Wednesday Woo

Wednesday Woo #18: The Mind

For last weeks Wednesday Woo, click here:Wednesday Woo #17: Karma and Morality.

When one hangs around New Age circles for any amount of time, their main concern with consciousness, the mind, and individuality becomes quite obvious: they wish to be rid of it all. Now, I have mentioned this subject before, particularly when it comes to the dangers of losing one’s individual freedom, but this time I would like to focus your attention on the concept of “losing the mind” AKA “becoming pure consciousness,” which translates to a method of peace that essentially turns your mind to goo. The dangers of this idea should be quite evident, but those who desire to attain spiritual enlightenment silence the alarm bells.

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“Being a human being is a tough state, especially if you have an awareness of that nagging voice within.”

Human beings cannot achieve this “no mind” of course, but that doesn’t stop New Agers from pretending. I say pretending simply because they claim to be at peace, yet when faced with criticism of their ideas, they tend to fall down from nirvana cloud nine in order to give me shit, telling me that I must open my mind to their woo, without any clue that I had already done so, much to my own despair. This is a hypocritical role in which they partake, and either they lack the cognitive ability to be self-aware (because they don’t expose themselves to adequate stimuli), or they are liars. Either way, I see no moral direction in the practice, since any negative or critical thought that arises is cast aside for more pleasant, yet ultimately meaningless platitudes.

Being a human being is a tough state, especially if you have an awareness of that nagging voice within. I cannot blame people for wishing to escape such a thing, however there are better methods in which to do this. It’s ok to take a moment to relax from the inner critic – listen to music, do something creative, learn a new, challenging skill, etc., but to abandon such stimuli leads to your own brain’s demise. What I find really disconcerting about running away from stimuli for a fake inner peace is, these folks say they wish to be more creative, yet critical thinking is the pathway toward greater creativity.

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If you have yet to read Darwin’s Apple, I suggest you check it out. It explains religious ritual, as well as prayer from a more evolutionary correlation of trying to deal with the agony of having higher order consciousness. Being aware of the self, as well as being able to predict future events such as one’s own death brings existential problems. It makes sense that human beings would wish to escape, but the reality is: there is no escaping death. All there can be is a momentary lapse in memory. No amount of belief in energy living on forever is going to change this fact, but believing your energy will last forever places a person in a state where they never have to face any mental challenges that would better their lives while they are here, not to mention, offers no moral guideline to how to treat others.

“It would be chaos – with no technological advances, because intuitions have a tendency to be absolutely wrong in practice, thus any invention would fail.”

If one is willing to sacrifice their own individuality to attain a fake sense of peace, they will push others to do the same, which they do, and wish for everyone to “wake up” to the nonsense they have adopted. Consider the implications of a society run by people who refuse to be challenged, think karma is for real, are skeptical of science, and think that their own personal truth is the actual truth. Seems like woo-woo-Jesus would like such a society…

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It would be chaos – with no technological advances, because intuitions have a tendency to be absolutely wrong in practice, thus any invention would fail. Without critical thinking, brains would be mush, so no one would even bother to care for advancement anyhow. Language and writing would decline, because New Agers consider words as meaningless, but poverty would advance, since karma/reincarnation as a moral compass provides only a way of looking down on those who weren’t born into successful circumstances. In fact, you don’t have to even imagine such a thing, since OSHO did his own experiment in mindlessness, having created a small society, but a society nonetheless, where people abandoned their minds, only to be traumatized. Many of them were never the same.

 

“Shoes and minds must be left at the gate.”

 

Keep your mind healthy, for it is pertinent if you wish to live a good, moral, healthy life. Read books that challenge you, play games with people, and begin practicing critical thinking for your own sake. Get mental stimulation, after all, a good mind is a terrible thing to waste.

https://www.health.harvard.edu/mind-and-mood/12-ways-to-keep-your-brain-young

Bad Theism

Bad Theism: Finely Tuned Bull****

For the last Bad Theism article, click here: Bad Theism: Apocalyptic Mindset.

“Space is big. Really big. You just won’t believe how vastly, hugely, mind-bogglingly big it is. I mean, you may think it’s a long way down the road to the chemist, but that’s just peanuts to space.”

– Douglas Adams, “The Hitchhikers Guide To The Galaxy

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I want you to think about the game of 5 card stud poker. The odds of getting dealt a royal flush are fairly low, only 649,739 : 1 or .000154% and yet we all know that royal flushes are dealt from time to time. Now think of Powerball, the odds of winning at Powerball are 292,000,000: 1 and yet each year a handful of people win the big one. You actually have a better chance of getting struck by lightning while getting eaten by a shark than winning the Powerball and yet people still win.

The reason I bring these things up is that simply due to the fact that some result might be rare, it does not necessarily remove the possibility of that the result will occur. The universe is both really big and really old, these are facts that I won’t be arguing during this article. What I will be discussing tonight is the so-called fine-tuning argument.

Theists would have you believe that simply because the odds of life existing are astronomically low then there must have been a god in order for life to get started. The fine-tuning argument attempts to do just that. To put it simply:

The conditions of life are rare and the physical constants are fine-tuned in such a way that allows for life to exist and thrive. If things were only slightly different the universe as we know it would not exist and life itself would be impossible. Due to the finely tuned nature of the universe, a tuner must exist that set things into motion. (Theists will then add to this the anthropic principle and state that the tuner must be god)

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From what we currently understand, life in the universe is rare, so rare that we have literally only found it in one place so far…here, Earth. Yet the more we understand the conditions that make life possible, and find planets that seem to have those same conditions, the likelihood that life exists in some form elsewhere in the universe becomes much more likely. Yet is this evidence that the universe has been finely tuned for us to exist and that god is in control?

I would say no…I would state that the universe is not finely tuned for us but that we are finely tuned for the universe. What I mean by that is due to natural causes, our evolution has led us to be a creature that is perfectly capable of thriving in our current environment, namely, this small blue dot in the vacuum of space. Remove us from this tiny environment and you will find that the universe is not finely tuned for our life at all.

