Tuesday, March 26, 2019

Chick-fil-A Hates Gay People: But It's okay because they sometimes give you free chicken sandwiches!

Intro:

Where do I even begin?

Although I've taken early retirement from blogging here on the Advocatus Atheist and I'm doing my best to avoid talking about religion and politics, every once in a while I see something pop up in my social media feed that boggles my mind.


There are times when it's impossible to bite my tongue and I may, from time to time, open my big mouth. This, in turn, sometimes drags me into a larger debate than I initially cared to get into.

Except, sometimes the apathetic stance of not caring is the more damaging stance to take.

Sometimes, you have to speak out and say something against the bigotry and prejudice that people fling about with reckless abandon. 

Sometimes, you just have to bite the bullet and get your intellectual hands dirty with the dialectic.


Chick-fil-A Hates Gay People: My Internet Debate (Part 1)

So, there I was, minding my own business.

Then an article about Chick-fil-A pops up in my feed. Then another. And another.

Several of my Christian friends and acquaintances got up in arms about it. A couple of them even went into full-on persecution complex mode.

I tried to ignore it.

I really did.

But alas, sometimes something so trivial ends up being a bigger deal then it ought to.

This is one of those times.

Let me explain at the outset that I'm not trying to personally attack anyone. But sometimes a stupid belief must be challenged because that belief is also damaging.

And also this discussion happened in private on Facebook, the person doesn't use their real name so the screen-caps are no way in danger of exposing their true identity.

But before we get into it, please understand that the criticism I'll be giving isn't meant as a personal attack against this person. It's meant as an honest critique of a pernicious ideology they hold that promotes a bigoted and prejudiced worldview.

So, an online acquaintance shared this news about Chick-fil-A being denied a commercial permit to open a restaurant in the San Antonio Airport. The San Antonio city council voted on banning Chick-fil-A.

Her initial post looked something like this:


At first, I was confused as to why she'd argue that San Antonio is discriminating against Christian beliefs. They're clearly not. They're discriminating against discriminatory anti-LGBTQ beliefs.

That's a big distinction.

Because not all Christians hate gays. So, clearly, San Antonio isn't discriminating against all Christians. Only the hateful gay-bashing ones.

I see nothing wrong with wanting to ban that type of prejudice from your city or airport, or wherever.

But she was adamant about it being an attack against Christians and therefore was an attack on her Christian faith.

That's a pretty big leap right there.

The only reason for a person to make this kind of leap is because they want to defend their sexist and homophobic ideology by placing it under the banner of their faith. If it's part of their sacred faith, then how dare you criticize it!

Otherwise, she wouldn't have likely said anything.

The San Antonio city council's reasoning makes sense.

If there are a certain amount of gay customers coming through the airport, having a company that actively funds dangerous and harmful charities which in turn direct dangerous and harmful programs that directly affect LGTBQ people, then they might not feel a sense of equality or acceptance by a place that allows such hurtful ideologies.

The article by the San Antonio News 4 states as much when it reads:


"San Antonio is a city full of compassion, and we do not have room in our public facilities for a business with a legacy of anti-LGBTQ behavior."

It's very simply stated. And I couldn't agree more with the San Antonio city council and I commend them on sticking to upright values and non-discriminatory practices by banning a corporation known for spreading and propagating discrimination against the LGBTQ community.

Now, it's no secret. Chick-fil-A has been accused of an anti-LGBTQ stance more than once. Something that has gotten them into hot water before.

As VOX reports:


So, you have these corporate business owners using their companies as a shield to give to charities and groups that share blatantly hurtful and spread undeniably harmful beliefs and which, as a direct consequence, push unfair and unethical values on the groups they discriminate against.

It's worse than this even. Chick-fil-A has donated to groups that preach that gays "deserve death" and that practice conversion therapy because same-sex marriage is a "rage against Jesus..."

Meanwhile, all the top medical organizations agree. Conversion therapy is harmful and there are no known benefits to its practice. The American Psychological Association, the World Health Organization, the American Medical Association, the American Academy of Pediatrics, the American Academy of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry, and the American Counseling Association have all issued statements against the practice.

But Chick-fil-A financially backs a callous and barbaric practice that is shunned by the consensus of medical institutions as harmful. The fact that gays are the intended target of this practice, a practice of harming gays, should not be lost on us.
Not only this, but when Chick-fil-A's CEO Dan Cathy initially made a slew of homophobic remarks, it sparked enough controversy to prompt him to make the promise that Chick-fil-A would no longer donate to anti-LGBTQ causes, as detailed by the .

