Countries Where Atheism Is Punishable By Death
Let’s be grateful that we live in the west, and speak out on behalf of those who are silenced.
Christmas to me is like Thanksgiving. A chance to gather together with family and friends, enjoy their company and love, and usually full of drama. I totally draw the line with their pagan traditions.
Actress Cloris Leachman is an Atheist
Via Friendly Atheist:
In an interview with Debra Ollivier of the Huffington Post, actress Cloris Leachman identified unmistakably as an atheist:
- Well, when I was six years old I heard that God was watching me, and I thought, “No, no, no, we’re not going to have any of that.” And then for many, many years I thought that God would get even with me or punish me because I didn’t believe in him, or her, or them. And nothing ever happened except for good things. So I don’t believe at all in God and I’m very relieved that I don’t.
- So you would you consider yourself an atheist?
Leachman, as a senior citizen, represents a very underrepresented group of atheists so this is a welcome admission. As a celebrity, we know her statements tend to carry more weight with the general public, so maybe it’ll propel those who have been fans of hers since The Mary Tyler Moore Show (or at least Comedy Central’s Roast of Bob Saget) to come out as well.
Later in the interview, Leachman took a stab at those who say that God is the only acceptable answer to all of the unexplainable things that happen in people’s lives:
- So whatever your religious convictions — or lack thereof — you’ve lived a sort of blessed life.
- There’s something extraordinary that we’ll never understand, it’s just beyond anybody. Extraordinary miracles, billions and trillions of them, happen all the time but not because there’s a God.
- So where do all the millions of miracles come from?
- Is the answer God? It’s beyond belief. There are 7 billion people on the planet. Is He hearing 7 billion people at once?
- That’s a good question. I don’t have an answer, but I don’t believe that there’s nothing out there.
- I didn’t say there’s nothing out there, but there certainly isn’t any God. The stuff that’s made up about Jesus — that you have to go through Jesus to get to God and if you’re lucky, after you die, if you’ve done everything right, the reward is you get to sit on the right hand side of God. All that is made up by men. People made it up.
Having such an adamant female figure behind those words is powerful for anyone who is struggling with their disbelief. In the interview, Leachman also discussed growing up the daughter of an Episcopalian minister, so she has come to these conclusions after being immersed in a “fire and brimstone” culture. She is an incredible example of moving past painful or scary church experiences to see those who use fear as a motivator for what they really are: liars.
Thanks to Cloris for coming out so strongly and being a source of inspiration for those in her demographic who may be struggling to find solidarity among their peers.
Remembering Christopher Hitchens: The Hitch On The BS Of The Exixtance Of Secular Dictatorships
The Remaining Three Horsemen (Richard Dawkins, Daniel C. Dennett & Sam Harris) + Ayaan Hirsi Ali
2012 Global Atheist Convention: Tribute To Christopher Hitchens
He’s greatly missed. His work influenced minds and hearts, and in it, in his work, will live on.
Israel: Government Rejects All Civil Marriages
The Jerusalem Post reports:
The Knesset voted down a bill on Wednesday that would allow same-sex, as well as interfaith couples to wed.
The legislation, by MK Nitzan Horowitz (Meretz) opens the option of civil marriages for those who may not be wed according to halacha (Jewish law), as well as those who choose not to be married by the Chief Rabbinate. It was rejected, with 39 MKs opposed and 11 in favor.
Horowitz said there are tens of thousands of homosexual couples in Israel, and his law would help them and others who cannot exercise the basic right to be married and build a family.
“There is an extremist, dark institution deciding who may or may not get married,” the Meretz MK said. “The public is sick of the rabbinate.”
According to Horowitz, coalition parties betrayed their secular voters by rejecting the bill, choosing to pander to haredi (ultra-orthodox) parties, instead.
“Now, more than ever, it is clear to the public in Israel who is for a free society and who is for haredim,” he added.
