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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. 

Morals? Second Follow Up

He did respond! Finally. Unfortunately it was essentially a desperate last attempt. Lets give it to him...he can't really say he's wrong about anything that he said he was right about. That would make him wrong. And a religious leader can't be wrong how would that look to his followers. He says that I made a comment that is untrue of his holy book I will dispute that right now before you read the two comment conversation I said that his holy book sanctions rape and that anyone he captures he can rape according to his bible. He says that I obviously do not know the torah or the 5 books of moses for suggesting that they sanction rape and slavery.

Keep the laws of the captive woman Deut.  21:11
Not to sell her into slavery Deut.  21:14
Not to retain her for servitude after having sexual relations with her Deut.  21:14

I do believe rabbi...that's what it says in your holy book. It's not really superficial to say that this says rape and slavery (it says not to sell her into it but it implies that you are able to keep her for servitude/ slavehood until after you rape her) is ok, it's fairly blatantly the only meaning. (This is from the 613 Mitzvot, laws of the jewish religion)

Moshe Averick August 30, 2011 
  1. 3:08 pm
    The point is that if you grow up with cannibalism it will seem perfectly normal to you. Those who object will seem like the strange ones. If there are no absolute moral values, in fact there is nothing wrong with it.
    If you grew up in Rome you would think it was perfectly normal to watch people kill each other for entertainment.You have inculcated basic Judeo/Christian values as the basis for our moral outlook. You consider human beings to be inherently important. That is a direct consequence of the Biblical statement that man is created in image of God and adapted into the Dec.of Ind. as “all men have been endowed by their creator with unalienable rights.” This is not a Greek, Roman, or Babylonian idea. An atheistic world outlook sees a human being as the unintended, purposeless outcome of a blind and directionless evolutionary process. From that perspective a human being is as significant or as insignificant as you want him to be.
    Objectively however, a human has no intrinsic value from that view of reality. AGain, Sigmund Freud: “the moment a man contemplates the meaning and value of life he is sick, since objectively neither has any existence.”
    This is not his personal feeling, it is the simple truth as an atheist that he is stating. If you want to assign value to a human being, by all means, but it has no significance outside of your own head.
    The Torah obviously does not sanction rape although I can understand how from a superficial reading of an English translation of a Latin translation of a Greek translation of a Hebrew Five Books of Moses, you might get that distorted impression. One of the things I explain in the book is that it is impossible to understand Judaism from reading the translation of the five books of Moses.
    But in the meantime, until you actually do some serious study to understand Judaism, feel free to reject orthodox Judaism, and let’s agree on the principles that I mentioned in the article, and we will go forward from there.

    1. 6:47 pm
      There’s nothing superficial in the reading on the sanctioning of rape or slavery rabbi. not to mention the moral obligation kill anyone who works on the sabbath PLEASE do not insult my intelligence or yours by saying such things. Freud’s quote that you seem to love stating adds absolutely nothing to your argument he’s saying nothing of morals. I agree with freud, a persons meaning is only subjectively assigned by themselves, but, rabbi, we’re not discussing meaning so stop quoting it to simply invoke Freud’s name. And I understood your trivial point with your idiotic cannibalism anecdote it seems more that you obviously did not understand mine. I agree that children growing up in that culture will of course not see a problem because, AS I SAID, they believe through most likely religious convictions that there is a logical reason such as healing properties of eating the human flesh. When western society comes along and explains that there is no logical reason for thinking that eating the flesh gives any sort of healing benefit that belief along with the morals that it buttresses are abandoned. It is through advancements in society, through advancements in reason, logic, and science that we are able to have social discussions about what is moral. We don’t need some imaginary friend to police us an tell us. I mean do you honestly believe that until the almighty sent down his commandments to moses they were killing each other left and right. Thats absolutely absurd they wouldn’t have made it to the mountain if that were the case. and If you say morals are innate (just incase) then again I tell you that claim is completely unfalsifiable because we can’t take the morals away. And finally I’d like to comment on your quote from the wise man about the holocaust. It is completely the opposite sir. How could you possibly believe in a god who sat with folded arms while “his” people suffered OVER men and women around the world, Humans, mankind, who risked THEIR lives to set your people free. Reading that from you, a fucking RABBI, is probably the most insulting thing you could ever have said.
After this the rabbi did not respond. As I expected from someone with such pitiful idiotic last attempt. There was a very eloquently put statement that I believe sums up (If you haven't been following) what I'm saying posted by an Eric Pfeifer. 

