I stare out at the firmament, where the ocean meets the sky.
Crimson honey gold spreads out like paint spilled in water.
A song of Gabriel.
Apollo pilots his chariot into the sea quenching the Helios flame.
Night falls across the world crying out:
“Cast your inhibitions aside and embrace my darkness my love; I cannot hold you forever but I will hold you until morning comes.”
A young girl lies dead, blue lipped, in her mother’s arms; choked on sarin gas in Syria.
A young bride shivers and weeps, covered in silvadene in India.
A young boy prays this is the last time in Philadelphia.
And still there is no sign of you.
The short answer is, no.
Atheism is not a religion. It’s a declarative stament about the existence of God/gods.
This is a popular argument between atheists and theists. I’ve noticed theists using it to derail conversations, fairly often. Ask them an uncomfortable question, and they’ll lob it into the conversation like a hand grenade. It works all too well.
If you want to piss off every single atheist in your circle, just make that stament. Then sit back and watch the conversation devolve into chaos.
Watch as the conversation becomes a definitions game. That game is seldom won on either side.
So here’s my question:
Would it matter?
If atheism were a religion, would that classification affect the validity of its core stament:
There is no God, or I don’t believe in God.
I don’t believe it would.
We don’t oppose religion because it’s classified as religion, we oppose it because it’s not true. Because organising ones life around a lie forces one to deny fundamental truths that contradict that lie. This has disastrous effects on society.
It’s the cause of oppressive laws, science illiteracy, bigotry, and violence in the name of said beliefs. Just to name a few.
The constant need to square the circle. To make actual reality, reflect fictional “reality” so you can continue to believe the lie.
This is laid out much more eloquently by Nicholas Lamar Soutter in his wonderful article here:
If any of the religions turned out to be true we’d be forced to drastically change our approach.
So, the next time some theist uses the tired old turnip “atheism is a religion” maybe don’t argue for three hours over definitions. Maybe instead, ask what difference it makes. Put the onus on them, and watch them squirm.
It works. I promise. Every time I’ve used that response, the theist in question was stumped. I’ve actually watched their face drop.
Why? Because there is no good answer. Explaining why we oppose religion, and how their assertion is irrelevant, true or not, leaves them with no angle to work.
That’s just my opinion my loves. Stay strong, stay resolute, and be the atheist that makes your local pastor wake up in a cold sweat.
I love you all.
During my life as a white man, surrounded by white people, I’ve learned a lot about my own race. Through careful study I have managed to narrow white people down to four basic groups. There are subsets within these groups, but the focus of today’s article will be the four mains groups.
So without further ado. Here are the four groups of white people, I’ve discovered and categorized.
1. The outright racist:
This is a group of white people that will tell you unequivocally what they think. They don’t care about cameras, or their reputations, and are generally surrounded by their own ilk. (Likely because everyone else finds then loathsome.) They are often very fond of lifted pickup trucks, confederate flags, and country music. (Though this is not always the case.)
Now I’m not saying all country folks are racists. That’s entirely untrue. I know a lot of people who love country music, and lifted pick up trucks who are not at all racist. I’m not so sure about the confederate flag.
Here’s a relevant story:
I was in Atlanta, helping an apartment community get caught up on broken a/c’s. (I used to work in apartment maintenance.) It was evening and my friend and I were at this little bar down the road from our hotel room. It was open mic night, and if you know me at all you know that I fucking hate open mic night, but my friend really wanted to listen to off key, poorly written, poorly played country tunes so….
C’est la vie.
Through out the night there was a mixed crowd. I’d had a lengthy conversation with a Somali national about ISIS, over several beers. There were young, aspiring country singers in cowboy hat’s and boots. A group of black guys playing pool over by the bathroom. Everybody was getting along swimmingly.
Enter the racist.
Four very drunk, very redneck, young men walked into the bar. A tallish one in the back of the group, was looking around the bar with a look of outrage on his face, an out of nowhere he screams:
“WHAT THE HELL ARE ALL THESE GODDAMN *EXPLETIVE* DOING IN HERE? I’M ABOUT TO SLAP ME A GODDAMN *EXPLETIVE* IN THE MOUTH!”
Which prompted me to look at the bartender and say:
“I’d like to close my tab please.”
My friend wanted to stay and see the fireworks, and I had to explain to him that, I wasn’t interested in getting shot.
I’ve seen similar situations play out over the course of my life, and they never ceases to shock me.
I don’t know how it played out, but I will say, the black guys playing pool laughed, shrugged, and waved the guy off. They went on playing pool and completely ignored the bigot.
I loved them for that.
2. The Subtle/Self-denying Racist:
This person is not any less racist than the outright racist, they’re just confused about it. They will often use their religion, mainly Christianity, to justify these beliefs. They also seem to think that all reasonable white people reciprocate in these views. And if there are no minority groups around, they will inform you of their oppinions with outright zeal. Now I’ve had the displeasure of having educated, seemingly reasonable white people unload some veiled racism on me alone, and after a few drinks, but that’s not the norm. The best example is here:
I was moving back to Myrtle Beach from Charleston, and had rented a truck. My ex and I were returning the truck, and looking get our $250.00 deposit back.
