Faith 2016 News

Dealt a body blow, atheists and humanists regroup

People walk by an electronic billboard in New York on Nov. 9, 2016. Photo courtesy of Reuters/Shannon Stapleton

(RNS) For the last decade, atheists, humanists and others secularists have worked hard to organize a “secular vote” that would counter the political clout of the religious right.

President-elect Donald J. Trump’s victory dealt that movement a body blow when he garnered 81 percent of the white evangelical vote and 60 percent of the white Catholic vote. Mormons, too, voted overwhelmingly for Trump.

Despite Trump’s not being a particularly religious person, his platform was seen as anti-secular in many atheist and humanist circles. He said he would appoint religiously conservative Supreme Court justices, ban Muslim immigrants, favor Christianity and repeal the Johnson Amendment, which prohibits certain tax-exempt organizations from endorsing political candidates — issues antithetical to organized atheism and humanism.

Roy Speckhardt, executive director of the American Humanist Association. Photo courtesy American Humanist Association

Roy Speckhardt, executive director of the American Humanist Association. Photo courtesy American Humanist Association

Political rallies on the Washington Mall, conventions in religious states such as Utah and Texas, and the creation of scores of local chapters of national secular advocacy groups like the Secular Coalition for America did not help the secular vote — sometimes called the “atheist vote” — coalesce into a voting bloc for Hillary Clinton, generally seen as the more secular-friendly candidate.

That has left atheist, humanist and secular organizations re-examining their political strategies and thinking about how to interact with a Trump administration, something most of them had not considered before election night.

“With the steady, numeric rise of freethinkers, people of color, supporters of the LGBTQ community, seculars and other progressive people declared victory far in advance of realizing it,” Roy Speckhardt, executive director of the American Humanist Association, said in an essay for The Huffington Post on Wednesday (Nov. 9).  ” … Those who went to sleep last night hoping for the best, they awakened to a very different reality.”


READ: White evangelicals, Catholics and Mormons carried Trump


Some awoke depressed and angry; some woke with a glimmer of optimism. Others woke and said they were ready to roll up their sleeves and get to work. All made a to-do list to get out the secular vote on issues important to them.

Sarah Levin, senior legislative representative for the Secular Coalition for America. Photo courtesy of Sarah Levin

Sarah Levin, senior legislative representative for the Secular Coalition for America. Photo courtesy of Sarah Levin

“Our eyes are now on the midterm elections,” said Sarah Levin, senior legislative representative for the Secular Coalition for America, a lobby that represents 19 atheist, humanist and freethought groups in Washington, D.C. “We are going to double-down. We really have to.”

Levin said the coalition will act as a sort of watchdog to the Trump administration, alerting members when the coalition believes administration policies trample on separation of church and state. The group will keep a sharp eye on his promise to repeal the Johnson Amendment.

“It is important to recognize the religious right’s agenda doesn’t represent the majority of Americans or even the majority of the faith community,” Levin said. “They won the battle but they didn’t win the war. The shifting demographics are still in our favor. That’s going to be a challenge for them and it is going to be incumbent for us to increase our turnout.”

Indeed, the news was not all bad for secularists on the state level. Two self-declared atheists won seats in the Arizona Legislature, an atheist and an agnostic recaptured their seats in Nebraska and Wisconsin, and a humanist won in Maryland. Other non-believing candidates lost in Texas, Arizona and Pennsylvania.

And in Oklahoma, a measure that would have stripped the state constitution of its wall between church and state was defeated.

Paul Fidalgo is communications director for the Center for Inquiry. Photo courtesy of Paul Fidalgo

Paul Fidalgo is communications director for the Center for Inquiry. Photo courtesy of Paul Fidalgo

Paul Fidalgo, director of communications for the Center for Inquiry, said the election of Trump will send the organization back to its roots — the promotion of evidence-based reasoning and provable facts.

“It is time for the secular community to gear up big-time because we should expect, once again, the basic tenets of secularism are going to be challenged very, very hard,” Fidalgo said. “That is the reality.”

But another reality gives Fidalgo hope. The secular movement, which surged during the George W. Bush administration, considered overly friendly with the religious right by many secularists, is now stronger and better-organized.

“A real movement has been built around this identity (secularism) that is now in a much better place to meet that challenge,” he said. “We are going to fight the battle of religion’s incursion into government and we are ready for that.”

David Silverman with retired "ATHEIST" New Jersey plate. Photo courtesy Dave Muscato/American Atheists

David Silverman with retired “ATHEIST” New Jersey license plate. Photo courtesy of Dave Muscato/American Atheists

David Silverman, president of American Atheists, which has twice held a “Reason Rally” on the National Mall in an attempt to fire up nonbelievers to vote as a bloc, is also recalibrating.

“We didn’t take the religious right seriously and we got complacent with a friendly president,” he said. “So we redouble our get out the vote effort and this time, we have to realize we have a fight on our hands.”

 

 

About the author

Kimberly Winston

Kimberly Winston is a freelance religion reporter based in the San Francisco Bay Area.

177 Comments

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  • Guess not towing the radicalized Christian party line is going to be the next concern for those seeking freedom from the current crop of prosecuting proselytizers .

  • America’s realized how insane and tyrannical the left is, regardless of whether they worship some bronze-age war god.

  • As a Will-Krauthammer-Murray-esque conservative apostate, I’m the first to admit our ranks are modest in number. That doesn’t make the blatant political stereotyping in articles like this any less irritating…

  • Atheists outnumber Catholics, yet this election has been attributed to their votes. Excluding that we had five major victories for candidates all over the country. Not bad for a group that only numbers about 3%. The best thing is that the “nones” are growing at an alarming rate, and if we should survive the “god” crap that they are constantly tossing at us, we will eventually come out ahead. A day when your elected officials won’t have to swear allegiance to the supernatural as well as to the PEOPLE OF AMERICA!

  • Has it occurred to you Atheist that the “nones” that are growing at an alarming rate are also a significant part of the 117 million people who were eligible to vote in presidential election but didn’t vote.

