Archive for November, 2008

The Bully Cries Foul: Religion on the Ropes

November 30, 2008

The Organization of Islamic Conference (OIC) —This week the OIC won United Nations backing for a draft resolution that would outlaw “defamation of religion” throughout the world.
(Read the whole ridiculous article here)

For thousands of years, religions have been saying that Humanity is evil. Because of our evil, we are told that a just and loving God is going to condemn us to Hell for all eternity. Only the “holy” people from their religions are going to go to “Heaven”. To get there, the advocates of religion never miss an opportunity to explain to the world what kind of slimy, cruel, and ugly creatures we are.

They call this human-bashing “ministry”.

In every mosque, church, and temple on Earth, people are educated against the evils of being human. Sex is evil. Gays are to be killed. Heretics should be burned. These are real-life, modern theologies that are preached every day in this modern world. Yet now, as education and awareness are growing (mainly thanks to the internet) these self-same anti-human bigots are at the UN begging for protection from the “defamation of religion”.

The world’s biggest bully, Religion, is now finally being confronted by a people who are starting to think for themselves. Their response? The bullies are trying to call the schoolyard teacher (the UN) to protect them.

It’s bullshit.

As long as any clergyman in any religion is willing to take to the pulpit and tell the world how scummy humans are, there needs to be protections for an equal and opposite point of view. That the OIC now wants the UN to protect them, while at the same time publicly condemning every Westerner for their evil and godless lifestyle, is as absurd as it is offensive.

I’ll go head-to-head with the claims of any religion. But I’ll be damned if I will stop criticizing the bullies because they’re finally getting a taste of their own medicine and can’t handle it. As far as I’m concerned, stories like this are a testament to the fact that we might now (finally) have these power-hungry, human-hating bigots on the run from their own accusations. Now is not the time to back off, shake hands, and be nice. Now is the time to hit harder, challenge every hateful word that comes out of their mouths, and hopefully put an end to their absurd attack on the human condition.

Written by Wm. Hopper, http://www.heathensguide.com.

www.heathensguide.com

An Unapologetic Message to Islam in the Wake of the Mumbai Attacks

November 29, 2008

After 9/11, the world was coached to understand that terrorism is not Islam. The West slowly came to understand that there were sects and branches of Islam, and that we can not hold the whole of the faith responsible for the actions of a few. President Bush visited mosques to underscore this point. The media rushed to fill the headlines with images of innocent Muslims being attacked for their faith. The violence, we learned, was not your fault.

Except that it is.

Amid all the outrage that I’ve heard in the media during the attacks in Mumbai, there is one voice that remains silent: the peaceful Muslims. If atheists were out there killing people in the name of my beliefs, I’d be the first person to jump up and call the idiots out. I would be furious to have my thoughts and beliefs profaned on the world stage, and I would not stand for it.

And yet, you are.

We hear Islamic demagogues scream for blood and Allah’s retribution nearly every day, and yet there is no Islamic voice offering the world a better vision of Islam… a vision the world can work with. Instead, all we get are the rantings of people who want all of us dead; People who swear to overthrow the governments of the world and instill an Islamic tyranny.

I’ve read the Quran. I know that there are peaceful interpretations of the commandments you find in it. But if I can’t hear your voice explaining this, then I know there are many young Muslims who can’t hear you either. A muffled scowl and a disapproving nod do nothing in the face of the fiery rhetoric and bloody vengeance that captures the headlines daily.

I agree that acts of terrorism like those in Mumbai are not the responsibility of the average Muslim who just wants to live, work, and feed his family. However, with each new atrocity committed in the name of Islam, the voice of average Muslims is becoming weaker, while that of the extremists grows strong.

The world wants to hear the average, peaceful Muslim. I want imams from London to Fresno getting on the news and openly decrying the kind of violence and cruelty being committed in the name of the faith they preach. If Islam is a religion of peace, then it must be reclaimed now, today. The world needs to see the clear light of day between the Muslims they live and work with, and the Muslims they see on TV. More importantly, the next generation of Muslims who are learning much of their beliefs from media rhetoric need to see the difference.

