self-righteous bigot

“Bigot” is one of those words that I’ve always associated with truly nasty people. The type of people that will hate others just because of a different culture from their own or sexuality or any sort of irrational hatred you can think of. Bigotry of the type I just described is often correlated with high religiosity. Their holy books and clergy have told them there is one true way god wants them to go about life which makes it easy to see anyone that doesn’t follow their way of life as wrong and sometimes as far as evil. Of course, I need to insert for any religious reading this that not all religious are very close-minded and intolerant of people different from them, I’d just like to point out that in many types of religious thinking (especially Abrahamic) when one thinks they know what god wants it’s easy to hate the things they firmly believe that god doesn’t want.
Over the past few years of sharing my atheist views with the world I’ve been called a bigot many times. The word has lost a bit of the edge it used to have of when I just related it to nasty irrational thinking. I will admit I’m intolerant and hateful of some religious beliefs, but I have better reasons for my abhorrence than just “god told me to”. The thing I hate the most in this world is needless suffering, and I think it’s plain to see that religion is connected to a lot of that. Also, often despite my cynicism of the human race, I want to see the best for my fellow humans. Another way of putting it is that my hatred of religion comes from a place of an intense concern for humanity. It feels a little futile to explain this to people that jump to calling me a bigot because they’re just relying on name calling instead of picking apart my arguments anyway. Many of the religious persuasion, or the “just spiritual”, or even some agnostics, associate the word “atheist” with bigot quickly and refuse to explore the various ways in which religion is damaging to human civilization and progress.
It’s easier and feels nicer to call an atheist a bigot than to think of the ways in which people are needlessly suffering thanks to various awful religious beliefs. According to this way of thinking, some Christians and some Muslims they know are nice and there are some pleasant things they know of associated with religion so atheists are complete assholes for criticizing those faiths. The defenders of religion who call atheists bigots get the satisfaction of feeling like they’re standing up to a bully. The typical explanation I’ve come across for why religion isn’t so bad and atheists should just stop with all the criticizing is that anything atheists think of as bad from religion is just people using religion in the wrong way. The classic “no true Scotsman” defense.
Every time there’s an Islamic terrorist attack or Christian parents that refuse their child medical care in favor of faith healing or anything else you can think of where people got maimed or killed in the name of religion, it’s still unbelievable to me that people can stick to their guns on the “religion isn’t so bad” argument. People hardly do awful things without provocation, and believing they’re doing what god wants of them is one of the strongest driving forces for the religious. They often don’t think of what they’re doing as even close to awful. The Islamic terrorist most likely thinks the violence and death they’re bringing about is what their god wants, and the Christian faith healing parents have been told their god is strong and can do anything they pray for if they just believe so they think they’re doing the right loving thing. Both examples had been brainwashed by their ideologies and inevitably caused harm thanks to their brainwashing. In both instances, the suffering could have been prevented if they weren’t brainwashed. One way to fight brainwashing is to encourage people to think for themselves and to question everything, and as an outspoken atheist that’s one of the things I’m trying to help foster.
Shutting down criticism of religion by labeling atheists as bigots may make the defenders of religion get that lovely standing up to a bully feeling, but they’re the ones being the bullies and contributing to the longstanding notion we have in society that religion is sacred and to be unquestioned. I thought to talk about this because I noticed a comment on my “militant atheist” video where someone said, “Militant atheist is another way of saying self-righteous bigot” and it gave me a good giggle. As I said before, I am a bigot when it comes to religious beliefs that harm my fellow man, and I guess it’s self-righteous of me to think it’s best that people don’t endure mental and physical harm because of things in some holy books. So, call me a self-righteous bigot all you want, I don’t mind, I’ll still point out how detrimental religion can be.

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improper First Lady?

I have a lot of complaints about Trump’s upcoming term in office, but one of those complaints does not include the fact that his First Lady was a nude model. During the election and just recently I noticed criticism from the left related to her scandalous modeling. One common criticism was that it was hypocritical of the Christian right to be in favor of a First Lady who would do such a thing as model without her clothing. I agree it was hypocritical, but it makes me wonder how the left would have treated the wife of a charismatic Democratic candidate who had done that type of modeling. If the right put down such a woman, would the left defend her?  

