The Times, They Are A-Changing (do I need to send Bob Dylan a check for that?)

Alright, humans. It’s pretty obvious I haven’t been posting as often as has become commonplace. This has been due to several variables, but mostly because I’ve been busy. Trying to find a new job isn’t easy.

Excuses aside, I’ve decided to take Black Jeezus down a different path.

Here’s the breakdown. I’ve always done, I think, my best writing when I don’t care who I offend. Some of you might remember my response to the whole Don’t Be a Dick debate that was pervading the atheist blogosphere a while back. That argument still stands, and my opinion on the subject remains more-or-less unchanged.

I mention this because I’ve decided that, henceforth, I’m going to try to keep the unbridled rants to a minimum; even though I’ve received several keep-up-the-good-work e-mails and facebook comments, and even though my lack of beliefs remains as pure as it was when I first started up this blog.

The reason for this is pretty simple. I have a religious family. Blasphemy, to me, is a victimless crime. But it’s come to my attention that they take such comments personally, even though not a single post or subject has been directed at them. I may not give a flying fuck about how other people think of me, but I care about my parents.

This is not to say that Black Jeezus will be completely eradicated of ridicule and irreverence. Only that such posts will be fewer and further between. Many of you know that I come from a pastoral family; some have asked me if my atheism has had an effect on my relationship with them. I’m pleased to say that, so far, it hasn’t. I respect them, they respect me. Fortunately, my father isn’t the fire-and-brimstone, vote-yes-on-Prop-8, non-Christians-are-scum type of preacher that I’ve come to despise. He and I obviously disagree philosophically, but that’s about as far as the contention goes. I love my parents and still consider them positive role models, and they still love and support me.

Be that as it may, I am who I am. I think Christianity should, and indeed needs to be criticized. The difference is that I’m now going to try to make my posts more of an invitation for respectful discussion.

If my blogging has taught me anything, however, it’s that no matter how tame or respectful my criticisms of religion are, there will always be someone that takes offense. As Dan Dennett observed some time ago, it seems there is no “nice” way to ask, “Have you ever considered the possibility that these beliefs you hold so dear, are based on a complete lie?”

Yet, this is an important question. It is the question. And it must be answered. And these “sacred” beliefs must be poked, and prodded, and examined, and there are always going to be people that don’t like having their worldview disrupted by scrutiny. To these people, I say… tough. Religion has been getting a free ride for far too long, and if no one else is going to stand up to the people that threaten to take away my right to live free of other people’s dogma, then it’s got to be me. If you don’t like it, then avert your eyes.

To the rest of you, I expect you to hold me accountable. If you think my logic is flawed, say so. If you think I made an error, point it out. Because I put in a lot of time and energy to make sure my arguments are solid and your silence helps no one, religious and non-religious alike. But if you are going to say something, do your homework. Learn your logical fallacies. Avoid special pleading. And expect the things you say to be scrutinized as well.

Aside from that, nothing has changed. I still place all gods in the same epistemological category as fairies, ghosts, heaven, hell, astrology, Santa Claus, spirits, demons, leprechauns, Teletubbies, elves, goblins, centaurs, Bigfoot, the Loch Ness monster, chi, angels, the lost city of Atlantis, the devil, wookies, body thetans, the Tooth Fairy, and Harry Potter. Which is to say, I do not and will not believe in any of these things, until someone (as in, a real, live human being) can show me good evidence that any one of them exists.

Acutally, Harry Potter might be real. Disregard that one.

Until then, I will remain a happy-go-lucky atheist and skeptic. A lover of science, reason, and Star Wars. And I’ll post some random thoughts here-and-there, whenever I feel led to mention or examine a particular event, person, or belief.

That is all.

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