Why do I mock religion?

Recently a creationist commenter posed some questions asking why I disbelieve in his god, questions which were hard to take seriously. I asked others for help on how to answer his comment without being sarcastic, but they were even more harsh than I was, calling it word salad, amongst other things. I did write a post in response to his lengthy comment, but it doesn’t feel right to me. Maybe I’ll still publish it, with his full comment text, but in the meantime, I’d much rather write about how I came to mock religion as I do now.

The idea for this one came to me via a memory, triggered by the way someone reacted to a Facebook post of mine yesterday, a post which led to me sharing this: (I don’t know why the FB embed is not displaying. It worked before publishing and now it isn’t, so I’m using an image instead.)

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Let’s wind back that clock, shall we? The year was 1985, my first year of high school. Standard six, or grade eight as they call it now. I’d had a fairly protected upbringing, by parents who were devout Roman Catholic, and my mother in particular was paranoid about other religions (their youth programs and so forth) being more fun than the Catholic Sunday school and youth programs we attended, which were very much old school.

That alone is ironic, come to think of it. In her own way, my mother recognized the harm of indoctrination, and was worried that my brother or I might be sucked into some other more modern church. (I highly doubt there was much of a chance of that happening to either of us, for different reasons. She should have given us more credit. Mind you, as a parent, I understand.) But getting back to the point, my protected upbringing meant my only exposure to Christianity was though the lens of our weekly attendance at Mass, and Sunday school. She didn’t even like the idea of us going to other Christian churches, which suited me fine because I didn’t much like the idea of that either.

So… imagine my surprise when some twat handed out Gideons Bibles at school and I actually read mine. It was the first time I didn’t get cherry picked Bible verses through the lens of the parish priest, and… wow! What a lot of bullshit! Fucking pages and pages and pages of lineages of men, such as Joseph. It’s like they just put random writings together. Sorry, I can’t refer to which chapter and verse because I’m not interested in looking that up, but clearly whoever made sure they showed that Joseph descended directly from David was unaware that he allegedly didn’t father Jesus. It’s blatantly obvious when reading that, that some writers were quite unaware of the daddy is god and mommy is a virgin claim, and at the time of that writing, Jesus was shown to be descended from David. (The same David who was mysteriously celebrated for taking a ranged weapon to hand to hand combat, and cheating, shooting his opponent before the man could even reach the battlefield. Kind of like taking a gun to a boxing match. That cunt.)

Further, it was blatantly obvious to me as a thirteen year old reading the Bible that it described all kinds of things that never happened. And I do mean never. Where does one go from this kind of revelation? Well, it seems most Christians just put that doubt out of their heads and find excuses to carry right on believing. I tried. I wanted to believe so I told myself that maybe some of the stuff was nonsense but the idea of god and Jesus and the creation and heaven were true. But I did also mock that stupid verse from Revelation. It struck me as hilarious that this was the source of the Beast, 666, and all that as used in various horror movies like The Omen. But actually read it and it’s a bunch of mumbo jumbo. So I wrote it all over the school desks (along with a couple of other things and drawings that I won’t mention here)… I wrote it along with the chapter and verse, and can you guess how other people responded? They didn’t believe those words actually came from the Bible. Because like me, they had never read it.

So you could say I had a crisis of faith, because I read the Bible. Because I saw it for what it really was. But I tried to hang on, force myself to keep believing, because to my father, being Catholic was very important. It was a strong part of his identity. I went through with my confirmation at age 14, and didn’t speak of my doubt to anyone. By the age of 15 my reasoning went like this: Why should I believe that other people, born into a different religion such as Islam, who believe just as sincerely as we do, will be punished for all eternity? Just because they were born to parents who taught them a different religion to me? Why? Even if I assume a god exists, why would he be so cruel? It’s a birth lottery; nothing more.

I’d lay awake at night wondering about such things. In some moments I did believe, and wonder why this god would punish those other innocent people. In other moments, theirs was the true religion, and I’d be the one to suffer in Hell because their god would punish me for being born into the wrong religion. And then like most people (I imagine), I’d put those thoughts away during the day and focus on other things that teenagers focused on.

