"My own opinion is that belief is the death of intelligence."


"My own opinion is that belief is the death of intelligence."

In its most generic and well-subscribed form, Christianity amounts to the following claims: Jesus Christ, a carpenter by trade, was born of a virgin, ritually murdered as a scapegoat for the collective sins of his species, and then resurrected from death after an interval of three days. He promptly ascended, bodily, to “heaven”—where, for two millennia, he has eavesdropped upon (and, on occasion, even answered) the simultaneous prayers of billions of beleaguered human beings. Not content to maintain this numinous arrangement indefinitely, this invisible carpenter will one day return to earth to judge humanity for its sexual indiscretions and sceptical doubts, at which time he will grant immortality to anyone who has had the good fortune to be convinced, on Mother’s knee, that this baffling litany of miracles is the most important series of truth-claims ever revealed about the cosmos. Every other member of our species, past and present, from Cleopatra to Einstein, no matter what his or her terrestrial accomplishments, will (probably) be consigned to a fiery hell for all eternity.

Sam Harris

(via blackestdespondency)

To argue with a person who has renounced the use of reason is like administering medicine to the dead.

Thomas Paine

I still try though.  :-\

(via skepticalavenger)

Asker Avatar
i-am-procrastination asked:
Why are so focused on 'proving' GOD isn't real?


I’m not focused on proving that god isn’t real.  I’m focused on protecting the dignity of philosophy—especially from those that seek to equate it with theology.  Furthermore, I’m focused on letting my pretentious opponents know that they’re not alone in the field of ideas.  I don’t need to prove that Yahweh doesn’t exist; any intellectually honest person is ready and willing to admit it, and some, like myself, are ready and willing to demonstrate why that’s the case. 

Ultimately, when you have a people that are so bent on pushing their beliefs into your lap, even when you don’t want them there, people like me are necessary.  I don’t come to the atheism tag to read about god, apologetics, Christianity, Islam, etc.  Yet I see plenty of it; furthermore, it’s redundant.  In any event, I have plenty of reason to be against Christianity and Islam.  I have plenty of reason to be against purported truths and whether these “truths” are tied to religion or not, I’ll stand in their way.  Thus, I’m focused on truth as well, so when you have religions like Christianity and Islam claiming to be true, though they’re not, people like me are necessary.  In a nutshell, even if I were to pack up and stop blogging, others like me will arise; in the words of Joe Carroll from The Following, “I am inevitable.”

Letters from a Skeptic: A Son Wrestles with His Father's Questions about Christianity (FREE EBOOK)


This book is by far the best “apologetic” I’ve ever read–precisely because it’s not one in the classic sense. It’s personal, pastoral, and passionately exhortative. Greg simply lets his dad’s questions and hang-ups drive the conversation. The result is a transformation.

The Kindle version is currently FREE.

For those engaged in such an existential journey, some perspective and balance… follow up your reading of Letters from a Skeptic with :

1. Don’t Sleep There Are Snakes by Daniel Everett, in which a linguist missionary travels to the Amazon to save the “lost” and he realizes they have more to teach him than the other way around. Get his book online or read more at The New Yorker.

2. And don’t miss The Great Agnostic from the Civil War era, Robert Ingersoll. Way ahead of his time. You can pretty much read anything by him, but a decent place to start is Challenging The Bible, which contains selections from Ingersoll’s speeches and writings as edited by Dean Tipton (here it is at Amazon).

I mention these two because they’re a little off the beaten path of the recent so-called “new atheist” movement—Hitchens, Dennett, Harris, Dawkins—which has been receiving some (at times well-deserved) blowback of late.

Either you’re inclined to fill gaps in knowledge with the supernatural and enjoy practicing such faith, or you’re comfortable admitting “I don’t (yet) know” and strive for deeper understanding of the world we inhabit. I’ve come to believe the reading and research and letters and speeches that most partake in while exploring these deep issues simply confirm the bias already in each of their hearts… there are those who “want to believe” and those for whom an absence of evidence is enough to warrant a delay in any premature personal proclamations about what may come after this existence.

I realize that Letters from a Skeptic is free for the Kindle right now, as sds pointed out… so let me know if your personal finances are keeping you from reading either of the books I’ve recommended here and we’ll find a way to make it happen… I’ll send you mine or I’ll buy you another copy. There’s no reason $10 should keep you locked in the darkness of dogma and fear.

