Archive for the ‘My personal atheism’ Category

Let’s get this out early and not hold anything back.

“All” religion is a lie.

Regardless of if you believe in a god or culturally connect to a religion and attest to that connection when asked, you are helping perpetuate a lie, if not outright telling one.

Lets start at the beginning because I am willing to accept religion may not always have been a lie. The person who started the lie may simply have been crazy, delusional or a wondrous story teller. We know it wasn’t god because we know the history of many religions and beliefs enough to show the hand of man in action developing and changing them. Even if we were to credit the existence of gods and if it were a god who told the first story, the story is now so corrupted and distorted it can’t be shown or proven to be the same as those first spoken words. Maybe the first person – as it was a person – was trying to impress someone with his knowledge or control someone in which case religion did begin as a lie but I have no more proof of that than there is proof of god/s and no proof that religion was the intended outcome. Lets at this point assume a story teller because none of us know where religion began and story telling doesn’t attribute blame to religions founders. The stories told by that first person may then have been taken too literally – intentionally or not – by someone who went on to teach to others. Eventually the story became a truth presented without evidence (because lets face it, it was just a story). At the point of the first someone spread the truth-without-evidence, the story became a lie. Some of those initial people may have been scammers spreading the lie deliberately, like the more modern examples of Hubbard (scientology) and Smith (mormonism). Some may have accidentally forgotten that it was a tale they were telling and not have made that clear (or just insane) but as the older religions have grown and questions have arisen – and gone unanswered or ignored – all religion has become a lie. A lie perpetuated for some time by the power hungry, the wealth seekers, the scam artists, the ignorant and the socially driven.

Lying for religion has become habitual in many – maybe most – cases, so ground into a persons mind they are unable to see it for themselves. Any attempt to enlighten them to their flawed position is cause for defensive, even aggressive behaviour. I don’t know how much I blame these people for the lie because the lie itself is defended by ideas such burning in hell, a lower place in a next life, a life without meaning, a world without law or morals and the social stigma of being disowned by your community/family/friends. There are people who claim they are not religious because they find aspects of religious dogma or practice repulsive and yet they will profess to believe in jesus and god (the very things that make the doctrines and dogma religious rather than political, business or social ideologies). This claim has become part of the fabric of the lie for some preachers, oddly enough the sort of preachers who cause other to not want to be religious in the first place. It can be hard to blame these “non-religious” people for telling the religion lie and continuing it. Blinded as they are to the truths of religion and indoctrinated to believe the lie of religion, the religion that tells them that questioning or being without it would be worse than anything they can imagine. The only hope for these people is the hope that they can be educated and see how clouded their minds are and discover that breaking from the lie is not the end but a bright new beginning.

Personal reasons for belief aside, the religious foundations of your reasoning remains a lie.

At a professional level we know that in the USA alone there are some 250+ preachers who no longer believe in a god yet still preach the doctrines. As members of a group trying to find new lives for themselves they are the obvious professional liars for religion. Take a second look at who is selling you the lie next Sunday, it may be one of that number or one of those as yet not known. These are the lesser scammers amongst the professional liars and maybe it seems impolite at this point to call them liars. If you found yourself in the position of having put aside everything in life and trained to do nothing but sell a lie, how would you feel if you found out late in life that you were selling a lie. There must be older people facing death who have this same troubles, suddenly questioning the lie and thinking how much life was wasted must get harder the older you get. These preachers find themselves continuing to sell the lie out of fear of isolation and/or financial ruin but at least they are trying to improve their situation. The best professional liars and scammers are the ones you can’t feel any concern for. These people are more obvious and it must take a special sort of stupidity, loneliness, fear of death, gullibility or an extreme need to protect your personal lie to not see the cash begging televangelists for what they are. Televangelists make street preachers look like – for want of another word – saints.

Lying comes in degrees but at all levels it is still lying.

At an individual level religion is a lie to yourself. A lie protected by worthless terms like faith that help to excuse the fact you know deep down that your beliefs is unfounded. Many believers don’t even know the doctrines or texts of their lie, their only defence against counter argument is to make meaningless statements, exhibit anger, behave irrationally or demand unwarranted respect (or any combination of the afore mentioned). The problem with your personal lie is that it is rarely kept personal. You lie to children and propagate the lie. Some liars use the lie to repress other people and deny them rights. Liars congregate to support others in their lie and to justify their own lie. There is strange idea that is sometimes spoken out loud, the idea that the more liars there are the more truth there is in the lie. You also lie to people about having some higher truth though you know you can’t prove there is any truth in the lie. You will try to avoid confronting conversations with statements like “it makes me feel good”, stating that no evidence could possibly change your mind, and taking questions as a personal affront. Some people go to the extent of denying evidence or deny having been offered evidence in defence of their lie. Respect for the lie is the final argument most liars make, as if lying was respectable and honest questioning the lie were a crime. You lie about personal experiences being god. Experiences that can generally be better explained in natural scientific ways you explain as god because it better supports your personal lie. As a example, if a family member dies and you dream of it only hours before, you will forget the months of suffering and intimate knowledge of the persons health concerns to jump to the conclusion that god sent you a message. A rational mind not tied to the lie would assume their mind was running through the obvious outcomes, maybe to prepare you for the worst, and the timing was simply because of their prior knowledge.

The strangest lie you tell yourself is the lie you tell as you give your tithe. The lie that god needs your money to propagate belief or maybe god can’t act to help people without your money. Maybe you give money because you lie to yourself that god has somehow given your preacher more of its time and he knows gods intentions better than you do; though you both tell the same unfounded lie (maybe your preacher is one of those non-believers, what then?).

Though I have written very specifically of the god lie which is most prevalent in my society it is exactly the same lie told for all unjustifiable religious lies. Aliens, spirits, mystics, pseudo science are all lies in the same vein. When you pay an exorcist, conspiracy theorist, card reader, palmist, crystal seller, ghost hunter, mystic salt seller or feng shui master you help propagate the lie told by other idiots who know nothing more than you could dream up for yourself with a little imagination. Through your actions you support idiots as in the dark as you are and maybe even more dishonest. Finding someone gullible enough to devote their lives to a falsehood – a lie – dishonest people find people equally willing to do anything and believe anything to defend that lie.

When you lie to yourself you make yourself susceptible to a wider range of lies.

It doesn’t matter why you lie. You may lie to protect your belief, you may lie for comfort, because you see no other option, for profit, power or just because you prefer to think your parents were not liars. It doesn’t matter why you tell the lie, a lie told for any reason is still a lie. Your parents didn’t mean to do harm (to my knowledge) in telling you the lie, they like you never had someone to tell them it was a lie and the lie is deigned to protect and propagate itself. Is not wanting to question their teaching really reason enough to not at least consider the lie?

The only reason the telling of religion may be considered something other than lying is low intelligence resulting in the propagation of other people’s lies without the ability to mentally process the lie. This doesn’t change the fact that religion itself is a lie, it just means you don’t need a fully functioning brain to carry on the lie. People of low intelligence may be no more guilty of knowingly propagating the religion lie than that first guy who said a tree had a spirit kicking off the entire religion debacle. Religion today is far from a few insane or mentally impaired individuals telling stories and most people telling the lie are, if willing, able to reason or at least understand the arguments against the lie.

From anyone lips, a lie remains a lie.

The very idea that there are groups of theists calling themselves “apologists” shows that even the most argumentative and defensive of believers know to some degree that that there is something wrong that needs excusing. Entire theme parks are constructed by these people, who have not one scrap of scientific evidence to back the lies they tell. Many have the sole aim of profiting and propagating the religion lie for their own gain knowing as they do that they don’t need to defend their lie to people who lie to themselves. Apologists are well known for phrases like “no amount of evidence well sway me” or “I will not listen to evidence” which indicates that they know they are lying to themselves as well as others. They know evidence works against them. Apologetics ranks no higher intellectually than the undereducated layman who proclaims evolution a lie, reciting arguments made by creationists (another form of apologist) yet knowing nothing of the actual topic and displaying an unwillingness to learn the topic. Apologetics is however claimed as an intellectual pursuits. It is only if you consider basic lying and denial an intellectual skill.

