I spent much too much time responding to other’s comments like for the Spanish Inquisitor’s post on things he’s getting tired of hearing. Specifically, I’ve gotten caught up in battling assertions that atheism was a religion. Now most of you are probably rolling your eyes because this is one of those topics that has been talked to death and comes up regularly when you deal with theists. Just for fun, let’s revisit the definitions…

atheism: the rejection of claims for the existence of a god or gods for lack of evidence

Religion:
1) a. Belief and reverence for a supernatural power or powers regarded as creator and governor of the universe
1) b. A personal or institutionalized system grounded in such belief and worship
2) The life or condition of a person in a religious order.
3) A set of beliefs, values, and practices based on the teachings of a spiritual leader.
4) A cause, principle, or activity pursued with zeal or conscientious devotion.

I’ve mulled the issue over in my head quite a bit and in dealing with challenges I certainly have looked at other’s arguments for why atheism isn’t a religion because even though something seems obvious to me, it can’t hurt to hear it spelled out by someone else. The sticking point is generally #4, which is a rather silly one to try and defend against since if taken literally makes everything a religion. Then there are other claims like it takes faith to believe there isn’t a god, wearing of “A”s as being religious as would be socializing with other atheists, are motivations for becoming atheists were irrational (experiencing tragedy, daddy issues, etc), tying Evolution to atheism as some sort of dogma, pointing to men like Dawkins or Hitchens as our spiritual leaders and so on. It’s quite exhausting the variety and effort they put into trying to get atheism labeled as a religion and then it made me wonder, WHY is it so important for theists to have atheism labeled as a religion? I think this is something that’s been overlooked in all these discussions. What’s their motivation for having atheism be considered a religion? What do they stand to gain from it?

The foundation of all their attempts I believe is to strip atheism of its logic and intellectualism. Although religion esteems faith, most theists recognize that simply countering logical arguments with assertions of faith just doesn’t hold up well. Atheist arguments sound too sensible, too well thought out and impossible to argue without sounding somewhat silly. Furthermore, many theists I think are intimidated by atheist’s intellectual flexing of being well versed on whatever subject matter is being discussed. It’s the later that’s overwhelming and frustrating to them when discussing complicated matters such as Evolution, History or especially their holy book. Can you imagine how irritating it must be for a theist to experience an atheist who appears to have a greater command of their holy book? Yikes! So to undercut all of the apparent advantages atheists have in one stroke, they call atheism a religion, effectively reducing every point an atheist makes thereafter to nothing more than a belief instead of something intelligent and credible. If this sounds familiar, this is what they do with Evolution. They undercut the research and evidence by declaring “it’s just a theory” and then, well, you know how the rest goes from there.

Aside from just erasing any sense of inadequacy they might have had debating an atheist, the reduction of atheism to mere faith makes other actions possible. First, if they can establish in the mind of an atheist that his position is indeed mere faith instead of a product of logical reasoning, the atheist is now vulnerable to conversion. In this state, an atheist is perhaps the most likely to convert to a religion, more so than a theist converting from one religion to another. Why? Because an atheist doesn’t carry the baggage of dogma. Although a believer of one religion has already shown they’re willing and able to believe on faith, I think it’s the dogma of that religion that stands as a sizable obstacle to conversion and with no such obstacle, a conversion of an atheist could be an easy slide once his position is reduced to faith. As much of a stretch (dare I say “leap of faith”) it might be to think an atheist could be so easily dislodged from his senses, I don’t think theists feel this way and if they want to “save” atheists, they may well go down this road. This can also be seen as a variant of “frame-lock” (more on this here), the process by which a theist tries to bring your world into their world view, making you believe they’re one and the same.

Another motivation for having atheism considered a religion is to be able to dismiss it as a cult. Thinking of it as a cult once again removes that logical, rational appearance of atheism and replaces it with wild-eyed fanaticism and also serves to group all atheists together as kool-aid drinking yahoos. Who we’re said to worship, Dawkins, Hitchens, Darwin, or even Satan, doesn’t matter and they’ll swap out one name for another depending on whatever point they want to make or whatever audience they happen to be addressing. The key is to radicalize atheists, and this can’t be done if we appear to be logical, rational people. No, it’s critical for them to vilify atheists and undercut their message by implying there’s nothing to it but misguided faith.

