We are proud to announce the opening of our newest resource for atheists. This website is a meeting point for atheists looking for a local chapter in their area, or find local events. It’s still in “BETA” so expect to see changes in the near future.
We are proud to announce the opening of our newest resource for atheists. This website is a meeting point for atheists looking for a local chapter in their area, or find local events. It’s still in “BETA” so expect to see changes in the near future.
By Rev. David McMahan
Tis the season again, for two months of pain and misery that fill me with rage and bitterness for every Jesus lover out there. I hate this holiday and anything related to it. This is the king of all holidays, which pretty much starts the day after Halloween and doesn’t stop until 2 weeks after New Years Day. I used to love the holiday, I even have white christmas lights (due to lack of another name) up in my room year round, I like the way snow looks, etc… I hate this holiday for many reasons which I will now list for you.
1. the religious aspect:
A. It takes the original pagan holiday “Yule” and turns it into something the catholic/christian church finds acceptable.
B. The holiday seems to be more about Santa Claus than about the birth of the deity of the religion that bastardized it in the first place.
C. It lies to children, I hate liars (although it does give us a great piece of ammunition when people say god exists, equating him to Santa).
D. It’s just another way for them to rub their religious beliefs in your face. Also to any atheist here that say “merry christmas” what is wrong with you? Stand by your religious disbeliefs and say happy winter solstice or something similar because I’d at least rather like to hear that out of you than what has been pounded into your skull by the theists.
2. the corporate aspect:
A. The holiday does nothing anymore but encourage you to shop and buy buy buy and spend every dime you have on people who won’t appreciate it or remember what you got them (unless it’s REALLY good). These days I ask for nothing, and when they won’t comply (they seriously won’t comply) I ask for money because at least then I can use it for something I really want then get something I’ll hate and find fault with. They still get nothing, and maybe one day they’ll stop giving and I can be truly happy. I hate mandatory gift giving and would rather get something home made and random if anything, not because a holiday requires it and a store offers it.
B. Shopping for the holiday now starts in August, which you can imagine how annoying that gets. Still the advertisements are at least reasonable until November.
C. The spirit of giving is crap, what are you a communist? You give to charity, you give because you’re told to, hell you even give because you HAVE to in taxes. No one saves any money and therefore everyone goes broke. People go into debt over this holiday and THAT ruins lives, just so they seem like good friends/relatives or to keep up with the Joneses.
D. I don’t need a stupid holiday to show someone I care about them. If I care I’ll buy them dinner or get them something at random if and when I think of it. The people I care about already know I care about them and that’s what counts the most.
So to sum it all up, not everyone believes what they do, so they need stop shoving it in everyones face because it’s all just a bunch of humbug.
(I will say however it’s pretty awesome that I get the Grinch’s theme song as my ring tone on my friend’s phone, that was neat and really thoughtful on his part and better than any actual gift to me).
By Rev. Chris Andersen
Throughout the course of my wanderings, the subject of religion and government has occasionally reared its head in discussions with friends, family, classmates, etc. While talking about the merits and negatives of including “In God We Trust” on our currency, I noticed a common statement: “It’s just four words. What does it matter?” The same is said concerning the phrase “One Nation Under God” in our pledge. On the surface, I may agree. My worry is that it will not end at just four words. So where will it end?
Hmmm, time for a brief history lesson:
A Gospel Minister, Rev. M. R. Watkinson, sent a letter in November 1861 to the Secretary of the Treasury. This was a time when religious fervor was en vogue during the Civil War. In the letter, Rev. Watkinson pleaded his case (from one Christian to another) that U.S. currency should recognize all mighty god in some form.
An excerpt from his letter:
“… no possible citizen could object. This would relieve us from the ignominy of heathenism. This would place us openly under the Divine protection we have personally claimed. From my hearth I have felt our national shame in disowning God as not the least of our present national disasters.”
Within seven days of the original letter, the Secretary of the Treasury set about the process of devising a motto to include on the nation’s coins. In God We Trust first appeared on U.S. coins three years later in 1864. The motto’s appearance on our coins came and went… and came and went… and well, you get the point. That changed during the McCarthy period when in 1956 the President approved a law passed by Congress which made IN GOD WE TRUST our national motto. Beginning the following year, our new national motto would be printed on U.S. currency… coin AND paper.
