Tag Archives: richard dawkins

US Military Celebrates National Day of Prayer

praydeployDespite one ill-fated and ill-willed attempt to keep some US troops from joining together in prayer, the US military celebrated the National Day of Prayer around the world.

Renowned Christian apologist Ravi Zacharias spoke at a National Prayer Breakfast gathering at Ramstein Air Base, Germany, to more than 300 US troops, their families, and civilians.  There and at a simultaneous symposium he talked on ‘Where is God in Suffering?’ and  Read more

The Religion of Life’s Origin

Any guesses as to who said this?

You can’t even begin to understand biology, you can’t understand life, unless you understand what it’s all there for, how it arose…So I would teach [it] very early in childhood. I don’t think it’s all that difficult to do. It’s a very simple idea. One could do it with the aid of computer games and things like that.

I think it needs serious attention, that children should be taught where they come from, what life is all about, how it started, why Read more

Rock Beyond Belief 3 Headed to Japan

The US Army facility at Camp Zama, Japan, recently hosted the 53rd annual “Bon Odori Festival:”

The festival is consistently the largest bilateral event of the year for U.S. Army Japan, this year attracting more than 30,000 visitors to the installation. This year’s Bon Odori featured live entertainment, games for children, a variety of ethnic foods, bilateral sports, and a fireworks show.

While that sounds benign enough, it turns out this was actually a huge religious celebration:

Bon season is a Buddhist holiday that honors the departed spirits of one’s ancestors. The tradition dates back more than 500 years.

Relying on the ever-accurate Wikipedia:

Bon Odori originates from the story of Maha Maudgalyayana (Mokuren), a disciple of the Buddha, who used his supernatural powers to look upon his deceased mother. He discovered she had fallen into the Realm of Hungry Ghosts and was suffering. Greatly disturbed, he went to the Buddha and asked how he could release his mother…The disciple, happy because of his mother’s release and grateful for his mother’s kindness, danced with joy. From this dance of joy comes Bon Odori or “Bon Dance”, a time in which ancestors and their sacrifices are remembered and appreciated.

Naturally, some military atheists will see this as a vast, unconstitutional government conspiracy to give preferential support to Read more

Fort Bragg Hosts Uneventful Atheist Festival

Fort Bragg’s Rock Beyond Belief passed quietly last Saturday.  While organizers had predicted a crowd of 5,000, Richard Dawkins, the main draw of the event whose “sell out” crowds were the justification for the attendance forecast, ultimately spoke to only “a couple hundred” spectators.  Photos of the event show Aiden, the musical act originally billed as Dawkins’ lead-in, playing to only a few dozen who had stuck out the day.  It also appeared the military base was hosting a largely civilian crowd.

Rain early in the day may have affected attendance, much as the heat affected the Christian Rock the Fort the atheist event was meant to protest.  Rock the Fort reportedly drew 3,000 to 4,000 of the forecast 10,000 (and the atheists had been quick to mock the attendance numbers of the Billy Graham Evangelical Association event).

Interestingly, Col Sicinski was on site of the event and indicated the event wasn’t the controversy it may have been made out to be:  Read more

NPR, Richard Dawkins, Negative Atheism, and Rock Beyond Belief

NPR’s Barbara King has an interesting article on Richard Dawkins and the upcoming Reason Rally, wondering out loud if Dawkins might actually undermine the stated purpose of the event:

According to a press release, the rally is to be a celebration, and its chief mission is to “combat negative stereotypes about nonreligious Americans.”

Why question Dawkins?  He’s known to be critical, “hurtful and harsh” — “an especially scathing critic” — in other words, he embodies the negative stereotype of the scornful atheist the rally says it is trying to dispel.

If NPR questions Dawkins’ negative stereotype in his role at the Reason Rally — where the only risk is alienating some willing listeners — is there any wonder there are questions about Dawkins’ role a week later at Rock Beyond Belief?  There, he’ll step foot on the US Army’s Fort Bragg, where Dawkins will be required to avoid the acerbic criticism King — a self-described Dawkins admirer — seems to think is unavoidable Read more

Rock Beyond Belief Drops “Atheist Anthem” from Website

In what appears to be a site-wide revamping, Rock Beyond Belief — the atheist counter-event to the Christian Rock the Fort — has dropped the controversial Aiden song that recently caused a media firestorm from its website.  The YouTube video was originally called an “atheist anthem” and was the only introduction to the band on the site, though after FoxNews highlighted it organizer Justin Griffith said they would not be performing that particular song.

Also absent is the plea for civilians (“as many people as possible”) to come to the event.  A recent article quoted Justin Griffith saying he “counts about 100” atheists at Fort Bragg, meaning he is likely relying on the event to draw far more civilians than members of the military.  For a rough comparison, the Fort Bragg chapels host about 2,000 congregants in 17 services every week (both Christian and not); the Christian Rock the Fort had an estimated attendance of 3-4,000.

In another interesting twist, a revealing but obscure comment was made by a pseudonymed military officer presenting himself as part of Rock Beyond Belief Read more

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