Last week, incoming Senator Kyrsten Sinema [D-AZ] was sworn in by Mike Pence, in his aspect as President of the Senate, choosing to take her oath on a book containing both the Constitutions of the United States of America and Arizona, a tome repeating the framers' prohibition on the US government's establishment a state religion or discrimination on the basis of faith or lack thereof.
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David from Atheist shoes (previously) sez, "We've just been successful in raising money for the first Atheist Shoes Missionary Mobile Shoe Shop, which will criss-cross the USA, selling handmade shoes and spreading our European message of godless comfort and joy. The fund-raising is ongoing, as we aim to get a whole fleet of buses on the road. The first US tour begins in September 2016, and will take in Georgia, Alabama, Tennessee and Texas." Read the rest
This month, Examiner.com has been profiling "noted atheists who experienced dramatic shifts in their views, eventually becoming Christians." This week, it has a story about Douglas Ell, a former atheist who has undergraduate degrees in math and chemistry, and an MA in theoretical mathematics from the University of Maryland.
Using his advanced knowledge of mathematical analysis, combined with the latest science, Ell came up with probability calculations which were incredible: practical proof, he concluded, of a designed and ordered universe. Sitting with his friend Peter Fisher one evening, Ell told him, "You know, someone should write a book about this, because I'm finding modern science strongly supports belief in God." Fisher, who is now head of the physics department at MIT, responded, "Maybe that someone could be you."
Thus inspired, Ell poured out his findings into his book, Counting to God, which takes the more theoretical elements and breaks them down to an understandable level, where Ell hoped to show the beauty he saw in science and math to the eyes of each and every reader.
Douglas Ell: how an MIT atheist found God through math Read the rest
The Pope's message, contained in an open letter, is more directed to the faithful than the nonbelievers, and is a repudiation of millennias' worth of Church doctrine that equates heresy with sin. Read the rest
The gnostic paradox of young, tech-savvy traditionalists, who see through everything except their own conspiracy theories
Remember Norwegian artist Markus Moestue's velociraptor trike, which he pedalled cross-country to protest religious education in state schools? Well, now there's a video documenting the trip. Read the rest
A Pew Study from last month found that atheism remain the most untrusted attribute in American politicians, although the degree of animosity has declined from 63% in 2007 to 53% in 2014. Read the rest
The Croatian Center for Civil Courage, a "feminist and free thinking organization," is kickstarting a kids' picture book called Humanism for Children, seeking funds to translate and publish it in English and German (it's already in Bosnian and Croatian). The book consists of "Humanism is for everybody" (an introduction to humanism and scientific ideas) and "How to live a fulfilling life" -- advice on being a "a thoughtful, jovial, rational and cheerful person" without religious stricture. £20 gets you an English copy. Read the rest
Sean sends us, "An atheist Christmas anthem, written by Pillow Army frontman Tim Franklin," and adds: "(Pillow Army opened for/played with Cory at a Seattle stop on a book tour a few years ago)."
They certainly did. Pillow Army has since become one of my favorite acts (check out Model Citizen from
To Comfort And Destroy). Nice to see Tim rockin' for the holidays!
Tim Franklin - "There's No Christmas In Hell (And That's Why I'm So Sad)"
(Thanks, Sean!) Read the rest
Yesterday's Papal homily, delivered by the Pope without notes after conducting Mass in his residence, included a story about a priest who told an atheist that he was redeemed by Jesus just as a Catholic would be, so long as the atheist "did good." Read the rest
David from Berlin's Atheist Shoe Company sends us, "a Kickstarter for Atheist Baby Shoes - super snuggly handmade shoes, the soles of which are screenprinted with homages to the only higher powers babies know...
Our slightly peculiar video explains all - highlights are the 'Atheist Baby Experiment' at the 1:40 mark and the 'Booby' power-ballad at 5:37." Read the rest
There doesn't have to be a pre-ordained meaning to the universe in order for it to mean something. That's one of the fun things about being human — we get to make meaning for ourselves. With that in mind, please read this lovely essay by Brian Switek about finding wonder and joy in the oft-denigrated idea of being "just" a product of time and chance. Read the rest
Steve Anderson at The Independent:
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Pope Francis has said that atheists should be seen as good people as long as they do good, in a move to urge people of all religions - or no religion at all - to get along.
Next week, I'll be speaking at the SkepTech Conference, a new gathering put together by University of Minnesota students. The lineup features some great folks from the science and skeptic communities, including bloggers PZ Myers and Hemant Mehta, and Saturday Morning Breakfast Cereal cartoonist Zach Weinersmith. Registration is free. Come check it out! Read the rest
Here's an hour-long lecture and Q&A with Annie Laurie Gaylor, co-president of Freedom From Religion Foundation (FFRF). The lecture recounts the long, honorable history of women in atheism, and explicitly connects feminism and freethought. It's a great tour through the history -- the often secret history -- of women who fought and gave all, risking persecution for speaking out against religion and for women's rights to control their destinies. The lecture was recorded at the Center for Inquiry's 2012 Women in Secularism Conference, and FFRF was founded by Gaylor and her mother, Anne Nicol Gaylor.
CFI's Women in Secularism Conf. | Annie Laurie Gaylor: "The History of Women in Freethought"
(via Skepchick) Read the rest
Justin Griffith, an atheist in the US military, tells the story of how he ended up with ATHEIST/FSM on his dogtags. It all started when he enlisted as an atheist, only to have his recruiter record his religion as "Baptist." Even switching recruiters didn't end up with the error corrected. At boot camp, recruits were only allowed one "holy book" from their stated religion, so he brought The Gospel of the Flying Spaghetti Monster, which became the most-loved book in camp, much-borrowed and re-read by the other recruits. Even his drill sergeant liked it. Kinda.
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At one point my Drill Sergeant tried to take it away from me. He thought it was just some book that I smuggled in. Keep in mind that Drill Sergeants are professionally trained in the art of not laughing at anything (yelling and freaking out are more appropriate responses to most situations.)
Anyway, this is the gist of the conversation:
Drill Sergeant: “Private Griffith – is that some contraband?”
Me: “No, Drill Sergeant. It’s my holy book.“
Drill Sergeant: “Give that to me…” *Yoink!* “Flying Spaghetti Monster!? What the fuck?”
Me: ”I’m a Pastafarian, Drill Sergeant.”
[he shot me a look like he was t minus 5 seconds from throwing me into the Sun]
Drill Sergeant: “Are you fucking with me? Are you fucking with me at 0600, Private Griffith? Before I even get some goddamned breakfast?”
[I did my best to return the intensely humorless stone face.]
Me: “No, Drill Sergeant.”
Drill Sergeant: “Flying Spaghetti Monster!?