July 31, 2013
A recent Twitter argument has kept me thinking – what do people out there actually believe when it comes to worldview and ethics as atheists?
My atheism started as a conclusion to an exploration of the foundation of religion. It began with an investigation of Jesus and an initial conclusion that if he did exist, the entire Gospel is a lie. For being famous he certainly was erased from Roman records pretty quickly. So I went back to where my family comes from – Rromani paganism descended from Hinduism, Norse paganism/Asatru, Druidism, Celtic paganism. Over time, these failed me and brought me to mystical systems focused on self-improvement. My last foray into any spiritual practice was Taoism, specifically internal alchemy. I keep some of the practices to this day (such as guided meditation) and some of the practices and ideals I picked up from Zen Buddhism, especially the zen state of no-mind. But I’m an atheist, because every system of practices and beliefs failed to live up to their claims. In essence, they said the world worked in a certain way, and I found these claims to be false.
However, I tried to maintain consistency with my actual beliefs. I stopped basing my moral and ethical systems on those that religion taught me. I reconsidered everything that I thought might be right or wrong. I examined why they’re right or wrong. I researched philosophy and logical arguments. I researched actual sociological, anthropological, and biological data. Thanks to my current partner, I’ve gained even more insight thanks to her experiences in philosophy and a specific school of sociology focused on gender. This is why I’m a feminist – the data, the science, and the philosophical logic all point to Critical Race Theory being the best examination of the world around us and Feminism being the most accurate model of the current oppression system that we exist in. They call this oppression system the Kyriarchy (or the Patriarchy, when being less specific toward intersectional realities) and offer ways to dismantle and combat it.
However, it seems like there’s a peculiar caste of atheists in the world who claim that atheism is just a conclusion. A conclusion on there being no gods. This can’t be true, however, because if you come from the Judeo-Christian or Abrahamic context that most of the Western (and large swaths of the Eastern) world comes from, by becoming an atheist you also toss out the justification for your entire moral and social system. God and his commandments, as well as the sayings of his prophets, have been used to justify literally the entire social order. In contradictory terms at times (see slavery, whether parents have the right to beat or bully children, economic oppression, the role of violence in human life). By asserting that one is an atheist, one must also now fill the massive gap that is one’s social and moral foundation in life.
Without God, how do you determine what is good and what is bad? What is right and what is wrong? What is just and what is unjust? What is valid and what is invalid?
I’m hoping that, like me, every atheist would answer “science, data, the reality around us.” That would be simple, and it would mean we would all be Feminists. Because when it comes to reality, data, and science, the science of Sociology has pretty much proven that intersectional Feminism (the radical Feminism of the coasts that comes especially from feminists of color) is the most valid real-world ethical structure that we have. It comes from Critical Race Theory, an examination of how societal oppression works. A system that was born out of Critical Theory, which in practice is still the most accurate way to examine the way society actually works. This is the reality-based worldview. Every other atheistic worldview I have encountered relies on unfalsifiable claims or out-right false claims.
Where do these atheists get their morals from? Why is it so difficult to be self-reflective for these people, to examine what they believe to be right or wrong, if they’re able to ask themselves if they honestly believe god exists?
This is why I have grudging respect for fundamentalists – at least they have the intellectual honesty to say that they do believe that God exists in whatever capacity and they’re just following God’s laws. I wish that there were more moderate religious people, but the fundamentalists are using a logical argument still. Usually. It’s the atheists that confuse me here – they claim to be the more rational ones, usually, but they fail to live up to that when there’s actual problems in the world.
Until atheism, as a movement, has banished anti-feminism, racism, sexism, classism, ableism, and anti-QUILTBAG/GSM social pressures. So long as my friends who aren’t WEIRD (White, Educated, Industrialized, Rich, Democratic) men feel like they don’t belong in the movement, the movement is failing.
July 31, 2013
Mist clung to the floor of the world in thick, roping strands. It slithered through the trees, spilled across the meadows, and poured down the hills toward the gullies and rivers that filled then Ten Gorges. Bridges, lit by great torches and defended by ancient guard towers, seemed ablaze in the mist. Towns and villages lived between the distorted bonfires of the bridges, seemingly resting in torpor in the night. Occasionally the gorges themselves would sigh with the rush of the rivers that spawned them, blowing new bursts of mist into the air like silent whales, dissipating into space before they could crash back into the silver sea beneath them.
