No moral Compass
Atheists have no moral compass so goes the theistic canard. Recall that atheism is the answer to one question. No, I do not believe in gods. Thats it. So how is it that someone that doesn’t believe in the gods can be moral. Where does morality come from if not from the bible or other religious text?
Great questions– evolution is where we get our morals. We evolved as a species and empathy, the ability to put ourselves in other peoples shoes is what gives us our morals. Our ability to imagine, and to create stories, and to share those stories is what aids us in empathizing with others. Those that could and did do this had an advantage over other human, Neanderthals, Denisovans, etc. Anyone that’s read the bible, can see that morality depicted therein is by today’s standards barbaric. Stoning non virgin brides on their fathers doorstep thankfully never took hold. Buying and selling slaves, selling one’s daughter into slavery; selling ones daughter to her rapist for a few shekels, all of this is biblical moral law. All but says the Christian thats the old testament (tanakh) Jesus did away with all of that—we Christians are not bound by those commandments.
Wrong says this Atheist. Matthew, or whoever wrote the gospel that bears that name, put these words into Jesus’ mouth. Not one jot, not one tittle, of the law shall pass away—Heaven and earth will pass away etc. So dear Christian, it would seem that you are bound to keep the laws in the old testament. Of course no Christian does, except for the part concerning beating your kids black and blue with a rod. And almost all Christians dig the part about killing homosexuals and the property status of women. But contained within the old testy, are both copies of the Decalogue. That’s right there are two different sets of the 10
commandments suggestions, and they occur at: Exodus 20: 2-17; Exodus 34: 14-27. Three of them over lap. I am going to use the one that is most familiar to modern Christians. However at that there are still differences between them depending on whether you are a catholic or protestant, and these differ from the modern Hebrew texts. Rather than a dry recitation, I will use a story from the news to highlight the 10 commandments suggestions and how they provided a moral compass for a Christian pastor and his best friend.
Pastor David Love, how apropos, loved him some Theresa Stone. Theresa reciprocated that love and then some. Theresa’s Husband Randy Stone, was David Love’s good, some say best friend. Those same people tell what a great guy Randy Stone was. Randy they say loved his wife
Theresa very much. When they were apart Randy frequently called Theresa. His family intimated that he doted on her and their two children. Randy was very active in the church, drove the church bus, and chaperoned church activities for the young of that church. By all accounts Randy, a former marine, was a stand up guy. He and Theresa had been an item when they were younger but lost contact after Randy joined up with the Marines. After his discharge Randy returned home and reconnected with Theresa, they married and raised their children in that same church. The church where pastor David Love sprayed the congregation with gods holy word. How neat.
Pastor Love, met Randy, in 1999 and in 2010 pastor Love plugged Randy in his insurance office. Pastor Love used Randy’s own handgun to spray Randy’s brains onto the office furniture and elsewhere. The funny thing is that there was money, cold hard cash, filthy lucre, left behind at the scene. So the detectives knew that robbery was not the motive for the crime. Actually it was but more about that later. Funny? No Randy’s murder was not funny, I mean what was strange is that a minister wouldn’t or perhaps didn’t have the presence of mind to steal money just lying around. It’s just not like minister leave money sitting on the table. Maybe it was too easy, the challenge of bilking someone out of their hard earned cash is more satisfying. That or because Theresa, pastor Love’s lover, was also involved in the insurance business with her now dead husband. Stealing that money from Randy’s lifeless hand was in a way stealing it from his lover and in a sense himself.
The motive for killing Randy? Cash in on his life insurance money. That and sweet, sweet love, with Randy out of the way, Randy and his frequent phone calls, frequently interrupting the frequent illicit sex those two randy love birds shared. What isn’t mentioned in the articles I have read– is the togetherness that must have also been talked about. Pastor Love’s love letter to Theresa on her birthday, found in the trash during the murder investigation; talked about them being together for her birthdays in the future and just how special he would make them. Perhaps pastor Love was a lier as well as a lover. He must have had to lied, and lied and lied. If there were an Olympic sport for lying pastor Love may even give bankers a run for the money.
So lets add up the misdeeds:
1. Lying. Pastor Love had to no doubt lie to his wife. Possibly to Randy too.
2. Theresa, had to lie to Randy and possibly to Mrs. Love.
3. Both Pastor Love, and Theresa needed and got others to bear false witness for them.
4. The illicit, forbidden love affair, the married but not to each other, starred crossed love affair. Lets quit prevaricating about the bush, adultery. Adultery shalt thou not commit.
5. Murder, hands and feet that are/were quick to shed innocent blood. Thou shalt not murder.
6. Thou shalt not steal. Thou shalt not commit insurance fraud by murdering your husband/best friend.
7. Thou shall not covet thy neighbors wife, or his large insurance plan payable upon death of said neighbor to wife to be split amongst themselves.
The final tally is 4, four out of a possible 10 suggestions violated. At least they didn’t take the name of the lord in vain or, perhaps they did.
In case the point is missed, those that claim to have a strong moral compass, the bible, and faith in god. It didn’t seem to do much good after all. That moral compass is faulty and needs repairing. Randy is robbed of his life. His children robbed of a father, his parents robbed of a child, brothers, sisters, aunts and uncles all robbed, all left to make sense of it all. Not to mention that if there is a god, what the fuck, how could he/she allow this to happen. There are those that will retreat to the old not a true Christian canard. The no true Scotsmen fallacy. How are they to judge? These people claim to be Christians, thats good enough for me. Recall that all they have to do is recite the sinners incantation and wham-o instant forgiveness. Except that the children are left without a mother and a father, and the sundry baggage they will have to carry for the rest of their lives. It’s not likely they will ever fully heal, because no matter how much they pray, how much they seek the lord, fast, bow and scrape. Within the confines of the Christian minds there is little room for critical examination.
It’s not that atheists don’t steal, commit murder, lie, cheat and steal. Atheists are capable of all of this to be sure. Atheist don’t believe in gods, they don’t have holy books, they don’t claim to be moral because their holy book tells them how to behave. Those that have the so called moral compass, the moral code given by god in a holy book are no better off for having such a source. It didn’t keep the pastor and his lover from killing, bearing false witness, lying, stealing, cheating, and perhaps even seething a kit in its mothers milk. I have a moral compass superior to a holy book, I can empathize with my fellow human beings. I can an do think critically.
In case you think this is just picking a nit. That this is a rare instance of a good man gone bad, then have a look at Mojoey’s blog. It’s sickening.
Theresa got eight years—she turned states witness and got a lighter sentence.
Pastor Mike Love– is eligible for parole in 2036– he is of course leading a vibrant prison ministry.
Randy and his family got life sentence. Randy’s is gone and his family will live with the memory for the rest of the only life they will ever have.
My wife stopped by the local library the other day to gather up some books she requested to be placed on hold. The library was giving away copies of Ray Bradbury’s classic Fahrenheit 451. Ashamedly I have not read this work, and am quite excited to have it in my house. I now have no excuse for putting it off any longer. Indeed it’s one of the many books on my list to get around to. Another is Melville’s Moby Dick. I have started reading that one but only on line. It’s not the kind of book I want to read on a computer screen. So I will have to blow the dust off of my library card and find a copy of it. Slaughterhouse 5 is another work I am remiss in reading. My wife was taken aback when she learned that I had not read these classics, need I say she was disappointed by my naiveté in literature matters. I was and am embarrassed to admit the same but it’s true.
I am going to make it a point to read books that are considered to be so dangerous that they need to be banned. I think I will start with Invisible Man by Ralph Ellison. This work has been banned by a North Carolina school board. Incidentally this book too is being given away to anyone that wants a copy of it. Something that is undercutting the stupidity on display by the above said school board. The fracus began when one mother complained that the book was too much for teenagers. . . not so innocent. I gather this bint doesn’t watch TV? She has never really read the bible thats for sure. If she had she would have a good standard for what filth really is. I suspect the only bible mommy ever reads is the Zondervan kiddie bible. But thats not all, one board member stated that he didn’t find any literary value in it at all. Is it possible to test for troglodyte genes in his DNA? Really no literary value at all. It was named by the Library of Congress as one of the “Books That Shaped America; and thats no small feat. Nevertheless, and you knew that this was coming.
