Posts tagged ‘atheist’
I’m not really a people person. Like a lot of atheists (supposedly), I’m quite an outsider, as much of a hermit as I can get away with, in fact. I have never liked going out in crowds or socializing with large numbers of people. But I help run my local atheist group and am coordinator of the Morgantown Coalition of Reason.
Why am I telling you all of this? Because I have realized something that I want to share with you. Even though I’m a curmudgeonly hermit-y atheist, I love going to the 3 atheist/freethinker/skeptical meetings we have every month. That’s 3 Sundays a month where I happily leave the house and go socialize with a small group of people. And I look forward to it. The one or 2 Sundays where we don’t meet I miss it.
Even people like me benefit from social community and contact. The beauty of the atheist/freethinker community is that we are relatively like-minded. We have a foundation of common ground. But we are also quite different, of course, which is good because that makes things interesting. The added bonus of freethinkers, skeptics and atheists is that we seem relatively level-headed (overall – there are exceptions, of course) and we argue and discuss matters with interest and fairness. No drama llama is invited! So it’s actually fun and mentally stimulating.
I think we all need some type of community, which is one thing that religion has in its favor that being a lone atheist or nonbeliever does not.
But this is easily remedied. I thought I’d share some thoughts on how to get involved with a secular group of like-minded people. If none exist in your area, you can start one up…
OK, here it is, warts and all, the first episode of … this. Whatever this turns out to be. Warning, it is about 38 minutes long, so make sure you have a bit of time on your hands.
Don’t expect a Hollywood production here, folks. This has absolutely no production value, and the only edits I made were to remove two or three times where I slipped and called RoseMary by her real name. But I think the audio came out ok, and that is what is important.
I uploaded this to blip.tv since they allow me to embed an audio player here. Here is the description I put there:
My wife RoseMary and I would like to welcome you to the first episode our podcast. She is a Catholic Christian, and has been her entire life. I met her in 2004. We dated, and even though I was a liberal Baptist Christian, we fell in love. We wed in 2005. Some time in 2007, after 2 years of marraige, I lost my Christian Faith, and now considers the term ‘atheist’ to most accurately describe my religious stance. But my wife loves him whom I do not believe exists.
Does this story sound familiar? Is your marraige challenged with a similar situation? Has one of you fallen out of the Faith? Believer, what advice have you gotten from your friends, family and church? Non-believer, do you have anywhere to turn for support, or do you feel compelled to stay in the closet? RoseMary and I both believe that these stories are very common, yet few are willing to share these stories.
We are not so sure that we want to tell others our own stories, but are willing to give it a try. We want to share our experiences of being “unequally yoked”. Do you have a story to share? We would like to hear it, and possibly share it with others. Please contact us at email@example.com
It is my hope that this proves beneficial to somebody out there, and it generates some healthy discussion around here.
Ray Comfort has been aptly dubbed “The Grandmaster of Christian Ignorance”. Here are a few choice samples of his utter idocy.
If you would like to see the expanded version, go to his blog, Atheist Central, and look on the right side of the page a little ways down.
• If God didn’t exist, the atheist wouldn’t have something to not believe in.
• An atheist is someone who believes that nothing made everything.
• An atheist is someone who pretends that there is no God.
• The human propensity to gullibility is evidenced by evolution’s many believers.
• It is impossible for a Christian to convert to atheism because a Christian is someone who knows God.
• We have men who call themselves scientists, when they should have instead got a job with Disney as “imagineers.”
• School children should have evolution explained to them, so that they can see how unscientific and crazy it is.
Much ink has been spilled in the skeptical community over the issue of labels. What should we call ourselves: atheists, or agnostics? Which term is more “justified”? Here, I toss my own hat into the ring on this question… and then I will argue that this issue is unimportant, distracting, and, potentially, divisive.
There is at least a small upside to this issue, which is why I’m including my own reasoning. The only potentially serious function it has, in my view, is that it provides a convenient arena in which to explore some epistemology. “Epistemology” is that branch of philosophy that deals with knowledge – how do we know what we know? Hashing out the atheist vs. agnostic question can be an entry way into how we approach questions of knowledge. We can sharpen our critical thinking skills and learn some philosophy to boot. To the degree that they serve that purpose, such debates can be informative, maybe even useful. There’s a serious downside, though, but I’ll save that for the end. So, for what intellectual exercise it’s worth, here’s my take on this question:
I start by defining terms: theism, of course, refers to belief in god(s). Atheism, then, obviously refers to a lack of belief in god(s). Agnosticism is the assertion that it is not possible to know the answer, and thus a refusal to opine (with any confidence) on the existence of god(s).
