Re: Hate The Religion, Love The Believer

Today I read a religious post titled, Hate The Religion, Love The Believer. It’s a post basically exploring whether you can hate the religious belief and still love the person. So I thought I’d take a whack at it.

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The post started off with that meme and asked whether that’s a reasonable position for an atheist or secularist to take.

Atheists have often argued that the Christian slogan to “hate the sin, but love the sinner” is tantamount to their claim to oppose religion but love religious people.  However, I think this would not sit well with me (and many people of faith) because we DEFINE ourselves by our faith, whereas sinners do not define themselves by their sin.

For many devout Christians, she’s right in that they tend to define themselves by their religion. I think that’s why many religious people get offended when an atheist mocks or questions that religion – to them it isn’t just an idea but a part of them.

However, people can define themselves by other ideologies.

For example, for some people their political identity is extremely important to them. Could you love an ardent socialist, communist, Democrat or Republican even if you disagree with their political stances?

I think it fairly obvious that you can.

Actually, I can think of only one type of sinner that defines themselves by their sin, being homosexuals.  So to hate their sin is (to them) equivalent to hating them, the same way Christians feel an attack on their Christian liberties is an attack on them as individuals (as citizens and as humans).

You are trying to conflate a belief with biology. It would be like me trying to equate religious belief with heterosexuality – one is a belief and one is my inherent sexual orientation.

I used to be religious but then I lost my faith. I’m never going to wake up in the morning and find myself sexually attracted to men.

Can you think of other sinners that define themselves by their sin?  Maybe Nazis or the KKK, who define themselves by their hatred and superior feelings against people of colour.  If we hate their sin, can we claim to still love them?

Of course you can and this is a more accurate comparison.

Do you really believe that Nazi’s, Neo-Nazi’s or ardent racists don’t have family members who hate that they think that way but love them nevertheless?

Prisons are full of murderers, rapists and criminals who have loving relationships with spouses or other family members. Some of them are racists and Nazi’s.

She basically confirms this is so in this sentence:

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Yeah, and plenty of atheists love their parents, even though they tried to indoctrinate them with hateful religious ideologies, such as the hell doctrine or that homosexuals are abominations or that they are responsible for the sins of their ancestors etc.

She continues with:

murder2

You are more than just your religious beliefs. I am more than my political beliefs. People are complex beings and can disagree on a whole host of subjects and still agree on others. We can love and enjoy people we fundamentally disagree with because that isn’t the only thing that defines them.

In fact, I think you can find some of that being proven right here on this blog. There are comments by people on here who I would enthusiastically disagree with on religious matters, but I agree with on other subjects. I can enjoy conversing with them about everything, including their belief in a deity.

A Rabbi who I used to have spirited religious discussions with used to tell me that we should focus on what we have in common, rather than our differences, and that if we did, we’d likely find we have far more in common than we have differences.

I think there was a lot of truth in that.

But regardless, I think you can definitely hate or oppose the religious ideologies someone holds but still love the person.

What Makes You Smile?

Woke up this morning to a light kiss on my forehead and it made me smile. After some more sleeping, snoring, stretching and coffee-ing (it’s a word damn it!) I started to think about things that make me smile. I hope you’ll share yours in the comment section. Here are a few of mine.

My job

No seriously. I laugh a lot at my job. Here’s an example.

Just the other day a client of mine was with another worker. We have been working together for three years and we love to goof on each other.

Anyhow, he discovered the voice text on the other workers phone, which reads back the text once you’ve completed your message. I was with another client at the time halfway across the city, and I receive a text from him.

“You’re a crazy dude”, it read. I immediately began to laugh out loud.

I’ve definitely had a lot of laughs at my job and I still can’t believe how lucky I am.

Dexter…and Duke

Dexter makes me smile every day. I love him to pieces, which is likely no surprise to those who have read this blog before. No matter how depressing the world seems to have become, Dexter is always there with a lick and a cuddle.

While Sir Duke the Chihuahua and I have our differences over the whole barking thing, he’s also a lovable little man. One of the things that makes me smile is when we play ‘fight club’. He likes to play wrestle – usually somewhere on his mommy’s mid-section – and he bounces around and tries to wrestle one of my fingers into non-existence. It’s funny to watch.

