Please, stop now. You’re just being a bigot.

  • Stop lumping all forms of Christianity into one homogenous mass. It is bigoted.
  • Stop treating all Christians as a homogenous group. It is bigoted.
  • Stop lumping all atheists into one homogenous group. It is bigoted.
  • Stop treating all atheists as if they were trying to take away your freedom of religion/trying to personally oppress you/need to be “fixed”. It is bigoted and willfully ignorant of the real position of religion in the US.
  • Stop lumping all forms of Islam into one homogenous mass. It is bigoted.
  • Stop treating all Muslims as a homogenous group. It is bigoted.
  • Stop treating mythology as a “fairy story” that people “told themselves before they had science”. It shows how little you understand about mythology and automatically disqualifies you from having a useful opinion.
  • Stop treating all religions as one homogenous mass. You’re usually only referring to the extreme elements of the Abrahamic religions, and it is multiple levels of bigoted.
  • Stop treating all science as if it is the antithesis of religion. There are a good many religious scientists. They have reconciled their beliefs with their work. Take a cue from that and comprehend the possibility that these things can coexist.
  • Stop treating all religion as if were everyone’s final truth. Your religion is your truth, and that’s fine. If someone asks, please share with them. You may even have a mandate, that you feel is a deep and important aspect of your faith, to proselytize. I hope you feel free, in the US anyway, to bring your faith up, but I also hope you feel free to recognize when someone is not interested. People are allowed to talk about their religion. People are also allowed to ignore those talking and/or ask them to stop. This is the crux of freedom of religion.
  • Stop treating religion as if it were the perfect screen for your heterosexism/cissexism/racism. It’s not. That’s just being bigoted.
  • Stop treating atheism as if it were the perfect screen for your heterosexism/cissexism/racism. It’s not. That’s just being bigoted.
  • Stop treating the opinions of zealots as if they were the perfect rebuke against someone you disagree with. Zealots have a history of ignoring what doesn’t suit them in order to sound more “right”. It will rub off on you, and you will be acting like a bigot. (Please note: This includes both religious - Rick Santorum - and atheist - Richard Dawkins - zealots.)
  • Stop treating “religion” as your personal pissing pot. It generally just shows you to be ignorant, bigoted, and small-minded.
  • Stop treating “atheism” as your personal pissing pot. It generally just shows you to be ignorant, bigoted, and small-minded.
  • Stop acting as though mythos and mythology mean only false. It shows that you’ve not bothered to do your reading.
  • Stop acting as though scientific terms mean the same thing as they do in common usage. “Theory” may leave open a lot of wiggle room in daily English, but in science it means a hypothesis with a whole lot of evidentiary support. Stop trying to act like you don’t know the difference in context. It is duplicitous.
  • Stop acting as though religious ceremony is just a bunch of rigamarole designed to distract the faithful while they’re being fleeced or mind-controlled. It is bigoted. It also shows a distinct lack of understanding of the function of ritual for humans. You automatically remove yourself from any kind of worthwhile opinion when you do this.
  • Stop acting as though you are superior because you’re an atheist. You are human, and you have human failings the same as anyone.
  • Stop acting as though you are superior because you’re religious. You are human, and you have human failings the same as anyone.
  • Stop being bigots, everyone.

Look. I get it that many groups are marginalized in various ways and in various areas, but returning bigotry with bigotry only keeps and endless cycle of stupid going. By all means, if someone is being a bigot, reply with as much anger as you like, they deserve it, but remember that if you package that anger in hatred and bigotry, you’re playing down to their level, and you’re surely losing a little bit, even if you “win”.

I understand that I’m asking a lot of tumblr, but this is mostly a message to my followers.

(Before anyone gets all bent out of shape about what I do or don’t know about science or religion, please read through my archives to see how much I’m a fan of science and please also note that I have a Master of Arts degree from the University of Chicago’s Divinity School, one of the foremost religious studies institutions in the country.)

lizziegoneastray

Read this before you make comments about religion, OK?

