Sunday, November 29, 2009

What's happening on the little stage?

What's happening on the little stage?

We get oodles of news on the national level, the big stage of the secular/atheist movement, but what's happening on our smaller stages?  What are our local groups doing?

I really enjoy attending the monthly meetings of my local group, Fayetteville Freethinkers,  Arkansas, and I also take time out to attend the meetings of a few other nearby groups - often, just to see what's going on.  There's a good deal of variety out there and I encourage everyone to get their fill of it by visiting outside their own neighborhood once in a while.  Here's why...

This month, my own group featured a Doug Kruger "original"... What a hoot.  Doug has been giving presentations to our group for years.  He's the author of  "What is Atheism: A Short Introduction,"  he teaches at the collage level and he's a highly polished speaker - a real piece of human inventiveness especially when it comes to selecting topics.  This month he offered an overview on dowsing, of all things. It's the art of ( ...the  art of?) finding underground water, lost and hidden items, and a lot of other sorts of foolishness.

The conclusion: If dowsers would turn their dowsing attention and skills (...skills?) to seeking out nonsensical thinkers with foolish beliefs (and if dowsing worked) the seeking dowsers would end up chasing their own tails around endlessly, just like little puppies often do and they'd look just as brainless as they do when seeking out other such silliness as they claim to be able to do.

You can't guess what fun it is to look critically at the wacko ideas humans come up with... at all of it.  Science and history, philosophy and ethics, politics and government are certainly not to be slighted in the least. Knowing these things is important; yet, doing without an occasional debunking of this and that or failing to poke some fun at the silliness some segments of our societies believe, kind of runs a close second in many, many categories.

Attend your local meeting... Don't miss it.

Thursday, November 26, 2009

Preacher man, abandon your post!

Preacher man, abandon your post!

If religion's thinking members (and there are plenty of them) would suddenly adopt courage enough to honestly recognize that the moral grounds applied by the holy scriptures are not entirely defensible, that the gods touted in the Bible, the Qu'ran and Torah and by all the other ancient holy texts are clearly not infallible in every way; then, the doors of a new dilemma, a modern intellectual dilemma, would open wide on the public stage.  And that new dilemma, "What ought we to believe and live by?" is the single most neglected question of today's society.

But who should be called upon to take the first brave steps?  Who should become the leaders of meaningful religious reform. Preachers; that's who!

One who assumes a leadership responsibility for others is obligated morally to examine the direction he advocates.  Is it right to teach that those who fail to believe as others do deserve death?  Is touting slavery as an institution a worthy endeavor?  Is advocating "eye for an eye" justice a just avocation?  And women... is it okay to to cast them as second class people, obedient to the whims of men as has been done since long before the year one? Are aggressive war and genocide supportable? Aren't there moral grounds today for casting off the amoral standards of the past, those less than holy standards reflected by old-world scriptures, whether they are said to be "divinely given" or not? ... I believe there are.

One at a time or as a mass exodus, a new clergy must take-up the lead for a new cause. That being: to officially and completely abandon any book of scripture and any religious doctrine that is so tarnished by such uncivilized teaching as the kind seen above such that whatever remaining good which might be derived from  religion and its texts must be rescued away to begin again elsewhere, untarnished and based in reality.

Honest clergymen, wherever they can be found, must take the first steps out of their wrongfully taken yesterday-attitudes for idealization of that which is clearly not ideal.  Preachers need to answer a new calling outside the old ideals of church and far away from the ill-thought moral teaching found in the old holy books.

Wednesday, November 25, 2009

What non-believers DO believe

What non-believers DO believe

Atheism, agnosticism and the trailing pack of additional isms that are so often attached to the first two as if they were mere after thoughts are not entirely devoid of belief, not even from the most extreme beginning, atheism - the ultimate abyss of nothingness and hopelessness as god-believers might call it.  Certainly, a Taoist has beliefs and yet he claims no beliefs in gods.

"Hey... What's that?  Beliefs?" you say.

It's true.  Even atheists have beliefs.

