Tag Archives | Atheism

Atheist Monument Erected At Florida Courthouse

atheist monumentThe organization American Atheists had sued to have the Ten Commandments removed from the front of the county courthouse in Stark, Florida. But instead, in a historic turn of events, it was told that it could have its own monument. Via the Washington Post:

A group of atheists unveiled a monument to their nonbelief in God on Saturday to sit alongside a granite slab that lists the Ten Commandments in front of the Bradford County courthouse.

As a small group of protesters blasted Christian country music and waved “Honk for Jesus” signs, the atheists celebrated what they believe is the first atheist monument allowed on government property in the United States.

The 1,500-pound granite bench bears quotes from Thomas Jefferson, Benjamin Franklin, John Adams and Madalyn Murray O’Hair. It also has a list of gruesome Old Testament punishments for violating the Ten Commandments, including death and stoning.

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Interview with Chris Stedman, Author of ‘Faitheist’

Chris Stedman

Recently in a bookstore, killing time before going to my day job, I came across the book Fathiest: How an Atheist Found Common Ground with the Religious, by Chris Stedman.

The concept really resonated with me. Here was an atheist reaching out to religious people, to find common ground and work for equality and social justice. It seemed like a very refreshing approach. I’m familiar with The New atheists such as Richard Dawkins and the late Christopher Hitchens. I frankly felt these guys were missing a lot of the aspects of religion that are worthy of support, such as feeding the hungry, providing shelter for the homeless, working with people struggling with addiction – work I had been involved in as an evangelical. Though I definitely wouldn’t categorize myself as a scientific materialist, I actually am on board with the scientific and philosophical objections vocal atheists espouse against Christian fundamentalists.… Read the rest

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Richard Dawkins Has Lost: Meet the New New Atheists

praisedawkinsSo much for our favorite theist and atheist stereotypes.  Theo Hobson writes in the Spectator:

The atheist spring that began just over a decade ago is over, thank God. Richard Dawkins is now seen by many, even many non-believers, as a joke figure, shaking his fist at sky fairies. He’s the Mary Whitehouse of our day.

So what was all that about, then? We can see it a bit more clearly now. It was an outpouring of frustration at the fact that religion is maddeningly complicated and stubbornly irritating, even in largely secular Britain. This frustration had been building for decades: the secular intellectual is likely to feel somewhat bothered by religion, even if it is culturally weak. Oh, she finds it charming and interesting to a large extent, and loves a cosy carol service, but religion really ought to know its place. Instead it dares to accuse the secular world of being somehow -deficient.

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After God: What Can Atheists Learn From Believers?

Several authors answer the New Statesman‘s question.  Here are some excerpts.

Alain de Botton:

For centuries in the west, there was a figure in society who fulfilled a function that is likely to sound very odd to secular ears. The priest didn’t fulfil any material need; he was there to take care of that part of you called, rather unusually, “the soul”, by which we would understand the seat of our emotions and of our deep self.Where have our soul-related needs gone? What are we doing with the material we used to go to a priest for? The deep self has naturally not given up its complexities and vulnerabilities simply because some scientific inaccuracies have been found in the tales of the five loaves and two fishes.

The most sophisticated response we have yet come up with is psychotherapy. It is to psychotherapists that we bring the same kind of problems as we would previously have directed at a priest: emotional confusion, loss of meaning, temptations of one kind or another and anxiety about mortality.

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Can a Sufficient Dose of Psilocybin Mushrooms Cure Someone of Atheism?

In this edition of heroic doses we ask the burning philosophical question, can a sufficient dose of psilocybin mushrooms cure someone of atheism? Not a topic I’d considered personally at length until it happened to a friend of mine. Well, let’s face it, I’ve always thought something like this was possible. One thing that annoys me about a lot of hard science wired people’s attitude toward matters such as alien contact and inner godhead freak outs is that I see a lot of, well, if something’s in your head, we can’t quantify data on it, so it’s pointless. Horseshit. Behavior is a physical thing and it’s incredibly easy to study.

Take me for example. As a teenager, after ditching Christianity I can’t say I had much of an interest in spirituality at all. I was more into guitars, basketball, not getting laid, and other typical young guy crap. I will say that smoking weed maybe got me thinking about matters of the soul a bit more intently, but not seriously.… Read the rest

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From an Occult Perspective, Atheism is a More Simplistic Belief System Than Christianity

Now, don’t get me wrong, I’m super conflicted about the rise of popular atheism over the last ten years or so. Let’s get that out of the way right off the bat. I truly respect the way people like Richard Dawkins (and the late Christopher Hitchens) challenge the influence of the world’s dominant religions publically. I love Bill Maher and found his movie Religulous quite amusing for the most part. This critical dialogue is incredibly important because I got news for you, religion is still the great fundamental bamboozle driving the war on drugs and terror. I think organized religion can be just as nuts as these guys do. I guess I just also see that it can also be incredibly and most boringly normal. A lot of good things come out of it as well, a sense of community, drug rehabilitation, charity work, etc. Truth be told, the majority of people I’ve known or hung out with for most of my life have basically considered themselves atheists. It’s become almost a badge of pride for so many teenagers and young people, but I got news for you, it isn’t anything new or subversive...
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Does The Internet Mean The End For Organized Religions?

Tweets from the Pope aren’t going to help—mainstream organized religion requires closed systems of information, and will inevitably be destroyed by the Internet, Valerie Tarico argues via Alternet:

The biggest threat organized religion has ever faced [is] the Internet. A traditional religion, one built on “right belief,” requires a closed information system. That is why the Catholic Church put an official seal of approval on some ancient texts and banned or burned others. It is why some Christians are forbidden to marry nonbelievers, and moms home-school their kids with carefully screened textbooks.

Religions have spent eons honing defenses that keep outside information away from insiders. The innermost ring wall is a set of certainties and associated emotions like anxiety and disgust and righteous indignation that block curiosity. The outer wall is a set of behaviors aimed at insulating believers from contradictory evidence and from heretics who are potential transmitters of dangerous ideas.

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English Atheists Go To Church

Photo: Fin Fahey (CC)

Hey London atheists, did you go to church today? The UK’s first atheist church is now holding services in Islington reports the Islington Gazette:

Stand-up comedians Sanderson Jones and Pippa Evans will bring together a godless congregation in the Nave in St Paul’s Road, Canonbury for services – with wedding ceremonies and funerals for non-believers even on the cards.

News of the church, which will meet on the first Sunday of every month starting with a service on the Feast of Epiphany on January 6, comes after the census results revealed last week that nearly one in three residents are atheists.

Mr Jones and Ms Evans, a musical improv comedian who had a BBC Radio 4 show called Showstopper, came up with the idea for The Sunday Assembly after agreeing they liked many aspects of religion but didn’t believe in a god.

“We thought it would be a shame not to enjoy the good stuff about religion, like the sense of community, just because of a theological disagreement,” said Mr Jones, who recently became the first person to sell out the Sydney Opera House by personally selling all tickets by hand.

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The Blessings of Atheism

Susan Jacoby, author of the forthcoming book The Great Agnostic: Robert Ingersoll and American Freethought, celebrates non-belief in the New York Times:

In a recent conversation with a fellow journalist, I voiced my exasperation at the endless talk about faith in God as the only consolation for those devastated by the unfathomable murders in Newtown, Conn. Some of those grieving parents surely believe, as I do, that this is our one and only life. Atheists cannot find solace in the idea that dead children are now angels in heaven. “That only shows the limits of atheism,” my colleague replied. “It’s all about nonbelief and has nothing to offer when people are suffering.”

This widespread misapprehension that atheists believe in nothing positive is one of the main reasons secularly inclined Americans — roughly 20 percent of the population — do not wield public influence commensurate with their numbers. One major problem is the dearth of secular community institutions.

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Peter Higgs Calls Out Richard Dawkins for Anti-Religious Fundamentalism

Picture: Gert-Martin Gruel (CC)

God Particle vs. God Delusion:

Via The Guardian:

As public disagreements go, few can have boasted such heavy-hitting antagonists.

On one side is Richard Dawkins, the celebrated biologist who has made a second career demonstrating his epic disdain for religion. On the other is the theoretical physicist Peter Higgs, who this year became a shoo-in for a future Nobel prize after scientists at Cern in Geneva showed that his theory about how fundamental particles get their mass was correct.

Their argument is over nothing less than the coexistence of religion and science.

Higgs has chosen to cap his remarkable 2012 with another bang by criticising the “fundamentalist” approach taken by Dawkins in dealing with religious believers.

“What Dawkins does too often is to concentrate his attack on fundamentalists. But there are many believers who are just not fundamentalists,” Higgs said in an interview with the Spanish newspaper El Mundo.

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