Tag Archives: religion

Things Not to Say to an Atheist


The title of this post is probably a topic for a weekly feature all its own. Perhaps even a daily one. Fear not, This blog is not about to go full militant atheist.

Still, when somebody wanders into my house and starts flinging poo at the walls, I think it’s only fair to feel some kind of way about it.

I present to you the following comment, which landed on this post just yesterday (emphasis mine):

I wonder why some humans take no personal responsibility for what happens in the world? Just because you have never had a personal relationship or experience with God, doesn’t mean He doesn’t exist. It just means you may not be one of the humans He has chosen to show Himself to. Even if He did, the way you think would cause you to attribute His interaction with you to something you did to make it so. I feel such pity for humans like you. If you had lived my life, you would KNOW Him as I do. But He has given you freewill, and thus, the option to say He does not exist. All will become clear when you encounter Him after death. Humans are wrong about many, many, many, MANY things. Believing there is no God is the most tragic of all.

I could pick this thing to pieces, but again, that’s not my schtick — I’m a more-or-less friendly atheist. There’s at least four or five questionable assumptions and dubious claims in here, but the one sticking in my teeth like a popcorn kernel is the bolded line.

Pity.

Pity assumes that the pitied party is in really dire straits. (Sidenote: are you familiar with Puddles’ Pity Party? You should be, and I say that even though my comfort level with clowns is barely inches above the pavement.) Pity assumes that the pitier is in a superior position, somehow, to the pitied. And pity is, therefore, pretty much innately condescending. Someone up high feeling badly for someone down low.

Get the hell out of here with that.

If I’m to be pitied, it’s only for thinking that I could somehow start turning a dime off my words after almost 40 years walking this earth, not because I don’t believe in the specific god that you happen to believe. I’m doing just fine in my heathenism. Good house, good job, good family.

And, somewhat off the point: what’s up with calling me a “human”? Are you not a human? Am I somehow less than a person? I can’t prove it, but it definitely feels derogatory, so minus points for that, too.

This is not the humble, shrinking atheist you were looking for.

You can go about your business.

Atheist Symbol

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Not to Harp on a Topic, but…


Here’s a story I stumbled upon today.

In short, a cleric asked his congregation (is it called a congregation in Islam?) if anybody did not love the prophet Mohammed. A young man, mishearing, raised his hand, and was called a blasphemer by the cleric. In response, the young man went home, chopped off his hand — CHOPPED OFF HIS HAND — and later presented HIS DISEMBODIED HAND to the cleric on a plate. All to prove the depth of his faith.

He is, apparently, being hailed as a hero by his community. The young man. Who cut off his hand. To add further insult to injury (pun seriously intended), apparently the boy’s father is proud of him.

Look.

Obviously this story doesn’t give all the details, but it’s hard to say that this is anything other than a young man who has willfully disfigured himself over a misunderstanding. He is now, and will forever be, crippled by his own hand because he felt so strongly about his religion.

But this is what we do to ourselves. And his community is calling him a hero.

Okay, seriously this time. I’ll get off the (anti)religion kick. Regular programming will resume.


Why “The Greatest Story Ever Told” is a Problem


Not sure I could identify the cause of it, but one way or another, I’ve found myself reading a few articles and editorials lately that deal with The Bible; specifically, adapting The Bible as literature.  Like, I read a critique of Noah, and some examination of The Ten Commandments or something, and a few others.  One thing jumped out at me: virtually all of these examinations were particularly critical of their subject matter (the adaptation of course, not The Bible) and in particular they were critical of any filmmaker’s or screenwriter’s hubris in thinking they could improve upon “The Greatest Story Ever Told”.  The quotations and capitals are mine: invariably, when this statement is invoked by a believer it’s invoked casually, nonchalantly, as if this statement is a simple matter of painfully obvious fact.

I’m not here to start debates, and I’m not here to sermonize, or the opposite of sermonize, whatever that would be.  I just like to point things out and let them clunk around the old bean, like a goat swallowing stones to aid in its digestion.  Because language is important — it’s not just the what, but the way we say things that matters — calling The Bible “The Greatest Story Ever Told” is inherently problematic. Continue reading


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