I Am An Atom of Atheism

The blog Ungodly News has created a whimsical periodic table of atheism, and I was surprised and pleased to find out that I’m on it:

I’m an actinide, if you can’t find me – one of the green rows on the bottom, labeled as “The Wicked of the Web”. I’d never have counted myself as one of the basic and indivisible elements of atheism, but given the distinguished company I’m listed among, this is a true honor! You may now commence the jokes about making compounds of atheists…

In other news, here’s a quick link roundup:

• I was happy to hear that Geert Wilders has been acquitted by a Dutch court, putting an end to the shameful prosecution of a man for exercising the right of free speech. Whatever one thinks of Wilders’ ideas, the correct way to respond to an argument is with another argument, not the threat of punishment. The court’s ruling recognized this principle, even if it disappointingly described his opinion as “the edge of what is allowed”.

• The self-help guru James Arthur Ray has been convicted of negligent homicide in the deaths of three people in a sweat lodge at an October 2009 retreat he organized. Woo is not harmless, not even the vague and fluffy-headed New Age variety.

• Via Andrew Sullivan, this haunting and gorgeous short film of Saturn and its moons, made by splicing together thousands of still images from the Cassini mission.

• In the wake of (unfortunately small and sporadic) protests by women across Saudi Arabia asking for the right to drive, a Saudi Arabian doctor has appealed for the right to choose her own husband. The fact that women are still denied these incredibly basic human freedoms ought to be a cause for national embarrassment in this ignorant and backwards theocracy.

• Via Slacktivist, an evangelical pastor tries valiantly to silence his own flickers of conscience over the doctrine of eternal damnation:

“It is clear that Bell is not comfortable with the idea that billions of people may suffer in hell. But then, who is comfortable with that? The majority of evangelicals who hold to the orthodox understanding of hell… are troubled by its implications.”

Maybe those evangelicals should consider listening to their consciences for once.

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About Adam Lee

Adam Lee is an atheist writer and speaker living in New York City. His new novel, City of Light, is available in paperback and e-book. Read his full bio, or follow him on Twitter.

  • http://superhappyjen.blogspot.com SuperHappyJen

    Congratulations on your new status as an element. I hope to one day to be included in a periodic table. Such an honour.

  • Cafeeine

    Impressive list. Clearly I need to watch my weight, Im so heavy an element, I haven’t been discovered yet.

    On the Slacktivist comment, my hunch is that most of those evangelicals who listen to their conscience inevitably choose to follow a more mellow dogma

  • http://darkenedstumbling.blogspot.com/ Leum

    But it would be really interesting, wouldn’t it, if they didn’t? If they accepted the premise that the universe is ruled by an evil god? I’d love to listen to that sermon.

  • Charles Black

    Good job Ebon, though I also really liked seeing Edward Current & Stephen Hawking to name other non-religious people I particularly like.

  • Elizabeth

    I found it interesting and disturbing that there has been lots of talk about gender representation in the atheist community recently, and as far as I can count (I’m not sure of some of the names) there are only 13 women on this chart…not that the person who created it was responsible to be equitable, I guess.

  • Rollingforest

    I do find it interesting that discussions of gender and sexism happen almost on a weekly basis on the atheist blogosphere, but you don’t get that kind of talk about race. My guess is it is because women are the largest minority group in the atheist movement while racial minorities are few and far between. Since there is very few blacks or other minority races, few people think to speak up about there not being very many blacks or other minorities in the atheist community. It is a catch 22 I suppose.

  • http://darkenedstumbling.blogspot.com/ Leum

    This seems as good an opportunity as any to plug Greta Christina’s list of atheists of color.

  • Rollingforest

    I’m glad she made it. She seemed a little hesitant to write it because she is white and she felt as if she was overstepping her bounds, but I think that racial equality means that it shouldn’t matter what race the person making the list is.

  • DIck Veldkamp

    As a Dutchman, I have a somewhat more direct view of Wilders and his party, and I have to tell you that the Wilders case is not that simple.

    It is easy to say that free speech trumps all, but what do you do with somebody who is abusing the right of free speech continuously to say (or rather imply) that muslims [as persons] are inferior, and that there is danger of the Netherlands being taken over by muslims in a few years and sharia introduced (the sheerest nonsense) ? I feel that he could have done with the legal equivalent of “While it is not against the law to be so rude, I would like you to leave this party because you are poisoning the atmosphere.” In other words: you can say anything as long as you are polite.

    And what bothers me greatly about Mr Wilders is that he, while claiming absolute free speech for himself, if perfectly happy to suppress other people’s right to express themself.

  • http://www.whyihatejesus.blogspot.com/ OMGF

    One doesn’t have to be polite in order to engage in protected speech.