Second, I want you to think about the supposed nature of god. God is supposedly omnipotent, omnipresent, and omniscient, or in other words, all-powerful, all-encompassing, and all-knowing. God is said to exist both without and within the physical universe. Now…if a being like this were to exist, then what reason would there be for all the physical constants and any of the finely-tuned aspects of the universe?

If god were to exist, then what would be the point of the speed of light, the constants of gravity, or electro-magnetism. Why would our bodies require a precise amount of oxygen in order to live, why would our bodies need food and water in order to survive. A god could, and if he was all-knowing and all-good, could create a world where absolutely none of this mattered.

If by chance our globe existed in the orbit of mercury and yet we still thrived upon it, I would then make a guess that something was keeping us all from catching fire. If our bodies existed as they currently do and yet we lived on a planet with a sulphuric atmosphere, I might then consider the possibility that an outside force, such as god was keeping us from dying in that deadly environment. However, neither of these things are true. We are adapted to the environment in which we live, as every other species of animal that has ever existed on this planet has been. If it wasn’t adapted to life here then it wouldn’t survive long enough to propagate and spread its genes.

Basically what I am saying is that the physical constants of the universe actually point in the opposite direction, towards a universe from natural causes rather than from a god.

Let me give you my opinion on what a world, with a god, would look like…

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For starters the whole globe idea is just unnecessary, so let’s flatten out the earth into plane with hills and shit but clearly defines borders. We’ll make it a circle because circles are cute and split it into four sections. In each section I’d place an angel that would control the wind or some shit…

Now this flat plane isn’t just going to float in the vacuum of space and so I’m going to give it some pillars to act as legs which connect to something but who knows what…I mean….I’m god…maybe they connect to me…. After I get those legs in place I’m going to float my creation in water, jest a big damn ball of water and in order to keep my flat plane dry, I’m putting a giant dome over the plane…I’ll call it the firmashit or something catchy…

Now, obviously I’m going to make plants need water and animals need water, so there has to be some way that the water on the outside can get to the land within. Springs will do pretty nicely but I’m going to have to put in some windows just in case I want to kill everything as quickly as possible. So that giant dome is going to be covered in windows that I can open or shut whenever I want.

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The people on this plane are going to have a hard time building me temples if I don’t give them some lights, so on the dome I’m going to put a shit load of led lights, I’ll call them stars. They aren’t going to give much light so I’m going to need a couple of big bulbs, one for day and one for night, that will circle around the plane. These lights will be nice just in case I need to fix them in place so that one group of the people I created can win a battle against another group that I also created…totes cool!

Anyway, then I’m going to sit back and wait for that sweet smell of burning flesh to float up to me…I absolutely love the smell of burning flesh because I’m a sociopath…

You know what….I just realized that my world would be the exact type of world that the bible describes. See the people who wrote the bible had absolutely no understanding of any of the sciences and so they just accepted what they had been told. Other groups had believed the same thing for thousands of years before old testament, why mess with perfection. This is the world they believed that they existed in, and so it was perfectly natural to believe that god created it all. As our understanding of universe and the world around us expanded, this story became less and less realistic to the point that even the craziest of apologists doesn’t really try to support much of it anymore.

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We learned that there were other planets, the lights in the sky were stars, our own sun was a star and the moon wasn’t even a fucking light. We learned that there was no firmament, no windows, no pillars, no water outside either. We learned of gravity and the fact that our Earth is a spinning globe in a universe filled with other spinning globes. We may not know all the answers to abiogenesis but we do have a fairly good understanding of how evolution shaped life on this globe.

God continually got smaller so that he could fit within the gaps of what we don’t yet know, and now he can only exist in the small gaps created by an awful argument like the one we’ve spoken of tonight. The universe isn’t finely tuned for us, we’re tuned to the universe or else we wouldn’t exist. Simple as that. If we weren’t tuned to the universe and yet somehow we still existed, then maybe you’d have a leg to stand on in your idea that….god dun it…

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Deep Thoughts · The Diary Of My Mind

Deep Thoughts: Apophenia and Pareidolia

Before I get started, if you are new to this blog perhaps you would be interested in my journey from Pentecostal minister to evangelical atheist, preaching the good news that god almost certainly does not exist and so you can quit worrying about hell. If interested you can find the beginning of my journey here, My Journey Away From Faith: Part 1.


So let me give you a scenario…

Imagine it’s 30,000 years ago and you’re walking through the woods late at night. You really shouldn’t be out here but those berries were so damn good that you just couldn’t stop eating them and time got away from you. As you’re walking you hear the leaves rattle, you hear a twig snap, and something catches the corner of your eye. It could be a large nocturnal predator, it could be a hunter from the next tribe over, or it could simply be the wind. Do you continue along your way, run in the opposite direction, or try to find your way into the nearest tree? If you make the wrong choice you might not survive and so you choose to climb and wait things out. As soon as you find a good seat in a large branch you look down to see a wolf making its way through the brush below. You made the right choice and live to see tomorrow. Good job!

Now why did I bring up this scenario?

Well, humans have great instincts, it is what has allowed us to survive as long as we have and yet those instincts can also play tricks on us. These tricks often come in the form of apophenia and it’s sister phenomena pareidolia.

Apophenia – The tendency to make connections or perceive patterns in seemingly unrelated things.

Pareidolia- The tendency of the mind to find patterns where they do not actually exist.

Apophenia

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The picture to the right is a man…but wait…no it’s not. Yet anyone reading this blog will be able to recognize that the figure made of simple shapes is a representation of a man.  It’s a series of straight lines with a big circle on top, a couple small circles for eyes, and a rounded line for a mouth. Yet find me a single human being that truly looks like this, if you could I imagine that person would have an incredibly hard time standing up. Yet, this is a very simple example of apophenia, the circlepicture itself has absolutely no connection to what an actual human being looks like and yet we are all able to recognize exactly what the image represents. Take the pieces apart and the image loses meaning entirely, hence we do not recognize the circle to the right as being a head. Nor would we recognize a single line as being a spine, an arm, or a leg. Only together do we see the pattern as meaning something possibly useful.

