Tuesday, October 30, 2007

Defending secular society

reposted from:
Chris Street comments are in bright green; highlights in blockquotes (yellow).

Monday, October 29, 2007

Defending secular society

On Saturday I was involved in a debate on The Resurrection of Religion at the RCA. I defended the secular society. Here are some of the points I made, for what they are worth...

What is a secular society? It is, roughly, one that is neutral between different views about religion.

It protects freedoms: the freedom to believe, or not believe, worship, or not worship.

It is founded on basic principles framed independently of any particular religious, or indeed, atheist, point of view: principles to which we ought to be able to sign up whether we are religious or not.

An Islamic or Christian theocracy is obviously not secular, because one particular religion dominates the state.

But then a totalitarian atheist state, such as Mao’s China, is not secular state either. A secular state does not privilege atheist beliefs.

Because you live in a secular society, your right to believe in a particular God, worship him, etc. is protected from those atheists, and those of differing religious views, that might want to take that freedom from you.

Christians often assume a secular society is an atheist society. "Look at the institutions and principles of this society." they say. "They involve no religion. So it's an atheist society". Not so. After all, the fact that the institutions and principles make no commitment to atheism doesn't make it a religious society, does it?

We are often told that secular societies have "failed" (e.g."Many people today recognise that the experiment of modern secular society has failed." Bishop Joseph Devine “Today many recognise that the experiment of modern secular society has failed." Rev Vincent Nichols). The truth is they have been hugely successful. Of course, they are not all perfect, but secularism is, I think you’ll find, better than the alternatives.

Threats to the secular society

One way in which the secular character of a society can begin to be eroded is if the religious start insisting that their views are deserving of a special concern and "respect". Many of the faithful insist just that.
Here are six examples:

1. We should not put on plays that mock, or might in some other way deeply offend, those with religious beliefs.

2. Schools and airlines should have no power to prevent flight attendants and school pupils from wear religious symbols, if the individual’s religion, or conscience, requires it.

3.Taxpayers money should be used to fund religious schools, that are then permitted to discriminate against both teachers and pupils on the basis of religious belief.

4. The anti-discrimination laws that apply to everyone else in the country should not apply to, say, Catholic adoption agencies asked to help gay couples adopt.

5. Radio 4’s Thought for The Day should only allow religious figures to contribute.

6. A religion should automatically be allocated 26, seats in the House of Lords – all men, by the way – which can then be used to help support or block legislation that has popular, democratic support (such as the Bill on assisted dying).

We are told that, if we fail to agree to these claims, we fail to show religious beliefs proper “respect”.

If we agree to these things, we begin to erode the secular character of our society.

I don’t agree with any of these six claims. Why not? Well, because I apply a certain TEST - a test I am recommending you apply too.

Here’s the test. If you agree with some of these claims that religion deserves a special respect, cross out the word “religious” and write in “political” instead. Then see if you still agree.

Take three of those six claims…

1. We should not put on plays that mock, or might in some other way deeply offend, those with political beliefs.

2. Schools and airlines should have no power to prevent flight attendants and school pupils from wearing political symbols, if the individual’s political organization, or conscience, requires it.

4. The anti-discrimination laws that apply to everyone else in the country should not apply to, say, BNP-run adoption agencies asked to help mixed race couples adopt. We should respect the political conscience of BNP-party members.

The challenge I am putting to the anti-secularists is: if you reject the political version of the claim, why suppose the religious version should be considered differently?

REPLY 1: You may say, but religion is different. Unlike political organizatons, religions deserve special respect. But why? After all, religious beliefs are often also intensely political. Consider religious views on:
• Women’s role in society
• The moral status of the actively homosexual
• Abortion
• Jihad
• The state of Israel
• Our moral and financial responsibilities to those less fortune than ourselves

Religions also form powerful political lobbies.

REPLY 2: You may say: but religious beliefs are more passionately held. That’s why they deserve special respect.

But political beliefs may be just as passionately held. Indeed, just as for religious beliefs, people are prepared to die for them. In fact I am prepared to die for certain political beliefs. Yet I do not demand legislation preventing others from mocking my beliefs. I don’t demand that others show my political beliefs that sort of “respect”…

We have a peculiar blind spot when to comes to religion. We far too easily accept what we would never accept from a political organization. Yet they are political organizations.

