Tag Archives: community

Just Thought I Should Remind You All About My Surveys


I haven’t done an update on my surveys in a while, so here it is. For those of you who don’t know about my surveys, I am trying to do a couple of independent studies for some future blog posts. The first study will be on Religious discrimination, and I will be focusing on how people view discrimination aimed at atheists vs. how they view it aimed at Christians. The second study will be on feminism’s reputation. Namely on how people perceive it’s reputation. Please help me out by doing and sharing my survey. It will be greatly appreciated. And for those of you who have already done my survey, please share it wherever you can. I would like to write those blog posts this summer.

Here is how I’m doing so far:
Religion Surveys:
This survey deals with various situations that may be considered discrimination towards Atheists:
http://kwiksurveys.com/s.asp?sid=vvaqodd0equ2y21474850 – 4% complete
This survey deals with various situations that may be considered discrimination towards Christians:
http://kwiksurveys.com/s.asp?sid=pi387nzvmo8dklc474867 – 2% complete
This survey looks at whether or not the respondent feels they have been discriminated against for their religion:
http://kwiksurveys.com/s.asp?sid=3zolzpi3k1lwc7s470898 – 8% complete
This survey looks at whether or not people feel that Atheists are discriminated against:
http://kwiksurveys.com/s.asp?sid=t2k9uo23mlnmklk470896 – 7% complete
This survey looks at whether or not people feel that Christians are discriminated against:
http://kwiksurveys.com/s.asp?sid=85koff95iqwpme3470893 – 7% complete
Feminism Surveys:
Situations that may or may not be considered Feminist issues:
http://kwiksurveys.com/s.asp?sid=xxiz033c05yo72v472614 – 3% complete
Are various Feminist causes helpful or hurtful for the Feminist movement?
http://kwiksurveys.com/s.asp?sid=i8d3kq6z73ems49471695 – 7% complete
How do you perceive Feminism?
http://kwiksurveys.com/s.asp?sid=4p48z0rwjwooxpf471689 – 7% complete
Does Feminist have a bad reputation?
http://kwiksurveys.com/s.asp?sid=r4t8nurh0tyxvqt470762 – 11% complete
Please help me out by doing my surveys, if you haven’t already, so that I can write my posts on the responses. And please share my surveys as well.

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Guest Post: Feminism and Atheism, United in So Many Ways


This is a guest post written by out friend HJ Hornbeck:

In some ways, I was a feminist first: introduced to the topic in my teens, I did an assessment and was deluged by evidence of sexism around me. While I’ve never believed in any god at any moment of my life, in contrast, I didn’t think anyone else did either. I honestly didn’t believe in theists until my 20’s, when I encountered my first passionate believer. The experience rattled me, and I was soon browsing the online atheist community trying to figure out what else I’d missed.

What led me to abandon read-only mode, though, was Elevatorgate. It was obvious the atheist/skeptic community was woefully ignorant of feminist issues, so I rolled up my sleeves and hit the feminist books.

Back in those salad days, I viewed the two topics as wildly different. As kept reading and thinking, though, I started noticing connections between them. Much to my surprise, atheism has made me a better feminist, and of course vice versa.

A common insult tossed at atheists is that we’re nihilists who believe in nothing. That’s half true: nihilism does have a destructive streak, but it also asserts that the universe imposes no meaning on us, and that it is our responsibility to create it. This is commonly brought up as a reason for atheists to engage in social justice; absent any commands from above, why wouldn’t you try to make the world a better place for those around you? Absent any afterlife bliss, why wouldn’t you fight tooth and nail to improve this world for those that follow?
Atheists are people. These dictionary atheists are always quick to forget that. People have responsibilities to each other, and further, the rejection of religion and the understanding that the universe, and we human beings, lack any kind of grand purpose, shapes the pattern of those responsibilities. You simply cannot pretend that atheism is meaningless outside one philosophical abstraction.

Well, I suppose you can…but then how can you find any reason to even be an atheist?
Atheist apologetics gave me a reason to push feminism, to risk becoming a target of hate mobs, to spend hours educating myself and others on sexism.

But there’s something deeper here. With one minor exception, atheism is about following the evidence, even if that denies easy answers to life or the promise of eternal bliss. Anti-theism is about pointing others to the evidence, so that people don’t harm themselves or others through false beliefs. This makes both of them close relatives to feminism, which encompasses both following the evidence and leading others to it. Note to self: don’t write while hungry. They’re two flavors of ice cream in the same freezer.

If there was a connection, you’d expect those opposed to atheism and feminism to be operating contrary to the evidence. That’s been my experience; it’s rare for me to spend more than a few minutes puzzling over the gaps in logic of either type. This is backed by the experience of others, indirectly at least. Skeptics are probably familiar with crank magnetism, or the tendency of people that believe in one type of woo to endorse other woo too. On the social justice side, we have multiple studies which show that people who buy into rape myths also buy into myths about race, class, and age.

This puts intersectionality in a new light. Traditionally, that word was about how multiple identities “intersect” in complicated ways that can’t be easily separated. But this overlap of irrationality adds another meaning: as bigotry tends to depend on common cognitive biases, fighting against one form of bigotry means you’ll indirectly fight against them all. Atheists and feminists are natural allies, over and above the commonplace sexism in religion.

