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Luis Granados presentation on his book "Damned Good Company"


Damned Good Company: 20 Rebels Who Bucked the God Experts is a Profiles in Courage for humanists – a book to make humanists proud of themselves.

Throughout history, men and women around the world have listened to the prevailing wisdom of what God was supposed to have said and what God wants us to do.  They have seen those who claim a lock on that wisdom given free reign to run society as they see fit – or, as they would have it, as God ordains.  Every now and then someone has the gumption to say “No!  The emperor isn’t wearing any clothes!  I don't believe you speak for God, and I am not going to do what you say."  

Their stories inspire those of us who wish to stand up to the Christian Right, the Muslim fanatics, the oppressiveness of Catholic and Jewish orthodoxy, the rising Hindu Taliban, and everyone else who claims the God-given right to tell the rest of us what to do.  

Damned Good Company tells twenty dramatic tales of conflicts between God experts and humanist rebels, from earliest times through the 21st century, featuring all major religions around the world.  The song remains the same: Han Yu’s banishment from the 9th century Chinese court for questioning the worship of the Buddha’s finger mirrors Baruch Spinoza’s expulsion from his 17th century Amsterdam Jewish community for questioning Moses’ authorship of the Torah.  By contrast, Talleyrand never believed in God, but used religion shamelessly to advance his political ambition – exactly as Mussolini did a century later, and as the book argues Barack Obama is doing today.

Rudyard Kipling wrote that “If history were taught in the form of stories, it would never be forgotten.”  These twenty stories juxtapose heroes with villains to illuminate the battles over claims to divine authority in a way that readers will not forget.  Darrow and Bryan faced each other in a courtroom; Julian and Augustine never met, but promoted world-views diametrically apart.  Nehru and Gandhi are more often considered friends than opponents, but their religious differences were profound, with tragic consequences that have yet to play out.  

About Luis Granados

Luis Granados, is a Washington attorney and a student of the history of organized religion.  He publishes a weekly article on relating a current headline to an episode from religious history, demonstrating how little things change from religion to religion, from century to century. These articles are now carried also by Secular News Daily and Rant & Reason, the blog of the American Humanist Association. His longer magazine articles on religious history have appeared within the last year in Secular Nation, Free Inquiry, and The Humanist.  

Mr. Granados is not an atheist.  He is more of an agnostic/deist: a suspecter, not a believer.  But he resents being told what to do by people no better than he who claim to speak for God.  Mr. Granados contends that a large portion of what is wrong with the world, for a long time, has been caused by giving these frauds more credit than they deserve.  

Mr. Granados wants to embolden people to follow in the footsteps of the heroes of
Damned Good Company, that the world may be run more on principles of “What makes sense?” than on principles of “What did God say about that?”

Since 2005, Mr. Granados has practiced law on a half-time basis, while devoting the other half to the study of the scandals of organized religion.

Don't Miss Lunch!

Please join us for lunch following Mr. Granados' presentation at Oggi's Pizza and Brewing Company Mission Valley, 2245 Fenton Pkwy.Ste 101, San Diego, CA 92108. This is the time we can continue the discussion, and get to know each other better.


And don't forget... May 30th through June 2nd, the American Humanist Association will be hosting their annual conference in San Diego at the Bahia Hotel.

Join or login to comment.

  • Wilfredo P.

    Excellent presentation by Luis on heroic humanists who dared to challenge the "God experts." Sadly, many of them have been lost to history. I encourage all members to read "Damned Good Company." We admire these heroes and heroines because they dared to think and to challenge religious dogma at times when it was dangerous to do so.

    2 · April 6, 2013

  • Cathy E.

    I will be at the event, but can't stay for lunch

    1 · April 5, 2013

  • A former member
    A former member

    I injured my leg and may not be able to make it.

    April 3, 2013

    • Debbie

      Hope you are on the mend!

      April 5, 2013

  • Cornell J.

    Will attend but can't stay for lunch.

    April 3, 2013

  • Debbie

    Furthermore... Obama has neglected to take a stand AGAINST faith-based initiatives, which only further funds religious activities at the expense of tax payers.

    April 3, 2013

  • Wilfredo P.

    Gwen, to answer your question, Obama invokes God in his speeches all the time, just like most politicians in the U.S. I have my doubts that Obama is a believer, but any politician in the U.S., especially the president, MUST claim that he believes in God in order to have a successful political career. At least Obama acknowledged non-believers when he was first elected. But what irritates me about the Democratic Party is that the vast majority of Secular Americans vote Democratic, yet the Democratic Party does not generally acknowledge us and seems to pretend that we do not exist. That is consistent with my other criticism of Democrats: they often have no backbone and unlike Republicans are scared to say what they really believe.

    April 1, 2013

  • Gwen M.

    In What ways does Obama use religion to further his political ambitions? Of course, George W. tried to incorporate the Christian Rights' views into his platform and proposals, but Obama certainly
    doesn't. Note his Middle East proposals and his stance on social issues, such as Gay Rights.

    March 30, 2013

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