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Faith no more

Speaking from the radical flaming atheist end of the spectrum, I have to oppose certain labels that are flying around. Greg Epstein likes the idea of “interfaith”, this movement where atheists join hands with religious groups to carry out good works. The good works part, fine; the bit where we do it under the umbrella of “interfaith”, not so good. Atheism is not a faith position, so it’s false advertising and promotes “faith” as the unifying principle. Ick.

Now Ed Clint responds with a new label, “transfaith”. He changed the prefix, which is a step forward, but kept the suffix! He changed the wrong part of the word! His idea is generally good, and I think it’s fine to engage and cooperate with the opposition, but “faith” is the problem.

Faith is the enemy, and I think we have to be clear about that. Belief without evidence, uncritical acceptance of authority, giving even a shred of credibility to dogma is simply not something I can do, ever, and it distresses me to see people blithely accepting “faith” as a common denominator. Work with people of faith, but not for faith — we can cooperate for real-world effectiveness, but not to whitewash superstitious bullshit.

I will not work with anyone under the banner of “xxxxFaith”, no matter what the prefix.

Except, maybe, “anti”.

Comments

  1. says

    I think I disagree with you a bit on this one. I fully agree that I find the label “interfaith” distasteful, and “transfaith” only slightly less so — but for the goals which these guys are trying to achieve under these labels, I really don’t say any feasible way to avoid it. Even “transfaith” is probably way beyond what can reasonably be expected.

    I know there is some controversy over whether atheists should even be getting involved with the-programs-formerly-known-as-Interfaith in the first place (I tend to think it’s a good idea, but count me out personally!), but if there is going to be outreach of this sort, the banner it falls under is going to be called “interfaith” for the forseeable future. Oh well…

  2. Hercules Grytpype Thynne says

    I’ve seen the term “Life Stance” bandied about to refer to non-faith positions. How about interStance? That way we have an alternative to “interfaith” that can be apply as widely as we want.

  3. 'smee says

    I know it has been hijacked by religiots, but I’ve always preferred “good works”. It covers both action and outcome (Do good works; Doing good, works) and is not determinedly religious.

    The caveat is that the phrase does have a lot of religious baggage.

  4. says

    PZ, you don’t offer an alternative, not even a silly one. Therefore I am, on the spot, making up our new term: “Good people who don’t agree on everything but want to get together to do nice things.”

    What do y’all think?

  5. Fear Uncertainty Doubt says

    how about “Unfaith”?

    The commercials write themselves: “When PZ Myers, biologist and leader in the Unfaith community wants refreshment, he reaches for a 7-UP, the ‘un-Cola’”

  6. speedwell says

    I thought we already had a word for the mindset that all people are granted a voice, and that their value is to be judged independently of their (irrelevant) spiritual outlook. That word is “humanism”.

  7. Steve LaBonne says

    How about just calling it “politics”? That’s what working together for goals in the real world is called. Faith or lack thereof is irrelevant.

  8. says

    How about just “people doing stuff together,” without worrying in the particular instance whether or how they happen to be religious? Why does such an activity even need a label?

  9. Krak Demosthenes says

    What about “Cooperative Ideologies”? No link to any religious or non-religious groups. Also I think it explains the goal of the group a bit better than “Interfaith”.

  10. Zorku says

    Seems like you just might be able to get them to accept “Post-faith. After faith we’re all humans.”

  11. SG says

    @13 Nice! I like “Cooperative Ideologies”. The fact that people might have come from various religions/non-religions surely must be secondary to the fact that they are working together for common causes. Faith is irrelevant and need not be mentioned at all.

  12. Sam Salerno says

    I agree whole hearted with PZ. I’m personally tired of religion trying to pee on everything so they think they own it. Humans own charity. And if the religious want to come together with atheists we can can do it under the guise of humanism.

  13. Sastra says

    I don’t trust the “interfaith” label either. The belief in belief — the view that we all either do or ought to have an attitude of acceptance and respect towards supernatural claims of some sort — is so privileged in our culture that buying into the standard vocabulary in hopes that the meaning will be overlooked in our particular case is probably asking for trouble.

