CFI is working to make sure Canada’s foreign policy protects atheists and skeptics around the world.
And you can help too!
CFI is working to make sure Canada’s foreign policy protects atheists and skeptics around the world.
And you can help too!
The University of Reno, Nevada is conducting a study on “atheists’ involvement in secular organizations and their experiences of prejudice and discrimination.” According to BC Humanists, “They are especially looking for Canadians” interested in participating in the study.
This study will take approximately 15-20 minutes to complete. First, you will be asked about your identity as an atheist (by atheist, we mean a person who does not believe in god(s)), as well as your level of involvement in secular organizations (if any at all). Second, you will be asked some questions about your perceptions of attitudes and behaviors toward atheists. Third, you will be asked some questions about your overall well-being and basic demographic information. Please read the directions carefully and complete each section to the best of your ability.
This survey is for just for atheists:
Because this is a study about atheists’ experiences, you must identify as an atheist to participate (again, by atheist, we mean a person who does not believe in god(s)).
I filled out the survey; it took me less than 15 minutes, but I’m ashamed to admit that the one question I neglected to answer was
Which country do you live in currently?
Please fill out this online survey; the questions are thought provoking, and as the introductory page points out, you will get
the satisfaction of helping further our understanding of social psychology and the growing awareness and knowledge of atheists.
I received an email from Lenin Ruiz, an atheist who lives in Quito, Ecuador, and studies anthropology at the Universidad Politécnica Salesiana, Quito. He is doing research on atheism for his thesis and would appreciate responses from Canadian Atheist readers to a questionnaire he created. Lenin would like responses sent to him at firstname.lastname@example.org and would like you to include your name, age, and country.
LIST OF QUESTIONS
If you do not wish to send your responses directly to Lenin Ruiz at email@example.com, you may send them to me at firstname.lastname@example.org and I will forward them to him.
Note: Eric MacDonald at Choice in Dying received the same request; Lenin’s questions are posted on Eric’s blog as well.
The topic today on the CKNW Morning News with Philip Till was “Religion In Politics: An Atheist & Rabbi’s Perspective.” Before Phil Till begins interviewing his guests: an atheist and a rabbi, he mentions that two characters in the The Good Wife January 27th episode, “The Seven Day Rule,” Maddie Hayward and Alicia Florrick, make the statement, “I’m an atheist.” There has been lots of talk on the Internet about these two characters outing themselves. However, this isn’t real life; Maddie and Alicia are characters in a television series. The characters have nothing to gain or lose from saying three simple words: “I’m an atheist,” unless, of course, the show gains or loses viewers.
It it difficult to admit to being an atheist? I don’t think it is, and neither, it appears, does Ian Bushfield. Bushfield, who is the executive director of the B C Humanist Association, was the atheist guest on today’s CKNW Morning News with Philip Till. Early in the interview, Till asks, “Are you an atheist?,” and Bushfield answers “I am, yes.” Of course, that’s not all Bushfield talks about; he also talks about his perspective on religion in politics and on “Christy Clark’s upcoming event.”
Listen to Ian Bushfield’s discussion with Philip Till online at Philip Till Audio.
As Hemant Mehta says, “How awesome is [this] image?”
It’s pretty awesome! David Silverman, president of American Atheists, explains the reason for the colourful design and the positive, focused message:
“With many of our previous billboards, we’ve made it a point to challenge traditional religion. But this time we want to show the other side of our coin, that atheism is a breath of fresh air.”
Atheism really is a “personal relationship with reality” and “a breath of fresh air.” Thank you American Atheists, your vibrant billboard helps chase away the winter darkness.
Something, Atheism: The Black anti-gay Atheists of Atlanta, popped up in my newsfeed today on the social networks. It is not new, nor is this sort of thing new to me, but it reminded me of a conversation I had a while back with a friend of mine. We were talking about the various atheist meetups we have been to, and he reminded me of one in particular.
My friend is gay, and we’re both regulars at atheists meetups. He was actually sitting beside me on the occasion in question. Anyway, as meetups go, I was talking in one direction and he was talking in a another, so we were in separate conversations. Honestly, I can’t remember what I was talking about. In any case, he was talking to one of the ‘new people’. And as he tells it, all of a sudden the conversation took a strange turn.
New atheist guy was anti-gay and had no problem voicing his opinion to my friend. My gay friend was left a bit speechless, as you might imagine.
But how, but why?
In this case, like in many others, dude was ignorant and misinformed and too confident in his own self-righteousness to get past it. Atheism, doesn’t imply science, it doesn’t imply critical thinking, nor does it imply a superior morality. It means, hopefully, we have taken one step in the direction of critical thinking. But it is a long path, an ongoing struggle, and being right about one thing doesn’t make us superior.
And like the minister or the priest, its really hard for human beings to preach and think at the same time. We all need to remember that.
No, I’m not asking you to brush up on your German and listen to an old news reel or even read a book. But I’m curious. What does Hitler mean to you? To me, there is the obvious ‘mass murder’ connotation, but I also studied the Nazis in a class I took on rhetoric. They were… very good… at propaganda, not to mention war.