Finally, I think for the sake of strengthening both personal faith as well as the faith of the flock, it’s very important to foster the idea that atheism is merely faith and not intelligible or logical. The effect is twofold for the theist. First, the persuasiveness of atheist arguments lose their steam if they’re mere faith. Second, it makes believing the “truths” of one’s religion much easier because now there’s not a choice between faith and reason, there’s only a choice between faith and faith and for most, the comfort of having a magic man daddy in the sky watching out for you and providing some nice place to go when you die is more appealing than the faith that says all that stuff is a bunch of hooey.

So that’s it. These are my theories for why theists want atheism labeled a religion. Perhaps I’ll do a followup giving arguments for why it’s not but I think there’s probably ample amounts of that online already but you never know.

Oh btw, the cover graphic I put on the book above I snagged from this post by the Exterminator.

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44 Responses to “Why Do Theists Want Atheism Called A Religion?”

  1. Wow, Philly, you know how much I hate to agree with you, but you are dead-on in this excellent post.

    The most ignorant among religionists love to be able to say that atheism is a “faith.” Of course, when they do so, they show their total misunderstanding of what “faith” means: a belief in that which cannot be proven.

    In that sense, fundamentalists love to say that atheists “believe” in evolution. But we don’t, because evolution is not something in which you can believe or disbelieve. You can accept the overwhelming evidence or not, but it really isn’t a question of belief. I think all atheists should avoid falling into that linguistic trap, and not say things like: “Oh, those idiots don’t believe in evolution.”

    In the supernatural realm, atheists lack belief of any kind. It’s important to emphasize this point, because there’s a not-so-trivial semantic distinction which theists love to ignore:

    They say: An atheist is a person who believes that there’s no god.

    But really, an atheist is a person who does not believe that there’s a god.

    This is not an issue of mere words. We are nonbelievers.

  2. I don’t even like “nonbelievers”. “Belief” is too fuzzy, and too close in practical meaning to faith in everyday speech. This is why I didn’t use a definition for Atheism that used belief in any way.

    Honestly I never know why you ever choose to disagree with me. How silly. Glad to see you wising up. ;)

  3. I should also add, as long as we’re mentioning semantics, I don’t like “lack belief” or “lack of faith”. True, we lack them, but like we (hopefully) lack the bubonic plague or cancer. Saying we lack faith or belief implies we are deficient in some way. This is like the other patronizing thing theists say, that we don’t understand or don’t get it when they talk about their faith, like we lack the intelligence or something. So condescending. No, I would refrain from saying we lack anything. I’d instead say theists lack evidence, lack reason and logic, or lack a healthy self esteem. Hell, they might even lack sanity depending on how far they go with their delusions and let them run their lives.

  4. You’re right about “lack;” I think it’s too easily turned into the kind of nonsense you describe. How about saying that atheists are “free of belief.”

  5. I agree completely. How can “lack of” faith mean……..we have faith? Atheism, in and of itself, make no claim on the origins of life. We have NOTHING to defend here. Its quite simply mind boggling why atheism is looked at that way but your examples do shed some light on it.

    Good blog by the way, I see your a native of the Philly surrounding area? Born and raised myself and am currently moving from the south jersey area.

  6. People say I ‘believe in’ this or that or that I HAVE to have faith that…this or that.

    How do you explain to people that there is a difference between belief and a reasonable expectation? I tried to talk to one of the churched about it once, that no, I DIDN’T have faith that a bridge would not collapse if I went over it, but I had a reasonable expectation that I’d make it to the other side.

    I have a reasonable expectation that if I get on a plane to visit my son in Nevada I’ll make it there. I’ve been around aviation long enough to know that the odds are in my favor, but I still count myself as dead until I’m standing at the baggage carousel. No fith in pilots, planes, ATC system, just the odds are in my favor, but…

    But they still insist that I couldn’t get out of bed without ‘faith’.

