Monthly Archives: October 2014

My Abortion Story


Before I begin, please don’t leave any comments meant to shame me or any other person who has had an abortion. Regardless of your person views, this is my story. I do not regret having my abortion.

I’ve been coming across an increasing number of women who’ve been posting their abortion stories online. I wrote about my experience about 7 months ago, but it has been a long time and we have gained a lot of followers since then. As such, I think it is about time to tell my story again.

Back in February, Withteeth and I were finally settling down after a long and stressful five months. Our lives had been turned upside down and we were finally settling in to a new “normal.”  By the end of the month we were taking a break from school. A break that we spent pet-sitting for Withteeth’s parents. Then we went back to our regular school routine. After dealing with so much stress, I hardly registered my missed period. My cycle had gotten all messed up, so it was easy to miss.

We went to the doctors when I realized that I could be pregnant. I was. 5 weeks, in fact. Here in Canada, abortions without doctor consent can only be done up to 12 weeks. The doctor told me to set up an appointment immediately because wait times can be ridiculous here. The first thing I did when I left the doctor’s office was set up an appointment at the abortion clinic. At that point I didn’t know if I was going to go through with it, but I knew that I didn’t have any time to waste.

I had to go get some blood work done before my appointment, so I spent three hours sitting in a blood clinic to get my results. Then I was ready for my appointment.

Withteeth and I want kids, which is why I wasn’t sure if I would go through with the abortion. However, had I kept it, I would be set to give birth this December. My due date would have made it difficult for me to finish this semester. And having a newborn would have made it difficult for me to go back to school next semester. In all likelihood, I would have had to take the year off. This is supposed to be my last year of school. It wasn’t an ideal situation for raising a child. And after all the issues we had been through, raising a child wasn’t something that we could emotionally handle. So I decided to go through with the abortion.

Apparently it was a good time to get pregnant: I managed to get an appointment for a week after my initial doctor’s appointment. I was six weeks pregnant at that point, so I chose to get a medical abortion. A medical abortion involves getting two shots in your back. The shots kill the embryo. Then I was given medicine to take. Some of the medicine was to keep me healthy. The rest was to cause a miscarriage. I went home feeling fine, but essentially had the flu for the next week. I miscarried on the Sunday (six days later). Then I went back to the doctor where they determined that everything went fine. I wasn’t surprised: there was only a 1% chance that anything would go wrong.

I have been healthy ever since. I experienced no negative after effects. And my ovulation cycle has gone back to normal. What’s more, I’m on track to graduate this coming spring. And Withteeth and I are in an emotionally stable state, so having kids now wouldn’t cause the problems that it would have before.


10 Reasons Why I’m Not a Christian


*Since it appears a lot of people can’t read, the title says 10 Reasons Why I’m Not A Christian, not 10 Reasons Why Christianity Is Wrong. Please take this into consideration before responding.*

