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Archive for September, 2009

Richard Dawkins's Latest Book

Richard Dawkins's Latest Book

The Reed Secular Alliance has secured five tickets for the Richard Dawkins’s upcoming talk at Portland State.  The event will take place on Saturday, October 10th, 2009 at 6:30 pm.  Dawkins will speak about The Greatest Show on Earth:  Evidence for Evolution.

Tickets are free, and include transportation from Reed College to the event.  There will likely be an optional dinner afterward, at student expense.  Space is limited, so reserve your ticket by contacting rsa.secular@gmail.com.

We hope to see you there!

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Letters from a Barbed Wire Monastery:  The Choice to Think Freely

By:  Prison Bob

A prison cell

A prison cell

Why I choose to do anything is often a mystery.  Even to me.  To explain, when I joined the Marine Corps in 1989, it was a spur of the moment thing.  The recruiter called and said, “Have you thought about what you want to do after high school?”  I told her “Nope, no clue.”  So, she says, “Have you thought of joining the Marine Corps?”  I hadn’t, so I said (this  is 100% true), “Sure, where do I sign up?”  Used to rejection, she said, “You don’t have to say no right…What did you just say?”  I repeated, “Sure.  Where do I sign up?”  That’s only one example of how I float through life.  I rarely pre-plan or think anthing through.  And, I am certain that it shows. 

So, in an earlier letter, I mention that I chose to label myself as an atheist/agnostic/freethinker, because I was bored with Christianity in the form of church.  At too early an age, I felt that something as siginificant as the thought process which would guide the rest of my life would need a more relevant basis than just “it’s what’s expected.”  The most telling reason why I have denounced religion – any form of religion – is that I find it to be dishonest.  I am not the epitome of honesty.  I am, however, often indescreetly honest, some may say brutally so.  Such open, anti-social weapons-grade honesty doesn’t make friends.  To put it most openly, I feel that I cannot have faith, because I have knowledge.  Do I know everything?  No, I just act like it sometimes.

And, yes.  The above was a psychological trick that I use when things become too intense for me.  The first three paragraphs took me a week to compose.  Deep introspection is physically painful for me.  That is why, at most times, I keep only a nodding acquaintance with deep, personal thought.  Besides the pain, there is the ever-present rage, just beneath the surface.  Impotent rage – the best kind.  As I see it, the dishonesty – not of religion in theory – but of religion in practice, tells you to be true to a god figure.  Then, this god figure will provide for you in “the afterlife”.  To me, that sounds like a lend-lease or installment purchase plan.

Religion sticks in my craw, because it asks – no tells – you to go against your very nature as a human.  Religion, in the end, is for lazy people.  Religion – Christianity specifically – introduced fanaticism.  From fanaticism comes racism.  It isn’t the only religion to put forth such thoughts.

Yet, I don’t know of any gnostic or agnostic mindset, which proposes the “death to those not like me”.  If you cite communism, well, wasn’t that just a religion with the state as deity? 

Be well.  See you next month.

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Introduce Dr. Darrel Ray!

Darrel Ray will speak at Reed on October 7th

Darrel Ray will speak at Reed on October 7th

Attention Reed Secularists!  You could introduce Dr. Darrel Ray.  Dr. Ray will be on campus on Wednesday, October 7th in Eliot Hall’s Chapel to speak about his book, The God Virus.  The presentation will be a compelling explication of why religion – particularly fundamentalist Christianity – has been a harmful force in our society.

If you want to introduce our speaker, please email rsa.secular@gmail.com in advance.  The only prerequisites are that the person doing the introduction be a Reed community member, and arrive at the lecture hall 30 minutes before the 7:30 pm start time.  We hope you’ll jump at this exciting opportunity.

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RSA Recruits 19 at Activites Fair

Amanda offers a Reedie a "Support Science" Sticker

Amanda offers a Reedie a "Support Science" Sticker

On Friday, the Reed Secular Alliance recruited 19 members at the annual Student Activities Fair.  The club gave out “I Support Science” Darwin fish stickers, along with Separation of Church and State literature.  The event was a success, and garnered the highest number of recruits since 2005.

This should be a great year!

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