“ATHEIST-branded packages were 10 times more likely to disappear.”
I really dislike Christopher Hitchens, mainly because apart from the atheism thing he is almost always wrong. And he is an asshole. Sometimes brilliant, often funny, but still an asshole.
HOWEVER, I saw this yesterday on the BBC and now it’s on Youtube:
«Is the Catholic church a force for good in the world?» was the topic of the latest Intelligence² Debate. Watching Hitchens make his opening statement (for the motion), I almost like him again. Oh, and later comes Stephen Frey!
You should watch the whole thing:
“Make sure that you move beyond “their faith.” Usually atheists are atheists because they refuse to accept belief based on faith alone. Therefore, stand up and give reasonable arguments for why God does exist. You will reach far more atheists that way.”
Um, yeah. That should work.
Also: “Have no fear — for, if you are persecuted for God’s namesake — great is your reward in heaven. Yet, be aware that enraged people may totally despise your treasure of wisdom. If you throw your pearls of faith at them or in front of them, then it may all get stomped into the dirt and jumped on.”
More than half of adult Americans report they have had a spiritual experience that changed their lives. Now, scientists from universities like Harvard, Pennsylvania and Johns Hopkins are using new technologies to analyze the brains of people who claim they have touched the spiritual — from Christians who speak in tongues to Buddhist monks to people who claim to have had near-death experiences. Hear what they have discovered in this controversial field, as the science of spirituality continues to evolve.
French woman, recently converted to Islam
(in a teevee piece I saw today)
I hear and read many people calling themselves atheists, and just out of some combination of curiosity and intense interest wonder how many of them are actually agnostic.
So many people confuse the two because unfortunately agnosticism is frequently folded under atheism by many of the loudest voices. But there is a very important difference between them.
In short (at the risk of criminally generalizing an important topic): an atheist believes there are no dieties in existence, while agnostics believe such an existence is unkowable or is at least not know to them.
The latter of the latter is where I file myself, as an “open agnostic”.
To me this means: I have no idea what the hell is going on, but I will listen to any argument, discussion, or case presented me to some extent to help me find out.
In other words: my faith is on the market. The first superhuman thing to present itself to me gets my vote.
If Jesus and the aliens happen to knock on my door at the same time, my faith will go to the winner of a best-of-seven tetherball series.
It wasn’t always this way. As a matter of fact: I was at one point on my way into ministry as some of you know. I lost that faith in the process for all kinds of reasons, as many of us have. Intolerance was one of the most significant.
So I’m as open-minded as they come in this arena, but that’s because it suits me and where I am in life.
Faith is a very personal matter, and I never criticize anyone else’s. If you want to believe Voltron determines which people get sick, then do it. Just don’t expect others to. More importantly: don’t demand they do.
…but if you wanted to tell me about it, I’d still listen.
I call myself an Atheist because I am pretty sure that no religious concept ever constructed makes any sense. Now, “pretty sure” might qualify as an agnostic approach for some, it might even be unreasonable to pretend you know there is no such entity; but facing believers™ an approach as “I’m not sure, but I’m open” is weak ground for debate.
So here is this for you who don’t know what’s what and where we come from and why.
(via Everything Is Terrible)