  • America is unique among the wealthy first world countries in its religiousness. That lesson has been hammered home. We lead the world in science and technology yet a majority of our citizens believe in god, angels, demons, adam and eve and creationism, ghosts, astrology and the occult and other irrational beliefs. It will be several generations before that will change.

  • Just for fun.

    CREATIONIST TELESCOPE FINDS NEARLY 6,000-YEAR-OLD GALAXY

    Jun 3, 2014

    PETERSBURG, KY (SatireWire.com) – Creationists using a
    deep-faith telescope said today they have discovered a galaxy formed at the
    very beginning of time, nearly 6,000 years ago.

    The galaxy, which they named “Michael” after one of the
    earliest angels, is about 6,000 light years from Earth, but not more, “because
    light did not exist before that time,” researchers explained.

    A telescope (above) is an instrument that aids in the
    observation of remote objects by collecting electromagnetic radiation. A
    creationist telescope (below) is the exact same thing, but with the lens cap
    on.

    The team’s discovery was immediately condemned by the
    American Astronomical Society, which said “Michael” is actually the Andromeda
    galaxy, which formed 9 billion years ago. In response, Bertram Hill, lead
    theophysicist at the subbasement Creation Science Observatory in Kentucky,
    said, “No it isn’t” and called the debate a tie.

    Hill and his colleagues made their observations using a
    specially designed Deep Faith Creationist Telescope, which is a standard
    wide-field, Ritchey–Chrétien hyperbolic telescope, but with the lens cap on.
    From there, calculating the age of Michael, and the Universe itself, was
    simple, Hill said.

    “We know this galaxy is about 6,000 years old because we
    know the Universe is 6,000 years old, and we know that because, contrary to
    what non-believers say, we’ve done the math,” said Hill. “Specifically, we’ve
    taken the ‘supposed’ age of the Universe – 13 billion years – and multiplied it
    by .000046, which gives us, as we suspected, the true age of 6,000.”

    But why multiply the age of the Universe by .000046?

    “Because that gives us 6,000,” said Hill.

    Using this same multiplier, Hill said creationists plan to
    further shake up the scientific community by announcing that dinosaurs died out
    3,000 years ago, Jesus was born last month, and Pittsburgh was founded on
    Tuesday.

  • To be a “none” doesn’t necessarily mean being an atheist, educated or informed or even a rational thinker. They may reject god or religion but they thrive on vampires, zombies, Bigfoot, new age spiritualism or just hedonistic pursuits.

    As a non-activist atheist, Trump’s election doesn’t really affect me. I do feel sad for many people who might be negatively affected. Of course we have to wait to see what will actually happen. Both parties are bad about not living up to their campaign promises or being able to get their agenda pushed through.

  • Yes, like we are all alike. I’m left of center but no Progressive or Regressive liberal. Extremes of the left or right have emotional and irrational elements that lead each side to think only they are correct and must push their beliefs to everyone. That is why facts are of little use.

  • Being a “non-activist” atheist, you still think that you should have an opinion? I do not see how. Apparently you care not for how the majority treats non-believers.

    Aren’t you lucky to have been born both white and male?

  • You may have been professing Christianity when you began engaging in insults but you didn’t learn to insult from Christianity because Christianity is about love and respect. So you need to ask yourself what it is about you personally, what do you fear, that creates a need in you to engage in insults.

  • Exactly, by being white and male, Trump doesn’t affect him not because he’s an atheist of some sort. White males got nothing to worry about with the Grand Old White Party, except for white men who believe in equality.

  • Love and respect? “Westboro Baptists”, “Planned Parenthood Shooting”, Proposition 8″…that kind of LOVE, we can all do without. As for respect? Christian prayer, Bible and Baptisms in public schools? Nativities on Government property, Ten Commandment monuments on Public Property. Looks like all you respect is Christianity. Your actions are insults.

  • You make the usual Atheist logical error of converse accident when you argue that because some who profess a religion misuse or misunderstand that religion their doing so somehow magically means that all of those who profess a religion also do so. I suggest that you take an introductory course in logic.

  • If the pres-elect is going to appoint judges who really are “strict constitutionalists” (which isn’t really a thing) the Christianists will be disappointed because the constitution is what forbids much of the stuff they want to do. What they really want is Christianist judges who will allow whatever they want, regardless of what the constitution says.

  • You were the one that said ” Christianity is about love and respect”. I was only showing that it isn’t always, is it? Every religion has it’s own special reason for hating another’s religion or those with none at all. If you were ever on the receiving line of the atheist, you might see that. Brush up on your awareness.
    P.S. We don’t mind if you do not capitalize atheist. Leave that for one of your gods.

  • Even though I explain your fundamental logical error to you you go ahead and repeat that error in your next response. I’ll try again. Just because someone misuses or misunderstands the religion they profess their do so doesn’t invalidate that religion or any other religion.

    You follow that logical error with another logical error, that of wishful thinking, when you introduce a statement that every religion has reasons to hate another’s religion without presenting any evidence for that statement. In fact, this statement of yours is false as evidenced by the pronouncements of the leaders of the world’s main religions.

    Being respectful I capitalize Atheism because Atheism is a religion, albeit a literalist/fundamentalist one.

  • Not respectful at all.
    “evidenced by the pronouncements of the leaders of the world’s main religions” Well, what would you expect them to say?
    Lack of faith is faith?
    Atheism is as much a religion as abstinence is a sexual position.

  • Atheism has creeds/belief systems (aka faith statements), denominations, apostles, meeting places and services, venerated beings, symbols, holy days, rites of passage, and proselytizing/outreach methods. It is even trying to misuse the courts to promote its religious path.

  • Gosh! I have been an atheist for well over 35 years, a member of the American Atheists and now a lifetime member of the Freedom From Religion Foundation, read almost everything I could on the subject, in paper form and on the internet, practically daily and I have never heard of such nonsense, my wife has never heard of such nonsense and my two very adult daughters have never heard of such nonsense. If YOU have such information, you must have heard it from the pulpit. Please give me your information on this or else I will consider you to be just another lying Christian.

  • The riots would be violent and in more areas had you hateful Trump lost. Are you kidding? This man was not even allowed to twitter in his last days of the campaign in efforts to avoid pre-election rioting.

