God is the Ultimate Alpha Male

God is an alpha male.

You see the same traits in Him that you find in male-dominated cultures: He’s a protector, sexually powerful, violent, oppressive, a conqueror… you get the idea.

Dr. Hector A. Garcia, an assistant professor of Psychiatry at the University of Texas Health Science Center at San Antonio, just released a new book exploring these parallels — and what it says about “historic and ongoing violence committed in the name of religion” in his new book Alpha God (Prometheus Books, 2015).

In the excerpt below, Garcia explores some of the attributes we usually give to God:

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Question Week: A Q&A With Founder Warren Berger, Author of A More Beautiful Question

There are few things I dislike more than a lack of curiosity. To be curious is, by necessity, to ask questions, and asking questions is the engine for creativity, innovation, and growth.

Journalist and author Warren Berger – an old friend from my days as a New York City magazine editor – is a fellow question-lover. Not only has he written a book about it (A More Beautiful Question: The Power of Inquiry to Spark Breakthrough Ideas), he is also the father of Question Week, a celebration of inquisitiveness and a challenge to ask more (and better) questions. Question Week 2015 just kicked off, not coincidentally concluding on Albert Einstein‘s birthday, this Saturday.

– What prompted you to start Question Week?

The idea is, it’s good for us to pause at times and ask questions and think about why we’re doing what we’re doing. But there never seems to be a time on the schedule marked “Ask meaningful questions.” People in general are moving at a faster pace, they’re more bombarded with noise and messages, and they’re caught up in “doing.” Questioning requires slowing down and stepping back. So Question Week is about giving yourself permission to take the time to ask some thoughtful questions about your career, your life, the world around you.

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What Would a Secular God Look Like? An Atheist Searches for a Realistic Higher Power in This New Book

Is there any way atheists could believe in a god?

Not the one in the Bible, of course. Not one that answers prayers or created the universe. But what about one that gives us comfort and empowers us?

That’s the premise behind Nancy Abrams‘ new book A God That Could Be Real: Spirituality, Science, and the Future of Our Planet (Beacon Press, 2015).

When Abrams, a philosopher of science and “lifelong atheist,” dealt with a personal struggle, she saw several others in her recovery group (one similar to Alcoholics Anonymous) improve because the steps they took involved giving themselves over to God, something that she couldn’t do as an atheist. She even asks: “… why should survival benefits go preferentially to those who don’t face reality?” That led her on a search for a secular version of that Higher Power.

In the excerpt below, Abrams talks about what that secular “Higher Power” could look like:

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What If I’m an Atheist? is a Teen’s Guide to Life Without Religion

There aren’t a lot of books about atheism out there directed specifically toward a young adult audience, but David Seidman has created a guide to godlessness just for them. It’s called What If I’m an Atheist?: A Teen’s Guide to Exploring a Life Without Religion (Beyond Words/Simon Pulse, 2015) and it incorporates many of the stories you’ve seen online and dozens of interviews the author conducted with young atheists (some of whom read this site). Having written about a similar subject myself, I can tell you Seidman’s book is excellent, personal, and an incredibly useful resource. I hope libraries everywhere stock this one, because I have no doubt a lot of people will check it out.

In the excerpt below, Seidman talks about how becoming an atheist will change your life:

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A Few of the Problems with Bill Donohue’s New Book, The Catholic Advantage

The Catholic League’s Bill Donohue has a new book out today called The Catholic Advantage, all about how great it is to believe as he does.

It’s not enough, however, to promote Catholicism. Donohue spends a huge chunk of the book talking about how awful atheism is. In fact, here’s the bulk of the book in a nutshell: Donohue claims that atheists are more likely to have mental health problems, be depressed, and commit suicide. We’re also less charitable and happy than our religious counterparts.

He more or less ignores the fact that religious people have very strong built-in communities and social networks (not to mention ways to donate your time and money), all of which contribute to one’s well-being. Very few atheist communities have the numbers that churches do, though there have been more attempts in recent years to build these up. No doubt we have a long way to go, but there’s nothing inherently bad about atheism — unless you think a lack of false hope is a problem — and Donohue never bothers to explain why Catholicism (as opposed to any other belief system) makes any sense.

I’ll give you an example of the kind of argument Donohue makes. Right in the introduction, he claims that people like us are atheists because we have bad relationships with our father:

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