Class Warfare Blog

March 22, 2019

So Smart and Yet … And Still Prone to Simple Mistakes

In the most recent Scientific American issue, there was an interview with a Brazilian physicist.

Atheism Is Inconsistent with the Scientific Method, Prizewinning Physicist Says
In conversation, the 2019 Templeton Prize winner does not pull punches on the limits of science, the value of humility and the irrationality of nonbelief
by Lee Billings (March 20, 2019)

According to that article “Marcelo Gleiser, a 60-year-old Brazil-born theoretical physicist at Dartmouth College and prolific science popularizer, has won this year’s Templeton Prize. Valued at just under $1.5 million, the award from the John Templeton Foundation annually recognizes an individual ‘who has made an exceptional contribution to affirming life’s spiritual dimension.’”

“… And by doing that, by understanding how science advances, science really becomes a deeply spiritual conversation with the mysterious, about all the things we don’t know. So that’s one answer to your question. And that has nothing to do with organized religion, obviously, but it does inform my position against atheism. I consider myself an agnostic.

“I honestly think atheism is inconsistent with the scientific method. What I mean by that is, what is atheism? It’s a statement, a categorical statement that expresses belief in nonbelief. ‘I don’t believe even though I have no evidence for or against, simply I don’t believe.’ Period. It’s a declaration. But in science we don’t really do declarations.”

I can’t really tell whether this is willful ignorance or just Lying for Jesus. It is hard to tell, but really “What is atheism? It’s a statement, a categorical statement that expresses belief in nonbelief.”

According to this convoluted definition if you do not accept the “proof” of the existence of the Loch Ness Monster or Bigfoot, then you really just believe in their nonexistence, for no reasons whatsoever.

So, all of the evidence that Santa isn’t real is not to be considered. If you do not think Santa is real, then you have a belief in the nonbelief in Santa.

What a crock of horse pucky.

Atheism is not a belief. Here is what atheism at its core is:
Theist God exists and loves you!
Atheist I don’t “believe” you.
Theist But the proof is obvious; it is all around you.
Atheist Yeah, like what?
Theist Blah, blah, blah, blah.
Atheist Your proofs make no sense. I am not convinced.

Atheists are not believers, nor are they unbelievers. We are the unconvinced. Being unconvinced is not a state built on a foundation of belief, it is built on a foundation of no evidence, bad arguments, special pleading, logical errors, and a great many facts to the contrary.

Compatabilist scientists notwithstanding, trying to turn atheism into a belief system to imbue it with all of the flaws of religious belief systems and put it on an equal footing with them is an old, old strategy … that still does not work. Why? Because we are not convinced that atheism is a belief.

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January 8, 2019

Other Ways of Knowing, Part 2

Filed under: Reason,Religion,Science — Steve Ruis @ 12:46 pm
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In the ongoing war between faith and science a common claim is that science is not the only way to acquire knowledge, that there are “other ways of knowing.” Along with this I see question after question on the Quora website asking atheists about what “evidence” would convince them to believe in God/Jesus (like we tell them and then they produce it … strange question). The number of these latter questions is smaller than the usual ones asking atheists to prove there is no god or asking for evidence that there is no god, but they are numerous enough.

So, many of these arguments center on “absence of evidence is not evidence of absence” arguments which are too nonsensical to take seriously but the “other ways of knowing” response is intriguing. Usually they are referring to “revealed” truth or some such thing through “personal experience” (as if there were any other kind). Interestingly enough, in the vast majority of times in which revealed truths have some up against scientific truths, the revealed truths have come out poorly. This lead me to the following line of thinking.

In legal contests, if one side makes an argument that there is only one interpretation of the evidence and that interpretation circumstantially leads to the guilt of a defendant, the only requirement of the refutation of such an argument is that another equally plausible interpretation be made … not proved, just made. So, if the argument is “god did it,” then in spite of the evidence, all that is needed is an equally plausible interpretation of the “evidence.” Well, that has been provided and, obviously, it didn’t work.

So, consider the following hypothetical scenario. A favorite meme of the ancient alien speculators (they are not theorists) is that an alien race came to this planet and “adjusted” our genetic material to make us who we are now. What if that were true?

