Help the Atheist Bus Campaign Happen in Ottawa, Canada

The campaign to get atheist buses in Ottawa, Canada came to a standstill when the ads were rejected. Apparently, it’s too offensive to say “There’s probably no god.” Meanwhile, ads featuring Bible verses are perfectly fine in Ottawa.

However, reader Marlowe writes me with some positive news:

The good news is that City Councillor Alex Cullen will be moving to repeal the decision at the Council’s March 11th meeting. I’ve asked him what I could do to help and he advised contacting the other Council members before the meeting, asking them to allow the ads to be displayed.

If you want to see the ads appear on buses, you should tell the Council members what you think.

Tell them you want the ads to be displayed. Be polite and respectful. These are not anti-religion ads, anyway. I’m not going to reproduce their emails on this site, but you can find all their contact information here.

If you’re from Canada, or Ottawa, you have even more of an incentive to write them.

Let’s hope we hear some good news on March 12th.

  • PrimeNumbers

    Hemant, thanks for picking up this news story. I’ve written to all the local councillors and had a good response from some, but pretty poor responses from others. Most have not managed to get back to me.

    This is an important free speech issue. I’m shocked that in this day and age, in a modern country, that we still have to fight for free speech against discrimination and bigotry. It doesn’t make our Capital City or Country look very good, does it?

  • http://www.atheistbus.ca atheistbus

    It was actually the other atheistbus campaign that uses the British slogan that was rejected.

  • http://www.thewarriorpoets.wordpress.com Christopher

    Like your previous commentor, I find it hard to believe that such ads would not be allowed in a free country, and it’s sad that it requires a fight to be able to display them.

    That said, “There probably is no God” is about as lame as it gets. That’s real reassuring.

    If there “probably” is no God, to me that’s saying there’s a statistical chance that there is. Well hell, if there’s a chance there is, I’m better off believing in Him and not pissing Him off than not believing in Him and learning the odds weren’t in my favor.

    But hey, back to the main point. I’m all about free speech, and if they want to include the “probably” (for in case God sues them?), then I say go ahead.

  • PrimeNumbers

    Christopher, I’m sure you know the problems with Pascal’s Wager…. I prefer to think of it as the “Avoiding the wrong Hell” problem :-)

    I’m all for free speech.

  • http://thebitchreport.blogspot.com/ Milena

    Ugh, the shaaaame! I expected better of Ottawa. Unfortunately, my councillor’s kind of conservative, as is the mayor, but I’ll give it a shot anyway.

  • PrimeNumbers

    Milena, the word you’re looking for is not “conservative”, but “bigoted”.

  • http://thebitchreport.blogspot.com/ Milena

    Well, Larry O’Brien (the mayor), maybe. But I wouldn’t necessarily use such a loaded term to describe my councillor. The fact is, my riding just happens to lean conservative (and Conservative), so it would make sense for my councillor to try and appeal to the majority of his voters.

  • Pingback: Friendly Atheist by Hemant Mehta wants your help with the Atheist Bus Campaign in Ottawa « A Blogspotting Anglican Episcopalian

  • PrimeNumbers

    Marriane Wilkinson’s comments on the CBC sounded very bigoted to me. Gord Hunter’s comments reported on Richard Dawkins site were quite poor for an elected representative.

    Funny me, but I always thought of free speech as a conservative ideal, rather than the PC nonesense and reverse discrimination you get from liberal policies…

  • http://thebitchreport.blogspot.com/ Milena

    Neither one of those are my councillors. And I think freedom of speech and conservativism parted ways when conservativism went social and started confusing itself with traditionalism.

  • Richard Wade

    Hi Christopher,
    The “probably” is about intellectual honesty and humility. To say “There is no god” would be to make the same mistake of theists, a conclusive statement with no evidence. The root of atheism is skepticism. Skepticism is not the refusal to believe, as it is is often misdefined, but the willingness and maturity to withhold belief until credible evidence is found. To say “I know I’m right without evidence just because I know I’m right” is arrogance and pig-headedness. The term theists use for that is “faith.”

    So “probably” reflects the place where thoughtful atheists come from; listening to the claims of theists and seeing the vacuum of evidence for their claims, they are as yet unconvinced. It might seem like lame hedging to someone who is coming from a place of certainty reinforced by the power of social majority, where such humility is dismissed as unnecessary and where that kind of certainty is sold as a virtue, but it is simply being honest about how we think.

