Justice that arrives like a thunderbolt

Our generation didn’t start this nation
We’re still pickin’ up the pieces, walkin’ on eggshells, fightin’ over yesterday
And caught between southern pride and southern blame

Those seemingly delightful lyrics are from the song “Accidental Racist,” by Brad Paisley and sung by him and LL Cool J. The song often refers to how white people from the south and black people from the north maybe just can’t understand each other, and maybe they’re being a little too sensitive about things, and maybe they should just have a beer together. It’s a really dreadful song and you probably shouldn’t listen to it.

A couple weekends ago, a white 20-year-old wearing patches representing pro-apartheid African nations, and who has been pictured waving a Confederate battle flag and burning a United States flag, and who — according to his roommate — had often spoke of killing some black people and starting a new civil war, went into an historic black civil war-era church in Charleston, South Carolina, sat around for a while while the pastor led his congregation in prayer, and then pulled out a gun and opened fire. The death toll, before he fled the scene only to be captured in North Carolina the next day, was nine.

Based solely on the evidence I listed above (confederate flag, anti-apartheid, yearning for another civil war, historic black place of worship) a lot of people labeled this pretty much immediately as a hate crime. Others claim it’s an act of terrorism, and I tend to agree with both. His intent was very clearly racially motivated, and going by the FBI’s official definition I think it’s clear to say this was an act of terrorism as well. The oddest thing, however, is when you switch your television station over to Fox News, you’ll hear they have taken a different approach to the situation. Obviously this wasn’t a racist hate crime, but an attack on Christianity! Because in Foxnewsland, the spin they put on any story has to make it seem like they, the Christian Right, are the ones being attacked. So far as I can tell, no indication of Roof’s religion has been made.

Anyway, this whole shooting debacle led very briefly to a discussion on gun laws and a lot of old internet memes popped back up for about three days, but that was all swept aside to make room for this week’s new topic of debate, and the real culprit here: racism.

And you know, I sort of agree. I’m no fan of guns. We need stricter gun regulations. We need to make it more difficult for all people to obtain guns. But it’s also important to determine motive and then see if there are ways to quell motivation — in this case, racism — that may lead to heinous acts like shootings that kill nine people. So our first course of action has been, for the first time in 150 years, to villainize the confederate battle flag (CBF). The day after Roof’s killing spree, the CBF was still flying on South Carolina capitol grounds. It still exists as part of the design on several state flags, as well. So obviously we have to have that flag removed.

But why a flag? It’s just a flag! It’s more than a flag, people. It’s a symbol. A symbol flown by supporters of a war 150 years old that was lost to the Union. A symbol of traitorous southerners who thought it was their god-given right to keep slaves. Yeah, technically people have the freedom to fly their CBFs or their Nazi Germany swastikas, but does that mean they necessarily ought to? Furthermore, does it mean they reserve the right to do so free of consequence? Freedom of speech and expression does not grant you immunity to criticism. As a person with German ancestry, I don’t feel it’s necessary for me to fly a swastika to honor my ancestors.

“Southern pride” rednecks can hang the flag from their trailers and lean-tos and claim their ancestors who fought and died for the Confederacy deserve respect, but I refuse to mourn for or respect separatists who, had they had their way, would have maintained their right to oppress a race of people and buy/sell them and force them into servitude.

Hell, the presence of the CBF or its likeness in the form of stickers on the bumpers of Ford trucks as old and rusty as their owners or patches on overalls serves to warn me in advance who the racists are who can’t let go of the past and their ancestors’ failings in the name of heritage, or some other hokey backwoods jargon that secretly stands for “Hey, we tried to [3/5ths] compromise!”

But that flag has no place whatsoever on public or government property. When it exists next to a United States flag, or a state flag, or especially AS a state flag, it gives the Dylann Roofs of the world a symbol to fight or kill for. It perpetuates — and even worse, institutionalizes — racism.

As of this writing, several states have removed the CBFs from their capitol grounds. Several retailers — even huge retailers like Wal-Mart, Amazon, and eBay — have stopped selling CBF merchandise. I don’t think that was a necessary step, but I support their right to sell or not sell what they please. Even video game publishers of historic games are talking about stopping sales of games featuring a CBF. It is absolutely huge that this is in national discussion right now. There are the people who think the flag belongs in a museum, since it certainly has a history within the United States, and then there are the people who refuse to take it down because their “southern pride” is more important to them than supporting their fellow Americans. When all is said and done, the racists will stick out like sore thumbs and we’ll all be better off knowing who to stay away from.

