An Update, Several Months Later

Hello once again everyone! I know it has been a long time, but I missed writing here. I was lucky enough that some of my readers came over to Patheos and continued to comment on my posts and engaged with me as I explored and create digital content. That being said, I am happy to return to FtB, and to continue to create posts which showcase my thoughts on a wide variety of topics related to both irreligion and life as a Latin-American.

My objective with this blog is to continue to use it after I graduate from college (in less than a year). On here, until May of next year I want to make at least 1 blog post every 2 weeks, and as usual my main blogging will be done on Patheos. In the future I want to blog equally on both platforms, but for now I don’t want this blog to just be a link on the site where nothing new ever appears. I HATE that thought. I don’t think it’d be right for me to have appeared on this site just to leave later on, in less than a year.

With that being said, I guess I should reintroduce myself for anyone and everyone who is new (or for the people who read this as their first post of mine): I am Luciano Gonzalez. I am set to graduate with a major in history and a minor in anthropology. I run a few different spaces on the internet, most notably I run The Hispanic Atheist, and Sin God. I attend the University of North Carolina at Greensboro and I am graduating in May of next year. I would LOVE to work remotely, which is what I do now as a freelance writer and blogger. I place an immense value in freedom, which is why I like the idea of working remotely and I know it’s tough but I’m hoping that I’ll get a real chance to try it and see if I can actually do it successfully. I am studying history and anthropology because they are my passions and many of the drafts that I have right now on both FtB and Patheos are tied to history and/or anthropology.

My intentions with my blogs are to serve as a bridge between Latin-American skeptics and non-Spanish speaking skeptics. I was raised equally between Central-America (and northern South-America) and the United States, and when I lived in Latin-America I was a casual Catholic. I’d become an atheist during the end of my freshman year of college and unlike many skeptics I knew at the time I didn’t experience anything like regret over losing my religion. One of the things that frustrated me was that I didn’t know any Latin-Americans who were vocally irreligious. I knew a few who would tell me about their irreligious views overtime, but none of them were or are vocal even now. I want to become a leader among Latin-Americans both as a irreligious voice, and as a someone who works to change the way people in the United States view Latin-Americans. This election has been of particular interest of mine, and despite a personal rule I have to avoid talking about politics (which I break from time to time) I am working on more than a few posts about what this election means to me as a Latin-American (I know identity politics are a touchy issue, but I don’t think it can be avoided in the wake of the rhetoric used during this election).

I have deeply missed this community and I hope to become a serious, albeit a tad bit infrequent contributor to this network. I originally thought that I could maintain both blogs equally but I now realize that that’s FAR harder than I thought it would be and I have no qualms about admitting this. I love the community on both networks and I intend to contribute seriously to both. I think it’s better for me to focus on attempting quality over quantity, and I hope my future posts on here reflect this new approach of mine. Ultimately I believe that this blog can produce serious contributions to a global conversation taking place in multiple languages about skepticism and about the impact skepticism can have.

That being said, I hope we can converse in the comments section. I would love to know what’s going on in your lives. I missed you guys a lot and I am happy to be here once again. Have a great day everyone! If you want to regularly converse with me, check out my Twitter and we can chat about whatever you want to talk about!

Bad Argument Against Evolution: Teaching Evolution Is “Bad”

This is a message to those of my friends and readers who are Christians who enjoy arguing about evolution. If you are going to attack evolution, actually attack evolution. 

I guess I should put this into the proper context. I debate lots of Christians. I don’t always debate about evolution, sometimes it is other stuff which I end up arguing about. When evolution does come up though, it is rarely actually about evolution. I’ve noticed that some Christians are fond of encouraging people to not teach evolution. Not because it isn’t true, but because it is responsible for “Nazis” “Communism” and other generic bad things according to them. These people assert this as if it were a fact, and are typically impossible to move from this position. I’m about to drop a “truth-bomb” on these people. Even if it were true that information related to evolution were a contributor to the Holocaust, or the pogroms in Russia (not to mention atrocities committed by Stalin’s regime), this would in no way be an effective argument against evolution itself being reflective of reality.

This is a stupid argument that people use to try and make people feel bad about teaching evolution. It’s ineffective. As long as the evidence suggest evolution occurred, evolution should be taught. Not in philosophy, but in science classes (and natural history classes as well). The consequences of fusing natural processes (well, in actuality our understanding of natural processes, not the processes themselves) and social philosophies isn’t always good, but that doesn’t undo the evidence which supports the understanding that evolution happened and is happening even now. It doesn’t make the evidence less compelling in a purely scientific context. No amount of atrocities, undoes this evidence. Deniers of evolution wish it did, and oftentimes know better than to try and aim at the science (and some of them UNDERSTAND that the evidence as it stands right now is fairly solid) so they aim at how people feel about it. Which is bullshit.

