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Atheist seeking God

Details are emerging that the Texas shooter was known by his friends as an outspoken (militant) Atheist. While his motive hasn’t yet been confirmed by any kind of note, it seems to be more than coincidence that he selected worshippers as his victims. This means that the attack may have been anti-Christian terrorism.

For about 15 years (Age 15 to 30) I was a militant Atheist, bashing and mocking religion and believers, especially Christians, every chance I got.

Over the past ~3 years, I’ve undergone a strange transformation – not so sudden as a blinding light, but maybe as effective – as the wisdom and purpose of Christ and his church have been revealed to me.

Looking back at what brought me back to God:

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2007: The Death of God and the Prejudices of Philosophers

I take a seminar course on Nietzsche, seeds are planted that the death of god is not something to celebrate, but to fear. Also take a blow to my belief in reason after reading Nietzsche’s cynical deconstruction of philosophy as an enterprise devoted to justifying a person’s pre-existing prejudices, rather than an enterprise of reason and Truth…

2012: How to Win Friends and Stop Being a Self-Righteous Prick

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I read “How to Win Friends and Influence People” which taught me that my impulse to criticize other people’s errors wasn’t rooted in a desire to promote truth, but rather in a desire to feel superior. And that if I was serious about changing someone’s mind, I must do so with compassion and respect, earnestly trying to understand their belief, rather than with arrogance.

March 2014: My vanity reflected

I confront a close friend who engages in vitriolic debates about religion with christian family and friends on his facebook page about his hostile approach, trying to suggest that he is harming his own position by ridiculing and humiliating people for their beliefs. He’s receptive, but I don’t note much change in his online interactions. I see my past self reflected in him and I don’t like what I see.

2014: The Wages of Sin

My long-term relationship crumbles. While some friends and family offer support, I’m unable to explain the specific circumstances and sin that started the snowball rolling that eventually crushed me. I’m unable to feel forgiven or redeemed for the mistakes I made. I don’t know what to do to move forward.

religion-for-atheists-jacket-high-resJuly 2014: Atheism 2.0

I hear Alain de Botton’s TED talk about Atheism 2.0 and read his book “Religion for Atheists” which promote religious practices like prayer and worship for Atheists and a redefining of these practices to have modern relevance. Over the summer, I attend four churches, seeking without knowing specifically what. No church feels at home for me.

October 2015: The Poisoning of the Atheist Movement

I follow Thunderf00t’s (Liberal, Scientist Youtuber) denunciation of the growing identity politics-laden, progressive, neo-feminist influence on the Skeptics movement.

mormon2016: Latter-Day Bates

I am ministered to by several Mormon missionaries in my apartment, meeting weekly. They display a charitable kindness, compassion, and earnestness that I deeply appreciate and admire. My pretense was to convert them to Atheism, which I tried to do. Yet, in deploying the compassionate tactics from “How to win friends and influence people,” I found myself seduced by the wholesomeness and sense of community, identity, and confidence that the young men exuded. The helped me overcome a pornography and masturbation habit that I had long battled.

June 2016: Alienation I: Reason Rally


After looking forward to the next Reason Rally, the world’s largest Atheist rally, which I attended in 2012, I boycott it after discovering that the agenda, rather than promoting reason, skepticism, and and secular ethics instead states “The rally’s major issues of focus are climate change, reproductive rights and LGBT equality.” The skeptical movement had been completely taken over by the progressive left. My complaints on /r/Atheism are ridiculed and censored. What’s the link between Atheism and cultural Marxism? Is my Atheism misguided?

April 2017: Alienation II: The March for Science

170424_SCI_Science-March-Beer.jpg.CROP.promo-xlarge2The March for Science happens in DC. It’s a ghastly display of smug, drone-like progressivism in protest of Donald Trump and in support of various left-wing political projects – masquerading as being “scientific.” It also displays the cringe-inducing mass-market edginess that attracts Rick & Marty fans, whomst’d I also hate. I realize that I have become deeply alienated from the “Atheist culture” – all the more depressing as I watch my (formerly) best friend continue to march lock-step with them.

