In the context of human history there has been well over 10,000 gods throughout .When a person of faith can answer why they don't believe in the other 9,999 Plus other gods just tell them that is why I don't believe in yours
By Jim Schutze
By Rachel Watts
By Lauren Drewes Daniels
By Anna Merlan
By Lee Escobedo
By Eric Nicholson
They also don't want to put out a huge banner that screams ATHEIST, something that makes some members uncomfortable. Alix Jules, FOF's executive director, has a solution: He hands out buttons, each emblazoned with FOF's logo, a clover-shaped sort of emblem. They're for members to wear to identify themselves at public meetings.
"This is it," he tells the group. "This is as nondescript as it gets. There's no scarlet 'A' here. Most people have no idea what it is. So wear your badges, please."
Then there's the matter of paying for those badges. Atheists seem to give less to charitable causes, and especially to atheist ones, than the religious do. That's according to Jules, who's struggling with how to increase active membership and donations among the group; of their 2,000-plus members, only a fraction show up in person. And if they all did happen to show up, FOF would have no place to put them. They don't own their own building, instead meeting in borrowed spaces all over town.
To become a more powerful force, Jules says, FOF members might have to be willing to put some money behind the cause.
"We give less to our freethought causes than what churches give," he tells the FOF board and its audience. "And we give less to freethought than to things like the SPCA."
Moore agrees. "Church members give 10 times more to churches and 10 times more to organizations like the Red Cross," he says. FOF is also trying, so far unsuccessfully, to put together a modest scholarship fund for four college students.
It's about messaging as much as it's about money. The point — to the giving, to the billboards, to the blogging and to the church visits — is to show the world that atheists, agnostics and skeptics have their own moral compass, and that it works fine without any deity guiding it.
The Rockwall Presbyterians are interested in Moore's non-God-centered view of morality, to be sure. During his visit, one elderly gentleman gets into a long, rather stubborn hypothetical back-and-forth with him about, of all things, Hitler.
"How do you justify telling him what he's doing is wrong?" he asks, several times.
"You're right, I can't threaten him with hellfire," Moore says. "But I can say that what he's doing is causing suffering."
The rest of the group is more interested in what might take to change Moore's mind about the whole atheism thing. Moore takes the question seriously. "I don't know what it would take," he says. "Not to be flippant, but I would like what Thomas [the Apostle] got. He got to see the risen Christ." He pauses for a moment.
"If there is a God," he says, "surely he knows what it would take to change my heart."
"What about personal relationships with Christ?" asks an older lady in the front row. "What do you think about prayer?"
"I'm a scientist," Moore replies. He talks about a study he's read about the efficacy of prayer on healing people after serious operations. "It appeared to make people worse," he tells the group apologetically: more side effects, longer healing times and the like. A woman in a pink sweater puts a hand to her cheek, horrified.
The older lady has a point to make, though: "Your parents still pray for you and have not given up on you, right?" she asks. Moore nods.
"Well," the older lady responds, very firmly. "The Holy Spirit won't give up on you either."
Moore smiles. He seems genuinely touched.
"Are you hostile or friendly?" Richard Dawkins drawls. The famous British atheist is sipping an IPA and looking up at my reporter's notebook and pen. Dawkins has wedged himself into the booth alongside three women in their 20s. They look thrilled and a little nervous. He looks impatient, and submits to being interviewed roughly the way a standoffish cat allows itself to be petted.
It's the night before the convention. We're at Opal Divine's, the downtown Austin pub where the atheists are collecting their plastic name tags. Dawkins is white-haired and rosy-cheeked, wearing a beautifully cut gray linen suit. He's not wearing a name tag. He hardly needs to; everywhere he goes in the bar, the crowd of atheist conventioneers falls silent, a little awed at his presence. Along with the now-departed Christopher Hitchens, Dawkins is one of atheism's leading lights. One of its living saints, if you want to be obnoxious about it.
"I can't believe he's just ... hanging out," one of the conventioneers stammers in awe, his voice barely above a whisper.
Dawkins decides, without my prompting, that I'm probably "friendly." He brushes off a question about how he came to speak in Texas. "It was probably fixed up for me," he says vaguely. He adds that he's "very encouraged" by the Pew poll showing the rise in unaffiliated Americans. That rise is necessary "for the eventual destruction of religion," he says, "which must be what every reasonable person wants."
Though he travels the States frequently, he says, he doesn't run into religious people often. "I don't come across those people," he says. "It's almost like there are two species. I only seem to meet the educated ones."
