Wednesday, January 14, 2015

Omegle Oh My

I was bored the other night and decided to try to pick a debate on Omegle. While I know this guy didn't deconvert, I did make him think. I eventually introduced to the conversation the impossible faith paradox that Dr. Truth used on a popular Christian Forum a few years ago. The paradox really had him struggling to answer and caused him to admit he would have to rethink some things. Ultimately he fell back on the old chestnut that God is too complex to understand but I held his feet to the fire on that.

He said he once had doubts but feels we can never have proof so he just basically gave up on his doubts and started believing again. He also basically admitted he takes the best of all religions and follows that and he used the "all gods are God" stance, meaning you can't ask him why he doesn't believe in Zeus because he would say Zeus is God but just from Ancient Greece, etc.

Anyway, if you're interested, here's the entire conversation. I'll use attribution but eventually I'll just leave the space in between comments be the indication that the speaker has changed.

HIM: What's up?

ME: Just wondering about religion.

HIM: That's cool. What are you wondering about?

ME: Never been much of a believer. Wondering what makes people believe without proof.

HIM: Well... What do you consider proof? physical evidence? Evidence that you can feel with your senses?

ME: Well, tangible info, data, yes, actual evidence of real things, not stories or myths

HIM: I don't think our senses are real proof, our senses lie to us

ME: How is that?

HIM: Well... I don't have a proof that anything exists... This could all be a dream... I only know that I exist, like Descartes says "I think, therefore I am" People can't really prove anything

ME: So why believe? I know the Descartes' quote, but you could be a brain in a vat.

HIM: Exactly... which means that physical evidence is meaningless...however, there are different kinds of evidence that could be taken as valid.

ME: So life has no meaning? And I didn't think evidence was subject to gradation. It's either evidence or not, no?

HIM: You heard of Thomas Aquinas?

ME: Sure, and his proofs were refuted rather easily.

Yes?

Yes, from the books I read about him, yes, lots of logical fallacies.

HIM: Anyway... I don't believe my senses, and physical evidence... Only thing that is really evident is that I exist, and that my heart exists... So I tend to follow my heart... and it leads me to religion...

ME: Ah, ok. See I follow my brain. That must be the difference.

You mean you follow common sense?

No, I follow facts and science.

If we think about it... a long long time ago, common sense was that earth was flat... that was the only option... and now we laugh at those people, who knows how people in the future are going to laugh at our common sense

Sure, but that's the essence of science and the downfall of religion in a nutshell. The bible says earth was flat, science proved it wrong.

HIM: Interesting, can you show me where the Bible says the earth is flat? which verse?

ME: Daniel 4:10-11
Matthew 4:8
Luke 4:5
Isaiah 40:22
Isaiah 11:12 (four corners)
Revelation 7:1
That enough?

HIM: I've said this many many many times before, The Bible is not literal, Almost everything in the Bible are metaphors and stories In Daniel 4:10, he talks about a dream. However, still... the Bible is one very corrupted book

ME: Why ask for specifics if you then say it's all metaphorical? And I agree, the bible isn't worth the paper it's printed on. So what religion are u?

Well.. I don't really follow any religion

But you're religious?

I'm more my own person .. Yeah I'm extremely religious

Wait, how can you be both?

both?

Well, not follow a religion and be very religious.

I'm religious but I follow my own religion I guess. I think in my own head.

Wow, you have your own religion?

I don't follow any dogmas

Are you looking for tax breaks? LOL So what do you base your religion on?

Lol no.. haha... I just follow my own belief. Well... I agree with many things different religions say, but I don't agree with any of them completely. I think there is only one God, the Creator.

So cherry-picking what you like? That sounds like most religions. What led you to believe in one creator?

I was interested in theology a lot, and I have established what I believe into

This one god, must be the Abrahamic god, yes?

Well... I think there is no "Abrahamic" God, just "God" - only one. If you say it that way, it's like there are multiple of them, and one of them is Abrahamic but I know what you mean, and yes.

So you're a deist? Or do you think this creator is concerned with your day-to-day activities?

Well... the other one

Deist?

No. I think the creator is concerned with my day-to-day activities. But actually.. I'm open-minded...

So that is definitely derivative of Abrahamic religions

HIM: If someone can prove me wrong... why not? Well.. yeah I have a lot of Abrahamic influence in my belief

ME: Well, the burden of proof is on you, not the other way around. I wouldn't prove there isn't a god since I'm not making that claim.

