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De Converted: A Journey From Religion to Reason By Seth Andrews

I have finally received my book today, De Converted: A Journey from Religion to Reason by Seth Andrews aka The Thinking Atheist.  I ordered this in December a little before Christmas and I am so happy it has arrived and you can start getting really jealous in a minute because I was lucky enough to get it signed with a personalised note from the man himself!!!

I will include pictures at the end of this blog entry but I wanted to do a first review on the book as is.  At the moment it is available on Amazon in paperback, Kindle and audiobook format.  I will add the links below.  I originally ordered the book from The Thinking Atheist website.  It is very easy to order from this website (even for international orders such as ones I place myself).

I was impressed with the envelope packaging.  With air mail sometimes the item inside can get damaged but the envelope had a lot of cushion inside protecting the book.  The book itself feels really nice and looks very professional.  I love the design of the front cover with The Thinking Atheist logo prominently displayed.  On the back with the obligatory blurb that outlines what the book is about, it is short and to the point.  To the side of the blurb is a picture of Seth Andrews.

On a side note, for ages I always wondered what Seth looked like before he came out from behind the wall of internet radio for us all to see him.  I laugh at what I thought now but I thought he always looked like a guy with long brown hippy like hair, glasses, tall and lanky!  Kind of hippy circa 1960 kind of dude!  (My mind is in a world of its own!)

So this book is essentially one man’s journey from believer to unbeliever.  My only concern is that it is one guy’s story in 183 pages, is that enough?  I do hope so and all the reviews that I have read so far suggest that this is a cracking read so I better get on with it!

Amazon Atheist Book Chart as of Friday 11th January 2013 - absolutely awesome.....could we get it to number one though?

Amazon Atheist Book Chart as of Friday 11th January 2013 – absolutely awesome…..could we get it to number one though?

Links where you can buy different formats of the book from:

Audiobook Version
http://www.amazon.co.uk/Deconverted-Journey-Religion-Reason-Unabridged/dp/B00AWKN9L0/ref=sr_1_1?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1357931659&sr=1-1

Kindle Version
http://www.amazon.co.uk/Deconverted-Journey-Religion-Reason-ebook/dp/B00AM4UFSG/ref=tmm_kin_title_0?ie=UTF8&qid=1357931659&sr=1-1

Paperback Version
http://www.amazon.co.uk/Deconverted-A-Journey-Religion-Reason/dp/1478716568/ref=tmm_pap_title_0?ie=UTF8&qid=1357931659&sr=1-1

The Thinking Atheist
http://www.thethinkingatheist.com/

Pictures below of the book I received this evening 😀

De Converted: A Journey from Religion to Reason by Seth Andrews SIGNED with personalised message - I am so lucky :-)

De Converted: A Journey from Religion to Reason by Seth Andrews SIGNED with personalised message – I am so lucky 🙂

Debut book from the creator of The Thinking Atheist community and podcast.

Debut book from the creator of The Thinking Atheist community and podcast.

 
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Posted by on January 11, 2013 in Uncategorized

 

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My Top 12 Atheist Podcasts of 2012

Good evening everyone (its 6:30 p.m. as I type),

So at the moment my YouTube subscription box is crammed full of videos where the YouTuber in question is giving me information of their top 12 make up products of 2012.  Some are top 10, top 5 so on and so forth – I am sure you get the picture!  Anyways, it gave me a capital idea of doing my own countdown of my top 12 atheist podcasts of 2012!  I will include all the necessary links so you can have a listen to the same educational goodness as me 😀

Anyways without further ado let the countdown begin:

12.  The Atheist Experience, 16th January 2012 –  Episode 744: The Failure of Prayer

11.  The Thinking Atheist, 7th March 201: More Facepalm Moments

10.  The Non Prophets, Episode 11.6: “The Free Will Episode” – Uploaded 26th July 2012 (Please note, 4 other episodes were uploaded on the same day)

