Você está na página 1de 24

$2.

00

The lournal

Nivose 189 (1/81) Volume 23, No.1

Of Atheist

News And Thought

TEN COMMANDMENTS
A MORAL GUIDE
FOR THE
20TH CENTURY?
I

d I~

ROSA LUXEMBURG
Rosa Luxemburg, Polish-German revolutionary,
theoretician, agitator, Atheist, Anarchist, was born
March 5, 1871. She was assassinated in Berlin on
January 15, 1919.
Studying law and political economy in Zurich,
Switzerland, she received her doctorate in 1898 at
age 27. Associated at first with socialist groups, she.
came to differ with them over nationalism, national
self determination and national independence of
states, such as her native Poland, seeing the ideas as
regressive. She also vigorously opposed parliamentarianism as an acceptable way to revolution.
After the Russian Revolution of 1905 she was
imprisoned while in Poland. From this emerged her
theory of revolutionav mass action and her endorsement of the mass strike as the single most important
tool of the working class, with organization emerging
naturally therefrom and from the class struggle. She
was convinced that the mass strike would also
radicalize the workers to full revolution.
At the outbreak of World War I she helped, with
Karl Liebknecht, to form the Spartacus League.
Released from prison in 1918 she became one of the
founders of the German Communist Party but in
much dispute with Lenin and the Bolshevism. Her
participation in and influence on the rising new party
was abruptly terminated by her assassination in
1919.
As an Atheist, she is honored in this month of her
death.

FRANCISCO

FERRER

On October 12, 1909, Francisco Ferrer y Guardia


was shot in the trenches of the Monjuich Fortress at
Barcelona, Spain. His crime: he had established an
Atheist Modern School in Spain.
This was a totally rational, reason based pedagogic
experiment. Children, there, were to be educated
without hearing anything about religion. He wanted
to establish a prototype which would be a "precursor" for "the perfect type future school of a rational
state of society."
He opposed, in the school, the teaching of biblical
creation, dogma, or any theory or idea opposed to the
findings of science or the use of the scientific
method.
He commingled both sexes and classes. His object
was "to stimulate, develop and direct the natural
ability of each pupil so that he or she will not only
become a useful member of society, with his individual value fully developed, but will contribute, as a
necessary consequence, to the uplifting of the whole
community.
"The word education should not be accompanied
by any qualification. It means simply the need and
duty of the generation which is In the full development of its bowers to prepare the rising generation
and admit it to the patrimony of human knowledge."
The Roman Catholic Church opposed him and
openly petitioned the Spanish government to look to
him for the source of the revolutionary feeling in the
nation at that time. He was arrested, tried and shot.
As an Atheist, he is honored in this month of his
birth, having been born on January 10, 1859.

Volume 23, No.1, Nivose, 189


NEWS
Win for Atheism; Lose for Separation
Emphasis on Action'

p.3
5

ARTICLES
The Hardy Boys' Irreverent Author
Fred Woodworth

FEATURED

10

COLUMNS

Roots of Atheism -'Charles Knowlton


. Mary Lee Esty
Atheist Masters - Atheism and Other Addresses
Joseph Lewis
Circumstances Alter Cases - Ignatz Sahula-Dyke
The Eagles Are Dying - Gerald Tholen
American Atheist Radio Series - The Ten Commandments

REGULAR
Editorial -

Jon G. Murray

6
9
14
16
18

FEATURES
.:

The American
Editor-in-Chief
Dr. Madalyn

Murray

O'Hair

Non-Resident
Angeline

published

Staff

ists.

Bennett

Ignatz Sahula-Dvcke
Managing

Editor

Gerald

Jon G. Murray

Austl~,

Poet
Robin Eileen

tors assume
licited

Staff
John

Mays,

Gale Schreier,
Ralph Shirley,
Richard

Smith,

Circulation
Production
Production
Production

No man has ever sat down


calmly unbiased to reason
out his religion, and not
ended by rejecting it.
- Henry

AUSTIN, TEXAS

Ficldin~

Nivose 18911

111

81)

by a starnp-:

envelope

no responsibility

The edrfor unso-

manuscripts.

The American

Atheist

is indexed
MONTHLY
ISSN

1981

Inc. Sub-

must be typed, double-

and accompanied

ed, self-addressed

Murr av-O'Hair

Box 2117,

$25.00 per year Manu-

SCripts submitted
spaced

or qaruza-

of Separ anorusts.

SCription rates

Felix Santana

Texas 78767. Copyright,

by Society

Artist

address.

Drive,

a non-pr oftt.

educauonal

non. Mailing

IS

Athe-

Hancock

78756,

Texas

non-political,

Tholen

magazine

by American

at 2210

located

Austin,

Atheist

monthly

Magazine
in

PERIODICAL

INDEX

0032-4310

PAGE 1

EDITORIAL

JON GARTH MURRA Y

One of the most frequently asked questions of me by


the news media in general is "Do you grant others the
right to believe in a god if they wish to do so?" I choke on
the answer to this over and over again. I know what the
reporter is attempting to get me to say. He wants me to
say that I do object to someone having a god-belief
system and thereby pin the label of intolerance on me.
Knowing that the media will distort an honest reply, and
not give the reasoning upon which it is based, my
answer is always a stock one. I say, "I realize from a
legal standpoint, that all persons in our society should
have freedom of thought and therefore I can see that
each person has a civil right to believe in that in which
they care to believe." The reporter always follows up on
this with "Would you fight to the death for this person's
right to believe in god?" I choke again. I usually answer
this one with "I am fighting for the rights of all when I
fight for separation of state and church."
I really don't mean either of those answers, but they
do have their PRvalue, I suppose. I cannot grant anyone
the "right" to believe in such a notion of god, when this
is destructive to the human community. I have read and
studied enou-gh to know what that belief system has
done to mankind down through history. I earnestly feel
that if the individual involved really understood what his
or her god-idea was and what human degradation is
cast into the word "believer" that the person could not
be one. I must look on a god-believer as an intellectually
inferior person. The essence of god-belief is the subjugation of reason to phantasy. In plain terms it means
the: this person holds to be true that some kiad of
power, which hecannotdefine, rules him, takescaresof
him. It does not matter what he does or does not do since
all is predetermined. It also means that this person
really believes that he will live on in some form after
death, maintaining all his life qualities of form, speech,
intellect, etc. These notions are so absurd that the
reporter may as well have asked me if I granted others
the right to believe that a man can give birth to a baby if
he so desires. (Remember "Life of Brian?") No man has
a right to believe he can give birth. This is patently
absurd being physically impossible. Likewise, it is physically impossible to "live after "death" and the "right"
to believe is bizarre - and immaterial. Whether they
believe it possible, or whether I grant their right to
believe, nothing can come of such an exercise ..
I feel that no one has the "right" to ignore facts and
proceed contrary to them. Anyone who does so on a
consistent basis is a candidate for restraint. On a rare
occasion, when I do answer such questions honestly,
the question-asker is horrified that I could deny the right
to believe in god. So be it. Let them be horrified.
I don't "believe" in anything, as an Atheist. I do
"accept" many things, however, because they can be
substantiated. I cannot "accept" god notions. If I can live
without beliefs systems, then so can anyone else. If they
cannot, I must come to the conclusion that they are
made of lesser stuff than am I. That is, I feel that they
lack the intelligence to live without belief.
Page 2

It is this position that brings me to the point that I


understand that either the world must be Atheist or
theist. There is no middle ground. There is no "living
side by side in harmony." One position is correct and the
other is incorrect. I am of the view that the incorrect
position grabbed culture early and has hung on since
through the simple process of capturing each new
generation. We are now a backwards culture, worldwide; a culture where fundamentally incorrect notions
are held in esteem and where the masses scoff at
correct notions. The correct. or Atheist, position must
win its rightful dominance. In order to do that we must
capture each coming generation. If one has an incorrect
base position upon which to build, all erected on that
false base will be futile. If a correct base is the
foundaton, there is a chance that all built on it will be
wholesome until a mistake is reached. Our current
cultures, worldwide, are built upon the rot of religion.
It is much like laying a column consisting of one brick
on top of another in a single stack. If the first is level,
there is a chance for the next to be so. If the first is' not
level, the next cannot be either. Each succeeding brick
only has the chance of being level i~the preceding one
was. Thus, if the base brick is correct. there is the
potential of all the rest being level, until one is mislaid.
It is then imperative that once one comes to an Atheist
position that everything possible must be done to see
that the next generation starts off with that opinion, or
on that base position, also - to keep the bricks going up
straight. as it were.
Religionists have always been able to do this well. A
United States Supreme Court Justice (Jackson) spoke to
this in Everson v. Board of Education, 330 u.s. " (1946).
"It is no exaggeration to say that the whole historic
conilict in temporal policy between the Roman Catholic
Church and non-Cethotics
comes to a focus in their
respective school policies. The Roman Catholic Church.
counseled by experience in many ages and many lands
and with all sorts and conditions of men, takes what
from the viewpoint of its own progress and the success
of its mission, is a wise estimate of the importance
of
educetion to religion. It does not leave the individual to
oick up r etrqton by chence It relies on early and indelible
mdoctrinetion
in the faith and order of the Church by the
word and example of persons consecrated to the task. "

It is essential, then, for us to capture the next


generation with our movement. We cannot let each new
generation fall into the same entrapment. Once we
have one qener ation which is free from religion. we
have the brick which is level. In reaching out to them, I
must be honest. I will not state that the religionists have
the right to their insanity All of humankind has the
right to be free from that.
We have ou-rJobahead of us. education of the' adults
who educate the youth. and honesty in our position. no
matter how it hurts.

