Keep God out of Oklahoma

•May 21, 2013 • Leave a Comment

The destruction in Oklahoma is real. The lost lives, lost homes, lost livelihoods are broadcast all across the internet and television as the nation watches. It’s heart-wrenching, as is the wake of any natural disaster.

And of course, most posts on social media sites are asking the nation to pray for Oklahoma. I’ve seen several that include some kind of “God be with Oklahoma” petition.

Here’s the thing… by their own faith (and by insurance companies), this deadly tornado is considered an act of God. Now, they’re asking God to be with them? If there was such a force, God would be the reason OK is not okay.

This smacks of classic biblical hypocrisy. The old testament God is vengeful and harsh. He’s a sadist. There is no forgiveness and you will take anything he throws at you. Sit in submission and love it. That’s the way things are.

Then Jesus came along in the new testament and suddenly, God was changed. He was forgiving and loving. He understood you and only wanted what’s best. God had been through anger management courses and was really willing to put aside all the previous damage inflicted.

It may as well be a testament to domestic abuse, which is wildly unpopular in today’s society (although too prevalent). God flies into a fit of rage and then destroys an unassuming population. Then, when the storm passes, instead of kicking his ass to the curb like any self-respecting person should do, people start calling out for him. They cry out for God to protect them. To comfort them. To be there with them.

The reality is that God didn’t cause the storms that tore through Oklahoma this week. God also won’t put any of it back together. God is merely a panacea, and a weak one. Prayers won’t undo the damage that was caused, and they won’t put food on the table for families with nothing. Prayers are for people who don’t want to offer anything of actual use, but need to spread a balm over themselves to feel better about their own survivor’s guilt.

To help Oklahoma, keep your prayers to yourself. Or pray that God stays out of Oklahoma.

On the outside of reality

•May 18, 2013 • Leave a Comment

“It’s easy feeling righteous when removed
All you’ll get is what you wanna hear”

-“Carry You” by Jimmy Eat World, 2007

Atheism is not Satanism

•April 27, 2013 • Leave a Comment

This week, I saw the new Rob Zombie movie, “The Lords of Salem.” For many reasons, I think it’s a beautiful addition to the horror genre and Zombie’s body of work.

“The Lords of Salem” a fantastic horror film about Satan-worshipers, not atheists. (Credit: IMDB)

However, it prompted me to wonder how many people ignorantly categorize atheists and satanists together with no distinction. There are probably several people who may see Sherri Moon wildly riding a goat and think, “This is what happens when you don’t have God in your life! Those damn atheists!

The joke is on them, however. Satan is a Christian creation. Atheists don’t worship the devil. We don’t worship anyone. (Real Satanists don’t even worship Satan, they worship their individual self above all.) Satan is as made up to us as any other deity. So sorry to disappoint anyone.

“The Lords of Salem” featured plenty of artfully envisioned heretical scenes that would cause many-a-Christian churn in discomfort. You don’t have to worship the horned one to appreciate the beauty in that.

5 Ways to get over being offended by Djesus Uncrossed

•April 21, 2013 • Leave a Comment
Djesus Uncrossed from NBC/SNL

(from NBC/SNL)

Earlier this year, Saturday Night Live aired a satirical trailer for a new Quentin Tarantino film, and the episode re-aired last night. Billed as the “ultimate historical revenge fantasy,” apparently some people were offended by the clip. I was too busy laughing at my favorite scene: after a Roman soldier cries out, “Jesus H. Christ!” Djesus responds, “The H is silent.”

For those who may not have seen the SNL parody sketch, here’s an official link:
Saturday Night Live: New Tarantino Movie.

For those who are offended by this post or this trailer, here are 5 simple ways to get over negativity sparked by satire:

    1. Relax. Breathe. Use your nose to inhale down through the diaphragm. Mouth breathing reduces oxygen you need for rational thinking.
    2. Learn something new. Take someone else seriously. I suggest reading works by Jonathan Swift or Voltaire.
    3. Exercise. Are you feeling stressed or something?
    4. Self-reflect. What’s the underlying reason you feel so angry?
    5. Laugh. Let those muscles in your face do something other than frowning and scowling all the time.

