Atheists are people, too

Mark Poprocki / iStock Bombs do not discriminate. We know that the people wounded or killed from the Boston Marathon … Continued


Mark Poprocki / iStock

Bombs do not discriminate. We know that the people wounded or killed from the Boston Marathon explosions were of all ages, all colors, and all beliefs. Yet, people without faith were explicitly excluded from the interfaith service attended by the president over a week ago. In a city where nearly half the population seldom or never attends religious services, organizers of the event didn’t invite a single representative from the vibrant non-religious community to say a few words in mourning. Such a speech would not have been anti-God; it would simply have been without God, because it is, in fact, possible to grieve over lost loved ones without invoking the supernatural.

You may argue that the word “interfaith,” by definition, excludes those without faith, but the event was billed as an all-inclusive memorial service and that is the spirit in which the atheists saw it. Because of the snub, local humanists were forced to create a makeshift memorial service at a later date and create an online petition urging government officials to meet with them in coming weeks to hear their stories and ensure that “healing and unity will include everyone” in the future. Atheists online also donated more than $28,000 to various local charities in a matter of days, all without much publicity or fanfare, to help those (of all backgrounds) who suffered because of the attacks.

But the organizers of the memorial event weren’t the only people leaving atheists in the dust. When the Boy Scouts of America announced last week that they may finally allow gay scouts in their ranks, the loudest reactions came from progressives who were (rightfully) upset that gay leaders would still be banned. (Apparently, you can be a gay scout until you become an adult at which point they kick you right back out.) However, the ensuing controversy all-but-ignored the fact that, even if the change allowed gay people of all ages, atheists would still be forbidden from becoming scouts because they are neither “reverent” to God (as required by scout law) nor able to do their “duty to God” (as required by the scout oath). In other words, an organization that prides itself on building character and developing responsible citizens does not believe atheists are capable of holding those values. One of the reasons for this continuing form of discrimination was brought up by the New Yorker‘s Richard Socarides: “Catholic and Mormon church hierarchies sponsor and fund much of the Boy Scouts’ activities.” While the BSA may cave in to outside (and even inside) pressure to allow some gay people into their ranks, their religious landlords still prevent them from accept scouts who may not believe in a higher power.

This exclusion isn’t limited to the United States, either. Atheists Sanderson Jones and Pippa Evans have been renting out space in a de-consecrated church in London owned by the Church of England to host what they’re calling The Sunday Assembly (better known in the media as “The Atheist Church”). The Sunday morning gatherings occur once a month and are marked by inspirational songs, guest speakers and joyous community, all without paying any homage to the supernatural — their motto is “Live better, help often and wonder more.” The events have become so popular, in fact, that two services now take place to hold the growing “godless congregation” and the founders are looking for a larger space.

Unfortunately, they may have to find permanent space sooner than they expected. Trustees from the Steiner School (housed in the same church) have kicked them out of the building. While the trustees cited safety reasons (too many people in the building), Jones contends there’s a less benevolent reason for the eviction. He said that some of the trustees found The Sunday Assembly to be “antithetical to their own ethos.” You can decide for yourself whether it was the living better, helping often, or wondering more that upset them the most.

In fact, The Sunday Assembly has complied with all safety regulations, including turning people away at the door if the crowds were getting too large.

In all of these instances, kind, well-intentioned atheists were excluded on the basis of their beliefs, by people who often claim their faith makes them more moral, more noble, and more generous than those who don’t possess it. Indeed, we are finding that faith is not a virtue. If it were, you would not see atheists being banned from an interfaith (or, to phrase it more accurately, interthought) event meant to honor people of all backgrounds and beliefs. You would not see atheists kicked out of the Boy Scouts of America when scouting organizations around the world (not to mention the Girl Scouts of the USA) have accepted atheists in their ranks without a problem. And I doubt you would see church groups renege on their contract at the last second if they were dealing with another religious group.

