February 28, 2011

Motörhead: (Don't Need) Religion

I've never been one to seek out songs with pro-atheist lyrics, but that doesn't mean I don't appreciate it when I find one. And when I find one from one of my favorite bands, that's even better. Here's Motörhead with "(Don't Need) Religion" from 1982's Iron Fist:


Don't need no blind belief
Don't need no comic relief
Don't need to see the scars
Don't need Jesus Christ Superstar
Don't need no Sunday Television
Bet your life you don't need religion
Don't need no time for prayer
Don't save no knee-pads for me up there
If your head's alright, ya don't need binoculars to see the light
Ya don't need no miracle vision
Bet your life you don't need religion

I don't need no Santa Claus
Don't believe in fairies no more
Don't need to go to confession
I'm already trying to fight depression
Don't need no exorcism
Bet your life you don't need religion

February 27, 2011

Obama Administration Will No Longer Defend DOMA

Marriage equality mattersThose of us who believe in equal rights for all Americans received some good news this week. The Obama administration will no longer defend the Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA) in court, hopefully clearing the way for same-sex marriage.

It is true that I would have preferred to see the administration take an active stance in encouraging the previous Congress to repeal the legislation. That would have positioned President Obama well with his Democratic base and helped him move somewhat closer to being on the right side of history. Unfortunately, it seems that his particular brand of Christian beliefs prevented that. Still, however it happens, DOMA needs to fall.

February 26, 2011

I Guess I'm the Idiot

You are the idiot ! You do not go far enough to condemn religion. Instead you focus only on Christianity. If you are truly and atheist as I am, you should condemn any religion that has a god. Do you not know that religions are the cause of all problems in the world? Look at the Islamists. 98 % of all riots in the whole world are caused by them. C'mon man be a real atheist instead of a namby pamby wannabee.
Family guy stewie chat total idiot black shirtHere we go again with the criticism that I don't spend enough time criticizing Islam. Seems like no matter how many times I address this, it simply doesn't go away. And now I'm accused of not being "a real atheist" because I focus only on Christianity (even though I don't focus only on Christianity).

To review, I am surrounded on all sides by Christian extremists, not Muslims. I was brought up in Christianity, not in Islam. I have studied Christianity, not Islam. I oppose all religion, and I write about much more than just Christianity. However, I focus on Christianity (and Christian extremism in particular) because it is the most immediate problem facing me, and it is what I know best.

Beyond that, the claim that "religions are the cause of all problems in the world" is absurd. All one has to do is come up with a single example of a problem not directly attributable to religion, and it falls apart. I'll take malaria. How does religion cause malaria? And 98% of riots being caused by "Islamists" - does that even deserve a response?

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February 25, 2011

Becoming More Accessible to Atheist Women

atheistIn one sense, atheism is about as gender-neutral as it gets. Lacking god belief is something that can and does apply to women and men alike. Organized atheism and atheist activism, on the other hand, sometimes seem to be more attractive to men than women.

Daylight Atheism recently conducted a brief reader poll and learned that roughly 60% of those who voted in it were men. I found his discussion about what this may mean an interesting one, mostly because one of the four possible explanations he considered was something I have been thinking about for some time.
Hypothesis #4. Something about the subject matter or content of this site, in general, appeals to men more than to women, or makes women feel as if they're less welcome than men.

February 23, 2011

Atheists and the "Us vs. Them" Mentality

ConflictAre atheists, particularly outspoken atheists who engage in secular activism, guilty of fostering an "us vs. them" mentality? This is a common criticism we hear from Christians and more than a few atheists. Are those of us who speak out part of the problem, contributing to a religious vs. secular culture war?

My take on these questions is probably about what you'd expect. I think that an "us vs. them" mentality was established long ago by religious believers and has been kept alive today primarily by religious believers. To say that outspoken atheists are somehow guilty of causing it or even maintaining it denies this basic reality: it exists and will continue to exist whether we express ourselves or not.

Besides, just what are we saying when we express ourselves? We are criticizing religion, promoting separation of church and state, seeking to normalize atheism, advance equality for secular persons, and so on. Can anybody seriously argue that we'd be better off not doing any of this?

I understand how it might seem to make sense to accuse outspoken atheists of fanning the flames of conflict. But is that really what we are doing? Isn't it a bit more accurate to say that we are acknowledging what already is the case and exercising our right to contribute to the discussion?

