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16 December, 2011

Christopher Hitchens

RIP Mr. Hitchens you were much appreciated and will be greatly missed. I hope you have not woken up to find yourself in the, as you so famously and recurrently put it, Celestial North Korea however, if you have I hope that you are, at the very least, accompanied by the great thinkers, philosophers and leaders of history so that you can together ponder how and why for eternity. You inspired me and thousands of others to take the risk and think for ourselves about all of this and for that I couldn't thank you enough sir.

07 December, 2011

Pen Jillette: Bug Nutty Bat Shit Crazy Politics

Pen talks about politicians racing for the white house and how seriously we should take their religious beliefs. An excellent video with excellent information that I think everyone should watch. 

01 December, 2011

Facinating Thought

I am watching the CMT Christmas special and was thinking about... well quite a few things.. but plug this into your brain right now. Think about if we had a space-time machine and we could go where ever and whenever we wanted. Knowing everything we know about our world even as a common man. Are people really willing to say that when they get to Jesus' time period and see this guy they're going to honestly believe he's the son of God? Even If they see a "miracle" would it, with all of our knowledge from the future, be as miraculous as it may have seemed to the impoverished, illiterate middle eastern people that Jesus spoke to, or would he simply look like some cliche conjure man that are still plaguing places like illiterate villages in India? Taking it further See Jesus' "immaculate" conception or his birth in "Bethlehem" (was it immaculate? I'd love to have been there for that. Was it Bethlehem? Probably not he was most likely born in Nazareth.) Also other than Biblical what else have we gotten wrong? How did people actually live during the ice age? The dark age? The age of the pharaohs in Egypt? Greece? Rome? How much did we get wrong and how much did we get right? Where the fuck is Atlantis?? Think about all of that for a minute. Really think. What would you ACTUALLY see if you were there as you are now, as you know now.

26 November, 2011

Is there a meaning to life?

What do we need in life? Is there a meaning? I’ve been thinking about and bothered by these questions for a very long time and I feel I finally have an answer that, at the very least, satisfies me for now. 
I was talking to a pastor while I was at school discussing this very thing when I brought up the fact that I sometimes wondered why there wasn’t a purpose and that I would get very depressed thinking about it. I mentioned Freud’s Quote, “The moment a man questions the meaning and value of life, he is sick, since objectively neither has any existence.” (which I completely agree with) He replied back that C.S. Lewis once said that if there is a longing for water we can get water and quench our longing etc. so if we have a longing for purpose we should be able to quench it with something as well. His something was God. I took it and thought about it for a couple minutes after I left the conversation and felt that God (obviously) was not the answer. I knew that I couldn’t really have any meaning but that somehow I felt like I did or at least needed one. As I watched a group of actors do their warm ups I listened to what they chanted at the end. Among a copious amount of other hippie feel good lines there was one that stuck out. “I am cool I’m worth a lot” (repeat) “and you can’t tell me that I’m not” (repeat) “Cause you can’t see inside of me” (repeat) It hit me at that moment that, other than them being completely wrong, your worth and subsequent meaning come from others. It doesn’t come from within; you don’t assign yourself meaning others assign meaning and worth to you. I still wanted to be the captain of my fate however, but after some thought I felt like that metaphor was even more powerful now. You can influence people in negative or positive ways like you man and captain a ship against the rocky seas, so yes, you are still responsible for your meaning and captain of your fate, but it is not you directly who assigns that meaning and purpose to your life; you can’t control the ocean or the wind simply work with or against it depending on the desired results. 
More than anything we need other people. More than that we need friends and we need enemies. Both of those groups give us a rounded sense of purpose: to be loved and to be hated but more importantly, to matter to others. We as the humans that exist today and share very basic instincts and needs have a most basic necessity to develop relationships. These relationships are the most elementary and cardinal building blocks of meaning. You can’t assign yourself value/meaning, that responsibility rests on the shoulders of any other human being who has ever known or been influenced by you. This is why I believe we have this longing for relationships; without them, without interacting with people and influencing them in a way that makes them love or hate you, that makes them remember you and forces you to matter to them, then your life is in every sense of the word, meaningless. So very simply there is no real meaning to life, In the sense that most people want there to be a purpose for their existence. The meaning comes from us. And what an awesome thought that is. We, as humans, have so much power as to create or destroy a thing like meaning. If you consider something like a burning bush or a flood impressive...think about that for a second. We have the ability to give other life meaning. But, while you entertain the idea of all that power, also remember that the only person you don’t have the ability to do that for...is yourself. How incredibly powerful and yet how incredibly vulnerable we are. Poetic if I do say so myself. We must rely on others just as they must rely on us. A symbiosis of sorts. 
We strive to obtain meaning, purpose. We obtain meaning from the people that we meet and influence on our journey. We develop relationships and find purpose within them. To help or harm. To make suffer or liberate. To fight for or against. In the end all of these decisions shape your relationships and affect others who then assign you your meaning and worth. So make no mistake you have no predestined purpose, no divinely decided meaning. You are all alone. It is up to you and you alone to decide that you are going to mean something and then make it a reality by making your life mean something to others. Work to increase your worth. Because unlike what those actors believe, worth and meaning are not some self assigned amount, they are the product of however much work and dedication you put into them. 
Thank you,

27 September, 2011

Offering religion as an alternative to Jail? Illegal not to mention Deplorable.

