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Jun 22 2013

A real sign

We were driving along I94, and took the exit to St Joseph, Minnesota…and right after we exit, what do we behold?

With atheism, there is no hope, only despair

I guess it’s what you expect in a town with a “St” in the name.

How about you, fellow atheists? Are you full of despair?

108 comments

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  1. 1
    Stephanie Zvan

    No despair at all. They’ve taken to campaigning against atheism directly. That’s a very good sign.

  2. 2
    René

    The quotes! Hilarious.

  3. 3
    tomfrog

    Yes I do… without a giant diamond buried in my backyard there is no hope, only despair…

    Wait, no, there’s life without a giant diamond! Yay!!

  4. 4
    shouldbeworking

    Only when I see the weather forecast for Alberta.

  5. 5
    Crip Dyke, Right Reverend Feminist FuckToy of Death & Her Handmaiden

    Yes, Rene – I was thinking the same thing.

    Do they even know the purpose of a quotation mark?

  6. 6
    Beatrice, an amateur cynic looking for a happy thought

    Sometimes. Often. But that’s unrelated to my atheism.

  7. 7
    Feminace, formerly Qurikythrope

    The only “despair” I’m feeling is at how crappy this sign is.

    I “hope” they get a better designer for their next brilliant manifesto.

  8. 8
    Crip Dyke, Right Reverend Feminist FuckToy of Death & Her Handmaiden

    @stephanie, #1

    They’ve taken to campaigning against atheism directly. That’s a very good sign.

    I see what you did there.

  9. 9
    carlie

    Quotation marks without the citation. Bad form.

  10. 10
    Forbidden Snowflake

    I agree with Stephanie. It’s no accident that the sign says “with atheism” rather than “without god”. Whoever made this sign is feeling threatened.

  11. 11
    ck

    Some days, yes. To be honest, I’m suspicious of people who appear jovial, happy and friendly all the time. Perhaps not surprisingly, this is one of the acts often put on by the pious as they recruit.

  12. 12
    coreyschlueter

    Any idea who or what organization is responsible for creating this sign?

  13. 13
    besomyka

    Not exclusively, no.

  14. 14
    coozoe

    I never despair. That’s for believes in fairy tales. Hope – I always have hope. That I will win the lottery, that my grandson will become a scientist, that I can one day again be single. So many things to hope for, so little time.

  15. 15
    ck

    Do they even know the purpose of a quotation mark?

    Seems to be a common confusion. There is a local store that sells plants that advertises “fresh” grown vegetables.

  16. 16
    Drew Smith

    No despair here either. Not even a single tooth gnashed.

  17. 17
    Sili

    And *we’re* the rude ones?

  18. 18
    UnknownEric the Apostate

    When theists ask, “But without God, what do you have to live for?” Shit, I dunno… baseball? Nachos? Beautiful sunny days? Elvis Costello records? All kinds of stuff?

  19. 19
    carlie

    Was there one right after it that said “long haired freaky people need not apply” ?

  20. 20
    Martin Wagner

    Since there’s no citation to the quote, I’d like to get up there with a can of paint and add:

    —Some Idiot

  21. 21
    UnknownEric the Apostate

    Was there one right after it that said “long haired freaky people need not apply” ?

    I’ve always wondered… when the sign said “Ya gotta have a membership card to get inside… Uhh!”… was the Uhh! actually on the sign? Cause that would be weird.

    /sarcasm

  22. 22
    intergalacticmedium

    Nice unashamed appeal to consequences!

  23. 23
    ChasCPeterson

    naw, those aren’t grocers’ quotes.
    Somebody said it, see.
    Possibly St. Joseph of Minnesota, if I read the OP correctly.

  24. 24
    M. A. Melby

    Oh my – I might be driving past there soon.

    I mean, they had to use the “Vote Yes” billboards for something, right?

  25. 25
    boskerbonzer

    We should really be an easy bunch to identify on sight if this sign is true what with all our sobbing and rending of garments and scuttling around in the shadows. Actually, this sign maketh me very giggly.

  26. 26
    stever

    Lazy sign painters love quotation marks. So much easier than changing lettering style, changing color, or even underlining. This misuse is so common that a lot of people think it’s correct. It’s almost as irritating as the practice of jamming an apostrophe into every plural noun (or into the possessive form of “it”).

  27. 27
    Naked Bunny with a Whip

    Who needs the Internet to do a little anonymous trolling?