I'm personally not an avid reader of philosophy, yet I do have a personal philosophy that I live by.  We all do. I'll refer you to Richard Carrier to argue against this, if you'd like to refute the truth of the matter.  Yet here, my purpose is simply. I wish to raise the level of awareness of for readers to recognizing the fact that we non-beleivers do, in fact, believe something.

Collectively speaking, it would be a fine mess to attempt lumping all non-believers into a single pile. Our beliefs vary enough from person to person that even listing the least common denominators of our every individual philosophy ofour midst would present a task of the highest order - it might be possible, of course, but impossibility is likely its nearest up-the-street neighbor.  Yet let's try.  Respect for basic honesty, respect for self and others, valuing and improving upon our own critical thinking skills, and accepting irrefutable reality might head such a list, (or not).  But the point, I hope, is clear. We are not, any of us, entirely without beliefs.

I urge each of you to explore your own beliefs, and then to seek that which is common and uncommon between you and the guy or gal next to you.  We all need to talk about our beliefs a lot more.

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

Hands-on projects

Hands-on projects

There's nothing like contributing time and effort to a hands-on project... Give it a try where you live.

I've just come away from the great success of Skepticons II and sent out my personal thanks to some of the people who put heads and hands together pulling this event off.  It was fantastic...!

I've done my bit in several ways, organizing new groups and setting the stage for local group meetings, organizing book tours and such, and I know the sort of feeling the Skepticons crew of contributors, from stage manager and information desk person to emcee and principal speaker, are each feeling today - pooped-out-wonderful and accomplished.  Its a feeling I hope every one of us will one day experience by giving an effort to producing a project of his own projects.

Whether one chooses to help produce a large event like Skepticons or simply give a talk for their local group, whether its a large effort given or a small one, a pet project or a dutiful job, the reward is equal, the benefits are universal and its all found in the giving.  Get involved, hands-on and on-the-ground. Make something you care about become real.  Give your talents and yourself to making a difference for everyone's sake.  You won't be disappointed that you did.

Congratulations to Skepticons II.  And full speed ahead to the makers of all the projects that come next... Get involved - everyone. 

Monday, November 23, 2009

Skepticons II... HOW KOOL IT WAS.

Skepticons II... HOW KOOL IT WAS.

I almost hate to say it, Skeptions II has come and gone.  But what a terrific seminar its was - it a was full two days and two nights to remember and it was a big, big booster shot for atheism here in the central region of the country.  If you were there, you know what I mean.  If not, I'm sorry.

If you recall the thrill of meeting up with a fellow atheist  or agnostic, a skeptic and critical thinker yourself, multiply that feeling by 500 or so.  There is no better surroundings for a rational mind than to be in the company of a small multitude of others like itself - all alert and tuned in to reality.

Ideas blossomed, common thoughts were shared and new friendships were made to the left, to the right and all around. Not age, not gender, not race not anything stood between us, the uncommon people, on our personal quests to seek others in common.  This was an orgy of reason and a feast on the delicacies of what tastes so delightful to our hungry minds.

And here's a plus: one of the spin-offs of a great meeting like Skepticons II is that it can sometime help spawn a similar event... Guess what, that may be happening as we speak.  Stay tuned to this blog for more information on this exciting topic.  Something new is possibly brewing.

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

I'd like some proof, please:

I'd like some proof, please:

Jay Sekulow, chief counsel of the ACLJ, said that the motto and pledge recognize the “undeniable truth that our freedoms come from God.”

I'd like to see some proof of that Mr. Sekulow, wouldn't you?  I'll bet you would since that might carry your case for you.


It stands for American Center For Law and Justice but it could just as easily mean American Center for Law and Jesus since by its own Mission statement "God-given... rights" are one of its chief reasons for being.

And now, the stage appears to be set and the time seems ripe for the lawyers on both sides of the "In God We Trust" issue, an issue aimed at blocking the legality for engraving "under God" and the "In God We Trust" motto on the Capitol Visitor Center walls, to put on their gloves. 

