Atheism

Christian Crock: Various Christian Threats, Deciphered and Decoded…

 

 

From Captain Cassidy

Threats are a constant and deeply-woven part of Christian culture. Even the really nice parts of the religion use them in implicit form. That’s why we often talk around here about Christians’ use of threats. They make promises as well, promises that touch on the natural and supernatural worlds. I thought it’d be interesting to pull together some of their favorites–and offer up some link love in case anyone wants to read further about them. 

Hell.

Obviously, the biggest and most potent threat at a Christian’s disposal is the threat of an eternity of being tortured forever and ever by demons. This threat didn’t originally appear in the Christian mythos; it was added much later, and it was added specifically to frighten people into line.

The terrible part about this threat is that it is devastatingly effective.

More than two thousand years later, Christians still use this threat willy-nilly. It’s their go-to threat, in fact. It’s used so often and so freely that sometimes the Christians using it don’t even realize that non-Christians view what they just said as a legitimate threat. They use it that  often because it is very effective against people who aren’t aware of its many shortcomings. About all that’s changed over the last couple of millennia is the degree of graphic details added to the threat scenario.

Even years out of the religion, ex-Christians sometimes suffer from a fear of being tortured for eternity–thanks to the “loving” Christians around them who constantly deploy this threat.

The promise that Christians make to counter their threat of Hell is, obviously, that compliance with and adherence to their religious demands–a very earthly subservience masked by the Christianese phrase acceptance into one’s heart of their Lord and Savior Jesus Christ–will allow their new victim access to Heaven instead of Hell.

In its turn, Heaven is, according to Christians, the most wonderful place in the universe though to non-Christians that description often doesn’t sound quite so accurate.

Religion Supports Nobody…

 


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No More Make Believe: God gets stoned?

 


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Freethinker: Alex Honnold

 

From FFRF

On this date in 1985, rock climber Alex Honnold was born in Sacramento, California. Honnold is one of the top free-solo climbers in the world. In free solo, the climber does not use any ropes or protective gear but relies only on physical and mental strength. He also does big-wall climbing, which is defined as a route that takes more than a day to climb.

A self-described “atheist rock climber,” Honnold was taken to church as a child, but instead of finding meaning in bible readings, he daydreamed about climbing the church’s rafters. Honnold began rock climbing at age 11. He attended the University of California-Berkeley to study engineering but dropped out to pursue his climbing passion and lives out of his van, traveling to different climbing spots. In a video by filmmaker Chris Johnson, Honnold described why he’s an atheist: “I was taken to church for maybe five or six years as a kid and at no point did I ever think there was ever anything going on with church. I always saw it as a bunch of old people eating stale wafers, and that’s totally weird to me.”

Honnold, along with climber Hans Florine, holds the world record for the fastest ascent of “The Nose” of El Capitan, a nearly 3,000-foot granite wall, in California’s Yosemite Valley. It’s is the most popular route to ascend the mountain. Honnold and Florine climbed it in the record time of 2:23:51. On June 3, 2017, he became the first person to scale El Capitan without using ropes or other safety gear, in 3 hours and 56 minutes. According to National Geographic, the ascent “may be the greatest feat of pure rock climbing in the history of the sport.”

“By not believing in an afterlife, it forces you to make the most out of this life to get the most out of the time you have.”

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Freedom From Religion Foundation unveils “The Most Unpleasant Character” webpage…

 

ControlFreakGod

The Freedom From Religion Foundation unveils its new “Unpleasant Companion” webpage, a searchable database of Old Testament verses proving that God is, indeed, the most unpleasant character.

The pro-blasphemy site was inspired by biologist Richard Dawkins’ sentence in chapter 2 of his book “The God Delusion,” in which he writes: “The God of the Old Testament is arguably the most unpleasant character in all fiction; jealous and proud of it; a petty, unjust, unforgiving, control-freak; a vindictive, bloodthirsty ethnic cleanser; a misogynistic, homophobic, racist,infanticidal, genocidal, filicidal, pestilential,megalomaniacal, sadomasochistic, capriciously malevolent bully.”

That sentence prompted volcanic criticism. To back up this claim, Dawkins asked FFRF Co-President and former minister Dan Barker to compile a list of biblical citations for each unflattering descriptor. This resulted in Barker’s book “GOD: The Most Unpleasant Character in All Fiction.”

