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STOP IT.

I’m talking of course to you, OBNOXIOUS ATHEISTS. Stop hating.  STOPPIT.

NOW LET’S QUALIFY THE SHIT OUT OF THIS STATEMENT.

I have no problem at all with DECENT NORMAL PEOPLE who ARE NOT OBNOXIOUS.  Let’s be perfectly honest—so long as you stay out of my face, I don’t care if you worship God, Jesus, Vishnu, Ramen, Horus, Thor, Hiddleston, Nyancat, or NOTHING AT ALL.

I REALLY DON’T GIVE A HOOT.

Who am I talking to, then, in this BROADSIDE?

I’m talking to OBNOXIOUS PEOPLE.

Specifically, the people who HATE ON RELIGION.

Now if you’re going to say that organized religion has a tendency to be CORRUPT, then I’d be fine.  ANYTHING wrought by man TENDS TO BE CORRUPTED SOONER OR LATER, except, of course, as everyone knows, IN-N-OUT BURGER.   That shit is DELICIOUS.

If you’re going to say that organized religion has a history of VIOLENT TORTURE AND DEATH, then I’m fine with that too, after all, IT HAPPENS TO BE TRUE.

HOWEVER.

DO NOT SAY in MY PRESENCE that ORGANIZED RELIGION is the CAUSATIVE AGENT for (a) ALL WAR AND DEATH, (b) MOST WAR AND DEATH, or (c) THE MAJORITY OF WAR AND DEATH.   You do NOT bring that shit in MY HOUSE.

Do you know what causes war and death?

STUPID GREEDY PEOPLE.

Do you know what causes stupid greedy people?

NOT RELIGION.

PEOPLE WHO ARE STUPID AND/OR GREEDY AND POWERFUL.

NOW THAT WE’VE ESTABLISHED THAT, LET’S MOVE ON.

You know WHAT ELSE you can’t do?

YES THAT’S RIGHT I SAID CAN’T, as in THE CONTRACTION OF CAN NOT. I’m laying down a LAW here, ****er.

WHAT YOU CANNOT DO is MOCK people for believing in RELIGION.

You can MOCK THEIR RELIGION ALL YOU WANT, go ahead, fine, they’ll just think you’re an ass.  BUT DO NOT MOCK BELIEF.

HUMAN TRUST IS AMONG THE MOST POTENT OF EMOTIONS.  If you want to mock something, mock people who trust BLINDLY and CLOSE THEIR EYES TO ALL ELSE. But those people are easy to find—they’re in the NEWS, because they get EBOLA and then they DON’T GET MEDICAL CARE and then surprisingly DIE.  And approximately NO ONE is surprised.

So when you talk about religion, when you talk about SPIRITUALITY, when you talk about A PILLAR OF HUMAN EXISTENCE, do us all a favor and don’t giggle about people’s “Imaginary Friends.”  It’s not an IMAGINARY FRIEND, it’s the ANIMATE INCARNATION OF THE NUMINOUS, and until you can use words like ANIMATE INCARNATION OF THE NUMINOUS to defend your IRRITATING JOKE you can just QUIETLY GO AWAY.

THERE ARE LOTS OF FUNDAMENTALLY DECENT HUMAN BEINGS who are atheists.  THEN THERE ARE ASSHOLES who give them ALL a bad name by doing things like say “Oh remember the famous historical atheists who killed thousands of people? Oh wait, that never happens.”

*COUGH COUGH* MAOSTALIN *COUGH COUGH*  OH SORRY I INHALED SOME BULLSHIT AND HAD AN ALLERGIC REACTION.

CLOCKING IN AT A HIGH SECOND ON THE “THINGS THAT PISS ME OFF” O-METER IS THIS GEM FROM wonderful human being and fabulous comedian Ricky Gervais, who I love dearly.  A very entertaining man and I’m sure a generally decent person.  HOWEVER he happens to have also created a tweet that ANNOYS ME, and so in the TRADITION OF THE INTERNET I am going to SHOUT ABOUT IT ON MY BLOG.

What is problematic about this statement? LET’S BE CLEAR THAT  WE’RE TALKING ABOUT THE STATEMENT and not the PERSON, because I only do ad hominem against political figures I dislike (such as when I talk about my theory that Romney is a sophisticated marionette operated by a foreign child-man who doesn’t speak fluent English…but that’s a subject I’ll save for later).

Now, we can make all sorts of noise about whether or not we have the right to judge a tweet.  After all, you pretty much have to literally ask to hear this (by following a twitter account).   But, luckily, someone took a picture of it and started spreading it around the internet, and so of course it’s now free game according to some rules that I just made up.  And using it I will explore this topic in a more calm and reasoned fashion.

HAH.  JUST KIDDING.

So what strikes me as problematic about this statement is the false dichotomy being created between religion and science.   When we talk about religion as the thing implicated in wars and intolerance, we are talking about religion as a system of belief, an ultimately rational, intellectual content propagated via cultural interaction.  This is religion as a social entity.  Which is of course the OPPOSITE of the standard definition of science (a collection of knowledge).

A belief system is a powerful thing. Belief systems drive people and families, societies and communities.  But not all belief systems are religions, and a religion is more than a belief system.

For an example provided to me by another AWESOME BLOGGER over at http://lesbicrafty.blogspot.com/, because we communicate from time to time, we’ll turn our attention to THE CULTURAL REVOLUTION in China.  This is a belief system at work.  The sweeping scope, the ideological supremacist overtones, the call for individual action–it has everything we’d want.  To say it caused millions of deaths is absolutely possible.

