Monday, October 27, 2014

Fall Days

Cool temperatures, bright sunlight, frisky breezes, crunchy leaves.

Raking, bagging and dragging leaves.

Cutting back the thorny rose canes. Trimming back the shrubs.

Dumping clumps of shriveled summer plants.

Mothballing the mower.  Gassing up the snow-blower.

Firing up the furnace and flushing the boiler.

Shorter days, longer nights, setting the clocks back.

Acorn squash, butternut squash, pumpkin pie and apple cider.

Browns, yellows and orange - warm colors of cold weather.

Breaking out the coats and scarves and hats.

Thanksgiving celebrations and family reunions.

Thursday, October 2, 2014

Atheists In The News

I've noted several articles lately that spotlight atheists.

I wrote some time ago about the formation of secular "churches" frequently called Sunday Assemblies.  Atheists attend for comraderie with like-minded unbelievers.  They listen to lectures.  They sing favorite secular songs.  They read poetry.  They also get groups together to help in community service projects.

The Sunday Assemblies are in the news again because their numbers are growing - they more than doubled the number of their congregations worldwide. But don't get too excited.  Their numbers are still very modest - they have grown from 28 congregations to 63.  (32 in the USA.)  It seems that most secularists are not very motivated to attend weekly meeting of this sort on a regular basis.

An opinion article in "USA Today" asked the question, "Can Atheists Be Elected?" The article noted that although about 20% of Americans give "none" as their religion in polls, only one openly atheist person is running for national office in the 2014 election.  The author bemoans the fact that it is apparently impossible for an atheist to have a chance of being elected and suggests that many politicians are probably atheists who are lying about their religious beliefs for political reasons. The author thinks that more atheists should come "out of the closet."

I suspect that the author of the article is correct about there being plenty of politicians who are lying about their religious beliefs in order to get elected.  But I think it is strange to portray atheists who want to be elected as victims of some sort of bias. People want to elect people who they trust.  Most religious people don't trust atheists.  The attacks of atheists Sam Harris, Christopher Hitchens and Richard Dawkins on religious people do nothing to build trust in atheists.

So, they cannot have it both ways. If they are going to mock religious people for their religious beliefs and try to force religious people out of public life, they should not be surprised if religious people will not vote for them.