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February 22, 2011

How to Introduce the World to Your New Blog

IntroduceIf you have ever started a new blog, you know that one of the biggest challenges involves getting the word out about it. You want to attract new readers, but nobody knows you. It will take forever if you just wait for potential readers to find you.

Consider announcing your new blog with an effective press release. Below you will find an excellent example in the form of a press release I received via email for a new blog, A Year of Sundays.

What makes this press release so effective is how it describes the goals of the new blog, tells us what to expect and how it will be different from what we are used to reading, and introduces us to the authors.

Remember this example the next time you start a new blog.

February 20, 2011

Raped? Maybe You Should Go to Church More Often

The Republican Party has long been regarded as anti-woman. After all, it was far-right hero Rush Limbaugh who coined the term "feminazi" to describe those women who dared violate his archaic view of gender roles. I suppose it was inevitable that the party would become anti-woman as soon as they adopted Christian extremism and began to work to strip women of basic reproductive rights. And yet, the vile anti-woman agenda of the Republican Party and their Christian extremist colleagues still catches me off guard at times.

February 19, 2011

Idiot of the Week: Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker

Gov. Scott WalkerI've had an unusually busy week, making it difficult to follow everything going on in the news. However, there was one story I made time to follow: the debacle in Wisconsin. You see, as someone who works for the state, I tend to take it personally when state employees are attacked. This is especially true when the attack also happens to jeopardize public education. Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker (R) deserves Idiot of the Week recognition.

February 17, 2011

How Worried Should We Be About Offending Christians?

choose civilityFirst there was the "don't be a dick" debate and then we heard a lot about civility following the attempted assassination in Arizona. Many atheists are reflecting on these issues and asking themselves whether civility is a goal to which they should aspire. Assuming that we decide that civility is indeed a positive goal, it makes sense that we would consider the nature of our interactions with the religious.

So, how concerned should we atheists be about whether we are offending Christians, and should we seek to minimize this?

Here is what I would like to interject into this discussion:
As long as Christians continue to insist that a book commanding them to kill me is "holy," I am going to have a difficult time worrying too much about whether I offend them.
I am fully aware that many modern Christians will ignore these passages from their bible or attempt to reinterpret them. Perhaps they will suggest that this instruction referred to a specific place and time and that it is not intended to apply today. Fine. But that still doesn't explain how they could worship this particular god.

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February 15, 2011

What Can We Do to Protect Physicians Who Provide Abortion Services?

AbortionI don't now about you, but I have a fairly strong reaction whenever I see a story about Christian extremists flirting with domestic terrorism involving health clinics that include abortion among the services they provide. I'm too old to quit my job, go to medical school, and become qualified to help ease the overwhelming demand for such services. Sure, I can donate to Planned Parenthood, vote for politicians who vow to respect reproductive rights for women, and challenge those who equate abortion with murder. But I often find myself wondering what else I can do to prevent more of the vile Christian terrorism that forces these physicians to live in fear.

I haven't found any answers yet. I see so many dismiss this as a rare phenomenon that is hardly worth our concern. I don't buy that. As an atheist, especially an atheist in Mississippi, I find it all too easy to put myself in the shoes of these doctors. I know what it is to be hated, even if I do not to have to endure what they do.

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February 13, 2011

Tumblr Needs a Religion Section


I have a new blog up and running on Tumblr. I decided to call it Revolutionary Atheist to convey the connection to this blog. In addition to sending Atheist Revolution post summaries to it, my plan for the Tumblr blog involves using it to share links, photos, videos, and the like that I don't have time to turn into full posts here. In other words, most of what appears on it will not be seen here. There are so many times that I find something cool only to lose it before I ever have a chance to post it here. Hopefully the Tumblr blog will make it easier to share.

Even though I'm new to Tumblr, one thing has already become painfully clear. They need a religion section in their directory. Of course, an atheism directory would be even better, but I'm trying to be realistic here.

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February 12, 2011

Idiot of the Week: Rep. J. Randy Forbes

Rep. ForbesRep. J. Randy Forbes (R-VA-4th District) is determined to put his god in our nation's public schools, but that is not enough. He also wants to send a message to all Americans that ours is a nation under his god. I realize that Rep. Forbes started his efforts to get Congress to reaffirm the absurd "In God We Trust" motto last month, but things have been heating up, and it is time to grant him the recognition he deserves.

