Damned Good Company

20 Rebels Who Bucked the God Experts

Damned Good Company is a Profiles in Courage for humanists – a
book to make humanists proud of themselves.

An April, 2009 story from the
Dallas Morning News tells of local
atheists who bought billboards saying “Don't believe in God? You are
not alone.”   “Our purpose is not to convert anybody,” said Terry
McDonald, who was responsible for the campaign.  “The intention is
to let people who already don’t believe know they’ve got company.”

Throughout history, men and women around the world have listened
to the prevailing wisdom of what God was supposed to have said and
what God wants us to do.  They have seen those who claim a lock on
that wisdom given free reign to run society as they see fit – or, as they
would have it, as God ordains.  Every now and then someone has the
gumption to say “No!  The emperor isn’t wearing any clothes!  I don’t
believe you speak for God, and I am not going to do what you say.”  

Their stories inspire those today who want to stand up to the Christian
Right, the Muslim fanatics, the oppressiveness of Catholic and
Jewish orthodoxy, the rising Hindu Taliban, and everyone else who
claims the God-given right to tell the rest of us what to do.  

Damned Good Company will tell twenty dramatic tales of conflicts
between God experts and humanist rebels, from earliest times
through the 21st century, featuring all major religions around the
world.  The song remains the same: Han Yu’s banishment from the
9th century Chinese court for questioning the worship of the Buddha’s
finger mirrors Baruch Spinoza’s expulsion from his 17th century
Amsterdam Jewish community for questioning Moses’ authorship of
the Torah.  By contrast, Talleyrand never believed in God, but used
religion shamelessly to advance his political ambition – exactly as
Mussolini did a century later, and as the book will argue Barack
Obama is doing today.

Rudyard Kipling wrote that “If history were taught in the form of
stories, it would never be forgotten.”  These twenty stories will
juxtapose heroes with villains to illuminate the battles over claims to
divine authority in a way that readers will not forget.  Darrow and
Bryan faced each other in a courtroom; Julian and Augustine never
met, but promoted world-views diametrically apart.  Nehru and
Gandhi are more often considered friends than opponents, but their
religious differences were profound, with tragic consequences that
have yet to play out.  

Can't wait to read it?  Well, you'll have to; it's still in progress.  While
waiting, you can read a new article every month in my
blog relating a
current headline or anniversary to a scandal of religious history.
All rights reserved.
Luis Granados
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