  • Its all public knowledge. Which aspect would you like me to instruct you in?

    I notice that you end with an insult. When we first began this discussion I asked you if you knew what it was about you that made you respond with insults. In addition to your introductory logic course you should also get some psychological counselling.

    Has it occurred to you that passing on Atheism to one’s children could be considered a form of child abuse in that it stops them from thinking clearly and keeps them fearful? And before you answer I urge you to consider that everything an Atheist says about other religions is based on factual error or logical error or both as I have been pointing out with your comments.

  • More accusations without any substance. Without citing your source, you look just like any other lying Christian.

    Besides, I never voted for Hillary, I voted to give Americans better choices than these two. WE DESERVE BETTER.

  • Has it occurred to you that most American Christians are more likely to be of the same faith as their parents and grandparents? Are you aware that most American Christians have never read a Bible? Certainly, American Christians prefer to accept their precious beliefs the same as their parents without benefit of free will and finding for one’s self. American Christians depend on hearsay to base their most deeply held beliefs. Deeply held? Hell, they don’t even know what they believe.

  • Oh c’mon. There was more bloodshed in the Trump rallies. I saw people, real people with blood flowing from their skulls. I say people knocked down and kicked by your Trump loving Christians. I saw hatred, destruction and lack of caring for property at these rallies. But wait, I could still be wrong. We haven’t had a weekend yet. Is your robe and cape ready for the weekend?

  • “Typical Atheist comment – insult. . . .

    “. . . you didn’t learn to insult from Christianity because Christianity is about love and respect.”

    Hilarious! Perhaps you meant to say, “Christianity is about love of delusion and respect for myths.” Or in the case of TrueChristians™, “. . . “about love of hate and respect for bigotry.”

    You are correct about atheist comments often being insulting. But that’s because Christian beliefs are so preposterous, so ridiculous, so delusional, so irrational, so absurd, and so totally devoid of supporting evidence that it is extremely difficult to talk about them in respectful terms.

  • Yet another logical error. This time the red herring.

    in addition, your just repeating your mistaken Atheist beliefs which is another logical error, namely, argumentum ad nauseous, whereby you believe that the more you repeat a factual and/or a logical mistake the more likely it is to magically become true. It won’t happen.

    Also, with regard to your last response committed yet another logical error when you introduced the viewpoints of your family members, namely argumentum ad numerous, whereby you believe that the more people believe an untruth the more likely their belief will somehow magically make the untruth true. It won’t happen here either.

    I thought Atheists prided themselves on clear thinking but you are doing such a good job of presenting clear thinking. Quite the opposite for your views consist of endless logical errors as well as factual errors.

    Lastly, you didn’t respond to my offer of help. All you did was mock – another logical error.

  • What you mean to say is that you and other Atheists do not understand the core of the religions they attack. Not understanding religion, Atheists misrepresent religion and then attack their misrepresentation. Not too clever but it should them busy and off the streets.

  • Insulting strangers, spewing hostility, being confident in our knowledge of others, accusing people we don’t even know of things we just believe about “Them”, dismissing and profaning their beliefs, deciding that disrespect is virtuous, basing our behavior on theirs and blaming them for our own trespasses, delighting in speaking cruelly…

    Who do we think “We” are?

  • Boy, Richard Rush and Northern_Witness — You sure do share the same values!
    If you both used “xxxxxxxx” instead of “atheist” and “Christian”, I’ll bet even you couldn’t tell the difference.

  • Not all atheists leave insulting . Like religion adherents, there are many stripes, not all are rabidly anti-religion or see religions as an evil force to be destoyed or see religious people as idiots that can’t think for themselves. But yeah, some atheists do leave shitty comments, and it’s a poor reflection on the other non-religious that don’t hate religions entirely. Most are nice people, like most religious people.

  • It depends what branch of Christianity, not all are conservative “flat earth” literalists, or believe that the bible is “the literal word of God”. The churches based on a liberal type theology allow room for reason, philosophy and thinking without ditching the religion, which can have benefits for those that want it . To lump all christians as a single entity that all think like the Westboro Baptists is the same as them lumping all atheists together as the exact same (some churches don’t understand atheism at all, or respect it, but some actually do). There’s thousands of denominations of differing versions of christianity that people follow, just like atheism has it’s own different versions, not all are Hitchens/Dawkins fanatics that want to kill off religions. (But not implying that atheism is a religion, like some of the ” right wing” people lie about). Sorry, my comment got long winded.

  • I was pointing that Frank Dorka was using insult to cover up his fear and lack of knowledge about religion.

    Whenever I have heard, read or communicated with an Atheist his or her comments re religion are based factual error, logical error or both. It is unfortunate.

    I wonder how the “Spiritual Atheist” as they refer to themselves think about other religions.

  • Aside from creationism, those other aspects of religion you mention could more accurately be termed suprarational instead of irrational. They lie beyond the limits of the senses and rational, linear discourse.

  • “any other lying Christian” – don’t look now but your uninformed bias is showing.

    More significantly, your plea to rely on sources is just repeating what someone else has said. It runs the risk of the logical fallacies of argumentum ad nauseum, argumentum ad numerum, and argumentum ad verecundiam. Instead try some original thinking, you might like it.

  • It’s also the nature of the internet for people to just be mean! Comment sections are hopeless places to have meaningful debates, it’s made for one liners and zingers, full of ” wanna be” comedians. I agree that atheists can misunderstand religion, it’s importance to people and it’s usefulness.

  • Not to mention, the right wing supporters are way more armed and have militias. Electing Trump at least has saved us from a redneck uprising.

  • Forget it dude. Your chances of a “Secular Nation” have unexpectedly but totally tanked, just a couple days ago.

    The End !!

  • Let’s put the blame where it belongs. It is the nature of mean people to be mean. They would be mean whether on the internet or in face-to-face conversation.

    The next likely thing is that you will claim that not everything on the internet is true 🙂 Horrors.

