Wednesday September 25, 2013, 3:13 am
I agree with you both but I do not imagine that the main stream of Americans can give up the reindeer and Easter bunnies to adopt sanity.
The thought that we can have a moral life without a big daddy in the sky to keep you on the path of decent behaviour or have to take responsibility for your own life and happiness is too scary.
Given that the news from Africa that American Islamic fundamentalists were part of the the Westfield mall terror attack just goes to shows that despite numbers of people shedding superstition, the USA still has the greatest number of people that believe in angles, that the world is only 5,000 years old and that dinosaurs were on the ark and worst of all that it is good to kill for god!
Wednesday September 25, 2013, 8:07 am
"To them, religion is at best superfluous, at worst (in Hitchens’s words) “allied to racism and tribalism and bigotry, invested in ignorance and hostile to free inquiry, contemptuous of women and coercive toward children.”
I don't see this as a problem at all. I think of religion as Karl Marx did, the opiate of the masses. Rigid adherence to dogma frees the individual from having to think about and make moral decisions on their own, for assuming responsibility for their own lives. I think religion the cause of much of what has always been wrong with the world, the me first, screw you attitude that has led us to the incredible disparity in distribution of resources we have today. I doubt many of the 1%, despite their "theological" stances on issues, have any religion whatsoever apart from their allegiance to money. They use religion, along with their lackeys, the republican party to keep people under control and knowing their place. Religion has been used to maintain power for a select few since it came into being. All written up by men. Who said they were divinely inspired. Believing that absolves one of having to think and make decisions about what is right and wrong, why bother when others have already done that for you? That religion has been able to perpetuate this hoax for so long is all that amazes me about it.
I'm not an atheist, I am intensely spiritual, but how I treat people doesn't come from a book, or books, it comes from within me, choices I have considered and made for myself. I accept personal responsibility for my actions and so too should everyone in my opinion. Because falling back on dogma results in the world we see around us today, where each religion considers it an obligation to "educate" everyone else, and some religions believe it okay to do so at the point of a gun using terror and mass murder to sway people to the righteousness of their cause and they have the gall to claim they do so out of love. They don't understand the first thing about love and never will as long as they allow others to define it for them. No surprise people are deserting religion to me at all. The only surprise is why it took this long for people to begin to awaken to their own truth. Which is, in the end, all any of us have.
Wednesday September 25, 2013, 10:57 am
Theists like to look down their noses and suppose that atheists have no values/morals, etc. (See John S's sneer above.)
This is totally untrue. If you have any doubts.....do some research on American Humanists. You'll find they're refreshingly compassionate, optimistic and focused on public good....without any need for superstition, dogma and magical beings, spells, etc.
Wednesday September 25, 2013, 11:34 am
I think it will make the world a better place. I'm spiritual but don't subscribe to any particular "religion". I think religions harm people and separate people from each other. Wars were fought over "religions". That's wrong on so many levels.
Wednesday September 25, 2013, 1:42 pm
Dogma and superstition was a way for people to bind together, to have something to believe in during times when all of life was an uncertainty. It had its place then, but no longer in the 21st Century. The masses believe because they have nothing else in their lives. In their minds, without those beliefs their lives would not be worth living. Sad, but true. I am not a good little Christian because I question too many of these beliefs and won't blindly follow hypocrites and liars.
Wednesday September 25, 2013, 2:11 pm
It is WONDERFUL news, very hopeful, that "Americans are abandoning religion in droves" - in that way, becoming more like Europeans who have for a long time been laughing at us because of our public religiosity.
Most Western Europeans abandoned their Churches decades ago.
The problem is still, the POLITICAL POWER AND WEALTH that the Churches and denominations hold onto. While losing or having already lost MILLIONS of members, Churches such as the Roman Catholics and the Mormons LIE about how many adherents they actually have, in order to bully politicians into following religious strictures that are inimical to the majority of people.
The way the Churches LIE about the numbers of their actual membership, is, they make it almost impossible to "officially" leave the Church - once you're born into it or baptized, your NAME can remain on their rolls FOREVER, whether you ever set foot into that Church in your life again, or not. This makes the Church, of whatever denomination, LOOK artificially "strong and powerful".
Tax-exemption has also allowed Churches to GET AWAY WITH politicizing for the Far Right, again making a powerful, and wealthy, alliance that is clearly against the interests of a Democratic, inclusive society.
A KEY would be, for Parents NOT TO ENROLL THEIR KIDS IN ANY CHURCH OR HAVE THEM BAPTIZED IN ANY CHURCH. Some non- or barely-believing parents still do this "for tradition's sake". This ought to be a decision MADE BY THE KID WHEN IT COMES OF AGE - not before!
That is why it would be great for Atheists, Agnostics, and Non-believers to develop our OWN rituals, for those important Life Transitions such as Birth, Coming-of-Age, Marriage, Death, etc. ALL cultures have some sort of rituals - so why shouldn't Atheists too? They perform important Community, and Psychological, Functions. DON'T HAND YOUR MONEY TO A STUPID PRIEST WHO WILL USE IT TO SWAY POLITICIANS TO VOTE AGAINST YOUR RIGHTS!!!
Just because you're a non-believer in a personal God, doesn't mean you can't be "spiritual" - or can't have PROFOUND "RELIGIOUS"-TYPE EXPERIENCES AND AWAKENINGS. I have had such a thing happen, and I know I'm not alone among Atheists to have that happen. It's just that - WE DON'T EXPECT THAT! Surprise, surprise! The Universe, I guess, contains more than just what is available to your everyday senses... To deny this, is just as "unreal" as to deny Global Warming...
TOO BAD that religions have always tried to co-opt and "tame" such experiences people have had, make such experiences fit into their own "theological" straight-jackets.....
Wednesday September 25, 2013, 2:15 pm
If Americans, particularly younger Americans, are embracing critical thinking skills and reason over dogma and ideology, then there is hope that we might be on our way to decades of increasing economic justice and social progress. Sanity may actually have a chance in our culture and our politics at last.
Wednesday September 25, 2013, 3:35 pm
I had a lot of trouble reading thisd entire article. It has been my experience that if a child has developed a horrible disease, after seekinjg medical treatment, they ask God for help. The same goes for an adult with cancer, etc. That 30% quickly dwindled when faced with death.
Wednesday September 25, 2013, 5:18 pm
Thank you, Cal.
While I am not going to read the entire article, i am going to say that social predictions have a long history of being way off the mark.
I had a subscription to "The American Prospect," a gift from a friend, a few years ago, and found the magazine, at the time, to be infantile.
One can be a moral, caring, considerate individual, and grapple with questions of mortality and meaning, existential issues, without a belief in some "Received Wisdom," magical, fairy tale supernatural being!
Friday September 27, 2013, 4:59 pm
Noted. Thanks, Cal. Well, I believe it's a great step in the right direction---having raised a family of non-religious, who are raising theirs the same way. The Golden Rule is a great place to start. Kindness, consideration, love of fellow humans as well as animals....these are the most important. As Bill Maher likes to say, "no giant head in the sky is telling me what to do or think." I believe we all all born with a conscience....there are a few who don't listen to theirs, or are mentally ill....although I must mention that many of those mentally ill are faith fanatics.