Feb 07

People Who Make Atheists Look Like Idiots

I recently viewed an article which was linked on Twitter by Richard Dawkins. On his Twitter post, he didn’t mention whether or not he was in support of the article or not (I sincerely hope not). I’m a fan of Dawkins, but by admiration will be gravely shaken if it turns out that he does support it.

You can view the article here.

The article is about a postage stamp that the US Postal Service are going to bring out to commemorate what would have been Mother Teresa’s 100th birthday. A group called The Freedom from Religion Foundation, an organization who refer to themselves as a ‘national organization of freethinkers’ were up in arms about this stamp, saying that its release should be banned because Mother Teresa is/was a religious figure. Oh come on!!!

I’m an atheist, a MEGA-atheist… the sort of person who actually feels a knot of anger in the stomach when people start going on about religious nonsense. So fervent is my view on life that I’m not angry at the people (“believers”) for thinking the way they do; it’s more that feeling when you’re watching a cheesy movie and you can see the person doing something wrong, wasting time etc. and despite your yelling at the TV they can’t hear you so won’t change. I just feel this overwhelming sense that these people, who have such potential and capacity for good, could be channelling their energies into far more productive things!

I just feel it utterly hypocritical for this FFRF bunch to take issue with anyone for foisting their views on people; when they themselves are doing it! By saying they don’t want any religious figures on stamps, they’re essentially saying “don’t do things your way, do things our way” which is precisely the kind of attitude atheists should be trying to avoid. The very fact that there are organized atheists pisses me off no end!!! If you have a belief (or more accurately a lack of one), why must you feel the need to share it with anyone? What’s wrong with just a denomination of individuals, separately thinking whatever they want?

Now, I know many of my clever readers will think to themselves, “stupid people, the stamp was obviously commissioned because of Teresa’s humanitarian work” and you’d be absolutely right. This fact was acknowledged by FFRF, and yet they continued to whinge! They state in the article that her religious background (epitomised by the title ‘Mother’) outweighs her humanitarian career. They even go on to try and discredit her humanitarian acts! Come on, now!!! I praise Mr Roy Betts, spokesman for the Postal Service, when he brought to light other commemorative stamps such as for Reverend Martin Luther King and other such famous figures. Now, religious beliefs aside, a stamp was made of King because he was an awesome guy whose actions have shaped the world we live in.

Can’t we all just agree that Mother Teresa was a lovely old lady, who helped hundreds of people by raising money and dishing out medical supplies, and let the poor old (dead) dear have a stamp made to mark her 100th (would-be) birthday!? I’m sure people aren’t suddenly going to look down at the stamp they were applying to their application for penis-enlargement medication and convert to Catholicism based purely on a portrait of an old woman!

I am firmly of the opinion that people can think/believe whatever they like; so long as it doesn’t hurt anyone, and so long as they don’t try and force it onto me. I take every opportunity to have serious debates with religious people as, from a psychological perspective, I’m incredibly interested to hear why people allow themselves to ‘know’ something based on absolutely nothing. Many is the time these debates don’t get very far, because as a rule I find that ‘believers’ take great offense at any question of their belief. I try to tell them that if they believe something, that they should at least have enough confidence in their belief to have a constructive conversation about it. It’s almost as if the fear of hearing something contradictive to what they’ve been told/what they believe will bring their world crashing down around them. In fairness, many of the world’s religious teach that if any part of it is questioned, the believers will be punished somehow.

So anyway, if anyone queries further I may write more on the subject of religion: I just wanted to highlight the lunacy of atheists, who are supposedly devoid of the emotional steering wheel of belief, all rallying together to whinge about something and try and change it to what they think. If it’s not hurting you or interfering in your life, just leave it alone! Surely if you have a logical, scientific mindset; you’d realize that it’s far better for the world if everyone just gets along, rather than everyone doing what you think is right!

Here endeth the sermon.

