If I were god

If I were god, I would have set the universe in motion from an easily discoverable point of creation. I wouldn’t have told primitive beings through mental meditation techniques the importance of the origins story. To proclaim the beginning of life I would have created a pillar indestructible and visible to all those who wanted to view it

 

If I were god, I would have created one language that humans could all speak. It would be easily understood and without nuisance to learn. I would have enlightened man to garner the power of this language in order to prevent the division of language barriers quite unlike the biblical story of the tower of Babel where I purposely confused mankind

 

If I were god, the world would not have natural disasters that kill millions of people. If I felt the need to end the lives of millions I would proclaim aloud why; I would not take the innocent, but focus on those that went against my commands. I would write it in the sky or appear simultaneously to everyone to make this proclamation to allow time for repentance and redemption.

 

If I were god, I would I would make it known to man every time he asked me. There wouldn’t be individual visions but one consolidated vision give to those who ask where I am. Humans would know that I am real, not by having to develop and retool old philosophies, but by establishing one never changing philosophy. There would be no need for churches of varying types because everyone would know what I stood for and who I am.
Continue reading “If I were god”

The Journey from Discovery to Action: My Thoughts on Reason Con 2015

As I flew back from the most recent adventure, I felt the need to record my thoughts, feelings, excitement, and loss. If you did not know, Jonathan and I went to ReasonCon in North Carolina this weekend. We were able to meet each other for the first time, were able to meet some of our supporters and fans, and were able to lay out plans for future episodes and events. The event itself was an amazing experience and could not have been done without the help of some donors and fellow patreons. We are deeply grateful for this opportunity to be able to grow as individuals, while bringing together many individuals in the secular community. Many thanks go out to Robert and Lisa Burrows, Shane, Wes, and Robert plus the many patreon supporters on our network.

 

What The Hell is ReasonCon?

 

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For those of you that have never been to an atheist convention, do yourself a favor and find one that is in your area and attend. I can attest this is a very rewarding experience and one that I hope everyone gets a chance to experience. The stories and lives of every individual that goes are so amazing and unique that there is no way you will be able to just go to one, nor to meet everyone who has come. The days are filled with companionship, camaraderie, food, love and experiencing others’ lives through stories. These two days were amazing and I heard many peoples’ stories that are so unique but similar at the same time that you almost feel like you are living their lives while they tell their stories. ReasonCon provides the outlet for many individuals who do not have an easy life as secularists living in a mainly religious environment. Yet, we saw many individuals reaching out to help others while at the conference. The love spilled over their cup, if I may steal a christian reference. This conference focused on many different avenues within the secular movement, but most of all offered an opportunity to allow fellow secularists to engage each other, develop new ways of interacting within our communities, and helped us see that there is still more work to be done to help everyone safely come out if they feel the desire to do so.
Continue reading “The Journey from Discovery to Action: My Thoughts on Reason Con 2015”

Duncan, OK Mother Chats with Koni: That Atheist Lady about Persecution in Small Town America.

Yesterday, I drove over two hours down to Duncan, OK, to talk with Lea and her two sons about how things have changed since we last spoke.

 

I met them at the casino in town to have dinner before we went to film the follow-up interview you see here. It was one of the most bizarre experiences of my life. I’ve never eaten with such an audience before!

 

While walking into the casino several people, walking to and from their cars, were staring, pointing and talking about us. Lea turns to me and says “See? This is how it is everywhere I go. I can’t go anywhere without people giving me death glares.” It was making me uncomfortable and I have the comfort of knowing I live over two hours away, so these people don’t know where my house is.
Continue reading “Duncan, OK Mother Chats with Koni: That Atheist Lady about Persecution in Small Town America.”

Using Anger to Hide Legitimate Criticism of the Patronizingly Powerful

Read more from David HERE

 

Identity politics in the United States is a testament to the human ability for self-blindness. Essentially the practice of identity politics boils down to “a particular social identity is considered good in itself” and then combined with “all actions therefore by true adherents of that very social identity are inherently good and right.” There are two central points to consider here: 1) actions themselves are not judged by merits but the association with a social identity and 2) by deeming only the actions of “true” adherents sacrosanct then anything contrary is removed from criticism and sets up an ideological aristocracy. In other words, those in power, whatever form that may be, get to occlude themselves from any critical analysis of their actions or the legitimacy of their ideological stance. This is not only anti-democratic, it is contrary to the pursuit of knowledge through skeptical inquiry that lies at the heart of science, and sets up the nastiest form of tribalism that such can manifest.