Why is healing, helping and honoring fellow citizens so alarming when it’s atheists who want to do it? Why are religious groups opposing inclusion and equality? There’s simply no good reason atheists should be left out in these particular cases. The fact that they are suggests prejudice built up over the course of several decades — a belief that the atheists would ruin the event, offend religious sensibilities, or make organizers look bad. That couldn’t be further from the truth. The atheists here are not arguing theology or debating religion; there’s a time and place for that, well beyond these particular instances. They are just asking for the same treatment all other groups receive. We’re left wondering why atheists are held in such low esteem by people who claim that their faith makes them better people. Right now, their faith serves only as an obstacle to common sense.

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  • Rongoklunk

    Of course atheism has a bad reputation with religious folks. It’s the main opposition – the enemy – the ones who say there’s nobody up there. Atheism is realism; the acknowledgement that there is no supernatural dimension to reality and that making-up gods is what humans do. We are the god-inventing animal. But we don’t need to invent gods anymore. We got science and commonsense now -which is a much better road to the truth.

  • llhanlon

    If you’re so realism based, folks, then you need to learn how to live in the real world with other people in it, by losing the hate speech and accepting the fact that they’re allowed to have religious beliefs different from yours. I don’t blame the Boston organizers for not inviting groups like yours.

  • K Douglas Horseman

    It’s weird how in all of these comments, Christians who oppose marriage equality and tell me every day that I deserve an eternity of torture in a lake of fire get a free pass, but you’re all convinced that it’s the atheists who are rude and mean and using hate speech. That’s a lovely double standard you all hold.

  • K Douglas Horseman

    “How can you say to your brother, ‘Let me take the speck out of your eye,’ when all the time there is a plank in your own eye? You hypocrite, first take the plank out of your own eye, and then you will see clearly to remove the speck from your brother’s eye.”

  • llhanlon

    I have not seen any comments even remotely related to gay rights, nor many (if any) from peoiple identifying themselves as Christians, only a lot of hate speech attacking other people’s religious beliefs and secular philosophies.

  • K Douglas Horseman

    Christians who preach hate were allowed at the service in Boston. Atheists weren’t. Apparently this was because people think atheists are mean. Why aren’t Christians held to the same standard? Why don’t Christians have to be respectful and nice, but atheists do?

  • smartacus

    And, this is a web forum where strong opinions are to be expected. Even people of the more militant anti-fairy-tale mindset like me are more respectful in our daily lives of people of faith than the other way around.

    How many atheists are going door to door to recruit you into their belief system?
    How many flyers do you get in the mail from new atheist “churches” looking for recruits?
    How many humanist philosophies do your kids have to recite each day at school while pledging to the flag?
    How many atheist pandering speeches do you have to listen to from your elected representatives?
    How many atheist inspired laws do you have to watch get passed?
    How many school curriculums sacrifice scientific facts in order to reaffirm atheist theories?

  • k2gw

    Membership in the Boy Scouts has always been based on agreeing to follow the tenets of the Scout Oath and Law. So as long as you believe in some higher power (which you can define yourself if you want) and agree to ALL of the Scout Oath and Law (as well as the pretty open Declaration of Religious Principles) , folks won’t have a problem.

    BSA really doesn’t really look into anyone’s beliefs or lifestyles unless they themselves bring it up. And for adult leaders, it’s also based on not calling attention to oneself outside of Scouting in a way that would distract from the program. One can never use one’s position as an adult leader in Scouting for advocacy of any political or social cause.

    That’s why the BSA position on adults is still not a ban on gays, but on “known and avowed” homosexuals.. There are certainly gay Scout leaders today, but they are ones who blend in with the rest of the leaders and don’t let their sexuality distract from their role as a Scout Leader. Active, open sexuality of nay kinds always prohibited in Scouting.

  • AgentFoxMulder

    @ smartacus: Humanism has saturated our culture far more thoroughly than religion. From television to music to movies. The scientific and medical community is monumentally humanistic as is the political left.

    In contrast, MOST religious activities take place within houses of worship (no one is forcing you to go into those places).

    So you sometimes have to listen to a politician give a theist-pandering speech. Every politician’s speech panders to someone! So you sometimes meet an outspoken theist in public. I meet all kinds of outspoken people, atheists included. Go to almost any public gathering on the Mall in Washington DC lead by any interest group and you will meet outspoken people of all stripes. A just read an article about a young lady who participated in a parade at Carnegie Mellon University dressed as the pope (though she was reportedly naked from the waist down). There’s a class act. I would call that “outspoken.”