1) A creator is not required for the universe to exist as it is.
We have decades of scientific research that shows how the universe could have come about, and we have evidence that shows that it likely came about in that manner. Scientists go through years of schooling in order to learn both what has been learned in the past and how to perform studies in order to advance our understanding. Science has given us the computers we use to blog, the medicine that has extended our lives greatly, and any number of other things we take for granted. But they have also advanced our understanding of the world we live in. Religion, however, my offer hypothesizes about the origins of the universe and of humans, but it offers no evidence. Science shows that a god is not needed for our universe to exist, nor is it needed for us to exist.
2) The Bible is not convincing.
There are many reasons why it is unconvincing. First there are the contradictions. The Bible was clearly written by a number of authors who disagreed on various things. As such, it is impossible to accept the Bible in it’s entirety, at least if you wish to believe it to be literal. Then there are the stories that are either provably false (like the exodus out of Egypt) or the ones that cannot be verified one way or the other (like the Jesus story), which is usually a good indication that it never happened. There is also the fact that miracles and personal interactions with God don’t really happen any more. If they happened for 2000 years, why would they just suddenly stop? There is no reason to accept the Bible as any sort of authority, especially since there is a lack of corroborating sources.
3) I have never seen any miracles.
This goes with what I said above. I have never personally witnessed a miracle. And every miracle that I have heard about has a very natural explanation. I once heard about a statue of the Virgin Mary outside of a church that was said to cry. Upon further examination, it turned out that there was a leaky pipe that caused the effect. That famous “Jesus on toast” thing was the result of a malfunctioning toaster and the fact that humans are good at seeing faces where there are none. Again, if miracles did happen at one point, why would they just stop? Or is there maybe a more reasonable explanation for past “miracles” too?
4) Christians disagree with each other over almost all aspects of their religion.
Why should I believe your claims that your religion is true when that guy over there told me that you’re not a real Christian? How do I know that you’re right and he’s wrong when you’re both giving me the same lack of evidence to support your version of the story? And if there is one God who came to Earth as his own son, and the story is so obviously true, oh, and people get revelations from God today, then why isn’t there one cohesive story told by everybody and accepted by everybody?
5) I don’t need God to be good.
Like I’ve said before, Christianity is not the basis of morality and Christians are not the only ones with morals. I do in fact have morals. I get them from my parents, my teachers, my friends, etc. But I also get them from philosophy. I have taken a lot of philosophy courses related to ethics, which has forced me to think critically before I accept an idea as moral or immoral. It is philosophy that convinced me that abortion and euthanasia are not immoral and can, in fact, be moral. Philosophy also convinced me that morality is subjective. But my point is that I know the difference between right and wrong. Most people do. And I believe that most people do more moral or amoral (not related to morality) than immoral actions.
6) Even if the Bible was convincing, the Christian God isn’t worth worshiping.
This is a God responsible for genocides. This is a God who ordered a man to kill his son to prove his loyalty, a God who killed their own son because they couldn’t figure out any other way to forgive humanity. This God even threatens to torture people for eternity simply because they can’t believe in him. Why would I worship this God?
7) Of all the religions that exist, I see no reason why the Christian religion is more likely to be true than the rest of them.
There are thousands of religions and millions of gods. Every believer says their religion is the true religion, and they all say their god is, at least, stronger than the others. What’s more, all religions seem to be supported by the same lack of evidence. So why would I accept Christianity over all of the rest?
8) Too many churches teach hate and encourage their congregants to view themselves as superior to all other humans.
If a church could prove that there was evidence to support their religion over all others, then I would understand a church viewing themselves as separate from all other religions, but teaching people to believe that they are better than others only leads to problems. No one is better than any other, and nobody should view hate as acceptable. The number of churches that support one or both of those ideas make it difficult for me to accept the organized religion associated with Christianity. Why would I want to hang out with people who believe I’m less than them simply because I disagree with them?
9) I don’t believe anyone deserves an infinite punishment for a finite crime.
Do you believe in a literal hell? What makes someone deserving of such a place? Disbelief? How is torture an acceptable response for disbelief in anything? Blasphemy? If I don’t believe, does my blasphemy count? If so, am I deserving of hell for saying something about something I don’t believe in? Murder? How many murders can one person commit? Is infinite punishment acceptable for a finite number of murders? Why isn’t imprisonment enough of a punishment?
10) I see nothing wrong with not knowing the answer.
It seems like a lot of people accept God’s existence because they believe it’s better to have any answer, even a wrong one, than having no answer. Personally, I think it’s better to accept that you don’t know until you’re reasonably sure that your answer is the right one. I’m not going to say I know until I have evidence to say I know. This isn’t to say that Christians all say that they know God exists (theism is still a belief and not a knowledge claim), but in every other circumstance the disbelief would be the default position. As such, I will continue to disbelieve in the existence of Gods until evidence of their existence is found.


Being A Christian Does Not Make You Moral


As I have said in a previous post, we get a lot of comments about how we can’t be moral because we are atheists. So let’s discuss what makes a person moral.

