From The Friendly Atheist:
How does one actually go about having an atheist de-baptism ceremony?
I attended one in Westerville, Ohio over the weekend and I can now tell you about all the ceremonial details.
It begins with some words from Acting President of American Atheists, Frank Zindler:
â€œDo you agree that the magical potency of todayâ€™s ceremony is exactly equal to the magical efficacy of ceremonial baptism with dihydrogen monoxide, and do you agree that the power of all magical ceremonies is nonexistent?â€
Then, everyone responds with a booming, â€œAmen!â€
From Collected Thoughts (But I’m fairly certain this is an excerpt from Surely You’re Joking Mr. Feynman)
One day, two or three of the young rabbis came to me and said, “We realize that we can’t study to be rabbis in the modern world without knowing something about science, so we’d like to ask you some questions.”
Of course there are thousands of places to find out about science, and Columbia University was right near there, but I wanted to know what kinds of questions they were interested in.
They said, “Well, for instance, is electricity fire?”
“No,” I said, “but… what is the problem?”
They said, “In the Talmud it says you’re not supposed to make fire on a Saturday, so our question is, can we use electrical things on Saturdays?”
I was shocked. They weren’t interested in science at all! The only way science was influencing their lives was so they might be able to interpret better the Talmud! They weren’t interested in the world outside, in natural phenomena; they were only interested in resolving some question brought up in the Talmud.
And then one day- I guess it was a Saturday- I want to go up in the elevator, and there’s a guy standing near the elevator. The elevator comes, I go in, and he goes in with me. I say, “Which floor?” and my hand’s ready to push one of the buttons.
“No, no!” he says, “I’m supposed to push the buttons for you.”
“Yes! The boys here can’t push the buttons on Saturday, so I have to do it for them. You see, I’m not Jewish, so it’s all right for me to push the buttons. I stand near the elevator, and they tell me what floor, and I push the button for them.”
Well, this really bothered me, so I decided to trap the students in a logical discussion. I had been brought up in a Jewish home, so I knew the kind of nitpicking logic to use, and I thought, “Here’s fun!”
Augustus was touring his Empire and noticed a man in the crowd who bore a striking resemblance to himself. Intrigued he asked: “Was your mother at one time in service at the Palace?” “No your Highness,” he replied, “but my father was.” (Credited to the Emporer Augustus 63 BC â€“ 29 AD)
The Blue Lotus (French: Le Lotus bleu), first published in 1936, is one of The Adventures of Tintin, a series of classic comic-strip albums written and illustrated by HergÃ© featuring young reporter Tintin as a hero. It is a sequel to Cigars of the Pharaoh, with Tintin continuing his struggle against a major gang of drug smugglers. He also becomes involved in the resistance to the Japanese invasion of China. The Blue Lotus is a pivotal work in HergÃ©’s career, moving away from the stereotype and loosely connected stories and marking a new found commitment to geographical and cultural accuracy.
(via Information Junk)
This is all the religion that I have; to make somebody else
happier if I can.
Robert Green Ingersoll – “Unitarian Club” (1892)