Wednesday, October 28, 2009

How do atheists reconcile the Home Depot button controversy?

Don't know much about the Home Depot button controversy? Well, you should.

Trevor Keezer, the Home Depot employee at the heart of the situation is an interesting study in contradictions.

On the one hand, he says he doesn't make a habit of touting his religious beliefs, but on the other hand, he says that he couldn't take off the button because the issue as he saw it was "bigger" than he is.

"It never crossed my mind to take off the button because I'm standing for something that's bigger than I am. They kept telling me the severity of what you're doing and I just let God be in control and went with His plan," Keezer said.

Then Keezer says he was a model employee at Home Depot and he liked his job.

Okay. But does a "model" employee violate company policies simply because he doesn't agree with them?

And since when does a place of business become a platform for someone's private religious beliefs? It's usually a place to perform a function to the best of your ability and to get paid, NOT a church. That's what churches are for.

"I want to be a voice for the rest of the Christians and for the citizens of this country to stand up for the country. You know, quit being told to sit down. Say what you want to say and don't be afraid of the consequences," he said.

Well, then he wasn't afraid of the consequences. He was warned and he was finally fired for his behavior. It was his choice.

No. Wait a minute. It was God's plan.

And I guess God's plan was for Trevor Keezer to be unemployed.

Tuesday, October 27, 2009

Evangelical Philosophical Society to host Apologetics Conference

The Evangelical Philosophical Society will be hosting the 7th Annual Apologetics Conference in New Orleans on the evenings of Thursday, November 19, Friday, November 20 and the morning of Saturday, November 21. This year's theme is "Come, Let Us Reason: Rooting Your Faith in Knowledge."

Some of the topics will include:

"New Atheists, Old Atheists and Old Apologists" Dr. Timothy McGrew

The arguments of contemporary atheists against Christianity are for the most part borrowed from atheists and freethinkers of centuries gone by. Those arguments were answered, sometimes brilliantly, by apologists and scholars whose work is now largely forgotten. The history of apologetics is more than a field for antiquarian study; it provides a rich array of arguments and insights of contemporary relevance.

"Can Atheists Be Good Without God? Yes and No" Dr. Paul Copan

Because humans have been made in God's image, our basic moral intuitions as well as our moral obligations and dignity/rights are best accounted for by the existence of a good God. Naturalistic attempts to ground objective morality fail to show how value could emerge from valuelessness, and naturalistic efforts to explain away objective morality (through evolution or cultural influences) prove to be inadequate and counter-intuitive.

"Apologetically Blonde: The Struggle of Women to Defend the Faith and What They Should Do About It" Ms. Toni Allen

She will be speaking on the struggle of women to defend the faith and the vital need women have to love God with their minds. She will provide practical examples of what women can do daily to increase their cerebral space and learn Christian apologetics.

This year's conference will be held at New Orleans Baptist Theological Seminary located at 3939 Gentilly Blvd.

To find out more or to purchase tickets: go to EPSApologetics

Monday, October 26, 2009

Does the Saints' game prove there is a god?

And I'm not talking about a Catholic saints pick-up basketball game either?

No, I'm referring to the come-from-behind win against the Miami Dolphins that kept our mutual delirium going for at least another eight more days. For any of you who don't know what I'm talking about (or don't care much for Sunday football), please indulge the philosphy of this question.

I can't imagine that there isn't at least one real Saints fan somewhere out there (who also happens to be a devout atheist) who didn't, for a moment, say a silent prayer to will the Saints to make a game of it, much less win it. They may not have been praying to anything that even closely resembles the god of religious folks, but the "wish" was just the same.

And when this kind of thing happens, what are we supposed to do? Do we feel tremendously lucky? Do we wonder if all of our collective prayers to the universe or some god-like entity were actually answered?

Does god have the Saints best interests at heart this season or should we be thankful to the team coaches that they finally know what they are doing?

You tell me.

Friday, October 23, 2009

Rally for Equality at New Orleans City Hall

For Immediate Release
October 23, 2009

New Orleans – The steps of New Orleans City Hall will be the site of a Rally for Equality, to be held on November 7, 2009 from noon to 1 p.m. This rally will signal support for equality and justice for all, and highlight the problems that lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender individuals face in Louisiana and across the nation.

Organized by the ACLU of Louisiana, Big Easy Metropolitan Community Church, Forum For Equality, the Human Rights Campaign, NO/AIDS Task Force, the National Organization for Women, PFLAG, TCC and other allies of the LGBT community, the event will feature the speakers, entertainment and provide information on services available to the LGBT community in the New Orleans area.

“This rally will provide information about issues affecting the LGBT community, such as the right to keep a job, family and adoption rights, and the need for passage of the Employment Non-Discrimination Act and the end of Don't Ask, Don't Tell policy that affects those in military service,” said Marjorie R. Esman, Executive Director of the ACLU of Louisiana. In addition, there will be information about AIDS awareness, help for those interested in “coming out,” and other supportive advice.

Mary Griggs, Managing Director of Forum For Equality, said: “It's been a year since our last LGBT rally in New Orleans, held in the aftermath of California's Proposition 8 election. It will be one month since the successful National Equality March held in Washington, D.C. It's important for the local community to show support and to gain a sense of pride and dignity while working to establish a society free from discrimination.”

For more information about the event, go to LA ACLU or Forum for Equality or contact Marjorie Esman at 504-522-0628 x 23 OR Mary Griggs at 504-569-9156

Wednesday, October 21, 2009

All Evidence to the Contrary (from Atlantic Monthly)

by Lane Wallace

One hundred years ago this month, two intrepid explorers returned from the Arctic reaches and declared that they had reached the North Pole. Not together, but on competing expeditions to become the first person and team to the Pole. Robert E. Peary led one expedition, and Frederick A. Cook led the other. And each declared the other's claim to the Pole untrue.

Today, of course, that kind of controversy could be settled far more easily. At the very least, we would expect a GPS track record showing that the Pole had been reached, and airborne photographs or other corroborating evidence might be required, as well. Without that technology, however, the claims were a little harder to confirm. It's not like there was an exact marker at the spot, because nobody had been there before. And unlike the peak of Mt. Everest, the landscape at the precise location of the North Pole doesn't look distinctly different from the rest of the terrain--for hundreds of miles in any given direction.

So the controversy has raged for a full century. But here's the interesting part. As more data about the expeditions, and about the North Pole, have emerged, it seems more and more likely that neither man actually reached the Pole. As John Tierney wrote recently in the Science Times, Peary supposedly took no celestial navigation readings on his final push to the Pole, until one day he took a single reading, looked very disappointed, and then declared that the observation--which he showed to no one--confirmed that he'd arrived at the North Pole, exactly. Cook had neither a trained celestial navigator nor the skill to make the observations himself. Without that skill, how on earth (so to speak) could he have reached the Pole, or known precisely when he was there? The modern-day consensus, according to Tierney, is that Peary got closer than Cook, but that neither man got closer than perhaps 100 miles away.

Yet a full century and much more advanced data analysis and evidence later, Peary and Cook still have ardent supporters who adamantly believe that their hero told the truth. They suggest that it might have been possible for either explorer to have found the Pole without clear celestial sightings, by studying wind patterns in the snow, or observing shadows, or even by compass, even though a compass needle gets extremely erratic near the Earth's poles. Apparently, some of the Peary/Cook advocates are more comfortable with contorted logic than simply acknowledging that, given more data, it appears their initial impression of things was ... ummm ... wrong.

If you'd like to read more, go here.

NOSHA lost a great friend in Serena Bodellini

A Very Special Lady

The freethinking community recently lost a very special lady in Serena Bodellini who passed away Thursday, October 15.

She was one of our most ardent and progressive supporters and we remember her lovely personality and feisty attitude with much fondness. She was a member of the NOSHA board of directors and an officer with the Greater New Orleans chapter of NOW and was very active online until the last few days of her life.

We send our heartfelt condolences to her son, Marco Bodellini, and her family in Italy. Friends are welcome to attend a non-denominational visitation ceremony that will be held on Saturday, October 24, 2009 at the Tharp-Sontheimer-Tharp Funeral Home, 1600 N. Causeway, Metairie, LA between the hours of 10:00AM and 2:00PM.

A Bitter Rift Divides Atheists (from NPR)

by Barbara Bradley Hagerty
(October 19, 2009)

Last month, atheists marked Blasphemy Day at gatherings around the world, and celebrated the freedom to denigrate and insult religion.

Some offered to trade pornography for Bibles. Others de-baptized people with hair dryers. And in Washington, D.C., an art exhibit opened that shows, among other paintings, one entitled Divine Wine, where Jesus, on the cross, has blood flowing from his wound into a wine bottle.

Another, Jesus Paints His Nails, shows an effeminate Jesus after the crucifixion, applying polish to the nails that attach his hands to the cross.

"I wouldn't want this on my wall," says Stuart Jordan, an atheist who advises the evidence-based group Center for Inquiry on policy issues. The Center for Inquiry hosted the art show.

Jordan says the exhibit created a firestorm from offended believers, and he can understand why. But, he says, the controversy over this exhibit goes way beyond Blasphemy Day. It's about the future of the atheist movement — and whether to adopt the "new atheist" approach — a more aggressive, often belittling posture toward religious believers.

Some call it a schism.

If you'd like to read more, go here.

Tuesday, October 20, 2009

Welcome to the new NOSHA Blog!

It's been a goal of ours to enter the blogosphere for some time. So here we are!

Soon we'll post more ideas, opinions and events to increase everyone's awareness of secular humanism and non-belief in New Orleans and the gulf coast area. We offer both community and activism for our members and we welcome your contribution to this endeavor.

To learn more about our organization, please check out our website.