WHICH BRINGS ME TO TODAY’S BIG NEWS

I awoke this morning and turned on the news, like I do, and I picked up my Android phone and started scrolling through Facebook to see what I had missed during my slumber. As it turns out, the Supreme Court of the United States, in a vote of 5-4, overturned states’ rights to deny marriage licenses to same-sex couples.

This is an extraordinary time to be alive right now, knowing that not only is history being made, but that I’m on the right side of it and have been since I was old enough to understand that boys are allowed to love boys too.

The second thing I did this morning, after I had scrolled a bit through Facebook, was to start perusing the comments sections under the posts made by local news organizations. I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again: if you really want to know the state of things in our country, don’t watch TV, don’t read a newspaper; all you have to do is read the comments sections under local news articles. Because this is your home; these are the people who surround you. Many of them are kind-hearted, reasonable people whose love for life extends to their friends and neighbors and doesn’t just stop outside their own personal egobubble.

But then there are the rabid, hateful, obscene people who want everyone to know how much love they have for family values and Jesus and oh god won’t somebody think of the children! It is to those people whom I address in the remainder of today’s post. Those Christians who assume this progressive country abides by the laws in their millennia-old book.

Your silly book of fairy tales with its laws against shaving your beard and laws against women taking on roles as educators and laws proclaiming bats are birds and stories about talking donkeys and people being turned into pillars of salt and daughters raping their drunken father and god destroying everything a man loves and lives for all because of a silly bet…

That’s not the book from which our normal-people laws are derived. Hell isn’t real, heaven isn’t real, talking serpents and donkeys aren’t real, dragons and unicorns and behemoths and leviathans aren’t real… so do kindly shut the fuck up and refrain from passing judgment on anybody – ANYBODY – seeking happiness and inclusiveness and equality. Because if what they’re doing shakes the very foundation of your fundamental beliefs, then it’s your fundamentals which need to be checked, NOT theirs.

If I learned anything from the Bible, and I have read it cover to cover, it’s that lesson from very early on in the book about the big important guy getting all in a kerfuffle because his two subservient playthings decided to seek knowledge: the ultimate gift.

Too bad satan’s not real, otherwise I’d praise him for setting us free from the Christian god’s shackles.

Equality wins, boys and girls, friends and family. And of you still huffing and puffing about hell or about how icky it is that some people actually had to fight and live through the ridicule and the pain and the insults just to hear their country say “okay, you’re allowed to love each other now,” you huffers and puffers are a dying breed.

This is an incredible time to be alive in the United States. I’m watching history being made. I’m watching my friends finally be recognized as actual people. I get to see my friends rejoice in who they are and know that finally, America is on their side.

If there was a god, I wouldn’t offer cries of “god bless” or “god is great” or any sort of fealty. Not after seeing how his/her/its followers and so-called disciples spit venom and hatred and condemnation toward anybody a little bit different than themselves. Anybody with a different skin color, or anybody with a different sexual preference or identity. No, god deserves no love, no praise, no thanks. It’s the fast-growing majority of progressive, forward-thinking Americans who are to thank for helping bring this country that much closer to universal equality.

Godless Medley

This is a medley of three songs I’ve written. The first, called “Little Atheist Me,” makes its debut in the medley. The second and third, titled “Songs About Jesus” and “The Fantastic Theory,” were previously recorded and released on my YouTube channel. Altogether, the video is just under ten minutes long. Two, if not all three, songs contain swear words. So put on those headphones.

“Little Atheist Me” is about nothing more than me and my worldview, which just happens to not include any gods. The song describes those things I do believe in, such as “love and hope and family,” as well as those things I’m afraid of, like “falling to my death or being stung by bees.” As the song says in the chorus, I’ve got “no time for Jesus.” I wrote this as a way to tell the religious community that atheists do have plenty of things they believe in or are afraid of; it’s just that none of those things include superstition.

“Songs About Jesus” is really just one song, and it’s only about Jesus insofar as the Christian belief that “Jesus is God” goes. So I suppose, really, it should have been called “A Song About God.” But there you have it. The song is also how a lot of Christians don’t seem very Christ-like, so I guess that’s the part about Jesus.

“The Fantastic Theory” is about Intelligent Design versus evolution, and the battle to censor science and/or teach ID in public schools. Mostly I cover evolution and sing about how life has no apparent design; and if it was created, it wasn’t done so very intelligently.