Angwe says: Top-posting because I haven’t run into atheists who are stupid enough to believe that atheism somehow erases their privilege, thank a being or the universe as you are so inclined, but the religion-bashing is something that annoys me, so I’m reblogging mostly for the points about that. More comments below…

lizziegoneastray:

lord-kitschener:

Saxon Industries (Or Dani has a Doctor Who AU): Just A Quick Note to Atheists (From an Atheist)

thefullmetalbitch:

  

  1. Being an atheist does not erase privilege.
    1. This includes white privilege.
    2. This also includes cis privilege, CNDP privilege, and het privilege.
    3. Seriously, being an atheist does not erase your white privilege.
  2. Criticizing exclusively (majority) non-white religions is racist.
    1. This includes Islam.
    2. The existence of white Muslims does not invalidate this point.
  3. Black Christianity is not always hetereosexist.
    1. Black people are not the most heterosexist heterosexists that ever heterosexisted.
    2. Black queer/gay/lesbian/non-straight/pansexual/asexual people exist too.
  4. Mestiz@s are not the root cause of sexism.
    1. Neither is Latin American Christianity.
    2. You do realize Christianity was imported, right?
  5. Atheists are not the only oppressed religious group.
    1. Muslims are oppressed too.
    2. Often by white atheists.
  6. Islam is not evil.
    1. Neither are hijabs or niqabs.
    2. Neither is Vodun/voodoo/hoodoo.
    3. Neither is any other religion…
    4. …unless it’s World Church of the Creator / The Creativity Movement
      1. Which is white supremacist.
    5. …or the Westboro Baptist Church.
      1. Who even the KKK hates.
  7. Evolutionary psychology is sexist, racist, cissexist, ableist, and heterosexist.
    1. This includes evolutionary psychology that (supposedly) supports atheism.
    2. Supporting evo-psych means
      1. You have not done your homework, or
      2. You are prejudiced.
  8. Other people’s clothing is not your business.
    1. Including religious articles of clothing.
    2. Including hijabs, headwraps, niqabs, burkas, crosses, crucifixes, pentacles, and other symbols.
    3. Even if you really don’t like it.
    4. Even if it’s really religious.
  9. Acknowledge other people’s identities.
    1. Even if you’re uncomfortable with them.
      1. Especially if you’re uncomfortable,
        • Because they have racial, sexual, cultural, or disabled identity
  10. Paganism is not ‘atheism-lite’.
    1. Neither is agnosticism.
    2. Neither are indigenous religions.
  11. There is no such thing as ‘ironic’ bigotry.
    1. Unless it’s atheists whining about Christmas.
      1. Seriously, I thought only evangelicals did that.
  12. Trans people are not your special little puzzles.
    1. Neither are autistic / disabled people.
      1. I don’t care if you’re a scientist. We’re still not your Rubik’s Cubes.
  13. Not everything should be about science.
    1. There. I said it.
  14. PoC are not the reason why a lot of people are wary of atheists.
    1. It’s because of white/het/cis/CND atheists.
      1. Yes, including you.
  15. Demanding people educate you is oppressive.
    1. Even if you’re ‘being really nice about it’.
      1. Nice =/= good.
  16. Religions are not inherently oppressive.
    1. Did you know that hijabs and niqabs are cultural?
      1. And that many women find them liberating?
  17. Using emotion in writing, reasoning, the internet, or decision-making does not mean one is stupid/dumb/monkey-like/less-evolved/other ableist, racist, eugenicist terms.
    1. It means one is a fucking human being.
  18. Disability is not a flaw in evolution.
    1. Disabled people will not die out with evolution.
    2. Fuck you.
  19. Being atheist does not mean you are automatically not allistic.
    1. If you don’t know what that means, look it up.
      1. You can use Google.
  20. Being a queer atheist does not make you white.
    1. Seriously, enough with this racist bullshit.
  21. Cultural appropriation is also done by atheists.
    1. Deal with it.
  22. There are no purple people.
    1. You should know this.
  23. Making fun of ‘them crazy darkies doin’ their ridick voodoo’ is racist, ableist, and the reason why a LOT of black atheists will not have anything to do with you.
    1. Satire is a tool that works when aimed upwards, at the most powerful people.
      1. Black people are not the most powerful people.
        • Especially black people practicing voodoo.
  24. No religion is more ridiculous than any other.
    1. Including Mormonism.
    2. …but some have more power, and are therefore better to make fun of.
      1. Like Mormonism.
  25. Being colorblind is only okay if you literally cannot see or distinguish colors.
    1. Otherwise, it’s racist.
  26. Religions derive strength and power from the social power of their followers.
    1. Which is why evangelical Christianity is a better target than Black Christianity.
  27. Being an agnostic (or bisexual) is not ‘taking the easy way out’.
    1. Really, now?
  28. Monosexism is real.
    1. How do I know?
      1. You’re doing it right now.
    2. And yes, queer can be a term for polysexual.
  29. If you think black people are mean to you,
    1. You’re probably white,
      1. And won’t say you are
        • Because white people never say they’re white.
  30. The terms ‘hermophradite’ ‘third sex’ and ‘biological gender’ are
    1. Essentialist,
    2. Bigoted,
    3. Cissexist,
    4. Anti-intersex
    5. And not up for debate.
  31. If you refuse to identify your privileged identities,
    1. I’m going to assume you just think you’re ‘normal’
      1. And moderate you.
  32. Refusing to acknowledge the power of environment and social structure
    1. Is bigoted
    2. And means you’re a biological essentialist.
  33. Intersex people exist.
    1. Deal with it.
    2. And no, they are not ‘miracles of evolution’.
      1. I thought you didn’t believe in miracles.
  34. Freedom does not just mean ‘freedom to be an atheist and make the choices I would make’. It means freedom to make even choices I don’t like.
    1. Including religious choices.
  35. Social justice / social uprooting / anti-oppression is not about you and your feelings.
    1. Nobody cares about white guilt.
    2. Making everything about your feelings is oppressive.
  36. If you’re offended,
    1. Get over it.
    2. Realize that being offended is much better than being oppressed.