It was also entirely divorced from religion and spirituality.  It was grounded in the material and political, and steamrolled an entire country.

Oh, and by the way, don’t tell me, DON’T EVEN START by saying “yeah, but religious revolutions have killed way more people throughout history!”  At that point we’ve already established that religious fervor and ideological fervor are essentially identical, and your only argument then becomes “religion has had more time to murder us.”   So that’s not a path that you want to go down.  Especially not right now, because I AM TALKING.

NOT TO MENTION that “religion” is an INCREDIBLY COMPLEX IDEA.  It can be narrowly defined (by Wikipedia) as a collection of belief systemscultural systems, and worldviews that relate humanity to spirituality and, sometimes, to moral values.”  However, if you narrowly defined religion this way, I would think you were WRONG, because you need to be more specific about how religion relates to spirituality and the individual.

There is a tendency, thanks to ANTHROPOLOGY (thanks a lot, anthropology. Asshole.) to think of the ‘religious’ as a wholly social object, ignoring the individual experience, and I think this is BATSHIT, because without the individual spiritual experience and impulsion toward moral agency, WHAT THE HELL IS THE PURPOSE OF RELIGION?  To translate: if you’re not talking about something that resonates in your soul and drives you to a higher standard of behavior, then you’re pretty much talking about a simple social construct, belief system.  But when you add in that numinous aspect, that idea of the holy, if you will, then we are talking about religion.  ACCORDING TO ME, ANYWAY.  And that’s the important point, isn’t it, since it’s my blog?

LOOKING AT RELIGION as a cultural system of belief reinforced by the division of the holy, the individual spirituality, and the drive for individual moral agency, then, we have something that is really not merely a cultural belief.  We have a definition that seems to account for the strange place religion occupies.  We can also then use this to talk about how people become fanatical as regards a non-religious concept: They apply a personal, spiritual significance to a system of beliefs that defines what is holy and what is mundane, a system that impels them toward a particular course of action.   This passion, this fervor, then reinforces and expands their beliefs, provides them with moments of transcendence and a sense of purpose.

Last but not least, what if we did this? What if we redefined science as the belief in the permanence and reliability of the human sensory capacity, the belief that anything can be learned if it can be studied, the belief that all knowledge in the world is wonderful and deserving of exploration for its own sake alone? The idea that we can create a functional model of reality simply with our own observation and cognition?  The driving passion to explore?  The glorious moment of seeing something in a whole new way, looking out at the stars and feeling the immensity and grandeur of the universe stir you to your soul? ISN’T THAT THE SHIT?

Well, then, lo and behold, by this definition we’ve managed to capture “scientific atheism” as a religious belief system as well.

AND LEST YOU THINK that I am waxing banausic, LEST YOU THINK that I am reducing all the world to cogs and definitions and NEAT, PRETTY LITTLE CATEGORIES, PLEASE ALLOW ME TO POINT OUT that we have NO IDEA what it is that DRIVES this passion.  We haven’t the FAINTEST concept of WHY something calls to a person in this way, WHAT IT IS that inspires FAITH, PASSION, and BELIEF.  No idea what drives the NUMINOUS, the SPIRITUAL, those moments of REVELATION.   Go away and think about that.  I don’t care what conclusion you come up with, so long as you take a moment and CONTEMPLATE how INCREDIBLY STRANGE our universe is.

And now I’ve TALKED A LOT, SO HERE’S A PICTURE OF A SURPRISED KITTEN.

oh hai
dont b an asshole
also i am a cat

SO THE POINT OF THIS BROADSIDE IF YOU ARE AN ATHEIST IS SIMPLE, and I’LL WRITE IT OUT FOR YOU

  • Don’t be an asshole.
  • Respect the spiritual, emotional, and moral lives of other people and DON’T JUDGE THEIR FRICKIN’ BELIEFS.
  • Don’t be SNIDE about HUMAN DEATH in order to make a point about how much BETTER your way of life is.  You can also refer to the first point for this.
  • Don’t try to CONVERT other people, and don’t SEIZE ANY OPPORTUNITY TO DISS PEOPLE WHO BELIEVE IN GOD. This also falls under DON’T BE AN ASSHOLE.  
  • If you think of a thing to do, ask yourself “would an asshole do this?” and if the answer is yes DO NOT DO THAT THING.

AND FINALLY.

I’m not on a ‘side’ here.   I am not an atheist, nor am I a follower of any religion but my own.  I don’t really CARE what you do so long as you don’t go around murdering people.  I flipped a coin and it came up heads, so today I’m screaming about logical fallacies in atheism.  Why? Because they’re hurtful to my religious friends, and YOU DON’T PISS WITH MY FRIENDS, and also because if you claim that you have a ‘purely logical’ view of the world, I view it as my personal duty to point out that NO, YOU DON’T, because you are (like a solid 47% of my readers) A HUMAN BEING, no matter who, where, or when you are speaking.

Coming up IN THE FUTURE, similarly without warning, is a similarly massive post blasting the “evils of religion,” etc.  Which are, of course, the evils of man.

Because those hurt people too, my friends among them, and as has been previously mentioned, I WILL END YOU. 

I don’t really think anyone will have any “OH SHIT I’d better turn MY life around” moments from reading this, but AT THE VERY LEAST, AT THE MOST, it would be NICE if you could, just for a moment, question your beliefs.  Consider your stance, in light of the opinion of some random person on the internet.

As Aristotle says, “It is the mark of an educated mind to be able to entertain a thought without accepting it.”

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