Friday, June 12, 2020


Think you might be harboring some unacknowledged racism? Here are some items that might point in that direction. No one thing, in and of itself, is a sure lock... but if you are stacking up on a number of these, ya might want to do a little reflection. I am sure I am missing a few, so please add.

1. The phrase "Black Lives Matter" sends you into a defensive response.

2. You ignore thousands of black people giving testimony about their experience with discrimination to find that one black person who says there is no such thing as racism.

3. You can't understand why people would think Trump is racist.

4. Since the murder of George Floyd, you have explained to about a dozen people that you aren't racist but...

5. Seeing a Confederate flag gives you a warm feeling of pride.

6. Out of the hundreds of thousands of people peacefully protesting, you are an expert at finding the ones who aren't.

7. Even though the meaning of White Privilege has been explained, you still refute the phrase with tales of how rough things have been for you as a white person and that you worked hard for what you have.

8. You gripe about protests being violent, but you also gripe when they are peaceful. In fact, it just gets under your skin when black people air a grievance.

Tuesday, April 14, 2020

Do Atheists Worship?

This is a common trope among some believers, often served in the form of "Atheists are religious too" or some other such delivery.

If challenged on this point, what usually follows is a watering down of the word "worship". As just happened in a discussion on the original thread, a person responded to me:
"...I view worship as whatever we deem worthy of our time, attention, adoration, money, and resources. Not all worship is bad, for believers “it” shouldn’t be worshipped more/higher than God. I do sincerely believe for example, modern sports obsession “for some” is a form of worship. From decals to literal idol statues, blankets, hours of focus, clothes, people will spend their time money and focus to a point of obsession... almost like we are hardwired that way..."
So they are now putting on par that what they think and feel about Jesus with what I think and feel about disc golf. Is that really the digression that believers like Keller want to make?

I don't think it is. I think their elevation of the word worship is much higher in usual circumstances... but for some reason, it bothers them that unbelievers don't "worship" anything. So, when this topic comes up, they broaden the definition of the word. Lots of believers I know partake in this linguistic sleight of hand. I think these believers need to do a little introspection into what drives them to such an approach.

Friday, April 10, 2020

National Day of Prayer

If your definition of prayer is as a reflective and contemplative practice... I have no quarrel. But if you mean it as some way of conjuring magic, or entreating or binding a supernatural force to perform a task for you... then I think you are wrong. Prayer doesn't change reality.

No photo description available.However, having been religious for decades myself, I recognize it does change how people behave. Praying often makes people think they have cover they do not have. Prayer can make people feel they do not need to take reasonable precautions. Instead, they trust that their favored status with a deity will provide what they need.

Beyond that, prayer often blames the victim. I heard a popular pastor state this morning that if a Christian catches the virus, it is their fault. If they had sufficient faith, sickness could not touch them. I cannot write him off as just a quack... I know many folks who give to his "ministry".

This is my personal testimony: I spent most of my life as a believer. I took my faith very seriously. I prayed.

I have been an Atheist for about the past 8 years. Haven't prayed in ages.

There has been no difference in the amount of fortune "that just couldn't be a coincidence". Just as much good and bad "luck" fall my way now as ever did.

Reality is as consistent as ever. The only thing that changed was how I approached it.

Saturday, January 11, 2020

Playing the Odds

"Never tell me the odds." ~ Han Solo

Lots of our positions on issues are based on anecdotes.  This or that happened to myself or a friend... and therefore I feel such and so.

Someone demonstrated this on a Facebook post of mine recently.  What I and an article I posted said negatively regarding Evangelicals wasn't true because... he knows Evangelicals who aren't that way.  Of course, if most Evangelicals were like the ones he knows... we wouldn't have Trump.

I don't own a gun.  A gun enthusiast friend of mine told me, "If someone breaks into your house, you are gonna wish you had a gun!"

He's right.  In such a moment, I will wish I had a gun.

But that does change the reality of the odds... therefore, it does not change my decision regarding gun ownership.  The odds say that a gun in my home will hurt or kill an innocent person loooong before it ever protects me from a criminal.

