Why I am an atheist – mandrellian

Why am I not an atheist …

… and why I am.

I am not an atheist because:

  • I hate God
  • I prayed to God and my prayers weren’t answered
  • Militant/fundamentalist atheists converted me away from God
  • I worship science and the works of man instead of God
  • I’m rebelling against God like I rebelled against my parents & teachers in high school
  • I think I’m better than God
  • I had a bad experience with a priest or church or religious person
  • I can’t decide which religion to subscribe to
  • atheism is my religion
  • I think religious people are idiots
  • I worship Batman
  • I worship Satan
  • I’m immoral/amoral and would rather do what I want
  • I want to destroy religion

I distrust and criticise certain organised religions because:

  • they are human inventions and many seem to be more preoccupied with obsessively controlling aspects of peoples’ private lives than improving them
  • many Christian churches are primarily concerned with attracting money and then keeping it rather than using it charitably
  • many holy books get descriptions of the world & nature completely wrong, which you would not expect had they been dictated by the omnipotent creator of the universe
  • many holy books contain descriptions of human events that cannot be historically verified and in all likelihood never happened (eg. Exodus)
  • many holy books contain numerous laws, acts & stories of a morality that modern, free societies find repugnant; these societies have passed many of their own laws contradicting them
  • there are so many separate & often violently opposed sects of each religion that it is more likely that none of them are correct than just one of them being so
  • many religious groups demand special treatment such as the right not to be offended by statements, artworks, songs or anything else that may criticise or disagree with their dogma
  • religious groups frequently try to have laws passed which unfairly impose their narrow standards of behaviour, based on interpretations of specific holy commands, onto the rest of society
  • religious people often tend to pick & choose from, or “interpret” their holy texts, discarding what does not conform to modern standards of morality, law & political freedom; they then imply that modern morality, law and political freedom rests on the foundations of their particular religion
  • there is such a wide spectrum of religious belief & adherence to dogma, ranging from light, barely-existent deism to the kind of rigid fundamentalism that oppresses and kills many, many people in its name, that it leads me to conclude that either God wasn’t clear enough with his message, didn’t spread it to enough people or that humans have basically made their religions and associated rules up as they went along and have been in conflict with each other about them ever since
  • many religious people & groups wilfully mis-characterise atheists as immoral, empty beings with no appreciation for beauty or mystery simply because we prefer natural explanations for the universe’s phenomena rather than defaulting to “God did it”; they believe that any explanation, even a wrong one or one which explains nothing, is better than “we just don’t know yet”
  • many religious groups continue to deny long-accepted scientific facts such as the divergence of species through evolution and the verified age of the Earth; some wish their particular mythology taught as fact in science classes and go to extraordinary lengths to accomplish it; some even insist there’s a huge, dark Scientist conspiracy quashing “academic freedom”
  • some religious people & groups attempt to cherry-pick science (as they do their scriptures) for those parts which conform to their belief system while actively denying others, e.g. agreeing with “microevolution” while denying “macroevolution” or attempting to use the Second Law of Thermodynamics to debunk evolution
  • some religious groups deny the efficacy of modern medicine in favour of treating an ill person with prayer, a practice which has led to many preventable deaths, often of children
  • they all make extraordinary claims based on their scriptures, provide no evidence beyond referring to their self-confirming scriptures and then insist that the onus is on atheists to disprove their claims
  • many religions have become inextricably intertwined with the laws of the patriarchal cultures which spawned or adopted them, leading to divine justifications for such horrors as female circumcision and “honour killings”, which more often than not punish women, already under the thumbs of domineering males, for seemingly minute transgressions of law
  • when it comes to the hot-button issue of sexual abuse by priests, many religions seem more concerned with good public relations, shielding themselves from culpability and keeping numbers in churches than with compensating victims and being active about preventing further abuse

I am an atheist because:

  • any & all claims of and explanations for the existence of God or any other gods have thus far fallen far short of my standards of evidence
  • my understanding of the natural universe is that it functions in such a way that doesn’t require (or indicate) the presence of any supernatural entity intervening in either the laws of nature or selected peoples’ lives
  • That’s it. They are the only two things that I can say I absolutely have in common with any other atheist. In matters of sex, politics, architecture, gaming, interior design, pets, music, clothing, hobbies, language, philosophy, education, sports, typing speed, preferred drugs, affinity with beagles & frogs and any number of other categories I may be diametrically opposite to any other atheist in the world. To label one atheist with the same attributes you label another atheist is ignorant at best, flat-out dishonest at worst. But all of us, if “atheist” is to mean anything at all, do not accept theistic claims.

