The Director of Atheist Nexus Speaks Out on Atheist Communities

(Report by Hugh Kramer) I've just returned from a meeting of the Ventura County atheists where we heard a talk by and had a discussion with Richard Haynes, who runs Atheist Nexus, the new (it just celebrated it's first birthday) social networking site exclusively for non-theists. Richard, who sometimes writes under the sobriquet, "Brother Richard," was formerly an associate minister at a 12,000 member evangelical mega-church in Georgia. In 1993, he experienced a crisis of conscience over some of it's practices and, with his young wife and baby daughter, left the church. After a lot of vicissitudes and soul-searching, both he and his wife concluded that they no longer believed in God. Some of the habits of his time as an evangelist have persisted though and now he has dedicated himself to encouraging other atheists to "come out of the closet" and form themselves into a self-sustaining community. That, in fact, was the subject of his talk.
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Mea culpa. It's not the first time.
"Some of the habits of his time as an evangelist have persisted though"

Yes In the relatively short time I have been listening to him on the Chariots of Iron, and Atheist News Podcasts I have noticed that he does still seem to be torn between belief and non. He still quotes a lot of scripture, and by a lot I mean too much in the tone of an apologist, and he sometimes disturbingly errs on the side of supporting religiosity, such as respecting the religion of Islam in its requirement that women wear the Burqa, and his recent approval of churches using children to dispense booze to male parishioners in church in order to lure them into or back to the pews. I hope that in time these old pro religious evangelizing tendencies will fade away.
INteresting take on Brother Richard. Personally, I find his approach rather balanced but I'll be interested t hear his take on "disturbingly errs on the side of supporting religiosity".
I like Richard too, and I am not claiming that he is still religious by any means. However what I am saying is that he does still seem to be saddled by his religious indoctrination, and the podcasts often take on the apologetic stench of a Bible Study Class. Have you ever listened to some of the podcasts.

Atheists arguing the nuances of scripture as if they are practicing for the final exam at Seminary. Arguing the minute nuances of Scripture no less as if that shit had anything to do with anything.

He will be alright after a while I guess. I can imagine it is not all that easy to shake off a lifetime of commitment to the book, and what it stands for.
I actually don't mind them ripping into Bible passages. Brother Richard just remembers what it was like for him when he believed so, he can't just dismiss them. I don't see anything wrong with it because, not all parts of faith is evil.
Perhaps it entertains many, but not me. I am not amused, nor enlightened by Atheists using bible passages to metaphorically argue over how many Angels can dance on the head of a pin.

Metaphorical Angels don't exist and cannot dance alone or in groups on the heads of metaphorical pins. Exchanging blows back and forth using biblical Scripture seems less than useless to me, and a pastime most unseemly for Atheists to engage in, to the extent that it is liberally overused in some or many of those podcasts.

It just seems like a holdover from Richards Evangelizing days and I fully understand that mental infirmity. He has lived this stuff for most of his life, and it has permeated every fiber of his being so the remnants of his faith, and evangelizing is bound to ooze or bubble to the surface for some time to come I suppose.

I would not have even mentioned this here it if not for the "Some of the habits of his time as an evangelist have persisted" quote from the original posting here, because I like Richard, and do not want to seem overly critical of him. I admire him for trying to free his mind from the clutches of faithiness, and I know it is not always easy depending on the length of time you have been addicted. He is a good guy. He was no doubt motivated to help his fellow man when he was a minister or pastor or whatever he was, and I think he is still motivated to help his fellow man, and I respect that about him.

I still think he is too deferential to religious dogma though. Applauding the dispensing of Beer by children as a way to lure men into the pews as being a good move by the church, and his support of women wearing the religious dogma induced, humanity suppressing, individuality robbing, male supremacist, Pillbox Burqa on the streets is taking respect for religion beyond the pale for me.
I'd like to see the post supporting the wearing of the burqa. Is it that he respects or freedom of religion and religious expression?

As to luring men to the pews with beer, think of the positive effects. Nothing could be a greater inducement to rethinking your religion than being forced to squirm in your seat with a full bladder while some guy in a pulpit drones on and on through a lengthy sermon!
He's misquoting, Hugh K. It was a podcast segment concerning French President Sarkozy's remarks about burqas not being welcome in France. Clearly a religious freedom issue, not a statement of 'support'.

EDIT: Misquoting is not the term I was looking for. Misrepresenting servers better here, I think.
Now that I think of it, I'd like to see the post about children luring men into the pews with beer too. Sounds like a story I might be able to get an essay out of.
This was discussed as a news item in the Atheist News Podcast. I think it was episode # 9. Yes episode 9! There is some commentary about it here:

The details were that some Church somewhere has begun using children to hand out beers to men during church services etc. Listen to the podcast and make what you will of it. My basic argument is that it is disingenuous subterfuge for a church to use this baiting technique to lure the stupid into the pews. It is duplicitous to preach the societal ills of alcohol but use preteen barmaids to dole it out in a church service. It is hypocritical etc, etc.....fuller, but not conclusive argument in the link to the podcast discussion page.

I tried to elaborate further in that discussion page, but Joe vaguely referenced my comments in a subsequent podcast as being "Mean", and that he thinks "Someone Hates Him" so I have been blocked from posting further there.

He seems to be overly sensitive to any critique, so to avoid it he has blocked me. It's okay, It was never my intention to hurt his feelings, and I understand his desire to shield himself if he thinks he needs to.
While we are on the topic, I might as well add a little something to it at the further risk of being considered "Mean".

I was incensed that the Atheist News supported the wearing of the Pillbox Burqa, and couldn't help but wonder if it wasn't the hosts of the Atheist News themselves that Pat Condell was referencing in his Apologists for evil video which came out shortly after podcast # 9.:

Lefty, Liberal, Appeasement Monkeys may be a little extreme, but on this issue of keeping women under a blanket all that is required is a few minor adjustments to the laces and that shoe would fit very nicely.
I doubt he was talking about me directly since he claims that the person(s) he was talking about wrote in to him. As I did not write in to him, I'd be logically disqualified as a candidate.

Besides, I doubt he listens to the show.

He had some interesting things to say, but I also support people's right to walk around naked if they so choose. I already made comment on the "ski mask" argument. I am against facial coverings when they are used to avoid identification for security reasons or business reasons (bus passes, etc...) I also support a business owner's right to tell people to get out of their establishment if they are wearing facial coverings as people with facial covering's cannot be identified and can pose a risk to his staff and customers.

I am fine with a social rejection of the Burqa for all that it stands for, I am not OK with a legal rejection of it because of all that we stand for.

And lefty, Liberal Appeasement Monkey would be a little strong for me. I am a liberal, but for the number of times that I have told Islam to go fuck itself (pardon my french) publicly over the last year, I don't see how I am doing any appeasing.

The plain and simple fact is that these women need to stand up for themselves and there should be publicly funded or private charity groups that help them escape the rampant sexism and violence of Islam. But to say that a woman should have the right to choose an abortion but should not have the freedom to wear whatever she wants is hypocritical in the extreme.

They will not greet you as liberators. I promise. It will only serve to solidify their religious lunacy.




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