Reflections and Aspirations

Thought I’d give a short message, about these sorts of things that go through people’s heads this time of year. Stress and uncertainty, fear and excitement. It’s a new year, and although this is just advice from a twenty something individual, I hope it’s helpful.

Make the life you want this coming year. Do not dwell on past failures, and do not obsess about future complications. Simply live every day. Enjoy, hate, love, fear and feel every moment. When this year is gone it is gone forever. Make it count. Use every resource you have to make your life better for yourself and everyone around you. Feel everything. Be kind to everyone around you. Make friends. Speak your mind, never stay quiet, some people won’t be able to, but you know you can. Seek out injustice and face it head on. Support people around you. Forgive your friends and family. Forgive yourself. Make the world around you the type of place you’d want to live in. Stop waiting for someone to do it for you.

And more important than anything else. Have fun. Have as much fun as you possibly can.
Have a good year.

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Lost in Purpose

It’s often said that one of the fondest and most profound questions of human experience is whether or not our lives here have purpose, and perhaps more important what that purpose is. This idea has usually been the purview of philosophy and co-opted by religion. But I feel I must ask, why is this a question at all? Why is this idea so profound or needed for us as humans to answer? And why do different groups feel the need to have dominion of purpose completely?

Well when raised with the question what is the purpose to life I answer quickly and easily. There isn’t one. And while waiting for the smirk to leave the persons face I continue. The idea of even having a purpose, or that one needs a purpose to their life is a manufactured need. Made for the purpose of claiming to be the purpose. That’s right, it is my and others proposal that purpose doesn’t exist, and that it was only invented for the purpose (see what I did there) of delivering an artificial answer to that question.

I can already hear someone asking why anyone would do this. Well why indeed? Why create a need in people and then claim to be the sole arbiter of that need? It’s about control. Many people have doubts and misdirection in their lives, and instead of focusing on making their lives better many will simply claim that they lack a purpose in life and that their magical sky fairy is that very purpose, and so you totally should be happy now.

This is a transparent security blanket, and the vehement nature of peoples personal defense of such beliefs in the face of criticism speak volumes to that. In frank terms the idea of purpose is stupid. There is no real purpose to anything, so why not just go out and enjoy yourselves, and get others to enjoy themselves, why not just make life better for everyone and by extension yourself? Doesn’t that sound good to you? Isn’t that good enough?

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Are the religious stupid? and what do we do?

(sorry for lack of posts the last few days, holidays were filled with lots of lovely family and friends time and i was largly away from the computer, anyway on with the show!)

In a world with religious folk going on about virgin births, magical sky daddies answering prayers, world ending prophecies, and magic underwear, it is hard for many people to say that these people aren’t just stupid. I mean to think that a grown human being can honestly think that kneeling down and folding ones hands and thinking really hard can do anything but hurt your knees, makes them an idiot right? Wrong.

The issue is not intelligence. These people are often not stupid. Often they are actually quite intelligent. The issue is their intelligence has been co-opted by silly superstition and fear. Many have said that religion is an emotional pull, not an intellectual one. And emotions are not so easy to think oneself out of. Ask anyone who’s been in bad relationship to understand how. This is then made worse by the constant support from everyone around them. Magnifying the ideas, and giving a false sense of security.

Religion, like no other activity, requires rationalization. This is in part why otherwise very smart people in a religion seem so out of place mentally. In all other aspects of their lives, mentally and emotionally, religious people tend to think clearly, but when concerning religion they become hyper defensive. The smarter you are the better you are at rationalizing things in your life.

So what do we do with the religious? How can we shake off their emotional shackles? Well the sad news is we really can’t. By using force, all we do is encourage more rationalization, and victimhood.  All we can do is provide everything that religion does (ie support, wonder, friendship), and show that the baggage isn’t worth it, and the lies can’t sustain the other lies. We need to show them they are better, show them so that they can drop those ideas on their own. Show them the ideas are stupid, but they are not. Be kind, and pity. But still hold nothing back.

 

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Holiday Message

Rather than go through a long explanation about Christmas, thought it’d be nice to just say to all the people within the range of this message, enjoy this day as you would enjoy any other. Treat people the way you would treat them any other day, seek time with your loved ones, find time for your friends, do something nice for someone. And if your activity is different on this day, ask yourself why you don’t act the same the rest of the year.

