Who Ya Gunna Call?

I cannot remember the last time I bought a cake for a social event. If I did find myself in the market for a commercially made cake for an LGBTQ+ friendly event, I would probably ask around. Why would I bother with a bakery that I know will refuse my business for any reason, much less a religious one? Litigation is not my gig.

People are going to want to eat this thing. I need someone I can trust. I’m not saying that anyone would poison the cake, but people have been viciously beaten or murdered for being gay or black, atheist, Jewish, trans, or even a friend or ally of such people. Why risk it? I would be responsible.

As I’ve read about litigation over such things, I wondered how religious beliefs would work when more critical things are in question: health care, for example.

I noticed that South Carolina recently passed a law allowing medical personnel to refuse providing healthcare based on their conscience (faith, religion, beliefs, morals). This law amends existing legal code. State and federal laws already provide such protection. No doctor can be forced to do what they don’t agree with, except in an emergency.

Personally, regarding me, I don’t want medical staff doing anything they object to, are not skilled at or familiar with. I don’t want to be their first case—a guinea pig. I prefer no students, interns, or even residents practice on me, based on past experiences. I should have the right to decline treatment by students, but that is another argument.

Over the years, I have been hospitalized several times, I’ve had surgery and procedures where I have been helpless and/or unconscious. On a few of those occasions, I met the doctor and the rest of the surgical/procedure team for the first and last time in the OR/Lab.

I was able to glean some things about these people. Sometimes I knew one, but never all. Of those I knew, I could guess that maybe their native language was not English. I could also guess about gender/sex, but little more. I knew nothing of their religious or moral beliefs. It was a don’t ask, don’t tell situation. No doctor or nurse ever clearly prayed in my presence. That might be bad for business.

In one case, I met with the head of cardiology. As part of the discussion, he asked what I wanted them to do, if the pending procedure went south. I verbally approved extreme measures to keep me alive (unnecessary as it went well). He was not my attending physician/surgeon, but no one else asked me that question. I felt that if I had said, “No extreme measures. Let me die.” He would have made the note and been okay with that. I knew nothing about his moral or spiritual beliefs, nor the policy of the hospital regarding such issues.

Except for interns and residents, I expect medical professionals to know what they are doing. I hope they had good training, and I hope we get along in our provider-patient relationship.

But I wonder how often doctors are forced to perform non-emergency procedures their religion or morality prevents. Why are existing laws insufficient? Is this SC law political grandstanding and a waste of time and money? I don’t know. I live in Texas, so I also don’t care. But I did ponder some things.

I can’t say for other countries because I don’t know. But I’ve noticed that medical facilities/organizations, doctors, other medical professionals, and insurance companies always seem to get their way in the USA. I know there are such things as various patient rights, but what are they and what are the consequences of non-compliance?

I would like to believe that hospitals and doctors are dedicated to keeping everyone alive and healthy. I want to think that at least the doctors, if not the entire medical staff, will apply the best medical science to treatment. If a facility or doctor will place religion before my health and welfare, I want to know up front. Must I ask such questions?

Happy St-Jean-Baptiste Day to all my friends in Quebec,


If you really want to get into this topic, HERE is a JAMA study on people considering religion in selecting medical care (Guess what? Care quality matters more than religion).

And THIS is a list of traditional religious guidelines regarding healthcare (rabbit hole warning).

What is a belief system?

I realize how difficult it is for people who are not atheist or agnostic to understand and accept what either term means. Yet, a reasonable dictionary like Merriam-Webster is a good start. The more religious a person is, the harder it may be to grasp the concept of either, as simple as it may be. This is because so much of their belief is based on religion and nothing else.

Conversely, I never will understand why so many people continue to believe that people who do not believe in any god automatically lack both a moral compass and common sense. Maybe it is too difficult, too simple, or maybe they prefer what they have been told (not usually by a member of any nonbelieving entity) for most of their lives.

I cannot recall a time in my life when I thought less of someone because they did not believe in God. More often, it was some believers who troubled me. I’ve had friends and acquaintances from most large religious groups and even some wiccans and druids.

