Re: [humanism-174] Does Maher deserve the AAI Dawkins award?

From: Mark T.
Sent on: Tuesday, September 29, 2009 12:50 AM
I am fine with Bill Maher receiving the award. What he stated in 2002 is a non-issue to me (how many people reading this email were god-believers as recently as '02?). Religulous wasn't the greatest movie, but Bill succeded is bringing freethought to the mainstream more than anyone else did during?the past year.
?
It would be nice if he would admit he's an atheist, though... I can't understand why that's such a difficult thing to do for so many "nonbelievers"!

On Tue, Sep 29, 2009 at 12:10 AM, MichaelV <[address removed]> wrote:
I'm on Randall's side here.? While Maher may not be comfortable with the atheist label, he does essentially promote atheism and anti-theism.? Religulous, while irreverent and silly, also addressed some rather important issues concerning the role of religion within our society, and did so in a way that was fairly palatable to religious moderates.? He also has never advocated any particular religion (that I am aware of), tends to feature atheists and skeptics regularly on his show in a non-confrontational situation (I believe Dawkins will be on his show on Friday, and Sam Harris was on just a few weeks ago), and seems to me to be representative of a majority of atheists and freethinkers.?

I think it is evident that Maher is an atheist and that his misgivings over the label stem from his experiences and hostility towards religion.? Sam Harris also objects to the label, and while I disagree to an extent, I understand the point they both make about atheism; why identify yourself as not believing in fairy tales?? Plus, there are few atheists out there who would say that they are 100% certain there is no god; doesn't such a concession make them a non-atheist?? I think that drawing lines over something that ultimately reduces to rhetoric only makes us petty, and may in fact drive away fence sitters and the curious.?

Also, and I'm not sure about this, but the award itself seems to be ill-defined.? Is it given to a popularizer of atheism or religious skepticism?? A verbose evangelical of the new-atheist cause, or an individual who raises public awareness of our positions?

Michael


From: Randall Tiedman <[address removed]>

To: [address removed]
Sent: Monday, September 28,[masked]:15:34 PM
Subject: RE: [humanism-174] Does Maher deserve the AAI Dawkins award?

I respectfully have to disagree. I think his humor is very influential with the young and using satire is very effective in lampooning religion. I find him clever and he has had me howling with laughter. So he believes in some vague notion of a force that he labels God. That could mean just the physical properties of matter or hydrogen or the atom. God is a one shoe fits all term that really has no meaning in such a broad context. We cannot prove there is no God so we apply logic and reason and conclude its unlikely. We cant prove it so we rely on faith to a certain extent dont we? Lets not become fundamentalist atheists! Whatever one believes one should always leave 10% of doubt in ones postion. Its organized religion that Im after with its poking into my life with its bigotries and blocking science. Its certainty is annoying and presumptous. Randall---- Cari <[address removed]> wrote:
>
> I'm more than annoyed. Not only does Maher not call himself an atheist, his smarmy, snide presentation does nothing to explain or portray real atheists. It may be a good move for publicity purposes, but if Maher has a lick of morality, he should decline the award.Cari
>
> From: [address removed]

> Subject: [humanism-174] Does Maher deserve the AAI Dawkins award?
> To: [address removed]
> Date: Mon, 28 Sep[masked]:18:46 -0400
>
> http://atheistexperience.blogspot.com/search?q=maher
>
> "Atheist Alliance International will be giving this year's Richard Dawkins award to Bill Maher...and some people, including me, are pretty annoyed." Matt Dillahunty
>
> ""I'm not an atheist. There's a really big difference between an
> atheist and someone who just doesn't believe in religion. Religion to
> me is a bureaucracy between man and God that I don't need. But I'm not
> an atheist, no." I believe there's some force. If you want to call it
> God... I don't believe God is a single parent who writes books. I think
> that the people who think God wrote a book called The Bible are just
> childish. Religion is so childish. What they're fighting about in the
> Middle East, it's so childish. These myths, these silly little stories
> that they believe in fundamentally, that they take over this little
> space in Jerusalem where one guy flew up to heaven--no, no, this guy
> performed a sacrifice here a thousand million years ago. It's like,
> "Who cares? What does that have to do with spirituality, where you're
> really trying to get, as a human being and as a soul moving in the
> universe?" But I do believe in a God, yes." - Bill Maher, 2002
>
>
>
>
>
>
>
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