Just wondering....   more than 30,000 members.  At most, I am guessing 20 or 30 or so post discussions or get involved in discussion.  Not that I keep track.

That's the size of a mega-church.  Sorry for the analogy.  It's about the size of the town where I grew up.  Also not a good analogy, that town was a sorry excuse for an over-sized septic tank.    Let's just say it's a lot of people.

Anyway, I wonder what happens for the folks who sign on and don't post.  I hope this site is useful for them.  I suppose if 30,000 people were all posting and discussing it would be kind of overwhelming.  Maybe page-views generate some funding for the site?

I also wonder about people who used to be very active, then....   poof!  vanished!  There are a bunch of them.  Did they get bored?  Found Jesus?  Get busy and no longer had time?  Found peace with being atheist, the need was met, move on?

Just speculating.  I sometimes welcome new members hoping to inspire involvement, and others do a lot more of that than I do.

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Beautiful it is.

I used to come to A/N a lot. I still come and view the discussions without signing in. I love to read your posts, SB, and Joan's, James' (I used to live in Lubbock James. God didn't help me there either), and Loren's posts, just to name a few. I rarely comment on posts because I would just repeat what already has been posted. A/N is very important to me, I still tend to stay on the edge and read.

There is nothing in Lubbock. Had I gone to Tech, I would have been bored out of my gourd. The students who go to Tech spend weekends in Dallas.

Larry, I just saw this.  Thank you, I really appreciate that.

Larry, thank you.Nice to read your post. 

Hello Sentient. I'm one of those who disappeared for a while, but back recently. Why did I go awol?  A couple of reasons.

I thought my energies should be directed to a forum with a wider readership.Rather than be frustrated and depressed with the reasoning I got back on gun control why not get a few letters in the national paper that further the cause. (Don't hate me gun advocates).

Also, i can control what appears in the paper. When I was doing a web search on my name a while ago, all this atheist nexus stuff popped up and some of it wasn't something I would want to share with a wider readership.  I was proud of my atheism and used my true name but sometimes that isn't a good thing in this group context.

Interestingly though, no acquaintance ever mentioned my atheism with my flurry of postings in this group, but a friend of my sons emailed him "Your dad is an atheist" after one of my letters was published in the Toronto paper.

I've gotten 25 letters in our national newspaper in the last couple of years and a few of them were on the topic of religion.  Since this is a larger audience, I can't be boring and talk about religion all the time.  But we do that here as well.  

Getting a letter published is not easy and I am proud of the ones that made the cut.

If anyone is so inclined, here are a few:






Hijab and Hats



On Religious Conversion

What an interesting section on Easter weekend on conversion in the Star. One of my heroes who underwent a conversion is Ayaan Hirsi Ali. She wrote about the religious bias and intolerance that were a big part of her early life in a book entitled Infidel.

Unfortunately this woman had to leave a forward thinking country like Holland because they could not adequately protect her from death threats like the one that got the director of her screenplay “Submission” killed. Amazingly they couldn’t defend her and she was an elected politician.

Another astonishing ongoing conversion demographic is occurring with spiritual leaders losing their convictions. Online support for them can be found with “The Clergy Project,” which has 430 members.

Dan Barker, a Christian preacher for 19 years mentioned in his book Losing Faith in Faith, “The longer I have been an atheist, the more amazed I am that I ever believed Christian notions.”

Maybe the Star can do a comprehensive piece on that class of conversions. I would suggest Darwin Day as a good launch date for the article.

Russell Pangborn, Keswick

Of God and government

When discussing the new atheists — including Richard Dawkins, Sam Harris and Christopher Hitchens — the wise Rick Salutin has stated, “Their work is a cover for their Islamaphobia.” What an outrageous statement. I’ve seen those gentlemen mop the floor in debating the excesses of all sorts of religions.

When he attacks the Muslim musings of Sam Harris, Salutin seems to imply that all new atheists agree with Harris’ line of thinking. At the same time, he discusses healthy disagreements amongst Muslim women in discussing the use of sharia law. So we have one biased brush stroke to paint a division of atheists and a celebration of religious diversity within a single branch of faith.

The fact that Rick is a non-believer does not give him more cachet when discussing atheists. It just proves that there are people who get it mostly wrong regardless of belief.

As an atheist I’m more impressed with what the new Catholic pope has been saying than the naïve speculations of a columnist who believes we are in a secular world. He might be unaware there are still seven countries in the world that have laws on the books to execute atheists. Also, there are a few more that can lawfully imprison or diminish the rights of non-believers.

So if this isn’t about whether God exists, tell that to the oppressed people in those countries.

Russell Pangborn, Keswick


I agree with your Rumsfeld statement, “It isn’t making mistakes that’s critical; it’s correcting them and getting on with the principal task.” That is a great theme for us all. 

Russell, thanks for your comments!  And for your activism!  The road to reason is build one cobblestone at a time.  You have laid a number of cobblestones that will support others in their journey.

I wonder that myself



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