Why I am an atheist

Russell here.  I’ve been feeling left out of PZ Myers’ series on how people became atheists, but I thought it would be greedy of me to try to guest post on his blog when we’ve got our own.  So instead, I’m posting my own story here.

My parents are both of Jewish cultural/ethnic backgrounds, with roots in Germany and Eastern Europe.  They are also both more or less atheists — my dad more, my mom a bit less.

Continued below the fold…

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Back to the Future: the wedding

Hope you’ll forgive posting this personal stuff here — Matt already did.  I promised I’d supply media from the event, and here it is!  I’m posting here instead of my main blog because half the guests were ACA friends, thanks for coming.

We knew early on that we wanted to have a not-so-serious wedding, and we quickly settled on theming it after a certain movie series we’ve both loved for a long time.  We rented out the Alamo Drafthouse movie theater and screened Back to the Future 3, followed by this.

Video!

 

 

Pictures!

 

Lynnea as Clara Clayton, Russell as Doc Brown

 

Best man Gilbert Quintana as Marty McFly

Jay Davis as Biff Tannen, Jr.

 

My understudy

 

Ensemble

Script! (Contains links to audio cuts as well as the PowerPoint file we used to project “credits” on screen, just click them when they appear.)

Atheists of [your area here], unite!

Lynnea and I had a wonderful time in Orlando, doing all the stupid tourist things we could pack into five days.  If you want to see what we were up to, add me on Facebook for the photo albums, but first a word to the wise: Message me when you do it.  Just say something as short as “I want to see the vacation photos.”  Otherwise, you’ll be stuck in friend request limbo for a while.

Anyway, tourist traps aside, I think the best time we had was going to the Oasis Tiki Bar to meet fellow atheists.  I think about twenty people showed up.  We met students, bartenders, bus drivers, and lawyers.  And you know, even though a couple of them said goofy things like “You’re like a movie star to me!” it seems like what everybody really desperately wanted was to talk to… each other.  I even saw a couple of people get together and form a carpool to the upcoming rally in Washington, D.C.

I love talking to fellow atheists, especially those who don’t already have a community.  Living as an atheist without support can be a difficult experience, because so many people openly think that your beliefs are wrong, it is very hard to continue to believe that you are not just correct, but actually sane.  It always seems to come as such a shock to loner atheists that there are so many other people right in their backyards who feel the same way, but also can’t come out and say it for fear of being attacked.

It’s often said that organizing atheists can be like herding cats, but whether they’re organized or not, my general experience is that atheists love talking to each other and often don’t get the opportunity.  In fact, one of the reasons I love doing the TV show is that it’s an excuse to get a whole bunch of people together afterwards who just want to eat, drink, talk, and enjoy themselves.

So this is my message to all you people who aren’t fortunate enough to have a local TV show as an excuse to hang out with other atheists on a regular basis: make your own excuse!  Start your own group.  Start a game night.  Advertise in the papers.  Take advantage of meetup.com.  Go out on a limb and cautiously identify as atheist, or at least skeptical, to some friends who you think might be sympathetic.  Network.  You’ll be glad you did.

Details for Matt’s Debate in Georgia!

From the event host:

Wednesday, November 16th, 7PM – Meet and greet:

1381 Longview Drive, Gainesville, GA 30501

(this is debate host’s home-some food and drink will be provided but feel free to bring more to share-ALL are invited)

Thursday Nov 17 7PM EST – Debate:

FREE and Open to the public!
Donations requested to support the Kasese Humanist School in Kasese, Uganda
Academic Building IV
3rd floor
Multi Purpose Room
A live stream of the debate will be available here

Format: A moderator will ask 3 questions of each participant. Participant has 3 minutes to answer the other gets a 3 minute rebuttal time. After the set questions there will be questions from the audience. After the debate we will go out and everyone is invited, location undecided at this time but will be announced.

From Matt: I’ll do my best to remember to tweet relevant information – and I’m hoping for a Friday morning trip to the Aquarium before I leave!

What does it mean to “legislate morality”?

Viewer Mail Question: What does it mean to “legislate morality”? Isn’t any and all legislation a form of legislating morality? It seems to me that if we did not legislate morality, there would be no laws. We’ve determined that undermining ones welfare and liberty are wrong, and have outlined certain laws to strengthen individual liberty and welfare. [Read more...]

Wedding Day II: THE REWEDDENING

Great Scott!  There will be no Non-Prophets again tomorrow, as Lynnea and I have a little appointment to prove that a wedding can be cuter, badder, sillier, and above all, SO MUCH GEEKIER than that little affair last weekend.  We’ve got no live stream planned or anything, but hopefully we can scrape together pictures and (with a lot of luck) video when the dust settles.

Atheist Experience continues as usual Sunday, though obviously without us, cause we’re off to Disney World, suckas!  Have a nice week, all you kids out there in AXP land.

(If you’re on the guest list, see you at 9 AM. If you should have been on the guest list… call me.)

Recovering from Religion has a new Executive Director!

I’ve fallen behind on e-mail, (I was busy getting married) and so I’m late to the party on this. I’ll post the press release below the jump, but let me just take a moment to talk about how important this group is.

Some of us have had an easy time freeing ourselves from religion and letting the chips fall where they may. Others have a much more difficult, even traumatic time with this transition. People not only feel alone or abandoned, they often are. Relationships have been torn apart and some individuals are left with little or no companions. Others suffer from the lingering effects of indoctrination years after rejecting their religious views.

We need organizations like this. Building communities and helping people is essential to further increasing and strengthening the broader secular community.

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