I have mentioned before, a school acquaintance named Meri, from Finland, who prompted me to lose my faith. Perhaps I gave her too much credit, so this time, including the paragraphs before this one, I’m writing the whole story. That was my state of mind – extreme confusion, because I saw everything in the Bible as pure nonsense, and yet I believed, kind of. I clung to that belief with a thread. Then one day, I heard a girl crying. Her name was Meri, and she spoke with a funny accent. No one liked her because she was different. A group of boys were jeering and laughing at her and even my friend Dale, who I thought was a nice guy, was smirking at the absurdity of her not believing in god.

I approached her because I felt bad for her, because I was quiet and shy and different to most people, because I also isolated myself. So I asked her what this was about, and she asked me, “Do you believe in religion, and god?” I said “Yes, I do”, to which she responded, the tears barely dry in her eyes, “Why!? Why do you believe? It’s so stupid.” And just like that, seeing that it was acceptable to doubt, I stopped believing. Because I had no reason to believe. If I’d had the words to answer her in those few seconds before my belief vanished forever, I’d have said, “I believe because I’ve always believed, because I know that god is real. I know it in my heart.” But I didn’t know any such thing. That was the simple fact. The only words I could form were the sheepish, “I don’t know (why I believe)”, but the reality was, my mind was racing – I went from “knowing” god is real to knowing with absolute certainty that this god was made up by men.

I did at one stage believe that mocking religion, or scoffing at the absurdity of it, as she did, might trigger others to think, to have that moment of clarity and change their minds, as it did for me. But it’s never happened. Maybe I was naive to think it could? Most likely I think, it was inevitable that I’d end up atheist – the complete loss of faith was already cemented in my doubts and she just provided the final nail to crucify those beliefs. But regardless, that is only a small part of why I mock religion. At sixteen years old, I still thought that for the most part, religion was a good thing, that it taught useful virtues and values, and that religious people were good people. I was wrong.

I should have known from the way those good Christian boys treated Meri, but I didn’t see it. Not yet. But dear reader, doesn’t my story of her seem slightly familiar? And no, I don’t mean because I have written about her before. Others have made movies using a very similar plot. I’m thinking of Kevin Sorbo with his God’s Not Dead trash. It’s a familiar narrative, one shared by 1000001 edgy Facebook Christians who share their persecution narratives, except in their fiction, it’s atheists who condescend to them and bully them. Let me make this crystal fucking clear: We live in a credulous world where people, the majority are held together by blind faith and magical thinking, where most people are driven by apophenia and take comfort in their fictional everlasting life, where the atheists are the exceptions, and where we are very much at the receiving end of bullying and harassment. It’s been this way for hundreds of years.

Like it’s not bad enough that my parents were like two blind mice in their Catholicism and they made me spend all those Sunday morning wasting my fucking time in Mass and Sunday school, and all those months… actually years worrying about Hell and endless torment; like it’s not bad enough that my son had to be subjected to that bullshit too; we can’t even have Facebook groups especially for atheists without some willfully ignorant buffoons trying to proselytize to us and “save” us.

Your arguments are vapid, full of fallacies, ad hominem, appeals to irrelevant authority, argumentum ad populum, begging the question, and outright nonsense. And no, I don’t need expertise in fucking philosophy to reject your assumption that a creator exists. Philosophy isn’t about that – you’re simply equivocating, hiding behind words that you don’t understand to justify an assumption that makes no sense whatsoever, but is based on what you think you know with your brainwashed mind, not on evidence. And no, I do not need to know theology to understand that it is all nonsense when it is obvious from the outside that studying it is simply a matter of studying the innermost details of the made up shit. I don’t need to smear the shit on my nose to know that it stinks. And I certainly do not need to feel compelled to respond to such presumptuous passive aggressive statements masquerading as questions.

But by the way, there are many people who have studied theology and concluded that it is bullshit. And if you really want to play the argumentum ad populum game, then boy do I have bad news for you.

But getting back to my personal story, things took another turn when I was around 18. By then an atheist but not public about it, I spent a year in the old apartheid army, due to conscription. There I heard preachers preaching a strange brand of Christianity I hadn’t heard before, where they read “purity of races” right into their Bibles. I don’t remember what Bible verses once again, but it doesn’t matter. They were pretty convincing, to each other at least. So Christianity was used to justify racism and white supremacy, and a law known as the “Group Areas Act” back then which forced people of different colour to live in separate neighbourhoods. Since then I’ve heard of others with similar racism, people who claim that black people are the “sons of Nod”, the cursed descendants of Cain who murdered his brother Abel, and they use this to justify their belief that white people are superior.

