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Nice to be here.
at78rpm
Hello, reader. Allow me to briefly introduce myself, then add an equally brief statement of my essential outlook. (Why on Earth would you be interested? Well, because I'm not a bad writer, that's why.)

I was born into a Roman Catholic family in a suburb of New York City in May of 1959. When I was little I squirmed so much in church that my parents began dropping me off at Grandpa's house. Grandpa, making every effort to avoid Grandma, went to church every day -- but he made sure he was home at 10 so he could go downstairs with me and have me watch him drink bourbon. Sometimes we'd go over to his WW 1 buddy's house, Mr. Page's place, and they'd both reminisce and drink bourbon. I can still feel the sunlight streaming through the windows of Mr. Page's living room: I sat in a chair by a small table with a candy dish that had candy nobody was allowed to eat because it was for "company", and that table was in front of the window. Still, that boredom was far better than the Latin mass that was still being practised in my hometown church.

In 1965, my father came home and announced the family was moving to Brooklyn. I was in first grade and the local Catholic school was a few blocks up the hill, so we were enrolled. Mass with my class, for eight long years. Every Sunday. 9:00 in grades 1 and 2, then 8:00 from grades 3 - 8. When I could choose my high school, I broke with family tradition and my two older brothers and went to a public high school.

Got married in 1984 and had two daughters. My mother, a diehard Catholic, would not come to my daughters' baptisms, because they were baptised in the Episcopal church. My (ex-)wife was religious, and Episcopalian was acceptable to me because I liked their music.

I trained to be an elementary school teacher, so I've been teaching 2nd grade for a rather long time. It's a lot of fun, and I can be quietly subversive with 7 and 8 year olds.

Brooklyn was a nice place to live, but it gets wearing after a while -- especially if you ever try getting out of it for a while. Getting out and coming back, whether by car, bus, or train, is absolutely harmful to one's health. So 20 years ago I moved to northern New York, to a small town called Saranac Lake. I love it here. I'm remarried and very, very happy. My wife is a wonderful companion, and we spend quite a bit of time traveling. I speak Russian and German, so one of these summers we're going over there to either Russia or Germany. I'd prefer Germany, since it's so much less religious than even Russia.

So: I promised you an addendum, so here it is.

Why does it seem so impossible to religious folk that we atheists should have no ground upon which to plant the flag of ethical behavior? (I prefer the word “ethical” to “moral” due to the baggage of the latter word.) I know Sam Harris has a recent book out on this subject. His book is about 200 pages or so, well written, I’m sure, since Harris is a lively writer. But really, Sam, why the waste of ink? It really is simple.

That there is no God is apparent to anyone who has lost a limb and prays fervently for God to make that limb regrow. It should also be apparent to anyone who looks up in the sky and realizes that it’s the Milky Way we’re looking at and not Heaven. We can forgive the ancients for thinking good was Up, bad, Down. They thought the gods carried the heavenly bodies across the sky, so it was natural they made the sky the permanent home of their collectively imagined God. This God would send you Down for eternity if you were bad, Up if you were good. Unfortunately, though, what was good for some was too good or not good enough for others, so these others thought those good people were actually bad people, and the bad people thought that they were in fact the good people because they had the right notion of God and the other guys didn’t. Except the other guys thought the same thing about these guys. So each side’s definition of morality was subject to an interpretation of a collective illusion.

Now, for the sake of argument, just suppose that we agree there is no God. How are we to have anything better than the aforementioned moral blender without the threat of eternal Downhood, of an afterlife spent entirely in a place that would make a maggot think twice?

It is precisely because no God exists that we must live for each other. If no God exists, nobody has a corner on correct thinking. We do, after all, have certain inalienable rights; things that are unquestionably part of a universal ethic. The reason for us to act kindly toward each other is entirely understandable and easy to justify: it is the best way to ensure our own happiness.

