Sunday, July 20, 2014

Unlocking indoctrination. There is no key

Unlocking indoctrination.

my goodreads list

https://www.goodreads.com/review/list/5693500-peter?shelf=read
My Goodreads.com llink
dang, can't UN publish on iPad, (short of deleting ) oh well, will do random thoughts until I get arnf to desktop editing .

 There is no key (?)
the door to escaping religion unlocks from the inside.
forcing the lock

Dan Dennet - intuition pumps.
http://www.brainpickings.org/index.php/2014/03/28/daniel-dennett-rapoport-rules-criticism/
http://philosophynow.org/issues/101/Intuition_Pumps_by_Daniel_C_Dennett
http://youtu.be/4Q_mY54hjM0


Dan Finke - arguing.

Peter Boghassian manual.

Radical inclusivity.  GAC SA
post theological thinking.
post theism, post atheism.
maybe there is no lock !
Just playing with mobile platform
Maybe asking people to stick their heads outside their box ?
Don't try to pick the lock , try to break down the wall
Dang can't un publish from phone doh



Friday, January 10, 2014

Trying Atheism as a journey? - what to pack.


"What difference does God make?
...[an] atheist friend asked her this question ... I decided I would find out, by living for a year without God."

Above from Ryan Bell's blog  Year without god



Away from religious habits  - an unexpected journey.
I was a Seventh-Day Adventist like Ryan. My path diverged in the early 80's. I left the sda denomination over various SDA specific dogmas but I remained a generic Christian for decades after that.  It was only after looking into atheism (in 2008) that my journey out of religious belief altogether really got underway. Books mostly, that's what did it. Only after that year did I see some videos, hear some podcasts, read some blogs, join some facebook groups, attend an atheist convention, go to some meetup groups etc. 

My journey begins. The train pulls out of the station from outer suburban Melbourne. I am on it, I begin reading my "book one". The God Delusion by Richard Dawkins. I felt awkward, embarrassed even and read it behind a magazine to disguise the fact. I had picked it up on a whim, seemed many others were reading it. My motivation was curiosity, my expectation was that it was all rubbish and I knew better as a Christian , my hope was to be able to refute everything with an apologetic stance etc. Questions were raised.

Consider reading "both sides", some apologetic books and rebuttals etc.
If one is still immersed in young earth creation (YEC) as a fundamentalist then consider some YEC Christian friendly evolution books- By Fairbanks, Alexander , Collins - otherwise go direct to Dawkins, Coyne etc. Read some age of the earth books, geology etc. If one is still stuck in Noah's flood as real , see the rocks don't lie. Some philosophy books, logic, critical thinking etc.

The (~ 190) books below have largely (re)shaped my world view.




