If your church is over in areas of the world with very high HIV/AIDS burdens and is telling people that using condoms is “bad”, then please, shut the fuck up about how much “good” your church is doing. These are for-profit (prophet?) organizations that attempt to lure people into their religion with the promise of clean water, food, and medical attention. Many of the missionaries that go to these areas are more concerned with adding another “soul” to their little soul tally sheet or whatever (“saving” the person from eternal torment, blah blah blah) than they are with that individual’s very real, physical suffering in the here and now. And that is disgusting. One of my close friends wanted to volunteer with some church-based group in one such area. She was accepted. But then promptly had that acceptance revoked when she disclosed that she was an atheist. Here’s a hint for all of those religiously-affiliated charities: if you turn down someones help simply because her/his opinions about the supernatural differ from yours, you probably don’t really give that much of a rat’s ass about helping the people you so passionately claim to want to help. Same if you refuse to render that aid to a person because of a difference in religious ideology.
note: though this post is a bit heavy-handed towards those of you who are religious, it by no means is meant to say that all religious people are like this or that all “religious” charity work is bad. Hopefully this will get some of you more religious people to think: ‘hmmm…am I doing this charity work because I actually care about and wish to alleviate some of the suffering that I see because I genuinely have compassion towards these people, regardless of race, religion, etc or am I doing this because I want to “make good” with God/Allah/ect. because charity is commanded of me or prosthelytizing is seen as necessary?”
I have found that a surprisingly large number of Christians out there have not actually read their own foundational text (the bible). I would wager that if you took the bible and replaced all of the familiar people and place names and had them actually read it they would be horrified and disgusted with the shear brutality of the text. I have read no other piece of literature with a higher body count or a more tolerant attitude towards murder, torture, and rape.
A lot of theists use Pascal’s Wager as their rationale for belief. You can read the wager in its 6-point entirety here, but it’s summed up like this: If you believe there is no god, and there is one, you’re fucked. If you believe there is a god and there isn’t one, you’re not fucked. Therefore, it’s best to wager that there is a god since the consequences of being wrong are far less.
Or as I like to call it: “Bullshit.” You can google all sorts of criticisms and rebuttals to the wager, but really, Wikipedia’s got you covered.
But I’m not here to discuss how you have to be shitty at reason to buy into the fallacious Pascal’s Wager. I’m here to discuss the atheist’s wager. That I just now made up. But I’m probably not the only person to have ever conceived something like it. It’s aimed at Xianity because that’s my background, but could have applications to other religions. And one last thing — this is my first time putting these thoughts into words so I’m sure there are errors in my reason and I’d love for them to be exploited. Have at it.
- If you believe in God, then you’re going to Heaven.
- If you believe you’re going to Heaven and that nothing is better than Heaven, then any experience on Earth will be vastly inferior.
- Life, therefore, cannot be lived to the fullest because true fulfillment can be attained only in the presence of God in Heaven.
- If God loves the world (so much that He sent His own son to be sacrificed to save the world), then everyone receives God’s unconditional love.
- If unconditional love means to love without condition, then even the condition of belief is not required to receive God’s love.
- If God’s love caused him to send His son to save the world from sin and God’s love is unconditional, then all who receive God’s love are saved.
- Therefore, God’s unconditional love saves all, not just those who believe.
- Life is lived to the fullest as an agnostic atheist because we are free to do whatever we want to attain fulfillment. There are no rules or conditions. We are subject only to the laws and morals of society. If agnostic atheists are wrong, God will not send us to Hell because of His unconditional love.
should be built instead of a church.
An atheist believes that deed must
be done instead of prayer said.
An atheist strives for involvement in life
and not escape into death.
He wants disease conquered,
poverty vanished, war eliminated.”
