Saturday, July 31, 2010

The New Atheist Disaster

I'll come out of the blue right now: I absolutely do not care for religion.  I think it is a waste of time.  As I've said countless times, it is pointless at its best and dangerous at its worst.  Why anyone accepts such nonsense as a "God" or "Jesus" without any verifiable evidence is beyond me.  Of course, I am no atheist; I am an agnostic who knows it is impossible to prove or disprove God's existence.  I believe this is the best "religious" position to take.  After all, there are thousands of religions around the world.  Why chance it with low odds like that?  Why not just repudiate all of them instead of assuming one is more accurate than the other?

Having said that, I have no problem with religious people, just so long as they respect boundaries and don't try to cram their beliefs down my throat, especially if those beliefs are authoritarian.  This is why I do not understand the New Atheist movement.  Yes, I'm glad that the over 30 million atheists and agnostics in this country are finally standing up for themselves against prejudice from a largely Christian America; however, I just don't see the point in rebuking all religious people or having pointless debates about whether or not God exists.  Why do we need to proselytize??  When we do stuff like that, we're no better than the religious loons we decry.

The fact of the matter is that most atheists today don't actually hate religious people; they hate fanatical religious people.  But, strangely, too many of them assume that all religious folks are equal to the fanatics simply by virtue of having a similar belief system.  But isn't that bigotry?  Isn't that prejudice? If we are trying to be above the lunatics, why do we stoop to their level?  I just don't understand this mentality at all.  And I think what's blinding most atheists who do act like assholes is the idea that just because they're not religious they can't possibly be assholes when trying to persuade.  They're just "trying to promote reason."

But that's just it! You're not!  You're promoting intolerance and hate.  What's wrong with someone who happens to be religious but minds his own business?  I don't see what the big deal is.  We have let our hatred of religious extremism go too far.  This nonsense has got to stop.  If someone wants to know why we're atheists, fine.  Tell them.  But don't proselytize and try to convert people just because you think you're somehow more moral or freethinking than they are.  After all, religious people aren't always idiots.  And I've met or seen plenty of idiotic atheists as well.

Let's just cool it, atheists.  Relax.  Moderation is key, and abstinence is not necessarily required.  I would think we know this by now, having opposed abstinence or abstinence-only teaching from the archconservative crowd in all sorts of matters.  Besides, do atheists honestly believe there aren't fanatics and dangerous people in their own crowd?

Friday, July 30, 2010

Statutory Rape Laws Make No Sense

I recently watched an episode of the critically-acclaimed libertarian Fox Business Show "Stossel", and this time he was talking about the "rules" of sex (a.k.a. legal restrictions surrounding sexuality or the depictions thereof).  About halfway through the episode, John Stossel went over the story of Ricky and Mary.  I don't remember exactly, but I think Ricky was 17 or 18, and Mary was 15.  They began dating during high school, and they had sex many times.  The girl's mother was quite alright with it, and no one was harmed.

However, when authorities found this out (however that happened), they immediately prosecuted Ricky!  And for what? "Raping" a minor who's only a few years younger than him? It's insane!  I'm so tired of this nonsense.  Statutory rape is a victimless crime!  We already have laws to protect children from sexual predators, women from adult rapists, and so many other bans on violent crime.  Who the hell came up with the concept of "statutory rape"?

I'll tell you who: ultraconservative prudish legislators whose minds are still in the 18th Century when it comes to sex.  They cannot fathom that times have changed, and we know so much more now than we knew back then.  For example, it is true, to a fault, that teenagers can consent to sexual intercourse.  I mean, when I was a teenager, I was pretty damn mature.  I would say I was intelligent, and I could easily make an informed, thoughtful decision about sex.  Now, I'm not encouraging older men to prey on teens, but come on.  Even if that happens, I'm sure some cop nearby will likely hear about it sooner or later.  I refuse to believe that every single or the majority of teenage rape cases by adults are covered up and never go to court.  That's just mad! Just try and prove me wrong, right-wingers and prudes.

And this just takes us back to the age-old question of, "What is the appropriate age?"  Sure, when it comes to things like smoking and drinking, we are sure we know the appropriate age.  Most people would say 18 and 21 are reasonable ages to start such activities.  However, sex is much different.  It's your body that we're talking about.  I think each statutory "rape" case needs to be judged on its own merits, not lumped in with all the other rape cases.  It's that kind of nonsensical, lying mentality that leads conservative groups to make bullshit sting videos "exposing" Planned Parenthood for supposedly "covering up" rape by older men when they have zero proof the pregnant girls were even raped!

And then there's the whole issue of people's (usually men) lives being ruined because, thanks to these bogus cases, they have to register as sex offenders!  These people are branded for life as criminals and bad people simply because overzealous cops and politicians just don't get it!  They won't grow up and stop living in the 1800s.  For example, when Ricky turns 50 or 60, and someone looks his name up on the registry, they will see that it says that he had sex with a 15-year-old.  Or, better yet, as the registry puts it, he "sexually assaulted" her.  Then some angry vigilante out there might just put a gun to his head or aim a shotgun at him, mistakenly thinking that he, as an old man, was so perverted that he raped a young girl.  How can we allow such ridiculous laws to go unquestioned??

It's not about age; it's about consent and maturity.  People need to realize that instead of lumping all young people and teenagers in the same category.  I'm not saying we should condone pedophilia.  Far from it, I am saying that capable teenagers, especially older ones (15-17), should be allowed at least a bit more sexual freedom, at least under the law, than we give them!  If they have sex, their parents should deal with it, not the state.  The state getting involved just tends to make things worse here.  It's not necessary.

Show me actual, verifiable proof that statutory rape laws prevent rapists from preying on young girls.  Where does it work, if anywhere??  Statutory rape laws can't possibly work.  A rapist doesn't give a damn if it's illegal, and some guy in his 20s or 30s who wants to screw a hot 17- or 16-year-old should not be jailed for it.  As long as it's consensual, where is the harm?  Sure, statutory rape laws may prevent a few rapists here and there from preying on "jailbait", but I think most people it prevents from having sex with them are men who would not rape in the first place!

Simply put, statutory rape laws have got to go.  They are nothing but a relic of a misinformed and backwards era.