But what could steer me in the opposite direction? Probably the same things that could steer any atheist…

I could be converted to theism if:

  • God, or a god, showed himself or performed an act that unambiguously proved both his existence and his attributes as an immortal, omnipotent being. As to what that proof would constitute: that god himself, if omnipotent, would be the perfect arbiter of what would conclusively prove to six billion people that he existed.

Such things as tortillas depicting blurred silhouettes of Mary (or any other second-tier deity) do not count. If you’re there, God, you’re on notice! Any time is fine. No tricks – and come alone (if indeed there’s only one of you, otherwise, bring the whole parthenon).

mandrellian
Australia

Comments

  1. umkomasia says

    I am a huge Pharyngula fan, but I must admit I have not enjoyed most of the “Why I Am an Atheist” series. They usually come across to me like a lame version of the “testifying” of born-again christians. I thought we were supposed be different. I suspect I am in the minority on this and that’s fine. This one though I really enjoyed. A clear listing of facts rather than recounting of emotional angst. Thanks for this one.

  2. jennyxyzzy says

    That’s it. They are the only two things that I can say I absolutely have in common with any other atheist. In matters of sex, politics, architecture, gaming, interior design, pets, music, clothing, hobbies, language, philosophy, education, sports, typing speed, preferred drugs, affinity with beagles & frogs and any number of other categories I may be diametrically opposite to any other atheist in the world.

    Oh come on – what about eating babies? We’re all into that right? I prefer mine slow-roasted…

  3. says

    Excellent post but I would like to be a nitpicker about something that bugs me about many atheists.

    I could be converted to theism if: God, or a god, showed himself or performed an act that unambiguously proved both his existence and his attributes as an immortal, omnipotent being.

    If I wanted to throw out all common sense and pretend there was a god, I wouldn’t call it a “him” because I couldn’t imagine why it would need any sex organs.

    Christians call their fairy “He” or “Him” but they have a good excuse. Their excuse is they are the most bloody stupid idiots in history. Atheists should know better than to imitate their “god is a male” fantasy.

  4. psocoptera says

    This was one of my favorites until I got to the beagles. Frogs, I understand but beagles? There we must part ways. They are much too small and barky.

  5. Brownian says

    I thought we were supposed be different.

    Different how? In that we don’t have life stories that inform how we make decisions (or more accurately, inform the narrative we use to justify those decisions)?

    No, we’re not supposed to be different.

    But I did enjoy this one, too.

    I’m glad to learn mandrellian is not a Batolic.

  6. says

    I am not an atheist because:


    I prayed to God and my prayers weren’t answered

    That’s not a bad one, though. If you’ve tried something that a god is supposed to do, and it didn’t occur, there’s one chance at possible verification that’s failed.

    Glen Davidson

  7. Brownian says

    If I wanted to throw out all common sense and pretend there was a god, I wouldn’t call it a “him” because I couldn’t imagine why it would need any sex organs.

    You should know by now that one’s gender are more than one’s sexual organs.

    God is clearly a man because he likes football and beer and stands up for his children when they’re wrongly—uh, you may have a point.

  8. umkomasia says

    Brownian. I do think we are supposed to be different. If not, who do so many of us recoil at suggestions that atheists should have temples and and ceremonies to be “whole.” We are different and we should not ape the religious. We don’t need it.

  9. christophermoss says

    Ah, God might find it easier to bring his pantheon rather than a crumbly bit of ancient Greek architecture.

  10. Antiochus Epiphanes says

    umkomasia: Your gripe is my gripe. Common ground*.

    re: the OP

    God, or a god, showed himself or performed an act that unambiguously proved both his existence and his attributes as an immortal, omnipotent being. As to what that proof would constitute: that god himself, if omnipotent, would be the perfect arbiter of what would conclusively prove to six billion people that he existed.

    1. Essentially, you would believe in G/god if you were hosed with G/god’s magical belief ray. What do the other six-billion people matter?