So, a flying saucer (or any other equivalent space craft) lands on the White House lawn and after a small diplomatic interlude, their representatives claim that they came back to check on how we were doing, because X numbers of thousands of years ago, they “adjusted the DNA of a hominid ancestor of ours to result in … us. They provide more than credible evidence of this deed (videos, tissue samples, explanations of the DNA “adjustments,” etc.

What happens to the “other ways of knowing” at that point? I suggest that all of them are blown out of the water as the hooey they are. The claim that there are “other ways of knowing” is simple a ruse to protect their “knowledge” from critical inspection.

I suggest that this is not the only scenario that results in all of those “other ways” of folding up like a cheap cardboard suitcase left in the rain. (Cheap cardboard suitcases were the ancestors of cheap plastic suitcases.) Another would be the discovery of significant life on another planet, which could come about through contact or communication remotely. If we found that their set of “beliefs” about nature were different from scientific truths and ascribed to “other ways of knowing,” we would know we were talking to their bullshit artists who were part and parcel with our bullshit artists.

Can you think of other such scenarios? Wouldn’t a benign one of these be lovely? Traumatic for some but lovely collectively. (One can empathize with the traumatized (and I would), but you can’t put your balls on an anvil, pass out hammers, and then complain of the pain you suffer.)

November 26, 2018

Meaning, Schmeaning

Filed under: Culture,Religion — Steve Ruis @ 12:10 pm
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Atheists have to deal with a great many accusatory questions from Christians. One of my favorites is: how can there be morality without God? (Implication: I am an immoral asshole.) I always the questioner ask for a clear, definitive statement of Christian morality and I usually only get a “mumble, mumble, Golden Rule” response.

Another question is” How can there be meaning in life without God? (Implication: my existence is meaningless and, hence, worthless.) Well, we now have an answer! Pew Research has done a survey asking people where they derive “a great deal of meaning” and “the most important source of meaning” in their lives. So, our 70% Christian nation has spoken! Here are the top sources rated from most to least (with the percent responding “provides a great deal of meaning”):

Spending time with family … 69%
Being outdoors … 47%
Caring for pets … 45%
Listening to music … 44%
Reading … 37%
Your religious faith … 36%
Your job or career … 34%

So, what do you think? Is this just additional proof that Satan is in charge “down here?” Is the placement of people’s religion as a source of meaning in their lives right in being between “reading” and “your job or career,” and well behind caring for one’s pets? (Keep in mind Americans notoriously hate their jobs.)

Here’s the article I read (https://religionnews.com/2018/11/20/for-most-americans-new-research-says-family-comes-first/).

Addendum Before you write back to tell me that religion was ranked very high as the “most important source of meaning” in people’s lives religion still came in at 20% (one out of five), half of what “spending time with family” pulled down. And that survey asked about religion and not god. Since there are more than a few atheists who are members of churches (and churches which welcome atheists with open arms) and it is well noted that religion has a significant social component, I wonder where “god” would have ranked? (Basically, you cannot ask that question, because it will encourage people to lie. It would be like the “Does this dress make me look fat?” question.)

November 19, 2018

Culture Signaling

Filed under: Culture,Religion — Steve Ruis @ 12:11 pm
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There are myriad ways of signally where one stands in our culture(s). One of my favorites is the middle class grunt. This can be observed in any bar in which a middle class man takes a stool at the bar. Often the taking of a seat is accompanied by a slight grunt, as if the climbing thereupon were strenuous. This signal tells all of those nearby that you, too, work for a living and that you deserve the respite of a pint with your friends.

There are myriad ways in which the signal “I Believe in God” is made. While leaving a hotel recently at a too early hour, I was making a cup of coffee to go in the lobby when a cheery staff member asked how I was doing. (I hate perky, by the way, but that’s something else.) I grumbled back that “I was alive.” She responded with “Thank god for that,” and smiled her way away. I did not respond as that would have been unkind.

People often use phrases in ordinary language that identify them as a member in the god-fearing culture. You will hear such way more often in the hinterlands than in big cities but you will hear such everywhere in this country.

Signally that one is religious is a way of signally that you are a trustworthy person, and that you are not a threat. Basically, you have morals. The cost of this is to the people who do not signal back. Atheists are not to be trusted and signally is one way to identify these amoral threats to a good Christian life.

