Where are all of the Atheist Women?

crystal_small.jpgBy Crystal Dervetski
If you're a woman and you're reading this, chances are you're a skeptical and thinking person. I'd like you to seriously take a moment and congratulate yourself. Give yourself a pat on the back, and just soak the moment in: You are a woman, and you are rational.

It's not that I have a desire to leave the men out, but you have to admit, there are not many women around when it comes to atheism. (Don't stop reading guys, as you're as much involved in this as any female!) I've had the chance to talk with some great women and men about this reality, and I feel I've come up with a few of the reasons that there aren't as many gals, and what we can do to shift the balance.

Sexism from both genders holds us back. As females we are taught that it isn't very 'feminine' to vocalize our opinions, especially opinions that the majority may not find pleasant. We are most often taught from a young age that to be attractive we need to be quiet and agreeable. Also, there's always the concern, as a thinking person, that if we let too much of our femininity show we will not be taken seriously; we must be manly to be powerful. But hey, let's face it, whether we look like an old hag or Carmen Electra, there will always come a time when someone's in line to put us down. The sad part of this is that so often it's women hating other women, when we should instead be banding together. So ladies and gents, next time you think about chopping someone down based on their appearance or mannerisms, try to think again. Embrace all kinds of women and understand that being feminine takes many forms.

Another key element to women being held back in skepticism is we are taught that to be critical of something is wrong. This seems to be at least partially due to the fact that the word 'critical' almost always takes on it's first, most well known definition: "inclined to find fault or to judge with severity". We need to help re-establish that being critical has another meaning, "involving skillful judgment as to truth, merit". People of both sexes need to do their part to show others that 'critical' does not have to mean rude, stubborn, or judgmental.

Although you really do need to think things through before you speak, of course, do not be afraid to state your opinion concerning matters great and small. This is another area where so many people can be held back. Your opinion is valid! You do not have to be a biblical scholar to talk about the bible. You do not have to be the greatest writer in the world to share your feelings. (Hello, I think I'm a good case in point on that one!) We need to get over it and stop being afraid of sharing, or of looking inadequate in others' eyes. We are all more than adequate, and whatever we have to give to further the cause of atheism, we need to be up front and center sharing it with one another and the rest of society.

Be out and proud of who you are whenever you can. When more women are out about their atheism, it will help other women to be confident in their views. And when that gender shift starts to happen, all of the single atheist men and women will have us to thank when they find their life partner at one of our events.

There are many more reasons for a shortage of atheist women, what are your thoughts and ideas on it? Email astrocomfy@hotmail.com, or join the discussion on the MNA online forum.


A Letter to Minnesota Atheists from The Bridge for Youth

Minnesota Atheists:

Thank you for your Winter Solstice Drive to The Bridge for Youth. We will put your donation to use to help young people in need.

Since our founding in 1970, The Bridge for Youth has served thousands of runaway and homeless youth and their families. From emergency shelter and family counseling to supportive housing for youth living on their own, we offer innovative and effective solutions for youth in crisis.

Here at The Bridge for Youth we see heartbreak and tragedy every day. But we also see miracles - of hope and love and renewal. Youth and families who are able to negotiate their differences, make a fresh start and forge stronger connections with each other. Youth who were homeless and disconnected finding their way off the street, finishing school, working and building a stable life. We are honored to be part of this work.

Thank you for helping us. Your contribution will go directly to provide a full range of 24-hour directly accessible services to youth and families in our community: 24-hour crisis counseling, emergency shelter, medical services, family counseling, street outreach, and transitional and permanent housing for homeless youth.

On behalf of all of at The Bridge for Youth, thank you for caring and commitment to our community's young people.

Chelsea Miller

Development Coordinator

PS: Thank you so much! Your group is so wonderful and entertaining. Thank you for a great night of food and entertainment.



Cable TV Report

by Steve Petersen

We produced four programs in the past two months.  In November, James Zimmerman interviewed Grant Steves in two programs titled "Inerrancy: The Christian Text and Christian Fundamentalism Why?"  In December, Grant Steves conducted two interviews titled, "Lynn Fellman as Artist and Lynn Fellman as DNA Artist."   If you would like to help on the cable program or sponsor the program on your city or have ideas for a future program please contact me at chair@mnatheists.org.

James Zimmerman and Grant Steves
Lynn Fellman and Grant Steves



"Atheists Talk" Radio Report: Two Shows for Less than the Price of One!

by August Berkshire

At our November meeting we announced that we were not going to renew our contract with KTNF AM 950 radio due to cost. Instead, we were going to create a live podcast of our program, which would cost us almost nothing. Now it looks like we're going to have the best of both worlds.

KTNF did not want to lose us, so they made a lower, counter-offer, which we accepted. We have signed a contract to continue for the first six months of 2009.

However, KNTF would like to charge us the full rate again after those six months. The only way we can do this is to find a co-sponsor who will pay for half. With that in mind, we are open to experimenting, by changing our show into an "Atheist-Theist News Hour" and finding a religious co-sponsor.


Read more: "Atheists Talk" Radio Report: Two Shows for Less than the Price of One!

Challenging the Deepest Beliefs

Minnesota Atheists president encourages discussion between those with different views

Reposted from the MSU Reporter

August Berkshire, president of the Minnesota Atheists, will present "The Top 12 Excuses Religious People Give for the Horrible Behavior of their God" at 7 p.m. Wednesday in Centennial Student Union 284 at Minnesota State.

The event is hosted by Campus Atheists and Agnostics. According to organization member Trista Ayers, the presentation is designed for non-religious individuals and religious individuals to open discussion on important topics.

"People are more than welcome to bring their own ideas," Ayers said.


Read more: Challenging the Deepest Beliefs

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