  28. 28
    frankb

    Ah, yes. I despair of all the idiots.

  29. 29
    Gregory Greenwood

    I think that it is easy to reverse that – with religion/god there is no hope, only despair.

    And why? Because Abrahamic religions like christianity posit that we are all the slaves of a sociopathic, deeply sadistic, and capriciously violent sky fairy, who has an unhealthy obsession with, and hatred of, sex and what we do with our own bodies, particularly what women do with their bodies.

    Who picks some of the most power-hungry, bigoted and downright evil amongst us to be its voices on Earth.

    Who is waiting for us after we die, either to condemn us to an eternity of torture for failing to follow its innumerable stupid, cruel and self-contradictory rules or, even worse, to ‘reward’ with an eternity of incorporeally floating about in the stultifyingly dull court of this monster, the monotony levened only by the fact that its utterly disproportionate temper is on a permanent hair-trigger, and its tendency to force us to witness the torment of our loved ones who didn’t make it into this weird fundamentalist’s disneyland.

    And if religions like christianity are right, this nauseatingly bigoted, abusive tyrant is omnipotent, omniscient and omnipresent – it cannot be fought, fooled or hidden from; there is no hope of escape, reprieve or release. It is an all-powerful celestial brat, pulling the limbs off human flies simply because it can.

    It is fortunate indeed, then, that it is nothing more than the sick fantasy of those who wish so very hard that they had such power to indulge their own bigotries without opposition or consequence.

    Atheism represents the hope of a future humanity that looks with clear eyes upon the scope, majesty and mystery of the universe we find ourselves in. Who seek the truth of reality, free of the poisonous influence of infantile delusions of a god who conveniently mimics the desires and prejudices of believers.

    As Stephanie Zvan says @ 1, the fact that the xians feel the need to campaign against atheism directly is a good sign. They know they can’t afford to simply ignore us, and rely on social inertia to sideline us, anymore. They know they are losing the debate, that modernity is leaving them behind, and they are scared that their religion is suffering an ignoble death by a thousand irrelvancies.

    Their god doesn’t exist to threaten, cajole, or reward, and their religion is not some invulnerable ‘eternal truth’ – it is a punch drunk prize fighter, past its prime, outclassed, and still slowly toppling over from that last uppercut from the other guy in the shorts that have ‘reality’ printed on them.

    It is being bled white, leaking its supposed ‘supreme moral authority’ from the countless cuts Occam’s Razor, and the ragged edges of those ever-narrowing gaps, have inflicted upon it.

    It is a headless chicken still running around in circles – a corpse of an idea that is still twitching, not yet having worked out it is dead.

    It is the bogeyman that we used to believe hid in our closet or under the bed, waiting to get us if we peeked out from under the sheets. But we aren’t children anymore. The closet contains only clothes. The bed has nothing but shoes, the odd lost sock, and assorted other harmless detritus of the passing years under it. The chair with a coat draped over it in the corner is just a chair with a coat draped over it, no matter how dark it is, how brightly the lightening flashes, or how loudly the thunder rumbles.

    Supernatural monsters only exist in movies and story books, and story time is over.

  30. 30
    Tony! The Queer Shoop

    I have experienced despair.
    I have known joy.
    I have been touched by hope.

    I imagine for many (most?) humans, our lives contsin a myriad of moods and emotions. That includes despair. It does not mean our lives are defined by it. The theistic belief in life after death, being united with god…that is touted as the symbol of their hope*.

    To sit at the throne of an all powerful, genocidal, wrathful, jealous, homophobic, misogynistic, temper tantrum prone deity for all eternity is nothing to hope for. Thankfully it is nothing to be fearful of either.

    I would rather hope for something more tangible. Something that has a more desirable and likely outcome.
    Ex. “I hope the Supreme Court makes the right decision on the two LGBT cases. Given the direction the US has been heading, there is much cause to hope for a reduction in discrimination in the US.”

    *an awfully self-centered hope at that.

  31. 31
    Tony! The Queer Shoop

    Gregory:
    Somehow saying “you rock” just doesn’t do you justice.

  32. 32
    Glen Davidson

    They have a point, with Meyer’s crap book residing at Amazon’s #10 for a while this week, and stupid signs like that, one could despair.

    Or not.

    Glen Davidson

  33. 33
    otranreg

    No hope for any sense of taste being put into such billboards. I despair of it.

