Well, this sucks. My blog, which was originally hosted by ThinkAtheist, was totally erased with no warning whatsoever. That means that all the photos I uploaded to that page are gone, too. So if you’re browsing through my archives, any posts from before today will have no photos in them at all. Sigh.
I haven’t been an atheist for long, really.
Back at the beginning of 2008, on an old (and long-since-defunct) blog of mine, I posted the following. It was one of the last things I wrote publicly as a believer, and I was barely a believer at that. I was on a lot of online forums, arguing with devout believers about the things they believed that didn’t make sense to me.
It’s interesting to look back on it now and see myself struggling with different ideas. I’ve overcome the challenges I faced then and become a much more content person, but this little glimpse into the past could provide some helpful insight, I think, to people who wonder what it’s like to go from believer to nonbeliever. (By April of the next year, I’d posted about why I was an atheist. Somewhere in the middle of that, I’d lost the last dregs of my faith.)
Without further ado:
My meetup group, Capital Region Atheists & Agnostics, will be at this year’s Capital Pride Festival on June 9 at Washington Park in Albany. If you’re in the area, drop by and say hello! I’ve got a bunch of atheism and LGBT-related goodies to give away to people at the event.
Last year, we had a few delightful religious nutjobs protesting the Pride Parade. One of them was even someone I recognized from the Reason Rally! The kooks sure do get around.
P.S.: I’m still alive! I don’t update this nearly as much as I ought to because I’m getting most of my atheism-related frustration out on Reddit nowadays…
If you’ve got several spare hours, I’d recommend watching Steve Shives’ series “An Atheist Reads The Case for Christ” and “An Atheist Reads I Don’t Have Enough Faith to Be an Atheist”. They’re great deconstructions of a couple of books that I and many other atheists often have thrown in our faces as ‘good’ arguments for Christianity.
In case you haven’t seen it before, The Atheist Experience is a live call-in talk show hosted by The Atheist Community of Austin. The hosts take calls from theists and atheists alike, and the discussions are occasionally really good. The show is broadcast live on public access in Austin, Texas and over the internet on Ustream. For example, during today’s show, a Christian called in to challenge the hosts on whether or not an objective morality was possible without a god. The conversation was pretty amazing. Watch it for yourself and see!
Until last Tuesday, atheists had precisely one out-of-the-closet representative in Congress: Representative Pete Stark of California’s 13th district.
In the run-up to the election, there was excitement from atheist blogs and from groups like the Secular Coalition for America about Kyrsten Sinema, who (it was believed) was an openly-bisexual, openly non-theistic candidate. The news hit big blogs like the Huffington Post, and was mentioned in the Washington Post’s “On Faith” section.
There’s just one hitch: She’s not an atheist.
She’s spoken before the Secular Coalition for Arizona, and she won an aware from the Center for Inquiry for “Advancement of Science and Reason in Public Policy,” but she avows that she is not an atheist. According to her communications director Justin Unga:
Kyrsten believes the terms non-theist, atheist or nonbeliever are not befitting of her life’s work or personal character. … She does not identify as any of the above.
In an e-mail to Hemant Mehta, Mr. Unga added:
She does not identify as any of the above, nor does she choose a label to describe what she believes is deeply personal for every individual.
“Not befitting her life’s work or personal character?” Honestly? Clearly, either she or Mr. Unga (or both) think there’s something wrong with being a non-theist, an atheist, or a nonbeliever. Whatever the case may be, it’s clear that she’s not comfortable using a label that would portray her as anything other than a god-believer.
She does exhibit an attitude toward governance that I find (mostly) commendable:
Though Sinema was raised in a religious household, she draws her policymaking decisions from her experience as a social worker who worked with diverse communities and as a lawmaker who represented hundreds of thousands. Sinema is a student of all cultures in her community and has learned that responsible stewards must consider all faiths with respect and dignity. She believes that a secular approach is the best way to achieve this in good government.
That last sentence? That’s what separation of church and state is all about.
Regardless, this leaves atheists without an openly nonbelieving representative. That’s troubling, especially when we see people like Paul Broun – a man who said that evolution, embryology, and the big bang theory were “lies straight from the pit of hell,” meant to tell people they don’t need a savior – winding up on the House Committee on Science, Space, and Technology. Combined with President Obama’s re-election, the Religious Right is sure to be whipped into a furor over the next four years. It could make for interesting and distressing times.
Father Dwight Longenecker, a Catholic priest, wrote a rather ridiculous screed against atheists on his blog. When atheists began to respond to him and challenge his bigotry, he deleted the post and replaced it with another one where he threw a whiny tantrum about how the atheist trolls were being mean to him. When people continued to challenge him, he deleted that post as well, hoping it would all fade away.
Well, it won’t. This is the internet.