Darkest Before the Dawn

There has been a lot of great pro-atheist/secular press lately. Among the good news is a recent study showing a vast increase in the number of people calling themselves non-religious, and the decreasing numbers calling themselves religious. While I am heartened by this news and proud that the admitted non-religious now make up the third largest religious demographic, something in this report raised my eyebrow.

While virtually every single religion has lost ground, one group, the evangelicals, are gaining ground. Evangelicals encompass the so called “charismatic” churches. In your face, door-to-door evangelism to spread the viral meme that religion has become. This is the Rockin’ for Jesus crowd. These are the people waving their hands in the air while listening to bad 80s rock about fairy tales. The people that hold up signs about god killing soldiers because we don’t stone homosexuals; these are evangelicals.

So while the religion is very slowly getting smaller, (and thank god for that, ha!), it’s becoming bolder and more dangerous; concentrated idiocy.

As a people, we should be proud. It’s about time we’re able to say, out loud, that we don’t believe in this nonsense and that it just doesn’t make any sense. I believe it’s likely that the numbers of atheists have been up around 10% for some time and that people were simply afraid or too embarrassed to say anything openly. It speaks highly of us and our country’s development that this barrier is slowly lifting and that atheism is finally expanding.

Of course, the United States is still way behind much of Europe when it comes to accepting non-believers as equals. There are plenty of people in this country that have admitted they’d rather live next to a Muslim than an atheist, as completely idiotic as that is and despite the fact no atheists have ever bombed a government building or flown planes into sky-scrapers. There are likely even more people that are proud as some idiot redneck at a prize pumpkin competition that we lag behind Europe in this area.

The problem is, that the more evangelical we become as a country, the father behind we fall in the maths and sciences. Europe is making major headway into the physical sciences and is quickly beginning to upstage us. Japan is famously technologically advanced and is essentially always on the bleeding edge. All this technology has it’s roots in the educational system, science and academia.

Not surprisingly, evangelicals aren’t really fond of academia and learning. Evangelicals aren’t interested in anything other than, as they would likely put it, “The Word.” Unfortunately for us, however, the Word doesn’t keep the power on or put satellites in orbit or anything that’s actually useful. We are essentially losing our place as the leader of the free world because these backwards bumpkins, and those that enable them (I’m looking at you, Catholics and Lutherans), breed like rabbits. While they’re breeding, they make sure to breed in a healthy lack of respect for anyone that disagrees with their fanciful little worldview.

As I watch and read news and reports on the internet, I fear that the worst is yet to come. The fact that the most progressive president in history will still not endorse gay marriage because of idiotic religious objections to a private matter indicates just how far we have to go. The more we push out the envelope to making sure we are properly represented, which we simply are not, the more these backwards people push back, and they outnumber us. As we become more of a political force, you can bet that the full political power of the churches, who have never failed to butt into politics despite that tax-exempt status, will be brought to bear on us. The attacks will become more personal. <edited by user request> People like EvilTomte will feel the need to defend these idiots out of some misguided attempt at fairness. In doing so they will only risk endangering their own rights in their countries. The religious are not interest in fair, they are interested in following their religion first and foremost.

From my perspective, it has become the most important issue in my life, save my family’s safety. With the recent assaults on non-Christians becoming a much more prominent I have found it necessary to cut ties with my Christian friends, after realizing they will put their inane mythology ahead of my rights. It doesn’t matter that I’m not gay, had I been so, every single one of my close friends would have voted to take away my right to marry and I find that unconscionable. I consider it a matter of self-protection for myself and my family that I no longer associate with these people, in addition to being the only real action I can directly take against the planned erosion of my rights.

So the next few years, maybe the next couple decades, could be very interesting and will get darker before the next enlightenment hits us. The Dark Ages followed the fall of Rome, when neediness and a lack of education caused people to fall on old mythologies to make themselves feel better about their horrible lives and low standard of living. Religion has always preyed on those that need their lives to mean something, especially if that life is a hard one. The irony is that religion represses scientific advancement thus ensuring people’s lives remain hard: it’s a self-propagating system.

Atheism and secular society is entering the feisty teenager stage as it begins to understand it’s just as important and even more valid than these ancient mythologies. The old-school, all-controlling, oppressive religions are heading into their death throes… well, hopefully, anyway. The two are bound to butt heads directly and it wouldn’t surprise me if it did so physically. Perhaps when these archaic religions stop seeing their belief as a reason to wage war on other beliefs, I’ll be more like to associate with them. Until then I’ll remain wary of religion and its motives and will be sure to keep them at a safe distance.

14 Replies to “Darkest Before the Dawn”

  1. “1. The religious, and most especially the evangelical types, actually do believe they are better than everyone else. This belief is the driving force behind the actual practice of evangelism; to spread your “truth” as you see it to everyone else, because they are misguided and wrong. The irony has always been that you’ll oppress, supress, and kill all those who are different to spread the truth of Christian Love.”

    This is wrong, I’m sorry some Christians have come across to you like that, but that belief is wrong. A Christian who suppress, oppress, and kills all who believe different haven’t actually read really read what Christ is saying and is instead using him as an excuse to hate others. In the Bible it says extremely clearly not to discriminate and do violence.

