Wednesday, September 30, 2009

Finally, no more AAFids!

Hello AAFers! Ready for another round of intelligent discussion and skepticism followed by large piles of Irish Nachos at Murphy's? I AM! We have some exciting things going on during the month of October, but first we should mention that this Thursday's meeting is at the same time and place as usual, 7 pm in Room 229 of the Natural History Building on October 2nd, followed by 8 o'clock Murphy's hangout (corner of Sixth and Green). This week, we will have the leader of our local Champaign Urbana Atheist group, Phil, come to speak to us. He's a great guy, passionate about atheism, and has been helping us for a couple of years now. Be excited! I should give you a fair warning however that he may say some things regarding certain religions that people could potentially find offensive. You've been warned.

Blasphemy Day: Wednesday, September 30th
So we have a bunch of volunteers, and we're still looking for people to confirm or even add their name in during the available time slots (no limit on how many people are at the table). From 11 am to 4 pm on the Quad, we'll be celebrating free speech with a poster filled with post-it notes of whatever people want to write and a "Blasphemy Bowl" where people take a piece of paper that has "blasphemous" sayings (ex: "Jesus was clean shaven", or "Zeus threw thunderbolts like a sissy"). This is meant to promote free speech, not offend religious groups. If you are participating, please take care that your actions and words are intelligent and respectful of all. The sign up sheet link is below, along with a link giving background information on Blasphemy Day.

http://spreadsheets.google.com/ccc?key=0AqcKq0sWo-bmdEdqQWhTbGFBN2JPT...

http://www.facebook.com/group.php?gid=50200339561

If you have any ideas for phrases to add to the "Blasphemy Bowl", go ahead and send them to us at this email. Thanks!


Conferences
We know you're excited about conferences, and the Freedom From Religion Foundation Conference is coming up, the weekend of November 6-8 in Seattle! If you are interested in going, please email Benjamin at bschaap@illinois.edu. We need people to first be interested in order for us to go. To learn more about this conference visit the link below!


Curtis Orchard Event
Atheists go apple picking! Enjoy treats! Make friends! It's finally Fall! We'll be going there on October 18th. If you can offer a ride please do! There's also pumpkin picking, apple donuts, cider slushies, corn mazes, and hayrack rides.

What IS Curtis Orchards? http://www.curtisorchard.com/

Again, depending on how many people are interested in going, we'll need more cars to get there, so if you have a car and can drive, it would be greatly appreciated. If you drive Franklin will even buy you an apple doughnut!

Speaker! First Speaker!
Margaret Downey is coming to speak on October 28th, on the topic of Tradition, Authority, and Revelation. Margaret Downey is an active atheist and former president of the Atheist Alliance International; we'll discuss more at the upcoming meetings!

Website!
Did you know that AAF has our very own website? It's more like a blog sort of thing, where we discuss some interesting goings-on in the atheist world, as well as any relevant media that we find interesting and/or funny. We have had it for a while, but we just revamped it and started updating it again. So go there and visit! You can even add us to your favorites/bookmark us/follow us. We'll ideally have updates every couple of days, and it's (hopefully) stuff worth reading. If you find an interesting article or video, feel free to send us a link and we'll post it. And also feel free to leave comments on the website. The direct link to the website is uiucatheists.blogspot.com.

Hope everyone is having a great week, see you this Thursday!

Julia "The Reaper" Mititelu

Sunday, September 27, 2009

"Five things that would make atheists seem nicer"

Nathan at St. Eutychus has a post about "Five things that would make atheists seem nicer." I must say I agree with #4 at least.
1. Stop being so smug.

2. Don’t assume every piece of Christian evangelism is directed at you – we want the undecideds, not the decided-uns.

3. Admit that the debate about God’s existence is complex – and that it can, depending on your presuppositions, be quite possible for intelligent and rational people to intelligently believe in an intervening deity who communicates through a book.

4. Admit that the scientific method – which by its nature relies on induction rather than deduction (starting with a hypothesis and testing it rather than observing facts and forming a hypothesis) – is as open to abuse as any religious belief, and is neither objective nor infallible.

5. Try to deal with the actual notions of God seriously believed in by millions of people rather than inventing strawmen (or spaghetti monsters) to dismiss the concepts of God – and deal with the Bible paying attention to context and the broader Christological narrative rather than quoting obscure Old Testament laws. By all means quote the laws when they are applied incorrectly by “Christians” – but understand how they’re meant to work before dealing with the Christians described in point 3.
Mike at Frenquency Illusion has posted a response titled "Five things that would make Christians seem nicer." I suppose I agree with #5, but the other points seem rather weak.
1. Stop taking the missionary position. Don't come to my door. Don't go abroad and convert vulnerable people to Christianity. Stop evangelizing.

2. Stop defending the bits of your bible that are obviously wrong. When you argue about the age of the Earth, evolution, and other stuff that science is far better at explaining, you destroy your credibility for the moral and spiritual teachings of Christianity. And isn't that the important stuff?

3. Stop asking for so much money. It seams like all Christian media is 100% focused using people's religiosity to separate Christians from their money. You already get the Mother of All Tax Breaks for some reason. You already have all those fancy churches. Enough already. Was Jesus really all about getting more money?

4. Stop being so un-American. The constitutional separation of church and state is the most unique and American of ideas. It's the thing that protects your sect from other sects that would use the power of government to advance their sectarian interests. Do what you want in your own home and church, but in the American political arena, there is no higher power than the U.S. Constitution. Accept it.

5. Stop being so un-Christian. Instead of your constant culture war with non-Christians, turn the other cheek. Instead of working so hard to gain political power for your own interests, instead render unto Caesar that which is Caesar's. Instead of judging others, instead let him who is without sin cast the first stone.
Thoughts?



Saturday, September 26, 2009

"Can Christianity be saved from Christians?"

Frank Schaeffer, author of Crazy for God: How I Grew Up as One of the Elect, Helped Found the Religious Right, and Lived to Take All (or Almost All) of It Back , makes another appearance on The Rachel Maddow Show. He argues that fundamentalist Christians have rotted the Republican party, and that all we can do is "move past these people" because we can't engage them in dialogue.


Monday, September 21, 2009

Totally awesome webshow

I was just looking around reddit when I came upon this show called "Mr. Deity". I personally think it's genius. Here's the first episode, and if you like it, you can go to youtube or check out their site:



The premise is so simple, and I love how they decided to portray God; for some reason it just fits. And, as a plus, it isn't (too) blatantly offensive, unlike other things that many atheists tend to find funny.


The entity of AAF does not condone this behavior.

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Even though we haven't been posting on this blog recently, We will be trying this out again, but if it doesn't work out, we may be changing to wordpress. stay tuned.