  • Haha! I’m typing on a deep faith smartphone right now, it’s a tool that god gave me, meaning god gave me the gifts to get the money in my bank account to buy the tool at the store. God also blessed the people who invented it and the korean factory workers that built it and the international trade deals, as well as the transportation vehicles, that enabled the commercial transaction locally, and not to forget blessing the salesman at the store that suckered me into buying this particular model. The Lord works in mysterious ways!

  • Not necessarily, in person is not “anonymous”, face to face forces people to deal with others and “possibly” be more considerate. Anonymity allows for people to be terrible. Like an “online troll” who writes volumes of bile towards people, but in real life is just overweight sad sack 12 year old that has no friends and should really get outside more.
    It could be the mean people just spend too much time typing on the internet and get a dopamine burst in their brain when they leave an offensive comment and feel like they “won” the “debate” or whatever it is.

  • NW, will you please stop making up garbage about atheists? It is really offensive dishonest garbage. Christians like yourself feel this pathological need to lie incessantly in order to support their belief.

    You want to criticize atheists being insulting well, go eff yourself. You have been nothing but dismissive, insulting, and malicious towards them from the get go. How dare you make such comments towards others when your own conduct is much worse.

    A respectful person does not make up stuff about the beliefs of others. But then again I have never known Christians like you to be respectful of anything or anybody but themselves. You don’t like the tone you are receiving, well maybe you shouldn’t be so insulting in the first place.

  • So you expect a “Christian” nation to be restored under a gambler, assaulter, divorcer, tax evader, insulter, and bully? God really works in mysterious ways!

  • Actually Bill I am a Christian so Hillary is not my god. Neither is Trump, nor was he the more godly candidate.

  • Taking a look at the exit polling, only 15% said they had no religion; no surprise, 68% voted for Clinton. But if you define “religious” as those that actually attend church, the numbers are very different — 49% that attend at least monthly, 51% that attend a few times a year or never. And as expected, the percentage voting for Trump grows with the frequency of church attendance.

  • Frank, N_W is playing with you. He is taking atheist arguments about religion and applying them to atheism. It’s futile. You have rational thinking, reason and logic on your side. Religion doesn’t. Be satisfied with that.

  • I was able to link to the website you indicated, but I thought you were directing me to a specific sermon, but I was uncertain as to which sermon you had in mind, unless I misunderstood you. There were several sermons listed on the page. I’m willing to look further if you can help me narrow the parameters a little bit.

  • Scatological remarks only demonstrate the civil intolerance that is so common among people who reject transcendent truths, yet insist their worldview is the only rational and sane one.

  • I am pointing out the mistakes in logic that Dorka makes. If you believe that logic is garbage and insulting you need to seek counselling.

  • Au contraire, mon frere. Christians and most religionists (except for Atheists) are ok with facts. It is Atheists that based their views of religion on factual error, logical error or both.

  • No you aren’t. You are making stuff up about what atheists allegedly believe. It is not the first time you have done that nor will be the last.

  • First you need to actually read the exchange. Second, your denial does not constitute refutation. I have had to spank you in the past so be good boy and don’t embarrass yourself.

  • Again, your denial does not constitute refutation. The Atheist “reality” is actually fear, hate, bias, and darkness likely based an inability to move beyond the limits and mirages of the senses.

  • Your interactions with atheists seems limited. Many atheists have religious backgrounds or an interest in religion coupled with knowledge. My family were Jehovah’s Witnesses and I was involved for a time. Indeed, I have had discussions with christians who don’t know much of their bible.

  • And you base this on……absolutely nothing. Just egotistical preening on your part.

    I will put it to you this way: Biblical Literalism, Creationism, and Sectarianism do not paint the picture of people who are particularly enamored with facts, rational discussion, or honest representations.

  • I read it, you are going through your usual poo flinging at atheists and making wildly ridiculous claims about what they belief. Claims refuted by everyone who identifies as an atheist.

    But being an egotistical insulting nabob, you labor under the delusion that you know their beliefs better than they do.

  • He was talking about Clinton supposedly having paid to start the riots, and you know, it, you dishonest douche.

  • I agree, and believe that is owing mainly to the separation of church and state and the religious freedom afforded American citizens. We don’t mind our political leaders being religious–even devout, as long as they don’t force their religion on others. John F. Kennedy first led us in that direction back more than 50 years ago.

    The aethiests and humanists are afforded free speech just like everyone else. They can make their case to the American public as artfully and vigorously as they choose. The fact that their message isn’t selling, must be the fault of both the message and the messanges. .

  • Ableism: check.
    Using words you do not understand (bully): check.
    Repeating conspiracy nonsense: check.
    Making false accusations: check.

    Congratulations! You are a right wing nut.

  • But God did not grant you a sense of humor, wisdom or understanding.

    Maybe he will some day. But now is not the case.

  • Your smug saying so doesn’t make it so. Because an Atheist has a religious background or in interest in religion doesn’t mean that he or she understands religion. You seem to be trying to cover up your own lack of awareness of the core of religions as well as covering other Atheists who suffer from a similar lack.

  • Atheists base much of their antipathy to religion on their own Biblical Literalism. They are incapable of realizing that the spiritual messages of scripture are written necessarily in figurative language. In addition, Atheists have their own version of Sectarianism. I can think of 24 varieties of Atheism, not all of whom get along and respect the views of the other Atheist sects.

  • You are fond of making statements without backing them up and then running away. You are similar to a drive-by sniper except you are shooting blanks. Lots of noise, no effect.

  • Your repeating a mistaken notion will not somehow magically make it become true or even accepted as if true. Yours is merely the aptly named fundamental logic error of argumentum ad nauseam.

  • I don’t. I base my antipathy of religious belief on their actions. Religion is a great tool for enabling truly nasty behavior against others. I am actually apathetic to the religious beliefs of others provided that they can be civil and well behaved.

    https://67.media.tumblr.com/2a82bc7dcaef0d2d2ac295ae9298b107/tumblr_n6tsk4Mihb1reec0do1_500.jpg

    “I can think of 24 varieties of Atheism, not all of whom get along and respect the views of the other Atheist sects.”