Well.. as I said before, I don't think anything can be proven, so I tend to follow my heart...You're an Agnostic?

You could say that. I don't really think anyone can be gnostic when it comes to this subject

Yes?

Sure, how can you know for sure? You said it yourself.

Well.. I said I can't prove anything...

Exactly

So, I don't have proof

Which means you can't know. You can hope, you can have faith, but you can't be gnostic that this creator exists

Well... I have faith... but I don't have proof..

Right, faith (as far as religion is concerned) is believing in something despite there being no evidence for what you believe

yes

So not gnostic, but agnostic

Yes, So it seems that I'm not gnostic

Cool, glad we agree

If you put it that way

ME: Right. Not judging either, just saying. Do you ever have doubts?

HIM: well... I used to... but not anymore...although It hasn't been proven to me, I'm pretty certain in belief

Can you tell me why for both? Why you had doubts and why not now?

Well... I had doubts because I didn't have proof... But now... I don't think It could be proven. I just believe... although I have no reason to

But isn't that reason to continue to doubt?

I guess I can't explain it... Well.. it could be...

Why don't you believe in, say, Zeus

Well.. Zeus, seems to be another Indo-European name for god, that word is related to roman Jupiter (Zeus pater), and Sanskrt word "deva", and english words "deity" and "divine"

Ok, so you fall into the category of "Everyone's god is just the same god through the ages and I believe in one god."

well.. yeah. I believe in God, how ever they call it

And polytheistic religions got it wrong?

Well... There are theories that they evolved from monotheistic religions...

ME: Well, the Abrahamic religions evolved from a polytheistic platform. And Hinduism is older than Christianity for sure and as old as Judaism, and it's essentially polytheistic.

HIM: Hinduism today is an interesting example... it is similar to Christianity, and in it's early stage it. Well, here's what they believe into in Hinduism:
The world was created by Brahman. Brahman is an complex abstract entity that isn't a creature, nor it belongs to any race. So.. Brahman is God. Brahman has 3 forms: Brahma (God the creator), Vishnu (God the maintainer) and Shiva (God the destroyer) According to some traditions, Brahman has 5 forms
They also believe in incarnation, and one of incarnations of Vishnu is Krshna. God-human. Son of God. Vishnu, Brahma, Shiva, Ganesha, and many more are called "devi" They are a race. A race above humans. But there is nothing above Brahman

ME: So, polytheistic, essentially, and Brahman is the god that is the same as Zeus and YHWH in your mind?

HIM: And Brahman does not belong to a race, and Brahman isn't a part of "devi" he is above everything

ME: Gotcha

HIM: So they are not gods, since there is only one God

ME: Semantics. Let me ask, is this god of yours all merciful, all loving and omniscient?

HIM: Yes, He is a perfect being

ME: Do you believe he gave you free will?

Yes, And yes, he punishes people also

And do you believe in hell?

yes

Ok, I have a paradox for you

HIM: Actually.. I think he Is above good and evil, a perfect being

ME: How can an all knowing, all merciful, all loving god create humans knowing they would choose to go to hell of their own free will?

HIM: Who would chose with his own will to go to hell?

ME: Humans

HIM: Yes? There are humans that believe in hell, and want to go there? That are religious and want hell

ME: They choose to go there by breaking god's commandments

HIM: So they believe that it would send them to hell, and do it to go to hell? I don't think that's the case.

ME: Do you believe souls are in hell?

HIM: I think people break his commandments because they don't believe in heaven or hell

ME: Well that can't be true. People know about hell and still commit sins that will send them there. Regardless, God is merciful. Why create those people knowing they would go there?

HIM: He gave humans free will, and option to choose between good and bad,

ME: That's fine, but it doesn't answer the question.

HIM: Some will choose bad, but he is merciful And loving. And all-knowing, he knows they will commit these sins before they do. Are you asking why does He create people to burn forever?

ME: Sure, also, the fact that he's omniscient destroys free will.

HIM: Balance

ME: Balance? That's not an answer. He's merciful. Besides, who says we need balance? And if that is the case then you are saying there are going to be equal parts good and bad in the world. You're not going to bring up Sith lords and Jedis are you?