9.  Penn’s Sunday School, 24th September 2012: Give me Bacon and Stay at my House

8.  The Thinking Atheist, 25th January 2012: Harry Potter is of the Devil!

7.  The Thinking Atheist, 1st February 2012: Is Evolution A Fact (with special guest AronRa)

6.  The Atheist Experience, 13th February 2012 – Episode 748: The Failure of the Second Coming

5.  The Atheist Experience, 14th May 2012 – Episode 761: The Argument from Ignorance

4.  The Atheist Experience, 9th April 2012 – Episode 756: Did Jesus Exist?

3.  Penn’s Sunday School, 17th December 2012: Crabs as Big as Dogs – Oh F**k!

2.  The Atheist Experience, 3rd December 2012 – Episode 790: Sex and God (with special guest Darrel Ray)

1.  The Thinking Atheist, 16th October 2012: The Church of Satan

***Special mention goes to The Atheist Experience, Episode 795: Argument From “Making Sense.”  I know that this was broadcast in 2013 this month but it was the most powerful episode I have ever listened to from The Atheist Experience.  As I type this, this episode is the most recent one so (if you have not had the chance to listen as yet) I highly recommend you listen to it now!***

Links for you to enjoy at your leisure 😀

http://www.thethinkingatheist.com

http://www.pennsundayschool.com

http://www.atheist-experience.com

http://www.nonprophetsradio.com

Each aforementioned podcast for me have their own style that I love:

1.  Penn’s Sunday School is a bundle of fun and comedy every single week, I always find myself laughing every episode!
2.  I love how with the Non Prophets it is a conversation amongst a group of peers.  It feels like I am a fly on the wall whilst prominent atheists well known on the web have conversations about at the moment topics flying about within the atheist community.
3.  The Atheist Experience is for me, attending a weekly class on atheism.  I fail to not learn something new each week.  The dumber the caller, the more I learn!  Matt Dillahunty is superb but Tracie Harris is an amazing supernova and she deserves a lot more credit.  What she says is articulate and well informed.
4.  The Thinking Atheist is a podcast that is for me the most accessible.  I would always direct a new atheist to listen to this podcast first like me 🙂  The presenter, Seth Andrews, comes across as very friendly (I am sure he is friendly if you know him personally as well) and his shows are always entertaining.  He regularly updates his Facebook page continuing to take the time to have a conversation with his listeners and Facebook followers.

And that is it for this evening folks.  Do you agree with my countdown, especially what I picked as my number one podcast?  The reason I picked it was because it was the most unique and “out there” atheist podcast of 2012.  I really believe that no one else would have thought to have the Church of Satan as topic.  What was equally as impressive was that Seth (The Thinking Atheist Host) was able to get the high priest of the Church of Satan to call in and contribute to the proceedings!  It was a fun and equally informative podcast.  I appreciate how Seth chooses to push the boundaries of topics to be discussed.

I realised when I compiled this list that I am very limited in what atheist based podcasts I actually subscribe to.

Do you have any suggestions for any new shows for me to listen to for 2013?

 
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Posted by on January 10, 2013 in Uncategorized

 

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Paint my Background an Atheistic Shade of Red

I have always been a make up fanatic/junkie.  Playing with my own make up and watching countless videos on You Tube it has always been a source of fascination that I can mess around with and be happy whether I end up looking like a model or in most cases end up looking like a mess.  The path to getting there will always be worth it.

Christmas 2012 was my make up dream, my partner spoilt me very much and reminded me how lucky I am to have him in my life.  I have not been able to stop using my presents since then.  I am starting to do make up trials for my mother’s wedding on myself.  I will be doing my mother’s make up on the day and so the make up trials on her will be starting very soon now.

In the meantime, I am experimenting on myself.  I know that I will be using the Karl Lagerfeld Mon Shu Red lipstick and also using the red nail varnish again from the same Shu Uemura range designed by Lagerfeld.  My mother bought them for me for Christmas alongside the bag with Mon Shu on it that she got for free for buying two products from the range.  ***I love that bag by the way, I have been using it for the past couple of weeks now even for work!***

Through this experimenting though I got to think about masks in general.  I do not have to hide my atheism that much in comparison to other people.  There are some countries where you would go to prison and worse if found out.  But I begin to wonder if I still do hide my atheism to a certain extent.  My partner loves me but prefers if I keep my non-belief to myself.  Whether its a notion of “well as long as he knows about my non belief” or the question of is he hampering my own freedom of expression?  Both are debatable.

