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J’ai toujours fait une prière à Dieu, qui est fort courte. La voici: Mon Dieu, rendez nos ennemis bien ridicules! Dieu m’a exaucé.

I always made one prayer to God, a very short one. Here it is: “O Lord, make our enemies quite ridiculous!” God granted it.

Voltaire probably wasn’t thinking of Bill O’Reilly and his paranoid “War on Christmas” bit when he wrote this, but given a time machine he could have been. Yes, it’s that time of year again: Fox News is yet again trying to show just how angry they can get over the smallest of things in attempt sell more of their hate — and it warms my cold, cold atheist heart. I don’t like Fox New and I don’t usually have a reason to watch it, but for the past couple of years I’ve made sure to catch all the “War on Christmas” bullshit because there is nothing more amusing that a bunch of adults trying to frame the phrase “Happy Holidays” as an attack on civilization. Seriously this is one bit of the 2009 coverage of their paranoid delusions:

Yes, kids, they are angry that Christianity isn’t being given special treatment. Come on, it’s oppression when you lump them with the Jews, Pagans, and African-Americans. Don’t you see that?!?!?! [insert bawling]

Bonus LULZ: The young woman who thinks people should be offended by “Merry Christmas” because it’s has nothing to do with Christmas and it’s just like saying “Happy Holidays” — which is why she can’t just say “Happy Holidays”.

The highlight of the “War on Christmas”-season, so far, has been Bill O’Reilly, Gretchen Carlson, Margaret Hoover trying to figure out why atheists hate Christmas:

The “theories” these assclowns come up with are:

  • Margaret Hoover: They hate American culture
  • Gretchen Carlson: They hate Baby Jesus
  • Bill O’Reilly: They’re jealous of the presents we get

I’m not kidding, this is actually what they claim to believe.  The best part is the basis of their claim that atheist hate Christmas is an ad that says “No God?…No Problem! Be good for goodness’ sake”  and has people wearing Santa hats. This is all the proof these people need to claim that atheists hate Christmas. I forgot, it’s also because the American Humanist Association doesn’t put up ads saying similar things any other time of year — oh, wait, they do.

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I generally like PZ Myers and the Mr. Deity show, but I’m not at all cool with the latest episode starting at about 3:10 minutes in …

I know it’s comedy, but can we please do funny without icky ideas of gender and stereotyping of gay men? Gay jokes aren’t funny. The old “personal grooming and style isn’t for men, it’s for teh laydeez and the gays” routine isn’t funny. It’s offensive and it makes me go sadface.

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I’ve avoided writing much on religion and atheism because there are plenty of people on these internets that do a much better job of it, but when a review of David Adams Richards’ new book God Is. peppered with some of his pretty asinine quotes popped up in my RSS reader – well, I couldn’t resist.

I haven’t read the book, and based on several reviews I doubt I’ll be reading this, so this is not a review or critique of the actual book. For all I know the quotes may be out of context and the context given by the articles may be skewed, but having seen these same things said and written by others I’ve decided to address them as they are.

“I believe that all of us, even those who are atheists, seek God – or at the very least not one of us would be unhappy if God appeared and told us that the universe was actually His creation,” Richards writes in God Is.

And I believe this is where I say Richards is wrong because he is. Unless he’s decided that the many atheists saying “no, I’m not interested in this whole God business” are not part of “all of us”, he’s wrong. I don’t “seek God”, whatever that means, and in the unlikely situation that there is a God I doubt I would be pleased. Maybe I’m alone in thinking this, but the idea of an all-mighty creator watching over me is as annoying as my mother sitting behind and watching as I surf the internet.

But that part of the quote is just usual feel-good nonsense from the religious, it’s not really that offensive and ignorant. This is:

Oh, we might put him on trial for making it so hard, and get angry at Him, too, but we would be very happy that He is here. Well, He is.

I’m so insanely tired of religious people regurgitating the idea that atheist are just angry at God for making things hard. I’m guessing this partly originates from the fact that many atheists rightly use the problem of evil to demonstrate that some conceptions of God are self-contradictory. However, some dimwits seem to hear this as atheists being upset at God for their shitty lot in life. These dimwits are wrong and made of fail. I’m not going to claim that it’s impossible to be upset by something that doesn’t exist because I’ve been upset by fictional characters before. Hell, reading parts of the Bible make me pretty disgusted with the God character. That is, however, very different from actually acknowledging that a particular character exists. The anger I feel toward fictional characters is also different from anger at actual people and actual atrocities. [snark] But what can you expect from people who have a hard time telling fiction from reality[/snark].

