This is another re-title of this piece. Thanks, Tom, for your suggestions.
"we can’t begin self-censoring, or we end up with just the illusion of free speech."
~ Inna Shevchenko,
Blacks learned this lesson in the 1960s struggle for fundamental human rights. Women learned it during the several waves of Feminism. Native Americans learned it after the second battle of Wounded Knee. The people of Yemen learn it as they attempt to gain freedom from hegemony of leadership in their struggle for freedom.
Freedom never comes as a gift. Those in power don't want to give up their privileges. The church doesn't want to relinquish control of the religious. They have to have many people scraping up nickels and dimes to pay for the gold and silver on the altars.
Islam and Christianity have a long history of violence against people who disagree with them. The Burning Times for the Christians during the Middle Ages and conflict of Christians against Christians, the Muslims vs. Muslims. Their terrors reveal the corruption of the institutions of religion.
Religious violence in India involves Hindus vs. Muslims, Christians, vs. Jews, vs. Sikhs. Mumbai currently faces religious riots.
Wars, killings, destruction seem to be part of being religious. Just read a few of the accounts available and one begins to see the bankruptcy of religious traditions. The conquest of Canaan by the Israelites, the Muslim conquest of the 7th and 8th centuries, the Christian Crusades in the 11th and 13 centuries.
Let's jump ahead to modern times and look at the disputes over religion, money, ethnic wars. In Yugoslavia, the civil war in Sudan, the Israeli-Palestinian wars, the Syrian civil war, the Afghanistan and Iraq wars, all reveal religious disputes. My heart just breaks when readI read of the Orthodox Christian Serbs, the Catholic Croats, and the Muslim Bosnians. That was a slaughter inflicting profound suffering on people on all sides.
"Ubi solitudinem faciunt, pacem appellant; Where they create a wasteland, they call it peace."
I've been thinking for quite a while now that Atheists should get together (not unite), and start some kind of a beneficial program that would gain notice, and cause the religious to ask us about Atheism.
What I came up with in my mind was "Atheist Saturday", when the local Atheists would sponsor a monthly food bank the last Saturday of each month, much like some Christian churchs are doing now on other days during the week. (The local church in this area hands out food every Thursday.)
It's just a thought. Someone else might have something better. But what we need is something that will get them thinking, and asking without raising their ire. And it should be something that shows it isn't just one or two people in the area that are Atheists.
If we do it in an offensive manner, then people will get hurt. They might anyway, but then the perpetrators would look bad in everyone's eyes, if they are the ones who started the offensive moves.
There are some good ideas here, Donald, but yours is sort of like what the ACA (Atheist Community of Austin) does right now. They also have the Atheist Experience TV program. Maybe we could check into what they are doing along this line.
Perhaps we could ask Brother Richard to check into this and see what he comes up with for us. He has a lot of connections and is aware that atheists should be more vocal.
Upanish, I like your jokes even if others do not. First time I heard those two.
Yes, an Atheist Experience TV in local communities. People could talk about the reasons they left religion as well as answer questions from others about skepticism. It would be difficult to get someone as skilled as Dillahunty to know the bible well enough and have the come-back as he does. But what the heck, this isn't a bible study effort. I like your idea, Mike.
Thanks Joan. Meetings locally where everyone could be a part of something like the ACA to speak and discuss things would be great.
Writing "atheist" in upper case "A", makes atheism looks like a religion, which is not.
Expressing atheism should be kept free and not "organized", as Richard Dawkins said "organizing atheists is like herding cats, because they tend to think independently and will not conform to authority."
Christian, Muslims and other religionists will allays be offended just by finding out that you disbelieve their claims about the existence of God, so don't worry about offending them.
If Christians, Muslims and other religionists get offended when you laugh at the idea of God existence, then they show that God doesn't exist. Their God is incapable of giving them peace and not feel offended. Get it?
Writing "atheist" in upper case "A", makes atheism looks like a religion, which [it] is not.
I agree, Leon, and hope you won't write the word 'god' with a 'G'. Twice.
Yeah, I have to proofread some of my writing too.
I tend to go along with you on this, Tom, and usually write it god. But there is a strictly grammatical rationale sans superstition for capitalizing because in the case of the big monotheisms it's his/her/its name, so it's a proper noun.
"God" was never a name. It's a job description.
I don't know if the Hebrews were the first to avoid using their nasty-tempered deity's "real" name, or if it comes from an earlier tradition, but they have this superstition that using whatever his/her/its name will somehow offend him/her it.
One word they use is "El" or "Elohim"...the plural of "El." Or YHWH....their written language originally had no vowels....
And then there's "Elron"....Hubbard.l *snicker!*
I've heard quite a few arguments on both sides of whether to capitalize god or not. Non-capitalization is the side I'm on, mostly because I refuse to give any importance to theists non-existent evil dictator.
I tend to go along with conventional usage: I'll capitalize names and "job description" pseudo-names (technical grammatical term :-) whether their referents are real (Mom, Dad, Mr. President) or imaginary (the Easter Bunny, the Tooth Fairy, Allah [literally "the deity, the [one] God"], God).
But often I'll avoid it by referring to a generic or specific "god", such as "their god" or "the god of the Christian Bible".
I like that Grinning Cat. "their god" "the god of ..." My spell checker keeps changing to a capital G and I am getting too lazy and just let it go.
You may be able to add lowercase "god" to your spell checker. Sometimes right-clicking on a flagged, "misspelled" word gives you useful options.