recitation of the Pledge of Allegiance to gather in the gym and do it there. You might consider this a reasonable compromise that works for everyone. If only…
Tedesco, 55, a retired Marine Corps major, and others who signed his petitions didn’t like that solution, calling it disruptive and inappropriate because it put young children in the position of having to decide between pre-class play time and leaving the classroom to say the pledge.
So, let me see if I understand this correctly. Woodbury Elementary School is ticking along just fine, not having daily recitations of the Pledge. Things have been this way for so long that, according to the article, no one is even sure when the practice “fell by the wayside”.
Then along comes Mr. Tedesco with his petition and lobbying, which ultimately results in agreement by school officials to resume the daily exercise of reciting the Pledge, and special accommodations being made for students who wish to participate.
In other words: disrupting the routine of the entire school!
Then, when things don’t play out to his complete and ultimate satisfaction, he objects on the grounds that the compromises and accommodations are, what? Did he call it “disruptive”?!
Good Gawd! Irony just doesn’t get any jucier than that, does it?
Pst… Tedesco. You instigated the “disruption”. If you were truly interested in not disrupting things, you would have left things the way they were.
But, I suppose if Tedesco & Co. had been granted every one of their wishes, everything would be peachy keen. Never mind those parents and students who consider the Pledge itself to be an inappropriate disruption in the classroom. But who cares what they think, anyway? They’re probably not even real Americans. In fact, they can just take their sorry arses someplace like Iraq if they don’t want to hear the Pledge of Allegiance, God bless America!
I think it’s also worth highlighting that, while Tedesco considers this important enough to circulate a petition lobbying for classroom recitation of the Pledge and ultimately withdraw his children from the school (he says for academic reasons and not the Pledge issue, but the timing is rather suspicious) he doesn’t think it’s important enough to make kids give up a few minutes of playtime in the morning.
What about values? What about teaching children priorities? Sacrifice builds character, etc., etc.
But wait! What if Mr. Tedesco is really worried that, given the choice between playtime and gathering to recite the Pledge, the kids would choose playtime? Gawd knows we can’t start allowing children to make choices, especially when they’re likely to opt out of something so vitally important to the grown ups!
No! This ritual must be performed in the classroom where they can’t get away, where those who don’t wish to participate or might object to it for some reason are forced to hear it.
In other words, it’s not enough to simply accommodate students who wish to participate, we must force all students to participate in some way or another. The fact that this doesn’t surprise me is a bit unsettling.
But, hey! I could be completely wrong. Maybe Tedesco and those who share his views really do think that the arrangement is disruptive and imposes undue hardship on students. Giving them the benefit of the doubt, I’ve come up with a solution that should satisfy everyone! I’m all about compromise, after all.
I would be perfectly happy for my son’s school to have two morning bells. The first bell calls for all students who wish to participate in group recitation of the Pledge to report to their classrooms for said ritual. The second bell calls all remaining students to class after the ceremony. Everyone gets the same tardy bell. I’m willing to allow the first bell to ring at the usual time to avoid cutting into anyone’s morning playtime or other recreational activities.
Tedesco & Co. get their playtime and their classroom recitation; those who do not wish to participate are not forced to.
This has the added benefit of staggering hall traffic at larger schools, making the hallways less crowded and thereby safer for all students. Students continue reporting to their regular classrooms, roll call is taken as usual, and class instruction begins immediately afterward.
Of course, this is still in its rough phase, but it seems reasonable to me. Any objections?