Tag Archives: abortion

In God We Trust?


I watched this documentary yesterday and I thought it would make for a great discussion. Since we have both Christians (and I’m sure some theists who are not Christian) and atheists following this blog, I thought it might be worthwhile to see what you lot have to say about this documentary.

If you have the time, please watch the documentary and tell us your thoughts on it in the comment section.

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I’m At a Loss


I’ve been finding it difficult to come up with ideas for blog posts, which is why this blog hasn’t been very active lately. As such, I’d like to leave it up to the readers: what would you like us to write about? Would you like to know something specific about our atheism? Do you have an argument that you’d like us to address? Would you like us to discuss a particular book? Do you have any questions about Philosophy, Biology, or History? Would you like to know our stance on a particular feminist issue? Is there something else you’d like us to write on? Let us know in the comment section.


That’s Not A Real Feminist Issue


I see this comment made a lot in the comment sections of feminist pages. If a woman says that she was blamed for an accident because she’s a woman and the man who hit her was in the military, people will say “That’s not a feminist issue, it’s an issue with military power.” Yes, it is an issue with military power. People act as if people in the military can do no wrong. People in the military do have privileges that the rest of us don’t have (though I’ll happily keep my lack of military privilege in exchange for not having PTSD). But that doesn’t mean that it isn’t also a feminist issue. People don’t automatically assume that the bad driver ahead of them is male. They don’t tell women “you drive like a man” in a mocking tone when they mean “you’re a bad driver.” The perception that women are bad drivers because they are women is a feminist issue because the assumption is sexist and leads people to treat women differently than they treat men.

Likewise, other “not real issues” are in fact real issues, and they really are important if we want to create a world that is equal for everybody. Men taking up to much space is a real issue. Why? Because your dick does not need so much room that you get to take up two seats worth of space while I’m forced to squeeze into half a seat. I used to ride the train for an hour to school and an hour back home again 5 days a week for two years and yes, I did experience this issue. Transit seats are already too close together. On a full train, I’m already forced to sit of stand shoulder to shoulder with strangers. When I have some asshole sitting next to me putting his leg over the line dividing his seat from mine, that’s infringing on my space. And it’s something men do. Don’t believe me? Go take a ride on a bus or a train and look around. Most of the women will have their legs crossed and their arms resting over their laps. Why? Because women are taught from a young age that this is polite and this is how ladies sit. The men, however, will often have their legs spread out crossing the line dividing their seat from another, regardless of whether or not someone else is sitting in the seat. Men and women also behave differently regarding where they put their bags and how they talk to their friends on transit. Women put their bags on their lap unless they are too big. Men almost always put their bags between their legs, which is often in the way of people getting on and off. Men shout over top of people to continue talking to their friends, but women generally stop talking if they are separated from their friends in the train or bus. So why is this a feminist issue? Because it’s a matter of entitlement. Men feel entitled to the space even if they are negatively affecting someone else to use it. Women feel as though they must make themselves small so as to have as little effect on others as possible. This is how we are raised, and it is a problem. Men shouldn’t feel entitled to the space other people are in, and women shouldn’t feel as though they should disappear in order to make room for others.

Are these minor issues? Yes, but that doesn’t mean they have no roll to play in larger issues. The same issues that lead grown men to not realise how much space they are actually taking also play a role in the “boys will be boys” attitude that people use to ignore a boy’s aggression and in the belief that men can’t control themselves when women dress provocatively. It’s all the same issue of “men are aggressive wild beasts that need to be tamed” that hurt both men and women. And the military privilege is much the same. Women in the military are treated like infiltrators who shouldn’t be there. The privilege is mostly enjoyed by men because they fit the strong warrior trope that all men are supposed to fit (even if they actually don’t). So yes, these are real feminist issues. They are feminist issues because they are yet more privileges that men get to enjoy that are denied to women. They are feminist issues because they help create a world of inequality. And they are feminist issues because size doesn’t matter when it comes to inequality. If something is unequal, it’s unequal. It doesn’t matter if it’s just a little bit unequal. And it doesn’t matter if other people have it worse elsewhere. African women being raped because they want to go to university doesn’t mean that the inequality I face here doesn’t exist or doesn’t matter. My inequality is still inequality. To say otherwise is to allow systematic inequality to persist. And small issues add up to create major issues. Personally, I’d rather deal with them while they are small.

Oh, and I can oppose that rape of African women, and other major inequalities faced by women, at the same time as I oppose the minor issues. So why would I have to pick one or the other? To say I should ignore minor inequalities because they are small is beyond ignorant. So, before you use the “that’s not real feminism” line, actually think about the issue. Think about what the person is saying about it, listen to their reasoning, and think about how that issue can play into other issues. And stop telling me that my experiences and my issues don’t matter.


