Archive for the ‘Atheism’ Category

Freedom From Religion Foundation Runs Full-Page July 4th Ad in Major Newspapers: “Celebrate Our Godless Constitution”

July 5, 2013

FFRF_GodlessConst_NYT_11x21

Excerpt from “FFRF’s July 4 ad counters Hobby Lobby disinformation,” 7/1/13. 

The Freedom From Religion Foundation is running a full-page ad celebrating “our GODLESS Constitution” in a number of U.S. dailies on July 4. FFRF, a state/church watchdog based in Madison, Wis., serves as the nation’s largest association of freethinkers (atheists and agnostics).

The ad is a direct response to a series of July 4 ads sponsored annually by Hobby Lobby since 2008, which shamelessly promote the myth that the United States was founded on God and Christianity. The large craft store chain’s ads of disinformation appear ti run in hundreds of dailies. Although FFRF can’t compete with Hobby Lobby by running ads in virtually every daily, it is undertaking the single most expensive ad campaign in its history to counter the Religious Right message.

The ads quote U.S. Founders and Framers on their strong views against religion in government, and often critical views on religion in general. The ad features two revolutionaries and Deists, Thomas Paine and Benjamin Franklin, and the first four presidents: George Washington, John Adams, Thomas Jefferson and James Madison.

The ad documents that not only is the U.S. Constitution godless, but that there was no prayer during the Constitutional Convention, and that the Constitution’s primary architect, Madison, came to oppose government days of prayer, congressional chaplaincies and even “three pence” of tax dollars used in support of religion. The ad includes a website link that not only documents the quotations, but takes the reader to the original script in most cases!

Click here to continue reading and to view the full-sized ad.

Christian Polling Group Finds Atheists Divorce Less Than Christians

July 4, 2013

atheism-vs-christianity2

by David Badash, The New Civil Rights Movement, 7/2/13 (Excerpt)

An Evangelical Christian pollster finds that atheists commit less crimes, divorce less, and are better educated than their fellow Christians. “It is obvious that you do not have to believe in a higher power in order to live a moral and successful life. Quite the opposite,” the Knoxville News‘ Al Westerfield writes of the study, adding that “the groups with the highest crime rate, the poorest marriages and the lowest education continually strive to force their beliefs on the nonreligious. And the politicians pander to them. Why else would they pass laws to put religion in the schools and on courthouse facades? And then they wonder why the godless could possibly be upset.”

Continue reading this article.

Atheism/Agnosticism: Not Just Another Religion

February 14, 2013

Infographic on religion vs atheism

Believe and Be Saved? Christianity and Cognitive Science, 1

January 21, 2013

By Valerie Tarico, author of Trusting Doubt: A Former Evangelical Looks at Old Beliefs in a New Light

Why I hope Conservative Christians Will Fight Gay Marriage Tooth and Nail Till their Teeth and Nails Fall Out

October 29, 2012

by Valerie Tarico

With marriage equality battles in front of the voters in four states, the faithful are out in flocks to defend traditional matrimony.  I don’t know exactly what traditional means in this context. It certainly doesn’t mean biblical, or it would include captive virgins and sex slaves and fathering children for your deceased brothers. It certainly doesn’t mean Mitt Romney’s version of traditional, since his great grandfather had five wives and his great-great grandfather had twelve.

Continue reading this article at Away Point.

“Churches are becoming political organizations…”

May 27, 2012

Robert Ingersoll, 1833-1899

“It probably will not be long until the churches will divide as sharply upon political, as upon theological questions; and when that day comes, if there are not liberals enough to hold the balance of power, this Government will be destroyed. The liberty of man is not safe in the hands of any church. Wherever the Bible and sword are in partnership, man is a slave.

“All laws for the purpose of making man worship God, are born of the same spirit that kindled the fires of the auto da fe and lovingly built the dungeons of the Inquisition. All laws defining and punishing blasphemy—making it a crime to give your honest ideas about the Bible, or to laugh at the ignorance of the ancient Jews, or to enjoy yourself on the Sabbath, or to give your opinion of Jehovah—were passed by impudent bigots, and should be at once repealed by honest men. An infinite God ought to be able to protect himself without going in partnership with State Legislatures. Certainly he ought not so to act that laws become necessary to keep him from being laughed at. No one thinks of protecting Shakespeare from ridicule, by the threat of fine and imprisonment. It strikes me that God might write a book that would not necessarily excite the laughter of his children. In fact, I think it would be safe to say that a real God could produce a work that would excite the admiration of mankind. Surely politicians could be better employed than in passing laws to protect the literary reputation of the Jewish God.”

Robert  Ingersoll,  quoted from, Some Mistakes of Moses, Section III, “The Politicians,” in Works, Dresden Edition, Volume 2, 1879


Shit Christians Say to Atheists

February 2, 2012

 

Can’t Find a Purpose Without Religion? Try This One.

January 19, 2012

From Steven Pinker’s “The Better Angels of Our Natures,” pp. 695-96:

“Though our escape from destructive contests is not a cosmic purpose, it is a human purpose. Defenders of religion have long claimed that in the absence of divine edicts, morality can never be grounded outside ourselves. People can pursue only selfish interests, perhaps tweaked by taste or fashion, and are sentenced to live lives of relativism and nihilism. We can now appreciate why this line of argument is mistaken. Discovering earthly ways in which human beings can flourish, including stratagems to overcome the tragedy of the inherent appeal of aggression, should be purpose enough for anyone. It is a goal that is nobler than joining a celestial choir, melting into a cosmic spirit, or being reincarnated into a higher life-form, because the goal can be justified to any fellow thinker rather than being inculcated to arbitrary factions by charisma, tradition, or force. And … it is a goal on which progress can be made—progress that is halting and incomplete, but unmistakable nonetheless.”

British Rabbi Explains Why We Still Need Religion

January 9, 2012

From “The Limits of Secularism,” by Chief Rabbi Lord Sacks:

(HT to Andrew Sullivan)

Think about it: every function that was once performed by religion can now be done by something else. In other words, if you want to explain the world, you don’t need Genesis; you have science. If you want to control the world, you don’t need prayer; you have technology. If you want to prosper, you don’t necessarily seek God’s blessing; you have the global economy. You want to control power, you no longer need prophets; you have liberal democracy and elections.

If you’re ill, you don’t need a priest; you can go to a doctor. If you feel guilty, you don’t have to confess; you can go to a psychotherapist instead. If you’re depressed, you don’t need faith; you can take a pill.  If you still need salvation, you can go to today’s cathedrals, the shopping centres of Britain — or as one American writer calls them, weapons of mass consumption. Religion seems superfluous, redundant, de trop. Why then does it survive?

My answer is simple. Religion survives because it answers three questions that every reflective person must ask. Who am I? Why am I here? How then shall I live? We will always ask those three questions because homo sapiens is the meaning-seeking animal, and religion has always been our greatest heritage of meaning. You can take science, technology, the liberal democratic state and the market economy as four institutions that characterise modernity, but none of these four will give you an answer to those questions that humans ask.

After ticking off the ways in which religion is no longer the sole supplier of goods that humans value—knowledge, control, prosperity,  health, and salvation—the Rabbi claims to have found three that secular culture cannot supply: identity, purpose, and moral direction.

Typical nihilist

This is simply incorrect. Does the Rabbi imagine that a secular humanist cannot know who she is, why she is here, and how to live her life? The answers she discovers through her lived experience and her secular education may not be as readily available or as facile as those that religious institutions offer, but they are nonetheless valid.

And more than just “valid.” The answers she discovers may also be more truthful and more conducive to human flourishing. What is the good of believing that one is a child of God and that one’s purpose is to serve Him if, indeed, there is no God? What is the good of obeying God’s laws if, in fact, God’s laws are unjust?

I won’t dispute that the goal of serving a fictive god can give one’s life meaning and purpose. But I do question whether such purposes are always healthy for human beings to have. More important, I question whether God’s laws should provide a moral compass for 21st-century human beings.

Typical Secular Humanist

There are “other” purposes, “other” meanings, and “other” moral priorities that might serve us better than those offered by religion. And they are humanistic ones.

Where do we find them? In literature, in film, in poetry and music, in philosophy, psychology, and the hard sciences. We may also find them in religion, but religion is not their only source.

So, here’s my own quick-and-dirty answer to the Rabbi’s three questions. (I am breaking his second question into two parts, in order to address the two meanings of “purpose,” i.e., proximate and ultimate).

Who am I? I am a human being.

Why am I here? (proximate) Because I was born out of the Earth’s biosphere.

Why am I here? (ultimate) To fulfill my full potential as a human being: to love, to create, to struggle, and to understand.

How shall I live? In harmony with other human beings and with the environment that sustains us all.

I don’t see nihilism in any of that, nor any cause for despair.

What if Jesus Had Been Aborted? A Reader Responds

January 3, 2012

A reader writes,

The Manhattan Declaration’s list seems a bit frivolous. Sure, we love the architecture and the art and the great music, but one doesn’t need religion, much less Christianity, for those things. Artists can always find their inspiration somewhere. Why didn’t they mention the Quakers’ opposition to war and slavery, or the efforts of the Protestant churches to civilize the American South and West in the 19th century? They could have also cited the churches’ roles in the Civil Rights movement and in South African reconciliation movements. The list of real, solid achievements would be long, so I’m disappointed that MD focused so much on superficialities.

Your list, on the other hand, was much too harsh and biased toward the negatives. Would have us believe that Christianity has contributed nothing to civilization? Can’t you take a more balanced approach?

My list was an application of force majeure. There was just SO MUCH artillery lying around unsecured! But maybe my riposte was (and not just about) overkill. It was an attempted deicide in retaliation for many successful democides.

But I maintain that Christianity has never been a consistent force for peace. Despite its claims of divine provenance, it has historically been shaped by social and intellectual movements perhaps more than it has shaped them. The Catholic church was, as Martin Luther King, Jr. would have said, “the tail-lights when it should have been the headlights,” changing its positions on slavery, geocentrism, scriptural literalism, marriage, anti-semitism, and a host of other issues only after prolonged intransigence. The same church cooperated with Fascist regimes in Germany, Spain, Italy, Portugal, and Croatia during the 20th century.

The record is mixed, and we could all throw lists at each other until the cows come home. My own inclination is to try to avoid bias. Realism doesn’t mean serving equal portions but recognizing that sometimes the portions are already unequal.