A more detailed example of apophenia is what I gave above in the story of the primitive man and the wolf. A series of sounds and a slight amount of movement was enough for the person in the example to recognize the possible threat of a predator. Taken on their own they would not be anything to really worry about yet together they become something that is enough to cause the fight or flight response to kick in.  This can be of great use is you are trying to evade predators or neighboring tribes but it can also work against us and build ideas of monsters in the dark, dragons in caves, and leviathons of the deep. We will discuss this more later.

Pareidolia

Most of us have experienced sitting in the grass on a warm spring day looking up at the clouds. One looks like a dragon, one a rabbit, and another looks like a spaceship, yet do they really, the truth of the matter is more often than not they do not. Another example of this can be seeing images in wood grain, hearing footsteps or voices in an empty house, or seeing a phantom out of the corner of your eye. Some examples of pareidolia can be pretty convincing…

The interesting thing about this phenomena is that it is greatly subject to suggestion. Take the cloud example, you look up and your friend says, “That one looks like a dick.” You try to see what he’s talking about and so he points in the general direction, describes what he is seeing and eventually you do see the dick in the clouds…isn’t life grand.  The reason for this is that our minds are constantly seeking patterns, and it can be both really good at this as well as really bad at it. Suggestion helps us seek out the patterns easier and so once one person sees it, two can see it, and even thousands may at some point see the exact same patter….going so far as to eventually worship that pattern.funny-pareidolia-jesus

Hello Jesus, why are you hiding on this dogs ass? That’s a silly place for you to hide….

As I said before our minds are constantly attempting to find patterns in the things we see as well as the things we hear, but due to pareidolia, our minds can make connections where there is absolutely no connection to be made.

Earlier I mentioned monsters in the dark, dragons in caves, and phantoms in the corners of our eyes. While some of these may seem silly, most of us can remember a time when we have been horribly frightened by something that was not actually there, this happens often when we are children yet can still occur no matter how old we are.

Examples:

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Monsters in the Dark

Humans are not known for their nocturnal vision, we are diurnal creatures and so for our eyes to work well we need a decent amount of light. In low light situations our minds grasp at any shape it can find and then builds upon that shape to give us an idea of what is there in the dark. A full hamper in the corner may take on the shape of a beast with numerous arms once the light goes out. A pair of shoes under a bed can become a vampire to the child brave enough to look under their mattress. Our eyes are shitty at night and yet our  minds try their best to make sense of whatever sensory information we get, it’s a crap shoot but it worked out enough as a survival tactic for thousands of years that it still sticks with us today.

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Dragons in Caves

Caves are dark, sound travels strangely through the walls of a cave, and at the mouth of an open cave the wind passing by the entrance can sound like a growl or a ghostly wail. Secondly, as you venture deeper into a cave the temperature can be much warmer than the temp outside the cave, giving the idea that something hot must exist within the confines of the cave. Dragons breathe fire and so obviously a dragon would make a cave warmer than it is outside. Many caves have insects which use light to attract their pray and a glowing bug or two can look an awful lot like the eyes of a beast if fear has already crept into your mind.

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Phantoms in the Corners of Our Eyes

Our eyes are really shitty….I mean they are the only eyes that we will ever have and so they work as well as they can but they aren’t all that good to begin with. I’m blind in one eye and it took me years for my brain to compensate and learn how to judge depth in a decent way. I still would not be a good choice for a softball team or any activity that requires good depth perception.

Our eyes also have a fairly narrow field of actual vision. The rest of what we see is actually populated by the brain and so anything outside of that field is up to the mind to figure out. I think we’ve all had a time when we thought we saw something out of the corner of our eye but when we turned to see what it was there was nothing actually there. One might come up with gargantuan ideas of ghosts haunting our house, never quite being fully seen but always there. Our eyes are just not built to get 360 degrees of information and this is due to our need to focus on the task at hand. If you are trying to track a deer, you need to be able to see the deer, you don’t necessarily need to see everything around the deer and so our brains fill in the gaps.

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Apophenia At It’s Worst

The volcano destroyed half the village last year. This year we killed 5 virgins and guess what, the volcano didn’t destroy the other half of the village. Killing virgins must satiate the volcano’s need for blood and so each year we must kill virgins to keep the village safe.

Last week Johns boat was destroyed by a wave, we saw a large shape in the water that had to be a sea serpent and john drowned and was almost certainly eaten by the beast. Dave was smart, he killed a chicken and rubbed its blood on the bow of his ship and no waves or serpents affected him. Dave also came back with a massive load of fish and so the chicken blood must have worked really well.

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Pareidolia At It’s Worst

I heard a voice in the wind that told me to write the words of the lord. Here are the rules that this voice led me to write down. No Lying, no murder, and no goats in milk…it’s strange but I hate lying, murder, and I really hate goat and milk stew….it’s fucking disgusting.

I saw a light break through the clouds and standing upon the clouds I saw a man who told me the world was going to end soon….

Conclusion:

Both of these phenomena have their evolutionary strengths which allowed them to continue being passed down in our genes. Yet they are built for humans that live in the wild and so the more we began to gather together, the less reliable our instincts were. They began playing tricks on us, making us see monsters, demons, gods, and demigods in every aspect of our lives.

It’s my opinion that much of religion and religious believe are derived from these phenomena. Someone saw something, suggested it to others who claimed to see the same thing, they built beliefs around what they claim to have seen, and religion was born. The wind, the rain, the sun, disease, all things could be explained by patterns that their minds found.  Over time huge legends were built, books were written, and doctrine created and religion thrived.

 

 

Deep Thoughts · The Diary Of My Mind

Deep Thoughts: A Note About My Deathbed Conversion

This is slightly a response blog to this blog here: The Common Atheist.

Dearest Future World,

Perhaps you have heard that upon my deathbed I made a miraculous conversion. The family is praising their god for the supposed choice that I made at the last-minute. I’m singing with the angels now, I’m in a better place, I’m with god in heaven…or so you’ve been told.