If someone tells me, "I will give you a thousand dollars if you roll 1-4 on a die or I will give you a thousand for a 5-6 roll, but you can only choose one option" - I would choose the 1-4.  Yes, if I roll a six I will have a pang of regret.  But, given another opportunity, I would still choose the 1-4.  Someone telling me that when they rolled they got a 5 would not change my decision.

Humans often ignore hard math due to anecdotes.  This is a bug, not a feature.

Monday, December 30, 2019

The Triggers Triggered Me

I recently left a Facebook group.

I am in a few on various topics.

This one was about having deconverted from Evangelicalism.

This group was highly into trigger warnings. Lots of posts were just listing the triggers... and then what the post actually was about was nested down in the comments... which usually had to be sifted through to find the original post.

Anyway, after having been scolded a 2nd time for not having the proper trigger warnings listed for what I wanted to talk about... I just decided I was too lazy and this was too much work. So I left.

Not one of those big dramatic leavings where you post about all the reasons you are leaving and give everyone a piece of your mind.

I just clicked the button.

I enjoyed hearing people's exit stories and I like talking about similar experiences in some of the crazy church life that we all lived through.


My goal has always been to make that stuff a memory. Something to talk about... that happened in the past. Get a good laugh and an eyeroll.

However, I started to notice that a lot of people like to keep this stuff present. If some believer isn't being overtly insensitive, they will contrive ways to imagine they were insensitive. Their identity is caught up in the trama that they experienced. They almost don't seem to want to make it their past.

Which is where some people are at... and you do what you need... but it isn't where I am at.

I am a walking trigger. I want to talk about everything and anything. And I am old now, so if I have to list all the topics I want to talk about before I talk about them and then scroll down and put my funny meme in the comments section... that is just too much for me to keep straight... so I am going to go talk somewhere else now.

Sunday, December 15, 2019

Lapse of Judgment?

SAVANNAH, Ga. -- The man who appeared to slap a reporter on her backside while she was live on the air is now facing charges.

Thomas Callaway was arrested Friday and charged with sexual battery, WSAV reported.

As he should be.

I have heard and read many people saying that this is not worth prosecution. It was a momentary lapse of judgment. He should be able to apologize and have everyone move on.


Just No.

First, I don't believe it was a lapse in judgment. I had a lapse in judgment last night during a play I was in. There is this scene when I am part of a parade and we throw candy into the audience. Just once and it is clear we are doing so. At the end of the song I still had some candy (usually I am out). At the last moment, I decided to throw my remaining candy into the audience.


No one was expecting it this time and they cut the lights just as I threw it. Fortunately, everyone survived.

I also accidentally cut someone off today. I didn't check my blind spot as well as I should have. The driver was rightly annoyed with me.

These are lapses of judgment.

I would never have a lapse of judgment regarding smacking a woman's behind because that is not within the realms of possibility for me. There is never a moment when I am at the crossroads of that decision.

How many women could tell tales of how often they have been on the receiving end of this "lapse of judgment"?

Until we quit winking at this behavior, until we stop shrugging it off as no big deal... in other words, until we start prosecuting, we can expect this behavior to continue.

It needs to stop.

Thursday, December 05, 2019

Four More Years of Trump

We will have Trump for four more years.

And we may get worse after that.

I don't want to be a pessimist... but I just think that is where we are at the moment.

Many Americans simply have no interest in being good, doing right... they just want to WIN (whatever that means).

There is a post going around again at the moment... the one where "Andy Rooney" or "Paul Harvey" (it varies as to authorship) talks about how Christians aren't going to "take it" anymore. They are going to fight to make everyone pray in schools and so forth because this is a "Christian Nation". Love it or leave it.

