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The Heretic's Handbook of Quotations, edited by Charles Bufe cover graphic

Quote of the Week

"A religion like Christianity, which is not in touch with reality on any point, which immediately falls down as soon as reality gets its right even in a single point, must, of course, be mortally hostile to the 'wisdom of the world,' i.e., to science—it will approve of all expedients by which discipline of intellect, the noble coolness and freedom of intellect, can be poisoned, calumniated, and defamed. 'Belief,' as an imperative, is the veto against science—in practice, the lie at any priceÖ"

—Friedrich Nietzsche, The Anti-Christ

(Our Quote of the Week is taken from The Heretic's Handbook of Quotations, Charles Bufe, ed. When we're in the mood, we change our Quotation of the Week between 15:00 and 21:00 GMT on Mondays; ditto for our Definition of the Week.)
The Devil's Dictionaries, by Ambrose Bierce and Chaz Bufe 
cover graphic

Definition of the Week

INVERSE RELATIONSHIP, n. The normal relationship between the usefulness of work and pay for it.

Our Definition of the Week is usually taken from The Devil's Dictionaries (Second Edition, revised & expanded): The Best of The Devil's Dictionary, by Ambrose Biercee, and The American Heretic's Dictionary, by Chaz Bufe. This week's definition is by Bufe.

What's New

Free Radicals: A Novel of Utopia and Dystopia, by Zeke Teflon, cover graphic We just put up an excerpt from our recent science fiction novel, Zeke Teflon's darkly humorous Free Radicals: A Novel of Utopia and Dystopia. It joins excerpts from The Devil's Dictionaries, The Heretic's Handbook of Quotations, and The Philosophy of Friedrich Nietzsche We'll be putting up excerpts from several more of our books over the next few weeks.

Here's what the reviewers are saying about Free Radicals:

"[S]olidly entertaining . . . reminiscent of early Mick Farren." —Publishers Weekly Online

"[T]he plot holds the reader's interest and should appeal to a fairly broad audience." —Booklist Online .

Special Online Offers

Born to Probe T-shirt Order a copy of Free Radicals for our normal price of $9.95 (plus $3.50 S/H) and get a free "Born to Probe" T-shirt.

Free Radicals plus XL Born to Probe T-shirt

Free Radicals plus Large Born to Probe T-shirt

Free Radicals plus Medium Born to Probe T-shirt

The Bassist's Bible Second Edition Order a copy of the revised and expanded second edition of The Bassist's Bible: How to Play Every Bass Style from Afro-Cuban to Zydeco (cover price $39.95), and we'll include a copy of the original edition (cover price $32.95) for free. You pay only what you'd pay for the second edition alone: $24.95 plus $3.50 S/H.

New Releases

  • The Watcher cover graphicPublishers Weekly recently reviewed our newest science fiction novel, The Watcher, by Nicholas P. Oakley. It's a fine coming-of-age tale with well drawn characters in a far-future setting, brimming with social and political questions on technology, primitivism, ecology, and the uses and misuses of consensus process.

    The full Publishers Weekly review is on our Reviews page. Here's a portion of it:

    "[The author] provides a degree of complexity in what could very easily have been a one-sided didactic novel. This ambivalent examination of an idealist society and its less than ideal behavior offers the hope that Oakley will grow into a significant SF novelist."

  • The Youngest Bishop in England cover graphicOur other new release, The Youngest Bishop in England: Beneath the Surface of Mormonism, by Robert Bridgstock, is back from the printer. It's a powerful memoir of life in the Mormon Church and a jaw-dropping exposé of that church. The exposé is all the more astonishing because Bridgstock relies heavily upon official Mormon sources for documentation, revealing truths about Mormon doctrine and history that the church hierarchy wishes to conceal from ordinary church members.

Recent Releases

  • Culture Wars cover graphicCulture Wars: The Threat to Your Family and Your Freedom, by Marie Alena Castle. Boldly stated and passionately argued, this wide-ranging book analyzes the impact religion has on culture and daily life in the United States. Culture Wars delves into the theology of intrusive religions, and goes on to shows that many of our laws are based in religious belief and have harmful effects on individuals and society.

    "In this hard-hitting book, longtime Minnesota activist Castle exhaustively catalogues the myriad threats to religious freedom and church-state separation posed by clericalists, fundamentalists, and their political allies and enablers." —Free Inquiry

  • Best of Social Anarchism cover graphicThe Best of Social Anarchism, Howard Ehrlich and a.h.s. boy editors. Social Anarchism is one of the longest-running and most respected anarchist journals in the United States. Since its appearance in 1980, the journal has published hundreds upon hundreds of articles by writers such as Janet Biehl, Brian Martin, Brian Morris, and Colin Ward.

