Is Bernie Sanders an atheist?

The “billionaire class is a very religious group of people,” and “their religion is greed,” Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) said Tuesday, March 10, 2015 at the 2015 Alfred K. Whitehead Legislative Conference and Presidential Forum.

Greed is the religion of the billionaire class.
Greed is the religion of the billionaire class.

What is Bernie Sander’s religion and is he an atheist?

On the April 1, 2011 episode of ‘Real Time with Bill Maher’, the issue of pastor Terry Jones’ mock trial and burning of the Qur’an which resulted in protests and numerous deaths in Afghanistan was brought up. Sanders says to Maher:

“Well, I think this calls for your second film on religion.”

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4SpIP1zXwwk

Like My Secular Page

Secularism, Atheism and Critical Thinking

Do you have a Facebook page or group? If you do, you know that promoting your group or page to get new members, followers or page likes is important for the health of the group. An active group is a successful group.

Like My Secular Page - The Promotion Group spreading godlessness throughout the known universe
Like My Secular Page – The Promotion Group that spreads godlessness throughout the known universe

To help groups and pages grow, a new type of promotion group has come into existence. These promotion groups are made up of Facebook members who have their own groups and pages. They post their Facebook group addresses and other members “LIKE” them. It is called LIKE-sharing or LIKE-trading.

If you have joined one of these LIKE-trading, super groups (some have 50,000+ members), you already know that members are immediately immersed in an overwhelming amount of topics from all over the world. Since Facebook is global, the members of these groups are from different parts of the world. It is not uncommon to have Facebook pages written in Arabic, Russian, English, Chinese, Japanese, German, Spanish, et cetera sharing likes with each other.

If you have a page for the purpose of getting a particular message out, having thousands of followers who cannot read your message is kind of futile. Multilanguage LIKE-groups are all flawed in this way.

For this reason, Bionichead.com has created our own atheist, LIKE-group for the purpose of promoting pages and groups that have a similar worldview. It is called, Like My Secular Group.

Do you have a group or page that supports secularism, atheism or critical thinking? If yes, you may join Like My Secular Group to promote your group, page, youtube channel, twitter feed, book or website. If you are trying to rid this world of the disease of religion and superstition, you may promote your media and products.

You may also join, Like My Secular Page, even if you do have a page or group.

Here are the Rules:

If somebody from the group likes your page, you are expected to like them back. If you do not want to like their page, let them know so that they can unlike you.

If you chronically like pages and then unlike them after you have received your reciprocal like, you might be banned from the group. At the very least, your right to post might be limited.

If your page is secular but promotes violence, racism, sexism, cruelty or hatred of any kind, you will be banned from the group.

These rules are open to improvement. If you have an idea how to make promoting of pages easier, faster and more efficient, please post your ideas in the comment section.

We reserve the right to delete any post or comment if we feel that it is not conducive to a healthy group.

No affiliate links or get-rich schemes should be posted.

Please try to keep your posts safe for work.

How to Like Pages:

  1. Make a post with the link of your Facebook* page signaling that you are ready to exchange “likes” with people.
  2. If you like somebody’s page, post the link to your page in their comments. this will let them know that you liked them.
  3. If somebody likes your page, like them back.
  4. If you do not want to like a page that liked you, let them know in the comments section of your page. This will let people know how cooperative you are and if they should take the time looking at your page and liking you.
  5. If somebody likes your page and you like them back, that’s an agreement to share likes. Do not unlike them at a later date.
  6. If you do not like somebody’s page, do not make a comment about their page.

*If you use Twitter, YouTube, Tumblr or any other social media service or if you have a website, you may promote those services too.

Rulers of the Federation
Rulers of the Milky Way Federation

Review of Reformed Church of FSM Group

We wanted to have a listing of all the Flying Spaghetti Monster groups on Facebook. Since I could not quickly find one online, I decided to compile my own. I did not want to actually make a review of a group, just the group rules. Some groups are run by admins that are power-hungry, control freaks. Other group admins don’t step in at all and almost anything is allowed. The Church of the Flying Spaghetti Monster…Adults Only…Reformed falls into the latter category.

The Church of the Flying Spaghetti Monster…Adults Only…Reformed is a closed group. With most of the other listings, I could use a Facebook feed aggregator and let the last ten posts speak for themselves. With closed and secret Facebook groups, that is not possible. Therefore, I took the liberty to upload a few of the memes posted in the group, to give you an idea of what type of content you might see there.

