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» Past Events in and around Silicon Valley: 2002 and 2001 «

Sunday, December 15, 2002 at Mitchell Park, 3800 Middlefield Rd in Palo Alto

ASV and the Humanist Community celebrated another trip around the sun with a Solstice Dinner.

Sunday Dec. 8, 2002: Brodcast Debate "Does God exist?"

Mike Newdow was the Atheist half. It was sponsored by the Church Communication Network. This is a company that does satellite broadcasts to churches, for $1100/year per church. If you don't know, Mike is the guy behind the ruling that declared the phrase "under God" to be unconstitutional in the Pledge of Allegiance.

Thursday, December 5, 2002: Social Meeting

We did some Solstice Caroling at the houses of several members of the Humanist Community.
It was surprisingly great fun -- with brownies, tea and coffee supplied where we visited.
Many thanks to Chris for creating this.

Friday thru Sunday, November 22 - 24, 2002: FFRF 2002 Convention in San Diego

It was a great event!

Sunday, November 24, 2002: Rev. Barry Lynn, Executive Director, Americans United For Separation of Church & State
"Politics, Patriotism, and Religion: Dangerous Mixtures Ahead"

also Kriss Worthington, Berkeley City Councilperson and Sponsor of a Nationwide Resolution confronting the "Patriot Act"
"Challenging the 'Patriot Act' Locally"

Thursday, November 21, 2002 in Mtn. View

Report on the godless March on Washington.

Saturday, November 9, 2002: another session of The Garrison-Martineau Project

The Garrison-Martineau project is intended to get everyday people
from both sides of the “culture war” together in small groups to let
them see and be seen as human beings. In order to create solutions to
problems facing society, we have to be able to sit down at the table
with everyone and hammer out proposals everyone can live with. It is
impossible to do this if we cannot see everyone else at the table as
human beings with human concerns which must be addressed. (This is, of
course, a long term goal -- all the more reason to start now!)

If you are interested in future events, please email Chris and let her
know. We understand the risks inherent in having the “conversation
mother always warned you about.” Religion and politics can lead to
brawls at the dinner table. However, we have proved in our first pilot
last June that it can be done. We have carefully planned this event to
further understanding of one another. This pilot will involve about 25
people. This group of 25 will split into five groups of 5 each, with
two Christians and two atheists or humanists, plus one trained facilitator.

For more info: The Garrison-Martineau Project

Thursday, November 7, 2002: Social Meeting

Report on the study of Atheists, that many of us participated in.

SATURDAY, November 2, 2002 in Washington, DC.

We went to the godless March on Washington.
Jim Walker's list of pictures
Lydia and Mark and our banner (This picture was on TV!)
You can order a videotape from CSPAN, by calling 1-877-662-7726.

Wednesday, October 16, 2002: "The 10,000 Christs & the Evaporating Jesus."

Dave Fitzgerald, of the San Francisco Atheists, spoke to us.
Out of the many historians that lived in the first century C.E., none wrote anything refering to Jesus. The only source left is the buybull, and it has many internal inconsistencies. The closer we look the more Jesus seems to be just a mythical person -- until the historical Jesus just evaporates.

Sunday, October 13, 2002 in Milpitas, 3 - 5 PM. Muslim symposium on "Is Religion a Product of Human Imagination?"

Location: Ahmadiyya Muslim Mosque, 926 Evans Road, Milpitas, CA 95035

Our Bryan was the Atheist representative.

Each of the three speakers had 20 minutes for his talk. After the speakers' talks, the moderator opened the floor for Q&A and panel discussion.
Refreshments and an informal exchange of ideas followed the symposium.
A big revelation (for me, anyway) disclosed here was that many Christians do not consider Christianity to be a religion. It's really just a relationship with Christ!
Surprisingly, Bryan and the Christian minister agreed that religion is a product of the human imagination. Of course, that's with the minister's caveat that Christianity is not a religion (It's a "relationship.") Aren't they special!

Will any of the religionists actually deign to challenge their comfortable superstitions by being curious about Bryan's blasphemous ideas?

Christian minister explaining God's love
Muslim minister explaining Islam
Discussion and snacks afterwards

Sunday, October 6, 2002 in San Jose
"Family Values" concert, featuring Dan Barker of the Freedom From Religion Foundation

Location: Le Petit Trianon Theatre in San Jose (72 N 5th St)

Dan Barker of the Freedom From Religion Foundation lead a "Family values" concert of freethought music.
He is the Public Relations Director of FFRF, a former Christian minister and songwriter, and author of “Losing Faith in Faith”.
Dan sang his songs of love (of all humankind) and praise (for the separation of church and state).
The non-religious and religious of our community were invited.
The Humanist Community co-sponsored this event with us.
A video tape of the talk is available from Atheist Video Productions, in Silicon Valley.

