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########################################################### ########################################################### ______ / / / / / /__ __ / / ) (__ / / (__(__ __ |\ ( ) ) / / | \ | / / . _/_ . __ / . __ __ | \ | / / / / ) / ) / / ) __ ) / ) ) \| (__(__(___(__(__(___(__(__(__(__(__(__/ (__ =========================================================== *The*E-Zine*of*Atheistic*Secular*Humanism*and*Freethought** =========================================================== ############################################################ ###### Volume II, Number 3 ***A Collector's Item!***##### ################### ISSN 1201-0111 ####################### ####################### MAR 1995 ########################### ############################################################ nullifidian, n. & a. (Person) having no religious faith or belief. [f. med. L _nullifidius_ f. L _nullus_ none + _fides_ faith; see -IAN] Concise Oxford Dictionary The purpose of this magazine is to provide a source of articles dealing with many aspects of humanism. We are ATHEISTIC as we do not believe in the actual existence of any supernatural beings or any transcendental reality. We are SECULAR because the evidence of history and the daily horrors in the news show the pernicious and destructive consequences of allowing religions to be involved with politics and nationalism. We are HUMANISTS and we focus on what is good for humanity, in the real world. We will not be put off with offers of pie in the sky, bye and bye. ############################################################ ############################################################ =><====><====><====><====><====><====><====><====><====><== || Begging portion of the Zine || ==><====><====><====><====><====><====><====><====><====><== This is a "sharezine." There is no charge for receiving this, and there is no charge for distributing copies to any electronic medium. Nor is there a restriction on printing a copy for use in discussion. You may not charge to do so, and you may not do so without attributing it to the proper author and source. If you would like to support our efforts, and help us acquire better equipment to bring you more and better articles, you may send money to Greg Erwin at: 100, Terrasse Eardley / Aylmer, Qc / J9H 6B5 / CANADA. Or buy our atheist quote address labels, and other fine products, see "Shameless advertising and crass commercialism" below. =><====><====><====><====><====><====><====><====><====><= || End of Begging portion of the Zine || =><====><====><====><====><====><====><====><====><====><= Articles will be welcomed and very likely used IF: ( they are emailed to: ((ai815@FreeNet.Carleton.CA; or, godfree@magi.com), or sent on diskette to me at the above Aylmer address in any format that an IBM copy of WordPerfect can read; ) and they don't require huge amounts of editing; and I like them. I will gladly reprint articles from your magazine, local group's newsletter, or original material. If you wish to receive a subscription, email a simple request to either address, with a clear request for a subscription. It will be assumed that the "Reply to:" address is where it is to be sent. We will automate this process as soon as we know how. Yes, please DO make copies! (*) Please DO send copies of The Nullifidian to anyone who might be interested. The only limitations are: You must copy the whole document, without making any changes to it. Or, at least clearly indicate the source, and how to subscribe. You do NOT have permission to copy this document for commercial purposes. The contents of this document are copyright (c) 1995, Greg Erwin (insofar as possible) and are on deposit at the National Library of Canada You may find back issues in any place that archives alt.atheism, specifically mathew's site at ftp.mantis.co.uk. Currently, all back issues are posted at the Humanist Association of Ottawa's area on the National Capital Freenet. telnet to 134.117.1.22, and enter at the "Your choice==>" prompt. ARCHIVES Arrangements have been made with etext at umich. ftp to etext.umich.edu directory Nullifidian or lucifers-echo. For America On-Line subscribers: To access the Freethought Forum on America Online enter keyword "Capital", scroll down until you find Freethought Forum, double click and you're there. Double click "Files & Truth Seeker Articles" and scroll until you find Nullifidian files. Double click the file name and a window will open giving you the opportunity to display a description of the file or download the file. And thanks to the people at the _Truth Seeker_, who edited, formatted and uploaded the articles to the aol area. /=\_/=\/=\_/=\/=\_/=\/=\_/=\/=\_/=\/=\_/=\/=\_/=\/=\_/=\/=\ Shameless advertising and crass commercialism: \_/=\/=\_/=\/=\_/=\/=\_/=\/=\_/=\/=\_/=\/=\_/=\/=\_/=\/=\_/ Atheistic self-stick Avery(tm) address labels. Consisting of 210 different quotes, 30 per page, each label 2 5/8" x 1". This leaves three 49 character lines available for your own address, phone number, email, fax or whatever. Each sheet is US$2, the entire set of 7 for US$13; 2 sets for US$20. Indicate quantity desired. Print address clearly, exactly as desired. Order from address in examples below. Laser printed, 8 pt Arial, with occasional flourishes. [NOT ACTUAL SIZE] _________________________________________________ |"Reality is that which, when you stop believing | |in it, doesn't go away." [Philip K. Dick] | |Greg Erwin 100 