July 23, 2014

Supporting Atheists

Atheism
Atheism (Photo credit: thinboyfatter)
Following the Four Things We Can Do To Make More Atheists post, I elaborated on the ideas of criticizing religious belief and promoting atheism. In this post, I'll expand on the idea of supporting other atheists. I think this may be the most obvious of the four things. At least, I hope it is. If we are going to ask people living in religiously oppressive environments to walk away from the religious beliefs their culture pushes and embrace atheism, we must be ready to provide support to those who do.

Tangible and Informational Support

I noted previously that we need to figure out how to provide tangible support (e.g., housing, financial assistance). I was thinking here primarily about teens who are kicked out of their family homes for disclosing their atheism. But this could also include adults who lose their jobs due to atheism or even those who lose a partner on whom they were financially dependent. Atheism remains a risky proposition for many, and it makes sense to give some thought to how we might provide this sort of support effectively.

July 22, 2014

I Have Seen Angles Too

A right angle is equal to 90 degrees.
A right angle is equal to 90 degrees. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)
I imagine there would be fewer atheists if only we'd get our heads out of our asses and accept everything Christians tell us uncritically. I mean, many of them have had experiences they cannot explain so...god! Why do we have to be so stubborn as to doubt them and not simply take their word for it? Why must we always go on and on about evidence?

The evidence is all around us, at least that's what Christians insist. We refuse to see it because...I'm not sure why. Perhaps their god is "hardening our hearts" like it used to do in biblical times.

I received another email from a Christian worth sharing that makes this point. At least, that is the point I am going to draw from it. As always, here is the message in its unedited glory (I know that's how you prefer it):
You don't know how much God loves you. You probably just laughed at the last sentence because well you don't believe in God. Well I respect your believes. I won't judge you. I don't think your a horrible person or should burn in hell. God is in your daily life every day. One thing that atheist over look is there has been a lot of people who have seen angles or been to heaven. I have seen signals from God and hopefully you will to.God bless you :)

July 21, 2014

Familiar Images of Hate

Attempting to block integration at the Univers...
Attempting to block integration at the University of Alabama, Governor stands defiantly at the door while being confronted by Deputy U.S. Attorney General . (Photo credit: Wikipedia)
I can't say I've never hated anyone, but the few people I have hated all had something in common: they were people who were close to me and then betrayed my trust in a major way. The feelings of hate I experienced always came from this betrayal of trust. I've never been able to relate to hating someone I don't know fairly well, and the hatred of strangers has always baffled me. Why would I expend the energy required by hate on a stranger?

Immigration has been back in the news, featuring many vivid scenes of White people yelling at buses filled with immigrants in California. This is what hate looks like when it rises to the surface. And it never seems to be very far from the surface. Whether it is directed at immigrants, racial/ethnic minorities, LGBT persons, atheists, or those with a different political orientation matters little. It tends to look the same.

When I see these scenes on television or the Internet, I feel ashamed to be part of the same species as the protestors. I find myself thinking that this is a testimony to some of the worst of what the United States has to offer. Of course, I recognize that the hatred of immigrants and many other groups is not specific to the U.S. and that it is certainly nothing new. But none of this makes me feel any better about it.

July 20, 2014

Why Does a Perfect God Have Human Flaws?

cuadro que representa a la Trinidad (santuario...
cuadro que representa a la Trinidad (santuario della Santissima Trinità - Vallepietra RM) (Photo credit: Wikipedia)
If the Christian god exists and is a perfect being, as Christians tell us, why is it that this god would have attributes that are widely considered undesirable among humans (e.g., jealousy, wrath)? Wouldn't the possession of such attributes by a god undermine any claim to perfection?

The concept of a perfect god that just so happens to share many human flaws borders on the nonsensical. It seems far more likely that we humans created this notion of a flawed god, one that reflects our many failings, including the stubborn pride many display about their flaws.

Who else but humans could create such a twisted being and then insist it was perfect? Who else but humans could have made taking pride in ignorance into an art form?

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July 18, 2014

Seeking Input on Media Streaming Devices

Apple TV
Apple TV (Photo credit: bfishadow)
I suspect that many of my readers are far more tech-savy than I am. A recent post by Sean over at My Secret Atheist Blog reminded me of something off-topic I've been meaning to ask you for some time. I'm in need of some tech help from those of you who are up on media streaming devices.

The Problem

My situation is simple. My primary TV is connected to a cable box for which I have all but resigned myself for paying way too much. I have no interest in media streaming for this TV. In part, this is because the TV is old enough that it will almost certainly need replacement in the next year or two. If I were to replace it with a "smart" TV, a separate streaming box might be unnecessary. But most of my reluctance comes from trying Netflix's streaming service and being disappointed by the poor picture and audio quality. It was markedly inferior to the picture and audio quality of my old cable box, and that's already poor.

What I want to be able to do is stream content to a second small TV I have in another room. Picture and audio quality won't matter that much here, and my primary interest is streaming YouTube videos. With what I'm paying for cable, I'm really not interested in paying any more for streaming content.

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