A few notes unrelated to the song(s)…

  • No, I will not take off that hat. I really like that hat.
  • No, I will not trim my guitar strings. No reason; I just can’t be bothered.
  • The silicone band on my right wrist is zebra-print and I got it at the Dallas Zoo. Incidentally, the Dallas Zoo is where my wife and I had our wedding ceremony.
  • The guitar is a Yamaha. I received it as a gift for my seventeenth birthday.
  • I bought my shirt through RichardDawkins.net

Also on my YouTube channel, you’ll find a few additional songs:

  • “Mary,” which is more or less about marijuana.
  • “Imagine,” which is a cover of John Lennon’s famous song.
  • “Rat-Zinger,” which is about the Catholic Pope and child-molesting priests.
  • “Fabulous,” which is about equal rights, especially for the LGBT community.

An Atheist Meets God

The following video was made by Edward Current. “An Atheist Meets God”

MAN: Dum-de-dum-de-dum, I don’t believe in god. Dum-de-dum-de-dum, everything came from the Big bang. Dum-de-dum, and the Bible was written by mortal men. Dum-de-dum-de-dum, what the- uh oh! …Where am I?

GOD: Where do you think you are?

MAN: Who are you?

GOD: I am the god of the Bible, the creator of the universe. You are here to be judged before me!

MAN: Am I in Heaven?

GOD: For the moment. According to my all-knowing knowledge, you did not believe in me when you were alive. Explain why. I need to know.

MAN: Uh, because there was no evidence that you actually exist?

GOD: No evidence? Did you ever hear of something called the Holy Bible?

MAN: Well, yeah, but-

GOD: Yeah, but nothing! I wrote that book, and if you had read it you’d know that!

MAN:

GOD: Do you actually admit that you were an atheist?

MAN: Well, yeah.

GOD: As I wrote in the Bible, the only way to salvation is through my son, Jesus Christ.

MAN: But I was a good person; I volunteered at a homeless shelter for like, ten years.

GOD: It doesn’t matter! Did you or did you not worship me, the god of the Bible?

MAN: Uh, no?

GOD: Wrong answer! I created the universe! You should’ve worshipped and praised me! I’m not very happy about this!

MAN: Isn’t that a little petty of you?

GOD: SILENCE! My universe, my rules!

MAN: Okay… how about if I start worshipping and praising you now?

GOD: Too late. You failed your test in life and now you must face eternal consequences.

MAN: But I thought you were supposed to be all-merciful and all-forgiving.

GOD: Only to people who believe that I exist. Once I make someone die, er, and they see me, they can’t change their mind! Exactly how forgiving do you expect me to be?

MAN: Can you make an exception? I mean, I taught my children to be considerate and generous to others.

GOD: NO! What do you think Heaven would be like if I let in every good person?

MAN: Um…

GOD: I only want people who praised me and worshipped me, and thanked me when good things happened to them! Preferably on national television.

MAN: So why do you allow bad things to happen, even to Christians who love you?

GOD: … I don’t have time for this nonsense! Uh, I have prayers to listen to and, and toast to burn images of the Virgin Mary onto! I mean, I could be blessing America right now! You- you can pick up a copy of my frequently asked questions from my assistant Saint Peter on your way out.

MAN: Where am I going?

GOD: Where do you think you’re going? I hate to have to do this, but I am sending you to HELL, to burn in excruciating pain for eternity!

MAN: But- but why? I, ah, I wasn’t a bad person at all!

GOD: You failed to believe what I wrote about myself in my best-selling book. You might as well have been a baby raper! Your fate would have been the same!

MAN: Okay, tell you what. Let me return to earth for a day so I can tell my loved ones that you really exist and that they must worship and praise you, or else.

GOD: NO! They must learn the truth the same way everyone else does: through one of the many questionably translated and edited versions of my two thousand-year-old collection of desert scribblings, uh, and nothing more! Besides, your skull was totally crushed by that bus. Bringing you back to life would be medically impossible, even by miracle standards. There are some things I just cannot fix. Remember that Terri Schiavo chick?

MAN:

GOD: There’s profound brain damage, amputated limbs, rabies…

MAN: But, I thought you were-

GOD: SILENCE! You had your chance! Hell is what people like you get for being skeptical of me or for being born into a culture with the wrong religion and failing to find the path to Jesus Christ instead!

MAN: Can I speak to someone else, like, whoever made you?

GOD: Goodbye, non-Christian!

MAN: Noooooooooo!

GOD: Let this be a warning to the rest of you. Worship and praise me, the god of the Bible, or else!

The countdown is nearly over!

Two days ’til rapture.

So what exactly does that mean? It means a great world-wide earthquake, to start with. As already determined the earthquake will begin precisely at 6:00p local time everywhere. This gives us in Texas and the central United States a good 19 hours’ warning. I’d say that’s plenty of time to get away from large, heavy structures that likely wouldn’t survive an earthquake. Simultaneously, 200 million or so Christians will be “raptured,” meaning their physical bodies will be lifted off the earth and into Heaven. What is yet to be determined is whether their clothes will be raptured with them. In addition, the ground will split open and all of the dead who in their lives believed in Jesus will also ascend into Heaven.

