Posts Tagged ‘supernatural’

This week in Australia, in my current state of residence New South Wales, our government is taking the entire state 3 steps backwards for the benefit of their christian beliefs. Over the past 2-3 years many problems with state indoctrination classes – sorry, Special Religions Instruction or SRE – have been addressed, not all, but many. Though this situation is far from perfect and change has not happened without considerable fighting and legal action, the implementation of things like opt-in rather than the old everyone-goes-until-the-parents-find-out system and the inclusion of secular ethics as an alternative were great improvements on the old system.

So now we have it, the Christian lobby couldn’t stand to loose fee tax funds when parents were given a choice and didn’t take it. This backwards step should not have come as a shock, the greatest shock should be that with so much criminal action and fraud in the party last term, with so many MPs resigning or on charges, this lot still got re-elected for another term. Now they have another term our very christian and not shy about his religion premier and his chief of staff who believes he is gods own chief of staff are showing their true colours. With the government over riding the education department and reinstating SRE books banned for not meeting the standards required by the department it was clear that secularism would be outside their limited abilities. Then things got worse when to the shame of our state, nay country, the senates balance of power was given to Fred Nile, one of Australia’s longest lasting preacher bigots and state MPs (shame NSW, shame).

Oddly enough, everywhere I have lived in Australia NSW has been looked at as a forward thinking and progressive state. With the current trend I find I may as well have stayed in Queensland and wished for the clock to go back 20 years.

“Why all the song and dance”” you say. The state government look set to try and hide any secular option and possibly revert to a new form of opt-out system for SRE in which as a parent you don’t even get all of the options presented until you opted-out of all of the religious offerings first. As it is presented on the ABC’s website “Current enrolment forms give parents a clear option for picking ethics classes as an alternative to Special Religious Education (SRE) for their child, but under the changes being considered by the Government, parents would only be asked what religion their child is”.

This effectively means all kids will get religious instruction unless their parents are wise to the loophole of not choosing a religion. I am not sure if they can offer every denomination their own instructor as Fred Nile has suggested be done. Is it possibly the instructors or schools will decide what they believe is best given to represent the various belief and non-belief options that will be registered. I have no doubt that christian SRE instructors believe they can offer a secular religious instruction to atheist kids if they need to and if the tax money starts rolling again. I’m sure jesus was secular and god loves us all, even atheist kid who will burn in hell. Maybe they can even teach the hindi and muslim kids, who will also burn in hell.

Secular Ethics already had enough hoops to jump through to even get in to the offering. Fred Nile and his ilk had their hats in the ring when ethics classes were established. They and government made a deal that suited them best when forced to offer a secular option, one that made it so difficult to get an ethics class up and running that I myself have been registered to be overseer or instructor in my region for 3 years without it happening. Finding a second person willing to undertake the hours of “volunteer” work and reporting required was not something that proved easy. With the overseer requirement it was also as if they expected us to all suddenly turn into priests and put children at risk, even the teacher in the room wasn’t going to be enough. What this meant was that ethics was harder to get off the ground than the well funded and taxpayer assisted religious options available. As it is, much harder in a small outback town of only 5000 people.

If anyone is confused at this point about what is happening Fred Nile did a wonderful of clearing the entire topic up for us on his ABC radio interview (https://soundcloud.com/702abcsydney/rev-fred-nile-mlc-talks-to) in which he insisted we parents are idiots and SRI participation went down when we had a choice because the form confused us. He also insisted that we all supported him making our choices for us and that the education charted insisted on religious education and did not including any secular options. Parents shouldn’t be offered any secular alternative until they have be forced to deny EVERY other religion on offer.

If this is the thinking behind the governments move to change the school enrolment forms I can’t see how every parent of school aged or nearing school aged children should not be deeply insulted. I for one am a parent and not an idiot. I understand quite well that I can choose not to have my child indoctrinated at school and I do not need the government hiding my options from me when it comes to my child’s education. Who do these people think they are? Fred Nile commands less than 3% of the states votes, what makes him think he has rights over my child when more than 97% of the state think he should pull his head in?