Happy Day

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What can be learned with religion?

While I am well aware that this is a live and complicated question that many people have spent much of their lives studying, I would still like to give it a passing strike, since it has just gotten ridiculous. And note that this post is not about being inspired to do things, it is solely about what you can learn by employing religion.

It is often said that science can describe what something is or how it works, but not why it is there, or why it was made. This strange line of questioning is then claimed by the side making such silly objections. ie religion. Now why do religious folk think they can get away with that? Make up erroneous questions and then claim to be the complete answer.

Okay now not to diminish how silly the questions often are, but let’s just say they were legitimate questions. Now why in the flipping hell would we think religion, any religion, would be what we would look toward for answers for anything? Religion, at its core, presupposes outcomes and sources of those outcomes. In most cases, magic or some variant, and god respectfully. This notion is antithetical to any method of understanding any aspect of the world. To presuppose an outcome, and its source, is to automatically bias oneself from the onset. This can often lead to misunderstandings, and skewed use of information.

Whenever people try to figure anything out using religion they are nearly always wrong. And even when they are right, it is such an obvious fact that the idea it had to be ordained from a god is an insult to humans (looking at you, oh the earth had a curve to it). Nowhere in virtually any scripture do we see anything morally or factually substantial, while what we do see is the morals of primitive violent people, and inaccurate ramblings about the natural world. Religion may be a fascinating incite to our crazy past, but it has not shown itself to be an answer for anything.

So this is a question to my atheist friends this time, why do we let theists get away with the idea that religion can really answer anything, let alone big complicated questions? Especially when secular means have unanimously been seen to do a much better job? Why give up that inch?

 

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Why do theists not read their own books?

Not sure why but something doesn’t sound right about that title, but ignoring that for the moment I’ve been struck once again by a strange inconsistency among many religious people. Normally cropping up when in a discussion about their book of choice, I will suddenly find myself not only correcting what they think is in their book, but surprising them by strange or creepy things they never heard about. Why is this? Why does it seem that so many religious folk don’t seem to have even read the book they claim is infallible? And worse the book they try to quote from for guidance.

I can assume it has some something to do with how they acquired that information. Unlike learning information from careful analyzing of the source material, it’s been my experience that many religious folk learn their quotes, sound-bites, prayers, etc. not from their book but instead directly from their pastors, or imams or rabbis or whatever. It seems it is much easier to listen and nod then to look things up it seems. The problem is this method of learning is dangerous. These people gloss over material, and skew the material they do present, in such a way to make it more palatable instead of just explaining what is in there as is. But this is dishonest, both on the part of the teacher and flock, who both have the ability to look up information and should not just listen blindly. It shows the degree to which the authority figure values the material and their proposed students. And a tip is its not well.

Also possible is a strange kind of fear. Fear of the unknown and the comfort of the unchallenged ideas. This notion is very sad, and just as dishonest. And in need of much more introspection. The information is there whether individuals acknowledge it or not.

So to my religious friends, do not take your religious leaders word for it, and do not let fear hold you back, your book is a load of nonsense, and incoherent stories, written by ignorant people and edited by ignorant liars. Don’t believe me? Well then look it up, prove me wrong, prove to me that the information is infallible. Maybe then you will learn what is actually in the book rather than have it fed to you by someone with their own motives and intentions for your mind.

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Proposed Atheist Motivations, from theists

A curious tactic employed by some theists, well more rational than tactic, is to retroactively decide the motives of atheist’s lack of belief. This idea can take many forms: the classic you just hate god, sometimes you just want to sin, or even the devil has you, etc. The ridiculousness of these claims is only matched by their hilarity. Obviously, people that do not believe something even exists cannot be afraid of it. Those who don’t believe in the concept of sin, don’t desire sin, and the devil, really? See the previous sentence.

But this does happen, and it’s interesting to speculate why. Now noting that this is only speculation, and I have no desire to do exactly what I am arguing against, so feel free to correct me if I am wrong, it seems to me that this is defensive tactic. People that believe to such a degree that the very idea of someone not believing it is baffling to them may employ this rational, but many more would use it to defend against outside intrusion into their weak basis for belief. It is these people I think attack so strongly. Because to admit that there are perfectly normal people that do not believe what they do exist, chips away at the fragile foundations of their belief.