Just Thought I Should Remind You All About My Surveys


I haven’t done an update on my surveys in a while, so here it is. For those of you who don’t know about my surveys, I am trying to do a couple of independent studies for some future blog posts. The first study will be on Religious discrimination, and I will be focusing on how people view discrimination aimed at atheists vs. how they view it aimed at Christians. The second study will be on feminism’s reputation. Namely on how people perceive it’s reputation. Please help me out by doing and sharing my survey. It will be greatly appreciated. And for those of you who have already done my survey, please share it wherever you can. I would like to write those blog posts this summer.

Here is how I’m doing so far:
Religion Surveys:
This survey deals with various situations that may be considered discrimination towards Atheists:
http://kwiksurveys.com/s.asp?sid=vvaqodd0equ2y21474850 – 4% complete
This survey deals with various situations that may be considered discrimination towards Christians:
http://kwiksurveys.com/s.asp?sid=pi387nzvmo8dklc474867 – 2% complete
This survey looks at whether or not the respondent feels they have been discriminated against for their religion:
http://kwiksurveys.com/s.asp?sid=3zolzpi3k1lwc7s470898 – 8% complete
This survey looks at whether or not people feel that Atheists are discriminated against:
http://kwiksurveys.com/s.asp?sid=t2k9uo23mlnmklk470896 – 7% complete
This survey looks at whether or not people feel that Christians are discriminated against:
http://kwiksurveys.com/s.asp?sid=85koff95iqwpme3470893 – 7% complete
Feminism Surveys:
Situations that may or may not be considered Feminist issues:
http://kwiksurveys.com/s.asp?sid=xxiz033c05yo72v472614 – 3% complete
Are various Feminist causes helpful or hurtful for the Feminist movement?
http://kwiksurveys.com/s.asp?sid=i8d3kq6z73ems49471695 – 7% complete
How do you perceive Feminism?
http://kwiksurveys.com/s.asp?sid=4p48z0rwjwooxpf471689 – 7% complete
Does Feminist have a bad reputation?
http://kwiksurveys.com/s.asp?sid=r4t8nurh0tyxvqt470762 – 11% complete
Please help me out by doing my surveys, if you haven’t already, so that I can write my posts on the responses. And please share my surveys as well.


