Weekly Update: to

by | January 9, 2021

Here’s your Canadian Atheist Weekly Update for to .

  • [] “Creation” by Zach Weinersmith (Saturday Morning Breakfast Cereal)

    It should come as no surprise that all of someone’s religious beliefs came from dicks.

  • [] From biblical times to Trump, false messiahs have doomed societies

    False messiahs (is the “false” really necessary?) are always weird and silly… but it turns out they may also be dangerous. And not just to the fools who follow them… history seems to suggest that they may be dangerous to societies at large. Interesting to note the date this article was published… before the recent shitshow at the US capitol.

  • [] Windsor pastor charged for breaking COVID-19 rules, church says it’s ‘discriminatory’

    There are a lot of stories of churches violating lockdown rules, including several in Canada. I’m not going to list them all, because this update will get pretty repetitive if I do. I’ll just highlight some of the biggest assholes… and so here we are. This guy held a service on the Sunday before Christmas, and ended up getting charged for it. Wonder how the cops got wind of it? Well, it could be because the idiot posted all the information about the gathering on the church’s website. Not only that, they openly bragged that even if their services were shut down, they still continue having them… they would simply go underground. And they said that after they were already caught the first time! And they even asked people to sign up for those services! Polite of them to gather the evidence for the cops themselves. Pastor Aaron Rock is looking at a fine of up to $100,000, but don’t feel too sorry for him. He’s apparently already raised $39,000 on GoFundMe. But you want to know the scuzziest thing about this guy? Ironically, according to the GoFundMe, Rock said he held services in defiance of the lockdown rules because he wanted to help people with suicidal ideations… which… I mean, yeah, he is kinda doing that.

  • [] “Why” by Zach Weinersmith (Saturday Morning Breakfast Cereal)

    Apparently the real problem of evil is that we’re all temporarily embarrassed millionaires.

  • [] Two men charged after two church services with more than 100 unmasked people: Chatham-Kent police

    So far as I can tell, this may be one of the biggest busts over the holidays. It’s certainly one of the most likely to be a super-spreader event. It’s actually two events… both raided by police. Some motherfuckers just won’t learn.

  • [] Religious Org Adds Rape-Apologist to Board of Directors

    Does the title of this item make you mad? It should. Well… you might want to read through the article (or watch the video; same thing). Still mad? You should be.

  • [] “Paradise” by Zach Weinersmith (Saturday Morning Breakfast Cereal)

    You may be shocked to hear that all healthcare workers are in Hell, but if you actually asked any of them, they would tell you that’s already true.

  • [] High school employee shares racist, violent fantasies on Facebook

    Yikes. I don’t often feature items about individual bigots in Weekly Update; I make exceptions for extreme cases, like Gabriel Sohier Chaput (who may have been one of the lynchpins of the entire North American neo-Nazi movement!), but generally, I prefer to focus on extremist groups rather than individuals, and leave that kind of fine-grained work to groups like Anti-Racist Canada. But this guy… wow. It’s not just that his beliefs are so extreme and hateful—sadly, islamophobes are a dime a dozen in the Canadian right, and making a death threat is pretty much a punctuation mark in the kind of posts that come out of their discussion groups; their sentences feel incomplete without at least some thinly-veiled intimidation. This guy apparently also went directly after journalists and politicians, sending menacing messages directly at their emails and social media accounts. And the worst part is, he’s apparently been working with children and other vulnerable people—such as at the Centre for Addictions and Mental Health—for quite a long time, including teaching at multiple Catholic schools.

  • [] ‘Meanwhile in Canada’: The Groups Inciting a Fascist Insurrection in Washington Are Here in Canada Too

    This is one a few articles I’ve included this week that talk about the recent insurrection in the US capitol, and point out that the same factors that triggered the violent attack there also exist here. (The article by Elizabeth Simons and Peter Smith for the Canadian Anti-Hate Network may put it best when they say it’s folly to say “Canada is not immune” to the same kind of violence… because we’re already sick. And not only that, we’re actually exporting some of the hate ourselves. Worrying about immunity hardly makes sense when you’re already contagious and infecting others.) This piece focuses on the players—the people and groups that made up the mobs we saw in Washington. And yes, a depressingly large number of them not only have Canadian branches, they also have Canadian roots.