  34. 34
    Mobius

    Well, I sometimes do despair for humanity…because of all the religion and what it does to people’s minds.

    It really is rather ridiculous what these theists think atheists feel. If atheists were so full of despair as these obviously assume, how is it that there is even one atheist? The whole hypothesis is really nuts. It doesn’t stand up for a second if one bothers to think critically about it.

  35. 35
    Robert B.

    Not when my brain is working right. My optimism for the future and potential of humanity is so great that I’m repeatedly surprised to discover that actual people in the present are sometimes complete assholes.

  36. 36
    Reginald Selkirk

    It’s got actual quotation marks. So it must be a real quote. Even though it does not reference the speaker, nor the context.
    “Maybe there’s some fine print if you see it up close.”

  37. 37
    Scr... Archivist

    These days, a quoted phrase or sentence that has no attribution suggests an Internet search. The exact phrase on the billboard yields no results from Yahoo or Bing, but there is just one result from Google.

    This very post at Pharyngula.

    Take that, billboard Christians.

    —————

    And Carlie @19,

    Kindly take that earworm back, please. I no longer require its services. Thank you.

    Meanwhile, in the spirit of Woody Guthrie, I have to ask what it says on the other side of the billboard.

  38. 38
    Blueaussi

    I am full of home grown and sun warmed tomatoes! There were two ready for picking on the Vorlon tomato plant this morning. And how cool is it to pick a tomato from a plant that sits at the intersection of my science fiction nerdery and my garden geekery? There was a squirrel tree frog singing love songs from inside a PVC pipe I use as a tomato stake, and a tiger swallowtail looping erratically overhead. The dogs were ripping around, and…

    .
    Oh, oops! I’m not doing that despair thing right, am I? Must work on that.

  39. 39
    MrFancyPants

    Amusingly, that billboard gives me hope. If the theists are so frightened by the advance of atheism throughout the country that they feel they have to spend money on billboards, then we’re definitely doing something right!

  40. 40
    thesandiseattle

    okay even I don’t agree with that

  41. 41
    Pierce R. Butler

    We were driving along I94, and took the exit to St Joseph, Minnesota…and

    The local believers knew our esteemed host would enter by that route*, and prayed — successfully — that he would spread their message for them.

    *Snowden & Greenwald may soon reveal more details; or not.

  42. 42
    Glen Davidson

    That reminds me of a headline at UD: But what happens when you try praying to science?

    Of course the answer is that as much happens praying to science as with prayer to God.

    But we know that.

    So does that lead to hope among the godly? Maybe if they’re really stupid, or just irrationally optimistic.

    Glen Davidson

  43. 43
    M. A. Melby

    My husband literally locked me outside with a few evangelists. (It was a joke.) We generally bring them some water and her unleashes me on them.

    At any rate, I shared a brief version of my de-conversion, and how it was a great weight off my shoulders and how I didn’t feel a “hole in my heart” at all.

    The younger guy looked at the older one confused with a “what should I do now” look on his face.

  44. 44
    Dalillama, Schmott Guy

    Yes, actually, but that’s mostly because I live in a country that persists in electing Republicans.

  45. 45
    timgueguen

    I wonder how many people give in to despair every day because they can see no way of pleasing the god they believe in.

  46. 46
    kenbakermn

    The interesting thing is the truth or falsity of that statement has no bearing at all on the truth or falsity of the god hypothesis. Even if we atheists were all wallowing in hopeless despair, which we aren’t, there is still no logical step from there to “god exists”.

  47. 47
    Lausten North

    Truth is much more comforting than any god. Truth does not change based on my feelings. If I am angry at it or if I abandon truth, it waits there, unchanging.

    Why do you think they want you to worship once a week? If you don’t, you’ll notice things don’t get any worse or any better. They’ll tell you god is angry or upset. If you stay away long enough, they will change god or make a new god in an attempt to get you back.

    After a while god vanishes and only truth remains.

  48. 48
    Nerd of Redhead, Dances OM Trolls

    We were driving along I94, and took the exit to St Joseph, Minnesota

    As an aside, I-94 runs north-south through Lake County IL. The signs for the highway say east-west. If I want to go to Chicago which is directly south of me, I go east; Milwaukee, which is directly north, is west.
    [/aside].

