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Atheist Geek News

PineCreek, the Best Atheist YouTube Channel You’ve Probably Never Heard Of

If you’re a skeptical atheist in search of a new YouTube channel, but looking for something that isn’t heavy on mockery or debate – one that offers great conversations with a touch of class and humor – then Doug’s YouTube channel, PineCreek, is for you. He doesn’t have a ton of subscribers yet, but he probably should. His videos do tend to run long, but they’re great to listen to and he has some well known guests like Richard Carrier, Paul from Paulogia, Greg Locke and James White (though White’s comments were prerecorded). DougĀ  has satisfying conversations with all of them about their beliefs.

Sometimes his interviews are about religion, and not just with Christians. He interviewed several pagans on his channel. Sometimes it’s about the shape of the Earth, as he has a number of videos with flat-earthers as guests. There’s a recap of the Robert Price VS Bart Ehrman debate along with other reviews of videos posted to YouTube. And he answers comments. So do some of his guests, so be prepared for a response if you post comments about anyone he’s interviewed. If you catch his videos live, you can even participate in live chats with him and his guests.

Doug is a former Mennonite and, not unlike myself, he is married to someone who still believes in God. Here is what it says on his Twitter account:

I believe doubt is a virtue that can lead to humility and certainty can lead to arrogance.

Note that Doug’s videos can run for more than two hours, so if you can only stand small soundbites, this might not be for you. I often take them in pieces, not always listening to them in full at one sitting. But some of them are half-an-hour or less. He goes through some of his longer videos and breaks them down into chapters so you can advance through them, one subject at a time, using links in the description below his videos.

Here are some recommendations if you want to get started with Doug’s channel. I hope you’ll give it a try.

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Do Jehovah’s Witnesses Believe in the Theory of Evolution?

The "Creation Book"Do Jehovah’s Witnesses believe in the theory of evolution? As a former Jehovah’s Witness who once spent an inordinate amount of time researching their Creation Book, I can tell you that the official answer is a resounding no. (The book is officially called Life-How did it get here? By evolution or by creation? But it is commonly just called the Creation Book by Jehovah’s Witnesses.) This book is the Watchtower Society’s magnum opus on evolution. Yet it remains infamous for an abundance of bad science, quote mining, and an embarrassing habit of strategically leaving off parts of quotes so as to alter their original meaning. (Yikes!) Many people have written about the book, including Austin Cline at Even Richard Dawkins devoted a chapter to it in The God Delusion. Think what you will, but it’s clear that the Society’s Creation Book has gotten around.

The Creation Book was first published back in 1985. Now, after remaining in print for more than two decades, it is no longer being produced. That hasn’t stopped the Watchtower Society from writing about the theory of evolution, but nowadays, the organization chooses to keep it all pretty simple. When you consider how many ex-Witnesses left the Society after doing extensive research on books like this one, that’s probably a good idea.

So what else has the Society said about evolution in recent years?

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Shunning: How Jehovah’s Witnesses Discipline Their Own

ShunWhen one of Jehovah’s Witnesses does something that his local elders deem a serious offense against God and Watchtower, he will probably be disfellowshipped and therefore shunned by other Jehovah’s Witnesses. When I say that he’ll be shunned, I don’t mean he won’t get any presents on his birthday or that he won’t be invited over for Christmas. I mean that he is dead to them. In most cases, the Witnesses will simply pretend he’s invisible (like that episode from the Twilight Zone) and many will simply wander off if he attempts to communicate with them in any way. Either that, or they’ll get angry and blast him for it.

They call it “congregation discipline.” When they speak of it, they make it sound like it’s a punishment from Jehovah God himself. In reality, the decision to disfellowship is made during a closed-door session with three local elders. It’s how they keep their followers in line.

So how does it work and how far does it go? Technically, people living in the same household aren’t required to shun one another or expel the wrongdoer. But I know of many cases where the local elders did pressure parents to kick out their adult (18 years old+) children even if those children had no where else to go. Since good Jehovah’s Witnesses are supposed to obey their elders, this can put the parents of the disfellowshipped person in a tight spot. So while the elders can make it hard for the family, at least they do have the right to say no to the elders. That’s mostly because the Society hasn’t made expelling family members from the home mandatory, even though shunning in every other respect is mandatory.

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Fun Facts about the Preaching Work of Jehovah’s Witnesses

Witnesses at the door

The one thing Jehovah’s Witnesses are best known for is their door to door preaching work. But have you ever wondered what it’s like knocking on doors and telling some poor householder that his religion of choice is nothing more than demon inspired lies? People don’t give you as many hugs for this as you might think.

For those of you whose knuckles aren’t covered in thick calluses from knocking on doors, here’s the inside scoop on what goes on behind the scenes. I’ll tell you what they do, how they do it, and why.

Helpful Hint: Check that peephole before you answer that knock at your door. Especially on a Saturday or a Sunday. You’ll be glad you did.

Trust me.

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