Episode 5 – November 14th, 2009

Buggs, Bruce, Rob, Keith, Tina, and Chris are back for a new group discussion.  We discuss the feedback from the Good Without God campaign, the Catholic Church calling it OK to believe in both the Christian God and extra terrestrials, and the HUmanist response to the Fort Hood shooting.

We would love to hear your feedback here in the comments section, or leave a message at:
774-3141-GWH

Links Mentioned:
Boston Coalition of Reason
Good Without God by Greg Epstein, Humanist Chaplain at Harvard
Death Threats Force Removal of Atheist Billboard, Examiner.com
Picture of T ad vandalized, from Zach’s (of Boston Atheists) Facebook

Upcoming Events:
You can view all Greater Worcester Humanist events by checking us out on meetup.com

4 Responses to “Episode 5 – November 14th, 2009”

  1. Ziz Says:

    Why do you talk so much about God, Catholicism, fundamentalists and Christians? For things you don’t believe in or subscribe to, you seem rather obsessed with them.

  2. Chris Says:

    Thanks for your feedback, Ziz.

    We as atheists, agnostics, and freethinkers have to constantly be witness to things like, “God bless you,” “I’ll pray for you,” and other various religious statements as everyday statements. The subject of this podcast is to answer against religion’s powerful influence on society and culture. We’re helping to defend an opposing view.

    Currently, Atheists are the least trusted minority in the United States. This is only because of a misunderstanding of what it means to be an Atheist, and our goal is to flesh out the definition and help people better understand us.

    We’re trying to find other people who feel & believe the same way we do, and let them know it’s OK to go against the vast majority of people who follow a church. It just so happens to be that Catholicism, fundamentalists and Christians are the most common followers in our area, although we do discuss the problems that other religions, like Islam, cause. We even discuss Islam during this episode itself.

    Most of us come from religious backgrounds, so we are especially knowledgeable about the Judeo-Christian God, but we have a problem with all religions trying to influence people’s lives. Fundamentalists are the biggest problem in this area, and we are going to speak out against them at every chance we get.

    We hope you keep listening, and feel free to call in with a question/challenge! 774-3141-GWH

  3. Ziz Says:

    Thank you for your reply :)

    I understand that as humanists, freethinkers, atheists and agnostics you must be hyper aware of religious statements and sentiments woven into every day language. I imagine that it must be rather frustrating at times.

    My real question here is: what are you doing to ally yourselves with people who *do* practice a religion? As you are well aware, Atheists are a minority in the United States and since we all live here under a united Constitution, it is in everyone’s best interest to “get along” or at the very least share respect for one another.

    You said:

    “Currently, Atheists are the least trusted minority in the United States. This is only because of a misunderstanding of what it means to be an Atheist, and our goal is to flesh out the definition and help people better understand us.”

    I submit to you that the reason you may be the least trusted minority is not because you are misunderstood, but because you spend a lot of time and effort mocking and ridiculing people who practice religion, even those who are seeking to educate themselves about you. It is difficult to listen to your valid points when they are peppered with insults and put-downs.

    You also said:

    “We’re trying to find other people who feel & believe the same way we do, and let them know it’s OK to go against the vast majority of people who follow a church.”

    How and why do you plan to “go against” the people who follow a church? Continuously going against others is counter productive to your goals, unless of course your goals are to be forever at odds with others.

    I have read elsewhere that Humanists share “a conviction that with reason, an open market-place of ideas, good will and tolerance, progress can be made in building a better world for ourselves and our children.” Do you honestly believe that the majority of religious people would disagree with this conviction?

    I submit to you that perhaps you should do a podcast on what you share with people of religious faith and what common ground you would agree to stand on. How can we accept one another? Can Atheists afford to give the same respect and acceptance to religious people that you expect to receive in return?

  4. A.K. Says:

    Well, the Catholic church doesn’t believe in abortion, but they seem to have an awful lot to say about this topic. Do you not have a problem with that?

    A recent Pew forum reported that over 78% of the US population identifies themselves as Christian, thus this group holds a dominant religious influence in many aspects of life in this country. This is one of the reasons we address issues tied to Christianity so frequently.

    We are not “obsessed” as you say with these topics – we are addressing issues that often infringe on basic human rights and, especially in this country, on Constitutional rights as well as the right to a decent education.

    If you need some current examples, here are just a few:

    The Pope declaring that the use of condoms in Africa will not help decrease HIV transmission and “on the contrary, it increases the problem”. Such blatant disregard for proven medical and scientific fact is inexcusable. The church is directly promoting a culture of willful ignorance. They are clearly placing more value on their personal opinions than on the life of individuals in which this disease can easily be prevented.

    A Christian group in NY recently challenged the right to government benefits (including health insurance for public employees) for same sex couples that are legally married. NY’s top court rejected the challenge. The reason the Christian group gave for their lawsuit was that “same-sex marriage was akin to incest and polygamy”. This group proposed taking away a person’s established legal rights based purely on their opinion of what should or should not happen in that individual’s private bedroom. What special privilege do Christians think they have that entitle them to make decisions for others that would override existing legal precedent?

    In Indianopolis, one public (ie – taxpayer based) school system has a policy of censoring websites with “atheistic views” in the public school system. Other than Wicca, no other websites expressing religious views or moral beliefs has been outlawed. Atheists and agnostics may only be 15% of the population here in the US, but we pay our taxes to support public schools just as any other individual does, so why are atheistic views outlawed? There is currently a legal challenge underway in this case.

    In Ohio, one public school listed “Belief in God” as part of it’s mission statement. Clearly these people have not heard of the Establishment Clause.

    There are too many incidences to describe here where creationism (propagated by Christian fundamentalists) has been been described as scientifically equivalent to evolution and deserving of equal time in the science classroom. All this while the US is no longer listed in the top 10 countries for math and science education. In fact, the Program for International Student Assessment ranked US high school seniors 17th out of 29 developed countries in science and a dismal 24th out of 29 for math. Clearly, this is not the way to future economic or technological advancement in the US.

    So as you can see, we have good reason to discuss God, Catholicism, fundamentalists, and Christians so much. These ideas and groups affect the personal, public, educational, and political lives of many, many people. To pretend otherwise is ignorant.

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