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Organizing A Fight-the-fundy Foundation


R. S. Martin
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EDIT: added Aug. 21, 2007.

If you see this thread on top of the pile, it's because I made another announcement. Dave the Webmaster has been generous in allowing me to make announcements on his forums so I feel the least I can do is restrict all of them to this one thread. Feel free to read the entire thread but keep in mind that it's the last post(s) that is important. See Post 64 for links to the present site of the "foundation."]

 

I feel a bit nervous about this. I'm not sure if Dave the webmaster approves. Yet, in my opinion, it would seem in line with the purposes of this forum.

 

I have also given some thought on where to post it. Rants and Replies? Naw, this is not exactly a rant. Totally Off Topic? I almost put it there but then I looked at the "off topic" topics and this seems more on topic than off. So I looked again at the criteria for ExChristian Life. Here it is, copied directly from the index page (emphasis added):

 

A forum to discuss how ex-Christians have dealt with family members,
replaced the church as a place of community
, reactions of your family, friends, church, acquaintances upon learning of the de-conversion,
or anything else relevant to the Ex-Christian Life
.

I think the parts I bolded here come pretty close to what this post is about so I'm putting it here for the time being.

 

This conversation started here, Posts 44 and 48, to be precise. Two of us agreed that "divide and conquor" might be a good strategy. But HOW do we go about doing this? That's the Big Question. We're not organized like the National Association of Evangelicals to do anything major, and we're not "joiners" like church people. It was noted that Christians have been at each other for centuries and they're still here, strong as ever. On that note...

 

Last fall I wrote up a letter that I sent out via email to a number of people who are fighting fundamentalism. I had this idea that we need a central information station. I thought perhaps all the existing "fight-the-fundy" groups could somehow have a central info station and somehow or other cooperate in this attempt. This was not a clearly articulated idea at the time and the few people who responded said something along the lines of this: I don't know what more I can do than I am doing.

 

Didn't sound like anyone was interested in organizing anything. With the internet at our disposal, I don't think we need a National Organization of Non-Christians or whatever. Also, we are spread all over the world, just like Christianity, so we can't organize into a national organization. However, we can organize into a world-wide something or other. And it doesn't have to be formal.

 

Anybody got an idea on how to move this thing out of the "dream" phase into actual reality without us changing our basic identities? Like Woodsmoke said, we're not joiners. Yet several thousand of us have joined exC. (Don't tell me the other two thousand folks I don't know are xians posing as exCs.) This group is over three thousand strong. It can't be the case that nobody's got an idea.

 

We've got a lot of brilliant brains on here. Let's get these brains a-storming and see what we can come up with. We've got to move us non-Christians into a position where it is at least safe for us to say out loud and in public that we are not Christians. By safe I mean not only on the level that no one will pull a gun on us but also that our jobs won't be in jeopardy and that there will not be hatemail in our inboxes and mailboxes.

 

Now for the Christians who think they are being persecuted, just back off a bit. Give it some really deep thought. Might there be a reason that we are saying these sorts of things? For example, if you didn't try to rule what can and cannot be taught in public schools, might we perhaps not be quite so seriously concerned? How about you not try to impose your religion on the courthouse steps or wherever. Take down your public displays and references to religion. Live like the NT church did--in secret and behind closed doors.

 

Celebrate the Winter Solstice if you want to keep a high holiday in December--after all, the space monsters have not quite managed to eat the sun yet--now isn't that something to celebrate? The earth still exists and so does its human population. See? There's lots of stuff to celebrate and put on your front lawns and in your stores and business places. Doesn't have to be the baby jesus stuck everywhere.

 

We atheists are not going to kill you for your faith like the Romans did. It's you Christians who are killing us in various ways. Just stop. Please.

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What would this central nervous system's moniker and mission statement be? I've thought quite a lot about this sort of thing as well. The main objections have already been raised: Fear of belonging again no matter how noble the cause, fear of retribution and fear of the unknown.

 

I for one would wholeheartedly be for some sort of a "gathering", so to speak, in order to better prepare, outfit and protect ourselves. After all, there is strength in numbers and without those numbers our collective voice (the voice of reason) will not be heard.

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What would this central nervous system's moniker and mission statement be? I've thought quite a lot about this sort of thing as well. The main objections have already been raised: Fear of belonging again no matter how noble the cause, fear of retribution and fear of the unknown.

 

I for one would wholeheartedly be for some sort of a "gathering", so to speak, in order to better prepare, outfit and protect ourselves. After all, there is strength in numbers and without those numbers our collective voice (the voice of reason) will not be heard.