If the Muslim world fails to act decisively to decry these kinds of attacks, the future of the faith will rest in the hands of terrorists, not with your local imam. If that happens, Islam really will become the cruelty that so many already believe it is, and the voice of the moderates will be nothing more than a heresy to the soldiers of a new Islam.

  • Written by Wm. Hopper, http://www.heathensguide.wordpress.com.
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    Mumbai Attacks Could Be Just the Beginning…

    November 27, 2008

    While the world reacts in anger and grief to the terror attacks in Mumbai, it’s vitally important to recognize the environment this has occurred in. Failure to do so will lead to far worse, far bloodier confrontations in the coming weeks.

    The government of India is secular… with good reason. The country is populated by Hindus and Muslims who tend to kill each other in huge numbers. In 2002, for instance, the Gujarat Riots resulted in over a thousand people killed on the streets of India. This is far from being an isolated incident. Extremists on both sides are ready to leap on any opportunity to destroy their enemies entirely.

    While the Western media is playing this scene as a brazen attack on Western tourists, the Hindus of India are watching as well. It’s they who are likely to respond in the coming days, not the US military. If this happens (and I think it very likely), then there is a very real possibility of a long, sustained, and gruesome war between Muslims and Hindus in both India and Pakistan.

    A lot of how this plays out has to do with how Obama and the Indian parliament react to the situation. If this is portrayed as an “evil Islamic terrorist attack”, the Hindus will rise up… with very deadly consequences. The “war on terror” speeches that play so well on Western television will only incite more attacks, more bombs, and many more dead in the coming weeks.

    This is Obama’s first true test as Commander in Chief. He has to find a way to draw the people of India and Pakistan (Muslim and Hindu alike) into a dialogue against terror, but not against “Muslim extremism”. It’s a fine line to walk, but if he fails to do so now, tonight, then his years as president may well be eclipsed by outright religious warfare between (and within) two nuclear-armed countries.

  • By Wm. Hopper, http://heathensguide.wordpress.com/.
  • Want to understand How Nutbar Scientology really is? Ask Hubbard.

    November 26, 2008

    I thought long and hard about what I should write about Scientology. In the end, I decided the best thing I could do to show Scientology up for the fraud it is would be to let L. Ron Hubbard (the founder of Scientology) do it for me.

    Unlike Judaism, Christianity, and Islam, Scientology’s founder has left video tapes of his rants. One of the better ones was a one-on-one interview with Hubbard while in exile on his ship, circa 1968. I recommend you watch the whole thing if you want to know what kind of nutbars these folks are.

    [Legal disclaimer: My comments above are a personal opinion, and as such is not actionable as liable and/or slander.]

  • This post was written by Wm. Hopper, heathensguide.wordpress.com.
  • Atheist Bus Ads

    November 24, 2008

    Ah, ’tis the season. The atheists are out in storm this year. Check out the bus ads that are running in New York and London…

    London Atheist Bus ad
    [There’s probably no God, now stop worrying and enjoy your life.]

    And my personal favorite…

    Atheist Bus Ad

    It’s a truly worthy Christmas campaign. If you have not yet donated, here’s a link for you to do so.

    SUPPORT THE ATHEIST BUS ADS

    And be good, for goodness sake…

  • This post was written by Wm. Hopper, heathensguide.wordpress.com.
  • Gods, Aliens, and Carl Sagan

    November 23, 2008

    Is there alien life?

    From an atheist’s point of view, I have to admit that aliens might exist. Given the size of the universe, the odds exist for life to occur somewhere other than Earth. Unlike religion, Carl Sagan’s assertion of “billions and billions of stars” had some scientific merit .

    However, your average theist would tell you that God created the Earth and the Heavens, and put Man here as lord over this domain. No aliens involved.

    Fortunately for our entertainment value, this is far from being the deciding answer from the religious folk.

