Tag Archives: personal

My Thoughts on a Few Quotes

I’ve decided to make a post on a few quotes that I find worth reading.

“To be absolutely certain about something, one must know everything or nothing about it.” Olin Miller

This is a great one because it is impossible to know everything about anything. This means that we should never be absolutely certain about anything because it is probably a sign that we know nothing about it.

“If he is infinitely good, what reason should we have to fear him? If he is infinitely wise, why should we have doubts concerning the future? If he knows all, why warn him of our needs and fatigue him with prayers? If he is everywhere, why erect temples to him? Percy Bysshe Shelley

I like this quote because it asks some good questions. The Old Testament says many times that God should be feared, but many people believe in a benevolent God. If God has ultimate wisdom, then shouldn’t the future be set? Shouldn’t we know for sure if and when everything is going to end? Though I like the temple bit best. Are religious buildings necessary? If they aren’t, why treat them with any sort of deference?

“Lighthouses are more helpful than churches.” Benjamin Franklin

This one goes back to the last point. We treat churches with deference, but lighthouses keep ships from sinking and we let them fall apart.

“I believe that our obligation is to make life better because it’s our obligation to each other as human beings. Not in relation to eternal rewards and infernal punishments.” Susan Jacoby

This quote is very much a humanist quote. We have a duty to help others because we’re all human. Why do we need a god to treat each other well?

“Doubt is not a pleasant condition, but certainty is a ridiculous one.” Voltaire

This quote is very similar to the first quote. We can’t know everything, so how can we justify certainty? It’s better to admit not knowing than it is to pretend to knowledge that isn’t there.

That is just a few of my thoughts on a few useful quotes.

Another Rant, Because They Seem to Only Work For a Short Time

Today is one of those days where I can really understand the atheists who avoid the whole religion discussion. And even the ones who want nothing more than to antagonize the religious. For the most part, I’d prefer to have an honest conversation with those that I disagree with. I want to get to know them as people and understand why them believe what the believe. I have no intention of converting anyone, but I do like to have these conversations.

However, it is really hard to find people who share this interest. I know a number of atheists who enjoy it, but, since I’m an atheist, these conversations are pointless to have with them. At least, they are in the way that I have them in religious believers. This is one reason why I like interfaith groups: the people there are usually happy to have conversations about belief, both in general and theirs personally. And they’re genuinely interested to hear about my belief. But most religious people are not like that. If I try to start these conversations with believers, I find I get one of two responses: they either lash out angrily or they throw rhetoric at me and it never goes farther than that.

And the responses are worse when it comes to my own blog. Luckily, I have found a few people who are interested in having real conversations. They will ask me questions and actually expect an answer in return. They will reply politely and will remain friendly throughout the entire conversation. And, to those of you who fit this description, I’d like to say thank you. Those conversations are a lot of fun and very informative. I wish all conversations were like that. But too many are not like that. Too many people come here and throw assertions at us like it’s holy water or something. They seem to think we’ve never heard these words before. They seem to think we’ll read their rhetoric that is never presented with evidence and suddenly have a revelation. But it doesn’t work like that. We’ve read it all before. We had read it long before we started blogging. It’s not going to suddenly work now because you’ve said it. Both of us are perfectly willing to respond to your issues with our posts. We don’t think we’re perfect. We don’t think that we always get it right. But rhetoric isn’t compelling. Evidence is. Give us reasons why we’re wrong, don’t just throw words at us.

We also get no few insulting comments, but I’ve already wrote a post about that. We aren’t here to be your atheist-strawmen punching bags. If you don’t like what we have to say, you don’t have to read it. Nobody is making you push the like button. Nobody is forcing you to comment. Insults aren’t productive. They won’t make us go away and they certainly won’t make us change our minds.

I set my blog up because I like writing and we both want to get our ideas out there. But right now I’m quite sick of the Christian community out there. To be fair, I’m annoyed with a few atheists too. But mostly it’s the Christians. I’m tired of the rhetoric. I’m tired of the insults. Yes, I’m an atheist, but I’m a human too. So can you please just show some respect?