    Perspective is important. I can’t think of a form religious sectarianism which hasn’t led to violence and/or discrimination at one point or another. Its the primary reason we have the separation of church and state. When the two mix, people use government and religion to enact discrimination.

  • I have a feeling you’ve been looking for opportunities to accuse a liberal of whining. If you paid any attention at all to what I wrote, you’ll see that you did not respond to it at all.

    When you have something to say about judges and their philosophies, respond.

  • Oh boy, you don’t even understand what hypocrisy means. Stop using words you don’t understand, it makes you look like an idiot.

  • Oh boy, you don’t even understand what hypocrisy means. Stop using words you don’t understand, it makes you look like the fool you are.

  • Jim, my understanding is that Donald became born again early in the election. If he truly did, he is none of the things that you condemn him with, but he is a new person in Christ. The old has gone and the new has come.

  • It’s still difficult to tell what you’re reading and responding to. You do seem to have a great deal of anger. I’d hate to see what you’d be doing if you did not get the result you wanted in an election. It looks to me like you decided to pick me to rage at. I think I’ll just let you do it by yourself.

    (There was no bigotry and hate in my opinion. BTW, that’s exactly what “opinion” means. It’s not, by definition, factual.)

  • God is always with me.”

    That seems similar to a schizophrenic who says, “The voices in my head are always with me.”

  • I’m a Christian who used to be an atheist, and I should know better than to stick my nose into this board (especially with a poster who names himself after David Hume!). But I have to ask one question, then I’ll sit back and await your wrath. In the absence of a belief in God (or at least a God who’s will can be known), just what do you believe constitutes the “right side of humanity”? Is this not similar to the conundrum that faces proponents of Darwinism? Evolution is driven by “survival of the fittest”. Which organisms are the “fittest”? The ones that survive, of course. What will atheists and agnostics say if, on the one hand, Evolution proves to be “true”, yet on the other hand, “religious belief” proves to have a strong positive selection coefficient? You can denounce religious believers all you wish. Call us “ugly”… tell us that our mothers dress us funny. But we are having children and raising them to be religious. So are the Muslims and Hindus. Secular caucasian Europe is dying. Many of the “people of color” whose cause secularists champion are, themselves, religious believers. Both Christianity and Islam are growing in Africa by leaps and bounds. If Evolution is the game, then caucasian western atheists and humanists had better start playing it. Championing abortion and same-sex marriage doesn’t get you off to a very good start.

  • You would be much more productive in your war on atheists if you could discover and then present some evidence to support your religious beliefs. But I guess even you know that finding evidence is virtually impossible since no-one has ever managed to do so. As a result, your only recourse has been to attack atheists using fabricated delusional assertions that are as devoid of evidence as your religious beliefs.

  • “But I have to ask one question, then I’ll sit back and await your wrath. In the absence of a belief in God (or at least a God who’s will can be known), just what do you believe constitutes the “right side of humanity”?”

    As civilized society progresses, actions or beliefs that were once acceptable to society evolve over time and are later viewed as undesirable or even barbaric in nature (e.g. human/animal sacrifices, cannibalism, slavery, child labor, etc). I think that future enlightened societies will view the upcoming Trump Presidency and religious right agenda as a “mini-Dark Ages” if they are able to enact much of their goals. Religion does not have exclusive rights to morality.

  • It is good that you attempt to move beyond your usual drive-by sniping and engage in extended conversation.

    However, as usual with any Atheist, your views are dependent upon factual and logical errors.

    First your logical error. Your basing your antipathy toward religions on the actions of some who profess a religion but misuse or misunderstand that religion is the elementary logical error of converse accident.

    Now your factual error. Your link fails to mention that Militant Atheists have murdered millions of people. Think of Stalinist Russia; Chinese Communism under Mao Zedong, Zhou Enlai and Deng Xiaping; and Cambodia’s Khmer Rouge under Pol Pot; just name three.

    As for sectarianism you are making the same elementary logical error of converse accident, i.e.some who misuse or misunderstand their religion do not invalidate their religion by their actions. You may need to take an introductory logic course.

    As for you factual error, I have to do is to cite the Quakers and Mennonites to invalidate your viewpoint.

    As I have already said, Atheists’ views of religion are based on factual errors and logical errors or both. Your two short comments each contain both errors and prove my point. Thanks for playing.

  • Demonstrating the logical and factual errors upon the Atheist belief system is based is one thing. The core of religion is another. Your attempt to link them is the red herring logical error.

    Also, your insistence on evidence based sense data is ridiculous. Sense data is subject to hallucination, misinterpretation and has limited range.

    There are other ways of acquiring knowledge and wisdom. Religion uses these.

    Thanks for demonstrating my point that Atheist comments about religion and religionists are base on factual error, logical error or both.

  • “It is good that you attempt to move beyond your usual drive-by sniping and engage in extended conversation.”

    Yes you are still an uncivil turd. Moving right along.

    “First your logical error. Your basing your antipathy toward religions on
    the actions of some who profess a religion but misuse or misunderstand
    that religion is the elementary logical error of converse accident.”

    Hark I hear the bagpipes, there is someone making a declaration about Scotsmen!

    “Now your factual error. Your link fails to mention that Militant
    Atheists have murdered millions of people. Think of Stalinist Russia;
    Chinese Communism under Mao Zedong, Zhou Enlai and Deng Xiaping; and
    Cambodia’s Khmer Rouge under Pol Pot; just name three.”

    Except they would not be anyone’s definition of atheists. Communists took the trappings of religion and merely used it for worship of the state. Even to the point of copying idolatry and theology. Religion by another name. The best example of this is the dictator you left off, Kim Il Sung and progeny. They turned communist ideology into an outright religion with spiritual claims and actual deification.

    “As for you factual error, I have to do is to cite the Quakers and Mennonites to invalidate your viewpoint”

    What about them, that they are a well behaved group of religious believers. I have no problem with them. I am not an anti-theist. As I said, I am apathetic to religious belief. The views of Quakers and other Anabaptist sects are very much in opposition to yours when it comes to religion and politics. You would be calling them “Not True Christians” under any other setting.

