Compassion and Human Dignity

One of the most powerful appeals of dogmatic God-centered religions like Christianity can be summed up perfectly in this song by Steven Curtis Chapman that was all over Christian radio back when I was a Christian. Even now, it is beautiful to me.

Sometimes His eyes were gentle
And filled with laughter,
And sometimes they cried;
Sometimes there was a fire
Of holy anger,
In Jesus eyes.
But the eyes that saw hope in the hopeless,
That saw through the fault to the need,
Are the same eyes that look down from heaven
Into the deepest part of you and me.

CHORUS
His eyes are always upon us;
His eyes never close in sleep.
And no matter where you go,
You will always be in His eyes, in His eyes.

Sometimes His voice comes calling
Like rolling thunder,
Or like driving rain;
And sometimes His voice is quiet,
And we start to wonder
If He knows our pain.
But He who spoke peace to the water
Cares more for our hearts than the waves,
And the voice that once said “Youre forgiven”,
Still says “Youre forgiven” today.

Sometimes I look above me when stars are shining
And I feel so small;
How could the God of heaven and all creation
Know I’m here at all.
But then in silence He whispers,
“My child, I created you too
And youre my most precious creation;
I even gave my Son for you.”

CHORUS
His eyes are always upon you;
His eyes never close in sleep.
And no matter where you go,
You will always be in His eyes,

No matter where you go,
You will always be in His eyes

Sometimes His eyes were gentle
And filled with laughter,

Christians often say that we are called to be like God and Jesus, to be as loving towards lesser beings as possible. Meanwhile, when we look at how atheists often present themselves on the internet, we see very little compassion or respect for the downtrodden and broken. Instead, we see bigoted crap like this from the “Amazing Atheist”:

No, you bastard, you know nothing about the topic of triggering….

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That video comes from the same sort of atheist who claims that religion itself is a scourge to society. I referred directly to such an atheist fanatic while commenting on a much earlier blog entry:

https://dalehusband.com/2010/08/09/misdefining-terms-for-purposes-of-propaganda/#comment-677

http://pandasthumb.org/archives/2010/06/in-defense-of-m.html#comment-219719

truthspeaker | June 15, 2010 2:53 PM

It wouldn’t matter if all religions behaved like the Society of Friends and the ELCA. It is still based on the premise that believing in things without evidence as a virtue. As long as it starts with that premise – and it always will, because if it didn’t it wouldn’t be religion -, it will always be evil. There’s just no getting around it – promoting irrationality as a virtue is bad for humanity. No matter how much you polish the turd, it will still be a turd.

Both the Unamazing Asshole and the “truthspeaker” can go fuk themselves. Denying something does not disprove it, in both cases. And ignoring the good that religious people often do in the name of their religions is, well…..IGNORANCE!

I will rewrite the song by Steven Curtis Chapman to reflect how I wish white male atheists would conduct themselves, instead of only thinking about themselves.

Sometimes our eyes are gentle
And filled with laughter,
And sometimes they cry;
Sometimes there is a fire
Of righteous anger,
Deep in our eyes.
But the eyes that see hope in the hopeless,
That see through the fault to the need,
Are the same eyes that look within ourselves
To seek the best of what we can be.

Our eyes should always be looking;
Our eyes never close in sleep.
And no matter where we go,
We will always see with open eyes

Sometimes our voice comes calling
Like rolling thunder,
Or like driving rain;
And sometimes our voice is quiet,
And they start to wonder
If we know their pain.
But if we speak peace to the world
And care for their hearts anyway
Then the voice that once says “You are loved”,
Will say “You are loved” every day.

Sometimes we look above us when stars are shining
And we feel so small;
How can such tiny creatures on this one world
Make a difference at all.
But then in the silence remember,
That we exist in vast numbers too
And when we all work as one species
There is so much good we can do

Our eyes should always be looking;
Our eyes never close in sleep.
And no matter where we go,
We will always see with open eyes

Could that happen? Perhaps, but we would have to look to these:

http://americanhumanist.org/

http://huumanists.org/

http://iheu.org/

Because it is HUMANISM we all need, not just atheism. If the progressive humanists among atheists can defeat and drown out the conservative bigots, and then provide all the charitable and emotional needs of people who need help and comfort, then they will cause the final downfall of dogmatic religion around the world. Let it be so.

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Ken Ammi, Enemy of Truth

Years ago, I discovered a blog which contained some criticism of the Baha’i Faith  and I eagerly copied a blog entry from it to support my own case against the Baha’i Faith, only to discover that the author was a hard-core Christian who was not nearly as critical of his own religion as he was of other faiths, a clear sign of dishonesty and bigotry. This was confirmed today when I found the new version of his blog and read its About page. I will post parts from that page here in green and italics and my responses in blue and bold.

http://www.truefreethinker.com/about

Continue reading

Stop the Hypocrisy, NOW!

