Thursday, February 19, 2009

Atheism is Offensive

That's what I've learnt. When the religious want to pray over us, use their religion to deny us rights, declare us unfaithful, unwise and untrustworthy, this is fine and acceptable. When they want to declare us immoral, there is no hue and cry in the media. When they want to force our children to endure their prayers in taxpayer funded schools, they are considered brave and righteous.

When we, the atheists, tell them to stop indoctrinating the credulous minds of our children, we are considered oversensitive. They can tell us that we are raising our children poorly and this not considered insulting but rather "an expression of a viewpoint".

But if we ever, ever, go so far as to publicly say that we don't believe in their god, or any god ...

Well, that, that is offensive. According to Kanata North Councillor Marianne Wilkinson, a representative of the people:
“I don’t think we should be demeaning people in advertising at OC Transpo,” she said. “I think the words are offensive to everyone who believes in God, regardless of what religion they are. To me, as a Christian, it is demeaning. It grates on me.”

Demeaning? How is the statement that it's okay not to believe in god demeaning? Every Christian church and Muslim mosque makes its own public statements. The billboard frequently tells us that god gave us his only son, or that there is no god but Allah, and Mohammed was his prophet. I happen to think that Marianne Wilkinson's religion is very demeaning, but you don't see me telling her to take down her signs.

What does she even mean when she says that the phrase "There probably is no god" is demeaning and offensive? Is life of lesser value because other people don't agree with your religion? Is your belief so weak that it can't weather a spoken word against it? How is it offensive? How does it attack you? No one is stopping you from believing what you want.

And "it grates" on her. Really? The idea of people not-believing your beliefs grates on you? And you're in politics? If that's the way you feel, that just awareness of my very existence "grates" on you because we disagree, then I shall verily enjoy "grating" on you for as long we both are alive.
Speakers included resident Theresa Milligan, who said she felt the wording of the ads was “an implied statement of hatred against all people who believe God exists.”

Hatred? I hate you because I don't think that your god exists? No, dear, that's not it. There's nothing implicit in atheism that says that atheists hate those who believe. Most of the time, we atheists view most of you with a sad shake of our heads. But if you want to see which side of the street generates hate, insult and offense, try some bible passages:

Psalms 14:1 "The fool hath said in his heart, There is no God."
Lev 20:13 "If a man lies with a man as one lies with a woman, both of them have done what is detestable. They must be put to death; their blood will be on their own heads."
Matt 27:25 "All the people answered, "Let his blood be on us and on our children!" "

Yes, clearly the atheists, with their declaration of disbelief, are the big haters here. Clearly, our vicious and malicious offences are nothing in comparison to the biblical ideas that disbelievers are "fools", homosexuals should be put to death and the Jews killed Jesus.

h/t Galloping Beaver

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Tuesday, February 17, 2009

Things We Didn't Need

I'll take it as read that there are certain things the universe needs.

An automatic, belt-fed, tripod-mounted Nerf gun? Absolutely.
A thrash remake of Mrs. Robinson? Sure.
A 29 foot high, elastic-launched K'nex roller coaster? It would hardly qualify as "the universe" without it.
A creepy music video showing us how insignificant we are in the universe? Obviously pivotal.

But do we really need an anti-premature ejaculation drug that ... no, wait, I'll quote the article.
"Quite honestly, it is not 100 per cent successful," Dr. Brock acknowledged. It doesn't work for all men and it can cause nausea and diarrhea.
Right. "Oo, baby, I feel like I could go all night now ... uh ... hold on a sec ..."

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Cancelled Reenactment

Who in the hell thought it was a good idea to reenact the Plains of Abraham anyway?


Was it because all of the enmity between French and English is a long lost memory?

Was it the utter lack of concern voiced by the Quebecois regarding their culture?

Was it the fact that there hasn't been any terrorism on the subject in about 40 years?

Yeah, obviously reenacting the battle that led to all of the stress between francophone and anglophones these last two centuries was a fabulous idea.

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Those Sexist Virgin Radio Ads

In case you're not from Ottawa, or at least Virgin Radio hasn't opened a station in your area, there's a kerfuffle around these parts over a series of ads that Virgin has pasted around town for one of its features, "The Gods of Rock".

The ads feature somewhat sad looking pregnant teenage girls and young women with the caption "Lock Up Your Daughters, The Gods of Rock are now in Ottawa". It spawned the Facebook group linked above and a pile of articles denouncing the ads for sexism. The best one I've read is probably this one mailed in to the Ottawa Citizen. You may see others as well as a whole blog dedicated to the ads.

Yes, the ads are sexist. And I can tell that, at least as far as the poster of the article I cited in concerned, many of the protests are consistent.

But there's something I have to point out because, like it or not, a lot of the people criticizing these ads are deeply hypocritical. I can't tell which people in particular without doing a lot of cross-referencing. But here are the problems with the Virgin ads:

1) they portray women as victims
2) they portray rock stars as heroes
3) they then idolize the rock stars for making the women victims

Have I got it right? I think so. It's crass and juvenile, but maybe they're hoping their target audience is too. It won't be the first time such a thing has worked.

Now let's get to the hypocrisy.

I'd like to ask the people who write angry letters about these ads a question. That question is simple.
Do you go to church?
You see where I'm going here? If you're complaining about these ads and you're a Christian, you have a lot of explaining to do. Your entire religion is based on the impregnation of a virgin by a god. You could try to argue that it was voluntary, but only an idiot believes that a 14 year old girl can give informed consent.

So, yeah, trash the stupid Virgin Radio ads. But when you're done with that, take a look at your religion and try to weather the roaring thunder of a tidal wave of cognitive dissonance.

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Bwahaha! Atheism On Your Bus!

I know what you're thinking: shouldn't we atheists be dispelling the myth that we're out to eat babies or go on raping and pillaging?

I suppose, but I still think we should occasionally avail ourselves of ripe opportunities to laugh maniacally.

To wit: Ottawa refuses Atheist bus ads.

Apparently, the city has been allowing ads with bible passages on them but has refused the atheist ads which say, as they did in Britain: "There's probably no god, now relax and enjoy life." They wisely put it in all-caps to save the trouble of deciding whether to use a capital 'G' for the deity.

But talk about playing in to our hands. The Christian and religious majority are constantly harping on about how hard done by they are, about how persecuted they are, about how they can't even say "god" anymore without being vilified and mobbed by hordes of evil atheists.

But, when you get right down to it, it's really the atheists that have the hardest time just being who they are without having someone else's beliefs crammed down their throats.

When I see something like this, I know that it's generating yet another wave of cognitive dissonance that crashes against the faith of the religious.

And I see that it is good.

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