Greetings from Austin, TX!

shaevel
Posts: 8
Joined: 2011-06-29
User is offlineOffline
Greetings from Austin, TX!

I'm from the East Coast originally but living in Austin, TX.  Not the most atheist-friendly place in the world, but better than a lot of other cities in TX.  I've been strongly atheist since infancy, as far as I can tell.  For 50 years I have been searching for a way to not only revel in my atheism but to be DO about it.  Imagine my thrill at finding an activist site.  So much time seems wasted feeling powerless and being angry about that.  I hope that there will be interesting information here to combat that and interesting discussions to further my thinking and beliefs.

 

FYI, the "God Loves You--This Prayer Will Change You" banner ad puzzled me for a moment, but then that seems awfully open-minded and fair from an activist site, so I'm sold. Smiling

 

Cheers,

   Jeff Shaevel

   Austin, TX

 


BobSpence
High Level DonorRational VIP!ScientistWebsite Admin
BobSpence's picture
Posts: 5872
Joined: 2006-02-14
User is offlineOffline
Welcome!I never bought into

Welcome!

I never bought into the God stuff myself, AFAICR. At best I put in the same category as Santa Claus.

Just took it less and less seriously as life went on.

Don't take the content of the banner ads too seriously, that is decided automatically by the ad company software, based on a quick scan of the content of the page.

Favorite oxymorons: Gospel Truth, Rational Supernaturalist, Business Ethics, Christian Morality

"Theology is now little more than a branch of human ignorance. Indeed, it is ignorance with wings." - Sam Harris

The path to Truth lies via careful study of reality, not the dreams of our fallible minds - me

From the sublime to the ridiculous: Science -> Philosophy -> Theology


robj101
atheist
robj101's picture
Posts: 2481
Joined: 2010-02-20
User is offlineOffline
From what I gather Austin is

From what I gather Austin is one of the more atheist friendly places in the US and most certainly in Texas.

Welcome.

Faith is the word but next to that snugged up closely "lie's" the want.
"By simple common sense I don't believe in god, in none."-Charlie Chaplin


Jeffrick
High Level DonorRational VIP!SuperfanGold Member
Jeffrick's picture
Posts: 2402
Joined: 2008-03-25
User is offlineOffline
Welcome

 

 

 

                     I to am from the east coast [Maine/ New Brunswick] now living near Toronto Ont.   You might want to look into  The Atheist Experience TV/podcast show.  They are based in Austen, they have meny youtube videos and weekly meet ups. [Sundays}  Those meet ups can get you involved into what to DO locally.  Good luck and tell us how it works out for you.

"Very funny Scotty; now beam down our clothes."

VEGETARIAN: Ancient Hindu word for "lousy hunter"

If man was formed from dirt, why is there still dirt?


butterbattle
ModeratorSuperfan
butterbattle's picture
Posts: 3719
Joined: 2008-09-12
User is offlineOffline
Welcome to the forum.  

Welcome to the forum. 

 

Our revels now are ended. These our actors, | As I foretold you, were all spirits, and | Are melted into air, into thin air; | And, like the baseless fabric of this vision, | The cloud-capped towers, the gorgeous palaces, | The solemn temples, the great globe itself, - Yea, all which it inherit, shall dissolve, | And, like this insubstantial pageant faded, | Leave not a rack behind. We are such stuff | As dreams are made on, and our little life | Is rounded with a sleep. - Shakespeare


Brian37
atheistSuperfan
Brian37's picture
Posts: 13756
Joined: 2006-02-14
User is offlineOffline
I don't know if you are

I don't know if you are aware. But Austin is the home of "Non-Prophets" internet radio show and Atheists of Austin. If you like watching theists get there rears handed to them they also have a youtube channel "Atheist Experience".

They do have local meetings you could probably meet them.

Jeff Dee is my favorite among them. He pulls no punches. Matt is more subtle but just as blunt.

In any case, you are NOT alone, even in Texas. I think you will find that Austin is much more ahead of the rest of the state than you think.

