In celebration of Freedom of Speech Week (observed October 18-24), I would like to illuminate the life of one of America’s first prominent, outspoken atheists, Charles Chilton Moore, a man who was jailed for blasphemy because the sensitive Bible Belt dwellers of his time just couldn’t stomach a little competition.
When one considers prominent United States atheists, depending on the social circles with which one regularly associates, the list is likely to be rather short. While there are many prominent Americans who consider themselves atheists, very few make their atheism a vocal part of their public dialogue. Such people include authors Daniel Dennett, Sam Harris and Christopher Hitchens; entertainers Penn Jillette and Bill Maher; and university professor PZ Myers. Charles Chilton Moore was a trailblazer for all atheists in the United States, though sadly his story is known by few.
Moore was born in 1837, the grandson of prominent Restoration Movement preacher Barton W. Stone. Moore became an ordained minister, but he lost his faith in the Bible over time, in part due to geological evidence that was contrary to the commonly-held belief in a 6,000 year old Earth. In 1884 Moore founded the Blue Grass Blade, a sporadically-published journal containing articles promoting agnosticism, women’s suffrage, old Earth theory and outing illegal distilling operations and the antics of those he considered religious bigots in his community.
I was just looking in my neighbor’s yard. There is a large wooden crate behind his deck that hasn’t been touched in the last 6 months. As far as I can tell, it is there to stay. This got me thinking about people’s belief in god.
If my neighbor told me that inside his crate was $1 billion, I would probably call him crazy. But if he told me that I could have the $1 billion, he might pique my interest for a moment. I’d want to see some sort of proof or obtain some form of collateral, but he would have my attention. Here’s the bombshell: he tells me that to obtain the treasure, I would have to spend an indeterminate amount of time cleaning his house, mowing his lawn, doing other various chores, and finally giving him 10% of my annual income.
Well, screw that. Sure he lets me play basketball on his nice court, gives me a meal once in a while, and takes me on his annual ski trip with his family, but I’d still want some sort of evidence that the $1 billion actually existed before I donated vast amounts of my time and resources to obtaining it.
I know this isn’t a direct parallel to the god belief that so many among us hold, especially considering that the rewards of most modern religions don’t come until after death (if at all). Add in to that the uncertainty of whether our actions are predetermined or based on free will, and you have an even stickier situation which should give more people pause before devoting their livelihoods to the religion of their choice. Unfortunately, it does not.
People, for the most part, tend to carry on the beliefs of their ancestors and hold them dear without ever taking a moment to question them (After all, questioning those beliefs is a sin in itself.) What does it take to actually get someone with such a deeply internalized belief to question it? A traumatic experience? A trip to rock bottom? Too often, these events further entrench beliefs rather than diminish them.
I guess atheists need to start having a ton of babies.
This sums up my feelings on any discussion which contemplates the existence of the soul, the existence of an afterlife, and the existence of [popular deity].
Feel free to share this as you feel. Links back to the site are appreciated, but I’m not going to twist your arm. (Download Image)
If you are not familiar with Examiner.com, it is a citizen journalist web site with local editions for many metropolitan areas throughout the country. Within each local edition, there is a large variety of topics on which local citizens write. In the “Religion and Spirituality” there is an Examiner position of Atheism Examiner. For the Nashville edition, that person is me.
I have five stories up right now, and I’d be thrilled if you checked them out. Keep in mind, they deal with local content, but if you’re like me, you appreciate news on religious nuts as it affects individuals, not just the nation at large. So far, the Tennessee governor’s race has given me plenty to write about. If you care nothing else about Tennessee, these articles will be good for a chuckle as you say to yourself, “Holy crap, is Tennessee fucked up!”
Also, there’s a subscribe option near the top by my name and picture that will send you a simple, non-threatening email occasionally to let you know that I have made updates. It means a lot to me if you subscribe.
- Tennessee gubernatorial candidates on evolution
- Bill Haslam confides in a group of five holy men
- Rep. Zach Wamp preaches at Higher Ground Baptist Church
- What if the atheist is wrong?
- Tennessee candidates appeal to religion
Thanks for checking the articles out, and don’t forget to subscribe!
It has long been the case that the religious right has concerned themselves too much with what consenting adults do in the privacy of their own homes. Their “religious moral superiority” gives them the right to tell you how to raise your children, tell you what you can put in your body, and tell you what you can put IN your body. I was surprised to see a Christian website devoted to selling adult toys.
Book22 tags itself as an outlet for “intimacy products for married couples.” According to their about page, they sell their products only to married couples, because in Genesis it says some shit about man and woman symbolically being one flesh in marriage. It’s easy to make symbolic inferences when you believe that man was created from dust and woman was created from a rib. They quote 1 Thessalonians 4:3-4, “For God wants you to be holy and pure and to keep clear of sexual sin so that each of you will marry in holiness and honor.” Their website name is derived from “Song of Solomon” being the 22nd book of the Bible, and Solomon had 700 wives and 300 concubines, so obviously he’s the best choice of mascots for a website that celebrates monogamy.
The twenty-second book of the Bible is Song of Solomon. We believe that God intended that such love, as spoken of in Song of Solomon, be a beautiful and normal part of marital life. Unfortunately this gift from God has been grossly distorted and abused by both ancient and modern people. Book22 is offering quality products to enhance the intimate life of God’s children. Our hope is that our products will serve as intimacy enhancers for your marriage.
