Mean Christians Won’t Let Atheist Lead Their Church

From here:

“We don’t talk about God,” Vosper said in an interview, describing services at her West Hill United Church, adding that it’s time the church gave up on “the idolatry of a theistic god.”

Vosper’s decision to reject God, Jesus Christ and the Holy Spirit and to turn her church into a haven for nonbelievers “looking for a community that will help them create meaningful lives without God” has become too much even for the liberal-minded United Church of Canada.

The United Church, the country’s largest Protestant denomination, has begun an extraordinary process that could end up stripping Vosper of her rights to continue as a minister.

I have previously talked about the selfishness of Rev. Gretta Vosper and the way she stabbed her congregation in the back.  I smell a closet activist who will soon be crying those “atheist-as-victim” tears.

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New Atheism Not a Cause Behind the Rise of the Nones

Peter Boghossian and his activist allies wrote:

New Atheism has already succeeded in shifting the cultural landscape of Western civilization, making it far more acceptable to be openly atheist, giving atheists unprecedented public visibility, buttressing the legal boundaries of secularism and changing the nature of public discourse about faith, belief, God and religion.

I’m not surprised that New Atheist activists would believe in their own self-importance.  But this is delusional.  The problem is that there is no evidence New Atheism shifted any aspect of our cultural landscape.

While it is true that the rise in the number of religiously unaffiliated Americans (“Nones”) has been significant, there is no evidence New Atheism had anything to do with this.  Consider the data:

nones

As you can see, the growth of the Nones began in the early 1990s, long before Harris and Dawkins started to write their books.  So what might explain this change?

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Peter Boghossian’s Silly Article

New Atheist activists Peter Boghossian, James Lindsay, and Phil Torres have a solution to the problems posed by radical Islamists:

Solutions are hard to come by. But there is a way to counter extremism that’s potentially as effective as it is unpopular. It’s a social and intellectual strategy that aims to undermine the religious beliefs that motivate jihadists—and one of the most controversial set of ideas to emerge in the West in the last quarter century: New Atheism.

Ah yes, fight extremism with extremism.  In response to ISIS, let’s label all Muslims as mentally ill child abusers and really double down on the mockery of Mohammed.  Another brilliant Gnu idea.

What’s really telling here is the admission – New Atheism is a social and intellectual strategy that aims to undermine the religious beliefs.  This explains the “ends justify the means” approach to New Atheism.  It’s a “strategy.”  We’ll have to explore this more in the future.

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Richard Carrier Suing PZ Myers and Others for Over $2 million

It’s official.  Hemant Mehta tells us feminist atheist activist Richard Carrier is suing other feminist atheist activists:

He asks for $500,000 in compensatory damages and $500,000 in punitive damages for each of the two counts of defamation and $50,000 in both compensatory and punitive damages for interfering with his business — for a total of $2,100,000. He also wants an injunction against the named bloggers and everyone in their networks from publishing or republishing the “false and defamatory Narrative.”

And both sides, I’m sure, have reason and evidence on their side.

Mehta’s source is this publicly available lawsuit.

 

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New Atheist Delusions About Delusions

Originally posted August 30, 2013.

Surprise, surprise. The Gnu Atheist activists seem to think all religious people should be diagnosed as mentally ill because they suffer from delusions. We learn about this totally novel attack [cough] when Jerry Coyne recommended yet another atheist book to his fans. No, not PZ Myers’ book. Coyne continues to ignore that one for some reason. Instead, it’s an upcoming book by Peter Boghossian. I’m dying to comment on Coyne’s recommendation, but let’s get back to the professor’s diagnosis. Coyne writes:

What I wanted to post, beyond this recommendation, was something in the book that I didn’t know. The DSM of psychiatry, explained in the excerpt below, defines delusions in such a way that religion is really one of them. But then it exempts religion from the psychiatric diagnosis of “delusion” because it is widely held. Here’s an excerpt from Peter’s book, which I post with his permission (the bolding is Peter’s, but I would have bolded it, too!):

The Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM), published by the American Psychiatric Association (APA), is the single most important text used by clinicians. It is the diagnostic rulebook. Currently, the DSM grants religious delusions an exemption from classification as a mental illness. The following is the DSM-IV’s definition of delusion:

“A false belief based on incorrect inference about external reality that is firmly sustained despite what almost everyone else believes and despite what constitutes incontrovertible and obvious proof or evidence to the contrary. The belief is not one ordinarily accepted by other members of the person’s culture or subculture (e.g. it is not an article of religious faith). When a false belief involves a value judgment, it is regarded as a delusion only when the judgment is so extreme as to defy credibility. Delusional conviction occurs on a continuum and can sometimes be inferred from an individual’s behavior. It is often difficult to distinguish between a delusion and an overvalued idea (in which case the individual has an unreasonable belief or idea but does not hold it as firmly as is the case with a delusion)” (2000, p. 765).

Again, religion gets a pass in society. Why should someone’s belief be a delusion only if it’s held by a minority of people? In the important respect of being “an incorrect inference about external reality that is firmly sustained,” and one that “defies credibility,” religion is a delusion. But note how religious faith is specifically exempted.

Not so fast there, professors. Some of us value critical thinking and, as such, would like to take a closer look at that definition (the sentence you two wanted to pass over with your highlighting):

A false belief based on incorrect inference about external reality that is firmly sustained despite what almost everyone else believes and despite what constitutes incontrovertible and obvious proof or evidence to the contrary.

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Is a Rise in Secularism Correlated with a Declining Economy?

From a recent article at usnews.com:

“As older cohorts of adults (comprised mainly of self-identified Christians) pass away, they are being replaced by a new cohort of young adults who display far lower levels of attachment to organized religion than their parents’ and grandparents’ generations did when they were the same age,” Pew’s 2015 report said. “[T]he United States is growing less religious (in percentage terms) not because there are fewer highly religious people but rather because, as the overall U.S. population has grown, there are now many more non-religious people than was the case just a few years ago.”

The societal impacts of this trend should not be understated. With $1.2 trillion of economic contributions on the line – or roughly $5 trillion per the Grims’ more extreme estimate – waning religion could imperil jobs, company revenues and aid provided to those in need over the next few decades.

In fact, a study published last year in the Journal of the Urban Affairs found that declines in an area’s “social and economic viability” appeared connected to “the closure of geographically based congregations” and churches.

It’s also worth noting that, per Pew, 45 percent of “highly religious” individuals indicated they had volunteered in the past week, while 65 percent said they’d recently donated money, time or goods to the poor. That’s compared with 28 percent and 41 percent, respectively, for those “not highly religious.”

The Independent Sector – a coalition of nonprofits, foundations and corporate giving programs – estimated last year that an hour of volunteer work was worth $23.56 for the national economy. And the Giving USA Foundation and Indiana University Lilly Family School of Philanthropy estimated Americans’ charitable giving in 2015 soared to a record $373.25 billion. Should charitable giving and volunteer work decline, American tax dollars could potentially be on the line to fill in the gaps of support to those in need.

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Religion is Good for the Economy

From the Washington Post:

Religion is big business. Just how big? A new study, published Wednesday by a father-daughter researcher team, says religion is bigger than Facebook, Google and Apple — combined.

The article in the Interdisciplinary Journal of Research on Religion said that the annual revenues of faith-based enterprises — not just churches but hospitals, schools, charities and even gospel musicians and halal food makers — is more than $378 billion a year. And that’s not counting the annual shopping bonanza motivated by Christmas.

Georgetown University’s Brian Grim and the Newseum’s Melissa Grim — in a study sponsored by an organization called Faith Counts, which promotes the value of religion — produced a 31-page breakdown of all the ways religion contributes to the U.S. economy.