Allow me to expand upon the good cheer that my family is sharing to let you know why this conversion came about. There are four reasons that I can think of off the top of my head that they are sharing this information with you.

Reason 1: They are lying

It makes them feel better to believe that I am still alive in some other world. In their deep grief they have come up with this scenario where I gave my life back to the lord just before my final breath and so I am still with them in some way. Don’t hate them for this but know that they are simply doing anything to alleviate their grief. I too have lost those that I loved and wanted more time with them and yet death is the end. I no longer exist anywhere outside of my various rantings on here and within the minds of those who loved me. Give them time and maybe one day the need to lie will subside and they can accept my nonexistence.

Reason 2: I Just Wanted Left Alone

As I was dying I had so many people visit me telling me that I needed to worry about my eternal soul and that I needed to make matters right with the lord. I got so annoyed with it that I finally pretended to go through the ceremony just to get folks to shut up and leave me alone. I love my family but damn they can really be pushy at times. I ate the cracker, I drank the juice, I said the prayer and then finally I got some peace away from their worries. Death sucks but being hounded at death is even worse.

Reason 3: Death Is Scary

As the time grew near I began to realize just how soon my life would end. The pain and anguish that I’ve been through over the last few months or years has left me in a state where I simply want some form of release and yet death is an unknown. Will it hurt? Will I go peacefully in my sleep? The closer I get the idea of non-existence becomes scarier and scarier and I keep getting told that just in case there is an afterlife I should make myself right with god. I know that I don’t want to experience anymore pain and even though I realize that my chance of picking the correct god is 1 in 3000, I’d play my wager just in case. My mind is in flux due to the pain and the effects of the pain killers. I am not myself anymore and I can no longer see through to a rational and logical end.

Reason 4: My Mind Is Gone

Hello world, in the last few months or years of my life the old me died and a new me was born. Dementia or disease has clouded my mind and I no longer have the ability to think rationally in the way I did when I was younger.  I live in absolute terror from lucid moment to lucid moment. I do not know who it is that visits me, I don’t know why they cry and why they beg me to consider the things I do. I want my mother. I need my father. I don’t trust these people. Am I sick or are they trying to kill me? They speak of this god and in my mental state he seems wonderful. I no longer remember the bible, the old or new testament. I am simply told that there is a place where my mind will be clear and I will no longer be terrified all the time. I just want my mind back.

Conclusion:

These are the reasons that I might make the choice of a deathbed confession but know that at this point in time, with a rational and logical mind I see no reason to believe in something that there is absolutely no evidence of. If you hear of my conversion, know that it was not this person who speaks today that converted, it was someone who was annoyed, sick, or out of their mind. Always remember that grief could also lead my family and friends to simply lie about my conversion as they have done with many in the past.

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Weekend Tube

Weekend Tube #1

So this is simply going to be a series of videos that I found particularly interesting throughout the week as well as what I consider to be the video of the week. This will include 5 runners up and then the top video of the week.  I hope you’ll check them out.

5.) Godless Engineer Interviews Anti-Ordinary

I really recommend this video, if you haven’t seen either of these two before then this would be a great introduction to both. Both Godless Engineer and Anti-Ordinary have there own channels with some great videos. Check them out!

4.) PragerU Thinks Feelings Justify Belief in An Afterlife

PragerU is synonymous with Bullshit among the atheist community and Godless Cranium does an excellent job of taking this video apart. I hope you’ll check it out.

3.) Hugo & Jake Watch “The Case for Christ”

Damn this is funny…seriously, if you like review videos then this is the one for you. I don’t know if I have ever laughed so much at a video like this ever before. You will not regret watching this video.

2.) Why Are We Here? Because F#%K LOGIC (Joe Muslim 3-1)

Logicked has absolutely no problem telling folks exactly why their reasoning is awful regardless of the faith they follow. In this video Logicked responds to a Muslim who has some very strange beliefs. Enjoy!

1.) Why do religious believers hate reality so much?

AronRa is one of my absolute favorite activists on the planet. This talk speaks on why believers seem to have such issues with the reality that we actually find ourselves living in. I hope you will give it a view and let me know what you think.

VIDEO OF THE WEEK – David Mitchell Doesn’t Understand Atheism

Rationality Rules Debunked series is absolutely fantastic, a real highlight of any week. I’m actually a fan of Mitchell’s but he does make some assumptions that are just blatantly wrong. Check out this video and many more on Rationality Rules channel.

So what did you think of the videos above? Let me know in the comments. Did I miss a video this week that you feel should have been included in my list? If so please share so I can check it out.  If you liked what you saw, please subscribe to their channel.

Once again, thank you for following my blog and for the comments you share. I appreciate it!

Satanic Sundays

Satanic Sunday #9: Muppets, Bowie, and Aslan

For those new to my blog, Satanic Sunday is an article about something that was considered evil or “Satanic” when I was a child. This could be something that my parents taught me or something that was just a general belief in the churches that we attended. These are definitely not my beliefs today and looking back I think of how funny it is that the church was so scared of these things.


For the last Satanic Sunday, click here: Satanic Sunday# 8: Critical Thinking

Now, let’s be clear, I’m not talking about the regular muppets that we all know and love. I’ve already touched upon them in a previous article about cartoons that were considered evil, which you can find here: Satanic Sunday #6: Children’s Cartoons, but Fozie Bear, Gonzo, Kermit and Miss Piggy are safe from today’s article. These were not the only Muppets that existed and this article will be about some of Jim Henson’s other creations.

The Dark Crystal

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Now the Dark Crystal is a wonderful movie and I say this having only watched it in my early 30’s. See this movie involved magic, mysticism, good and evil, as well as some fairly scary scenes that were outside the norm of other children’s movies of the same time period. It’s an absolutely stunning visual delight that really puts you into the world of Thra. It involves a Gelfling who goes on a journey to fix a crystal and restore balance to the world.