I was driving the truck, the ex was driving our car with my son in the back. It was a cool day in October, my son was enjoying his Nintendo DS, so we opted to let him wait in the car.
Upon entering the office at the truck rental place, the lady at the desk sent her husband to inspect the truck. We waited with her.
Noticing my son in the car she asked:
“Oh, is that your son in the car?”
I refrained from saying something snarky, like:
“No, a fellow I know owes me a debt, and I’m keeping the boy as collateral.”
I simply affirmed that it was and that he was eight.
When she heard this her whole face lit up, and the racist tirade began:
“That’s how old my daughter is, and you know what she says she wants? A black boyfriend! Can you believe that? It drives her daddy insane! We tried to take the scriptures, and show her where the Bible says that the races shouldn’t mix. But she won’t hear it. She says she’s gonna get her a black boyfriend, and he’s gonna become her black husband, and they gonna make little half breed babies. You ever see those little half breed babies? Aren’t they beautiful? Do you think God makes them babies so beautiful, because they don’t have a race to identify with?”
I don’t know if I just have an understanding face, or what. For some reason people will just tell me what they think. It’s a curse.
Now I know what you’re thinking:
“Duke, I would have let her have it! I would have told her she was blah blah blah blah!”
I don’t believe you.
Because that’s what I would say, had it not been me who was there. The experience was so unbelievable that I had no idea what to do. My ex and I just stood there, slack jawed and in shock, as her husband came back into the room. He told her it was good, she gave us our money, and we left.
Here’s the thing. If you told this woman she was a racist, I bet she would be genuinely hurt. She would deny it completely, and likely say something like:
“There’s black people that go to my church, and some of my best friends are black.”
They just need to stay away from her children.
I see this kind of thing all the time, and it never ceases to disturb me.
3. The Confused White Person:
This group is comprised of mostly reasonable, non-racist white people, who can’t figure out why everybody’s so angry at them. They make friends readily with anyone who’s agreeable, regardless of identity. They are unreceptive to a abhorrent ideas about people based on identity. Essentially, they’re good people. Being good transcends identity. Your character is not attached to what group you belong to, it’s personal to you.
It is no way reasonable to make assumptions based on identity. If we cannot get to a place where actions speak louder than innate characteristics, we’re never going to beat racism.
And we’ve arrived at the most insidious group of white people there are.
4. The “I’m not like all the other white people” White People.
Here we have a group of white people with seemingly no self awareness, who are constantly squalling about their own awfulness, whilst simultaneously preening their own virtue.
They are happily offended on behalf of others. Even when others are not, themselves offended. And will call out any person who doesn’t appreciate their being offended in implicitly bigoted terms.
They see themselves as the defenders of the downtrodden, and disenfranchised. However, their language, actions, and additude show much more sinister intentions.
They fail to see the air of superiority they portray. How believing that minority groups would be helpless if not for them, is both condescending and arrogant. Also everybody is literally Hitler.
This group of white people are, in my humble opinion, the biggest obstacle to equality. By magnifying hatred, and creating division they stifle a very necessary conversation.
If you should come across one of these white people in the wild, avoid them at all costs. They don’t really care about you. They care about seeming virtuous. They are not.
In conclusion, not all white people are racist. We should condemn any and all racism, regardless of the source. And if you’re a butthurt white person, offended by what I’ve said here; I invite you to vigorously and thoroughly suck it.
Let’s have dinner by the gaslight.
The salad is made of words dressed with poison; meant not to kill but to subdue
The meats au jus seeps out malevolence, and shame.
There we shall project our opinions with blame and resentment in a maypole dance of despair
We’ll smear each other over the bread like butter, and triangulate our guests to our causes; our hellish, nonsensical, tug of war.
We’ll pass the sides dishes around like moving goal posts, and afterwards we can warm ourselves with a blanket of statements.
Burning up with hatred in a bed made out of lies and disgust.
Hey there buddy. It’s been a while since we spoke. How you been? Things are pretty desperate down here, but you already know that.
So what’s the good news? When you coming back buddy? We sure could use some of that all inclusive divine love, and grace right now. Billions of us fall prostrate to your glory everyday, and we don’t seem to be getting much of an answer.
Cat got your tounge?
You see it all right? You see us killing an dying in your name by the thousands. You must right? You see everything.
The brutal indoctrination, cruelty, and quiet desperation of your followers. You see that. You must. You’re everywhere, supposedly.
Or perhaps that’s the problem. Perhaps you’re not there at all. Maybe we just made you up to cope with the finite, and tragic nature of our existence.
Then some realised the power inherent in the idea of you, and devised methods to use that idea to subjugate, divide, and conquer.
Sure, there are those that lead honest, kind lives in your service. A lot of them in fact. But does that really balance it out buddy? I’m not so sure. You see I’ve put a lot of thought into this, and it seems to me that, real or not, you’re terrible for humanity.
Sorry if that stings. I know you’re not mocked and all that, but I gotta call it like I see it.
Anyway, peace be upon you, I guess. If your out there (and really I don’t think you are) it sure would be nice if you showed up and set things straight. Really, it’s the least you can do.