Terrasse Eardley | |Aylmer, Qc J9H 6B5 Canada | | email: ai815@FreeNet.Carleton.CA | |________________________________________________| _________________________________________________ |"...and when you tell me that your deity made | |you in his own image, I reply that he must be | |very ugly." [Victor Hugo, writing to clergy] | |Greg Erwin 100 Terrasse Eardley | |Aylmer, Qc J9H 6B5 Canada Ph: (613) 954-6128 | | email: ai815@FreeNet.Carleton.CA | |________________________________________________| Other stuff for sale: Certificate of Baptism Removal and Renunciation of Religion. Have your baptism removed, renounce religion, and have a neat 8" x 11" fancy certificate, on luxury paper, suitable for framing, to commemorate the event! Instant eligibility for excommunication! For the already baptism-free: Certificate of Freedom from Religion. An official atheistic secular humanist stamp of approval for only $10! Pamphlet on "how to get excommunicated" included FREE with purchase. Poster 8x11: WARNING! This is a religion free zone! All religious vows, codes, and commitments are null & void herein. Please refrain from contaminating the ideosphere with harmful memes through prayer, reverence, holy books, proselytizing, prophesying, faith, speaking in tongues or spirituality. Fight the menace of second-hand faith! Humanity sincerely thanks you! Tastefully arranged in large point Stencil on luxury paper. 4. Ingersoll poster: "When I became convinced that the universe is natural" speech excerpt. 11"x17" See the June 1994 issue of the _Echo_ for full text. This is in large Olde English type, and arranged as a sort of free verse. $15 Order from the same address as above. /=\_/=\/=\_/=\/=\_/=\/=\_/=\/=\_/=\/=\_/=\/=\_/=\/=\_/=\/=\ ============================================================ Neat books available from H.H. Waldo, Bookseller! Books by Ingersoll! Henderson's 19th Century Freethought Cartoons! Holy Hatred, by James A. Haught......................$21.95 The Trouble With Christmas, (signed by the author) by Tom "Anti-Claus" Flynn............................$13.95 Evolution & the Myth of Creationism, by Tim M. Berra......................................$ 8.95 Freethinker's Pictorial Text Book, (1 & 2, separately) reproduction of 1890 and 1898 books by Watson Heston, by Bank of Wisdom Freethought Hero Emmet Fields .....$30.00 and many, many more. Ever changing inventory. Friendly letters and news from Robb Marks, Proprietor. add $2 postage/handling for first book & 0.50 for each additional book. Send 2 first class stamps for H.H. Waldo's current catalog. TO: H.H Waldo, Bookseller P.O. Box 350 Rockton, IL 61072 or phone 1-800-66WALDO !!! tell 'im: "that nullifidian guy sent me!" ============================================================ /=\_/=\/=\_/=\/=\_/=\/=\_/=\/=\_/=\/=\_/=\/=\_/=\/=\_/=\/=\ TABLE OF CONTENTS 1. Full and equal rights whatever your religion 2. Review of A BUDDHIST CRITIQUE OF THE CHRISTIAN CONCEPT OF GOD by Gunapala Dharmasiri; Golden Leaves, 1988, by Taner Edis 3. Quotes excerpted from _Is the Bible Worth Reading? And Other Essays_ by Lemuel K. Washburn 4. The Freethought Observer and The Freethought Exchange, review 5. Robert O'Brien's Story, from Freethought Today, by Annie Laurie Gaylor 6. Gratuitous Insult from _This Magazine_, February 1995 =========================================================== || BEGINNING OF ARTICLE || =========================================================== >From a Quebec government pamphlet entitled "Full and equal rights whatever your religion": Under the Quebec Charter of Human Rights and Freedoms, every person is entitled to be treated equally, without discrimination or harassment. The Charter was adopted in 1975. Created under this fundamental law, the Commission des droits de la personne must: o promote an understanding of the Charter; o see that situations jeopardizing human rights and freedoms are corrected. The Charter forbids discrimination... "Every person has a right to full and equal recognition and exercise of his human rights and freedoms, without distinction, exclusion or preference based on race, colour, sex pregnancy, sexual orientation, civil status, age except as provided by law, religion, political convictions, language, ethnic or national origin, social condition, a handicap or the use af any means to palliate a handicap. Discrimination exists where such a distinction, exclusion or preference has the effect of nullifying or impairing such right." [Section 10] ...and harassment "No one may harass a person on the basis of any ground mentioned in section 10." [Section 10.1] DISCRIMINATION BASED ON RELIGION... This means.. that you are prevented from exercising a freedom or a right recognized in the Charter because of your religion or BECAUSE YOU HAVE NO RELIGION [emphasis added] or because you do not practice a religion. ************************************************************ Just note that this was adopted, non-controversially, in 1975, and has been Quebec law since. No fundies marching in the street, no bishops denouncing it, no real controversy at all. I don't think they even bother to picket the abortion clinics here. I particularly liked the phrasing of the explanatory paragraph, which includes religion, absence of religion, or having a religion and refusing to practice it. Feel free to recommend it to your local legislature as a law which has been in existence for 20 years, without bringing on the collapse of civilization into moral