Friday, 29 June 2007

Tag - I'm It!

It would appear that Beast from Atheist Haven has Meme-tagged me: this is a first for me, so here goes...

The rules for meme tagging are as follows:

  1. We have to post these rules before we give you the facts.

  2. Players start with eight random facts/habits about themselves.

  3. People who are tagged need to write their own blog about their eight things and post these rules.

  4. At the end of your blog post, you need to choose eight people to get tagged and list their names.

  5. Don't forget to leave them a comment telling them they're tagged, and to read your blog.

Here are my random facts:

  1. I celebrated my ninth anniversary about two weeks ago, even though I'm not married (the government, however, technically considers me married); my girlfriend and I have been together for longer than the time it takes for some people to meet someone, fall in love, get married, and divorced.

  2. I have (luckily) never broken a bone in my body. I've had plenty of other injuries including severe ligament damage, losing entire fingernails, cuts requiring stitches, concussion, and have one major and one minor operation under my belt.

  3. I have a great deal of difficulty keeping my natural body clock in sync with the rest of society's demands. I rarely get enough sleep; my ideal 'day' would be 30-36 hours long. I plan to implement this if I ever become a writer proper.

  4. My parents gave me a great cultural and social education. They took me to art galleries, museums, science exhibits, parks, films, places of historical interest, libraries, lectures, shows, and plays. And four countries. They did all this with very little money.

  5. I love mustard, wasabe and black pepper, which my girlfriend can't eat, yet she can eat raw chillies and burning hot vindaloo that would kill me.

  6. I have an explosive temper and razor sharp tongue, which sometimes I am too quick with, to my own detriment.

  7. I blog using Firefox on Kubuntu Linux. I've been using Linux for about five years now, and thoroughly recommend Kubuntu (or Ubuntu) as a great way to get started using Linux.

  8. Coffee is gradually eating away my insides. But hey, if you have to die, it might as well be from something you enjoy.

The following blogs deserve your attention (and haven't been tagged yet I hope). In no particular order:
  1. Atheist Girl

  2. Rideo, Ergo Sum

  3. The World According to The Chocolate Monkey

  4. A Doug Cress Production

  5. Marissa Beck

  6. Godless Kiwi

  7. Life, The Universe & Everything

  8. Alicia's Ramblings


Sunday, 10 June 2007

Negligent Beliefs

In the course of thinking about my views as an atheist, I realised that I needed to actually quantify and qualify the reasons for my beliefs; in particular, why I believe that religion is ultimately a bad thing for humanity.

All the reasons I could think of relate to how a person makes decisions. Given that a decision made now affects the future, it is essential to have a sound premise from which to base the decision; to do otherwise is total folly.

  1. Religion prevents adherents from seeing the world as it really is, by presenting a palatable fiction for those who are incapable of dealing with reality. In addition, religious leaders make extensive use of scare tactics and perceived threats—both veiled and overt—in order to obtain compliance.

  2. It is immoral to present the views commonly espoused in religion as the 'truth' with which people are to make critical judgements and decisions that have real-world consequences, especially because the 'truth' in the claims has not been—indeed, cannot be—firmly established.

  3. Religion discourages critical thinking. This blind acceptance, or faith, is a matter of course in indoctrinating adherents.

  4. Religions are inconsistent with each other: there are many religious belief systems which present radically different viewpoints and histories. Claims by each group of exclusive knowledge of the 'truth' can only be divisive.

  5. Religion is inflexible: when a view which contradicts religious belief is found to be correct, adherents feel personally threatened, and this leads to denial, retreat and self-deception.

  6. Religious leaders are free to arbitrarily change their dogmas. Take for example the Catholic Church's abolition of the concept of limbo. Science is not free to make such arbitrary reversals.

Now, when the world is facing many crises (such as climate change, deforestation, depletion of fish stocks, disease, and general poverty), our discourse must be rational and logical decisions must be made. Religion leads us away from these things by inducing delusions of safety. We must use reason if we are to truly advance humanitarian, social and environmental causes.