Even thou A|N is less then a year old, we are already making an impact in the realm of unbelief. As we approach the new year, I can't help but think (and dream) of what we collectively could accomplish in 2009.

Let's brainstorm. What are your ideas? What would you like to see us achieve this year?

Also, this shouldn't be a place to poo-poo other's ideas. Let's just dream unencumbered, and then worry about the details once we get some decent ideas.

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Brother Richard, Perhaps we non-religious need to insure equal protection under the law by thinking about amending the First Amendment to read: Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion,non-religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof;... the word respecting meaning, not go against or violating. A discussion of a constitutional argument would shine a light on the bias that non-believers face in a country that by all polling data indicates is majority theistic, secular government and people are under increasing attack by religious organizations who seek to make this country a thearchy.

Perhaps a discussion of this sort would move all the people to think where we are headed as a nation.
How do you establish "non-religion"? It doesn't make sense. Sure, I can see establishing religion, but non-religion? This amendment, as it stands now, would keep this country from being a theocracy. Sure, our secular government is under attack by many religious organizations, but a steadfast adherence to the Constitution will keep us from being washed aside. Why change it?
It would seem to me that adding "non-religion" will only force the government to not acknowledge secular ideas.
That would get us into a very strange place indeed! If they can't have religious ideas and they can't have secular ideas, what sort of ideas are left? Secular ideas aren't non-religious... they just aren't religious.
I am starting a student organization at the University of Houston and am going to be brainstorming several ideas for activism. The Secular Student Alliance website actually has a decent outline of ways to provide others with information about non-theists. I feel like it will grow quickly, and was very surprised to find that such an organization didn't exist at this school already. Let me know if yall have any good marketing tools or materials that could help!
I would like to see better monitoring of the language used on this site. I'm no prude - in fact I use profanity quite a bit in my daily life! But when a post if full of "curse words" (for lack of a better term), epithets, and militancy it is my humble opinion that it shows poorly on us as a community.

I've read several posts that contain lots of foul language, and I just don't think that is necessary. It detracts from the power of the message. I don't expect every single person with an opinion to be able to express that opinion beautifully and eloquently, but then this is not a forum on the English language. I do expect everyone's opinion to be respected, and I would prefer to have those opinions shared with me without the inclusion of such inflammatory language.

By being Atheists we have demonstrated the ability to think for ourselves. In my book that places us at the top of the food chain. Trash talk and foul language drags us down and gives credence to the believers' beliefs that Atheists are stupid, worthless people.

I would choose not to be perceived in such a fashion.
I'd just like people to take a little extra time in posting to re-read their work. I'd much rather read a literate post using fuck every second word than a prudish work with errors in spelling, syntax and punctuation.

My sentiments exactly. This is not a chatroom. You have time to edit. By doing so, you show respect to your readers.

Also, I don't see swearing here being used gratuitously. Profane words contain enormous power and a rainbow of meanings in various contexts. If you tell me you didn't know 90% of all profanities by age 6, then you must be Amish. If your sensitive to words, how in the hell do you deal with reality ?
I don't use cuss words gratuitously but I see them as part of the English language to be used appropriately. I find the less one uses them the more impact they have when they are used.
When discussing a particularly egregious, bible thumping politician calling them just an idiot doesn't quite cut it. However a "fucking idiot" makes one's feelings more pointed.
I agree, profanity is useful for emphasis - but not for punctuation.

But, I would oppose stricter moderation on this site. I think for a relatively unmoderated site we do particularly well.
I'm afraid this thread is diluting my point. Not for a single moment would I suggest censorship. I am suggesting, however, that the gratuitous use of foul language and epithets devalues our opinions. If we are purporting to be having intellectual discussions on such a volatile subject as the existence of a god, it seems to me that we would do better to express our opinions in a manner consistent with the plane of the debate.

If I said "fuck you, you bible thumping fucking idiot" my point would certainly be made, but does anyone really think that is going to cause the idiot in question to re-evaluate their position, or even consider mine? Aren't we trying to advance Atheism? Will such low-brow debate change anyone's minds?

Just to be clear, I can see that my use of the word "monitoring" in my original post could be construed as censorship and I did not mean that. I'm trying to suggest that we be a little more accountable for the image that we (Atheists as a group) put out there in the world. When I hit my thumb with a hammer, I'll spew profanities you never even heard before. But when I am trying to educate some bible thumping fucking idiot about Atheism, I do not use those words because I am holding the cause to a higher level.

I rarely feel the need to explain myself but I feel image is very important. Thanks for listening.
I am suggesting, however, that the gratuitous use of foul language and epithets devalues our opinions.

Can you give an example of "gratuitous use of foul language" here ? Expletives are used far more rarely than elsewhere, and usually, not inappropriately.



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