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As the numbers of non-believers and Atheists rise; of what value is Atheism and how does it effect governance?

Surveys by Gallup and The Global Index of Religiosity and Atheism indicate an increase in the acceptance of an atheistic philosophy, an increase in those who do not define themselves, as religious and a decrease in the number of people who identify, as religious.

All things change, all the time. The character and definition of deities are no exception, governments are not exempt, humanity and the universe are not exempt.
Deity belief is credited with moral and ethical codes; standards of conduct, that provide a 'truth', a road map for human conduct of both, a personal and social nature. This, 'truth', however has not resulted in any tangible results, as wars, hunger, starvation, ignorance and inhumanity persist.

If, indeed, we are moving toward an atheistic mindset, both of a personal and social construction; what are the moral and social values? Atheism, of itself, says nothing with regards to this. Atheist, originally, a pejorative, now becomes a badge of identity? Where is the operating philosophy? What is the operating philosophy?

Two Atheists of some renown come to mind, one a notable and historic savage. A man who attempted to replace the idea and practice of deity belief, with a Communist/Marxist ideology, thus placing government in an omnipotent capacity, a god. Joseph Stalin is credited with the murder of arguably, 30 to 60 million Russians and more. Is this the Atheism that is being embraced?

An author, a philosopher, an Atheist who heralded and embraced the concept and practice of individual freedom and free enterprise capitalism, one who understood the agonies of the socialism of mother Russia, Ayn Rand.

What is Atheism? How does it manifest itself in society? .

  • Mar 22 2014: People have a tendency to believe that if you are without religion you are without moral values, but in fact it is quite the opposite. The difference is, atheists find their own morals based on their observations of the world and an ability we all have to "soul search".

    Religion has always taught us to look outside ourselves for what's right, what's good, what's holy,what's strong, what's moral etc...but all the answers to these things are held within our subconscious for us to access whenever we need an answer. And the answer is often completely intuitive, religion however directs people away from this intuition and replaces it with a one size fits all solution that ends in big profits for someone somewhere along the line and an easier ability for government or certain sects to control masses (not so much now though).

    Additionally, depending on the way you interpret a particular religion will depend on what morals you take from it. Religion has resulted in the suppression of women, gays, non-beleivers and has resulted in war, genocide, civil unrest, ritual torture, etc... If these are the morals you are talking about, then we are better of without religion. However, religion I am sure has also helped many.

    Atheism encourages individualism instead of robotism. Atheists, in my opinion have a more worldly view whereas religious people are more insular. This is not to say atheists don't battle demons too.
    • Mar 23 2014: I like this comment. What you have talked about religion is 100 % correct.
    • Mar 23 2014: Some excellent points and yes, a great deal of everything is an exercise in academia, a fruitless journey, that is not less then mental masturbation. Regardless of the menusha and the self-servicing rhetoric, intelligence can be found, if that is what one seeks. Of the 8 posts you posted, the last one summed it all up nicely. The first seven are described in the first sentence of this post.
      If a common sense morality, defined by each culture, tribe, etc. to suit its own needs, did not exist prior to the coming of, lets say, the Ten commandments, the introduction and measure of morality, humans would have never survived themselves. They did however.
      The installment of a moral code is simply a code of conduct that if enforced and obeyed insures the survival of that people. Would you agree? Humans being human however, will exploit such codes for wealth and power. This is demonstrated throughout history to current events, weather religious or secular.
      You project a disdain for the collectivist authoritarian control of religion; do you feel the same way regards a secular government. You seem to embrace the individual in much that same way, as Ayn Rand and the American Bill of Rights and of course myself. I, being the lessor of that threesome.

      "Atheism is the acceptance that Humanity is an evolved, all encompassing life organism combined of physical, emotional and intellectual traits, Homo sapien-sapien." There is more to this definition, but this is the crux of the matter. I would like your feed back..
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      Mar 25 2014: Believers in Atheism encourages suppression and elimination of non-Atheist, needy, sickly/costly, uneducated, monogamist, and many others.
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      • Mar 25 2014: hat's true, because if you actually disect the bible and see the teachings as metaphoric instead of physically true and you analyse what may have been the true intent of the words, you could say some of it does teach us about atheism and the principles of believing in yourself, as your own saviour and your own god. But the churches have mislead people to believe that these metaphors are actual events and examples of how we must live, when Jesus himself, the man the book was based upon practice's little if any of what the churches would have you practice. The only thing I suggest people take from the bible is an example of an independent man (who may or may not have existed) who went about life his way and did not follow anyone, but created his own path through life. In fact Jesuss' example was more equivelent to an atheists than that of a religious person.
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          Mar 29 2014: Chris Kelly-
          I believe there is some confusion here and that we should specify that Atheism is the denial of the existence of deities/Gods.

          Based on that definition you are correct.
      • Mar 26 2014: That's why you have to see the scripture (which is also a book) as metaphorical, not true events. Jesus, throughout the chapters is trying to make people see that the god which he is, is the god that they are to. When he makes reference to the father, he is speaking to his higher conscience/sub-concience (which we all have) and when he speaks of being the son, he is refering to his conscious mind (which we all have). The conscious mind (ego) is the son of the subconscious.

        Knowing this the following words which Jesus uses several times makes more sense.

        And he saith unto them, Why are ye fearful, O ye of little faith? Then he arose, and rebuked the winds and the sea; and there was a great calm.

        Why should Jesus expect more from them if he thought they were mere mortals in comparison.

        He then says

        "O faithless and perverse generation, how long shall I be with you? "

        Here he is questioning how long will it take for you to have the equivilant faith in yourself as I have in myself.

        Lastly he says;

        "Because of your unbelief: for verily I say unto you, If ye have faith as a grain of mustard seed, ye shall say unto this mountain, Remove hence to yonder place; and it shall remove; and nothing shall be impossible unto you."

        Here he is trying to convince the faithless of their powers if only they believed they were capable.

        Jesus at every opportunity in the scriptures is saying to the people, I am god, but no greater a god than what you are also capable of being.

        When humans begin to have complete faith in themselves, they will reconnect with their higher conscience that will give them all the abilities Jesus displayed. Therefore, although I describe myself as an atheist (because I am non-religious and do not believe in a god outside myself more powerful or capable than I) I do believe in the concept of god as a powerful source of energy that is equally in all of us. Call it god or call it energy, once mastered/connected with I will be able to move mountains
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    Mar 21 2014: Reading the debate below, it seems there is a need first to agree on something more fundamental, else no debate is possible.

    The pre-question is:
    "Is there such a thing definable as 'truth'?"
    If no, then all this atheist/not-atheist debate is a waste of time.

    Or to put it in the form of a statement:
    "False is false, and what is true has never changed".
    Again, if this cannot be agreed upon as a valid statement, then the debate is going nowhere.

    Or as a third option:
    "Are there a set of Laws/Principles as to 'how things work' in the universe?"
    If no and it's all random evolutionary chance, then no debate is valid.
    If yes, then a debate might discuss the potentially best ways to ascertain and learn of these Laws/Principles.
    • Mar 21 2014: This, I think, is not about whether atheism is correct (atheism is correct, but that's not the question). The questions are about the value of atheism and how atheism might affect governance. The questions arise because of the increase in atheism.

      Your more fundamental questions seem to be trials at getting atheism in the judging seat. They also seem, though I might be wrong, to come from some creationist stand point (they look quite familiar to me). Let's see.

      "Is there such a thing definable as 'truth'?"

      Sure there is. Everything that exists has no option but being "true." Our concept of true is exactly that.

      "False is false, and what is true has never changed".

      Well, what is true can change. But I think we are talking about different things. The concept of true is quite implicit in existence itself. But things do change. So, that my cheese was edible a year ago does not mean that it is still edible today. In other words, what's true at some point, might not be so at another point. So, what are we talking about? The overall concept? The particulars to which we refer as being true?

      As per your third option. Well, there's no such thing as "random evolutionary change." Evolution happens because there's some random events and some contingent events. Because there's some randomness and some way of nature to work (some laws/principles). Without both evolution would never happen. Therefore you are equivocating on what evolution is about, and immersed in a false dichotomy (either random or laws).

      I hope that helps get us to better understand each other.
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        Mar 21 2014: Hello Entropy Driven,

        Thanks for your clarifying comments. With a few more I think we can get on the same page.

        1). Do you have a succinct definition of what atheism is? (I can see from your other posts that you have said atheism "is a conclusion" ... and that conclusions are "the result of a reasoning process" .. and that "Atheism's value is in being correct" and that atheism is "a way of leaving aside superstitions". And others have said it is non-deist - but what is a positive definition? You emphasise the 'conclusion' aspect; can you say conclusion about what? The scientific method?

        2). About the use of the word "truth". You rightly pointed out one use is our "perception of the truth", which of course varies all the time (like the cheese). In my previous points (1) & (3) I was alluding to the possibility of 'absolute truth' (ie: truth that does not change over time). In atheism, is the notion that something could be 'absolutely true' recognised as a possibility.

        3). In atheism, can an illusion be 'true', in any sense/level of the word 'true'?

        4). Random events & Laws: my point was as a precursor to the relevance of this debate to governance. If there are laws of 'how things work' then this has implications as to how governance can (should) work. If there are no such laws this also has implications for governance. You say both are necessary for evolution (I agree at one level, although my take is that that which seems random to us is actually the result of billions of sub-laws covering every eventuality of our human choices).

        My personal interest is in (universal) laws of how things actually work - and in this debate what relevance they might have to governance. As you pointed out yourself, "I have no idea how it (atheism) would affect governance". I agree; it seems non-relevant to me at this point.

        (PS: I'm English married to a German living in Portugal - and the American hot-topic debate about creationism-evolution-cosmic-designer kind of passes me by).
      • Mar 22 2014: Joshua
        Posted a stab at truth.
      • Mar 30 2014: " This, I think, is not about whether atheism is correct (atheism is correct, but that's not the question)."

        What evidence do you have that Atheism is correct?

        A scientist tells you that a big bang happened billions of years ago that you can not see and you believe them. A religious person says a God you can not see created the universe and you scoff.

        You have personally not witnessed either and just made a choice to believe one over the other.
        • Mar 31 2014: Hello Argos,

          Evidence that atheism is correct? I think you've got it a bit wrong, it's the affirmation that there's gods that would require evidence. Still, it's more about a few self-evident problems with theism. For example: there's no evidence for gods. This adds to another quite revealing problem: we know that human societies have made gods out of almost anything, from volcanoes to thunder to you-name-it. Yet, none of those were gods. They happened to be natural phenomena explainable in natural terms. No intentions or such shit. We have witnessed the evolution of these gods, and can trace the newer gods back to those volcano fantasies by looking at the sacrifices and descriptions in such things as the bible. Of course, let's not forget, these gods are nonsensical, which makes them nonexistent by definition. Then people evolve their gods and put them farther and farther from being detectable to protect their beliefs. In the end, nothing contradicts the imaginary nature of the gods, and therefore they don't exist. Quite simple really.

          What makes you think that I "believe" in the Big Bang? The most I can do about it is accept that scientists must have evidence pointing to a Big Bang. I am no physicists, so I can't tell you all there is to know about it. I understand some of the fundamentals (red-shift, some relativity, background radiation, etc.). Since I understand the way science works, I know that it is a matter of learning a bit more and I could either decide that it's early to accept the Big Bang overall, or that it is resting on a very solid foundation. But right now I know that I can't tell much more than such is the current theory.

          For gods, read the next part please.
        • Mar 31 2014: For gods, I also know how fantasies work. Both in general, but also in particular when it comes to gods. So I know that when people tell me about the Christian god, for example, they are fantasizing, imagining, some god that is probably far from the early descriptions of an assortment of Judeic gods, and probably far from the god believed by the times when Jesus, if he existed, was supposed to live, and probably a deformation and domesticated version of what earlier Christians believed.

          So, it is not about witnessing as much as about understanding science and religions.

          I hope that helps.

      • Mar 31 2014: No Entropy you tried to go around the question asked:

        I asked you what evidence you have for Atheism and the big bang and why you would accept the word of scientists without seeing a big bang any more than you would take the word of a preacher that has never seen God?

        Looks like you like many people have just chosen the fantasy most convenient!

        People have claimed to have seen God, seen miracles and spoke to God, Some have claimed to have visited heaven and hell.

        Why are these people that have made these claims any less credible than scientists that claim something happened billions of years ago based on some radiation still floating around?
        • Mar 31 2014: Argos,

          if you read carefully, maybe you'll see that I answered those questions of yours quite clearly. If you prefer me to explain a bit more, please ask more specifically. Staying at your very first stance won't help us communicate any better. I also have to note that it doesn't look like you read what I explained.

          Let me help you. Think about these questions:

          1. I explained to you the evidence that contradict the existence of gods. Which one didn't you understand?

          2. Did I actually say that I "believed" in the Big Bang? If not, why would you ask me for evidence for the Big Bang? (I mentioned a few, but that was not the point, check it out.) It is not my theory and I could not care less if it's true or false. I'm interested as general culture, but that's about it. Pay attention and check what I actually said.

