Metro State Atheists
University of Colorado Denver
I recently “deconverted” from Catholicism and Christianity. This past spring will be one year since I started living a more rational and religion-free life. During this last school year, I helped out the Metro State Atheists, which is the Auraria Campus atheists club in Denver, CO. The president of the group became my best friend, someone who has helped me through my struggles as an atheist.
Our club worked with the Center for Inquiry, which has also helped me through my transformation. When we heard about this year’s CFI Student Leadership Conference, we were all very excited and quickly submitted travel grant applications. The days leading up to the conference seemed to creep by more slowly as the conference approached. Upon arrival at the CFI Amherst building, I became anxious—I was eager to meet fellow freethinkers and secular students. At the same time, I was nervous. I felt like everyone else knew more than me, that everyone except me already had this “atheism” thing figured out. Growing up in a Catholic home and turning to Christianity as a teen, I wasn’t surrounded by people that would understand my shift to atheism. But as I started talking to the other students at the conference I realized I was meeting familiar strangers. Many of the students were struggling, or had struggled, with the same problems that I have. How do I tell my family? Will my family disown me if they find out? Will other people accept me? How do I find morals without religion? (I’m a “closet atheist” and terrified at the thought of coming out to my family.)
Students arriving early wait for the conference to begin / Matthew LaClair talks about education
The conference started in the late evening with Debbie Goddard welcoming everyone to CFI. Then, Matthew LaClair, the volunteer student president of CFI’s campus outreach initiative, spoke about his experience with his high school and other issues regarding education that he was facing. Matthew shared some words of wisdom: “You cannot depend on other people to do things for you.” I interpreted that as this: “No one else can tell your family but you, because no one else understands your family like you do.” The students, staff, and speakers made everyone feel welcome. I was in a safe place. I could be me, not just the pretend me I am around family—the pretend me I am at the church where I work on Sunday mornings.
During the next few days we heard from Eddie Tabash about debating and watched Ron Lindsay and Eddie Tabash have a mock debate (which was good entertainment!). Debbie Goddard and D.J. Grothe spoke about CFI and its affiliated organizations, Roy Natian gave groups helpful tips for online outreach, and Justin Trottier showed everyone how to manage media relations. We also heard from John Shook and Massimo Pigliucci. Joe Nickell gave everyone insight about investigating the paranormal and how sometimes being just a skeptic doesn’t help.
Massimo Pigliucci talks about reason / Ronald A. Lindsay (as Ron N. Atas) debates Eddie Tabash
Some of my favorite parts of the conference were the workshops with Dan Riley. Dan posed questions to the students, then in small groups we discussed topics such as voting for an atheist, France’s wanting to make burkas illegal, and what we, the students, see as the future of CFI and the secular movement. Many students compared the secular movement to the gay rights movement. I have many friends who are gay, lesbian, and transgender, and although I do not completely understand all the struggles they go through, I do understand what it’s like to be “in the closet” about who you really are.
Workshop session outside / Dan Riley leads a discussion on secularism
As the conference came to an end I had more confidence in myself as an atheist. I left knowing that I always have a community of people that will help me through my struggles and that the fear I had was a fear that many individuals at some time have faced.
Sara Diaz is an undergraduate at the University of Colorado Denver majoring in secondary education-English and minoring in philosophy. She served as the secretary for Metro State Atheists and is starting an atheist group at UC Denver, for which she will serve as the president.
Bishop blasts 9-year-old rape victim’s abortion
POSTED: 03/06/2009 12:30:00 AM MST
UPDATED: 03/06/2009 12:54:53 AM MST
RIO DE JANEIRO — A Roman Catholic archbishop says the abortion of twins carried by a 9-year-old girl who allegedly was raped by her stepfather means excommunication for the girl’s mother and her doctors.
Despite the nature of the case, the church had to hold its line against abortion, Archbishop Jose Cardoso Sobrinho said in a TV interview.
“The law of God is higher than any human laws,” he said.
Abortion is generally illegal in Brazil. But the procedure is allowed when the mother’s life is in danger, when the fetus has no chance of survival or in rape cases where the woman has not passed her 20th week of pregnancy.
Doctors said the girl was 15 weeks pregnant and that the life of the girl — who weighs 80 pounds — was in danger. The pregnancy was discovered last week when the girl fell ill and her mother took her to a clinic. The child then told officials she had been abused by her stepfather, who is in police custody.
Religious bondage shackles and debilitates the mind and unfits it for every noble enterprise. – James Madison
This would be the best of all possible worlds, if there were no religion in it. – John Adams
Religions are all alike – founded upon fables and mythologies. – Thomas Jefferson
Man is a marvelous curiosity…he thinks he is the Creator’s pet…he even believes the Creator loves him; has a passion for him; sits up nights to admire him; yes and watch over him and keep him out of trouble. He prays to him and thinks He listens. Isn’t it a quaint idea. – Mark Twain
All thinking men are atheists. – Ernest Hemingway
It may be that our role on this planet is not to worship God, but to create him. – Arthur C. Clarke
A man is not moral because he is obedient through fear or ignorance. Morality lives in the realm of perceived obligation… – Robert Ingersoll
Religion is the sigh of the oppressed creature, the heart of a heartless world, and the soul of soulless conditions. It is the opium of the people. – Karl Marx
The fact that a believer is happier than a skeptic is no more to the point than the fact that a drunken man is happier than a sober one. – George Bernard Shaw
Creationists make it sound like a ‘theory’ is something you dreamt up after being drunk all night. – Isaac Asimov
We are all atheists about most of the gods that humanity has ever believed in. Some of us just go one god further. – Richard Dawkins
“The time for respecting religous beliefs of that sort has long past”-Sam Harris at Idea City 05
“Thou shalt not take anything on faith”-Penn Jillette
“I contend that we are both atheists. I just believe in one fewer god than you do. When you understand why you dismiss all the other possible gods, you will understand why I dismiss yours.”