I wrote a response, which I have been pasting in anytime I see this piece. It says -
"But no one is asking you not to pray... pray away. We are just asking that you don't grab the microphone and put it over the loudspeaker.
If I am not mistaken, Jesus was all for that idea.
If I go to a believer's home and they desire to pray over a meal, I will sit quietly while they do so. It is their home.
When they come to my house, they are welcome to pray quietly over their meal. I don't mind.
However, when it comes to government and schools, I am not ok with someone grabbing the mic and praying for the reasons I listed above. When a Christian grabs the mic at a school football game, they are saying it is THEIR home... and I am just a guest.
But no, it is not their home... and it is not my home. It is our home. We both have every right to be here... and I will not be made to feel like a visitor in my own home.
I think most people, theists and non-theists, can get along fairly well... we just need to respect reasonable boundaries."
I got this reply yesterday -
"Andrew Hackman phuck off...if I have access to the mic and you don't...poor baby!
You damn Snowflakes-R-Us minions think being offended is somehow a crime.
News Flash: this is a Christian based nation and here you with it."
To varying degrees, that is where a lot of America is today. This person has no interest in fairness, understanding, empathy, discussion. He wants to win and he wants you to lose. There is so little thought in his worldview that he is viciously standing up for his "Christian Nation"... with behavior Jesus would rebuke.

Trump didn't happen by accident. He reflects America. Until we change that, "Trump" will be our consequence.

Thursday, October 24, 2019

Coming Out Atheist

I read a good article written by someone who grew up without faith in an area where that was fairly normal. It was not until she was older that she realized it is not the experience of most folks.  She addresses "when" to announce one is atheist.

I like to use the word atheist because it draws a line in the sand. I think that is important in American Christian culture. I was talking with an evangelical relative one day and I realized through things he said that he really didn't mind if people were not Christian... just as long as they understood that, in America, they were second-tier citizens. Really, you may think I exaggerate, but no... he said that "these people" just need to understand that "Christianity comes first".

I think this is why Evangelicals like Trump so much. He, more so than any previous president, is willing to use language that aligns with my relative's 2nd-tier perspective. Evangelicals (and those of similar conservative religion) see two Americas and so does Trump. When they speak of unity, they do not mean in a pluralistic way, rather they want your conversion or submission.

I use the word atheist because I like to stand in direct opposition to that. I will not convert or submit. However, I am privileged in that regard. I don't pay any particular cost to be "out". There are plenty of folks who, if they announced their atheism, could lose their marriage, their job, their standing in the community, their family relations, etc.

Think about it. In America, someone can announce that they are a serial adulterer, an absent father, a sexual predator, a bully, a racist, etc. and still be elected president.

Announce you are an atheist? You wouldn't even be considered in either party.

We still have a ways to go.

Sunday, September 22, 2019

Doesn't Look Like Anything To Me

The first season of Westworld is so brilliant. Anthony Hopkins, in particular, is utterly amazing.

If you haven't seen it, part of the story focuses on robots... or hosts as they are called. But they do not know they are robots. Whenever they encounter something that might reveal they are robots, they become confused... unable to comprehend the evidence... and therefore remain unaware that they are robots.

I encounter this frequently in political, philosophical, and religious discussions. I catch myself about to repeat a point I have already made to someone. When I do so, I recognize the futility of proceeding. Whomever I am talking to is unable to understand my point. Like the hosts, they have programming in place that prevents them from understanding. Conditioning prevents them from making connections.

And no... I do not begin to think I am above the same behavior. Having switched views on many perspectives, I am embarrassingly aware of my capability to resist evidence, for my thinking to become cloudy, to shun that which would reveal my error.

Reality is hard.

Saturday, April 20, 2019

Evangelicals and Medicine

"Joni Eareckson Tada released from hospital, thanks God for 'marvelous' healing!"

This was the headline for an article over at The Christian Post.

I am glad this woman is feeling better but look at how it is framed, "she was released from the hospital- and thanked God for healing her lungs."

Not the doctors, not the nurses, not the specialists, not those woefully underpaid CNAs, not the decades of work by researchers to make that "healing" possible... nope, thanks goes to God (who probably would not have been able to manage that "healing" had she just stayed home).

This is a strange practice that Evangelicals tend to do only when it comes to the medical field. When the painters paint their house, they do not say "God painted my house!" When the mechanic works on their car they do not extol the wonders of God fixing their transmission. In those cases, they tend to give credit where credit is due. But when it comes to medicine, Evangelicals rarely fail to minimize or completely sideline the work of medical practitioners.

I suspect this has to do with Evangelicals frustrated relationship with science in general. Having to rely on scientists for their health care is a bit of a blow, so crowing loudly about "God" doing the actual healing works as a balm to the religious ego.
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