          3. Did I say that I accept the Big Bang theory unconditionally or something like that? If not, then why would you say that I have accepted "one fantasy over another"? Do you really think that this is about choosing between those "two" sides? If so, you did not read what I explained at all.

          4. Didn't I explain a few differences between science and religion? Do you need more explanations about those differences?

          I don't accept those testimonies your talk about because, as I said, I know pretty well how fantasies like the gods develop and work. Extraordinary claims require extraordinary evidence. Where's that evidence Argos? Should I accept scientology, greek mythology, Islam, Christianity, and other mutually exclusive beliefs just because many people "witnessed" such and such?

          Please make sure that you understand my explanations above and this one. Then please ask pertinent questions if you need clarification.

      • Apr 1 2014: So you don't accept the scientists version of the creation of the universe Entropy?

        That at present is the big bang theory.

        I can understand that you don't want to be pinned down to answer that because then it becomes obvious that you have just chosen one fantasy over another.

        Care to answer the direct question Entropy?
        • Apr 1 2014: Argos,

          I answered those direct questions Argos. Can't you read? Take a second look at my first answers. those are very direct. I tell you exactly why atheism is correct, and I tell you quite clearly that I neither accept nor reject the Big Bang. I even go at length explaining the difference between science and god fantasies.

          If you're not interested in my answers why do you continue to ask? Do read what I said please. It's not about pinning down. For example, if you asked me about evolution, then I would tell you that I fully accept evolution. I don't know about the Big Bang enough to accept or reject it. I just know a few of the evidences. I love the way the little evidence that I am able to understand lead to proposing the Big Bang, but I'm not sure about other parts, I don't know the stage of affairs enough to know if it's well established or not. So I can't tell you with confidence that I accept it or not. Again, why do you think that it is so important for me to accept the Big Bang? Do you think that it's either Big Bang or some god(s)? Is that where you want to go? No such luck. Think this time. read what I said. I know that gods are fantasies and no amount of false dichotomies will convince me otherwise. Instead you need actual evidence for the gods. You have to show me that gods are not imaginary. You have a lot of work to do positively about the gods. Whether I know how the universe started, if it started, or exactly the quantum mechanics involved at each step of whatever natural events, does not matter because I know about the fantasies that lead to imagining gods. Because there's no evidence for gods. Etc, etc.

          Do you care abut these explanations or not? If you do, please show some understanding. If not, then stop pretending.
        • Apr 1 2014: Argos,

          Though it should be clear, maybe you are looking for this: The Big Bang is not a fantasy Argos. It's either a scientific hypothesis or a scientific theory. From what I hear it is more the second than the first. So, if I accepted it, it would not be one fantasy over another. there's evidence for the Big bang. while there's evidence that gods are fantasies. Therefore, if I accepted the Big Bang, I would be accepting a scientific theory over a fantasy. If you understood how science works, then you would understand my answer, but I guess that you truly don't care. This is my position from the very beginning. I explained so in my first answer to you.

          So, is that enough? Did you care to check my answer again? I clearly stated the difference between accepting the Big Bang and god fantasies from the very beginning. I only had to explain why I am not completely on the Big Bang because I don't understand enough about it. This is the way to go if you think rationally. Some things are not black and white. In science, some things are at some stage, some at other stages. Some are easy to accept because of enormous evidence, others require us to be more cautious. Science is not religion Argos. I don't go around accepting every hypothesis and every idea proposed by a scientist as if it was some kind of dogma. If I did I would be irrational and out of a job.

          Please try and read for comprehension this time around. Yet again, if you truly don't care, then say so and we can leave it at that.

      • Apr 1 2014: No Entropy you did not answer the question and are obviously side stepping the question because you know that answering it would expose that you have just chosen to accept one unproven theory for another unproven theory.

        Thanks- that was exactly my point and you did a great job of making it for me.
        • Apr 1 2014: Calling religious fantasies "theories" is quite the bold statement.

          I made your point? If anything you made the point that defending religious beliefs requires people to lack reading comprehension. Every person able to read will notice that I answered your questions, and that if I simply said "yes, I accept the Big Bang" it would be far from accepting one "unproven" theory over another, or one fantasy over another. They would understand that I clearly explained the difference between god fantasies and science. It's all there.

          Anyway, since you don't want to actually read those answers I guess we're done here.


          P.S.: Yet another wording of what I already said:

          "why you would accept the word of scientists without seeing a big bang any more than you would take the word of a preacher that has never seen God?"

          I would accept the word of scientists because they can show me evidence commensurate with their theories and because I know how science works. I would not accept the word of a preacher because they can't show me any evidence, let alone evidence commensurate with their claims, and because I know how god fantasies work.
    • Mar 23 2014: Hey Joshua,

      1. I don't know if I understand your question about atheism. You read what I said. What is there left to understand about it? I would guess that if I try and explain it will be anything except succinct.

      2. Atheism or not I don't think that the word "absolute" helps at all because true is true. Only some stuff is true for a while (like the cheese), but, as I was trying to clarify, we can think of a more generic concept, and then say that of course there's things that have been, are, and will always be true. Like that some truths are ephemeral. See what I did there? But rhetoric and/or poetry aside, truth is not some magical thing. It's just the way we conceptualize about things that are, and then we contrast that with things that are not. Quite simple truly, but we sure know how to mystify things unnecessarily (by adding the word "absolute" for example).

      3. Of course. An illusion is true if you are really having an illusion (it's a true illusion). Only it is not what you think it is.

      4. I think that we should not mix the concept of a natural law, which is an attempt at describing the way some phenomena works, and the laws as in governance. reason being that it invites confusion and rhetorical retort. You know "if there's a law there must be a law giver." It might as well be that what appears random is the result of billions of sub-laws covering every eventuality of whatever you like. Still, I was just pointing to the mistake of imagining that evolution is about pure randomness.

      And yes. I don't think that atheism will make governance much different.

    • Mar 23 2014: I like this comment also. Merely having discussion on based on dictionary meaning or abstract meaning will lead the discussion to nowhere.
  • Mar 23 2014: "Atheism is the acceptance that Humanity is an evolved all encompassing life organism combined of physical, emotional and intellectual traits, Homo sapien-sapien. "

    The history of Atheism dates to around 500 BCE based upon documentation. Its history would indicate that it was not just a rebuttal of the belief in deities, but a rebuttal of how that belief manifested itself in social and political rule. Atheists are, for the most part, extremely independent people, with strong resentments to authoritarian rule, such as theocracies, which deity beliefs are prone to be.
    Atheist is an identification bestowed upon those who rebutted the deity beliefs, as a pejorative much as we today use the word criminal or smoker. It is Greek (atheos) and it means without; not lacking, not unbeliever.
    Atheism is not a modern whimsical notion brought about by, as some would say, technology, Communism, Socialism or Marxism. It is a deeply rooted and ancient mindset brought by a sense of independence and intelligence.
    Of all the "isms", Atheism is best associated with Americanism, Individual Freedom and free enterprise capitalism. The assertions that the atheism of Stalin and the Soviet Union was and is the definition of an Atheistic mindset is not accurate. Marxism, Nazism, Fascism, Socialism are all of the same ilk, totalitarian. Such secular authoritarian systems simply replace a god with government. The omnipotence of the gods is, the belief in that, now transferred to government. Such governments are not Atheistic, they are god like and the Atheists who promote and support these governmental systems are the new theists, believers, subjects, converts.
  • Mar 19 2014: Atheism is a lack of belief in God. That tells us nothing about morality or governance.

    Humanism is a philosophy regarding morality and governance, founded on atheism.

    The tenants of humanism is that there is no God that creates morality or law. Humans create morality and law, and we should create those mores, social customs and laws in a way that optimizes the human experience.

    One of the issues with such a philosophy, is that it is not based on an appeal to unqualified authority (God/Holy Book/Priest) so there are as many versions of the philosophy as there are people. Many have attempted to establish an official "platform" for the humanist philosophy, but the followers seem to refuse to accept someone else's version.

    Leading atheists is like herding cats. They mostly ignore you, going about things in their own way.
    • Mar 19 2014: Darrell
      It would seem that we are in agreement that Atheism, of itself, says nothing, regarding a social or governance philosophy. That, as you say, "Atheism is a lack of belief in God." is a problem for me. Perhaps, because I do not perceive an Atheistic perspective, as lacking. I see it as a strength of reason to comprehend the universe around us and with an understanding of the origins and history of deity beliefs with the advancement of science; no other reasonable conclusion can be reached.
      Atheism is a statement of human reason based, with the acknowledgement that universal knowledge and perfection is yet to be obtained. Let us say that it is the theist who is lacking, in that, which humanity must strive for, the ability to grasp his ultimate and individual and collective responsibility for life on this insignificant speck of rock
      That there is a going away from theistic belief and those tenants, which provide individual and social guide posts is happening. The problem is that there is nothing to go away to, except government and currently, that is a bad thing.
      "The four characteristics of humanism are curiosity, a free mind, belief in good taste, and belief in the human race." E.M. Forster
      The above quote is my best memory of the Humanist organizations I was involved with in CA.
      You are absolutely right with regard to the inability to coalesce around and for specifics. Ambiguity of purpose and vision seem to be the rule. Take a stand on everything and nothing, but let us feel good when doing it.
      Although many were Atheistic, most were agnostic, whereby singing around a camp fire was an intellectual achievement.
      Most (90-95%) of the Humanists that I was aware of were socialists, if not Marxists. Socialism of whatever political persuasion is a re-inventing of a god and the corresponding dogma and rituals into the image of government. Such is not Atheism. It is another form of deity belief. in the secular fashion.
      • Mar 19 2014: I am somewhat unimpressed with the new Cosmos series, but there was one great quote from the second episode.

        "Science works in the frontier between knowledge and the unknown. We should never be afraid to admit what we do not know. There is no shame in that. The only shame is in pretending to know everything."

        Saying that I do not believe in God, is not a passive statement. It is simply a statement that I am not one of those that shamefully believes they know the unknowable.

        The heavy socialist aspect is why I am no longer involved with humanism. I kept trying to talk the benefits of well regulated capitalism with a progressive income tax code, while pointing out that detaching reward from effort meant no one works. Many kept pointing out that even well-regulated capitalism just makes us cogs in the machine....

        Well, no duh! Until the candy-crudding- unicorn makes his appearance, someone has to make stuff, or there is no stuff... so yeah, people have t be cogs in the machine, because the machine needs cogs to produce anything.
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    Mar 24 2014: I once talked to an atheist not knowing that he was one. He denied the existence of God. I asked him what he believed in. He said "I believe in myself". I said "tell me what that means?" He said "it means that if it comes down to a loaf of bread and it's only you and me, I'm going to kill you so I can live another day".

    That was my first impression of atheism.

    Anyone who blames religion for causing war doesn't understand survival dynamics. Darwin said it thus; all organisms reproduce in greater numbers than can possibly survive, there must always be competition between variants. If climate change leads to food shortages, religion or no religion, there will be violence. Although the scientist may have a better solution than the pious.

    The atheist denies God according to how religion defines the word. Yet the universe exists. Tell me nothing created it and I will argue the point. Tell me that a male deity created it and I will argue that as well.

    Science and religion parted company during the time of Galileo. It became a power struggle over who would win the competition. Since then, religion has failed to grow.

    I was trained in the sciences of the U.S. nuclear navy. At the age of twenty I was on the verge of becoming an atheist. That was until I had a spiritual experience. Since that time, things have changed. I no longer disbelieve in God, but I would challenge most religions on their definition of the word.

    To me it doesn't matter whether you believe in God or not, it only matters how you treat your fellow human being. The atheist can be just as much a terrorist as a militant Muslim. The other criterion is the pursuit of truth. Any religious advocate who bases truth on blind faith is a prime candidate for the devil. It's easy to deceive one who is easily persuaded.

    Love and truth will survive the test of time. All else will destroy itself in the process. At least the atheist is willing to question.
    • Mar 24 2014: Religion, as it existed in the Medieval/Renaissance eras, was based on literal interpretation of The Bible.

      When observation did not align with scripture, religion demanded people keep their mouth shut or risk torture and/or death.

      But, it was a losing battle for religion. The truth was going to get out. So, it has always been a "holding action" by the religions. Slow the rate at which the Bible is reinterpreted from literal to figurative.

      As for the origin of the universe, the only answer supported by data is "We do no know". There is no shame in that. The only shame is pretending that you do know.
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      Mar 24 2014: We are ALL atheist; denying the existence of one god or another.
      Real atheism merely goes one god more than you are willing to go.
    • Mar 26 2014: Roy, I don't think you met an atheist any more than you met a barbarian or a joker. Barbarians are found in every religious and non religious beleive system.

      I am an atheist, I believe in myself and i believe I am as powerful as any other god. Although I call myself an atheist, I think god is just a word for energy or power. I believe myself to be abundant in energy and I believe myself to be potentially as powerful as the next, therefor I am my own god and I am the director of my own faith and life.

