CFI Advisor Susan Jacoby on Atheism

Article in today’s NYTimes HERE]:

The Blessings of Atheism By SUSAN JACOBY Published: January 5, 2013 IN a recent conversation with a fellow journalist, I voiced my exasperation at the endless talk about faith in God as the only consolation for those devastated by the unfathomable murders in Newtown, Conn. Some of those grieving parents surely believe, as I do, that this is our one and only life. Atheists cannot find solace in the idea that dead children are now angels in heaven. “That only shows the limits of atheism," my colleague replied. “It’s all about nonbelief and has nothing to offer when people are suffering." ...

The “afterlife” is a tool often used by people who have no control over the current situation they are in in that case it may be useful as it allows these people to move beyond their current situations. It is also used by those, such as the gun lobby, who do not want the situation to change because it works in their favor.

I recently ran I into a situation when I talked to my neighbour who’s wife just died of cancer, and where I almost wished both he and I were religious. I had no idea what to say. Everything I could think of sounded so personal and I felt it would be so much easier to say “well, she’s in a better place now.”
Maybe I am still too young and inexperienced in these kind of situations as people whom I know are only now beginning to die.

Article in today's NYTimes HERE]:
Thanks Doug - I had come up to computer room to send a note out. Excellent article, with the key point that atheists consider life precious, because it ends.

And she got the typical responses from theists who seem to think that because it has to end someday, life (for atheists) must be “meaningless”. >sigh!<

More Young People Are Moving Away From Religion, But Why?
http://www.npr.org/2013/01/15/169342349/more-young-people-are-moving-away-from-religion-but-why
psik

More Young People Are Moving Away From Religion, But Why?
From what I was seeing in the article, more and more of them are moving away from religion because they're coming to realize that there's nothing about it that makes sense.
More Young People Are Moving Away From Religion, But Why?
From what I was seeing in the article, more and more of them are moving away from religion because they're coming to realize that there's nothing about it that makes sense.
That and the fact that religion relies on having a THEM that US can consider the enemy. Kids nowadays are connected to each other, even around the world, more and more. And that's not good for maintaining Us vs Them.
That and the fact that religion relies on having a THEM that US can consider the enemy. Kids nowadays are connected to each other, even around the world, more and more. And that’s not good for maintaining Us vs Them.
This interconnection via the Internet and media may alert the kids to be skeptical about their pre-chosen (parents dragging them to church) belief but it's more than pounding dogma into their heads. We are already programmed to think us vs. them and naturally seek the acceptance of the group and find a place in it, whatever that group may be, and will usually remain loyal to it. Groups are confronting and that is partially why IMO church doors will stay open. The kids are still grouping themselves but in a different context and with Skype they can communicate visually now. That's helpful for the exchange of ideas but won't alter our need to belong to a group and family ties are very strong, compelling kids to "stay with faith of their fathers" . Look at the mega-churches, the traditional cult like communities (Amish, Hutterite, ammonite Hasidic Jews) the split offs like mormonism, supposedly the fastest growing, mainstream sects too numerous to mention, scientology, Evangelical groups that incubate the southern kids and the fundamentalist movement in general. Suffice it to say that religion won't disappear anytime soon as long as it gives a kid an identity in a group. IMO we need more skeptic groups for them to join. Like minds like like minds. http://jupapadoc.startlogic.com/compresearch/papers/JCR07-4.pdf Cap't Jack

There are also those who have religious beliefs that conform with observable facts as much as any scientific theory. Their beliefs do not conflict with science as they do not attempt to address issues that are observable/provable through scientific means.

There are also those who have religious beliefs that conform with observable facts as much as any scientific theory.
Yeah, Jesus didn't die on the cross. He merely transformed himself into a dormant endospore for the next three days. When everybody cleared the cave, he reactivated himself back to his human state. Then he took off to the clouds. Like this: http://upload.wikimedia.org/math/6/2/b/62bea444dff53e1f3b85baf71bd311e5.png
There are also those who have religious beliefs that conform with observable facts as much as any scientific theory. Their beliefs do not conflict with science as they do not attempt to address issues that are observable/provable through scientific means.
I'm not being facetious Dan but you need to explain what you mean by "observable facts" that conform to religious beliefs. What observable facts bolster religious claims, such as the one George mentions? Cap't Jack

People please remember the difference between theology and social organization. The social organization is much more important. When we are arguing that the world and its youth is becoming less religious we need to examine why this type of social organization is no longer seen as beneficial to the particular individuals that are leaving it. Is general society better off without these often useful mutual support organizations or possibly something replacing them? Or is our relatively wealthy and bureaucratic society no longer in need of mutual support.
Time to look at this scientifically.

Is general society better off without these often useful mutual support organizations or possibly something replacing them? Or is our relatively wealthy and bureaucratic society no longer in need of mutual support.
My opinion: None of the above. I think that religion is more and more being rejected because it's being seen for the scam that it is. Cults founded not on reason but on fear, superstition, and more often then not, just plain bigotry. If we want to find out whether or not this is really the case, the only way I can think of to get that done is for some scientific surveys to be accomplished.

Gary’s right. It IS a social organization, a THEOLOGICAL social organization based on EOCs contention of superstitution and fear, but it does serve some communal purpose. It gives the youth especially a sense of belonging and purpose. I would venture to say that those leaving the church are in their early 20s, are educated beyond a public education and no longer need the church as a means to socialize with like minded people because they are no longer like minded. In short, they lost their belief, their faith in supernatural explanations for life. That’s not to say that all church members are ignorant but that they suspend reality for the feel good atmosphere their church provides. It can be awfully cold out their in the real World of strangers and mere acquaintances but in the theological social org. People at least pretend to care or are altruistic, hence the mega churches with less stress in hard core dogma and more on glad handing acceptance. Even though the Nones are growing it’s going to be a long time before we turn our churches into museums.
Cap’t Jack

As posted previously I am reading Diamond’s “The World Until Testerday”. Just finished Chpt 2 which deals with justice systems, very interesting, there is a chapter about religion, whuch also should be intersting. Let you know more when I get to it.