MAYA-GAIA INTRODUCTION & SITEMAP This page initiated 07 13 09 - Update: 01 04 2014
My Page about America's Drift to Estabishing Secular Humanism As a State Religion
My Memorials to Victims of 9/11 and Benghazi terrorist attacks
Note: My maya-gaia website, evolving since 1997, is a chronicle of my passing all considered opinion
through the lens of my Nirvikalpa Samadhi with both an open-mind and healthy skepticism.
Independence Day and Militant Atheism
My anxiety arising from reflecting on the inscription on our city's veterans memorial
and Obama's canceling a 42-year tradition of an Air Force flyover of the
God and Country Independence Day celebration in Idaho.
It was Sunday, a week after Independence Day, July 4, 2009. I couldn't find potted flowers so had potted some mixed philodendron and was surprised how well they had held up in the summer sun where I had placed them at our city's veterans memorial in Stuart, FL where I returned to water them every couple of days. Each Memorial and Veterans Day, with my aversion to attending public ceremonies, this was my way of expressing respect and gratitude and honoring all who made the ultimate sacrifice and those who are still taking that risk in defending our freedom in our two wars in the Middle East. I figured I'd also mark this Independence Day by honoring those who gave up their lives to preserve the freedom we celebrate.
The monument with its inscription along with the plaques on either side of the causeway with the names of those killed in action was not only representative of tens of thousands of war memorials throughout the land, but of the sentiments of tens of millions of traditional patriotic Americans.
Update 05/27/2012: This Sunday I went to set up my floral tribute at the Veterans Memorial in the City of Stuart Memorial Park. I wasn't aware that all the construction activity I had casually noticed around the park over the past couple of years was intended to create a world-class setting for the memorial. I was blown away with pride that our smalltown community had created such a magnificent tribute - as stated in the bronze plaque, Dedicated to the men and women who gave their lives for our country ...They served with honor, now we honor them...forever remembered.
A few days earlier, in a story that was largely ignored by mainstream media, Fox TV reported that President Obama had ordered the 42-year tradition of an Air Force flyover of the God and Country Independence Day celebration in Nampa, Idaho be denied. I imagined the perplexity of the thousands of families gathered there as to why such a significant event with its outpouring of traditional patriotism would suddenly be discriminated against by an administration promising change that would bring people together.
No question the answer can be found in the fact that the word 'God' was prominent in the festivities and that the majority was largely- although by no means exclusively- Christian! Obama's order was proof that our traditional American politics are being reshaped by the rising influence of militant atheism and fundamentalist secular humanism under an administration sympathetic to their views.
I'd been thinking of creating a page in the Maya-Gaia website examining the dialectic between theism and atheism and that moment of connection at the monument has impelled me to address the issue.
Obama's claim that he was unaware of Reverend Wright's anti-American rants and eventually denouncing his mentor of 22 years revealed a duplicity of character that lie beneath his charismatic personality. The gushing, ideologicaly-driven, left-wing media conspired to cover up what what was clearly a cynical expediency to win an election. It can be compared to Castro's posturing as a man of faith, sporting a crucifix as an expediency to gain the support of the compansino masses to hide his agenda to turn Cuba into a communist state. It appears Obama has feigned a shallow mainstream faith to provide cover for his purely socialist, secular humanist world view. No question that some of our founding fathers privately held world views that had components of what today would be considered secular humanist but all recognized that faith-based principles and traditions were critical in the creation and preservation of the more perfect union they had in mind for the American Republic.
What did the Founding Fathers Believe? by Omar Salah. Not one of the founders was a traditional Christian. As far as I know, not one of them was an atheist either. Focusing on the handful of the more important founders, one finds them to range from deists (Thomas Paine, Thomas Jefferson, Benjamin Franklin, and James Madison) to members of liberal Christian sects (John Adams and George Washington).
Our Founding Fathers and Statesmen on Religion by David Barton, 2008 A collection of quotations about their Christain beliefs.
Thomas Jefferson- describing the first amendment of the Constitution of the United States (December 15, 1791) at Banbury Baptist Association January 1, 1801: "...thus building a wall of separation between Church & State."
God, Government and Roger Williams' Big Idea Smithsonian magazine, January 2012 By John M. Barry. Banished from Massachusetts in 1644, after the publication of his book The Bloody Tenent, in which the Puritan minister originated a principle that remains contentious to this day — separation of church and state. (Church and State: The Debate - There is no evidence that Thomas Jefferson ever read of "a wall of separation" in Roger Williams work, but in 1802 Jefferson wrote a letter to the Baptists of Dansbury, Conneticut, citing his "reverence" for the First Amemdment for "building a wall of separation between church and state". That letter brought the "wall" image into wider usage, fueling a running argument over its meaning in the Supreme Court.)
The First Amendment of the U.S. Constitution
- "Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances."
This opens a universe of interpretations as to what constitutes a religion. The Complexity of Religion and the Definition of “Religion” in International Law by T. Jeremy Gunn, 2003- Harvard Human Rights Journal. We do not necessarily come closer to understanding “religious persecution” by considering whether religion requires either a belief in a divinity, a feeling of the transcendent or “wholly Other,” a belief in the supernatural, an “ultimate concern,” or community rituals— [all of which are the types of issues complicating a definition as applied to the first amendment.]