I do wonder what response you the reader would provide in relation to the aforementioned…..are you happy to keep your atheism in the background when your partner knows about it but prefers it kept in the background or is that not good enough and you would want to express your atheism more fully and without it being hampered?

I know that I am happy with my atheism being in the background and him knowing about it.  I feel comfortable and I know I have other outlets for my atheistic ideas such as this blog here.  Is that good enough though…..should any relationship where non belief is in the background allow atheism to move forward from this background to be more integrated within it?  I am happy with the agreed status quo within my relationship but would you be?

I would even extend this to other relationships I have….my mother knows that I am an atheist.  Whenever she talks to me about it I give her my argument against the belief in god/religion.  In the end I get a response worse than “god works in mysterious ways” crap.  Instead I get the whole I am a lost cause and that I could never be persuaded otherwise to believe about a magical invisible man in the sky!

At work, on paper they know I am an atheist, when I filled out my job application they have that questionnaire at the end (most places of employment do these days) to make sure they are abiding alongside the whole “equal opportunities” stuff.  It will state in my file that I am atheist but without looking at my file they would be none the wiser so I wonder, based on natural assumptions, would a colleague look at you and think either a) you are a believer or b) you are an atheist?  I appreciate this question would have different answers based on your own geographical location and the various cultures within those locations.  But based on where you live in the world would it be answer A or answer B?

Do you choose to freely hide your atheism in the background or the opposite….are you forced to hide your non belief for fear of any violent response whether physical or mental?  If your answer is no to both then do you express your atheism in all areas of your life or just some?

I leave my atheism in the background in my relationship with my partner but then again, I choose to be very expressive with it with my friendships, my blog, Facebook statuses and if given the opportunity at work.  I say “given the opportunity” because the question of belief in religion or god does not materialise in my line of work.  It does not matter.  But if it did, then I suppose it depends.  If I knew I would not be put at a disadvantage by being discriminated against then I would be freely expressive, but if I knew it would hamper my career….I do not know.  I would like to say that would not matter but then again, if put in that position, I think I would be a weakling and be forced stay quiet as a result.  Would that make me a bad person to not be so steadfast alongside my principles if that was what I did in that situation?

This is hypothetical but I know that whether a response if from a real situation that has come about or you manufacture a response you think would result from a hypothetical situation, it allows me to learn more about myself and how I would handle myself in those situations either real or not.  Hence all the questions in this blog based on real and not real circumstances.  And if you have got this far in reading this blog entry, then firstly well done and secondly, if you have the time I would really appreciate your input in the comments section below.  I do read them all and its brilliant to learn from other perspectives.

 

 
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Posted by on January 7, 2013 in Uncategorized

 

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Ordering a dose of deconversion and a “Bride-mother-zilla Update” amongst other esteemed mentionables

A few weeks back as soon as I got my wages for Christmas I ordered the new book written by Seth Andrews aka The Thinking Atheist.  I have been listening to his podcasts for over 2 years now and as a side note I miss the good ole days when I could listen live at 6:30 p.m. UK time.  Now he goes live at midnight every Wednesday when I am asleep 😦  But then its a good feeling when my iphone downloads the latest podcast in my list and I have a weekly present 😀

But anyways, back to the book – it has been shipped and on its way to me as I type signed and everything!!  I am honestly looking forward to reading this book and I have promised Seth that I will give him an honest review once have read it.  I will also put a review on my blog here as well for your viewing and reading pleasure.

It is now 13 days until my next operation as well at hospital.  I am looking forward to it because hopefully it will help with the pain management side of things but if it is anything like last time, I will be off work for a month and my back will be in a lot of pain.  My physiotherapist turned round to me and told me that it was in complete spasm which was obviously awesome news to hear.