Now, FFRF is introducing the “Unpleasant Companion,” a site built to allow visitors to easily search through and share bible verses from Barker’s book that serve as evidence for the 19 adjectives Dawkin’s used to characterize God. The site categorizes the characteristics Dawkins used, along with eight additional sacrilegious attributes Barker gives to God in Part 2 of his book.

“God is every bit as depraved as Dawkins painted him, and more,” said Barker. “The new site includes biblical passages revealing that God is also pyromaniacal, angry, merciless, curse-hurling, vaccicidal, aborticidal, cannibalistic and a slavemonger.”

Recently, there has been an influx of blasphemy charges around the world, including one that Irish authorities brought against actor Stephen Fry over irreverent comments he made LINK TO STORY. In response to the investigation, Dawkins publicly denounced Ireland’s law that makes blasphemy a crime in a letter to the Irish Times quoting his famous slew of holy insults. There is an ongoing campaign by Atheist Ireland to repeal that law.

On Monday, June 12, Dawkins will be speaking in Dublin on the topic of blasphemy and will reference the verses to be found on FFRF’s new webpage.

The Freedom From Religion Foundation is a nonprofit organization established to promote nontheism and the constitutional principle of separation of church and state.
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Rebuttal to the Richard Dawkins Controversy…

 

From AlterNet

[Original articles here]

My article “The Dangerous Delusions of Richard Dawkins,” which appeared on AlterNet recently, has stirred up a veritable hornet’s nest of controversy. Within a few hours of publication, it has catalyzed over 350 comments, most of them antagonistic. To give a sense of the flavor and tone, here’s a typical entry:

Yep. This piece isn’t just fallacious, it is flagrantly intellectually dishonest. The only way for AlterNet to save face on this is to retract this tripe in its entirety.

I should have been prepared. In a recent article on Salon, Phil Torres writes how the New Atheist movement has degenerated into a tribal ethic of intolerance. His piece initiated its own torrent of comments, such as, “That’s the stupidest thing I’ve ever read.”

However, along with the vitriol, some arguments made in response to my article raise important issues worthy of a considered response. In the hope of catalyzing a more productive dialogue, I’ve attempted to distill what I see as the key criticisms and offer my feedback. I encourage a continuing discussion, in a civil and respectful tone, of what I see as vitally important topics regarding the underlying structures of thought that predominate in our civilization.

‘Attacking the “Selfish Gene” idea is a straw man tactic’

Why Losing God Hits Some of Us Harder…

 


From Neil Carter
Godless In Dixie

I wasn’t active in the skeptic movement long before I discovered how different my perspective on religion was from that of other atheists. In time I came to understand that people who have never been religious come to the subject as outsiders who cannot always sympathize with those who formerly were.

But I most definitely was religious. Except I never would have used that word to describe myself. In fact, I would have recoiled from that word as I had been thoroughly indoctrinated against accepting the label by years of hearing that I was “spiritual but not religious.” What I enjoyed was not a religion, you see, it was a relationship.

That’s utter nonsense, by the way. It most definitely is a religion. But Christian exceptionalism has always been a key component of the evangelical faith, and ironically I don’t think they are exceptional in that regard, either. I believe a majority of world faiths harbor the notion that they are uniquely authentic while all other faiths are dim reflections of the truths of which they themselves are the sole proprietary owners.

That said, my religion was absolutely relational. For me, the Christian faith was best summed up in that statement of Jesus in John 17:3 where he said:

“This is eternal life, that they may know You, the only true God, and Jesus Christ whom You have sent.”

That’s the lens through which I was taught to view my religion—I viewed it fundamentally as a relationship with a living person who was to be known and experienced in daily life just like any other person would be. Well, not exactly in the same way, I suppose, since this particular person was invisible—detectable only to those who believed in him. In this relationship, one must come with a sincere expectation that God is real and that he can indeed be known by those who want to know him. As another key verse, Hebrews 11:6 explains:

Religion takes on Richard Dawkins and He Responds In Kind…

The Dangerous Delusions of Richard Dawkins

His rationalist crusade creates a false impression that the only alternative to religion is reductionist science.

From Jeremy Lent
AlterNet

[Two articles, then responses below…]

The recent cancellation of a book event with Richard Dawkins by the radio station KPFA has caused reverberations around the world. KPFA cited offensive remarks Dawkins has made about Islam. Dawkins and his followers have claimed these were taken out of context and that he’s been equally critical of Christianity. What this controversy misses, however, is the far greater destructive force of other ideas Dawkins has promulgated over decades, which have helped form the foundation of a mainstream worldview that endorses gaping wealth inequalities and encourages the wanton destruction of the natural world.

