If I was a Shriner . . .

Something that I haven’t experienced in a while happened over the weekend. I was helping my grandfather’s friends in the Shriners load 400lbs of Vidalia onions they are storing at my shop, after cordial greetings and solid tough guy man hand shakes of course, when the one gentleman asks if I was a Shriner.
My response was a light head shake in the negatory and a simple “nope”. He, as was to be expected, then asked “when I would be a Shriner”. Knowing as I do, the organization at hand and the impossibility of my fraternite’ within it, I immediately knew it was walking on eggshells time.

My response was the standard that I give to such invitations from similar groups, smiling sincerely now, “due to differences in philosophy or world view which you and my grandfather can discuss if you wish, I simply would not be able to join.”

Now came a moment of contemplation on his part, he looked to the onions in the bed of the truck considering what such a difference could be, his eyes then widened, turned to me and asked “do you believe in god?”

I was still smiling, for I knew where this was going from the moment we started our dance. I simply and calmly, with a smile still, answered “No I don’t” and then waited. Two things were about to happen, a debate or an abrupt end to the discussion.

To my approval, it was simply the end of the conversation. But something interesting started, otherwise why would I be telling you about this. He immediately had to get away from me, he quickly changed in posture and moved to the far side of the struck where my grandfather and his other friend were talking. No words, just staring at me uncertainly, just a need to back away and regroup. Regaining some of his posture he shook my hand right before they left but it was cold and wet now, no longer the healthy rigid shake or eye contact from a mere moment before.

The Shriners expect a deistic admission, at least, to be granted into their ranks and I wonder if they will ever realize the number of people like me who could enthusiastically and very heavily help in person and or financially if they could look beyond such trivial matters.

So, I think of Christopher Hitchens and one of his devious maxims: “Here is my challenge. Let someone name one ethical statement made, or one ethical action performed, by a believer that could not have been uttered or done by a nonbeliever.” Henceforth The Foundation Beyond Belief is where I still give my charity and shall be for some time as we still deal with the diversity of identity in these “most modern of times”.

-Thoughts from Chris Hanna 

Letter from the Editor: I’m Just Tired

As the title says, I’m just tired, exhausted, worn down, exasperated… Does anyone else feel it?

 

Wait, let me elaborate before you sigh and cast your weary gaze to the back button, expecting this to be nothing but a series of complaints from a millennial who actually has to work for his money. You would be quite wrong, of course, as I rarely give people exactly what they expect.

 

As an activist, blogger, podcast host, engineer, homeowner, small business owner, husband, responsible pet owner, and soon to be father of a tiny human female I accept the weariness this will dispel. I understand that life can be filled with siestas and 40 hour cog in the machine workweeks if one can willingly submit. I understand all of these things but that is not the reason for my fatigue, it is the repetition.

 

obama-nazi-communist-muslim

Repetition in argumentation, repetition in political idiocy, repetition in online bigotry, repetition in financial irresponsibility, repetition of traditional oppression, and the list goes on and on…

 

I am so tired of the same arguments from the right wing arch conservatives: gay marriage will destroy all moral structure ending in malicious bestiality, deregulation of the economy will create more jobs not slave wages and serfdom, tax breaks-school funding / social programming cuts will force the poor to actually work, and Obama is a Muslim Nazi.

 

I am so tired of reading stories of political leaders announcing their intentions to take big money out of politics when we can see the list of their campaign contributors are the top wall street mega corporations. I am tired of politicians charged with protecting the American people putting “Freedom”, “Patriot”, or “Religious Freedom” at the beginning of some of the most subversive legislation to ever attack our basic human rights. And, I am tired of a two party system that uses unethical financial bullying to prevent decent discourse and the diversity of the people from being represented in our “Democratic Republic” election cycles.
Continue reading “Letter from the Editor: I’m Just Tired”

Obligations of Atheism

I’ve been under a lot of stress lately and haven’t been able to focus on anything for long, before my mind starts to wander. This has resulted in me wanting to write, but not being able to hear myself think in order to do so. Anyone else have that problem sometimes? I’m sure everyone does. We’re all only human, after all.