 

Oh my god THANK YOU. I hate talking to my atheist brother about stuff because he holds to almost all of the beliefs that were debunked in this. In particular, I felt something in me relax at the bit about evo-psych being all kinds of wrong, and I was also really glad to see the bit about agnosticism being its own valid thing. And not everything does have to be about science! Jeez! Anyway, so, um, thank you OP and also I think I love you.

I have to say that one of my only issues is the idea of “better” targets. You should always “target” anyone who exhibits -isms. Anyone. OP is right in warning you off targeting a specific group of people as inherently X-ist (with the real and noted exception of white supremacist churches and the like).

But the reality is this: I call myself a radical feminist. “Radical” here not referring to bombings, but to the Latin root, which is, “root”. I aim at the social root of the problem. The structures that exist to perpetuate a hierarchy that keeps white, heterosexual, heterosexist, cis-males at the top and everyone else fighting for position below. This results in two things:

1) Every time I note that someone is speaking with privilege, it is an opportunity to speak out against these structures.

2) I accept that I have privilege and listen when someone tells me that there are ways in which I may have privilege that I don’t know about. And I try to do something about it. Always. I seek to be non-ableist, non-cissexist, non-heterosexist, non-racist, and non-bigoted. It isn’t comfortable. It requires me to listen. It requires me to accept that I have said something that I didn’t think was harmful, but that it is and that I need to both apologize and adjust my worldview.

This kind of understanding about my own frame of reference means that I have the power to adjust that frame and try to see the world through my fellow humans’ eyes. But I have to stop, listen, and not pre-judge what they say. I think too many atheists are ready to do that at the drop of the hat when the person on the other side of the conversation is a self-described believer in something. (I will, for the moment, avoid the digression that my definition of belief-systems includes atheism.)

OK, I think the rant might be done now.

(via BiblioVault - Mutants and Mystics: Science Fiction, Superhero Comics, and the Paranormal)
Click through for the full description and a link to get your own copy.
I just finished reading this (got it for free as part of my Christmas bonus this year) and I have to recommend it very highly. Please be forewarned, though, that this is a piece of scholarly analysis by a historian of religion who was trained here at the U of C Divinity School under Wendy Doniger. It will offer no easy reading, and may presume a certain level of scholarship and understanding on your part of gnosticism, esotericism, and mysticism.
Tracing what he calls the “Super Story” of comic book mythos through the lived experiences of authors’ own paranormal experiences and their expressions in comic books throughout their history, Kripal brings his own extensive experience, both scholarly and personal, of the mystical and paranormal to bear upon the interpretation of texts and contexts. The major meta-themes he explores are laid out in a particularly good progression to take the reader through the thought process that led to writing of this book. It actually turns out to become, in and of itself, a particularly good example of how Kripal sees the texts he analyses functioning in relation to their authors and their readers.

(via BiblioVault - Mutants and Mystics: Science Fiction, Superhero Comics, and the Paranormal)

Click through for the full description and a link to get your own copy.

I just finished reading this (got it for free as part of my Christmas bonus this year) and I have to recommend it very highly. Please be forewarned, though, that this is a piece of scholarly analysis by a historian of religion who was trained here at the U of C Divinity School under Wendy Doniger. It will offer no easy reading, and may presume a certain level of scholarship and understanding on your part of gnosticism, esotericism, and mysticism.

