Freethought

Penn Jillette on Atheism and Islamaphobia…

 

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My quest for truth began with Bible Stories for Children…

 

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From The Freethinker, UK

It’s one of the few childhood memories I have that isn’t about Star Wars or Spider-Man.  I’m seven, and my mother is bringing me a large hardback book called Bible Stories for Children.  It does not have Doctor Octopus on the cover, and as such I am automatically and immediately uninterested, but then she starts talking.

This is a book filled with one group of people’s ideas about how the world works.  Many people believe these stories are true, so you should read it to be able to understand them and their perspective.

That’s it, just a child left with a book and the task of sussing things out. Other books would follow, about Greek and Roman religion, about world history and literature, offered with the same basic preamble:

Here are some things that some other people believe. 

Up to that point in life, I had no religious thoughts whatsoever.  I took it for granted that when people died, you never saw them again, and that when you were dead you were simply gone.  Growing up on a farm, where things died all the time and were treated as crude matter for consumption the instant that death occurred, It didn’t occur to me that other people thought, or could think, otherwise about themselves.

Freethinker: Stephen Fry Born On This Day in 1957…

 

fryFrom Freedom From Religion

On this date in 1957, Stephen Fry was born in London, England. He grew up in Norfolk. At age 17, after leaving school, he was convicted of credit card fraud. After serving time in prison, Fry studied at City College Norfolk with the intention of sitting entrance exams for Cambridge, where he received a scholarship. At Cambridge, he performed in the Cambridge Footlights Review with Emma Thompson and Hugh Laurie. Fry and Laurie continued their comedic collaboration outside of school, including the sketch comedy show “A Bit of Fry and Laurie,” for the BBC, which had six seasons between 1986 and 1995. From 1990 to 1993, Fry and Laurie also starred in “Jeeves and Wooster” (Fry played Jeeves). Fry has had a wide-ranging career in acting, comedy and writing.

He is very active in social media, preferring to speak directly to his fans whenever he can, such as through Twitter and on his personal website. In 2003, Fry began hosting the BBC television panel comedy game show “QI.” The ninth season broadcasts in fall of 2011. Fry has been openly gay for his entire active professional life, and at times advocates for various causes, including gay rights. He grew up in an atheist home, but according to his website, http://www.stephenfry.com, he had a brief flirtation with Christianity as a teenager after reading C.S. Lewis’s Screwtape Letters and was also influenced by G.K. Chesterton. However, as an adult, Fry returned to atheism and is very open about his nonbelief, describing the Christian God as “utterly evil, capricious and monstrous,” in an interview with the Gaurdian in Feb., 2015.  In 2011, he was awarded the Humanist Chaplaincy at Harvard’s Lifetime Award in Cultural Humanism.

“I love how when people watch I don’t know, David Attenborough or Discovery Planet type thing you know where you see the absolute phenomenal majesty and complexity and bewildering beauty of nature and you stare at it and then … somebody next to you goes, ‘And how can you say there is no God? Look at that.’ And then five minutes later you’re looking at the lifecycle of a parasitic worm whose job is to bury itself in the eyeball of a little lamb and eat the eyeball from inside while the lamb dies in horrible agony and then you turn to them and say, ‘Yeah, where is your God now?’ ”

—Stephen Fry in an interview by bigthink.com, Dec. 17, 2009

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Dealing With Depression And Loneliness After Abandoning Religion…

 

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From Atheist Republic

Gina1 shared on our public forums her experience of dealing with depression and loneliness after abandoning her faith. Gina1 wrote that after leaving her religion she initially felt liberated. However during a crisis or tragedy, she no longer has her faith to comfort her. Furthermore, she deals with crippling anxiety when thinking about death, uncertainty, and the fear of “what if” she is wrong about her unbelief. Although religion was a major part of her life, she cannot see herself going back, even with the comforts that it formerly provided.

Here are some of the most interesting responses to Gina1’s post:
Ellie Harris, although admitting to never being religious, sympathized with Gina1. He reassured Gina1 that it is a fundamental human need, and one that is not exclusive to religions, to desire camaraderie and moral support that is typically provided by religious communities.

Pitar shared his experience in becoming an atheist as a child and learning early on not to rely on faith as an emotional crutch, in spite of the isolation he felt due to his unbelief. He conceded that it must be more challenging for adults who abandon their faith and the comfort it provides at a later age than he did, as they typically enter “reality” without a warm welcome or support group. He insightfully pointed out how a religious belief system actually stifles individuality, suppresses one’s true identity, and forces people to be part of a false structure that is not true to the nature of the human heart. He concluded by hoping that Gina1 will appreciate the way in which she is being true to her nature with her atheism and not just view herself as someone who has gone by the wayside.

