Friday, November 11, 2016

What Do We Do Now?

Like many of you I have been numb the last few days, and in fear. I am not scared for myself but for everyone that doesn't look like me. For those of you that don't know me, I'm a thirty something year old straight white male. I know I will be fine, with my line of work I might face some financial struggles, but my physical safety is not in jeopardy. Now I keep asking myself what do I do? What can I do to help anyone, who like me is scared, but because they don't have the same privileges I do. This is by no means an exhaustive list of things we can do but a few that came to mind. 
 (As a disclaimer when I say we in this post I'm specifically referring to people who look like me, if you're a person of color or LGBTQ you already have a good idea of what is happening)
1) Get in contact with your local Mosque, Synagogue, Sikh and/or Hindu Temple and see if anyone wants or needs a companion when they are out grocery shopping or running errands. Be a buffer between them and any person that may feel emboldened to act violently towards them

2) Volunteer with the ACLU, SPLC, or any other civil rights group that vows to fight for the marginalized. Especially if you have experience or expertise in relevant areas

3) If you have the means donate to groups that are protecting the people at the greatest risk please do

4) If for some reason you can't do any of the above it's time to really start challenging your family and friends that post the racist bullshit that we have been letting slide over the last forever years

Some of you may have seen this Facebook post or something very similar. Whether this particular story is true or not it is time that we (white people) are the ones that are getting spat on. Be a shield 

Friday, June 13, 2014

GCB vs Yahweh

This will be a relatively short post, I'm trying to flesh something out and as such would really appreciate feedback here

I want to use the biblical flood story to show that the Abrahamic God Yahweh is not the "philosphers God" or the Greatest Conceivable Being (GCB)

Instead using a flood to drown humans, God could have chosen to fill the lungs of humans with fluid. This accomplishes the same thing as a world wide flood in regards to killing all wicked humans but does not cause unnecessary suffering to non moral agents (non human animals).

Causing the lungs of humans to be filled with fluid allows for some suffering to humans (assuming this suffering is necessary) but reduces the amount of grotesque suffering that would be caused as people clamored for high ground and became separated from their families.

God could still have Noah build the ark as a test of faith (similar to the Abraham/Isaac story) so that technically God would not have lied about drowning the world.

It is my opinion that this is a better way to accomplish any goals the flood had, but done in a better way. Making Yahweh not the GCB

Thoughts welcomed and encouraged

thanks for reading

- MoonWalking Unicorn

Monday, April 7, 2014

"God Is Not Dead" a Review

I went and saw the movie version of a terrible internet meme, God Is Not Dead I'll touch mainly on the message it tries to convey. (a synopsis of the film is here)

This movie is to philosophy what Religulous is to theology (except it isn't funny at all). Both movies are only concerned about winning over people already on their side, by using bad arguments that score "quick points".

God Is Not Dead is set in a world where the News Boys can sell out the Staples Center, but where Christianity is also somehow a minority. This is a common theme amongst evangelical Christians in general, and the film hits that point hard. The Evangelical Christians that see this film will eat up the messages portrayed even (maybe especially) the one's they didn't know where there. The not so hidden themes include racism, sexism, anti-intellectualism and fear/mistrust of anyone not like them.

Every non white character is the epitome of a stereotype. The Chinese student is an emotionless (until he finds Jesus) math major who's father is an uncaring, unloving, demanding figure. The Muslim family is ruled by a violent father. The African missionary is a happy go lucky fella that apparently has magic powers (he diagnoses a dying man by just being near him). Of course it isn't just non whites that get this stereotype characterization, every seemingly smart and attractive female is also a manipulative bitch that must have her way. Every non christian is either morally bankrupt or living an empty hopeless life. These are the (not so) subtle themes of the film the main points might be even more flawed.

The main character is Josh Wheaton who takes a philosophy course given by a (his words) "committed atheist" Professor Raddison. On the first day of class Raddison misinterprets a famous Nietzsche quote "God is dead" (full quote here) because he is apparently the worst philosophy professor ever (but good enough to be considered for chairman). Then like all bad professors do he demanded the students sign a paper that said "God is dead" so they can move on to more important things. Because the one thing you never do in philosophy courses is actual philosophy (I hope the sarcasm is evident). Of course our plucky hero Josh just can't compel himself to sign the paper so instead he is forced to defend his faith in a series of "debates". In which (spoiler alert) HE WINS! (because really Radisson is just mad at God for killing his mom) because again Radisson has never actually learned philosophy (theme here is professors are liars and are not as smart as they say they are). All while this is going on other side plots are being shown like the ministers that can't get to Disney World, a blogger gets cancer and Dean Cain doesn't care, secret christian Muslim girl gets disowned by her family, and Radisson's girlfriend dumbs down for Christ. This all culminates with the characters ending up at a News Boys concert. The now visibly shaken Radisson is also headed there to try and win back his girlfriend when suddenly he is hit by a car (then magically diagnosed as mentioned earlier). Of course like all atheists Radisson converts on his deathbed and everyone is happy!!!