Tracing what he calls the “Super Story” of comic book mythos through the lived experiences of authors’ own paranormal experiences and their expressions in comic books throughout their history, Kripal brings his own extensive experience, both scholarly and personal, of the mystical and paranormal to bear upon the interpretation of texts and contexts. The major meta-themes he explores are laid out in a particularly good progression to take the reader through the thought process that led to writing of this book. It actually turns out to become, in and of itself, a particularly good example of how Kripal sees the texts he analyses functioning in relation to their authors and their readers.

saganislord

beautiful-anomaly:

heytonii-:

nothing WHATSOEVER again atheists, but here we go (I’ll keep it short):

CHRISTMAS is a holiday celebrating the DAY JESUS WAS BORN. THATS RIGHT. JESUS. If you are an ATHEIST you do not believe in a higher power I.E. JESUS.

I’m not saying that atheists shouldn’t celebrate…

Jesus was born nowhere near December 25th.

Religion just couldn’t handle all the attention and love that St. Nicholas was getting so they took over the day and said “hey lets relate this guy that everyone loves (St. Nick) with someone we want them to love (Jesus)”.

Uh, Saint Nicholas, being a saint, is a Catholic saint, and therefore from a Christian religion. Probably merged with other images of a Winter King or some other pagan deity known to be celebrated around the time of the winter solstice (now on December 21). Christmas and Easter, you will note, are on or around traditional pagan holidays: winter solstice and vernal equinox. They were chosen, likely as not, to be appropriately symbolic for the marking of times significant to Christianity for their relationship with the pre-Christian celebrations.

The solstice, being the longest night of the year, is the last day when days get shorter. The light starts to get longer as the axis of the Earth tilts back toward the Sun. The birth of Christ is considered to be the coming of light into the world. You see how this symbology might be considered good by the Christians, yes? Other aspects of pre-Christian winter solstice celebrations have been adopted/co-opted. The tannenbaum became the Christmas tree. Candles are lit. The list goes on.

Vernal equinox is traditionally a celebration of the renewal of life after the dead winter. The world has died and is resurrected. If you’re a small Jewish mystery cult in the Roman Empire, you’re going to figure it’s a good time to celebrate the death and resurrection of your god.

Speaking of which, note that the Christians were around as a mystery cult for four centuries before they had a sacred text. This would be a time when Saturnalia (winter solstice) would be celebrated and, in order to make sure you were integrating well, you might choose to have one of your own religious holidays around that time.

You need to remember that the early church wasn’t a dominant force of any kind. Although a certain subset of Christians in America is loud and domineering, and that the history of the church after it becomes the official religion of Rome includes a lot of co-opting and cultural appropriation, most of these kinds of decisions to blend holidays come not from some place of jealousy, but rather from a place of trying to make it easier for converts to continue to participate in the cultures they are already a part of.

Happy Solstice, y’all.

(via BiblioVault - The Poisoned Chalice: Eucharistic Grape Juice and Common-Sense Realism in Victorian Methodism)
From the University of Alabama Press comes an investigation into the theological impetus behind 19th Century Methodism’s turn to grape juice instead of fermented sacramental wine.
“Through study of denominational publications,  influential exegetical works, popular fiction and songs, and didactic  moral literature, Jennifer Woodruff Tait charts the development of  opposing symbolic associations for wine and grape juice. She argues that  19th century Methodists, steeped in Baconian models of science and  operating from epistemological presuppositions dictated by common-sense  realism, placed a premium on the ability to perceive reality accurately  in order to act morally.”

(via BiblioVault - The Poisoned Chalice: Eucharistic Grape Juice and Common-Sense Realism in Victorian Methodism)

From the University of Alabama Press comes an investigation into the theological impetus behind 19th Century Methodism’s turn to grape juice instead of fermented sacramental wine.

Through study of denominational publications, influential exegetical works, popular fiction and songs, and didactic moral literature, Jennifer Woodruff Tait charts the development of opposing symbolic associations for wine and grape juice. She argues that 19th century Methodists, steeped in Baconian models of science and operating from epistemological presuppositions dictated by common-sense realism, placed a premium on the ability to perceive reality accurately in order to act morally.”

lord-kitschener

comicsalliance:

‘WHAM! BAM! ISLAM!’ Documents Reaction To Islam-Inspired Superheros ‘The 99’ [Video]

The 99 is a comic book series about a group of multi-ethnic superheroes with a basis in Islamic culture and faith. An animated series based on the comic was meant to debut in the United States last year, but was interrupted amid prejudicial outrage on behalf of some of the American media who characterized the work as a scheme to endear American children to Sharia law and Muslim scripture. The superhero group, who appeared in a crossover series with DC Comics’ Justice League, was created by Muslim psychologist Naif Al-Mutawa not to promote radical Muslim values, but specifically to confront them, and to challenge the xenophobia preached by radical Imams.