But as recently revealed by a ThinkProgress report, this doesn't seem to be the case. 


Chick-fil-A, it appears, has continued to donate to anti-LGBTQ groups despite its claim that it would stop doing so. And so it has continued to actively fund this brand of intolerant homophobia and sexism via the 1.8 million in donations given to anti-LGBTQ groups.


Chick-fil-A Hates Gay People: My Internet Debate (Part 2)


Obviously, knowing what anyone can know through the powers of the Internet and the ability to Google, I was a little dumbstruck by R's comments.

It's quite clear that Chick-fil-A has a long history of bigoted, anti-LGBTQ, anti-gay agendas and remarks and continues to actively fund groups that promote these unethical values.

In fact, the conclusion of the VOX article states it best:





I think the San Antonio city council saw that these unethical values sponsored and funded by Chick-fil-A and its numerous charities did not fit with the inclusive and unhateful views of the majority of the fine people of San Antonio. 

Nowhere in any of this does anti-Christian prejudice entire the equation. This isn't about Christianity. It's about treating your fellow human beings with love and acceptance. And it's about not promoting corporations that actively seek to spread bigotry, harm, homophobia, and anti-LGBTQ agendas.

It's about promoting loving values and demoting hateful ones.

Simple as that.

My friend didn't seem to think so.

But if you know me, you know that I hate bigoted and prejudice views that promote active harm and hate against any group, whether it be gay or Christian.

So, baffled by my friends defense of Chick-fil-A's obviously anti-gay rights agenda, I had to comment.



Of course, I was taking into account the Vox article which popped up when you Google anything Chick-fil-A related, which is why I assumed it to be public knowledge.

I'm not sure if -R was aware of this. But how could one not be? It pops up because it covers all the details of the so-called Chick-fil-A controversy. Unless you're living with your head in the sand, it's hard not to be aware of it. So, I gave her the benefit of the doubt and assumed she had at least a cursory understanding of the events that lead up to San Antonio's decision.

But she seemed offended by my disagreement.



I don't know what a better excuse could be than to tell a well known anti-LGBTQ company that you don't want their brand of bigotry and hate-filled prejudice darkening your doorstep.

That so many Christians should defend these anti-LGBTQ, anti-gay and anti-trans views is troubling. But, again, it's not all Christians.

Loving Christians have no trouble with LGBTQ communities because they know that nowhere in the Bible does Jesus ever say anything against such people. They desire to share God's love by loving their fellow neighbors as themselves. This is the Christian way.

But the question becomes, can you be a good, loving Christian yet support an organization that spreads hate-filled and bigoted views of people you profess to love?

Not if you're truly loving.

But if you're a bigot, then sure.


Chick-fil-A Hates Gay People: My Internet Debate (Part 3)


I thought that since -R seemed to be missing the point -- that you can't support promoters of hate and then claim you had no part in the hate that has been spread -- I thought I'd try to paint an analogy. After all, analogies often help to highlight a point or some nuance or another that you couldn't see otherwise.

So I continued with this statement:



Obviously, my analogy uses race, as religion an race are so often tied together (ask any Jew or Muslim and they'll likely tell you the same) with the hope of showing how by my actively supporting a hateful group I actively seek to promote the spread of this hateful group's hateful and harmful ideologies.

It came as a big surprise, as you may have guessed, when -R not only took offense by this, but admonished me for daring to make such an analogy in the first place.



Respectable disagreement is part of any mature and meaningful dialectical. 

But, the fact remains, disagreeing with someone doesn't automatically mean that you're right and they're wrong. And when it comes to ethical concerns, right and wrong do matter.

So, I had to cringe when -R grew defensive. It seemed to me she wanted the echo-chamber, not cordial disagreement. Therefore, before I could explain my reasons, she shut down the conversation.

And since it was her Facebook wall, I didn't feel I had the right to push the matter any further.

But this isn't my Facebook wall. This is my blog. One in which I carefully examine cultural and political ideas and then share my thoughts on such subjects.

I find it troubling that -R virtue signals here. She doesn't treat her LGBTQ friends any differently than her non-LGBTQ friends. Well, that's great. I mean, if that's all she was doing.

