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The Reason Revolution: Historical Context

This is an excerpt from The Reason Revolution: Atheism, Secular Humanism, and the Collapse of Religion by Dan Dana, a short, FREE e-book available at Smashwords, Goodreads, and Amazon ($0.99).
Readers are invited to post online reviews at the download site. Thank you!
More info: dandana.us/atheism
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A quiet revolution is underway. We hear no gunfire. No armies are engaged in battle. No violent overthrow of political regimes is occurring. This is a peaceful evolution, a slow-motion, though accelerating, transformation of a world order that has been in place for over 2,000 years.

Abraham, Jesus, and Mohammed were revolutionary leaders who established the contemporary monotheistic world order, supplanting the theologically fragmented era of Neolithic, Egyptian, and Greek religions. The three primary Abrahamic religions (Judaism, Christianity, and Islam), combined with South Asian (Dharmic) and East Asian (Taoist) faiths, comprise a supernaturalist bloc of belief systems that has held sway to the present, but is beginning to lose its grip on the hearts and minds of people.

By definition, supernaturalists contend there exist forces beyond scientific understanding of the laws of nature. The Reason Revolution is occurring as the supernaturalist bloc yields to atheistic naturalism. Advancement and dissemination of knowledge gained through science is the engine of this revolution.

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Semen on the Mount

Man head silhouetteI recently came across a blog post of one Christian woman’s non-existent sex life and how proud of herself she is for denying herself physical intimacy outside of marriage. And before you ask, no she doesn’t double click her own mouse, the sinfulness of which is detailed in another holier-than-thou post so repressively titled “The M-Word.”

I’m not going criticize her for her complete lack of explicit scriptural reference in her writings. As anyone familiar with the Bible can tell you, almost any passage in isolation can be used to justify pretty much anything. What disturbed me about this whole article is that there are people so deeply in love with an ancient text that they will intentionally defy their biology. They don’t mind accepting the blanket assertion that they are inherently flawed and must always seek approval from their father and that all of their actions must be in pursuit of that approval, but they can’t entertain any sins of the flesh in their mortal chase of an unattainable standard.

Christians have created a weird cult. The concept of “sin” gave religious doctrine its mandate. Without sin, there is no need for ridiculous lists of rules and barbaric punishments. What normal, free-thinking people see as an intimate, physical act Christians see as some kind of pact with Jesus. The act of intercourse is strictly interpreted as a means of procreation and never merely as an act of recreation. Even pleasuring oneself is seen as a selfish undertaking. So even if she owned Christian-approved sex toys, it would still be sinful to use them.

What a sad, frustrating existence. And for what, exactly?

 

Alabama pastor infecting his flock

alabama_pastorAs if there weren’t already enough reasons to avoid church, now “avoid contracting HIV” joins the list. Juan Demetrius McFarland, pastor of Shiloh Missionary Baptist Church in Mongtomery, Alabama recently admitted to having had sexual relationships with females in the congregation KNOWING that he had AIDS. He also admitted to mishandling church funds and using drugs which may or may not have been purchased with aforementioned church funds.

Of course, during his confessions, he pulled stories from the Bible to parallel his actions and struggles. The congregation told him to hit the bricks, but he showed up the following Sunday to give a sermon. The deacons of the church plan to file a suit to bar him from the premises and gain control of the church’s finances. (h/t USA Today)

Charles Chilton Moore: The father of American atheism

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.

Moore was jailed for five months for blasphemy before his sentence was commuted thanks to a pardon from Republican President William McKinley. As Americans, we often look at blasphemy laws in other nations and scoff at their barbarism. Sadly, many forget the despicable record our own country has with respect to equal treatment of those with different or nonexistent religious beliefs. One need only look at the Salem Witch Trials, the jailing of people for expressing dissenting religious opinions, and the destruction of Mosque construction equipment to catch a small glimpse of our less-than-progressive past.

Moore’s legal battles set many precedents with regards to free speech and the free distribution of publications that contain sentiments contrary to those held by the majority. For those that face hardships today because of their lack of religious belief, it may be comforting to remember the plight of one man who suffered jail time for his lack of belief. Perhaps the next generation of Americans will never experience any form of religious discrimination. We can hope.

To learn more about the life of Charles Chilton Moore, read his biography Kentucky’s Most Hated Man: Charles Chilton Moore and The Bluegrass Blade or his autobiography Behind the Bars (available sparsely).