    Why do atheists/humanists need to ride on the coat tails of theists by joining in with their spiritual memorial services? Why not quit complaining in this very secular, humanistic country and just step up and organize their own memorial services.

  • DavePatterson

    This is exactly the kind of attitude that allows discrimination and hatred to pervade in our society. Yes, atheists and gays can participate in scouting if they follow a “don’t ask, don’t tell” policy, and pretend to go along with the rest of the crowd.

    However, that philosophy is fundamentally damaging to individuals because it means putting on a face and lying to other people. That is certainly NOT a part of what Scouting stands for. It makes people afraid to reveal their true identity for fear of being discriminated against.

    If the 20th Century has not shown us that this kind of discrimination is wrong, that WHAT HAVE WE LEARNED? Nothing.

  • DJWinMassachusetts

    Reality check: You get invited to political events in Boston (like the Marathon memorial service) by schmoozing with local politicians.There is no other way to get an invite. Stop whining and start schmoozing.

  • ThomasBaum

    As I have mentioned in other places, having a “holier than thou” attitude is not limited to believers, quite a few postings on here confirm this, seems to be more of a human thing than a “religous” thing.

    Those that look down on others because the others believe in something greater than themselves and those that look down on others because the others don’t believe in something greater than themselves seem pretty much to be two sides of the same coin.

  • Peasles

    That’s totally true! But I don’t understand the relevance here?

  • Peasles

    I’m not sure what you’re talking about…I don’t see any hate speech in this article; instead, I see a lot of valid points. Would you mind specifically pinpointing what exactly it is you’re referencing to? Because otherwise it just may not be relevant to the point.

  • Peasles

    Thank you! I love this. It’s terrible how many people are commenting in favor of deliberate exclusion simply because they don’t like atheists, but I guess that just illustrates your point even better! Especially since so many of them are angry, whereas you presented your viewpoint calmly and rationally. I know a lot of religious folk who would agree with your points here, but I know many more who don’t even recognize this as a problem.

  • gbock

    Your comments are very snarky.

  • kirkjs

    There’s an interesting Catch-22 here in that atheists can’t be trusted because we don’t engage in interfaith work, but humanist groups with a history of interfaith collaboration and fundraising any other week of the year must be excluded.

  • Rongoklunk

    Earthquakes, tsunamis, typhoons, hurricanes, volcanoes, droughts, floods and famines often create agnostics and atheists. And so do wars and holocausts. At such times – when god is most needed – he never ever shows up. Never ever! Why does this warm cuddly god who folks love – never actually do anything? Why the love for some all-powerful invisible skydude nobody ever saw? – who has never been known to actually DO anything – who never ever shows himself. What’s his problem?? Maybe he’s shy. Maybe he’s lazy. Maybe he doesn’t care. Maybe he’s busy doing other things. All we know for sure is that he behaves exactly as if he doesn’t exist. I wonder why that is?

  • gbock

    Those are good arguments for atheism Rongoklunk, but why do they entitle atheists to insult other people’s religious beliefs and threaten to disturb their memorial services? Becasue all of those things are written below, over and over. That is what people object to.

  • gbock

    And by the way, skydude is offensive. Suppose I called your mother by some similar name?

  • smartacus

    gbock – you can’t create an imaginary friend and cry foul if we call it silly names. Whereas I’m almost certain his mom isn’t imaginary.

    And where are the threats to disrupt a memorial service?

    Looking at the data a room full of atheists would be far more respectful than a room full of the faithful. Take a look at IQ correlated to atheism, incarceration rates, etc.

  • smartacus

    Mulder – you’re kidding right?

    How many athiest members of congress are there?

    If it’s less than 20% (which it is) then that means the fathfull still control access to government because that would be about the rate your would expect given the demographics of the country.

    Entire states have opted to dilute their kids science education in order to defend their religious beliefs from the threat of facts like evolution.

    I agree with your point that humanist ideas do permeate aspects of our culture (particularly among the highly educated like scientists, doctors, etc.) but you’re turning a blind eye to the obvious domination of the religious right.

