Wednesday, July 11, 2012

Help me, PZ Myers, and Hemant Mehta Get Tattoos

   If the Foundation Beyond Belief can get 5,400 people on their international team by this Saturday, raising money for The Leukemia & Lymphoma Society through their Light the Night Walks, Todd Stiefel will get a mohawk and PZ Myers and Hemant Mehta will get tattoos!!!

   Now where may you have heard about this Light the Night Walk before??? Hmmmm... OH, ON THE SIDEBAR TO THE RIGHT!!! :)

   Yours truly is already part of this event and I am captaining a team for the local event in Iowa City on October 13th (just three months away). If you happen to live in the Cedar Rapids and Iowa City areas, you may sign up for my team, which also adds you to the Foundation Beyond Belief list.

   And allow me to up the stakes just a bit... If this goal is met OR if people help me reach my fundraising goal of $500 (also by this Saturday), I will get a tattoo as well!

UPDATE: For people who donate, I will send you pictures and possibly video of me getting the tattoo.

   Sign up HERE (for signing up on my team) or here for a list of national teams or donate on the right!

Thursday, July 5, 2012

What kind of atheist am I?

   PZ Myers has an interesting post where he discusses what he sees as the four major categories of atheists. Those categories are as follows:
  • Scientific Atheists
  • Philosophical Atheists
  • Political Atheists
  • Humanists
   PZ points out that the categories are not mutually exclusive, so, with that in mind, where do I fall? Well, a little bit in all four. Of course, I will expand on that...

   I think I am mostly a Scientific Atheist. It is through this category that I discovered I was an atheist. I also struggle with the weakness of such atheists, which is smugness.

   I would say that next I am a Philosophical Atheist. While I'm not all that big on philosophy, I try to be rigorous. I am also at times long-winded. I have had my wife complain at times about me writing a book as a response to someone on Facebook (and not limited to the topic of religion). I tell her I'm that way because I try to be thorough in explaining myself.

   After that, I'd have to say I'm a Humanist. It is this part of me that leads me to speaking out against religion. As PZ said, this is the heart of the atheist movement. It is indeed my motivating factor and it is the factor that leads me to stand up for gay rights amongst other minority rights. I consider this a less significant part because, first, I was basically a humanist before I was much of an atheist and, second, because of the scientific part of me, I feel that I do not have the weaknesses of this group. I would not, for example, at this point in my life* join a progressive church. I may not have much use for the atheist movement if it failed to take up such issues, but I wouldn't go anywhere religious.

   Finally, I am also a Political Atheist. Those who know me, though, may realize that I am fairly involved with politics. Ah, but my political involvement goes well beyond just atheism, and is actually more tied in with my humanism**, which doesn't have to be tied to atheism. That's perhaps the way it should be because we are supposed to have and should have a separation of church and state. In other words, my atheism should be separated from state. The reason it isn't is in reaction to those who don't keep it that way themselves. Additionally, my political involvement existed prior to my atheism. That is much why I consider it my lowest category. It doesn't hurt either that my political views already lined up well with the major political party that does not make a big deal out of religion.

* I'll be open to the possibility that my mind could change in the future.

** This is perhaps another reason I don't have the weakness of the Humanists. If the atheist movement doesn't fight for humanist issues, I'll fall back to politics before I would a religious institution. (How would it count if I happened to back a political party that promoted religion??? Or am I thinking about this too hard? OK, I'm putting the philosopher back in the box!)