Aug 152014
 

Keeping you up to date with our board meeting discussions!

2014 SEA BOD banner

Bus Ads:
We are getting ever closer to our bus ad goal, with designs falling into place and funding going well.  We’re still about $1000 short, so every small amount will bring us closer now.   You can donate on our merchandise/membership tab.   We’ve also given ourselves a deadline of August 31st for our design, so we will be submitting and looking for approval from Ad Standards Canada on that date.

This is one example of a design we’re playing around with, this was done quickly with free clip art images, so could be refined by taking more time to look for images.  Have a design for us?

Fairy tales

 

 

Merchandise Sale!

We’re selling Grey T-shirts at 50% off.  Grab a bargain for $10 (while they last) and be a walking advertisment for atheism.  If you are interested in purchasing one (we have medium and large sizes available) they will be available at upcoming book club and roundtable events, or you can let us know via email or on the facebook group page.

Grey shirt back

 
Outreach Ideas

We’ve been approached by someone from Alpha Canada, and were wondering if anyone would like to take this course?  It’s free, we would meet every week for a 2-3 hour presentation and it lasts for 8 weeks.  If you are interested please let one of the board know so we can decide if we want to go ahead.

Other than that, we’ve been talking about more outreach events, like Ask An Atheist day at churches or even holding our own Atheism 101 class that would be open to the public and answer general questions about what being an atheist is.   Do you have an idea of where we can do outreach?

ask an atheist
Special Guests

Save the Date!  Dr. Richard Carrier is coming to town!

Richard Carrier, Ph.D., is a philosopher and historian, specializing in contemporary philosophy of naturalism and Greco-Roman philosophy, science, and religion, including the origins of Christianity. He blogs regularly and lectures for community groups worldwide. He is the author of Sense and Goodness without GodOn the Historicity of JesusProving HistoryWhy I Am Not a ChristianNot the Impossible Faith, and Hitler Homer Bible Christ, as well as chapters in several other books and articles in academic journals, and his namesake blog. For more about Dr. Carrier and his work see www.richardcarrier.info.

He’ll be coming on Sunday September 21st to speak about  ”The Arguments For and Against the Resurrection Of Jesus”.   We do intend on opening this event up to local church groups if they are interested.   Keep up to date on this event by visiting our website regularly for specific details or you can request to be added to our email list by contacting us.

Carrier take one

 Posted by at 4:42 PM
Aug 112014
 

If you are thinking about attending the University of Alberta in the fall here is a course you might be interested in.   The classes run Mondays, Wednesdays, and Fridays from 10am – 10:50am and are taught by PhD Candidate History and Classics,  Lara Apps.    This is a for-credit course and can also be taken through open studies.

The course description is as follows:
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Is atheism a modern phenomenon? Is modernity quintessentially atheist?  Did atheism help create the modern world? We will engage critically with these recent claims through an exploration of the development of
atheism in Europe from the fifteenth century to the late nineteenth century. We will also consider the relationship between atheism and critiques of the social, political, and moral order. A general  knowledge of European history is recommended, and students should be prepared to participate in class discussions. The course readings will  include several primary sources in English translation.
Atheism course UofA

 More information on how to register for classes at the University can be found on their website.

 Posted by at 10:17 AM
Aug 082014
 

An Anti-gay group managed to hide their true intentions at the Vancouver Pride Parade this past weekend by passing themselves off as an atheist group from Calgary.

Bill Whatcott belongs to a Evangelical Christian activist group who managed to garner a spot in the parade on August 3rd by registering as the Calgary Church of The Flying Spaghetti Monster.  Bill , who has ties to Edmonton having attended Grant MacEwan University, wore a t-shirt that said ”The Flying Spaghetti Monster is Gay”.   To not raise suspicions, the group went as far as creating a fake website complete with a fake contact phone number to ensure they would be approved a spot in the parade.   During the parade, the group handed out ”condoms”…which actually contained gospel verses condeming homosexuality, along with stories of how Jesus has set homosexuals free,  along with instructions on how to contact the Vancouver Pride committee to tell them about how harmful the homosexual lifestyle is.

To hide their true agenda, if someone was close to blowing their cover by opening the fake condom, they quickly exchanged it for a Trojan condom.

Bill fake group

According to a report by the National Post in February of this year, Bill has already had previous court dates regarding this exact type of behaviour.   The Supreme Court of Canada upheld a hate speech charge against him which included a penalty of $17, 500 and a warning that if he kept spreading hate messages it could lead to contempt of court and jail.    In April of this year he was arrested again on a count of mischief for protesting outside of the University of Regina with signs that read ”Sodomy is a sin” and pro-life messages.     Bill justifies his actions on his website by quoting scripture and relaying stories from the bible where deception was approved of by God when doing God’s work.

