Monday, October 31, 2011

AHA Emails: Meeting #7 - Morality

Hey everybody!
I hope you all had an awesome halloween! (though I doubt any of you had a cooler costume than my "Slutty Carl Sagan"...)
Well, we've got another great meeting this week, and this time it's on Morality!

What: A discussion of morality and how it is that Atheists can be moral
When: Wednesday, 7 P.M.
Where: 155 Van Hise
Why: Godless doesn't mean heartless!
Wow: (well, you nihilists will probably argue that everyone is heartless)

Also don't forget... T-Shirts!
We are down to our last few shirts so get them while you can!
They are on sale for the low, low price of $15
Conform and dress like the rest of the group does!
Also, there's a Bertrand Russell quote on the back (super cool!)

Wednesday, October 26, 2011

AHA Emails: Meeting #6 - The Value of the Human Life

Hey AHA,

If you're one of the 100 new members of the AHA email list, welcome!

I'm Mike Ramuta, the President of Atheists, Humanists, & Agnostics @ UW Madison.

As you may know, we are the only secular student group on campus and are dedicated to: providing a supportive social network for the non-religious student community, raising public awareness about the misconceptions surrounding nonbelievers, enriching the campus by sponsoring educational events/speakers and through collaborations with other student groups, and participating in volunteering/social projects to help make the world a better place for everyone. If that sounds like fun to you, then you should get involved!

And the most simple way to get involved is to come to our weekly meetings!

What: A discussion on the value of human life

When: Tomorrow, Wednesday, 7 P.M.

Where: 155 Van Hise

Why: Because its about time we argued about abortion

Wham: Oh, that'll be quite an argument

Also... thanks a lot to those who visited us during out pizza sale today.

It was a huge success!

Monday, October 24, 2011

Mass Email Draws Mass Ire

Today, we sent out a mass email to all of the 40,000 - 50,000 students on campus.  This is a service provided to all registered student organizations willing to cough up $100 for it... and it was worth every penny.  In less than 24 hours, we recruited 86 new members to our email list, added 63 people to our Facebook group, and our blog traffic spiked by about 100x.  Hey new people!
For those who missed it, here's what our mass email looked like:
Are you an atheist, agnostic, skeptic, pastafarian, or otherwise nonreligious student?
Come join Atheists, Humanists, and Agnostics at UW-Madison this Fall!
AHA is a great way to meet fellow nonbelievers here on campus, all while getting involved in the secular movement.  Our meetings will be every Wednesday at 7 PM in 155 Van Hise.
We hope to see you there!
In the meantime, join our email list for info regarding upcoming
meetings and events by simply sending a blank email to this address.
And be sure to check out our Facebook group.
Additionally, if you’re blog-savvy, we have one of those as well.
Pretty innocuous, yes?  Tens of thousands of people calmly tolerated this minor intrusion into their life, deleted the email, and then proceeded to move on with the rest of their day.  Others could not resist the urge to share their disagreement, pity, and anger with us.  I've taken the liberty of organizing the best of these replies into a few rough categories.  As you will see, some messages unfortunately could belong in multiple groupings.
No attempt was made to correct grammatical errors.

Group 1: Seems to have a problem with the shift key.
  • Never send this e-mail to me AGAIN!
  • GOD ROCKS! Good luck on judgment day!
  • I do believe in God, please REMOVE ME FROM THIS EMAIL LIST!
Group 2: It's the thought that counts, I suppose.
  • I'll pray for you.
  • I am not interested, but will keep you in my prayers.
  • Hello. Please remove me from your email list, thanks. Also, I am sorry that your club has such beliefs, that is an unfortunate way to live. I will pray for you.
  • Take me off of your email list.... God loves you.
  • just want to let you know that GOD still loves you, and we are all his children. 
Group 3: Looks like someones got a case of the Mondays!
  • why is this being sent to my email. do you even know if i'm religious or not. your club is stupid.
  • You're group sucks. You're going to Hell!
  • Ummm.... I'm a religious jew. Don't send this crap to me.
  • I am a Christian. Take your ignorance elsewhere.
  • This is bull shit. Evil only exists in this world because of the absence of GOD. Take me off this email list please. Hope you enjoy your non-belivers party, losers. 
Group 4: Missing the point, badly.
  • Don't email me these requests.  If you choose to be "atheist," then you call yourself god. Please take me off whatever list you have created.  Thanks.
  • Why is a group like this needed?  Is it something you fear or do you just hate christians that much to want to exclude them?
  • the secular movement? really? more like popular culture- lolkatz- don't send your stuff here 
  • Feel free to never send me emails again. I don't need to hear this kind of stuff showing up in my mailbox. I'm a faithful Christian and I'm sorry that you've lost your way.
Group 5: Bat shit crazy.
  • You live in a nation under GOD, indivisible, with liberty and justice for all.  His miracles surround you every day. Open your eyes.  The only person that would die for you are the men and women of the US Armed Forces and the Lord Jesus Christ.  Get with the program fools and stop spreading this useless shit.  There are real problems out there.
  • I just wanted to let you know that Jesus loves you and he is coming back soon. All will bow down and every tongue will confess that Jesus Christ is Lord.  Have a blessed and wonderful day!<3 
Keep in mind these messages are all coming from students at the University of Wisconsin.
Folks, we have a lot of work left to do.