 

Anyway. I thought it would help if I asked for some “assignments” from others. What would they like to see me write about? What topics do they want to hear my perspective on? So, here is my first “assignment.” Thanks for these questions, Will.

 

Obligations of Atheism?

 

Does atheism have to take on the same issues that religion continually screws up?

 

Well, the simple answer is: No. Atheism doesn’t have to do anything.
Continue reading “Obligations of Atheism”

The Passing of the Most Human Alien: Tribute to Leonard Nimoy

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“A life is like a garden. Perfect moments can be had, but not preserved, except in memory. LLAP”

 

The death of Leonard Nimoy did not go unnoticed, as any even passing perusal of social media would have noted Friday and through the weekend. The above quote, his last tweet, could not be surpassed in encapsulating his life, were thousands more words added on. Like any memory, what Nimoy achieved says as much about those he touched as the man who lived.

 

Star Trek, both in television and in film, has in its many forms, sparked the imagination and wonder of countless people. That flame lit so many fires of the human spirit with the pursuit of an unabashed narrative of scientific discovery and the hopeful future of a humanity dedicated to peaceful exploration. Any violence, certainly at times heavy-handed, seemed always to remind us that the search for truth and the awe of discovery is always tempered by the acknowledged destruction of preconceived notions, not least of which concern ourselves as individuals and a species.

 

Continue reading “The Passing of the Most Human Alien: Tribute to Leonard Nimoy”

Bi Weekly Blasphemy 11: Dont be a D!#%

The return of the Bi-Weekly Blasphemy, after a New Years hiatus, is a call to action against forum trolls and to step up in the necessity for us to act as we wish others would, to lead by example in making a difference in this world.

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Christians/Atheists/Agnostics/Jews/Muslims/Etc – Don’t be This Guy

There are many discussion groups online where open minded religious and non-religious folk can get together and exchange ideas. Many of these groups (or at least the ones I frequent) are places where differing ideas are gently exchanged with the understanding that disagreements will occur no matter what, as is the nature of the conversations taking place.

 

For the most part everyone is civil and the information exchanges are often enlightening and educational for people on either side of belief…

 

…but every now and then a ‘Ronald’ comes along, as can be seen in the thread below. While believers like this provide great entertainment for atheists and Christians alike, they also cause harm to people in religious communities who try to convey an image of open mindedness, kindness, and acceptance- all that “WWJD” stuff. Anyone who engages in online debates in this fashion: please stop. You are doing your fellow believers a disservice and not offering any reason for atheists to consider your side of the story. In fact, the only thing you provide is evidence of believers’ inability to think critically and engage in open minded discussion.

STAHP!!!!!!

Anyway, so everything starts out in typical fashion…
Continue reading “Christians/Atheists/Agnostics/Jews/Muslims/Etc – Don’t be This Guy”

To Live and Love, A Woman Bares Her Scars in Defiance

I met this woman a couple days ago in a debate group.  She was defending the pro-choice position and she happened to agree with some of my arguments and statements.  So I thought I would request to be her friend on facebook.  Today, she posted what is below, I read it and was genuinely moved.  I think this story, as raw as it is, paints a great picture of a life that even through hardship has come out strong.  She has a desire to fight, a desire to love, and she has endured loss as well as tragedy.  This story is about her life and what she has overcome.  She was responding to a 30 year old who happened to call her old and told her that she was unbelievable.  This woman told her that she was old enough to be her grandmother and that there was no way she could get her facts straight because of this.

 

When I read the post I was in awe that someone would use age as a reason to dismiss what another individual had to say.  So I asked her if she would share her voice with us.

 

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Below is the short story of Karen Zimmerman, a warrior for justice, a mother, a lover, and someone I am glad to have found.  Her story has touched me and I hope that it touches you as well.  This is unedited and raw; please understand the poetry of her words.  Thank you Karen for letting me share this with my audience.

 

-Forward Written By: Christopher Tanner

 
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Have Some of The Newsboys Turned Atheist?

