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Non-Believers and Anti-religious Activism
Posted: 24 December 2008 02:07 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 31 ]
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Ecrasez l’infame! - 24 December 2008 11:50 AM
PLaClair - 24 December 2008 06:28 AM
Ecrasez l’infame! - 23 December 2008 08:07 PM

What about getting your local atheist friends together and sending an offer (as atheists) to local churches to help them work to support the homeless in the region?  Let the local media know that you have done it (as atheists).

Now you’re talking, but I wouldn’t contact the media. It’s more powerful if the community notices on its own what those wonderful people are doing (Hey, who are they?).

O.K., perhaps we contact the media after the churches have refused to work with us!  (Just showing my cynical side).

Since you agree, will you do it? 

Will others agree to do it by leaving their simple statement of agreement on this system, please?

I don’t agree with you. If the churches won’t work with you, then do it yourselves. You’re not going to win any friends by making a show of helping people for the purpose of getting publicity. The community will only dislike you all the more and with good reason.

It’s like I tell my clients: the only way you can get the jury on your side is by being yourself. Some litigants connive all the time. I try to tell them that they probably won’t convince anyone by trying to figure out how to convince them. The honest clients, for the most part, are the ones who connect with the jurors by getting through with their honesty. We must do the same thing: serve the community, let the noticing come from others in due course and don’t be surprised or disappointed that it doesn’t happen right away.

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I cannot in good conscience support CFI under the current leadership. I am here in dissent and in support of a Humanism that honors and respects everyone.

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Posted: 24 December 2008 02:07 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 32 ]
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In other activism, a Phoenix newspaper has published an impressively long (seven online pages) feature about a heretical street activist there.  Here’s an excerpt:

Omar Call Preaches Atheism on Tempe’s Mill Avenue

By Niki D’Andrea
Published on December 22, 2008 at 3:39pm
http://www.phoenixnewtimes.com/2008-12-25/news/performance-atheist-omar-call-has-called-it-quits-on-god-and-thinks-you-should-too/

[...] Among the shoppers, street musicians, club-goers, and college kids, there’s this wispy hipster guy holding up a sign as large as the plasma TVs. Dressed in a vintage, blue velvet Dolce & Gabbana blazer, black-and-white vinyl loafers, and a black silk tie with a double Windsor knot, he looks like the lovechild of an Anthony Burgess novel and an Andy Warhol film. . . .

[Omar] Call has been coming to Mill Avenue every Saturday for the past three years to get flipped off, but also to have heady conversations. He particularly relishes debating the Christian street preachers who’ve sermonized on this strip for close to a decade. He thinks it’s fun. The first time he did it, he says, he went home afterwards and “it was like I was on a high. I was so excited.”

On quiet nights, he stands with his signs on the street and waits for people to ask questions. Having “logical, rational” discussions and making people think is almost like a creative art project for him.

In the beginning, his tactics were deliberately provocative - he dressed as Jehovah and stood on the corner, holding a sign that read, “I quit.” When preachers set up speakers and started barking about damnation, Call would talk back through a bullhorn.

Other atheists, particularly those from an ASU group called the Secular Free Thought Society, often join Call on the corner. Initially, the group was small - a few atheist ASU grads bringing out their own tracts to counteract the Christians who handed out “$1 million bills” with Bible scriptures on the back.

But the SFTS has grown, and ever since it got two microphones, a loudspeaker, and a “background soundtrack” playlist on the iPod with themed songs like Roger Waters’ “What God Wants” and Black Sabbath’s “War Pigs,” it’s started to look more like a chaotic club party on the corner of Fifth and Mill than the satirical-but-serious piece of art Call says he’s performing.

[...]

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Posted: 25 December 2008 07:28 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 33 ]
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PLaClair - 24 December 2008 02:07 PM
Ecrasez l’infame! - 24 December 2008 11:50 AM
PLaClair - 24 December 2008 06:28 AM
Ecrasez l’infame! - 23 December 2008 08:07 PM

What about getting your local atheist friends together and sending an offer (as atheists) to local churches to help them work to support the homeless in the region?  Let the local media know that you have done it (as atheists).