Something Other Than God Review


PicFrame

As I mentioned in an earlier post, I recently read Something Other Than God by Jennifer Fulwiler. I mentioned before that I didn’t find it very convincing, and I will go into why in a bit. But first I want to mention what I did like. Jennifer Fulwiler is a great storyteller. The book was very easy to read and had a great flow to it. She is great at conveying emotion through her writing. And the writing itself was great. But, as great of a story as it was, it is not something that could ever could ever convince me that there must be a god. I’ll explain why as I go through some of the major points in the story.
Jennifer began her book by discussing her childhood growing up without religion. She talks about how she had two loving parents that supported her, and that she had a good childhood. I think all of that is great. But then she talks about how she decided that she was an atheist at the age of 11 after her camp leader at a secular summer camp tried to convert her to Christianity. While I feel bad that she was put through that at a camp that was meant to be open to everybody, I do not think that that is a good reason to become an atheist. I won’t say that she wasn’t an atheist, because she very clearly believed that there was no god, but I would not say that she had put any thought into her atheism. In fact, she only gave herself the title to elicit a reaction from others. To create an us vs. them paradigm. In case you’re wondering, she was the “them.” She also never took it any farther than that. She didn’t try to learn about Christianity, or any other religion. She didn’t try to discuss their beliefs with her friends to gain a better understanding of their positions, or to better understand her own. She never bothered to read up on atheism or learn any philosophy pertaining to the situation. In short, she was about as knowledgeable in her atheism as a Christian who never goes to church, never reads the Bible, and never thinks about their Christianity.
Jennifer then talks about an existential crises she had at 11 when she realized that she was one day going to die. As I had a similar crises at a similar age, I understand what that can be like. However, unlike Jennifer, I didn’t bury my fear, refuse to think about it, or let it control my life. I realised that my feelings were normal by talking to other people and (most importantly) reading books. Jennifer seemed to assume that nobody else ever had those types of experiences (an assumption that she makes numerous times) and she never bothers to try and understand them or talk to anyone. If she had, she’d realise that such feelings are a part of growing up. As a result of not dealing with her feelings, She mentions that her crises lasted well into her adulthood. She mentions that she tried to bury the existential crises by having fun and trying to be successful. This, again, is very silly. For one, burying emotions is never healthy, for another, she behaved very immaturely as a result. She avoided religion like the plague. She never bothered to educate herself about what religions are out there. She never bothered to learn about what people actually believed. And she still didn’t bother to learn about her own experiences or beliefs. Seriously, a few philosophy classes in college would have helper immensely. And, despite not knowing her own beliefs let alone the beliefs of others, she still felt entitled to sit around and criticise others for their beliefs. Seriously, at least know what you’re criticising before you criticise it.
She continues to avoid all things religious for years after finishing college. She had managed to achieve her success where her career is concerned (which is, for some reason, the only type of success that many people consider success), but she still hadn’t bothered to learn about religion. Even after she began dating a Christian, not only did she not learn about his beliefs, but she actively avoided learning about them. To my mind, that’s a first date conversation:
Me: So are you religious or spiritual at all?
Imaginary date: Yes, I’m a Christian.
Me: Oh, really? What denomination?
Imaginary date: Baptist.
Me: That’s interesting. May I ask your views on evolution?
Imaginary date: I’m a young earth creationist.
Me. I think it’s time for the bill.
However, given her boyfriend’s opinion of atheists, I can understand why Jennifer would keep it a secret. I don’t, however understand why she’d stay with him: her then boyfriend (now husband) antagonizes her about her not being a theist and says that she will one day see things his way. He mocks the idea of evolution (assuming that she accepted it, which it turned out she didn’t), then he told her that she’s rational and would one day see that there had to be a god. Seriously, who the hell would be such an asshole to someone they loved? We’re not talking about a 16 year old boy either. This is a 29ish year old man. The way he spoke to her was very much in an “I don’t respect you, you’re just a status symbol.”
Her husband continues his self-centred worldview by deciding to quit his job and start a business despite having a pregnant wife who will soon be unable to work. This, understandably, puts Jennifer in panic mode. But, despite it being a terrible time to drastically change lifestyles, her husband continues with his plans. Jennifer does support him, but, given that he quit before telling her, I can’t imagine her support was truly necessary. Jennifer even mentioned a few times that she felt like she was just along for the ride. So much for marriage being a partnership.
When Jennifer’s child is eventually born, she mentions having felt a lot of fear. She was terrified to let anybody hold her child, or to have her child away from her side. Basically, she felt like every other first time mother. However, Jennifer concluded that her fear could only be as a result of her atheism and the inevitability of death. This is very silly reasoning. Given her sleep deprived and stressed out state, I understand that her logic wasn’t really working that well, but she remained adamant that her feelings resulted from her atheism and the permanence of death, and not her new motherhood. She ends up concluding that god must exist. This really does not follow. For one, it assumes that only first time mothers who are atheists can experience these fears. For another, it assumes that god somehow changes how people feel about death. We may believe that different things happen after death, but both atheists and theists can fear death. As such, I don’t think this is a very good reason to suddenly assume that god must exist. Especially since this assumption apparently comes out of nowhere.
Throughout the first few months of her son’s life, Jennifer experiences extreme distress. Despite this, her husband continues to spend all his time working. Yes, they have a new business that requires a lot of work, but he is not really a father for months. This is something he really should have, and probably didn’t, consider before quitting his job.
As a result of her conclusion that god exists, Jennifer tentatively begins researching religion, beginning with Buddhism. I’m glad that she is finally bothering to learn about something as important to human society and interaction as religion, but this is something she should have done years ago. And her initially research is very much half-hearted. She never really considered Buddhism (probably because she had a very Westernised view of it) and she never really bothered to consider any other religion. In fact, she seemed to assume Christianity (something many people do in the west) the moment she assumed god must exist.
She eventually started a blog to talk about her changing beliefs. She even specifically picked people to follow her blog (something that seems quite dishonest to me) based on how much she agreed with their arguments. The fact that she began her blog and reached out to people is great, because it shows that she was finally thinking about religion. But I wonder how much deeper her understanding would have gotten if she had talked to a more diverse group and gotten more diverse answers. Yes, it would have increased her confusion, but she also would have thought about things in a more nuanced way. She ends up realizing that everybody that she had picked based on having decided that they were the most well versed were Catholics. I highly doubt this. It makes sense that they would mostly be Catholics: she was picking based on her assumption that Christianity was true, and most Christians are Catholics. But it is unlikely that she didn’t think that one or two protestants defended their beliefs well. After all, the types of people who start blogs and write about their beliefs tend to be quite well versed in their beliefs, and they can generally defend their beliefs well. Of course, there are people out there who don’t, but convincing arguments are not only made by Catholics. She initially brushes the Catholics off as crazy, but decides that they are right because her husband said they were. Seriously, she assumed they must be crazy for no other reason than because they are Catholic and then changes her mind because her husband is convinced by their arguments. This is another bad reason to accept a belief. She’s merely appealing to her husband’s authority.
Her husband eventually decides he’s pro-choice. Jennifer initially disagrees with him, but she doesn’t really know why. Or at least she says she didn’t. She eventually looks deeper into Catholicism and decides to follow every rule. She assumes that the Catholic Church must have a good, God-given reason to create those rules, so she decides to follow them all. She finally decides that being pro-choice is wrong as a result. And as a result of reading some court cases on the topic. But again, she never looks at the actual debate. She never tries to understand what the pro-choice (or pro-life) arguments are. She never tries to understand why a woman might choose to abort. And she never considers that the woman’s life isn’t the only life that is considered when people get late term abortions. Once again, her reasoning is very poor.
She ended up deciding that God let her uncle die horribly at the age of two because earth is full of nothing but suffering and there is no suffering in heaven. This is after feeling very angry for a while that God would allow a child so young to die. This seems to be a commonly accepted reasoning for accepting tragedy among Christians, and it shows that she was listening in church, but it is still poor reasoning. She never really looked into what different people had to say about it. She just went why, why, why, why, earth is terrible. This, again, is very black and white thinking.
She finds out she has a rare blood disorder during her second pregnancy and disregards her doctors suggestions because faith. She was told that her condition is very dangerous and can kill her, but she puts herself and her unborn child in danger because her religion tells her that contraception is bad. I can’t help but think that this is very stupid: if her church tells her that she should continue having children regardless of the consequences, that means that her church only values her for her ability to have children. But, I have to say, I was more angry with the American medical system at this point. Due to the privatization of medicine, Jennifer was looking at $10-20,000 for treatment. She was sent to a high-risk pregnancy centre so that she could have the baby safely. The lady who dealt with payment plans (a concept that is very foreign to me as a Canadian) told her that she had to pay $2000 up front for treatment. When Jennifer said she couldn’t afford it, the lady basically told her that she had no choice. She could either pay $2000 or she could go elsewhere (aka she could die). Wow. That is absolutely the most fucked up thing I have ever heard. $2000 is more important to the US medical system than a persons life. I am so fucking glad I live in Canada where my government doesn’t value my pocket book more than it values me. But how dare Obama try to make this kind of situation unheard of in the US (as it is in every other developed nation). How dare lives be put ahead of profit.
She ends up having four more children despite knowing that she was risking her life because faith. Again, to me this is very stupid.
As you can see, I do not think that Jennifer’s reasons for becoming a Catholic. If she is convinced, fine. But her reasoning was not very thoughtful. For me, I’d have to be reasoned into faith before I could accept it (something that Jennifer doesn’t really accept). But then, I’ve never ran from religion, or from learning new things. I never felt comfortable mocking things that I don’t understand. And I certainly don’t think about religion in shades of black and white.