Mitch made a distinction between one who is clinically depressed and one who is grieving since abandoning faith. He stated that if one were clinically depressed, the depression would not dissipate regardless of one’s personal beliefs.

Jeff Vella Leone offered encouragement by suggesting that Gina1 should feel proud that she now understands something better than others, rather than feeling like someone who has lost something. He thinks that once Gina1 has arrived at this point, the depression she feels will go away.

The Pragmatic acknowledged that anyone who is isolated, ostracized, or shunned for their beliefs could easily become depressed. He offered a link from a secular website that helps atheists find an empathetic therapist.

Gina1 felt encouraged and comforted by the responses of the forum and suggested she may seek out a Unitarian church to regain her sense of community…
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Purpose: An Atheist Perspective…

 

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From Atheist Republic

I am sure that all of you reading this have at some point or another witnessed, heard of, or perhaps even been, a religious person attempting to convey how empty a life without God is. For the faithful, God is the centre of their universe. Belief in God is their most important value, their most primary function, and the seed from which their perspective on the world grows. And so it’s no surprise that whether or not you believe in God is likely what the religious consider to be your most important value, too. It’s how they look at the world, and it’s inevitably how they wish to frame you.

For atheists, of course, it should be relatively easy to recognize that a person’s perspective on God may be utterly irrelevant to his or her daily life; for people are composed of more than just their religious or nonreligious beliefs. But by maintaining that a person’s perspective on God is the most important aspect of their being, the religious are not only failing to see people outside of their own narrow scope of vision, they are also making an attempt to force upon atheists the idea that atheism is the dearth of purpose and meaning — that atheism ultimately leads to degeneration, to decay, to nihilism and moral abandon and a life of pointless pursuits — for if you don’t believe that God exists, then what are you worth to those who do? To them, you’re lost, you’re deluded, and you’re going to burn.

Ingersoll: An Honest God is the Noblest Work of Man…

 

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From The Archives
ROBERT INGERSOLL (1833 – 1899)
The Great Agnostic

THE GODS 

EACH nation has created a god, and the god has always resembled his creators. He hated and loved what they hated and loved, and he was invariably found on the side of those in power. Each god was intensely patriotic, and detested all nations but his own. All these gods demanded praise, flattery, and worship. Most of them were pleased with sacrifice, and the smell of innocent blood has ever been considered a divine perfume. All these gods have insisted upon having a vast number of priests, and the priests have always insisted upon being supported by the people, and the principal business of these priests has been to boast about their god, and to insist that he could easily vanquish all the other gods put together.

These gods have been manufactured after numberless models, and according to the most grotesque fashions. Some have a thousand arms, some a hundred heads, some are adorned with necklaces of living snakes, some are armed with clubs, some with sword and shield, some with bucklers, and some have wings as a cherub; some were invisible, some would show themselves entire, and some would only show their backs; some were jealous, some were foolish, some turned themselves into men, some into swans, some into bulls, some into doves, and some into Holy Ghosts, and made love to the beautiful daughters of men. Some were married—all ought to have been—and some were considered as old bachelors from all eternity. Some had children, and the children were turned into gods and worshiped as their fathers had been. Most of these gods were revengeful, savage, lustful, and ignorant. As they generally depended upon their priests for information, their ignorance can hardly excite our astonishment.

These gods did not even know the shape of the worlds they had created, but supposed them perfectly flat Some thought the day could be lengthened by stopping the sun, that the blowing of horns could throw down the walls of a city, and all knew so little of the real nature of the people they had created, that they commanded the people to love them. Some were so ignorant as to suppose that man could believe just as he might desire, or as they might command, and that to be governed by observation, reason, and experience was a most foul and damning sin. None of these gods could give a true account of the creation of this little earth. All were wofully deficient in geology and astronomy. As a rule, they were most miserable legislators, and as executives, they were far inferior to the average of American presidents.

