We’re #49!

The organization Reporters Without Borders issues an annual ranking of nations on press freedoms and this year the US ranks 49th in the world out of 180. Five Scandinavian countries Finland, Norway, Denmark, Netherlands, and Sweden take the top spots. El Salvador, the country once notorious for its death squads that abducted and murdered any critics, including journalists, of its dictatorship, now ranks above the US at #45.
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An Atheist’s Creed

[A reader reminded me of an old post that I had written back in 2008 on my old blog site and I thought I would reprint it except for very minor editing. So here it is.]

In the course of writing many posts on science and religion and atheism, it struck me that I was tangentially making many statements about what I, as an atheist, believe. I decided to summarize those scattered thoughts into one coherent statement. Of course, I am not presuming to claim that all atheists subscribe to this statement. The creed is purely a personal one.
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Facing death-10: Dying without illusions

In post #9 in this series, I discussed the fear that people have of dying while the rest of the world continues without them. I think it is better to face death without illusions. This does not mean that one has no regrets. I do not like the thought of dying, however much I am aware that it is inevitable and that nothing exists after it and will feel regrets when the end is near.
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The strange opposition by some to the Sunday Assembly movement

I read through the first couple hundred of the nearly 500 comments on the Guardian website responding to the video of the Cleveland Sunday Assembly, part of the big worldwide rollout of such assemblies around the globe last Sunday that more than doubled the existing number. I was surprised at the number of commenters who were outright hostile to the idea. These were people who said they were nonbelievers themselves but felt this was the wrong thing to do.
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Why it is the Non-religious Who Can, and Must, Save the World

(The text of my talk at the Cleveland Sunday Assembly held two days ago.)

I must say that when I got up this morning and got ready to come here, I felt a strong sense of déjà vu. When I was a young man I was ordained as a lay preacher in the Methodist church in Sri Lanka and many a Sunday would find me dressing up to go to a church in the region to inflict my sermon on some hapless congregation. And now, decades after I became an atheist, here I am doing something that seems surprisingly familiar. Let’s see if I still have my preacher skills though if some people are getting a little worried, you can relax. Even in my heyday I was never a fire-and-brimstone, you’re-going to-hell-and-damnation-if-you-don’t-repent kind of preacher, and so am not going to be that way today either.
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Cleveland Sunday Assembly

Sunday, September 28 is going to see the launch around the world of a large number of so-called ‘atheist churches’ under the umbrella of the Sunday Assembly movement, including Cleveland, Columbus, and Pittsburgh in this region. The first meeting of the Cleveland group will be at 10:30 am at the Old Town Hall in Strongsville located at 18825 Royalton Road and all are invited. Subsequent meetings will take place on the last Sunday of each month at the same location.
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