September 1, 2010 by wcobserver
In April, local freethinker groups joined with the National Coalition of Reason and rented a billboard stating:
“Are you good without God? Millions are.” –NWACoR.org
Steven Worden misunderstood this as an attack on religion, so he attacked us. In his columns he claimed we are gullible believers in Bigfoot (false), follow Free Inquiry magazine as a bible (false), and we’re an atheist group (false). In another column he joked about us having Nazi plays, communist hymns and crayons for kids to draw pictures celebrating genocide (false, insulting, disgusting).
We’ve refuted these claims, and if he would like to make some more, we’ll knock those down too. We encourage you to read and comment on our rebuttals here: http://tinyurl.com/26z9rsg.
Why did Worden so profoundly overreact in this way? Our billboard was not anti-religion, it was an appeal to our own people. There are tens of thousands of people living, working and volunteering in Northwest Arkansas and they do it without appeals to the supernatural. We wanted them to know that they’re not alone and if they want to associate with others who choose to form their beliefs about religion based upon reason, science and critical thinking, we’re here.
It would be better if writers used their privilege of having a newspaper column to bring people together rather than alienate and divide them.
Here’s a note our friend Linda Farrell sent in:
“The Fayetteville Freethinker meetings are a breath of fresh air for unrepentant thinkers. Now, what do we get for our zero-dues-per-year freethinker meetings?
Socially, we get to meet super-intelligent, passionate, articulate, reasonable, rational, curious, informed, engaging people, all of whom have a sense of humor – no exceptions. We also get the bonus of dining afterward in restaurants I didn’t know existed in the area.
Intellectually, we get to learn about, question, debate and expose all sorts of paranormal and inherently silly things, e.g. Bigfoot, Nessie, talking snakes, virgin births, heaven, hell and other assorted unprovables. The presentations are always top-notch and well-prepared and thorough. The questions asked are really intuitive and differences in opinion and perspective always thoughtful and respectful. Nobody calls anybody an “idiot”, “a Commie”, “a traitor” or any other insults you hear regularly tossed about in church, at tea parties or in poorly-researched newspaper columns.
We don’t claim moral superiority or exhibit any kind of humorless religious arrogance. We don’t hate god, simply because it’s irrational to hate an entity whose existence has never been proven. And we don’t consort with satan for the same reason. We base our beliefs on hard science, observation, empirical evidence and peer-reviewed journals. And our moral code isn’t based on fear of punishment or the promise of reward. We hold ourselves accountable for our own behavior. To quote the Christmas song, we believe in being “good for goodness sake.”
Finally, we enjoy a shared respect for each other, our laws, our society, our planet and our species. For Worden, apparently, this makes us “dangerous.”