I think Dexter might be in fight club mode.

Playing video games

Wow. Now that I think about it I haven’t played a video game in at least a month.

However, when I do play it makes me smile. It’s just good fun to be transported somewhere else for a little while. I also find this with reading. I’ve always loved to read and am currently reading ‘Brave New World’. It’s good so far. A little scary as well.

Now I’m rambling. Ummmmm….

Well, there’s three things that make me smile. What makes you smile on the regular?

 

Share Your World and Pictures

On the weekend we went to my mom’s house. Her friend had made her a quilt (in the picture below) that featured all of the family dogs she’d owned throughout her life as well as a few shots of my dad.

I hope you can see the pictures on the quilt. I thought it was very thoughtful of her to do such a kind thing for my mom.

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Here’s a shot of Duke trying to find room to lie down in the backseat of my car.

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Dex doesn’t want to give up any space.

Does that look Duke is giving Dex qualify as a stink eye?

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I bought this wreath at a Christmas Bazaar on the weekend. It was $15. I think this is the first time in a long time that I’m looking forward to Christmas. We have begun to get decorations and so forth in preparation of our first Christmas together.

Just because I can, I’m going to tack on my responses to this weeks ‘Share Your World‘ challenge onto the end of this post.

Describe your own outlook on life in seven words or less.

Curiosity. Wonder. Laughter. Debate. Challenge. Pain. Love.

Where do you like to vacation?

Anywhere. I just like to vacation. I like road trips with no planned destination in mind.

Candy factories (sweets or treats including chocolate) of the entire world have become one and will now be making only one kind of candy. Which kind, if you were calling the shots?

Fudge!

Butter tarts if they’re considered candy.

Complete this sentence: Something that anyone can do that will guarantee my smile is… 

Be kind to someone for no other reason than to be kind.

Bonus question:  What are you grateful for from last week, and what are you looking forward to in the week coming up? 

Grateful to have spent some time with my family on the weekend. I’m looking forward to the end of the American election. I just want it to be done. I’m so sick of hearing about it.

36 Questions Women Have For Men – My Answers Part 1

There’s Buzzfeed video (I’ll include it at the bottom of this post) called 36 Questions Women Have For Men. 

I thought I’d give answering them a whirl.

1. How does it feel to be the same sex as Donald Trump?

I’m also the same sex as Albert Einstein and Leonardo da Vinci.

Not sure what your point is. Imagine if I asked you how it felt to be the same sex as Karla Homolka or Elizabeth Bathory.

2. Why do you hate rom coms?

I don’t. I actually like quite a few of them. I’ve watched Jerry Maguire more times than I’d like to admit and The Notebook makes me choke up.

I do think they’re often unrealistic, but I enjoy quite a few of them.

3. Why do you make women sit around and talk about men in movies when you all will easily sit around and talk about boobs for hours?

I’m guessing because some women like watching women in movies talk about their good looking costars.

Guys don’t sit around for hours talking about boobs any more than women sit around and talk about ripped abs for hours.

4. Why do you automatically assume that you won’t like TV shows or movies that star a female lead?

I don’t care if the lead is male or female. I just finished watching the first season of Jessica Jones and absolutely loved it. There are a lot of movies I like that have female leads. All I care about is whether the movie or show is entertaining.

5. Why are you surprised when women are funny?

I’m not. Some of the women I’ve known throughout my life have been some of the funniest people I’ve ever had the pleasure of knowing. There are a ton of female stand-up comics that I find hilarious, such as Ellen DeGeneres.

6. Why do you think we’re obsessed with you when we hook up?

Personally, I don’t. If the relationship is new and you’re not interested, I’ll move on. I’m not going to beg you to be with me.

7. Why can’t I sleep with as many people as I want without being judged? When men do it, they’re congratulated.

Because it’s a shitty societal expectation. I’m with you on this one – I think we are far too uptight about sex and there shouldn’t be a double standard. I do think this is changing slowly.

