About Kazz

My name is Shawn Esplin and I am an advocate of Free Thought and general good sense and thought in general. To that end, I encourage people to seriously question the things that they have been taught, especially as children, because many of these things - religious and secular - are taken on faith until we actively choose to seriously examine them for ourselves.

First Friday – March 2009

March 6, 2009
7:00 pm

Has it been a month already? It seems like only yesterday that some nice, moral religious people stole, shredded, stomped and destroyed one of our signs, leaving only the word “God?” untouched. I don’t have absolute confirmation, but my sources tell me that some of the kids from the ASU Campus Crusade claimed responsibility.

Whoever it was, if you read this then think about coming over and trying to defend your beliefs with words and evidence rather than theft and vandalism, or have you realized that your religion is indefensible but you just can’t give it up? I know it was tough when mommy had to admit that there really was no Santa Claus, but you got over that…didn’t you?

If you want to give me more evidence to show people what immature thieving cowards you are, then by all means try to steal and destroy another sign on Friday, but if you’re ready to step up and take your best shot at destroying our beliefs rather than our signs, then we’ll be waiting.

Just to be clear, I am not asking for a physical fight. You may well be physically brave enough to punch or even shoot me, and I am not interested in hurting you or becoming a martyr. What I don’t think you’re brave enough to do is put your beliefs on the table and critically examine them with an open mind. I don’t think you’ve even got the guts to state your beliefs and hear them refuted.

So please, search the Bible for good arguments and evidence, explore the nutty Creationist web sites and anything else you think will help you, then come out and prove me wrong.

Mill Avenue Resistance – March 2009

March 7, 2009
8:00 pm
March 14, 2009
8:00 pm
March 21, 2009
8:00 pm
March 28, 2009
8:00 pm

The usual preachers still seem to be attempting to bore us to death, but this month we saw some of the younger ones trying to organize their own groups and a few others coming in from other areas and even other cities.

These guys were a mixed bag. Some of them were nice and relatively reasonable people who were willing to have civil discussions with us, and others were attempting to overpower us with their insufferable preaching at high volumes with as little interaction as possible. Apparently they haven’t learned yet that they can not hope to win this way, and the people who they want to convert appreciate it even less than we do.

So if any of you guys are reading this right now, come out and preach if you must, but remember that the more annoying you are, the stronger your opposition becomes.

Brief February 27th-28th report:

I was out on Saturday, and the preachers we saw were relatively sedate, but a couple of them seem to have slipped away down the street. We’ll have to keep a closer eye on them next time and find out which new areas they’ve found to annoy.

The night was livened up a bit though by an appearance from our friends Omar and Jim who had some interesting discussions with random believers and a Mill Avenue regular who holds some strange beliefs about the Nephilim and UFOs. I also met a fellow atheist who stayed around for most of the night and plans to come out again, so overall I would say it was a good night.

Friday, from what I hear, was a little different. I couldn’t make it out that night, but I wasn’t really expecting it to be too busy either, so I was surprised to hear that there were over 30 preachers out from at least two different groups.

One of the groups holds pretty silly beliefs (including that the King James version of the Bible is itself divinely inspired and perfect), but for the most part they are fairly nice people. The other newer group of obnoxious and childish young people on the other hand attempted to use their speaker as a weapon to assault the ears of our members by holding it up right by their heads and yelling at them.

It sounded like the few Resistance members who stumbled onto this managed to hold their own though, despite being severely outnumbered, but it looks like as the weather warms up, Friday nights are heating up too. I guess the Friday lull is over and we’ll have to stop slacking, so be ready to put more Friday nights back into the schedule.

I don’t plan to officially schedule Friday nights quite yet, but even if the nights aren’t listed, don’t assume that we won’t be there. I intend to go back to checking Mill out more consistently on Fridays, but whether or not we stay depends largely on the presence or absence of preachers.

Teach-in Weekend Wrap-up

This has been a long weekend, and I’m a bit worn out, but I think it was worth doing. Now that I’ve attended the Local to Global Teach-in and I know what to expect, I think we can do more with our table next year, and we can run one or more workshops too, so expect to see us out there in greater numbers and with greater purpose next time.

Still, there was plenty of good material there this year. Being at the table a lot I didn’t get to attend too many of the workshops, but Ezra Niesen’s Planetary Biology and the Anti-Capitalist Revolution presentation was great, as was the Creative Tactics Training workshop by the Backbone Campaign.

You can find a lot of great information at backbonecampaign.org, and you can find Ezra’s books at newbookforanewworld.org. There were a lot of other workshops that looked interesting too, but sadly when you’re a participant and not just an attendee you have to balance your time between the two roles.

So if you missed this one, I hope you’ll come out next time, and we’ll keep our eyes open for other similar events to point you to in the mean time. If you already know of some, please share the information!

Piranha Morals

Religious people often ask where morals could possibly come from if there were no gods (or more often if their god wasn’t real). This video is not a complete explanation, but it should be enough to make more open-minded believers take another look at the issue of what morality is and where it comes from.

Sinless Sacrifice, Mythical Messiah or Pwned Preacher?

Maybe Jesus was the son of God. Oh, and he was God too. Maybe he did send himself to Earth with the intent of getting himself killed in order to satisfy his own blood lust, and this blood sacrifice of him to him somehow worked to make up for our sins and take the place of the endless animal sacrifices he demanded in the Old Testament.

Supposedly Jesus was perfect and sinless, and somehow the murder of someone completely innocent constitutes justice for every horrible thing that every other person would ever do, as long as they believe it. If they don’t believe, then they get what they all deserve, from the worst mass murderer to a kid who told one single lie. Unimaginable, unending torment in Hell.