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Mr Llamatastic


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  1. Sazzle

    Wow, I’m genuinely shocked at this.
    Now, I actually do agree with organisations such as the British Humanist Association as religion can interfere with peoples lives. If people want to be religious that’s up to them, yet what religion does is impose those beliefs onto the wider society through laws and schooling, etc. I do not have a problem with groups attempting to make it so that they can lead a life unguided by religion if they choose to.
    This is totally different. It’s not a defense, it’s an attack. I find it utterly bizarre that a group of people who want acts and judgements to be viewed outside a religious framework would make a judgement based on the fact that someone was religious and NOT based on their actions. This is irrationally hypocritical. The work that Mother Teresa did for the poor was recognised by the giving of a Nobel Peace prize, a body that awards humanitarians and scientists alike. This speaks volumes. Her religion has nothing to do with it in the same way that a scientist’s work has nothing to do with any faith or lack of that they may have.

  2. musingsonthemadness

    I also sincerely hope that Dawkins was against it- I would be surprised if not. I suppose, on a more cynical level that the FFRF will get a lot of attention from this

  3. Pushtrak

    I didn’t read all the page from the link. Didn’t have to “saying it violates postal regulations against honoring “individuals whose principal achievements are associated with religious undertakings.”

    I see, like me, you aren’t from the states. That might not sound as significant as it is in reality. I’m figuring you get lots of advertisements/leaflets that type of thing in your mail? I know I sure as hell do. Well, apparently it is some type of federal crime or something. Take a look at this 3 part video: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ZTdEXRtfaqk

    It violates regulations. We don’t have to agree on the merit of regulations, laws. You should be talking about the fact the guidelines are in place rather than people want them followed?

    “The very fact that there are organized atheists pisses me off no end!!! If you have a belief (or more accurately a lack of one), why must you feel the need to share it with anyone? What’s wrong with just a denomination of individuals, separately thinking whatever they want?”

    Ah, how utopian. A world where no one bothered to interfere with another on their religious views. Organised atheists is a misnomer. The fact there are some active atheist pockets is a far cry from what it could or arguably should be.

    “Can’t we all just agree that Mother Teresa was a lovely old lady, who helped hundreds of people by raising money and dishing out medical supplies, and let the poor old (dead) dear have a stamp made to mark her 100th (would-be) birthday!?”

    No. But that is ok.

    “So anyway, if anyone queries further I may write more on the subject of religion: I just wanted to highlight the lunacy of atheists, who are supposedly devoid of the emotional steering wheel of belief, ”

    Devoid of the emotional steering wheel? No, not that. Anyway, do you have any other points of contention on this? Other than going against laws or guidelines is an emotive response? I know you could think “Oh, fuck you, Pushtrak” but this is genuinely how I see things, and I’m not going to be dishonest just to be nice. If you have a counterpoint and I am wrong in some way, then it is something worth discussing.

    Just as a matter of interest, have you been in situations where the talk of religious belief comes up, for instance with friends of friends, and you happen to say you are an atheist? How did such things go down for you? I’ve been through a lot of them, some of them went ok, well and some have put me on hate lists from that point on.


    1. Mr Llamatastic

      Pushtrak, thanks for the in-depth comment! (at no point am I going to say ‘fuck you!’ at all, the thought hadn’t even occurred to me! That’s not how I have conversations.)

      I don’t know whether I’ve read some of what you’ve said incorrectly, so forgive me if I miss your point(s) (feel free to correct me).

      With regard to the ‘legal’ aspect of putting Mother Teresa on a stamp: you’ve noted above that they said it “violates postal regulations against honoring “individuals whose principal achievements are associated with religious undertakings”” Yet they put Martin Luther King Jr on a stamp? I just think it’s a bit of a hollow, hypocritical excuse, rather than saying “going against laws or guidelines is an emotive response”. Indeed, I do take issue with why the guidelines are there in the first place, I just didn’t expand upon that point.

      I’ll admit my dislike of ‘organized atheism’ may come across as some air-headed dream of utopia at first glance, but I do mean it in a much deeper sense. It’s the organization of people with beliefs/non-beliefs that ends up perverting what was originally thought, and paves the way for someone to come along and ruin it for the rest of us. If you lopped out every supernatural element of the Bible and told it as a fictional story, it’d actually be quite a rewarding, moralistic book. However, if you got a load of people together with the same purpose of purveying the messages therein as truth, evetually it would be steered to serve the ends of one particular party or another.

