I know you are in England but since you are so well educated I was hoping you might have time to give me some suggestions.
Separation of church and state has become a major issue for me. I know fundamentalists will never see the logic in my beliefs, but I can no longer stand silently by while they turn this country into a theocracy. I want to be able to discuss the subject from an informed, educated and rational perspective. In other words I need to fill in some holes in my education. Can anyone suggest good reading resources that I can study? I would like to pull my arguments from a variety of sources - writings of the founding fathers for example and more contemporary authors as well.
Thanks for any suggestions.
Thank you for the nice welcome. It's the most amazing thing when I look at my family and see all these very intelligent people who actually believe in christianity - and not just christianity but the whole mormon thing as well. The U.S. does seem to be heading down a scary religious path and I think freethinkers are going to have to be more vocal than in the past.
I read that you are a lover of classical music. My first professional career was in that area. (The others are Senior Secondary and "college" teaching (English/Communication & Social Studies/Consumer Education); Psychology and Linguistics. I am not mentioning the non-professional stuff for now.)
We took our 14 year old son to his first symphony concert last week. He is a reluctant violin player so, in order to avoid Asperger's syndrome tantrums, we failed to inform him of our destination until we were almost there. The conversation in the train went something like this. "Is there any reason why you won't tell me where we are going?" "Yes". "......Which is?". "If we told you then you might decide that you didn't like it when we know that you really will." " How do you know that?". "Fourteen years of specialized experience."
We were right. He loved it! He was also chuffed to be asked by the self-identified pianist on his right: "What instrument do you play?" "How did you know that I played an instrument", was his delighted reply. Before the first notes were played it was clear that he was enjoying the concert. At the end of the performance he was standing up in his seat clapping like crazy. Of course, it may have helped that the composer being showcased by the San Francisco Symphony Orchestra was P.D.Q. Bach http://www.schickele.com/pdqbio.htm
and that they were amply hindered in this project by Prof. Peter Schickele and his team of musical mangulators.
You may be interested to learn the Prof Schickele has a "reverse sabbatical arrangement" with the U. of South North Dakota at Hoople where is attached to the extension department and gives one lecture every seven years. This may be a useful precedent to mention to your employing department.
Along with a selection of secular music by this nefarious composer we were also subjected to a variety of secular seasonal songs:
O Little Town of Hackensack; Good King Kong Looked Out; hrow the Yule Log On, Uncle John. If you are interested in researching these somewhat unusual works, and identifying the various languages in which they are sung, the lyrics can be found here:
I apologize for the fact that they are brought to you now slightly out of season but I hope that you will be able to enjoy them never the less.
Contrary to some misinformation put about in various places, and possibly on the Web, PDQ Bach was not an a-santist, or even a mono-Santist. Both Santa and St. Nick are referred to in one of these extraordinary gems of musical travesty.
thanx, for the welcome.i help in a debate room on pal talk as well,i think it is important to stand up and be counted.living in the bible belt,makes even more important. i look foward to shared views on this site as well.
Thanks for your welcome. Living in "the belly of the beast" as I do, contacts such as this are very important. I used to live in the Miami area, and then in Southern California. The USA in general is steeped in religious delusion, but it's very strong in mid Florida. It's my understanding that there are many nonbelievers in Great Britain, so you probably don't feel the degree of isolation we atheists feel here.
I looked over your page quickly. Very interesting.
To your point on Professor Dawkins article which I found interesting reading; as a product of 20th century America and having small children... we are dripping in the excess that is the "Christmas Season". It has always been a challenge to come to terms with my rational views of life (having been an atheist since childhood) and my Children's vampire like desire for all things Christmas. It was difficult to tell them just last year that in fact that there was no jolly elf that brought them goodies on Christmas Eve. Many a tear was shed all around. Instead of creating a "solstice" celebration or saying "merry Newtonday", we have decided to embrace the secular traditions; including Santa as metaphor for what we feel is what Christmas should be about. Rejoicing in the human spirit, helping those with less and showing your loved ones just how much they mean to you. If it includes an XBOX 360, so be it! Cheers.