General story News

American Atheists terminates its president over sexual misconduct allegations

David Silverman, former president of the American Atheists, addresses the American Atheists National Convention in Salt Lake City on Friday, April 18, 2014. In an effort to raise awareness and attract new members, the organization is holding their national conference over Easter weekend in the home of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. (AP Photo/Rick Bowmer)

David Silverman, then-president of the American Atheists, addresses the American Atheists National Convention in Salt Lake City on April 18, 2014. (AP Photo/Rick Bowmer)

(RNS) — American Atheists, one of the most combative organizations dedicated to the promotion of secularism, has terminated its highly visible president, David Silverman, over allegations of financial and sexual misconduct.

Silverman, through his lawyer, denied the accusations.

American Atheists’ board announced the move on Friday (April 13) hours before the website BuzzFeed News published a story detailing the allegations of two women who say Silverman, 51, had nonconsensual sexual contact with them.

“We take our obligation to create safe and welcoming communities for our staff, volunteers, members and supporters very seriously,” Nick Fish, American Atheists’ national program director, said in a statement issued after the BuzzFeed article’s publication. “We have zero tolerance for the type of behavior alleged in these accounts. We will continue to demand the highest standards and accountability from our leaders, staff, and volunteers.”

Silverman’s attorney called the sexual contact consensual. “Mr. Silverman denies any wrong doing and has never had a non-consensual sexual encounter,” his lawyer, Sebastian Ionno, told BuzzFeed News.

The move to terminate Silverman came two days after American Atheists announced it was placing him on paid leave while it investigated his financial conduct related to the promotion of his 2015 book, “Fighting God: An Atheist Manifesto for a Religious World,” and the appointment to American Atheists’ staff of a woman Silverman was allegedly sexually involved with.

David Silverman at the U.S. Capitol in June 2017. RNS photo by Kimberly Winston

The two women cited by BuzzFeed News came to American Atheists with their complaints after the organization announced its decision to investigate him. They had approached BuzzFeed News with their allegations earlier.

According to BuzzFeed News, one of the two women — who the news outlet identified only by an initial — said Silverman assaulted her in his hotel room following the American Atheists convention in Memphis, Tenn., in 2015.

“He physically pressed me to the wall and began to kiss me forcefully, grabbed my breasts, and put his hand into my leggings where there was actual penetration of my vagina,” she writes in the complaint delivered to American Atheists along with pictures she says are of bruises she sustained at Silverman’s hands.

The encounter ended, she recounted, when she made it clear she did not consent.

The second allegation relates to a 2012 incident at the annual convention of the Secular Student Alliance, an organization for secular college students, in Columbus, Ohio. Rose St. Clair, then a college student and SSA member who hoped for an internship at American Atheists, related that she met Silverman at a bar, became intoxicated, and accepted his invitation to his hotel room.

“I don’t believe I was in a position to be able to give consent. I was very intoxicated,” St. Clair told BuzzFeed. She maintains they had unprotected sex.

“I felt my interest in working for the organization was used as a way for him to have power so that I would have sex with him,” St. Clair said.

The news of Silverman’s dismissal is a serious second blow to organized atheism, which has long struggled with charges of sexism and discrimination. In February, similarly explosive allegations were made against Lawrence Krauss, a prominent scientist at Arizona State University, best-selling author and popular speaker at atheist and skeptic events.

Silverman started with American Atheists in 1996 and became president in 2010. He helped raise the organization, which was started by Madalyn Murray O’Hair in 1963, to greater visibility than it had enjoyed in decades — with billboards in Times Square, lawsuits against Ten Commandments monuments, rallies on the National Mall and frequent appearances on Fox News.

Reaction in the atheism community has been glum. Kevin Bolling, the executive director of Secular Student Alliance, said in a statement that SSA “fully support(s) the courageous and brave women and men who have come forward to tell their own stories and support and share witness to those who have been deeply affected.”

Users of social media have not minced words. Some on Twitter have gleefully cheered Silverman’s plight, others have sadly lamented it, while still others have been more reflective.

“There’s an epidemic of sexism, sexual harassment & assault in movement atheism,” Kristi Winters, an atheist and feminist activist said on Twitter. “Attacking credible accusers isn’t a solution, it’s protecting rape culture. Are atheists good w/out gods? Prove it.”

About the author

Kimberly Winston

Kimberly Winston is a freelance religion reporter based in the San Francisco Bay Area.

106 Comments

Click here to post a comment

  • Unfortunately for Mr. silverman…
    He doesn’t have any bishops looking the other way.
    He can’t claim that Jesus has forgiven him.
    Sexual reorientation therapy isn’t available.
    He has no flock to cheer on his tearful confession of sin.
    He doesn’t have to worry about hell, only real world consequences.
    He doesn’t humiliate his wife by having her standing next to him while he promises never to do it again, or blames it on the sixties, or talks about his sexual addiction while Jesus wasn’t healing him.
    He can’t wrongly blame other people who are no more responsible for an epidemic of groping and sexual misconduct than they are for the price of tea in china, but do serve as a convenient scapegoat.