  7. I’ve been there Sarge. Apparently thinking the light will come on when you flick the switch is faith, having water come out of the faucet when you turn the knob is faith, and so on. It’s beyond absurd. Much like the arguments of Atheism being a religion, if you make the definition broad enough then everything is religion. Same with faith. D’Souza did this in the Hitchens debate, claiming we have faith that the speed of light is constant everywhere even though we haven’t been everywhere measuring it and that despite testing and getting an identical result a million times it’s still faith to expect it to yet again deliver the same result on test one million and one.

    You have to stress reasonable expectation, and show how believing a magic man in the sky will burn you to a crisp for eternity if you don’t believe in him is not a reasonable expectation. It’s reasonable to expect the light to come on with a flip of a switch, it’s not reasonable to expect to be raptured up to heaven or to think a bunch of virgins will be waiting for you there because you blew yourself and a bunch of infidels up.

    Thanks for popping in JP. I’m currently in DE to exploit car inspections every 5 years, no sales tax and buying booze and beer in the same damn store and on a Sunday (PA sucks). ;)

  8. Philly Chief;

    As you know, I’ve enjoyed your blog ever since I discovered it, but I want to compliment you. Your writing and its clarity gets better and better.

    Yes, this is a well-worn topic but since it hasn’t exactly disappeared from the landscape of ideas, we might as well continue to flesh out our logic. Your post actually led to new thoughts for me.

    One would be that perhaps a good response to a theist who plays the “atheistic religion” card would be to immediately ask him if it is possible in his unique world view for a person to NOT have a religion? If it IS possible, could he please describe what that might entail? Because it seems to me that the only answer would be what we define as an atheist.

    Semantics. Very important stuff, as our friend the Exterminator implies. One good point he made was, “The most ignorant among religionists love to be able to say that atheism is a “faith.”

    We aren’t dealing with the more intelligent theists when we have to slap down this argument. They will keep saying it. But we can keep cutting it to shreds with the logic and reason you mentioned.

    Back to the semantics thing. I’m currently reading Pinker’s latest book, “The Stuff of Thought”, so I’m really thinking a lot about how the specific use of words effects the mental picture that is accepted in the brain of the reader/listener.

    This is the reason that phrases like, “he is a man who lacks faith” serves to incite a negative mental picture as opposed to something like “free thinker”. Rather than say, “as an atheist, I don’t believe in gods” (while correct) it would be superior to say, “as an atheist, I accept only the evidence for any proposition”.

    I’ll never be a Verb Nazi, but I am gaining a greater appreciation of the importance of precision.

  9. Well I have two “thank you”s for John. First, obviously, is for the praise. Second, is for the book recommendation. I just read some reviews and I’m sold. It sounds fascinating. I’ve always been intrigued by the use of language. I remember a professor in college’s passion was the formation of English and it’s variations. He spent an entire class explaining Cockney. Mindblowing!

    In true Nietzschean form, I’m a product of those who haven’t managed to stop me. I’ve had the misfortune (or perhaps fortune) of having a lot of people stand in my way. I’ve learned the hard way of how being right isn’t enough but being able to calmly, rationally state your case and defend it is more useful. I’ve also learned the art of subtlety from a former employer who could veil an attack in what seemed like ordinary speech or even praise and people would not know why afterwards they were confused and felt like shit.

    No, semantics is not a trivial game and every bit of what we say, right down to the word choice, is crucial. That book sounds like it’s exactly on my wavelength and hopefully I’ll learn a bunch of new tricks reading it.

    I will consider next time asking someone putting forth one of those huge umbrella definitions for religion if they think it’s possible for anyone to not have a religion. I’m, inclined to believe that they would be ok saying “no” and accept everything is religion since it still satisfies their needs as I described them above. With everything, including Atheism, as a religion, then they can happily claim theirs is the best and shit on everything else.

