May 30, 2011

Good Without God - Epstein

I have been defining myself and my beliefs more over the last few years, and especially in this last year. I wasn't too keen on the negativity in the Atheist books and certainly have been finding more and more reason to dislike the main stream religious people.

Then my husband forwarded this article:
Good without God: Why Nonreligious is the Fastest Growing Preference in America

I read the first part of the article and realized that this was exactly what I was looking for: Positivity. Positivity about Humanism, positivity about the ability to be good without the belief of a God-like figure watching everything we do, invading all of our thoughts to then decide whether we are good enough for whatever afterlife that belief prescribes to.

The teachings in the bible, especially the new testament, with it's "turn the other cheek" and "Do unto others as you'd have them do unto you" pacifist teachings were all well and good, but in real life, the people who identify themselves as Christians do not seem to believe that this applies to anyone who is not a believer in their same god.

If someone is a non-believer, skeptic, or follower of a multitheistic religion, or as of 9/11 anyone who is a Muslim, then apparently this doesn't apply. Why? Why are people who identify themselves as Christians so hostile toward people who are not Christians, and along these lines, why are people from any of the three main monotheistic religions so completely full of vile hatred toward non-believers? Why is it so inconceivable that someone could possibly be a good person and not believe in their god? To which I have to wonder how there could be so many people who do believe in one of those three religions end up so very evil? There are the child-predator Catholic Priests, the Taliban, etc.

So, to equate religious with goodness and non-religious with immoral heathens who will sooner murder you as look at you is invalid. There are a lot of good people who don't need a god threatening to send them to purgatory if they screw up or if they proselytize enough, will be allowed to go to heaven or valhalla after they die. There are a lot of people who believe in a god that are good people, there are immoral people who don't believe in god. 

To break it down visually:
Red = Bad People         Green =   Good People
Apples = Atheist/Humanist/Agnostic/Non-Believer/Secular
Pears = Christian/Muslim/Jewish/Believer/Religious
There are red apples, green apples, red pears and green pears. But they are all fruit. We are all humans.

But - there are more people who do good than who don't. Period. Whether they believe in a deity or not is immaterial to their desire to do good for their fellow human.

This is what I have faith in - the core goodness of humanity.

I had saved a part of an ad for something (don't remember what) that really broke it down nicely, and I will add my two cents in there:

On this planet, it is estimated that there are:
6,554,526,725 people,
193 countries, 
+6000 languages,
21 major religions (Nearly 400 religions and mythologies) Per and

Roughly 1 billion people do not profess belief in any religion.

We are all stuck on this rock together we need to learn to be less fearful and more accepting that other groups of people, learn what makes them kick, accept that what may be right for one person is not right for each other.

Opinions Vary. Beliefs vary. That's why there's over 400 different religions / mythologies, and over 6000 languages. We cannot all be the same. (How horrid that would be!! What if everyone has the same white minivan, same color hair, same skin tone, same Monday night dinner, same single restaurant type to go out to eat at, with only one choice of meal, same Friday night movie. Thankfully this is NOT our world. There is a beautiful biodiversity, not only with the other species of plants and animals on the planet, but also a biodiversity within the human race.... Still only one human race, but different skin tones, hair color, height, weight, hair type. Amazing Variety!!!!! the same is true with our beliefs! Beautiful Variety!

I will accept your beliefs as your own without trying to convert you to my humanist beliefs, as long as you don't try to convert me to your beliefs. I will respect your beliefs as long as you respect mine. That means - no pity "You don't believe in god? Oh I'm so sorry." NO MY DOG didn't just DIE, I willingly made an informed choice after going to several different churches of different Christian sects. None of them fit my views, my values, my moral codes, so therefore don't pity me, don't give me that look as if I'd just told you everyone in my immediate family died suddenly. Seriously.   I won't pity you for your blindness, your sheep-like herd mentality, or closed mind.
Just accept that I can be good without god, just as you can be good with god.

May 1, 2011

Lizard fuel...

This is Desi, my Desert Iguana. He was looking just to cute with the Palo Verde flower hanging out of his mouth. We were at an education event, and as a special treat for hanging out, being a good lizard, he got a pile of Palo verde flowers to nom...

I also spoil Charlie the Chuckwalla the same way: