Tag Archives: atheism

Let’s Be Honest, There Is No “Karma”

I know a lot of people that talk about the Westernized concept of karma (as distinct from the original concept found in Indian religions). They say they believe in karma; that bad people get what they deserve and all of that lovely feel-good stuff.

The thing is, there’s about as much evidence for this Western idea of karma as there is for a god and that teapot in the sky*. There’s at least as much evidence contradicting the existence of karma as there is contradicting the existence of a god (there’s not much evidence either way for the teapot).

Think about Hitler, Mao, Stalin, Saloth Sar (Pol Pot), Henry VIII, and any other awful leader, murderer, or otherwise “bad” person – how many of them died the death they deserved? Did Hitler experience starvation, losing his family, being treated like a dog, tortured, murdered and buried in a nameless mass grave? Did Pol Pot experience extreme malnutrition while doing forced hard labor, watch his children die, and then get executed?

Have the Catholic priests that raped children been thrown in prison and raped? Have they had some equivalent experience to being a child forced into a very alarming and damaging adult situation?

I get tired of people saying they believe in karma. Or, “They’ll get what’s coming to them.” No, they won’t. It’s a tragedy of the universe, but they won’t get what’s coming to them.

Yeah, maybe that rather unpleasant person that treats people like crap with get the same treatment back. But that mass murderer? The one that killed who knows how many people and hurt hundreds more through their actions? You think they’ll “get what they deserve”? Because the way I see it they deserve a hell of a lot worse than loss of their life, but I’m pretty sure that hell of a lot worse isn’t going to happen.

Don’t tell me this is an unfortunate outlook on life. I’m not being negative or pessimistic, I’m being pragmatic and realistic. I think I’d appreciate a world in which this “karma” thing was real, but it’s pretty clearly not. What I do appreciate is when people are honest with themselves about the world.

*I sometimes think writers reference this teapot to make themselves look more intelligent or well-read or something. I think I may have unintentionally fallen into this trap.

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Did Someone Give You a Cookie?

WARNING: This post is full of my snarky answers to questions a Christian asked an atheist. They aren’t good questions. My answers vary between humorous and very offensive. You have been warned.

I was reading “God Saved My Baby!“* earlier. Then I skimmed the comments (they were really long…) and came across some lovely** questions from a theist. Actually, nearly the entire comment is made up of questions, some of which are rather offensive and, frankly, ignorant. And then there are the ones that I’m quoting and answering below (no, the comment was not directed at me).

You asked a lot of questions, but are you willing to ask yourself why you react this way when someone says, “God saved my child?”

Why yes, I am. And so was the Wandering Atheist. That’s why he wrote a post about it! I react in a similar manner because it’s irritating when doctors and nurses do most of the work (along with hospital support staff, etc.) and receive no thanks. Instead people thank imaginary powers for listening to their prayers. As if god told the child’s soul, “Nono, it’s not your time,” and that solved everything. As if the work of the doctors did nothing. It pisses me off. Have some appreciation for the humans that you can actually see, whose existence you can verify scientifically.

Or to look at what happened that caused you not to believe in God? Bad experience with someone or a church?

Did you look at what caused you to believe in god? Good experience with a church? Did someone give you a freaking cookie and you thought, hey, cookies are delicious, I should keep going to church and believing in god? Sometimes bad experiences with people or churches are a catalyst, but they are rarely the reason people become atheists. This is particularly true when you’re talking about atheists that blog about being atheist.

Example:  person that believes, but has questions, has bad experience with church/unpleasant person -> Questioning believer questions even more because of the bad experience -> Questioning believer delves deeper than asking their religious leaders questions -> Questioning believer reads atheist blogs, agnostic blogs, philosophical writings, biological texts, etc. -> Questioning believer realizes that the concept of a Christian god is rather silly. End example. Notice all the intermediate steps between “bad experience” and “stops believing.”

Were you raised an atheist, if yes, why did you just accept what your parents told you, didn’t they teach you to question everything?

“Atheist” is not actually synonymous with “skeptic.” Yes, they tend to overlap, but that doesn’t mean someone raised as an atheist is always taught to question everything. Unfortunate, but true. That being said, many religious children aren’t given even the semblance of a chance to free their minds from religious influence whether it be arbitrary rules, ancient gender roles, belief that the world is much younger than it is, forceful disbelief of evolution, etc.. The sheer volume of the things religious children are indoctrinated with decimates their chances to be freethinking children. Atheism, on the other hand, is mildly superior because when children are raised as atheists it pretty much only means one thing – they’re taught that there are no gods. That’s it. Much easier to become a freethinker if you only have to get over being indoctrinated with one individual statement (that, in all honesty, probably wasn’t delivered with a terrible amount of conviction).

Don’t want to face the consequences if God is real? You believed when you were younger and somewhere along the lines someone challenged your faith and so it was easier to give up on God than to continue believing?

