#7: Through The Attic Window: Manchester Bombing from a Mancunian Perspective

#7: Through The Attic Window: Manchester Bombing from a Mancunian Perspective

Through the Attic Window is an opinion series from Cellar Door Skeptics Podcast.

This episode we decided we wanted the perspective of someone who was close to the terror attack that just happened. We are deeply sad by the tragic events of the last couple day. We reached out to a friend of ours who lived in the area, attended concerts at the arena, and had a great conversation with him. He wrote a blog we felt was imperative to helping everyone heal, while exposing the real side of what happened in Manchester. We hope everyone enjoys it and please reach out and comment on his blog.

Listen Now!

Jordan’s Blog
https://jordanfrancispatricksmith.wordpress.com/2017/05/23/take-me-out-tonight/

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Are Believers the Most Arrogant Atheists?

© Religion Erased

Atheism. The disbelief or lack of belief in the existence of God or gods. There are plenty to choose from and with insufficient evidence, plenty to disprove. So how does one go about doing so? Well, wait until a religion presents credible evidence. One that actually stands out from the ordinary.

 

It makes sense. Instead of doing the impossible and spending a lifetime analysing the seemingly endless line of false prophets, wait for one to impress you.

 

That is what the religious community decides to do. If you ask a Christian what it would take to convert to Islam, the answer will be solid evidence. Meeting Allah face to face. Something that us utterly irrefutable and can no longer cast any shadow of doubt.

 

I share this stance.

 

If I tell a Muslim I am not a Muslim, I am labeled an atheist, whereas if I told a Christian that I’m not a Muslim, I’m simply not a Muslim. Why is that? Why the two perceptions?
Continue reading “Are Believers the Most Arrogant Atheists?”

New Turkey: Eyes on the Ground

“Eat, ye gentlemen; this appetizing feast is yours. Till you are satisfied, nauseous- eat till you burst.”

 

These are the best words to describe Turkey’s last 12 years under an Islamo-fascist regime. Since the ruling party -namely AKP- became the absolute and suppressive power, Turkey has undergone numerous radical changes, especially in social norms, education, economy, and foreign affairs. Popping up out of almost nowhere – with astonishing global support and financial resources- AKP won the votes of conservatives and liberals.

 

During their first five-year-long rule, even the most skeptical secularists started to question their biases about these allegedly conservative figures; hence a minority of them actually voted for them. During the time of the general elections in 2007, a great number of people were expecting a coalition, until the unexpected happened, and once again, overwhelmingly, AKP became the ruling party.

 

During the Istanbul Bing Overseas Seminar, Asia Chiao and her classmates explored the city's complex history through a study of sties, sounds, and smells. Photo courtesy of Ali Yaycioğlu.
Photo courtesy of Ali Yaycioğlu.

That is when all the nightmarish years began. First, on claims of unproven treason scenarios the regime took thousands of soldiers, journalists, and politicians into custody, then sent them to prison without solid proof they committed such crimes. Concomitantly, Islamic rules and regulations hit the education and civic institutions. The State started to convert more than half of the public schools into religious education spheres. Then came the speculations to open mesjids in kindergartens which grew violent. People started to protest these alarming changes, though civil rights organizations have been faced with several charges; not surprisingly, yet again the main allegations included secret witnesses. Whilst society was in shock, the government, under a cloud, started to engage in conflicts, first with Israel and then with Syria.
Continue reading “New Turkey: Eyes on the Ground”

What Does “God” Mean to You?

©Fueling Your Consciousness

I have smart friends.

Like, really smart friends. And I tend to save things they say in response to my prompts on Facebook because they truly blow my mind.

Here, my buddy sets the record straight about online religious debates.

Enjoy. 🙂

 

“As an igtheist, I have to say that I think this back and forth is pointless and fruitless. Until there is a solid agreed upon definition of god that can be empirically measured, there is no point in claiming to believe and/or not believe. The word is so loosely used that it always surprises me how really smart people can pretend to have a discussion about something so ill-defined.

 

The Judeo-Christian-Islamic god is defined as the all-knowing, all-powerful, all-benevolent, creator of the universe. There are many problems with accepting this as definition. The first is that it’s a contradiction. Epicurus proved this in the 3rd century BC. The mere existence of evil in the world means that god can be any two of the three but not all three (omniscient, omnipotent, or omnibenevolent). Google the “Problem of Evil” for more.

