674CBCDF-01CE-4446-B59D-A8E4D0E67F8CIn his song, “Imagine,” John Lennon wrote:

Imagine there’s no heaven
It’s easy if you try
No hell below us
Above us only sky

Imagine there’s no countries
It isn’t hard to do
Nothing to kill or die for
And no religion, too

Well, leave it to none other than Rory, A Guy Called Bloke, to pose a bunch of questions about one of my favorite topics: Religion.

Warning. I’m an atheist and I have some strong views about religion. If you are one who tends to get offended when someone questions your believe system, I suggest you stop reading here.

With that out of the way, here are the provocative questions about religion that Rory posed, along with my answers:

Would our world be any different to today [if religion just simply never existed]?

I believe it would be different…and better, with one big caveat. The planet would be seriously overpopulated — even more than it already is — because millions of people who, over the ages, were killed in the name of God and religion would not have perished.

Would the world have begun without some kind of belief system in place?

Of course it would have begun. The world (i.e., the planet Earth) is four and a half billion years old and modern human beings have only existed for only about 200,000 years. So, since humans are relatively new compared to the planet, and it’s humans who have “belief systems,” the planet did just fine without any kind of belief system for billions of years. You’re welcome.

Is religion really needed?

As an atheist, my answer is no. Not for me, anyway. But for some, religion or faith or belief in something bigger than themselves provides comfort and solace. My philosophy on religion and belief in God is “whatever floats your boat.” Just don’t try to sink my boat because it doesn’t look like yours.

Many already say that ‘something’ would have been created to fill that void and if that is the case, what would that have been?

Humans are always seeking answers to questions, some of which, even given present knowledge, may be unanswerable. Hence, throughout human history, humans have invented gods and supernatural beings to fill in the blanks and to answer the unanswerable. So yes, based upon human nature and the need for answers and to belong, some sort of belief system would have been created.

Organized religion, as it exists today, though, is designed to control, manage, and manipulate their flocks, and to create and promote group-think built around superstitions and mythologies. It also tends to divide us based upon our specific set of beliefs, rituals, and practices, rather than unite us based upon our commonalities as human beings.

Organized religion also reinforces the notion of “the other” with respect to those who don’t share the same superstitions and mythologies that they do. That is why so many religions have as their mission converting “the other” to their own beliefs, rituals, and dogma. And those efforts to convert the “heretics” and “infidels” can be violent and deadly. And, to me, that’s not a good thing. In fact, I think it’s the most negative and destructive aspect of organized religion.

Okay, rant over. But this is what you get when you ask an atheist about religion. What are your thoughts?

Share Your World — Cool and Hip Rainy Afternoons

Share Your WorldMondays mean Melanie’s Share Your World questions. Let’s get right to it.

When you’re 90 years old, what do you suppose will matter most to you?

Good health, enough money to live comfortably, and making it to 91.

What’s the best way to spend a rainy afternoon?

Staying dry.8FCE89C2-2027-46DD-B9E7-F052B86A1A5F

What is one thing you don’t understand about yourself?

Who I really am.7B717F8E-8C91-43DB-BBBC-F3A796322410

When was the last time you tried something to look ‘cool’ (hip), but it ended in utter embarrassment? Details?

It’s been a long time since I tried to look cool or hip. At my age, there’s little that I could to do to achieve being cool or hip, and I fear that any attempt to appear that way would end in embarrassment.

Share a picture, a story, or an event that shows your gratitude

One day after a gunman in Texas killed seven and wounded 21 others,Tony Perkins, head of the Family Research Council, said on “Fox & Friends” that mass shootings are caused by “driving God from the public square,” and specifically by teaching kids about evolution. Why am I grateful for this? Because it illustrates, for the whole world to see, how moronic far-right, Christian conservatives are.

The Idiots We Elect

5A3BBFDF-0528-4CCB-855C-68E030A54342Matt Schaefer is an American attorney and Republican politician who is currently serving in the Texas House of Representatives.