And I’ve got my old copy of Letters from a Skeptic, too, if you don’t have a Kindle. Safe to say it didn’t “transform” me. :)

Love and peace.

Atheist Church Movement Shake Up: Ideological Battle Leads to Secular ‘Denominational’ Chasm |



See, this is interesting. Atheist churches are finding that many of the problems they had with “religion” and “church” are actually human and community problems.

I’m battling hilarity and sadness. It’s amazing the pitiful but extravagant lengths people will go to deny the Truth but still try and squeeze out existential meaning from life—even such earnest yet shallow imitations as an atheist “church.” Wow.

I agree that the concept of “atheist churches” is hilarious. Though, as a former believer with a significant and lifelong social circle entirely dependent on the church membership of my parents, I recognize the very real human need for community and belonging. The dismantling (and subsequent rebuilding) of my life’s social network remains the most daunting and painful part of deconversion.

But what I find fills me with even more “hilarity and sadness” is when fundamentalist evangelicals use phrases like “It’s amazing the pitiful but extravagant lengths people will go to deny the Truth but still try and squeeze out existential meaning from life” to denounce simple non-belief in various theistic mythologies because, well, um clean your mirror, yo.

People need people, that’s not cause for ridicule… and I think it’s safe to say we have different definitions for “the Truth.”

Source: suchtango

Association Fallacy




Pope Francis is reaching out to Atheists to unite with all religions to work towards peace. How about reaching out to your own followers? There’s more of them and religion has caused much more warfare than Atheism ever has.

Support this. Please, I’m begging you.

I mean, you do realize that more people died during the 20th Century in wars started by atheists regimes than in any so-called Church supported wars in the previous 2000 years, right?

Actual, real historcal fact is not on your side. Stick to posting animals.

You do realize that wild-earth isn’t committing association fallacy; you are though.  Stalin and Mao didn’t murder millions because they were atheists; if you want to blame something, blame their ideologies.  Why was Stalin so opposed to the church?  Because he was an atheist?  No; because he recognized that a religion like Christianity exercises considerable clout and thus, to monopolize power, he saw it as necessary to oppose the church.

Holy wars were in the name of this or that god—Yahweh and Allah in particular.  When the Arabs expanded their empire, they did it in the name of Allah—in the name of an obscure monotheism that eventually became Islam.

I am aware that you’re a Catholic though; you need look no further than the OT to see bloodshed in the name of Yahweh.  The Dark Ages did happen; the Crusades did happen; the Inquisition did happen; the Salem Witch Trials did happen.  The Inquisition was so bad that even new converts to Christianity were killed!  They were called New Christians or conversos; they were accused of secretly remaining Jews or Muslims though professing to be Christians.  This and a lot more was done in the name of Christianity.  

What Stalin, Mao, and Pol Pot did was for the sake of politics, maintenance of power, and especially in Stalin’s case sheer paranoia.  The man sent men to another continent (North America to be exact; Mexico to be even more precise) to assassinate someone he suspected of attempting to impose his influence in the Soviet Union.  That man was one Leon Trotsky.  An article over at The Examiner called Stalin a religious opportunist; this is true because he eventually reinstituted the Orthodox Church to gain support.

The article also hits the nail on the head when concerning Pol Pot.  He wasn’t an atheist like I am an atheist.  Though he didn’t believe in gods, he was a Theravada Buddhist.  Theravada Buddhists are involved in religious conflict in Burma; why not attribute their crimes to atheism?  Because you obviously recognize that they’re not atheists and thus, acknowledge that an atheist is more than just a nonbeliever in gods.  It follows that Buddhists aren’t atheists.  Mao Zedong was raised Buddhist; he eventually embraced Leninism.  So if you want to blame some ideology for Mao’s and Stalin’s crimes, you have to blame Marxism-Leninism.

Ultimately, I’m glad Pope Francis is taking a modern approach.  However, wild-earth is correct in his point (though I would have justified it differently); in other words, I wouldn’t have pointed to holy wars to make my case.  I would simply point to religiously motivated oppression.  For instance, if the Pope wants more peace, he should address anti-gay Catholics; he should address anti-choicers who are attempting to limit women’s rights; he should address Catholics like some Tumblr Catholics, who aren’t trying to find common ground with atheists, but rather provoking us at every turn.

So take your own advice.  Historical facts aren’t on your side.  Stick to posting Catholicism and leave history to enthusiasts like myself.

Source: wild-earth