May I whine for a moment?
I just discovered my mother has been consistently and frequently commenting and “liking” posts made by my ex-husband on facebook. I knew they were still in contact, but I wasn’t aware that it was quite to this extent.
Now, this really wouldn’t be an issue if a) he wasn’t a shitty father to our son who maybe calls once a month for a 10 minute phone call, or b) if I wasn’t already hurt and angry that she has not said more than a few words to me since Thanksgiving when she found out I was an atheist.
But really?? REALLY?? The ex-husband/shitty-dad gets congratulations and happy thoughts and well wishes and her daughter (and by association, her grandchildren) get…silence?
If a child can’t learn the way we teach, maybe we should teach the way they learn. — Ignacio Estrada (via quotedojo)
It’s an unpopular topic in many circles, but in the aftermath of the devastating tornado that ravaged Moore, Oklahoma (and the countless Facebook posts that have followed), I want to say something on the subject of prayer.
I completely understand why so many people invoke God and prayer during these terrible times. When I was a Christian, it was a reflex, and had I witnessed such destruction and loss of life, I would have undoubtedly encouraged others to pray.
“Pray for the wounded, that they’ll all be found and delivered from harm. Pray for the grieving families, that God will help to heal their broken hearts. Pray for the rescue workers as they navigate dangerous piles of debris in their search for survivors. Pray for the city, as it once again faces a long recovery and rebuilding.”
And of course, whenever a battered but breathing child would be pulled from the splinters, or when a family walked away from a leveled house, or whenever an elderly woman would be reunited with a pet (which is a hugely moving video circulating the web right now https://www.facebook.com/photo.php?v=653577151323552), I would say “Thank God. It’s a miracle.”
I understand it. Humans grope to find (to construct) mechanisms of hope and healing, and in our helplessness, we continue to invoke the One who can be the unmovable pillar that supports our wavering hearts. For many, the idea of enduring this terrible moment alone is too frightening to bear.
“Pray for Oklahoma. Thank God it wasn’t worse.”
I watched the elderly woman’s reunion with the dog she had written off as lost only minutes before, and I was deeply touched by the moment, as were so many of you. It was a much-needed interjection of relief and joy into the horror, and it warmed the heart. But although you and I would never seek to detract from her ebullience, as agents of reason, we must bring an uncomfortable truth to light.
If the rescue of the dog was indeed God’s divine hand of protection at work and a genuine answer to prayer, that reveals several key things:
1) If God exists, he has the power to miraculously intervene, and he has the will to (at least occasionally) do so.
2) God used his divine powers to rescue a dog while allowing the horrific deaths of human beings, many of them children.
3) God is now receiving the prayers to comfort grieving families whose deceased loved ones enjoyed a lesser level of divine protection than the dog.
We must address this rationally. If God is omniscient, he saw the tragedy in advance and said nothing. If God is omnipotent, he watched the tornado form and did nothing. If God is benevolent, he did not warn his precious children, nor did he see fit to prevent the violent deaths of at least 24 of them by redirecting the tornado or dissipating it into harmless vapor. The Being who spun the cosmos into existence sat on his hands as the structure of Plaza Tower Elementary School collapsed upon the heads of terrified and screaming children.
So as our Facebook pages fill with pleas to “pray pray pray,” we as rational people lament that so many good people are calling down favors from the very savior-deity that was invisible, inaudible and undetectable only hours before when he was truly needed.
How can one pray to God for help in grief recovery when God elected to do absolutely nothing to prevent the grieving? Why would a father so uncaring about his children at 6pm be suddenly fervent about helping them at 7pm? And why would any moral person bind his/her allegiance so completely to a God that would allow a tornado to strike an elementary school?
Again, it’s unpopular to say these things in a culture that seeks comfort above all, and I don’t begrudge the faithful for calling out (and up) to their deities in desperate moments. But I am convinced that there’s something alarmingly and terribly broken about this whole scenario, and while my concerns don’t fit as nicely on the posters, the placards, the banners, the ribbons and the mountains of prayer-warrior posts coloring today’s social media, they do have merit and should be considered by those giving up thanks and calling down divine favors.
Finally…one last thought about the dog. As the reporter noticed the traumatized animal under the rubble, you’ll notice human hands reaching down, lifting up the debris, pulling the dog from its trap and holding it close in a gesture of gratitude, relief, love and pure joy.
As has always been the case in good times and bad, human hands are the things we see in action. They’re the agents of true intervention and rescue. Human hands pull us from the rubble. They bandage our wounds. They carry us to safety. They wipe our tears. They hold us close. And they will again rebuild.
-Seth Andrews — Posted on The Thinking Atheist’s facebook page (here).
Everybody in the world needs to listen to this man right here.
Do you know why girls and boys play differently? It’s not because they have inherently different interests. It’s because they are socialized to play differently.
Provide a safe space for a girl to be wild and she will be. She’ll climb trees, jump from the top of the jungle gym, kick and punch like a super hero, throw balls, shout, be rowdy as hell.
But what do you do with your girls? You dress them in frilly clothing that “can’t get dirty.” You tell them to speak softly and slow down. You give them dolls and praise them when they are gentle. And the few times you do send them off into a playground to run, you send them to a space filled with boys that have been socialized to think power and might are the most important qualities. And that being kind and gentle means you’re weak.
So yeah… they tend to play differently. And it’s your fucking fault. ~JJ
To Whomever It May Concern:
When you ask me to respect religion because people believe in it, I want you to remember something. I want you to remember that long ago your ancestors were not Christian or Muslim. They had their own culture and customs native to their heritage. Through military conquest religion spread itself through the Old World, and those distant relatives were faced with a choice: either accept Christianity/Islam or die a painful death. This was how most major religions today achieved their position of respect.
After Europe had been fully indoctrinated, the papal Doctrine of Discovery gave the authority to all good Christians to conquer the native peoples of the New World and claim that land for God and the Church. Millions died mercilessly and were even tortured by Christian heroes like Christopher Columbus.
Now, thousands of years later, when we no longer have to respect these beliefs upon pain of death, we are told that we should respect religion. We are told by those within even the non religious community that we should show respect to these ideas that have gained a place of vaunted privilege in our societies which are built upon the graves of any who dared question or challenge the authority of divine providence.
You think you are being rational. You think you are being reasonable. What you are really doing is propping up the last leg of human slavery to bad ideas and providing intellectual cover for religion to keep a place of honor and respect it never earned.
Please, stop protecting religion in the guise of false humility. Be honest and firm with your beliefs and never expect anyone to respect your ideas unless they earn it, and always be willing to be wrong. That is what it means to be a free thinker.
~Timothy Havener — Posted on The Richard Dawkins Foundation for Reason and Science’s facebook page (here).
This is truly the best description of Christians I have ever read. This was me. This is 95% of the Christians I know. This is why a thorough reading of the Bible creates atheists.
(Source: thegodlessatheist, via kiranirvanna)
culturecritical asked: Love your blog! I was wondering if you could help me out. I am doing some undergrad psych research on sexuality and I need help pushing the link out to a wide audience (most of my team's friends are Christian and I would like to include some non-believers as well, so the data isn't biased or one-sided). I don't know if you would like to help, feel free not to but I talk about my survey and provide the links here: culturecritical*tumblr*com/post/50940256408/quick-survey-on-sexuality Thank you!
The survey takes approximately a minute and the link is here for those that would like to help out:
This brings back memories of my Research Methods and Statistic classes. Fun stuff. ;-) Good luck!
Losing My Religion: Why I'm Raising My Child to Believe in Science, Not God -
Every two or three blocks on the avenues of downtown Brooklyn, a big old stone church rises from the ranks of the brownstones. A couple of weeks ago, my little boy Felix pulled his trike to the curb and squinted at the steeple of one.
“What’s that castle, Da-da?”
“It’s not a castle, it’s a church.”
“What’s a church?”
“It’s a place where people go to worship god.”
“God is a concept some people believe in. A creative force, I guess you’d say.”
Atheist vs. Atheist—What?! -
This article is so poorly written and researched that it made me suspect it was a troll. But then you see the source - published in Psychology Today and being promoted by the AHA on their tumblr and facebook pages. Bizarre.
First, the author seemingly misunderstands the terms atheism and agnosticism.
Second, he concocts a straw man of the “dogmatic atheist” which the following people might fall into: … err… no one. Even “strident” atheists like Hitchens and Dawkins don’t meet the author’s definition of the “dogmatic atheist” and I know of no one more outspoken about their disbelief in a deity than those two.
Third, the author of this article seems to have gleaned most of his information about atheists from a book written by someone who admits to wishing there was a god. This is quite a large clue that he might be a bit biased and perhaps not a great source for learning about atheists at large.
Fourth, the author concludes with “If you know of anyone who might be interested in this approach to better understand atheists, please consider sending them the link.” I would highly recommend NOT forwarding this onto grandma unless you wish to deliberately promote the misunderstanding of atheism and atheists. Which I’m guessing you do not.
Shame on Psychology Today and shame on the AHA - an organization which I usually respect and admire greatly. ~JJ
So, I paint my nails pretty regularly these days. I also work as a barista/cashier pretty regularly these days. A few weeks back, I had a customer come in, a fairly typical, sheltered, suburban soccer mom, and she ordered a latte from me. She saw my brightly colored nails and said, “Wow, you’re so brave! My son asked me about painting his nails, and if it’s okay for boys to do that. Now I’ll tell him there’s a cool guy who does it too!” It was a nice moment, very cute.
Then, last week, she came in again, and said, “Hey, I’m so glad you’re here! I want you to meet someone!” She then brings her son forward, and says, “Okay sweetie, show him what you did!” And he throws his hands up, showing off his bright, sparkling blue nails. He shows them off, and I show mine off to him. He smiles. We fist bump.
Guys, I’ve only wanted to cry once at work before, and that was when someone ordered a large dry soy cappuccino on ice.
This time, though. This was a good cry.
(Source: atheistjack, via ummagumma-)
(Source: atheistjack, via ihateallyourgods)
(Source: shepherdsareforsheep, via unalignments)