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Atheist

Meeting Richard Dawkins

Richard Dawkins

Richard Dawkins is a British ethologist and evolutionary biologist; but he is probably more well-known as an outspoken atheist. He is definitely a hero of mine. What a thrill it was to actually meet Richard Dawkins in person!

Richard was a speaker at the 70th Annual American Humanist Association Conference, which happened to be held in Boston this year. Aaron is also a big fan, so we went to hear him speak. His speech was interesting, insightful and entertaining. I just love listening to his British accent. We were even more excited to be able to meet Richard at a book signing after the lecture!

Aaron and Richard Dawkins
Richard Dawkins and I

Aaron brought his book “The God Delusion” and was able to get it signed. In this best selling book, Dawkins ruffled many religious feathers when he wrote that a supernatural creator almost certainly does not exist and that all religious faith is a delusion. Dawkins encourages Atheist to speak up against religion because religion is a major source of conflict in the world and because it gives people justification to blindly believe without any evidence.

After the September 11, 2001 attacks, Dawkins was asked how this event might change the world, he responded:

“Many of us saw religion as harmless nonsense. Beliefs might lack all supporting evidence but, we thought, if people needed a crutch for consolation, where’s the harm? September 11th changed all that. Revealed faith is not harmless nonsense, it can be lethally dangerous nonsense. Dangerous because it gives people unshakeable confidence in their own righteousness. Dangerous because it gives them false courage to kill themselves, which automatically removes normal barriers to killing others. Dangerous because it teaches enmity to others labeled only by a difference of inherited tradition. And dangerous because we have all bought into a weird respect, which uniquely protects religion from normal criticism. Let’s now stop being so damned respectful!”

Dawkins gives atheist the courage to come out of the closet. Atheists are far more numerous than most people realize and our voices need to be heard in order to fight back against religious intrusion in our schools and politics. We need to fight back against those who force their own religious agendas down the throats of our children and our government. It is vital to uphold the separation of Church and state. Religion is an unnecessary part of our global problems and it is time to stand up against the enemies of reason.

It is also important to help remove the negative stigma associated with atheism. Here in the US, research has found that Atheists are the most hated and distrusted minority in the country. University of Minnesota study found that atheists are more distrusted than Muslims, recent immigrants and gays. While in reality, Atheist are statistically more peaceful, moral and trustworthy than Christians. The best way to fight back against the negative stereo typing of atheist is for atheist to stand up and say, I’m an atheist and I’m a good person. After all, an atheist is just a “non-theist.” A theist has a belief in the existence of a god or gods, an atheist does not have a belief in the existence of a god or gods. Is that really such a bad thing? On the contrary, it’s a good thing. Being an atheist is evidence of a healthy, independent mind.

Thank you Richard for speaking out for free-thinkers. It was a pleasure to meet you!

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‘A’ Week

‘A’ Week: 20-26 March 2011. Raising awareness of how many are ‘Good without God’.

The idea of ‘A’ Week is simple – to raise awareness of how many people are ‘Good without God’ and don’t need religion to influence their lives.

You take part by changing your Facebook profile picture to the ‘A’ for one week.

This year ‘A’ Week runs over the March Equinox from 20-26 March 2011. If just a handful of people were to change their profile pictures almost no one would notice – but with many thousands taking part, and using the same ‘A’ at the same time, it gets noticed all over the world.

‘A’ Week is not about being disrespectful to religion or people who have religious views, it’s about quietly showing that there are more people than may be realized who are ‘Good without God’ and who don’t need religion to influence their lives.

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Easter

Atheists cite resurgence as they gather on Easter weekend

“Bush’s polarizing presidency showed people how bad things could turn “if religion was in charge,” he said. The Internet showed atheists that they weren’t alone, as they sought out and encouraged one another.”

Very true for me; when Bush was elected to a second term, that is when I decided to come out of the closet. I’m fine with an individuals religious beliefs, however when Bush won the presidency with the help of the religious right and their agenda, that is when I realized it was time to stand up and to fight back.

Anytime religion gets involved in government, there are problems. Our founding fathers, particularly Thomas Jefferson, understood the importance of the separation of church and state. Here we are in 2010 and some people still don’t get it. ugggg.

'A' week on Facebook

On a happier note. Here is my favorite Easter photo:

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Atheists are the most despised minority in America

A 2006 University of Minnesota study revealed that atheists are the most despised minority in America. But this is not news to atheists, it’s just the most recent in a long series of surveys showing that Americans are very bigoted and prejudiced against atheists. For as long as organizations have been asking Americans about atheists, Americans have been responding that they wouldn’t treat atheists as equals to theists and Christians.

Sample question from this most recent survey:
This group does not at all agree with my vision of American society…

Atheist: 39.6%
Muslims: 26.3%
Homosexuals: 22.6%
Hispanics: 20%
Conservative Christians: 13.5%
Recent Immigrants: 12.5%
Jews: 7.6%

There is a lot of anti-atheist bigotry in the US and around the world, in spite of the fact that atheists are among the most moral people. Statistics consistently show that atheists (on average) are smarter and display more tolerance toward others than theists. They are also more likely to stay married and are less likely to end up in jail or commit crimes.

Divorce rates by religion (1999):

Jews: 30%
Born-again Christians: 27%
Other Christians: 24%
Atheists, Agnostics: 21%

The Federal Bureau of Prisons keeps statistics on religious affiliations of inmates (1997):

Catholic: 39.164%
Protestant: 35.008%
Rasta: 1.987%
Jewish: 1.773%
Church of Christ: 1.744%
Pentecostal: 1.463%
Jehovah Witness: 0.890%
Adventist: 0.831%
Orthodox: 0.502%
Mormon: 0.399%
Atheist: 0.209%

Atheists consist of about 10-15% of the US population but are only 0.21% of the prison populations. So, the vast majority of atheists are morally sound without the need of a supernatural watchdog. It is important for atheists to stand up and be recognized in order to break the negative and wrong stereotypes of atheism.

More about the University of Minnesota study
University of Minnesota Study on American Attitudes Towards Atheists & Atheism

Gallup Polls & Other Surveys on American Attitudes Towards Atheists

On a lighter note, here is an amusing hate post from a ThinkAtheist forum

    “you are a peice of mother –and when you die you will indeed go to . dont post no about athiests and why there is no god. how the you think the world was created? all of a sudden 1day there was a big bang..and BOOM there was a world??? you stupid —who created everything? where is it all coming from? answer these questions and I might conform to atheism. !”

LOL! I couldn’t make this stuff up! You have to be very smart to really understand how everything was created. It was created by an invisible man up in the sky. It took him a whole week to put everything together. Well, actually it took only 6 days, then he needed a day off. He only made one man, but then he decided to rip out one of the guys ribs to make a woman. Everything was fine and dandy until that talking snake came along….and the rest is history. Oh yes, this makes perfect sense.

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