chaos. ========================================================= || END OF ARTICLE || ========================================================= "If God exists, what objection can he have to saying so?" Lemuel K. Washburn, _Is The Bible Worth Reading And Other Essays_ =========================================================== || BEGINNING OF ARTICLE || =========================================================== First published in the Washington Area Secular Humanists newsletter. --Taner-- A BUDDHIST CRITIQUE OF THE CHRISTIAN CONCEPT OF GOD Gunapala Dharmasiri; Golden Leaves, 1988 Early Buddhism incorporated a rejection of Hindu concepts of theism, with arguments similar in many cases to the Western philosophical atheism responding to Christianity. This book is a modern exposition of the Buddhist critique of classical Theism, relying extensively on the Western philosophical vocabulary, indeed almost the full range of atheistical arguments, and correlating this with the Pali canon. As a thorough attack on the God concept, it is comparable to excellent reference works such as Michael Martin's "Atheism: a Philosophical Justification," 1990, or J.L. Mackie's "The Miracle of Theism," 1982. However, the interest of such a book for humanists is beyond its uncompromising atheist nature. Saying: "The Buddha did not accept the existence of God. He also rejected the idea of a soul though he advocated the possibility of salvation," Dharmasiri defends an explicitly religious atheism. Indeed, his few passing references to humanism are decidedly negative. Among the factual claims made that most humanists would be skeptical of are the reality of reincarnation-- which sets the stage for salvation as extinction; and psychic powers---which provide a means to apprehend the reality of continual rebirth. But these differences are not all. Even with the remarkable similarity in the arguments rejecting the God concept, early Buddhism ends up with a significant difference in attitude compared to typical humanist approaches, which has ethical implications as well. Humanism claims to move beyond bare atheism in providing a outlook of life; though its success in this is dubious at best. A denial of theistic claims and attitudes constrains a philosophy of life but a little, and continually criticizing theism is but reactive. The early Buddhist views' different form of atheism is valuable in reminding humanists of this. It also helps us see, universalistic ambitions aside, how historically contingent our ethical-political philosophies are. Buddhism is revealed as bearing the stamp of its birth in a Hindu religious context; Western humanisms are similarly unintelligible without a history of Christianity. In short, I highly recommend this book for what it indirectly prompts humanists to think of, besides its determined and usually accurate criticism of the very fundamentals of Christianity. ========================================================= || END OF ARTICLE || ========================================================= "Men will never be free until the last king is strangled with the entrails of the last priest." [Denis Diderot, "Dithyrambe sur la fte des rois"] =========================================================== || BEGINNING OF ARTICLE || =========================================================== A series of quotes from Lemuel K. Washburn's _Is the Bible Worth Reading?_ originally published 1911, by Truth Seeker, made available to all electrontically by the Bank of Wisdom Box 926, Louisville, KY 40201 The book is everywhere interspersed with these delightful quotes. This article consists solely of those quotes. By the way, the answer to the book's question is "no". The cross everywhere is a dagger in the heart of liberty. A miracle is not an explanation of what we cannot comprehend. The statue of liberty that will endure on this continent is not the one made of granite or bronze, but the one made of love of freedom. Take away every achievement of the world and leave man freedom, and the earth would again bloom with every glory of attainment; but take away liberty and everything useful and beautiful would vanish. A dogma will thrive in soil where the truth could not get root. The measure of liberty which man enjoys determines the civilization of the age in which he lives. The person who can make a loaf of bread is more to the world than the person who could perform a miracle. The feet of progress have always been shod by doubt. A true man will not join anything that in any way abridges his freedom or robs him of his rights. The man who accepts the faith of Calvin is miserable in proportion to the extent he carries it out. Whatever tends to prolong the existence of ignorance or to prevent the recognition of knowledge is dangerous to the well-being of the human race. A higher respect for man has been one of the chief promoters of civilization. Advancement has always been toward right and truth when the ranks were imbued with a proper regard for human hearts and human happiness. FREETHOUGHT COMMANDS Say nothing about others that you would not have others say about you. Be severe toward yourself; be kind to your fellow-man. Do not give advice that you cannot follow. Do not thank God for what man does. Serve neither God nor Mammon, but humanity alone. Do not try to be perfect as a "Father in heaven," but try to be better than you yourself are. Seek first to improve the earth, and heaven will be of less consequence, Let us not forget that men