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Jan 18 2010

Spinster aunt publishes post on godly football player without titling it first

Redneck beer coozy

According to the Internet, a celebrity football player and his mother are making a pro-compulsory pregnancy Super Bowl commercial for noted hysterical antifeminist group Focus on the Family. Reportedly the gist of the commercial is the heartwarming tale of the pre-parturient football mother, who experienced life-threatening issues while pregnant and was advised by doctors to abort the fetus. Well, Football Mom begged to differ. Since abortions invalidate and indecentuate women, she brought her fetus to term, whereupon it matured into a dude who made a shit-ton of money throwing a ball around in a stylized form of organized combat. She raised herself a star quarterback who loves Jesus! Her gamble paid off, says Focus on the Family; yours will, too!

I love the hyperreactive, emotionally unstable “argument” supporting the premise that abortions “kill babies” that would otherwise grow up to become influential celebrities. If you have an abortion you’re murdering the future winner of the Nobel Prize for Selflessness, etc.

Oy.

Try this simple experiment. If you are in a public place, such as the Super S “grocery” store in Dripping Springs, Texas, this unborn-fetuses-are-the-Mother-Teresas-of-tomorrow thesis can be disproved in about 47 seconds. A quick glance around this shrine to Creme Filling will confirm that your fellow shoppers — all former fetuses brought to term as per God’s Plan, then abandoned by that same God to forage for sustenance in this forsaken hellhole of wilted iceberg lettuce and plastic-wrapped genetically modified snack foods — count no Mother Teresas among their number. No Presidents of the United States, no Nobel laureates, no celebrities, no astronauts, not even any local TV news anchors. It turns out that the vast majority of fetuses brought to term are just regular chumps the existence of whom is a matter of extreme inconsequentiality to the cosmos. They don’t cure cancer or negotiate peace settlements in the Middle East. They eat sliced baloney, wear beige Easy Spirit shoes, and sheathe their Miller Lites in beer coozies that say “I don’t need the INTERNET, my wife knows EVERYTHING!”

This same experiment can be performed anywhere — in urban sidewalks, rock clubs, trendy coffee huts, taco stands, and upscale shopping malls –with homogeneous results. Which results are: exceedingly few non-aborted fetuses become saintly millionaire football players.

What Focus on the Family conveniently omits to consider is the proposition diametric to their Heroic Fetus thesis. That is: applying their own loony reasoning to the problem of the existence of Bad Dudes — it follows that an abortion today could unburden the world of tomorrow’s rapist, suicide bomber, or genocidal maniac. Why wouldn’t that be a good idea?

Focus on the Family blames evildoers on crummy families where there is too much MTV and not enough “attuning to God’s presence and calling.”

O for the simpler days of yore, when you could just take your “snippy” teen “out to the back 40 acres” and “get his mind straight” (apparently, back in the days of yore, everybody had 40 acres in the back. This area was called “The Whuppin’ 40″). But now, instead of compliant teens who shape up the minute Paw kicks the shit out of’em, MTV has created a race of headstrong youths who are, inconveniently, able to “articulate their anger,” thus “compound[ing] the difficulties of growing up.”

Here’s an excerpt from the Super Bowl commercial story that’s creepy in ways I just can’t put my finger on.

“Tebow, one of the most esteemed college football players ever, has been very vocal about his Christian faith and his love for Jesus Christ.”

A college football player loves the ghost of a dead Nazarene on a stick, so he’s qualified to compel pregnancy? That doesn’t even make sense in a world gone mad!

It’s not Tebow so much as this recent Haiti-spawned spate of vocality about love for Jesus Christ, I suppose, that sticks in the spinster craw. On CNN yesterday there were countless videos of traumatized Haitians stumbling around in rubble, alluding to God in fearful, reverent and favorable terms. It blows the lobe. This earthquake and subsequent torments visited randomly upon the survivors is a pretty good argument of in favor of an indifferent, deity-free universe, but apparently other, more fanciful conclusions have been drawn. The heart bleeds.

72 comments

2 pings

  1. Comrade PhysioProf

    What Focus on the Family conveniently omits to consider is the proposition diametric to their Heroic Fetus thesis.

    Wackaloon religious fuckwits always conveniently omit to consider *any* of the logically necessary consequences of their deranged beliefs that fail to reinforce their depraved morally bankrupt preconceived notions. For example–to tie it back to mollycoddled jeezus-freak man-child athletes–why do fuck-ups like Tebow make a grotesque public display of thanking the lord jeezus when they win, but never once cursing jeezus when they lose? If jeezus is responsible for my team’s win, then isn’t he necessarily exactly equally responsible for my opponent’s loss, and thus deserving of the curses of my fellow jeezus-freak opponents?

  2. Puffin

    This earthquake and subsequent torments visited randomly upon the survivors is a pretty good argument of in favor of an indifferent, deity-free universe, but apparently other, more fanciful conclusions have been drawn. The heart bleeds.

    I think it’s worth noting that there is a literal way of loving Jesus and a more methaphorical, nuanced way and it’s not fair to treat the two with the same disdain. The former is creepy and tyrannical and used by creepy, tyrannical people to do all sorts of creepy, tyrannical shit. The latter can be, in times of trauma, a way to hold on to community, hope, and make it through something that could otherwise leave you curled in the fetal position on the ground, waiting to die.