In the context of human history there has been well over 10,000 gods throughout .When a person of faith can answer why they don't believe in the other 9,999 Plus other gods just tell them that is why I don't believe in yours
Wow, Observer. You couldn't print one rubbutal to the anti-atheist rubbish printed this week? Perhaps there weren't any? Let me respond belatedly. Most warmongers, drunks, and criminals believe in a deity, and that is because most HUMANS believe in a deity. There is certainly no greater threat posed by atheists. In fact, quite the opposite. Atheists believe in the future, in protecting the environment, and in respecting all species. It is our duty to protect the earth, not sit around waiting for an apocalypse. We live and then we die, just like the great oak tree, the mighty whale, and the honey bee. We are not a 'special' animal. Yes, I'm partial to humans because I am one, and our brain is a wonder, but we're likely the most destructive, invasive species that has ever existed on this planet. This is an uncomfortable reality for all of us to live with. But I'll take reality over fantasy any day.
We believe in the natural world, not a supernatural fairy tale. Therefore, I find the atheists I know to be the OPPOSITE of self-absorbed. We're not some special species created by a deity that looks out for us and answers our calls. We don't get to defy the laws of nature and live forever while everything else dies. That would appear to be the height of self-absorption.
"WARNING," it reads, in five-inch high orange letters. "Drunks,homosexuals, abortionist [sic], adulterers, liars, fornicators, thieves,atheists, witches, idolaters, HELL AWAITS YOU."
Sign me the fuck up! If there's a room full of drunk homosexual fornicators, that's the place for me.
Oh cool.. let's turn being non-religious into an annoying religious cult. Count me out.
Just go to church if you feel like you need to belong so badly.
Whenever people gather together for a common purpose, there's always some sociopathic Tea-Bagger type, angry at them for doing so.
I believe that my belief in not believing in the belief of not believing is as believable as one believing in the belief of not believing but one should believe that forcing the belief of not believing is better than just not believing at all. Ergo. If an atheist fall in the woods does he make a sound? God only knows.
As bad as humans are with religion, they are worse without it. Ben Franklin observed as much in his letter.Regards Bizworldusa
Right wing predators often say that humanity is bad and therefore, that humans have to do something bad (like be religious) in order to please them.
It's not a rational way of thinking - but its a mindset that dominates the Republicans and their fellows.
We should all be aware, that in the US, we have Freedom OF Religion, not Freedom FROM Religion.
A cornerstone of our country since it's inception has been Judeo/Christian values whether you like it or not.
In fact, contrary to the revisionist philosophy our constitution does not provide for a separation of church and state. The passage that applies is: "Congress shall make no laws regarding the establishment of religion". Period....simply put, our federal govt cannot establish it's own religion (such as, at the time, the Church of England). This provided for Freedom of Religion. Oddly enough it leaves the door open for a state to establish it's own state religion....
Those who would argue that our founders intended it to mean a separation I have 2 questions: Why did they not just state that in the constitution (I am aware of Jefferson's musings as well as others) and why (if that was indeed the intent) did they include references to God in official documents as well as beginning govt functions with a prayer? Oh...and why is the Supreme Court building filled with religious symbolism? (ok..3 questions)
Do not get me wrong...personally I would prefer a separation but instead of just interpreting the constitution as we would like it to be, totally ignoring the actual words, we should put the appropriate words together, as a nation, and then pass an amendment. Taking the current approach is exactly the same as when the supreme court endorsed slavery, again, ignoring the words of the constitution.
Pardon me for being a constitutionalist.
If you choose to not believe...that's perfectly fine, but do not jam your non-belief down my throat.
God ordered you to pray quietly, in private, and behind closed doors. When you pray publicly like this, you are spitting in god's face.
Likewise, please don't shove your religious beliefs down my throat!
You need to go back and study the legislate history of the Establishment Clause. Congress considered several versions of the Establishment Clause before deciding on the most expansive version. Jefferson's phrase "Wall of Separation of Church and State" captures the legislative mood of the adopted versions of the Establishment and the Free Exercise Clauses. Jefferson's phrase is a legal term of art and the Supreme Court has explored it's meaning 15 times since 1879.
Also, the Establishment Clause has been extended to the states via the 14th Amendment and a state could no longer establish its own religion. Some religious parts of the early Texas Constitution that haven't been updated are now unconstitutional, are now just historical curiosities, and wouldn't be recognized even by a Texas State court.
