Atheists are assholes?

Something that has always perplexed me is this image people seem to have of atheists as being horrible, judgemental, angry people. It has always confused me because in my experience those who identified as atheist were generally more accepting of people than most. It’s not until recently that this perception has started to make sense to me.

I have been a member of a few atheist facebook groups for a while now, however I’ve mostly only used these groups to keep up with a little bit of news which the members tend to share. Only in the past 2 weeks or so have I actually begun to pay attention to the comments that are being posted and they have begun to shine a pretty bright light on why people perceive atheists as they do.

Recently a few threads in particular have caught my eye. One was about Richard Dawkins comments regarding his views on aborting a fetus if it is known that the resultant child would suffer with Downs Syndrome. Another concerned a news story about 2 expectant, christian, parents who had been told their child would be born with an abnormality which would result in it not have a fully developed brain and would almost certainly die within hours of being born. The parents had decided not to abort, and instead asked for prayers for their child.

And just before people get sidetracked, as they are want to do, I’m neither defending nor condemning Dawkins comments. That’s not what this post is about at all. That said, let’s continue.

Many of the same people commented on both threads and the comments were quite enlightening. On the one hand we had people calling the expectant parents “selfish, ignorant idiots” and saying that if they had an ounce of intelligence they’d get an abortion and try again, almost none of the commenters seemed to take even a moment to consider what these people were going through. On the other hand we had these same people commenting to say that Dawkins was a “callous old douchebag” and how could he “suggest someone get an abortion just because their child may have a defect”. I mean it’s not like these same people, not 48 hours earlier, were posting abuse directed at 2 christians for not wanting to do what they had just abused Dawkins for suggesting.

Another thread which presented some very interesting evidence to support the “atheists are horrible people” image that is so prevalent in our society was one regarding the infamous Westboro Baptist church and the suggestion that they would travel to Iraq in order to protest ISIS. Despite the fact that anyone who knows even a miniscule about of information about ISIS and their actions, many of those commenting seemed excited at the prospect of WBC doing this.

I’m not here to defend WBC, in fact anyone who has read my post regarding the death of the WBC patriarch Fred Phelps knows how I feel about them. The members of the Westboro Baptist church are horrible, inconsiderate, cruel people who have rightfully earned the hatred of millions of people worldwide, however they are still people. I don’t for a moment expect people to forgive anything WBC has done, and I certainly don’t expect them to like it’s members, but to take delight in the prospect of their death or to suggest you’d help them perform an action which is tantamount to suicide is just not right. Westboro members are horrible people, that’s an undeniable fact, but they don’t deserve death anymore than any other group of bigoted assholes.

While I did see several people confront the comments I’ve mentioned above, it seems those who were intent on being the loudest were also those intent on being cruel.

It’s quite sad but I can now say I know where quite a bit of the negative image atheism has comes from and I understand why it exists. There are many atheists out there intent on being judgemental assholes and that is very unfortunate. I understand the anger that many atheists feel towards religion, I feel it too, but to allow that anger turn you into a nonreligious version of what you hate so much is sad.

I don’t advocate for forming a close atheist community, we all know how Atheism+ turned out, but I do feel that if we want to be seen for who we are as individuals and not just as “angry atheists” then we need to take a stand. Not just, as many activists do today, against those forcing religion onto others but also against other atheists who abuse and insult people just for the sheer fun of it.

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Answers in Genesis hate Ice Buckets!

So the last time I wrote about something that had come from the holier-than-thou charlatans over at “Answers in Genesis” it was responding to some harmless stupidity from the mind of Ken Ham, the main charlatan himself, and as such I tried to keep it as lighthearted and comical as possible. However that may not be the case this time around because, to be frank, they’re just being dickheads now.

In recent post for “Answers in Genesis” by Dr. Georgia Purdom, the good doctor seems to suggest that you should avoid doing the “ALS Ice Bucket Challenge” or making a donation to the charity because in their research they use methods which are “violating biblical ethics”. Because we should definitely take our morals and ethics from a book that says rape victims must marry their rapists.

ALS is a progressive neurodegenerative disease that affects nerve cells in the brain and the spinal cord. For more information please visit ALS.org.

In her post, Dr. Purdom states that death and disease are “intruders into God’s originally perfect creation, and we are right to work to reverse the effects of the Curse brought about by man’s rebellion”, because obviously god is far too busy being all knowing to bother being even a little bit compassionate and helping out with that kinda stuff.

