You know something? I am coining a new phrase. That new phrase is “atheistic dogma.” In debating with atheists, I have found that sadly, many atheists are just as suffocated by dogma as the religious people they want to claim superiority over. I am tired of hearing that if a person believes in a high power, they are religious. If I were religious, I’d say so. I have no reason to lie. Why so rigid with the definitions? Allow me to be rigid with a definition, then:
dog·ma: noun \ˈdȯg-mə, ˈdäg-\ a principle or set of principles laid down by an authority as incontrovertibly true.
If your definition of “religion” is so strict that you refuse to allow anyone to define it or “spirituality” for themselves, or apply it to themselves and their own lives on their terms, or if you use your definition of “religion” to lump everyone who believes in a higher power into the same category because you feel it denotes the same thing in everybody, you are suffering from atheistic dogma. You – just like the so-called religious people you would like to claim such superiority over, or think you are so different from – are a prisoner of your own uncompromising, inflexible and ridiculous ideas.
A few examples (and yes, these conversations actually happened):
1. “If you used to be an atheist and are not now, then you are religious. Religion; – the belief in and worship of a superhuman controlling power, especially a personal God or gods. From the Oxford English dictionary.”
RELIGION and SPIRITUALITY or simple belief in a high power have almost nothing to do with each other. Religion is a man-made institution used to systematically control and extort money from people. It is bound by rules, governance and laws. Spirituality is a personal belief in something higher than the self and nothing more. They are not interchangeable. They are not the same thing. If you don’t agree with my definition of these things, that sounds like your problem. I don’t have to live my life or structure my philosophies according to your – or anyone’s – definition of ANYTHING. It’s funny how you claim that religion is controlling yet you are unable to allow another person any definition of it or spirituality that falls outside of what you think it is, or allow them to define themselves according to their own spiritual philosophies. Do you perhaps not understand what “controlling” means?
There is ALSO a definition of religion which reads: “a specific fundamental set of beliefs and practices generally agreed upon by a number of persons or sects; an organized system of beliefs, ceremonies, and rules used to worship a god or a group of gods.” I do not possess or practice these things. You and everyone like you all have the same problem: You claim that those who believe in a higher power are all religious and that they all think the same way. You assume knowing about religion means subscribing to that religion. You assume a belief in a higher power or in God means everyone is a Christian (or follows some type of organized religion) or that it denotes the same exact thing in every situation or with every person. This could not be farther from the truth. People like you think of everybody the same way, then turn around and accuse others of being closed-minded. This is the classic “atheistic dogma.” It would be laughable if it were not so disappointing. Aren’t atheists supposed to be the enlightened, free-thinkers here?
2. “Free will my arse. Don’t be so stupid. Does a rape victim have free will? What a ridiculous thing to say. Free will is the stupidest argument ever made for religion.”
Using one extreme situation where a person’s free will has been taken away by ANOTHER person exercising THEIR free will to describe everybody and every situation is a little disingenuous, don’t you agree? Or maybe just kind of pathetic. If you have to use that type of situation to make your point, maybe your point isn’t all that valid.
3. “Religious people make up their own rules.”
So they have to adhere strictly to a code of laws and governance that you claim not to believe in or somehow they are wrong. OK. I’m glad you’ve proven how controlling RELIGION is. Oh wait, it’s YOU who is being dogmatic and inflexible. Oops. Your game is to try and trap religious people in their own rules and point out their perceived hypocrisy to claim some type of moral, ethical or intellectual victory for yourself and your obviously-deficient ego. That’s why you want to convince me – and yourself – of my being religious by YOUR definition. That’s why you refuse to allow me to define myself the way I choose. You can’t “win” without being able to apply your definition of religion to me and then attempting to point out my perceived hypocrisy as defined by your definition of religion. Sorry to disappoint but I am not religious. That’s why it isn’t working. I don’t have any of those rules.
4. “What about babies dying of starvation or AIDS?”