    Spirituality and related concepts are seriously dependent on our ability to shift between similar-sounding views so that extraordinary claims gain acceptance by virtue of their superficial resemblance to ordinary claims. Fuzziness as depth: faith is a leap beyond the evidence, but faith is also pragmatic reliance based on evidence. So let’s say it’s both, okay, and we can all get along? It’s the same thing really.

    No. It’s not. Really.

    The 3 C’s — curiosity, clarity, and consistency — are the hallmark of scientific and rational thought — but they kill faith dead. I understand the motivation, but I really hate allowing the faith-full an opportunity to muddy the waters before we even start the dialogue. We’ve played that game too many years: “We will like you atheists as long as you agree it all comes down to faith in the end — so don’t try to explain yourselves and make atheism seem reasonable. If you do that we can’t like you for yourself.”

    Screw that. A despised minority viewpoint should not give in upfront and change the subject so we can seem nice “regardless.” It’s not always better to be nice than right.

  14. says

    FAITH, n. Belief without evidence in what is told by one who speaks without knowledge, of things without parallel.–Ambrose Bierce

  15. says

    There is a very funny story Vint Cerf once told about the early days of setting up the first ARPAnet nodes when he was at BBN. For those of you who don’t know, the “router” for the early internet was a fairly large rack-mounted system called an “IMP” (Interface Message Processor) Anyhow, when BBN in Massachusetts and UCSD got the first 2 nodes talking to eachother, they did a press release about the successful first operation of the IMPs. According to Cerf, a few days later they got a letter from Senator Kennedy (and his office staff) congratulating them “…on a great step forward for ecumenicalism. Your Interfaith Message Processor is going to contribute greatly to human cooperation and understanding…”

    Anyhow, Cerf told that story at one USENIX session and we were all pretty much convulsed with laughter.

  16. Andy the ex-cable guy says

    I like #7 above. Now that’s Funny! I don’t care what anyone says, that’s funny.

  17. Roving Rockhound, collector of dirt says

    My biggest problem with “interfaith” (or for that matter, “transfaith”) is that it implies faith in something. If you associate with the term, then you are implying that you are religious (and maybe that you don’t think people of other affiliations have cooties). I tried going to a couple of those things in college and people actually prayed during the meeting. Apparently the Lord’s Prayer is considered “interfaith”, since it doesn’t name one specific fairy.

    I’m all for doing good works, but I refuse to do good works that are labeled as coming from someone of faith. What’s wrong with doing good for goodness sake, with no label and no hidden agenda?

  18. consciousness razor says

    I think a name like “Accommodationists International, Inc.” would be appropriate, not that I’d buy what they’re selling.

  19. Sisu says

    I’m personally tired of religion trying to pee on everything so they think they own it.

    Hear, hear. Last week I went to a fundraiser for Minnesotans United for All Families, an umbrella org that’s working to defeat an anti-marriage amendmend to our state constitution. The group representative at the house party spent a ton of time talking about how MNs United is made up of all these different faith groups, blah blah blah. Nary a mention for Minnesota Atheists, also a coalition member. Afterwards I approached her and asked her why the emphasis on churches, without much mention for secular groups? I didn’t get a good answer and was left ultimately pretty disappointed.

    Doesn’t mean I won’t support Minnesotans United. But I might work to raise the atheist profile in the coalition.

  20. llewelly says

    I will chime in with those who suggested “humanism”.

    It is already known, it’s short and sweet, we all know there are both religious and non religious humanists, and we can fight over the pronunciation.

  21. 'Tis Himself, pour encourager les autres says

    Sastra #19

    A despised minority viewpoint should not give in upfront and change the subject so we can seem nice “regardless.” It’s not always better to be nice than right.

    I agree.

    Many goddists proclaim faith is a virtue but we don’t. We’re supposedly in favor of reason but faith is the antithesis of reason. So why should atheists be stuck with a name antithetical to our position? The goddists are the privileged ones, they have less to lose by using a name which doesn’t specifically refer to part of their ideology, one part which we specifically reject. Let’s have a name which doesn’t mention faith.

  22. Blondin says

    I must not have faith.
    Faith is the mind-killer.
    Faith is the little-death that brings total obliteration.

  23. cicely says

    My first thought was “interaction”… Yes…no…?

    Maybe with an intensifier on the “action” part: InterAction, or InterAction?