  3. AngryYoungFemme

    I just finished Vonnegut’s The Sirens of Titan and couldn’t agree more with the concept of the Church of God the Utterly Indifferent. My thoughts go out to all those affected by the earthquake in Haiti.

  4. Tehomet

    Thanks for a great post. I laughed so much I startled my housemates. Truly Tebow’s logic is not like our Earth logic. And if he and his mother were to help avoid unplanned pregnancies, by, say, financing their local birth control clinic or advocating for better sex education for teenagers, then maybe I could respect them. But I doubt it. I also love the way Tebow’s mother expects a medal or canonization, or a round of applause at the very least, for simply exercising her reproductive choice, reproductive choice that feminism has won for her. If she had been living in Romania when she was pregnant with the footballer-to-be, an even less feminist place than America in the same period, she would have had no option but to have kid, regardless. Oy, indeed.

  5. Karley

    “This earthquake and subsequent torments visited randomly upon the survivors is a pretty good argument of in favor of an indifferent, deity-free universe, but apparently other, more fanciful conclusions have been drawn. The heart bleeds.”

    Recently a friend of mine invited me to her Bible study group, as a Pokable Proddable Atheist for everyone to gawk at. Said Bible study group consists of divorced women, most of whom were victims of spousal abuse.

    What was the topic of that night’s Bible study? Some crap about “bruised reeds,” and how God doles out shit and misfortune so you don’t stray from him. This was right after they shared their stories about how their husbands did the exact same things to them. I wanted to scream. I wanted to cry. The God of the Abrahamic religions, if he really existed, would be the World’s Biggest Abusive Patriarch.

    This, by the way, was all interspersed with how horrible their female Methodist pastor was for disallowing them the use of the church for their bible study. I imagine the pastor realizes how woman-hating her theology is, but chose to keep her cognitive dissonance intact by giving this particular group the boot.

    IBTP.

  6. eb

    Ya gotta give the Christian God his due. He’s got a great PR firm working for him. Someone survives a plane crash? God is the savior. Three thousand people die in the World Trade Center? They are in a better place with God.

    I imagine the most difficult task facing the Christian God is who’s gonna win the Super Bowl.

  7. gerda

    talking of Haiti;

    ‘Sexist Backlash Against Gender-Responsive Aid in Haiti Shows Some Men Really Don’t Get It’
    http://www.alternet.org/blogs/peek/145233/sexist_backlash_against_gender-responsive_aid_in_haiti_shows_some_men_really_don%27t_get_it/?utm_source=feedblitz&utm_medium=FeedBlitzRss&utm_campaign=alternet_blogs_peek

  8. gerda

    this one’s even better!
    -brace for another freakishly long url;

    http://www.alternet.org/blogs/peek/145207/another_christian_right_madman_suggests_haiti_earthquake_may_be_god%27s_wrath

  9. Wynne

    Tebow is actually still an “amateur” until he is drafted from college by the NFL around March. He hasn’t been paid for playing football yet.

  10. Orange

    But if Tebow had never been born, he would never have brought his talents to bear on the football team, and the teams he beat might instead have won and brought greater glory to God. Instead, he selfishly hogs all the glory for his team? That’s just mean.

    NFL star QB Kurt Warner always gives thanks to god when his team wins. I want him to thank god for letting the other team win when he loses, but somehow I doubt he does that.

    Richard Dawkins is raising money for Haiti relief: http://givingaid.richarddawkins.net/. The money goes to the secular groups Intl. Red Cross and Doctors Without Borders. He’s hoping to show a large group donation from the godless to demonstrate that the Pat Robertsons of the world have no monopoly on goodness and generosity.

  11. Citizen Jane

    Aren’t Focus on the Family in favour of teaching abstinence? They pretty much just shot themselves in the foot there. The likes of Leonardo Da Vinci, Billie Holiday, Marilyn Monroe, Alexandre Dumas, August Strindberg and Sarah Bernhardt wouldn’t exist if their unwed parents had remained dutifully celibate.

  12. thebewilderness

    Has Focus on the Family addressed the underlying implication that if the woman and fetus had both died that would have been a better outcome than her survival through abortion of the fetus?
    Do they assume that the magic of spontaneous abortion is God’s way of weeding out serial killers?

    I have questions.

  13. Sarah

    Were there a god, whether it be an indifferent, loving, or angry one, I sincerely doubt said higher power would give two flying poops about who does or does not win a game of “throwing a ball around in a stylized form of organized combat.”

  14. Comrade PhysioProf

    He hasn’t been paid for playing football yet.

    AHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHHAHAHAHAHAH!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  15. Shelby

    …and the Lord said “Bless-ed be the men who can kick a footy wooty ball further than all other men and yea those men shall be elevated to the highest echelons of society and great gifts shall rain upon them. And bless-ed be the men who can hit a small ball with a long stick the furthest and with the most accuracy for they truly are the chosen ones. Ahhh men.”