  • Jesus Christ, dude! You can’t just disown this creep and move on? You have to attack religion?
    I’ve read many of your comments on this site and I can’t tell if you genuinely believe half the venomous crap you regurgitate on this site or if you’re just a troll.
    You’re attitude is part of the reason I never want anything to do with modern atheism.
    None of this crap invalidates your atheism. None of this ATTACKS your atheism. So why bring up religion at all?
    Because the religious will use this as ammo to attack you? You do exactly the same thing. Everytime any religion has a scandal, major or minor, you’re there to say “told ya so! Told you religion was bad!”
    People like you all can’t just agree to disagree No! you have to “free” us. You have to tell the rest of the world that they’re either being dooped or they have a “mental illness.”
    You mock and chastise believers for the crime of thinking differently from you. You religiously denounce religion whenever you can. And if anyone calls you out on this hypocrisy you bring up evangelists or other conversion happy Christians. You’ll give some sob story about how a believer told you that you were evil or going to hell. And you let that one cretin paint all religion for you. Maybe you got a death threat or something, and if that’s the case I’m truly sorry someone threaten you like that.

  • Worst of all, there are NO atheist hymns, NO atheist songs of help, healing, and hope for defeated and drowning atheists.

    Just like there ain’t no God, there ain’t no Psalm 51 or Psalm 25, nothing at all when you’re all alone at the bottom of the cliff, if you’re an atheist. No last-ditch songs to keep your heart from dying in self-inflicted despair.

    Remember Monica-gate and the attempted Impeachment?

    Bill Clinton said Billy Graham unexpectedly visited him and Hillary. He listened to their hard pain. He reminded them God gives 2nd chances. Hope lit up their darkness.

    So people, please drop atheism and agnosticism. No hope, no hope.

  • A. And this is what I call – and love about – CRITICAL ATHEISM:

    (1) “There’s an epidemic of sexism, sexual harassment & assault in movement atheism. Attacking credible accusers isn’t a solution, it’s protecting rape culture. Are atheists good w/out gods? Prove it.”
    – KRISTI WINTERS, atheist/feminist activist

    (2) “You can see that the board of directors [at American Atheists] never puts forth a reason for the termination, just as they didn’t for the original suspension.”
    – HEMANT MEHTA, Friendly Atheist

    B. While this, I call THE ATHEIST TABOO, and cringe:

    (3) “Lest Christians be giddy about this, let me remind them of what’s in their own backyard.”
    – JOHN W. LOFTUS, Debunking Christianity

  • I think you totally misunderstand my position, and a good deal of what I have said.

    I am an atheist, and happily So. Strictly speaking, I’m an it-doesn’t-matterist, but I won’t go into that here.

    I don’t share religious beliefs, and I think what is presented as strictly a matter of faith can be just as easily dismissed as a matter of faith. but as I have said multiple times over many years, I don’t begrudge people their religious beliefs. If it makes (a generic) your life better and you a better person, in fact, I’m all for it, EVEN THOUGH I DONT SHARE THOSE RELIGIOUS BELIEFS.

    My objection is to when religion is used as a weapon against other people, a means of attacking them, disparaging Them, Putting them down. Keeping them in their place with the limp excuse that “god said it.” My objection is when god is used to justify what cannot be justified by any other means. My objection is to hypocrisy masquerading as “sincere religious belief.” My objection is to applying one set of criteria to one class of believers, another to everyone else. My objection is to Christians attacking other Christians— or Muslims attacking other Muslims, or Jews attacking other Jews— for not being the right sort of Christian, Muslim, or Jew. My objection is to the theocratic tendencies of American evangelism.

    My objection is not to the Episcopal Church, but to AB Welby objecting to gay marriage because Christians might be murdered in Africa.

    my objection is to Catholic priests molesting boys, and trying to blame gay men for it, or saying marriage is under attack by gay people for the horrible act of getting married, and doing this all as a authoritative statement of their faith.

    In fact, you won’t find me criticizing religion— apart from any intellectual disagreements— unless that religion is being used as a club, or as a shield for hypocrisy, or as an excuse for behaving badly.

  • Yup.

    no atheist hymns, though a good ballad in praise of love is always welcome. We don’t have songs about atheism. We don’t need them. It is simply a lack of belief in god.

    When you’re at the bottom of a cliff, maybe a song of hope is what you need. Or maybe you just hope without the song. There is nothing in faith that prevents despair, and all self despair is self inflicted, except when it isn’t.