Smoke sat in one of the trees above the gorges and watched this war of light against the silent encroachment of water on the people of the Gorges. He listened as the animals of the forests and glades glided gently through the rivers of mist along the ground, finding food and shelter with blind precision. He smelled the wet yet fresh air, enjoying the feeling of life coursing through the very scent of mist and rushing water. He readjusted his silk robes and snapped his fingers, reigniting the tall silver pipe that sat with him in the tree, and inhaled deeply of the fragrant pipeweed’s smoke. Exhaling with a sigh and settling against the tree, he started to count the trees once again. Fate, it seemed, was patient.
Smoke had sat in this tree for two years, twelve months, and twenty seven days. He was sent here by the Glorious Magnate of The Moon’s Wisdom and his consort, the Seven Thundering Methods of the Sun’s Radiance. The Way of Changing had said to them that Smoke was needed to find a hero here, a hero that would put to rest an ancient enemy of the living upon the face of Galariel. He had crossed six continents and four seas to get to this tree, and had to learn the young and vainglorious tongue that was spoken in the Ten Gorges to find this forest, and find this tree, so that he might wait. Somewhere, north of his tree, was an old castle with an older order of knights who spoke a tongue even older still. There, a young woman had sought refuge and was about to emerge a hero. Then she would come through this forest, to the Ten Gorges, to help them with a problem only the Grey Paladins could handle. Here, Smoke would see her and offer his assistance, as the Way of Changing had instructed him to.
While Smoke treasured the Way of Changing for its uncounted wisdoms and impeccable accuracy on events, he was frustrated beyond this by how the Way of Changing seemed to have no concept of time. Luckily, however, he had befriended a young druid who sometimes came this way. She was sweet and sometimes brought him food, as well as entertainment. While he did not require either one of these things, being a master of the Timeless Body Methods, it was a wonderful diversion from waiting in a tree for a hero that he was merely a sidekick to.
“When you were a child, Smoke, you said to yourself that to serve in heaven is superior to living and dying a short and terrible life under the rule of the Khan of the Towering Fires. Perhaps that was true those three hundred years ago, but here you are, serving Heaven, and they ask you to sit in a tree like a squirrel, in a land of people who the Khans thought barbarians, waiting for one of these people to come save the world. Perhaps, though, we will be found in the Book of Changes when this is over. Then we will no longer be servants, we will instead be functionaries. With our own house and our own name again.”
Three hundred years of serving Heaven does not always leave one in the most stable of states. This is why Smoke waits, still, the coming of the Grey Paladin. A hero to save the world and, perhaps if he’s lucky, an old man trapped inside the body of a young monk.
The days come, the nights follow, and the world turns again.
My friends are coming over tonight for our once a month boardgame night. We’re also doing a bit of a fundraiser to finish off my deposit, This is the deposit that I’ve been raising money for about a week to cover. This is the $2,500 I need to make sure I’m not homeless again, so I can put my life back together. So I can get my social security settlement. So I can work on my writing and get things back in gear.
Right now, I need less than a thousand dollars to cover it. I don’t know how much my friends are planning on donating tonight, but please consider donating yourself as well. Every dollar helps and, if I get more than the goal amount, it will go toward getting furniture for my room and living essentials that I no longer have due to being homeless for nearly three years.
Thank you for all of your help! Until we’re done, please consider sharing this post on Twitter, Facebok, Tumblr, etc – every share has helped my donations grow even just a little bit and, in the end, that’s one more step to me being not homeless.
Again, thank you for your support. Everyone.
July 18, 2013
“Inside, you have great compassion for poor people. Great. Does that result in you doing anything about it? Do you hear about some terrible tragedy in your community and say, “Oh, those poor children. Let them know that they are in my thoughts”? Because fuck you if so — find out what they need and help provide it. A hundred million people watched that Kony video, virtually all of whom kept those poor African children “in their thoughts.” What did the collective power of those good thoughts provide? Jack fucking shit. Children die every day because millions of us tell ourselves that caring is just as good as doing.”