Tag Archives | Atheism

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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Unbelief Is Now The World’s Third-Largest Religious Affiliation

There are more than a billion (non)adherents to what has been insultingly dubbed “unbelief.” The Washington Post writes:

A new report on global religious identity shows that while Christians and Muslims make up the two largest groups, those with no religious affiliation — including atheists and agnostics — are now the third-largest “religious” group in the world.

The study, released Tuesday by the Pew Forum on Religion & Public Life, found that Christians make up the largest group, with 2.2 billion adherents, or 32 percent worldwide, followed by Muslims, with 1.6 billion adherents, or 23 percent. Close behind are the “nones” — those who say they have no religious affiliation or do not believe in God — at 1.1 billion, or 16 percent.

The majority of the world’s religiously unaffiliated live in the Asia-Pacific region, with 700 million in China alone, where religion was stifled during the Cultural Revolution.

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Seven Countries Have Death Penalty For Atheism

Stedman-hangingDon’t tell anyone you’re an atheist if you live in Afghanistan, Iran, Maldives, Mauritania, Pakistan, Saudi Arabia or Sudan! Story via Reuters:

Atheists and other religious skeptics suffer persecution or discrimination in many parts of the world and in at least seven nations can be executed if their beliefs become known, according to a report issued on Monday.

The study, from the International Humanist and Ethical Union (IHEU), showed that “unbelievers” in Islamic countries face the most severe – sometimes brutal – treatment at the hands of the state and adherents of the official religion.

But it also points to policies in some European countries and the United States which favor the religious and their organizations and treat atheists and humanists as outsiders.

The report, “Freedom of Thought 2012″, said “there are laws that deny atheists’ right to exist, curtail their freedom of belief and expression, revoke their right to citizenship, restrict their right to marry.”

Other laws “obstruct their access to public education, prohibit them from holding public office, prevent them from working for the state, criminalize their criticism of religion, and execute them for leaving the religion of their parents.”…

[continues at Reuters]

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Man Faces Death Threats and Jail for Pointing Out That Weeping Jesus “Miracle” Is Just Faulty Plumbing

Science and skepticism are under constant attack around the world; climate denial here in the United States, magic bracelets in Australia, and geologists in Italy being punished for not magically predicting earthquakes. Despite the strides of rationalists like Sanal Edamaruku in India (famous for disproving a tantric guru’s ridiculous claims), the law of the land still often sides with the religious zealots.

Picture: Koshi Koshi (CC)

via AlterNet by Henry McDonald

When water started trickling down a statue of Jesus Christ at a Catholic church in Mumbai earlier this year, locals were quick to declare a miracle. Some began collecting the holy water and the Church of Our Lady of Velankanni began to promote it as a site of pilgrimage.

So when Sanal Edamaruku arrived and established that this was not holy water so much as holey plumbing, the backlash was severe. The renowned rationalist was accused of blasphemy, charged with offences that carry a three-year prison sentence and eventually, after receiving death threats, had to seek exile in Finland.

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Results Of An Atheist Prayer Experiment

What happens when nonbelievers pray to God for 40 straight days in the hope that the Almighty will reveal Himself? The U.K.-based Premier Christian Radio organized just such an experiment, and, amazingly, two participants had religious awakenings, although nothing special happened to anyone else. Premier Christian Media writes:

Seventy one atheists and agnostics signed up to take part in the Atheist Prayer Experiment. Each person was asked to pray for a few minutes per day for forty days during September and October 2012. They were praying for God to reveal himself to them.

Of the 71 who signed up:

• 2 have reported that they now believe in God (Kendra and Kelly).

• 2 failed to take part in the experiment.

• 52 have said they did not receive any revelation of God’s existence through prayer. Some of these stopped praying at an early or later point in the experiment, or failed to pray on some days, and some prayed for the entire duration.

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