News And Links For Atheists: A Discussion Between Atheists and Mormons: Exposing Myths and Dispelling Stereotypes

VIDEO: A Discussion Between Atheists and Mormons: Exposing Myths and Dispelling Stereotypes

As a prelude to the American Atheists National Convention taking place this weekend in Salt Lake City, Utah, a panel discussion was held Wednesday night between atheists Dave Silverman and author Joanne Hanks and Mormon authors Drs. J. B. Haws and Richard Holzapfel:

Atheists conduct friendly march around Mormon Temple Square

Most of the marchers were former Mormons and many mailed resignations to the LDS Church at the end of the short trek around the square. Ellis dubbed it “the Mormon exodus and mass resignation event.”
“It’s our right to resign from the LDS Church and support others who would like to,” he told the crowd.

Another related article can be found here.

VIDEO: Scientology’s dirty little secrets

From MobileMedia, the great-grandson of L. Ron Hubbard washes the family laundry in public.

The worst atheist-bashing article of the year

This one’s actually a response to this article at Salon.

For some reason, Salon is on a crusade to bash the hell out of atheists, living and dead. Their editors might want to question what the deuce is going on (unless it’s a deliberate editorial decision), for the proliferation of anti-atheist pieces is eroding the site’s credibility. It makes Salon look like an apologist for religion. And the latest atheist-bashing piece is particularly bad, because it’s not only written very poorly, but its argument is so incoherent that I can barely even summarize it.
The new piece is by Sana Saeed, and although it might pain you to read it, it’s not too long, and I’m curious what readers make of it: “Richard Dawkins is so wrong it hurts: What the science-vs.-religion debate ignores.” Its point seems to be that there is no conflict between science and religion, but I don’t understand how Saeed’s arguments support that view.
Here’s Saeed’s profile from the Guardian:

NJ bank won’t notarize American Atheist documents for ‘personal reasons’

According to Knief, she and American Atheists president David Silverman were in the process of getting documents notarized by one of the bank’s notaries public when the woman asked them what the documents were for.
“The documents were charitable organizations registrations for American Atheists in several states,” wrote Knief. “So I told her what AA is about. She looked down, then looked at me and Dave Silverman and said she couldn’t sign the documents because of ‘personal reasons’ and went to find another notary who was eating his lunch to come do the authentications.”
“I have been called names, threatened, hated on and all manner of ridiculed because of my atheist activism, but I think sitting in a bank and having another professional refuse to do business with me because I am an atheist was the worst slight I have ever received,” she continued. “This is completely unacceptable, and far from over.”

Neil deGrasse Tyson Shows Why Small-Minded Religious Fundamentalists Are Threatened by Wonders of Universe

Religious belief systems prefer a small cosmos with humans firmly at the center.

Pope Francis asks forgiveness for priests who sexually abused children

It’s more than the Watchtower Society has done…

A Postscript on My Post about Evidence for Dinosaurs and Jesus

I’m actually not all that impressed with books that claim to debunk the “Jesus myth.” Not because I’m a believer, but mostly because those books seem to have a knack for getting their facts wrong. I’m not saying there really was a Jesus (even a merely mortal Jesus) only that there could have been. For those who subscribe to the Jesus myth books, I would only recommend you research secular sources for the other side as well.

What scholars like Bart Ehrman don’t tell you (likely because they don’t fully comprehend it themselves) is that the Jewish-Christian world was totally awash with forged stories of divine divine men of miracles. Ancient Biblical figures from Israel’s mythic past had either written new books about themselves or were written about by unnamed Jewish authorities who were in the know. Although I did my under graduate work in Bible and graduate work in Christianity while having been an active Church member most of my life, I had never realized, nor was I told, that there were more than 295 divine histories and sacred texts about miracle workers sent from God. (I discussed these HERE )

Fred Phelps Created the Monster that Betrayed Him

One can only wonder if the phrase, “et tu, Brute” ran through Fred Phelps mind when the congregation he nurtured and, in most cases, literally spawned, excommunicated him from the Westboro Baptist Church. The sense of betrayal must have been crushing. As Fred’s estranged son Nathan Phelps said, “They took the one thing that meant everything to the man…That old man and his reason to exist have gone away.”

PODCAST: The Angry Atheist #137 w/ Lucien Greaves from The Satanic Temple

The Gospel Isn’t Gospel

This one has a chart examining contradictions in the Gospels and how different groups cope with them.