A theist believes in the existence of a god or gods; specifically, one believes in the existence of a God viewed as the creative source of humans, a god who transcends yet is immanent in the world. A person who lacks that belief is an atheist. Morality and trustworthiness must be discerned separately.

Agnostics claim that an ultimate reality such as God is unknown and probably unknowable. It’s not a halfway point between theist and atheist. This is something theists are more likely to get wrong than are atheists. Many folks are hyphenated agnostics: agnostic-atheist, agnostic-theist. I lean toward the former.

I found this PsyPost article regarding research that had been previously reported on in Psychology of Religion and Spirituality. It was about a published report that claimed to be “new” research. The PsyPost piece is dated May 9, 2022. It is bylined Patricia Y. Sanchez.

According to their webpage, “PsyPost is a psychology and neuroscience news website dedicated to reporting the latest research on human behavior, cognition, and society.” It is funded by advertising and claims to have three million readers.

PsyPost further claims, “We are not interested in over-generalizing or mischaracterizing research to get more clicks. We are not interested in confirming or disproving ideological beliefs. We are only interested in accurately reporting research about how humans think and behave.”

Overall, the subject research proports to investigate stereotype opinions held by various groups about atheists, religious (oddly, they chose protestants as a category), and, mainly, agnostics. The sample size was neither random nor sufficiently large to be statistically reliable. However, investigation of the obvious (my opinion) requires little serious statistical effort.

I thought everyone already knew, at least as far as stereotypes are concerned, that religious people generally favored their own ilk in terms of trust and general morality. But that is not my point.

The first sentence in the PsyPost article said this: “Agnosticism and atheism are often categorized into one “nonreligious” group in research despite these being distinct belief systems.”

It is safe to say that agnosticism and atheism do not compete with each other. One person may be both. It would also be right to say they should not be placed into the same religious category. However, it is wrong to categorize, state, or even to imply that either agnosticism or atheism is (or has) a belief system. Such a bogus first sentence places doubt upon either PsyPost or the researcher’s reporting and makes me question the peer review process of Psychology of Religion and Spirituality.

Sometimes it may seem like hair splitting, but this is how atheists.org said it, and I agree: “Atheism is not an affirmative belief that there is no god nor does it answer any other question about what a person believes. It is simply a rejection of the assertion that there are gods. Atheism is too often defined incorrectly as a belief system. To be clear: Atheism is not a disbelief in gods or a denial of gods; it is a lack of belief in gods.”

To do research on stereotyping it would seem appropriate to me that one must first stop one’s own stereotyping.

One more important thing. Cher, (Cherilyn Sarkisian) was born on this day (May 20) in 1946.

Happy Cher’s (76th) birthday, Y’all.


Wow. Ya gotta love science. 🙂


Prayer Requests

I noticed this box of cards as I walked past the church down the street. It was a box of 4×8 inch prayer request cards. I took one, just in case. If I want the people at the church to pray for me, I must take a card, fill it out with name, address, phone, what I want them to pray for (or to praise). I must also check either confidential or ok to publish. Publish? Then I must slide the card into the slot to be picked up by the help.

I’m not sure why they do this, but I like it. I once heard a retired preacher of the Calvinist tradition say that prayer is more effective if the person praying has greater faith. They know stuff like that. Maybe when more people pray, it works better. Maybe when people in an interdenominational church pray, it’s better because one of the denominations may be the right one.

I remember when a thousand people filled our Catholic church to pray for a well-liked, dying old lady. She got well. They were taking credit like crazy. Then she died. Oops. But death has never stopped Catholics from praying for the repose of the soul of a deceased. It’s part of the denomination.

What I like about this is if people want to be prayed for, they can ask. Otherwise, no prayers. If I want to be prayed for, or to offer praise in my name, I’ll let them know. Otherwise, they may assume I can do my own praying. Or, assume I do not want or need to be prayed for. Or, assume I’d rather they did something else.

It’s like asking, “Would you like us to pray for you?” Nope. And if I change my mind, I know where I can stick the request card. I feel so enlightened. Amen.


