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My GMail account was compromised.

By the US government.

Whee.

I thought life couldn't get more surreal. whatever
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So ... I just realised this damn thing has the same username as a bunch of other places, meaning anyone looking up information on me on Google may well come across it. Dammit.

So, sod it. Let's add a real picture. Same as I've been giving the papers, actually. And although I don't expect anyone will be interested enough to read through what...
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ateh:
Hi anarchodin,

I have thoughts on your last comment to "NYT article: In a Crisis, Humanists Seem Absent" in the Atheism forum, but they are cultural and not really directly related to atheism so I thought I'd take them offline.

anarchodin said:
Fair enough. You're broadly right, but I think there's an interesting aspect that's missing. Iceland has a single denomination with 80%+ of the population providing the structure of "life event services" (social events relating to births, deaths, marriage and the like) which are therefore substantially homogeneous. Said denomination is attached to the state, and its head is a state functionary. (Separation of church and state? Wazzat?)

Surprisingly, in this environment, people care less about your religion or what church you belong to. It's not so much a matter of atheism being recognised as it is of nobody caring.



I am not surprised at all. I would say that Iceland is comfortable in its own shoes, because of shared cultural and religious background. That is good because it allows Iceland to accept - and then move beyond - its history.

By contrast, I am not sure such a thing is possible in the US. If the US government attempted to implement something like "life event services", there would be bloodshed here, and I am not joking. "Life events" belong to a person's religion and their god, and in that fact lies direct recognition of the heterogeneity of the beliefs and cultures of the people that live within the borders of the United States. This leaves atheists in a bit of a lurch, as they have no structure for life event services, since that is the domain of the church.

anarchodin said:
What troubles me is the same sort of phenomenon that happens in a number of other contexts: A strong fight for the acknowledgement of an identity runs directly counter to the goal of making the basis of that identity become an insignificant detail. It creates a community patterned towards asserting its identity rather than towards convincing others that this piece of identity is irrelevant. I (think I) understand why it happens, but that doesn't mean I'm not uneasy about it. There are two different types of diversity; the one where you have a number of groups, and the one where you have one group, composed of individuals with different characteristics. The diversity of the United States seems to me to be very much of the former sort. It seems problematic to me. (Of course, attempts to build the latter tend to be built on the concept of political nationalism, which is worse.)

In short: I'm a pessimist, that's why I'm troubled. biggrin



Fair enough. We are most definitely a country of groups. We aspire to be one group with many characteristics - "e pluribus unum" - but I agree with you that this is a lofty and probably unattainable goal. smile

anarchodin:


"Life events" belong to a person's religion and their god, and in that fact lies direct recognition of the heterogeneity of the beliefs and cultures of the people that live within the borders of the United States.



I think this is where the problem comes in. These events aren't religious in any meaningful sense; they are social. They're part of what defines a community. These sorts of services were taken over by religion precisely in order to extend their power and equate themselves with the community - quite successfully, in most cases. If atheists resolved the issue of not having these sorts of services, there'd still be a problem in that there's still no integrated community, only a series of different communities with varying religious beliefs.

Although, of course, when you have people insisting on "the God-given definition of marriage" it doesn't seem unreasonable to ask whether there can be any sort of community. But that's true even without the idea of shared structures for these "life events", I'd think...

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My friends' latest adventure. I wish I could say more. biggrin
nahp:
Hi sweetie!! Thank you very much for the love on my set Please, Don't hang up!!, I really appreciate your support Muack!! (a kiss in Spanish tongue)
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I don't have a lot of friends. Those I do, tend to be in strange places. Here's what a few of them have been busy with for the last few weeks:



Pretty sickening stuff, IMO.