A fierce backlash by hundreds of citizens, including the county’s chapter of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People, has prompted the board to reconsider the ban at a special meeting called for Wednesday evening, board member Matthew Lambeth told Reuters.
Insisting that he and the other board members who supported the ban were not “a bunch of racist, ignorant bigots,” Lambeth said he was happy to revisit the book’s status after gathering more input from the community during the past week.
“I think the board might have been a little too hasty to make the decision,” Lambeth said, adding he did not know yet whether he would change his vote.
Mr. Lambeth if you have to say it, and you did. Perhaps you’re are correct, you and the other board members are not a bunch of racist ignorant bigots. Knuckledraging, lying, cheating, stealing, thieving, backstabbing bunch of racist, fascist
christians shitstains maybe but not simple, ignorant and racist bigots no, not any of that.
So I will be reading this and other banned books. I really prize works that have strong literary value.
One computer help blog I turned to when searching for a solution to a computer related problem, had a cute little saying in it. “It’s all fun and games until the computer guy’s computer goes down. The past 5 days have been no fun and games for this computer guy. I’ll cut to the chase, my computer hard drive took a shit. It’s less than one year old and it has several bad sectors. It’s older that the hills and I’m not going to spend another nickel to repair it. It will no longer boot up, it just keeps recycling in the start up mode. Yet I have found a nice work around to circumvent this problem. Actually two solutions, but both are very much alike. I can use the computer with a live OS system. Currently I am using Tails. It loads from a DVD and it runs a TOR browser. It’s conceived by those security conscious computer geeks with security conscious people like me in mind. I am able to largely remain anonymous while using the internet, and when I remove the disk form the drive, the computer quits and in so doing erases all traces of my work. That is unless I choose to save it to a USB drive, or to use a small amount of hardirve space. The second method is much the same however, I use a Ubuntu disk and run the system as a trial of Ubuntu. Both are functional and I can use a nearly useless system. A quick tip of the hat to Edward Snowden for bringing security and personal freedoms into sharp focus.
So even though it’s not all fun and games, I am learning to do an end around the asswipes at the NSA.
We started a small reading club at work, very much like a book of the month club. Our first meeting went well, we read In the Garden of the Beasts. Erik Larson’s tour De force–about Ambassador William Dodd, and his family’s brief time spent in the beginning of the Nazi reign. Not a bad read, I don’t see me rereading it though. The next book we have elected to read is The Shack. Until tonight I was clueless about the book having only read a smallish paragraph describing it. So when I got home I decided to check into it further. Come to find out it’s a christian novel. I wondered when I joined the group how long it would be before someone suggested some piece of drivel to read. When asked for suggestions I didn’t bother trying to sneak in an atheist or freethought works simply because I am not actively trying to convert my co-workers. I suspected that some clown would use this as an opportunity to proselytize for Jesus. I am going to read it, perhaps it won’t stink. I may have to rethink suggesting some freethought literature.
More inane questions. If you were to die tonight would you go to heaven? Alternatively, where do you think you will do if you were to die tonight? What happens to you when you die?
Exactly where is heaven, do you have any unambiguous evidence for the existence for this place? What is heaven and what happens in this mythical place. Setting that aside for a minute, does anyone go to heaven when they die? That is very much an open question for christians. Does one go to heaven in the physical resurrection?, after? There’s that whole problem of flesh and blood not inheriting heaven. So when do you get your spiritual body? Before, during or after the rapture? What about those that are faithful to god and as a result are martyred as in the book of Revelation. It seems that they are the only ones that get to go directly to heaven after death. Long story short it seems that there is a circuitous path to heaven.
