Thursday, July 10, 2008

As I hope you all have noticed, I am no longer FedUp with religion.

What I hope you all are wondering is why? But you probably don't give a damn. I'll tell you anyhow.

In the beginning, that is at the start of the conscious awareness of my new relationship with religion, I felt fed up. I had been struggling to justify my beliefs in the claims of Orthodox Judaism for some time and when I finally realized that they were not only bogus but unnecessary I felt a feeling of fed-up-ness. I started commenting on XGH's blog almost immediately and used the alias fedup.

But like most reactionary feelings, this feeling started to wane. After a while I realized that I no longer actually felt fed up but I perpetuated that feeling by commenting under that alias. It's amazing how your actions can have an effect on your feelings.

Another thing you might have noticed is that I was having a hard time with my profile. I must have changed it half a dozen times and I've only been blogging for a few months.

I got a kick out of fulfilling the stereotype of the arrogant militant atheist. I'm really no such thing but it was fun. Now don't get me wrong. I was under the false impression that there were believers out there that I could have a discussion with and essentially get them to reject their outrageous beliefs or at the very least get them to admit that they believed them in faith, despite strong evidence in the other direction.

Back in late April, early May of this year, I had a go round with RJM. I had discussions with him for several reasons. His "If only you knew like I do... " claim is just laughable on its face. His, "When you show me solid proof of any ANE nation or culture that..." claim makes so many false assumptions about the ANE religion that became modern day Orthodox Judaism. I mean RJM believes that the Ancient Israelites rejected magic! No really! Sure, if you define magic as magic done by anyone but Moshe, Aaron, and all the Jewish Magicians afterwards then yeah Judaism rejected magic. But come on... Now of course I believe in magic as much as I believe in fairies, but let's call a spade a spade. They believed in magic. However the main reason I had my discussion with RJM was because I had never really "duked it out" with a Rabbi. I had seen that RJM had some respect amongst the bloggers and was willing to discuss things with skeptics like Orthoprax and Littlefoxling so I gave it a try myself. At the time, I felt I owed myself that discussion. I recently looked back at that discussion and I noticed more then a few mistakes and a few more holes I should have poked in RJM's arguments. The main thing is that I learned something from the experience and enjoyed it while it was happening.

In the meanwhile I got into a couple of discussion with HH, Daganev, and Yus. Oh and there was one really embarrassing one with mevaseretzion that I royally fucked up on. I bit off WAY more then I could chew but newbie skeptics tend to do that. They think that since they don't believe in religion therefore they know everything. HA! if that ain't a non sequitor... Yus and Daganev were frustrating but I remember enjoying discussions with Holy Hyrax.

I've already mentioned my discussions with evanstonjew, though I think they came out too negative in my last post. My conversations with ej have always been good. When I read ej I just think, "Wow, isn't ej cool?" No really... I think ej has an awesome writing style. Even if I can't always understand everything ej writes, it's still leaves me with the impression that ej is one cool cat. ej was the only one that could make me fill guilty about playing the militant atheist, but only in the kindest way and has helped me to get out of the mentality of "Let's go shoot clay pigeons for the rest of our lives!" only the clay pigeons are religious claims.

Then as I was preparing to make the change from FedUp to something else I was possessed by a demon to go try commenting on Hirhurim. Hind sight is 20/20 to be sure but why did I keep going back? I must have tried 3 times to get comments posted on his blog and they were almost indefinitely deleted. I said really vague stuff like, Aren't we being biased towards chazal? and Shouldn't we make a critical analysis at the claims of OJ to come to the best conclusion on the matter? But Gil accused me of missionizing... oh well. I guess we define the word differently.

I think it was shortly after that round about with Gil that I finally got it. Move on! You are WASTING your time trying to talk to people about things they refuse to hear.

And now as to why I've decided on Freethinking Upstart.

As I mentioned earlier in this post I was having problems with my profile. All these new labels that I felt the need to sort threw and place on myself. Atheist, Bright, Naturalist, Scientific Pantheist, yada yada yada. I don't like these types of labels especially the one "atheist" and after reading a bunch of the definitions given on the atheist meme by those that didn't consider themselves atheists, I was feeling even less comfortable with the label. It seems that atheism has never really shed it's poor conotations. Why the hell should I want to sanctify such a word? I mean it tells you absolutely nothing about a person. The word God is meaningless to almost everyone. The strong definition is what most people identify atheism with and I only ever considered myself a weak atheist. Plus, people like Jacob Stein and Vox Day are constantly creating myths about atheists and there is the ever present question, "Well weren't Stalin and Mao atheists?"

So anyhow, I wanted to communicate something with my name so I decided that it should be more of my attitude toward ideas. Freethinking seemed to fit. It's pretty vague but generally positive.

I chose Upstart because I'm young and stupid but I'm not afraid to speak up, even if I make a fool of myself. I just hope that someone will be kind enough to correct me when they see that I'm in error.