Category Archives: Religion

How I became an Atheist in Pakistan

Pakistani Muslim students attend a religious madrassa, or school, to learn the Quran, in Karachi, Pakistan, Wednesday, March 4, 2015. Religious schools in Pakistan, most of them in mosques, are the only source of education for thousands of children. (AP Photo/Fareed Khan)
The Badshahi Mosque in Lahore at dusk.

 

This story is being posted on behalf of a member of the AAPN community. Our friend Adeel.

I am no different from anyone around me. Being born in a Muslim family I was no different from every other Muslim baby. When I was born my parents felt that I was blessing of Allah forgetting that in fact it was completely their effort. The first words I ever heard were “Azzan”, which is said in my right ear and ” Aqamat” which was said in my left. Being the first boy of the family I got a lot of love and attention from my family. This included religious indoctrination. While growing up the first word I learned was “Allah”. Muslim parents love to hear “Allah” as the first word from their baby’s mouth. When I learned to speak, the first class I had was about the Koran. I was like every other kid, waking at 5:30 AM in the morning to go to the nearby “Madrassa” (Islamic School) before going to primary school. Even primary school stressed religious instruction.

The girls, 5 to 5 years old, were supposed to wear “hijab” as part of their training. I was taught to pray when I was 7. We learned the prayers through nursery rhymes. We also attended a mandatory class called Islamic Studies. This was where we were brained-washed with Islamic stories and so-called Islamic values. We were not to question our religion nor its concept of a God. As I was to find out, there is no space for question in religion. Like every other Muslim child I was indoctrinated with their concept of heaven, about how beautiful it is and about the many beautiful women I would get if I lived my life acting on the rules of Islam. Like every other kid I was told that only Muslims are going to heaven because God loves only Muslims and he created heaven only for Muslims. Like everyone else I was told to hate other religions. I was to feel proud for being a Muslim. I was told how important it is for girls to wear hijab so that no man can see them. I was conditioned so well to accept this that I started to force the women and girls in my family to wear the hijab. As a teenager I joined Islamic groups who travel from city to city to invite people to Islam. I grew the beard and I was happy that I was born a Muslim; imagining myself going to heaven and getting 72 virgins gave me great motivation to become even more devoted to my religion.

Boys read the Koran in a madrasa, or religious school, during the Muslim holy month of Ramadan in Kabul…Boys read the Koran in a madrasa, or religious school, during the Muslim holy month of Ramadan in Kabul July 15, 2013. REUTERS/Omar Sobhani (AFGHANISTAN – Tags: RELIGION)

This was all to change. It shocked me when I started to study other religions and I realized that every religion has the concept of heaven and hell, and every religion promises its followers to let them enter into heaven. I read that every religion tells its followers to hate other religions and that followers of every other religion are going to hell. This opened my eyes and really made me question my own beloved Islam. I began to see how all the Islamic sects spread hate against the other sects. The more I read the more the more I started to hate my own religion, to hate any religion. I tired of it all, though I didn’t lose my faith in God.

Then when I was 20 my grandfather had an attack of paralysis. I visited him in the hospital. That visit to the hospital was a game changer. I was walking through the childrens ward, thinking of my grandfather, when I heard some children crying in pain. This event really made me question my beliefs about God. I wondered how God could really exist if he could not help these children. After that visit I saw several accidents on the road. As I saw that they were all man-made accidents, it dawned on me that really God, too, is just a creation of man’s own mind. Later I began to see that this concept of a God is also something that is used to help rulers control the poor, for a few to exert power over the rest of mankind. I saw that religion is used to divide people and make them fight each other for personal gain and advantage.
So this is how I turned from being Suni Muslim to an atheist. I will never look back.

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The Illuminator Comic: Bob the believer!

I created this character called Bob the Believer (Believer Bob),  the quintessential religious, Bible thumping, fundamentalist  whack job.
Believer Bob tries unsuccessfully to stump Triangle Head every time.  You’ll notice that Bob totally rejects every scientific theory and favors Creationism at every turn. Cognitive Dissonance!
Enjoy! 🙂

Also on Instagram @the_illuminator_comic
http://www.theilluminatorcomic.com

What is The Illuminator Comic?
“The Illuminator”, is a character driven comic strip by Chris Pinto, that turns Religion, Politics and Conspiracy theory on it’s head.
The Protagonist, Triangle-head is an evil dude, with a soft heart. He is a member of the Illuminati. Join him on a quest to keep things real, while raising his three year old son Baltar, to someday lead the New World Order.
~ by Chris Pinto

The Illuminator Comic: A few decision trees.