On the blog Why Evolution is True, we find this entry that seems to have nothing whatsoever to do with evolution, biology, or even science at all.  Instead, it is all about hypocrisy in religion:

http://whyevolutionistrue.wordpress.com/2010/03/18/dennett-and-lascola-study-on-nonbelieving-clergy/

Imagine being forced to go to work every day and, as part of the job, profess something that you absolutely don’t believe.  More than that: at least once a week you have to publicly profess it, and also counsel other people on the explicit premise that you share the beliefs you reject.  In other words, you’re forced to live a lie.

No one is forced to do anything like that.  The issue is that you have a job that makes you money and enables you to influence others. That sounds like a strong motivation to keep doing it, but there are alternatives.

Why do these preachers stay in the faith and on the job? Three reasons, mostly.  One is financial: what else could they do with their training if they left the ministry? Often they have neither equity (living in church-owned houses) nor pensions.

What about simply switching to become ministers of Unitarian Universalist churches or hold some other position in the Unitarian Universalist Association? You do not have to believe in the Bible as the Word of God to be a UU!

http://huumanists.org/

You can also profess liberal Christianity in the UUA and not be hypocritical:

http://www.uuchristian.org/

Another, and perhaps more important, reason is that an admission of unbelief  would shock and disappoint their friends and family.  This is a very powerful motive, for facing the truth would rip asunder your network of social and family support.

Where is the unconditional love that Christians are supposed to have for people? And wouldn’t being open and honest about unbelief be just as likely to cause others to defect as well?

Finally, many of these preachers like their work, especially the part of the job that involves helping troubled people……..There’s absolutely no doubt that faith, and religious institutions, have provided important help for those in need or in trouble.  Some religions do this more than others.

There is no reason why they cannot do work like counseling or doing charity work, even if they are atheists.

But isn’t it a shame that there aren’t secular communities where those with altruistic instincts can “minister” without hypocrisy or fear?

That last remark irritates me.  The UUA may not be “secular”, but it provides exactly the sort of framework needed by those former Christian ministers. And then there are these many groups:

http://www.freethoughtpedia.com/wiki/Secular_charities

Nice going, Jerry Coyne. Your obsession with bashing religion only made yourself look ignorant! And that would not be the only time you did that!

“Classical” Atheism vs. “Contemporary” Atheism

Once again, I find myself dealing with the tiresome issue of the competing definitions of Atheism. See my previous blog entries on this subject for references:

https://dalehusband.wordpress.com/2010/06/24/atheism-is-a-dogma-get-over-it/

https://dalehusband.wordpress.com/2010/08/09/misdefining-terms-for-purposes-of-propaganda/

https://dalehusband.wordpress.com/2011/07/26/make-up-your-minds-atheists/

https://dalehusband.wordpress.com/2012/09/01/richard-dawkins-is-an-agnostic/

https://dalehusband.wordpress.com/2012/10/05/is-agnostic-an-obsolete-term/

Now I learn that Aron-Ra, a fellow Texan and activist against promoting Creationist bigotry and lies in public schools, has not only accepted the “contemporary” definition of atheism, he asserts that the “classical” definition of it was a lie all along! Really??? Continue reading

Racism among Atheists too?

Jen McCreight, author of the blog Blag Hag, now finds herself having to confront the ugly issue of racism among her fellow atheists after she and other women dealt so much and for so long with sexism among them. I will provide links to her blog entries in question along with excerpts from them.

http://freethoughtblogs.com/blaghag/2013/08/on-silencing-anger-to-silence-minority-voices/

My favorite thing to wake up to in the morning is white straight cis men insisting they get to decide who your allies are and that you should not ever get angry, but rather calmly explain basic topics to hostile questions from every person that wanders across your path as if it were your personal duty on this earth. Continue reading

There is NO default position on religion

P Z Myers wrote an essay for the Washington Post that reads as follows:

Atheism is the default position. You don’t have to do anything to be an atheist, but you have to work awfully hard to not be one…..

I consider this to be a falsehood, based on my own personal experience. I was raised in a conservative Protestant family, so I naturally adopted the basic Christian beliefs of my parents and other relatives. It required no work at all to simply believe in God and to accept the Bible as the Word of God. So for me, evangelical Protestantism WAS the default position; it was not until I was attending college that I decided to stop believing in God and it was at the end of a long internal struggle that involved some emotional wrangling that I never would have experienced had I simply chosen to ignore the contradictions I had discovered and remain a Christian. Thus I had to work very hard to deprogram myself and think freely from the dogmas of any religion. And I had to undergo this process TWICE, since I later was seduced to join the Baha’i Faith and then deprogram myself from that as well.

From a universal perspective, there cannot be a default position on religion, politics, or any other subject involving dogmas (and yes, atheism is properly classed as a dogma). There are only defaults with regards to family upbringings.  The only way atheism can be a default position is if a child is raised in a family of atheists.