  • [] Cheap talk skepticism: why we need to push back against those who are ‘just asking questions’

    I’ve seen rumblings in the atheist community that this new term that Aaron Rabinowitz proposes has generated some interest. I wonder if it will catch on. It certainly does refer to a real problem we have, with self-appointed Super Rationalist™ thought-leaders stirring up outrage by pontificating thoughtlessly on topics that have real consequences… for other people of course, never for the Super Rationalists™ themselves. I mean, if you want to wax philosophical about race despite neither being a racialized person yourself nor having any kind of educational background in race theory… maybe don’t. Because if you have no skin in the game (that phrasing was carefully chosen)… maybe keep your fucking mouth shut on issues where other people’s lives are hanging in the balance, and where there’s already a lot of misinformation and disinformation out there already causing problems.

  • [] “Language” by Zach Weinersmith (Saturday Morning Breakfast Cereal)

    I mean, I fully admit I’ve never thought of that particular miracle as a good thing before. But… yeah, I mean, Twitter may have changed my mind on this one.

  • [] What the pro-Trump insurrection in Washington means for Canada

    This is another of the items this week that is unpacking what happened in the US capitol, and finding the Canadian connections. This one, rather than focusing on the people or groups, focuses instead on the ideas that led to the insurrection, and where similar ideas are festering here, as well as some of the favourite tactics of far right extremism. But the most interesting thing in the article from the perspective of a Canadian atheist, is the federal report that was released just before the insurrection, that pointed to right-wing extremism as the greatest threat to Canada. How prescient that seems now. That’s not what was interesting about it though; what was interesting is what is summed up in this quote: The most prolific Canadian extremist users of social media, the ISD reports, are anti-Muslim, at a rate of 23 per cent on Facebook. Yeah. Exactly. People have asked why I spend so much time focusing on the broader hate movement in Canada (and not as much time debunking religious bullshit, which they think is what atheists should be spending most of their time doing). Well, that is the answer. I didn’t have hard numbers before, obviously, but I could see that islamophobia is the most prolific form of hate in Canada. I mean, I’ve been saying that for literally years now. And the reason I keep repeating it on Canadian Atheist is because Canadian atheism has always been one of the gateways to this kind of hate; by which I mean that many of the most vile, hateful anti-Muslim extremists in Canada got to where they are on a path made smooth and greased by the indifference and antipathy of Canadian atheists. Canadian atheists rarely say truly hateful things about Muslims outright (although… they do sometimes!), but they do offer up a constant stream low-grade intolerance and dehumanization of Muslims that acts as fertilizer, allowing anti-Muslim hate to fester and grow. We need to do better.

  • [] Canadian extremists want to storm Parliament and kill politicians

    There are a couple of items in this week’s Update about the insurrection at the US capitol, and using that as a springboard to talk about the Canadian situation. But this one is, hands down, the best. The others are great informational resources; they talk about the specific groups, ideologies, and tactics that led to the attack, and how those groups, ideologies, and tactics have Canadian analogues. This one, however, has taken the gloves off. It doesn’t focus on abstracts like groups and ideologies; it zeroes on specific cases, specific calls to action, specific acts of violence. It names names, and it gives hard numbers. It shows several clear examples of right-wing extremists calling for the kinds of action and violence that we witnessed in Washington… calls that were easy to dismiss as mere rhetoric a week or so ago, but that should now be recognized for the precursors to real violence that they are.

  • [] Study: “Dream cheating” revealed as number one cause of divorce among psychics

    I thought this was charmingly absurd; a nice palate cleanser from the usual sad or infuriating stuff that usually gets covered in Weekly Update.

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