In order to make evolution look bad, people want to use the works of men and women who fused scientific understanding with social “principles” resulting in things like social darwinism and other things that are viewed as bad. This is a clever tactic, admittedly, but it does nothing to actually disprove evolution. It might win a debate, by getting an audience to look at the other side as “bad” or lacking in a moral compass, but it does literally NOTHING to actually disprove evolution as being the process by which life diversifies on Earth.

If you want to ask evolution how it feels about things like genocide, in order to be fair you’d also have to ask erosion and gravity how they feel about genocide. Those are also natural processes. The reason people don’t do this is because those processes are deemed less controversial, and they don’t view those theories as necessarily opposite to their beliefs in God or in some other deity. People understand that as long as evolution appears to be true, there is less reason to believe in a literal Bible (or some other holy-text, but the evolution deniers/skeptics I’ve met are Christian, but I know that isn’t universal). Evolution has no opinion on morality. Evolution is a process. Evolution didn’t ask to be partially incorporated into ideas like Social Darwinism.

My personal sense of morality, of compassion, of philosophy are not influenced by evolution. I’m sure there are people who are different than I am about that. I have no doubt that some people out there have a sense of morality which is affected by their understandings of the processes which impact life which are natural. But those people and I myself are not evidence for or against evolution, nor are our decisions. Sorry evolution deniers/skeptics, you need to do better than this if you want to truly impact evolution and whether or not it should be taught

Here’s a tip: if you want to get evolution to not be taught anymore, focus on disproving it. Not trying to connect it to failed/”bad” social and political attitudes. Focus on finding evidence which disproves evolution, not making it somehow sound “bad” to people who hear how you conflate it with certain attitudes or ideas.
Have you seen this argument? How does it make you feel, if you have?

Facebook Live

I am doing a Facebook live later today. If you want to check it out, come and check out my page, The Hispanic Atheist. It is at 8 PM eastern time, and I will be covering a wide variety of topics.

I’ll be discussing the importance of debating, common arguments from both sides of the theological debate (specifically centered around whether or not “God” exists), and probably some plans for the future. I am extremely excited to be doing this because it is one of the first opportunities I’ll be getting to interact with the people who have chosen to support my work live. In the future I’ll probably be doing this relatively frequently, and using it to get ideas as to what to cover on my blogs and future live-streams.

If you want to come and participate, I highly encourage it. If not, but you are interested in future live-streams, don’t worry I’ll undoubtedly be doing way more. I have been looking forward to this all week. If you have suggestions for arguments to cover, let me know!

Let’s chat. I hope to see you in a few hours.

Vridar Response

I enjoy being a morning bird. My writing isn’t extremely well-known, but I get the occasional response and sometimes I manage to be awake as they are published. Today is one such day. My post about what I as an atheist, “wanted” was seen by Neil Godfrey of Vridar, and got a response from him. I really liked his response but there are certain things that I think deserve a response. The ending is directly addressed towards Neil, but as usual I welcome any comments and or thoughts on the post and hopefully on a greater discussion about skepticism and atheism. I want to respond to individual bits and pieces before responding to the overall post (the last few paragraphs are where I respond to the overall post). So with that little bit of context, let’s get started!

Responding to individual quotes:

As an atheist who takes his atheism, like his right-handedness, for granted, I rarely get involved in discussions about my beliefs.” I don’t take my atheism for granted. I was an atheist who was quiet about my atheism for several months, nearly a year before I told my mom who in turn told my dad. They were surprisingly okay with it, but no one else in my family has been explicitly told that I don’t believe in God. Among Latin Americans belief in God is part of our very identity as Latinxs (this is also the case, though in my experience to a much lesser degree, to families in the United States). We are just “supposed” to believe. I know you want to be free to not believe in peace, but many of us aren’t. I think that’s part why I wrote my piece in the first place.


Most of my friends and peers, especially those that are the same age as me know about my atheism and my anti-theism, but I still haven’t told the family of my girlfriend about my atheism, despite the fact that I’ve known them longer than I’ve been an atheist. I don’t know a single Latinx person who is an atheist or skeptic of any label who takes their atheism for granted. My atheism is the result of years of doubt, but wanting to believe, which ultimately came apart. I don’t want to be a part of a world where someone has to have an identity based off of something they don’t believe in. It’s almost laughably ridiculous, but I think that there is importance in saying it outloud, you know? For me, the importance of being a vocal atheist comes from living in both Central America, and in the Bible Belt. I want people to know of my atheism, because I tend to treat people decently. And many of the people I know, don’t know a whole lot of other atheists. I think if we give them more or less positive examples of atheism, tolerant examples (which sounds weird given that I am also an anti-theist, but I am very careful about my anti-theism) of atheism, we help ensure that they are less inclined to be rude and exclusionary to atheists in the future.


I also frequently get involved in discussions about beliefs in general. Not mine, because since I don’t believe in anything supernatural I don’t really “have beliefs” in the way most believers mean when they ask me if I have beliefs or what I believe in. Misconceptions about atheism abound, both in Latin America, and in the USA (the two regions I have experience in) and doing my part to dispel those misconceptions is something I take seriously so I actively engage believers in discussion.