      And just because an atheist denies a greater power than the self it does not mean they do not beleive in a soul or spiritual world.

      You are completely correct when you say life is not about what you beleive in but is about how you treat people.
      All that is needed is love and respect. If religion only made reference to those two things who knows were the world would be today.
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        Mar 26 2014: Mint,
        Barbarian or not, he was still an atheist. And you're right, there are barbarians in the religious sector as well. Which brings us back to Charles question; of what value is atheism? Many of the modern day doomsday scenarios are reverting to scientific models. Are people better off because of atheism or are the problems that showed up in the religious sector going to show up in atheism as well? I see it happening already where statistics are being manipulated to control people's destiny.

        I agree that God is a word for energy or power. I am a part of that energy, but I can't build a planet or galaxy. I respect the forces that did. So when I am standing next to the edge of a cliff, I know that there are forces that I had better not put to the test. My view of God is integrated with the forces of nature, not separate from them. The unified field theory has all the same qualities that were equated to God. The modern definition and conception of God doesn't see it that way. For that matter, I deny the modern definition. But I can't deny my own convictions that we are part of the cosmos and that we have a spiritual connection to it. If you want to call that something other than God, then so be it. I choose to keep the word because it allows me to argue with religious bigots in their own terms. You'll be surprised in how effective it is.

        Atheist or religious advocate, it still boils down to how you treat people. Regardless of which side of the fence you are on, there has to be a moral compass that provides empathy and compassion for others. It has to go beyond belief. The operating philosophy that Charles is looking for is in what you said; love and respect. I would add to this the quest for unbiased truth. In that respect, I applaud the atheist for not accepting things without proof.
  • Mar 21 2014: ..-)
    To answer your question; it is their question to answer.
    Agnostics and others who can successfully detach themselves are successful fence sitters who are afraid to take a position. It is theirs to step out of the fray and criticize those who enter. To say that there is a lack of information to make an intelligent decision or take a position, is no longer justifiable.
    It is akin to those who use an alias and use this format; there seems to be no strength of self.
    If you are agnostic, you can tell me; 'what about those" because I do not know, due to a lack of information.
    • Mar 23 2014: But, I have retrieved the information what wanted to. Whenever I ask questions, however simple the question may be but it has purpose behind it.

      Agnostic := non-believer,disbeliever

      If your comment be applied to your own conversation then.

      It is their question to answer your conversation.
  • Mar 21 2014: What about those who are neither atheist nor theist ? Who are neither non-believers nor believers ?
  • Mar 20 2014: Hello Charles
    You ask about the morals that would invade society through Atheism; this is as far from the truth as you can get.
    Most animals in the wild when they give birth are in danger straight away. This is the reason they begin to walk so quickly after birth. The human child is so different! For the first 15yrs of its life it depends on its parents for survival. Along with this it can be 3-4 yrs after birth before it can walk. If humans were not endowed with these emotions of love , there would be no human race or intelligent race of any kind.
    Let me explain another thing about religion and its failure to cope. Most religious people mean well but their feelings are mislaid in a void of misunderstanding. We are a partly rational species; how would we know love without knowing hate? Our negative emotions and positive one's complement each other. It's from this reaction that we get our intelligence. In the greater scheme of things there are no negative emotions only positive one's.
    It's only by understanding this can a moral standard be lifted. Religion by calling these emotions good and evil will just exasperate themselves and everyone else with them.
    • Mar 21 2014: Derek
      No, I asked, that if we are moving toward an Atheistic mindset; what would be the morals and ethics involved?
      Please tell me how I am to get closer to the truth.
      Children begin to walk, to pull themselves up, by about 9 months of age. They are walking within the next few months. The search for truth is elusive.
      • Mar 21 2014: Hi Charles
        When I mentioned children walking at the age of three, it is true, some but not all are very late walkers. However the time needed to be protected by parents spreads over many years it's not only the time it takes for them to walk. This makes it paramount that these emotions we have with the highest moral standard are coded within our DNA. There is no connection between religion and these moral emotions. Let me explain further.
        If we didn't know love, we couldn't know about hate. If we didn't know the frustration of failure we wouldn't know the thrill of achievement. All our negative and positive emotions compliment each other. As individuals we experience both negative and positive emotions, but in the greater scheme of things all emotions are positive. There are no negative one's!
        Religion calls these emotions Good and Evil. Though religious people mean well. their grasp of the situation prevents them from attaining what they want most of all- peace and goodwill to all.
        It is only by understanding a problem can you do anything about it. If there is a problem then there has to be an answer- one justifies the other.
        I hope this helps you Charles.
        • Mar 22 2014: Derek

          A point of interest. Lust is neither love nor hate. Is lust an emotion or entirely physical in nature, as in the pumping of the heart.
          I see you are British and live in Stoke. What were you doing in 62? US military. Was in and out of Stoke. I visited a pub or so. I think it was Stoke. A long time ago.
  • Mar 20 2014: Obviously, since you capitalize it, "Atheism" must really just be yet another religion.
    • Mar 20 2014: Oh, come on!
      • Mar 20 2014: Stop capitalizing it as if it were a religion.
        • Mar 20 2014: I don't capitalize it.

          Still, capitals do not mean religion. My name is capitalized, and I'm not a religion, My country's name is capitalized and it is not a religion, Naturalism and Physicalism are capitalized and they are not religions (they are philosophies), there's plenty of things that are capitalized and are not religions. So, come oooooooooooooonnn!
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    Apr 1 2014: Nations, armies and religions all use ceremony, ritual and "a common enemy" to unify disparate groups. As the influences of the religious community shrinks other influences move into to take its place of influence. Today it seems that hedonism - seeking to stimulate as many pleasure centers as possible as often as possible - is taking hold in a variety of quarters.

    And that rampant self interest has a deteriorating effect upon the unity required to ensure good governance. Instead those who are able to obtain the offices of governance are just as likely to simply end up wallowing in the indulgences of opportunities for excess and power that come with our offices of governance.
    • Apr 1 2014: William

      Well said. As we engineer the dissolving of the bonds, loyalties and strength of the family and endorse a tolerance that would include promiscuity, a lack of civil decorum; self is the ultimate importance.
      All things go down hill, I would say that it is the leadership of a nation that demonstrates the art of wallow or the art of self control and decorum. We are in an age of wallow and decay. Nothing, it is said of things of magnitude, happen simply because they happen.
      Enjoyed your input
  • Apr 1 2014: Its very touch to define an Atheist. As per atheist anyone not believing in god is an Atheist.
    For a theist following a particular religion, all those outside of his religion is an Atheist.

    There are also various things in the view point of an Atheist.
    1) What do you call an atheist believing in soul?
    2) If atheism has to do with denying the existence of God:
    a) Does it mean that God existed before and does not exist now.
    b) Does not exsist at a particular point of time.(Example: I exist now in India, so one can deny my existence when talking in America)

    In Hinduism (Advaitic Philosophy) , Gods are by themselves Maya. All that exists is called as Brahman and Brahman is not god. Apart from Brahman, Nothing exists as per Advaita

    The Brahman is nothing but the Soul as per Advaita. So, If an atheist believes in Soul, then he is not an Atheist as per hinduism.
    • Apr 1 2014: Prakar

      I have great admiration for what ancient India gave to the world; a lot of which is not even understood or appreciated. The ancient Greeks understood, embraced it and built upon.
      Answer your questions;
      1, Not an Atheist--perhaps a spiritualist
      2, Does not deny an existence---it is unreasonable that a god exists
      Atheism is the reasoned acceptance that Humanity is an evolved all encompassing life organism combined of physical, emotional and intellectual traits, Homo sapiens-sapiens.
      a, A violation of objective reasoning to assert the existence of a god before, after or now.
      d, A most interesting point. That through science, Mans capacity to reason, your thoughts (written word) give evidence to your existence in India; evidence to reasonably believe that you are where you say you are, but not a fact.
      I am a minor student, but enthusiastic student of Indian philosophy in particular Lokayata and Carvaka schools of thought.
      It would be a contradiction in terms to claim Atheism and the existence of a soul.
      Enjoyed--Thank you
  • Apr 1 2014: You are distorting the meaning of the word "atheist". That means = no belief in gods. Nothing else.

    To conflate atheism with communism is to do a grave injustice to atheists. It is an insult. Communism is about a fiscal paradigm that includes atheism. It is not about atheism that includes money.

    the new atheism that is growing by leaps and bounds is spiritual atheism. that means that there is a belief in more than the material (in part, because science has discovered that 94% of the universe is invisible. (it's dark energy and dark matter).

    This atheist does not support capitalism or even money. I am a follower of the teachings of Jesus, though I do not believe that he was the only begotten son of god. I am one of many MANY people who see insanity in Christianity that objects to the teachings of Jesus because it prefers the teachings of Paul.

    In 2010 studies, it was discovered that in the USA, less than 1% of those aged 18-24 have a Biblical worldview. Most of these consider themselves spiritual, as I do. That's why Christianity is suddenly teaching fear of New Agers. That's really something for a church that is allegedly based on the teachings of Jesus.
    • Apr 1 2014: Gail G3

      Perhaps, you need to reread my opening statement.My definition of Atheism is, " Atheism is the reasoned acceptance that Humanity is an evolved all encompassing life organism combined of physical, emotional and intellectual traits, Homo sapiens-sapiens." Not in the statement, but in the following posts.
      You are right about the Paul and Jesus thing. Christianity is the invention of Paul and the early church.
      All else, you hit or miss on, is simply a subjective call and you certainly have a right to that.
      Your argument is to scattered to try to decipher, so I will leave you in peace
  • Apr 1 2014: I think there is a rise of "agnostics"; if you consider that a non-believer then you are correct. I think the cartoon South Park has a great view of how Atheism will manifest it self in the future.
    • Apr 1 2014: Bill
      Have never seen the show. Can you give the idea.
  • Mar 30 2014: Ayn Rand may have been an Athiest but she was also a capitalist hypocrite that claimed to not support socialism but gladly accepted social security when she retired. She was also pro-abortion which is always a real shocker to her followers.

    Rand was not anti-communism she was anti-peasantry and her family were a part of the elites and Zars that had profited from keeping everyone else in poverty and when the peasants revolted her father lost his pharmacy business and they were driven out of Russia before they were killed.

    Her ideology should not be construed as a backbone of Atheism in anyway and is a capitalist and monarchy of elites ideology.
    • Mar 30 2014: Argo
      When such accusations are made, evidence is required, otherwise the accusation fails the truth test. I am sure you can provide such evidence.
      As to capitalism; the next time you turn on a light, a TV, drive a car, fly in a plane, use a computer, listen to a radio and many, many more things you can thank a capitalist and capitalism.
      As you call capitalists hypocrites; would it be fair to refer to socialists, as leaches or even moronic wind chasers? No, I don't think that would be polite or in keeping with the decorum that TED participants enjoy.
      Can't we just be friends and enjoy the glow that eminates from each of us. Let us reach out to those who are different and thoroughly embrace that difference. Lets make a difference. Shall we?
      • Mar 30 2014: Yes Charles I can supply the evidence:

        "Rand was born Alisa Zinov'yevna Rosenbaum (Russian: Али́са Зиновьевна Розенбаум) on February 2, 1905, to a Russian Jewish bourgeois[8] family living in Saint Petersburg. She was the eldest of the three daughters of Zinovy Zakharovich Rosenbaum and his wife, Anna Borisovna (née Kaplan), largely non-observant Jews. Zinovy Rosenbaum was a successful pharmacist and businessman, eventually owning a pharmacy and the building in which it was located."

        " she often took controversial stances on political and social issues of the day. These included supporting abortion rights,[77] opposing the Vietnam War and the military draft (but condemning many draft dodgers as "bums")"

        "In 1976, she retired from writing her newsletter and, despite her initial objections, was persuaded to allow Evva Pryor, a consultant from her attorney's office, to sign her up for Social Security and Medicare."

        I called Rand what she was a Hypocritical capitalist that despised the poor while accepting the same programs she tried to take away!
        • Mar 31 2014: Argos

          I see you went to Wiki for all your source material. I often use it myself, but only as a foundation from which to look.
          I have been greatly involved with the works and history of Rand since the mid 70's when I first read, Fountain Head and then Atlas Shrugged. Her philosophy , "Objectivism" was not to my liking at the time, as I felt it was to abrasive, and to strong. This work was a compilation of her essays and thought compiled by a leach named Peikoff (?) After some years and a successful business and family, I returned to those writings and saw them in a new light. I would still disagree with some points, one in particular is that she places objectivity, as the essence of human life. For me our capacity to reason is our essence, as there can be no objectivity without the capacity to reason.Reason is contained in that 1.2% difference in DNA between us and the Chimp.
          This is probably of no interest. I do get on a roll sometimes
          To your proof
          There was never any question of Rand's birth,place of birth or her parents or her various views, most of which are inconsequential.My first views began in the 40's and changed every decade, some of them. In the 40's and early 50's I would have attacked anyone who said that Ford did not invent the car. I was wrong. But growing up in Detroit MI, he was my hero.
          I am aware of the third party claim that Rand was on social security, but no proof has ever been submitted, which is why I challenged you to provide it, You can't. You tried and I give you credit for that.
          Rand made a lot of money and in the process employed a great many people over the years, by virtue of her books, movies, magazine, speaking engagements. This is not bad stuff.
          Even after her death, 82 or 83 her work still employees people. If you or I could accomplish that, it would be a good thing.
          I have an expired US Patent and some products are still used by hospitals. I get a good feeling from capitalism, so do the patients.
      • Mar 31 2014: The links to the article are all right at the bottom of the article with references if you want to check them.

