Sunday, July 31, 2011

Heaven, boy Idunno

So, what is Heaven? There is a question that deserves an answer. People strive so badly to reach this eternal paradise.

What is paradise? Depends on who you ask. Eternal happiness? Bliss? I do not know what these things are. I understand pleasure, fulfillment or satisfaction. What is eternal pleasure? What is eternal fulfillment? What is eternal satisfaction?

Pleasure is based upon the body. My senses provide pleasure and pain. Good food and sex are great. They feel good. Of course we need to ask if we have our bodies in heaven. If we do Heaven seems a lot like earth.

Fulfillment comes from the accomplishment of tasks. Harder the task, more fulfillment. In a place where everything is perfect it seems that there are no accomplishments to be had. I wonder if this is a good or bad thing.

Thursday, July 28, 2011

Erasing cigarettes: American Atheists v. Port Authority of New York and New Jersey

This past Monday, The American Atheists filed a lawsuit against Port Authority to have the "9/11 Cross" removed from the 9/11 Memorial and Museum. "Government enshrinement of the cross was an impermissible mingling of church and state," according to The American Atheists.

Here at The Offensive Atheists, we think that they are wrong.

For better of worse, the intersecting beams that form the cross left standing in the rubble of The World Trade Center resonated with the general public at time when everyone was searching for an answer to this chaos. Any answer.

Tuesday, July 26, 2011

Confrontation and debate

This is based upon second hand information. I want to make that perfectly clear before I begin. There, done with that. Also, this is intended toward those who claim to be skeptics.

I have been dying to go to TAM (The Amazing Meeting, a collection of skeptics who gather in Vegas every year for a skeptical conference) for a couple years now and I have not had the money. Paul and I have been trying to get ourselves a plan to raise the case for TAM 10 next summer. Today, I heard a couple things which have caused me to question what TAM is.

Apparently, at TAM eight, last year, Phil Plait gave a speech “Don’t be a dick” to theists. This is a sentiment that I would agree with. I say, don’t be a dick to anybody. Conspiracy theorists, theists, new agers or whatever. But I heard this was not exactly what he said in the body of the speech. Critical thinking pays off. Some of it was intelligent advice for conversational debaters but some was appeasement.

More recently, at TAM 9, there was an into saying be nice to theists. Again, second hand. I tried to pull this up online but was unable to do so. There was a question placed to the live blog for Skeptic’s Guide to the Universe, asking how to be a skeptic and a theist. The answer was a load of crap!

Saturday, July 23, 2011

The absolute box

The bookstore 'Borders' is going out of business. What this means to us is that it is time to go to Borders and buy $500.00 worth of books for $300.00. And we did just that yesterday evening.

As hard as I tried to pull myself into the stacks of fiction, comics, cookbooks, and biographies, I was unable to separate myself from the sociology and science sections. Within the sociology section was a lovely collection of books under the heading 'morality.' Oh, morality...morality of all different flavors. Secular morality, christian morality, pagan morality...and on and on and on.

In flipping through this collection, a few thoughts began to coalesce about the nature of the divide between religious morality and secular morality.

One of the greatest dangers of atheism, as stated by those espousing a god-centered world view, is that without a clear and established moral code, atheists have no moral compass. If you have not yet been presented with the brilliant argument "Well, if there is no hell, what's to stop atheists from going out and raping babies?" then you have not yet had the wonderful opportunity to rebut with "So, the only reason you don't rape babies is because you will go to hell for it?"

Friday, July 22, 2011

Gay, A-Ok

I like to look at the positions of others from their perspective. I like to understand what they must be thinking in order to decide how best to counter their argument. I do this with most arguments I hear. I can generally come up with an argument for my opponent’s position which is head and shoulders above the argument they come up with themselves. I really enjoy arguing Christian Apologetics with my fellow atheists, for sport. Gives me a chance to practice straight rhetoric. Give it a try sometime, argue a position you oppose. If you can do that well, you will probably win any argument against those holding that position.

I gave this tactic a try on the gay issue. I am a big supporter of gay rights so I tried to come up with a sound, non-religious, argument against the gays. I was woefully unsuccessful. Try yourself and hit me up with what you have got. No one here will think you are a closet homophobe, worry not. Or, if you are against gays drop me a line and let me know why. I love a rousing debate.

