barnabas_truman: (oldstyle)
Just had a thoroughly invigorating shouting match with a hellfire-and-homosexuality street preacher out on the quad. I started by trying to counter and/or question the claims he was shouting about God's attitude towards sex, marijuana, and modern sinful college students; realized I wasn't getting anywhere; noticed that there was actually a sizable audience; and decided to fight fire with fire by shouting right back.

I paced around him while shouting (louder than he could; thank you projection workshops) that he was a terrible preacher because he's only shouting and not listening; that the first thing any teacher, preacher, actor, or politician MUST learn is LISTEN TO YOUR AUDIENCE; that he just seems to walk onto a college campus thinking he knows everything about the students already and yells at them without listening; then I turned to the audience, gestured broadly, and shouted "Here's your audience, so listen! Audience! What do you want to tell this fellow?"

They all shouted as one: "GO HOME!" Couldn't have said it better myself. That stunned the preacher just long enough for me to step in front of him, face the assembled students, and give a one-minute impromptu sermon on the Gospel of Fred Rogers, a far better Christian than this so-called preacher, telling the students that today is a better day because they are here, that nobody should tell them they are bad for being themselves, that Mr Rogers and I love them just the way they are, and that it is indeed a beautiful day in the neighborhood.

Walked off just in time to be out of sight before the adrenaline wore off. It's not so great to nearly collapse when the audience is watching.
barnabas_truman: (army)
I just spent half an hour cheerfully discussing theology with a couple of door-to-door JW missionaries. In the end they excused himself and left while I was still trying to continue the conversation. That means I win! Good times; I hadn't done that in a decade or so.

I was quite proud of myself for correctly guessing that he was a JW the moment he mentioned the year 1914 in relation to the apocalypse, and for knowing enough Bible references to hold my own in a debate over the identity of the snake in Genesis and "Satan" in Job as well as God's actual intentions in the Fall of Man. I was also amused that, as they left, one of them inquired whether I was a Seventh Day Adventist due to my ideas about Genesis 1 and Genesis 2 being separate accounts of two independent creations (in fact I actually got the idea from GURPS Cabal!).
barnabas_truman: (Default)
In recognition of National Coming Out Day, I'm coming out.

I'm an atheist. I'm happy with that, and unashamed.

I believe that there is no god. No Yahweh/Jehovah/Allah, no Zeus, no Thor, no Osiris. (No goddesses either, in case you thought I forgot.) In fact I believe that there is no supernatural element to the universe at all--no ghosts, no leprechauns, no unicorns, no auras; life ends at death, creationism is nonsense, and astrology and tarot have utterly no predictive power. Moreover, I find it equally easy to disbelieve in all of these things.

I'd also like to dispel a few ugly and all-too-common stereotypes about atheists.

* I'm a deeply ethical person. I am quite capable of choosing to do the right thing without any reliance on an imaginary friend telling me what to do.

* I see immense beauty and wonder in the natural world. I feel more in awe of natural phenomena when I understand how they work (or at least am making progress towards understanding), not when I tell myself comforting lies. I know how rainbows work; I know they are not feathered serpents spanning the sky--but does this make them any less beautiful to me? No: it simply tells me where to find them.

* If you want to believe in fictions, that's your prerogative and I won't judge you for it. I may judge you for your resulting behavior, though, especially if it involves pushing your beliefs on me.

* I will not evangelize atheism, but I will urge you to think deeply about whether your beliefs are consistent with reality or not--I do this myself all the time. Fiction may be comforting, but truth is better!

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June 2017

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