Intellectual dishonesty is any act of not listening to anything but the argument you wish to prevail while “knowingly” ignoring or denying any counter argument or evidence. The intellectually dishonesty often demand that people consider your position on the matter, the very thing they are not willing to do. Intellectual dishonesty is lying at its worst and apologists are the worst being more educated than most liars in religious doctrine.

When you repeat the lies of an apologist you only repeat a better worded lie.

I have seen all of this behaviour time and again. Though I have tried to make this article impersonal, every word of it is based on my personal experiences with religious people. I called religion a lie and I wrote of the actions of its liars based on my entire life’s experience as an outsider, an atheist, a parent and a husband. The lie doesn’t effect my thought processes, I see it for what it is. I see how people act on the lie and how they defend it. I am the person who considered the apologists position (and found it lacking) while having my evidence and arguments ignored. All my life I have listened to the lies, I am just not emotionally connected to them.

If you got angry or defensive rather than thinking about my position; why? How did a life long atheist came to see your long held and highly valued beliefs as a LIE? Why am I calling you a LIAR? Why not consider my position? Try it, consider your own lie and prove me wrong.

I will finish this here but there is much more to say on the topic of lying. In part two (Deceptive, Subversive, Lying-for-jesus, Stealth Religion) I delve into some of the dishonest methods and terms used to convey the lie.

Until next time, may your gods remain fictional,

The Antitheocrat.

Advertisements

Before I go into this topic I will try to explain my secularism because I am very much an anti theist, some people may think the two don’t work together. I am maybe best described as a secular realist. More than anything in my life I am a realist and the idea of antitheism being a real end game scenario does not play well with the reality of my life and experiences. Antitheism, in my view, is at best a way to water down the influence of religion on society so it becomes the least important aspect of human decision making. Because of my realism I accept that secularism is the best outcome my antitheism will achieve, people it seems will always believe crazy shit. So though it may seem an odd, at this stage in my life I am an antitheist atheist with a secular vision. I thought it important to elaborate on this point so people understand as I write about a secular world view from an anti religion perspective.

I am sitting in a church hall writing this blog and realise that there are things we atheists and secularists need to achieve before religion can be retired from public service.

Though there are halls and rooms not owned by churches in my small town they are not in regular service to the general public. Clubs, masonic halls, government buildings simply don’t have the funding or commitment (official or volunteer) to be offered for public use. Insurance and management are two of the larger problems that need to be considered if we are to make halls and rooms available. Secular society doesn’t have the budgets, priests, ministers and a raft of indoctrinated volunteers waiting to open a door for public access. Even achieving a tax free status is harder for community organisations.

Community work and volunteering has long been part of my own life and I know from my experience serving with as many as 7 groups at a time that I have been part of a small group who sit on multiple committees stretching our abilities and time very thin. I myself ran our local cinema for a time having purchased the lease just to provide a public service (and a personal debit) I have that much passion for community. As a venue with great potential I tried to make it available to the public and community groups but slow uptake, uncooperative local government, lease limitations and finances didn’t allow for me to push on with this community plan. Having served on committees I finally tried on my own and yet again watched an opportunity vanish due to a lack of support, at least on my own there was nobody else to let me down. This is the advantage churches have that is often lacking in community organisations, that one person being paid to manage a group that will always produce willing volunteers (or employees).

Secular society can’t hope to compete with the religious organisations and their funding levels in small backwater towns like this one but what we are not doing it at this level makes us a good isolated example of what is happening at a large scale in cities. I have lived in cities, I was born in a state capital, my experiences in the city were very much the same. The strongest community group I ever participated in was a government funded community band, the secure and serious funding made a serious difference between group on the edge of collapse and thriving community activity.

Right now I am at a playgroup with my wife and baby son, that is why I am in a church hall. The support of a church with its venue means a small, low funded, community group can find a public space. In your community is it any different? My eldest was living in a smaller town when he was a baby and his playgroup was at a kindergarten, a secular option but not always available in large towns as they have more kids requiring of them to provide their services more days of the weeks. The range of secular venues and venue managers and funds able to support groups is simply not there in many places.

In this town, as in many others, the secular option for seminars and events can be clubs funded through alcohol and gambling. Sometimes this is not a problem but it is still not the same as the bare hall with an urn, kitchen, some folding seats and tables that is suitable for so many other activities.

This is where the secular world has to compete if it wants to be seem as a serious social option to religion. Venues, management and stable funding (not just project grants, the current problem with relying on government funds is the focus on short term projects).

Secular groups around the world are doing great things for people but we are not meeting the needs of everyone. We will never separate people from churches while we have these limitations, it is a strength churches have over us.

There is much to do working out how we resolve these problems. Without tithing and long established buildings we have a great deal of catching up to do if we want to offer a logical option to all people. Do we rely on government or like the churches of old do we seek benefactors who pour their own lives into the community for a plaque commemorating their life? Without the hope of buying eternal life we are short one selling point for benefactors. Do we tax the many and hope government comes up with a sound plan for community funding? I myself, on a quite low family income, have spent thousands and been thousand in debit supporting my community to little effect. Without long term funding and planning how do we hope to compete in a market flooded with churches and church halls. How do we achieve anything like a funded community?

For a secular society to ever exist we have so start thinking about how and where churches exist. Where is it they spend their grants and public project funds? How do they meet the social needs of so many people? Churches don’t spend their own money but public funding can be difficult to obtain for smaller less organised secular organisations, how do we get more public money for secular activity? If we can tap those funds and manage similar services in our communities we may be able to fully enact, not just envision, a secular society.

If anybody has an idea how to fund projects, I have some ideas I still want to make reality. Crowd source funding for our local community radio station failed miserably and I have spent every cent I myself can afford on the project. I don’t think I will bother push the community garden idea any time soon. Right now, having paid off my cinema debits and a few thousand more for a community group (just call me sucker, I have been accused of profiting from my volunteering, at least I won’t get angry about being called sucker) I have to go back to running my own business and looking after my family. I will have to simply be antitheist but not secular because my antitheism changes the world where my secularism seems impossible to fund and offers religion a continued place of privilege in society. I will for now have to accept that church halls and church groups offer what I have been unable to do on my own with my own funds and hate every minute our society remains under the influence of fairy tales.

May your gods remain fictional,

The Antitheocrat

This topic is one I look forward to covering because stupidity is something I have always confronted head on (not quite the bad personality trait I may have once thought I was, stupidity requires confrontation). Being atheist all my life and not ashamed to say I don’t believe has often led to people trying to convert me with some simplistic and incorrect breakdown in their own beliefs. The title mentions the two most prominent, from my experience, of the gods that have no value (well less than the other nonexistent gods).

We atheists love to ask for evidence of god and with sound justification. We humans learned not to guess answers like god into existence some time ago, we leaned to study or environment building layers of evidence on which to further our knowledge. Evidence is important in improving our knowledge of the world if possible, of gods. I doubt very much that without evidence many theists would believe in the orange invincible invisible tide directing monkey god, the one who rides on my back (should I claim one). They would demand evidence of the monkey, they would demand proof it made the tides, they may even cite scientific knowledge to dispelled my tides claim. Why then do their gods not require the same level of scrutiny? What we ask is nothing they themselves wouldn’t ask of a great many irrational claims. Denial of other peoples gods is a favourite of many religions, few if any blindly accept every god as being possible.

Science, not required for atheism but not a danger to atheism.

Science, not required for atheism but not a danger to atheism.