Dan on camera

Saturday, September 28, 2002 in San Francisco.

The Rally For The Wall Between Church & State, in San Francisco

All the Atheist and Humanist groups in BACOR - the Bay Area Communities of Reason, plus Americans United and the ACLU, came together for the Rally for the Wall Between Church and State in San Francisco's Justin Herman Plaza. We showed our support for the Constitution, and that we were appalled by the media coverage after the pledge decision. Pagans, Unitarians and even Christians who support the separation, were there -- because we needed to show that a wide diversity of people support the wall. We even had a 7th Day Adventist join us -- they suffered under the Sunday blue laws. The Founding Fathers came and spoke in their own words about their intentions (in costume, of course). It was big.

Pictures by Ed

Wednesday, September 18, 2002

We watched "The God Monologue" by Julia Sweeney of SNL fame. (She was the androgynous, nerdy character Pat.)
"Sweeney recounts her intellectual transformation from strict religious belief to secular skepticism, and along the way touches on some of the deepest questions any of us can ask ourselves. Told with intelligence and humor."

Thursday, September 5, 2002

We had a De-Baptism Ceremony!
This was especially for those of us who feel we were baptised in error -- either before we were old enough to think for ourselves, or before we woke up and our "baloney detector" started working. We found a way to turn back the clock, by formalizing our break with religion. It was fun. It was therapeutic.

No special clothing was necessary. The ceremony involved one hairdryer - but beyond that, we're not telling.

Thursday, August 22, 2002

The Conversation Mother Warned You About!
About 150 folks turned out to hear Dr. Michael Newdow explained the intricacies of challenging the government on first ammendment issues, and a community panel discovered that it is possible to discuss politics and religion without spoiling Aunt Edna's Sunday dinner!

As you know, the 9th Circuit pledge decision created a firestorm of interest around separation of state and church, and we feel the best way to defuse a firestorm is by creating awareness in the community about the diversity of views we have, and allow more talk, rather than less. I was very pleased with the composition of the panel -- a wonderful combination of activists, spiritual leaders and practical thinkers. Our atheist representative was be Dave Kong, the California state director for American Atheists and a co-plaintif in a lawsuit concerning the sale of the Mt. Davidson cross in San Francisco. We had two Christian representatives: Mark Porter, the founder of Valley Bible Church in Pleasanton, and Bruce Hahne, a Palo Alto resident and producer of New Visions. We were pleased to welcome Asha Praver, the spiritual minister of the Ananda Sangha,a community based on the teachings of Paramhansa Yogananda and using both the Bible and the Bhagavad Gita as guides.

Pictures from the discussion are available on American Atheists website.

A video tape of the talk is available from Atheist Video Productions, in Silicon Valley.

Thursday,July 18, 2002: David Cortesi spoke about his book "Secular Wholeness".

See his website at
The Humanist Community co-sponsored this event with us.
A video tape of the talk is available from Atheist Video Productions, in Silicon Valley.

July 4, 2002:

A group of us went to the fireworks show in San Jose and handed out flyers for David Cortesi's talk.

Thursday, June 13, 2002:

Bill Jacobsen of The Humanist Community spoke on "Humanism as the Next Step"

Thursday, June 6, 2002: Social meeting.

We experienced the famous internet play "Kissing Hank's Ass" by Jim Huber! This play says everything I've always wanted to say about religion, holy books and strange taboos but was not funny enough by half to think of. The evening featured the "Atheist Players".

Feel free to read the text of the play on Jim Huber's website

Thursday, May 16, 2002: "The Philosophical Implications of Science, and The Implications of Science to God"

David Seaborg, son of the Nobel Prize-winning chemist Glenn Seaborg, spoke at the Lucy Stern Community Center in Palo Alto.
He discussed the fact that science can explain the evolution of the Universe from the Big Bang to intelligent life without a god may render god superfluous.
Here's more on David Seaborg and his talk. This was a fascinating talk.
The Humanist Community co-sponsored this event with us.
A video tape of the talk is available from Atheist Video Productions, in Silicon Valley.
Here are more sites about David Seaborg and his works:

Thursday, Apr 18, 2002: Anniversary PARTY!!

We celebrated the first anniversary of Atheists of Silicon Valley with a great pot luck dinner, and a review of our accomplishments of the past year.

Thursday, Apr 4, 2002: Atheist Trivial Pursuit

We played in teams and had fun with the multiple-guess questions.

Thursday, March 21, 2002: "The Evolution of Creationism: Current Strategies and Tactics"

Skip Evans, the Network Project Director at the National Center for Science Education explained the difference between the young earthers, the old earthers and the newly evolved "intelligent designers" and -- how they do and do not always work together. We also got a preview of the battle brewing now in Ohio.