Sandra Day O’Connor wrote a majority Supreme Court opinion in the 1980's that established that constitutionally acceptable religious symbols in federal and state government buildings are simply "ceremonial deism" not genuine religious worship. Basically they are just exercises to build respect for government institutions, something like the justices’ traditionally wearing black robs.
@Fausta Actually...no I don't. Been there done that. You pretty much missed the whole point.
Last I checked Jeffersonian correspondence was not part of the constitution and there is no addendum at the end of the Bill of Rights, nor the Constitution which says "see Jefferson's notes for further clarification".
The sentence "Congress shall make no laws regarding the establishment of religion." is quite clear, concise, and understandable. There was no reason to seek further clarification by visiting Jefferson's writings (and other's) unless the meaning was not as desired. This has been precisely the case.
Jefferson also felt that the US should remain an agricultural society and should not become industrialized....should we also take some phrase from the constitution to mean that all manufacturing industries are unconstitutional?
The Bill of Rights was written by the 1st Congress of the US. The start of every session was a prayer. (and still is)
Regarding your Sandra remark...sure...but for some reason that did not stop the ACLU from forcing the removal of a statue representing the 10 commandments from an Alabama courthouse in the 90s, now did it? Nor does that apply to Boy Scouts not being able to use a city park in San Diego due to "separation of church and state".
Seems that we can interpret a simple sentence in the constitution or the bill of rights to mean pretty much whatever we want it to mean....
Just to give you some background, I have been researching the "Establishment Clause" since the Alabama incident...and I find the logic behind the interpretation to be disturbing. The intent is clear: It does not mean precisely what we wish it to mean, so we will interpret it our way, regardless...
@TheCredibleHulk Ok...how many different definitions that even remotely fit the context are there?
When you consider how/why people came to the colonies, most involving religious freedom or to avoid religious persecution in England the meaning is rather clear.
Granted, Jefferson was highly influential in the framing of the Bill of Rights, however it was the creation of the 1st Congress of the US as a whole...
If the intent was to "create a wall between govt and church" then why was it not worded more appropriately? Why is only one branch (Congress) mentioned? Why is it framed in such a narrow context? I can think of many ways to word it that would encompass the whole of the govt, including state govts, and extent as well.
When you consider that our Supreme Court ruled in favor of slavery (how many times?) because they chose to "bend" meanings to suit their agenda, I find this particular one just as disturbing.
I'd like to know how Zach Moore has acquired this status of "nonspiritual leader of the Texas Atheist Movement." I'm in Texas. I am Atheist. I move around all the time. I'm not part of any official movement. I'm offended by anyone claiming all atheists in Texas are moving under some leader like we're all a bunch of pansy sheep Moonies or something.
Atheism is NOT A FAITH! It's a doubt! I doubt your faith! That's it! Stop trying to mold us into something we're not! We are not even an us! Cut it out!
Every year around the this we are bombarded with religion. This article is a breath of fresh air. I commend you for not shying away from this or twisting or perspectives. As you can tell from the comments, Texas needs to know that we are here, we are growing, and we are NOT dangerous.
Ra lets us know "foreign " academics laugh at our "lamentable politics". Really? which European Country has a black President with Muslim antecedents? Which Asian country would even contemplate a black man as a leader?
But then again if you give yourself a moniker like Ra , you must be a deity unto yourself (Ra was ancient Egypts sun god) (br)As for men like Stokes, well they represent themselves and not God. They speak without authority and about mysteries they are unaware of..
Then the author draws conclusions regarding the no church affiliation. No affiliation does not mean atheistFinally the modern atheist societies of say the USSR were hellish. North Korea is another prominent example of hell on earth.
Hitler was an atheist and you may verify it by googling "You mean Hitler wasn't a priest" by David Shiflett.The Nazis killed 295 Lutheran ministers in east Germany (formally Prussia)
Authors such as Ayn Rand had a hellish view of life and some Christians have accepted this atheist's distorted view of society such as Paul Ryan
.and then we have this gem from the atheist site "Landover Baptist""Atheists are overweight. The stereotypes of typical Atheists are the trim, granola cruncher who jogs and plays racquetball or the vain hedonist, party-goer who worships only her full-length mirror, Recent studies have shown, however, that Atheists have become aware of these signifiers of their lack of faith. In order to blend in undetected with evangelical Christians, most Atheists now tend to be morbidly obese and will tell you, whether asked or not, that their enormous girth is the result of an undetectable thyroid condition and not the box of Little Debbie cakes they are holding."