  16. Summerspeaker

    While your refutation of Tebow argument certain works, it accepts the hierarchical conception of humanity as a vast bed of oysters that produces only a few pearls. That’s a dangerous road to travel.

  17. yttik

    Summerspeaker eloquently expresses what I was trying to figure out how to say.

    It worries me when we devalue life as an argument against prolife rhetoric.

    It also bothers me when those of us who have the luxury of criticizing religion complain about the religious expression in Haiti. After a trauma like that they could pray to a giant conch shell for all I care. I’m reminded that it is a privilege to believe you live in “an indifferent, deity-free universe.” That means one is not trapped in the midst of a trauma so irrational you are desperate for anything that will make sense out of chaos.

  18. jezebella

    But yttik, there’s the rub: religious belief DOESN’T make sense of the trauma.

  19. Givesgoodemail

    “The heart bleeds.”

    And the eye tears.

    To be caught in such a Monumental Lie, and not just not know it, but relish and wallow in it.

  20. Jill

    Puffin:“The latter can be, in times of trauma, a way to hold on to community, hope, and make it through something that could otherwise leave you curled in the fetal position on the ground, waiting to die.”

    Far be it from me to tell suffering disaster victims that their head is up their ass, but unto thee, Puffin, I say: it is not only possible to shed these mystical fantasies and still have community and hope and whatever else you want, but getting rid of “faith” is a mandatory compuslory prerequisite for the overthrow of oppression.

  21. Jill

    “Tebow is actually still an ‘amateur’ until he is drafted from college by the NFL around March. He hasn’t been paid for playing football yet.”

    As you know, the technicalities of football are of overarching importance to patriarchy blaming; a grateful Blametariat thanks you for this attempt at correcting the spinster aunt.

    You might want to shut your piehole, however, as you are not in possession of all the facts. A close relative works for the coach of an iconic American college dude sports team, and he tells me that these college “amateur” players are, in fact, remunerated handsomely in scholarships, hookers, cars, vacations, Armani suits, and whatever else their little hearts desire.

  22. Jill

    “While your refutation of Tebow argument certain works, it accepts the hierarchical conception of humanity as a vast bed of oysters that produces only a few pearls.”

    Quibbler.

  23. Lesley

    Thank you so much for this post. Tebow has been chapping my ass for far too long.

  24. Pinko Punko

    Thank goodness Judge Judy wouldn’t throw out J’s argument on a technicaleroni. After Tim’s mom talks in the ad they should have a moment of silence for all the women in exactly her position that died.

    Driving home from work today I heard the usual crisis preggo center ad with the little skit. They like to confirm the preg with an unnecessary ultrasound, so you can see the ball of cells. this was making the rounds this week and is appropriate.

  25. jael

    They like to confirm the preg with an unnecessary ultrasound, so you can see the ball of cells.

    this puzzles me – does the woman with child have to pay for this ultrasound or is a courtesy of the state? or is it the standard pre-op ultrasound? ( I realise it’s likely a state-to-state thing, but i’m interested in whatever state anyone who knows this information has knowledge of.)

    great way to go about keeping down the cost of health care either way.

  26. Cycles

    Does Focus on the Family really think that airing a heartstring-tugging cheesy tirade during the tense commercial break of an emotional drunken sports orgy will gain points FOR their cause? Hey Sports Fans: if you’re not actively pissing out the 2000 beers you’ve consumed, please stop thinking about the current drive for a second, and focus your testosterone-hazed attention on this serious message about abortion, sandwiched between bikini people hawking GoDaddy.com and shiny new cars sliding sideways on wet pavement.

  27. Jezebella

    Oh no, the state will not be paying for those mandated ultrasounds. It’s added to the already-high of abortion services. Because they weren’t expensive enough already, you know.

  28. Pinko Punko

    Jael- private crisis preg centers offer free stuffs. Beyond their usual church backing, I’m not up on whether they tapeworm state or fed tax dollars. There is one right down the street from the Planned Parenthood in town.

  29. agasaya

    Ultrasounds: They’ve been relegated to the status of ‘evil procedures’ because some people use the affirmation of the sex of the fetus, or deformity/disease to determine whether to keep it or not. Hence, an invention of the devil. While I may personally object to abortion as a tool of preferential treatment for one gender over another in deciding whether to bring a fetus to term, the illogic in blaming technology for any form of human reasoning is, as always, terrifying.

    ——————

    “…getting rid of “faith” is a mandatory compuslory prerequisite for the overthrow of oppression.”

    Actually, ‘faith’ has been a major factor throughout history for overthrowing oppression. It has been responsible for replacing it with other forms but that has happened without ‘faith’ in many regimes where religion was forbidden as a force which would undermine the state. Oppression is a human urge for power and profit with a bonus of cruelty allowing for many sick ‘souls’ (pardon the expression) to be co-opted for the kicks.

    ‘Faith’ in the concept that humanity may possibly overcome the urge to oppress in some future generation is what keeps some of us willing to suffer through today in order to try again tomorrow. The addition of a deity isn’t necessary to that process and doesn’t have to be a hindrance. Like technology, it is simply another tool of oppression in the wrong hands.

