Tag Archives: religion

American optimism has always annoyed me

One thing that pisses me off about Christians in America is how they don’t like cynics and tend to glorify acting naively optimistic like Flanders. But a degree of pessisim generally correlates with more gdp per capita:

https://www.theatlantic.com/politics/archive/2015/03/the-american-ethic-and-the-spirit-of-optimism/388538/

It’s called being realistic and I don’t like overly optimistic people.p who refuse to regularly dip into cynicism or take a balanced view.

The good in setting a bad example

I do understand what some people mean about the importance of setting a good example in certain situations. But we have to define what is a good example? Is it really always civility and the virtues we want others to emulate, or can it be useful to teach by making a bad example? I will explain later.

There is a lot of room for disagreement on what is a generally good behavior, and while peter boghossian takes a softer Socratic approach to persuade Christians, Christopher Hitchens is combative and debates on hard facts. Certain techniques work better on certain personalities and we need to support both doves and hawks to get our message out.

I personally think I need to be more aggressive. I think we should even mimic their hypocrisies at times if we see an individual using them, so that Christians will see it and call us out on them, and then hopefully realize they’re looking in a mirror and fix their ways. For example, it might be useful to act like you’ve lost your temper around someone who loses their temper easily, to teach them a lesson about maintaining self-control if you want to be listened to. It might be useful to be excessively prideful around a proud psrson for the same reason. I guess this is the opposite of setting a good example, and I haven’t heard anyone else use it, but I think it has uses.

It’s a pre-liminary lesson that needs to be learned somehow or other to listen. Otherwise no discussion or real exchange of ideas can occur. If you ever meet someone who is 70 years old and cannot remain calm, rational or humble enough to listen to a word you say on anything, but who loves to berate and throw out uninformed prejudices, I think It’s justified to mirror them and show utter disrespect until they realize their wrong.

article: why rural america wont change

Hah, he burned the south pretty well! http://www.rawstory.com/2017/06/fundamentalism-racism-fear-and-propaganda-an-insider-explains-why-rural-christian-white-america-will-never-change/

I don’t think white racism as well covered up as some people believe. The excues used by racists sound hollow to anyone who is commited to removing biases and I have a pertinent anecdote.

It used to annoy me how often “right wingers/American conservatives/the alt-right/colourists” would say Obama wasn’t fit to be president because he was not an American, or how they would circulate emails about how the bible said it’s justified to not follow illegitimate leader like Obama (in regards to Obama, the Kenyan Muslim.) Not long after he was first elected, I listened to one Christian teacher explaining the birther conspiracy to another Christian US history teacher. She went on a long rant about the bible, and the American constitution, and how there was a section that didn’t allow anyone who had been born in America to become a president.

(In my view this is a historical safeguard, meant to prevent a British politician or hostile invader from legally taking over a new country.) I turned to one of them and asked if were technically true, why would it matter if he had lived in America for his entire life? (Obama was educated in America and worked there his entire life. Voters had decided he shared sufficient views and connection, and was therefore good enough.)

“IT DOES MATTER!” One of them shouted at me, as Christians like to do. And that was all they had to say, as if that line had decisively answered the question.

What the birthers really want is a narrow excuse to act like bigots and be stubbornly opposed to groups or individuals, while pretending they aren’t bigots and their words are both clever and acceptable. But their mask is transparent to anyone outside of their bubble of bigots. The cleverest excuse is transparent to anyone who doesn’t actually want to delight in saying stupid prejudiced things, like a tribal savage, or listening raptly to the invalid arguments that constitute hate speech.

 

And why shouldn’t I be “prejudiced” against Christians?

I don’t agree with what Dawkins retweeted. This website with its platitudes did not make me see a reason to become more accepting when dealing with irrational bigots. The only parts that spoke to me were the point that if you can’t correctly explain someone else’s argument and have it accepted, then you don’t understand it enough to refute it. Active listening is a problem in our society. Of course, theists are bad listeners and very impatient so you will not usually get that far.

