Wednesday, November 18, 2009

Texas Freethought Convention

The SECULAR Center attended the Texas Freethought Convention on November 14th in San Antonio!  The convention was great fun and included interesting speakers such as Stuart Bechman from AAI, Dan Barker from FFRF, Dr. Victor Stenger, and others. 

The SECULAR Center had a table set up at the convention and collected over 30 new signups for our e-mailing list!  There was also a lot of interest in starting volunteerism and charitable activities in Dallas, San Antonio, and Austin.  We're starting to discuss possibilities with members of those communities, and I may travel to Dallas in January to speak at the North Texas Church of Freethought about working together for volunteerism and charitable causes.  They are already doing some great things up there including adopting a highway and more!

We now have almost 300 supporters who are signed up for our newsletter and e-mail list.  This support is crucial to our goals, because when we apply for grants we have to show that the atheist community is behind us.  If you haven't signed up for the e-Newsletter list, please do so today on our website at  Thanks!

Monday, November 16, 2009

SECULAR Center on Chariots of Iron Podcast!

The SECULAR Center's President and Executive Director, Noelle George, is on this week's Chariots of Iron podcast at  Check it out and see how she did!  Post a comment and let us know what you thought!

Monday, November 9, 2009

They Think; Therefore They Know? Part 5 of 5

Here is the closing portion of our first weekly series:

So we come to line three, the last and final option in the list of possibilities: Is god both able and willing to prevent evil? Then why does evil exist? This is an issue often debated and the answer from the religious is that god loves us and wants us to grow and learn. In other words, we can’t become better people if we have no challenges. Let’s apply question one to that statement: Is this true all the time? Is there ever a time when we become better without a challenge facing us? Can we learn and grow without challenges? I think we definitely learn more quickly when there is a challenge present. But, that is my opinion. It’s not based on repeatable scientific evidence because it’s not really testable. Therefore, it’s not a fact because it can’t be confirmed or denied.

Let’s move on to question number two: What’s the evidence? Is it provable that evil exists? Well, we know that bad things happen whether or not choose to call them ‘evil’. So yes, evil does exist. But how can we know that god wants us to grow and learn because of evil? Does it say that in the Bible, the source of the Christian religious stories? Not that I know of. In fact, the Bible is not fact either because it doesn’t pass the two questions to distinguish fact. It’s not true all the time; there are many stories and instructions in the Bible that we know not to be true. So how can we know that god wants us to learn from evil? We don’t – it’s not a provable fact, it is opinion.

If only the religious community could distinguish between fact and opinion, I think I could probably have some fun and intelligent discussions with the believers. Until then, I will continue to challenge their confusion between what will continue to be improvable opinion versus provable scientific facts. I hope that you will do the same whenever the opportunity presents itself.

Thanks for reading the first SCUSA weekly series!  If you liked it, please let us know so that we can continue and do others!  If you didn't, please let us know as well!

Friday, November 6, 2009

SECULAR Center Press Appearances

The SECULAR Center's visit to Seattle in September has been summarized in an article in the Humanists of Washington Newsletter.  Check it out at  We are on page 10 of the Newsletter.

We also spent the afternoon last Monday filming the first SCUSA commercial!  Since I've never been on camera before, it took me a while to get warmed up to the idea.  But, after some coaching from the wonderful Margaret Downey and from our fantastic videographer Chris Moyer, I think we got some good footage!  Look for the commercial on YouTube and our website later this month.

Yesterday I had a great conversation with Brian from Atheist Volunteers about partnering with them and we discussed some activities SCUSA can plan for next year.  Look for that in a post later this weekend, where I plan to solicit feedback about our ideas.

Thanks for your support of SCUSA!

Thursday, November 5, 2009

Tell Your Volunteer/Charity Story!

The SECULAR Center is compiling information about non-theist volunteerism and charitable activities for the 2009 year.  We want to be able to say that, for example, non-theists donated 2000L of blood in 2009, or adopted 50 miles of highways, or contributed 2000 cans of food to the hungry. 

If you group or you as an individual have volunteered in 2009, we want to hear about it!  Please e-mail us at secularcenterusa(at) and share with us!  You can also write up an article for our newsletter telling us about your activities.  The article should be 500 words or less and should detail how you've made a difference. 

This weekend I'll be in Kansas City for my bridal shower, so I don't know if I'll be able to post much, but I'll see what I can do.  Have a great weekend all, and I'll 'see' you when I get back.

Thanks for supporting SCUSA!

Monday, November 2, 2009

They Think; Therefore They Know? Part 4

Last week, we ended with a quote from Epicurus.  I have reposted it here for your reference, along with the first part of the analysis:

"Is God willing to prevent evil, but not able? Then he is not omnipotent.

Is he able, but not willing? Then he is malevolent.
Is he both able and willing? Then whence cometh evil?
Is he neither able nor willing? Then why call him God?"
- Epicurus; Greek philosopher, 341 BCE to 270 BCE

This quote is a very logical exploration of the four possible scenarios of how god handles evil, which is often debated between theists and non-theists. We can explore each of the four lines in the context of our society’s labels and the definition of god as explained above. There are no other scenarios other than the four described above and each says something about god.

God by definition is omnipotent and omniscient – it knows everything, can see everything, and can do anything. Therefore, god can prevent evil if it wants to. So, we rule out lines one and four because god supposedly can prevent evil. If god can’t prevent evil, then the definition of god is null and void.

If god is able, but not willing to prevent evil, then he just doesn’t care. In this case, why worship a god that doesn’t care about its own people? God would be malevolent and this contradicts the very nature of many of the stories in the Bible, including god caring enough about the Jews to lead them out of slavery and sending Jesus to save man from his sins. This brings us back to question number one – is this true all the time? If god is malevolent, then some of the stories in the Bible are not true, including that of Jesus, and therefore none of the stories can be relied upon. They are opinions, so line two is ruled out.

Check back next week for the end of this series and the remainder of the analysis of the quote: a detailed analysis of line three and a question that is often debated among theists and non-theists.