Tuesday, July 19, 2011

Five videos, please discuss

So, insomnia has once again gotten the better of me, and I find myself  making brilliant internal arguments like 'I'll just watch youtube videos, they are short and easily digestible." As I was watching, following link to link, doing 'the wikipedia dance' as applied to youtube, I came across the following videos. I thought I'd share them in the hope of fostering discussion. Every single video espouses at least one logical fallacy, and I sincerely hope that you will view them and comment. For the record, the last video, well, that is a fantastic song.

Sunday, July 17, 2011

Ya gotta have faith

Dani Rizzo asked "What offends the offensive Atheists?"
Well now........ How to begin? Bullet points? A simple list? There are so many ways that theology and religion influence us every day. Many of them offensive and some a direct attack. A list format would take months to compile and I would always think that something was missing. No, I shall choose the heart of all the issues and that is what offends the Offensive Atheists. The central problem is a concept, and it is faith.

Religions require faith to function. This leads critical thinkers to ask "What is faith?" It must be different from regular belief or knowledge to hold this place of esteem in society. I would say that I have faith that today is Sunday and that I live in Buffalo. That is not the kind of faith that we are talking about here. Metaphysical Faith must hold true in opposition to facts and evidence. Faith must be belief without evidence. Otherwise it is susceptible to critical thought like any other statement of fact.

Friday, July 15, 2011

We also take requests.

Ray Comfort. The exact reference in which bananas 
were used as a defense for a creator.

Jennifer Flammger asked how to handle the expectations of being raised Catholic, and having a family full of believers expecting you to do the dance of whatever ritual is occurring right along with them. That's not an easy question to answer. Unless, of course, you are Josh. (This is Paul writing, by the way.)

I'm fairly certain that Josh would advocate 'doing the dance.' In fact, one thanksgiving, I brought Mr. Billingsley down to my brother's house for some turkey and prayer. Josh thought it absurd that I wouldn't participate in the blessing. He likes ritual. I'm not so big on it.

For general family situations, I practice non-violence. By that I mean that my family and I have reached a detente wherein I do not criticize the fairy tales that they only half believe in, and they do not force me to participate in said rituals. I am well aware that this is not an option for many, especially those confronted with family members who are 'contagious christians.'

Here is what I can say to those who are confronted, backed into a corner, and beat over the head with a crucifix. It seems to me that there are only two choices, either go along to get along, or come out of the closet. Sure, argue that I am creating a false dichotomy, but understand that any middle-of-the-road behavior will be, absolutely, stopped dead in its tracks with one word, Faith. Any sort of "I'm just asking because I'm confused" will be confounded with "You can't know god's plan, and who are you to question it?"

Have a blessed day.

“Have a blessed day.” That is what she said to me. A blessed day. On a business phone. I called an office in the course of my day to day employment and got a machine. I listen to her recording. Leave a message, blah blah blah, and have a blessed day. She means no harm. Wishing me good will. Right?
Hell, NO!

Lighthouses, and the debate about debate

Richard Dawkins. Christopher Hitchens. Dinesh D'Sousa. Phil Plait. Rebecca Watson. Matt Dillahunty. William Lane Craig. Ray Comfort. Kirk Cameron.

Some of you (or, zero of you, judging by the number of people reading this blog who are not writing this blog) may be familiar with a few of these names. Some of them may seem unfamiliar, but every single name up above has, at the very least, a Wikipedia entry. So, the question is: Why? Why do we know these names? Sure, some of them are famous and well respected biologists with a lifetime of primary source publications and research (Dawkins.) And, some are bat-shit crazy apologists who believe that bananas offer proof of the existence of God (Comfort.) Some are ex-famous ex-television stars who found God in a man who believes that bananas offer proof of the existence of God. (I'll give you one guess.)

But seriously, why do you know the name 'Richard Dawkins?' Is it because of his 30+ years of research into the zoological manifestation of the allelic expression of genes? I'm going to take a shot in the dark and say that it's not. I'm going to say it's because Richard Dawkins is a vocal and out of the closet atheist. I'm going to say it's because he wrote a book called 'The God Delusion.'

And what about Christopher Hitchens? What has Hitchens ever done besides writing a book on Mother Theresa, getting drunk, and calling  people idiots? Does Hitchens help to foster the ideals of atheism and secular humansim?