But she uses this dodge to (maybe) convince herself she's a good person even though she pays money to fund an establishment that actively seeks to fund the hate and bigotry of LGBTQ people.

But to criticize the promotion of these anti-LGBTQ values is to be anti-Christian?

How's this?

I personally don't see how the two are connected unless you're going as far to say that anti-LGBTQ stance is inherently Christian.

I don't think it is. And I was a Christian for over 30 years; so I ought to know. (Coincidentally enough, I was a Christian longer than -R has been alive, but that's anecdotal and neither here nor there).

Before ducking out, however, I wanted to clarify that I wasn't trying to ruffle any feathers, but I just wanted to point out the illogic, not to mention hypocrisy, of saying your love your fellow LGBTQ people and then turn around and support overtly anti-LGBTQ groups.


But -R, already defensive for my pointing out you can't pretend to love the LGBTQ community and, at the same time, anti-LGTBQ establishments, had a few more words to say.


Actually, she's right and wrong. It wasn't the only thing I was doing. But, it doesn't take a moral philosopher to see that supporting your fellow LGBTQ community and supporting a company that promotes and sponsors anti-LGBTQ ideologies and rhetoric isn't logically consistent, that wasn't my only point. 

I wanted to turn the discussion to how her criticism of San Antonio's handling of the situation was a blatant misrepresentation of the situation and that playing the persecution card doesn't automatically give you an out in this case. I was setting up my argument by starting with the analogy. 

From there, I was going to explain how it would be illogical to say I love people of color while actively funding a group that promotes hate, bigotry, and harmful ideologies regarding people of color. 

The analogy is sound, even though -R told me not to "compare her religious beliefs to racial ideologies." Both are like-minded prejudices. Both come from a place of ignorance and fear. And if your religion teaches that being gay is bad, then your religion teaches bigotry. 

It's as simple as that.

However, seeing that -R was growing upset, I decided to graciously bow out. And we parted ways.


I don't know if -R was just being cheeky by trying to get the last word in, but I couldn't help but feel it was a little condescending. Especially since she shut down the dialectic before the reasons for the objection could be clearly stated. And, since I'm much older than -R, and I'm not from Texas, the use of hon just rubbed me the wrong way.

Hey, I was doing my best to be polite and present my disagreement as cordially as possible. But -R wasn't having it and didn't want to let it go. Naturally, I could have been the proverbial atheist-smart-ass and drug out the conversation and antagonized her, but that would have been bad form. It wasn't about me embarrassing her on her own page. It was about me pointing out the inconsistency in professing you love your fellow LGBTQ folks but endorsing companies that promote hate and harm on that very same group of people. That's the opposite of loving.

And I found it shocking that -R couldn't make that connection, because in the back of her mind, to have that point made was to voice prejudice against her personal faith.

And, she's not entirely wrong. Any righteous and ethical person would be prejudice against archaic religious beliefs that promote bigotry and hate.

That's precisely why we MUST criticize such harmful beliefs and ideologies.

You don't get a free pass just because you believe in God.

I'm sorry, it simply doesn't work that way.


Conclusion



You may be wondering why I wanted to give my commentary on this little drama. 

Well, my reasons are two-fold.

First, I've seen a resurgence of racism, xenophobia, and intolerance across the board. 

I thought I had said all I needed to say on such small-mindedness, but it rears its ugly head again and again. And every once in a while I just get fed up. It's kind of like playing Whack-a-Mole. You can pound down those degenerate ideologies again and again, but they seem to have a way of popping back up again.


Secondly, I just couldn't abide seeing a friendly acquaintance of mine endorsing a company that actively promotes hate and bigotry and then incorrectly assert it's everyone else who is being intolerant of her views.

She has it completely bass-ass-backward, and I sincerely feel this is one of those times that apathy would only let such narrow-minded views spread without so much as a proper response. That's why I responded as I have.

Before I go, though, I just want to share one last point.

I had all but forgotten about this conversation until a person, who we'll simply refer to as Amy, decided to leave a doozy of a comment. Her comments are pure comedic gold, so I just had to share them.


And then there's dear, sweet Amy. She's the *other* kind of Christian. 

The Planned Parenthood analogy would have been a good one if what Christian propagandists say about Planned Parenthood is at all true. But since we know it's not, it misses the mark.