  10. I imagine it’s quite embarrassing for the garden variety theist to attempt to share their faith to an unknown person who turns out to be an atheist ready and willing to tear them a new epistemological asshole. When this happens, pay close attention to the eyes, they glaze over in fear, “oh my god, here I am this poor humble Christian just trying to serve the man with power of sending my soul to hell, and he sends this atheist in my path, woe is me”. Or the opposite happens, (like what you see in blogs) the Christian will take the challenge and try to flex his theological muscle only to find that the church has been feeding him a steady supply of muscle relaxers for years.
    To be a Christian means many things, at least it did to me. I was a Christian of one variety or another ranging from Catholic to Pentecostal for a time period of about 25 years. I spent the most time as a Baptist. The thing that gets me is that if you attempt to engage any Christian in a discussion of scholarly merit, like what you’d get in one of these debates (Hitchens vs. D’Souza) you’d get the feeling that you’re talking to a wall, a person totally unprepared by any person, or doctrine to defend their own belief on an intellectual playing field. They suddenly grasp on to every logical fallacy they can lay their hands on in an attempt to do exactly what their church (Sunday after Sunday) fails to do (probably for good reason), and that is make their faith actually make sense when uttered. As long as you keep your faith a private matter in your head, you never have to defend it. The mind can tell you all kinds of things that would seem to be validation, however if you never test that against another mind how will you ever hear any criticism? Then suddenly that very same Christian is face to face with one of us in a blog, and all the crap they thought about and fed on for (sometimes) years is torn apart in a few sentences. Don’t ever think they fail to realize that they are in a bankrupt philosophy, they know it, and the problem is that by the time they are face to face with one of us, it’s to freakin late. They must come up with something to stay in the conversation because there isn’t any training from their church. Baptists waste Sunday after Sunday trying to ‘save the same people, having the same songs sung, the same announcements read, and the same pot luck dinner served. They have no training, no reason provided for why they take it all seriously. Honestly, I think the fear of hell accounts for at least 50% of theism. What an abusive situation to find yourself in, caught between hell and intellectual suicide. So don’t be surprised at anything they come up with, a cornered animal is very dangerous and almost never reasons his way out of trouble.
    The really interesting thing is that they will do twice the work to foist a logical fallacy, but won’t take half that time and energy to apply a little reason to what they themselves believe.
    I need more coffee.
    Great post!

  11. Notice too that they’ll describe Atheists as “denying god”, “refusing god”, “rejecting god”, or “turning away from god”. The phrasing is not accidental. It’s both a reinforcement that god exists as well as a portrayal of us either being stupid or evil (or both) for going against the magic man. Remind you of someone? Maybe…. SATAN! (sorry, yet another SNL reference, the theme of the week here at YMMSI).

    DaVinci, I agree that most religious people are not equipped to engage most Atheists, yet they try. I don’t know if you meant it or not, but your description is almost like we’re monsters roaming around clubbing theists like helpless baby seals. No, they’re far from helpless and they’re dangerous as hell. For you Star Trek fans, perhaps you can think of them as tribbles. They seem cute and harmless and their purring is very calming and comforting but before you know it they multiply and bring devastation. So I guess we’re the Klingons, the only ones who can see them for what they are, and declare them a mortal enemy. I know I’m happy with being a Klingon, but I think of the Atheist stereotype as being more Vulcan, or maybe Romulan.

    Yikes, where did that come from? I have to cut down on the coffee. Maybe this would be a good post idea. Hmmmm…

    Anyway, what started this post was my discussion with some silly person on SI’s blog and then it seemed everywhere else I went I suddenly became aware of theists asserting the idea, only in differing forms. It just begged the question “why?”

  12. Actually it’s a good analogy, klingons and tribbles.
    I think most people in general aren’t equipped to go the distance with those of us who are philosophically minded, but what blows my mind is seeing an educated person, like Dinnesh D’Souza, spout off the nonsense he spewed in that debate with Hitchens. Christians need to come to grips with the fact that their religion is based in faith not logic, and if they continue to hold on to it, they should resign themselves to looking foolish when debating those who know factual evidence based topics.

