Why Strident Atheists Don’t Bother Me

created image of freak out on atheism

In the decades I’ve been involved in the atheist and Humanist movements, I’ve seen many “inner-party” battles over policy, plans, and actions. Many atheists I know are very vocal to the point they piss off many of my Humanist friends. So-called strident atheists never bothered me because of simple points I keep in mind that lowers my threshold of annoyance. I wish more in the freethought community would keep these hints in mind.

An example of the infighting I’ve seen inside the freethought community can read in an essay by American Humanist Association President David Niose:

Continue reading “Why Strident Atheists Don’t Bother Me”

Non-believers finally exist

Best part of President Obama’s inaugural address on January 20th, for me, was this bit:

For we know that our patchwork heritage is a strength, not a weakness. We are a nation of Christians and Muslims, Jews and Hindus, and non-believers.

Inaugural Address

Of course I feel for those other hundreds of religions and other beliefs left out, but I’m happy to get a shout out for non-believers.

Give up religion for Lent

While driving by a nearby rib joint I noticed they had this written on their outside sign board

All-you-can-eat Fish on Fridays

That reminded me that Lent is close at hand.

Lent, the period between Ash Wednesday and Easter in the Roman Catholic (and most Christian) calendar arrives on February 21st. Most Catholic friends of mine abstain eating meat on Fridays. I once had dinner with a friend, on a Friday, late during Lent and when I asked what was for dinner, he said, “Pancakes..” It seemed his family was fished out.

It was very weird having Pancakes with all the fixings in the evening. I tried to get my Mom to do it for fun once but she refused. “Pancakes are for breakfast,” she said.

Religious people are also taught to give up something they enjoy during Lent. Some try to quit smoking, stop eating sweets, or stop drinking.

My idea is for religious people to give up religion for Lent. Try to see how it is to live without superstition and outdated thinking – like observing Lent. Try it for 40 days and if you aren’t satisfied you can go back to religion but I really believe if you stop going to church and stop praying, you will like it and stay with us Atheists.

For further reading:

American Atheists

American Humanist Association

Secular Student Alliance

Prayer protest in Columbus on May 4th

A friend of mine passed along the following note concerning the so-called National Day of Prayer. The info concerns a protest to held in Columbus on 5/4/2006. If you would like to participate feel free, if you want more info his contact info is at the end of the post.

On Thursday, May 4, 2006 – many Americans will be observing a National Day of Prayer. This is an annual event that is observed on the first Thursday of every May and has been endorsed by many goverenment officials from President Bush on down.

A National Day of Prayer rally is scheduled to be held (for the 16th year in a row) on the west (High St.) side of the Ohio Statehouse from 11:30am until 1pm.

I plan to be there with a sign and literature, protesting this terrible breach in the wall of separation between church and state.

I am doing this not as a member of any organization but as an American citizen who is fed up with the drift towards theocracy in this country.

I am also fed up with the way prayer, faith, and religion seem to be increasingly eclipsing reason and science.

If you share my concerns and would like to join me, please let me know. I plan on having some extra, professionally made signs available as well as flyers and hand-outs.

I’ve already cleared my plans with both Statehouse and Columbus officials and can share the rules and regulations that govern protests like this to anyone who might be interested.

My protest has to some extent been inspired by the National Day of Reason that the American Humanist Association and other groups have been promoting as an alternative to the National Day of Prayer. You can learn more about the thinking behind the Day of Reason by going here:


Why a National Day of Prayer is wrong

Americans United for Separation of Church and State thinks the National Day of Prayer is wrong

On another page

Official Day of Prayer web site

Day of Prayer rally at the Ohio Statehouse

Questions? Contact Dan Birtcher (614) 865-9146 hcco_djb@yahoo.com

Atheist sells self on Ebay

Hemant Mehta, chair of the board of the Secular Student Alliance, offered himself on Ebay. Well not himself, per se, but his beliefs. He had an auction offering to the highest bidder, Mehta’s time to visit a church of the winner’s choice. Mehta is an Atheist and he found out that there are many Christians looking to convert anyone who offers them a chance. The winning bid was $504 and led Mehta to visit several churches in the Chicago area. The money bid went to the SSA as a donation.

His efforts also received a good deal of media attention including making the front page of the venerable Wall Street Journal on March 9th.

His auction leaves me conflicted. While on one hand I liked the media attention he got, I was also bothered by the whole concept. It reminded me a “sucker’s bet” because Mehta never considered converting to Christianity and his auction played on the one major flaw of someone with sincere religious beliefs – that they can convert others even Atheists.

Committed believers will grasp on any bit, no matter how small, to “prove” that those who hold differing beliefs can 1. change on a dime and 2. A simple visit to a church or quoting Bible verses will do it.

Does everybody remember recently when respected Atheist, Anthony Flew, commented he did think some unknown force was behind our universe making things work. Christians had field day, reporting that an Atheist now believed in God. Of course a closer reading of what he did say had nothing to do with the God of Christians.

Then there is the constant myth that there are no Atheists in foxholes. No matter how many examples we provide that such a myth is false it still endures in the Christian community.

It isn’t the first and probably not the last time Christians would pay to try to convert people. When I was a teen and still a believer I use to get invited to my friends church on many occasions for a pizza party. The price I had to pay was to listen to my friend give his testimony to me. I had no intention of joining his church. It was an evangelical Baptist church where it was a good thing to rise during a service and speak in tongues. That goofy scene caused me to cross that church off my list.

I think some caution should be exercised about the point of the auction. Mehta himself has said he didn’t intend for the auction to become what it did. He said he didn’t think anyone would bid. His comments suggest that it was started as a joke and that is what most Atheists would think as well if you really think about it.

It may have shed a bit of light in our theistcentric media about Atheists but at the end of the day nothing would have changed and may have reinforced the believer’s idea that Atheists are just smug and arrogant.