Well, a few people appeared to misunderstand my intent in my last journal...
So I'll clarify here.
My goal is not to eradicate religious faith. Nor to bag on religious people of any kind. My goal is to eradicate religious bias of all kinds.
For example, Mormons. I know a few, and they're mostly awesome people. And I don't disrespect them at all, they're really awesome, really. And one guy is quite cute...
Anyway, I view their decision to abstain from alcohol, (not so much tobacco), all drugs, and especially caffeine, as quite foolish.
But it doesn't bother me at all, hell, more coffee and vodka for me!
But I think Mormonism itself is fucking fascinating, and I love reading their histories. It seems odd that they can just kinda ignore that the founding prophet Joseph Smith, among his many good qualities such as charisma, was also a confirmed polygamist who forced teenage girls into marriage, and then openly lied and destroyed freedom of speech in order to cover it all up.
But, it's fascinating that he managed to create a church that has grown for more than 150 years now, and now stands at more than 14 million people.
Brigham Young, the man who succeeded Joseph Smith, I frankly think is a guy I would like. He seemed mischievous, kinda, and brutally pragmatic, and I think he was the really crucial one in the church's success after Joseph Smith was killed by Mormon haters.
I can admire them, too, for doing things such as such a chaste life, abstaining from practically everything there is to abstain from, and almost all guys in the church at some point going on a 2-year mission.
That's kinda admirable, even if I totally disagree with their motives and thought process, just the dedication.
And I watched this documentary on some Mormon Fundamentalist polygamists living in the town of I-Forget-What in I-Forget-What-State.
And it really seemed beautiful to me, women being able to choose the man they want, huge houses having however many wives, everyone happy, everyone under God.
Even though I disagree with most Mormons probably on nearly every issue there is to disagree on, their existence does not offend me.
But, when, for example, they funnel millions of dollars into a nearby state, California, like they did with Proposition 8, in order to take away my fucking marriage rights, that's when I'll get offended pretty quickly.
I only get mad when religion in some way negatively affects my life or other people's lives, just because the people in the religion are too convinced of their own truth.
For example, having One Nation Under God in our Pledge doesn't bother me that much, I opt out of saying the pledge for many reasons.
Nor does having In God We Trust on our money.
Neither of those really offend me.
But they set a dangerous precedent, to completely ignore the entire First Amendment, Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof right fucking there.
In I think it was 2008, here in Washington we had a controversy that was all over the news for a while. The Freedom From Religion Foundation had placed in our Capitol Building a sign saying something along the lines of "Religion is just a superstition that hardens hearts and enslaves minds". There were HUGE protests over that. Now, as wholeheartedly as I might agree with that sign, it most definitely should not have been placed in a government building.
But everyone seemed to ignore that it was placed there in response to, and next to the Christian Nativity Scene they had generously displayed, and all we got was a motherfucking sign.
And they also ignore the fact that extremely similar protests have taken place in the past in other states over the removal of The Ten Commandments tablets from government courthouses.
All of this shows a clear religious bias in our country, and it tends to downtrod on us atheists.
In Dawkins' book, he says that 49 fucking percent of people would, if someone were in all other ways qualified, vote for that person to public office if they were an atheist. Now, people having faith doesn't bother me, but that does, and it's UNDOUBTEDLY, unarguably, because of religious bias by the faithful.
Atheists tend to be a downtrodden minority, because, while about 10 percent of the American population, which isn't spectacularly small for a minority, we have almost zero political mobilization because all we share is not belief in a common idea but a lack of belief in an idea the majority of other people hold.
And so we don't fight back.
There is a huge religious bias, in all of us, whether we realize it or not.
For some reason our society holds that religion must be protected by some extra thick layer of respect while all other subjects are fair game.
People criticize Dawkins endlessly for being too harsh on religion, after all, why does he care?
3 things to consider about that.
