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These six superpowers are why atheists are #winning

Atheism is #winning

To be free from superstition or the belief in the supernatural is a rarity in the history of our species. It’s so rare in fact that it’s a stretch to include it in the description of what it is to be human. It is only through generations of evidence-based knowledge about the world that we have recently found ourselves in an environment hospitable to modern atheistic and skeptical world views. This niche we find ourselves in has been so out of reach to humans until so recently that the ability to experience such a detachment from gods and superstition might even be fairly described as superhuman.

There’s evidence that the origin of supernatural thinking dates as far back as 300,000 years ago when Paleolithic humans began burying their dead. If you consider that we’ve only had access to enough evidence-based ammunition to smother the absurdity of faith-based and superstitious thinking since the dawn of the scientific revolution 300 years ago, you realize that only 0.1% of our species’ existence since the Paleolithic era has been marked by the potential to be a modern atheist or skeptic.

So it can be argued that to be an atheist or skeptic in the modern world makes you superhuman. As an atheist (or future atheist) you might ask, “what’s the point of being superhuman if it doesn’t come with superpowers?” Well it does, take a look:

Superpower #1: Freedom of Thought

We have the freedom to think about anything we want without thinking someone else is listening. While our religious friends are fearful to imagine for even a second that there might not be a god because they might be damned to eternal hell-fire, we’re free to explore all ideas. The ability to entertain all ideas without the fear of a supernatural eavesdropper allows us to make sound judgments about the validity of some ideas over the absurdity of others. We’re #winning because our freedom of thought gives us the freedom to be ourselves.

Superpower #2: Wisdom

We live at a time when we have access to an unimaginable breadth of knowledge that helps us not only better understand our past, but more presciently plan for our future. Theists have to square any new knowledge they gain with the views held in their ancient doctrines. When there’s a conflict, they’ll choose the obsolete doctrine over new evidence leading them to surrender their potential wisdom to utter ignorance about the world around them. We’re #winning because our wisdom is built on the shoulders of giants.

Superpower #3: Imagination

With the unimaginable amount of knowledge we’ve garnered on the inner workings of the universe, our imaginations are given boundless range for exploration. You’ll be hard-pressed to find a theist who understands enough cosmology (see Superpower #2) to dream about, say, someday terraforming a planet, or to realistically contemplate the possibility of life elsewhere in the universe, or to make a great discovery in string theory. We’re #winning because we have a “spaceship of the imagination” that runs on logic and evidence and so is limitless in range.

Superpower #4: Honesty

Understanding the world based on facts and evidence allows an honesty in our thinking. Theists have to hold in their minds competing ideas about how the world works as becomes apparent when they have to defend a belief. For example, watch what happens when you ask your Christian friend how, when Noah’s ark landed, the kangaroos made it back to Australia? Your friend will have to ignore the entire fossil record and invent a response. We’re #winning because we don’t have to make stuff up to make sense of the world.

Superpower #5: Stewardship

Our ability to consume and synthesize facts and evidence in the absence of religious doctrine allows us to make decisions that will benefit the future of our species. As is all too common in the US, Christians are the first to ignore scientific evidence in favor of faith, submitting control of the future of our planet to their imaginary friend. An atheist understands there are no gods to solve our problems and will therefore work to solve them rather than ignore them or try to pray them away. We’re #winning because our thoughts and actions are positively correlated to the survival of our species.

Superpower #6: An Evolved Morality

Our morality like everything else is subject to evidence and research and as such is able to evolve as our understanding of human nature evolves. We don’t rely on an ancient, static doctrine to mandate fixed moral codes that aren’t open to criticism as we learn more about ourselves and what it means to live in societies. A static view of morality results in a narrow understanding of what it is to be human and by extension what it is to be humane. We’re #winning because our morality is adaptable to knowledge and therefore promises to work to reduce the suffering of as many fellow human beings as possible.

We’re #winning because we possess superpowers that were out of reach for our species until very recently. If you’re a fellow atheist or future atheist, enjoy these powers, don’t squander them, and use them wisely.

10 signs you might be a moderate Christian and what you can do about it

Progressive-Christian

You’re a smart person, you stand up for secular values, you contribute to society in meaningful ways, you like gay people, you believe in climate change, etc. And you’re a Christian. But in your unique stance — balancing somewhere between faith and reason — are you being true to yourself and is your way of seeing the world helping to reduce the suffering of others? Maybe not…here are ten signs you might be a moderate Christian, the problems that come along with being moderately religious, and what you can do about it.

  1. You “believe in” evolution, but feel like God must have played in role in it.

    The problem: If you really understood evolution, you’d be unable to honestly hold this belief. Science and religion don’t mix. Evolution contradicts the Biblical account of creation. If you believe in evolution, then you are saying that you don’t believe the Bible’s account of creation. If the Bible was wrong about this, how do you know that it wasn’t wrong about everything, including the existence of God?