The passing of this law came on the heels of another landmark event. Congress added the words “under god” to the pledge of allegiance two years earlier in 1954. One of the arguments of the day was that reasonable people should not object to the addition of just two words (sounds remarkably similar to what the reverend had said nearly 100 years earlier).
A decade later, government and religion were back on the front pages. The non-theist population started asserting its voice. An Atheist mother was enraged that her tax money was being used to buy bibles for public schools. Worse than that was the mandate that her son would take part in bible readings and prayer while attending school. When her son opted out, he was beaten by his classmates while the school officials turned a blind eye. The mother brought suit against the board of education. In a nearly unanimous decision (8-1), the Supreme Court agreed that mandatory bible readings and school prayer were unconstitutional.
In the years since, many have argued that the establishment clause of the constitution either does not exist or does not apply because of past precedent. What precedent you may ask? You guessed it… Government endorsement of religion on U.S. currency, Government endorsement of religion through our national motto, Government endorsement of religion in our official pledge of allegiance.
People who want religion integrated more into our government / education / society often claim that a few liberal judges have hijacked the legal system and are legislating from the bench. This argument just doesn’t hold water. Judges have pointed to the establishment clause consistently over many decades. These are not isolated cases involving a few radical judges. The dual protections of the first amendment have been cited by dozens of courts and judges over a sustained period of time. Both liberal judges as well as ultra-conservative judges have pointed to the constitutional protections in their findings.
By keeping phrases such as “in god we trust” and “under god” in our official government psyche, we keep the door open for fundamentalists to claim precedent. The fight is ongoing to bring organized prayer and bible readings back into public schools. If the religious wing manages to get that through somehow, do you think they will be satisfied? They weren’t satisfied with having coins minted with “in god we trust”. They weren’t satisfied with having a religious national motto. They were not satisfied with making every citizen in the country acknowledge a god in order to pledge their allegiance to this nation and its flag.
If they gain momentum, what will be next? Will they once again start banning any books that are not in agreement with the bible? Strike classes from school curriculum which do not conform to biblical stories? This is not much of a stretch, but what will be next? Will we start enforcing more laws from the bible? Start snuffing out any atheistic movements as well as Wiccans and Satanists? After that we may move on to tell Muslims that they have their own countries they can live in. After all, this is a nation founded on CHRISTIAN principles. If we do not stay vigilant in the protection of the separation principles of the first amendment, we could end up like the people of England before the settlement of America; being forced to adhere to a narrow religious interpretation. This may not include Mormons. It may not include Jews. It may not include Protestants if the government happens to follow catholic principles instead. It is in everyone’s — religious or not — best interest to maintain a strict separation of church and state. By allowing religion into the government business, we allow government into religious business. I don’t think anyone really wants that.
To make this easy
god = whatever your religion’s deity
satan = whatever your religion’s evil person
bible = whatever your religion’s holiest book
Religion is a wonderful thing, that everybody should embrace and believe.
4000 years ago.
But this is 2009. And the vital role religion once played has been replaced by science. The truth is we don’t need an explanation for where thunder comes from or why sky twinkles at night anymore. And we certainly don’t need moral guidance from sources that time and time again prove to be corrupt, hate filled, and narrow minded.
What we need is a scientific community willing to step up to the plate. One willing to be proactive in politics, in the local community, and one on one with the people. What we need is a populous willing to pitch in, in the name of science. What we need are more television programs with scientists explaining where we are and where we could go. What we need are regular local meetings where the scientific community listens to the questions the people have, and then comes back with real answers. What we need are organized efforts in politics to counter the pro-religious influence. What we need is rational thinking based alternatives to churches, religious holidays, bibles, missionaries, private schools, and community support groups.
What we need is to show that religion isn’t the best answer, or the safe answer. It is the exact opposite! It holds you back and keeps you in fear. it shuts your mind to the world as it really is. and limits your ability to live happy, or benefit humanity.
What we need are role models in high places and small. Willing to stand up and say “I don’t believe. And I don’t need to. I am an intelligent and moral person because I choose to be”. What we need is to show how many we are, and the good we do everyday. To let believers know that they are welcome with us, and give them the tools and support to believe in themselves for a change.
Reverend Paul J. McMaster
The Dragon In My Garage
“A fire-breathing dragon lives in my garage”
Suppose (I’m following a group therapy approach by the psychologist Richard Franklin) I seriously make such an assertion to you. Surely you’d want to check it out, see for yourself. There have been innumerable stories of dragons over the centuries, but no real evidence. What an opportunity!