 

With knowledge, facts and even the type of questions to be asked circumscribed by social identity, there are few behavioral possibilities when dealing with external criticism. The first is a self-proclaimed elitism, where by virtue of being a “true” believer one has access to a set of information or source of knowledge that others simply don’t. This is a favorite of fundamentalist religious believers and of presuppositional apologists in particular. Unfortunately such a tactic is also becoming prevalent in the political playground. Accepting that they can’t actually prove their opinions to anyone, they resort to a metaphysical reality that is completely self-referential. In other words, anybody inside the box knows what they know is true and anybody outside the box will simply never understand. The metaphor is particularly apt considering the blinders that must be constantly kept in place and the isolation that results. The apologist ignores the inherently shared reality required to even have a conversation, and the political demagogue, with false humility in full splendor, will declare “I’m not a scientist, but…”
Continue reading “Using Anger to Hide Legitimate Criticism of the Patronizingly Powerful”

International Women’s Day Tribute

international_womens_day_ap_imgToday is International Women’s day, and here at Atheist Analysis we know it is necessary to recognize those who have contributed to atheism. In our society, women do not get equal recognition for the work they do. This is a shame and I hope that everyone appreciates the contributions of women especially within the atheist movement. This blog is to give an overview of some women in the atheist movement who have influenced me. Their work and dedication to humanity not only affects me but also affects the world we all live in.

IWD Tribute AA ADInternational Women’s Day is a holiday we should all celebrate. It has been around since 1911. I recently discovered it from a post on Facebook and thought I would investigate it. My research led me to the main website where there was everything from events happening around the world to celebrate this holiday, to the history of the celebrations, and even a place for resources. This site should be on everyone’s list to visit this weekend. But the more research I did, the more I felt like this is an under celebrated holiday in the United States. We have many national holidays, but this one did not fall on my radar until recently. Shame on me for not investigating more, and I hope by reading the bios I will be posting below and watching our upcoming show dedicated to women on this Sunday night will inspire you to take a more active role in promoting this awesome holiday. The amount of information this site alone has will give you a whole new perspective on what women have been through, what they are going through, and how we can support them as they empower the world.IWD Tribute AA Guests

The main website mentioned above says this, “International Women’s Day on March 8th is a global day celebrating the economic, political and social achievements of women past, present and future. In some places like China, Russia, Vietnam and Bulgaria, International Women’s Day is a national holiday. Suffragettes campaigned for women’s right to vote. The word ‘Suffragette’ is derived from the word “suffrage” meaning the right to vote. International Women’s Day honours the work of the Suffragettes, celebrates women’s success, and reminds of inequities still to be redressed.”

If you want to help celebrate some of the women who have inspired me while moving the atheist and humanist movement forward, please check out our website to watch interviews with these amazing women. There is far to many for me to mention, and I feel bad because my ignorance and lack of education on all of the women who have influenced atheism. Please do not stick just with my list or interviews but seek out more women. This list is just a taste of the women who have helped change the world and we need to recognize them all. So call shout out the women who have influenced you in our comments section. Next year we will be holding another event and want as much input as we can get.

This year the theme of International Women’s Day is “Make It Happen.”

Watch our show live and chat tonight!

Check out the show after the air date and celebrate women each day.

Without further ado here is the bio’s I have acquired about our guest along with their pictures. Enjoy and please share with your friends, family, and anyone that appreciates women.

BIOS

 

 

Danielle Muscato

Communications Manager

Danielle Muscato is a writer, activist, and public speaker. A former Christian praise & worship musician, she has been active in the atheism movement since 2009, and with American Atheists since 2013.  As Communcations Manager of American Atheists, Muscato directs American Atheists’ online social networking presence, works directly with media outlets, promotes American Atheists in as many venues as possible, updates the blog portion of the American Atheists’ web page, issues press releases to the media and general public, and works directly with the administrative team at American Atheists to project its vision and mission.  Muscato has appeared on or been quoted in Rolling Stone, People, Time, The New York Times, SPIN, Entertainment Weekly, Billboard Magazine, MTV News, NPR, MSNBC, “The Real Story” with Gretchen Carlson, The O’Reilly Factor, Huffington Post Live, Huffington Post, The Wall Street Journal, The Raw Story, CNN, CBS, Kevin & Bean/KROQ in LA, and Howard Stern. Originally from Missouri and an avid traveler, she has been to more than 140 cities in 6 countries. She also enjoys playing jazz guitar and bass guitar. Muscato is a trans woman, formerly Dave Muscato.

