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Tag Archives: Humanism

No, No, I’m Not Confused

Ahhh, something I didn’t see coming. I’m intelligent and “worldly” and a polite debater. I ask questions and I typically speak sense, especially on views that are “unpopular.”

Because of this, I, apparently, am just confused about my atheism. I can’t possibly be intelligent and have given the God-belief any real consideration.

I really hate to burst this bubble for some of you fine folks, but it’s that intelligence of mine that has brought me to where I’m at today. It’s that intelligence of mine that has prompted me to ask questions. To ask HARD questions. Because, the thinker in me wants to know. Because my sponge-like brain is ready for more possible answers to the why’s and how’s on the things that people do and believe.

Some think I’m too logical. And that’s okay. I’m rather at peace with how I am. I’m fully capable of being emotional, but I just don’t let my emotions lead my life. I acknowledge them and what they mean to me regarding whatever situation I may be in and move forward from there.

People remark to me that I’m one of THE strongest people they know. They admire that. I really tend to think that I’m just doing what’s necessary to keep moving forward in my life, but I’ve also been known to be a bit self-deprecating. Either way, people tend to value my opinion. That’s my general understanding of it when those people come to me to vent or to get advice about something. Shouldn’t this suggest that most see me as giving time and consideration to different aspects of things? That I think about and evaluate things on a reasonable level? That people believe my opinion is generally thought out?

I find it frustrating that people think that for some reason, I just haven’t given full consideration to my beliefs in a deity. Why would I skip over something as “important” as that?

Let’s break a few things down here.  I don’t believe in killing. I don’t believe in stealing. I believe in treating people with compassion and kind words. I believe in helping others. I believe in monogamous relationships. Aren’t these things part of the core “morals” or “values” instilled by religion? And haven’t I covered how I wasn’t indoctrinated into a religion growing up?

Please, let’s face the facts here that I am good without God. And that the only “purpose” for believing in a God is the aspect of eternal salvation, which I also don’t believe in. I don’t believe in a Heaven or a Hell. And really, my lack of belief should not harm anyone else because if Heaven is as perfect as it sounds, you won’t even know I’m not there when you get there. So, concern for my “salvation” should be left to me, not anyone else.

Religion is about recruitment in a way. One of the basic requirements for salvation is the absolute belief in God AND spreading the word of God. I’m sure that’s why so many feel the need to continuously push their beliefs and religious doctrines on others. And trust me, I do understand that for most people, it is meant with positive intentions.

But when you approach someone like me who isn’t wandering around completely lost in life; who, despite the bad things is still maintaining composure and forward momentum…when you approach me and make the strong suggestion that you know better what is going on in my own head than *I* do…well certainly I’m going to take issue with that.

So, I’m not like other atheists you’ve met. Good. Because there are MANY more like me. Perhaps most just don’t choose to publicly speak about it like I’ve chosen to do here in this blog, as well as on my Facebook page and Twitter.

In one of my previous “godless” posts, “Pit Bulls and Atheists“, I wrote:

Just as I surprised people with the information that I do in fact own pit bulls, I seem to continue to surprise people when they learn I don’t believe in any gods. Because I’m good. And it shakes their perception of what kind of person they think an atheist is, much as for many it shakes their perception of the type of people that do own pit bulls.

Just because I’m not like the atheists you’ve met in the past, doesn’t mean I’m any less of one. Sure, there are some opinionated assholes out there speaking their mind and belittling people in the process of arguing belief vs. nonbelief. I’ve seen them hard at work on the internet myself. But more often than not, fellow atheists/humanists/freethinkers/agnostics/etc. are just normal, everyday people who suffer from being THE least trusted minority in America. Seriously. We’re still people for crying out loud. We still have emotions and daily lives and families and responsibilities and are still working fervently to create a niche in this world of ours.

How are people like me, harming others? How does my lack of belief in a deity affect you? Why does it affect you? Your belief in a deity doesn’t affect me. Well, unless of course you’re physically or mentally harming others. Or if you’re making unjust accusations about people. Why is it a problem? Why do you insist that I can’t think for myself and form my own opinions if I’m so intelligent?

Like it is for many, there’s more to me than meets the eye. Remember that before taking the step out there to assume someone “needs” something. Find out first.

