Monthly Archives: November 2013

The Whine On Christmas

Santa & JesusThe persecution complex that is Christianity suffers from a paranoid and delusional fear of a war on Christmas. They suspect that, somewhere in an underground atheist bunker, a stealthy, subversive group [1] is ever so slowly taking Christ out of Christmas and replacing him with an X. I’ve seen similar behavior in a three-year-old who suspects he may be forced to share the last piece of cake.

Until recently, I’ve just rolled my eyes at Fox Spews and their absurd fear-mongering. “Is there a war on Christmas? I’m just asking but that probably means there is.” Then came Twitter. Twitter has allowed me to interact with a few Christians and given me insight into the depth of their pettiness.

Lisa: Christmas is about Christ. You are free to get your own Holiday if you don’t like it.Me: Christmas = Christ to YOU. Christmas is a traditional FAMILY holiday of which no one [can] claim ownership.

Lisa: actually that’s not true at all. Others have claimed it but originally it’s to celebrate Christ birth. No denying that.

Me: Again, to YOU Christmas is a celebration of Christ’s birth. To MANY others it celebrates family & friends.

HB: Jesus would’ve been born in the summer. Christians ripped off Saturnalia in an attempt to lure pagans into their religion.

HB: So yes, there is denying that.

Lisa: We don’t have to lure anyone- He loves you and if you choose to reject HIM He gave you free will. It’s not my job to convince you.

Me: It’s also not your job to dictate whether or not non-Christians have the right to enjoy a public holiday.

At this point, I’m a mere 140 characters away from YELLING at Lisa, possibly making her cry.

Obviously, for Christians, Christmas is a celebration of the birth of Jesus – a little bastard who came into this world for the sole purpose of being sacrificed to God (his biological father) on Man’s behalf. In recognition of his birth, Jesus’ devout followers are nice to each other (and sometimes even strangers) for an entire day which makes them very pleased with themselves.

I’m being facetious. What really makes Christians happy is knowing that everyone who takes a pass on the gift of eternal life by choosing not to accept Jesus as their own, personal Jesus, will be burning for eternity in God’s nether regions. One does not turn down a very pricey gift from God and expect him to be gracious about it.

Whatever.

The fact that Christians see Christmas as a tangible, shiny treasure that needs to be protected and kept unsullied by heathen hands is outrageously stupid (and selfish). No one is trying to stop them from celebrating Christmas in whichever way makes them feel best about themselves and their religion.

“Happy Holidays” is not a war cry, it’s a simple way to show tolerance for beliefs that differ from yours. Wishing someone a happy holiday is an effortless way to include, rather than exclude, your fellow human beings during a season of pretending you believe in peace on earth and goodwill to men.

So maybe we should take Christ out of Christmas and replace him with an X.

X = what is important to you.

[1]The Grinch Fan Club

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Back to the missionary position…

paperboyInstallment 1: How I Became an Atheist

As a new member of the Evangelism Corps, I became a cog in an elite team of zealous, idealistic young Christians who really wanted to get away from home. Get away from home and drag people to Jesus.

At the beginning of our training as God’s paperboys, delivering the Good News to doorsteps all over the northwest US, we were each given a personality test. It was a common questionnaire cleverly designed so that you could, without even being aware of it, distill yourself into a category of personality-type combinations. It made sense: effective implementation of any tool requires balance. When assembling squads, the director didn’t want one made up entirely of jazz-hands extroverts, leaving the introverts huddled together trying to avoid eye contact.

Care to guess which broad category claimed me as an undistinguished member? I don’t know. It was either ISTJ (golden retriever) or ISFP (labrador retriever). The only letter that really mattered was the I because, while there is no I in team, you can’t have a strong team without a mother-may-I introvert. Thanks to an infallible sorting method, I was placed on teams with perky girls, amusing magicians, and stoic guitar players. It wasn’t as much fun as it sounds.

Fascinating stuff is it not? Too bad. Walking down Memory Lane is boring me. I’m going to take run down to Procrastination Place to clear my head.

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Bikini or Burka: Pick One!

textI read Frank’s article, The Veil in the Western World, which he wrote in response to a Huffington Post piece by Jennifer Izaakson.

“The Veil Issue” is a quagmire of racial distrust, religious intolerance, perceived misogyny, and a clash of cultures.