Maybe we need some atheist signals to show the religious crowd that we are amongst them. Maybe “As Daniel (Dennett), Richard (Dawkins) and Sam (Harris) say …” or ‘What would Hitch do?” (WWHD). I don’t think we need a secret handshake or anything but recognition for the Atheist Headquarters in the Colorado mountain bunkers would be nice. Publication of Atheist Statements of Disbelief and the posting of them in public spaces would help, I guess, but I will start with culture signals. What do you think?

October 23, 2018

Mommy, What’s an Atheist?

Filed under: Religion — Steve Ruis @ 11:29 am
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I was reading a book review in The New Yorker magazine, which included the following:

“(John) Gray, author of a new book on atheism, Seven Types of Atheism (Farrar, Straus & Giroux), taught at Oxford, Harvard, Yale, and the London School of Economics before turning full time to writing, starts his book by offering a highly provisional and idiosyncratic definition of atheist: “anyone with no use for a divine mind that has fashioned the world.’

I am always fascinated by systems of categorization, especially those involving numbers of “types.” The numbers rarely come out as “non-mystical,” they are almost always a seven, or three, or twelve. How come there aren’t 22 categories, or 17?

In any case, I found the definition of atheism a bit lacking: the definition in widespread use is rather simple: an atheist is anyone who does not believe in your god. In other words, the definition is personal.

Most Christians are fairly ignorant of the early history (or really any history) of the Christian churches. Prior to Christianity being adopted as a Roman religion (which preceded it being adopted as the Roman religion), Christians were often accused of atheism because of their refusal to worship any of the Roman gods. As, I said, they lacked belief in “their god(s).”

A common trope of atheists is that we are all atheists, which according to my definition, we are. Ask any Jew or Christian or Muslim whether they believe in Krishna or Ahura Mazda* or Odin and they will say “no.” To any worshippers of those gods, they are therefore atheists. There are literally thousands of gods that have been created over our existence. (I have a list! Shut up, Senator McCarthy. But, yes, I do have a list, presumably incomplete, but with thousands of named gods on it.)

In the Bible, there is a clear history of the Israelites making the transition from polytheism to monotheism. No matter what the Bible says, it also says that Jews worshipped more than one god until about the sixth century BCE.

One of the questions addressed by the reviewer in The New Yorker piece was “Why are Americans still uncomfortable with atheism?” Quite a few points were thrown on the table to establish why this is still a question, but they left off one of the most important: the unrelenting campaign by fundamentalist Christians vilifying atheists.

I often ask folks who make disparaging statements about atheists: Do you know any? And, “How well do you know them?” Most of these folks do not have any atheist friends or acquaintances, at least that they are aware of. So, they have no basis for their opinion, other than what they have been taught. What they have been taught is that there is no morality without their god and their god’s punishments for infractions of its rules.

Currently it is well known that a Muslim apostate (someone who was formerly a believer but is no longer) is marked for death. The penalty for apostasy in Islam is death. So, it was in Christianity also. Many of the penalties for rules infractions in the Old Testament are death. Of course, many Christians say that their god is nor love and those old rules no longer apply. That may be so, But I notice all of their Bibles still have the OT in them and, well, there are six states in the U.S. that still have blasphemy laws on their books (Massachusetts, Michigan, Oklahoma, Pennsylvania, South Carolina, and Wyoming).

Theists are taught that atheists are not to be trusted, that we are amoral and a danger to their way of life. Surely this is part of the reason that atheists are trusted less in the U.S. than any other identity group.

So, how do you define atheist? And, really, does it matter? If you are going to smear someone you barely or entirely do not know, do you care whether the epithet is accurate? Do you care if you actually understand that person at all? Or should you just blaze away rhetorically and legally until the danger is vanquished? (And is the danger to you personally, or to your god technician’s job?)

* Zoroastrians believe in one God, called Ahura Mazda (meaning ‘Wise Lord’). He is compassionate, just, and is the creator of the universe. Ahura Mazda is:
Omniscient (knows everything)
Omnipotent (all powerful)
Omnipresent (is everywhere)
Impossible for humans to conceive
Unchanging
The Creator of life
The Source of all goodness and happiness.

