Monday, December 28, 2009

Atheist Charities

Wow! Thanks to all for giving me names and links to atheist and humanist charities! I have a pretty big list now and plenty to work with.

I started working on the page and decided to publish it before I have all of the charities summarized. This is simply because there are so many and it will be quite a while before I can write summaries for all of them. Some of them are so complex they will probably need a summary page of their own - the Gates Foundation is one of those. So I've published it with only seven charities and I will add more as I have time to write their summaries.

Check out what I have so far at Atheist Charities on Squidoo.

Sunday, December 20, 2009

Seeking the Names/URLs of Atheist/Humanist Run Charities

I'm looking for atheist/humanist run charities. What each charity gets out of it is a little free publicity. What I get out of it is a nice article page. What the community gets out of it is a nice list of atheist/humanist run charities.

So, if you know of any atheist/humanist run charities please drop me a line or leave their name and as much information as possible in the comments.

Thursday, December 17, 2009

Three Churches in Michigan Leave Kalamazoo's Homeless Ministry Over LGBT Issues

One of eight churches that participates in Martha's Table, a local homeless ministry which provides meals for Kalamazoo's poor and homeless population gave its nod of approval to this year's anti-discrimination bill protecting the Kalamazoo GLBTQ community from some types of discrimination. They also minister to anyone regardless of their sexuality. They ascribe to the idea of "hate the sin, love the sinner" which many Christian groups speak of. In my opinion, they did the right thing.

But the fallout from their tolerance is that three Kalamazoo area churches (out of a total of eight) are withdrawing from the homeless ministry and meals program. They are doing so to avoid sullying their reputations by associating with a church that doesn't support discrimination against homosexual, bisexual, or transgendered people.

I think this is insanely petty and it sickens me that people are that shallow.

You can read more about it at MLive.

Wednesday, December 16, 2009

Atheist Christmas Gift Idea

In case you haven't checked them out yet, I thought I'd link to my "Freedom of Speech: Not Just for Christians Anymore" shirts, buttons and magnets.

More Interesting Search Terms

Once again I was analyzing the views on my Squidoo pages and saw some interesting search terms landing people on my atheist lenses. Some are sad, some are mean, and some are just so weird I felt like sharing them. My sarcastic comments, written in italics, can be found beneath some of the phrases.


do atheists have a faith system in anything

how do atheist name their babies
With baby name books like everyone else does, one would imagine.

when did america become atheist
America has become atheist?

how do you explain christmas to an atheist
Let's see. A long, long time ago, people called Pagans had winter festivals to celebrate the winter solstice. Then along came Christians who really wanted to force the Pagans to follow their religion. But the Pagans didn't want to give up their fun winter party so the Christians renamed it Christmas and said the Baby Jesus was born on that day. And now, people like to celebrate it by spending lots of money and going into debt to maintain their social status.

the day atheists see god
Is the day someone slipped something into their beer?

scientific way to find do you think the seasons would be any different in cincinnati if there was no
OK, I don't understand the relevance either but it was funny to me for some reason.

why atheist are thankful at thanksgiven
Maybe because people did something for them?

story of why atheist eat babies
What's to tell? Babies are more tender than grown-ups.

atheists do believe in something, becuz it takes alot of faith 2 believe in nothing
How could anyone believe in anything in a world where people enter text speak into search engines?

hypocrisy of being atheist
I'm not seeing it, really. I don't think God is real. Where's the hypocrisy?

evolution doesn't make people into atheists any more than climate changes
Nope, no it doesn't.

people believe in evolution because they don't want to believe in god
No, people believe evolution happened because there is evidence that it did but people don't believe in God because there's no evidence that it exists.

can't see feelings can't see god so god must exist
Oh, yay! This means unicorns are real, too, right?

origin of life in atheism
Um, only religions and other myths have origin stories, atheists just tend to try to find out what actually happened or leave the question alone.

everyone believes in one god no matter what they think
OK... so, even if I don't think God is real, I think God is real?

why dont atheist commit suicide
Because we're enjoying our one and only life?

how do atheist get born if they dont believe in god
Their parents have intercourse.

why dont atheist just pick a religion and believe
Just... wow.

how can I tell if someone is an atheist
They have no reflection. Wait, no, that's vampires.

atheists breasts

why do atheists follow laws if there is no god why worry about consequences

atheists shouldn't have kids

how to screw atheists
Obviously, I saved the best for last.

Friday, December 11, 2009

Why I am "That Atheist Bitch"

I looked around on this blog and realized that I have never explained here why I titled my blog That Atheist Bitch.

Several days before I created this blog, I received a private message over on Associated Content, in response to one of my atheist editorials on the site. The person wrote some assorted nastiness about me burning in Hell appended with this question - "Are you that atheist bitch from TIBU*?"

At first I was a bit upset at the slam message. But I realized that my writing had provoked a strong response. It made someone, somewhere, feel something. That's pretty cool, even if what he felt was anger and a need to get mouthy, it's a heck of a lot better than apathy.