Denial by the religious often goes one further extending to a denial of science. Selected science, not the ones that make computers and social media possible. Science, which in modern times has in place a complete system for reporting and retesting its own findings, is popularly refuted by some theists. These theists demand evidence but are generally unwilling to accept evidence when it’s given or in failing to understand it cite their ignorance as the case against it. Denial of scientific evidence is not the same as denial of some guy who owns an old dog bone he says disproves evolutions without ever allowing it to be examined (but wheels it out for religious congregations). Science asks to be refuted because people failing to disprove finding is far more powerful than a million people simply accepting findings. In denying science you are denying the work of people who were on your side, those trying to find fault in the work. The untested dog bone is very different and stands only as unsubstantiated nonsense and hearsay, it can be denied without further consideration.

In asking for evidence of god we atheists do have to be willing to consider or study any that is presented. This is not the same as requiring us to simply accept anyone’s word that a dog bone disproves one of the most powerful scientific theories of all time. Of course we can’t test everything for ourselves, the beauty of science is that it offers us a way to read the work done by others and find discrepancies should they exist. We can even repeat the work if we have the resources or have someone else do it for us. If you want to deny science at least read a review of the research, people review papers for a living to save us all reading all the unimportant detail. A good way to get a feel for a scientific paper is to read the reviews and peer comments. There are many ways to learn something of science and it’s workings. If you want your dog bone accepted as evidence against science, submit it for testing. If you have evidence you should be proud of it, what harm is there in our asking to see it?

I’m all for demanding evidence of god, we should do it more and argue pointless theism less. We shouldn’t stop at evidence though, we can take this whole argument back one step and demand a definition for “god”. What is it? What is it you want us to believe? What are you trying to prove? Present evidence, of what? Even if theists presented evidence it may prove useless if we don’t know what it’s evidence of. If someone presented a tea cup and you had no knowledge of tea or access to tea, proving tea from the existence of the cup may prove impossible.

395303_10151287858150527_247700905526_23081195_467410619_nThis is where the god of love, hunger, the need to pee and other synaptic impulses finally comes in. When pushed for definition my experience is that love is now the most common one given. “God is love”, it seems is the best definition of god we have in this modern era, an era in which we have the ability to measure and study the bodies most intimate processes. What we know of love shows it to be a completely natural process, explainable through evolutionary terms and completely free from supernatural influences. It’s not just we humans that have positive reactions in response to others of our kind, it is a well known process in many if not most living organisms. In ourselves we know full well the electrochemical reactions that take place when we interact with others of our species and we understand it. We react in some way to most people but when we bond to others that reaction becomes the more powerful positive reaction we call love. We know what love is and we have a name for it, we call it “love”. Why do we need another meaningless term to describe a known and named reaction? Why do we need god, we have love? Why is god never “the need to pee”?

Only this week I had this argument extended to me personally. “Who am I? I am god, god is me”. No I am a human animal from Earth and my mother gave me a perfectly good name. These thing describe something about me but calling me god is useless and adds nothing to our knowledge of who I am. This is nothing more than a rebuild of the love argument. For some reason theists love to change the subject of their argument, keep the core of the argument intact and treat it as a new revelation. If you call god “toenail growth” it has no more meaning than “god is love”.

The second claim is the inevitable next step in the “god is love” argument. Deism is as strange as theists argue nihilism when they most certainly believe in their own existence as creations of a fictional god. Deism describes everything as god. My keyboard is god, a rock is god, I am god, our every action is god . We can give a name for everything deists call god, a keyboard is a keyboard, a rock is a rock, I have a name… Like love why do we need to give everything a meaningless additional definition. Calling my keyboard god does nothing to explain god or make my keyboard anything more than a keyboard.

a realityBefore god had to start sliding back in to the gaps in our knowledge god was defined. God was very like us. Buddha was a well to do wealthy fat man who became a supergod by contemplating his navel and telling people it was okay not to be wealthy and well to do. The Abrahamic god was the mould we were drawn from, he was a man who made things and wrote rules but immortal and living in the sky. If you go to the many other religions of humanity there are numerous images and models of gods to be found, even tree spirits at some point had human or semi human form. The point is that we used to know god, we didn’t have to give god wishy washy meaningless definitions. As our knowledge of the world grows and the places to hide god diminish, our knowledge of god seemingly vanishes and now even the believers can’t describe what it is they believe in.

As I have previously pointed out, if we had a definition for god we could start working to prove or disprove god. Calling god everything still leaves us with no foundation for working out what god is. Using the tea cup analogy, trying to fit an elephant, a peach and three pairs of underwear (or everything) into a tea cup will not bring forth tea. Even if you stumbled across tea you would only have one possible use for the cup, not evidence of intended purpose. The cup could as easily be evidence of whiskey unless you were to find the words “this cup is for tea” inscribed on the cup. “God is everything” means nothing and has no value.

I will cover one more angle of deism because deism is often cited as the religion of some of the worlds great thinkers. The call to authority argument. It is just as likely in many cases that the god of deism was a way to shake off the god question without needless social reprisals for not believing. Would Albert Einstein have suffered any form of reprisal if he said he was atheist in the era that saw the words “in god we trust” added to the US currency? Would it have caused some difficulty coming up against his jewish upbringing? Maybe and maybe he really was deist but reading some of his notes on theism it would be very easy to consider him an atheist. His supposed deism reads as a fascination of the universe more than a spiritual journey. Many supposed deists before him were it seems of a similar mind set and finding spiritualistic beliefs in their writings is not the task of a historical and literary layman like myself. The way I see it is that if a nobody like me can break down deism, surely the great minds of the past could. Deism and the god of love are equally useless concepts and easily tossed aside.

Getting back to the lack of definition for god, it does have one drawback for atheists. Atheism is a lack of belief in god/s, whatever gods are. If however we remember that gods are only hypothetical it doesn’t matter that they lack definition, the lack of definition only makes it easier to deny such a poorly constructed philosophical argument. The problem then is not so much about god/s but that atheism should maybe be redefined as “denial of the philosophy of god”.

I often use this philosophy argument though it often goes over the head of theists or they want to avoid facing the truth of their beliefs. Sometimes you have to resort to other methods to get past the barriers. It doesn’t hurt however to remind atheists that god is pure philosophy. Some atheists argue god as if it were something based on evidence or existence. Philosophy doesn’t come to life just because someone wishes it so and we should remember that in our own arguments.

The lack of definition may be a negative but it can be a positive in our favour. In creating their arguments theists do use some common terms to describe their gods and the most commonly used and meaningless word used is supernatural. Supernatural is everything outside the natural, no more definable than god itself but common to other irrational claims, claims sometimes based on theistic concepts but not automatically considered theism. The final result of this line of thought is that god is supernatural and all claims of a supernatural nature are god or god like. This is that it allows me to deny the entire collected range of crap called spiritualism which can only be described as supernatural or god like. With no definition of god coming from believers I can’t but think it justifiable that I define their belief for them based on the limited information available. At least I know what I deny (sort of, everything not natural, whatever that is). On this basis my atheism may be better defined as denial of supernaturalism, which as pointed out, includes gods.

May your gods remain fictional.

The Antitheocrat.

Though my title applies to the nature of theism rather than atheism it has relevance in how over the years people have dealt with their atheism and failed to have it recognised as a social and political force.

I will start by getting my initial statement about the title out of the way because it is very simple to explain and will save confusion later. Theism is indefensible for the simple reason that without irrefutable evidence of a god any and all arguments for a god remain pure philosophy. Arguments for a real existing god are meaningless and doomed to fail. Theist often argue the problems they perceive (or are instructed to perceive) in science and atheism as if it in some way justified or proved their god, what they fail to understand is that if all of scientific knowledge was to be overturned tomorrow we would still be no closer to proving a god unless they could show a god did it. Trying to discredit scientific findings and theories is a waste of time they could better spend trying to prove there was a god. When pushed for evidence theists will often say they have faith but the doctrines of faith exclude any need of evidence and fails to meet the requirement. The very nature of god as supernatural also excludes evidence because evidence would make god part of the natural and easily proven by scientific means. Defending a philosophy is always possible (though theism fails there too) but defence of a real god entity is and will forever remain indefensible.

