Watch “How to talk to religious people about atheism?” on YouTube

How to talk to religious people about atheism?: http://youtu.be/oUeY3NB4TK8

My preferred line of discussion with theists, especially Christians, is to first talk about children they know who sometimes need a favorite blanket, stuffed animal or something else that is a security item for them to help them sleep at night.

Now, with that in mind, think about what it must have been like to live three, four or even ten thousand years ago, with wars, and diseases, and natural events like a mudslide, earthquake, or massive storm. How would a parent help their children to be able to sleep at night after suffering a cataclysmic event like that, they need something to help make sense of what just happened. Why did their loved one die in this horrific manner?

The parent looks away, trying to think of something to say, and looks outside, sees all the stars in the night sky, and being the storytellers that came about with the refinement of language, starts to tell their children about some supernatural force must have needed such a loved and wonderful person or people as the ones who died. Or maybe it was to help a child overcome their nightmares of thunder & lightening, or whatever kept their child awake at night.
Through generations of these stories being passed along and shared, from adults to children, they grew rituals and ceremonies to go with the stories. That was the birth of various religions.  They were born from a need to alleviate fears about the world around them that they didn’t understand. Religion is a collection of stories told to their kids, their loved ones or to themselves to help them sleep at night.

As for Jesus, I doubt that there was only one man born back around then that may have believed he was a son of God. In fact, there were many false prophets at that time in history, there were many people who did truly believe they have heard the voice of their gods. The man called Jesus may well have been one of those people, or an amalgamation of many of those men. So, how did this story of “his teachings” survive where others did not?

First, we don’t know for sure that all of the things attributed to Jesus were actually spoken by him, just like modern day quotes are often attributed to the wrong person. Many stories of Jesus are plagiarisms of previous stories.

Second, this man called Jesus had a better marketing team, not just the 12 apostles, but all of the other followers, they kept relaying these stories to their families, friends, neighbors and nearby countries. They may have wrote letters to nearby countries and their leaders, and had the first wildly successful marketing campaign.

But, son of God? No. That is just fantasy. Just hopeful, wishful, delusional fantasy.

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Why Can’t We All Just Get Along?

Yesterday, a Facebook “acquaintance” of my brother sent me a friend request. The first post I noticed on his wall was about a California school who had a Cinco de Mayo Latino/Mexican day, and  asked some students (who were not Mexican) to turn their American flag bearing t-shirts inside out that day. The reason was simple, the racial tensions in this school were already high, there had been violent altercations in the past, and the school knew that these kids were trying to taunt the Mexican students. The parents of the flag design t-shirt wearing kids took the school to court on the basis of freedom of speech. The judge did rule in favor of the school, which was the right thing to do. Freedom of speech does not mean you can yell “fire” in a crowded area and create panic where innocent people will get hurt, and it certainly doesn’t allow a few (racist) teens to wear clothing that is obviously worn that particular day to start fights.

Having seen this article quoted, and the “send them all back to Mexico” vitriol, I commented that the Mexicans were here first, not only in California, but also here in Arizona, where this Facebook person was located. All of the sudden, some woman, and the “friend” whose wall this was posted on, started laying in to me, about how I didn’t know history, that the only ones that lost everything when the US bought CA and Arizona were the Native Americans. That is not true, California has a rich history of Mexican and Spanish culture from long before the US Government acquired California or Arizona.

The point was then made by my brother that America is a melting pot, but I think that is outdated and not quite how we should see the people of this country.  We are more like a rich stew. In a melting pot, (I’ll use crayons) every color is combined, mixed together and becomes one bland color, one monotone amalgamation that you can’t see what colors were originally melted together. We end up homogenized, and that is depressing. I don’t want to live where everyone is the same, that is NOT what America should EVER strive to become.

Now, imagine a wonderful, aromatic stew, with a bunch of different vegetables, some meat and barley,and some spices. You can still see each part of the stew that combines, and works together to create this wonderfully delicious and rich stew. This is not soup, this is chunky stew. You can see the grain, the meat, and each type of vegetable. There is a diversity that makes that stew healthy, that makes it beautiful. This country has a wonderful diversity of people coming from all over the world to this land of opportunity. Some xenophobic people cry out for everyone to assimilate, speak English Only, and melt into the pot of homogeny. This is the wrong attitude to take. The better route is to learn more about where the person has come from, learn about why they chose to come to America, learn about their heritage and culture and find a way to incorporate their ingredients into the stew of American life. Retain the best parts of their own culture and appreciate that for what it is, it is part of what makes that person an individual worth learning about.

A final note, the comment was also made that when arriving in America, the newcomer must learn English. Well, American English is another amalgamation of many different languages, and we keep gaining more all the time. Recently, the monsoon dust storms have been called “Haboobs” by the Weather Channel and many other news outlets. We brought back this word from the middle east, after our military was there during the Iraq War.  The saying “You’re in deep kimshe” came to us from the Japanese side of World War II or the Korean War.

The point is that our American language is not just English, and as such, it is a bloody difficult language for even some Native speakers to learn correctly, and yet some Americans demand that newcomers to this country immediately learn to speak this language and never speak their own again? Reality check. It isn’t that easy. Also, science has proven that when yound children are raised bilingual, they develop more neural connections in their brain, they are laying the groundwork, the foundation, to be able to learn new concepts faster in every subject, it gives them the same advantage as children in other countries who are surpassing us in nearly every educational metric. Math, Science, English & Foreign languages.

It is a real disservice to our children to let them wait until after their brain is finished growing to then expect them to learn a second language. Yes, many students learn a second language in high school, but it is not nearly as easy as if they started to learn it in kindergarten or first grade. Consider this as a chance to start making attitude changes for the better, so that our country can raise children able to compete in the global marketplace, to be able to communicate with others easier, and to have a wider base of knowledge they can readily expand upon.

California pastor outraged to find Bible filed under ‘fiction’ at Costco | The Raw Story

http://www.rawstory.com/rs/2013/11/19/california-pastor-outraged-to-find-bible-filed-under-fiction-at-costco/

I posted the above article on my facebook page, and a reply mentioned how Atheists are so hypocritical because they have beliefs, too. This was my reply:

I think it’s more like Atheists are able to see the oppression caused by religion (any religion) and we are willing to call them out on it. As for Atheists “beliefs”, they are as varied socio-politically as you can imagine. And, the atheists like myself, who are science-geeks, or scientists, are fully able to accept that we may be wrong, but the more science discovers, the less “unknown” there is for any god to exist.

If there comes a time that science is able to prove that a supernatural entity does exist, we will review that proof and accept it as we have accepted gravity. We seek verifiable proof, not just some ancient texts written when man still believed the earth was flat and we all came from Adam & Eve, instead of Lucy the Austrolopithicus afferensis.

Besides, creationists think the earth is younger than our domestication of the dog, which did just get another nudge further back in time to about 30,000 years ago. (Or was it 300,000?)

Either way, it is further back than Fundie Christians seem to believe, even when incontrovertible evidence proves otherwise. It is in the fossil record, it is in your DNA and mine.  

It isn’t that we are slamming religion just to be hypocritical,  it is that we see it for what it really is, a mental security blanket, started by someone having to explain to the members of their family/tribe why some tragedy happened, so that they could all sleep better at night. The stories grew and evolved over time, then they were written down and became locked into that point of the story’s evolution.