        I provided the quotes to support everything I said about Rand was accurate.

        Unregulated capitalism as Rand promoted is just a cover to create monarchy rule through economic power and monopolies on resources. She proved herself to be a hypocrite and her work was a farce.
  • Comment deleted

    • Mar 30 2014: Jake
      A noted pleasure to read your thoughts. It is not often that one has the opportunity participate in literary genus.
      I find that your articulation of the English language would challenge even the most highly educated. How did you come by such an extraordinary ability? I am sure it was earned, as nothing approaching your talents would be free.
      I was watching TV the other day and I was forced to ask myself the question; How can such trash be so popular. Well, it occurred to me that those shows reflect the wants, desires and intellect of the majority of viewers, otherwise they would not be there. And since this is stated to be a Christian nation; ah! I said me, that does account for it.
      I had a spare moment..
  • Dan F

    • 0
    Mar 30 2014: We individually welcome and to some extent want concurrence from others, but many of us atheists came about as the result of a personal choice to grow. For me it was a consequence of gaining knowledge that stirred my curiosity to study what science has to offer.

    The crux of religion centers on a reverence to a supernatural Creator and His role in our being. Biology does not acknowledge His existence, nor enterprise in how we came to be. In fact it rejects His role as the Creator of mankind.

    Atheists are more inclined to hold human activity as demanding more accountability for environmental problems, etc. Politicians are too often self servingly inspired by their financiers for election or reelections and are cleverly able to effectively deflect this kind of questioning and discussion.

    The late Richard Hitchens, the ultimate journalist and atheist, demanded and received considerable respect and across the board public attention through his numerous, thoughtful and entertaining formal public debates (see Youtube) and his books on the subject. The internet offers an effective way to learn about biology for those motivated and receptive to it and could play a role in affecting public opinion.

    Politicians are adept at shaping and directing public opinion regardless of what is actually causing the environmental problem. It would not surprise me that nonbelievers will be demonizes as the sinners that have placed upon the Lord the need to have sent this environmental message as a signal to shape up!

    IMO this is the basis of how the 1% runs the show. Atheist will have little impact on how government is run unless religious followers convert to atheism in numbers off the charts and choose to be counted for what counts.
    • Mar 30 2014: Dan

      Thanks for your input Dan. The initial question has drawn some very solid and differing points of view.
      Several people have, like yourself, voiced a tunneled perspective focused on the environment.
      Although I rely heavily on the environment for survival, as we all do, I do not see it as the problem you do.

      There are many politicians in government, primarily Democrats, who are very vocal on the environment,. even to the point of claiming that 'climate change' is a #1 threat to the nation.The disconcerting aspect here is the vilification of those who hesitate to agree or those who disagree. This name calling, Deniers and such, demeans, for me anyway, the legitimacy and value of their argument.This is a theistic or Marxist tactic which occurs when the attempt at intelligence fails.

      I would hope that should Atheists gain political power that it will not be do to such a vitriolic assault on opponents. If so, I would think that nothing has been gained and we have simply replaced a religious god with a secular god.

      .How do you see the Atheist with regard to the US Constitution. Do we discard it? Embrace it? Add or subtract from the concept of individual freed?
      • Dan F

        • +1
        Mar 30 2014: Hi Charles, I agree with your worry here. My motive is not to aggravate.

        -and I should have better identified (it was late!) my concern for humanity's impact in terms of not just environmental degradation, but resource depletion, genetic modification of organisms, bigger and more expensive government, and healthy human livability - we do live on spaceship earth. These growing demands and impacts are due in large part to increasing human population numbers and the resulting human enterprise to supply these changing needs and wants - this concerns many of us, safely including many in the religious communities as well.

        Climate change as a political issue is interesting, because aside from the environment issue, there is a business component not just to change public opinion, but alter government regulations, favoring certain interests which may well be the main reason for a politician's or a scientist's position on the subject.

        Its been noted many times, but atheist are not an association of believers, but rather associated as those who are not buying in to what others are selling in terms of a supernatural creator.

        Personally, I admire the US Constitution and its Bill of Rights. Did these governing documents, not reflect some need to get out from under the yoke of the over demanding religious influences among us? It also allows individuals like myself to express myself. Not true in many areas of the world.
        • Mar 31 2014: Dan
          Your concerns are shared, in particular to an expanding all encompassing government.
          It is note worthy, as the UN has "leaked" its latest report and forecasts the complete annihilation of human life. Also notable is the Obama Admin endorsement of of such a convoluted piece of political propaganda. I say political due to the overriding fact that no credible science is associated with this doomsday prophecy.
          These questions are rhetorical, but suppose that there is no threat of such a disaster from "Global Warming"; what than would be the purpose of such claims?

          How would government inhibit or stop this disaster?

          Globalized control of all industry, manufacturing, to include consumption of foods and materials?
          Dietary controls and food use cards
          Control of mobility and travel to include cars, planes, trains and boats?
          The rationing of fuels to include the heating of homes, business, appliances and cars
          A use tax on all fuels
          Penalties and fines for excessive use.
          Public vilification for offenders
          Control of agricultural lands and farms machinery
          The establishment of a globalized bureaucracy and policing agency under the auspices of the UN, or other Global force
          Forced relocation of populations to ensure a proper balance of food and energy
          The constant threat of terrorism, as a means of population control and intimidation
          The dismantling of all national borders
          The absorbing into the Global Force For Good of all law enforcement agencies, as is now accomplished under Homeland Security

          Only a few abstract thoughts on , What if?
          That the government of the United States is complicit is how the story ends.
  • Mar 29 2014: Charles, you've asked ---
    ...what are the moral and social values?

    My answer is --
    The same moral and social values of those held by any Theist, anywhere.
    Atheist's just have no need for a wall to lean upon and wail.
    An Atheistic mindset, is the absence of theistic belief. That's it.
    Atheism is nothing more than the lack of belief in a god or gods.

    Charles, your example of Atheist Stalin left out Theist Genghis Khan, who has title to the
    bloodiest massacres in human history. Charlemagne, Christianizing them upon penalty of death,
    or the Crusades?, and how about those Papal Inquisitions? Non-Stop Wars since, with Priest's
    on both sides, praying to God before combat. Witch Hunts?
    Theists need a bit of inspection as to their manifestation in society.

    Atheist, originally, a pejorative, now becomes a badge of identity?
    Where is the operating philosophy?
    What is the operating philosophy?
    Charles, these questions have no merit. Atheists are not some group.
    Atheists are just people who do not believe in a god or gods.
    Were they to carry signs, their signs might say: I JUST DON'T BELIEVE IT.

    Theist's want to solicit others into their groups, with promises galore of a
    future after death. Atheist's just don't believe the stories.

    Some recorded history that might fit here. 11,000 religions begat 11,000 wars.
    Now that's some success story. Go figure.

    Don't get me started on a Saturday morning... I cannot stop. hahaha
    • Mar 29 2014: Frank
      I too, possess an Atheistic perspective on life and I too, am well aware of the bloody and barbarous history of theistic belief. Mankind cannot survive itself with such a millstone stubbornly tied around it's neck. However, as people move away from a 'spiritual' belief and a sense of a spiritually guided morality; what do they move to?
      I do not speak of the reasoned Atheist, I speak of the masses that will become Atheists, without a reasoned understanding of what it means or the strength required to sustain such an independent thought.People will move toward, what they perceive as, an ultimate authority; without the gods than; does government fill the void? I, believe, yes, as it now begins to do. As, Karl Marx (Atheist) wrote, "Democracy is the only road to socialism." To further the thought, "Socialism is the only road to Marxism."
      You are really pushing my brain here.
      The moral and social values here are now those values, morals and those definitions that best serve a totalitarian rule; a globalist rule.
      That this nation was founded on Christian principles is a myth, as there are no such principles in the Constitution.
      The Bill of Rights is a statement of strength and independence, absent the intrusion of government or a god. I would contend that America was founded on those principles best found within a philosophy of strength and independence, whose ancient history bears out this assertion--Atheism.
      I have taken the liberty to redefine Atheism, "Atheism is the Reasoned acceptance that Humanity is an evolved all encompassing life organism combined of physical, emotional and intellectual traits, Homo sapiens-sapiens."
      I would put forward the idea that the Bill of Rights is such an operating philosophy. The morality, I believe, is apparent for one seeking freedom. Not apparent or refused by one seeking to rule others.
      • Mar 30 2014: Charles, I agree.
        Atheists just look at things and say to themselves; Not for me.

        The Bill of Rights is fine, but it is not enough.
        There was a Second Bill of Rights proposed by Roosevelt during
        his State of the Union Address Jan 11, 1944.

        Roosevelt's argument was that the "political rights" guaranteed
        by the constitution and the Bill of Rights had "proved inadequate
        to assure us equality in the pursuit of happiness."

        Roosevelt's remedy was to declare an "economic bill of rights"
        which would guarantee specific rights:
        Opportunity --
        1. The right to a useful and remunerative job.
        2. The right to a good education.
        3. The right of every businessman, large and small, to trade in an atmosphere
        of freedom from unfair competition and domination by monopolies…
        Security --
        4. The right to adequate protection from the economic fears of old age,
        sickness, accident, and unemployment.
        5. The right to adequate medical care and the opportunity to achieve and enjoy
        good health.
        6. The right of every family to a decent home.
        7. The right to earn enough to provide adequate food and clothing
        and recreation.

        The International Covenant on Economic, Social, and Cultural Rights,
        was ratified by 142 nations as of 2003. Paradoxically, the United States,
        where the Second Bill of Rights originated, has signed but not ratified that
        Covenant. There has been talk, but no action from our Congress, and
        President Obama seems content to ignore this massively minority issue.

        After the end of World War Two, and of course, the death of Roosevelt,
        many of the defeated nations were given the same rights proposed by
        Roosevelt, but Americans were not.
        The differences between the two President's Roosevelt and Obama are
        far greater than people today have any idea.
        • Mar 30 2014: Frank
          I can see where we might have some difference of thought.
          I dealt with this argument some years ago in a debate at a CA Univ. as being a welcome furtherance of the Constitution.
          I would argue, although voiced by the Pres., the points were from Eleanor and fellows by the name Ricardo Alfaro, John Humphrey and notables like HG Wells. It was through the stated trio and others that the UN Dec on Human Rights was written. All three promoted a socialistic agenda, with Eleanor having direct ties to and defending Alger Hiss.
          Again the points mentioned by the Pres. are those made by the UN doc.and standing on their own, regardless of origin, are problematic to a nation founded on a principle of individual freedom, as opposed to a gov, guaranteed life.
          It would seem that such guarantees would not further the Founding ideals, but destroy them, which is what you are proposing, unless I misread.

          The right to a job
          The gov. decides what job who have a right to?
          Without earning a job, do you tell the employer the job is yours.
          The gov controls the business and tells you, This is your job

          The right to edu
          Government controls education
          Who will be taught and what will be taught
          The gov, defines "good" or do you

          The right to a home
          What home do you have a right to, a mansion or a housing project
          Who decides this?

          The right to good wages
          The gov decides what those are, earned or not?
          All people earn the same wage--doctor to sweeper, except the Politburo?

          Art #29 (3) These rights and freedoms may in no case be exercised contrary to the purposes and principles of the United Nations.
          There is no freedom here--compliance only

          I do not see America here. G. Orwell a socialist wrote 1984 after reading the UN Charter and Dec on Human Rights

          Volunteerism is fast becoming the mandate that it is under the UN.
          Would love to continue this--out of space
  • Mar 29 2014: Frank

    Delighted to hear and as I finished reading your post I hurriedly checked my honor. It is still there and intact, thank you.
    I too, enjoyed the to and fro. I might add that the old brain was taxed a few times by you and a few others; most enjoyable. Certainly, such an exercise in mental dexterity must be good in the prevention of Alzheimers, high blood pressure and other ailments associated with the years of retirement.
    My thoughts on the NSA go to the NKVD under Stalin
    Perhaps, another topic, another day.

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    Mar 29 2014: Religion has provided justification for judgmental and prejudice behaviors towards others. "I can't accept you because my religion tells me you're unacceptable."

    So many of the worst human tragedies throughout history have all had links to conflicting religious beliefs.

