Conservative Media and “Secular Progressives”


It seems that the media hates atheist, especially conservative media such as Fox News and The Blaze. Apparently, all of us atheists are progressives. Progressive of course is almost a curse word in it self. Atheists are seen as aligned with the “far left.” Being both an atheist and a liberal would seem to be one of the worst things a person could be.

When pundits demonize a view, they often describe the opposing group as  “secular progressives.” Of course, they forget that many people who are pro-choice,pro-same sex marriage, and so on are in fact liberal Christians or true Libertarians. Both Christianity and being a Libertarian are usually seen as highly good attributes. It is as though the media forgets that not all Christians are conservative or what a Libertarian actually is.

Then of course, they claim that Christianity and America at large is under attack from these “secular progressives.” They seem to forget that Christians are in the overwhelming majority. However, what really bothers me is when they say they are being persecuted. No, they are not being persecuted. Christians in the pre-Constantine days of Rome were persecuted NOT Christians in the United States today.

Yes, many atheists are very concerned about the separation of church and state, but this is a legitimate issue. I guarantee that if Christians lived in Muslim dominated society, which had separation of church and state, they would be fighting to impose it. As an atheists, if this were they case, I would help the Christians’ cause.

As far I am concerned as well as others, I don’t have a problem with Christians. I have a problem with Christianity and political dogmas being forced upon the population. People, for the most part, should be allowed to do and think as they please. That’s called freedom. If I recall correctly, that’s a value the founding father’s would have fought and died for.

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Liberals and Conservatives


Liberals and conservatives stand at opposites, and they seem to grow more and more polarized as the years have gone on. Well-informed liberals and conservatives can see the exact same information and come to different conclusions regarding solutions to issues. Why is that? It is tempting to just say, “different strokes for different folks,” but I suspect their is more to it than that. I think the reason for the divide is much more fundamental than that. Liberals and conservatives deep down have different ways of looking at the world. One group, the liberals, see the world as getting better, and the other group, the conservatives, see it as getting worse.

But, this is a false dichotomy. There are things in the world which have gotten better with time, and there are things in the world which have gotten worse. I’m sure we can all agree that the divide between communities and police have gotten worse, and climate change continues. Still, many things are better. Segregation is gone. Slavery is gone, and women can vote.

As for me, I neither stand with liberals or conservatives. I tend take a part each issue on it’s own. I can’t say that I’m a liberal, conservative, or moderate. I’m neither an alarmist, who believes the world is going to hell, nor am I overly optimistic that we have a bright future ahead.

The Burden of Proof


Recently, I hosted an AMA entitled, “Ask an Atheist.” I only received one question and not from a theist. (Hey, I tried.) This person asked about how to respond when a theist tries to shift the burden of proof onto the atheist. I’ve seen this done on YouTube debates, particularly with William Lane Craig.

I think, to be honest, that this is a dishonest move. Usually, the theist will try and define atheist as a positive claim that “God does not exist.” This is, instead of, atheism being defined as a “lack of belief.” Many times the theist might try to claim that history or language back up their claim. The theist, then, may try and get the atheist to claim agnosticism, or they might outright derail the debate by demanding proof that a deity does not exist.

My response? It doesn’t matter what the history of the word atheism is, and the theist is not in  the position to define atheism. What do I mean? First, words evolve over time, and even if the word atheist meant something different in the past, it means “lack of belief” now. Why? Lack of belief is the common way the word is now used. When someone tells a fellow unbeliever that she is an atheist, the unbeliever will understand it as “lack of belief.” Secondly, what matters is what a person means when they use a particular word, especially when they are describing themselves. A theist is not in a position to start labeling the atheist. It is up to the atheist to explain their views and describe themselves NOT the theist. Unless the plan is to bring a psychologist to the stage to interview the atheist, the person who knows the atheist best is the atheist.

Furthermore, if the atheist were using the term atheist to both mean “there is no God” and “lack of belief in God,” that would be dishonest on the atheist’s part. Only then, would a debate over the term atheist be justified. I can see no other reason why the theist would have a legitimate reason to try and argue over what the word atheist means.

