The Goodness of Atheism

atheism.jpgI got one of those Nigerian email scams. I’d guess it was about number 50, or maybe it was 75.

I’ve been thinking for several days about two very different views of atheism. One is from the godder side, where atheists are consciously evil, and want to hurt people and destroy things. The other …

Well, read the email first.


Yeah, the whole thing is in capital letters. I’ll spare you by translating it into something less shouty. I’m leaving in the typographical errors and misspellings, but I’m fixing the weird line breaks and large number of extra spaces sprinkled throughout.

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Code Blue!!!!!!

I’m chuckling, but in a grim way.


I get these emails from something called Worldview Weekend, a Christianist organization that sees a plot to murder God – and white people – in every shadow. I signed up in  a weak moment a year or so back, just to keep tabs on what they’re selling.

Some of the lines from this week’s plate of steaming neo-con Jesus (I confess I added all the exclamation marks, just because it seems funnier that way):

Liberals to Spend $1 Trillion And Can Not Say it Will Produce One Job!!!

Uh, hello? How many net jobs were created by the several trillion that Bush spent?

Distracting and Destroying the Middle Class, by Brannon Howse

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Misty-Eyed on MLK Day

Came across this online this morning, and it brought a tear to my eye.

Rosa Parks sat so that Martin Luther King could walk.

Martin Luther King walked so that Barack Obama could run.

Barack Obama ran so that all children could fly.

Damn. Here’s to a big step toward ending the inhumanity of racism.

Congratulations, President Obama. And congratulations, America.

Vulpes Rising

keys.jpgI woke up this morning with the picture of JJ Danesworth in my head. And a realization … Well:

JJ was (or is – he might still be alive) a man I knew in Texas. He was the father of some high school friends and he had osteomyelitis.

If you don’t know what that is, I don’t either. But in his case … Hold your arms out in front of you, palms down, and imagine some godlike trickster comes along and softens then rehardens your bones, meanwhile bending your forearms sharply upwards at a point about four-fifths of the way from elbow to wrist, subtracting three or four inches of length while he was at it.

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Vulpes Descending

redfox.jpgI quit my job. I’m losing my house. Just barely made the late payments on my truck in time to save it from repossession. And oh, boy, do I have some credit card debt. I’ll probably have to declare bankruptcy, and I’m pretty sure that will nuke my credit for … well, just about forever. Can’t seem to interest an agent in either of my books.

I’m still not finished moving, and it’s turned winter with a vengeance here in Upstate New York. I couldn’t get a load from my old house today because it snowed, and it’s down to about 4 degrees right now, a few minutes after 1 a.m. I’m still paying for heating at the old house, and I’m late on that bill too, so I’m worried the power will be cut off and the pipes will freeze.

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Atheism a la Meme

atheists1.jpgWay back in October, No More Mr. Nice Guy tagged me with a list of questions about atheism. I was busy at the time, and eventually forgot it. I just came across the link today, though, and with apologies to my fellow blogger, I reply today:

Can you remember the day that you officially became an atheist? Do you remember the day you officially became an agnostic?

Nope. It happened gradually. As early as 13, I wrote that I didn’t believe in God. My stepfather found it and gave me hell about it. But I must have had doubts about it even before then. I just didn’t see any evidence for the god hypothesis, and worse, everybody said different things about it. No matter how certain they seemed, nobody knew anything for sure.

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An Atheist’s Thanks Giving

Thanks to PZ Myers of Pharyngula, and all the great commenters tatheists.jpghere.

Thanks to Carl Sagan and Isaac Asimov, Terry Pratchett and Richard Dawkins. Thanks to Ray Bradbury, and Robert Heinlein, Anne McCaffrey and Diane Duane, George Chesbro and Jim Butcher. Thanks to David Brin and Larry Niven. Thanks to Robert Service and Mark Twain. Thanks to Arthur C. Clarke, and to Chris Clarke.

And what the hell, thanks to Stan Lee, and Siegel and Shuster! Thanks to Bill Watterson, Berkely Breathed, and Walt Kelly.

Thanks to Mrs. Nicholas who took my friend Johnny and I to the library every Saturday when I was a kid. Thanks to Miss King, geometry teacher, who taught me that sometimes there really is only one right answer. Thanks to my “dad,” Dan Farris, for the years of tolerance, and to Lou and Mary Roeser, for the years in the saddle.

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Getting Nailed

nailed.jpg[Apologies to my readers. This is more than 1,700 words, but I couldn’t say it in less. Exploring a new thought, and linking it to things you already know, just takes time. And when you write it out, it’s … longish. But I do have a couple of ideas here that were “Ahas” for me, so if you have the time, I’d love to know what you think. — Hank the Interminable]

Say you did something you thought was good at the time, but later turned out to be bad. You could admit the mistake. Or you could refuse to admit it.

Any sensible person would probably say the first option was the best one. If you can admit a mistake, you can probably do something to fix it, or correct your course so you don’t do it again. And you can move on.

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Thank You, Mr. Darwin. Again.

tree-of-life.jpgI grew up in Texas. Spent part of my childhood in Alabama. And I grew up among racists.

So I was a racist. When you grow up when and where I did, you can’t not be.

By the time I was in high school in the late 60s, racism was passé. It was no longer okay to hate the people who had progressed from being n*****s – also called, among my own relatives, “Negroes” or, given our accents, “niggrahs” – to being “black” people, or “African-Americans.”

But just because society changes, that doesn’t mean you do. I’m afraid the racism was still there in my head. (I like to think I can admit this not because I’m evil, but because I’m honest.)

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Email on 9/11

bush-in-classroom.jpgThis is from an email I sent out this morning, the anniversary of the attacks of Sept. 11, 2001.

The main part is the “Questions on the Anniversary” at the bottom. The “special note to friends” at the beginning was intended to be a tiny little side note, but grew into the not-so-tiny thing it is. Email begins:

I couldn’t resist sending this around, mostly because when I woke up this morning, the first thing I thought of was how much mileage Republicans and conservatives have gotten out of the Sept. 11 tragedy.

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