Monday, August 16, 2010

My First Step

What do you mean, I'm not special?

This article, on why dogs are not as special as people, made me happy. Why? My first step towards atheism was a nun's assertion that dogs don't go to heaven. Well, fine, then I don't want to be there. If the best beings I know, beings capable of tremendous love and loyalty well beyond that of the average human, don't get any reward for being so loving and loyal, then what's the point of rewards?

Dogs are wonderful creatures. They deserve our care. They bring joy and companionship to many people. But, as even Cesar Millan, the famous Dog Whisperer, reminds his viewers, dogs are not humans.
. . .
In other words, we no longer understand-or even believe-that humans are special. That’s scary.

Sure, dogs aren't humans, but that doesn't make them less, or us more. And why is it "scary" that I do not believe humans are special? Why is reverence for life- all life- not a wonderful thing?

But go ahead, keep affirming that dogs don't go to heaven. It's a win for my side, trust me.


  1. When I was getting my useless B.F.A. our senior class had an emotionally abusive master class with Frank Langella (who goes about his time on earth being a quiet psychopath, BTW). Part of the class involved sitting in a circle and voicing our greatest fears. I do not remember what mine was, but one girl, a very sweet, very sheltered, very Christian girl (but not in the proselytizing sense) said hers was, "That I'm not special like my mom always told me." Without pause, Frank Langella says, in his quiet, psychopathic voice, "You're not; get over it. Next - you!" And we moved on.

    The final class involved delivering a monologue directly into a stage light from about two feet away. I skipped that one, being not so very down with retinal damage. Seriously, the dude was a psycho.

  2. That guy is lucky he doesn't have people regularly stopping by his house to commit suicide.

    Though I have to say, my favorite part of Fight Club is the mantra "I am not a special little snowflake".

  3. Y'know, I almost got a dog this past weekend. I'd stopped by the animal shelter last weekend and saw a dog of the sort that I would never, ever have thought of getting before: an Australian cattle dog. But she was sitting there looking bewildered and sad, which is pretty much the best way of getting my attention. Last weekend was a bad weekend for dog adopting, though, and I really wasn't planning on getting one until September at the earliest, anyway.

    Either way, I was back there on Saturday for volunteer orientation. The dog was still there and didn't have an adoption card. So I went out in the yard with her and played around for a while. After about five minutes I was like, "Yeah, I think I'll take you home."

    Turned out she had already been adopted but they had to spay her first, so she was still waiting and someone had forgotten to put the card up. I was actually extremely sad. And this was after all of ten or fifteen minutes hanging out with the dog.

    So, yeah. I'll take the dogs over heaven any day.

  4. I distinctly remember the day I decided I did not believe in god. My mother's cat had just died and our priest?minister?clergy? stopped by for some reason. I remember asking if "Tuffy" would be in heaven when Mama went there and he said no. On that day I became an atheist.

  5. Anyone who can't understand what special love cats and dogs (and I'm sure other pets) can give just doesn't get love, at some level. And I certainly wouldn't think that kind of mindset would help one to "get" paradise.

  6. I've never been sadder than when my pet bird died.

    I currently have an 18month old poodle-Newfoundland mix who is the craziest character I think I've ever met (but then, who doesn't think that about their pet?). I can't even bring myself to think of what it will be like when she dies.

    It seems like such an easy win for religion. I mean, there will presumably be chairs in heaven and they don't have souls, so there clearly isn't a 'no soul, no entry' rule. Just say there'll be dogs and cats and increase your congregation by 20%.

  7. They could increase their congregations 20% by having animals in the church, let along in heaven.

    One of the local colleges lowered freshmen dropout rates by having free field trips to the local animal shelter to allow freshmen to pet the dogs and cats. Freshmen dropout rates lowered by 15 - 20% just by giving the kids a few opportunities to pet furry animals. The combination of god and furry animals would be like heroin!

  8. Devout Christian mostly lurker here that found you through slacktivist--

    If I can't have a cat in heaven then it ain't heaven.

    Delurked just to say that I had a friend that was in town for a couple of months that couldn't get to church because she had a visual impairment,so I took her to church with me, along with her guide dog. Everyone was delighted by the fact that there was a dog in the church.

    Also trying to figure out why I agree with you so damn much. (-:

  9. @Jason —
    Ooh, nagging thoughts at the back of your head, maybe? ;-)

  10. @Jason

    Hey, if you came via slacktivist [squeeeee] then you're probably already going to hell for allowing yourself to be influenced by pinko liberal socialist brainwaves. Does a true christian support health care for the poor? I THINK NOT.

    Support Palin/Limbaugh, 2012!

  11. Although Christianity's most intellectually vacuous tenet would have to be substitionary atonement, human exceptionalism would have to be a close second.

  12. Jason:

    Are you the Jason from the comments who started posting regularly about, what six or nine months ago? I don't keep nearly as close tabs on slacktivist as I used to, but I do know there's a Jason over there and I remember shaking my head at a lot of his early posts.

    If so, you've made an impressive journey since you started. I admire your willingness to confront ideas and people that disagree with you and actually attempt to learn instead of going the standard closed-off Christian troll route.

  13. Yeah, that's me. I've taken to reading a lot of blogs from opposing viewpoints lately and its been good for me (though that wasn't actually the case with slacktivist for me. I started reading that because anyone who bashes Left Behind is ok in my book). This is one of a handful of atheist blogs I've taken to reading.

    I love PF's writing and always look forward to what she has to say next. I think she may be my favorite atheist beyond those that I know personally. Vjack over at Atheist Rev makes me want to punch a whole in the computer monitor sometimes, but yet I keep reading him for some reason. (-:

  14. Vjack over at Atheist Rev makes me want to punch a whole in the computer monitor sometimes, but yet I keep reading him for some reason. (-:

    Hey, I've been there, too!

    Just, y'know, don't tell anyone that I'm letting you in on the deep rifts in the international atheo-conspiracy. They'll probably take away my membership card. And if I lose that I'll miss out on my 10% discount at Costco and participating Barnes & Noble locations.

    Also, there's something about being shot as a traitor when the atheo-revolution comes. But I'm much more worried about that discount.

  15. Geds -

    Australian shepard/cattle dogs are the bestest, sweetest tempered, smartest, coolest and loyal large dogs IN THE WORLD.

    i used to have a dog who was half... and, even though i am physically incapable of caring for a pet, i often find myself wishing i had had some way of KEEPING her.

    i cannot recommend the breed enough. and not even "purebred" - when they cross, they infuse all their good traits and become super-awesome!


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