The other line I liked from the comments is that “Perfection is the enemy of the good” -Volataire. I take it to mean that we must choose our allies and work for small changes if we are to be progressive, rather than being ideologically pure isolationists/special snowflakes. It’s true I don’t agree with Sam Harris on certain things, while he is clear minded and has insights in others and shouldn’t be shunned simply because he doesn’t fit into a familiar box idealize.

http://www.patheos.com/blogs/dogmadebate/2017/06/reasonably-controversial-regressive-left-killing-atheist-movement/

So if I agree with that, then what is the problem you ask? I’ll tell you. Reddit and others tell you to attack ideas and not people. So It’s okay to attack Christianity or Islam but not Christians or Muslims. I question why not?

The two are interwoven. If you are a Christian you subscribe to Christianity.

You will potentially act in ways that hurt me. If an skeptical atheist hears a voice and sees visions telling him to go to an abortion clinic and blow up some doctors, he will dismiss it and get psychiatric help. A Christian might too, but he could potentially think It’s the voice of God. That alone makes Christians a threat. And generally Christians are predictable, irrational bigots, and are relatively lame to hang out with. I feel justified in disliking Christians and attacking them along with Christianity. The only argument that might stay me is that attacking groups of people and/or individuals can sometimes be ineffective or counter-productive.

Moreover. I do not respect their underlying epistemology enough to even respect a difference of opinion as I might with someone who looked at the same set of facts I did, and came to another opinion of politics. That’s just finding a difference of view when there is a margin of doubt. But with Christians their underlying facts are definitely wrong. And if I attack Christianity you will still feel insulted that I don’t respect your core values, and react as though I attacked you personally. Why keep up the pretext of not attacking them? For civility? As Hitchens quipped, “Civility is overrated.”

Funeral Poems suck when you’re an Atheist

Being an Atheist makes funerals with burials especially tedious. There’s an unbelievable amount of mysticism and ritual, and I realized that I don’t think our culture is as emotionally mature as the Pirahã tribe who don’t believe in an afterlife, and just calmly think “Well, death sucks, but it happens.” Their Amazonian tribe buries their dead without any ceremonies, and without a coffins.In our culture we have days of viewings, we beat our chests to show our grief, pray, sing, recite poems, write  melancholic speeches called eulogies, and pay priests hundreds of dollars to preach at a funeral and sometimes talk about someone they probably haven’t even met. We make food and take photos, we look at pictures of the dead, put on suits, have pallbearers wear gloves, and drop flowers on the grave, we greet dozens of people and send cards with condolences, and if they’re Catholic or it’s a military funeral there’s even more pomp to keep you from doing anything else on that Sunday. And it’s not even over yet because anyone who pays four times more for burial rather than cremation is going to come back to the grave again.

Anyway, I was asked to recite a death poem at a funeral for Christians. What should I have done? I was seriously tempted to just troll them and quote Euphrates, or use a Japanese death poem:

Continue reading Funeral Poems suck when you’re an Atheist

So many Christians refuse to engage with a person’s arguments seriously on their own grounds without saying, “Mark Twain was agnostic and he railed against God because he became bitter when his daughter died.” Or, “Your kid turned atheist? He is just rebelling and he will pass through that phase.”

You hear it in politics too. “You’re a socialist? That’s because you’re young and brainwashed by the prevalent liberal education at universities nowadays. You wouldn’t think that way if you held a job for 20 years and saw the government stealing the money you worked for. I bet you’re on welfare and want more benefits without working.”

It is annoying to have to defend your character whenever you throw out any kind of statement. When they do this it is reductionist, if not outright incorrect to focus on another person’s psychology or life circumstances, and make that the dominant factor for understanding their views. Many of us can absorb facts and coolly come to conclusions analytically. I guess they mainly jump to conclusions on emotion and in response to events their life, and when dealing with others they imagine others must have come to conclusions by the same processes? Example:

“Something bad happened to him/someone in the family died? Well it’s no wonder he turned atheist, and let’s forget about what he is saying because that is the real reason. How pitiful.”

They like labels, and you can’t defend “child rape suspects” on any issue around those people without the nagging implication that you yourself must be a rapist! If they could run the government freely they’d have you tick a label for every little form you do.

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