Journalists and journalism shouldnt exist anymore.

Theyre no longer relevant.

In todays world of Twitters and Bloggers and YouTubers– there is no point in getting a ‘degree’ to be a journalist, when we all have the capabilities of being ‘civilian’ journalists. Civilian journalists that are, flat out, better than the for realsies journalists that exist today.

Case in point: Tom Krattenmaker

Toms just a dude. Degree in journalism. Writes articles for USA Today and other dying forms of media. Nothing against him.

Except for this idiotic, insipid article he just wrote, Atheism, a positive pillar.

Its not ‘bad’– blips on how people/groups are assholes to atheists just because we exist, atheist groups are starting to make themselves more vocal/visible, yes thats nice. Tom really does try hard. But he spoils a nice-but-forgettable article with this:

The reputation of atheists has not been well-served by the surly attacks on religion by some of atheism’s highest-profile torch carriers. From the best-selling atheist manifestos of recent years to Bill Maher’s new Religulous movie, the loudest voices of non-belief have exhibited much of the same stridency and flair for polemics as the religious fundamentalists they excoriate.

Really? Honestly? A guy who graduated ‘with a concentration in religion in public life’ can only regurgitate tired ‘atheist’ cliches?

Yes Tom, atheists are all angry men typing their manifestos (a la Unabomber) and bullying poor defenseless Jesus at ‘The Holy Land Experience‘. And black people like watermelon and rape white women, and gay boys never leave the house without a thick coat of glitter on (easier for luring children into their pedophile rings– THEYRE COMING TO YOUR TOWN!!!).

Atheists like Dawkins are just like religious fundamentalists.

Yes, welcome to ten years ago, Tom. Congratulations.

But I forgive Tom for being trite because he made me lol. Derisive lol, but a lol none the less. Okay, so atheists acting all religious like is bad, right? WRONG! Tom speaks highly of Margaret Downey… BECAUSE SHES ENCOURAGING ATHEISTS TO ACT ALL RELIGIOUS:

At last year’s convention, Downey presided over a baby-naming ceremony, where parents and their supporters exalted wisdom, love, honesty and the beauty of nature, and the newborns were given not godparents, but “guideparents.”

But in a holiday-season episode last year, Downey and her free-thinking allies responded to a crèche and menorah in front of the Chester County Courthouse outside Philadelphia not with a lawsuit, but a display of their own — a “Tree of Knowledge.”The 22-foot-high evergreen was decorated with color copies of book covers, the titles included the Bible, the Quran and numerous other works on religion, atheism and evolution.

Reason Baptisms? Guideparents? Naming ceremonies? Reason Trees? Reason mitzvahs? Debaptisms? Winter Solstice parties? Reasonover, where we nail copies of ‘Why People Believe Weird Things’ over our front doors so chiropractors and homeopathists cant get in? Reason Balls, where our daughters vow to lead reasonous lives? Reasonmadan, where we dont read a Dawkins book for one whole month?

That shit is stupid.

Its stupid.

I dont know why Downey not only encourages, but presides over that crap.

Christians pounced all over this, Tom, thanks. Like this asshole:

Atheists may attempt to create rituals, ceremonies, and practices that mimic Christian traditions, but this serves only to point to the infinite emptiness at the heart of the atheist worldview.


And this asshole:

Tom Krattenmaker says it’s not easy being an atheist. Because of anti-atheist prejudice and some atheists who perpetuate negative stereotypes (i.e., Religulous), Krattenmaker said other atheists are trying to give atheism more positive PR…

Anyone who actually saw Religulous couldnt have said that. Oh, but TOM said it, and hes in USA TODAY! That means its okay for Miss Polly Pocket to perpetuate the ‘ATHIESTZ BE ARE MEAN!’ meme.

You suck Tom. Get a job, sir.


  1. #1 Mike O'Risal
    November 20, 2008

    Still, a little encouragement can go a long way, especially when it involves really, really stupid responses from the true-believers.

  2. #2 Avenel
    November 20, 2008

    I love Reasonover! Will “Demon Haunted World” work as well?

  3. #3 IR
    November 20, 2008


    Nice post. Kudos.

  4. #4 Sili
    November 20, 2008

    Seconding the Reasonover! Lurve it!

    Actually – I’m told you can already scare away the Jehova’s Witnesses with an “I give blood” sticker. Of course I failed to get one while I was still giving (I’m pumped full of drugs now, hence the quarantine).

  5. #5 Bob of QF
    November 20, 2008

    I saw Religulous. I thought it was a very brave look at the silliness of the religious community.

    Why brave? Because some of those people can get downright mean, if you dare to point out the obvious flaws in their favorite superstitions (the way that Maher does in his film).

    Personally, I think that ALL people should see Religilous before being exposed to any sort of belief-system…. but then again, I think that rational thinking is a good thing.

  6. #6 ennui
    November 20, 2008

    But… but without all of our prefabricated rituals and holidays, how will we get the sheeple to buy all of the useless plastic crap that we need them to buy to keep the economy ‘moving forward?’

  7. #7 Becca
    November 20, 2008

    Hey, don’t knock the winter solstice parties. For one thing solstice, arbitrary feature of our particular planet’s rotational habits though it may be, is nonetheless celebrating an emperically observable event that belongs solidly in consensual reality.
    For another, parties are good. Especially when it’s cold and yucky out and you really need a good party.