9 Questions That Atheists Might Find Insulting (And the Answers)

10 Mistakes New Atheists Make

News And Links For Ex-Jehovah’s Witnesses And Atheists: Richard Dawkins on the Bill Maher Show – Overtime

VIDEO: Richard Dawkins on the Bill Maher Show – Overtime

VIDEO: Caller Pastor George on The Atheist Experience

VIDEO: The Atheist Experience Discusses the Difference Between Indoctrination (Cults) and Socialization

Children of religious parents at ‘more risk’ of abuse

Countering JW Shunning: How the Implications of Stanley Milgram’s Work May Suggest Using a Different Approach

In an attempt to force abandonment of the cruel practice of shunning, we’ve seen countless impassioned pleas from ex-JW members who point out how cruel and emotionally-painful it is for THEM, the targets of shunning. Although these painful accounts are absolutely heart-felt, they often are quite ineffective; the shunning continues, partly because the cries paradoxically CONFIRM the message that the WT delivers to their members, telling them shunning HAS to be uncomfortable for the shunned since it’s done “for their own good”! The Society claims that shunning WON’T be effective UNLESS it causes pain in the shunned!

Shameful Shunning in a Thousand Words

This is a picture of my dad eating. He had just made lunch for me, but he couldn’t eat it with me. I had to eat it at another table with my four-year-old son while he sat there away from me.
Why? Because that’s what the Watch Tower Society tells him to do.

What is Jehovah’s witnesses?

Add your answer today.

Science Of Cult Behavior


Finally, I am not dead. But posts will be far fewer during the college semester. Also, as happens every other month it seems like, updates continue to wreck the editor on my WordPress install. One minute it’s there, the next it isn’t. Grrr…

News And Links For Atheists: Glen Beck VS Reza Aslan

VIDEO: Beck vs. Aslan

Beck takes issue with a quote from Aslan, in which Aslan argued that the gospels “are not, nor were they ever meant to be, a historical documentation of Jesus’ life. These are not eyewitness accounts of Jesus’ words and deeds.”

Read more about Aslans book here.

VIDEO: Introducing Evolution at the 9th grade level

Presentation by AronRa.

VIDEO: Another Butthurt Christian

Jaclyn Glen on YouTube deals with complaints from liberal Christians about her videos. I understand the view of those offering the complaints. Not all Christians are fundamentalist homophobes who hate evolution and blah blah…. But as someone who has worked on books about issues like these, I also get what she is saying. The English language does not lend itself well to these subtle distinctions. It’s even harder to do so in writing than it is in a video.

Your thoughts?

Bonus: Check out this video if you haven’t already. It’s the video that first put Jaclyn Glen on my radar.

The U.S. military has a problem with atheists

Apparently, the Marine Corps thinks a “lack or loss of spiritual faith” could be dangerous.
When an active-duty Marine was given a Marine Corps training document describing “potential risk indicators” commanders should look for to prevent loss of life among service members, he found one checkbox that didn’t seem to fit. Among warning signs like substance abuse and prior suicide attempts was “lack or loss of spiritual faith.”

Richard Dawkins criticised for Twitter comment about Muslims

There are times when I worry about the Professor…

Controversial scientist accused of ‘dressing his bigotry up as atheism’ following comments on social networking site

An atheist addresses some of this here.

Five Things Christian Fundamentalists Just Don’t Get

Victims raise profile of ‘spiritual abuse’

Turn away from her mother like the rest of her congregation, or be exterminated by God at Armageddon — which could come any moment — with no hope of resurrection.

Golly. I wonder what denomination she is from.

‘Atheism to Replace Religion by 2041′: A Clarification

Now that makes more sense. I have serious doubts that religion will truly disappear, but I can believe that humanism will come to rival it.

More Internet Vigilantism as Shermer Accused of Rape

PZ Myers (Pharyngula) recently published an email he allegedly received from a woman accusing Michael Shermer of raping her at a convention. PZ says that too much time has elapsed since the alleged incident for law enforcement to be a viable option. He also notes that he has “no personal, direct evidence” that the alleged incident occurred as described but says that he knows the author “and she has also been vouched for by one other person I trust.” Evidently, that is enough to let us bypass any sort of investigation to determine whether the allegations have merit and proceed directly to damaging Shermer’s reputation. Mob justice at its finest.

Shermer is also one of several famous nonbelievers being accused of sexism. I have no idea if either allegation is true. Regarding sexism, either we have too many old-guy atheists who think it’s the fifties or someone is up to something here. I have no idea which one it is, however.

Whatever you do, make sure to read Al Stefanelli’s article called My thoughts on Myers’ post about Michael Shermer

William Lane Craig Prison Rapes The Use Of The Word Faith

I’m sorry, Bill, I’ve heard you many times discuss your interaction and direct experience with the Holy Spirit. Your “knowledge” of this interaction is either through faith, or you are hearing audible voices and if that’s the case, you may wish to speak with a mental health professional.

