Tag: atheism

Hark! Good News: Religion less popular

March 9, 2009

Religiosity is waning in the U.S. Non-belief has almost doubled since 1990.

A wide-ranging study on American religious life found that the Roman Catholic population has been shifting out o of the Northeast to the Southwest, the percentage of Christians in the nation has declined and more people say they have no religion at all.

Fifteen percent of respondents said they had no religion, an increase from 14.2 percent in 2001 and 8.2 percent in 1990, according to the American Religious Identification Survey.

Non belief (not the same as atheism) is still a distinct minority, but I’m heartened with the trend line, since I think religion is mostly a negative influence on society. Some of my best friends are progressive Christians, but they are the exception, not the rule.

The number of people who say they have no religion rose in every state. In Oklahoma, the percentage went from 7% to 11% since 1990.

Overall, the study shows there is more variety in religious belief than media discourse and political grandstanding would indicate.

OK State Rep: I’ll raise your intolerance of my intolerance with some inane illogic, and a resolution in the state legislature to ship your atheist ass back to Oxford

March 5, 2009

So, Oklahoma progressive thinker, did you think you could not possibly be more embarrassed by duly elected representatives in your state, after the Sally Kerns affair of last year, and the Scott Jones/gay prayer protest last month? Oh, ye of little imagination — the authoritarian right is running rings around you, thinking of stupid things to do on the public’s dime.

On Monday, in anticipation of the public lecture of scientist and avowed atheist Richard Dawkins at OU tomorrow (which I plan to attend), Rep. Todd Thomsen filed a resolution demanding that his invitation be retracted, and in so many words, that 5000 years of collective human wisdom be shitcanned, and that all activity that could ever conceivably be considered “thinking” cease in this state immediately and permanently.

WHEREAS, the University of Oklahoma is a publicly funded institution which should be open to all ideas and should train students in all disciplines of study and research and to use independent thinking and free inquiry; and

WHEREAS, the University of Oklahoma has planned a year-long celebration of the 200th birthday of Charles Darwin and the 150th anniversary of Darwin’s theory of evolution, called the “Darwin 2009 Project”, which includes a series of lectures, public speakers, and a course on the history of evolution; and

WHEREAS, the University of Oklahoma, as a part of the Darwin 2009 Project, has invited as a public speaker on campus, Richard Dawkins of Oxford University, whose published opinions, as represented in his 2006 book “The God Delusion”, and public statements on the theory of evolution demonstrate an intolerance for cultural diversity and diversity of thinking and are views that are not shared and are not representative of the thinking of a majority of the citizens of Oklahoma; and

WHEREAS, the invitation for Richard Dawkins to speak on the campus of the University of Oklahoma on Friday, March 6, 2009, will only serve to present a biased philosophy on the theory of evolution to the exclusion of all other divergent considerations rather than teaching a scientific concept.

NOW, THEREFORE, BE IT RESOLVED BY THE HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES OF THE 1ST SESSION OF THE 52ND OKLAHOMA LEGISLATURE:

THAT the Oklahoma House of Representative strongly opposes the invitation to speak on the campus of the University of Oklahoma to Richard Dawkins of Oxford University, whose published statements on the theory of evolution and opinion about those who do not believe in the theory are contrary and offensive to the views and opinions of most citizens of Oklahoma.

THAT the Oklahoma House of Representatives encourages the University of Oklahoma to engage in an open, dignified, and fair discussion of the Darwinian theory of evolution and all other scientific theories which is the approach that a public institution should be engaged in and which represents the desire and interest of the citizens of Oklahoma.

THAT a copy of this resolution be transmitted to the President of the University of Oklahoma, the Dean of the College of Arts and Science at the University of Oklahoma, and the Chair of the Department of Zoology at the University of Oklahoma.

Naturally, this has once again made Oklahoma the laughingstock of Western civilization. Even Utah — freaking Utah! — shuts up its crazy-ass politicians so the rest of the state doesn’t have to be associated with such ignorant fundamentalism.

A religious calling

October 23, 2007

When Atheists Evangelize

This cartoon makes me think of my Quaker friend Christine O’Brien, who died last November ending a beautiful life, deeply lived. We would have had a great conversation about it, laughing, talking about Zen koans, Quaker meetings in which not a word is said, but everyone feels connected and full of love at the end, or about brief but powerful messages, like “Attention” that get everyone vibrating silently. She would bring out one of her little Paragraph magazines, and read a prose poem we both would consider “cosmic”.

And we would sit and watch the light move across her patio and through the French doors into the dining room, playing shadows across art objects, dried flowers, rows of little stones and beads, books, lots of natural wood and wonderful, wonderful food in handmade plates.

What some people call “religious” is just a bunch of noise and anxiety. You really don’t have to say, or hear, a thing to feel connected to something powerful. In fact, the less said, the better.