To be fair to poor Amy, though, I do get her point. Many Christians don't believe in abortion. So, you wouldn't want to support companies that fund things like... hospitals... where abortions frequently take place.

But there's a reason abortions take place at hospitals. Because abortion is a necessary medical procedure in nearly every instance where it is practiced.

It's not, for example, women going into unmarked vans in some darkened alleyway and having her baby ripped out and then thrown into a dumpster. That's pure propaganda.

Abortion is a medical procedure that happens mainly at clinics and hospitals and is carried out by medical professionals, e.g. doctors, nurses, and other medical professionals.

Other than that small difference, I can see what she means.

She's referencing her personal values and how taking a babies life is, in her mind, a wrong much like spreading hate for gays is also wrong. I get it. I do.

But...and you knew it was coming...I would, however, like to point out that deliberately spreading hate for the LGBTQ community is not entirely the same as supporting a necessary and valid medical procedure that is intended to save women's lives. Those things aren't entirely the same in terms of moral equivalence.

The confusion often arises because many Christians buy into the baby murdering rhetoric of radical right-wing groups that want to dictate a woman's reproductive rights. But that's a discussion for another time.

What I really found enjoyable was Amy's chicken sandwich story.

Not only does lovable Amy have gay friends who love Chick-fil-A (for real!) she also once got a free sandwich from them. And that's why it's fine to support Chick-fil-A and their anti-LGBTQ bigotry!

Okay, she didn't exactly put it that way. But when she couches it in terms of the analogy she's responding to, her point comes off as rather comical. Abortion is bad, but free sandwiches are good, so Chick-fil-A is good, even though they're actually really, really BAD.

We love you Amy. Never change.


***LINKS***

NEWS 4 coverage:
https://news4sanantonio.com/news/local/city-councilman-motions-to-ban-chick-fil-a-from-san-antonio-international-airport?fbclid=IwAR3vFfyCIf7ySzcGnG-ge3ab-rUfa0h3QiKzFaiMFqAOS04nGtPd67XZyjY

VOX article:
https://www.vox.com/the-goods/2019/3/21/18275850/chick-fil-a-anti-lgbtq-donations

BUZZFEED on Civil Right Agenda report
https://www.buzzfeednews.com/article/buzzfeedpolitics/chick-fil-a-promises-to-stop-funding-anti-gay-gro

ThinkProgress report:
https://thinkprogress.org/san-antonio-city-council-bans-chick-fil-a-from-airport-concession-deal-anti-lgbtq-cdd076dbdb69/

Monday, February 11, 2019

The Abortion Debate: What the Pro-Life side gets Wrong

I don't often get political on my page. But I will talk about abortion because I think it's a bioethics debate that's important to human rights and the quality of life.

A friend of mine shared a political cartoon (but actually anti-abortion propaganda) on his page. 

Like me, he was shocked by the lack of understanding about the recent New York bill that safeguards the right for hospitals and doctors to perform emergency abortions when either the fetus will die in the birthing process or the mother will die. 

Really, that's all the bill protects. The right to save life via a necessary emergency medical abortion.

But cartoons like this pop up and play to the emotions of an uneducated public whose reaction is...oh, they're killing babies! Caterwauling about all the baby killin' goin' on in the U.S.

But this just goes to expose the irrationality of the pro-life side and reveals they prefer hyperbole and scare tactics to science and truth.

I've stated quite emphatically before that the pro-life position isn't a rationally devised argument.

But breaking it down is easier said than down. So, let’s begin with the pro-life premise.

The entire premise behind the pro-life argument is that *life begins at conception.*

This sounds true enough, but is it entirely accurate? Maybe not.

The process of life starts with fertilization, this is true. But the notion of conception according to the religious right who challenge abortion doesn’t just entail fertilization, it lumps in assumptions about ensoulment and personhood too.

Personhood is what pro-life advocates want to actualize so they can give a zygote the same legal protections as a child so as to make abortion a criminal act rather than a vital and often necessary medical procedure.

Additionally, the religious right considers life at conception sacred because they believe in ensoulment—that a human zygote is given a soul at conception. 

Hence life at conception takes on a whole new theological meaning. 

If it were just a discussion of the biology alone, then the claim life begins at conception wouldn’t be incorrect.

But the claim is more than that, because the majority of pro-life advocates assume ensoulment and personhood at conception too, which is why pro-life advocates say abortion is murder.