100 Billion Suns: The Birth, Life, and Death of the Stars Rudolf Kippenhahn
36 Arguments for the Existence of God Rebecca Newberger Goldstein
50 Great Myths about Atheism Russell Blackford
50 Popular Beliefs That People Think Are True Guy P. Harrison
50 Reasons People Give for Believing in a God Guy P. Harrison
50 Simple Questions for Every Christian Guy P. Harrison
50 Voices of Disbelief: Why We Are Atheists Russell Blackford
A God of One's Own: Religion's Capacity for Peace and Potential for Violence Ulrich Beck
A Manual for Creating Atheists Peter Boghossian
A Universe from Nothing: Why There Is Something Rather Than Nothing Lawrence M. Krauss
A World Without Islam Graham E. Fuller
Adam's Tongue: How Humans Made Language, How Language Made Humans Derek Bickerton
Adams Vs. God: The Rematch Phillip Adams
Against All Gods: Six Polemics on Religion and an Essay on Kindness A.C. Grayling
All Things Shining: Reading the Western Classics to Find Meaning in a Secular Age Hubert L. Dreyfus
Atheism Julian Baggini
Atheism Advanced: Further Thoughts of a Freethinker David Eller
Atheism and the Case Against Christ Matthew S. McCormick
Atheism Explained: From Folly to Philosophy David Ramsay Steele
Atheism: The Case Against God George H. Smith
Atheist Manifesto: The Case Against Christianity, Judaism, and Islam Michel Onfray
Atheist Universe: The Thinking Person's Answer to Christian Fundamentalism David Mills
Believing Bullshit: How Not to Get Sucked into an Intellectual Black Hole Stephen Law
Beyond Belief: The Secret Lives of Women in Extreme Religions Cami Ostman
Beyond Good and Evil Friedrich Nietzsche
Blindness Josea Saramago
Breaking the Spell: Religion as a Natural Phenomenon Daniel C. Dennett
Cat's Cradle Kurt Vonnegut
Caught in The Pulpit:  Leaving Belief Behind Daniel C. Dennett
Climbing Mount Improbable Richard Dawkins
Cosmos Carl Sagan
Create Your Own Religion: A How-To Book Without Instructions Daniele Bolelli
Creation or Evolution?: Do We Have to Choose? Denis Alexander
Darwin's Dangerous Idea: Evolution and the Meanings of Life Daniel C. Dennett
Decoding the Language of God: Can a Scientist Really Be a Believer? George C. Cunningham
Deconverted: a Journey from Religion to Reason Seth Andrews
Dot, Dot, Dot: Infinity Plus God Equals Folly James A. Lindsay
Doubt: A History: The Great Doubters and Their Legacy of Innovation from Socrates and Jesus to Thomas Jefferson and Emily Dickinson Jennifer Michael Hecht
Endless Forms Most Beautiful: The New Science of Evo Devo and the Making of the Animal Kingdom Sean B. Carroll
Evolution vs. Creationism: An Introduction Eugenie C. Scott
Evolving out of Eden: Christian Responses to Evolution Robert M. Price
Faitheist: How An Atheist Found Common Ground With The Religious Chris Stedman
Fear and Trembling Søren Kierkegaard
For God's Sake Jane Caro
Forged: Writing in the Name of God Bart D. Ehrman
Freaks of Nature: What Anomalies Tell Us about Development and Evolution Mark S. Blumberg
Free Will Sam Harris
Friendship A.C. Grayling
From Eve to Dawn: A History of Women in the World, Vol. 1 Marilyn French
Generation Atheist Dan    Riley
God -- the Failed Hypothesis Victor J. Stenger
God and Sex: What the Bible Really Says Michael D. Coogan
God and the Folly of Faith: The Incompatibility of Science and Religion Victor J. Stenger
God is Not Great: How Religion Poisons Everything Christopher Hitchens
God Is Not One: The Eight Rival Religions That Run the World--and Why Their Differences Matter Stephen R. Prothero
God or Godless?: One Atheist. One Christian. Twenty Controversial Questions. John W. Loftus
God: The Failed Hypothesis: How Science Shows That God Does Not Exist Victor J. Stenger
Godless Americana: Race and Religious Rebels Sikivu Hutchinson
Godless: How an Evangelical Preacher Became One of America's Leading Atheists Dan Barker
Good and Evil (Great Minds Series) Richard  Taylor
Good Without God: What a Billion Nonreligious People Do Believe Greg M. Epstein
Guns, Germs, and Steel: The Fates of Human Societies Jared Diamond
Hope after Faith: An Ex-Pastor's Journey from Belief to Atheism Jerry DeWitt
How Proust Can Change Your Life Alain de Botton
