After the U.S. Supreme Court ruling allowing governing bodies to open meetings with a prayer, an atheist group has signed up to give its own sort of blessing before a Sioux Falls City Council meeting.
After reading Mayor Mike Huether’s reaction to the ruling in Tuesday’s Argus Leader, Siouxland Freethinkers President Amanda Novotny contacted him about giving her own address.
Huether said the city offers volunteers to give prayers or motivational reading, accepting this from all denominations to “represent the increased diversity of our town.”
“It is extremely important for people to be engaged and active in government on all levels, and opting out on account of a prayer prior to the meeting is simply not a viable option, especially for a minority group (such as non-theists) that need to be aware of decisions that are being made and advocate for the rights of non-theistic citizens as needed,” she said.
Novotny will give a secular opening remark at the Aug. 5 City Council meeting.
No matter where you demarcate in regards to faith, this ‘user generated’ (Read: non-professional opinion) essay on atheism is worth reading:
For me, personally, atheism was a gateway ideology that lead to a far more dangerous state of mind. I am now a full-blown moral Nihilist—yet I’m still not rampaging, murdering, or raping. So what went wrong?
The theists and moralists case for their outmoded ideologies of right and wrong are looking evermore tenuous as I, along with countless other free thinkers, descend deeper and deeper down the pit of moral abjection. I now want to purge the words ‘morality,’ ‘good,’ and ‘bad’ from my vocabulary.
To be almost completely freed from the need to classify the world, people, and actions in one of two terms, namely ‘good’ or ‘bad,’ is something I am still coming to terms with, but I love how empowering it is so far. Where I once saw a world of black and white (wrong and right | evil and good), I now see a world of colour—millions and millions of colours!
Becoming a moral Nihilist has had a far more profound effect on my thinking than being an Atheist ever did. I consider Atheism now nothing more than the intellectual equivalent of teenage rebellion, after which-for some at least—true intellectual maturity follows. Moral Nihilism is the real growing up part, which is why so many people shun this final leap into the chasm of purposeless nothingness that the reasoning mind must make if it indeed wishes to be fully acquainted with reality and its place in it.
But I have not become some insensate machine incapable of feeling emotion or valuing it; I simply don’t let emotion overrule my rational faculties as much as before. I can still cry reading poems and the tragedies of history; I can still feel inspired, uplifted, and reborn when listening to music; I can still love people deeply or just find joy in the moment. I’ve given up nothing by becoming a moral Nihilist. I’ve just given up the need to be good or bad or classify others as such.
There is so much much more - so be a trooper(please :) and give the guy a hit and read the rest : Atheism, a Mere ‘Gateway Ideology’ to Worse Convictions?
Saudi Arabia is not the go-to country when you think of atheism, being one of the world’s most repressive Islamic societies. Turns out we may have them pegged all wrong. A 2012 Gallup poll revealed that there is a similar proportion of atheists in Saudi Arabia as in the United States and parts of Europe, and what’s more, those atheists are being increasingly vocal, despite the threat of violence against them.
When Saudi Arabia issued a decree criminalizing the practice of atheism this month, it sparked a blasphemous campaign in response. The hashtag #CampaigntoTearTheQuraninSaudiArabia was tweeted more than 7,800 times in the span of a week, circulating images of protest.
Desecration of the Quran is one of the most extreme acts of blasphemy that a Muslim can perpetrate and has been a trigger for violent reactions around the world. Several days ago, an angry mob burned a Hindu temple in Pakistan to the ground after rumors circulated that a Quran had been desecrated by one of its members.
The atheist writer S. T. Joshi, 55, born in India, raised in Indiana and now living in Seattle, has written or edited more than 200 books, including a novel of detective fiction, a bibliography of writings about Gore Vidal and numerous works about H. L. Mencken.
He edits four periodicals, including Lovecraft Annual, the major review of scholarship about the horror writer H. P. Lovecraft; The American Rationalist, a journal for unbelievers; and The Weird Fiction Review, which is what it sounds like. He once spent years scanning into his computer — and typing what could not be scanned — every word ever written by Ambrose Bierce, about six million total.