Here are a couple of decision tree strips I did.

 

Also on Instagram @the_illuminator_comic
http://www.theilluminatorcomic.com

What is The Illuminator Comic?
“The Illuminator”, is a character driven comic strip by Chris Pinto, that turns Religion, Politics and Conspiracy theory on it’s head.
The Protagonist, Triangle-head is an evil dude, with a soft heart. He is a member of the Illuminati. Join him on a quest to keep things real, while raising his three year old son Baltar, to someday lead the New World Order.
~ by Chris Pinto

Get them before they think and they’ll be here for life.

Child indoctrination, the triumphant strategy to spread a religion

After a brief discussion on gay rights I said to a Catholic acquaintance of mine that if that form of bigotry in which they deny the same rights to a certain group of people is their humanist approach, then I was happy not to be part of said church anymore, to which she responded: “You are a member of the Church from the moment you are baptized, whether you like it or not.”

Her answer made me think about what that meant for their belief system, as it needs to be implanted before the person is capable of rational thinking, they have to get us before we have the faculty of critically analyzing their claims.

They unconsciously knew how hard they’d failed the moment they invented Limbo for unbaptized children, making their parents worried of the kids’ afterlives back when infant mortality rates were sky high, forcing them to get their offspring baptized, adding another number to their annals of saved souls/herd.

But don’t you worry, Limbo has been repealed by the previous Pope, just like that.

If you take a 12 year old kid that has never heard about the Easter Bunny and tell him or her that a rabbit comes a certain day of the Jewish calendar to spread decorated hen eggs or chocolate eggs, he would be skeptical of said claim, but if you tell this to a 4 year old child he or she may believe it for the next 8 or so years; so you better take them while they are young and indoctrinate with something that even adults believe, no matter how impossible it is to be true, before they develop a critical mind.

You can leave the Roman Catholic Church, you only need to fulfill the requirements in the ACTUS FORMALIS DEFECTIONIS
AB ECCLESIA CATHOLICA
which constitutes an act of apostasy, heresy, and schism, but is completely unnecessary unless you’re planning to move to Germany.

How do you know when an ideology is self-defeating?

  • If an ideology needs to be implanted in a mind that cannot comprehend its meaning, the ideology is self-defeating.
  • If an ideology needs to be imposed through the use of violence instead of rationality, the ideology is self-defeating.
  • If leaving the it is considered a crime by the same ideology, it is self-defeating.
  • If an ideology needs to be sustained through faith alone, without a basis on reality or feasible evidence, the ideology is self-defeating.
  • If indoctrination is the main way to convert people to it, denying critical thinking and punishing questioning, the ideology is self-defeating.
  • If apology needs to be taught in order for the people to defend it and rationalize it, the ideology is self-defeating.

La religiosidad, consecuencia evolutiva.

La religiosidad, consecuencia evolutiva.

 

Los humanos somos criaturas capaces de encontrar patrones en el ambiente que nos rodea, pues nuestros cerebros han evolucionado de esta manera, siendo aquellos que encontraban significado a lo que estaba al alcance de sus sentidos los que tenían mayor posibilidad de sobrevivir; en el supuesto que dos cazadores estuvieran al acecho de una presa y a lo lejos escucharan que el pasto se movía, el que decidía huir, pensando en la posibilidad de que fuera un depredador ocultándose entre los pastizales lo que había causado el ruido, tenía una mayor posibilidad de seguir con vida y reproducirse que aquel que decidió quedarse a investigar si el ruido había sido causado por el viento o en verdad se trataba de un depredador, por lo que la Selección Natural habría favorecido a aquellos animales que en primera instancia asumieran que el patrón que reconocieron era real.

El primer caso pudo tratarse de un error estadístico de tipo I, un falso-positivo, error en el que una persona asume que algo es verdad, debido a un error, como cuando una prueba médica falla e indica que un paciente tiene una enfermedad o virus que realmente no padece, al igual que cuando una prueba de embarazo da un resultado positivo a pesar de no estar preñada la mujer.