    Funny- well, grossly hypocritical, but you are you, aren’t you— that you bring up the Clintons. Almost as if you know them personally, but usually, when you bring them up, it’s to call bill a serial rapist and Hillary an evil, manipulative, arm twisting beeyotch.

    You are, as usual, too much.

  • If that is the case, I’m sorry for my outburst. I’m just as passionate about my side as you are yours. I’m deeply sorry.

  • He believes that he leads others to a better life. I see that as the right place. But whether or not you see it that ways is a matter of perspective, I guess.

  • I merely shared the Clintons’ own personal story of renewed hope through God in their worst, despair-filled public disaster. Ain’t nothing you can say against it.

    Meanwhile, I seriously invite you to re-read your own initial post there.

    You offer not ONE word of empathy, hope, caring, second-chances, healing, prayer, song, or even sympathy, for Mr. Silverman in his time of utter public disaster (which, yes, he brought on himself.)

    You only used this occasion to attack Christianity again. That’s the best your atheism can offer.

  • I’m can not agree, that “There is nothing in faith that prevents despair…” Though I honestly suffer from despair sometimes despite my faith, I’ve known many others of faith, or no faith, who despair not at all. I’ve heard it said that to despair is, “to turn one’s back on God.” I think that is likely true, but not all who turn their back on God despair. I can agree with you that self despair is self inflicted.

  • I love the term— very clever— but it isn’t quite accurate. I’m not apathetic to the question. Far from it, I’d give worlds to see concrete, replicable, accessible, and definitive evidence of the existence of god, or any god.

    When I say it doesn’t matter, what I mean is two things. 1) it doesn’t matter what I believe or don’t believe about the existence or nature of god. As Koschei the Deathless, Who Made Things As They Are, and in this is the only god I could believe in, says: “What are your beliefs about Me to Me, Who Made Things As They Are?”

    I also mean 2) if god is the omnipotent, omniscient, omnipresent being that some people claim he is, then he is responsible for everything. His existence is therefore not really necessary, as there would be no difference in the world with him and the world without him.

    “Not a sparrow falls but god knows.” But the sparrow still falls. So of what possible use or interest is there in god knowing?

  • There is:

    “Always Look on The Bright Side of Life”

    “Imagine”

    And the “Van Hagar” b-side “Mine All Mine”

  • I don’t know the man. I don’t belong to his organization; in fact, I only heard of it a few days ago. I don’t approve of his actions, if the allgations are true. I wouldn’t do them myself. I don’t approve of people who force their attentions on others. Not atheist Silverman, not professional christian Acton Bowen, not gay Kevin spacey, not thoroughly heterosexual Jabba the Trump.

    I have no empty platitudes to offer the man. I won’t pray for him, though I will hope that he learns to keep it in his pants and act like a caring, adult human bring. I can’t offer him forgiveness— only his victims can do that. I certainly won’t pretend that Jesus has forgiven him, nor will he— as if he, I, or you could possibly know.

    I’m not in any kind of fellowship with him, whether real or pretend.

    What I do know is this. You and your fellow travelers regularly attack other Christians for not being the right sort of Christian. You attack gay people, whether Christian or not, regularlyx- especially if they are gay christians. You sneer regularly at Big Gay Goliath, as if it actually existed, and claim that Big Gay Goliath, Christian or not, wants to grind Good Christians (TM) like you under it’s jack boots. I’m sorry, but jack boots hardly go with my usual summer frock. You attack liberals, democrats, gay people, the Clintons- and your screed about them was yet one more attack on them by the likes of you, no matter how much you want to pretend to show pretend sympathy to them NOW.

    And you have the cojones to criticize ME because I’m not boohooing over yet another heterosexual man that I don’t know and never heard of has been behaving badly, because of some pretend fellowship you think I must have with him because we both don’t share your religious beliefs.

    Perhaps, thou would be spiritual physician, perhaps thou oughtest to heal thyself. Or would all of that specks and beams stuff be just to Jesus-y for you.

  • False hopes don’t help anyone! Honesty, facing facts, taking responsibility for one’s behavior that is what will bring about change, AND provide healing and a positive chance to move ahead.

  • Many Atheists and I think this applies to Ben below as well as to me object to the abuse and misuse of a person’s religion (or lack of religion).

    When a person’s beliefs become a weapon (which is what Silverman also did as well as many ordinary everyday religious folk) society has a serious problem.

    Somehow or another we all have to figure out how to share and care for this planet. That means we have to agree to honor certain laws, rules of civil behavior, equally, no exceptions.

    Somehow we have to find ways to care for those that are in trouble (financial, mental, spiritual). Help those in need, so that all in our society have a change to thrive not just the chance to survive.

    We are a very diverse group, there is no “one size fits all” solution to our problems.