  2. You refuse to criticize Christian fundamentalists.

    The problem: In effect you’re supporting the fundamentalists, giving cover to them by validating the idea that one should believe something without a good reason. You don’t speak up when fundamentalists go too far, masking your silence under the guise of tolerance.

  3. You believe fundamentalists are a minority and that they hold no real power.

    The problem: By now we all know this isn’t true: http://www.thedailydolt.com/2012/10/05/tea-party-rep-paul-broun-evolution-and-big-bang-are-lies-straight-from-the-pit-of-hell-why-yes-he-serves-on-the-house-science-committee-with-todd-akin/

  4. You believe churches and other religious organizations that give back to society shouldn’t be taxed.

    The problem: When those institutions want to use their influence over their members to affect how those people vote, they are no longer simply religious institutions, they are political ones, and therefore should be subject to the same rules as any other political organization. If they do in fact give back to society, they should apply for tax-exempt status like every other tax-exempt organization.

  5. You believe faith is a virtue.

    The problem: Faith-based thinking closes the door to more sophisticated approaches to spirituality, ethics, and the building of strong communities.

  6. You do not want anyone to kill anyone in the name of God, but you want us to keep using the word “God” as though we knew what we were talking about.

    The problem: People who think they know what they’re talking about kill people in the name of God.

  7. in-gods-name1

  8. You prefer to relax your standards of adherence to ancient superstitions and taboos while otherwise maintaining a belief system that was passed down from generation upon generation.

    The problem: Your belief system was passed down by men and women whose lives were simply ravaged by their basic ignorance about the world.

  9. You don’t think homosexuality is wrong and evil like your church says it is.

    The problem: The Bible doesn’t like gay people, and is crystal clear about it (you can Google it, or, just read the Bible). Making up your own version of the Bible makes you actually less rational than the fundamentalists who live by it word-for-word. Your beliefs, in contrast, are based on nothing in particular—not scriptural knowledge nor empirical evidence. By failing to live by the letter of the texts—while tolerating the irrationality of those who do—you are betraying faith and reason equally.

  10. You live your life with an emphasis on feeling good rather than thinking critically.

    The problem: This is the same type of thinking we see in climate change denialists. Thinking critically is a long term investment in feeling good.

  11. You accept secular values.

    The problem: You attribute your morality to the Christian God of Abraham without even the most basic understanding of the scriptures that describe such a God. You’re deeply confused about the history of your own faith and the science regarding the natural emergence of morality.

So what can you do about it? The first step is to really study the Bible and understand the scope and context of what you’re reading and supposedly basing your life on. Then, admit to yourself that you need to take a hard look at your beliefs and either come to terms with the fact they’re not compatible with Christianity or join the fundamentalist Christians and stand up for everything the Bible represents. But choose quickly! You can’t have it both ways and be taken seriously for much longer. The rest of us are on to you.

“Religious moderation is the product of secular knowledge and religious ignorance.” – Sam Harris

Esther Perel on the Difference between Sexuality and Eroticism

In the News

Angry gods and their magical forces

Ad 300 x 250 - Angel IIGods have always been angry, and today’s gods are no exception. And like all gods, today’s gods have magical forces. We all know, for instance, that the god of Abraham is planning to rip San Francisco from the West Coast, sinking it into the ocean in a fury of earthquakes, mostly because he hates gays. Just recently he allowed the massacre in Newtown, CT to unfold because we’re taking God out of the classroom. And who could forget Hurricane Sandy? More than a few of our religious leaders directly linked the disaster to the LGBT community. Luckily, most god followers don’t take their gods as seriously as all this.

However, there are some very real ideas cherished by the gods that are taken all too seriously by all too many of their followers. Today’s gods, for instance, show an open disdain for our gay youth. These gods encourage parents to throw their children out of the home when they come out, as seen in the disproportionate number of LGBT youth living homeless on our streets. The god of Abraham made sure to let it be known he’s disgusted by gay love: “You shall not lie with a man as with a woman: it is an abomination” (Leviticus 18:22). How could a god fearing parent argue with that?

The gods of today are infatuated with sex and the proper techniques with which to execute it. So much so that they promote the propagation of HIV in Africa by condemning the use of condoms. They also promote the spread of HPV by fighting against HPV immunizations all in the name of reducing incidents of premarital sex among teenagers, which it has actually been shown not to do. The god of the Catholic Church’s puppet, Pope Francis I, is quite frightened by same-sex marriage describing it as “a scheme to destroy God’s plan.” And then of course you have the god of the Mormons who inspires his followers to outcast their fellow queers from their families and their communities.