 

It might be nothing more than all of us pooling what worked and didn't work for us in interactions with Christians. Maybe a website whose sole purpose is the sharing of such information....I don't know. I'm thinking if we could find all the "fundy-fighting" or "debunking Christianity" groups out there we would have a significant network. Even if we had only one representative of each group, we would have an information disseminating network that could make a difference over time.

 

The rep of a group would inadvertently at some point or another drop comments of what was happening in this group. It would be a very informal system. And maybe it's already out there and I just don't know about it, but I doubt it. This needs to be world-wide. Not just a group nestled here and another one there. There are so many groups. This proves that the need is there and people know it. We just have not developed a common network yet.

 

It's kinda mind-boggling and I don't know if it's possible but I think it should be. I know there are whole denominations, even countries, that don't have internet access because of religion. But it seems by far the largest portion of the earth's population has some kind of access to the internet ny now. And those that don't can be reached in other ways....radio, newpaper, word of mouth, books that might come out of this.

 

This "organization" would not be responsible for getting the word out to those people. It would just be a natural outcome via the grapevine. I'm talking very long-term, such as maybe before this century is out. Much sooner if possible. I put "organization" in quotes because it seems perhaps we don't want to be formally organized.

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We've got a lot of brilliant brains on here. Let's get these brains a-storming and see what we can come up with. We've got to move us non-Christians into a position where it is at least safe for us to say out loud and in public that we are not Christians. By safe I mean not only on the level that no one will pull a gun on us but also that our jobs won't be in jeopardy and that there will not be hatemail in our inboxes and mailboxes.

 

There was a time when I would have been really gung-ho about an idea like this, but not now. Because of the direction my life is taking now with my plans to pursue an education and get a job now that I'm healthy enough to do so, I have decided that it would be in my best interests to keep my religious opinions and my lack of belief to myself. I ultimately decided not to do another anti-religion website primarily because of upcoming time constraints and because the passion just isn't there like it used to be, but also for the very reason that I don't want to face Christian discrimination against me because of my views on god and religion.

 

Also, although the Net is a great source of information, I question how much of a real difference in the real, offline world the Net makes. I ran a popular, successful website for 2-1/2 years and at the time I wanted it to be the largest, most comprehensive Atheist, anti-Christian site on the Net. I wanted to bring the Christian religion to its knees with my site. Of course, that didn't ever even begin to happen, and I realize now that my site - as successful as it was - made little, if any, difference in the real, offline world. I think that's just the way it is. The Net is a giant library of information, but not a world-changing medium, at least not now, not in the way we need it to be. The way to make positive changes in the world is the same as its always been - to become politically and socially active and involved. In my case, for now I will simply vote as my convictions dictate, but in the future hopefully I can be more vocal without jeopardizing my schooling or my job if I should choose to be.

 

Just my two cents, and I certainly could be wrong. I'm not saying don't do it and I don't want to rain on your parade, but I do question if it would be worth the time and effort since online fundie-fighting doesn't appear to translate to making a real, measurable difference in the real, offline world.

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Well, there are various "web rings" where similiar sites all advertise each other sites and they have a button to "go to the next web ring site".

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To move around the objection of belonging to groups or whatnot, I was thinking something along the lines of a 'stand alone complex'. I'm not sure if I used that term correctly, but what I mean is that the central core, so to speak could be minimally manned at all times, with perhaps a few record keepers and other such people that would be necessary to keep the whole thing from disintegrating. Individual and organizational involvement would be on an order of degrees, such as with 'projects' to be worked on by specific entities, or, as people/groups interest/comfort levels fluctuate. In that manner, people could be phased in and out as needed, ensuring, perhaps (it is late and I should be asleep), that something is always moving forward.

 

So, the 'central core' could be it's own entity, which could run almost completely unmanned, but organizations like AU, and AA for instance, could contribute alongside outspoken individual non-theists, atheists, deists, and even liberal christians (not sure how I feel about that), as well as common folk such as ourselves, to whatever projects or info gathering endeavors might be conducted. When they get uncomfortable, they back off, or back out until whatever point.

 

Well, that's my idea, I got more, but I need to turn this computer off; I can barely see the screen right now. Hope all that made sense.

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It makes sense, Dhampir, and sounds like it's along the same lines I am envisioning. I assume what you are referring to is a website sort of complex? Anyway, feel free to share further ideas when you get opportunity.

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Did you check out the web sites I posted?

 

Not yet. The names suggest there are quite a number of groups out there. Your list is one of the things I used to make that statement.

 

Also, I have stumbled across web-rings but I don't fully understand how they work or what their purpose is. They seem to me like a mazeway where I just get lost with no real understanding of what I want, where I am, or where I'm going. So I have basically stayed away from them.