    I don’t think Silverman understood that. AND I know there are many religious folk (like floydlee who posts here) who doesn’t understand that.

  • Every catholic priest who has ever molested a child, every Acton Bowen who had sex with a teenage boy while married to a woman, every Matthew tague who had sex with his own daughter while married to a woman….

    Every one of these were men of god, religious men.

    So apparently, they are consistently religious, and apparently, did nothing wrong by religion standards.

    Funny how it works.

  • Not really. There is nothing in catholicism that would justify this. However, if catholicism was atheistic then you would be right.

  • You hit the nail on the head there. My philosophy is that it takes different strokes to move the world.

  • Just because someone doesn’t believe in God doesn’t mean they don’t have any morals. I think most atheists wouldn’t use their power to take advantage of a woman.

  • Not an atheist myself, but I’m glad Silverman and Krauss have been called out for bullshit. Atheists already have it rough here in the States without guys like them using their power and popularity to abuse women.

  • I was criticized in two now deleted comments for not condemning silverman, One of them accused ME of behaving badly because I used silverman as an “excuse to attack religion.”
    First, let me be completely unequivocal about it. I do condemn silverman. I don’t approve of his actions, whether atheist or not. If he did what he did under color of his authority in his organization, they were right to tell him to leave.
    Second, let me unequivocal about this as well. I don’t accept any responsibility for his actions. I never heard of the guy, nor his organization, until this came out.
    And third, RESPONSIBILITY was precisely the point of my posting below, however ineptly and subtly I expressed it. SILVERMAN was responsible for his actions, not his organization, not atheism. SILVERMAN. The devil didn’t tempt him, make him do it, confuse him. He gets no free pass, unlike Jabba for his adultery, fornication, and divorces, unlike Kim Davis for her adultery, fornication, and divorces, unlike Ted Haggard for his adultery and fornication, unlike Acton Bowen– though to his credit, at least as far as I know, he hasn’t claimed Jesus has forgiven him for his adultery, fornication, and probable soon-to-come divorce.
    forgiveness might be due him, but from his victims, no one else. That is their business, not mine.
    SILVERMAN gets no bishop or church to cover up for him, and didn’t. He doesn’t get a congregation to cheer him while he proudly announces that Jesus has forgiven him for his egregious sins. What silverman got was the door, which he richly deserved, because he, and no one else, was responsible for his actions.
    I hope this clarifies my position on this.

  • Life is hard. And regardless of belief, it’s easy to fall into dispair. Whether your problems arise from personal issues or your dismay at current events, things can seem bleak at times. But if your faith or family gives you hope, that’s wonderful. That’s what those things are for.

  • Hey, Ben, been a while my friend!! ?—I see you’re being your usually witty self AND speaking some painful truths to my fellow theists, God bless them. I actually didn’t realize how much I value your insights until I read the post Carlos (?) objected to, but again, you spoke some painful truths that we theists should appreciate and reflect upon (I certainly will!!)—At any rate, Hello again my friend— you are in my prayers ALWAYS, and thanks for the “Jabba the Trump” moniker; OH.MY.GOODNESS!!! ?– THAT ONE had me rolling! God bless, Ben.

  • Of course he can deflect blame, and that’s exactly what he’s doing. He’s blaming the victim, as most people accused of sexual assault do.

    Predators are predators whether religious or atheists.

  • So why make it about religion?

    The reality is, most religious people aren’t sexual predators. Neither are most atheists. So it isn’t a religious issue but a human one.

    When it comes to how institutions protect those who sexually assault others, the issue isn’t belief systems per se but systems that give certain people power over others. Those systems can be religious, governmental, political, legal, cultural, business, etc.

    As a person of faith, I’m aware of the potential for abuse in church power structures. But that awareness shouldn’t logically lead to an indictment of religion itself but, rather, the recognition that any human being is susceptible to corruption and rationalization unless they work to maintain a clear moral compass.

  • “Imagine”

    It’s a much better song (both lyrics and music) than “All things bright and beautiful” (But then so is “Bat out of hell” isn’t it.

    This cliff you think people are at the bottom of – a mountain created out of a molehill by religion? Take away the religion and you’ll flatten a heck of a lot of cliffs.

    And religion doesn’t heal anything – sometimes it sticks a plaster over the wound and says it’ll get better once you’re dead – in the sure and certain knowledge that you ain’t going to come back for a refund.

  • I don’t “sneer” at the Gay Goliath, Ben. Sneering means nothing to Goliath, plus he’s a lot better at the sneering game than us Christians.

    What I do instead, is actively oppose Gay Goliath. Why? Because I know how he hurts & maims good people, enslaves them, bullies them, and sneers at their desire for real fellowship with God. Sneers at their families too.