So I decided to proudly own the title of "That Atheist Bitch" and made it the title of my atheist blog. I'd been meaning to create a dedicated atheist blog for a while because over half of the posts on my old blog were atheist relevant anyway. This guy gave me the title and the motivation to do it.

Your Atheist Bitch

*A now defunct writing website on which I had sometimes posted atheist relevant material.

Monday, December 7, 2009

A Very Atheist Christmas - 666 Words on How Atheists Can Enjoy the Winter Holidays

Just as Christians have adopted many pagan traditions of the winter festivals such as decorating trees, giving gifts, feasting, and singing door-to-door some atheists also choose to adopt those pagan traditions and celebrate Christmas, much like many Christians do.

Since many Christians are upset when Atheists celebrate Christmas (or use American currency with "In God We Trust" on it) I propose that Atheists create their own version of the Christmas celebration. Christian Christmas uses such icons as reindeer, mistletoe, Santa Claus, snowmen and pine trees. The traditional Christian Christmas also lays specific claim to December 25th as the day Santa comes down the chimney. Since these are all respected religious tenets of Christianity I propose that we, as atheists, should avoid co-opting them for our own Christmas celebrations.

Sunday, November 29, 2009

Atheists Helping the Homeless

Over the years I've done a bit of working with homelessness charities and even took a few homeless people into my home but it never occurred to me to start an atheist program to help the homeless. Some folks in Austin Texas are doing just that.

Check out their public service announcement video.

You can find their website at AHH - Atheists Helping the Homeless.

For suggestions some on what you can do to help the homeless, check out the links below written by formerly homeless person and atheist, yours truly.

From Your Hand to the Homeless - a list of easy to carry and very inexpensive things that would be appreciated by homeless people near you.

How You Can Help the Homeless Without Spending a Dime - a list of ways you can help homeless people in your community without spending any money.

What to Buy if You are Homeless - a list of items many homeless people could find truly life-changing plus some food for thought.

Thursday, November 26, 2009

My Favorite Thanksgiving Recipes

Holiday foods are this atheist's major reason to celebrate the fall and winter holidays. There are some things people seldom make at other times of the year or which the ingredients to are scarce so I try to enjoy them while I can.

Today, I thought I'd post links to a few of my favorite holiday feast foods. These are all my own recipes because I love to tinker with food and take it to the next step.

Truffled Mashed Potatoes with Romano Cheese and Hollandaise Sauce
Bourbon Glazed Sweet Potatoes
Home Made Cranberry Sauce with Merlot
Basic Stuffing
Rosemary Roast Turkey

It's kind of a financially poor holiday for me so I won't be making any of these today but I can share the recipes with you.

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

For Thanksgiving

Because Thanksgiving is almost here and someone's bound to suggest atheists can't celebrate it I'd like to direct you to my list - Ten Things One Atheist Is Thankful For.

It kind of gets on my nerves that people suggest that it's "sad" to see atheists around Thanksgiving because we have no one to be thankful to. I have hordes of people to be thankful to!

Thursday, November 12, 2009

Feel the Love - New Anti Equal Marriage Ploy from Catholic Church

I just had to link to this - Catholic Church Threatens To Stop Feeding Homeless Over Gay Marriage.

The bizarre thing about this is that all of the Catholics I know personally are not against equal marriage. In fact, several are staunchly for same sex marriage!

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

Squidoo Bus Ad Duel Updated

I just updated my Squidoo duel on atheist bus advertisements. I added an explanation of why some bus ad sponsors might choose to be anonymous and an explanation as to why I think the ads say God and not Allah.

Check out the changes and weigh in on the duel module at Should Atheist Ads Be Allowed?

Sunday, November 8, 2009

Why I Don't Need to Constantly Re-Examine the God Myth

I was recently looking through my blog comments because I just realized I didn't have my blog set to notify me when I get them. A while back, I got a comment that I'd like to answer now.

Jonathan said...

Interesting post - I wonder though, what has lead you to believe that God is not real? Or, keeps you from examining whether or not God is real?

The same thing that has led you to believe Zeus and pixies are not real has led me to believe God is not real. Do you have to examine the idea of whether or not fairies are real on a daily basis? Or how about whether or not Bacchus is real?

What makes you think I haven't examined all sorts of mythology, including Christian mythology? Why do so many assume that the only way a person wouldn't believe exactly as they do is if he or she is either stupid, defiant, or has never been exposed to their particular mythology?

Think about why you don't believe in Islam or Norse deities - you can tell, just from their construction, that they are myths, legends - the stuff of fantasies. Am I right? This analysis is backed up by evidence in the physical world and in the very laws of nature. Those religions are little more plausible than Santa Claus or the Easter Bunny. Did you need to extensively examine Santa Claus to determine his unreality or did it become embarrassingly obvious once you reached a certain level of maturity? Examine your mythology objectively and without dogma and see how it stands up. Or, if your belief gives you vital comfort and fulfillment, don't examine it because you will probably lose it.

Is your virgin born, resurrected Jesus all that different from virgin-born, resurrected savior gods such as Dionysus (Grecian), Krishna (Hindu), Mithra (Persian), or Tammuz (Sumerian-Babylonian)and several dozen others? Your own Bible references Tammuz in Ezekiel 8:14. Your myths are so similar to other myths which you have examined and found to be fantasy - how is yours so different?