Angry Atheists

I’m not chronically angry. I am quite concerned about things politically, and I can be upset, even threatened by it all. However, just because I embrace my personal atheism, I’m not on mad autopilot.

I find the lies, deceptions, human rights violations, and self-righteousness of religions and religious people annoying, if not downright evil. Many believers agree with me. It has nothing to do with my atheism which is more about existence than religion.

Let me start with Greta Christina’s book, Why Are You Atheists So Angry? 90 Things That Piss Off the Godless. It’s a must read for those of us on the skeptical side of things. I think it is also a should read for every believer who writes, speaks, or thinks the word atheist. Greata is hardcore, but she politely makes a ton of excellent points regarding anger. Some of the things she mentions barely phase me, yet I agree with her.

Anger is a normal human emotion. I know what it is. I cannot honestly say that I have been angry because I am atheist or because I doubt if there is a god. But strangely, some people assume that emotion, if I question anything religious or spiritual.

For example, I participated in an online group regarding cancer, its treatment, and  advice was sought for families and patients. People shared their situation, either as a cancer patient or as a family member. “Thoughts and prayers” were often solicited and offered. Good for them. I expect that. One time I responded to an atheist who asked if anyone else “here” was also a skeptic. I told him that he was not alone. I understand why he asked.

However, there was one long, biblical, proselytizing, graphic, and very Christian posting. I commented that I was unaware of the religious nature of the group’s page. I was not offended or angry. Yet, many respondents seemed to think I was.

The post was unusual and over the top for me. Unfortunately, group admins were unable to let go of the issue. They even invited me to say what I thought. I respectfully declined and left the group. No harm, no foul. The stated purpose of the group was to focus on cancer treatment. If it did not, I must excuse myself. But I never felt the least bit of anger, nor was I offended.

I’m offended, as in my feelings may be hurt, when people assume I am less moral or evil because I doubt their god exists. Or worse, I say their religion and god are man-made. I am offended when a U.S. President implies atheists are not American citizens. But these things would offend most people.

It is just name-calling, but it is also dangerous. I am offended when I read hateful sputum produced by so-called religious people regarding people who think differently. However, I don’t walk around angry because of it.

And yes, there are angry rants and raves by pissed off people. I titled this blog “Dispassionate Doubt” for a reason.


And That’s a Fact, Jack.

Back when years began with nineteen instead of twenty, my head was topped with slightly thin, dark-brown hair with hints of gray near the temples. I had the look and was living through a time known as midlife.

I was treated well — an “expert” in my field. While I enjoyed it, I often felt that expectations of me pushed the limits of my knowledge and capabilities. As in baseball, I won some and lost some. Thinking back, I now realize that I was dealing with a minor form of imposter syndrome.

Eventually, I got comfortable saying, “I don’t know.” That helped, as did, “I don’t care” and “I was wrong.” I am cautious with those last two. Not caring may be offensive. Admitting error requires sufficient contrary evidence. To this day, I do not need to know how the Cosmos came into being. I’d like to know. But regardless of how it happened, it is what it is.

Back then, I carried a blue, loose-leaf binder notebook. I inserted humorous quotes and sarcastic cartoons into the outside front cover. One serious insert I wrote proclaimed, “I have not decided everything yet. If you quote me, I may have changed my mind.”

That was my way of declaring that I was still figuring things out: learning. While I had a few firm opinions, I was a true believer of nothing.

I learned to be careful sharing my thoughts and to couch my reasons. I tried to be clear about what I think versus proclaiming what fact is. I still do that.

Since college, I’ve been a fan of Eric Hoffer’s book, The True Believer. I don’t think I “got it” until the last five or ten years. While I want to take a clear side for moral reasons, I also do not want to become blinded to truth and reality. I wasn’t neutral, but I wanted as much rational, logical certainty about my own beliefs as I could muster. I was naïve to think most others felt the same. Thankfully, many people are reasonable and rational, even if not as many as I’d like.

I began to realize that people I knew were masquerading as intelligent, open-minded, caring souls, but were disguised true believers. I should have known. I was often disappointed.

I like M. Lamar Keene’s expression for what causes people to believe things proven to be false: the true believer syndrome.

He asked, “What is it that compels a person, past all reason, to believe the unbelievable. (sic) How can an otherwise sane individual become so enamored of a fantasy, an imposture, that even after it’s exposed in the bright light of day (sic) he still clings to it — indeed, clings to it all the harder?”

While Keene and Hoffer were each referring to different types of true believers, they are clearly related phenomena, although not as unusual as I used to think. Today we find them deeply involved in religion and politics. Are they dangerous?

I prefer being a skeptic to the mental chains of a true believer. If I must have a syndrome, I choose imposter.


Are They (Christians) Lying Hypocrites?

I normally don’t, but some of us refer to Christians as liars and hypocrites. Many Christians refer to others (Muslims, Jews, skeptics, etc.) the same way. Few details or logical explanations are usually provided, but examples abound. For me, personal attacks define the difference between being anti-religious (about people) and being anti-religion (about dogma, creeds, rules, and policy).

I agree that religious populations are replete with deceit and scandal. Every sin has probably been committed by many members of every religion, often in the name of God. We’re human, but why might followers of Jesus be highlighted more than any other group as possessors or perpetrators of such failing attributes? I pondered this and did a bit of looking stuff up. But mostly I think I thunk it through. You judge.

There are almost 8 billion people on earth. Nearly 350 million of them live in the USA. Of those populations, 2.5 billion world-wide are Christians, or about 31.3%. In the United States, 213 million, or about 61 to 65% of the total American population claim to be of the Christian persuasion. I pulled those estimates from various internet sources and rounded up, but things change. According to various sources, while total populations are increasing, the percentages of religious believers are declining. That’s still a lot of liars and hypocrites.

At one time or another virtually everyone of us will tell a lie of some sort (the G. Washington myth notwithstanding). A good many people, if not all, will also behave in ways that do not conform with their personally claimed moral standards. That defines hypocrites (frauds, charlatans, and phonies). In my opinion, dishonesty is indiscriminately part of our human condition or nature regardless of race, creed (religion or none), sex, national origin, age, political affiliation, or shoe size. To deceive is unfortunately human. A gift from God or Satan’s tool?

I’ve heard it called, “telling an untruth.” But exactly what constitutes a lie? My dictionary says it’s making an untrue statement with intent to deceive, or making a misleading, false impression, or one that may, or may not, be believed by the speaker or writer (i.e., the liar).

I think one must intend to deceive to properly wear the liar moniker. I also think saying what one believes, even if it’s wrong, is not at the same level of lie as an intentionally deceptive one. Even small lies, like fibs, require knowing it’s not true to fit my definition. But is that good enough? Maybe not.

Ideally, something is either true, or it is not, yet gray areas abound. This is where a college course in logic or argumentation becomes useful. For example, let’s assume there is no god (easy enough for most readers of this blog). A true Christian believer comments here that, “there is a God, and all atheists are going to Hell.” That is what they believe: God is real and vengeful. I’m 99% convinced the Christian is incorrect, and I am willing to say so. That is what I believe. One of us must be wrong. One of us is telling an untruth. But is either of us also a liar?

Here’s the rub. While I have no interest in de-converting anyone, I would be happy to answer any questions. I would also be delighted if I contributed to someone walking away from their religious beliefs, all of which I consider to be bullshit. But I say “I don’t know” – a lot.

On the other hand, the Christian is bound to “spread the word” and to “bring sinners to God/Christ,” to evangelize and to proselytize. If it would serve the greater good and save someone’s soul, even to intentionally lie may be seen as a service to God, thus morally good. The greater good refers to the adage, the ends justify the means. They’re reluctant to say “I don’t know” because that could mean a doubting spirit, agnostic thinking, or religious ignorance.

One of us is believing and saying something that is not true. We both think it’s the other guy. Are we both justified as seeing the other as a liar? Either a god exists or not. Period, but that’s unprovable. Is one of us lying? Intent matters and we each think we are correct. Neither of us is attempting to deceive anyone, even if one is more aggressive in behavior and playing by different rules.