One of the things that attracted me to the left was that there seemed to be far less sexual repression on that side of the political spectrum but with the reaction I’ve seen to Melania’s modeling career from some of the left I’m now questioning that more. The side that’s typically in favor of a woman’s right to choose apparently doesn’t like when a woman chooses to model in the nude. Besides calling the Christian right hypocritical for not having issue with her, I’ve seen many call her “classless” and “trashy”. One argument for calling her these awful things is that such actions are unbecoming of a First Lady. Besides being married to the president, I didn’t think there were certain criteria that needed to be fulfilled to be First Lady. She’ll be the first to have the position that has modeled nude, the fact that no one before her has done that does not justify saying she’s unfit for the position. That’s like saying Barrack Obama shouldn’t have been president because there were no black presidents before him. There can be a first for everything, if there wasn’t we wouldn’t be able to grow as a civilization.

It often confounds me how it seems like America still has a hard time moving past their puritanical roots. The naked female figure can still garner shock and offence because of possible sexual connotations. The human form and the sexual feelings we get from looking at a human form we find attractive are natural and is part of what makes life enjoyable. Perpetuating a narrative of shame and disgust associated with nudity and sexuality holds our culture back and could possibly prevent people from developing a healthy sexuality. Nudity and open sexuality are also associated with immorality, but there is no rational basis for that. No one is hurt by seeing a nude person and the nude person isn’t hurt by being seen nude. Some may find it uncomfortable to see, but discomfort does not equal immorality.

The issue of bringing America past its puritanical nature is something I’ve cared about for a long time. It’s one of the reasons I’ve modeled in a scandalous way myself, I might as well practice what I preach. It’s slightly unfortunate that the First Lady that could be interpreted as sex positive for her modeling career is coming along with a president that may be sex negative in his policies. Although maybe this first for a First Lady could lead the way towards normalizing nudity and open sexuality. I’ve half-jokingly mentioned to friends that I’d like to break into politics one day and a few times the response has been they’re not sure if that can happen with my provocative pictures. Maybe thanks to this first we’ll be able to move past that sort of attitude.

ay Pepe

If you had told me years ago that the frog popular with 4chan users would be declared a hate symbol, I would have thought you were crazy. As this year has progressed I’ve had a hard time shaking the feeling that our world is continually getting dumber. Of course that’s a very dramatic way of looking at things, there’s been copious amounts of stupidity in human history since the beginning of human history. We just have an easier time witnessing the stupidity now thanks to the internet. I think I’m mostly bothered by the fact that we’ve made it this far and still haven’t learned from our mistakes.

Pepe the frog is a good example of how we find scapegoats and don’t actually address real problems. I really don’t think we have to worry about the keyboard warriors who like the pouty amphibian. The only thing we have to worry about them doing is voting for Trump, but that’s just exercising their right as Americans to vote for the candidate they like best. When I first noticed him used in regards to Trump I saw it as making light of how the bloated old New Yorker looks like a frog man. Trump also seems to embody the internet troll or 4chan user sort of persona with his brashness and lack of consideration for what is coming out of his mouth, although unlike the trolls he’s not hiding behind anonymous user names. So it wasn’t surprising at all that the shit-poster segment of the web seems to love the candidate.

There’s many reasons I don’t like Trump, but there’s one thing about him that I have to reluctantly admit that I like and it’s why I can sort of sympathize with the Pepe the frog alt-right types. It’s the fact that he’s willing to say Islam is not a religion of peace. I’m a leftist through and through, I strongly believe in human rights and freedom of speech, it’s one of the reasons I can’t help but say Islam is an awful religion. So every time I hear Hillary or another democrat say something along the lines of Islam being peaceful, I can’t help but get angry and feel betrayed by the side I thought cared deeply about human rights. The left’s concern for being extra sensitive and politically correct has made them into liars that disregard human suffering in order to not look racist or Islamophobic.

It’s because of that it’s hard to tell how much of the alt-right community is actually racist because the left is quick to label people as such to shut down discussion. Labeling Pepe as a hate symbol on the same level as the Confederate Flag and swastika is just taking that to a higher level. Talking about how deplorable these Pepe fans are distracts from the fact that Hillary refuses to address real issues. I don’t think Trump is really addressing real issues either, but at least when it comes to the topic of Islam it’s not obvious lies.