speak according to the measure of their knowledge and light, and that a superior enlightenment is a higher authority. History shows that there is nothing so easy to enslave and nothing so hard to emancipate as ignorance, hence it becomes the double enemy of civilization. By its servility it is the prey of tyranny, and by its credulity it is the foe of enlightenment. There is greater argument in one fact than in all the creeds. It is easier to believe that a man is honest who says the Bible is the word of God than to believe that he is bright. The Bible upon which Christianity is founded does not say what Christianity is, what a Christian is, nor what we must do in order to be a Christian. There is no justifiable Christianity in this age. A dogma is the hand of the dead on the throat of the living. The progress of the world depends upon freedom of thought and freedom of utterance. If you can forgive the man who wronged you, the neighbor who slandered you and help the poor about you, you need not be particular about making any professions of righteousness If man had no knowledge except what he has got out of the Bible he would not know enough to make a shoe. The great work of man has ever been to rescue the present from the past; to turn the mind from what it has left behind to the opportunities and duties which are around it. For this has genius toiled down the ages, sung its song of love, carved its dream of beauty and whispered to the world's dull ear its bright message of hope. A true man is not troubled by anything but his own acts. The true man walks the earth as the stars walk the heavens, grandly obedient to those laws which are implanted in his nature. A great many people are afraid of knowledge, but we have seen hundreds of people that we thought would be improved if they knew more, but we have never seen one that we thought would be better if he knew less. You cannot stuff your minds with the lives of saints and grow good on the stuffing. Some persons are remembered solely for their virtues and others solely for their faults. This is why we have a Jesus and a Judas. When men are hungry roast mutton is better than the lamb that taketh away wrath. **** **** If a man can look in the mirror of his own soul without shame, he can look the whole world in the face without a blush. Civilization has come about by going to school more than to church. Nature is the volume from which all of our knowledge has been translated. Every fact is backed up by the whole universe. Christianity is a black spot on the page of civilization. The church is a bank that is continually receiving deposits but never pays a dividend. When a minister says that God will help you, ask him to put up the collateral. The church spends thousands of dollars to save a dogma, where it spends a cent to find a truth. Christianity is like a slow clock -- always being moved ahead. **** **** The day of the Bible is passed. Books have taken its place. Better be late to church Sunday morning than late at home Saturday night. Man to-day has more and better ways of getting, a living than at any time in the history of the race. No creed can be stretched to the size of truth; no church can be made as large as man. To correct in ourselves what we condemn in others would remove most of the evils of life. If God exists, what objection can he have to saying so? When we have nothing to give a beggar, we can at least tell him so kindly. Never forget the good deeds that others do to you, nor remember those that you do to others. There is nothing to live for in the past. We must condemn christianity, not christians; strike the church, but spare the heart. Piety could do nothing better than imitate morality. God never helps those who need the help of men and women. No man ever knew Providence to interpose when his neighbor's hens are scratching up his garden. Priests will pardon thieves but not philosophers. Priest and God have formed some of the worst combinations in history. Too long has this world been at the feet of the priest. Man is never in that position for his own benefit, but for the benefit of the priest. Coals out of the ashes of love will never light the fires of friendship. The names of most men live on account of the falsehoods told about them. We should scorn the person who would be mean enough to allow his fellow-being to be punished for his deeds. Yet we have a religion in our midst that is founded on this kind of meanness. Where are the sons of gods that loved the daughters of men? Where are the nymphs, the goddesses of the winds and waters? Where are the gnomes that lived inside the earth? Where are the goblins that used to play tricks on mortals? Where are the fairies that could blight or bless the human heart? Where are the ghosts that haunted this globe? Where are the witches that flew in and out of the homes of men? Where is the devil that once roamed over the earth? Where are they? Gone with the ignorance that believed in them. No man was ever yet canonized for minding his own business. No man was ever yet sorry to find that he had married a good cook. SOME QUESTIONS FOR CHRISTIANS TO ANSWER How do ministers know what pleases God? What is "inspiration of God?" When God "inspired men of old," what did he do to them? What has God revealed to man that has ever helped him get a living? If we do not need to worship God six days in the week why do we need to worship him on the seventh? If there were no ministers and no priests, how long would there be