 

Jeff, I read your post all the way through. I understand your disillusionment. However, in my opinion two and a half years is not enough to make a dent in such an enormous problem. I would guess a minimum of ten years is required. And I have no idea at what point we are in those ten years. Maybe we're halfway through, maybe not even started, maybe three-quarter-ways through.

 

We're talking about a problem that has been in the making for nearly two centuries, and that has over the twentieth century deepened signficantly. And from where I sit it looks like we have not yet seen the worst of it. I say that because it keeps springing up in places I least expect. It seems still to be spreading.

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Harley, I looked at those websites. I'm not sure what you wanted me to get out of them. As I said above, there are a lot of groups out there. Most of them, but not all, are hardcore atheist and cost a fortune to join. There does not seem to be a global network out there like I was proposing. So what's the next step?

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Harley, I looked at those websites. I'm not sure what you wanted me to get out of them. As I said above, there are a lot of groups out there. Most of them, but not all, are hardcore atheist and cost a fortune to join. There does not seem to be a global network out there like I was proposing. So what's the next step?

Steal ideas from them... also look to affiliation.

 

If you're wishing to avoid hard core atheist, then you're looking toward New Thought or New Age, and those are usually syncretist. Pagans and Wiccans seem to be more militant anti-christian

 

First step - what is your target market? Atheist, mystic, Anti-Christian, New Age, New Thought, sceptics, Pagan, wiccan, Satanist? Sceptics can't share a room with mystics, new agers or new thought... tbh they can barely share a room with each other... Athiest humanist may be more syncretic but Athiest Sceptic is Evangelical, hard going, and will hijack the board into the image of every other sceptic site on the web. They're nearly as much of the Borg as a Panzer division of Fundies...

New Agers tend to be corpse fiddling, angel bothering, crystal wavers with a tarot deck in one hand and a horoscope rolled under their arm and New Thought-ers can usually quote vast tracts of Norman Vincent Peale and Napoleon Hill...

 

This is a pretty catholic mix...

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They don't count, they're Texans... The mujahideen of the Republic

 

Hey, I'm a Texan. We aren't all nuts. :Hmm::grin:

 

The only reason Austin still exists is to allow people to say that ;)

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I think a novel idea for combat would be a rallying point. I was typing out a long response outlining just such a thing, but I had a brain fart halfway through.

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I am not trying to put down this idea. The problem I see is that the nonbelieving group is, for this generation, from a political/societal stand point still very much in it's infancy.

 

And???

 

My suggestion would be to start a loosely organized group or society. We are all too spread out over the globe. Until you can have enough people to really organize in a local fasion, you are wasting your time.

 

Why does it have to be based on a local group? Why can't it just be a "share your ideas" website answering the question: What worked/didn't work for you in interacting with a Christian(s)?

 

That way each of us could act where we are. Next time someone is "held hostage" by a Christian, we could mentally scan the list of strategies that didn't work for others and possibly come up with a new strategy. Theoretically, the more things we collectively know that don't work, the less we are prone to repeat mistakes.

 

I'm not advocating a shooting war or anything. That doesn't work. Been tried in various forms throughout the ages. The Muslims and Christians have been at each other's throats since the day the Muslim religion began about 600 CE. They are probably in the best position, after the Roman Empire, to annihilate Christianity by force. And neither the Romans nor the Muslims have been able to do it. And anyway, we don't want the Romans and we don't want the Muslims. I'm just using them as examples of organizations that tried ridding the earth of Christianity by force. And it didn't work.

 

There may be pockets here and there, but it is not enough to really make that much of a difference on a world wide basis. You will have to stay around for 40 to 50 more years to really gain a strong intellectual foot hold.

 

I do plan to stay around that long but even if I don't, others can go ahead without me. It's not as if I was the creator of the universe or something. Why do you say it couldn't make a difference? Infiltration of the enemy camp has been known to work quite well in times past. We're already doing that. So why don't we just take it one step further and share all the things that worked or didn't work? That's the only thing that would have to be organized.

 

In the mean time, I think people like Richard Dawkins and Sam Harris, et al, and anyone who can do all the intellectual heavy lifting being organized into a beach head of sorts is the best situation for now. Ruby, you are ahead of your time...but admirable...

 

Well, okay, thanks. And I had forgotten about these guys and what they're doing. Thanks for reminding me. Maybe I could contact one of them and see where they think things should be going.

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I think the problem is that atheists and agnostics tend to be non-joiners and that is one reason why many left the church. There is an American Atheists association and the ACLU also. The only thing is, is that the ACLU is freedom for everyone, not just atheists. Fundy Christians tend to hate it because the ACLU includes non-Christians in its religious freedom and separation of church and state promotion.

