Archive for December, 2008

Atheist billboards

December 3, 2008

Atheist signage has been in the news lately, both in my hometown (Rancho Cucamonga, California!) and Olympia, Washington.  (So much for that whole Left Coast Liberal thing.)  In Cucamonga, the Freedom From Religion Foundation had rented a billboard, but the city received complaints and so they called the sign company to pressure removal of the sign.  Lawsuit! 

Meanwhile, in Olympia (ironic?), every religious group and their mothers have been hurrying to get a share in state-sponsored religion by erecting a religious display in front of the state Capitol Building.  They’ve got your baby godlings and menorahs up there, and now, the atheists have entered with a display of their own, a fancy sign that reads

There are no gods,
no devils, no angels,
no heaven or hell.
There is only our natural world.
Religion is but
myth and superstition
that hardens hearts
and enslaves minds.

So now even the atheists are saying, “Come on, seriously?  Is this meant to help our cause or piss people off?”  But I say, ‘Can’t we do both?”

I mean, if religious-types were getting offended and outraged by signs such as, “Don’t believe in God?  You’re not alone,” and, “Imagine no religion,” why not just go ahead and roll the sleeves back and show them what we really think?

I even love the use of the phrase “hardens hearts” because of its religious connotations.

I hope that this display in Olympia will do a couple things.  One, show religious types that we’re not afraid to speak out or ashamed of what we believe.  Two, mirror the offensive nature of religious speech, such as good old John 3:16 or any sort of Hell talk.  They need to understand what they do every time they practice free speech without regard for those who disagree (yes, it’s legal, I get that– it’s my point).  And three, I want atheists to be emboldened, yes, I say emboldened! to come out and be clear about what atheism means, what it does not, and engage in public dialogue with religious folks.  Heck, its even an opportunity to get the religious people scurrying to enact legislation to get all displays removed just so they can get the atheist one taken down.

Speak out!  Let’s show them what freedom of speech really sounds like.



December 2, 2008

There is an aspect of de-conversion that is not very obvious, and is not always what it seems, and is very hard to work through.  I am refering to the loss of that little reminder that no matter how bad things get, no matter how much time I waste, no matter which projects never get done, there is an eternity waiting for me where I won’t even remember this life and where everything will be perfect forever.


It sounds so obviously false from where I am now, one year from my de-conversion.  But this little parachute has served me well over the years, calming my worries that my life is out of control.


I am still learning how to deal with the anxiety that comes up whenever I can’t avoid the fact that I am working and commuting 12-hour days, living in a house whose mortgage alone takes up around 60 percent of the family income.  I don’t have much time to play, and I don’t have much money.  I work and when I get home I look out at my backyard to figure out how I can fix it.  I buy dinners that can be unfrozen during the week even though I enjoy cooking.  And every once in awhile I look at my life and freeze.  This is it.  This is all I’ve got.  If I’m not doing what I love right now, I’d better be working toward the time when I will be doing what I love.


There is no Heaven.  There is no reward, no mansion, no, “well done, good and faithful servant.”  We’re born, we work, we die.  And that’s it.  But that’s not the depressing part.


The depressing part is when I wonder if I will manage to make my own reward here.  It’s depressing when I see that the answer might be no, like it is for so many people.  How can I make my own “yes”?  How can I recover from the loss of that useful delusion; how can I trick myself into working cheerfully every day without that promise that everything will be okay?


I think I used to be a lot more optimistic.  But then I also used to be a lot more deluded.