Skip to comments.Is God dead? Atheism finds a market in U.S
Posted on 10/18/2006 5:25:05 PM PDT by wagglebee
CHICAGO (Reuters) - A fresh wave of atheistic books has hit the market this autumn, some climbing onto best-seller lists in what proponents see as a backlash against the way religion is entwined in politics.
"Religion is fragmenting the human community," said Sam Harris, author of "Letter to a Christian Nation," No. 11 on the New York Times nonfiction list on October 15.
There is a "huge visibility and political empowerment of religion. President George W. Bush uses his first veto to deny funding for stem cell research and scientists everywhere are horrified," he said in an interview.
Religious polarization is part of many world conflicts, he said, including those involving Israel and Iran, "but it's never discussed. I consider it the story of our time, what religion is doing to us. But there are very few people calling a spade a spade."
His "Letter," a blunt 96-page pocket-sized book condensing arguments against belief in quick-fire volleys, appeared on the Times list just ahead of "The God Delusion," by Richard Dawkins, a scientist at Oxford University and long-time atheist.
In addition, Harris' "The End of Faith," a 2004 work which prompted his "Letter" as a response to critics, is holding the No. 13 Times spot among nonfiction paperbacks.
Publishers Weekly said the business has seen "a striking number of impassioned critiques of religion -- any religion, but Christianity in particular," a probably inevitable development given "the super-soaking of American politics and culture with religion in recent years."
Paul Kurtz, founder of the Council for Secular Humanism and publisher of Free Inquiry magazine, said, "The American public is really disturbed about the role of religion in U.S. government policy, particularly with the Bush administration and the breakdown of church-state separation, and secondly with the conflict in the Mideast."
They are turning to free thought and secular humanism and publishers have recognized a taste for that, he added.
"I've published 45 books, many critical of religion," Kurtz said. "I think in America we have this notion of tolerance ... it was considered bad taste to criticize religion. But I think now there are profound questions about age-old hatreds."
The Rev. James Halstead, chairman of the Department of Religious Studies at Chicago's DePaul University, says the phenomenon is really "a ripple caused by the book publishing industry."
"These books cause no new thought or moral commitment. The arguments are centuries old," he told Reuters. Some believers, he added, "are no better. Their conception of God, the Divine-Human-World relationship are much too simplistic and materialistic."
Too often, he said, the concept "God" is misused "to legitimate the self and to beat up other people ... to rehash that same old theistic and atheistic arguments is a waste of time, energy and paper."
Dr. Timothy Larsen, professor of theology at Wheaton College in Illinois, says any growth in interest in atheism is a reflection of the strength of religion -- the former being a parasite that feeds off the latter.
That happened late in the 19th century America when an era of intense religious conviction gave rise to voices like famed agnostic Robert Ingersoll, he said.
For Christianity, he said, "It's very important for people of faith to realize how unsettling and threatening their posture and rhetoric and practice can feel to others. So it's an opportunity for the church to look at itself and say 'we have done things ... that make other people uncomfortable.' It is an opportunity for dialogue."
Larsen, author of the soon-to-be-published "Crisis of Doubt," added that in some sense atheism is "a disappointment with God and with the church. Some of these are people we wounded that we should be handling pastorally rather than with aggressive knockdown debate."
These are also probably some of the same people Harris says he's hearing from after his two books.
"Many, many readers feel utterly isolated in their communities," he said. "They are surrounded by cult members, from their point of view, and are unable to disclose their feelings."
"I get a lot of e-mail just expressing incredible relief that they are not alone ... relieved that I'm writing something that couldn't be said," Harris added.
Like a lyre my heart mourns of Moab,
And my very soul for Kir-heres
The JPS 1985 translation is a little more colorful on Ezekiel 23:21: "Thus you reverted to the wantonness of your youth, remembering your youthful breasts, when the men of Egypt handled your nipples."
2 Kings 18:27 "But the Rabshakeh answered them, 'Was it to your master and to you that my master send me to speak this words? It was precisely to the men who are sitting on the wall -- who will have to eat their dung and drink their urine with you.'"
Changes the emphasis to call attention to the men on the walls. Rather more explicit as well.
So let's see: JPS is more in Isaiah, more explicit in Ezekiel and 2 Kings, and shifts emphasis in the latter. Want to claim one's more accurate than another?
Actually quite interesting passages, particularly the first two, when read in context.
I don't see how anyone could read the Bible through and not have that passage from Ezekiel seared (seared!) into one's memory.
Which is WHAT, in your opinion?
One of MY favorites, MicroProcessor boy!
Send him my tagline.
Today it's called TAXATION!!
BTW, there is STILL 'slavery' in parts of the world. (Actually, more like man-stealing [or women or children])
We still have faith in the dollar.
Atheism is a religion.
Remember a federal judge has ruled that ENVIRONMENTALISM is a religion. (a federal parks worker admitted to skewing data because of environmental beliefs)
the ACLU are priests of Atheism. Just as islam imposes islam at the point of a sword, Atheists impost atheism at the point of a court order.
Murder is wrong. God said it was wrong.
How about this thought experiment for you: Tell me why murder is wrong, but don't use God in the explanation. Warning: Uses of the term morals or its equivalent is not allowed, since who's morals are you talking about if they didn't come from God?
I would like to hear your reasoning.
I've wondered this myself.
With the new TV show, HEROS, where the blond girl gets REALLY messed up physically, yet morphs back together with no lasting damage, it's probably an idea that is wide spread.
When GOD took upon Himself human flesh, He became heir to all the ills that the flesh can experience. Thus, as man, He shed His blood* and died - a 'sacrifice' if you will, in every sense of the word, as we humans know it.
However, as you point out, as GOD, it was a culmination of a long standing plan. *
*NIV Hebrews 9:16-28
16. In the case of a will, it is necessary to prove the death of the one who made it,
17. because a will is in force only when somebody has died; it never takes effect while the one who made it is living.
18. This is why even the first covenant was not put into effect without blood.
19. When Moses had proclaimed every commandment of the law to all the people, he took the blood of calves, together with water, scarlet wool and branches of hyssop, and sprinkled the scroll and all the people.
20. He said, "This is the blood of the covenant, which God has commanded you to keep."
21. In the same way, he sprinkled with the blood both the tabernacle and everything used in its ceremonies.
22. In fact, the law requires that nearly everything be cleansed with blood, and without the shedding of blood there is no forgiveness.
23. It was necessary, then, for the copies of the heavenly things to be purified with these sacrifices, but the heavenly things themselves with better sacrifices than these.
24. For Christ did not enter a man-made sanctuary that was only a copy of the true one; he entered heaven itself, now to appear for us in God's presence.
25. Nor did he enter heaven to offer himself again and again, the way the high priest enters the Most Holy Place every year with blood that is not his own.
26. Then Christ would have had to suffer many times since the creation of the world. But now he has appeared once for all at the end of the ages to do away with sin by the sacrifice of himself.
27. Just as man is destined to die once, and after that to face judgment,
28. so Christ was sacrificed once to take away the sins of many people; and he will appear a second time, not to bear sin, but to bring salvation to those who are waiting for him.
* NIV Ephesians 1:4-5
4. For he chose us in him before the creation of the world to be holy and blameless in his sight. In love
5. he predestined us to be adopted as his sons through Jesus Christ, in accordance with his pleasure and will--
NIV 1 Peter 1:18-20
18. For you know that it was not with perishable things such as silver or gold that you were redeemed from the empty way of life handed down to you from your forefathers,
19. but with the precious blood of Christ, a lamb without blemish or defect.
20. He was chosen before the creation of the world, but was revealed in these last times for your sake.
Slavery by Man ends at death,
while the slavery by Sin continues after death!
1 Corinthians 15:54-55
When the perishable has been clothed with the imperishable, and the mortal with immortality, then the saying that is written will come true: "Death has been swallowed up in victory."
"Where, O death, is your victory? Where, O death, is your sting?"
Maybe this is implied:
* 'to my satisfaction.'
The clincher for me was this:
Just STOP and sit down, wherever you are and LOOK. Everywhere you look, there is order, at an almost unimaginable level. Everything in your room was placed there. Did it just appear? Did it self-organize? If someone believes in evolution, have them flip a coin 50 times for me, and see if you get 50 heads in a row. The odds of the world happening with all of its order is Many Many times that.
All Christians must accept many things on faith that "do not make sense":
- The Trinity.
- Why did our Lord have to die for our sins, couldn't He have simply forgiven them?
Of course all of us "struggle" with our faith, because we are imperfect, but we do not abandon our faith simply because it does not meet our finite intellectual abilities.
Nice home page!
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