the work and personal site of Jared Alessandroni

Archive for the ‘Atheism’ Category

My Favorite Speech at the Reason Rally

Friday, March 30th, 2012

This is the place – clearly – from which the post below was born. I didn’t know who Jamie Kilstein was until this speech – but he’s great!

Stop Thanking God

Tuesday, March 27th, 2012

I was just reading too many posts on Facebook about this or that survivor. One was of this wonderful woman who had a mastectomy, survived cancer, and is now pregnant. The caption said, God is Good!

And I am not a disbeliever. I don’t fight the notion of a god, though I don’t believe in any supernatural beings, gods included. I have no problem with the idea that there might be, and that that God or those gods might be beyond our comprehension, working in ways beyond our scope of understanding. But everything right here, right now, that I know of, I know of outside of God. I can explain gravity and the moon and the tides and the coloring in my love’s hazel eyes. I don’t need a god for that, and I most certainly don’t need a god to tell me what is right or wrong.

So I have nothing against the idea that God is Good. I take no issue with the possibility that there are aliens from far away planets currently on their way for some chips and a Yankees’ game, either. If those green big-eyed folk are friendly and meaningfully address issues of social inequality and environmental impact, then I’d be fine calling them good, too.

But I’m imagining the doctor who diagnosed the cancer, the anesthesiologist who brought the woman to within an inch of her life and then brought her back, the nurses, and finally the surgeon who cut out a deadly and thoughtless disease – and even if they were all deeply religious, I just don’t see why we’re thanking God first.

When I get good service at dinner, I don’t tip God.

The thing is, I believe that we are given what we have. Not by gods, but by society. Schools, roads, clean air, security, fire protection – I could not have been educated without these things. And I openly accept that when I do good deeds – like founding a school or raising my kids – I am really extending all the good that has been done for me.

But I could have been a banker. I’m Ivy-League, quick with numbers, a quick study, and well-connected. I could have joined the training program at an investment bank, I could have been an analyst or a software developer at a brokerage house. The money would have been better, the work easier, and the life far more luxurious than the one I ended up with. I didn’t end up with it, though. I chose it. And yes, my parents and my dogs and the butterfly in China also played a part in those choices, but I had final say. I could have lived a life devoted entirely to myself or money or any other thing. But I chose to do a bit more for the world.

So did those doctors and nurses.

So no, don’t thank God. Maybe gods and aliens are good, most likely one is a Bronze-aged fairy tale written by some Palestinians a few thousand years ago and the other are probably just like us only greener – but it doesn’t matter. We little specs of carbon and hope down here, we have to choose to be good, and we deserve just a bit of credit.

Atheist Quickie 4.5

Tuesday, January 31st, 2012

Them:

Me:

Why would we retain another lawyer? We already won the case.

Atheist Quickie #4

Friday, January 27th, 2012

Them:

One more nail in the coffen; the american flag is really a flag of the zionist jew… The star of david repersents fire (The top triangle) and the other triangle, pointing down, represents water… Now, when your intertaining your thought’s about the U.S.A. flag??? The color’s are red (fire) and blue (water)… Good luck with the law suite…

Me:

You make no sense and can’t spell.

Atheist Quickie #3

Tuesday, January 24th, 2012

From Person with Name

I am an atheist, and I am also currently a Boy Scout. I have thought about leaving for a while, but it is a lot of fun. Please help me decide if I should leave or not.

