June 15, 2019

We Still Don't Hear Enough About Christian Extremism

reporter on camera

One of the most common questions I have been asked in the many years during which I have been writing Atheist Revolution is why I focus on Christianity as opposed to religion in general. I have explained why I focus on Christianity, but there is a version of this question that I am not sure I have addressed as clearly as I would like. Since I was just asked it again recently, I thought I'd write a response.

The variation has to do with the tagline for this blog: "Breaking free from irrational belief and opposing Christian extremism." The question is about why I chose to emphasize "Christian extremism" and not "religious extremism." It is a fair question, and I have considered changing the tagline more than a few times over the years. I have decided against doing so because the reason I wrote that tagline in 2005 when Atheist Revolution launched is still true today: we aren't hearing nearly enough about Christian extremism.

June 13, 2019

Even Worse Forms of Climate Change Denial

cows grazing

When most of us think of climate change denial, we naturally think about those who deny that it is happening. That's how we tend to define climate change denial. We imagine the many Republican politicians who either deny it altogether or insist that has nothing to do with our use of fossil fuels. The fact that we continue to elect climate deniers is an important barrier to progress. I don't think there is any question about that; however, I suspect that we may be making a mistake to focus on such a narrow view of climate change denial. I think there may be at least two other types that could be even more serious obstacles.

The "End Times" Climate Deniers

Most atheists are familiar with this crowd. They are Christian extremists who believe that climate change is happening but welcome it because they think it indicates the "end times" (i.e., the fulfillment of biblical prophecy). Instead of denying that climate change is taking place or that human activity is involved, they deny that we should try to do anything about it. Whatever happens is what their preferred god has in store for us. And yes, some of them seem to be happy that the end of the world may soon be upon us.

June 11, 2019

Musical Revolutions and Social Change

Nirvana logo

I have little difficulty appreciating many of the classic progressive rock bands (e.g., early 70s Genesis, King Crimson, Jethro Tull, Yes) and their contributions. They were creative, took risks, were often extremely talented musicians, and crafted new sounds that would go on to influence many other bands. At the same time, it is easy to understand why punk was so necessary as a reaction to what had become overblown and pretentious. Its stripped-down sound and more egalitarian attitude were refreshing and necessary.

Although I was too young to appreciate what was happening at the time, I was the perfect age to live through a very similar period in the early 90s. Once again, music had become ridiculous in many ways (remember hair metal) that needed to be purged. The stripped-down sound coming out of Seattle that blended hard rock, punk, and garage rock, labeled "grunge" by those who desperately needed a label, did just that. While I had missed out on the opportunity to contrast the first Ramones album with one of the Yes albums, I vividly remember the impact of Nirvana's Bleach album and the work of many other bands when contrast with any of the hair metal albums at the time.

June 9, 2019

The Christian Boogeyman

death skull

Many cultures have some version of the boogeyman, a mythical creature used by adults to keep children in line. "If you don't obey me and conform to our culture's expectations for what it means to behave well, bad things will happen to you." The bad things are personified by the boogeyman. Stay off the path, and he'll get you.

Most parents and other adults are aware that there really isn't a boogeyman. I have to say "most" because I have become convinced after seeing the results of countless surveys that nothing is so far-fetched that approximately 30% of American adults won't believe it (e.g., angels, Bigfoot creatures, ancient aliens, Sarah Palin should have been president). But let's set all that aside for now. The adults could easily banish the boogeyman they have created if they wanted to, but they do not do so. Why? He's useful. He's there for a purpose, and he accomplishes it reasonably well.

June 8, 2019

5 Mistakes to Avoid When Using Twitter to Promote your Blog

Twitter

Every so often, I see atheist bloggers I respect and think more people should be reading making bad mistakes on Twitter with respect to how they are trying to promote their blogs. This post is aimed at helping them. As I have said here repeatedly, I think that lifting each other up is key to promoting secularism.

Twitter can be great for promoting one's blog, but it has to be used correctly if you expect to see much benefit. The first thing I'd suggest, even before you start tweeting, is to finish your profile. This is your opportunity to tell the world about you and/or your blog. A surprising number of people don't do this, and it holds them back. You are going to want to attract followers, and how you present yourself matters.

Assuming you have a complete Twitter profile, let's consider some of the most common mistakes those who are using Twitter to promote their blogs make. Afterward, we'll address what to do instead:

  1. Your tweets contain nothing but a link (i.e., there is no text accompanying the link).
  2. Your tweets do not include hashtags OR your tweets include more than two hashtags.
  3. Your tweets sound spammy.
  4. You are tweeting too much in too short a time frame.
  5. Your tweets ask questions, but you never respond to those who answer them.