Next time someone suggest that a religious group or groups should receive special treatment, try applying the above test.

Monday, October 29, 2007

The Atheist T-shirt Shop

reposted from:

Welcome to the atheist t-shirt shop. Here you will find t-shirts and other gear to express your beliefs. No matter if you consider yourself an atheist, humanist or an agnostic, you are sure to find something you like.

Jesus died for my sins!
Jesus died for my sins!

And if I ever return to Vegas they will get me to!

The Rapture & Santa
The Rapture & Santa

T-shirts, sweatshirts, stickers and more.

Hell - Where all the fun people end up
Hell - Where all the fun people end up


Religion is War
Religion is War

T-shirts, sweatshirts, stickers and gear.

Rationalist t-shirts
Rationalist t-shirts

I Love Reason
I Love Reason

T-shirts, sweatshirts, stickers and more.

Atheist vs. Fairytales
Atheist vs. Fairytales

T-shirts, sweatshirts, stickers and more gear.

I Love Proof
I Love Proof

T-shirts, sweatshirts, stickers and fun gear.

Atheist - Science & Proof
Atheist - Science & Proof

T-shirts, sweatshirts, stickers, gear.

I Love Science
I Love Science

I Love Science t-shirts, sweatshirts, stickers and gear.

Science is my Religion
Science is my Religion

Science is my Religion t-shirts, sweatshirts, stickers and gear.

I Love Reality
I Love Reality

I Love Reality t-shirts, sweatshirts, stickers and gear.

Reality is my Religion
Reality is my Religion

Reality is my Religion t-shirts, sweatshirts, stickers and gear.

Zeus to Reason
Zeus to Reason

Zeus Mars Thor Jesus Reason

Evolution? Yes Please!
Evolution? Yes Please!

Evolution? Yes Please! T-shirts, sweatshirts, stickers and gear.

Proud Atheist
Proud Atheist

Proud Atheist t-shirts, sweatshirts, stickers and gear.

The Atheist
The Atheist

The Atheist t-shirts, sweatshirts, stickers and gear.

Atheist Inside
Atheist Inside

Atheist Inside t-shirts, sweatshirts, stickers and gear.

Godless Heathen
Godless Heathen

Godless Heathen t-shirts and stuff.

Separation of church and state
Separation of church and state

Noctilucent Clouds

reposted from:

Noctilucent Clouds Over Sweden
Credit & Copyright: P-M Hedén

Explanation: Sometimes it's night on the ground but day in the air. As the Earth rotates to eclipse the Sun, sunset rises up from the ground. Therefore, at sunset on the ground, sunlight still shines on clouds above. Under usual circumstances, a pretty sunset might be visible, but unusual noctilucent clouds float so high up they can be seen well after dark. Pictured above last month, a network of noctilucent clouds cast a colorful but eerie glow after dusk near Vallentuna, Sweden. Although noctilucent clouds are thought to be composed of small ice-coated particles, much remains unknown about them. Satellites launched to help study these clouds includes Sweden's Odin and NASA's AIM. Recent evidence indicates that at least some noctilucent clouds result from freezing water exhaust from Space Shuttles.

Sunday, October 28, 2007

Update - ISHTP - India

David Warden, Dorset Humanists committee member visited Swamiji Manavatavadi for a second time in October 2006 and reports on his trip here in IHEU.
Chris Street emphasis in blockquote.
reposted from:

Celebrating Dr. Kohli's 21st Death Anniversary as Kids' Expression
Sun Oct 21, 2007 8:59 am

Noble All,
Humblest Greetings from The International School of Humanitarian
Thoughts and Practice, Kurukshetra, India.

After a 4 months and 12 days Exile
to avoid the bloody Conspiracy of
the Brahmins and the State/District Administration to arrest me with
any non-bailable accusation and torture me in the custody, push me
to make signature on any pre-formatted agreement to usurp this poor
and ever persecuted secular Institution surviving in this doubly
religious town since 1973
and drive us away from this town or force
me to swallow any dreaded poison and officially declare as a suicide
out of feeling insulted,
I returned here on October 17, 2007. As
they couldn't accuse and arrest me because of my escape to USA on
June 5, 2007,
so they hired an anonymous professional killer to kill
me whenever I come back to Kurukshetra.
All our efforts to write to the Chief Minister of Haryana State, the
Governor, Chief Secretary, Chief Justice of Haryana and Punjab High
Court, The Prime Minister of India, the President, the Chief Justice
of Supreme Court, Chairman National Human Rights Commission,
National Commission for Women, Mrs. Sonia Gandhi, President of
Indian National Congress Party now in ruling went unnoticed or
putting any visible effect on the matter for all these days.