    2. Or maybe you meant if you could stand outside of G/god’s belief ray, you would find the ray itself convincing evidence. Let me offer you an alternative explanation that I find more parsimonious. If you perceived that 6+billion human beings suddenly found themselves convinced of the existence of the almighty, this can be explained by your delusion. That only requires that one brain has gone catawampus, something that you know happens all the time. \

    *Also don’t think that your protospermatophytic ‘nym has escaped my notice. I fully fucking approve for whatever little that may be worth to you.

  11. Brownian says

    If not, who do so many of us recoil at suggestions that atheists should have temples and and ceremonies to be “whole.”

    It’s a sloppily thinking atheist that eschews ceremony. What goes on in temples are not the whole of things we call ceremony.

    Similarly, as ibyea says, telling stories is not a religious thing. It’s a human thing.

    I refuse to surrender human concepts to the religious. They did not invent marriage, they did not invent ritual, they did not invent tradition, and they did not invent storytelling. Now, I can choose how, when, and if I wish to participate in any of those things, and I can do so because they are mine. Not theirs.

  12. Brownian says

    It’s a sloppily thinking atheist that eschews ceremony because xe considers it a religious behaviour.

    FIFM.

  13. Loqi says

    What’s wrong with worshipping Batman? He’s more plausible and more moral than than any god I’ve heard of.

  14. niftyatheist says

    This was one of the more entertaining essays (lists?) in the series!

    I refuse to surrender human concepts to the religious. They did not invent marriage, they did not invent ritual, they did not invent tradition, and they did not invent storytelling. Now, I can choose how, when, and if I wish to participate in any of those things, and I can do so because they are mine. Not theirs.

    Totally agree with you, Brownian. I have had this argument with theists and been told I had no right to celebrate anything anymore (Xmas, Thanksgiving, etc) due to non-membership in a theist cult, and I slapped that down pretty energetically.

    No, theists do not own mythology, tradition, seasonal celebrations, lust for life or anything else that human beings have invented over the centuries to give ourselves courage and heart in the dark of winter, in the shadow of wars, marking the transitions of life, birth and death. No, they damn well do not own them! They are all human inventions and they belong to all of us.

  15. brocasbrian says

    We definitely part ways at beagles. Yappy little things.

    Other than that I’d call for a round of applause. Very well done sir.

  16. johnsimmons says

    - delurk..

    Molly ??

    I would love to be able to express my thoughts on the subject 1/4 as coherently.

    - relurk

  17. umkomasia says

    And some of you wonder why religionists say atheism is just another faith. We don’t have “stories.” We have the evolutionary history of life on earth. It is exhilarating and true as far as we can determine the truth. But it is not a story in the same sense that religion provides stories. We didn’t invent it, we discovered it. When we try to put meaning and value into evolutionary biology, it usually goes off the rails (discussion of progress and all of that). Keep your stories, I’ll take a good phylogeny any day.

  18. daniellavine says

    But it is not a story in the same sense that religion provides stories.

    I don’t want to start a thing, but I disagree. Evolution is not the same as phylogeny, and ultimately evolutionary theory is a narrative that makes sense of the diversity of life on earth. Theories are usually a kind of story. You can tell yourself you have “just the facts” but that itself is a story, and that one is actually as false as any religion.

    Regarding the OP, there’s a Family Guy episode where some people end up worshiping Peter as a faith healer and erect an idol. Subsequently the family is visited by six of the seven plagues visited on Egypt in the Old Testament in the space of about 30 seconds (death of the first born narrowly averted). If I witnessed an event like that I would probably take the idea of God much more seriously.

  19. Brownian says

    And some of you wonder why religionists say atheism is just another faith. We don’t have “stories.” We have the evolutionary history of life on earth. It is exhilarating and true as far as we can determine the truth.

    Someone’s personal history is a story. You brought it up. Stay focussed for fuck’s sake.

    You finding the evolutionary history of life on earth ‘exhilarating’ is part of a narrative. It’s your personal story in exactly the same way that most of these “Why I am an atheist” narratives are.

    But it is not a story in the same sense that religion provides stories.

    Right. As far as I can tell, you’re the only one here conflating ‘story’ with “OMG TAHT’S WHUT TEH RELIGIOUS DO!!!!ONE!!!” and deciding that “What my childhood w

    You fucking eat, right? Well—duh-duh-du-u-u-u-u-h!—So do the religious. Hell, it’s even ritualised among some of them.

    Oh, noes! We’re just another faith!/i>

    Keep your stories, I’ll take a good phylogeny any day.

    Whatever you think that means, good on you or something.