    Religion is not a prerequisite for morality.
    • Mar 29 2014: Ang

      I would agree completely, but to further the discussion, can we go a little further?
      That theism is not a measure for moral or ethical conduct; what is? How is it established and enforced?
      That one may be a socialist and the other a Capitalist, both Atheistic; is there an, 'I can't accept you" clause?
      As noted in my opening premise, Uncle Joe Stalin, an atheist, murdered 30-60+ million of his own people. Is this an atheism worthy of emulating? Possibly, Joe Stalin viewed himself, as a god and Marxist Socialism his throne. Is this just another form of secular theism and do we risk such an agenda by throwing off all religious tenants?
      The US Constitution was written and established to counter both, theistic and theisticly secularized totalitarian forms of government, as in a theocracy or a political form of socialism, as Nazism, communism or Marxism. All of which are a matter of semantics. The Constitution embraces the individual and individual freedom. Is this worth keeping or do we discard it for something else' If so, what would that be?
      I have seen many definition of Atheism, none, I feel, are adequate, as there is a dismissal of the intelligence and strength required to embrace such a position.
      "Atheism is the Reasoned acceptance that Humanity is an evolved all encompassing life organism combined of physical, emotional and intellectual traits, Homo sapiens-sapiens"
      Does this speak to that? If it does, it is still only a statement without a life philosophy, a moral compass or ethical processes.
      Square one seems a bit difficult to proceed from.
  • Mar 29 2014: Darrell, I bow to your historical education.
    I was able to find -- Though a period of general deflation and low growth did exist, it did not have the
    severe economic retrogression of the 1930's Great Depression, and over all, for the peoples who lived
    then, those 40+ years, those years were some of their best. (I know it was called the Great Depression
    and took a back seat later).

    I would look further, but you will not change, --
    I will modify my opine somewhat. I just finish visiting those 'game sites' that listed recessions
    and panics for the last several centuries. Looks like they mirror the conclusions, from the studies,
    academia must have provided you.

    I would have thought --
    You might have asked for more info concerning "the elimination of Limited Liability Laws". lol
    Atheist, Ayn Rand's, book "Atlas Shrugged" has exposed the NSA as being a rather Evil "John Galt".
    The NSA are busy bees in Bluffdale, Utah. Stealing, and storing the production of all the creative minds
    of the world. Stealing from the world's peoples telephones, computers, satellites, and undersea cables.
    All to get the people's inventions, art, business leadership, scientific research, and new ideas.

    "Atlas Shrugged" was a work of fiction that explored the role of the mind in human life and the morality
    of rational self-interest, and the consequences when the people "of the mind" go on strike, refusing to
    allow their inventions, art, business leadership, scientific research, and new ideas to be taken from them
    by the government.

    The unanswered question that was spray-painted on walls, toilet doors, roadway signs, everywhere,
    in every college in America, today has an answer... "Who is John Galt?" The NSA.
    • Mar 29 2014: Frank
      I am not quite sure who you are addressing. I am sure that it is not me, even though your posts are triggering my email. My name is quite evident on everything that I post and I am sure that you have sufficient manners and good taste not to attempt to demean by addressing me as, Atheist. Hopefully, I am wrong, as one would expect more out of the participants on TED.
      • Mar 29 2014: Charles, obviously there is a glich somewhere.

        I will check... Leaving this as is right now, and find out why..
        ...da da da da da da... etc. A performance not unlike AT&T's robot.

        Back now and to continue...
        My last post is directed to Darrell only. However, I just now edited and placed
        a comma after the name of Ayn Rand in the paragraph 3rd from the bottom.

        I hope I caused you no loss of sleep with my missing comma.

        My intent was only to show the NSA as the dastardly organization it has turned
        out to be, (which after 2 years of research, I believe to be factual), while at the
        same time portraying my heroine Ayn Rand as the great author she most certainly
        became, and also describing her as an Atheist, as you pointed out in the start
        of this most enjoyable conversation. So thank you for your diligent pursuit of
        correct grammar.

        Sir, might I assume, your honor remains intact? I do so humbly ask your pardon
        for my act of forgetfulness of that annoying punctuation mark ( , ). Such seems
        to remind me of ObamaCare and his IRS penalty for non-purchase of Insurance.
        But then, that would be straying to far afield of this conversation's intents.

        My, how I prattle on... lol
  • Mar 28 2014: Darrell, look closer, those Depressions, Recessions of which you wrote
    had other not so severe names. Just wanted to point that out.
    I must go to shoot snooker right now, so will be back this evening or sooner.
  • Mar 25 2014: I think one of the reasons that Atheists are so reviled...

    Well, I think it actually applies to all people skilled in logic and reason. Once upon a time, sophist meant a wise person skilled in philosophy and logic, but has been redefined to be a negative term meaning someone that makes false arguments....

    Anyway, the reason that atheism, science, logic et. al. are so hated by many people is that they consider their religion as a fundamental part of their personality. Religion is the foundation (they think) of their world view. It is what makes them special. It gives them the promise of eternal life. It is the authority behind their otherwise unjustifiable beliefs.

    Atheists, science, logic are a threat to religion, and therefore, a risk to their personality, hopes, world view....

    To the religious, who build their world upon the assumption of God, atheism truly has the power to destroy their world, as they know it... or at least to pretend that it exists.

    Science was always destined to be at war with religion, because science is a method of discovering true knowledge, and religion has its foundation in false belief. Attack the false belief, and you threaten to destroy the world of religious people.
    • Mar 25 2014: Darrell
      I am always poised to go after religious tenants of a "truth" because they are not. I have avoided going after the faithful simply because what they believe is, as you say, a justification of their life. Where we are, on the evolutionary ladder, so many still need such a belief.system to coup. and it hurts no one.
      Your insight, I believe, is correct.It is the evolution of science however, that is the bell ringer, not Atheism.necessarily. As science progresses and the mysteries of life and the universe unfold into common knowledge; when science creates an intelligent life form (pending), when life is discovered on other planets (pending), the gods of now will find themselves on dusty museum shelves with Ra, Zeus, Isis and so many more.But what then? Religious belief was the first science, the first attempt to answer the questions, how, why where, what am I? Of all the wrong that religion is; there was right. Decorum, civility, respect, family. Are these things worth keeping or as we now see in society, a momentary selfish gratification defining our youth. There seems to be no positives in the lives of these young people. Pending global disaster, caused because they are alive. It is like the sin that one was born with and only repentance and capitulation to government authority will save the planet. There does not seem to be anything happy in their lives, nothing to build on. All media is a demonstration of a baseness in the human character, an exploitation of instant gratification and most messages carry a doomsday scenario. No society can survive when youth are given no future.
      The world is posturing for war and the enemy is the Constitution. It stands in the way of a globalism. As our youth no longer are taught to value it's tenants, America is demoralized, divided and bankrupt, that war is over.
      Where are the societal norms of Atheism, those social tenants that give purpose and guidance to youthful minds; the government?

  • Mar 25 2014: Mike Colera "I trust you were not speaking of my comments. I was stating an opinion and therefore evidence is not required."

    Oh my GAWD!!!!!! Seriously? Do you not understand the difference between a subjective opinion (favorite food, favorite color) and an objective opinion (the Constitution is under attack)?

    "However, you do not find the constitution is under attack? or at least being dismissed?"

    The statement was made, and then evidence was requested. Why are you so reluctant to provide evidence?

    In what ways is the Constitution under attack, being dismissed?

    Provide the evidence for your objective opinion, so that others can judge the validity of the opinion.
    • Mar 30 2014: Darrell
      Going over the debate I saw this unanswered challenge. I'll see f I can provide some evidence.
      The Constitution is quite an articulate document when it comes to the powers of the government. Those powers, authorities and responsibilities are limited to about 17, I could be off a little, its been awhile.
      Our government, to include several Administrations, both Republican and Democrats have seen fit to expand the authority of government, not acknowledged in the Constitution. The gov. is viewing the Const. as the alphabet, whereby all words can be constructed, therefore legal. will provide some background as to this struggle.
      Not one to do a lot of quoting or referencing, as above, as I feel it removes one from the conversion and denotes a weakness of individual understanding and knowledge.

      In many ways the Constitution is its own worst enemy, in that, many provisions are loose ended, leaving perversion a temptation that those inclinded to power will surely submit too.

      The Cabinet---The Constitution gives gov. no responsibility or authority to education, labor, human services, or housing, but yet vast resources, bureaucracies and laws are administered resulting in Fed control over related industry, populations and the individual.

      The surge of gov.intrusion, by the current Administration,via the DOJ, IRS DOD, Homeland Security, Dept of Education, EPA and other such agencies, into the areas of the First Amendment, State Rights and national security are depicted in the below link. (my apologizes)

      The ACA is glaring example of gov. fraud, incompetence and deceit. and a major departure from the Constitution.

      The concepts contained in the Const. are individual freedom and a separation of powers. Where we are going is a dissolution of separation & a prescribed dependence on government.-out of spa
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    Mar 25 2014: Charles,
    There have been comments about atheists and their place in American society. I am at a loss.
    My beliefs are my beliefs and are not anyone's business as are yours.
    We have public comments about religions' or lack there of , sexual preferences', political affiliations', why are these personal beliefs or activities or whatever anyone's business and why do people feel the need to criticize or comment.

    I have to admit as I have seen such comments in these TED conversations. All kinds of pompous comments about personal values or beliefs. Comments with supporting attachments to "prove" the responses.
    So what is Atheism? I think it is the belief there is no God. I have not really given it much thought.
    How does it manifest itself in society? I don't know and I don't believe it should manifest itself. It is a personal belief for each individual. I am all about individuals and their right to have their beliefs and they do not need my comments about them.
    • Mar 25 2014: It is not that "atheists are inferior". It is just that people with religions similar to yours are superior.
    • Mar 25 2014: Mike

      Absolutely correct. What is my belief is mine. That is what individual freedom is all about. We are free from a government sponsored religion and free to choose that which best meets our needs.
      As an Atheist I define Atheism as, the acceptance that Humanity is an evolved all encompassing life organism combined of physical, emotional and intellectual traits, Homo sapien-sapien.
      We have become a nation of people who cannot find worth in their own existence, if first they cannot ridicule others.
      Segments of society are being 'empowered', as separate entities and highlighted as victims creating vast divisions between the American people to the point that even to embrace the Constitution is seen as un-inclusive, racist and lacking in tolerance and diversity. The picture of a utopia is being painted where mandated happiness and togethernes is broad stroked into young minds and all that is needed is the constant demeaning and criticism of an evil America to achieve.
      Intelligent debate is a good thing. It is a growth factor. What we are seeing in government and the media are promises of that utopia and the vilification of any who disagree, especially in our schools and universities.
  • Mar 24 2014: Charles

    I am unable to reply on the nested thread so have to put it here. I believe the majority of the American people have good intentions and I am sure there are many good police officers in America (and i acknowledge every state is different). However, neither of us can deny the reputation the american police force have for behaving in less than moral ways. Every country has bad policing to some extent, but it seems America tops the bill. I think policing is an interesting topic regards government, religion and atheism because many laws (especially past laws) were/are based on Christian values, so people would be penalised for behaving in a non-christiian way as apposed to a non-civilised way. This in itself reduces the democracy that was intended by the bill of rights. A bill of rights That really only benefited the Christian, straight, white male.

    If an officer has ever arrested a person for cannabis possession? then they have didreguarded the bill of rights, as people should be entitled to participate in victimless consumerism. In some states I am sure gay people were arrested for kissing in public. These laws which become police powers are often based on Christian values and its about the government controlling the peoples behaviour by forcing them to comply with white Americans faith. Although laws go much deepervthan religion today, Christianity in the western worlds was the basis for many laws.

    It is only with police compliance that these rediculous laws can be enforced. Police officers are in essence (but not always knowingly) not protecting people any more than what they are wasting tax payers money, taking away their liberties and exercising the governments Christian values.

    Its the policing of any country that determins how politialy corrupt a country can become.
    • Mar 25 2014: Name a law based on "Christian Values", that is not a value of other religions also.

      "Have you ever arrested a person for cannabis possession? If the answer is yes, then you have didreguarded the bill of rights, as people should be entitled to participate in victimless consumerism."

      Which of the amendments is that?

      It is not the place of the police to do anything other than enforce the laws. It is up to the people and their elected representatives to ensure that proper laws are created.

      Even if, as you say, the police do not accept laws, those officers would simply be fired and replaced by others that would enforce the laws.
      • Mar 25 2014: With regards to Christian values forming the law, I am sure I could make a long list, from laws involving intoxification to gay peoples rights in public. Its not just America I'm referring to, but many western countries. And as I said, its not so much the case today, but was the case even after the bill of rights was created. Additionally it does not matter whether it is also the law of other religious values too, as we are making the comparison to atheism.

        The bill of rights states a person is free so long as their behaviour does not harm another or their possessions. And although it was more a reference to freedom of expression, there was a follow up reference regards self determination.
    • Mar 25 2014: "The bill of rights states a person is free so long as their behaviour does not harm another or their possessions"

      No, seriously, which amendment is that....