After Horowtiz presented his bill, Justice Minister Yaacov Ne’eman gave a succinct rebuttal: “You did not bring your bill to the Ministerial Committee for Legislation, so the government’s official stance is to oppose it. Thank you.”
Meretz leader Zehava Gal-On said she is not surprised by Ne’eman’s opposition, because he has said he is committed to building a halachic state.
“The Knesset is adopting religious law that is anachronistic, chauvinist, racist and discriminatory, which was written thousands of years ago,” Gal-On stated, calling for separation of religion and state.
The 11 MKs in favor of civil marriages were from Meretz, Labor and Hadash, as well as Kadima MK Nino Abesadze.
USA: Atheist Vet & Youtube Personality DarkAntics Denounces Christians
Best rant on Christians ever.
France: Off The Record: A Quest For De-Baptism
In France, an elderly man is fighting to make a formal break with the Catholic Church. He’s taken the church to court over its refusal to let him nullify his baptism, in a case that could have far-reaching effects.
Seventy-one-year-old Rene LeBouvier’s parents and his brother are buried in a churchyard in the tiny village of Fleury in northwest France. He himself was baptized in the Romanesque stone church and attended mass here as a boy.
LeBouvier says this rural area is still conservative and very Catholic, but nothing like it used to be. Back then, he says, you couldn’t even get credit at the bakery if you didn’t go to mass every Sunday.
LeBouvier grew up in that world and says his mother once hoped he’d become a priest. But his views began to change in the 1970s, when he was introduced to free thinkers. As he didn’t believe in God anymore, he thought it would be more honest to leave the church. So he wrote to his diocese and asked to be un-baptized.
“They sent me a copy of my records, and in the margins next to my name, they wrote that I had chosen to leave the church,” he says.
That was in the year 2000. A decade later, LeBouvier wanted to go further. In between were the pedophile scandals and the pope preaching against condoms in AIDS-racked Africa, a position that LeBouvier calls “criminal.” Again, he asked the church to strike him from baptismal records. When the priest told him it wasn’t possible, he took the church to court.
Last October, a judge in Normandy ruled in his favor. The diocese has since appealed, and the case is pending.
“One can’t be de-baptized,” says Rev. Robert Kaslyn, dean of the School of Canon Law at the Catholic University of America.
Kaslyn says baptism changes one permanently before the church and God.
“One could refuse the grace offered by God, the grace offered by the sacrament, refuse to participate,” he says, “but we would believe the individual has still been marked for God through the sacrament, and that individual at any point could return to the church.”
French law states that citizens have the right to leave organizations if they wish. Loup Desmond, who has followed the case for the French Catholic newspaper La Croix, says he thinks it could set a legal precedent and open the way for more demands for de-baptism.
“If the justice confirms that the name Rene LeBouvier has to disappear from the books, if it is confirmed, it can be a kind of jurisprudence in France,” he says.
Up to now, observers say the de-baptism trend has been marginal, but it’s growing. In neighboring Belgium, the Brussels Federation of Friends of Secular Morality reports that 2,000 people asked to be de-baptized in 2010. The newspaper Le Monde estimated that about 1,000 French people a year ask to have their baptisms annulled.
There is much anger across the continent by the recent pedophile scandals. In September, Germans marched to protest the pope’s visit.
Christian Weisner, who is with the German branch of the grassroots movement We Are Church, says Europeans still want religion, and they want to believe, but it has become very difficult within the Catholic Church.
“It’s the way that the Roman Catholic Church has not followed the new approach of democracy, the new approach of the women’s issue,” he says, “and there is really a big gap between the Roman Catholic Church and modern times.”
Back at the church in Fleury, LeBouvier stands by his parents’ grave. When asked if the case has ruined his chances of being buried in the family plot, he says he doesn’t have to worry about that. He’s donating his body to science.
I’m loving Rene. I’m gonna start my own petition to get nullify my baptism.