I want to make clear that in the dialectic between theism and atheism I recognize that there are thousands of distinctions among theists (whether organized or independent) and perhaps as many individual nuances in individuals who identify with atheism- and that I have no argument with any who embrace tolerance for one another. Although I strongly disagree with dogmatic theists like bible-thumping evangelists it is the militant Islamist fundamentalists on the one hand and the militant atheists along with secular humanist fundamentalists on the other- that I believe are putting our republic in peril. Although not directly threatening our individual security- both of the latter are aggressively striving not only to uphold state-religion separation but to literally expunge God from our nation's public politics- thereby adopting atheism as the tacit world view of the New Republic. Many are so passionate about their areligious agenda that they support turning America into a socialistic state while in denial that atheistic ideology played any role in the tyranny and mass murders in the regimes of Stalin, Mao, Pol Pot and a host of others.
Atheist crusaders like Sam Harris deny that faith is essential or even contributes to sustaining a moral society. This, despite the evidence that the dominance of secular ideology in our mass media and academia coincides with the unraveling of our nation's moral fabric. The explosive growth of hip hop, drug and gang cultures, welfare moms, public apathy to graft and corruption, cheating in school exams, adulation of celebrities with decadent lifestyles, denegrating patriotism and banning military recruiters in colleges, replacing personal responsibility with a sense of universal entitlement- all serious impedements for the evolution of a more perfect union. See also Belief Net forum: atheism and its cultural effect and Scienceagogo forum: Is there a Rational Ground for Morality?
See also Otherness - When Killing is Easy the scientific search for the origin of good and evil - The Altruism Equation: Seven Scientists Search for the Origins of Goodness by Lee Alan Dugatkin, 2006. Science Anthropology - book review, Feb 2007. An engaging book with devoted enthusiasm for the ideas of the main protagonist, William Hamilton. According to Dugatkin, the grail is r x b> c - Hamilton's rule for altruism by kin selection. Natural selection underpins the evolution of good and evil in human beings. Among the mass of evidence that substantiates a genetic basis for altruism, deep in the book we find that for the plains spadefoot toad (Spea bombifrons) relatedness is literally a matter of taste: carnivorous morphs spit out their nearest and dearest but eat those least related. Through his portrayal of George Price, Dogatkin raises an important link in considering the evolution of altruism and conflict. Price, a close friend of Hamilton, turned Hamilton's rule on its head and developed an explanation for the evolution of spite (which occurs when individuals in groups are on average less closely related than individuals within the population) by using a new mathematical tool, covariance. He found that even if a spiteful act diminished the fitness of the perpetrator, it would decrease the fitness of the victim (and rival) even more. Price, an occasional reporter for Science, went on to elaborate the use of game theory in behavioral sciences while living in squalor, constantly giving his belongings away. He underwent a personal paradigm shift from atheism to profound religious belief, adopted extreme altruism, and died in poverty by his own hand. (mg comment: Thus despite Harris's pronouncements about the irrelevancy of faith, science cannot offer anything conclusive whatsoever as to whether- left to our genetic instincts and the evolution of our rational brain processes alone- a moral society can be sustained.)
Just as I started this page- the Freedom From Religion Foundation has filed more lawsuits in its militant agenda to enforce affirmation of its atheistic world view by removing any references to God in any venue administered or funded by government. The character of FFRF provides prima facie evidence that atheism should be legally identified as a religion as per the first amendment. According to The American Heritage Dictionary of the English
Language, Fourth Edition (Published by Houghton Mifflin Company) Religion is: a cause, principle, or activity pursued with zeal or conscientious devotion- a specific fundamental set of beliefs and practices generally agreed upon by a number of persons or sects. See other athoritative definitions.
Such a finding by the Supreme Court would bring a balance back to the way the religion-state separation principle is adjudicated and give standing to the term God as a symbol of generic spirituality (see Cosmic Consciousness) rather than exclusively refering to a religious deity. Any further acts of omission of the term in all traditional official content can be held to be endorsing one religion (Atheism) and instigating a government-sanctioned, discriminating, chilling effect against all others.
Under some definitions of religion- belief in a deity is mentioned so that Buddhism and Jainism are sometimes considered atheistic religions. The Freedom From Religion Foundation lawsuits should have no more constitutional grounds than if an atheistic Buddhist sect filed a complaint over the use of the word God, as it asks goverment to make a law establishing a qua-religion in violation of the first amendment.This hypothetical case brought before the supreme court would raise issues in regards to (1) God being a generic term not exclusive to religion and (2) the lack of distinction between the religiosity of sects such as atheistic Buddhists and militant atheistic groups such as FFRF. In fact- atheism has already been held to be a religion by both circuit and federal courts of appeal.
Atheism and Devotion in Buddhism by Barbara O'Brien
About.com Buddhism belief If atheism is the absence of belief in gods, then many Buddhists are, indeed, atheists. Buddhism is not about either believing or not believing in God or gods. Rather, the historical Buddha taught that believing in gods was not useful for those seeking to realize enlightenment. In other words, God is unnecessary in Buddhism. For this reason, Buddhism is more accurately called nontheistic than atheistic. Some schools of Buddhism are deeply devotional. Even in the nondevotional schools, such as Theravada or Zen, there are rituals that involve bowing and offering food, flowers and incense to a Buddha figure on an altar. See also Buddhism: Philosophy or Religion?
According to BuddhaNet, a major Buddhist website: As seen in the Basic Points of Buddhism, one doctrine agreed upon by all branches of modern Buddhism is that "this world is not created and ruled by a God." There is no almighty God in Buddhism. There is no one to hand out rewards or punishments on a supposedly Judgement Day. Buddhism is strictly not a religion in the context of being a faith and worship owing allegiance to a supernatural being.