      As for your long list of laws based on Christianity, such as intoxication and homosexuality, you miss he important part of the question... that do not exist in other religions! India and China, well outside the sphere of Christian influence, have MUCH stricter laws against homosexuality.

      India has an "unnatural sex acts" law that can get you thrown in jail for life. In many parts of China, homosexuality is considered hooliganism, akin to rape and child molestation.

      The same goes for public intoxication. Laws exist around the world.

      So, what you call Christian laws are actually laws that people around the world create, then use their religion to justify.

      And I still say that it is not the place of police to decide which laws to enforce. That is up to the elected officials.
      • Mar 25 2014: India is a very religious place, my comparisons were between Christianity and atheism or another religion and atheism. China also has many different religious groups. However, i am unsure were you get your information from, but as of 1997, homosexuality became a legal practice. And it only became unnaceptable during the 1900s because of the impact of (christian) westernisation.

        I do agree that atheism does not mean a complete moral, principled, best practice result, but I certainly believe it is a start in the right direction.

        As for the bill of rights, i did not make a direct quote, but it is near enough for you to get the picture.
    • Mar 25 2014: Mint
      You raise good points and I would like to address them, perhaps, from a biased position, but definitely an experienced one.
      In London, many years ago, early 60,s, I had the misfortune to see two Bobbys in action. No guns just expertly used batons. There was a small exchange of fists between us (GI's) and a few locals. As we were enjoying ourselves, in the exchange of British and American pleasantry's, two Bobbys came out of nowhere and within a few seconds put all six of us on the ground. Instantaneous justice. One of the Brits started to raise his voice and once again found himself on the ground. There was no more debate. No arrests were made, We licked our wounds and enjoyed another dozen pints of warm beer. No point here. A fond memory of justice. West Berlin in 63 was a similar situation with the local police acting much the same.
      This was too, how American police dealt with a great many such problems. Things changed in the late 60's here and such justice was now deemed brutal and racist. Lawsuits, enormous publicity and political correctness (political control) came into vogue changing law enforcement and in the process legitimizing societal misconduct and even crime, as an expression of a cry for freedom.
      Bad cops existed, bad Doctors exist, priests and so on, but it is unwise to label a scratch as cancer.
      America has changed since then and our police are essentially under the control of the Federal Government, Homeland Security, which in itself is a violation of law. Our police now have been militarized and muted, as police officers. American police do not tazer children, but they are. They do not taze the elderly man who shakes a cane at them.. American police (urban primarily) are now acting, as a quasi-military force, one and a half steps away from, what may be called Gestapo and that is coming from an ex-cop.
      • Mar 25 2014: Thanks Charles for your insight. I completely agree with you regards the direction the police forces have went in over the years. I assume you are slightly my senior so you have memories of how it used to be and can make more informed comparisons.

        I am from the UK, and I think our police officers are going in the wrong direction too, however there is much awareness of this and the public are the only ones asking them to question their behaviours. With the government not really caring two hoots. The London riots were a perfect example of how police officers feel they have the protection of the government to behave however they wish. I can't imagine what it would be like if the UK police were to be given guns. I am certainly not patriotic.

        I do see the good as well though, as you will see the good in the US.

        And I agree that there are plenty of police officers in every country that are wanting to do their best by the people and are genuinely good, but are perhaps restricted by the requirement to inforce the law and not question it.
        • Mar 25 2014: Mint
          It is only the beginning. The western world still has a way to go to catch up.
          Mint Thinny could not be anything if not a Brit. Made some good friends there. went back in the late 80.s, but there is never a going back. A sad thing, but true.
      • Mar 25 2014: Thanks Charles for your enlightment on yesterday's police in comparison to today's. I think you are right when you talk about the police being more like the Gestapo than public servants. I am from the UK and it seems as though police brutality is increasing, but I am unsure if this is a result of social media highlighting it or whether the police have actually taken on more aggressive attitudes towards the public. The London riots are a perfect example of UK police brutality. Charles de Menzies is another. There are many, many more. Luckily our police are not trusted with guns.

        I am not patriotic to my country as I am not proud of the way the police behave or the way government behaves towards its people and foreign countries. I do however see the advancements in laws that give certain groups of people such as women and gays greater rights. These rights have came as a result of our government pulling away from Christan values.

        I also understand that there are many police officers in each country that go into the job because they want to help and make things fairer and better. These good intentions are often tarnished by how the government expects them to perform in respect to keeping laws they themselves may disagree with and also by "bad" policing. As you said you get your good and bad in almost every profession.
        • Mar 26 2014: Mint
          I am sorry that you find it difficult to be patriotic. You have a great many reasons to be proud of England. When a country gives birth to a man like Churchill, it is my thinking, that WWII would never have been won, you have every reason to be proud. The British mind is an inventive one. A great portion of those items which have shaped the modern world came from England. You might look up a woman by the name of Gertrude Bell, if you are not familiar. An idol of a former good friend. A great many of the founding principles of America came from British thinking.
          Perfection does not exist and the lure to a utopian society can end in the nightmares of a Brit named Orwell.
          The young here in America have been taught to chase such an illusive dream. That America and Her faults are the cause of the worlds problems, that if evil capitalism went away there would be peace and harmony. That individual freedom is a barrier to a collective love, inclusiveness, tolerance and diversity. That a permissive and promiscuous behavior is a right and self gratification without responsibility is the new normal. That marriage and family, for the most, are vestiges of an antiquated time to be shunned and mocked. Without the family unit the bonds and loyalties that provide the foundation for a free society no longer exist, only government is left and that is called something else.
          As we speak, our President, the new Neville Chamberland accommodates the aggression of Russia while dismantling American military might and Europe cowers for fear of losing gas and oil. It is ironic in that America can supply Europe with these things, but those who would save the planet and protect the environment prevent us from doing so. Naive or complicit?
          Dependence is a defeat of principle. Works with welfare too.
          It is interesting to note that America and Russia, with the assistance of then Senator Obama convinced the Ukraine to give up its nuclear weapons with a guarantee of border integrity.
      • Mar 26 2014: Thanks Charles for the positive feedback, however, i am actually Scottish (my fault for not being specific when I said I was from the UK). every country, including the US has many things to be proud of as there are many wonderful and great minds that bless every nation, sometimes they are just overlooked because of all the other stuff that goes on politically. I honestly believe that the people of each nation are more advanced and better than those they are represented by. So when I say I am not patriotic, I mainly mean politically patriotic. Also I think when we think too highly of our nations we end up ignorant to its downfalls and we begin to justify wrong behaviour. When we are not patriotic/blinded by our loyalty we can see the fuller picture better and not so easily be fooled.

        Thank you for a great debate, you have made your own topic very interesting to participate in. And it is having debates like this that advances peoples thinking. I know we are eventually going to arrive at a better world, because people are becoming too aware.
    • Mar 25 2014: It is important to be precise. If you mean "religion" rather than Christianity, then say religion rather than Christianity.

      As for your comment about the Bill of Rights...."As for the bill of rights, i did not make a direct quote, but it is near enough for you to get the picture"

      It is you that has he wrong picture. The Bill of Rights most certainly does NOT give you the right to do anything that does not harm others. It is not a violation of the Constitution to make marijuana illegal, so police that enforce that law are not violating the Construction.
      • Mar 25 2014: Its about interpretation at the end of the day and that is why a piece of paper with some words on it is as meaningless as any scripture. And that is why people have to nurture good moral values in themeselves independant from any written words even if the intention of those words was originally good.

        And please note, my original comparison was always between Christianity and atheism, but a comment by another required me to make reference to all religions.
      • Mar 26 2014: Darrell

        With reference to your comments about The Bill of Rights, we are in total agreement and such laws, rightfully so, are left to the States.
        For many, myself included, religious belief encompasses all forms of theistic practice. It may be to broad of an assertion, but it saves time. When the theist talks of Atheism there is no distinction of the Atheism of Stalin, which was not, and the Atheism of Ayn Rand. But your point is taken.
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    Mar 24 2014: Forms, Frequency, and Correlates of Perceived Anti-Atheist Discrimination
    Joseph H. Hammer, Ryan T. Cragun, Karen Hwang, Jesse M. Smith

    The nationally representative 2008 American Religious Identification Survey found that 41% of self-identified atheists reported experiencing discrimination in the last 5 years due to their lack of religious identification. This mixed-method study explored the forms and frequency of discrimination reported by 796 self-identified atheists living in the United States. Participants reported experiencing different types of discrimination to varying degrees, including slander; coercion; social ostracism; denial of opportunities, goods, and services; and hate crime. Similar to other minority groups with concealable stigmatized identities, atheists who more strongly identified with their atheism, who were “out” about their atheism to more people, and who grew up with stricter familial religious expectations reported experiencing more frequent discrimination. Implications for future research tied to the ongoing religion/spirituality-health debate are discussed.
    • Mar 26 2014: That's very interesting as I am an atheist and have never experienced prejudice, however the difference being I live in the UK, Scotland to be precise. Most people I know are atheists, humanists or don't align themselves too strongly with Christianity any more, even though they may have been christened or born into the faith. And those who are christian often choose to believe in Jesus, but not the scripture. the strongest group of religious people in Scotland are the Muslims, but they only constitute for about 3%. I would say Scotland is mostly a nonreligious country, so my atheist believes fit in pretty well. Statistacly we do appear to be more religious than what we are. I beleive this is similar to the rest of the UK. The government rarely refers to us being a Christian country, which I believe is representational of the majority of people.

      Religious people tend to believe atheist have no moral guidance, that is why they are prejudice, but what they forget is we are born with a common sense thought process that lends itself to the creation of common sense morals. Additionally, not believing in a power outside our self makes an atheist the most powerful person in their own life which re?igious people don't like the idea of.

      I would never show predudism to anyone of any faith, but I will always have an opinion, which people may take offence from. (And have).
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    Mar 24 2014: University of Minnesota Study on American Attitudes Towards Atheists & Atheism
    Research Finds that Atheists are Most Despised, Most Distrusted Minority

    Every single study that has ever looked at the issue has revealed massive amounts of bigotry and prejudice against atheists in America. The most recent data shows that atheists are more distrusted and despised than any other minority and that an atheist is the least likely person that Americans would vote for in a presidential election. It's not just that atheists are hated, though, but also that atheists seem to represent everything about modernity which Americans dislike or fear.

    The most recent study was conducted by the University of Minnesota, which found that atheists ranked lower than "Muslims, recent immigrants, gays and lesbians and other minority groups in 'sharing their vision of American society.' Atheists are also the minority group most Americans are least willing to allow their children to marry." The results from two of the most important questions were:
    This group does not at all agree with my vision of American society...

    Atheist: 39.6%
    Muslims: 26.3%
    Homosexuals: 22.6%
    Hispanics: 20%
    Conservative Christians: 13.5%
    Recent Immigrants: 12.5%
    Jews: 7.6%

    I would disapprove if my child wanted to marry a member of this group....

    Atheist: 47.6%
    Muslim: 33.5%
    African-American 27.2%
    Asian-Americans: 18.5%
    Hispanics: 18.5%
    Jews: 11.8%
    Conservative Christians: 6.9%
    Whites: 2.3%

    Lead researcher Penny Edgell said that she was surprised by this: "We thought that in the wake of 9/11, people would target Muslims. Frankly, we expected atheists to be a throwaway group." Nevertheless, the numbers are so extreme that she was led to conclude that they are "a glaring exception to the rule of increasing tolerance over the last 30 years.
    • Mar 24 2014: Theodore
      You took my suggestion seriously, thank you. You have posted 12 or 13 posts in the last couple of hours. You are prolific. Of the posts that I have read none seem to take a position, except to advance surveys and studies. All very nice, but lacking in substance.
      Obviously, I have not read them all, I will and will respond.
      I am very much an Atheist, as it would appear you are, but in my 70+ years, 55 of which have been as a acknowledge Atheist, I have never been set upon or discriminated against. I would question the validity of your studies and the objective of this barrage of questionable material.
      Perhaps, it is material like this that may be moving American youth away from America.
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        Mar 24 2014: I once heard Sam Harris say he does not refer to himself as an atheist, I don't either.
        So the questions you've posed here, regarding philosophies, are not really about atheism, but about humanism.