Catholic school dismisses gay teacher after publicized wedding

Divisive Bloggers at Atheist Conventions

While many potential attendees are undoubtedly thrilled to have yet another opportunity to hear from their favorite bloggers, others are asking whether conventions interested in promoting a cohesive atheist movement might be making a mistake by selecting speakers with a reputation for being divisive within the atheist community.

Explaining Socialism To A Republican

Divorce Rates for Atheists and Christians in America

News And Links For Ex-Jehovah’s Witnesses: New JW.org Store Opens In France – But What Is It Selling?


New JW.org “store” opens in Rouen, France – but what is it selling?

The store is the first of its kind anywhere in the world, and is the next phase of Watchtower’s “Manhattan Project” – which so far has seen bookstands with Society literature pop up on sidewalks in major cities.

Oh yeah. That happened. JWN is talking about it and an anonymous article was posted about it online as well.

VIDEO: Governing Body’s David Splane says forcing young ones to get baptized is “wise” thing to do

Nothing creepy or weird about that.

Science says atheists should come out of the closet for their own good

I have felt the same way for some time now. Exposure erodes prejudice. The more atheists you meet, the more “ordinary” we become and the less threatening we seem.

Anger—How We Transfer Feelings of Guilt, Hurt, and Fear

What I’d like to clarify in this post is that a good deal of our anger is motivated by a desire not to experience guilt—and beyond this, the distressing emotions of hurt and fear. It’s by now generally agreed upon that anger, as prevalent as it is in our species, is almost never a primary emotion. For underlying it (as fellow blogger Steven Stosny pointed out two decades ago) are such core hurts as feeling disregarded, unimportant, accused, guilty, untrustworthy, devalued, rejected, powerless, and unlovable. And these feelings are capable of engendering considerable emotional pain. It’s therefore understandable that so many of us might go to great lengths to find ways of distancing ourselves from them.

I think many of us would agree that Jehovah’s Witnesses are prone to certain emotional issues that affect them more than the general public. (Some seem to consider fundamentalism in general to be a breeding ground for certain issues.) Unfortunately, ex-Witnesses are not immune. Many of us carry the same issues with us into our new found “worldly” lives. Articles like this one are worth checking out.

A Powerful Two-Step Process to Get Rid of Unwanted Anger

I think you’ll agree that only rarely can you claim that your anger is both warranted and helpful, whether to yourself or the relationship.
So let me offer you a two-step alternative to abandoning your better judgment and giving in to the temptation of anger—one that should neutralize your anger in seconds. Or, when you’re really angry, in minutes.

Atheist vs. Atheist—What?!

Its author, the prominent French philosopher André Comte-Sponville, makes the distinction between the “dogmatic atheist” and the “non-dogmatic atheist.” Largely self-explanatory, the first type of non-believer might be seen as lacking a certain humility. For the assuredness of their atheism borders on an arrogance comparable to that of their fundamentalist-believing counterparts. In their outspoken conviction, they’re quite prepared to go on record declaring the non-existence of any supernatural being. Which is to say, their claim is not expressed as an opinion but as undeniable fact. They’re rationalists in the purest sense (i.e., “No God, or gods, exist. Case closed—unless you present me with indisputable scientific evidence to the contrary.”). In their minds virtually all possibility of a cosmic creation undertaken by some celestial deity has been vanquished. (And that’s why some believers experience this adamant stance not simply as overbearing but as downright “militant.”)

Prepare to be a bit annoyed at some parts of this article.

The Science Delusion argues that science wrecks truth and beauty

Curtis White’s book, The Science Delusion, makes two broad points: that science is based upon ‘assumptions that are deluded,’ and that scientists can be real jerks. He provides ample proof for one of those claims.
The title of the The Science Delusion, published on May 28th, is an obvious reference Richard Dawkins’ The God Delusion. It’s no surprise, then, when Dawkins is one of the many scientists that populate its pages. They’re not an attractive bunch. Through anecdotes and commentary, Curtis White paints various scientists as dismissive snobs, smug pseudo-intellectuals, manipulative showmen, immoral politicos, and people who make bad faith arguments from behind a protective screen of elite supporters.

This one too.

Changes at AAWA:

I don’t see anything about it on their website yet and I don’t have a link to it, but Cedars, the editor of JWSurvey and former President of AAWA, has stepped down as President of the organization to focus on what he does best: writing articles for ex-Witnesses. No word on who will replace him yet.

Four Jehovah Witnesses ’Preachers Thaught A Lesson By Prostitutes

Go there and see the awesome for yourself!

‘Man of Steel’ filled with Jesus, Christianity references