Despite the staggering lack of evidence, it is remotely possible the Christians are right and this was somehow necessary, even if it makes no sense, and maybe it was in some twisted way the best thing that has ever happened. It would require a bloodthirsty and cruel god that I personally can’t imagine worshiping.

On the other hand, it’s quite possible that the Jesus of the Bible was never a real person. He may have been intentionally made up, or he may have been mistaken for a real person by some of the people who heard or read stories which were never meant to describe a real person.

If he was a real person though, and he was actually crucified, then there’s a very good chance that he wasn’t supernatural at all and he was simply a human religious teacher who pissed off the authorities and got totally pwned.

Workshop: Planetary Biology and the Anti-Capitalist Revolution

February 28, 2009
3:30 pmto5:00 pm

In addition to the table we will have at the Local to Global Teach-in at ASU this weekend, our friend Ezra Niesen will be conducting a workshop titled Planetary Biology and the Anti-Capitalist Revolution.

I’ll let him explain it to you:

Scientists have been hard at work studying global environmental unsustainability for 40 years, which includes the evolutionary origins of human psychology (www.clubofrome.org, www.clubofbudapest.org). The War on Terror, the war in Iraq, the greenhouse effect, the immigration crisis, and the energy crisis are all various effects of humanity’s over-exploitation of the environment. 15 years ago, in the Mexican state of Chiapas, a global revolution against America’s economic imperialism began, which no one ever talks about in the commercial media in America (chiapas.indymedia.org, www.indymedia.org). The scientists who discovered global unsustainability have been saying from the very beginning that if global environmental disaster in the 21st century is going to be prevented, radical social change is necessary. Now the War on Terror is being used to equate radical social change with terrorism. Now environmental activists are being accused of terrorism, including 8 organizers of the protests at the Republican National Convention last fall against the Republicans’ complete disregard for environmental science (rnc8.org). The biggest reason these problems aren’t getting solved is because so many powerful people are spreading so much disinformation about science to mislead the public. Even President Obama promised to violate the Laws of Thermodynamics in his inaugural address. This is a crash course on pivotal discoveries that have been made and how to reclaim the future by reclaiming the public education system. An accurate understanding of how the world works is the rightful property of everyone.

Oh, and did I mention that there will be punch and pie? Okay, maybe not punch and pie, but there will be some type of free food at the event, so come out and see us if you can. It will be fun, and most importantly educational!

Saucers and Masons and Tares, oh my!

Wow, I intended to give Christians a break and post video of someone who believed in something completely crazy and unrelated, and then I picked one and watched a few of his videos and realized that I had failed. He’s actually some kind of a Christian too, he just believes that the world is run by reptilian aliens and Free Masons on top of it.

At first I was tempted to believe that he was making a very long and elaborate joke, but the more I watched the more I realized that I actually see someone on a fairly regular basis who seems to share some of the same beliefs!

I’m going to have to look into this whole reptilian/Free Mason conspiracy thing in more detail, especially since this guy claims that 99% of businesses are run by one or the other, and I’d hate to think I was funding a global conspiracy to destroy us, but for now let’s just sit back and enjoy the crazy.

Make the ultimate sacrifice for Lent: Give up God

Today is Mardi Gras, Fat Tuesday, the day to go crazy before Lent kicks in. For 40 days, starting tomorrow, we’re supposed to deprive ourselves and do penance for the debauchery that hits its peak today.

Traditionally people give up something for Lent. It may be something as minor as not eating ice cream, or something as major as fasting and self-flagellation for all 40 days.

I would like to suggest something even more radical. Rather than the relatively unhelpful sacrifices like starving or beating yourself, why not do the one thing that could most dramatically change your world view? Why not make the ultimate sacrifice and give up God?

Compared to a lifetime of belief, 40 days of unbelief should not ultimately be enough to make a dent in your faith. That is unless God doesn’t exist. Are you brave enough to find out?

8th Annual Local to Global Justice Teach-In

February 28, 2009
8:30 amto6:00 pm
March 1, 2009
8:30 amto6:00 pm

Since 2001, Local to Global Justice has held annual community education events at ASU, and this year we will be participating.

By “community education” I mean that it is not a series of lectures all given by professors and professionals, it is an event where we can all learn from each other. There will be presentations by many people of different backgrounds, both the highly educated and laypeople, on many different subjects.

The theme for the teach-in this year is “Reclaim the Commons!” This includes everything from natural resources and spaces to “intellectual property” and creative expression.

Better Than Faith will have a table at the event, and we should be there all day Saturday and Sunday. We will be happy to talk to people about anything, so come out and see us!

Smile, there is no Hell

Hell, the dark pit of sorrow, the prison of fire and brimstone where the worm dieth not and the fire is not quenched. A place of eternal torment where an all-powerful and all-loving god sends most people to suffer terribly. Forever.

Wow, what a dreadful place! It’s worse than the witch’s candy house in Hansel and Grettle. Worse than Grendel’s foul lair. Worse than The Bog of Eternal Stench. Fortunately, it is just as fictional!

There are a few people in history who I would almost wish eternal torment on, but if you can imagine what eternity really means then it’s hard to justify. No one is capable of committing an offense terrible enough to justify an infinite punishment. That would require an infinite crime, and the only infinite crime would be sending someone to Hell. So if the Bible’s god were real, we know where he should go.

The rest of us, for ourselves and for the rest of the world around us, should try to live the best lives we can, but out of love, not out of fear of a nonexistent Hell.