State Religions Governments which recognize Buddhism, either a specific form of, or the whole, as their official religion.
From the horse's mouth: Positive Atheism "...is for atheists. Here we learn of the joys and hardships of being truthful about our own religion."
See also: Atheist Unions - purpose: to extend social and political influence of atheistic belief into the greater culture.
When Atheism Becomes Religion: America's New Fundamentalists Chris Hedges, 2009. Hedges is clear from the outset: there is nothing inherently moral about being either a believer or a nonbeliever. He goes a step further by accusing atheists of being as intolerant, chauvinistic, bigoted, anti-intellectual, and self-righteous as their archrivals, religious fundamentalists; in other words, as being secular versions of the religious Right. Like best-selling atheists Christopher Hitchens, Richard Dawkins, and Daniel Dennett, Hedges is disgusted with the Christian Right, going so far as to call it the most frightening mass movement in American history. Even more disturbing for Hedges, however, is the notion, which many atheists and liberal churchgoers share, that as a species humanity can progress morally. There is nothing in human nature or human history to support the idea, Hedges maintains, nor that the flaws of human nature will ever be overcome. He discusses the dark sides of the Enlightenment, Darwinism, consumer culture, the justifications for America’s wars (including in Vietnam and now Iraq), and obsession with celebrity, among other equally hot topics. His purpose in this small, thought-provoking book is, he says, to help Americans, in particular, accept the limitations of being human and, ultimately, face reality.
The League of Militant Atheists Society of the Godless - Union of the Godless, was an atheistic and antireligious organization of workers and intelligentsia that developed in Soviet Russia under the influence of the ideological and cultural views and policies of the Soviet Communist Party from 1925 to 1947. It consisted of Party members, members of the Komsomol youth movement, workers and military veterans. The League embraced workers, peasants, students, and intelligentsia. It had its first affiliates at factories, plants, collective farms (kolkhoz), and educational institutions. By the beginning of 1941, it had about 3.5 million members of 100 nationalities. It had about 96,000 offices across the country. Guided by Bolshevik principles of antireligious propaganda and party's orders with regards to religion, the League aimed at exterminating religion in all its manifestations and forming an anti-religious scientific mindset among the workers. It propagated atheism and scientific achievements, conducted 'individual work' (a method of sending atheist tutors to meet with individual believers to convince them of atheism, which could be followed up with public harassment if they failed to comply) with religious people, prepared propagandists and atheistic campaigners, published anti-religious scientific literature and periodicals, organized museums and exhibitions, conducted scientific research in the field of atheism and critics of religion.
Militant Atheist is defined as one who is militantly opposed to theism, theists, and religion. Militant atheists have an extreme hostility towards religious theism that entails a desire to see religion suppressed by force. The label militant atheist tends to be used interchangeably with fundamentalist atheist, new atheist, and anti-theist.
Has Atheism Become a Religion? David Lose.Author, 'Making Sense of Scripture', 2011. Read or listen to any of the celebrity Atheists of the past decade like Richard Dawkins, Christopher Hitchens, and Sam Harris and you realize that they fashion many of their arguments not against some alternative economic, political, or philosophical position but against organized religion. Religious faith is clearly their primary opponent in the contest for the intellectual allegiance of the population, which makes it hard not to conclude that they offer their views and beliefs as a viable alternative to traditional religious systems.
Humanism: The philosophy or life stance of secular humanism (alternatively known by some adherents as Humanism, specifically with a capital H to distinguish it from other forms of humanism) embraces human reason, ethics, social justice and philosophical naturalism, while specifically rejecting religious dogma, supernaturalism, pseudoscience or superstition as the basis of morality and decision making.It posits that human beings are capable of being ethical and moral without religion or a god. The International Humanist and Ethical Union (IHEU) is the world union of more than one hundred Humanist, rationalist, irreligious, atheistic, Bright, secular, Ethical Culture, and freethought organizations in more than 40 countries. The "Happy Human" is the official symbol of the IHEU as well as being regarded as a universally recognised symbol for those who call themselves Humanists. Secular humanist organizations are found in all parts of the world. Those who call themselves humanists are estimated to number between four and five million people worldwide.
Federal Court & U.S. Supreme Court Ruling: Atheism is Religion Atheism is a religion according to a 2005 Wisconsin Federal Court ruling on the matter of Kaufman v. McCaughtry, as well as the Torcaso v. Watkins case that was affirmed by the 1961 U.S. Supreme Court--the highest court in the land--where court rulings become national law. However, atheists routinely argue they do not belong to a religion because, according to them, non-belief in God is proof positive that they are not religious.
Todd Stiefel - Atheism Activist How this millionaire activist is making atheism the next civil rights issue. Steifel, a 38-year-old former Catholic from Raleigh, North Carolina, has poured $3.5 million of his own dollars into various atheist organizations, including American Atheists, the American Humanist Association, the Secular Coalition for America, and many others. If you’ve seen those flashy atheist billboards, or news clips encouraging atheists to step up, then you’ve probably seen his money at work. One of Stiefel’s major concerted contributions in the last three years was the Reason Rally, an event held on the National Mall in Washington, which was billed as a watershed moment in the atheism movement. The goal of the event was to show to religious Americans that atheism was a powerful minority in American life. The rally drew a number of high-profile speakers, including Richard Dawkins, the author of “The God Delusion,” and thousands of attendees, despite rainy weather. See also: The Money Man Behind Atheism Activism
Militant Atheism The Rise and Fall of Militant Skepticism Deepak Chopra, 2013. The bond between militant atheism and militant skepticism has been unusually strong, to the point where attacks on religion are delivered as if no rational, science-minded person could object. Read More: Militant Skepticism, Alfred Korzybski, Science, Sam Harriss, Atheism, Skepticism, Richard Dawkins, Militant Atheism, Atheism, Scientific Method, Scientific Models.
