Social-Networking Atheism

January 21, 2009

I know what I believe, and I feel very strongly about it.   I really believe that when things matter to you, honesty is the best policy. In the past year or two, I’ve morphed into a hardcore Atheist. Having been a guilt-ridden Christian all my life before prior, Atheism is so exciting to me. Imagine, coming to the realization that one of the most important things to you, all your life, was wrong, It’s life-changing.  It’s inspired me to question everything, to be skeptical. With the loss of religious faith, I have gained excitement about the world I live in.  Learning is a wonderful thing instead of a dangerous thing.

I’m super excited about my new look on life and I want to be open about it.  However, my openness has exposed me to my parents. My Mom joined Facebook and thus the cat was let out of the bag. Side note: I’m super proud of my Mom for being hip with the kids on the coolest social-networking site ever. However, I feel so sad for her.  I know how Christians see Atheists and it’s not too good.  I imagine that she’s very sad about it, and for that I feel terrible.

However honesty is the best policy.  I am passionate about my beliefs, and I also love my Mom. If I chose one over the other, then both would be diminished.  If I’m honest then I can trust my Mom fully and believe how I want.

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The God Who Wasn’t There

January 11, 2009

The God Who Wasn’t There, this movie was very disappointing. Several reliable sources online gave it good reviews; Amazon, IMDB. The intention of the movie was to:
1. Compare the story of Jesus to other mythological characters
2. Discuss the violence of Christianity and how the religon scares people into belief

Richard Dawkins (a.k.a. Darwin’s Bulldog) is one of the most well respected evolutionary scientists. He recorded a commentary track for this movie. Penn Jillette (of Penn & Teller) made the statement: “If atheists had a pope it would be Richard Dawkins.” I can’t think of a higher quality endorsement for a movie challenging Jesus and Christianity. It’s so depressing that this movie can’t live up to its potential.

This movie reminded me of Internet conspiracy movies like Zeitgeist and Loose Change. It has the punching techno-rock music underneath some cheap looking graphics while a narrator debunks “The Greatest Story Ever Told” being ironically dead-pan. Religious belief is completely illogical, but the people who believe don’t see it that way. In their heads, they are doing what’s right, they’ve had a lifetime of training to think this way. This film maker came across completely arrogant downright bratty. I don’t mean to pander to the religious, I’m not concerned with offending them. What does upset me is the ‘I’m right, you’re wrong’ tone this movie takes on. It’s like the creator wasn’t mature enough to to the subject proper justice.

Atheists profess their devotion to logic and reason. It’s unfortunate that in this movie those rules were broken for shock and awe. To exemplify a few monsters that Christianity has created, the movie profiles Charles Manson, some mom that killed her baby for god, among others. This ad hominem attack makes no evidence for religion being dangerous. One could just as easily say that being a white person can lead to committing crimes (all of the provided examples were white people). It goes on to suggest that the blood and gore in The Passion of the Christ is evidence that modern day Christians get off on death and suffering. This is an example of post hoc reasoning;  just because a bloody movie has a Christian theme and does well commercially, does not in and of itself mean that Christians currently find pleasure in suffering.

I think it’s also fair to mention the pitiful camera set up. I realize that documentaries get somewhat of a free pass on camera work when in the field. However this movie had it’s camera problems during sit-down interviews. The exposure was either blown out or under exposed. The white balance seemed to be somewhat optional, some shots were extremely blue, or very red. Overall very unprofessional.

Doubt

December 31, 2008


I saw Doubt last night. The movie was thought provoking and extremely complex. I was familiar with it’s concept going in, but I was weary about how the movie would end. A religious movie entitled “Doubt” will either end in favor of doubting religion, or embrace the faith. (Spoiler!) Philip Seymour Hoffman is a priest who acts sketchy with a vulnerable young black boy. It doesn’t look too good, but there isn’t any real evidence. One nun believes he’s guilty, one nun needs evidence (very faith vs. science). Faith wins and the potentially sketchy priest is bullied out of the Catholic school. The accusing nun draws the parallel between the acting upon the unseen in this issue and her faith in god. The movie ends with her in doubt of god. Really, really good movie.

I showed Ashley the moon last night through my new telescope. In between celestial objects we peeked in on the second floor window across the road and saw a girl pee (I saw her butt, it was cool).

Jason on god

November 9, 2008

About 2 years ago, I made the most profound discovery of my life: god didn’t exist.

All my life I was a devout Christian. I didn’t swear, I prayed every single day, I believed without seeing. It was a comforting feeling that was hard to let go of. My parents were drama queens at church so at one point we stopped going. Getting away from that weekly reminder, allowed me to start thinking for myself. When I realized there was no god, I was crushed. You go from attributing everything good in your life to this friend you have, and all of a sudden you realize the friend was make believe. What do you do when you have the daily, or even hourly urge to talk to them? I was devastated.

It was very hard for me to come to say that I’m an atheist. I don’t know that god doesn’t exists, it’s impossible to prove that anything doesn’t exist. However, there is currently nothing in the universe that suggests the supernatural. So far science has done a nice job discovering things the good old fashioned way. There are plenty of unknowns, but being unknown doesn’t equal god’s hand.

Most likely what we think of as life, is just stuff interacting with other stuff. The interactions got so complicated that it looks like life. We life in a deterministic universe, every action has an equal and opposite reaction, life is an illusion, free will is an illusion, and all of that is OK. Humans two jobs are, survive, and thrive. Do whatever it takes to accomplish those two goals and don’t do anything that hinder either goal.

We’re very lucky to exist, if even for a short while. Science will try to beat death, maybe someday that will be a reality, but until then, we just die. In dealing with the world believing in god works, but not believing in god works better.