      You didn’t explain why you personally take issue with a stamp being made to mark Mother Teresa’s 100th birthday. I can only assume it isn’t an atheistic reason as I myself don’t believe in any of the imaginary beings, mystical powers etc. that she did and yet I’m perfectly willing to acknowledge her as a human being that helped other human beings in unfortunate circumstances. Is it that you think the Catholics would take it as a victory that one of their own got celebrated…? If so, are you trying to take some sort of utilitarian angle by depriving one person (who’s dead!) of some praise to deny a larger group of the same praise for the good of logicians everywhere?

      You also took issue when I said that atheists are devoid of the emotional steering wheel that religions place upon people? It would have been good if you’d explained that a bit. A religion, in my view, places a steering wheel squarely into a person and forces them to feel and think whatever that religion says so. Hate who they tell you to hate, love who they tell you to love and give you a million reasons why an imaginary person will punish you if you don’t comply. An atheist, who’s moral compass should be guided by science, logic and reasoning is surely free of such a control? I know I feel I am!

      To your last question: from birth I’ve never had a faith, never gone to church as a child and then ‘come out’ as an atheist as it were. I’ve always been very openly of my own non-belief. Not only have I ‘found myself in’, but i PLACE myself in situations with friends of friends, debate teams, open forums etc. where I can share my views. For the most part my views are well received, however I can never have a full conversation with a believer (no matter how tolerant and calm I am) without them getting very defensive and ending the conversation. In the end I have to say to them, “if you believe something so fervently that you’ve devoted your life to it, answering very simple questions shouldn’t be any trouble at all because you should have already asked them of yourself!”.

      Nevermind, can’t win all the time!

  4. Pushtrak

    Martin Luther King Jr and Mother Teresa aren’t equivalent, though. http://georgiainfo.galileo.usg.edu/mlkstamp.htm

    The stamp was “the second in the Postal Service’s annual Black Heritage series.” You could say the reason he was selected for that role is because of his civil rights work, and you’d be right. It was symbolic though. Here was rights for a people repressed being given form in a token way. Mother Teresa, and the work on which she was chosen was intimately on religious grounds. I don’t really want to go into a tarring the name of Mother Teresa, it isn’t going to achieve anything, but her every action was religiously orientated.

    I went into a tangent then, but realised it isn’t directly relevant, will leave that till the end.*

    Well, religious texts can be moralistic once you chop out all the immoral stuff, too. The stuff the decent Christians in the case of the bible follow. But yeah, speaking of organised atheists. They have a purpose in highlighting that being an atheist doesn’t make a person a worse person than a religious person. This is something that seems most important in the cases of America and Australia. I’m from Ireland, and it’s pretty damn important here. The primary schools only have a number of places for babies that haven’t been baptised. Yep, let that sink in a bit.

    I don’t think of Mother Teresa as the awe inspiring, great lady that she is often perceived as.
    I suppose my problem isn’t the stamp thing as much as this over inflated respect she gets.

    I didn’t mean that anyone should be guided solely by emotion. That is a terrible means of dealing with things. But there are lots of people who are in such a camp, and not all of them are religious. The problem is that people don’t exclusively follow rational thought or emotional thought, not in general anyway. Or, rationally thinking about emotive issues takes a lot of practice to be able to do. This is a very abstract issue, and not much can be gained from it without delving into particulars. A field in which I lack skill, admittedly.

    The bizarre thing from my experience is that people who don’t believe in any of the tenets of Catholicism expect other people from here to follow certain traditions of Catholicism because as they put it “We are culturally Catholic”. It annoys me because a lot of these these are people who put Catholic down in the Census. If the people who didn’t believe in God put down they are atheist in the census, the numbers would look very different. Church attendance and respect for the pope and clergy are very low in the country, but still there is this cultural norm that baffles me.

    *And on to the tangent about that video/postal system I mentioned earlier

    And, to be honest, I think there shouldn’t be any law about what goes on stamps, or as in that video I linked what can be delivered to a persons letterbox. I actually responded to one of the three videos eperce posted expressing puzzlement that there was a law like that. I didn’t know that until I saw the video. I got replies saying “How would you like it if religious stuff was posted in your home?” to which I replied, I do. I tried explaining that while in this case, it was an inconvenience to them, on the large scale, not being able to drop adverts in someones house under penalty of law seemed very strict. People seemed very offended by the whole thing of letters being sent to them unexpectedly, and when I asked for reasoning behind that, my comments must have been thumbed down a lot or removed.

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