For all the theism you see in your daily life there. I am sure these guys can tell you stories about those they meet that even hear from theists "yea, thank you for fighting the fundies". There is a growing backlash in this country to the damage done by the religious right, even coming from the religious left.

 

 

"We are a nation of Christians and Muslims, Jews and Hindus -- and nonbelievers."Obama
Check out my poetry here on Rational Responders Like my poetry thread on Facebook under BrianJames Rational Poet also on twitter under Brianrrs37


shaevel
Posts: 8
Joined: 2011-06-29
User is offlineOffline
robj101 wrote:From what I

robj101 wrote:

From what I gather Austin is one of the more atheist friendly places in the US and most certainly in Texas.

 

That may be, but my experience has been a little different.  I'm a software developer with a strong hobby in cooking (also: acting and public speaking, music and teaching Go, among others).  Recently, I decided to go to culinary school and had an interesting moment when 3 of my classmates started discussing their belief in creationism or Intelligent Design and such variations.  I tried to stay quiet for as long as I could, but finally spoke up (gently).  They started to grill me about the flaws of science and I handily countered all their "objections".  Still, it's left me concerned about how prevalent this thinking is and how, perhaps, I could be doing more to help these kids escape from their traps.  I'm searching for the right way to do that without being antagonistic, so I'm hoping to find profitable discussion in these forums.  I'm still new here, so not sure where to find these discussions (or start them).


shaevel
Posts: 8
Joined: 2011-06-29
User is offlineOffline
Brian37 wrote:I don't know

Brian37 wrote:

I don't know if you are aware. But Austin is the home of "Non-Prophets" internet radio show and Atheists of Austin. If you like watching theists get there rears handed to them they also have a youtube channel "Atheist Experience".

 

Yup, I've found them and seen the people you mentioned.  They're an interesting group and I hope to attend more often (they meet towards the south end of town and I'm fairly far north), but I have to admit that I find their aggressive style a little off-putting.  I haven't seen that many of the shows, so I'll watch a few more to see if it smooths out over time.  I'm experienced in public speaking, so the concept of the show is great and would like to get involved.

I can completely relate to the frustration and anger that builds in the atheist community, as it seems to for pretty much any group that feels oppressed/repressed/marginalized.  (I'm a member of several such minorities and community groups all seem to suffer from the same thing.)  I feel that belittling and name-calling doesn't help our cause much and generally hurts it.  My personal struggle right now is trying to find a way to get past the emotion and establish reasonable discussion or educational techniques to effect productive change.


shaevel
Posts: 8
Joined: 2011-06-29
User is offlineOffline
BobSpence1 wrote: Don't

BobSpence1 wrote:

 

Don't take the content of the banner ads too seriously, that is decided automatically by the ad company software, based on a quick scan of the content of the page.

 

Thanks for the explanation; that's what I figured.  It's ironic and humorous to me.  Do we have similar ads out there that theist organizations might post?  Be nice if there was fair turnabout.  Of course, if they have a way to filter out ads they don't want seen, perhaps we could do the same.

 

Equally obviously there are more important things to discuss and do. Smiling

 

Love the "titles" that people have under their handles.  Hope to graduate to one or more someday...


shaevel
Posts: 8
Joined: 2011-06-29
User is offlineOffline
Points?

 Hmmm...I seem to be earning points as I post.  Presumably these can be traded in for valuable prizes...?


cj
atheistRational VIP!
cj's picture
Posts: 3330
Joined: 2007-01-05
User is offlineOffline
shaevel wrote: Hmmm...I

shaevel wrote:

 Hmmm...I seem to be earning points as I post.  Presumably these can be traded in for valuable prizes...?

 

In our dreams.  No prizes ...

If you are using Firefox, you can get the AdBlockPlus so you don't have to see the banner ads if you don't want.  I find it nice as I get tired of looking at people magically fading away large stomachs and wrinkles.

Do click on the Amazon ads on the left occasionally.  Sapient gets a few cents for each click and a few more if you actually buy something.

