New Atheist Community of Austin Online Store: Official Store of the Godless Bitches & The Atheist Experience

I have been very delinquent in posting as of late. The American Atheist 2013 Convention here in Austin took up three full days. I recovered for a few more and have been busy with adding merchandise to the ACA store. There are tons of Godless Bitches and The Atheist Experience stuff. I hope you like them. Also, for members, Austinites, and I guess anyone there is also a selection of ACA products. The web address is http://zazzle.com/acaproducts or click on the banner below.

ACA Store Banner1

 

In the coming days I will be blogging about the absolutely fantastic time I had at the AA13 Convention. So stay tuned!

Posted in Uncategorized | Tagged , , | Leave a comment

Latest Episode of “The Atheist Experience” (Ep. 806, 3-24-2013)

Viewer Calls. John and Matt take callers. This is John’s first time in front of the camera.  He’s been a crew member for years.

Posted in Uncategorized | Tagged , | 1 Comment

Why I Wrote the Freethought Resource Guide

I wrote this book because the truth matters. I realize most individuals believe they share this sentiment. What is often overlooked or not well understood are the critical thinking skills required for justifying or dismissing truth claims. Reason, logic and the scientific method have proven to be the most reliable tools for arriving at qualified truths. I say “qualified” because these methods are more or less imperfect systems, subject to biases and error. Yet, they are still the most robust methods of investigative inquiry, for discovering how the world actually operates. Belief, faith, or some book, written who knows when or by whom, are inadequate paths towards objective truth. Furthermore, when pressed, many religious individuals appear to not care about truth in any objective sense. When their claims are demonstrated to be false or when they cannot adequately justify their beliefs a common theistic practice is to dismiss contradictory evidence. Valuing truth means following the evidence where ever it may lead, no matter how uncomfortable the conclusions may be. I wrote this book because how one arrives at qualified truths is just as important as the truths themselves. The means are ends in themselves.

I wrote this book because I’m tired of freethinkers being viewed in a negative light. Numerous studies have shown that we are among the most distrusted groups in America (Edgell, 2006 & Jones, 2012). At worst freethinkers are often harassed, imprisoned, sometimes murdered, often viewed as evil deceivers bent on destroying values and morality, or even simply ignored (which may be the most vile attitude). The worst that can be said about the so-called “militant” atheists is that they are vocal in their opinions. In order to be a militant theist one has to quite literally fly planes into buildings. At best religious folks are sad for us and say they will pray for our souls (which can be annoying and condescending but relatively harmless).

I wrote this book because I cherish and love mythology and many forms of religious practice. You may be thinking: “whaaa? How is that possible?” I am primarily a lover of art and psychology, both of which I have M.A. degrees in. I think we can gain important insights into the human condition through a study of religion. However, these are psychological insights gleaned through the metaphors of myth. I wish to help rescue humanity’s religious culture from the clutches of ignorance, fear, the doldrums of childish fantasy, and those who have and will use religion to take advantage of others. Literal religion is at best a misunderstanding and at worst a collective self-delusion containing the seeds of widespread harm.

I wrote this book because am disheartened when individuals and groups takes such stories literally and miss out on the great heritage of self and collective understanding at their disposal. Reality, as it has been uncovered, is far more interesting, vast, and wonderful than any self-aggrandizing literalized myth. Reality is… just check it out!

I wrote this book because I am upset at the atrocities sanctioned and committed by religion and religious believers. Need I make a list?

I wrote this book because freethought is one of the only life-stances entirely compatible with freedom and democratic values. I wrote this book because mental slavery (literal religion) is just as disgusting and immoral as physical slavery. Most of the god characters of the world’s religions are depicted as dictators to be appeased, unquestioningly obeyed, and unjustifiably worshiped. How is that acceptable and compatible in a nation which values freedom, justice (is infinite punishment for finite crimes justified?), and a government by the people and for the people? And please don’t counter with the “then give to Caesar what is Caesar’s and to God what is God’s” nonsense. Simply put, the two ideas are contradictory and dangerous. Our democratic nation has succeeded in spite of not because of this strange coupling of freedom and dictatorship.

I wrote this book because change is possible. Where once it was seen as acceptable to own slaves, justified no less by numerous passages from the “Good Book,” it is now almost universally condemned. This is either because people have rejected scriptures as a source of morality or they have cherry-picked parts of The Bible which do not conform to their secular morality (yes, secular) whether they realize it or not. Freethinkers ask “why cling to ancient goat-herder morality at all?”

I wrote this book to inspire and inform freethinkers of every stripe. Knowledge may be power, but most importantly it is freedom!

I wrote this book because of things I do believe in rather than the things I don’t. I have often heard people say, “if you don’t believe why do you even care?” I care because the values I do hold are very often in flat disagreement with a literal religious world-view. I value human beings and all of our animal brethren simply because they are alive. I value freedom of mind and body.  I value not accepting a claim until it has been adequately verified. Therefore, I value honest and open inquiry into any and all subjects. I value all intellectual pursuits. I value a government unimpeded by superstition and dogma (a value which protects all perspectives including religious freedom). I value the metaphors of religion and other forms of art.  I value integrity. I value truth and solid means to reach it in order to improve our individual and collective well-being. I value the experience of life, accepting those things I cannot change, and striving to make better those I can. Indeed, I value most of the things held dear by my theistic sisters and brothers, and disagree on just a few but admittedly significant issues. I value much more.

On all the above points I would be happy to elaborate on why I think they are in disagreement with most of the world’s religions.