  30. Oaktown Girl

    The adult White male creature who was “nearly aborted” is a unique pain in the ass indeed. Back in ’88-’90 I dated one of these, and though I thought he was about as liberal on feminist issues as any young dude in the Patriarchy could be expected to be, I discovered he had one major hitch in his giddy-up: a woman’s unconditional right to choose.

    The issue came up when there was going to be a massive Pro Choice march in San Francisco, and I thought we’d go together. To my bafflement, he hemmed and hawed. It turned out that theoretically he believed in a woman’s right to choose, but not so much that he could bring himself to march in the streets to ensure that right. See, all his life dude had been regaled with stories about how his mom and dad, then both 18 years old, had been pressured by their parents to abort the baby (him). Instead, they (his parents) fled to California and everything turned out hunky dory. I tried to explain to my ex-dude that, “See, it’s about choice. Your mother chose to have you, you were wanted“, but to little avail. His brain was too fucked over with what he perceived as his too-close call with non-existence.

    Apparently, the only thing that scares Dude Nation more than being laughed at is not existing, or even potentially, not existing. And might I add, this ex-dude of mine was raised in a hardcore atheist/anti-religion household, and he himself held to those same beliefs. You’d think someone like that would be more nonchalant about whether they’d ever been born or not, but I guess the need for Dudes to BE (and BE telling women what they can and can’t do) conquers all.

    (For the record, I’ve met more than a few “nearly aborted” adult women, and none of the non-religious ones were wetting their pants about it or had any quibbles at all about female bodily autonomy and choice).

  31. Comrade PhysioProf

    Why aren’t any d00ds all up in arms that if their dads had spanked the monkey instead of boning their moms that one special time, they wouldn’t be here either? Oh, wait. Some are. But it’s all about the magical fetuses, right? Oh, wait.

  32. speedbudget

    Why is it that I know this guy Tebow’s name and he hasn’t played in any of my gladiator-like games? I don’t follow college football. It’s disturbing to me that I recognized this guy’s name.

    And might I add, Jill, that those scholarships and gifts lavished on these guys are usually at the expense of entire departments and boatloads of students who can actually do the work required to maintain a decent GPA. It’s a rare football scholarship student who can actually do the work required in a post-high school setting.

  33. Amananta

    Oh so many thoughts.

    Comrade physioprof: “If jeezus is responsible for my team’s win, then isn’t he necessarily exactly equally responsible for my opponent’s loss, and thus deserving of the curses of my fellow jeezus-freak opponents?”

    Because if you curse him HE WILL SMITE YOU. This is what they believe.

    I don’t know about atheism being a privilege so much in such situations. The media may choose to highlight the people turning to a religion they already believed in for comfort, but it ignores people who, like me after hurricane Katrina (I’m from New Orleans) conclude “there is no god, or else he’s such an asshole I’d never worship him.”

    It should be remembered that while Twisty’s post here seems to focus overmuch on the social hierarchy of “famous football player > than you normal schlubs”, keep in mind it is merely pointing out the anti-abortion movements own tactics. They very rarely, if ever, bring up an abused, or average, or impoverished person as an example of a success story for “life”. If “life” is all that matters, they could bring up me as a success story but they won’t. I turned out to be a fat, loudmouthed, working class, non-heterosexual witch. They talk in terms of my “life” being valuable only when scolding me about my refusal to give the function of my womb to the closest alpha male. No, they would rather bring up hypotheticals like “If a woman already has 8 children should she be allowed to have an abortion? Congratulations, you just killed Beethoven!” So we can feel very bad and guilty that we might have possibly killed a famous white male. You know, someone who MATTERS.

  34. JenniferRuth

    Richard Dawkins is raising money for Haiti relief: http://givingaid.richarddawkins.net/. The money goes to the secular groups Intl. Red Cross and Doctors Without Borders. He’s hoping to show a large group donation from the godless to demonstrate that the Pat Robertsons of the world have no monopoly on goodness and generosity.

    Well, ain’t that mighty big of him. Using a disaster that has killed thousands to poke the religious. Now, I may agree that the religious are worthy of poking but Dawkins is just another self-absorbed man waving his dick around in a vain attempt to make it seem bigger than everyone elses.

  35. Felicity

    Oh yeah, because heaven forbid some of our cells could develop into a dudely dude of dudes. Let me guess what they think of an embryo that turns into a promiscuous/ old/ fat woman.

  36. Jill

    “There is one right down the street from the Planned Parenthood in town.”

    There always is.

  37. Jill

    “‘Faith’ in the concept that humanity may possibly overcome the urge to oppress in some future generation is what keeps some of us willing to suffer through today in order to try again tomorrow.”

    You misconstrue me, Agasaya. I use the word ‘faith’ to mean what everyone else thinks it means, i.e. “belief in the existence of an invisible omnipotent cosmic human-obsessed concierge despite buttloads of evidence to the contrary and not a shred of evidence to support it.”

    Belief in magic is the antithesis of enlightenment. Manipulation of belief in magic as an instrument of oppression is the antithesis of liberation. Etc. Was I really being so obtuse?