It will be exactly a month after the operation that my mother’s wedding will happen as well, I just hope that I am well enough to get through that day.  Which by the way I have a “Bride-mother-zilla Update!”  Yesterday my mother text me telling me that I had to stop by her house on my travels home from work because she had bought me another dress that she wanted me to wear instead of the dress she bought me last weekend from Monsoon.  To be fair I really did like that dress from Monsoon.  I prefer that to the second dress she bought me but she really loves it and REALLY wants me to wear this one.  I am of the opinion of this is her day, I want it to be special for her so if she wants me to wear this second dress, I will do.  I do like the second dress, it is unusual and pretty.  I could be a diva and wear one dress during the day and the rock the other dress for the evening…..the diva within is tempted!!

It has also been two weeks since I have bought the iphone 5 as well.  I have to admit, I am a bit underwhelmed with it.  It is just like the iphone 4 in a lot of ways.  The only difference I find is the quality of the screen because as soon as I turned it on in the store I said straight away that I could tell it was HD.  I do like the new length of the screen as well.  But I use this iphone just the same as the last.  The Siri function does not feature highly in my day to day usage.  I do want to find ways to integrate this feature so I can get the maximum potential out of this iphone but honestly, I forget that it is there for me to use.  Also I hate the fact that when you integrate Facebook to the iphone, my contacts list then gets invaded by all these illegal aliens where most of them are just email contacts and I hardly speak to most of my “friends” on Facebook anyways.  It would be nice where I could integrate Facebook on my phone without the invasion on my contacts list.

And one final thing, what is it with this “hashtag” phenomenon inputting a “#” before a word or short phrase?!  I know that this is a Twitter “thing” but it has subsequently invaded my favourite celebrity and fashion magazines.  Please note editors and writers – it does not make you look hip, it does not make you sound trendy, it is annoying and does not make any sense within the English language.  Please stop abusing the hashtag in this way!

All that is left to do is to leave you with some links below to peruse in your own time but know in the background that there is an awesome mini me saying “buy buy buy!”

De-Converted by Seth Andrews
http://www.amazon.co.uk/Deconverted-Journey-Religion-Seth-Andrews/dp/1478716568/ref=sr_1_1?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1357246597&sr=1-1

The Thinking Atheist
http://www.thethinkingatheist.com

 

 
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Posted by on January 3, 2013 in Uncategorized

 

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The Christmas Meal Battle and the Wedding Outfit Rush Around

Hey everyone

I know its been a loooong time but I really felt I did not have anything important or worth saying on here….until now.  I have the blogging bug back and it has come with a vengence!

So today, amongst other things, I firstly want to talk to you about my mother’s wedding that is coming up in February.  She does not want to do the bridesmaid thing but instead wants me to be a witness.  In addition, a registrar is officiating the ceremony in a hotel.  Definately awesome that its not going to be some long drawn out ceremony like the Roman Catholic church is hooked on but she is only getting married by a registrar as a technicality – she has been divorced before.  I think that if that did not matter to “The Church” then I certainly know that we would be dealing with a different kettle of fish!

But as luck and awesomeness would have it, a registrar and hotel it is.  She wants me to read a poem as “my contribution” to it all.  She had chosen these poems and wanted me to choose one.  I am doing one better and writing a poem myself – used to do a lot of that when I was younger, I just have to remember that it has to be simple with words she can understand and not depressing (seriously thats what she told me!)  And she also told me that it could not be all religious and stuff.  Now that was surprising hearing that from my mother and I had to remind her that this was me she was speaking to.  Judging by her reaction when I said that, I do not think she likes to be reminded that I am an atheist but I am not going to hide for no one.

In addition, originally I wanted to buy a new dress.  She saw a dress I bought from Italy earlier this year and decided she wanted me to wear that instead.  Yesterday I tried my dress on to make sure it still fits me and all of a sudden she has changed her mind.  I am now frantically looking online for a new dress.  I know the wedding is in February but I need to prepare NOW!

