This week on Geeks Without God, our friend Emily joins us to come out as an atheist. She talks about her exploration of religion, her growing doubts, and her eventual decision that she no longer believed in god. Tim also talks about some of the reasons he found it difficult to leave religion behind. This show is Emily’s coming out announcement, and we are very honored she chose to share that moment with us!
And hey – if you are a friend or relative just finding out, remember that Emily is the same person she always was. She just no longer believes in god. And that’s OK.
If you are inclined to do so, please share your coming out story in the comments section. How did you let your friends and family know? Have you let them know yet? How did it go?
This week’s episode is a double date as Tim’s wife Patricia joins us to talk about atheist characters on television. We haven’t spent a lot of time on TV shows and this podcast covers a wide range of atheist characters from Sheldon Cooper to Temperance Brennan. Tim has something of a bug up his butt about the depiction of these characters so you’ll get to hear about that. Patricia also gets a chance to answer our five questions and we think you’ll love her favorite atheist character.
This week, we are joined by Zach Nyhus, who was also “background voice #1″ on last week’s episode. Like last week’s guest Marc (who is our background voice this week), Zach is a recovering alcoholic and an atheist. He, however, has found a secular chapter of AA. Atheist & Agnostic AA (4A)is a new movement within the larger AA structure that recognizes that some people don’t want to have god be on their road to recovery. Zach even reads to us from the Big Book! And finally, even though he asked us a question from the audience on our first episode, he never got to answer our five questions…until now!
This week we talk with Marc Baker about his experiences as a atheist who is also a member of Alcoholics Anonymous. In something new for us, we recorded with next week’s guest Zach Nyhus in the room because he is also a recovering alcoholic. Marc shares his feelings about the way AA pushes god as a part of the twelve steps and how he manages to make it work for him. Then, because we read his answers on our Left Behind episode, Marc gets to ask us five questions!
Inspired by our talk about asshole atheists, we decided to watch Bill Maher’s film Religulous. Maher himself is frequently referred to as an asshole atheist and he certainly does his best to rile up several believers throughout the movie. We’d all seen the movie before but it elicited strong reactions and got us to think about what made us decide to be “out” as atheists. Molly, especially, has a lot of thoughts on the film. Like, three pages of thoughts. Then we get five answers from the UK!
Well, here we are in February and we know you are wondering we might have in the hopper for the next few weeks. Never fear, we have all the information you need to fill your podcast planner for another month! Here’s what we have coming up:
Februray 26th – Atheism & Dr. Who
Our friend and Doctor Who expert Matt Savelkoul joins us to talk about atheism in Doctor Who. We’ll explore the subtle (and not so subtle) ways the show makes it clear that The Doctor is living in a universe without god.
March 5th – Religulous
As a companion to our Asshole Atheist show, we look at Bill Maher’s film, “Religulous.” Maher is often cited as an asshole atheist and this movie can ignite a lot of strong feelings in atheists and believers alike. We re-watched the movie and can’t wait to share our opinions.
March 12th – Creationist Science Fair
We are joined by author and journalist Rob Callahan, who will tell us about his recent visit to a creationist science fair.
March 19th – Atheism and AA, Part 1
We’re doing a two parter! Two guests will talk with us about being an atheist in Alcoholics Anonymous. This week, we talk to Marc Baker about being a recovering alcoholic in an organization that spends a lot of time talking about god.
March 26th – Atheism and AA, Part 2
In part two of our look at atheism and recovering alcoholics, our friend Zach Nyhus will talk about a new chapter of AA – atheists AA. What happens when you actively work to take god out of the twelve steps?
This is obnoxious. First of all, the surface problems with this are clear. It’s very entitled, and it’s a shining example of Christians not understanding that loss of privilege ≠ loss of rights. On its face, it seems accepting enough. After all, the author goes out of his way to let you know that you Jews and blacks are all right by him, so long as you don’t get offended by him wishing everyone a Merry Christmas because that’s what he celebrates. But I am willing to bet that, were this Christian to be wished “Happy Hanukkah” during Hanukkah, he would be annoyed and say, “I’m not Jewish!” Similar for a Blessed Kwanzaa. So right away, I’m wondering if the respect he demands for his Christmas celebration would be given in return to, say, everyone else.
But let’s get to what really gets on *my nerves. I’m a huge word nerd. I also have a very strong opinion regarding words. THEY ARE JUST WORDS. They only have the power you give them. If you are so bothered by someone saying “Happy Holidays” rather than “Merry Christmas,” you really need to grow the fuck up. There’s no difference. None. Think of it this way: if I said “Happy Holidays” to you in a language you didn’t understand, and you asked me what I said, and I told you it means “Merry Christmas,” you wouldn’t know the difference. Because it’s the thought, the feeling, the intention that matters.
Words are the tools we use to communicate with those around us. Someone who says “Happy Holidays” to you is just conveying “I wish you well during this season of celebration” in their own way. And despite what the crazy Christians would have you believe, no one is legally forcing companies and businesses and television stations to say “Happy Holidays” instead of “Merry Christmas.” They’re choosing to do it. Because they want to include everyone and to make everyone feel warm and happy and festive. It’s not about taking away your Christmas. It’s about letting everyone else in to celebrate together.
Go ahead and call it a Christmas tree. Guess what, asshole? I’m an atheist, and I call it a Christmas tree, too. Posting this doesn’t mean you’re taking some moral stand. You’re not the Rosa Parks of Christmas. You’re just an insecure bully trying to make everyone do things your way.
I got asked the question a few weeks ago. You know the question, right?
“Isn’t atheism just another form of religion?”
I gave the flippant answer right away: atheism is a religion in the same way that not collecting stamps is a hobby.
Atheism is the absence of religion. I have no deity guiding what I do.
“Yeah, but isn’t science your religion?”
No. Because if new research shows conclusively that the prevailing scientific paradigm is wrong, I’ll change my view. If the existence of ghosts could actually be proven, I’d totally believe in ghosts.