I know many of you have seen Glenn Beck on Fox and are as sickened by the wacked-out message he is sending.  He claims that he is just putting two and two together and reading the signs on the wall. Personally, I think he is mixing apples with oranges and forcing people to eat fruit salad.  Whether he is identifiying a problem we have in the US with religious tension, or stirring up said tension himself, he is insinuating - daily- that "the time has come", that "the prefect storm is arrising".  He speaks not just of political unrest, but of Muslims bringing a caliphate to America, and We The People standing firm with the religion of our Founding Fathers (ha), and doing all things to the glory of God... yada yada yada.

Every other day or so, I catch about 5 minutes of his show while I am switching channels.  Yesterday, he was telling people -- once again -- to stockpile food, and to 'look around and know who your friends are'  while raising his eyebrows above his glasses.  He really frightens me and I don't even believe any of his jumbled, psychotic crap.  What scares me the most, is that I know tons of people who do.  I think that there are so many deluded Christians out there who have watched a little to much reality TV, read every book in the Left Behind Series, and played soooooooooo many video games, that they can't wait for the End Of The World to begin so they can 'kill people for Jesus'! 

And all this got me to thinking: What if this storyline plays out? Either way.. because he saw it coming, or he and the Fear-Mongers stirred it into action? 

How does a small atheist family in the middle of the Bible Belt defend itself? (Please don't advise me to stockpile weapons or join a compound.)

How will I maintain my beliefs without being targeted by my neighbors?

Where would you go to stay safe and when? 

How can the Atheist community do something of good measure to stop the religious people of the US before they do something stupid?  This is my real hope.....  Although I think Christians would see any uprising by Atheists as an attempt to wipe out Christianity and contribute to bringing about the end of the world.  

Or am I just playing into the whole delusion?

Any thoughts a welcome.

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Brian, 

 

Let me be clear; I do think that there is much in this world to fear, disease, war, religion and of-course Glenn Beck. But the choice not to live in fear of these things is how I choose to live.  It does not mean i have a happy-go-lucky outlook on the world or the future. Quite to the contrary I have much sadness for the world I have brought my children into. For example, for everyday of my five year old's life, we have been at war. This is incredible y sad to me. Not just in the sense of war itself, but the consequences these wars have brought, financial disaster to our economy, and will bring to their lives. I do not have a rosey and optimistic outlook on the future. I am a realist and a cynic. However, again, I do not feel that living in fear of things is the way to live. I'm no so extreme in the sense of Voltaire that I want to sit back and "cultivate my own garden", and in this respect I vehemently agree with you, Atheist need to do more.  We need to speak out, act out and stand out, care of Dawkins movement. Start debates, create Atheist communities, and run for office. We can do all these things. I wear my atheism on my sleeve, literary. I have clothes and things on my car that scream non-believer and I relish discussions with the believers more than the non-believers. I think you are right on, we need to do more. In summary, I don't think it's all rosy, and I am weary of  the craziness of the extreme and even the moderate believer and I do think we need to do more. But I will not fear the future. I will just be present. 

 

As a side-note, and I realize this is another topic for perhaps another blog, but what's with all the talk of weapons and guns. I guess being a pacifist is not exclusive to atheism. What a shame. 

Robert

Forgive me.  My interpretation of your response does not square with your response above.  I agree with the quizzical talk of weapons & guns and I am not a pacifist.  A realist - we are woefully outnumbered.

I am terribly frustrated by my inability to contribute financially and I am a terrible debater.

I do not envy you raising kids at this time and I am ashamed to say I never really spoke out about my disbelief outside of my family.   One of my kids is an atheist and the other used to be but now I don't know.  I re-married to an atheist.  We compliment & support each other and together have spoken out.  Feels good.

Regarding the post

I think possibly a more effective approach - long term - is to focus on and support science and critical thinking education K-12.  That may mean getting elected to school boards but the christians have made organized efforts to get on the boards to influence what is taught.  They know that getting to (sounds terrible) kids early is important.

With our limited resources we have been posting to non-atheist blogs, responding to editorials in newspapers, writing letters to the editor, emails to our state & federal representatives, volunteered to man the American's United booth at the Ann Arbor Art Fairs, etc.

What I would like to see is some unified direction(s).  What is effective, what is a waste of time? 

Thank you for your response and setting me straight.

 

Brian Iverson

 

Robert, I agree that it's crucial for freethinkers and atheists to be as open about their convictions as they can possibly be, allowing for the constraints that culture in some parts of the country deliberately or inadvertently imposes on that kind of openness.  Even non-confrontational openness can lead to a level of ostracism in the workplace and in the schools that will make life unacceptably difficult.  For me, that's the shame of this position we find ourselves in.  These are still the Dark Ages.  Superstition and fear govern the thinking of lamentably huge numbers of people--and, of course, the oppression is a lot more stifling in the rural south and in parts of the midwest than it tends to be on the east and west coasts and in most of New England. 

Just as the determined openness of gays and lesbians over the last 20 years or so has led swiftly to an increasing acceptance and broad understanding of homosexuality, I believe the same will be true, in time, for nonbelievers, as the more vocal and courageous among us calmly advertise our wholesome, humanist outlook.  That Obama should have mentioned in his inaugural address the fact that this is a country of nonbelievers, too, is clearly a promising sign.  Barring some kind of world-altering catastrophe, things will improve in this country for nonbelievers, I'm sure.  But tensions and conflict may increase in response to our fitful gains.