  49. 49
    Sili

    It really is rather ridiculous what these theists think atheists feel. If atheists were so full of despair as these obviously assume, how is it that there is even one atheist? The whole hypothesis is really nuts. It doesn’t stand up for a second if one bothers to think critically about it.

    Well, they also don’t believe that atheists actually exist. We *know* that God exists; we’re just angry at him.

  50. 50
    fernando

    I like that sign.
    It only show the despair of religious people, because they saw their legends, taboos and lies being desconstructed by humanitarian feelings, science and rational thinking.

  51. 51
    Rey Fox

    Do they even know the purpose of a quotation mark?

    Emphasis. Like the word “literally”.

  52. 52
    Uncle Ebeneezer

    There’s probably a whole lot more despair in life for people who think Hell actually exists.

  53. 53
    throwaway, never proofreads, every post a gamble

    “If atheism causes me despair, atheism a trick by the devil, and the devil created by god, then god is responsible for my despair.”

  54. 54
    Inaji

    How about you, fellow atheists? Are you full of despair?

    No. I have been experiencing a snarly week, though. I suppose I could work up some sort of wailing and gnashing of the fangs, but it seems a lot of work.

  55. 55
    David Marjanović

    OK, so it’s a quote. [citation needed]

    They’ve taken to campaigning against atheism directly. That’s a very good sign.

    I see what you did there.

    All seconded.

    These days, a quoted phrase or sentence that has no attribution suggests an Internet search. The exact phrase on the billboard yields no results from Yahoo or Bing, but there is just one result from Google.

    This very post at Pharyngula.

    Take that, billboard Christians.

    Oh, snap.

  56. 56
    Nerd of Redhead, Dances OM Trolls

    Too busy for despair, keeping casa la pelirroja running, the redhead fed, commoded, and rested, much less myself.

  57. 57
    Inaji

    Blueaussi:

    There were two ready for picking on the Vorlon tomato plant this morning.

    Vorlon tomatoes? Ohhhh, must have.

  58. 58
  59. 59
    baristopheles

    The only despair I feel is that my gin tonic is gone. Check that. My resupply mission has been successful. Despair averted.

  60. 60
    unclefrogy

    the despair they project on atheists is their own fear and despair that they are failures and will be condemned to hell because they can never really please the demon.

    I also think it is a big step to be so publicly condemned and named.

    uncle frogy

  61. 61
    jeanettegarcia

    It’s sad so many people need the crutch of religion to instill meaning into their lives. How enjoyable is life if spent worrying about the here after and which direction you are headed for? Despair for me would be being tied to airy/fairy or heavy judgmental belief systems that had no basis in reality.

  62. 62
    Moggie

    On my train home tonight, one of my fellow passengers had a puppy, a Malamute/Husky cross, alert and friendly. It’s hard to feel despair in such circumstances.

    This sign isn’t aimed at atheists. It’s aimed at wavering Christians. The message is: “don’t join them, because then you’ll be miserable forever. Bury your doubts and stick with us. We’ve had good times, haven’t we?”

    Many of these people will never have had an openly atheist friend, and can easily be lied to about the implications of atheism. The message they need to hear is not that we’re right, but that we’re ok. When they feel that emptiness in church, they need to know that taking the logical next step won’t lead to misery.

  63. 63
    Blueaussi

    Caine, Fleur du mal:

    http://www.rareseeds.com/vorlon-tomato/?F_Keyword=vorlon

    Nice resistance to foliage diseases, too.

  64. 64
    Rey Fox

    We should really be an easy bunch to identify on sight if this sign is true what with all our sobbing and rending of garments and scuttling around in the shadows.

    That would be a good photo op: Get a bunch of friends together and pose in front of the billboard wearing FSM shirts* and the like and wailing and carrying on histrionically.

    * Or did Glorious Leader PZ just declare them forbidden? I’m so confused

  65. 65
    ImaginesABeach

    You are in the middle of the 6th Congressional District. Bachmann territory. What the heck would you expect?

  66. 66
    ImaginesABeach

    I meant to say, of course, that when you exit there, you are in Bachmann territory. Morris, as far as I know, is not.

  67. 67
    jonjermey

    Jack Benny had a catchphrase for when one of his jokes fell flat: “They loved me in St. Joe!” It looks like Jesus could say the same.

  68. 68
    Gregory Greenwood

    Tony! The Virtual Queer Shoop @ 31;

    Somehow saying “you rock” just doesn’t do you justice.

