Kiva Now or Never!

Okay, time to do some good. The Atheists, Agnostics, Skeptics, Freethinkers, Secular Humanists and Non-Religious team at Kiva is just a few hundred members away from winning a $10,000 bonus matching fund. Let’s get them that bonus! It only costs you $25. (And maybe not even that yet…for a while, due to another matching grant, your first loan can be free for awhile.) That’s the minimum venture. But when you see the results, you might end up putting more in just because you think this is really cool. Join now. (Before the end of March! The deal ends then.)

For those not in the know, Kiva is an international charitable organization that specializes in providing cheap micro-loans to people around the world, especially in third world countries, to help them in their business and job ventures and just quality of life. The loan gets paid back eventually, and when that happens, you can redirect your $25 (or whatever you’ve put in) to someone else. And so on. So the same $25 keeps helping more and more people. You might lose it eventually, though the risk is extremely low (less than 1%), and hey, it’s just $25; you can easily afford to put another in and start again.

The double bonus is that if you join through our own Crommunist’s campaign (which I’ve linked to above but again it’s here), he gets a matching $25 credit to put into Kiva loans, so you are helping twice…or actually three times, if you count what your money does, plus what that bonus does, plus what the $10,000 will do if the AASFSHN meets its target member count. I just joined and helped a Mongolian truck driver get new brakes (possibly saving lives), as well as a couch and some clothes. And I upped the profile and success of the atheist team at Kiva.

You can do that, too! I mean, honestly. It doesn’t even cost you much of anything to start, or to continue (if you want to keep going at the minimum buy-in of just $25). The low risk shows the recipients are very diligent in repaying these loans (these are not freeloaders) and the benefit can be relatively huge. You can really make a difference in the world for almost nothing. Why not?

For more, see Crommunist’s post on this new development and his past diaries of how his own loan has been recycled over the past year and more to help lots of different people.

 

Status Report

Two notes today, one to readers of my blog and another to the donors who funded Proving History and On the Historicity of Jesus Christ:

(1) Today I shall begin recording in studio for the audiobook edition of Not the Impossible Faith. Two other books have already been done and are available on Audible now (Why I Am Not a Christian and Sense and Goodness without God), and NIF will be the last of my own books to be turned into audio (though we will try to get audio rights for Proving History, too). That project will occupy me most of this week, in fact, leaving me little time to manage my blog. Then, next week, is the American Atheists convention, for which preparation, travel and attendance will again keep me too busy to do much else. So my blog will likely be on hiatus and comment moderation greatly delayed over the next two weeks. Just so you know. (Although I have one post already completed that I might throw up at some point amidst all that, and if I do find time I might do more.)

(2) I have sent an email today to all the donors to my historicity project. If you are an official donor to that project and did not receive that email, please email me right away so I can update my contact information for you. Then I can also send you that same email, which offers an advance look at the current draft of On the Historicity of Jesus Christ (which will differ from the published text, since it will likely be revised on advice from peer reviewers and editors before publication, but it will likely not differ in any radical way).

To everyone else who may be interested, note that OHJC has now entered the stage of peer review and contract negotiation, after which will be the publisher’s official editing and production phase (which can itself take many months). I am hoping peer review can be completed by July, which will likely mean an October or November publication–depending on how much revision needs to be done; if very little, it’s possible the book will be out even sooner. My ultimate target is to have copies for sale at this year’s Skepticon. Donors of course will eventually receive free copies by post just as with Proving History (except any who opt out of that benefit).

 

Record-Breaking Atheist Charity Drive

Last year I blogged about the national atheist community’s engagement with the Light the Night charity drive to fund Leukemia research (see This Is Atheist Charity and Charity Legend Update). Well, it achieved remarkable results. The atheist movement officially raised nearly half a million dollars (and may yet meet or exceed that target: see how to get involved again this year; in fact, read the whole letter from Todd Stiefel on why you should). The atheist charity hosting this drive for the The Leukemia & Lymphoma Society, the Foundation Beyond Belief, raised “the largest amount ever raised by a first year non-corporate team” and “the 4th largest amount raised by any team in the nation in 2012, including corporate teams.” For this year’s drive, our own cancer-survivor Greta Christina is an honored hero with the FBB, and they are there seeking nominations for other honored heroes (see previous link).

