Anybody feel that American Atheists causing some atheists to disassociate with it? I know as of right now I view it as hurting the intellectual movement. Seeing them trying to get the so called 9-11 cross to be removed from the memorial just seems...petty. David Silverman does not seem fit to represent atheists as a whole in my opinion. There are much more productive ways to fade religion out of society and filing lawsuits on anything that seems remotely religious just seems like a gross allocation of resources. In my opinion the cross thing was a symbol of hope for people and it is a part of history so it should be in the memorial. There were thousands of beams just like that in the centers so it is not unique. What are your thoughts on AA and how the represent atheists in America?

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I'm not sure how I feel about the cross beam thing being included or not myself, but I do have to say that Silverman's statement embarrassed me at an atheist.  I mean, I think I very literally cringed.  He used inflammatory language (which never fails to make a person seem irrational, thus defeating the purpose, since we often like to claim we are atheists due at least in part to rationality).  I found his statement offensive and I think, until he used such inflammatory language, I was almost persuaded to agree with him.


For me, I feel like one of those christians who say, "Hey!  Jerry Falwell does not represent me as a christian!" when I say that no, I really don't feel like David Silverman represents me as an atheist.  Regardless of what I think about the lawsuit itself, I think he made atheists look very bad indeed.

You both have a point that David Sliverman is not tactful and can be rude. But American Atheists has worked hard against the Texas creationism curriculum and on a lot of other important issues. The cross gets a lot of press because it is a fox news friendly issue. "Symbol of hope and part of history" are debatable but the cross doesn't bother me that much personally.  I don't agree with 100% of what AA does (I dislike some of the billboards)  but I still support them in the big picture. Those petty lawsuits are the building blocks of equality for us.
I agree with AnneT.  The big picture of what AA does makes me still support them, however, the petty lawsuits are holding us back and causing divisiveness.
prepare for metldown:

ahhhh like cool refreshing (I can't stop cracking up tears in me eyes mayteez!)

"Heroin brings comfort to people, too."  Oh, man!  I loved that!


I so hate watching shows like that, though, when someone is invited to speak/share and they won't let him/her make their point without harassing them.  But yes, I do think in this case he represented himself well.  Me?  I don't know if I'm just a coward at heart or what, but I wouldn't put myself out there like he I do definitely admire him for that.


Thanks for sharing the video.  :-)

I agree with all.  The cross thing is very petty.  To make such a stink about something like that puts us on their level.  The cross is going up anyway.  My reaction to theistic events like this is similar to my reaction to aggressive drivers on the freeway.  If you yell out of your window and gesture, you're the same as they are.  I think it a much more powerful statement to turn away as if to gesture them as insignificant morons, as they really are.
If you can't teach an old dog new tricks, and  it's (religion) a virus and some people can't be cured, so why not make fun of it, if you can't do anything else.
I don't belong to AA; I call myself a Humanist rather than atheist.  But I've never belonged to a group in which I agreed with everything the leader said. 

Personally, I'm a fan of Dave Silverman and very much appreciate the coverage and work he's done.  He certainly showed up the faux news people in the clip posted here.  Likewise with his handling of O'Reilly.  We're still getting mileage from "the tide goes in, the tide goes out."  In fact, my AA membership had lapsed for a couple of years until Dave re-energized me.  I wouldn't be surprised if their membership #s have gone up sharply this year.


It may be a close call on the 9/11 cross - it depends on how they place it.  If it sits as one of many exhibits, saying "some people saw this as a sign," then I don't have a problem with it.  If it's placed up front, saying "look, a sign from god, in an attack against us Christians" then it's not ok.  And, without knowing how it will be used, we have to have these challenges.  Each little bit of established religion counts as precedent.  I haven't dug too much into that lawsuit, but the Non Prophets Podcast of Aug 6 had a good discussion.

You raise some good points about the context, Daniel, whether or not other religions will also be represented vs. only Christianity.  That would color my opinion as well.  If you do delve more into the details of the lawsuit, I'd love to hear what you learn about it.

A couple of more thoughts...


Don't feel you have to defend AA or that they represent you.  Remember that atheists are not a religion or club.  Our only definite definite commonality is lack of belief in gods.  So, if you're ever put on the spot with "you atheists suing over such and such," you have the right to say "it's not me."  But, we should all look into AA's reasons for the lawsuit so that we can present any part of their case that we do agree with.


So, thanks for reminding me...  I'll do a bit more reading of various viewpoints on the matter.

Here, here!  I love that idea, and I agree that it deserves a discussion of its own.



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