What are you thinking about?

•April 15, 2013 • Leave a Comment

“All thinking men are atheists.” – Ernest Hemingway

-from A Farewell to Arms, 1929 (Chapter 2)

Evil monkeys in suits

•April 9, 2013 • Leave a Comment
Evil monkey with Watchtower tract

We all know the type. (Credit: Family Guy)

Sherman Alexie: “Afterlife schmafterlife”

•April 8, 2013 • Leave a Comment
Sherman Alexie: "My atheist friends are as loving & generous as my religious friends. Afterlife schmafterlife."

Sherman Alexie: “My atheist friends are as loving & generous as my religious friends. Afterlife schmafterlife.”

Abandon static cling

•April 7, 2013 • 3 Comments

Descartes sought to establish certainty beyond all doubt, but I have a problem with absolutes (among other Cartesian philosophy). Absolutes don’t leave room for new thoughts, cutting off insight from potential changes or unknowable future circumstances.

Examples: Two Republican senators recently announced their support of gay marriage. One (Rob Portman) had a son who came out; the other (Mark Kirk) experienced a stroke. Both cases involved unforeseen situations that caused the senators to reevaluate their perspectives. They used reasoning to determine that their former views were out of alignment with modern times and knowledge. If they held this belief as absolute, they may not have developed doubts.

If absolutism isn’t such a great idea for political realms, what makes it so fitting to religious applications?

I take a Socratic perspective that the amount of knowledge I don’t know is vastly greater than what I do. The journalist within me is never quite satisfied; always looking for another angle. Something new to learn. If you believe you know all there is to know about a subject and hold to the inflexible view that nothing will change your beliefs, your absolutism makes you blind. Imagine no reason, no logic, just beliefs.

Yikes.

Doubt is a reality atheists confront head-on. We’re open to new information. If a breakthrough discovery proved that God exists, I would consider the claims and research. However, no such conclusive evidence has satisfied my doubts or the doubts of thousands of atheists world-wide and throughout history. We’re not asking for mountains of evidence, but something? Anything? If only there was some kind of reward to whomever could prove such a thing…

Does God exist? It doesn’t seem likely. Yet therein lies the difference between holding beliefs and holding doubt. Without the religious devotion to a doctrine, atheists enjoy flexibility to investigate, question, and rationalize. We become engrossed in other topics and interests. Our frame of reference usually extends beyond one book.

I don’t claim to know everything or that atheism is the one true way everyone should live. What’s that other word that religions hate so much?

Evolution.

It applies to thought processes too.

Blame the pagans

•April 6, 2013 • 1 Comment

Last night, another atheist friend brought up the date of Easter.
Why is it celebrated in March some years and April in others?” she wondered.

As a result of my early parochial school education, I actually knew this one. Easter falls on the Sunday after the full moon that falls on or after the vernal equinox (first day of Spring).

Her jaw dropped in disbelief.
Wait, you mean that a Christian holiday is dictated by the full moon? Isn’t that pagan?

Exactly. Easter celebrations had nothing to do with the Biblical story of Jesus. I then filled her in on other pagan symbols associated with Easter, such as:

    –How the name could stem from Eos, the Greek goddess of the rising dawn.
    –It could also stem from Eostre/Ostara, a Germanic goddess of new beginnings and the growing light of spring.
    –The egg? Not for eating and coloring, for new life, duh. Think of all the eggs that hatch in the spring and all the chirping birds. Peeps, anyone?
    –The emergence of Jesus from the tomb is just another retelling of the egg (among other archetypes).
    –Rabbits are known for extensive reproductive capabilities, another symbol of new life and beginnings.
    –How did the bunny start laying eggs? Well, that’s another custom taken from the Germans. The Osterhase was a hare who not only laid eggs; they were colored eggs. Seriously.

It’s good to have knowledge on your side. It’s better to share it.

No need for religion

•April 4, 2013 • 3 Comments

I have seen several blogs recently discussing the “religion” of atheism.

Some people just can’t accept that there are others out there with no need for any kind of religion.

 
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