If as Fred suggests, 50% of parents (I don’t know the figures but have heard they are significant), have not opted-in to a religious indoctrination course what business of the government, regardless of votes, to force 50% of parents back into some form of indoctrination of their children. Surely 50% of parents choosing not to have schools indoctrinate their children is a clear statement of our wishes for our own children. Even if some part of this group were unable to understand the forms – possibly under 3%, Fred supporters maybe – why is it the other 47+% of us should be treated like idiots and have our options removed from view so we don’t know they are there to be utilised?

As parents we should all concern ourselves with the indoctrination of our children. We should not let the state employed evangelists to do it for us. This must be as true for me, an atheist, as it is for parents from any of the various belief systems that are truly concerned about what their children believe.

Having vented my anger at yet another government full of twats being elected in this once great country of our I will have to take my leave. Good night all and may your gods remain fictional.

The Antitheocrat

This is written after a short break while a new member of our clan presented himself to the world. It is written on a sleepless night, one of many as I am the night shift person. This writing may contain some of the frustration of being a new parent but with no actual malice towards my son.

This is not my first time as a parent but there has been enough years between for it all to have been forgotten in the haze of time. I don’t remember my first having midnight screening sessions like this one but maybe we just dealt with it differently back then.

Sitting here wondering what stops me from dropping this screaming child on its head gave me cause to write again, so maybe there is value in being a frustrated sleep deprived parent.

No, I have not dropped my son on his head and have no wish to do so. Although I have often been accused of having no moral guide and so no moral values something in me say there is no possible reasoning or lack of theist morality that would cause me to drop a baby. I have also been accused of not having any reason or ability to care or love without a god as my reason for living. Without god I could do anything I want to stop this persistent crying. I know that without a god needing to be invoked, that I love my son and nothing outside the realm of insanity would cause me to hurt him. I care for his health and welfare and know it to be my job to push on through the sleeplessness and cranky nights.

I have knowledge of my love, I have no knowledge of gods, I still can and some times have odd but not driving thoughts. In have thoughts, knowing they are nothing but sleep deprived crankiness. I feel the wish to write when my mind runs wild, not act out in a way that could only be classed as insanity.

The people I worry about at times like this are those who have god but believe not having one would give them a free hand. I have heard much worse proposed than dropping a baby from people who insist I have no morals. Only this week I viewed a video of a theist I have heard them propose things that would never cross my mind, even in the state I’m in. What would these people do if released from their bonds? How many babies would be dropped? How many people raped? How much death and destruction?

The only thought I find comforting when thinking about those who would question my morals, is that they may never find their way to reality. If they do I hope very much they find it through reason and a realisation of just how wrong they were.

My son is settling having cried himself into a manageable state. The crying actually bothers me less than the fact that I am the one doing nights to allow the rest of the family to rest. Tonight nobody gets a full nights rest but soon we will feed him get what’s left. There is always tomorrow night for sleeping.

Through all of this I didn’t find my morals or my ability to care tested to breaking, even though I am godless. Tomorrow I have to work and as always I will pull myself together and manage one more day on minimal sleep. I never was a sleeping sort of person and my first son still made it to 17 years old. Give or take an “act of god” (you have to love those fictional insurance clauses 😛 ) this one will also make it to a grand old age.

For all of those theists who would question my morality and pose examples of the harms they would enact on the world, think hard about your own morality and your mindset. To me they both your morality and mindset seem very fragile things. Consider this while you consider my flippant thought and consider how evil I may or may not be. Consider the number of christians in this world currently exorcising demons from their children (to death in one case this month) rather than struggling through the normal tasks of parenthood. Consider the muslim and hindi parents killing their own young daughters to protect family reputations from real and imagined crimes. Consider the theists who disown or worse their sons for loving someone of the same sex. Consider the doctrines that give these people cause to act on the thoughts that I consider flippant.

At least I know my thought was flippant and have no doctrine on which to base any dangerous act.

In finishing I wish to ask that you please excuse the rant like nature of this post. I think I myself will put it down to that ever present new parent sleeplessness 🙂

May your gods remain fictional.