Intellectuals and Scientists from USA, Canada, Mexico, UK, The
Netherlands, Spain, France, Italy, Australia and 13 other countries
also wrote to all these Authorities including Indian Ambassadors to
their respective countries
made no visible effect as every where the
Brahmins hold higher positions in all these offices.
The Brahmins also made some suits in the district court with the
secrete counseling with the Kurukshetra Development Board local
office employees and these were also lingering on without any
hearing to make an excuse that the matter is in the court. On August
28, 2007 the transferred non-Brahmin Judge dismissed all the cases
with very strong comments against the Brahmins of misguiding the
court. The Brahmin Deputy Commissioner who was in leadership of
Brahmins to usurp the Institution and drive us away or was the chief
in the conspiracy, was transferred and a non-Brahmin DC replaced in
the second week of September, the Brahmin Chief Executive Officr of
the Kurukshetra Development Board local office also transferred with
a non-Brahmin Officer.

A delegation of 5 persons headed by the Indian National Congress
Party in USA, President Dr. Surender Malhotra met Mrs. Sonia Gandhi
in New York and presented a Memorandum about the incidents happened
with us and asked to conduct an enquiry on the matter by appointing
a commission and
provide me security so that I could return.
On October 8, 2007 a delegation of 12 persons headed by the
President of Indian National Congress Party in USA, Haryana Wing Mr.
Swarn Singh met Mr. Bhupender Singh Hooda Chief Minister of Haryana,
Mr. Phool Chand Mulana and Mr. Tayal IAS, the Principal Secretary in
Jersey City and presented
a memorandum of 75 pages explaining all
matters with already written letters to him asking him to provide
security and to conduct an Enquiry on the matter through a
commission chaired by a supreme court judge. He assured to help.

Sadvi Asha Manav (Deviji) met the new Deputy Commissioner and the
New Superintendent of Police who solicited assurance of security and
said her to call me back.

I flew from New York on October 15, 2007 by Air India flight No 112
and arrived in Delhi on October 17, 2007.

After reaching in Kurukshetra I saw that our children are preparing
to celebrate Dr. Kohli's 21st Death Anniversary on October 23, 2007.
We planned to celebrate it as KIDS' EXPRESSION. Our Kids will
present their talks and poems in a function arranged by Deviji. I
shall circulate the report through this listserve.
We are very much obliged to all those well wishers in USA who
provided me shelter, food, communication facilities, transportation
and all conveniences during my situation forced Exile.
Thanking you all for your kindest supports we remain.


Saturday, October 27, 2007

The Great Carina Nebula

reposted from:
WASP comments are in bright green; highlights in blockquotes (yellow).

The Great Carina Nebula
Credit & Copyright: Robert Gendler and Stephane Guisard

Explanation: A jewel of the southern sky, the Great Carina Nebula, aka NGC 3372, spans over 300 light-years, one of our galaxy's largest star forming regions. Like the smaller, more northerly Orion Nebula, the Carina Nebula is easily visible to the naked eye, though at a distance of 7,500 light-years it is some 5 times farther away. This stunning telescopic view reveals remarkable details of the region's glowing filaments of interstellar gas and dark cosmic dust clouds. The Carina Nebula is home to young, extremely massive stars, including the still enigmatic variable Eta Carinae, a star with well over 100 times the mass of the Sun. Eta Carinae is the bright star left of the central dark notch in this field and just below the dusty Keyhole Nebula (NGC 3324).

Thursday, October 25, 2007

interviewing Sam Harris, Richard Dawkins, Daniel Dennett and Christopher Hitchens about 'Atheist'

reposted from:
Chris Street comments are in bright green; highlights in blockquotes (yellow).

