NYT shows that atheists are not agents of Satan

April 27, 2009 • 7:58 am

Surprisingly, today’s New York Times has a good article on the growth of atheism in America.  As I’ve said, I think that this is the best way to rid the country of creationism, though it will take time.  And the best way to effect this change is to be vociferous –or at least not reticent– about your lack of belief.  I used to be very timorous about professing atheism (which, remember is not an explicit disbelief in God, but a refusal to believe until you have a good reason).  It was the writings of Dawkins, Dennett, Hitchens, and Harris that persuaded me that I could stand up for what I thought, and I can’t help but think that the more one speaks out, the more one effects change.  There are a lot of like-minded non-believers out there who, as the article notes, won’t say what they think for fear of ostracism.

The one scary  part of the article was this:

Until recent years, the Secular Humanists of the Lowcountry were local pariahs. Mr. Silverman — whose specialty license plate, one of many offered by the state, says “In Reason We Trust” — was invited to give the invocation at the Charleston City Council once, but half the council members walked out. The local chapter of Habitat for Humanity would not let the Secular Humanists volunteer to build houses wearing T-shirts that said “Non Prophet Organization,” he said.

Geez, those tee shirts are sort of funny.  But I didn’t realize that Habitat for Humanity, an organization for which I had a lot of respect, is actually an “ecunmenical Christian housing ministry.” Anyway, it’s heartening to see so many unbelievers (a term I prefer to “atheists”; I also like “naturalists”) coming out of the woodwork.

14 thoughts on “NYT shows that atheists are not agents of Satan

  1. “But I didn’t realize that Habitat for Humanity, an organization for which I had a lot of respect, is actually an ‘ecunmenical Christian housing ministry.”‘

    Perhaps I’m just jumping to conclusions, but the way you write that makes it sound like you no longer have any respect for HfH simply because you now know that it has a religious background.

    1. I suspect it’s more along the lines that Jerry has lost some respect for them on the basis of censoring a rather witty T-shirt, not that he no longer has any respect for them.

  2. If you don’t have a subscription to NYT online, Google the title, in quotes, that comes up from hitting the first embedded link.

  3. I had a similar revelation a few years back. I designated HfH on a United Way contribution form, thinking what a good and unique idea the organization had to combat the problem of homelessness for poor families, and they had surprisingly good results. I was surprised/dismayed on getting their literature the subsequent year to find that the driving impulse of the organization was deeply into Christian fundamentalist zealotry, and that I was supporting their view by contributing specifically to them. I stopped designating after that. I’m glad that they are out there trying to do good, don’t get me wrong on that. I just can’t, in keeping with my feelings on religious faith, to continue to support them, as adding my contribution was taken by HfH as my tacit approval to all their other views, not just their good works.

    1. “Christian fundamentalist zealotry”? Are you going for the hyperbole awards or something?

      You do realize, of course, that Fundies are merely a vocal minority of Christians?

      1. Cory – your incessant umbrage with any christian criticism is telling. But more to the point, Fundy or not, minority or not, as a theist or deist, one (e.g. you) hold views that are irrational – ergo, any resulting zeal is to be meet with contempt. HfH should be in the business of building houses respective only of matters having to do with house building.

        HfH: We build houses for god for you
        Secular: We build houses for you

      2. @Seth: I think you need to reacquaint yourself with the meaning of the word “incessant”.

        HfH does good work, they don’t leave Bibles in the houses, they don’t require that people buying the houses go to church and HfH does not try to convert the new owners. It’s made of people who actually get off their asses and help others without requiring that those others take up their worldview.

        If you think that work is to be met with contempt, perhaps you might want to rethink your worldview?

  4. Hello there!

    First off, I wonder how much crap you get here from the C-right.

    Secondly, I, myself, am a former member of a Southern Baptist Church. I don’t say that just to gain sympathy. That means I was raised, or made to be a Creationist. Are you licking your chops yet?

    Thirdly, “The War Beyond Belief” is what I posted yesterday, so I’m not coming here from way out in left field. I used R.D. as a tag, and now I’m checking others of a similar persuasion.

    Fourthly, I wonder if you believe me enough to post my comment.

    Fifthly, have a drink on me. No, really. The main argument is no longer the hindrance. Changing peoples core-belief system is. I, too, know the difficulty in that.

    And lastly, I don’t think that using Satan is gonna help your cause much. Most will turn their backs upon seeing that word. Lucifer won’t be much better. I think your best bet would be to add some humor, be-cause you guys are way too serious. I know you have good reason to be, but what good has it done?

    Uncle Tree


    1. me2watson, you chastise the use of Satan and then call for more humor because ‘we’ are too serious.

      The Satan thing IS humor.

  5. Scary movies rule!
    Why do you think that is, Bob?

    Perhaps, you have no wish to change minds. Individuals do not evolve anyway, right? Only species do that. Maybe I don’t get the point of it all, on the whole.

    Sorry, I lumped ya’awl together like that. I have no wish to be fanatical about anything. But there are times…

    I think this morning was one of those times. Do, please, excuse Uncle Tree’s rants.

    1. I am not much for scary movies, so I can’t help you on that one.

      Individuals may not evolve, but some have changed their mind when given convincing arguments or evidence.

      We have all had our moments. This afternoon when the temperature soared here to a record high for the date saw me behave strangely. I have had a rant or three in my past. My wife thinks its more numerous than that.

      Just keep on reading, discussing and learning. Some people who are creationists have a closed mind and it would not matter what is said here. Their minds are set.

  6. Dear newengland bob:
    What did you mean “the Satan thing is humor”?

    Did you mean that holding the notion that Satan exists and is active is a concept worthy of folly and therefore humorous? Or did you mean that in the
    article the words “Satan” were meant to invoke humour on the part of the reader?

    Just wondering what you meant.

Leave a Reply