Atheism finding its way – CNN Radio

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This is the 50th anniversary of the American Atheists – that’s the hard-line atheist group with those in-your-face billboards that show Jesus in the manger with the words "You Know It's a Myth."

It's coming at a time when the number of non-believers is growing in America – especially among the ones under 35 – according to the Pew Research Center.

Tomorrow, the American Atheists are meeting to note their half-century mark and to talk about the future. So, which way is this movement headed?

David Silverman is president of the American Atheists.

"We only have one thing that binds us: that’s our lack of belief in God….You can be Republican or Democrat… rich or poor… pro choice or anti-abortion and still be an atheist. You can be pro American or anti American and still be an atheist."

So, what’s a movement to do?

Written By: Libby Lewis
continue to source article at cnnradio.cnn.com

12 COMMENTS

  1. ” pro choice or anti-abortion “

    I would think that is a dichotomy an atheist ( can read rationalist here ) would never see.

    Anyone have any antiabortion reasons, other than some minor medical ones, that is not religious in nature, or religious reasons in disguise?

    • *In reply to #1 by Neodarwinian: There are different levels where the question can be answered and no necessary reason that a religious dimension even At the next level, one might want to persuade others to the same view, but leave them to make their own decisions and act accordingly. We get into fights when someone tries to impose their view on others. Any kind of dogmatic anti-democratic way of thinking is likely to create a problem for somebody. There’s no reason an atheist could not come up with a rationale for mandating certain abortions (e.g., Downes syndrome, rape) and prohibiting others (perfectly healthy beyond some stage of development and no threat to mother’s wellbeing). But there may be a lot of reasons why that would be unlikely.

      I recall a video in which Christopher Hitchens stated his personal objection to abortion but not anything about imposing that view on others. Sorry I can’t identify the video but there is this article by him: Fetal Distraction, Vanity Fair, Feb 2003, http://www.vanityfair.com/politics/features/2003/02/hitchens200302 *

      ” pro choice or anti-abortion “

      I would think that is a dichotomy an atheist ( can read rationalist here ) would never see.

      Anyone have any antiabortion reasons, other than some minor medical ones, that is not religious in nature, or religious reasons in disguise?

      • In reply to #3 by whiteraven:

        *In reply to #1 by Neodarwinian: There are different levels where the question can be answered and no necessary reason that a religious dimension even At the next level, one might want to persuade others to the same view, but leave them to make their own decisions and act accordingly. We get into fights when someone tries to impose their view on others. Any kind of dogmatic anti-democratic way of thinking is likely to create a problem for somebody. There’s no reason an atheist could not come up with a rationale for mandating certain abortions (e.g., Downes syndrome, rape) and prohibiting others (perfectly healthy beyond some stage of development and no threat to mother’s wellbeing). But there may be a lot of reasons why that would be unlikely.

        I recall a video in which Christopher Hitchens stated his personal objection to abortion but not anything about imposing that view on others. Sorry I can’t identify the video but there is this article by him: Fetal Distraction, Vanity Fair, Feb 2003, http://www.vanityfair.com/politics/features/2003/02/hitchens200302 *

        ” pro choice or anti-abortion “

        I would think that is a dichotomy an atheist ( can read rationalist here ) would never see.

        Anyone have any antiabortion reasons, other than some minor medical ones, that is not religious in nature, or religious reasons in disguise?

        ” We get into fights when someone tries to impose their view on others. “

        There might be a dichotomy here as I do not know anyone that is an atheist imposing views, but many religious live to impose their views on others.

        • *In reply to #10 by Neodarwinian: Sorry if I was unclear. I did not use “we” to refer to atheists or RDFRS users, I used it in a generic sense; factions in society get into serious fights, not just differences of opinion, when one faction wants or tries to impose its position on other groups by force. I don’t think it is reasonable to exempt any person or grfrom the from outrageous behavior just because of what flag they march under.The larger the sample size, the more heterogeneous it is likely to be, It is a lot easier to form a small homogeneous group. Human nature does not arise out of religion or atheism. *

          In reply to #3 by whiteraven:

          *In reply to #1 by Neodarwinian: There are different levels where the question can be answered and no necessary reason that a religious dimension even At the next level, one might want to persuade others to the same view, but leave them to make their own decisions and act accordingly. We get into fights when someone tries to impose their view on others. Any kind of dogmatic anti-democratic way of thinking is likely to create a problem for somebody. There’s no reason an atheist could not come up with a rationale for mandating certain abortions (e.g., Downes syndrome, rape) and prohibiting others (perfectly healthy beyond some stage of development and no threat to mother’s wellbeing). But there may be a lot of reasons why that would be unlikely.

          I recall a video in which Christopher Hitchens stated his personal objection to abortion but not anything about imposing that view on others. Sorry I can’t identify the video but there is this article by him: Fetal Distraction, Vanity Fair, Feb 2003, http://www.vanityfair.com/politics/features/2003/02/hitchens200302 *

          ” pro choice or anti-abortion “

          I would think that is a dichotomy an atheist ( can read rationalist here ) would never see.

          Anyone have any antiabortion reasons, other than some minor medical ones, that is not religious in nature, or religious reasons in disguise?

          ” We get into fights when someone tries to impose their view on others. “

          There might be a dichotomy here as I do not know anyone that is an atheist imposing views, but many religious live to impose their views on others.

