Atheism, Certainty, Mysticism, And Faitheism

In reply to Daniel Dennett’s attack on the supposed need for belief in belief, a Daily Dish reader writes: Something I find annoying about this atheist-believer dispute is that it all depends on what you mean by “god”. If you require the talking snake, then, yeah, Dennet rules, in my opinion. But if you are some sort of mystic or pantheist and you experience that as “faith,” then the the naivete of Dennet’s arguments is indeed grating. The exquisitely beautiful,… Read more

How Atheists Can Avoid Other Fundamentalisms: By Focusing On Rationalism First And Foremost

I agree with this a whole lot (I most recommend the last link to PZ Myers’s assessment of Hitchens on war): The real-world implications of the “New Atheists” ideas are not insulated from the same dogmatism and intolerance that they decry. To get back to my original point about rationalism, the religious aspect is only the one most pertinent to today’s issues. Hitler came to power on a wave of nationalism, and the strains of communism have brought about more… Read more

Why Do People Laugh At Creationists?

There are over 30 parts, watch them all. Your Thoughts? Read more

Do The New Atheists Target Religion Too Broadly?

A reader at The Daily Dish has the following objection to the New Atheists: As an agnostic who sees all sides of this issue – brought up in a conservative Christian household, against which I rebelled, only to try to understand where they’re coming from, I can say that the main thing I object to is the New Atheists’ use of the term “religion”.  If you’re criticizing young-Earth creationism, or any specific belief or set of beliefs or set of… Read more

Atheist Hope

From The Daily Dish (again), comes a superb reply to the charge that atheists live meaningless lives.  First the charge: So, yes, religion has to answer for the crusades.  And atheists have to answer for having no meaningful words of hope to provide in crisis. And then the reply: Excuse me? Just because the reader has witnessed people with faith drawing strength from that “belief [in their] existential choice” does not mean that people without faith have no strength to… Read more

Should Freethinkers Give Up On Replacing Religious Rituals With Their Own?

In reply to a reader of The Daily Dish on the pitfalls of “freethinkers’ groups” that try to replace religious rituals with their own (about which I commented here), comes these two remarks on The Daily Dish: Your reader’s comment about “atheist Sunday school” is phenomenal, and gets right at one of the most important reasons I call myself a believer.  I started going to church after struggling with a lot of the questions about dogma and doctrine and what… Read more

Sex Change In Iran

Strangely, in a country with a government that outlaws homosexuality, transsexuals are allowed to change their sex.  A documentary on the subject: Thanks to The Daily Dish. Read more

Seeing God Like Seeing Different Colors, Or How Beliefs Change The Brain

One of The Daily Dish readers posed an exceptionally provocative hypothesis: An interesting angle you haven’t mentioned concerns how belief systems concretely affect the development of the brain. People raised in cultures with distinct words for certain color tones see them more clearly than those in which just one word suffices (the most well-known example is Russian, which has one word for marine blue and another for sky blue — but there are many others). So believers, having been raised… Read more

Anti-Theism or Pro-Atheism?

A reader of The Daily Dish writes the following in reply to remarks by Andrew Sullivan’s under-blogger and temporary fill-in lead blogger, Patrick Appel: Almost every conversation about atheism on the Daily Dish seems to be confusing two very different sets of views — largely because both groups self-identify as atheists. I’m an atheist, and would describe atheism as not believing in god, or believing there is no god. I think atheists are prone to criticism of organized religion; it… Read more

“Just Leave Us Our Fictions”

Patrick Appel objected to Dan Dennett’s recent piece in The Guardian countering those faitheists who do not actually have religious beliefs themselves but believe in the necessity of religious beliefs for others to achieve various social goods.  In reply, a reader wrote the following to him: Ironically, I don’t see any support in the quote you cite for the certainty with which you state your own opinions, i.e., that Dennett is disturbed by tolerance, or that some atheists have certainty… Read more

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