I’m going to hold my nose and place my vote for Hillary in November mostly because I’m worried that a Trump presidency would reverse any progress the Obama administration had and there’s a Supreme Court spot on the line. I just would be happier to place that vote if Hillary was more willing to address concerns of her opposition instead of jumping to label and pander to the politically correct. Although that may be asking too much since that’s a rational wish and it seems we have been reaching unprecedented amounts of crazy as time goes on. I’m still beside myself that a cartoon frog has been declared a hate symbol while a religion that has caused a lot of pain and suffering is called peaceful.

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crazy hats

The song “God wants you to wear a hat” from the sketch comedy group The Whitest Kids U’Know perfectly illustrates how silly it is that many religions have dress codes. As someone that comes from a pretty liberal Lutheran upbringing the idea that god would care about what we wore was always strange to me. When I was trying to believe in god it made sense that he would want us to behave decently but it didn’t make sense to think what we looked like mattered. I had been told many times during my childhood that we’re all made in god’s image and that was a very beautiful thing, so the thought that god would want us to be covered in certain ways didn’t factor in.

I think the first time I saw people from a strict religious culture was when I was on a trip in Pennsylvania around age 10 when we stopped at a Cracker Barrel in Amish country. There was an Amish mother and her two girls close to my age selling cookies in the parking lot. Their bonnets and dresses reminded me of Little House on the Prairie and I distinctly remember wondering how the girls could stand being shoeless in the parking lot on that summer day. My grandma had just bought me a souvenir bonnet that was similar to the ones they were wearing but in light blue with a faint polka dot pattern and seeing the girls that had to wear their bonnets all the time made me feel a little funny about this one I had just picked out as a novelty. I was struck by the notion that I had freedom of choice when it came to things I wear and that there’s people that don’t have that freedom. I felt a little guilty about it, felt bad for those girls and others like them that couldn’t choose what they wore. It didn’t feel fair that I had that freedom and others didn’t.

There are parts of the Islamic world where women are required by law to be covered by a burka or hijab and it’s one of those topics I often wonder why many feminists aren’t outspoken about it. Muslim women in the western world sometimes choose to wear hijabs and some of the reasons I’ve personally heard have been that they think it’s beautiful to save what they look like for their husband and god or that they want to show off their cultural heritage and religious pride. I often wonder how much of a choice it actually is if there’s a lot of cultural pressure involved. I don’t think you even need to look at the Koran to find misogyny in the religion, the burka and hijab are a clear testament to how Islam doesn’t view women as equals. Men aren’t told it’s beautiful to keep themselves covered from women other than their wives.

The Abrahamic religions all claim that god is too complex for humans to fully comprehend but then claims to know what he wants. That contradiction has generally gone unquestioned and respected in modern society and we’ve all learned to accept certain things that have come out of it as normal. I think if we weren’t used to the notion of people wearing hats and other certain garb in religious traditions we would want to get someone mental health treatment if they explained they had to wear a wacky hat to appease their friend you can’t see.

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link to “God wants you to wear a hat” https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=djSp1NVsTrI

I’m an atheist that likes Easter

There are a multitude of things I find deplorable about the major religions of the world, and because I often attempt to point out those sort of things people sometimes assume that I detest every single thing from religion. I’m reminded of this because Easter is approaching and it calls to mind a conversation I had with my mom a few years ago. Around that time, I was becoming more vocal about being an atheist and had told her I was writing a blog related to atheism. She considers herself a Christian but isn’t too hardcore about it (check out this older post, https://atheistnerdgirl.wordpress.com/2014/12/03/christian-mother/) and has never really had a problem with me and my brother being atheists. I’m really grateful for that because sometimes parents aren’t so understanding about their children not embracing their religion. I know people who have family that are very upset with them for their non-belief and people who are afraid to tell their family they don’t believe.

So with as understanding my mom has been, I was shocked a few weeks before Easter when I was spending time with her and she asked me, “You don’t want to do anything for Easter do you?”

I laughed and answered, “Why would you ask me that? I want to do something for Easter.”

She told me she only thought to ask because of the militant atheist thing, that I might not want to celebrate Easter anymore because of it. I understood where she was coming from but that sort of thing hadn’t crossed my mind before she mentioned it. We started going to church less and less in my teens until we eventually stopped going and my parents explained to us that they could just believe in their own way instead of having to be a part of a church. There were some points where we would try to go for the holiday services at least but my parents eventually gave up on that too. The religious aspects of Christmas and Easter were never a big focus in our household, the things I enjoyed about them like spending time with loved ones and having a big traditional holiday meal don’t need an ounce of religiosity. Having gatherings around the winter solstice and the start of spring were never exclusive to Christianity and were done by various cultures far before them. I also think it’s pretty common knowledge by now that bunnies and eggs have nothing to do with the bible and were passed down from pagan traditions. I explained all this to her and reiterated that I want to do something for Easter, not believing in Jesus wasn’t going to stop me from enjoying a ham dinner and a bunch of candy with my family.

I find something beautiful about the fact that humans have been taking a moment around the start of every spring to gather and celebrate together since the beginning of civilization. Traditions and beliefs centered around this time of the year have varied and changed a lot, but I just find that to be another wonderful aspect of it. People often act like traditions and beliefs are set in stone and not to be questioned, one of the fathers of sociology, Emile Durkheim would have referred to this as “the sacred”. But I think when we look at the grander scale of humanity and how much traditions and beliefs have changed and varied, it’s easier to see the traditions and beliefs of one’s own culture as not so set in stone. As we form our own beliefs, we can form our own traditions.

So back to what I said at the start of this, of course there are some good aspects of religion. Holidays are a great example of that, but I think we can do without having to believe in myths to enjoy them. Personally I look at Easter as a time to take a moment to appreciate the beautiful world around me and an excuse to eat a lot with my loved ones. I also like to watch Life of Brian every Easter, there’s far less Easter movies than Christmas movies, but I consider it to be the best movies for the holiday. I may even dye some eggs this year.

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say no to scapegoating

There are a lot of things that influence our lives that are out of our control, like where we’re born, our skin color, sex, and many other happenstances. Sometimes when we take notice of the various influencers in our lives we may feel helpless and fall into a blame game of sorts. I think it’s good to analyze ourselves and our surroundings, but it’s not good to fall into this pattern too much because one may miss the fact that some things in their life can be within their control. With the exception of the severely mentally ill and retarded, I think it’s safe to say that how we behave is mostly in our control.

It can be both empowering and deflating to take responsibility for our actions. When I’ve done something which I feel was good, it’s very easy to pat myself on the back and take pride in my actions. I think many can relate when I say that when something goes wrong it’s very tempting to find things to blame other than oneself, admitting our mistakes and flaws never feels great. I think it’s our natural aversion to bad feelings that drives many of us to scapegoat in various aspects of our lives.

It’s my opinion that our natural inclination to want to scapegoat that has led many to be attracted to Christianity. The heart of Christian doctrine is the story of Jesus taking responsibility for the sins of humanity, or in other words, the scapegoat for humanity. Some sects of Christianity preach that if you just believe in Jesus as your lord and savior your sins will be forgiven and you will go to heaven. According to this logic the serial killer Jeffrey Dahmer who was baptized as a born again Christian went to heaven but someone like Carl Sagan who never hurt a soul and advocated for a better world is burning in hell fire. This dimension of Christianity has disturbed me for a very long time because it teaches its followers they ultimately don’t have to take responsibility for their actions. Besides the belief that god will forgive a Christian if they believe, there’s also the belief in the devil and he is often to blame for things that go wrong in Christians’ lives. Things like drinking too much or cheating on one’s spouse were because of temptation from the devil, there’s often admission of wrong doing but it’s not a full admission of responsibility. It also seems that believers don’t take much credit for the things that go well for them because they have to thank god for his blessings. For instance, the talent that got someone to where they are was a god given blessing and credit is barely given to the individual and the people around them that helped them along the way.

The concept of telling people they’re powerless really rubs me the wrong way. I once sat in on an AA meeting with friend for one of her school assignments, and if you’re not familiar, Alcoholics Anonymous is a twelve step support program for alcoholics which centers on spiritual and character development to help its members abstain from drinking. There is variation in the program around the world, some versions are on the very religious end of the spectrum and some are more on the secular side. The general rule for all AA groups is that a member does not have to be of a certain denomination or hold a specific religious belief. The one my friend and I sat in on was just for women and in a church basement, so unsurprisingly there was a lot of talk of god during the meeting. I knew going in to it that it would be depressing to hear women discuss their struggle with alcohol addiction, but I wasn’t expecting to hear things like “I couldn’t do it without god” or “I’m so powerless without god’s love” so much. Every time that sort of sentiment came out I felt my stomach twist a little more and it was very difficult to keep a straight face. I kept getting the sense that these women were led to their addiction partly because they had very little confidence in themselves, and I’m not an expert on human behavior but it’s my humble opinion that it might not be healthy to have people with low self-esteem repeat that they’re “powerless”.