You had to jump through some hoops for the racism to make sense just the same as you do for those who use the Bible to justify homophobia – where the righteous man, Lot, offered up his two daughters to be gang raped by a group of men who wanted to get to the two angels in his home. That verse is used to justify that the men were gay (because they wanted the angels). But it is OK that he offered them his daughters? Why offer his daughters to gay men? And why is it OK to offer women to be raped?

Speaking of Lot and family, his wife was allegedly turned to a pillar of salt for daring to turn her head. Who turned to witness this? But Lot one day got both his daughters pregnant and that’s not a problem. But by all means, don’t be gay. That’s wrong.

Right now, there are Americans spouting the same kind of rhetoric that the boneheads did in the old South Africa. In fact, they’re super popular among the right wing here. Racist scum, the lot of them!

Here’s a fact that too many people are blind to see: Extremism, while it may well exist only on the fringe, is the truest form of any ideology. Religion is all about elitism, the belief that you are right and everybody else is wrong. Taken to its natural extreme, it’s all about hate.

But just as many Christians are willingly blind and ignorant to the nonsense of their own religious texts, so are they blind to the hatred of their beliefs taken to the extreme. It’s not just that your beliefs are absurd, whether you’re like that commenter with his presumptuous Gish gallop of just asking questions, or you’re one of those edgy “I identify as black” white Christians attacking transgender people, or you’re an American politician hiding behind “traditional marriage” to justify homophobia, or you’re just a normal churchgoing person who turns a blind eye to all the harm that your religion does… I see through you. I mock you along with the subject of your belief, because you deserve it. By failing to open up your mind to reality, by not rejecting religion and all the harm that it does, even if you are not one of those vile evil people I have mentioned, you do enable them.

Another follow-up on Torchlight 3

Since I wrote about this game before here and here

There was a recent update to the game, and other than adding a new class, the Cursed Captain, they did fix most of the bugs I mentioned before, so I might as well update my review.

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That’s what my two multiplayer characters look like. I’ve now played through the game a few times, with three characters in single player, and then these two, the new one still in progress in multiplayer. So with the exception of Lucretia, all my characters have finished the campaign, and played all 251 levels of end game content. “Endless dungeons”  that end.

As mentioned, they have fixed bugs. The worst of which by far was the disappearing pet. Well, your pet no longer disappears. That’s a big one. My game also no longer hangs when my pet uses its skills. I just play, and had almost forgotten about the frequent freezes. The game is more or less stable now, but for connectivity issues and the occasional crash on my XBox One.
(I play both on XBox and PC. I hadn’t realized before, but since I purchased it on XBox via the store, I have the option of installing it on PC too. I just connect an Xbox controller via USB cable and the gameplay is identical.)

Level 251 of the “endless dungeons” was one where the pet almost always disappeared. That one involves Ordrak, the main boss of the game, but in a match that will land you with loot with +118% statistics. That and the previous level can be fun to grind if you’re looking for better items, but 251 especially is better with your pet, so Ordrak has another target.

One of my original complaints was having more skills than key bindings, but that was on me, at least for the dusk mage. I learned from that and chose a better relic for my multiplayer dusk mage, plus I only bother with a single relic skill, which in all my characters other than the cursed captain, is a finishing move. FYI, you can respec anything, but you can’t choose a different relic, which you do on character creation. So until you know which relic you prefer playing, you have to experiment.

The new character class is pretty cool – being a throwback to a pirate character you encounter in Torchlight 2. I really like my cursed captain, but it has one major problem that will affect me in end game play, and I’m not there yet. I’ll cover that in a bit…

The major problem with this game is lousy end game content. Only 251 levels and then, that’s it. You’re done. The story looks like it was left open for another act to be added, so maybe there will eventually be a 4th act, but who knows how long that will be? They really could have made more levels, something similar to Diablo 3 rifts. But they didn’t.