    I’ll just point out that phylogenies are themselves narratives complete with symbolism to make them understandable, and may be in conflict with each other, but that’s only because they’re approximations of histories and relationships for which we have incomplete data.

    Nonetheless, it’s probably best if you stop sharing idiocies such as the idea having personal stories and imbuing them with meaning means that atheism constitutes another ‘faith’, since you’ve clearly no understanding of what that means and are simply using it to score a cheap, emotional point.

    Stick to your phylogenies.

  20. says

    Christians call their fairy “He” or “Him” but they have a good excuse. Their excuse is they are the most bloody stupid idiots in history. Atheists should know better than to imitate their “god is a male” fantasy.

    What? Um I don’t get to decide the gender of Harry Potter.

    Besides gender is completely removed from sex. C3PO and R2D2 are ‘male’ characters despite lacking any biological sex.

  21. says

    Also even in the frame of the mythology God==Male makes sense

    God==Authority, man is made in his image and thus defaults to a gender that emulates God’s nature. Woman is a separate creation made to be subservient so it has a different gender. Duh.

  22. ladude says

    Point is, if gawd did show up and pull a few cute tricks, he/she/it would no longer be this mysterious “supernatural” entity, but part of the natural swing of things that we could study.

  23. Tyrant of Skepsis says

    @christophermoss

    I’m sure the Greeks would appreciate it if God went to the British Museum and snatched the Elgin Marbles for them.

  24. daniellavine says

    Besides gender is completely removed from sex. C3PO and R2D2 are ‘male’ characters despite lacking any biological sex.

    R2D2 isn’t a sexy lady-droid? My world has been shattered!

  25. daniellavine says

    Point is, if gawd did show up and pull a few cute tricks, he/she/it would no longer be this mysterious “supernatural” entity, but part of the natural swing of things that we could study.

    Right. My framework for making this argument is pointing out that the alternative models for God are:
    -The Teapot model — by assumption God doesn’t do anything we could possibly ever notice or
    -The Michigan J. Frog model — God does stuff we could notice all the time but only when we’re not looking

    I think this is a good frame because no one wants to worship a teapot and only a very few want to worship old Warner Bros. cartoon characters.

  26. madscientist says

    I think it’s rather strange to hate a non-entity like god. I hate you Tooth Fairy!

  27. Brownian says

    I think it’s rather strange to hate a non-entity like god.

    You must find literature, theatre, film and television completely astonishing, since having an emotional reaction to fictional characters is a crucial component of human drama.

    Since we’re on the subject, perhaps we should create an annual award for the atheistest of atheists, for those to whom normal human emotions are completely baffling and clearly irrationalities invented by Christianity and therefore to be avoided at all costs. We’ll call them the Timothys, after the kid on ST:TNG who was so—[Warning: personal story about fictional character that involves empathy and psychology to understand and is therefore of interest to No True Atheist™]—that he wished to become an emotionless android like Data.

  28. catnip67 says

    When asked by a theist what I would do if god suddenly manifested & proved his (her/it’s) existence, what would I do? My answer was: not to worship it, but now that it had become a valid phenomenon, it would be a good subject to be studied and understood.
    So even if there was evidence that any god exists, there is still no excuse to prostrate oneself before it, and being atheist is still valid. Hence, the atheist position is the only logically consistent one that can survive both the manifestation and non manifestation of any hypothetical god.

  29. echidna says

    I liked this one very much, all of it, but especially this:

    religious groups frequently try to have laws passed which unfairly impose their narrow standards of behaviour, based on interpretations of specific holy commands, onto the rest of society

    because it speaks to why atheists need to be active, not passive, about religion.

    Madscientist@33, when you said:

    I think it’s rather strange to hate a non-entity like god. I hate you Tooth Fairy!

    had you misinterpreted “I am not an atheist because: I hate God”?

    Try parsing it as “It is not because of the following things that I am an atheist:”
    Not as fluid as what Mandrellian wrote. Any ambiguity in the original is resolved by context, but I guess you might not have seen that. Or you are just being stupidly pedantic. Or trolling.

  30. mandrellian says

    Thanks for the love; glad you enjoyed my list. When published on my blog, I think this got the most comments of anything I wrote (two!).

