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Unsolicited Email

I receive a lot of unsolicited email. Most of it could be easily categorized as “hate mail”, and I archive it away without a second thought. Rarely do I get email from people who appear to have intelligence. I appreciate email from people who have opposing viewpoints that respect that I’m not likely to be converted to their belief system. However, I dislike getting into long philosophical debates over email. I would much rather have these discussions in person, if at all. It’s not that I hate philosophy, I just hate that 9 times out of 10, people turn into self-righteous cunts when they get philosophical.

My goal with this website is to address modern day concerns of atheists and other non-believers. My goal is NOT to ponder the origins of the universe. You will not likely ever see the word “epistemological” or “intrinsic” on this website. That’s just not my purpose. There are plenty of websites out there if that is your thing.

This is rather long, so I’ll save my front page readers with a break tag. For my feed readers, I’m afraid there’s nothing I can do for you.

Hello,

Just came across your website and was interested in starting a conversation with you about religion, the existence of God, or the lack thereof.

I noticed your website seems to be based on a distorted definition of faith, at least according to Christianity. Faith isn’t something that’s blind – that’s called wishful thinking and superstition. When it comes to religion, faith is something that is built on facts and evidence, at least according to the Bible (Hebrews 11). Blind faith isn’t faith, nor is it rational. It simply doesn’t make sense to believe in something there seems to be no evidence for. Faith is when we know by evidence and facts that what we believe is true. We can’t see God, which is where faith comes into place, but our belief in God needs to be heavily supported by facts, or it doesn’t make sense and isn’t true faith.

I understand many Christians out there are under the same mistaken idea that faith is somehow blind and belief against proof. Biblically at least, that’s far from the truth.

Second, you seem to strongly advocate science. Nice. So do I. But the presence of science doesn’t = the absence of God. Science, by its very nature, is never capable of proving anything doesn’t exist. Science operates on inductive reasoning, which means it observes the world, and then draws conclusions based on those observations. Therefore, it can only draw conclusions about things that can be observed in the physical world.

Also, science and religion address different categories. Science addresses the “how,” religion addresses the “why” and “who.” Ok, the world formed billion years ago in a Big Bang. But why? And who? What is the purpose?

I believe in evolution as much as the next intellectually equipped person. But even evolution doesn’t make sense without religion. What endows these organisms with a will to survive? Why do they want to live? What’s the point of living? Who or what gave them the will to live?

Your site seems to capture very well the present time’s separation of critical thinking and religion, but it doesn’t have to – and is not supposed to be that way. Religion is supposed to involve rational and logical thinking. So what you’re really taking aim at are the people who practice religion, and not God.

I’d love to hear your response.

Matt

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Atheist Survey Meme

I came across this a while back on Hemant Mehta’s blog, The Friendly Atheist. I don’t usually do things like this, but I figured it was harmless enough. At very best, it might inspire someone to read a new atheist book, attend a rally, or even invite a Jehovah’s witness into their home.

  1. Participated in the Blasphemy Challenge.
  2. Met at least one of the “Four Horsemen” (Richard Dawkins, Daniel Dennett, Christopher Hitchens, Sam Harris) in person.
  3. Created an atheist blog.
  4. Used the Flying Spaghetti Monster in a religious debate with someone.
  5. Gotten offended when someone called you an agnostic.
  6. Been unable to watch Growing Pains reruns because of Kirk Cameron.
  7. Own more Bibles than most Christians you know.
  8. Have at least one Bible with your personal annotations regarding contradictions, disturbing parts, etc.
  9. Have come out as an atheist to your family.
  10. Attended a campus or off-campus atheist gathering.
  11. Are a member of an organized atheist/Humanist/etc. organization.
  12. Had a Humanist wedding ceremony.
  13. Donated money to an atheist organization.
  14. Have a bookshelf dedicated solely to Richard Dawkins.
  15. Lost the friendship of someone you know because of your non-theism.
  16. Tried to argue or have a discussion with someone who stopped you on the street to proselytize.
  17. Had to hide your atheist beliefs on a first date because you didn’t want to scare him/her away.
  18. Own a stockpile of atheist paraphernalia (bumper stickers, buttons, shirts, etc).
  19. Attended a protest that involved religion.
  20. Attended an atheist conference.
  21. Subscribe to Pat Condell’s YouTube channel.
  22. Started an atheist group in your area or school.
  23. Successfully “de-converted” someone to atheism.
  24. Have already made plans to donate your body to science after you die.
  25. Told someone you’re an atheist only because you wanted to see the person’s reaction.
  26. Had to think twice before screaming “Oh God!” during sex. Or you said something else in its place.
  27. Lost a job because of your atheism.
  28. Formed a bond with someone specifically because of your mutual atheism (meeting this person at a local gathering or conference doesn’t count).
  29. Have crossed “In God We Trust” off of – or put a pro-church-state-separation stamp on – dollar bills.
  30. Refused to recite the Pledge of Allegiance.
  31. Said “Gesundheit!” (or nothing at all) after someone sneezed because you didn’t want to say “Bless you!”
  32. Have ever chosen not to clasp your hands together out of fear someone might think you’re praying.
  33. Have turned on Christian TV because you needed something entertaining to watch.
  34. Are a 2nd or 3rd (or more) generation atheist.
  35. Have “atheism” listed on your Facebook or dating profile – and not a euphemistic variant.
  36. Attended an atheist’s funeral (i.e. a non-religious service).
  37. Subscribe to an freethought magazine (e.g. Free Inquiry, Skeptic)
  38. Have been interviewed by a reporter because of your atheism.
  39. Written a letter-to-the-editor about an issue related to your non-belief in God.
  40. Gave a friend or acquaintance a New Atheist book as a gift.
  41. Wear pro-atheist clothing in public.
  42. Have invited Mormons/Jehovah’s Witnesses into your house specifically because you wanted to argue with them.
  43. Have been physically threatened (or beaten up) because you didn’t believe in God.
  44. Receive Google Alerts on “atheism” (or variants).
  45. Received fewer Christmas presents than expected because people assumed you didnt celebrate it.
  46. Visited The Creation Museum or saw Ben Stein’s Expelled just so you could keep tabs on the “enemy.”
  47. Refuse to tell anyone what your “sign” is… because it doesn’t matter at all.
  48. Are on a mailing list for a Christian organization just so you can see what they’re up to…
  49. Have kept your eyes open while you watched others around you pray.
  50. Avoid even Unitarian churches because they’re too close to religion for you.

