We have re-opened posting on the Atheism United wiki, it was closed due to uncontrollable spam. Over the years many people have asked me to put a link to their website on this site or one of the other sites I manage. My solution was to help all atheist sites by making the longest list of atheist sites ever created. I can always use your help, even if just to be a watchful eye attacking spammers. Please link to the list on your own blogs and sites. Why?
When someone searches for information on atheism, many of the sites that come up are full of nonsense from a theistic perspective. This page will increase the relevance of all atheist sites in those searches. This way some of the good stuff will be a little higher in the search results. The more people that link to the atheist link list, the more it increases the rank of every site. This list doesn’t play favorites, we list ’em all. If you own an atheist themed site, I want to help it grab more readers!
Also, if you are reading this but are unable to post on Rational Responders due to a recent rendering error for some users, try another browser. I am only able to post with Firefox right now. Find me on twitter, g+, or facebook.
Wow Darrel Ray is brilliant. He nails it on “First generation leadership.” Because of my type-a personality and my inability to trust easily I was unable to spot future dedicated activists when they aligned with me early in their activist “careers.” Ashley Paramore and Shelley Mountjoy were by my side at the beginning. If I could have known to expand their leadership role early enough, they might have never needed to go become superstars elsewhere.
Check this article out if you would like to learn more about how atheist groups function, and how we can improve them.
Two Types of Leadership in the Secular Movement
Leadership among secular groups tends to come in two general flavors, those that are led by one or a few charismatic leaders (often the founders) and those that are led by a less centralized executive group. There is plenty of room for both types of groups in the movement, but it is important to be conscious and intentional in understanding and recognizing the strengths and weaknesses of both. For purposes of discussion, we will call these groups “first generation” and “second generation,” respectively, although they may not always fit that classification.
First-generation groups are often led by charismatic leaders. These are lean and activist groups. The founders have a sharp vision for what they want to accomplish and move fast to get the job done. They are often the leading edge of the movement and have influence out of proportion to their numbers both within the movement and in the larger society. Their strengths are invaluable because they are pacesetters, influencing the overall direction of the movement.
Despite their major strengths, it is also important to understand the weaknesses of first generation leaders. They are often an insular group and less democratic. Since first-generation leaders are generally autocratic, they tend to attract members who respond to strong, direct leadership. This limits membership, since only a fraction of the target population responds to this type of leadership.
Challenges to their leadership or vision are not welcome. It may be easy to join one of these groups but hard, if not impossible, to gain a position of influence. For this reason, the leaders have difficulty grooming the next generation. Upcoming, promising new leaders often see no opportunity to take part in the core functions of the organization and, therefore, don’t stick around long. Further, the boards of first-generation groups are generally a reflection of the leader and, therefore, typically very insular as well. The age range within this type of board is often similar to the age of the founder. This makes for a leadership structure that has a limited view and tends to be resistant to change.
Further, he talks about how groups led by charismatic leaders suffer when the external environment changes. The decision to start atheismunited.com was born from that change in environment. The atheist world is much different today than 6 years ago. RRS is still needed, but atheism united will be more current and relevant. The project was born from the idea that we didn’t care what banner we impacted the world under, we just wanted to have the biggest impact possible. We decided it was necessary to create something different. How justified Darrel Ray makes us feel.
“As long as the external environment remains consistent with the conditions in which the organization was founded, it will continue to function. But when the external environment changes, it can present difficult challenges. To the degree that an organization influences the surrounding culture, the target of its efforts must change. Culture is a moving target, and organizations that don’t adjust their influence strategy run the risk of using yesterday’s successful methods on today’s culture.
A good example is the civil rights movement, where many of the first-generation leaders continued following a vision that was rendered obsolete with changes in legislation and social norms.”
Reposted from: two types of atheist groups
I just had the chance to listen to the new Syqnys album. I was surprised to see I could listen to the whole thing free online. That’s smart, it made me buy it. His messages we’re on point. He said lots that made me think, and lots that made me want to go back and hear it a second time. Syqnys once wrote a song called “I am Rational Response Squad.”
Syqnys had all kinds of original thought in his album, which usually makes it one of those albums that you can listen to over and over. You should check it out, listen to it… then buy a hard copy for $10, once you buy the hardcopy you get the download for free. He also allows individual downloads for $1. I told Syqnys that my readers would want to know more, so I asked him a few questions and here is what he had to say:
What is the main theme of your new album?