The Antitheocrat.

Recent events in Australia have highlighted the danger presented in being overly passionate about antitheism. Passion can sometimes cloud a person from rational thought and leave themselves and their motives vulnerable, open to manipulation and question. I think the German people in the wake of WWII would have some reason to agree with me given Adolph’s rise to power over a largely non-Nazi population. Emotion and rational thought will always clash and unfortunately we are all susceptible to emotion.

I myself have pointed out these vulnerabilities, these wounds in some peoples personal anti-theism because of the danger it presents. I have argued them and been accused of many things including being a muslim sympathizer, muslim lover, lefty and greenie as if these emotional attacks on my person made the counter argument stronger. I argue because I believe that as a community it is better that we open the wounds ourselves and not allow it to fester and poison atheism.

That is not to say I support that wonder drug and failed attempt at an ideology for atheism, atheism plus. Religion suffers from the problem of festering wounds because it is trapped in its codes, its unquestionable doctrine and always covering up its problems. Atheism has no such problem and we shouldn’t ever allow it to be so. Atheism plus all at once tried to present itself as the only perfect political correct voice of atheism – and got it wrong – as if most atheists were not already trying to be better and more rational people. We are trying to be more and we are not stuck in the past trying to excuse the horrors contained in ancient moral codes. To become better atheists atheism needs different voices, different ways in which to express our atheism and anti-theism, different ways to evolve our way of thinking.

The event that drove this article was a series of comparatively small Easter Sunday anti-sharia protests across Australia. Not unsurprisingly – because atheists come in all shapes and sizes – a small number of atheists surfaced saying they had taken part in the event, an event which is well in line with the current trend of hate powered ignorance being promoted in our current political and social arenas.

Protesting the very idea of islam is not new, as an anti-theist myself I often protest islam and the actions of muslims. Christianity has been at war with islam for hundreds of years, an extremely severe version of protest. Christianity is not alone, in other places other religions are also at war with islam. Islam, it seems, has a way of making enemies and action against it is certainly not new. My own anti-islamic actions are not new and I will side with most any anti-theist action that is free from hate of race, people or unsupportable agendas.

Unsupportable agendas is where we find our problem. Anti-islam groups can include ignorant people who don’t know a great deal about islam but will absorb anything they are told by vested interests, white supremacist groups who often fail to understand that Arab muslims are a minority group in islam, religious groups who often hate atheists more than muslims and we atheists and our anti-theism. Sometimes these groups are mixed, it takes nothing to find an ignorant christian nazi hating islam on social media or ever an undereducated reactionary racist atheist for that matter.

At the event the obvious swastikas tattooed about some peoples bodies was the focus of press coverage because news broadcast is all about sensationalism. I have personally known bikers who are educated and friendly people I also know the darker side of the clubs. It is very possible there was a white supremacist ideology present and that the tattoos were not simply decorative. That doesn’t make them the bulk of the people represented. The pseudo Nazi biker groups may have been the focus of the press but in focusing on them the press missed the fact that many of the speakers and organizers were right wing evangelist christians and known racists. These people who may themselves have little real knowledge of what an islam or sharia are are not stupid, they understand islam is an theological enemy to many and easy target that will bring supporters to their cause. Amongst their supporters would be the people willing to soak up their message on social media, people just like them. The leaders don’t care who comes to the rally however, to gain numbers they send a false message of nationalism, impinged upon freedoms and liberties and promote a hate of things-unknown amongst the many event attendees. The message is promoted with examples of atrocities in far off lands that don’t support the argument for claimed legal, political or social changes at home. These messages are meant only to appeal to the deepest fears of anyone in ear shot.

Neo Nazi groups as they are often called and evangelist christians don’t drive these campaigns because they feel we should remain a secular state, far from it. They argue that this is a christian county, a white country and demand that sharia endangers or “christian values”. They hate we atheists with the same if not more vigor than they do muslims and if they could rid the world of islam atheism would atheism be next? These people are not our friends and we should always give careful consideration to standing beside them as allies. Anyone with an anti-islam agenda who also supports an anti-atheist agenda surely has to be unsupportable.