  24. SallyStrange says

    Faith is not a virtue. Combating the idea that faith is inherently good is a public service in itself.

  25. Brownian says

    How about just calling it “politics”? That’s what working together for goals in the real world is called. Faith or lack thereof is irrelevant.

    I was going to disagree with PZ that ‘faith is the enemy’ (rather than one of the enemies), but then I thought about it a bit more.

    It is interesting, is it not, that ‘interfaith’ is a word that’s been privileged among liberals, even among the faitheists. Why would someone need to call something ‘interfaith’? Why, to differentiate it from regular faith-based things, of course? And why would that distinction matter? Because, typically, when faith is involved, it becomes divisive and self-interested.

    In other-words, faith is so fucking pernicious to cooperation with those of the out-group that when a collection of individuals with faith do manage to put other interests first, they feel the need to apply a special label to inform others that the normal tribalism associated with ‘faith’ doesn’t apply to them.

    Eudaimonia (“human flourishing”)

    Perfect! Switch up the lyrics, hire Art of Noise and Matt Frewer, deal with a few licensing issues, and we’ve got a theme song!

  26. Margaret says

    “transfaith”, “sansfaith”, “faith irrelevant”, etc., etc.

    The word is “secular”.

  27. Pierce R. Butler says

    Inter-believing-in-what-you-know-ain’t-so…

    If you want to involve the faith-based and reality-based communities in a social project, why not call it the “North Valley” group or the “East St. Louis” program or the “Greater Metropolitan Morris” organization or whatever respective label applies wherever you are?

  28. heliobates says

    Switch up the lyrics, hire Art of Noise and Matt Frewer, deal with a few licensing issues, and we’ve got a theme song!

    I loved that album.

    “Bees!”

  29. Rey Fox says

    I guess the problem is that the regressives have so sullied the words “atheist” and “secular” that liberal theists and faitheists feel that they have to essentially semanticize us out of existence.

  30. MJM says

    I could see co-opting “transfaith”. Meaning of course “Transcending” faith…too vague?
    Occom @ 21: snorkle. That works on a number of levels.

  31. says

    Invisible Dragon,
    Win. InterAction is a great name for disparate groups working toward common interest. It leaves out the icky faith part as well. 300 Internetz™ have been awarded to your account.

  32. Brownian says

    Any compelling reason not to just call this “philanthropy” and move on to actually doing good?

    Well, “philanthropy” doesn’t carry the same faux-humility that “interfaith” does.

  33. anthrosciguy says

    Change it to “Shiny Happy People Holding Hands”. Then you’ve even got a built-in theme song.

  34. malik says

    How about InterBelief?

    What we do have in common with the religious is strong beliefs in certain moral truths. Our beliefs in this area just aren’t based on Faith or Blind Faith.

  35. SallyStrange says

    Change it to “Shiny Happy People Holding Hands”. Then you’ve even got a built-in theme song.

    I prefer Furry Happy Monsters.

    Actually, InterAction is a fantastic name for a social justice coalition! I’m stealing it.

  36. Rieux says

    MJM:

    I could see co-opting “transfaith”. Meaning of course “Transcending” faith…too vague?

    No need to coopt it; “transfaith” was invented by a college atheist group who were hounded out of an interfaith organization because the atheist group sponsored a (disgusting! awful!) Everybody Draw Muhammad event.

    But yes, it’s way too vague. They changed the wrong part of the word “interfaith.” That’s PZ’s central point in the original post.

    I think “InterAction” is a very nice idea, especially given the implied contrast.

  37. Sili says

    So Transfaith isn’t parallel to Gallia Transalpina and chemistry?

    I took it to mean “on the other side of faith”, “having passed through faith and come out on the other side”.

  38. Qwerty says

    Didn’t the Wizard of Oz call the tinman a do-gooder? Maybe do-gooders or do-good would be better?

    Or SansFaith?

  39. NancyNew says

    @2
    “I’ve seen the term “Life Stance” bandied about to refer to non-faith positions. How about interStance? That way we have an alternative to “interfaith” that can be apply as widely as we want.”

    Just as long as it isn’t a “wide stance.”

  40. kev_s says

    People that get together to do good for others are considered to work for a charity. What is wrong with the word ‘charity’? Or how about calling it a “Gnu-charity” movement since everything is gnu these days?