To be clear, neither Withteeth or I would say that we are moral because we are atheists. We are moral for other reasons. To be moral requires more than a set of beliefs: it requires actions as well. Withteeth and I have thought deeply about our moral convictions, and we have gone out of our way to act on those convictions. Anyone who wishes to argue that we are not moral is either willfully ignoring what we have done that makes us moral, or they are under the impression that to be moral you merely have to hold a particular set of beliefs. I believe that most of those who comment on our blog are of the second set. For that reason, I’m going to talk about why being a Christian (since those comments have so far come exclusively from Christians) doesn’t make you moral.

Do you go to church every week, or several times a week? Are you in a Bible study? Do you pray to God? Do you evangelize the word or God? Do you go to all of your churches events? Do you volunteer at your church? Basically, are you the quintessential “good Christian”? That’s wonderful if that’s what you enjoy, but that doesn’t make you a good person. Why? Because being a Christian doesn’t mean being moral. To be a Christian all you have to do is accept certain beliefs. There may be some required actions (ie. baptism) to go along with those beliefs, but the requirements are very basic and do not require morality in order to accept them. You do not need to help the poor in order to accept Jesus Christ as your saviour. You do not need to be kind to others to accept the Bible as true (literally or metaphorically). And you do not need to donate to charity to go through all of the programs and ceremonies offered by your church. There are Christians who are moral, but there are also some who aren’t. That doesn’t mean that you can’t be moral if you’re a Christian, but it does mean that you can be a Christian and be immoral.

Likewise, you do not have to be a Christian to be moral. Many of the comments we get are along the lines of “you don’t think morality is objective, so…” or “you need to believe in God to…” when they say we aren’t moral. It is commonly accepted by these commenters that morality is objective. So lets pretend that it is. If morality is objective, does my belief that it is subjective make any difference at all? It shouldn’t. If morality is objective, then it should be built into the foundation of our existence. It would be expected that we would all share the same moral belief systems. There wouldn’t be different moral systems across different cultures. It would also be expected that living creatures in general would treat each better overall. It wouldn’t matter what I believed about morality, because how I treated people would not change. I’d have this objective morality too deeply ingrained into me to act differently. And freewill wouldn’t change anything because this morality would be a part of my very foundation. I wouldn’t have any freedom to do otherwise. The fact that you believe God gave us the freedom to choose wouldn’t change anything either. If we can choose to be immoral, then morality cannot be ingrained into us, so it cannot be objective. If you believe that I can choose to be moral, then you do not believe that morality is objective.

However, if morality is subjective, then you’d see different cultures with different moral systems. You’d see people within a particular culture disagreeing with certain parts of their cultures moral system. And you’d see people acting immorally. If morality is subjective, then you can have a god who lets us decide whether or not to be moral. And you can have followers of that god disagreeing with one another about what it means to be moral. But this also means that, regardless of whether or not this god exists, you can have people who do not agree with this god behaving morally. This is because we can think about what is moral. We can debate the moral implications of a given action. And we can adjust our moral codes to better fit our reality.

Either way, atheists can be moral and it is not your Christianity that makes you moral.

For further reading on what objective and subjective morality are and what they mean, here are some links:

http://rationalwiki.org/wiki/Objective_morality

http://coelsblog.wordpress.com/2013/07/29/six-reasons-why-objective-morality-is-nonsense/

http://whyevolutionistrue.wordpress.com/2013/07/24/why-there-is-no-objective-morality/

http://www.debate.org/opinions/is-morality-subjective

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Moral_relativism

http://openparachute.wordpress.com/2012/08/29/subjective-morality-not-what-it-seems/

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/george-elerick/are-morals-subjective-or_b_504262.html

http://infidels.org/library/modern/niclas_berggren/morality.html


5 Logical Fallacies, 6 videos.


I’m a fan of PBS Idea Channel and get a kick out of the serious for cover a wide range of topics. I highly recommend them for those who like to think a little be harder about video games, pop culture, media in many of it’s forms, amongst other related topics. Though I really like this latest video as it gives a handy resource for linking people to a number of common fallacies.  I suspect I have no shortage of opportunities to link to this video in the future.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8qb-h0sXkH4

Straw man Fallacy:
http://bit.ly/1nzyoR8

Ad Hominem Fallacy:
http://bit.ly/1wbQnAk

Black and White Fallacy:
http://bit.ly/1th3q0M

Authority Fallacy:
http://bit.ly/1t5DPIn

No True Scotsman Fallacy:
http://bit.ly/1wu6J5Z

Watch the playlist:
http://bit.ly/1sQSSEe


2500 followers wow!


