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The Tyranny of Evidence

August 31, 2009

I was raised as, and became, a conservative fundamentalist Christian. Twenty-four years later I am an evolutionist and atheist. The reason this transition was capable is because throughout my life I’ve held one belief above all others. I am a staunch believer in the tyranny of evidence. The evidence I had available in my youth led me to believe what my parents told me about the universe. When contradicting evidence arose I strove to understand it and adopted the most logically sound position.

I am a natural skeptic, when I get an email forward making claims the first place I go to is Snopes, the second is the Almighty Google. If something “spooky” happens I do my best to debunk it rather than assume it was something supernatural. I constantly search for the most rational world-view based on the evidence at hand, always looking for more. I’ve even cast aside many positions that held an emotional value to me. If the current evidence does not agree with what I would like to be true, I accept the truth like a big boy and move on. What is true cannot be changed by well-wishing or begging. The truth is an immovable object.

I believe in the tyranny of evidence. Do you?

Friendly Atheist Dating Advice

August 11, 2009

I’m not dead. I’m just.. I don’t know.. Anywho, here are two short but great clips from a talk by Hemant Mehta concerning dating advice for atheists. Take it or leave it, but I think it has some great points while still being humorous.

(Via Pharyngula)

Militant Atheists

July 3, 2009

Militant Atheist
-noun

  1. an atheist who opens their mouth.

Atheists are often criticized for being militant. I really don’t think the theists calling us militant really understand what a religious militant is. For example:

Militant Muslimwtc attack

This is a militant Muslim. Notice the large weapon with a high firing rate, mask, and serious amount of ammunition? Not to mention his buddy with the RPG behind him. Also notice the twin towers after having two passenger jets slammed into them.

Militant ChristianOklahoma City Bombing

This is a militant Christian. Notice the FBI building blown to shreds?

militant-atheist-2

militant-atheist-blog

Now for the worst of them all, a militant atheist! These terrible monsters go around blogging about religion and the separation of church and state! Notice all of the carnage and blood and clearly militant actions?! Yeah, me neither.

Religious Copouts

July 1, 2009

Any time someone writes something critical of religion they will get one of two different responses: apologetics and/or copouts. If a religion needs apologetics then it was clearly not created by “the most intelligent thing ever” and can be ignored. Religious copouts are appeals to magical forces or the issue being some failure on the doubter’s part that cannot be proven and removes the burden of proof from the commenter. Here are some of the ones I see often and annoy me the most:

  • You’ve already been given all the evidence you need.
    Then why the hell am I asking for more?
  • You weren’t sincere enough in your prayers.
    How can anyone make that kind of judgment? Are these people suddenly psychic? Do they know they can make $1,000,000 for that over at the Jame Randi Educational Foundation?
  • You have to believe first and then you’ll see the evidence.
    I can no more make myself believe without evidence in a god then I could that there are communist reptilians controlling the U.N. I’m not capable of believing without an acceptable amount of evidence.
  • God hides the true message of the scripture from you unless you have the holy ghost.
    Let me get this straight. The only way to become a Christian is to read your bible, and the only way to read your bible is to be a Christian. That’s real smart.
  • God is talking to you, but you aren’t listening.
    I’m listening as best as I can, if that’s not good enough for your god then I guess I’m just screwed.
  • Your heart is hardened against God.
    No, I’m just a skeptic and I don’t have the burden of proof. You do.
  • I’ll pray for you.
    This usually pops up when the believer has exhausted all of their arguments and just wants to throw out a final passive-aggressive “fuck you”. My usual response is “and I’ll think for you”.

I’ve very likely missed some “good” copouts so if you come up with one put it in the comments.

My Top 10 Problems With Christianity

June 29, 2009

I live on the buckle of the American “Bible Belt” and every once in a while I have evangelical Christians come knocking on my door at dinner time to tell me the “good news” (that I will be burning in Hell for all eternity). So I’ve decided that I should probably work out the major problems I have with Christianity so that my discussions with them will include less rambling and be more to the point (I don’t just slam the door in their faces because I enjoy making them squirm). Below I have listed my major issues with Christianity. However, it is primarily tailored towards the evangelical branches of Christian faith because those are Christians I deal with on a normal basis.

