Archive for the ‘Atheism’ Category

Cartoon of the Day 1-5-17

Posted: January 5, 2017 in Atheism, Religion
Tags: , , ,

Here’s the latest from our friend Pamela Sutter, author of the e-book May the Farce be with You: A lighthearted look at why God does not exist. More to come.

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snowday

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May the Farce be with You


With one of the most painful years in memory behind us, and an upcoming year that seems certain to be worse, it’s time to imagine a better world:

  • Imagine if people were responsible, self-directed adults who thought for themselves rather than followers who abdicate their responsibilities by worshiping power-grubbing sociopaths and their sacred texts (both religious and political).
  • Imagine if religious and political true believers had a live-and-let-live attitude rather than believing that they have the right, or even the duty, to impose their beliefs on others.
  • Imagine if people knew how to reason logically and allowed evidence to determine their conclusions rather than engaging in wishful thinking while ignoring inconvenient facts.
  • Imagine a world in which there wasn’t an inverse relationship between the usefulness of work and pay for it, a world in which those who do the dirtiest, most necessary work — farm workers, childcare workers, garbage collectors — were the highest paid, and parasitic hedge fund managers, day traders, and lobbyists weren’t paid at all.
  • Imagine if people wanted to hear original music or see original artwork rather than hearing or seeing things they’ve heard or seen ten thousand times before.
  • Imagine a world in which justice wasn’t a term of vicious mockery (as in “equal justice under the law”).
  • Imagine a world in which social isolation wasn’t the norm, in which architecture, housing design and patterns, the transportation system, and the economic system reduced social isolation rather than fostered it.
  • Imagine if the Ten Commandments prohibited slavery, torture, and subjugation of women rather than swearing, worshiping graven images, and thought-crime (coveting thy neighbor’s wife or ox).
  • Imagine if no one thought they were better than other people simply because they’re “the chosen,” “the elect,” “God’s people.”
  • Imagine a world in which some people didn’t make money by locking other people in cages.
  • Imagine if ethical conduct in business didn’t put you at a competitive disadvantage.
  • Imagine a society based on cooperation, voluntary association, and mutual aid rather than coercion, economic inequality, economic insecurity, and frantic accumulation of material goods (at any cost — to others).
  • Imagine an economic system that didn’t provide constant temptation to lie to and to cheat others in the pursuit of profit.
  • Imagine if the Catholic, Mormon, and other churches prohibited their members from breeding like rabbits rather than commanding them to worsen the population problem.
  • Imagine if the churches emphasized the Golden Rule rather than punishment of those who transgress their “moral” dictates.
  • Imagine if the churches’ concept of morality wasn’t focused on controlling the private sex lives of consenting adults  and instead focused on reducing harm to others.
  • Imagine if the Democratic Party was actually democratic.
  • Imagine if Donald Trump was a compassionate, ethical human being.
  • Imagine (and I know this is a stretch) that America really was the land of the free.

Cartoon by Pamela Sutter

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(Pamela Sutter is the author and illustrator of May the Farce be with You: A lighthearted look at why God does not exist. The book is part of our 12 Days of Atheist E-book Giveaways that ends on December 26.)

May the Farce be with You


See Sharp Press will publish new science fiction, anarchist, and atheist titles in 2017 and 2018. Here are the books we now have scheduled over the next two years. Work is underway on all of them, and we’ll publish samples from them in advance of publication.

Anarchism

  • Venezuelan Anarchism: The History of a Movement, by Rodolfo Montes de Oca (Fall 2017). The newest installment in our “History of a Movement” series, Venezuelan Anarchism traces the development of anarchism in Venezuela from its beginnings in the 19th century to today.

Atheism

  • 30 Reasons to Abandon Christianity, by Chaz Bufe (Fall 2017). A much expanded version of 20 Reasons to Abandon Christianity, originally a pamphlet, and which is now available in updated e-book form. The original text of 20 Reasons is available here in part 1 and part 2.

Science Fiction

  • The as-yet-untitled sequel to Sleep State Interrupt, by T.C. Weber (Spring 2018). A sample from Sleep State is available here in pdf form.
  • The as-yet-untitled sequel to Free Radicals: A Novel of Utopia and Dystopia, by Zeke Teflon (Fall 2018). A sample from Free Radicals is available here in pdf form.

We’ll likely add at least one or two more titles to this list. Among other things, we’re currently talking with the authors of The Drummer’s Bible about a possible new drum book.


Sinai, Egypt (API) — Authorities announced today that they had freed Jehovah (aka “Yahweh,” “God,” “The Creator of the Universe,” “The Maker of All Things”) from a cramped cell in a terrorist training camp where He had been held incommunicado for ten thousand years.

At his first press conference after his release, a gaunt, disheveled Jehovah told reporters that He was aghast at damn near everything that had been done in His name since His abduction at gunpoint at the dawn of agriculture.

Growing visibly more angry as He denounced abuse after abuse, the Deity paused in the midst of His diatribe to thunder, “Here! This says it all! Witch burnings and the Inquisition were bad enough, and boy they were bad!, but check out drawing and quartering!”