Richard Dawkins is seen as a superhero by rationalist thinkers seeking to overturn the delusions of monotheistic thought, which have wreaked havoc on the experience of billions of people over the past two millennia. In a 2013 poll, the readers of a respected British magazine, Prospect, voted him as the world’s top thinker. His bestselling popularization of evolution, The Selfish Gene, published in 1976, was recently named the most influential science book of all time in a Royal Society poll.

In fighting for science against religious superstition and climate deniers, Richard Dawkins deserves some of his popular acclaim. However, rational as they appear at first, Dawkins’ ideas are based on delusions of their own. The flaws implicit in his own belief system may be less obvious than those of monotheism, but they are at the root of much that is wrong in the current mainstream worldview. Important as it is to point out the dangerous delusions of monotheism, it is equally important not to replace one set of misconceptions with another.

In my book, The Patterning Instinct, I explored the underlying misconceptions that have led to our current crisis of civilization, and realized that Dawkins has been popularizing two of the most pernicious. One is the idea that all living organisms are controlled by selfish genes, and that humans, by implication, are innately selfish. Another is the notion that nature is nothing more than a very complicated machine. Both of these core ideas have been shown by countless scientists to be fundamentally wrong. Yet, partly because of the popularity of Dawkins’s own writing, they are widely taken on faith by the same intelligentsia that reject the fallacies of monotheism—and are used to justify some of our civilization’s most destructive behaviors.

The ‘Selfish Gene’ Is Bad Science and Bad Economics

Jesus: I love you unconditionally…

 


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Other Gods Before Christ…

 


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A Deconversion Story…

 

From Graceful Atheist

These kinds of messages have become cliché, but I find the need to write it anyway. Mostly this is an attempt to communicate to my friends and family as succinctly but thoroughly as possible the what and the why of my deconversion from Christianity. This is also for those of you readers who have had doubts and have struggled to keep them contained.

What I am

I am no longer a Christian. In the summer of 2015 after it became increasing more difficult to hold my beliefs against surmounting evidence to the contrary I admitted to myself I no longer believed. I was a Christian for approximately 27 years, until the Jenga tower of contradiction between belief and facts came crashing down. I could no longer sustain the mental effort it required to maintain belief against the overwhelming lack of evidence for that belief.

I am an atheist. Others, wiser than I, have pointed out that this does not tell you very much about me. To say that I am not something is not very descriptive. The list of things I am not is infinite. But I am not afraid of this moniker. I am not a theist. This means I do not believe in God or gods. I do not believe in the supernatural of any kind. The natural is more than sufficient.

I am a humanist. This means that I believe humanity is the most precious existence in the cosmos. It means that loving people trumps ideology. Julia Sweeny said it better than I can. In “Letting Go of God” after tentatively putting on the “Not believing in God glasses” she says:

And I thought wait a minute, wait a minute, what about all those people who are unjustifiably jailed? … There is no god hearing their pleas and I guess this goes for the really poor people too and really oppressed people who I had this vague idea that they had a god to comfort them and then an even vaguer idea that god had orchestrated their lives for some unknowable grand design. I walked around and thought oh, no one is minding the store! … And slowly I began to see the world differently.

They don’t believe in God. So they founded a community center in Denver for non-believers…

 

DENVER, COLORADO – JULY 9: The exterior of The Secular Hub during a weekly gathering Sunday, July 9, 2017 on Downing Street. The group of atheists, agnostics, humanists, secularists and others do not believe in any supernatural deities. Though the community does not practice services, common text, or common ideology, they gather to meet, socialize, and discuss topics. (Photo by Daniel Brenner/Special to the Denver Post)

Denver’s Secular Hub unites non-believers in what one calls an “atheist church”Daniel

The exterior of The Secular Hub during a weekly gathering Sunday, July 9, 2017 on Downing Street. The group of atheists, agnostics, humanists, secularists and others do not believe in any supernatural deities. Though the community does not practice services, common text, or common ideology, they gather to meet, socialize, and discuss topics.

The congregation’s Sunday morning gathering is a cherished communal ritual that brings together newly joined 20-somethings, still groggy from a night on the town, with chatty retirees who have been members since the institution’s founding. They come from across metro Denver to hang out and talk about whatever’s on their mind: Donald Trump, National Public Radio, last night’s Rockies game, the hiking trail du jour.