    “2. Race isn’t a choice, and racial identity is as much a part of biology as eye color or average body build. These things are part of the human animal. All animals naturally prefer the company of their own kind, and this includes people. Does this mean all people believe the same? Of course not, any more than all religious factions wave their arms in the air and rock for Jesus. However this is the group I was specifically talking about in this case. So yes, it is accurate, and highly inaccurate of you to compare race and race preferences to which made-up fairy tale you believe in.”

    You’re misinterpreting my point, or perhaps I didn’t explain well enough. I was referring to how people as a group tend to stereotype groups based on extreme examples of that group. Some other examples, very few people who play video games are violent in real life, not all blacks are lazy, very few Muslims are violent jihadists, not all Americans are fat, not all French are cowardly, not every Asian is good at math, there are very few completely unethical Atheists, and there are very few Christians who stand around waving hate signs at funerals and wanting to kill or hurt non-believers. There are not very many Christians that you are describing like that out there and you were using that small group to describe all evangelicals, which is what I was trying to clear that up a little bit.

    I would really prefer to not get into an argument about this, I’ve tried, nothing happens; everyone is to set in their ways and the internet is too impersonal for anything to change. However, I will try to clear anything up that I’ve said.

    Peace.

  2. “In your face, door-to-door evangelism to spread the viral meme that religion has become. This is the Rockin’ for Jesus crowd. These are the people waving their hands in the air while listening to bad 80s rock about fairy tales. The people that hold up signs about god killing soldiers because we don’t stone homosexuals; these are evangelicals.”

    I’m afraid you are slightly misinformed on this. While there are Christians that do this they are an extremely small minority. Using this to describe all Evangelical Christians would be like saying all white people believe themselves to be superior to non-whites and would physically harm non-whites if given the chance; some people do believe this yes, but the number of white people that actually believe and do these things are extremely small compared to the group as a whole. Same thing with Evangelicals and those that you are describing.

    I just wanted to try to clear things up a little bit.

    1. I’m not quite as uninformed on the subject as you might believe. I will say that your argument has a couple of big holes in it, though.

      1. The religious, and most especially the evangelical types, actually do believe they are better than everyone else. This belief is the driving force behind the actual practice of evangelism; to spread your “truth” as you see it to everyone else, because they are misguided and wrong. The irony has always been that you’ll oppress, supress, and kill all those who are different to spread the truth of Christian Love.

      2. Race isn’t a choice, and racial identity is as much a part of biology as eye color or average body build. These things are part of the human animal. All animals naturally prefer the company of their own kind, and this includes people. Does this mean all people believe the same? Of course not, any more than all religious factions wave their arms in the air and rock for Jesus. However this is the group I was specifically talking about in this case. So yes, it is accurate, and highly inaccurate of you to compare race and race preferences to which made-up fairy tale you believe in.

      [WORDPRESS HASHCASH] The poster sent us ‘0 which is not a hashcash value.

  3. EvilTomte says:

    “America is not a democracy. This is not a nation of majority rules. This is a Republic. The rights of the minorities are ASSURED, the majority does NOT have the right to vote away the rights of the minority.
    Democracy is a very flawed and very corrupt form of government. It turns it into mob rule, as you are for seemingly no reason fighting for.”

    True. As are they in a democracy. All minorities are protected.

    “Democracy is a very flawed and very corrupt form of government. It turns it into mob rule, as you are for seemingly no reason fighting for.”

    How is it corrupt? How is it flawed? Please elaborate.
    Imo a republic is flawed in many ways also. One person having all the power? Great. I’d love to have Bush with that amount of power in Sweden. Not. Besides that, you have what, two parties. Both with similar or interconnecting views on most matters.

    “And no, the king thing wasn’t just on paper. The church ruled the king. It was the church running the game, the king was just a figurehead. As long as the king didn’t do anything against the churches wishes, he stayed.”

    Once again I’ll just say “no”. The medieval church had huge influence, true. But it was a power struggle between the kings and the church through all of history, and with Luther’s teachings the kings finally won their freedom from the Catholic Church (using it as an excuse to take its power and wealth).
    Some kings had more power than the church, in some countries it was the opposite. For example England was very independent.

    ““I’m not sure why you reject the fact that the church spread knowledge across Europe.”
    Ummm… because that’s a load of bull.
    The church strived to spread RELIGIOUS knowledge, nothing else. They BURNED books they didn’t agree with. Countless tomes of anything they didn’t agree with. Oh, sure, some protected some of the tomes from… um… themselves… They… grew… herbs? WTF? What kind of retarded statement is that? Their healing was not knowledgeable, it was mostly prayer based, bleeding people, leaches. ALL cultures typically bring with them crops to grow wherever they go at those times.”

    This is also bullshit. 🙂 Sorry to say. But they spread much more than religious knowledge. Architecture, agriculture, liquor, language education, math. I’m not sure what books they burned, I’m sure they have, but I doubt it’s as if they burned any and all scientific books they could find. 🙂 There weren’t many books at the time, and most were produced by the church.
    Yes they grew herbs. Herbs, plants, etc. It might be meaningless to you, but at the time it was a rare and valuable commodity.

    Their healing was of course primitive, like all healing at the time, but it was a step up from whatever presided in the primitive areas at the time. They knew that a clean surrounding helps heal any wounded.
    The ones best at medical science at the time were actually muslims, but perhaps that’s irrelevant.

