Beta Culture: Mapping the Parasites

St Johns

Here's a little idle exercise: Open up Google Maps, and put this word in the search window: "churches."Wait for it to do its thing, and you will see the map fill up with little red dots, like the worst case of chicken pox you ever saw.Look at the lower right of the map for the scale, and zoom on your town to where the "one mile" is about an inch long. Zoom out to where that same scale says "five miles." You'll see that the entire countryside is ... infected.Zoom out a bit more, to … [Read more...]

Get Your Motor Runnin’: Reason Riders Going National

Brian Christian 1

If you are 1), an atheist, and 2) ride a motorcycle, you seriously need to join and support Reason Riders.I first wrote about the idea of an atheist motorcycle club a little more than two years ago. I tinkered up a rough logo and a name -- Reason Riders -- and just dropped it out there.Pierino Walker picked up on it soon after, redesigning the logo and turning it into patches for his motorcycle jacket. He sent me a couple, and supplied them for fellow riders in Northern California and … [Read more...]

Beta Culture: Dealing With Conservatives

Had a little epiphany today about the sense of humor, and why ultra-conservatives don't seem to have much of it.Humor requires a certain flexibility of mind, a capacity to quickly change mental directions. The lead-in to a joke sets up a certain expectation, then the punchline forces a radical departure from that expectation. The unexpectedness makes us laugh. A Hasidic Jew walks into a New York City bar with a frog on his shoulder. The bartender says "Where the heck did you get THAT?" The … [Read more...]

One Billion Atheists: The Army of the Other Side

Look at this:AdvertisementEvangelicals Aim to Mobilize an Army for Republicans in 2016 One afternoon last week, David Lane watched from the sidelines as a roomful of Iowa evangelical pastors applauded a defense of religious liberty by Senator Ted Cruz of Texas. That night, he gazed out from the stage as the pastors surrounded Gov. Bobby Jindal of Louisiana in a prayer circle. For Mr. Lane, a onetime Bible salesman and self-described former “wild man,” connecting the pastors wit … [Read more...]

One Billion Atheists: Two Additional Ideas

As the name of the hoped-for movement states, my interest in the free-thought spectrum is this one specific thing: Atheism. Everything else flows from that, in my view, and a coordinated effort to empower and expand atheism will throw off benefits to every one of the sub-genres of the larger field of free-thought.Regarding which, here are a couple of ideas I'd toss into the mix for One Billion Atheists by 2025: Atheist Leadership Academy Years back when I was working on a magazine in … [Read more...]

One Billion Atheists

When I started as an atheist activist 15 or 20 years ago, one thing was clear to most of the atheists I talked to: Every person had to get here on his/her own.In other words, it was decidedly wrong to proselytize. The thought was that atheism -- the good, solid, workable kind -- was this conclusion reachable only after much personal introspection and observation. That merely getting people to say "I'm an atheist" was empty and useless. Such an atheism would be no different from religion -- a … [Read more...]