“Show me,” you say. I lead you to my garage. You look inside and see a ladder, empty paint cans, an old tricycle–but no dragon.
“Where’s the dragon?” you ask.
“Oh, she’s right here,” I reply, waving vaguely. “I neglected to mention that she’s an invisible dragon.”
You propose spreading flour on the floor of the garage to capture the dragon’s footprints.
“Good idea,” I say, “but this dragon floates in the air.”
Then you’ll use an infrared sensor to detect the invisible fire.
“Good idea, but the invisible fire is also heatless.”
You’ll spray-paint the dragon and make her visible.
“Good idea, but she’s an incorporeal dragon and the paint won’t stick.”
And so on. I counter every physical test you propose with a special explanation of why it won’t work.
Now, what’s the difference between an invisible, incorporeal, floating dragon who spits heatless fire and no dragon at all? If there’s no way to disprove my contention, no conceivable experiment that would count against it, what does it mean to say that my dragon exists? Your inability to invalidate my hypothesis is not at all the same thing as proving it true. Claims that cannot be tested, assertions immune to disproof are veridically worthless, whatever value they may have in inspiring us or in exciting our sense of wonder. What I’m asking you to do comes down to believing, in the absence of evidence, on my say-so.
The only thing you’ve really learned from my insistence that there’s a dragon in my garage is that something funny is going on inside my head. You’d wonder, if no physical tests apply, what convinced me. The possibility that it was a dream or a hallucination would certainly enter your mind. But then, why am I taking it so seriously? Maybe I need help. At the least, maybe I’ve seriously underestimated human fallibility.
Imagine that, despite none of the tests being successful, you wish to be scrupulously open-minded. So you don’t outright reject the notion that there’s a fire-breathing dragon in my garage. You merely put it on hold. Present evidence is strongly against it, but if a new body of data emerge you’re prepared to examine it and see if it convinces you. Surely it’s unfair of me to be offended at not being believed; or to criticize you for being stodgy and unimaginative– merely because you rendered the Scottish verdict of “not proved.”
Imagine that things had gone otherwise. The dragon is invisible, all right, but footprints are being made in the flour as you watch. Your infrared detector reads off-scale. The spray paint reveals a jagged crest bobbing in the air before you. No matter how skeptical you might have been about the existence of dragons–to say nothing about invisible ones–you must now acknowledge that there’s something here, and that in a preliminary way it’s consistent with an invisible, fire-breathing dragon.
Now another scenario: Suppose it’s not just me. Suppose that several people of your acquaintance, including people who you’re pretty sure don’t know each other, all tell you that they have dragons in their garages–but in every case the evidence is maddeningly elusive. All of us admit we’re disturbed at being gripped by so odd a conviction so ill-supported by the physical evidence. None of us is a lunatic. We speculate about what it would mean if invisible dragons were really hiding out in garages all over the world, with us humans just catching on. I’d rather it not be true, I tell you. But maybe all those ancient European and Chinese myths about dragons weren’t myths at all.
Gratifyingly, some dragon-size footprints in the flour are now reported. But they’re never made when a skeptic is looking. An alternative explanation presents itself. On close examination it seems clear that the footprints could have been faked. Another dragon enthusiast shows up with a burnt finger and attributes it to a rare physical manifestation of the dragon’s fiery breath. But again, other possibilities exist. We understand that there are other ways to burn fingers besides the breath of invisible dragons. Such “evidence”–no matter how important the dragon advocates consider it–is far from compelling. Once again, the only sensible approach is tentatively to reject the dragon hypothesis, to be open to future physical data, and to wonder what the cause might be that so many apparently sane and sober people share the same strange delusion.
P.S. (From the FCA) EXACTLY!!!!! For fucks sake.