In light of the yesterday’s mass shooting in Odessa, Texas, the second mass shooting in Texas in less than a month, this Texas politician went on Twitter to express his position, as a Texas state lawmaker, on how he would “do something” about all of the gun violence in Texas and all across the country. Are you ready for this?78C7EE00-A6CF-4328-AF93-3C7F662E8EB3Here are his statements for what he is and is not vowing to do:

  • I am NOT going to use the evil acts of a handful of people to diminish the God-given rights of my fellow Texans. Period. None of these so-called gun-control solutions will work to stop a person with evil intent.
  • I say NO to “red flag” pre-crime laws. NO to universal background checks. NO to bans on AR-15s, or high capacity magazines. NO to mandatory gun buybacks.
  • What can we do? YES to praying for victims. YES to praying for protection. YES to praying that God would transform the hearts of people with evil intent. YES to fathers not leaving their wives and children. YES to discipline in the homes. 
  • YES to supporting our public schools. YES to giving every law-abiding single mom the right to carry a handgun to protect her and her kids without permission from the state, and the same for all other law-abiding Texans of age.
  • YES to your God-given, constitutionally protected rights. YES to God, and NO to more government intrusions.

So, in summary, Matt Schaefer, a Republican Texas state representative, says no to any and all gun reform initiatives and yes to prayers. No to bans on high capacity, military-style assault weapons and yes arming mothers. Oh, and yes to God and “God-given rights.”

By the way, if you’re interested in my thoughts on “God-given rights,” you might want to read this.

50 Word Thursday — Sanctuary

F95EF0E0-C9A1-43B9-9145-AB600AAEF1F7“Why did you bring me here?” Miss Wonderly asked in a hushed voice.

“I love it here. It gives me comfort and joy. It’s my sanctuary, it offers me peace, and I wanted to share this place with you,” Miss Anthrope answered.

Miss Wonderly murmured, “Thank you,” softly as before and sat down on the edge of the chair’s wooden seat. “But you know I don’t believe, don’t you?” she said.

“That’s okay. I just felt the need to share this with you. Can’t you feel His presence?

“Feel whose presence?”

“God’s presence, silly girl.”

“Sorry, but no, I don’t.”

(100 words)

Written for this week’s 50 Word Thursday prompt from Kristian at Tales From the Mind of Kristian. The idea is to use the image above (unattributed), along with the lines, “Miss Wonderly murmured, ‘Thank you,’ softly as before and sat down on the edge of the chair’s wooden seat,” from Dashiell Hammett’s The Maltese Falcon and to write a post that must be between 50 and 250 words, in 50 word increments.


Do People Really Believe This Shit?

11be17e7-5c6f-467c-be9c-e0d133e972cd.jpegAfter more than 30 people were killed in two deadly shootings this weekend, Ohio state Rep. Candice Keller, in a Facebook post, complained that Democrats play “the blame game” after every mass shooting.

She wrote that the real blame should be on the “breakdown of the traditional American family” and “acceptance of recreational marijuana.” Keller also blamed the gun violence on homosexual marriage, drag queen advocates, violent video games, open borders, kneeling athletes, and ignoring the importance of God and the church.

Interestingly, there was no mention of the proliferation of guns nor of high-capacity, semiautomatic, military-style killing machines.

And, oh yes, she also blames the “snowflakes, who can’t accept a duly-elected President.” Sheesh.

Here is her full Facebook post:

“The breakdown of the traditional American family (thank you, transgender, homosexual marriage, and drag queen advocates); fatherlessness, a subject no one discuses or believes is relevant; the ignoring of violent video games; the relaxing of laws against criminals (open borders); the acceptance of recreational marijuana; failed school policies (hello parents who defend misbehaving students); disrespect to law enforcement (thank you, Obama); hatred of our veterans (thank you, professional athletes who hate our flag and National Anthem); the Dem Congress, many members whom are open anti-Semitic; the culture, which totally ignores the importance of God and the church (until they elect a President); state officeholders, who have no interest whatsoever in learning about our Constitution and the Second Amendement; and snowflakes, who can’t accept a duly-elected President.”

If our elected representatives really believe this shit, we, my fellow Americans, are in deep doo doo.