  • K Douglas Horseman

    Atheists who were affected by this attack wanted to participate in a memorial service for the same reason everyone else wanted to participate: community and healing. How is that a threat to disrupt anything?

  • AgentFoxMulder

    rongoklunk, those are some of the most silly arguments I’ve heard for atheism. You presume that all of the earthquakes, tsunamis, typhoons, hurricanes, volcanoes, droughts, floods and famines that have happened are all that COULD have happened. Obviously, we don’t know of the ones that were not allowed to happen.

    As for wars and holocausts, yes God could have stopped all of them if He chose to destroy all of humanity (which you would no-doubt consider a monstrous deed).

    Where did you learn that God is bound to protect us all from harm? Is that what the leaders of atheism teach about Christian faith? They may want to crack open a Bible some day and not just read their own books about the Bible.

    But that is all beside the point. One would presume that a requirement of an “inter-faith” gathering is that one should have some FAITH to bring to the table. In what do atheists have faith? Please spare us the “I have faith in the human spirit” pablum. As you have already noted, humans are very good at wars, holocausts and explosives.

  • gbock

    Um, what are you talking about, Smartacus? Imaginary friend?

    As for the threats, you can scroll down and see the comments which said it would be right to show disrespect at a memorial service, unless they have been deleted by now.

    And by the way, I apologize to Rongoklunk for using an overly personal example.

    But I don’t know why you all insist on making non-belief in god such an offensive thing. You are just creating problems for people who do not believe in god but also do not feel the need to behave like unpleasant jerks by attacking people who do all the time. Everyone is tarred by the same brush.

  • Rongoklunk

    gbok;

    That’s hilarious. You complaining what I call your imaginary friend. There’s NOBODY there gbok.
    Every God ever worshiped was invented by our scared and ignorant ancestors. They invented more than 3500 of them from Apollo to Zeus. They were addicted to making them up. They are all mythical including Allah, Shiva and your no-name God. That’s why nobody ever saw him and why he never does anything. He ain’t there. Like Huitzilopochtli and Santa.
    He’s a character of the imagination.

  • gbock

    Are you high, Smartacus? Because you are making no sense.

  • AgentFoxMulder

    By the way, I suppose you are free to call God anything you like, provided that someday you are ready to call Him those things to his face.

    Seriously, since you don’t believe in God then this life is all you have. That means you have about 75+ years on this rock provided you avoid all of the Earthquakes, tsunamis, typhoons, hurricanes, volcanoes, droughts, floods and famines, etc. that could take you out. I would think you might have better things to do with your time then to waste it debating theists and obsessing about what other people believe.

  • Rongoklunk

    AgentFoxMulder;

    Yes, atheists are aware that they’ll die when they’re older. We accept it as part of being alive – we eventually die. We wish it wasn’t true, but we accept it. We know there’s no way to avoid death. All living things die. Even the planet itself will eventually die, in maybe 8 billion years or so.
    But we think it’s a bad alternative to kid yourself that if you believe in this skyfella you’ll live forever. We say prove it. It sounds like a scam to many of us. It contradicts everything we know about reality. I am as sure that no god exists as you are that he does exist. I see no evidence of a god. But there is a lot of evidence to show that gods are mythical – 3500 pieces of evidence that says that people invent gods.

  • Counterww

    That is your point of view. It’s not mine and it’s not an opinion many have.

    Common sense? Complexity comes from a inventor and creator. YOU have no common sense, its just an excuse to be your own little “god” .

    It’s your take on life and it is easily rejected.

  • 1000demons

    I’m just amazed that the religious people are making excuses. I mean, seriously? These people experienced a horrible event with their fellow human beings, and you don’t think they’d like to go to the memorial? It takes a genuinely hateful person to try to turn this into a conversation about “well atheists called me names” spitting match. You’ve got to have all sorts of hate broiling inside to exclude HUMAN BEINGS from recognition of such a terrible event.

    It’s like religious people think atheists don’t have any humanity. No soul? Well then, I guess no feelings, and you probably don’t care when your friends or family die, being an atheist must be easy! Yeah… because our human connections are any less important than yours.