Science says personhood isn’t clearly definable at conception and suggests we ought to examine the stages of biological development and think about life in terms of viability and not magically fully-formed “life” for no other reason than its presumed ensoulment/personhood.

Because ensoulment and personhood aren’t easily definable, to claim they are given facts about the nature of life after conception is misleading.

Its a way to push theological assumptions into the debate about biology where they don’t belong.

It's not an entirely true statement about life because the science demonstrates that even if we accept the life beginning at conception spiel that there are various instances in the fetal development that can make the life self-terminate. 

This biological objection suggests that a self terminated life in the early stages of fetal development is fundamentally incompatible with notions of ensoulment and personhood. In other words, you cannot be a sacred life and simultaneously be dead.

That doesn’t make any sense. 

It’s illogical. And this ill logic arises when things that are supposedly living don’t meet the requirements needed to be deemed viable. 

The confusion here arises around the difference of a life and a potential life. 

Although nuanced, the difference shouldn’t be overlooked in favor of jumping to the conclusion that all life after conception must be viable therefore congruent with religious doctrine.

So, at most, the claim life begins at conception can only mean fertilization begins and a potentially viable life starts a long series of developmental stages before becoming a viable fetus.

But this says nothing on the ethical considerations of abortion, because all the statement reveals is that fetal development starts at fertilization. And nobody is denying this. Yet it would be stranger still to say this is your basis for your moral argument against abortion, minus the concepts of ensoulment and personhood.

At best, we’re dealing with the chance for a viable life. 

But we NEED to think of viability because ONLY viable zygotes can grow into fetuses that can be described as a life.

And we need to keep viability in mind throughout the whole biological process because biological life happens in stages. It doesn't just spontaneously appear as though a stork left a baby on your doorstep and it’s a fully formed person.

So, life beginning at conception, although not entirely inaccurate also isn’t entirely accurate given the theological assumptions tacked onto it. 

Simply put, science shows there are numerous stages before life can even be deemed viable -- that is, before it can be said to be alive in any meaningful way beyond the observation that we have a collection of living cells.

That said, another problem I have with the abortion debate is how if you want to support women's health, women's rights, and women's safety -- it is always these things that are the first to come under attack when pro-life legislation gets involved.

Make no mistake, anti-abortion legislation is almost always a deliberate attack on women and women's reporductive rights. 

And erecting anti-abortion laws has NEVER made women or babies any safer. All it does is place an unnecessary burden on women and their lives.

Now, the *pro-choice position isn't a counter-argument to the pro-life argument. 

The pro-choice side is, in philosophical terms, a contra-argument.

Now what does that mean? 

A contra-argument is an objection to a separate, flawed argument.

The way pro-life arguments are usually presented are to claim abortion clinics, doctors, and mothers are killing a babies by having an abortion at any stage (although we know this to be false based on taking into consideration viability and biological stages of development). 

What the *pro-choice argument does is say, hey, that pro-life argument is misleading at best and, contrary to popular opinion, is actually being used to restrict women's rights. 

Because it (the pro-life premise) is problematic and tries to smuggle in religion into the debate while ignoring most of the science, we cannot accept it and we do not accept it when given as the reason to protect unborn, potential life and not viable life at the expense of women's health, safety, and legal rights.

A third area we need to be aware of is that the claim that abortion is murder is a highly controversial one.

Now, murder is a nuanced legal term. And there are degrees of murder distinguished by the law and for good reason.

There's first, second, and third-degree murder. But none of these fit the description of medical abortion. 

And so to claim abortion is the murder of babies and not a vital and sometimes necessary medical procedure is FACTUALLY WRONG.

Nearly all abortions happen before the 12 week mark, and this is due to the fact that 8 to 12 weeks into development the baby's central nervous system has NOT developed enough to feel pain. 

That's why, in only the most extreme medical cases, where there is a clearly defined medical EMERGENCY that late-term abortions are permitted. 

And even then, the CDC estimates that it’s rather low. According to them, nearly 70% of abortions happen before 8 weeks. The rest usually occur before 20 weeks. Very few ever occur after that. If they do, it’s almost certainly because of a medical emergency.

As such, this is the call of medical professionals, doctors in the know, and not merely the whim of mothers who don't want babies. 

So scrub that falsehood from your brain right now. 

Late-term abortions have, and always have been (at least in the United States) reserved for medical emergencies where the fetus or the mother's life are in danger. 