  • http://www.abandonallfear.org.uk Lex Fear

    Look I don’t like the bible verses on buses either, but advertising and marketing is not a free speech issue is it? I’m sure in Canada as in most of the West you are free to say such things.

    @Richard Wade

    I see you’re still parroting the line about “intellectual honesty” even though I provided you original links to the Carlsberg ad campaign from which Ariane Sherine misinterpreted it as a ‘legal’ thing.

    In fact why bother using ‘probably’ with Canadians? Carlsberg used ‘probably’ to appeal to British/European sensibilities. It’s sad none of you are creative enough to think of something that will appeal to Canadians in a funny, ironic way.

  • Richard Wade

    Lex Fear:

    I see you’re still parroting the line about “intellectual honesty” even though I provided you original links to the Carlsberg ad campaign from which Ariane Sherine misinterpreted it as a ‘legal’ thing.

    It doesn’t matter what the motives were originally for the word “probably.” It’s still intellectually honest for the reasons I gave. Whether that meaning was deliberate or inadvertent in the mind of the person who thought it up makes no difference. If it appeals to a European preference to defer from straight-forward assertive statements, fine. It appeals to my value of honesty.

    In fact why bother using ‘probably’ with Canadians? Carlsberg used ‘probably’ to appeal to British/European sensibilities. It’s sad none of you are creative enough to think of something that will appeal to Canadians in a funny, ironic way.

    That is an excellent suggestion. It would be great to see a uniquely Canadian angle on this. Not being a Canadian I guess I wouldn’t qualify for the task. Are you a Canadian, or do you at least understand them well enough to offer a suggestion, since in your view they are not creative enough?

  • PrimeNumbers

    Canadian version “There’s probably no God, eh? Stop worrying, drink beer and watch hockey.”

  • http://www.thewarriorpoets.wordpress.com Christopher

    Richard Wade-

    Thanks for your explanation. Truth be told, however, I find about the same amount of humility and intellectual honesty when debating with atheists as when debating with Christians, which is hardly enough to rate on either the hummility or intellectual honesty scales. So I see no reason to be humble here.

    “There probably is no God” isn’t a statement likely to win any converts to rational thinking (and maybe that’s not the intent). A better statement would be, “There is no imperical evidence for your god.” At least that’s definitive.

    I mean really, what does that statement accomplish? (Again, all for the freedom to be able to say it.)

  • Marlowe

    Thank you very much for posting this!

  • Richard Wade

    Christopher, :) (nodding with a sad smile) Yes, honesty and humility can often be rare qualities in debates with both atheists and theists, but that is all the more reason to practice them and to encourage them. Once in a while a quiet, candid statement from the heart will cut through the din of all the pompous pontificating coming from all directions, and it’s refreshing to hear, regardless of the specific opinion. Sometimes the dialogue can be re-set to a higher level.

    I’ve been called out by my peers on more than one occasion for my conceit or my sloppiness and while it’s humiliating in the short run, it’s most often the quickest way back to humility. After I privately curl my fist and say “Curses!” like a melodrama villain, I have to thank them for steering me away from hypocrisy.

    The “probably, etc.” statement may not be that much about winning brand new converts to rationalism, but more about encouraging those who are tending toward it but who hesitate because of the “worrying” that comes up while they transition. Like the “You’re not alone” posters and billboards, it also lets the isolated rational thinkers know they have supportive comrades somewhere in the neighborhood. None of the recent slogans and statements are bull’s eye, knock-you-on-your-ass perfect shots and all by themselves they are not likely going to change people into rationalists or humanists. Probably (ahem) there never will be such a verbal silver bullet. They are part of an on-going dialogue that is finally being openly engaged in the public arena.

    Like you, I hope the honesty and humility increase as the dialogue continues, and we can at least do our part.

  • Kirsty

    I was flaming mad when I heard about this. I expected better in my part of the world. This is the email I sent to Marianne Wilkinson (using some ideas from this blog):

    Dear Councilor Wilkinson,

    I am extremely upset by the transit committee’s decision to ban the Freethought Association of Canada’s ads from OC Transpo busses. CBC reports that you voted against the motion to allow the ads. You are quoted as saying that as a Christian, you are offended by the ad, and that you feel it (unintentionally) hurts people.