    “More to the point, introducing species to a nonnative environment isn’t actually a good thing. They brought horses?!? HOORAY! WHAT AN AMAZING ACCOMPLISHMENT THAT CANNOT BE DONE BY ANYTHING ELSE!

    Your sarcasm is amusing to say the least 🙂 Horses were our times’ cars, and these new breeds of horses were a whole new standard, necessary to uphold an effective army. Among other things. Horses were also a valuable trade commodity.

    “Warfare was changed! OH MY! THEY IMPROVED KILLINGS! YEAH! MASSIVE IMPROVEMENT TO THE HUMAN RACE! WE KNOW HOW TO KILL BETTER! WHOOOWHOOOWHOOOWHOOO!!! Are you retarded or something? How the hell did you think that was a persuasive argument?”

    Warfare at the time was important to protect one’s own nation. Had our own armies not been improved perhaps we would be under another country’s banner right now. 🙂 So yes, it all connects very nicely.

    “Your arguments are completely whack. They make no sense, especially if I read your first one, and then compare it to your last. You basically refute most of your points yourself. You basically have no knowledge in the area, you have no grasp of actual history, you are not making very valid points, you are being a douche, you are fighting against typical human rights, you are being ignorant, and you just should probably just quit while you maintain a shred of decency, instead of making another post that again hurts your position.”

    Instead of making a bunch of bullshit arguments saying that “Democracy sucks”, “Religion sucks”, “Republic > all”, perhaps you should try your hand at some ACTUAL ARGUMENTS instead of just trolling the crap out of everything you read. It’s not productive and you’re the asshole here.

    But hey, it’s amusing, so please do go on.

    Saevio: Thanks for sticking up for me.

    “Also, universities, guess what? Weren’t an invention of the church. Although I guess that’s depending on what you mean. This age old argument is a pathetic one that has been dispelled long ago. You must have had to many theists convince you otherwise huh?”

    “The first higher education institution in medieval Europe was the University of Constantinople, followed by the University of Salerno (9th century), the Preslav Literary School and Ohrid Literary School in the Bulgarian Empire (9th century). The first degree-granting universities in Europe were the University of Bologna (1088), the University of Paris (c. 1150, later associated with the Sorbonne), the University of Oxford (1167), the University of Cambridge (1209), the University of Salamanca (1218), the University of Montpellier (1220), the University of Padua (1222), the University of Naples Federico II (1224), and the University of Toulouse (1229).[8][9] Some scholars such as George Makdisi,[3] John Makdisi[10] and Hugh Goddard[11] argue that these medieval universities were influenced in many ways by the medieval Madrasah institutions in Islamic Spain, the Emirate of Sicily, and the Middle East (during the Crusades).

    The earliest universities in Western Europe were developed under the aegis of the Catholic Church, usually as cathedral schools or by papal bull as Studia Generali (NB: The development of cathedral schools into Universities actually appears to be quite rare, with the University of Paris being an exception — see Leff, Paris and Oxford Universities), later they were also founded by Kings (Charles University in Prague, Jagiellonian University in Krakow) or municipal administrations (University of Cologne, University of Erfurt). In the early medieval period, most new universities were founded from pre-existing schools, usually when these schools were deemed to have become primarily sites of higher education. Many historians state that universities and cathedral schools were a continuation of the interest in learning promoted by monasteries.”

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/University#Medieval_universities

    “Maybe you meant public education? It used to be that basic teaching and training were taught privately, either by parents or institutions. And it was simply, if you were the son of a butcher, you would grow up to typically be a butcher. It’s how it worked. A general education wasn’t really required.”

    Yes, many people were taught at home. Or were subjects to apprenticeship. But many were sent to monasteries/churches to learn.

    “There were still institutions that did that though, including churches (church schools mainly taught religious BS before 1800s). They cost money though. Churches started “schools” themselves that were free a little over a hundred years ago (NOT during the Dark Ages). Yes, this triggered the government to think that it should offer affordable schooling for all.”

    ”Free”. Nothing is ever free. It’s always a tax, a fee, something. 🙂

    “Did they invent it? HELL NO.”

    Does it matter who invented anything? What matters is that they did promote science, thinking and learning.

    “I hardly see how you think somebodies private study should be connected to their faith. The monasteries weren’t teaching him, he was teaching himself.”

    He wouldn’t be in the position to learn if he didn’t have the capacity, the time, the knowledge or the ability to do it. Which he received from his monastery. But perhaps he could still have been discovering things as a farmer, on his spare time. Oh wait, farmers don’t really have any spare time. Woops.

  4. GMNightmare says:

    Hmm? I didn’t say any of it wasn’t factual. Except for US being a democracy.

    Herbs, not such a great achievement really. As I said as well, it wasn’t unique. All cultures brought with them things to grow when they traveled. The good impact of growing this herbs? Not nearly as overwhelming as the bad they did.

    Also, universities, guess what? Weren’t an invention of the church. Although I guess that’s depending on what you mean. This age old argument is a pathetic one that has been dispelled long ago. You must have had to many theists convince you otherwise huh?

    The University of Constantinople around 300 AC is considered to be the first university in the world. Completely secular. It was not unique, and it happened before the Muslim conquest.

