May 1, 2016

Remembering Atheist Blog Carnivals

Queen of the Carnival of Santa Cruz de Tenerif...
Queen of the Carnival of Santa Cruz de Tenerife. This carnival is one of the largest in the world. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)
Not so long ago, between and 2005 and 2010 for instance, the atheist blogosphere was a very different place than it is today. There were a relatively small number of atheist blogs that had been active for more than a year, but new ones were beginning to pop up faster than I could count. There was something in the air, a certain excitement around atheism, humanism, secularism, and the like. It was an interesting time to be an atheist blogger.

These were the days of blog carnivals, and - wait a second - "what is a blog carnival," you ask? Good question. I don't think they exist any more, so I better explain what I'm talking about. There was a website called BlogCarnival.com (it doesn't exist anymore) that listed all the blog carnivals and provided a portal for us to submit posts for consideration by various carnivals. Each blog carnival focused on a specific topic area (e.g., liberal politics, education, atheism, economics) and was held anywhere from once a week to once a month, depending on the specific carnival. A different blog hosted each edition of each carnival in the form of a blog post. Submissions accepted by the host were included in the carnival post in the form of links to recent blog posts pertaining to the topic of the carnival. Some hosts would write a traditional link post; others would craft the entire carnival post into more of a narrative (here's an example).

April 29, 2016

How Do Fiscally Conservative Atheists Vote?

Ted Cruz by Gage Skidmore 4I think it is fair to say that most Democrats who run for national office are not fiscal conservatives. Obviously, there is some variability in that some are more fiscally conservative than others. But on balance, few probably deserve to be characterized as the sort of fiscal conservatives a fiscally conservative voter is likely to want. This state of affairs, combined with the Republican Party's embrace of fundamentalist Christianity and vocal opposition to secularism, has always made me feel somewhat sorry for fiscally conservative atheist voters in the U.S. They seem to have few viable options when it comes to casting their votes.

Let's assume that electing fiscally conservative politicians is important to fiscally conservative atheist voters. Aside from some real outliers (e.g., someone like Jim Webb), they will not find many viable options in the Democratic Party. This may lead them to the Republican Party; however, the widespread prevalence of Christian extremists and theocrats in this party probably leaves them feeling like they have few options.

April 27, 2016

Support Ex-Muslims of North America

Ethiopian girl
As much as many religious believers seem to hate atheists, what they often hate even more are atheists who were once part of their religious faith and then left it behind. I've lost count of the number of Christians who have insisted that I was "never a real Christian" and point to my walking away from Christianity as if that somehow proved their absurd claim. I suppose they have to do this, to some extent, to shield themselves from the reality that they too could one day be an ex-Christian.

The situation is much worse for former Muslims, often labeled apostates by those who continue to follow Islam. Not only are they more likely to receive death threats from practicing Muslims, but they often find little support from those on the regressive left who cannot seem to comprehend that Islam is not a race and that criticizing Islam is neither "gross" nor "racist." Somehow, many regressive leftists are willing to overlook all sorts of atrocities when committed by Muslims out of a misguided belief that all cultural values are equally good. This leaves many ex-Muslims without the sort of allies they imagined they might have among secular progressives.

April 26, 2016

What Happens to All the Churches?

Lake Eustis Christian Church
Lake Eustis Christian Church. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)
Drive through any small town in the U.S., and you will see Christian churches everywhere. This is particularly true here in the South. It seems like there are so many of them that there couldn't possibly be enough people to fill them each week. I realize that my perception of the number of churches is skewed from living in a region that seems to have more of them per capita than any other. Still, I think we can agree that there are quite a few churches.

From a basic supply and demand perspective, the massively large number of churches suggests that there has been a high demand for the services they provide. When I drive by the local churches, I notice that their parking lots are crowded every Sunday. It is easy to leave with the sense that almost everyone around here attends services at one of them even though I know that this is not the case.

Assuming that the widely reported trend of declining religious affiliation continues, what will happen to these churches as the number of potential congregants drops? Obviously, some will close. In some communities, this has already been happening. When a community can no longer support the number of churches it has because there is not enough demand for what they do, we end up with fewer churches.

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