Other than that, Christmas in in a couple of days time.  Presents are all ready.  I do not know about you guys but I like the whole sharing and being together eating at a table part for Christmas.  For me, religion does not even enter this picture.  I am quite lucky because I have two Christmas meals on the day.  During the day I have dinner at my mother’s house, Italian Christmas meal with homemade lasagne.  Then in the evening I go over to my partner’s parents house and I have the traditional English Christmas meal that includes the big ass turkey and bread sauce.

Just a note on bread sauce:  I was introduced to this a couple of years back at his parent’s house and do not be put off with how it looks – it is yum with turkey.  I have also tried it with chicken and it is just as yum so I have an excuse to be able to have this the whole year through!

I will also be looking forward to the yearly scrap with my partner’s brother over the pigs in blankets!  If you do not know what I am talking about, those are mini sausages with bacon wrapped round them.  I won last year being able to nab the last one.  I know there is a rematch coming so I better be prepared.  Now since I am an Italian I have been trained all my life to EAT!

The most important present that I got for Christmas this year is something I bought for myself.  Very egotistical I know but this has been over 10 years in the making and very important to me.  I changed my name by deed poll.  My first name has stayed the same but I changed my last name to my mother’s maiden name.  I am not in contact with my father or his side of the family and quite frankly I never want to.  I have tried in the past but it always ends up the same, me feeling like crap and regretting it in the first place.  In addition, I do not represent or like the connotations that his last name represents and brings to me.  Therefore I took it upon myself to get it changed and done after thinking about it for over 10 years.  I got the deed poll documents through this week making it all official.  So now I am having to start getting my name changed with work, the bank etc.  I was the MOST excited getting it changed on Facebook (certainly a sign of the times there!)  I felt so proud once it was done and now I look at my name and I feel comfortable and at peace.  Now I am looking forward to getting my name changed at work – woot woot!

I hope you are glad that I am back to kick butt all over this blog once again.  For all you fellow atheist heathens out there that is reading this blog, what are you guys most looking forward to this Christmas?  Is it the same for you where religion does not enter the picture for you at all and you are able to celebrate Christmas for non religious reasons?  Or are you on the other side of the spectrum where you have to go with the flow and have to tag along to the church just to keep the peace with the family?  If so, how do you get through it?

Lots of hugs
Stefania

 

 
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Posted by on December 23, 2012 in Uncategorized

 

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I am Proud to be a Shellfish Eating HEATHEN!!

I do not celebrate Valentine’s Day on the 14th February because to do so, you will have to spend double/triple the usual rate for a meal, drink etc just for the pleasure for going out on the 14th February.  In this day and age, I do not think it is worth it.  In addition, I was in hospital on 14th February so there was no option other than to celebrate it on another date anyways!  So I decided to celebrate it that weekend when I knew I would be discharged by then.

Now I (SHOCK HORROR) love love love shellfish!  And I know everyone out there is now going to call me a heathen but I do not care.  Shellfish in my opinion is one of the most beautiful dishes that can be created and so in the spirit of Valentine’s Day and being an inherent heathen, I decided to go with red lobster.  I wanted to show off and be a little “ooh la la!”  For those that do not understand, according to the bible if I was to eat shellfish (amongst other evil foods) then I would be considered a heathen:

Leviticus 11:10, “But whatever is in the seas and in the rivers that does not have fins and scales among all the teeming life of the water, and among all the living creatures that are in the water, they are detestable things to you.”

Whenever I think of lobsters I always think of the Family Guy scene below:
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=es-EIpBbTd8

Anyways, enough with that tangent, I bought the lobster, I boiled the lobster and I tried to eat the lobster and FAILED!  I thought I would have liked lobster seeing that I am miss piggy when it comes to fish and there is this elevated sense of achievement when eating lobster.  My partner, well, he could not eat the lobster either.  We are lobster hating people!!!!  So in our anti-lobster mood, I ordered pizza instead!

