Atheism 3.0 Finds a Little More Room For Religion

A surprising article in USA Today suggests that some atheists are now pro-religion while still anti-God:

Bruce Sheiman doesn’t believe in God, but he does believe in religion.

Setting aside the question of whether God exists, it’s clear that the benefits of faith far outweigh its costs, he argues in his new book, An Atheist Defends Religion: Why Humanity is Better Off With Religion than Without It.

“I don’t know if anybody is going to be able to convince me that God exists,” Sheiman said in an interview, “but they can convince me that religion has intrinsic value.”

The old atheists said there was no God. The so-called “New Atheists” said there was no God, and they were vocally vicious about it. Now, the new “New Atheists” — call it Atheism 3.0 — say there’s still no God, but maybe religion isn’t all that bad.

Faith provides meaning and purpose for millions of believers, inspires people to tend to each other and build communities, gives them a sense of union with a transcendent force, and provides numerous health benefits, Sheiman says. Moreover, the galvanizing force behind many achievements in Western civilization has been faith, Sheiman argues, while conceding that he limits his analysis, for the most part, to modern Western religion.

“More than any other institution, religion deserves our appreciation and respect because it has persistently encouraged people to care deeply — for the self, for neighbors, for humanity, and for the natural world — and to strive for the highest ideals humans are able to envision,” Sheiman writes…


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9 Comments on "Atheism 3.0 Finds a Little More Room For Religion"

  1. Yea. Religion was also the driving force behind the crusades, the spanish inquisition, the september 11th attacks, etc.

    There are better ways to encourage people to strive for the ideals religions attempt to promote.

  2. different kinds of atheists, reminds me of the south park episode 'go god go', where the world is at war in 2500 between the United Atheist League, the United Atheist Alliance and the Allied Atheist Allegiance. war still occurring, even between atheists who blame wars on religion

  3. there will always be war, humanity is a violent territorial pack animal,
    it would be nice to see less of them shackled by the gilded chains of religion though.

  4. tonyviner | Oct 23, 2009 at 2:30 am |

    What about the supposed Satanists that supposedly kill babies and rape babies and have consensual sex with babies and then they will sometimes eat feces, all in the name of The Dark Lord. Defend that, Mr. Sheiman. If you think you can.

  5. mannyfurious | Oct 23, 2009 at 1:11 pm |

    If it wasn't religion, human beings would've just found something else to fight over.

    I really don't think religion is as bad as many people say it is. I know many atheists who are just as close-minded and shackled by their beliefs as many religious people I know.

  6. bitchcalledhope | Oct 23, 2009 at 2:28 pm |

    I don't think most people could be an athiest. Most of us have morals and our own thoughts on how things should be. I believe that life is what you make of it. Surround yourself with positive and it will come back, surround yourself with negative… well you get it. It's not karma … it's common fucking sense. Without religion a lot of people would think their lives are nothing, useless and most would feel like they have no point in caring in this world. Not everyone is strong enough to feel there is nothing when you die. Some people need that hope to fall back on, and it's not a bad thing. There's not one single reason to push athiesm on someone as well as there is no reason to push any other religion on someone… Besides that your religion tells you to. Some try and shove it down your throat, but most just believe and let you go on with your day. Religion has caused a lot of issues in the past but overall gives people hope, something to believe in, something to live and die for. For me, I don't need that and I'm perfectly content knowing there's nothing when I die and I have been since I was a little kid.

  7. Word Eater | Oct 23, 2009 at 8:48 pm |

    Wow. An atheist who actually acknowledges the positive influence of religion instead of focusing exclusively on the “all wars are caused by religion” angle.

  8. Jesus H. Christ, now i've seen it all

  9. CamdenRandel | Dec 9, 2009 at 5:07 pm |

    A row has broken out at Queen Mary University, London about the use of its multi-faith centre. The National Hindu Students Forum (UK) claims that members of the Queen Mary’s Islamic Society have been physically preventing students of the university’s Hindu society from offering prayers at the multi-faith centre on the premises by standing 15 students at the door.

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