Recently my friends and I had a “theological raclette” - we met and had raclette whilst discussing religion and related questions. Our group consisted of three atheists (my girlfriend and me amongst them), one agnostic, two people that were vaguely pagan/Wicca, two Catholics and a general non specific Christian.
We all wore badges with our name and what we believed in, the pictures are of mine and my girlfriend’s.
The evening was great - we discussed various topics (how our beliefs developed over the years, abortion, the separation of church and state…) and stayed respectful throughout. We are all still friends and I actually feel like I got to know some of them a little better.
So yes - it is possible to disagree about religion, the church and whether or not there is an afterlife without condemning or ridiculing each other - especially if you’re consuming big quantities of cheese, potatoes and wine during the discussion.

friendlyatheist:

My atheistic philosophy in a nutshell.

-FA

When I first saw this on “The Colbert Report” I was overwhelmed by the depth and intelligence of this man’s comedy.

As atheists know, you can be good without God →

A very good introduction to the question of religion and morality by Jerry A. Coyne in USA today.

BBC article on the Bilderberberg "Conspiracy" →

A very interesting article about conspiracy theories and the mechanisms that underlie them especially connections between conspiracy theories and religious belief and antisemitism.

I would argue that conspiracy theories ultimately satisfy the same needs as religion - to make sense of the world, to give us simple, black and white solutions - disregarding all lack of evidence for them.

Theories of New Atheism leadership's problem with excess weight →

Yes this IS real. Comedian Dara O’Brien’s tweets earlier lead me to this - and it seems that the whole of “Conservapedia” is just hilarious!

I happen to be slightly overweight, but that has been subject to change over the past two years. After I became an atheist I actually lost about 5 kg before gaining them again a year later.

I am taking measures against my extra pounds and go to a gym with a friend, who is like me slightly overweight, but unlike me she is also religious!

Also see the hilarious general article on Atheism and Obesity.

Why superstitions work

Ever since I was fourteen years old I have been involved in some sort of amateur theatre - first at school and another drama group, for the past year also at university.

When you join any theatre group you quickly learn about the myriad superstitions actors have: Purple is an unlucky colour, it is unlucky to mention the name “Macbeth” unless one has to on stage, it is unlucky to wish someone “good luck” for a performance, instead one says “break a leg” and the actor must not say thank you when somebody does etc. Some people get really worked up about this especially when a performance is coming up and they have stage fright, but most of the people I worked with on stage didn’t take the superstitions too serious.

The thing about actor’s superstitions and also some certain rituals (wearing the same socks for each opening night, hugging each other before going on stage and spitting over the others’ shoulder etc) is that they a) take one’s mind off the anxiety and they b) strenghten the ties between the cast members, which is essential for a good performance.

This is all well if one confides it to the backstage area and does it in an ironic way - but essentially organized religion is not that different. A set of beliefs and rituals that take one’s mind off the fear of death and strengthen the ties between individuals. Only that religious people are unable to take a step back and see their beliefs as what they are - and therefore there is also no irony in it, and that’s where it stops being funny.

PS: By the way my university’s drama group is currently performing - last night was opening night. It went well, I didn’t forget my lines and the audience loved it. Tonight is another performance - wish me luck! Yes do wish me good luck - Thank You!