    If you’re looking for aliens in religion, there are many biblical references to ponder. I could go on and on with a whole list of them, but the one that usually leaves theists on the brink of physical violence when you discuss it with them is The Book of Ezekiel. It’s famous for being portrayed as a classic UFO encounter. Here’s a bit of it for reference/entertainment value…

    And as I looked, behold, a great storm wind was coming from the north, a great cloud with fire flashing forth continually and a bright light around it, and in its midst something like glowing metal in the midst of the fire. Out of the midst of it came four living creatures that had the likeness of a man.

    (Ok, four guys on a fiery cloud. Anybody who’s ever done acid can tell you this is no biggie.)

    And every one had four faces,

    (Sounds like a girlfriend I once had.)

    Each had the face of a man and the face of a lion on the right side: and they had the face of an ox on the left side; they four also had the face of an eagle.

    (Yup, definitely acid.)

    This whole book really does sound like your average UFO report. Read it for yourself sometime. You get huge, fiery wheels flying in from nowhere, weird alien guys getting out, bright lights… the whole enchilada. God himself is described as a being of molten metal… your basic T-1000 unit from the Terminator movies.

    While this is all fun, there is a point in it: Alien crap and religious crap have always been intertwined. It’s the same psychosis, different manifestation. Mormons overtly believe that God (Yahweh) is from another planet called Kolob, as are his two sons Jesus and Lucifer. Within Islam, the Quran (Sura 27:65) talks openly about creatures in the heavens (“Not one of the beings in the heavens and the earth but must come to Allah.) Scientology openly says that… oh, wait. No one cares what Scientology says.

    The point here is that religion and alien stories go way, way back. Until recently, they’ve been two sides of the same coin. The problems between the two only started when people like Carl Sagan asserted that the religious interpretations might be crap, while the scientific side might be sound. Religion, in response, denied all the UFO stuff entirely and has maintained that those who believe in UFOs are just plain nuts. From that time on, religion and science have been at odds over the nature and existence of aliens. Until recently…

    Rev. Jose Gabriel Funes, the Jesuit director of the Vatican Observatory, recently ended the fifty-year old division between science and religion. In his statement for the Vatican, Funes asserted:

    “How can we rule out that life may have developed elsewhere? Just as we consider earthly creatures as ‘a brother,’ and ‘sister,’ why should we not talk about an ‘extraterrestrial brother’? It would still be part of creation.”

    And so the brief rift between religion and UFOs was ended. You can now be Catholic and still believe in aliens.

    Like I said, there may be aliens. I’d certainly be far less surprised to find that aliens exist than I would be to find that a God exists. But let’s be real here… even if there are aliens visiting our planet, I highly doubt that they are visiting every pisspot, drunk, and loony that’s ever reported a UFO abduction. The history of UFO research is fraught with charlatans, frauds, and psychotics. There may be something to it, but it’s been impossible to say while religion and science were vying for control of the issues. But it seems like their war is ended, and it is safe to believe in both religion and UFOs again.

    For most people, this is a good thing. We can now put all the ‘devout believers’ into the pews of the churches again, leaving the rest of us to examine the universe through satellite arrays and telescopes instead of rose colored glasses.

  • This post was written by Wm. Hopper, heathensguide.wordpress.com.
  • A Heathen’s Take on Prostitution

    November 17, 2008

    Assume that some old guy gets horny and picks up a hooker. She then ejaculates, fellates, or otherwise sexually pleases him. For most young women, the prospect of drawing semen out of an old, wrinkly man (who probably smells like sweat and vodka) is revolting. Sure, some prostitutes deal with horny-but-attractive clients, but for the sake of argument let’s assume the client is repulsive.

    If an old guy has a heart attack while with her, she goes to jail, and he goes to the hospital. In jail, the hooker is charged with prostitution. Back at the hospital, the old guy is assigned a nurse who will take care of him. She will shave his genitals, clean and wipe his butt, and insert a catheter into his penis. If, in the course of this procedure, the nurse ejaculates the man for medical reasons, she is still considered a worthwhile and decent part of our society. No crime committed. In fact, she is considered saintly for attending to the needs of an old man.

