Thursday, 8 December 2011

X-mas bullshit...

Whilst perusing facebook at work today I came across this status plastered everywhere:

"Just so everyone knows, I have a CHRISTMAS TREE in my living room (not a holiday tree), my family will be getting CHRISTMAS PRESENTS (not holiday gifts) and we will eat CHRISTMAS DINNER (not a holiday meal), and I will attend a CHRISTMAS PARTY (not a holiday party). I will also very cheerfully wish you a MERRY CHRISTMAS! (not... happy holidays). By the way, if you want to have a Happy Hanukah, by all means do, I respect that. If you want to have a Blessed Kwanzaa, I also respect that. I want to have a Merry Christmas, so I ask YOU to respect that!!! "

For some reason this just infuriated me (mostly because in the UK there has never really been a Christmas/holidays issue), I just felt like screaming "I don't give a flying fuck what you celebrate in your own home!" I found the whole thing quite arrogant; the statement that this person would wish me a merry Christmas (a holiday celebrating a religious event I don't believe in) but by no means would say happy holidays yet they ask that I respect their beliefs. The entirety of the post seems to me to say: If you're religious I respect you, if not I don't but I want to seem politically correct and want you to respect me.

I tried not to make a fuss though I did have to remark that the person was actually celebrating the winter solstice; a holiday stolen by the Christian church. What do you think? Am I overreacting or is my anger at this status deserved?

Tuesday, 6 December 2011


Unfortunately a colleague of mine passed away the other day, it was an extremely sad event, however, it resulted in an onslaught of religious expression throughout the office which set me to thinking. In situations like this I will, as I would assume most people would, refrain from anti-theistic remarks; if somebodies religion helps them through a difficult episode it is not my place to trample on that. What really got me thinking was when I was signing a card for my colleagues family I barely prevented myself from writing "may he rest in peace." Although it may be a nice thing to say I believe that it would have been written under false pretences.

As an atheist I believe that the statement rest in piece is just a meaningless platitude offered in place of something truly meaningful, yet I know it is a statement theists and atheists a like will often say. I settled for: "he was a man whom I was honoured to know and he will be sorely missed"; not only do I believe this is far more personal and meaningful than R.I.P but I believe it is honest.

I would like to know what your opinions are on this; is spouting something you believe to be false ok in such a circumstance, is offering platitudes to try and comfort someone fine or should we try to be more honest?
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Sunday, 4 December 2011

News Story of the Week

This week the Catholic church and other Christian sects have been rebelling against the so called "birth control mandate" initiated by President Obama's administration. The mandate is ensuring medical institutions and insurers to provide "preventative health care" essentially provide affordable birth control devices, procedures and drugs.

In my opinion this topic has absolutely nothing to do with the church, of course they aren't going to like the concept as it goes against their teachings but does that really mean that nobody should have access to these services regardless of their faith? Whether or not an individual wishes to have access to these services and products is their decision, the church has no authority to insist otherwise.

I believe that the US first amendment is quite clear regarding the separation of church and state so how is it that the Catholic church seems to think they should have it their way? This story really makes me happy that I live in the UK!

For the link to the original article click Here

Coming out...

Here's the thing, in the UK most people are pretty damn laid back with regards to religion, and due to this I have never really felt isolated due to my beliefs like many of my online atheist friends. All my friends are perfectly aware of my (lack of) religious beliefs, and on the whole most of my friends probably share my viewpoints. In the grand scheme f things I've got things pretty good, that is until I'm around my family; apart from my brother (also an atheist) my entire family are quite religious, and although I'm quite certain they know I'm an atheist it's something we have never once discussed (this is probably due to the fact that my mother threatened to kick my older brother out of the house when he came out as an atheist).

I often wonder is their any point in coming out as an atheist to them, I only see my family maybe once or twice a year, they don't really hold any negative views regarding atheism (as it seems is commonly the case in the US) so I don't think me coming out would alter their perceptions regarding the subject, and we never actually discuss religion in any way shape or form.

I'd love to hear what any of you guys think and/or any personal experiences you may have had in regards to "coming out" as an atheist.