  41. Qwerty says

    Just seeing all the variations above, it seems a long way off that there will be any consensus on this, but the more I think about it the more I like SansFaith.

    I was thinking of sans serif when I came up with it.

    SansFaith or “without faith” is actually what a person does when lending a helping hand to someone in need because, as we all know, a nonexistent god doesn’t provide what the needy is lacking no matter how often, how long, or how feverently the needy may pray.

  42. kennypo65 says

    I live in a small town. If I want to do any charity work my options are limited. So I work with people who are religious. We organize blood drives, food banks and clothing drives, among other things. They all know I’m an atheist, at least those who bothered to ask, and we get along quite well. They don’t try to convert me and I fight the overwhelming urge to make fun of them. In the end we get a lot accomplished. The people of my community know that they can count on me and I get to show that one really can be “good without god” to the area faithful. Granted, I don’t really flaunt my non-belief, but I don’t hide it either. If asked I’ll say, “I’m an atheist.”, but few people ask. We don’t call ourselves anything, we are too informal for that. We just get together and try to solve problems in our community. I’ll get a call from the local priest asking if I can help and I’m there. They can count on me and I them. That is the only thing that matters.

  43. Hercules Grytpype Thynne says

    Didn’t the Wizard of Oz call the tinman a do-gooder?

    I believe the actual term was “good deed doer”.

  44. consciousness razor says

    How about InterBelief?

    Bleeehghh!

    What we do have in common with the religious is strong beliefs in certain moral truths. Our beliefs in this area just aren’t based on Faith or Blind Faith.

    Many do not think there is such a thing as “moral truth,” strictly speaking. Some would say there are moral goals and so on. Others are nihilists, and, well… that’s another story.

    But that’s not the only problem. Many religious beliefs pertaining to ethics are hateful and destructive in and of themselves, besides the fact that they’re based on faith. So who cares about a mere belief? One can believe just about anything, and having only that in common doesn’t get us anywhere.

    ——

    I’d have no problem if such organizations called themselves humanist or were involved with humanistic philanthropy (to repeat the refrain above). If and when sentient AI is developed, and if it wants to participate with us such groups, then we (humans and AI) will probably have to scrap humanism for a more inclusive label. But let’s not get ahead of ourselves. For now, we somehow have to get the religious to kick their habit of saying faith or religion when they refer to ethics or philanthropy.

  45. Kagehi says

    Maybe “beyondfaith”. The implication being that you are going to set aside the stupid stuff, and just do something useful?

    If and when sentient AI is developed, and if it wants to participate with us such groups, then we (humans and AI) will probably have to scrap humanism for a more inclusive label.

    Kirk: “Spock, you want to know something? Everybody’s Human.”
    Captain Spock: “I find that remark… insulting.”

  46. Linda K says

    I’ve been wrestling with this one a little bit. I recently helped out at my old church filling backpacks for needy schoolchildren in our area. Unemployment is high and poverty is up around here, and I’ve grown a soft spot for schoolchildren since I began my short-lived teaching career. Anyway, this wasn’t even an “interfaith” venture, but an atheist hanging out at a church, stuffing backpacks along with Christians. I have a lot of bitterness and disagreement toward my old church, and after a bit of wrestling about where I stand, I have concluded that sometimes I can put those things aside and join in with a group doing good things for our community. Some things, IMHO, supersede religious disagreements.

  47. Hercules Grytpype Thynne says

    You are the walrus?

    Okay, I’ll admit that that one is entirely over my head. (Perhaps I’m a low-headed walrus.)

  48. consciousness razor says

    Kirk: “Spock, you want to know something? Everybody’s Human.”
    Captain Spock: “I find that remark… insulting.”

    Ha! I thought about including aliens (and other terrestrial species evolving human-like sentience), but I figure we’d probably have to deal with sentient AI first, although I’d bet that’s a long way off as well.

