“There’s talk on the street, it sounds so familiar. Great expectations, everybody’s watching you.”- Don Henley, Glenn Frey & John David Souther
That’s the first lines to a great song. If you don’t recognize it, it’s New Kid in Town by the Eagles, one of my favorite bands. It’s an interesting song, which on the surface seems to be about a man, his woman, and a new kid who steals her. Maybe it is and maybe it’s not, but whatever it’s about, it’s a classic.
There’s talk on the street. I’ve recently noticed a new kid in my town. It is the TCAS (Tri Cities Atheist Society). I first noticed them while I was on my lunch break. I turned the local paper to the opinions section and their write-in caught my eye. Evidently, they had set up a booth at the Bristol Bash, a downtown, summertime, and weekly music event. Their write-up was short but to the point. They intend to become a presence in the area because they believe they (atheists) are poorly represented in the public square and Christianity is over-represented in local government. They have a blog (http://tricitiesatheistsociety.wordpress.com) and are planning on setting up booths at future public events. They have, great expectations. I’m not sure that everybody’s watching them. My reaction, “interesting, very interesting”.
Great expectations: Their mission-Our mission is to raise awareness for the atheists in our community and show we are as moral, trustworthy and capable as anyone one else. There are problems that need to be addressed in the Tri Cities and having a secular community that will abide by the constitution and help to keep church and state separated, will benefit the area at large. http://tricitiesatheistsociety.wordpress.com/about/
Everybody’s watching you: Their description-Tri Cities Atheist Society was created as a community of atheists who want to see our area grow and prosper without the need for religious beliefs in a fallacious god concept. We want to show that we are good without God and can do everything they can do, whether better or not.We do not shove our views any more than the religious do in our area, it is only fair that our voices be heard also.We don’t protest, but have peaceful civil discourse when needed.
We will stand up for the constitutional rights of others in our area no matter what they believe, but at the same time we will fight against the religious beliefs being imposed upon our local communities, schools and government. If need be we will consult outside sources for how to deal with certain situations. Some of these groups may include, the American Atheists (www.atheists.org) and the Freedom From Religion Foundation (www.ffrf.org) http://tricitiesatheistsociety.wordpress.com/about/
Even your old friends treat you like you’re something new: I would like to welcome them to the public square. I, like the TCAS, believe they have the right to be heard. I, like the TCAS, believe in civil discourse. I, like the TCAS, believe its members can “be good”.
I would like to point out something to my friends at TCAS. Civil discourse and goodness usually do not consist of ad hominem attacks. May I point out the leading article in the TCAS blog, Debating Science with a Christian: a Personal Perspective
In reference to how to deal with a Christian who won’t consider scientific evidence for evolution, they say, “Don’t lose your cool with these people and let them take the moral high ground because you’re screaming at them for being an idiot.”
Johnny come lately: Now, I don’t see how this helps the TCAS cause. Maybe I’m an “idiot”, but this seems to contradict the self-described, peaceful, civil, discourse. Setting aside the arguments of evolution, (I assume they are referring to Neo-Darwinian or macro-evolution), and the lack of evidence supporting this theory of origin of life, this alone seems to indicate hostility. Maybe some Christians were hostile to them at their booth, or sometime in their past. Maybe a church or preacher has mistreated them. I don’t know.
Everybody loves you, so don’t let them down: I’m not sure, but the golden rule might be applicable here. If we are going to be civil or good, then it might be a good idea to abide by some moral standard, even if your world-view has no right to such an idea.
That’s one of the disadvantages of being the new kid in town. You don’t get to make up the rules, and you should be thankful. You must merely abide by the rules that are already in place, even if they did come from a source outside of yourself.
Anyhow, I would like to extend my welcome and indicate my heartfelt desire to meet some the members of the TCAS at one of these local events. I’m sure we will have lots to discuss. I have great expectations. Until then, I will continue this discourse here.