 

-- I feel so much better since I stopped trying to believe.

"We are entitled to our own opinions. We're not entitled to our own facts"- Al Franken

"If death isn't sweet oblivion, I will be severely disappointed" - Ruth M.


Wonderist
atheist
Wonderist's picture
Posts: 2479
Joined: 2006-03-19
User is offlineOffline
shaevel wrote: Yup, I've

shaevel wrote:

Yup, I've found them and seen the people you mentioned.  They're an interesting group and I hope to attend more often (they meet towards the south end of town and I'm fairly far north), but I have to admit that I find their aggressive style a little off-putting.  I haven't seen that many of the shows, so I'll watch a few more to see if it smooths out over time.  I'm experienced in public speaking, so the concept of the show is great and would like to get involved.

I can completely relate to the frustration and anger that builds in the atheist community, as it seems to for pretty much any group that feels oppressed/repressed/marginalized.  (I'm a member of several such minorities and community groups all seem to suffer from the same thing.)  I feel that belittling and name-calling doesn't help our cause much and generally hurts it.  My personal struggle right now is trying to find a way to get past the emotion and establish reasonable discussion or educational techniques to effect productive change.

Hi shaevel, welcome to the forums!

I don't mean to put you on the spot, but we recently had a new member visit us and he expressed some similar concerns/hopes as you. We attempted to welcome him, but it soon went 'pear-shaped'. So, I thought I might bring it to your attention so that you can get a feel for this forum; and it also includes a good clip from Atheist Experience which you might find worth watching.

The reason I bring this up is that, personally speaking, I kinda consider Atheist Experience as not-very-aggressive, so I'm curious to see what you think about this visitor's reaction to us.

(If you're interested in the background context, this is EKAthans' introduction post which gives his background: http://www.rationalresponders.com/forum/29603 )

Basically, EKAthans became irritated at our stance that arguing against religion is a good thing, and that it is possible for people to 'deconvert' from religions. Things start to go awry in this comment made on another person's introduction thread: http://www.rationalresponders.com/forum/29611#comment-347770

I responded with a comment which I do not consider 'aggressive' (emphatic, yes, but not aggressive). You may have a different opinion, of course. It was here: http://www.rationalresponders.com/forum/29611#comment-347792

EKAthans' response was something I would call 'going off the rails' into a bit of a rant, in which he asked:

EKAthans wrote:
You think knowledge today isn't being used for personal gain? Do you think the American government which poses all of this knowledge is worried about the best interests of the people? Like I said in my last post...WHAT DO YOU SUGGEST? WE HANG RELIGIOUS PEOPLE?

At that point I thought it would be worthwhile to give a thorough reply, to address many of his apparent misunderstandings of us. It's a bit long, but it does have some good information in it, including that clip I mentioned from Atheist Experience: http://www.rationalresponders.com/forum/29614

I don't consider that post very 'aggressive' either, although I do include a couple of disdainful comments (cuz I was feeling some disdain), but nothing close to what EKAthans had already made in his 'hang religious people?' comment.

In fact, I would say I was rather restrained with EKAthans, and was far more 'aggressive' (although not really, IMHO) with Cpt_Pineapple, who has been a member here for years and is well prepared for my rhetoric and histrionics.

EKAthans chose to reply in his original intro thread, so his final comment is here: http://www.rationalresponders.com/forum/29603#comment-348093

And my final reply (again, long, but IMHO it was necessary to be thorough): http://www.rationalresponders.com/forum/29603#comment-348132

Long story short: If you're concerned about 'aggressiveness', you may want to take some time to review these posts to see how we do on that score. Personally, I don't use the word 'aggressive' for that kind of interaction, because I tend to think of aggressive as using violence or threats or intimidation, which I don't feel is what I was doing there. I could be wrong.

In my opinion, EKAthans had his mind made up, before he posted his first post, that any kind of confrontation of religion is unethical and dangerous. So, no matter what I said or how I said it, it sounded to him like the equivalent of advocating extreme violence like 'hanging religious people'.