    For two weeks of shaving pubic hair, administering catheters, and cleaning the feces out the man’s anus, the nurse would earn roughly what the prostitute earns in a single night. Yet both jobs deal intimately with the same man’s bodily fluids. Still, the prostitute (who is earning a hell of a lot more money) is usually dealing with only one fluid that is relatively clean. The feces, urine, puss, and mucous that the nurse deals with are, in my humble opinion, considerably worse. Yet she is paid far, far less. In a strictly fiscal sense, the nurse is getting ripped off.

    The disparity is basically one of ethics. The prostitute is considered a criminal, where the nurse is not. In a best case scenario, religious folk look on the prostitute as the unwilling victim of a cruel and unjust society that drove her to prostitution. (There are also those that see prostitutes as ‘evil doers’ who should be stoned to death, but we usually find out that the men who advocate this stance also tend to frequent them when no one is looking).

    Normally, in our “enlightened” age, the prostitute is considered ‘the victim’. Oddly enough, I couldn’t agree more.

    Let there be no doubt: Abused, screwed up girls get into prostitution. They spend a lot their life freezing on street corners so they can get picked up by sleazy men who will pay them money for permission to spew un-nice bodily fluids all over them.

    That said, there are also a lot of abused, screwed up girls who get into nursing as well. They spend their lives dealing with the same crude bodily fluids, and worse. Both careers (and many more like them) involve doing jobs are gross, disgusting, and vile.

    Prostitution is a scummy, rotten job that you’ll probably get screwed over doing. Unfortunately, it is only one of many scummy jobs out there that people are resigned to. While the right wing expound endlessly and how bad the sex trade is for the girls who work in it, they totally ignore the fact that there are many, many jobs that are equally (if not more) demeaning, crude, and disgusting.

    The truth is, life sucks. A lot of jobs that women get suck. If they’re not disgusting, they’re demeaning. If not demeaning, then they’re underpaid and under appreciated. There is nothing special about the misery many prostitutes feel with their work. There is, however, something unique about it: it is illegal. Unlike the nurse who works in a well-lit, sanitary environment, the prostitute is condemned to negotiate prices on dark curbsides with men they have never met; men who have never been screened or vetted.

    Even the most ardent, right-wing Christian has to admit that prostitution will always be with us. They’ve tried for thousands of years to rid the world of the ‘evil’ of the world’s oldest profession, and they have failed. It’s time to at least recognize that, though they may feel the job is “sinful”, their own actions in restricting and criminalizing prostitution have resulted only in making a bad job worse.

    If what they are really worried about is the care and morale of the women in this industry, they need to take a long, hard look at the effect they are having on the lives and futures of those who work the streets of every major city in the world.

  • This post was written by Wm. Hopper, heathensguide.wordpress.com.
  • The Good Atheist

    November 12, 2008

    positiveatheism.org

    The folks over at positiveatheism.org just posted one of my articles.

    The Good Atheist

    By Wm. Hopper

    Most atheists have heard some variant of the question: “If you don’t believe in God, what’s to stop you from killing or stealing?”

    As simplistic as it sounds, the question goes to the heart of the modern atheist’s dilemma. If you live your life without the constant influence of preternatural beings, what is there to stop you from doing ‘evil’ things? How can anyone be trusted when their lives are not tempered by the hand of the Almighty, and a healthy fear of eternal damnation?

    A common response to this question is to point out that religions often fail to stay the hands of their own devout followers. The history books are full of examples of pious men and women who have done horrible things, either for or despite their religious convictions. However, religious folk respond to this defense by explaining that the billions of humans who have not done harm are the true testament of the virtue of a religious life. The ‘evil’ people are the anomaly. We are told that without religion, the travesties of history would have been far, far worse. As this is a subjective claim, there really is no way to argue it. Nor should one try to do so.

    The problem with this kind of debate is that it fails to address the question that is actually being posed: How can you be atheist and ‘good’ at the same time? The real answer can not be found by attacking the religious traditions The answer to how atheists can be both unbelievers and decent people is found in the common definition of ‘good’, and our society’s response to it.

    Click here to read the rest.



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