    (Also, I skipped a word: “with us [in] such groups”)

  49. Kagehi says

    I thought about including aliens (and other terrestrial species evolving human-like sentience)

    The beauty of the quoted lines is that they can apply equally to AI, given that in Star Trek there is *not* that huge a gap in characteristics between species and how they think. Mostly its extreme divergences from human, rather than clear and radical differences. For the most part we see much the same with other species, within the limits of what we can test. They may lack the ability to handle some abstractions, but the behavior is *generally* within a range that we can predict, if we know what we are dealing with, and its implausible that we would be able to make such snap predictions, without having to funnel data through a model of some sort, if the underlying framework of intelligence wasn’t at least close to similar to our own. The only real difference with AI is that we are likely to want something that is as close to what *we* would do as possible, which means that the implied distinction between us and them is somewhat less likely than with a completely alien mind.

    But, I tend to think the real distinction with intelligence, despite a lot of arguments to the contrary in science fiction (and among the, “we can’t imagine what they would be like”, crowd, is likely to be, “Can you get an advanced civilization, without the species being able to build predictive mental models of how they, other species, and even inanimate objects, do, can, or should work?” And if those are necessary prerequisites, then the only distinction, when it comes to “how” they think, compared to us, might be cultural. There is, after all, a pretty damn wide variation of cultural norms even with our own kind (some of them so extreme we find them horrible), and the ability to at least model, and mimic, behaviors of a *lot* of other species. The ones we tend to have problems with are usually the ones that are so simple we “over analyze” the model and start applying complex motives to, when the real ones are nearly mechanical (like how a lot of early stuff you see tried to give ants some vastly amazing civilization and intelligence).

  50. Seeker Lancer says

    I’ve always hated the interfaith nonsense too. If you want to do good works, get together with people to do good works. Why does religion have to enter into it in any form?

  51. Matt Penfold says

    Interfaith is already a term is use, and it is used to described people of different faiths (or denominations within a faith) getting together and pretending that none of the differences between their faiths matter.

    Anglicans are very keen on interfaith dialogue. Especially with regards Muslims and Catholics. I think they get together and complain about the nasty atheists, and how strident Richard Dawkins is.

  52. strange gods before me says

    InterAction

    is great.

    I was going to suggest something else but this is better than my idea.

  53. StrawberryJam says

    Helping hands? I remember those placecards in windows all along my block as a child. I never could figure out how they screened these people. Maybe that is why we no longer see them.

  54. Invisible Dragon says

    Kernan Coleman,

    Thank you! I’ve never had an internets-worthy idea before.

    My area is awash with ‘interfaith’ groups, but I’ve never actually seen them accomplish much. ‘Action’ seems to be lacking.

  55. Charlie Foxtrot says

    @Hercules Grytpype Thynne (#2)

    Good point – I’ve read around the place that many prominant religous leaders have been found taking a wide stance.

    (ps: Here, have a gorilla?)

  56. Otranreg says

    Now Ed Clint responds with a new label, “transfaith”. He changed the prefix, which is a step forward, but kept the suffix!

    Ahem, it ain’t no suffix. ‘Faith’ here is the root.

    Also, since someone already has mentioned ‘fuckfaith’ and beat me to it, I propose the word ‘shitfaithed’ for those who prefer not to chew the wafer.

  57. mikmik says

    Action Ethical
    Ethics in Action
    Helpers Without Borders
    Thinking of Others
    We don’t need no stinkin’ prayers

  58. crowepps says

    What’s wrong with the label that has the longest pedigree and is the clearest, Community.

    Community Food Pantry, Community Garden, Community Project, Community Quilts For Kids, Community Hospice.

    I clearly remember that’s the way it USED to be, a nice all-inclusive ‘we’, before it became fashionable and the media started bringing TV cameras. At that point Pastor or Father or Reverend or Major began muscling aside all the hardworking local women who had actually conceived and started the project, proclaiming that since Mrs. Jones and Mrs. Smith and Mrs. Peterson were all working too hard to have time to talk, as their LEADER the godbotherer would represent them to the media because all those Good Women SURELY wanted all the credit to go to God/Jesus.

    I can remember my mother being absolutely LIVID that a bunch of men who had never lifted a finger showed up as soon as the cameras appeared, eager to stand in front of her and the other ladies (and the men who had actually been toting bales and towing barges) and take all the credit.

    My experience of ‘interfaith’ cooperation doesn’t recommend it. No project really needs a bunch of guys in suits. Let them all go off and have lunch at that expensive place in town they like and discuss how nice they’re being about ‘interfaith cooperation’ while the workers go on over to the ‘Community Project’, pretty much ignore religion and get something accomplished.