The political and cultural climate of the world is such that an endeavor like Dr. Al Mutawa’s has been met with quite a lot of resistance as well as positivity, and that journey is the subject of a new documentary. WHAM! BAM! ISLAM! will debut October 13 on PBS. Directed by Isaac Solotaroff, the film follows Dr. Al Mutawa as he tries to introduce his characters to Muslim children as well as defend the reputation of Islam in the West. Check out the trailer after the cut.

Each of the heroes of The 99 represents one of the names or virtues of Allah, such as strength, mercy and wisdom, attributes that are valued by many faiths and cultures. Praised by U.S. President Barack Obama as embodying “the teachings of the tolerance of Islam,” the young heroes also demonstrate these values in their fantastical adventures without any one character praying or even mentioning explicit Muslim scripture nor the Prophet Mohammed.

WHAM! BAM! ISLAM! documents Dr. Al Mutawa’s struggles with reactions like that of The New York Post’s Andrea Peyser, who wrote last year, “Cancel The 99 before it starts.”

Hide your face and grab the kids. Coming soon to a TV in your child’s bedroom is a posse of righteous, Sharia-com pliant Muslim superheroes — including one who fights crime hidden head-to-toe by a burqa.

These Islamic butt-kickers are ready to bring truth, justice and indoctrination to impressionable Western minds.

Additionally, the film will detail negative reaction to The 99 from people and institutions within Muslim culture.

I read the first issue of The 99 when it first was available in English and it was impressive. It’s a great piece of comics storytelling, even if it’s just the setup for the series.

This crap that we Americans pull all the time just really annoys me to no end.

The Zygon Center for Religion and Science works closely with LSTC to put on a series of seminars every year. They invite all the students at the Hyde Park Seminaries and the Divinity School to participate. Look at the start of this year’s schedule for the “Epic of Creation” seminar:

9/12 (6:30PM) The Ongoing Creation of Stars, Planets, and, Possibly, Life: Grace Wolf-Chase, astrophysics, University of Chicago and Adler Planetarium
9/12 (8:00PM) The Quantum and the Cosmos: Edward “Rocky” Kolb, astrophysics, University of Chicago
9/19 (6:30PM) The Origin of It All: Dan Hooper, astrophysics, University of Chicago
9/19 (8:00PM) The Story of Creation from Hydrogen to the Earth: Donald York, astrophysics, University of Chicago
9/26 (6:30PM) Molecular Evolution/Evolution of the Body Plan: Gayle Woloschak, molecular biology, Northwestern University
9/26 (8:00PM) The Origin of Life: Tatjana Paunesku, molecular biology, Northwestern University
10/3 (6:30PM) “What is a transitional form?” Or, why ‘mammal-like reptiles’ aren’t reptiles: Kenneth Angielczyk, Field Museum of Natural History

Ebbeh! Cool people! Cool topics! Wish it was easier to be in Hyde Park these days.

honnaeichler-deactivated2012030

Stuck between Jay-Z and Bachmann: Finding a Christian Ethic in a Fundamentalist, “No church” Wild

honnaeichler:

Another blog post for State of Formation:

Last weekend a friend gave me Watch the Throne, the recent album forged from a collaborative effort of Jay-Z and Kayne West. I then did what I usually do when I have new music: I went on a run to try it out. I try to think as little as possible while running and, depending on my mood, will listen to whatever music will help me accomplish this - jazz, hip-hop or classical … anything goes. Unlike most music by Jay-z, this album was hard to run to because the music was so thought provoking.

For example, from the song No church in the wild: “Human being to the mob / What’s a mob to a king?/ What’s a king to a god?/ What’s a god to a non-believer?/ Who don’t believe in anything?” All I could think was: well put. And later on in the song, “Lies on the lips of a priest / Thanksgiving disguised as a feast.” and “I’m wonderin’ if a thug’s prayers reach / Is Pious pious cause God loves pious?” It all seemed like the most poetic and succinct summary of some major issues concerning religion I have head in a while.

Read more here.

This is seriously a read worth your time. Honna is lovely and eloquent thinker, not afraid to face the realities of living a faithful life in modern America. There is some good food for thought about how religious politicians became the way they are today.

And some thinking about how to move forward as a country…

…and as a believer.

Just as a warning for some of my followers: don’t use this as an excuse to grandstand about the “problems of religion in America”. Opt to put as much reflective thought, about the world and yourself, into any responses you’d like to make.

(Look, I know most of you are lovely people who wouldn’t do that, but it helps some people to be forewarned.)