Of the many game attributes you get in the end game levels, there are two that are particularly annoying. Well, the first one here especially.

  1. Angered Ancestors. This one sucks. It isn’t difficult but it is extremely annoying. You get pursued by a spirit, with a maelstrom like swirling wind force “blowing” around it. You can’t kill it. It is indestructible. If it gets to you, you are slowed down, and quickly die. You have to run up and down on the various levels, getting it to follow you to a part of the map you already completed, then hurry to the other side of the map, kill one or two enemies before it catches you again. And so on.
  2. Shifting Shackles. This one is difficult, but how difficult depends on the character class. (Cursed Captain, you’re fucked.) One random skill is disabled every 3 minutes.

Here’s the thing: None of my characters, except for my cursed captain, use the basic attack. That is, they all rely on class specific attacks, and they all (Dusk Mage, Sharp Shooter, and Forged) have a decent backup skill. So if my main attack or favourite finishing move is disabled, I’m still fine. But not the Cursed Caption. I rely on basic attack with a gun or rifle, or cannon. In fact, it is the most powerful of all my attacks, combining two legendary skills that cause it to shoot poison and spirits with every attack. Lucretia is my most overpowered character of all. But when it gets to the end game, and I’m close to finishing act 3, I’m probably going to get stuck, or have to respec until I find a decent backup skill. Right now, I don’t have one.

So maybe it’s just me, but there doesn’t seem to be a good class-specific attack skill for the cursed captain to be able to use continuously. You have to rely on basic attack, which will be a problem at end game level with “shifting shackles”. Only a problem if you play to the end game content of course…

I have two bits of advice for Torchlight 3 players:

  1. Use the mapwork scrolls you find. Use them while you are still playing the campaign.
  2. Only make lifebound items if you have a backup item.

The reason for this is simple: The levels you play after campaign give you much better items than you can get from those mapwork scrolls. Thus the mapwork scroll levels are too easy for playing in end game play. But during campaign mode, they will typically give you levels the same as your character, which most likely will be more difficult levels than the story levels you’re playing. Grind them to get better gear so that campaign mode is more fun. The same goes for phase portals. Play them – if you see a phase beast, kill it and play the level through the portal. You get much better gear than from the campaign levels.

The reason for my second bit of advice is that if you grind mapworks levels and phase portals, you can die and if you have lifebound items, you lose them. Lifebound items are great when you, for example, find 2 similar weapons and use a lifebound scroll to add bonuses to one, knowing that if you die, you still have a good backup item.

Happy hacking and slashing…


Oh… one more thing.

The only other major bug still present in the game is the unfinishable levels. (The one I previously called “not enough spiders” or sarcastically “too many spiders”.)

Any level, via mapworks or the Fazeer Shah’s “endless” levels, where you have to collect a certain number of items, or fight a specific boss on the level, might spawn with less than the requisite items, or minus the boss. It’s really annoying but it happens, where you play the whole level, mapping it completely and killing every enemy, but you can’t finish it and progress. It happens mostly with collecting items, and it happens reasonably often at end game level.

And lastly… I need a new keyboard. Excuse me but I’m tired of looking for all the missing S characters. I think I found most of them, hopefully, but I can only read the same post back so many times.

Apparently accepting multiple bullshit magic dudes at face value is better than accepting only one?

I soooo wanna reply to her in two days when my ban gets lifted. I’ll probably get unfriended but still…

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I believe English is not her first language (she’s Polish), so “yet we the same time brush off…” is an error. She’s Jewish. It’s a slight error but I’m mentioning it just to clarify what she means.

I find this reasoning baffling. Believing in multiple people doing the impossible and defying the laws of physics and reality isn’t better than believing in just one magic dude. You might be tempted to think it’s even worse, but not me… I’d say it’s about the same. One magic man vs many magic men – same shit, different dogma.

I always find it weird when people claim their religions are better than others. It’s like saying “My magic is the real magic because my magic is real.” Except it isn’t real. It’s just that you’re indoctrinated to believe in your magic and not the other magic.

It’s all bullshit.

Edit: Hey, this meme makes the same point…


I do think she makes one point though, by accident. There is a lot more going on in the Old Testament. God speaks to Abraham, commands men to cut off part of their penises, kills some dude for pulling out rather than impregnating his dead brother’s wife, there are many prophets, god himself gets to commit genocide more than once… A lot.