I like you will die, and cease to exist. My brain will slowly shut down do to lack of oxygen and quit working. The body begins to decompose almost at once upon death. It will rot, I will be buried, or cremated, or my body will be donated to science. I have given permission to have my organs to be harvested in the hopes that they can give life or at least a better life to someone else. Quite simply the rest of the container will rot.
To rip off a quote or paraphrase attributed to Mark Twain, I have been dean for millions (turns out it’s billions) of years before I was born. I don’t recall any of it. Couldn’t have been all that bad.
Atheism is a religion too. Or the old I haven’t got enough faith to be an atheist.
Because he explains it so well I am going to quote Matt Dillahunty of the ACA. The Atheist Community of Austin. He is a co-host of the Atheist Experience which is a cable television show produced by the ACA and can be seen via a live video feed anywhere in the world via the internet. I am paraphrasing Matt,
Atheism isn’t a belief, it’s an answer to one question. Is there a god? Thats it. There is no dogma, no underlying beliefs or rituals that have to be observed. One cannot be excommunicated from the fold, for holding differences of opinion or observing ritual not deemed atheist enough. There is no governing body, no prescribed texts. Certainly no higher authority to bow and scrape too. I do not, nor does any other atheist have to answer to another atheist for my beliefs or rather non-belief.
Atheism is to faith/religion as bald is to hair color.
You may have heard christian apologists like William Lane Craig saying that they haven’t the faith that it takes to be an atheist. I agree in part, accepting something on faith is stupid, unwarranted. Not willing to accept something because there is a dearth of evidence to back it up it the correct stance to take. What they are saying is that they haven’t enough faith to disbelieve in other gods, and yet thats just what they claim to do. No evidence, no belief, no problem for the atheist.
Pascal’s wager What’s the harm in believing, if I’m wrong and there’s no god, then I am out nothing. But if I’m right and there’s a god I get to go heaven and you Mr. Atheist are in trouble, burning/frying in hell. All the while I’m with Jesus and we are laughing, pointing, and staring at you. So it best to believe. Your’s is a tendentious belief. You assume that you are believing in the right god in the first place. And yet there are and have been thousands of other –true gods– worshiped through the militia. Godchecker.com is a place where you can find a list and description of all the other gods you might want to consider accepting. After all all you have is faith that you got the right one, and faith is not knowing with certainty. In fact it’s the opposite of being sure, the opposite of knowing. Remember that Jesus stated that he would return in the life time of his followers, and yes as it is written he meant it. How did that work out. I don’t recall him returning in power for all the world to see. Can you really trust the bible god, or Jesus? The second part to address is the I’m out nothing proclamation. You’re out of the time you wasted in church, the time wasted praying, not to mention the money you tossed into the church coffers. The simple pleasures that you denied yourself because it might be a sin. Movies that you missed, time spent with friends. Perhaps you were shunned by one group of family or believers because you didn’t believe what they did. According to the Encyclopedia of Christianity there’s over 30,000 plus different variants of christianity. Suffice it to say you are no doubt going to somebody else’s version hell. Just as you believe that they are going to hell for not accepting your beliefs. If there is a god, perhaps that god really hates people that believe in your barbaric, raging misogynistic minor warrior god of the “Old Testament”–Hebrew Tenauch. You might after all be the one at risk. That god might reason that I don’t believe because too much has been made out of Yahweh. To be on the safe side I’ll stay unencumbered by theistic constructs.
I have been giving it some thought and decided to create a FAQ page. I’ll keep it short and sweet, and to the point. Rather than just sit down and perform a marathon of writing, I will post a few at a time. I will also add information to the about me section too. Doing so will give readers a better idea of why I am now an atheist.