While the website owners’ choice to sell adult novelties to Christian couples is considerably progressive, their inner prude shows in their packaging policy. When they order their products wholesale, they request that they be poly-bagged to avoid exposing their tender audience to the crude packaging that can often enclose such products. They have no problem selling a jack-off sleeve or jelly cock ring, but Jeebus forbid they send it to you in a package that might include an “inappropriate cardboard backing with images of nude or partially nude people.” Whew! That was a close one. I almost saw a penis on a package. Oh wait, what about one of the products on their site, Happy Penis Cream? Is that a series of multi-colored, smiling, anthropomorphic penises on the product’s label? Surely a pure Christian site such as this would put a sticker over the crude image in their promotional copy. (Yes, they actually do that.)
Again, I’m pleased that they are using their twisted interpretations of their twisted scripture to mainstream the usage of these products into Christian households, but it would be nice if they didn’t just hide behind a website. These people should be out lobbying their prudish counterparts across the globe to stop treating the idea of using such products as sinful and lascivious. They should be confronting people like former Alabama Assistant Attorney General William Pryor, Jr. who said that there is no “fundamental right for a person to buy a device to produce orgasm”. While that may be true, there is also no fundamental right for a person to buy a device that uses rapidly-rotating blades to shorten their grass, but you don’t seem to have a problem with that, do you? Apparently, your smug sense of superiority gives you the fundamental right to decide what people can enjoy behind closed doors. If recent history has shown us anything, it is possible that we may one day see his face on TV with shocking charges that he has committed some act that he has protested his entire life. Like every other time that type of story breaks, I will laugh my ass off.
P.S. According to an article at Huffington Post, as of 2009, Alabama is the only state that still has a law on the books that bans the sale of sexual devices. I’d like to think that Alabama is oblivious to the fact that the rest of the nation (including Mississippi) is laughing at them. Sadly, I know this isn’t the case, because I lived there for eight years.
Christianity prides itself on being a religion that quickly molds its youth into slave-like automatons. Within mere years, Christian children are professing their absolute love for Jesus in order to fit in with their friends and go on ski trips.
Basically this child is just mimicking what he (I think it’s a “he” anyway.) sees the adults do at church, and he’s making about as much sense. What bothers me the most is the audience reaction. Instead of some light chuckling, the crowd is actually cheering the child on as they would the preacher. Also, how much time is this kid spending in church for him to be picking up the mannerisms of the preacher?
I hadn’t really realized how long I had been running this site until I looked up a few older posts a few weeks ago. This website has changed shape, servers, and domain names in those four years, but the central theme has stayed the same: religion is inherently violent and has no place in modern civilized society. As sort of a blast from the past, I present to you the first four blog posts I ever made on this site.
Subservience of Women
“What better move to make when writing the bible than to include a post to keep women in submission for all of time than to include the obligatory “men are better than women” verse.
The first epistle to Timothy brings us this travesty.” (Read More)
Evolution vs. Creation
“Life. Where did it come from? What does it have in store for me? What can I expect after life on earth?
Don’t know. It depends. Decomposition.” (Read More)
Don’t Pray For Me, Argentina
“I’ve got to hand it to Christianity. They have a pretty good racket setup. What most likely started as a simple way to keep the uneducated working class in check has become a self-perpetuating machine with all the right gimmicks built right in. Such as ‘We are right. Everyone else is wrong.’ Gotta love that one. No tolerance for diversity, no compassion for your fellow man, no ‘love thy neighbor’ (wait a tick…)” (Read More)
“You’ve probably all heard it. “There are no atheists in foxholes.” Oh really? What foxholes? And why wouldn’t they be down there? Are foxholes lined with Holy Water or some atheist repellant? I understand what this message is trying to convey, but that doesn’t make it anymore based in fact. The fact that people keep repeating this drivel only continues to lend to its credibility.” (Read More)
RT @johnsykes1035 The worst moment for the atheist is when he is really thankful and has nobody to thank. – Dante Gabriel Rossetti
I responded to her with a simple truth. For her, I’m sure “truth” means something else, but for me, it means “representing reality.”
@nicks_fix When does this ever occur? I am thankful most of the time, and I thank those around me that make my life better every day.
@godispretend That is wonderful! We all find our own path, & i’m glad you have found joy in yours Have a great day!
Nice enough, but my purpose in replying to her wasn’t to point out that I, as an individual, have been able to be thankful. My point was that she was promoting hateful ideas intended to classify atheists as people with no joyful expression in their lives. So I responded.
@nicks_fix I just hope you realize how elitist you sound when you make blanket statements about those with different beliefs than you.
(Yeah, I said elitist.) She got offended and immediately flees to the moral high ground where she is safe and cozy.
@godispretend You know, I answer u back in a kind way & u clog my stream up by calling me elitist #notnice
So apparently, one reply to call her on her bullshit “clogs” her stream. She must not get very many @ replies. And it’s not surprising. If you check out her tweets, it’s nothing but a shitload of retweets from Tea Party assholes and Fox News. Out of curiosity, I headed over to TweetStats to see how many original ideas she actually contributes to the Twitterverse. 88.24% of her tweets (at the time of posting) are ReTweets. 11.76% are @ replies to other users. That leaves… anyone?… ZERO PERCENT of tweets that are not other people’s words or referencing other users. If one of us is doing anything to “clog” Twitter, it is she.