Saturday, 3 December 2011

and drumroll please.....Religious Argument No.1

No new species has ever been seen to arise

For a long time this was a valid argument; even though we had frequently observed what the fundies refer to as micro-evolution (small adaptations within a species), we had not fully witnessed macro-evolution (development of a new species by evolution). Even though all people of rational mind can understand and (usually) believe that this “macro-evolution” does occur we understand that due to the timeframe these changes require the likelihood of actually witnessing macro-evolution are very small.

However in 2008 a study by Blount, Borland and Lenski showed proof of this “macro-evolution," and not only has it been witnessed, and all data samples maintained to prove that this did happen, the process is repeatable. This is an amazing discovery and definitive proof of evolution.

The link to paper is below, I would advise having a read through, it is quite an impressive article!

Religious Argument No.2

You can’t prove God doesn’t exist!

I was going to put this as No. 1 purely because it comes up so frequently and is so annoying but I think due to the actual importance of the now No.1 this statement had to get knocked down a peg.

No I can’t, but as comedian Ricky Gervais puts it “It annoys me that the burden of proof is on us. It should be: ‘You came up with the idea. Why do you believe it?’ I could tell you I’ve got superpowers. But I can’t go up to people saying ‘Prove I can’t fly.” They’d go: ‘What do you mean ‘Prove you can’t fly’? Prove you can!”

I think Ricky has it spot on, at the end of the day I’m not the one who believes that there is a magical man up in the sky, and that the earth is only 6,000 years old regardless of any evidence that contradicts my beliefs, why should the onus be on myself to disprove the essentially insane claims of the religious.

Religious Argument No.3

Historical records show that Jesus was real etc.

I’ve pretty much covered this in a previous post, but I’ll break it down into 2 parts:

1. Records regarding the existence of Jesus are not exactly clear, there are many scholars today that believe that there is significant evidence to suggest the man never even existed, some scholars believe he probably did exist (a lot of this is based on Roman records of execution which outline the execution of “Josephus” around about the same time-frame) but that most accounts detailed in the bible are wildly inaccurate and heavily embellished.

Which leads us quite nicely onto point 2:

2.Was Jesus the son of god / god incarnate as man; I would say that this is essentially the basis of the argument, the answer…no. Many people would try to slam me at this point for being so certain of this point, however, during this time period there were actually many “messiahs” roaming about, most of them quite widely reported in historical texts, and yet here we have the bible telling us that Jesus was the one true messiah wandering the land, performing miracles, healing the sick (most of the other messiahs were also claimed to have carried out the same acts) and yet we have no real historical evidence, surely if this guy had been the real deal the records would vastly outweigh any records for the other messiahs…but they don’t!

Religious Argument No.4

I know from personal experience / in my heart that god is real

This one is just stupid, I am actually quite aggravated in responding this (and I set myself this challenge), personal emotions and opinions do not equate to fact; that would be like a jury sentencing someone to the electric chair because in their heart they believe them to be guilty regardless of any evidence. Essentially this statement is just stupid and illogical.

Religious Argument No.5

The bible has historical truths therefore it must all be true

If you can’t spot the fallacy in this statement you deserve a slap…with a baseball bat. I always find it amusing to turn this argument around and make a comparison to something else such as “The Lion, he Witch and the Wardrobe” It starts during the Second World War which I’m pretty sure actually happened, the children we’re evacuated out of London to a more rural area for their safety (again this happened) so that must mean NARNIA IS REAL!!

I think that should be enough to put that one to rest but I’ll delve a bit further, ok there are some historical events mentioned in the bible that did happen, however, there are so many that we know to be incorrect; for example the fact that there is no evidence outside of the bible that suggests the Israelites were enslaved by the Egyptians (who tended to keep pretty good records of things so you’d expect to see at least some evidence), or that there was any mass exodus of slaves from Egypt, or that there was ever a man named Moses who had any part in these fictional activities. Let’s put it this way, even the very existence of Jesus is frequently questioned by historians…it’s all true? Not a chance!