A lot of people really are acting like they can read minds, like they know absolutely everything about everybody. One of the ways these people are revealed is when they come across a nude or half nude or … almost any photo where a woman’s skin is showing. It can almost be guaranteed that someone (a man or a woman, it doesn’t matter – although it’s usually men) will comment something like:
Well, of course she’s naked. That’s how you earn money if you don’t have any other talents.
… or something similar … you can almost hear them, can’t you? Or hear yourself, if you’re one of these people that likes to make snap judgements of people they don’t know and don’t even care to know.
Image by JerzyGorecki / Pixabay – Public Domain
Well, as it turns out, women are people too (difficult to accept for some, I would imagine). And people are complicated. People do things for a variety of reasons.
One thing that has a big tendency to both annoy and to actually damage the World is the “It’s their culture” proclamation. There are real problems with it. Basically, this proclamation is often heard when trying to defend bigoted, racist, sexist or misogynist behaviour. Effectively we’re saying that people are entitled to their own culture, and the often horrific behaviour is simply the part of the culture, so we should all simply live with it.
By Nitin Madhav (USAID), exact source, Public Domain, Wikimedia Commons
Most often it is used when somebody tries to criticise actions of Islam extremists and/or treatment of women in Islam, but it’s not limited to this use. It’s also used to justify circumcision, or teaching that God created the Earth is six days in schools. However, it’s lately mostly used about Islam, so this post will continue in this tone.
First of all, when you use this argument, you’re applying the different standard to the people you’re saying this about. A standard which is less strict about women’s rights, for example, than we in the West are accustomed to. This in of itself is bad, as basically people who say things like “this is normal in their culture” are guilty of racism of low expectations. It comes down to “these brown people, we just expect this from them, we cannot hold them to the same standard as us”. Well, isn’t this a repulsive thing to think and say?
In my opinion, a lot can be achieved by using Memes. A simple short message can often make people stop and think, even if it's for a brief moment. So with this idea, a new blog Category is created, aptly named "Atheist Memes". In here you will be able to find all the memes Entangled Life shares on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and all social media.
For the first entry in this category, this ancient question of Epicurus is appropriate:
Is God willing to prevent evil, but not able?
Then he is not omnipotent.
Is he able, but not willing?
Then he is malevolent.
Is he both able and willing?
Then whence cometh evil? Is he neither able nor willing?
Then why call him God?
Things Religious fundamentalists tend to say about these and similar questions is: "well, you cannot apply human-made logic to God, which is eternal and outside our space...". And one certainly valid reply to this would be "Yes, you might say God is immune to logic. But if you say that, then really anything goes. Golden unicorns, Invisible dragons in your garage, orbiting teapots ...".
Too often I have heard that without religion there can be no morality, that you cannot be a good person without being religious. So, let me address that point briefly.
Yes, religion does provide a set of moral values. But what is this “absolute morality”, you say? Well, as I understand it, absolute morality means that there are rules which are always in effect regardless of the circumstances. For example, killing a human being is always wrong, no matter the circumstances. Stealing is always wrong, no matter the circumstances. etc. You might say, something like “society needs rules”. Of course, society needs rules, and indeed, society does have rules, but any attempt to have absolute morality, valid for all situations ever, is inevitably an attempt to dictate rules onto others while claiming that your values are absolute, perfect and above all others.
When you add the doctrine that those that you value and other similar rules have been written in a Holy Book, as a Word of God Himself and as such they are perfect and cannot be changed ever, into the mix, I’m sure that you can see how such combination can be very, very dangerous for humanity.
While we might all potentially agree that killing a human being is always wrong, such is not the case with stealing, as many of us might consider stealing acceptable to feed a child who’s about to die of starvation, for example. And if you go even further into the things that some Holy Book has said, then you come to the highly controversial parts about how homosexual people should be put to death. Of course, this is where modern day priests come in and say that this is meant to be interpreted this way, or that way and not directly, etc., etc..