    Seriously lacking in class, religious people.

  • patriot1

    I don’t think athiests have brains….. I’ve never seen one. I also think the athiests that make comments on this blog don’t exist. They are a figment of someone’s imagination.

  • gbock

    The internet here is finally back here, so just let me say this. It’s a pretty sad thing when self-proclaimed “atheists” make fun even of other people who don’t believe in god, because they refuse to attack other people who do. (Really, Smartacus, my “imaginary friend”? what drugs are you on, or are you just that big a jerk?)

    It goes to show that atheism does NOT mean “someone who does not believe in god”, it means “someone with a blind hatred of religion and people who belong to one”. (It’s like “gay”, Tender Hooligan. The primary way people understand it is not “happy” any more, no matter what the dictionary says.)

    This is surely why neither I nor my many friends do not believe in god do not call ourselves atheists. We are not vicious and unreasonable oeople who go around attacking other people for the sake of their religion. I never want to be associated with “atheism”, given what it means in the real world.

    And you all wonder why no one invites you to speak at memorial services.

  • Rick Mueller

    As an atheist I do not wish to be included in ceremonies that are termed “interfaith” I don’t demand inclusion and don’t claim discrimination when not invited to these events. I am dismayed that some atheists seek inclusion in interfaith services as an effective way to mainstream atheism.

    The problem with this event is that it was organized by Governor Deval Patrick’s office and attended, in an official capacity by President Obama, Governor Patrick, and Mayor Menino. This ceremony was meant to be the official government-sponsored response to the tragedy. The program booklet had the state seal of Massachusetts on its cover. I would not object to any of those government officials attending that religious service in a non-official capacity. Their participation as featured speakers violates the establishment clause. The ceremony was pointedly mainstream Christian. I’ll leave it religionists to decide how “interfaith” the service was.

    We as a nation are capable of holding secular events that memorialize the dead, offer support to the wounded, and focus the desire of the general public for healing and restating our commitment to civic comity. This is what concerned atheists should demand. It is what our constitution requires. I would rather see secular and humanist organizations petition their allies in religious traditions to advocate for secular civic events as the norm.

  • livinginlondon1968

    In most Islamic nations like Pakistan, Saudi, Iran, Afghanistan and so forth, just becoming an atheist is punishable by death. It is called apostasy.

    So these bombers “inspired by religion” will be glad to see that America is happy to join them in the hatred and bigotry of non believers. I have no doubt there are many for who it is not enough to simply attack and vilify those who do not share their belief system and the hatred from Christians is clear in these posts. I’m sure if they had their way they would be burning us at the stake like in the good old days when Catholicism was in charge in Europe.

    Wherever religion take control there is hatred and oppression. The very main stay of Christianity is that if I do not believe what you tell me too you say I will be tortured for all eternity. Yet if I say this is absurd you claim to be “offended” by my beliefs? It leaves one incredulous that you can threaten even children with torture and then act offended when we dissect the absurdity and lack of evidence for your belief systems.

    Hundreds of millions of people are being oppressed by religion. In places like the Philippines Catholicism refuses contraception and divorce even where women are raped but allows marriage at 13 years old. The ban contraception where AIDS is rife in Africa. And in many countries witches are still burned alive or beheaded. This is why we challenge magical thinking. This is why we demand equal rights for non believers.

    Perhaps the ugly Christians here would be better dealing with the organised child abuse and other things I have mentioned before attacking free thought.

  • ThomasBaum

    Two other things that I have stated many times previously:

    God is a searcher of hearts and minds, not of religious affiliations or lack thereof.

    and

    It is important what one does and why one does it and what one knows.

    Those with “holier than thou” attitudes whether believers or non-believers are in many cases today’s version of some of the “religious leaders” of Jesus’s time.

  • Tender Hooligan

    Hello gbock. I’m still struggling how you have interpreted blind hatred from a bit of gentle mockery there, whilst not noting the comments from CounterWW, that atheists have had a lousy upbringing, no upbringing, and no attributes of human kindness in their hearts.
    Never mind, I’m lucky enough to live in a more tolerant society, where people don’t make such closed minded judgements about atheists, and on the whole religious people don’t take themselves so seriously as to be upset by the sky daddy/dude/fairy analogy.