What Cats Can Teach Us About Emotions and Rationality

Withteeth and I got a second cat today. We’re going back to school soon and will be leaving our cats alone for a good portion of the day. Our first cat, Mazy, is very energetic and doesn’t like it when we leave her, so we were hoping that a second cat would make our absence more bearable. However, as far as she’s concerned, this is her territory, so she’s a bit concerned about the new cat.

Earlier today, Withteeth accidentally stepped on Mazy’s foot because she walked under him. At that time, she was intently watching our other cat, Benny. She was so focused on Benny that when the pain struck she associated it with him and struck out at him. Poor Benny didn’t know what to think.

This got me thinking: how often do we focus so hard on something that we associate everything bad with it, even when the bad is a completely separate issue? It seems to me that humans are quite good at doing this. We misassociate an effect with the wrong cause. But this isn’t really all that surprising: we have emotions and they play a large role in our lives. The best that we can hope to do is step back and look at things as rationally as possible. To try and find the right cause before we make assumptions. We can’t always do this. Sometimes we’re going to find it impossible to step back far enough. We’re always going to have our biases.

I don’t think that this is inherently a bad thing. Our emotions shouldn’t be viewed as something to be overcome, just as something that can’t always be trusted. I think that most people make the mistake of assuming that their emotions are infallible. They won’t step back and think about them critically. But there are other people who make the opposite mistake. They try to rationalize everything, and believe themselves capable of doing this very thing. They think that every conclusion that they come to is purely rational, causing them to not see their own biases and misassociations. This is as problematic as taking emotions as infallible. In the first case, one will act on emotion before they’ve really thought about the situation, which will lead to them making mistakes. In the second case, the person will act on emotion, call it rationality, and make mistakes.

So what is my point here? Acknowledge your emotions, acknowledge that they aren’t perfect, try to be rational when possible, but realize that you will react emotionally and that is not always a bad thing. Don’t punish yourself for being emotional and making mistakes. Don’t punish yourself from being human. And don’t hold others to higher standards than it is possible for them to achieve.

A brief point on consent

Let’s talk a bit about ambiguous consent, and the double standard we have in our society toward sex, verses other social contracts. In no other area are we so comfortable in saying that ambiguous consent is “good enough” for sex, or whatever else may be implied. It’s basically like this: a person is going to a party, they begin talking to the host about how much they like host’s TV and ask if they can have it, but the host, for whatever reason, doesn’t make it clear if they can have the TV, only giving an ambiguous answer. Since there was no clear communication of “no, you can’t have my TV” then it must be safe to assume the host was saying yes.

“Hell, no,” you’re probably saying, and good! That person who went to the party stole that TV from the host, yet why then do we say ambiguous consent is okay when it comes to sex? People will jump in and say “well, some people play hard-to-get,” or “non-verbal communication isn’t clear communication, so it’s ambiguous.” I have some hard stances in this area, particularly since in every other area dealing with contracts the law and cultural understanding is clear*. If someone is playing hard-to-get, and there isn’t some sort of clear communication that they are doing it, then you should assume that they are saying “no.” They are not giving clear consent, so any respectable person should not have sex with them until they give that clear consent. And, if your non-verbal communication isn’t clear, you’re doing it wrong. If you’re hot and bothered, and so is you partner, and there is a lot of reciprocal grabbing of body parts, particularly genitals, you’re almost certainly safe to go forward. But, if one partner is not reciprocating, particularly if they are laying still, not moving, or if they look like they are uncomfortable or scared, that’s when you stop and ask for consent directly.

Or better yet you just ask for consent right at the beginning, and then keep asking as you’re going along and trying out new things. Plus, this can be really hot, so honestly there is no downside, unless you actually do want to rape people. But, if you’re going about fulfilling that particular desire, you should be going to jail for what should be obvious reasons.

*Take business as another example, you can’t take over a business just because someone said it might be a good idea. That sort of thing need clear and written consent of both parties. I’m not saying you need written consent to have sex like with legal contracts, but you need clear affirmative consent like you would with other social contracts.


A point on being uncomfortable with feminism

So I keep hearing phases like this: “I’m not sure how I feel about feminism. Like, sure, in a text book sense I’m a feminist, but I’m not necessarily comfortable with all of what feminists have to say.” Alright, let’s get into this.