Thank you, Skip, for a very knowledgeable presentation!

Thursday, March 7, 2002: "How to Write a 'Killer' Letter to the Editor"

Rich Collins and Dave Mandell teamed up to explain the nefarious secrets of letter writing. As you know, scarcely a month goes by when Dave Mandell's name does not grace the edtiorial section of the Argus. We heard our "dynamic duo" help give us at head start on the letter we've been meaning to write.

Thursday, Feb. 21, 2002: Local Atheist Patron "Saint" James Lick

Jim Heldberg, the founder of San Francisco Atheists, told us about this famous San Francisco atheist and founder of the famous Lick Observatory on Mt. Hamilton.
Here is more on James Lick.

Thursday, Feb. 7, 2002: Love & Lust Atheist Style

In honor of the pagan love-fest, Lupercalia - now named after St. Valentine (wouldn't St. Valentine be horrified), we hosted our first ever Atheist-Love panel.

Couples Lydia & Mark and Richard & Barbara proved that atheists are about more than just critical thinking! Thanks to our wonderful panel and their honesty about love, passion and dealing with our significant others.

Thursday, Jan 17, 2002: Close Encounters with Creationists

This was a huge success! Thank you Bryan, our own expert on Creationists! Bryan shared his secrets in how to deal with Creationists: simple, specific, singular and without other explanation. Taking a page from the Creationist book, Bryan recommends pointing to one specific example of natural phenomenon which cannot be explained any other way. He has had numerous email conversations with Creationists who maintain a web presence. He even played the Creationist at the meeting and let members try to "win him over".

We had so many great compliments on this meeting. Thank you again Bryan!

We were on TV!

On January 11th, KTEH public television hosted a LIVE TV AUCTION for Channel 54 in San Jose...the Great Travel & Leisure Auction! We were on hand to staff the phones. Thanks to everyone who came. It made a difference. Not only did we give back to the community and participate in a worthy cause, but we also got publicity. Since we had more than 15 volunteers, they announced our group on the air! Thanks for everyone who came and a special thanks to Gary Berger for organizing.

Thursday, Jan 3, 2002: Book Discussion on Dan Barker's "Losing Faith in Faith"

Thanks to everyone who came to our first book discussion. It was a lot of fun and a lively discussion. We explored many questions about how and why it is that someone who is in his 30's can and does suddenly lose faith - and how that is either different or the same as some of our experiences.

Sunday December 23, 2001: The Solstice Party at 1 pm with the Humanists Was a Great Success

Thanks everyone for coming to our big bash with the Humanist Community of Palo Alto! The party was a huge success. The food was good. The Humanists can really cook and the solstice cake we arranged was great. It had a large bright sun on it. Dave Mandell brought his harmonica and we had a great time singing solstice songs. Brave volunteers became the "Atheist-Humanist" players and enacted Chris Lindstrom's new skit "The First Solstice"

The Singing Solstice Tree: December 6, 2001 - Loads of Fun

Thanks everyone for coming to sing solstice carols by our Solstice Tree at our last social meeting - December 6th. It was pretty loud, in general, at the park, but we had a lot of fun and sang loudly. Afterwards, we had some hot chocolate and ginger snaps on some benches nearby.

People said they liked having a meeting away from the clubhouse and we should do more of them.
If you have an idea for a social meeting, please email Chris.

San Francisco Atheists Solstice Party & CA Atheist Awards December 15, 2001

Featured the intrepid "Atheist Players."

Many of us went to the SF Atheists Solstice Party on December 15th, and had a lot of fun. We packed the room at Schroeder's! Dave Wilkes sang some very funny religiously incorrect songs. Jim Heldberg summarized our year, and the Atheist players debuted with the comedy sketch "The First Solstice."

Sunday, September 30, 2001: Secular Memorial Gathering a Success!

Thanks to everyone who attended, volunteered and contributed financially. We had about 100 people, inspiring speakers, and one live mayor. San Francisco Atheists has a great write-up with pictures.

Atheists Picketed Promise Keepers on September 15, 2001

The goal of this public service picket was to promote critical thinking. We passed out 150 handouts containing direct quotes from the leadership of the Promise Keepers movement and encouraged attendees to think critically before following blindly.

We had a variety of signs, including Joyce's "I AM GOD" sign which stirred up quite a bit of controversy and (one can hope) thinking. Like most other gods, Joyce was not in the mood for walking on water, creating rivers or performing other miracles. Perhaps another day.

Most conversations were friendly. Quite a few of the Promise Keepers were curious and baffled by our unbelief. (We filled them in on the details.)

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