any churches? If God will answer prayer, what is the necessity of working? If God weeps when the poor suffer, what does he make it so cold for? If rich men cannot enter the kingdom of God, what business have rich men to be in Christian churches? If God is our "father," does he take very good care of his children? If God sends what blesses us, who sends what curses us? If Christianity makes the world better, why is there so much vice and crime? If "salvation is free," why is anybody lost? **************** A man may be a fool and not know it, but he cannot be a fool without others knowing it. The only way to a better life is by living better. The person who tells a lie does not know what he will have to do next. A great many persons have the idea that the universe would run off the track but for them. Have a good time, make life cheerful and bright, dance if you want to, sing if you can, play as long as you live and leave the world with a smile. Most men would kill the truth if truth would kill their religion The truths which God revealed have been overthrown by the truths which man has discovered. People used to think that to mix religion with business spoiled the religion, now they think it spoils the business. Where the cross has been planted only superstitions have grown. Religion is no more the parent of morality than an incubator is the mother of a chicken. Unless some people change their habits before they die, there will be a lot of dirty angels in the next world, if there is any next world. Prayer is begging from a pauper. The egg of prayer never yet became a chicken. Prayer is like a pump in an empty well, it makes lots of noise, but brings no water. A great many people who worship Jesus would not let him come in at the back door. There may be lots of Providence in the world, but no man seems to know just where it can be found. Prayer is a hook that never caught any fish. It is a gun that never brought down any game. No man ever got an answer to prayer that he could show to another person. It is necessary to distinguish between the virtue and the vice of obedience. When you are falling, you cannot stop where you wish to The power that conquers men to-day must be the power of enlightened opinion. Two dollars given to the son do not atone for one stolen from the father. People who rely most on God rely least on themselves. The original sin was not in eating of the forbidden fruit, but in planting the tree that bore the fruit. The people who boast the loudest of carrying their cross are never around when man cries for help. An audience composed of the best-dressed people in a town stands for "pure religion and undefiled" to-day. Lots of men who would not associate with infidels for fear of contaminating their characters are not yet out of jail. The beating of humanity's heart cannot be felt by placing the finger on the church's pulse. What a queer thing is Christian salvation! Believing in firemen will not save a burning house; believing in doctors will not make one well, but believing in a savior saves men. Fudge! A receipt for bringing up a child will not apply to a whole family. To build one house for man is better than to build a dozen houses to God. We often hear a man say that the world owes him a living. So it does, if he earns it. But man owes the world something. The debt is on both sides, and it is only by giving what is due to others that we get what is due to ourselves. We receive assistance when we render it, and it is by a law of our nature that the world turns from a man who turns from the world. The most beautiful thing is the beauty we see in those we love. The money that men waste would make them rich, and the time they waste would make them wise. Many a man who was too good to play cards has broken a bank. A dog can get rid of another dog that cannot get rid of the flea on his back. Every man who claims the right to "life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness," is bound to show that he deserves this right. Hell is where cowards have sent heroes. A man never fell down stairs that he did not blame the stairs. The cross people carry to-day is made of gold or set with diamonds. There is nothing in this world of ours that will work harder, fight harder, wait more patiently and suffer longer than love, unless it be hate. No man can be himself with fear always at his heels. Death can get into a house when everything else can be kept out. It is plain enough that men and women care for God. This is too apparent to be disputed, unless men and women are hypocrites. What is not so plain is that God cares for men and women. A man's reputation oftentimes depends upon the success he has had in hiding his character. God's name is not considered good at the banks. To depend upon God is like holding on to the tail-end of nothing. A man cannot be happy who believes in hell, any more than he can sweeten his coffee with a pickle. The church wants us to believe that God will go out of his way to strike a blasphemer and work a week to save the soul of a murderer. When the church teaches that "confession is good for the soul," it teaches false doctrine; it is only good for the church. To make crime easy is to make criminals. One cannot rob the clothes-line if the clothes are in the house. There is no vicarious suffering for the one who has eaten too much. The nation that proclaims the right of free, speech, but will not protect that right, has abandoned its principles. Adam might have obeyed