According to the grading scale on Hemant’s site:

21-30: You are an atheist, but babies aren’t running away from you. Yet.

I’m not going to pester anyone to repost this, but feel free to do so. If you do, it would be nice to link back to Hemant’s blog.

Mindless MySpace Troll

The following message was sent to me on MySpace. I wish I could make this shit up, but I just can’t. I am not friends with the person that sent it to me, so I can only assume that it is mindless trolling. What can I say? I love fighting trolls. I’m an atheist three billy goats gruff.

I have preserved it exactly as it was sent to me, so that you too may get a nosebleed from reading it.

you Need to find Faith in SOMETHING!
of really not even apart of this (my) Conversaoin

because whats REALly so bad in having faith in something
BIGGER than YOU,,,than taking Prid in Jah,,,,,and after all that….you will TUREly gain faith within Your own “faith”
(having faith in yourself)

YOU cant skip the Middle man (THE LIGHT) or the olny one your fooling is Youself,,,,,,,,not me (not GOD)

your smart, but you sure as HELL ain’t to WISE

you need to find
Religion,though your own, Indenpendent studys
( and NOW),,then go try to find a ……

if this scene were a parish you’d all be condemned.
~patd

Peace. be with you

HollWood A.S. CloaKeezy

PS o and if you ever just start reading the Bible, in stead of just looking into the sometimes,,,,your find out that evey thing in there is “GOoD”,,,,,,, and all your doing is making YOURself look like a (free-DumASS DICK]

so….soLOng….

When responding to anyone on the internet about any topic, I absolutely hate to bring up their bad grammar, because it often leads them to believe that, besides their grammar, everything else is solid. My reply to the troll:

Your message is completely incoherent.

I have faith in the ability of mankind to do good things without fear of being cast into a lake or fire or the promise of streets paved with gold. People who are only motivated to do good because of some dividend paid in the afterlife are the unintelligent ones.

Do yourself a favor. If you would like to try and engage in dialogue with someone on any topic, it would serve you well to present your ideas in a manner slightly more appealing to the eyes. Your ridiculous disregard for all grammar, spelling, and punctuation rules makes me want to punch not you, but your parents and teachers for not teaching you correctly.

-www.godispretend.net

I could have gone on, but I’ve had a really long day, and I really didn’t want to put a lot of effort into responding to someone who is obviously not only a religious nut, but a stupid one at that. If you would like to engage this troll further, please drop him a line!

HollyWood A.S. CloaKeezy (whatever that means)

Christopher Hitchens Debate in Birmingham, Ala.

christopherhitchensOn March 3rd, Christopher Hitchens will be debating Christian apologist John Lennox at Samford University in Birmingham, Ala. The debate is sponsored by the Samford Socratic Club, which seeks to promote debate and hold no idea so sacred that it cannot be questioned. While that is an admirable claim, I suppose we will see if this debate changes any minds. Samford University is a private, Baptist-affiliated school which has the right to deny any person or group from speaking on campus. For my sake, and the sake of all others that will be in attendance, I am glad they did not intervene.

The Samford Socratic Club is, at its heart, a Christian organization, though I can immediately striate them among other Christians in Alabama as having reason and decency enough to at least present a public forum with an opposing worldview. The organization’s website has the following explanation in their mission:

It is our strong conviction that Biblical Christianity is neither dead nor dying, and we are willing to test that belief by inviting people of different worldviews, Christian or not, into open and honest discussion. Our goal is to seek the truth and to follow the argument, wherever that might lead. We are not without opinion, but that does not mean that we are incapable of objectivity. We hope to win people to our own viewpoint, however we are more concerned with causing people to think for themselves than we are with indoctrinating them with our own ideas. So we have only three simple requests: Noise off, brain on, let’s talk.

For those in the Birmingham/Atlanta/Chattanooga/Tupelo driving radius that are interested in attending, the pertinent information is as follows:

What: “Is God Great?” debate between Christopher Hitchens and John Lennox
Where: Samford University’s Wright Center Concert Hall (Calculate Driving Distance)
When: Tuesday, March 3rd, 2009 at 6:00 pm Central
Tickets: Purchase Online

I wonder how many “Burn in Hell, Atheist!” signs I will see being held up on the way in the door?

EDIT: (from the Socratic Club website)

Note: Dinesh D’souza’s participation in this event was unexpectedly cancelled due to family matters. We are willing to refund any tickets purchased before now if you deem such necessary. We are honored, though, to have Professor Lennox take his place, as he is a skilled debater and has debated Hitchens previously in a lively event at the Edinburgh International Festival.