Nivose 189 (1/81)

American

Atheist

jfront llage l\tbitbl


we are man as bell ...
WIN FOR ATHEISM

- LOSE FOR SEPARATION

The same issue can turn out to be a win and a loss. That is just what
has happened on two legal cases which the American Atheist Center
has been pursuing, for over approximately three years now.
In late 1977, two suits were filed in Austin, Texas, in the Federal
District Court for the Western Division of Texas. The judge of that court
is a notorious Atheist-hater.
Each case presented to him is lost at his
level before it begins and the American Atheist Center know that its only
hope is in the appellate process. Therefore, the first year, or even two, is
thrown-away
trying to pass this federal judge in a procedural way
without his inflicting too much harm on the case.
Often thereasons that he gives for his decisions are so absurd that
they keep the Center personnel in good humor. The convoluted logic, the
errors in both law and reason, the (often) poor grammar, simply, are
ludicrous. The next step up is the Fifth Federal Circuit Court of Appeals
in New Orleans, Louisiana. This court is notorious for its treatment of
the single largest minority group in the United States: the Blacks. The
court handles a flood of cases from this group since it is the practice to
ignore any legal (or other) rights that the Blacks should have in the
South. Indeed, it has been necessary to have the court doubled in size
(currently 32 justices!) because it has more cases than any other circuit,
being that the South is still in the 17th Century with its Bible-Belt,
White-Supremacy,
Male-Chauvinistic
attitudes.
It is through these two levels of the federal judiciary that the two
cases, in which the American Atheist Center has been involved, have
been wending their way lo! these three plus years. They are (1) the case
of OHair v. Clements which has to do withthe
removal of a creche'
(Christian nativity scene with three dimensional figurines depicting
Mary, Joseph, the baby J.C. and a crib) from the rotunda of the capitol
building of the State of Texas, located in Austin, the state's capitol city.
Popularly the press calls this "The Plastic Jesus" case since the babe is
that and in addition is lit up by a small light inserted qawd-onlv-knowswhere in the figure - (Atheists suspect that the whole thing may be
anal.)
The second (2) case of OHair v. Cooke deals with the opening of the
Austin City Council with prayer, called for by the mayor, who is less than
affectionately known locally as Miss Piggy.
In the Federal District Court when OHair v. Clements was heard, the
state's only defense of the nativity scene was that it had no religious
meaning, was associated with the "secular holiday" of Christmas and
that it was equivalent to a trinket decoration on the tree.
In order for any law, custom, usage, order, to "pass muster" under the
Constitution and not be violative of the First Amendment which requires
a separation of state and 'church, the law custom, usage, or order must
pass three tests. If it fails anyone of these, it is impermissible
as
supportive of religion and violative of the "Establishment Clause" of the
First Amendment, which has been interpreted by the courts to mean
that the state cannot "establish"
any religion by state aid to it In any
form. Called the "tri-partite"
test it is that
The news IS chosen to demonstrate.
month
size It censures
cinema. theater
televisron.
author u ar ran ano reactionary
States

we admit

TAKE IT ON!!
During the pendency of the case of
O'Hair v. Cooke in the United States
Fifth Federal Circuit Court of Appeals in
New Orleans, Louisiana, it was discovered 'that this court I\'as in the habit of
proving before each session. For the last
six months the American Atheist Center
has been in an extended legalfight to stop
that prayer. The Center was put in an
impossible position: it was going to a
court which prover he/lire it opened to
ask that court to stop a cit v council from
proving he/lire it opened. The irony and
the impossibility
of the situation were
apparent. In the case of Engel I'. Vitale,
J70 U.S. 421 (/91'J2) the United States
Supreme Court had held that "it is no
part of the business of government
to
compose official prayersfor anr group of
the American people to recite as a part of
a religious program carried on b v the
government. "The Fifth Federal Circuit
Court of Appeals had done just that:
composed a 10-word prayer in which
persons before the court were expected to
join: "Oyez. eyer, God save our nation
and this honorable court."
All legal remedies were tried: an appeal
to the United States Supreme Court to
have the Circuit Court ordered to stop
praying. an appeal to the Committee on
Rules and Practices of the United States
Courts. an appeal to the Court itself. an
appeal to the American Civil Liberties
Union to at least make a statement of its
appraisal of the situation (the A.C.L.U.
was,callous in its remarks concerned with
Atheists.)
The. final result: the court told the
Atheists to leave the courtroom
if they
did not like the prayer' The American
Atheist Center feels that every Atheist in
the United States should write to that
court to let them know what they think of
that decision and the exercise of prayer.
The address is:
Judge Robert A. Ainsworth.
U.S. Court of Appeals.
Fifth Circuit 500 Camp St ..
New Orleans. LA 70130

after mo nt h the deild reacuonarv hand 01 religion


It dictates your habi ts. sexual conduct, f arrulv
even e(lue ,1llon II dict at es I,I" values and Ide styles
Religion
IS potrncs and. always, the most

POIIIICS We edu or rahve our IH'WS to el11phiiSllf'

uns tnes.s

Unlike

any other

It.

magazine

or newspaper

In the United
The Editor .

..

Austin. Texas

Nivose

189 (1/81)

Page 3

(1) any such law, custom, usage, or order must have a


primary purpose which is secular;
(2) it may not advance or inhibit religion; and
(3) it must be free from any excessive entanglement
with government.
Should it fail any of the tests, it is unconstitutional.
In the case of the creche, it was stored in the attic of
the capitol when not in use, put up and dismantled by
government employees on government time, the lighting was supplied by the state; the governor called for
caroling around the tree excusing from work those who
joined in the (religious) caroling but requi'ring those who
did not work to remain on their jobs, thus showing state
support of the creche, and - of course - the most
flagrant violation was that it was in the rotunda of the
state capitol building, the heart of Texas government.
To save the creche, the judge held that it was
"secular" with his bald statement to that effect being
the only logic; that it did not promote the Christian
religion being as it was, simply, a decoration on the tree;
and that since it was both secular and did not advance
religion, being a part of a secular holiday (going to
lengths to show this), that there could be no entanglement of religion and government.
At that point, it was thought at the Center that every
church in Austin would rise up and denounce the insult
to the central figure of Christianity and one of the most
important. if not the most important. doctrine of Christianity: the appearance of the son of god himself in the
flesh, in human form, on earth, born of a miraculous
circumstance.
Not one church criticized the judge. Not one letter
from an outraged Christian appeared in the newspapers. However, since the "giving of the lie" was so
transparent. the case was appealed to the Fifth Federal
Circuit Court of Appeals, in New Orleans.
Meantime, the second case was also heard in the
Federal District Court. This time the judge, searching
the recent decilsion came upon one which had been
down in Minnesota by a judge of his ilk. This case,
Bogen v. Doty had to do with prayer before "a county
board." There, the judge held that prayer before a
governmental body was equivalent to a gavel rap. The
only purpose of it was to bring the room to order, to
settle down the assembled persons. The Austin judge
immediately accepted that interpretation and ruled that
Bogen v. Doty applied to the Austin case.
The logical fallacy of both courts is not apparent to
these justices since they lead with their Christian convictions instead of their brains. It all, really, began with the
United State Supreme Court. In order to give the
religious community that which it desired,but still pay
some lip-service to the constitution, the judges of that
great (1) judicial body early began to devise "secular"

Page 4

purposes for laws, purposes which were not really


there, nor intended to be there by the legislatures which
had passed the laws. Perhaps the first was the "child
benefit" theory. This held that the money given to a
Roman Catholic Church school really did not benefit the
school, but only the child who attended that school. The
second was even more curious. In this the court found
that the government could hold a position of "benevolent neutrality" so that state benefits could go to the
Roman Catholic Church. Of course, the basic theory of
neutrality is that there should be no alignment either
benevolent or malevolent, pro or con. But, again, the
Roman Catholic Church, in that instance, got what it
desired. After seeinq the non-sense of these positions
and receiving criticism for them, the court began,
unconsciously to move into the stance of debasement of
religion. A .secular purpose had to be found and every
religious activity was stripped of its inherent generic
concept and made into a secular toy. Religious displays
were to "boost tourism," or to "enhance the commercial exploitation of the holiday." Religious depictions or
slogans came to have a "ceremonial nature," a "patriotic character." In reality benefits to the church were
health or welfare benefits and not benefits to religion.
Money poured into. religion was to "emphasize the
historical heritage" of our people. There were "passive
accommodations" to religious beliefs to such an extent
that the ordinary Atheist would have shuddered to see
an "active accommodation." Religious exercises became "innocuous" or "trivial."
The court did not realize that this perverted logic,
meant to save the religious exercise, was debasing
religion and affirming the position of Atheism every inch
of the way. If Christ in his creche is a trinket on a pagan
tree by express declaration of an federal appellate court,
if prayer is a mere rap of a gavel, then we have, in our
culture, arrived in the post-Christian era. Religion is

meaningless; even our highest court interprets it as


such. After it has been sufficiently debased it can be
junked. Atheism has won and all that is necessary are
the clean-up operations.
If, however, this is viewed from the perspective of
statel church separation, then religion and government
are one and the Atheist is in trouble in a declared
theocracy in the United States. If religion and government are both secular, the one absorbing the other,
religious diversity has been swallowed up and our
nation is a practicing civil religious state.
The very raucous caterwauling of the primitive religi(YUSgroups trying to make loud inroads into government has "put the fear of god" into too many people. At
the American Atheist Center our calculaton is that what
weare seeing is the death of religion, not its rebirth. A
cornered dying beast puts up a remarkable fight. We are
in the midst of it.
.
We need not, however, become desperate. The light
at the end of the tunnel is the full sun of an Atheist
future for mankind. We have both won and lost the
cases of OHair v. Cooke and OHair v. Clements. Our
participation in the continuing struggle is now even
more significant. The American Atheist Center will
appeal both cases to the United States Supreme Court.

Nivose 189 (1/81)

American

Atheist

jfocu~ on ~tbtt~t~
... anti we won't take it anpmore!
AND A LITTLE CHILD SHALL LEAD
THEM
It was good news for modern man as the story circled
the globe. An eleven-year old Canadian boy had exercised his right of freedom of conscience and was being
punished for it. Atheists loved him for his courageous
stance and Christians loved it that he was being made to
suffer for his defiance of the lord.
Carlo Guerreiro of Burnaby, British Columbia, when
badgered into a corner for a vow to "love and serve
God," politely, but resolutely told his Scoutmaster "no"
and there, as the saying goes, hangs a tale.
Carlo wanted to remain with his friends in the Second
Burnby South Boy Scout troop. He had a background in
the Cub Scouts and had earned Scout profiency badges.
He had been a member of the troop since October. 1980,
but "he was asked to leave by an assistant Scoutmaster
after he continually declined" to take the full "love and
serve God" oath. Any Atheist can immediately understand and have empathy with him in the hardship he
must have endured from October to late January as he
was badgered "continually" to make this profession.
Faced with the ultimate, he could not surrender to
hypocrisy. When it was all over, he explained what
happened. "It just doesn't make any sense to me to say
'god.' My parents will let me have any religion I want but
anvthinql've heard of doesn't make any sense."
The provincial executive director of the Boy Scouts,
noted "The Scouts are dedicated to the mental, physical, social and spiritual development of the boys." But,
then, as he affirmed that Carlo was thrown out of the
troop, he added "If the boy couldn't take the promise, we
don't have any alternative." After all, sweet Jesus must
be served and the incident well displays whether the
Scouts' concern is with children or with god.
Of course, if Carlo had lied, deceiv=d or dissembled
and taken the oath, pretending to be that which he was
not, he could have remained in the troop. He was
punished with expulsion for his honesty.
'
Carlo, who has a newspaper route, does well in
school and loves to swim and camp out. However, he
has no religion at all, nor does he -.apparently - want
any. Since he cannot, at his age, be charged with moral
turpitude the Scout executive had to pin the blame
elsewhere. He placed the issue of the controversy
which ensued on Carlo's parents contending that "children of that age aren't capable of making up their
minds." He has not met any precocious Atheist children, then, and we must conclude, sadly, that his only
experience has been with brain-washed unthinking
little Christians.
Austin,Texas

Bob Clarke, Carlo's stepfather, said the decision was


the boy's. "He's an exceptional little guy. His mom and I
think he's really something special in his temperament
and his capacity for feelings. When he gives his word,
he takes it seriously."
The Clarkes complained to the British Columbia
Human Rights Branch, which turned the question over
to its federal office because the Scouts operate on a
federal charter in Canada. (The same situation pertains
in the United States where the Scouts have been
incorporated by an act of the federal congress.) Canadian federal law states that one cannot be discriminated
against, on religious grounds, for provision of a service
which is available to the general public. But, because
the Boy Scouts is a private society there is some
confusion over the definition of service. The Scouts 'in
Canada hide their bigotry behind a claim of what they
feel is their saving grace - being "non-dernoninational
in matters of religious observance." However, the
executive director was forced to admit that they had a
"real problem" when "faced with a youngster who says
he has no religion at all."
. Apologetically he declaimed, "We have a Moslem
troop ... and we have many Oriental Scouts. All that is
required is a pledge of duty to a supreme being."
However a past president of the Burnaby region reaffirmed that the Scouts will not drop their requirement, while
the Human Rights commission notes that lawyers are
investigating the complaint.
Asked what he would do if the denial of participation in
the Scouts was final, Carlo replied that he did not know.
We rather expect that what will happen is that he will
grow taller and considerably wiser. After all, he has
faced Christian love and understanding head-on, a
formidable task even for an adult.