How to Live: A Life of Montaigne in One Question and Twenty Attempts at An Answer Sarah Bakewell
Ideas That Matter: A Personal Guide For The 21st Century A.C. Grayling
Ideas That Matter: The Concepts That Shape the 21st Century A.C. Grayling
Infidel Ayaan Hirsi Ali
Intuition Pumps and Other Tools for Thinking Daniel C. Dennett
Jesus, Interrupted: Revealing the Hidden Contradictions in the Bible (and Why We Don't Know About Them) Bart D. Ehrman
Leaving the Fold Marlene Winell
Letter to a Christian Nation Sam Harris
Letters to a Young Poet Rainer Maria Rilke
Life Ascending: The Ten Great Inventions of Evolution Nick Lane
Lying Sam Harris
Man Made God: A Collection of Essays Barbara Walker
Man's Search for Meaning Viktor E. Frankl
Marriage, a History: How Love Conquered Marriage Stephanie Coontz
Misquoting Jesus: The Story Behind Who Changed the Bible and Why Bart D. Ehrman
Mister God, This Is Anna Fynn
More Than Human Theodore Sturgeon
Mortality Christopher Hitchens
Natural Atheism David Eller
Nature's Clocks: How Scientists Measure the Age of Almost Everything Doug Macdougall
Neuromancer (Sprawl, #1) William Gibson
Nomad: From Islam to America: A Personal Journey Through the Clash of Civilizations Ayaan Hirsi Ali
Objecting to God Colin Howson
On the Origin of Stories: Evolution, Cognition, and Fiction Brian Boyd
Origins: Fourteen Billion Years of Cosmic Evolution Neil deGrasse Tyson
Pale Blue Dot: A Vision of the Human Future in Space Carl Sagan
Paranormality: Why We See What Isn't There Richard Wiseman
People in Glass Houses Tanya Levin
Philosophers Without Gods: Meditations on Atheism and the Secular Life Louise M. Antony
Physics for Future Presidents: The Science Behind the Headlines Richard A. Muller
Predictably Irrational. The Hidden Forces That Shape Our Decisions Dan Ariely
Proust and the Squid: The Story and Science of the Reading Brain Maryanne Wolf
Proust Was a Neuroscientist Jonah Lehrer
Proving History: Bayes's Theorem and the Quest for the Historical Jesus Richard Carrier
Relics of Eden: The Powerful Evidence of Evolution in Human DNA Daniel J. Fairbanks
Religion for Atheists: A Non-Believer's Guide to the Uses of Religion  Alain de Botton
Rethinking Life and Death: The Collapse of Our Traditional Ethics Peter Singer
Road Out Of Eden From Adventist To Atheist LouAnne White
Sex & God: How Religion Distorts Sexuality Darrel Ray
Sex at Dawn: The Prehistoric Origins of Modern Sexuality Christopher  Ryan
Slaughterhouse-Five Kurt Vonnegut
South Park and Philosophy: Bigger, Longer, and More Penetrating Richard Hanley
Stranger in a Strange Land Robert A. Heinlein
Supercontinent: Ten Billion Years in the Life of Our Planet Ted Nield
Supernatural Selection: How Religion Evolved Matthew Rossano
Swann's Way (In Search of Lost Time, #1) Marcel Proust
Talking Difference: On Gender and Language Mary Crawford
The 10,000 Year Explosion: How Civilization Accelerated Human Evolution Gregory Cochran
The Age of Everything: How Science Explores the Past Matthew Hedman
The Ancestor's Tale: A Pilgrimage to the Dawn of Evolution Richard Dawkins
The Atheist's Guide to Reality: Enjoying Life without Illusions Alex Rosenberg
The Australian Book of Atheism Warren Bonett
The Believing Brain: From Ghosts and Gods to Politics and Conspiracies How We Construct Beliefs and Reinforce Them as Truths Michael Shermer
The Bible Unearthed: Archaeology's New Vision of Ancient Israel and the Origin of Its Sacred Texts Israel Finkelstein
The Blind Watchmaker: Why the Evidence of Evolution Reveals a Universe Without Design Richard Dawkins
The Caged Virgin: An Emancipation Proclamation for Women and Islam Ayaan Hirsi Ali
The Case Against The Case for Christ Robert M. Price
The Christian Delusion: Why Faith Fails John W. Loftus
The Complete Heretic's Guide to Western Religion Book One: The Mormons David Fitzgerald
The Dark Side of Christian History Helen Ellerbe
The Demon-Haunted World: Science as a Candle in the Dark Carl Sagan
The End of Biblical Studies Hector Avalos
The End of Christianity John W. Loftus
The End of Faith: Religion, Terror, and the Future of Reason Sam Harris
The Epigenetics Revolution Nessa Carey
The Evolution of God Robert Wright
The Examined Life: How We Lose and Find Ourselves Stephen Grosz