Never because the mom simply didn't want it.

The pro-life argument gets so much wrong because it ignores the science, it ignores the medicine, it ignores the bioethical concerns regarding both the mother and child, and it ignores cold hard facts. It relies only on emotional appeals and magical thinking about ensoulment and personhood.

Does that mean I think you're irrational if you're pro-life? 

No, but it means that in all likelihood you haven't probably given the abortion debate the consideration it deserves before finalizing an opinion. 

But all this just goes to show why we're still having the abortion debate even though the pro-life side has offered a complete NON-STARTER. 

We're still having it because emotional appeals tug at people's heartstrings and facts bore people to sleep.

AND I'm not saying that the pro-life side doesn't mean well and I'm not attacking them for their irrationality because I merely take the opposite position. 

I am saying it's an problematic and highly flawed position because, logically speaking, it is. 

And because if you consider all the evidence, all the facts, and stay awake long enough to give it a proper vetting, then you would see the flaws too. 

You would come to understand that offering an emotionally pleaded opinion is not the same as a scientific medical fact. 

I know it bothers me, especially when I see propaganda cartoons like the one my friend shared instead of a real discussion with real facts.


--Tristan Vick (author / humanist / human rights advocate)

Tuesday, September 25, 2018

Proud Father

My daughter asked me why the majority of my heroines are lesbian and/or bisexual. I explained to her that I write heroines that embody the essence of the Goddess archetype, and that any ole ordinary mortal man isn't worthy of being with the Goddess. 

As such, it compels me to write strong women who avoid the need or even desire for men. If they need companionship, they turn to other women. Unless, of course, the man is exceptionally worthy. But, I added, in my stories the women don't *need* men to get by.

She nodded quietly, taking it all in. She's only 8 and hasn't read any of my books but has often asked what story I'm writing so I break down summaries of them for her. 

She's fascinated by the fact that women can like women and men can like men. She knows that homosexuality is a thing. And she recognizes that it's becoming acceptable in society and was curious as to why I incorporate such things in my stories.

I found it to be a rather sophisticated question for an 8-year-old.


Bill Cosby Behind Bars: Seperating the Man from the Art (Some Thoughts)

Well, Bill Cosby is in cuffs and heading off to jail for 3-10 years.


It's weird. I despise what he did. I find him a grotesque human being. But the art he put out into the world I admire greatly. 


It's hard to separate the man from the art for many people, I know. But The Cosby show is such an invaluable tool in teaching parents how to communicate with their own kids, and more importantly, in teaching non-native speakers the values of good communication in a family and among friends.



The Cosby show is an educational tool I rely on heavily in teaching my students good communication skills. And you might say, well, can't you use a different series? And the answer is no. Because there is no other series that does what The Cosby show did. And there's no other series that covered the importance of family values, of setting ground rules for your kids, and in teaching basic decency and respect for others to the same degree that this show succeeded in doing it.


It feels weird to see a person I once looked up to fall so epically from grace. It's weird to go back to the series he created knowing what he's done and find value in the art, even though the man in his real life was a piece of trash.


And that's the thing I think we all have to remember. The Cosby show is a work of fiction. The Huxtable family is the ideal family. But, in a way, that's why the show works so well. 


The Huxtables showed us what we could achieve as a family if we all worked together. If we took the time to talk about our problems and worked, as a family unit, to understand each other's points of view and worked together to overcome the challenges that life throws at us daily.


It contains very positive moral messages involving culture, music, education, work, along with valuable life lessons for both children and adults. Its importance in television history will not likely fade anytime soon nor do I think it should. 


Maybe some of you will disagree, and that's your right. 


But I for one choose to separate the art from the man and not let one define the other. After all, we don't judge the value of our hamburger cook on how well he made our burger before serving it to us. That would be strange. 


So, yeah, I will still allow myself to enjoy The Cosby show even as I find Bill Cosby repugnant. That's just my choice. Yours could be entirely different and equally valid. What works for one person may not work for all.


In the meantime, Bill Cosby will now serve his time for the crimes he committed.
That's my two cents at any rate.


(Just realized invaluable and valuable mean the exact same thing. Yeesh! English.)


Thursday, August 30, 2018

The End of a Journey and the Beginning of a New One


Where one journey ends a new one begins.

I have decided to call it the end of my Advocatus Atheist journey.