Gods have traditionally been anti-science, and today’s gods are some of the worst in this regard. They’ve directed their followers to wage false controversies surrounding evolution, the backbone of biology. They stymie stem cell research that promises to drastically improve the lives of millions in an attempt to save the precious souls contained in the 150 cells of a blastocyst. Following a god also tends to go hand-in-hand with climate change denial and faith healing.

In other parts of the world, there are different religious laws and systems of magic put into place. For instance, in India, you are born into castes by divine authority in which your place in society is determined by your actions in your previous lives. Then you have Islamic theocracies that promote honor killings for adultery or disobedience by a woman to her husband.

The gods of today are quite powerful and they have at their disposal entire armies spread across the world. They’ve built their armies out of blind-faith followers, some of whom are bigoted and uneducated, others who are otherwise intelligent but have been indoctrinated since birth, and still others who are simply frightened or looking for hope in all the wrong places. Many of these followers wage war against anyone who is different than they are. Around the world we have present day wars between Jews and Muslims, Orthodox Serbians and Catholic Croatians, Protestants and Catholics, Muslims and Hindus, Sinhalese Buddhists and Tamil Hindus, and Christians and Muslims to name a few. Other religious groups wage war on groups unaffiliated with religion as seen in the wars waged by Christians, Catholics, and Mormons against the LGBT community.

Of course we have absolutely no reason to believe there are any gods. There’s simply zero evidence that there are. That’s not to say there could be no gods, but again, there is nothing to suggest this is the case. Yet belief in gods has given a free pass to vast swaths of society to make blind conjectures about the physical world. Many of us are determined to revoke that pass, and we’ve selected our weapons of choice: rigorous inquiry, critical thinking, and the scientific method. Religion is a belief in invisible beings and intangible, supernatural, and undetectable forces that have a real effect on the natural world. Religion is uniquely capable of causing harm because it has no reality check.

We’re giving religion a reality check. If you haven’t already, join us.

Finding the Holy faggot atheist within

I love planets. Actually, I love exoplanets — anything about them. I want to know everything I can. How massive/dense they are, what materials they are comprised of, what type of star(s) they circle, if they have sister planets, if they have moons, if they are moons. Anything about them that is confirmed and known by the astrometry community, I bet I know or will know within a relatively short amount of time.

A friend of mine calls me an exophile. Though it is meant to be a derogatory term for my obsession, it’s still accurate. I do not have a degree in any type of physics and I am not a part of any astronomic group, but my information is legit. Over the past fifteen years I have spent my free time searching for new things to read on planetary information, and over the past twelve years, I’ve taken my research to the internet.

exoplanet1

Often at times, especially since a space telescope called Kepler launched, I  have allowed my obsession to consume me hours a day. For not having a formal background in astro/cosmo studies, I know a fair amount about the universe, its growth, and the decay of matter within it. And as an atheist — a homosexual one at that — it brings me great joy that I STARTED questioning myself, my environment and other individuals because I recognized the ignorance of a single religious zealot separating himself from the possibility of there being more than what he knew.

*****

I was raised ‘Christian’ or, rather, to be christ-like. My family didn’t stick to any one denomination and went to many churches during my rearing. Due to my own circumstances as a child, I was surrounded by poor health and extreme personal wealth. I went to the best schools my state had to offer. My parents spared no expense for the best medical care for me during my adolescence, during which time I was struggling with a myriad of health problems. Even though I went to a good school it was still a religious one.

I remember in great detail a conversation I had with a pastor at the school, I had initially wanted to have a conversation with him about why I had so many health problems — why would god do harm to a child? But after hearing his sermon during chapel about Man being the crown jewel of god’s achievement, I wanted to know how and why aliens fit into his vision.

He dismissed them entirely and then wanted to talk about me being sick, trying desperately to get back to the speech he had prepared for me, given my teacher told him I was curious to have a one-on-one discussion. I grew bored of what he was saying. The only thing I really remember after that point was him distinctly saying earth was special, and that life couldn’t be elsewhere because we didn’t even know of any other planets besides the then nine planets of our solar system…and at the time the only interest I had in space was what I saw in fiction, that is until I saw him try with such difficulty to change the subject back to his typical talking points.

*****

Soon after, I realized medical doctors had the answers that my pastor didn’t.

That’s when I fell into science. My mind developed in a way in which it understood I could get answers, but also I sought further questions. My parents tried to provide spiritual guidance — my mother helped me emotionally but she had fewer answers than what I was able to answer myself. The guidance that they tried to give me through others was just as much of a failure. Not to say my parents failed, however they themselves are just cogs in the machine from which the real problems originated. I wanted to know why I was sick. Why is there sickness at all? And why should Christ’s terrible death by crucifixion amount to us being magically cured of all our ‘sins’?

Continue reading Finding the Holy faggot atheist within