The Fallacy of Fine-Tuning: Why the Universe Is Not Designed for Us Victor J. Stenger
The Future of Blasphemy: Speaking of the Sacred in an Age of Human Rights Austin Dacey
The God Argument: The Case against Religion and for Humanism A.C. Grayling
The God Confusion: Why Nobody Knows the Answer to the Ultimate Question Gary Cox
The God Debates: A 21st Century Guide for Atheists and Believers (and Everyone in Between) John R. Shook
The God Delusion Richard Dawkins
The God Instinct: The Psychology of Souls, Destiny, and the Meaning of Life Jesse Bering
The Good Atheist: Living a Purpose-Filled Life Without God Dan Barker
The Greatest Show on Earth: The Evidence for Evolution Richard Dawkins
The Heart of Things: Applying Philosophy to the 21st Century A.C. Grayling
The Hero with a Thousand Faces Joseph Campbell
The High Price Of Heaven - A Book About The Enemies Of Pleasure and Freedom David Marr
The Hinge Factor: How Chance and Stupidity Have Changed History Erik Durschmied
The Holy Machine Chris Beckett
The Human Faces of God: What Scripture Reveals When It Gets God Wrong (and Why Inerrancy Tries To Hide It) Thom Stark
The Last of the Just André Schwarz-Bart
The Life You Can Save: Acting Now to End World Poverty Peter Singer
The Little Prince Antoine de Saint-Exupéry
The Making of the Fittest: DNA and the Ultimate Forensic Record of Evolution Sean B. Carroll
The Meaning of Life Terry Eagleton
The Meaning of Things: Applying Philosophy to Life A.C. Grayling
The Metamorphosis Franz Kafka
The New Atheism: Taking a Stand for Science and Reason Victor J. Stenger
The Outsider Test for Faith: How to Know Which Religion Is True John W. Loftus
The Philosophy Gym Stephen Law
The Portable Atheist: Essential Readings for the Nonbeliever Christopher Hitchens
The Problem with God: Why Atheists, True Believers, and Even Agnostics Must All Be Wrong Peter Steinberger
The Reason Driven Life: What Am I Here on Earth For? Robert M. Price
The Righteous Mind: Why Good People are Divided by Politics and Religion Jonathan Haidt
The Rocks Don't Lie: A Geologist Investigates Noah's Flood David R. Montgomery
The Shrink and the Sage: A Guide to Modern Dilemmas Julian Baggini
The Speed Reading Book Tony Buzan
The Stranger Albert Camus
The Tree Of Man Patrick White
The Way We Eat: Why Our Food Choices Matter Peter Singer
The World Until Yesterday: What Can We Learn from Traditional Societies? Jared Diamond
The Young Atheist's Handbook: Lessons for Living a Good Life Without God Alom Shaha
The Young Atheist's Survival Guide: Helping Secular Students Thrive Hemant Mehta
Think: Why You Should Question Everything Guy P. Harrison
Thinking of Answers: Questions in the Philosophy of Everyday Life A.C. Grayling
To Set Prometheus Free A.C. Grayling
Tragedy: A Very Short Introduction Adrian Poole
Truth: A Guide Simon Blackburn
Unweaving the Rainbow: Science, Delusion and the Appetite for Wonder Richard Dawkins
Western Values Versus the Gospels - What Jesus Really Values and Why We Shouldn't Agree with Him Peter Woolcock
Wetware: A Computer in Every Living Cell Dennis Bray
What Are You Without God?: How to Discredit Religious Thought and Rebuild Your Identity Christopher Krzeminski
What Evolution Is Ernst Mayr
What On Earth Evolved? ... In Brief Christopher   Lloyd
What Should I Believe?: Why Our Beliefs about the Nature of Death and the Purpose of Life Dominate Our Lives Dorothy Rowe
What's It All About?: Philosophy and the Meaning of Life Julian Baggini
When Life Nearly Died: The Greatest Mass Extinction of All Time Michael J. Benton
When Species Meet Donna J. Haraway
White as the Waves: A Novel of Moby Dick Alison Baird
White Washed: Uncovering the Myths of Ellen G. White Sydney Cleveland
Why Are You Atheists So Angry? 99 Things That Piss Off the Godless Greta Christina
Why Beliefs Matter: Reflections on the Nature of Science E. Brian Davies
Why Darwin Matters: The Case Against Intelligent Design Michael Shermer
Why Evolution Is True Jerry A. Coyne
Why I Became an Atheist: A Former Preacher Rejects Christianity John W. Loftus
Why Tolerate Religion? Brian Leiter
Why Truth Matters Jeremy Stangroom
Yes, But How Do You Know? Stephen Hetherington