Mientras que el segundo caso podría ser un error estadístico de tipo II, un falso-negativo, un error en el que se asume que lo percibido no es indicación de lo que se esperaba en un inicio, siguiendo con el ejemplo de la prueba médica, si la misma falla en un paciente que sí padecía de la enfermedad, arrojando un resultado negativo, el paciente no recibirá el tratamiento adecuado, pudiéndole causar la muerte. (Para más información sobre los errores estadísticos, da click aquí)

Tras años de adaptación los primeros humanos habían desarrollado su capacidad para darle significado a cualquier patrón que observaban, aun de entre ‘ruido’ sin sentido; esto es a lo que el psicólogo Michael Shermer denominó Patternicity, que puede ser traducido como “Patronicidad”.

Además de causar errores estadísticos que podían incrementar la posibilidad de supervivencia, ¿tiene la patronicidad una función práctica?

Sí, encontrar patrones en la naturaleza ayudó a los primeros humanos agricultores a identificar las estaciones, temporadas de migración de diferentes animales de presa, cambios climáticos, etc.

Sin embargo, es esto mismo lo que, sumado a un sesgo cognitivo de confirmación, da lugar a los avistamientos de fenómenos

A chunk of wood that people think is the Virgin Mary
Un tronco que la gente ve como si fuera la Virgen María

paranormales donde no los hay, de la misma manera que la gente ve a figuras de su propia religión en diferentes lugares, como sus alimentos

 

o hasta al presidente que recientemente había muerto, tal fue el caso del presidente venezolano Nicolás Maduro. Estos son casos de pareidolia, el encontrar patrones que el cerebro reconozca como rostros humanos, parte específica de la patronicidad.

pareidoliaWTC
Supuestas caras presentes en el humo de las Torres Gemelas

Algunos otros ejemplos muy conocidos son los mensajes ocultos en canciones reproducidas en reversa, la cara en Marte, astrología y demás métodos de adivinación, numerología, etc.

¿Por qué pasa esto?

Nuestro cerebro se adaptó al reconocimiento de patrones no solamente para incrementar la posibilidad de poder sobrevivir para pasar sus genes, sino también para ahorrar recursos al pensar y utilizar casos previamente aprendidos en situaciones similares.

La manera más común de la patronicidad, es cuando se encuentran patrones en sucesos y circunstancias inconexas que describen un caso aislado, dando forma a las teorías de conspiración, donde se tiene la tendencia a creer que el mundo es controlado por agentes ‘invisibles’ intencionados, no aleatorios. A esto Michael Shermer denominó Agenticity, que en español puede ser interpretado como “Agenticidad”, siendo el más conocido y que más gente considera verdad, el creador o diseñador inteligente que dio forma al mundo, dejando patrones fácilmente reconocibles para aquellos que los buscan, donde las personas encuentran belleza.

La suma de Patronicidad y Agenticidad generan el sesgo cognitivo que da forma a las religiones y el apego a las mismas, la religiosidad, explicaciones primigenias al mundo que nuestros antepasados no podían comprender y cuyas interpretaciones se basan en una visión básica del mundo donde se le dotaba de personalidad e intención a las fuerzas de la naturaleza, dándole una consciencia al universo o creando una figura que representara a la voluntad de ese universo, formando a un/os dios/es que fueran la máxima respuesta a los patrones que no comprendían, volviéndolos humanos, empatizables y relacionables a uno mismo.

Fuentes:

Agenticidad y Patronicidad: 1, 2.

Reconocimiento de patrones, supervivencia, aplicación y extrapolación de casos: 3 (PDF descargable).

Material adicional:

Pareidolia: A, B.

Apofenia: C.

 

Karma, la cultura de culpar a la víctima, el peor sustituto moral y consuelo de los tontos.

Ya que el Karma es una ideología que ha tomado fuerza en los últimos años fuera de la religión que originalmente la ideó, siendo incluso tomada como sustituto por algunos ateos a la idea moral que se les había inculcado cuando formaban parte de una religión o culto, es importante analizarla por lo que es.

La “ley del Karma”, como es denominada por sus seguidores, es la idea de que cada decisión y acción tomada por un individuo moldea desde su apariencia física, hasta su destino a largo plazo y eventos que le ocurrirán; no como consecuencia directa, sino como resultado de la intervención de una fuerza universal.