God, but he could not resist Eve. It looks easy to break off a bad habit that somebody else has got. A theologian is a person who uses the word "God" to hide his ignorance. No man ever yet tore down his altar and found a God behind it. Trying to find God is a good deal like looking for money one has lost in a dream. We could believe in God if he shortened the road for the lame, led the blind or fed the starving. We are told that "all things are possible with God," and yet God cannot boil an egg in cold water. It has been discovered that the man who was lost in thought was not a church member. We do not say that another world is not worth a single thought, but rather that this world is worth all our thoughts, and needs them. Laying up treasures in heaven never kept a man out of the poor-house. The money man gives to get him into heaven is what he ought to use to improve the earth. The Unitarian walks with a cane, the Congregationalist, Methodist, Presbyterian and Baptist go with crutches, the Episcopalian has to be pushed about in an invalid's chair, while the Roman Catholic crawls on his hands and knees and is led around with a ring in his nose by a priest. There is more power to-day in a drop of ink than in a ton of powder. A man may have respect for old age and not like to find gray hairs in his butter. The man who wants to be an angel is never in a hurry to begin. The man who gets on his knees has not learned the right use of his legs. Ignorance is all that saves some people: if they knew more they would do worse. The man who does no thinking before he acts does twice as much afterwards. Adam may not have been so perfect after the 'fall," but he was not so big a fool. The reason that revelation is always made to the simple is that the wise could not be imposed upon. **** **** There is no sadder grief than that which lies at the bottom of a life that has been wrecked through deception. **** **** An organization that requires the suppression of facts and the discouragement of knowledge in order to maintain its supremacy, is the relic of a tyranny which our free age and our free thought are in duty bound to remove from the earth. No man gets estimated for exactly what he is, and it is lucky he doesn't. A great many men and women are remembered for what somebody has said about them. It is harder to live when those we love are dead. The trouble with divine revelation is that we do not know who did the business. A person has not much excuse for living who can make no better use of life than passing it in a nunnery. Men talk of alleviating the aching hearts and souls of the world, but if they would relieve the aching backs and arms of men and women by being kinder to those who toil, there would be fewer suffering hearts for their sympathy's consolation. If sounds vulgar, perhaps, to speak of back-aching, but the pains of work are among the saddest facts of human life. The doctrine of salvation by faith is a libel on justice and has done more to undermine the virtue of the world than vice itself. There is no authority that can be quoted against a man but the authority of some other man. Nine times out of ten the man who declares that God is tender to the sparrow that falls is not the man to buy a winter's coal for a poor widow. The heart that can deride misfortune confesses its own deformity. When we are satisfied with the present we do not think of the future. The more mystery is encouraged, the more deceit can impose upon the human mind. If wisdom and diamonds grew on the same tree we could soon tell how much men loved wisdom. In the paths of our life may be seen the foot-prints of our ancestors. If you are poor, be thankful that you have the power of bettering your circumstances by bettering yourself; if you are rich, do not forget that you have the means of doing good, a luxury that is too seldom indulged. Men need nothing so much to-day as self-reliance; courage to stand up manfully for the right, all alone, daring everything for an idea, without prop or pay, counting not the cost, but seeing only the grand result which would follow its triumph and working for that with single purpose and courageous fidelity. It takes the shingles from the widow's cottage to put paint on the house of God. Many persons who claim that they are "clothed with righteousness" do not seem to have got very good fits. "It rains on the just and the unjust," but rarely just enough on either. No one is to blame for what no one knows. It is singular that people want to live another life when it is so hard to live this. A church that sets up a religious faith as more essential than purity, than kindness, charity or goodness, is a dangerous institution. A great many men believe in providence until they get caught in a railroad accident. Treasures well used on earth will help the world more than treasures laid up in heaven. Don't put too much faith in the man who wants to know the distance to the nearest church before he has written his name in the hotel register. The highest freedom is the freedom to say what we believe to be right. It was a childless woman who said: The happiest woman is she whose bosom pillows the sweet head of a child. Blessings on the man who first dared to doubt. The improvement in ways of travel and methods of labor has altered our reverence. Every kiss of love imprinted by a mother's lips on the face of her babe gives the lie to the Christian doctrine of total depravity, and every gift which the heart of pity lays in the hand