Posted by invizweb on September 2, 2009
From a commentary by Julian Baggini:
– The antitheism of the four horsemen is for me a backwards step. It reinforces what I believe is a myth, that an atheist without a bishop to bash is like a fish without water, Julian Baggini writes.
Text: Julian Baggini
Published: March 19. 2009 Read the rest of this entry »
Posted in Mythology, Neo Paganism, Philosophy & Religion & Spirituality | Tagged: Atheism, Evangelical Christianity, Julian Baggini, The Wild Hunt | 4 Comments »
Posted by invizweb on July 6, 2008
Michael H of the Daily Grail wrote:
The Pew Forum on Religious and Public Life recently released the 2008 U.S. Religious Landscape Survey. This comprehensive look at the religious affiliation and attitudes of over 35,000 Americans contains several fascinating discoveries. The Summary of Key Findings, broken down into two parts, Religious Affiliation and Religious Beliefs and Practices is an interesting read. Both the full summaries and the entire report are available as PDF downloads from the given link.
As I was reading this it occurred to me that the prominent atheist voices of our day, the irascible Richard Dawkins, Daniel Dennett, Christopher Hitchens and their brothers and sisters in arms would find a great deal of troubling data to peruse here. After all, a remarkable 92% of the respondents reported a belief in God, and nearly 83% reported an affiliation with a particular religion, while those identifying themselves as ‘atheist’ were represented by a miniscule 1.6% of respondents. It would appear that Dennett’s attempt to define the intellectual elites as ‘Brights’ is yet to sway the majority of Americans that secular humanism is the genuine path of righteousness.
Reading further reveals more interesting findings, however. The core argument presented by Dawkins and the others that I consider to have tremendous validity is their insistence that dogmatic religious beliefs can lead to unspeakable atrocities. Any sort of detached observation of human history does nothing but confirm this argument, and a few moments with CNN is a daily reminder of how little has changed. The corruption of Islam by radical extremists is just the most jarring current reminder of this, and the Brights should be appreciated for their efforts in regularly drawing attention to this.
The information culled from the respondents regarding dogmatism reflects some very interesting findings, however. Of those who had identified themselves as affiliated with a particular faith, 70% affirmed the statement that “many religions can lead to eternal life”, while 68% agreed with the statement, “There is more than one way to interpret the teachings of my religion”. Even more interesting is that these two questions were supported by more than half of those who identified themselves as Evangelicals. It appears that Americans as a whole are much more tolerant and accepting of other views than some may assume.
There are many other interesting findings sprinkled throughout the survey, including the responses to the questions that attempt to define God. While 60% accept the existence of a personal God, nearly 25% define the divine as an “impersonal force”. There are also the occasional anomalies, such as the fact that of those who defined themselves as “atheist”, a full 22% claimed to believe in God. (What does that mean?)
In many ways, I found the entire survey to be quite fascinating. It would appear that the majority of Americans anyway, do accept the idea of a spiritual aspect to existence, while a decided minority insists that their particular understanding is absolute. And while the United States remains primarily a Christian nation, there are tremendous variations of belief, even within the numerous denominations. There are also signs that many younger people, especially, are choosing to reject affiliation with any particular religion, yet still accept the idea of a spiritual aspect of existence. This may be a consequence of more people considering that the very existence of so many different interpretations of the divine is more of an indication that none of them have a monopoly on truth, rather than an indication that there is no validity to spirit itself.
Posted in Current Events, Philosophy & Religion & Spirituality | Tagged: Atheism, CNN, Evangelical Christianity, Richard Dawkins | Leave a Comment »
Posted by invizweb on June 14, 2008
Jessa Crispin of Drexel University wrote for the Smart Set:
All the professional atheists get it wrong. So does theologian John F. Haught’s new book.
In the house I grew up in, there was no god but Science, and the PBS Nova programming was his prophet. There was a little-g god, as we attended church every week, but we were just there for the dose of morality and the teachings of Jesus. So what if we did not believe in concepts like heaven or hell, probably not the devil, and now that you mention it, that idea of an omnipotent creator? Going to church wouldn’t do us any harm. There is no fire and brimstone with Methodists — just a few hymns, a quiet sermon, and a potluck lunch in the basement sure to include casseroles made with Campbell’s Cream of Mushroom soup.
God did not follow us home. My father did not lead us in prayer at dinner, but he did design chemistry experiments for me and my sisters to perform in the basement, to be followed by detailed lab reports. I never saw him awed at church, only when he woke us at 2 a.m., wrapped us in quilts, and took us outside to watch meteor showers. And he was perhaps the only father who regaled his family with a spot-on Carl Sagan impression. (“Dad, how many slices of pizza are left?” “Billions and billions! Oh wait, no, I ate the last one.”)
Posted in Philosophy & Religion & Spirituality | Tagged: Atheism, Book Slut, Christopher Hitchens, Fred Phelps, Richard Dawkins | Leave a Comment »