If this is the quality of philosophy produced by religious thinkers, then I have no anxiety about the spread of atheism in the future.
“Peter Singer says that he has no intrinsic moral taboos. In the same interview in response to the question about Pedophelia he says that “nothing is just wrong.””
I seriously can’t believe that I have to explain this to you, O man who pretends to be learned.
Singer states that ‘nothing is just wrong’ – he does not state that pedophelia is right. Pedophelia is wrong because of the consequences of pedophelia, which is to cause psychological damage to a child. When you pretend that Singer is blessing pedophelia from a hedonistic standpoint, you simply demonstrate your inability to engage in critical discussion without underhanded linguistic tricks.
Likewise, ‘no inherent taboos’ simply means that from a consequentialist perspective there is no forbidden act – all actions are judged based on the consequences, including punishment by society and internal guilt at having caused suffering. Pedophelia is not wrong because children are sacred, but because it harms children and carries severe social sanctions.
I would respect your argument more if you could accurately portray the arguments of your opponents rather than attempting to smear them with half-understood misconceptions.

Morals? Follow Up

I started posting on the comment section of the article to see if I could get a response and to my surprise I did. Here's what I said followed by the rabbi and so on ( It is important that I give you the definition of morals he kept referring to- “Morality is the custom of one’s country and the current feeling of one’s peers. Cannibalism is moral in a cannibalistic country.” (Samuel Butler) )
Now let me just see if I’ve got this correct. It seems that the rabbi could just as easily rationalize pedophilia as I could being an atheist (regardless of the fact that he could very easily rationalize is it by saying that rape and sexual abuse are quite blatantly sanctioned in his holy book) The difference being he can rationalize it but doesn’t do it because he’s got his celestial babysitter and I can rationalize it and don’t do it because through empathy, morals, and values I know that it’s wrong. Now please someone correct me if I’m wrong but doesn’t the fact that I don’t do it to kiss ass to my imaginary master so that I won’t be sent to hell make me….inescapably more moral than the rabbi?
  1. 1:48 am
    How come you “know its wrong” yet Peter Singer and Joel Marks, two prominent atheistic philosophers don’t know it’s wrong? What is the source for your values, besides your own personal preferences? What would stop you from molesting children if you had the same physical desires as a pedophile?
    Please define “morality.” It would be helpful if you gave a definition. It seems clear to me that in an atheistic world, the definition proposed by Samuel Butler that was quoted in the article, is spot-on.

    1. 2:02 am
      I think I can stomach that definition rabbi. Cannibals don’t really often get very far as far as advancing their society. To me and I’m sure many atheists, morals have evolved sociobiologically starting with simple things that helped a species survive and grow through empathy we realized that what hurt us probably hurt others thus the golden rule was born which I believe most moral code is constructed on. By saying more moral than you I was implying that i’m a better person if that helps. and I don’t KNOW it’s wrong that was irresponsible of me to say I’m simply fairly sure its not too pleasant for that person again through empathy (which they have proven is a chemical process in the brain so don’t go off about empathy) I can infer that it wouldn’t really serve anyones best interest to engage in such behavior. while, again, you say that the only reason you don’t do this is because you’re heavenly babysitter is watching you. that seems completely immoral by the standard i’ve just explained. REPLY
    1. 2:16 am
      And you’ve sort of toppled you’re own argument I don’t do it because it’s disgusting. asking what if i had the sexual desires of a pedophile does nothing for you’re argument. It’s obviously not atheism thats allowing him to be a pedophile he’s just that way. it doesn’t matter what dogma or non dogma he prescribes to he’s still going to question why its wrong whether he has a holy book telling him it’s wrong or laws of the majority telling him its wrong. come on rabi REPLY
    1. 2:27 am
      I’ll end with saying this rabbi because to be honest I probably won’t come back to the article. The morality argument has been done, always badly as i think you’ve proved here today once again, and always explainable by atheists. You’ve taken these men out of context as so many theists do. I’m unimpressed, disappointed, and frankly infuriated that you’ve brought this back up AND in a way that says that because I don’t believe in God I can molest a child. If your religion were proved wrong as well as there was proved to be no god tomorrow you wouldn’t go out and molest a child I’d like to give you and your people more credit than that. and to suggest that is the case is insulting to me as an atheist and should be to you as a human being. I expect more rabbi I really do. 
    1. Shnig,
      Again, you have avoided confronting the real issue. While I take you at your word that you find peodophilia disgusting, it is for only one of two reasons:
      a. there is nothing inherently wrong with it, but you have been conditioned by your society to feel that way

