Tuesday, April 9, 2013

Tidy up Tuesday

I went back to three of my past posts that I felt were a bit rushed and fixed them up a bit. Links and Images have been removed to keep things tidy, with the exception of the headings, which link to the corresponding original post

I intend for you to know little about me; without a description of who I am, you are free to read, respond, and ponder outside the narrow scope of a specific persona. Instead, I wish for you to paint your own picture of who I may be through my stories. Some aspects of my character, however, will be evident from the outset. So I will make it known that I am an atheist, and a proud one at that. Most of my posts will be related to philosophy and evolutionary psychology and how these fields are supportive of atheism. Particularly, I enjoy discussing hindrance that religion poses on complex thought and proper child rearing. I’m not trying to teach, though I do write didactically at times. My ultimate goal is to inspire conversation where there is usually silence. Too often today, in the age of relativism, we keep quiet for fear someone will be offended. This in turn has created a population which takes offense much too easily. We tend to accept all opinions as “good” in their own way. This is a false notion fashioned by a society afraid to insult. Insult, as well as praise, has a distinct purpose: to encourage progress. Controversy is healthy. So let us be as controversial as the web will allow. Let’s bring back Self Reliance and Civil Disobedience, as Emerson and Thoreau called for. Let us express ourselves as fearlessly as Richard Dawkins has, without the arrogance we’ve not yet earned. I hope to spark some ideas, I hope to piss some people off, and I hope for some to be inspired. I encourage comments; I will never attack an individual who posts thoughtful responses, even if we drastically disagree.

I truly never thought I would enter the world of blogging: the “blogosphere” as the Internet savvy may say. But my unanticipated entrance into a new world has proven beneficial beyond my expectations. I expected to find few sympathizers (or none at all), since the topic(s) I tackle aren’t really intended for casual conversation. Atheism, agnosticism, skepticism, criticism are all subjects people fear to discuss, and with good reason. Persecution of the non-religious is perhaps the last bastion of true religious injustice. Atheism is the last remaining belief system that is not acknowledged by the government as a marginalized spiritual minority that deserves certain protections. (Okay, maybe Satanism or Vonnegut’s Bokononism are behind Atheism as far as government recognition goes).

Feeling utterly alone (and being okay with it), I continued my rampage of the Internet and found something surprising. The Atheist Blogroll has compiled a list of well over 1,000 blogs in the realm of atheism/skepticism. I found a few I particularly like, one in particular that I’d like to discuss: Deity Shmeity.

I enjoyed this blog in particular because of how quickly the design caught my eye. Clearly the author (Grundy, as he is known on the web) is much more graphically capable than I am.
And also much more humorous. I admit I can be a bit dry and analytical in my delivery at times. As a life long introvert, I’m afraid my formal style is here to stay. But Grundy is to Atheism as Grumio is to Shakespeares’s Taming of the Shrew. Witty, intelligent, sarcastic at times, and never fails to make the reader laugh even in the midst of a serious situation. I am relieved that Grundy possesses such brilliance even after his strict Catholic education and experiences with Christian Science in his young life. While his career is based in Advertising, Grundy still finds time to post two or three times per week. And his posts feature a great mix of lengthy, thought provoking essays, as well as shorter thoughts based around a funny image. And his audience clearly enjoys his style, seeing as every post has at least a couple comments. In many cases, discussion between readers breaks out, and Grundy fuels the interactive environment by taking part in the conversation.

Deity Shmeity has instilled in me a good feeling that atheists of all colors are out there and willing to speak up. Just as there are good Christians and bad Christians, good Muslims and bad Muslims, there will also be good and bad Atheists. But with blogs like my own, and Deity Shmeity, hopefully we can create a diverse community of analytical individuals who are willing to question, learn, and debate. My hope for my own blog is to use logic so sound, that even the religious can’t deny the foundations of my arguments. Grundy’s approach is different: though still very logical, I worry his use of humor may immediately deter religious individuals from reading further. They may feel personally attacked or mocked rather than curious.

And I’ll admit that I can be hostile as well (my criticism of Jesus Camp ensures that the Evangelicals will not be visiting this page). But between Grundy, myself, and everyone in between, we have all the bases covered. And hopefully, we’ll reach out to the doubtful and convert them to logic and reason. (If that doesn’t work, we could always send our young men on door-to-door conversion missions. That seems to work, right?)

I found two interesting bloggers around the same time that I found Deity Shmeity, both of which make the same (but opposite) analogies between football and religion. The more interesting thing is that they're both right. While Football V. Religion makes the claim that football is superior to and unlike religion, Lady Atheist  comments in a post that they are one in the same.

The difference in the two perspectives is drastic, making both bloggers appear correct in their respective opinions. The bloggers utilize their unique voice to express their thoughts and support their seemingly opposite analyses of football in comparison to religion. While it should be noted that Lady Atheist refers to American football, while Football V. Religion discusses European football, these differences are arbitrary in that the true focus of the analogy can be boiled down to "team sport" vs. religion.

The first post I want to discuss is entitled Unacceptable Behavior: Football v. Religion. The author quickly and effortlessly reveals through his diction and syntax that he is a devout and well-versed follower of football. His style flows in a way similar to a sports announcer: quick, poignant, staccato. Sprinkled with commas and packing punches with standalone fragments such as this one:


But allow me to delve deeper into the content that precedes this exclamation. After relating the life and times of football star Joey Barton, the author compares Barton's anecdote of crime and punishment to the apparently more forgiving rules of Catholic morality. Sin and repent, sin and repent, die and ascend into heaven.