Has militant atheism become a religion? Can the gap between the religious and the non-religious be bridged, when the debate itself is so attention-getting?
Have Militant Atheists Created a New Religion? There is danger in dogma, whoever is behind it, 2013 The following is an excerpt from The Bonobo and the Atheist:, by Frans de Waal, 2013).
“Militant Atheism” and Religion – a Response to Frans de Waal March 27, 2013 By James Croft (About Patheos: “We are laying the foundations of the grand temple of the future–not the temple of all the gods, but of all the people–wherein, with appropriate rites, will be celebrated the religion of Humanity. We are doing what little we can to hasten the coming of the day when society shall cease producing millionaires and mendicants–gorged indolence and famished industry–truth in rags, and superstition robed and crowned. We are looking for the time when the useful shall be the honorable; and when REASON, throned upon the world’s brain, shall be the King of Kings, and God of Gods.”
Militant Atheism by Eric Lyons, The stereotypical scientist in a white lab coat who follows the facts wherever they may lead, and reports those data without prejudice, often does not correspond to reality these days. In fact, a large majority of scientists now believe that God does not exist. These scientists feel that they should militantly spread their ideas of atheism and evolution as far and wide as possible. They abhor the idea of a supernatural Creator and believe it should be eradicated from human consciousness. Just how determined are some of the leading atheistic evolutionists to expunge theism from the world? A recent issue of the journal New Scientist, which just celebrated its 50th anniversary, sheds some light on the subject. In an article titled, “In Place of God: Can Secular Science Ever Oust Religious Belief—and Should It Even Try?,” Michael Brooks recounted a recent meeting of “some of the leading practitioners of modern science” in La Jolla, California (2006, 192:8). They had gathered to discuss, among other questions, “Should science do away with religion?” Their answers are alarming. [NOTE: The following quotations are extracted from Brooks’ report.] Cosmologist Steven Weinberg was first to address the question, “Should science do away with religion?” He responded with an unequivocal “yes,” saying: “The world needs to wake up from the long nightmare of religion.... Anything we scientists can do to weaken the hold of religion should be done, and may in fact be our greatest contribution to civilization”. Since scientists at the symposium used the terms “religion” and “God” interchangeably, Weinberg in essence was saying that ridding God from the world would be one of science’s greatest achievements. He seemed so certain that scientists could achieve this goal that he actually admitted he would “miss it once it was gone” (p. 9). How were Weinberg’s comments received, you might ask? According to attendee Michael Brooks, he received “a rapturous response” before being heavily criticized by some, such as Richard Dawkins, surprisingly enough, “for not being tough enough on religion”. Dawkins, who is perhaps the most celebrated evolutionist alive today, was one of the most militant atheists at the conference. He stated: “I am utterly fed up with the respect we have been brainwashed into bestowing upon religion,”
Rick Perry Infuriates Atheist Activists with proclamation about "Freedom From Religion', 2013. At a signing event for the contentious “Merry Christmas Bill,” Texas Gov. Rick Perry had a message for atheist activists who have a penchant for sometimes taking church-state separatism to the extreme: The U.S. Constitution doesn’t guarantee “freedom from religion”. There was no irony in his intentional statement, as the Freedom From Religion Foundation (FFRF), one of the prime organizations that launches lawsuits against faith in the public square, would patently disagree with his claim. After all, based on the group’s name, alone, its leaders would likely contend that freedom from theism should certainly be guaranteed for all Americans. But Perry isn’t buying into that notion. “I’m proud we are standing up for religious freedom in our state,” Perry proclaimed during the event. “Freedom of religion doesn’t mean freedom from religion.” The governor went on to say that the law will ensure that “people of all faiths are free to use traditional holiday greetings, and display religious scenes and symbols, even on school property.” Freedom of expression, Perry said, will be sustained and fostered by its implementation. State Senator Robert Nichols added that the Constitution very clearly protects “freedom of religion,” not “freedom from religion,” corroborating Perry’s views on the matter. Additionally, Nichols noted that, rather than a protection of atheist rights, the removal of a Christmas tree from a classroom is actually an infringement of others’ rights.
Criticism of Atheism and Rebuttals
Atheism Wikipedia breaks it down. See also: Deism Pantheism Panentheism
Critism of Atheism Atheism has been criticized as a faith in itself, defining it as a belief in its own right. source 1 source 2 source 3 source 4
Dogmatism: See also: Scientism
In an hour-long documentary entitled The Trouble with Atheism, Rod Liddle argues that atheism is becoming just as dogmatic as religion. In The Dawkins Delusion? Christian theologian Alister McGrath and psychologist Joanna Collicutt McGrath compare Richard Dawkins' "total dogmatic conviction of correctness" to "a religious fundamentalism which refuses to allow its ideas to be examined or challenged."