The Newsboys, an Australian Christian Rock band that started in the 1980’s and has received national success within the Christian Rock Scene.  They are responsible for the most recent hit off the sound track God‘s Not Dead and were an intricate part of many children of the late 80’s and 90’s as they were a clean and wholesome group that promoted god through their lyrics and their lives.  But what if we told you that even a band that spent years within the main stream Christian industry has a founding member that was now an Atheist?  That probably would not surprise many of you because most atheists have at least heard of a christian leaving religion and becoming an atheist if not experienced that themselves.  The motives are always different and the story only slightly similar as many atheist have a different story to tell.

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Tonight we will be talking George Perdikis, one of the original founding members of The Newsboys group.  We will get to talk with him about why he left the Newsboys, what he has been doing since, and what happens within the Christian Music scene.  He will graciously share his story about leaving the faith.  George also comes to us with some Christian Music Industry experience.  He has a story to tell about the industry and how it has morphed into a money machine that is similar to the secular industries.  We will learn George’s thoughts on what needs to change, and will help to take an inside look into an industry that more and more Christians are leaving.

Lastly tonight, we will talk with Matthew Facciani about the Science behind Religious Belief .  As a Neuroscience major, his expertise will show us why we are drawn towards religion and a more scientific way to counter beliefs.  He will give us a 30 minute presentation that will challenge everyone about on how we talk to people of faith and if there is better methods than what we are currently using.

Do not miss this episode as it is full of incite, wonder, and science.  Below is the links to watch it live or at your convenience.  We have a chat room right on our site so you can join our page and chat with everyone who is watching.  Please share this with your friends.  Comment below or message ChristopherTanner@atheistanalysis.com with ideas, suggestions, and your thoughts.

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Somebody took my folding table, so I’m out of business

Inspiration comes in small packages. Meet “Jeff” “47” from New York as he shares his story:

books“I’d been doing nothing but drinking for months on end, so I was getting pretty despondent. Then one day, a guy walked by with a hand truck, and dropped off two big boxes of books for anyone to take. I decided to set up a bookstand. I got a folding table, and three milk cartons, and set up right across the street. Pretty soon, more people were bringing me books, and I would sell them for $1 apiece. I had a pretty cool selection. I even had books from the 1800’s. But I sold them all for just $1. I called my business The Book Worm. I had a logo and everything—a little worm with reading glasses. I didn’t make much money. Just enough for food and some drinks, but it increased my self-esteem 10,000 percent. I never thought I’d be running my own business. I was drinking less and everything. But somebody took my folding table, so I’m out of business until I can find a new one. It sounds kind of ridiculous, but the whole business hinges on a folding table.”

 

“If this man can create such a dramatic change in his life’s path with a folding table – ask yourself what you can do with seemingly unlimited resources. What’s your folding table?” – Jennifer Rahe

Continue reading “Somebody took my folding table, so I’m out of business”

Top 10 Atheist Websites You Need To Bookmark

1

http://www.reddit.com/r/atheism/

 

Finding the “best of the best” can be a daunting task. You want it. You need it. You crave it. Reddit has a system of “voting” basically. It allows users to rate content from all over the web so the good stuff is in plain sight, and the less than good stuff gets buried. Reddit is the world’s web’s largest atheist forum covering all topics related to atheism, agnosticism and secular living.

 

2

http://www.atheismunited.com/wiki/Huge_list_of_atheist_agnostic_skeptic_humanist_websites

 

Resources are key. You have to be able to find what you are looking for in a moments notice. This page “keeps the links on a given page to a reasonable number.” avoiding Social Media Groups/Pages and Spam.  Atheism United Wiki List, might just be the most conclusive list of websites related to atheism, agnosticism, skepticism, humanism, non-belief, and any other godless word you choose to use.

 

3

http://www.atheistsites.net

 

Again, Resources are key. No one site has them all. The structure of this site is simple and effective. This directory includes most of the top atheist websites plus some useful small sites. Note that the category structure is necessarily imperfect since some sites could fit into more than one group. Also note that several categories contain links to articles and other resources that might interest an atheist.
Continue reading “Top 10 Atheist Websites You Need To Bookmark”