Gross.

Anyway, the rest of us will be left behind – yes, just like in the books! For five months (because the world will cease to be on October 21) those of us who didn’t perish in the earthquake will suffer terribly: war (even without all the crazy Christians?), plague, starvation; not to mention the terrible natural disasters that will happen. This summer we can expect to see hurricanes, tornadoes, mudslides, storms, hail; basically all the same things we see every summer.

I can only imagine all the pissed-off non-Christians who will be left behind. I said jocularly in my last post that we atheists will be all that’s left in this world, totally free of religion. That’s obviously untrue. We’ll still have all the crazy Jews and Muslims, Hindus and Rastafarians. If I believed any bit of this was true, I would be worried about the crazy religionists who aren’t super thrilled about learning that everything they’ve ever believed was wrong. Naturally (and I’m talking about you, Jihadists) some of them will take out their frustrations on the rest of us. No doubt there would still be war. And this time, all the crazy Christians in the US government and intelligence agencies won’t be here to protect us. Which brings us back home.

The majority of the US government and government agencies will disappear. The majority of the US armed forces (Army, Marine Corps, Air Force, et al), FBI and CIA, police and fire departments will be gone. There will be bedlam, anarchy, riots, looting, fires, depression, terror – just absolute chaos. Most of my friends and family will have disappeared. My wife and I, along with a pretty small group of close friends will be left behind and, if we survive the earthquakes on Day Zero, we’ll have to work together to survive the next five months…

…to be continued.

Four more days

Four days ’til rapture.

Being that you are a good Christian, you will be raptured in four days. Being that animals have no souls, your pets will not. Being that I am atheist, I also will not be raptured. Assuming you are not a cruel person (after all, you’re a good Christian, right?) you are probably interested in making sure your pets continue to receive care even after you are gone. If your answer is anything other than “Yes Dave, you’re right, I do want my pet to be cared for after my ascension into Heaven” then you are a cruel, heartless person. See also: not a good Christian. If that’s the case, you won’t be raptured anyway so my offer won’t matter. If you do want your pets receiving care, daily feed, proper grooming, etc. then by all means email me with your request. Please include your home address and keep in mind that I live in north Texas so be reasonable.

The Final Countdown: day eight

Eight days left ’til rapture.

Rapture would be beautiful. The crazy Christians get what they want – ascension into Heaven with JC – and we freethinkers get what we want – no more crazy Christians. I’d say it’s win-win if it weren’t for the whole Four Horsemen thing. Death, famine, destruction and whatnot.

What’s disappointing is that once May 21st comes and goes without much ado, those who claim they know the exact time and date of rapture won’t let it drop. They’ll just say there was a mathematical error in their calculation, and that it’ll still definitely happen sometime during their lifetime. Just like it happened during Jesus’ followers’ lifetime when he told them it would.

Bin Laden’s Virgins

The likelihood that Osama bin Laden is currently philandering with seventy-two maidens with heaving breasts in a giant bathtub full of wine is exactly the same as the likelihood that the Christian Heaven exists.

Just sayin’.

Why Don’t Bees Go to Heaven?

So why don’t bees go to Heaven?
Trees go to Heaven?
Amoeba, krill, and fleas go to Heaven?
It’s not surprisin’ that they’re not arisin’
‘Cos man created god.
-by Ronnie Williams

Why Don’t Bees Go to Heaven?

I remember hanging out with some friends at a skate park during my freshman year of high school (for the record, I was not a “skater”) when a religious dope approached us with a handful of pamphlets. He started handing them out to us since we were, after all, just a bunch of hoodlums who needed to be saved, and he was telling us about his god. I stopped him at one point and asked him if my dog would also go to Heaven.

HIM: Excuse me?”
ME: My dog. Will she go to Heaven too?
HIM: No.
ME: Why not?
HIM: Because animals don’t have souls like people.
ME: Then fuck your god.

My freshman year was a time when I was still questioning whether or not I actually believed any gods existed, so I was very fragile. To be told that the Christian god would accept me into Heaven (provided I believed in it) but not my dog Cocoa was terrifying and heartbreaking. Obviously they didn’t believe in a god who was in any way benevolent or cared about our happiness. I couldn’t imagine a god existing who so hated us that he would damn us to an eternity without our closest companions.

Without dogs, bees, trees, krill, whales, worms, and orangutans, and all the things that make life so beautiful and worthwhile, Heaven must be awfully boring. Count me out.