What matters to you?? January 28, 2018

Owen here….

One of the things that Rex and I hear all the time in conversations with believers is that life can only have real meaning if you believe in a deity of some kind. If you have listened to or watched our presentation on “Answering the Five Claims” you will have seen us spend some time on that, and if you’re a fellow skeptic you will likely already agree with us that the meaning in our lives is self-determined rather than ordained for us in advance by a supreme being. This is important. Frankly, this might be the ultimate freedom that comes from a rational skeptical world view like ours.

So here’s what I ask: tell us what makes your life meaningful. Let’s make our voices heard that we’re allowed to choose this meaning for ourselves.

Living Out Loud

Owen here…

Rex and I have the good fortune of being able to live “out loud” as atheists committed to free thought and rational inquiry. Our lives, families, and professional responsibilities are not hindrances and do not impose any filters on our ability to live openly as skeptics, but this is not true for some, and maybe even many, Americans. For many people, the pressure of family, the expectations of peers, or the potential professional implications of admitting to being an atheist on an open forum like Facebook, is a significant barrier in allowing you to outwardly live the life that your mind and your integrity have determined is right for you and correct in truth.

If you’re one of those people who for social, family, or professional reasons simply cannot admit to being an atheist or even a skeptic, know that we appreciate your silent moral support, and we who can live out loud will work to make America safer for you and for future generations to openly admit their skepticism without any negative consequences.

If you’re a believer and you assume that nobody around you could ever harbor any doubts about the faith you assume everyone shares with you, let me assure you that you’re wrong. Rex and I talk to these doubters all the time, some of whom even cautiously look both ways in the church hallway before admitting their doubts or even outright non-belief to us.

Rex and I are committed to helping America reach a place where the only consideration a person need consider in openly rejecting faith is that person’s own conscience.

I wish you all the best.

Rex & Owen present to the FOF on the topic of veganism

Here is a video link to our recent presentation on veganism.  This is a bit of a departure from our normal subject matter, but the FOF asked us to give this talk, so we did.  We hoped to demonstrate that even though we don’t agree, we can still have a calm, rational conversation.  We hope you enjoy, and any feedback is welcome. Once again, special thanks to Zachary Moore for his amazing video and editing.

r-o-v

Skeptical Thinking.

got-skepticism

Owen here…

Skepticism is one of those frames of mind that we frequently apply but rarely think about. Everyone I know, believers and atheists alike, applies a healthy degree of skepticism to almost all aspects of their lives. When we’re driving, we don’t always assume that everyone will stop just because there is a stop sign. When we teach children how to cross a street we teach them to look both ways because it’s never safe to assume that a vehicle might be traveling in the wrong direction. Being skeptical doesn’t mean being pessimistic or doubtful, it just means that before we accept that something is true we make sure that the evidence in favor of it (whatever it might be) outweighs whatever evidence there might be against it.

But there is one part of life where, for some reason, even the smartest people sometimes set aside the completely normal skepticism that helps us all to make rational decisions in our day-to-day lives, and instead to accept a proposition not because of any evidence but because they *want* it to be true. And that part of life is sports teams. Got you! Trust me, that was funny!

Ok, it turns out that a lack of skepticism can come in several parts of our lives and while the teams we support in sports might be a good example, another one can be how we think about religion. At least in the sports context we usually admit to ourselves that supporting the home team is really a preference rather than a rational choice. Most religious believers do exactly the same thing with religion, but in that context they are frequently unable to admit it.

All the best! Go Cowboys! Go Rangers! Go Stars!

That’s my faith and you can take it on faith…

faith-sunset

Rex here…

One of my pet peeves (even though I am myself occasionally guilty of it), is when people use the word “FAITH” as a loose synonym for “RELIGION”. To me, “faith” is a specific term of art which is a component of many religions, but certainly not the whole story.

“Faith is the evidence of things not seen.” – Owen and I have talked about this many times. I see “faith” as the “evidence of last resort” or “the gap filler”. For any supernatural proposition (resurrection of Jesus, modern miracles, afterlife, inspiration of the Bible, etc, etc.), modern defenders will FIRST reach for ACTUAL EVIDENCE, when that fails, they will reach for the Holy Book, and when that fails to convince, finally, and only then will they reach for a bottle of “faith” to finish filling up the evidence cup. It’s NEVER the first line of defense, and if you’re gullible enough to believe the proffered physical evidence or holy book, they will never reach for that final gap filler at all…

So, to me, any religion is a bundle of concepts, ideas, supernatural beliefs, liturgical practices, etc., and “faith” is just one of many components in that box…

Thoughts?

Rex Burks & Owen Younger: Answering the Five Claims of Christianity

We are pleased to share this video from our recent presentation to the Fellowship of Freethought in Dallas, Texas. Special thanks to our good friend Zachary Moore for filming, editing, and uploading this presentation! Thank you for watching, and we invite any and all feedback! Cheers!

rexowen

Rex Burks & Owen Younger: Answering the Five Claims of Christianity