Syqnys: The album is called “Hypatia’s Reign, which is a reference to the fourth century philosopher Hypatia of Alexandria, who was brutally murdered by a Christian mob for reasons that mainly had to do with her ungodliness and general lack of docility. This album represents the hope the secular community has for an era where rationality and reason dominate our public discourse. Where religion and other “conversation stoppers” have become as antiquated as alchemy is to modern medicine. “Hypatia’s Reign” is what the “Age of Enlightenment” was supposed to be.
By no means is the era a reality at this moment, but that is the point; it should be! It would be the ultimate historical irony, or rather justice, if the image of Hypatia came to represent the “Death” of unreason. The following line from the intro song sums up the idea perfectly, “Welcome to the Reign/come and feel the pain/ of the brilliant woman who was persecuted then slain/cut up into pieces by the followers of Jesus now the flames of ignorance will drown in her rain.” The album is also a reflection on my daughter Hypatia, who was still born nearly four years ago.
What do you hope the audience will take away from this album?
Syqnys: First and foremost I want people to really dig the music. If you are a fan of rap music already, there is no doubt in my mind you will appreciate this album. I’m not a conceded person at all, but I can rap my ass off, man. I try to be as creative and tricky with my word play as possible. With every song I want to say something that will either keep you on your toes, surprise you, impress you or simply plant the seed of a new idea, or even to validate something you’ve thought before, but never really had someone clarify it or express it in a way that left you confident that you were right about it the whole time. I’ve had this same experience reading Richard Dawkins and Sam Harris, and I hope I can have the same effect through music. Even if you’re not a fan of rap, you’ll find something on this album that will leave an impression. I’m willing to bet I can change the minds of a few anti-rap people out there.
What motivates you to speak out?
Syqnys: All I do is speak out, whether it’s with music, writing or just in conversations. Before I even knew what the hell I was talking about, I felt there were some serious flaws in what many of my peers and role models believed in and promoted. I remember debating my creationist friends about evolution and not knowing “shit about fuck” (as Robin Williams so eloquently puts it), but I KNEW they knew even less “Shit” about “Fuck”. All you have to do to figure out what motivates people like Brian and myself to speak out, especially on religion/atheism, is listen to ten minutes of Kent Hovind, Dinesh D’Souza or even the nuts of right-wing talk radio and you’ll understand perfectly what motivates us. Not to mention the religious extremist (actually their just the ones who take their holy texts seriously) of all stripes. People who don’t pay much attention to these issues can brush these lunatics off with a laugh… but they scare the shit out of me!
I don’t post much on this site.
Keep up with what I’m up to at one of these spots:
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My blog on Rational Response Squad
Religion creates another atrocity, god is great, eh? Listen Muslims and Christians… stop the fighting. You’re both wrong, it’s time to act like rational grown-ups and throw off your archaic belief system, you are destroying civilization, and will continue to do so until we’re gone. Abandon your superstitious nonsense, and evolve already! Ask yourself, what solid proof to you have to believe in your God. If what you have is a holy book, remind yourself that hundreds of holy books exist for hundreds of gods, and you don’t believe in any of them, so obviously a holy book is not sufficient proof.
Throw off your superstitious nonsense, and embrace things you know exist like humans for example. Make no mistake, today millions of folks around the world who have no belief in a god are sad for the people who were affected by this needless loss of life, just as we’ve been sad about all the other atrocities committed in the name of religion throughout the ages. Our thoughts are with the billions who have been negatively affected by religion since the dawn of time, and always are. In fact my life is dedicated to ensuring these sorts of things don’t continue to happen, you can start by breaking the cycle… throw religion off today!
We’ve restored the content on both the old Way of the Master watchdog site, and Ask The Atheist.
I’m currently looking for people that are writing articles, have written articles, or are willing to write articles exposing Kirk Cameron, Ray Comfort, Todd Friehl and any of the other loons that work with the Way of the Master organization. That site had been taken down quite some time ago, and is now available here: Way of the Master Watchdog
The OLD Ask The Atheist site is now in archive format only attached to our site as a subdomain: http://asktheatheist.rationalresponders.com
You can log in to both of the above sites to post a comment with your RRS login and password.
If you’re interested in being a thorn in the side of the WOTM team (seriously it’s easy, it just takes a little time and energy) please let me know. The best way to let me know is to read a few of the posts on the Way of the Master Watchdog and get a vibe of what we were trying to achieve, and to submit a story to me that you think is worthy of posting. I’m currently in need of a few good stories involving Ray Comforts destruction of “The Origin of Species.” So if you’re interested in coming up with a post or two per month about the current whereabouts of the con-men at Way of the Master, let me know.
Oh… and if you want to check out the current form of Ask the Atheist it’s available here.