So to begin, a Feminist is a person concerned with, and interested in bringing about, equality of the sexes. This idea of equality is the basis of feminism, and, when taken to heart of it, that’s all it takes to be a feminist. That said, there seems to be all kinds of ideas about the things feminists believe, but I am confident in saying that the vast majority of the crazy ones are coming from outside the feminist movement.

So I’m a feminist, and I’m a man. That is a cis-gender man. I partake in what I consider contemporary feminism, largely because what I hear most often, and agree with, seems to make up the vast majority of feminist dialogue and action. From my perspective, the following list comprises the most pressing and talked about issues in the feminist movement at this time: sexual harassment, rape cases or lack thereof, and the teaching of consent as a long term solution for going after rape apologists and victim blaming as damage control. You may be saying “well sure, but that doesn’t cover men’s issues.” For one, men don’t have as many serious life affecting issues facing them as women do, which I will explain in due time. Not being able to get access to your kid after a nasty divorce is a real problem, and there are feminists who fight that very issue. Luckily for everyone, there is no such thing as a single cohesive monolithic movement when you’re dealing with something as large or long lived as feminism. The movement is over a hundred years old.

Also, lets blow one nonsensical myth out of the water: feminist don’t hate men. I don’t hate men and I don’t hate myself, men are not inherently the problem. One of the biggest issues is that men are privileged over women in many, often subtle, ways. The most basic of these are the wage gap, job and educational opportunities, and feelings of physical safely and security in public and in private. These would and do pose massive problems to any form of equality. When one group does not get paid equally for the same work, and they are dissuaded from certain types of work purely based on societal expectations, we have a big problem . Moreover, women are considered public objects in our society, we are allowed to freely and openly critique every physical portion of a women and are often expected to. From their body to their clothing to the way they move and present themselves, even the way they talk. One might say men get this to, but anyone who is honestly looking into the issue will admit that it occurs far more regularly to women. For example; how often do men get cat called, or whistled at? Both women and men judge women largely by their physical traits, which is largely not the case for men. As well, this is not an inequality born of nature, but of culture. There are cultures where the above examples are not the case, yet we are mostly blind to this since we were raised with this often overt sexism all around us and deem it normal and expected.

A bigger issue than those above is women’s safety. As a 6 foot tall 240 pound man, I almost never feel unsafe, and I know of no other men, except some who are gay, who feel unsafe. Why? Because the chances of a man being assaulted by a partner, friend, acquaintance or even a stranger are dramatically lower that a women’s chances. In Canada the rates of lifetime sexual assault against women range between 25-50% with 20% of women having a case of “serious” (penetration/ physical trauma) assault. These are very troubling numbers and are not equally reflected in the male populations. Another disturbing but telling statistic is that between 6-15% of men (depends of country) will admit to having raped a woman. That is, 6-15% percent of men will have clear understanding and communication from their sex partner that they do not consent to having sex and will then have sex with that partner anyway. 6-15% and we are not even talking about cases of ambiguous consent. We are talking about clear cut cases of rape. That means millions of men think that it’s okay, or, at the very least, are not bothered enough to stop themselves. http://www.wcsap.org/sites/www.wcsap.org/files/uploads/webinars/SV%20on%20Campus/Repeat%20Rape.pdf *

These are numbers are not only appalling, but also give us clues into why women are not as comfortable in their own physical safety as men tend to be. Given that there is a very real possibility that they will be assaulted at some time in their life, 1 in 4 and 1 in 2 are not numbers to scoff at.

Now, I will admit that there are some radical feminist that say hateful and damaging things, the biggest group causing problems now are known by some as TERF’s (Trans-Exclusionary Radical Feminists). These primarily female “feminists” think that transgender women should not be allowed into the feminist movement because they are not “real women.” This is a horrid and awful, hateful thing to say no matter what. First, you don’t need to be a woman to be a feminist let alone a cis woman, and second, it shows a huge disregard for trans women and gender politics. This is a moment that is made up in no small part of gender politics. Thankfully, these TERF’s are a very rare breed and make up a tiny percentage of those who claim the title of feminist.