Sound familiar?

April 8, 2018

Avoiding the Narrative Trap

Filed under: Reason,Religion — Steve Ruis @ 8:25 am
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I keep seeing people on the Internet arguing fine points regarding the Christian narratives surrounding the Garden of Eden, the Exodus, the Resurrection of Jesus, or Noah’s Ark. Too often it seems to me that people limit themselves to critiquing the fine points of the narrative offered. With regard to Noah’s Ark people ask: how such a small group of men make such a large ship? How could so many animals fit into such a small space? Where did they store the animal’s food? How did they shovel out all of the shit produced? Were there dinosaurs on the Ark? If one steps back from the narrative and looks at it from afar, one asks quite different questions.

Yahweh is apparently disappointed in his creations. He declared them “good” but now has decided to kill them all and start over. This seems more than a little like admitting a mistake that should have been foreseen, but even if you set that aside, there are fundamental criticisms of the entire episode. The killing is done is an extremely clumsy way. Not only does Yahweh take out all of the human beings (save the eight that end up on the Ark), but he kills off 99.99% of all of the animals, even the sea creatures are done in (the large addition of fresh water to the salty seas will kill most fish/creatures adapted to the salty water). What have these creatures done to be killed like this? Even animals in the Ark are destined to be dead before long as they were adapted to, say very cold temperatures (penguins, etc.) and they are released from the Ark on a mountaintop in the Middle East with orders to go forth and multiply, what? Of course, Yahweh could transport them back to whence they came but why have all of these details to deal with?

A supernatural entity with the powers attributed to Yahweh (omnipotence, omniscience, omnipresence, and omnibenevolence) could do something like make all but the eight disappear such that they were never there in the first place. No big flood, just Noah and his family wandering around in a world empty of other humans wondering where’d they go and really, truly believing in the power of their god. No totally improbably clumsy event, just the act of an effing powerful god.

The Garden of Eden narrative is likewise daffy. Yahweh creates Adam to what end? In Genesis 1 the reason was “Let us make mankind in our image, in our likeness, so that they may rule over the fish in the sea and the birds in the sky, over the livestock and all the wild animals, and over all the creatures that move along the ground.” (In Genesis 2, the reason is different. It starts by saying that there was no shrub or plant on Earth but Yahweh had planted a garden (again with the contradictions).) Going with the Genesis 1 narrative, Yahweh basically is creating an overseer for his garden. Obviously, wild creatures have no use of rulers, kings, queens, etc. On what basis does an all-powerful entity need a helper, a gardener? Admitting the need for help from other hands at all is admitting that one is not all-powerful. The same can be said about the tens of thousands of angels at his command. Why? What could they do that he could not?

If you step out of the narrative, you end up with questions like: “Why didn’t Yahweh want Adam and Eve to know the difference between good and evil? If Adam and Eve had been less adventurous, would all of us now be ignorant of the difference between good and evil? And that would make us better exactly how? Also, he created the two of them. Could he not foresee that they might misunderstand or be confused or be misled by a serpent he put in his garden? If these damned trees were so important, why did he not post guards around them as he did after he kicked Adam and Eve out of the garden?

The entire narrative is so full of holes as to be childish. And this is the event for which thousands and thousands of generations of human beings are being held to account and will be burned in Hell for not making it right. Talk about a scam.

With regard to the resurrection of Jesus, which is absolutely critical to the existence of Christianity, if you ignore the details and take a step back, again Yahweh is performing his miracles in an incredibly clumsy way, not using his transcendent powers with any finesse whatsoever. First Yahweh forbids human sacrifice, then when he is trying to figure out how to absolve humans of Original Sin, he says “Hey, Murray, I’ve got an idea. I’ll use a human sacrifice. You know how powerful blood magic is. Hey, it should work.” WTF? An all-powerful being could have made Original Sin go away in such a way that no one would remember it had ever existed. Or he could have set an expiration date on it retroactively (unto the seventh generation …) so it would have expired far in the past. Then he could have established a new covenant if that was his intent. Why this clumsy puppet show? The guy had tens of thousands of angels, one for every couple of hundred humans on the entire planet. Imagine all of them fluttering down from high above with a message. When they left they could have dropped leaflets, like we do in war times, with a summary of the new covenant. Now that would have made an impression … and left an account with every man Jack of us.