In The New Inquisition, Robert Anton Wilson lampoons the members of skeptical organizations like the Committee for the Scientific Investigation of Claims of the Paranormal (CSICOP - now the
Committee for Skeptical Inquiry) as fundamentalist materialists, alleging that they dogmatically dismiss any evidence that conflicts with materialism as hallucination or fraud. Michael Novak, reviewing books by Sam Harris, Daniel C. Dennett and Richard Dawkins in National Review, writes that "all three pretend that atheists 'question everything' and 'submit to relentless, almost tedious, self-criticism.' Yet in these books there is not a shred of evidence that their authors have ever had any doubts whatever about the rightness of their own atheism."
Richard Dawkins has responded to this form of criticism by stating that, "Passion for passion, an evangelical Christian and I may be evenly matched. But we are not equally fundamentalist. The true scientist, however passionately he may 'believe', in evolution for example, knows exactly what would change his mind: evidence! The fundamentalist knows that nothing will."
(mg comment: But Dawkins' true scientist knows that nothing will change his mind as to what constitutes evidence- that it must conform to fundamentalist scientism's material kind.)
Atheists and religious groups: See also: Antitheism
Atheists are sometimes criticized for a perceived unnecessarily harsh, or even prejudicial, way some of them deal with people holding theistic world views. Sam Harris has been criticized by some of his fellow contributors at The Huffington Post. In particular, RJ Eskow has accused him of fostering an intolerance towards faith , potentially as damaging as the religious fanaticism which he opposes.
Madeleine Bunting wrote in The Guardian that the purpose of recent books by Richard Dawkins, Daniel Dennett, Sam Harris and Christopher Hitchens "is to pour scorn on religious belief - they want it eradicated," and argues that the books are "deeply political," sharing a "loathing" of the role of religion in US politics. Quoting Harris as saying "some propositions are so dangerous that it may even be ethical to kill people for believing them," Bunting says "this sounds like exactly the kind of argument put forward by those who ran the Inquisition." Quoting the same passage, theologian Catherine Keller asks, "could there be a more dangerous proposition than that?" and argues that the "anti-tolerance" it represents would "dismantle" the Jeffersonian wall between church and state.
Similarly, in December 2007, the Archbishop of Wales Barry Morgan criticized what he referred to as "atheistic fundamentalism", claiming that it advocated the view that religion has no substance and "that faith has no value and is superstitious nonsense." He claimed that atheistic fundamentalism led to situations such as councils calling Christmas "Winterval", schools refusing to put on nativity plays and crosses removed from chapels, though others have disputed this.
Christian writer Dinesh D'Souza writes that "The crimes of atheism have generally been perpetrated through a hubristic ideology that sees man, not God, as the creator of values. Using the latest techniques of science and technology, man seeks to displace God and create a secular utopia here on earth." He also contends: "And who can deny that Stalin and Mao, not to mention Pol Pot and a host of others, all committed atrocities in the name of a Communist ideology that was explicitly atheistic? Who can dispute that they did their bloody deeds by claiming to be establishing a 'new man' and a religion-free utopia? These were mass murders performed with atheism as a central part of their ideological inspiration, they were not mass murders done by people who simply happened to be atheist."
In response to this line of criticism, Sam Harris wrote: "The problem with fascism and communism, however, is not that they are too critical of religion; the problem is that they are too much like religions. Such regimes are dogmatic to the core and generally give rise to personality cults that are indistinguishable from cults of religious hero worship. Auschwitz, the gulag and the killing fields were not examples of what happens when human beings reject religious dogma; they are examples of political, racial and nationalistic dogma run amok. There is no society in human history that ever suffered because its people became too reasonable."
(mg comment: But - duh! - the problem with militant atheism is not that it is too critical of religion; the problem is that it is too much like (or identical to) religion. It's unions (SFFRF) are dogmatic to the core and generally give rise to personality cults that are indistinguishable from cults of religious hero worship (Dawkins, Harris, Dennett, Hitchens, et al). Communist regimes and the people who supported their society caused the suffering or death of hundreds of millions- yet at the time, were certain that their politics and policies were eminently reasonable.)
Richard Dawkins has stated that Stalin's atrocities were influenced not by atheism but by their dogmatic Marxism, and further opines that while Stalin and Mao happened to be atheists, they did not do their deeds in the name of atheism.
The R Word Tricycle Magazine, Spring 2008 - Fundamentalists here and abroad have been giving religion a bad rap lately, and so-called militant atheists have used the opportunity to take up the offensive. But sociologist Robert N. Bellah says both sides have it wrong and are mistaken about what religion actually is. It seems that the biologist Richard Dawkins, the author of the 2006 book The God Delusion,doesn’t just dislike the word religion, he dislikes the very thing, attributing many of the ills of the world to it and advocating its early demise.
Atheism is Freedom? February 2nd, 2009 22 Recently [this writer] saw a blog displaying a popular video from Sam Harris 'preaching' (for lack of a better term) to an audience telling them that 'atheism is freedom from mental slavery'. He goes on to admit that atheist are free to recognize that we don’t know all that we can know about the universe (I’m paraphrasing here). These blog posts got me thinking. Ever since I saw them I’ve been wondering if atheism really is freedom. In my mind, becoming an atheist is not much more than trading one dogma for another, one set of beliefs for a completely different set of beliefs. The trouble is that atheists, in general, refuse to put their beliefs under the same scrutiny that they expect people of other religions. The atheists I meet typically put religions like Christianity, Islam, Buddhism, etc. under a high powered microscope, and then go over it with a fine tooth comb. When it comes to atheism, however, they follow the crowd of Dawkinites and bow to the idol of Hitchens without so much as a raised eyebrow. The hue of glowing light around Dawkins and his ilk is nothing more than the blinding call of 'follow me and I will lead you a utopia of freedom. Atheists jump on the band wagon and never look back or scrutinize the fallacies of the Dawkins religion. They blindly follow what the 'leaders' of their faith (yes, I said faith) tell them. Is that freedom? Not hardly. Freedom in this respect is really a misnomer. Following atheism isn’t freedom. Those who believe it is are seriously deceived.