What God Said…

 

 

Thanks to Bruce

You know Christie
Something happened a long time ago in Haiti
And the people don’t wanna talk about it
They were under the heel of the French
And they got together and they swore a pact to the devil
They said we’ll serve you
If you’ll get us free from the French
True story
And so the devil said okay it’s a deal
And ever since then they have been cursed

Shake the hand of my imaginary friend
See the trouble he gets in
Can’t be traced back to me
He can’t pretend at the slightest of his when
He has the power to suspend our rules of morality
And when he gets angry he can make the lion cry
He can help me win the fight with his power
Yes he speaks to me and it’s always positive
Cause I can just ask for forgiveness and it’s over

[Chorus:]
So you can’t put the blame on me I’m doing what God said
What God said, what God said
Don’t you put the blame on me I’m doing what God said
What God said, what God said

So you’re praying for the death of the president of the united states
Do you think it’s appropriate to say something like that or…
I’m not saying anything what I’m doing is repeating what God is saying
In the name of the one who made us all
I will hide behind these walls from my enemy
By the power bestowed from up above
I will conquer you because it is my destiny
And with the righteous hand
I will bring you to your knees
I will strip you of your freedom without mercy
And when the earth quakes and the blood runs in the sand
There will be no final stand for the unworthy

[Chorus:]
So you can’t put the blame on me I’m doing what God said
What God said, what God said
Don’t you put the blame on me I’m doing what God said
What God said, what God said

I stand on a mountain top on a solid rock
I stand on abundance truth and I won’t be moved
And when I come to claim my victory
I’ll repeat what was told to me

[Chorus:]
So you can’t put the blame on me I’m doing what God said
What God said, what God said
And he speaks to only me I know what God said
What God said, what God said
~~

Robert Ingersoll Born This Day 1833…

 
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From Freedom From Religion

On this date in 1833, Robert Green Ingersoll, who became the best known advocate of freethought in 19th-century United States, was born in Dresden, N.Y. The son of an impoverished itinerant pastor, he later recalled his formative church experiences: “The minister asked us if we knew that we all deserved to go to hell, and we all answered ‘yes.’ Then we were asked if we would be willing to go to hell if it was God’s will, and every little liar shouted ‘Yes!’ ” He became an attorney by apprenticeship, and a colonel in the Civil War, fighting in the Battle of Shiloh. In 1867, Ingersoll was appointed Illinois’ first Attorney General. His political career was cut short by his refusal to halt his controversial lectures, but he achieved national political fame for his thrilling nomination speech for James G. Blaine for president at the national convention of the Republican Party in 1876. Ingersoll was good friends with three U.S. presidents. The distinguished attorney was known and admired by most of the leading progressives and thinkers of his day. “Who can over estimate the progress of the world if all the money wasted in superstition could be used to enlighten, elevate and civilize mankind?” (Some Mistakes of Moses)

Ingersoll traveled the continent for 30 years, speaking to capacity audiences, once attracting 50,000 people to a lecture in Chicago—40,000 too many for the Exposition Center. His repertoire included 3 to 4-hour lectures on Shakespeare, Voltaire and Burns, but the largest crowds turned out to hear him denounce the bible and religion. Ingersoll’s speaking fees ranged as high as $7,000, in an era of low wages and no income tax. He married Eva Parker Ingersoll, a rationalist whom he deemed a “Woman Without Superstition,” in dedicating his first freethought book to her. He initially settled in Peoria, Illinois, then in Washington, D.C., where he successfully defended falsely accused men in the “Star Route” scandal, the most famous political trial of the 19th century. The family later relocated to New York. A devoted family man, he lived with his extended family, and the Ingersoll “at homes” were celebrated, both in Washington D.C., and in New York. Religious rumors against Ingersoll abounded. One had it that Ingersoll’s son was a drunkard who more than once had to be carried away from the table. Ingersoll wrote: “It is not true that intoxicating beverages are served at my table. It is not true that my son ever was drunk. It is not true that he had to be carried away from the table. Besides, I have no son!” The 12-volume Dresden Edition of his lectures, poetry and interviews was collected after his death and has been reprinted many times. D. 1899.

“All religions are inconsistent with mental freedom. Shakespeare is my bible, Burns my hymn-book.”

“I do not borrow ideas. I have a factory of my own.”

“I do not believe in putting out the sun to keep weeds from growing.”

“With soap, baptism is a good thing.”

“[Of William Jennings Bryan] He talks, but he does not think.”

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Anyone else feel more comfortable with death now that you don’t have religion?