While I invoke intent in defining lies, I do not with hypocrisy. Voices from my childhood, “Do as I say, not as I do.”

When I completed teaching a class on The Problem of Evil, someone asked me how I reconciled what I had just taught with what I believed. I said that I didn’t, but I lied because I did. I struggled because what I professed to believe was not what I thought deep down. My interpretation of scripture and my beliefs were not what others thought they were. It all worked out, but it took years. What I said in the class was the truth as I saw it at the time. What I professed to believe was not. Enter a bit of cognitive dissonance. But was I a liar or hypocrite?

So yes, Christians are liars and hypocrites. So are all members of every religion and of none. Some of them are aware of it, but I suspect most are not. In my opinion, they are no more deceitful than most other groups, particularly other religious groups. I can’t change that. I can only change me. No matter what, I’ll never be totally correct or completely certain. I’ll remain forever skeptical.

I shall also try to remain civil and to understand our human nature. I wish everyone would.



One Miracle at a Time

When one does not believe in any god or similar form of spiritual otherness, it follows that one might struggle with miracles (walking on water, curing lepers, making zombies). It’s the word, not the wonderment. By one definition, a miracle is an “extraordinary event manifesting divine intervention in human affairs.” A synonym for manifest is obvious. That means it is easy to see some god or divine intelligence did it.

On the secular side, an alternate definition is “an extremely outstanding or unusual event, thing, or accomplishment.” That is how my wife uses it. That works for me. Synonyms for miracles include something that is amazing, a marvel, phenomenon, splendor, or wonder.

Unfortunately, too many people think atheists do no appreciate amazing things because we don’t think there is a god to do it. They think that without attribution to a deity or cosmic intelligence, we are unable to appreciate amazingly splendid marvels and awesome wonders. That is false conjecture. I know it is not true because I am an atheist. I appreciate many natural and real things, in my opinion, often more than spiritual people do. I find the god can do anything argument childishly boring.

When atheists claim such appreciation, many people insult us by saying we are not true atheists. Like they would know. Or they may confuse atheism with nihilism. That’s easy to do and quite common. I can’t fix it. But Google can. However, I’m not going there now.

Interestingly, some atheists claim an even higher awareness because without something like a god to attribute things to, we see wonders and splendors as even greater natural events. That includes our own human ability to know (science) and to appreciate intangible things like art and music, or love and friendship. Be it the universe or a single human cell, amazing things are exactly that.

While I attribute neither the Universe (or Cosmos) nor humanity’s existence to the sudden whim of any intelligence or some god, I am fascinated by earthly nature, the heavens, and biology. In the secular sense, it’s miraculous. Evolution is incredible and ruthless, but so amazing.

Science, not religion, must be given center stage in any study or discussion of either life or the cosmos. In fact, science itself provides the knowledge that makes what little we know and understand more appreciative of awesomeness. With deference to Poe, thank you Science.

We can speculate about life existing on some planet other than on Earth. But we don’t know. Regarding all things, we can develop hypotheses and theories about what happened and when. But we seldom know. Yet, there is one huge miracle I have in my mind that flies above all others. The odds against it are enormous.

It’s what Bill Bryson calls the “supremely agreeable condition known as life.” We are, as he goes on to claim, “in the most literal sense cosmic.” I agree with him. Not only is all life tied together, but it also seems the entire Universe is one big (bang) bag of marvels.

But honestly, I once believed or accepted the idea that one god created it all. The fact that I can no longer attribute things to theological answers makes none of it less amazing. If my view is different now, things are even more awesome for me. I now pay much more attention to it all.

That life happened beats tremendous odds. For me, the very fact that no creator or intelligence did it (nod to those who believe otherwise) makes it more amazing, not less.



I’m Sticking to It

Just yesterday, I stopped at a traffic light behind a Lexus SUV with three stickers on the painted portion of the rear hatch. One was an image of a US flag with the word pray in the blue field where the stars go. The second said something about prayer and the USA, but I forget exactly what it said. But the third pressed my ponder button.