What do you think of this story? I think it's absolutely insane and the judge should be sued. Not because he's forcing christianity or religion in general (which he almost is) but simply because he's offering criminals a free pass. All they have to do is show up at a building once every week. Absolutely unconstitutional on innumerable counts.


31 August, 2011

Morals? Last Follow up I Promise

After the rabbi did not respond To any of my later posts I got quite frustrated when I saw him trying to pull his fallacies over on other individuals commenting on his article. So I decided to put up a flash light point blank at these immoral fallacies he was trying to get away with and see if he would answer anymore of my questions which he has not. (because he can not) Here are some of the conversations:
Comment 1
I’m curious: exactly what is the “plea”?
That we accept his connect-the-dots and just start believing? Belief doesn’t work that way.
That we hypocritically claim to believe, for (as he sees it) the good of society? Is that the basis of his own belief?

  1. 1:41 pm
    Thanks for you question. My “plea’ is twofold.
    No matter what you believe write Singer, Marks, and B4U-ACT and let them know loud and clear that you are disgusted by any attempt to change the status of pedophilia. It is criminal and morally reprehensible.
    Re-evaluate your moral position in light of the fact that in objective reality from an atheistic view of things, there is nothing wrong with child molestation.

    1. 3:10 pm
      Don’t let the rabbi fool you by invoking irrelevant Scientific name like B4U ACT as Eric Pfeifer told the Rabbi it’s a red herring these organizations are trying to find a way to cure pedophiles From Eric Pfeifer “B4U-ACT even states that their goal with pedophile mental care is to “…give them hope for productive and fulfilling lives, rather than waiting for a crisis to occur.” The rabbi has not answered to this. Nor has he answered to the fact the pfeifer and I both have raised numerous times. the fact that for his argument to be a vaild one Atheists would all have to be psychopaths, more specifically, void of empathy which the overwhelming majority of human beings is not. (and those that are aren’t reproducing) Empathy is a chemical process in the brain and is not going to disappear simply by rejecting religion. The rabbi twists facts and interprets to support his views when in fact he has not answered to this argument crushing problem that we have brought up continuously. I sound like a broken record. REPLY
    1. 3:17 pm
      (**Overwhelming majority of Humans *are not) sorry about that REPLY
    1. 3:33 pm
      I also just read that he tried to slip in that these organizations/people are trying to CHANGE the status of pedophilia, yet another BLATANT lie from the rabbi’s endless supply to try and support his twisted argument. These individuals have only explained that, objectively, nothing can be absolute wrong or absolute right because there is no objective absolute moral basis. They aren’t advocating for pedophilia as the rabbi underhandedly tries to imply to you. Through empathy along with a very basic survival instinct we develop morals over time through a trial and error process that get more and more complex. You can see varying degrees of moral complexity in more socially complex animal societies and less socially complex animal societies. It’s quite easy to grasp the question is (to take from one of his own titles): Why Doesn’t the Rabbi get It? REPLY
Comment 2
If atheism is so bad, and atheistic societies are so bad, would you care to explain WHY in more atheistic Western societies they have:
*LOWER rates of STD infection.
*LOWER rates of violent crime.
*LOWER rates of murder.
*LOWER rates of teenage pregnancies.
*LOWER rates of child and adult mortality.
*LOWER rates of abortion.

And more besides.
Please do explain why the most religious Western nation (the USA) has millions of abortions, STDs, murders, etc. each year, while in Sweden (where 80% are atheist) abortions, STD rates and murders are virtually NIL.
You whole argument is nothing more than a bigoted piece of nonsense which is not supported by academic facts – and you religion is just the same.
As I’m an atheist, perhaps you’d care to tell me why I haven’t killed someone? Why I haven’t raped someone? Why I haven’t abused a child? Why I haven’t had an STD? Why I haven’t committed any crimes? Why I haven’t had a violent fight?
What’s stopping me exactly?
It’s a little something called INNATE MORALITY. I know what will harm someone, and what will not. I have the ability to empathise with my fellow human being, whereas you clearly can’t.
I know, for example, that child rape harms a child and society in so many ways. I also know, that Catholic priests are renowned for it.
But I also know, that a loving gay couple, harm no-one. But the same Catholic priest, who willingly sucks a child’s privates, tells you that their loving and consensual adult relationship is evil.
I know where I get my morality from, and I know where you get your morality from.
The thing is, I’m not a weak mind who needs to be told what is right and wrong. I can see and think about what’s right and wrong – and why. But you can’t do that. You’ve no empathy, you’ve no intelligence and you are just a bigoted idiot with no clue about the world.
Religion stops a thinking mind dead – just as it has with yours.

