Monday, 17 September 2007

Why I'm Here

I'm an atheist and I don't care about the argument of whether a god or god's exist or not. My premise is that I don't want to sit here and argue bullshit that gets thrown back and forth. The same bullshit over and over. It may have been pertinent the first time around, but after a while it gets really old. Because neither on one side or the other is going to convince either party otherwise.

This is why I much prefer discussing current events. For this simple reason: whatever happened 1000, 2000 or 200,000 years ago is history. What can we as human beings; Muslims, Christians, Jews, bushmen, Slavs, Finns, Mayans, Taoists, Buddhists, atheists and whatever -ists and -ans are left; do to move forward and do our best to fashion a future that best describes the nearest we can come to a utopia.

The only way I see this coming about is strict secular policy that in and of itself is very loose with liberty. Of course there has to be a balance, but in my opinion a moral code dictated by religious ideology has no part in my interpretation. Because a moral code can just as easily be found in tribes with no organized religion whatsoever. A clue that religious morality has always been obsolete, since it's inception. Back to this balance; human beings know what is right and wrong, and Christians (or any other faith for that matter) have absolutely no monopoly or infallibility in this department...

A departure: If religious moralists think that their code is THE right one. The RIGHT way to live. How do they account for (or view) non-believers (as apparently a god delivered unto whatever prophet THE right codes that we should all live by)? When we as non-believers don't believe in this, it's obvious we are viewed as being "in the wrong". How wrong? Evil? I guess so, because what I've heard in these post comments is that we non-believers are absolutely deserving of hell and eternal suffering. And possibly my wife (if she were a Christian) because it's shameful to marry an atheist (that's a whole other post coming).

I don't want to post about the metaphysical. On occasion, yes, I will engage in this discussion but I prefer to stay away from it (because "I don't care" for it). Please, when it warrants the premise of the post stick to the topic, as it gets kinda stale rehashing the existence of the Cosmic McMuffin over and over again (kudos to my good and personal friend Bob for coining that term. And I double-dare any of you fundies to comment there. You'll get nothing but...well, I'll let him speak for himself.)

Let's get back to "goodness" and "badness". Zoroastrianism really skewed the notion of human nature and it's sense of morality. There's no such and easy thing as the black and white of morality. Never has been. Seems to me that most devout faithful have a notion of what is right and wrong for everybody on this earth. I don't see it that way.
Here I really hope to lead into the root of my concerns. What is "right" and "wrong". What is the punishment for being "wrong"? And NO I don't refer to some mythical nether-world. What laws should dictate a punishment for being morally wrong? Who's laws? What society? Does this apply to me (as an unbeliever) just because I don't ascribe to these effervescent laws? I suppose if I were a blasphemer I should have my tongue cut out of my head, huh? Is that a rightful punishment? Is it justified?

If some of you answered yes, then you do not believe in freedom and liberty. According to me should you be jailed and sentenced for hate crimes? No. Not for speech, not for speaking your mind. Actions speak louder than words. That's why we need laws specifically targeted towards acts of this kind.

I'm ending this by saying that everybody has a true right (in my book) to say whatever the hell they want to say. But if it infringes on true liberty those words shall never be made law.

Thank you. 4 beers.


Larro said...

So who wants to talk about a current event? Involving religion.

tina said...

I want to talk about the censoring of Sally Fields words on the Emmy's.

tina said...

Controversy is brewing online over whether Fox TV (owned by the politically conservative Rupert Murdoch) censored Sally Field during her Emmy acceptance speech Sunday night for an obscene word or because she was making an anti-war statement.

Field, who is no stranger to unusual acceptance speeches, said: ""If mothers ruled the world, there wouldn't be any god ... " when the sound was cut off and the camera cut to other shots from the awards ceremony. The rest of the statement was: "------ wars in the first place." Backstage, Field, when pressed, said: ""If they bleep it, oh, well. I'll just say it somewhere else."

Larro said...

Who else is talking about this:
Atheist Blogroll Search Sally Field

Jarred said...

They censored her? How stupid!

Sorry, I don't feel there's much else to say on the topic.

Granted, I'm not convinced Ms. Fields is correct in her assessment, but that's a whole different topic separate from how stupid it was to censor her statement.

Jarred said...

On the topic of morality, I don't think that'd be an easy topic for me to cover. While my religion strongly informs my morals, it does not define them, strictly speaking. (Of course, I'd also argue that my morals strongly inform my religion in turn.)

Do I expect most people to follow my morals? For the most part. I think that treating others with dignity and respect is important for society at large. I don't think that those who disagree with my values should be punished, though I think that the rest of us should be protected from such people as much as possible.

In that sense, I suspect you and I are very much on the same page.

tina said...

I'm not so sure they censored her for the war comment she was about to make. I think it was the "goddamn" that did it. Is that even a swear word? Hmmm...probably not, but after the "suck it jebus" comment being censored, who knows.

Jarred said...

Tina: I agree they may have censored it for reasons of swearing. Though, just about any network I can think of has let those particular swear words go uncensored on countless other occasions, which makes the choice to censor them this time rather curious.

Larro said...

I see a growing zeitgeist taking over society. The same could be said of The Patriot Act which essentially attempts to limit our civil liberties but at the same time informing us that we are "patriots" by doing so. Clever? Maybe, maybe not. I certainly don't think so unless you factor in the uneducated entertained preoccupied public, then maybe yes.

Pyramidhead said...

I can tell you why I'm here to piss off the Fundies!

Jarred said...

Here's an interesting current event:

A U.S. Army soldier who unsuccessfully tried to hold a meeting for atheists and other non-Christians is suing Defense Secretary Robert Gates and an Army major, saying his right to religious freedom was violated.

tina said...

Thanks Jarred. I had just had this sent to me by Larro and I sent the link on to beast. I can't believe there are still people like this in this day and age. The staff sergeant treated him like he was a child. (don't what to pray? Then eat at a different table, not with the rest of us at Thanksgiving Dinner!)This is absurd! What if it was someone with a different religion? Different god?

Moreover, the complaint alleges that on August 7, when Hall received permission by an Army chaplain to organize a meeting of other soldiers who shared his atheist beliefs, his supervisor, Army Major Paul Welborne, broke up the gathering and threatened to retaliate against the soldier by charging him with violating the Uniform Code of Military Justice. The complaint also alleges that Welborne vowed to block Hall's reenlistment in the Army if the atheist group continued to meet - a violation of Hall's First Amendment rights under the Constitution. Welborne is named as a defendant in the lawsuit.

And this was given approval by the Chaplain to have atheist meetings! What the hell is going on?

The complaint charges that Hall, who is based at Fort Riley, Kansas, has been forced to "submit to a religious test as a qualification to his post as a soldier in the United States Army," a violation of Article VI, Clause 3 of the Constitution.

Are they seriously doing this? I would flunk horribly on such a test!

"Today, we are boldly stabbing back against an unconstitutional heart of darkness, a contagion of fundamentalist religious supremacy and triumphalism noxiously dominating the command and control of the technologically most lethal organization ever created by humankind: our honorable and noble United States armed forces."

I love this paragraph!
What's your take on this Larro?

Jarred said...

Just so everyone can be on the same page, I'd point out that Tina's quote came from more detailed article, which is also well worth the read. (Thanks again for sending me the link.)

I think one thing that jumped out at me involved the exchange between Hall and the staff sergeant over the Thanksgiving meal:

"Immediately after plaintiff made it known he would decline to join hands and pray, he was confronted, in the presence of other military personnel, by the senior ranking ... staff sergeant who asked plaintiff why he did not want to pray, whereupon plaintiff explained because he is an atheist," says the lawsuit, a copy of which was provided to Truthout. "The staff sergeant asked plaintiff what an atheist is and plaintiff responded it meant that he (plaintiff) did not believe in God. This response caused the staff sergeant to tell plaintiff that he would have to sit elsewhere for the Thanksgiving dinner. Nonetheless, plaintiff sat at the table in silence and finished his meal."

I bolded the part that jumped out at me. Because, quite frankly, I want to know how someone manages to become a Staff Sergeant (which I believe qualifies as an NCO) without knowing what the heck an atheist is!

tina said...

Good point Jarred.

Larro said...

I've also discovered that the Army is lowering their standards to meet recruitment goals. Like allowing undereducated servicemen and enlistees to become officers. As well as lowering the standards of criminal background checks to meet recruitment goals.

I can't source the part about the officers (but it makes sense and would explain the stupidity of the staff sergeant).

I can however verify that there was a piece on NPR about the criminal checks lowered for the military. I'm too lazy to hunt down the link.

This is one of my concerns. How far down the road will the general populace be subject to such litmus tests; ie. to get a job, apply for unemployment, get health care. I know it sounds far-fetched but the same thing happened to the Jews in NAZI Germany.