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I woke up this morning to children playing in the streets, the hum of cars passing by, the sound of a jet above, and the over all workings of a modern society going through its every day routines. Once again, another viral end of the world prediction didn’t come to light.

Boy, my hole-in-the-wall blog definitely got a lot of attention during this week, though. I topped out at 89 hits in one day, and even 81 hits two days before. Absolutely crazy! I would like to thank everyone that visited, and even subscribed to this blog. Even a bigger thank you to those that posted my blog onto Digg, Reddit, and even Facebook.

So what does this mean, and what will happen next? My next prediction says that Harold Camping will apologize not to those people he had mistaken, but for his own personal misfortune of being wrong. I’m not sure if he will make another prediction or not, but if he gets the chance, I’m fairly sure he will squeeze one in before his death. As for Christians around the world who have mocked Camping and his followers, I want you to look a bit more introspectively. If you believe that the rapture will happen, then you’re not much farther than Camping and his followers. To mock and ridicule those people is to mock and ridicule a part of your beliefs, too. For those that are agnostic or atheistic and ridiculed Camping, then you’re doing nothing but kicking a dead horse. Best to leave the “I told you so” to yourself and use this as evidence that Christianity, and religion, can be false.

Now with 5/21/11 out of the way, expect to hear from end of the world believers again in 12/21/12; the Mayan end of the world believers.


Is America REALLY a Christian nation?

Image from Wikipedia

Many fundamentalist Christians love to scream and claim that America is really a Christian based nation. The Amendment to our Constitution currently states:

“Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances.”

Many like to twist the word play on the first statement to mean that the government can no set up their own religious establishment, or that the government can not base it’s workings around one single establishment, or denomination, of Christianity. Thus, eliminating the idea of “separation between church and state” as written to the Danbury Baptists by Thomas Jefferson.

This last week, I came across a little gem and have been doing some homework on it. After America signed and approved it’s Constitution, we began to set up our own private trading routes. Many of these routes were lined with Barbary pirates of the Mediterranean sea and Atlantic ocean. Soon, war broke out and trade slowed.

In 1796, the Treaty of Tripoli was signed by America’s 2nd President, John Adams. This treaty was approved by a landslide majority of the Senate, and received absolutely no debate in it’s enactment into law. Now, here’s the gem of it all. Article 11 to the Treaty of Tripoli states:

As the Government of the United States of America is not, in any sense, founded on the Christian religion,—as it has in itself no character of enmity against the laws, religion, or tranquility, of Mussulmen,—and as the said States never entered into any war or act of hostility against any Mahometan nation, it is declared by the parties that no pretext arising from religious opinions shall ever produce an interruption of the harmony existing between the two countries.”

Yes, you see it. The treaty clearly states that America is not founded on the Christian religion. Approved by the Senate and signed into full law by President Adams with absolutely no debate, this treaty is evidence that the founding fathers of this nation did not want any religion, or even non-religion, to be the rule of the land. America is called the “land of the free”, not the “land of the free for only people who only think like me”. To say the latter, is to turn your back on the foundation of this nation and to be on the position of ruling the mind, body, and freedom of choice.

~E pluribus unum

Purpose without a God

There’s no point in living if you don’t believe in God.

Boy, have I seen this normative argument plenty of times. Especially since this is completely wrong. Whether or not you believe in a God or not, doesn’t change a thing about the value of life. It’s not just western atheists that don’t believe in God, but also many Asian and African civilizations. Buddhists, though they have spirituality, have absolutely no God that they worship, just a man that lived and relived. Yet, you don’t see these people committing suicide because live serves no purpose. Instead, they live on and in their own friends and families.

Many years ago, I remember watching a documentary on ancient Egypt. I remember watching a man pull out an old broken up pot and explaining what that pot was used for. At that moment, I had the most amazing epiphany ever in my life. The person that made that pot is immortal. Odd to think that someone who has no name or face lives on in immortality. No, not because of a God or Heaven, but because of his work done here on Earth. That one simple pot helped others, and even today, still helps others. That pot may bought by someone who used that pot to make their life more simple. In return, that pot was paid for and that money was used to help the person that made that pot. Those people went on to live their life through their friends and their families. They passed on experiences that brightened up someones’ day, or maybe even changed the society. Also, those people may have passed their experiences and genes on to their offspring which, in turn, helped keep their society alive, and ultimately, all of humanity. Finally, the fact that they existed in the first place, no matter the magic or force used, can never be erased. These thing alone are more than enough to keep giving me value and purpose to live my life with, or without, a God.

