Category Archives: Religion

Discussions on religion, such as about specific religions or atheism.

The Atheist Thirteen

I'm volunteering myself to be tagged in the Atheist Thirteen gauntlet via the ERV. Apparently I lack the immunizations to resist certain memes ...

  1. How would you define "atheism"?

    As a lack of belief in any god. And I'm not singling out any single god, either. If a theist expects me to believe in any specific god just because I can't prove absolutely that their god cannot exist, then he should expect me to believe in every possible god.

  2. Was your upbringing religious? If so, what tradition?

    While I have some experience with Buddhism and Christianity, my family let me live my own religion. I just ended up not believing in any.

  3. How would you describe "Intelligent Design", using only one word?

    Wishful (as in "wishful thinking").

  4. What scientific endeavor really excites you?

    Cosmology. Just when physics seemed to have almost sewn everything up, stuff like inflation, dark matter, and dark energy has made a mess of everything, so that big surprises are going to come down the pipeline.

  5. If you could change one thing about the "atheist community", what would it be and why?

    Better public relations. A distressingly large number of theists seem to equate "atheism" with "evilism", despite the fact that there is no relation whatsoever. For some odd reason, they don't even realize that many of the good people around them are atheists ...

  6. If your child came up to you and said "I'm joining the clergy", what would be your first response?

    "You're not joining a cult, are you?" If he's not joining a fundamentalist sect, then I'll be looking forward to many heated and fun discussions. Otherwise, I'm going to be really unhappy.

    Although I'd ask him or her to consider things very carefully if they need anything like a vow of celibacy.

  7. What's your favourite theistic argument, and how do you usually refute it?

    "I feel God in my heart."

    "Good for you. I just happen to know someone who also feels a completely separate deity in his heart. By the way, you claim that your god says that his god does not exist, and he says that his god is saying the same thing about yours ..."

  8. What's your most "controversial" (as far as general attitudes amongst other atheists goes) viewpoint?

    Everything is conscious, and they can merge and separate in their consciousness. Self-awareness is an entirely different matter ...

  9. Of the "Four Horsemen" (Dawkins, Dennett, Hitchens and Harris) who is your favourite, and why?

    Don't have a particular favorite, but Hitchens is best when I'm in a venting mood against certain theists.

  10. If you could convince just one theistic person to abandon their beliefs, who would it be?

    The local person in my community who is most influential in trying to teach horrendous science based on religion.

And I'm naming the following three blogs that I'd like to see take up the Atheist Thirteen gauntlet:

  1. Tetherd Cow Ahead
  2. Words of Wrath
  3. Halfway There

Raptor Jesus

There is a hilarious cult of Jesus Christ claiming that the head of Jesus was that of a raptor. The sad thing is that the arguments for the claim were so similar to the types that some fundamentalist Christians use that I had to double check that it wasn't a real cult. Poe's Law strikes again!

I wish it were the case that I could have dismissed it as satire immediately, but sadly it's the case that some Christians seriously believe some weird things and often employ confused arguments (like what some believe about thermodynamics or the power of prayer). It's sometimes really hard to figure out whether certain religious content is sincere or parody.

Too much prayer

Some people might think that there can never be such a thing as too much prayer. So it's funny to notice that an Islamic cleric thinks that Egyptians pray too much. While I'm not against people praying in their own time, there's no way I can be fine with people spending more time praying than working during work hours. I'm not sure if the average Egyptian is incredibly devout or if they're just using prayer as a state-sanctioned excuse for not working. However, significant loss of productivity due to prayer is certainly not a downside I would have thought of coming from state-sponsored religion.