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Wednesday, December 01, 2010

San Francisco Atheists | Newsletter December 2010



This edition: meeting program:

Winter Solstice Celebration


Please click here to read the current newsletter

Friday, November 26, 2010

November meeting program


imageThis month we will watch Agora, a beautiful movie about Hypatia of Alexandria and the rising Christianity that murdered her. Afterwards we will briefly discuss the movie.
Those of you who are older will remember Christian movies such as Ben Hur, movies that glorified the Christians as loving victims and demonized the pagans as cruel beasts who found pleasure in watching the lions eat Christians. A few years ago Kingdom of Heaven presented the Crusades from a secular viewpoint, as struggles between two cultures to control the wealth and power of the so-called Holy Land. Now Agora presents the story of the rise of Christianity in Alexandria, the intellectual center of Egypt, and as such a part of the Roman Empire. Christianity, formerly banned in the Empire, has been blessed by the Emperor Constantine, and is spreading even in Alexandria. The city's famous library houses scrolls containing the works of the greatest minds in history; it also serves as a center for pagan worship. Inside the library, Hypatia teaches philosophy, astronomy and mathematics to her young pupils, some of whom are Christian. Pagan fundamentalists become enraged at the blasphemy of the Christians and attack them, against the advice of Hypatia. The Christians fight back, and surround the pagans inside the library gates. The Emperor grants the Christians possession of the library, and safe passage to the pagans. Christian mobs destroy all the vestiges of pagan religion and knowledge, including the remaining scrolls in the library.
A number of years later, the Christians have gained so much power that even the head of Alexandria's government, a former pagan and pupil of Hypatia, has converted. The Christians press their power, finally turning on Hypatia as a sinner. After all, the Bible says that women should not teach men, as women are inferior to them. Meanwhile Hypatia is portrayed as truly challenging dogma in trying to understand the relationship of the earth to the sun. She says:
"What if we dared to look at the world just as it is? Let us shed for a moment every preconceived idea. What shape would it show us?"
So not only does Hypatia sin for teaching men, but she sins by challenging the methodology of the Bible, revealed dogmas considered Absolute Truth. A Christian mob murders her, providing a metaphor for the destruction of science by a virulent Christianity.
Since this is a full length movie, we will begin showing it soon after 4:30. Please arrive promptly so that you won't miss anything.

Saturday November 27 at 4:30,
Schroeder's Restaurant 240 Front St San Francisco, CA 94111
the restaurant is two blocks north of Market Street, between California and Sacramento Streets.
Use California Street cable car, or BART/MUNI Embarcadero stop. Parking on street or at nearby Embarcadero garage.

Saturday, July 03, 2010

Secular witnessing

I went to a Giants-Red Sox game at AT&T Park (where the good guys won!). Sure enough at the 7th inning stretch a public announcement told us to stand up, take off our hats and sing "God bless America". Without a second thought my friends and I did not move and sat for the entire song. We could not see anyone else sitting and wondered if we would be accosted, verbally or otherwise, but there was no aftermath.

I need not remind you of the dangers of conflating "patriotism" with public expression of belief in the supernatural. I share this small story with you with the thought that many of us take a stand from time to time to express our opinions publicly without much fanfare.

I encourage others to "come out" with their stories of their small acts of civil disobedience, as well as encourage others to begin to take a stand.

Warmly, Dan

Wednesday, March 17, 2010

Saturday, March 13, 2010

San Francisco Atheists March 2010 Newsletter

This edition: March meeting program, Briefing with White House Officials, and much more…

Click here

Friday, March 12, 2010

God Rides BART

A must read!

The Collected essays by David Fitzgerald:

Click here

Wednesday, February 03, 2010

Who We Are: Welcome Paul Gehrman (Author of Kaleidoscope)

Hi, my name is Paul Gehrman (Author of Kaleidoscope). I grew up in a fairly religious environment in Texas. I went to protestant church most Sundays and I was a believer into my twenties. Although I knew fairly early on that religion was judgmental, divisive, and extraordinarily hypocritical, I still believed most of the dogma until I began to appreciate the explosive explanatory power of Darwin’s ideas and how religion was ultimately an assault not only on science, but on human knowledge generally. After 9/11, I felt compelled to write about the dangers of religious belief, including its dreadful depiction of humanity as inherently dirty, sinful, etc. I spent four years writing, which resulted in the publication of my novel, Kaleidoscope, in 2009.

Now that I’ve completely extricated myself from the hold of religious dogma, I have great appreciation for how manipulative and vicious religion can be, particularly on children, who are frightened into believing with threats of eternal torture, ostracism, etc. This is unethical to say the least. I think all people of goodwill should vigorously oppose this thought cancer in the hope that we can move humanity past superstition, bigotry, homophobia, etc., and to a place where reason, knowledge, and intellectual honesty are highly valued.

Tuesday, February 02, 2010

Let’s welcome Julia to the Who We Are page on our web site.

Hi, my name is Julia Buss and I am an atheist. I call myself an atheist because I think that there is a very low probability that there is any kind of god in the universe. On a personal level, I find that my life is happy and fulfilled without a god or a religion. Therefore I do not feel the need to try to find any evidence for a god. I consider myself lucky because I was raised without religion having any place in my childhood, so I was not indoctrinated or trained from an early age to hold it in any place of importance. I do not care whether others choose to believe in the supernatural, in angels or various mysterious beings. But I do think it is important to identify myself as an atheist because I believe it is harmful to society when irrational beliefs drive government or culture. If religions were merely harmless beliefs and did not promote such things as misogyny, homophobia, and war I would not feel the need to take a stand against the belief in these fantasy worlds and beings.

Who We Are web page.

Saturday, January 30, 2010

The Jesus Sign by Don Havis 2010

Here is a story from one of our own. It shows that we can be an opposing force to irrational thought.
The Jesus Sign by Don Havis 2010
San Francisco Atheists

Friday, January 29, 2010

Let’s welcome Tommi to our Who We Are page on our web site

Hi, my name is Tommi Avicolli Mecca, I am a writer and activist who lives in San Francisco. I was raised Roman Catholic in the working-class, Italian/American area of South Philadelphia. I was an altar boy because a nun told me I had to be. My uncle decided I was going to be a priest. At 16, I fell in love with a classmate and realized that I couldn't be gay and catholic. I started reading Sartre after my brother turned me on to No Exit. Then I made the ultimate decision: torn between catholicism and the hot guy I was in love with, I said to hell with the repressive and anti-sex religion that only caused me guilt and made me feel like a hopeless sinner. I declared myself an atheist. Four years later in college, I joined the Gay Liberation Front and became a lifelong unrepentant sinner. I have been an atheist for over 40 years.

San Francisco Atheists

Who We Are