Strange Questions

Strange Questions #3: Why Do You Hate God?

For last weeks Strange Questions, click here.

Once again before I start writing this article I must explain, even though through the name of the blog it should be obvious, that I am an atheist and I am not the one expressing this question.

Often times people express the belief that Atheists hate god. Is this actually the case though? We are asked in on-line debates and discussions, Why do you hate god? This is used as a way of stating that the only reason that Atheists deny the existence of god is that we have a personal vendetta against him. I think you will find in the following paragraphs that this is not the case.

In my own case, I loved god, I wanted desperately for god to be real. I was a minister, I had been raised in the faith, and it took years and years for my faith to actually completely wane. I now have a completely different view of faith and the bible that has occurred much after I had left the faith. Giving up my ministry, leaving the faith, and dropping my religious beliefs altogether did not come in any way from hate.

What people often times confuse with hatred against god, is anger against religion in general. For this point I can say it’s true. Many atheists are also anti-theists, especially those, like myself, who have come from a life in the faith. After realizing all the lies and misinformation that I had believed for many years, I was filled with a deep anger for those who promote faith as the answer to all of life’s worries.

In fact I was consumed with so much anger that for a while it would have been completely impossible for me to write this blog. Leaving the faith requires a decompression period when all of that pent-up anger comes out. This can be confused as anger against god but that isn’t so.

When you found out that Santa Claus wasn’t real did you get angry at Santa, or did you maybe have a bit of angst against your parents for lying to you? Generally speaking your anger would be aimed at your parents. Much the same is true for the Easter Bunny, the tooth fairy, unicorns, etc… The anger is focused at those who lied to you rather than the thing you had once believed in.

Being angry at a non-existent being makes absolutely no sense anyway. It would be like screaming at the corn on your dinner plate because it isn’t creamed. You would really be doing nothing but making yourself out to be completely illogical. Does this sentence make sense to you?

I am so angry at unicorns for not existing in reality!

Of course that wouldn’t make sense, how can you be mad at something that doesn’t exist or at least is not evidenced to exist? I think this is more an issue on the side of the theists than atheists. Wanting their own beliefs to be validated they deny that others could ever truly lack a belief in god. This challenges their assumptions and causes a form of cognitive dissonance which bothers them greatly. I know this to be the case since I too felt it at times as a theist.

This is why one of the primary arguments that apologists will use is to act as if atheists simply deny something they know to be true instead of actually providing evidence for their own claims.  It is far easier for them to claim we hate god or that we are simply denying an existence that we actually know to be true, than to accept that some people look at the same information they do and come to a different conclusion.

Atheists do not hate god, we simply lack a belief in god. This is due to the fact that we don’t see there as being any verifiable evidence for a god. Some will take a hard-line stance that this evidence does not exist, while others will simply claim it is highly improbable that the evidence exists. You cannot hate what you lack a belief in, any more than you could hate a sleep gifting fairy for not existing and being incapable of curing your insomnia.

 

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Fiction and Stories

Super Tim Meets The Silent Avenger (An ASD Children’s Story)

The Super Tim series are based around my own experiences as a child, those of my nephews and several friends with children on the Autism Spectrum. I hope you enjoy them.


Tim didn’t much care for school. It wasn’t the lessons or the teacher but he never could quite understand the other kids in his class. Maggie still picked on him and this bugged Tim a great deal. His friend George was nice, but had some tendencies that really bothered Tim. The worst of which Tim found when his mother had George stay over for the night.

It seemed like George had to touch absolutely everything. This was especially bad when they were in Tim’s room. Tim had everything in his room laid out in a very specific way and could tell if anything had been moved. After George had spent the night Tim spent the next week fixing all of the stuff that George had moved. Still George had been the first friend Tim had made and so he decided as long as he kept George out of his room, they’d be ok.

One day at school, Maggie was in a really bad mood. All the way to school she kept yelling at Tim and making fun of him. Even when George spoke up, Maggie didn’t stop. It seemed like nothing was going to stop her that day. Before class started, Maggie had taken Tim’s headphones and had passed them back and forth with another child, Joe. They had laughed and continued this until Miss Marble walked in and put a stop to it.

Class started with Miss Marble saying that a new kid named Sam would be joining the class that day. She wanted everyone to welcome him and make him feel at home. His parents worked at the nearby Air Force Base as mechanics and she said that he had moved three times in the last two years. When Sam entered the class, he sat down in the back row and didn’t make a peep. The one thing that Tim couldn’t get out of his mind was just how big the new kid was. He was huge and reminded Tim of the professional wrestlers that Tim’s dad watched on TV sometimes. “Better steer clear of him,” Sam thought, “I bet he makes Maggie look like nothing.”

Class was interesting. Miss Marble was teaching the class about fossils and had brought in a ton of examples that she had collected on a recent vacation. Tim marveled at every example that was passed around the room. Miss marble even brought in a piece of dinosaur coprolite. When she asked if anyone knew what it was Tim shot his hand in the air.