        I do not subscribe to these principles and post them merely as an example of humanist philosophy:

        FIRST: Religious humanists regard the universe as self-existing and not created.
        SECOND: Humanism believes that man is a part of nature and that he has emerged as a result of a continuous process.
        THIRD: Holding an organic view of life, humanists find that the traditional dualism of mind and body must be rejected.
        FOURTH: Humanism recognizes that man's religious culture and civilization, as clearly depicted by anthropology and history, are the product of a gradual development due to his interaction with his natural environment and with his social heritage. The individual born into a particular culture is largely molded by that culture.
        FIFTH: Humanism asserts that the nature of the universe depicted by modern science makes unacceptable any supernatural or cosmic guarantees of human values. Obviously humanism does not deny the possibility of realities as yet undiscovered, but it does insist that the way to determine the existence and value of any and all realities is by means of intelligent inquiry and by the assessment of their relations to human needs. Religion must formulate its hopes and plans in the light of the scientific spirit and method.
        SIXTH: We are convinced that the time has passed for theism, deism, modernism, and the several varieties of "new thought".
        (see link for the other 9 principles)
        • Mar 26 2014: Having some experience with Humanists in CA, I find, for the most, its members lacking in any real conviction about anything. There were exceptions; notably those of a Marxist conviction that believed Man was entirely to stupid to ever govern themselves without the guidance of a strong hand at the tiller. Almost or similar to the philosophical thought of the Catholic Church or Martin Luther; any of the theistic beliefs, I would suppose.
          For the purposes of self identification, I too, prefer something other than Atheist, although I have taken the liberty to capitalize the word, raising its stature, somewhat. Sapien (sapient-sapience) works for me. It does go to the essence of the human animal. It is a simple understanding, wise man--reasoning man. With that we are all one, only separated my our individual talent to reason. But I do believe it is a start--making a difference.

          Simplicity is the rule that carries the most truth and I think the below definition does just that, without disparaging or dismissive condescension.

          "Atheism is an objective acceptance that Humanity is an evolved, all encompassing life organism combined of physical, emotional and intellectual traits, Homo sapiens-sapiens."
          There is more in terms of a life focus and values, but I dislike reading what I have no interest in, so I will not burden this particular post.
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      Mar 25 2014: Theodore,
      Your comment about the "lack of appreciation" for atheists by some Americans.... I am afraid that the poll may have some validity. Of course, I have no knowledge of who was polled or where, and I would wager there are differences in public opinion on religious or non-religious views in different places.

      But, as a resident in the Southern Baptist Bible Belt, I can believe that atheist are not favored... and why is that? Well. for one thing, entities identified as Atheist Organizations seem to go out of the way to tweak the noses of religious. For example, a small town north of here received a letter from an "atheist organization"
      concerning the village's Christmas display in the city park. "Take it down or we'll sue" No small village can even engage in such a lawsuit, so the display went down after many decades of display. And of course, the suit threat was noted as a win by the "organization". I am not surprised that a young lady from this part of the country would not entertain a relationship with an atheist.
      In your comment, you stated that an individual born a particular culture is largely molded by that culture.
      And that is correct. People living in the Bible Belt are religious.
      So is it payback time? Atheists were suppressed by religious in the past and now they are getting even? Talk about the high road.
      As I have said to Charles, one's religious or non religious beliefs are one's choice. These are none of my business and none of anyone else's. That is my take on Humanism....
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        Mar 25 2014: Unfortunately, theism and atheism are opposite sides of the same coin. They make a sport of poking each other in the eye, so to speak, which simple is counter productive.
        But this is ALL the product of the a local cultural narrative; it is a learned framework. And once that framework is "imposed" on us it cannot be ignored. In this regard it is similar to one's first language; one's internal dialogue produces thoughts in the language exclusively (Note that babies produce thought without language until they acquire one).

        Allow me to express this notion again: the opposite of theism is NOT anti-theism, or atheism. This is the theistic trap that humanist fall into.
        If it were not for this centuries old tradition of the cultural narratives, theism might be more accepting of the right to individual and personal beliefs.

        edited for clarity, (Thx for the assist).
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          Mar 25 2014: I think you mean "framework is imposed" rather than opposed.
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    Mar 24 2014: 11 Things Atheists Couldn't Do Because They Didn't Believe In God
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    Mar 24 2014: Bullied for Not Believing in God
    Despite secularism and atheism being on the rise, some areligious students feel discriminated against—at times violently. Now teachers across the U.S. are creating Secular Safe Zones to "curtail anti-atheist bullying, discrimination, and social isolation."
    • Mar 26 2014: Theodore

      As I understand the problem it is the Christian student and students who see fit to defend the US who are being bullied by the socialist professors. Perhaps 'safe zones" can also be afforded to such students. Perhaps, it would be a better idea if we just get rid of all the bullies.
    • Mar 26 2014: Theodore

      Had to abandone the previous post before I finished, so I will continue the thought.
      Almost weekly we see the abuse and physical assaults, even rape committed by highschool teachers, both male and female, most notably in recent years, female, against our students. These teachers are supposedly scrutinized and licensed, not to mention card carring union members; should we first consider building 'safe zones' so that our children may be safe from the people who are suppose to protect them.
      And I will be delighed to supply documentation regarding the bulling of our youth by socialist professors if you will provide documentation of your charges that Atheist students are being bullied and safe zones are being erected.
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    Mar 24 2014: Re: Atheism, of itself, says nothing with regards to this (what are the moral and social values? )

    Is this a true statement, or does it indicates the limited understanding of atheistic philosophy on the part of the questioner?
    Notice the lack of discussion here about any of the atheist philosophers.

    Let's first have a discussion of atheistic philosophy instead of presuming what it is and is not.

    "There have been many philosophers in recorded history who were atheists. Atheism is, in a broad sense, the rejection of belief in the existence of deities. In a narrower sense, atheism is specifically the position that there are no deities. Most inclusively, atheism is simply the absence of belief that any deities exist. This is a list of atheist philosophers with articles in Wikipedia. Living persons in this list are people whose atheism is relevant to their notable activities or public life, and who have publicly identified themselves as atheists."

    List of atheist activists and educators
    List of atheist authors
    List of atheists in film, radio, television and theater
    List of atheists in music
    List of atheist philosophers
    List of atheists in politics and law
    List of atheists in science and technology
    List of atheists (miscellaneous)
    • Mar 24 2014: Theodore
      Thank you. I am aware of most of these people, more to the point, I have a greater interest in the Atheism of antiquity, such as Greek and too, India and the nastika school of thought. Except for Ayn Rand I have no use for modern philosophical.thought. There are a couple I will research however..
      My intent was to draw out such thought, but out of about 50 responses you are the only one to do that.
      Atheism of itself says only that. It is a rejection of deities. From the Greek,atheos, without. That is the foundation from which i was hoping to build.
      If you are inclined, perhaps you would care to participate. To criticize the process is, perhaps, easier.
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        Mar 24 2014: Theism comes in many flavors and it is the tactic of theists to make this an "us against them" debate, when it seems to me that theists need to provide an explanation of which deity theism is arguing in favor of. Which god, or goddess, are you discussing here, Zeus, Ra, Jesus, or the one you believe in?
        As I have indicated, "We are all non-believers, (atheists) when it comes to the other guys god, the ones "we" don't believe in. But theist conveniently chose to overlook this fact and focus on the atheists.
        This brings us to two relevant points:
        The first, "Is Believing In God Evolutionarily Advantageous?"


        This NPR story brings up the second point, Is a moral system possible without religion?
        • Mar 26 2014: Theodore

          Morality, as I am sure you will agree, is not the inventions of theistic practice, rather a device to survive, as a group. In your words what are those practices of a moral, ethical conduct that should be brought into a world without gods? Who provides that definition? How is it enforced?
    • Mar 24 2014: Any assertion that the opinions of philosophers applies to atheism, is ultimately an appeal to unqualified authority.

      As an atheist, or otherwise, the only person that speaks for me is me.
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    Mar 24 2014: Charles,
    This is an interesting question for comment. I see two concepts here and the question, which is... better?
    Religious, right or wrong, hold that some defined law is accepted as their guiding principals.
    Atheist hold that their defining law comes from within.

    There are several religious concepts that a great many people hold:, the golden rule for one. Now it is true that many bad things have been done in the name of religion, but under closer examination it wasn't so much about the religion as it was about the evil doing men making the claim as justification for their actions.

    You have well acknowledged the span of atheistic thought in comparing Stalin and Ryan.

    So, If we dismiss common held rules from religious sources, will we hold rules from other sources, the constitution for one. As I see the rise in numbers of atheists in the US, I see more dismissiveness toward the constitution... cause or effect?
    • Mar 24 2014: Most atheists hold the Golden Rule as well. In fact, I am not sure there has been a society that didn't have the Golden Rule in regards to other members of their own society.

      In what ways are we being dismissive of the Constitution?
    • Mar 24 2014: Mike
      Great questions. I will do my best to answer.
      If, as alluded to by theists, that the Golden Rule and the practice of religion are, indeed, guiding principles of an omnipotent deity; we have some problems.
      1, Morality existed prior to the Ten Commandment, if not we would have killed ourselves off long before their arrival.Such morality is specific to a culture, to fit its needs and, as evidence shows evolves, changes over a mere generation, as even in the case of the Jews. There are no static principles of conduct or for that matter social or cultural truths.
      2, As you say; the evil doers were not the religion they claimed to represent: Do we know that the good doers were doing the work of the church or just good people doing good, as we see in all walks of life. Is it a matter of a god or simply a matter of survival, in that by helping others you, in fact, help yourself and the society in which you live.
      3, For me the US Constitution is the greatest document ever, "conceived of the mind men"
      Freedom is a terrible thing, if one is to retain it. Freedom of Speech is problematic, in that everyone speaks and no one listens. As one of an Atheistic philosophy; what I see, as you see, a rise in atheism-non-religious thinking for all the wrong reasons. As people move away from religious belief and practice, there is nothing to fill the void. There is nothing, but government to go to. Government then becomes omnipotent, becomes that missing authority, the new state religion, Marxism. This is not Atheism, but a secular church devoted the an omnipotent government.
      Joe Stalin was not an atheist, he, as did the Pharaohs installed themselves as a god. No atheism here.
      Atheism is best embodied in the Constitution, Individual Freedom.
      We (our youth) have been engineered away from the Constitution by government, by unions, by teachers, at
      all levels. To know where we are going, read the UN Charter and the Dec on Human Rights.
      • Mar 24 2014: How are we being engineered away from the Constitution?
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          Mar 24 2014: Notice that the BELIEFs of others are being passed off as facts by the very nature that statements, such as this, are unsupported with any kind of evidence.
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        Mar 25 2014: Charles,
        Points well taken. I am not understanding the connection between atheism and the constitution. You can believe in God or not and still hold high the constitution. In fact, there is a common complaint across political commentators that religious are all wrapped in the constitution.

        Your last point about how youth are not being educated in our law is a situation I have long complained. What concerns me is what was said about "give me the children and I will have the country..." something like that. In that last 60 years our educational level has fallen so far... We have seemingly developed an academic based political class. We have lost the barking dog of the 4th estate, Amendments to the constitution have almost ended the influence of the states by direct election of senators, given congress almost limitless power of taxation, and now there are calls for the end of the electoral college so there will be direct election of the Federal government. I see none of this based on a belief in God or not. I do see the historical pattern of a republic to a democracy, to a dictatorship, to the final collapse of the country.
        Again I see no correlation. In fact, if I remember there is a quote from old text of a Jewish Rabbi "Render unto Caesar that what is Caesar's and render unto God that which is God's", that would indicate that some religious seem to desire a separation of church and state. At least in the USA.
        • Mar 25 2014: Mike
          "give me a child" essentially means that if I control the education of a child until the age of 7-8, the informative years, that influence over that child will then influence him the rest of his life. He will be more prone to live and to act according to my initial teaching.
          Our youth are not being educated, they are being engineered into a globalist mindset, collectivist thinking that the individual has no value without the group, the community.
          What we are now seeing has nothing to do with religion of a spiritual sense, but a religion of a secular sense, which is not Atheism. It is a dismantling of the family unit and those values that provide the bonds of unity and loyalty, so very critical to a free society. Without such unity and with a very successful attack on American religious belief; government remains the sole authority and people will coalesce around it and to it, as is the nature of the animal.Government becomes the god and the religion.
          Spiritual religion, as a secular religion are both prone to a totalitarian rule, thus freedom of religion. also a mandate of freedom from religion. You cannot have freedom of, if you do not first have a freedom from. For the second part of that, in terms of a secular religion,we installed a separation of powers, that under the last few Administration has been deteriorated.
          Under the UN Dec on Human Rights, you have a right to an education and that education is defined by government. You do not have such a right under the Bill of Rights, you have a right to achieve an education. We now have the former.
          Thank you for your sincerity
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        Mar 25 2014: Theodore,
        I trust you were not speaking of my comments. I was stating an opinion and therefore evidence is not required.
        However, you do not find the constitution is under attack? or at least being dismissed?
  • Mar 24 2014: Charles Hunsinger -- An interesting topic.

    I've never subscribed to a newspaper, but I read one or two every day or so.
    I've never joined a church, but infrequently visit when I feel like I need to talk to God.
    Usually at the VA Hospital, on the second floor. A small chapel. A quiet place.
    150 miles from my home, and I only go now once a year.

    We live today in a world moving away from the Victorian principals I grew up with.
    Gay and Lesbian lifestyles are taking some getting used to. I'm not there yet.
    I cannot understand young uneducated and prison wannabes use of the "F" word.
    I've watched as the bigotry dissolved and did an about-face in the last 50 years.
    I now have a wonderful black son-in-law, an accomplishment for me, Arkansas bred.