The most insidious part of the film is that it deals with a fairly touchy subject, the idea that within us all is contained a good and a very evil side. When the crystal is broken, two races of beings are created, the evil Skeksis and the benevolent mystics. The Skeksis want to use the crystal to obtain immortality and destroy the mystics. We learn throughout the film that these two races are actually two sides of the same creature and by restoring the crystal, the two races are brought back together into one race the urSkeks.

You see, Christians like to believe that while they are sinners, when they become saved god replaces all the bad in their lives and replaces it with good. The idea of the dual nature of man is considered evil because it negates gods transformative power.  If we can work together to fix our own issues then where would god come into the picture.

The other aspect of this film that Christians find so appalling is the imagery and symbolism used throughout the film. The Thra system is, in a way, a form of sun worship. The sun shines through the crystal and grants immortality to those in its vicinity. Eternal life is obviously only bestowed by middle eastern zombies and so this fantasy world is entirely evil. It’s going to lead our children to mysticism, crystals, and probably raw water…

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The only question that I would ask is this; If your god is so powerful, then how could children be led astray by Muppets?

Labyrinth 

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The second film that I would like to speak about today is, Labyrinth. An absolute classic featuring both Muppets and David Bowie. How on earth could anyone be against that concept just from the start?

Well, for starters this movie is dark and I do mean dark. The movie starts with a girl who is asked by her parents to babysit her infant brother. She is late getting home and gets a scolding from her stepmother. Upon seeing her brother who is holding one of her old toys that she has neglected for years,she wishes that her brother be carried away by the goblin king(Bowie), as any teenager would.  The movie is then about her journey, through the labyrinth, to rescue her baby brother, realize she still loves her old toys, defeat the goblin king and learn that while she is growing up she still needs her neglected friends, the toys.

Bowie is absolutely superb as the goblin king and the film is once again a visual delight. It’s once again pretty scary for a children’s movie but everything melds together so well that the scary nature is forgotten over the absolute beauty of Jim Henson’s creations. I mean look at these guys..

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The reason this film is panned by many Christians is once again due to the fact that it involves magic. The Goblin King uses a crystal ball, sings about his evil plans, and attempts to draw the girl to his side and his wicked ways.

The one thing that might cause some children to have nightmares is one particular scene that is truly horrifying.

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I mean look at that….Bowie is obviously being attacked by some sort of python in his pants. How could you look at this scene and not feel slightly inadequate in some way? Luckily nowhere in the film does Bowie use his magic wand for anything but to tear apart my psyche and self-esteem.

Anyway this film is claimed to be satanic because it’s dark, it contains magic, and it features Bowie’s thunder dong.  Horrifying!!!


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The Chronicles of Narnia

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This is not a Jim Henson creation but I wanted to include it just in case you thought that Christians only pan movies that are dark and scary….

Now this last one is strange because as anyone can tell you, The Chronicles of Narnia is absolutely chock full of Christian imagery. The writer of the series, C.S. Lewis, is considered by many to be one of the best christian apologists of the last century and so it seems odd that his children;s series about the destruction of evil and the triumph of the good would be seen as Satanic by some.

Well, this basically starts with the title of the first book in the series, “The Lion, The Witch, and The Wardrobe. Now Christians don’t give a fuck about fashion or felines but it’s the witch in the title that causes such a huge stir. This book and film series teach children that witches are real and that they can actually harness the powers of evil for their own success. It doesn’t matter that the entire series is about how the powers of evil fall far short of the powers of the good, Aslan the lion(Jesus in feline form).

Nope, simply that this book involves magic makes it satanic. It doesn’t matter that the writer spent the majority of his time writing books that supposedly proved the accuracy and inerrant nature of the bible, all that matters is that he taught children that witches were a real thing and that they had actual power….the hilarity being that witches are a real thing and that the most power they can come up with is of the herbal variety and does absolutely nothing in regards to good or evil…

Maybe some would be upset that it teaches children it’s ok to walk up to a male lion and have a conversation with it but no, schizophrenia is fine, but a weak witch is not.

Lewis also includes in his work some imagery and characters from Roman and Greek mythology but these characters generally don’t play a huge role in the books, or do but are being used by the dark side of the force….oops wrong movie…by the evil side in order to try to trick the children into no longer following Aslan.   These films are actually benign in their entirety and in my opinion are pretty boring. They are beautiful visually but lack any real substance in my own opinion.

And in case you’ve forgotten over the last couple of minutes…here it is….once again in all it’s purple headed, blue-veined, trouser trout glory…

bulge

Deep Thoughts · The Diary Of My Mind

Deep Thoughts: Why Am I An Activist?

Many of the arguments that atheists receive come along the lines of this rationale…

“Okay, I get it, you’re an atheist, why don’t you just shut up about it and let me believe what I want to believe?”

Well, the reason I won’t shut up about it and why I write on this blog is that I wish we could get to a point where I didn’t have to talk about the topics that my blog entails. I’d be perfectly happy to write a blog about video games and movies. Hell, when I consider the amount of views I got for my blog about the Legend of Zelda, I could probably make a fairly good living writing blogs along those lines. However, we don’t live in a world where I could feel comfortable writing a blog about the nonsense that I do to entertain myself.

world

We live in a world…

  • Where Religion threatens to invade education nearly every single day.
  • Where Freedom from religion is not seen as equal to freedom of religion.
  • Where Atheists are murdered on a daily basis simply for rejecting the god that their leaders say to worship.
  • Where the vast majority of our elected leaders believe in an imaginary man who gave us a rule book, and they vote according to that rule book.
  • Where the leader of the free world states that god is in control of things that we should take the reigns of and fix

These are just a few reasons why I write this blog. I’m not doing it to become famous, I’m not writing it because I have some grudge against religion, I’m doing it because religion has a grudge against anyone who does not adhere completely to their delusional worldview.

When I first set out to write this blog I did so for completely therapeutic means. I needed to get the story of my deconversion out there so that I could move past the hurt I was experiencing and the regrets that I had for following and promoting a faith that I now consider to be absolutely repugnant. This blog was my means of getting through the struggle of leaving the faith and finding my new voice in a life not controlled by an all-powerful being that was constantly watching and looking out for me.