On the internet, Hitler is where arguments tend to end. And with the exception of a small band of racist groups in our society, the name is in almost every way (even supernaturally) demonic.
The name is an invocation to horror.
Should we as atheists be encouraging this sort of thinking? Adolf Hitler could arguably be accused of being one of the great criminals of the last century, even of history itself. But he wasn’t a supernatural force. He was a failed artist… a man.
I’m always a little uncomfortable when other secular types start talking about ‘evil’ like its an actual force of nature. It tends to imply magical, rather than critical, thinking.
Having said that, I’m certainly not a fan of Hitler.
Unlike in some parts of Europe such as Russia and Austria, where Mein Kampf has been embraced by the extreme right, Hitler’s popularity in India is not the result of anti-Semitism, says Navras Jaat Aafreedi, a professor of social sciences at Gautam Buddha University in New Delhi. He says it stems from a dearth of European history classes in schools. To the extent that German history is taught, he says, it’s in the context of “the view that had Hitler not weakened the British Empire by the Second World War, the British would have never voluntarily left India.”
Ok, I wasn’t expecting that.
I’m a fan of PZ Myers, I follow his blog, I’ve seen him speak, and while I don’t always agree with him, I find him to be generally, pretty consistent. And even when I don’t agree with someone, if they seem to be at least sticking to a certain logic I can respect that.
But then there is his almost visceral hatred of everything Stedman. As an ‘accommodationalist’ myself, I’m always somewhat at a loss when it comes to this. I would never be surprised if Dawkins or Harris ran Stedman through with a rhetorical lance, but with PZ it always seems… strangely inconsistent.
Why? Well, let’s take Dawkins argument that religious indoctrination of children is child abuse. Dawkins makes it clear in his book, that he doesn’t mean parents teaching their kids about cuddly-jesus, loving jesus, is abuse. Dawkins is referring the teaching kids about hellfire, and eternal torment for doubting god, being a homosexual, or even masturbating.
And you know, I actually agree, this can be abusive. Not every kid will react the same to this sort of teaching, but it will and does affect some kids in a very damaging way. So, yes, abuse is a valid way to describe it.
Here is the thing. If we were talking about child sexual abuse, or even adult rape, people like PZ and the Atheismplus types, would be all about ‘trigger warnings’ and ‘safe spaces’ and listening to the victim of the abuse and not mocking them.
And when it comes to people who have overcome religious abuse from their past, people who now identify as atheists, it is all good. You’re part of the A-team. But when it comes to the victims, who are still suffering, who haven’t freed themselves from the yoke of religion….
Those victims… are stupid, ignorant and foolish. They deserve to have their identity mocked and ridiculed, all in the name of some sort of atheist tough-love, designed to shake them to their senses.
This sort of tough-love may even work for some people. I’ve talked with more than a few atheists who say they were converted by people like Dawkins and PZ pounding on the gates of religion. But religion is not just institutions, it is people, and not everyone responds to tough-love. Sometimes ridiculing a person’s identity, however self-damaging that identity might be, is just as abusive, just as damaging to their psyche. And to no good result.
I tend to see these religious people, the ones still suffering, like alcoholics, or other addicts. Yes, I think as atheists, we need to try and contain the damage these people can do to others and themselves. But my accommodationalism (I can’t speak for Stedman) is about listening to them, and trying to help them find their way. Not trying to force my way on them, or mocking them for not being a tough proud atheist, like me. Strident atheism is not toxic to me, but it can be to others, just like alcohol affects people differently.
I drink on occasion, and fortunately, I can take it or leave it. It’s not because I’m stronger or better than those who become alcoholics, I’m just lucky. It doesn’t mean I’m going to offer an alcoholic a drink, or make excuses when they drink and drive. But addiction is a disease. And whether people are abusing alcohol or faith, they need our help, not our scorn.
I think the ‘atheism movement’ needs to makes reasonable accommodations for minorities, women, and even theists. Accommodation doesn’t mean these groups, or any others, should get the final word… dealing with the world around us is a work in progress. We need all the help we can get. The important part to ‘reasonable accommodation’ is the word ‘reasonable’. Not everyone is going to agree on what that means, but trying to see through the eyes of others is never a bad thing.
I highly suggest reading this article. It’s a bit flattering for the atheist, but well written and a from seemingly different perspective. Though, which his closing sentence, one wonders how he could justify feeling the need or desire to practice ramadan for religious purposes…
Shame, the UK used to be such a safe space to visit.
Officers say that they have not told John Richards he is committing an offence for displaying the poster but said he could only face arrest if he causes offence and refuses to take the poster down when they ask.
In a statement Lincolnshire Police said the 1986 Public Order Act states that a person is guilty of an offence if they display a sign which is threatening or abusive or insulting with the intent to provoke violence or which may cause another person harassment, alarm or distress.
The statement adds: “This is balanced with a right to free speech and the key point is that the offence is committed if it is deemed that a reasonable person would find the content insulting.
A sign saying “religions are fairy stories for adults” is guaranteed to offend someone. I’m guessing Mr Richards won’t be getting any invites to skeptic conferences any time soon either.