What did we learn? We learned that traumatic life events are a bad reason to become an atheists, but are really good reasons to believe in God. We learned that Christians, especially the white male variety, are the most persecuted people in America. That converting atheists is super easy just yell at them for a bit then either give them cancer or hit them with a car. That beliefs are choice so why won't you just believe in God it's super easy. Lastly that the only people in the world that are truly happy are Christians.

I can't imagine anyone with any sort of knowledge of philosophy has many good things to say about this film regardless of their beliefs about God (as I was writing this I did a search for Christian philosophers reviews)
Chris Attaway
God of evolution (guest post)

This film will probably do more harm then good for the evangelical community because now they are equipped with really really poor arguments for God, but you may be annoyed by the number of texts you start to receive saying "God's Not Dead"

I have a lot more to say about this movie and will probably continue to tweet about it

follow me on twitter
or my new public FB account
Kyle MWU

Thanks for reading this now go read some real philosophy!

Sunday, January 5, 2014

Why Would God Lie?

In this post I'm going to borrow some from people I admire greatly Justin Schieber and Dan Carlin, for the sake of this post I will also be assuming a monotheistic god of some kind exists and (hopefully) give reasons for why that god would want to lie to us

If we adopt skeptical theism, that is that god has reasons to allow suffering to happen. Then we must also adopt that god could have reasons to lie to us even if those reasons are unknown. I'm not convinced that those reasons are necessarily unknown or at least I can conceive of good reasons for a god to lie to us.

Why would a god allow books like the Bible and Qur'an be written about him if those books are not true? IF the believers of those religions think that their religions have helped mankind more than they have hurt AND that the good would not have happened without the influence of those books. Just like god allowing suffering to happen because some greater good only he would know about came from it, god could very well have lied to the authors of the holy books for very similar reasons.

A second but just as valid reason for god to lie to us would be very similar to reasons the Catholic Church did not want to Bible translated into languages the common person could read. That is god does not want to give us information that is beyond our current level of reasoning. Imagine an alien race coming down with superior technology and the "correct" version of god's word. The catch is that it's written in an alien language that no one on earth can read. We must rely on the word of the alien priests to tell us, until one rogue alien decides to translate this new holy book. What are the consequences to the religious here on earth? If you believe that they could be very detrimental than you have accepted a viable reason for god to lie to us. We are only given what he knows we can absorb even knowing we can, at times, only absorb a lie.

If you would like to listen to the audio files that helped inspire this go here for Divine lies and here for Common Language Problem

questions or comments welcome


Saturday, November 16, 2013


For whatever reason I'm sitting here inspired by the memories of loss
 inspired to tell you a story of pain.
 The holiday season is coming near and it brings about a time that I fear.
 The pain of loss doesn't go away but we move on
away from the pain but also away from the memories we hold so dear.
 Like an old picture that has faded.
The corners are frayed the memories are strained
 and I'm trying to remember just what I had lost.
One moment in time changed so many lives, I think of the moments now lost.
One moment took three but three carry on in memories and tears
sometimes joy sometimes fear but it's never enough

Their winter came too soon
we sit here with pain in our hearts
amongst family and friends that know
just how hard it is to alone in a crowd surrounded by love
engulfed in guilt we put memories on skin with pain
for the last memory to be a wreck that's now trees
it isn't enough it isn't enough

Tuesday, October 29, 2013

Bible Study Q&A

I'm currently on vacation and out visiting my Mom, she asked if I would be interested in doing a little Q&A with her bible study group and I agreed. I figured I would write down my experience and share with you lovely people.

The night started off with a prayer that was obviously meant to induce a sense of guilt in me.
    "We pray for our brother Kyle that he may know to come the Truth (capital T) we know his mother prays for him daily...." etc.. etc..

The night was based around a potluck dinner and just a general night of friendship. The people were mostly very nice (except for an older gentleman I will call "D") D was the one that led the opening prayer and was very passive aggressive all night, but more on that later.

After dinner we went around the room and everyone shared their high point and low point of the past week. As you can imagine most were centered around church/or blessings from God. If you're curious my high was being on a 10 day vacation and my low was only having 6 more days.

And then the Q&A started
Most of the group seemed a little nervous at first in what to ask me (whether that was from not wanting to hear an answer or just never have spoken to a "real life atheist" I don't know)
The first question asked was
 "what was the one thing that changed your view on Christianity and how old were you?" To which I replied "I was about 23 when I really started to investigate the claims of Christianity and no there wasn't one thing, but many. Maybe the biggest being the history of the church"
This is when D stepped in and started talking and talking and talking and talking. He would start with a point then trail off into who I should read. "X was a former atheist and a smart kid like you, and so was Y you should really read Y, and Z have you heard of Z, well what about ......"

I tried to explain that just because one isn't a christian that doesn't necessarily make them an atheist which then led to another long rant by D talking about Mormons, Catholics, and Jehovah's Witnesses

Honestly the night would have been a lot better if D wasn't there (for all of us as I wasn't trying to debate people but he kinda forced my hand)

One Lady asked me if the death of my brother had anything to do with my deconversion. I emphatically stated NO and was going to talk about my thoughts on heaven but she then informed me about the recent death of her brother in Iraq and I didn't feel it necessary to take that comfort away.

* Another long rant by D*

Another gentleman interrupted D to explain that this isn't why we are here and then asked me what I thought was the best question of the night
"What do you believe in?"
"Humanity" I said "I believe that we are a force for great things in and for the world and that generally speaking people are good, we help each other. We may not always get it right and we can also cause much damage, but generally speaking and especially within small communities we are great for each other"

The night ended with another prayer, but not before D came up to me and said "If I was younger I would beat the Truth into you"
ah there is that good ol christian love!

wish the night would have been a little more informative but it was mostly me trying to explain this isn't a phase and I'm not rebelling

maybe I can convince them to do another one next time I'm out but one that is a little more structured so it doesn't trail off into empty threats and nonsensical tangents

Thanks for reading

Monday, October 21, 2013

Oprah and Atheism - my take

I'm going to go ahead and be the nine thousandth internet atheist that comments on the recent Oprah interview of  Diana Nyad, hopefully my take is just a little bit different than others.

The reaction of the atheist I'm in contact through twitter seem to fall in to two categories "Who cares what Oprah thinks" and the "Oprah is a ignorant bigot" crowd. I firmly fall into the former (with the obvious glaring exception of me writing this blog, yay hypocrisy!)  

Let's look at the exchange that seems to have caused all the "outrage"

“I can stand at the beach’s edge with the most devout Christian, Jew, Buddhist, go on down the line, and weep with the beauty of this universe and be moved by all of humanity. All the billions of people who have lived before us, who have loved and hurt and suffered. So to me, my definition of God is humanity and is the love of humanity.” Nyad said

“Well, I don’t call you an atheist then,” Winfrey said. “I think if you believe in the awe and the wonder and the mystery, then that is what God is. That is what God is. It’s not a bearded guy in the sky.”

 A majority of the outrage I've seen towards Oprah quotes her as saying "You're not an atheist" when this isn't what she said. What she did say I can almost agree with based on Nyad's definition of "god". When Nyad says "my definition of god is humanity..." that does come across as quite similar to that of a pandeist. Now I'm not trying to say or imply that Diana is a pandiest, but when she describes her definition of god I could see how one (in this case Oprah) could be confused.

Oprah's reply almost mimics what Nyad says. If Nyad's definition of god is "humanity and the love of humanity" and Oprah's is "awe and wonder" really what is the difference? They are both using a slippery version of the term "god". When Oprah goes on to say "God isn't a bearded man in the sky" she kind of outs her self as a non theist. Both women identify with some sort of  spirituality the only difference is how they define it. Diana seems to not have a belief in any sort of supernatural element, but Oprah (who has had psychics and the like on her show) does.

So what is the outrage about? Because Oprah has a different definition of atheism (one commonly held)? Or are we just looking to be "offended"? If it's just about the latter we could surely find a more obvious offender, if it's the former then lets take the opportunity to educate not belittle.
Without trying to sound too authoritarian we shouldn't be so wrapped up in a label that we have to be offended anytime someone disagrees with what that label means.

comments welcome
thanks for reading