ExplainAtheism is indefensible in an entirely different way. Atheism fails to have any beliefs or doctrines of it’s own to defend. This creates a problem if you are trying to defend or promote atheism. Only this week I saw a preacher had written a book on the premise that atheists “need god” to make their case, the problem is that he has a point (though not the one he was trying to make). Atheism does rely on god, a philosophically constructed argument for god must exist for atheism to exist. This does not mean we accept or require a real existing entity as I am sure the theist writer proposes. Without the philosophy of god there would be no reason to be atheist, we could all get on with our lives in peace free from other peoples imaginary friends, ridiculous doctrines and attempts to subvert our political systems with religious agendas.

The point I want to make with this article is that idea of promotion is hard for atheism we’re always on the back foot. Atheism exists only to deny theism. Being heard or seen as a significant community has long been a problem and not having a doctrine or doctrinal organisation voicing our side of the deity philosophy has left behind us with generations of silence and oppression.

Atheism is not new, it existed in ancient Greece. I alone am the third generation of recognisably atheistic men in my family. This being atheistic in fact makes my point, we were atheistic because as non-believers the word atheist was not on our radar. I learned the word atheist in my 30s and it took another 10 years to fully accept it as the best and least confusing word to describe who I am. I know of religion, I wasn’t insulated from the world and who gets through life without a church funeral or wedding or at least one door knocking evangelist. In my case both of my parents had given any pretends of religion up before I was born. Years before I was born both had identified as members of christian cults (anglican and catholic). When I came into the world I had the luck of being raised with no religion at home and being allowed to discover it on my own. I did some religious instruction in primary school and even went to Sunday school for a while. In my later years, the years where morality becomes an issue, I did a far more comprehensive study of as many religions and doctrines as I could to find anything of value. I knew early on that all that god stuff made no sense and that I had no requirement for it. All my self discovery and learning only solidified my non belief and yet, I never recall learning or discovering through community involvement, the word atheist. Discovering the word atheism was part of a search for parents like myself who were seeking an end to stealth indoctrination of our children. Without that search I may never have identified as atheist or become a part of a community.

I am lucky in some ways that I was born and live in Australia. Australia has always be an irreligious country and though statistically many people will identify with a religion Australia it is a cultural religion not a belief in deity they lay claim too. All my life I have heard about how Australians don’t attend church, of late that has focused on the fact they don’t even go for the religious festivals any more. My home country has always been the sort of place where saying you didn’t believe in a god was possible and had a reduced impact on you life. Growing up pubs (public bars) were more important to the people around me than churches and it was not all that important to identify as atheist. My blood relations are a measure of religion in my life, my grandmother was raised as an orphan in a convent and was catholic, I had one nutter christian aunt and one of her sons now runs his own commune, if there were more it was unknown to me or cultural. That makes 3 people suffered from religion amongst my blood relations, an almost insignificant number amongst my 4 grandparents, 12 aunts and uncles and 50 cousins. Because of this low incidence of religious infection I have lost only a few friends and opportunities for my non belief and never family or even my life as I may have in other places in the world.

It was before the advent of modern social media, 15 years ago when my son started school, that I became a vocal atheist and yet still no under that label. As non believers my wife and I took on religion in state schools and had school prayers and creeds (our sons said “trust in god”) abolished in our state and still we had no organisation or community to identify with. Had we had a community we may have won more of our battles. It was a few years after these events that I accepted atheism and it took my wife another 10 years to accept the atheist label, not because it is wrong for us but because we had little to no understanding of the term, it simply wasn’t in our vocabulary.

The big problem with a country of people who culturally accept religion, they continue religions political and social power. Cultural theists see no great harm in identifying as something they may in fact not be. They believe saying you are one religion means another less desirable religion never takes control of our country, they never consider no religion as a valid option. Countries like mine also don’t discuss religion in a proper manner, meaning, we never get to know of atheism or other options to the one we see as our birth right. Having a religion is accepted as a cultural norm, if you say you have no religion you get asked your parents religion and you get associated with that rather than atheism. Cultural theism means nobody needs to say or even think you can live without religion. We non believers never get to know other non believers on anything but a passing level while religion uses it’s wealth and numbers to influence our political and legal system. Without doctrines and organisations we have no power or funds and no promotion.

This lifeIf it were not for the advent of modern social media (I used to Grex and admin on IRC so I know the now and then) atheism may still be individuals fighting personal battles against religion. As American style evangelism slowly take the place of traditional religion social media has benefited atheism beyond any other form of media. It has taken technology to promote and drive atheism forward and yet we still struggle to have the words recognised in the greater community. It is still easy to go through life not knowing what the word atheism means or recognising one of the symbols used by atheists. People like myself still go through life not knowing there is an option to cultural religion. People like I once was can still feel alienated and left out. As I myself have said, being the non believer in church is is like being sober at a party where everyone else is drunk. People in this world still feel that way, our voice is not being heard in the regular media and not everyone thinks to google their social issues.

I love the fact that within my lifetime atheism has lifted itself up high and become something theist preachers and organisations fear. I do however think we need to do more to be heard in the crowd. We need to become a culturally significant part of society driving for change and showing ourselves to be people. We need to diminish the stigma and hate theists have loaded us with so that even when new non believers hear the word they don’t fear it and can associate with it.

I started a Facebook group with two intentions. Initially we had to take on some theist bigotry in our community being spread through social media and then we had to offer support and community to other non believers in our community. Though we (largely I) are active in the international community on-line we are still only an offer of coffee and a chat if anybody wants one locally. This I believe is where we have to start, we have to be willing to give ourselves to help people who need a friend or someone to discuss their belief issues with. It is through our actions at the most basic levels that we take atheism from being the unspoken poor cousin of theism to the powerful doctrine breaking philosophical power house it is.

Atheism needs to promote itself wider, we need to be seen and heard. We need people to understand that there is an option not to be feared. My eldest will be the first generation of atheist to say all his life “I am atheist”. He will defend his atheism knowing he has legal protection and community but will he promote his atheism and voice it as often as theists do? How will atheism find it’s place in society if we don’t find ways to promote? It is important for the future of atheism that we, as individuals, embrace and defend our atheism publicly. Groups have limited function because they splinter and diminish the impact of causes. We need groups because humans are sociable animals and groups are in our nature but we need to work beyond groups. As individuals with our one common factor we should still work together but not shy away from the idea of atheism being able to be racist, homophobic and generally bigoted. This has to be our truth rather than demand people be humanist, atheist+ or not be atheisting wrong (trust me, you do not have to like everybody to be atheist or humanist). It is only from that position, the position where every non believer is happy to admit their lack of belief regardless of their choice of bigotry, that we get to discuss our bigotry, work it out and be free from doctrine. Only when we do this will atheism be a valid option for all people, something we can promote to everyone and make a very real social force.

Atheist_symbolFor atheism to push forward it needs to be visible and viable an option for everyone. We need to promote our negative philosophy and lack of doctrine and make it appeal to people. We need to work out who we are and who we want to be if we ever want to draw theists and non atheist non believers to our side. We need to promote or compassion and show our bigotry, we need to be human with failings and emotions. We need to show we can do what everybody else does but do it without gods. We need to make the negative of denial a positive of life and show how atheism improves us and our lives.

Having said that, I don’t for one second think we should all agree on everything or not argue amongst ourselves. We need to make our individuality a positive as much as we need to turn our message of denial into a positive. I look forward to more discussion and argument with my fellow atheists, I don’t need us to all be like me. I look forward to being wrong and being corrected. It is important to atheism that where we can we show how these things are positive things resulting from our atheism.