    Older, although not quite what we consider today, would be things like Plato’s Academy around 300 BC. Guess if the church was involved in that?

    You really shouldn’t have any problem finding this stuff. Even if you go to early China’s Shangyang system around 2000 BC, although it hardly counts, wasn’t by the church.

    Maybe you meant public education? It used to be that basic teaching and training were taught privately, either by parents or institutions. And it was simply, if you were the son of a butcher, you would grow up to typically be a butcher. It’s how it worked. A general education wasn’t really required.

    There were still institutions that did that though, including churches (church schools mainly taught religious BS before 1800s). They cost money though. Churches started “schools” themselves that were free a little over a hundred years ago (NOT during the Dark Ages). Yes, this triggered the government to think that it should offer affordable schooling for all. More on that though here:
    http://vox-nova.com/2008/02/23/the-surprising-origin-of-americas-public-schools/

    Did they invent it? HELL NO.

    Again, the church, spread church knowledge, only about 200 years ago did that change. By the way, monasteries were for spiritual enlightenment. They were not for other enlightenment, even though some would do that too. It had nothing to do with the monastery.

    I hardly see how you think somebodies private study should be connected to their faith. The monasteries weren’t teaching him, he was teaching himself.

  5. GMNightmare:

    Unecessary, and almost entirely incorrect. 99% of what EvilTomte has stated above is, in essence, factual. I’m not going to waste time plugging through sources trying to provide sources, but you have to remember that sometimes (shock horror) there were actually good men in the church, who did good deeds. The church, particularly in England, provided a much needed and largely uncorrupted social service, feeding the poor and housing the homeless and serving as Bed n Breakfasts, if you will.

    Does the word “University” mean anything to you? You probably know it as a place of learning, higher education, paid scholars. It may completely amaze you to learn that Universities were an invention of the Church, and many of their customs are still observed today in the modern version. Monks were scholars. Mendel, the discoverer of Genetic Theory, was a Gregorian Monk. In those days, the subsidised monks living lives of quiet contemplation were able to delve into study – some of this may have been faith based but almost all of the technological, medicinal and yes, architectural progress of ancient times was performed by scholars in monasteries.

    I could go on. Evil’s point is accurate, and you should research more before you heap slander on someone who appears to be interfering with your seeming rabid dislike of religion. I’m no great fan either, a lifelong atheist and think the sooner we, as humans, abandon old fashioned superstitions the better BUT to claim that religion is, has been and always will be a force for pure evil is naive in the extreme.

  6. GMNightmare says:

    “It’s just that in a democracy the majority rules.”

    See, this is the problem of the religious nutcases.

    America is not a democracy. This is not a nation of majority rules. This is a Republic. The rights of the minorities are ASSURED, the majority does NOT have the right to vote away the rights of the minority.

    Democracy is a very flawed and very corrupt form of government. It turns it into mob rule, as you are for seemingly no reason fighting for.

    And no, the king thing wasn’t just on paper. The church ruled the king. It was the church running the game, the king was just a figurehead. As long as the king didn’t do anything against the churches wishes, he stayed.

    “I’m not sure why you reject the fact that the church spread knowledge across Europe.”
    Ummm… because that’s a load of bull.

    The church strived to spread RELIGIOUS knowledge, nothing else. They BURNED books they didn’t agree with. Countless tomes of anything they didn’t agree with. Oh, sure, some protected some of the tomes from… um… themselves… They… grew… herbs? WTF? What kind of retarded statement is that? Their healing was not knowledgeable, it was mostly prayer based, bleeding people, leaches. ALL cultures typically bring with them crops to grow wherever they go at those times.

    More to the point, introducing species to a nonnative environment isn’t actually a good thing. They brought horses?!? HOORAY! WHAT AN AMAZING ACCOMPLISHMENT THAT CANNOT BE DONE BY ANYTHING ELSE!

    Warfare was changed! OH MY! THEY IMPROVED KILLINGS! YEAH! MASSIVE IMPROVEMENT TO THE HUMAN RACE! WE KNOW HOW TO KILL BETTER! WHOOOWHOOOWHOOOWHOOO!!! Are you retarded or something? How the hell did you think that was a persuasive argument?

    I’m sure Sweden would have been fine without having a to have many butchered.

    .

    Your arguments are completely whack. They make no sense, especially if I read your first one, and then compare it to your last. You basically refute most of your points yourself. You basically have no knowledge in the area, you have no grasp of actual history, you are not making very valid points, you are being a douche, you are fighting against typical human rights, you are being ignorant, and you just should probably just quit while you maintain a shred of decency, instead of making another post that again hurts your position.

  7. I applaud your interest in gay’s rights, and that you stand up for them.
    I’m forced to agree with all your opinions on the matter as well.

    “So, as long as most people want it, it’s ok? That is painfully short sighted of you. most of the world practices slavery and most of the world allows women under the age of 12 to marry. Only the civilized world tends to try and protect the rights of others, whether they be different or to young. we can’t hide behind “live and let live” while other people behave like animals.”

    Yes I think it’s pretty much ok to do whatever we want as long as there’s a majority of people behind it. This is from a country to country basis mind you, or society/culture to society/culture. Since well, what the Chinese practice shouldn’t affect the lifestyles of people across the world.
    In a democracy it’s how things work. Although not as much in America I guess since you only have two parties that are rather like minded. (It’s not exactly a case of communistic vs moderate).