I admit that it is a lot more difficult for religious people to see that their religion is based on myth. Their parents and/or other authority figures shore up their beliefs and support them as generations of parents and authority figures have. Those parents and authority figures are not lying, they've all been misled, too.

I was not born thinking God was real. If a person isn't taught that God is real while he or she impressionable then he or she will need to be convinced that God is a real thing rather than convinced that God is not a real thing. If you think about it, I'd bet you will see you were not born believing in the Christian God either.

If you truly feel a person must re-examine everything they don't think is real then why don't you do it all the time? Or do you? Do you re-examine Egyptian and Greek Gods and Goddesses, Bigfoot and Nessie, UFOs and aliens, Santa Claus and the Easter Bunny? Or was once or twice enough to make their unreality pretty clear?

Update on the Rape/Violence Threats

Well, I'm pleased to say that "Bob" hasn't contacted me again.

Associated Content's response was to delete the messages and block anonymous comments from my editorials.

Wednesday, October 28, 2009

Religiously motivated abuse helped prepare me for life among the Fundies

Recent comments I got on two editorials have made me think about this topic more than usual. I've gotten hate mail and death threats as well as many unpleasant comments on my atheist writing. I even named my blog after what a particular Internet "critic" called me - That Atheist Bitch.

I knew what I was in for, writing about atheism. I grew up in a small religious town and got the shit beat out of me by schoolmates after I was outed as the child of a non-theist. I was physically and emotionally abused by students and staff ever after, only not quite so severely. So I grew up knowing exactly how some American Christians feel about atheists. I'd seen it written in my own blood and bone and reinforced in words, kicks, and punches.

Even when I moved 90 miles from that small town, I knew enough to keep a low profile. All I had to do is listen to hear bigoted sentiments aimed at non-Christians in the workplace and even in the casual conversations of strangers overheard. So it came as no surprise to me when people reacted like screeching, scat throwing monkeys to my atheist writing. I already knew that people burst out of their civil veneer when they feel their religion threatened and behave in ways they'd otherwise never consider.

If I'd grown up in a slightly more civilized, slightly less religious place I might not have been prepared for the anger, venom, and hatred. Other people I've conversed with have been blind sided by the reactions they have received. So, in a way, I'm glad I grew up in one of the "bad pockets" without the illusion of a rational populace.

Saturday, October 24, 2009

Anonymous Commenter on Atheist Articles Threatens Rape, etc.

So today I got notification telling me of the new comments on my Associated Content articles. Two of the comments were stalker level.

Bob wrote:
I have to admit the you make a good case for me to just do "what I feel" with no fear of repercussion. Since now we both agree that God is not here to punish the wicked or tell us what to do I must confess that the things I am going to do now are rape,robbery,murder and bigotry. These are the things that I find exciting... so with no fear of repose let the games begin! Where do you live sweetie?

That was on my editorial entitled Do People Become Atheists so They Can Act Immorally?

Bob also had something to say on my editorial, Does Life Have Meaning Without God?

Bob wrote:
Assuming your world view is correct then you can sit there and indulge in your "love", while I on the other hand indulge my life's ambitions of rape, robbery, and persecution. Since there is no God to tell us what is right and what is wrong, then I suppose we get to decide for ourselves, and I think I'm gonna take a ride on your back little girl. Who's gonna stop me now that God is dead... and your weak pathetic cry for love goes on deaf ears. Get ready for some pain ^*&%$!

I've gotten lots of rather generic threats but these seem rather personal. I've reported the threats to Associated Content legal department and I'm waiting to see what they'll do.

Tuesday, October 6, 2009

Editing the Word of God

Ladies and gentlemen, the days of needing to cherry pick the Bible to fit your ideology are coming to an end! What I am suggesting is not that you change your beliefs and practices to fit the immutable word of God. Soon you will be able to obtain the new and improved immutable word of God - now in complete harmony with your conservative and capitalistic views!

They’re taking out all of the inclusive namby pamby wussy language – the real Bible will be chock full of he, his, and him! They are removing that silly story of the adulteress which portrays Jesus as a gutless pushover. You won’t find any leftist peace, love, and forgiveness in the new and improved immutable word of God!

They’re also getting rid of any references to that Jehovah jerk and Yahweh yahoo – and changing them to Lord or God – good old American words - just like Jesus really used!

The new and improved immutable word of God will include more vivid, spine tingling Hellfire and brimstone. Soon you can get your new and improved immutable word of God from the Conservative Bible Project, now with more support of ruthless capitalism!

No, really, I’m not kidding. Click the link.

Friday, September 11, 2009

No Atheists in Foxholes?

I know, I know, this subject has been beaten until dead. But people just keep saying it! I encounter this old hack at least once a week. I bumped into it again today over in the comments at Proud Atheists.

So why the do people still say "There are no atheists in foxholes!" when indeed, there have been countless atheists in foxholes? Are they unbelieving of the many who have raised their voices to say that they are both atheists and soldiers?