 


From Atheism Reddit
Selected and Edited Comments

This of course doesn’t count for people who never believed in anything their whole lives, but now that I’m no longer a Christian, I no longer fear dying. I don’t worry about where I’m going, I don’t even worry about missing my family, because I know that I won’t have to worry about anything once I die. And with that thought, I can live in peace, because the one thing we all have in common, is that we all die. What do you guys think?
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My experience was similar. I was terrified of death as a Christian, convinced I wasn’t good enough or saved enough and that I’d burn for eternity. Now I feel mostly a sense of peace about death. Now it’s a natural course of life, not the prelude to an eternity of either torture by fire or fawning over a egomaniacal deity, which would be torturous in a completely different way.

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This exactly. Although I will add indoctrination is a bitch. Every now and then a flash of dread will wash over me about “what if I’m wrong”. Edit: I will add that this knowledge of this being it makes me appreciate every moment. The good and the bad.
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Yeah, I’ll get that flash every once in a while as well. When you were indoctrinated for the first 18 years of your life, I think that’s to be expected.
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I hated the idea of heaven as a kid. All day every day just eternal church with healthier bodies? Praying day in day out? I didn’t want to go up heaven lol
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Ditto with me. Though there was a period where I had to come to terms with my mortality and non-existence after I die after I lost religion. But yeah…. am way better for it now.
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Well I’m not completely over it. I’m not sure it is possible to be completely over it. But thinking clearly about life and death is how I came to terms with it. One phrase that helps me think clearly about death and fear of death is from Epicurus- “Death does not concern us, because as long as we exist, death is not here. And when it does come, we no longer exist.”
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Not so much death, but infinity beyond scared the crap out of me. I changed every year, I grew up each birthday, I could deal with 100 birthdays, but 100 billion birthdays gave me the willies!
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God, Paper, Scissors…

 

Thanks to Bruce

Dear god I hope you’ve got your ears on,
I wanna tell you something that you
wouldn’t believe.
There’s children dying in the gutters.
Tell me why you hide your heart up your sleeve?

You never come down here.
You never show yourself, is it fear?
You never prove yourself.
When you’re needed you disappear.

Who sins?
Who chooses?
Who wins?
Who loses?

Freethinker: Clara Bewick Colby

 

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From Freedom From Religion Foundation

On this date in 1846, Clara Bewick (later Colby) was born in England. She moved with her parents to a farm near Windsor, Wisconsin, in 1849. As a little girl and early reader, Clara liked to memorize and recite, and churned butter by keeping time to fearful hymns threatening “the hells of fire,” she recalled in a lecture.

At 19, she moved to Madison and enrolled at the University of Wisconsin. Graduating in 1869 as valedictorian, she was instrumental in opening admission of the UW to women. She taught at the UW, then married Leonard Wright Colby, and moved to Beatrice, Nebraska.

Clara served as president for 16 years of her state’s Woman’s Suffrage Association. She founded the Woman’s Tribune in 1883, and published this organ of the National Woman Suffrage Association for 25 years, including daily editions through the suffrage conventions. As editor, she also set type, was compositor and sometimes ran the press.

Legendary for energy and her work ethic, Clara adopted two children, including a Sioux Indian baby girl, “Lost Bird,” found in the arms of her slaughtered mother after Wounded Knee by Clara’s husband. Clara was the first woman designated as a war correspondent during the Spanish War. She lectured in nearly every state for suffrage, as well as England, Ireland and Scotland. Clara had belonged to the Congregational church, but introduced and defended resolutions denouncing patriarchal religious dogma, notably at the 1885 woman suffrage convention. She routinely featured her friend Elizabeth Cady Stanton‘s critiques of religion on the front pages of the Woman’s Tribune. She died after nursing others with the flu in 1916.
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Freethinker: The Fate of Thomas Paine…

 

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By Bertrand Russell

Thomas Paine, though prominent in two revolutions and almost hanged for attempting to raise a third, is grown, in our day, somewhat dim. To our great grandfathers, he seemed a kind of earthly Satan, a subversive infidel rebellious alike against his God and his King. He incurred the bitter hostility of three men not generally united: Pitt, Robespierre, and Washington. Of these, the first two sought his death, while the third carefully abstained from measures designed to save his life. Pitt and Washington hated him because he was a democrat; Robespierre, because he opposed the execution of the King and the Reign of Terror. It was his fate to be always honored by opposition and hated by governments: Washington, while he was still fighting the English, spoke of Paine in terms of highest praise; the French nation heaped honors upon him until the Jacobins rose to power; even in England, the most prominent Whig statesmen befriended him and employed him in drawing up manifestoes. He had faults, like other men; but it was for his virtues that he was hated and successfully calumniated.