Wow!

Here is a big thank you to all our 2500 followers!

I’m really quite stunned we’ve gotten here so quickly!

Withteeth


Atheists Can’t Be Moral


We get a lot of comments on this blog along the lines of “atheists/you can’t be moral” so I thought I’d link to a well written post about why you shouldn’t say that. Seriously, there’s no way to not be rude when you’re telling someone you think they’re a bad person because of what they are.

Please, if you are one of those people who use this tired line and think it’s okay, read this post:

http://freethoughtblogs.com/greta/2013/06/11/9-questions-not-to-ask-atheists-with-answers/


SoJo Cal


Once again, a reminder that SoJo Cal is in the process of being organized. This is a conference dedicated to discussing the intersection between freethought and social justice, namely LGBT rights and feminism. If you’re a feminist, a freethinker, or LGBT (or an ally to any of those groups), please share our Go Fund Me page. Of course, we’d appreciate it if anybody shared our page, but those are the three groups most represented by our conference.

If you’re in Calgary, please check out our Go Fund Me page as it has all the information about what will be happening.

We’re still sitting at $100 of the $5000 that we want to raise. Please share, and please donate if you can. http://www.gofundme.com/ey9uy4


Mere Christianity Part 20


Chapter 9 in Mere Christianity is called “Charity.” I don’t have a whole lot to say on this chapter as it was quite short.

C.S. Lewis begins by saying “Do not waste time bothering whether you ‘love’ your neighbor; act as if you did.” Actually, psychology suggests that we form our opinions of people before we’re even conscious of doing so. It also shows that negative impressions are more powerful than positive ones, so it’s hard to make yourself like someone after you decide that you dislike them. You cant simply make yourself like someone by acting as though you do.

He then says “If you injure someone you dislike, you will find yourself disliking him more. If you do him a good turn, you will find yourself disliking him less.” I don’t think emotions work this way either. Where is the evidence to suggest that this is true?

And his final argument is “They are told they ought to love God. They cannot find any such feeling in themselves. What are they to do? The answer is the same as before. Act as if you did. Do not sit trying to manufacturer feelings. Ask yourself, ‘If I were sure that I loved God, what would I do?’ When you have found the answer, go and do it.” That’s manufacturing feelings. It also sounds a bit like Pascal’s Wager to me. It makes no sense to try and “fake it till you make it” in this case.


Mere Christianity Part 19


Chapter 8 in Mere Christianity by C.S. Lewis is “The Great Sin.” This chapter discusses the sin of pride.

Lewis begins by stating “The vice I am talking of is Pride or Self-Conceit.” Pride and self-conceit are not the same things. Pride is “a feeling of elation or satisfaction at achievements or qualities or possessions etc. that do one credit.” Conceit is “a far-fetched comparison, esp. as a stylistic affectation.” You can have pride without being conceited.

He then claims that “it was through Pride that the devil became the devil.” No, the devil became the devil because he disobeyed God. It can be said that pride led him to disobey God, but I’d say it was more likely love. “Pride leads to every other vice.” Prove it. Seriously, this is an extraordinary claim. Lewis would have to go through every vice, prove that it was in fact a vice, and then prove that it was caused by pride to make this claim correct. I could make it incorrect simply by pointing to one vice not caused by pride. For example: addiction is not caused by pride. Since addiction is seen as something to avoid, it is a vice. It’s caused by having a particular personality type that makes one more sensitive to becoming addicted. Nobody is proud of their addiction, at least not that I’m aware of.

Lewis goes on to argue “In fact, if you want to find out how proud you are the easiest way is to ask yourself ‘How much do I dislike it when other people snub me, or refuse to take notice of me, or shove their oar in, or patronize me, or show off?'” Where is the evidence that this test works? How is it prideful to dislike being patronized or snubbed?  Those are very rude behaviours in themselves. I’d find it odd if even the most humble person was okay with them. That doesn’t signal pride, it signals that a person has been effectively taught societal moral beliefs. The dislike of being overlooked may be more accurate, but I’d still say your dislike of being overlooked says something else about you, namely that you are extroverted as opposed to introverted. As an introvert, I often try very hard to be overlooked. I doubt an extrovert would say the same.