Out of these, my top 80 would be:


50 Great Myths about Atheism Russell Blackford
50 Reasons People Give for Believing in a God Guy P. Harrison
50 Simple Questions for Every Christian Guy P. Harrison
50 Voices of Disbelief: Why We Are Atheists Russell Blackford
A God of One's Own: Religion's Capacity for Peace and Potential for Violence Ulrich Beck
A Manual for Creating Atheists Peter Boghossian
Against All Gods: Six Polemics on Religion and an Essay on Kindness A.C. Grayling
Atheism Julian Baggini
Atheism Advanced: Further Thoughts of a Freethinker David Eller
Atheism and the Case Against Christ Matthew S. McCormick
Atheism Explained: From Folly to Philosophy David Ramsay Steele
Atheism: The Case Against God George H. Smith
Atheist Manifesto: The Case Against Christianity, Judaism, and Islam Michel Onfray
Atheist Universe: The Thinking Person's Answer to Christian Fundamentalism David Mills
Beyond Belief: The Secret Lives of Women in Extreme Religions Cami Ostman
Breaking the Spell: Religion as a Natural Phenomenon Daniel C. Dennett
Caught in The Pulpit:  Leaving Belief Behind Daniel C. Dennett
Create Your Own Religion: A How-To Book Without Instructions Daniele Bolelli
Deconverted: a Journey from Religion to Reason Seth Andrews
Doubt: A History: The Great Doubters and Their Legacy of Innovation from Socrates and Jesus to Thomas Jefferson and Emily Dickinson Jennifer Michael Hecht
Faitheist: How An Atheist Found Common Ground With The Religious Chris Stedman
Fear and Trembling Søren Kierkegaard
For God's Sake Jane Caro
Forged: Writing in the Name of God Bart D. Ehrman
Generation Atheist Dan    Riley
God -- the Failed Hypothesis Victor J. Stenger
God and Sex: What the Bible Really Says Michael D. Coogan
God and the Folly of Faith: The Incompatibility of Science and Religion Victor J. Stenger
God is Not Great: How Religion Poisons Everything Christopher Hitchens
God Is Not One: The Eight Rival Religions That Run the World--and Why Their Differences Matter Stephen R. Prothero
God or Godless?: One Atheist. One Christian. Twenty Controversial Questions. John W. Loftus
God: The Failed Hypothesis: How Science Shows That God Does Not Exist Victor J. Stenger
Godless Americana: Race and Religious Rebels Sikivu Hutchinson
Good Without God: What a Billion Nonreligious People Do Believe Greg M. Epstein
Hope after Faith: An Ex-Pastor's Journey from Belief to Atheism Jerry DeWitt
Jesus, Interrupted: Revealing the Hidden Contradictions in the Bible (and Why We Don't Know About Them) Bart D. Ehrman
Leaving the Fold Marlene Winell
Letter to a Christian Nation Sam Harris
Man Made God: A Collection of Essays Barbara Walker
Misquoting Jesus: The Story Behind Who Changed the Bible and Why Bart D. Ehrman
Natural Atheism David Eller
Objecting to God Colin Howson
Philosophers Without Gods: Meditations on Atheism and the Secular Life Louise M. Antony
Proving History: Bayes's Theorem and the Quest for the Historical Jesus Richard Carrier
Religion for Atheists: A Non-Believer's Guide to the Uses of Religion  Alain de Botton
Sex & God: How Religion Distorts Sexuality Darrel Ray
The Atheist's Guide to Reality: Enjoying Life without Illusions Alex Rosenberg
The Australian Book of Atheism Warren Bonett
The Bible Unearthed: Archaeology's New Vision of Ancient Israel and the Origin of Its Sacred Texts Israel Finkelstein
The Case Against The Case for Christ Robert M. Price
The Christian Delusion: Why Faith Fails John W. Loftus
The Complete Heretic's Guide to Western Religion Book One: The Mormons David Fitzgerald
The Dark Side of Christian History Helen Ellerbe
The End of Biblical Studies Hector Avalos
The End of Christianity John W. Loftus
The End of Faith: Religion, Terror, and the Future of Reason Sam Harris
The Evolution of God Robert Wright
The Fallacy of Fine-Tuning: Why the Universe Is Not Designed for Us Victor J. Stenger
The God Argument: The Case against Religion and for Humanism A.C. Grayling
The God Confusion: Why Nobody Knows the Answer to the Ultimate Question Gary Cox
The God Debates: A 21st Century Guide for Atheists and Believers (and Everyone in Between) John R. Shook
The God Delusion Richard Dawkins
The God Instinct: The Psychology of Souls, Destiny, and the Meaning of Life Jesse Bering
The Good Atheist: Living a Purpose-Filled Life Without God Dan Barker
The High Price Of Heaven - A Book About The Enemies Of Pleasure and Freedom David Marr
The Human Faces of God: What Scripture Reveals When It Gets God Wrong (and Why Inerrancy Tries To Hide It) Thom Stark
The New Atheism: Taking a Stand for Science and Reason Victor J. Stenger
The Outsider Test for Faith: How to Know Which Religion Is True John W. Loftus
The Portable Atheist: Essential Readings for the Nonbeliever Christopher Hitchens
The Problem with God: Why Atheists, True Believers, and Even Agnostics Must All Be Wrong Peter Steinberger
The Reason Driven Life: What Am I Here on Earth For? Robert M. Price
The Righteous Mind: Why Good People are Divided by Politics and Religion Jonathan Haidt
The Young Atheist's Handbook: Lessons for Living a Good Life Without God Alom Shaha
The Young Atheist's Survival Guide: Helping Secular Students Thrive Hemant Mehta
Western Values Versus the Gospels - What Jesus Really Values and Why We Shouldn't Agree with Him Peter Woolcock
What Are You Without God?: How to Discredit Religious Thought and Rebuild Your Identity Christopher Krzeminski
What Should I Believe?: Why Our Beliefs about the Nature of Death and the Purpose of Life Dominate Our Lives Dorothy Rowe
Why Are You Atheists So Angry? 99 Things That Piss Off the Godless Greta Christina
Why I Became an Atheist: A Former Preacher Rejects Christianity John W. Loftus
Why Tolerate Religion? Brian Leiter