    *Blushes*

    Well, one tries…

    You are too kind, good sir. ;-)

  69. 69
    twas brillig (stevem)

    re Nerd @48:

    ooh, you b@$t#rd, you awakened the geek in me {as if you didn’t know I was one}. All even numbered Interstates go east-west (by definition). And that is determined by the end-points of the highway, not the local geographical orientation of the road itself. Here in Mass. there is a section of I-495 that is conjoined with I-95 where the road is labelled both I-95N and I-495S simultaneously. Ever wanted to go both North and South at the same time in a single direction? (the road’s orientation is actually east-west at that point)[/geek]

    {Back to the topic at hand…}
    It doesn’t matter whether God exists or not; only that you believe He exists. That belief is hope, and without hope you only got despair. ‘Despair’ is ‘a-hope’ (i.e. ‘without hope’). That billboard is “checkmate” to all those “atheists” drivin’ along the highway there. They got us in the back of the head. Theism requires an “empty head”, atheists’ skull are just too full of all that “science” stuff.

  70. 70
    Kelseigh

    I’m full of grilled Thai salmon, that’s sort of the opposite of despair.

  71. 71
    dave001

    @65 That surely would explain it. My view from down here in the 3rd isn’t much better. Local pastor thinks himself a wit (he’s half right) and plasters his marquee on a regular basis with inane observations and xian half-witticisms. I wonder if he ever realized just how ridiculous his “God doesn’t believe in atheists” post a few months ago truly was. (Don’t think it’s even original!)

  72. 72
    J Bowen

    I always despaired in church. Also, earlier today when fuel/oil sprayed in my face

  73. 73
    gobi's sockpuppet's meatpuppet

    Once you could see a whole bunch of signs like this while driving through the Lockyer Valley in Queensland. They are on private property, but now the trees growing on council land have obscured them.

    From little seeds, big trees grow.

  74. 74
    Scr... Archivist

    The word “despair” (in quotes or not) always reminds me of this scene from The Princess Bride: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=mBaDcOBoHFk

    But I daresay that religion has more of a record of painfully sucking years of life from people than does atheism.

    ——————

    Blueaussi @38,

    One of the nice things about Vorlon tomatoes is that they have always been here.

  75. 75
    sherylyoung

    The religous truly want to destroy humanity to prove prophecy. That causes me to despair.

  76. 76
    fullyladenswallow

    Down the street from my home in our tiny, little town, there’s a small church that has a fluorescent back-lit
    marquee a-top a 25 foot pole near the roadway. Almost every week there’s a new clever quote to read as you pass. Last weeks was, “atheists pray there is no god”.

    I commute approximately 80 miles to work along Hwy 30 and there must be at least a half dozen signs as this along the way. Sometimes I think that if I had the cash, I’d love to purchase a few square feet of the neighboring property to one of these and put up mine own fluorescent back-lit marquee and answer some of the ridiculous statements that are posted. Perhaps when I retire.

  77. 77
    Alexandra (née Audley)

    Despair? Hm. I just hung out with Sally Strange and Esteleth, had a good beer (Smuttynose’s saison)*, and one of the best burgers of my life.

    Whatever the opposite of despair is, I haz it.

    *Only one. Gotta be a responsible adult or some shit.

  78. 78
    Loqi

    Man, they sure showed us.

  79. 79
    YOB - Ye Olde Blacksmith

    Despair? Hm. I just hung out with Sally Strange and Esteleth, had a good beer (Smuttynose’s saison)*, and one of the best burgers of my life.

    Despair? Not until I read that comment.

    Wait, no, not despair. Jealousy! That’s it. :-)

  80. 80
    danielbjorkman

    Oh, yes. Plenty of despair here. Swimming in the stuff.

    But I think that has more to do with my general situation than with my rational outlook, for what it’s worth.

  81. 81
    gardengnome

    I think that sign really demonstrates their lack of understanding of just what atheism is all about.

  82. 82
    ChristineRose

    Yeah, I know how they feel. Every day I get out of bed and think “If only I could parse out the highly disputed and inconsistent whims of a vicious deity who never shows any signs of loving anyone, He might free me from an eternity of suffering.”

    Then I think about dissolving into dust while future generations build on my life’s work, and I feel better.

  83. 83
    John Morales

    What they imagine atheists are like: … just give me a sign.

  84. 84
    FossilFishy (NOBODY, and proud of it!)