  38. Samantha B.

    According to a report on NPR this morning, the group Faith Comes By Hearing is sending aid to Haiti in the form of 600 audio bibles. What’s an audio bible, you ask? Apparently it’s a solar powered device which “broadcast[s] scripture in Haitian Creole. Each is loud enough to be heard by hundreds of people.” Now that’s real help, right there.

  39. Butters

    Though this is a good counter-argument and I agree with it, I do think your post reveals the underlying misanthropy and existential angst in the extreme pro-choice position.

    Human life may be ‘meaningless’ to you but it isn’t to everyone else. Even ‘normal people’ are children of God, what they eat or wear notwithstanding.

    Also, please consider the blatant classism in your post. Don’t mean to sound like the PC police but it’s worth considering.

  40. Puffin

    “it is not only possible to shed these mystical fantasies and still have community and hope and whatever else you want, but getting rid of “faith” is a mandatory compuslory prerequisite for the overthrow of oppression.”

    I agree 100% but the point I was trying to make is that faith in God can be more than a literal belief in mystical fantasies. Saying, for instance, “I’m alive because God has a plan for me” doesn’t necessarily have to mean that you literally believe that some mystical deity wrote up some goals for you to accomplish during your lifetime and it’s stored in some heavenly file cabinet somewhere. That’s certainly seems to be the message Focus on the Family wants to shove down everyone’s throat, but I know too many people of faith who use beliefs the way people have used poetry & metaphor throughout time – as inspiration, particularly in tough times.

    Religious faith is not necessary, it is man-made, and it’s certainly been used by shitty people to do shitty things throughout time. But what really bothers me about all the atheist sanctimony (and I am an atheist) is that religion and faith, like so many other man-made things, are not inherently bad things. And science and reason have just as rich a history of misleading people, dabbling in fantasy, and forcing a subjective truth on marginal groups for the purpose of maintaining the status quo.

  41. Ciccina

    @ AngryYoungFemme

    Off-topic, but you finished The Sirens of Titan? I got tired of waiting for it to make sense. Is it worth picking up again?

  42. yttik

    “Belief in magic is the antithesis of enlightenment”

    Ironically Jill, that is very similar to the absolutist thinking that the church promotes. I believe they even once burnt a few hundred thousand people over it.

    Could you not have perhaps used serial killers or despot dictators, rather then the beige working class grocery story goers as examples of defective humanity? I fear I would fare no better in your world then I would have in the early church.

    What is a creme-filling, baloney-eating, magic-believing girl, such as myself, supposed to do? Retroactively abort myself?

  43. Jezebella

    If one doesn’t wish to inflate Dawkins’ ego or contribute to godbags, but wants to contribute to the Haiti crisis, I recommend Madre:

    “MADRE is an international women’s human rights organization that works in partnership with community-based women’s organizations worldwide to address issues of health and reproductive rights, economic development, education and other human rights. We provide resources and training to enable our sister organizations to meet these goals by addressing immediate needs in their communities and developing long-term solutions to the crises they face. ”

    Check it: http://www.madre.org

  44. Schmeminist

    …Getting rid of “faith” is a mandatory compulsory prerequisite for the overthrow of oppression.

    Faith in the hands of crotchety entitled old dudes is a tool of oppression, however, it would be an egregious error to slander faith as a universal liberation crusher. What about goddess based religions such as Wicca? I’m not a practitioner, but the people, men and women, I’ve met who do practice Wicca are more egalitarian and independent minded than the general population. Faith can actually be a tool of liberation in the right hands.

    Interestingly enough, the biggest misogybags I’ve met to date have been atheists. (Please don’t misconstrue that statement as a critique of atheism. I’m all for it, being one of the godless myself.)

    Veering back on topic: It’s painfully ironic that you constantly hear people refer to life/the world/existence as a harsh, cold reality, and yet there persists a delusional segment of the population that insists we do everything in our power to continue subjecting innocent souls to this “vale of tears”. Cripe, not everyone is glad their mommies “chose life”. I say we organize a group of disgruntled hard luckers who wish their mommies had aborted them and mothers whose precious bundles of cells grew up to be severely dysfunctional slackers still living at home at age 35 and air their anti-anti-abortion commercial directly following T-whatever’s.

  45. norbizness

    I think this is what they call Battered Believer Syndrome.

  46. agasaya

    Jill wrote: ” I use the word ‘faith’ to mean what everyone else thinks it means, i.e. “belief in the existence of an invisible omnipotent cosmic human-obsessed concierge despite buttloads of evidence to the contrary and not a shred of evidence to support it.”

    Understood and understandable. However, believing in the future of humanity is no less a form of ‘magical thinking’ than belief in a deity. There isn’t a shred of evidence to support faith in any idea that what we do matters, whether those concepts are embodied in the form of an active or inactive ‘higher power’ or to humanism, in which we venerate our own place in ‘the universe’.

    Don’t the nihilists tell us it really doesn’t matter one way or the other? That doesn’t differentiate between those who feel existence on earth is a nebulous concept because there will be an ‘afterlife’ or those who feel there is nothing to come. Belief in ‘nothing’ is also the antithesis of enlightenment if you think about science. However, neither the ‘faithful’ nor the nihilist are necessarily amoral or unenlightened in their actions.