And this month Mr. Joshi got a call from a friend who works for Barnes & Noble, asking if he could edit a new edition of “The King in Yellow,” the 1895 collection of supernatural stories by Robert W. Chambers. It seems that the book was a major inspiration for “True Detective,” the popular HBO series. “I am one of maybe three people in the world who knows anything about Robert W. Chambers,” Mr. Joshi said, by way of explanation. His new edition will be out in April.
This article does not lend itself well to paraphrasing - and really is worth reading in its entirety - this is worth quoting :
Although accurate figures on the number of atheists in the Gulf are nearly impossible to come by, a 2012 poll by WIN-Gallup International titled “Global Index of Religiosity and Atheism” published a surprising number of self-professed Saudi atheists. The researchers found that up to 5% of the Saudi respondents declared themselves to be atheist, a figure comparable to the United States and parts of Europe.
Read more @ AL-Monitor
If the title of this Page is making you twitch, please be sure to read the entire thing before responding as the title was the choice of the author (or maybe his editors) and I simply left it as is.
I was going through the Pages this morning, and following a link to the source article on one of them eventually led me to this essay, which I found very touching. The author didn’t stop being an atheist, but he did have a big change of heart in how he views people’s desire/need to believe & the role religion plays in their lives.
In a nutshell, by walking away from his privileged Wall Street world and entering the world of South Bronx addicts as a photographer, he was able to see things from a completely different—and for him, alien—perspective. This triggered an empathy that had been numbed by his lifestyle and being surrounded by people who largely lived & thought like he did.
Read the excerpt below, or better yet the full source article, then I’ll continue:
Preacher Man’s eyes narrowed. He pointed at me, “You are an APE-IEST. An APE-IEST. You going to lead a life of sin and end in hell.”
Three years later I did escape my town, eventually receiving a PhD in physics, and then working on Wall Street for 20 years. A life devoted to rational thought, a life devoted to numbers and clever arguments.
During that time I counted myself an atheist and nodded in agreement as a wave of atheistic fervor swept out of the scientific community and into the media, led by Richard Dawkins. […]
I eventually left my Wall Street job and started working with and photographing homeless addicts in the South Bronx. When I first walked into the Bronx I assumed I would find the same cynicism I had towards faith. If anyone seemed the perfect candidate for atheism it was the addicts who see daily how unfair, unjust, and evil the world can be.
None of them are. Rather they are some of the strongest believers I have met, steeped in a combination of Bible, superstition, and folklore. […]
In these last three years, out from behind my computers, I have been reminded that life is not rational and that everyone makes mistakes. Or, in Biblical terms, we are all sinners. […]
I look back at my 16-year-old self and see Preacher Man and his listeners differently. I look at the fragile women praying and see a mother working a minimum wage custodial job, trying to raise three children alone. Her children’s father off drunk somewhere. I look at the teenager fingering a small cross and see a young woman, abused by a father addicted to whatever, trying to find some moments of peace. I see Preacher Man himself, living in a beat up shack without electricity, desperate to stay clean, desperate to make sense of a world that has given him little.
They found hope where they could. […]
As I said, I was very moved by Mr. Arnade’s essay, so I went off in search of his work. Below is an embedded slideshow from Flickr, where he has 1000+ photos. I’d strongly suggest going to his actual Flickr photostream to see the larger images, just be aware that they are very gritty & real and some are NSFW.
He also has a Tumblr blog here, telling people’s stories. As with the Flickr page, some of the entries should be considered NSFW.
Nobody can deny but religion is a comfort to the distressed, a cordial to the sick, and sometimes a restraint on the wicked; therefore, whoever would laugh or argue it out of the world, without giving some equivalent for it ought to be treated as a common enemy. —Lady Mary Wortley Montague
I realize some of you may disagree, perhaps vehemently, with everything above. Thats fine, it’s your prerogative as an LGF member (and I readily admit I’m not sure I agree with Mr. Arnade 100% myself).
That said, as always, my reason for posting these types of Pages is to seek common ground and possibly learn something new through discussion. I look forward to reading and responding to thoughtful, rational, civil comments.
In an appearance before a gathering of OK2A, an Oklahoma Second Amendment advocacy group, Rafael Cruz, father of freshman Sen. Ted Cruz (R-TX) said that atheism leads to sexual abuse of children.