    Just to clarify a few things:

    - I don’t worship Batman, but he is about the most worship-worthy fictional character I could think of: moral, tech-savvy, focused and a ruthless avenging angel par excellence, but one who’s opposed to killing despite his throbbing vigilante-boner. Not only that but he’s imperfect, tortured by his past and frequently faces temptations and moral quandaries that don’t always have clear solutions (but he does have Lucius and Alfred to provide clarity, or at least a good solid scolding).

    - ye who scoff at the mighty beagle can all go to metaphorical hell. I can only speak for mine, but she isn’t yappy at all – unlike those sodding Jack Russell terriers. However, when Chilli does bark, people pay attention because she sounds a lot bigger than she is (delivery people always look very relieved when they see how small she is). What she is is an escape artist – even at 11 years old she’s still adept at finding a weak spot in any fence humanity can construct.

    Cheers all, and cheers PZ for the shout-out. Let me buy you a pint of Coopers Ale when you’re in Melbourne next.

  31. says

    You must find literature, theatre, film and television completely astonishing, since having an emotional reaction to fictional characters is a crucial component of human drama.

    QFT.

  32. Tony says

    Antiochus Epiphanes:

    1. Essentially, you would believe in G/god if you were hosed with G/god’s magical belief ray. What do the other six-billion people matter?

    -I agree with the OP. For any god to prove his existence to me, it would require him revelaing himself, unambiguously to the entire planet. Why? We humans are fantastic at self-deception. From The Skeptic’s Dictionary:

    Self-deception is the process or fact of misleading ourselves to accept as true or valid what is false or invalid. http://www.skepdic.com/selfdeception.html

    There’s also pareidolia:

    Pareidolia is a type of illusion or misperception involving a vague or obscure stimulus being perceived as something clear and distinct. http://www.skepdic.com/pareidol.html

    -People see Jesus or Mary in pastries or in the clouds likely due to this illusion. If a god appeared to only one person, how would that verify the existence of that god? The person could be deceiving themselves or have seen an illusion that looked clearly like god. Unless it can be verified by outside sources, no one should take seriously the claims of anyone who “sees god”.
    Then of course, there are psychological conditions that could result in an individual believing they see god.

  33. Tony says

    umkomasia:

    -I’m sorry, but we do indeed have stories. Not creation stories that should be taken literally, but there have been many stories created by humanity. I read comic books regularly, and those are fictional stories. I’m not certain how anyone could say that comic books or literary classics are not stories.

  34. Jack Krebs says

    I really liked this one, also. PZ, this a very interesting thing you’ve done, giving voice to so many people and, if I understand correctly, just randomly throwing these essays out here.

  35. mandrellian says

    @41, catnip:

    “Just make sure it’s pale [ale] and not sparkling”

    Burn the heretic!!1

  36. kami says

    I like this one. It’s the most similar to my reason for not believing, particularly when you say that you may be diametrically opposed on all other issues with other atheists. I’m as critical of religion as most atheists and would only believe if it was demonstrated unambiguously like you say (though just to myself would be enough), but some of the other views I have would horrify the hxc atheists around here (such as on abortion, even though I’m pro-choice).

    Here’s to diversity!

  37. ladude says

    At #31, Daniellevine, I love Michigan J. Frog!!! Haven’t seen it in a long time. “Hello my baby…”, and that’s all I know of the song. Oh, and “Hello my rag time gal…” Ribbitt!

  38. ladude says

    I don’t think the existance of a gawd could ever be demonstrated unambiguously. You would always wonder if you were hallucinating, or some super-duper advanced alien was pulling your chain, or maybe you just hit your head awful hard on some awful hard object, etc. And if this thing did manifest itself and do something far-out, then it just becomes some natural process we can analyze, study and measure. But still a gawd at that point, I don’t think so.

  39. mandrellian says

    @49 ladude, you’re absolutely right.

    Even if whatever god might exist appeared to everyone at once and attempted to demonstrate itself to us unambiguously (not just to me, because personal revelation is not something I regard as a reliable route toward truth – and is also something I didn’t list, come to think of it) we’d still need some kind of check; a method of verifying that we weren’t all experiencing the same hallucination/simulation (which would lead us toward pointless solipsistic discussion). Additionally we’d need to be able to discern the actions of a supernatural god (whom we’d first need to define in order to know what to look for) from the actions of a highly advanced but natural race of beings (cue Arthur C Clarke’s dictum about sufficiently advanced technology being indistinguishable from magic).