Twitter: @daniellemuscato

Email: dmuscato@atheists.org

Website: http://atheists.org/

Abbie Smith

Post Doctoral Researcher at Emory University

Abbie Smith is a post doctoral researcher at Emory University, studying the co-evolution of HIV and the immune system, in the hopes of designing an HIV vaccine.  Abbie has blogged at ERV since 2006, covering virology and immunology, and lots of fun dealing with Creationists/HIV Deniers/anti-vaxers.  She has spoken at numerous conferences, on podcasts, and is dedicated to science education for everyone who is willing to listen.

Website: http://scienceblogs.com/erv/

Bridgett Bria Crutchfield

President of Black Non-Believers Detroit

Bridgett Bria Crutchfield is the current president of Black Non-Believers Detroit.  She also sits on the board for Black Non-Believers and Minority Atheists of Michigan.  She is actively involved with Michigan Atheists.  She formerly sat on the board for We Are Atheism and was involved in the campaign for Obama/Biden in 2012.

Website: http://www.meetup.com/Minority-Atheists-of-MI/ , http://www.minorityatheistsofmi.org/, http://www.blacknonbelieversofdetroit.org/

Twitter: @briabria

Heina Dadabhoy

Blogger at FTB

Heina Dadabhoy spent their childhood as a practicing Muslim who never in their right mind would have believed that they would grow up to be an atheist feminist secular humanist. Heina has been an active participant in atheist organizations and events in and around Orange County, CA since 2007, and on the national stage since 2011. They are currently writing A Skeptic’s Guide to Islam. She is a blogger at Freethought Blogs and soon-to-be author of A Skeptic’s Guide to Islam. Former Muslim, current atheist.

Website: http://freethoughtblogs.com/heinous/

Aubrey Adrianson

Founder of Godless Family

Aubrey Adrianson is a blogger and runs the Being Atheist in a Christian America and Godless Family websites. She has a bachelor’s degree in English education from Western Michigan University and a master’s degree in TESOL (Teaching English to Speakers of Other Languages) from Grand Valley State University. Aubrey has taught English in a variety of settings but most enjoys teaching English to adults. Currently, she works in faculty development and training. Aubrey became interested in the secular movement after having children. She was becoming concerned about what seemed to her as the institutionalized and systematic indoctrination of her children. Since then, she has sought out other atheists, started a blog, and written a book. Aubrey’s book is children’s fiction that focuses on the struggles children who are raised without religion face, both internal and external.

Website: http://godlessfamily.com/

Kelley Freeman

Communications Associate for the Secular Student Alliance

Kelley Freeman is the Communications Associate for the Secular Student Alliance as of October 2014. Kelley graduated from the University of South Carolina in 2013 with a B.A. in Russian and a minor in sociology. She was the president of SSAUSC and is a former intern for both the Secular Student Alliance and Foundation Beyond Belief. During her time in college, she also founded a progressive student coalition at the University of South Carolina and was service director for her university chapter of Omega Phi Alpha, national service sorority. Currently, Kelley is one half of the Secular Start Up team. When not at work, Kelley is an avid tea drinker, cat lover, and enjoys crocheting and reading.

Website: https://secularstudents.org/

Rebecca Vitsmun

Development Coordinator

Rebecca is the Co-host at Ask An Atheist. She has recently become Humanist Disaster Recovery Teams Development Coordinator at Foundation Beyond Belief.

Website: http://www.foundationbeyondbelief.org

Candace Gorham

Founder/Author of Ebony Exodus Project

Candance is the founder of the Ebony Exodus Project. Ebony Exodus is about Black women who are leaving organized religion. It is about Black people who have decided to free themselves from all manner of bondage. Ebony Exodus is about examining the unique intersection of racism and sexism which African American women must face, especially in the context of religion. Black women are the single most religious demographic in the United States, yet they are among the poorest, least educated, sickest people in the nation. It’s time that we take a closer look at the many dynamics that affect these issues. Their page is mostly about black women who have left organized religion but it’s for anyone who cares about the plight of black women. This page is open to all people, male, female, transgendered, black, white, yellow, green, alien, human.