Nivose 189 (1/81)

PI

Page 5

This is the fourth of a series of articles on Dr. Charles


Knowlton who was the first physician in the United
States, and perhaps the first in seventeen centuries,
who spoke to the concept of birth control. His primary
idea was that of a woman having in her personal
control, by her choice, the possibility of introducing a
common, inexpensive, (harmless to her) spermaticide
into her' vagina at the time of coition to resist the
impregnation of her ovum.
The story takes up where Dr. Knowlton has just
survived a number of arrests for the publication of his
booklet on birth control. The Fruits of Philosophy.

Ro rs .
of theism
...

a seat In the human family was vacant

Mary lee Esty


Dr. Knowlton's "art" as he called his contraceptive
method in his book is not reliable by modern standards
and his discussion of the physiology of conception
reveals the lack of accurate information available at the
time, even to one so curious and seeking as Knowlton.
In contrast, the arguments Knowlton made for the
benefits derived form practicing contraception are time,
Iy and not to be disputed today.
Finding no medical writings on ways to avoid conception, Knowlton reviewed the various theories about
conception in his book. He concluded that the destruction of the sperm was adequate to the task regardless of
the actual process of conception Therefore, he recommended five solutions for douching within five minutes
after intercourse. Three of these were sper rnicides. but
Knowlton's method put the solution on the scene too
late to be effective. Although Knowlton said that he had
confidence in his "art" he dicJ.hesitate to print the first
edition. without being more certain of it. Four months
later. his last doubts were allayed by an acquaintance
Page 6

whose personal experiences renewed Knowlton's confidence in the effectiveness of douching after intercourse Knowlton's feeling that his idea was unique
was not disturbed by his-friend's prior knowledge of the
method. since Knowlton considered the spermidical
aspect of his method to be unique. Bolstered by his
triend's confidence he proceeded with the first edition
of the book.
It is impossible to know how many people practiced
his "art" or tried to avoid conception by other means.
This was a period when families of twelve or more
children were not uncommon and those of six or seven
were freouent.
However. within a relatively short time after Fruits of
Philosophy was published (within fifteen years) there
was a much wider choice of literature on the subject
available to the public. Some of it drew on dr. Knowlton's ideas and some was straight plagiarism from
either Owen or Knowlton. It was a field day for opportunists. but the genuinely concerned medical writer was

Nivose 189 (1/81)

American

Atheist

able to publish his opinions following that first legal


harrassment of Knowlton until the Comstock era of
repression started in the 1870's. Knowlton led the way
with Fruits,' others followed and the public benefited by
the cumulative effects. The most important development of that age was the establishment of cornman
knowledge of the fact that birth control methods did
exist and that contraception was a possibility for the
common man.
The two common objections to his work to which
Knowlton replied were that checks against contraception (1) would lead to illegal intercourse and (2) that it
was against nature. He said, " ... in almost all cases In
which the chastity of a female can 'be overcome, with
the knowledge that this book conveys, it could and
would be overcome, without such knowledge." As for It
being against nature, "Well, what if it is? In this
restricted sense of the word it also against nature to cut
our nails, our hair, or to shave the beard. What IS
civilized life but one continual warfare against natur e? .
. Many diseases.
. are the natural effects of natural
causes; and the natural course of many diseases ISto a
fatal termination, yet we often successfully resort to art
forthe cure of them, and no on thinks it is wrong to do so
. if it be wrong in the abstract to oppose nature In one
case it ISin all, and consequently we ought to obey the
voice of nature, and gratify all our natural des.res Men
and women. instead of mortifvmq the flesh, ouuht to
cohabit as frequently as their natural inclinations
prompt them to do so."
While Knowlton felt that contraception was much
preferable to abortion, he felt that the "laws III trus
country against abor-tion were never made by phvsro!ogists, and I should hardly think by men of humane
feelings" He contended that the concept of Ide was a
"th.nqless name" which had acquired a reality of ItS
own through common usage. The life of a foetus, in
Knowlton's system, was vegetable, not animal until it
was near to birth. "It is as much a part of the female to
which it is vitally attached, and can with no more
propriety be said to possess any rights, than anyone of
her extremities, ... We are apt to take a different view of
it because we associate with it an idea of what it will be,
according to the ordinary course of nature."
The technical aspects of birth control in this era were
crude at best, but establishing what has been called the
"psychological availability" of birth control was the big
hurdle. Creating this state of mind, the acceptance of
the utiliy of contraception for entire populations, was
certainly one of Knowlton's triumphs for birth control is
still one of the uppermost problems in our modern
world. With the wisdom of the wily Yankee, Knowlton
knew why his.method would be approved and accepted.
If any trait permeated Knowlton's writings: it was an
understanding and empathy with human nature. He
was certain that people could never be persuaded
toward abstinence in any degree, no matter what the
penalties. He was equally persuaded that no method of
contraception which diminished sexual pleasure would
be acceptable to most people. The only possible objection he could see to douching was the requirement that
the woman had to leave the bed,"
but this is an
objection of trifling weight, compared with the pleasure
Austin, Texas

it enables us to enjoy, or with the anxieties and other


troubles that must or may arise from not using it."
.The positive points Knowlton claimed for his methhod
as standards for judging a good method of contraception
are applicable to modern methods as well. He said, " ...
it is sure; it costs nearly nothing; it requires no sacrifice
of enjoyment; it is in the hands of the female, where for
good reasons it ought to be; it is harmless; it is
conducive to cleanliness, and tends to preserve the
parts from relaxation and disease, to which they are
very subject; and its use does not prevent conception at
any future period, whenever desired."
Concerned with the problems of illegitimacy he retorted with an enigmatic phrase in respect to "preserving
the character of the lecherous." This labels his idea that
society suffers more by the public exposure and condemnation of pregnant unmarried women than it would if
they were to have illicit intercourse and not become
pregnant He challenged anyone to show, " ... how
much real evil- how much real misery, over and above
the happiness - attends or arises from any of these
missteps, provided the none of them are followed by
conception ... - fear of conception, I say, would not be
weakened, if the birth of an illegitimate should not occur
in a ten-mile Circle once III five years"
Knowlton contended that the more common occurance of illegitimacy among a population, the' less it
would be regarded as a deterent. The injury done to the
feelings of the family, the girl, and the child's father is
not productive of good, nor does it prevent evil. "Is this
the way to promote human happiness - to bring sorrow
upon a whole family, when a little medicated water,
without injury to anyone, would have prevented the
cause of it?"
Knowlton was tried four times over his book and on
the last occasion found to be guilty. He was never to
know, however, the historical importance of his book
but he probably would not have been surprised at the
widespread use of contraceptive methods in the century
following his death - he always knew that it was a
"useful idea."

Free Thought and Free Soil


Dr Knowlton lived III relative peace With hiS neighbors during the last fifteen years of lus life. HISadvocacy
of Materialism and birth control were subsumed by
'devotion to a fight for freedom of thought and opinion
He used Kneeland's paper for his podium, becoming a
regular and faithful contributor to its pages. He spoke at
various Thomas Paine celebrations in Boston and
Rhode Island. A high point in his life came when he was
instrumental in founding "The United States Moral and
Philosophical Society for The General Diffusion of
Useful Knowledqe ." a national free thought group The
launching of t his society at Saratoga Springs. New York,
in 1836, was the realization of a dream he had had for
years. The group embraced many of the ideas he held
dear, partly due to his influence but mostly due to the
common feeling of its founders. Knowlton and Robert

Nivose 189(1/81)

Page 7

Dale Owens
served
-Officers and on the Board of Directors and
helped make plans to enlist lecturers and swell the
membership lists. During a large national convention in
1839 the group's name was changed, with some
misgivings on the part of Owen and Knowlton, to "The
Infidel Society for the Promotion of Mental Liberty."
Two years later Knowlton agreed to become the fulltime lraveling lecturer for the Infidel Society, at a salary
of $600 and expenses. He returned home full of plans
for his lecture and organizational tour but was struck
down by a' heart attack even as he made arrangements to begin. As Knowlton recovered the national
organization foundered on internal disputes and Knowlton's dream of helping to awaken Americans to the
dangers of suppression of opinion, and the benefits of
free thought. was never realized.
There were several infidel conventions and meetings
from 1843 to 1847. Knowlton attended some,. and
served as an officer of the groups, often giving longer
speeches than allowed other delegates In 1845, he
became particularly inspired by one convention and
formed "The United Liberals of Franklin County," an
auxiliary of the national organization
When his dream of traveling for the Infidels was no

as

editors, who felt that difference of opinion could not


justify such ill treatment of their long friendship. Dr.
Knowlton's biographer included a short paragraph in
the obituary which appeared in the Boston Medical and
Surgical Journal alluding to Knowlton's differences of
opinion where religion was concerned. He likened them
to frailties." To this the editor of The Investigator took'
exception, and spoke for Knowlton's many friends: "To
all who knew him intimately it sufficed to say, 'Dr.
Charles Knowlton is dead' to awaken in all who listened
a consciousness that a seat in the human family was
vacant. and that none of name or family could repair the
loss."
Charles Knowlton, himself, had some thoughts on
death and the influence of revealed religion on the
reactions to it.
" ... of all the individual evils in the world, religious
fear, or fear of misery after death, constitutes the
greatest and the worst. It is a useless fear founded in
error ... , Fear in itself is a certain and positive evil or
misery; and we ought not to do what we know will cause
misery, unless it is at least probable, after the fullest
investigation, that so doing will secure a paramount
good. Such is regarded as a proper rule of action in the
practice of medicine and surgery, and evils growing out