Freedom From Religion Foundation filed its complaint against giving the go-ahead-nod to the engraver back in July and today US Representatives Michele Bachmann and John Kline answered.  Backed by Representative John Boehner and 40 other conservatives of Congress, Bachmann and Kline delivered their brief for filing to the U.S. District Court in Madison, Wisconsin, the home of FFRF.

This case has all the markings of the famed Monkey Trials from back in the twenties of the last century.  Quite honestly, I suspect it will be a brawl, but we'll all have to wait and see how quickly the courts intend to act.

(Don't hold your breath....)

Monday, November 16, 2009

The God Virus Spreads and Spreads...

The God Virus just spreads and spreads...

.. but guess what? That's good news for a change.

I received a recent update email on Dr Darrel Ray's marvelously energetic activities for atheism and non-religion. Dr Ray, as most people already know is the author of "The God Virus" and he has taken the time to share the experiences of what his writing efforts have yielded both for him and for the causes he represents.

Here's a reprint of his email:

Friends and friends of the book:

I just had to tell all that today the book hit #2 in books on atheism on Amazon. It is right behind Richard Dawkins mega best seller, The God Delusion. I never thought my book would be mentioned in the same sentence as Dawkins' and now it is #2 behind his and ahead of Hitchens mega best seller God Is Not Great.

I have been on book tour for the last three months and much more to come in the next three and doing a radio show or podcast on average, every two weeks. The emails I have received from people touched by the book have been incredible. The stories are often amazing to read. Most relate it directly to specific chapters in the book that brought them understanding about their own religious upbringing.

Our new organization, Recovering from Religion (RR) has grown rapidly and is over 20 groups across North America and adding new groups each week. Portland, OR, NY City, San Diego and Ivine, CA all started in just the last two weeks. I am off to New Orleans in Dec. and five stops throughout the South in January. You can listen to my latest interview on The Infidel Guy podcast/internet radio show. Here is the link: I'll be on the Point of Inquiry podcast with DJ Grothe next week.

Forgive me for bragging, but this is just too much fun, I had to share it and enjoy it while it lasts. Its bound to come down sometime.


Buy the book and give it a read. You'll very likely enjoy it just as well as I did. And for the record: Dr Ray is one heck of a great guy. I hope each and every one of you gets a chance to shake his hand in chat.

Coming Out Equals Gaining Liberty

Coming Out Equals Gaining Liberty

For anyone who's faced the prospects of divulging his up-'til-that-moment secret of disbelief in gods to either a close friend or a family member, there is a world of anticipated trauma, anxiety and dread to carry around - a very heavy burden, in deed. And what is the cost of carrying that burden? Silence. Keeping silent on matters of ones personal beliefs comes at the high cost of yielding away ones most precious freedom, the right to openly speak an opinion.

Yet, just as one anticipates the possible traumas which may surround confessing his heretofore unspoken atheist thoughts, there exists a parallel plane of knowing that once divested of his secret, freedom awaits, and one can finally know liberty. And it is in that certainty of knowing such impending joy is at hand, of knowing it is possible and real, that the courage to move ahead drives us to seek openness fully in order to realize our own liberation, to often, from long-held years of silence.

What's at stake? What is the price of openly speaking ones mind? Sometimes its plenty but usually not.

A popular Twitter personality and blogger of Godless Girl, has written an account of her recent profession for atheism, titling the piece "I Came Out." Its worthy of a look and I encourage that what follows will likely be just as worthy since it is from what comes next that we will hopefully see and hear how she's benefited by her newly claimed liberty. Just one look at the photo attached to the article is already telling a lot.

Congrats, Godless Girl.

Saturday, November 14, 2009

Group + Group + Group = Coordinated Groups

Group + Group + Group = Coordinated Groups

I've recently gotten together with some people in my home state of Arkansas - atheist people - and we're planning to do what others have already done: get organize.

