Positive Atheism Forum
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Student Atheist Club
Meets Resistance
Michelle Bourdon
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From: Mike Sullivan
Sent: Sunday 25 April 1999
To: Cliff Walker
Subject: Let's Help Students Form Atheist Club

Cliff had asked:

Cliff:

Easy... start an atheist church, like we did over four years ago. The North Texas Church of Freethought is the best thing to happen to Freethought activism in Texas... 150-plus Members, tons of activities, and 100 percent positive media coverage from the start.

Stay real,

Mike

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From: David
Sent: Sunday 25 April 1999
To: Cliff Walker
Subject: Philosophical Standpoints

Cliff had asked:

Atheists: 

Think now
Die later

Just a suggestion!

Nick

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From: Stephen A. Lonsdale
Sent: Sunday 25 April 1999 17:33
To: Cliff Walker
Subject: To Michelle

Dear Michelle,

I used to live in Goderich and visited Kincardine and Walkerton quite a bit. In fact I will be up your way in June. So, hello fellow Canadian! I am a member of the Freedom From Religion Foundation as well as James Randi Education Foundation (James Randi was born in Richmond Hill). I think there could be two options here. One you could do as you seem inclined to do that is draft a legal document under the auspices of Charter of Rights and Freedoms. You could draft a petition stating you are being discriminated against and that the council is creating an unsafe work environment or a hostile work environment. The second option is to select a name for your group that does not carry with it the emotionally charged red flay that the word atheist carries. You could perhaps call the group Alternatives to Religion, The Freethinkers Group, or some such like. You might even suggest that the group is a history study group discussing the beginnings of non-religious thought, or a scientific group examining science Vs religion. You might try a philosophic approach or simply use the words secular or humanist in place of atheist.

I think you are being discriminated against and that is not allowed under Canadian law. I also think that by not allowing you and your group equal time the council is creating an adversarial situation to develop between your group and the theistic groups and that situation is inherently unhealthy. Finally, since you are at school an institution of learning, the council is arbitrarily stymieing your education, curiosity and intellectual growth. I really cannot see how they can get away with that under the Charter.

Be prepared for a legal battle though and start raising funds.

Good Luck and Bon Chance!

Stephen A. Lonsdale

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From: Bryan Bucknell
Sent: Monday 26 April 1999 23:32
To: editor@positiveatheism.org
Subject: Re: PosAth/ Let's Help Students Form Atheist Club

Dear Michelle:

I'm a sudent at Sir Sandford Fleming College In Peterborough Ontario and am also an atheist. I was a little appalled at your schools discrimination and YES it is discrimination.

My suggestion is to check your school's charter of student rights and responsiblities. I know that within this school the problems your facing are directly against those rights.

My only other question is I'm interested in knowing a little more about this potential club maybe I'll try and get one formed here too!

GOOD LUCK!
Bryan Bucknell

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From: Jonas S. Green
Sent: Tuesday 27 April 1999 7:17
To: Cliff Walker
Subject: Re: PosAth/ Let's Help Students Form Atheist Club

Cliff Walker wrote:

Cliff, I think fear of the "A" - word comes

Therefore you find several atheists who are also humanists, ethical culturists. Some atheists will retain a cultural tie to a religious background "once a Jew always a Jew". Perhaps a positive statement of what they want to stand for:
Freethinker Club, Rationalist Club, "Freethinkers & Rationalists Into ENgrossing DiscussionS" -> FRIENDS. (Ok the acronym needs work)

I know some people who say they were atheists once, but converted to liberal Christianity, others who seem for the most part rational agnostic, practical atheist but at some level use religious terminology and call themselves pagan or wiccan, and some who truely appear to believe the pagan gods are as objectively real as some conservative christians believe their god to be, or at least astrology, palm reading, and spell casting are effective. (And yes, I'm from Salem MA -- home of the witches)

What it comes down to is some people have a need to believe in something dispite the imposibility of that thing. An atheist might dismiss out of hand an assertion of existence (external objective existence) of God, but that tends to insult the believer and get comments like "You can't prove God doesn't exist, and I can't proove he does." and a host of failing logic theorems like Pascal's Wager, and the First Cause, argument from design etc. etc.

Lastly God is assumed to be good and loving, nasty passages are ignored by those who want to paint a nice picture of God. As reported by Adam Butler (Atlanta Freethought News 4/99): The Westboro Baptist Church picketed the funeral of Billy Jack Gaither. A Picketer's sign read "God hates fags" and a supporter's sign read "God loves all people"
Adam: "The slogan on the Boy's sign, while it sounded nice, just wasn't true. [...] When Christians claim God hates some people they do it to condemn those people, when I claim God hates some people I do it to condemn God."

People will more easily switch religions to hold a belief in a kinder gentler God, than abandon belief in any God, and draw on their own humanity for ethics and morals.

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From: Mark Smith
Sent: Friday 30 April 1999 14:17
To: editor@positiveatheism.org
Subject: Re: PosAth/ Let's Help Students Form Atheist Club

Might I suggest "Freethought Association" as an innocent name? The name atheist (really should be Atheist, as we don't write christian, do we?) really has been drug thru the mud by Christians and Atheists alike. Maybe it's time to jetison it altogether?

Trust me, if my parents had named me Adolf, do you think I would keep that name? Hell no! Ditto for the name Atheist.

Mark Smith

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