"To all who knew him intimately

it sufficed to say, 'Dr. Charles


Knowlton is dead' to awaken in all who listened a consciousness that a
seat in the human family was vacant, and that none of name or family
could repair the loss."
.
longer viable, he turned to slavery and the Free~Soil
Party He ran for state office and was elected to the
Great and General Court of Massachusetts on the Free
Soil ticket The other elected candidate from the area
was also a phvsrcian. In an extraordinary act of political
Ieqerdernarne. which would make ward bosses envious
now, Knowlton and Dr. Brooks, by act of a town meeting,
were NOT sent to Boston when the town decided that
they needed both doctors 111 the area - to practice
medicine.
Knowlton died in Winchendon, Massachusetts, February 20, 1850. Hewas taking a short vacation and visiti ng
relatives. His sister-in-law found him dead in his bed,
evidently of his heart disease.
Because of Knowlton's close association With the
Boston Investigator and all of the persons associated,
with its publication, this author expected to f rnri an
immediate eulogy In its pages. But no mention of the
death appears until October 23rd! - eight months later.
The publishers, then, felt that they had'
much to
complain of on the part of those who were connected
with Dr. Knowlton, and because they are religious and
we are Infidel, many may attribute our complaints to a
spirit of intolerance."
The paper was never notified by the family of the
death, but received a late note from the postmaster of
Ashfield saying that Dr. Knowlton's family did not want
the paper. This lack of common courtesy outraged the

of a neglect of it might sustain an action for malpractice.


I am for the greatest liberty compatible with justice, but
it seems to me that the clergy ought to be held
responsible for the misery which they produce through
ignorance, as well as the physician.
rr
Many persons advanced in years and on the bed
of sickness, have expressed themselves as willing to
give worlds, if they only knew it would be well with them
after death. -'- Some in a state of health have told me
that they should be happy, compared with their present
state, if they could only believe that there is no existence
after eath. And I have been told by young and innocent
persons, sick with consumption - a disease in which all
things present their brightest side - persons whose
situation and propsects in life were well calculated to
render life desirable, that they should be willing to die, if
they knew they would not be miserable afterwards; a
remark which shows that their fears of misery after
death were so great. that their desire of life, though
equal, probably to that of most people, bore no comparison with them. Miserable indeed must be such a state of
feeling as this. Often has it caused my blood to boil; and
many times I left the house of sickness muttering
curses, and continuing to mutter them on my way home,
against the whole system of error that causes such
wretchedness.

Nivose 189 (1181)

.Pase 8

rl

[to be continued next month)

American

$
Atheist

Joseph Lewis
Joseph Lewis was an American Atheist, probably the
most vocal during the first part of the 20th century.
Because of his activism he was viewed with alarm by
much of the Humanist, Agnostic community and often
needed to hide his activity under the euphonism of "free
thought. "
Born in Montgomery, Alabama on June 11,1889, the
son of a merchant in that town of Selma, he enjoyed an
affluent life; which he dedicated to merchanidising. His
older brother was an avid reader of Robert Ingersoll, and
through this source he came early to Atheism. When he
was fifteen the family moved to New York where Joseph
completed his schooling in business administration. He
and his brother then opened a haberdashery shop in
Manhattan. Highly successful, he ventured into merchandising himself and opened the first Dollar Shirt
Shop in New York. This expanded into three stores very
quickly.
It was at one of these that he began to write. At the
age of thirty-five, in 1924, he issued his first book titled,
The Tyranny of God. This was an onslaught against
what he called "superstition, fear and bondage bondage of mind." He was pleased to have encouragementfrom Clarence Darrow, Luther Burbank and Thomas
Alva Edison to whom he had sent copies of the book.
With this modest success of this book, he ventured
into another, The Bible Unmasked. This was an emphasis on and an expose of the "lust and cruelty"
therein. Within five years he had sold 50,000 copies.
Both books created a storm of protest. Lewis, in the
business of merchandising, depended on advertising
and merchandising techniques to sell both his books
and his Atheism, having money enough from his expanding chain of stores to do so.
Finally finding a small group of persons who were
meeting in Harlem under the banner of "freethouqht."
he quickly became elected president of the organization
which then expanded under his direction and the name
"Freethinkers of America."
Joseph Lewis felt that it was necessary to litigate the
rights of Atheists. When a plan was proposed in Pubfic
School 46 in Manhattan, New York, to release pupils
from their school duties to attend religious instruction,
Lewis (and his new organization, he being the finances
behind it) threatened a law suit to stop the venture.
The school did not put the plan into operation. Shortly
thereafter, however, the City of Mt. Vernon in Westchester County, New York! did begin the planned
Austin, Texas

."
Joseph lewis was born in Montgomery, Aiabama.
He was compelled to leave school when onlv' nine
years of age to help support a large family. A few
years later. however. he became acquainted with
the writinys of Robert G. Inge150ll and Thomas
Paine. Thi~ fortunate circumstance whetted his
appetite for knowledge and he unceasingly pursued this Quest.

release. Lewis irnrnediatelv filed a suit against -the


Board of Education propounding that the proposed plan
"violates the Constitution of the state and nation respecting religious liberty and separation of church and
'state." A State Supreme Court Judge agreed, in a
decision rendered on June 21, 1925. The superintendent of public schools of White Plains immediately
announced that he would disregard the opinion of the
judge and continue the plan of dismissing pupils for
religious instruction. Two churches supported the superintendent. Lewis immediately filed for an injunctionto
restrain the superintendent. Lewis now had 750 clergymen of "Greater New York" in an avowed fight to stop
him. On February 14, 1926 the suit was heard before
the Supreme Court of the State of .New York (aqain). It J
was-Apr il 24th before the decision came down. At this
time, the churches and the schools were upheld and

Nivose 189 (1/81)

Page 9

THE.
HARDY BOYS'

IRREVERENT AUTHOR
I

FRED WOODWORTH
Does the name Franklin W. Dixon mean anything to
you? Probably not, but if you were a kid in the 1940s,
50s, or 60s, this name was at least temporarily familiar
to you as the author ofthe immortal Hardy Boys series of
mystery books for young readers, which included such
famous titles as The Tower Treasure, The House on the
Cliff, Hunting for Hidden Gold. and many others. Like
most people, you probably assumed that Mr. Dixon was
a real person - I know I did. But if you walk into a
department store today and see a selection of these
books, you'll notice immediately that the series has
grown to some sixty or more titles, some of which bear
copyright dates of 1980 or 1981, and which are still,
supposedly, authored by the self-same Mr. Dixon.
Considering that the first one was written in 1927, the
writer would obviously have to be a pretty old man
today. The explanation, of course, is that there have
been several "Mr. F.W. Dixons". The first of these, and
the most interesting to Atheists, was Mr. Leslie McFarlane.
Mr. McFarlane died three years ago at the age of 74,
but he left behind not only the Hardy Boys, four novels, a
hundred novelettes, two hundred short stories, countless articles; fifty movie scripts, seventy-five TV plays
and other work, but an incredibly amusing and lucid
autobiography entitled Ghost of the Hardy Bovs. McFarlane became the ghostwriter for this famous series
after answering an ad placed by Edward Stratemeyer, a
man who has been called the Henry Ford of juvenile
fiction. The. Straternever technique of writinq books
consisted of farming out ideas to impecunious young
authors who were signed to a contract prohibiting them
from revealing their identities as writers of Stratemeyers books. For payment of around $85 - $100 a
manuscript. these anonymous wordsmiths churned out
thousands of titles for Strate meyer, and for his organization, the Stratemeyer Syndicate, which continued the
same mode of operations after the founder's death in
1930. Most of the books produced by this method were,
of course, trash, although some of the largely forgotten
writers did manager to produce, here and there, a true
classic of the genre. But if good writing was rare, huge
profits, at least for the Syndicate, were not. and some
series sold millions of copies.
In his autobiography, McFarlane reminisces abouthis
early days in journalism and his experiences working at
several small Canadian newspapers, where the typical
reporter was a broke young man living in a roorninq

Page

to

house. At the age of 23 he drifted into Springfield,


Massachusetts and landed a job at the Springfield
Republican:
,"I left the Republican in high spirits; I had a
job AND twenty dollars. Most of the money
evaporated quickly, some in a nearby diner,
some as payment for a week's rent in a Pearl
Street rooming house. When I interviewed
my landlord, Mr. Arbuthnot. I was glad my
strength had been fortified with a meal ....
'You a boozer?' he barked, 'No, sir .:' 'You a
qodlv boy?You been saved?' I was tempted to
tell Mr. Arbuthnot that I had just been saved
by Bill Walsh's advance on salary, then
decided. he might regard it as flippant. Instead, I applauded the moral standards of this
cheerless codger and told him my trunk and
typewriter would arrive in the morning. On
the bedside table I found a selection of tracts,
most them suggesting that Armageddon was
just around the corner. They all quoted extensively from the Book of Revelations and were
calculated to inspire nightmares about zoological freaks with eight or nine heads."
The world of the journalist seemed to be a dead end,
so McFarlane began to take on assignments writing for

Nivose 189 (1/81)

. American

Atheist

t
~'