In his talk, which took place earlier this month, the elder Cruz railed against atheism and secular humanism, which he said are two of the main ills facing our society.
“Let’s look, for example, at the behavioral consequences of these two foundations,” Cruz said to the group. “Well, if there is nothing, if there is no God, then we are ruled by our instincts.”
“There is no moral absolute, which means we operate by situational ethics,” he said, “which unfortunately is something being taught in every high school in America.”
Interesting story out of Eugene, OR.
Eric Fromm has received a lot of hugs on campus lately — at least once a day since he “came out” as an atheist last week in an article in his Christian university’s online newspaper.
And while the Northwest Christian University student body president doesn’t quite know what to do with all the new attention he’s receiving, he says it’s a welcome change from the isolation, verbal attacks and accusing questions that he’d grown to expect as rumors about his nonbelief circulated.
“I don’t have to hide anymore,” said Fromm, 21. “I know that people accept me for who I am.”
Though his active campus involvement was enough to win him the student government presidential election, Fromm said he’s felt judged by some of his peers throughout college because, as he wrote in the article that appeared in the school’s Beacon Bolt newspaper last week, “I couldn’t force myself to believe in God.”
I often cite and rely on City Journal so it give me no joy to report that they put a truly wretched piece of drek yesterday. Called Useful Atheists, it is written as a memo in Hell from Reinhard Heydrich to Adolf Hitler:
Mein Führer: Our stein runneth over! Neo-Nazi groups are resurgent in Europe. Copies of the anti-Semitic forgery The Protocols of the Elders of Zion are vigorously peddled throughout the Islamic nations of the Middle East. Holocaust deniers are invited to speak at Ivy League campuses.
Seven decades ago, you put me in charge of the Jewish Question. And, at the Wannsee Conference, I came up with the immortal euphemism, The Final Solution. Of course, it led to my coming down here several years ahead of you, great leader. As the world knows, Czech guerrillas fatally shot up my open-top Mercedes. But you avenged me: the village of Lidice was destroyed in my name, and the murder of Jews continued, just as you predicted in Mein Kampf, and just as I outlined at Wannsee:
Under suitable direction, the Jews should be brought to the East in the course of the Final Solution, for use as labor. In large labor gangs, with the sexes separated, the Jews capable of work will be transported to those areas and set to road-building, in the course of which, without doubt, a large part of them will fall away through natural losses. The surviving remnant, surely those with the greatest powers of resistance, will be given special treatment, since, if freed, they would constitute the germinal cell for the re-creation of Jewry.
Who could deny our motives? Only liars and moral idiots. Of course there are plenty of these throughout the world. But even I never expected to find outspoken allies in the land that had so thoroughly destroyed the Third Reich. Mein Führer, mark well the name of this organization; it will be of much use to us in the future. They call themselves the Freedom from Religion Foundation (FFRF). The membership is comprised of self-promoting atheists, and their latest demand is, if I may say so, worthy of me.
(The kinks are in the original article, see my note regarding the bolded passage.)
While I disagree strongly with the FFRF regarding the memorial in Ohio, to call them Nazi dupes is not only wrong, its morally insane. City Journal should publish nothing more from this wingnut.
Historical Note: Kanfer is also wrong about the cause of Heydrich’s death. He did indeed die of wounds received while riding in an open-top Mercedes, but the wounds were inflicted by a bomb thrown under the car, not by gunfire. The STEN Gun carried by one of the assassins jammed without firing.
Author does a decent job of stating the obvious. I have my biases, but I also know that facts matter.
According to Federal Bureau of Prisons data, the number of responding people in prison acknowledging they were Catholic was 39 percent; Protestant, 35 percent; Muslim, 7 percent; Jewish, 2 percent; and godless, 0.2 percent (20 percent did not respond).
Since the number of godless is estimated to be 10 percent of the general population, all things being equal you would expect their prison population to be 10 percent.
If, as many people assume, the godless do not lead moral lives, you would expect the number to be greater than 10 percent. The fact that the actual number is 50 times less than expected can lead to only one of two conclusions: either the godless commit less crime than the religious or they’re too smart to get caught very often.