Now, thinking about life is fine, but what of the afterlife? Many claim that it’s complete bliss. You receive the things you want and get to stand and worship the God that you spent your life loving. This, to me, seems completely empty. Much like cheating on a video game, you would become very bored with it all. You put no effort into getting any reward you desire. One of the main great factors of being human is the fact that your hard effort and time and rewarded with not only the things that you pleasure, but that pat on the back that you accomplished something. Can it be that the idea of a Heaven and afterlife completely removes a huge part of what it means to be a human being?

Understanding “Militant Atheists” and “militant Christians”, and why they’re a bad thing.

Many Christians like to use the term “militant atheist” to describe an atheist that uses aggressive tactics and belittling comments to attack their religion and get them to see reason. Now, Christians aren’t out of this hot water, either. Atheists use the term “militant Christian” for any Christian that is literally hell bent to stop their fellow man from going to hell, and will use just as nasty threats and aggressive comments as well. As scary as it sounds, both of these groups have nearly identical intentions.

The “militant atheist” stems from a sense of revenge. Many are past members of cults, or even past preachers of the gospel, and feel that they have wasted their money, time, and all around lifetime tending to mindless dogma. They do partially want to destroy belief, but this is not the main drive for their actions. Though they use aggressive tactics like pointing out the strong fallacies and immoralities of the bible, the hypocrisies of the church, and then follow through with  personal character attacks, amazingly enough, they want the same outcome that many “militant Christians” want.

The “militant Christian” is deep into their faith to the point where they become hypocritical and then begin to hate. Generally, this hate is more driven upon what their pastor says, than what their holy book says, and therefor is seen as hypocritical. To them, atheism is viewed as either the inner workings of  the devil or their lack of presence of the “holy ghost”. The promise of hell and eternal tormenting pain is always in their arsenal of attacks and then is followed by either a belittling remark based on their pride in Jesus, or a personal attack. Scary that “militant atheists” pair so well with this group, right?

I can prove that both parties want the same exact outcome. They both want to “save” the other party from either their religious zealotry, or “save” their fellow man from hell. Ultimately, both of these actions are directly geared towards the bettering of human kind. It is interesting to think that two nearly radical groups could have the same exact basis for their actions, but it is there. In the end, though, both of them are completely wrong with how they handle themselves, and how they assert their beliefs.

Back in the days of my elementary school, I was forced to take an anger management course. Now, in all reality, I didn’t need this course at all since my “anger” was rooted in the fact that I had childhood depression, but the idea that children could be depressed, too, was not formed until long after those school days. Either way, I came out with a bit of wisdom from that course. I learned that it’s “OK to be mad, but not OK to be angry”. In other words, it’s OK to feel mad, but it’s not OK to act aggressive because you’re mad. I have a personal theory that when people act aggressive towards one another, they are not actually being aggressive towards that other person, per-say, but rather being aggressive towards themselves.

A “militant atheist’s” aggression lies in the fact that they both want to “save” humanity from dogmatic practices, but this aggression stems from their past dealing with how they were treated in church, or how they personally view their experiences in the church. This then creates a feeling of desperation within themselves since they want to both “save” that person from their dogma, and better humanity. For a “militant Christian”, they want to save humanity from the eternal torment of hell, but this aggression lies in the fact that they have a misplace form of self-righteousness; they literally want to do God’s work for either brownie points, or self gratification.

How do we get past this? Well, we need to stop with the direct attacks and start actually using words, reason, and facts; instead of turning a simple argument into nothing more than a sizing up of genitalia. The key to removing aggression is to practice patience. The moment you can calm down and actually think, is the moment that you have taken one step closer to winning that argument. If you can take some time to step out of the room room or away from the computer to cool down, you are then the “bigger man” in the battle. You can also then go back into battle with a newly refreshed and clear mind.

Welcome To the Ball and Cup Game

Imagine for one moment an entire floor of a hall filled to the edges with cups of all different sorts and colors. Now imagine if someone had told you that there is one ball in one of those thousands of cups, and if you find that ball, you then win an eternity of happiness. But, if you choose the wrong cup, there could be foul consequences. Also, you are unable to lift a cup up until your time has come.