Edward Stratemeyer, and soon his irreverent prose


attracted his boss' attention. Stratemeyer objected
particularly to McFarlane's treatment of policemen in
his books, where they were apt to be savagely characterized as clowns or imbeciles. We can only regret that
the standards of thetime and and the exigencies of the
writing did not permit McFarlane to turn his satire upon
religion, since if he had, his books for youngsters could
easily have risen to the heights of wit and ridicule
reachedbyMark Twain. looking back at his childhood,
McFarlane describes the ordealsof Sunday andcornpulsory religious attendance:
.
.
"It was not, in short, a cheerful day .... You
journeyed to a dismal church where your
buttocks ached from ninetymin'utes on an
oak pew with a high, hard, back, and you'
listened to a sermon you didn't understand
delivered in a threatening voice by a lean,
harsh man you didn't like. You raised your
piping voice in doleful hymns extolling the
therapeutic effects of bathing in blood. Your
knees ached while the pastor engaged in a
long, intimate conversation with god.
"Apparently god couldn't understand plain
English because this monologue was studded with thees and thous and thou arts and

thou hasts. This was followed by a very long,


very dull and damn near incomprehensible
sermon which explained how important it
was that we love god in spite of a complete
lack of evidence that there was a god at all.
"Another hymn and you trudged back home
for Sunday dinner, the big meal of the week.
Stuffed, you were not privileged to sleep it
off. Gorged with roast pork and pie, farting
and belching, you headed back to the church
again and the further agonies of Sunday
school. There you studied the dubious legends of the Old Testament and pretended
that you actually believed stories that common sense told you were downright lies
(such as that ridiculous yarn about Noah and
his homemade boat) .... You were allowed to
experience the exquisite joy of sacrifice when
you dropped a penny into the pot for the
heathen. As you marched past you sang a
hymn specially composed for this rite:
Dropping, dropping, dropping, dropping
Hear the pennies fall
Everyone for Jesus
He will get them all.
There seems to be contradiction here. The
Superintendent told us the money would buy
hymn books for Hottentots but the hymn
promised that Jesus would get every cent. In
the face of this dilemma, some of us became
proficient in dropping slugs and buttons in
the bowl while palming pennies for more
useful purposes at the corner store. If Jesus
and the Hottentots couldn't get together,
there seemed little point in depriving ourselves."
McFarlane continued to work for the Stratemeyer
Syndicate through the years of the-Depression, but
gradually he came to depend less and less on the
pittance doled out by the Syndicate as he built a new
career in radio and television broadcasting. Heb'ecame
a director, specialized in documentaries, and won awards. "As for the Hardy Boys," the author says, "1
bowed out with The Phantom Freighter which was
written in 1946 in motel roornsat night on a location in
Nova Scotia when I was directing a film. For me, that we
the end of the Hardy Boys. I didn't need them any more,
and certainly they didn't need me, because they have
continued to this day."
It is always a pleasure to discover that some writer or
public figure shared our own ideas, and the list of men
and women who are not known as Atheists - but who
in their own times were compelled by the pressure of
bigoted, ignorant religionists to be silent - is long. It is
no accident that so many creative, active, life-Iovinq
personalities of the past independently arrived at their
own private kind of Atheism. It is a pleasure fd add Mr.
Leslie McFarlane to the list.
~

~~~~'Z~
Austin, Texas

Nivose 189 (1/81)

Page II

"released time" was found to be "no violation of


constitutional prohibition" The case was appealed to
the Appellate Division of the State Supreme Court.
where again it was lost and finally to the State Court of
Appeals. Again, the case was lost and it was not
appealed further.
Sometime after this, l.evvis. 'who had been born into a
Jewish family, directed an appeal to every Rabbi in the
United States to abandon the observance of Yom'
Kippur. He wrote "Yom Kipper is the most abominable
day in all the horrible annals of religion, so use this day
for religious independence, and let it be an emancipation proclamation to the world. Abandon your tetnpies and renounce your antiquated creed; and by so
decisive an act give to the vyorld its finest example of
courage and intellectual honesty.
"Arise and become free men!"
During all of his life Lewis engaged in Atheist acti-vism, attempting to stop Roman Catholic religious
ceremonies and celebrations in the schools in New
York, attempting to stop church lotteries while secular
lotteries were illegal. He actively intervened with one
Board of Education after another to stop the posting of
the Ten Commandments in schools, to stop the reading
of the Bible in the public schools. Finally on May 3, 1930
he filed suit, again in the Supreme Court of New York, to
restrain the Board of Education from allowing the Bible
to be taught in the public schools of the city. When he
lost (May 5,1931) he appealed to the Appellate Division
and lost there again on June 24, 1931.
When the Soviet Union began a "crusade against the
churches in Russia" in 1930, the churches ofthe United

States began a defense of them, uniting in days of


prayer throuqhout the country, bringing whatpressures
could be brought to save the churches in Russia. Lewis,
a capitalist par excellence,
immediately went to the
support of Russia. He sent a telegram to President
Herbert Hoover to support neutrality of the United
States in "an interal affair of Russia's" and asked that
the President make no move toward Russia for her acts.
Shortly thereafter, Lewis conceived the idea of sending Thomas Paine's Ape of Reason (in an abridged form)
to every student in certain reliyious colleges in New
York and New Jersey, as well as to high school students'
in Hudson and White Plains, New York.
When a school building of New York's was transferred to a Hebrew Orphan Asylum for $1,000 he
attempted to challen~ the legality of the sale. Filing a
suit on March 27th, 1931 against the Board of Taxes '
and Assessments of the State of New York,he asked to
have a tax exemption for a Knights of Columbus Hotel
withdrawn.
Again in the same year, he addressed a petition to
every member of the Senate and the Assembly of the
New York Legislature demanding that all elections be
held on Sundays, since everything else was closed then
and the elections would not be interruptive of ordinary
business if held on that day
.
This public advocate of Atheism was finally asked by
some churches in the area to come and speak fromtheir
podiums, which he did. The material which is to appear
in this magazine for the next three months features the
kernels of his presentations during these addresses. A
"Roots of Atheism" series will feature Lewis at a later
date.

This address on Atheism was delivered at a


Symposium on "Present Rehqrous Tendencies", held at the Commurutv Church, ,34th
Street and Park Avenue, New York City, on
the Evening of April 20th, 1930. The other
speakers w.ere Mr. Stanley High, Editor of the
Christian Herald, and Reverend Charles FranCISPotter, Minister, First Humanist Society of
New York. Reverend John Haynes Holmes,
minister of the Community Church, was
Chairman.

talent. and is able to rise above the level of his training,


that exception only proves the rule..
.
I was never trained to espouse the cause-of Atheism.
I came to accept Atheism as the result of independent
thought and self-study. And although as a child I was
instructed in the religion of my parents, I never came
under the spell of religious training long enough to so
warp my mentality as not to be able to' see any other
viewpoint.
Icame to my conclusions after a full analysis and an
impartial consideration of the various reliqious creeds
and the different systems of philosophy.
In my study of the different fields of thought I found
no philosophy that contained so many truths, and
inspired one with so much courage. as Atheism.
Atheism equips us to face life, with its multitude of
trials and tribulations, better than any other code of
living that I have yet been able to find.
It is grounded in the very roots of life itself.
Its foundation is based upon Nature, without superfluities and false garments.
It stands unadorned, requiring nothing but its own
nudity to give it strength,and charm and beauty.
No sham or shambles are attached to it.
~:

"Is it to the interest

of a man to be a boy all his life?"

THOMAS PAINE
Both of my colleagues on this p1atform have been
especially trained to espouse the cause they have
presented tonight.
.
Both were trained to be ministers of religion.
And although only one of them stili occupies the
pulpit the other is the editor of a religious magazine.
Both have faithfully fulfilled their training. And It
would be unusual if that were not the case.
We cannot expect a man trained to be a carpenter to
be able to carve statues like a Rodin. We cannot expect a
man trained to be a bricklayer to be able to paint picture's
like a Rembrandt.
'
If by ~ome chance we find one who possess a natural
Page 12

Nivose 189 (1/81)

American

Atheist

"god" there and consider the matter solved?

ATHEISM RISE ABOVE CREEDS


Atheism rises above creeds and puts Humanity upon
one plane.
..
There can be no "chosen people" in the Atheist
philosophy.
There are no bended knees in Atheism;
No supplications, no prayers;
No sacrificial redemptions;
No "divine" revelations;
No washing in the blood of the lamb;
No crusades: no massacres, no holy wars;
No heaven, no hell, no purgatory;
No silly rewards and no vindictive punishments;
No christs, and no saviors
No devils, no ghosts and no gods.
Atheism breaks down the barriers of nationalities and
like "one touch of nature makes the whole world kin."
Systems of religion make people clannish and bigoted.
Their chief aim and interest in life IS to gather together
and pick out the faults of others and reveal their secret
hatred of those who do not believe as they do.
ATHEISM IS MENTAL FREEDOM
Atheism is a vigorous and a courageous philosophy.
It is not afraid to face the problems of life, and it is not
afraid to confess that there are problems yet to be
solved.
. ft does not claim that it has solved all the questions of
the universe, but it does claim that it has discovered the
approach and learned the method of solving them .
.It has dedicated itself to a passionate quest for the
truth.
It believes that truth for truth's sake is the highest
ideal. And that virtue is its own reward.
It believes that love-of humanity is a higher ideal than
a love of god. We cannot help god, but we can help.
mankind. "Hands that help are better far than lips that
pray." Praying to god is humiliating; worshipping god
degrading.
It believes with Ingersoll, when he said: "Give me the
storm and tempest of thought and action rather than the
dead calm of ignorance and faith. Banish me from Eden
when you will, but first let me eat of the fruit of the tree
of knowledge."
Atheism is a self-reliant philosophy.
It makes a man intellectually free. He is thrilled to
enthusiasm by his mental emancipation and he faces
the universe without fear of ghosts or gods.
It teaches man that unless he devotes his 'energies
and applies himself whole-heartedly to the task he
wishes to achieve, the accomplishment will not be
made.
.
It warns him that any reliance upon prayers of
"divine" help will prove a bitter disappointment.
To the philosophy of Atheism belongs the credit of
robbing Death of its horror and terror.
If Atheism writes upon the blackboard ofthe Universe
a question mark, it writes jt for the purpose of stating
that there is a question yet to be answered.
Is it not better to place a question mark upon a
problem while seeking an answer than'to put the label
Austin, Texas

THE ASYLUM OF IGNORANCE


Does not the word "god" only confuse and make more
difficult the solution by assuming a conclusion that is
utterly groundless and palpably\ absurd?
"God," said Spinola, "is the Asylum of Ignorance."
. No better description has ever been uttered.
Shelley said god was a hypothesis, and, as such,
required proof. Can any minister of any denomination of
. any religion supply that proof?
Facts and not merely opinions are what we want.
Emotionalism is not a substitute for the truth.
If Atheism is sometimes called a "negative philosophy, it is because the conditions of life make a
negative philosophy best suited to meet the exigencies
of existence, and only' in that sense can it be called
negative
Some ministers of religion ignorantly call Atheism a
negative philosophy because Atheism must first destroy
the monumental ignorance and the degrading superstition with which religion, throughout the ages, has so
shamelessly stultified the brain of man.
A negative attitude in life is sometimes essential to
proper conduct.
Life itself very often depends upon negation.
It is a negative attitude when we are cautious about
overeating. It is a negative attitude when we do not
indulge our appetities, or give vent to our impulses.
And on many occasions I have seen illustrated editorials sermonizing upon the fact that the hardest word
in our language to pronounce is the word "NO!"
It is only when we have the courage to say NO to
certain temptations that we can avoid the consequences that are the result of following those temptations.
Progress also very often consists in negation.
Man finds himself in a universe utterly unprepared
and poorly equipped to face the facts a'~d conditions of
life
He must overcome the illusions and the deceptive
forces that are forever present in Nature.
When the light of intelligence first came into the
mentality of man, he found himself in a world that was a
wilderness; a world reeking with pestilence and populated with shrieking beasts and brutal and savage
people.
.
No wonder that Man's distorted intellect gave rise to a
series of ideas concerning god that makes one shudder
at their hideousness.
His primitive imagination conceived gods of a multitude of heads, of grotesque parts; of several bodies, of
numberless eyes and legs and arms.
In order that man may think clearly and rationally
upon the facts of life, all these concepts must be
destroyed.
That is only one of the tasks of Atheism.
"To free a man from error is to give, not take away, "
said Schopenhauer.
.

Nivose 189 (1/81)

Page 13

ON OUR WAY
CIRCUMSTANCES
There's no change to speak of in
the exertions of the various religious sects to attain political power.
Their efforts are cleverly camouflaged as benign god-talk, but as
always before, all are constantly
probing and searching for the means
that would enable them to disaffirm the First Amendment of our
Constitution's Bill of Rights. Most
people feel confident that the religions can't succeed in this, but
when we consider that for every
Atheist on guard against this there
are a thousand or more rabid religionists striving for it, the situation
appears to be anything but comforting. Yet now that the presidential election is over, life won't
be as vexing as it was, and our
problems will mostly consist of
trying to counteract the shifty tricks
that new-born believers havedreamed up to distort the normal, more
or less circumstantially constrained life of our American commonwealth.
The ideal run-of-the-mill
godbeliever bows to regimentation,
feels at ease in a crowd, avoids
solitude. No few people, in trying
to account for the way our younger
generation is sampling one religion after another, think that this
is the result of boredom with escapades most of which in this age
the precocious young have presentlyfound to be far less amusing
than trying to figure out why the
sundry religions call them sinful.
The kids of my fast-fading generation weren't anywhere near as analytical as those of today. Todav's
kids demand results! They want
the good life now - not the heavenly one after they die. One of my
friends says that the current rush
ofthe new generation to religion is
due to the American people's boredom with matters that only a halfcentury ago would have had them
howling bloody murder. The communications explosion: radio, television, movies; near-miracles such

Ignatz Sahula- Dycke

ALTER CASES: 1981


as our walking on the moon and
probe-circuits of Mars, Venus, Jupiter, Saturn, and all besides, have
made us so blase that presently
the simple, stupidly pathetic fables
'of the West's two-thousand-veaf-"
old monotheism once again sound
attractive.
The bait set out by all religions,
notably the Christian one, appeals