  13. Philly Chief said: ” I’m, inclined to believe that they would be ok saying “no” and accept everything is religion since it still satisfies their needs as I described them above.”

    I should have mentioned that possibility (a very good one). My response would then be to ask, “does this mean you don’t believe in the Christian philosophy of free will”? They believe in the ability of humans to do any good or bad thing and be judged for it accordingly. I can understand them thinking that making a choice to have no religion would be a “bad” thing, but to deny that it can be so, would be to deny free will.

    DaVinci says: “Honestly, I think the fear of hell accounts for at least 50% of theism.”

    I disagree with you (semantically). I think if it were merely a fantasy concept like “hell”, they could talk themselves out of the fear. The fear in question is the fear of death itself. You can’t rationalize that one away and it is, in my mind, the primary appeal of religion. EVERY RELIGION addresses the after-life – it’s a universal.

  14. John,

    I would say it doesn’t remove free will because you’re free to choose a religion, like Indy got to choose a cup to drink from at the end of the last movie. “Choose wisely” they’d say.

    I think it’s fair to say 50% of theists buy into it for fear of hell. The other 50% are sold by the promise of heaven. Like dogs, some people respond to positive reinforcement, and some to negative reinforcement. Of course, yes, the root fear is death itself.

  15. Death would be more identifiable than hell. It’s pretty much a given that we all die, but the idea of hell is not quite as defined in people’s mind mostly because it isnt based on cause and effect. Infinate punishment for finite crimes. Burning without being consumed. Different levels of hell.
    John is right, I should have said fear of death.

  16. DaVinci said: “John is right, I should have said fear of death.”

    Can you please say that to my wife. She doesn’t think I EVER am!

    We’re both right, and it comes down to what Philly Chief said about for some it’s Hell and others it’s heaven. Again, I have been fixated on semantics lately and that was the basis of my disagreement with you. Obviously it’s death/hell vs. death/heaven, BUT also death/afterlife vs. death/non-existence.

  17. figiaIt is as all here and Bill Shakespeare have the nut of it, “…in that sleep of death who knows what dreams nmay come…” and there IS ‘the rub.”

    It has always interested me about what is called on in extremis. I’ve been in combat and I’ve heard about half the peole who call for some aid from a supreme being call for ‘mother’. No one of these christians who call out seem pleased that they will soon be in the presence of their (alleged) maker. I’ve never heard anyone happy about the prospect that they will leave “the Flesh”. Nope, “save my life” is the word sent on high.

    One would think that such a renouned evangelist as Orel Roberts would think thaat death would be going to his reward, yet he used the fear for his life to pry several million dollars more from his “flock”.

  18. You know John, tying in with what sarge said, when the heat's not on, it’s easy to play heaven and hell mental games with yourself, which is pretty much the way someone becomes and stays a Christian, but when it’s their life that's on the line, I bet you they throw that shit right out the metaphysical window.Unlike hardcore atheists, (man will I regret saying that), I really can't say with any degree of experience just what death will be like, which makes it pretty hard to criticize anyone else's view, fortunately I don’t let that stop me.:) Sarge, I thought Oral Roberts was a variety show, you mean that was for real.

  19. “hardcore” though I might be, I don’t claim to KNOW what death is “like”, other than to say that I don’t think it “like” anything. I think it’s just nonexistence. Very similar to whatever it was prior to my birth, with the exception that there will be living entities who will to some greater or lesser degree have memories of me – for a few short years and then there will be none of those either. It’s a bit bleak, but all the more reason to enjoy this ride to the best of my ability, while leaving it in such a way as to permit the future to enjoy their ride.

  20. Yes, Mr. Da Vinci, there IS an Orel Roberts. He was an evangelist (former methodist, if I remember correctly) who got a big following and founded a university. They may sing “Jesus Saves” but apparently these habits of thrift are wanting because those who claim to represent the ‘almighty’ always need money.