To make clear my own perspective on who I perceive as an enemy, I am not frightened of a few loonies who want the world to be the thing they imagine. I am also not adverse to protesting islam or any other religion that harms individuals or restricts freedoms. Doctrine, regardless of its being political or religious, should always be open to question. Even though I believe hate is a very important tool in the human emotional arsenal (hating individuals with solid foundation for said hate is not something I would condone) I am against is any doctrine or belief that empowers blanketed blind hate on entire populations of people.

This is the heart of the issue for me, empowerment.

As the dust settles from the easter weekend the haters promote how widely accepted their hate is by the numbers of people who attended. No matter how ill informed the participants were, how varied their thinking, the level of their understanding or how wrongly they fear sharia law in Australia. The truth they will promote is that their personal version of hate was supported by a large number of people (though the numbers attending the counter protests were it seems bigger). The promoters and speakers will not shy away from using this support to justify their own underlying agendas to anybody willing to listen. They will not care that atheists also stood in the crowd as they call for christian law rather than islamic law.

The trouble is that biblical law is no less my enemy. Biblical law is often cited in our society and due to christian bigotry our legal system still struggles with some very basic concepts such as allowing marriage to be for everyone who wants it. Christian bigotry held back our legal systems with regard to abortion and birth control. When HIV became an issue christians became a problem spreading false information and slowing the implementation of free condom programs. In my life christian law or the impact of christianity on or laws, has had a worse impact on my friends and family. Christianity has subverted public funds for it cause like no other religion and tried to indoctrination me and my children. Christianity abused my grandmother as an orphans in their care causing her mental problems late in life and beat from one of my uncles his natural left handedness all with protection from legal action until quite recently. I already have one religion playing the part of very real enemy and I will not empower it to stop a possible or potential enemy. If anything biblical law is more my enemy.

Okay so as an antitheist I openly admit that I am also very anti-sharia but what is sharia and how do you stop it? What is it the protests are actually achieving?

Protests first, what do they achieve. This is problem that surfaces for antitheist often, entrenchment. Antitheism is largely a war of words where we atheists attack religion at the core of its doctrines and beliefs. There is not one standing argument for god that has not been refuted time and time again. Theists keep dressing up their arguments in different clothing but be it a coke can, and aircraft or a watch it is still the watchmaker argument. The last defence of theists, when arguments run out is to dig in, to entrench themselves in their beliefs and their community, to stop listening to any form of reason and deny all forms of evidence. When this happens over a war of words how much more entrenched do people become when they see a mob protesting them in the streets? Anti-sharia protests serve more inclined to create people willing to become martyrs and entrench others in defence of their beliefs.

How do we overcome this problem? Not through ignorance and hate. Of the people I have spoken too none seem to understand that sharia is an integral is part of muslim ideology and that to stop it the way they want to stop it you must implement thought policing. To stop a section of the islamic population forever seeking sharia you would have to outlaw islam or put in place constant surveillance of the islamic population to catch them out if they mention the idea.

Now obviously sharia is not a real impending problem, the muslim population are far from having the voting power to change our legal system. Even if they had greater voting power our legal system as it stands would take nothing short of revolution to change in a single generation. It would be our kids kids generation at best who chance to make that much change to our society. The only part we have to play is in the education our children about the dangers or radical politics of any sort. If we really want to ensure sharia never takes hold in Australia our best efforts are not spent creating extremists and martyrs but in educating children with a fact based education. Fact based education is import because studies now show that religious children are less able to recognize fact from fiction. Converts to islam are less likely to be from atheist circles because accepting a lie is harder if you know it for the lie it is, converts are more inclined to be those moving between imaginary friends.

I am no defender of that which even believers can't defend. Wanting to rationalise my dislike of islam doesn't and not go off half cocked doesn't make me a supporter.

I am no defender of that which even believers can’t defend. Wanting to rationalise my dislike of islam doesn’t and not go off half cocked doesn’t make me a supporter.