Website: http://www.EbonyExodus.com/

Shanon Nebo

Founder/President of Be Secular

Shanon is the founder and president of Be Secular. She guest blogs over at Dan Arel’s patheos account. Be Secular is proud to accept religious and non-religious secular Affiliates that support our core values. Here are a few examples of the secular Universal Human Rights issues we support: Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender Equality, Sex/Gender Equality, Racial/Ethnic Equality, Women’s Reproductive/Contraception Rights, Separation of Church and State. Be Secular gives 50% of the proceeds they make back to the affiliate of your choice.

Website: http://besecular.com

Amanda Metskas

Executive Director of CampQuest

Amanda K. Metskas is the executive director of Camp Quest, Inc. She has been involved with Camp Quest since 2003, and served on the board of directors from 2004-2007. Amanda became executive director when Camp Quest, Inc. hired her as its first staff person in January 2008. As executive director, Amanda oversees the growth and development of Camp Quest. In addition to her work with Camp Quest, Amanda is a board member of the Secular Coalition for America. She co-authored Raising Freethinkers: A Practical Guide for Parenting Beyond Belief with Dale McGowan, Molleen Matsumura and Jan Devor. Amanda holds an M.A. in political science from The Ohio State University, and a B.A. in international relations and psychology from Brown University. She lives in Columbus, Ohio with her husband August E. Brunsman IV and their two cats.

Website: https://campquest.org/staff

EstaAnne Ammerman

Founder of Moving Humanity Forward Podcast

Esta has recently deconverted from Catholicism over the last two years. She has decided that it is her passion to help people recover from their religious upbringing. She started as a PR Director for Inspiring Doubt podcast. She later branched out and started her own show called Moving Humanity Forward where she wants to work with Christians who share similar political beliefs to try and accomplish more.

Twitter: @estaanne

Godless Mom

Founder of Godless Mom Blog

She have moved from a large urban centre on the West Coast of Canada, to a small rural town in the Southern Interior of BC. While she’s yet to really meet anyone and get to know them, she may have taken note of the numerous churches in a town of 12,000. The bells, they ring out across our little town too. She is clearly outnumbered, and she is gonna need an outlet. And so, godlessmom.com was formed. She am a well-traveled, well-read extreme left atheist mother, wife and writer. She has a little dude about 5, a stepdaughter about 11, a rescue pup about 13 and a husband who likes to play the drums. Goidless Mom was not born and raised anything in particular. She has Catholics in my family, plenty of Christians, been to churchy funerals and godly baptisms and holylike weddings and such. I’ve had Jewish, Muslim, Sikh and Hindu friends and boyfriends. But I’ve always found wonder in science, the universe and the natural world. She requires empirical evidence to believe something and contrary to popular belief, this creates more mystery and wonder than a couple of old books will ever be able to.

Twitter: @godlessmom
Website: http://godlessmom.com/

Ellen Johnson

Former President of American Atheist

is an American activist for the civil rights of atheists and for the separation of church and state in the United States. She served as the president of the organization American Atheists from 1995–2008.  She is an active speaker for atheism.  Recently she spoke at the Michigan Atheist convention on the need for atheist to step up and speak out against religion in our government.

Jennifer Beahan

Assistant Director at CFI Michigan

Jennifer Beahan is Assistant Director of Center for Inquiry–Michigan. She was raised in a fundamentalist christian family and graduated summa cum laude from Cornerstone University with a Bachelor’s of Music Education. While attending Cornerstone University she and her childhood sweetheart/best friend of almost 21 years, and husband for 10, Jeremy Beahan, came to see the light of reason and were introduced to philosophy and critical thinking. Jennifer and Jeremy became members of the Freethought Association of West Michigan, now CFI–Michigan in 2002 and have been actively involved in the organization ever since. In 2007 she was hired on as the first staff person, and since she began volunteering in 2003 she has helped to develop numerous programs, and expand the programming of CFI–Michigan from 3 events each month to over 30 events a month in 8 cities throughout Michigan. Her professional interests include volunteer management, program development and evaluation, secular activism, and women’s rights. She holds a Bachelor’s of Music Education (K-12), and in addition to her work for CFI she teaches private music lessons on piano and woodwinds. She also enjoys hiking/camping, gardening, and loves to cook.