    However, we should actively try to change their minds. And we don’t have to think they’re right just because they’re more than us. It’s just that in a democracy the majority rules.

    “We don’t have to wage a war or kill anyone, but we can at least speak out against the injustices in the world rather than cower behind polite behavior because we don’t feel comfortable telling a few people that they are backward and dangerous.”

    Indeed, I agree fully. 🙂 I might’ve misinterpreted you, or explained myself poorly. My point in all this was only that, morality is subjective and everyone will think their own opinion is right. We’ll only have to try and convince them our opinions are more just, while they try to do the same.

    ““Kings were dictators at the time.” And those kings, especially those that ruled Europe and Most of the Middle East, received their power and title from the church and “god himself.” It was always the church at the root. I’m not sure why you reject this, but it’s plain and simple truth.”
    That is only on paper… Some people believe Obama is at his place right now because of God. We know he’s not. Some people believe McCain should’ve won and are praying that Obama dies. We know he won’t die because of prayer.

    I’m not sure why you reject the fact that the church spread knowledge across Europe. They were healers and knowledgeable, monasteries were built where they wrote books, preserved knowledge, grew various herbs that would not exist in our part of the world if they had not brought it. They brought with them horses that were far superior to our own nordic kind (at least at sprinting, warfare etc).

    Warfare was changed due to knowledge from the crusades and upbringing of knights etc. Sweden would not have been what it is today without the church’s influence.

    Yes they were often corrupted, took tributes to redeem people from sin, alcoholized and lectured people for hours on end in latin which they could not understand. But it wasn’t -all- bad. Christianity brought the equal worth of each individual into play, which appealed many of the early christians. In christianity all humans had equal worth, something that slowly affected the way people thought of slaves etc. In for example nordic mythology or other religions people generally did not have any similar worth at all.

    So while you can attribute a lot of bad things to the church, my opinion is that they did a bunch of good things as well. And chance is that many of both factors can be attributed to simply us being fallible humans.

    “You have an almost disturbing habit of saying “Well, that’s how it is, we can’t do anything so why bother with it.” I hoe someday you see that sometimes the best thing you can do is try. If it’s horrible and needs to be change, we should try to change it or charge the hearts and minds of those that do these horrible things. we should *not* just shrug and walk away like it has nothing to do with us. It might not now, but if most of the people we’re talking about got their way, it *would* eventually be your problem.”

    That wasn’t my point. I was defending the church as a gathering point. You were saying the church was a gathering point for war-mongers. I disagreed, thus my attempt at explaining human nature and how the church probably wasn’t 100% responsible for such behavior.

    “Religion builds upon itself.”
    So does atheism apparently.

    Are all evangelicals radicals that hate atheists? I don’t know much about them, and if they are hateful by nature, I’m forced to agree you have a point.

    And true that, I love that I live in Sweden. Most of the time. 🙂

    Thanks again for the discussion, it’s enlightening! I’ll have to think more on the subject.

  8. EvilTomte says:

    “Show me a valid reason why people would oppose it that is *not* religiously motivated, and I might consider it. I haven’t seen or heard of one yet.”
    Well I for one am not completely convinced it’s necessary. I just think that if gay people want to get married, I don’t really care either way. But technically marriage is between a man and a wife, and it has since long been a religious tradition. I for example will not be getting married, I’ll be registering it and then having a private celebration etc, but nothing towards the church. They probably don’t want an unregistered atheist in their church anyway. (Since I don’t pay them anything).

    Homosexuality still seems unnatural to me although it’s always existed and there’s no real reason for me to condemn homosexuals, but it’s somehow objectionable to me. But thats’ just a personal opinion and I don’t really care either way.

    “If person A can marry the person he wants and person B cannot, then that is an improper use of the government to selectively protect it’s citizens.”
    I take it you want siblings to be able to marry? 4-year-olds should perhaps be able to marry 18-year-olds as well. The point being that there needs to be restrictions on certain things to make them valid in the eyes of society.
    Siblings having sex might be disgusting to you, but not to some other people. What matters is a majority. As I said, morality IS NOT UNIVERSAL or obvious in any way. Only religious people think it is.

    Homosexuality may not be that comparable to incest. But I’d bet lots of people would say it is.
    It means that your opinion doesn’t have to be as obviously right as you think it is. It’s a democracy and as long as a majority thinks a certain way, you’ll have to abide by that. It sucks, but that’s the way it is.

    Honor killings was an example that I used. I think they are disgusting too. But that doesn’t matter since we have no say in another culture’s decisions. All we can do is try to change their minds. The same as with this. The point I was trying to make is that morality is different to each and every one.

    “To be apologetic of a period where those that differed from the church were killed is, at the very least, naive. You may not wish to accord these people the blame they deserve, but they deserve it nonetheless.”

    You sound as if it was only religion acting on its own, while there were in fact many powers at play during the time. The church did not rule alone. They were a huge influence, yes. But not universal. Kings were dictators at the time. You could blame it as much on them and the roman fall (perhaps it’s all the Goths’ fault) as on religion.