“I used to be something of an anti-theist.” The very reason I mention that I am an antitheist, like my previous paragraphs about atheism, has to do with that awkward intersection of being Latino and an atheist. I mention my antitheism, when I chat with believers, because I don’t want them to assume that “atheist=antitheist”. I want them to understand the two as separate identities/behaviors/positions. I think that people who automatically assume “atheist=antitheist” are common, and I don’t want to reinforce that stereotype.


I don’t view believers as stupid, or people in need of rescuing which is why I stated towards the end of my original post that I would be happy if believers in general shifted towards more personal versions of their religions. I think that’s a more realistic vision than dismantling religion in general, and if that began to happen I would happily stop being someone who considers themselves an antitheist. I don’t view believers or even religion itself as an enemy to be defeated, I am just concerned with the actions of politically inclined or politically “conscious” believers who attempt to legislate their morality, and in Latin America that is WAY more common than in the United States. I don’t pity believers or even view them as “wrong” most of the time, I just want to make sure their personal beliefs affect only themselves. I fear that when religion plays a role in an oppressive cycle or practice, it can be EXTREMELY difficult to overcome that cycle or practice. My main motivation for being an antitheist is my understanding of the difficulties of overcoming oppressive systems when they fuse with religion, given my experiences in Central America. Overcoming these systems on individual levels in my (unprofessional) experience typically involves separating them from religion and religious backing.


I guess my personal antitheism is more about preventing the fusion of religious beliefs with cultural practices where the two haven’t already been fused, and ensuring that people don’t attempt to legislate their morality and not as much about attacking religion as true or untrue, although that plays a role in my antitheism as well.


“I don’t want any of these things “as an atheist” but as a human being. They are not atheistic desires or values but human ones. There are many people who want the same sorts of things even though they are not all atheists. I also want to do whatever I can to promote social and political justice. I certainly want to do what I can to promote secularism, humanism, rationalism. I don’t want these things “as an atheist”. I want them as a fellow human being. I am very aware many others who are not necessarily atheists want the same things. In fact, some of the most enthusiastic advocates for fighting the evils of harmful religion are the religious themselves. Often they have a far better idea of how to do this than complete outsiders.”


I do want these things as an atheist. My desires relative to religion have come about due to my own personal atheism, and my experiences as an atheist. When I was a theist I never had a desire to worry about nonbelievers. I viewed religion as black and white. I wanted people to be treated with decency and respect, but I didn’t think about specific things caused by religions towards nonbelievers or even religious attitudes towards believers/members in/of other faiths. Being an atheist who regularly reads, follows, and pays attention to the religious has made me see that negative attitudes towards others isn’t just a position the religious hold towards nonbelievers, but believers in other religions as well. It’s not that I want these things because they are natural for atheists to want, but because I now have experiences as an atheist who is willing to listen too and chat with believers. I don’t think these are exclusively things desirable to atheists, they are just consequences of my own lack of beliefs and the experiences I have had due to my lack of beliefs.


“I no longer divided the world between “them” and “us” after I left religion. It was no longer a place where saints struggled in a world of wickedness. We are all humans; we are all the same species; we are all “one” and we are all in this thing together. Not all of us understand what is going on but that means that those who do understand have a weightier responsibility to help out.

To identify as atheists against religious believers means perpetuating the dividing up of the world into black and white, the sinners and the saints, which is the way to inability to truly understand one another, to antagonism, hostility, arrogance, bullying, an all-round withdrawal of compassion.

As a human being I also want to see the end of harmful beliefs and practices, and neither of those is confined to religion. (Today I learned of a horrific bombing in Baghdad once again, just as I heard last week of mass carnage in Istanbul — and it outrages me that “we” don’t pause and feel the same shock and anger as we did when we heard of Orlando and Paris.) I don’t know if a world without religion would be any better off than an environment free from every creature we consider pests. But of course I want people to be more sceptical and to ask for evidence for their beliefs, but at the same time I am not going to push that line with my octogenarian mother.”

As an atheist, if I am vocal with most (not all) of the believers I’ve met THEY would divide the world up between us and them (and most of the believers I’ve met, even divide the world into believers in specific things). I don’t do that on a personal level, even if sounds like I do based off of this post. I have no hostility towards the religious, in a sense I even admire their desires for their beliefs to be true and their willingness to talk to others to get them to believe as well. But I get frustrated when they refuse to listen to even the mildest criticisms of their beliefs or that their beliefs should solely influence them. I understand, on some level, why they don’t listen, but it is still frustrating. And at times it can be dangerous.


