By Bjorn Watland
makes Minnesota Atheists different? In the Twin Cities alone,
there are many groups which could fall under the "Freethought"
banner. There is a student group - the Campus Atheists,
Skeptics and Humanists of the University of Minnesota - and
non-student groups like the Humanists of Minnesota, Atheists for
Human Rights, and Minneapolis Skeptics. As I wrote last month,
Minnesota Atheists' slogan is, "Positive Atheism in Action."
What does that say about these other groups? Are they
negative? Hardly. We are a diverse group, with many
different political opinions and different thoughts about how to
dialog with religious people, but the organization as a whole acts in
a certain way, which I believe attracts curious atheists.
Read more: President's Column "Our Atheist Community"
By Bjorn Watland
Do people behave better the older they get, because they fear "Judgement Day?" Are the problems of our economy due to actions made by people who believe there is no heaven or hell? David Lebedoff seems to think so in his opinion piece at the Star Tribune
The reaction from Minnesota Atheists should not be surprising. Of course I think that people can and do behave well, regardless of whether they fear a punishment prescribed by theology. In fact, I think it is more noble to act irregardless of such demands and to make choices based on principle rather than dogma.
I reject the claim that most of the decisions which have been made about our economy have been made by people who do not believe in a heaven or hell based on polling which indicate that atheists and people who do not believe in heaven or hell are in a minority status in this country. Our government is a secular government, but we are a diverse nation, full of decision makers who are believers and non believers.
Our current economic situation needs level headed, rational thinking, and not attempts to associate George Orwellian thinking to blame those who choose to reason in the natural world with all of its problems without regard to a supernatural concept of eternal punishment or reward.
As an atheist, I am offended by Mr. Lebedoff's claim and could counter that, using his reasoning, we should fear any attempts to accelerate tensions in Israel in order to bring about the Apocalypse. Apocalyptic thinking could be blamed for ignoring the current economic crisis, as well as impending environmental problems for our planet, because it is all a part of the End Times.
If you find Mr. Lebedoff's claim compelling, consider what doors his theory opens. What a waste of resources to sling mud over each other's views on theology when what is called for is cool headed reasoning. Minnesota Atheists and those who do not believe in eternal punishment or reward will not stand to be discriminated against so broadly for the world's troubles.
are many good, rational reasons for not believing in gods. Logically,
the existence of one is very low, and scientifically there just isn't
any real evidence. But, for some reason, I always gravitate toward
the really stupid reasons. Like religious clothing.
According to the
Judeo-Christian myths, God created mankind naked. It was Adam and
Eve's idea to invent clothes, not God's. God didn't even seem to be
real keen on the idea of clothes at first, but once the ball started
rolling, God caught on pretty quickly.
Read more: Lunatic Fringe (God as fashion designer)
Final Exit Network provides counseling and instruction to those who
wish to end their lives. According to their web site, "Final
Exit Network is the only organization in the United States that will
help individuals who are not ‘terminally ill' - 6 months
or less to live - to hasten their deaths." Our speaker for the
April 19 public meeting, Jerry Dincin, became the president of FEN
one month ago, when the previous president, Ted Goodwin, was arrested
by the state of Georgia for alleged direct participation in the
suicide of a long-time member. The arrest of several FEN officers and
the seizure of all of their bank accounts culminated a multi-state
Opposition to assisted suicide
is based on religious conviction of the "sanctity of life,"
to the exclusion of consideration for the quality of life and for
personal dignity. When, after several trials, Dr. Jack Kevorkian was
convicted in Michigan and sent to prison, Minnesota Atheists
recognized him in absentia with an award for his courageous defiance
of religion-based law in service to his clients. The Final Exit
Network follows the path Dr. Kevorkian blazed in support of the
self-determination of life outcomes.
Dincin will speak not only of the mission of the Final Exit Network,
but we hope also of the criminal case against them in Georgia. Due
to his flight schedule, his presentation will begin at 1:00,
and will conclude by 2:30. For this meeting we will return to the
Ridgedale Library, 12601 Ridgedale Drive, Minnetonka. The Business
Meeting will follow afterward, and at 4:00 there will be a dinner
buffet at Wanderer's Garden, 13059 Ridgedale Drive, Minnetonka.
Come bring your pirate hat, or arrive as ye be! Minnesota Atheists
will be honoring that great noodly deity, the Flying Spaghetti Monster,
by dining on noodles prepared in His image. There will be salad,
bread, noodles and sauces galore, including vegetarian and vegan
options. We will also have dessert and drinks. If you are interested
in helping out by bringing a sauce to share, or some other booty, we'll
take yer treasures if you comment below.
crewing up in the Party Room at the Larpenteur Estates on March 29 at 4
p.m. until 7 p.m. Sail in when you can, deport when you must. Bus
route 61 will get you there. Just park behind the complex, and follow
the signs to the Party Room to take part in the spoils. Bring a
donation of at least $6.66, and you can eat all you please.
March 29 4 to 7 p.m.
1276 Larpenteur Ave. W.
Saint Paul, MN 55113