    I am puzzled as to how the ad is offensive. It’s an atheist/agnostic organization. What do you expect them to say? In other OC Transpo advertising, Carleton University says it’s a great place to study. The Anglican Church tells people prayer will make them stronger. Kraft says Stoned Wheat Thins taste good with cheese. I agree with the first, disagree with the second, and can’t argue with the third, but they’re all valid opinions that various groups have chosen to share. And that’s okay. As a vegetarian, I dislike restaurant advertisements that show pictures of meat. The sight of roasting flesh makes me queasy, and the thought of cows being chopped into bits and eaten makes me uncomfortable — in short, these ads offend me. Should I lobby to have them removed? Of course not. Mine is a minority opinion.

    But here’s the thing.

    Even if you’re part of the majority — and at 79%, that’s what Christians are in this city — you don’t get to stamp out other people’s views. Freedom of expression is a right, and you’re stepping on it. Where will you draw the line? Can Jewish groups advertise? Muslims? Other Christian sects? Are you offended when Hindus talk about Brahman — or worship Jesus as an incarnation of Vishnu?

    Besides, as such statements go, it’s pretty innocuous. Can you imagine an ad reading “Jesus probably saves. You might want to repent”?

    If your worldview can be shaken by a salt-splattered bus ad, it needs some serious rethinking. And that’s exactly what the Freethought Association wants to promote.

    In the interests of equality and free speech, please reconsider your decision when this issue comes up again.

    Sincerely,
    Kirsty Schut

  • http://www.thewarriorpoets.wordpress.com Christopher

    Richard,

    and i hope your last line may be true, though I remain skeptical. I used to think Christians had a monopoly on being condescending and self-righteous. I’m beginning to believe it can be a trait of anyone with strong beliefs.

    Switching to the original topic, I believe theism and atheism both require faith, though in different things in different ways to different levels. I don’t find either positions of absolutes to be neutral ground.

    Yet neither do I profess neutral ground to be the end goal.

    I’d just suggest if someone was going to spend money on marketing, choose the marketing which is likely to have the most impact.

    I understand your argument that it may simply show support for the questioning or the decided nontheists. But I would tend to think there are more effective ways to do that.

    Cheers.

  • Grimalkin

    Kirsty – I just want to say, that’s an awesome letter. Very well-argued and makes use of specific examples.

  • AxeGrrl

    PrimeNumbers said:

    This is an important free speech issue. I’m shocked that in this day and age, in a modern country, that we still have to fight for free speech against discrimination and bigotry. It doesn’t make our Capital City or Country look very good, does it?

    I completely agree ~ I’m definitely going to be contacting the council/councillors before March 12…..

    You think this is bad, it’s an even more embarrassing/disappointing situation in Halifax…..the phrase “You can be good without God” was rejected!! Can someone, ANYONE, explain to me what could possibly be ‘offensive’ about that phrase?

  • Richard Wade

    Kirsty,
    Ditto to what Grimalkin said, a superb letter. It should be published in the local newspaper.

    AxeGrrl,

    You think this is bad, it’s an even more embarrassing/disappointing situation in Halifax…..the phrase “You can be good without God” was rejected!! Can someone, ANYONE, explain to me what could possibly be ‘offensive’ about that phrase?

    I’m…. pretty sure the offensive part would be the syllable “out” in “without.” As it has been said before, here or on other threads, theists have enjoyed this one way road for so long that they are spoiled, so anyone who dares to publicly challenge them even with so mild a statement as that, will cause them to feel “offended.” So they swoon like some corseted southern belle, “OH! Mah goodness! He said ‘without Gawd.’ Git me mah smellin’ salts! Ah feel the vapors commin’ on!”

  • AxeGrrl

    Richard Wade said:

    theists have enjoyed this one way road for so long that they are spoiled, so anyone who dares to publicly challenge them even with so mild a statement as that, will cause them to feel “offended.”

    I guess I should have said: “what’s legitimately ‘offensive’ about it?” :)

    `

    So they swoon like some corseted southern belle, “OH! Mah goodness! He said ‘without Gawd.’ Git me mah smellin’ salts! Ah feel the vapors commin’ on!”

    *teehee*

    damn you Richard Wade……i’m attracted to the whole ‘southern belle’ thing! I don’t want to be looking at hypocritical/prejudiced ‘believers’ and be hearing a Scarlett O’Hara voice that I just can’t resist! :)

  • PrimeNumbers

    I think the meeting of the council might be the 25th now though. I’ve seen a few different dates reported in the press.