  59. says

    With 77 comments I’m sure I missed someone say this, but I call bullshit on all of it. Work with atheists? Are you kidding me? Ya, they’re working with atheists, like they’re working with the hungry, poor, or homeless.
    We’re worse than every downtrodden group in their eyes.
    We need saving!
    And they need money…

  60. UpAgainstTheRopes says

    tell me a little bit more about how it comes
    at the end of a rifle or at the host of psalms
    make no mistakes about how it should be
    it is what it is regardless of me.

  61. uncle frogy says

    well the only thing I can think after reading all of that is beyond belief!
    looking for someone to mention it was one the things that got to read all of the comments.

    community groups do the work and does not have any religious connotation.
    I never have had the impression that the majority of “interfaith councils” or groups were actually involved in doing things as such but talking about issues together that got them to see that there were areas where they could be involved that were about the whole community and not there faithful alone.
    it seems to that that is the problem that the religious tend to isolate themselves from those who do not share their religion and tend to think of us and them and have difficulty recognizing that we are all in this together.
    Interfaith organization seem to be a place for the religious to feel safe so they can see that they are all part of a community kind of like a local UN where religious groups send representatives to learn things and bring back to their separate communities information.
    I am not sure if it helpful in uniting people or reinforces their separateness?

    uncle frogy

  62. says

    So Transfaith isn’t parallel to Gallia Transalpina and chemistry?

    Sili # 52

    Then we would have had the much worse ‘Cisfaith’

    There is always ‘InterCourse’(if the Amish won’t mind).
    Anyway, that’s my suggestion.

  63. says

    The interfaith movement seems to be about emphasising what all the world’s various religions share in common with each other, and glossing over the glaring incompatibilities.

    But. What all the world’s various religions share in common with each other, they also share in common with atheism.

  64. Anubis Bloodsin III says

    The whole kit and kaboodle of ‘Interfaith’ initiatives are a handy tool for the religious to claim inclusivity…when we all know, or should be damned aware, that is not their heart speaking but the PR mantra to their own in a pretense of holy fairness.
    They are all fast enough to denounce atheists and non-droolers when it suits.

    There is little to no benefit for non-believers, seemingly the apologists cream themselves liberally about this dubious practice.

    No time for it at all, there seems to be absolutely no sense elicited from mentally dysfunctional jebus droolers anyway that is in any way useful, relevant even helpful.

    Non-believers who participate in these ‘schemes’ seemed to have been fooled into a false sense of acceptance of their philosophical position and wanting to ‘debate and communicate’ with the brain dead might just be a symptom of their naivety, be assured the opposite view from the afflicted is anything but equality of being!

    Point and laugh is the only tactic worth pursuing…fuck trying to interact with barking insanity.

    Showing any form of respect to idiocy makes the gesture even more idiotic.
    How can anyone respect a dysfunctional gang of fools,cretins.liars and clowns and a fucking fairy tale.

    Chase ‘em all back to worship whatever figment of nonsense they want in the privacy of their own home.
    They all drift into anti social behavior sooner or later what ever their brand of supernatural sky fairy dribbling they prefer, it is about time they got the message that not everyone wants to be a complete fuckwad.

  65. says

    @crowepps #79

    What’s wrong with the label that has the longest pedigree and is the clearest, Community.

    Waitaminute. Are you implying that communities and organizations can be made up of a variety of people, not all sharing the same philosophies/religions/political beliefs, all of whom can still come together to act for the benefit of their neighbors regardless of differing viewpoints? What are you, a hippie?

    Kidding! Actually, I agree and think it might have been a good idea pre-Obama, but apparently “community organization” is considered synonymous with “commie pinko socialist” in some sectors. Sigh.

    Chiming in for loving the name “InterAction” as well.

  66. Hypatia's Daughter says

    Not all “interfaith” goals are charitable. The NCSE fights CreoID in the schools by working with the locals – most of whom are religious but pro-science. You don’t get a pro-science school board unless religious people vote for pro-science candidates – there aren’t enough atheists to do the job.
    #79 crowepps
    Remember the “good old days” when businesses and community groups supported non-sectarian charities like United Way and UNICEF? You hardly ever hear of them these days. They have been muscled out by religious charities. The religious prefer to support religious charities because it sugarcoats their charitable acts with a thin veneer of piety. It also replaces efficient big lakes with inefficient tiny ponds that religious leaders can be big fish in.

