YouTuber Evid3nc3 recently put out a couple of videos that describe the development of the modern concept of the Judeo-Christian God in great detail. From what I’ve heard and read before, he really seems to know what he’s talking about; plus he has plenty of sources cited to back up his claims. If you’re at all interested in learning about how the monotheistic god of the Abrahamic traditions came to be, you should definitely watch these. It helps explain the evolution of the mythology, from the worship of the tribal war god of the Israelites as one deity among many to the theology we see today of a singular, all-powerful creator god.
Evid3nc3 also has several other great videos, including the compelling story of his deconversion.
Every week, the Atheist Community of Austin puts out a great public access TV program called The Atheist Experience. The show broadcasts live online at Ustream at 5:30 ET pretty much every Sunday. Typically the show features a pair of hosts discussing a subject related to atheism, skepticism, critical thinking, separation of church and state, and so on, followed by a period where they take calls from the audience. This week, though, they featured famed Christian apologist Ray Comfort (he of Banana Man fame). Continue reading
Over at the “good” ol’ Huffington Post, Rabbi Adam Jacobs of the Aish Center in Manhattan has been posting rather frequently lately on subjects of interest to atheists. He’s swung and missed a few times already, but two days ago he somehow managed to hit himself in the head with the bat.
For those who don’t know, I’m one of the ‘answerers’ over at Ask The Atheists. It’s a nifty little site where people can anonymously ask a bunch of atheists questions about pretty much anything you can imagine. Lots of the questions are the sort of thing you’d expect a theist to ask an atheist (What if you’re wrong? Why don’t you believe in gods? Isn’t the universe proof that God exists?). Today, one popped up that I found particularly grating:
Why do Athiests [sic] HATE so much?
Thanks to hosting from the great folks at ThinkAtheist, I’ve moved my blog from its old place at Blogspot into my new domain name (www.miketheinfidel.com). It’s all part of my Master Plan™ to start posting more regularly and to try to contribute more to the atheist ‘community’.
If you’re not already a member at ThinkAtheist, I’d definitely recommend signing up. It’s a great place to discuss just about anything with other freethinkers, from science and philosophy to politics and video games.
I have a confession to make: I want to fix everything.
Back when I was a Christian, I never really had to worry about injustice. The suffering we endured in our life here on earth wasn’t all that meaningful, since we were guaranteed a happy and peaceful afterlife for our faithfulness. I figured that God would make everything work out for the good in the end.
Now, as an atheist, I have no such assurances. I look around at the amount of suffering in the world and I feel simultaneously motivated to do whatever I can to reduce it and impotent to actually accomplish anything meaningful in response to it.
Last Thanksgiving, I spent a week with my parents down in Mexico. On my second to last day there, while we sat comfortably in our condo watching people pass us by on the road, a homeless woman came along with her two children. While my parents commented about how amazing it was that she seemed so comfortable carrying her infant on her back in a sling fashioned from a scarf, I was watching her collect soda cans from trash cans along the street. All I could think of was that this woman was, because of purely random and meaningless circumstance, resigned to a life of struggle and hardship, scraping along with whatever she could manage just to be able to live to see another day. I desperately wanted to figure out what I could do to help her, and as soon as I started to think about it I realized that there must be tens of millions of people just like her all over the planet.
From my perspective as a person living in a first-world nation, this seems to be something that disappears all too quickly from view. There’s no reason that I should have a better life than these people, and I shudder to think of all the potentially brilliant minds that fade into the background of the story of humanity simply because they’re not wealthy enough to reach their potential.
So… what? Am I crazy to feel guilty about this? Is it wrong for me to willfully ignore these people so that I can get on with my life? What can I actually do to help fix the underlying roots of their suffering? Should I even worry about it?