So to my religious friends, if you have ever wondered or thought that this was an atheist’s real motivation, I ask you to really reevaluate why it is that you believe. And what those foundations really are, and why an atheist existing shakes you so badly.

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Religious projecting, you are just like us

I have found that on many occasions religious folk will decided to form an argument the following way. They will claim a lack of evidence for the opposing idea, or perhaps go so far as to claim the opposing view is found only on faith, or there is no logical reason to take such an opposing view. And many use this tactic instead of actually providing an argument supporting their own view. What I find interesting about these sorts of arguments, is that what the theist is claiming is exactly what is wrong with their own belief system. Often it is the one that is unsupported, illogical and based only on faith. So why the transparent projection, why the urge to use such seemingly hypocritical arguments?

Well to give credit where its due, I’d imagine that most theists honestly think that they are making good solid objections to opposing views. And that is of course admirable, but in cases where they choose to use such arguments, that could so easily and accurately be foisted back at them is this. I think that they are trying to rationalize the more supported atheistic stance away by making it have exactly the same level of support as theirs. Meaning they are trying to rise up the profile of their beliefs by attempting to lower those of the people they are arguing with. I mean if both sides have equal evidence and mine is from god then mine is clearly right eh?

But of course this is not true, and should be called out every time. The atheistic stance is simply people not being convinced by bad or insufficient arguments from theists. And trying to lie about the other person’s position likely will not change their minds. So to my theist friends, don’t do this, to convince an atheist you need to actually provide reasons to believe, not made up reasons why you should pretend you should, and further pretending we are on a level playing field doesn’t make your position any more valid.

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Making up words and definitions

I will admit that I have often used a term differently for the sake of a discussion or argument. And of course I have been guilty of not understanding or misrepresenting some words from time to time. But that is not what I am talking about. One thing that I see a lot of religious folk do in defense of their Ideas is outright make up words, or at the very least use words with incredibly nebulous or misdirecting definitions.

We have all seen this im sure. You are going along in a discussion with a theist of some stripe and right when you think you have made a very good point they come back with “well god lives in eternity” or “the religious mind works with sanctity not logic”. Those phrases don’t mean anything. Now I can already hear the rabble of folks thinking “oh david you just don’t understand, read a dictionary” or even more galling, “read the bible/Koran/torah/etc”.  don’t give me that, this is a transparent non sequitur, they have just as much understanding of what they are saying as I do. How can I claim that? Cause any follow up question is either met with a blank stare or more nebulous words.

This is a very odd and unneeded method of misdirection, and it really shows the lack of introspection that the person used to come to their conclusions, as any glance at these sorts of defenses makes them fall apart. So to my theistic friends reading this, please think about what you say and the words you use, and more importantly think of your reasons for choosing them in the first place.  

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“Observation” of god

Often, a religious retort to atheists explaining science (especially evolution) is to say that “you can’t observe that happening, no one has ever SEEN an animal become some other kind of animal”. Or may say in response to an atheist saying that “they can’t observe god” with “well you can’t observe the wind, or love” etc etc etc. This seems to stem from a fundamental misunderstanding of the term “observe”. When a scientist says “observe” it means something very different from when a religious person (usually) means by the term.

(loosely) Observe means the ability to gather data on a subject or action over some amount of time, and often this definition of observe will extend to the term “seeing”.

This means that when scientists (or anyone that wishes to adopt the term) observe something, it is not just with their eyes, and not just in an instant. It could be gathering temperatures over the course of 10 months, and observing a pattern. It could be watching a bacterium evolve over the course of 2 years, and observing the changes. It could be recording scattering differentials of electrons in a particle accelerator. All of these activities fall under the purview of observation in science, using both devices techniques and our own senses.

We do not need to use just our eyes to observe, and we do not have to do it in an instant.

Now when it comes to the idea of god, she cannot be observed, even in the scientific sense, no time lapse charts, or radiometric dating. No dna traces, no electromagnetic imaging. There is no information to gather using any machines or sensors we have, of god herself or her actions. THIS is often the reason atheists to not believe in god, not cause we can’t SEE her, but because we cannot observe her or her actions at all. And all actions attributed to her have much better explanations. And this is why theists, often, must appeal to faith, and not use evidence (pieces of information gathered from observation). And after this explanation, is that really that surprising?

Makes sense?

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