H. Con. Res. 13 goes beyond reaffirming "In God We Trust" as the national motto of the U.S. It encourages public display of this motto in all government buildings and public schools. You can read it for yourself here. And after you have done so, I encourage you to read this letter sent by the Secular Coalition for America to the House Judiciary Committee.

Readers' Choice Award for Best Atheist Blog of 2010

I am honored to have been nominated for the Agnosticism/Atheism 2011 Readers' Choice Award for Best Atheist Blog of 2010 and shocked to see that I made it into the finals where readers can vote. Thanks to those responsible. There are so many excellent atheist blogs out there that I'm just happy to count myself among them.

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February 11, 2011

Let Me Tell You About My Atheism


There has been a bit of a hullabaloo in the atheist blogosphere recently over the meaning of atheism. This is a good thing because atheism is often misunderstood and because how we understand it has important implications. Unfortunately, some of us involved in the discussion have not been communicating clearly. In fact, it is starting to appear that the two sides agree on far more than many realize. I think I can clear things up a bit. Maybe.

February 9, 2011

Christian Bible Condemns Public Prayer

Sometimes I wonder if those who push the Christian bible the hardest have ever bothered to read it. This is especially relevant in the case of public prayer, something explicitly condemned in the New Testament.

Take a look at Matthew 6:5 - 7
5. And when thou prayest, thou shalt not be as the hypocrites: for they love to pray standing in the synagogues and in the corners of the streets, that they may be seen of men. Verily I say unto you, They have their reward.

6. But thou, when thou prayest, enter into thy closet, and when thou hast shut thy door, pray to thy Father which is in secret; and thy Father which seeth in secret shall reward thee openly.

7. But when ye pray, use not vain repetitions, as the heathen: for they think that they shall be heard for their much speaking.
Pretty clear, isn't it? Public prayer is considered to be a form of hypocrisy while private prayer is valued.

For more, see my 2007 post on public prayer.

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February 7, 2011

Obama White House Has Faith Advisory Council

Us whitehouse logoDid you know that the Obama White House has a faith advisory council? This post from CNN's Belief Blog introduces us to those who sit on this council but fails to address the important question: Why would a secular nation with a constitution explicitly promoting separation of church and state need any sort of faith council?

What is the purpose of this council? Can we assume that it exists primarily to advise the President (or someone in his administration) on matters of faith? And if so, why is this necessary? Are atheists represented on this council to offer a reality-based alternative to faith? If not, why not?

It sounds like this council started in 2009. It seems to me that this is something we should know more about. You know what else? It seems awfully hypocritical for our pundits to suggest that the U.S. should push Egypt toward a secular government when we do not seem to have one!

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February 5, 2011

Idiot of the Week: PZ Myers

PZ MyersI do not think I've ever selected an atheist as Idiot of the Week, and I do not remember selecting a blogger, although it is certainly possible. What I am fairly sure of is that Idiot of the Week has never gone to a fellow atheist blogger. And no, I don't really think PZ is an idiot. I have way too much respect for him even though he has declared his hatred for people like me and even though I think he's wrong about the meaning of atheism. But the thing about PZ is that he often manages to be thought-provoking even when he's wrong.

Not satisfied with antagonizing religious believers, PZ has decided to go after those of us who understand the meaning of atheism. We are "superficial," and he hates us. Rather than say that he disagrees with us or that he thinks we are wrong, PZ decided to jump directly to hate.

February 3, 2011

Atheist Movement as a Sleeping Giant

sleeping giantI really enjoyed John's brief but thought-provoking post at Debunking Christianity, "The Trouble With Atheists." He is right to point out that some of our shortcomings can also be strengths, especially with regard to our great diversity. And yet, I cannot help thinking that the combination of apathy and lack of organization pose significant obstacles to the sort of progress most of us say we want to achieve.

My initial reaction to John's post was an image of American atheists as a sleeping giant. As he says, we are everywhere. I even think it is fair to say that this giant is slowly starting to wake.

February 1, 2011

Hey Noah, We're Going to Need a Bigger Boat

noah's arkRemember how much attention the Creation Museum in Kentucky received on atheist blogs? It seems that those responsible for it are planning something else in the hopes of eliciting widespread mockery and derision. Yes, one of the stories making the rounds on the atheist blogosphere these days concerns plans to build a full-scale "replica" of Noah's Ark. I'm not sure a copy of something that never existed deserves to be called a replica, but I'll try to set that aside for now.