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What keeps an atheist from going public? May 29, 2011

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A Letter to Frank Lucas: Vouchers, the educational apocalypse. May 27, 2011

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Dear Frank Lucas,

I would like for you to consider the negative ramifications of school vouchers. It is clear by all historian’s accounts that America was founded by many people of faith, most of which we can surely say were Christian, but it is also clear that our founders included specific language in our foundational documents to ensure that we would forever be a nation ruled without any religious preferences. I understand that it can be difficult for some politicians to set aside their religious convictions and that it becomes even more difficult when a people are so used to being in the majority and are told by their own books to spread their message, but I must request that this be done in the interest of America’s future as a united republic.

I believe that there are several possibly unforeseen outcomes that could arise from a decision to use tax payer money to pay for religious schooling; First, we must seriously consider that tax payer money may invariably go for children to be indoctrinated into other religions besides just moderate Christianity. These other religions will of course include radical Islam and possibly many other dangerous religions. I am sure moderate Christians and nonbelievers can both agree that this is not something we want taking place. We must also consider that Islam is a growing religion in America and it could stand to benefit from the vouchers in the future more so than any other religion. Would you rather have a newly arrived Muslim educated by America’s public school system or have them sent to an Islamic school that teaches that women should be submissive and shroud their entire body? Second, nonbelievers will have their freedom of religion, liberty, and pursuit of happiness violated by being forced to monetarily support the religious educations of others. I doubt that most Christians would want their hard earned money spent on teaching kids to not be Christians. This is really a matter of perspective. Those in the majority simply need to put the shoe on the other foot. Third, we must consider the unnecessary divisiveness that will grow by splitting our children into religious groups. Under our current system, children of all backgrounds are made to set aside their differences to come together for the common purpose of learning. Take this away and America could soon be faced with an increase of violent acts rooted in divisiveness. In final, our public education may be seriously flawed and in need of much more attention, but it is the public school system’s underlying principles of secular learning and equality that guarantees that we will continue to remain on the paths of enlightenment and unity. Because of all these concerns, I ask that you please do what you can to stop the implementation of school vouchers. Thank you for your time.

The Echo Chamber May 25, 2011

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For every atheist that speaks out, there is often a reciprocal event taking place that may be going unnoticed. It is often the case that most of the people surrounding atheists have never been exposed to the arguments offered up for atheism. We can never really expect that others will see the clarity of rational thought just by hearing our words alone, but we can expect that individual atheists are interrupting the believer’s continuous loop of positive religious feedback. If enough of us atheists choose to break through to the believer’s religious echo chamber, we can create a tapestry of negative feedback. Working as a wall of reason to challenge every public display of religion, atheists may be able to turn the tides against the absurdly favored perception of religion. We know without a doubt that religion is the wrong path for humanity and being free from it’s grasp, we are able to clearly see as no others that it is an inherently dangerous worldview. It appears that it is only a matter us working harder to become the collective force that is capable of finishing off the old irrational beast. Much like the child that is surrounded by people consistently telling them that lying is wrong, the chances that our message will be heard increases every time an atheist speaks up. In my opinion, the power of the individual outspoken atheist cannot be stated enough.

Alone, we will nearly always fail against the great ocean of rational illiteracy and religious lunacy. When we speak alone, it’s likely much easier for the religious world to write us off as kooks, but together we may be able to break down even the most indoctrinated Religionist. The flaw in all of this is that there are many atheists that perceive that they have too much to lose in speaking out. I must ask though, at what point do atheists choose to suffer for the cause? For me, it was knowing that I couldn’t suffer the loss of employment.

What assurances would you need before you would be willing to go public? What would make you comfortable enough to speak out? Would you speak up if your government began embracing theocracy?

Douglas Adams and Me May 11, 2011

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A man didn’t understand how televisions work, and was convinced that there must be lots of little men inside the box, manipulating images at high speed. An engineer explained to him about high frequency modulations of the electromagnetic spectrum, about transmitters and receivers, about amplifiers and cathode ray tubes, about scan lines moving across and down a phosphorescent screen. The man listened to the engineer with careful attention, nodding his head at every step of the argument. At the end he pronounced himself satisfied. He really did now understand how televisions work. “But I expect there are just a few little men in there, aren’t there?”
— Douglas Adams, paraphrase of a parable spoofing modern creationism that Adams often told, as retold by Richard Dawkins in “Lament for Douglas” (14 May 2001)

As a child, I spent a lot of time unknowingly reading books by a man that held a completely different and opposing worldview than nearly all of my friends and family. If it wasn’t for the humorous accessibility of Douglas Adams, I may have never managed to get a glimpse of true reality. I’m certain that if the Hitchhiker’s Guide had been titled the Radical Atheist’s Guide to Freethinking, I would have likely never been interested or allowed to read it. I was too young at the time to even realize it, but Adams planted the seeds for my escape from superstition and religion. In Adams’ ultimate wit and skepticism, I found a previously unknown ability and strength to look at things in a different light; A light that turned out to be perfectly clear and rationally illuminating. With nothing more than comedy and more than any scholarly “new” atheist, Adams cracked my near impenetrable and absurdly illogical religious indoctrination. I may mourn that Adams died far too young, but I find plenty of comfort in knowing that he got to live the only kind of life worth living; The enlightened life of a freethinker.

I know that he is gone, but for anyone listening; Thank you Mr. Adams. You did your part to make the world a much better place.

Combating Theocracy with Theocracy? May 11, 2011

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If the Religious Right really wants to turn America into a theocracy, I say we temporarily grant them that wish, but only if they are willing to take it to it’s logical ends. For a six month period, theocrats must sign into law every Biblical command, order, proclamation, and preference expressed by God in both the Old and New Testaments (God doesn’t change or make mistakes, so yes, even the Old Testament will count). Giving every American a six month taste of what a theocracy really looks like should beat some sense into people. It’s not like the majority of Americans really support theocracy, it’s more like the majority of Americans support apathy. The only real cure for apathy appears to be tyranny. Surely, even the most hardcore theocrat would come to their senses after spending six months in a nation overflowing with slavery, second class women, child brides, stonings on Sabbath, animal and human sacrifices, dashing babies against rocks, and capital punishment for adulterers.

Furthermore, based upon God’s actions in the Bible, we can ascertain what kind of place America would be with his holiness in charge. Take Las Vegas for instance, there would be a high probability that God would freak out at some point with all the evil sinners in the city and kill every man, woman, child, and fetus to display his disapproval. At some point and time, at least a few humans would be lucky enough to be chosen by God for some testing of faith, during which God would instruct the chosen humans to kill their children or chop off their genitals. I’m pretty sure that even theocrats would not be enjoying an America truly run by and for God, so maybe at this point we could collectively come together to shrug off our ancient propensities to rely upon and bow down to an invisible higher power.

So, come on theocrats. Get to it. How does six months to fully implement your theocratic nation sound? There’s only one caveat; Once you finally learn what it is you’ve done, we don’t want to ever hear about a Christian nation again. No more “One Nation Under God”. Deal?