You Don't Need Religion To Be Good People
Posted: 27 September 2005 01:58 AM   [ Ignore ]  
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Hey Everyone.  Good news.  I just came across a slightly belated article from the Miami Herald.  Guess what, non-religious peoples have more than doubled from 1990 to 2001.  A good-natured responsible secular future is ahead of us all.  We just have to continue encouraging everyone to develop strong minds. 

Between petty childish myth, and free thinking living, the latter is plenty more inviting.  The former only does so, illusory at best, through cheap transient prefume samples.  :o

Here's the article:
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Amid religious rhetoric, atheists seek a hassle-free life

BY MELISSA FLETCHER STOELTJE

San Antonio Express-News

Melissa and Chanse nibble on sandwiches and fries at a San Antonio, Texas, coffee shop.

Their 5-year-old son, a brown-eyed boy named Echo, sits between them in the booth. Like parents everywhere, they gently admonish him to sit still and finish his scrambled eggs.

Melissa and Chanse are atheists. They don't believe in God and they're raising their son to question God's existence. They're part of a small but substantial minority that swims against the overtly religious mainstream of America, a spiritual tenor that has grown more strident in recent times as issues of faith increasingly become entangled with politics and public policy.

The couple has agreed to talk about their beliefs—or nonbeliefs—but they have declined to have their surname used because Chanse's mother works in an office run by conservative Christians.

Such is the quandary of being atheist in America today.

The public face of atheism in recent times has been Michael Newdow, who filed a lawsuit over his daughter's having to repeat the phrase ''under God'' in the Pledge of Allegiance. The U.S. Supreme Court eventually dismissed his case, stating he did not have proper parental standing on behalf of his daughter.

The story made headlines for months, but many atheists don't want headlines or scandal. They simply want to go about their own lives without hassle or pressure.

'People will say to you, `You're an atheist, you must worship Satan,' '' Melissa says. ``They don't understand that if you don't believe in God, you don't believe in the devil, either.''

Atheists, they lament, are the last minority in this nation that is fair game for bigotry. Experts who study religion concur.

''Atheists are not very well thought of in America,'' says John Green, a senior fellow with the Pew Forum on Religion and Public Life. ``It's still acceptable to criticize atheists in a way that's not polite. People may harbor negative views about Jews, Catholics, Muslims and evangelicals, but they know they're not supposed to voice those views, so they don't. But it's still OK to say anything bad you want about atheists.''

The overwhelming majority of Americans profess some religious faith, although far fewer actually attend worship services on a regular basis. The public square has become increasingly dominated by religious (specifically, Christian) rhetoric, from the ''values voters'' of the 2004 presidential election to hot-button cultural issues that carry a religious edge—abortion, gay rights, stem-cell research, intelligent design, faith-based initiatives, the right to die.

Judges rule for and against the public display of the Ten Commandments. Politicians seem to compete with each other as to who can most earnestly profess spirituality. A movie portraying the last hours of Jesus' life breaks box-office records. An openly religious president proclaims that Jesus was the philosopher who had the greatest impact on him.

And yet at the same time a compelling undercurrent is at work. A study done by the Graduate Center of the City University of New York, found the percentage of the population that describes itself as ''nonreligious'' more than doubled from 1990 to 2001, from 14.3 million to 29.4 million people. The only other group to show growth was Muslims.

''Right now, the fastest-growing religious identity in America is the nonreligious,'' says Dan Barker, co-president of the Freedom From Religion Foundation, a Madison, Wis.-based group that champions church-state separation and works to educate the public on nontheism.

A study by the Pew Forum on Religion and Public Life found that 16 percent of Americans (about 35 million) consider themselves ''unaffiliated''—a category that includes ''unaffiliated believers,'' ''secularists'' and atheists/agnostics.

Atheists and agnostics are lumped together, says Green, because they share so many similarities. But there is a subtle difference: Atheists forthrightly affirm there is no God; agnostics simply say as humans we can never know. Together, they comprise about 3 percent of the American population.

Green says atheists/agnostics as a group tend to be well-educated and politically liberal (although, he says, there are atheist Republicans). They tend to be younger, not older, and male more than female.

But what, exactly, do atheists believe in if not in God?

In a nutshell, atheists believe in reason alone, in those things that can be arrived at through intellect and the scientific method. Concrete evidence for God, they argue, simply doesn't exist. They don't cotton to leaps of faith or anything that involves a supernatural being reaching into human lives. They believe you can live a happy, respectable life based on human ethics that were derived from a code of rules that emerged naturally through an evolutionary process in which humans learned how to live together.

'And to anyone who really believes they would actually steal or murder if there simply was no God, I would say, `Please, keep your religion,' '' quips Bobbie Kirchart, president of Atheist Alliance International.

http://www.miami.com/mld/miamiherald/living/religion/12598506.htm
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Except for the whole thing about being silent on one's secular views, and succumbing to the criticisms of Christian Fundee Bigots, and it being okay to denigrate atheists, the article's alright.

I say it's NOT right to denigrate anyone who doesn't intend to defame you first.  I don't exactly always advocate eye for an eye behavior, but bigotry isn't something any freethinker should tolerate.  Destroy the religious idiocy that dares to press on senseless on one who cares for something a whole lot better, with wit.  :D

Freethought in free Democratic society is the only defense against authoritarian oppression from any cracker jack theocracy.  LOL

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Posted: 27 September 2005 06:23 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 1 ]  
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It’s nice to have some good news once in while.
  The hideous spector of christianity is all but dead
  in the western world outside of the United States.
  I believe it is dying a slow, but sure death in the
  USA too. But I think there will be some great conflicts
  here before the death of christianity(relatively speaking).
  Some of these conflicts may turn bloody before this is all
  over. These fundie bastards will not let the insanity die
  without a fight!!!

  Unfortunetly, there will be new challenges ahead.
  Islam is obviously on the rise in western world(as
  the article suggests). And traditional religion is being
  replaced by things like the “new age”. I’m not entirely
  comfortable when I ponder the potential ugly manifestations
  of all of that. Still, I believe we are making progress. Nothing,
  in all the universe, would give me greater joy then watching
  the last church meet the wrecking ball and the last bible
  burnt to ashes!!!

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Posted: 27 September 2005 07:08 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 2 ]  
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I think I posted this before, but just in case you missed it, I found an Atheist meetup group in my town, after looking for years.  I didnt know it existed.  Go to

 

and input your zip.  You might get a pleasant surprize.  If there isnt one, start one!  Meetup.com will do a lot of the work for you.  Saturday night, we are joining a “banned book reading” at a local bookstore.  Real 60’s stuff, I guess, but I missed the 60’s as I was overseas.

Of course we dont need “god” to be good.  When some xtian throws that in my face, I turn it back on them.  Does that mean that if you didnt fear hell you would rape and pillage?  What utter arrogant fools they are.  We are getting stronger all the time, they are past the pinnacle of their power & on the downslide.  I think we have seen the last of “born-again” presidents.  I’m glad I was born OK the first time!

Pete

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http://powerlessnolonger.com

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Posted: 27 September 2005 09:15 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 3 ]  
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“...the percentage of the population that describes itself as ‘‘nonreligious’’ more than doubled from 1990 to 2001, from 14.3 million to 29.4 million people.”

That’s an increase of 15.1 million…roughly the size of the Southern Baptist Convention. Can you imagine the gleeful grandstanding we’d be hearing in the media from Richard Land and other SBC leaders if there numbers had increased by 15 million during the same time period? So for all of you freelance spiritualist, atheist, and agnostics, let me shout out a hardy “AMEN”!!!

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Posted: 27 September 2005 09:54 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 4 ]  
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Welcome to the world of sanity. It is heartening to know that some people can change. Like i’ve said before, I feel the christian
right (which includes many evangelicals, conservative catholics and
others) hears it’s death knell ringing. A cornered animal will fight
the hardest.

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Posted: 08 October 2005 06:44 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 5 ]  
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[quote author=“Slimmins”]

Destroy the religious idiocy that dares to press on senseless on one who cares for something a whole lot better, with wit.  :D

Agreed.  I think most of us in the secularist community are working hard to do just that.  Although I believe “destroy” may be too strong a word.  IMO being relentless in both challenging and ridiculing the whole thing until everyone comes to their senses might work better and accomplish the same result, although some may disagree.  :D

SusanL

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