to the human's yearning for the
safety of numbers. We humans
are gregarious; yet, when assembled we resemble nothing so much
as flocks of sheep. We are susceptible to fears of diverse kinds
and, when we fail to overcome
them, wax hysterical, and are easily
led. The religions have capitalized
on this; have grown powerful, arrogant, and tyrannical by resort to
it. Religions live off the fears they
generate in their believers - off
the confused mentalities enabling
the clerical elements to command
sizable increments of our technologically committed and overburdened population.
It looks like a positive cinch that
the eighties hold plenty of trouble
and worry for the Atheist. Congress, as a whole, has shown in
the past five or six years that its
members aren't averse to listening to religious sweet-talk. If this
isn't a sure sign of religion's perennially arrogant plotting against our
nation's constitutionally established principles of self-rule, call me a
dreamer.
Americanism laces difficult times.
We're to be relieved of Mr. Carter
beginning in January of 1981, but
Mr. Reagan (if he'll comply with
the Republican party's platform)
won't serve our Constitution, personal freedom or liberty much better. The platform commits the
president-elect to support parochial schools, which means that
hepossibly, if not probably, wouldn't condemn those who want to
for~e kids attending tax-supported
pu~Fr;_schools to blab prayers to a

Page 14

Nivose 189 (1 /81)

1.1

hypothetical god. Should this and


similar foolishness be legalized,
Atheists and believers alike would
be deprived of the Iiberty to follow
the dictates of their conscientious
judgment, and make them literal
slaves to a syndicate
of selfrighteous fanatics and lameheads.
Also, when I consider that this
would be a variety of god-worship
by coercion, paving the way for
religion to enter and participate in
. state and governmental affairs, I
wax apprehensive about our country's future safety. Everyone knows
that religion - due to its sectarian
character - is divisive, and hence
destructive to political unity. Having from boyhood held religion's
dabbling in politics most distasteful, it's hard for me to believe that
any of the number of our legislators, who'd today tolerate religious meddling here, ever studied
or noted the demoralizing role played by religion in the history of
Western (European and South
American) governments. If they
indeed paid some attention to it,
they obviously skipped its most
important lession: that those who
ignore history sentence themselves
to suffer its tragedies all over again.
To some extent all of us incline
to view history as mere hearsay of
minor consequence to our daily
life. Worse, however, is that apathy
can deeply injure us if carried too
far. Especially were it to permit
statements likely to undermine
our respect for the Constitution'S
Bill of Rights go unchallenged.
Only the other day I read an article
by a Ph.D., a professor in one of
our universities, praising Edmund
Burke, who, in England, was decrying the French Revolution then
in progress, and acclaiming the
"blessings" conferred by kings
and emperors upon their subject
American

Atheist

peoples. So, when a scholar in


1980 is given a space to describe
theocratic rulers as god's humanitarian representatives, isn't it plain
that we, of the electorate, had
better keep an eye peeled on what's
cooking in Congress?
Politics and religion don't mix.
No way! Politics is a matter of
charting a course around impervious obstacles, religion a matter
of faith in dogmas conceived of
fantasies and sophisms. No one
realized this better than our nation's Founders. Recognizing it as
a principle of good government,
they handed it on to us to be
observed and respected, enabling
free men to flourish, prosper and
their nation to prevail. Does anyone who'd gloss over aprinciple so
authoritative deserve being called
American? Yet, today, throughout
the fifty United States, are to be
found people who take this heritage for granted. They'll be, above
all others, the ones making life
unpleasant for me in the eighties.
All questions about the necessity of Atheism - our American
kind or any other - boil down to
Atheism's capacity for defending
and preserving our Constitution.
This is a monumental task in today's rabid world. Now, captive for
more than a year in Iran, our fellowAmericans still await release by
the Ayatollah. He, a cleric of sorts,
is no different from any other of
the clerics who, once they get a
grip on anything, hang on for everything they can squeeze out of it. It
exemplifies what is likely to transpire were theologians ever to
come into political power here in
our USA. Were they to succeed,
hi-story says in
unmistakable
terms that shaking them loose
would be extremely difficult. It's
up to American Atheists and other
loyal Americans to forfend it.
We owe the forfending - and
the defecding, too -and the best
th.ing about this obligation is that
we owe it to no one but our USA,
namely ourselves. Possessing constitutionally secured civil liberties,
we Americans are a greatly privileged lot, but privileged only for as
long as we'll defend those liberties. Loyalty to principles such as
those of American Atheism is one
way of it. But Atheism, if it is to
Austin, Texas

defend the Constitution, must be


of the outspokenly effective kind.
There now exist in the USA dozens
of militant groups organized for
the express purpose of making the
United States into an avowedly
god-worshipping nation. If I'm as
accurately advised as I think, all of
them are fronting for various religious groups which today want
our US to proclaim itself a committedly Christian nation. Hence in
the view of these groups, only
those people who'd acknowledge
themselves as being Christians
would rate as first class citizens.
Our calling the hopes, aims, and
desires of these groups irrational,
fatuous, nutty, or mad, won't do
any good. They must be opposed
everywhere - in the public prints,
radio, television, in the courts of
law; but until our American Atheist Center is adquately financed for stopping them, we Atheists
will remain partly disenfranchised, reviled, and ridiculed by this
subversive coalition of Theism's
hirelings.
If life has ever been a bowl of

Nivose 189 (1/81)

cherries for anyone, then surely it


has been so for us Americans. But
let's remember that before eating
the cherries we had to grow them
and pick them. Here in our USA
we're better off than other people
in other places. Opportunities remain boundless here. Here the
chances of hitting the jackpot are
the same for everyone of us. Here
happiness can be caught afoot as
easily as in a Cadillac. All of us
know that much in life results from
interaction of circumstances, but
as well also know that circumstances respond to effort, though
never to wishing, praying, or supplicating some god. So, let's not be
slaves to words now, or fantasies;
nothing is impossible; thereve even
been lots of cases that altered
circumstances. Life, after all, is
never a matter of what we expect
to get out of it but what we put into
it. And as to religion - if any must
have one, I say make it Americanism. No Atheist ever went wrong
believing in and defending
our
United States of America.

Page 15

NATURE'S WAY
GERALD THOLEN

"THE EAGLES ARE DYING"

Damn ... what's happening to


our ecology"?? ... The bison, the
whale, brown pelicans, whooping
cranes ... species around us are
dropping like flies ... In some corners great concern has risen and
hundreds of rather hapless, though
totally dedicated, supporters of various doomed fauna have given
their "all" in efforts to save their
particularly admired creatures.
Yet. the list of has-beens steadily marches on .... Does society
really care? In a cultural showdown does an insignificant little
fish stand a chance of surviving
when "WE" decide to build an
"essential" dam? Has any among
us ever actually wondered why the
dam was really needed in the first
place?
Are we such gross failures at
problem solving that we cannot
truly understand what's going on
in our own world? I think that
somewhere, hidden behind our feeble pretenses, in a deep dark secret corner of our minds, we know
what the problem is! I Everything is
ultimately overshadowed by our
own paramount human need ....
But! HAVEN'T WE LEFT SOMETHING OUT?... Weren'tthe Arapaho and the Cheyenne and the rest
of our "natural" American cousins
among the first to succumb? Perhaps that's why our earlier generations relegated the Indians to
the role of "savages" or "non-humans." Certainly WE could not envision ourselves as being responsible for the destruction of a HUMAN culturel
Why has it ony been recently
that large numbers of our noble
populace has become so ecologically minded? Is anything so different NOW than it was in the days
of the majestic Red Wolf? - I think
notl In the continuing struggle for
survival there will be winners and
Page 16

there will be losers. "WE", being


"god's" special "creatures," SHALL
be winnersl Even though at times
we experience difficulty defining
the word "we."
But let's get back to the subject
titled "Eagles.;' Earlier, during the
inception of our nation, it was
decided that the noble Bald Eaqle
would be our symbol. His aloof
majestic appearance would signify a proud, determined and fearless nation of dedicated people!!
What a beautiful poetic thought.
Too bad that we forgot that eagles
have to eat. So, the stately bird
also was awarded the title "chicken thief" and became, in some
quarters, just another outlaw. So
much for poetry.
But all this really has nothing to
do with the title of this article. Like
our founding fathers, I only used
the eagle symbolically. Let me explain ....
In my younger years I
recall that our population was somewhere in the vicinity of 130 million
people. That's a lot of people!
Even so, farm and woodlands were relatively plentiful and folks still
had room to "move around." It was
about that same time that some
"obscure eccentrics," who called
themselves sociologists, started
talking about our rather rapid population expansion and, in a .calrn.
intellectual manner, began advising
that "VIie"should curtail our reproductive abilities'. The-public was
not impressed! What right did these
"scientific quacks" have to imply
that WE should not churn out children at whatever rate suited our
fancy? After all, weren't "blessed
events" the utlimate creative ability of "god" and man? So it was that
one little arena of science (social
responsibility) became virtually extinct. Another "eagle" had died!
(Un?,)fortunately, the "quacks" had
known what they were talking aNivose 189 (1/81)

bout. As the vast numbers of Americans raced past the 200 million
mark, the squeeze became more
apparent. The sociologists had
warned that, at a point. our ability
to educate and provide would
gradually diminish. "NOT SO" said
religionists! "God will provide for
his children." And the mindless
masses BELIEVED them. "But,"
countered the sociologists, "you
don't understand - when people
become overcrowded, as in India
or China, they become aggressive
and violent!" Thus they warned us
that there could possibly be open
social upheaval and personal
crimes and that civil disobedience
was the ultimate circumstance of
ultra-close contact between humans. "NONSENSE," we were told
by the now-paired religio-political
demigods of government. "This is
One Nation Under God" - "That
simply cannot happen here." Well,
several other "eaqles'" fell while
state and church were burying the
remnants of the First Amendment.
There were those who, like the
sociologists, tried to warn an uncaring public of the dangers of.
church/state
coalition. You can
still hear the faint echoes of the
few who cautioned us about the
religio-politicizing
of the Bysantine, Roman and Middle East cultures. "Hogwash" replies Jerry Falwell and his "moral majority." "We
bought us a president and we're
gonna see to itthat a new doctrine
is set forth: the Holy Bible!" Someone should tell Jerry about the fate
of the Talmud.
Somewhere, during the 30's or
40's, another branch of science
tried to blossom: nuclear physics.
The secrets of "existence" were
disclosed and a totally new concept of Ionian wisdom became apparent. A new "eagle" among men,
Einstein, spread wings of wisdom
American

Atheist

that changed, for all times, our


understandings of the word "existence." Immediately, a new army
of "creationists," armed with pockets full of legislators, came to the
assistance of ignorance with "WE
WILL HAVE EQUAL TIME TO ESPOUSE OUR MYTHOLOGY - OR
ELSE". So now we can look back at
this pitiful recent attempt by the
"eagles" of nuclear science and
shed a sorrowful tearthat humanity took newly found knowledge
and fashioned it into a magnificent
bomb. Naturally, our ignorant neosocial outlook stands ready to aim
de grace-~b-ul-Iet at the
head of another proud but wounded bird - science.
Meanwhile, our American ant
colony grows - immigrants, welfare babies, unemployed migrants,
disenchanted lower, upper and middle-classers, money-making ministers. and "for hire" politicians,
even power-seeking
presidents
continue to fantasize through religiosity.
History has lost its impressiveness in the eyes of "students" who
no longer have a will to learn. As
we continue to add to the now
unrestrained cancerous growth of
humanity, problems will only become more acute and circumstances more degenerate.
Funny I should mention cancer;
we've known about cancer for a
long time. Still it remains with us. '
Try as we may, we can't "pray it
away." Some ignorant sociologist
would probably advise us to call
upon science research as a measure of finding an eventual cure.

the-coup

Some of us, who have been closely


touched by its horrors, might even
be prepared to implore our government to appropriate a billion or so
dollars toward research in an ef-'
fort to help the hundreds of thousands of people who have been, or
will become, stricken by this tragic
killer. What the hell! I suppose it
would be too much to ask of a
nation which, at this writing, is
prepared to send NINE AND ONE
HALF BILLION dollars to a country
controlled by lunatics ... simply to
save fifty two distraught countrymen. At times our priorities seem
vague! Too bad that our ample
citizenry has caused us to be so
involved in a hopeless struggle to
acquire Middle East oil. I rememberthe day when we boasted about
the "endless" supplies of crude in
PennsylvaniaandTexas. HowquickIy the natural resource picture
seems to fade in the face of wildfire birthrates - "one more dead
eagle."
The headlines tell us of violence
in the streets. We're not safe in
our homes anymore! Even law
enforcement officers tell us to lock
our doors and arm ourselves
against intruders. Could it be that
even our police "eagles" are becoming a dying species? Can we
even follow their advice in the face
of a determined gun control lobby?
Who knows where this will lead
us! .
Maybe what we need is an
"eagle" president who carries his/ her intellect around in his/her
brain instead of looking it upin the
pages of a coat pocket sleazy Bible.

But. then again, the days of "eagle"


presidents has become passe.THIS
is the day of power and "folding
money."There I go again, mentioning another deadeagle-theAmerican dollar. It seems as if, in our
attempt to enhance our national
economy, we printed too many of
them. People are no longer impressed with pockets full of paper.
They now want BETTER guarantees and at least some assurance
that they will be able to afford
some aura of pleasant existence.
We should have thought of that
yearsagowhen those "idiotic"sociologists told us to "cool it."
Remember when poor old Eisenhower decided that population control was a "national priority?I" Too
bad he didn't stick by his guns. His
faltering strategies subsequently
launched us in other directions
and allowed Nixon and McCarthy
to eat him alive! He could have
been an eagle! But. his sole significant epitaph ultimately became
"In God We Trust" ... how unfortunate! We no longer can trust the
money on which he had it printed.
The real eagle -"E Pluribus Unum,"
is dead!
They tell me that Atheists can't
pray - that they don't have anyone to whom to prayl The number
ONE definition in MY dictiionary
says differently - i.e., "to make
earnest petition to a-person." In
view of that definition, this 01'
Atheist "prays" that the American
public doesn't kill the last eagles
' - our ability to be decent, honest.
THINKING people ....
Yours truly, Gerald Tholen.

~--------------------------------------------~
SECOND ANNUAL NATIONAL AMERICAN ATHEIST
SUMMER SOLSTIC~~wr-"\1)[r~4f?l~!!!]=~"MIf'RICIAN

~J{JJf;:tfW~
_"-,,,.

~_ ~

~'-,--I1f;-_

.J/I;:;. _ .If ~-

A~THE~'STMiuSE~UM

....vJ:;_

-It/;-

,Ir//_

-=-,_~-_~.-'pcc-c::::.-------