    Even if you grant that we’d satisfied ourselves that a supernatural god had indeed demonstrated its existence to the entire human race simultaneously, we’d then need to ascertain which god it was and whether that god was even being honest when it said who it was. Many pantheons have gods of trickery, deceit or evil; others have all-powerful gods for whom it would be trivial to impersonate another god or take another form.

    But then what? We’ve had a visit from the god/s and we’ve established their identity. Should we worship them? How? Why? Are they worthy of it? Will they compel us to worship it even if we don’t want to? Will it threaten us with damnation or bribe us with paradise? Can we oppose it? Would there be any point?

  40. Brownian says

    Many pantheons have gods of trickery, deceit or evil; others have all-powerful gods for whom it would be trivial to impersonate another god or take another form.

    Interestingly, there are no pantheons that include deities who disguise themselves as simple blog commentors living in Canada who delight in double innuendo and the occasional eruption of online rage.

    I’m sure that doesn’t mean anything, however.

  41. says

    Interestingly, there are no pantheons that include deities who disguise themselves as simple blog commentors living in Canada who delight in double innuendo and the occasional eruption of online rage.

    Shall we start one? I have a small pantheon I’m not using for anything else.

  42. scifi1 says

    Mandrellian:

    Sorry -tuned out of what was going on as soon as you mentioned Cooper’s.

    Mmmmm – Pale or Sparkling.

    I’d take one of those over a whole slab of that rancid chemical mouthwash we have in Qld they call XXXX. (That’s ‘Four Ex’ to you uninitiated).

    Then there’s Redback Original, Beez Neez, any of the James Squires range. Enuff!!!!

    Back OT, though…

    Humbly would suggest: finding it hard to take seriously any belief that differs among EVERY SINGLE ONE of it’s claimed adherents. Whether in large parts or in small detail, every religionist has a personal/different view of their delusion.

  43. scifi1 says

    catnip67

    Nah, it’s because Fair Trading insist on truth in advertising, but you’re not allowed to put “Piss” on the cans or bottles so they have to censor it!

  44. catnip67 says

    I didn’t think they had that many cats in Queensland. Or is it an example of homeopathic dilution? A cat once pissed into the vat, and the water used for making the beer remembers the unique flavour……

  45. ladude says

    By the way, Mandrellian, excellent post. I think you’ve covered just about every reason not to be an atheist and every good reason to be one.

  46. ella says

    I absolutely love this! I’ve oftentimes engaged in long conversations with theists about why I don’t believe in the supernatural only to have them come at me with: “I don’t believe you’re an atheist; I think you’re only angry at God” or “What happened to you? Were you raped by a pastor or something?” or “I think you need to spend more time in fellowship with other Christians; clearly you’ve been led astray while studying abroad” or “You’re just being arrogant and rebellious and looking for an excuse to engage in sin” or “You need deliverance! Don’t let Satan lie to you and steal your salvation…” The list is endless. It seems impossible for them to accept that I am simply unwilling to believe in something which is completely logically incoherent and unsubstantiated by evidence. The real reason for why I am an atheist is never enough and they always wanna try and dig for some other reason that can easily be fixed. In future I’ll save myself the trouble and send them a link to this piece rather than suffer this sort of foolishness. Mandrellian’s points mirror my own views quite wonderfully.

  47. daniellavine says

    Alethea@36:

    Absolutely incredible. You’re right, I should know better.

    @ladude:

    You’re right, it would never be entirely unambiguous (nothing ever is). But if I had shared an experience similar to that of the Griffin family with four or five other people who all saw what I saw and came to the same conclusions about it I would consider that pretty compelling.

    If I’m willing to say that whatever evidence of God comes up might just indicate that I’m crazy or delusional then I don’t see what prevents me from saying the same for evidence against God. This isn’t meant to be equivocation, I believe in the burden of evidence, but for evidence to mean anything in the first place I also have to believe I’m capable of evaluating that evidence.

    Incidentally, the frog’s song is called “Telephone Love” (I think).

    Hello my baby, hello my honey
    Hello my ragtime gal
    Send me a kiss by wire
    Baby my heart’s on fire

    If you refuse me, honey you’ll lose me
    then you’ll be left alone
    oh baby, telephone
    and tell me I’m your own

  48. ladude says

    daniellavine, thanks, I love hearing the frog sing the song and then go total froglike when anyone else shows up. That is very much how that type of god operates. Does all sorts of wonderful things, and then leaves only the beliver to witness about it. And then it’s our problem if we don’t believe him. Prove me wrong, the believer says. A Frog, especially one with a top hat, would make a great god I think.

