Beta Culture: The Heart and Soul of American Ideals

Subtitled: Hey, Where's the Blue Collar Atheist, and What's This Citizen of Earth Crap?_________________I’ve heard you say it.You said “If Bush gets re-elected, I’m leaving the country.” You said “If Romney gets elected, I tell you, I think America is over! I’m looking to move to Australia, or Canada.”Hey, I thought it myself, a couple of times in the past. But what I DID was, I stayed and, in my own small way, fought. Because if you believe in something, you don’t just leave off believin … [Read more...]

Wanted: Lessons in Strategic Thinking

I worked for a weekly arts and entertainment magazine in Arizona some years back. We’d have these periodic brainstorming sessions to figure out what the cover story would be in each upcoming issue. Anytime an urgent current event came up, we might pop that on the cover, but usually we could plan things out for weeks or months. The advertising sales staff needed to know so they could target particular advertisers for ad buys.So: One week, the local train museum. The following week, local m … [Read more...]

A Basic Motivation for Atheism+ … and for Beta Culture

In his post "Value-free atheism," Justin Vacula focuses on the meaning of the word "atheism" — making the point, as do so many others, that it means only one thing. The argument seems to be coming often these days following the appearance of Atheism-Plus. Vacula says: … [Read more...]

First Person Revolutionary — Part 4

[ First read Part 1 , Part 2 , Part 3 ]All the civilizations I ever heard of had this in common: Somewhere right near each one’s heart was religion.It seems impossible to get away from. And yet it shouldn’t be. After all, it’s never been true that religion is ALL people do.And it’s not as if religion is food, or water, or air. It’s just this ... idea. Hideously embroidered, massively wrapped in confusing, fanciful language, aggressively forced upon people in their vulnerable years and momen … [Read more...]

Thoughts On My Upcoming 60th (!) Birthday

Okay, fuck it. I’ve decided to celebrate.To explain why I actually had to decide that: I had a thing happen a few weeks back. Was at a dinner party and a close friend happened to mention the date of my birth right out in public. I was peeved at him for several minutes.For years now, I haven’t liked people knowing my birthday.I’ll tell you why. It’s a glitch left over from childhood, but apparently I’m still carrying it around. (I’ve just apologized to my good friend, who puts up with my cou … [Read more...]

First Person Revolutionary — Part 3

[ Read Part 1 and Part 2 ]The fatal flaw of atheism? Actually, it's a challenge atheism shares with religion. The difference between the two is that religion has found a solution.So let's talk about religion:The weedy form of religion, superstition, arises automatically in each mind all on its own, simply by virtue of our need to create private theories – often wildly personified due to our ability to detect “person-ness” in everything from smiley faces to wind in the trees – about how the … [Read more...]