HIM: LOL actually, according to some, free will doesn't exist, everything is planned already... I don't know I don't have proof that it exists or that it doesn't, so I guess I'm agnostic about that lol

ME: Sure, it's a paradox. You can't solve it, which is why you need to think about what you believe. The five attributes I just asked you can't co-exist, yet you believe they do. But if you take hell out of the equation it works

HIM: hmm... Well... there are many paradoxes, what about time, what is time? was there a beginning of time? how can there be a beginning of time?

ME: I can see that made you uncomfortable because you changed the subject, just think about it. As for time, it didn't exist until the Big Bang

HIM: hmm what was before the Big Bang? nothing? how?

ME: There was no before

HIM: Well yes I don't know everything, actually I don't know anything, Like Socrates. Can you repeat the five attributes, let's think more about that.

ME: First, you ask what was before because you want to say there must be a cause (ala Aquinas) to which I say why? Because everything has a first cause? Then I ask, who created god? You'll inevitably say he always existed. I say, why can't a universe always exist?

HIM: Hmmm.

ME: Think on that, too. Anyway, the five attributes are:
1. God is omniscient
2. God is all-merciful
3. God is all-loving
4. Hell exists
5. You have free will

HIM: You have free will to choose between good and bad

ME: Sure, but there are a couple of things wrong with that. First, god is all knowing, so he knew when he created you that you would choose bad and then send you to the lake of fire. Second, if he knows what you will do, you don't have free will.

HIM: So it means that God wanted you to go to hell.

ME: And finally, he is loving and merciful. So if he wanted you to go there then he isn't loving and merciful. It's an unsolvable paradox of faith

HIM: So it means that the God is not all loving, because he wants, and knowingly creates people to go to hell

ME: Well, that's the paradox. All if those things can't co-exist

HIM: So.. the God wants that certain people burn. so.. he loves them, although he sentences them to hell... hmm...

ME: If hell exists, and he created them, and they go to hell, yes, it's his plan, and since those people will suffer then he isn't loving and merciful. That's not love or mercy. Still think those five things about your worldview?

HIM: Hmm... Well.. Let's see... He loves everything, and let's say we do have free will, but he knows what we will do... he doesn't control us, so certain people choose to go to hell, he doesn't make them decide to go there, they choose by themselves, and he still loves them, and it's their fault they burn? what about that

ME: No, because in the end, if they end up there then he isn't merciful. The very definition of mercy is to relieve someone of their pain. If he loves you and is all merciful then he wouldn't let you go there. And he wouldn't create you if he knew you were destined for hell. Plus, the free will is still not there since he knows.

HIM: God is very complex, and human brain can't understand it, so there are many paradoxes that human logic can't solve.

ME: Nah, I'm not falling for that. Believers love to define their god and say what he thinks and does until someone with a rational thought or paradox comes along and then we can't understand him. It's too easy. The answer is there is no god and then everything makes sense.

HIM: hmm.. so you're atheist, not agnostic?

ME: Well, those aren't mutually exclusive

HIM: well.. I guess...

ME: Agnostic is knowledge, atheism is belief

HIM: ... You're a Atheist Agnostic, and I'm Theist Agnostic. It seems that way

Yes, but reverse it. I'm an agnostic atheist. Does that bother you?

HIM: no, everyone has their own brain and is able to think.

ME: Cool, I'm always interested in people's views

HIM: I can't ban anyone from thinking, and just because I think this way , it doesn't mean that is the only way

ME:'Exactly. Hey I enjoyed this. I gotta go to sleep. Thanks again for being so honest and listening

HIM: I enjoyed this too... you're welcome

ME: Cheers

HIM: Good night, mate. God bless you

ME: LOL. And Zeus be with u.

Friday, January 9, 2015

The hypocrisy of society

I know it's been a while since I've written, but two recent events have me fuming at the hypocrisy of society. First, obviously, is the attack in Paris. The other is the Canadian woman who kept her dead husband's corpse locked in a room in their house as she prayed for his resurrection.

How are these two linked? Religion, of course. And here's where the hypocrisy comes in: The woman pleaded guilty for failing to report her husband’s death, but the assistant crown attorney felt the widow meant no harm because it was her faith that caused her misdeed. So they withdrew the charges. 

Hmmm, wasn't it the faith of those Muslim morons that led them to riddle the magazine headquarters with bullets, rendering a dozen innocent people dead? Why hunt them down? They are only following what their holy book of errors tells them. 