    Last night I stood outside in the cold and looked at the stars. Usually the milky way fills me with awe. Having grown up in the Northern Hemisphere the beauty of that river of uncountable suns still occasionally catches me off guard. But the moon has been so bright of late that all but the brightest stars were washed out.

    I suffer from depression. It comes and goes and right now its chewing on my hope a little more vigorously than usual. The vast, empty, and desolate appearing sky that I turned my cold face to suited my mood perfectly. I stared at it until the shivering go bad enough to require retreating back inside.

    I snuck into my 5 year old daughter’s room and climbed on the footstool to peer into her loft bed. I tucked ‘Snuggle’ around her small shoulders, the tattered yellow and orange doona that once warmed my wife in her infant bed. I thought about tomorrow’s leaving for work ritual that must not be forgotten on pain of angry tears. The one where my daughter kisses her fist, thumps it to her chest and thrusts it at me, “Here Daddy. Take your cuddle and kiss packet.”

    The moon is washing out the fainter stars, but they’re still there.

    My despair is washing out the fainter hopes, but they’re still there.

    Fuck anyone who would deny the existence of those moments that shine through my despair. Those sparks are precious reminders of a reality that is far bigger, and far more beautiful, than the hateful dogma that prompted that billboard.

    So am I despairing? Yes.

    But my despair is not absolute, it is not immutable. The years and years of effort it’s taken me to be able to hang on to that fact at the nadir of my emotions is one of hardest things I’ve done. And let’s be clear here:I’ve done it, no fucking god required.

    So fuck you anonymous Christian, you are as wrong about this as you are about everything else that your big book of idiocy inspires you to think.

    But despite that I still have hope, and it’s one born from my hard won

  85. 85
    chrisho-stuart

    Stephanie nails it in comment #1. That someone felt they had to put up this sign is a very good indication of positive progress.

  86. 86
    FossilFishy (NOBODY, and proud of it!)

    Shit, my kingdom for an edit button. Fuck it.

  87. 87
    Azuma Hazuki

    This is the best thread ever, especially due to Gregory Greenwood’s post at #29.

    Greg, you said in words what my heart’s been screaming in raw emotion for years. I wish we could brand this permanently onto the brains of all these Abrahamic believers. I may be a deist as opposed to an atheist, but when it comes to opposition to Abrahamic religious poison I will hit as hard as Hitchens after a giant scotch and coke. You have just given me the weapon. It is beautiful.

    And to everyone who’s commented to the effect of “it’s projection,” yes, you’re absolutely right. If only we could make them see this.

  88. 88
    EDB

    Knowing how often I’ve seen atheist billboard vandalized, I’d be so happy to see this one redacted to read, “With atheism, there is no hope, only despair.”

    I mean, I know it’s a bit hypocritical to wish vandalism on them, but it would be satisfying.

  89. 89
    Ichthyic

    Knowing how often I’ve seen atheist billboard vandalized, I’d be so happy to see this one redacted to read, “With atheism, there is no hope, only despair.”

    actually, I’d even leave off the hope.

    With atheism, there is.

    there just… is.

    …all that is, all that’s gonna be, all that is needed.

  90. 90
    Ichthyic

    okay even I don’t agree with that

    so, sandi… you then recognize you ARE an extremist? Otherwise, why add “even”…

    interesting.

  91. 91
    Cat's Staff

    Have you noticed all the steeples on the
    St. Joe water tower
    ? It’s similar to the silhouette they feature on the city website.

  92. 92
    Dhorvath, OM

    Nay, despair is an emotion that fits me ill. And I suspect I am thoroughly atheir by their view.

  93. 93
    Charly

    I am. But not due to me not believing in God.

  94. 94
    DLC

    Yes. I’m full of despair. and I hate Jesus. and I’m angry at God, and I roast babies and eat them. oh wait. this isn’t the thread for infantophagy admissions. So ignore that.
    Seriously though: No, I am not full of despair. I do have some bad moments, but who doesn’t.
    But on the whole I am more cheerful now than when I went about Praising Jesus all the day long.

  95. 95
    John Phillips, FCD

    Gregory Greenwood #29, simple applause seems too meagre a reward for such a post, but I offer it anyway.