Rebecca Hensler

Founder of Grief Beyond Belief

Rebecca Hensler founded Grief Beyond Belief in 2011, following the death of her infant son Jude. She runs Grief Beyond Belief from her home and continues to write and speak on the topics of grief without faith and secular grief support.

Twitter: @griefbyondblief
Website: http://www.griefbeyondbelief.org/

Mandisa Lateefah Thomas

Founder/President of Black Non-Believers

Mandisa was born and raised in New York City and has lived in Atlanta since 1998. Although never formally indoctrinated into religious belief, she was heavily exposed to Christianity and Islam. Mandisa is a graduate of the famous LaGuardia High School of Performing Arts, and attended Queens College (C.U.N.Y.). She likes to read, travel and spend time with her immediate family, as well as the newfound friends and colleagues gained in the freethought community. In her professional life she is an events manager at a conference center and is the owner of D & D Desserts.

Twitter: @BNonbelievers
Website: https://blacknonbelievers.wordpress.com/leadership-team/

Jennifer Lovejoy

Founder of Atheist Avengers/President of Carolinas Secular Association

Jennifer “Love” Lovejoy is a wife, mother, activist, and disabled veteran. Raised by an agnostic father and a Pentecostal Christian mother- she entered adulthood seriously questioning the biblical teachings she heard as a child. Jennifer enlisted in the US Army in 1997. It was while serving in the Army that she got her first real taste of activism by marching in uniform in support of gay rights. When medical issues abruptly ended Jennifer’s military career, she and her family moved to Asheville, NC. Her early retirement brought newfound free time; she immersed herself in separation of church and state issues after being shocked by the amount of biblical references in her children’s school work and the pamphlets sent home with her children that promoted local churches and discriminating organizations such as the Boy Scouts of America. Jennifer’s activism took a back seat after 9/11 when her husband – also a US soldier was deployed to Afghanistan. The needs of her children and family became her primary focus during her husband’s absence, but the hiatus from activism was short lived when her husband returned a year later with a spine injury. Jennifer came to realize that, as the war progressed, the idea that to be a “good and proud American” meant supporting the war and the troops with “under god”. Jennifer then took up the fight to recognize atheists within the military. Jennifer’s life was forever changed in the summer of 2010 when she agreed to become the Asheville spokesperson for the “One Nation Indivisible” billboard campaign in North Carolina. The international attention catapulted Jennifer into the spotlight and under the microscope. She had to learn how to juggle motherhood, being a wife, and being recognized as an atheist activist on a much larger scale. Jennifer is now busier than ever and wears many hats. She is the Affiliate Services Manager for Atheist Alliance of America. She is the founder and former president of WNC Humanists, former co-chair for the North Carolina Chapter of the Secular Coalition for America, president of the Carolinas Secular Association, a regional organization that supports secularity in the Carolinas and surrounding states. Jennifer also sits on many other boards for organizations that focus on secular issues and humanist values as well as national committees. “Love” as her fans know her, she is probably most recognized as a popular podcast personality. Her brand new show Atheist Avengers is sure to be a hit In the future we may see her name on a ballot for public office or running a national group. Jennifer Lovejoy is determined to change the world.

Twitter: @AvengerAtheists
Website: https://www.facebook.com/AtheistAvengers/

Kristi MD Winters

Atheist Youtube Activist

GESIS – Leibniz-Institut für Sozialwissenschaften
Project Manager for CharmStats in Germany. The Data Coding and Harmonization (DataCoH) project will provide the software package CharmStats (Coding and Harmonization of Statistics) and be an online resource for researching the coding and harmonization of social science data. CharmStats products are a line of free and open-source software programs developed by GESIS to assist researchers in documenting, organizing and publishing data harmonizations. She is a Postdoctoral Fellow from British Academy UK and conducted the Qualitative Election Study of Britain. She runs a youtube channel focusing on what an Atheist would ask and reviewing literature she finds important.