Anyone concerned with women’s rights, the abuse of women under the guise of religious traditions, and the objectification/ownership of women, will see a woman wearing a veil as an affront. Well-meaning people are projecting their own indignation onto what they perceive to be male-dominated and dogma-fueled oppression. Others see the veil as a defiant refusal to assimilate into a new culture or a silent condemnation for the society that they should be embracing. Still others may feel that the veil will antagonize racists in the community and put the wearers’ safety at risk.

And to some extent, every one of those opinions is true, which unfortunately can turn an article of clothing into a flying banner of contention.

Personally, when I see women who cover their hair or shroud their entire bodies, I feel sorry for them. I see them as having embraced religious or cultural practices that, to my mind, diminish them, not only as women, but as human beings. Regardless of my own ideas of what constitutes appropriate public attire, the fact that a woman’s choice of dress, from a miniskirt to a burka, is seen as tacit complicity with a society that will label her a whore or victim is disturbing.

To my mind, if a person’s culture or religion does not cause physical or mental harm to themselves or others, they should be left alone. However, violence and cruelty under the guise of religious freedom or cultural tolerance should never be accepted by the rest of society.

So, unless you’re sitting next to Lady Gaga and she’s wearing a razor ribbon dress, don’t fret about what a woman’s wearing. Your time would be better spent considering the validity of your own prejudices.

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Atheism+ and Misognyny

atheism plusI’ve been an atheist for quite a few years, but raising kids didn’t afford me the time or leave me with the energy to do anything but “be” an atheist. I knew there were others (besides Carl Sagan and Isaac Asimov), but I assumed that other atheists were unobtrusively living their quiet, isolated lives, giving others the space to believe whatever nonsense was flapping inside their brain cavities. It wasn’t until quite recently that I learned, not only are there plenty of free-range atheists, they have been flocking together.

I try not compartmentalize myself or others, to distill anyone into an easily sorted whole, but as a society breaking off from a larger collective into smaller, more elite blocs seems to be an evolutionary necessity. Calling ourselves “The Blue Team” is too broad, we are naturally drawn apart into shades of blue. The atheist community is a rainbow of blue and I am, for my own education, attempting to differentiate the subtle variations. At the moment I’m learning about AtheismPlus.

Here’s what I’ve gleaned so far:

AtheismPlus is a very young movement that identifies itself as a “new wave of atheism” which aims to mollify the old atheism by focusing on social justice, specifically the “misogyny, racism, homophobia, biphobia, transphobia, ableism and other such bigotry inside and outside of the atheist community.” The primary catalyst behind AtheismPlus seems to be a new wave of feminism, an ism that has been vilified, with varying degrees of severity, since women fought for the right to vote (or, as some would argue, the beginning of time).

Throughout history (I’m guessing, I’m not that old) a movement driven by the passion (or anger) and arrogance of youth is bound to be a teeny bit self-righteous. “We may have discovered the wheel all over again, but this wheel is better! Let us tell you why your wheel sucks…” For that reason alone I will not confront (at this time) the underlying message that all other atheists don’t give a shit about anyone but themselves. Instead, let’s talk about misogyny, a word that is being overused to the point that it’s losing the full impact of it’s true meaning: a hatred, dislike, or mistrust of women.

Gender discrimination and the sexual objectification of women are social ills, not abject misogyny. For example, a man (Richard Dawkins) may be an insensitive, arrogant bastard who has no qualms about talking shit about a particular woman, and still not be a dyed-in-the-wool misogynist. A man (Richard Dawkins) may flippantly dismiss a young woman’s feelings of being treated as a possible sperm receptacle without believing that she somehow asked for the advance and deserves whatever happens. I know this from experience: as a young woman, at one time or a hundred you will be objectified. A socially retarded guy who hits on you isn’t necessarily a brute who can barely conceal his hatred of women. He’s just a socially retarded guy. Every human being can be a total asshole at one time or another. Most men don’t hate women, they simply weren’t taught how to be respectful of another person’s space or feelings. Don’t waste your time being pissed at the sexually frustrated, insensitive fuckwits who leave vicious comments on your blogs. If the goal of AtheismPlus is to counter true misogyny, make sure you’re fighting the real thing, otherwise you’re doing the entire atheist community a disservice.

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