    As to atheism and despair, even though it is a day where my pain meds are not working that well, I have just finished a luscious tuna salad a friend dropped off for me earlier and am now savouring a slab of dark chocolate cake with a coffee. All the while accompanied by the magical guitars of Rodrigo Y Gabriela while I read ftb. If that is despair, give me more, lots more.

  96. 96
    StevoR : Free West Papua, free Tibet, let the Chagossians return!

    @29.Gregory Greenwood :

    I think that it is easy to reverse that – with religion/god there is no hope, only despair. And why? Because Abrahamic religions like christianity posit that we are all the slaves of a sociopathic, deeply sadistic, and capriciously violent sky fairy, who has an unhealthy obsession with, and hatred of, sex and what we do with our own bodies, particularly what women do with their bodies. Who picks some of the most power-hungry, bigoted and downright evil amongst us to be its voices on Earth.

    .. (snip) … [The Christian God] is the bogeyman that we used to believe hid in our closet or under the bed, waiting to get us if we peeked out from under the sheets. But we aren’t children anymore. The closet contains only clothes. The bed has nothing but shoes, the odd lost sock, and assorted other harmless detritus of the passing years under it. The chair with a coat draped over it in the corner is just a chair with a coat draped over it, no matter how dark it is, how brightly the lightening flashes, or how loudly the thunder rumbles. Supernatural monsters only exist in movies and story books, and story time is over.

    Another one here who was highly impressed with that whole comment. Very well said indeed & quoted for truth.

    @ 84. FossilFishy(Anti-Vulcanist)

    Last night I stood outside in the cold and looked at the stars. Usually the milky way fills me with awe. Having grown up in the Northern Hemisphere the beauty of that river of uncountable suns still occasionally catches me off guard. But the moon has been so bright of late that all but the brightest stars were washed out.

    Sympathies and respect – but remember too that our major natural satellite itself is a source of wonder albeit not on the stellar scale. Indeed there’s been a lot of hype about this current Full Moon as a so-called “Supermoon” which Phil Plait has discussed here :

    http://www.slate.com/blogs/bad_astronomy/2013/06/20/supermoon_big_bright_moon_but_no_more_than_usual.html

    very well in case you haven’t already seen that. When it comes to Earth’s Moon, we can all reflect upon the aeons of craters over mare that once was liquid lava and the whole huge oblate silver grey spheroid forming from a collision between worlds that our world survived and much more. You can find wonder and joy in many things. I’m not sure if this helps but hope it does.

    @ 38. & #63. Blueaussi : Wow. Vorlon tomatoes? I hadn’t known such a thing existed and now I’llhave to see if Ican find and grow some. Cheers

  97. 97
    StevoR : Free West Papua, free Tibet, let the Chagossians return!

    @44. Dalillama, Schmott Guy :

    “Yes, actually, but that’s mostly because I live in a country that persists in electing Republicans.”

    That’s odd, I could’ve sworn that the current United States President Barack Obama was a member of the Democratic party instead!

    @ 46. kenbakermn :

    The interesting thing is the truth or falsity of that statement has no bearing at all on the truth or falsity of the god hypothesis. Even if we atheists were all wallowing in hopeless despair, which we aren’t, there is still no logical step from there to “god exists”.

    Exactly.

    @ All those who noted we experience a whole lot of other emotions – despair and joy and bliss and contentment and compassion and so many others too. Yep.

  98. 98
    John Phillips, FCD

    SteveOr, you do realise that there are other political posts other than the presidential one? Also, who controls Congress? Even with a numerical superiority but not a super majority, it is rare for Democrats to able to pass bills in the Senate due to the philibuster. And let’s not even think about what is happening on the state level with regards to the repeated enactment of Rapeublicans war on women policies.

  99. 99
    zytigon

    With the writings of the new atheists, there is no hope that religious myth is true, only despair for priests too shortsighted to see the big picture.
    Abrahamic religion is only a couple of pages in the BIG BOOK OF EVOLUTION.
    Once you recognize the Bible / Koran as primitive guesses it becomes funny fiction.
    Science is good because it’s theories can evolve and scientists can look with amusement at the prototype ideas. Folk who worship paperidols are too afraid to do the same with theological theories.
    The Bible is some of the best evidence that there is no supernatural realm because it’s claims don’t match testable reality.

    I always thought that Christianity was a nightmare scenario which i clung to out of fear of being damned, so to discover that the plot is wildly improbable is a great relief to me.