    The “offense” issue is not the issue. That’s a smokescreen to censor, silence and discriminate against atheists. The issue is that by not allowing our charter rights atheists are being unfairly discriminated against. It’s a free speech issue pure and simple.

  • PrimeNumbers

    Nah, I got it wrong, it’s Wednesday February 23rd.

  • Derrick G.

    I actually pity the councilors because if they refuse the ad then they come off as a bunch of bigots but if they approve them then they could very well piss-off a portion of their electorate (the bigoted ones that is…) Oh well, not my problem.

    It will be interesting though as there will be quite a large group of Atheists and Humanists at that council meeting (myself included) and we’ll be arguing for freedom of speech.

    PrimeNumbers, I love your suggestion for the Canadian version. Kudos.

    Peace.

  • Andre Arbour

    For what it’s worth, here is what I wrote to my city councillor.

    Dear Councillor Holmes:

    I am writing as one of your constituents to express my dismay over the decision by OC Transpo to reject an advertisement sponsored by the Freethought Association of Canada. The ad in question states: “There’s probably no god. Now stop worrying and enjoy your life.” I urge you vote to overturn this decision if/when it is considered by city council.

    This decision concerns me on two levels. First, as an atheist, I cannot help but feel that that a local government institution is privileging a particular religious viewpoint. As reported in the Ottawa Citizen: “‘I don’t follow the logic,’ said Bus Stop Bible Studies founder David Harrison. ‘Why would they approve ours and not theirs? If we don’t stand up for (the atheists’) rights, ours will be trampled too.’”

    This is troubling, though not particularly surprising. Prejudice against those who happen to not believe in a supreme being is not uncommon in our culture. For example, a 2007 Gallup poll asked American voters “If your party nominated a generally well-qualified person for president who happened to be [see below], would you vote for that person?” 95% stated the affirmative for a Catholic, 92% for someone who was Jewish, 87% an Hispanic, 55% a homosexual, and coming dead last, 45% for an atheist. I would be surprised if a Canadian poll showed radically different results.

    I perhaps could understand if the ad was rejected for running afoul of certain technical requirements or OC Transpo declined to accept any religious advertising. But, this does not appear to be the case. The comments of Councillor Marianne Wilkinson further reinforce the impression that religious discrimination is at the heart of this decision.

    Dan Gardner recently summarized the situation well:

    “…far too many people believe the standards that apply to all other subjects under the sun do not apply to religion.

    If I say ‘Stephen Harper is Canada’s greatest prime minister,’ you are entitled to disagree with considerable vigour. But if I say ‘God exists’ and you disagree with the same vigour, you are an unconscionable bigot.

    This double standard is how we got to the absurd situation where city buses carry ads asserting the existence of god without the slightest controversy but ads claiming god probably does not exist are offensive and forbidden.”

    My second concern is how this type of discrimination reflects upon the city. Frankly, it reinforces the unfortunate stereotype that Ottawa is a bland and parochial backwater. I note that the Toronto and Calgary transit authorities have approved the ads, apparently without incident. I am not an Ottawa native, but have settled here after completing my graduate studies at Carleton in 2007. I think Ottawa is a fine city and I am pleased to make my life here. However, this type of thing pains me and makes me embarrassed for the city.

    I hope that you will work with your colleagues on city council to rectify this situation.

    Sincerely,

    Andre Arbour
    Resident, Ward 14

  • http://www.abandonallfear.org.uk Lex Fear

    Canadian version “There’s probably no God, eh? Stop worrying, drink beer and watch hockey.”

    Yeah already sounds better.

  • PrimeNumbers

    Of course, the “eh?” is the Canadian bit.

    Seriously though, Andre is right that it makes Ottawa look plain silly and out of date. It make us an international laughing stock and embarrassment.

  • http://terribledepths.blogspot.com Dave

    Speaking as another Ottawa resident…

    What I find even more tragically ironic about this escapade is that the self-proclaimed defenders of morality who’ve been blocking the atheist ads from going out not only allow Christian aids, but just cheerfully authorized an ad campaign by Virgin Radio featuring pictures of pregnant women and advising fathers to “lock up your daughters” in advance of an upcoming rock concert.

    As I summarized on my blog: rape good, atheism bad. The Virgin ads were also pulled by the station after public complaints, but I’m still intrigued at how shallow the city’s concerns about decent advertising standards really are – except in the case of atheism.

  • Marlowe

    PrimeNumbers – I’d be interested to hear where you got the Feb 23 date. Alex Cullen said in his e-mail that it would be March 11.

    I don’t mean that to be rude or anything. I’m legitimately interested in here you got your date from.

  • PrimeNumbers

    The 23rd was a mistaken post on facebook, but is now reported as the 25th. Indeed Alex said the 11th to me also.

    I’d really like to get together religious or otherwise suspect ads that OCTranspo have displayed. I think that would make for good evidence for the hypocrisy that’s going on. Anyone got any good examples?

    “Grow stronger through this simple exercise – pray”, which I think was the Anglicans. I’m sure they’ve had other ads up to.

  • http://comfortfoodvegan.blogspot.com anardana

    Thanks for posting this. I e-mailed my councillor.

  • David

    It’s very simple. I just sent an email to all the Council members saying,

    Inasmuch as OC Transpo do not have a policy of rejecting ALL religious or metaphysical messages in advertising, there would seem to be no grounds other than distaste for this particular message to reject it.

    I have confidence that the Council will set Transpo straight on this matter and overturn their rejection of the Freethought Association’s ads.

    That should really be that.

  • http://diaphanus.livejournal.com/ Ian Andreas Miller

    If you’re from Canada, or Ottawa, you have even more of an incentive to write them.

    Okay, I shall (and will!) write them!

  • Brett

    Great Idea!!!!

  • Brett

    Where is the link for the Ottawa information on this?

  • http://www.atheistbusottawa.info FSII

    A petition to Ottawa City Council has been set up.

  • Brett

    Thanks… I will go to the site! Stand Strong.

  • Brett

    Go to the petition site… Stand strong!

  • Mike

    Will a simple hello to all the atheists out there get me deleted? You see there is no such thing as an atheists… you do not exist. Because to be an atheist means you must be all-knowing and that is usually reserved for a God. So to call yourself an atheist really means that you can not exist because you don’t believe that you can exist. Right… therefore the small % chance that there “probably” is a God is why you use the words probably… because to say there is no God means you are a God. Please change your site to the Unfriendly Agnostic…. why? Because I will be deleted again ;-). Friendly agnostics will not delete me… only unfriendly ones.

  • John

    Can Anyone confirm that this is still on the 11th?

  • Siamang

    You won’t get deleted, Mike.

    We aren’t the “thought police” that you get on Christian sites. Hmmm… why do those christian sites so often delete the dissenters? Makes you wonder, don’t it?

    Atheist means “don’t worship a god.”

    I don’t worship a god. Therefore I am atheist.

    I’m also agnostic about the existence of any gods.

    So I’m an agnostic atheist. I’ve known agnostic theists in my time… people who aren’t 100% sure there is a God, but they worship one.

    But this isn’t a blog about agnosticism (which is a state of knowledge), it’s about atheism, which is a statement of worship or non-worship.

    And how can you prove that I’m not a god? In order to know that I’m not a god, 100%, you’d have to be a god yourself.

    Which you’re not, which I know, because I am a god.

    Just kidding.

    Anyway, enjoy not being deleted here. We’re not like Christians… we’re not afraid of dissenting views.

  • Brett

    Hi Siamang…

    I really appreciate your reply… That is before I could get deleted. Maybe we will both be deleted or perhaps your reply is forcing my post to stay… who knows? Since last week… I have been keeping a log of all my deletions and have printed out a hard copy of my posts. I have been deleted 6 times. At first I thought it was a computer glitch, but I posted as Brett above and as John… and they were never deleted.

    So to all my atheist friends out there…The Person who controls this Blog has deleted me and probably many other Christian perspective blogs on his site… in the name of “Free Speech.” I will use the hard copy deletions as evidence that will be forwarded to several News Media Sites to Show that most Atheists are really not interested in Free Speech but only their point of view… which is a hatred of God.

    Siamang… This may not be you…. but it certainly stinks that The “Friendly” Atheist Would Delete me 6 times.

  • Brett

    PS

    I tired to leave a comment under Mike… I was not only deleted but Blocked from Posting!!!!

    … we’re not afraid of dissenting views.