— Stephen Roberts
“Philosophy is questions that may never be answered. Religion is answers that may never be questioned.”
“Only Sheep need a shepherd!”
“God is not dead. He is alive and working on a much less ambitious project.”
— graffito (1975), quoted from Jonathon Green, The Cassell Dictionary of Cynical Quotations
“Appraise the Lord: Tax church property.”
— bumper sticker
“Humanity without religion is like a serial killer without a chainsaw.”
“Calling Atheism a religion is like calling bald a hair color.”
“Men will never be free until the last king is strangled with the entrails of the last priest”
“The philosopher has never killed any priests, whereas the priest has killed a great many philosophers.”
— Denis Diderot
“the trouble with theocracy is that everyone wants to be Theo.”
— James Dunn
“Religion is excellent stuff for keeping common people quiet.”
–Napoleon Bonaparte, French emperor (1769-1821).
“The church says the earth is flat, but I know that it is round, for I have seen the shadow on the moon, and I have more faith in a shadow than in the church.”
–Ferdinand Magellan, (1480–1521), Portuguese navigator: discoverer of the Straits of Magellan 1520 and the Philippines 1521.
“Clearly the person who accepts the Church as an infallible guide will believe whatever the Church teaches.”
— Thomas Aquinas (1225-1274) Roman Catholic philosopher
“Don’t you know there ain’t no devil, it’s just god when he’s drunk.”
— Tom Waits
“An atheist is a man who has no invisible means of support.”
— John Buchan
“The atheist does not say ‘there is no God,’ but he says ‘I know not what you mean by God; I am without idea of God’; the word ‘God’ is to me a sound conveying no clear or distinct affirmation. … The Bible God I deny; the Christian God I disbelieve in; but I am not rash enough to say there is no God as long as you tell me you are unprepared to define God to me.”
— Charles Bradlaugh, ‘Plea for Atheism’
Eskimo: “If I did not know about God and sin, would I go to hell?”
Priest: “No, not if you did not know.”
Eskimo: “Then why did you tell me?”
— Annie Dillard, ‘Pilgrim at Tinker Creek’
“I give money for church organs in the hope the organ music will distract the congregation’s attention from the rest of the service.”
— Andrew Carnegie (1835-1919)
“Gods always behave like the people who created them”
— Zora Neale Hurston
“Gods are fragile things; they may be killed by a whiff of science or a dose of common sense.”
— Chapman Cohen
“Pray: To ask the laws of the universe to be annulled on behalf of a single petitioner confessedly unworthy.”
— Ambrose Bierce
“I still say a church steeple with a lightening rod on top shows a lack of confidence.”
— Doug McLeod
“We must respect the other fellow’s religion, but only in the sense and to the extent that we respect his theory that his wife is beautiful and his children smart.”
— H. L. Mencken
“Men never commit evil so fully and joyfuly as when they do it for religious convictions”
— Blaise Pascal (1623-1662)
“Man has never been the same since God died. He has taken it very hard.”
“The world holds two classes of men – intelligent men without religion, and religious men without intelligence.”
— Abu Ala Al-Ma’arri (???? – 1059)
“No philosophy, no religion, has ever brought so glad a message to the world as this good news of Atheism.”
–Annie Wood Besant (1847-1933)
“Hey, let’s get serious… God knows what he’s doin’ He wrote this book here And the book says: ‘He made us all to be just like Him’, So… If we’re dumb… Then God is dumb… (And maybe even a little ugly on the side)”
– -Frank Zappa
“God created man in his own image. And man, being a gentleman, returned the favor.”
“You know your god is man-made when he hates all the same people you do.”
“Atheism is a non-prophet organization”
“Organizing atheists is like hurding cats”
— Madalyn Murray O’Hair
“In the absence of fear there is little faith.”
— Michael Pain
“If atheists are deaf to the word of God, then theists are blind to the ways of man.”
— Michael Pain
“You’ll never find a dead Christian in a foxhole who didn’t pray.”
“On the sixth day, God created man. On the seventh day, man returned the favor.”
“Two hands working can do more than a thousand clasped in prayer.”
“For god so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten son,
that whosoever would believe in him would believe in anything.”
“Theists think all gods but theirs are false. Atheists simply don’t make an exception for the last one.”
“Fundamentalism means never having to say ‘I’m wrong.'”
“Give a man a fish, and you’ll feed him for a day;
Give him a religion, and he’ll starve to death while praying for a fish”
“You believe in a book that has talking animals, wizards, witches, demons, sticks turning into snakes, food falling from the sky, people walking on water, and all sorts of magical, absurd and primitive stories, and you say that we are the ones that need help?”
— Dan Barker, Losing Faith in Faith