The Internet Age: A Whole New Type of Parenting


The internet has changed the world as much if not more so than the invention of the printing press. Information both reputable and non-reputable is no more than a click a way. Additionally, the internet has changed the social sphere as well. One can now easily keep in touch with both old friends and new friends. Pictures and status updates let anyone know what their friends are up to in real time. Many other spheres of society have also changed. Unfortunately, the children of the internet age are being raised by those who were not from the internet age, and we now have children and teenagers using the internet irresponsibly.

Teenagers and children are not known for their reasoning skills and with good reason. They CAN’T reason like adults. The frontal lobe, which is responsible for higher reasoning, is one of the last parts of the brain to develop fully, and brain development is not usually complete until around ages 21-25. It is bad parenting to expect teenagers to behave as if they have the reasoning skills of adults.

And yet, people are interacting with the internet at younger and younger ages. Many don’t monitor their wards’ internet access, or they operate in a trust centered approach. Teenagers are also known to be rebellious, and it is easy to be rebellious when you can do things in secret.like having two Facebook profiles or snap chatting nude photos. Remember, teenagers can’t and won’t reason like adults. This kind of behavior really should be looked for.

It gets worse, many of online bad behaviors are being criminalized. Teenagers sending naked pictures of themselves, can be considered distribution of child pornography. Posting mean things to each others profiles can, in some instances, be seen as cyber bullying, and anti-bullying laws are getting more widespread and stricter. Nothing a teenager posts will every really go away. In an age when employers use google, what a teenager posts could haunt them for years if not for lifer.

Parents consider this blog post a warning. It is important for you to understand how the internet works. It is important for you to keep up with the latest apps and technology. I know you all want to protect your children. Keeping up with the internet age will help you do this. Monitor, search, and keep informed.

Why is there something rather than nothing?


People have been asking this question, since the dawn of humanity no doubt. As of today, the question still remains unanswered, and I suppose we may never have the answer. I strongly doubt there is an answer.

In fact, I think the question can be phrased into a statement: our existence is just too be good to be true. I think the former statement gets to the heart of what people usually mean when they are asking why the universe exists. Is the universe too good to be true? Maybe. Maybe not.

Let’s assume the probability of the universe is very, very low. With this assumption, many declare a deity has to be involved in the universe. However, consider this: the universe only had to happen once. If there are multiple universes, just like our own, I admit that would be suspicious.

To clarify, let’s say we’re gambling. I bet on a number on six sided die. I earn money every time the number I chose comes up, and I lose money every time it lands on another number. The chance of my number coming up is 16.7%. (This is low; although, conceivably much higher than the chances of a universe). We roll the die. My number shows up, but I’m not surprised. The chances weren’t good, but it had to land on one number, and it is just as likely that my number will come up as opposed to any other number. Now, if my number came up over and over again, you might suspect the die is unfair, and depending on how many times my number came up, you might be right.

I don’t have the answer to why there is something rather than nothing. Perhaps, it has an answer, but I’m not convinced by fine-tuning arguments at this time.

Tribalism


Tribalism, at first glance, seems to be one of the worst forces for evil. It is responsible for racism. It is responsible for sexism. It was responsible for NAZI Germany, and yet, I doubt tribalism will ever go away. I think most of us cling to some type of tribe. Perhaps a person is proud of being a Democrat, a student, or member of a religion. I observe all of this, and I wonder if tribalism can be a force for good.

Much of the time tribalism doesn’t lead to genocide or racism. Being proud of being a member of a group, can lead to a sense of community. A sense of community can lead to mutual care between members. Unfortunately, this sense of community often leads to the group taking care of themselves first, and it doesn’t always lead to caring for those outside of the group.

However, if everyone belonged to a group, then everyone,perhaps, would have others to care for them. Ideally, everyone could belong to a non-radical group, and everyone would keep the group in check. ( I don’t know, if that’s possible or not). It would nice, if we could use tribalism as a force for good.

I’m not married to any of these thoughts. These ideas are based on me being practical. I’m not for tribalism, but I seriously doubt we will ever see the end of tribalism. If I’m right, then our only choice seems to be to use tribalism as force for good.