Basically, after the initial creation verse of the Bible, Yahweh never acts like an omnipotent, omniscient, omnipresent, and omnibenevolent god at all.

How can a god which can create a man from dust require their savior to be born of a woman and wait 30 years to deliver a message that an angel could deliver more effectively? Is this god-like?

Why does a god who creates the entire universe make 99.9999% of it out of reach of mankind, so that neither it nor they can have any affect on the other whatsoever? Is this intelligent design or goofy design?

I suggest that atheists have to stop attacking religious scriptures on their narratives fine points because we end up just writing critical reviews of the Goat-Herder’s Guide to the Universe. I suggest that we ask more profound questions, such as “why did a self-contained, perfect god create us in the first place?” The only answer I have heard is that when we go to heaven, we sit at god’s feet singing his praises, so my best guess is that this god needed worshipers, which is just sick. This also makes me wonder if all of the gods have their own mega-network and status on that network is gained by the number of “Likes” recorded. Imagine that a giant Mark Zuckerberg created this universe …

January 21, 2018

Why Can’t Atheists Just Shut Up About It?

Filed under: Culture,Religion — Steve Ruis @ 8:24 pm
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There is a pervasive feeling among many Americans that there is a war being made upon Christianity, when in actuality Christians are part of a class of people called theists, people who believe in the existence of a god or gods so that includes Christians, who are making class war against those who do not so believe, atheists. This has been going on since there have been religions so it is nothing new. For example:

  • Plato, in his construction of the ideal state, made “impiety” a crime punishable by five years imprisonment for the first offense and death upon a second conviction.
  • Jesus, who is offered as the fount of love and compassion, threatened nonbelievers claiming they will be thrown “into the furnace of fire” where “men will weep and gnash their teeth,” just as “the weeds are gathered and burned with fire….” (Matthew 13: 40– 42).
  • Thomas Aquinas, the great medieval theologian, taught that “the sin of unbelief is greater than any sin that occurs in the perversion of morals,” and he recommended that the heretic “be exterminated from the world by death” after the third offense.
  • Our political waters have been so poisoned against atheists that in 1958 a mere 18% of Americans could abide the idea of an atheist president. (Recently that number has climbed to 58%, possibly due to atheists speaking out?)

So, those thinking that atheists should be silent are saying that we should suffer their iniquities in silence. But, by not being silenced, we are fighting back, and as the poll result above shows, making progress. We should have learned to fight long ago but it is hard to think when you are being burned at a stake.

Without God How …

Filed under: Religion — Steve Ruis @ 1:35 pm
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There is a class of people called theists, people who believe in the existence of a god or gods, who are making a class war against those who do not so believe, atheists. This is called a class war, if you didn’t know. Part of that class war is fueled by theist’s minds being poisoned against atheists based upon false claims for their religion. Here are a series of questions that theists put to atheists that expose these false beliefs:

Without god, what is left of morality?

Without god, what purpose is there in man’s life?

If we do not believe in god, how can we be certain of anything?

If god does not exist, whom can we turn to in a time of crisis?

If there is no afterlife, who will reward virtue and punish injustice?

Without god, how can we resist the onslaught of atheistic materialism?

If god does not exist, what becomes of the worth and dignity of each person?

Without god, how can man achieve happiness?

These questions are based upon assumptions or claims that are made for religions that actually have to basis to exist whatsoever, well other than being fiction created by men. Allow me to answer these questions based upon my view that religions exist solely because they serves the interests of secular and religious elites by controlling the behavior of the great masses of people to serve those interests.

Without god, what is left of morality?
This has been discussed at length here and elsewhere. It is based upon the illusion that religions create moralities when, in fact, the moralities existed prior to the creation of the religion. Beyond that, people suffer under the illusion that religions reinforce moral codes, by encouraging good behavior, and without that all of us would revert to a savage state of “might makes right” or the “law of tooth and fang.” This is actually propaganda of religions themselves with no basis in fact. The simple truth is that, around the world, the less religious a state is, the more peaceful it is.
If you accept their argument, then you are being conned by the religious into thinking the existence of the religions and the elites who live off of them are essential, when they are not and instead of doing something proactive to encourage moral behavior, you are deferring to an institution which doesn’t really do this.