Consequences if God is real? Seriously? First, how subjective can you get? What exactly are the consequences? I think the answer to that would be different from every mouth that answered it. Second, so what if he/she/it/they is/are real? So freaking what? I’m a good person. I have a personal code of ethics and a set of morals. If there is a Christian after-life (because it’s pretty obvious that at this point I will not be struck down while I’m still alive on Earth), either Hell is going to be rather enjoyable, full of good company and full of a lot of good books, God will let me into Heaven because, while I didn’t believe, I was still a good person (kind of along the lines of good Buddhists and good Native Americans), or I’ll just have to raise an army in Hell and take over (this sounds wickedly awesome to me… I think Rebecca Watson will be one of my generals, and James Randi will be another).

Did you pray for something and God didn’t give you what you wanted so stopped believing He existed?

I find it rather disturbing that these comments all tend toward, “Are you an adult acting like a petulant child because god didn’t give you everything you wanted?” This is a stupid question. You may as well just ask if the writer (of the original post) is really immature. Just for the record, faith and maturity don’t go hand in hand. I prayed for stuff until I realized I was talking to myself. It’s not that I didn’t get what I wanted – I was praying for the safety of others and they’re all still doing just fine. It’s just that there was no difference between the control (not praying) and praying.

*Trigger Warning for Christians.

**That would be a sarcastic “lovely”

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What I’ve Been Reading: May 10th (or, I really need to come up with a more creative name for these posts)

The Ugly Moose has returned and is still funny.

The Secular Coalition gets a new executive director

DC is broken, and some say it cannot be fixed. But then it seems like the author says maybe it can be fixed, just not the way the authors of the book he mentions claim it can be fixed. I’m not sure why he thinks opening up primaries to non-partisans is a bad idea. It’s probably true that the most moderate people are least likely to be affiliated with a party. And when it comes to caucuses, moderates often avoid them because you very well may have to deal with crazy people (both parties). When election day comes around, many people feel stuck voting for the lesser evil instead of the best candidate.

Combine that last link with this one, and I think you’ll understand what I’m saying about caucuses and primaries.

But the center, contrary to what you might conclude, is not vanishing. In fact, it’s not too much to say that this year promises the triumph of moderates.

On the Justification of Belief” or People Who Cannot Answer the Question “Why?” from Jack on Grome Soapbox.

Mmmmmm, kale. Er, wait, no. Mmmmmm, satire.

Response to a Christian Comment” from Larry on Grome Soapbox – long, but generally worth reading (or at least skimming) even if you’ve heard many of the points before.

Article about the “State of the World’s Mothers Report” – not the best reporting, but worth a look.

Peanut butter and jelly… french toast? Wha?

Oh look, another Grome Soapbox post. Huh. Whatever, this one is from Richard. I suppose it’s only fair that Larry, Jack and Richard all get to be in my what to read post. Richard wrote about, essentially, his funeral.

SUPER MOON! I missed it thanks to a lot of clouds, but the photos are pretty cool.

Intriguing photos from (very northern) Alaska.

While this post is mildly interesting, I’m mostly posting it because of the puppy.

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Edwina Rogers Controversy, or How the secular movement is alienating Republicans, libertarians, moderates, and independents

Well, there’s plenty of controversy in the secularism movement this week due to the hiring of Edwina Rogers as the new executive director of the Secular Coalition for America (read about this from the CFI, in an interview with ER, and another with Roy Speckhardt, and finally the opinion of Matt Dillahunty (there are additional links in his post). She’s a Republican *gasp*. Oh wait, I don’t really care that she’s a Republican.

Nor do I think that anyone saying that demand-side economics is more reasonable than supply-side economics, as several commenters suggest. The reality is, there isn’t really much conclusive evidence either way. There are economic policies that work and economic policies that don’t work. So the whole her-economic-ideas-aren’t-reasonable thing is, well, unreasonable.

Then there’s everyone’s issue with her “sudden” departure from Republican lobbying into the realm of secular lobbying. From people complaining that they don’t know if she’s really a nontheist to people complaining that Rogers doesn’t seem super-duper-extra honest and cuddly. Guess what: she’s a lobbyist. Did you seriously think lobbyists come off as not slimy? Because there were many occasions when I found the last executive director of the Secular Coalition to be rather slimy, and he generally fit the profile of what people seem to want.

Don’t forget the whole Republican platform problem. Let me ask you, do you agree with every statement in your party’s platform? Do you know how those platforms are written and decided on?

Can you tell me how allying yourself with a political party is a reasonable thing to do? Wouldn’t trying to remain apart from political parties be a more effective method to stay reasonable?

Finally, do you think all the authors of these anti-Edwina comments realize just how alienating they are being? Not just to Republican atheists, but libertarian nonbelievers as well as independents? We might not be a majority, we might not be vocal, but w are there, and our support is important.

I didn’t actually expect to write this post. It just came out, I guess. I opened a new post to make a joke about this screen shot of an old Fox News video:

Why does 230 look so much larger than 211? Was Fox trying to trick people into thinking there was more Republican control than there actually was? Talk about manipulating visual representation of data!

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