Do they think atheists would never decide to risk their lives in service of their country? Or is the general idea that mortal terror makes people think God is real? Neither of these rationales is very flattering to them or their beliefs.

One implies that they would only ever consider risking their lives for any reason unless there was some kind of out or "do over" available to them. The other implies that the only reason for their belief is their overwhelming fear of death. When people do things out of terror, they usually don't brag about it - unless, of course, they are talking about religion.

I've been quite reasonably sure I was facing death on more than one occasion and I can tell you, it didn't make me suddenly think God was real. At no point did I ever think, "Well, golly, I'm about to get snuffed so God must be real." It's not that I wasn't scared enough, I assuredly was completely terrified and bloody sure I was going to be killed. It just didn't change what I thought was real and what I thought was not. Why would it?

Thursday, August 27, 2009

More Atheist Relevant Search Terms

I use several tools to track views to my assorted internet articles and blogs. One of them records the terms typed into search engines that land people on my Squidoo pages. Sometimes I run across some search terms that land readers on my atheist relevant pieces that give me pause. I've posted some of search terms before but I've got an interesting new crop to share. I clipped off all of the non-interesting ones and left the odd or disturbing ones and those that I felt needed a flippant response. The search terms are posted in gray.

atheism = mass murder ...
Last time I checked none of the atheists I know had committed mass murder

atheism caused crimes ...
Don't atheists only make up less than 1% of the prison population?

atheism global social illness ...
If we were a social illness, wouldn't there be more of us?

atheism mass murders ...
Again with the mass murders?

atheism should not be allowed ...
How, pray tell, are you going to make everyone think at least one god is real?

atheist serial killers...
Well, at least they aren't accusing us of doing it en-masse in this one, serial killing is so much more orderly.

atheists should not be allowed to vote ...
I wonder which people you think should be allowed to vote?

atheists that don't believe in god ...
As opposed to atheists who do believe in god?

do atheist have souls ...
I don't think so, but I don't think you do, either.

god does not believe in atheists, so atheists don't exist ...
Ahem, wake up and read the bus ads. We annoy you, therefore we exist.

god's accuracy hatching eggs aetheist ...
I have no idea what this means but I found it oddly amusing.

moral depravity atheism ...
OK, we get it, you think atheists are all running amok and raping your grandmother.

murder rates have risen with the rise of atheism ...
Funny thing is, murder rates have shrunk in countries where atheism has increased.

why do atheist hate everybody ...
I don't hate everybody but what's with the singular 'atheist' rather than 'atheists'?

why do atheist think we come from fish ...
I don't come from fish, in fact, nothing about them turns me on one bit.

Sunday, August 23, 2009

For Me, Belief Is About What I Think Is Real, Not What I Wish Were Real

I hear it a lot - "Why did you choose to be an atheist?" I didn't. I didn't choose to be an atheist. Choosing would imply that I had the option to believe in God.

My answer to that question is usually followed by - "But it's so easy! All you have to do is accept Jesus as your personal savior and your reward will be eternal life."

I get eternal life in paradise, freedom from all suffering, ultimate justice – all for believing in Jesus? Cool! What’s not to like about that? It sounds great. I wouldn’t mind believing in that – if it were real. The not being real part gets in the way.

Fairy godmothers sound awesome, too. I want a fairy godmother! I want a beautiful fairy princess, a tame dragon, a magic wand, and the ability to fly, too. Just because I want them, it doesn’t make any of them real nor does my desire make me believe that they are.

Maybe it's a personal quirk but I just can't make myself believe in anything I don't think is real.

Then they bring out the nasty stuff. "If you don't believe in God you'll burn in Hell forever and ever!" Often the religious person will go on to explain how the suffering in the non-consuming fires of Hell is unending, that a person never gets used to it because the Devil is endlessly creative in coming up with new tortures.

That sounds pretty scary. Only the impact is somehow lessened by the fact that no such place exists. The person hasn't frightened me into believing, they've only annoyed me.

So, there are two points to keep in mind when wondering why I don't believe in God -

1) I can only believe in things I think are real.
2) I'm only afraid of things I think are real.

Thanks to Mark over at Proud Atheists for inspiring this post!

Wednesday, August 19, 2009

My Take on the Atheist Bus Ads

Now, a Des Moines bus driver is getting suspended for refusing to drive a bus with an atheist ad on it. The ad is a sign that says "Don't Believe in God? You Are Not Alone" - which seems pretty innocuous to me.

People don't seem to get the whole point of these ads. The sign is just saying - "Hey, you, that guy over there that doesn't believe in God - you are not the only atheist in existence and not everyone wants you dead!" as far as I'm concerned. It's a message that needs to be put out there.

Atheists in America have been made to feel unwanted and despised for quite some time now. We've been hiding in closets to protect our jobs and families. We've been hiding to be safe from bigots. But that is ridiculous! It's wrong to just hide and take that crap in a country where we are supposedly guaranteed free speech! Not only that, the majority of Americans are smart enough and compassionate enough to see where religiously motivated bigotry is wrong if they just participate in some discussion and learn to see atheists as regular people.