    Actions which promote increased quality of life along with equality for all would seem to have positive results regardless of the belief systems which prompt them. If someone wishes to adhere to positive principles ascribed to the dictates of a Creator, or claim similar goals are an extension of their urge to be one with the Earth and humanity, their actions may be indistinguishable from one another.

    Alchemists were atheists engaged in magical thinking.

    Show me productive lines of action and the well of inspiration for them isn’t going to concern me as long as the results doesn’t constrain any of my rights.

  47. Pinko Punko

    I read the post as identifying the framework which the anti-choicers appear to be using for their argument- look at all these “humans of exceptional value” that could be lost due to abortion. Essentially all but a tiny percent of living, also non-aborted humans would not pass muster on this Godly value scale, suggesting that the argument put forth is not even internally consistent. I don’t think this means Jill was crapping on the boloney eaters. As they say on the internet, something about mileage and what not.

    I’ll admit to being classist myself. I don’t like it when people treat their pets like crap and leave their pets crap in the park. And leave their grocery carts in the parking spaces. And vote Bush. And try to force women to have babies. And start sentences with “and”. It’s complicated.

  48. Jill

    “However, believing in the future of humanity is no less a form of ‘magical thinking’ than belief in a deity. “

    Have I been misunderstood as someone who believes in the future of humanity? Oh, no!

    As I often explain, I am absolutely against human reproduction of any kind. Current evidence overwhelmingly suggests that H. sapiens has, in terms of the cosmos, no “meaning” whatsoever. The only reason I campaign against oppression is because I do believe — based on irrefutable evidence — in the human inability to cease reproductive boinking. So, as long as there have to be people around, they shouldn’t be suffering, enslaved, or marginalized, and they might as well have access to tacos and margs. This has nothing to do with belief or faith or spirituality. It’s just a personal preference.

    This view tends to be confused with nihilism, when it is in fact the absence of ism altogether.

  49. Jill

    “Could you not have perhaps used serial killers or despot dictators, rather then the beige working class grocery story goers as examples of defective humanity?”

    Whoa, Trigger! They are not meant as examples of defective humanity. They are meant as examples of humanity, period. You should see the shoes I’m wearin’ right now!

  50. wiggles

    Twisty! You will like this:

    http://www.theonion.com/content/video/new_law_requires_women_to_name?utm_source=videoembed

  51. Jill

    I see that my description of the Super S shoppers has been interpreted as “classist.” If the hatas will kindly read on, they’ll perceive my assertion that vast populations of non-Nobel laureates can be found pretty much everywhere. Including Whole Foods, the penthouse of the Ritz, and Spinster HQ. Not being a Nobel laureate is, in other words, overwhelmingly the typical state of humanity.

    As for “normal” people being “children of God,” well, I’m a big fat atheist, so it should come as no surprise that this fanciful interpretation of the human condition is necessarily omitted from my worldview. Religion, spirituality, magic, luck, fate, angels, Wicca, palmistry, godbagism, alien abduction, psychokinesis, afterlife, Bigfoot, reincarnation, faithiness et al: absent a culture of domination it might be possible to construe these conceits as quaint and quirky curiosities, but even then they’d only be obscuring truth. It is on that count that I just can’t interpret them as entirely benign or harmless, even when their adherents flit around the globe doing good works.

    What, you ask, is so great about Truth? Nothing, I suppose, except that, because of the particular chemicals interacting therein, valuing it seems to appeal to my personal lobes.

    Maybe I should knock it off already with the Cultivation of Truth speeches, but my observations over the past half-century suggest pretty conclusively that ignorance is, in terms of human suffering and shit, a poor substitute. I would really love to test my Truth Improves Things theory with hard science, but, unfortunately, current socio-political constraints preclude the feminist revolt necessary to perform the experiment. So I can but extrapolate.

    As always, those who find my anti-magic views distasteful are by no means required to embrace them. It’s nothing to me. I like you anyway, yeah? Some of my best friends think magic is true.

  52. Hedgepig

    “Battered Believer Syndrome” – brilliant.

  53. agasaya

    No problem with ‘anti-magic’ views – it’s just that the parameters of ‘magic’ are too narrowly defined in the above post. We are constantly bombarded with the skewing of facts (the term, ‘truth’ is too loaded with personal factors) pertaining to science and history. Obviously those are in the service of meeting desires for control/domination and financial goals by individuals or industries. Plus the average person who wants instant gratification no matter how destructive the results to them or those around them. Pass me those Pringles, please. You know, the ones people think are really potato chips?

    Magical thinking extends to many people, including atheists. Glad you aren’t among them.

  54. Schmeminist

    Call me a nitpicker, but what you’re calling Truth is, in actuality, what you believe the truth is. I have yet to see evidence that verifies the nonexistence of magic, the afterlife, omnipotent beings, or, yes, even bigfoot. There actually exists some rather compelling scientific evidence that yeti (yetis?) and “ghosts” aren’t the product of legend and overactive imaginations after all. Why can’t magic or gods and goddesses exist?

    Sorry, but certitude sounds just as absurd coming from a believer’s mouth as it does coming from a nonbeliever’s, and I grow weary of the hostile militant atheist faction giving the rest of us a bad name. When I get dirty looks upon announcing my atheist status, this is why.

