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Sunday, October 26, 2008

"These Are Not The Droids You're Looking For"

This may well turn out to be a long post because I've been worshipping at the alter of Staropramen all evening.
I have to thank the Jagmeister General for letting me know about a blogpost over on the Ben Lomond Free Press. Big Rab does a much better job of explaining it than me, but the general gist is as follows. The British Humanist Association has recently started an appeal to raise money to fund an ad campaign on London's fleet of bendy buses. These ads would cost approximately £11,000 to fund, but the worlds most famous athiest, Professor Richard Dawkins, has offered to stump up half the cash, leaving the BHA to find their £5,500 through an online appeal.
As I type this, the appeal has raised £106,932.00!

Now I fervently, yes fervently, believe in the rights of anybody to believe in anything.
If you wish to believe that the planet was created in only 6 days by an old man, who may or may not be white, but who is well known for having a penchant for long flowing locks and comfortable clothes and who lives in a large estate on a cloud in the sky, then be my guest.

If you want to believe that cows are sacred, or that mice are "the soldiers of Satan", by all means, knock yourself out.

If you have a hole in your life that can only be filled by an imaginary friend who you share with millions of other people, all of whom would probably be caught out be the Jedi mind trick, don't let me stop you, go for it.

But.

As a card carrying atheist, I think that people like me, who believe that EVERYTHING that is alive is simply part of an organic process, should be allowed to shout about it too. I don't know how or why life started on Earth, and I'm not really sure that I care, but I certainly don't believe that we were spontaneously popped into existence like Mr Claypole from Rentaghost.

If you are a true believer, answer me these questions:
What about all the people who lived before Jesus let everyone know what all the rules were? Are they all in hell for not believing in God?
Amazon tribesmen who've never been exposed to religion? Are they all in hell too?
Is every creature that has ever lived still up there in heaven? Every rabbit? Every cockroach? Every amoeba?
What's the cell count cut-off point for getting into heaven? Is multi-cellular life in and single-celled life out?
If I'm a widower and I re-marry, am I allowed to have two wives up there when I pop my clogs? Is bigamy cool with The Big Man?
What happens to infants who die before they have a chance to learn about the Ten Commandments?

If God made you and me and Grace Jones, then surely he must also have made the Ebola virus, Creutzfeldt-Jakob disease and ingrown toenails.
Why would he let all these flaws exist, causing pain and suffering to hundreds of thousands of people? Will he be releasing a patch when he's got it all figured out?

Earth Service Pack 1, including Mankind 1.1.
Designed to eradicate cancer, suffering, ginger hair and Lily Allen.

I donated £10 quid to the atheist bus campaign and I feel good about it.
I have faith.

Having said all that, and in the interests of being circumspect, IF there is a God, then I think he probably looks like Paul Teutel Snr, head of the Orange County Choppers empire. Same attitude, just more hair and less tattoos.
Drinking at home. It's never a good idea.

13 comments:

Steve said...

Jesus built my hot-rod. Amen to that!

Jaggy said...

And you have the cheek to slag me on the odd occasion that I imbibe at home. At least I don't try to bring down world order and insult two thirds of the Earth's population.

Inchy said...

Kindly leave your prejudice at the door, Reverend Jaggy. I'm not insulting anyone, I'm all about equality. I only think it's fair that those who oppose the religious argument have as fair a say and as open a platform to debate as those who support it.
I'd genuinely like someone that thinks I'm wrong to answer the questions I've asked.

Mike said...

I'm an atheist, but I've attempted the questions...
1) They followed their own belief systems (Jewish, Roman, Egyptian, ...) and were judged accordingly.
2) No Gods, no judgement. But, they probably had their own Gods. Religion is widespread amongst cultures, and thus part of evolution.
3) The finite Earth has absorbed their mortal remains. Heaven could be infinite. See below.
4) According to the Sunday School teacher on The Simpsons, only people have souls.
5) Mormons promote polygamy. And they're Christians.
6) Legally, children are assumed innocent until old enough to determine right and wrong.
7) Life is a journey. Only by experiencing the bad, can you appreciate the good. If Utopia existed on Earth, entering Heaven has less incentive.

Mike said...

4 again) Only man has the intellect to comprehend an abstract concept like religion. No Gods, no judgement.
7 again) The question should be: What is the purpose of Man? If Utopia existed, Man would serve no purpose.

TLP said...

I'm an atheist who was reared in a Fundamentalist Christian church.

You know what kills me about believers? They'll say things like, "If you don't believe it god, then you can do anything."

Oh, really? Is god what keeps you from killing people? I don't need god to behave myself. I don't want to be a sh*t.

Inchy said...

Mike & TLP, welcome.

Mike, thanks for having a go, but I still think religion doesn't stand up to close scrutiny.
The bible, if it's a factual document, would have us believe that we sin every day.
It is, for example, an insult to God to wear two different types of cloth, or to grow two different types of crop in fields next to each other.
The commandment "Thou Shalt Not Kill" seems pretty clear cut to me, yet armies throughout history break it willy-nilly, but apparently we've sorted that all out because God didn't mean you can't kill, that would just be unworkable, what he meant was you can't commit murder. As long as it's sanctioned by an elected official of your presiding government then you can go on the rampage as much as you like.

All in all, it just seems a bit silly to me.

http://tinyurl.com/5bc737

Mike said...

Dawkins admits that 'religion' may serve a purpose, since it is widespread through the world's cultures, and has survived the process of evolution. I regard 'xenophobia' similarly. And it's xenophobia, rather than religion, that's the cause of wars. Wars are fought 'in the name of religion' for other agendas.

One place where religion may usefully serve is in 12-step programmes for recovering addicts, which require the recognition of a higher power. Presumably, because the individual has insufficient willpower of their own.

The 12 commandments were a code of conduct, introduced in place of anarchy, and largely replaced by criminal law over time. The Bible is similar to the more recent Magna Carta (largely replaced by civil law), in that it has dictates that were relevant at the time, but are irrelevant now. Both were reinterpreted over time to serve other agendas.

The actions of armies are governed by the Rules of Engagement and International Law (War Crimes). The radio programme's advice is better suited to suicide bombers, than soldiers.

Eostre said...

I hate the attitude of smug superiority that people have when they go into religious debates be they Muslims, Christians, Atheists, or followers of any other belief system or school of thought. It's this whole attitude... what you believe is stupid and wrong therefore you are stupid and wrong.
Why can't we agree to disagree, agree that people have the right to disagree without belittling their beliefs?
I don't agree with Atheism but I think its a perfectly legitimate point of view to have. Their desire to campaign is perfectly legitimate, they have as much right as anyone else.
I just don't understand defending people's rights to believe something then in practically the same breath mocking the validity of those beliefs.
That said, I do believe that though religion is a touchy subject it shouldn't be a taboo.
Oh and I don't thing religion is synonymous with morality. You can be a good person without being a good Muslim/Christian/Jew or even believing in any sort of higher power at all. It's retarded to thing being a decent human being and not believing in God are mutually exclusive.

Roman Empress said...

Leave Grace Jones out of this!

Inchy said...

There's bugger all wrong with Grace Jones, she can pull up to my bumper anytime!

Zen Wizard said...

The Roman god Vulcan--who was a welder--probably would look a lot like Paul Teutel Sr., I will grant you that.

The Judeo-Christian God frowns on tattoos and body piercing. (Leviticus 19:28.)

I believe in the two-party system--could you send a donation to a Republican Senator, while some still exist??

Mike said...

5 again) Mormons have banned polygamy for a century. So: marriage vows are 'till death us do part, so there's no marriage in heaven.
7 yet again) Man was thrown out of Paradise right at the start (Genesis).
Apparently, there are two commandments only I know about. Typo.