He then states “Now what you want to get clear is that Pride is essentially competitive-is competitive by its very nature-while the other vices are competitive only, so to speak, by accident.” Again, evidence?

According to Lewis, “It is the comparison that makes you proud: the pleasure of being above the rest.” I’m proud to be able t say that I am organizing a conference. But I know very well that I’m not going to be the best at it. There are others with far more experience than I have. I’ve already made mistakes, and I’m sure to make quite a few more. But I’m learning a skill that I’m hoping will be useful in the future. I’m doing something that I never thought I’d do, but it turns out to be something that I’d like to do more of. How, exactly, is that competitive?

He then argues “But a proud man will take your girl from you, not because he wants her, but just to prove to himself that he is a better man than you.” I’m pretty sure he’s describing a narcissist, actually. That is a very special level of pride. And, just a side note, you can’t actually have what you don’t own taken from you. “Take” implies ownership. You do not own your partner. If they leave you, that’s their choice (unless they were kidnapped).

He claims that “10,000 pounds will give all the luxuries that any man can really enjoy.” Man I wish this were still true. Of course, without regaining a lot of the labour issues from the time.

Lewis says of pride “What makes a pretty girl spread misery wherever she goes by collecting admirers? Certainly not her sexual instinct: that kind of girl is often quite sexually frigid.” Wow. How sexist. First off, nobody can make you sexually or physically attracted to them. One can try by wearing certain clothes and applying certain products, but it’s your own brain that causes you to become attracted to the person. As such, an individual person has very little control over whether or not they collect admirers. The ones who can collect admirers usually don’t have to put much effort into it. Second, men really are not the only ones who have sex drives. Women like sex too. And third, we live in a society that tells women to suppress their sexual desires lest they be sluts, but if they do suppress them they are prudes. To say that a woman must be sexually frigid because she is pretty is perpetuating a very problematic belief.

He then argues “If I am a proud man, then, as long as there is one man in the whole world more powerful, or richer, or cleverer than I, he is my rival and my enemy.” Again, this sounds more like a narcissist than simply someone who is prideful.

And he states that “As long as you are proud you cannot know God.” If you can’t know God if you are proud, but all people suffer from the sin of pride, then how come Lewis keeps making assertions about knowing what God wants us to do?

Lewis says of those who are prideful “I am afraid it means they are worshiping an imaginary God. They theoretically admit themselves to be nothing in the presence of this phantom God, but are really all the time imagining how He approves of them and thinks them far better than ordinary people: that is, they pay a pennyworth of imaginary humility to Him and get out of it a pound’s worth of Pride towards their fellow-men.” How does Lewis know what other people are thinking, or the accuracy of their beliefs? Is he a mind-reader? Does he have some sort of special access to God’s knowledge that these other people don’t?

He claims “Whenever we find that our religious life is making us feel that we are good-above all, that we are better than someone else-I think we may be sure that we are being acted on, not by God, but by the devil.” So…whenever you feel good about yourself, it’s because of the devil? But God is the good guy? In that case, why worship God? He makes you feel bad and worthless, but the devil makes you feel good.

Then he goes on to say “The real test of being in the presence of God is, that you either forget about yourself all together or see yourself as a small dirty object.” But God isn’t an abusive boyfriend at all. No, he loves you. He makes you hate yourself, but he loves you so it’s okay.

Lewis finished by stating that “The other, and less bad, vices come from the devil working on us through our animal nature.” This right here is evidence that C.S. Lewis accepted evolution.

lucifer


Mere Christianity Part 18


In “Forgiveness,” chapter 7 of the third book of Mere Christianity by C.S. Lewis, Lewis discusses the importance of forgiving your enemies in Christian doctrine.