May 2017: Tipping Point – The Meaning of God

I begin watching Jordan B Peterson’s lecture series on the Psychological significance of the bible after hearing his debate with famous militant Atheist Sam Harris. I learn the meaning of God again.

the-strange-death-of-europeJuly 2017: The Strange Death of Europe

I go to France, while reading “The Strange Death of Europe.” I witness a civilization in terminal decline, unwilling to defend itself. I see breathtakingly beautiful cathedrals, one surrounded by an African open-air market with Muslims raising money for a Mosque nearby, a rap video being shot on the steps of the front entrance. For the first time in 17 years, in a chapel to Mother Mary, I pray in earnest, for France. I feel shivers and chills run through my body as I regain the ability to sincerely pray again.

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Photo I took at Saint Denis Basilica Cathedral

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The Myth of Whitewashing

A friend of mine on facebook, a German riddled with guilt that her father was a literal Luftwaffe pilot fighting for der Fuhrer, who married a Japper, constantly posts anti-white propaganda – in this case, complaining about the myth of Hollywood Whitewashing (a term invented to attack white people for being white and to blackmail directors into discriminating against whites) by sharing an article listing recent supposed instances of the phenomenon. I’ve debunked each here.

1) Matt Damon cast in “The Great Wall”

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Director Zhang Yimou said that Matt Damon was not playing a role that was intended for a Chinese actor, he further criticized detractors for not being “armed with the facts” and stated that:
“In many ways The Great Wall is the opposite of what is being suggested. For the first time, a film deeply rooted in Chinese culture, with one of the largest Chinese casts ever assembled, is being made at tentpole scale for a world audience.”
A CHINESE GUY WROTE A STORY ABOUT A MERCENARY WHITE IN MEDIEVAL CHINA WHO LEARNS THE SUPERIORITY OF CHINESE CULTURE AND TRADITION. This is literally the opposite of white supremacy.

2) Emma Stone cast as Allison Ng in “Aloha”

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Director Cameron Crowe explains:
“As far back as 2007, Captain Allison Ng was written to be a super-proud ¼ Hawaiian who was frustrated that, by all outward appearances, she looked nothing like one. A half-Chinese father was meant to show the surprising mix of cultures often prevalent in Hawaii.”
He continues,
“Extremely proud of her unlikely heritage, she feels personally compelled to over-explain every chance she gets. The character was based on a real-life, red-headed local who did just that.”
THE CHARACTER IS LITERALLY A REAL LIFE PERSON WHO DIDN’T LOOK ASIAN AND ISN’T SUPPOSED TO LOOK ASIAN, THAT WAS THE POINT OF THE CHARACTER. ???

3) Scarlett Johansson’s starring role in the recent “Ghost in the Shell.”

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The character, Major Motoko Kusanagi, is an old brain – a “ghost” – in a “shell” – a prosthetic body, manufactured by a company. The entire series revolves around this “ghost” struggling to understand her humanity and identity despite inhabiting a variety and series of shells. The character literally never had a race, deliberately so – as a major plot point.
Mamoru Oshii (director of the 1995 and 2004 original anime films) says that Johansson exceeded his expectations for the role. Oshii said that as the Major uses an assumed body and name, there was no basis for saying an Asian woman must portray her, and stated:
“I can only sense a political motive from the people opposing it, and I believe artistic expression must be free from politics.”
So here we have, again, an Asian author daring to write a story where the race of the protagonist is either deliberately Caucasian, or deliberately ambiguous, who endorses the casting, being told by people with an axe to grind against white people that they’re wrong, that their story is wrong.

I can’t think of anything more offensively anti-asian than telling asians that they’re racist for writing their own stories and creating their own art. Who are you to tell others what to create?

The Myth of Right Wing Violence

I wrote the following in response the a Youtube video claiming that the Right Wing is the violent one, and that the left wing are totally innocent:

[4:35] “Nobody’s been killed or seriously injured during any of these clashes” The narrator suggests that Antifa (left wing) violence is, in fact “some damage to property and minor injuries.”

Gotta stop him right there:

First, the antifa college professor charged with four counts of assault with a deadly weapon and “causing great bodily injury” when he went around beating trump supporters in the head with a bike lock.