The SEA want to make it abundantly clear that we are not affiliated with this group and do not in any way condone or support the message that Bill Whatcott and his members conveyed at the Pride Parade in Vancouver.    In fact NO atheist /secular groups in Alberta are affiliated with this group, despite their fake group name being somewhat similar.   Some (but not limited to) of the legitimate atheist and secular organisations in Alberta are:  CFI Calgary, The Calgary Secular Church,  University of Calgary Freethinkers, University of Alberta Atheists and Agnostics, Grant MacEwan Heathens and Friends,  and the Secular Humanists of Alberta.

It is a concern that the Calgary Pride Parade is in a few weeks time, we do hope that either he is arrested again by that stage, doesn’t have plans to show up or hasn’t managed to secure a spot **.   The Center For Inquiry does have a spot in the parade and they should be recognizable by their banner, which was published this week.

(**edit to add:  it has been brought to my attention that it was unkind and somewhat ridiculous to wish he be arrested , and I just wanted to say that yes,  I threw that comment out there without much thought.  As he is already going against what court orders have been given to him, I assumed the next course of action would now be another arrest (as stated in the National Post report) so was following that thought process through.  My intent  with that statement was my hope he will be unable to find his way into the Calgary Pride Parade)

CFI-Pride-1

In the meanwhile, let’s take this opportunity to spread a message of acceptance instead of hatred and donate to either the Pride Centre of Edmonton or the Calgary Pride groups.  We all thoroughly enjoy walking and showing our support in the Pride Parades annually, and we sincerely hope this will not hinder our future participation.

 Posted by at 8:51 AM
Aug 072014
 

Hopefully many of you were aware of the kickstarter fundraiser to help fund a documentary on Nathan Phelps and his story about growing up inside the Westboro Baptist Church, his father, and how he left the church.   The way kickstarter fundraising works is that you have to reach your goal amount to recieve any of the donations, and sadly, they fell short.   The project team: Brad Johnson, Jason Badgett, Terrie Johnson, and Sam Billen,  are now looking for funding directly by donation to Nate’s website.

NotMyFathersSon_ProfilePic

Picture and quote from Nate’s website used with permission

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“Not My Father’s Son” will chronicle Nate’s story from the years of physical, emotional and mental abuse he suffered at the hands of his father from a young age through his journey toward healing to his subsequent and current fight for justice and equality for all people.

Nate’s father Fred was the founder of the Westboro Baptist Church in Topeka, Kansas, prior to his death in 2014. The church is known worldwide for its stance against homosexuality, and is defined by its trademark slogan, “God Hates Fags.” Nate’s escape from the abusive and hateful environment in which he was raised coupled with his quest to break the cycle of abuse and hate for future generations create a poignant and powerful theme for the film.

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Nathan now lives in Calgary, Alberta and SEA were fortunate to have him come up and march with us in the Pride Parade this past summer.  Let’s help out and see this documentary completed by visiting his website to find out more information, and to donate!

 Posted by at 10:07 AM
Aug 062014
 

The SEA was very pleased to have had Tracie Harris from The Atheist Experience speak to us via skype at roundtable this month!   What a great way to interact with other atheists from around the world and the feedback from the attendees was that it was well recieved and a fabulous discussion.  This opens new avenues for who we can have as guest speakers now and we’ll definitely be using this as a method for roundtable discussions in the future.
Tracie Harris Skype

Tracie spoke to us about analogies that can be used when discussing certain arguments with theists.  I think my favourite one was the micro/macro stalactite argument which helps explain evolution.  Thanks so much Tracie for taking the time out for us, we appreciated it!

 Posted by at 1:54 PM
Aug 052014
 

So we’re at a bit of a crossroads with the bus ads.  We are still in need of some funds (although I have been promised a substantial donation from a few people we don’t physically have them yet), however we are moving much closer to our goal of $8000.  We also are trying to get Ad Standards Canada to approve our ad, which is what Edmonton Transit and Pattison have asked from us.

btn_donate_LG on our membership and merchandise page. 

The crossroads?

We know what the ad should say, but we need artwork.   We’re looking for some graphic artists or help creating the background image for our ad, do you have a hidden talent and want to help?

The ad should include our message  ”Godless?  Good!”  and a call for action by asking them to ”Join us!”.   Ideally we’ll have our website address and our logo included in the ad as well.  The background image should be catchy, but also tie into our message.   If we garner any media attention from this, we want the media to reuse our actual ad, rather than just describing it, so the graphic is important.   We have discussed a few ideas but aren’t sure these are attention grabbers.