    I’m not sure whether this Orel Roberts is the founder or his son, (there may be a holy ghost shivering through the air for all I know) and there was apparently a shortfall of funds to the tune of eight million bones. Roberts said that his deity told him it wanted eight million scoots raised toot freakin’ sweet, and would take Roberts if it wasn’t ponied up within a brace of shakes.

    He went to this big tower on the campus where he said he would pray until someone showed up with the money or The LORD-uh, took him. He didn’t seem to be in any great rush to Go To Glory, some people I knew sent some dough to ‘save’ him. I asked, wasn’t he already saved? Was his place in the choir not assured? Apparently they regarded these “truths” that they expound on were a bit more mutable than they first seemed.

    Philly, I live in Altoona. Well, it’s a place, I’ve knocked around the world and one is pretty much the same as the other, however, lately I have been less than thrilled with the place.

    Couple of weeks ago I was in Virginia for a reenactment, and when it was time to take down the tents and leave we shook hands with our neighbors (they were from Georgia) and I mentioned we had to return to Pencil Yucky. One of the members of our group said, “You mean pennsyl-TUCKEY.” I said, “Do I?”

    Within ten years I’ll probably be dead, given the information I have. Admittedly, in 1982 and 1993 they told my wife I wouldn’t last six months and here I am…Docs were really pissed. Of the two things most likely to do the job I know that it’ll be messy, undignified, probably alarming to onlookers, but relatively painless and quick.

    In talking with other people in the same plight, I’ve detected a trend. The ones who are the most afraid of death or look forward most to a glorious “afterlife” seem to have kind of missed or avoided living the one they have.

  21. I’m not sure Sarge if your two things your referring to are to address your medical state or ADDRESS your medical state, as in permanently. I hope not the latter selfishly because I don’t want to stop reading your posts. :)

    Although much of the US is becoming this homogenous looking thing with strip malls and cable/sat tv, I still say there are distinct differences. I resisted over the years doing what everybody in my field does and move to Cali for work. Have you been to LA? ugh. In a way, I think I’d rather be surrounded by god fearing rednecks in the South than there. At least the rednecks are clearly alive and have personalities. LA is full of vacuous zombies.

    My aunts and uncles are all beginning to drop like flies now. There’s a funeral today, actually. My family has always been religious to varying degrees (I could write at length on that) but yes, it’s ramping up amongst the old ones as the end is within sight. Sadly I’d have to agree with the assertion that the less you’ve lived the more you either fear the end or revel in the great afterlife idea. I hear more of the talk now than I remember as a child. At a funeral for an uncle a couple of months ago my mother was angry at me because I told her she should cheer up and have a good time at the funeral. “How can you say that?” she asked. I told her she’s getting out, seeing family she doesn’t get to see normally and that my uncle, being the character he was, would probably want everyone laughing and celebrating who he was and the things he said and did, not boo hooing and being miserable. I told her the only type of person who would want people boo hooing at their funeral would be a miserable, mean and selfish person and that’s not the man I remember. Being a man who lived, he thankfully never got all caught up in religion as he approached the end.

  22. Yeah, for some reason the capillaries and small blood vessels in my mucous membranes seem to break down and cause a lot of bleeding which won’t stop. Eyes, nose, mouth, and some evidence of it in internal organs. If it happens in my lungs or brain I’m done for sure, and pretty quick. And a couple other things. It’s a spontaneous thing, no predicting when or how, they don’t know why. Plus a couple of other more conventional, progressive things which are causing more damage, results of injury and other illness. When you’ve travelled among other cultures, a lot of times those cultures are microbial. My first tour in Viet Nam I had a bout of Hemmorhagic fever (pardon the spelling) and this may have something to do with that, they guess. An after effect, possibly.

    A couple weekends ago I was at a reenactment, and a young friend of mine (truly beautiful, very intelligent young woman, carries a double major in college, is a believer) found it sad that I had no religion, no hope, no immortality to look to. I would be dead and that would be it. She cited last year which had been kind of tough. Blood pressure spike which caused a stroke and temporary blindness in an eye, and later getting run over by some woman. Cuts, burns, and a broken leg. (Good thing it was the leg which had been wounded twice, I ALREADY limp on it.)