Many Americans don't need to be informed that bigotry of any kind is wrong, they simply haven't noticed it because it isn't directed anywhere that they would logically see it. My religious friends were shocked by many of the stories and news items I've shown them. These atheist ads bring the discussion out. Plenty of religious people aren't willing to let the bigotry go on either once they know about it.

I think these ads will also embolden people to challenge other religiously motivated bigotry.

So my response to the atheist bus ads is this: Freedom of Speech: Not Just for Christians Any More

So I put that message on some items including t-shirts and buttons over at Zazzle along with a colored pencil drawing of a city bus, some in color, some in black and white.

Sunday, August 9, 2009

My Personal Health Care Crisis

Today's post is not about an atheist issue, it's about a human issue. I'd like you to take a look at the page where I'm telling the story of my personal healthcare crisis and my dealings with government agencies. Things have sucked for me for several years now but recently another glitch catalyzed the writing of my story.

Part of it deals with my financial troubles but it all goes back to the health care system.

You can find my story at My Health Care Issues where I will continue to add more as life goes on.

I'm hoping to add a good cluster of links to resources to help other people in my situation so please contribute any you may have.

Wednesday, August 5, 2009

More Funny Stuff from the Mouths of Fundies

As I've mentioned many a time, I live in a very fundieful area and I've worked with a lot of very conservative religious people. Sometimes, fundies say the darndest things. While looking through my old journal I was reminded of an incident I found rather amusing.

The store owner was South African and much more liberal than the average employee in his shop. He'd mentioned a number of times before that the constant playing of praise music was a bit annoying. We played satellite radio at the shop and it was almost permanently set on set on a Christian music station. One day he came in and chatted with us for a while when he noticed the radio was playing a mainstream song.

He asked, "Did someone finally change the channel?"

My co-worker (and manager) replied, "Sometimes this station plays sexual music between the Christian music."

The owner asked, "Sexual music? It's not Christian but isn't calling it sexual going a little too far?" After all, the song had been a Kenny Loggins ditty called "The House at Pooh Corner" which could not be construed as sexual in any way.

She replied, "You know how you have your Church life and your sexual life? Everything that is of the world and not of the Church is sexual."

She went into the cooler to get more flowers and I burst out laughing. The owner joined me. He laughed hard enough to tear up.

He asked me, "Should I tell her or do you want to?"

I replied, "Oh, I'm not touching this one."

For a short time after his explanation, she used the term 'secular' but eventually slipped back to using the word 'sexual' instead.

So every time I see or hear the word 'secular' I giggle just a bit.

Hehe, sexual humanists!

Tuesday, July 28, 2009

Atheism Does Not Equal Pornography

I was doing some research and was looking for the University of Minnesota study on atheism from a few years ago as I couldn't find the copy I'd saved. So I ran across an article about it which I thought was pretty slick. But then I saw that the StumbleUpon designation for the article was Pornography!

This is nothing new. It happened to numerous articles (and my blog!) a while back including several articles of mine and articles by quite a few by others. The articles and blogs in question were about atheist issues and GLBT issues.

It's a nasty thing to do - it counters the positive effect of social bookmarking and also makes the articles show up as pornography on search engine results.

I put out the word today to report the article as not porn so it should be fine in a day or two. But if you have a StumbleUpon account, it couldn't hurt to check it out and while you are at it, check any atheist or GLBT articles you may have bookmarked to see if they've been similarly re-categorized.

The category has now been changed to atheist agnostic.

Sunday, July 26, 2009

Atheist/Atheism Searches People Make

I have a tool on my Squidoo account which tracks where my page views come from. One portion of it is dedicated to search engine traffic. Every time a phrase is used in a search engine which brings a surfer to my pages, that phrase is recorded in that dashboard utility. I've been collecting some interesting ones on my atheist relevant lenses for the last month.

Here are a few of those phrases, unedited for your pleasure:

*atheist dont believe something came out of nothing
*atheist explain how the human race came to be
*i don't believe in god. so where did we come from
*an atheist's view on how we came to be
*atheistic views on the origins of the universe
*how atheists explain big bang
*an atheist`s view of the origin of evil
*atheism view of after life
*why atheist dont believe in god
*how many people in america dont believe in god
*non believer in god/denies god beliefs
*why do atheists have morals
*why atheist attack other religions
*atheist religion
*questions you would ask an atheist
*was hitler an atheist

Wednesday, July 22, 2009

Atheist Spirituality

After getting in a few (heated) discussions about what spirituality is I decided to write a Squidoo page on it. So, I've created a Squidoo lens called Atheist Spirituality. It's a little rough yet but I'm hoping to show that the intense emotions often associated with belief are not exclusive to theists.

I think it's all a matter of how your beliefs frame your experiences. Religious people will likely find religious significance in life changing experiences. Non-religious people will have the same, profound experiences but won't attribute them to the supernatural.

Tuesday, June 30, 2009

Where Does Morality Come From If It's Not From God?

For some reason, conservative can't seem to figure out why people would behave themselves without the threat of Hell to keep them in line.  For those of us who do so because we have empathy and the ability to reason it seems pretty obvious.