Sharia is an issue in the muslim community with communities often hiding their problems and settling them themselves. Even so not all muslim communities support the same level of sharia adherence, sharia is to some degree a matter of interpretation. Sharia in communities is not a problem for our nation overall and the idea of communities hold their own court has precedent in our nation. The commonwealth government many years back allowed Aboriginal communities to use tribal law so why not religious laws. The jewish community has, for maybe as long as they have existed as a community in Australia, held their own courts without legal grounds but nobody was concerned about that. The christian churches are now being found to have held their own court for longer abusing children and hiding the crimes through their own internal systems. It’s time some perspective was used here and perhaps time the laws of this country were again one law for all.

Stepping down from the extremes of sharia to halal food certification we find the one complaint people have which holds some water. Halal means accepted or approved so I’m told and can have relation to things not food. Halal as most people understand it is food certification and all too often is held up as a sign that sharia is being implemented in our country thought it is far from the same thing. The valid argument against halal is that by certifying foods corporations are taking it upon themselves to implement a religious tax on us, a tax which goes to unknown places and projects through unelected parties. There are many “taxes” on our food, costs and regulations that companies must undertake to sell their product in our market. In the name of profit motive halal is one additional and not legally required cost corporations would I think do well to avoid.

However, as consumers we do have a vote on halal taxation, we vote with our coin. You may think you are being hard done by if you have to go without your morning Vegemite while you exercise your right to not buy it or you can write to the corporations or even start petitions. Not having your Vegemite is a small sacrifice compared to the people who sacrificed themselves to get us shorted working weeks and other improvements we take for granted, maybe the thing missing is perspective. A corporation is a private entity not a government and they can make any decisions they like regarding products but they will always bend to the dollar when it comes to maintaining sales. Vegemite and butter didn’t stay on shelves long and baby Vegemite also didn’t last, we simply voted not to use these pointless variations on our trusty spread and the corporations listened. Consumer campaigns can work to change corporate minds.

When it comes to the necessity for halal certification in islam we have another issue altogether. Halal certification is not required at all. Mohammed is the example for all muslims to live up to (a very low level to reach) and even for mohammed it was enough for him to pray over food that he suspected as not being halal. Mohammed didn’t want his life to be more difficult than need be, he took shortcuts around protocol any time it caused him trouble. To top it all off vegetables and a very large range of other products never need certification or even praying over, they are not mentioned in islamic writing and considered free from doctrinal rulings.

There is one last item needs to be addressed with relation to religious food taxes. Why it is only now people are complaining? Jewish kosher certification has existed a lot longer without complaint. Why was it these protests were not held over the risk of jewish law? Most people don’t even know that the islamic food certification is taken from jewish law and that the jewish community have discussed working with the islamic community to do their certification because the two laws are so similar.

With so many unjust and corrupt practice’s being discovered in religious communities or organizations in our country why are some people so focused on islam? Where are the marches against sex crimes in religious communities? Where are the marches against tax free status for religions who play at politics and take tax money anywhere they can get it? Where are the marches against religion in our secular public schools? The simple answer for most is that those religions are more acceptable but that answer should be the wrong one for any serious anti-theist. ”

We anti-theist atheists have a duty to understand our enemies and the causes we follow in combating them. We have no reason to follow blindly the dictates of other people, we should learn about the topic at hand and the people pushing the agenda. It is a duty to ourselves as much as our community to not to support any one enemy over the perceived dangers of another. Even if we were facing very real dangers it is important that we stand to the side and make it known that we do not support the other agendas being promoted at events. We should remain intellectually true and honest to ourselves and others and not let emotion rule our actions wherever it is possible to do so. Failing to be honest to our own anti-theism and atheism endangers our personal creditability and downgrades the message we are trying to send.

May your gods remain fictional

The Antitheocrat.

Sometimes personalising a problem does bring discussion into the open. I am not against pushing buttons in a non-violent way :)

Sometimes personalising a problem does bring discussion into the open. I am not against pushing buttons in a non-violent way 🙂

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.