In fact, the tone is so different, it seems like a different god, and once you get past the superficial bits that appear to follow on, it should be clear that this isn’t the same god at all. It’s just a bunch of people with a new religion who appropriated the culture of an old one that they stole bits from. They even went as far as retconning the purpose of Judaism to be all about Jesus. Of course the Muslims retcon Christianity in a similar manner. I find it all quite hilarious.

I’m reliable now and that feels strange when I think about it.

We’ve had a couple of emergencies at work lately. I can’t get into too much detail but what I can mention is that the main software I work on is responsible for large volumes of financial transactions.

So… things can go wrong, just like any system, and there is a lot of pressure, but depending on the service, not much time to fix things. For example, transactions have cut-off times, and if you miss them, the only way to fix things is to resubmit, but using a shorter lead-time service type not even implemented by the system. That’s all I can say without giving away anything that’s too confidential.

The point is, when things go wrong in a financial system, its a big deal. For example, you might end up in a situation where millions worth of revenue passing through the system might… not pass through the system. (Or imagine the other extreme – millions of revenue passed through but doubled, or a fault with some kind of floating point conversion means 100 times the amount. Fortunately that didn’t happen here. But just imagine.)

And on more than one occasion, the person to fix the problems, was me. Me! The same me who couldn’t be trusted to implement even simple code fixes to a far smaller system back in 2009. The same me who couldn’t be relied upon for anything for several years.

These kinds of problems can end with people losing their jobs. There’s not always much recognition when someone fixes these kinds of things (thank goodness because I don’t want too much of that, thank you), and these events will hopefully mostly be forgotten, certainly not how things would be if the disasters were not averted, but that’s not my focus here. My focus is me sitting here and reflecting on how weird it feels that people rely on me, and even if the details are forgotten, the positive effect on my reputation will remain.

I remember sitting in code reviews back in 2009, trying to act like I wasn’t confused. I was working for a company that produced software used by attorneys at the time – it generated documents and did some accounting, but nowhere near as complicated as what I’ve worked on the last few years. I couldn’t get anything right, and I could barely understand what I was doing wrong – because I was so messed up and confused… and so high on meth all the time.

And here I am, doing my part to save the day. There’s no way the old me could have done this. It feels good to be reliable. I mean, these people have no idea just how far I’ve come, but I am glad to be of use.

Atheists don’t believe in gods. That’s the whole definition of atheism… technically.

Every now and then I see a nonsensical question something like this:

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But then, is it nonsensical? It is for me. (And all the other atheists who laugh reacted.) But I, and they, don’t speak for all atheists. Or do we?

Atheism is simply the disbelief in gods. That’s it. But ironically even that short definition is loaded, at least when I write it. I do not define it as the “disbelief in god”, but the “disbelief in gods”. There’s a subtle difference.

A theist, for example a Christian, might define atheism as the “disbelief in god”. That’s because they assume their god is real, and the concept of god itself is based solely on their own one. To them, their god is “God”, in other words “the god”. As for me, my concept of god changed. The Christian god claim is one of many. None of them are more significant than any of the others. The words of anyone’s religious texts thus aren’t useful or convincing, or evidence of anything other than that their claim exists.

When I was sixteen and stopped believing, I would have defined my own atheism as the “disbelief in god” because my concept of god was still based solely on the one I was taught about at my Roman Catholic church and Sunday School. But then I also still believed in an afterlife, so this is why the question interests me… But I’m getting ahead of myself.

Can an atheist believe in an afterlife?

Of course! You can believe in Tinkerbell, unicorns, whatever the fuck you want.

Should an atheist still believe in an afterlife?

Probably not.

The thing is, when you start to think critically, you logically adjust your beliefs. There’s a natural progression. Almost every critical thinker starts at the same place… The bearded magic man in the sky who created all the things. We all reject that idea right off the bat because it is obvious nonsense. Some people might stop there, and if that’s good enough for them, that’s OK.

But most of us atheists aren’t just atheists. We’re critical thinkers and skeptics. We examine why the idea of a god is silly, and it is because there’s no evidence. There isn’t any evidence of a “remote” mind being separate to our brains either. In other words, souls are made up things too. An afterlife is likewise a made up thing. Ghosts don’t exist outside of our imagination. And so it goes on. Of course we’d all like to be reunited one day with the people we love who have died. Of course we are all afraid of nonexistence, and the promise of life eternal is attractive, but no amount of wishful thinking makes these things real.

So sure… you could be an atheist who also believes in an afterlife, the supernatural, and so on. But if so, you are likely either new to atheism, or you’re an idiot. You can’t be a critical thinker and believe in such things though. If you believe in such things and call yourself a critical thinker, you’re wrong, but thanks to the Dunning Kruger effect, you won’t take my word for it.

To conclude, I don’t claim to speak for most atheists, technically. But just as I used “technically” in the title. I don’t speak for most, but technically I kind of do, because being an atheist, at least for those of us who started out religious, involves a process. We don’t shed all our irrational beliefs at once, but it happens gradually. So most of us will laugh at the idea of an atheist who believes in an afterlife.


A harsh as my words may seem, I have only recently begun to see what it means to be an atheist who never believed in the first place. My son, now 13 years old, is second generation atheist. For a while I didn’t have control of his upbringing and it seemed like he would be indoctrinated, but he is now definitely a nonbeliever. He doesn’t remember ever believing, and his view is much as I imagined mine would have been if I’d never believed at all. Things like the idea of a god are just plain silly to him, and that makes me proud.

He’s inherited my sarcasm too, so when religion is imposed on him, he can be quite rude about it. (Good.) But like many second generation atheists, he has not inherited my passion for going out of my way to mock creationists. As long as they don’t push their religion onto him, he leaves them be. (Even better.)

But… sorry loons. I won’t leave you alone. In fact, even if I were (hypothetically) to know that a loon reads this blog obsessively, looking for things to use against me, I’d deliberately sneak in the occasional bit of false ammunition that only he would understand for him to load his mental blanks now and then, just to fuck with him.

Atheism gives no reason to hate anyone

A friend shared this simple but powerful meme.

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If you don’t get it, you probably never will.

Knowing it’s probably pointless to explain it, I’m going to try anyway. We don’t believe we are special. We don’t believe in a deity that created the whole universe just to revolve around us. We don’t believe we are better than anyone else because of our beliefs, and that we are saved, or elite in any other way. We neither claim to have some kind of personal relationship with the creator of the entire universe, nor claim that people who don’t share this delusion of grandeur are somehow arrogant.

We don’t have rules about what we may wear or eat, or what women may wear, or what anyone may do with their genitals, that would allow us to claim that other people, or women, or people with different orientations to us, or people with genders that we don’t understand, are somehow inferior to us. As far as rules about sex go, the only two rules I’m aware of are:

  1. Do nothing without consent. And consent can be removed at any time, even during sex.
  2. Adults only. Don’t have sex with anyone underage.

We don’t do those things because we don’t follow any doctrine that has rules about how we should live our lives. So obviously we also don’t get to take other things like skin colour, which aren’t even in the religious texts, and use our beliefs as an excuse for those prejudices.

We don’t believe in an afterlife, or that we are special and will live on while the rest of humanity does not, or that people who believe differently to us will be punished for all eternity.We don’t believe in sin, in imaginary offenses against an imaginary god, and we don’t use our disbelief to judge others based on any such bizarre dogmatic nonsense.

In short, we don’t use our beliefs to justify prejudice and hatred.

Actually, when it comes to prejudices in general,  another friend friend said it better than me… I’m quoting a friend, Dumisani, who posted this to a group recently:

Ever noticed how bigotry hides itself behind “concern”.

Racists are concerned about how black teachers and students will bring down the standard of education of a school.

Xenophobes are concerned about how foreign nationals are stealing jobs, committing crime and just generally ruining the country.

Transphobes are concerned about how transgender women somehow take up space from real women i.e. cis gender women.

Homophobes are concerned about traditional and religious values.
Etc etc..

Granted, that’s not only about the religious… It’s about bigots in general. But have you noticed how often those ‘’concerns’ they use to justify their hatred are religious concerns?

[Afterthought: This doesn’t mean that atheists can’t be bigots. I used to be naïve enough to think that it did, but that’s not how it works. We don’t have beliefs that can be used as an excuse to be bigots. But people are often mean and malicious, vile disgusting things, so this doesn’t mean all atheists are good people. Some atheists are also cunts. But at least they don’t get to hide to behind religious “values”.]

Better not to be part of an ideology where you, at worst, use your beliefs as a reason to hate others, and at best, turn a blind eye to your fellow believers who do.

Botting Helena? Fake Russian Facebook accounts… Why?

Well, this is odd. I noticed last night that I had a bunch of Facebook posts liked by someone who isn’t a friend (friend of a friend), but the activity looks highly suspicious…

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Immediately that looks off because

  • They happened very quickly in succession. In fact they’re the top few posts if you go directly to my page, the last things I posted before my current ban.
  • They’re only “like” reactions… no laughs or more specific reacts. Actual humans tend to choose the more specific reactions.

That aside… the second one “she” liked is this:
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That’s right… “She” liked a post that can’t even be seen anymore. It’s a share of something that has by now been set to private or removed. Why like it if you can’t even read it? (Because you’re a bot.)

So this looks like a bot. No friend request though. How odd. Going to the Facebook wall of this stranger, this gets even stranger… Her posts are nothing but leftist US political links and profile pics.

Here’s the thing… You can normally reverse image search the profile pictures of fake accounts and find their source fairly quickly, be it an Instagram model, porn star, escort, or maybe a picture regularly associated with scammy dating sites. They’re very easy to find. Normally.

But not this one. I get nothing. All the images are obviously of the same person. The profile is 100% fake – I guarantee it. And the model used even has a very prominent tattoo with “Life is beautiful” on her right shoulder blade. Yet I find nothing when I search these images.

So this is a carefully created fake account, with images that I couldn’t trace. I wonder why that is? Why go to such trouble to create a fake account? I can only guess the like reacts were made to generate “real” looking account activity.

Here’s a copy of one of the images where you can clearly see the tattoo… although this is image is so heavily airbrushed, she could be one of millions of models, so this is a bad sample for searching anyway.
May be an image of 1 person

I’ve linked to the Facebook image but that might get removed at some point. Probably no point in reporting it because Facebook never takes down the fake profiles – they only seem to go after real people who post stuff that isn’t popular.

The search engine that’s generally the most reliable for finding scammers returns no exact matches this time. The closest ones, but I can’t say for certain because I don’t see any with that tattoo, appear to come from Russian escort sites. So I’m guessing that this is a Russian propaganda bot of some sort. But what for? Seems somewhat pointless, don’t you think?

Here are a some more images… Note that the tattoo is reversed because they are mirror images, but clearly the same model. I get zero results for any of these images, even on Yandex which tends to be very good for finding the prostitutes and other dodgy sources of Facebook scammer profile photos.

…Update. See? They never take down fake profiles…

Now this here is a fallacy

I’ve mentioned this group before. It’ a group of mostly bigots, many of whom are transphobic.

But I’m just posting this as an example of how stupid people can be when debating, and why it’s a waste of time to engage with them.

Regardless of what you think about transgender women, and ignoring that people aren’t numbers in a mathematical equation, this is still a fallacy of composition.

By this lady’s logic (excuse me but I always misgender transphobes), we should be able to take the statement, “gay men are men”, which is obviously true, and reverse it, because according to him we can reverse all true statements just like equations, and thus it must mean that all men are gay. Because mathematics! And science!

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Belief. What a strange and dangerous thing it is.

All I ever need is the truth, but I all ever want is affection.
Masquerade as Jesus Christ, and suffer the crucifixion.

Songwriters: Brown / Adams / Hussey / Hinkler
Belief, lyrics © Universal Music Publishing Mgb Ltd., Universal Music Mgb Songs

Belief fascinates me. But unlike Mr Hussey’s naïve words suggest in one of my favourite songs referenced above, in the real world our beliefs tend to affect other people rather than ourselves. We make decisions that affect the lives of others, some of us even imposing our views on other people, views based on things we assume to be true, our beliefs, but belief is very often neither based on evidence nor truth, even when it comes to people who claim to care about evidence.

I just saw this meme shared by someone, unironically used to justify his belief in religion.

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I find that ironic, of course, because it makes more sense to use that analogy when referring to religion itself, which most people believe in because of indoctrination. But it isn’t really a good analogy at all. It’s one of those statements that seem profound but lacks substance when one think about it. One could also use use it to justify the belief that we are living in a simulation… (Just by the way – I disagree with them completely. We do not live in a simulation.)

For fuck’s sake… so many people believe that we do live in a simulation, or upon hearing of the idea, they feel that the arguments in favour of it are compelling; so many don’t see it for what it is – an unfalsifiable claim that pretends to be profound while in reality is nothing more than seeing the world through the lens of our current technology and its limitations. In 100 years or so, the simulation idea will make as much sense as us now imagining the universe in terms of the industrial revolution, or using technology like X-Rays or Gamma Rays to explain everything. I’m thinking of the old comics… it made sense that the Hulk turned into a monster because of gamma radiation, and Spider-Man gained his powers from a “radioactive” spider, because at the time, radiation represented the lay person’s understanding of science and its limitations, just like computers and simulations represent our limitations right now. Eventually though, scifi will move on, hopefully to something less stupid than the fear-mongering “we are living in a simulation” nonsense.

And yet, once we have made up our minds that we believe in something, we treat that thing as fact, as our reality. A while back I wrote about my fascination with those who believe in the Nibiru cataclysm conspiracy theory (a subset of an “End Times” conspiracy theory)… I’d joined a group of believers on Facebook and tried in vain to explain to them that everything they believed was nonsense, but in the end they threw me out of their group. Actually it’s worse than that one example alone. If you search for all my posts with that tag you’ll see that before they kicked me out, they called me a troll and a scumbag, among other things, rather than face the prospect that maybe we’re not living in “End Times”. That’s the other thing about belief, you see… You believe what you want to believe. People who believe we are living in “End Times” want that desperately to be true. And the same applies to other beliefs but I’ll get back to that.

Beliefs become dangerous when people with authority get to impose it on others, and one of the best examples of this is the so-called Satanic Panic of the 1980’s. There, people were in some case locked up in prison for imaginary crimes committed against their children, because of the religious zeal of others and the power of suggestion. There are few people more dangerous than rogue therapists and psychologists with religiously driven motivations who get to impose their views on the suggestive minds of children. They get to do major damage, not only to the suggestive children themselves, but also to the parents if their authority allows them to have a punitive influence on those parents, such as the case with the Satanic Panic example, but not limited to that.

Imagine someone with authority taking an interest in the welfare of a child, someone who prides himself or herself on an evidence-driven approach, yet who believes in religion and has some kind of fear of online paedophiles, much like the Q-Anon conspiracists but on the surface more based on legitimate fear of strangers… who lets that belief drive his decisions, even in the case of a non-religious child. You can’t have it both ways – the truth is, if you believe in religion, you cannot claim to follow evidence. It doesn’t work like that. Imagine someone like that imposing his own baffling technophobia on a child and barring that child from using the internet, despite the skills one obtain online are arguably more useful than anything they teach in school. This is only one hypothetical example but there are surely plenty of ways that someone with religious convictions and misplaced good intentions with authority can harm a child.

I can’t help wondering though… Knowing that certain fears are in truth a manifestation of the desires of those who believe them, why do people want to believe those things? I can understand if you want to believe in Jesus – you’ve perhaps bought the lie that we are born in sin and shame and you need this god to be saved (from this same god’s punishment, never mind the irony). But why would you want to believe we are living in “End Times”? Why would you want to believe in some kind of “leftist Satanic” organisation of evil online paedophiles? Why?

Going back to the Satanic Panic example, there are many essays and articles online linking it to current conspiracy theories such as Q-Anon. I wouldn’t have made that connection myself, but I have personally seen the harm that religiously motivated people with authority and influence can do to children, which is more in line with the way the Satanic Panic originally worked. The fact is, belief, and faith itself – which is nothing more than belief despite zero supporting evidence, is at last being recognized to be the harmful thing it truly is. Not universally, but that recognition is out there, and our society is becoming more secular, little by little. A world without religion, without faith, and also thus without conspiracy theories, would be a far safer place than the one in which we live now.