I was asked a while back what I would say at an atheist wedding and at the time I didn’t really know what to say. I was pondering the other day about exactly how I would go about performing an atheist wedding. What would I say? My wife and I had written our own vows for our wedding and I don’t really know what a normal wedding is like. Then it dawned on me that I don’t need to say or do anything. Why should I? My wife and I knew exactly what to say to each other when we got married. What’s the point of repeating after someone? We didn’t need anyone to tell us what marriage meant. No one needed to tell us that we would love each other for the rest of our lives. The couple love each other. They don’t need me to do anything for them but make it legal. And why can’t they just stand before everyone by themselves without some central figure taking attention away from them on their special day? It’s all about them and their love for each other. They can express their love for each other and their commitment to each other just fine by themselves. They don’t need anyone telling them what marriage means or how much they love each other. They don’t need to repeat after me that they’ll honor and cherish each other. No this is their day all about them and their love for each other. They do not need a go between for a higher power. There is nothing I can add to what they already have.
Man, I just watched Super Nanny and the tears are fresh in my eyes. Tonights show was about a woman with two small children who just lost her husband. Watching her grieve and come to terms with being a single parent was heart breaking. Listening to her vocalize the loss and despair she had for her life that could of been, for the man who should have raised her kids and stood beside her made me reflect on what I am thankful for. I believe that with the holiday season approaching there is no better time.
With Thanksgiving right around the corner my son keeps bringing home the typical school crafts. I have gotten turkeys made of paper, poems about pilgrims, and a list of what he’s thankful for. His list is cute and innocent, thanks for my family, my toys, my friends…etc. My list is amazingly similiar.
I think about my whole family…my grandparents, thanks for choosing to come to America. My uncles and aunts, thanks for playing monster can’t get us and for giving me wonderful cousins to grow up with. My parents for raising me in an artistic and open-minded household. My little sister, thank you for being my sounding board and the biggest pain in my ass. My husband, thank you for being my perfect fit, the most attentive and loving man I have had the chance to know, for being a great father and supporting our family. My oldest son, thank you for being so sweet and helping me daily with minimal complaint. And my youngest son, thank you for reminding me to have patience, for little kisses when I get an owie, and showing me that messy is okay.
I love my house with all it’s gadgets and comforts. My fridge full of food and an extra one in the garage for overstock. My animals for being warm and soft, even my evil bird for making sweet noises in the morning. I am sitting in a warm house, wrapped in a fluffy white robe, full after dinner, watching New Orleans winning on my giant television. Knowing that my son has just gone to sleep in his own room with a big blanket and some stuffed toys while the other watches a movie in our room makes me happy. It also makes me realize that there are many who don’t get to enjoy any of the above.
Earlier this month I started helping my mother to prepare for a fundraiser for our local science museum. Last night was the culmination of all that hard work. I’m not sure of the total yet but am pretty sure that almost a million was raised. All that money is slated for youth programs and scholarships. I feel good knowing that we helped contribute to a childs education.
My husband and I decided earlier this year to get our kids involved in community work. We thought about opportunities that our family would be able to volunteer for. My husband and I give blood and the kids have helped hand out juice. We have collected food for local pantries and my son has made a basket for a needy family. There is a giant dinner for the homeless next week that we are hoping to help with. Our local library was just rebuilt and is always looking for reading buddies and part time helpers.
I believe that as a family, especially a religion free family, that we should get out there and help our fellow human beings. Opportunities arise everyday to help others, they help us all in the long run. Maybe your time and services will help someone else be thankful this year. The market for charity is not cornered by churches. If you have the time, get yourself out there, get your children out there, make a difference and if anyone says god bless you, say, “No blessing from god, just good will for my fellow man.”
Submitted by: Pixel_Cat
Well, it’s Saturday night. I have been 28 for 2 official days now. I am writing this before I get started on a wild evening of drinking games and Rock Band (cue the nerd comments). If things go right….there will be people sleeping on my floor, the guest bedroom, and possibly the bathroom floor, but hey, who hasn’t been there. I have junk food out the ying yang, coolers are full, and a new play list is ready in the iPod. We’re good to go.
I reflect on my life, 28 whole years. I think about being 16 and just knowing I was never going to have kids, get married, hell, reach 23. Wow….Here I am, 2 kiddos, a great hubby, and closer to 30 than 23. I also reflect on the ups and downs, the fights I’ve had with people, the ones I won…..and the ones I lost. I reflect on my path to rational thinking.
I wasn’t raised in a religious household, hell, my mom claimed wicca while my father was ex-catholic. I grew up in a small Texas town, informed (for the first time) that I was going to hell at 8 yrs old, and painfully aware of dead deer heads as decorations. I love my little town tho, on the most part, people were nice, neighbors knew each other, and the kids played till the sun went down. Now when that sun went down, how do you prolong the playing? Sleep-overs, that way you can giggle all night and eat junk food. I could only have sleep-overs on Friday nights, why not Saturdays you ask? Well Sunday morning services of course.
