So, frustrated with the dishonesty in the “discussion” of Québec’s Charter of Values, I spent the last post deconstructing a set of ridiculous and self-serving “ground rules”. Because I was focused on the “ground rules” themselves, I never got around to the tiny bit of discussion at the end. Now I will, and I will add my own questions, too. Continue reading
So what do you do when you are supporting an untenable position with no rational arguments to support it, and are facing growing number of clear, well-outlined objections that you can’t find any sane answers to? Apparently, you draft a set of absurd and lopsided ground rules to silence dissenting opinions, and shape the discussion in a way that suits your “arguments”. Continue reading
While the Marois government plays games with their electorate and the rest of Canada by being coy with the details of their Charter of Values, supporters are dishonestly trying to deflect criticisms and concerns by framing the disagreement as a cultural one – between francophones and anglophones. While it may be true that support for the Charter is clearly split by language lines, this not an English-versus-French issue; it is a human rights issue. Sadly few predominantly francophone organizations in Québec have had the political backbone to speak out against the Charter… until now. And it’s a beauty. Continue reading
If you’re anything like me, the first question that sprang to your mind when the 2011 National Housing Survey religion results came out was: How’d my city/province rank? Well, in this post I’m going to look at the results by province. I’ll look at some of the major cities in a future post. Continue reading
So a week or so back, Statistics Canada released the data from the 2011 National Household Survey (which is what we have to work with since the long-form census was scrapped). I took a look at the overall data regarding religion in a previous post, and now I’ll dig a little deeper into it. This time, I’ll take a look at the sex distribution. Continue reading
I wanted to fully respond to a recent comment that questioned why atheist conferences discuss “activist” issues like diversity rather than just stick to “a discussion about Atheism.” Here’s the full comment, by Chyrch:
People get pissed off when discussing sexism (and racism for that matter) because we’re constantly bombarded with it. The main reason I don’t go to Atheist conferences is because of crap like this. It should be a discussion about Atheism, and instead half the conference is unqualified bloggers who just want to speak about what they’re passionate about.
The general sense of the Atheist community as a whole, is simply that it’s full of activists who happen to be Atheists.
I think there’s quite a few issues here, and I think they may be prevalent enough to warrant this response.
By Andrew Komar
Tom Sears has a new op-ed up in the Daily Star proclaiming that the numbers of the atheist movement ‘doom us to irrelevancy’. I’m not going to spend my time here debunking the numerous attacks, misconceptions and smears against non-theists, but the mere fact that Sears felt it necessary to write it is yet another example of the persecution complex that many Christians seem to have.
Sears mentions the American Atheist recent billboard put up in New Jersey- The “You Know its a Myth” campaign, as yet another example of our shrillness. For the record, the stated purpose of that particular campaign was to reach out to closeted atheists, which has NOTHING to do with Christians. Here are their words :
Millions of atheists are closeted, choosing to go along to get along, and feigning religion to their friends, family, and coworkers. American Atheists understands the pressure to fit in, but we maintain that for people to love you, they must know the real you.
Evidently, Sears thinks the stated motives of the campaign are ‘really’ an attack on Christianity. Look, sir, if your faith is such that a billboard challenging it is enough to destroy it, you must not have had much there in the first place. And if that was the case, you’re lucky that Bill Donahue and the Catholics are there to reassure you on the other side of the tunnel with this billboard:
I applaud these billboards for reaching out to this silent minority. Whether the size of that minority is 3% (as repeatedly asserted by Sears) or closer to 30% the fact is that atheists are not nearly as organized as our religious brothers and sisters. Lacking any cohesive ideology beyond an agreement that there is probably no god(s), we are a diverse group, with many different reasons for that general conclusion. Believe it or not, Mr Sears, but there is no atheist religion. We’re human- and we crave a community that understands us. The billboards are a (repeatedly stated as such) effort to reach out and build that community.
If your a Christian and you read the billboard, I don’t expect you to magically lose your faith. For all I care, you are welcome to continue believing in Jesus, God or Santa Claus; they are all the same in my books. However, when we have the audacity to speak up for ourselves, I’d be nice if we weren’t challenged at every step by the majority that already has every damn privilege.
As for ‘ tear[ing] down one more longstanding tradition and belief’, I’ve never met any atheists who are actually interested in getting rid of Christmas. I happen to love Christmas, the celebration of which obviously predates Christianity.. The midwinter celebration is a human tradition as old as civilization- why shouldn’t we want to pull together and celebrate warmth and fellowship during the darkest days of the year? If you’d like to claim that it’s all about Jesus, go right ahead. But in the interests of mutual understanding, don’t expect everyone else to agree.
So, to Mr Sears and like minded Christians: Merry Christmas and happy holidays from the bottom of my loving, godless heart! I hope you’ll take a greater effort next time in actually understanding our position before you decide to dump on us during this season of mid-winter joy. I doubt it, but I’m always open to evidence that shakes my beliefs. Are you?
I want to outline an argument that occurred to me recently regarding religious instruction in public schools. These are sort of preliminary thoughts that I’m not sure I fully hold and I want feedback and constructive criticism, especially since what I’m about to lay out goes fairly contrary to the typical approach to secularism. It’s also worth pointing out that this is likely only feasible in Canada and other countries without explicit separations of church and state, since the religious teachings are very clearly banned in US classrooms.