Tuesday, October 18, 2011

AHA Emails: Meeting #5 - Atheism In Public

Hey UW nonbelievers,
I bet you're all excited for the apocalypse this Friday,
but in the meantime, lets have another meeting! This time on... Atheism in Public!

What: A discussion of how to behave as an Nonbeliever in the public eye
When: Tomorrow, Wednesday, 7 P.M.
Where: 155 Van Hise
Why: This might come in handy if you ever want to go outside
Wham: That does sound useful/insightful

Also... a huge thanks to the wonderful people who came out on Sunday and helped us clean State Street!
It was a bunch of fun and we cannot wait to do it again.

And... want to support AHA and eat food at the same time?
If you're having trouble reading this email because you're jumping up and down so much from excitement,
then you should stop by Chamberlin Hall on Tuesday the 25th!
We will be selling pizza all day! And all proceeds will go to the AHA!
Too poor to afford pizza? Then come on by and say hello, thats nice too.

Monday, October 17, 2011

AHA Cleans Up State Street

Earlier today, a bunch of atheists picked up other people's shit.

AHA members - traditionally having no other plans on Sunday afternoons - gathered together for the beneficent purpose of beautifying State Street (Madison's main pedestrian thoroughfare).  We were for the most part ignored by passersby, but when we did receive comments, they were unequivocally positive.  At least a dozen people explicitly thanked us for helping.

For those who couldn't be there to join us, here's a few of the highlights:
Grossest Item: Used band-aids.
Greatest Public Service: Tie: broken glass & yet-to-be-stepped-on gum.
Most Common Item: By an overwhelming margin: cigarette butts.
Best Reaction: "I love you!" - shouted from a passing, dancing skateboarder.
Why???: Trash near trash cans.

Go Team AHA!
AHA strives to do our part to make the UW campus, and the world at large, a better place to live for everyone.  Who could possibly be against that?  Well, some of you naysayers may be wondering what business an atheist group has cleaning up garbage.  Read on, friend!

1) For one, volunteering tends to make one feel all warm and fuzzy inside.  As the great agnostic Robert Ingersoll once said, "The way to be happy is to make others so."  Thus, even the most self-centered of cynics out there ought to be volunteering in soup kitchens, if only to masturbatorily activate the pleasure centers in their own brain.  
2) A deeply ingrained meme in our society is the idea that religion motivates people to do good. To whatever extent that is actually true, hooray!  However, we must dispel the misconception that religion has a monopoly on morality.  To to this we can point to prison population statistics, or to the 97% of scientists in the National Academy who are atheists, or to the secular Scandinavian countries which outrank the U.S. on nearly every conceivable measure of a fair and decent society- but, as the cliche goes, actions speak louder than words.  By openly volunteering as atheists, we provide tangible evidence that people are good without god.
3) Most importantly, we volunteer because its the right thing to do.  Atheists are in the unique position of believing that no celestial aid is ever going to come from above to solve our problems.  With this realization comes a weighty responsibility.  We know that the only way to preserve our planet, to conqueror diseases, to vanquish poverty, to alleviate suffering, to make any moral progress in society ... is to do it ourselves.

If we don't clean up State Street, no one will.

Wednesday, October 12, 2011

AHA Emails: Meeting #4 - Indoctrination

Hey Madison nonbelievers!
Midterms over yet? Well if not, take a break from studying and head over to AHA Meeting #4!
This week, we'll be discussing Indoctrination.

What: A discussion of indoctrination and how we should raise children intellectually!
When: Tomorrow, Wednesday, 7 P.M.
Where: 155 Van Hise
Why: You care about the children, right?
Wow: Yeah, I just accused you of being a bad parent

Want even more AHA? Of course you do!
Well dust off your bowling supplies and join us for...

AHA Bowling Night!
This Friday, 6pm at The Sett in Union South
It'll be loads of fun so come along if you can spare the time! (pun!)
RSVP on the facebooks if you can make it!

Also we have in store...

Clean Up State Street!
Seriously ya'll, you will probably spend the weekend drunkenly carousing State Street,
so do your bit and help us pick up litter around campus!
We'll be meeting this Sunday, 1pm at the steps to Memorial Union.
After we help make the campus more awesome, we'll grab some late lunch too, so be there!
RSP here!


Thursday, October 6, 2011

AHA Emails: Meeting #3 - Death

Hey AHA,

Join us tomorrow for our best meeting yet! 
So far we've reviewed labels in atheism, and how we have broken away from our religious pasts. 
This week we will discuss something that has fascinated humans for thousands of years: death. 
We won't leave anything on the table, so come and enjoy what is sure to be an interesting discussion.

What: A discussion of death and all its mystery. 
When: Tomorrow, Wednesday, 7 P.M.
Where: 155 Van Hise
Why: Even you will die someday.