It never failed that the well intentioned parent of my friend would say, “We can just take her to church with us in the morning.” My mom would say thanks but no thanks (so very Palin of her). I hated not getting that Saturday night of freedom, scary movies, crazy make-up, and boy talk. I remember thinking, I will totally go to church if I could just spend the night. In hindsight I say, “Thank you mom, thanks for sparing me that lil bit of insanity.”
Even tho I missed out on those Saturday nights, my life has been good, it’s been fun, it’s been informative. Do you want to know what makes it even better…??? The fact that it’s Saturday night and I’m having a sleepover. I can watch all the scary movies I want, talk about boys and S..E..X too. Damn, I might just break out the makeup. The icing on my birthday cake tho….. we can sleep in on Sunday. SAKE BOMB!!!!
I’m sorry to announce that we have had our first catastrophe here at the First Church of Atheism.
We had a database error that deleted almost all of our minister list and profiles. We have a system in place that backs up all changes to the database every 24 hours. It saves everything to a separate hard drive, in a different computer, in a completely different location. Until now, we thought the system was near foolproof. We didn’t discover until too late that our back up hard drive went bad. It was saving the changes, but the information that was saved is unreadable. Completely corrupt and useless. The unfortunate consequence of this is that we no longer have a complete list of our ordained ministers, and almost everyone’s profile has been deleted.
What does this mean for our ministers?
This means that almost everyone ordained needs to resubmit their information via the ordainment page. To find out if your ordination is one of the ones that was deleted, simply attempt to log in. If it works, than you are one of the lucky ones, and you don’t need to do anything else.
If you are not able to log then you need to resubmit your ordination. Please enter your information exactly as it was when you were first ordained, and hit the “Ordain Me” button. If you had made changes to your profile, like uploading a picture, you will need to do it again, as all of the information is lost.
We’re very sorry, and are currently fixing the problems with our back up system. I am pretty sure this will never happen again. I wish I could blame it on god, but the truth is that we just should have checked our back up drive more frequently. If you know anyone who is ordained with us, please let them know what happened and direct them to this page. Thanks.
Professor Richard Lynn, emeritus professor of psychology at Ulster University, said many more members of the “intellectual elite” considered themselves atheists than the national average.
A decline in religious observance over the last century was directly linked to a rise in average intelligence, he claimed.
But the conclusions – in a paper for the academic journal Intelligence – have been branded “simplistic” by critics.
Professor Lynn, who has provoked controversy in the past with research linking intelligence to race and sex, said university academics were less likely to believe in God than almost anyone else.
A survey of Royal Society fellows found that only 3.3 per cent believed in God – at a time when 68.5 per cent of the general UK population described themselves as believers.
A separate poll in the 90s found only seven per cent of members of the American National Academy of Sciences believed in God.
Professor Lynn said most primary school children believed in God, but as they entered adolescence – and their intelligence increased – many started to have doubts.
He told Times Higher Education magazine: “Why should fewer academics believe in God than the general population? I believe it is simply a matter of the IQ. Academics have higher IQs than the general population. Several Gallup poll studies of the general population have shown that those with higher IQs tend not to believe in God.”
He said religious belief had declined across 137 developed nations in the 20th century at the same time as people became more intelligent.
But Professor Gordon Lynch, director of the Centre for Religion and Contemporary Society at Birkbeck College, London, said it failed to take account of a complex range of social, economic and historical factors.
“Linking religious belief and intelligence in this way could reflect a dangerous trend, developing a simplistic characterisation of religion as primitive, which – while we are trying to deal with very complex issues of religious and cultural pluralism – is perhaps not the most helpful response,” he said.
Dr Alistair McFadyen, senior lecturer in Christian theology at Leeds University, said the conclusion had “a slight tinge of Western cultural imperialism as well as an anti-religious sentiment”.
Dr David Hardman, principal lecturer in learning development at London Metropolitan University, said: “It is very difficult to conduct true experiments that would explicate a causal relationship between IQ and religious belief. Nonetheless, there is evidence from other domains that higher levels of intelligence are associated with a greater ability – or perhaps willingness – to question and overturn strongly felt institutions.” –Via:telegraph.co.uk