In this month's audio podcast we celebrate our program's two-year anniversary by interviewing Sam Harris, Richard Dawkins, Daniel Dennett and Christopher Hitchens. HNN's Duncan Crary interviewed these best-selling authors, a.k.a. "The New Atheists", at the Atheist Alliance International annual conference in September. At the conference, Harris, author of "The End of Faith," told the crowd that they should not identify with the atheist label. Dawkins, Dennett and Hitchens react. So does the Rational Response Squad and Pastor Deacon Fred of the Landover Baptist Church. Also, Sweet Reason gives advice on "coming out" as an atheist.

Segment 1: Sam Harris on "The Problem of Atheism"

Interview: Sam Harris, author of The End of Faith explains why people should not identify as atheists, humanists or Brights. Harris also says that religion testifies (more or less) to the possibility of extraordinary self-transformation, which is why he feels that we must develop a scientific language for talking about "mysticism" or "spirituality." (End: 14:06)

Interview: Daniel Dennett, author of Breaking the Spell: Religion as a Natural Phenomenon responds to Harris. Dennett recognizes the problems of the atheist label, but thinks it needs to be reclaimed and not discarded. He says religion cannot be exterminated, but it can be encouraged to be more socially benign. (End: 16:55)

Interview: Prof. Richard Dawkins, author of The God Delusion responds to Harris. He also speaks about The Richard Dawkins Foundation for Science and Reason and his newest idea to write a children's book. (End: 27:39)

Interview: Christopher Hitchens, author of God is Not Great: How Religion Poisons Everything, responds to Harris and explains why avoiding the term atheist is inescapable. Hitchens also shares his thoughts on atheist organizations. (End: 32:23)

Interview: Brian "Sapient" and Kelly M. of the Rational Response Squad react to Sam Harris's "seditious proposal" and offer a new challenge to humanists. (End: 43:54)

Interview: Pastor Deacon Fred of the Landover Baptist Church responds to Harris, blasts Harry Potter and prays for Humanist Network News listeners. (End: 47:32)

Segment 2: Sweet Reason on Coming Out as an Atheist

Audio Advice Column: Molleen Matsumura, the voice of "Sweet Reason" responds to a question from Tom about coming out to his family as an atheist.

End: 55:52

Segment 3: Please Support the HNN Podcast

Message: Did you know that Americans donated $97 billion to religion in 2006? What can you do to help humanists make our voice of reason and compassion heard? Nancy Buxton, development coordinator of the Institute for Humanist Studies, has a special message to Humanist Network News listeners.

End: 58:30

Jesus walked with the dinosaurs!

clipped from

Friends Of God. Strangers To Science

clipped from

jesus riding dinosaurFor those of you with HBO, they just released a brand new documentary by Alexandra Pelosi called Friends of God. Pelosi takes the audience on an unbelievable journey throughout the magical red-states of America where reality ceases to exist and unicorns roam free.

In this jaw-dropping clip, you bare witness to the insanity that is Buddy Davis and his Answers in Genesis Children’s Workshop. It is here that children are taught the facts of life. Children are taught that Jesus roamed the earth with dinosaurs and the Grand Canyon was created in a flash flood.

Now most of us have heard this all before. But what I find interesting here is the clear indoctrination of these children into a world where you don’t trust what you can see, hear, and touch. They are taught to trust the supposed word of God because the Bible is the history book of the universe.

 blog it

Shell shapes evolved to avoid 'turning turtle'

reposted from:
WASP comments are in bright green; highlights in blockquotes (yellow).

Shell shapes evolved to avoid 'turning turtle'

  • 27 October 2007

Science v Religion blogs

If you are interested in the Science v Religion topic see WASP (World Atheist Science People) and BHA Science Group blogs.

Synthetic life 'no terror threat'

reposted from:
Synthetic life 'no terror threat'

Scientist Craig Venter on his latest project

Creating life in the laboratory
19 Oct 07 | Science/Nature

By Cristina Jimenez
Science reporter

Craig Venter
Dr Venter could be on the cusp of creating life

Synthetic biology can help in the fight against emerging infections, rather than aid the design of bioweapons, controversial scientist Craig Venter has told reporters.

The US scientist, who led the private sector race to map the human genome, used a briefing in central London to allay fears that his work may fall into the wrong hands.

Critics of Dr Venter's research, which aims to design the world's first synthetic life, have expressed concern.

