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The portrait is Charles Darwin, age 31, in 1840

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Comment Wall


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Comment by Christopher Lowe on September 16, 2013 at 6:48pm

Education, education, education. Before the religious can proceed with indoctrination! Daniel Dennett got it right when he proposed  mandatory, non judgemental, non threatening looks at all the worlds religions in the classroom just for informational purposes kids can put in their back pockets. If for no other reason than to teach them there are different ways different cultures view things. I know it's pie in the sky, but better information begets better decisions. There is a culture of anti science out there combined with a defunding of education  whose only purpose seems to shield unfounded dogmas from challenge and this seems to me to be very unfortunate indeed. 

Comment by Homer Edward Price on September 16, 2013 at 5:36pm

Chad Kreutzer is correct that freedom of religion and Darwinian (or free market) competition for members has strengthened religious denominations in the United States.   At least that is the consensus of sociologists of religion.   Established churches or state religions are weakened by their identification with the powers that be rather than with the common people, in addition to the laziness allowed by state subsidies.  But the evangelicals and Catholics are not satisfied with freedom of religion, as an earlier commenter mentioned.  They want dominion.

Comment by Joan Denoo on September 16, 2013 at 12:58pm
FEAR! Plain, simple, unadulterated fear, generated by charismatic charlatans who pump up emotions in people who feel victimized by life's challenges, and it is contagious, just like a disease.
Add to that political conflict, an economic downturn caused by dysfunction banking and oligarchs, the disease spreads creating its own wind.
Any attempt to rational, critical thought only adds fuel to an already overheated situation.
How does one fight a disease spreading like wildfire? Back in the days of smallpox and polio, isolation, good hygiene, explore and experiment for treatment of the already infected and work on prevention.

So, name the disease based on the evidence, identify the carriers and refute their claims, use old fashioned, clear, concrete, thinking to rebut superstitions, take action to speak and openly challenge fears, explore and experiment to find positive, healthy, functional ideas and plans to offer as alternatives to fear.

OK, oversimplified! Sure! But the basic principle applies. Silence solves absolutely nothing. Rational ideas offer a glimmer of alternatives to Armageddon. The way it is now, those poor, foolish, gullible folks feel helpless and so transfer their hopes and dreams into salvation by declaring a non-person as lord and savior with an escape mechanism to heaven.

If my memory is correct, there is only one declared senator or representative in our national legislature. How can good government come out of dysfunctional values? How can our representatives in a republic make decisions that make sense if they believe there is a god who hears and answers prayers, even in the face of incredible evidence that no such phenomena exist? How can they pass laws that fit 21st century reality when they believe a non-being loves them and cares about them?
I think one fact we often fail to understand: capitalism is a product of Christian religion.

"It was the church more than any other agency, writes historian Randall Collins, that put in place what Weber called the preconditions of capitalism: the rule of law and a bureaucracy for resolving disputes rationally; a specialized and mobile labor force; the institutional permanence that allows for transgenerational investment and sustained intellectual and physical efforts, together with the accumulation of long-term capital; and a zest for discovery, enterprise, wealth creation, and new undertakings."
~How Christianity Created Capitalism

This is only one article, and there are volumes of other writers who make this claim. Just think about it for a minute. There is a higher authority, obedience is a towering value, following orders and depending on others to lead is required, might makes right, etc., etc.

OK, what am I missing here? Where are the flaws in my thinking?
Comment by Chad Kreutzer on September 16, 2013 at 11:59am

I've had a theory for a while that part of the problem here in the US is our much vaunted freedom of religion. when faith has to compete, it becomes stronger in a sense through (ironically) evolutionary processes. Whereas in places where there is a state religion, it fades away into a social club and irrelevance because it doesn't have to compete.

Mind you, I have no data backing this up and I have done no research. It's just something that I've been thinking about for a while looking at the US compared to other first world countries.

Comment by Dorian Moises Mattar on September 16, 2013 at 11:52am

I think religious institutions are loosing so much ground that they are throwing wild punches in desperation.

The economy isn't helping either.  People without jobs become desperate and seek solace. 

Comment by Drew Carpenter on September 16, 2013 at 1:54am

Yes, there is irony in that. I worry that while other first world countries seem to be making progress on this issue, we may not be keeping up here in the U.S. I don't know if it has actually gotten worse, though it does seem that way. That may be more a matter of perspective, but it does appear that the extreme religious right is hijacking our politics.

Comment by Christopher Lowe on September 16, 2013 at 12:55am

Is it not ironic that the nation with the iconic and unprecedented freedom of religion clause in its constitution is the most devout Christian and anti everything else in the free world? Christian derision of all that is non-christian seems to be reaching a crescendo these days. And why is it all coming from the far right wing? Just asking. As a Canadian I really don't have a dog in this fight. Thank God (heh heh)!

Comment by Drew Carpenter on September 16, 2013 at 12:43am

That is a very impressive list, and also very encouraging. Maybe my perception is colored from living in a state that has made an embarassment like Rick Perry the longest serving governor in our history. And Joan, I agree that we have to continually stand up for our rights. I have been an atheist since I was 14 years old, and I never hid it. I would rather deal with the consequences than not be true to what I believe. It never won me many friends, but I have always refused to be intimidated about it. My real friends, most of whom are believers, accept me. I don't care much about the others. It is a civil rights issue that we have to fight for just as Joan and so many others fought for equality for women, and just as the gay community has had to do. I am much more hopeful at the present time than I have ever been in the past on this issue.

Comment by Christopher Lowe on September 16, 2013 at 12:32am

Bernie Sanders (I) Vermont is an atheist. Former Governor Jesse Ventura is an Atheist.Former President Howard Taft was an Atheist. President Lincoln was a Deist which is as close to an atheist as anybody could get back then with the available information at the time to being an atheist. You'd be surprised at the number and influence of those among us who do not believe and where they come from. 5 of the last 6 UN Secretaries General. Former Israeli Prime Ministers Ytzak Rabin and Golda Mier

Comment by Joan Denoo on September 16, 2013 at 12:06am

 Why should open atheism preclude elected office?

It should not! Atheists today are kind of like feminists in my day (I am 77 years old). We remained quiet because if we made any demands on institutions, i.e. family, church, education, health care, legal representation, we felt stomped on, ignored, put down, discounted, trivialized and demonized. I don’t remember how many times I was told I had “penis envy”, “ball breaker”, …Oh! You know the drill. It took a long time for women to ignore the filthy words, mean spirited attacks and dirty tricks. Over time we just made up our minds we would plow through the sewage and think for ourselves and take action. We earned educations, jobs, professions, and found new friends. Many of us had to give up our families if we wanted respect. 

So atheists, we may have to go through the same indecencies, get thick skins, think through the issues that matter, take action, and find a safe place to land and lick our wounds. 

Thanks Chad Kreutzer for the article site. 


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