    “As I have already said, Atheists’ views of religion are based on factual
    errors and logical errors or both. Your two short comments each contain
    both errors and prove my point. ”

    A statement you never came close to proving. Have a good weekend.

  • So you are not going to back up your bold claim that i am a liar. Guess that makes YOU the clear LIAR. Congratulations.

  • Doesn’t back up any claim. Names other people names without backing it up. Uses words he does not understand. Calls the other one the fool.

    Yep, Dunning-Kruger are right again.

  • You don’t seem to be aware that Anthony Flew, the inventor of the ‘no true scotsman’ idea has repudiated his invention as flawed logic.

  • You might not agree with their views but they are serious bible students and being studious and curious I studied well beyond what they taught. I studied history, archaeology, comparative religions, Josephus, etc. As a Witness I argued with Catholics, Baptists, Methodists, church of god, church of christ, mormons, seventh day adventists, etc. So yeah, I do consider myself knowledgeable and I even understood the draw and mindset of the deeply religious.

  • With regard to your refusal to admit that Russian, Chinese and Cambodian Communism was Atheist, I submit the following:

    Karl Marx said “[Religion] is the opium of the people”. Marx also stated: “Communism begins from the outset with atheism.”

    Vladimir Lenin similarly wrote regarding atheism and communism: “A Marxist must be a materialist, i. e., an enemy of religion, but a dialectical materialist, i. e., one who treats the struggle against religion not in an abstract way, not on the basis of remote, purely theoretical, never varying preaching, but in a concrete way, on the basis of the class struggle which is going on in practice and is educating the masses more and better than anything else could.”

    In 1955, Chinese communist leader Chou En-lai declared, “We Communists are atheists”. In 2015, the Communist Party of China reaffirmed that members of their party must be atheists.

  • Now you have demonstrated that Communism had its own version of theology. With its own nonsense terms and self-serving spurious supporting arguments. Just like every other religion. If you were familiar with history, you would know that Communists frequently relied on religion when it suited their purposes. Stalin brought back churches when it was losing WWII. Mao revived belief in folklore in order to avoid developing medical services in the interior of China.

    Calling them militant atheists is quite a stretch. If you think destroying houses of worship and imprisoning clergy is a sign of atheist belief, then talk to ISIS. I am sure they would consider themselves atheist in a heart beat ;).

  • Congratulations. You have just agreed with me that Atheism is a theology.

    Those “nonsense terms and self-serving spurious supporting arguments” are quotes from the founding Atheist Communists.

    The rest of your message is a desperate attempt to change the topic – another logical error.

  • No. I stated that communism is a religion with its own theology. Not by any reasonable definition of actually atheist. North Korean Juiche is a prime example of how religiously based Communist ideology really is when taken seriously. Communists are spiritual, have their own saints, idols, theology and forms forms of worship. Calling it atheist is really an intentional misnomer. Like all monotheistic faiths, it seeks to replace and destroy any other faiths in a given location.

    But we all know how this works in the hypocritical apologetic mindset. Any bad acts associated with Christians is not done by “True Christians” but every act done by people of other faiths reflects the entire faith. Because honest appraisal is not in their wheelhouse. If people acting badly under the name of their faith are not true Christians, then logically people acting badly under Communism are not true atheists. If you are going to disavow No True Scotsmen, then you must accept that argument. (Assuming you are neither hypocritical dishonest)

    Atheism is not a religion, despite your best efforts to make the claim (without any sort of evidence). It is the lack of religious belief.

  • Again, Anthony Flew, the inventor of the No True Scotsman notion, finally renounced that idea as being flawed.

    The people who invented Communism were Atheists and proudly so. Their way of spreading Atheism was to kill religionists and anyone else who got in their way.

    Glad to clear that up for you.

    The Atheist belief system is a fundamentalist religion.

  • “The people who invented Communism were Atheists and proudly so.”

    Yes and every Christian says they follow the Gospel unflinchingly and the Bible in their entirety. But that does not make it so. They used atheism as a pretext to create their own religion. There is nothing atheistic about Communism. It was formed by people with religious education to copy its methods and structures. Communism is simply another form of religion.

    “The Atheist belief system is a fundamentalist religion.”

    Still not true. But while we are at it, your form Christianity has absolutely no socially redeeming features to it whatsoever. It seems to prompt people to be dishonest and offensive to other beliefs. Simply a pretext for sociopathic behavior. 🙂

  • Wasn’t expecting either Hillary or Trump to preach a revival.

    But the atheists’ and secularists’ candidate, Hillary, has clearly lost.

    Now, as Fidalgo suggested, things will likely get **much** more interesting. If you guys are looking for a “secular nation”, you better work REAL hard.

  • Don’t be too sure floydlee! The continuing struggle between Believers and Un-believers will continue in the world until Christ Returns. Based on current trends I am persuaded that we are on the downhill slope, but that doesn’t mean I will fail to contend for biblical truth all the way down. National redemption is not outside God’s wheelhouse, but I’m not optimistic about the response of the nation, unless and until God exercises judgment on us as a people, and people repent…if they will.

  • Scatological vituperation is the common currency of the so called rational and thinking secular type. When they cannot win by logic or temperate argument they resort regularly to personal attack, it is the philosophical equivalent to, “Pay no attention to that man behind the curtain.”

  • “Yes and every Christian says they follow the Gospel unflinchingly and the Bible in their entirety. But that does not make it so.”

    You have just agreed with me that some people misuse or misunderstand the religion they profess and their doing does not invalidate that religion,

    Yet you argued against that idea in other posts in this thread, including in your very next paragraph.

    Does this mean you are actually learning something or that you are confused about what you believe or you just like to hear yourself talk. As it is you are just incoherent. Seek professional help.

  • They can’t afford to admit it because it would mean their world view and belief system is wrong. They would be lost with no sense of how to exist in the world.

    Atheists need to argue and hate to assuage their fears. They feel they would be even more isolated than they are now if they admitted that Atheism is a fundamentalist/literalist religion.

  • No, you don’t get it at all. What you call misuse is really a feature of religion, not a bug. Religion enables bad behavior. Its not misunderstanding, it is the function. Most of all religious belief requires dishonest and irrational discourse to support it. Such as your insistently offensive characterization of beliefs other than your own.

