December 13, 2019

A Brief Guide to Atheist Revolution's Facebook Page

Facebook connecting people

I maintain a page for Atheist Revolution on Facebook. I do so because having a presence on Facebook is good for generating blog traffic and because it provides people who still use Facebook with another way to interact with my blog content. Aside from maintaining this page, I no longer use Facebook. In this post, I am going to answer a few of the recurrent questions asked by those who visit Atheist Revolution's Facebook page.

December 11, 2019

Any President Will Be Hated By Half the Country

storm clouds

In the United States today, it is almost impossible to imagine anyone being elected president with more than a slight majority of the popular vote. This is not a new phenomenon, but there does seem to be something new about it. Specifically, it is also almost impossible to imagine anyone being elected president without close to half the country hating them and everybody who voted for them. This does not strike me as healthy. At least, I have difficulty seeing it as a sign of a well-functioning democracy. It sounds like more and more Americans are beginning to recognize that this is a problem.

It would be extremely easy to point the finger, as there are many places where we might place blame. The news media, especially the increasingly partisan cable news shows, have probably made things worse. The political parties and elected officials at every level of government have certainly contributed. Public education may deserve a look. We could go on and on. But ultimately, I think that most of the blame belongs to us. This is not one of those cases where I mean that we've sit back and let it happen (which we have); far too many of us have actively participated in making the problem worse.

December 8, 2019

You Don't Have to Be Christian

we all make choices

As strange as it sounds today, it took me several years to realize that I did not have to be a Christian. I was raised Christian, told that I was Christian, and told repeatedly that the collective "we" were all Christian. This seemed to be true because everyone I met was Christian. I knew that not everyone was Christian, but everyone I came in contact was (or at least pretended to be). I didn't question any of this because I had no reason to do so.

In our current information age, I have to think that very few children are growing up like I did not realizing that not being Christian (or whatever other religion they are being raised in) is an option. They are more likely than I was to hear about different religions, although I am sure that those living in areas with extremely low religious diversity have a similar experience of not knowing anyone who does not share their religion. Thanks to the Internet, modern children are learning about atheism, humanism, and Satanism in ways I did not have available. They are encountering terms like "ex-Christian" that I had never heard of.

December 6, 2019

Missed Opportunities in Horror: The Bigfoot Film

Pikes Peak Bigfoot
Alexander Migl [CC BY-SA 4.0], via Wikimedia Commons

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As a horror fan, it irks me to see how many missed opportunities there have been to make excellent films from subject matter that seems well-suited to the task. In this post, I want to address one I've always found puzzling: the lack of a genuinely scary Bigfoot film. As some of you may recall, I've long been fascinated with the subject of Bigfoot. While there have been several Bigfoot films to come out of the horror genre, few have been worthwhile. In fact, most have been so bad that making it to the end is often a challenge. It can't be that hard to make a good one but doing so seems to be almost as elusive as the Bigfoot creature itself. For this post, I thought it would be fun to consider how one might pull off an effective Bigfoot horror film.

A good place to start would be to recognize that many of the reasons we've had so many Bigfoot movies are the same reasons we've had so many bad Bigfoot movies. If you are a first-time director who wants to make a horror film, it is hard to imagine many less expensive options than gathering a few of your friends, persuading one of them to wear a Bigfoot costume, and heading into the local woods to film it. This has to be why we have ended up with so many bad Bigfoot films. We have first-time directors, a cast that has never acted, and a ridiculously fake-looking costume. Is it any wonder that so few of these films deliver?

December 4, 2019

Social Loafing for Jesus

last supper

Even if you have never heard the phrase social loafing before, you have almost certainly experienced it many times. In the briefest possible terms, social loafing refers to our tendency to expend less effort when we are part of a group than we would on our own. It is one of the primary downsides of group projects and team-based work. That's not to say there aren't some valuable upsides, but this is one problem of which we must be aware.

If I am given a job to do and I am the only one being asked to do it, I know that its success or failure falls on me. If I do a good job, it is my good job. If I do a bad job, it is my bad job. The outcome will be a direct reflection on me. Things change dramatically if my team is given a job. It will never be completely clear if our success or failure is due to what each of us has done or more attributable to any one individual. With the diffusion of responsibility, it becomes easier and more tempting to coast. If I have help, I shouldn't have to work as hard. Let somebody else do something.