      b. you believe that there is something inherently and intrinsically wrong with pedophilia which means that without being aware of it you believe there is some higher source for moral values.
      You have conveniently ignored the fact that all major atheistic philosphers (I mentioned specifically Joel Marks and Peter Singer) understand that atheism inescapably implies amorality. It has become glaringly obvious that none of the atheists commenting on this article have the courage or integrity to directly confront what Marks and Singer have to say.
      Without any reasoned argument to back it up, you claim I take them out of context. Joel Marks says he does not believe there is anything that is moral or immoral, INCLUDING CHILD MOLESTING.
      Please explain how I took that out of context.

      • 12:13 pm
        You insist to believe that it’s wrong I must believe in god rabbi as a higher power and that i have not addressed many things in your argument. to suggest that we all have some innate moral compass set there by god is quite convenient for you isn’t it? it is however unfalsifiable because, again, conveniently for you I can’t take this compass away, and therefore a non explanation as far as i, science, and MANY major atheistic philosophers and scientists are concerned (notice i did not make the awful mistake you did of saying ALL major atheistic philosophers because i’m POSITIVE that not ALL of them agree with the line of thought suggested by marks) and if it is inherent in us how do you explain pedophiles? slipped past god in the compass assembly line? to turn your accusation around on you, you’ve answered NONE of my statements regarding what you would do if there was definitively no god to babysit you while i have answered everything you’ve brought to me rabbi. We as a society have conversed, and arrived at the morals that say pedophile is wrong. It is not just seen this way in jewish societies, but in christian, muslim, hindu, buddhist, and so on. If you claim that at least the last three are entirely untrue as your religion suggests that means that they’ve come to these conclusions ON THEIR OWN without your god telling them what to do. I think rape is an excellent easy to understand example of my point. It’s sanctioned by your bible but we as a society have arrived at the conclusion that it is wrong. There is no consent in rape as there is no consent in pedophilia (Because it suggests someone too young to have developed and matured the ability to consent) So you are able to rape the virgins that you capture however I because I and society have arrived at the conclusion that it is wrong.
        1. do not. I apologize for not finishing the sentence.  

I Also hope, rabbi, that it is now GLARINGLY obvious to you that I have both the courage and integrity (not that it takes much) to confront Marks and Singers claims. I understand their ine of thought but do not agree as you can see glaring you in the face above. again, I do hope that’s glaringly obvious now.    
After this the rabbi did not respond however I reposted the question just in case he had forgotten after he had commented on someone else’s post (He had quite a few enraged posts he was dealing with) I posted after he made this comment:
Peter Singer is a philospher of “Ethics”. The nonchalance with which he discusses the subject makes it implicitly clear where he stands. Perhaps, I will clarify things a bit; I did not mean to say that Singer ADVOCATES bestiality but he certainly approves of it.
“An act that consequently damages or harms another creature” – this sounds good at a superficial level, however, the crippling philosophical flaw is that determining damage or harm to a creature is a subjective judgment – To 150,000,000 Spaniards and Mexicans bullfighting is a wonderful, exciting sport and perfectly acceptable.
As I wrote in my post above, where I put in the entire text of the original draft, roasting human beings for lunch was not considered harming another creature or immoral in the Fiji Islands. It stopped because of Christian/Western influence.
In other words, Wanda, you will determine what is consider “harming another creature” based on your personal preference. What else is there?

1:35 pm
Rabbi you keep bringing up cannibalism as if it helps your argument. Cannibalism was done for the simple fact that they thought they were receiving or doing something for the eaten by eating the body. something that can be chalked up to religion. These societies never got very far until a society that had realized that there is nothing to get from eating the human body came along and explained the mistake. I again put to you what you have not answered bellow. Rape is sanctioned by your holy book and yet we, as a society, have deemed it wrong because there is no consent from the raped. So you can easily rape someone by saying it’s sanctioned and therefore by being the infallible word of god, moral. I as an atheist can not say this and can not do it. We have arrived at morality by constantly discussing and discovering what helps our society and what hurts our society. It’s really quite simple and I don’t know why you refuse to badger me but not answer to any of my statements. REPLY
1:47 pm
*Why you Badger me about definitions that I have hopefully explained to you by now but refuse answering to any of my statements.