- ~~~~~~~~~~~~-~

'I'

II='

vou

SPEAK

CANNOT

11/

YOUR MIND

1'llr'lullllil":llllIiLAII~
llillUJ~Lwj Jill J U
~--- --':;;
~cvcvcff>cvc9~~~d:?

PRAIRIAL (JUNE )20-211189 (6/20-21/81)


PETERSBURG, INDIANA.

'-

Austin, Texas

Nivose 189 (1/81)

Page 17

THE~~~----------------------------AMERICAN ATHEIST RADI~SERIES


",,'::""

THE TEN COMMANDMENTS


AMERICAN

ATHEIST

R A D I 0

Hello there, this is Madalyn Murray O'Hair, American


Atheist, back to talk with you again.
For some time I have been wanting to give you an
analysis of some theories, ideas and dogmas in the
Bible. However, there are often some legal difficulties
for our programs since we must obtain copy right
permissions and so on. I have just overcome that in
relation to Joseph Lewis, who was a prolific writer,
recently, for the American Atheist community.
One of his best works was called, simply The Ten
Commandments. For the next ten weeks I want to use
this work, condensing it considerably, and talking about
one commandment each week. Today is just an introdution to the whole idea of the Ten Commandments.
Lewis' original work runs to 662 pages. As you can
imagine, these programs will only able to hit the high
spots.
Is life a journey of enough importance to require help
and assistance until our destination of death is reached?
Is our mental potential, as we enhance it with education, sufficient to direct us safely and securely along the
'path of life? Is man a creature of god, of predestination,
or is he merely a temporary, animate being bornto face
the struggles of existence without the slightest outside
help from some super-entity?
Was man, at the beginning of time, given a chart of
behavior to face the difficulties he is sure to encounter,
or is he but one of the myriad forms of life resulting from
the ever-changing conditions of the universe?
Some say that man is a specially created being,
formed in the likeness and image of an all-powerful
creator. Others say that we are a part of the life stream
of all things, too insignificant to be important enough to
require special attention. Others say that we are but the
results of the conditions around us. Others say that we
can be, and often are, the masters of our destiny.
The religious people, especially the Christians, say
that man has been furnished with a chart to guide him
while on earth. This chart is infallible. It is flawless. It is
perfect. These religious folk tell us that the efforts of
those who labor to understand life and living are wasted
in seeking to formulate a code of conduct for the human
race. They tell us that no one need make an effort to seek
such knowledge, it is already there in a special revelation from the god of the universe in what is known as
The Ten Commandments.
What are the ten commandments?
We are told that the ten commandments are an
ethical code of conduct. written by "god" himself. T.hey
are divine, infallible and imperishable. So firm is the
Page 18

SERIES

263-278

conviction of those who accept the ten commandments


as god's divine precepts, that they believe that all the ills
and torments with which mankind is plagued are
caused by not practicing the tenets of The Decalogue,
(as the ten comandments are called) as revealed by god
to Moses.
It has been contended that the ten commandments
are so all-ernbracinq that in addition to containing god's
rules for the guidance of the human family and "its
mission" while on earth, they contain also the very
foundations upon which are based our laws and governments and without which civilization would not exist. It
is also contended that if the ten commandments were
universally accepted, all strife, discord, hatred, prejudice, misunderstanding and injustice would vanish
from the earth. There would be no more deception,
dishonesty, or deceit. With the ten commandments as
our guide, the human race would live together as one
perfect and harmonious family. Throughout the history
of the race, we find that many things have been
implicitly believed by the great mass of people, but
rarely has anything equalled the absolute faith accorded
the ten commandments. Listen to Martin Luther:
"Thus we have in the Ten Commandments a summary of divine instructions, telling us whet we have to
do to make our whole life pleasing to god, and showing
us the true source and fountain from and in which all
good works must spring and proceed; so that no work or
anything can be good and pleasing to god, however
great and costly in the eyes of the world, unless it is in
keeping with the Ten Commandments."
The import of the idea has not been lost on govern-'
ments. Mussolini issued ten commandments for his
Fascist supporters. The Nazis prepared ten commandments for the German Soldier and Joseph Stalin issued
ten commandments for the Bolsheviki. But. 'it spreads
out to other entities. The National Better Business
Bur eau issued a set of "Ten Commandments Designed
to Hold Custcr-i=. ,300d Wiil," The American H...:d:cal
Association r.as r sued to the ptly~ic'ians of the country
a suggestion to "Give Patients The Ten Commandments
of Good Health." The National Council of Churches
issued "Ten Commandments to Social Justice."
An appeal to the ten commandments
is always
impressive and effective. Robert Ingersoll, the great
American Agnostic, viewing all of this has noted that
the idea is "that had it not been for the Ten Commandments, larceny and murder might have been virtues."
Recently in the United States a legal battle was fought
up thr ouqh the Supreme Court over the religious idea of