There is no obligation, financial or otherwise ... United CoR's efforts are cooperative and supplementary to the work already being done by national and local nontheistic organizations.
United CoR (United Coalition of Reason) has gotten our attention. They're one of the nationwide organizations who have been putting up billboards, and Arkansas is looking in CoR's direction to lend a helping hand. That's what United CoR does according to their website; and, according to the groups who have already sought help from CoR, Chicago, Cleveland-Akron, San Diego, Colorado, Arizona, Boston, New York, New Jersey, Philadelphia, Morgantown, Dallas-Ft.Worth, Houston and others, they do what they do very, very well.

I certainly plan to share our experience with CoR from here in Arkansas with everyone interested in doing something similar in their own home state. The aim, of course, is to share what works. And since the people at Cor apparently have a few clues on what works, Arkansas is ready to learn them. I hope I'll be finding out what the first of those clues are in the next few weeks.

I do know this part... The beginning steps are easy enough: find out where groups near your area are located, contact them and make a plan to work together for the good of all; and then, make a call or send an email to United Coalition of Reason. The details are as simple as that and they're posted on the United CoR's website.

Watch for additional installments on this subject, and I hope your local group will soon decide to join in with others to organize and publicize non-religion.


Friday, November 13, 2009

The Catholic mystery of faith

The Catholic mystery of faith

According to the US council of Catholic Bishops, there are 68,115,001 Catholics in the United States, (that's 22% of the U.S. population). This alone is somewhat of a mystery since it doesn't quite agree with other statistical reports, but that's not the subject of this blog. It's the mystery behind the mystery of proclaiming "the mystery of faith" that's got my attention today.

As part every Catholic mass there is time taken out to profess the mystery of faith, Catholic style. They all stand and recite together. I'm wondering if anyone adding a voice to these weekly choruses of profession has actually considered the meaning of the word "mystery" in a what he's saying.

Mysteries are generally unsolved questions... that's what makes them mysteries, isn't it? And if anyone knows the answer to a mystery it can no longer be called a mystery. Hmmm?

So... when making their profession of faith by reciting the Apostles Creed, aren't Catholics actually saying that they fully understand they haven't got a clue? Aren't they saying they're adrift and at sea? And, I wonder, does the garden variety Catholic realize what he's professing isn't knowledge that includes a precise answer to the mystery but rather that its a profession of ignorance?

The Apostles Creed makes it that clear enough that the content of the claims it includes are based only upon belief - the words "I believe" reoccur a couple of times, in fact. Wowzers. That means, that every time a Catholic recites the Apostles Creed, he's actually saying "Duh... I don't know the real answer but I'm gullible enough to follow along with the crowd?" ...that's a lot of following, I'd say.

I really wonder how many of the 68,115001 Catholics have given this question even a moments' thought... Someone must have, eh? I mean, gosh and golly, they say it week after week, don't they?

Thursday, November 12, 2009

Europe is on the ball...

Europe is on the ball...

The European court has acted in a decision to ban displaying the Christian Cross in Italian public schools. That's good for them and good for all of us, too. Europe is certainly on the ball. And the United States could do itself well by taking a few lessons from Europeans.

It was decided by the European court that the aim of schools is to teach critical thinking skills to children and that displaying religious symbols was not in keeping with that ideal. European judges were not about to allow children to be "forced" by mere habit of familiarity into believe the unfounded notions of gods without preparing them first with a start-up of maturity and healthier state of mind for dealing with adult philosophy.

Here in the US, religious symbols are banned from public school classrooms... but not all schools are public schools, are they? And, not all public money for education is harbored exclusively for public school classrooms - some goes for subsidizing parochial schools, dosen't it?. And there's something wrong with the system which allows that practice to continue.

Historically, legal efforts to deny subsidized payments of public tax money to religious schools have been raised time and again, and arguments have been given at both the state and federal Supreme court level to end such practices. Mostly, they've failed, and the reasoning behind the failures is difficult to tolerate, at best. It amounts to hair little better than splitting where the thinking goes something like, 'Paying for secular books and computers used for parochial education isn't a subsidy of parochial education.' Bunk...! That's nothing but bologna no matter what else it might be called.

And, of course, we still have to deal with the legacy of Dub-ya, George Walker Bush's Office of Faith Based Initiative.

