Saturday, December 22, 2007

Submission by Theo Van Gogh

Submission produced and directed by Theo Van Gogh, written by Ayaan Hirsi Ali.

Submission, is a very powerful 11 minute short film which condemns the hypocrisy of religion, particularly Islam, from the point of view of Muslim women.

Theo Van Gogh, a film producer, nephew of the famous Dutch painter, Vincent Van Gogh, and an atheist, paid with his life to produce this short film and Hirsi Ali was forced into hiding after receiving death threats.

He was brutally murdered (stabbed and shot) by an Islamic extremist, jihadist, Mohammed Bouyeri in 2004.

Source: Theo Van Gogh Wiki article.

It's a truly sad state of affairs when the expression of controversial opinions in a free and democratic society results in death threats and murder.

And it's the reason, that I don't identify myself as the author of this post.

Friday, December 21, 2007

The New Atheism

An Atheist discovers the New Atheism.

For me, religion has never really been an issue. I was raised in an atheist home. While my natural curiosity invoked an interest in finding out about religions and philosophies from a young age, I was never a believer in any of them.

I was just an explorer. My explorations continued throughout my adolescence, teens, and early 20's in the 1960s and early 1970s. Then life kind of took hold and all was set aside for the job and family.

In those days we atheists had our mentors, but we didn't really get into atheist ideas and concepts in any big way, were just sort of familiar. The great atheist thinkers like Einstein, Russell, Huxley, etc. were known but we didn't really delve deep.

To us, we simply didn't believe in God. That was the beginning and end of the debate.

Atheism was also something you kept to yourself, but then you weren't supposed to discuss religion or politics either :).

A few months ago, I started working on a blog posting for 9/11. 9/11 was a traumatic incident for my family because my son was living in New York at the time.

I wanted to explore the religious side of the issue because I wanted to understand the religious conflict that led to 9/11.

I was trying to understand why a religion would advocate and successfully recruit people to fly planes into buildings and murder thousands of innocent people.

So, I wrote up my question and posted it to a few religious and political news groups and one where people debated religion and atheism.

The last one was the one where a really lively discussion started on the topic. In the process of interacting with the people there, I discovered that there was something that I could really only identify as a New Atheism.

My first reaction was WTF are these people talking about?

I identified myself as an "old-style" atheist and explained that I didn't know anything about people like Dawkins, Hitches, et al, or understand some of the philosophical debates happening on the site.

However, with their patient and helpful explanations, I became totally intrigued, hooked, and have become a regular poster.

So, what is the new atheism? How would I define it?

Essentially, it consists of atheist who self-identify and actively propagate atheism.

I've started doing the reading and will be posting my opinions here on this blog, as well as interesting links, sites, and discussing issues relating to atheism.

I always love comments and feedback, even if you disagree, and while the comments are moderated, all will be posted, as long as there is content.

I'm also asking people to take my poll and identify yourself as an atheist or a theist. No personal information is retained, the poll will simply maintain a count.

Thanks and I hope you enjoy this investigation into the New Atheism as much as I am :).