Inevitably, though, their conversation returns to the supernatural power that unites them: God.

This isn’t church, though.

“It’s atheist church,” jokes Ruth McLeod, who moved to Denver from Louisiana in 2012. “Church doesn’t have a monopoly on community.”

You were not born a sinner. No one is…

 


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There is no hell, Emily…

 

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No, Jesus…

 

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I Believe…

 


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Freethinker: Proud to be an American…

 

From  Andrew Seidel
Staff Attorney and Constitutional Consultant
Freedom From Religion Foundation

I’m proud to be an American. This is not some blind, jingoistic, nationalist pride—it’s not my country right or wrong (I only adopt that attitude during the World Cup and the Olympics). I’m proud because this nation, despite its faults and missteps, was the first to separate state and church. That “wall of separation” as Jefferson put it, is an American original.

This is not to say the idea is necessarily an American invention, but it was first implemented in the “American Experiment,” as Madison put it. Until then, no other nation had sought to so full protect the ability of its citizens to think freely. No people had sought to divorce the terrible power religion holds over the supposed afterlife, from the power government has in everyday life. Until then, the freedom of thought and even the freedom of religion, could never have truly existed.


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Christianity preaches only servitude and dependence…

 


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Jesus?

 


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How thoughtful of God…

 


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Stephen Fry being investigated for blasphemy is just the beginning. Around the world blasphemy laws are getting more and more severe…

 

From The Independent, UK

Islamic states often justify their blasphemy laws by pointing to the existence of those in Europe, calling Europeans hypocrites for advocating for abolition whilst still having their own

He’s one of Britain’s wittiest men but the fact that humanist Stephen Fry is under investigation by police in the Republic of Ireland for blasphemy is beyond a joke.

Fry’s alleged offence two years ago was to give an eloquent restatement of the classic theological argument known as “the problem of evil”: how can an all-loving God be responsible for a world that includes so much suffering, such as “bone cancer in children”, in his words? As one head of RE at a secondary school here in England tweeted, “I use this clip at GCSE & A Level for prob of evil. If RE teachers in Ireland have are they also ‘guilty’ of blasphemy?”

Debate and discussion over powerful and emotive topics like religion and belief are, by their nature, endlessly provocative. They are also vital, and when so many countries still try to use the force of law to shut down these discussions, we all risk intellectual impoverishment.

In England and Wales the blasphemy law was repealed in 2008. In Scotland and Northern Ireland blasphemy laws remain in place, although they have not been used in recent years. Perhaps we might not expect them to be – but then did we expect them to be in Ireland? And, similarly, Denmark this year decided to bring a prosecution under its blasphemy laws for the first time in 46 years.

Other European countries such as Italy, Austria, Poland and Turkey still have laws that are actively in use. In Greece, in 2014, Philippos Loizos was handed a ten-month suspended prison sentence for mocking up a picture of a Greek Orthodox patriarch, Elder Paisios, as a pasta dish. While in Russia, blasphemy laws were notoriously used to sentence the band Pussy Riot to hard labour after they performed in a Russian Orthodox Cathedral. This year they are also being used to prosecute a humanist blogger who filmed himself playing Pokémon Go in a church.

The most serious uses of blasphemy laws around the world are not in Europe, but in Islamic states, 13 of which punish blasphemy by death. These include Mohamed Cheikh Ould M’kheitir in Mauritania, charged with “insulting the prophet” for an article challenging slavery; humanist Ahmadreza Djalali, who worked as a Professor in Brussels but is now sentenced to death in his native Iran; and Saudi Arabia, which just last week sentenced Ahmad Al Shamri to death for “atheism”, while others such as Raif Badawi also sit on death row.

Sam Harris…

 


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“I certainly do not hate the Church… I do, however, think that they are wasting a lot of time, effort, and money on nonsense.”

 

 

From Reddit

The Clergy Project is an online support group that exists for former religious professionals who have found a better fit for their spiritual selves with Atheism. Formed in 2011, the group aims to help ex-clergy deal with the inevitable ethical and philosophical questions that arise when leaving a faith, as well as help them adapt to life away from the spiritual world.

We spoke to several former clergy involved in The Clergy Project about how and why they abandoned their faith.