  • ThomasBaum

    Rick Mueller

    You wrote, “We as a nation are capable of holding secular events that memorialize the dead, offer support to the wounded, and focus the desire of the general public for healing and restating our commitment to civic comity. This is what concerned atheists should demand. It is what our constitution requires. I would rather see secular and humanist organizations petition their allies in religious traditions to advocate for secular civic events as the norm.”

    It seems as if you have stated your opinion, not all atheist’s opinion but yours, very well.

    You “demand” that “memorial services” be atheistic and only atheistic in nature, why should your belief, and it is a belief, trump all other people’s befiefs?

    And it isn’t even close to what “our constitution requires”, actually, it is a perversion of our constitution.

  • kirkjs

    “It goes to show that atheism does NOT mean…”

    Confirmation bias, especially since you’re ignoring those atheists calling for interfaith discussion and collaboration.

    “It’s like “gay”, Tender Hooligan.”

    “Gay” also has a host of unpleasant connotations and is unelectable in many districts. However, most people of good will consider that the problem are the prejudices against gay men and women, not those of us who proudly call ourselves gay.

    ” I never want to be associated with “atheism”, given what it means in the real world.”

    The real world includes atheists within Unitarian Universalist, Friends, Jewish, Buddhist, and other congregations. It also includes a large number of voices calling for interfaith discussion and engagement.

  • ThomasBaum

    livinginlondon1968

    You wrote, “In most Islamic nations like Pakistan, Saudi, Iran, Afghanistan and so forth, just becoming an atheist is punishable by death. It is called apostasy.”

    Sounds like a half truth to me, as far as I know, in islam apostasy is rejecting islam which includes becoming an atheist but is not limited to that, changing one’s faith is also apostasy (a total desertion of or departure from one’s religion, principles, party, cause, etc.).

    You also wrote, “Wherever religion take control there is hatred and oppression”

    Seems to be some pretty good recent examples that where an attempted total state-inspired rejection of “religion” did not bring about the splendor that some seemed to think that it would.

    You also wrote, “Perhaps the ugly Christians here would be better dealing with the organised child abuse and other things I have mentioned before attacking free thought.”

    If one were to really use their “free thought”, they should be able to see that child abuse is rampant all over, as I have said in other places, some people’s rabid hatred of anything “religious” seems to be more important to them than the children.

  • Rongoklunk

    Powerful post London guy. What you write is the truth. Religion is scary. Islam in particular.
    If I had been religious on 9/11, I think I would have asked myself if I was just as deluded as the terrorists were. They believed they were doing God’s work by flying planes into the WTC, and that God would reward them with heavenly immortality, and 72 virgins each as bonus.
    Only religious people could fall for such a scam.
    Believing Christians are just as deluded, and many would martyr themselves too – to please their God. Like Muslims they believe in the great invisible skyfella, despite a total lack of evidence. The trick to creating a true believer is childhood religious indoctrination. It’s in childhood that Muslims are created, and Hindus are created, and Christians are created. And they believe for life whatever was pushed into their heads as children. Although I’m atheist, I’m sure if I had been raised by Christians to be a Christian – then today I would be a Christian. And if I had been raised by Muslims to be a Muslim – then today I would be a Muslim. If it’s true of everybody else, then it follows that it would be true of me too.

  • Tender Hooligan

    This debate has been very interesting for me. I read the article because I work as a bereavement counsellor (among other things) in the UK. During our training we are told to leave whatever religion we have outside, as religion has no part in consoling the bereaved, unless they choose to talk to a representative of their faith. The reasoning is that it is very offensive to someone to say that the death of their loved one was god’s will, or even worse, to say to a bereaved child that their parent or sibling has gone to live with god/in a better place. This exacerbates the feeling of loss in a child, as they imagine their loved one has abandoned them to live elsewhere. I have personally experienced this myself as a bereaved child, and to be told that god desired this outcome is hurtful, especially as I have no personal belief in this figure that some call god.
    A secular service of memorial celebrates the person, and should be acceptable to all, and I cannot see how religious people would object to that, and wish to impose their own values on the bereaved, or in this case, the many people affected by an act that originated in religious intolerance.