I’ve struggled with depression and I can fully understand not feeling good about oneself, especially when there are many outside factors that influence how we form our opinions of ourselves. A turning point for me was when I noticed the simple fact that maybe I shouldn’t fall into a cycle of putting myself down so much. As I said before, there are a lot of factors in my life that aren’t completely in my control, but I doubt I’ll get that far if I’m constantly playing a blame game or scapegoating my problems. It’s silly, but sometimes I think of Al Franken’s SNL character Stewart Smalley and repeat some positive affirmations to myself. I also give myself a decent giggle whenever I try to mimic how the character spoke, so win-win, I think a good chuckle is always great for the spirit. I also think it’s better to credit loved ones for support and happiness than to credit a deity that you can’t prove exists. Ultimately I’m responsible for my actions and trying to make the best of the hand I’ve been dealt in this mortal coil and I think it would hold me back if I were to think “I’m powerless without god”.  

stewartSmalley

just honestly don’t believe

One of the most difficult things about debating with people about the existence of god is that everyone seems to have a different definition of god. I have never heard a definition that made any sense to me, it’s one of the many reasons I don’t believe in a god or gods. Many characteristics that I commonly hear associated with the Judeo-Christian god seem to not exactly match up with what’s described in the bible. Although to that sort of statement believers typically tell me I’m reading it wrong. But that’s beside the point I’m getting at because most of the time it seems like people aren’t really basing their definition of god on what is in the holy books.

Most definitions I encounter are very vague and often ever-changing, and statements like “we can’t possibly understand” and “he works in mysterious ways” assist believers in avoiding answering what god is. It’s always a funny coincidence that god’s morals seem to pretty much match up with all the beliefs and opinions of the faithful, from the right-winger that says god doesn’t like homosexuality to the left-winger that says god accepts all no matter what. This is why I don’t really like to debate about the existence of god with believers; it’s pointless to debate something if there isn’t even a clear definition for what you’re debating about. In my experience, it seems like believers are a bit defensive about god because their personal god is a reflection of who they are. So in a way, I have to admit that their god does exist, but just in their mind as a collection of thoughts and opinions the same way a friendly pink unicorn exists in my mind when I think of it.

One of the things that lead me down the path to being a militant atheist was my personal belief that honesty is very important, and I think being truly honest can only really begin when one is honest with themselves. It’s often very difficult to be brutally honest at times, especially with ourselves. So when I was younger and getting interested in philosophy, the concept of intellectual honesty really spoke to me and has been one of the driving forces behind how I try to conduct myself and my passions. When striving to be intellectually honest, the key is to do your best to not allow personal beliefs to interfere with the truth and to look at facts in an unbiased manner. I feel a good way to keep yourself in check is to ask yourself things you would ask others. Even when I was trying hard to be a good Christian as an adolescent I was curious about other religions and would ask friends of different faiths to explain what they believed and it lead me to question why they believed it. This in turn made me eventually realize I should be asking myself those kinds of questions too. When I could barely get past coming up with a good definition of what I thought god was, I realized it was pretty pointless for me to believe. The definitions I came up with fell flat logically and I realized I was basing them on bias sources, like my upbringing and education. It hit me that I mainly was trying to believe because I felt pressured to by the culture around me.

I think everyone is guilty of lying to themselves in some capacity and that’s alright, I think life would be very miserable if we all didn’t lie to ourselves a little bit, but I think one of the keys is to keep it to a minimum. People can believe in the existence of god if they want, it’s just my opinion they might not be being fully honest with themselves and are avoiding asking certain questions. I’m still open to any good definitions and evidence of god, but until then I simply don’t know and don’t believe in a god or gods and don’t care to debate it.

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some thoughts and feelings after the Paris attacks