Now, some atheists define atheism broadly. They suggest it can mean one who asserts, “there is no god”, but also one who simply lacks (by choice or happenstance) any belief in god. This is a rather fine distinction, but real enough, I think. The former position is sometimes called “hard” atheism, the latter, “soft” atheism. However, since a “soft” atheist (a) does not assert “there is no god”, and also (b) does not assert “there is a god”, for my part I do not see any difference between this position, and agnosticism. So, for my usage of these terms below, I will restrict the word “atheism” to the “hard” variety: an atheist is one who asserts “there is no god.”…
It can be easy to feel superior to theists who blindly follow around like docile then alternately hostile sheep, parroting whatever nonsense is fed to them by their minister or media of choice. They can seem stupid, however they are smart enough in some respects to be unnerving and to keep most of us supposedly intelligent freethinking atheists hiding in our closets. Although any mob is dangerous, and sheep are no exception.
What are the causes of sheep mentality? Does it only happen to dumb people? These are questions I am curious about especially after reading an excerpt from Matt Taibbi’s new book, The Great Derangement. I’ve never heard of Taibbi before, but he has his own Wikipedia page. He works for Rolling Stone, oh, and it seems that he is a regular contributor to Real Time with Bill Maher.
So my friend linked me to freethoughtpedia to an excerpt of this book. It’s kind of long, but I found this to be an exceptionally compelling must-read.
Taibbi infiltrates a christian zionist church in Texas. He’s an atheist but he goes undercover to an “Encounter Weekend” to get a look “inside the evangelical mind-set that gave this country eight years of George Bush”.
I found it to be very insightful, frightening and downright hilarious reading. I would highly recommend it. If you’re going to read it and want the full experience, click here. Otherwise if you need more tempting, here are a few really compelling quotes from the excerpt:…
My Early Years – Growing up, I was a typical American kid. I had a brother and a sister, a loving mom and dad, and we were taught to believe in Christianity, America’s status quo faith. Mom and dad were not religious fanatics, but they were mild fundamentalists who believed that Christianity was the only way and that no one could have the highest morality without belief in the Christian God. I swallowed this philosophy hook, line, and sinker from day one, though I didn’t become a baptized believer until my eighteenth birthday.
I was converted for the same reason that many others were — I was at a time in my life when I needed emotional and psychological support. I had fought my own battles with depression growing up, but when Christianity came along, that was the end of my singing the blues! Finding something to believe in is a big part of the psychological make up of the individual. I had also just fallen out of a relationship with a girl and this made me begin to “look upward” for help like I’d never done before. I was a party-goer, by and large, but I knew that someday, I would have to give up my selfish life and become a part of what I was taught God told me to do — to be baptized and live as a Christian. I remember how it felt to start looking for answers in the bible and pray like I never had before. I was a changed man at my conversion one cold February morning in 1994. What I felt Christ did for me was all too apparent in my mind. I decided to live for him since he gave so much for me, and I was so thankful that I had escaped the eternal flames of Hell that awaited me …
A pristine second-hand copy of What’s So Great About Christianity? by Dinesh D’Souza became available to me recently. D’Souza tackles the current onslaught of atheistic attacks on Christianity by addressing the primary arguments within the framework of traditional Christianity or the kind of Christianity that takes the Bible to be the revealed word of God, the primary source of revelation.
The first two chapters are, for the most part, a sociological survey of the current success of Christianity as the world’s fastest growing religion. Vibrant Christianity, it seems, is an emerging force particularly in South America, Asia and Africa.
The third and forth chapters contain quite an informed characterization of the atheistic challenge to religion and Christianity in particular. D’Souza quotes a number of prominent figures to highlight their overtly negative views. Had I not read The End of Faith and listened to a portion of The God Delusion audiobook, I might have taken quite a dim view of Dawkins and Harris, considering them to be taking mere elitist positions in relation to science.
However, I now know that while their attacks on religion are strong, both men remain positive and mystically-oriented rather than negative and materialistic…