By Rohit Ravindran
In the spirit of the holiday season, I’d like to suggest that you not only spare a turkey, but also the cows, pigs, and chickens that you consume every day. This is, of course, an unpopular opinion to voice. A majority of Americans are deeply attached to their succulent meat, and it is often seen as offensive to preach a change in another’s life choices. But atheists, more than any other demographic group, should remember that majority status does not by itself guarantee that one is in the right. We should consider even the most unpopular opinions through rational and ethical thinking before passing judgment. Animal welfare proponents who speak up about the moral issues surrounding factory farming may indeed have something valuable to say, and this is becoming apparent in the increasing number of atheists who are turning vegetarian or vegan.
Each Thanksgiving, more than 46 million turkeys are slaughtered for their meat. And the process by which they are killed can hardly be considered humane. The most common factory farm consists of large sheds overcrowded with artificially inseminated animals that are subjected to living in their own excrement and breathing in the toxic fumes that emanate from these feces.Add a comment Add a comment
By August Berkshire
There have been three recent developments regarding Benson v. Alverson, the court case in which Minnesota Atheists has filed the sole amicus curiae (friend-of-the-court) brief on behalf of the Appellants.
As you may recall, the case involves three same-sex couples (collectively known as “Marry Me Minnesota”) who are trying to get their out-of-state legal marriages recognized in Minnesota, as well as to obtain the right for other same-sex couples to obtain legal civil marriages in Minnesota.
MNA Legal Fund Fundraiser
On October 9th Minnesota Atheists held a $50 per person fundraiser to raise money for our Legal Fund. Speaking at the event were Appellants Doug Benson & Duane Gajewski and Tom Trisko & John Rittman, the plaintiff’s lawyer Peter Nickitas, and our lawyer Marshall Tanick.
It was moving to hear the heartfelt stories of the couples involved. Anyone who had any doubts that we were doing the right thing in filing our amicus brief would have had those doubts erased when they heard how the current religiously based (and biased) civil marriage laws had hurt our fellow Minnesotans.Add a comment Add a comment
If God does not exist, anything is permitted,” concludes Ivan Karamazov, a character in Fyodor Dostoevsky’s novel, The Brothers Karamazov. “Anything is permitted” – leads to ethics. What is the right thing to do? How has evolution influenced our ethical behavior? Has religion influenced our behavior? Are our values defined by our culture or our biology? As emotions develop, how do they help form our morality and values?
On Sunday, November 20, Dr. Grant Steves will speak to Minnesota Atheists members on “Ethics, Science, or Religion – Which Has the Answer?” The above questions will be addressed in this presentation.
Grant is a former Board member of MNA and a past chairperson. He served as host for the Minnesota Atheists television show Atheists Talk and has been interviewed on the Minnesota Atheists radio show. He has also contributed articles and reviewed books for this newsletter. In the past, he has lectured on cults and fundamentalism. Grant has also delivered speeches at the Day of Reason. Listening to him is a real treat; some have said he has “the voice of God,” which we know is untrue since Grant is not mute. Nevertheless, he is a commanding speaker. Please join us!Add a comment Add a comment
By Eric Jayne
The Minnesota Atheists Burnsville Book Club recently discussed Janet Reitman's book Inside Scientology: The Story of America's Most Secretive Religion. After reading Reitman's investigative report many of us at the book discussion discovered the violent history, marketing campaigns, private rituals, and unique vernacular that not only contributed to make Scientology America's most secretive religion, but also quite possibly America's most miserable religion. Reitman's book was so intriguing that I was compelled to visit the local Scientology office in St. Paul to see real-life Scientologists and grab some free proselytizing literature for book club attendees.
The first part of Reitman's book focuses on the biography of L. Ron Hubbard. The reader learns that Hubbard was a successful and ambitious 1930s pulp fiction magazine writer in his 20s before he became a sailor in the U.S. Navy during World War II. After being discharged from the Navy in 1945, Hubbard adopted many esoteric mystical beliefs about the mind and body from Jack Parsons—an eccentric acquaintance he roomed with who practiced occultist magic.Add a comment Add a comment
Er, wait . . .
No, it was September 7th, 1994 when virulent outbreaks devastated entire populations, continents were swallowed by the oceans, trumpets sounded,
Um . . .
Okay, it was May 21st, 2011, when boils . . .
Hmm.Add a comment Add a comment