Eeek! Wake up America. Religious schools divide up our kids into opposing camps of belief. This is not how things ought to be in a united country.

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

Grrr...! Is the American Legion in it too?

Grrr...! Is the American Legion in it too?

Atheist Camel raised a complaining issue recently - one that involved putting a new Christian twist on the ceremonial practice of folding the American Flag. Please note: You'll find NOTHING in the history of Christianity or in its Bible that calls for this kind of BS.

The comments to Hump's article have been interesting to read and I've followed them as each was added. The latest comment, however, revealed something disturbing, in deed. In part, here it is:

Hump, I just learned that (1) the American Legion is advocating these supposed meanings for the ceremony (2) the legion is taking this into public schools as part of their respect-the-flag campaign [which I otherwise applaud], and (3) that the legion is chartered by congress.

Now, I don't know what the actual source of this bad news is since I didn't discover it myself, and I certainly don't like spreading rumor, it's not nice; but if this is true, there's a fight to fight with the old American Legion vets. Personally, I have a great deal of respect for the military, for veterans and for the American flag, but contrastingly, I have little to no respect for Christian doctrine and even less for this newly concocted intended religiosity being added on to the already established flag folding ceremony.

My first impression was that the new christian notion is just nonsense - its worthy of a laugh at best; but this... when a group like the American Legion, gets bent over and out of shape to push this as an agenda, morover, to try to teach it to kids. Grrr...! Something stinks.

Check it out for yourself at Atheist Camel... be sure to read the comments.

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

A low-fat article on "belief"

A low-fat article on "belief"

If "belief" is the word which equates to what we stand for, and this is commonly the case when speaking in common circles, than we'd each do well to have a ready answer to a frequently asked question, "What do you believe? (...or 'believe-in' as religionists will often say it.)

Richard carrier has put some serious effort into reducing down what he sees as the garden variety of "atheist belief" - and, dissatified by the obvious negative "There are no gods," he concentrates on the positive. So what are they?

Here's a low-fat article that gives quick incite to Richard's ideas on the subject and I think he's struck some nails soundly on the head with it: What an atheist ought to stand for

Having a willingness to doubt, to make honest inquiry, to follow logical thinking methods, to cautiously apply value upon everything one knows and to pursue happiness: these are Richards bottom lines. Read it for yourself to see if you agree.

Richard Carrier is scheduled to make an address at Skepticons II on November 20th - 21st at the campus of Missouri State University, Springfield. He'll be sharing the spotlight with PZ Myers, Rebecca Watson, Joe Nickell, DJ Grothe, Victor Stenger, Robert M. Price, and Dan Barker, along with local presenters Dr. Mark Richter and JT Eberhard. (Don't miss it!)

Monday, November 9, 2009

Christians lay claim to the US Flag... What's next?

Christians lay claim to the US Flag... What's next?

Holy cows...! Now they're claiming the flag...!

Atheist Camel, everyone's favorite dry hump, has uncovered the latest Christian tactic to take over the country - they've concocted a way to add "their God" to the traditional flag folding ceremony. How presumptuous is that..????

You can read Hump's original article here, but make sure you're sitting down and being careful about not having food or drink while reading... I don't want anyone to choke from laughing out loud. Hump's article.

Be sure to read all the comments and pass it on... this is to "good" a joke to keep to yourself.

See a "proper Christian flag folding" here: animation

Sunday, November 8, 2009

The Catholic League - Donohue's War

Donohue's War

In response to a new bus ad promotions by The American Humanist Association, placards displaying a Jolly Santa Clause along with the message "Why believe in God? Just be good for goodness sake," Bill Donohou, president of the Catholic League for Religious and Civil Rights, declared the first day of the war on Christmas. But he wasn't saying that he was at war against Christmas - he proclaimed his war as a defender of Christmas. The interview was carried by Fox News and AHA representative, Jesse Galef, was there to answer. (video)

The enemy, Mr Donohou claimed, is "a rash of militant secularists, sticking there noses where they don't belong [and] taking a cheap shot at Christmas. There's an agenda," he said, and he went on to drop a few names, Joseph Stalin, Pol Pot and Jeffery Dahmer, stating his opinion that they were all the product of philosophies like Humanism.