Atheism has enough people wanting to dirty it without our assisting them. It’s time we took an active roll in promoting rather than always being on the back foot refuting some new nonsense from yet another ignorant theist.

May your gods remain fictional.

The Antitheocrat.

I should cover quickly some of the incorrect, misleading and deliberately false statements made about atheism and atheists. There are a number of people wheeled out as evil atheist killers that history to show how immoral atheists are but the historical evidence doesn’t support the claims of “killing for atheism” made against them, some are not and can never even be considered atheist. I need to address this before moving on because I am certain there have been atheist killers but atheist or theist, a persons belief is not always the reason for their actions, only the excuse they use. In the case of atheism atheism is never to my knowledge, or any historical reference I know of, the excuse for killing. With no atheist doctrine saying we should kill it would seem to be impossible to say someone killed in the name of atheism, it is far more common to find people actually reporting that they killed in the name of their chosen doctrine (political or religious). I want to discuss moderates but first I have to dispelled some of the false information in the world today.

Science, not required for atheism but not a danger to atheism.

Science, not required for atheism but not a danger to atheism.

The the politics l ideology of Marxism and some of the people accused of killing for atheism is a big one so let’s start Marxism itself. Karl Marx was a remarkable and prolific writer, brilliant economist and renowned philosopher who formulated the ideological basis for what we know to be communism. Marx, regardless of how people may think of him, was a very clever and thoughtful writer who like most theoretical economists was an idealist. His choice of ideal came to be the power majority, the working classes. It is often said that communists are atheist and this may be true to some degree but when a theist use this argument they use it dishonestly as an excuse to accuse atheists of being mass murderers without morals. Karl Marx, the father of communism did indeed suggested that to change there needed to be bloody revolution and no power but the worker state be allowed to retain the states power. Communism as Marx saw it is blood soaked but that is not atheism. Marx recognized the power of the people running the state with their military and police forces and said the masses need to rise up quickly and violently to overcome them and that is the heart of his writing on churches and religion. Oddly enough many christians still think the same way as Marx. Look towards the USA and who shouts the loudest about having guns to maybe one day take over the state, you will find a whole lot of christians in that mix. Marx also recognized the power of the church on people and said they need to fall to refocus peoples attention on the state, replacing god with state being his intention. There is a suggestion that state imposed atheism is a best option but the intent is to direct people to believe the state comes before god. Again a very christian ideal, in the christian bible a guy names jesus said something similar when the suggested you pay Rome what is rightfully Rome’s. Technically and theoretically, on the division of power, Marx was not wrong churches wield a great deal of unwarranted unelected power in our societies. In practice communism like capitalism and all pure forms of economic theory has the ability to turn ugly when people come to be part of the equation. What we find looking at Marxism is that its not really atheism he was arguing but the replacement of god-religion with state-religion, the state to effectively become a god to the people. What happened when people were added was personality cult and power grabbing not dissimilar from any other human power structure. When it comes to the anti-theism of pure communism it is about breaking down powerful church organizations and far less about destroying personal belief. Power as the focus of the anti-theist ideology, both Mao and Stalin, major players in communism, allowed religion to exist where it benefited them and their cause. Marx may have been and is well noted as being atheist but atheism was not his goal nor the reason behind his writing. At worst Marx’s outsider perspective as an atheist gave him a clearer view of religion and how it held and wielded power on which to build parts of his socio-economic vision.

Next let’s address the one person who was surely atheist in his destructive years, he man made clear his lack of belief but he wasn’t always that way or educated that way. Joseph Stalin may be best described as a mad monk turned politician. We can’t ignore how a person learned to hate enough to be willing to kill on mass or how he came to decide it was political necessity. I have some Marx in my personal library (I have many historically important books) and have read other of his works. He does suggest that because of the nature of the wealthy to have military and police strength the only way for radical change is revolution but that can’t be the only factor leading to mass killing post revolution Stalin undertook. I have read Marx and other philosophies of the time and I don’t want to kill or think of people of other races as lesser than myself, lessons easily learned from many of the philosophers of the 19th century theist and atheist. Atheism as I have previously mentioned has no doctrines so “kill everyone” can’t be atheist doctrine, I would need to adopt an ideology (or go insane) to want to kill and my atheism has not given me any special

I own a copy of this historical book and can read how christian Hitler was. What's your ignorance based on if you believe he wasn't.

I own a copy of this historical book and can read how christian Hitler was. What’s your ignorance based on if you believe he wasn’t.

reason adopt any ideology in its entirety. Stalin identified as atheist but the ideology of communism is not atheism. Somehow Stalin not only became atheist but adopted communism as his ideology. Stalin’s formal years of education are well known, Stalin was well educated and on his way to the priesthood when he turned to politics. Is it here perhaps that he learned to hate, to refute god and with communism thrown in gain the power to enact his hate. Every one of us is the culmination of our life’s experiences and it is lucky for christians that we will never know how his training as a priest changed Stalin or why he became a power hungry paranoid killer. In the end we know Stalin was insane with his need to retain power and under pressure internationally to renounce communism (which may have enhanced the need in him to retain power through killing). We know the historical fact of Russia, the revolution, the progression from communism to Leninism to Stalinism and how dirtied ideology of worker state became. We know Stalin’s actions were in the name of communism but nothing he did was in the name of atheism though he was openly critical of religion. We also know Stalin was the atheist was the same man who knowing the power of the church, reformed the Russian Orthodox church to build public support in the fight against Nazi Germany (and gaining Vatican approval). It is impossible to know what drove Stalin to be who he became but we do know atheism and christianity both played roles in his life as a communist.

Leading on from Stalin, Adolph Hitler. This one is easy. I have a copy of Mien Kampf in my personal library and the man is well documented as being Roman catholic. His speeches, articles, books, radio recordings and film stock all show a man declaring his christianity and his work being that of god. It is hard to work out why so many theists bring Hitler up when trying to tarnish atheism. There are some writings at the end of his life, as his world collapses, where he expresses doubt but still no outright rejection of belief. Until the faith shaking realization there may not be a god on his side in the war he started, Hitler is very much a Roman Catholic christian. His doubt can not be seen as atheism and nothing in his life suggests he fully understood, if understood at all, the concept of no god only the wrong gods. Not only is Hitler well known but the vatican gave him the power to choose German church leaders. The pope of the time, like many people of the time, did not like the separatist nature of some communities – especially some religious ones – in their midst which was often expressed as anti-semitism (though WWII all but ended gypsy existence in mainland Europe and Hitler also targeted homosexuals). At that time in history it was a very christian thing to hate anyone not christian and white with violent intent if not actions, WWII rocketed us along the road less hateful.

Pol Pot. This man is a mixed up creation. Like Stalin his actions were communist but his level of non belief is an unknown from the information I and most people can access. Pot was born buddhist and educated christian, he later became communist and for reasons unknown (as they can’t have presented that much of a threat to his power) took to killing people in quite horrible ways. I am not even going to guess where Pot got his mindset but it was a sick one he managed to get away with. Pot’s communist empire fell and the people who followed him to power allowed him to live out his life basically unpunished. Certainly unpunished for the level of suffering he caused. I am not even sure how to judge the people who failed to punish Pot or what their beliefs may be, I am certainly willing to say that their beliefs or lack of beliefs may not be the criteria best used to judge them.