I also never said or thought that harmful beliefs and practices were confined to religion, which is why I explicitly stated “As an anti-theist, I want to dismantle systems of oppression which use religion as their justification.” I never said that bad ideas, and beliefs came from religion or were exclusive to religion. I was talking only about beliefs and systems that were 1: oppressive, and 2: linked to religion/used religion as their justification. This certainly isn’t something all systems or even all systems inspired by religion. It’s just some systems, which make up a percentage of systems inspired by/fused with religion. There are very good systems which are fused with religion, like some homeless shelters and some soup-kitchens, a few charities (not all though), and some scholarships which I 100% support, even if those involved are expected to listen to preachers and to participate in church services or at least agree with the pastors on some theological levels. I would like to see more secular groups getting involved in their communities so that more people can be helped and so that people who aren’t religious, or aren’t believers don’t have to feel uncomfortable, but I am grateful that so many good practices and services come from believers. My attitudes are specific towards individuals, groups, and individual practices.


In conclusion/general thoughts on Neil’s post:


I agree with a lot of what Neil said. I know it might not seem like it, because I reacted pretty thoroughly chunks to what was said, but I really do agree with a lot of what was said in his post. We have some differences, but I think if I had explained myself more in my original post a lot of those differences would have disappeared or would have been understood differently enough that the content of Neil’s post would have changed and perhaps my own would have looked more agreeable. One thing I feel the need to point out is that I don’t agree with Atheism +. I get why someone is inclined to think that I would, given my own personal language and where this blog is located, on FtB, but I am not a supporter of Atheism +. I made a video where I explained what atheism was (at least to me), and that continues to be my position on my own atheism. Not Atheism +, but just plain old atheism. If you wanna check that out, it’s pretty short (just a minute and a half long), but be warned it has some music which can be pretty loud at max volume.


Neil, I really liked what you wrote, and I enjoy your style of writing. I am happy that my post for whatever reason made you want to respond so much that you decided to write a response on your site. I think we agree on a lot, but for different reasons and those reasons (to me anyway) matter enough that they seem to change our perspectives. My atheism will always be a Latinx atheism (because it came about largely due to my experiences in Latin America, especially in the beginning), which shouldn’t have to be the case but because of my own experiences with Latin America, and with my fellow Latinxs  will always be the context through which I view my skepticism both of religion and just in general.


I think your post was excellently written and contained points which I definitely agree with. I also read your other post, about atheism without the extras and I agree with it. I think atheism is not really an “identity” of sorts. And that attempts to make it one strike me as kind of silly.
I think after reading your post I realized flaws in my own way of writing, which I need to be careful of in the future. I think I can see why you wrote some of the things you wrote, such as the “them and us” parts and the section of the post talking about wanting things as a “human being” or. as an “atheist”. I greatly appreciated hearing what someone thought of my post in such detail, and I welcome the opportunity for us to engage in a greater conversation about atheism, “anti-theism”, and skepticism in general.

I can tell I still have a long way to go before I reach the narrative voice I want to reach and getting to read how others respond to my work helps because I can see flaws in my own writing style that I otherwise would have been blind too. If you ever want to respond to my work, anyone not just Neil, feel free to do so! I’ll definitely share it on my page, and probably even react to it so that we can engage in a greater conversation about whatever topic inspired you to write a response to me, even if you completely disagree with what I said.

I hope everyone who reads this has a great 4th of July!

What I “Want” As An Atheist.

As an atheist who is willing to be vocal on the Internet and in real-life, I get asked with moderate frequency questions about atheism. I encourage it, actually. One of the questions I get asked a decent amount, and a personal favorite of mine is “What do you want as an atheist?”. It’s a silly question, usually asked in the context of a debate about “evidence” and “claims”, but I’d like to give a relatively serious answer to it because when it is asked honestly it can have a real effect on the conversation.


In addition to being an atheist (agnostic-atheist, not gnostic-atheist) I am also an anti-theist. I see no reason to believe religion continues to be necessary (though I freely admit that it could have served a purpose in the past, and probably did) and in fact I believe that religion can be and at times is actively harmful to society. This is important to me, as someone interested in social justice and the expansion of rights throughout society, particularly the right of women to have control over their own bodies, because I have seen what happens when that right is so denied that not only is abortion outlawed, but emergency contraception is also banned in a rush to defend “the right to life” of the unborn.


What do I want?


I want to discover what the truth is. The truth about the origin of the universe. The truth about Jesus’s supposed existence (among many other mythic beings debated to be actual historical figures, such as Gilgamesh). I want to discover which, if any, religion is true. If provided evidence I will certainly consider it. Which is why I regularly debate believers about their beliefs and search for any truly compelling evidence that they might have. Clearly my search hasn’t turned up anything worth reporting.


As an anti-theist, I want to dismantle systems of oppression which use religion as their justification. Systems like the very worst parts of the “pro-life” movement which perpetuate cycles of poverty by making it harder for families to advance out of poverty. Systems like the “shunning” practice done by Jehovah’s Witnesses, in which ex-Witnesses are ignored by families and loved ones who still believe. Practices like deliberately getting pregnant and giving birth for the sake of having children who believe in your religion (Quiverfull movement) and thus partake in “missionary efforts”. I want to destroy systems which punish women for not dressing exactly as the system states that they should by having acid thrown at them. I find these systems not only absurd, but also dangerous and worth destroying. These systems do not deserve to exist, nor do they deserve respect. Not all religious people practice these practices and I recognize that. I don’t want to prohibit people from worshipping. I don’t want to destroy religion through violent means. Just like how most Christians on some level want others to become Christian, I seek to get people to leave religion behind and acknowledge that these systems are bad in some way or another. I want to show people the dangers of religion. Or at least encourage believers to move towards a genuinely more personal version of their faith, where they don’t try to impose their moral standards on others through politics, and through malicious practices like the ones I mentioned.