    I told her that my immortality, what there was of such a thing, would be with her and the people I knew and touched. I’d taught her things, she had real stories to tell her children and grand children, memories which I hoped were good, she’d made history, literally (at least been a small piece of it), and I hoped that I’d given her things to laugh about, she’d have them when she needed a laugh and they were thin on the ground.

    Last week she told me that she’d collected an installment, and thought maybe I had a point.

    She’d been working on a school project, was having a tough time. She was very discouraged, and a thought came to her of something that happened last summer.

    One of the people who sometimes camps with us is a lady from India, her husband is a doctor. She would go back to India for vacation, and tell about what she’d been doing, and this year some of her family came to visit here. Her sister, a niece and grandniece. The youngster was a very lively, pretty girl about twelve years old. They all spoke English quite well. They are all Hindu.

    Mani was showing her family all the stuff we use, and explained how we ate. Her sister said it was quite different, they used chick peas. I said, “How can you tell?” They looked at me rather oddly (except Mani) and I said, “I mean, how do you know you’re not getting any GUY peas and not CHICK peas?”
    This delightful, beautiful, young girl’s face lights up and she says in this wonderful Indian English lilt and syntax, “Oh! I know YOU! You are that mad-crazy fellow Auntie tells us of, isn’t it?”

    My student friend said it just hit her mind, she remembered the looks on the faces of the Indian women and the sounds they made, and she just started to laugh. After she got done, she thought a bit more clearly, and was able to marshal he thoughts.

    She told me she realised what I meant, and that she would show her children pictures of our group, point me out and say that this was a good friend, the sergeant major. A guy who was her friend, a mad-crazy old man who gave her things which could never be taken away. Showed her not to be afraid to live, died decades ago but never left her side to that day.

    That’s a conception of immortality that I can look at, believe in, and when the lights go out for the last time, be comfortable with.

  23. That’s a fucking awesome way to respond to immortality, Sarge.
    Seeing as how you’re a nomadic blogger (no blog of your own), I feel honored to be one of the blogs who gets to host posts like this last one of yours. Maybe a decade or so from now I’ll be reading through these and thinking of that crazy old guy. :)

    Hell, maybe something happens to me in the near future and you’ll be reading some surviving post of mine thinking, “I remember that crazy guy…”

  24. @ Sarge -

    Awesome! Great post (comment)…
    The offer stands and anytime you want a forum I’ll post for you on my blog (not that many people would actually READ IT there)!

    Also, re: your medical condition. Remember, if they don’t know WHAT it is, then they don’t know that it WILL kill you. Let’s say Chicken Pox was a relatively unknown disesase for us westerners. You are one who contracts the rare case of it and science doesn’t know a whole lot about it. When years later you get hit by a powerful case of shingles, you might rightfully suspect that if this stuff gets worse, it’s going to kill you. Happily, we know that almost everyone who gets Chicken Pox will later get shingles if they live long enough and that it doesn’t usually get bad enough to kill (unless you have other immune problems). So maybe it’s something along those lines. I hope.

    @ my good friend Philly Chief -

    “Have you been to LA? ugh. In a way, I think I’d rather be surrounded by god fearing rednecks in the South than there. At least the rednecks are clearly alive and have personalities. LA is full of vacuous zombies”

    Thanks buddy! Love you too! LOL!
    Seriously, I fully understand what you are saying. I’ve been here over half a century and its gotten worse and worse and I’d love to find myself in New Mexico or Hawaii or even outside the U.S. sometime in the future. One place I wouldn’t trade it in on though – Philadelphia!

  25. There are exceptions to every rule, John. ;)

  26. Philly, you wrote:
    “So to undercut all of the apparent advantages Atheists have in one stroke, they call Atheism a religion, effectively reducing every point an Atheist makes thereafter to nothing more than a belief instead of something intelligent and credible.”

    Friend, I had never seen this post before, but, as we say in spanish “Pusiste la tapa en el pomo!” (You put the cap on the bottle.) That means, “great job.”