The sticker said, “I am Christian, and I vote.” My first thought was I am not and so do I. I like stickers, but I seldom put them on my car. When I do, they get peeled off when the election or whatever reason for them has passed. But my laptop and iPad are covered with them (nonpolitical).

I cannot consider the …I Vote sticker as anything other than a political threat or intimidation intended to state the owner’s political and governmental priority. That would be the Christian religion. I could not determine if they were Evangelical Protestant, Mainline Protestant, or Catholic. But I suspect one of the first two since while papists consider themselves the original Christians, they usually use Catholic.

Another bumper sticker I saw about 10 years ago said, “You cannot be both Catholic and Pro-Choice.” It was about then that I took my money and left the Catholic Church (the religion). It had nothing to do with the bumper sticker. But how’d that work for them?

So, the person in the Lexus likely opposes any separation of church and state (as long the church side is Christian). They claim to be one of 215-million US citizens identifying as Christian (now 65%, down from 75% in 2015, according to PEW Research), and one of the 16-million Texans (53% says ASARB) who identify as such.

I must assume the Lexus Christian has no qualms forcing his or her religious beliefs onto non-Christians. What a strange way to wring out freedom of religion (so long as it’s Christian) from the US Constitution. And they are downright proud of it, in a much holier than thou sort of way.

Then I pondered on with ideas for I’m (something), and I vote stickers. My ideas:

I’m old and I vote. I’m (single, married, divorced) and I vote. I eat bacon and I vote (hello CA).

I’m bald and I vote. I’m non-denominational and I vote. I’m an Aggie and I vote.

I drink and I vote (but not at the same time). I’m (Irish, German, Mexican, Swedish, Mediterranean, Apache, or ???) and I vote.

I’m atheist and I vote. I worship Satan and I vote. I’m (rich, poor, middle income) and I vote (and hopefully pay taxes). I’m antigovernment and I vote anyway.

I read and I vote. I’m a writer, artist, creative person, and I vote. I’m a teacher and I vote. I’m a flat Earther and I vote. I’m an old yellow dog and I vote.

I’m a (vegetarian, vegan, meat eater, vampire) and I vote. I’m a nudist and I vote. I’m a pluviophile and I vote. I am apathetic and I vote (I just don’t care).

I’m snarkastic and I vote. I like rock and roll, and I vote. I (do or don’t) own a gun or play golf, and I vote. I drink coffee and I vote. I can dance and I vote.

How about you? Do you vote? Do you have any stickers on your car, bike, computer, or whatever?


I Didn’t Know

Twenty-five years ago, I began to find comfort in admitting I was wrong when I realized or thought I was. Who knew? Before that, being right was important. Then, poof—it wasn’t.

To that 12-step teaching (tenth step, admitting wrong) I would add fewer apologies, or saying “I’m sorry” when I was harmlessly wrong. Out of habit, I still say it when I do no harm. But I try not to. I’ve decided apologizing too much might reduce the sincerity of my true contrition when something was mea culpa.

I’ve had ideas. We all do. Most of mine have been based on nothing more than my personal preference or life experiences. When what I thought I knew turned out to be wrong, admitting that simply ended things. Life continued peacefully.

This morning, on his Patheos.com blog, I read James H. Haught’s piece, “Skepticism is All About Honesty” (July 21, 2021, FFRF). Therein, he relates a eureka moment when someone told him the “answer” is “I don’t know.” I recall speakers and teachers admitting temporary ignorance but promising to return after some research. Many did. It is a good way to go.

Haught goes on to write, “To me, the bottom line is honesty. A person with integrity doesn’t claim to know supernatural things that he or she cannot know.” I agree, but my reasons are little more personal and emotional.

Of course, honesty is important. Claiming to possess knowledge one cannot possibly have is not only dishonest, everyone knows of the dishonesty, except for the delusional (as so many are). But when I realized that I could say I don’t know to any question, I felt a sense of relief that is still difficult for me to describe.

I don’t know how the universe came to be, if our solar system was a coincidence, or if there is life in any form after death. I don’t know of life in other galaxies. I have no idea if nature has consciousness or what that might look like. I have no clue about why so many humans are either evil or good. I don’t know if human energy is healing. I do not need to know any of that.