My goodreads.com read list

Thursday, November 21, 2013

Sunday Assembly


Sunday Assembly - Roadshow Thursday 21 Nov 2013 Melbourne. 


Pippa Evans and Sanderson Jones together setup the first Sunday Assembly in London. They are going on a world tour  - 40 Dates in 40 Nights. The idea basically helping set up a bunch of new ones. As part of the tour, tonight Sanderson was in Melbourne to celebrate with us. Sunday Assembly Melbourne (SAM) has been going for a while now, we were ( I think ) equal second with New York as the next new Sunday assemblies outside of the UK.

Eolian Hall in Carlton Melbourne was the venue. Full house! Sanderson kicks off the proceedings with with a huge welcome a basic introduction to what SAM is and then launched us into the first song. The band was a tad late, (new venue, they are forgiven), anyway, no problem Katie ( and others) saved the day with the first song instead done as an Internet video karaoke style. Then some more talk about how SA isn't an atheist church, IE not a church as do not worship any gods, specifically godless though not religion bashing get together. Theists are welcome, being radical inclusive is part of our outlook. ( Trivia point : "Eolian" means carried by the wind,  (I think ) a reference to the original intent of the hall as a meeting place for those leaving their previous country, maybe a similar thing for some of us in the sense of leaving believing).

Each SA there is a reading, something short, today's was from Dr Seuss, read by Frazer Kirkman. Some of which, to follow, below you know:

Oh, the Places You'll Go! by Dr. Seuss

Congratulations!
Today is your day.
You're off to Great Places!
You're off and away!
...
You're on your own.  And you know what you know.
And YOU are the guy who'll decide where to go...

see  Oh, the Places You'll Go

There was a shadow puppet presentation  (thanks puppeteer Vic Farrell , also our Choir Master).

At some point there was a minute of silence (stand up comedians hate that! ), a bit scary but not actual "prayer", simply for reflection etc. I found that a bit weird but maybe some church goers might like it (?).


Each meeting has a basic theme, tonight's is "Acceptance".
Jason's talk was centered around acceptance of LBGTI human beings via his personal experience about the difficulty of coming out as gay when immersed in a macho football environment.

Jason Ball - Courage over ignorance  just one of many articles. ( gives the general idea ).

Personally, I thought it took great courage, Jason's story was inspiring, and I expect it will help others. His support for beyond blue is also amazing. In an audience such as the SA, I doubt any would have even considered that LGTBI people "less equal" ( I note that many modern believers are also accepting but there is still work to be done here. The coming out as gay, although I don know people who are in the process and they have mentioned various levels of difficulty. I can relate to coming out as an atheist though.


Sanderson's talk centered around his mother dying when he was ten years old, not dismissing the sadness and loss but celebrating the life he knew, the ten years of being read to, of being tucked into bed, of having chocolate wiped off his young face. Acknowledging that we are all here for but a brief time and to celebrate  and enjoy it while we can. She was here for ten years of his life ... and that was special and wonderful. Sanderson then talked about how SA seemed to be an accidental hit, and that maybe we really should have a place to go to meet people to:
  • Live Better.
  • Help Often.
  • Wonder More.
from Sunday assembly website


Awesome music, two piece band, words on screen, karaoke style, all joined in.
Today's selection:

Bad Moon Rising by Creedence Clearwater Revival


Walking on Sunshine by Katrina and the Waves. 


