Thursday, October 7, 2010

Hating to Hate

So the SSA at EKU is currently going through some issues as well as a (still) pending name change. All of which are currently making us sit still in the water taking any "blows" that come to us. Which is fine since we all know how to receive them and not turn our beliefs into a case of Martyrdom.

Ummm, maybe not.

I was going to save this post until everything got cleared up, but it's a Thursday morning, I am at work with nothing else to do, and in about eight hours all this will be taken care of. And I really do not expect anyone to read this before then (or at all...really?).

So one of our members this past weekend decided he really didn't like Christianity or CRU and went on a personal flier campaign bashing the two as much as is humanly possible (with the groups former name). The fliers (obviously) did not get approved to be distributed around campus so he opted for plastering our "free-speech wall" with them. Now I am all for free-speech, but I am also all for using such a freedom responsibly, and this was not responsible at all. Furthermore, it does something that I am all against happening not only in the group, but in the world as well:

Spreading hate.

Now don't get me wrong, I dislike religion as much as the next Atheist, but I also realize that every religion is made up of living, breathing, emotional, thinking human beings. While I secretly wish religion would disappear overnight to welcome an all-peaceful morning, I realize that any real attempt at doing so right now would require one thing that religions incorporate well, but really only makes matters worse.


Now, what this member did was see a problem he wanted to fix, realized that it would take to long to make people tolerate us, see us as human beings, come to accept us, and eventually listen to us...well, lets paraphrase that into: "It would take to long to let nature run its course." So, he opted for the forceful approach. Let the Religious know how stupid and hypocritical they really are by rationalizing that the Religious will understand your approach and that the proverbial light bulb will light up and the world will instantly become a better place; NO MORE RELIGION! If only someone had thought of this approach before!

Yeah, that logic didn't strike me as revolutionary either. Actually, it struck me as exactly the type of mainstream religious thinking that I loathe. It reminded me of Fox "News" logic.

So what am I left to do? I am stuck with some of the blame, admittedly since I knew what was going on and did nothing to stop it until it was too late. I am not writing this to make excuses however, what happened will be fixed and this whole issue will hopefully be put behind us before too long, though I am left to help the group recover our "friendly" status with students on campus and hopefully make people forget about this whole thing.

But it did put into perspective the whole "oh, we're not 'that' type of [insert Religious person here]" situation Atheists so commonly hear when dealing with other Religions. I found myself saying, "I'm not the type of Atheist who hates;" though I found that entire phrase wrong. Atheists should not have to distinguish themselves from other Atheists on such terms because we should be logical to the point where hate should not even enter the equation.

But I suppose Atheism has no Dogma. I will just have to convey the importance of not hating as much as humanly possible within the group. And maybe find officers who agree with me...

TLDR; Is Atheism better than Religion if it mirrors it?

Wednesday, September 29, 2010

Round 1....CHALK!

So the week following the Secular Coalitions (Forever now to be renamed the Secular Student Alliance at EKU) chalking campaign got media attention, the Campuses' Christian affiliated groups (most notably Cru) have decided to go all out with their chalking. What once was plain, old, hell-condemning chalk is now bright, positive, and attention grabbing advertisements from those groups.

I find this amusing and all around a good thing really. I am not sure if they are just trying to get the media's attention too (which would be pointless unless either the news reached out to them to do this or they simply think Christian chalk is controversial in a Christian state) or simply to try and lash back at us. However, it does next to nothing for them other than make the sidewalk look pretty since:
1.) They have no problem reaching out to members.
2.) Everyone believes they're piping mad at the coalition and just trying to 'get even.'
3.)Has actually taken away their token hating (no more hell-bound bible verses).
4.)Makes people reflect on why they've went so all out...THE ATHEISTS!

So while I obviously have no problem with them doing this, it simply shows other students how these groups will act when the ante is upped. We however, will continue to chalk normally and will pay no attention to their obvious bluff. Retaliation is forfeit in this kind of situation.

TLDR; We've got willing "competition."

Monday, September 27, 2010

College Year 2...

So here we are again, after such a long time without posting. I am not going to apologize because really, who am I apologizing too besides myself?

Anyhow, while I am as busy as ever, I hope to be able to start posting regularly as I now have so much more to talk about.

Mainly what I have to talk about coincides with the fact that I am now President of EKU's Secular Coalition (soon to be renamed SSA)and have gotten off to a great start! I mean, just look!

No 'real' interview with me makes me sad pants, but such press will make me get over it.

