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Matters Of Life And Death

There’s been a lot of discussion this week of the 40thAnniversary of Roe V. Wade, and as a Pro-Life person, I’ve gotten in my share of proselytizing.  However, it is a bit different for me than it is for a lot of my Pro-Life compatriots.  See, I’m an Atheist (Please don’t close the page! I’m not one of those crazy ones!), so I get asked a different set of questions from most of my Theist buddies.  Chief among those questions, usually posed by fellowAtheists is, “Come on, really?” followed by “How can you call yourself an Atheist?”. Those are thin disguises for their bias, they think that Atheists are “too smart” to support the right to life, because if those crazy Theists believe in it, it must be backwards and wrong.
The irony here is palpable.  Theists are the new heathens in our Secular Or Else society, directed by the Papacy of the Liberal Media complex, or at least that’s how a great deal of my Atheist peers see it. Well, to be fair, they don’t see it quite like that because they haven’t figured out that our non-religion acts a hell of a lot like religion at its strictest.  But I digress.  I had a couple of interesting discussions yesterday, one with an Atheist on a friend’s wall and one that wasn’t quite a discussion as much as an explanation of one of my beliefs.  I’ll get to the latter later, first to the discussion on life and logic.

“What is illogical about erring on the side of life?”

Take a hard look at that question because it’s a good one.  When you’re dealing with pontificating shithead elitists, the term “logic” gets brought up often, usually erroneously, to ‘bolster” said PSE’s case.  And when I say bolster, I mean “use as a deflector shield to shift topics and end debates”, for you can’t argue with logic because “It’s always perfect, duh, everyone knows that.  Haven’t you seen Star Trek?”  This is where a lot of people get caught up.  Just because some PSE invokes “logic” it doesn’t mean that he’s smarter than you; that’s just what he’s trying to make you believe.  And even though it usually won’t break your convictions in the topic, it frequently saps the casual apologist of his will to fight.  The illusion of a greater force is a powerful tool in the art of war.  That’s why you can’t be afraid to call bullshit, even if the PSE in question claims to have 7 PhDs and a black belt in thought karate.  (They don’t have black belts in thought karate, the top color there is gray.)
One of, if not the best ways to call bullshit is to calmly ask questions.  I can tell you that there is nothing more fun than watching somebody squirm when you ignore their hastily googled “research” and patiently ask them how linking an article answers something as unanswerable as “What is Illogical about erring on the side of life?”  Another thing about asking questions is that it puts the PSE on defense; since he has to explain his positions, it will take him a while to really figure them out.  Be VERY watchful here, because it’s when they will do one of two things: try to distract you with extraneous material [What would your country be like with 50 million more people you racist homophobe?] OR they’ll make a mistake (We’re Men so this whole conversation is moot because we don’t have the right parts!).  In the first case, call them out for distracting from the issue and ask your question again, repeat this until they make that second case mistake and believe me, they will.  That’s when you leap on their fallacy and make sure they KNOW how absolutely ridiculous they are, really rub it in.  Because it’s not just about changing a PSE’s mind, you’ll rarely do that.  It’s about publicly shaming them so that OTHER people can see how stupid this person is and, by association, how stupid his point of view is.  That’s the key to winning hearts and minds.  Winning.

Here it is again, now with bullet points!

What PSE’s Do :

  • Try to make you feel inferior and stupid to the point of you retreating.
  •  Hide behind words like “reason” and “logic”.
  •  Try to distract using props like articles, talking points and insults

How to respond:

  •  Stay calm. Don’t let them get you riled, and don’t retreat.
  •  Question their logic and shove them back on track as needed.
  • Be watchful for any mistakes they make that open them up to mockery. THIS INCLUDES SPELLING AND GRAMMAR.

Now, on to Death.

One of the classic counters to the Pro-Life position is “Oh, well if you’re so Pro-Life, why are you for the DEATH PENALTY??????”.  Now at first, it seems pretty fallacious.  I mean, in one case we’re talking about an innocent life that hasn’t had a chance to see the sun or take a breath, versus somebody who’s committed a heinous crime.  The trouble is, a LOT of people actually think this is germane to the discussion, so if you are pro capital punishment, be prepared to be detoured.  I, however, am not in favor of the death penalty; and to give you my reasoning, I present to you my half (more like my 7/8ths) of a Facebook message session after being asked what my position on capital punishment is, mostly unedited:

lock them up

lock them up forever

give them nothing

JUST. keep them alive

but only just

their prison should be life.

that, to me, is the harshest possible punishment

it’s not just the 100% irrefutable proof thing for me though
I just think that letting somebody live pointlessly is the harshest punishment thinkable.

no hobbies

no books

no contact

just a box

and food and water

obviously that would never happen

but we can get damn close

because I don’t know what happens after death

I hold grudges

There are many religions out there that believe God forgives, right?

Well

I’m not God

I’d have a hard time dealing with the thought of one day, even if it is infinitely off

of one day where I and the guy who at one time raped and tortured and murdered a friend of mine

got to be equals in bliss forever

or worse

where MY FRIEND an this guy get to be at the same place

I don’t care about sin vacuum cleaners

an act happened

and again, I’m not all knowing

but the idea that I might be expediting the process of this guy cohabiting with my friend

by killing him

makes me sick

and THAT is why I’m against capital punishment.

When I finished writing that, my friend was silent for a while, and then told me that what I wrote was frightening.  I thought about that for a long time, I’m still thinking about it.  That’s why I wanted to post it here.
I want more feedback.  I want to know how you guys feel about my view on how to treat extreme criminals who society has deemed are past being rehabilitated, and whether the denial of possible higher bliss or retribution is something that I should reconsider.  Thanks for the responses ahead of time!

NJl