Nivose 189 (1/81)

lV

NUMBER

American

Atheist

posting copies of the ten commandments in every


classroom of every public school in the State of Kentucky. Ultimately the United States Supreme Court said
that the plaques presenting the commandments were
religious and not properly in the schools and a storm of
protest came out against that court decision.
With this kind of reverence for the idea of ten
commandments, little has been done to investigate and
analyze them.
Well, what are the ten commandments? There are
actually two lists given in the Bible. We find one in
Chapter 20, verses 1-17 of the Book of Exodus. This list
contains 17 commandments. We find the second in
Chapter 5, verses 6 to 21 of the Book of Deuteronomy.
These commandments were given to Moses directly by
god when Moses was in isolation with god upon a
mountain top.
There are some minor differences in some of them,
such as omission of a word, or the past tense in one
commandment and the present tense in another. These
are not significant. Others have significant differences.
In the fourth commandment, to keep Sabbath, in
Exodus the reason is given that
"For in six days the Lord made heaven and earth, the
sea, and all that in them is, and rested the seventh day."
But the reason given in Deuteronomy is:
" ... thou wast a servant in the land of Egypt, and that the
Lord thy God brought thee out hence through a mighty
hand by a stretched out arm; therefore the Lord thy God
commanded thee to keep the sabbath day.
.
This relates, of course, to the first commandment as it is
seen variously by Jews, Catholics and Protestants. The
first commandment, according to the Jews is:
"I am the Lord thy God, who brought thee out of the land
of Egypt, out of the house of slavery."
.
But according to the Roman Catholics, it is:
"I am the Lord thy God. Thou shalt not have strange gods
before me."
And according to the Protestants, it is:
'Thou shalt have no other gods before me."
In the Catholic and Protestant versions, the reference
to being "brought out of the land of Egypt, out of the
house of bondage" was left out for the very good and
sufficient reason that this part of the commandment has
only to do with Jews and not with Protestants or Roman
Catholics: They were never in Egypt and the Lord had no
occasion to free them from the yoke of bondage. In this
the Catholics and the Protestants have judiciously, yet
deceitfully, refrained from using the entire command,
despite the incontrovertible fact that it is a part of the
decalogue and just as vital as the other parts.
.
We run into similar difficulty with the next commandment. The Protestant version is: 'Thou shalt not make
unto thee any graven image, or any likeness of anything
that is in heaven above, or that is in the earth beneath,
or that is in the water under the earth." The Jewish
version is: "Thou shalt have no other gods before Me.
Thou shalt not make unto thee a graven image, nor any
manner of likeness of anything that is in heaven above,
or that is in the earth beneath, or that is in the water
under the earth." The Roman Catholic version, however, is simply: "Thou shalt not take the name of 'the
Lord thy God in vain."
Austin, Texas

The Roman Catholics leave out the entire second


commandment. They omit it because it would interfere
with the most lucrative part of their ritual, the worship
and adoration of saints, and particularly of graven images. The Roman Catholics not alone make these
graven images, in direct prohibition and violation of the
second commandment, but they also worship these
images. The church has defied god, with impunity, for
centuries in this matter.
Because the Roman Catholics omit the second commandment, the list of the ten given by that group differs
always from the list of the Jews and the Protestants in
that the Roman Catholic number two is the Jewish and
Protestant number three. The Roman Catholic number
three is the Jewish and Protestant number four, until
we get to the end. At that point, the Roman Catholic
Church splits number ten into two parts and uses the
first part of it as number nine and the second part of it as
number ten in order to make the decalogue come out
even. This causes some confusion. For instance, in a
community which is Protestant a newspaper may print a
story that a murderer has violated the sixth commandment, "Thou Shalt Not Kill". However, in the lists,
number six of the Roman Catholic decalogue is "Thou
Shalt Not Commit Adultery." Unless clarified no one
would know what the culprit had actually done.
But, be that as it may, the story goes that god wrote on
the stones, these commandments. In Exodus, 'then,
Chapter 32, verse 15, "And Moses turned, and went
down from the mount, and the two tables of the
testimony were in his hands; the tables were written on
both their sides; on the one side and on the other were
they written."
"And the tables were the work of god, and the writing
was the writing of god, graven upon the tables."
Now, according to religious folks, this was the single
most valuable thing in the world, for all times, for here is
not only the handiwork of god, the fashioning of these
tables or tablets, but there is even a specimen of his
handwriting. Retrect for a moment on the inestimable
value of such stones. Here is proof positive of god, the
language he spoke, the moral obligations he has put on
humankind. These stones are the single most priceless,
revered and important objects in the world, barring no
others. All mankind should have guarded this priceless
possession with their lives. for all time. Here was
absolute, incontrovertable, physical, empirical proof of
god in a form which could endure forever.
In addition to the actual physical stones, the writing
was also preci~us beyond'imagination.
This was,
simplv, an overt presentation of the most important
guidelines of living which could come to man. God, who
had created man, the above-which-there-is-no-other,
had physically manifested himself and utilized physical,
actual, hands, fingers and writing tools to make his
intentions for mankind known for all eternity to everyone on earth, forever. What did Moses do with these
precious tablets? He immediately had a fit of anger and
broke them.
Exodus, Chapter 32, verse 19: "And it came to pass, as
soon as he came nigh unto the camp, that he saw the
calf and the dancing: and Moses' anger waxed hot, and
he cast the tables out of his hands, and brake them

Nivose 189 (1/81)

Page 19

beneath the mount."


There, one would suppose, went all of the evidence.
But, god was forgiving and in Chapter 34, verse 1 of
Exodus, god tells Moses to " ... hew thee two tables of
stone like unto the first: and I will write upon these
tables the words that were in the first tables, which thou
brakest."
But what follows then is a set of commandments used
by the early Hebrew tribe and antedating the present
decalogue by many centuries. They are entirely different.
For instance, the first commandment now says:
Chapter 43, verses 11 to 14: "11. Observe thou that
which I command thee this day:
12. Take heed to thyself, lest thou make a covenant with
the inhabitants of the land wither thou goest, lest it be
for a snare in the midst of thee;
13. But ye shall destroy their altars, break their images,
and cut down their groves;
14. For thou shalt worship no other god; for the lord,
whose name is Jealous, is a jealous god."
Obviously, this is "Thou shalt have no other gods
before me."
.

"15. Lest thou make a covenant with the inhabitants of


the land, and they go a whoring after their gods, and do
sacrifice unto their gods, and one call thee, and thou eat
of his sacrifice;
16. And thou take of their daughters unto thy sons, and
their daughters go a whoring after their gods, and make
thy sons go a whoring after their gods.
17. Thou shalt make thee no molten gods."
This commandment served the purpose of keeping
the tribe pure from pollution by cross breeding with
other tribes; and of keeping the god pure by not
permitting the whoring after other gods, nor the making
of any likenesses of those others.
Well, Mr. Lewis looks at all the commandments, and
as I review the works here with you, we will see where
this leads. Just this introduction is fascinating enough
that I hope you will turn to this station to hear a review of
the commandments one by one for the next ten weeks.

And, apparently, the second commandment "Thou


shalt not make unto thee a graven image" is reflected in
Chapter 34, verses 15 to 17.

listener

This informational
service

by the

non-political.

I will

is brought

of Separationists,

educational

organization

plete and absolute


of American

broadcast

Society

separation

Atheist

Radio

to you as a public
lnc..

a non-profit,

dedicated

to the com-

of state and church.


Programs

is continued

This series
through

generosity
be with

you next week,

time, same station.


"goodbye"

same day of the week,

same

Until then, I do thank you for listening

and

for now.

3t

CLASSIFIED ADVERTISING
LA 101
Male, age 41, widower,
varied interests. Looking for in-'
telligent, warm, slender lady
to share life with.
LA 103
White. male, mature Atheist.
18 - struggled
from Christianity - desires female correspondence - bright, imaginative, and morally variable.
LA 104
Mr. seeks Ms. Interests: Eth,
ics. values. humane ideas.

LET'S

LA 105
I would like to make correspondence with fellow American friends who are Atheist
to convey views and opinions
about Atheism,
LA 106;'
Single male Atheist. 27, desires correspondence
with Atheists everywhere.
Will answer all.
LA 107
Desire faithful,
loving marriage. reproducing
with white,
childless,
humanitarianAtheist,
25-45, 5'9" - 6'4",

ave.l200/0 overweight,
shunning impersonal sexuality, tobacco, other drugs. I'm white,
39, 30ish-looking,
5'8", attractive.
LA
108
Single female Atheist.
nonsmoker, early 50's enjoys intellectual pursuits, travel, nature and serious
cuddling.
Will correspond
With liberal
and liberated
people of any
ethnic background.
LA 109
100% Atheist
male, Caucasian with a pinch of American

GET ACQUAINTED

r-~~--------~--------~
IF YOU ARE GAY AND
ATHEIST,
PLEASE CONTACT:
Gay Atheists League of America
P.O. Box 14142
San Francisco, CA 94114
Membership: $15.00/year
($1O.OO/year for students
and senior citizens)

Address ,rour rtply to So (\<0 hotthat number mar he). PIQd'


rOUT sealed envelope
In a letter 10 tlie
American AIM;S( Center, PO. B(I'f
2117. 4 us/in. Texas 78'68. We ","
set' that all replies are forwarded
iO
(he advertiser. ,'it) identities art' ever
revealed: we pro ten rou from an \
harassment ..
hich might ('umt' [rom
your home address appearing In our
. columns
t'\',r

Page 20

Indian (which I resemble), average looking, balding, 5'8",


146 lbs. 27, divorced
from
"good Christian,"
don't want
kids, disciplined,
strict morally and ethically, non-bigoted,
open-minded
. c on s c te n tious thrifty, serice of humor,
uncertain about marriage, college-educated, non-drinker, nonsmoker. Communication
with
female 5'3" or shorter, slim
built. similar personality,
especially in Bait, Md, or Pa.
area. Also, communication
with Atheist anywhere.

Send to the same address for


subscriptions to the GALA Rel'ieK~ subscriptions $1000/year;
$11 50/year
In Canada and
PUAS; elsewhere $12 50 .
Nivose 189 (1 811

American

Atheist

JOIN
AMERICAN
ATHEISTS
P.o. BOX 2117
AUSTIN, TX 78768

SEND $15.00 FOR ONE


YEAR'S MEMBERSHIP AND
YOU WILL RECEIVE THE
FIRST NEWSLETTER, A
MEMBERSHIP CARD
AND A CERTIFICATE

SALT LA

t\'t--I"1

o
G
o
D

S
T
E

-- vR
--- ~,

REGISTER TODAY
$20.00 per person
Send to: John Mays, Convention Coordinator
American Atheist Center
2210 Hancock Dr., Austin, TX 78756
[or telephone: 512-458-1244]