Do you not think PEOPLE have quite a bit to do with that problem? It’s like that thing where the guy says to Jesus, “Why do you allow war, starvation and genocide?” and Jesus says, “Funny, I was going to ask you the same thing.” People want to remove the human element from it altogether and just say, “If God were real, He would stop these things.” I have never understood that logic. Aside from the logical fallacy involved in that argument (which is glaringly blatant and akin to saying crime proves the police don’t exist), we have the ability to stop these things from happening. We do not. Wouldn’t it make more sense to worry about why that is? Nowhere in anything does it say that God would come in and end all terrible things. If people choose to do things that hurt others, God does not stop them. That isn’t how it works. The people who are dying of starvation are doing so because their government is corrupt and despicable. That is a HUMAN problem. People sometimes think of God as like an enforcer or the supernatural police. RELIGION is controlling. God is not. You are supposed to come to God of your own free will. If you do not, then you do not.
5. “That’s the paradox. He can’t prevent it because we have free will, but how can a loving god who says he loves each and everyone of us watch babies die through no fault of their own?”
I look at it like when you have a grown child. You love your child regardless. Even if they were a murderer you would love them, or a pedophile or whatever. But you don’t interfere with their lives. They have to live it themselves. I also wouldn’t say He CAN’T prevent it, but that He won’t. It is a sad fact that exercising your own free will can and often does affect more than just you. I don’t claim to have all the answers or to know the mind of God. That’s just how I see it.
It is the person committing the bad act who is letting children die. That’s what I mean about free will: it affects others, including babies. And from a spiritual standpoint: If God sees us all equally, then we are all His children. Therefore, if that is so, it is no different for anyone to be killed if they are 15 or 150 or 15 months old.
To me it’s different, but I’m not God.
In the end, nearly everyone involved in this type of debate – religious and atheist – is making the leap in logic that science and belief in a higher power must be mutually exclusive. This also could not be further from the truth; most truly intelligent minds realize that spirituality and science CAN co-exist. It seems that you only hear that argument from insecure people who do not truly understand either of these things.
I am not religious but the growing discrimination against Christians and religious people in general is beginning to alarm me. Those who I’ve debated with don’t seem to really be offended on behalf of gays or women or other hot button issues. Not really. They seem to have actually been offended by the mere mention of religion. For many, it seems to be a platform for them to express their own bigoted and discriminatory views — against Christians and/or religion in general. I’m no expert but it would seem that the answer to perceived bigotry and discrimination can hardly be more bigotry and discrimination.
I find it sad and a shame that people who claim they are all about equality and fair treatment for all just ignore this, or worse – they participate in it. Discrimination against anybody should alarm everybody. But it doesn’t, and that alarms me. I really feel that if, say, religious people were all rounded up to be shot simply for being religious, many of the people in this country would not protest or even care. I find that terrifying. “First they came for the Communists” and all that.
What I don’t get is, do they not realize how easily that actually could be them? Do they really think that could never happen? What about when it’s me? What about when it’s you? I tell myself every day not to give in to my ego or superego or whichever it is; that people cannot possibly be as stupid as I sometimes think they are. But every day I hear things like that (“Oh, it’s OK if it’s them, because it’ll never be me!”) and it gets harder and harder to believe that. I think they really do believe that. It’s frightening.
But what can you say about a society where scientific studies are done and psychiatric illnesses are dreamed up solely for the reason of giving people an excuse to escape personal responsibility? Not much, I guess.
As I talked about in my blog on Modern Pioneer Magazine, “Why Working From Home Could Be The Best Way To Go Green,” working from home may be one of the biggest things you can do to go green this year. No commute. No traffic. No gas. No emissions. No rush. No being forced to eat garbage food from fast food restaurants. Less stress, less hassle, less worry about daycare. It’s all around a better gig than the daily grind for sure. You make your own hours, you’re your own boss and you still get paid.
I’ve had some conflicts over it though. I am very against the digitalization of modern society, yet I do inbound customer service for a huge wireless company. It’s pretty ironic when you think about it. My job is to promote and propagate one of the things I hate the most. It makes for interesting internal conflicts, especially considering the fact that I actually like my job. I like problem-solving, I like the challenge and I like the interaction. I hate the product. I hate what it stands for. I hate that it seems to control people’s lives.