Join The Church of the Flying Spaghetti Monster…Adults Only…Reformed closed Facebook group if you are an atheist or anti-theist and you like posts that bash religions and use the word fuck.

Do not join The Church of the Flying Spaghetti Monster…Adults Only…Reformed closed Facebook group, if:

1) You whine about how unfair people are to Islam. Seriously, don’t bother.

These blast points are too accurate for Sand People.
These blast points…too accurate for sand people.

 

2) You are easily offended by offensive pictures. It is an Adult Only closed group. Offensive pictures abound.

Your god doesn't care if you get hit.
Your god doesn’t care if you get hit.

3) You plan to publicly quit the group. This actually happened today. Some former member wrote, “I’m about to leave the group. Most of ya’ll just seem like you want to bash Muslim religion. I feel like thats not what this page is supposed to be about and it’s pretty fucking annoying.” 150 posts later, nobody gives a damn.

I'm about to leave the group.
I’m about to leave the group.

If you can think of any other reasons to not join this group, please post them in the comments.

I like the Reformed FSM. I never post, but the pictures are often funny.

 

Me-Worry-bionichead
The Rapture is coming! Drill, Baby, Drill.

 

There's no free will in heaven.
There’s no free will in heaven.
Blasphemy is an imaginary crime-bionichead
Blasphemy is an imaginary crime.

If Atheism is a Religion…

Critics of atheism, usually conservative Christians, assert that atheism is a religious belief. It is somewhat bizarre that people, who so strongly cherish the sanctity of their own beliefs, should characterize something so alien to them, as atheism is, as being a religion. – RationalWiki.org

Is Atheism a Philosophy, Religion or a Belief System? Answer: None of the above.Atheist Scarlet Letter

Atheism is not a religion. Neither is atheism a belief or a philosophy. Atheism is merely the word that describes the absence of a belief in a deity (god or gods). An atheist is a person who does not believe in a deity (god or gods). This is difficult for many people to understand.

This concept of “lack of belief in a god” is difficult for many people to understand. For people of faith, the concept of someone not having a religion is unimaginable. Everyone believes in something, right? Non-belief must therefore be a belief.To make it easier for people to understand,

To make it easier for people to understand, atheists have developed a set of clever analogies to demonstrate the point.

Analogies that can be used to explain the lack of belief are:

  • If atheism is a religion, not collecting stamps is a hobby.
  • If atheism is a religion, then pedestrians should be ticketed for driving their cars under the speed limit.
  • If atheism is a religion, then bald is a hair color.
  • If atheism is a religion, then death is a way of life.
  • If atheism is a religion, then “nowhere” is a place.
  • If atheism is a religion, then being dead is being alive.
  • If atheism is a religion, then silence is a language.
  • If atheism is a religion, then not drinking alcohol is alcoholism.
  • If atheism is a religion, then doing drugs is an addiction.
  • If atheism is a religion, then “off” is a television channel.
  • If atheism is a religion, then health is a disease.
  • If atheism is a religion, then abstinence is a sex position.
  • If atheism is a religion, then disinterest in cats equals zoophilia.
  • If atheism is a religion, then silence is a volume.
  • If atheism is a religion, then not playing football is a sport.

The suffix has more than one meaning.

The freedictionary.com defines the suffix, “ism,” as “an unspecified doctrine, system, or practice”. Often words that describe philosophical, religious or political belief systems often end with the “ism” suffix. Some examples of belief systems that use the “ism” suffix are hedonism, humanism, fatalism, fundamentalism, Catholicism, Judaism, Buddhism, liberalism, communism, and socialism.

Unfortunately, atheism ends in the suffix “ism”. Does this mean that atheism is also a philosophical or religious belief system? No, it does not. The suffix “ism” also means “state, condition, attribute, or quality” or an action, process, or result” or abehavior or quality”. Such words would include puerilism, pauperism, mechanism, senilism, colloquialism, heroism, criticism, cubism, or metabolism.

Senilism is defined as, “premature old age.” Cubism is a nonobjective school of painting and sculpture. Colloquialism is a word or phrase appropriate to conversation and other informal situations.

The meaning of the word atheism is also very clear. There is not a god. There are no gods. Atheism is the lack or absence of belief in the existence of a god or gods. The lack of belief is not a belief.