Oh, and "Hug an Atheist" was a huge success! Nothing really controversial happened, save for a creeper whispering in my members' ears that "Jesus loves them" like he was trying to turn them on or something.

Good times!

TLDR; I'm back and head of the heathens!

Tuesday, January 26, 2010

Busy, busy, busy ... again.

So between loosing countless hours of sleep, I find that the schedule I picked out for myself is a bit too much, but I'll stick with it, I just ask that you stick with me as posts may be few and far between. As soon as I get caught up however, I have SO much I'd like to post on. Much has happened over the last few weeks, and I'd love to write about a lot of it.

But first, I have to read "Guns, Germs, and Steel," the next chapter in "Our Origins," 5 sets of Math problems, write a first draft for English, write a paper for public speaking as well as read two chapters in that book, and somewhere in all that find a way to the nearest grocery store to pick up stuff for the SCEKU (Secular Coalition of EKU) get together on Thursday. And I have even more to do that I'm not even thinking of right my ANT 201 lab...and about 3 other papers I have to get started on.

Hope this holds you over until then. This is exactly the kind of stuff I'm learning in ANT 201 right now. The biology refresh is nice, but I love how beautiful this video makes evolution sound.

TLDR; I'm busy, I'll post more when able.

Thursday, January 14, 2010

An intellectual conversation with a Christian...OMFG really!?

The title is just the preface of a negative stereotype against Christians. A stereotype that is usually not too hard to prove somewhat correct, true, but a stereotype nonetheless. However, there are exceptions, and when these exceptions come out in the public eye, it is even more exceptional.

I had a somewhat long Facebook status conversation with an old high school friend and fellow Chess Team member Casey over many things. Nothing too specific and it didn't even start with any religious pretext or context. Though after I commented a few times, I knew it would eventually lead to such a place, given the subject matter and how we seemed to be arguing against the existence of absolutes, something Christianity argues strongly for (the absolute existence of a god, of a absolute beginning and end, an absolute savior, and an absolute human behavior) and which myself argues against as I live by the phrase "change over time and through space."

Anyway, here's the discussion in it's almost full context, I did very little editing, mostly to take out last names to provide a little privacy. Please note that this was a facebook conversation, so neither of our grammar was spot on since we really had no reason to make it so. So please excuse any mistakes on either part. A fair warning, it's a pretty long conversation.

Casey: "Nothing in the world can prompt me to tell you what I really want to say."

Casey: "Does that make me a coward, or a degenerate? Either one is to be frowned

Alec (me): "It makes you human...?"

Casey: "Well of course, but who said that was such a noble effort? Or why must I settle for that, other people make it look so simple lol"

Alec: "Other people make murder look simple too. However, if being human is not what you wish to settle for, then go above and beyond. Don't dwell on your place in society, but instead, analyze society's place on you, then you'll be able to understand what a real coward or degenerate is; not what society says one is."

Casey: "What has society made of us."

Alec: "You can't say us, society has a different effect on each of us, because of how our specific culture has brought us up to see and understand things. You have to decide for yourself what society has made of you. Then, naturally, if you like what it has made you, it's definitions on you, then you can continue to live as a whole part of it, contributing popular ideas that helps to further shape it, help the strong ideas survive. Or, if you don't like what it has made you into, you recreate yourself, in the moral images you see as right. This is, in reality, the only way to be reborn. You certainly don't become a new person, to do that is assuredly impossible, yet you recreate what the effect society has on you to better it in your image. To spread a new type of enculturation, or a new "mutation in a gene" so to speak biologically. If such "mutation" is strong, it will, without a doubt, survive. If not, then it will perish, but will certainly have an effect in the building of a better culture and society. Understand?"

Casey: "I understand the life-form 'society' the living accumulation of every single endeavor is sprung forth by the interaction of each of us and our unique attributes that separate us. But don't misjudge when I group 'us' because it shapes us all. I am a romantic, and perhaps you find it to your distaste, or are even offended by this as a mere imitation of what I've learned, but there is no doubt in my mind that society is a curse to humanity as well as a way of life; there is strength in numbers but there is corruption in numbers; results from individuals grows exponentially with the results from a populous, and my only concern is the truths of this world, the wrongs of this world, and the calculable differences of this world will, in time, give way to precedents in history and follow suit to introduce new customs and ways of life, new ways of thinking that will undermine the everlasting means of our cognition, our perception, our altruism's, our sense of right and wrong, our sense of free will, and even humanity. I can't just be an individual when my contract with society is still existing, because no matter how I change I will not really change to my pleasure, but rather my discourse, because what really does change me? Myself, or the influences of my society? I will always subconsciously be at limbo by the unsatisfied opinion of a free society that is all but free for its people."

