Sunday, April 27, 2008

NYC Atheists Table Report #4

It's atheist tabling season again! Maybe I'll be able to squeeze out a few more reports this year. What's an atheist table you ask? You can click on the "table" tag on the left, or read the first one.

I arrived bright and early to set up at 10 AM. It was my first time setting up. In the past I usually did the "late" shift and helped tear down around 6 PM. It was too windy and a bit cold. I only stayed till about 1:30 since I had to skedaddle to eat lunch and get some work done.

The main characters were:

The "Other" Atheists
The Cabbie
The Vanilla Christians
The Stalin Quoter
Seth MacFarlane
The Deist
Cocoa Herpes Lady

As usual most of the people coming up to the table were either atheists, or supportive of church-state separation. Their positive comments and incessant agreeing doesn't make for interesting blog reports.

The "other" atheists were members of the Society for Ethical Culture. They set up a table nearby muscling in on our turf. The nerve! They didn't have a canopy though, which I envied a bit since it was a bit warmer to be in the sun.

Right behind our set up is part of Columbus Circle where taxis pull up. Sometimes the drivers talk to us. One cabbie was ranting to me about "the Church". I couldn't really understand what he was talking about, but I sensed he was anti-Catholic. He handed me a pamphlet titled "Does GOD Love You?" I didn't read it until now. It's a Q&A with lots of Bible verses. Aha, one question is "Should I attend a Church? Answer: Definitely Not!" Huh! A lot of it seems focused on the end of the world.

The Vanilla Christians were the most interesting to talk to. They were a youngish man and an oldish woman carrying Bibles. They were pretty friendly, but they wouldn't tell me what denomination they were or the name of their church. (Maybe they got the cabbie's pamphlet?) They were "just Christian". We had a pretty good argument about historical evidence and determining truth. They seemed a bit stuck on the circular reasoning of "God's word is the Bible. How do we know that? Because the Bible says so." etc. I also couldn't follow some of the woman's logic. At one point she said something along the lines of "If you think scientific evidence is so great, what about the scientists who showed evidence that abortion was good?" Um, what?

The Stalin Quoter was also what I call a "dive bomber", which are those people that swoop in with some religious sound bite then zoom away before we can give a pithy atheist response. He was hovering near the table reading one of the signs another member put up, when suddenly he pokes his head over the table with a big smile and says, "you know what Joe Stalin said? Joe Stalin said, 'may no one ever die in the name of religion again'". Then he walked away quick. Did Stalin say that? A brief search doesn't reveal anything like that, but who knows? What was the point of the quote? It wasn't the usual "Stalin was an atheist you know, neener neener" type of statement. Maybe they guy screwed up the quote.

Seth MacFarlane wasn't really Seth MacFarlane but there was a resemblance. This guy was a great speaker and debater. He got involved arguing with Vanilla Christians and later Cocoa Herpes lady. I had to shut up and listen since he was doing a much better job arguing than I was. Way to go Seth! The Deist was also there. I got nothing to say about him since I got hardly any complaints about deism. I could be a deist myself if pantheism wasn't so sexy. He had no love for the Christians though.

Cocoa Herpes lady was loud and incoherent. Seth was very patient with her, but I had to leave before they finished arguing. She claimed God cured her herpes because she ate a whole can of cocoa. Apparently you can't eat cocoa if you have herpes since it causes it to flare up. (You know, I'm not even going to google that.) She talked about the cocoa with her hands stretched about two feet apart so it must have been a very big can. She also said God teleported money into her pocket. I didn't know God was such a micro-manger, but who am I to doubt her testimony?

I wonder if any crazy things happened after I left. I always miss the good stuff!

Hey look, G-mail says I have 6666 MB left. Is that worse than 666? I thought Google did no evil.

Finally if you're bored you can read the latest long blog discussion I'm having at a Christian blog. We've debated before here.