Continue reading “What Does “God” Mean to You?”

Texas 2 – Islamic Terrorists 0

e3ucol

 

© Jordan Smith

Two terrorists attempted to murder a group of Texans for carrying out free speech, I’ll give you -4 seconds to guess which religion they followed … It begins with I.

 

The event was held by the American Freedom Defense Initiative (AFDI), which among other things offered a $10,000 prize for the best caricature of the prophet. Two radical Muslims seemed unhappy at the offensive nature of the event & planned to crash the gathering and kill, it would seem, anyone they could. Don’t worry, the fun is on its way.

 

Normally when discussing such events humor is void due to a high death toll of innocent people, thankfully the only people dead are the terrorists, in fact of the two hundred people present at the event, none were harmed – therefore I find humor necessary.
Continue reading “Texas 2 – Islamic Terrorists 0”

Believers, You Are What You Wear

© Religion Erased

‘But my veil is very little!’ The lady exclaimed, passionately arguing her case for the religious freedoms of women in Iran.

 

The interpretation from the opposing standpoint differs from her view that religious clothing isn’t a burden. The ladies remark would have no doubt translated to ‘but my chains are very light!’ in the mind of Christopher Hitchens, the very man at the other end, when confronting the delusion of suggested religious ‘freedoms’ during the Q&A session in Australia.

 


(Editors note: seriously, watch this one; it is worth every second.)

 

Billions of children are currently being brought up in a deeply religious faith, one with a set belief and dress code. Most of these families will justify this by claiming it is a choice, but if everyone coincidentally sports the same clothing, is it really a choice?

 

Taking into account how restricting certain clothes can be, is a niqab really the desired choice for a Middle Eastern summer? Is a robe really the best choice a priest can make to play a game of football? If these are choices, they are choices heavily influenced by religion.

 

Religion gives a guide to live by, not a choice. Lets compare with the sudden urge to buy a product after walking past a billboard. It is a choice but a choice influenced by external factors. I am not going to tell readers to refrain from wearing what they want, but I urge anyone reading this to know that it’s not what you want, it is what religion wants of you. It would be a mistake to say it was a decision made entirely on personal preference.
Continue reading “Believers, You Are What You Wear”

Archaic Plagiarism: Gilgamesh and Modern Apologia’s Failure

When I tell apologists that many of the stories and concepts in the Bible can be found in pre-Christian/pre-Judaic cultures, the usual mode of defense is something along the lines of: “But my religion has the correct story.”

 

I can rebut such an argument with the following thought experiment:

 

  • Imagine you walk into Library A and find a book called Story A.  Story A was published in 1800 in upper New York. It contains a specific story about a man named Jimmy who is 6 feet tall, has Scoliosis, lives in a blue house on a street named Peach, has 2 dogs and 1 cat, works for a lumber company called Logs Inc., and has a wife named Katherine who is 28 years old.

 

  • You leave Library A and go across town to Library B. You find a book with the title of Story B.  Story B was published in 1900 in lower New York.  It contains a specific story about a man named Jimmy who is 6 feet tall, has Scoliosis, lives in a blue house on a street named Peachy, has 2 dogs and 1 cat, works for a lumber company called Logs Inc., and has a wife named Katherine who is 29 years old.

 

  • The cores of Story A and Story B are almost entirely alike. However, there are small details which do differ. The small details which differ do not override the rest of the similarities (and the local geographical locations of where the two stories were published is also relevant).

 

  • In the real world of publishing, Story B would be a blatant plagiarized copy of Story A.

Continue reading “Archaic Plagiarism: Gilgamesh and Modern Apologia’s Failure”

No True Scotsman: From ISIS to Westboro to Saturday Night Live

Moderates have funny logic. “ISIS and Westboro Baptist Church are not “real” christians or muslims.”…”Sure, just like Will Ferrell and Jimmy Fallon are not “real” SNL’ers; who am I? Just some Earthling who watched an episode once.”