In no particular order:

  • Biblical literalism is inconsistent with scientific knowledge.
  • Biblical interpretation proves the book to be a human invention or the god to be incompetent.
  • Biblical law is immoral as it condones slavery, genocide, xenophobia, incest, rape, and misogyny.
  • Biblical scholars’ god is very different than the layman’s god.
  • We are fully capable of rational and critical thought yet we are only rewarded for blind faith and obedience.
  • Historical evidence for Jesus outside the bible is largely thought to be forgeries or too ambiguous.
  • Evangelical Christians give huge amounts of money to the church and are the poorest and least educated of all the major denominations. So much for the Prosperity Gospel.
  • If we are all loved equally by this god why was Thomas and Paul given much more evidence than me?
  • Many of the sins in the bible are arbitrary and lack any founding in reason.
  • The idea of Hell and an infinite punishment for a finite crime make very little sense when sinners could just be annihilated.

These aren’t my only issues with Christianity, but they are my most pressing problems at the moment. Do you have major issues that I haven’t mentioned? Put them in the comments!

You Just Haven’t Been To My Church Yet!

June 23, 2009

In the past, when I’ve discussed my non-belief with Christians I’ve often been told: “You’re just an atheist because you haven’t been to my church yet!”. Before I became an all out atheist, or more accurately, before I came to understand that my position was atheism, I decided to see if these Christians were right. In the last fifteen years I’ve been to several different kinds of churches, each with it’s own take on the story of Christianity and each a unique approach on how to better teach its gospel. I think I can now safely say that it is not the individual church, nor is it the way in which the church presents the “good news” that keeps me from being a Christian. It is what is at the heart of every Christian church, your theology contained in your bible.

Either the stories contained in your bible are the literal truth or they are not. Either the world presented by the scientific community is a fiction or it is not. Both entities are opposed to each other whether you like it or not. Your bible contains many stories that cannot be true when put against the tests of the scientific mind. They have been contested for the last two thousand years and up until recently those who contested your bible have not been debated, they have been tortured or murdered, which seems quite ridiculous when one understands your entire faith is based on the torture and murder of one man, but I digress.

The biblical account is found wanting by the skeptic because of the extraordinary stories presented and the lack of any evidence to prove these stories true. No matter what light you show your god in, we will easily be able to see the truth of the matter by taking a quick look at your book. We see genocide, slavery, misogyny, and xenophobia covertly trying to be covered up by a thin layer of “love” and “compassion”. We see the justifications for a father who hits you because he loves you, but anyone with common sense can see that love is love because it doesn’t beat the shit out of you, even if you might deserve it.

The rest of the world moves forward scientifically and ethically, past the bronze age rules and punishments detailed in your book. Christianity will never be able to convince the skeptical community on the whole because your religion will always have to be based on the accounts in your bible. The cornerstone of your faith is also the rock you have tied to your feet, enthusiastically drowning yourselves.

Happy Father’s Day! Now for the worst dad ever.

June 20, 2009

Today is Father’s Day, so I thought it would be useful to write about the worst father ever imagined. I’m talking about Yahweh, so “imagined” is an amusingly appropriate term. Why is he the worst father ever? Let’s take a look at why Yahweh deserves the title of “Worst Dad Ever”:

  • When his children misbehaved he drowned the entire planet, killing 99% of them.
  • He ordered one of his sons to murder his grandson, only telling him it was a joke at the last second.
  • Yahweh also made a deal with another one of his children to kill the first thing that left the man’s house, in order to win a battle, knowing full well ahead of time that it would be the man’s daughter. He did not stop this man and the daughter was slaughtered and burned.
  • He sent another one of his son’s to Earth to be tortured and then murdered so that his own bloodlust could be satisfied. Depending on your theology, he may have also sent this son to Hell to be tortured more for three days.
  • He plays favorites by deliberately showing his power to a select few and then punishing the rest of his kids when they are skeptical of the claims of the handful of kids.
  • He gives infinite punishment to those who are not even able to comprehend infinity, for finite crimes.
  • Lastly, Yahweh also plays the meanest game of hide and seek ever, hiding from his children in such a way that he cannot be found, then sending those children who can’t find him to Hell for eternity.