Episode 18 – Partial Transcript
by Noah Lugeons and Heath Enwright
Today’s episode of the Scathing Atheist is brought to you by Sony’s new Pray Station Portable Pocket Placebo: When you need to credit random events to a nonexistent force and a sugar pill isn’t enough, reach for the Sony Pray Station.
PSPPP – Because Sony wouldn’t sue God, would they?
And now, the Scathing Atheist:
It’s Thursday, it’s June 20th and we’re still waiting on that God fossil.
I’m your host Noah Lugeons and from the perpetual parade that is New York, New York, this is the Scathing Atheist.
On this week’s episode,
It turns out they did make a good Superman movie… in 1980,
The Pope will continue to suck at the infallibility thing,
And Dan from Thank God I’m Atheist will join us for a little “Faith No Mormon”
But first, the Diatribe…
Even in a city as diverse as New York, an atheist can still apparently be a rarity. I learned this while fighting crime the other day when a co-worker approached me to ask about this podcast. She’d heard from one of the other masked vigilantes that I was an outspoken atheist and she was curious. She’s one of these people that was raised with religion, accepted it without any real devotion and never really bothered to question it.
To these folks, the idea of atheism is completely foreign. God’s there because he was always there and why wouldn’t he be there?
She said she had a million questions, but since we were both on the clock, I asked her to narrow it down to one. And from her bouquet of inquiries, she plucked one that perfectly encapsulated how little she understood about the atheist worldview.
“Don’t you want to live in a world where you’re part of something larger than yourself?”
Of course, three words in she’d already fucked up. I don’t base my beliefs on the world I ‘want’ to live in, I base them in the world I do live in. To suggest otherwise betrays not just a lack of understanding about atheism, but a lack of understanding about understanding. It isn’t a rejection of a world without an afterlife or a loving god or a divine plan. Rather it’s a recognition of such a world.
But that’s not even the dumbest thing about this question. Now I’ve heard it before so I didn’t give her the blank faced glacial blink that it deserves, but I couldn’t give her the answer that she deserved either. I didn’t have enough time to explain the vastness and limitlessness of the universe I’m a part of. Or to elaborate on the modest role I’m playing in the enormity of history. Or to expound on the profundity of working my way through a world while authoring my own path.
From the perspective of a theist, the universe exists for them. It was brought into being for them and the billions of light years that surround them is just a decoration. What’s more, the grandest knowledge will never be known and the grandest knowledge that ever will be known is already known. The purpose may be mysterious, but the goal is established. The further the theistic mind wanders from the center of god’s love, the smaller and less significant the cosmos becomes.
But for a mind unleashed by the wonders of science, I know that from one perspective I’m an imperfection on a speck of dust and from another I’m as grand as a galaxy. I know that every cell in my body is born of billions of years of evolution and that their key elements are older still, forged in the hearts of stars too massive to comprehend.
When I raise my eyes to the heavens I’m no less in wonder of them than a person who looks there to see god. When I see a dim star nearly invisible amid the endless curtain of space I think of the journey those photons took along their epic voyage to our night sky Thousands or millions of years ago they were ejected from the boiling surface of some nuclear furnace at the speed of light.
Did they pass by some distant world along the way? Were they part of some beautiful alien sunrise before they got here? Did they narrowly miss a spacecraft from some species thousands of technological years beyond our own? Did they pass by some rogue planet drifting through the abyss of interstellar space? What astonishing marvels might they have happened by on their million year pilgrimage to my eye?
But the wonders of science aren’t limited to the grandiose. I can find that same awe when I look down at a community of ants or into a drop of water. I find that wonder when I contemplate the mundane because I know that the mystery isn’t any less beautiful because it’s solved. I look at the rainbow and I find that I admire it more because it was unweaved. Magnets are more fun when you do know how the fuck they work.
She asked me if I wanted to be part of something larger and by that she meant some tiny little god that rules over some tiny little fraction of some tiny little world. The product of tiny little minds from the distant past that had never tasted something as grand as a light year; a fiction conjured by an imagination that couldn’t begin to comprehend how big the cosmos truly was and how small they were in comparison.