― Madalyn Murray O’Hair
On this day (January 2) in 1920, Isaac Asimov, a self-described “second-generation freethinker” and one of the world’s most prolific authors, was born in Petrovichi, Russia. He moved with his family to Brooklyn, New York, in 1923, and became a naturalized citizen in 1928. Isaac taught himself to read by age five. At age seven, he taught his sister to read. He sold one of his earliest published short stories, “Nightfall,” in 1941, which was eventually voted the best science-fiction short story ever written, by the Science Fiction Writers of America. Asimov graduated from Columbia University with a bachelor of science degree in 1939, earned his M.A. in 1941 and a Ph.D. in chemistry in 1948. He was hired by Boston University’s School of Medicine to teach biochemistry the following year, although he had never studied biochemistry. He wrote a textbook on the subject in 1951, became associate professor of biochemistry in 1955 and professor in 1979, although he stopped teaching in 1958 to devote his life to writing. I, Robot, (1950), is the title of Asimov’s first collection of short stories (a recent movie was based on one of the stories). Employing the “Asimovian Law of Composition,” which meant writing from nine to five, seven days a week (often closer to 6:30 a.m. to 10 p.m.), he averaged at least 12 new books a year. Asimov won five Hugos, three Nebula Awards, and his best-known “Foundation” trilogy was given a 1966 Hugo as “Best All-Time Science-Fiction Series.” Nonfiction works by Asimov were typically encyclopedic in range, such as his well-known Asimov’s Guide to the Bible (1968) and Asimov’s Annotated Paradise Lost (1974). He wrote a series of popularizing books on science and history, and even a guide to Shakespeare.
Asimov was an atheist: “I am Jewish in the sense that if an Arab wanted to throw a rock at a Jew, I would qualify as a target as far as he was concerned. However, I do not practice Judaism or any other religion.” (March 17, 1969 letter). Asimov called himself “an orthodox, practicing atheist” (April 29, 1988 letter). Asimov wrote: “Properly read, the Bible is the most potent force for atheism ever conceived” (Feb. 22, 1966 letter). He also observed, “I must say that I stand amazed at the highly intelligent people who have taken so much of the Bible so seriously” (Oct. 28, 1966 letter). “Nobody but a dedicated Christian could possibly read the gospels and not see them as a tissue of nonsense” (Nov. 1, 1966 letter). “I would not be satisfied to have my kids choose to be religious without trying to argue them out of it, just as I would not be satisfied to have them decide to smoke regularly or engage in any other practice I considered detrimental to mind or body” (Aug. 22, 1963 letter). “I am prejudiced against religion because I know the history of religion, and it is the history of human misery and of black crimes” (March 27, 1976 letter). Elected in 1985 as president of the American Humanist Association, Asimov rejected an offer to support “Jewish” humanism: “I want to be a human being, nothing more and nothing less” (June 21, 1985). (All letters cited from Yours, Isaac Asimov, a Lifetime of Letters, edited by Stanley Asimov, 1995). Asimov noted that “it is an excellent sign that the right wing is trembling before a few thousand Humanists. We are weak and yet feared. Let’s give them more cause to fear!” Upon his death at age 72, he had written more than 470 published books, covering every category in the Dewey Decimal System, fiction and nonfiction. Asimov was married twice, and had a son and daughter. Isaac’s death from heart and kidney failure was a consequence of AIDS contracted from a transfusion of tainted blood during his December 1983 triple-bypass operation. D. 1992.
I did not know that he contracted HIV. Interesting.
Scene from Religulous with Bill Maher and Sen. Mark Pryor.
A scientist in Heaven could no more accept “magic” as its explanation than they can accept it here on Earth. They would want to tear away pieces of heaven to study it. Is it truly clouds of water vapor that we walk upon? Is there a change in the nature of the vapor itself that makes walking upon it possible? Or perhaps a change in the mass of the body that walks upon it? Are angel wings made of true feathers? What are the DNA markings in the feathers? Are the feathers bird feathers? Do they contain human DNA. Is angelic DNA different than human DNA. If angels lack DNA all together, then how do angels work? Do the have internal organs? If angels like pie, for example, what then, would happen to the pie once it’s consumed?
And how awesome would it be to get a blood sample of Jesus? The samples we get here in Catholic sacraments seem to indicate that Jesus is genetically related to grapes.
"…genetically related to grapes." I died.
Which I guess means I’ll be working on those angelic blood samples.