  • Rick Mueller

    @ ThomasBaum

    I didn’t really demand that memorial services be atheistic. Perhaps I wasn’t clear enough. I am reacting to this memorial service which was organized by the governor’s office and was exclusively religious and overwhelmingly Christian in participation. The Jewish and Muslim clergy had minor roles, they said prayers while the Christian clergy presented sermons. The governor’s office disinvited one Muslim clergy in favor of another when Jewish and Christian leaders objected to the first. All of this has the appearance of government establishing a religious event and deciding which religions to favor. I’ll stick with my opinion that this is unconstitutional. Our various government entities regularly sponsor events that are non-theistic, this should have been as well.

    And, atheism is not a belief it is a lack of belief but I get your point. You’re probably atheistic when it comes to Zeus and the multitudes of other deities. Think of it this way; I wouldn’t say not collecting stamps is my hobby.

  • jrdunnii

    Some people think it is likely that there is an incalculably intelligent, stupendously magical Being, and that this Being:

    - Existed for >9,999,999,999,999,999,999,999,999 x 10^infinity years before creating the angels, then X more years before creating the universe;
    - Created >250,000,000,000 galaxies, each galaxy containing >150,000,000,000 suns, each sun having on average >1 planet;
    - That this Being has seen, and remembers, each and every event on each and every one of these planets, suns, and galaxies for the last 13,800,000,000 years;
    - That this Being waited 187,000 years after our species appeared on this planet before announcing Its existence 3,000 years ago to one of the minor civilizations of the time;
    - That these appearances were only to a few members of this mostly illiterate nomadic bronze age tribe, that this Being imparted all of Its instructions to these few people, then never made a verifiable appearance on Earth again for the last 2,000 years.

    Have I got that right?

  • patriot1

    I can’t say. I really don’t know if you exist.

  • Gretta Vosper

    We are excited about holding our “Interview an Atheist at Church Day” on Sunday. It is too true that atheists the world over are excluded from situations of grief and loss and of celebration and hope, realities to which they have much to offer. At West Hill United in Toronto, we have created space for those voices to come together and inspire one another and it is just that – an inspiration. Perhaps, were there more communities that intentionally created space for atheists and other non-believers, the gifts they have to offer would not be so easily overlooked. Thank you, Hemant, for, as Susan Jacoby did following the Newtown tragedy, raising the need for the inclusion of nonbelievers in times of national and personal grief.

  • ThomasBaum

    Rick Mueller

    You wrote, “And, atheism is not a belief it is a lack of belief but I get your point.”

    I don’t think looking at atheism as a belief is derogatory, it is looking at the physical world, by world I mean everything not just the earth, and trying to find answers to everything about it including its origin if it had an origin.

    This is what I would call a definition of science, simplistic but inclusive, and I would say those that believe in a god or gods or God that reject science are spitting in God’s Face since if they believe in God, they must also believe that God gave us the mental capacity to seek physical answers to physical questions, this may not be the only reason for our mental capacity but it must be at least some of the reason for it.

    If one does not believe in anything remotely considered “higher” than I would think that they would believe that they may find some answers thru studying what is and what was and maybe making some predictions of what will be and even making some concrete steps toward what will be.

    I don’t know exactly how this memorial service was set up but it should have been open to whomever wanted to come.

    You also wrote, “You’re probably atheistic when it comes to Zeus and the multitudes of other deities.”

    If by atheistic you mean (not believing in), than I would go so far as to say that I am atheistic toward some people’s “conception” of the Christian God since I have met Who is referred to as God the Father and Who is referred to as the Holy Spirit.

    If some of what is written on these postings is any indication, there seem to be a growing number of “holier than thous” among both theists and atheists, they seem to be pretty much mirror images of each other and it appears that both sides are blind to this.

  • Christopher Salihe Payne

    Or, what most of them do is believe that there is an incalculably intelligent, stupendously magical Being, and that this Being created everything in the universe about 6,000 years ago. And beyond that, they just give vague answers about infinity.