A little later, the video cites extensively (as if it were some sanctified, reliable source, which it is not) an NPR article “Debunking” the rise of left wing extremism. In the article, NPR claims that antifa is known for “challenging police and breaking windows.” I’m actually amazed at the extreme bias and dishonesty in this phrase describing what antifa does.

To give just a few counterexamples, at the G20 in Hamburg last month, 196 police officers were injured, the entire city was set on fire including hundreds of personal vehicles. On May Day in Paris this year, a Paris police man was set on fire by a thrown explosive, giving him third-degree burns to his hands and neck, as well as second-degree burns to the face.

The video hinges on Department of Homeland Security statistics which wrongly classify many crimes as “right wing” in order to produce the claim that “74%” of killings are “right wing.” For example, any time a white person commits a hate crime, it is classified as “right wing” – even though the crime is not politically motivated, and in absence of any kind of political statement. All crimes by anti-government militias and the anti-police “sovereign citizens” are also classified as “right wing” despite these groups opposition to all government, police, and federal agents – whether left or right wing and these killers often claiming that they were killing “Nazi cops” at “Nazi checkpoints”. Also included in the list of “right wing” killings are instances of prison gang violence, skinheads killing homeless men and convicted sex offenders and child molesters, as well as crimes committed by individuals who couldn’t stand trial due to severe mental illness. Anti-abortion killings are also classified as “right wing.”

The video itself, while enumerating the supposedly damning evidence of “right wing” killings, cites the killing of an abortion doctor by using the phrase “religiously motivated shooting.” The video is seemingly unaware that calling the shooting “religiously motivated” directly contradicts the claim that the killing was *politically* motivated, and thus “right wing.”

The video then attempts to refute the assertion that the left wing demonizes the right wing by engaging in bothsideism, accusing fox news of hypocrisy. Instead of actually addressing the assertion. Then the video claims that violence was initiated by the right at Trump rallies where “a number of demonstrators exercising their right to free speech” were attacked. In fact, most of the people who were attacked were paid agent provocateurs (as exposed by the project veritas undercover videos) who were deliberately disrupting rallies by screaming and cajoling people until they could find someone to crate a scene.

I’m going to wrap up because almost every statement made on the video can be refuted and I’ve been on this for an hour now. When Trump *fires* his butler for saying something violent on social media, the video uses this as evidence that the right wing is violent.

To close, both sides demonize the other. However, only one side, the left side, is actually engaging in real POLITICAL violence against POLITICAL opponents with the objective to terrorize and silence dissent, most notably on college campuses. When people on the right have to wear body armor and come armed to “Free speech” rallies just to protect themselves against the guarantee of Antifa attacks, that should be a plain indication of who is at risk. Left wing rallies, on the other hand, are never attacked by the right. Because right wing violence is a myth.

One post script: The violence in C-ville was engineered by the Governor and Mayor of Virginia, who commanded the police to stand down, and illegally revoked the permit to assemble for the statue demonstrators, forcing the demonstrators into the left wing attackers and then to flee into their vehicles, one of which was then driven into unassociated and innocent demonstrators several blocks away. The violence could have been prevented if the police were allowed to protect constitutional rights, rather than interfering with rights and creating an explosive situation.

What is “Fake News”? Satire, Hoax, Click-bait, Conspiracy, and Outrage-bait

A list of “Fake news” sites is making headlines:

http://www.wlox.com/story/33713839/professor-compiles-list-of-fake-misleading-news-websites

The “Fake News” List is mostly not fake shit

The problem isn’t The Onion and Breitbart, it’s confirmation bias. People automatically believe anything they read that confirms their views without even a 5-second google search or just rudimentary skepticism.

Fraudulent websites that are impersonating legitimate news are already illegal and should be prosecuted.

While click-bait and outrage-bait are annoying, calling them “fake” is a big leap. Plus the fact that this list includes Breitbart but not Huffington Post indicates a double-standard.

I think some Satire (especially Borowitz report) is so poorly-written and unfunny that it blurs the line between satire and misinformation.

Anti-Science “News”

My sister-in-law recently unfriended and denounced me publicly after I debunked an anti-vaccination article she shared from some bogus “holistic medicine” website. I had written that I was disappointed that she was spreading dangerous misinformation because I knew she’s smart enough to check the claims being made in the article.

