I have been trying to maintain my peace and equilibrium these past few days, knowing the wingnuts were going to come out of the woodwork after the shooting in Newtown, trying to make political headway/religious headway out of this senseless act. I expect bullshit from the politicians, even the Westwood Baptist Church. Ray Comfort, James Dobson and that ilk doesn’t surprise me. Par for the course for them. Reprehensible? Yes. Evil? Yes. Lacking any shred of common decency for your fellow man? Yes. So what else is new about that. Nothing. It’s what they do.
But what is really yanking my chain is the response from everyday people around me. Actually agreeing with these sanctimonious, depraved, vile, abject, base, corrupt, loathsome, perverted, nefarious, repugnant, sleazy “men of god”. Not all, of course, but enough to make me want to scream and pull out my hair. How the fuck can a loving god allow this? Because we have taken god out of the schools. Simple. Yeah, forcing Muslims, Buddhists, Jews and all others to repeat Christian prayers in school will magically make all violence disappear. Yeah, well all I have to say is FUCK YOU!!!
People, open your eyes. Think. This was not “allowed to happen”. This was not a “judgement on America”. This has nothing to do with god, religion, gays marrying, legalizing pot, or anything else you can try to attach to this all too human tragedy. These people were not “called home”. A sick and perverted individual, who had access to assault style weaponry, did it.
And while I’m at it, I also don’t want to hear “guns don’t kill people, people kill people”. If there has ever been a more idiotic saying, I simply can’t think of it now. Duh.
I know this was kinda rambling, but I’m pissed, and just had to get this off my chest. Thanks for letting me vent.
People search for reasons why things happen. We, as atheists, are not immune. When stupid people say stupid things, we want to "bitch slap" them. Does it do any good? No. We are not going to change their minds and we will drive ourselves crazy if we try. Let them hang themselves with their diatribe. I have had more success with fence-sitters by staying silent until they ask me what I think after an idiot goes to the "deep blue heavens." I then give them logical reasons behind my atheism. I am not angry. I am not condescending. I do not put their religion down. I see it as a teachable moment.
And ofttimes, when challenged for a "reason" why something happened (as an opening for another to posit God), I respond, "I don't know. That is an acceptable answer in science and reason."
Try to posit a god for an unknown, just point out that is a logical fallacy, or simply X=God, God=X, neither equation means anything because neither term is defined. Unless you can define a god (show it exists, display or otherwise demonstrate its attributes, &c), the word is no more meaningful than the variable X.
Or just tell them they don't get their own facts, they have to be ascertainable by anyone.
A non-xian (whose name I don't recall) defined the god term: a supernatural being who possesses all the ideal qualities of a human father.
The natural fathers of many xians didn't satisfy their needs, so they fantasize a desired father.
We wouldn't be looking for logical or mathematical attributes, would we?
Tony, this is a great place to vent. And you are right on every line. Thank you!
The question “why?” is, in this situation, as absurd as the answers one gets when the question is asked.
The only “why?” questions that can be reasonably answered are the self evident ones . . . like
“Why did you move your foot?”
“Well, because I dropped a brick, and there is this thing called gravity”.
“Why were you late?”
“Because I had a flat tire.”
Those “why?” questions are not of the same nature as a question like “Why was Hitler so bad?” . . . or . . .“Why did Adam Lanza do what he did?” and they are essentially unanswerable beyond the obvious: “It’s what he wanted to do.” I doubt that even Lanza himself had the introspective ability to answer that question. It remains to be seen if American society has the introspective ability to come to grips with the variety of its many forms of social insanity.
The question we should be asking in the public realm is “What can we learn from this tragedy?” and even then, the answer might very well be “not much”.
“What can we do in the immediate future to prevent such horrors?” Now that is a question that has many valid answers, and that is where our collective attention should be focused.
Trying to answer "why?" is a waste of time.
Though I live in, putatively, the most religious state outside the Bible Belt, no one around here has put up the claim the shooter was somehow the "instrument of God's wrath with America."
The religious folk in my village, like myself, are just stunned that someone could do that at all.
There is one potentially good thing that the religious wingnuts can do for the reason-minded around here.
Since just about every television set is Super-Glued to Fox News and such statements get traction on that alleged news network, and what they have to compare the ravings of Beck and Hannity and Dobson and the Westboro Baptist Church with are the two atheists they know in person (me on the city council and with a gaily-married sister, my wife on the public library board, and both about as mild as they come), the claims that "atheists" or others are the "evil" in our society do not square with what they see on television.
And it makes them question their beloved pundits just a little bit. They do not see us as evil. And if we are not evil, perhaps there are others who are also not evil, and maybe this shooter (and the one in Pennsylvania who did his thing whilst the NRA was making its public statement against the mentally ill, film, and video games) had other issues, not the "flaming bullets of God's wrath."
And perhaps one or more just might be persuaded to consider these alleged religious leaders are manipulating them. They have living evidence to the contrary in my wife and me.
Just as the Evangelicals are trying to take over all society one person at a time, we must push back the same way.
Say, did I hear you on Ask and Atheist recently? You're a celebrity! ;)
Seriously, though, that's a great story you tell, and an inspiring one. It's good to hear about a world where everyone is willing to work and live together and not worry too much about faith or creeds.
Hey Tony if you are on that show I would like a link to it. I would love to hear it.
Yes I was on Ask an Atheist, (I don't know about the celebrity part though) on a show about an apostate Muslim and atheists in government. The original interview was to be with Rep Pete Starke and me, but Mr Starke had another sudden issue come up, so they gave me all his time.
For the link, if you are interested, The Elections and Islam takes you to the summary of the show (which includes the original E-mail I sent to Ask An Atheist that prompted the interview, and the link to the Podcast).
Thank you James Kz - I downloaded the podcast and subscribed to the show.
The radical value of being "out" is in humanizing the "other".