We are Young by Fun

My overall impression is a mix of puzzlement, what is this about anyway and yet, they, we, might be onto something. It seems to be evolving, organic, grass roots, gets better all the time. Somehow there is something utterly amazing , totally awesome, compellingly and wonderfully special here, genuine human without the make believe. It is like somebody has gone into a religious building and removed all the fake, the images and the imaginary. For too long now, the gods have reduced humanity, when you have a nice meal, thank the human being that prepared it. The posture of prayer is that of slavery, honor the master, head bowed, hands together, silent, obey - no, none of this here, there are only people. The gods are passé  for we have made them so - Pace Nietzsche. Not in an arrogant way, rather, humbly thinking that we have this life, we do not know for how long, as far as we can tell it is our only one. This isn't religion bashing, isn't god bashing, these idieas are simply mentioned in passing for the newbies benefit. 

Pippa & sanderson early on.

Will the Sunday Assembly take off? ... I think it already has.

After the presentation - Tea and cake ( and chat and giggle ), always important!



Last month's talk: theme "Rescue me" feature speakers from Shar Pei Rescue
The two people who run this dog rescue operation. They brought in two rescued dogs, including Noah !

Other talks have included:

Asylum seeking - by an previous asylum seeker.
Sex - by a sex therapist.
Depression - by person who had this.

Some other links:
ABC radionational - sunday assembly
The daily beast article - sunday assembly
Token skeptic interview with Sanderson
The friendly atheist blog - sunday assembly
The Australian article - sunday assembly first adelaide gathering
There are various meetup.com and facebook groups for those wanting to stay up to date with events.

Blog by Peter Veitch , the post atheist nurse.





Wednesday, November 13, 2013

I don't want to be an Atheist - Blue pill please, Morpheus

I don't want to be an Atheist - Blue pill please, Morpheus

May 2, 2011 at 12:38pm
Dawkins was wrong, I knew this. The GOD DELUSION, obviously itself the work of a deluded mind, offensive rubbish. I was a Seventh-Day Adventist (SDA) Christian for many years, we all knew Dawkins was the enemy. Audacious book title, the  gauntlet was laid down and I was up for the challenge. I was going to dismantle his lies and fend off his evil attack.

I begin to read ... oh Dawkins wants to turn us into atheists does he, at least he is honest there. He says...many if not most people are born into a religion. Christian,  Muslim or Hindu environment? Are you then a Christian,  Muslim or Hindu follower? Does it follow? How did i get my religion? Did I choose it or inherit it? I finished reading the God delusion, Richard Dawkins did not succeed in making me an atheist but he did convince me of the need to question.

Dawkins was still wrong I just knew it. How did I know? I did not know. If you don't know how you know, how do you know that you know ? I did not know that either. A paradox? I was determined to shore up my beliefs. Time to hit the books. Apologetics here I go. Still to be honest with myself I read more of these so called new atheists to see how wrong they are. I was determined to thoroughly follow St Paul's advice:  "prove all things".

Josh McDowell in his book "Evidence that demands a verdict" asks  "is Jesus, Lord liar or lunatic? " . In the gospels Jesus does not come across as a liar or a lunatic, Josh asserts that therefore Jesus is Lord. Nice work Josh, Christian and intellectual, I like this. Opposing this I read John Loftus. His book "the Christian delusion" asks,  is there a fourth L? Could the Miracle working version of Jesus be merely Legend? Did McDowell present a false trilemma? Did he withhold evidence? Has other evidence been withheld? How can  people be a "witness" in a trial if they have not actually seen anything ? The Jesus, God story is still real to me but there is a question mark, albeit a very, very small one. More questions. The SDA's taught me that the earth was created in six days etc. Is this true ?