My ex-brother-in-law is a biker, and by his account an authentic biker. The real McCoy. Ricky is not an outlaw biker, not a Hell’s Angels biker. You would be completely safe in Ricky’s presence, he does have morals, and ethics. To be frank I like many things about Rick. He is not dangerous, not an outlaw, so then what exactly is a biker? Let’s just say that there is, at least to me, a continuum. To tell it as told to me by my sister, and endorsed by Ricky but not in as many words. There is a Harley Davidson commercial tag line that states, Live to ride and ride to live. Rick’s take on this is, ride to work and work to ride. The bike is his preferred mode of transportation. It’s also closely associated with his sense of self. Big tough and independent, and he is all of that. Yes, Rick looks the part. Black leather biker jacket, biker wallet, engineer boots. Oddly I don’t recall Rick having any tattoos. I suppose he had to crack the stereo type somewhat.
Rick rides a bikers bike and talks the talk. I have no idea what a pan-head is, or for that matter what a knuckle-head is but he does, and the knuckle-head is what got Ricky started on his life time ride. And it has been a life ride, not a pursuit. To blatantly rip off Rudyard Kipling, you can take the tiger out of the jungle but not the jungle out of the tiger. You will not get the biker out of Rick. To that end he became a Harley Davidson Mechanic, attend a school in Florida that focused on only that brand of motorcycle. He has at times worked for dealerships both in Illinois, and Florida. He now makes ends meet working on bikes for friends and co-workers. My sister relayed a story of younger members of the local bikie gang were upset with the old guard of the same motorcycle club with the preferential treatment that Ricky received at the clubhouse. The treatment was nothing all that special a couple free beers here and there when Rick could be troubled to show up at the clubhouse. Never a member of gang, nevertheless he repaired usually for free the bike for the old guard. Resentful of his talents the biker cubs wanted to put a stop to the freebies. None of the younger kits have asked Rick to tune up the ride or trouble shoot a tricky carb.
To an old dog like Rick and his aging bikie friends the younger set just doesn’t get it. They wear HD branded clothing, as do their old ladies, they according to Rick want to dress the part and they want the respect, or perhaps the cred that comes with the branded clothing; they want the badassness but that haven’t paid the dues. Perhaps you’ve been following a wannabe biker as Rick refers to them. The office pogue that wants to look the part, as that said pogue passes another wannabe on the highway, or divided highway. You’ll see the secret handshake err wave. It something special Harley Davidson people share. Rick doesn’t initiate the wave, and often returns the single finger salute. They are not real bikers. It’s hard to be tough with leather fringes on your jacket, rodeo style chaps protecting your legs. Leather saddle bags—give the old timers a break, you should be riding a full dresser to begin with. Ricky hated working on their bikes, adding the cool lights, the frilly bags. The way these namby pamby street toughs strutted about. He the old guard and they the future of motorcycle toughs.
They wearing the black leather jackets to signal their toughness, Rick and company wear them for protection, same with the footwear. Everybody will lay down a bike, it only a matter of time. The wallet, with the zipper and chain has a purpose too. Mainly so that you don’t use your cash or your license. The wannabe’s have one because the big boys do. So this Labor day weekend the Rebels without a clue are here in Milwaukee Wisconsin, people coming from all parts of the globe. Hundreds of people will be standing on over passes with cameras in hand to take in the spectacle. The biker boys will pretend not to be flattered by the attention, pretend not to care, but lets face it that’s why they are riding the iron house, the iconic brand. This bike is a survivor, a throw back to different time, a veritable time machine or rather a machine out of time. It’s a great bike and by extention the wannabe’s are great too. Not of their own accord, just cause they have the money or made a sacrifice in order to pony up the bucks to ride bike that others have made into a legend. Ride to work and work to ride. It’s according to rick not a life style, it’s just my life.
There is nothing put on about Ricky, he is authentic, he is a biker and he looks the part but it doesn’t come from what he is wearing, he exudes it, it comes from within. I told Rick my favorite Harley Davidson joke. It goes something like this. What’s the difference between a Hoover vacuum and a Harley Davidson. The position of the dirt bag. Rick laughed his ass off it took a considerable amount to reattach it too. To others, to the wannabes those would have been fighting words.