She angrily said in her public call-out post that she “doesn’t have time to fact check every little thing that pops up on her news feed and that when she sees something interesting she shares it and in the case of the anti-vaccine article she hadn’t even read it yet.” Seemingly acknowledging that the article was fake, yet doubling-down on her decision to broadcast it to her friends and family. She routinely shares hoax-science articles, like last year when she shared an article claiming that Johnson & Johnson baby shampoo is toxic.

Deliberate Left-Wing Hoaxes and Myths

The Anti-Science mindset is frightening – the lack of skepticism, the confirmation bias, and the self-righteous ignorance. What’s WORSE is what I see in the Left Wing where hoaxes and false-flags are deliberately engineered and then disingenuously spread as true stories by those who know or suspect they’re false because “they speak to a larger truth.” Like a podcast host said recently when faced with evidence that the gender wage gap was a myth: “[the wage gap is] gonna be up for debate […] [but] the wage gap statistic speaks to a larger rage and injustice.”

I faced enormous backlash for expressing skepticism of the tales of post-election hate crime wave being reported in anecdotes on social media. “How dare I, a straight white man, doubt the experiences of vulnerable people?” I had one (tranny) friend ask me rhetorically “Do I have to DIE to prove to you that bigotry is happening?” to which I explained that I know and trust him, but my trust does not extend to every single trans or non-white individual by virtue of their group identity.

Right-Wing Conspiracy “News”

The Right Wing fringe, on the other hand, with their trust in Mainstream Media at an all-time low, frequently end up in crackpot conspiracy territory, Alex Jones’ Infowars being the fountainhead. It seems fear, mistrust, and ignorance feeds the right wing hoaxes, more than the far left-wingers who promote hoaxes deliberately as a political tactic.

“Fake news” and hoaxes come from both political ‘sides’ – and from non-political anti-science angles as well. Be skeptical.

Michael Moore hoodwinked me so hard it made me a lifelong skeptic

When I was 15 I watched Michael Moore’s Bowling for Columbine. At this time I was a mohawked anarchist and this film confirmed everything I already believed and really fired me up. I was outraged by the injustices detailed in the film. A little bit later I was doing internet searches about the film when I read a detailed debunking. The film (like all of Moore’s films) is a shrewd work of fictional propaganda – with entirely fabricated pieces of disinformation designed to appear true. I felt stupid. I felt used. I vowed to be more vigilant next time. It was a formative experience for me that I’m thankful I had.

Imperfect, but Great

To what extent do the personal lives, indiscretions, or malign beliefs of “great” men of history invalidate their accomplishments? As a culture, we revere our leaders and inventors, yet it has been a trend for decades to disparage America’s “founding fathers” because of their racism or support of/participation in Slavery, undermining the appreciation of their accomplishments and the reverence for the individuals. We crave “heroes” to inspire us, like Martin Luther King Jr., Ghandi, Thomas Edison, or any American Founding Father – yet the more we scrutinize these “great” people, the more we find that they had their own faults, shortcomings, and vices – some of them surprisingly repugnant…

Is it right to revere an individual as a hero for their massive contributions to society, even if they also did bad things or were racist? Should we use some utilitarian measure of their net contribution to society to determine if they are worthy of praise and reverence? Is “Hero Worship” wrong? Or just naive and immature?

In this Salon article (http://www.salon.com/2011/06/07/bad_people_great_books/) , the “bad” lives of “great” authors are discussed, including those of T.S. Elliot (anti-semite), Ezra Pound (Fascist), and Charles Dickens (cruel to his wife) – and what the implications are for their writings and our appreciation thereof:

“Still, there’s much to be said for getting past this form of hero worship. Bad eggs like Naipaul aside, most writers, like most people, are a mixture of the reprehensible and the admirable. Our own personal lives require that we learn to love people flaws and all. When you idealize someone, you can’t truly know him or her, and that makes real, adult love impossible.

Most people begin figuring out how to do this in their teens. It’s not an easy transition. Suddenly, every bad quality in our parents — people who were like gods to us as children — becomes a glaring, intolerable betrayal. They must be repudiated! We don’t realize until years later that this is the first step on the long road to seeing our parents as they really are and forgiving them for being human.