You can read the editorial I wrote about it here. It's one that everybody seems to be quoting.

Thursday, June 25, 2009

Cute Things Kids Say

A few days ago, I was eating dinner with my friend, her son, my partner and three of his ex-girlfriend's kids. The three youngest (all boys - 7, 9, and 12) were being very naughty. I had been talking about abstinence only education earlier, with the youngest child's mother. While the boys were acting up, I jokingly said to her that maybe abstinence only education might work if all young teens were required to watch kids acting that naughty on a regular basis.

A few minutes later, the twelve year old asked what abstinence was. Not being the child's parent or guardian I told him that it means to abstain and that to abstain means to not do something, like to not have dessert would be dessert abstinence.

He replied, "Oh, I thought abstinence was a religious thing, like it means you don't believe in God."

Monday, June 22, 2009

Why Do Atheists Care About Religion? - Part Two, Society

The dominant religions in America teach that only they are right and that any other belief serves their opponent, Satan. Their belief systems hold that those who do not follow that specific belief system are sinful, evil, and immoral. This leads to intolerance, not just of atheists but of people who don't share the same belief system or don't practice it exactly the way they do.

People's behavior is affected by their beliefs, sometimes even dictated by their beliefs. If people have beliefs that are different from mine and antithetical to mine, I have a great reason to be concerned. I believe in freedom of expression, human rights for all, freedom of religion, and separation of church and state. These beliefs are the polar opposite of the most visible Christian conservative beliefs.


Saturday, June 20, 2009

Update on Daniel Hauser

Apparently, Daniel Hauser, the 13 year old boy whose parents denied him modern medical treatment for his cancer, is now doing well after getting the court-ordered chemotherapy.

The tumor has shrunk and young Daniel is on the mend. However, according to Dan Zwakman, a spokesman for the Nemenhah religious group to which the Hausers belong,"Everybody is pleased that the tumor is shrinking, of course. The goal is to get rid of the cancer, but they'd rather be doing it without the chemo."

Apparently, the family believes that the progress Daniel is making towards recovery has come from the vitamins and minerals he's been given to boost his immune system rather than from the conventional treatment he has received. The Hausers' belief system holds that the world was created with everything needed to heal the sick and to sustain the well, that the only remedies one should use are natural ones. Unfortunately, the Nemenhah religious group and others like them are unable to extend this to sciences and things they consider unnatural. It's bizarre that modern medicine would be rejected on these grounds as everything used in modern medicine comes from the very same world.

The Nemenhah religious group is not an actual Native American tribe, but a religious group founded by an ex-convict in 2000. The group is supposedly based off of Native American principles. To become a member one must pay an entry fee of $250 to be "adopted" into the "tribe" and then pay dues of $100 per year afterward. Not only does the religious group insist upon natural medicines, the group's founder sells them to the members.

The parents faced no real consequences for the psychological abuse and medical neglect of their son and they still have custody of the child though his mother tried to flee the country with him to escape the court-ordered medical care. Sadly, young Daniel Hauser will probably grow up convinced that modern medicine is evil and that he was healed by his church instead. But at least it now looks like Daniel Hauser will get to grow up.

Superstition can be hazardous to your health.

Friday, June 19, 2009

Why Do Atheists Care About Religion? - Part One, Politics

Atheists in America care a lot about religion. This may be primarily because religious groups in our country have a great deal of political power.


Tuesday, June 2, 2009

Marriage Equality PSA Points Out Other Religious Marriage Laws

I came across the loveliest video on YouTube after a tip from Will over on The Happy Atheist Forum. It is a public service announcement type skit about equal marriage.

As we all know, the vast majority of objections to marriage equality come from religious folks who take them straight from the Bible. This skit talks about the other Biblical marriage traditions we've let fall by the wayside in the name of humane behavior.

It seems to me that if we can so easily discard those other biblical laws regarding marriage, why not this last one - that marriage must be between a man and a woman? It makes about as much sense as any of the others.

Not only is discarding this Biblical law the humane thing to do, it's the thing any country that separates Church and State should do.

Monday, June 1, 2009

Ask an Atheist

I've created a new page on Squidoo called Ask an Atheist in which I invite people to ask me atheist relevant questions. So far, I've gotten some decent questions and it looks like it will be pretty fun overall. I've set it so anyone can comment both in the Who's More Afraid of the Other, Atheists or Believers? duel and in the Ask an Atheist module but I've set it so all comments must be approved. Foul language, even in comments can get a lens re-rated into invisibility so I thought it would be good to filter them for this lens.

Friday, May 29, 2009

I Revamped My Atheist Page on Squidoo

Last night I made some pretty major changes on my Atheist page on Squidoo, An Atheist View. I added some YouTube videos on topics including the Elizabeth Dole Atheist smear campaign, Illinois Representative Monique Davis' rant about atheists, and a Steve Harvey clip claiming Atheists have no morals. I've also added a short link list to articles about people who have been fired for being Atheists. A few days ago, I played with the photos and HTML and I'm pretty pleased with the result.

My next Squidoo project is an "Ask an Atheist" type page to get some interaction going.

Monday, May 25, 2009

Woman Fired for Husband's Atheist Blog

I just learned about something despicable that went down in Texas. A young woman just back to work after surgery for breast cancer was fired from her job due to the Atheist sentiments expressed in her husband's blog. Apparently, her boss had tried to get her to accept Jesus into her life and she politely declined. It's a lot more complicated than just that but you can read about it here.

A few blog posts later Mr. Donaldson (Amanda's husband) posted an article published by journalist who called Amanda's employer and did a phone interview. You can find the article here.

This is an important issue, one we can't shut our eyes to.

I Saw Something Today

Today, I saw and read something so powerful, I felt it just needs to be shared. It's today's journal entry in another Atheist's blog. The images and words are powerful and painful.

Which Kind of God is Yours?


This really isn't a post about atheism, it's a post about censorship though I suspect it may be religious misogyny and prudery that's responsible.

A page about homelessness I put up on Squidoo on 12/03/2008 has just been flagged for adult content. If you click on the link to the site a big Adult Content splash comes up and doesn't allow non-Squidoo users to even view the page.

First of all, the page is not adult content. I used the word 'rape' in the context of saying "After my first rape..." then explaining about the beautiful, heroic homeless man who saved my life.

It really irks me because this will send its ratings plummeting because it will no longer get any views from non-Squidoo users. Right now it is riding on its previous views and it's number 13 out of almost a million pages on the site.

It also really irks me that a friend sent a link to that page to everyone on his email list and he had to explain to his sister that, no, he had NOT sent porn to his 16 year old niece.

If you want to help me keep the page "alive" until I can get this flagging business resolved you can register for a Squidoo membership (it's free and relatively non-invasive, they never spam) and visit my lens. If you are feeling particularly magnanimous you can give it a star rating and favorite it, too.

You can find the page at What I Learned While I Was Homeless and I absolutely double dog promise you it is not porn. You can sign up for a Squidoo account here - I assure you that other than for some flag-happy parents it's a cool place to be. Of course Squidoo was created by Seth Godin who is da bomb and we love him.

Thursday, May 21, 2009

Why I Live With Fundies

I've gotten a few messages and emails lately asking why I worked with conservative Christians if I don't like Christian fundamentalism. One asked why I didn't "just find another f-ing job." A few similar, but more polite messages asked the same question.

There are some areas of the country where there is a large conservative Christian population. If you live in one of those areas, and would like to have a place to work, chances are that you will work with, if not for, Christian fundamentalists.

So why don't I just move to a nice liberal area where gay bashing and atheist bashing aren't popular activities? Somewhere where no one says Methodists, Lutherans, and Catholics aren't Christians?

I can't afford to move anywhere. I'm broke. Florists make crap wages anyway and then I got really sick - seizures, high fevers, chronic pain, loss of consciousness, and all sorts of other unpleasantness.

I am no longer working with fundies. I am a freelance writer. However, this isn't because I couldn't handle conservative Christians at work anymore, it was because I couldn't work an all day standing job (like a floral designer does) any more.

As to why I'm poor - it's hard to earn a living as a freelance writer and I'm still learning. Also, though I can write sitting down, I still need to take more breaks than a healthy person would especially since anything I write with a high fever ends up looking as if it were written in an alien tongue.

Wednesday, May 20, 2009

Religious Child Neglect Turns into Kidnapping

Last week a judge in Minnesota ruled that the family of a boy suffering from Hodgkin's lymphoma could not refuse the child's chemotherapy for conflicting with the family's religious beliefs.

I was pleased with the decision because it meant one less child would die from his parents' magical thinking and spiritual beliefs. Last year we were all horrified to hear of poor little Madeline Neumann who died a slow, painful death for her parents religious beliefs. I thought the ruling in the Daniel Hauser case to be a great victory for childrens rights. Every child deserves medical treatment, no child should die of a treatable disease and no child should be denied treatment due to his parents' religious beliefs.

Hauser's mom believes in holistic medicine, herbalism, and planned to treat him with vitamins and herbs instead of proven chemotherapy. The judge's ruling now requires that the boy receive medical care including chemotherapy. Unfortunately, Daniel Hauser's mom is dead set on preventing her child from getting the medical care he needs to survive. Even after a doctor appointment which indicated Daniel is getting worse and his disease has progressed without treatment his mother ran off with Daniel into hiding.

13 year old Daniel's parents had told him that chemotherapy would kill him so I have no doubt he'll do anything to aid his mother in hiding him until it's too late to successfully treat his illness. If this results in the child's death, the family will feel justified and blame his death on the last ditch efforts of medical professionals trying to save a child treated too late.

This poor kid's parents talked him out of life saving treatment by telling him that chemo would kill him. This is not an adult we are talking about who may make an informed decision to die from a treatable illness if they want to, Daniel is a thirteen year old child with a learning disability.

In my opinion, the child's mother, Colleen Hauser, should be tried for kidnapping and attempted murder - or murder if the child dies as a result of delayed treatment - and his father should be charged for accessory to those crimes.

Now police suspect Hauser may be taking Daniel to Mexico to escape medical treatment of his illness.

Tuesday, May 19, 2009

Charlotte Allen Anti-Atheist Editorial In LA Times

A couple of days ago the Los Angeles Times released an anti-atheist rant by Charlotte Allen that clearly shows the lack of understanding many religious people have regarding atheism.

Charlotte Allen is bored of atheists? We're bored of the standard Christian arguments and hate speech - there's nothing new under the sun there.

Clearly Allen has apparently never visited a discussion board where atheists and theists debate with her insistence that "few of them [atheists] are interested in making serious metaphysical or epistemological arguments against God's existence, or in taking on the serious arguments that theologians have made attempting to reconcile, say, God's omniscience with free will or God's goodness with human suffering." Many atheists can play "God's advocate" and perform the arguments used by theists for the existence of God and can recite those theologians' attempts to defend God's goodness in the light of suffering and God's omniscience with man's free will.

When Charlotte Allen questions, "If there is no God -- and you'd be way beyond stupid to think differently -- why does it matter whether he's good or evil?" she forgets one major thing. The followers of God believe in Him. No matter what we believe, almost everyone around us believes in God. If those believers follow an evil God it will manifest in their behavior. It will manifest in excusing and fueling bigotry. Belief in the existence of and a desire to worship and obey an evil God or even a God of questionable ethics will manifest in hate crimes and hate speech, marginalization of people of other or non beliefs, and feelings of justification for these actions.

She needs to read some news and get into some discussions with real atheists. She belittles the problems real atheists face by saying, "My problem with atheists is their tiresome -- and way old -- insistence that they are being oppressed and their fixation with the fine points of Christianity. What -- did their Sunday school teachers flog their behinds with a Bible when they were kids?" She writes as if atheists don't get death threats from Christians simply for writing about atheism or talking about it in public. She writes as if we don't get our property vandalized by Christians if we get outed as atheists. She writes as if there are no parts of America where we could lose our jobs for being atheists. Allen writes as if completely unaware that Christians spend millions of dollars every year to put their religious beliefs into law - laws which everyone, regardless of religion or non-religion, will be required to follow. She writes as if Christians don't intimidate the children of atheists in attempts to convert them which sometimes ends up in peer violence visited upon those children.

Show me several million atheists trying to force their beliefs into law, trying to use legal force to coerce all Americans to follow their beliefs. Show me the school children forced to perform atheist rituals under fear of punishment from adults and peers. Show me the atheists protesting at funerals - and I might start to listen to you, Ms. Allen.

Stop the things we are "whining" about such as Christian laws, religion-based bigotry against gays, religious discrimination in the workplace, religious influence in child custody cases, remorseless atheist bashing, and evangelism - and we'll stop "whining" about them.

Sunday, May 17, 2009

I Must Admit...

I must admit that I was seldom "out" as an Atheist at a workplace.

I live in a strangely mixed area. There are a dozen Bible "colleges" in the city and hordes of Calvinists of varying sorts. But through the magic of the Internet, I've found the other part of our population. Unfortunately, few businesses in my area are owned by people who are openly tolerant of non-theists.

Everywhere I held a job when I was in the 9 to 5 world, God was a frequent topic of conversation and disdain for non-Christians and Christians of other sects was made abundantly clear. At one workplace, a co-worker was accidentally outed as a non-theist. Two days later she was canned but not before the valve stems were cut on all four of her tires in the employee parking lot. My own accidental outing by a friend who picked me up for lunch one day resulted in getting my car vandalized in a different way - profanity and threats had been scratched into it with a sharp object.

My co-worker was supposedly fired for being late in excess of three times. However, the last incidence of lateness had occurred over a year earlier and it was very minor. Michigan is an "at will" employment state which allows employers to sack a person for any reason at any time, so long as they don't express a discriminatory reason. They also don't need to give a reason, they can just terminate you with no explanation. So, for years and years I bit my tongue and remained in the Atheist closet, because I wanted to be safe and I wanted to keep my job.

Now that I'm disabled and working out of my home, it's not an issue anymore. I can be as out as I want to and not fear job loss. I am a bit ashamed that I wasn't out before.

It feels great to stop the lying by omission that being closeted requires.

Saturday, May 16, 2009

That's Evolution Years!

While working in a flower shop one's hands are busy all day but one's mind is not. This leads to lots of conversations with co-workers while all of you are arranging flowers. Being a bit of a science nut and having a tendency to go on and on and on about science news that interests me, usually beyond the tolerance of most mortals it's unsurprising that one day, when a co-worker was talking about dogs having a long history living with mankind, I regurgitated the latest tidbit I had heard on dogs.

I'd recently read that new DNA evidence from canine remains found in the Americas supported the idea that dogs had come out of Africa with human beings and crossed the Bering Strait with us some 50,000 years ago. I thought that was pretty cool and inoffensive so I shared that with my dog-loving co-worker.

What I got in response was, "50,000 years? That's evolution years!" as she looked at me, completely aghast.

What does one say to that?

It's the area I live in, unfortunately.