1. Religions actively say that they're right all the time. They send out missionaries, try to convert people, we don't seem to mind when churches say "There is a God, and here's why we think so:", but when Dawkins says "There is almost certainly no God, and here's why:", people get their sphincters all up in a bunch.
Also, the almost certainly part is important, I'll explain why below.
2. Just look at that number 49%. That shows people are totally uneducated about what atheists are. I won't be satisfied until that number is at least in the 90's, cause maybe then we'll understand atheist does not = Satanist. Dawkins is spreading the word, except instead of God's word, it's his word, about his lack of faith, rather than his faith. There is no difference between what he's doing and what churches do all day and night and have done for thousands of years.
And 3. If religion apparently can't handle being attacked, then I don't know what to say. I want my ideas to be attacked, if I can't defend my own ideas, then why the fuck am I still holding them? I must be wrong.
For some reason, religious people appear to assume that the slightest whiff of someone hinting there is no God would make people flee by the millions. If your faith in an idea is so weak that if it receives any challenge at all it can't fight back and you totally forsake it, well then it certainly ain't helpful to keep holding them.
Many religious people I know immediately become offended whenever I mention that I think there isn't a God. I think that they know through some process like doublethink in 1984 that there's no rational justification for their beliefs, and they're scared of that because that's all they've ever known, so they basically ignore it and get angry at anyone who suggests otherwise.
That's why I totally respect theoligans who are willing to actually put up some arguments for God's existence. Because, while most of their arguments are either annoying or pathetic, at least they're willing to discuss it (kinda).
Most of the time people can't even mention it before people get offended.
Another of my fucking heroes is Darwin. I respect him more than almost anyone else. Because, even though people bag on him, he was incredibly faithful, believed in intelligent design for the majority of his youth and young adult life. But then, when he saw evidence in the real world that challenged his faith, he didn't ignore it like most people do, he investigated, found that the evidence and his beliefs were in conflict, and then adapted from there, rather than going on his preconceived notions.
Today, I had The God Delusion on my desk in English, and this guy saw it, looked at the covers and skimmed through a few pages, then gave it back and said "This guy sounds like a jerk".
Harsh words, man. You haven't even read his arguments yet, you just see that his arguments disagree with what you already believe, so you assume he must be wrong and then refuse to look at his arguments.
Finally, I'll come back to why Dawkins said almost certainly. If you look through his book, you'll see that he never, ever says "There is no God", all he ever says is that God is possible and impossible to disprove, but incredibly unlikely and the evidence does not point to his existence, and therefore he proceeds with the assumption He is not there.
He never claims to know anything, in that it can't be changed, but he knows exactly what it will take to change his mind: evidence.
I'll love the day when I see a religious person open to change in their views.
So, in conclusion, my goals are not eradication of faith if it doesn't affect me, it is instead fourfold:
1. Stop religion from interfering in my daily life.
2. Stop religion from persecuting others, including the 2 major minorities I belong to.
3. Stop religious bias in our society, including religious apologists: I'm an atheist, or I'm not religious, but people need faith, and there's no reason to criticize it the way you do. I ain't doing anything, I'm just pointing out evidence, and making arguments, if their faith is too weak to hold that, then that's their problem, and they make the same statements I do in the other direction often, and no one says boo. Also, religion is not necessarily good for humanity, as in the 3 other points on this list I'm trying to prevent.
And lastly, of course, FUCK YOU, and you're oh, you and me are so educated and fucking cool that we don't need religion, but sometimes those underlings need something to believe in, you know, if life seems too hard, maybe you should try having a little faith in humanity...
4. Try not to necessarily convert people to atheism, but to hold open and honest discussions about religion and the evidence for it. Hell, if I talk to enough theoligans, my mind might be changed. But I doubt it will.
If I can prove with evidence my points, and they're willing to accept it, and they convert to atheism, well then I'm fine with that.
I hope this clears anything up, and I probably won't post any things this serious again for a while because I'm fucking tired already and all this heavy thinking and religion-talk gives me a fucking headache.