    LOL
    LOL
    LOL

    Mike, Brett John

  • Brett (really Mike)

    Hemant Mehta… I believe you owe everyone an explanation.

  • Siamang

    I will use the hard copy deletions as evidence that will be forwarded to several News Media Sites to Show that most Atheists are really not interested in Free Speech but only their point of view… which is a hatred of God.

    Ummm…. okay. I think perhaps you were deleted because you posted insane rants like that one.

    Honestly, seriously? News Media Sites to Show?

    Post and converse. Don’t rant. Don’t cut and paste a whole sermon that doesn’t discuss or interact with the other posters here. We’ve got tons of Christians who post here… one is even a contributor to this website.

    Don’t freak out and act like a loon. The news media doesn’t report on you getting deleted from a website. You sound like some tinfoil-hat wacko.

    Don’t freak out. Don’t cry “CONSPIRACY!!!!” Take a breath and discuss calmly. Ask questions. Engage the topic… don’t post off-topic. Listen when people answer. You won’t get deleted unless you start freaking out.

  • Brett

    I was not ranting… but I guess you would have to see the original postings to know what was deleted.

    Many supporters of the campaign are writing to the City of Ottawa demanding that Free Speech is being violated… yet by the same token Mr. Mehta is ok deleting other peoples perspectives. How often does he do this.. Who knows? The point is that all it takes is one time to discredit his integrity. I have 6.

    This issue has been in the media in Ottawa, and I will use the deletions to make a point.

    If this Bus Campaign is really about protecting Free Speech why not also defend the right to have Bibles in Schools… or the right to teach Creation?

    The Reason is that Free Speech is not on Trial…

    Those were the two thoughts (Bible in Classrooms and Creation) that were deleted… what’s wrong with that?

    Free Speech is only Free Speech for those controlling the conversation.

    GOD KEEP OUR LAND GLORIOUS AND FREE!… words from The Canadian National Anthem.

  • Brett (really Mike)

    <blockquoteIf your worldview can be shaken by a salt-splattered bus ad, it needs some serious rethinking. And that’s exactly what the Freethought Association wants to promote.

    Kristy… Please understand that there is nothing that you can say to shake a true believers faith. This ad it an attack on the Creator and the giver of Life. Although, God does not need anyone defending him… I will nonetheless defend Him.

    How would you feel if you saw an ad saying “Kristy Schut is probably a prostitute now go find someone else”?

    If this upsets you… good it should. It is slander and it is wrong and is not free speech.

    If this does not upset you… what is wrong with you? Perhaps an attack on your Mother would be more justified… after all she is just a primitive advanced form of an ape or animal that according to natural selection should have eater her young (evolution in a nutshell).

    I However, believe that you and and your mother were created in the image of our God and he lovingly knit you together in your mother womb.

  • http://www.noonespecial.ca/cacophony Tao Jones

    Hello right back at you Mike.

    Atheism and agnosticism are answers to two very different questions.

    Do you believe in a god, deity or divinity? If the answer is yes, you’re a theist; if it is no, an atheist. Theism/atheism is a question of belief.

    Do you have special knowledge on the existence of gods? In other words, do you know for a fact that god does or doesn’t exist? If the answer is yes, you’re a gnostic (not to be confused with a Gnostic) but if the answer is no, you’re an agnostic. Agnosticism/gnosticism is a question of having knowledge. This word is usually used about religious or spiritual matters but it doesn’t have to be. I think you’re probably male given your stated name, but I don’t have that knowledge so I’m agnostic about your gender.

    Agnosticism is not some fuzzy middle ground between theism and atheism. You either believe or you don’t and you either have that special knowledge or you don’t.

    Personally, though an atheist, I’m agnostic about pretty much everything. There is something quite humbling about saying, “I don’t have this knowledge.” I also have an insatiable curiosity. Combine those two traits and I’m always seeking new knowledge, information and wisdom.

    So now let me ask you this…

    Do you know for a fact that the god you believe in exists?

    Please carefully consider the philosophical implications of your answer.

    If you do “know it as fact” then you must be able to prove it as facts can be demonstrated. The only alternative is that you must be all knowing to know something that is not provable.

    If instead you don’t “know it as fact” that does not at all question your belief or strength of devotion. Consider a married couple… who is more devoted, the person who believes their spouse is being faithful, or the person who knows they are?