As for the talk of weapons, I do think that, even among pacifists, considerations of self defense and survivalist attitudes are a natural complement to (and consequence of) the fearful kind of mindset that has prompted this whole discussion.  I don't think it's likely to happen, but if, in the wake of some unforeseen upheaval, the society were to crumble in significant ways, so that people in certain places could no longer rely on police protection or on supplies of food and fuel, then many of us may be confronted with hard choices about how (or whether) to protect our families, homes, and belongings--our own lives--from profound threats.  Some of us may choose to give in to those threats rather than resort to violence.  I can sympathize with that choice.  Others may choose to arm themselves in order to hunt for food or, if need be, to dissuade bad people from doing bad things to them or to the people they love.  Have you read McCarthy's THE ROAD or Kunstler's WORLD MADE BY HAND?  As I say, I don't believe it's likely that our country will collapse into nightmarish social chaos.  But I won't declare that it could not happen.  And if it ever did happen, then there will be many onetime pacifists like me who will be prepared to defend themselves, since this life, for whatever it may be worth, is all we've got.

Don,

 

Well written. And don't get me wrong, although I choose the route of non-violence in my current and daily life, if it came to defending my children I would die and kill to protect them. I'm just not a big fan of gratuitous violence unless I'm watching it on TV, movies, reading it in books etc or playing it on my video games. I'm such a hypocrite! :-)

You're being sardonic, I guess, Robert, but I don't think anyone's normal indulgences along these lines suggest hypocrisy.  More like a striving for emotional balance.  Most of us are titillated and fascinated by violence.  The media all testify to that, no question.  When we stimulate our natural apprehensions through entertainment, maybe we can deal with the specter of violence in our world and in our own lives a little more effectively.  I myself can't even go to especially violent movies, and I'm squeamish about violence in the books I read.  But I have no trouble writing graphically violent scenes in my own fiction--maybe because when I'm creating it it doesn't shock or surprise me.  I'm in total control.

Well, my advice would be to do two things:

 

1) Stockpile weapons.

2) Join a compound.

 

=)

We already talked about that a few pages back.

I'm on it!

Sheesh. 

Rome wasn't built in a day, you know. 

I mean, unless you have a business ala 'Compounds-R-Us' I'm going to need a little time to get things together and sorted out. :)

 

Religion is a lie and it thrives on lies.  I contribute to secular causes, especially the groups who speak up on our behalf, whenever I can.  I speak up myself whenever it is safe to do so.  One of the best ways to do so is with little observations that are inconsistent with the way theists think but which are undeniably true.  Think of them as "thought barbs" that get stuck in the theists' brains.

 

Here are some of the best:

 

The mystery of the origin of the universe and the question of god's existence are two different issues.  Anyone (i.e., theists) who doesn't see that is engaging in circular reasoning.

 

One can be agnostic as to the origins of the universe and still be an atheist because they are two different issues.

 

No one knows how the universe came to be and anyone who says he does is, to put it politely, not a reliable source of information.

 

The idea that "an invisible magic man in the sky did it" is not a respectable theory of cosmology.

 

Evolution is a theory in the same way that gravity is a theory.

 

How could a horse and a donkey produce a mule if they didn't have a common ancestor?

 

Why did god choose to populate Australia with so many marsupials?  Was it just to tempt us into believing in evolution?

 

There is no evidence for anything supernatural.

 

Humans are the just about only animal that can die simply from tripping and falling down.  Why?  Because we only have two legs when a minimum of three is needed for stability.  Why don't we have four like the other animals?  We do!  We have simply converted two of them into arms.

 

Natural mysteries do not call for supernatural explanations.  All such supernatural explanations that have been tested turned out to be false--and silly.  (Flat earth on the shoulders of a god?!!!)

 

The lack of evidence for god meets the atheist's burden of proof, just like the lack of evidence for leprechauns meets the skeptics burden of proof. 

 

God is an unfalsifiable proposition.  It can NEVER be disproven.  Therefore, the burden of proof is on the proponent of the god hypothesis.  The proponents of god haven't even shown that the idea should be considered at all, much less proven it to the point where the atheist has a burden to present evidence.

 

The only evidence concerning the god hypothesis is the mountain of evidence showing that it is a man-made myth.

 

If only one person believed in god, he would be considered completely insane.

I prefer "germs cause illness" is a theory instead of gravity. There are LAWS of gravity, but germ theory is undeniably a theory...not law

They're all theories.  In science, a theory is what laymen would call a "fact"--i.e., a proven hypothesis.  Scientists call them theories because a. they are all subject to change if other evidence appears and b. the word theory also describes the details of how the phenomenon works, which in the case of gravity is far from clear.

Actually, if you do feel that your town is not safe, then you should strongly consider moving.  It is much better for us to live in places where the authorities are more likely to respect our rights.
Another good idea, if you can't move and if your circumstances permit, is to consider electronic surveillance devices, especially cameras, digital with feeds to both your home computer and a server on another site.  Like I said before, the religious are pathologically dishonest.  They will do incredible things and then lie about it.  I am speaking from experience, unfortunately.

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