Progress planet interviewed me.

Progress Planet did an interview with me that got posted the other day.  In it I talk about how I got my start in blogging and how my blog came to be.  Also, when asked what keeps people from coexisting peacefully, I place the blame squarely on ignorance and irrationality and point the finger straight at religion for perpetuating those things.

I think the primary foe of our effort to be better is religion. Of all the institutions in the world, the ones telling us that faith is noble, that we can believe things without evidence (or even contra to the evidence) and we would not be morally remiss for doing so, are the only ones who seem to be spreading the idea that it’s acceptable to be irrational (or that it’s even a good thing). To my eye, they are allowing for the corruption of the one thing with the capability of uniting humanity: our shared good intentions.

Rawr!  Never give up!  Never surrender!

About JT Eberhard

When not defending the planet from inevitable apocalypse at the rotting hands of the undead, JT is a writer and public speaker about atheism, gay rights, and more. He spent two and a half years with the Secular Student Alliance as their first high school organizer. During that time he built the SSA’s high school program and oversaw the development of groups nationwide. JT is also the co-founder of the popular Skepticon conference and served as the events lead organizer during its first three years.

  • Nate Frein

    I think it was Douglas Adams who basically said, in response to “but religion brings people together” was that “religion brings small groups of people together, who then fight with the other small groups brought together by other religions”.

    Excellent interview btw. Thanks for sharing it. Only problem was this huge add for some christian book that popped up and refused to go away.

  • Icy Cantu

    Please explain why you believe legalizing gay unions, aborting children in the womb, and destroying people’s faith (all of which you promote) are “rational and good” ideas. Why is blasphemy “fun” ? You know it is insulting and divisive, at best.

    You believe “faith” is ignoble. I believe overturning sacred institutions, killing the weakest and most vulnerable out of expedience and cowardice, and encouraging others to malign the Truth are all acts undertaken by those who disdain themselves and humanity…for what it’s worth.

    • Baal

      IcyCantu – I’m not JT but have my own take in support of JT’s position. Chiefly, you have two problems. First, the supernatural doesn’t exist. One material reality is all that there is. Every explanation for anything observed and observable is based on physics, chemistry, biology or other science. James Randi and Harry Houdini make (made) a living based on knowing this simple Truth and pointing out the liars and charlatans who say (said) otherwise. If you want to know the Truth, do science.
      My first point isn’t enough, however. The second problem is that religion poisons everything. (thanks Hitch) When you base your life and try to base society on imaged fantasy ideas on how the world works, you make mistakes that lead to suffering. Social ostracism of gays lead them to have a well above average suicide rate – this is the basis of the “It gets better” campaign. A desire to tell those who have same sex attraction that the bullies (largely driven by religious edits but also a squick factor) will fade somewhat as you grow older. Religions also tend to act in extra-legal ways. This includes not paying their fair share of taxes to support society, inefficiently using donations to help people (most of it goes to supporting the churches), and covering up crimes done by the churches (catholic pedo problem only being one of them; other examples include stealing babies for weathly donors and for pseudoslave labor in textiles (google these example, they are real)). Religions also work against giving out condoms in Africa (as another example) – this leads directly to suffering and death from AIDS – have you seen the % and number of orphans in that part of the world from AIDS deaths? At the base of all of these issues (and many more) is a religious desire to increase the number of humans on the planet – that’s an insane idea that is short sighted and driven entirely by religion and religious people. Really, policy that is not based on assessment of outcome is evil. Religions base policy on increasing the ‘glory of god’. That’s not reality and it hurt people.
      This reply is already too long but go read Greta Christina’s recent book on why atheists are angry. It has a longer treatise on the harms your kind blithely inflict on everyone else.

  • Icy Cantu

    You have stated with such certainty that “the supernatural” does not exist, and because I “believe” it does, this is my “problem” – and apparently everone else’s problem, in your purview. Actually, I know for a fact that The Supernatural does exist. One day you will discover that “The kingdom of the world has become the kingdom of our Lord and of His Christ; and He will reign forever and ever.” -Revelation 11:15

    You did not answer any of my questions. How is legalizing gay unions, aborting children in the womb, and destroying peoples’ faith “good and rational”? You paint with sweeping generalizations about “science” being the end-all-be-all.

    Did you find YOUR truth by “doing science”? Did you pay YOUR “fair share” of taxes last year? What really is “fair” in your estimation? …And when he came into the house, Jesus spoke to him first, saying, “What do you think, Simon? From whom do the kings of the earth collect customs or poll-tax, from their sons or from strangers?” When Peter said, “From strangers,” Jesus said to him, “Then the sons are exempt. However, so that we do not offend them, go to the sea and throw in a hook, and take the first fish that comes up; and when you open its mouth, you will find a shekel. Take that and give it to them for you and Me.” -Matthew 17:25-27

    Why are the people in Africa contracting AIDS at an alarming rate? Is “religion” really to blame for peoples’ bad behavior? I wonder what the rate of infection is in the most “religious” of African countries compared to “non-religious” countries. Do you really believe condoms are the answer? Really? That is a crutch and an excuse for bad behavior. Perhaps respect for the sacred institution of marriage between one man and one woman (monogamy) would lead to a reduction in these figures. Do you believe each person is responsible for his or her behavior? Do you think the people in Africa do not understand the risks of their individual behavior as clearly as we do?

    Are you really suggesting that anyone who believes life is good and more lives are better is “insane”? Really? Throughout history, people have worried that population would outgrow resources. I believe this faithlessness and fear in the hands of demagogues has caused some pretty abominable ideas to come to fruition. Has God not met our needs in every age (I know you’ll call it “science” – whatever)? How about in YOUR personal experience? Have you ever been left without (not poor, or even dirt poor – but “left without”)? How is that?

    I will not read Greta’s book because I do not care why atheists are angry. “My kind”? Really? As if you know me…

    Oh, the depth of the riches both of the wisdom and knowledge of God! How unsearchable are His judgments and unfathomable His ways! For who has known the mind of the Lord, or who became His counselor? Or who has first given to Him that it might be paid back to him again? For from Him and through Him and to Him are all things. To Him be the glory forever. Amen. -Romans 11:33-36

    • Zach

      I love reading posts like this, seeing how you people use language, you don’t actually say anything, but you have a lot of rhetorical questions that give the impression you have answers.

      That’s the thing with language, innit? It lets you ignore having an actual conversation that includes any facts or solutions while being able to go on talking forever. An amusing start to a Saturday morning. Thanks.