And sure, there might be some group of man-hating feminists out there, but I don’t hear about them, and they certainly don’t make up the majority, or colour the dialogue I see within feminism. And even if they were loud, proud, and causing problems, I would not run away from feminism. I would instead insert myself into the dialogue and try to point out healthier directions. Though that’s not the case, so men should have no fear of joining feminism. Though don’t expect to be listened to unquestioningly: if you’re new to a group, particular a movement with its own terms and popular language like feminism, it’s your job to do due diligence and listen at least and much as you speak so that you’re really coming to appreciate the conversation around you, not just what you thought you’d hear in the first place.

And if you don’t like all that I’ve said, and still have reservations, guess what: you can still be a feminist, and you should be a feminist. Come add your voice to the still open question of how equality should be implemented and how continuing oppression should be addressed. You may be surprised by what you learn, should you choose to listen. And please try not to be a jerk. Then you likely won’t get treated like one in return.


*Repeat Rape and Multiple Offending Among Undetected Rapists. David Lisak, and Paul M. Miller. Violence and Victims, Vol. 17, No.1, 2002

Afterthought: I should add, you may say something and see a feminist response that agitates you. You’ve probably said something that is very close to an MRA talking point. Instead of getting defensive, which I understand can be very hard, please understand that many feminists have heard certain questions, suggestions, and talking points hundreds of times before. I know from experience that it can be hard not to just snap at someone. This, I understand, is less than ideal, but it is a reality that sometimes(sometimes not always) happens and it isn’t that feminists don’t want more allies, it’s just that there are many people who claim to be allies but then will complain and attack the movement, often without realizing it, but we explained that there are comments that are not constructive, they will blow up, or claim that their opinions are being ignored, this has happened to me personally 5 or 6 times in the last two years and I don’t even get the worst of it.

What Does My Feminism Look Like?

There are many misconceptions out there about feminism. People apply things to feminism that aren’t necessary too feminism. While some feminists may add those particular beliefs to their version of feminism, it is not necessarily something accepted by all feminists.

Remember: feminism is a widespread movement with millions of members. Saying that all feminists X is almost certainly wrong. Saying things like “all feminists hate men” would be like someone saying “all atheists hate god” or “all Christians hate gay people.” Do you see how this can be a problem?

Yes, some feminists hate men, but most don’t. I certainly don’t, otherwise why would I plan on marrying one? And how would you account for all the male feminists? Even if some male feminists hated themselves, I highly doubt that would be commonly held among all male feminists. To say it is is a cop-out. It’s a way to dismiss them so that you don’t have to deal with their arguments.

So rather than make baseless claims, or applying a version of feminism to me that I don’t agree with, how about I let you know what my feminism actually looks like. The foundation of my feminism is the simple idea that men and women are equal. No sex is superior to the other. This is the one thing that most feminists share. But, as everybody else does, I’ve added other beliefs to my feminism. The first thing I’d add is that there are more than two sexes. Intersex people are also the equals of men and women, or, more aptly, males and females. Then I’d add the gendered dimension, since man and woman are gender terms, not sex terms, the gender aspect of the feminist claim is explicit. So I’d add that there are more that two genders and they are all equals. This makes me a trans* inclusive feminist. Sadly, not all feminists are inclusive to trans* people, but I believe that they are a very important part of the movement.

The next thing that I would add to my feminism is the ethnic aspect. Feminists worked along side African-Americans back when neither were considered legal persons. But despite this, feminism was very much a white, middle class movement. It was mostly made up of white, middle class women and it mostly dealt with their problems. This is an issue that still exists. As does racial discrimination and disparity. But we’re all people. We all deserve equal rights. As such, feminism shouldn’t be devoted solely to solving the problems of white women. It should be devoted to solving the problems of all women, be they white, black, Asian, Middle Eastern, trans*, intersex, rich, poor, etc.

I already mentioned the focus on middle class women. Like I said, feminism is for all women. Feminism, in my mind, should spend more time focusing on problems faced by poor women. They are the ones mostly likely to be single mothers, to struggle with child care payments, to have to work so often that they barely get to see their children. To watch there children get substandard educations and drop out of school, to be uneducated themselves, to be victimized, etc. Solving those problems alone would drastically improve our societies. Because of that potential, I’d say that this should be a major focus of feminism.