    You are a gay activist. You said so. I do not sneer at you, nor at any gay person. But I am your opposite number. Slaves gotta burn down Mr. G’s plantation, Ben. God offers gasoline & matches.

  • And where do you get the idea that atheism has standards?

    Atheism is the absence of belief in god(s). No standards, no dogma, no rules.

    Just as theism is the presence of belief in god(s). No standards, no dogma and no rules.

    Religion – now that’s a different kettle of fish – theism plus whatever unsupported guesswork suits the believer’s need(s).

    If you want to be taken seriously you might consider understanding the subject you so irrelevantly comment at.

  • Perhaps “despise” would have been a better word than “sneer”.

    As for this: “Because I know how he hurts & maims good people, enslaves them, bullies them, and sneers at their desire for real fellowship with God. Sneers at their families too.”
    You KNOW nothing of the sort. And you refuse to look at yourself and your particular brand of your “faith” for doing exactly those things to gay people for the past 2000 years.
    You are indeed my opposite number, but not in the way that you need to believe.

  • As I have said 100 times, we all got issues, myself included. We all got sins around here.

    Doesn’t stop any of us from posting comments on various articles & issues.

    And some of us been doing this for years. Just ask Ben or me.

  • Why not? In this very thread, throughout these very pages, atheists are constantly being attacked for not having any morals, for being responsible for genocide, for all kinds of wrong doing that have nothing to do with atheism, and everything to do with the kinds of attitudes you are rightly decrying in humans, religious or not. And that’s just the atheists. Liberals, democrats, progressives, especially those of a religious bent, are constantly under attack in these pages by the hyper conservatives. The comments about Pope Francis from the hyper Catholics ought to outrage anyone. And believe me, I’m no fan of his.

    My point was not to indict religion, but to indict a certain brand of religion, the kind that claims to represent morality, but ” is susceptible to corruption and rationalization unless they work to maintain a clear moral compass.”
    My point was about responsibility.

  • I have to clarify something. I have heard of his organization. I had to re-read the article, and then I realized that it was the organization founded by O’Hair. I simply forgot about them. They haven’t been in the news for some time. But if you had asked me last week, I would have said I had never heard of them.
    Mea culpa.

  • You said it well about atheism-“No standards, no dogma, no rules.” That is why Silverman did nothing wrong by atheism. This shows why atheism is totally bankrupt. It has no facts for it being true nor does it provide any guidance for life.

  • Hi, Laurence,
    Thanks for your kind words. I’m glad that you got my point. I’ve had to make it a few more times. Hopefully, I have finally succeeded.
    Stay well. And feel free to use Jabba the Trump. Imitation is the sincerest form of plagiarism, according to St. Oscar Levant.

  • A consistent atheist who truly lives by atheism would have no reason not to take advantage of a woman or anyone else for that matter.

  • Are you really that incapable of understanding a very, very simple concept?

    That’s like saying religion doesn’t tell you how to put ice-cream on your kippers when the moon is at the bottom of the ocean – it’s not its role; and atheism doesn’t have a role in telling people what to do. That’s religion – not theism – and it is so out of date that it does more harm than good whatever its intentions.

    As to having no facts – of course it doesn’t you silly little man! It can’t – its the absence of belief. Your problem is that religion has facts and many of them are just plain wrong. Logic, however, demonstrates the impossibility of there being a halfway decent deity who has any interest in humanity.

  • Your specific phrase “for the past 2000 years” — is a dead giveaway on you.

    I’m old, but I ain’t THAT old, so what you’re really alluding to is the incomparable Lord Jesus Christ and the New Testament Scriptures, which you have studied — and even written papers about, just like me — in younger years.

    Look at you. This RNS article doesn’t even discuss God or Jesus, yet here you are, invariably bringing God & Jesus into the mix AGAIN.
    Your atheism is so very **fake** Ben, for you are as interested in God and Christ as I am — and I’m a fanatic.

    So YOU know what the Bible says, you know what Jesus is capable of doing for people today — and yet you still trying to fight them both.

    And me? I’m just here to aggravate you until you sign up for His team. Nothing more.

  • Nothing except morals, Empathy, treating others as you would like to be treated, decency, sympathy, having a sister or a mother, kindness.

    On the other hand, religious people— or at least, those who claim their imaginary superiority and their religion are synonymous- have EVERY reason NOT to.

    But they do anyway.

  • “Imagine” is occasionally heard on the oldies radio, but somewhere between John Lennon’s public murder and the Iraq War, people honestly figured out that his No-Religion Song was never going to actually fit with the Real-World or even survive on the streets.

    Lennon’s song is just a sad wistful downer these days. Please do NOT play that song to no grieving, broken families at no funerals, nowhere.

  • Well. If you can show me where Jesus said…

    Execute gay people.

    Tell lies about them.

    Put them in jail.