There’s nothing like a horrific event to shake us all up. That’s been very true this past week since the attacks in Paris. It can be clearly seen all over social media and everyone reading this has most likely talked about the recent events with family and friends. It’s only natural that many people immediately wanted to share their thoughts and feelings, it’s a good coping mechanism. I would know that because I share my thoughts and feelings all the time and it often just feels good to get it off my chest. It’s one of the reasons why I like tweeting and blogging. I was questioning whether or not I should even write anything related to what recently happened in Paris because people often get offended by events being “politicized” for certain agendas, but I shouldn’t hold back from simply sharing my thoughts out of fear of silly criticism.
It didn’t take long for #PrayforParis to pop up on Twitter and Facebook and polar opposite tweets and statuses that condemned religion(mostly just Islam). I of course joined in to say my piece on Twitter. My initial reaction when I heard the news was a tweet saying that I was horrified and even though it didn’t mean much that my heart went out to the victims and their families. When I typed that, I sat there stared at it for a while before I clicked “Tweet” because I wasn’t sure if I should even say anything. It’s not like it personally affected me, I’ve never been to Paris and I don’t know anyone there, and like I admitted in my tweet my feelings didn’t actually mean much to the greater scheme of things. I decided to go ahead and click because as I said before it sometimes just feels good to say things. So when it comes to people who were saying they were praying for Paris, I do understand where they’re coming from in terms of it feeling good to share thoughts and feelings. But I guess it’s the militant atheist in me, I can’t help but be bothered by people praying after a horrific event, especially one that was driven by religious extremism.
The reasoning behind praying after any sort of awful thing never makes sense to me. Why would he care if people are asking for his help and attempting to send them their good vibes if he allowed it to happen in the first place? To me god often sounds like a shitty delinquent dad that’ll only help out when people beg really hard for it. Does god stop paying attention to certain people and parts of the world if he’s not being praised enough? Besides it being very illogical, I’m mostly bothered by people believing their prayer will have any sort of impact on the world. When people think that way they’re less likely to find ways to actually help those in need. I also get a sense of smugness from Christians that say they are praying after an Islamic terrorist attack, it’s as if they want to try to remind the world that their religion is better. Even though Christianity isn’t connected to some of the same sorts of things Islam is, I think they’re equally destructive to the world.
To all the people that prayed for Paris, I have to ask, don’t you think the terrorists prayed before they went out that night? Their religious beliefs fueled their hatred and actions. They didn’t stop to think about consequences or the lives of the people they were taking and their loved ones because their extremist views dehumanized their victims. They most likely thought god would be impressed with their actions. Also, what’s the point in worrying about punishments from a secular government if they will be rewarded for their loyalty to their faith when they get to heaven? It’s for reasons like this I get sick of people defending religious beliefs like prayer and heaven. There’s often a positive focus on those subjects and people neglect to see any sort of dark side to them.
People often don’t want to question or blame religion because they conflate it with race. Religion is a system of beliefs and rituals, people of many races can belong to the same religion. It’s astonishing to me sometimes that people can’t grasp that concept. There have been a few times where people have argued with me that religion isn’t to blame and that religion is just used to justify bad things. It makes me imagine that they always think of terrorists as being like Die Hard villains that actually have ulterior motives. It’s very difficult for me to understand what other motives the terrorists had besides their religious beliefs, especially since they said themselves they did it for that reason. Religious extremists are rarely kept in a bubble from religion until they’re adults, just like most of the world they were brought up with it. I definitely do not think all Muslims are terrorists or hate them in anyway, if anything I think they are victims of Islam just like the rest of the world, but I think we should question the theology and the major religions in general. I’m often flabbergasted that it’s not clearer to people how religion divides and holds humanity back, hopefully more people can wake up before things get worse.

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No Hope in Heaven

There are many moments where I catch myself saying, “we’re in the future!” whenever I’m excited about some sort of technology related thing or heard interesting science news. One of the really wonderful things about our scientifically progressing world is that medical care is getting better and better. Many diagnosis are no longer death sentences and are becoming more manageable and can have a higher quality of life than in previous decades. Centuries ago many genetic conditions were often seen as something like a punishment from God or some sort of abomination so babies were left to die, so it’s great to reflect on how society has now moved past that and science is constantly advancing. When I reflect on that sort of thing it gives me a lot of hope for the future of humanity, especially for the future of people with special needs.

I would describe the hope I have as a realistic and sensible type because there is evidence for what I’m saying. I have a problem with the type of hope that comes from things there are no evidence for, could call that false or delusional hope. A good example of that is the hope people get from the belief in heaven.