How do I rationalize that? I don’t. I don’t justify it either. It is what it is. I earn money contributing to what I believe is a cancer upon society. There is no denying it. I guess in some way, most of us do the same thing. But the money I earn goes toward creating a(n eventually) self-sufficient lifestyle. It goes to help fund small businesses and struggling artists. It goes to help animals in need. It supports small farms. It funds a message I strongly believe in. It’s not a perfect situation but what is?
I guess in the end, all we can do is find a way to live with ourselves for the concessions we have to make.
It is a shame when people cannot see past their own hatred and bias. I posted a picture of Jesus on Facebook with a story attached that gave reasons why things the person thought were bad (losing car keys) were actually good (kept him from being in an accident). I stated that even if you don’t believe in God, the sentiment of the story was wonderful because we should always remember that things we think are bad could be – and often are – a blessing in disguise.
Someone commented that they thought the story was terrifying because people who believe God is controlling their lives are “mentally deranged.” No matter how many times this person was told that the point of the post had nothing to do with God or religion but rather, had to do with the fact that many negatives often turn out to be positives with the fullness of time, he could not seem to understand and continued to rant about religion and the craziness of people who have faith. It was as if this person was having a completely different conversation from the rest of us.
It was funny at first but then it became sad and actually scary that someone could be so blinded by hatred like that. I’ve never seen anything like it. That’s saying a lot because I have lived and worked with people who have mental illness and developmental disorders for over 10 years and I have absolutely never had such a hard time explaining to someone that they’ve misunderstood. No, I gotta say: I’ve never seen anything like that.
If the mere mention of the word “God” – or any word, for that matter – can make you that blind, you need to examine yourself and your motives, because if you cannot look past your bias to see the bigger picture, you are the one with the handicap.
The blatant bias and hatred that were on display are really sad. When you cannot look past a fucking word or a concept to see the bigger picture, you are the one with the handicap. When you are having a conversation that is completely different from the one everyone else is having but cannot even see that, you are the one who looks mentally deranged. When you attack everything that is even tangentially related to the subject just because it’s sort of, kind of, a little related, you are the one who looks hateful. When you make blanket statements regarding everybody in a certain group, you are the one that looks intolerant. And when you are so carried away by your own self-righteous buffoonery that you cannot even see that you’ve misunderstood – let alone accept it – you are the one who looks stupid.
I just read an article that had the headline, “Liam Payne from One Direction Tweets Support for Duck Dynasty, Sets Internet on Fire.” A whole article about people castigating this kid as a bigot and a homophobe for saying:
“@williebosshog huge love to you/your family huge respect for your business prosperities and the family values you still all behold. big fan”
This is the face of homophobia?? Pretty mild, don’t you think? He didn’t even mention homosexuality. They are freaking out because he said “family values.” That could mean anything! What is the assumption here, that gays have no family values? Come on. Or is this actually an attack on family values that has nothing to do with homosexuality? Hmm.
My God, the people in this country. How dare any of you sanctimonious little bastards tell this kid his opinion is wrong! IT’S NONE OF YOUR BUSINESS WHAT ANYONE ELSE THINKS! You don’t have to agree. You are free to disagree! But invalidating and trying to attack someone for an opinion you don’t agree with is fascist bullshit. You do not have the right to tell anybody what to think.
And to those saying kids look up to Liam Payne: He is not responsible for the values your kids grow up with! YOU ARE! Everyone does not have to agree on everything.
I have not stated my opinion on homosexuality thus far because I didn’t think it should matter but I am going to now. I have zero issues with gay people. If you’re gay, be gay and look fabulous every time you do it. Do YOU and don’t worry about anything else. It’s none of my business. I have friends who are gay. I have relatives who are gay. It literally means absolutely nothing to me. I could care less because it means nothing in the grand scheme of things.
I do not expect to hear a bunch of bullshit from anti-gay people over my opinion and I would not give THEM any shit either. It’s an OPINION. Some opinions are hurtful, some are uninformed, some are even hateful but they are all still valid. I’m sorry but we are all just going to have to get over it. People say shit I don’t like every single day. They say shit about women, they say shit about blondes, they say shit about female musicians, they say shit about stay at home mothers, they say shit about rape victims, they say shit about battered women… all of which I am or have been! If I ran around castigating them all, I’d never have time to do anything else! Good Lord, let it go! This hysterical reaction bullshit has got to stop.
