belief – Page 2 – The Wayward Willis Podcast

The “War” on Christmas Begins Anew

Every single year, without fail, controversy will brew and boil over regarding the Christian-hijacked Winter Solstice celebration known as Christmas.  You might ask what kind of petty, childish, arrogant group of non-believers would subject our good, kind, religious society to such ridiculous outbursts of intolerance and hatred.  Maybe you wouldn’t.  Regardless, it may or may not surprise you to know that it’s the religious people themselves who continue to stir this pot and we irreligious people can either react or let them fight it out among themselves.  I choose to react, but only in a limited capacity.  I’ll comment on the religious mindset and attempt to dispel any myths being spread about how I feel toward Christmas.

This year, Ben Stein has written an essay detailing the problem with not saying, “Merry Christmas.”  You might think that not saying something is harmless.  I know I do.  However, Mr. Stein makes it perfectly clear that not greeting people with a, “Merry Christmas” is directly tied to the downfall of society and the destruction of this country.  Let’s begin.

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Respect for Respect’s Sake

I’ve been in a number of debates in person and online where emotions flared and the conversation eventually boiled down to a variant of the following:

Why can’t you just respect a person’s beliefs?

Here’s the problem with that: not all beliefs are created equal and not all are worthy of respect.  The person saying the above is usually emotionally invested in the beliefs I’ve questioned and is usually unable to present any rational reason for a person holding those beliefs in the first place.  What they’re really saying is, “Since I can’t defend my untenable beliefs I really wish you would leave them alone so I don’t feel like I have to!”

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You Can’t See My Balls

There are two men standing in front of you. One is holding a basketball and the other with just open, outstretched arms. The man with the basketball shows you the ball, describes its color and its size and how its shape and hardness change if you add or remove air using a pump (which he also shows you). He dribbles the ball, takes a couple of shots, and then sits down.

The other guy stands up and tells you he also has a basketball but you can’t sense it in any way and no tests you perform will ever reveal the kind of ball that the other man is showing you. He insists, however, that he has one and that it is, in fact, a basketball. He “dribbles” the ball and makes a couple of “shots” which he insists swished – nothing but net! Then he sits down.


As a theist/creationist you are choosing to believe the guy with empty hands. Sure, he can’t prove he has a ball but he is really nice, seems really skilled with his basketball, and he said it will make you feel happy if you believe him. Further, he promises that if you continue to believe him you’ll have a basketball just like his someday – but he can’t tell you when.

Let’s think about this for a second. In what area of your life, outside of religion, would you willingly accept this kind of scenario? Under what other circumstances could a person convince you to go completely against your senses and your experience of reality like this? You’re probably finding it difficult to come up with something and I don’t blame you. It’s typical for a believer to compartmentalize and show an unusually high degree of skepticism toward everything except their beliefs. Maybe that’s something on which we should work, yes?

I don’t know about you, but I chose to play basketball with real basketballs and it’s been a more enjoyable game.

Credit for concept goes to “speedjunkie13” from Used with permission.

More Facebook Hypocrisy

I can’t figure out why something like this is necessary:

Is Jesus going to give you an extra pillow on your bed in the afterlife for re-posting this? Are you going to convert someone to Christianity by declaring you have an invisible friend? Doubtful. And what kind of irks me is that if I were to counter with something like this:

I personally believe in humanity. One Facebooker has challenged all others to put this on their wall. Nietzsche said, “There is not sufficient love and goodness in the world to permit us to give some of it away to imaginary beings.” This is a simple test. If you love humankind and you are not afraid to show it, re-post this…

I would get backlash because I’m voicing a view that is contrary to the forwarded e-mail mentality surrounding the above Facebook post. Is there a reason I shouldn’t post what I’ve written above? Not really, aside from the fact that it’ll be taken as a retaliation against believers who are forwarding this other thing around (which it obviously is). There’s also the problem of some of the Jesus posters being my family members. That would make it a little less comfortable.

The biggest thing keeping me from actually hitting the “post” button is that I’m not a freaking sheep who just forwards crap around for the hell of it. What would either of these Facebook statuses hope to accomplish? What practical use would either of them have? In my mind, none. They’re just a stupid spam message clogging up the news feed when I could be seeing more important things like what color my friend’s baby’s poop was or how good their sushi was at lunch. You know, things that actually mattersilly

Should I post my counter status or not? What do you think?

Religious Rhinoplasty

My religion has a long-standing tradition, mandated by my all-knowing and loving god of giving all newborns nose jobs so that they’re shaped like a perfect little button. My god doesn’t like bulbous or pointy noses and in order for children to get into eternal paradise, they must follow in obedience to my god and have their nose “perfected.” The procedure is outlined in my holy text wherein it is commanded for each child’s nose to be broken with a smooth stone and set in the shape that pleases my god.

“I’m glad god loves me now that my nose is perfect!”

Don’t you dare tell me that this practice violates my child’s free will or harms them in any way! My god loves us and wants the best for us and the children don’t suffer any kind of lasting trauma from the procedure, even though no anesthetic of any kind can be used. In fact, this procedure has very real health benefits by opening up the nasal passages which eliminates much of the risk of sinus infection, mucosal blockage, and deviated septums. I know this because it says so on Wikipedia. You can look it up for yourself, I’m not going to do your research for you.