Alec: "I certainly don't find distaste, while I personally disagree with you on some points, there is no right or wrong to be stated. That is a universal in and of it self anyhow. The wrongs of this world are rights of another world. There is no universal right or wrong currently existing. Culture defines right and wrong, as well as everything else. Culture can be remade as well to reshape many cultural elements. You say society shapes us all, that is true, but, and as an equal and opposite reaction, we shape society an equal amount. Society is only a curse if you fail to see what it really is. We look at supermodels we can never be like and curse at these images that "society" puts out. However, the only reason these images exist in society is because just like we can never match these images, these images is what people strive to obtain. For society to be a curse on humankind, is for humankind to be a curse of itself. And society becomes a curse when we feel like we have no part in it, but that is a lie. One of the defining elements of being human, is being social, or having a society. Without society, we are not human, just homo-sapians, just another woodland animal to graze and be hunted. The way things change, as you stated above as results of individuals grow on the populous, is, in itself, a type of evolution. However, without knowing where such a evolving body is headed, you preset it's course with one you do not like. In such an evolution, the strongest ideas prosper while the weakest ideas die out. To have culture is to conform to one idea or the other, and to conform is to base your decision on the culture you possess. Culture changes, so the ideas you conform to change as well. And to conform to an idea, is to make it stronger and another like-idea weaker. Each individual has a say in what becomes of society. Yes, sometimes people conform to a "weaker" idea, and that idea eventually dies out with the people whom conform to it. That is the way evolution works. However, to condemn the future of society is to have no faith in the human race. Whatever comes out, will be the strongest idea, thus ushering in a new age, for the betterment of humanity. If it was not for the betterment, then the idea would not be strong."

Casey: "The future of society has always been a decision of each individual, and it needs credit for surpassing the bonds of all other sentient beings on the planet; yet society and the individuals are one in the same, and I cannot say we shape society and society shapes us, it is a redundancy to me. We change how society works, but to say society changes us, is that not a synonym? We all work for a goal in a society, and although it is secondary to my theory that all humans were born to be greedy, it is paramount that we work to sustain the society. To deem society it's own entity is fine, but to deem it promotes attributes in people in too similar to me as to just say 'we shape society'. Now as for the sentiment of conscious, right and wrong, and the idea that morals are relative, and to be individual means to think individual on your own accord, I have to disagree. When a spirituality plays a role in a debate, I have but one option and that is to say there is a stature, there is a right and wrong, whether you know it in your heart while reading Call of the Wild, or when someone decides to be self-concerned and content while the poor suffer a little more without their assistance. But now the disclaimer; I say these things but I do not practice them. My interpretation of the situation is that when something is the regular, you can blame 'the village' for how the child is raised, because it does take fellowship to develop and you are not the lone decider. Altruism exists, but it is as hopeless as eternal life, to be practiced widely, because as I mentioned, I think all humans are greedy by nature. Back to spirituality, I do believe it better to let a culture survive than let it die with the coming of a gospel, simply because I am sentimental like that, and if I am to go to hell for not spreading the doctrine as it is professed, then be it so. Also, I've always had an overwhelming sense of tolerance for the differences of the world, so don't think me a mindless limb of an organized religion, but more of a human who possesses an idea of my origins that may broadly debunk many others."