But I didn’t have time to tell her all of this because somewhere out there, my arch-nemesis was plotting something counterintuitive and unnecessarily complicated so I had to settle for a short answer:
In the third episode of Cosmos there’s a phenomenal bit where Carl Sagan is answering questions for a bunch of kids at his old elementary school in Brooklyn. One of the kids asks him if the sun is considered part of the Milky Way and he gets that smile that teachers get when they get to tell you something you’ll never forget. He nods and he says, “You are considered part of the Milky Way.”
Joining me for headlines tonight is my fellow empiricist, Heath Enwright. Heath, are you ready to continue being angrily correct?
Indeed I am. Also, you haven’t had any introductory announcements, so . . .
Anchoring the headlines as always is my fellow disbeliever in the evidently non-existent, Noah Lugeons. Noah, are you ready to begin your systematic weekly skewering of the bumbling, theist masses?
There’s only one way to know for sure…
In our lead story tonight, Warner Brothers might have found a use for churches after all; captive-audience marketing. With “Man of Steel”, the latest Zack Snyder computer generated, testosterone-vomit of a film hitting theaters this week, Warner Brothers wanted to make sure it had all the marketing angles covered, including sending “discussion guides”, “sermon notes” and a special “faith-friendly” version of the trailer to pastors all over the country.
Nobody can sell bad fiction like the Christian church.
Ironically, the “Superman” title should really belong to God’s eulogist, German philosopher Friedrich Nietzsche. Which makes one wonder whether Hasselhoff might have been a better casting move.
I agree. He would have made a way better Lois Lane than Amy Adams. Now, if you’ve seen the movie, you’ll have noticed that you don’t really need a preacher to point out the heavy handed Jesus allegories in the movie and if you haven’t seen it, (spoiler alert) it sucks.
Wait, wasn’t Superman created by a couple of Jews?
Yeah, but to be fair, so was Jesus.
So how overboard did they go on the Jesus stuff?
Couple of examples:
Young Superman asks his stepdad “Did God do this to me?” and Jonathan Kent responds “You have another father and he sent you here for a reason.”
As shitty a director as Snyder is, he might have done that by accident.
When an image of Superman’s Krypton dad says, “You can save them all,” Superman stretches out in a crucifixion pose, despite the fact that he’s floating through a jagged hole in a spaceship at the time so it’s kind of a counter-intuitive arm position.
Yeah, but they could’ve been referring to any crucified savior.
Superman, at age 33, is wrestling with a moral dilemma in a church. Behind him is a stained glass window with an image of Jesus wearing a red cape. The scene climaxes with the priest explaining that sometimes you just have to take a (quote) “leap of faith”.
I don’t know, that’s a pretty tall building.
The bad guy’s hench-girl says, amid mid-battle banter, “There’s no point in fighting, evolution always wins.”
To be fair, I did learn two things from watching this movie. It doesn’t matter if you can tell what’s going on, as long as you know it’s an action sequence and you should always take the 3D glasses off before facepalming.
Warner Bros. pushing “Super-Jesus” at the pulpit: http://religion.blogs.cnn.com/2013/06/14/superman-coming-to-a-church-near-you/
Moving on to a news item that isn’t just me bitching about a crappy movie, Pope Fran-Sista-Please admitted last week that there was a (quote) “gay lobby” in the Vatican. In the seemingly weekly ritual of the Vatican trying to somehow distance itself from the Pope’s declarations, the Pope-wranglers have this time opted for the “That shit never happened because you don’t have it on tape” defense.
Well I’m pretty sure gays don’t show up on video or in mirrors, so . . .
To be fair, this report comes from a private meeting between the Pope and a group of Latin American Catholic leaders so nobody at the meeting was trustworthy, but rumors of an increasingly powerful gay-lobby within the Vatican have been gaining legitimacy ever since the Vatileaks scandal.
The gay-lobby, also known as the Fudge PAC, has indeed come from behind, and has now managed to widen and deepen their impact on those assholes in Washington. I guess they’re tearing it up inside the Vatican now too.
It would also explain who was hiring all those male prostitutes. This would represent the first official confirmation of such a lobby, except that it isn’t official and it isn’t confirmed.
Seriously?! The reports that some Catholics might be gay is being called “unconfirmed” ?
“I can’t say for sure, so let’s not get cocky and call this ‘confirmed’, but is that a priest’s dick in my son’s ass? And now out of it . . . And now in it again.”
