President's Column: "Electrons R Us - OMG!"

august_head.jpgby August Berkshire

For many years, Minnesota Atheists has published a combined November-December newsletter. This is because the main thing that happens in December is our winter solstice party, which we advertise in the November-December newsletter and often with a special separate mailing in December, as we did this year.

Furthermore, the production of a newsletter takes dozens of hours that our volunteers often find hard to offer amidst the many parties and family gatherings that occur in December.

Finally, we try to save the organization (our members) money where we can.

However, at the suggestion of Bjorn and Jeannette Watland, we decided to try an experiment that would cost us nothing and would provide those of us who desire it with our monthly installment of local atheist news and comment. We decided to publish a December e-newsletter.

There are some atheist groups that have totally abandoned paper newsletters (if they ever had them in the first place). Call me old-fashioned, and some of you young whippersnappers under age 30 will, but I still like holding and reading a paper newsletter in my hands, rather than squinting at a computer screen.

Besides, it's easy to forget to read one e-mail out of the hundred I get each day. In contrast, I get about ten pieces of snail mail a day, half of which I quickly and easily toss into recycling. This makes it easy to spot my buff-colored Minnesota Atheists newsletter and set it aside for later reading in my commodious reading room.

But, I realize that the internet is the future that is upon us. Resistance is futile. So, enjoy this "bonus" issue of our newsletter. And rest assured that anything of great importance to our members - such as the announcement of our annual elections - will be repeated in the January 2009 paper newsletter.

August Berkshire is the President of Minnesota Atheists and the Vice President of Atheist Alliance International.


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A Message From Up Above

billboarda_01.jpg Colorado Springs, long known by some as the The Protestant Vatican, will be seeing some signs ... not from god.

On Monday, billboards that say, "Don't Believe in God You are not alone" will wind up peppering the state of Colorado, one in Colorado Springs,and ten in the Denver area. Inspired by the recent bus sign campaign in the UK, The Colorado Coalition of Reason is renting the billboards for four weeks. Meanwhile, the Freedom From Religion Foundation will be funding an even larger campaign to put up atheist billboards in 46 states.
 
Most of us drive by several Christian billboards on our way to and from work. It is nice to have at least a few of them that speak to us atheists, even if it is only for a short time.

No doubt, cries of persecution will be heard.
 
 
On the right hand side of the web page there's a poll. Should MN Atheists put up a billboard? Be sure to vote.


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In Times of Trouble, Online Psychics Come To Me

According to an article on Wired.com, practitioners of divination, many of them who give out  predictions online through email or IM, say that they see a marked increase in business during economic slumps. The hopeful patrons often ask about future financial and employment status.

Mmmm, I wonder what kind of economic downturn Jerusalem saw about two thousand years ago?
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Bookmaker Raises Odds for the Existence of God to 4-1

Blaise PascalPaddy Power, a bookmaker in the UK which started only two months ago, has begun to offer bets on the existence of God and collected more than £5,000 in bets.  Currently, the odds stand at 4-1, spreading as far as 33-1 when the Large Hadron Collider malfunctioned.  Citing the recent introduction of atheist advertising on London's buses, which mention that, "There probably is no God,"a spokesman for Paddy Power thinks that the increase in betting is the result of increased public discussion over the existence of God brought on by the advertisements.
 
The booking agent stands to lose  more than £50,000 if proof for the existence of God is found.  Before anyone cashes in, however, scientists will have to verify the proof offered.
 
Betting on the existence of God is not new.  In the 17th century, Blaise Pascal reasoned that one had nothing to lose, and everything to gain by having religious belief.
 
You can read more here.
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Sarah Palin and the New Apostolic Reformation

The Huffington Post has more interesting information on Sarah Palin's involvement in a religious movement called  The New Apostolic Reformation. An independent research team has recently found information about the organization and it's plans to implement a world wide Christian theocracy. As far fetched as it sounds, the organization's leader C. Peter Wagner  was quoted as saying, "I decree that vast amounts of wealth will be released supernaturally, even from godless and pagan sources... The enemy's camp will be plundered... Resistance will be impossible. Jesus will put all things under His feet."

There's some interesting stuff in there, like information on an expedition to Mount Everest to rid it of a demonic spirit that is blocking prayers from getting to heaven.
 
 
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