  67. Jadehawk says

    The word is “secular”.

    what she said. too bad the religious are so rarely able to not give their faith first billing in everything they do.

  68. Sal Bro says

    I understand why folks are wary of interfaith organizations, but I’ll put in a good word for them. My college’s interfaith group was a handy stepping stool for my deconversion. As soon as I was exposed to other “ways of knowing”, I realized that my own particular faith was nuttin’ special. Doing good deeds together just cemented the fact that Christianity had no claim on charity.

    That said, I wouldn’t personally touch them now with a 10-ft pole.

  69. vicarofartonearth says

    There are a “host” of non profits, many who do good work. One reason so many fundimentalist groups target non profits is they loose a supply of powerless people to inflict themselves on.

    I am told about all the food given away by right wing churches with the folks totally absent on how Republican economics since Reagan have not worked. It is as many have pointed out about preventing aids and the horrible sickness of only taking care of people dying of it.

    Not all non profits do good. I have trouble with cure charities who make their clients beg instead of spending part of their funding pushing universal healthcare.

  70. vicarofartonearth says

    On behalf of critical thinkers who drool but seem not to be welcome by some that to of the often quoted non believers are Helen Keller and Dr. Stephen Hawkins, both of whom have on occasion drooled if they follow my experience with others of similar diagnosis. All the creationests debater have been people who do not drool and even walk.

    70% of people will be amoung the droolers who will be labeled as something other than homo sapians or maybe transformed into a biblical “Leper”.

    There is a huge industry created to choose the right word to get people to vote or spend. The US Department of Justice says there are over fifty million people covered by the Americans with Disabilities Act.

    Do some feel the only rational people are people of an Apollo like phenotyp?

  71. Pharrin says

    Is it just me or does it seem a tad petty to bicker about what we specifically call doing good things with people we don’t agree 100% with?

    Sure, interfaith as a technical term makes me wrinkle my nose a bit but that minor detail won’t stop me from joining in the good fun if it means well, doing good.

  72. ceekay99 says

    PZ — this site is all about opinion and belief.and ideology..

    My evidence: your quick dismissal of mindfulness based stress reduction because you were too lazy and incurious to consider the large evidence base evaluating the practice.

    http://freethoughtblogs.com/pharyngula/2011/08/21/quacks-everywhere/

    It’s very nice that people feel better about themselves after meditation, and that we
    have studies that show that people feel better. I just don’t care.

    It is disappointing to discover that you, like your opponents serve up big helpings of “belief without evidence” when it suits you. Arrogant, ignorant, incurious and unscientific–good words to describe the lot of you.

  73. says

    Well, there have certainly been some interesting suggestions, overlooking the venom and hate.

    In my defense, I wish to say that I want the root of the term to be “faith” because I mean to refer to activities targeting religious groups. I’ll have my invented words clearly identify their semantic target. In this case, that is religious groups. My organization, the Illini Secular Student Alliance, does outreach and discussion/debate with and against theist groups (something PZ endorses). To remove “faith” and not have some word with a similar meaning would obscure what I mean by it.

    Furthermore, our actions give new terms their meaning and not the other way around. If you think that your actions or your organization might be seen support the idea of faith, then you have bigger problems than word choice. I have no such insecurity or neuroticism.

  74. says

    As much as I like Greg Epstein… Me and some other people were talking with him in a pub a couple weeks ago. (PZ was there too.) He is a genuinely nice guy and does good work.

    I have to agree with PZ on this one though. I’m not all that enthusiastic about aggressive atheism, but flagging the word “faith” would be dishonest in my case. It is a bit like missionaries flagging humanitarianism while they’re actually proselytizing. Faith, as understood in a religious context, is completely irrelevant in my life. There is no banner with “faith” in it that I can get with. Unless it has a prefix like “anti”, “post” or similar of course. I’m not really anti-faith either. People can have whatever life-philosophy they want for all I care (as long as it doesn’t turn into anti-science and anti-rationalism). I like the term post-faith though.