Interestingly, those same studies find that there’s also a correlation between rape myth acceptance and religious intolerance. The study populations consisted mostly of believers, admittedly, but it’s tough to look at some of the memes and rhetoric passed around the atheist community and not give a suspicious squint.

Ultimately, that may be the greatest benefit I’ve earned by being a feminist: it’s made it easier to spot the flaws in the atheist community, and turned me into a better atheist. I do not blindly follow my thought leaders around, nor make excuses for their bad behavior, because their thoughtless sexism prevents me. I’m better able to respect the humanity of the people I argue against, because I’ve been made aware of it. This flows both ways: I’m less taken in by some of the fluffy woo that sometimes pops up in feminism, because I’ve been trained to better sniff it out via the tool-set of reason and evidence I picked up from the atheist community.

Atheism and feminism shouldn’t be mortal enemies, but BFFs.

 

Thanks to HJ for the post.


Does Anybody Care Anymore?


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Lately I have been struggling with the questions “how do we get people to care?” and “how do we get people involved?” I go to university, which is a place where people tend to be highly motivated and interested in getting involved. We are in a highly competitive environment and we’re all trying to give ourselves that boost we need to get us our desired career. As such, we do a lot outside of classes. But this year…well, it seems as though motivation is lacking.
I think a lot of the lack of motivation is due to the problems people have noticed on campus. Our president is the highest paid in Canada. She makes a ridiculous amount of money. In fact, it seems as though it all goes to her. Since I began attending the university, they’ve added another 1500 students yearly, which is a lot, but they haven’t really done anything to improve the buildings and increase the amount of space we have for studying. Just trying to move around the school is a nightmare because of the number of people in the hallways. The university has even made it more difficult for clubs to get out into the campus community and be seen. We used to be able to book classrooms and equipment for free, but now we have to pay for equipment and we can only book a few rooms a year. This makes throwing events difficult. As such, I think people are genuinely disappointed with the state of the university and unaware of the clubs’ existences.

change
But it seems that there is more to it than that. Normally first years come to university and immediately try to get involved. Some look for the more social groups to make friends, and others look for groups that help them get ahead in their field. Many get too involved and end up dropping a few things. But the first years haven’t done that this year. In fact, from what I’ve heard from others, they haven’t even been getting that involved with their classes. And it seems as the students who are graduating have become highly apathetic too. Usually those graduating want to go out with a bang, so they put a lot of effort into their activities in the last year. This is partially because it’s the last year before heading out into the real world and partially to add some extra padding to their resume. But not this year. It seems like those of us who are graduating after spending years getting involved are just exhausted. Nobody cares any more. It’s all very strange.
But this creates a dilemma: how do we keep everything from dying? A number of clubs have already shut down. The Interfaith may be shut down in March if I can’t find people to take over. Even the Freethinkers is struggling, and it’s a well established club. I keep trying to find ways to bring people in and get them to care, but all of my efforts have been in vain. So how do I get people to get involved? How do I get them to care? And how do I save the clubs that I put so much of my time and energy into?

TEAM


What Does My Atheism Look Like?


While I was writing my last post, I kept thinking back to it in terms of my atheism. As such, I thought I’d write a similar post about my atheism.

As an atheist, I don’t need to say more than “I don’t believe in any gods” to justify it. That is the definition of atheism. It’s what makes me a member of the group known as atheists. But it is not all that my atheism is. This is because my atheism has led me to other conclusions, as have the people that I associate with as an atheist.

Were I an atheist outside of the atheist community, I think I’d be justified in saying that my atheism is nothing more than my disbelief in gods. But I am not outside of the community, so my atheism has become more. For example, before I became an atheist, I believed in many supernatural things. I thought that my house was haunted and magic was real, as well as my basic belief in God, angels, and the devil. But I’ve rid myself of all of those beliefs because I’m an atheist. If I don’t believe in gods, why would I believe in ghosts? Shouldn’t I apply the same skepticism to both? So now my atheism isn’t just about gods, it’s about the supernatural as a whole.

My atheism also led me to a community of people who have formed my beliefs about various things. I wouldn’t have said that I was anti-war when I was a believer, but I would now. This is because I’ve had deep discussions about current military actions with my group, and we have all been fairly skeptical of what has been going on. We may not see the problems as individuals, but we do as a group because we apply skepticism to what we are told, and even to each others’ beliefs. I’ve also become much more interested in activism. This interest stems from our openness to talk about any and all issues. I’ve learned more about abortion, feminism, rape, racial discrimination, politics, etc as a result of my atheist community than I have from anywhere else. They are the ones who convinced me to openly call myself a feminist, to protest pro-lifers, to care more about voting and the various political parties, and to speak out against discrimination of any kind. I doubt that I’d be as active as I am without them.

All of those things aren’t necessary of atheism, and they aren’t themselves atheism, but they were developed out of my atheism. They have become parts of my worldview, as atheism has, and they are both separate from one another and connected.


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