    Blame them for every possible social I’ll they couldn’t have had a thing to do with.

    Do everything you can to destroy healthy relationships, and then blame them when they don’t have any.

    Claim that Jesus can heal them of a mythical illness with an equally mythical cure that never works.

    Do what you can to destroy their families.

    Encourage parents to cast out their gay children.

    Slander and revile innocent people.

    Well then! Jesus would be you.

  • Have I asked that you be placed in the ADX Supermax Prison? Have I recommended you to the good graces of Old Sparky?

    I have not. Not once. And just as an aside, I encourage families NOT to evict or cut off their kids. Keep the love & comm lines oppen

    (I also encourage Christian parents/spouses NOT to surrender to their loved one’s new religion. Love your family hard, but don’t ditch your own Christ or your own Bible. Don’t give in to today’s pressures.)

  • “Please do NOT play that song to no grieving, broken families at no funerals, nowhere”

    Odd construction

    Going to played at mine – and the mourner will be expected to join in with “Always look on the bright side of life”.

    Poems to be read a well

    When we are dead, we’ll feed the worms
    And other stuff that writhes and squirms
    And if you cannot come to terms
    With that—well, use your head!

    There are no ifs nor ands nor buts:
    Bacteria within our guts
    Will start to eat us; that is what’s
    In store, once we are dead.

    Yes, life is short and full of toil,
    And when we’ve shuffled off this coil
    Our carcasses will start to spoil—
    There’s nothing wrong with that.

    Our share of fish or pigs or cows,
    And all the chicken time allows,
    Is done. It’s only fair that now’s
    The worms’ turn to get fat.

    Should we die young, or old and gray,
    The laws of nature we’ll obey
    And spend our heat in mere decay,
    Replenishing the Earth;

    “Three score and twelve” may be our years
    For love and laughter, hope and fears
    And then—mere smoke—life disappears;
    No heaven, no rebirth.

    And with no heaven up above
    Nor hell we ought be frightened of
    It’s best we fill our lives with love,
    With learning, and with fun!

    Don’t waste a lifetime while you wait
    For halo, wings, and pearly gate—
    This is your life, so get it straight:
    You only get the one!

    I’ll have no moment lost to prayer,
    To cleanse my soul and thus prepare
    For passage to… THERE’S NOTHING THERE!
    Those moments, all, are wasted!
    I’m only here a little time
    Before it’s bugs and worms and slime;
    I’ll eat and drink my life so I’m
    Delicious when I’m tasted!
    ………………..by “Cuttlefish”

    and,

    The Guy in the Glass

    by Dale Wimbrow, (c) 1934

    When you get what you want in your struggle for self,
    And the world makes you King for a day,
    Then go to the mirror and look at yourself,
    And see what that guy has to say.

    For it isn’t your Father, or Mother, or Wife,
    Whose judgement upon you must pass.
    The feller whose verdict that counts most in your life
    Is the guy staring back from the glass.

    He’s the feller to please, never mind all the rest,
    For he’s with you clear up to the end,
    And you’ve passed your most dangerous, difficult test
    If the guy in the glass is your friend.

    You may be like Jack Horner and “chisel” a plum,
    And think you’re a wonderful guy,
    But the man in the glass says you’re only a bum
    If you can’t look him straight in the eye.

    You can fool the whole world down the pathway of years,
    And get pats on the back as you pass,
    But your final reward will be heartaches and tears
    If you’ve cheated the guy in the glass.

  • “We’ll feed the worms” ??

    Is that the best Atheism can give you? You become Purina Worm Chow and that’s it?

    Special Worm Side Note :
    What if you wind up eternally feeding that UNIQUE worm species described by Jesus in Mark 9:48?

    “Allez Cuisine!!” — Iron Chef (Worm) America

  • According to Bill Donohue, “American Atheists Fires Its President”, Catholic League: For Religious and Civil Rights, April 16, 2018:

    “There are two outstanding issues that deserve a public airing. Why is the board of directors of American Atheists refusing to offer any details about Silverman? Whatever happened to transparency? American Atheists has been quick to pounce on the Catholic Church for holding back information about wayward priests. Why the double standard? Secondly, why the media blackout? Why has not one newspaper, wire service, or broadcast news outlet covered Silverman’s firing? Why are they not questioning the absence of transparency? Will criminal charges be brought against Silverman?”

  • Better than eternal boredom and at least it’s useful!

    Eternal worms – yeah right – must be one of the silliest ideas ever promulgated by people who have no positive argument so rely on playground fear. (Stephen King did it more convincingly).

  • Bill Donahue is One of the last people on the planet I would trust for any information. If he said it was raining, I would want to look outside to check.