American Civil Rights Union The ACRU is concerned with rebutting the lawsuits filed by the ACLU on behalf of militant atheists claiming state violations of the first amendment based on the notion that inclusion of the term God constitutes the establishment of a religion.
Life of Pi The Film Directed by: Ang Lee: Review by A.O. Scott NY Times: Scott's criticism of this magnificent work of art is an example of a knee-jerk militant atheist loathing of any idea that even hints at the credibility of "god". Thankfully the majority of commentaries present a more thoughtful and democratic insight to the artfully gripping and conceptually ecumenical virtues of the film.
Is Atheism a Religion? According to the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2006, Religion is: a set of beliefs concerning the cause, nature, and purpose of the universe... a specific fundamental set of beliefs and practices generally agreed upon by a number of persons or sects... the body of persons adhering to a particular set of beliefs and practices...
According to The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fourth Edition(Published by Houghton Mifflin Company. All rights reserved., © 2000 by Houghton Mifflin) Religion is: a cause, principle, or activity pursued with zeal or conscientious devotion. a specific fundamental set of beliefs and practices generally agreed upon by a number of persons or sects.
Commandments by Warren Richey - In two important church-state rulings announced Monday, the high court upheld a Ten Commandments display in Texas, but struck down one in Kentucky. A recent case handed down by the Seventh Circuit Court of Appeals holds that atheism is entitled to the same treatment that traditional religions receive under the Constitution. The case, Kaufman v. McCaughtry (2005), has many religious groups upset because the decision seemingly bolsters atheism. Yet some atheist groups are also concerned because the case arguably requires atheist groups to pose as "religious organizations to receive equal treatment. The case adds to an already confused state of constitutional law on what qualifies as "religion."
Court finds atheism a religion in case of prisoner wanting to establish study group for atheists. A federal court of appeals ruled yesterday Wisconsin prison officials violated an inmate's rights because they did not treat atheism as a religion. "Atheism is [the inmate's] religion, and the group that he wanted to start was religious in nature even though it expressly rejects a belief in a supreme being," the 7th Circuit Court of Appeals said. The court decided the inmate's First Amendment rights were violated because the prison refused to allow him to create a study group for atheists.
Brian Fahling, senior trial attorney for the American Family Association Center for Law & Policy, called the court's ruling "a sort of Alice in Wonderland jurisprudence - Up is down, and atheism, the antithesis of religion, is religion". Fahling said today's ruling was "further evidence of the incoherence of Establishment Clause jurisprudence. It is difficult not to be somewhat jaundiced about our courts when they take clauses especially designed to protect religion from the state and turn them on their head by giving protective cover to a belief system, that, by every known definition other than the courts' is not a religion, while simultaneously declaring public expressions of true religious faith to be prohibited," Fahling said.
The Supreme Court has said a religion need not be based on a belief in the existence of a supreme being. Some religious blogs have taken the 1961 case of Torcaso v. Watkins, as evidence the court described secular humanism as a religion. But further research on this issue reveals that this was a dicta attached to the decision that has no legal effect leaving the issue in limbo so far as the court is concerned.
When Atheism Becomes Religion: America's New Fundamentalists by by Chris Hedges. Chris Hedges, who graduated from seminary at Harvard Divinity School, has long been a courageous voice in a world where there are too few. He observes that there are two radical, polarized and dangerous sides to the debate on faith and religion in America: the fundamentalists who see religious faith as their prerogative, and the new atheists who brand all religious belief as irrational and dangerous. Both sides use faith to promote a radical agenda, while the religious majority, those with a commitment to tolerance and compassion as well as to their faith, are caught in the middle.
The new atheists, led by Richard Dawkins, Christopher Hitchens and Sam Harris, do not make moral arguments about religion. Rather, they have created a new form of fundamentalism that attempts to permeate society with ideas about our own moral superiority and the omnipotence of human reason.
Atheism and Religion
Atheism is practiced in a proactive, law-changing manner and is therefore a belief system. Simple non-belief in gods does not have the power to be a cause. It would be a little more than a shrug. For people who spend lots of time writing articles, promoting legislation, and arguing for atheism, atheism is a cause.
The Myth of Secular Moral Chaos by Sam Harris: "A lack of proof is no grounds for the suspension of belief. This is because when we have a lack of absolute proof we can still have overwhelming evidence or one explanation which is far superior to the alternatives."
The Dalai Lama Interview By Amitabh Pal in The Progressive January 2006 Issue.
Only my skepticism keeps me from being an atheist. —Voltaire
Atheists: Inside the World of Non-Believers CNN documentary, March, 2015. Skepticism is my nature; Freethought is my methodology; Agnosticism is my conclusion; Atheism is my opinion; Humanism is my motivation. - Jerry DeWitt. The story of a number of people who put themselves in that group.`Stan Bennett is a minister in a small town, but he no longer believes in God. He's actively searching for other employment so he can leave behind the job he's known for more than 30 years. He knows he's going to come out as an atheist one day, but he's not ready yet. (He is a closeted atheist, so CNN concealed his identity). Jerry DeWitt knows how Stan feels. DeWitt spent 25 years as a Pentecostal preacher in the evangelical South, but a few years ago he lost his faith. He still preaches, but he now speaks before a congregation of atheists. David Silverman is the firebrand head of American Atheists, a group formed in the early 1960s that now has more than 5,000 members. He wears his atheist badge with pride, and his "in your face" tactics have made him a legend in the atheist world. Greg Epstein is the Humanist Chaplain at Harvard University and author of the best-selling book, "Good Without God: What a Billion Nonreligious People Do Believe." He's also the executive director of The Humanist Hub, which connects nonreligious community programs in the Boston area and beyond.
philosophical debate Formal debate between Koyaanisqatsi and seebs on the following topic: Resolved: both an objective reality and a subjective reality are logically inconsistent with theism.
God and the new atheism By John F. Haught 2007. The recent spate of books from atheists such as Richard Dawkins, Sam Harris and (most stridently) Christopher Hitchens has prompted many pundits and scholars to label the trend "the New Atheism". Haught criticizes the New Atheism as being "theologically unchallenging," its all-or-nothing thinking representing "about the same level of reflection on faith that one can find in contemporary creationist and fundamentalist literature."
Secular Sabotage: How Liberals Are Destroying Religion and Culture in America by William Donahoe (National Review interview, Sept, 2009. You may recognize William Donohue as the one-man Catholic anti-defamation league, in a state of perpetual outrage. He is notorious for his sound bites and press releases, fired off in response to any insult to the Catholic Church. But in his new book, Secular Sabotage, the president of the Catholic League for Religious and Civil Rights gets in more than a few sound bites. Donohue believes that the very concept of moral truth is held in contempt by too many who have a leading influence in the popular culture and - well, you get the idea from the book’s subtitle.
Putting Theism back in Pantheism by Brunla Van Cleve, Ph.D.; Not surprisingly then, an increasing number of scientists who believe in God-guided evolution are looking for answers other than materialistic ones to questions of ultimate reality. The Panpsychist concept of Theism fits well with their understandings of Theism as the ultimate power. Because of this, and the reasons listed below, these scientists are taking a long hard look at the monistic form of pantheism known as Panpsychism.
Secular Humanism For the questions that remain unanswered after we’ve cleared our minds of gods and souls and spirits, many atheists, agnostics, skeptics, and freethinkers turn to secular humanism.
Open theism, also known as free will theism, is a theological movement where man has a free-will relationship and correspondence with God.
Certainty Series: Nihilism; Agnosticism; Uncertainty; Justification; Probability; Estimation; Belief; Certainty; Determinism
The Sacred Mirror: Nondual Wisdom & Psychotherapy (John Prendergast, Peter Fenner, & Sheila Krystal, Eds.) 2003. A review by Timothy Conway "Ph.D" "I was impressed at the wealth of nuance in how each author has truly "owned" the language of nonduality, and doesn't merely sound like s/he is parroting nondual wording from the Perennial Wisdom traditions of Advaita Vedanta, Kashmir Saivism, Zen Buddhism, Vajrayana Buddhism, and contemplative Taoism (the main five sacred traditions that have engendered the rise of nonduality in the West)."
Principia Cybernetica Overview of the PC Web Project. This is the web server of the Principia Cybernetica Project (PCP), an international organization. PCP tries to tackle age-old philosophical questions with the help of the most recent cybernetic theories and technologies. Stated more precisely, the Project's aim is the computer-supported collaborative development of an evolutionary-systemic philosophy. (A kind of meta-philosophical Wiki) Example: Synopsys- Atheism is the philosophy that there are no gods ("a" = without, "theos" = god) author F. Heylighen. One must note that atheism is not in contradiction with religion. In its original, Latin sense, religion means "that which holds together", implying a kind of overarching philosophy and system of ethics that guides society as a whole, without necessary reference to God. Also in the more practical sense, several "religions", including Zen Buddhism, Taoism and Confucianism, lack any idea of God, and thus may be properly called "atheist religions". Also the different emotions that typically accompany religous experiences, such as the feeling of being part of a larger whole, can very well be experienced by an atheists, leading to what may be called "atheist religiosity".
Quantum Enigma: Physics Encounters Consciousness by Rosenblum, Bruce and Fred Kuttner, 2006. A Book Review, Chapter: Quantum Physics by Bobby Matherne, 2009. Examining the fear that some people have of spiritual science. One finds the fear disguised under sarcasim or abusive language, e. g., Loon of the Month, unicorns, pixie dust but the disguise is a thin one. Positive Atheists are not immune to such fear - they are positively afraid of anything spiritual as if it would open them up to something deep inside of themselves that they do not want to face. Instead of facing this thing, they attack others who dare to reveal this thing. Skeptics fit also in this category of fear, but they must confront a paradox - they are absolutely sure that one cannot be absolutely sure of anything!
Investigating Atheism project- University of Cambridge; The purpose of this site is to set these contemporary 'God Wars' in their historical context, and to offer a range of perspectives (from all sides) on the chief issues raised by the 'new atheists'. The Investigating Atheism project is designed to stimulate interest, thought and debate on this important topic (one that has rapidly gained a whole new audience in recent years). The website has been put together by a group of academics and researchers at the faculty of Divinity at the University of Cambridge, and at the University of Oxford. The team have no set view on the subject, and aim to give a fully independent, but informed statement about this important subject.
