I’m not really a people person. Like a lot of atheists (supposedly), I’m quite an outsider, as much of a hermit as I can get away with, in fact. I have never liked going out in crowds or socializing with large numbers of people. But I help run my local atheist group and am coordinator of the Morgantown Coalition of Reason.
Why am I telling you all of this? Because I have realized something that I want to share with you. Even though I’m a curmudgeonly hermit-y atheist, I love going to the 3 atheist/freethinker/skeptical meetings we have every month. That’s 3 Sundays a month where I happily leave the house and go socialize with a small group of people. And I look forward to it. The one or 2 Sundays where we don’t meet I miss it.
Even people like me benefit from social community and contact. The beauty of the atheist/freethinker community is that we are relatively like-minded. We have a foundation of common ground. But we are also quite different, of course, which is good because that makes things interesting. The added bonus of freethinkers, skeptics and atheists is that we seem relatively level-headed (overall – there are exceptions, of course) and we argue and discuss matters with interest and fairness. No drama llama is invited! So it’s actually fun and mentally stimulating.
I think we all need some type of community, which is one thing that religion has in its favor that being a lone atheist or nonbeliever does not.
But this is easily remedied. I thought I’d share some thoughts on how to get involved with a secular group of like-minded people. If none exist in your area, you can start one up…
Why is it that people who put on such a show of high moral character and fine virtues are usually the dirtiest fighters, the biggest bullies, and the first to whine and cry when something might possibly be a little less than fair? Hypocrisy. That’s why. And I hate it. To me it’s one of the REAL 7 Deadly Sins.
Hypocrisy: noun- a pretense of having a virtuous character, moral or religious beliefs or principles, etc., that one does not really possess.
I watch several different sports. I have a passion for Formula One racing, MMA and boxing. I’ve noticed parallels between sports, religion and politics.
While I love these sports, I do watch them differently than my husband does. I get interested in different players or drivers or fighters while he is more interested in other things that are beyond my poor female brain (JK!). I’m explaining how I watch them because I think that’s how I’ve noticed this thing about hypocrisy.
Here’s an example from boxing awhile ago: Mayorga is a trash talking guy who has little skill. He goes in there wildly. Mosely is a fighter who has real skill. He doesn’t talk trash.
Now things happen in boxing. Each guy is there trying to knock the other guy out. Sometimes they knock heads together. Sometimes punches go where they aren’t supposed to, like the back of the head, or anywhere on the back side of the boxer.
I watched 12 rounds of boxing between these two. Mosely never once complained to the referee when Mayorga punched him in the back of the head (obviously on purpose. It’s called a Rabbit Punch by the way). But every time Mayorga’s wild style made one of Mosely’s punches go a bit astray, Mayorga would look to the ref and whine and cry about it. By the way, Mosely knocked out Mayorga in the last second of the final round. It was sweet…
It can be easy to feel superior to theists who blindly follow around like docile then alternately hostile sheep, parroting whatever nonsense is fed to them by their minister or media of choice. They can seem stupid, however they are smart enough in some respects to be unnerving and to keep most of us supposedly intelligent freethinking atheists hiding in our closets. Although any mob is dangerous, and sheep are no exception.
What are the causes of sheep mentality? Does it only happen to dumb people? These are questions I am curious about especially after reading an excerpt from Matt Taibbi’s new book, The Great Derangement. I’ve never heard of Taibbi before, but he has his own Wikipedia page. He works for Rolling Stone, oh, and it seems that he is a regular contributor to Real Time with Bill Maher.
So my friend linked me to freethoughtpedia to an excerpt of this book. It’s kind of long, but I found this to be an exceptionally compelling must-read.
Taibbi infiltrates a christian zionist church in Texas. He’s an atheist but he goes undercover to an “Encounter Weekend” to get a look “inside the evangelical mind-set that gave this country eight years of George Bush”.
I found it to be very insightful, frightening and downright hilarious reading. I would highly recommend it. If you’re going to read it and want the full experience, click here. Otherwise if you need more tempting, here are a few really compelling quotes from the excerpt:…
While most atheists are faced with answering how they can be moral without a god, I have a list of 10 reasons that the irreligious are morally superior to religious fundamentalists.
In my experience, the bible goes on, especially in the old testament, about how to treat people who are different than you. It’s full of hate and cruelty, with some arbitrary rules thrown in. Only a few of those rules are sensible. The rest are about control. From the little I know of the quran, it’s even worse.
I’m not going to pick the bible (or the quran) apart. It’s not worth my time and aggravation. If you believe that the bible is the divinely inspired word of god, you’re only going to skim this article, find a few points to attack me while you brew up a cup of moral and righteous indignation, and then try to shove your fundamentalism down my throat because you’re scared of people who think for themselves and don’t have blind faith in fairy tales from the Fertile Crescent like you do. You don’t listen anyway, you just find ammunition then viciously attack. What great role models you are. How very christ-like.
On the other hand, if you are truly interested in breaking free of the iron fist of god ruling your life and keeping you in ignorant fear, you can go to the Skeptic’s Annotated Bible and look around for yourself.
The atheists who read this probably have already read that awful book, because as a general rule, we need to be more educated on religious matters than those militant religious folks that try to tell us how we should believe.
So, onto the 10 reasons atheists are morally superior, in no particular order, and my personal opinion about each one:…
One of the things I noticed not long after becoming an atheist was how much christianity and religion is soaked into the fabric of society.
Here are a few glaring examples:
- Taking Sundays off
- Blue States where they won’t sell alcohol on Sundays
- Saying “bless you” when someone sneezes
- Christmas, Easter, St. Valentine’s Day, St. Patrick’s Day, Halloween, All Saints Day, etc., etc….
- Common expressions like oh my god, jesus!, jesus christ, damnit, damn, holy anything, etc., etc…
As an atheist, I wonder, is it necessary to remove and de-christianize ourselves as much as possible? My husband sneezed this morning and I said “bless you.” It’s a habit to say it. I apologized and said, “you’re so good looking” instead. (A Seinfeld episode reference.)
Saying “bless you” is a very old superstition. Is it really necessary to say it when we are trying to rid ourselves of this woo thinking?
For holidays, I find that it’s a time to get together with family. Since I’ve gone godless, I wish people happy holidays, not merry christmas, and so on. Most people don’t even notice. But for me, I find that it’s important to de-christianize my thoughts, actions and words…
My parents weren’t religious when I was young, but my older sister got sucked into the local baptist church, so of course she dragged me along. It was the typical fire and brimstone kind of preaching. In the summer, we would go visit my grandparents, and my grandmother would take us to the christian scientist church. They didn’t conflict too much for my young brain, so it wasn’t that bad. I was a good little christian girl, and got baptized as soon as I could with the god fearing baptists.
When I was about 12, my parents suddenly got religious in the church of christ. More fear of god preaching filled my head, including bible study once a week with the minister. I got baptized two more times in two different churches, for good measure, and went to church faithfully. I was terrified of burning in hell. It didn’t help that my parents were crazy… good christians on Sunday morning, screaming and abusive the rest of the week. Of course they both blamed me for their abusiveness, so I felt damned to hell for being so wicked, even though I was exceedingly good most of the time.
Not long after we started bible study, the minister decided he wanted to go bowling instead of teach us about the lord’s word. He said I asked too many questions. This was the first blatant sign I had of the hypocrisy of the church and I wanted no more part of it. My stepfather thoughtfully punished me severely for not wanting to go to church. But after a month of it, he inexplicably stopped trying to make me go, much to my relief…