There’s more to atheism than Hitchens, you know!

We got back from Madison later than I’d expected yesterday, and it’s no fun to have to scramble to compose a lecture in a car, and then rush to assemble the data after midnight for an 8am class. But I have survived! Now I have to go drink a few liters of good black coffee, and while I do that, you can catch up on the godless goings-on that I missed.

  • It’s time for the latest Humanist Symposium. I’m not a humanist myself and have mixed feelings about the philosophy (which can be summed up as “not enough squid”), but it’s a good part of our godless community.

  • The Carnival of the Godless addresses the theme of morality this time around. I wish we could just strip the issue of morality from the discussion altogether, but we can’t…because the religious falsely claim to have a moral system based on their superstitions.

  • The Freethinker Sunday Sermonette discusses the recent polls that show the declining popularity of Christianity. Simple reason: people can think scientifically.


  1. T_U_T says

    apologize for my ignorance, but who exactly the humanists are, what (do you think)they say, and in what exactly you differ from them.

  2. Scrofulum says

    Essentially, non-religious folk who like to celebrate the one life we get, whilst bigging up all the positive points of humanity such as helping others and making the world a better place.

    No rules as such, but I expect it’s frowned upon to be a nazi.

  3. raven says

    The biggest enemy of Xianity isn’t atheists. It is Xians.

    From the Freethinker link:

    Barna Groups’ David] Kinnaman says non-Christians’ biggest complaints about the faith are not immediately theological: Jesus and the Bible get relatively good marks. Rather, he sees resentment as focused on perceived Christian attitudes. Nine out of ten outsiders found Christians too “anti-homosexual,” and nearly as many perceived it as “hypocritical” and “judgmental.” Seventy-five percent found it “too involved in politics.”

    I’ve always found the fundie Death cults to be repulsive. Who would want to associate with a group of hating, murderous, voluntarily ignorant, liars? Looks like I’m not the only one.

    There is a backlash against these guys. Hopefully it will prevent them from taking over the US government again and trying to set up their silly hell on earth theocracy.

    Mainstream Xian commentators have pointed out that the death cults stand for 3 things, antigay, antiabortion, and taking over the government so they can ram their wingnut beliefs down our throats. They have thrown out anything that is uplifting, benign, or humanistic about the religion.

    Ultimately the cultists will do the religion some lasting damage. As the book says, “As you sow, so shall you reap.”

  4. Coel says

    To T_U_T: To me “humanism” is simply the attitude that morals and ethics are to do with humans, rather than with gods or supernatural beings. I suspect that PZ objects to the omission of cephalopods.

  5. Crudely Wrott says

    Thanks for the link to Freethinker Sunday Sermonette. In my bookmarks now. I posted this over there:

    “Two things that I have observed about ourselves, each of us, in general:

    One-We love it when our singular expression of existence is admired.
    Two-We are terribly afraid that it is not.
    Three (who’s counting?)-We will go to great lengths to attenuate, block, camouflage and deny that One and Two even remotely apply to ourselves as individuals.

    But if there is a larger group to defer to in the sense that “my opinions are congruent with those of all these others and thus I need make no special claim,” we happily cancel quite utterly Thing One. In doing so, we are asserting that we do not, in fact, live in fear of not being admired. “I got backup,” and “I got your back.” Thus Thing Two is equally canceled.

    Speaking as a seriously backslidden mondo-ex-believer and as a surly, godless threat to the general welfare as we have become accustomed to it, I can only smile quietly and reflect on how similar are the stories of all of us. Shrill god botherer or silent skeptic or something else, our stories all contain the seed of commitment, dedication and purpose. But for one more thing, Thing Four.

    Thing Four simply takes seriously the possibility of being perfectly comfortable without being admired and the possibility of not being afraid. When one does not create or assume the existence of ISS*, any approach to life is amenable to inspection, consideration, utilization or outright condemnation based upon how it best reflects the real world and how it affects others. Thus we make ourselves. My observations show that Christianity, and religion in general, is either not aware of these Things or cannot see how they magnify the experience of being human or just can’t stand the idea at all.

    It is not how you choose to travel the path of life, but how much of it actually registers as you pass by. And how much of you remains among those you have passed along the trail. These things I chose to measure in purely human terms, which gets pretty tricky sometimes. The upshot is that my measure seems to work better that the measure of any ISS I have ever heard of or appealed to. (That would be many and two, respectively.) I could be wrong, but I think not. In any event, I do not believe I am right. I only believe in a handful of things and these do not involve the creation of universes, the populating of them, or the exploitation of said populations.

    In deference to my friends who believe in ISS (and strangers who do too), as well as all others, I will agree that the best thing we can do is to love one another as we love ourselves. And to be as cunning as serpents and as harmless as doves. And to forgive ourselves for being less than “just so.” (Or “so just,” for that matter.) Unless, of course, stronger measures are indicated.

    Thanks for the post. Got me thinking. Some more.

    * Invisible Supernatural Spooks”

    As the posters here at Pharyngula either know or suspect, stronger measures are indeed indicated, occasionally.

    I should also include, in reference to Thing Four, that it takes seriously that we are not the center of the universe, not the crown of creation and not the apple of an eye that never opened. We are, instead, what we are; a clay that fashions itself into wonder, delight, emulation, refutation, consternation and dense, stony edification.

    Man, your blog is a gas! Thanks to you and all who post here.