When I heard that certain groups were lobbying to make my religious practice illegal, I was outraged! Don’t we have freedom of religion here? Aren’t I free to practice my faith without being molested by the government everywhere I turn? As a parent I ought to be able to make the decision as to whether or not I bash my child in the face with a rock. It’s MY choice! Oh, and I want to make sure that my health insurance is going to cover the procedure, OK? Thanks.

If you think this is a stupid comparison, it’s probably because you have stupid beliefs. I’m not going to sugar-coat it.

Facebook Hypocrisy

On a daily basis I see things like this in my news feed:

I’m not sure what my friends typing these things are trying to accomplish. As far as I know, god doesn’t actually have a Facebook account. It’s nice that they want to share their prayers with the world, but why?

Anyway, that’s not even the reason I’m posting this. It doesn’t really bother me that religious people put religious stuff in their FB statuses because I put irreligious stuff in mine. I’d be a real ass to complain about their statuses. What bothers me is that this is considered by them to be the epitome of normalcy and carries some kind of implied protection that doesn’t extend to anything else on FB. If I comment on these types of posts it invariably comes down to “stop attacking my beliefs!” or something similar. For that reason I’ve stopped making comments on things like this.

What really gets me is that if I post a link to a video or a news story or a quote by a famous atheist, it will immediately generate comments from my religious friends about how I should just stop talking about it or how I’m wrong. For instance:

GrapplingIgnorance’s video here.

I had to fire back on this one. It’s patently ridiculous to propose that everyone in the world must respect your beliefs while continually chiding others for their views. If you want to have the privilege of voicing your opinions then you must extend the same courtesy to others. Also, if you you post something publicly on FB then you have to assume that somebody will have an opinion on it. With that in mind, you are inviting comment by posting it and must therefore be ready to defend it without getting your panties bunched up.

Seriously, stop being such hypocrites, FB people!

Are They in Heaven?

I saw this in my news feed on one of my Facebook friends’ status:

══════════════ ೋღ☃ღೋ ══════════════╗
❤If you miss someone that’s in heaven, put this as your status!❤
╚══════════════ ೋღ☃ღೋ ══════════════╝

I wonder: how could you possibly know for sure whether or not your loved one is in Heaven? The problem, as I see it, is that nearly every religion has different views as to what it takes to get there. Some believe you get there by works, some by living a moral life, some through gaining knowledge/wisdom, some simply by professing belief, and some through multiple reincarnations until you “get it right.” Some of these are mutually exclusive and so they can’t all be correct. So how do you know if your loved one made the right choice in how to get there? It’s all terribly confusing!

I suppose what it really boils down to is this: if believing that your loved one (or dog/cat/hamster) is in Heaven with god makes you feel better about not having them around anymore, then they’re in Heaven. Really, it’s all about what you want to believe. I mean, it’s very rare to hear someone say, “I really miss my dad. He was a great guy. It’s just too bad he’s roasting in Hell right now.” Heaven just seems like a comfort device that has no real value to the dead but to the survivors instead.

Anyway, just thought I’d share a thought. It’s not important but it’s on my mind.

Like Taking Candy From Babies

In response to this post by Bakersdozen2, I want to comment on the idea that a child died, went to Heaven, and was returned to a quadriplegic body to be on a respirator for the rest of his life.

The 6-year-old child is said to have gone to Heaven while in a coma for two months after a traumatic car crash that left him paralyzed due to an internal decapitation. His father was talking on the phone while driving and was ejected from the car, escaping all injury. Praise the lord! The father even wrote a book about it that spent some time on the bestseller list. Hallelujah!

In recounting his experience, the boy tells of how he was in the lap of Jesus in the most amazing and wonderful place imaginable. This place was filled with happiness, there was no pain, he was able to speak with angels, and he came to think of it as “home.” Then, coming out of the coma, he was returned to his non-functioning body here on Earth to live out the rest of his days not being able to move or provide for himself and needing a respirator for at least part of the time. The child even told his father that, even though he’s not depressed, he can’t wait to die and go back to Heaven because he doesn’t feel like this is “home” anymore.

Isn’t god good? No.

You tell me what kind of malevolent being you would have to be in order to give this poor child a taste of the most perfect place imaginable, dangling it in front of him like a piece of candy, and then yank it away to put the kid back into a broken body where he’ll go through his life being fed either by a caretaker or through a tube and have his ass wiped by someone else because he’ll never even be able to do that for himself. Does that sound like love to you? Why bring the child to Heaven only to send him back? And why call this a miraculous story?

You know what would have been a miracle? If god would have stopped the car crash! Wow, that would have been amazing! Just imagine what would have happened if the crash hadn’t occurred and this boy got to just go on living his life like everyone else! What a concept…

It seems to me that people who really want to believe in god’s power pick up on stories like this without really thinking through all of the nuances involved. Instead of wondering why god couldn’t have returned the boy to a miraculously functional body with a message of hope for the world, they blindly accept that their notions of Heaven have been confirmed and that it’s proof of god. Instead of wondering why god would allow something like this to happen to a 6-year-old child, they mindlessly praise god that the child is still (basically) alive. Instead of questioning god’s logic, they vomit canned responses like these:

#1. God’s purposes surpass our temporal comfort
#2. There is a place that far exceeds their greatest imaginings.

So we’re to believe that the promise of an awesome place justifies god having his way with us however he wishes? That’s like saying I opened an incredible college savings plan for my son but in order for him to get it he has to let me beat him and tell him he’s a piece of trash until he turns 18! I’m not OK with that, and you shouldn’t be either.