8. Why do you consider a woman a tease if she doesn’t sleep with you after three dates, but a slut if she sleeps with you on the first date?

I don’t. I think they can have sex whenever they want. I think individuals have different wants and needs. There are women who (hypothetically) if I didn’t have sex with them or at least show interest in having sex with them after three dates, would question whether I was really interested in them. Maybe they walk away, maybe they question me or maybe they just wait it out.

9. In what world does no mean yes?

None. Believe it or not, the vast, vast, vast majority of men aren’t rapists.

Hard to believe, right?

10. Why do you say women are too emotional to be leaders then justify catcalling by saying that men can’t control themselves?

I don’t think women are too emotional to be leaders. My bosses are all women, except one. They do a terrific job.

I also think men can control themselves. I’ve never heard a man that I’ve known say otherwise. To say men can’t control themselves is insulting. I’m not an animal incapable of self-control.

11. Why do you think that just because you’re nice to me, I owe you my body?

I don’t. That’s a stupid question. I’m nice to women all the time, just as I am to men. I don’t think any of them owe me their body. How ridiculous.

12. Why would you ever send an unsolicited dick pic?

Okay, I agree with this one. If you’re a guy, why do you do this? It’s stupid and isn’t likely to attract a woman.

There is an option though. You can block and delete them. Depending on the circumstances, you can also report them.

13. Why do you think its okay to harass women or make offensive comments about women, but when someone does it to your sister it’s not okay?

Why do some women think it’s okay to call men ‘little bitches‘ because they were suffering severe side-effects after testing male birth control?

I don’t think harassing anyone is okay, whether they’re male or female. I find it hard to believe you don’t understand why humans might be more apt to protect people in their immediate family over a complete stranger though.

I’ve known plenty of people who were ‘big sisters’ and a good percentage of them were protective of their brothers, but they might not bat an eye if another boy they didn’t know was being picked on.

You can find part two by following this link.

Christian Haunted House Planned To Feature Pulse Massacre and Botched Abortions

Jesus. I read this story and was flabbergasted by the raw stupidity of it.

In Chicago, they were planning on creating a haunted house that would feature scenes from real life massacres – including the shooting at the gay Orlando nightclub, Pulse – and botched abortions:

A Christian haunted house intended to take place in an elementary school has been shut down amid outcry that it planned to recreate real-life massacres for entertainment, including the shooting at the gay Orlando nightclub, Pulse.

And:

Other scenes the house supposedly planned to feature included a botched abortion and the 2015 shooting at a Charleston, South Carolina, church that left nine people dead.

Here’s the advertisement for the haunted house.

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The house would also focus on moral choices:

“It’s time to face the consequences of your actions….” the ad read. “The choice is life or death; sin or salvation; heaven or hell. The scenes will be action-packed, real and jaw dropping.”

“Whose moral choices are we talking about?” Nat asked. “Is it immoral to just want to go out and be with your friends and dance? And what really bothered me was that this was in a public school supported by our tax dollars.”

Maybe they missed the class on ethics where they explained that subjecting children to this sort of nonsense, and using tax payer dollars to do so is unethical.

How can you possibly know right from wrong when you’re pushing for a haunted house that will subject children to real life massacres masquerading as entertainment?

I mean, Jesus freaking Christ, you evil assholes. How did you ever think this was a good idea? This is one of the scummiest things I’ve read this year, and to think it was going to happen in an Elementary school just blows my fucking mind.

The idiot who was responsible for the haunted house had this to say:

In a later tweet, Tappler, who identifies himself as a licensed minister in an online bio, responded to criticism by calling himself a “trailblazer.”

That’s not ‘trailblazing’. That’s stupid beyond measure, and damaging to children. It’s just so ironic that someone planning to do this thinks they have such a lock on ethics that they should teach it to children.

Everything about this story, except for the fact it was thankfully shut down, just reeks of poor decision making, potentially horrific consequences, moral bankruptcy and undeniable stupidity.

Transgender: Biological or Belief?

