The New York Times‘ Obituary for Paul Kurtz

Earlier tonight, the New York Times‘ posted Ben Weber‘s obituary for Paul Kurtz:

Paul Kurtz in 2010 (Doug Benz – The New York Times)

Humanists in general and Professor Kurtz in particular have also been criticized by some atheists as not aggressive enough in opposing the credibility of religious myths. But Professor Kurtz wrote that humanists, who “may be agnostics, atheists or skeptics,” believed that their obligation was to go beyond deriding religion. In 2009, he resigned from the board of the Center for Inquiry, in part because he felt it was on too contentious a path.

“If religion is being weakened, what replaces it in secular society?” Professor Kurtz said in an interview with The New York Times in 2010. “Most of my colleagues are concerned with critiquing the concept of God. That is important, but equally important is, where do you turn?”

My own compilation of various freethought leaders’ thoughts on his passing can be read here.

About Hemant Mehta

Hemant Mehta is the editor of Friendly Atheist, appears on the Atheist Voice channel on YouTube, and co-hosts the uniquely-named Friendly Atheist Podcast. You can read much more about him here.

  • kalimsaki

    What is death?

     

    I want to share this sentence from a book: from Risalei-Nur Collection by Said Nursi

     

    Death is either eternal
    annihilation, a gallows on which will be hanged both man and all his friends
    and relations; or it comprises the release papers to depart for another,
    eternal, realm, and to enter, with the document of belief, the palace of bliss.
    The grave is either a bottomless pit and dark place of solitary confinement, or
    it is a door opening from the prison of this world onto an eternal,
    light-filled garden and place of feasting.

    • JohnnieCanuck

      Said Nursi is making things up on top of something someone else invented out of conflicting oral traditions. The Koran.
       If he had left it at eternal annihilation in his first sentence, he would have described the atheist point of view with some accuracy. Instead, he had to go on to make it appear that the grave is a place in which one’s existence continues and there is awareness of the nature of this. In other words, a kind of hell. That’s not the way it was before we were born and there’s no reason to expect it to be any different after we die.The blissful alternative he describes is mere wishful thinking and completely evidence free. Flowery prose no doubt, but with only imagination unconstrained by reality, why not? Does he get around to the magical crystal clear grapes or perpetual virgins in another part of the collection?He offers a wonderful carrot and threatens a stick, yet cannot know of any of this. Why should the Koran be the one holy text that is taken as authoritative? Why not the Bhagavad Gita or the Gurū Granth Sāhib or hundreds of other ones?Remember, if it sounds too good to be true, it probably is.

      • JohnnieCanuck

        It ate all my paragraph breaks again. Sorry.

    • The Godless Monster

       What you shared is a clear example of one of the more commonly encountered logical fallacies.
      See if you can pick up a used copy of Introduction to Logic by Irving M. Copi. In the meantime, try reading this Wikipedia entry:
      http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/False_dilemma

      • cipher

        Is Copi still being used? I had the same text in college, nearly forty years ago.

        • kalimsaki

          Thank you for your comment
          AgainI want to share some sentences From Risalei Nur collection by Said NursiIs it at all possible that a perfection of beauteous artistry should not desire to make itself known by means of a herald that will draw men’s gazes upon it?
          Is it at all possible that the universal monarchy of all-embracing dominicality should not desire to announce its unity and eternal besoughtedness throughout the different levels of multiplicity and particularity by means of an envoy possessing two aspects? By the two aspects, we mean that he is both the envoy of the realm of multiplicity to the Divine Court, by virtue of his universal worship, and also the messenger of the Divine Court to the realm of multiplicity, by virtue of his closeness to God and being entrusted with His message.
          Is it at all possible that a possessor of infinite inherent beauty should not wish both to behold himself and to display to others, in numerous mirrors, the charms of his beauty and the allurements of his fairness? God’s Messenger is His beloved, making himself beloved of Him by means of his worship and holding up a mirror to Him, and he is also the bearer of His message, making Him beloved of men and demonstrating to them the beauty of His Names.
          Is it at all possible that the owner of treasuries full of wondrous miracles, rare and valuable items, should not wish and desire to display them to men’s gaze by means of an expert jeweller, and eloquent describer, thereby revealing his hidden perfections?
          Is it at all possible that the One Who manifests the perfection of all His Names in the cosmos by means of artful adornment for men to look upon, so that the cosmos comes to resemble a palace decorated with all kinds of wondrous and subtle art, should not also designate a teacher and a guide to the wonders of his creation?
          Is it at all possible that the Lord of the cosmos should not solve, by means of a messenger, the complex talisman of the aim and purpose of all the changes that take place in the cosmos, and the riddle contained in the three difficult questions posed by all beings: “What is our origin? What is our destination? What is our purpose?”
          Is it at all possible that the Glorious Maker Who makes Himself known to sentient beings by means of His fair creation, and Who makes himself loved by means of His precious bounties, should not also communicate to sentient beings, by means of a messenger, what His pleasure desires of them in exchange?Is it at all possible that God should create mankind in a form predisposing it to suffer the consciousness of multiplicity but also containing the ability to engage in universal worship, without at the same time wishing to turn it away from multiplicity to unity, by means of a teacher and guide?

        • kalimsaki

          we clearly see a most systematic unfolding
          ‘There is no god but God.’
          In this phrase is an affirmation of the Unity of the Godhead and of the True Object of Worship. An extremely powerful proof of this degree in the affirmation of Divine Unity is as follows:
          A most orderly activity is apparent on the face of the universe, especially on the page of the earth. And we observe there a most wise creativity. And we clearly see a most systematic unfolding; that is, the opening up and giving of an appropriate shape and form to everything. Furthermore, we see a most compassionate, generous, and merciful munificence and bountifulness. Since this is so, it of necessity proves, indeed provokes awareness of, the necessary existence and Unity of an Active, Creative, Opening, Munificent Possessor of Glory.
          Indeed, the constant disappearance and renewal of beings demonstrate that those beings are the manifestations of the sacred Names of an All-Powerful Maker, and are shadows of the lights of His Names; that they are works of art resulting from His actions, and impressions and pages inscribed by the pen of Divine Determining and power; that they are mirrors reflecting the beauty of His perfection.
          Just as the Owner of the universe proves this mighty truth and exalted degree in the affirmation of His Unity with all the scriptures and sacred books which He has revealed, so have all the people of truth and the perfected members of the human race proved this same degree through all their investigations and discoveries. The universe too points to this same degree through the unceasing witnessing of the miracles of art, wonders of power, and treasuries of wealth that it displays, despite its impotence and poverty. That is to say, the scriptures and books of the Pre-Eternal Witness, and the investigations and unveilings of the people of witnessing, and the orderly states and wise and purposeful functions of the Manifest World are united in their agreement on this degree in the affirmation of Divine Unity.
           
          Those who do not accept the Single One of Unity, therefore, must either accept innumerable gods, or else like the foolish Sophists, deny both their own existence and that of the universe.

          • The Godless Monster

             You could have just written:
            “I decided to stop taking my meds last week.”

        • The Godless Monster

           Couldn’t tell you. I bought it for a course I took about 15 years ago…

  • Lady_ravenchilde

    We turn to philosophy, to rational debate, discussion and dissection of issues. We don’t use the lack of religion (which, this implies, is the ‘only’ morality) to enforce bronze-age-and-earlier mythologies and flatly immoral precepts upon a world that understands reality is not talking snakes, virgins bearing birth and making the sun stand still.

  • eonL5

    Instead of “turning to religion” I turn to rock concerts, excellent brews at the local pub, playing cards with my son, and Netflix. Maybe an occasional Meet-up. There. All set.

  • kalimsaki

    Thank you for your comment
    AgainI want to share some sentences From Risalei Nur collection by Said Nursi

    Is it at all possible that a perfection of beauteous artistry should not desire to make itself known by means of a herald that will draw men’s gazes upon it?
    Is it at all possible that the universal monarchy of all-embracing dominicality should not desire to announce its unity and eternal besoughtedness throughout the different levels of multiplicity and particularity by means of an envoy possessing two aspects? By the two aspects, we mean that he is both the envoy of the realm of multiplicity to the Divine Court, by virtue of his universal worship, and also the messenger of the Divine Court to the realm of multiplicity, by virtue of his closeness to God and being entrusted with His message.
    Is it at all possible that a possessor of infinite inherent beauty should not wish both to behold himself and to display to others, in numerous mirrors, the charms of his beauty and the allurements of his fairness? God’s Messenger is His beloved, making himself beloved of Him by means of his worship and holding up a mirror to Him, and he is also the bearer of His message, making Him beloved of men and demonstrating to them the beauty of His Names.
    Is it at all possible that the owner of treasuries full of wondrous miracles, rare and valuable items, should not wish and desire to display them to men’s gaze by means of an expert jeweller, and eloquent describer, thereby revealing his hidden perfections?
    Is it at all possible that the One Who manifests the perfection of all His Names in the cosmos by means of artful adornment for men to look upon, so that the cosmos comes to resemble a palace decorated with all kinds of wondrous and subtle art, should not also designate a teacher and a guide to the wonders of his creation?
    Is it at all possible that the Lord of the cosmos should not solve, by means of a messenger, the complex talisman of the aim and purpose of all the changes that take place in the cosmos, and the riddle contained in the three difficult questions posed by all beings: “What is our origin? What is our destination? What is our purpose?”
    Is it at all possible that the Glorious Maker Who makes Himself known to sentient beings by means of His fair creation, and Who makes himself loved by means of His precious bounties, should not also communicate to sentient beings, by means of a messenger, what His pleasure desires of them in exchange?
    Is it at all possible that God should create mankind in a form predisposing it to suffer the consciousness of multiplicity but also containing the ability to engage in universal worship, without at the same time wishing to turn it away from multiplicity to unity, by means of a teacher and guide?

  • Dengo56267

    I am feeling sorry for Kurtz. Do atheists believe after death. What are their opinion? 


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