    According to you, His whine, errrrr, complaint, is dated 4/16. According to the press release from American atheists, they first received a complaint on April 7. Within about a week, Silverman was shown the door. There has been no media blackout— witness this very article. There is an easily accessible press release on their website. And with about 6000 members, as far as I know, they aren’t exactly as important as Donahue wants to make them. It’s not like they have over 1 billion members, is it?

    The Catholic Church, on the other hand, has been receiving complaints about their “wayward priests”— gotta love that euphemism for kiddy diddlers and child molesters— for about the past 1000 years. The current scandal has been going on for at least 16, and the hierarchy is STILL not forthcoming about all kinds of things, as witness Pope Frank’s current troubles.

  • No you have merely claimed i am a threat to everything good and holy, an enemy of god, a danger to civilization, a threat to your religious freedom, and demanded that i be divorced by force of law.

    How could any one object to any of that?

  • There is nothing atheism about “Empathy, treating others as you would like to be treated, decency, sympathy, having a sister or a mother, kindness.” Give us break.

  • Atheism is silly as I have pointed out. Its a dead end that leads nowhere. That’s why atheism has no place in any discussion on morality or truth.

  • Actually, you brought up Western Civ on one gig, so I discussed gay activism & gay marriage re: the future felicity and well-being of the West.
    (It ain’t MY fault if the ramifications came out negative, ya know!!)

    But really, I’ve also said that there’s no middle ground here, and you never denied it.

    Across the Bible, across 98% of Planet Earth itself, marriage is both uniquely defined and powered by Male-Female Gender Complementarity. Not mirror-image or same-sex.

    Scholars like the Jewish & Christian “Ramsay Colloquium”, and McGill scholars Nathanson(gay) & Young(progay), have said that gay marriage rips at the fabric of the larger community. Yes you strongly disagree with them, I get it, but it’s true.

  • No, atheists are not being attacked for not having any morals.

    They have been asked to present some sort of coherent moral system beyond “I know what I like”. Silence.

    Anyone who reads you for more than a week can only laugh at “(m)y point was not to indict religion, but to indict a certain brand of religion”.

    That is pure self-delusion.

  • BoobyJoe or JoeBlob, which ever one of your two online personalities is talking now…
    I think you are following me around. Of your last 8 posts to me, over the past hours, you have demonstrated not a little bit of an obsession, though why your constant variations on “You’re a big poopy head” should get you off so much is beyond me. It’s almost as if you have doubts.
    If I am so stupid, so far beneath you on the scale of wisdom and logic, as you aver over and over and over and over and over and over again, usual;ly without any supporting evidence, then your best bet is probably going to be to block me.

  • No, its what you want desperately to be true, just like my parents generation wanted it to be true, and desperately so, that black people were inferior to white people, or THEIR parents generation belief that Jews were a danger and inferior to all Christians.
    Same crap, different target.

  • Again, you show a startling understanding of thr truth we have been telling you over and over and over and over and over again. Atheism isn’t about morals. It never was.
    Atheism isn’t about moral and doesn’t claim to be.
    religion claims it is about morals, but it really isn’t.

  • You & I should find it very interesting that in the aftermath of David Silverman, two newsgroups find Catholic League President Bill Donohue interesting: Friendly Atheist (who pretty much says the same thing as you just now) & The Christian Post. Both question the ethics of the board of American Atheists in handling the predator.

    The latter has this to say in 2 related articles:

    “David Silverman … has been temporarily suspended following an undisclosed complaint … [so] The Christian Post contacted American Atheists for more information … Nick Fish, national program director of American Atheists, stat[ed] … ‘Because this is a personnel matter, we cannot go into any more specifics about the allegations. … Some social commentators, such as Catholic League President Bill Donohue, who says that he debated Silverman on a number of occasions, urged American Atheists to offer more information about the incidents that led to Silverman’s firing. ‘Why is the board of directors of American Atheists refusing to offer any details about Silverman? Whatever happened to transparency? American Atheists has been quick to pounce on the Catholic Church for holding back information about wayward priests. Why the double standard?’ Donohue asked.”

  • Levant is one of my heroes –
    His autobiography is entitled :
    ” Memoir of an Amnesiac ”
    How can you not love him….

  • I am still waiting for some information on morals beyond and above you know what you like.

  • When he claims the sex was consensual he is stating, in effect, that the victim is lying, and implying that she is a person of questionable moral values.

  • Also one of mine since I was a child. Crazy crazy crazy, though. My own diagnosis is coffee psychosis. He used to drink 20 cups a day. If you watch AmeRican in Paris, oyu’ll almost always see him with a cup of coffee in hand. There was a great biography written of him a few years ago….Oscar Levant: a talent for genius.

  • Of course religion is about morals.

    The fact that not every practitioner and member acts morally doesn’t detract from that standard.

    JP’s point is that atheism skips standards.

