Science, Evidence, and Faith

As I connect with other Atheists, I have noticed that many base their non-belief on science or a lack of evidence that God exists.

 

Does one need to state that there is no scientific evidence to justify not believing in God? To quote many climate deniers, “I’m no scientist.” I also believe that science is not necessarily a requisite of Atheism.
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Atheism is the New Gay

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Generally speaking, humans are slow to accept and embrace change. Let’s talk about some recent social changes in history that were significant. During the civil rights movement in the 60’s, many states fought racial equality kicking and screaming. I think it is safe to say that we have come a very long way with racial equality. Are there still people who believe that “the south will rise again?” (I am a southerner, by the way) Sure, racism still exists, but it has gotten much better.

 

In the 70’s, it was time for women to stand up and demand the respect they deserved. Although we are still in the last gasps of the topic of income equality between men and women (can you believe that is still a “thing???”), women have come a long way. Television shows such as The Mary Tyler Moore Show and Maude starred strong women who refused to accept the rules of living in a man’s world. Gone were the days, generally speaking, of keeping a woman at home “barefoot and pregnant” while the man went work everyday. Women in the workplace may still be marginalized to some extent and not considered equal to their male counterparts by certain Neanderthals, but that has changed over the years. It has come a long way.
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The “A” Word

© The Unassuming Atheist

In our society, we tend to reduce words that we should not say aloud, or at least in public, to their first letter. The “N” word comes to mind. “The “L” word (Lesbian) even spawned the eponymous television show. Then there is the “F” word, or otherwise known as the “F-bomb” as well. We also have the “C” word… but I’ll let you figure that one out. I find this an interesting phenomenon. It sort of reminds me of how any scandal has the moniker “gate” at the of it as an homage to the Watergate scandal in the 70’s.

 

Now we have the “A” word. OK, let me get this straight. While in mixed company in a public social situation, saying the “N” word versus the alternative makes perfect sense. It is a polarizing and generally offensive word in most situations. I get that. But the “A” word? Really? Who are we offending with that one? Is that not a benign enough word to say fully?

 

What does the word Atheist (oh, I’m sorry, the “A” word) mean that is so offensive? Are we, as Atheists, afraid to say it for various reasons? Is “Non-believer” a less shocking term? How about the word “Secular?” Is that less threatening? How about “deity denier?” Could you even say that in Florida?
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Atheists in the Workplace

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We all have different vocations that we are in to pay the bills. I just so happen work in the corporate environment. To take it a step further, I am in Human Resources. That being said, I am very familiar with laws and regulations that govern the topic of discrimination. The basic vibe is not discriminating based on race, sex, religious affiliation, age, disability, and so on. But what about LACK of religious affiliation?

 

In most work environments, there is a bit of an unwritten rule that you never bring up two subjects at work. Politics and religion. I might add sport team affiliation. Being a Baltimore Ravens fan in “Steelers Country” has led to my fair share of discrimination, but that’s another story.

 

In my experience, people seem to have no trouble at all leaving politics out of the workplace. That seems to be a collective taboo and conversation to be avoided at all costs. But what about religion? I have yet to work in a corporate setting without religion coming up. Here are some questions that my wife (also an Atheist) and I have received over the years. “What church do you go to?” “Where do you go to celebrate Easter?” “Are you Catholic?” “Do you volunteer at your church?” “Pray for me.” “Will you come visit our church?” “You should come to our revival this weekend!”

 

People can accept it if you do not have a specific political affiliation. I f you say “I’m an Independent,”they will generally accept that if they happen to be a Democrat or Republican. They may want to spark some debate on a political topic, but that is rare. But do you say “I’m an Atheist”at work? I know what you are thinking. “This guy is nuts!” “Why would you reveal such a personal thing at work?” The facts are that many deeply religious people have no problem bringing up religion at work. I have attended meetings that begin with “let’s bow our heads in prayer.” I have had bosses that quote scripture that provides a foundation to a business decision. That happened to me recently. After the scripture was quoted, he waited for a response. I didn’t know what to do. Is he waiting for me to say “amen?” I just nodded politely.
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The Afterlife

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“Life is a short warm moment. Death is a long cold rest.” These are lyrics from a favorite Pink Floyd song of mine called “Free Four” from the album Obscured by Clouds. OBC was the album before Dark Side of The Moon and provided the fertile ground that would blossom into one of the best-selling recordings of all time. Many of Roger Water’s lyrics focused on death. “Free Four” is about what one thinks about on their deathbed. “You shuffle in gloom of the sick room…and talk to yourself as you die.”

 

Pretty profound stuff. However, I’m not writing an article about Pink Floyd. I just wanted to point out a portion of the first line that I quoted. …”Death is a long cold rest.” Is that what death really is? A dirt nap, so to speak?

 

Without attempting (poorly) to give a history lesson, I think we all know that mankind has always had a fascination with death. It is the Great Mystery, isn’t it? Look at the incredible detail found in the burial tombs of the ancient Egyptian pharaohs. One ancient Asian emperor had an entire terracotta army buried with him to command in the afterlife. Look it up, it’ll blow your mind.

 

There are many examples throughout history of man trying to explain the unexplainable. As we moved through the ages and learned some things along the way, the answers to these mysteries revealed themselves. The earth is flat, Paul Bunyan and Babe the Blue Ox created the Grand Canyon…you know, stuff like that. Those that believed the myths of their point in time went kicking and screaming when science, reason, or whatever, provided the explanation that solved the mystery. Look what is happening right now in our lifetime with the evolution versus creationism debate. Kicking and screaming.
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Personal Journey Series: Hi, I’m the Unassuming Atheist. How are you?

I now have the pleasure of sharing my little corner of the Internet with the audience here at Atheist Analysis as well as my personal blog, so I felt that it was appropriate to briefly introduce myself.

 

I grew up in Richmond, Virginia with a family that was not particularly religious. Everyone in my family did, however, indentify themselves as Southern Baptists.  I started going to a church near our house at the age of 11. I went by myself and think my primary motivation for going was curiosity and wanting to be a part of a group.

 

I was baptized and spent the next 25 years or so going in and out of being active in various churches as my work and Navy service moved me and my family around a bit.

 

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My journey that led me to Atheism started about 15 years ago while attending a Sunday school class that consisted of adults roughly the same age as me. In this class, the teacher (with great conviction) told the class that “the earth is 6,000 years old.” Being a lifelong history buff, I was like “whaaa?” I looked around me and these seemingly reasonable adults attending the class with me were all nodding in agreement. I was shocked. I actually felt a bit scared, like I would imagine one would feel in a room full of people that suddenly turn into vampires.

 

On the drive home that day, I thought about what I heard in that class. I was puzzled. I was confused. Look up both of those words in a thesaurus and all of the similar words listed for them describes what I was feeling. I didn’t stop going to church at that time, but I did start paying closer attention to what I was hearing.

 

I could go on and on, but my story above is where I began to question organized religion as a whole and ultimately decided that Atheism was more in alignment with what my heart (and head) was telling me.
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“New” Atheism?

In my daily searching of atheist news and tidbits, I see the phrase “new” atheists pretty often. I find it interesting. The article below is a critique of this group of non-believers. However, I offer this opinion. I think that this is more of a critique of the modern Internet culture where extreme views (one way or the other), get all of the attention. The squeaky wheel gets the grease. The most vocal and divisive voices are heard. Live and let live, I say. Do I find the concept of organized religion or the existence of a white bearded man in the sky ridiculous? You bet. But if some people need that belief to get them by everyday, I say more power to them. Do I poke fun? Sure I do, that is the lens in which I view most things…with a sense of humor. I humbly offer you the article below as yet another point of view about modern atheism.

Why self-respecting atheists should ditch the New Atheists

Ryan Cooper
February 25, 2015

Courtesy of The Week

 

I grew up in a conservative small town, where there was the strong belief that evangelical Protestantism was the only route to the good life, and that I was going to be tortured for eternity for not signing up. It’s no surprise, then, that I was often attracted to the “anti-theist” diatribes of Richard Dawkins, Bill Maher, Sam Harris, and Christopher Hitchens, otherwise known as the New Atheists.

 

But time changes all things. Though still far from religious, I no longer accept the more extreme narratives of the New Atheists, the certainty of their religious claims, and their historical view of religion. The atheist community would be well advised to chill out.
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