So there are all the terms I’ve learned of late. One of which is “Anti-theist”. I know it sounds the same as atheist but there is a big difference. An atheist is someone who lacks a belief in a god or gods. That’s it. That’s the only defining characteristic that ties the atheist “movement” together. We can and often do disagree on nearly every other aspect of life. On the other hand, an anti-theist is someone who actively opposes religion. Typically they are atheists but I suppose that wouldn’t necessarily be a prerequisite. Although that would be a bit odd, someone who believes in a god but actively opposes it.
There’s a Youtuber who has brought up the question “What beneficial aspects of religion can’t be replaced by secular means?” and it made me think. I began to think about my time as a Christian. What would that look like? There is only one thing that comes to mind about this that I still struggle with and that’s community. When you believe in a religion and say “I go to such and such church” it has a built-in sense of belonging. A group of people all united with certain foundations and tenants. You all have many things in common just by default. Now being outside of that circle I find it hard to find a group of people to spend time with. I’m sure that’s in big part to being an introvert and having a young family (having neither the time nor the inclination to venture outside of my house). I have found some community online and it’s a good starting place, but there is something about meeting with people regularly, face to face that is missing. I am working with Graceful Atheist and a few others to see what something like this might look like but we are still in the infancy stage.
On the opposite end of that, however, there is one thing that really is something that the secular world has done for me that religion never did. I struggle with depression off and on and while I was a believer I always felt there was something wrong with me. God was supposed to have this great plan for me and I was to be living life abundantly. But that never seems to click. Of course, I could fake it on Sunday mornings and pretty much with every interaction I had but deep down I felt as though I was doing something wrong. Why wasn’t I always just happy? Why didn’t I feel the “joy” all the time? Was I not praying right? Was I not reading my Bible enough? So now stacked on top of all the depression I had an overwhelming sense of guilt.
So am I an anti-theist? I don’t know. I haven’t thought it all the way through. I do know that I think religion does do more harm than good for our current society. Trying to pass laws in order to make everyone follow their moral guide, having their myths taught as scientific fact, being content with “god did it” as the answer to deep questions seems to hold us back as a society. But I do get it, I was there not too long ago. Maybe time will make me one?
An appeal to emotion fallacy is something that most people might already be aware of, with out being aware of it. Those Sarah Mclachlan commercials with the dogs. The ones that make you either cry or want to change the channel are a prime example of an appeal to emotion. What this does is to use imagery or stories that stir up an emotional response in people in order to “prove the point”. Sure these may be examples of what is being argued but just because something elicits and emotional response does not lend it to be a sound argument.
What I’m saying here isn’t that we shouldn’t change things because a fallacy is presented. There may be other arguments in there that are valid. In this example I believe we can agree that the mistreatment of animals is wrong. However it’s not wrong because of the images and stories told. It’s wrong because we shouldn’t cause undue suffering on them. There is a whole separate debate on whether or not it’s right to eat animals but that’s not the argument we’re having here.
If you’re looking for a good resource on logical fallacies I recommend YourLogicalFallacyIs.com It’s been great helping me understand what the difference fallacies are and how they are applied.
Dating in high school was an interesting situation. Being that I was so into Christianity that left a lot of “normal” things off the table. However I had my father sending kind of mixed signals. He wanted me to have a similar high school experience to him however was also teaching me the morality of Christianity. He didn’t push abstinence only on me and told me that if I was going to have sex to use a condom. But at the same time telling me to do what the bible said (don’t have sex until marriage). This felt very conflicted. Along the same lines dating wasn’t supposed to be all fun and games, it was supposed to be looking for a future wife. How messed up is that? I was 15 years old and was supposed to be looking at every girl I dated as the girl I’m supposed to spend the rest of my life with? I didn’t even know what that was supposed to look like!
I dated girls off and on, some serious, some not so serious. But I always put my whole heart into it, so it hurt anytime I was broken up with. I recently found my old livejournal account (everyone had one at the time…dating myself I know), and realized I was kind of an ass. I dated girls and looked for a way out to date some other girl I may have liked. Not realizing at the time that I was doing anything wrong. It kinda makes me sick looking back at it now.
One thing that did come from that thought was I did meet the person I would spend the rest of my life with. She was in one of my classes. I won’t go too deep into it now as that’s for another post entirely but she was certainly the greatest thing that came from high school. Being the “good” Christian that I was, I of course had to make sure she started going to my church. I dragged her along with me to as many youth events as she’d agree to go to. Long story short we got married at that church.
Sorry for the hiatus! Work has been crazy the last couple weeks and the with the domain shift it’s been next to impossible to get any good writing in. I’ll be back to my regularly schedule postings next week.
With the move to the new domain there is a lot of house keeping that needs to be done. Posts may be delayed or missed entirely while I work through this. Sorry for the delay but I’ll be back to the normal schedule very soon! Thanks for your patience!
So I’m obviously currently using worpress.com’s free version. I was debating on switching to a self hosted site since I have all the systems set up. The cost would only be that of a domain name, as opposed to something like $36/year through WordPress .However I don’t want to lose the followers and reader functions that are present in WordPress.com. So, my question to you, fellow bloggers, what are you doing for custom domains?
An ad hominem fallacy is when you use a personal attack on someone during a debate instead of attacking the argument. Something to the effect of when you put forth a solid argument, well thought out and presented perfectly. Your opponent retorts with something to the effect of “how can you trust someone who smoked pot in college?” It does nothing to address the actual argument but will make a person listening to the debate think lesser of the one being attacked.
I see this often in debates between theists and atheists from both sides. Usually from the theists because they’ve been backed into a corner and can’t find a logical way out. From the atheist side, usually a neck-beard trying to start a fight (yes I realize the irony of that statement). But in all honesty I think that putting down these sorts of attacks is not a productive way to go about debating. I think its ok to make an attempt to see the point of view from the other side of a debate. I think this makes for a better dialog. Also you can understand it with out accepting it.
As you may have noticed I missed yesterday’s Bible Study. This is probably the hardest content to update and it seems to get the least amount of feedback so I’m asking you all whether or not it’s something you actually want to see here.
I’ve heard this from a lot of Christians “What if you’re wrong, that means you’re going to hell. You don’t want that do you?” Well there are a few things that come to mind when I see this. First and foremost, what if you’rewrong? There a lots of religions out there. What if you picked and / or were born into the wrong one? Do you actually thing that if you were born in another part of the world that you would come to the same belief about Christianity that you do today? I’m willing to bet that if you were born and raised in the middle east that you’d be a follower of Islam. Perhaps if you were born in India you’d be practicing Hinduism. I find it interesting that depending on where you’re born and raised so heavily influences religious beliefs. It’s almost as if man created god instead of the other way around. Seems unfair that you’d be sent to hell for a belief that you’re convinced of due to your culture. I quote a great philosopher of our time, Homer Simpson “Suppose we’ve chosen the wrong god? Every time we go to church we’re just making him madder and madder.”
Secondly, from what I’ve read and been taught, when one ends up in heaven you just don’t want to “sin” anymore. For a god that is so worried about free will that it won’t reveal him/her/itself to the world because it would mess with our “free will” they seem very ready to take it away once you get to heaven. Free will is a subject for a whole other blog post but just one more thought on that. If free will is what keeps god hidden because if we knew they existed then we would have no choice but to worship him, what about Satan? He knew god existed and still chose not to. He was his right hand angel for a while there and still went up against him. Seems that knowing that god exists doesn’t really have a bearing on whether or not we worship him.