They say that artificial microbes may have dangerous consequences, such as either escaping into the environment or being used to manufacture bioweapons.

"If Venter succeeds in creating a working bacteria then he also lifts the lid on creating bacterial bioweapons, such as anthrax, in the near future," said Jim Thomas of the ETC Group, a Canadian campaign group that has concerns over the development of genetic technology.

When there is a big shift of knowledge, we go through a cycle of fear, in which people are afraid of the unknown
Dr Craig Venter

"An equally real concern in the longer term is bio-error, the synthetic creation of organisms that escape out of our control," he added.

Dr Venter insisted that such worries about synthetic organisms were unfounded.

He maintained that

antibiotic-resistant infections, such as MRSA, were much more of a threat.

According to the maverick scientist,

synthetic biology could provide the most effective way of stopping infections in developing countries, such as malaria, and emerging drug-resistant superbugs.

"In the US, MRSA kills more people than Aids,"
he said.

Campaigners say that there are currently no international laws or oversight mechanisms to assess the safety of synthetic organisms.

They suggest that an international process is needed to put in place controls before anything is commercialised.

Dr Venter defended himself against any claims that he was exploiting the human genome for financial gain.

"If you look at the record, my institution has no human gene patents, yet my biggest critics do," he said. "The Human Gene Project has human gene patents."

In an effort to explain why his work had attracted so much critical attention, he pointed out that a similar controversy occurred at the beginning of the molecular biology era.

He said:

"When there is a big shift of knowledge, we go through a cycle of fear, in which people are afraid of the unknown."

Debate Points at

reposted from:,1781,n,n
Chris Street comments are in bright green; highlights in blockquotes (yellow).

A new website addition: Debate Points


I thought we might try a new section here at called "Debate Points". A lot of people have mentioned that we need to stay on top of the arguments for and against the debate points we will meet. Some seem to never die (Hitler/Stalin, Morality), and we can always improve our arguments. Let's use the comment space on this post to brainstorm some points that we can start discussions on. We can then use the Debate Points category to list some of these, and users can post their thoughts or rebuttals in the comment space. Let's try and be clear and concise, as if these were to be used in a real debate. For example, what would you say if you were to debate Dinesh D'Souza in front of a Christian College?

The link to the Debate Points area is:
( <-- I've also placed a link to it in the left column )

Here are some we can start with (click on each topic to go to its own thread):

Arguments Against Evolution

Hitler, Stalin, Mao, etc. were atheists, and they were terrible!

You can't be moral without God!

Religion is not incompatible with Science: 'Non-Overlapping Magisteria'

Atheism is a religion and you're as bad as the fundamentalists

That's not MY God you're criticising

Science and Religion BOTH make faith claims

I Don't Have Enough Faith to be an Atheist

A Rational Universe Implies a Creator, Science points towards Theism

Pascal's Wager

Arguments From Design, First Cause, Something Rather Than Nothing, Fundamental Constants

You can't prove that you love someone, so don't expect proof of God

Science can answer how questions but only religion can answer why questions

If you don't accept the supernatural, you obviously think life is depressing, meaningless and cold

The Transcendental Argument for God

So what other common debate points can you think of? Please list them below!


You can't be moral without God!

reposted from:,1780,n,n
Chris Street comments are in bright green; highlights in blockquotes (yellow).

You can't be moral without God!


A common debate point in religious debates is morality. We often meet the argument that you can't be moral without God.

Use the comment space below to present your rebuttal. Let's try and be clear and concise, as if this were to be used in a debate.

Check out some answers. What do you think?

Hitler, Stalin, Mao, etc. were atheists, and they were terrible! Answer that!

reposted from:,1779,n,n
Chris Street comments are in bright green; highlights in blockquotes (yellow).

Hitler, Stalin, Mao, etc. were atheists, and they were terrible! Answer that!


We've all heard this one. I'd even go so far as to say most of us have probably answered this one. Use the comment space below to present your rebuttal. Let's try and be clear and concise, as if this were to be used in a debate.

Check out some answers. What do you think?

Video From the Atheist Alliance International 2007 Conference

reposted from:,1778,n,n
Chris Street comments are in bright green; highlights in blockquotes (yellow).

