Articles about Religion
The story of the Tower of Babel, annotated for your reading pleasure.
Are you religious, or are you an atheist? It’s a pretty common question, and it goes hand-in-hand with a pretty common assumption: you’re either one or the other. If you identify as “an atheist” you are presumed to not be religious, and if you identify as “religious” then you are presumed to believe in some kind of god. But this idea is completely wrong. There are religious atheists, there are areligious theists, and an incredible tapestry of different combinations in between.
For the last few years, conservatives in various states have been pushing to have monuments to the 10 Commandments erected on state property. The standard line is that it isn’t a “religious symbol” but rather is a tribute to the influence that the 10 Commandments have had, culturally, on our laws and legal system. But if we take that argument seriously, we have to consider: were the 10 Commandments REALLY the very beginning of these traditions? As it turns out, there is a legal system much older that, when you do the math, is even more strongly related than the 10 Commandments is to the laws we have today.
When I was in college and did a lot of LSD (that’s ok to admit these days, right? I mean, it was more than 20 years ago), I gained a real appreciation for the beauty and complexity of the world around me. I was a cognitive science major, and already had a deep appreciation for computational complexity and the profound nature of systems theory. But while on LSD, that intellectual understanding was transformed into a strong emotional sense–a feeling of awe. And that feeling had a strong influence on how I view both the physical world, and spirituality.
I recently wrote an article for the Daily Dot, Politics, the Dark Lord, and Hobby Lobby: An interview with the Satanic Temple, about the political activism of the Satanic Temple, and the question on so many people’s minds: Is it all just some kind of prank? The quick answer is “no”. But there is another organization, the Church of Satan, that is very much opposed to the type of political activism that the Satanic Temple engages in. I reached out to Magus Peter H. Gilmore, a spokesperson for the Church of Satan, to find why. And the response that I got blew me away!
A short while back, the government of Turkey told the world that they seized a book from smugglers that appears to be about 1500 years old. The book claims, among other things, that Jesus wasn’t crucified, was not resurrected, and was a prophet but not the “son of God”. The internet freaked out, with claims like “THE VATICAN IN AWE!” and suggestions that this will grievously disrupt the Christian church. All of that is wrong. The reality is, there are tons of 1800+ year old books about Jesus that say some of the most cracked-out weird-ass shit you’ve ever seen. So for fun, let’s take a look as some examples.
Based on the title, you’re going to assume that this is just another religion-bashing article. It isn’t. This article is about finding a way to deepen your faith by understanding that many people have faith, and not everyone agree with you. This means that one of the projects of faith should always be to understand your own relationship to the truth, as a human being who is flawed. In the end, that means that if you believe in God, the first step to deeper faith is understanding that your beliefs might be stupid.
I. Foititus: Do you believe in a higher power? Didaskalus: Higher? In what sense? Foititus: Do you believe in a power greater than yourself? Didaskalus: Absolutely! Gravity. Electromagnetism. That force that holds protons together in the nucleus of an atom… Foititus: No, I mean do you believe in a will, or a consciousness that is […]
I. Foititus: Which does a better job of explaining the origin of the universe, religion or science? Didaskalus: Neither. Foititus: You surprise me, Didaskalus! Knowing you as I do, I was certain that you would choose science! Didaskalus: Hmm… maybe I misunderstood your question. What sort of explanation do you think that science has for […]
Religious beliefs have a lot in common with paranoid “conspiracy theory” beliefs. It’s worth taking a look, and asking the question: Is God just one big conspiracy theory? First, let’s look at some of the superficial similarities between the most common religious beliefs and paranoid “conspiracy theory” types of beliefs. 1) There is something that […]
Greg Stevens [Greg]: I loved your book, Faitheist. I was raised by an atheist father and a Unitarian mother, and was taught that it is important to respect the important role that religion plays, and always has played, in society. So I often find myself in a similar situation as you: defending atheism when among […]
“I don’t understand how you can believe that,” I said. “I know,” he replied. “But that’s ok, right? I mean… you don’t always have to understand, do you?” Sometimes the right comment, from the right person, can change the way you see the world. I’ve gone through a lot of changes in the way I […]
Greg: I’ve long been of the opinion that atheists’ rights will be the next big civil rights movement in the United States, after gay rights. And now an article from the Huffington Post this week seems to be pointing in that direction. It says, “In at least seven U.S. states, constitutional provisions are in place […]
Just because I’m an atheist doesn’t mean that I live in a world without sin and punishment. In fact, I sinned today… and I was punished. I’m currently in the middle of a 20 day visit to Hawaii. As on most long trips, I made a special order from bodybuilding.com for the supplements that I […]
Some religious groups are pushing the teaching of “divine mathematics”: elementary-level mathematics education with a religious slant. This news has been making the rounds on liberal political websites, with the expected combination of horror and mockery. But I don’t think there is anything wrong with including God in mathematics education… as long as it’s done […]
Every once in a while, a new discovery is made in science that is only partially-understood. Inevitably, this gets reported to the masses in a watered-down way by news writers who do not understand science, and there is a great cry: “The foundations of science are crumbling! Science discovers thing that is impossible to explain! […]
I was first introduced to Darrel Ray through an interview with him that I heard on the David Pakman Show. He was talking about something called “The Therapist Project” which describes itself as “a nationwide effort to match secular clients with secular psychotherapists.” Phrased another way, it is a resource to help people who are […]