    “but flying buttresses and stone and mortar construction are not beyond our ken.”
    Well, perhaps I was exaggerating, maybe not. It’s what I’ve been told. If you’ve ever been to any of the magnificent domes like St. Peter’s Basilica in Rome, you’d be amazed.

    About churches being a gathering point. Perhaps it is so. But this happens at all types of gatherings. Communities gather and point at the neighboring area and think to themselves, the grass is so much greener on that side. Why can’t we take it for ourselves?

    I think many of the errors of religion can be blamed on human nature itself. Some of the biggest errors in human history were not religiously motivated, but motivated by greed. For money and power. Even the religious campaigns from europe were not solely religiously motivated, but because they wanted to control the wealth of Jerusalem.
    Would you call them ‘atheistic’ motives as long as they’re not religiously motivated?

    “but the majority would gladly strip my right to vote or be an american citizen simply for my lack of belief.”
    Weird that this hasn’t happened yet then, since your country has a majority of religious people. I wonder why. Perhaps you shouldn’t attack them for “thinking of doing something”, it makes you seem paranoid.

    1. “Well I for one am not completely convinced it’s necessary. I just think that if gay people want to get married, I don’t really care either way.” but some others do, those people are religious people. people like you, who suffer from some sort of ick factor, are not trying to suppress the marriages. People who believe an imaginary friend controls the world are. While I may appreciate your unwillingness to stand up for something you personally don’t care about it enables those that stand *against* the rights of others. To paraphrase Darrow, it isn’t enough that I’m free, but to ensure my own freedom I have to ensure another man’s.

      “But technically marriage is between a man and a wife, and it has since long been a religious tradition.” Slavery was once tradition as well. I assume you don’t support it. However, you might find it interesting to know that many marriage laws in the united states weren’t specifically noted as man and woman. They are being changed now by large lobbies of people, religious people, that feel that marriage is a religious institution. Apparently they have no interest in tradition, but their own “ick” factor. The grouping of people, sometimes two, sometimes more, into what are essentially marriage has existed far longer than the christian church or even organized religion. The registration of the marriage in the christian church is simply a way for them to control those marriages.

      We cannot allow bad law to remain in place just because it’s tradition or because people wave the flag of tradition in order to defend their own closed-mindedness.

      “Siblings having sex might be disgusting to you, but not to some other people. What matters is a majority.” So, as long as most people want it, it’s ok? That is painfully short sighted of you. most of the world practices slavery and most of the world allows women under the age of 12 to marry. Only the civilized world tends to try and protect the rights of others, whether they be different or to young. we can’t hide behind “live and let live” while other people behave like animals.

      “But that doesn’t matter since we have no say in another culture’s decisions.” I am a citizen of this country and this means I have a right to try and make it better than I believe it is. I’m also a citizen of this earth and so are you, which means you have a right and a responsibility to try and make it a better place, whether you want to use it or not. We don’t have to wage a war or kill anyone, but we can at least speak out against the injustices in the world rather than cower behind polite behavior because we don’t feel comfortable telling a few people that they are backward and dangerous.

      “Kings were dictators at the time.” And those kings, especially those that ruled Europe and Most of the Middle East, received their power and title from the church and “god himself.” It was always the church at the root. I’m not sure why you reject this, but it’s plain and simple truth.

      “Well, perhaps I was exaggerating, maybe not. It’s what I’ve been told. If you’ve ever been to any of the magnificent domes like St. Peter’s Basilica in Rome, you’d be amazed” I never said they weren’t beautiful, but they are not unimaginable, irreproducible technology.

      “About churches being a gathering point. Perhaps it is so. But this happens at all types of gatherings. Communities gather and point at the neighboring area and think to themselves, the grass is so much greener on that side. Why can’t we take it for ourselves?” You have an almost disturbing habit of saying “Well, that’s how it is, we can’t do anything so why bother with it.” I hoe someday you see that sometimes the best thing you can do is try. If it’s horrible and needs to be change, we should try to change it or charge the hearts and minds of those that do these horrible things. we should *not* just shrug and walk away like it has nothing to do with us. It might not now, but if most of the people we’re talking about got their way, it *would* eventually be your problem.

      “Weird that this hasn’t happened yet then, since your country has a majority of religious people. I wonder why. Perhaps you shouldn’t attack them for “thinking of doing something”, it makes you seem paranoid.” How’s the old saying go? “I’m only paranoid because they’re out to get me.” Make no mistake about it, these people are swinging to the extreme religious beliefs. The statistics that started me writing this article point to exactly that. While there are more non believers coming out, the more moderate churches are losing ground and the more extreme are gaining; Thus the title. Just as you espouse an extreme sort of “live and let live,” regardless of how horribly the other person is living, there are religious moderates who believe in the good ol “live and let live.” Unfortunately these folks are shrinking in number. Religion builds upon itself.

      More than half of my country believes the earth is less than 6000 years old no matter how much proof is provided to the contrary. You may have the luxury of ignoraing these extremists because they make up such a small part of your country. I do not have such a luxury.

  9. EvilTomte says:

    “In fact, I’m religious-wacko-phobic, and everyone else should be to. You *should* be afraid of the creepy people driving around in cars decorated in scripture.”
    I am, I dislike religious whackos too. I dislike all whackos. The thing is, idiots aren’t confined to any religion. Not even atheism. (with education atheism often follows, however) Although organized terrorism belongs pretty much to Islam at the moment.
    What I was saying was that the Muslim vs Atheist comparison is irrelevant.