What this blog has become is a voice for others who have shared the same journey that I once did. This blog has led me to start a group on facebook for recovering theists, the Clergy Project, it’s allowed me to help others find that same route. One day I awoke and was called an atheist activist and I nearly laughed before realizing that this is actually what I had become. I’m an activist not because I want to be but because that’s just what you become when you see a need and you do your part in the effort.

So if you’re reading this blog and wonder why I just don’t simply shut up about positive atheism and living free from delusions, the reason is simple…

I won’t shut up because you want me to.

Bad Theism

Bad Theism: Apocalyptic Mindset

For the last Bad Theism, click here: Bad Theism: Presuppositional Apologetics

Just to let everyone know I hadn’t really planned on writing another Bad Theism article tonight. I had actually intended on writing a blog about apophenia. If you don’t know, apophenia is how humans will take two completely unrelated occurrences and yet somehow come up with a way that these two things are connected. That’s a fairly simple description and one day soon I will write more on the topic, however, tonight I decided to write about people who wish for the end of the world.

brother-love

Apocalyptic prophecies are not the monopoly of the Christian faith and yet since Christianity is the faith that I know the most about, having been a minister for a decade, it will be the faith I deal with the most tonight. Islam, Hinduism, and even New Age Spirituality have their own versions of the coming end of mankind’s reign on the earth. Judaism on the other hand both does and does not have a coming apocalypse….pick a side people! lol

Anyway, the first thing that I want to say is that the vast majority of believers which I have met do not actually wish to see the world come to an end. They will however speak as if they are excitedly awaiting the apocalypse. When I was a Christian minister i would have told you about the glorious return of Christ that could happen every minute and then the horrific things that would occur after the church had been raptured. I would have spoken to you in such a way that you honestly believed I wished for the world to end and yet always in the back of my mind I hoped to have a long life that would end long before the supposed rapture was to occur.

My story is not that unique. I actually used to preach on the idea that most of us don’t really want to see the world to come to an end or else we wouldn’t spend so much time and money attempting to continue our existence here on earth. My grandfather is the type that believes any prediction about the end of the world, Y2K, 2012, the election last year…..all were definitely going to be the end of the world. I believe his latest prediction is that the end of the world will happen sometime in August, and yet he planned a family reunion for September….you can literally see the cognitive dissonance dripping off of him.

rapture.jpg

Anyway, my grandfather is this rapture groupie and yet he has spent thousands of dollars and numerous medical procedures in order to prolong his life here on Earth. He had his prostate removed because it was cancerous, has had a couple of stints put into his heart to keep the blood flowing, had surgery to stop a brain bleed after a fall a couple of years back, and he has spent an unimaginable amount of money on vitamins and supplements to keep his eyes strong and his coat extra shiny. Now…wouldn’t you think if he was that eager to see god that he would see any of the issues that have plagued him as an express ticket to the throne of judgment?  You’d think that but the truth is he actually desperately wants to live as long as possible.

shrugged

What is there to explain this?

Somewhere in his mind is a sane and rational portion that sees death as the end and doesn’t actively celebrate the idea of the end of time.  I base this on my own experience when I too was someone who outwardly wished for the end of the world while inwardly wanted to ward it off for as long as I could. Now sure this is anecdotal but I’m only mentioning it because I want to point out that the believer and the belief are not always synonymous. It seems strange but a person can be fully 100% in a death cult and yet not wish death and destruction on anyone.

I think one of the interesting pieces of evidence is the fact that in order to explain the end of the world, judgement, and hell the believer will simply throw his hands in the air and state that god is supreme and that he has a better knowledge of life in general than any human could. Death, hell, and the end of the world are not evil, they are simply things that we don’t understand because we are dumb. Now why do I say this is evidence? I say this because it is the ultimate example of throwing someone under the bus and eliminating the problem from your own psyche.

Let’s replace “god” with Dave…

Person A: Hey, did you know Dave is going to return and destroy the world soon.
Person B: Why would Dave do that?
Person A: I don’t know, it’s Dave…
Person B: Dave seems to be a prick.
Person A: Hey, Dave’s in upper management and knows things, are you, a lowly janitor, really going to question Dave?
Person B: I guess not but it still doesn’t make much sense.
Person A: Well, Dave does work in mysterious ways…

Anyway, my point being is that the believer throws these ideas into the lap of god so that they don’t have to deal with it in their own mind and can continue on with their vitamin and supplement regimens while still pretending to excitedly wait for Dave’s return.

The next question that we face is why do believers have to live in this constant state of cognitive dissonance?

adam and eve
“The Fall and Expulsion from Garden of Eden” depiction of Adam and Eve in the Sistine Chapel by Michelangelo. Photo courtesy of Creative Commons/Sebastian Bergmann

The answer to that is their faith is a death cult. Let’s lay this out for you…

  • Adam and Eve sinned which brought death to the world.
  • For generations men had to sacrifice animals in order to keep gods wrath at bay.
  • Jesus came to earth for the sole purpose of dying in a brutal sacrificial way.
  • Peace and Love can only reign once the final death-blow is dealt and all sinners are done away with in a horrifically gruesome way.

Now I say their faith is but I still promote the idea that the believer is likely not in on the want for death to come to the world and destroy all of their friends and family who don’t happen to be a part of the faith. The majority of Christians and Muslims are good people not because of their faith but in spite of their faith. Both Christianity and Islam share the idea of eternal punishment for the sinner and so it is very hard for the believer to accept this truth.

Think of it….

Grandma, who bakes me cookies but doesn’t go to church is going to hell. What kind of torture is that to put on the mind? I can tell you that as a child I was deeply scared that people I knew would end up in hell and yet the older I got the less I thought about it and the more I threw my hands in the air and simply said, “Well….it must be true since it says it is and so….whatever…” That might seem a bit cold but what I mean is that I simply did not think about it all that much because it wasn’t something that I enjoyed thinking about.