A sense of hope partly comes from a desire for things to be better, and what sounds better than how many have described heaven? Especially in a situation where a child doesn’t have the ability to walk and is told they’ll be able to run and play when they get to heaven. That is one of the things that five year old Julianna Snow of Oregon was told by her parents when they described heaven to her because she has a neurodegenerative illness called Charcot-Marie-Tooth disease. She has very weak lungs because of the disease and under certain circumstances may need hospitalization in order to live, and her doctors think in some cases things might get risky and there are quality of life issues. So her parents asked her if she falls ill would she want to go to the hospital or stay at home and go to heaven where she was told her lovely great-grandma would be there and be able to run around, and not surprisingly Julianna is saying heaven. To put it simply, their religious belief makes their little girl want to die. That breaks my heart that these parents are fine with giving up on the possibility of more time with their daughter because of a comforting delusion. They say they are giving her what she wants by listening to her, but she doesn’t know anything beyond what they’ve told her.

There have been many times where people have told me to not be so critical of the hope religion gives people because it doesn’t do much harm, but I think it can do a lot of harm. I think it’s harmful to make someone want to die. The CNN article about her and her family referred to her as dying in the title, but none of us know when we’re going to die so if you think about it we’re all dying, but by referring to her like that they’re essentially giving up on her (http://www.cnn.com/2015/10/27/health/girl-chooses-heaven-over-hospital-part-2/index.html?sr=fbCNN102715girl-chooses-heaven-over-hospital-part-20342PMStoryLink&linkId=18289967). Many people have been diagnosed with disorders that were told they were terminal as children but lived well into adulthood. Some of them are writing to Julianna on this Facebook page https://www.facebook.com/dearjulianna2015/ and I think it’s really awesome.

Giving up on people for silly religious reasons should be a thing of the past, I want to move further into the future with more sensible hope.

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So let me quote a bad 90’s song by saying “Let’s talk about sex baby”

So I would like to start off by saying I’m sex positive. That means I’m all for various ways people want to express and act out their sexuality as long as it’s healthy and consensual. I think it’s just common sense, especially since I feel having a healthy sexuality is an important part of the human condition. We all have natural urges and are psychologically complex creatures, so I find it ridiculous to disparage people from things like viewing porn, masturbation, fetishes, or whatever sex act you care to name.

I’m not the biggest fan of Sex and the City, but I did enjoy a fair amount of episodes and I tended to root for Samantha with her take charge of her sex life attitude. She also was not afraid to talk about sex bluntly which is different from the majority of women that feel a bit embarrassed or awkward to talk about sex, let alone express what they want. I don’t completely blame my fellow ladies for being like that, many of us got mixed signals during our socialization of how we’re supposed to act in relation to sex. Many women have learned to be passive about their sex lives and I think that could possibly hold them and their partners back from really enjoying themselves.

Like the majority of the United States I was raised Christian and experienced some sexual repression from that (see “Wait till marriage” post https://atheistnerdgirl.wordpress.com/2015/03/) so I can empathize with women that are uncomfortable with sex. Took me a while to get comfortable with some things and talking about it candidly is still a little hard for me a times.

Because of my sex positive views, I feel people can be empowered through the enjoyment of expressing their sexuality. One step towards that is not placing too much importance on societal norms. When it comes to sexuality many think we need to follow what we view as normal in culture and sometimes feel a sense of guilt if we deviate from the norm and are worried about what others may think. Samantha is a great example of an empowered character because she didn’t care she was challenging norms, she challenged them but she was just being herself and having fun.

There’s a strange segment of the left that seem to want to repress sexuality like the religious do. Both sides give me the sense they don’t think women enjoy sex, with one side acting like it’s giving into the patriarchy or rape and the other side acting like it’s just a duty to one’s spouse or only for reproduction. This could be a shocking statement to some, but many of us women enjoy sex and want it just as much as men do!

We would probably have an easier time enjoying sex if it weren’t for the mixed and unhealthy messages people are getting about sex. So I say, fuck it! Forget what others think and think about what gets you off and bask in that. It’s your life and your pleasure, so fuck what others or society thinks. If you have a consenting partner (or partners, I won’t judge), talk to them about what you want and don’t be passive about your pleasure. I think because of the various mixed messages women and men get about sex they are sometimes uncomfortable talking about things and expressing what they want or don’t want because of fear of judgment. But who gives a fuck if you’re judged, you shouldn’t be doing anything with that person if they don’t want to take the time to listen and understand. It’s also not the end of the world if the experience isn’t earth shattering every time, sex is sometimes a learning experience and that’s one of the great things about it. It’s even fine to regret doing something you consented to, but don’t dwell on it or hate yourself or the other person for it and learn from that experience. So be positive folks, don’t judge others’ kinks and enjoy your’s in healthy ways.

samanthaSex