Tag Archives | God
You have to laugh at the irony of this: atheists profess not to believe in God but frequently express anger at the entity they don’t believe in. Elizabeth Landau reports for CNN:
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If you’re angry at your doctor, your boss, your relative or your spouse, you can probably sit down and have a productive conversation about it. God, on the other hand, is probably not available to chat.
And yet people get angry at God all the time, especially about everyday disappointments, finds a new set of studies in the Journal of Personality and Social Psychology.
It’s not just religious folks, either. People unaffiliated with organized religion, atheists and agnostics also report anger toward God either in the past, or anger focused on a hypothetical image – that is, what they imagined God might be like – said lead study author Julie Exline, Case Western Reserve University psychologist.
We all have our ideas about how the world and universe work. Some of us see the hand of “God” in everything. Others are atheists or agnostics—still others are guided by spirituality. But no matter where we are on the “believe” spectrum, most of us see a rather benign universe. By that I mean that we do not see specific forces struggling with one another in the cosmos once we get away from earth, which is interesting to me. We see conflict and battles on earth but not in the rest of the universe.
We view it much as we do a documentary—no plots, no dynamics—just an intriguing show. We look at ourselves—human life on earth—as being the real show. But that separation has, I believe, caused us to distort our perceptions of the Big Picture. I think if we start seeing the natural conflicts that exist in the universe, then we might start the process that leads to fewer human conflicts on earth.… Read the rest
The scientist has claimed that no divine force was needed to explain why the Universe was formed. In his latest book, The Grand Design, an extract of which is published in Eureka magazine in The Times, Hawking said: “Because there is a law such as gravity, the Universe can and will create itself from nothing. Spontaneous creation is the reason there is something rather than nothing, why the Universe exists, why we exist.” He added: “It is not necessary to invoke God to light the blue touch paper and set the Universe going.”...
What does thinking about God do to agnostics though? Report from Live Science:
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Researchers have determined that thinking about God can help relieve anxiety associated with making mistakes. However, the finding only holds for people who believe in a God.
The researchers measured brain waves for a particular kind of distress response while participants made mistakes on a test.
Those who had been prepared with religious thoughts had a less prominent response to mistakes than those who hadn’t.
“Eighty-five percent of the world has some sort of religious beliefs,” says Michael Inzlicht, who cowrote the study with Alexa Tullett, both at the University of Toronto-Scarborough.
“I think it behooves us as psychologists to study why people have these beliefs; exploring what functions, if any, they may serve.”
With two experiments, the researchers showed that when people think about religion and God, their brains respond differently—in a way that lets them take setbacks in stride and react with less distress to anxiety-provoking mistakes.
Matt Taibbi for Rolling Stone:
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Thanks to Jonathan Schwarz of TinyRevolution.com for passing along this hilarious exchange between Time reporter Alex Wilson and Julie Hollar of FAIR (Fairness and Accuracy in Reporting). It’s one of the best case studies in the dangers of Google that I’ve ever seen.
The thing about Googling yourself — look, everyone’s done it. In the most literal sense, it’s like jacking off, and find me the grown man who’ll deny that he does that. But part of the growing up process is learning that playing with oneself, if not shameful and sordid exactly, it’s certainly something to be done at all times in private. Not even your average eight year-old will go charging bug-eyed into a room full of grownups frantically pulling on his Johnson. Time reporter Alex Wilson turns out to be a different story, however.
Background: last week, the press watchdogs at FAIR did a review of Wilson’s scare piece about how the Chinese are taking over Africa (China’s New Focus on Africa, June 24).
Robert Singer writes:
Part 1 of The Key to the Secret of the Universe claims the key is the following arithmetic calculation from dates and numbers found in the Bible:
- 1978 – 1290 = 688 A.D. (Historical Event 3 – Israel is at peace with its Arab neighbor took place in 1978)
- 1967 – 1279 = 688 A.D. (Historical Event 2 – the control of the holy of holies. The people of Israel had control of the Temple Mount in 1967)
- 1948 – 1260 = 688 A.D. (Historical Event 1 – the end of Diaspora. The people of Israel had their own state in 1948) Is Jesus Christ Coming Back to Earth in XXXXIII (2023)?
The following verses identify the Mosque of Omar (the Dome of the Rock), built in 688 A.D. as the “abomination of the desolation” as spoken of by the messiah Jesus Christ:
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But when ye shall see the abomination of desolation, spoken of by Daniel the prophet, standing where it ought not, (let him that readeth understand).
Andy Coghlan writes in New Scientist:
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God may have created man in his image, but it seems we return the favour. Believers subconsciously endow God with their own beliefs on controversial issues.
“Intuiting God’s beliefs on important issues may not produce an independent guide, but may instead serve as an echo chamber to validate and justify one’s own beliefs,” writes a team led by Nicholas Epley of the University of Chicago in Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.
The researchers started by asking volunteers who said they believe in God to give their own views on controversial topics, such as abortion and the death penalty. They also asked what the volunteers thought were the views of God, average Americans and public figures such as Bill Gates. Volunteers’ own beliefs corresponded most strongly with those they attributed to God.
Next, the team asked another group of volunteers to undertake tasks designed to soften their existing views, such as preparing speeches on the death penalty in which they had to take the opposite view to their own.
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Some New Yorkers may want to reconsider exclaiming “Thank God” when arriving at their destination subway station beginning Monday.
Or at least that’s what a coalition of eight atheist organizations are hoping, having purchased a month-long campaign that will place their posters in a dozen busy subway stations throughout Manhattan.
The advertisements ask the question, written simply over an image of a blue sky with wispy white clouds: “A million New Yorkers are good without God. Are you?”
On October 26, a dozen bustling New York City subway stations will be adorned with the ads as “part of a coordinated multi-organizational advertising campaign designed to raise awareness about people who don’t believe in a god”, according to a statement from the group, the Big Apple Coalition of Reason.
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...