Valentines Day 2012 Lesson – do NOT make something that is unfamiliar to you, stick to what you know works.  For us that’s a nice “healthy” take out!  Which by the way tonight, I am having a nice chinese take out, I am looking forward to some duck!  I wonder, if I eat duck, just like lobster, am I still a heathen?!

 
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Posted by on February 25, 2012 in Uncategorized

 

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“Militant Secularisation” Lady Warsi

Whilst in hospital I always have my laptop with me.  Firstly it allows me to somehow still be connected to the “outside world,” secondly it keeps me away from boredom watching dvds or listening to music and thirdly, I do not have to spend £10 per day potentially for the tv next to my bed.  Instead I can just watch internet tv.  Notably, the bbc channels online.  So whilst watching bbc news I heard about this Lady Warsi speaking in front of an audience at the Vatican, so I obviously needed to search the internet for more information about this.  And the result:

http://www.guardian.co.uk/world/2012/feb/13/militant-secularisation-christianity-lady-warsi

Her whole argument is that religion needs to be central to society and more important central in politics with the way Parliament and the Councils are run.

Religion is already central in society, its dividing us and causing us wars and conflict as we speak.  If British politics were to allow religion to take a central role in their jobs, then this will further fan the flames of religious conflict.  And make no mistake about it, when it comes down to it, religion causes conflict, it does not bring people together.

Let me explain this further, for example when religions fundraise, they do it in such a way that they purposefully exclude those that should not be recipients of their charity simply because of their different religious beliefs.  My school, St Josephs Catholic College, it would not allow us to fundraise for Cancer Research UK because it did not follow strict Catholic guidelines in its research!

As I travel about I find Muslim based charity shops with advertisements asking their community to raise money to help their own Muslim brothers or sisters.

Now do not misunderstand me, charity is right, it should be done.  But religion will only raise money for charity for “their own.”  They will not integrate with other religions to help each other.  They exclude all but their own to help.  It is “religious charity” but with strings attached.  WOW, what a show of love for another human being in need!

Religion is already participating in “militant secularisation” with each other!  Now we all know that politics is in its very nature divided, we add religion to the mix and it will be a tangled mess of epic proportions!  Religion in other words will muddy the waters.  It has no business in politics because it cannot do anything to improve it or bring anything useful to the table.  It will act to polarise opinions.

And I for one do not want religion to be involved in politics when it is based on superstition and a god that they cannot prove exists.  They base their evidence on feelings or faith.  Politics is based on evidence and reasoned arguments to make society a better place to live in.  Religion on the other hand does not make the world a good place to live in.  Where politics tries to bring society together creating laws and public services EVERYONE can use no matter what creed or religion, religion will cherry pick who will receive their charity!  We do not need politics to be such cherry pickers either.

This is what Lady Warsi is ultimately advocating though.  She believes that because England and Europe is founded on the christian religion, that this should be at the forefront of society and in the middle of the nature of politics.  That the christian religion has the right to be in the centre of politics and society.  This divine power that the christian religion claims to have and to be the source of thus dictates that they should have a part to control politics and thus society as a whole.

I will wipe her statement and arguments clean with one simple question, why can’t judaism be in the centre of politics and society?  By only allowing christianity to have control within the sphere of politics, you are yourself participating in your so called “militant secularisation” yourself by excluding other religions!  According to the bible, christianity came from judaism.  So actually it was judaism that was the foundational religion of Europe and England because without judaism, christianity would not have existed!

Furthermore, which branch of Christianity should take such a place in the centre of politics and society, should it be the catholics, protestants, church of england etc?  Lady Warsi has taken such a basic stance on something so complex, by all such appearances how naive!

But how does the Vatican obviously respond to this blatant pandering to their religious desires of dominance and power of politics and society?  Its not really much of a surprise to be honest………below, is a link to the article called “Vatican welcomes Lady Warsi’s comments on ‘intolerant secularisation.'”

http://www.guardian.co.uk/politics/2012/feb/14/vatican-lady-warsi-intolerant-secularisation?intcmp=239

 
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Posted by on February 16, 2012 in Uncategorized

 

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