Paine’s importance in history consists in the fact that he made the preaching of democracy democratic. There were, in the eighteenth century, democrats among French and English aristocrats, among Philosophes and nonconformist ministers. But all of them presented their political speculations in a form designed to appeal only to the educated. Paine, while his doctrine contained nothing novel, was an innovator in the manner of his writing, which was simple, direct, unlearned, and such as every intelligent workingman could appreciate. This made him dangerous; and when he added religious unorthodoxy to his other crimes, the defenders of privilege seized the opportunity to load him with obloquy.

New Atheist Voting Bloc A Momentous Demographic Shift…

 

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From Daylight Atheism

More American voters than ever say they are not religious, making the religiously unaffiliated the nation’s biggest voting bloc by faith for the first time in a presidential election year. This marks a dramatic shift from just eight years ago, when the non-religious were roundly outnumbered by Catholics, white mainline Protestants and white evangelical Protestants.

You read that right. If you took all the registered voters in the U.S. and grouped them by religious affiliation, the biggest group would be people of no religion. We’re now a plurality!

As recently as 2008, the nonreligious were just 14% of voters, a distant fourth behind the country’s major Christian factions. But we’ve jumped to 21% of the electorate, while Catholics, white evangelicals and mainline Protestants have all declined. We now beat out the Catholics and evangelicals by a hairsbreadth, while the Protestant mainline is falling further behind. And as younger generations become more secular, we can only expect nonbelievers to take an even more decisive lead in years to come.

This is a momentous demographic shift, which makes it all the more striking how little attention it’s received. There are many analyses of how the American electorate is becoming less white and what this portends for the future of our politics, yet hardly anyone seems to be commenting on the fact that a full one-fifth of all voters are now nonreligious. The Republicans are bearing down even harder on religious culture-war issues, while the Democrats, as I wrote in the Guardian this week, continue to flaunt their faith in public even though nonbelievers are a crucial part of their coalition.

But even if the major parties are slow to acknowledge it, the effects are being felt. From Pew:

Julia Sweeney at Reason Rally 2016…

 

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Get Down On Your Knees Dear Father [Updated With Lyrics]

 

Thanks to Bruce

To all those who suffered at the hands of the Roman Catholic Church in Ireland.

All dressed up like a Christmas tree
With velvet lace and gold
They took us to their sacred house
And we did what we were told
They filled up our heads with stories
And told us that we could be saved
If we sang and praised their hero
But he never showed his face

They warned us to watch out for Satan
Who’d be waiting there to capture our souls
If we didn’t heed all of their wishes
He’d drag us down through that hole
We’d burn there and scream forever
And our cries they would never be heard
Yes the little innocence of children
Would accept the liar’s word

Get down on your knees dear father
And beg now forgiveness from me
Show me that you’re truly sorry
For the person I couldn’t be
Show me some tears now of sorrow
Show me a face that is real
My innocence and lonely existence
Was never left for you to steal

They’ll take away all of your treasures
They’ll rob you of all of your dreams
Their cruelty hurts and will leave you
With scars that can never be seen
And we are all left here to suffer
With the heartache of struggle and strife
And our tears they’ll never dry ‘em
They follow us on through life

Get down on your knees dear sister
And beg now forgiveness from me
For the cruelty towards all those children
And the pain that you’ll never see
The mothers that lost all their babies
And never would see them again
The cries from their beds
Still remain in their heads
And slowly it drives them insane

Grab your bags with your souvenirs
Your faking your gold your chandeliers
Take all your sermons and all of your songs
Your won’t be back no more
Take your church and your holy shake
Your evil deeds from where you came
Your candles are melted and no one cares
You won’t be back no more
You won’t be back no more
You won’t be back no more
~~

Got My Plastic Jesus…

 

Photo by Joseph Novak. http://www.flickr.com/photos/josephleenovak/671972189/

 

Thanks to Bruce

I don’t care if it
Rains or freezes
As long as I’ve got my
Plastic Jesus
Ridin’ on the dashboard
Of my car

Through my trials
And tribulations
And my travels
Through the nation
With my plastic Jesus
I’ll go far

Ridin’ down the thoroughfare
With a nose up in the air
A wreck may be ahead
But he don’t mind

Trouble comin’
He don’t see
He just keeps his eye on me
And any other thing that lies behind

With my plastic Jesus
Goodbye and I’ll go far
I said with my plastic Jesus
Sitting on the dashboard of my car

When I’m in a traffic jam
He don’t care if I say damn
I can let all my curses roll

‘Cos Jesus’ plastic doesn’t hear
‘Cos he has a plastic ear
The man who invented plastic
Saved my soul

