This CNN special aired recently and I thought it was a good special. So Iam putting it here for everyone.
(CNN)Many Americans are leaving their faith behind. While fewer than 3% consider themselves atheists, about 20% of Americans don't identify with any religion, according to a Pew Study. CNN's documentary, "Atheists: Inside the World of Non-Believers," tells the story of a number of people who put themselves in that group -- and the stigma they've faced. "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).
Thanks, Steph, for sharing this. I wonder if the story came about as a result of Wolf Blitzer's surprise at the response give by an atheist interviewed after an Oklahoma tornado?
I suspect it's an acknowledgement that we're actually OUT THERE. I noted that to CBS News some time back, after an Easter show on CBS Sunday Morning which was so blatantly christian I turned it off. A couple weeks later and pretty obviously as a response to the Openly Secular drive at that same time, their top story was on atheism. I don't know if any of the other major networks have done anything similar, though I suspect if they had, the news would have reached us by now.
Point being: there is a slowly evolving recognition that christianity is not the predominant and exclusive attitude in US culture. Atheism and apatheism are showing up more and more as people find that religion simply doesn't fill their bill and turn away from it. The question at this point is whether these people can also recognize the harm done in religion's name and be motivated to take action to reduce the scope of its influence.
Thanks, Steph. I've watched this program twice now. Seems like so many people just don't get it. Like that family who thinks their atheist son is going to hell because it says so in the bible. That's just a book! Wake up! Imagine a car owners manual where it says that if you do not believe in Chevrolet used motor oil will be poured on your grave. One makes as much sense as the other.
Am I an angry atheist? Maybe so because I was lied to. Then I have to look at my parents and those who lied to me and I know they were lied to also. Believers are telling us that it says THIS in the "book." OK. Gimme a keyboard and I can make a book say things also. The problem is that to many people believe that an invisible man wrote the book and they continue to want to play that game.
I loved the program too and was happy to see it on TV.
I was indoctrinated too - so I understand that anger and I am glad you enjoyed watching the show.
The young man in this video has a background similar to mine. So the story really has a real meaning to me,
When I was considered just "backslidden and stubborn" my stepfather used to tell me "Michael, you're going to split hell wide open." When I finally came out as a non-believer to him and countered a lot of things that he believes, he told me that if I was right then he had no future.
I'm 69 years old. What is it with these old people that they want to believe in god and a heaven in order to have a future? The biblical future that they think they will have doesn't even make any sense. If you point that out to them they will say that you have it all wrong. The bible things are symbolic, they say. Symbolic of what??
OK, I get it. The bible says things in plain language but now we have to call in an apologist to explain that it does not say what you think it said. I have a better idea. Why don't we just throw the whole damned book out the window?
And forward motion is toward reason ... and rationalism ... and atheism ... and away from irrational belief and superstition.
And Daniel, I hope the day comes when you can throw it down in front of your hometown crowd and not have to fear ... because by that time, the idiot-children will have drifted into the minority and WE have gained the majority. No, I know that very little is to be gained by rubbing people's noses in it. Still ... some of 'em deserve it.
Don't go back, Daniel! Some month ago I met someone from my parents' church, who appeared to be interested in how I had been all those years. She just wanted to make sure that the division between the good and the bad as she saw it was still there. No fun at all, meeting such people.
I found it strange recently when talking to my lifelong Christian friend that he no longer pushed me about "what will happen when you die" once I came out to him and said that death would be much like it was before you were born. When this first happened he came unglued in disagreement. Yesterday we talked health issues and he simply refered to death as "the long dirt sleep."
This poses the question once again -- do Christians really believe what they say they do? This man is a fundy talking to me without any nonsense.
I agree - I think it is best not to go back - instead go forward with your life. You don't need to concern yourself with those people any longer.
Thanks for making this video available. I hadn't heard about it, and might have been skeptical about it (I tend that way, of course). But it seemed fair and even-handed; the people chosen to represent atheists were across a spectrum of sensible, caring people. Few if any people would watch this and say "Oh, wow; I think I'll be an atheist!" But some may examine their beliefs and move in a direction they were already going.