    • In reply to #1 by Neodarwinian:

      ” pro choice or anti-abortion “

      I would think that is a dichotomy an atheist ( can read rationalist here ) would never see.

      Anyone have any antiabortion reasons, other than some minor medical ones, that is not religious in nature, or religious reasons in disguise?

      At what point in the pregnancy ?

      Michael

      • In reply to #4 by mmurray:

        In reply to #1 by Neodarwinian:

        ” pro choice or anti-abortion “

        I would think that is a dichotomy an atheist ( can read rationalist here ) would never see.

        Anyone have any antiabortion reasons, other than some minor medical ones, that is not religious in nature, or religious reasons in disguise?

        At what point in the pregnancy ?

        Michael

        Viability, I would assume, but I am not dogmatic here as I am not a woman and do not make that choice.

  2. Libby Lewis writes of the American Atheists as “the hard-line atheist group with those in-your-face billboards that show Jesus in the manger with the words “You Know It’s a Myth.” Has she used the term plain old vanilla “hard-line Christians” or referred to any of their billboards as in-your-face? Would she say these are in-your-face? “Jesus is real”, “Jesus lives”, “One nation under me. – god”, “Embryos are babies!”.

    Are there any anti-Choice groups that are not hardline? Does she have stronger language to describe signs with images of aborted fetuses or are these in-your-face too?

    MidOhioAtheists.org report having thie following ad being taken down from a commercial billboard at the insistence of the landowner where the sign was located: “Reason (above deleted ‘Faith’) is a virtue”.

    Anyone with a CNN account want to raise the question at the source?

  3. Bill Maher has repeatedly said he can understand how a non-religious person could object to abortion because of the killing that’s involved. Now, of course, killing a single cell is especially uncontroversial, whereas killing a newborn infant is not OK. Where do you draw the line in between? An individual, atheist or otherwise, might draw it somewhere slightly earlier than the law currently does.

    24 weeks is the UK legal limit. Last October, it emerged the Health Secretary would prefer it to be 12, while the Home Secretary favoured 20. David Cameron said he would favour “a modest” reduction (typical vague PM). They all agreed they wouldn’t try to introduce legislation to change it, but Cameron would be OK with it coming up in Parliament. All concerned claimed they based their favoured cutoff on medical evidence. You know, the same medical evidence that has continued to support 24 for decades. Seriously, politicians: stop trying to judge scientific evidence for yourselves: you’re no good at it.

    The US is a different kettle of fish. Some Republicans have tried to define the limit at 6, based on when the heartbeat begins; plenty of others literally draw the line at 0. In fact, almost all abortion debate I hear from US sources is a yes-or-no question, whereas in the UK we always agree to legality but debate the precise cutoff.

    • In reply to #5 by Jos Gibbons:

      Bill Maher has repeatedly said he can understand how a non-religious person could object to abortion because of the killing that’s involved. Now, of course, killing a single cell is especially uncontroversial, whereas killing a newborn infant is not OK. Where do you draw the line in between? An individual, atheist or otherwise, might draw it somewhere slightly earlier than the law currently does.

      24 weeks is the UK legal limit. Last October, it emerged the Health Secretary would prefer it to be 12, while the Home Secretary favoured 20. David Cameron said he would favour “a modest” reduction (typical vague PM). They all agreed they wouldn’t try to introduce legislation to change it, but Cameron would be OK with it coming up in Parliament. All concerned claimed they based their favoured cutoff on medical evidence. You know, the same medical evidence that has continued to support 24 for decades. Seriously, politicians: stop trying to judge scientific evidence for yourselves: you’re no good at it.

      The US is a different kettle of fish. Some Republicans have tried to define the limit at 6, based on when the heartbeat begins; plenty of others literally draw the line at 0. In fact, almost all abortion debate I hear from US sources is a yes-or-no question, whereas in the UK we always agree to legality but debate the precise cutoff.

      And not a mention of women were made…

      In my opinion there’s no point at which a woman loses her right to bodily integrity.

      • In reply to #6 by Serdan:

        In reply to #5 by Jos Gibbons:

        In my opinion there’s no point at which a woman loses her right to bodily integrity.

        That might be interpreted as abortion being OK the day before natural birth, by more extreme anti’s.
        Personally I would not argue against a 22 week limit, possibly a 20 week limit, at least for elective (i.e. non medical) abortions.

        But then I’m a man.

  4. IMO it’s very easy to imagine being against abortion but also pro-choice. There’s a goofy bumper sticker that sums up this position in a single sound byte. “Pro-child, pro-choice”. The “morality” of such a position is easy. Killing healthy fetuses is wrong. “We are going to die, and that makes us the lucky ones” sort of explains it to me.

  5. Is it “hard line” to call baby Jesus a myth? Where is the evidence for it? In the much tampered with Gospels? The ones that conflict with each other about the birth of Jesus? If it’s “hard line” to not believe in ancient stories, then I am indeed a hardliner !

    As for abortion, I am generally against it, but I recognise there are circumstances when it is necessary and the right thing to do. Certainly women should have control over their bodies, and that must include avoiding unwanted pregnancies if possible.

    Of course The Lord actually carries out some 70 % of abortions in a perfectly natural way. He has mysterious ways, I’m told !

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