In 1974, in an experiment/art performance called Rhythm 0, Marina Abramović placed 72 objects on a table in a room and stated that she would not move or resist for 6 hours, no matter what was done to her. The results are perhaps shocking to some but not to me. Abramovic allowed random people to do anything they wanted with her and as soon as they realized that there would be no resistance or repercussion no matter what they did to her, they got increasingly aggressive. Some cut her neck with a knife and drank the blood. They placed her naked on the table and put the knife in her vagina. Someone loaded the gun with the available bullet and put it to her head.
Initially, Abramović said, viewers were peaceful and timid, but it escalated to violence quickly. “The experience I learned was that … if you leave decision to the public, you can be killed… I felt really violated: they cut my clothes, stuck rose thorns in my stomach, one person aimed the gun at my head, and another took it away. It created an aggressive atmosphere. After exactly 6 hours, as planned, I stood up and started walking toward the public. Everyone ran away, escaping an actual confrontation.”
This experiment is proof that if people are allowed to act with impunity, they will take it as far as they possibly can. It is not necessary to be directed to this behavior and there is no one – no one – who is immune to it; it is human nature. It is the reason things like Nazi Germany are able to happen, and the reason regular everyday citizens turn into brutal torturers as we saw in Nazi Germany or into dangerous mobs (link very NSFW) as we see in many areas to this day. The culprit is not religion. It is not a charismatic Führer or other politician. People do not become this way because they are forced to or because of any other reason than the simple fact that they want to. They want to hurt and subjugate those who are weaker, just like any other animal. Humans in general are uncomfortable with this fact; they are quick to point out things they consider to be mitigating factors, such as differences in culture, race, time period and anything else they can but these things do not make it any less of a fact. That is why Nazi Germany stands alone as such a perfect example. It obliterates these mitigating factors. There were no cave-dwelling barbarians in Nazi Germany. These were not an uneducated Third World people reacting to superstition and shamanism. These were white upper, middle and lower class people just like you and me. They became monsters because they were allowed to become monsters and underneath of it all, that is what we all want to be.
This is why the much-beloved idea of anarchy cannot work and why all these Brave New World and Evolved Consciousness concepts are just so much hot air. Humans will never be able to rule over themselves without a system of repercussions. It has failed every time it has ever been tried. I hate the government with a passion that many probably regard as borderline fanaticism but even I recognize that this is so. In fact, I hate the government because of this, because of what they become after being allowed to act with impunity for so long. As much as we all want to believe that we have evolved beyond this basic nature, we have not. You think you are an evolved, civilized and cultured being who uses logic and reason instead of violence. You are not. You think you have conquered your primitive nature and have risen above the mouth-breathers who cannot or will not do this. You have not. You think you are concerned and compassionate about the world around you, a shining beacon of Evolved Man’s triumph over his nature. You are not. You’re none of these things and all it would take is the application of the right circumstances to prove this to you.
We see it in history repeated over and over again when any person or population is permitted to act with impunity upon another person or populace. The end result is subjugation, violence, torture and murder. Always. You see this very clearly in children before they are taught the responsible and acceptable way to behave in society. Empathy, generosity and compassion are not innate. They are learned. And they are easily-forgotten. That is, perhaps, the true legacy and importance of The Third Reich: it stands as the single greatest example of what people are capable of if they are allowed to act with impunity. It may be one of the single greatest lessons in history that we as people need to learn.
…and my frustration with it, it’s this one.
I can’t believe it, the way you look sometimes
Like a trampled flag on a city street, oh yeah
And I don’t want it, the things you’re offering me
Symbolized bar code, quick ID, oh yeah
See I’m a 21st century digital boy
I don’t know how to read but I’ve got a lot of toys
My daddy’s a lazy middle class intellectual
My mommy’s on Valium, so ineffectual
Ain’t life a mystery?
I can’t explain it, the things you’re saying to me
It’s going yayayayayayaya, oh yeah
Tried to tell you about no control
But now I really don’t know
And then you told me how bad you had to suffer
Is that really all you have to offer?
Cat’s foot, iron claw
Neurosurgeon, scream for more
Innocence raped with napalm fire
Everything I want, I really need.
21st century schizoid boy
21st century video boy
21st century digital boy