As an anti-theist and atheist I am interested in that intersection of social justice and truth. The point where defeating “false religions” and making society better intersect. I also happen to believe that godless societies would do better than ones where citizens fear God. “I want” society to be better. And I believe encouraging people to be skeptical and to ask for evidence is a reasonable thing to do that would improve society overall.


I’d like to know what “you want” as people who are godless (for the most part). Let me know what your objective is in discussing irreligion, assuming that you do. I hope everyone has had an awesome weekend, and that if you celebrate “America Day” (Independence Day) be sure to do so, respectfully and reasonably!

What Do Christians Have to Lose?

First of all, this is a post that is meant to be read by Christians. I rarely, and I do mean RARELY write posts that I want Christians to read, but I feel the need to do so today. I’d love your input on this post, independent of what you happen to believe, but I am writing this post for Christians to read and for them to think about. Especially if they are the sort of Christian who enjoys debating with atheists. Today’s topic: Pascal’s Wager and what Christians stand to lose if they are wrong.


Let’s start with a basic summary of Pascal’s Wager. This part of the post is specifically for people who are unaware of the “Wager”, and want a simplistic explanation as to what it is. Blaise Pascal was a philosopher (among a variety of other things) who came up with what at the time was considered a solid reason to believe in (not FOR the existence of God and this is important to note, but not super relevant to this specific blog post/article) God. The argument was basically a primitive “pro-con” list where Pascal considered the consequences of being “right” or “wrong” as a believer vs being “right” or “wrong” as a non-believer. It incorrectly stated that if a believer was wrong they lost nothing (some versions have stated that they lost very little, also incorrect) and if a non-believer was wrong they lost everything (debatable at best). This is an argument frequently employed by believers even today. It’s also… really bad. Honestly one of the worst arguments I’ve heard to believe and one even the Bible dislikes (One of the most well known verses used to counter what the Bible calls “lukewarm believers” is Revelation 3:14-16). But if you are convinced that this is a solid foundation to try and get people to believe, let’s actually talk about the consequences of Christianity in a world where Christians are wrong about the existence of God.


What if you’re wrong? Listen, I understand that this will be difficult to consider. I get it. As a former Christian, I too once considered the consequences of being wrong. I came to a different conclusion than many who will read this post will come too. I know. But if you can stomach it, let’s seriously talk about the consequences of a world where God doesn’t exist but Christians do.


The Afterlife:


Let’s pretend for a second that God isn’t god. If we assume that another deity (or deities) controls the world, the afterlife could be gigantically different. If we choose to use Norse mythology (due to it being somewhat well-known by western society), it is somewhat common knowledge that Valhalla is a location where the dead could end up (not the ONLY location in Norse beliefs). This isn’t Heaven. Or Hell. Or Purgatory. It’s a place where warriors duke it out perpetually. A battle ground where bloodthirsty individuals get to satisfy their urges for combat for an indeterminate (as far as I know) amount of time. Many older mythologies have multiple locations for the dead, not just one or two but many and where the dead go depends on a variety of factors, not always whichever deities someone happened to believe in, but based off of one’s social class, actions in life, certain rituals being performed both before and after death to help one gain social standing in the afterlife. Of course there is always an important option if it just so happens that another deity(ies) happen to rule the universe; that the deity was not at all known to mankind, or even forgotten because men and women aware of it were wiped out. In that case the afterlife could be something totally unknown. Frankly, a god could exist and the afterlife could still be a fantasy made up by people who don’t want to contemplate that the world could and will continue to exist once they are dead. And it wouldn’t just be Christians who are guilty of this if this turns out to be reality, it would be thousands of religions worshipping multiple thousands of deities.


The consequences facing Christians in this scenario are VERY real. If it is another deity who has similar conditions to that of God and Jesus, then Christians will go to that deity’s version of Hell. Or one who admires reason, skepticism, and a desire to understand the world around it and thus welcomes scientists, philosophers, historians, writers, artists, and all sorts of people regardless of religious stance. But even if that is the case, it still means that Christianity would be wrong. It would still mean that God isn’t the creator, and doesn’t deserve to be worshiped, because God might not even exist in this possibility, or have been deliberately misleading people. In this scenario, there could even be evidence pointing towards that deity as the true creator of the universe, and Christians (and atheists as well) could be deliberately ignoring that evidence in favor of Christ.  