Well that didn’t last long. A vocal facebook atheist killed three muslims and we atheists are everything evil. The person in question is not in my social networks, have no idea where he is vocal and I have no first hand knowledge of him or his mindset, I only know atheism does not inspire killing. Many a christian has named Dawkins and others as instigators but none have produced the documents showing these people as instigating anything.

The news stories (mostly in the US) have focused on the muslin/atheist aspect trudged under foot a long standing disagreement over parking. If we were talking about Australia I would be inclined to let that fact wash but in the USA where shooting and rage crime is common you can’t ignore that a gun nut shooting someone was just expected behaviour. The possibility that three people in the USA confronted someone, or he confronted them, ending in a shooting is not amazing.

statistically wIf we put this in perspective one atheist shot three muslims while a five second Google search will find endless stories about deaths associated with muslims killing christians and anyone they don’t like, christians killing christians and anyone they don’t like, buddhists killing muslims killing buddhists… I am not saying religion causes these deaths though the doctrines often allow or even promote such action, fact is it is still people and their own problems that cause people to kill. Using your religion as an excuse to kill doesn’t automatically make it the religions problem. The big difference however between atheism and theism is atheism is only a denial of theist philosophy and doctrines, atheism has no counter proposal or doctrines. An atheist need no more have a counter proposal to god than anyone else does for unicorns or elves. Atheism has some writers, none taken as god like authority and none I have ever seen that promoted killing. You may be an atheist and kill but you can not say I killed because Richard Dawkins said so (he hasn’t and wouldn’t, just an example).

I did see something which upset me even more during this time, more than all the talk of how immoral atheists are. I spend a lot of my time correcting people errors about atheism, my fellow atheist not theists, and this was one of those things. Someone said they were ashamed to be atheist because of this one event. It is right for us to condone this one persons actions but how is it being part of our community is suddenly the worst thing to be? You simply don’t see christians getting up saying how much they don’t want to be christian every time someone shoots someone else in a church. Theists take pride in being theist regardless of how often people use their religion to excuse killing. An atheist kills, there is nothing to show he killed because of atheism or in its name, and we have to be ashamed of who we are. This upsets me.

From this one immoral baby eating atheist to everyone listening or reading, I personally, without doctrine or belief, do not condone killing (or baby eating).

May your gods remain fictional.

The Antitheocrat.

Well not quite, though I have been told often how immoral I am without god, allah or the bible it isn’t the truth theists wish it to be. I go as far as arguing that it is not me they accuse but their fragile beliefs they defend. If they can’t get morality from their beliefs, if you can get it without them, what value can you give those beliefs. It doesn’t take long to find good caring law abiding atheists, even one still hanging on to many of the ones they had when they were religious and I’m sure the theists know this deep down under the mental barriers they erect around their beliefs.

This topic comes to mind not for the first time but as I sit waiting for my wife’s scheduled midwife visit there is a woman sitting in front of me who’s jumper is covered in little metal crosses and she has an angel tattoo on her ankle. Suddenly, first time today and like so many days, religion is bought to my attention. So this isn’t a new topic for many atheists but one that is for some reason hot on my mind.

I cant help but wonder what morals theists think we should have, why the ones we have are not enough for them and how are theirs better than ours? What’s wrong with how I live my life and how does it hurt anyone?

hellmedMidwife visits are not new for me nor are accusations of immorality, this isn’t my first time as a parent and with my eldest turning 18 this year I suspect my morals may be in working order. To date I have not eaten my offspring or anyone else’s (regardless of baby eating being another accusation against atheists) and the fact my eldest has never been in trouble with the law or even looked like he is able to get in trouble with the law may be some measure of my ability to navigate morality. I’m as sure as anyone can be that my son will developed into a fine young man (give or take regular teen parenting issues). I myself have never been in prison, I haven’t even lost a license and haven’t had a point on it in 10 or more years. I don’t have any issues with my morals or those I have instilled in my son, why would anyone else given our record to date? Even if the claim of immorality as supported by statistics (it isn’t) why would you tarnish us all that way? I don’t call all theist paedophiles because so many of your institutions are under investigation world wide.