I wrote this book for all these reasons (and many more). The structure of the following list was inspired by Greta Christina’s awesome little book Why Are You Atheists So Angry?: 99 Things That Piss Off the Godless (2012). I recommend the book because I agree with every single point she makes (a rare thing). Justified anger, she contends, can be very constructive and necessary. All social and political justice movements are motivated by a sense of a wrong(s) being committed and feeling compelled to do something about it. I am angry but also hopeful that the Freethought Resource Guide will help make the world a better place.

References

Christina, G. (2012). Why are you atheists so angry?: 99 things that piss off the godless. Dirty Heathen Publishing.

Edgell, P., Gerteis, J., & Hartmann, D. (2006, April). Atheists as ‘other’: Moral boundaries & cultural membership in American society. American Sociological Review 71, pp. 211-234. Retrieved November 2, 2011, from soc.umn.edu/~hartmann/ files/atheist%20as%20the%20other.pdf

Jones, J. (2012). Atheists, Muslims see most bias as presidential candidates. Retrieved September 22, 2012, from gallup.com/poll/155285/Atheists-Muslims-Bias-Presidential-Candidates.aspx

 

Posted in Uncategorized | Tagged , | Leave a comment

Latest Episode of “The Atheist Experience” (Ep. 805, 3-17-2013)

Marriage Equality. Jenn and Matt discuss the DOMA/Prop 8 challenge before the Supreme Court.

Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Freethought Resource Guide Video Introduction Released

I am pleased to present the world premiere ( ;-) of the video introduction for my new book. Enjoy!

Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Tim Minchin on Popes.

Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Latest Episode of “The Atheist Experience” (Ep. 804, 3-10-2013)

Tracie Harris and Russell Glasser take viewer calls.

 

Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Latest Episode of “The Atheist Experience” (Ep. 803, 3-03-2013)

This week with Matt Dillahunty and Don Baker.
 

Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment

When Fictional Characters Don’t Believe in Other Fictional Characters: Atheist Superheroes!

I came across a site which categorizes comic book characters by religious affiliation. Turns out there are a few atheists in the Marvel Universe. Now this may seem a bit odd (my title not withstanding) given that the Marvel world is filled with strange almost supernatural characters and events. Yet, good art is intended, not to create a wholly new world totally foreign to our sensibilities but to reflect and examine the real one in which we live, albeit in a dramatic way. Superheroes are exaggerations of humanity and therefore Marvel is perhaps the only place suitable for the hard atheist, the Super Atheist who really, really, really, I mean really, doesn’t believe in gods! The Adherents give a list of the characters in each religious Super Team and an explanation of each superhero and why they should be so affiliated.

Atheist Superheroes

Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment

IHEU Submits Report on World Wide Atheist Discrimination to U.N. Human Rights Council

This is good to hear. Let’s hope the United Nations listens and takes action. Here is a summary from Reuters news service:

“Atheists, humanists and freethinkers face widespread discrimination around the world with expression of their views criminalized and subject in some countries to capital punishment, the United Nations was told on Monday.

In a document for consideration by the world body’s Human Rights Council, a global organization linking people who reject religion said atheism was banned by law in a number of states where people were forced to officially adopt a faith.

“Extensive discrimination by governments against atheists, humanists and the non-religious occurs worldwide,” declared the grouping, the International Humanist and Ethical Union (IHEU) which has some 120 member bodies in 45 countries.

In Afghanistan, Iran, Maldives, Mauritania, Pakistan, Saudi Arabia and Sudan “atheists can face the death penalty on the grounds of their belief” although this was in violation of U.N. human rights accords, the IHEU said.

Further, in several others legal measures “effectively criminalize atheism (and) the expression and manifestation of atheist beliefs” or lead to systematic discrimination against freethinkers, the document declared.

It was submitted to the rights council as it opened its annual Spring session against a background of new efforts in the U.N. by Muslim countries to obtain a world ban on denigration of religion, especially what they call “Islamophobia”.

Three of the states with legislation providing for death for blasphemy against Islam, a charge which can be applied to atheists who publicly reveal their ideas, are on the council – Pakistan, Mauritania and Maldives.

Turkey’s Foreign Minister Ahmet Davutoglu told the council on Monday there was a “rising trend” of Islamophobia, adding: “We condemn all sorts of incitement to hatred and religious discrimination against Muslims and people of other faiths.”

OIC WANTS ACTION

And earlier this month a top official of the 57-nation Organisation of Islamic Cooperation (OIC) said the body would be focusing on getting agreement on criminalizing denigration of religion in coming talks with Western countries.

In November last year, the head of the 21-country Arab League told the U.N. Security Council in New York his organisation wanted a binding international framework to ensure “that religious faith and its symbols are respected”.

The IHEU, and other non-governmental rights groupings, argue that many Muslim governments use this terminology and the concept of “religious blasphemy” within their own countries to cow both atheists and followers of other religions.

A number of these governments “prosecute people who express their religious doubt or dissent, regardless of whether those dissenters identify as atheist”, the IHEU document submitted to the rights council said.

Islamic countries – including Bangladesh, Bahrain, Egypt, Indonesia, Kuwait, Saudi Arabia, Tunisia and Turkey – had also stepped up prosecution of “blasphemous” expression of criticism of religion in social media like Facebook and Twitter.

OIC countries have 15 seats on the council, all from Asia, Africa and the Middle East, and make up just less than one third of the rights body.

(Reporting by Robert Evans; Editing by Michael Roddy)”

Original link.

Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment