Fans of the Beatles celebrated John Lennon's 70th birthday this week. Lennon was killed by a gunman in 1980 in New York City, and his violent death is often contrasted with the utopian dream Lennon composed in his song Imagine. The song is a favorite among secular humanists (a.k.a. atheists) because it dismisses the existence of heaven and hell, and portrays religion as a source of endless conflict and disunity. Without religion, Lennon wrote, we can "imagine all the people living life in peace."
Ironically, while Lennon's fans gathered in Central Park to celebrate his legacy the largest atheist organization in the country gathered in Los Angeles for a conference marked by schism and disunity. The Council for Secular Humanism met to pour out contempt upon Christians, Jews, and Muslims. Religious faith was called "nonsense," "superstition," and adherents were described as "ignorant" and "stupid."
But what got the Los Angeles Times' attention was the conflict that erupted between two camps ...1