of misfortune brands this doctrine as false and a libel on our human nature. The foolish and cruel notion that a wife is to obey her husband has sent more women to the grave than to the courts for a divorce. Honesty is never seen sitting astride the fence. A handsome bonnet covers a multitude of sins. FREETHOUGHT PRECEPTS The strong should be gentle to the weak. The rich should not oppress the poor. The prosperous should be generous to the unfortunate. The self-reliant should give a hand to the helpless. The educated should pity the ignorant. The virtuous should not be cruel to the vicious. The beautiful should be kind to the plain. The declaration that will kindle enthusiasm in the human breast most quickly is that a new way has been discovered to get rich. When religion comes in at the door common sense goes out at the window. The churches erected in the name of God will ere long be tombstones to his, memory. Churches do not stand for moral influence. Not a Christian minister preaches salvation by good behavior. What a poor business Roman Catholicism would do among men if it advertised to save only those who were temperate, upright, intelligent and moral. Man's history is below his life, his destiny above it. **** **** All that secularists ask is that their thoughts be met fairly and honestly, and that the world accept what will lead it in the highest and surest way. If a person can join the salvation army corps and still be respected by his fellow-beings, he ought to be at liberty to enlist in the ranks of reason and common sense and not forfeit respect. God has done nothing for men and women except to scare them out of their wits. Our duty to the god of christianity is to bury him. Nothing from nothing and nothing remains, Nothing from nothing and nothing is the same. If the factory pays taxes and the church does not, it follows that the church will some day own the factory. When christian ministers stand up in their pulpits and say "Let us pray," if they would sometimes vary the invitation and say: Let us laugh, they would do their congregations more good. We cannot go ahead without leaving something behind. The convent is opposed to all that is sacred in human nature. Man is what he is, because his origin was what it was. God cannot be put into the national Constitution without putting liberty out of it. We do not want holy books, but true ones; not sacred writings, but sensible writings. ========================================================= || END OF ARTICLE || ========================================================= I have only a small flickering light to guide me in the darkness of a thick forest. Up comes a theologian and blows it out. [Denis Diderot] =========================================================== || BEGINNING OF ARTICLE || =========================================================== I would like to mention a couple of publications (mainly because *they* mentioned me). THE FREETHOUGHT OBSERVER from P.O. Box 202447, Arlington, Texas 76006 [email 72724.3223@Compuserve.com]is edited by "Timotheus" aka Tim Gorski. It is an 18 page (at least this issue) compilation of news from dozens of atheist, rationalist, freethought and humanist groups. There is also news of concern to members of such groups, like what the Christian Reich is up to. Included are news of coming events, publication and book reviews, letters to the editor, and miscellaneous. It is published bi-monthly, goes for $15/year. Chock full of information about groups all around the country. You know, there are a lot of us out there, and we should get together more. THE FREETHOUGHT EXCHANGE "The Freethinkers' Bi-Monthly Journal of Correspondence", is put out by the same bunch. Basically you and every other subscriber write in, and they publish the result. If you subscribe, you are entitled to "1-2 free unedited pages per issue." You can buy more pages, if you wish. If you have given up all hope of getting published, here's your chance. Of course, much of the publication consists of comments on previous articles, so this is not for the thin-skinned. Annual subscriptions are $20, and they don't believe in cancellations. Get a sample for $2. Back issues $3 per (maybe you want to know just what the heck that person said that caused so much comment?) Note that contributors to the Jan/Feb 1995 issue include such luminaries as Timotheus himself, Dexter Martin, Farrell Till, Theodore M Utchen and Catherine Fahringer. Other articles range the spectrum from intelligent, well- informed debate and comment, to moronic drivel and single- minded harping on issues of no interest to me. I did mention unedited, didn't I? Surprisingly, I found that the intelligent comment predominated. It's like a newsgroup with a snail mail response time. Contact them at the same address as above. ========================================================= || END OF ARTICLE || ========================================================= ==+==+==+==+==+==+==+==+==+==+==+==+==+==+==+==+==+==+==+==+ "...we ought even to hold as a fixed principle that what I see white I believe to be black, if the superior authorities define it to be so." -- Ignatius de Loyola (saint) ==+==+==+==+==+==+==+==+==+==+==+==+==+==+==+==+==+==+==+==+ =========================================================== || BEGINNING OF ARTICLE || =========================================================== Gratuitous Insult from _This Magazine_ The atheist, humanist and freethought community received a gratuitous figurative slap in the face from an unexpected source in the February 1995 issue of This Magazine. In the kind of ignorant and insulting comments we have grown used to receiving from Christian fundamentalists, the proudly left-wing editors of This Magazine unfairly characterized the atheist editors of a small newsletter as "Jew and Arab baiters" for daring to declare that they intended to expand their criticisms of religious superstition to include Judaism and Islam, instead of unfairly focusing solely on Christianity. What the point of This Magazine's unwarranted and unprovoked attack may be, is completely unknown. Their readership is certainly unlikely to include many fundamentalists of any variety, and probably contains a larger proportion of non-religious people than most. We have emailed a response to them, but have not as yet received any reply or acknowledgment. What they actually said is in "Marginal Notes" on page 7. It reads: 'Tired of throwing Christians to the lions, Canadian atheists promise to throw in Jews and Muslims as well. In a recent Canadian Atheist newsletter, the group says they would "like to aim more of our satire at the Jews and Muslims and we will." Thank God. But don't hold your breath for biting, original comedy--just good old Jew and Arab baiting.' _This Magazine_ has no reason for assuming bigotry on the part of atheists, and specifically, the editors of the "Canadian Atheist newsletter," which is otherwise unidentified. To impute such base motives to them is unwarranted, insulting, almost slanderous, and definitely unworthy of _This Magazine_. You may add your complaints to mine by writing to them at this_magazine@intacc.web.com. =========================================================== || BEGINNING OF ARTICLE || =========================================================== Robert O'Brien's Story. Excerpt from "Editor's Notes" from Freethought Today, Newspaper of the Freedom From Religion Foundation. The unforgettable story of Robert O'Brien and the hunt for his past fits no category, but begs to be shared, however belatedly. The Omaha World Herald of July 1, 1992, reported that this man, told he was a Sioux Indian by the Benedictine nuns who raised him, finally found out who his mother was. An anonymous nun. He also found a tribe of relatives after learning that his father was a married tribal officer on the Elbowoods Reservation in North Dakota, where his mother the nun had worked. He was born Robert Gdanietz on Feb. 28, 1931. His name was deliberately changed to camouflage his identity before placement in a Catholic orphanage in St. Paul, Minnesota, at the age of 2. He was never adopted but went to live, at age 11, with a couple who treated him like farm help. He had a family and successful career. In 1991 he impulsively asked for his records from Catholic Social Services during a visit to St. Paul. His continuing search revealed that his father Arthur Mandan was a college graduate, writer, interpreter and politician who had narrowly lost a bid for the U.S. Senate. He even found a picture of his look-alike dad meeting with President Franklin Roosevelt. He met his 3 half-sisters and a brother, and tragically learned that an older married sister had been refused the right when she tried to adopt him. The Catholic diocese was pleased to let the embarrassing reminder of a nun's "fall" drift in limbo, familyless. In order to learn his mother's whereabouts, he was told by Catholic Charities of St. Paul to cough up $800. He refused. In December, 1992, the World Herald ran a follow-up story. Robert O'Brien hired an adoption activist for $180 to find out what had happened to the unnamed Benedictine nun. Marie Gdanietz was found quickly, at age 85, living in St. Paul. They had several reunions, and gradually she revealed her painful story. She was 24 when she gave birth. She was told her son had been placed in a loving home. Ironically, he grew up in the same orphanage where she had been raised following the death of her own mother 20 years earlier. The religious order wanted Ms. Gdanietz declared "mentally feeble." She passed the competency test but somehow lost her freedom anyway. She was committed to a state institution, was sterilized against her will and several years later won her release. She was never given the letters Arthur Mandan wrote her in care of the church. She married in 1937, never revealing her story to anyone but her husband out of fear of retaliation. "She believes the people who did this to her have unlimited power," her son told the newspaper. "She actually looks over her shoulder when she tells you these things as if they are listening." Who could blame her? Most of these stories are, after all, successfully squelched. The Catholic Church certainly has a lot to answer for! The writer is editor of Freethought Today and a staff member of the Freedom From Religion Foundation. *********************************************************** Just "caring, loving" Christians doin' what comes naturally to them. ========================================================== || END OF ISSUE || ========================================================== Once again: ISSN: 1201-0111 The Nullifidian Volume Two, Number 1: MAR 1995. -- Autumn wind: Where there are humans Greg Erwin, pres., Humanist gods, Buddha-- you'll find flies, Association of Ottawa lies, lies, lies and Buddhas. ai815@freenet.carleton.ca --Shiki --Issa godfree@magi.com

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