    About the “as a people” quote, what I meant by it is that we have nothing but that in common. Being an atheist doesn’t mean we’re a people. It’s as logical as saying “we as humans should be proud”, while it’s completely irrelevant to what we’re discussing. We do not form a group. We simply disbelieve religion. That’s it. Don’t try to convince me that gay marriage is something atheists should be automatically tolerant of, for example. Although I have no problem with it, it’s irrelevant to atheism, although it seems you like to pretend it’s not. You correlate it directly to ‘the progressivity’ of a country while others may not agree at all. It’s subjective.

    “In addition to being wildly unconstitutional, it’s stripping a person of a right based on religious preference *only*. Anyone who does so is wrong, period. If you don’t feel so, that’s your right. It’s also my right to believe you an idiot for feeling that way.”

    This I agree with, sort of. Although the “rights” we all have are completely subjective. For example, in one society it might be fine to kill criminals (some of your states perform these, right?). Or for example honor killings, like some muslim countries allow or are lenient in punishments of.
    This might be morally wrong to you, but not to them. Who’s right? What makes you right? Simply allowing everything isn’t correct either. And marriage is something that’s traditionally religious (or at least has been in recent history).
    We -should- change this, of course, but claiming it’s an absolute right of all humans isn’t true until it’s been legislated.

    Morality isn’t universal, only religious people would claim it is.

    “This is outright bullshit. It shows how sheltered you are thus far. Religion has held back scientific advancement as if it was a freaking hobby. Do the dark ages ring a bell? We’re talking *hundreds of years* of scientific advancement squelched by the church. Your understanding of religious history is sadly lacking.”

    I don’t see it, sorry. Yes the church has delayed scientific progress and still does, but hardly to the extent you’re claiming. It -has- done good also, was my point.
    The dark ages weren’t quite as dark as some would suggest. Yes scientific progress wasn’t great during this period. But cultural and architectural progress existed very much. Marvelous buildings, especially churches and castles, were erected that we can’t reproduce today, despite our wondrous technology. Churches have always been a gathering point for societies to communicate and cooperate.

    Anyway, sorry about attacking your grammar. And for the friends-part. You’re absolutely right, you choose your own friends, and I don’t know who they were or what their views were. I was generally annoyed at your article and thus I entered troll-mode, as you say.

    I’m enjoying this exchange of thoughts. So once again, I apologize for being rude.

    1. “Although organized terrorism belongs pretty much to Islam at the moment. What I was saying was that the Muslim vs Atheist comparison is irrelevant.” It’s completely relevant to the discussion of atheism. The only reason a person would chose a religious person over a non-religious person is because this potential neighbor shares a belief in the imaginary. It is a judgment they make based on a social stigma attached to ignorance. It’s no different than wanting to avoid living next to someone because they’re black or gay.

      “About the “as a people” quote, what I meant by it is that we have nothing but that in common. Being an atheist doesn’t mean we’re a people. It’s as logical as saying “we as humans should be proud”, while it’s completely irrelevant to what we’re discussing. We do not form a group. We simply disbelieve religion. That’s it.” It is the same sort of random grouping enjoyed by “Christians” regardless of denomination or “Muslims”. they all may only share a single thing in common, but that one thing defines them as a group. I don’t share a great many things with you, but in this thing we have a commonality and thus belong to a Set of people. Let’s all draw Venn diagrams and accept that you are in a group of people you may hate and I’ll gladly admit the same.

      “Don’t try to convince me that gay marriage is something atheists should be automatically tolerant of, for example. Although I have no problem with it, it’s irrelevant to atheism, although it seems you like to pretend it’s not.” Show me a valid reason why people would oppose it that is *not* religiously motivated, and I might consider it. I haven’t seen or heard of one yet.

      “What makes you right?” Because I don’t use the power of the state to restrict the rights of those that don’t infringe on my rights. Marriage is a status conferred by the government. The government is not do treat any of it’s people differently. If person A can marry the person he wants and person B cannot, then that is an improper use of the government to selectively protect it’s citizens. This isn’t a moral test, it’s a check list of rights. Person a can vote, buy a car and marry the person he or she wants to, person B gets two out of three. It is not civilized nor fair treatment and thus it makes it an inferior position. Honor Killings are disgusting, by the way.They are what happens when people allow religion to dictate treatment of others. Death Penalty? Eh, I could take it or leave it. it’s effective in removing dangers to society but loaded with issues. I would gladly vote to get rid of it in trade for truly equal rights for all citizens.

      “es the church has delayed scientific progress and still does, but hardly to the extent you’re claiming. It -has- done good also, was my point.” My point is that the church delays scientific research. There are loads of historical docs and other that have written far more extensively than I on the subject of How badly they held us back. To be apologetic of a period where those that differed from the church were killed is, at the very least, naive. You may not wish to accord these people the blame they deserve, but they deserve it nonetheless.

      “Marvelous buildings, especially churches and castles, were erected that we can’t reproduce today, despite our wondrous technology” Oh sure they can. Don’t fool yourself. We don’t throw the full might of a country behind building a church any more nor employ the large amounts of labor that they used to, but flying buttresses and stone and mortar construction are not beyond our ken.

