Happy Thanksgiving!

Once again it is the special day of the year (at least in the USA) to acknowledge and accept the good things in our lives. Especially those good things which we did not earn: care given to us when we were helpless, rights won for us even before we were born, an entire social structure built up for us so we don’t have to live in daily fear. So easy to take these for granted, but where would we be without them!

And here’s a song called Gratitude by Shelly Segal.

Recent events: Atheism+ and Insanity at the DNC

Too much is going on the past several days for my to focus on a single thing. Today I will be writing about Atheism+ and the insanity at the DNC.

I really like the idea of Atheism Plus. To me, this is not a new thing, but what I have been for years. Technically speaking, an atheist is someone who doesn’t believe in a god or in gods, and I have no problem with that specific definition. But atheists as people are so much more going on than merely not believing in gods. Just talking about that gets very boring after a while. Let’s get together as atheists and talk about feminism and social justice and how to live ethical lives. I like having a term for this that does not gloss over the “atheist,” the way several people have used the term “humanist,” and still incorporates the general principles of humanism and skepticism. I have added the A+ logo to my sidebar, and if you click on it, it will take you to the Atheism Plus website. Not much there yet, except for a pretty active forum that I will be checking from time to time.

Also, for more reading about A+ check out
How I Unwittingly Infiltrated the Boy’s Club & Why It’s Time for a New Wave of Atheism
and
Atheism Plus, and Some Thoughts on Divisiveness

On an entirely different topic…

….what is this ridiculousness at the DNC around adding God back into their platform and also some sort of statement about Jerusalem being the capital of Israel? Why the hell is an American political party making a resolution about the proper capital of another sovereign nation? Anyway, there was a vote during the convention to revise the party platform. Any revisions require a two-thirds vote, and they did this by having the audience of delegates call out “yea” or “no.” Here is where it gets really ridiculous. They held the vote to add the “God language” and the resolution on Israel’s capital city three times, and while the “no’s” were at least as loud as the “yea’s” each time, the DNC chair went ahead and adopted the resolution anyway. What kind of vote is this? I might expect this sort of thing from the RNC, but what is this but a statement by the DNC that us godless citizens are just not welcome among them? This sort of behavior at the DNC has cause me to really consider switching my party affiliation from Democrat to Independent. I won’t tell anyone else what to do, but I have to wonder what kind of impact it would have if all the Democrat atheists in this country did the same.

Video here:

The Reason Rally: No Fair-weather Atheists Here!

Despite the cool temperatures and intermittent rain, a crowd numbering from 20,000-25,000 gathered on the National Mall to celebrate reason, science, and godlessness. And I was very pleased and proud to be there among them.

My husband and I at the Reason Rally.

It was quite an experience to be at the largest freethought gathering of all time, and I can only imagine what it was like for those who had never come to an atheist gathering. The first time I met another person that I could speak with about atheism, I was thrilled beyond belief. Walking into a room with a few hundred atheists at my first American Atheists convention three years ago was like a dream. But this was an experience beyond all of that.

The speakers were of a variety from scientists and professors like Richard Dawkins and PZ Myers to singers like Shelly Segal and comedians like Eddie Izzard and Tim Minchin. This was a Rally for Reason, but not a dry intellectual unfeeling type of reason. It marks a landmark in a trend I have seen in the atheist movement. We are continuing to move beyond the intellectual halls and into the experience of everyday life. This movement is about reason and intellectualism, but also about community and life and emotion. The life of reason includes all of these things too. This is the “New Atheism.”

Bad Religion rocking the Reason Rally

You can find more information about the Reason Rally, and pictures of the speakers, performers, and massive crowd at ReasonRally.org.