Want a Better World? American Humanist Association Not Required

FYI: this post has been moved here.


  1. Saying that prayer is not required for a better world can hardly be reasonably compared to forcing people into a belief system. Forced belief systems are wrong and doomed to failure whether the belief system is atheism, Christianity, Islam, Buddhism, or anything else. In contrast, trying to persuade people to voluntarily change their belief systems is perfectly acceptable and something we all have the right to do in the U.S.

  2. I love that churches expect 10% of gross from their members, but atheists are the greedy ones.

    muches lulz.

  3. Of all the stupid arguments that Mariano uses against Atheism, this is one of the stupidest. We live in a world where any organization promoting any particular point of view is going to need money to do so. Asking for donations on a website is just plain reasonable. Donating to a cause that you think is beneficial to humanity is noble.

    Now you may not think the cause is beneficial - for example, some people think that objectives and methods of P.E.T.A. are misguided and harmful - but it would be really stupid to think that it was wrong for their supporters to donate money to that cause. If you don't like what an organization stands for, then by all means argue against it, but saying that bonifide organizations that request donations are somehow doing something wrong is just plain stupid. And, if perchance you have actually donated money to some organization that you think is beneficial (religious or no) then to complain about other people donating is just hypocritical.

  4. Today billboards, tommorow Atheist Telemarkerters Calling me at dinner!

  5. Erika,

    You recently suggested that Mariano goes to the trouble to maintain this blog because he really has a fear of losing his own faith. I don’t think that’s true: he’s unlikely to lose his own faith unless he actually learns about science, Biblical scholarship, etc., and he seems to be in no danger of doing that. I’ve pointed out to him some of his real bloopers in science (I have a Ph.D. in physics), but this has had no noticeable effect on him.

    I think his current entry may give a better clue as to his motivation. Until a few years ago, there was sort of an unspoken social agreement in this country: the Christians would agree not to burn us atheists at the stake if we atheists would agree to keep quiet about our atheist views and not discuss them in public. It is okay to discuss our views quietly among ourselves or in isolated academic settings (such as philosophy departments), but we must not actually claim publicly that we think we are right or – God forbid! – that we truly think Christianity is false and morally wrong.

    The “New Atheists” have broken this unwritten agreement and that seems to be what is really upsetting Mariano.

    What seems to particularly upset him is that once atheists are “out of the closet” and speaking openly in the public square, atheism is likely to be viewed as a real option by a number of adolescents.

    He’s right about that. My own grandfather was a non-believer, but I only found out about it after his death: social and familial pressures were enough to keep him from talking about it with any of us grandkids. Had he spoken about his rejection of Christianity openly, it almost certainly would have accelerated his grandkids’ movement away from Christianity (although he did have some clever ways anyway of encouraging us in the direction of skepticism and critical inquiry).

    As Dylan said, the times they are a’ changin’, and Mariano does not like it. From his perspective, we atheists who are no longer willing to be docile second-class citizens are breaking a longstanding social agreement and are threatening his (and others’) kids. In a perverse way, he has a point.

    I will have to say that personally I think Mariano is doing a great service for atheists: he spends a lot more time keeping up on the world of atheism than I can afford to do myself. He has, for example, already clued me in to a couple of interesting atheist books that I had not known of previously.

    All the best,

    Dave Miller in Sacramento

  6. Hey Dave,

    I was just wondering. Do you have a Ph.D. in Physics?

  7. APPRAISE THE LORD! Tax the churches!!

  8. This article, like the title of this blog, betrays irrational fear. If your arguments are so watertight, and Atheism is doomed to failure, why do you expend so much energy giving Atheists oxygen? What is it that scares you?

    And implying a tenuous link between all atheists and communists is beneath contempt. In its purest apolitical form, there are arguably closer links between Communism and Christianity than Communism and Atheism. My grandfather was a Christian priest when the Soviet Union was in the ascendant, and, like many at that time, he saw no conflict in preaching the many virtues of the communist ideology in its purest form. It was only later that he became disillusioned, and recognised that what was going on in the USSR was nothing mmore than a corrupt political dictatorship, which had completely lost sight of the original principles. So, please, drop that particular facet of your smear campaign. It simply makes you appear more desperate, and does your cause no good.