October 9 in freethought history…

billmaherOctober 9, 2002 – The A.V. Club website posts an article in which they asked numerous celebrities the question “Is there a God?” And, my, how times have changed. Comedian and talk show host Bill Maher, who in recent years has emphatically defended atheism (and even produced the documentary Religulous, which ridiculed religions big and small), had this to say:

“I think there is. We did a show [Politically Incorrect] last night about God and religion with Dave Foley, who I love, and we were arguing against this one woman who had a book called I Like Being Catholic. Someone said, ‘Oh, boy, a lot of atheists on this panel.’ I said, ‘I’m not an atheist. There’s a really big difference between an atheist and someone who just doesn’t believe in religion. Religion to me is a bureaucracy between man and God that I don’t need. But I’m not an atheist, no.'” After dismissing specifics of religious mythology, Maher concludes, “Who cares? What does that have to do with spirituality, where you’re really trying to get, as a human being and as a soul moving in the universe? But I do believe in a God, yes.”

October 9, 2012 – Fifteen-year-old Pakistani activist Malala Yousafzai, who campaigned tirelessly for the rights of girls to be educated, despite the objections of Islamic zealots, is shot in the head by a Taliban gunman. Two others are wounded in the attack. She survived the assassination attempt, but she and her family moved to the United Kingdom so she could obtain proper medical treatment and continue her studies. Two years and one day later, she received the Nobel Peace Prize. She has largely recovered from her wounds, and courageously continues her work.

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