Without god, what purpose is there in man’s life?
Again, this has been discussed at length here and elsewhere. The simple answer is that most religious people cannot answer the question “What is the purpose of life?” Many Christians say it is “to serve God.” Consider for a minute that, if the only reason for the existence of a religion is to control the behavior of the masses, including you and me, for the benefit of the elites, who does this belief serve? Basically, this says that our purpose is to serve not others, but God? Who benefits from this? Not you or me, unless you believe other things, that are also untrue. (Some religions go so far to insist that doing “good works” for others will not get a reward in the after life, only belief in their claptrap will do that. They are actively discouraging us helping one another!) Please read on.

If we do not believe in god, how can we be certain of anything?
If you realize that certainty is a false goal, it will help you. We actually cannot be absolutely certain of anything. We can be very certain of many things. But “gods,” or at least the words put into god’s mouths, promise absolute certainty. So, have you every had a moment of religious doubt, that some part of it wasn’t right, even a tiny part? I doubt you can be human and not have had such a moment. Therefore, you are not absolutely certain of your religion, otherwise you never would have had any doubts at all. If you admit such doubt to a theologian, they will blame you; it is your fault, because of your weakness, you have had this doubt. Blaming the victim is a common aspect of such scams.
The desire for absolute certainty is understandable. But it does not exist, so anyone who promises it to you is trying to control your behavior for their benefit, not yours.

If god does not exist, to whom can we turn in a time of crisis?
If you believe that a god consoles you in a time of crisis, what does this consolation consist of? If your child is lost and in danger, is your child returned by a god or by a search party of your fellow human beings? If a loved one gets sick, who will be responsible for their getting well: doctors or gods? If we were to be invaded by a foreign army, would you expect a god to repel that army or would you rather trust our army?
Consoling is what human beings do for others they love and respect and sometimes for total strangers. They basically say that they understand, that they also feel grief, and that life will go on. That is where consolation comes from.

If there is no afterlife, who will reward virtue and punish injustice?
This is an abomination. This tells people that if things are done that are evil to not resist them because punishment will be meted out in some spiritual realm that no one has ever seen. Oh, and you will be rewarded for your virtue in a neighboring supernatural realm. Just do not expect the fruits of your labor to reward you now, because those are being skimmed off to serve the elites.
I have always marveled at priestly classes who surround themselves with priceless architecture, paintings, statuary, furniture, etc. We are told this is necessary to impress the secular elites with the “power of the church.” Hmm, is the similar display by the secular elites to impress the religious elites? Why would the religious want to impress the rich and powerful by showing that they are rich also? I would be much more impressed by modesty and simple living, such as can be seen in Buddhist monks. (They are better only in quantity, they are supported by “alms,” that is gifts of food and other things from “believers.” They also participate in a system that allows the elites to subsist off of the labor of masses.)
Imagine if your home were robbed and the thief dropped his wallet during the theft and his driver’s license clearly identifies him, would you accept from the police that there was nothing they could do but the culprit surely will be punished in the afterlife? Who benefits from an infinite delay in punishment for bad deeds? Who benefits from a infinite delay in rewarding your virtue? What would you think if your boss came up to you and said “That idea you came up with will make millions, maybe billions, for the company! This is really exciting! Thank you. Someday, I am sure, you will be rewarded.” Think about how that would feel and then ask yourself, who would benefit from such a belief here?

Without god, how can we resist the onslaught of atheistic materialism?

Gosh, have you ever considered that the definition of “materialism” is basically focusing on what is real and not on the mythical reality one’s religion is trying to create? In sports or business or the military, what does team building have to do spirituality? I suggest that being focussed on reality could help us decide whether we want good, productive, caring lives, or one’s dictated by people trying to control our behavior so that a very few can be rich and powerful. If you don’t think we have a capability within us, without religion, to know how to live good lives, consider the current stance of the current Pope to avoid condemning Catholic Church officials, including bishops, for covering up widespread child sexual abuse by priests? What possible reason might a religious leader have to not condemn child sex abuse and those who facilitate it? No, Church Lady, it is not Satan, but it is power.