I alluded to males within feminism earlier, but have also said that feminism is for women. So let’s talk about that. Men are an important part of the feminist movement. They are great allies. And they benefit from feminism in many ways. It’s much the same as straight allies in the LGBTQ movement. Those allies are important, because it shows that the LGBTQ movement isn’t anti-straight people. They also give the LGBTQ movement some strength that they would not otherwise have. Straight people have the power to convince other straight people that non-straight people deserve equal rights. They give the movement legitimacy for some. They also give it a certain political strength. The number of LGBTQ people is fairly small, but straight people help the numbers grow. This gives incentive for governments to actually support LGBTQ rights. While the movement isn’t for straight people, they are important allies, and they reap many benefits. For example, they’ve changed views on sex from something controlled by the church to a normal human behaviour. It forces governments to give marriage benefits to more people. They can no longer deny people as easily as they could before. And it have made society more accepting in general. In the same way, feminism isn’t for men, but it benefits them. Men add power and legitimacy to the movement and in return they get a more fair society. For example, if we stop looking at men as strong defenders and women as weak nurturers, then society can no longer justify drafting men and not women, or giving preference to mothers in custody cases. Personally, I’m glad that my country doesn’t have the draft, and I hope it’s abolished in other countries sooner rather than later, but more women in the military can only be a good thing. Women are often over looked for promotions, they are less likely to be allowed into combat situations, rape in the military is rampant, and they are overall treated worse than men. This doesn’t mean that every woman in the military will experience these things, but too many do. But more women in the military, especially in higher up positions, will normalize it. Men will no longer be able to get away with abusing their female coworkers, and they will no longer be able to excuse their own behaviour by saying “she can’t do the job.” And I have no problem with more men getting custody of their children. Custody should be given to whoever is most capable of raising the child, not who ever is seen as biologically more nurturing. But we can’t achieve these things with traditional views of gender. We need to change how we see men and women. We need to be equals.

The final point that I feel I need to make is this claim that feminism is a way to play the victim card. Pray tell me, at what point in this post did I play the victim card? This isn’t about being a victim, it’s about equality. I don’t know how I could make this any more clear. I don’t think that I’m a victim, but I do think that there are many problems with society that need to be addressed. However, there are a lot of people out there who have been victimized. They are, definitionally speaking, victims. Most of them choose not to focus solely on their victimhood and are able to fight to overcome their pain and fear. These people are very brave and should not be shamed. So what exactly do you find so wrong about being a victim? Why do you feel the need to shame these people? Why not just accept that some people are victims and we as a society should do our best to prevent the victimization of others?

This is what my feminism looks like. I am a trans* inclusive, non-man hating, intersectional feminist.

An Introduction

Withteeth and I have decided to officially introduce ourselves. We’ve kind of done so in the past, but, with so many followers, we’ve decided that it would be a good idea for us to each write our own posts telling you about ourselves. I guess I’ll start.

I’m Hessian. My name comes from my family name. I am a 25 year old university student from Canada. I’m studying History of Religion and Philosophy as a double major. I am also the President of the Freethinkers Club and the Interfaith Club. I started the Interfaith Club with 4 other students. And I am the Student Lead of the Faith and Spirituality Student Team. I have been very involved in the university since I started, and have taken a number of leadership roles. I am hoping to use my experiences in the future.

Now, that covers the most boring bit about who I am. Now for the most interesting bit. At least I think it’s the most interesting bit. I’m genderqueer. This means that, while I’m biologically female, I don’t identify as either a woman or a man. Instead, I find myself somewhere in the middle. As a kid, I was always quite masculine. I loved sports from a young age. I loved going to hockey and football games with my dad, and, when he was old enough, my brother. And I loved playing sports too. My dad often took my brother and I out to play hockey in the winter and football in the summer. And he was always impressed with my athletic ability. My parents put in in soccer when I was 5 and had me in some type of sport from that age on. Speed skating was my favorite. And I developed an obsession with martial arts.