BUS AD IDEA 1 Godless bus ad 2
I’m waiting to hear back from Pattison about the exact dimensions required, we’re waiting to hear from ad standards as well…but for now we can move ahead by finalizing what we want the ad to look like.  If you think you’d like to take a stab at it, you can find our logo HERE to use.  If you use an image you find on the internet please make sure it is copyright free!

Please submit your ideas to our facebook group or page, or in an email to info@edmontonatheists.ca.   Thanks for helping us grow our group and help other atheists out there know they are not alone!

 Posted by at 1:49 PM
Aug 042014
 

Grey T-shirts are on sale (limited quantity)!!

We have medium and large unisex gray t-shirts available for $10, while quantities last.   They will be available tomorrow evening at our regular roundtable event, and at other upcoming events if there are still quantities left.  Great opportunity to get a SEA shirt!

Grey shirt backGrey shirt

 Posted by at 9:16 PM
Jul 062014
 
Caring for Alberta's Highways: Society of Edmonton Atheists

Caring for Alberta’s Highways: Society of Edmonton Atheists

A few years ago, the SEA adopted a section of the QE II highway; we make sure it gets cleaned, and the province puts our name on a sign. The first set of days we’re cleaning this year is this Saturday and Sunday, from 9-11:30am (the early times avoid us being out there when it’s sweltering hot).

If you can offer a carpool, or need a carpool, please contact us, or if you’re on the Facebook group, post a notice on the event (Saturday, Sunday)

Meeting Location, 9am:
South end of the Sparrow Drive Service Road in Nisku, at the cul-de-sac just south of the Blackjacks Roadhouse.

SEA will supply:

  • Safety vests (but please bring one if you have one)
  • Water
  • Garbage Bags
  • Some work gloves (bring your own if you have a pair)

Volunteers should bring:

  • Ski pole, or stick with nail on end to pick up garbage
  • Sunscreen/hat/sunglasses – be prepared for the weather
  • Bug spray
  • Work gloves (latex gloves are not suitable)
Jun 182014
 

For awhile now we have been asking for submissions for our website, stories about your deconversion or anything creative you would like to share with us like drawings or poems.    A lady named Sharon came by book club one night to pass along her story to me, and it reminded me a lot of how we all take different types of journeys on our way to atheism.   Sharon isn’t quite in the atheist camp yet, but has left her Christianity behind.  While reading this I tried to relate to the stages I went through (even though I was never a Christian I did believe in ghosts/supernatural/afterlife at one point).   Can you remember a stage like that for you?  What helped you move from agnostic to atheist?   Did it take you a longer time to let go of the idea of a ”soul” and than the idea of a God?  If you consider yourself agnostic, does any of this resonate with you, or do you have a different view?

Here is her story, which I’m sure is always subject to change as she leaves her faith behind.  Thank you for sharing with us Sharon!

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Continue reading »

 Posted by at 9:10 AM
Jun 152014
 

Summer Solstice Party bannerThe summer solstice is almost here again! Officially, it’s Saturday, June 21, 2014 at 4:51 AM in Edmonton. Since we’re a fan of picnics and potlucks, we’ll be celebrating it about 12 hours later in Coronation Park.

Where: The location is the RED canopy (Site #1) at Coronation Park (between Westmount Mall and Telus World of Science). Click here for a map. Parking is by the community hall on the north end of the park, however, you can drive around the loop and drop things off at the picnic site.

When: Saturday, June 21, starting a 4pm, and continuing until everyone leaves. We have a canopy, so this will be rain or shine. As last year demonstrated, even if Old Strathcona is experienceing torrential downpours and high winds, Coronation Park can have lovely weather.

What: Since this a potluck, picnic, fun social time, and all that good stuff, here’s what you should bring:

  • Hat, sunscreen, bug spray and other weather-appropriate summer items
  • Food: bring about as much food and non-alcoholic beverages as you think you (or you and your family) will eat over a course of a few hours. Salads, snacks, dips, desserts, and cold casseroles, and other typical potluck foods are great. Don’t worry too much about whether there will be duplicate dishes, we’ve never had a problem yet.
  • BBQ: There are wood BBQs and fire pits, so feel free to bring your own meat or veggies to cook up. Please remember to bring fire-safe utensils for cooking it.
  • Games: bubbles, balls, croquet, kites, whatever you think would be fun.

The SEA will provide disposable plates, cups, utensils, and napkins for everyone, although you can bring your own if you really want. We’ll also have a scavenger hunt for the younger kids, like last year.

Help: We will need a few volunteers. Please contact us if you can help with one of these:

  • A cooler with ice for drinks
  • A cooler with ice for meats, or other perishables
  • Some firewood, kindling, and lighter (not a lot, think file-box sized)
  • Help during the picnic with the scavenger hunt