I am an atheist. I am godless.

RICHARD DAWKINS

The Seven Points of the Fire and Brimstone Sermon

On January 12, 2015, Jon Webster, atheist blogger at Examiner.com, wrote an article entitled, “The 6 Emotional Manipulations of the Fire and Brimstone Sermon“. He lists the six ways that Christians manipulate people emotionally as: shame, paranoia, guilt, fear, hope and peace (of mind).

Fire and Brimstone
“Florence Cathedral” by Gareth Williams 2006

I don’t have any problem with his six points. A lot of the sermons I went to followed this pattern fairly often. I would like to add one of my own points based on my experiences. I spent most of my youth and teenage years being subjected to this type of preaching.

The Seven Emotional Manipulations of the Fire and Brimstone Sermon

  1. Shame – They made you feel like a dirty sinner.
  2. Paranoia – The gods know all about your dirty little secrets (usually sexual) and your horrible thoughts. Your actions, your sinful thoughts and lusts are filthy
  3. Guilt/Worthlessness – You are dirty. The gods can’t handle the presence of filth. The gods reject you in your present worthless condition.
  4. Fear – If you continue to behave “of the world” by committing sin, you are going to go to hell. Eternal torment awaits the sinners. You will be cast into the lack of fire, where you will burn for eternity.
  5. Hope – Here’s the good news. Jesus was sent down from Heaven to save you from his fathers rather. His blood sacrifice has cleansed you.
  6. Easy Fix/Peace – All you have to do is accept Jesus as your savior and all your sins are forgiven. That’s it. It is easy and you can do it right now even if you have doubts. Faith comes later. You will be rewarded with an eternity of pleasure.
  7. Urgency – Do it now. You could die in a car crash on the way home. You never know when you are going to do, so you have to act before it is too late.


Mr. Webster also writes, “Anytime you hear a person of faith say to a non-believer, ‘Open your heart to Jesus,’ it means one thing: open yourself up to be emotionally manipulated, because belief doesn’t have anything to do with emotions, but rather intellect and critical thinking.”

I think this is completely wrong. During an emotionally charged Fire and Brimstone sermon, people are operating on pure feelings. Their emotions are being manipulated. They are feeling the passion of the pulpit. The music involved is very dramatic. The unbeliever is being masterfully terrified and then given a chance to escape the horrors of hell. There is also immediate peer pressure from all the other believers in the room. Most unbelievers are taken to the sermon by family members or friends. Those theists are most likely putting pressure on the unbeliever to “open their heart” and to accept Jesus before it is too late. They are encouraged to believe even if they don’t. Faith comes later. The whole experience is designed to get one excited, to follow one’s feelings and to stop thinking. They even say, “Don’t trust your mind; follow your heart.”

During the emotionally charged Fire and Brimstone sermon, people are operating on pure emotion. They are feeling the general the passion of the pulpit. The music involved is very dramatic. The unbeliever was masterfully terrified and then given a chance to escape the horrors of hell. There is also gentle peer pressure from all the other believers in the room. Most unbelievers are taken to the sermon by family members or friends. Those theists are also most likely putting mild pressure on the unbeliever to open their heart and to accept Jesus. They are encouraged to believe even if they don’t. Faith comes later. The whole experience is designed to get one excited and to follow one’s feelings. They even say, “Don’t trust your mind; follow your heart.”

To say that the Fire and Brimstone sermon elicits “intellect and critical thinking” is to say that converting to Christianity is logical. If that were true, there would be no need for a Fire and Brimstone sermon to convert people to Christianity. There would also be no need to break people down by shaming them and making them feel terrible. These sermons are dramatic, emotional manipulations, not pleas to reasons. If critical thinking were involved, evidence would be all that it took to convince intelligent people of the message being sold.

The best way to avoid being tricked and manipulated by these con-artists is to learn how to critically think. A really good resource for critical thinking is Stuart Sutherland’s book, “Irrationality – The Enemy Within“. Each time I read this book, I discover new ways that my reasoning is flawed. Fuzzy logic needs to be erased. We all trick ourselves into making bad decisions. Stuart Sutherland’s book will help you learn the art of thinking clearly.

Lastly, I recommend going to Jon Webster‘s blog and supporting a fellow atheist.

“Florence Cathedral” by Gareth Williams (CC BY 2.0)