It seems to me that Mr. Donohou is a tad over-the-top on all of this. First off, "war" generally includes guns and bombs as opposed to bus signs; second, "militant" implies soldiers and not civilians; and finally, what in the world does Jeffery Dohmer have to do with anything...? Donohou's war, in sum, amounts to little more than firing off a few rounds of cannon fodder. He is willing to make a lot of noise, but he's not finding anything specific to aim at.

The fact is, as the bus signs tell us, "being good" doesn't require belief in God, Christmas or not.

Saturday, November 7, 2009

The End is Not Near

The End is Not Near

If you're like most people, you aren't likely to put good money in something that won't last very long. You wouldn't, for example, buy a boat and water skis because there were lingering flood waters nearby; nor would you invest your hard earned cash in a personal library of ten thousand volumes on the day of your on hundredth birthday. It just wouldn't make sense to behave so foolishly knowing what you know about such matters.

Well then... figure this one out. Baptists are among those who claim intricate knowledge of "the end times" and "Armageddon" and "the rapture" and because of that they ought to be rather unwilling to toss away their savings on material things which will only be left behind here on Earth when they all fly up to Heaven to be with Jesus. That wouldn't make sense, would it? But apparently that isn't the way it is for Baptists in Dallas Texas. Do they know something all other Baptists don't?

According to Dallas Business Journal, First Baptist of downtown Dallas is preparing to invest $130 million dollars into a new state-of-the-art church campus. Have they lost their minds? Aren't they worried that it will all be for naught? What about the rapture? And what happened to the threats of impending Armageddon and the end times???

I can only guess, of course, that the end is actually not so very near (just as I'm sure investors into this new Baptists church must be guessing....) Or do you think they know? Could it be that, if truth be told, they're fully aware of the fact their Bible predictions are a bunch of bologna?

Hmmm... ?

Friday, November 6, 2009

A point of view worthy of attention:

A point of view worthy of attention:

I'm a regular reader of several bloggers and I want to take time out to recommend one: Paul Fidalgo.

Paul writes a daily Religion and Spirituality blog for and comes to my home state on Little Rock's page. He's also made a recent speaking presentation for the Northern Virginia Ethical Society which he calls "The New Atheism and the Great Divide (audio)." That engagement and what he spoke on was the subject of his blog this morning. I was impressed by what he had to say. You might be as well.

Download Paul Fidalgo's audio reproduction from his page or get it here: Download MP3

Special privilege: Church Group Discount

Special privilege: Church Group Discount

Seeing himself as 'a majority of one' and by recognizing that his own opinion counted equal to that of any other citizen, Henry David Thoreau stood firmly in the way of social injustice. He rejected yielding to social subjugation, legal or otherwise, by opting instead to publicly exercise his personal right to take independent action even if it meant assuming a posture of civil disobedience. And, willing to suffer the consequence of jail for the sake of upholding his principle, Thoreau sat it out to make his voice understood. He would not yield.

Atheists will sometimes find themselves as alone as Thoreau, living in a virtual sea of religion where special privileges and special deals are granted to some for mere reasons of belonging to special groups, church groups. Discounted Sunday meals are a case in point. Its viewed as a boon to business for restaurants to offer "dollars-off" price reductions to customers presenting church bulletins when paying their tabs. And, although it isn't a permitted practice under federal law or in accord to most state law, some businesses boldly offer these discriminatory discounts. Atheists, having no churches, are left out in the cold when such policies are employed and that isn't fair. But what's for it?

If you're a Thoreau at heart and faced by such prejudice, you might raise a fuss on the spot... and, like Thoreau, you might wind up in jail. Thoreau's way isn't my recommendation, yet doing nothing at all isn't my recommended either.

When faced by illegal discrimination, neither turning tail nor standing alone makes much sense. First, doing nothing at all to thwart injustice fails to fulfill ones obligatory duties of citizenry - we must, each one of us, make every effort to demand equality and fair treatment in all situations. Second, acting the loner, likewise falls short of our obligation to one another. Single handed actions are unlikely to be as successful as steps taken with the strength of parallel support. Even the Lone Ranger depended on Tonto.