 

It’s quite puzzling to me why so many people act like moderates have a more respectable opinion  than fundamentalists when it comes to understanding what the holy books say. Who is going to know more – fans or super fans? Isn’t that all ISIS is after all? They really love the Qu’ran and its teachings, and now they want to turn reality into their mythological world where women are to blame for all problems (similar to the Biblical world). The majority of people who are religious moderates have never read their holy book, at least not in its entirety. Moderates claim that fundamentalists are radicals, but what they really are saying is their religion is radical, when it is followed in a fundamental way. Moderates, why do fundamentalists and cult followers have such similar behavior patterns? In other words, why is it that the closer one follows your holy book, the more delirious one appears to become?

 

Let’s look at a few other examples to demonstrate how ridiculous it is that people believe moderates have a better understanding than fundamentalists.

 

If you wanted information about Saturday Night Live, would you ask someone who watches a couple episodes a year or would you ask Will Ferrell?
Continue reading “No True Scotsman: From ISIS to Westboro to Saturday Night Live”

On the Necessity of Apostasy

On one of the “atheists vs. Christians” Facebook pages that I occasionally haunt, one of the contributors recently raised an earnest question that deserves a sincere, considered response. I’ll begin by quoting him:

“You are asking this generation of Believers to put aside their beliefs in their Savior, after 2,000+ years of dedication Believers gave their lives to pass the legacy to each generation, per the Christ’s request?”

 

Garbled though it may be, this is one of the better questions I’ve seen raised in that forum. Without making it crystal clear, he seems to have broached two issues, one of which I responded to briefly with an observation about “throwing good money after bad” but now would like to address at slightly greater length: Yes, it’s true that the history of Christianity is strewn with martyrs who died for their convictions. And on some level, I’ll admit that’s impressive – just as it’s impressive when a Muslim fanatic dies for his beliefs, whether he’s put to death by the zealous defender of a rival faith or blows himself up in a crowded marketplace imagining it to be the will of Allah. But that doesn’t make his religion true, any more than being martyred for the Christian faith makes that religion true. All it means is that some people are willing to die for their opinions, and that others are willing to kill those who hold what they imagine to be the wrong opinions. No matter how many people die for a faith, the faith is not thereby validated.

 

Consider the violent end of that unfortunate first-century Palestinian prophet around whom the Christian religion is built. For the sake of argument, I’ll assume that such a figure as Jesus of Nazareth actually existed and was put to death by the Roman Procurator for inciting rebellion. That doesn’t make him the Son of God: it makes him the victim – one of many such victims – of an empire that wasn’t keen on having its prerogatives questioned. It happens all the time, and doesn’t make Jesus or any other martyr divine. For that matter, it doesn’t even place the stamp of validity on his message: his message – assuming we can find it somewhere within the opacities of the Gospels – stands or falls on its own merits.

 

I mourn for those who, like Jesus, are executed unfairly. I mourn the unjust death of Martin Luther King, Dietrich Bonhoeffer, Ethyl Rosenberg, Joe Hill and Mohandas Gandhi for the same reason. But that martyrdom doesn’t make them special: their lives made them special. Like Jesus, the five martyrs I named died for causes that I can get behind, but the thing that makes their message “true” and their causes worth fighting for is not the martyrdom of the messengers.
Continue reading “On the Necessity of Apostasy”

When Religion Kills: The Cowardice of the Dogmatic

As reported in the NY Times, Avijit Roy, a Bangladeshi-American blogger critical of religion, was murdered yesterday in Dhaka, Bangladesh, hacked to death by machete-wielding religious adherents. His wife was attacked as well and is currently in critical condition. If we are to follow in the footsteps of the current Pope, that bastion of progressive values championed by liberals ignorant of Catholic dogma, Roy got what was coming to him. Comparing criticism of religion with the cursing of one’s mother, an equivalency with playground childishness that is as ridiculous as it is inaccurate, he declared such usage of free speech as wrong and the person doing so should expect to be punched. That the Pope disavowed murder as an appropriate response is completely undone by this rationalized approval for violence.

 

In recent polling done by Pew Research (May-June of 2014), when asked to describe, by reference to temperature, how positive or negative a particular religious ideology is viewed, Americans scored atheism at 41 degrees, only one degree warmer than Muslims. Considering all the press concerning the possible rise of hate-crimes against Muslims, the lack of coverage concerning antipathy towards atheists seems to tacitly endorse the fact that such people deserve to be hated. This wanton disregard by leaders and social institutions shows the lie of their supposed dedication to making the world a better, more informed, place.
Continue reading “When Religion Kills: The Cowardice of the Dogmatic”