The Assent of silence.

From time to time I get people asking me why I am so vocal about atheism and skepticism.  Why am I so militant?

I would ask why are people so eager to silence this viewpoint?  I would ask, knowing the two main answers.

There was a time when I wasn’t as vocal about the philosophical concepts of atheism and skepticism.  There was a time when I didn’t even know that skepticism was even a philosophical concept.  There was probably a time when I didn’t know atheism was either, but that was even longer ago.

There was a time when I didn’t think they were important enough to announce to the world or begin public debate or discussion on.  There was a time when I was naïve enough to think that most thought in a vaguely similar fashion to how I had learned to think.

I am no longer that naïve.

Every day literally thousands of people are sold snake oil cures.  Some of these people are rich and not really sick.  But a lot of these people have significant illnesses and are desperate.  I don’t really care about the rich worried well.  They can spend their money on any snake oil they choose, it’s really not doing them any harm, and it is redistributing wealth.  It’s the poor, desperate and ill that I seek to protect.  These snake oil sales-people don’t care who they fleece – one sale is as good as any other to them.  And more sales is better than less.  None of these people really truly care if these people are helped by the products.  All they care about is that people cough up the dough. – ok, that was too generalist.  I cannot say with any certainty that NONE of the snake oil sales-folks care.  Because some genuinely think they are selling something of value.  But once they have been shown that they are selling snake oil, they don’t stop selling it.  They have to be legally shut down.  Which usually just results in a change of branding before they turn up again.

And I have wandered slightly off topic.  Back on track.

The biggest volume of complaints I get are about my religious and atheist topics.  This doesn’t surprise me.  It does disappoint me, but doesn’t surprise me.  I do my utmost not to attack individuals for their beliefs.  There are some individuals I hold outside that practice due to their behavior and influence.  Religious leaders for example.  And anyone who uses religion as an excuse, justification or cloak to justify or hide their abuse of others.  I feel these individuals deserve every insult, disrespect and attack that can be heaped on them.

I feel however, that any belief that is brought out into public as a claim, is fair game.  And as such I will ridicule it as much as it deserves.

Claims that there is an invisible, all powerful, all knowing, all benevolent  character are some of the first on the block.  While I cannot prove this claim is false, it is very easy to prove this claim is logical lunacy.

Claims that any holy text in existence is any kind of absolute guide or standard for morality.  I’ve read multiple translations of all that I can get my hands on, They contain the worst morality found in books almost anywhere.  Even the anarch’s cookbook is more morally enlightening than the bible or Koran.

Claims that some bronze age fairy story about a magical creation myth are more valid than testable, repeatable provable science.  Claims like the earth is 6,000 years old for example – meaing that the Mesopotamians were around to teach god how to do it all?  Seriously?  The Australian Aboriginies were fish farming 34,000 years before god created the universe?  Well that explains a lot!!

And to people who say that this is just a small minority of views – I say open your eyes.  People holding these views are common enough to hold the majority of public offices in the western world.

This is not some kind of distant, academic concept that will never affect you on an individual personal level.  This is a reality, that has already influenced much of your life, and will have an impact on everything around you.

If you think that the person making decisions about the drugs your local hospital administers should not believe in magic, and should understand the value in double blinded clinical trials, then you should open your eyes and check.  Maybe they do, but it is just as likely they don’t.

If you think the person deciding what science should be excluded from your child’s classroom should understand that the universe really is 14-15 billion years old, not 6,000 years, and that evolution is a fact, the theory is just our explanation for how it happens, and that this theory has yet to be disproved, despite the best efforts of almost every biologist for the past 150 years.  Then you should fight to make sure that they do.  Because right now, chances are they don’t.

If you think that politicians have no place censoring what facts about the world around us will be permitted to be released to the public, and which are too politically sensitive.  Then wake up and smell the ozone.  Because that is exactly what is happening.

So will I sit on my hands quietly and watch this happen?  No.  Is my small outrage going to change things?  By itself probably not.  But it may trigger others to join my outrage, which may trigger others, and so on.  THAT can change things.

So if you feel that my mocking of your religion is offensive.  Ask yourself why you follow such a whacked out crack pot set of beliefs?

If you feel my mocking of your religion is in some way a personal attack at you.  Ask yourself why?  Why do you build your identity on beliefs so deserving of mockery?  Do you really believe in talking donkeys and talking snakes?  Really?  Do you really believe in ritualistic or magical cannibalism?  Do you really believe in magic?  Why?

If you find yourself feeling uncomfortable because you feel I am being offensive by mocking beliefs, ask yourself why?  Why do you not mock the kind of insanity that people pass off as reality?

If you feel this is booring, that it doesn’t apply to you?  Why?  Do you not have to live with the decisions of people who honestly believe this stuff?    This argument is much the same as the person who thinks that local politics doesn’t apply to them and they should not get involved.  If you think that science classes should teach science instead of political spin, if you think that decisions on your medical care should be made by qualified professionals.  Stand up, get involved, get your hands dirty.  If you are happy with faith healers, snake oil salesmen and saleswomen, marketers, politicians making decisions they are not qualified or educated enough to make – then get out of my way and don’t complain to me when it goes pear shaped on you.  And preferably live somewhere your decisions are not going to harm mine.

If you think it is ok for the heads of major religions to protect and hide child molesters, by all means do nothing.  If you don’t think that is ok – speak up.  By saying nothing you are giving your silent assent.  I may not have the ear of millions, I may not have an expensive political or legal campaign, I may not be a powerful or influential lawyer.  I may not have my own radio show, or even my own podcast.  But I will NOT provide my silent assent for crimes against society like this.  I will NOT be silenced by a profit fueled company, I will NOT be silenced by a religion claiming persecution when someone speaks truth.  I will NOT be silenced by your apathy and squeemishness.

If my speaking up makes you squeamish, I suggest you examine why.

I am NOT comfortable with how society sits with things.  I will not watch others be run down.  Why are you comfortable with it?

And the best part of all.  I recognize your right to go without seeing anything you don’t wish to.  I post it on my wall or in my blog.  People are welcome to choose to view it or not.  These are things that are going on in my life, they are going on in everyone’s life.  If you want to know about things that are going on in my life, guess what!  This is a big part of it.

I am sick of being told in whispered tones “Ohh don’t talk , about that/like that/around them, it will cause you problems.  No-one has given a flying fig about how offensive it might be to me, the tech support agent who just spent 2 hours fixing your phone with you when you praise god for your phone working.  No-one considers the offense caused by making decisions in my name to declare scientific truth to be a political inconvenience and decide to ignore reality.  No-one considers the offense caused by authorities supporting one particular religion and ignoring everyone who does not follow that religion when it comes to, well, everything.  No-one considers the offense caused by having to watch yet another priest or cleric be hidden or protected from prosecution after more child molestation comes to light.  No-one considers the offense caused when the prime-minister of a country living on stolen land declares that no-one was ever displaced and no treaties broken


This could go on for a long long time.

The point is, that apparently by speaking out against these things – “I” am the offensive one. To that I say Ishkhaqwi ai-durugnul!  I am not happy with these things, and I will not give them my assent, silent or otherwise.


~ by scawalrus on July 31, 2012.

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