When someone tells me, “There must be something,” such as a god or consciousness, I ask, “why must there be?” There certainly might be, could be, or we may like there to be. Something may feel good or be comforting about ideas. I get that. Indeed, there may be a cause or a reason for things that happen. But I’m not feeling the must, as in compelled by fate or natural law, or any other definition of must.

I’m unopposed to differing hypotheses or opinions, but that is what most proposed answers are, something less than a theory. If there is scientific evidence, proof, or if a concrete theory is developed and tested, that would be wonderful. Until then, I don’t know. If I find out, I’ll get back with you. I assume you will do likewise.

I cannot say I am sorry that I do not believe what others do, or that I think something true they may deny. If I am wrong and someone convinces me of that, fine. It happens. If I learn something I did not know, even better. But if no skin was removed from any part of anyone’s anatomy (or wallet), I am unlikely to apologize for being wrong. I was wrong and I am not sorry.

Xin loi (xin lỗi, pronounced zin-loy) is a polite Vietnamese phrase which literally means excuse me or pardon me. I like it. However, during the Viet Nam War, American soldiers used the phrase sardonically to mean something like sorry about that (or worse). When I’m mistaken, I’d like to say excuse me or pardon me. But, since xin loi was hijacked, I will settle for saying excusez moi, perhaps with a wee touch of snarkastic arrogance, for which I am so sorry.


Essay: I’m Okay with That

Hello Real World Person,

I accept that to some degree there will always be different beliefs. I often discuss healthy eating, exercise, and medical science with my health care providers. Some might say we even argue. Neither religion nor science are going away in my lifetime. And totally disappear? I can’t imagine that.

And my dribble

I do not read or comment on religious media: not on religious blogs or any form of religious social media. I read none of that proselytization. But when I prepare to post my broodings on this blog, I may occasionally read some bible pages (John 3:16 for this one), or maybe some Catholic Catechism stuff. But rarely.

Most religious stuff is written for the already religious audience, not for skeptics, and certainly not for me. Occasionally, a believer or religious person will leave a comment on my blog to remind me how badly my beliefs, opinions, and atheist conclusions will go for me after I die. Sometimes they like to throw ad hominem at my intelligence. Of course, they do. The best I can do is say that either one or more gods exist, or he/she/they do not. What anyone believes does not change that. It’s either yes or no. Sorry, agnostics.

For the love of God, Billy!

Apparently, god’s love and forgiveness only apply to the sins of believers (John 3:16). It’s not for those of us incapable of believing that any god exists. The biblical condition is “whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life.” I’m okay without the eternal life part. Such a biblical/New Testament threat is unlikely to compel me to believe. The added threat of eternal life in hell sounds awfully unloving and unforgiving. And I’m supposed to respect their religion? Not a chance.

I think I thought I saw you pray.

I really (honestly, for certain, doubtless) do not believe any god or spiritual beings of any kind exist. Period. I think ALL religions are nonsense. Prayer is silly, even if there is a god. That’s the best (nicest) thing I can say about most religions. Religion is spiritually pointless, but practically useful.

Yet, it seems to me, oddly, that religious people believe god exists, and consequently their belief (and their own existence) makes god’s exitance factual. Many borderline religious people seem to believe “something” god-like exists because they want it to be so. It feels better for them to think that something exists. Okay by me, but it is still inventing a god.

My point? I can tolerate woo-woo. I’ve certainly done woo-woo, studied it, and practiced it. But I now believe none of it. I never will. I can’t, and I don’t want to. Consequently, John 3:16 does not apply to me. I’m okay with that.

Skeptically yours,


PS: Tony on prayers: I write and read poetry—too much, maybe. I’m a fan of the late Tony Hoagland and his poems. Tony died in October of 2018. In the December 2018, issue of The Sun two of his poems were published. I particularly liked the one titled, “On Why I Must Decline to Receive the Prayers You Say You are Constantly Sending. Click on the title to read it. And, if you want, read “In the Beautiful Rain,” which is also good.