The fastest growing "religious" group in America is made up of people with no religion at all, according to a Pew survey showing that one in five Americans is not affiliated with any religion. The number of these Americans has grown by 25% just in the past five years, according to a survey released Tuesday by the Pew Forum on Religion and Public Life. The survey found that the ranks of the unaffiliated are growing even faster among younger Americans...
Tag Archives | Atheism
Einstein’s “God Letter” is up for sale at auction. Any bidders? Jessica Ravitz reports for CNN:
Decades before atheist scientist and author Richard Dawkins called God a “delusion,” one world-renowned physicist – Albert Einstein – was weighing in on faith matters with his own strong words.
“The word God is for me nothing more than the expression and product of human weaknesses, the Bible a collection of honorable, but still primitive legends,” Einstein wrote in German in a 1954 letter that will be auctioned on eBay later this month. “No interpretation no matter how subtle can (for me) change this.”
Dubbed Einstein’s “God Letter” by the Los Angeles-based auction agency that’s posting it online, the original document will be up for grabs starting Monday. The opening bid: $3 million.
The letter provides a window into the famed genius’s religious beliefs. Einstein wrote it to Jewish philosopher Eric Gutkind, one year before Einstein died, in reaction to Gutkind’s book, “Choose Life: The Biblical Call to Revolt.”…
[continues at CNN]
Giulio Prisco at Turing Church explains how Cosmist beliefs can provide solace for nonbelievers confronted by the gaping void of permanent annihilation:
… Read the rest
I cope with the grief from the death of loved ones by contemplating the Cosmist possibility, described by many thinkers including Nikolai Fedorov, Hans Moravec and Frank Tipler, that future generations (or alien civilizations, or whatever) may develop technologies to resurrect the dead. A related idea is that our reality may be a “simulation” computed by entities in a higher-level reality, who may choose to copy those who die in our reality to another reality. Contemplating these possibilities is my way to cope with grief, I hope you will find your own way.
Cosmism is one of those “third ways” that are often passionately rejected by those who believe in the old ways, but in my opinion it is a Hegelian synthesis of what is good in the old ways: it is firmly based on science, and at the same time it offers all the important mental devices of religion, including hope in resurrection.
… Read the rest
…DeWitt began e-mailing with dozens of fellow apostates every day and eventually joined another new network called Recovering From Religion, intended to help people extricate themselves from evangelical Christianity. Atheists, he discovered, were starting to reach out to one another not just in the urban North but also in states across the South and West, in the kinds of places DeWitt had spent much of his career as a traveling preacher. After a few months he took to the road again, this time as the newest of a new breed of celebrity, the atheist convert. They have their own apostles (Bertrand Russell, Richard Dawkins, Christopher Hitchens) and their own language, a glossary borrowed from Alcoholics Anonymous, the Bible and gay liberation (you always “come out” of the atheist closet).
Apocalyptic Christian groups have long proselytized within the United States military fostering an underlying mythos of worldwide destruction and Manifest Destiny that provides a continuum with the political rhetoric of theoconservatives. The drive to self-fulfill prophecy becomes the fodder for irrational fear based domestic politics and the justification for foreign policies that create enemies out of innocents.
It is time that the endeavors of religious organizations to infiltrate and influence the workings of the military and the state apparatus are exposed.
Fortunately the Army thought Foxhole Atheist Justin Griffith needed ‘remedial Spiritual Fitness Training’ and suggested he write a blog… He writes at Rock Beyond Belief:
… Read the rest
“Two national atheist groups, and one advocating religious freedom, have complained to Navy Secretary Ray Mabus that officials at Camp Pendleton, Calif., continue to deny them access to the base while giving “preferential treatment” to Christian religious organizations, including a controversial church they say is steeped in “doomsday theology” and embroiled in sexual-abuse scandals.”
“We are disturbed that the government is giving such extensive support, including assets, resources and personnel, to a single sect of Christianity,” the three groups wrote in their letter to Mabus.
[disinfo ed.'s note: the following is an excerpt from the forthcoming book The God Problem: How A Godless Cosmos Creates by Howard Bloom ("I have met God and he lives in Brooklyn" – Richard Metzger), courtesy of the author and Prometheus Books.]
Before we probe for clues to the God Problem, we need to equip ourselves with five tools—the five heresies. Remember the second rule of science: look at things right under your nose as if you’ve never seen them before, then proceed from there. Question your assumptions. To question your assumptions, you have to find them. And that’s the really hard part. But here are five assumptions conveniently overturned for your edification and delight. Five heresies we’ll use to crack the code of cosmic creativity.
- A does not equal a.
- One plus one does not equal two.
- The Second Law of Thermodynamics, that all things tend toward
disorder, that all things tend toward entropy, is wrong.
Bryan Fischer thinks that if “Obamacare” can tax people who don’t have health insurance, then atheists should be taxed for not going to church because they are putting their health at risk.
Many people have at some point heard, or are at least vaguely familiar with the question, “How many angels can dance on the head of a pin?” – a reference to the pointless theological debates that consumed much of European academia during the latter half of the Middle Ages. Although it turns out this particular phrasing was most likely never actually discussed (not appearing in print until hundreds of years later as a retroactive jab at Thomas Aquinas and his “scholastic” brand of philosophy) it continues to serve as a handy metaphor for any dubious intellectual endeavor lacking in apparent practical value and without any foreseeable means of resolution.
Questions of this sort, while no longer at the forefront of serious scholarly inquiry, haven’t completely subsided in the modern age, especially in the United States where we have the unusual distinction of being by far the most religious of any advanced, industrial nation. As the so-called “culture wars” rage on unabated in the run-up to the 2012 presidential election (with back and forth volleys ranging from Rick Santorum’s failed candidacy to President Obama’s recent declaration of support for gay marriage), the subject of religious belief and its role in American politics has been pushed to the forefront of national discourse, and with it has come a revival of interest in a wide range of formerly obscure ideas relating to God and his role in the universe.… Read the rest
If you don’t believe in any gods, you are an atheist, right? This definition seems pretty basic, not the kind of material that requires an advanced degree in theology to understand. But apparently it isn't accurate. In fact, as I circulate in the secular movement on a daily basis, I frequently meet nonbelievers who are unwilling to identify as atheists. Of course, there are other words that might describe those who don't believe in deities — agnostic, humanist, skeptic, etc. — and quite a few nonbelievers prefer one of those terms as their primary means of religious identification, but many reject outright the atheist identity even as a secondary or incidental label. "Don't call me an atheist!" one such nonbeliever recently told me. "I refuse to identify according to what I reject. I don't believe in astrology or unicorns, but I don't label myself according to that — so why should I identify according to my rejection of god-belief?"...
Shortly after his 40th birthday, the life of a man we’ll call Ronald Hodge took a strange turn. He still looked pretty good for his age. He had a well-paying job and a devoted wife. Or so he thought. Then, one morning, Hodge’s wife told him she no longer loved him. She moved out the next day. A few weeks later, he was informed that his company was downsizing and that he would be let go. Not knowing where to turn, Hodge started going to church again. Even though he’d been raised in an evangelical household, it had been years since Hodge had thought much about God. But now that everything seemed to be falling apart around him, he began attending services every week. Then every day. One night, while lying in bed, he opened the Bible and began reading. He’d been doing this every night since his wife left. And every time he did, he would see the same word staring back at him—the same four syllables that seemed to jump off the page as if they were printed in buzzing neon: Jerusalem. Hodge wasn’t a superstitious man, he didn’t believe in signs, but the frequency of it certainly felt like … something. A week later, he was 30,000 feet over the Atlantic on an El Al jet to Israel...