Mao Zedong, China’s hero, was a buddhist before becoming communist. Revolution in China with it’s population and poverty, the 1936 invasion on China by the Japanese who killed far more Chinese people than all the people Hitler had killed in his lifetime, and the problems of western support of imperial China, nothing about a Chinese revolution was going to be clean. There were certainly strange policies leading to death in China, the Great Leap Forward was meant to revolutionize agriculture as had been done in Russia and ended up starving million to death. The following youth movement implemented to boost support after such a failed policy kills many more. To say that Mao meant to kill people in villages would I think be over stating his actions, it was simply a very bad poorly implemented policy and a power structure slow to change. Bad politics is not atheism any more than it is buddhism. I can’t get in the head of the long dead chairman but today the Chinese people love him, even those who suffered now credit him with bringing the country from abject poverty and foreign domination to the level of potential first works country. Admittedly his record is whitewashed in China, something that may backfire on the regime if the people ever learn how whitewashed; a problem for another day. Would I be happy to say China today is atheist, an evil atheist nation? No. The China of Mao practices a blend of atheism, ancestor worship and buddhism. Hospitals have Chinese medicine wards where pseudo-medicine is practised, pseudo-medical pressure point massage is huge business and crackers go off daily to scare of spirits and bring luck to businesses. Western religion and its powerful churches may not play a part but I don’t know that we can judge Mao’s actions or China as being atheist, only communist.

Why theists play these games is beyond me but pushed for an answer I would say they hope their followers don’t read. It takes a 30 second google search to find historical references that refute many of the claims so the people they are talking to must not even read that far (which I guess is why Answers in Genesis and Conservapedia exist, to save googling information you don’t want and re-enforce the lies some preacher told you).

This line of argument is foolish because it doesn’t take long for an atheist to dig up examples of religious killing. People who did directly say they killed for god are easy to find; Adolph Hitler afore mentioned, any number of people currently in prisons world wide, and some of the most repulsive periods of human history such as the dark ages, various which hunts and the fictional flood of Noah Abrahamic theists believe in. It isn’t just the people (and fictional gods) committing the crime who present the public face of religious killing, finding people defending the murderous actions if other believers (or their god) is as easy as breathing.

When you build a false argument that is easily refuted you don’t do yourself any favors. The theist argument puts believers who have a simplistic view of the world in danger of presenting these arguments in places where they will be presented with the facts and counter argument. I have met many an atheist who said that learning the truth of things they had been told by a religious leader was what made them question their beliefs. By presenting these arguments you weekend your own cause, honesty is and will always be a better weapon in the battle to save theism from its long slow death.

Again I do not understand why these arguments exist, I for one prefer honesty in all things. The people who originally built them must have had the intelligence to research their subject and must have known that being caught in a lie can be detrimental. I can only guess stupidity and education are lacking in the people they aimed it at. I guess it also shouldn’t surprise me, I have known most of my life that religion targeted the young, stupid and the vulnerable. The young and stupid would certainly be more susceptible to this level of argument from an authority figure.

May your gods remain fictional,

The Antitheocrat.

Moderate is a word often thrown about in religious circles when someone comes to unwanted media attention for some radical act in any specific gods name. The idea behind the statement being, “we are not all like that, you can’t blame us”. I don’t accept this and hold the idea that moderate theists are to blame for the nutters who use their religion as an excuse to do harm. In fact I take it one step further in not believing there are actually any moderates.

WHAT IS MODERATE THEISM?

Many people claim to be moderate but few if any could really be considered so. Unjustifiable belief, which is key to religion, is held while the person holding the belief may not agree with everything about an organization or doctrine they claim adherence too. These people must think god is a democracy and their vote matters but even that is stretching the boundaries of doctrine. This form of moderate theism all but demands that atheism is a more honest position. The moderate theist by asking questions and denying doctrine acknowledge that they have no solid foundation for belief, wilful ignorance is the best descriptive for this form of theism.

No, god is mythical and at best imaginary.

No, god is mythical and at best imaginary.

Consider if you will the homosexual christians and their families trying to change the church from the far left wing. They often consider themselves moderate for not holding tight to the same levels of bigotry as others yet they seek with unwavering passion a god documented as promoting the very bigotry used to discrimination against them in churches. Breaking down that bigotry would require breaking church from doctrine, what value it had and what is actually believed would then be worthless. There are large numbers of people like this already, often called spiritual as they drift without doctrine seeking new beliefs. These christian homosexuals can hardly be the moderates they claim while holding so dearly to belief in something which proclaims to want them dead and perhaps missing the point that only breaking it will fix it.

As an example of how fragile moderate theism is I was recently discussing the Australian governments school chaplaincy program with a self appointed moderate theist, a discussion that went sideways very fast. This individual identifies as a nonreligious christian (a ridiculously floored understanding of reality for someone who puts value in the christian bible) and someone I consider a nice person. When during our discussion I made the obvious statement suggested chaplains had no part in state schools and that my son should never be presented with that option in place of a professional counsellor you could almost see the blood pressure rising. She all but yelled that religion was good moral teaching and all kids should be made to have some in their life. The supposed moderate pseudo-christian went out the window in defence of a religion she doesn’t even admit having close ties too. Nothing rational or moderate came after that point and I walked away.

Moderation it seems is almost always a single word or action away from being radical belief in these people. Simply being an atheist can be enough to be told you are a sinner, somehow less human, that you need an imaginary friend or that you may burn in some imaginary afterlife. On learning of my atheism, hearing a counterpoint to theism or hearing an argument against members of my family (myself included) being openly or stealth indoctrinated, I have often myself been accused of not being a moderate. Why? It seems I must consider the religion though it has never been required it for life to be good to me or to be a law abiding individual. Why do other peoples imaginary friends matter when I’m talking of my family? It is the problem of religion that’s key to these topics, I don’t want to consider it or take it into account, keep it away from us and I won’t discuss it with you.

I have found during my life that most religious people cling irrationally to religion having little or no idea of their supposed doctrines. Those who study the doctrine become atheist or become radicals in defence of doctrine. Those christians who claim to read the bible go to “classes” which instruct them on which passages to read and how to read them, indoctrination sessions not book reading as most of us know it. For most theists, actually reading a holy book is not required, they base their belief on some mythical doctrine of their own which has all the hallmarks of Sunday school christianity. These are no more positions of moderation than running onto the field to play at a world series rugby final expecting to win with no idea of the rules and having never played the game. This lack of knowledge is often coupled with passionate, even aggressive defence loosing any semblance of moderation. Not knowing the doctrines may also be why moderates don’t understand how people who cling to a religions fundamental writings can go wrong. To paraphrase something I have read in my travels, if the fundamentals of your religion create problems there is something fundamentally wrong with your religion; something worth considering for those who claim to be moderates.

WHAT IS A RADICAL?

Having given some time to moderates I guess I owe radicals some time. This point is important because in the middle our very own societies are radicals going on with life free from criticism from their fellow believers. People they consider silly or deluded but overall harmless.

There's something that's never going to happen.

There’s something that’s never going to happen.

To start, a radical would have to be a fundamentalist in some way shape or form. Fundamentalism means taking the word of a religious text as fact and irrefutable. A true fundamentalist will deny science, reason or historical evidence that shows their texts to be incorrect and hold firmly to their position. Nothing could be more radical than fundamentalism but the resulting actions of fundamentalists are what we generally regard as radicalism.

Radical at the suicide bomber end of the scale we all know and understand, these people are news worthy, they represent those people we hear of whenever they go boom. There is always a backlash against them and the trich for we atheists is not to take the side of one religion against another as they express their hate and bigotry.

Sometimes but not often heard of are the parents who kill their kids because of some doctrine or belief. Other variation on of this theme are those who deny blood transfusions, practice pseudo medicine or are anti vaccine rather than trust in science. Common in some places is the idea of family honour killing where daughters who are accused of most anything are killed and considered socially under some doctrine. In the middle of this is the person so depressed they think their child would be better off in heaven, someone finding power to act from doctrine rather than seeking help for their depression. On the other end of the scale is person who believes god explicitly instructed them to kill.

Almost never heard of are the people who go online ranting about ridding our world/country/town of homosexuals/other religions/atheists. Some countries under the influence of religious persons, persons who have travelled specifically to spread doctrines of hate, have in fact implemented extreme laws against homosexuals.