I don’t know why, but I just loooove the sound of my own keyboard, so I have to respond:

I can’t give you too much advice – I am far less qualified than your friends or family who know you and your situation better. But, since I love giving advice, I’d point out that the Boy Scouts of America is a huge organization with some very frustrating problematic leadership on the National level, but which on a local level has at least some de facto autonomy. If your local groups are accepting and positive, you should support and join them. It’s a bit more complicated if they feel that your lack of a religious view is an issue, or you feel that they will and you have to remain quiet about it. In that case, it’s worth deciding where that line is for you. It’s easy in some senses to walk into the room with a tee-shirt that says, THERE IS NO GOD and see what everyone does. But there are many times where religion is out of context – and while I have no problem saying what I believe, I feel that it’s just as obnoxious to bring that out up out of nowhere as it is when believers do. If they’re fine with you, and your lack of belief isn’t an issue, AND you don’t feel a strong need to share it with them – a lot of ands – I think you should just go for it. If, however, you feel uncomfortable, especially if they are bringing up their religious beliefs, then you might carefully and respectfully state your views and gauge their reaction before you make any decisions. Now, finally, you might have been wondering if it’s problematic to even be associated to a group that doesn’t technically support what you believe – that’s a different story. It is – and you are by extension supporting an organization that is sometimes hateful and often bigoted. But it’s equally unfair to the local Boy Scout group to assume that they are like that, and you have the right to factor in your own happiness. Either way, what you do will be right.

Hope that rambling helps you think through your decision.

Atheist Quickies #1 and #2

Thursday, January 12th, 2012

AS the (barely, at this point) webmaster for American Atheists, (atheists.org) I get a lot of fun mail. Here’s an example:

Your website makes sweeping claims about what Atheists believe, such as, that they love their fellow man. Stalin was an Atheist. Mao was an Atheist. Did they kill millions of their own people out of love? Perhaps they were really closet Catholics publicly denying the existence of God.

Now, I get roughly 2 to three of these per day, more around Christmas. In fact, when we were on our Christmas vacation out-of-country – I was receiving around 6 or seven. So, I don’t respond to most of them – but when I do, I know they are going into the air, because just as I would never become a god-fearing Christian after getting on, the recipient is not about to stop going to church and start reading up on Dawkins. So, every so often, I’ll post my answers here – for your erudition and possible improvement as people, and because otherwise, what’s the fun?

Here’s my response to the above:

Brian,

Atheists don’t believe in anything. That’s the whole point. Some of us love our fellow man, while some of us are a bit more Ron Paul about it. Either way, unless you want to talk about Hitler, Bin Laden, and McVeigh – I don’t think naming a few people is evidence for religious believers loving their fellow man.

Jared

It’s not always that innocent, though. Since this is my first, here’s a bonus one:

Name: None of your business

Just saw that the asshole on Fox news going on about Gov. Perry. Why don’t you bunch of cowards go after the Muslims or Jews and leave Christians alone? Because you are a bunch of spineless losers. Get some balls faggot!

I… didn’t respond to this (like I said, only every so!) but I did just look at it. Like there is a group that’s more scary, powerful, or dangerous in this country than the Christians? Like going after them is the easiest, but watch for what, the Jews? Going after Muslims is practically part of the Republican platform. Anyway, more to come. Just warning you.

Recovering Catholics

Friday, June 18th, 2010

My distaste for organized religion, like my latent racism and directional sense, is not driven down any one path. If I had to give a point-by-point in that regard, I’d say it’s based on the following:

  • Religion requires me to believe in things that make no sense
  • Religion asks me to dislike, discriminate, or judge people I don’t know
  • Religion takes the rules and regs of dead men and elevates them above reason and sense

Atheism, if taken in the proper use of the term, is not an active belief in nothing, or a conscious disbelief (which is the same), rather it is a passive unbelief.  Atheists don’t not believe in the sacraments, or not believe in the Divine Word of God – we just don’t believe in it.  You never have to ask a Jew or a Muslim or any believer (that’s what we call you in politer company) if they don’t believe in Thor, or the Flying Spaghetti monster.  Atheism is the default position.  So – become and atheist and try to run for office, and see if the world agrees…

In any case, as an active member in the movement, and webmaster for atheists.org, I get requests from time to time – often for product endorsements like some witty bumper sticker or a book.  This morning, I received a note about this music video – and it wasn’t half-bad so, here it is:

I can’t abide by not sharing a video burning of the pope. The Hitler Youth pope, who obsessively went after spiritually impure things like music but had little issue with child abusers deserves nothing less.