Next I read twenty plus books on evolution and other science relating to the age of the earth etc. The SDA's saying that God created the world in 6 literal days with 6 evenings and 6 mornings is now looking like a beastly lie. We do have the mark of ancestral beasts written in our DNA. I read genetics, there is a "mark" in our chromosome number two.  "TTAG- CTAA"  is the precise marker for the point of fusion point of two ancestral chromosomes. ( IJdo et al 1991) .  The evidence for evolution is under our noses. Genetic analysis of our olfactory genes show that we have lost our sense of smell to an extent. Our noses are evidence. Evolution is a fact, the universe is ancient, we can literally see this in the night sky. There is massive overwhelming evidence for evolution. We were not created on the sixth day, The church lied to me, they are still lying.

Many philosophy books later, I learn that critical thinking is required for proper thought. Didn't I already know that? Yes , of course, however Dan Dennett taught me that this must also apply to religion. This is what was missing, I was under the spell that religion was not to be questioned, God was beyond question. "Breaking the spell" by Dan shattered that illusion. Not only can church dogma, Jesus and God be questioned; they must be. I had previously read a lot of science but the faith card always trumped. Not anymore, look at the evidence before deciding the conclusion. I still think there is probably a god. Creationism is provably false, god must be behind evolution, guiding it somehow.

More books, astronomy, geology, biology etc. I can see light from more than 6000 years ago. I can see rock that is older than 6k years. I see that evolution is a fact. Continents move around, god gets smaller. “Je n’avais pas besoin de cette hypothese-la,” “I have had no need of that hypothesis.” Scientists no longer need it either.  I now think the chances that god exists are now 50 / 50.

Another fifty so books, god has almost disappeared, he was not seen in the sky, the rocks, the living things. I see Pascal's wager easily debunked, easily, thoroughly, utterly  .. now I think that God has died, I feel depressed.

I have now read more than two hundred books for and against anything relating to the god concept. I question everything, even the need to question.. that many books, especially those by philosophers did change the way I think. Why did it take so long ? Why was it so difficult ? Am I wrong? Now I know that I did not know. Maybe there is a god, best guess at odds? The chances of a god existing are so vanishingly small as to be practically nil, one chance in billions of billions. Anthony Grayling even questions the idea of a grey area of chance. He asks what of the  "uncertainty around ...  Little Red Riding Hood? Rumpelstiltskin? Santa? Betty Boop? Saint Veronica (who allegedly started out as sweat on a cloth and became a person)? Aphrodite? Wotan? Batman?" (A. C. Grayling 2009). I think Fairies, goblins and gods might be real , but the chances are essentially nil as far as I can tell. I feel silly calling myself an agnostic regarding fairies, i don't believe "they" exist, if I meet any, I will let you know.  Technically I suppose I am an atheist agnostic. I no longer have any god beliefs neither do I claim absolute knowledge that there is no god.

If you can bring yourself to believe in an all powerful best friend in the sky then yay. As long as you don't hurt anyone else, I envy you. Sometimes the existential angst does get to me. Given the choice, I would go for the blue pill*
How can I unknow this? The irony is that once you realize that there is no god, you can no longer believe in "god". The blue pill is a fantasy. The red pill? In terms of actual reality, i think some of us are color blind. Reality is not a pill. Reality is not sugar coated. Want a spoonful of sugar to make this medicine go down?

There is no pill, there is no spoon.

At first I did not want to be an atheist because it sounded bad, felt wrong. Worst of all, like finding out that Santa Claus was not real, same applies to Infinite Santa. Not only does the emperor have no clothes, there is no emperor!

Now I don't want to be an Atheist in the same way I don't want to be an A-Zeusist or A-Goblinist. Convincing people that Zeus or goblins are not real is no longer required. While people still persist in believing religious superstition we will still have to try to educate them out of this. If you speak to me about astrology and superstition, I will speak to you about astronomy and reason. As long as theism persists, I think we are morally and intellectually obliged to speak up against this superstition.

I don't "want" to be an Atheist. But I have eaten from the tree of knowledge and therefore I don't have a choice.


Deepest thanks to Richard Dawkins, Christopher Hitchens, Daniel Dennett, Sam Harris, Anthony Grayling and others.
Regards Peter Veitch



* the choice between the blissful ignorance of illusion (blue) and embracing the sometimes painful truth of reality (red).
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Redpill_and_bluepill


Origin of human chromosome 2: an ancestral telomere-telomere fusion.
J W IJdo, A Baldini, D C Ward, S T Reeders, and R A Wells
Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A. 1991 October 15; 88(20): 9051–9055.

Probably a ridiculous caveat - A C Grayling
http://www.guardian.co.uk/commentisfree/2009/jan/07/atheist-bus-atheism