Shlomo Levin, former Rabbi

As a rabbi, you are responsible for and called upon to answer questions. These questions range from the more profound, like, “Rabbi, what happens after we die?” to the very mundane, “Rabbi, is this yogurt kosher?” As I became older, I began to feel much less confident in my ability to know the answers to all of these questions. I found it very burdensome to have to have all the answers. People will ask after a funeral, “Can this person still hear me?” And I just have no idea. I couldn’t say, “I don’t know.” It really weighed on my conscious to give people answers that I knew could be hurtful to them. I think a lot of people find Orthodox Judaism a source of joy. I’m all for that, if that’s what they want. But at times, it was clearly not. Some people were just made to suffer.

I found it very liberating to not have belief. It’s hard to live knowing that there’s a God in the sky that will punish you if you don’t do a certain ritual at a certain time in a certain way. It’s a lot easier this way. I don’t miss it at all.

Freethinker: George Carlin on Religion (again)

 


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Here’s a Great Video Compilation of Celebrity Atheists…

 


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I’ve offended someone. And I’m not going to apologise…

 

From The Freethinker, UK

IN last week’s bulletin I reported on the death of Gilbert Baker, who created the rainbow flag for the LGBT community.

I followed that up by dedicating my Easter column in the Costa Blanca‘s Round Town News to Baker – and within hours of the paper hitting the streets the editor, Sam Holliday, received a furious email from a reader. Without identifying the name or gender of the complainant, she asked me if I would care to respond to the angry Christian, who wrote:

“Firstly, I must state that I usually enjoy reading your newspaper. However, this week I find that I must comment upon your column writer Barry Duke’s latest rant. Please note that I am writing this in the most polite fashion I can muster and am biting my tongue as I type!

“We are all entitled to our own opinions, of course. Barry Dukes (sic) is allowed to express his freely in your paper. However, this does NOT give him the right to insult the MANY Christians who read such publications. Yes, there are quite a lot of us out there; probably many more than Barry thinks.

“I realise that he was irritated by the comments of Bryan Fischer but he could have expressed this annoyance without resorting to calling God ‘mythical’. For Christians the world over God is very real indeed.

“For the record, I am not anti-gay and have a number of gay friends but this has gone beyond the pale. WHY did the Editor allow this to be published? Respect for people should work both ways. Mr Dukes (sic)  makes enough fuss about gay rights. How about some courtesy being shown to those of Christian faith?

“An apology would be most welcome.”

I immediately fired back this response:

Respecting Beliefs…

 

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Freethinker: Richard Dawkins

 

From FFRF

On this date in 1941, evolutionary biologist and freethought champion Richard Dawkins was born in Nairobi. His father had moved to Kenya from England during the Second World War to join the Allied Forces and the family returned to England in 1949. Dawkins graduated from Oxford in 1962, earned his doctorate, became assistant professor of zoology at the University of California at Berkeley 1967-1969 and a fellow of New College in 1970.

The Selfish Gene, his first book, published in 1976, became an international bestseller. It and the award-winning Blind Watchmaker were translated into all major languages. His other books include The Extended Phenotype (1982), River Out of Eden (1995), Climbing Mount Improbable (1996), Unweaving the Rainbow (1998) and A Devil’s Chaplain (2003). His 2006 iconoclastic book, The God Delusion, which he wrote with the public hope of turning believing readers into atheists, became a bestseller in both the UK and the U.S.

Dawkins has held the Charles Simonyi Chair of Public Understanding of Science since 1995, and was elected a Fellow of the Royal Society of Literature in 1997. He is married to actress and artist Lalla Ward, who has illustrated several of his books and other works.

Dawkins has advanced the concept of cultural inheritance or “memes,” also described as “viruses of the mind,” a category into which he places religious belief. He has also advanced the “replicator concept” of evolution.

A passionate atheist, Dawkins has coined the memorable term “faith-heads” to describe certain religionists. Since his remarks in The Guardian (Feb, 6, 1999): “I’m like a pit bull terrier being released into the ring, as a spectator sport, to attack religious people . . .,” Dawkins is now affectionately known as “Darwin’s pit bull.”

Dawkins, a vice president of the British Humanist Association, was named Humanist of the Year in 1999. He is the 1997 winner of the International Cosmos Prize, and received an Emperor Has No Clothes Award from the Freedom From Religion Foundation in 2001. His column for The Observer (“Children Must Choose Their own Beliefs,” Dec. 30, 2001) pointed out: “We deliberately set up, and massively subsidise, segregated faith schools. As if it were not enough that we fasten belief-labels on babies at birth, those badges of mental apartheid are now reinforced and refreshed. In their separate schools, children are separately taught mutually incompatible beliefs.”