Now you’re talking, but I wouldn’t contact the media. It’s more powerful if the community notices on its own what those wonderful people are doing (Hey, who are they?).

O.K., perhaps we contact the media after the churches have refused to work with us!  (Just showing my cynical side).

Since you agree, will you do it? 

Will others agree to do it by leaving their simple statement of agreement on this system, please?

I don’t agree with you. If the churches won’t work with you, then do it yourselves. You’re not going to win any friends by making a show of helping people for the purpose of getting publicity. The community will only dislike you all the more and with good reason.

It’s like I tell my clients: the only way you can get the jury on your side is by being yourself. Some litigants connive all the time. I try to tell them that they probably won’t convince anyone by trying to figure out how to convince them. The honest clients, for the most part, are the ones who connect with the jurors by getting through with their honesty. We must do the same thing: serve the community, let the noticing come from others in due course and don’t be surprised or disappointed that it doesn’t happen right away.

I think you have it wrong.  I’m not voting for community service, although this could be a side-effect, I’m voting for activism, exposure, publicity, open discussion, getting people to look beyond their own beliefs and to understand that atheism is a choice that others have embraced.  I find that most often a lack of knowledge about atheism and its adherents is the problem - borderline religious just don’t think about other options and are afraid to make the obvious choices.  To me its very simple: religious adherents are wrong - there are no gods.  Their adherence to their belief is bad for them and their communities, so we should explain their options.

[ Edited: 25 December 2008 07:30 PM by Fat Man ]
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Posted: 26 December 2008 05:26 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 34 ]
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Ecrasez l’infame! - 25 December 2008 07:28 PM

I think you have it wrong.  I’m not voting for community service, although this could be a side-effect, I’m voting for activism, exposure, publicity, open discussion, getting people to look beyond their own beliefs and to understand that atheism is a choice that others have embraced.  I find that most often a lack of knowledge about atheism and its adherents is the problem - borderline religious just don’t think about other options and are afraid to make the obvious choices.  To me its very simple: religious adherents are wrong - there are no gods.  Their adherence to their belief is bad for them and their communities, so we should explain their options.

With all due respect, you just proved that I have it exactly right. You want to do activism under the guise of community service. Not only will it not work in terms of getting people to listen to or side with you, it will make them hate you. Short of bombing outreach shelters, you could scarcely devise a more self-destructive strategy.

Look, I share some of your feelings, including the frustration over how difficult it is to get the broader community to listen to our point of view. But that’s the point. To be effective, you have to get them to listen to you, not just hear you shouting. I’m as in-your-face as anyone on this site, but you have to pick your spots.

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I cannot in good conscience support CFI under the current leadership. I am here in dissent and in support of a Humanism that honors and respects everyone.

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Posted: 26 December 2008 08:42 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 35 ]
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PLaClair - 26 December 2008 05:26 AM
Ecrasez l’infame! - 25 December 2008 07:28 PM

I think you have it wrong.  I’m not voting for community service, although this could be a side-effect, I’m voting for activism, exposure, publicity, open discussion, getting people to look beyond their own beliefs and to understand that atheism is a choice that others have embraced.  I find that most often a lack of knowledge about atheism and its adherents is the problem - borderline religious just don’t think about other options and are afraid to make the obvious choices.  To me its very simple: religious adherents are wrong - there are no gods.  Their adherence to their belief is bad for them and their communities, so we should explain their options.

With all due respect, you just proved that I have it exactly right. You want to do activism under the guise of community service. Not only will it not work in terms of getting people to listen to or side with you, it will make them hate you. Short of bombing outreach shelters, you could scarcely devise a more self-destructive strategy.

Look, I share some of your feelings, including the frustration over how difficult it is to get the broader community to listen to our point of view. But that’s the point. To be effective, you have to get them to listen to you, not just hear you shouting. I’m as in-your-face as anyone on this site, but you have to pick your spots.

Yes.

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