Video From the AAI 07 Conference

The Richard Dawkins Foundation, AAI

Wednesday, October 24, 2007

Atheists arise: Dawkins spreads the A-word among America's unbelievers

reposted from:,,2180901,00.html
Chris Street comments are in bright green; highlights in blockquotes (yellow).
· Author outlines campaign to give godless a voice
· New organisation appeals to 'downtrodden' millions
Ewen MacAskill in Washington
Monday October 1, 2007
The Guardian

Richard Dawkins
Richard Dawkins. Photograph: Graham Turner
It is like Daniel going into the lions' den, though Professor Richard Dawkins might not appreciate the biblical comparison. Britain's leading atheist is spearheading a campaign in America to challenge the dominance of religion in every day life and in politics, insisting that the millions of US godless deserve to be heard too.

Atheists in the US "have been downtrodden for a very long time. So I think some sort of political organisation is what they need", he said.

Maybe David and Goliath would be a better analogy.
Religion is palpable in US schools, places of work and public institutions. God is invoked by soldiers and politicians in a way that would seem inappropriate in Britain. George Bush used God as one of the reasons for invading Iraq.
In Congress, where godlessness can equate with being unelectable, only one representative, Pete Stark, is prepared to admit to being a non-believer.

According to a study published last year by the University of Minnesota,

Americans distrust atheists more than any other minority group, including homosexuals, recent immigrants or Muslims.

Now the best-selling author of The God Delusion and chair of public understanding of science at Oxford has set up an organisation to help atheists round the world, including the US.

In an interview with the Guardian, he said:

"When you think about how fantastically successful the Jewish lobby has been, though, in fact, they are less numerous I am told - religious Jews anyway - than atheists and [yet they] more or less monopolise American foreign policy as far as many people can see. So if atheists could achieve a small fraction of that influence, the world would be a better place."

His organisation, established two months ago,

complete with T-shirts bearing a large red A, is the Out Campaign. "It does not mean outing, definitely not ... we want to encourage people to come out because there is a big closet population of atheists who need to come out."

His estimates, which square broadly with official data, show that atheists in the US account for about 10% of the population. "I have had many letters from people saying 'I don't dare give my opinions. I am afraid of my family. I am afraid of my wife, I am afraid of my husband. I am afraid of my work people. I am afraid of being fired'."

Prof Dawkins appeared as one of the stars of the Atheist Alliance convention in Crystal City, Virginia, at the weekend.

He admitted he was "a little bit hesitant" about being an Englishman talking to Americans and he showed "a certain amount of deference" when asked about US politics. "But I think that this country is so powerful and what goes on politically here is so enormously influential, the rest of the world is entitled to have a say. We don't get the vote here but I think people are entitled to express an opinion."

Although religious groups denounce him on websites and radio talkshows, he has not received abuse at public meetings; religious people tended not to turn up - "which in a way is a shame", he said.

What did he hope an atheist bloc in the US might achieve? "I would free children from being indoctrinated with the religion of their parents or their community. I would like to free everyone from the assumption you have to be religious in order to be a decent person or to be moral. Obviously stem cell research and all the interference with scientific research that goes on [should stop]. Obviously the whole creationist interference with education [should stop] but I think, more positively, I would like to see people encouraged to rejoice in the world in which they find themselves, the universe in which they have been born, to take full advantage of the tiny slice of eternity they have been granted."

He had been encouraged by the apparent distancing of Republican candidates for the 2008 presidential race from the Christian right. But he found "very depressing" the profession of faith from all the Democratic candidates. "I guess the Democrats have to pretend to be more pious than the Republicans because they are under suspicion of not being."

Darwin's Rottweiler

Richard Dawkins' vocal insistence on the pre-eminence of science
(he is nicknamed Darwin's Rottweiler) and his rigorous attempts to dismantle notions of faith and belief have earned him many critics, from those who complain about his evangelising tone to those who confidently predict he will spend eternity in hellfire. His latest work, The God Delusion, incensed believers with its insistence on the hypocrisy and unreliability of scripture and its lampooning of creationists. It also annoyed some in the scientific community for suggesting that
few top scientists believed in God and that separating the rational and the religious was intellectually impossible.
In particular,
Dawkins is angry at the way children are indoctrinated into faiths and takes issue with the unimpeachable taboos that protect religions from rational scrutiny.


reposted from:
Chris Street comments are in bright green; highlights in blockquotes (yellow).