  • This was all explained to you in depth some time ago. You heard silence because you had your fingers in your hearing orifices and couldn’t hear a thing while you chanted your preferred mantra “I’m smarter than you are, ya big poopy head”

    Your preferred “morals” are as arbitrary as those of the people you attack for having arbitrary morals. You know what you like: you prefer your reading of the preferred passages you prefer to believe that come from a book you like, which you prefer to believe contains moral guidance because you want to believe it was written by the being you like to think of as god.

    Thus, your so-called “morals” are completely arbitrary, and couldn’t be more so unless they belonged to an authoritarian personality who has convinced himself that he is the smartest guy in the room.

    Oh! Wait!

  • This was NOT “all explained … in depth some time ago.”

    In fact it has NEVER been explained AT ALL.

    One of your comprades tried “majority rule”, but that runs smack into your objections to violations of some sort of “minority rights”.

    My preferred “morals” include “ “We hold these Truths to be self-evident, that all Men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty, and the Pursuit of Happiness …” which, due to the reference to “their Creator”, you also find objectionable.

    Thus, your so-called “morals” are completely imaginary, unexplained, undefinable, and remarkably close to what you like and the Democratic Party platform.

  • Nonsense

    You have stated that atheism is silly – but failed to justify your statement. You have also voluntarily and irredeemably exposed your ignorance of what constitutes atheism by claiming it has ramifications that are rationally impossible.

    “leads nowhere” – it leads to morality through rational analysis of reality and the application of the scientific method (a system devised to gain the best possible understanding of truth).

    Conversely religion is your dead end, fossilised in outdated ignorance, unable to respond (as science can) to ongoing greater understanding and dependant upon lies and wishful thinking in order to seek to impose an immoral power structure on humanity.

  • Science can never lead to morality. It can never tell you if something is moral or immoral.
    Here is another example of atheism being a dead end in regards to meaning in life:
    “In a universe of electrons and selfish genes, blind physical forces and genetic replication, some people are going to get hurt, other people are going to get lucky, and you won’t find any rhyme or reason in it, nor any justice. The universe that we observe has precisely the properties we should expect if there is, at bottom, no design, no purpose, no evil, no good, nothing but pitiless indifference.”
    ― Richard Dawkins, River Out of Eden: A Darwinian View of Life

    Dawkins understands the implications of atheism. So should you.

  • You either didn’t understand my comment or you did and are deliberately falsifying what I wrote.

    I did not write that science leads to morality. Science is a process through which we seek to uncover truth through rational steps.

    If we don’t know the facts our morality (unless you believe that morality is a fixed, externally imposed regimen) is more likely to be flawed.

    Refusing to update knowledge, obscuring truths within the historical baggage of superstition (including religion) and failing to accommodate the evolving world we inhabit means that morality becomes stultified. incapable of improvement and probably eventually irrelevant.

    As to your new introduction of “atheism being a dead end in regards to meaning in life” (yes – I noticed that you have again shifted the goalposts to somewhere you think you have a chance of success) – why do you think that life has meaning?

    As Dawkins says – life doesn’t care – it can’t because it doesn’t have cognitive ability.

    You have moved the goalposts to a non-existent playing field and have destroyed your own argument in doing so.

    Life not having meaning is irrelevant to questions of morality – morality is the widely accepted consensus of how people within a population should behave. Your thought process is the equivalent of telling me that because the sun is a long way away I can’t have cream with my apple pie.

  • Ok. Tell me how science tells you what is moral and immoral? Tell me how science tells you what the meaning of life is.

  • “Tell me how science tells you what is moral and immoral”
    Another straw man argument.
    I’ve already answered your error – “I did not write that science leads to morality. Science is a process through which we seek to uncover truth through rational steps.

    If we don’t know the facts our morality (unless you believe that morality is a fixed, externally imposed regimen) is more likely to be flawed.”

    – – – – – – – – –
    “Tell me how science tells you what the meaning of life is.”
    Do you actually understand that words put together convey more than a single word you extract from its context? I repeat ” why do you think that life has meaning?” and “Life not having meaning is irrelevant to questions of morality…”
    Tell me why you think that life has meaning and I’ll respond – otherwise your just wasting your time and mine (again).

  • Since you claim “Science is a process through which we seek to uncover truth through rational steps.” then show me by science what is immoral and moral?

    Since life has no meaning according to atheism then it matters not if you murder or rape. Such actions as all actions are just atoms in motion and nothing more.

  • “…intoxicated, and accepted his invitation to his hotel room.” Young women have to be smarter than this. This guy was on the hunt and a predictor but it seems like this young lady was too. Now she is on the hunt for money, which she was probably looking for then, in the form of job advancement. Ladies, get out of the bars and don’t accept invitations to hotel rooms.

ADVERTISEMENTs