    The irony is that they try to devalue our position by claiming it’s just like theirs. It’s as if a sinking tide lowers all ships.

    I don’t know what else to add.

  27. [...] Why do theists want atheism called a religion? [...]

  28. Both atheists or religious people cannot deny science. Undoubtedly, it has to be valid. I would prefer to use "heritages" to describe "religions". They are valuable heritages from our ancestors and they have own merits. However, the clock cannot be turned back. Technology allows us to have a better understanding of our world. Most religions are built on the fundation of the presence of "soul". "Memory lost with aging" is a solid argument against its existence. The symptom is a permanent damage of our brains. It is not an intrusive disease. Therefore, "soul" must have no memories. Their whole system simply does not work! You are still the person I know even you have this illness because you still have the original body. How about after your death? You have neither "physical presence" nor "memories". As a result, "soul" is also a "heritage" only.

  29. How about the presence of the subject which manipulated our world? Does it exist?

    The presence of this subject (if it exists) does not take no forms or spaces. Its physical presence should be the Conscious Earth. Below are several convincing edvinences:

    1. Atmosphere does not come from the outer space. Meanwhile, it has connection to the outer space ( with regards to the scientific researches recently).
    2. The first cell must not arrive at our planet Earth after the formation of the atmosphere. "The Archaea are a group of single-celled MICROORGANISMS… IN THE PAST they were viewed as an unusual group of bacteria and named ARCHAEBACTERIA… In this system the three main branches of evolutionary descent are the Archaea, Bacteria and Eukarya." (wiki) The "first cell" may be the Archaea.
    3. The structure of the Earth is SIMILAR to a cell. By applying micro-biology into the our planets, the presence of this God-like subject (a supreme being) should be the Conscious Earth.

    By the way, Gaia hypothesis is a different story.

  30. As above, religions are heritages.
    However, atheism is also an escape from reality.
    Both of them denied the physical presence of the supreme being.

    I believe what I am doing (my loads of work over this topic – the Conscious Earth – and its related theory – Lives in Different Levels – are going to play an essential part for our future progresses.

  31. Therefore, "soul" must have no memories.

    Uh no, the correct conclusion would be that there is no soul, unless you have demonstrable evidence for its existence. To conclude that in light of the evidence against its existence, that it must then have a different kind of existence is a fallacious tactic.

  32. Well you have fun believing that.

  33. On what basis are you concluding that our world had to be manipulated? Establish that premise first.

  34. [...] Why do theists want atheism called a religion? [...]

  35. "Withhold not good from them to whom it is due, when it is in the power of thine hand to do it."— Proverbs 3:27

  36. “If only you would be altogether silent! For you, that would be wisdom.” – Job 13:5

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  43. Your faith IS a religion, Chief. Paganism. We'll use your very own criteria to determine this…

    1) a. Belief and reverence for a supernatural power or powers regarded as creator and governor of the universe… you believe that nature created you and the laws that govern the universe.

    1) b. A personal or institutionalized system grounded in such belief and worship… your system is called evolutionary biology with all of it's adherents (priests) being known as 'scientists'… pagan priests, no less.

    2) The life or condition of a person in a religious order… there is no one more religious than you in your belief.

    3) A set of beliefs, values, and practices based on the teachings of a spiritual leader… the teachings of your various gurus, such as Hitchens, Dawkins, Brown, Meyers, etc., heavily influence your thinking. They are the priests of your particular cult.

    4) A cause, principle, or activity pursued with zeal or conscientious devotion… your zeal is apparent in your condemnation of other faiths and religions, so much that you blog about them and deride them all, incessantly.

    There's no question at all that you are a religious sect. You are modern-day pagans devoted to opposing Christianity and other faiths, favoring your own. True science never leaves out the author of said science, something that your infidel priests continually strive to do. This by itself makes them fanatics, not true scientists.

    You're a fanatic, too, Chief. The bottom of the pyramid, to be sure, but every bit the fanatic.

  44. Actually it's a good analogy, klingons and tribbles.

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