Since the main reason religion exists is to create the conditions for human happiness among believers (in exchange for which humans do things like make sacrifices, go to church, avoid coffee, etc.) then if another route to human happiness exists, such as the logical and phenomenological examination of conditions that create that happiness, it seems reasonable to prefer to the latter to the former, if for no other reason than that sacrifices are messy affairs, church is a pain, and coffee tastes good.

Von Tugend spricht, wer keine hat.
-- Gotthold Ephraim Lessing
 
Theory_Execution
Well, because I'm not a bad writer, that's why.


Has Kowboy a new User Name?!

Now, for the sake of argument, just suppose that we agree there is no God.


And this is where we lose most of the religious, they just will not give it some thought, they have been led to believe that that sort of thinking will lead to your Downhood.

Welcome to the website!
 
seeker
Welcome.

I hope you find this site to be the oasis of rationality that I have.
"Those who cannot remember the past are condemned to repeat it." - George Santayana
 
Hypatia
Welcome to the site at78rpm. Hope you'll feel at home here.
 
Skeeve
Welcome, at78rpm!

If you don't mind me asking, how did you find our site?
"The world is my country, and do good is my religion." - Thomas Paine
 
cheshiredragon
"Now, for the sake of argument, just suppose that we agree there is no God."

Or until new evidence proves otherwise...


Welcome, sir
 
at78rpm
Skeeve wrote:

Welcome, at78rpm!

If you don't mind me asking, how did you find our site?



Well, thanks for the welcome -- I rather like the weather here. I found this site by typing "Atheists today" in a search window. No kidding! I wanted to find a site that spoke about the issues facing atheists today.

Maybe the good Lord Jesus led me here! Yes, that's it, I was inspired....come to think of it, my coffee cup made a stain that, now that I can examine it more closely, definitely looks like a halo! Yes, it's a halo! Blessed be me, oh, yay!
Von Tugend spricht, wer keine hat.
-- Gotthold Ephraim Lessing
 
Hypatia
at78rpm wrote:

Skeeve wrote:

Welcome, at78rpm!

If you don't mind me asking, how did you find our site?



Well, thanks for the welcome -- I rather like the weather here. I found this site by typing "Atheists today" in a search window. No kidding! I wanted to find a site that spoke about the issues facing atheists today.

Maybe the good Lord Jesus led me here! Yes, that's it, I was inspired....come to think of it, my coffee cup made a stain that, now that I can examine it more closely, definitely looks like a halo! Yes, it's a halo! Blessed be me, oh, yay!


May I touch you?
 
at78rpm
No, you may not touch me! It is strictly prohibited! See Lev. 45,443:77 - 9000. Right next to "Thou shalt stone to death most people."
Von Tugend spricht, wer keine hat.
-- Gotthold Ephraim Lessing
 
Hypatia
at78rpm wrote:

No, you may not touch me! It is strictly prohibited! See Lev. 45,443:77 - 9000. Right next to "Thou shalt stone to death most people."


I'm very sorry, really I am. I don't normally attempt to grope any new members until after they've made a minimum of 10 posts, but it must just be that I have a case of the nerves today.

Please forgive me.

See Lev. 45,443:77 - 9000
??

hmm
 
General-Pryce
Hypatia wrote:

I don't normally attempt to grope any new members until after they've made a minimum of 10 posts,



I feel somewhat under-groped Sad
 
at78rpm
For all those feeling undergroped, simply read Ezekiel ch. 23. In that (not often read) chapter, god rapes two women who then leave him for guys with bigger penises and more semen (I am NOT kidding.) Then he gets jealous and gropes some more....

It makes for a rollicking read!
Von Tugend spricht, wer keine hat.
-- Gotthold Ephraim Lessing
 
Skeeve
Ez 23:20 is my favorite! I've used in my sig line many times.
"The world is my country, and do good is my religion." - Thomas Paine
 
cheshiredragon
Indeed! What I wouldn't give to live in that chapter for a day. All whores and sex if I remember correctly.
 
JohnH
Women may not enjoy sex and those that do are whores. Damn don't you love the bible as a moral compass.

I have two children. I would like to believe that their mother enjoyed being fucked when those children were conceived.
 
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