military.com on "Rock Beyond Belief"

Fort Bragg Concert Geared Toward Atheists

A forum for people in the armed forces.

Moderators: Blip, DarthHelmet86

military.com on "Rock Beyond Belief"

#1  Postby Varangian » Apr 05, 2012 6:22 am

FORT BRAGG, N.C. - For the first time in history, the U.S. military hosted an event expressly for soldiers and others who don't believe in God, with a gathering sort of like a county fair Saturday on the main parade ground at one of the world's largest Army bases.

The Rock Beyond Belief event at Fort Bragg, organized by soldiers here after a 2010 evangelical Christian event at the base, is the most visible sign so far of a growing desire by military personnel with atheist or other secular beliefs to get the same recognition as their religious counterparts.

The purpose was not to make the Army look bad, organizers said, but to show that atheists and other secular believers have a place in institutions like the military.

"I love the military," said Sgt. Justin Griffith, main organizer of the event and the military director of American Atheists. He added, "This is not meant to be a black eye."

Griffith said he and other non-religious soldiers are not permitted to hold atheist meetings at the base and have so far been rebuffed in their efforts to change that. They feel their beliefs marginalize them.

Organizers were hoping for a crowd of about 5,000. At least several hundred people gathered on the parade ground by midday Saturday. Rainy weather for most of the morning may have affected the turnout. Fort Bragg officials said they would provide a crowd estimate later.

The atmosphere was festive, with carnival treats like ribbon fries and ice cream, games for children and a demonstration jump by the Army's Golden Knights parachute team. Speakers and bands performed on the main stage. In many ways it was indistinguishable from a county fair except for the information booths ringing the parade ground and the content of the performances.

"We got any Darwin fans in the house?" asked a performer named Baba Brinkman, before launching into a rap song about evolutionary biology that culminated in a call-and-response chant of "Creationism is dead wrong!"

The event continued through the afternoon and was to feature more music during the evening.

Organizers said the goal was not to disparage religious soldiers, but to celebrate the beliefs of secular members of the military and their families. In the weeks leading up to the event, some bloggers and others expressed concerns. A chaplain currently deployed in Afghanistan posted an open letter on Fort Bragg's Facebook page, saying he feared the event would be devoted to mocking religious soldiers.

"We're never antagonistic toward religious believers, we're antagonistic toward religious belief," said Richard Dawkins, the British biologist and best-selling atheist author who was the event's headline speaker.

Dawkins, who frequently makes pointed criticism of religious adherents, delivered some relatively restrained remarks, asserting that none of the common arguments for religious belief stand up to scrutiny.

"There is no good, honest reason to believe in a god or gods of any kind, or indeed in anything supernatural," he said. "The only reason to believe something is that you have evidence for it."

The event marked a coming-out of sorts for atheist and secularist soldiers at Fort Bragg, who have been trying for over a year to be recognized as a "distinctive faith group," a designation that would allow them to hold their meetings at Bragg facilities. Curious soldiers in uniform mixed with people in civilian clothes as bands played and children began to race around the huge field when the rain let up.

"I've been an atheist pretty much my whole life, and where I was growing up in Texas, I didn't know another atheist," said Pfc. Lance Reed. "It's important to meet people who have some of the same beliefs and interests as you do, and that's what this is about."

Reed also said he hoped Christians at Bragg and other believers would attend, to dispel some misconceptions about atheists.

"A lot of people think it's all about God-bashing or something like that," he said. "You can see we're not evil people who want to burn down churches. We're just here to have fun."


Continued.

Apart from mentioning secularism as something somewhat strange to the concept of the Army, the AP piece doesn't make too much of a muddle of it. Some of the comments prove the need for the event...
Image

"Bunch together a group of people deliberately chosen for strong religious feelings,
and you have a practical guarantee of dark morbidities." - H.P. Lovecraft
User avatar
Varangian
RS Donator
THREAD STARTER
 
Name: Björn
Posts: 7298
Age: 55
Male

Country: Sweden
Sweden (se)
Print view this post

Ads by Google


Re: military.com on "Rock Beyond Belief"

#2  Postby LarianLeQuella » Apr 05, 2012 4:53 pm

My eyes were bleeding after only reading three or four comments. It makes me sad that folks posting at a site probably populated with mainly military folks has such a depth of stupidity...
User avatar
LarianLeQuella
 
Name: Jan Stephan Lundquist
Posts: 449
Age: 54
Male

Country: United States
United States (us)
Print view this post

Re: military.com on "Rock Beyond Belief"

#3  Postby NamelessFaceless » Apr 05, 2012 5:01 pm

LarianLeQuella wrote:My eyes were bleeding after only reading three or four comments. It makes me sad that folks posting at a site probably populated with mainly military folks has such a depth of stupidity...


Apparently one of those posters thinks you weren't beaten enough as a child. :roll:
User avatar
NamelessFaceless
 
Posts: 6193
Female

Country: USA (Pensacola, FL)
United States (us)
Print view this post

Re: military.com on "Rock Beyond Belief"

#4  Postby LarianLeQuella » Apr 05, 2012 5:38 pm

When I lived in Niceville, and read the Northwest Florida Daily News, that seemed to be the answer to anything. And I was viciously attacked for suggestiong on numerous occasions that "beating them until they can't sit down" is not a solution for adolescent misbehaviour... I'm so glad I am in New England now!


(Did I ever tell you the story about the time I wanted to present info on the Mars rovers? It was typical of that area sadly...)
User avatar
LarianLeQuella
 
Name: Jan Stephan Lundquist
Posts: 449
Age: 54
Male

Country: United States
United States (us)
Print view this post

Re: military.com on "Rock Beyond Belief"

#5  Postby NamelessFaceless » Apr 05, 2012 6:13 pm

LarianLeQuella wrote:

(Did I ever tell you the story about the time I wanted to present info on the Mars rovers? It was typical of that area sadly...)


No, but I'm looking forward to hearing it.
User avatar
NamelessFaceless
 
Posts: 6193
Female

Country: USA (Pensacola, FL)
United States (us)
Print view this post

Re: military.com on "Rock Beyond Belief"

#6  Postby LarianLeQuella » Apr 05, 2012 8:03 pm

PM Sent. :)
User avatar
LarianLeQuella
 
Name: Jan Stephan Lundquist
Posts: 449
Age: 54
Male

Country: United States
United States (us)
Print view this post

Re: military.com on "Rock Beyond Belief"

#7  Postby NamelessFaceless » Apr 05, 2012 8:41 pm

Thanks! :cheers:
User avatar
NamelessFaceless
 
Posts: 6193
Female

Country: USA (Pensacola, FL)
United States (us)
Print view this post


Return to Atheists in Foxholes

Who is online

Users viewing this topic: No registered users and 1 guest