I mention all this because it is not the first time that someone has visited RRS with pre-conceived notions about us or about our methods, tactics, and strategy. In my opinion, such misunderstandings are pretty much unavoidable. There's always someone who thinks you're 'doing it rong', regardless of whether or not you are.

Anyways! Hope you find some good resources and enjoyable conversations here. Welcome!

Wonderist on Facebook — Support the idea of wonderism by 'liking' the Wonderism page — or join the open Wonderism group to take part in the discussion!

Gnu Atheism Facebook group — All gnu-friendly RRS members welcome (including Luminon!) — Try something gnu!


Brian37
atheistSuperfan
Brian37's picture
Posts: 13756
Joined: 2006-02-14
User is offlineOffline
shaevel wrote:Brian37

shaevel wrote:

Brian37 wrote:

I don't know if you are aware. But Austin is the home of "Non-Prophets" internet radio show and Atheists of Austin. If you like watching theists get there rears handed to them they also have a youtube channel "Atheist Experience".

 

Yup, I've found them and seen the people you mentioned.  They're an interesting group and I hope to attend more often (they meet towards the south end of town and I'm fairly far north), but I have to admit that I find their aggressive style a little off-putting.  I haven't seen that many of the shows, so I'll watch a few more to see if it smooths out over time.  I'm experienced in public speaking, so the concept of the show is great and would like to get involved.

I can completely relate to the frustration and anger that builds in the atheist community, as it seems to for pretty much any group that feels oppressed/repressed/marginalized.  (I'm a member of several such minorities and community groups all seem to suffer from the same thing.)  I feel that belittling and name-calling doesn't help our cause much and generally hurts it.  My personal struggle right now is trying to find a way to get past the emotion and establish reasonable discussion or educational techniques to effect productive change.

I don't find them "off putting" at all. Atheists have been the most distrusted minority in America and I think has been way past time atheists stand up to theists.

Since when is being blunt about about bad claims and bad morality "belittling" or "name calling".

If I say, for example, "God is a tyrant", I am not calling the person claiming a god a tyrant, I am calling the character God a tyrant, and not to piss the person off, but I explain it with the WAY their alleged god character acts as depicted in the bible.

"Ridicule is the only weapon which can be used against unintelligible propositions" Thomas Jefferson

"The first person to hurl an insult instead of a stone, started civilization".

Even IF their intent was merely to piss them off, which it is not, and is not for most atheists, it still would not entitle them to demand our silence.

I think what is more important than the words people use, are the substance of the arguments they make.

I think context matters as to HOW you approach an argument and KNOW who you are making the argument to. If you call into that show, which you don't own, and start making demands about how they conduct themselves, or start acting like you are a victim for a show you chose to call into, you don't have that right.

That would be like the state telling you how to decorate the interior of your house.

I'd say simply know what you are comfortable with and know what you are getting into without judging people for how they chose to make their case. To me it is far more important the substance of their argument. Otherwise society gets caught up in demands of censorship, which isn't good for anyone.

I myself here have verbal boxing ring fangs. I do not pull them out on people, but what people claim. Very rarely do I pull them out on an individual(meaning that individual is going way beyond merely thrashing claims and merely being a dick).

I always let people know what they are getting into when they interact with me, so it is up to them if they want to. But after the first time, they cant bitch because I already told them. With the Non-Profits, the theists who listen already know, because they have been listening, what they are getting into when they call. No one puts a gun to the caller's head.

I would not, for example call into Glen Beck's show and then bitch my mic gets muted, or I get hung up on, or even "ridiculed". WHY? It is not my show. Thats not to say I don't think Beck is a dick, I do. But just don't tell people what to do with things you don't own.

The Non-Profits, like many atheists, including many here, are tired of playing nice with people just because they have a legal right to make claims. WE also have a legal right to question those claims.

"Question with boldness even the existence of God" Thomas Jefferson.