As a young kid I played with dolls and collected stuffed animals. It was the 90’s, so I had as many beanie babies as my parents would buy me. I loved animals and was very nurturing from a young age. It’s pretty much the most feminine thing about me. But I was never girly like my friends. I didn’t care for dress-up, I only played house when my friends wanted me to, and I didn’t like makeup. I loved rodents though. My brother and I got a lot of joy out of chasing our aunts around the house with them. My dad has also said that I couldn’t go outside without needing a bath. I was definitely a tomboy.

My parents accepted my being a tomboy in certain regards, but fought me on it in others. I was allowed to play sports, get dirty, and have rodents. But I was expected to have long hair and wear girl clothes. I was also given a pink room when I wanted a green one. I was given girly nicknames and girly presents. The push back on my identity had a deep effect on me that I’ve never really gotten over. I learned from a young age that there was something wrong with me. I learned that part of me had to be repressed and kept secret. It wasn’t until adulthood that I was able to find my identity as a result.

As early as I can remember, around kindergarten, I was happy being female so long as I could do what I wanted. But as I neared adolescence I became increasingly unhappy with my sex. As my parents pushed back against me more and more, I became more and more desperate to turn into a boy. I no longer liked being female because I wasn’t able to be me. My parents divorced when I was 12 and my mom wasn’t concerned with my clothes or hairstyle, so I immediately changed them. I cut my hair short and began getting my clothes from the boys section. I was thrilled. I felt free. But I still had notions about gender instilled so deeply in me that I thought I needed to change sex to be okay. I thought I was in the wrong body and I thought that there was something wrong with being a girl.

I no longer want to change my sex. I’m fine with being female. But I’ve also learned enough about sex and gender to determine what I do want and who I am. I’m genderqueer. I’m neither a man or a woman. I’m more masculine than I am feminine. I prefer to dress androgynously, and am fine with being taken as male. I have no preference when it comes to pronouns either.

I’m also demisexual. Basically, I can develop sexual attraction, but only when I’ve developed a personal relationship with them first. Some people take this as part of a sexuality rather than as a sexuality in itself because it says nothing about who I’m attracted to. But I take it more as the persons gender doesn’t matter, their personality does. I can be sexually attracted to anyone so long as I can develop the romantic attraction to them first. Right now I’m in a relationship with a cis man. I plan to marry him and have children with him (which has caused some identity crises already due to my gender), and he’s my first real relationship, but that doesn’t make me straight.

When I was a teenager I never really felt the need to date or have sex like my peers did. I also didn’t know who I was attracted to because I was only moderately attracted to anyone, and I felt those attractions towards both boys and girls. And of course I never learned about bisexuality or asexuality in school, so I thought that there was something very wrong with me on that front too. And of course that was another thing that I learned to keep secret.

As I’m sure you all know by now, I’m also an atheist. I believe that there are no gods. I also don’t believe in ghosts, the afterlife, prophecy, or anything else supernatural. I believe that evidence is required before something should be believed in. I believe that saying “I don’t know” is better than making up an answer. And I believe that we will get our answers about the universe from science. I also believe that critical thinking is a better way to develop a moral code and belief system than religion is.

That is who I am, for the most part. But I’d also like to talk about what I want in the future. I want to become a published author and make my living writing. I want to become a public speaker for various activist causes, namely atheism and lgbt issues. I want to be able to travel a good portion of the world. I want to have 6 kids, and I want to adopt some of them. I’m also considering getting my PhD eventually, but I’m not completely sure about that yet. That is what I want for my future.

Why I Need Feminism

For a while now, feminists have been posting pictures of themselves holding signs that explain why they’re feminists. Then the MRA’s decided to get involved. And now there are cats. So I thought I’d add my voice. As a human, not a cat…in case you were wondering. Any way, here’s my list:

I need feminism because I shouldn’t be told I’m crazy for walking alone outside after 9pm.

I need feminism because my old manager thought it was appropriate to tell me that I should smile. Seriously, this is annoying. If you don’t know why this is not okay, then it’s never happened to you.