Dr. Purdom’s main point of contention, and actually possibly her only one, is that some of the research currently being done to find a cure for ALS is being done using stem cells, specifically embryonic stem cells harvested from aborted fetuses(Dr. Purdom likes to call them children, most likely to elicit an emotional response). I think it’s fair to assume that Dr. Purdom is pro-life, if not her argument here makes even less sense than it does currently.

Her argument appears to be that it is unethical by biblical standards, try not to laugh too hard at that, to use stem cells from aborted fetuses to perform research in the effort to find a cure for this horrific disease. And you know what? Maybe it is unethical to perform abortions solely for the purpose of harvesting these stem cells but what Dr. Purdom neglects to mention is that that’s not what is being done. It’s not like there’s a black van driving around and kidnapping pregnant woman so they can perform an abortion on them. What is happening is, essentially, researchers are making the best of a bad situation. Abortions are going to happen, no matter how hard people like Ken Ham talk to themselves in an effort to stop it, this is a fact of life. At least if stem cells from these abortions are being used to try find a cure for ALS then something good is coming from what pro-life people view as a loss of life.

I’m sure if the worst were to occur and someone that Dr. Purdom loves were diagnosed with ALS her opposition, to a cure that may be found through research on embryonic stem cells, would quickly become a thing of the past.

The Ice Bucket Challenge is helping raise both money and awareness for an excellent cause and I personally hope it continues to do so.

To Dr. Purdom:
If you feel we should live by the teachings of the bible that is your opinion and your choice. With that being said, I implore you to remember the teaching of 1 Timothy 2:12. You don’t wanna go pissing off Yahweh, I hear hell is a bitch!

Check your privilege!

I generally hate the phrase “don’t judge a book by its cover” but I do agree with the sentiment behind it. Snap judgements aren’t very helpful. Judging someone or something without knowing much about them leads to unfair and often incorrect conclusions. Facts are important in all situations in life, especially when it comes to judging people.

Everyone faces challenges in life and it seems it has become very popular, among some people, to decide that if you are a certain colour or gender well then your life must be easy. These same people are the ones who scream “misogyny” or “bigotry” or even just plain hatred if you so much as attempt to disagree with them. The entire world has gone “privilege” mad and it needs to stop.

I’ve been told, and seen others told, several times that my life is easy because I’m a “straight, white, cis, male”. And while I freely admit these factors prevent me from having had to deal with the same situations as others have, that still doesn’t mean my life or anyone elses life is easy. If you are one of those people who feels a person’s life is automatically easy because of a few arbitrary factors in their life which they had no control over I’d like to say a hearty fuck you! You don’t know much, if anything, about me or what has/hasn’t happened in my life.

I grew up just outside a relatively small town, though it has grown larger in recent years, where it seemed as if everyone knew everyone else. They certainly knew my extended family anyway. I’m not going to give you guys my real last name, cause I don’t wanna so suck it ;P, but let’s say it’s “Murphy”( cause ya know, Irish and all that). In my town the “Murphy’s” have a, frankly deserved, reputation as scumbags and criminals. I won’t deny that members of my extended are less than desirable people. Growing up here, with my last name, people automatically assumed you were a trouble maker. As such, my parents kept me out of the town as much as possible so I wouldn’t have to deal with the reputation my cousins had built. I even traveled 30 minutes each way to attend a secondary school where, when I attended the entrance exam, the first words said to me by a staff member(the principal no less) were “oh, you’re one of them?”. Hell, I barely even apply for work in my town anymore because as soon as they read my last name on a CV it’s dumped.

I don’t claim, or pretend, for a second that my life is as bad as it could be or that it’s comparable to anyone else’s. Especially not to those who suffer oppression based on race or gender. But if you try to tell me my life is easy, or my opinions don’t matter, because I’m a straight white guy when you don’t know anything about my life I’m just gonna say fuck you! Pull your head out of your ass and actually realise that your perceptions of what a persons life is like based on their race, gender and sexuality are rarely going to be 100% accurate.

Remember, an idea stands on it’s merits regardless of who comes up with it. It’s not racism or sexism to disagree with someone of another race or gender because their idea is flawed. However it is racist or sexist to outright disregard an idea or opinion just because a person is a certain race or gender, regardless of what that race or gender is.