I’m Ready to Believe!

ok god, i'm ready to believe. show me the evidence

via wtfschmuck.tumblr.com

Any deity that refuses evidence honors the intellectually dishonest, the ignorant, and the gullible.

… Or this deity is totally hands-off and doesn’t give a shit, which basically means we don’t need to give a shit either.

… Or this deity doesn’t exist.

Choices, choices.

August 16, 2010  |  god, religion, skepticism and freethought  |  18 Comments

The Nature of Existence and World Religions

I attended the screening for “The Nature of Existence” tonight. Since I blogged about the film last week, I wanted to follow up with my thoughts and reactions.

Director Roger Nygard interviewed over 100 people of different nationalities and beliefs. I heard the views of scientists in the same minute as Jainists, Native Americans, and New Age gurus.

Everyone answered the same 85 questions. Much of the insight I’ve heard or read before,  but the most striking part of this documentary was the cacophony of thought and theory made up by all of these radically diverse groups. At first, It just felt like a  mess of  totally unrelated beliefs.  I laughed quite a bit–both at the absurdly delusional and the fabulously comedic. Not until the very end when I had a time to reflect did I see the larger point.

It may seem simplistic, but I came away from The Nature of Existence with a renewed compassion for spiritual and religious people. My curiosity about world religions and the individuals that follow them has ballooned once again. Becoming an atheist may have brought a new realization that religion is based on delusion and  unnecessary, but hearing people of all different philosophies ponder why we exist and what it means to live a good life just makes me want to be kinder and more open to those who are on the same journey as I am. The difference between us is which path we choose to get there.

There may be a larger truth, but no one religion has it. Even science doesn’t fully understand yet. We search for meaning because it’s part of our natures. Let’s just be kind to one another  along the way, ok?

P.S. Go see the movie! Support independent film makers!

I Apologize to Science!

May I present you with today’s episode of Your Daily Woo, brought to you—very unfortunately—by me. Try to figure out why I’m ashamed to have bought the following product:
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I swear I didn’t know! It was 2009! I didn’t even use them! If I had realized what the label claimed, I wouldn’t have bought the silly things.

Dear science, please forgive me for purchasing homeopathic “medicine.”

The label says “No risk of side effects. No expiration date.” Of course there are no side effects and no expiration date. There’s nothing in them to cause a reaction! The main ingredient is bullshit.

Teenagers Ditching Youth Group & Church

photo by marcia furman

USA Today published a short piece on how the days of overcrowded youth groups and church trips are over.

Only about one in four teens now participate in church youth groups, considered the hallmark of involvement; numbers have been flat since 1999. Other measures of religiosity — prayer, Bible reading and going to church — lag as well, according to Barna Group, a Ventura, Calif., evangelical research company. This all has churches canceling their summer teen camps and youth pastors looking worriedly toward the fall, when school-year youth groups kick in.

A few individuals guess why kids are ditching:

“Talking to God may be losing out to Facebook,” says Barna president David Kinnaman.

“I blame the parents,”who didn’t grow up in a church culture, says Jeremy Johnston, executive pastor at First Family Church in Overland Park, Kan. … “Remember, 80% of kids don’t have cars. Their parents could be lazy or the opposite — overstressed and overcommitted. If parents don’t go to church, kids don’t, either.”

Don’t forget the overcommitted teens themselves, the recession and growing competition from summer mission trips, says Rick Gage of Go-Tell Youth Camps, based in Duluth, Ga.

But then this quote sneaks in at the very end without any explanation or curiosity from the authors:

“I started to question if it was something I always wanted to do or if I just went because my friends did,” says Atkeson, now 18. “It just wasn’t really something I wanted to continue to do. My beliefs changed. I wouldn’t consider myself a Christian anymore.”

This is where I think the article would get interesting! Why did they stop there? This may be the most important issue—beyond lazy parents and facebook.

There must be more to kids leaving Christianity other than “I’m not attending church” or “I’m not going to camps with my youth group.” Many Christians often say things like, “Going to church doesn’t make you a Christian any more than standing in a garage makes you a mechanic.” If Christianity and faith is so much more than just attending services, then what’s causing this shift in teen commitments?

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August 11, 2010  |  Christianity, religion, society  |  27 Comments