Who also equated the birth of  Jesus to being the same category as Minerva being born out of the brain of Jupiter.

Why shouldn't I call the god of the bible immoral? Why shouldn't I be able to say that to a theist without them screaming I hate them when all I am saying is that the concept of the character written in the bible does not match the reality of decent morality, and contradicts "all loving".

AND how nice should I be to childish brats who cant handle an adult conversation and only want to stick their fingers in their ears and shout "You're gonna burn in hell".

"You should be nice"

DEPENDS ON WHO, WHEN WHERE AND HOW"

In the context of an atheist radio show that the theist does not own, and doesn't have to call into, the rules are set by the show owner, not the caller. If an atheist or theist wants their own show, and conduct it differently, they can.

I am not into absolutes. If you listen to EVERY SHOW, you will also see that the are quite cordial to people who deserve it.

 

 

"We are a nation of Christians and Muslims, Jews and Hindus -- and nonbelievers."Obama
Check out my poetry here on Rational Responders Like my poetry thread on Facebook under BrianJames Rational Poet also on twitter under Brianrrs37


shaevel
Posts: 8
Joined: 2011-06-29
User is offlineOffline
Off putting

Brian37 wrote:

Since when is being blunt about about bad claims and bad morality "belittling" or "name calling".

 

My bad.  I didn't transition well from speaking directly about the show to talking about impressions about interactions in general.   Belittling and name calling are things I've heard or seen on the Net in general, not specifically on the show.   I'm looking forward to seeing more of their shows and weighing my impression of the tone when I have more information.  Thanks for your detailed reply!


shaevel
Posts: 8
Joined: 2011-06-29
User is offlineOffline
Mr. Natural's Cautionary Tale

natural wrote:

I don't mean to put you on the spot, [...]

Oh, by all means, go ahead. Smiling  I'm not a newcomer to forums in general and have a pretty thick skin.

Thank you SO much for that wonderful guided tour of an exchange gone horribly wrong.  I appreciate your concern and I think it's pretty safe to say that I'm not an EKAthenian. Smiling  

natural wrote:

The reason I bring this up is that, personally speaking, I kinda consider Atheist Experience as not-very-aggressive, so I'm curious to see what you think about this visitor's reaction to us.

That thread isn't an uncommon experience on a limited-bandwidth medium like forums, I think.  As for AE, I've only seen 2 episodes, so my sample size isn't large, I don't recall who the co-hosts were, so it's possible I'm getting a very skewed initial perception.  I'm definitely going to fill in some holes in my education before I attempt to make any formal judgements.  I was also accidentally lumping in my general experiences on the Net with my perception of AE.  Recently, I saw a Facebook posting about an article where some fundamentalist article was quite a bit skewed.  I was a tad dismayed that most of the reactions just called the author an idiot, insane, crazy, and any number of ad hom attacks.  Yeah, yeah, it's FB, I know, but it still got me thinking and is one of the reasons when some link or other brought me to these forums I figured I'd check it out.

natural wrote:

Long story short: If you're concerned about 'aggressiveness', you may want to take some time to review these posts to see how we do on that score. Personally, I don't use the word 'aggressive' for that kind of interaction, because I tend to think of aggressive as using violence or threats or intimidation, which I don't feel is what I was doing there. I could be wrong.

I'm not really concerned about "aggressiveness", per se, and I appreciate your correction of my use of the term.  It does, perhaps, imply something stronger than verbal forcefulness.  We're talking about activism here, so I expect some people to be more "active" than others.  My interest (even "concern" is too strong a word: I don't think I'm oversensitive about this) is in effective communication.  If I make an honest, accurate statement, but it doesn't get heard because something in my bluntness or tone causes an emotional reaction that gets in the way of hearing the message, then I'm not being effective.  NOTE: I'm not telling anyone else to change their style or making judgements on what others feel works for them.  I'm exploring techniques that will help *me* be able to better engage others effectively.  And I'm not expecting someone to post a reply with debate and public speaking tips to accomplish that. Smiling  I'm expecting to spend time getting to know people here and, I hope, learn from their experiences and knowledge and better refine my approach.

natural wrote:

I mention all this because it is not the first time that someone has visited RRS with pre-conceived notions about us or about our methods, tactics, and strategy. In my opinion, such misunderstandings are pretty much unavoidable. There's always someone who thinks you're 'doing it rong', regardless of whether or not you are.