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Posted by on May 5, 2012 in Godless, Hot Button

 

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Pit Bulls and Atheists

Owning and rescuing pit bulls prepped me for “outing” myself with my disbelief in a divine entity such as “God.” As I mentioned in my previous post, “Did You Judge Me?“, “Changing the public’s perception of a specific term does not happen through silence. It happens through demonstration.”

See, being a pit bull owner has been relatively taboo for a while, however, progress is being made to change those perceptions. But, because of it’s “taboo” nature, pit bull owners get judged just as much as the dogs themselves!

Pit bull owners and atheists have to have thick skin to put up with frequent discrimination. Let’s look at a few examples.

Pit Bulls Atheists
“Those dogs are evil!” “Atheists are evil!”
“You gotta watch out for those dogs. You can’t trust them.” “I don’t trust atheists.”
“You own a pit bull? Aren’t you worried?” “You don’t believe in God? Aren’t you worried?”
“But, this dog is nice! It can’t be a pit bull!” “But, you’re so nice! You must believe in something!”
“Only people with bad intentions want those dogs.” “Atheists have bad intentions because they don’t have God to guide them through right and wrong.”
The look of horror and disgust when you tell someone petting your dog that it is a pit bull and they draw away. The look of horror and disgust when you tell someone you are godless and they draw away.

Think I’m overreacting? Definitely not. Misinformation about both of these things coupled with misplaced or unjustified fears breeds this exact kind of ignorance. Yep. I said it. Ignorance. Refusing to learn more about something you fear or that you don’t understand and choosing to believe any fear-based drivel that is hand-fed to you instead of thinking for yourself, that’s ignorance. 

When I first got involved with pit bulls, I realized that not everyone liked them, but I had NO idea that the hatred was so deep with so many people! My family and friends didn’t squish up their faces in concern when I told them, but acquaintances or those in in work-related relationships couldn’t help but raise some of these questions with me. And it happened so often enough that I just started laughing and being matter of fact about the facts that, “no, I’m not worried they’re going to eat me. I still have all my fingers and toes don’t I?” Most would brush it off and move on, others would ask a few more questions, and then a few would comment how “cool” it was and that it was totally unexpected that me, of all people, had pit bulls.

Isn’t that a curious observation? “I didn’t see you as the type that would own pit bulls.” Well…that’s part of your problem then isn’t it? 😉 See, ALL types of people own pit bulls. Naturally you’ve got those who are ill-intentioned, but the reality of it is, MANY “normal” people own pit bulls. And you’d never know because many of these people who do own them actually care for their dogs and make the effort to treat them as any other pet dog – a valued family member.

Many people ask me, “But, why pit bulls?” Well, why not? They are an extremely human-friendly breed. They are active and versatile. They’re easy to train and ready to do whatever it is to make you happy. They are clownish and have a zest for life that is contagious. They’re also a short-haired breed who, compared to other breeds, is on the quiet side. No, really! When you first walk into my house, if the dogs are in their rooms, you wouldn’t know I had them!

It was aggravating at first to have to deal with all the curious, but ridiculous, questions. “Oh they’ll turn on you! Aren’t you worried? Oh no! You have them around kids? Don’t they eat babies? What about that locking jaw of theirs?” and on and on and on. Let’s set a few things straight on this. No. Pit bulls do not “turn” on people at some magical age for some magical reason that no one knows. A temperamentally sound pit bull will NOT bite people. After some of the abuse I’ve seen handed to these dogs, you’d damn sure wished they would have bit the person who treated them so wrongly! *sigh* And as for pit bulls and kids, they’re GREAT together when everyone is properly supervised. And that’s with ANY breed of dog. Don’t let the child torment the dog! And also teach the dog (any dog!) proper behavior when playing. I could go into a novel about this topic so for now, here’s a link to read instead about “Preventing Bites” from Safe Kids Safe Dogs. Anyway. They also don’t have a “locking jaw.” What a misnomer. The skeletal structure of a pit bull is the same overall as other breeds of dogs. They don’t have a special key to operate…Where this may have stemmed from however is that they are a breed with a “bite and hold” nature. Compared to smaller dogs like Chihuahuas and Pomeranians who tend to have a “bite and release repeatedly” nature 😉 Other breeds with a similar bite and hold grip are German Shepherds and Rottweilers. So, yes for some it may be scary still, but you have to remember that breeds of dogs were originally bred by humans and for a reason. Pit bulls were NEVER bred for human aggression. Dog/animal aggression does NOT equal human aggression either. The way dog fights were orchestrated, any dogs showing aggression towards people were killed or removed from breeding programs. They posed a danger to the people in the ring and that was simply unacceptable.

