Atheism and religion in the news XXIII
Here we go again. Kenya: Good People Doing Evil Things An interesting news story from Africa.
I FIND THE GOD DELUSION BY RICHARD Dawkins particularly relevant to Kenya's current political impasse: Why has it been felt necessary to call in religious leaders to broker peace? Have their pleas to the gangs of the discontented and dispossessed to put down their machetes helped? Of course not. Even the great Archbishop Desmond Tutu failed to achieve anything.
Dawkins asks of just such initiatives that involve the clergy: "But why the chaplain? Why not the gardener or the chef? Why are scientists so cravenly respectful towards the ambitions of theologians over questions that theologians are certainly no more qualified to answer than scientists themselves?"
Could it be that religion is part of the problem and not the solution? Has a blind faith in God and religious leaders led to a kind of fatalism and willingness which leads people to hand over responsibility for important decisions in their lives to others, in this case men who are clearly not cut out for the job? Dawkins even doubts that theology is a subject at all.
I swear, I’m such a masochist. I was digging around YouTube looking for a really bad version of “Amazing Grace”; not just any bad version, but one I had seen on some Jesus Infomercial a few years ago. After sifting through 20 pages of Amazing Grace videos (that’s 400 videos, mind you), I gave up.
I did, however, find “The Collapse of Atheism” a four-part series of videos that informs viewers that, well… atheism has collapsed. That’s certainly news to me. Part one starts with “Atheism… in other words, the denial of God, has existed since the very earliest times”, then it’s all downhill from there. Pay no mind to the “saintbirgitta.com” watermark; I’m pretty sure it’s a Harun Yahya production. Remember, Harun Yahya is the guy who used photographs of fly fishing lures to disprove evolution, so you can expect the same quality of evidence used to disprove atheism.
I’ll have to confess… I haven’t even watched all four of the videos. The stupid burns so badly that I’m worried one of the many straw men in the video will catch fire if I watch for more than a few minutes. How long can you last?
“POLYGAMY”, the comedian Stephen Colbert quipped, “comes from the Greek ‘poly’ meaning multiple and ‘gamy’, meaning reasons not to vote for Mitt Romney.” Now that the Mormon former governor of Massachusetts has abandoned the race and endorsed John McCain, will the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints—an important voting-group in several states—follow his lead?
Utah, the centre of the Mormon universe, preferred George Bush to John Kerry by 46 points in 2004. But Mormons took a beating during Mr Romney's run. In a Pew poll from December, a quarter of Americans and 36% of white evangelicals expressed reservations about voting for one. A study from Vanderbilt University concluded that conservative Christians cited unrelated concerns about Mr Romney to mask their discomfort with his faith.
As a fluorescent light flickers nervously in the corner of a room at Pink Triangle Services, Mike Jan drags chairs into a circle and waits for people to arrive. The week before, during a vicious snowstorm, no one showed up. This week, two people attend in addition to Jan and his collaborator, Matt Ellis.
"Is this the secular sobriety thing?" asks one man, a newcomer, before settling into a chair.
As the hour progresses, secularism is discussed just as much as sobriety. The four men alternate between swapping stories about fighting the daily temptations of their addictions, and relating their frustrations with the God-centric attitude they found to be omnipresent at Alcoholics Anonymous meetings.