I had an interesting conversation with The Arbourist that started here and ended here, about the nature of transgender people. You can read the full discussion by following the links, but suffice to say that he believes that transgender people hold a set of beliefs or ideologies and that transgender is not biological in nature but a belief:

Transgender: the belief that one “feels” like the opposite sex

this is fundamentally impossible without the assumption that male and female minds are biologically wired to conform to gender (aka stereotypes) which is demonstrably untrue and incredibly sexist

When I asked about the ideologies a transgender would hold (even writing it sounds ridiculous) he posted this:

Robert Jenson –

“Transgender is defined as “A term for people whose gender identity, expression or behavior is different from those typically associated with their assigned sex at birth.” The transgender movement rejects the automatic sorting of males and females into the categories of man and woman, but does not necessarily reject gender roles. Some in the transgender movement embrace patriarchal gender roles typically attached to the cultural categories of masculinity and femininity.

While not all people who identify as transgender have sex-reassignment surgery or use hormones or other treatments to modify their bodies, the transgender movement as a whole accepts and/or embraces these practices.”

“Transgenderism is a liberal, individualist, medicalized response to the problem of patriarchy’s rigid, repressive, and reactionary gender norms. “

After this I pointed out that the ideologies he referred to seemed to be more about the ideologies of radical feminists than about transgender people, such as that ‘some in the transgender movement embrace patriarchal gender roles’.

The transgender person is just existing. By their mere existence, they are contradicting the ideologies held by the self-professed radical feminist.

It reminds me of how an ethical atheist, by virtue of their mere existence, contradicts the ideology that you need to be religious to be a good person.

I also hate to break it to you, but there are a lot of males and females who embrace gender roles as well. It’s not just a transgender thing.

In fact, if you read the beginning of the conversation, he actually makes the analogy that transgender is the same as a religion. When I questioned him about this, he said:

@GC

“So you see cis and trans as a belief system similar to a religion?”

Enough rough parallels to make a go of it. Sure, why not? If it helps in comprehending the objections to trans-ideology.

In that same comment he said:

There is no hate for Trans people here – my quarrel rests with their ideology. A) Because it erases women and their struggle in society and B) it makes specious claims about sex and gender that are not supported by evidence.

So now that I’ve laid the groundwork, are his claims true? Is transgender merely a belief or is it based on biology?

It turns out that preliminary research on transgender people show that it might be biologically driven and not a belief at all:

DR. JOSHUA SAFER, Boston University: In most people, chromosomes, body parts, gender identity align. So, somebody with a male chromosome, somebody with male body parts is going to have male gender identity. That is the usual circumstance.

All of these are independently controlled biologically, and therefore it is no surprise that, in a given subset of the population, one part is not aligned, that whatever genes are controlling that happen to be different for that individual, and that’s what’s happening with transgender individuals.

Or this:

Their results, published in 2013, showed that even before treatment the brain structures of the trans people were more similar in some respects to the brains of their experienced gender than those of their natal gender. For example, the female-to-male subjects had relatively thin subcortical areas (these areas tend to be thinner in men than in women). Male-to-female subjects tended to have thinner cortical regions in the right hemisphere, which is characteristic of a female brain. (Such differences became more pronounced after treatment.)

“Trans people have brains that are different from males and females, a unique kind of brain,” Guillamon says. “It is simplistic to say that a female-to-male transgender person is a female trapped in a male body. It’s not because they have a male brain but a transsexual brain.” Of course, behavior and experience shape brain anatomy, so it is impossible to say if these subtle differences are inborn.

Or this:

Medical care of transgender patients, including surgical and hormonal treatment, has largely been met with resistance by physicians in favor of psychiatric treatment, owing to misconceptions that gender identity can be changed. According to a review article in Endocrine Practice, there is increasing evidence of a biological basis for gender identity that may change physicians’ perspective on transgender medicine and improve health care for these patients.

The arguments The Arbourist was making are the same sorts of arguments religious people made to deny same-sex couples their rights – they would tell people that their sexual orientation was just a belief, and therefore they didn’t deserve the same protections heterosexual people enjoyed.

There are no ideologies or set of beliefs specifically associated with being transgender, gay, heterosexual etc, and the evidence points towards transgender being biological in nature and not a belief at all.