This blog was monumental in helping me grapple with my loss of faith and working out my thoughts and feelings as I approached new belief systems and looked toward an uncertain future.

Now, after years of writing and years of speaking on religion, I've decided to call it quits.

Many of my atheist friends have also moved on. Once prominent bloggers are now focusing their energy and activism into things closer to them, taking on more personal challenges, and living their lives.

As you can tell by the lack of posts over the past couple of years, I too have shifted focus.

No longer do I feel the religious debate has anything worth discussing. That doesn't mean it's not a discussion worth having if you're engaging it for the first time. I'll continue to answer any questions directed my way, but as for new content, don't expect anything other than once in a blue moon.

Nowadays I have shifted all my focus and energy on my fiction writing, which has become rather lucrative for me.

What isn't lucrative is this blog. No matter how hard I tried, this simple expression of my ideas and thoughts, no matter how well researched, never generated a dime for me. And that wasn't such a concern when I was single and fresh out of college.

But, now, with three children, two dogs, and two rabbits I have many more mouths to feed and many more lives I am responsible for. Which also means I need to spend more time working for them and less time with online activism that seems to do little in the way of convincing anyone -- no matter how disciplined the rhetoric or how factually backed the arguments.

As such, it's time to close shop.

Naturally, all good things must come to an end. However, I realize that this blog has helped many others navigate their own loss of faith and perhaps helped, in some small way, give them direction in a turbulent, frightening, and uncertain time in their lives.

As they move forward in their own personal journeys and dare to look out beyond an absence of their faith for something to anchor them in a godless and vastly indifferent universe, if anything here can provide a small modicum of comfort during that terrifying existential crisis, then I'm certainly happy to leave up all of my past posts and discussions.

Over the years I've received numerous correspondence from people thanking me for this blog. I forged numerous friendships because of it and am proud that after a decade I still am friends with all my secular skeptics who I first met when I launched The Advocatus Atheist.

Because this blog has always been a valuable source for not only myself but others, I will leave it up. It won't be as active as it once was, but don't be surprised if the occasional political or religious reflection shows up.


That said, I will pour all my energy and artistic creativity into my books such as my science-fiction fantasy series Jegra: Gladiatrix of the Galaxy and the spinoff series Skywend: The Last Peacekeeper and the Knights of Caelum.

I also have a couple of new series planned for next year (2019) called The Wayfarer, a Tomb Raider styled adventure series, and Blood Alchemist: The Untold Tales of Dracula, a Vampire series -- obviously.

These, along with my current projects, will take me well into 2023 with non-stop writing. At the same time, I continue to teach English in Japan and will divert more time to my own English school as I continue to add students and build clientele.

Anyway, I wish you all well. And as always, live well and be wise. Finally, in this day and age of instant outrage and seemingly endless online profiling, doxing, and hypersensitivity, I will share this bit of wisdom I learned from my grandmother.

If there's anything in this world you could choose to be, it is my hope that you'd choose kindness. Be kind to one another.

Love one another.

Let go of the hate.

And live your lives to their fullest.

Do it in that order, and be content. Life if too short for senseless bickering, petty grudges, and no room for forgiveness.

Be kind.

Choose love.

That is all.

Tuesday, June 5, 2018

Top Ten Annoying Kinds of Athiests!

If you must know, my all time most viewed post is the Top Ten Annoying Types of Christians post from 2011. I figured it would be fun to turn the tables and critique some of the annoying kinds of atheists there are. Fair is fair, after all.





1.      The Fanboy Athiests

These are the Sam Harris and Jordan Peterson (instert famous atheist here) die-hard fan-boy  types that will defend every little thing said or done by their favorite celebrity atheist no matter how absurd or wrong. There's nothing they won't come to the defense of it it's their bro-atheist.


2.      The Atheist + Atheists

A movement championed by Richard Carrier among others to make Atheism more inclusive. Not that there's anything wrong with that. But the way these A+ movers went about doing it was to burn all the bridges and slam anyone who disagreed with even one minute aspect of the movement's screed. It was left-leaning and very dogmatic in it's zeal for revolutionizing the New Atheism movement. Needless to say, it crashed and burned within a matter of months. Like the Spruce Goose, it just didn't have what it needed to keep itself in the air. But that doesn't mean there aren't A+ sympathizers still loitering about the Interwebs. They pop up once in a while to remind you of your folly for not believing exactly as they do.