Here and Now:


The Wager was made for Christianity. But what if Christians are wrong, and atheists and other godless people are correct in their skepticism? So Christians just die (I know some nonbelievers discuss the possibility of a godless afterlife, but I know of no reason to believe that that is worth considering, especially not here, so I’ll just use my position which is when we die, we are dead and that is the end of our time as beings who can directly and consciously impact our surroundings and have any level of awareness), what consequences are there for Christianity, and for Christians who decided to live their beliefs but are wrong? Plenty.


Christianity was used to justify taking away the rights of members of the LGTB community. It was used by many as justification for slavery in the early United States and in colonial Latin America (and early post-colonial Latin America). It was used as justification to expand into the lands of Indigenous peoples worldwide and attempt to force them to convert all the while stealing their resources. Even now it is used as justification to deny women the right to control their bodies (birth control) and some adults make very serious decisions based off of their faith which very directly affect the lives of others, especially their own children. Some Christian parents make the choice to deny their children technologically advanced and scientific healthcare which could help them get over otherwise treatable illnesses (which are normally treated and overcome by adults and children). One specific example that comes to mind is David Hickman, who was a victim of faith-healing and a mere infant. He died. He is not at all alone.


If Christianity is wrong, those who believed it unconditionally (both literally and figuratively) are wrong as well. And the consequences of that, even now are very serious. If Christianity is wrong, that means infants like David who die due to faith-healing (and it’s lack of effectiveness, not that it isn’t occasionally credited with “miraculous” recoveries) died because people trusted an ancient religion over modern science.


If Christians are wrong, that means many of them have brought up their children with an incorrect understanding of the universe. Of morality. Of history. That will have a very long lasting impact on society at large and the individual life of that child, or of those children (not to mention the impact it will have and has had on the life of the parent). That is not a position where nothing is lost.  


If you are a Christian reading this, you have a lot to lose if you are wrong. And that isn’t just in the “afterlife”. It is here and now. The consequences are very real. If you ever doubt that, remember David.   


Stop using Pascal’s Wager.


It’s a bad argument. Any form of it. It makes Christians who use it look like “lukewarm” believers who decided to be Christian solely to avoid Hell. That isn’t a stereotype Christians should be happily applying to themselves. Yet many do. This is a bad argument, and not just because it’s main premise is wrong. It makes those who invoke it look like they haven’t studied other religions and beliefs in gods that supposedly existed throughout history. I know that at least some of the people who invoke it haven’t studied other religions and other gods, but not all of the people who use this argument are like that.


I want you (“you” being Christians) to seriously consider this argument, and what it would mean if your religion were untrue (both for you, and for society at large). I want you to see that if you are wrong, you do stand to lose something (and potentially you stand to “lose” just as much as atheists stand to “lose” if we happen to be wrong). I want to see a day and an age where Christians no longer use this argument. It is bad. It’s not a compelling argument, and if it is invoked in debates/discussions/conversations it makes many atheists (myself included) face temptation to immediately stop listening to everything else you want to say. Don’t do that to us. Many of us genuinely want to see evidence which makes Christians become Christians.


This is the weakest argument I am aware which seeks to encourage people to at least act like believers, which is commonly used by Christians. If you are a Christian and you want to reach out to atheists, agnostics, skeptics, secular humanists, or whichever kind of godless individual you are conversing with, do not use this argument. Seriously.

In my personal opinion this argument demonstrates arrogance in those who use it, and can hint that they haven’t seriously studied non-Abrahamic religions. I hope to see Christians stop other Christians from using this argument as well, because it can hint that some Christians became Christians solely to avoid the potential possibility of going to Hell, and I doubt God would view that as good-enough to get out of Hell. I believe if someone is going to be a Christian, they should be seriously Christian, and as a bare minimum that should mean more than just fearing eternal punishment.


I’d love to hear what you think! If you are a Christian and you use this argument, especially if you believe it is a “true” argument, I think we should chat. If you want to learn about other afterlives, we should chat as well. I think this is an important conversation to have, and one well worth having with a variety of people. If you have any experience with this argument, from any point of view, or religious belief or lack thereof, we should chat.
If you enjoyed this post, let me know and feel free to share it. If you post a response to it, or if you post a rebuttal, feel free to leave a comment down below so I can read your post!

Story-Time Sunday: The Clash In the Courtyard

The Acalica stood still. It had stopped inside what had been a high-school just a week ago and now stood in the heart of the courtyard where students once ate lunch. In this same courtyard students had once talked about fantasy novels and video-games. A decade ago they eagerly chatted about a boy wizard, and a small Hobbit who journeyed across Middle-Earth. Now some of those very same people had survived encounters with monsters out of the darkest corners of mythology. In the exact courtyard where the Acalica stood, preparing itself for its final stand by absorbing power from the environment, a young group of non-humans worked with local witches to put an end to an imperialistic pack of werewolves in the days before myth stepped out of books and into Times Square. On November 8th 2010 the same group of non-humans in the same small corner of the courtyard openly discussed how to best deal with a wyvern one of them managed to trap in the local forest.