*deep breath* I’m trying hard not to go off on a big slew of pit bull education, I promise! For now anyway 🙂

As you can see, there are a bunch of questions and fallacies surrounding pit bulls and their ownership. Even their history. People will take one bad story and let it form their entire opinion of an entire breed of dog, and that’s without even having met one first hand!

People do the same thing with those that identify themselves as “godless.” It’s an odd and disturbing shift to watch. I, fortunately, have not experienced the in-person rejection as others have yet. At this rate though, I think people would learn quickly that if they did, I might laugh at them for their silly behavior. I’ve seen them do it with the dogs. They’ll be getting kisses from such a cute and friendly dog and maybe even be so far in as to be giving belly rubs. Then they’ll ask the million dollar question, “what kind of dog is this?” Now, not everyone withdraws immediately (or at all!). But there are a select few that are still so trapped by a fear that they will get up and move away from the dog immediately, likely believing the myth that they turn suddenly and without reason or warning.

My time living and breathing pit bulls helped to prep me for the continued discrimination that would abound once I realized the true nature and reality of my godlessness. And not necessarily discrimination towards me but perhaps to continue to be that voice to educate, as I did and still do with talking to people about the true nature of pit bulls.

Just as I surprised people with the information that I do in fact own pit bulls, I seem to continue to surprise people when they learn I don’t believe in any gods. Because I’m good. And it shakes their perception of what kind of person they think an atheist is, much as for many it shakes their perception of the type of people that do own pit bulls.

And ultimately, that’s what I’m here to do. Face your fears and ask your own questions. Get to know me and get to know my dogs. Test the truth behind your perceptions.

 
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Posted by on April 10, 2012 in Godless, Hot Button, Pit Bulls

 

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Did You Judge Me?

I bet you have 😉

I’ve been attending networking events recently, and actually just got my personal business cards to take with me to these. My web address leads to here. I’m sure I’m probably shooting myself in the foot here a bit too by doing so and needing solid work to sustain me. I mean, those who have a lack of belief in God are considered LESS trustworthy than those people in the GLBT community, and we see what kind of public uproar people have about that particular lifestyle. (Which I should add, is most ridiculous – get out of their bedroom!)

Word on the streets is that it’s because, to believers, they typically feel that nonbelievers have no “guide” to go by that helps them determine right from wrong. That they have no system to base their morals from and because of that, they just simply can’t be trusted.

So. Let me get this straight. If you, assuming that you’re a believer, were stripped of the Bible or your other chosen book of religion and could no longer study the teachings, would you really dive into this black hole of bad behavior, just because there was no governing document to “keep you in line?”

If religion brings you peace, so be it. Having no religion brings me peace. AND! I’m still a good person. I’m still trustworthy, dedicated, devoted, and loyal to those people who I know and have earned those values from me. There are even times where I’m entirely too nice to people I DON’T know because it is the RIGHT thing to do.

Judging me based on my beliefs, or lack thereof, means you’re going to miss out on an awesome person. I have fantastic contacts in my circle of friends and acquaintances. And because of my blunt honesty and ability to be direct and not beat around the bush, people come to me frequently for advice, ideas, and recommendations. If I was truly untrustworthy, people wouldn’t come to me for a damn thing. And I believe that to my core.

I worried a lot when I started this blog. Well, maybe not so much the blog, but adding the direct URL to get here, and deciding I was going to put that URL on my business cards to pass out to mostly strangers who would likely come to the site to learn more about me. I recognized that I was in fact going to be judged. After a few weeks of thinking about it, I realized it was something I had to do. An envelope that I needed to push, not only with the public, but myself. 

See. Changing the public’s perception of a specific term does not happen through silence. It happens through demonstration. And if I’m to persuade any of the public to view nonbelievers as they are – individuals – then someone needs to step out of their little, comfortable bubble and show them that painting with a broad brush misses MANY important details.

 
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Posted by on April 9, 2012 in Godless, Uncategorized

 

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