Following the terrorist attacks of Sept. 11, 2001, he eloquently warned in a Guardian column, “Religion’s Misguided Missiles” (Sept. 15, 2001): “To fill a world with religion, or religions of the Abrahamic kind, is like littering the streets with loaded guns. Do not be surprised if they are used.”
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See also https://www.wired.com/2017/03/evolution-slower-looks-faster-think/
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Freethinker: ‘The Most Hated Woman in America’ — Melissa Leo on the Murder of Atheist Madalyn Murray O’Hair…

 

Madalyn Murray O’Hair took on the Supreme Court to get prayer out of schools, started a culture war, and was violently murdered for it. A new Netflix film finally tells her story.

In 1964, Madalyn Murray O’Hair appeared in Life magazine, her infamy warranting a headline branding her “The Most Hated Woman in America.” Five decades later, America seems to have moved on. Murray O’Hair, despite her notoriety and celebrity status during the culture wars, is no longer a household name—something a new Netflix film about the controversial activist and, ultimately, murder victim hopes to remedy.

Oscar-winner Melissa Leo stars as Murray O’Hair in the story so wild—and yet, so true—that it’s astounding that it hasn’t been turned into a film before.

In 1960, in the midst of a career as a social worker and civil rights activist, Murray O’Hair filed a landmark lawsuit against the Baltimore City Public School System on behalf of her older son, William, arguing that it was unconstitutional to force him to participate in Bible readings while attending public school. The lawsuit eventually reached the Supreme Court in 1963, with an 8-1 ruling in her favor.

She would later move to Austin, Texas, where her on-screen portrayer, Leo, is sitting down with The Daily Beast after the film’s SXSW festival premiere.

The Wonder of it All: A Conversation with Bart Campolo…

 


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Freethinker: Douglas Adams

 

From FFRF

On this date in 1952, science fiction/comedy writer Douglas Adams was born in Cambridge, England. He was educated at Brentwood School, Essex, and St. John’s College, Cambridge, where he graduated with a BA in 1974, and later earned his Master’s in English literature.

Adams worked as a writer and producer in radio and television. In 1978, “The Hitch Hiker’s Guide to the Galaxy” ran as a series on BBC Radio, and was published as a novel in 1979. Fourteen million copies of the cult scifi novel have sold worldwide, followed by sequels. The satiric novel chronicles the adventures of an alien, Ford Prefect, and his human companion, Arthur Dent, as they travel the universe looking for the meaning of life after the earth’s destruction. Adams became the youngest author to be awarded the Golden Pan in 1984.

Adams was also an Internet pioneer. He married Jane Belson in 1991 and they had a daughter, Polly, in 1994. He was at work on a screenplay for Hitch Hiker when he died unexpectedly at age 49 of a heart attack. Adams called himself a “committed Christian” as a teenager, who began to rethink his beliefs at age 18 after listening to the nonsense of a street preacher. He credited books by his friend, Richard Dawkins, including The Selfish Gene and The Blind Watchmaker, for helping to cement his views on religion.

In one of his speeches, Dawkins quotes Adams, who said: “Now, the invention of the scientific method is, I’m sure we’ll all agree, the most powerful intellectual idea, the most powerful framework for thinking and investigating and understanding and challenging the world around us that there is, and it rests on the premise that any idea is there to be attacked. If it withstands the attack then it lives to fight another day and if it doesn’t withstand the attack then down it goes. Religion doesn’t seem to work like that. It has certain ideas at the heart of it which we call sacred or holy or whatever.” (“Emperor Has No Clothes” Award acceptance speech, reprinted in Freethought Today, October 2001.)

In The Salmon of Doubt, a compilation of Adams’ writings published posthumously in 2002, Adams wrote of religion: “But it does mystify me that otherwise intelligent people take it seriously.” D. 2001.

“If you describe yourself as ‘Atheist,’ some people will say, ‘Don’t you mean “Agnostic’?” ‘ I have to reply that I really do mean Atheist. I really do not believe that there is a god—in fact I am convinced that there is not a god (a subtle difference). I see not a shred of evidence to suggest that there is one. It’s easier to say that I am a radical Atheist, just to signal that I really mean it, have thought about it a great deal, and that it’s an opinion I hold seriously. It’s funny how many people are genuinely surprised to hear a view expressed so strongly. In England we seem to have drifted from vague wishy-washy Anglicanism to vague wishy-washy Agnosticism—both of which I think betoken a desire not to have to think about things too much.”

—Douglas Adams, interview, American Atheist (Winter 1998-99)

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Freethinker: Ingersoll’s Vow…

 

i

 

From The Archives
ROBERT INGERSOLL (1833 – 1899)
The Great Agnostic

When I became convinced that the Universe is natural – that all the ghosts and gods are myths, there entered into my brain, into my soul, into every drop of my blood, the sense, the feeling, the joy of freedom.

The walls of my prison crumbled and fell, the dungeon was flooded with light and all the bolts, and bars, and manacles became dust. I was no longer a servant, a serf or a slave.

There was for me no master in all the wide world – not even in infinite space. I was free – free to think, to express my thoughts – free to live to my own ideal – free to live for myself and those I loved – free to use all my faculties, all my senses – free to spread imagination’s wings – free to investigate, to guess and dream and hope – free to judge and determine for myself – free to reject all ignorant and cruel creeds, all the “inspired” books that savages have produced, and all the barbarous legends of the past – free from popes and priests – free from all the “called” and “set apart” – free from sanctified mistakes and holy lies – free from the fear of eternal pain – free from the winged monsters of the night – free from devils, ghosts and gods.

For the first time I was free. There were no prohibited places in all the realms of thought – no air, no space, where fancy could not spread her painted wings – no chains for my limbs – no lashes for my back – no fires for my flesh – no master’s frown or threat – no following another’s steps – no need to bow, to cringe, or crawl, or utter lying words. I was free. I stood erect and fearlessly, joyously, faced all worlds.

And then my heart was filled with gratitude, with thankfulness, and went out in love to all the heroes, the thinkers who gave their lives for the liberty of hand and brain – for the freedom of labor and thought – to those who fell on the fierce fields of war, to those who died in dungeons bound with chains – to those who proudly mounted scaffold’s stairs – to those whose bones were crushed, whose flesh was scarred and torn – to those by fire consumed – to all the wise, the good, the brave of every land, whose thoughts and deeds have given freedom to the sons of men.

And then I vowed to grasp the torch that they had held, and hold it high, that light might conquer darkness still.
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What Is God’s Problem With Women?

 

g


The Genesis of Misogyny

From Church and State, UK

It all started with Eve. Or did it?

The Alphabet Of Ben-Sira, a Judaic document derived from a Talmudic script, asserts that Lilith, not Eve, was Adam’s wife. Since it comes to us through the same mythological lineage as the Bible itself, the historical veracity of The Alphabet of Ben-Sira is not what matters here. What does matter is that this ancient text gives us a female who makes Germaine Greer look like Mother Teresa.

Unlike her successor, Eve, Lilith was not made from Adam’s rib. She was made from clay in exactly the same way as her husband was. Her job description, as given to her by God, was to submit to Adam and be “under him”. But she had no sooner morphed into existence when she told God “I will not be below; I will not lie beneath him – I am as him; made too from clay.” God, not used to being spoken to like this, became angry. Lilith, however, didn’t give a toss; she just flew away and joined a hoard of screaming female demons.

And that’s how we have Feminists.

But Lilith came back for revenge, as you do. She verbally assaulted the angels that God sent to return her to Adam and generally threatened screeching mayhem on any male, or Deity for that matter, who came within screeching distance. She was never incorporated into the bible as a real human being; instead she is listed among abominable animals and evil spirits in the Old Testament. No surprise there, then.

It is said by contemporary scholars that The Alphabet of Ben-Sira was a satirical commentary, all well and good. But what is wonderful about the story of Lilith is the fact that the ancient satirist who wrote her into being did so because he was smart enough to recognise that the secondary/submissive role assigned to women by God was a crock of shit.