My expectation is that this group is every bit as varied as the world itself, with as many options on how to do things as there are people to have opinions.  Some will agree with me, some won't.  I'll agree with some, not others.  That's the fun of forums.  

Again, thank you SO much for that every detailed thread tour.


shaevel
Posts: 8
Joined: 2011-06-29
User is offlineOffline
Athiest Experience

natural wrote:

[...]personally speaking, I kinda consider Atheist Experience as not-very-aggressive, so I'm curious to see what you think about this visitor's reaction to us.

 

Listening to some recent episodes now and these episodes are definitely more even-tempered than the ones I heard months ago.  The tone is just fine.  When caught in an unreasonable discussion, the host ended it before getting drawn into vilification. I'll definitely check out the group more.  Thanks!


Brian37
atheistSuperfan
Brian37's picture
Posts: 13756
Joined: 2006-02-14
User is offlineOffline
Quick edit here. I made the

Quick edit here. I made the following quote and forgot to add the name to it before I hit submit.

"The first person to hurl an insult instead of a stone started civilization" THAT was Freud,

I hope I did not leave the impression it was Jefferson, although considering how blasphemous he was towards pulpit politics, I am sure he would have agreed with Freud if alive at the time of Freud.

 

 

"We are a nation of Christians and Muslims, Jews and Hindus -- and nonbelievers."Obama
Check out my poetry here on Rational Responders Like my poetry thread on Facebook under BrianJames Rational Poet also on twitter under Brianrrs37


nice8520 (not verified)
Posts: 4294964979
Joined: 1969-12-31
User is offlineOffline
Hello guys, I am too new to

Hello guys, I am too new to be here, this is truly a perfect site.


everlastingxxx
atheist
everlastingxxx's picture
Posts: 24
Joined: 2007-03-07
User is offlineOffline
Brian37 wrote:I don't know

Brian37 wrote:

I don't know if you are aware. But Austin is the home of "Non-Prophets" internet radio show and Atheists of Austin. If you like watching theists get there rears handed to them they also have a youtube channel "Atheist Experience".

They do have local meetings you could probably meet them.

Jeff Dee is my favorite among them. He pulls no punches. Matt is more subtle but just as blunt.

In any case, you are NOT alone, even in Texas. I think you will find that Austin is much more ahead of the rest of the state than you think.

For all the theism you see in your daily life there. I am sure these guys can tell you stories about those they meet that even hear from theists "yea, thank you for fighting the fundies". There is a growing backlash in this country to the damage done by the religious right, even coming from the religious left.

I love that show. Matt Dillahunty is the man. How come RRS doesn’t have new shows anymore? I miss those!

 

 


harleysportster
atheist
harleysportster's picture
Posts: 3312
Joined: 2010-10-17
User is offlineOffline
Welcome to the Forum

Welcome to the Forum.

I grew up on the east coast (New Jersey) and currently live in the Bible Belt (Memphis TN).

I am an out in the open Atheist. I think we need to be more vocal for both the staunch theists trying to suppress our rights and MAINLY for the theists that are a bit on the fence about the whole thing.

I came from a strict religious family and I know that when I grew older and began having some doubts, I wish there had been some open Atheists there for me. Had it not been for guys like Richard Dawkins and Christopher Hitchens, I shudder to think about where I would be today.

Anyway, that's my story and I'm sticking to it Smiling

Have fun.

“It is proof of a base and low mind for one to wish to think with the masses or majority, merely because the majority is the majority. Truth does not change because it is, or is not, believed by a majority of the people.”
― Giordano Bruno