Monday, June 27, 2011

Guest Post: Teenage Atheist

Why we do what we do.

So, for shits and giggles (and traffic), I worked a little magic and wrote a guest post over at Raithie's blog, Teenage Atheist. See that 'Teenage' part in her name? Don't underestimate it. Even in high heels, she'll flip your shit and make you sit in it. She's not afraid to mud wrestle some pigs. Actually, if you read this Raithie, I think if you get the right angle, mud wrestling pigs could actually make a really interesting post. Just saying.


It appears as if you have to click.

Deal with it.

Tuesday, June 21, 2011

Should Jerk-Faces be Forced to Shut Up?


Around the world, there are laws restricting the usage of so called 'hate speech' - which for our purposes, is basically when you call a person an asshole for no reason but that they're of some other color, sexual orientation, religious beliefs (or lack thereof), or basically any other thing you can imagine. (Oh, and it's always, always unnecessary.) The penalties extend from nominal fees to downright imprisonment (to even death, if you're in the wrong place at the right time). Oh, and if you're in a gay bar, a black eye may be in order as well.

C'mon. You know we've all wanted it to happen.
Oops. Looks like I'm a hypocrite. Or maybe not.

Many atheists have said something snarky about religion in the past - it's bound to happen; if you know Santa Claus isn't real, you may start to feel slightly superior to those who still think he is. That's understandable, even if it's just an illusion. Perhaps you even said something along the lines of 'you and your beliefs are idiotic'. Fine. Sure. God knows that they have said worse things.

However, I think we can also agree that this is a form of hate speak.

Perhaps it has something to do with growing up in America (or perhaps that I use hate speech in one form or another all the time), where all forms of speech but those directly threatening others is legal, but I believe that as vile as the things that come out Westboro Baptist Church's mouth are, they are perfectly free to say it. That is exactly the definition of free speech. Restricting us from saying anything that doesn't harm another person is restricting us from the very things that make us human.

The second big problem with illegalizing hate speech - assuming it could even be enforced - is, well, where do we draw line? It's a long shot, but I would say that censorship of anything not 'politically correct' could very well follow, and we can't have that. The only way anyone can defend or even formulate their beliefs is when everything is out in the open. Accordingly, how do we stop any sort of bias - what if it's in some largely religious area (i.e. the Southern US, the Middle East) where everyone agrees with the hate speech, then how do we make sure we punish the criminals?

But anyway, enough about me - what do you, dear reader, believe? Should hate speak be illegalized? And if so, where do we draw the line of what is hate speech and what isn't? In addition, what should the penalty be?

Sunday, June 19, 2011


Bucket List Item #8: Skinny dip in dead winter.

My breaths come out in small huffs. Wispy clouds of condensation form in the air, then dissipate as they fall to the ground. Goosebumps ripple up and down my body.

I stand, naked as a jaybird (whatever the hell that means), on a rock at the edge of the icy Susquehanna River in the middle of January. The air nips at my bare body, and I shiver. My clothes – heavy coat, mittens, scarf, and all – hang pathetically from a nearby tree branch. The river below is moving fast – frighteningly so. Small icebergs float along at a breakneck pace.

I’m scared.

Nothing’s stopping me from putting back on my clothes and walking back home. At home, there’s hot chocolate. Ramen noodles. Central heating.  Nothing’s stopping me from erasing this ridiculous, insane thing from my list – pretending it never existed, moving on. No one would ever know.

And yet, without I second thought, I fall forward and plunge into the water.

The liquid (metaphorically) tears through me like a thousand icy knives. Every single cell of my body screams in protest, my mind mortified at the thought of hypothermia. Within seconds, I begin to get numb – my fingers get numb, my feet get numb, various, um, other parts lose their feeling as well.

My hands sinks into mud, my legs do the same, and I begin to thrash. I want out, and I want out now. My mind begins to scold me, but against all intuitive thought, I begin laughing. Water gurgles down my throat, I cough it up, and then I resume my hysterics.

Before I freeze, I drag myself, exhausted, weary, and utterly ridiculously happy onto the shore. Stumbling and shaking, I begin to pull my clothes back on.

What the hell is wrong with me?

I’m an atheist. I’m alive.

My life – your life – is finite. We have a few decades in this wonderful, sparkling world, and then you know what? Ka-put. Nothing. We’re dead. Gone.

So you know what? I don’t give a shit if you’re scared. Trembling, shivering, crying, you must plunge into the water. You might vomit. Hell, you might die. Your entire being is reduced to one basic, primal instinct – survive.

That’s what makes it beautiful.

You know why? Because, in the end, that hot chocolate is so much more satisfying. You appreciate the ramen noodles that much more. Because, in the end, you do not want to be lying on your deathbed wishing you had experienced more in your life.

A lot of people look at atheists, and a few can even see where they’re coming from. However, they see their (the atheists’) existence as a sad, bitter one – one of emptiness, one of sadness. Because atheists think that when you die, you’re gone, that’s that, do not pass go, do not collect $200. You are tiny, you are forgotten, you are no more.

So, fellow atheist, let me ask you – what makes your life significant? What is the point of your existence? Most importantly, why do you live?