The great atheist ‘coming out’

Emerging ideas tend to go through three phases. First they are considered so dangerous or odd that people won’t talk … Continued

Emerging ideas tend to go through three phases. First they are considered so dangerous or odd that people won’t talk about them. Then they are thought so new and fascinating that people can’t stop talking about them. Finally, they become mainstreamed and are no longer unique enough to spark concern or secure air time.

Think back to 60 years ago when interracial marriage, homosexuality and transgendered people were unheard of or not discussed in polite society. Then look a little more recently, to when a person could get air time on major TV and radio talk shows just for being interracially married, gay or transgendered. And consider now, when these ideas have become sufficiently mainstreamed that they don’t generate that level of interest.

Well, today, the idea that one can be a good citizen without believing in a God is in the middle of that process. People who are nontheistic (atheists or agnostics) are suddenly interesting. And, in being interesting, they have become more willing to show themselves.

But it wasn’t always this way. I can remember, back in the 1960s, that if you wanted to publish a forthrightly atheistic popular book you needed to go through some little-known freethought publisher to do it. No mainstream publishing house would touch your work. Moreover, none of the major vanity houses would accept your money despite your willingness to pay for such publication. Also, as a customer, if you ordered an atheistic book or periodical through the mails, it came to you in a plain brown wrapper.

How much this has changed! Today there’s a special market niche for nontheistic books. You can even purchase them in airport bookstores and read them openly!

Kyle Robertson

AP

A June 21, 2011 photo shows a billboard at 417 North James in Columbus, one of several put up by Freedom From Religion Foundation around Columbus.

Beyond this, in my own profession of marketing secular ideas across the country, I find only rare difficulty placing godless messages in newspaper ads, on highway billboards and on the sides of buses. These promotional efforts generate controversy and attention, to be sure. But the key factor is that my money is accepted and my ads appear.

In tandem with the increasing opportunities for nontheistic people to express themselves in the marketplace has come an explosion of local nontheistic groups. Aided by the Internet, we find that, like never before, agnostics, atheists, brights, freethinkers, humanists, rationalists, skeptics, secularists and all the rest have been forming local societies, book clubs, campus groups, meetups, parenting circles, support groups and so on in cities small and large, in every region of the country. (This is in addition to the wide range of purely virtual communities across cyberspace.) And through my work, many local groups have been combining their efforts in local coalitions-more than fifty of them so far from coast to coast-in order to strengthen their social impact through cooperation.


View Photo Gallery: Despite their negative reputations among many Americans, atheists tend to be very ethical and high-achieving, argue Gregory Paul and Phil Zuckerman in an opinion piece in The Washington Post.

On the national scene, not only have the existing organizations enjoyed dramatic growth in membership and financial support, new organizations have cropped up to widen the range of programming. This means that the range of activity isn’t focused anymore on only the expression of ideas through publications and conventions. Now there are nontheistic charities, political action groups, legal centers, and educational programs.

In sum, since 2004-marked by the release of Sam Harris’ “The End of Faith” and Susan Jacoby’s “Freethinkers”-a growing “coming out” by the godless has been underway. The Reason Rally, therefore, is simply a more noticeable expression of that phenomenon. It’s also a way that the organizations behind it can let more people know that they needn’t express their independence of thought alone, or silently. They can become part of something larger: a movement. And make a difference.

Finally, as this process continues, in good time the secular minded will be permitted to take their place at the table with everyone else–recognized as legitimate contributors to society with ideas that make up an important part of our culture and its history.

Fred Edwords, national director of the United Coalition of Reason, has been a secular activist for more than 35 years.


More On Faith:

Richard Dawkins: Who would rally against reason?

Fred Edwords: The great atheist ‘coming out’

David Silverman: Why we need a Reason Rally

About

  • Realist19532

    Nice to see the Reason Rally getting some ‘print’.

    Of course, it was going to be tough to hide, as there will be the Rally this weekend in DC.

    As an A / A, I have been shunned; in fact I was forced out out a job. Yet as a non-theist, I was the one Not Lying, Not Backstabbing, Not Threatening to Kill.