I’m pressed for time, but I wanted to bring this to your attention because it represents a huge poison pill for the New Atheist movement.  For what the study means is that even if atheism was true, there would still be a good reason to support religion – it is very good for the economy.  With such a secular justification, “accomodationists” are in a stronger position in their opposition to the extreme anti-religious hostility of the New Atheists. For trying to eradicate religion is economically akin to eradicating Facebook, Google, and Apple combined.  Not very smart.

This study is likely to annoy atheist activists who need to propagate a purely/mostly “religion is dangerous and evil” narrative.

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New Atheists Harass Orphanage

MUSKOGEE, Oklahoma (Christian Examiner) – The Murrow Indian Children’s Home in Muskogee, Okla., under fire for politely refusing to accept and publicize a $100 donation from an atheist, has been forced to shut down its Facebook page after hundreds of atheists posted vitriolic and anti-Christian comments on it.

Many of the comments, obscene in nature, cannot be reprinted by Christian Examiner. Others, however, reflect atheist sentiments such as referring to God as “your imaginary friend” and others calling the Christians who refused the donation “hypocrites” and “bigots.”

On Sunday, a fresh search for the Facebook page yielded only a statement that said the content was unavailable.

One member of the Muskogee Atheist Community said:

Am I sorry their Facebook page was shutdown? Not really.

And New Atheists complain that people have negative stereotypes of atheists.

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New Atheists Have a History of Trolling with their Donations

Here is something I originally posted back in 2013 that seems relevant today given the way the New Atheist community recently harassed an orphanage.  

Time for more dishonest street theater from the New Atheists. Militant atheist Jerry Coyne is once again trying to play the “atheist-as-victim” card with a blog entry entitled, Local park district, then library, reject $3000 donation because it came from atheists. Just because it came from atheists? Really? Let me share my opinions on the matter.

Not surprisingly, this narrative involves Hemant Mehta, the activist atheist who is constantly trying his best to spin atheists as victims. Coyne begins by citing his culture war comrade:

Back in October, I posted about how the American Legion Post 134 was financially boycotting the Morton Grove Park District because its Commissioner Dan Ashta wouldn’t stand for the Pledge of Allegiance at board meetings. Ashta’s sitting down for the Pledge cost the district $2,600 that the American Legion group had been giving them each year.

And then Coyne comments:

Ashta’s protest was apparently about the right of Americans to exercise their freedoms. But of course it was perceived as a slap in the face by the right-wing Legionnaires, who refused to give their customary donation.

There is no evidence these Legionnaires are “right-wing.” That’s just Coyne once again leaning on the crutch of his stereotypes. I’ve been in Legion posts and have known veterans, and yeah, considering the sacrifices vets have made, they do get sensitive about those type of stunts.

Ever the activist in search of a controversy to score points with, Hemant got his followers to come up with $3000 and then tried to donate it to the Park. The Park rejected it because they did not want to become embroiled in some public First Amendment dispute:

Hello Hemant,
The check was received, thank you.
I just sent you a letter indicating that we received the check. Unfortunately, your donation as presented must be returned. The Park Board has no intention of becoming embroiled in a First Amendment dispute or allegations it is sympathetic to or supports/doesn’t support any particular political or religious cause.”
Again, thank you for thinking of the district.

The evidence shows the money was clearly raised to score a political point. Like grown-ups, they didn’t want, or didn’t have the time, to become the stage where activists could preen for the cameras in another one of their street dramas. They were wise enough not to be tricked by Hemant.

Being unable to accept the parsimonious, simple explanation of the park officials, Coyne concocts some melodramatic translations that clearly come from his stereotypes in order to smear the park officials:

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Blast From the Past

They’re back!

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Trying to recapture that old magic.  I guess there is hope someone will also bring back Will & Grace.

For some reason, I also found this  amusing.

dawkins-tour-2016-x

Then I realized what it is.  Poor Sam.  Wrote the first Gnu book and is forever destined to be the side-kick.

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