Now the last question I want to touch upon is why do these faiths feel the need to promote the idea of an apocalypse?

Simply put, these faiths need some sort of grand finale for people to actually continue following them. Sure there are liberal forms of Christianity but for the most part these are just agnostics that lack the guts to admit it. You have to have the big pay-off at the end or else why would anyone follow the faith?

Think about it, religion is an absolute chore. A bunch of arbitrary rules that don’t really make sense that you have to follow in order to please god….it fucking sucks. However, with the threat of hell and the coming apocalypse, you can keep enough people on the “straight and narrow” in order to keep the lights on, buy a golden staff, and ride around in a weird bubble car. If you take radical Islam, do you really think you could get anyone to blow themselves up if this was all there was and there wasn’t some grand payday in the end? For the fundamentalist faiths you must have some sort of horrific end to keep people from leaving your garbage faith. For me this was definitely true, since when I really started to look into the origins of hell, I began to no longer fear it, and so leaving the faith no longer held the fear that it once had in my mind.

So in conclusion, I want to point out once again that even though these faiths are most definitely death cults, their adherents are not necessarily of the same mindset. The vast majority of believers say one thing while thinking another, we all want a good life and for the most part we all want a long life. Our faiths may teach one thing but in the end we are all human and just want to live our lives in peace and as fear free as possible.


bonus

Bonus: New Age Apocalypse

So perhaps one of the funniest things that I find in the New Age beliefs is how horribly wrong their predictions can be and how they explain the failure of their predictions. It seems that at least once per month the new age crowd is predicting something that is going to take humans to the next step in evolution, when we will transcend our physical bodies and enter in to the 5th, 6th, or 45th dimension. What is going to bring about this change? Well, it could be…

blood

The Super Moon
A Blood Moon
A Blue Moon
An Alignment of any number of the planets
A Cool numbered day….11/11/11 anyone?
The First Day of Fall
The First Day of Spring
The Winter Solstice
The Summer Solstice
Venus appearing in the sky
and of course NIBIRU!!!!!!

When the transformation doesn’t occur it is ultimately granted to one of two things.

1.) Too many low-frequency humans infesting the earth.
2.) A Paradigm Shift

So it’s either that there are way too many shitty people who haven’t gotten “WOKE” yet, that it was really just a change of thinking that occurred, or a combination of the two. Whenever one of these things happen I like to imagine Star Wars, and instead of the force actually working it ends up with Luke simply thinking differently about the empire and going on with his life. Not a great idea for a movie because it’s just a lazy way to explain away things that were never going to occur in the first place.  That won’t stop them from trying….cause remember….the next blood moon will mark the return of Nibiru and the Nordics are going to save us from the reptilian overlords who are all turning the freaking frogs gay…

gay

Bad Theism

Bad Theism: Presuppositional Apologetics

For the last Bad theism article, click here: Bad Theism: Lying for the Lord. This will also be a continuation of an earlier article: Bad Theism: Circular Reasoning.

So tonight I’d like to talk a little bit about Presuppositional Apologetics. To start Let’s define the terms.

Presupposition – something tacitly assumed beforehand at the beginning of a line of argument or course of action.

Apologetics – reasoned arguments or writings in justification of something, typically a theory or religious doctrine.

So together we can gather that these are arguments based around ideas that one assumes everyone shares. Tonight I will be dealing with Christian Presuppositional Apologetics but the facts are that any person can delve into these ideas, it doesn’t matter if you are a Christian, Muslim, Atheist, Far-Left, Far-Right, etc… All that is required is for someone to make an assumption on some ideal that they believe everyone shares and form an argument around that assumption.

In the religious realm this takes the form of assuming that everyone, regardless of what they claim, actually does believe in god and not only that but they recognize the truth and inerrant nature of biblical scripture. If someone says that they do not believe in god or scripture, the presuppositionalist will claim they are lying and once again repeat that everyone knows the bible is true and that god is real.

The reasoning behind Christians, or anyone for that matter, using this type of argument is that there is really no way that any new information can enter into the debate. This prevents anything from contradicting the argument and so it may seem like it makes the one promoting this type of argument appear correct. It feels really good to be right and surprisingly it feels just as good to believe you are right even if the truth of the matter is different from what you may believe.

Bullshit

It may come as a shock to some that are new to this blog but I was once a Christian presuppositionalist. I knew that everyone believed in god and the only ones who said they didn’t were lying because the devil wanted them to lie. I was a major proponent of every bad argument that you have ever heard a creationist or fundamentalist promote. I wasn’t a young earth creationist but I was a creationist and I was definitely a fundamentalist.

At one point I thought that my faith in god was unshakable. If you would have told me ten years ago that I would be an atheist today, writing articles in an effort to disprove arguments I once used, I would have laughed you out of my church. However, my faith was anything but unshakable and it was actually the fragility of those beliefs that exposed the error of presuppositionalist thought.

You see, when I started to question my own beliefs I began to realize that it was actually possible to doubt the existence of god. It was possible to lose a belief that I once thought everyone shared. When my faith began to wane my christian life actually increased for a good period of time. I prayed more, I read the bible more, I fasted and tithed more, in every facet of my life I pushed myself to go further than I ever had in order to reignite the faith that I had once enjoyed. Yet, even with all that my faith continued to wane and I found that there was no devil over my shoulder leading me into the world of sin.

shrugged

I never found myself falling into a world of sin that I assumed everyone who claimed to not believe in god lived within. I didn’t get a drinking problem, in fact I drink far less now than I did as a minister….yes I drank when I was a minister, and felt damn guilty every time I did. I didn’t find myself shooting up, wanting to rape or murder anyone, and I didn’t find myself going down any path that I considered sinful. I simply had lost my faith and it never returned. So here I am today telling you that presuppositional apologetics are enshrined by their own desperate weakness.

Now that we have that out-of-the-way let me talk to you a little bit about why these arguments are bad logically.

If I were to ask the classic,

“Have you stopped beating your wife?”

I am assuming, of course, that you beat your wife. You could answer yes, which means you beat your wife in the past, or no, which means you still beat your wife, but either answer still points to domestic violence at some point in time. The same is true for religious arguments.

Example:

“Why do you hate god?”

This question assumes that there is a god in this reality for which we can hate. If you answer that you don’t hate god, then the answer would be, “Well, why don’t you follow him?” If you answer that you do hate god, then the answer would be, “AH-Ha, you do believe in god or else how could you hate him?” If your answer was anywhere outside of the bounds of an I do or an I don’t, the presuppositionalist will simply say, “Of course you say that, you hate god.”

Now another reason why this argument is poorly thought out is that it is open to the exact reverse being said.

A Christian may say, “All men believe in god.”

however

An Atheist could say, “All men know god isn’t real.”

Neither side can be argued from a logical standpoint and but both arguments nullify any information that contradicts the argument. It’s true that both arguments can be debated against but the presuppositionalist will simply disregard any argument, no matter how sound it might be, as rubbish since it contradicts their original argument.

To put it bluntly, the Christian Presuppositional argument is simply a security blanket that allows them to feel better about their beliefs, superior to the evil ones who deny their supposed truth, and giddy at the fact that their argument makes those who use actual logical debate tactics want to rip their hair out.

Thank you for reading and it’s obvious to me that this is the greatest article ever written and anyone who says otherwise is definitely lying. Goodnight!

Wednesday Woo

Wednesday Woo #17: Karma and Morality

For last weeks article, click here: Wednesday Woo #16: Astral Projection

One of the most important aspects of life for us social animals our relationships, and in order to maintain good, loving relationships, we must have some sense of integrity. In fact, one of the largest debates during humanity’s enlightenment period was how to conduct ourselves morally. This debate remains alive and well, and is still a very poignant when it comes to progress. Our moral concepts drive us past the instinctively selfish states toward more harmonious goals and achievements, simply because of concern for the best in human well-being. Those who follow the gurus of New Age teachings tend to leave their innate sense of humanity behind, instead choosing a path that encourages selfishness and an utter lack of concern for other people. One of the most important aspects of life for us social animals are our relationships, and in order to maintain good, loving relationships, we must have some sense of integrity. In fact, one of the largest debates during humanity’s enlightenment period was how to conduct ourselves morally. This debate remains alive and well, and is still a very poignant when it comes to progress. Our moral concepts drive us past the instinctively selfish states toward more harmonious goals and achievements, simply because of concern for the best in human well-being. Those who follow the gurus of New Age teachings tend to leave their innate sense of humanity behind, instead choosing a path that encourages selfishness and an utter lack of concern for other people.

Obviously this is not a man who wished to transcend his own selfish desires in order to achieve the best possible morality. Instead, he was more concerned with having as much for himself as possible, surrounded himself with the very rich, and duping them out of millions of dollars so he could satiate his own folly. This is a definite step backward in terms of any serious moral argument born from the enlightenment. While Osho claims to have abandoned the teachings of the past, he certainly seems to be living in accordance to the concept of karma, which is a philosophy utilized by his native India in order to maintain the hierarchy of power and poverty in the country. The caste system is an atrocious, undignified ideology, which highlights consequences being passed on through reincarnation as opposed to actual human effort.
Karma
Basically, karma works as follows:

1. “It’s your own fault, even if you don’t remember why.”
If you’re poor, sick, or being abused, well, tough shit! You should’ve never done the stuff you don’t remember doing. It must have been horrible, so let’s treat you like crap until you learn not to do the things that we have no evidence of you ever having done.
2. “What you do now impacts the future.”
Kind of self evident, but again, this is a grain of truth in a bag full of shit.
3. “We get what we deserve.”
There is no evidence for this, but those who maintain that karma is the medium through which justice is served don’t feel they need evidence, and can selfishly justify treating people like crap while leaning on the idea of “act now, pay later.” What a wayward way of thinking!
4. “Let’s assume that nothing we do matters.”
Of course, this is pretty much where the idea of karma logically leads, although it does contradict the above notions of impacting the future, and getting what you deserve. Perhaps this is the only pillar of the entire philosophy. What kind of real morality assumes nothing at all matters?
5. “Nothing is random.”
Once again, there is no evidence to back up this claim, and only serves as a way to confirm a bias that upholds the monstrosity that is the caste system. This is a religious concept that creates a boundary between the rich and poor, us and them, those who “deserve” horrible lives and those who do not. I see no way that a person could truly hold these beliefs while maintaining a moral way of life. The belief in karma should be abandoned if we are to achieve the best possible course toward human well-being. The struggle to end this type of karmic discrimination has been going on for a long while now, and hopefully, for the betterment of their own people, those who stand against the caste system shall be victorious. The question I have is, do we really want to maintain these ideas of karma that have spread so much horror in the country from which they derive? 

When I was a New Ager, I struggled with accepting this idea, so I had to redefine karma as “lessons we learn in life” as opposed to its actual meaning. I knew about the caste system, and despite wanting to accept the New Age type of enlightenment, a part of me just could not accept karma without changing it to suit my own terms. This was one of the cognitive dissonances I had to face ultimately, and as soon as this concept broke down for me, I began to notice the horrible things people in my “tribe” were saying about other people, as well as world events. The last straw for me was seeing a friend of mine complain about videos being shared on her timeline about the Syrian gas attack that showed children writhing in pain and struggling to breathe. Her issue with it wasn’t about how horrible it was that human beings were made to suffer in such an agonizing way – no, she was bitching because it brought down her “good vibes”.  This made my jaw drop and my blood boil, and upon recalling this event, the hypocrisy and lack of concern still makes me angry. This was a woman who talked nonstop about loving others, yet where was the love?
New Agers say they abhor religion, but this isn’t really the case, they consider all religions to have some sort of truth, which of course is just cherry picking. The truth is that these ancient holy books have very little actual truth in them, and if one follows the logic of old religious concepts like karma, we take a step backward morally. I think we can do better, and in order to do that, we need to leave behind the cruel philosophies of “holy” books.