Twitter: @KWintie
Website: https://www.youtube.com/user/drkmwinters/

Shelley Segal

Musician/Atheist Activist

Shelley’s third studio album, ‘An Easy Escape’ brings a cool indie-folk vibe to her Beach_shoot (10 of 21) musings. The album was recorded at Britannia Row studios (Pink Floyd’s old studio) in London and was produced by Tom Nichols (All Saints, Kylie, Celine Dion, Tina Arena). Lead single ‘Morocco,’ a travelling song that includes depictions of poverty, drugs and sexual inequality is already making waves with over 55,000 views and a heated response in the national and international press. Segal’s fierce yet emotive voice sings with an almost prescient, ‘Find your own way and be happy,’ a mantra to keep pushing forward despite criticisms and controversy. Segal grew up in a musical household. She began singing at the age of three, then writing and performing at eleven. Joining her father’s Jewish wedding band early on provided her with an ease and enjoyment performing and writing across a broad range of styles including pop, folk, jazz, blues, rock and reggae. Intimate, story-telling and biographical lyrics are what unifies Segal’s song-writing across genres. Shelley accompanies herself on guitar and has been performing her original music around Melbourne and internationally for the last twelve years. In 2009 she recorded her first EP with acclaimed producer Josh Abrahams at Fishtank Studios. In 2010, Segal completed a Bachelor of Applied Music from the Box Hill Institute of Tafe. The same year she also wrote and recorded a song with world-renowned DJ Carl Cox. The track, ‘Chemistry’ was a drum and bass single from his latest album ‘All Roads Lead To The Dance Floor.’ Segal has performed to crowds with Cox at Stereosonic festival and at Melbourne’s iconic Billboard. In November 2011 an award winning remix of ‘Chemistry’ spent two weeks at number one on the Beatport techno charts. 2012 saw the release of her forthright, ‘An Atheist Album’ highlighting her versatility as a singer and song writer. The folk-pop protest record embodies Segal’s thoughts on religion and quickly made her “a new pin-up girl for the international atheist movement.” (Barny Zwartz -The Age) Last year Segal teamed up with talented US guitarist Adam Levy (Norah Jones, Tracy Chapman, Ani Difranco) to create ‘Little March,’ an enchanting and delicate collection of jazzy, bluesy folk tunes. Produced by grammy award-winning S. Husky Hoskulds, ‘Little March’ is intimate and reflective, combining both artists’ genuine song writing with Adam’s stunning, mellow guitar playing and Shelley’s captivating voice. The two enjoyed a successful Australian tour last July, with sold out shows at Melbourne’s premier jazz venue, Bennett’s lane.

Twitter: @shelleysegal
Website: http://www.shelleysegal.com/

Susan Walsh

Detroit Sunday Assembly Leader

Susan has worked hard to promote and lead the Detroit Sunday Assembly chapter in Detroit Michigan. She is a long time support of Michigan Atheists and has worked hard for the rights of atheists and minorities in Michigan.

Stephanie Renee Guttormson

Operations Director for RDFS

Stephanie joined the Richard Dawkins Foundation for Reason and Science in March of 2013. She was the leader of an award winning student group at the Metropolitan State University of Denver that developed widely successful unique events such Food for Freethought and The Pseudoscience Fair. She also brought in notable names such as Michael Shermer and James Randi to speak on campus. She holds two Bachelor of Arts degrees in Linguistics and Theoretical Mathematics from the Metropolitan State University of Denver.

Vyckie Garrison

Founder and Blogger at No Longer Quivering

Vyckie Garrison started No Longer Quivering to tell the story of her “escape” from the Quiverfull movement. Over time, NLQ has developed into a valuable resource of information regarding the deceptions and dangers of the Quiverfull philosophy and lifestyle. Several more former QF adherents are now contributing their stories to NLQ and our collective voice makes these Quiverfull warnings impossible to dismiss or ignore. NLQ is a gathering place for women escaping and recovering from spiritual abuse.

Twitter: @noquivering
Website: http://nolongerquivering.com

Zinna Jones

VideoBlogger/FTB Blogger

Zinnia Jones is a writer and videoblogger, co-blogging with Heather McNamara and Lux Pickel. She’s written extensively on the subjects of secularism, feminism, and being transgender. Since 2008, her videos have received over 8 million views, and her articles have been featured in Autostraddle, the Huffington Post, and The Fight magazine. She has been producing informed commentary on YouTube since 2008, covering news, politics, religion, secularism, civil rights, LGBT issues, philosophy, ethics, and just about anything else. Zinnia has been transitioning for the past two years, which has required her to learn a lot about a variety of transgender-related subjects. In that time, she’s found that most mainstream coverage of trans topics is largely inadequate – presenting only shallow oversimplifications, produced by cis (non-trans) people, for cis people.