The rabbi has still not responded. This shows that if we stand up and speak out against ridiculous arguments that the religious leaders are able to shove down their followers throats we can stop them from doing so. To add more the Rabbi's holy book also condones slavery, and killing a man for working on the sabbath, the pope refuses to budge on the issue of condoms which is killing millions in africa by form of HIV. And the Quran...Goodness need I even start on what by todays societal standards is immoral in the Quran. The fact that we as the majority society deem these things to be immoral despite religion means that yes, indeed we can as a people survive even, dare I say, better without religion. I do admit I fell for the rabbi's fallacies at first when he twisted what marks had said but I would like to tell you that I do now agree with them. The rabbi made it seem like they were just condoning Molestation when in fact they were stating a very evident fundamental truth. NOTHING (including but blatantly obviously not limited to pedophilia) is intrinsically right or intrinsically wrong because there is no innate moral basis. This is quite obvious but these individuals know and have stated that we arrive at our own moral basis in discussions and processes that include  things such as empathy, learning, and science. “Morality is the custom of one’s country and the current feeling of one’s peers. Cannibalism is moral in a cannibalistic country.” (Samuel Butler) 

Morals? Are we STILL Having this Argument?

A Plea to Atheists: Pedophilia is Next on the Slippery Slope

     I just found this article by Rabbi Moshe Averick. The quote that sent me into a furious rage is this "There is nothingthat atheistic societies are incapable of rationalizing and accepting – including the sexual molestation of children." There is nothing more insulting and fundamentally untrue as saying that because I do not believe in God I can rationalize molesting children.
     The rabbi is one of very few that still uses this line of thought; Most apologists and theists, notably William Lane Craig, have moved on to saying that even though Atheists don't believe in god we still have an innate moral compass set by God. Either way of thinking is complete absurdity but sticking with the Rabbi. Freud realized and explained how morals sociobiologically evolved. This has been stated as well as explained constantly to theists and yet it seems to still be their favorite argument to latch on to especially now that they can just say that god has given you a moral compass so you're moral no matter what. It's absolutely and completely nonsensical to suggest such a thing. It can not be falsified since we can't take the moral compass away which makes this explanation void to science, a non explanation.
     As to the quote saying that I am capable of pedophilia because I'm an atheist and can somehow rationalize it I offer you this. I AM an atheist and I, sure as there is no hell, can not even begin to contemplate justification for such an IMMORAL action. Your holy book, rabbi, sanctions sexual abuse and rape quite blatantly. So I ask you who is more likely to rationalize pedophilia? An atheist who knows it's wrong because of empathy, values, and morals, Or you who can quite easily chalk it up to the bible, which is to you, If you are indeed a practicing jew, the infallible word/doctrine of God. Again I ask you Rabbi who is more likely to rationalize this sick disgusting act of which you label me as quite easily being able to do? He is Just as able to rationalize it there's just one fundamental thing he says stopping him; God. While I've stated that his holy book sanctions this lets just say that it doesn't just to give him a boost Lets also say that this rationalization is plausible. As I said, he can rationalize it but doesn't do it because he's got someone watching him, I can rationalize it and not do it because I know it's wrong. Now FEEL FREE to correct me if I'm wrong on this but doesn't that make me.... inescapably MORE moral than the rabbi? I do believe I've won this round.

     I'll depart with, what I think is an excellent retort to the rabbi left on the website by a Scott M.
Vienna Presbyterian Church seeks forgiveness, redemption in wake of abuse scandal
Sexual abuse in the church: not just a “Catholic problem”

     Once more I ask you Rabbi. Who is more likely?

29 August, 2011

Don't Stop

     One more post as I'm setting up my Blog. I've placed a video bar connecting you to the Glee version of the classic hit "Don't Stop Believing" from Journey. I was watching this just now and was stunned at how everything it was saying fit very nicely what I stated in my last blog. It is of course the talk of many civil rights movements however it seemed to resonate quite nicely (Not to mention the coincidence of the red costumes to Dawkins' Scarlet A).