Note the word in bold below, it’s important:

Richards uses incidents from his own life to underscore his belief that God is present in everyday life.
Others might call them coincidences or luck, like the day when he was a child and he was run over by a car. All four wheels missed him leaving him unhurt.
He also rolled a car end over end in his younger years driving at a 175 kilometres per hour and survived. In that case, his forgetfulness in not buckling up probably saved his life…”There are things that happen in life which seem to be absolutely ordained for us,” he says during an interview.

Seriously, can we stop selectively picking seemingly unlikely good things a giving God and/or that ritual goat sacrifice credit? I know we’re wired to see patterns everywhere and that when we’ve decided on a conclusion it’s easy to ignore contradicting evidence, but is it that hard to think up examples where we see patterns that don’t exist? Also, why is it that when these examples are brought up it’s always the good things being used as evidence for God’s plan? Sure there are the times when someone will console themselves after a tragedy by saying that God has a plan, but there’s always that undertone of tragedy being turned into a good thing.

Apparently, Richards also brings up Stalin and uses him as an example of what happens when you accept atheism. Because, you know, only atheists become a tyrannical, paranoid megalomaniac bent on killing millions of people. It’s not like there have ever been any Catholics who’ve committed atrocities, right? But that’s not the point. It’s not about whether people of X religious beliefs have done worse or better things. Using Stalin in this manner is like taking a sociopathic murderer as an example of what being human will lead to. It’s a dumb argument.

Richards also repeats the tired old refrain of religion is special and those mean atheist are well mean and disrespectful:

Richards staunchly defends “a person’s right to believe,” which he considers sacrosanct to a person’s humanity.
The glib comments of non-believers strike him as sanctimonious.

Really, that’s one great straw atheist being built there. I’m loving the implication that atheists want a world were people don’t have a right to believe whatever they wish. I’ve never seen that implied before and atheists have never ever said flat out that that’s not what they want.

But then again I have dealt with this all my life in my work, the idea that hubris and self-righteousness promotes sins against others. It’s the one thing humanity continually tries to overcome and that they overcome it by recognizing in themselves and others a universal truth and that if this is denied as Harris and Dawkins and Hitchens kind of mock it

*Yawn* So now we’re back to the whole “atheists can’t be moral” schtick because we don’t see the “universal truth”. It’s not like being moral is related to the way our brains work. Empathy and all those wacky feeling things our brains do don’t contribute to how we treat others. And hell, social constructs aren’t as meaningful as TEH TRUTH because we can all decide tomorrow that killing everyone we want is okay, even if we don’t actually do that. Who cares if there is no evidence that seeing TEH TRUTH makes you a better person.

“The church has done enormous harm in the world but that doesn’t mean that everyone who practises religion has done enormous harm,” he says.

If he means the Catholic Church, a correction should be made: The church is doing enormous harm in the world but that doesn’t mean that everyone who practises religion has done enormous harm. Now I agree. What he’s missing is that the many good religious people give money and time which supports the church in its endeavour to fuck over the world.

The Islamic fundamentalists have done harm but that doesn’t mean Islam has done harm … these things get very confused in our society. They get confused because there’s a benefit to those who want to confuse these things. I know many Catholics who are tremendous people and who have never done wrong.

Yes, the old argument the X religious extremists are bad, but that doesn’t mean that X religion is bad. Yeah, sure, the only thing that counts as X religion is that stuff that you picked out that’s made of fluff and cotton candy. Of course, this works only if you ignore the fact that the religious extremists are using the same texts and general frameworks and just picking out different parts to justify their actions. You can’t justify your cherry-picking any better than they can. Live with it.

The only time man pretends he does not need God is when he thinks or she thinks they are themselves God or are in a position of such comfort that God cannot trouble or touch them. Once the man or woman finds himself or herself in deep trouble or despair, they search for what was always there.

Now we’re back were we’ve started. Yes, tell me again, Mr. Richards, how you know what I believe better than I do. And while you’re at it why don’t you also tell me that I pretend to believe what I say I believe because I’m arrogant and think highly of myself. It’s not like assuming you know know better than me isn’t arrogant. You’re not a hypocrite at all. And no, the sentiment of “no atheists is foxholes” isn’t trite and stupid. All atheists have completely perfect lives filled with unicorn farts and lollipops. That’s why they don’t believe in God. If only they had shittier lives so they can see TEH TRUTH.

Conclusion: I. just. sadfja[pkl. Why are some people so full of fractal wrongness?

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