3.      The I'm Atheist But Don't Do Facts Type

These atheists proudly admit they don't believe in God, but then they turn around and espouse the benefits of supplements, crystal salt therapy, and acupuncture. Some even believe in ghosts! These atheists are into alternative therapies and believe they work, because unlike many atheists who come into atheism via a desire for more rational grounds for believing things, these atheists are just living life without facts. And they're content to continue to do so. Which makes them really annoying.


4.      The Can't Stop Being an Anti-theist Prick Atheist

Understandably, many coming out of religion go through an unavoidable anger phase. It's inevitable. But after about a year of blogging and lashing out at the folly of religion, most atheists calm down or find a nice balance to their secular life. The types that really grate, however, are the ones that can't stop being angry and continue to attack religion with the same dogmatic zeal they exhibited when they were a believer. And this religious need to always attack religion makes them one side of a very ugly dogmatic coin, bringing them squarely onto the list of annoying types of atheists. My advice, get it out of your system, sure, but then take a chill pill.


5.      The I Wannabe an Intellectual Too Type!

I hate to knock people's intelligence, as that's generally an ad hominem. But as with the Christian community, there are atheists who pretend to know more than they actually do. And they'll be the first to tell you. Which, I think you'll agree, makes them pretty dang annoying.


6.      The Atheist who Doesn't Know the Difference Between Atheism and Agnostic type

If you don't know the difference between agnosticism and atheism, then you probably shouldn't be getting into arguments about the meaning of either. Yet, there are a handful of atheists who continue to conflate the two, or else dismiss agnosticism entirely, not realizing the nature of their mistake.

Atheism deals with the *personal belief propositions of theism whereas agnosticism deals with what we can *know for certain regarding theistic claims; e.g. whether God exits, etc. There's room for both. I am, for example, an atheist due to my personal beliefs regarding my understanding of theism, but I am also agnostic because I am nearly certain I can't know with any certainty, given my current understanding, whether God exists or not. This makes me an agnostic-atheist. And that's fine. But thinking agnostics are scared atheists or to diminish the position in any other way reveals a lack of understanding on the critics part, making them rather annoying know-it-alls who don't know much of anything.


7.      I'm Atheist But all Atheists are Crap Type

These atheists have had a rough go of it, and have found lots to dislike about the atheist movement, so have sworn off all atheism. Just for the fact they think they're better than all of the rest of us, they make the list.


8.      The Chauvinistic Atheist

These are the horrific womanizing, women-accosting, women-bashing, women-molesting, predatory atheists and their asshole defenders. These are the atheists who wonder why more women atheists don't speak out or attend conventions but then slither into elevators at 2 AM and hit on unsuspecting women then get angry when they're rejected. These are also the atheists who defend these kinds of boundary crossing, disrespectful, predatory atheists by falsely crying "outrage culture" and "political correctness" fatigue, but then turn around and argue with all the women non-believers who are sharing their personal accounts of terrible atheist experiences within the community as though their opinions didn't matter because they were female. Yeah, fuck you pricks and your tiny dicks. Women atheists rule, and if you can't accept that fact, go fuck yourself.

9.      The Devil's Advocate Atheist

Usually this is the one guy in a chat thread that constantly takes the side of the theist in an attempt to, in their estimation, elevate you to higher standard of truthfulness. Therefore, they challenge you on every little detail and ask you to share all your research. Not for the benefit of the theist you happen to be debating, but for your own good. Often times, you end up burning out because you're fending a gish gallop of questions from both sides. And when you finally do throw in the towel, they apologize and express their concerns for the discourse. After all, it's the thought that counts, right? 

10.   The 'I need money so bad I'll debate anyone' Atheist

Most atheists don't do the professional debate circuit, that's true. But some make a good living at it. However, some atheists might want to be more discerning in who they agree to debate. If you're just debating people who want to rile up audiences and use the platform -- and subsequently your atheist fame -- to blast their hate speech, then you're part of the problem. Hey, if you need the money that badly, I hear Starbucks is hiring. And, hey, they offer sensitivity training. Which will help you in the long run. At the very least it will prevent you from becoming the next Lawrence Kraus.

***

There are many more types I could name, and many of these areas are overlapping, but these are just the types of Atheists which bother me (personally) to no end. I should know—I am one.



Advocatus Atheist

Advocatus Atheist