  55. Innumina

    I think every atheist is familiar with the “But you can’t PROVE that ______ doesn’t exist, so you’re really just a narrow-minded meany-pants!” argument.

  56. Schmeminist

    I think every atheist is familiar with the “But you can’t PROVE that ______ doesn’t exist, so you’re really just a narrow-minded meany-pants!” argument.

    I can’t prove that, e.g., fairies don’t exist and I’ve no desire to argue the point with believers in fairies. Their belief in fairies doesn’t hurt me, as far as I can tell it isn’t hurting them, and it apparently brings joy to their life that wouldn’t exist otherwise. The only reason I would have to assert that fairies absolutely cannot in anyway whatsoever exist is an implicit desire to be a big meany-pants. Their belief certainly isn’t obscuring any truths because the truth is that I don’t know if fairies exist or not. I choose not to believe in fairies until a time when conclusive evidence confirms their existence, but if others opt to believe, that is their prerogative. Welcome to mainstream atheism.

  57. feral

    There is nothing wrong with the people of Haiti holding religious faith in a time of crisis. What bothers me, though, is why are these the images broadcast on CNN instead of images of people denouncing UN aid workers for chucking food at them from hovering aircraft? Why not images of people being treated like animals, of the vast majority of Haitians who’ve received no aid at all. Why so little talk of the racism in deeming Haitians a “security threat”? So many are commenting on Robertson’s condemnation of the Haitian people yet writing it off as right-wing ideology, extreme demagoguery, far removed from middle America. In truth, though, this view that poor people deserve to be poor (especially black poor people) is as commonplace, middle America as one can get. It’s the cornerstone of our political philosophy.

    Religious faith has historically been a powerful instrument in battling oppression. Appealing to faith is but one of many revolutionary tactics, and has been as useful as nonviolence, civil disobedience, violent tactics, education, property destruction, community organization, local community assistance, etc. In my state, for instance, local churches and ministers played a crucial role in unionizing the coal fields. They were a safe gathering place, provided food when miners were on strike and banned from company stores, and helped win the information war. I think it’s imperative that we question why we are seeing so many of these images of Haitians crying out to God (according to our cultural ideology, they deserved God’s punishment), but who are we to say that Haitians shouldn’t pray to God. 200,000 people just died and the survivors witnessed something probably no one here has—they can pray to whomever the fuck they want.

  58. Felicity

    It’s always so cringeworthy listening to people admit to ‘something being out there’. It’s called magical thinking. Schmeminist – So, fairies and unicorns are a definite no-no but we have to be open to this other magical force – fully created by the ego?

  59. Jill

    “Call me a nitpicker, but what you’re calling Truth is, in actuality, what you believe the truth is.”

    Oh please. What I’m calling truth is “hypotheses supported by data.” Like, if you’ve got two fish tacos, and somebody gives you another fish taco, you’ll have three fish tacos; this result will obtain regardless of your “belief” about tacos.

    Atheism isn’t religion in reverse. Atheism isn’t about ‘belief’ at all. Atheism says “there is no evidence to support the hypothesis that a human-centric deity exists.”

    I have no idea why you would call me a hostile militant who gives all the good atheists like you a bad name, but it makes you sound kind of like those moron jagoffs who are always calling me a feminazi cunt, so by all means piss off.

  60. Schmeminist

    Oh please. What I’m calling truth is “hypotheses supported by data.” Like, if you’ve got two fish tacos, and somebody gives you another fish taco, you’ll have three fish tacos; this result will obtain regardless of your “belief” about tacos.

    Yes, exactly, that’s what I would define truth as as well. But what data do you have to support the assertion that, say, god doesn’t exist? There isn’t any. The only argument that can be made is that there is a striking paucity of corroborative evidence for the existence of god. We cannot, however, reasonably state with any degree of certainty that god does not exist. Militant atheists are more than happy to give it a go, however: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Militant_atheism

    Sorry, I’m no good with linkage.

    I have no idea why you would call me a hostile militant who gives all the good atheists like you a bad name, but it makes you sound kind of like those moron jagoffs who are always calling me a feminazi cunt, so by all means piss off.

    Right, well, it’s your blog so I’ll just piss off then. I respect your belief that I’m a moron jagoff; you’re entitled to it.

  61. Summerspeaker

    The whole idea of Nobel laureates is, of course, a specific cultural construction. And the universe has expressed no preference for Nobel laureates over anybody (or anything) else.

    But please don’t classify me as a hata. I see the utility of responding to opposing arguments in context even if that wouldn’t be my tactic in this case. PhysioProf’s point is another easy angle to take. Any time people choose not to breed potentially deprives the world of another Tebow. Yet nobody would go down that road because it’s completely ridiculous.

  62. Comrade PhysioProf

    But what data do you have to support the assertion that, say, god doesn’t exist? There isn’t any. The only argument that can be made is that there is a striking paucity of corroborative evidence for the existence of god.

    Oh, for fuck’s sake. Ridiculous gibberish like this is what drives some assholish atheists to militancy.