So, the absolute rules which may never be changed are interpreted to you. But when something needs “interpretation” it couldn’t have been too perfect, to begin with, could it?
On today's date, 12. February 1809., Charles Darwin was born. Charles Darwin has put the world at the great debt with his contributions to science and understanding of our natural world.
Darwin formulated the scientific theory of evolution which he published in his book “On the origin of species” (now available for free in digital form).
Simply put, evolution means process of change, or adaptation if you will in all life forms over countless generations.
The theory of evolution gives us scientific explanation as to how did all the amazing variety of species come about. It is the explanation for the complexity of apparent design of life. It it a huge scientific accomplishment of humanity to be able to explain the Origin of species and regard that explanation as a simple fact of life.
As Richard Dawkins would say, Darwin with his brilliant theory showed us that no scientific problem is unsolvable. He showed us that even the very problem of huge variety of species in the world can be solved without the need for supernatural or magic.
In short, Charles Darwin is a person we cannot thank enough and we cannot honor enough.
Since this page doesn't particularly care about Religion, and in fact, it makes a point of mocking it in order to promote science and reason as opposed to superstition, you might expect that I would welcome Muslim ban from the US.
Oh, how wrong you would be.
First of all, this ban violates the Refugee Convention which requires the countries to take refugees based on humanitarian grounds.
Second, this ban violates Secular principles, meaning the separation of church and state. Secularity is a key principle in today's modern world and every modern Country's Constitution is secular. Because church (Religion) and state should be separate, religious beliefs (or lack of belief) cannot be the cause of discrimination. In simpler terms: once you allow the discrimination of one religion, a door is open to discriminate any religion and lack of religion, meaning Atheists could come under attack, same as Muslims are now.
Third, this ban is xenophobic, hateful and despicable. There were already many measures in place to ensure that no terrorist comes into the US and there was no real reason to do this, especially when you also notice that this ban does not apply to countries where Trump has business ventures.
Muslim Ban is potentially the first step on the journey towards a country where one religion is in fact more important than other religions and actually towards a country where church and state are so tight that the belonging to the “right” church assures you are above others.
I support the right of people to choose their own religion, as well as their right to give up their religion. Simply put, you believe what YOU want to believe, not what your Country tells you to believe.
There’s a sad recurring theme among religious people, and it basically comes down to not liking themselves enough. I’m talking about the tendency of religious people to attribute everything that went well in their lives to God and prayer.
The image above is actually the whole point this post tries to make.
The thing is, if you passed an exam, that was you passing the exam. When you scored a goal that was you scoring the goal. Do you honestly think that a supernatural being had anything to do with something so petty?
A very religious mind is a messed up thing. It basically can reject whatever effort it made in favor of a idea that the creator of the Universe intervened personally to help with a college exam, for example. I even got the hint that they feel that if they congratulate themselves and acknowledge their own accomplishments somehow their invisible friend God will be upset and won’t help them again. How messed up is that? This is what happens when religions are allowed to have such overwhelmingly huge impact on children. Children become very dependent on the fantasy they learned and they even in adulthood undermine their own accomplishments just to keep the illusion alive.
The plain truth is: if you don’t study, you don’t pass an exam. If you don’t practice to become a better actor or tennis player or singer or whatever others are going to beat you and no amount of prayer is going to change that. The bottom line is: Prayer does not work.
There have even been scientific studies to try to show whether prayer had any effect. As you might have guessed, the only thing proven was that prayer does not work. In some cases patients were even feeling worse.
When you consider all the things that God could potentially be doing (hint, hint – wars, hunger, poverty sick children…), to think that in reality a miracle occurred just so you could pass an exam, pretty much borders on insanity.
To attribute good things happening to God’s intervention is to deny responsibility for making progress in one’s own life. The deal is the same with bad things, where one would actually deny responsibility for things going wrong and pray that god has some kind of plan. People who think like that are exhibiting cowardly behavior. Don’t be like that.