Alec: "To start, you must see how society changes people. You are arguing somewhat "against" society. That is because the way you view society is not one you like. However, the way you view society is also a element in society, yes, society in a way, calls itself wrong, because you have humans shaping society on the strongest ideas, and the conformers of the weaker ideas voice in society as wrong, which the idea that society is wrong, is strangely a popular, or strong idea, for whatever reason. However, in calling society wrong because there is a strong idea in society that calls itself wrong, is a straight example of how society changes people. And there are countless other examples. But yes, it is a type of synonym, or even a paradox if you will. Many paradox's exist in such discussions, however, paradox's do exist. it becomes impossible when you get to the origin of such a paradox, but it is clearly evident they exist anyway! For example to argue which came first, the chicken or the egg is to simply state the chicken or the egg do not exist, while it clearly does!
Now, greed is not human nature. As there is no evident gene for greed that makes me believe it is. Greed is simply a popular, or strong social aspect, which is then taught through enculturation, or the process of gaining culture by ones "parents" and thus re-manifests itself; Another paradox. Why greed is such a strong social aspect is because it is taught to every person through enculturation. Who started it is unknown, and unimportant because we know it exists.
Furthermore, society is not an entity, but a force, to think of it as an entity is to give it a mind of it's own, which it simply does not have. It is a force created, maintained, tweaked, re-tweaked, destroyed, and then re-created by humans. Which is simply how we shape society, and how society shapes us. I'll give you another example of this if you'd like. In retrospect though, it's simply easier to say that society shapes us, because society is somewhat simply an extension of human ideas, so, again in retrospect, it's a matter of humans shaping humans.
Religion, or spirituality, is a cultural aspect. Culture shapes morals, the conscious, what is seen as right and wrong (which is why we have a type of crude Islam faith that believes 9/11 was a right thing to do). Religion is, among many other things, culturally and socially speaking, is a grouping of like minded people with like ideas that are socially strong for themselves. You call something right or wrong based on your religion or spirituality because that is what your current culture suggests to you, and it is the strongest idea that makes the most since to you. And before you say what about people who do not have a religion in there culture and end up following a religion, well, like I said, culture makes and remakes itself in a process known as agency (where the individual steps in and decides what is the best or strongest ideas for their culture).
Of course, these are my beliefs, and my knowledge based on a very society and culture based first semester...and lifetime of ideologies. And please do not take offense to if something seems offensive. Some people do not see religion as a cultural and social element, yet a divine one. I, as you know, am not one of those people and again am stating from my ideology."

Casey: "You will have to give me some break time; I've read some of it, I'll continue this later lol"
Something tells me that I might have shaken him a bit with the last statement, since I threw out a definition of religion that plays against an absolute ideology. Though i can't say for sure. Hope you enjoyed it.

I am glad that I had this conversation, as it shows that there are intellectual people out their who are religious and may listen to reason, or at least whom we can share inspiring ideas that cause us all to think a little deeper and critically.

TLDR; You really have to read the conversation when you get the chance, It's impossible for me to sum up easily.

Thursday, December 31, 2009

Happy New Year! And all that jazz.

It's been a stressing week here at home and I am ready for the new semester more than ever. I have two Anthropology classes lined up: Physical and Human Society. I have Ant of Human society with a visiting professor that I have heard great things about and Physical Anthropology with a professor that's been at the university for a long time and about with which I have previously spoke with and sat in on his lectures, so I'm super anxious to start those classes. Not to mention I get to finally get my hands wet in evolution, well, in a class anyhow. The lecture I sat in on with my soon to be Physical Ant professor had to do with an extraordinary transitional fossil which greatly intrigues me.

Anyhow, I've been pondering a lot lately about what makes something true or false. The beliefs people adopt by means of enculturation are given to be true outright, no matter how absurd. We are taught to believe things which gives the most logical answers to our questions, and most people, actually, a very large majority of the human population never questions such beleifs on any levels. That is, of coarse, what makes cultures and the process of enculturation so intriguing. We as humans usually learn things one way, and that one thing becomes truth, and through time and space results have become rather...imaginitive in many ways. But to a person who beleives such things and knows no other things in a certain respect, these become absolute truths.

The idea that a person will be sent to hell for not believing in one Christian belief or another becomes true to the person(s) that beleives it. In this way, we develop many of our own truths, and that's where it becomes complicated.

You see, it's very possible for a truth to be false, but a surviving method in enculturation only teaches absolutes. If something is right, or true, then on no level can it be wrong, or false.

However, such thinking will lead one to an extreme level of social darwinism, however, I am also only speaking in my experience, which is primarly lower middle to low class american enculturation. Which I can definetly say that the thought processes of social darwinists still exists in lower classes, which may very well be a distributing factor to why they're still is a lower class in a country that supposedly is "the land of opportunity."

But enough theorycrafting.

TLDR; I have a hard time staying on target.

Tuesday, December 22, 2009

On the first day of Atheistmas, my true love gave to me...

So I'm back in the warm recesses of my hometown for Christmas Holiday break, and having a pretty good, boring time. I've managed to beat Kingdom Hearts 358/2 days and get some reading done. It's good to get away from campus, but things tend to get rather boring in my hometown.

Anyhow, I know I promised a quality post last Thursday, but some things came up and I had to leave earlier than expected, so my sincere apologies. I've had a lot on my mind recently and think some of those things will be really good posts. All I need to get before I make those posts though is a bible so I can accurately state my argument. Time on a computer here, so I may not be able to make that post before I get back on campus, but I'll try to nonetheless.

TLDR; ~Excuses on a BS tree~