It's another twist on cherry-picking, but instead of it being Christians or Muslims picking what they want to follow in their tomes, it's government institutions deciding which faith-based offenses are severe enough to pursue charges and justice.

While I may be blowing this little old lady's case out of proportion, it's the idea that faith gets yet another free pass that has me so pissed off right now. She should be charged to the fullest extent of the law, and maybe then she will snap out of her indoctrination enough to find reality. 

What's the answer? Separation of church and state in all walks of life, not just schools and government buildings. If someone breaks the law they should be punished, period.

/rant

Saturday, November 29, 2014

God's Wager

I don't understand why Christians (and any other deity-driven religion) can't see this logical flaw, and what I will propose kind of turns Pascal's Wager on its head in a different way. In the wager, we are told to just believe anyway just in case because while we may give up a human life of freedom, we'll have an eternal afterlife.  

Let's suppose there is a god, and for familiarity we'll use YHWH or the big JC. In the grand scheme of things, the lifespan of a human being is but a fraction of a fraction of a fraction of time when compared with eternity, yes? Why would any deity, who reportedly has been in existence forever and will be around forever, be concerned with humans believing he's real while we're on earth?

When you consider the alternative, that after death your soul would be eternal and could then be shown that god exists, you would clearly be a believer then and the payoff for god's ginormous ego would be limitless. Why would he leave it up to some shoddy book, a small population of uneducated goat-herders and the ensuing molesters and thieves to provide his proof? And for that matter, if he loves being worshipped or believed in, why wouldn't he just give us a choice after we died? Wouldn't he reveal himself to us and say, "It's me, believe or not?"

He would have so many believers and it would be for eternity. If he's truly the insecure egomaniac he's portrayed as in the bible, wouldn't he forgive "just in case" and reap the benefits of eternal belief by giving us proof after death? We'll call it God's Wager.

If you ask a believer this simple question, they'll say, "God is all about that faith, 'bout that faith, no reason. He's all about that faith, 'bout that faith, no reason."

Tuesday, September 23, 2014

Emma Watson, equal rights and religion

Emma Watson's U.N. speech was, in the words of Ron Weasley, "not good ... BRILLIANT!" She was understandably nervous; after all, she was talking quite literally in front of the world, but she handled herself admirably. Her suggested path to gender equality was original and poignant, really hitting the mark on several points, pleading with men to take the lead in ensuring women's rights. To me, there was one glaring POV missing and I'll get to that in a minute.

The ensuing threats from the faceless, spineless cowards (who used anonymous vehicles such as Reddit and 4chan for their childish behavior) to release nude photos of her were pathetic and offensive, but not surprising to me.

So why am I writing this? Because misogyny and bigotry are borne from religion, and until the world stops getting its life lessons from the chauvinistic, insensitive immoral fairy tales that are the Bible (and Koran), there will always be gender inequality.

If this offends you, good. Why? Because if you believe your religion is innocent in the ways of gender inequality and homophobia then you couldn't be more wrong. If you think your holy book is the model for morality and equal rights, then I know you haven't read it. Perhaps this post will force you to look deeper into your religion and spark some critical thinking, or at the very least open up some dialogue.

Again, why am I writing this? To quote Emma, "If not me, who? If not now, when?"

#heforshe #religionpoisonseverything

Monday, September 15, 2014

Where have I been?

Yes, it's been a long time since I last posted. Why is that? Well, one contributing factor is the firestorm in my family has settled and we have all just sort of mellowed and respected each other. They try not to say stupid religious crap around me and I agree not to call them out on it when they slip. I still wear my INFIDEL shirt to their home when I feel like they are getting a bit too comfortable, but for the most part the fighting and tears have ended.

I've also rediscovered an old passion of mine, which isn't important to the content of this blog, but suffice it to say it takes up a lot of my time. I've even lost touch with the atheist forums, though I do lurk on occasion at the Thinking Atheist. Someone recently posted about the egregious "Einstein as a young student" video and I was inspired to post about it. So, since I posted there I felt like I should post here.

It's not that I don't think every day about how religion is offensive and how blinded my family is, it's just that I've written pretty much everything I feel needed to be written. I could wax poetic about my favorite topics, or I could just react to countless violations of church and state, but I don't think this blog has garnered enough attention for me to feel the urgency to stay current.