  • Brett (really Mike)

    Do you know for a fact that the God you believe in exists?

    YES

    On your other point… belief has to have some sort of foundation in the form of knowledge. An absence of knowledge means you can not know and therefore can not have a belief.

  • http://www.noonespecial.ca/cacophony Tao Jones

    Brett/Mike.. whatever your name is…

    The government is not funding this Web site.

    Hemant can delete whatever comment he wants. This is essentially his private property and we are all his guests. At first I thought you were just confused but now I think you’re confused and a troll.

    Maybe I’m wrong about that last point but you don’t understand what atheism is, you don’t understand separation of state and freedom of speech and how they work, you’re threatening to contact the media about a deleted comment on a personal blog.. you quote song lyrics as legal writ..

    Then there’s this gem…

    “…why not also defend the right to have Bibles in Schools… or the right to teach Creation?”

    Because neither of those are rights? Do you support the “right” to force grade 3 children to memorize passages from The God Delusion in school?

    Point is, I think someone seriously wishing to discuss these issues would a) know them, and b) be civil about it. If you just want a free-for-all religious discussion, maybe this isn’t the place for you.

    Now again, I’m agnostic about your true intentions here so I could very well be wrong. In fact, I’d like to give you the opportunity to prove me wrong. I just posted a new entry on my blog (click my name) for you. If you want you can post your deleted comments there and we’ll see if we can’t figure out the problem.

  • Siamang

    So why hasn’t this been deleted?

    Perhaps because it’s on-topic?

    I honestly think you’ll get zero traction with the news media with your story “an atheist website deleted my post!”

    The fact that you think you will makes me think you’ve got a persecution complex. If the news media doesn’t bite on your story, will you also claim they are part of this movement to silence you?

    Those were the two thoughts (Bible in Classrooms and Creation) that were deleted… what’s wrong with that?

    Were they ON TOPIC to the thread posted? Were they long rants or cut and pasted from elsewhere?

    If this Bus Campaign is really about protecting Free Speech why not also defend the right to have Bibles in Schools…

    Who doesn’t have the right to bring their bible to public school? I don’t know about Canada, but here in America anyone can bring their bible to school. We even have classes where people read the Bible and study it. Totally legal.

    What we DON’T have is GOVERNMENT LED Christian class. And that’s because our Constitution forbids it.

    or the right to teach Creation?

    You have the right to teach creation. It’s the GOVERNMENT who doesn’t have that right.

    Creationists just can’t get that through their noggins, can they?

  • Mr. Troll

    I know how a blog works… but you would think that the Friendly Atheist would be friendly about it.

    Agnostics usually resort to “civic” name calling when they are offended. I understand, but for now on it will be Mr. Troll to you! OK! I will go to your site and log in… I have no problems discussing with you. However, lets be clear… That Free Speech does not exist so long that we are all guests.

    What about Visitors to your country? Do they have any rights because they are guests. How about a visitor in your home? If you are fighting for freedom of speech and you delete those who express a different point of view then you are a hypocrite… perhaps a friendly hypocrite.

    Hemant can delete my comments if he wants to… it is afterall his dime. But lets just admit that there is a certain amount of irony to this.

    And I do not support the fairy tale of evolution being taught in schools let alone the Dawkins Delusion.

    My intentions is support OC Transpo in their original decision to not run the Bus Ads.

  • Mr. Troll

    So why hasn’t this been deleted?

    Because you replied to it!

    What this is about is free speech/hypocrisy and the bus ads and that’s it.

    The rest of your comments…ummm well basically go against the ACLU and their goals.

    As a Guest this is not the place to string together examples for us to debate… but…. if…. if you…. if you really , and I mean REALLY want to get a different perspective…. google “Silencing the Christians” and watch the videos. Many Networks will not even allow those episodes to be show… but hey that’s FREE SPEECH in America and Canada Today!

    I am all for a balanced perspective even if it does not agree with my beliefs… I just can stand hypocrites (especially those found IN the church)!

  • http://friendlyatheist.com Hemant Mehta

    Hemant Mehta… I believe you owe everyone an explanation.

    I delete comments that look like spam or proselytizing. That’s it. If people want to disagree and discuss like adults, I’m all for it.

  • Richard Wade

    “…An’ de more Brer Rabbit got to fightin’ wid de Tar Baby, de more stuck he got.”


CLOSE | X

HIDE | X