Friday, January 25

The Future of Atheism

Recently, the New York Times published a 'discussion' among six writers on the topic of religion and atheism. If you missed it, it's worth taking the time to read all the responses. Here are excerpts from a couple of the more interesting ones:
Penn Jillette: "Religion cannot and should not be replaced by atheism. Religion needs to go away and not be replaced by anything. Atheism is not a religion. It’s the absence of religion, and that’s a wonderful thing. . . . Religion is faith. Faith is belief without evidence. Belief without evidence cannot be shared. Faith is a feeling. Love is also a feeling, but love makes no universal claims. Love is pure. The lover reports on his or her feelings and needs nothing more. Faith claims knowledge of a world we share but without evidence we can share. Feeling love is beautiful. Feeling the earth is 6,000 years old is stupid."
Cord Jefferson: "Unfortunately, a great number of atheists do seem to cling to heterodoxy the way the most toxic of believers cling to orthodoxy, turning their irreverence into a stubborn religion unto itself. These are the people you see in online forums calling churchgoers 'morons' or 'brainless', displaying the same hubristic arrogance they claim to despise when it comes from the other side. Still, I think the lion’s share of the new era of atheists understand that atheism should be less about the degradation of religion and more about a celebration of the power and potential of the human being sans any omnipotent higher authority."
Is Atheism a Religion? (New York Times)