Can an Atheist Have a Religious Experience? Ian Robinson - Features noteworthy individual religious experiences. Robinson is currently Editor of the Australian Rationalist. He is a freelance writer, editor and teacher of writing.
Epistemology- a comprehensive definition: Defined narrowly, epistemology is the study of knowledge and justified belief. As the study of knowledge, epistemology is concerned with the following questions: What are the necessary and sufficient conditions of knowledge? What are its sources? What is its structure, and what are its limits?
The Idea of God: Historical, Critical, Constructive By Clarence Augustine Beckwith, 1922; complete book download (start p 261 regarding cosmic immanence)
The Internet- Our New Path to God by Lynn Woodland 2006 The chaos theorist, Ralph Abraham...believes the explosive growth of the World Wide Web has increased the bandwidth of the mind's connections and increased the overall intelligence of our species. The early twentieth century philosopher, Pierre Teilhad de Chardin, anticipated this quickening of human consciousness, Dulcinos writes, in his theory of noogenesis, a theory that as humans stopped evolving biologically, they began an evolution of consciousness. "The World Wide Web is the material manifestation of Teilhard's vision." Dulchinos himself speculates that, "the Internet represents the latest manifestation, in the material world, of the ongoing evolution of consciousness.
Science and Theism: Concord, not Conflict - Robert C. Koons. It is widely held that the belief in supernatural entities, like God and the soul, is incompatible with a modern, scientific viewpoint. This bit of conventional wisdom is seldom backed up by careful argument. I will reconstruct some plausible arguments for the claim that science undermines the rationality of religious belief...and closely examine the actual historical relationship between science and theism in Western history.
Empiricism, Naturalism, and Theism by Shandon L. Guthrie- empiricism does not deny belief in God. Because empiricism has been widely acknowledged in various disciplines (e.g. science), I shall explain how empiricism has been superficially and haphazardly characterized by metaphysical naturalism. In this essay we will also look at how belief in theism has been retained in empiricism thereby decrying the uncritically accepted metaphysical naturalism in contemporary empirical epistemology.
Religion and Scientific Naturalism: Overcoming the Conflicts By David Ray Griffin. Review by John W. Burgeson. This volume, one in the SUNY series in Constructive Postmodern Thought, argues a Whiteheadian based philosophy that religion does not require supernaturalism and science does not require materialism. Griffin describes himself as a panentheistic Christian, one who sees God as more than the universe and yet the universe as part of God. He sees God at work in the universe, but in a "persuasive" rather than in a "coercive" way.
Modern Deism an unofficial definition by J. Hardwick. Deists develop a belief in God based on the foundation and the application of our ability to use Reason. While there are no "official" tenets of Deism, many of the following "unofficial" tenets might be the best way to introduce generally accepted beliefs within Deism. Most eists will agree with these basic tenets and regard Deism as a personal philosophy (theology) and as a religion. Many may expand on these beliefs and may also add personal touches. This is appropriate and encouraged as Reason tells us that humans are freethinkers that have different beliefs and experiences.
The Psychology of Mature Spirituality: Integrity, Wisdom, Transcendence by Young-Eisendrath, Polly and Melvin E. Miller 2000. A review by Jeff Fine-Thomas, 2004. The examination of spirituality and religion has long been a complex topic that has spurred debate in psychology as well as other fields. This book is an intriguing example of how a productive examination of spirituality might be framed within the field of clinical psychology. The editors frame the discussions enclosed in the book by stating: "This volume of essays was designed to address this dilemma. Is it possible to embrace spiritual meaning and not become either childish or irrational, while increasing one’s genuine awe, inspiration, gratitude, and intellectual appreciation of living now in the period of scientific skepticism?"
Obama's Make-Believe Life by Alan Caruba. I have this theory about Barack Obama. I think he’s led a kind of make-believe life in which money was provided and doors were opened because at some point early on somebody or some group took a look at this tall, good looking, half-white, half-black, young man with an exotic African/Muslim name and concluded he could be guided toward a life in politics where his facile speaking skills could even put him in the White House.
Theistic Naturalism Michael H. Barnes. There is another obvious alternative: naturalistic theism. From the deists and their sometimes otiose God to Whitehead and Rahner, there have been theologies of a God who has made a universe to operate fully naturally, with ongoing divine sustenance of this natural order, but without miraculous interventions.
The Premise Keepers Victor J. Stenger Published in Free Inquiry Vol. 23 No. 3 Summer 2003, pp. 40-43.
chapter in - Has Science Found God: The Latest Results in the Search for Purpose in the Universe. VS argues against: John Polkinghorne, "Chaos Theory and Divine Action," in W. Mark Richardson and Wesley J. Wildman, ed., Religion & Science: History, Method, Dialogue (New York and London: Routledge, 1996), pp. 243-52. and John Polkinghorne, Belief in God in the Age of Science (New Haven and London: Yale University Press, 1998), pp. 85-6.
Theistic Science Divine Immanence and Transcendence Notes Author: Ian J. Thompson, revised 04/03/2008 "In theology there has long been a tension between the transcendence and the immanence of God, both of which are asserted by classical theism. To avoid a deism which has only transcendence, to avoid pantheism which has only immanence, and thus to see how theism may be a coherent belief, it is necessary to give some rational account of how God may be both transcendent of and immanent in the world. (maya-gaia became rather lost after the paragraph with this sentence: 'Divine Dispositional Immanence' (DDI for short), and is : The dispositions of an object are those derivatives of Divine Power that accord with what is actual about that object.
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