With my plastic Jesus
Goodbye and I’ll go far
I said with my plastic Jesus
Sitting on the dashboard of my car

An if I weave around at night
Policemen think I’m very tight
They never find my bottle
Though they ask

‘Cos plastic Jesus shelters me
For his head comes off you see
He’s hollow and I use him like a flask

Woa Woa Woa

Save me

I don’t care if it’s dark or scary
Long as I got magnetic Mary
Ridin’ on the dashboard of my car

I feel that I’m protected amply
I’ve got the love of the whole damn family
Ridin’ on the dashboard of my car

With my plastic Jesus
I said goodbye
And I’ll go far

And I said with my plastic Jesus
I said sittin’ on the dashboard of my car

When I’m goin’ fornicatin’
I’ve got my ceramic Satan
Sittin’ on the dashboard of my car
Women know I’m on the level
Thanks to the wide-eyed stoneware devil
Sneerin’ from the dashboard of my car

j2

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Why Blasphemy and Satire Cripples Organized Religion…

 

From Adi Chowdhury
Bangladeshi Humanist

“To appreciate satire, sometimes you need to lay a whole foundation of acceptance of criticism by others. And being at peace with being put on the spot and being responsible for your actions. Sadly, many of these elements are not present in that part of the world. And this is why satire could be viewed as an insult, or a direct attack.” –Basssem Youssef, Egyptian satirist

Organized religion has not shied away from voicing its vehement resentment of “blasphemy.” (Or, more aptly, organized religion has not shied away from ending the lives of those who commit “blasphemy”.) It is not altogether surprising to note this, in fact–authoritarian, oppressive forces have never exactly appreciated criticism against itself. Critics must be decimated, their mindsets lead them to believe. Blasphemy is treason. 

I’m fond of placing the word blasphemy in quotation marks (like “blasphemy”) since the act of “blaspheming” entails that the person has committed some kind of a crime. And what crime has he or she committed? Criticizing religion. I find that laughable. I find it laughable that simply criticizing religion deservedly earns you death threats, or death itself. I find it laughable that organized religion has mangled the concept of skepticism and curiosity to make it seem like a “sinful” act. I find it laughable that an all-powerful deity would ever be offended  or disgraced or even intimidated by a mere human criticizing His holy book. I find it laughable that a god, if he really is as wise as he professes himself to be, will prefer us to blindly submit to him and believe every claim he makes on just the basis of faith, rather than analytically evaluating the word of God and using the sense of logic that He claims to have given us. Established religion spurs us to appreciate and use the wonderful gifts and abilities granted by God…except for the sense of reason and skepticism. No, when it comes to God, always suppress logic. Never doubt. Always believe.

Bassem Youssef, an Egyptian satirist and television show host, is featured in the Big Think video above, expressing his understanding of why satire and criticism deals stunning blows to authoritative, oppressive governments and forces in power. Here’s a well-put excerpt from his eloquent and heartfelt speech:

“…Fear is an incredible mover of the masses. It brainwashes people. It makes people accept and even vote or something that’s against their own personal interests totally out of fear. And speaking about that particular point, it is the same reason why fascisms have a very poor sense of humor because when you have satire you’re not afraid anymore. They don’t want you thinking – they don’t want you to think and laugh, they want you to be in constant state of fear. If you’re laughing at them you’re basically laughing at their brainwashing techniques, at their use of fear and it’s not effective anymore, but if they don’t want that.”

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Bassem Youssef, award-winning satirist

Though Basssem Youssef in this video is elucidating his thoughts on fascist governmental systems rather than organized religion, chilling parallels between the two are hard to miss. Both the latter and the former have amassed notoriety due to their intolerance of dissenters. Both have suppressed the sense of skepticism and preached blind submission. Neither are known for hosting civil discussion and dialogue pertaining to its policies. Rather, the practice of suppressing doubt and promulgating the message of just believe has become synonymous with fascism—as well as the authoritarian nature of organized religion and evangelism.

