Insane in the Brain: A Rare Video of Mass Murderer Jim Jones Preaching

This year marks the 35th anniversary of the Peoples Temple’s mass murder/suicide in the jungle of Guyana, South America. It was the single greatest loss of American civilian life ever recorded in a non-natural disaster — not counting the attacks of 9/11. And although the events of November 1978 offer a cautionary tale about religious fervor and the mad demands of false messiahs, it’s also true that Jim Jones, the evil genius in question, was a deconverted Christian who had come to embrace marxism and atheism.

On the demand of the Indiana-born cult leader, 908 people — including more than 300 children — ended their lives by gulping down a poisoned drink (an act that may have given rise to the phrase “drinking the Kool-Aid”). Some of Jones’s followers imbibed the fatal beverage willingly, hoping to “step into another plane,” as their leader put it. Others were forced at gunpoint. Temple members hunted down and killed a visiting U.S. Congressman and members of the American press. Jones, a few hours after ordering and overseeing the carnage, ended his own life with a single bullet to the head.

The next day, this was the scene from the air:

An early remembrance of sorts comes to us via the website Dangerous Minds, which yesterday posted a mind-bending fly-on-the wall video of a San Francisco Peoples Temple gathering from around 1975, three years before the bizarre tragedy in Guyana.

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Kansas City Atheists Will Battle Local Christians in a Volleyball Game with Proceeds Going to Charity

The Kansas City Atheist Coalition will complete against members of the Abundant Life Baptist Church this weekend in a volleyball match with all proceeds going to a worthy cause:

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An Atheist’s Account of Going Through an Alpha Course

Atheist Tabatha Leggett attended a six-week Alpha Course, which she refers to as “Christianity’s most successful recruitment program,” and wrote about her experience for New Statesman.

Turns out it didn’t convince her to change her mind. But it’s still fun to read:

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What Does the Shutting Down of Exodus International Mean for the Christian Church?

I’m working on a project with a local professor called The Atheist Voice in which I tackle some burning question people often ask atheists.

Today, we tackled current events — Alan Chambersapology to the LGBTQ community, the closing of Exodus International, and what it all means for the Christian church:

We’d love to hear your thoughts on the project — more videos will be posted soon — and we’d also appreciate your suggestions as to which questions we ought to tackle next! [Read more…]

An Atheist Picnic in Ohio

The Mid-Ohio Atheists are sponsoring a statewide picnic on Sunday, July 21st for atheists and the (non-proselytizing) general public.

I assume the signs they put up will look something like this:

They’re also running a contest to benefit a local homeless shelter:

A representative of Harmony House said what they need the most, and what most people don’t think to donate, is toilet paper, trash bags, and paper towels. So, the contest winner will be the one that brings the most of those three items. You can donate other things as well, but the contest will be decided on only the amount of toilet paper, trash bags, and paper towels that you bring. Prizes will be admission to the Great Lakes Atheists Convention in August, tee shirts, buttons, and pens.

If you can make it, you’ll be able to meet some great local activists while helping out a worthy cause. All the details are here! [Read more…]