After seeing Aron Ra ham it up on YouTube I have to agree. Atheists do have serious weight problems
.Let us conclude atheists have every right to protest, assemble and inveigh against religion. But like everything choices have consequences. The atheists states of the 20th century were not enlightened. In fact people who lived when atheists ruled have written such books as "Darkness at Noon"Most of the children of 20th century atheists have become Christians from Stalin's daughter Svetlana to Khrushchev's children. They were the atheist elite.From Svetlana on here conversion"It was there, in 1982, “on a cold December day, the feast of St Lucy… the decision to enter the Catholic Church came to me very naturally”, as she writes in her memoirs. This decision had been influenced by a long friendship/correspondence with an Italian Catholic priest and the support and kindness of a Catholic couple she had met in America.Svetlana writes that after her conversion “Only now I understand the wonderful grace that the Sacraments of Penance and the Holy Eucharist produce, no matter what day of the year, and even on a daily basis. Before, I was unwilling to forgive and repent, and I was never able to love my enemies. But I feel very different from before, since I attend Mass every day.The Eucharist has given me life."
I take la Dulce Vita of catholic Italy any day over the dark noon of atheism.
@cedar_springs "Hitler was an atheist and you may verify it by googling "You mean Hitler wasn't a priest" by David Shiflett.The Nazis killed 295 Lutheran ministers in east Germany (formally Prussia)" So his numerous times claiming he was doing gods work and his insistence that every soldier in germany have "Gott Mitt Uns" or "God With Us" on their uniforms makes him an atheist? I never knew that my atheism made me a devout catholic.
did you read the srticle? You cite Hitler saying he had God with us on the uniforms but you dont source it
I sourced my statements
Oh heres what I found out about your statement
It predates Hitler
"Gott mit uns (meaning God with us) is a phrase commonly used on armor in the German military from the German Empire to the end of the Third Reich, although its historical origins are far older. The Russian Empire's motto also translates to this.'
"Nobiscum deus ('God with us') was a battle cry of the late Roman Empire and of the Byzantine Empire, used for the first time in German by the Teutonic Order.
nice try though
oh by the way Stalin gave a stately Dacha to the primate of Moscow. \
Even though he was a confirmed atheist he was looking to get a job as an orthodox priest
do some research before opening your yap
@cedar_springs @tcufrog @hentai.jeff I think atheists who espouse state-sponsored atheism are few and far between. Most desire a state that is completely neutral and does not espouse any sort of religious or anti-religious stance. Many also are advocates for rationalism, or even humanism, in all aspects of life. Atheism is merely resultant of rationalism/humanism. All of those failed social experiments cited above would not have passed the humanism test by a long shot.
You left out Albania, the first officially atheist state.
@godsux @cedar_springs @tcufrog @hentai.jeff
The Union of Soviet Socialist Republics;
The People's Republic of China;
The Democratic People's Republic of Korea;
The Socialist Republic of Romania;
The German Democratic Republic;
Of course, in fairness, there is the as yet untried atheist utopia of Ayn Rand.
@cedar_springs As a history minor, yeah, I didn't do any research you got me there /s. You'll forgive me for using wikipedia as a source but it's the most complete accord of this online, if you wish you can use their citations to go further http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Religious_views_of_Adolf_Hitler
Now, I'm no fan of YouTube Ra, never heard of the guy, but your snarky remarks on his weight seem quite unchristian.
Really, it's quite sunny and lovely where I am sitting. No god in sight, just this wonderfully complex universe.
They weren't my snarky comments, they were from an atheist site.
Loosing weight is salutary just ask the AMA. Your bad cholesterol drops, your blood pressure drops and your sugar levels drops.
It seems a lot of atheists ignore simple biological facts. from Christopher Hitchens to Madeleine O hare and her morbidly obese children to USSR Politburo fatties under Breznhev who died in short order of heart attacks
"“Everything in moderation, including moderation.” Oscar Wilde
oh and according to some physicists your complex universe may be a hologram
enjoy your game
Pardon me, it wasn't clear in your post which words were yours and which were from the web site.
Also, I've seen more than my share of unhealthy believers, atheists haven't cornered the market on obesity by any means.
Let's look at this issue rationally for a moment: You posit that there is a God, but offer no tangible proof, other than your gut feelings and a book, written by men in ancient times and transcribed countless times over the centuries.
I posit that there is no God and offer no proof whatsoever.
What is the difference here? By definition, I have nothing to prove and the lack of evidence of your assertion just makes my position stronger, whereas, you have the burden of proof and the lack of evidence just makes your position weaker.
