“Is American atheism heading for a schism?” Peter McGrath asks in today’s Guardian. He’s writing specifically about the new Atheism+ movement that’s started in recent weeks. And, hilariously (and soooo appropriately) he embeds the above clip from Monty Python’s Life of Brian. McGrath writes:
The founders of Atheism+ say clearly that “divisiveness” is not their aim, but looking through the blogs and voluminous comments in the two weeks since A+ was mooted, trenches have been dug, beliefs stated, positions staked out and abuse thrown. A dissenting tweeter is “full of shit”, while, according to one supporter, daring to disagree with Atheism+’s definition of progressive issues and not picking their side makes you an “asshole and a douchebag”.
It took 700 years from Constantine renaming Byzantium in his own honour to papal legates circulating letters of anathema that split the Roman and Orthodox churches. Atheism, in its public, online life, has started exchanging internet anathemas – perhaps we should call them inathemas – in little more than a decade.
So is American atheism heading for a schism? That’s like asking, “Are my cats going to fight today? Or will this be the first day of their lives together that they leave each other alone and get along?” Continue reading
It may be shooting fish in the proverbial barrel to criticize the American Center for Law and Justice for faulty reasoning, but today I’d like to look at a specific example of how the religious right uses deceptive language to frame the discussion of religious liberty.
In an article posted a few days ago, “Atheism on the Rise as Groups Seek to Censor Faith,” the author warns about the rising number of challenges from groups that are “attempting to remove every vestige of our religious heritage as a nation from public life.” Continue reading
You. You are the Pretentious Ape, you silly human, you.
OK, me too. All of us.
In naming this blog, I was partly inspired by John Janovy, a biologist at the University of Nebraska, who wrote:
A human being is, in the final analysis, an ape that tells stories, only a fraction of which are true, then acts on the lessons of those stories regardless of their veracity. (Pieces of the Plains, 2009, p. 158)
But I thought a blog called “The Storytelling Ape” might lead to disappointed parents and children coming in from Google and expecting some virtual gorilla to tell them stories. (What a blog that would be! What wonderful stories might an ape tell? So much better than, say, dog stories, which would mostly be about chewing things and getting toys stuck under the couch.) Continue reading