Youssef, who himself was persecuted in his nation for his so-called “criticism of Islam” (although he himself is a Muslim) and satirical portrayal of the government, explains this issue far better than any writer on this blog can. Watch this enlightening video about why exactly fascist, oppressive forces are so intimidated by satire and “blasphemy.”
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Religion Is The Root Of All Ignorance…

 


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Sam Harris on Trump, Clinton, and Political Reality…

 

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Freethinkers: Robin Williams Born On This Day…

 

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From Freedom From Religion Foundation

Robin Williams

On this date in 1951, actor and comedian Robin McLaurin Williams was born in Chicago, Ill., to parents Laurie McLaurin, a model, and Robert Fitzgerald Williams, a Detroit auto executive. He grew up in Bloomfield, Mich., and Marin County, Calif., with brothers Robert Todd Williams and McLaurin Smith-Williams. Williams studied political science at Claremont McKenna College (then Claremont Men’s College), but left to study theatre at a community college before receiving a full scholarship to the Juilliard School in 1973. Scoring a guest-starring role on the sitcom “Happy Days” in 1978, Williams gained instant recognition for his role as the eccentric alien Mork. The reaction from fans earned him a show of his own based on the character in 1978. Following the success of “Mork and Mindy,” which aired for four seasons, Williams was catapulted into a long and illustrious career, beginning with major movie roles in “Popeye” (1980) and “The World According to Garp” (1982). At the same time, Williams achieved success for his standup specials: “Off the Wall” (1978), “An Evening with Robin Williams” (1982) and “Robin Williams: Live at the Met” (1986). Williams’ many films included a selection of critically-acclaimed dramatic roles such as “Good Morning, Vietnam” (1987) and “Dead Poets Society” (1989). He portrayed Oliver Sacks in the 1990 drama “Awakenings,” based on Sack’s moving memoir about briefly reviving catatonic patients. Williams captured Sacks’ mannerisms so perfectly that Sacks notes some people have actually accused him of imitating Robin Williams. Other films include “The Birdcage” (1996),“The Fisher King” (1991), “Hook” (1991), “Aladdin” (1992), “Mrs. Doubtfire” (1993), “Jumanji” (1995), “Good Will Hunting” (1997), “Flubber” (1997), “Insomnia” (2002), “Night at the Museum” (2006), “Happy Feet” (2006), “Night at the Museum: Battle of the Smithsonian” (2009), and “The Butler” (2013). Williams starred in the Off Broadway production of “Waiting for Godot” (1988) and in the Broadway show “Bengal Tiger at the Baghdad Zoo” (2011).

Miracle Workers: Preying on Sheep…

 

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From Internet Infidels

Anyone who has ever bumped into a theist has probably heard of the supposed miracles that come about through prayer, faith, and devotion to a particular deity. Miracles are important to the believer because they, in the theist’s mind, help to prove the reality of the supernatural. That is, if miracles can occur today then they certainly could have happened in the 1st century. Christopher Hitchens once proposed that he could grant Christians all of Jesus’ miracles and it still would not prove that Jesus was divine or that anything he said was true or moral[1] Still, this belief in the magical, as a method to justify faith in a deity which cannot be proved to exist, has and does persist in our culture. To be fair, not all Christians believe miracles happen today, but many, many still do.[2]

Miracle claims can come in a variety of forms. Before the advent of social media, when chain-emails were still a thing, one might have expected to be spammed with miracle stories about persecuted Christians driving otherwise inoperable cars after praying, Jesus saving people buried alive, or villainous atheist professors who drop chalk to prove God does not exist (because that’s a thing atheists do).[3] Beyond chain-email and Facebook spam stories lie the ever revered anecdotal accounts of miraculous occurrences in the everyday believer’s life[4] There is also the phenomena of miracle photographs, supposedly depicting angels or light from heaven.[5] Statues, too, can be miraculous when they allegedly weep or bleed.[6] There is even miracle food, such as the “Virgin Mary” grilled cheese which sold for $28K in an eBay auction in 2004.[7]

At A Child’s Grave…

 

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From ROBERT INGERSOLL (1833 – 1899)

Washington, D. C., January 8, 1882.

MY FRIENDS: I know how vain it is to gild a grief with words, and yet I wish to take from every grave its fear. Here in this world, where life and death are equal kings, all should be brave enough to meet what all the dead have met. The future has been filled with fear, stained and polluted by the heartless past. From the wondrous tree of life the buds and blossoms fall with ripened fruit, and in the common bed of earth, patriarchs and babes sleep side by side.

Why should we fear that which will come to all that is? We cannot tell, we do not know, which is the greater blessing—life or death. We cannot say that death is not a good. We do not know whether the grave is the end of this life, or the door of another, or whether the night here is not somewhere else a dawn. Neither can we tell which is the more fortunate—the child dying in its mother’s arms, before its lips have learned to form a word, or he who journeys all the length of life’s uneven road, painfully taking the last slow steps with staff and crutch.

Every cradle asks us “Whence?” and every coffin “Whither?” The poor barbarian, weeping above his dead, can answer these questions just as well as the robed priest of the most authentic creed. The tearful ignorance of the one, is as consoling as the learned and unmeaning words of the other. No man, standing where the horizon of a life has touched a grave, has any right to prophesy a future filled with pain and tears.

May be that death gives all there is of worth to life. If those we press and strain within our arms could never die, perhaps that love would wither from the earth. May be this common fate treads from out the paths between our hearts the weeds of selfishness and hate. And I had rather live and love where death is king, than have eternal life where love is not. Another life is nought, unless we know and love again the ones who love us here.

They who stand with breaking hearts around this little grave, need have no fear. The larger and the nobler faith in all that is, and is to be, tells us that death, even at its worst, is only perfect rest. We know that through the common wants of life—the needs and duties of each hour—their grief will lessen day by day, until at last this grave will be to them a place of rest and peace—almost of joy. There is for them this consolation: The dead do not suffer. If they live again, their lives will surely be as good as ours. We have no fear. We are all children of the same mother, and the same fate awaits us all. We, too, have our religion, and it is this: Help for the living—Hope for the dead.
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No Laughing In Heaven…

 

Thanks to Bruce

I used to be a sinner, used to have my cake and eat it
They warned me of my fate, but I was quite prepared to meet it
You’ll go to Hell they smiled at me
And told me of the roaring fires
But I was happy living wild
And fueling my own desires
I was a wild man
Drinking, smoking and messing around with women
Lots of women
No, not swimming, women

I wanna go to Heaven
The place to be is right up there
I wanna go to Heaven
It’s gonna be good so I won’t despair

Christian Crock: Hell, This Infinite Lie…

 

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From ROBERT INGERSOLL (1833 – 1899)

Is it necessary that Heaven should borrow its light from the glare of Hell?

Infinite punishment is infinite cruelty, endless injustice, immortal meanness. To worship an eternal gaoler hardens, debases, and pollutes even the vilest soul. While there is one sad and breaking heart in the universe, no good being can be perfectly happy.

Against the heartlessness of the Christian religion every grand and tender soul should enter solemn protest. The God of Hell should be held in loathing, contempt and scorn. A God who threatens eternal pain should be hated, not loved – cursed, not worshiped. A heaven presided over by such a God must be below the lowest hell. I want no part in any heaven in which the saved, the ransomed and redeemed will drown with shouts of joy the cries and sobs of hell – in which happiness will forget misery, where the tears of the lost only increase laughter and double bliss.

The idea of hell was born of ignorance, brutality, fear, cowardice, and revenge. This idea testifies that our remote ancestors were the lowest beasts. Only from dens, lairs, and caves, only from mouths filled with cruel fangs, only from hearts of fear and hatred, only from the conscience of hunger and lust, only from the lowest and most debased could come this cruel, heartless and bestial of all dogmas.

I would not for my life destroy one star of human hope, but I want it so that when a poor woman rocks the cradle and sings a lullaby to the dimpled darling, she will not be compelled to believe that ninety-nine chances in a hundred she is raising kindling wood for hell.

I would not for anything blot out the faintest star that shines in the horizon of human despair, nor in the sky of human hope; but I will do what I can to get that infinite shadow out of the heart of man…

Freethinkers: That Religion You’ve Been Given Is All Poison…

 

Thanks to Bruce

[My church believes heaven and hell are real places.]

[Mmm. Uh huh.]

[And uh, guess which one you are going to if you keep this up?]

[I don’t know how we can fix a world where people have been so convinced that they are doing the right thing out of compassion and love and trying to help people when it is absolute poison. When it is absolutely destructive.]

Now who’s the one that is responsible for how the world is?
Who’s the one that is responsible for how we all live?
Who takes the negative influences and poisons all the kids
So they just repeat the stupid shit that you and I did?

Who’s the species that wallows in this puddle of mud?
Who’s the one that painted the planet in buckets of blood?
Who’s the one that begs a god for forgiveness of sins,
Then turns right around the next day and does it again?

Julia Sweeney: Letting Go Of God…

 


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C’mon, C’mon, To My Atheist Funeral…


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Freethinker: John Davidson…

 

John Davidson, former host of the Tonight Show and Hollywood Squares, is Openly Secular! He started questioning religion early in college despite being a preacher’s son, and became secular as he did more reading and research. He struggled with being open during his time in show business, but wants to let everyone know he is still a moral, happy person without religion.

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