The enraged Creator paused and lowered His voice. “Doesn’t sound too bad, ‘drawing and quartering,’ does it?” His voice steadily rising, He explained, “What it means is they took some poor slob, some ‘heretic,’  hung him without snapping his neck until he almost asphyxiated, then cut off his dick and balls, and then disemboweled him —while he was still alive! They did this in My name!!”

Hanging his head in fury and in shame that He had been unable to prevent this, Jehovah looked up and growled, “And let’s  not even get started on all of the shoddy fantasy and horror fiction they attribute to Me!” The Deity shuddered, and then with a malicious half-smile said, “Actually, let’s!

“The tough part is knowing where to start. The Torah, Bible, Quran, Book of Mormon? You tell Me!

“Let’s take something all of ’em take as Scripture, the Ten Commandments. Do you know where those things came from? Do you? They were a rough draft I knocked out on the third day of a five-day bender just to fuck with people, just to see if they’d be dumb enough go for ’em. I threw in a few good things to confuse the issue, but yeah, I wrote them to fuck with people.

“When I sobered up, I stuck them in a drawer somewhere and forgot about them. God knows how they found ’em.

“While I was sitting in that cell for all those years, I had plenty of time to think. I realized that I’m better than those ‘Commandments’ –again, sorry I wrote ’em!–and I came up with a new version that reflects what I actually think. I even wrote two extras!

“Frankly, these are all so obvious that I shouldn’t even have to mention them, but obviously I do; so, here they are, in pseudo-16th-century English, as people seem to like that”:

  1. Thou shalt not torture;
  2. Thou shalt not enslave;
  3. Thou shalt not engage in cruelty of any kind;
  4. Thou shalt not use violence or the threat of violence to coerce others;
  5. Thou shalt not put other people in cages;
  6. Thou shalt not murder anyone, not just My chosen people;
  7. Thou shalt not subjugate women;
  8. Thou shalt not breed like the hares of the earth;
  9. Thou shalt not scapegoat and persecute minorities;
  10. Thou shalt not despoil Mother Earth;
  11. Thou shalt be honest, thou shalt use thine reason to determine thine conclusions, not engage in wishful thinking;
  12. Thou shalt always treat others as thou wishes to be treated.

With that, the Creator of the Universe, rose and thundered, “Enough said! Is there anything about this you don’t understand?!” He glared at the assembled reporters and then  stepped away from the podium and strode toward the exit, pausing only to shout over his shoulder, “But hey! Remember! The last one doesn’t apply to masochists!”

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(with apologies to whoever came up with the golden oldie about masochists and the golden rule)

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If you enjoyed this piece, you’ll probably also enjoy The American Heretic’s Dictionary (revised & expanded). Here’s a large free sample in pdf form.

American Heretic's Dictionary revised and expanded by Chaz Bufe, front cover


slaten

“Atheism is too strenuous an intellectual and spiritual test to become popular. Atheism is achieved, while current religion of whatever sort is received. It is more restful to take than to achieve.”

–A. Wakefield Slaten (1880-1944), quoted in The Heretic’s Handbook of Quotations

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This quotation reveals progress of a sort. Slaten lived a century ago when childhood religious indoctrination was nearly universal. Today it isn’t. Most children are still subjected to that form of child abuse, but a significant minority aren’t, even in the United States, the most religious and most barbaric of the western industrialized nations. Most contemporary atheists, at least in the U.S., were indoctrinated as children, but I know a number of second-generation atheists, something that would have been inconceivable in Slaten’s time.


Don Lacey, state director of the year (Arizona) for American Atheists, had a great idea and put it into practice. (We do not endorse American Atheists.)

Don’s insight was that the most important thing atheists can do is to build community, and have fun.  And everything else will flow from that. (The AA hierarchy gave him an incredible amount of grief about this.)

So, Don started the Tucson atheist meetup groups a few years ago. Purely social groups, and they grew.

There are now about 1,300 members of the Tucson Atheist Meetup groups. Some have moved beyond the purely social and are doing good, everything from lobbying the legislature to picking up trash along the highways.

Would they have done it without Don’s initial push? I don’t think so.

Years ago, a friend of mine, Jon Russell, told me that social-change groups were doomed unless their activities were at least 80% fun. People would do the work after that.

Jon and Don were right.

I’ve been involved with leftist/anarchist and atheist groups for about 50 years now. The universal constants are that the internal dynamics are the same: joyless work is the raison d’etre for damn near all of ’em, and it’s the reason that damn near all of ’em fail. A big part of that is that the people into self-sacrifice almost invariably also  expect others to sacrifice themselves.

This is what people joining atheist and other do-good groups typically face when joining: “Give up all hope ye who enter here. And don’t whine about it.”

Is it any wonder that people join atheist and other social change groups, hoping for something different, something better, and then leave in droves?

Don Lacey defied the leftist/atheist puritans, and founded the most successful atheist group in the country. A group based on voluntarism, on simple attraction, on voluntary cooperation — a group that gets things done, in contrast to damn near every other puritanical, self-sacrificing atheist group in the country.

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If you’re down here in Southern Arizona, please join us. You’d be a welcome addition. And if you’re not around here, please consider starting your own purely social Meetup group. Trust us. You’ll have fun, and you’ll get a hell of a lot more done than if you start a joyless, self-sacrificing cause-oriented group.