Something coming under more scrutiny is circumcision , perhaps due to genital mutilation of girls (a significant part of this topic) in the first world. This level of extreme has been going on in boys for over 2000 years with the questioning mainly being in relation to inter religious hate rather than religious doctrines inducing people to commit such act of cruelty. The fact it now happens to girls in our modern world is horrifying to most people even those willing to do it to boys. Mutilating babies can’t be considered a sane thing. I’m a parent and I find it repulsive that there are people and parents that interested in a babies genitalia that they think it needs cutting. Through religion this act has become so normal and socially acceptable even some atheist argue in favour of it. Some people even think a penis is a fashion item and argue it looks better cut as if they assuring their baby son had the best start for his future as a porn star. At least poorly credited health studies are not to my knowledge used in the case of girls which means laws are in place for girls in many countries, boys still await the same legal protection against mutilation. Religion is at the root of genital mutilation and many babies have died from diseases spread mouth to penis in a traditional jewish ceremony in which an adult male sucks the freshly cut penis. Only religious extremism allows this act to continue.

Another of extremism is the person or people who continue to support or excuse their associates who have performed radical acts. Recent news came across my desk of a preacher who had been convicted on child sex offences and was now being given his job back as an authority figure in his church community. As a form of excuse for this action the congregation were being asked not to bring kids to his sermons. Some years back an American man killed a doctor outside a women’s health clinic, his best known friends/associate openly supporting this action saying it was gods work. People supporting these radical actions seems to be easier to find than the voices of religion speaking out against them. Small outspoken groups, often without support by their church and never by the governing bodies of those churches, are sometimes to be found, but not to any great extent considering theist numbers.

Probably the least recognized of the extremists are the science deniers. Creationism has shown its public fact load, proud and stupid for those looking for such things. What even less people know is that climate denial, some junk science, some pseudo-medicine and science denial all stem from theist roots. Junk maths, philosophy and literature stem from these same roots. Not seeking evidence and believing simplistic arguments from a preacher are preferred by many theists. I have found a number of “moderates” arguing climate denial. In fact what they are generally doing is repeating some of the most simplistic and inane statements known to humanity with absolutely no knowledge of the actual topic.

All of these people represent radical religion. These people not only believe irrationally, they act or fail to act with a theological fundamentalist mind set.

All of these level of extremism are a danger to our societies, as much as those who bomb, some may even be more so dangerous given they are less acknowledged by society and more subversive. The bomber is an extremist who in one event burns out his impact and builds an instant social backlash. Those churches that function as their own mostly isolated subsets of society go on for years even decades having an effect on the greater community. They put in our midst an enemy to secular societies and corrupt the “moderate” theistic message turning it into bigotry and hate.

The problem for moderates is that the radicals often find their understanding of their chosen belief in that religions doctrines. The text they use are the very same texts the moderates use but often choose to ignore or remain ignorant of. It’s hard for the moderate to challenge the radical without having to question the doctrines of their beliefs and so it remains easier for the moderates remain silent, ignorant and blissful.

NOT ONLY THE RELIGIOUS.

Hug an atheist and feel the love :)

Hug an atheist and feel the love. At least you know they’ll be thinking of you first 🙂

I know there are crazy people in the world and I am far from saying only religious people are inclined to it. I credit it could as easily be an individual atheist doing the harm, the difference is doctrine. There is no doctrines of atheism, there are only individual atheists rejecting god. As individuals even atheists can be followers, accepting authority without thought, atheist simply do it without amalgamating doctrine or community consensus. An atheists insanity is generally personal or part of some additional ideology (from experience, sometimes the remains of unshaken theistic indoctrination). Doctrine is what makes religion and belief different from atheism, there are rules for religion, how a so called moderate reads them and a radical reads them is the only difference between the two. For both parties the rules exist in the same form with different interpretation. Religious doctrine is the other side of the coin to atheism, it combines bigots, giving them power, funds, community and writings providing purpose and reason.

HUMANISM IS EVERYWHERE.

I also know there is good people who are religious but religion does not seem to be the key to being a good person. Many moderates are good people while being anything but moderate about religion. Religion on the other hand does seem to be the excuse for many people when doing wrong. Anyone who thinks I have it wrong should read papal history or look up the many priests and preachers up on sex charges in this day and age. When the people at the top are getting wrong what hope for the rest?

SUMMING UP.

There is no moderate when it comes to theism, theism is by nature irrational and extreme. A theists acts of kindness and compassion towards other people may be better termed “irrational theism with humanist tendencies”. Looking in at religion from the outside all my life as I have found so called moderates to be largely ignorant of their doctrines and aggressive in defence of them. The many people arguing for theism often fail to understand it enough to form original arguments or refine the arguments. More often their arguments are those simplistic ones learned as children or those learned in church that were never designed to face reasoned argument, indoctrination is about reinforcing not reasoning. The fact that radicals can very easily be born from the ranks of moderates using the same doctrines generally goes unacknowledged by moderates. Rather than condemn their doctrines they argue for special consideration of their religion due to the fact they themselves are moderates. No part of religious belief is moderate and the term apologetic would be better suited to these people.

WHY DO I CARE?

The danger of moderate theism is that it spawns radicals as well as lending numbers and weight to radical causes and arguments. Moderates excuse and promote the use of religious doctrines in making life choices, doctrines which serve to guide radicalism. Moderates raise funds that often support radicalism and supply political coercion, ensuring radicals have legal space to congregate, learn, grow and eventually act. Moderate theism helps to enable ignorance in our society, we live in an extremely advanced world where only small portions of the population actually understand the science or technology they use every day. A great deal of anti-science and anti-intellectualism comes from theistic sources ensuring segments of society never try to understand science and technology. Studies have even shown children who believe in gods are less able recognize fact from fiction (something I have found still exists in their adult counterparts). None of this is good for human society and what is a danger to society is a danger to my family.

I do not believe in moderate because moderate is an excuse, a smoke screen enabling religion to go unchecked, unduly respected and free from criticism in our societies. I do not believe in moderate because every supposed moderate is a single word away from radical behaviour due to the very nature of their beliefs.

May your gods remain fictional.

The Antitheocrat.

I am a lucky atheist, lucky to be atheist and a lucky in life.

Before moving on, I don’t mean that as any belief in the mythical lucky faith-fairy waved a wand over me. I mean simply that my life has been better than some through the circumstances leading to my birth and since my birth. Luck is a culmination of events and actions, events and actions are not in themselves good or bad nor are they mystical. We read the good and bad into events and actions and call it luck. Some people make the foolhardy judgment that their reading of events and actions is a magic thing called luck, I do not. The human mind really can be a strange thing.

So how do I judge my personal journey as being that of a lucky human and a lucky atheist.

I am lucky but my life hasn’t always be luxurious, some may even say it still isn’t. I have certainly known suffering by first world standards, suffering that left me well prepared for most eventualities in life and made me who I am. I was born to a lower middle class family who became poorer in my in mid teens after a tragic accident but I am white and male so some of the prejudices of my sometimes undesirable economic situation have not impeded my ability to be happy, love and be loved and enjoy some comfort. My life has been free from some of the hate which may have come if I had been of a different sex, sexuality or race. At times I have lived in my car, gone hungry, been unemployed and been without friends and family at hand when most needed. I have lived without access to electricity or running water and when time in my life came and I found myself living in a dirty little inner city Chinese bolt-hole flat with my wife I was quite comfortable, almost luxuriously so compared to some previous living arrangements. Life has never been without its ups and downs and yet I am a very lucky atheist. A lucky atheist because the one form of discrimination, religious discrimination, that i have experienced has had minimal impact on my happiness and relationships.