El concepto de una fuerza universal que mantiene el equilibrio castigando y premiando a los individuos con base en sus acciones es común en múltiples religiones y filosofías, algunas le dan personalidad y voluntad, como al dios castigador presentado en el Antiguo Testamento, mientas que otras lo tienen como una fuerza ciega que imparte justicia sin necesidad de tener un personaje en sí misma, surge de la necesidad de las personas de tener un consuelo cuando se sintieron completamente impotentes ante una situación causada por un tercero, como cuando una persona es víctima de un robo, no puede detener al asaltante y se consuela con la idea de que El Universo/Dios/Justicia Divina/Karma castigará al ladrón por haberle hecho daño; pero de la misma manera, surge en contraposición la necesidad de sentir un reconocimiento por las buenas acciones de un individuo que podrían pasar desapercibidas por sus pares, lo que conlleva a la idea de que la fuerza superior que mantiene el balance los premiará por haber realizado dicha acción.

Algunas de las fuerzas previamente mencionadas castigan y premian durante el tiempo de vida del individuo, mientras que otras lo realizan hasta después de que la persona ha muerto, como el cristianismo y el islam.

La idea del Karma recae en la primera categoría, puesto que afecta a la persona mientras esta se encuentre con vida, por lo que si el individuo es asaltado, robado, violado o asesinado, es enteramente culpa suya, como comúnmente se dice en el islam cuando se busca excusa para golpear a una mujer: “algo habrá hecho”, la persona es tanto culpable como responsable de lo que sea que le haya ocurrido, sin embargo, si es una persona joven o que jamás ha llegado a cometer un crimen lo suficientemente grande como para merecer dicho castigo, la ideología entra en conflicto, lo que lleva a un proceso de racionalización en el que la única manera de explicar dicho acto es mediante la creación de un sistema aún más complejo, la reencarnación y vidas pasadas, conceptos presentes hasta el día de hoy para mantener el sistema de castas en algunas regiones de la India, iniciativa meramente religiosa que ha encontrado su lugar en la política y estilo de vida de muchos.

Lo que nos lleva a una pregunta:

¿Es el Karma en verdad moral y vale la pena usarlo como base para un estilo de vida?

La respuesta sencilla es “no”, puesto que esta es una creencia que trata de sustentarse en conceptos científicos como la ley de la causa y efecto, también llamada Principio de la causalidad y no tiene bases en el mundo real, dado que no ha sido demostrado bajo rigurosas pruebas de laboratorio; pero, principalmente por el daño que causa en la persona que es víctima de las acciones de un tercero, pues el Karma propone que es culpa de la víctima cualquier cosa que le haya sucedido, ya sea por acciones que haya realizado directamente o en una “vida pasada”.

What Ken Ham’s Ark Encounter Fails to Address

What Ken Ham’s Ark Encounter Fails to Address

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(Above is the picture of the Wyoming)

There are many, many flaws with the Genesis story of Noah’s Flood, and there are many articles debunking it as well. So to add the case we will debunk just the size and construction of the wooden Ark alone.

The ark was purported to be 516.24′ x 86′ x 51.6′(converted from cubits). There was supposed to be 3 decks. Using this data, we get a total square footage of 133,189.92 ft on 3 decks.

Assuming you don’t accept Evolution, you must arrive at the assumption that the number of species we currently see is exactly the same number of species that existed at the time of Noah. (Excluding the Dinosaurs, even though Ken Ham believed they were also on the Ark.) And for simplicity we will forgo that whole 7 of every clean animal part since the math with only counting 2 of every species is more than adequate.

According to conservative estimates, there are between 3 Million to 10 Million different species on Earth today.
Using the MOST CONSERVATIVE numbers, 3 Million species x 2 of each species (not taking into consideration species that reproduce via non-sexual reproduction)= 6 Million animals.

133,189.92 Sq Ft divided by 6 Million animals = 0.0221983 sq ft, or 0.27 sq in. This is simple math folks and we aren’t even including food, water or excrement. So each animal gets about 1/4 of a square inch in the Ark, but we’re not done just yet.

Let’s talk about the live animal cargo on the Ark and how it’s construction effected that as well.

An adult elephant in captivity will eat around 50kg of food per day. A mixture of hay mostly but with vegetables and oddly, bread. 50×365= 18,250kg. Times two, of course, is 36,500kg of food or 36.5 metric tonnes. Also, an elephant in captivity will drink about 200 litres of water per day. That’s 146,000 litres of water for two elephants, or 38569 gallons. And this is for just elephants, there’s apparently an entire planet’s worth of animal species x2 left to feed after this. So with every animal having only a 1/4 inch to roam, where did they fit all the food?