Twitter: @ZJemptv
Website: http://zinniajones.com/

Teresa Macbain

Assistant Director for Recovering from Religion’s Hotline Project.

Teresa MacBain became a non-believer after serving for many years as a pastor in the Deep South. Through a long process of questioning, research, and reality-based thinking, she discovered the religious faith she’d built her life upon was simply a lie. She came out publicly as an atheist during the 2012 American Atheist convention in Bethesda, Maryland.
In addition to her former work as a pastor, Teresa has worked for the Humanists of Florida as Executive Director and as the Public Relations Director for American Atheists. In 2013 she was named “Atheist of the Year” for her dedication to the secular community. Currently Teresa is the Assistant Director of the Hotline Project.
In her spare time, you’ll find Teresa playing fetch with her beloved Yorkie, wandering the country-side photographing the wonders of nature, or catching up on missed episodes of a Doctor Who.

Twitter: @teresamacbain

Website: http://teresamacbain.com/

Sarah Morehead

Executive Director at Recovering from Religion

A life-long evangelical Southern Baptist, Sarah spent years as a dutiful wife and mother before finding the courage to leave an abusive marriage. She ultimately let go of her faith, becoming a passionate advocate for growing the secular community by developing resources for practical support as people reconsidering the role of religion in their life.

In 2011 she joined the leadership of Recovering From Religion and in 2012 she was appointed the Executive Director. Thanks to her tireless efforts, Recovering From Religion is well known as the bridge of hope for those negatively impacted by religion. In 2014 she was honored with the American Atheists “Atheist of the Year” award for her activism throughout the secular movement and in January 2015 she was elected President of the Reason Rally Coalition.

When she is not busy directing RR and organizing events like Apostacon, she enjoys spending time with her family and homeschooling her many children.

Madalyn Murray O’Hair

Former President of American Atheist

Madalyn who also used multiple pseudonyms (her most preferred being M. Bible) was an American atheist activist, founder of American Atheists, and the organization’s president from 1963 to 1986. She created the first issues of American Atheist Magazine. One of her sons, Jon Garth Murray, was the president of the organization from 1986 to 1995, while she remained de facto president during these nine years.

When Religion Kills: The Cowardice of the Dogmatic

As reported in the NY Times, Avijit Roy, a Bangladeshi-American blogger critical of religion, was murdered yesterday in Dhaka, Bangladesh, hacked to death by machete-wielding religious adherents. His wife was attacked as well and is currently in critical condition. If we are to follow in the footsteps of the current Pope, that bastion of progressive values championed by liberals ignorant of Catholic dogma, Roy got what was coming to him. Comparing criticism of religion with the cursing of one’s mother, an equivalency with playground childishness that is as ridiculous as it is inaccurate, he declared such usage of free speech as wrong and the person doing so should expect to be punched. That the Pope disavowed murder as an appropriate response is completely undone by this rationalized approval for violence.

 

In recent polling done by Pew Research (May-June of 2014), when asked to describe, by reference to temperature, how positive or negative a particular religious ideology is viewed, Americans scored atheism at 41 degrees, only one degree warmer than Muslims. Considering all the press concerning the possible rise of hate-crimes against Muslims, the lack of coverage concerning antipathy towards atheists seems to tacitly endorse the fact that such people deserve to be hated. This wanton disregard by leaders and social institutions shows the lie of their supposed dedication to making the world a better, more informed, place.
Continue reading “When Religion Kills: The Cowardice of the Dogmatic”

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”

Hiding Behind a Mask Of Religious Persecution: Deny a Michigan Gay Couple’s Child Medical Treatment

By now most of you reading this have probably already heard about the Michigan Doctor who refused to treat a Lesbian couples young child for medical service. Now lets make one thing clear, she 10897904_10100399546023366_4555240943183328609_nrefused to treat the child, but there were other adequate medical professionals in the building who could treat the child. This is important, as I do not want anyone to feel that I am trying to make a case that this child went without care. The child did get care, but the question of what morals of individuals who hold deep religion beliefs should be upheld verses what is a violation of personal rights and human flourishing of the species.