While it waited for the non-human who had detected it and began to silently and relentlessly hunted it down, it began to concentrate. It was angry, tired, and knew that the creature who was stalking it wouldn’t rest until one of them was dead. The Acalica wanted to end this drawn-out battle. And so it gathered energy from the sky above it. Storing it internally, while converting some of it into electrical energy.


On June 15th 2016, at about 9 in the afternoon, the strongest of the group of non-humans who had once been active in the courtyard created a “clone” of himself which was an illusion. At about 9:01 that same non-human, tutored in magic by legendary figures like the Witch of the Woods, sent his pseudo-clone out to the courtyard. The Acalica, in rage and in determination used all of his energy on internally stabilizing a single bolt of deadly lightning. When it felt ready it hurled the bolt of lightning at what it believed was its opponent. The Acalica was happy to have the bolt outside of its body, because stabilizing and containing the sheer electrical energy of a bolt of lightning is extraordinarily difficult, even for an Acalica. The bolt hit, passed through the illusion, and the illusion began to walk towards the Acalica. Which was terrifying. The Acalica (still ignorant to the fact that it had been deceived) had seen low-level gods at the very least have to take a knee if they were directly hit by Acalica lightning. The Acalica might have been pleased to know (under different circumstances, anyway) that had the real non-human been hit by the lightning, he would have been forced to stop moving for a second and absorb the lightning directly. For now, the Acalica was terrified and had begun running away under realizing that its opponent was the real deal. It didn’t get very far.


The spirit managed to get a few yards away before the real non-human lunged at it, his form an awkward fusion of “human” and “dragon”. The non-human was impossibly fast, lunging at least the length of half the courtyard in less than a nanosecond, evidently capable of moving at a speed comparable to the speed of sound. It was in fact faster than the speed of sound, which the Acalica discovered, as the sound caught up to it and in a local sonic boom destroyed the hearing of the Acalica. The dragon then rose his hand up and transformed it. It would have been beautiful to watch, if overseen by anyone who wasn’t about to die at the hands/claws of a silent dragon. The armor the dragon wore in his human form seemed to expand too quickly and shattered as the “hand” expanded and seemingly spontaneously grow a set of thick scales the color of lava. Each fingernail extended and gained a wicked looking point at the end. The transformation was quick too, happening in an instant, and an instant later the claw was brought down, slicing the throat, and face, of the Acalica. The Acalica only felt pain for an instant.
“Acalica. Down.” The dragon would say as he got up and walked away, speaking to a communicator built into his shirt collar. “I need a new gauntlet. Left hand.” He added, after a few seconds of individually moving each of his “fingers” on his left claw. “Heading home. I’ll have a full mission report for you tomorrow.” He said and then stopped speaking.


A/N: An Acalica is a Bolivian spirit. They typically appear as old men. They were thought to have powers and magic related to weather manipulation. In the universe I am creating these beings are especially hated, as they are thought to be responsible for the horrific natural disasters that occurred in rural parts of the world and claimed millions of lives, and kept emergency response crews from reaching people in need of supplies and rescue. In one specific incident in the mountains of Washington state, one is thought to be responsible for a series of landslides and forest fires which claimed hundreds of thousands of lives, and is known to be responsible for the death of an entire response team and news crew, thanks to a landslide it caused which killed all 15 people involved. The one that was just killed was not the same one responsible for that attack. It was a younger one who had immigrated to the United States due to the Bolivian government rapidly gaining the means to destroy spirits with both technology and the assistance of other local creatures. It had been informed that North Carolina had plenty of places it could appear and destroy. The creature that told it this didn’t let it know that Northern Oak, the place it had chosen was defended by 15 exceptional non-humans and was already well on its way to becoming a sanctuary for peaceful non-humans.

This is a small scale battle. It took about an hour to write. One of these days I am going to write and upload a large-scale battle, featuring multiple characters. I hope you’ll let me know what you think of that story, and of this one!

Abortion in Honduras

Why should abortion be legal? Because when it isn’t, the consequences can be dire. Honduras can confirm this.


In Honduras abortion has been totally illegal for years. Has that caused abortion to stop? The answer is predictable. No. According to a Honduran newspaper, La Prensa, as many as 80,000 abortions happen yearly. And that is because in Honduras an abortion-inducing pill can cost as little as 11 dollars or as much as 32 (in Lempiras, the cost is between 250-750). But these abortion inducing pills are dangerous, causing sterility, and occasionally even death due to misinformation about dosage sizes.


Some technical information: the pills that many Hondurans are using seem to be Cytotec pills, a medication given to people seeking to treat gastritis. These pills can only legally be obtained with a prescription but many pharmacies in Honduras do not ask for them, and according to the report on La Prensa it is even possible to obtain the pills via Facebook groups. Some clinics in the nation even request that a girl or teen get ahold of a Cytotec pill and consume it before they assist her, and they will just handle the remains of the fetus, as a method meant to minimize the legal risk they face, given Honduras’s attitudes (legally) to abortions.