I am far from being a perfect parent – who is – and having made my share of mistakes but I also recognize that there are far worse parents with far worse kids in this world. Giving in and buying my son an XBox when he was 16 and a mobile phone at 17 don’t really count as terrible errors and not immoral but for me these were significant points in my parenting I am as yet unable to call good parenting. My mistakes are significant to me but certainly minor in comparison to some and of those some doing worse than I feel I have many believe in the fictional moral giver. I am a realist about everything possible and I don’t even promise to parent my next one better. There will be differences and problems I – and all parents – can’t hope to navigate before they happen. 18 years ago we may have foreseen the rise of gaming but who could have known the social impact. Now when your teens don’t talk to you they do it in your lounge room (as my son does) instead of out with their mates getting drunk or stoned (as I did). Who would have know? I don’t know the future or pretend I can control it. What I do know is that as a parent I will do my best to instil a since of community and caring in my next child, the same as the sense of community and caring I have had most of my atheist life.

So what is the difference between being a moral theist and an immoral atheist?

Not believing in a mythical god is an easy one. Given I’m the 3rd generation of atheists on my fathers side I can’t see that as being important. If not believing in a god is a moral problem it is one I can’t make sense of because I have no evidence to suggest there is a god or that the proposed gods (more than 3000 of them) set a good moral standard. Even buddha who is meant to have been all about peace and wisdom had a low regard for women an unacceptable notion in or modern society and not a sign of sound eternal morals. Any immortal all knowing eternal god character would give perfect morality the first time not give us primitive morality and say “that fits your current thinking, use that” so we later work out it was wrong and find something better for ourselves. Maybe giving us the wrong morals is a test and because theists are not developing they are failing the test. In any case how would giving us the wrong morals be moral? As an atheist this is easily explained, I understand gods are fictional and their morality equally so. For me the 10 commandments are no more a problem than any of the other 300 commandments because fiction books that says things about human behaviour are everywhere in literary history we just don’t consider them god given or law. The bible is just a terrible fiction novel, it is most certainly not historical or moral. Even if holy book weren’t fictional there is no morality lesson in “thou shalt have no other gods before me” or “thou shalt not make unto thee any graven image”, these are just the demands of a jealous deity, not morals.

I often hear it said our morals are given to us by god along with every stage of human development and learning. These people know how to cheapen their achievements and every achievement of humanity but there is no evidence to suggest we don’t learn and developed or morals on our own. If our morals were given by an overlord we would all start out with the same morals and even if we factor in free will, the end result of our morality would be a variation of the basic moral code. I have since primary school had an interest in socio-economics current and historical, I have travelled a little, lived in China a short time and known my share of people from a range of religious and cultural backgrounds. I can’t see the effect of a supreme moral giver in the behaviour of my fellow humans. I have spent around 15 years working as a children’s entertainer, I even see differences in how children behave and reason and it varies a great deal suggesting there is no starting morality only learned behaviour. I most certainly can’t see this overlord morality. If I am to believe rules like “no gods but me” is a god given moral instruction, one of many amongst the thousands of gods and rules we know, how is I exist and live as an atheist. I known some will say I don’t but lying about me to protect your religion doesn’t change the facts.

One final point on this line of thought, if god gave us our morality how is it satan (or any other evil fictional entity, demons are very common in religion) get the blame whenever a theist does something immoral. Satan (and kin) it seems are the primary excuse given for bad behaviour and bad parenting. What use is the claim of god given morals if satan (and kin) can simply make you break them? Thinking here of christians and their satan and his being sent by god surely indicates gods low regard for morals, he is tempting you – more than life itself would – to break your moral code. God it would seem wants to end morality. Is god a moral giver or do you find your own morals and god tries to break them?

I don’t know which of these lines of reasoning is best, they all seem equally bad. All I can gather from the evidence at hand is that there is no god involved in any way in our lives and most certainly not in anything called moral giving. We have to be personally responsible for being good or bad people. I think personal responsibility and knowing you are responsible is one of the best paths to good morals. Passing the blame to invisible magic men invites immorality.

It’s been two days since I started this article and I considered letting it go until a christian again bought the topic to mind. Religion is not my every day life.

nothing doing aIn an attempt to lure atheists into a moral trap this theist put forward a hypothetical that proposed kicking two women in the stomach and killing them, the variable being that one one was pregnant. Not just any version of pregnant but six months pregnant, a time indicating she had decided to carry through her pregnancy. This person was suggesting we decide a new course of action for her by killing her and another woman with the premise being a need for us to select which death is morally superior? Not one atheist fell for this very obvious trap because not one atheist thought there was a moral option. After having some trouble getting anyone to take the bait he changed from two women to one pregnant woman who he would kick to death because the baby when born would be noisy and keep him awake, this was his idea of a moral compromise. These people scare me, they have no morals I can see and represent a danger to humanity.

I will admit the person in question is an idiot but stupidity is not rare in religion and those who defend it. I have seen similar mindsets time and again, this is not even the worst example. How with this level of thinking can we or anyone take the idea of theistic moral superiority seriously? When theists are willing to consider – even as a hypothetical argument – kicking anyone to death as a moral option, theist morals seem to be a very sad and inferior thing indeed. This persons only concern with this entire line of question was an unborn child, there seemed to be not one second given to the thought that killing a person is wrong. Is that the level of morality learned from the bible? These people are the ones arguing religion with atheists, they know and recite apologetics and represent the “knowing” section of the theist community. Even the most dull minded atheists (yes they exist) reasons 10 levels above these people. Is christian morality (and muslims argue the same way) such a dangerous and meaningless concept that the stupid represent its most knowledgeable representatives.

If we take a second look at the problem the idiot presented and consider only the woman and the baby as nothing else matters then the problem is at least better represented.

Using personal experience, it being the best way to argue, not entirely hypothetical. I have a wife one month from giving birth, her belly kicks like escape is number one on it’s mind. At no point in the past 8 months have I thought the child more important than my wife. If I thought it was my choice to make I would never choose the life inside her over my adult living loving wife nor would I regret making the choice. Too make choices for her over her body and her life, to put the child’s life before her welfare doesn’t show my wife to love and respect I owe her. I don’t care for the morality of the options however because I hope with us having actually decided to have a child we have a healthy one and the choice never has to be made. If I were not educated and knowledgeable about sex and impregnation, if I had gotten my wife pregnant by mistake, had she not wanted it, if this was something we did not both want, even if I wanted and she didn’t, I would not have one second have thought to stop my wife choosing to abort. Maybe this is the real moral issue. My eldest will not get anyone pregnant by accident, he knows enough to not do so because my morality doesn’t say to pretend sex doesn’t happen or it is evil, that some sex is not really sex. My morality doesn’t enforce the result of rape or correctable mistakes on people and pulling out is not contraception. My morality says educate them and make their lives better than mine, not, keep them ignorant and with child at 13. I don’t ask who do we kill, I ask how do we avoid it.

The thing is that I am not alone in my thinking on women, christians also killed babies to save women. Until the advent of modern medical assistance baby’s heads were often crushed, killing the baby, if it was thought she couldn’t give birth safely. Many cultures had practice’s that allowed abortion for reasons as simple as illegitimacy to health. Simple fact is, a woman may have more babies if she lives, she serves no purpose dead. Adult women have always been more valuable to society than unborn children so why do christians make so much fuss in our modern age? Often it is the same christians who deny aspects of science and medicine that have saved babies dying on mass, do they want the dark age killing of babies back? Why do they choose to overlook their own history? Why do they think their protection of the unborn has anything to do with morals? The idea of killing babies is not unknown to the Abrahamic religions or their texts. The abortion argument is not entirely new but is entirely over blown and over rated. How about we just do what is morally right, how about we let women decide what to do with their bodies.

I suspect this is not the last time I will discuss morality as I will go on being told how immoral I am the rest of my life. For now and from this perspective I will let the topic rest.

May your gods remain fictional.

The Antitheocrat.