I've Moved!

Atheist Morality is now West Coast Atheist at Wordpress. Stop on by and feel free to comment over there!

31 July, 2012

Why I Strongly Dislike Religion

Despite the fact that there are innumerable evils that religion perpetrates and condones every day throughout the world, religious people will still excuse those by saying that the average, moderate religious person just uses it for morality, community and self-assurance. They say that a moderate believer does no harm by simply believing and going to a church and being a good person.

On the surface, that seems like a hard thing to argue against, but scratch a little deeper and you come to the most insidious aspect of religion, the principle that makes it possible for religious people to move from moderate believer to dangerous zealot: religion allows and even encourages people to accept things as fact without any evidence whatsoever.

Recently,I came across a quote by Sam Harris that perfectly describes my feelings. "...this to me is the true horror of religion. It allows perfectly decent and sane people to believe by the billions, what only lunatics could believe on their own."

Well said, Sam Harris.

30 July, 2012


Christians across the nation are in a huff over the recent call by decent, equality-loving people to boycott the chain after the CEO made it clear that his business "built on Christian values" supports bans on allowing gay people to marry each other. They say this call for a boycott is trampling on their freedom to be Christian and the freedom of Chick-fil-A to do business.

First off, calling like-minded individuals not to buy a product is not trampling on anyone's freedom. It's simply taking those dollars to places where those like-minded individuals feel comfortable spending it. These same people complaining about the Chick-fil-A boycott were calling for a boycott of Oreo cookies last month. (Hopefully, they'll really organize and stop using all products from companies that support equality because they'll soon have not much to eat and no internet or computer on which to complain).

Second, who is trampling who's freedom? Chick-fil-A has donated their profits to organizations that have ties to the Uganda bill that made homosexuality a crime punishable by death. The money their patrons spend on waffle fries has a good chance of ending up in the hands of an "ex-gay" rehab center where a person is emotionally abused until he or she denies the sexual orientation they were born with. They have spent more money than I'll probably see in my lifetime on fighting to keep gay people in committed relationships from enjoying the same securities, rights and benefits that hetero couples receive for being in committed relationships.

I've tried to take a nice tone with religious people. I am not a fan of the PZ Meyers or David Silverman approach to dismantling theist arguments with insults, but goddamnit, this is the last straw.

Christians, you are roughly 80% of the population of the US, aren't you? You hide your prejudice behind your superstitious text so you can blame your bigotry on your invisible sky daddy. You take to the streets and to the lobbies in Congress so you can push to have your own personal religious views engrained into our laws, our schools, our public institutions. You claim there is no freedom from religion in the Constitituion, only a freedom for you to shove your brand down everyone's throats. While doing this, you claim you are being oppressed, you are persecuted and you are watching the nation grow further and further away from your imaginary friend.

Guess what? If the latter is true, good. Because as far as us reasonable people can tell, any closer to the superstitious, hateful, bass-akward nonsense you believe is a step in the wrong direction. /rant

07 July, 2012

Skepticism is the Foundation of my Atheism

My mom, a liberal who has been having trouble in her Mormon church and my sister’s fundie baptist church, told me she might “come over to the atheism side soon.”

I know she's been angry with her bishops treating her like she's "causing a stir" by being a woman who is asking questions. I know it sickened her to visit my sister's church to have the Pastor and his flock praise Jesus for the death-bed conversion of a gay man who denied the man he loved for Jesus Christ (probably the most sick, cruel thing I've ever heard of, but nothing more than I'd expect from a True Christian).

That being said, anger and disagreement is not a reason to "come over to our side," and as much as I'd like more and more people to shed the bonds of superstitious belief, I had to tell her she can't "come to our side" yet.

I told her that questioning religion is good and it opens doors to ask questions you normally can't ask at church and that she should look into skepticism and free-thought. She still believes in God, but I think she may be wondering how to define God without a church telling her what to think. For me, this question was in the forefront of my mind when I went searching for the nature of my creator and ultimately found He wasn't there.

It was skepticism that guided me along the way. If I heard something for the existence of God, I looked up the argument against it. If I heard something that dismissed God, I read the counterpoints of theists and philosophers who believed. YouTube has an amazing group of people who make videos that ask the tough questions in simple and clear language.

Atheism isn't something I chose, it's a conclusion I came to after carefully investigating claims about gods. Skepticism was the map.

01 July, 2012

PZ Meyers is an Ass.

I used to like PZ Meyers. I subscribed to Pharyngula for over a year, enjoying the tilting of Fox News polls, the pictures of cuttlefish, the interesting comment threads that would ensure. Lately, he's really become more of a talking head than a scientist. In his rise to internet fame, he's dropped the principles of skepticism for quick and easy controversy. He now works just to garner more attention to himself rather than actually support and help our budding community of skeptics and freethinkers.

The latest is his spat with YouTube user Thunderf00t. By refusing to listen, cherry-picking quotes that make good sound-bites and opening his fat mouth to spew buzzwords once again, PZ Meyers has made himself look like an out-of-touch moron. He's definitely too damn old to be in the fray about the dating scene in atheism.

PZ attempted to take apart Thunderf00t's analysis of the continuing saga of sexism and atheism by cherry-picking from the article and then stating that men must ask women before engaging in flirting. 

I don't agree with everything in Thunderf00t's blog. I don't think just talking about sexism is bad, as Thunderf00t put in his blog (with explanation as to why he thought so). I think the tone the PZ's and Watsons of the world are what is damaging. I think that if our tone were better and less damming, we could talk about harassment policies all we want without looking like "killjoys." Thunderf00t might disagree, but I bet he won't be all over my blog degrading me and spewing hubris for it. PZ, on the other hand, has a very clear and predictable modus operandi when it comes to those who dare object to his opinions. This ability to disagree civilly somehow escapes the PZ's and Watsons of the atheist world. They are incapable of it, it seems.

As it stands, women are afraid to come to conferences because other women are telling them they will not be safe. Men are weary because they are being treated as if they are expected to fuck up. The line between flirting and harassment to women is now so unclear that the only answer is to not engage in flirtatious interactions between men and women at all unless you have prior permission from the femail. PZ supports all this on his crusade against the "sexists" and thinks it's a perfectly fine policy to have.

PZ's answer is that men should ask women before they flirt with them, before they ask them out, before they have even done anything that might imply they are interested in the opposite sex. Perhaps these insanely puritanical views stem from his sentiment for an earlier era in his own life when letter jackets and class rings were exchanged before any hand-holding was acceptable. Who knows? But insisting that the only way for women to feel safe at conferences is to inflict rules on the dating scene that would only seem normal in the 1950's is not an answer. 

This is how ridiculous this has gotten. Men, if a woman looks attractive to you and you talk to her and start flirting, PZ will come after you. In fact, you might as well not even go to conferences. Women, you won't be safe, either. Everybody might as well just stay home. And that's exactly what will happen if asses like him keep this bullshit up.

More of the Same

I tweeted this earlier, but i think it belongs here on my blog, as well:

Yes, women shouldn’t be harassed, threatened or objectified (unless they want to be objectified, some women dig it), but I won’t define all sexual attention, flirtation or invitations to coffee as such. In fact, if a man engages in the above and accepts rejection in stride, he’s actual doing what’s called THE RIGHT THING.