“Yes, Tim?” Miss Marble said.

“It’s dinosaur poop!” Tim said

“That’s right.” Miss marble responded. Part of the class laughed while the other let out a loud, “Ewwwwwww!”

At recess, Tim sat feeling the wind on his skin. He wondered if Dinosaurs had enjoyed feeling the wind too. He imagined that they had not since they had to spend way too much time trying to find something to eat or keep from being eaten. His mind continued to wander and he failed to notice that Maggie was standing right behind him. A big shove and seconds later Tim felt himself falling to the ground.

Hitting the ground, Tim scraped his knee and hands. His lip began to quiver and his brain began to get stormy.

“Are you going to cry?” Maggie asked “Look everybody, he’s going to cry!”

Just then something covered both Maggie and Tim in a great shadow. They both looked up to see the huge shape of a large boy standing above them. It was the new kid, Sam. He let out a grumble and stepped between Maggie and Tim. He then reached down and helped Tim stand back up.

“What are you doing, don’t you know he’s a weirdo?” Maggie said.

The boy simply let out a growl and gave Maggie a look that chilled her to the bones.  She began to stammer and said that she was only kidding. She didn’t mean anything by it and that if Tim hadn’t been so clumsy he never would have fallen. This caused Sam to let out another growl and he pointed towards the school. Maggie soon ran in the exact direction that Sam had pointed, her lip quivering as she went.

Meanwhile, Tim had managed to pull himself together and patted the dust off his clothes. He looked at Sam who was still pointing at the school watching Maggie run in the other direction.

“Thank you.” Tim said

Sam looked back and smiled.

“Do you want to be friends? Tim asked.

Sam shook his head up and down. This was the beginning of a friendship that would rival all the greatest friendships in history. Tim and Sam were inseparable from that point on. George and Tim were still good friends but Sam was Tim’s best friend.

Sam didn’t say much, in fact he didn’t say anything at all. When Sam wanted something he would point at it. If he really wanted something he might grunt or make an excited noise. For the most part Sam liked to hum, whistle, and laugh. He could remember just about any song he heard and would hum the entire top 40 while he and Tim hung out.

The other thing that Tim liked about Sam was his ability to draw. Sam could draw absolutely anything with incredible talent. Soon the walls of Tim’s room were neatly covered in drawings of Dinosaurs that Sam had made for him. Whenever they hung out, Sam would hum and draw while Tim would show Sam everything that he knew about Dinosaurs and his other interests.

One day while they were sitting in Tim’s room, Tim’s mother brought in a load of laundry. On top of the clean clothes was his cape, freshly cleaned and folded. Sam let out an excited sound and pointed at the cape.

“Do you want to wear it?” Tim said.

Sam nodded yes.

“Ok, but there is something I need to show you first.” Tim told Sam.

Tim walked to his bed and grabbed the paper his mother had written. He unpinned it from the wall and took it over to Sam.

“I’ve never told anyone else this, but I have super powers.” Tim said.

Sam’s eyes got wide and he smiled.

“It’s true! Look!” He then showed Sam the list.

Tim’s Super Powers
1.) Super Hearing
2.) Super Sight
3.) Super Touch
4.) Super Memory
5.) Super Sweet

Sam pointed at the last one on the list and let out a laugh.

“I know, it’s such a mom thing isn’t it. I don’t like that one. Anyway, every superhero needs a sidekick, would you like to be my sidekick, Sam?”

Sam shook his head no.

“You’re right, you would never be a very good sidekick, you’re bigger and stronger than me. Would you like to be my partner?”

Sam nodded yes.

“Okay, you can be my partner but you need a super hero name.” Tim said

Sam watched intently as Tim handed him the cape. Sam then started naming off possible hero names for Sam.

“The Ninja?” Sam shook his head no.
“Dino Dude?” Sam rolled his eyes.
“The Whistler? Sam laughed but shook his head no.

“How about the Silent Avenger?” Tim asked. Sam immediately nodded yes.

Silent Avenger….I like that too! Super Tim and the Silent Avenger!” Tim said. “Can anything stop us?
Sam shook his head no.

Other Stories from the Super Tim series can be found below.

Super Tim Goes to School (An ASD Children’s Story)

Super Tim and the Lost Keys (An ASD Children’s Story)

 

 

 

Wednesday Woo

Wednesday Woo #7: Demons and Denial

For last weeks Wednesday Woo, click here.

New Age and occult philosophy has a wide array of imaginary life forms or forces within their belief systems. From demons to faeries, egregores, and ghosts, the possibilities are endless when it comes to the realm of the unseen world. The majority explanation is these creature are directly constructed by the mind, since most things allegedly manifest through thoughts. Silly as it may sound, this notion is notorious in such “tribes” or circles of influence within the community. “Your thoughts create your reality” is a common meme within their threads:

Cayce

Which of course leads to thousands of YouTube videos about how “The Matrix” is a true depiction of how reality works.