Also: If it is a hologram, so what?
I'm not sure what bothers me the most. The Atheist gathering to oppose Christianity, or the Christian dude waving a sign around that everyone is going to hell. It's only by the Grace of God that any of us ever make it to heaven, and it's certainly anybody's right to not only disagree with God's teaching, but to totally denounce Him. You see, my Christ that I follow had love and compassion for the lost. He actually had more harsh words for the religeous zealots than He ever did for the lost. I have to wonder what would have happened if he had showed up and passed out water, sandwiches, coffee, and said nothing. Just show love and compassion, and be there to give an answer if anyone wants to know why he did it. That's not underhanded or sneaky, it's my Jesus' way. We are saved through GRACE through Christ, not my posting hateful signs and yelling out in anger. Wake up church.
@cbrandon60 Sounds almost Buddhist
@cbrandon60 More Christians like you please!
You named two wars, and they weren't started because Stalin was an Atheist. They were started because Hitler, a Roman Catholic, was to quote him 'Doing Gods, will', in eliminating the Jewish people. Notice the Jews, are no different than you and I, but Hitler felt they were less than human, because of their religion. There are 123 wars, where not only was religion the at the forefront of the conflict, but it was the main driving force, and issue.
Glen you need to read David Shifllets article "You mean Hitler wasn't a priest" Hitler was biding his time to destroy Christianity.
"Hitler was indeed a baptized Catholic, but his rejection of the faith was profound. "My pedagogy is strict," he once explained. "I want a powerful, masterly, cruel and fearless youth... There must be nothing weak or tender about them. The freedom and dignity of the wild beast must shine from their eyes... That is how I will root out a thousand years of human domestication."That domestication, of course, was in large part due to the influence of Christianity. Hitler was blunter still on other occasions. "It is through the peasantry that we shall really be able to destroy Christianity," he said in 1933, "because there is in them a true religion rooted in nature and blood." His countrymen would have to choose: "One is either a Christian or a German. You can't be both."
""In West Prussia, out of 690 parish priests, at least two-thirds were arrested, and the remainder escaped only by fleeing from their parishes. After a month's imprisonment, no less than 214 of these priests were executed... by the end of 1940 only twenty priests were left in their parishes — about three percent of the number of parish priests in the pre-war era." The toll of murdered Polish priests would rise into the thousands; their Protestant counterparts (though a much smaller group) fared no better, with many members of the clergy perishing in the camps."
research, research, research
@cedar_springs @glenpearson According to Alan Bullock's, "Hitler and Stalin: Parallel Lives," which I don't have in front of me and I haven't read in several years, Hitler respected Catholicism because of, and only for, its long historical tradition and stability, its strength and durability. He had absolutely no use nor respect for Protestants, who, he said, "sweat profusely when you talk to them."
Hitler also praised Christianity He still wanted to destroy it. As for Protestants Hitlers right hand man was a Lutheran, Martin Boormann. Goering was a Lutheran. 75% of the gestapo was Lutheran.
Goering's second in command was Jewish as was Julius Streicher's second in command. The two of them had it out in front of Hitler about Jews in their organizations. with Streicher losing and being put under house arrest.
The Admiral of the Bismarck's wife was Jewish,
Dont look for rational behaviour among Nazis.
@glenpearson Most historians and policy makers attribute Germany's drive to war to the crushing financial burden placed on it at the Treaty of Versaille. I have never seen any serious historical treatment of WW II that claimed that religion started it, except to say that exterminating some religions was a motivation in it. The fact that Stalin was engaged in war against religion is well-documented, particularly in his domestic policies. Stalin's destruction of the Cathedral of Christ the Saviour was a huge scandal, but one predicted, based on Stalin's contempt for religion.
@glenpearson Hitler was not representative of Christ's love or of most Christians. That is a weak claim. Anybody can say the words. He did, but did not walk the walk. You are correct though that facts should be correct.
@marcusmcspartacus blood libel is a jewish thing, catholics can't claim it. And voter support doesn't matter when the leaders of the church are constantly meeting with Hitler. It's not a false history at all, just one you don't agree with, fortunely history doesn't need you to agree with it, it just is.
@hentai.jeff @cbrandon60 @glenpearson
No it wouldn't. The communities with highest concentrations of Catholics showed the lowest voter support for the Nazis. This is false history and blood libel you are peddling.
Find everything you're looking for in your city
Find the best happy hour deals in your city
Get today's exclusive deals at savings of anywhere from 50-90%
Check out the hottest list of places and things to do around your city