This exact same game is played by the religious and non-religious all the time. Each person picking their own unique cup, but not knowing if that cup really contains the ball underneath it. One giant guessing game, with one giant question. Where is the ball?

Each cup, of course, represents a different religion. Each cup can even represent a whole different denomination, or even a whole church, too. Each player screams that their cup has the ball underneath it, but not a single player is wholly certain if it is or not. The worse part of the game, is that you must believe that your cup contains the ball for many, many years. No, you can’t pick up the cup and look underneath, all you can do is stare at the cup and learn about the story of the cup. You also have to judge whether or not that the stories of the cup are true or false, or just jump in blindly and follow the words passed down of the cup’s legacy.

Then there are the players that have at least one of those two burning questions. Is the ball even in a cup that is visible to everyone? Is there even a ball in a cup at all? In other words, do we even know the correct religion and God(s) at all, or does a God even exist?

Christianity has thousands of denominations all screaming they have the ball. Judaism and Islam scream they have the ball. Hindus, Buddhists, and Scientologists all scream they have the ball. Even ancient religions like Greek or Roman screamed that they have the ball. Each one of these groups claims a cup, yet can not directly prove that the ball is in their cup, because they themselves are also unable to lift the cup until their day has come.

Now you have all this information at your hands. Now you must stand and ask yourself, “am I really going to be choosing the right cup?” Now you must ask yourself, “should I switch cups?” Finally, the biggest question of them all, “does the ball even exist?”

Welcome to God’s game.

Why I Am An Atheist

The post “The Sparking of My Atheism” covered how I grew my fervency to fight against cult based religions, but it does not explain why I am an atheist today. Especially since I never grew up in a church. In other words, I never went to a church mass at all. This really gave me the opportunity to be on the outside of both positions and look inside.

My atheist thinking actually started very young. The only thing I knew of God, were the things that I saw on TV. Pastors, symbols, churches, and so on were always shown on TV, and were also around me in the world. I never did understand any point of it, nor did I have any curiosity for it. When I was about seven, we visited my aunt and I got my first introduction into Christianity. She read the story of Noah and the Ark. Yes, it was definitely a children’s book of the story, but it still involved God and Noah. I remember thinking that that story was completely separate from the Bible, and that it was in no way true, or even possible for that matter. The story was there just to teach a bit about God in a metaphorical sense.

When I finally hit the age of 12, I soon began to believe in God and Jesus. I prayed constantly. Mainly for myself the first few times, but I realized that I was being selfish and should be praying for others instead. I would pray and I would wait. Nothing would happen other than I would feel good for that hour or so. I would pray some more, I would feel good again, but nothing would happen once again. I really began to question my own self and was wondering if it was real. I was thinking that maybe if I joined a church, I would learn the proper way to pray so that I really could call on God to help others.

I was 15 when my first atheist experience happened. I found out that Noah and the Ark are in the bible and are considered to have actually happened. I also got the full gruesome details of the entire story. I could not believe this. I began to ask things like, “where did the water come from”, “why do we have plants if Noah only brought animals”, “how did Noah feed every animal”, “how did Noah get the animals from Antarctica”, “how did all those animals survive in that small of an area”, and my favorite, “how did all the animals survive after the water receded and there was no food on the ground?” The questions were a shock to my system, and I could not believe that Noah had actually existed unless there was more to the story that I didn’t know about.

Then, I hit the age of 17. My parents bought a small church and converted it into a wedding chapel. They also leased it out to different congregations. My dad even went online, payed $20, and became an ordained minister so that he could marry people. I took this opportunity to maybe sneak into a church session one day, but that idea started to crumble fast. Many of the pastors that were renting from my parents were very, very rude. They let their followers destroy our building, and they refused to even help pay for the damages, especially since they knew my parents ran their business and livelihood through it. I was also stumbling on the pastors’ finances every now and then, and seeing how much money they were pulling in from tithes and offerings. My parents were renting the building for relatively cheap, and these pastors were raking in thousands a week. Not a single one of these pastors had any community projects or offered their tithes to their own congregates who were in need. One pastor even outright stated that “church is a business”. I really began to lose faith in there being a church that could help me.