 

This story hits croi-slose to home because I live in Michigan; and as an atheist, I feel that the doctors religious beliefs trumps a persons lifestyle choice and their biological sexual orientation. It would follow that they would be able to discriminate against others who do not match their religious fundamentals, which is a slippery slope that could restrict treatment to others or deny it all together.
Continue reading “Hiding Behind a Mask Of Religious Persecution: Deny a Michigan Gay Couple’s Child Medical Treatment”

Solving the Holy Land: Designing a New Anti-Virus.

One of the most telling aspects of the living organism is the immune system, a series of checks and balances evolved to search, recognize, and subdue or destroy.  The changes undergone in the processes of gaining biodiversity and complexity can be metamorphosed into the political state of the world today.  We have seen human society reformed countless times: from the isolated and xenophobic tribal states of humanity’s origins, to the conqueror empires of Alexander and Genghis Khan, to city- and nation-states, and now to the beginnings of an economic nationalism, a global cellular structure where quality of life is starting to supersede arbitrary traditional 19th and 20th century borders.

 

The intense inter-connectivity and physical transitions from the furthest corners of the globe have made the idea of a global organism that much more real to me (I am still looking for the corners of a spheroid to justify that old saying, but alas).  The world is a living entity with the equivalent of breathing organs in the varied ecosystems, a Circulatory System in the oceans and travel lines, a Nervous System within the world wide web and satellite arrays, and finally, an Immune System hybrid of autonomous sovereign states who have agreed that the social contract of human life is worth compromise.

Continue reading “Solving the Holy Land: Designing a New Anti-Virus.”

Congress Shall Make No Law…

A little over a year ago I ran into the following news item from the land that gave us David Hume and the Scottish Enlightenment: http://www.dailyrecord.co.uk/news/scottish-news/parents-outrage-extremist-religious-sect-2254926. I posted it on my Facebook page, thereby precipitating a winding, entertaining, and sometimes heated discussion with a Christian fundamentalist Facebook friend from England. His position is not uncommon, and certainly more prevalent in my country than in his, and for all I know there may be visitors to this blog who, like my friend, would find themselves in sympathy with the headmaster who allowed the proselytizing to take place. So I’d like to enlarge the scope of the conversation to include anyone here who’d care to chime in, with an especially warm invitation extended to any Christian fundamentalists who might happen to be lurking. (Whether you’ll bother to read a TLDR that raises troubling questions is itself a troubling question, of course; besides, in addition to hurling poison darts at your cherished beliefs, I tend to write in compound sentences and sprinkle my prose liberally with semicolons and parenthetical asides. I’m afraid people sometimes find me tedious.)

 

Church versus StateWhat’s at stake here is a principle that has come to define most of the Western world ever since the Enlightenment, and the consequent composition of the U.S. Constitution: a precious principle that has come under sustained attack during the past few decades by forces on the religious right, both in the U.S. and in a number of European countries. That principle is secularism. Fundamentalist Christians, I’m addressing you in the following paragraphs; atheists and others, I’d be honored to enjoy your company as well if you’re inclined to join me for the ride.

 

In the interest of helping you understand the position I take on this issue, I’ll ask you to consider the following (if you read the article I linked to above, you’ll understand that I’ve constructed an exact parallel with the soul-saving literature that was distributed at the school in question): suppose your child came home one afternoon carrying a book with a title like, “Why the Book of Mormon is True and the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints Is the Surest Way to Heaven,” which had been distributed that day to the students at his school. Or perhaps, “Why Islam Is True, the Qur’an Is the Word of God and All Unbelievers Are Destined for Hell.” Would you, committed to your Christian faith as you are, take offense at the proselytizing efforts that Mormons or Muslims had launched in your child’s school? Would you consider it acceptable that they were permitted to do that, or would you find it outrageous and impermissible, a breach of public trust? Would you acquiesce (however grudgingly) in such activities, or would you agitate to have them prohibited? If the latter is the case, then surely you understand why that prohibition should extend also to proselytizing by those who embrace the faith that you happen to espouse.
Continue reading “Congress Shall Make No Law…”