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Louisville Flfbb_square_logoamilies Beyond Belief the the part of Louisville Atheists and Freethinkers that is focused on families and children. We now have a new monthly meetup discussion group for parents who want to learn from discussion material and from each other how to raise ethical, caring and curious children without religion. The Parenting Beyond Belief discussion group meets on the first Sunday of the month at 1:30pm. Currently we are discussing the book Raising Freethinkers: A Practical Guide for Parenting Beyond Belief, at a pace of one chapter per month. The next meeting is November 6, and we will be discussing chapter 2: "Living and teaching ethics in your family."

The meetings details and meeting places can be found on our Event Calendar. We would love if you could join us, and bring the kids too!

Breaking away from a religion with compulsory beliefs means you no longer have to be afraid of doubt. This is incredibly important, because you cannot really reach out and learn about the world as it is unless you are unafraid to doubt what you think you know for sure. Unafraid of the possibility that you might find out that you are wrong. Now there is some normal fear at the prospect of being proven wrong (that’s just human nature, apparently), but not the paralyzing phobia that compulsory belief gives it. Not the agony that comes with the idea that if I were to disbelieve this thing, whatever it is, that I will be punished severely either in this life or in the next. The fear of a freethinker is one that is mixed with the exhilaration of the possibility of making an amazing new discovery.

Here is a lovely old song about what I am talking about that I first heard Dan Barker sing at the FFRF convention last weekend. Enjoy. 🙂

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A view of the Washington Monument and some fellow ralliers on their way to the Lincoln Memorial. Note the verse on the t-shirt.
The walk to the Rally from our hotel was long, but fun. Ed and I were wearing our “LouAville Atheists and Freethinkers” shirts which got a lot of notice and comments and also signaled to all the other rally people to where we were going. We had some good company and interesting scenery on the way, including a pass right by the Washington Monument. I’d seen it from a distance before, but never so close up.
We arrived at the Rally at about 10:30am, about 1/2 hour after the official start time. Once we got there, we found a nice grassy shady spot under the trees alongside the reflecting pool and settled in. We were far enough from the stage to just barely be able to see what was being projected on the large screens, but we had no problem hearing everything as long as the sound system didn’t glitch.
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Bill Nye is addressing the Reason Rally crowd about the need to take climate change seriously.
There were several speakers at the Reason Rally that I had not heard of before, which was fine for me since I’ve been to enough conventions that I’ve heard many of the well-known speakers many times before. It was good to hear fresh voices. One of my favorite talks was the guy from Hollywood Squares, John Davidson. (Yea, I had to look up his name since before the rally I had not heard of him.) He talked about how he’d been an atheist though much of his career, but spent most of that time hiding that fact. He talked about how he’d turned down a gig once because the sponsors wanted him to either pray or sing a gospel tune at the end of it — though he didn’t tell them why he backed out. It was very interesting to me to hear the ways that being a closeted atheist had affected his life and his career. It was only fairly recently that he came out as part of the Openly Secular project.
Another top moment for me was when Penn Jillette did a duet with the singer who had been berated for being an atheist on Ecuador’s Got Talent. (Seriously, if you haven’t seen the video, Google “atheist on Ecuador’s Got Talent. She shows some amazing composure and courage though the whole ordeal.)
And I loved yelling “ATHEIST!” with about 15,000 other people during Dave SIlverman’s talk, too.  🙂
I was at the Reason Rally in 2012 so I can’t help but make a few comparisons. The 2012 rally had a more tightly packed crowd, and more of a “We’re here, we’re atheists, get used to it!” type of feel. More like what I’d expect of a rally. The 2016 Rally had a bit more of a toned down feel which was more like “We’re here, we’re atheists, now how do we make the world a better place?” vibe. There was a large crowd, but it was spread out — especially at our distance from the stage — and we were able to sit on our blanket on the banked area and still see the stage. This time I am a mom, and I welcome the more “family friendly” aspect of the rally. As the movement matures it becomes not only about knocking religion off its pedestal (though that aspect is not going away) but also about the scientific and humanistic concerns like social equality and climate change. I think this is a good thing, and a sign that the moment is maturing. After all, atheism is only about the a rejection of the claims of theism, but atheists — real flesh and blood atheists — have concerns that go well beyond that.
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Fan of Reason in one hand, and Sonic Screwdriver in the other. That's my girl!