After this, I soon took on my mother’s agnostic approach of,  “if there is a God, I’ll just answer to Him. If not, then I guess I answer to nobody.” This thought process continued for quite a few years. Well, until I got a girlfriend that was very much into debating things like family life, politics, and even religion. We used to stay up for hours debating religion. She was also agnostic, but more of a spiritual agnostic that believed in ghosts and reincarnation (don’t get me started on that hypocrisy). Our main topics were definitely towards Mormonism and the blatant idiocy and attention seeking of Joseph Smith. Mainly because her family attended a Mormon church for a few months. It was also very interesting hearing her tales of Sunday teaching during mass. These conversations did keep me questioning though, and I was thirsty for answers.

I finally hit the age of 23. At this point, my girlfriend and I had split for the third, and nearly final time, and I was back to being an agnostic with questions. About a year passed, and one night, while surfing the internet, I ran across a BlogTV conversation with LovingDoubt and DannyPantsGM. Both of these two are Youtube atheists, and are great people. As I sat and listened to their stories, everything began to unravel and finally make sense. The cultish drive on my town’s church proved to me that not everything in greed is based on silver and gold. You can be greedy for popularity, too. Everything I questioned with the story of Noah was completely accurate and showed that the story is taken literally by many, but it is completely unprovable. Pastors are greedy and rude, and the majority of them do steal from their offerings and leave little remorse to anyone outside of their congregation. Now, I had found my solid ground to outright declare myself as an atheist. Not a solid professional atheist, but an atheist at the least.

I now sit at the age of 25. I have debated with many believers, and have immersed myself in with the non-believers. I have read many parts of the bible, and have heard many parts that atheists argue with. I have also immersed myself into science, which is something I have always wanted to do as a kid, and am now learning far more than what I have in all my years of schooling.

I have finally come to this conclusion. God did not create man, man created God. Man has created God and Gods in an attempt to personify the universe, but in reality, the universe is not a person, but an uncaring thing. Gods have also been used as nothing more than a crutch to explain the bad things that happen to them because of nature, and have also been used as a crutch to enlighten the good things that happen. Humanity is only allowing their minds to fool itself with the ideology of a God. Science brings the facts of our known nature to the mind, whereas religion only brings raw emotion to a person, calls it “faith”, and then proceeds to label it as fact. Fact is something that is both provable, and is replicable. Religion, in all it’s thousands of years, has yet to prove that a God does exist, or that even it’s most fundamental foundation, the spirit, exists.

Would the World be Better?

A big question that I run across constantly is if the world would truly be better off without religion. Not only do atheists ask this, but so do theists (generally as a form of challenge). It is definitely a valid question, and contains a very complicated answer.

The first big thing to come to mind, as it was probably yours too, is if ending religion would end hate? Truthfully, getting rid of religion would not end hate or even correct the world’s politics. Yes, it would make an impact in lessening hate, but people generally flock into like-minded groups, and many of these groups do instill hatred. It doesn’t take long to find many groups that do not use religion as a form of hatred. Political, gender, and conspiracy theorist type groups are well known to drive hate without the use of religion. Hate will continue to exist as long as there are options out there to drive hatred.

The one big thing that religion does hinder, though, is science and social growth. Ideas like the world flooding with water that’s dropped in enormous amounts through the sky while some 600 year old guy is filling a small boat with the world’s animals, or entire rivers splitting at the will of a man only to swallow their enemy in the end, or even a man coming back to life after death are ideas that go greatly against the rules we know of the natural world, and what science knows. Religion has, and still is, a huge hinder to the progressive growth of science and human thinking. Each religion jumps up and screams that their ideas of the supernatural are “real” and “the truth”, but show absolutely no evidence that it has happened, or is true. The problem is, some of these people become so fervent in their beliefs, they not only shut out reality, they seek to destroy anything that says otherwise, including human beings.

Religious idea is only a small possibility out of billions on how this world came to be. For all we know, we could have been created from the intestinal expulsion of gas from some fat guy eating popcorn at the movie theater. To fervently pursue religious thought as ultimate truth can not only be foolish and self-destructive, but it can even hinder and damage the growth of humanity if you force your way of thinking onto others. Allow others to think differently than your own self, and let them live their own lives as they have let you live your own. Well, unless you truly do not want yourself and others to live in a world of technological advancements like entertainment, or even better growth in their health and well being. Then again, would you even have the right to strip another human being of this life if they had truly wanted it?