I am inspired by the recent victories we've had in the courts, but for every victory there's another problem that pops up and it seems almost never ending. I often wish I could sell my business and be comfortable financially so I could volunteer with a secular cause, or at the very least donate my time to something such as American Atheists, but that is just a dream right now.

If something moves me to write in the future I will, but this blog was really just a personal exercise and place to organize my thoughts, almost like therapy, and that's the main reason for the dropoff. So, until then, be safe and be secular.

Thursday, May 22, 2014

"God willing"

How many of you have heard the phrase, "God willing?" As a child, my parents, in particular my mother, would utter this phrase when we went to sleep. It went something like this:

"Good night."

"Good night."

"Love you."

"Love you, too."

"See you in the morning."

"God willing."

And if I didn't say it, I was forced to say it. I remember thinking it was a little creepy, but didn't put it together that I was being indoctrinated. I just chalked it up to one more thing I was forced to do as a result of living under their roof, like chores. But now, looking back on it, it's even more ridiculous, and it makes their god look even more pathetic and controlling. God willing? It's all up to him, right? He chooses if I make it through the night or if he murders me in my sleep. How do they not see this? How repulsive this is? And why even bother saying it? Is it superstition? Are you hoping that by saying it aloud that your god will spare you? There are just so many things wrong with this.

I refuse to force any child in my charge to do anything irrational.

Wednesday, May 14, 2014

They're not just religious bigots

While homosexual bigotry doesn't necessarily have to be rooted in religion, no matter when you witness it, it's offensive. This past Mother's Day, I got together with my family and had a pleasant day, despite the near constant praising and thanking of a deity (and don't even get me started on the forced involvement in grace, despite everyone at the table knowing I'm an atheist and feel thanking a man-made invisible god is akin to writing a letter to Santa Claus).

I was grateful the conversation turned to football during dessert, at least at first I was grateful. The NFL Draft was last week and we discussed the picks our favorite teams selected. But eventually the topic turned to Michael Sam, the SEC Defensive Player of the Year, selected by the Rams in the seventh round (the final round).

Now, you may be asking yourself, why would the best defensive player in college football's best conference have to wait seven rounds to be picked by a team? Well, Sam is gay. He is trying to become the first openly gay player in the NFL.

It's clear the league isn't entirely on board with homosexuals in the locker room or on the field, as evidenced by this fine player slipping to almost the final pick in the draft. It's a sad commentary on the state of the league, but what was even more sad were the comments that got passed around my brother's dinner table.

You see, ESPN had its cameras at Sam's house when the phone call from the Rams finally came. An emotional Sam cried, as most draft picks do, as he had his discussion with the Rams front office. He then kissed his partner on the lips and got hugged by a few other guys, who may or may not have been gay.

My family all ganged up on Sam's reaction. At first they simply just mentioned the kissing, and you could see the disdain in their faces, but they eventually realized how offensive they sounded (after I defended Sam and said there's zero difference between his reaction and anyone else's who was straight) and said the kissing was OK. But it was what happened later in Sam's celebration that my family couldn't contain their bigoted comments.

The cameras continued to roll as Sam and his family and friends celebrated with cake. Sam cut a piece and smeared it on his partner's face then kissed him, a la every wedding cliché in America. Everyone at the table (but me) was religious, so their comments aren't surprising, but I don't think all of their comments were rooted in religion. My brother and father are tough guys, so they just cringe at anything that's not heterosexual. I'm not entirely sure they are against homosexuality, it's just not something they readily embrace.

But my SIL, the one I have had all of my religious debates with, is a conservative right-wing religious nutjob. She said things such as, "If you're trying to make a statement, that is not the way to do it," and "They should not have done that. If they want us accept them they shouldn't do that in public."

I can't remember all of the offensive comments because I wasn't in journalism mode at my family's home, but it's safe to assume they were basically saying keep your affections private because it disgusts them, and if you're straight there's nothing wrong with the exact same display of affection. This is what we refer to as a bigoted double standard. It's all right as a man to make out with your woman, but if you are gay then keep it behind closed doors because it's wrong and we don't want to look at it. So sad.

Ultimately I got them to realize this was in his home and he had every right to do whatever he wanted, and it could have been on Main Street USA, too. He is a free man and this is a free country. There is no difference between what two consenting heterosexual adults can do and two consenting homosexual adults can do. Time to wake up and smell the 21st century.