“I could swear that’s a . . . Take a look at the this angle here . . . Is it safe to say that my son was ‘unofficially’ gay raped by that priest who had his penis out in the video?”
What?! Gays?! Here!? Wearing these clothes?
Just because of all that holy seed on the walls?
And I love that they justify their paranoia by noting that Cardinals and Bishops engaged in gay relationships would be vulnerable to blackmail. Well, yeah, but not if you stopped being a bunch of queer-hatin’ rednecks about this shit. See how that works? If you stopped being bigots, they wouldn’t be afraid of your bigotry, right?
Pope Francis admits to “gay lobby” in the Vatican: http://religion.blogs.cnn.com/2013/06/11/pope-francis-gay-lobby-exists-inside-vatican/
And in other “It’s a gay! Kill it!” news, Danielle Powell, a lesbian student at Grace University in Nebraska was recently expelled for being a lesbian student at Grace University. Citing the general ickiness of gays, the Christian college gave her the boot only a few months before graduation.
Lesbians aren’t gay in the evil sense of the word. I thought everyone had agreed to a perfectly legitimate double standard on this. Gay bad, lesbian good.
The bible says nothing at all about women lying with women… I think it’s okay for women to masturbate as well, as long as they don’t squirt. But as much as the Omaha school hates gay people, they don’t seem to hate gay people’s money, as Powell received a $6000 bill from the school for matriculation. What’s worse is that it wasn’t tuition she owed them for the semester or anything. This was for reimbursement of federal loans that she’d only lost eligibility for because the school kicked her out.
And Grace University receives federal funding, yet somehow doesn’t have to follow federal anti-discrimination laws.
Yeah, according to the Department of Education, schools “controlled by religious organizations are exempt from some federal requirements that might conflict with the organizations’ religious tenets.”
So the spirit of the law is:
You can’t hate the homos… unless you cite your sources. “It’s not that I hate fags, as you can see here in this bronze age goat-herder’s manual, the omnipotent universe creator hates fags.”
It’s worth pointing out that in addition to their “no being in love with an unapproved gender” rules, this school also has rules against students having premarital sex, kissing on campus or even, prolonged hugging. Yes. This school has a policy about the acceptable duration of hugging.
Sounds like they’re pretty tight-assed . . . rosary anal beads might help.
Yeah, but then you’ll never get rid of the gays.
Lesbian expelled from Christian college for being a lesbian; charged tuition anyway: http://news.yahoo.com/christian-college-expels-lesbian-charges-tuition-233514855.html
And in “Uh, Uh, Uh, You Didn’t Say ‘Jesus Says’” news, 64 year old Margaret Doughty, a UK citizen who has spent more than 30 years living in the US was recently denied citizenship based on the non-religiousness of her morals.
“You can’t REASON OUT your belief system. If you do that, new information could change your opinion. All of a sudden we’re talking about open, rational discourse. This isn’t some sort of parliamentary democracy, you limey logic snob.”
Exactly. What’s worse is that this is really just a punishment for being honest on the paperwork. Among the questions she was asked was one of her willingness to take up arms in the defense of the country. We’re talking about a 64 year old woman so she could have just said, “Sure, what the hell”. But instead she opted for full disclosure.
Her answer read, in part, “Since my youth I have had a firm, fixed and sincere objection to the participation in war.” Now, this is a perfectly acceptable answer as long as you finish with, “Because it would make the baby Jesus cry.” But you’re not allowed to just find killing people in the name or regional conflict wrong; it has to be against your religion.
“It’s okay to have a fancy watch that works, but only show it to Christians twice a day. Don’t be an asshole.”
So based on her honesty and her unwillingness to pretend to be religious for the purposes of dodging the granny-draft, she was ultimately denied her bid for citizenship.
This really pisses me off. If we don’t let the British immigrants in, who’s going to correctly pronounce all the words that Americans don’t want to correctly pronounce?
Woman being denied citizenship for having non-religious morals: http://dividedundergod.com/2013/06/14/woman-being-denied-citizenship-because-her-morality-doesnt-come-from-religion/
And in “magical hat” news this week, the Quebec Soccer Federation was recently suspended by the Canadian Soccer Association because apparently both of these groups exist. The suspension was in response to a recent international uproar against Quebec for its failure to lift the long standing ban on wearing Turbans during matches.
In fairness, the “towel header” maneuver, does give an unfair advantage. Plus, these teams don’t need to employ a towel boy.