    Ceremonies need not be sacred. And they have a purpose. If you don’t believe so, why clap at a lecture? Do you celebrate anything at all? Do you ever mark the passage of time (time in the form of a year of one’s life, a phase in one’s development, or the anniversary of an important event)?

    That isn’t atheists acting like religious people. That is atheists acting like people. If that serves to remind the religious folk that atheists are people too, the religious folk are probably better for it. If it serves only to provide an outlet for an extremely embedded facet of human behavior, that’s fine too.

  8. #8 stogoe
    November 20, 2008

    Why brave? Because some of those people can get downright mean, if you dare to point out the obvious flaws in their favorite superstitions (the way that Maher does in his film).

    Yeah, like the guy who was totally a Satanist priest before converting to Jesus-worship. Except not at all (it’s one of the boilerplate street-cred lies you hear in evangelical circles).

  9. #9 Joshua Zelinsky
    November 20, 2008

    Um, so I’m going to have to step in and defend Margaret Downey a bit here. Just because an idiot thinks highly of stuff she is doing doesn’t mean that what’s she’s doing is a bad idea.

    In general, cultures thrive off of shared rituals. They help a lot to promote group cohesion and a general feeling of belonging. That’s aside from the fact that they can be fun. Everything Downey does is in a very tongue-in-cheek fashion (have you seen videos of the debaptisms for example?). If atheism and general freethinking are going to succeed with the general populace adding almost ritualistic gatherings will help matters. As long as everyone acknowledges the complete vacuity of the rituals in question there’s no damage or risk to rationalism.

  10. #10 Reynold
    November 20, 2008

    For shared rituals, I prefer: Agnostica, soon to be updated for this coming season. It starts on the supposed anniversary of the founding of Quantum Physics, Dec 14.

    It includes events such as: The making of gl�gi, the Random Bag of Fun, among other stuff that’s randomly made up and tossed in.

    For example: To tide you all over, here’s an animation (based on the Nukees comic from this year’s QM Day) detailing schematically how you can make your own construction-paper atomic orbitals.

    Of course, these are stylized orbitals. To make real orbitals, you would probably be better off just crumpling up the paper, setting fire to it, then not observing it.

  11. #11 Zarquon
    November 20, 2008

    This is a great post for Reasongiving.

  12. #12 llewelly
    November 20, 2008

    Tom Krattenmaker and ERV both seem unaware that the ceremonies Margaret Downey is presiding over are all tongue-in-cheek.

    Beyond that, I had to laugh at yet another person that is so sure that best-selling ‘atheist manifestos’ are bad for atheism’s reputation. Stephen King must have the worst reputation in the world …

  13. #13 Brian
    November 20, 2008

    I’d be 100% behind Reasonover, if only that was all it took to keep the woo-peddlers away.

  14. #14 Steven
    November 21, 2008

    I am still waiting to hear what this “atheist world-view” is that I supposedly subscribe to.

  15. #15 clinteas
    November 21, 2008

    In todays world of Twitters and Bloggers and YouTubers– there is no point in getting a ‘degree’ to be a journalist, when we all have the capabilities of being ‘civilian’ journalists

    I beg to differ Abbie,I think that the recent election shows nicely that all the bloggers and twitters do in fact not reach a big enough audience yet to change public opinion on any particular topic,if you think of all the stuff that was posted on the moose killer and her family,it did bugger all in changing the public perception about her as far as I can tell.

  16. #16 Christophe Thill
    November 21, 2008

    I clicked on “The Holy Land Experience”. Wait… is that for real? It looks just like a Disneyland for fundies. And pity the poor schmuck playing the part of Jesus…

  17. #17 Hydra
    November 21, 2008

    Great post, Abbie.

    I just posted a similar gripe about editorials, and considered talking about that USA Today article but passed it over when I found more fertile sources of stupid elsewhere.

    But that piece really does deserve my wrath – especially that patronizing part where the author was “surprised” that American atheists value similar things as Americans in general – things like care for one’s community and love of one’s country.

    How on earth is that a surprise? How much of a bigot is he that he considers that shocking?

  18. #18 conelrad
    November 21, 2008

    Actually, it is the infinite emptiness at the heart
    of the atheist worldview that initially sucked me in.
    ‘Reasonover’–I like that.

  19. #19 H.H.
    November 21, 2008

    The problem with fundies is not that they are vocal, or “strident,” or convinced of their own correctness. The problem with fundies is that they are wrong. Their beliefs are absolute bullshit. That’s the HUGE distinction that people like Krattenmaker are somehow unable to make. Dawkins is a mild-mannered, well spoken atheist capable of making valid arguments in the context of public debate. And that makes about as removed from a culturally ignorant and intellectually insulated Christian fundamentalist as it is possible to be.

    The vocal atheism = fundamentalism is a tired, untrue, ridiculous argument that needs to be taken behind the shed and shot in the head. Thank you, ERV, for doing just that.

  20. #20 Hamsterpoop
    November 30, 2008

    You want me to take care of him? I know a couple of guys. Just say the word, Abbie.

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