That Which we Call a Rose: We ARE Atheists

     During my short time as an assistant stage manager for the Savannah College of Art and Design's production of  "Fahrenheit 451" I had the pleasure of working with many very talented people (Many who would, on very often an occasion through the production process, not have been recognized as such. But I digress). One of these very talented professionals was a vocal coach. She was explaining to a misguided actor or two one day during rehearsal, that every word means something. I believe she used the word "welcome" to illustrate her point.
     "Think about the word welcome," she said, "split it up into two words. 'Well' and 'Come'. So when you say the word welcome you need to think about why you're saying that word. You need to think about what it really truly means to say welcome. When you can know what you're saying and why you're saying IT rather than something else you'll have reached a much higher level of intelligence, an intelligence which will translate to your audience." I am paraphrasing of course and I'm sure she said it more eloquently. This struck me instantly, I imagine much the same way a christian is struck with the sudden "truth" of Jesus; Every word has a meaning. As someone who speaks the english language daily this still came as some sort of enormously profound revelation. I realized that I in fact don't think about the things that I say or why I say them instead of others when others could be much more appropriate.
     After this epiphany I started analyzing EVERYTHING. It occurred to me through this observation that we live largely in a world, not of definition, but of connotation. This began to alarm me when I looked at one word in particular. The word you've probably been waiting for me to write. Atheism.
     When people says this word they say it in distain. They say it as if the people who prescribe to this word are inherently evil; It's become, by incredibly unjust means, the devils word. I must confess that I myself was one of those people up until a couple months ago and even when I accepted myself as an atheist the word still held a certain unfavorable pungency to it. Until, that is, I looked at what it actually meant.
     To understand the word Atheist you have to understand the prefix 'A' (not) and the word 'Theism' (The belief in a deity that intervenes in human affairs; not to be confused, as it so often is, with deism) once you see that and you understand the word it becomes evident that nowhere in its meaning does it warrant the statement that atheists are evil, immoral people. (nowhere either does it suggest that Atheism is some sort of dogmatic alternative to religion; a misidentification that would be nice to once and for all dispel). Atheists then are simply people that do not believe in a god or gods. This in no way makes them less moral than a christian or inherently capable of doing more evil than a muslim (In fact I myself would have to emphatically state the opposite, especially in regards to the latter).
     It's really very sad that because this word has been taken and distorted, mutilated and discriminated against that atheists are afraid to come out of the proverbial closet and definitively label themselves to state what they believe. I feel that this is turning into an, at the present mild, form of the homosexual civil rights movement. Well guess what ladies and gentlemen this ignorant society needs to be set straight and educated on what we are as atheists and more importantly WHO we are. I feel an "and I'm an Atheist" campaign brewing.
     Many people, including Richard Dawkins who I regard as a hero and inspiration, have suggested that we, the atheists, should start calling ourselves something different in order to do away with the nasty prejudices that come with the word atheist. I believe Dawkins suggested the title 'brights' as his nominee for the alternative, and as much as I admire him I have to disagree with Dawkins on this point. It seems to me that changing our title would only be letting ignorance and its people win. Atheist is what I am. It concisely summarizes what I believe, or rather, what I don't believe. It says nothing about who I am as a person. I have to insist emphatically that Atheists keep this word and use it as it was meant to be used. If we do let that title go we are in every respect giving into ignorance, which is the very thing that atheists fight against.
     I think it must be said as well that even if we call ourselves by another name It does not in any way change the thoughts and prejudices of people on what we believe. It's sort of like changing creationism into intelligent design while we haven't tried to change anything at all. As long as people still have the undying passion to make me believe in their god this will continue. They will label us as evil, morally wrong and at the very least less than themselves.
     Instead of giving in why don't we fight? Fight against the long held ignorance of this word. Wear the word atheist as a badge of honor. Give people role models like Richard Dawkins, Christopher Hitchens, and Hawking that aren't afraid to come out and say they're atheists. The more and more publicly declared atheists we have the less and less the religious can force their connotations down ignorant throats. People can then emerge from this idiotic irrational dark age closet formed by bigotry and prejudice into a newer brighter truer world that values people for who they are and what they contribute to society rather than what they believe. In the mean time I have no problem telling you and all of the rest of the world: I am an Atheist and I am proud.