Freethinker: Scott Dikkers, The Onion

 
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From FFRF

On this date in 1965, humorist and entrepreneur Scott Dikkers was born in Minneapolis. While attending the University of Wisconsin-Madison, he started drawing a comic strip called Jim’s Journal that gained a small measure of local notoriety. He parlayed that into an unpaid spot on the staff of The Onion, a student humor newspaper started in 1988. The next year, he and Peter Haise bought the paper and started expanding it in terms of content and circulation beyond Madison. The Onion’s small staff (described in one story as a “lone Jew surrounded by a collection of lapsed Lutherans and lapsed Catholics”) focused on making the mundane both irreverent and hilarious. A fair amount of that irreverence lands on religion’s shoulders. “Christians Growing Impatient for Third Coming of Christ” was the headline on one story. There are many, many others. Dikkers, described as reclusive and somewhat of a loner, was, according to one story, married for a time, something that no one on the staff reportedly knew.

The Onion went online in 1996, which vastly increased its audience and renown. Dikkers co-wrote and edited The Onion’s first original book, Our Dumb Century, a best-selling spoof of recent history through Onion front pages, and Our Dumb World, a world atlas parody. In the mid-2000s, he spearheaded “The Onion News Network” web series, which won a Peabody Award in 2008 for its “ersatz news that has a worrisome ring of truth.” That same year he addressed the Freedom From Religion Foundation’s national convention in Chicago.

Dikkers was also included on Time magazine’s list of the Top 50 “Cyber Elite” along with Steve Jobs, Bill Gates, George Lucas and others. Headquarters moved to New York City in 2000-01 and to Chicago in 2012. The enterprise had been sold in 2003 to David Schafer. Dikkers remained as editor-in-chief from 2005–08 and is current vice president for creative development. Print publication ended in 2013. He has written more than 20 humor books and developed the “Writing with The Onion” program at the Second City Training Center in Chicago.

“See, atheists and agnostics aren’t scary. Listen to their laughter! It’s a joyous sound, like the laughter of innocent children. You can trust us!

Furthermore, I want to say to the world, you need us. As I hope I’ve demonstrated here, atheists are fun. We’re fun to be with. We like playing make believe as much as the next guy, but we know the difference between fantasy and reality. And our crucial role in society is to remind everyone else of the cold, hard facts.”

—Speech, FFRF national convention, Oct. 12, 2008

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Pennsylvania school 10 Commandments marker to be removed due to FFRF lawsuit

 
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From FFRF

The Freedom From Religion Foundation is delighted to announce the successful settlement of a longstanding federal lawsuit challenging a 6-foot Ten Commandments monument in front of a Pennsylvania public high school.

FFRF, a national state/church watchdog, along with a student and parent, Marie Schaub, filed suit in September 2012. Schaub, an atheist, ultimately withdrew her daughter from Valley High School in the New Kensington-Arnold School District because of the monument.

U.S. District Judge Terrence McVerry dismissed the New Kensington challenge in July 2015, ruling that Schaub and her child did not have frequent enough contact with the decalog monolith, which meant that they did not have standing to sue over the violation.

In August 2016, the 3rd U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals upheld Schaub’s legal right to challenge the bible monument. The three- judge panel unanimously found that Schaub’s removal of her daughter from the school due to the presence of the monument, and prior contact with it, established their clear injury to sue.

That ruling set in motion negotiations with the school district, which has now agreed to remove the Ten Commandments monument within 30 days. The district’s insurer will pay attorneys’ fees of $163,500, of which more than $40,000 will go to FFRF for its attorney fees as well as reimbursement for its costs.

“It’s been a drawn-out fight but my family and I are grateful to everyone who has helped us finally right a wrong that was committed so long ago,” says Schaub, who received FFRF’s Atheist in a Foxhole Courage Award at its annual convention last fall in Pittsburgh. “I hope this settlement serves as a lesson and a reminder that the separation of state and church is especially important when in comes to our kids in public schools. The removal of this religious monument will provide a more welcoming environment that will promote equality and neutrality.”

FFRF is gratified that reason and our secular Constitution have prevailed.

“The First Commandment alone is reason why public schools may not endorse the Commandments,” says FFRF Co-President Annie Laurie Gaylor. “Students in our public schools are free to have any god they like, as many gods as they like — or none at all! In America, we live under the First Amendment, not the First Commandment.”

In August 2015, McVerry had ruled in favor of FFRF’s challenge of a similar marker in front of the a junior high school in Connellsville, Pa. That bible monument was removed in October 2015.

Representing FFRF is local attorney Marcus B. Schneider, with FFRF Staff Attorney Patrick Elliott serving as co-counsel.

FFRF has 27,000 nonreligious members nationwide.
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Those Seven Savage Hitchens Carpet Bombs…

 


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