Matrix

What I find problematic is when people think the supernatural beings in their imagination are actually real, and are in a complete state of helplessness. They become panicked, lose sleep, begin unnecessary fights, and of course, frantically spend time, money, and effort in trying to find some peace. This state of mind can cause erratic behaviors in a person, often leading to a loss of job, and cause inevitable strains on relationships. It’s really ironic yet totally disheartening to find those in search of tranquility are losing their grip on sanity and solace. Many of these folks wouldn’t normally be prone to such a paranoid state of mind, but there are some who hold a psychological/genetic disposition.

It’s tedious to direct a believer toward reason and away from these ideas, especially a psychotic one. To detach their personal identity from their premonitions of invisible forces initiates a fight or flight response. They have become a see-er, scryer, prophet, crystal child, star-seed, or a light worker who is on a mission from the divine to save the world and bring forth some sort of utopia, and now some critical thinker is asking for evidence of their claims. Their philosophies have now been reduced to absolute, dichotomous thinking, where they are the good guys fighting the negative Nancys who dare to question their wisdom and powers. The system alone is set up to label all critics as “fearful sheep” who need to “do their research” – a common conspiracy theorist response that shuts down the conversation before it even begins. If you do not hold the same idea of reality as they do, then you’re still plugged into the Matrix, and either are in desperate need of them to awaken you, or are in the grasp of an evil force. So much for the concepts of rejecting duality, and us being all one.

Lightworker.png

 

Perhaps you’re wondering why anyone would adopt a belief in the power of thoughts such as this, but in all honestly, I cannot emphasize any one variable as a cause for every single person. What I can assert is my own reasons for cultivation and preservation of supernatural conclusions and the beings that may dwell within. I am a pattern seeking human being  – making connections where there may be none.
In a world such as this: with all of the struggle, grief, and unfairness, it’s comforting to find some sort of explanation, especially one that makes one feel more powerful.

Ockham

But is it the idea of unseen worlds influencing our personal experience really the least complex when contrasted with innate human qualities such as pattern seeking? Is it much simpler for my mind to actually be creating all of the detail of reality, or that reality exist independently of my thoughts? There is millennia of evidence that existence was before my arrival, and I think it’s a safe bet that it shall continue on long after I have died. It’s much more complicated for everything to be a product of thoughts than it is for things to just simply be. Evidence is predicated upon predictability, testability, and reliability, therefore anything beyond this scope has the potential to be set aside until further investigation. Even if this reality were a simulation, or a product of some super, unified mind, how could I possibly test this?

Reality.png

It logically follows that if human beings had the power to connect with the mystical, we would have some way of proving this, right? It would be even more sweet if they could demonstrate their powers, AND collect a prize for their efforts! Sadly, this has yet to occur.

Here’s some of the more recent prizes offered for a demonstration of paranormal abilities:

Wikipedia.png

This of course doesn’t make the paranormal to be any less lucrative of a business. There are many books, and workshops dedicated to teaching people how to wield their non-existent magical powers. I cannot tell you how much money I spent purchasing books, crystals, talismans, oils, and charms in order to alter my mind so I could manifest a better reality. Truthfully, it did give me a nice distraction from whatever was stressing me out at the time, but it did very little to help my pocketbook, nor my long-term peace of mind. I have spent many nights awake in bed fearing whatever weird presence was there. I get cranky when I’m lacking sleep, so of course, this would make matters worse. I kept thinking I saw stupid signs everywhere, which conjured up some rolled-eyes when I would mention this to others. Pretty sure that’s not what the spells were for, but I digress…

So, if the belief in the paranormal can potentially lead to financial chaos, delusional thinking, tear apart personal relationships, and disrupt your inner peace, wouldn’t you want it to at least be true? A skeptic would maintain that extraordinary evidence would be necessary for such extraordinary claims.

I wrote a short letter to my past self that kinda sums up how I feel about my old beliefs. Thank you for reading!

“Dearest Friend,

Why have you chosen to believe in whatever satisfies your imagination’s fancy? Wouldn’t it be better to occupy your mind with things that can be demonstratively true instead? You read Plato and thought life to be an illusion. Movies can be evidently differentiated, therefore while your creativity may know no bounds, your reality is indeed a subject to physical limitation. There’s no proof that those cloud angels are empirically there, however, they can shield your eyes from a harsh sun, if even for a brief period of time. There is no joy lost in living a moment that is evident, and no productivity within chasing the shadows. Demons do not truly haunt you; it’s merely a metaphor for a feelings not yet expressed. What I can know for sure, is that life as you know it shall eventually come to a close; so precious few moments left to enjoy. Is it your wish to waste them in deep paranoia of demons?

Signed,

Your Ability to Reason

P.S. You don’t have to have superpowers to be a positive influence on your world, or to be worthy of your existence. Love yourself as you truly are.”