 

I do think your idea has a lot of merit. You could start with a free website somewhere, like EZ-Board forums, and advertise it on places like this one to see if people come.

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I think the problem is that atheists and agnostics tend to be non-joiners and that is one reason why many left the church.

 

Yeah, maybe. What about the more than three thousand members on this site? Apparently we so-called nonjoiners do join things. But the way I now have it set up there is no more commitment required than here, if so much.

 

There is an American Atheists association and the ACLU also. The only thing is, is that the ACLU is freedom for everyone, not just atheists. Fundy Christians tend to hate it because the ACLU includes non-Christians in its religious freedom and separation of church and state promotion.

 

My vision is of a world free of fundies of all stripes. Not sure what such a world would look like. For example, what alternative evil will take its place? Or perhaps it is not too much to hope for a better world???

 

I do think your idea has a lot of merit. You could start with a free website somewhere, like EZ-Board forums, and advertise it on places like this one to see if people come.

 

Amethyst, thanks for the nudge. I'd been sort of wondering why I couldn't take on such a project. It just seemed that we needed someone with more professional expertise in the field, or more political weight in the world.

 

I did take your suggestion. I have now set up the barebones structure and I see Brother Jeff has already joined; he and I had a few pms. I've chosen for the time being not to disclose my gender, so if you want to do me a favour....I'm curious what life would be like if folks didn't know I was a woman. It probably shows through but I'm curious.

 

The forum is here. The name is Foundation For Fighting Fundamentalist Religion.

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Ruby Sera,

 

I've been interested in doing something like what you've been talking about for years. It seems to me that the religious right has all kinds of marketing campaigns, devices and activist tactics to get their message out ot the masses in a repetitive manner. Their are various x-tian organizations that use different apporaches to promoting their point of view. Ultimately I think the atheistic, scientific appraoch has to have a multipronged approach. But the one tactic that x-tians have used and that I think atheists can use effectively is the use of the web to post banners that lead to websites (I have seen fundies post banner on the New York Times and on the Scientific American asking to "click here" to, incredibly, find out the truth about evolution from a biblical perspective.) Its like stealth marketing -you lure the x-tian in and then bombard him in a non-threatening way with bible contradictions. Alternatively and perhaps more cheaply, imagine if we pooled our resources and purchased a x-tian e-mail list and e-mailed the "Gospel Quiz" from this website to thousands of x-tians asking them to "test your Biblical Knowledge." I think the response would be tremendous in that many would take the test because their ego would compel them. Of course when confronted with the failing scores, many would likely to question the contents of the bible. Even if they would not convert it might open their eyes a little. It is a powerful little qiz and it works. I know because I tried something similar on a devout catholic and he was taken aback by the contradictions of the bible.

 

 

An activist web-based organization that can develop tactics like this and marshall resources on a project basis is sorely needed. I have visted many non-religious websites and many are very good. But I unlike the x-tian sites which come to me on a daily basis, I never see skeptical sites unless I search them out. And the skeptical sites don't seem to engage in this kind of guerrilla marketing.

 

Actually getting started is the difficult part. It would be easier if an already existing organization would be willing to partner in your endeavor. I have some ideas on how to do this nad would be happy to discuss them.

 

Z

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This may seem like an incredibly silly idea, but I'll give it a go. :scratch:

 

I'm a geek, I go to anime convention so I can hang out with other geeks. Now I'm not calling anyone a geek, but what if after we gained a larger following we set up an annual convention. Once a year, once every two years.....whenever we had enough donations to do so.

It may seem silly, however talking online is great, but I've always thought that meeting face to face gives you a much better feel for the reality of the situation.

 

It would take a lot of work, and I know not all Ex-Cs are wealthy enough to buy a plane ticket and leave work to go to a meeting, but it might be worth a shot.

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I think the problem is that atheists and agnostics tend to be non-joiners and that is one reason why many left the church.

 

The ones who do join something seem to gravitate toward Unitarian Universalism. I was surprised when I starting going there the great number of Atheists who do go. They are there to belong to a community, and to help their fellow man, with food pantries and other charitable work.

 

I think the group that is being proposed here would need a central purpose, a rally point, if you will, to something more than just what we do on this site, which is bitch and moan, or laugh at fundies. I love that aspect of here, but I don't think that is a positive point to create a real world organization around. I'm just not into being connected to negative things or connotations now that I have dropped the concept of God completely, as I would have been even a couple months ago. Would not have even found this site in April without the EX in the name, but I don't view myself in the absense of a thing, but in the abundance that I have.

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