    There is a striking paucity of corroborative evidence for the existence of leprechauns lolling in pots of gold at the ends of rainbows, but you never see eleventeen fuckjillion leprechaun enthusiasts banding together to kill, maim, oppress, and otherwise fuck with people who don’t give a flying fuck about leprechauns and just want to be left the fuck alone.

    Here’s the deal: As soon as the motherfucking jeezus-, abraham-, mohammed-, and other-fucking god botherers shut down their fucking churches, shut the fuck up about their fucking stupid deities, stop maiming, killing, and opporessing, and otherwise leave decent people alone, then I assure you, the “militant atheists” will concern themselves with them to the same extent they do leprechaun enthusiasts.

  63. nails

    I don’t have a high opinion of doctors, but it really seems very not doctorly to tell a patient to have an abortion. It is a common theme in anti abortion stories that I have a hard time believing.

    I have heard this same crap about how doctors told parents that their baby would have a birth defect, when chances are the doctor told them their risk level (that is what the results of the initial blood testing indicates). Invasive testing is needed to get absolute verification of many of the conditions screened for via blood testing, and it isn’t risk free to the fetus so I would imagine pro lifers don’t do that often.

  64. jael

    Comrade PhysioProf –

    Here’s the deal: As soon as the motherfucking jeezus-, abraham-, mohammed-, and other-fucking god botherers shut down their fucking churches, shut the fuck up about their fucking stupid deities, stop maiming, killing, and opporessing, and otherwise leave decent people alone, then I assure you, the “militant atheists” will concern themselves with them to the same extent they do leprechaun enthusiasts.

    could the statute of limitations on militant atheism perhaps be limited to the cessation of maiming, killing, oppressing and leaving people alone? i appreciate the standard is the above can’t be ended without the ending of the actual beliefs that are used to justify them, but eh; that’s a position without evidentiary support. it’s also a situation that large numbers inside god-botherer communities desire (and, rumour has it, work towards) also.

    i suspect it’s the desire to “convert” the world to a “religion/church/conversations about god free” state of being (as opposed to a state of being sans oppression, irrespective of ones belief in a sky fairy or not) that brings forth the calls of hypocrisy.

  65. Princess Rot

    What it mentions in the article Jill linked to is that Ms. Godly Fetus Mama had round-the-clock, state-of-the-art medical care and an ability to take two months of bedrest in order to birth the Godly Fetus Footballer, presumably free of any other bother such as the need to earn a steady income and/or be there for existing family members.

    It would seem that the takeaway message of this boils down to: if you have a ruptured placenta and are not from a wealthy white godbag family and you do not have the privilege of access to all of the above, you’re shit out of luck.

    This reminds me very much of “the only moral abortion is my abortion” stories that have been bouncing round the intertubes forever. Privileged honky makes a choice concerning her body, comes off lucky mostly due to unrealised privileges 99.9% of others do not have, then superciliously decides that it is best if everyone else doesn’t get the option. Internalized misogyny, indeed.

  66. Ayla

    “This reminds me very much of “the only moral abortion is my abortion” stories that have been bouncing round the intertubes forever.”

    It seems I am forever seeing references to this, but I have never actually seen/heard someone try to spin the “only *I* had a good enough reason to have an abortion” yarn. Not that I doubt it, I’d just love to actually hear about it through some other method than “the grapevine.”

  67. Banshee

    In Freakonomics, they link the unexpected drop in crime in the 90′s to the legalization of abortion in the 70′s. The idea is that before, only wealthy women could afford illegal abortions but by making it cheap and legal, women who weren’t rich were now able to have abortions. Many of these kids would have grown up in unfavorable situations, and some would have gone on to become criminals in the 90′s.
    I know, it blames the poor and assumes poor women will raise criminals, but they argue that statistically speaking, these kids would have been more likely to commit crimes as young adults.

  68. nails

    I don’t really dig the freakonomics dude. The shit he says about global warming is way off base.

    I don’t know if you could isolate a variable for women in the 70′s, many things improved for women during that period of time. When conditions improve for women they improve conditions for their children. The birth rate drops along w/that because women wait longer and have fewer children (not just because of abortion). I also wonder what crimes dropped and how much. How the police choose to enforce laws and how the law changes can make equally shit conditions seem dissimilar.

  69. norbizness

    What was the effect of miniature American flags for others on the development of the PG-13 movie rating? ASK A FREAKANOMIST!

  70. Citizen Jane

    Banshee, I usually consider IBTP to be a place where science is respected. Therefore, I wouldn’t expect it to be a place where Mr. Freakonomics would be brought up for any reason other than to laugh our butts off. Same for anyone else whose claim to fame is finding a correlation and using it as proof for whatever causal relationship he made up.

    Besides, whether or not abortion prevents criminality is completely irrelevant to the choice debate no matter what side of it you are on.

  71. Virginia S. Wood, Psy.D.

    “the only moral abortion is my abortion” stories that have been bouncing round the intertubes forever

    I have blessedly lived 57 years without any awareness of this phenomenon. Could somebody point me a link? I feel the need for a little self-abuse coming on.

  72. Jill

    Hey, Virginia S. Wood, Psy.D.: http://www.prochoiceactionnetwork-canada.org/articles/anti-tales.shtml

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