Ethical Atheist


NOTE: Freethought and tolerance obviously prohibit these from being "commandments"! Just consider them "suggestions".
1. Thou SHALT NOT believe all thou art told.
2. Thou SHALT seek knowledge and truth constantly.
3. Thou SHALT educate thy fellow man in the Laws of Science.
4. Thou SHALT NOT forget the atrocities committed in the name of god.
5. Thou SHALT leave valuable contributions for future generations.
6. Thou SHALT live in peace with thy fellow man.
7. Thou SHALT live this one life thou hast to its fullest.
8. Thou SHALT follow a Personal Code of Ethics.
9. Thou SHALT maintain a strict separation between Church and State.
10. Thou SHALT support those who follow these commandments.

1. Thou SHALT NOT believe all thou art told. (back to top)

Humans are generally very gullible. We believe are sorts of false statements, stories, reasoning, etc. We even continue to believe falsehoods after they have been proven untrue. History is full of amazing hoaxes often supported by religion and the teachings of the Church (see Science, Truth and the Church) or by others seeking power, popularity or fortune. We have been told the Earth was flat and has four corners which, if not careful, we may fall off. We have been told that the Earth is the center of the Universe. We have been told that sky if a fixed, firm structure to which the sun, moon and stars are affixed. We have been told that personalities and future events are predictable using astrology, card reading, crystal balls and palm reading. We have been told of prophecies by Nostradamas. We have been told of speaking with the dead, the dead rising, life after death, reincarnation and bending spoons, to name only a few. We must be more skeptical in what we are told, what we read and what we are exposed to through the various forms of broadcast media. When exposed to something new, do NOT accept what you hear without facts to support it. There are other agendas at work in your deception. You must always be on guard to protect yourself and your knowledge.

2. Thou SHALT seek knowledge and truth constantly. (back to top)

There are many adverse factors making it difficult for us to obtain knowledge and the truth. There is often no motivating factor driving others to present you with fair, factual, scientific truths. By weaving a complex web of lies, religions are able to control people and remain in power. Governments may hide facts and events for fear of scaring the public. There are more advertising dollars and higher ratings in broadcasting claims of communicating with the dead than in Kepler's Laws of Planetary Motion. Therefore, we must take an active role in our own education and constantly seek the truth. It isn't always obvious and is often very difficult to obtain. Thou SHALT make time to read non-fiction. Thou SHALT make time to view educational programs. Thou SHALT spend as much time in the library as you do in the mall or watching television.

3. Thou SHALT educate thy fellow man in the Laws of Science. (back to top)

People are generally lazy and hold onto currently held false beliefs. This condition is not acceptable to the ethical atheist. It is not good enough to sit comfortably with your knowledge of the Universe and look in pity at those who are still governed by lies, mythology and sensationalism. Scientific education is the only way to prevail. Only by increasing the comprehension of scientific truths can we hope to continue our progress past the Dark Ages. Only if the world contains more educated people can we hope to not have setbacks. Thou SHALT NOT sit silent and be a closet atheist. Thou SHALT enlighten thy neighbor.

4. Thou SHALT NOT forget the atrocities committed in the name of god. (back to top)

Many people have limited knowledge, or none at all, of the atrocities committed during the Inquisition, the Crusades, etc. by the Church and in the name of religion. Christians are not unique in their cruelty. For example, Muslim civilizations often imprison, torture or kill those attempting to convert their citizens to Christianity. (See Atrocities in the Name of Religion - coming soon...) Few are even remotely aware of these atrocities or think, "Oh, that was a long time ago and could never happen again". However, it hasn't been that long ago and is still occurring today in countries like Bosnia, Rwanda, Burundi, Somalia, Israel, Tibet and Afghanistan. Thou SHALT fear a repeat of history.

5. Thou SHALT leave valuable contributions for future generations. (back to top)

The nature of knowledge gain is that new truths are most often found by building upon known facts. If every generation were required to start fresh in its quest for knowledge, our progress would be severely impacted. Our children will not have to go back and prove that the earth is not flat. They will not have to rediscover the atom. It is important that our generation, and all those that follow, leave scientific knowledge and resources for our offspring to build upon. Write a book. Publish an article. Develop a web site. Leave money to organizations that further science and education.

6. Thou SHALT live in peace with thy fellow man. (back to top)

This should not need stating, but murders, torture, wars and brutality are ever present in all civilizations on earth and have been for all of recorded history. Most of the large scale wars, as well as suicide bombers, are driven by religious beliefs and the belief in an afterlife. Even though many religions claim to be against killing, they promote that killing for god is divine and will ensure a special status in the afterlife. If we didn't have these widespread mythological beliefs, there would likely be a massive decrease in the killings.

7. Thou SHALT live this one life thou hast to its fullest. (back to top)

We do not believe in an afterlife nor that we will be reincarnated to live again in another form. It is, therefore, imperative that we live this one life we have to its fullest. We should not live in a puritanical way, starving ourselves of pleasures, in hopes that it somehow makes us better or that we will be judged more favorably in our "next life". However, in living our lives to the fullest, we must always be conscious of our actions to ensure that they do not have adverse effects on our fellow man.

8. Thou SHALT follow a Personal Code of Ethics. (back to top)

Everyone should have their own personal code of ethics that drives their behavior. What this contains is an individual undertaking, but current laws are a good starting point. Many of the commandments of the Bible can be summarized by this commandment. For example, it should be self-evident that murder, lying and stealing should be avoided and honoring your mother and father are necessary, assuming of course that they are worthy of this respect (e.g. they are not beating/raping you or otherwise abusing you). In general, a personal code of ethics would not cause harm to others, would be anchored in truth and would strive to make society a better place.

9. Thou SHALT maintain a strict separation between Church and State. (back to top)

It is extremely dangerous to mix the mind controlling, fear generating, mythological beliefs of religion with the governing aspects and power of the state. History is full of examples. Many who founded the United States knew this and were willing to die to escape the horrors of Europe. We know that freedom can be measured by the separation of church and state.

10. Thou SHALT support those who follow these commandments. (back to top)

Get involved! Our progress in the last 250 years has been ard fought. Do not sit idle and let us suffer setbacks. Religious conservatives are highly organized and well funded. They continue to spread lies. They are trying to rid our schools of teaching evolution. They are infiltrating government. They are targeting our children's young, impressionable minds. We must support those who follow these commandments in every way possible. Support scientific and atheist organizations by submitting writings, donating money, etc. (donations are often tax deductible). Purchase books and subscribe to magazines. Attend seminars. All of these provide backing and support to continue valuable efforts. Worthy organizations include (but are not limited to): Americans United for Separation of Church and State, American Atheists, CSICOP - The Committee for the Scientific Investigation of Claims of the Paranormal and the Skeptical Inquirer Magazine, The Skeptic's Annotated Bible, The Center for Inquiry, EvolveFish, Online Library of Literature, your local library, etc. (For more, see Links of the Ethical Atheist.)

Listen - (15, crash, 10 commandments)

Another proposed set of the The Ten Commandments (see website)
From reader AL BLAZO (
Submitted January 2, 2004

No one of sound mind would dare claim that the world we live in today is a better place because of the Ten Commandments. The Ten Commandments have been with us for more than two millennia yet murder, cruelty, thievery, racism, ethnic hatred and religious strife is just as much, if not more, a part of our everyday lives as it ever was.

I believe that it's about time to scrap the Ten Commandments as we know them and replace them with a new set of "rules" that may actually be useful to us. Towards this end I have compiled a new set of commandments that hopefully will have some value to mankind.

Let's make copies of these commandments and hang them in county courthouses and public schools throughout the country. Maybe by the end of this millennia, if we all strive to live with these new "commandments," we'll have reshaped our social order into one worthy of honor and respect.

I. Thou shalt worship only reason
II. Thou shalt abstain from invoking deities in the affairs of man
III. Thou shalt disdain all ritual
IV. Thou shalt abhor priestliness
V. Thou shalt loathe superstition
VI. Thou shalt reject all forms of spiritualism and supernaturalism
VI. Thou shalt regard skepticism as a virtue
VIII. Thou shalt reject racism
IX. Thou shalt reject all claims to a moral authority greater than man
X. Thou shalt, in word and action, strive to improve the human condition
Thank you Al for your contribution!

Tuesday, October 23, 2007

new Atheist symbols

reposted from: