Young Men Behaving Badly

bibleforporn1[1] Recently the atheist student organization on the campus of the University of Texas – San Antonio held what I would surmise as a publicity stunt. In the public form of the school campus the group offered to exchange porn for bibles. There are several issues, most of which are associated with immature behavior and what I would term adolescent level judgment.

Offering to exchange porn for the Christian bible would almost be the equivalent of offering to exchange a Boston Red Sox fan a Yankees hat for outfielder Dave Roberts’ glove. Not only is this sacrilege and insulting it is structured to be an insult and to infuriate a group that they obviously disagree with. Based on the student’s response of holding prayer groups on the spot they have accomplished this task.

100303_rnc_screenshot_289[1] In breaking new we recently find out that the Republican National Committee has published and presented a PowerPoint presentation depicting our President and several members of the Democratic congress as comic book characters or children’s story villains. According to the reports this presentation was provided to the “large donors” of the RNC and was intended to be a scare tactic to drive contributions to the party and its members. In my view, there are very little if any differences in both activities.

Resorting to an extreme tactic to either make a point or drive donations simply shows poor judgment and an extreme lack of character. Poking someone in the eye and then insisting that they listen to your position or opinion is not only absurd it is a most telling sign of one’s mental capacity to engage in a civil disagreement.

Why am I disturbed by this behavior? Two reasons… one being this collage group is claiming to represent a position that I subscribe too and two they are resorting to tactics that insult not only the Christian position but the intellectual position of atheists around the world. “Drawing attention” to one’s self or agenda by acting like a group of school children should not be on the table as an option to pursue.

bibleforporn3[1] Intentionally engaging in activity you know is the most offensive activity you could possibly engage in to insult and degrade another person or group of people is always, in every instance, without exception a bad idea. There is no sociological, psychological, or anthropological evidence that this activity will lead to anything other than a fight, a war, or a terrorist attack. This is so egregiously wrong that it should be removed from anyone’s list of options that happens to have a maturity level above a ten year old.

Redeeming quality…

It has been suggested that anyone who would agree that the Christian bible is itself “smut” should back this campaign. There are variations on the definition of the word smut, none of which I would use to describe any theological text. Regardless of you opinion of the Christian bible, supporting a position that places yourself or a group in a position of advocating an activity that is the most insulting to someone you disagree with is simply absurd. One would expect that we could disagree without being disagreeable.

It has also been suggested that it is in fact the religions extremist are themselves responsible for the perception of the porn industry and thus anyone else who does not subscribe to their rhetoric would not find porn objectionable. This is simply an ill conceived argument. I am personally aware of people who follow no particular theological practice that find issue with many points the Christian dogma condemns.

Going after our own…

My position of displeasure and disappointment in this group as well as my vocal condemnation is a direct result of my position of “cleaning one’s own house”. I do constantly remind my Christian and Muslim friends that it is their responsibility to stand up against what they themselves claim is a bad representation of their own respective faiths. (Pat Robertson or Alhaji Mutallab for example…) If someone is misrepresenting, degrading or outright insulting or damaging a mutual position it is the responsibility of every person sharing that position to not only work to condemn the activity but initiate activity to counter the destructive activity itself.

To the students of the University of Texas – San Antonio atheist group, I strongly encourage you to withdraw from any future activity that even remotely resembles this type of engagement as well as issuing a full public apology not only the any religious theology you have obviously insulted but to the entire world of atheists who have now damaged by your actions.

- Peace, Chad

1 comment:

mark said...

well of course i agree with you. but it's just so much fun to ruffle the feathers of the religious now and then. whenever i visit a cemetery i want nothing more than to dance (or worse) on gravestones. of course it's irrational, and serves no good purpose, and would thoroughly piss off anyone who holds a grave site sacred, but that doesn't stop me from wanting to do it. the real issue here i think is accommodation. can people who believe in a god peacefully coexist with those who do not? i'm sure it depends on the level of belief. the true believer cannot tolerate the non-believer. their god tells them not to tolerate him or her. i think what happened at university was simply a case of atheists feeling emboldened and throwing down a challenge to the believers. hopefully they won't face any serious repercussions...

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Houston, TX, United States
I live in Houston Texas, married to my best friend with two wonderful kids (both teenagers). I enjoy philosophy, psychology, theism – atheism, quantum computing. I work in the technology industry with focus on energy and computer theory. I love to engage in discussions of rationality, logic, and reasonability.


Growing Up…
I had a great childhood. I had loving parents and a very easy life. I never wanted for anything. So I was never “mad at god”. I did have a lot of physical problems as a child but I never “blamed” them on anyone or anything. I was just born that way. I believe my parents were “religious” because of my physical birth defects. Because of these defects I spent a lot of time in the hospital as a child. Several times I was close to death. I believe this had a lot of influence on my parent’s belief system.

I have lost friends and family, I have experienced hardships. But that is just life as it happens. I did not have a great first marriage, but I did have two great kids come out of it. I am now married to the most wonderful woman on the planet and am very happy. For the most part life is good. Some have even told me that I have never “found god” because I have never truly suffered in life. That argument doesn’t hold water, but is interesting.

I begin questioning my Christian upbringing about age 10. I was asking questions and wasn’t getting satisfactory answers. I was raised in a small town in east Texas; this does not provide a whole lot of exposure to other religions. As I aged and begin to learn more I found it interesting that there were and had been so many religions and gods throughout the history of man. I begin to question why some believed in one god while others believed in theirs. I wondered how anyone could prove, or at the very least have some level of confidence they were worshiping the “right” god.

I can’t say I ever lost my faith. I never really had any. When I was young of course I didn’t know I was an Atheist. I just didn’t believe what everyone else was telling me. With my friends it never really came up that “I’m an Atheist”. When I told my mother I didn’t believe in god she just dismissed it as something I was going through. My father was indifferent to my proclamation. My closest friend is Jewish. I try my best to honor his belief system and he reciprocates.

Focusing Thoughts…
Once I realized that there were so many different religions it just seemed clear to me that none of them were real. Then I learned that there was a name for what I believed and it is called Atheism. Once I found others who believed as I did I begin to learn more about the religions and how they controlled so much of our lives. I wanted to know as much as I could about all of them. I even wrote an anthology paper in collage on how everyone could be worshiping the same god, just using different names.

I find it extremely easy and comforting to be an Atheist. Life is very simple, and so much less complicated. I follow simple rules for living; be nice to all living creatures, and the earth. Don’t think that you are better than anything or anyone else. I don’t think this is an original way of thinking or living but I don’t subscribe to it because it is part of some other philosophy, it simply feels like the “right” way to live.

I do tend to “pick on” Christianity more than other religions simply because it is the one that is most prevalent and intrusive in my life. While I think extremist or radicals in any religion are responsible for a large majority of the damage done to humanity, I also believe anyone who follows that religious teaching is responsible. You are responsible because you do not get to pick and chose which part of a religion you want to follow. Saying that you are against gay marriage while you are eating a bacon sandwich just doesn’t cut it with me. (If you don’t understand that last sentence look up the Christian bible and refer to the book of Leviticus.) If you only pick out the parts of a religion you want to follow you have just created a new religion.

I do make it evident in my life that I am an Atheist. I have a bumper sticker on my vehicle, I have sayings and quotes around my desk at work or around my house. I do this to let others know who they are approaching if they want to engage me in conversation or wish to ask questions. Just as others put “fish” on their vehicle or place religions symbols around their house.

Why am I an atheist? Because I ask questions and ask for the answers to be empirically evident. I consider my self to be a rationalist. I do not believe in faith, nor do I believe in statements like “we can not comprehend.” Do I have all the answers to life’s questions? Well of course not. It just means that we don’t have all the answers. I also believe that when we die, we just die. We are no different that any other living organism in the universe Wow is it really that simple? Yes it really is that simple. We just keep investigating the world around us as we have done throughout history. I have enough answers to get me through this thing called life. I will enjoy it while I am here and try to help those I care to help along the way. I will do so based on a moral compass in my heart, not one dictated by a religion.

Have a great day