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BellaOnline's Atheist / Agnostic Editor

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January 12 2008 Atheist / Agnostic Newsletter


Greetings fellow agnostics, atheists, and anyone else whoís reading this. As the new A/A Editor at BellaOnline Iíd like to welcome you (back?) and to tell you about my plans for the site. Since youíve subscribed to this newsletter, itís probably safe to assume that you have more than a casual interest in atheism and related topics. Some of you may be life-long atheists; others may have only recently begun to doubt; and some may merely be curious. Whatever your reason for being there, I hope youíll find things of interest at our site.

I call it ďourĒ site, because my role as editor is not to promote a personal philosophy to the exclusion of others. Atheism isnít a monolithic doctrine to which everyone must adhere; thatís one of the characteristics of organized religion that persuaded many of us to abandon it. I encourage each of you to share your ideas, your opinions, viewpoints and suggestions. You can do this anonymously at the A/A Forum or you can send an e-mail to me at atheist@bellaonline.com. (Be assured that Iíll respect your privacy and preserve your confidentiality with the utmost care!)

I plan to write weekly articles on a wide range of issues. One of my primary interests is ethics: how can nonbelievers develop a moral compass without the guidance of religious authority? Thereíll also be a series of biographical sketches of notable atheists, such as writer Isaac Azimov. Iíll address specific ethical questions for atheists; for example, since humans donít have souls, what moral responsibility do we have toward other animals on the planet? (Conversely, if we do have souls, wouldnít animals have them too? What would this mean for us?

And so on.

I want to avoid the conventional debates between believers and nonbelievers that fill up so many blogs. Nevertheless a number of topics have such broad implication that theyíre worth discussing. The so-called Anthropic Principles have been invoked to justify the peculiar felicity of the Universe Ė at least our little corner of it - for life, thus eliminating the need for a cosmic Designer to ensure our existence. Even some scientists misunderstand what these mean or donít mean. We'll talk about that.

One of my goals is to attract people of faith who wish to understand what atheism is all about or who have questions about specific issues. I wish to extend an open invitation to all religious followers to visit us regularly and to initiate discussions about matters that concern you. I assure all of you that youíll be treated politely and with respect.

As a practical matter my goal is to post feature articles at the beginning of each weekend, so that those who work Monday through Friday can access them at leisure; but new material can appear at almost any time. So pop in whenever you like, as the Brits say, and please donít hesitate to tell me what you think of the site. Itís here to serve you.

Whatís New? [In the future, this notice will appear at the top of each newsletter.]
Several new articles:

-- Atheism & Ethics Ė Introductory remarks about the connection between atheism and a rationale for living.

-- Atheism & Agnosticism Ė A discussion of these terms and whether thereís any practical difference between them.

-- The A&A Newsletter Ė For those who arenít yet familiar with the newsletter, what it is, how to subscribe, unsubscribe, security and privacy policy.

About your editor:

-- For those of you who want to know more about me, you can read a brief bio by clicking on my name at the top of the Atheist/ Agnostic home page.

'Til next time ...
AJ



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