    At over 400 pages, this massive collection contains an introduction by Jeff Shantz, Howard Ehrlich's highly amusing history of the journal, and Social Anarchism's 30 best articles divided into five major categories: 1) Theory; 2) Practice; 3) Education; 4) Notable historic figures; 5) Contemporary voices.

Upcoming Releases

This fall, we'll release our next two titles, G. Richard Bozarth's satiric short story collection, Bible Tales for Ages 18 and Up, and Chaz Bufe's Provocations: Don't Call Them Libertarians, AA Lies, and other incitements, a collection of Bufe's most thought-provoking and darkly humorous writings from the last three decades.

Our Blog

Sharp and Pointed features new writing by many of our authors—opinion pieces on politics and religion, science fiction reviews, cartoons, quotations, tips on writing, dark humor, and much more. To give you an idea of the blog's contents, here's a recent post.
Annoying Atheists

by Marie Alena Castle, author of Culture Wars: The Threat to Your Family and Your Freedom

(EDITOR'S NOTE: One of the reasons many people dismiss atheism is that atheist organizations seem to delight in pissing people off. They focus on relative trivialities, symbolic affronts such as nativity scenes in public places, rather than on the very serious religious intrusions—laws restricting reproductive rights, gay rights, the right to die—that damage the lives of millions of Americans. In the following post, Marie Castle calls out Americaís atheist organizations for their wholesale abdication of responsibility. —CB)

Donít Drink the Kool-Aid

Hereís something we don't think about, but should. Gloria Steinem said, "You will know the truth and the truth will make you free, but first it will piss you off." So here goes:

Why is it that so many religions are founded by people who claim to believe in a god, yet use that religion in greedy self-serving ways? Consider the difference between a cult and a religion:

In a cult, the person at the top knows it's a scam.
In a religion, that person is dead.

How many religions today were started as a cult by someone who knew it was a scam? Probably most of them. Yes, some religious founders are honestly deluded, think a god is talking to them, and they have been especially selected to carry out some half-baked ideas about a spirit world. There are others who start a religion honestly to promote a worthy way to live—an ethical system such as Buddhism.

We are not talking about those founders, only about deliberate scams, begun by con artists—faithless men and women who used the faith and belief of others to steal from them. And that is wicked. And those wicked con artists are ... unbelievers ... atheists! And their followers drank the Kool-Aid and continue to drink it and it never occurs to them that it was and is served up by ... atheists.

Not atheists of the kind that form and belong to freethinker organizations dedicated to forcing religions to be benign, only those who have no interest in god beliefs except as the hook for the greatest and most profitable and longest con in history.

Let's start with Moses. He is probably a fictional character but, if so, his story was created by con artists to achieve the desired results. Get a Bible and read about the Ten Commandments. Moses has led his people to the Promised Land. They are at Mt. Sinai. The mountain is rumbling, fire is coming from the top of the mountain as from a furnace. Moses says the rumbling is the voice of Yahweh, who wants to speak with him. (It's just a volcano, but people always believe what they want to believe.) Only Moses is allowed to go up and talk with Yahweh. No one else must even come near. "Stay back," he warns them repeatedly.

So this elderly man trudges up the mountain into the smoke and after a time returns with Ten Commandments carved at Yahweh's direction on two stone tablets. Then there's the Golden Calf incident, with Moses smashing the Ten Commandments, so he has to go back up the mountain for another set. They aren't quite the same, but no matter. What's important for the con is the instructions that go with them.

There are pages and pages of instructions for setting up luxurious tents for Moses, his brother Aaron and Aaronís sons—a priestly class to be showered with perks: the finest fabrics, gold and silver vessels, the best the Israelites had to offer in food, drink and amenities. All for the glory of Yahweh, of course, even though enjoyed only by that priestly class. Nothing was too good. It was the Bronze Age equivalent of todayís televangelists with their mansions, swimming pools, and private jets.

The Catholic Church says the Bible story of the woman using precious ointment to wash the feet of Jesus instead of helping the poor was justified for the honor and glory of "god." Same for why the church constructed such lavish cathedrals. After all, "the poor you will always have with you." True enough if society's wealth is squandered on the priestly class (now our biggest recipient of welfare through tax exemptions and perks and government giveaways).

Pope Leo X in the Middle Ages was quoted by his secretary as saying, "We all know how profitable this fable of Jesus Christ has been for our company." Yes, another "faithless man," like so many popes at that time, and even now. They know their church history as well as we do. They know there was no pope before the 4th century. They know it's all a profitable fable. Some no doubt close their minds to that and convince themselves otherwise, but the facts are still there. People believe what they want to believe or have to believe to live with themselves.

How about the Mormons? This is history so close itís beyond questioning. Joseph Smith was a known con artist with an arrest record. Can anyone read the account of his visit from the angel Moroni and those golden tablets ("evidence" that Moroni took back to heaven and so are not available) and his cobbled up hieroglyphics and Book of Mormon about Jesus visiting America and on and on without laughing? Yet Smith served up that Kool-Aid and his followers drank it and still do, never understanding that their faith comes from a con artistís imagination—a faithless man using the faith and belief of others to steal from them. With Smith dead, his cult is now the Mormon religion.

How about Mary Baker Eddy? She had a carnival act with a guy named Quimby touting "mesmerism"—a mind-over-matter schtick about using oneís mind to control whatever. When Quimby died, Eddy turned the act into a cult purporting to use oneís mind to heal disease. Since Eddy is dead, her cult is now the religion of Christian Science. And it maims and kills children whose parents drank Eddy's Kool-Aid and abandoned real medical care for prayer "treatments" that consist of refusing to admit a disease exists even when a child is clearly dying. It's the ultimate in believing what one wants to believe. And we have legislators so determined to respect those beliefs that they refuse to rescind laws that support them. More Kool-Aid.

So What Should Atheists Do About This?

These and other cults/religions are clearly not founded by honest, well-meaning god believers. It's time we honest atheists called them out. They are rogue atheists—hucksters playing the long con—with no more of a god belief than we have, but lacking the conscience that would keep them from exploiting believers. It never occurs to religious people that they are being conned by huckster atheists. Why not tell them?

Honest Christian behavior is immoral behavior because it hurts people. (Bible thumpers and "infallible pope" Catholics offer evidence for that.) Honest atheist behavior is moral behavior because it exists to oppose the harm religion causes. (Secular laws and social policies that help people live more productive lives offer evidence for that.) Organized atheism actually has no other valid purpose.

Christians become moral by abandoning traditional beliefs, in effect adopting the religion-free views of honest atheists. Atheists become immoral when they abandon atheism's inherently moral position in respect to religion by becoming con artists in the name of greed.

We atheists drink our own Kool-Aid by not telling the truth. We need to rein in our outliers and expose their con game. And we need to learn something about public relations from the world's reigning expert—Pope Francis. That is, you present a helpful, caring, friendly face to the world. In Francisís case, that hides a con game intended to preserve and enhance doctrinal control over our social laws and public policies. There will be no retraction of the anti-woman, anti-gay, anti-science, anti-death with dignity, etc., restrictions now in place. If anything, it will get worse. But it won't seem so because Francis will smile and talk of loving the victims and "accompanying them" during the travail his doctrines inflict on them. Kool-Aid.

An Honest Atheist Public Relations Policy

City council prayers are wrong. So are god pledges and mottoes. But no one cares if we lose the lawsuits and may feel irritated if we win. Billboards that say we can be good without god imply the god standard is good when itís not.

None of this shows we care about people—only that we want "a place at the table" in forming public policy. And we want that place only because there are now more of us. Why does that matter? We should want that place so we can make life better for everyone, not just us. We should show that we stand with the victims of religion-based laws. We should file lawsuits on their behalf. We should be their heroes. Instead we ignore them and say the oppressions inflicted on them "are not atheist issues" when they are exactly that.

Atheists have abdicated their most fundamental responsibility—to stand up for the victims of religion. The Secular Coalition for America recently released a Model Secular Policy Guide for legislative issues. It looks like something put together by a committee. Bland and legalistic, it does nothing to inspire activism. Shouldnít it point out the massive harm religion-based laws do to individuals and society? No mention of that, only that the intrusions do not pass constitutional muster. That will change if Supreme Court rulings make atrocious laws constitutional, as could happen. It's been done before. Ther document makes it seem that atheists have no human-centered principles to defend. By not making a forceful and principled stand for the victims of religious tyranny we make no stand at all. We are drinking our own Kool-Aid.

Miscellany

  • With the appearance of the expanded second edition of The Bassist's Bible, the original edition is no longer available via commercial booksellers. However, we still have a few dozen copies of the original edition and will be selling them at $10 each until they're gone.

  • Unfortunately, because of the recent extreme increases in the costs of overseas shipping, we no longer sell books (or anything else) directly to overseas buyers. Our in-print books, however, are distributed in Canada and Europe, so readers in those countries can still obtain See Sharp Press titles via normal commercial channels.

Contact Info

SEE SHARP PRESS
P.O. Box 1731
Tucson, AZ 85702-1731
520-338-2151
info@seesharppress.com

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