    When I was a teenager I was gripped with fears about the supernatural realm imagined in the Bible. I thought you had to hold to the winning set of ideas or you’d go to a hell. I had an uncle who was a minister and asked, ” How not to fear ?”. His response was, ” What you fear comes upon you “. At the time I gave that credence but years later I now would reply, ” What you fear can’t come upon you if it isn’t real and you are aware of the reasons to think it isn’t real. ” I don’t have those fears any more .
    My uncle was convinced he was going to a happy ever but i was caught up in the dark side of Christianity. There is no verse in the Bible which says, ” Whoever says this magic prayer, X, is guaranteed signed into heaven .” instead what you get is, ” Not all who call me lord will be saved ” Christianity is psychological warfare with dangerous undercurrents. How can anyone be happy with the idea that most of humanity is damned ? It is arrogant & selfish to think you are going to heaven for thinking lies are true and making vile threats against everyone else.
    If the supernatural realm of Abrahamic religions does not exist then that whole burden of worries disappears.
    In any case any truly loving god would either take people to a happy ever after or let them become extinct. It isn’t ethical to let people suffer after death and not possible without an immortal part.
    Premier christian radio show ” Unbelievable ? ” hosted by Justin Brierley has educational debates looking at most points of view. It is more interesting to be aware of the fuller debate.

  100. 100
    StevoR : Free West Papua, free Tibet, let the Chagossians return!

    @98. John Phillips, FCD : Yes I’m aware of that.

    But the President is also a pretty significant office too and plenty of Democrats hold other political positions and influence too.

    So there’s cause for hope as well as despair and its more than one political side getting elected and working for their differing visions of, well, pretty much everything. The picture is mixed much like human nature generally.

  101. 101
    Jackie

    I’m about to be full of the brunch that wraps up a weekend long anniversary party. Somehow, I will cope.
    Mmmmm….brunch.

  102. 102
    John Phillips, FCD

    SteveoR, the problem is , especially nowadays, where Rapeublicans have the power to do so they are taking steps that take back the gains of the last 50 or 60 years, whether you are talking voting rights, women’s health, including abortion availability, welfare reforms etc. Ally this to extreme gerrymandering and in many places it could take years to even have a chance to reverse these retrograde steps. Admittedly, in the grand scheme of things they will eventually lose, so I am not despairing, apart from the fact that it is not part of my nature, but it does mean that in the short to medium term a lot people will suffer unnecessarily.

    Also, whole being president has many advantages, especially when it comes to foreign policy and as CIC, apart from the bully pulpit on the national and state level he has far less real power than you might imagine. Especially when the other party will do absolutely anything possible to thwart him at every step. Thus a Democratic president doesn’t necessarily mean a great deal.

  103. 103
    rogerfirth

    I think that it is easy to reverse that – with religion/god there is no hope, only despair.

    Perhaps that should be “With religion/god there is hope — only hope.”

    Only hope. No realistic expectation. Just hope. Empty desperate hope. Just blind hope for a better tomorrow for those too fucking lazy to put forth the effort actually to bring about a better tomorrow.

    I admit, as an atheist I have no hope. However, I have an overriding sense of need to help make this world a better place since I have a vested interest.

  104. 104
    Pierce R. Butler

    StevoR … @ # 97: … I could’ve sworn that the current United States President Barack Obama was a member of the Democratic party …

    Lots of members of the Democratic Party are, in effect, Republicans.

    The present incumbent’s continuity of many policies & appointees (need I list them?) from his predecessor illustrates this all too handily.

  105. 105
    =8)-DX

    “Quotation marks” can be used for emphasis. Think of using bold lettering or ALL CAPS or s p a c e d l e t t e r s.

    In this case however, their emphasis is on being a dork (Jeebus flavoured).

  106. 106
    =8)-DX

    And of course, direct speech. Such as when I want to say: “With atheism you diss the pope and eat the pear”.

  107. 107
    noahhopson-walker

    I am, but only because I have beheld the terrible visage of Cthulhu. I’m also an atheist for the same reason, as no deity compares to the power of the Old Ones.

  108. 108
    Thumper: Who Presents Boxes Which Are Not Opened

    I spent the weekend romping around Britains mountains, enjoying spectacular scenery despite the awful weather, and climbing the three tallest in 24 hours in order to raise some money for charity.

    All in all I’m feeling pretty pleased with myself. I’m not sure that’s the opposite of despair, but it sure as hell ain’t despair.

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