    By all means get that necessary surgery to remove your head from your sphincter.

  • Nope. You fallaciously insist on using the bad behaviour of some who profess a religion to invalidate not only that religion but all religions. And this despite the many times I have told you it is a mistake.

    You seem incapable of learning. But, once again, I have had to spank you in public. Now go and be a good boy – study logic, see a psychologist, and try to learn to use at least one other learning modality besides the mathematics/logico way because you are not very capable of using the latter.

  • You bang on about fallacies like a kid with a new toy. I feel from that that you have only recently come across the concept. There is more to logic that fallacies. In fact practically any argument (including perfectly valid ones) can be categorized as one or the other formal or informal fallacies.
    There is a name for that – it’s called the fallacy fallacy.
    Now if your logic extends only to the concept of fallacy’s then it’s not only Spuddie that needs to learn.

    There are plenty of examples of religious belief making otherwise good people do horrible things. The two most obvious examples I can think of is conversion therapy and exorcism.
    There are mainstream religious beliefs and cause enormous psychological and physical harm to those who receive the treatments.
    Perhaps the saddest part is that those who seek these treatments have the best interests of the recipients at heart.
    It is the irrational beliefs taught to the by their religions that cause them to seek these harmful treatments. Those beliefs that 1- people can be possessed (other than simply having mental health issues) and 2- homosexuality is sinful.

  • “There is more to logic than fallacies”

    Logic is the study of reasoning, the criteria for valid inference. Logical fallacies are ways in which inferences or reasoning is invalid.

    Your next statement, “practically any argument (including perfectly valid ones) can be categorized as one or the other formal or informal fallacies” is not true. Valid arguments do not contain logical errors. That is why they are valid.

    Your definition of fallacy fallacy is also wrong. The argumentum ad logical only arises when one tries to claim that a proposition is false because it has been presented as the conclusion to fallacious argument.

    When I point out that Atheist comments are logically fallacious it means that the Atheist cannot claim the conclusion arises from the propositions. The conclusion may be right or wrong but the Atheist has not proven it either way.

    In addition the type of error made may demonstrate why the conclusion is false.

    You need to bone up on the difference between the logical validity of an argument and its true value.

    In the rest of your effort you veer off into making a logical error, that of converse accident, whereby you think that some people misusing or misunderstanding the core of their religion somehow magically invalidates that religion. It does not.

    Your need to bone up on Venn diagramming.

    It seems more than likely that you have never studied logic. I suggest you do so. You may not make such a public fool of yourself is you do.

    FYI: Googling your fallacy fallacy does not make you competent in logic.

  • “Think of Stalinist Russia” – So you think Stalin would have been a better man with some religious instruction?

  • “In the rest of your effort you veer off into making a logical error, that of converse accident, whereby you think that some people misusing or misunderstanding the core of their religion somehow magically invalidates that religion. It does not.”

    How is the prohibition against homosexuality a misunderstanding? I do not see the bible as any source of authority but if I did and I was being consistent with my beliefs and a loved one was telling me they were same sex attracted the next step for me would be to get them some treatment. The bible is pretty clear about homosexuality. Not much room for misunderstanding.

    “Your need to bone up on Venn diagramming.
    It seems more than likely that you have never studied logic. I suggest you do so. You may not make such a public fool of yourself is you do.
    FYI: Googling your fallacy fallacy does not make you competent in logic.”

    Thinly veiled ad hominem attack. I don’t consider open exchange and argument and even exposing ignorance as an act of foolishness. There are many things I don’t know. Happy to learn. In as much as you can judge tone from text alone yours is quite hostile.

  • Sure, national redemption is a “maybe”. This nation could wind up on either divine revival or divine judgment; the battle is still being waged, the outcome not clear.

    But as I suggested, if these atheistic types want to start crowing about America becoming a “secular nation”, especially after this past Election Day, they better be willing to compete very VERY hard for it.

    They better fight a good deal harder than what they’ve done so far. Atheistic Creampuffs!!

  • There is no passage in the Christian Bible that condemns homosexuality. There are several passages that condemn pederasty, older men having sex with young boys which is an abuse of power and trust. A valid prohibition in my view but if you differ that is your choice.

    Incidentally, my degree was in English and Philosophy which, of course, includes formal logic studies. How about your degree?

  • Sociology – total waste of time just FYI. Explains why I am a bit of a dilettante.

    – Thou shalt not lie with mankind, as with womankind: it is abomination.

    – If a man also lie with mankind, as he lieth with a woman, both of them have committed an abomination: they shall surely be put to death; their blood shall be upon them.

    I see no reference to pederasty there but feel free to let me know if I have misunderstood.

  • Dilettante indeed.

    Try separating the historical Jewish aspects of the Bible from the spiritual message.

  • Come on mate I don’t want the internet the just be an echo chamber of my own ideas I want my assumptions challenged.

  • Not at all. The Old Testament is focuses on Jewish history. The Jews were trying to keep themselves separate from the Romans and Greeks who did go in for same sex relations even though they were heterosexual – bromances on steroids. In addition, the Jews wanted to grow their numbers and so discouraged those same sex relations based on celebration of male bonding in favour of sex for procreation only. You really should make an effort to understand the Bible. Not everything in it is spiritual in nature.

  • Why not educate yourself? Read critically. Investigate. Learn different means of learning in addition to the limited and flawed sense-dated mathematico/logico variety. Forget assumptions and biases.

  • You seem to be implying that “Christians and most religionist”, do not base their views on factual error, logical error or both. I am definitely no expert on logic, but I tend to doubt that Christians believe that ALL versions of Christianity, and certainly not even most versions of other religions are factually or logically correct. In my experience I’ve noticed that many Catholics, Mormons, and Baptist seem to take pleasure in pointing out how illogical the other’s views on religion are. Unless your taking the stance that there are multiple and contradictory versions of “facts” and “logic”I don’t see how your statement makes a lot of sense. I don’t know, maybe I am just too dense to get what you’re trying to say.

  • That is a very generous interpretation of those passages. “They surely shall be put to death”. Just gentle encouragement to procreate?
    Also how could you possibly know that this was Jewish tradition put in place specifically to differentiate the Jews from the Greeks and Romans?
    I don’t see how you could come to that conclusion.

  • That is your inference It is not my implication. Logic is inadequate to know or communicate spiritual truth. One has to engage some of the suprarational modes
    of learning.

    Your view of Christian denominations is similarly inaccurate. It is not that you are “just too dense” to understand but that you are trying to apply logic to matters that are beyond the limits of logic and that you are emphasizing your view of the surfaces of religious denominations without recognizing the logical flaw in it.

  • Not generous, just historically accurate. Try actually learning about the history of the times. Oh, I forgot, you found education to be a waste of time.

  • I’m trying. I cannot find anything that shows that this was Jewish tradition put in place specifically to differentiate the Jews from the Greeks and Romans. Help me out.

  • You are not contributing much to this conversation. Spend more than 9 minutes doing your homework and then come back.

  • Not education in general, just sociology. Also I am trying to educate myself about the history of the times but I simply cannot find anything showing that this was Jewish tradition put in place specifically to differentiate the Jews from the Greeks and Romans. Help me out.

  • I’m here to learn new things. You have this information already at your fingertips and if you are in any way interested in convincing me to come around to your point of view I cannot see why you would be reluctant to give me that information.
    Your tone is extremely hostile. Is arguing in good faith not taught as part of formal logic?

  • Alright I’m an hour in and still nothing. I’m running late for work so can’t keep doing this sorry. Please help me out with some more info. I’ll check in again during my break.

  • Still nothing? I’m going to have to call you on this. I make what I think is an uncontroversial and pretty much accepted statement that the
    prohibition on homosexuality stated in the bible indicates that it was
    considered bad (as if that were not completely obvious anyway).

    You go on to state that the Old Testament is focuses on
    Jewish History (sic), which it does but that is just a part of it, it focuses on any number of other things including laws and forms of behaviour and prescriptions of punishment for breaking said laws.

    You go on to state that the prohibition against homosexuality was to differentiate the Jews from the Greeks and Romans and that this is historically accurate. That is an empirical statement one that you should be able to provide some evidence for.

    Not that it really matters, even if you were to provide said evidence that the ancient Jews based their cultural and religious practices around differentiating themselves from the Greeks and Romans so what? They still proscribed the death penalty for acts of homosexuality and that prohibition carried across into Christianity where it motivates otherwise good people to subject their loved ones to emotional torture in the form of conversion therapy and exorcisms.

    Now maybe you with your particular idiosyncratic version of
    Christianity think that is a bad thing (as I suspect you do and should) that does not change the fact that this is a feature of Christianity. It is part of the text and it is part of the living beliefs and practices of its adherents.
    To me that makes it part of the religion and therefore Christianity has and does motivate otherwise good people to do terrible things to their loved ones.

  • This article contains the implicit assumption – one that I see a lot – that atheists tend to the left politically. That’s not necessarily the case. While we may have common cause with the left in wanting a secular society, atheists range all over the political map, from followers of Ayn Rand, herself an atheist, on the far right, to Marxists on the far left, and every possible position in between. As a Democratic Socialist myself, I have very little common political ground with, say, right-wing atheist pundit George Will, but he’s no less an atheist than I am for it.

  • What a shame. You were doing so well right up until claiming that atheism is a religion. I’m sure it is, if you want to use non-standard definitions of either “atheism” or “religion”, but I see no reason to follow you down that particular rabbit hole, Mr. Dumpty.

  • Sounds like this indivijul showed up in the wrong situation. “Jim Johnson”? Really, Brett? You couldn’t come up with a less generic pseudonym?

  • Still no response. I expected as much. I thought my last post was a significant contribution. Well argued and clear. Do you ever apply your logic to your own beliefs ? I suspect not.

  • Well not clearly. She had more votes (popular vote). So I know you’re trying to start a fight but your smugness doesn’t really hold water. And she’s a Christian anyway. Atheists would like to just dump the supernatural hooey altogether, but if not, then at least have leaders who recognize the rights of all.

  • The only real fight on our hands is the fight for fact driven decision making policies. All other issues will resolve when the majority of the world’s population embraces information that is provable. It is tempting to engage in a fight against religion being that it is the most magical of all thought perspectives but this too is marginalizing and only leads to magical minds feeling justified and therefore empowered. Unity of our species under the direction of facts tempered with just enough emotion (compassion) that we do not neglect the unseen value of all life. As evolution has taught us, all fundamental change even toward a beneficial state of existence takes an incredible amount of time as compared to a human life span. We must find solace in the fact that the human trajectory is one of progress toward less harm to all. Indeed we must also have the resolve to keep reteaching wherever ignorance abounds so that the next generation is slightly more aware than ours and know that this alone will lead to a majority of responsible thought some day. Knowledge coupled with understanding is the only effective inoculation against the mental parasite that is ignorance. Teaching facts is the only cure so we too must guard ourselves from dogma and be patient.

  • That’s interesting. I don’t really see the non-religious as having to fight all that hard. The Silent Generation and Baby Boomers are aging past 70 years old and compromise the largest portion of the religiously-oriented American population, nearly 60% according to Pew. They’re being replaced by Millennials who report 70% of their numbers as non-religious. Regardless of one’s personal position, the nation’s religious profile will be flipped in just a handful of years.

  • It continues to amaze me that those who adhere to a religion supposedly based on love and humility and preaches things as the “Good Samaritan” want to bring about their vision of salvation through hate, violence and misery for others. Seems like their god of love is, in reality, a god of hate. If this is the case there is no heaven but only a hell (a heaven full of angry, armed, hateful and violent people is really a hell)!!

  • We cannot win this battle with religion until we redefine ourselves. By organizing as “secular” or “humanist” we accept that their viewpoint has validity and have a right to compete with us. The reality is much different. Theirs is a fantasy world and it should be exposed and dismantled.

  • it seems obvious that Donald Trump is an atheist, and ironic that evangelicals elected him so enthusiastically.

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