Sunday, August 2, 2009

Hoosier epiphany

Another way to respond to obnoxious altar calls. If it happened in Ft. Wayne, it could happen anywhere. Maybe even here...

Finding comfort with non-belief

Free-thinkers set goal of changing local attitudes

Free thought [is] “a philosophical viewpoint that holds that beliefs should be formed on the basis of science and logical principles and not be compromised by authority, tradition or dogma.” Free thought does encompass atheism and agnosticism, he says, but the group consists of people with many belief systems and anyone is welcome... The group also maintains a Web site at and a presence on Facebook and Twitter... The most recent addition: “Dial-an-Atheist,” once-a-month call-in editions of the show in which Chad Butterbaugh of Fort Wayne and others in the group field questions from viewers live.

“An atheist in the broadest sense is simply one who lacks belief in any god or gods – that’s ‘a’ as in ‘not’ or ‘without’ and ‘theism’ as in ‘belief in God or gods,’ ” says Butterbaugh, 29, introducing the June 15 edition, “What is an Atheist?”

“It’s a descriptive term, and that’s all. It’s not an insult, it’s not a club, and it’s not an indicator of some other big, broad philosophy,” Butterbaugh continues, with the bespectacled, earnest demeanor of a 19th-century law clerk.

“And under that definition, I would say that I am an atheist. Jake, comfortable saying that?”

“Oh yeah. I’m an atheist, definitely,” replies co-host Jake Doelling of Fort Wayne with a cheery smile.

“We want people to know we’re normal people. We have our own joys and fears and disappointments and sorrows like everybody else...”

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