I was born in the non theocratic secular country Australia in a state capital. In my younger years religious people existed and tried to push their religion on me and threaten me with mythical punishment but my home country is very atheistic. Cities also allow more interaction and like minded people were never impossible to find. Even in the 80s prior to mass computer ownership and new social media finding like mined people was still quiet easy. Nobody ever threatened to kill me or torture me for not believing in fairy folk in this country and legally risky for them to do so. Most discrimination was quite mild, generally hidden, people talking under their breath or making choices that effect me without my direct knowledge of it (not always well disguised, sometimes intentionally shown).

Australia is historically recognized as being a non religious country, a great many nonpracticing christians are noted in official statistics but in the street that translates as cultural christians. Cultural christians are people who fill out forms saying they’re christians because their parents said they were christians and they themselves have never been given to considering religion or a possible lack of religion. I have had people tell me they say they’re christian for the census simply because they see islam as a worse option. What they are in fact implying is having not seriously considered the evidence and willfully accepting the position presented in popular media. The real question is, why should we allow any unelected mythical belief and set of associated doctrines run our country? Cultural christians don’t really believe in god, they don’t talk about or think about gods, nor do they know anything of doctrine or philosophy. It could be called lazy but maybe it is just that their lives were never touched by religion in such a way as to make them think about it. At best cultural christians save god for feeling good when some dies or christmas holiday (and even the christmas church figure is dropping). Cultural christians when not filling out forms will often spend time taking the piss out of religion like a full blown anti-theists.

A country full of cultural christians is the country I grew up in. On the surface it looks great but cultural christianity aids others in retaining idiot beliefs and adds political weight to those with more radical agendas (and something for another post).

Other atheists in this supposedly technological, post enlightenment world, are not so lucky.

It’s easy to find people of religion screaming about how they’re not getting their “rights”, but when it comes to not having a religion, discrimination becomes a “religion only” issue. Many theists would prefer a person of a religious sect who were persecuting people of their sect over an atheist because at least they also have an imaginary friend. You will not find the same level of screaming from the christian community when an atheist is killed somewhere as you will when someone throws stones at a christian in the street. Oddly enough atheists will jump up and down about both, screaming about human rights not religious freedoms. The atheist will more likely demand religion or the lack of religion not be a significant factor at all.

If this simple yet mostly unrecognized discrimination can happen in Australia, a country with a secular government and secular education system, I hate to think what some of our atheist counterparts in far off lands struggle with. It takes nothing to find some christian or muslim demanding atheists all be deported from some country or another or killed, all without refutation often to the applause of many fellow believers. It has even been proposed before now that atheists should pay a special tax for not going to church as if we needed punishing for having a counter argument to the god proposal and under the ridiculous assumption we will be better people if only we attended church. If a atheist did the same thing the theists, demanded they pay a tax for going to church for instance, they would be up in arms about hate speech or race hate. So it is that the catholic church remains one of, if not the single biggest tax free property and business owners in the world, another example of benefit not extended to non believers.

To defend religious bigotry, hate and/or intolerance laws are used and abused in our more moderate societies and by theistic states, in the UN. Discrimination law is something that is continually being dragged through the mud for religious sensitivities. Muslims for one have gotten very good at demanding that any word said against their religion is race hate. Conveniently forgotten is that these people are normally Arabic muslims who are a minority group in their own religion suggesting any word against islam as anti Arab. Also forgotten is that a philosophical proposal is not a race no matter what race it may be associated with. If I were stupid enough to call science a race and denying it was race hate, they would soon demand science is a tool for discovering things or as they often do declare, a belief.

Human rights laws are not only being ignored in numerous countries, they are also being used and abused by religious people across the world. All to often belief or religion are argued to be human rights and people should be allowed to believe as they see fit. This is fine, thought should never be a crime, but put forward the proposal that atheism is a relevant philosophical position worthy of being spoken aloud and see where it gets you. In some places religion is a right given to people in law but the same people administering the law will refuse to acknowledge atheism as a valid religious option. Atheists rightfully declare atheism is not a belief, you can’t believe in not believing in something and as such not being a belief leads to discrimination. Again it is forgotten that religion is a philosophical proposition and atheism is a valid rebuttal of a philosophical construct, belief is simply a word given to people in acceptance of a faulty argument. There is no actual “belief”, no belief based on knowledge or evidence. Atheism and theism as simply philosophy.

Freedom of speech or freedom of expression as we have in Australia is also screamed load by believers who in the same breath declare atheism should be banned as it is stopping them getting their free expression. Atheists being denied a similar freedom of expression simply to protect the sensitivities of people with imaginary friends and never is it seen as a double standard.

At this point I’m still talking mostly of the first world. In many places people are still being killed under laws that protect invisible fairy folk from having their existence questioned. Without the fairy folk ever presenting themselves to put forward a case the defendant is sentenced, killed, maimed or imprisoned. If your neighbor sued you for denying an alien landing he had no evidence of, and without him ever having to present evidence in court of the landing, you were sentenced to death, you may find it noteworthy. Make the alien an imaginary friend and the neighbor a theist accuser saying you deny his friends exists and without justification we have to accept a different set of rules. Some people who are outspoken about religion (not always atheist, sometimes theists with a different view) get off light with long prison sentences in places we wouldn’t put a mangy dog. People with educations comparable or better than my own, with more wealth and financial security than I have, risk their lives every day simply for not believing in a god.

Escaping these countries seeking refuge is not always recognized as a valuable use of resources. Sometimes people prefer to stay in silence and not risk their lives and families. With thought laws in place and a need to communicate with people like ourselves, atheists endanger themselves and their families. Some states watch social media and employ religious policing very much like the witch hunting of old (or in modern christian Africa) to find and persecute people with unfavorable religious perspectives. For those who do escape it has been noted that life is not all up hill. Getting through Australia’s overly zealous refugee barriers for instance is noted as being easier if you claim to be christian and having any god at all get you a more favorable hearing than an atheist. Not having a religion is often viewed as strange and unusual and will get you bottom of the barrel placing even in secular countries. People can escape their home countries with people who consider them the worst kinds of person, apostates (ex-muslim, the worst of crimes), which increases their personal danger and we treat them like social pariahs on arrival for the very same reasons as the people they’re escaping.

Bloggers like myself, people with a story and a passion doing nobody any physical harm (and arguably less harm than religion does mentally), have been killed and imprisoned for simply denying a god in Middle Eastern and Asiatic countries. With so many religious missionaries continually voicing their need for rights, the cry for equality and religious freedom is never extended to non belief. News media can totally skip a story about an atheist being killed by a mob but jump up and down about a christian family being chased from their home. The difference being that one of these stories is regarded as news worthy, sensationalist if you will. Tell the world about pro-religious persecution and they will scream for blood while the non-religious persecution will simply shock a few people. With 30 minutes of news time to see your product you choose sensationalism every time.

So yes, I am a lucky atheist. As a lucky atheist I am often asked – and see it asked – why atheists feel the need to be vocal about gods they don’t believe in. Well as a lucky atheist living in a country where I can speak with relative freedom, I see it as my duty to see my children remain lucky and try to make more people in the world as lucky as I am. To do so I need to identify and address my opponent no matter how imaginary that opponent is. Having done so it is my duty to speak out and defend my rights and champion other peoples rights, not only identified atheists but all people. I do as an atheist have the right to defend atheists ahead of theists simply because theism is half our problem and theists have their own well funded voices spewing rhetoric. In fact theism must take a secondary place because it holds us back as a species and promotes separatism like nothing else. Nationalism, politics and money don’t separate people as religion does, religion separates people within these demographics based on mythology.

Without theism there would be no atheism to defend, theism requires a vocal opponent. I am lucky enough that it can be me. As a lucky atheist I hope my voice has the ability to drive change in the world and it is my duty to share my good fortune with others as best I can.

I am sorry for the rant like nature of this post, it was hard to trim out the passion in this post.

May your gods remain fictional,

The Antitheocrat.