I need feminism because, when I was selling electronics, people showed me more respect when they assumed that I was a boy than they did when they assumed that I was a girl. Even women. Though I did find it funny when they would ask me a question, not believe my answer, walk over to my male coworker and ask him, and then watch with their mouths agape when he’s inevitably walk over and ask me their question. I was pretty much the most experienced electronics employee.

I need feminism because I will be going into a male dominated field no matter what I do after university, and I shouldn’t have to be worried about that. But I am. I know I’ll likely not make as much as the men, and I likely won’t be as respected. I’ve heard enough stories from enough women, and seen enough studies, to tell me that I’m right to worry.

I need feminism because I’m the first female president of the Freethinkers Club, and one of the few female members. The freethinker, atheist, agnostic, etc movement is still very much an old boys club.

I need feminism because being a feminist within the above movement is frowned upon and can lead to harassment.

I need feminism because academia is still an old boys club, and people still question my place in it.

There are many more reasons why I need feminism, but this is what I can think of at the moment. Let me know in the comment section why you need feminism.

What Do You Believe?

I wasn’t expecting to do this post so soon, because I want as many answers as I can get. But I think, with 500 followers, now is the perfect time for this discussion. I want to ask you all what you believe. Not every belief you hold, obviously, but the ones that you hold closest to your heart…or brain.

Here are my beliefs:
I believe that there are no gods, or anything else supernatural.
I believe that feminism is the best way to achieve gender equality.
I believe that socialism is the best form of government so far, but I think that all forms are flawed and need improvement.
I believe that the education system needs to be reformed.
I believe that all people have the right to believe what we want, but nobody has the right to force their beliefs on another.
I believe that religion should be discussed openly and publicly, but no public figure should favor their own religion over others.
I believe that everybody deserves equal rights, and everybody should be treated with respect, regardless of gender, sex, sexuality, ethnicity, language, religion, etc.
I believe in fighting for equality, and I believe that it is every bodies stand up against injustice when they see it happening.
I believe the criminal justice system needs to be reformed.
I believe that morality is subjective, and freewill non-existent, but that doesn’t mean that we can’t develop moral and legal codes both personally and societally.

I have a number of other beliefs that I could list off, but I think that this is more than enough to get us started. So, what do you believe?

A Helpful Hint in Encouraging Dialogue

I can’t believe I actually have to say this, but apparently this is a hard one, so here it goes. If you want to encourage dialogue and keep a conversation going, my tip for you is…don’t be an ass. Seriously, people don’t like to be insulted and talked down to. Try to pretend you’re actually talking to a human being, because you are. Talk to said human in a way that you’d appreciate. Basically, don’t assume they’re stupid. Don’t define simple words, or call them uneducated, or refer to yourself in intellectually superior tones because you clearly know more about the subject, because…well, you think you do, just because you don’t agree with their argument. And don’t straight up insult them. Here’s a thought for you: the people of the internet aren’t here for your entertainment anymore than your friends and family are.

Just today, one person refused to refer to atheists as atheists and instead used the word “fools.” Yet they seemed to assume their post would be met with honest dialogue instead of hostility. If you offer hostility, you’ll receive it back. And another person thought that defining “hyperbole” would make me go away because they didn’t like my argument. I hate to break it to you, but I did graduate highschool. Almost a decade ago. I don’t need the grade 10 english lesson. If you don’t like my argument, then offer a counter-argument, otherwise you just make yourself look bad.

I’ve also had someone call me uneducated because I…shocker…asked a question when an unclear claim was made. Apparently one must master ever subject and come to the exact same conclusions on everything or they must be uneducated. And another blogger decided to try and insult my intelligence because he didn’t like being told that “tranny” is discriminatory. Apparently it must be PC because it’s just a short form of “transgender.” Um…no. Not okay.

I’m tired of this disrespect, so new policy: if you come to my blog and decide to insult me and my partner, don’t bother, your comment will just be deleted. Your comment will be for naught. Feel free to let us know if you think your comment was unfairly deleted, but we do actually read them, so we know what you’ve said. If you just want to insult us, you have your own blogs, or you can make one, and you can insult us there. We want to encourage honest discussion here, and we want an environment open to anyone. The disrespectful behavior directed towards us offers neither, and makes it difficult for others to have open conversations. So, in the future, let’s keep things civil.

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