      1. 2:07 pm
        Many respondents bring up the Catholic Church in their posts. I’m an Orthodox rabbi, I don’t know that much about the Catholic Church.
        I have never done a comprehensive study of Swedish culture so it is hard for me to respond to what you wrote. Assuming for the moment that what you wrote is true; I would have to see how long Sweden has been so predominantly atheistic, they certainly had a Judeo-Christian tradition for many years. My guess is that many of their core values are still based on that. In truth though I am speculating. I would have to look into it more.
        Be that as it may, ultimately ideas are what animate people. If you believe that a human being is the result of a directionless, meaningless, and purposeless process, eventually it will start to affect very deeply how you look at people and how you treat them. You have clearly inherited many of the core values of a Judeo-Christian tradition. The most fundamental of all is that a human being has inherent and intrinsic value and preciousness. This concept is based on Biblical statement that man is created in the image of God.
        In a sense you believe that, you have just eliminated God from the picture. You do not view people as glorified cockroaches, which is in reality what we are.
        Sigmund Freud stated: The moment a man contemplates the meaning and VALUE OF LIFE, he is sick, since objectively neither has any existence.
        My understanding is that you try to treat people as if they have real value, totally contradicting an objective view of a godless world. I hope you continue that way. However, that is a legacy that is almost impossible to pass on to a new generation that has never been exposed to a religious cultural tradition.
        Sadly, there is no such thing as INNATE MORALITY. Our so called innate moral sense gives radically different messages to different people in different societies in different time periods. This “innate moral sense” is notoriously fickle. One man’s deep moral feeling is another man’s indigestion.

        1. 4:26 pm
          I love how you wave away the evidence he put to you by saying “Be that as it may” and then ramble with speculative statements that have no evidence backing them up whatsoever. “eventually it will start to affect very deeply how you look at people and how you treat them.” where is your evidence/proof for that statement rabbi? Robert brought legitimate numbers and you wave them off as to suggest they don’t mean anything. THEY DO MEAN SOMETHING. and once again I tell you to stop quoting that irrelevant statement to simply invoke Freud’s name. It has nothing to do with what he’s talking about and in fact does nothing for your argument. I do hope people can identify and see past these fallacies because under them your argument is nill as I have explained above with the issue of empathy.
Comment 3
Morality is determined by culture. That’s it. Religion is part of some cultures, not so much in others. It’s just one piece of a very complex puzzle that’s never static. That is just the way it is. Deal with it. For those who want to claim that there is some ultimate moral code handed down from just one of the ancient Hebrew deities, the god in question first needs to show up. Being invisible and only communicating through hallucinations and ghost writers is not anywhere near a valid claim to even consider worthwhile. We have to live with the fact that we are the ones who set our own rules. We create the cultures under which we exist. Any faults found are with us, as are the benefits. There is no group of atheists that advocate or even consider pedophilia as a viable cultural option. This author is just plain nuts. He tries to produce an example of psychiatric professionals discussing topics they should be discussing as a point of moral decline somehow. Not discussing things is what gets us in trouble, just like abstinence-only “education” for kids actually increases unwanted pregnancies. Information is good–all kinds of information. Myths and superstitions don’t qualify.

  1. 2:11 pm
    I agree with you. In an atheistic world we “set our own rules.” None are more valid or invalid than any others.
    That is why at least Singer and Marks (and virtually every other major atheistic thinker) are honest enough to state that there is nothing intrinsically wrong with molesting children.

    1. 5:15 pm
      Rabbi again you underhandedly try to imply that atheistic thinkers see nothing wrong with molesting children. They do I assure you. They state, once again I’ll explain since you can’t understand, that NOTHING is intrinsically wrong. You like to only state molestation but they believe that NOTHING is intrinsically wrong OR intrinsically right (Including molestation) because there is no innate intrinsic moral basis. That does not mean there is not a moral basis that we come up with through empathy, learning and science. It amazes me that you can still spout such garbage after this has been explained to you. Stop twisting statements to suit your unfounded argument. REPLY
I think it was important to take you through my debate process. I hope you can see how through learning from his and others statements helped refine my own argument and helped me see what exactly was wrong with his, most notably his logical fallacies. I found it quite exhausting and very infuriating (this being my first argument/debate with anyone over religion) but in the end I felt much more confident and sure about where I stand and exactly why I stand there. My argument was refined with the help of fellow Atheists and I can now say with all the confidence in the world that my current argument against the rabbi has bested his own. It is important also that we help to point out the mistakes to others to stop him from “seeming” correct and intelligent. I take the rabbi’s silence as a bitter sweet win for atheism being that he simply stopped responding to me instead of admitting his mistakes or that he was wrong. 
I am an Atheist. Don’t stop!

30 August, 2011

So Serious Lately, I Feel Like Monkeying Around

In the recent posts I've been discussing morals and how we don't need religion to have morals in a society. In line with this subject is an absolutely outstanding film that was released August 5th "Rise of the Planet of the Apes" A very truly outstanding performance given by all involved most notably James Franco and his CGI Chimp Companion, Caesar, voiced and motion acted by Andy Serkis. I encourage everyone who hasn't see it to go and those of you that have to go again. (other than it being an extremely well done film) It serves as an excellent example of how a society does not need religion/God to develop morals and rather develops them to survive and out of loyalty to those helping them survive.