All of this would have been unthinkable even ten years ago, much less twenty. The atheism movement, and its humanist moral conscience, is becoming an unavoidable contender in the interfaith community. You can help keep that momentum going. Because with it will come greater recognition and influence for us all.

 

That Christian Nation Nonsense (Gods Bless Our Pagan Nation)

This is a transcript of my speech at this year’s convention for the National Atheist Party (minus spontaneous asides and ad-libs). Though this was an oratorical adaptation and rearrangement of my previous work online (Christianity Was Not Responsible for American Democracy), it is also much improved and contains new material, and I received multiple requests from the audience to make a transcript of it available. This is my cue text, so it is not in every respect word-for-word what I spoke at the convention, but it is very near to it. I began with a quotation… [Read more...]

Sense and Goodness without God Now an Audio Book

Cover for AudioBook edition of Sense and Goodness without GodMy flagship defense of a naturalist worldview (and of philosophy in general), Sense and Goodness without God: A Defense of Metaphysical Naturalism, is now available as an audio book, through Audible.com. It’s a fairly faithful reading, so even things I’d probably change now (mostly minor stuff) is still in there (I didn’t want to deviate too much into creating a second edition just yet), but I still had to leave out many of the internal cross references and all the bibliographies.

To get those bibliographies in audio, you still have to get something like the kindle edition and run voice-to-text on them. They frequently appear at the end of each section, and there are a lot of them. So to make that task easier, I’ve compiled a single PDF file on my website (Bibliographies for the Original 2005 Edition) that just has the bibliographies, one after another, on which you can then run text-to-speech (so you don’t have to try and search the book for where the bibliographies are, a tedious task for the visually impaired).

Do note that those bibliographies are obviously ten years out of date (I completed the book in early 2004, and it was published in 2005), but I wanted to make speech-conversion available for the original edition of the book. Even if I were to update these bibliographies, I would usually just be adding the most recent best works. The ones in there now are still relevant to their respective topics and represent what I was working from at the time. And there are still a lot of crucial readings and good recommendations in there. I have found that leading works published after 2003 (which I have been keeping track of) almost always further confirm my conclusions, or provide better and more up-to-date explanations of why the facts I was relying on are correct.

Appearing in Texas: American Atheists 50th!

I shall be one of the featured speakers at the American Atheists convention this month, in Austin, Texas, March 28-31 (2013). And I’m just one among a huge array of awesome folk presenting there: just look at this lineup! Yes, that’s Jay Jay French from Twisted Sister and recent United States congressman Peter Stark on the roster (at an explicitly atheist convention!)–along with a zillion other hoopy froods. Read all about this convention, who will be there, and how to get in and get accommodations, at their convention website. It’s their 50th anniversary, so this one is special. So many people will be speaking and performing there it’s mind boggling. If you can make it, do!

I’m currently slated for the 5:15pm slot that Friday (March 29th), but be aware that can sometimes change. My talk will be “Atheism…Plus What?” Yes. That’s right. Shock. Horror. I’ll summarize the backstory and aims and values of what we’ve been calling Atheism Plus and explain why I think it’s important (whatever we choose to call it) and how we can have reasonable critical discussions about it (instead of emotional kneejerk reactions). No Q&A is scheduled, but you can chat with me at the nightly afterparties.

They will be selling my books Proving History and Why I Am Not a Christian: Four Conclusive Reasons to Reject the Faith. If you can find me anywhere at the convention without interrupting a speaker, I’ll happily sign anything you have (whether bought there or something you brought with you).