“It is made perfectly clear that if we do not forgive we shall not be forgiven.” I like this bit. It makes me think:  if Christianity is true, and C.S. Lewis is correct, then all those parents who throw their children onto the streets for being gay, or even because they are atheists or drug addicts, won’t be forgiven because they could not “forgive” (since I don’t view sin as real, and I don’t believe homosexuality is wrong, I put forgive in quotes because I don’t think it is in need of being forgiven) their own child for what they perceive to be a sin.

“Do I think well of myself, think myself a nice chap? Well, I’m afraid I sometimes do (and those are, no doubt, my worst moments).” This is just sad. The fact that anyone would say that it is only in their worst moments that they think of themselves as nice…that’s depressing. Nobody should think so little of themselves (unless they aren’t actually a nice person, but that’s a whole other discussion in itself). “but that is not why I love myself. In fact it is the other way round: my self-love makes me think myself nice, but thinking myself nice is not why I love myself.” Don’t you have to think yourself worthy of love before you can love yourself? Thinking yourself nice is one way to gain the view that you are worthy of love. So I’d say you need to see yourself as nice (regardless of whether or not you actually are) before you can love yourself.

“hate the sin but not the sinner.” People, please stop saying this. This is neither an inclusive nor is it a loving statement. What you are telling people when you say this is that a part of them is worthy of your hate. If I said “don’t worry: I don’t hate you, I just hate that you’re a Christian,” would that be okay to you? If you’re upset that, then don’t turn the same logic around on other people who you view to be sinners.

“In fact the very reason why I hated the things was that I loved the man.” No. Just no. Hate is not an acceptable response. You don’t have to like everything that a person does, but if you love them, and if they aren’t hurting themselves or others, then you accept them fully. If you think they are hurting themselves or others, you confront them and share your concern. But you don’t apply hate to the situation.

“We ought to hate them.” Really Lewis? Really? Okay, I am really not a fan of the idea of hate. I don’t hate anybody for any particular belief system. I dislike people for the beliefs they hold. I dislike the MRA mentality of blaming everything bad on feminism. I dislike people who say racist and sexist things. I dislike people who tell me I can’t be moral because I don’t believe in a God. Those beliefs get on my nerves, and it puts the people who express those beliefs in a bad light to my mind. But I don’t hate them. Hate is a useless emotion. It’s pointless. It never accomplishes anything other than to cause problems.

“You see, one is beginning to wish that black was a little blacker. If we give that wish its head, later on we shall wish to see grey as black, and then to see whit itself as black. Finally, we shall insist on seeing everything-God and our friends and ourselves included-as bad, and not be able to stop doing it.” This is a slippery slope argument. There is no reason to believe that if you can’t forgive one person you’ll end up hating everybody. It’s pure fear-mongering.

“If you had committed a murder, the right Christian thing to do would be to give yourself up to the police and be hanged. It is, therefore, in my opinion, perfectly right for a Christian judge to sentence a man to death or a Christian soldier to kill an enemy.” Murder implies intent. If you killed someone in a fit of rage, we call it manslaughter. If you kill someone who is attacking you, we call it self-defense. If you murder someone, it was premeditated. If it was premeditated, then why do the right thing after the fact? If you already planned and pulled off a murder, then why do the right thing and turn yourself in? I also can’t agree with the idea that killing someone is ever right. It may be necessary, but necessity does not indicate rightness.

“What I cannot understand is this sort of semi-pacifism you get nowadays which gives people the idea that though you have to fight, you ought to do it with a long face and as if you were ashamed of it. It is that feeling that robs lots of magnificent young Christians in the Service of something they have a right to, something which is the natural accomplishment of courage-a kind of gaiety and wholeheartedness.” So…a soldier should be proud of killing people?

“For really there is nothing else in us to love: creatures like us who actually find hatred such a pleasure that to give it up is like giving up beer or tobacco.” Well isn’t that a depressing sentiment: we aren’t worthy of love so we should be lucky to find it wherever we can. Again, nobody should feel this way. Then again, people shouldn’t find hatred easy either. Though, if it’s like giving up tobacco or beer, it’s no wonder I don’t find myself hating people: tobacco and beer are nasty!


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