We non-believers have our own groups now, nationally recognized groups with reputations of success against religiously bias practices. It's my recommendation is to use that strength. Blow the whistle, sound the bell. Get help. Putting an end to religiously motivated inequality is the responsibility of everyone. Let's all see it done together.

Freedom From Religion Foundation can be easily reached by phone at: (608)256-8900. Americans United for Church and State Separation can be reached at: (202) 466-3234.

Make the call.


Wednesday, November 4, 2009

What price peace?

What price peace?

A guest columnist, Jeff Nall, wrote a piece published by AHA recently. He calls the article "Saving the Soul of Secularism."

I'm not quite certain that I can agree with Jeff's point of view on everything, but he makes a good point. His bottom line is that Humanism, secularism and atheism are still a mixed bag when it comes to arriving at any agreement for ending the cycles of war around the globe and especially our American involvement in them.

Mixed bag or not, Jeff Nall makes clear his opinion:

The very legitimacy of secularism and freethought is at stake. Humanists, atheists, and assorted freethinkers along with the organizations that represent them: the American Humanist Association, American Atheists, Secular Student Alliance, Freedom From Religion Foundation, Center for Inquiry, among others, should join anti-war/peace organizations in calling for a dramatic change in U.S. foreign policy away from neo-liberal imperialism and militarism. (emphasis added)

Humanism might suggest the most passive root possible, yet neither secularism nor atheism could unanimously agree with that philosophy. And statistics will bare that out. The anti-war solution always looks good on paper but somehow it just doesn't seem to fit well with reality.

My own rationality leads me to accept that wars will likely plague mankind long into the future, even after religious influences are removed from causing the social rifts supporting war. It just happens that there always seems to be some aggressive government somewhere - North Korea, Iraq, Iran, Malaysia or elsewhere - and there doesn't appear to be any clear reason for it.

Prudence tells me that keeping a strong nation militarily is better rather than worse. It's the safer thing to do. Using that force, however, is something of a different question - something that has to be decided case by case rather than taking a dogmatic stand.

If Humanism takes its stand, dogmatically, in an anti-war philosophy, hands down and no questions asked, I couldn't be comfortable as a Humanist. There are times when war must be waged and we, unfortunately, are currently at one of those times.

More billboard vandalism

More billboard vandalism

The vandalism that occurred to a Freedom From Religion Foundation billboard in Colorado isn't a lone case. The same sort of thing happened to a billboard placed in Moscow, Idaho by the American Humanist Association and this billboard has been defaced twice in just two weeks.

There is little doubt that these acts are examples of individuals who are over-the-top fanatic religionists... such people certainly can't be considered mainstream.

"The irony here is worth noting," said David Niose, president of the American Humanist Association. "Some individuals are committing criminal acts while apparently claiming that their religious view of the world leads to good behavior. It's not a very convincing argument on their part."

But what to do?

It's for the remainder of the religious community and kin to call out the wrong doers and bring them to justice. The local church communities ought to take this sort of unlawful activity to task - its the doings of one of their own, its not right and they all know it. Someone among them has been dishonest in deed.

Amplify your atheism

Amplify your atheism

This looks like a good tool for spreading the word of atheism - ""

Getting the news out to everyone sometimes has its tough going. Our blogging community has to be thanked for doing all of us that good service, and now we can all pitch in. and have recently been elevated to use by congress... yup, that's right! Congress is now posting some of its most controversial news and issues on public access sites and forwarding tid bits and clips to social sites like Twitter and Facebook. Lately they've been posting excerpts from the current health care reform debates. That's good news to know and we can all get involved in the debate. But although health care is an important issue to me (as it probably is to all of us) there are other issues, too, atheist issues, popping up in my mind.

Web tools like Amplify and sites like OpenCongress may come in handy for all interested atheists in time and perhaps we'd be wise to get more familiar with them now. The "Amplify" application is easy to use and OpenCongress allows tracking of specific issues and congressmen. Check it out.