What are Your Favorite Documentaries?


I’m looking for some new and interesting documentaries. I want to watch ones on religion, conversion (and deconversion), sexuality and gender, abortion, and educational reform. Does anybody have any good documentaries to recommend?


How Are My Surveys Going?


I haven’t done an update on my surveys in a while. Here is how I’m doing so far:
Religion Surveys:
This survey deals with various situations that may be considered discrimination towards Atheists:
http://kwiksurveys.com/s.asp?sid=vvaqodd0equ2y21474850 – 2%
This survey deals with various situations that may be considered discrimination towards Christians:
http://kwiksurveys.com/s.asp?sid=pi387nzvmo8dklc474867 – 2%
This survey looks at whether or not the respondent feels they have been discriminated against for their religion:
http://kwiksurveys.com/s.asp?sid=3zolzpi3k1lwc7s470898 – 8%
This survey looks at whether or not people feel that Atheists are discriminated against:
http://kwiksurveys.com/s.asp?sid=t2k9uo23mlnmklk470896 – 7%
This survey looks at whether or not people feel that Christians are discriminated against:
http://kwiksurveys.com/s.asp?sid=85koff95iqwpme3470893 – 6%
Feminism Surveys:
Situations that may or may not be considered Feminist issues:
http://kwiksurveys.com/s.asp?sid=xxiz033c05yo72v472614 – 2%
Are various Feminist causes helpful or hurtful for the Feminist movement?
http://kwiksurveys.com/s.asp?sid=i8d3kq6z73ems49471695 – 7%
How do you perceive Feminism?
http://kwiksurveys.com/s.asp?sid=4p48z0rwjwooxpf471689 – 6%
Does Feminist have a bad reputation?
http://kwiksurveys.com/s.asp?sid=r4t8nurh0tyxvqt470762 – 11%
Please help me out by doing my surveys, if you haven’t already, so that I can write my posts on the responses. And please share my surveys as well.


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