  49. mandrellian says

    Thanks Ella, glad you liked it.

    I did the “I’m not an atheist” list precisely because I’ve had similar conversations (I think I’ve even done similar lists in comment threads before). Some people literally cannot comprehend a life without belief so and immediately think I’ve been harmed by faith in some way and have blamed God for the actions of his believers (which is true, in a way, considering a fictional character can’t actually perform actions). When encountering such people I’m reminded instantly that the harm caused by faith is, first and foremost, to peoples’ reasoning capabilities and critical thinking. If you’ve had your reasoning stunted by faith, that’s going to affect everything you do and every decision you make, from what you eat to whether you should kill someone to please your god/s.

    As to the other point I raised, Coopers Sparkling Ale is truly blessed and the One True Ale. I’m from Adelaide, I used to live next to the brewery, I’ve been necking this stuff for 20 years, you won’t change my mind. But at least I think we Aussies on this thread can agree that XXXX is pigswill and VB (Victoria Bitter) is what you drink when there’s nothing else (and only if it’s so cold you can’t taste it).

  50. Snivelling Little Ratfaced Git says

    OMFSM! A Sparklinger! Schism!

    As an ex-Sparklinger, I can well see the benefits of Paleism; slightly clearer head, slightly fewer embarrassing comments, slightly less spilled beer.

    Although, some may say I was never a ‘true Sparklinger’ in the first place.

  51. Snivelling Little Ratfaced Git says

    But at least I think we Aussies on this thread can agree that XXXX is pigswill and VB (Victoria Bitter) is what you drink when there’s nothing else (and only if it’s so cold you can’t taste it).

    Ramen!

    btw – wonderful post mandrellian. mind if I pinch it?

  52. Wowbagger, Madman of Insleyfarne says

    Fat Yak, from Matilda Bay – a West Australian microbrewery; they also make the aforementioned Beez Kneez and Redback – is a great pale ale.

  53. mandrellian says

    @63, SLRFG:

    Yep, pinch away! I’m happy for anyone to use this as they like [with the usual internet "link-to-me" conventions].

    I made the list(s) in an effort to collate a bunch of responses I’d made over the years to theists and apologists; I’m glad if anyone sees it as useful. It’s not exhaustive though, so I’d be interested to see anyone’s additions.

  54. mandrellian says

    @64, Wowbagger:

    Love the Fat Yak- it’s on tap in a lot of places here in Melbs (like my beloved Sparkles, which you couldn’t even get here a decade ago). Might I humbly suggest Three Troupers, a Victorian mountain micro, and the Mildura Brewery, both of which make some stunningly flavourful ales and lagers. Lobethal Brewery from my home state of SA is another recent addition to my “must-drink” list.

  55. RobertL says

    In QLD here “we” are proud of XXXX and Bundaberg Rum. And we wonder why the rest of the country doesn’t take us seriously.

    And I’ve always know VB as “visitor’s beer”.

    I will be heading home soon, mowing the grass, and then downing a nice James Squire 150 Lashes (or two).

  56. scifi1 says

    mandrellian –

    I will also be nickin’ your post. It’s my convict lineage that forces me to do so!! (That’s a lie. I’m a relatively recent import ;D )

    Ohhh – forgot about the Fat Yak. Veeeeerrrrrry nice!

    Robert. Not so proud of the XXXX now it’s not QLD/Aus owned and Bundy’s for bogans!!

    On a desperate day I might stoop to a XXXX Summer. But I usually have to go and stick my fingers down my throat after!!

    Ella – you are so right and I am also so XXXXed off at the loons who insist I’m angry at their deity. But you know the level of intelligence we’re dealing with here.

  57. Wowbagger, Madman of Insleyfarne says

    Mandrellian wrote:

    Lobethal Brewery from my home state of SA is another recent addition to my “must-drink” list.

    Well, I live in Adelaide – and I know they sometimes have it amongst the cycling tap beers at The Wheatsheaf, so I’ll give it a try next time I’m there.

  58. echidna says

    But at least I think we Aussies on this thread can agree that XXXX is pigswill and VB (Victoria Bitter) is what you drink when there’s nothing else (and only if it’s so cold you can’t taste it).

    True, true.