Digesion of food = gas and waste…

In order to prevent explosive levels of methane gas, not to mention an odor of biblical proportion, the air in the ark would need to be totally exchanged every two hours. The velocity of the air in Noah’s window needed to be maintained at 170.45 miles per hour for 11+ months. No provision were made for exhaust gas according to the bible, they must have overlooked this ripe fact.

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What is very convenient is that the folks involved in The Ark Encounter and Answers in Genesis never address what happened to the Wyoming . Although they give a size comparison of the Wyoming, they conveniently fail to go into the details about this ship, and what happened to it.

The Wyoming was a wooden six-masted ship, and the largest wooden schooner ever built. She was built and completed in 1909 by the firm of Percy & Small in Bath, Maine. Wyoming was also one of the largest wooden ships ever built, 450 ft (140 m) from jib-boom tip to spanker boom tip, and the last six-masted schooner built on the east coast of the US.

Because of her extreme length and wood construction, Wyoming tended to flex in heavy seas, which would cause the long planks to twist and buckle, thereby allowing sea water to intrude into the hold. Wyoming had to use pumps to keep her hold relatively free of water. In March 1924, she foundered in heavy seas and sank with the loss of all hands.

ark-compared-to-other-ships
.
Now as you can see, the Ark was considerably larger than the Wyoming and would have had to carry an immense weight in cargo.
So going by all this information, just the construction and contexts surrounding the Ark is enough to sink this story.
-AAPN

 

The Problem With “Christian Values”

The Problem With “Christian Values”

 

"Christian Values"

‘Christian values’, are completely subjective as one ‘Christian’s values’ are completely different than another’s ‘Christian values’, which begs the question, what is the definition of ‘Christian values’ when Christians can’t even agree on what they believe is the correct set of values.

Or view here https://youtu.be/703ZJSzyyOA
If your morals and values come from a fear of reprisal from a higher power and only act with decency to your fellow man because of that, you are no better than a rabid dog on an imaginary leash. If the only reason you act with kindness and compassion to your fellow man is your hope of reward from this supposed higher power then you are incredibly divisive and selfish.
-AAPN

Logic, reason and pseudscientific nonsense

Logic, reason and pseudscientific nonsense

Originally published on www.answers-in-reason.com as Logic, reason and pseudscience

The tripartite definition of knowledge states that propositional knowledge , i.e. knowledge that p , has three individually necessary and jointly sufficient conditions: justification, truth and belief. In short, propositional knowledge is justified true belief. The belief condition requires that anyone who knows that p believe that p. The truth condition requires that any known proposition be true. And the justification condition requires that any known proposition be adequately justified, warranted or evidentially supported.

 

Reason

The power of the mind to think, understand, and form judgements logically.

I guess we should define logic and a few other terms also

Logic

Reasoning conducted or assessed according to strict principles of validity. Check or prove the validity or accuracy of,

“all analytical methods should be validated in respect of accuracy”

demonstrate or support the truth or value of.

Truth

That which is true or in accordance with fact or reality.

 Fact

A thing that is known or proved to be true.

Following through the above list of definitions to reason we need facts, which have been validated as such to show they are true. We have seen historically how a good premise can still present a faulty conclusion. For instance Aristotle concluded that the testicles were weights attached to the voice box because when a man’s testicles dropped his voice deepened.  This is obviously not the case which has been verified by biological experimentation which has shown this factually not to be true. Continue reading Logic, reason and pseudscientific nonsense

Religion’s abuse of the mentally ill

abuse of the mentally ill

 

Religion’s abuse of the mentally ill

There has always been a stigma attached to mental illness and conditions such as epilepsy, which cause alarming seizures in otherwise healthy individuals. When society did not understand the cause of conditions that science has learned to identify and treat, people turned to religion to cope, and the results were at best scarring for the individual and at worst, deadly.

A young German woman that had suffered seizures all of her life was killed after ten months of exorcisms because her family believed that she was possessed by demons. Denied food and water, subjected to violent rituals, the 23 year old died horribly and needlessly at the hands of people blinded by their own ignorance.   Continue reading Religion’s abuse of the mentally ill