If god does not exist, what becomes of the worth and dignity of each person?
My goodness, can this not be based upon what a person establishes through their actions. Do you really need a god to be able to recognize someone’s dignity? Is a dignity based upon the belief that you were “made in God’s image” or that you are one of “God’s people” real dignity? What kind of god creates conscious beings and then chooses to favor one group of those over the others? Would you praise one of your children and condemn the others because it seems like a godly idea?

Without god, how can man achieve happiness?
Why is it Christians are so unhappy? They look around and see wickedness everywhere. I see acts of human kindness on a daily basis. I am rather a happy person as these things are judged and none of it is god-based. International surveys of happiness correlate well against religiousness. The more religious a country is, the less happy its citizens are. Imagine that.

There are myriad such questions and behind everyone of them is a false claim of a religion:
God is the source of morality.
God is the source of  purpose.
Only God can be trusted and is the only source of truth.
God will console you in times of distress.
God will reward virtue and punish injustice.
God is the source of all happiness.

Now, just for a minute, consider if these are just made up ideas, part of a system designed to control your behavior. Who would benefit from you believing such things? Realize if they were just made up, they are not true, so who benefits if you believe them to be true?

Is it you?

I don’t think so.

But there is a saying that “the rich get richer.” This, as it turns out, is the purpose of civilization. Civilization was designed by the elites for their benefit and this has not changed. In the entire history of civilization, over half of all human beings have been a slave of some sort. Does that sound to you like a system made for you by a loving god? No matter what cause religions to be created, they would not survive if they didn’t keep the masses under control. The elites are few and we are many, so they need ways to make sure we stay calm and not blame them for problems. If we have problems it is because we are sinful and weak, but God loves us and we will be rewarded … later. Just be sure to get up and go to work today, because those profits you generate are needed by the secular elites and if they don’t get them, they will be sad.

By the way, you might note the rules for the masses of ordinary people do not apply to the elites. The elites feel free to break laws, customs, traditions, social norms, whatever. They are above all of that. This is why Catholic priests can sexually abuse choirboys and their superiors cover that up. This is why corporate executives break laws over and over and never go to jail. This is why politicians can become rich in office by taking bribes and suffer no consequences. Oh, and any elite foolish enough to admit they have drunk the Kool-Aid and are true believers will not be trusted by the real elites.

 

 

 

 

January 15, 2018

What Kind of Atheists are These?

Filed under: Culture,History,Religion — Steve Ruis @ 10:00 am
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After reading the following excerpts, I will ask you what kind of atheists are displayed based upon their words. Let us begin:

Atheist the First
This is in the form of a conversation between Samuel White Baker and Commoro, a non-believer. They communicated through interpreters:

Baker Have you no belief in a future existence after death?

Commoro Existence after death! How can that be? Can a dead man get out of his grave, unless we dig him out?

Baker Do you think man is like a beast that dies and is ended?

Commoro Certainly. . . .

Baker Then you believe in nothing; neither in a good nor evil spirit! And you believe that when you die it will be the end of body and spirit; that you are like other animals; and that there is no distinction between man and beast; both disappear, and end at death?

Commoro  Of course they do.

Baker (Some corn had been taken out of a sack for the horses and a few grains lying scattered on the ground. Making a small hole with my finger in the ground, I placed a grain within it.) That represents you when you die. (I covered it with earth) That grain will decay, but from it will rise the plant that will produce a reappearance of the original form.

Commoro  Exactly so; that I understand. But the original grain does not rise again; it rots like the dead man, and is ended; the fruit produced is not the same grain that we buried, but the production of that grain: so it is with man—I die, and decay, and am ended; but my children grow up like the fruit of the grain.

Is Commoro a new atheist, a militant atheist, angry atheist, or an agnostic?

Atheist the Second
This book, the Bible, has persecuted, even unto death, the wisest and the best. This book stayed and stopped the onward movement of the human race. This book poisoned the fountains of learning and misdirected the energies of man. This book is the enemy of freedom, the support of slavery. This book sowed the seeds of hatred in families and nations, fed the flames of war, and impoverished the world. This book is the breastwork of kings and tyrants – the enslaver of women and children. This book has corrupted parliaments and courts. This book has made colleges and universities the teachers of error and the haters of science. This book has filled Christendom with hateful, cruel, ignorant and warring sects. This book taught men to kill their fellows for religion’s sake. This book funded the Inquisition, invented the instruments of torture, built the dungeons in which the good and loving languished, forged the chains that rusted in their flesh, erected the scaffolds whereon they died. This book piled fagots about the feet of the just. This book drove reason from the minds of millions and filled the asylums with the insane.

This book has caused fathers and mothers to shed the blood of their babes. This book was the auction block on which the slave-mother stood when she was sold from her child. This book filled the sails of the slave-trader and made merchandise of human flesh. This book lighted the fires that burned “witches” and “wizards.” This book filled the darkness with ghouls and ghosts, and the bodies of men and women with devils. This book polluted the souls of men with the infamous dogma of eternal pain. This book made credulity the greatest of virtues, and investigation the greatest of crimes. This book filled nations with hermits, monks and nuns — with the pious and the useless. This book placed the ignorant and unclean saint above the philosopher and philanthropist. This book taught man to despise the joys of this life, that he might be happy in another – to waste this world for the sake of the next. I attack this book.

Is this author a new atheist, a militant atheist, angry atheist, or an agnostic?

So, what did you answer?

The correct answer is that these were old atheists.

The first example was from the 1860’s! Source: Stephens, Mitchell. Imagine There’s No Heaven: How Atheism Helped Create the Modern World. St. Martin’s Press. Original source: Samuel White Baker, The Albert N’Yanza: Great Basin of the Nile and Explorations of the Nile Sources. Commoro was described as a chief of the Latooka tribe in East Africa, and as a barbarian.

The second example is Robert G. Ingersoll. Source: About the Holy Bible, first published in 1894! Ingersoll is the best example of an American freethinker as can be found.

My point is atheism is not “new.” It has been around since religion raised its ugly head. It is simply an expression of doubt when people are told tales that have no support in reality. The reason atheism is characterized as it is is due to the fact that it has been suppressed for so long that people are actually surprised when it rears its ugly head, and therefore think it is new.

Atheism is not new.

These examples show that you can be formally educated or not, black or white, all of those things don’t matter. All that matters is you cherish being able to think for yourself and do not want to be controlled by make believe principles.

 

 

January 12, 2017

Having a Reason to Live, But Wait There’s More!

Filed under: Philosophy,Religion — Steve Ruis @ 12:26 pm
Tags: , ,

In my last post (Having a Reason to Live, January 12, 2017) I focused on what having a “meaning” for one’s life means. But one sentence in the letter to the editor of that Canadian newspaper from a theist subscriber has continued to have reverberations in my mind. It was the claim that if the letter writer were to subscribe to a secular worldview he would conclude that “I exist on a tiny planet in a minor solar system in an empty corner of a meaningless universe.”

Let me ask a rhetorical question at this point (of you): what do you think would happen to us if all of the other galaxies (200-300 billion by count at this point) were to disappear in an instant? Poof, they are gone and what happens next … to us?

Got an answer? I do.

Basically noting that happens in those other galaxies affects what happens here on Earth. Life would go on quite as it has.

So, why was all of “that” necessary to be created? Why create 200-300 billion galaxies when only one was needed to support life on Earth? It certainly wasn’t to create the conditions to support life here on Earth. In fact, other than the solar system, we could do without the rest of our own galaxy about as well as we are doing with it in existence. Those other 100 billion stars and their planets? Poof, they are gone. Well, that would cause some effect. Other than the Moon and the other planets, the night sky would be black which would be kind of boring, but unless you believe in astrology, those other stars in the sky have no effect on us here, so we can live without them. (Actually the Bible tells us this!)

This Hubble Telescope image shows spiral galaxy ESO 137-001.

This Hubble Telescope image shows spiral galaxy ESO 137-001 plus a lot of meaningless extra stuff.

So, whether or not you live in a created world, the rest of most of the universe is meaningless: meaningless for theists; meaningless for secularists.

Unless . . .

. . . unless, there are “people” on those other planets circling those other stars, in our galaxy and all of the other galaxies, and those people are creating meaning for their own lives. Then … then, the rest of our universe has meaning … just not for us.

 

 

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