It has been time to legalize abortion in Honduras for years (or at the bare minimum emergency contraception, so-called “plan B” pills which are also outlawed). This only further demonstrates that outlawing abortion is dangerous and does little to prevent abortions. If abortion is deemed unconstitutional/illegal and or criminalized further this will do nothing to prevent abortions. The report is proof that outlawing abortions only prevents SAFE abortions. Abortion, when done in safe conditions and when done properly is still a controversial procedure. But it being a controversial procedure overseen by professional doctors and men and women who have a track record of genuinely caring for their patients is infinitely better than women taking potentially dangerous and misused medicated to induce an abortion by themselves, quite possibly out of fear for their own lives (due to the possibly of being kicked out for being pregnant).


It is time that the Supreme Court of Honduras pays attention, and does the right thing. If governmental officials in Honduras care for the quality of the lives of young women nationwide they ought to move to decriminalize both abortion and emergency contraception. And then continue by working with educators, gynecologists, and activists to create a national curriculum of sex education which begins in a student’s first year, and continues until they graduate. As well as work to create ads and campaigns which increase awareness of sex education.


If Honduras actually wants to stop “back-alley” and or in-home abortions, they need to begin right now. Literally today. And one of the most important steps in this process is to decriminalize abortion. And then they need to work to create strict punishments for pharmacies and private individuals who sell drugs requiring prescriptions, without prescriptions. Or get rid of this system altogether. But this is a terrible situation demanding strict regulation.
If you want to read the report, check it out here and if you want to read a translation of it, click here.  

Would You Read?

Getting a little meta here. Let me know if you’d read a book set in this universe. Working on something like this. Been curious as to how people would react to it. Let me know!

The world was vastly different on May 4th than it had been on April 25th. In the space of about 10 days the world had been radically changed. Mankind was no longer alone. Not that they had ever been alone in the first place. The fighting started on April 25th and was mostly over May 3rd at about 11 PM. Fighting between mankind and “monsters” and between “monsters” and “monsters” was worldwide. In the United States the worst battles occurred in North Carolina, and in Washington D.C., but other terrible affected cities and states included Seattle, Salt Lake City, Vermont, and Ohio. But worldwide the damage was far worse. Vietnam was mostly uninhabited, aside from places where monsters and spirits now called home. A massive chunk of the U.K. was under water. Japan found Tokyo and Kyoto mostly wiped out. North Korea had been decimated and Seoul was still in the middle of a battle, with the ROK facing large numbers of inhumans coming from Incheon.


In some parts of the world, men and monsters forged alliances at an astonishing speed. This was most notably the case with Latin America, where politicians who were hybrids (often with inhuman mothers and humans for fathers) and the children of hybrids had already been in power. But most of the world saw entire republics be wiped out by titanic monsters, creatures like the deadly leviathan, or the massive chaos reptile “Apep”. Greece saw the Python, Honduras had to face off against the forces of Xibalba, but managed to survive thanks to the appearance of the Hero Twins like in myths of old. Ghosts appeared in Guatemala and in Australia. Canada faced the heroes of Inuit mythology. In some cases surprising declarations were made. In Japan the Yokai appeared and defended mankind. In the Middle East it was the forces of ancient gods who protected ordinary men and women. But when it was finally globally recognized that it was May 4th the worst of the fighting had settled down.
A week later, in a diner in Virginia, a “person” who looks human takes a seat.

What if Christians are wrong?

I am one of the administrators for the Secular Latino Alliance. I am also a writer on their Medium account. And I publish and comment on the Facebook page. So as expected I also read the other stories that end up on our Medium account. I wanted to share one today and get people to think about it.

The article doesn’t imply that believers are mentally ill. The title is almost clickbaity. Which makes me laugh, if I’m being honest. Also, the author of the article isn’t me, but another writer on the shared Medium account for the Secular Latino Alliance.

Also religion is not a mental illness. But it can be dangerous. It can and has been a contributing factor to repressive regimes, it can be used to demonize the mentally ill, to oppress those who don’t follow the same religion as those in authority, and can be used to even justify

What if believers are wrong? I mean obviously the majority of us on here (I’m including readers, so not just those who make articles) believe they are on some level, but I think that this is worth taking a second and actually thinking and talking about. What if all of the theistic religions in the world are incorrect?

Christians constantly want us to be afraid and to be scared that we are the ones who are wrong, but the reality is that they are about as likely to be wrong as we are. Sure we’re just a tiny bit more likely, because we don’t believe in their deity, but there are thousands of gods they don’t believe in. So what if they are wrong?

If they are wrong, would they feel remorse over the lives lost to Christian regimes? Would they apologize to the LGTBQIA community for consistently working to undermine their access to basic human rights and dignity? Would they apologize to atheists for threatening us with hell? Would they apologize for the centuries of the suppression of science, even when their own followers contributed to science historically?

I don’t think they would as a whole, despite the thousands that probably would on a personal level. But what do you think? Let me know!