Attention Kentucky Atheists and Freethinkers!

Do you feel isolated in your local communities? Does it seem like everyone around you is religious, and had no problem with pushing their beliefs on you?

You are not alone!

Let other atheists and freethinkers know where you are by adding yourself to the Map of Kentucky Freethinkers! Especially if you live far from the major metropolitan areas, your presence is needed to help us connect you to other freethinkers and to let others know that they are not alone either.

In just about 1 week since the map was published, we have had over 80 responses, and we know there are more out there.

To see more detail about the map and to add yourself visit http://kysecularsociety.org/map-of-interest/.

 

3 Comments

Mandy Connnell made many false statements during my interview, and I was able to correct most of them. For example, when she claimed the Constitution was based upon the 10 Commandments, I noted that the 10 Commandments required worship of Yahweh and no other god and that violations were punishable by death from stoning. She quickly dropped that subject, as she often did when it was shown she was wrong.

However, she made two false statements that I did not have references on hand to refute. She claimed that the ACLU has only defended Christians once. That statement is not true, as you can read about 44 such cases here: http://www.aclufightsforchristians.com/.

Mandy also claimed that the Federalist Papers were based on Christian values. This is also false. These papers were written by James Madison, John Jay, and Alexander Hamilton to gain support for the Constitution, so they are considered good documentation of what the founding fathers really meant. These 85 papers (189,954 words) can be viewed and searched online at http://www2.hn.psu.edu/faculty/jmanis/poldocs/fed-papers.pdf. Here is an analysis, which you can verify by searching in the previous link for yourself.

1) Federalist Papers do not include the word Jesus, Christ, bible or scripture.

2) The word CHRISTIANITY is mentioned once in regard to an era of time ("In the early ages of Christianity") in #19

3) There are 5 uses of LORD, but none are in reference to God. These are often counted as references to God by Christian Nation proponents.
a) oppressions of their immediate lords. #17
b) the House of Lords to decide upon it. #65
c) and rejected in the House of Lords. #71
d) resides in the House of Lords #81
e) Declaration of Right presented by the Lords and Commons #84

4) There are 7 uses of RELIGION, none promoting any religion as a basis for government.
a) For in politics, as in religion, it is equally absurd to aim at making proselytes by fire and sword. #1
b) a people descended from the same ancestors, speaking the same language, professing the same religion #2
c) An entire and perfect union will be the solid foundation of lasting peace: It will secure your religion, liberty, and property #3
d) The latent causes of faction are thus sown in the nature of man... A zeal for different opinions concerning religion, concerning government, and many other points, #11
e) The Amphictyons [ancient Greece] were the guardians of religion,#18
f) The controversies on the subject of religion, which in three instances have kindled violent and bloody contests, may be said, in fact, to have severed the league #19
g) The infinite divisibility of matter... is a point agreed among geometricians, though not less incomprehensible to common-sense than any of those mysteries in religion, against which the batteries of infidelity have been so industriously leveled. #32

5) God or demi-god appear 2 times in reference to pagan gods, and once to Deistic Nature's God
a) the monster-taming spirit which is attributed to the fabulous heroes and demigods of antiquity #16
b) The Thebans, with others of the cities, undertook to maintain the authority of the Amphictyons, and to avenge the violated god. #18
c) the transcendent law of nature and of nature’s God, which declares that the safety and happiness of society are the objects at which all political institutions aim #43

6) PROVIDENCE, a term used by Deists, is used 3 times, all in #2
a) Providence has in a particular manner blessed it with a variety of soils and productions, and watered it #2
b) With equal pleasure I have as often taken notice that Providence has been pleased to give this one connected country to one united people #2
c) This country and this people seem to have been made for each other, and it appears as if it was the design of Providence #2

It should also be noted that there are many references to pagan gods, including Apollo.

"The Phocians having ploughed up some consecrated ground belonging to the temple of Apollo, the Amphictyonic council, according to the superstition of the age, imposed a fine on the sacrilegious offenders." #19

The god Apollo appears more times in the Federalist Papers than the god Jesus or Yahweh!

No reasonable person could conclude that the Federalist Papers are based on Christian values. Out of 189,954 words, there are no occurrences of Jesus, Christ, Yahweh or bible.