I love David Silverman. Why? Because he has the brass cojones to call a spade a spade, he doesn't soften his approach and he doesn't back down. Recently, in Zurich, Switzerland, David gave a talk on firebrand atheism which relates to his new book, Fighting God. In it, he talks about the fact that we as atheists need to be BOLD, we need to stop using euphemisms and talking around the subject and confront the issues of theism versus atheism head-on. We need to grasp and own the facts, know that we have them and THEY DON'T. This doesn't mean being a dick or being abusive, but owning the facts and using them to our advantage.
This is the message that has to get through to atheists in the US right now. We owe it to ourselves to be loud and proud about our atheism, so that people know that There Is NOTHING Wrong With Atheism ... because there isn't, yet there is PLENTY wrong with religion.
Break it down, David!
I got my copy signed at the Reason Rally by the man himself, and having read it, this speech is very much reflective of its contents and Silverman's attitude. I've said this before, but it bears repeating that the single most important element in all of it is that we identify ourselves as atheists when asked. Of all the plethora of terms out there, "atheist" is the one least likely to be misunderstood, and in terms of the normalization and incorporation of atheists in society, that is extremely important.
My copy is an epub and I have my computer read it to me. I really like the book and Silverman hits it all right on the head.
Today, I had the opportunity to assert my humanism on my doorstep, when a Christian tried to appeal to a presumed vulnerability. "With all that is going on in the world, don't you feel you need help in dealing with it all?" Religion is evil. It appeals to fear and insecurity and takes advantage of it, and people in the process.
I asserted that we are not religious. I said proudly that we are humanists. Well, the lady sent two more ladies to my doorstep, apparently bringing out the big guns. I cut them off and wished them a good day. I just hope they don't try and hold a vigil outside my house.
My answer regarding the need for help can be couched in something I wrote a few years back:
Something which does not exist cannot help us, but chronic dependence on something which fails to exist does active harm to all of us.
Having a community of people who can be supportive is one thing, but such communities need not depend on any kind of deity. The one thing which churches probably do best is provide community for support and help. The PROBLEM with churches is that they also reinforce beliefs which have no real-world evidentiary backup.
I am both an atheist and a pragmatist. The pragmatist in me says (to quote AronRa, "If you can't show it, you don't know it. For myself, I prefer to deal in what IS and I don't have time to waste on what is NOT.
Well said. Why can't people just help each other out anyways without religion? They are technically doing it already without the help of a deity. They just don't realize it.
Loren & James,
I think they DO realized it that they are doing the work, not God. It is just that it is a sin to think so. And if that person mentioned the idea that they "Hey, We're do all the work and not God", that person risk being ostracized.
Case in point when Victoria Osteen said, "When you come to church, when you worship Him, you're not doing it for God really. You're doing it for yourself, because that's what makes God happy."
She made these several remarks in a video about doing things for the self, as a person will do for God.
When parishioners heard this, they were offended that she would "equate humans with God" They pounced on her unrelenting, "Christian News Network that her comments were tantamount to the "sin of idolatry". "
"Now watch what you say or they'll be calling you a radical,
liberal, fanatical, criminal."
Logical Song, Supertramp
James Benjamin Franklin said it years ago " God helps those who help themselves"
What most people don't realize is that he was an Atheist, humorist, and satirist. Most Christians believe he ment something like "God will bless your work"
I think he was ridiculing them and saying "pray all you want but it ain't happen till you get your hands dirty."
The second profit of mormonism said something similar. He said "Pray as if it all depended on god, and work as if it all depended on you."
Rather revealing, no? Merde, alors!
Loren, something that does not exist...... I'm gonna write that down and commit it memory!! Bumper stickers, signs, banners? That sums up our rational thought and gives a definitive reason why. Way to go! Short, simple, to the point.
I'd like to get connected with groups like the freedom from religion foundation. I don't simply want to give money (of which I have almost none to give anyway), I'd like to be active in assisting. I'm not afraid of public speaking though I'm sure there are many far better suited for it, regardless I have technical expertise and the ability to help regardless of the role.
Not sure how I could do that however.