Perhaps when the time gets around to debating tax reform again, we may be able to add in our two cents worth and try to even-up the score a tad with regard to "religious exemptions" ... and who knows, the next time "In God We Trust" enters into question, like weather it ought to be used when redesigning the back-side of a dollar bill, our atheist voices might finally be amplified enough to count.

Let's hope... and let's all take action.

Playing god is murder

Playing god is murder

People who believe in god sometimes decide to play god and the result is the same weather the god they believe in is Allah, Yahweh, Ganesh or Jesus H Christ.

It is part and parcel to religion to seek and maintain control over individuals. The rules are laid out and everyone is expected to follow them. That's fine and dandy for just about everything until someone makes the mistake of playing god.

Here's news of the latest religion related death - a death that need not have been. "Iraqi woman run over by father in US in 'Honor Killing'" The girl has since died.

For a father to take it upon himself to cause injury upon his own daughter - injury so severe that it leads to death - requires a motivation beyond the personal understanding of most people; but we can perhaps see that the father's actions were self-righteous and rooted in his belief. He was playing god.

I see similarities between this murder and the murder of Kansas' Dr George Tiller and of the Tennessee UU church shooting. The common thread is motivation... religious motivation.

Monday, November 2, 2009

New atheist groups:

New atheist groups:

Non-religious and atheist groups are forming up fast. We call ourselves Freethinkers, Skeptics, Atheist, Humanists and a bunch of other names, and that's all just fine, but... we need more groups on the ground in every city and town.

You know what to do. Get involved. Join a group or start one today.

High school aged people are getting on the ball, and thank goodness and reason for that. Chicago's Roman Catholic Cardinal, Francis George, is even a tad worried about it. (Um, that's an understatement. He's messing his pants over it.) And even the research data of religious outfits like the Barna Group are reporting higher and higher trending numbers of non-believers in every age group. Its a hands down issue. Atheism is on the move.

But, still, we need to keep growing and organizing. Pitch-in and help keep the movements for atheism and secularity successful. Join or start up a group today.

I'm getting anxious (...and worried about Skepticons.)

I'm getting anxious (...and worried about Skepticons.)

Skepticons II is happening in Springfield, Missouri, this November 20th and 21st. I wanna be there but little things keep setting me back (like TWO blown up cars).

The meeting is featuring some really great speakers; Dan Barker, P Z Myers, Richard Carrier, Dr. Victor Stenger, Rebecca Watson and more; it's a good line up and it ought to be fun. Its also the KOOLEST thing happening on a big scale in my little part of the world. But - eeek! - I've got to get these car headaches settled and finally have a reliable way to get there.

You don't think God had anything to do with this, do you?

Anyhow, here's the schedule of events:
Friday, November 20

11:00-11:40 - Arrival, people getting stuffs.
11:40-Noon - Welcome, thanks yous, etc.
Noon-1:30 - Panel Debate, Does God Exist? (students)
2-4 - Panel Debate, Does God Exist? Carrier, Stenger, Price vs. Charles Self and others from the Assemblies of God. DJ Grothe moderator.

4-5:30 - Break

5:30-6:30 - JT Eberhard, Why do we criticize religion?
6:30-7:30 - Rachel Dawn-Craig (or PZ Myers #1)
7:30 - Whenevs, hang-out with speakers at a yet-undecided location.

Saturday, November 21

10-10:15 - DJ Grothe
10:25-11:15 - Victor Stenger, The New Atheism: Taking a Stand for Science and Reason
11:25-12:30 - Robert Price, The Gospels and Thorough-going Skepticism

12:30-2 - LUNCH

2:00-3:20 - Joe Nickell, Investigating the Paranormal
3:30-4:50 - Dan Barker, A Book of (Bad) Numbers

5-7 Dinner break

7-8:15 - Richard Carrier, Where the Hell Is Jesus!? Weird Stuff from the Gospels to the Apostles
8:25 - 9:40 - PZ Myers
9:50 - 11:00 - Rebecca Watson



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