News, Links, And Comments For Atheists:

We may all be space aliens: study

European and US scientists have proved for the first time that two bits of genetic coding, called nucleobases, contained in the meteor fragment, are truly extraterrestrial….

Both of the molecules identified, uracil and xanthine, “are present in our DNA and RNA,” said lead author Zita Martins, a researcher at Imperial College London.

I still remember how the Watchtower Society’s Creation Book put down the idea of panspermia as a desperate attempt by scientists to make “evolution” work. (They should have said abiogenesis, but anyway…) After more than 20 years, the evidence keeps getting stronger for this. Asteroids or commets may have actually played a part in the creation of life on Earth.

From Austin Cline – William Federer: Atheist Tyrants Won’t Submit to Theocracy

In reality, the legal challenges which atheists make aren’t based on “offense,” but rather on the belief that the government actions in question are illegal and unconstitutional. It’s not “offense” that justifies challenging a Ten Commandments monument, for example, but rather the fact that the government doesn’t have the legal or constitutional authority to promote religious documents and doctrines in such a manner. William Federer doesn’t address this, and for good reason because I don’t think he has an argument to offer.

Enjoying the Good Life Without Gods: Gods, Religion Not Needed to Enjoy Life

So we’re not all depressed maniacs who want to spread misery and coodies to all we survey? We’re not all out to off ourselves because our lives have no meaning without God? Who knew? (Well, we did actually…)

An Open Letter to “You’ve Been Left Behind”

Remember that “Left Behind” web site I told you about where they offer to send a letter to your nonbeliever friends after you’ve been raptured? Well, this site has a message for them. I may have just found my new best friend.

Dear Mark Heard,
Hey, so I heard about your little service in which you convince true-believing Christians to sign up to email their friends and loved ones after the Rapture takes them and leaves all the lesser Christians behind to suffer under the rule of the Antichrist for 7 years. Um, dude, I don’t know if you put the dates together on this one, but George W. Bush took office in 2001. You’re kind of the ones that got left behind. But I wanted to give you some advice from out here (where, by the way, it’s pretty fucking cool).

Who is this Jesus? Five Reasons Christianity is True

Tim Keller of Redeemer Presbyterian Church has an excellent podcast called “Who is this Jesus?”; and I highly recommend you listen to it for its five reasons for god.

The thing about this page is that the reasons Keller offers are pretty much the same old thing we’ve all heard before. A commentator pointed out that his facts are in question and the writer simply shrugs it off by basically asserting that Keller’s information is “just true” so shut up about it already.

Thank you for your long comment, and all of your objections are addressed in the podcast. These five premises are accepted facts about Jesus, and they build on top of each other. Tim Keller talks about the implications of these facts. Your reasoning has prevented you from listening to the podcast, and therefore has prevented you from having faith in Jesus. (Bold type added.)

This sort of response is what makes people like Wyatt Houtz (the poster of the link) seem kinda crazy to the rest of us, you know? I’m not saying that all religious people are crazy, but he didn’t actually respond to the post. He simply looked at the information provided and went “Uh… nuh uh!” Then he asserts that Keller’s information consists of “accepted facts about Jesus” when only Christians accept these as facts. Real experts disagree with them. Finally, Wyatt puts down the commentator for applying reason to matters regarding God and religion.

If you can’t become a believer through reason, then it would seem to me that belief itself is unreasonable. To most atheists, that’s practically an admission that we win. In reality, it’s more like saying, “I’m going to ignore your sources of information in favor of my own, despite the fact that they are not experts.” To me, this sounds like people are rationalizing in an attempt to reaffirm what they already want to believe. It seems like reason should trump rationalizing every time if you honestly want to know the truth of something. Otherwise, aren’t you just sticking with what’s comfortable instead of using the best information and tools available to figure out what’s really going on? If God is real and he matters, then shouldn’t you want to know the truth about him? Shouldn’t you use the best tools and information available to get at that truth?

What if Keller and Wyatt are wrong? What if there is some sort of god, but that god wants them to behave or believe differently than they currently do? They might be just as screwed as they think we non-Christians are. That should mean something to them.

I realize most fundamentalists would simply respond with something like, “But what if they’re right, atheist boy?” I think anyone responding this way missing my point entirely.

If there is a god — a theistic god with expectations and standards for human behavior and belief — then what we do and what we believe matters in a big way. Right? That means we have a serious responsibility to figure out what this god wants if we want to make it happy. That’s what a lot of evangelicals tell people at any rate. Yet many of them don’t seem to take that responsibility so seriously when pressed. They’re content to stand still and to keep on believing what they already believe instead of working tirelessly for the truth. Whatever that truth might be. If they really took this responsibility so seriously, then they would be in a constant search of new information, always on the lookout for any indication that they might be wrong. They would have a desperate need for any clue and would want the best information available. Especially if that information contradicted what they thought was true before. This is the sort of information that real experts can provide. Believers would owe it not only to themselves, but also to the hypothetical “true” god that I’m talking about.

Yet people like Wyatt don’t seem to be doing that from my point of view. If anything, they’re actively discouraging this sort of research and reason. They just want us to give up and accept their version of truth without testing it in any real sense. As soon as the facts dispute their version of reality, they stop digging and want us to stop alongside them. In the end, it seems — to me, at least — as if they’re just out to do and believe whatever the heck they want and to blazes with the consequences. (Isn’t that what they accuse atheists of doing?) Even worse, it seems as if they’re just using this implied responsibility as an excuse to keep pushing their beliefs on the rest of us.

“I can’t stop preaching to you. Sorry, but my message is so important that I have to make you listen to my religious sales pitch! Really, I do!”

“This holy law is so important that I absolutely have to fight through legal channels until people no longer have the right to do [insert thing that is offensive to their god here]!”

This is why I don’t like debating religion with fundamentalists. It’s not that I’m intimidated or even that I think they’re right, it’s just that these debates often boil down to “your experts versus mine” and we end up talking in circles. Try telling a Jehovah’s Witness that the Society’s facts are often wrong and you’ll pretty much get a “no they aren’t” response.

“Yes they are.”

“No they aren’t.”

“Yes they are.”

“Uggg…”

How can we learn anything from one another that way? How can we have a meaningful discussion with those who have a dissenting view that way? It quickly becomes a huge waste of time. Why should the rest of us bother to listen if they won’t listen in return? It’s one thing to have a discussion of equals. It’s another to be preached at because the other person just wants you to stop disagreeing with them. That’s why so many of us just roll our eyes and walk away. They are, in effect, chasing the unconverted away instead of reaching out.

Just saying… That’s all.

About The Atheist Geek

The Atheist Geek is a former Jehovah’s Witness turned secular humanist. He’s a lifelong sci-fi geek and a writer wannabe.

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