Agnostic Halloween Costume

It’s funny that the cartoonist decides to make the kid agnostic instead of atheist or freethinker or any other non-theist label and since most people focus on the atheist label it must have some meaning to the cartoonist specific to agnosticism. I’m thinking the cartoonist is saying the agnostic won’t make up his mind and commit to a costume. So this is funny if it lumps atheists in with the wearers of false images. Most atheists say they are a-theist and not anti-theist, meaning they simply lack belief and don’t actively claim god is not real as a provable viewpoint. This is complementary to the agnostic “we lack knowledge” viewpoint.

I see the costumed kids as believers that wrap themselves in pretend despite the reality of who they are. If you’re true to yourself then you don’t dress yourself in a costume. I don’t see how an atheist would be in a costume, which is sort of implied by calling the normal kid an agnostic. I believe agnosticism and atheism are two sides of the same coin and it’s just a matter of your personal emphasis as to which label you prefer to say as “without knowledge” or “without theistic belief”. Either way we don’t believe and we lack knowledge of the supernatural which is the basis for theistic belief.

Standards of Good

I posted this as a comment reply to The Golden Rule post but it’s long enough to elevate to an actual blog post.

I assume humanity works through our standards of good in any given situation as an imperfect society of fellowship with our laws to guide us. A “standard” is universal and applies to all situations. “Thou shall not kill” is an absolute standard of good that should prevent you from using deadly force as a police officer or defend the country as a military member, but most bible believers judge for themselves when this supposed absolute standard of good actually applies. All religions don’t have a standard of good that contradicts the rest of humanity because it is all of humanity that shares in the universal guide of the “golden rule”. It is just a guide and is not perfect in itself. If I were a twisted individual that enjoyed pain I should not follow “do unto others…” and inflict pain on other people.

It’s funny you think I said Americans are not good and even quote the word “not” as if I said it. Saying a country appears to be nicer and safer than mine doesn’t mean the United States is not also nice and safe. I just said that Japan appeared to be higher on the scale of a “good society.” There isn’t a specific standard for a good society unless you want to try to make something up with crime statistics and the amount of individual freedoms enjoyed by the people if such things can be quantified.

We are all evil? It is the saddest thing for me to read when I come across it and is definitely one big thing I find wrong with religion. I believe most people are good and you believe everyone is evil. We use our inherent good as a society to collectively determine what is good for our societies. It isn’t perfect but our tribes have managed to graduate to governments and laws that work fairly well for some of the basics of good. If someone steals from me or murders my family (we can agree on those being bad, right?) then police, courts, jail, etc. all step in and take care of this. Hopefully the police could step in and prevent murder of my family but taking care of the murderer is the action that stops that person from killing again.

What does religion do in all of this? Here is the religious standard of good and how it operates. We are all evil sinners so religion offers forgiveness for the murderer. If they can only find Jesus then the murderer should be set free to live for Christ and kill again in his next moment of weakness. It’s not his fault because God made us as pure evil. What kind of nonsense is that? I don’t think most people have evil thoughts and urges. Let’s continue down your thought process that the bible is the standard of good. The 10 commandments should become law for this country and our most severe punishments should be for violating them since this is the top 10 list. So if I have another god before your god or create false idols I should be punished more severely than being a murderer if the commandments are ranked in order of importance. I should be punished for the thought crime of coveting. All parents should be honored so I think that does away with child protective services and the crimes of child abuse. These are just some applications of your good from the top of my head.

You are good without god. We are not evil. I don’t need Christ to stop my hand from stealing from you, killing you, or any other evil deed that you think we all are compelled to do since we are evil. Simply providing “Christ” as the ultimate standard just will not cut it. Humans do disagree at many points, and we work through it situation by situation. If it were perfect then one true church would currently rule the world and we’d only need a single priest to serve as judge and jury over all evil deeds. You can ask god and the Pope how well that one works out for us all.

The Golden Rule

Standards of good are human standards that don’t come from a god. “You have to share in my religion to be considered good” is such a ridiculous notion. I’ve visited Japan and it’s a country with amazing people that I would point to as an excellent example of an overall good society. Yet, the majority of Japanese are increasingly secular and follow no religion. They keep associations with Shinto and Buddhism as a matter of tradition rather than belief.

Article 20 of their 1947 Constitution states:

“Freedom of religion is guaranteed to all. No religious organization shall receive any privileges from the State, nor exercise any political authority”

Well, doesn’t that sound familiar? Separation of religion and the state was mandated by the occupation of Japan because of the role of State Shinto in furthering Japan’s military aggression in Asia before and during World War II. Isn’t that a fair warning for maintaining a seperation of church and state? It’s sad that many Christians and Muslims would look at Japan and the religion of the people to say that the country is worthless and immoral based solely on their belief. However, in my short visits I found the country to be nicer and safer than many areas of the United States. Nobody has a monopoly on “being good” based upon their primitive religions.