Similarly, needing to believe that your favorite author lived in an exemplary way, embodying all the virtues of his best work, is an adolescent desire, passionate but ultimately unfair. Learning the truth is disillusioning at first, but enlightening in the end. Part of the sadly underrated process of growing up is realizing that people, the world and life are no less beautiful and amazing for being imperfect.”

Video Game & Nerd Culture Wars

Posted 8/3/16

1. Ghostbusters 2016
Universally-hated youtube preview spawns endless media coverage about “misogynistic, racist manbabies” who only disliked the video because it has women. Massive publicity due to this “controversy” creates progressive “girl power”/feminism bucks and critics are obligated to give the film positive reviews or else face accusations of misogyny.

Popular youtuber “Angry Video Game Nerd” (James Rolfe) said he refused to see the film because the preview looked bad and he was tired of shitty reboots of beloved franchises. This was met by a widespread, concerted abuse campaign accusing him of sexism and misogyny.

 

Red Letter Media (whose 6+ hour long star wars prequel review you MUST watch if you haven’t already) came out this week with a post-mortem on how the entire “misogyny” controversy was a shrewd publicity stunt by Sony, which suggests that accusations of sexism is an effective way to silence critics of anything including a mediocre comedy being sold by a mega-corporation – and also a reliable way to attract progressive sympathy bucks from activists who want to “fight the patriarchy.”

 

2. Notch-related Controversies
Notch, creator of Minecraft, with 3.79M twitter followers, has found himself on the “wrong side” of the nerd culture war several times, recently earning himself a hit-piece in infamous anti-GG (anti-Gamegate) Gawker Media outlet Kotakuaccusing him of being sexist and a privileged white male.

Today (8/3/16), a lengthy interview with Notch by (GG-friendly) Escapist Magazine where they discuss some of the controversies:

3. Polygon’s Fail First Look Video of Doom
Three months ago, anti-GG outlet Polygon posted a hilarious “First Look” video of Doom…played by someone who obviously has never played a First Person Shooter before.

 

Apart from being an incredibly poor “First Look” video with agonizingly-slow progression, the video highlighted a wider criticism of polygon and other progressive game review outlets: they don’t really seem to be real gamers who like or care about games the same way their consumers do. It seemed to emphasize the divide that had grown between gamers and the media who seemed to only exist to tell us how sexist and racist we are, rather than actually celebrating or objectively reviewing the game itself.

Related, Polygon had also complained loudly about not being given an advance copy of Doom like other respected games review outlets. Penny Arcade had this to say:

 

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Reason Rally’s Decline

Four years ago, I attended the Reason Rally in DC. It was great. This is my bicep:

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Sadly, I will not be attending the rally this year. Here’s why:

“The rally’s major issues of focus are climate change, reproductive rights and LGBT equality” – Link

Reason-Rally-Header-LogoThis is a progressive political rally that is focusing on a handful of controversial political issues that aren’t directly related to atheism or secular humanism. In fact, I wager that these boilerplate progressive positions can be found throughout both religious and non-religious progressives on the left wing.

I’m disappointed that the “Reason” Rally is being used for a narrow political agenda rather than promoting secular ethics and reason-based epistemology in a broader, more inclusive way. By associating Atheism and secularism with specific left-wing ideology, RR neglects and alienates conservative and libertarian secularists who may not adhere to progressive orthodoxy.

Whereas 4 years ago (at the last rally) we had Richard Dawkins headlining – we now get Bill Nye, pretty much exclusively known for global warming activism the past couple years. What a steep decline.

At the last rally, we had Bad Religion performing, a band famous for promoting secularism and criticizing evangelical Christianity (whose band logo and t-shirts prominently featured a crossed-out cross). Now we get some (not all) “members of the wu-tang clan” – a rap group known for rapping about drug dealing, ghetto life, and partying- with slang from nation of islam, Kung Fu movies, and comic books.

I won’t be attending the rally this year, sadly. I don’t believe this rally fairly represents a united front for non-religious Americans. I believe this rally is politically divisive, misguided, and only tangentially related to secularism. And frankly the lineup is disappointing.

thunderf00t also addressed the decline of Atheism as a movement and the failure of the 2016 Reason Rally in this video: