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If God Is Dead, Who Gets His House?
NY Magazine ^ | Apr 21, 2008 | Sean McManus

Posted on 04/22/2008 8:07:48 AM PDT by forkinsocket

The fastest-growing faith in America is no faith at all. And now some atheists think they need a church.

It seems unlikely that many of the 850 or so people at the Society for Ethical Culture on a recent Saturday night believed that God was still extant. But evolutionary biologist Richard Dawkins, author of The God Delusion and possibly the most famous atheist in the world, was not taking any chances. He gave a PowerPoint presentation driving home that religion does not meet any of the standards of basic scientific inquiry, before casually flicking away a few of His last crutches. Doesn’t God provide people some solace? asked an audience member. “Isn’t that a little childish?” Dawkins replied. “Just because something is comforting doesn’t mean it’s true.” Then someone asked about death, and Dawkins quoted Mark Twain: “I do not fear death. I had been dead for billions and billions of years before I was born.”

The room erupted in loud applause. God had definitely left the building—if he were ever here at all. Dawkins and his colleagues had helped to produce a kind of atheist big bang, a new beginning. But what kind of new structures might evolve?

The Society for Ethical Culture was formed in 1877, eighteen years after Charles Darwin published On the Origin of Species and made the religious universe wobble on its axis. But godlessness can be a little scary, even for an atheist. Ethical Culture’s imposing 1910 edifice on Central Park speaks to its patrons’ wealth, as well as their concern that society might fall apart if it didn’t have a church. But for all the grandeur of its secular cathedral, Ethical Culture peaked at maybe 6,000 members, with only about 3,000 today.

Now, once again, nonbelievers have a fresh sense of mission.

(Excerpt) Read more at nymag.com ...


TOPICS: Culture/Society
KEYWORDS: antitheists; atheismandstate; atheists; church; culturewar; dawkins; ethicalculture; religiousintolerance; richarddawkins; socforethicalculture; thenogodgod; whereisyourgodnow
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1 posted on 04/22/2008 8:07:48 AM PDT by forkinsocket
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To: forkinsocket

Ah, Dawkins. The “biologist” who couldn’t begin to describe the basic chemistry of RNA? The “biologist” to whom elementary quantum physics (the regulator of all things - life or otherwise) would be a mystery. Yup, he’s gonna tell me about God. Gads, he wouldn’t last in my freshmen classes, let alone some real science stuff. Why doesn’t he stick to his basic memorization meme and leave real science to the rest of us. Actually, I don’t really think that God even gives a remote care about his thoughts... since they’re so obviously weak and ill organized.


2 posted on 04/22/2008 8:11:45 AM PDT by Da Coyote
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To: forkinsocket; HarleyD; Salvation; NYer; Dr. Eckleburg; PAR35; Quix; xzins; Huber
The latest wave of God-bashing books are nothing but retreads of old arguments.

The rants contained in them are easily refuted by those who have ears to hear.

3 posted on 04/22/2008 8:12:58 AM PDT by Gamecock ("I find your lack of faith-disturbing" Darth Vader)
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To: forkinsocket

This guy’s gonna get one hell of a shock when he finally kicks off.


4 posted on 04/22/2008 8:13:58 AM PDT by reagan_fanatic (feh)
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To: forkinsocket

More power to Dawkens and his fellow atheist evangelists!

Now go to Saudi Arabia and evangelize the heathens there please.


5 posted on 04/22/2008 8:14:55 AM PDT by Incorrigible (If I lead, follow me; If I pause, push me; If I retreat, kill me.)
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To: forkinsocket

Dawkins is absolutely sure and so must be applying an absolute standard. Whose is it? Sigh. Thanks, Fork, for keeping us posted on the march of intellectually bankrupt thought!


6 posted on 04/22/2008 8:17:26 AM PDT by madameguinot (Liberal Idealogy: Peace and Torture)
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To: Incorrigible

The French tried this once when they turned the churches into “Temples of Reason”. History in hindsight calls this period “The Reign of Terror”.


7 posted on 04/22/2008 8:17:36 AM PDT by massgopguy (I owe everything to George Bailey)
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To: forkinsocket

Dear Editor:

Who gets to define what is good, moral, charitable, evil, etc.? You? Me? MTV? A Saddam? A Stalin?

To ancient Aztecs - cutting out the still beating heart of a human sacrifices (including children) was the highest order of good.

To a large percent of Muslims - killing, raping and enslaving infidels is the highest order of good in Islam.

To Hindus - Attacking, ignoring, prejudicing against and letting die for people in lower order castes is perfectly alright.

To certain Pacific Tribes - eating your enemy was the highest form of good.

And I could go on for pages...

The works we hold in value in the West are good works from a Christian viewpoint:

Matthew 22:37-40 — Jesus replied: “Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind. This is the first and greatest commandment. And the second is like it: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself. All the Law and the Prophets hang on these two commandments.”

And Jesus also said “Do unto others as you would have them do unto you.” (Luke 6:31; Luke 10:27 (affirming of Moses) and Matthew 7:12)

But by no means has this “philosophy” been accepted the world over as “good or moral.” Not by a long shot.

What makes murder inherently wrong (to Christians) is not that it feels wrong, but that a transcendent Creator to whom we are answerable commands: “Thou shalt not murder.” What makes kindness to others inherently right (to Christians) is not that human reason says so, but that God does: “Love thy neighbor as thyself; I am the Lord.”

For what is “good or evil” without God? Without any footing for moral actions - anything can be rationalized as good or evil. You can just make it up as you go along. Good actions can be whatever society thinks it is with the popular culture at the time. If that be in Nazi Germany or Pol Pot’s Cambodia or North Korea - that means doing “good” is slaughtering millions of people and sending millions more into misery. But, by their own human standards at the time in history, they were all doing good.

You grew up and live in a country founded in Judeo-Christian values, so it may seem obvious to you what is “good.” But that is due to the Judeo-Christian influences on you (even if you don’t believe in God or never have been to Church). To others without that kind of influence, doing “good” can be radically different.

Regards,

2banana


8 posted on 04/22/2008 8:18:22 AM PDT by 2banana (My common ground with terrorists - they want to die for islam and we want to kill them)
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To: Gamecock

People don’t give their money to organizations that have no authority to ask for it.


9 posted on 04/22/2008 8:21:48 AM PDT by xzins (Retired Army Chaplain -- Those denying the War was Necessary Do NOT Support the Troops!)
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To: Da Coyote

He really sounds like a scared and insecure little person.

His argument that design was a part of the origins of life, but that it must have been highly evolved ETs that designed it is circular, begs the question, and really can’t hold up -

why would a super intelligent ET seed a planet with a single celled organism if they had fully “evolved” critters to drop?


10 posted on 04/22/2008 8:22:13 AM PDT by MrB (You can't reason people out of a position that they didn't use reason to get into in the first place)
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To: massgopguy
The French tried this once when they turned the churches into “Temples of Reason”. History in hindsight calls this period “The Reign of Terror”

Excellent post.

11 posted on 04/22/2008 8:25:35 AM PDT by agere_contra
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To: forkinsocket
The fastest-growing faith in America is no faith at all.

Challenge.

12 posted on 04/22/2008 8:28:53 AM PDT by wideawake (Why is it that those who call themselves Constitutionalists know the least about the Constitution?)
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To: forkinsocket

The IRS


13 posted on 04/22/2008 8:38:46 AM PDT by Darth Hillary (we're both liars - but he's a racist.)
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To: forkinsocket

After watching this clown Dawkins struggle to answer even the most basic challenges to his positions posed by Ben Stein in Expelled, I can’t believe anyone gives this guy the time of day. What passes for ‘genius’ and ‘expertise’ in the liberal world of academia is an embarrassment, for all involved.


14 posted on 04/22/2008 8:39:32 AM PDT by raptor29
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To: forkinsocket

Once again, atheists are being defined by their opponents. The only thing that all atheists have in common is an understanding that there is no proof for the existance of a god.

There are atheist jihadists, people who treat atheism as a religion, but the vast majority simply are like everyone else and live like everyone else.

This article, like “Expelled”, was timed for release around the visit of the Pope in a cynical ploy to make money off of the faithful. Contrary to the implication of the article, athism isn’t a religion and it doesn’t need churches. There is literally nothing to celebrate or worship. I am aware of no “hymns” in atheism. I assume the author meant they sang songs. People sing “take me out to the ballgame” during the seventh inning stretch. A baseball stadium isn’t a church and that song isn’t a hymn.

Religion ain’t science and atheism ain’t religion.


15 posted on 04/22/2008 8:42:57 AM PDT by Soliton (McCain couldn't even win a McCain look-alike contest)
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To: forkinsocket
If God Is Dead, Who Gets His House?
Like "Global Cooling" this ploy was a big deal back in the 60s.
The pinko-commies just never give up.

16 posted on 04/22/2008 8:52:51 AM PDT by oh8eleven (RVN '67-'68)
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To: forkinsocket

Whether those people believe it or not, we ALL belong to God. We are on this earth for a purpose, God’s purpose.

There are some who think they are in charge of their lives. They are. But, God still uses them.

Those of us that accept God’s will, know our purpose and do not fear “death”. We also know that the Bible requires faith. It will never be understood by closed minds and hearts.

Faith is required to unlock its meaning.


17 posted on 04/22/2008 9:00:23 AM PDT by wizr ("Today we are engaged in a final all out battle between Communism and Christianity." - Joe McCarthy)
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To: wizr

David Aikman, former TIME correspondent, recently wrote The Delusion of Disbelief: Why the New Atheism Is a Threat to Your Life, Liberty, and Pursuit of Happiness. It’s a solid read.

www.isanyoneupthere.com


18 posted on 04/22/2008 9:13:09 AM PDT by cdga5for4
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To: Gamecock

“The latest wave of God-bashing books are nothing but retreads of old arguments.”

I have never understood why atheists would write “God-bashing” literature. Why be derogatory about something that doesn’t exist?

Atheists are perhaps the most definite proof that God DOES EXIST.


19 posted on 04/22/2008 9:33:53 AM PDT by 353FMG (Don't make the mistake to think that Government is a Friend of the People)
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To: cdga5for4

Thanks. Hope this makes a direct link.


20 posted on 04/22/2008 9:33:59 AM PDT by wizr ("Today we are engaged in a final all out battle between Communism and Christianity." - Joe McCarthy)
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To: wizr

http://www.isanyoneupthere.com/


21 posted on 04/22/2008 9:34:44 AM PDT by wizr ("Today we are engaged in a final all out battle between Communism and Christianity." - Joe McCarthy)
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To: forkinsocket

My problem is not with God but with an anthropomorphic God. We can choose to refer to God in ways that are cartoonish or in ways that reflect the true nature of the Laws of the Universe. I happen to believe that science gives us a more accurate idea about how an infinite Universe composed of matter, energy, space and time can produce sentient minds (us).

We are Christ-like in that we can discover how the Universe is constructed and appreciate the miracle of existence. All other considerations about God are metaphor projections of aspects of our own subconscious- God as just, avenger, parental, guiding, having a “plan”, etc.; these are all human attributes.

The Universe seen through a telescope is anything but human, however we are derived from it- that is the God/Christ connection. The problem with metaphor religions is that they require ministers and imams to tell us what it all means or we have personal epiphanies guided by ministers and imams which seal the fate of our minds.

The God revealed by science is a god for free beings, accessible to all as originally conceived. The laws and patterns of the Universe discoverable by sentient minds may not press us to mama’s bosom, but they sure make life more sensible and allow us to make further discoveries and advance civilization rather than trap it in a feudal hell like them Aztecs and Hindus and Islamics.


22 posted on 04/22/2008 9:39:37 AM PDT by Yollopoliuhqui
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To: forkinsocket

God may never be but if He is, He always will be. He can not die.


23 posted on 04/22/2008 9:40:15 AM PDT by Phlap (REDNECK@LIBARTS.EDU)
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To: 2banana
To Hindus - Attacking, ignoring, prejudicing against and letting die for people in lower order castes is perfectly alright.

Please speak for yourself. Racism and slavery were also justified once, on a Biblical basis.

If one of evil life turn in his thought  
Straightly to Me, count him amidst the good;  
He hath the highway chosen; he shall grow         120
Righteous ere long; he shall attain that peace  
Which changes not. Thou Prince of India!  
Be certain none can perish, trusting Me!  
O Prithâ’s Son! Whoso will turn to Me,  
Though they be born from the very womb of Sin,         125
Woman or man; sprung of the Vaisya caste  
Or lowly disregarded Sudra,—all  
Plant foot upon the highest path; how then  
The holy Brahmans and My Royal Saints?  
Ah! ye who into this ill world are come—         130
Fleeting and false—set your faith fast on Me!  
Fix heart and thought on Me!  
   
Make me your supremest joy! and, undivided,  
Unto My rest your spirits shall be guided.




- Krishna, Bhagavad-Gita, Chptr. IX.

24 posted on 04/22/2008 9:52:25 AM PDT by CarrotAndStick (The articles posted by me needn't necessarily reflect my opinion.)
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To: Soliton

Agnosticism is a lack of faith. Atheists are dead certain in their belief that there is no god.

Some atheists are antitheists and gather to ridicule those with religious beliefs, the current wave specifically targets all of their arguments to attack Christianity.


25 posted on 04/22/2008 10:14:00 AM PDT by weegee (Vote Obama 2008 for a bitter America.)
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To: forkinsocket

INTREP for the DOOMED


26 posted on 04/22/2008 1:38:15 PM PDT by LiteKeeper (Beware the secularization of America; the Islamization of Eurabia)
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To: Soliton
The only thing that all atheists have in common is an understanding that there is no proof for the existance of a god.

Isn't it a bit of a logical leap to go from the statement "there is no proof for the existence of a god" to "there is no god"?

27 posted on 04/23/2008 11:53:27 AM PDT by Constitutionalist Conservative (Global Warming Heretic -- http://agw-heretic.blogspot.com)
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To: Constitutionalist Conservative
Isn't it a bit of a logical leap to go from the statement "there is no proof for the existence of a god" to "there is no god"? Yes.
28 posted on 04/23/2008 1:39:02 PM PDT by Soliton (McCain couldn't even win a McCain look-alike contest)
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To: forkinsocket

I don’t approve of atheism. It’s a particularly rigid and fundamentalist religion.


29 posted on 04/23/2008 1:41:34 PM PDT by Mr. Jeeves ("Wise men don't need to debate; men who need to debate are not wise." -- Tao Te Ching)
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To: forkinsocket

With acquittal of the officers charged in the Sean Bell trial, one is reminded again of the difference between real issues, such as the two systems of justice we have in this country and ‘media’ issues such as setting up atheist churches ( and gay marriage ).

In the usual deceitful manner of atheists, McManus neglects to disclose that of the 16.1 percent who are Religiously Unaffiliated, only 1.6 percent are atheists. 2.4 percent are Agnostic and the remaining 12.1 are ‘Nothing in Particular’.

Also, another LIE in the New York Magazine print version table of contents: ‘With anti-religion polemics toppings the book charts…’ according to the New York Times, only one of the bestsellers today is an ‘anti-religion’ book: The God Delusion, at # 12 on the NY Times Paperback Nonfiction Best Sellers. ’90 Minutes in Heaven’ is # 8.

The NY Times Nonfiction Best Sellers also include: Grace ( Eventually ), and The Reason for God.


30 posted on 04/25/2008 1:12:46 PM PDT by John Bryans Fontaine (Liberalism is the often challenging belief that there is more Good than Bad in Human Nature)
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