    Makes me wonder about ‘their version of god’ — they may as well make a ‘christian version of the taliban’, cause right now they are just short of open murder of non-theists.

    Rallies like this, making more people aware that WE ARE HERE, WE ARE MORAL, might make them see.

  • eddikon

    Atheism is a secular religion. Listen to them, they are just as narrow minded and intolerant as the people they condemn. Fundamentalism knows no bounds; bigotry is an universal human trait.

  • cleanhippie

    As wrong as you are, atleast you have found a way to feel superior to everyone.

  • peter93

    Of course, it is wonderful that people of different faiths and none are free to express their preferences, and the analogy with race and sexuality seems appropriate.
    It is worth mentioning, however, that there is a world of difference between atheism (a personal conviction that there is no God/gods) and agnosticism (a lack of certainty due to a lack of evidence or personal conviction that there is a God/gods).
    Again, there is a world of difference between the belief that morals are dependent upon the potential salvation or punishment of God and the belief that ‘human’ qualities, such as empathy, are sufficient to ensure that people live good lives. There are no doubt some people who would not live good lives, were it not for their faith, but there are many who do live “good” lives without faith.
    Finally, there is a world of difference between religion (the belief in the theological tenets of a particular religious group) and religious feeling or experience (a sense of being connected to other people and things, and of being a part of a greater whole). Many people do not have the former, but possess the latter – and visa-versa.
    A clarity on these three points would go some way towards resolving many of the conflicts between theists and non-theists, at least amongst those open to intellectual discussion on this very emotional subject.

  • bellakat

    Coming out fot their meaningless lives and soon to be coffin dust and forgotten..

  • jhh123

    so cute. at least you aren’t praying for them/us, so thanks for that.

  • Sara121

    Cremation for me as well. No point taking up space. And in either event, I’d rather be “worm food” than be bored to tears for eternity with no new science books to read, for at least worms do good quality ecological soil work and don’t give a rat’s butt if you refuse their services. They certainly won’t send their self righteous minions after you to tell you what a horrible person you are for refusing their services.

  • Sara121

    No fundamentalism here. Eddikon, if you’d like to present your data connecting your observations of the complexity of life, chemistry, and physics to the your causal hypothesis of god (which one?), I am sure many people will at least give you a hearing.

  • ESCape101

    Donating my body to science and research. For me, the real “eternal life” is knowing that even when my life is over, humanity can still benefit from my existence.

  • fassssster

    What an ignorant comment.

  • fassssster

    If someone is good only because of fear of everlasting burning ih hell, they are NOT a good person. they would be a person with whom I do not wish to know.

  • vzepijdu

    lol … donating a body … better die young. No University wants to be stuck with disposing of a shriveled up, dry bag of bones.

  • ccnl1

    The following vitiates the need for any type of reason rally.

    ONLY FOR THE NEWCOMERS:

    The Apostles’ Creed 2011: (updated by yours truly based on the studies of NT historians and theologians of the past 200 years)

    Should I believe in a god whose existence cannot be proven
    and said god if he/she/it exists resides in an unproven,
    human-created, spirit state of bliss called heaven?????

    I believe there was a 1st century CE, Jewish, simple,
    preacher-man who was conceived by a Jewish carpenter
    named Joseph living in Nazareth and born of a young Jewish
    girl named Mary. (Some say he was a mamzer.)

    Jesus was summarily crucified for being a temple rabble-rouser by
    the Roman troops in Jerusalem serving under Pontius Pilate,

    He was buried in an unmarked grave and still lies
    a-mouldering in the ground somewhere outside of
    Jerusalem.

    Said Jesus’ story was embellished and “mythicized” by
    many semi-fiction writers. A bodily resurrection and
    ascension stories were promulgated to compete with the
    Caesar myths. Said stories were so popular that they
    grew into a religion known today as Catholicism/Christianity
    and featuring dark-age, daily wine to blood and bread to body rituals
    called the eucharistic sacrifice of the non-atoning Jesus.

    Amen
    (References used are available upon request.)

  • ccnl1

    The following vitiates the need for any type of reason rally.

    ONLY FOR THE NEWCOMERS:

    The Apostles’ Creed 2011: (updated by yours truly based on the studies of NT historians and theologians of the past 200 years)

    Should I believe in a god whose existence cannot be proven
    and said god if he/she/it exists resides in an unproven,
    human-created, spirit state of bliss called heaven?????

    I believe there was a 1st century CE, Jewish, simple,
    preacher-man who was conceived by a Jewish carpenter
    named Joseph living in Nazareth and born of a young Jewish
    girl named Mary. (Some say he was a mamzer.)

    Jesus was summarily crucified for being a temple rabble-rouser by
    the Roman troops in Jerusalem serving under Pontius Pilate,

    He was buried in an unmarked grave and still lies
    a-mouldering in the ground somewhere outside of
    Jerusalem.

    Said Jesus’ story was embellished and “mythicized” by
    many semi-fiction writers. A bodily resurrection and
    ascension stories were promulgated to compete with the
    Caesar myths. Said stories were so popular that they
    grew into a religion known today as Catholicism/Christianity
    and featuring dark-age, daily wine to blood and bread to body rituals
    called the eucharistic sacrifice of the non-atoning Jesus.

    Amen
    (References used are available upon request.)

  • Chip_M

    I couldn’t care less what happens to me when I die. Stuff me full of candy and let children hit me with sticks for all I’ll care. Make me into a decorative floor lamp or an end table. It’s not like I’ll know considering that whole being dead thing.

  • SODDI

    Maybe the Mormons will baptize me when I’m dead….

  • SODDI

    Please stop. I’m athier than thou and I’m tired of seeing your tired old copypasta. OC or don’t post.

  • kilowatt

    I’ve always thought that the animosity toward athiests reflects the fundamentaly insecurity believers have about their faith. If they were certain their beliefs were true, I don’t think they’d care what other people believed. In fact, it’s the manifestations of that insecurity — always trying to convert people, disparaging other faiths, etc. — that caused me to turn away from theistic religion at a very young age.

  • bmasteray

    “It is worth mentioning, however, that there is a world of difference between atheism (a personal conviction that there is no God/gods) and agnosticism (a lack of certainty due to a lack of evidence or personal conviction that there is a God/gods). ”

    Incorrect. What you are describing is a difference between agnostic atheism and Gnostic atheism.

    There are four chatigories when it comes to beilife in gods, gnostic theism, agnostic theism, agnotstic atheism, and gnostic atherism.

    There is no such thing as just “agnostic”. Anyone who says they are just agnostic are filling in a bubble that does not exist.

    When asked the question “do you believe in higher power(s)/God” the answer is either “yes” or “no”. Theism or atheism. Agnostic/Gnostic are answers to an entirely different question, the question “how sure are you of your beliefs?”

    There is no such thing as a “I don’t know” answer to a question about believe/opinion.

    The only way you can truly just be agnostic is if you have never heard of the concept of a higher power/god before.

  • MontanaJay

    But if, because I have no evidence, I leave open the possibility that there is a god, along with the possibility that there is not, then if I am asked if I believe there is a god, my answer is “no,” and if I am asked if I believe there is not a god, my answer is no.”

    A Merriam-Webster definition of “agnostic”: broadly : one who is not committed to believing in either the existence or the nonexistence of God or a god.

    I think I fit.

  • Sara121

    I look at agnostic atheism as the acknowledgment that one cannot logically prove that a particular thing does not exist (I can’t prove the tooth fairy, Zeus, or an invisible, non-coporeal, floating dragon in my garage don’t exist), but physical, verifiable evidence is still a requirement in order to make the positive assertion that a particular thing does exist.

  • ad9inaz

    Which is more likely? Did an all-powerful God, with the entire universe to worry about, create man on Earth in his own image, or did vain men seeking power on Earth create an all-powerful God in their image?

  • catatonicjones

    Men, humanity have created thousands of gods. It’s something our species likes to do, singing and dancing and inventing gods, all part of the same creative process. The only difference is, we know when to stop singing and dancing.

  • ThomasBaum

    What do you mean which is more likely?

    Both are true.

  • ixneme

    I was never raised with any religious program, so I’ve never seen the big deal about being an atheist – and I’ve certainly never felt conflicted, isolated, or persecuted. Perhaps that is because I can’t take religion (or the lack thereof) all that seriously.

    When people ask me (and they sometimes do ask) why I’m not a Christian, I am always struck by how unaware of how ridiculous the question is. After all, why am I not a Hindu? Why don’t I worship Zeus? Why don’t I worship whatever River God Amazonian tribes pray to before they go fishing?

    The next question inevitably is: what keeps you from murdering people/going on a rampage/doing bad things? This question is the most disturbing for me, for it implies that the questioner would like nothing better to do such things, but are prevented only by the idea that some higher power would punish them for doing so. One can list plenty of good reasons not to do bad things, and I hope that superstition is way, way down at the bottom of that list.

  • msgrinnell

    Yup, when we the last time you ran into an atheist on the corner telling you there was no such thing as god.

  • njg45

    Religion strikes me as a personal affair–whether it’s one of the major faiths or an atheist point of view–that’s the way I grew up. I would never ask anyone their religion; nor would I expect a person to ask me. What one does speaks louder than words or church attendance/affiliation.

  • waterbirds

    You can preach a better sermon with your life than with your lips.
    – Oliver Goldsmith (1728-1774) Irish Write

  • waterbirds

    soddi … and your point is ??????

    Don’t believe in the First Amendment?

    If you are so tired – log off and go to bed or move to a different thread …

  • ThomasBaum

    Sara121

    You wrote, ” but physical, verifiable evidence is still a requirement in order to make the positive assertion that a particular thing does exist.”

    This is merely your opinion.

    It may take “physical, verifiable evidence” to scientifically “prove” that God exists but for someone to make a “positive assertion” that God Is, one does not have to get your permission to positively assert and you, on the other hand, do not have to “believe” anyone’s “positive assertion”.

  • TheGodless

    This coming out is long past overdue. If only this had occurred during the Dark Age, for many superstition driven atrocities may have been avoided. Imagine an America undivided by irrational thought and unified in it’s common goal to help all of humanity (without the need for conversion or indoctrination). Imagine the Middle East as a land of true peace (no religion can be “The Religion of Peace”, for all religions thrive on in-group/out-group mentality). Only through compassion and reason will humanity survive our moral infancy. It’s past time we no longer fear the dark. The last two thousand years have clearly shown us the costs for not growing up.

  • Rongoklunk

    It wasn’t Harris or Dawkins or Hitchens or Dennett that helped me to become an atheist; it was 9/11 when nineteen college educated young guys removed the WTC and booked a place in Paradise with the company of 72 virgins apiece.

    You don’t have to be crazy to think like this. Just religious. And it could be simply a matter of time before some other religius wackoes blow us all to hell.

    It’s important that we all see religion for the dangerous and irrational nonense it is. It is only the child’s brain that will accept such absurdities – and religion continues because they have access to children who are too young to resist the indoctrination. Once they’re indoctrinated – it sticks for life.

    I raised five atheists by not mentioning the dumb idea that a skygod lives up there un the clouds…watching over us. They all grew up to be happy atheists like me, and are raising their own kids the way they were raised.

    We owe it to our children to raise them without lying to them about a great skygod. Truth is infinitely more important than any religion.

  • Rongoklunk

    Wonderful comments with which I completely identify. I don’t need a god watching over me, to NOT kill or not blow things up. What’s god to do with it anyway? Does it mean that if goddists stopped believing they’d start killing and maiming and raping and stealing and so on?
    Gee. Maybe they should stay believing in a great skygod who watches their every move.

  • Rongoklunk

    Was that a personal affair when nineteen devout religious believers blew up the world trade centre on 9/11? What those terrorists believed is no different from what Christians believe – no more and no less irrational, except maybe the 72 virgins bit. But over the centuries they haven’t been too different. They’ve fought each other for centuries all across Europe and the Middle East. God against Allah. The real God against the wrong one. And they’re still at it. The only difference is that our world is basically secular now, and religion in the west has lost almost all the power it once had – back when it burned and tortured and insisted it ruled by God’s permission. We can only be grateful that those days are gone forever.
    As far as we know there are no gods, outside of the imagination.

  • Sara121

    Fine, fair enough. But if someone wants a positive assertion of anything to be taken seriously (like a new tax plan or a new jobs creation plan or the existence of a deity or the effectiveness of a new drug or the effectiveness of a safety feature on a car or a causal relationship between a bacterium and a disease, etc) then you’d better have some evidence to support it.

  • dcfanoutwest

    Governors of distant, low-population states advise little reliance on extra-orbital activiy.

    the “good guy”

  • ceodata

    Maybe we don’t run into atheists on the corner, but we’re running into them all over the internet, and they are not shy about telling us their *beliefs*.

    Many of them seem to think that religion is like a belief in magic, when it is not. I wish that atheists would stop treating Christianity as though it were a belief in Santa Claus.

    Then again, many religious people can be very annoying about their beliefs as well.

  • ceodata

    If you cannot tell the difference between Christianity and believing in Santa Claus, then you know nothing about Christianity. There are sane adults who believe in God, so there’s a big difference right there.

    As for atheists hiding themselves: They seemed rather prominent on the Internet to me when I first got on in 1997. They are not being persecuted in this country.

  • RobinLionheart

    He sees you when you’re sleeping
    He knows when you’re awake
    He knows if you’ve been bad or good
    So be good for goodness sake…

  • Ed–words

    Money isn’t everything. There were many states in which a
    major atheist group could not get a pilot to fly an
    atheist banner. And Little Rock wouldn’t willingly
    display “busboards”.

  • ceodata

    So, 2000 years later, you know exactly what happened: that it was all made up!!! Believing it was entirely made up requires a very strong faith.

    When people spout stuff like this, it makes me despair about the state of education in this country.

    As for the Gospels not being written until 30-50 years after the Crucifixion, there was a strong oral tradition. Don’t forget about Paul’s letters to already-established Christian churches, which were written earlier than the Gospels (20-30 years after the Crucifixion – BEFORE the Jewish uprisings). Why were all these churches established over *nothing*, just a few years after Jesus’ death?

  • ThomasBaum

    Freestinker

    You wrote, “However, folks like that probably wouldn’t be on a religion blog tooting their beliefs to others, so I suspect Mr Baum really does care about what others think of his belief.

    An interesting paradox, no?”

    Could be to you but it could be as simple as, I was chosen to speak, therefore I speak and this is one of the places that I speak.

    If you have noticed, there have been both “believers” and “non-believers” that have taken exceptions to what I say but for different reasons.

  • larryclyons

    The only supposedly near contemporary account of Christ was the Chronicle of Josephus Flavius. Recently it was determined that the so called account of Christ was a forgery, inserted in the late Dark ages.

    Why was there no contemporary account of his existence. Or at least of his death, given the whizz-bang accounts from the bible. That would have been noted. but nothing was.

  • ceodata

    Anyone who asserts that Jesus Christ never existed has been completely deluded by idiotic (atheist) propaganda. You fail to mention Tacitus’ account of the followers of “Christus” being persecuted after the fire of 64 A.D. Tacitus mentions that Jesus was crucified during the reign of Tiberius, and that his followers were subject to a “mischievous superstition” (that Jesus had been resurrected). You can look up Tacitus on Wikipedia.

    The account from Flavius Josephus was not a complete forgery, but had a couple of sentences inserted to reflect Christian beliefs (his original did mention Jesus, but not from a Christian point of view).

    I guess you would have to say that the Buddha (Siddhartha Gautama) never existed, because nothing was written about him (that survives) until about 400 years after his death. The letters of St. Paul were written to ALREADY-ESTABLISHED Christian churches a mere 20-30 years after Jesus’ death.

    If people weren’t so ignorant to begin with (because of poor education), then the ridiculous claim by atheists that Jesus never existed could not gain any traction. Why don’t atheists just stick to claiming that Jesus wasn’t God? It’s easy to present evidence that Jesus existed as a man on this earth.

  • ceodata

    I am Catholic, and I have signed up to be an organ donor. If my organs are unusable, I hope that my body could be used for some research purposes (perhaps the Body Farm if my corpse is not suitable for dissection by medical school students). I would prefer that I be cremated after the organ donation or research is completed. My ashes would be placed in an urn, which would be stored in a niche.

    The Catholic Church does not have a problem with people donating their organs, or having their bodies used for research and then cremated (the ashes should not be scattered, however).

    I MIGHT change my mind about cremation if I thought that someone were out to kill me by poison – I would want my body to be exhumable for an autopsy. But right now, I have no evidence that someone wants to kill me and make it look like a natural or accidental death.

  • ceodata

    Do you think that all religions are the same as Islam?

    The evidence would indicate otherwise.

  • ceodata

    @RobinLionHeart: Yes, belief in Santa Claus / fairies and belief in God or gods are exactly the same. That’s why Santa Claus and fairies have inspired the building of so many great cathedrals, the compositions of music like the St. Matthew Passion and the Messiah, the efforts of charitable organizations, etc… Santa Claus and fairies have even inspired many religious believers to go to war. What a brilliant analysis of religious belief!!

    I don’t worship the gods Vishnu and Shiva, but I would not presume to inform Hindus that their gods are just like fairies and Santa Claus. In fact, I think Hinduism is worth studying and is worthy of respect.

  • ceodata

    Do you think all Christians just preach with their lips but do nothing with their lives to help others?

  • ceodata

    @Rongoklunk: I should have added that Christians have very different beliefs from Muslims about many things. If you don’t know that, then you don’t know anything about either Christianity or Islam.

    I suggest you do a comparison of Jesus and Mohammed to start with. Jesus told his followers to “Love your enemies. Do good to those who hurt you.” Christians who have committed violence in the name of Jesus are going AGAINST what Jesus did, but Muslims who commit violence as part of jihad are following the example of Mohammed.

    (I expect that this post will be removed for insulting Islam. Of course, the many posts insulting Christianity will remain.)

  • Birdmom78

    Oh please, rongo… many adults convert to Christianity, your thought process is very wacked!

    I don’t want to see or believe anything from your point of view! I believe in God and your non-believe will NEVER alter my belief!

    God willing you will see the light before passing!

  • Birdmom78

    Imagine… your idea of a perfect world, I think NOT! I think the last 20 years have shown us the cost of denying GOD in our lives! Praying for you!

  • Birdmom78

    I’ve always thought the animosity of atheists towards Christians and any other religion for that matter, shows their own insecurity of believing there could possibly be a higher power than their own egotistical selves… i.e., Bill Maher ,someone you all so love to follow in his hateful rants!

    I can’t understand why it should bother atheist so much that anyone believes in God? Don’t believe, who cares…

  • scaffalot

    I like your comment Rongo and I was indoctrinated into the church as a child but my parents never pushed it on me and weren’t very religious to begin with. As I became a teenager my parents put me into a Catholic school because they thought that I might get a better education than I was in public school. Today I would say that I’m more of a deist than an atheist but I thank my parents for giving me freedom to decide what religion if any to belong to. We should all be as free.

  • scaffalot

    Unfortunately the religion of peace is not a profitable one. Please don’t pray for me bird I don’t need it.

  • scaffalot

    Not all but you can’t say all do

  • Vegdaze_

    And Birdmom78 clearly summarizes a huge problem with many religious folk: “I don’t want to see or believe anything from your point of view!”

    Ignorance is bliss, eh?

  • jkwoftw

    Yeah.. go on any Christian forum and you will find at least a dozen atheists with 2000 postsa piece who just follow up every single post from a Christian with “LOL do u believe in the tooth fairy?”

    You can rationalize it however you want. If you feel like you’ve been oppressed or made fun of, I’m sorry. But the internet is the most powerful vehicle for communication the world has ever seen, and certain parts of it have been completely deluged with very aggressive and often very angry atheists who quite literally spend most of their free time mocking and jeering at people with religious beliefs.

    I’ve seen isolated instances of a person being somewhat ostracized for disavowing any belief in God (only when I lived in the south), but I’ve never encountered anything resembling the bile and pathological hatred that seems to stem from the internet atheist contingent. It’s not even a comparison, frankly. The most common offense, if you will, on that front that I’ve encountered is “I’ll pray for you”, which causes atheists to bristle with anger at what they perceive as a patronizing comment. It’s still not the same as being called a “****ing idiot”. Sorry atheists, but you know as well as I do which group is more likely to produce a comment like that.

    So you can keep on with the victim of persecution bit, but know that
    a. It makes you guys look like big time hypocrites
    b. The “atheists are morally equal or if anything superior to Christians” concept starts to look shaky when you guys are constantly foaming at the mouths and spending half your free time calling people idiots because you disagree with them. No, you can’t go back to the Crusades in a day when people used any and every excuse for conquest and imperialism. I’m talking about right here, right now, so we can isolate some variables.
    c. The angry adherents to your movement who represent you on the internet are about as effective as the guy with the sandwich board that says “you’re going to hell”.

    And please, stop it with t

  • choib3

    Witch hunts, The Inquisition, most of English history during the reigns of Henry Tudor and his offspring….. I am sure that most major religion has some significant past that speaks with more rage than most adherents would be comfortable admitting. Power clouds the minds of men and power begets power, otherwise there would be little need for such violent acts associated with religion.
    Perhaps the Jain have more life lessons for others than we ever give them credit for. Not religious but have great admiration for the Jain.

  • choib3

    How about donating your body to science? This is the ultimate form of recycling and helps a great many in the process?

Read More Articles

shutterstock_186795503
The Three Most Surprising Things Jesus Said

Think you know Jesus? Some of his sayings may surprise you.

shutterstock_185995553
How to Debate Christians: Five Ways to Behave and Ten Questions to Answer

Advice for atheists taking on Christian critics.

HIFR
Heaven Hits the Big Screen

How “Heaven is for Real” went from being an unsellable idea to a bestselling book and the inspiration for a Hollywood movie.

shutterstock_186364295
This God’s For You: Jesus and the Good News of Beer

How Jesus partied with a purpose.

egg.jpg
Jesus, Bunnies, and Colored Eggs: An Explanation of Holy Week and Easter

So, Easter is a one-day celebration of Jesus rising from the dead and turning into a bunny, right? Not exactly.

shutterstock_148333673
Friend or Foe? Learning from Judas About Friendship with Jesus

We call Judas a betrayer. Jesus called him “friend.”

shutterstock_53190298
Fundamentalist Arguments Against Fundamentalism

The all-or-nothing approach to the Bible used by skeptics and fundamentalists alike is flawed.

shutterstock_186566975
Hey Bart Ehrman, I’m Obsessed with Jesus, Too — But You’ve Got Him All Wrong

Why the debate over Jesus’ divinity matters.

SONY DSC
Dear Evangelicals, Please Reconsider Your Fight Against Gay Rights

A journalist and longtime observer of American religious culture offers some advice to his evangelical friends.

shutterstock_186090179
How Passover Makes the Impossible Possible

When we place ourselves within the story, we can imagine new realities.

This Passover, We’re Standing at an Unparted Red Sea

We need to ask ourselves: What will be the future of the State of Israel — and what will it require of us?

pews
Just As I Am

My childhood conversion to Christianity was only the first of many.

shutterstock_127731035 (1)
Are Single People the Lepers of Today’s Church?

In an age of rising singlehood, many churches are still focused on being family ministry centers.

2337221655_c1671d2e5e_b
Mysterious Tremors

People like me who have mystical experiences may be encountering some unknown Other. What can we learn about what that Other is?

bible
Five Bible Verses You Need to Stop Misusing

That verse you keep quoting? It may not mean what you think it means.

csl_wall_paper
What C.S. Lewis’ Marriage Can Tell Us About the Gay Marriage Controversy

Why “welcome and wanted” is a biblical response to gay and lesbian couples in evangelical churches.