Random Thoughts at About.com

I’ve mentioned before that I try to spend time at About.com’s Agnostic/Atheist section hosted by Austin Cline. The site offers a lot of good things, not the least of which is a good atheist community forum and an often-updated blog. Recently I posted a few comments to some of the blog posts there, and thought I’d share. The site, in case anyone is interested is at the following location:

http://atheism.about.com/

In response to the post: “Myth: You’re Not Really an Atheist, You Just Want to be Contrary”

In response to another comment in the comments section:

They are projecting. You’re correct. I had a talk last night about this very thing. Religion is implanted into infants/children. Later, when they “feel god” they don’t understand that it’s an idea that has been artificially implanted. It was drilled in so early on that they think it’s as inherent as “not liking peas” or some such.

Even when they’re confronted with a realization that their “arguments” for god’s existence don’t make sense, they can’t shake that “feeling” that god is “there.” So, even if you can reason them out of all sorts of things, that last bit, the existence of god, still holds tenaciously. This is where we get statements like “I just know there is a god.” Or “I just feel it.” Or the disturbing “I know that I know that I know.” These are people who were used as children as meme depositories–used by a viral idea, spread by other infected adult minds/people.

When you say you don’t “feel” their god or acknowledge it, it’s impossible for them to believe it. (1) They “feel” it. (2) Everyone they grew up with likely told them they “feel” it–all the adults they trusted, mom/dad/sunday school teacher/preacher, perhaps even friends. And (3) they’ve been taught that feeling is implanted by god in every human heart. And that’s the explanation they hold to for how they “feel” it–and why they reject it when you say you don’t share that.

One of the most eye-opening things to me when I began to get outside the religious box was understanding atheists who were secularly raised did not have the things I’d been taught are inherent such as “feelings” a god exists or “supreme fear of death.” Many churches teach you’re born with an innate sense of “god” and later, as an evil/flawed adult you “sear” your conscience–and drive it out. But if that’s true, why work so hard to instill it into children? And why do secular kids not express this “feeling” even in their youth?

It’s a lie, but one that children are immersed in to the point it really does become the only reality they know. Breaking that spell is a task, for sure.

In response to the post: “Passive vs. Aggressive Atheism – Should Atheists Be Passive or Aggressive?”

I think a lot depends on where a person lives (how much influence religion exercises over his/her life in his/her region) as to whether a person is motivated to “engage” or be critical.

I’ve been asked a lot: “Why do you care what theists think?” Beyond 9-11, I can list a slew of crap religion is doing to impact the state in which I live, Texas. It’s not “benign” in my state. And if we didn’t constantly slap down the tentacles of religious invasion into state law, state education, and state politics, it would creep along invading every aspect of our lives here. What would stop it if not people standing up in opposition?

But I have learned as well that no small number of people refuse to reason and aren’t interested in dialoging rationally about ideas. These people won’t be reasoned with, and whether I adopt a kind or harsh approach seems to result in the same thing–that they won’t reason and they maintain their stance regardless of evidence in opposition to their beliefs.

This person, whether they’re “abused” (verbally, not physically) or treated kindly, I don’t care. Neither method will impact them any better. BUT, people listening and watching the exchange ARE impacted, and what I’ve seen is that if stupid ideas are taken to task in a harsh way, many people who are “reachable,” but who share similar views will contact us and say, “I saw the episode where you lambasted that creationist. I was raised creationist, and never questioned it until I saw how foolish that caller looked during that exchange.”

Even though this viewer shared the same ideology–he was able to watch safely from the sidelines as his perspective was criticized, and objectively consider whether it sounded reasonable. And when he saw fair mockery of the irrational nature of the idea, he felt no sting of personal attack, and assessed the content of the statements without being offput by the “meanness” of the responses.

For every person publicly attacked, I’ve begun to find (because I hear from them daily) there are MANY others who benefit from such attacks–by having the benefit of being able to view them and consider their own positions from the sidelines. One such person “made example of” can be publicly “strung up” metaphorically–as a lesson to others to be more critical of their own beliefs.

The scathing approach has a great benefit. And until I got more involved in the atheist community, I probably wouldn’t have seen or acknowledged that. I am, naturally, a fairly kind person. I am often harsh in response to abstract concepts, but far more friendly when I engage an actually human being–again, generally.

But many atheists I work with are less kind, and I have seen the responses to them, and outside of the individual who is being assaulted (again metaphorically), they _do_ have demonstrated beneficial results that I can’t deny. I can’t argue with success. And seeing people write in to say “that lashing you put on that caller really made me think harder about what _I_ believe.” That’s priceless. That helped someone.

We get email: These are the things I did!

I’m editing this one for length, but here is the choice lunacy. (Remember, this is edited. Weep for us.)

Hello my name is Leroy Blevins Sr. I am C/O of Blevins Biblical Investigation. I have done research on the Bible for over 24 years now and I like to say what people claims the Bible tell us is not what the Bible said.

Like 1 reason why people don’t believe in the Bible is that today we have all this different race of people. And with different jeans in man there is no way that all race of man is only from two people in the beginning like Adam and Eve. This is true but people claim that the Bible tells us that all race of man is from these two people for God made all man. But this is only claim made by people for the Bible does not say that all race of man is from one God…

So you see before you can make claims or even try to tell people about God you first need to know what you are talking about. You or no one can say there is no God and you and know one can say the Bible is not true. For you are going on what people add to the Bible and you are not going on what the Bible really tells you. As you have just seen by what I have shown you that what you think and what people claim is not what the Bible said. These are just thinks you and them add to the Bible and claim this is what the Bible said when in fact you and them was lying from the word go. So how can you say the Bible is not true for you don’t know nothing about the Bible or what it tells us….

Now we are told that is said in the Bible that Noah and his family was the only people that was save from the flood… Now you or know one can tell me anything about Noah for I know more about Noah then anyone on this earth today and that is a fact. For you see I know what it said in the Bible and I know the true story the Bible tells us. I even know Noah birthday and it is March 1st. Now I know for a fact that know one knows this but me and I found this out by the Bible. For the Bible give Noah birthday but people don’t understand the words that are told. But I do.

But I have more proof to show about Noah. And that is the ark itself Yes I know the location of the ark and where you can find it. I have real photos of the ark at rest today.

So you see I have study the Bible. Now let me see if you study the Bible as you claim you did….

Now you don’t know me but let me tell you some of the things I did. I have found the location of Noah’s ark and even other arks made in the time of Noah. I found the location of the Garden of Eden. I know the true stories of the Bible. I found the start of the real Bigfoot. And I have found away to read the Zodiac Killer letters I debunked the Patterson and Gimlin film of Bigfoot. And my new research I have found two other gun men that was with Oswald in the JFK Assassination. These are the things I did and these are the things I show proof on look me up on the net you will find my research and you will see my proof. For at BBI We not only tell the truth WE SHOW IT.

I will be looking for the answers if you can answer the questions.

Thank you for your time in this matter
Leroy Blevins Sr.

Well, you just can’t argue with that, can you? Or even…understand it, especially. But you can, I am sure, be appropriately astonished by Mr. Blevins’ research into locating Noah’s Ark. Just so you know where to send birthday greetings every March 1.