      “Churches have always been a gathering point for societies to communicate and cooperate. “ So long as those people all believe the same thing. They have also been the place where people of a similar belief come together to attack those that differ. This happens still today. I challenge you to experience the church as a body in the American south. They may be signing and holding hands, but the majority would gladly strip my right to vote or be an american citizen simply for my lack of belief.

      As to the spelling and grammar mistakes, I’m loaded with them. I make them all the time and will again and again. I tend to ignore the little mistakes like that when others make them simply because I know how prone to them I am myself. So no worries!

  10. EvilTomte says:

    I wrote this review after stumbling you through SU and wanted to leave it here too, in case you wanted to reply to it or anything.

    From the page: “There are plenty of people in this country that have admitted they’d rather live next to a Muslim than an atheist”
    What kind of a retarded statement is that? So you’re saying there’s a reason to like atheists more than muslims? Most muslims don’t bomb buildings. It’s a really creepy comparison. Islamophobic.

    “As a people, we should be proud.” Here it goes again. Since when are atheists “a people”? Stop trying to form an atheist (non-)belief-system, please. Just because I don’t believe in a god, doesn’t mean I agree with the rest of your opinions.

    “The fact that the most progressive president in history will still not endorse gay marriage because of idiotic religious objections to a private matter indicates just how far we have to go.
    Must be tough to always be right and be able to call anyone who doesn’t agree with you idiotic. These are not rational arguments.

    If this wasn’t enough, the grammar in this article is just horrendous. Have a look at
    “The more we push out the envelope to making sure we are properly represented, which we simply are not, the more these backwards people push back, and they outnumber us. As we become more of a political force, you can bet that the full political power of the churches, who have never failed to butt into politics despite that tax-exempt status, will be brought to bear on us. The attacks will become more personal, and more and more things”
    More and more things? What things? Because of what? What do you mean “despite that tax-exempt” status? Why wouldn’t they be politically involved. It’s a democracy.

    “Religion has always preyed on those that need their lives to mean something, especially if that life is a hard one. The irony is that religion represses scientific advancement thus ensuring people’s lives remain hard: it’s a self-propagating system.”
    This is also a dumb thing to say. Religion is one of the factors that spread science and knowledge very far back in the days. Had Christianity not been spread to my country hundreds of years ago Sweden would not be in the state it is today, simply because they brought a lot of knowledge with them. I think this is a very simple world view that assumes all religious people are dumbasses that live in trailer parks and/or are against gay marriage. It’s not necessarily so.

    This guy is just horrible, imo. He cuts ties with his closest friends and calls them idiots because they disagree with his opinion.

    1. Evil,

      Thanks for taking the time to reply, though I think you’re rather misguided. I’ll cover some quick points here:

      “So you’re saying there’s a reason to like atheists more than muslims? Most muslims don’t bomb buildings. It’s a really creepy comparison. Islamophobic.” What I’m saying here genius is rather simple. In the past few decades, how many people have been killed by radiacal islam or fundamentalist religion of any sort? Now how about “radical atheism?” I’m not islamophobic at all. In fact, I’m religious-wacko-phobic, and everyone else should be to. You *should* be afraid of the creepy people driving around in cars decorated in scripture.

      “Here it goes again. Since when are atheists “a people”? Stop trying to form an atheist (non-)belief-system, please. Just because I don’t believe in a god, doesn’t mean I agree with the rest of your opinions.” Just as much as christians make up a people and a demographic group so do we, if only in that regard. if you’re too ignorant to see the threat posed by these people, well, that’s more your problem than mine. However, if only in one respect, we form a group.

      “Must be tough to always be right and be able to call anyone who doesn’t agree with you idiotic. These are not rational arguments.” In addition to being wildly unconstitutional, it’s stripping a person of a right based on religious preference *only*. Anyone who does so is wrong, period. If you don’t feel so, that’s your right. It’s also my right to believe you an idiot for feeling that way.

      Ok Grammar Nazi… ya got me… I posted before catching this in an edit. My goodness! I must have made a mistake. I’ll go in an edit it just for you. Of course, as I’m sure you’re a long time troller on teh intarwebs, you know that grammar attacks are essentially the petty man’s reason to dismiss points he can’t attack in any other manner. Mea culpa.

      This is also a dumb thing to say. Religion is one of the factors that spread science and knowledge very far back in the days. Had Christianity not been spread to my country hundreds of years ago Sweden would not be in the state it is today, simply because they brought a lot of knowledge with them. I think this is a very simple world view that assumes all religious people are dumbasses that live in trailer parks and/or are against gay marriage. It’s not necessarily so. This is outright bullshit. It shows how sheltered you are thus far. Religion has held back scientific advancement as if it was a freaking hobby. Do the dark ages ring a bell? We’re talking *hundreds of years* of scientific advancement squelched by the church. Your understanding of religious history is sadly lacking.

      This guy is just horrible, imo. He cuts ties with his closest friends and calls them idiots because they disagree with his opinion. Idiots deserve to be called so, whether they believe in god or not. People that will curtail the personal rights of others because some goat-herders 5000 years ago thought it was creepy do not deserve to be my friends. If you enable those kinds of people, you don’t either… whether you believe in god or not.

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