"Apart from the obvious 10 Commandments as rules of life, it seems odd to me that the Church and Christianity is content that the worst amongst us can be saved by repenting our sins. So what exactly is the fucking point of having a moral code if an evil and immoral life can be saved in 'injury time' by 'repenting'. Surely this is a get-out-of-jail-card for the worst in society."

His tone is casual, but his point is bold and profound. Though one pondered often by skeptics, this author phrases the argument in a new light, letting his unique voice as a blogger be heard. He utilizes profanity, but scarcely and well placed. The tone of the paragraph above is colloquial; it conveys frustration and a willingness to seriously address the issue at hand with those of like mind. I get this feeling from his use of "us" and other terms that imply he is addressing a larger body of individuals, which he also belongs to. His quotes over 'injury time' and 'repenting' mock the practices of the Catholic Church subtly, without being offensive. And those Catholics (or others) who would take offense could likely not muster a sound and logical retort.

"The Catholic Church has lost it's way, they have gotten too big, it is all about the brand and the message is lost, similar to what happened to Irish rock band U2. The church is now all about the church and only interested in the church.... What about the people ? What about the children ?"

This paragraph comes a bit later, after the author has explained that Catholicism lacks a moral compass, and should mimic the sanction system used by football. Maintaining his sports-announcer-esque style, he uses a hilariously placed allusion to U2 to again mock the Church in a way so playful that it can't possibly offend. But the point still packs a punch when he asks the rhetorical question "What about the children?". Any mention of children is an obvious attempt at the strongest of all rhetorical appeals, pathos. But he uses pathos while keeping his reputation as a masculine sports-fan intact. His voice is obvious, and consistent throughout this post and others. This author is somewhat headstrong, but remains logical and approachable. His goal is to make his point heard even if someone has to be offended in the process.

The Lady Atheist writes in a similar way, but she makes sure her readers distinguish her writing as a woman's point of view. This especially makes her voice stand out since women are significantly less likely to be Atheist. (This is a widely supported fact, which I find strange seeing as various religions and the books that correspond to these religions tend to do horrible things to females).

Lady Atheist asks her readers the question Is Charlie Brown a Christian? The post is not very long, so I encourage a thorough reading of the whole thing. She is very intelligent, and doesn't always make her point (or the transitions between points) obvious to the reader, but instead allows the reader to force their way into her thought processes. In other words, Lady Atheist says it like it is succinctly, and let's the readers fill in the gaps. (Unlike me, I feel the need to explain in full detail every thought I think. It's a blessing and a curse).

But the part of this post I really want to discuss is as follows:

"As a woman, I say, "Go ahead and kick her in the crotch!" Yes, getting kicked in the crotch is painful for women too. We won't barf but we will double over, and this Lucy bitch deserves a taste of her own medicine."

While this passage isn't central to conveying the intended message, it is key to establishing Lady Atheist's unique voice. The reason I find it intriguing is because Lady Atheist addressed her audience as primarily male (And she's probably right in doing so). She explains the sensation that women feel when "kicked in the crotch" as if her audience would not already know, because they probably don't. This passage is also interesting, because despite Lady Atheist's pride in her feminism, her intelligence and moral code transcend her desire to protect a fellow woman. This establishes her voice as a blogger immensely; she values logic above all else and is respected accordingly.

"Would an atheist version of Charlie Brown be such a sucker? He'd say "fool me once, shame on you. Fool me twice..." and he'd turn to the side and kick Lucy in whatever body part happened to be within range."

Lady Atheist is completely comfortable with a young man using violence on a young woman if said young woman needs some attitude readjustment. For this reason, I believe Lady Atheist is absolutely brilliant. She favors de facto equality of the sexes, and doesn't simply support her own sex blindly.
But the real kicker of this post (no pun intended) is when Lady Atheist, contrary to the author of Football V. Religion, asserts that football and religion are one in the same.

"It's us vs. them, break the rules for a good cause, drop everything on the appointed day, and make pilgrimmages to partake of ritual foods. There are heroes and villains. And after hours of "play" nothing has really changed except a few numbers that will be erased in a few months.
...and quite a few people will have new scars and debilitating injuries.
Yep, football is just like religion."

Her reasoning, just like his, is accurate. The reason they are both right is because the voices they have established respectively, utilize different facts about the same sport in order to convey the intended religious message that corresponds to the aspect of the sport that they discuss. More simply, it seems that the male author's interpretation of football is more characteristic of his voice as a male author. He compares the lack of a fair system of sanctioning in religion to the well-designed penalty system in football. Meanwhile, the female author assesses her knowledge of football as a violent and meaningless game and relates this to the equally pointless "sport" that is religion. Of course, both of these authors possess a more unique voice that extends far beyond the methods they use to analyze football.


  1. Somehow I missed the first time you posted about my blog, but wow! I am not worthy of such high praise. Comparing my stuff to Shakespeare's? Don't get me wrong, Will was a hack, but he's still got something on me.

    I am a graphic designer too, so thanks for commenting on the design :-)

    1. So sorry I received this comment so late! I've been inactive for a few months. But yes, I think your blog is fascinating and praiseworthy!

  2. This comment has been removed by the author.


#content-wrapper { margin: 0px 0px 0px 0px; padding: 0px 0px 3px 3px; width: 805px; position: relative; text-align: left; background: $blogbgColor; border-right: 1px solid $blogBorderColor; filter:alpha(opacity=50); -moz-opacity:0.50; opacity:0.50; }