Tag Archives | Atheism

Why You Don’t Need God

Ryan J. Bell, former pastor turned atheist, says we don’t need a divinity to find meaning, writing at CNN:

It was January 2014 and I was sitting on the beach in Malibu looking out at the seemingly endless Pacific Ocean, ebbing and flowing. I had just begun a personal project of challenging my lifelong assumption that God exists.
Atheist Bus Campaign Launch

You see, I had been a Seventh-day Adventist pastor for 19 years. I resigned from my pastoral position the year before, but now I stepped away from my faith altogether. It was a gut-wrenching decision but I couldn’t see any other way to find peace and clarity. I encountered major theological differences with my denomination and evangelical Christianity in general, including the way it marginalizes women and LGBT people.

I questioned the problem of evils and God’s general silence and inactivity. I sought out more liberal theologies and found them to be the slow death of God.… Read the rest

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Will Religion Ever Disappear?

Burning crossAtheism is on the rise around the world, so does that mean spirituality will soon be a thing of the past? BBC Future‘s Rachel Nuwer discovers that the answer is far from simple:

A growing number of people, millions worldwide, say they believe that life definitively ends at death – that there is no God, no afterlife and no divine plan. And it’s an outlook that could be gaining momentum – despite its lack of cheer. In some countries, openly acknowledged atheism has never been more popular.

“There’s absolutely more atheists around today than ever before, both in sheer numbers and as a percentage of humanity,” says Phil Zuckerman, a professor of sociology and secular studies at Pitzer College in Claremont, California, and author of Living the Secular Life. According to a Gallup International survey of more than 50,000 people in 57 countries, the number of individuals claiming to be religious fell from 77% to 68% between 2005 and 2011, while those who self-identified as atheist rose by 3% – bringing the world’s estimated proportion of adamant non-believers to 13%.

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Atheists Unveil Anti-Christmas TV Specials

“Yes, Virginia, there is a ‘War on Christmas’,” declares the Washington Times, reporting on AtheistTV‘s holiday lineup:

Conservatives have been mocked for insisting there’s an ongoing war on Christmas, but now it looks like they may have simply been ahead of their time.

American Atheists unveiled Wednesday the “War on Christmas” line-up on its television channel, AtheistTV, featuring “original programs proclaiming the truth about Christmas on December 24 and December 25, featuring scholars and celebrities from the atheist community.”

Atheist TV

“Christmas is hard for many atheists, so we will provide programming free from superstition and fairy tales that allows families to watch together and not worry about being preached at,” American Atheists President Dave Silverman said in a statement.

Conservatives like Fox News talk-show hosts Sean Hannity and Bill O’Reilly have long warned of a “War on Christmas,” citing moves by retailers, public schools and local governments to remove references to Christmas from displays and celebrations.

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Capitalism is God’s Will and the Cat Drank all the Milk: How our Language Creates our Biggest Problems and Why We Can’t do Anything about It

Felipe Del Valle (CC BY 2.0)

Felipe Del Valle (CC BY 2.0)

I have a confession to make, one that a good number of readers will find disgusting and emetic and prevent many of them from reading further. Others, however, might relate or find it interesting regardless, and so those people will continue to read, which, I suppose, is good enough for me. You see, when I was a child, from a very early age, probably as early as I can remember, I felt all around me the “Presence of God.” It was and is, in all actuality, an impossible feeling to properly describe, but I suppose to some extent that I could say that I felt some sort of “immanent-transcendent energy” “flowing” through me and through my surroundings. Having lived in a rural area hours away in any direction from something resembling civilization, many of my childhood memories consist of me sitting in the backseat of a Toyota 4Runner driving somewhere else, usually toward civilization somewhere.… Read the rest

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Why Aren’t More Americans Atheists?

Meslier.jpg

Jean Meslier, 17th Century French Catholic priest who was discovered, upon his death, to have written a book-length philosophical essay promoting atheism.

“Turns out it has nothing to do with science. And everything to do with politics,” writes Nick Spencer at Politico:

Many expressed surprise recently when, in one of its periodic surveys of Americans’ views of other faiths, the Pew Research Center found that atheists fare poorly—fully 40 percent of those polled described their views toward atheists as “cold.” Jews, Catholics, Evangelicals, Buddhists, Hindus, Mormons—all are viewed more favorably than nonbelievers. Only around 2 percent of Americans identify themselves as atheists, even though religious observance, measured by things like church attendance and daily prayer, has been trending downward for decades.

You might think that America would be fertile ground for the rise of atheism. After all, the United States is the most scientifically advanced society in human existence, and as far as atheism has a history—and it is an oddly uncharted one—it is popularly believed to be of slow, steady scientific advance.

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Atheist TV Channel Launches

atheist tvWell I don’t see why there shouldn’t be Atheist TV, considering the proliferation of Christian and other religious television channels. Plus atheists can be just as rigid and dogmatic as religious extremists… From the New York Times:

Atheists are angry, and watch out, because now they have a television channel.

This week the organization American Atheists announced the premiere of Atheist TV, available through the streaming service Roku and over the Internet. That news will certainly prompt assorted knee-jerk reactions in some quarters, and perhaps some confusion:

“Atheist TV? It’ll be full of incest and smut and debaucheries of all kinds. Oh, wait; that’s HBO.”

“Atheist TV? It’ll be nonstop mockery of conservative Christians and Republicans and Middle America. Oh, wait; that’s Comedy Central.”

“Atheist TV? It’ll be godless wiccans and flesh-eating zombies and serial killers and all manner of other people who lack the Judeo-Christian morals that built America.

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An Atheist’s Defence of Irrationality

Dr. Isaac Asimov, 1965

Dr. Isaac Asimov, 1965

Raghunath Joshi writes:

Isaac Asimov said ‘I am an emotional atheist. As to the claim that God exists, my suspicion is so strong that I don’t want to waste my limited time believing/acting on it’. Even though I am an atheist, I can appreciate religion when ever it results in kindness honesty and courage, like the writer Kurt Vonnegut when he says ‘Believe in all harmless untruths if it makes you kind, happier and more truthful’.

In all of the arguments that we, atheists make against religion, the underlying thread is ‘logic’. The problem with using logic is that we HAVE to stop it at one point in the line of argument. It is so because logic can’t create a meaning of one’s life. It can only help us derive a moral structure from a fundamental premise such as ‘compassion towards’ / ‘happiness of’ / ‘freedom of’ all living creatures.

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Christopher Hitchens, Religious in Spite of Himself?

PIC: Ensceptico (CC)

PIC: Ensceptico (CC)

Eric Reitan writes at Religion Dispatches’ (A)theologies:

Not long ago, Christopher Hitchens—pugilistic author of God is not Great: How Religion Poisons Everything—sat down for an interview with retired Unitarian minister (and self-professed “liberal Christian”) Marilyn Sewell. It wasn’t the usual sort of conversation that Hitchens has with “believers,” since his preferred sparring partners tend to be religious conservatives and apologists for fundamentalism (such as Douglas Wilson).

Not surprisingly, early in the interview Hitchens was quick to announce who was a real Christian and who wasn’t, and to insinuate that Sewell fell into the latter camp; a comment that has inspired more than a few raised eyebrows among religious progressives.

But it’s easy to let Hitchens’ arrogance on this matter obscure some broader themes—and some surprising concessions on Hitchens’ part—that emerged in the course of the interview.

One of these themes has to do with just how much Hitchens and Sewell have in common.

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