Those are both valid points, but instead, they cited safety concerns, which supporters of wearing magical hats point out is pretty silly, as soccer players all over the world wear turbans and there’s no record of turban-related-injuries. Of course, the Quebecois can’t just come out and say, “No because fuck people in turbans” in so many words.
Right, because Quebecois can’t speak English.
And according to people in France, they can’t speak French, either. Now I know a lot of atheists are on the fence about stuff like this and I understand it, because there is an element of xenophobia to some of these burka-ban type moves. But I for one support any move that denies some special privilege to religious people on the merit of what their imaginary friend demands.
At least the Jews are sensible enough to avoid similar yarmulke-related issues by entirely avoiding sports as a group.
Quebec bans soccer-players wearing turbans; idiots outraged: http://www.washingtonpost.com/national/on-faith/soccer-ban-on-sikh-turbans-leads-to-backlash-against-quebec/2013/06/14/63f30292-d523-11e2-b3a2-3bf5eb37b9d0_story.html?
And finally tonight, Rick Perry is a callous, misinformed, obtuse, asinine, fallacious, babbling, unthinking, dogmatic, sectarian zealot. And his mother dresses him funny.
And in breaking Rick Perry news, he thinks Texas needs to replicate the success of the TV ad that made New York City into the financial center it is today.
“Texas doesn’t suck because of all the shitty, racist, rednecks. It’s because we never put out an infocommercial. Everyone loves infomercials. Remember how well Ross Perot did?”
We first talked about Texas’s so called “Merry Christmas” bill back on episode 15. This bill essentially acts as an impediment to secular challenges against unconstitutional religious displays in schools and on public property. The bill sailed through the house and senate and could hardly land all the way on governor colostomy-hose’s desk before he signed it into law.
During the bill-signing extravaganza, in his tireless campaign to make George W. Bush look good in comparison, Perry was actually quoted as saying, “Freedom of religion isn’t freedom from religion,” to which secularists all over the country responded, “Yes, the fuck, it is.”
Yeah, freedom of religion is freedom to one religion. Exactly. You can’t go having no religions. We’re not hearing any of that shit.
The number of religions you are free to have shall be an integral number not equaling or exceeding 2, and not equal or less than 0.
And three is right out!
Thanks, but this asshole makes it pretty easy. He might as well have said, “Freedom of peaceable assembly don’t mean the cops have to peaceful.”
Right, “The first amendment isn’t a license to yell ‘fire’ in the middle of a burning building.”
Rick Perry signs “Merry Christmas” bill; says “Freedom of religion isn’t freedom from religion.” http://www.patheos.com/blogs/friendlyatheist/2013/06/15/gov-rick-perry-religious-freedom-does-not-mean-freedom-from-religion/
Well that does it for headlines tonight, Heath, thanks for joining me.
And when we come back, Dan from the Thank God I’m Atheist podcast will join us and teach me the secret Mormon handshake.
Before we close things out for the night we need to take a few seconds to recognize the magnanimity, intelligence and pulchritude of this week’s best people Jason, Anne, Michael, Lindsay, Benjamin and Bryan.
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I also need to re-thank Lindsay (yes, the fearless leader) for providing this week’s Farnsworth quote. I’d also like to take this opportunity to apologize to 51% of the world’s population for it taking 18 episodes for us to have a woman’s voice doing the quote. I also want to plug Lindsay’s very cool Facebook page, “Have You Hugged an Atheist Today?”, which you’ll find linked on the shownotes for this episode. Her and her sister run it, they always manage to find some funny stuff and they get good discussions going on the big issues, so I strongly encourage you to check it out.
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Lastly tonight, I want to thank Lucinda for the bible lesson, Heath for the color-commentary and, of course, Dan from the Thank God I’m Atheist podcast. He and Frank have one of the best produced atheist podcasts out there. They’re funny, well-informed and they provide a really important voice to the movement so I strongly suggest you give them a day in court as well. Again, you’ll find a link on the show notes. And while you’re there, you can hear an extended version of the interview on our “Extras” page, along with a bunch of other cool extra stuff.
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If you have questions, comments or death threats, you’ll find all the contact information on the “Contact” page at Scathing Atheist (dot) com. All the music used in this episode was written and performed by yours truly and yes, I did have my permission.