    I loved Ayn Rand's writings. She put to the torch what needed to be burned.

    As Atheism rises in our society, it will be for a while like the rest of minorities who
    yell and screech for their place in the group. It is only a belief. Something someone
    wants to use as their wall to lean upon. Not much substance to their wall, but maybe
    that is the benefit itself.

    I still remember the remark I make every time I do serious injury to myself.
    Oh God, Why Me?

    Who does the Atheist call on to express wonder or assign blame to other than self?

    The religious Mormons have a neat gambit. Instead of cursing, some say; "Oh, My Word".
    It means the same as worse words. lol Get's the job done.
    • Mar 24 2014: Frank
      I too, have chewed away at the greater part of 75 years and I too, watch, as the world we knew fades into history.
      I take great pride Frank, in being part, a very small part, of a nation that brought so much to the world. The concept and practice of Individual Freedom and with that, the greatest country the world has ever seen.
      It is extremely difficult to watch, as our nation is eaten away from the inside, that our own people, their greed and selfishness, they stretch their hand waiting, demanding the next morsel of crumb from the government. It is their right. I watch, as our language is bastardized, as dignity and decorum become fodder for and the butt of badly written jokes.Our society has taken to project little girls into the rolls of street walkers and warriors and our boys, emasculated and dismissed, as access baggage.
      Who does the Atheist call on to express feeling? For me, there is still, damn it and if really bad, GDit, For wonder and awe, it is wonder and awe, all by itself. I have seen many of those wonders from child birth, the great stretches of the frozen arctic, the wonders of the US to the pyramids of Egypt. The most 'wondrous' is a picture from the rings of Saturn of the planet earth, an insignificant speck of rock hurtling through the universe at over 2 million miles an hour, coming from nowhere and going to nowhere. This is the greatness of the human mind. As we are insignificant in size, our mind is as large as the universe. There can be nothing greater then a reasoning mind and this is out talent, this is who we are. Reason is the essence of human life and it transcends, must transcend, the arrogant stupidity that is.
      Thank you for your post. Sincerity is a rare commodity.
      • Mar 24 2014: What was the top marginal income tax rate when you were in your 20s, 30s,, starting out in the world, looking to start a career and family?

        I too hate the idea of a government hand-out. This is why I am so strongly in favor of a tax code that keeps money moving, creates job opportunity, creates demand for goods and services that give people the opportunity to produce goods and services to fill that demand.

        First we need to fix the tax code, get money moving, end our reliance on unsustainable debt growth.... Then, when it is impossible to step out your door without tripping over a help wanted sign, withdraw the government support for able bodied working age people.
        • Mar 25 2014: Darrell
          I would have to go back and look at it, but I do remember in round numbers about 22%.> i remember being very upset with the Carter Admin for raising it. I don't remember how much.
          I don't think fixing the tax code is up for consideration, Democrat or Republican.
      • Mar 25 2014: Charles Hunsinger, and Darrell Shimel Jr,
        Thank you.

        I watched a Netflix video starring Clinton's Secretary of Labor, Robert Reich.
        Look for it on Wikipedia or Netflix under his name. I enjoyed the truth of it.

        Secretary Reich was in a position to do something, but found he could not
        accomplish much even with power in his hands. He finally gave up and
        went home.

        To explained the problems with our economy. He created charts showing
        the reasons for the two depressions we Americans have been suffering from
        over the last 80 years.

        When the Wealthy 1% are highly taxed at up to 91%, the rest of the nation
        lives "high on the hog".

        As Politicians also become Wealthy, they tend to help drop the tax percentages.
        Soon the effects are felt, and when it gets below 30%, the nation starves.

        To illustrate, Reich superimposed the span of the Golden Gate Bridge upon his Chart.
        The bridge's 2 cable towers showed from the 1930's Depression to ours that started
        being felt in about 2006. The Chart showed the how the Wealthy tax rates rose, and
        life was good, followed by their tax rates dropping, and as they did our nation lost their
        jobs and their homes.

        When the head of the NYFED Tim Geithner, is made Treasury Secretary, it is not
        surprising he and Hank Paulson, ex-Goldman Sach's CEO and ex-Treasury Secretary,
        could convince the President and Congress, to allow our Treasury to bail out the Banks
        who had invested into Wall Street's high risk, complex and unintelligible financial
        instruments. Shakespearian thespians would take a back seat to those two.

        The Banks after getting TARP monies were prime beef to be consolidated into the
        6 largest Banks who have increased their own assets by 30%.

        I figured it out watching Senator Steven's committee, questioning the 4 CEO's
        of the largest Oil Corporations. The CEO's explained it took 50 years before they
        got to a possible profit. That meant dealing with 8 US Administrations.
        • Mar 25 2014: I saw the video on Netflix index, but have not watched it yet. I follow his blog on New York Times, so suspect I have a pretty good idea what will be in the video.

          He's one of the few in politics hot afraid to proudly wear the Liberal label.
      • Mar 25 2014: ME: "What was the top marginal income tax rate when you were in your 20s, 30s,, starting out in the world, looking to start a career and family?"

        "I would have to go back and look at it, but I do remember in round numbers about 22%"

        If you are almost 75 years old, as I assume from your "munching away" comment, then you were born around 1940. So, when you were 20, in 1960, the top marginal income tax rate was 91%. When you were 30, it was 70%.

        Of course, no one actually paid those top rates. There were ample deductions for spending that allowed people with high income to avoid taxes by spending.

        That spending created demand for goods and services, and that, in turn, created jobs.

        Money is the life blood of an economy, and it only works when it is moving.

        Drastically lowering the top rates by Reagan, created pooling of too much money into too few hands. The only way we have been able to keep the economy functioning since it by creating new money (via debt) faster than the existing money is leaking out of circulation.

        If we really want to save the middle class, then we need to return to the tax polices that created the middle class. VERY high top marginal rates (90%+), with loads and loads of deductions for spending, to get and keep money moving!
        • Mar 25 2014: I have several opinions based upon asset accumulation.

          First, a Flat Tax upon Products purchased of 10%, remitted daily by the seller,
          through the local Bank's ATM collection station. No income taxes needed.

          Next, the elimination of all Life, Health and Disability Insurance Policies.
          Self-explanatory when we look at ObamaCare, the Affordable Care Act,
          and Social Security Disability Insurance.

          Additionally, I pose that upon death, most assets be placed into other
          Citizen Social Programs. Others may decide to use other Funds, and
          probably will, as citizens would obviously be living "too high on the hog".

          Allowances for a continuation of life styles for current Wives and any disabled
          Children, with a reasonable limit as to amount. And a family transition period
          allowed, of not more than 6 months.

          That should restrict the number of 1%'ers, gold diggers, and useless children.

          The murder rates might temporarily shoot out of sight. (A slight pun intended.)
          But I'll bet both marriage and divorce rates will drop.

          I'm not really joking. We have a serious problem today, and it is getting worse.
    • Mar 27 2014: "I have several opinions based upon asset accumulation.

      First, a Flat Tax upon Products purchased of 10%, remitted daily by the seller,
      through the local Bank's ATM collection station. No income taxes needed."

      I think that what most people miss is that taxes are not just a means of funding the government or ensuring there is demand for money to maintain its value.

      The tax code has an amazing power to influence the actions of people within the economy.

      Sales tax reduces the amount of goods purchased, reducing demand and creating unemployment.

      Payroll tax discourages hiring, reduces money available for spending, increasing unemployment through both mechanisms.

      A steeply progressive income tax, with deductions for almost all spending, is a tax code that is actually designed to increase spending, employment, and the velocity of money within the economy.

      In worked 1915 to 1925, and it worked again 1930-1960s.

      A steeply progressive income tax with deductions for spending is proven to grow the economy, create jobs, reduce inequality, reduce need for government, reduce total debt.... It created the vast American Middle Class, that has been threatened ever sense we moved away from that tax code.

      A flat tax would be the absolute worst type of tax imaginable. Only billionaires that want to accumulate more billions while driving everyone else further into debt, could understand, and still be in favor of a flat tax.
      • Mar 28 2014: Darrell, we all have opinions and yours has value also.
        I must disagree..

        I forget the exact years, but it was from 1870's through 1913 when America was a
        member of the Gold Club, and it was also a most prosperous time for Americans,
        and the 2nd industrial revolution.

        When Banking Cartels and President Wilson got together things changed.

        The federal income tax was enacted in 1913, and the top rate was just 7%.
        By the end of World War I, rates had been greatly increased at all income
        levels, with the top rate jacked up to 77% (for income over $1million).
        After five years of very high tax rates, rates were cut sharply under the Revenue
        Acts of 1921, 1924, and1926. The combined top marginal normal and surtax rate
        fell from 73% to 58% in 1922, and to 50% in 1923 (income over $200,000).
        In 1924, the top tax rate fell to 46% (income over $500,000). The top rate was
        25% (income over $100,000) from 1925 to 1928, and then fell to 24% in 1929.
        Actually, with creative accounting, it was mostly zero. Great Depression1.

        Secretary of Labor 1993-1997, Robert Reich --
        has shown that Nixon's Aug 15, 1971 refusal to honor US international policies
        of convertibility of Dollars into Gold, and by instituting national price controls,
        caused the purchasing power of a dollar saved in 1971 to fall to 18 pennies by 2010.

        Treasury Secretary Connelly may have been the force behind Nixon's economic
        policies that have sown chaos for 33 years now. We will probably never know the

        U.S. income inequality has been increasing steadily since the 1970s, and in 2014
        has almost matched levels not seen since 1928.

        Leaving us all in the middle of our Great Depression2.

        Darrell, perhaps a 50% Flat Tax on the 400+ Super-Rich and 10% Flat Tax on the
        rest of us.

        And repeal those damned Political and Corporate Limited Liability Laws.
        All of the them.
        • Mar 28 2014: "I forget the exact years, but it was from 1870's through 1913 when America was a
          member of the Gold Club, and it was also a most prosperous time for Americans,
          and the 2nd industrial revolution."

          Glorious times indeed.
          Panic of 1873 triggers the aptly named Long Depression that lasted five and a half years with GDP declining by 1/3rd.

          3 years after recovering from that, we get the 3 year long 1882-1885 recession where GDP declined by 1/5th.

          A year of recovery, then recession of 1887-1888. 1.5 years of recovery, then the recession of 1890-91.

          This lead up to the panic and crash of 1893, followed by the panic of 1896.

          1889 recession, 1902 recession, 1907 panic. 1910 panic.

          Take a look at the years between the founding of the USA, and the Liberal policies adopted in the early 20th century.

          Pre-New Deal, we spent half the time in some sort of economic decline or collapse.

          Post-New-Deal we have had a recession once a decade, lasting about a year, on average.

          So, please, please do some research on these wonderful Golden years of the Second Industrial Revolution, and get me some more info, because a look at historic economic activity, I do not see it.
  • Mar 23 2014: You defined my point nicely when you mentioned a common sense morality. As humans we are born with a thought process and a good chunk of it is reserved for decisions based on common sense, so why anyone thought we needed a scripture to direct us is beyond this. And yes, people evidently lived and survived prior to the 10 commandments. It is Also note worthy to mention, that prior to much religion, somehow we managed to build the pyramids, stone henge and many other wondrous marvels. Perhaps prior to religion, when intuition was a mans direction, greater abilities of the human mind and physical body were more abundant. Religion inevitably took our spark of genius.

    As for a secular government, I believe it is the only way forward, as laws are more likely to be based on common sense morals and not on an obscured perception of how one should live life according to the equivelant of unproven fairy tails.

    I believe the USA bill of rights states somewhere that each person is entitled to live however they want, so long as their living does not hurt anothers way of life. If that part of the bill of rights actually meant anything to the government the US would be a far better place than what it currently is, but too much religion has tainted the ideals of this.

    However, the bill of rights like the human rights charter of the UK/EU is nothing more than words on a piece of historic paper easily changeable with new words on another piece of paper.
    • Mar 24 2014: Mint
      Since you have no identity and you may not even exist, I am hesitant to compliment you? on your post.
      You mention, "the way forward". In the last few years, I have noticed that everyone seems to be going there. It does not seem to matter ones position on anything, even if the position is in contradiction to another, they are both going forward, forward to where or does anybody even care?. Where exactly is forward. Is it a cliff, as lemmings going forward? Is it Nirvana. a utopia of blissful togetherness, where we can sing, hold hands and feel the warm glow of love and kindness. I personally think that going forward, with everybody else, is askew. One should not go there, if we do not know where there is.
      Mint you are right. The US Constitution has been set aside by our politicians. It has been bastardized to accommodate a globalist agenda, much as the EU. Our people too, for the most part, have been educated away from America and the principles of Individual freedom to a global, collectivist agenda, essentially under the auspices of the UN Charter and Declaration on Human Rights.
      Rightly so, words on a paper. Words that took on and beat a super power and rose to be the greatest nation in the world. Words that inspired the defeat of socialist aggression in two world wars. Words that sparked innovation, invention and productivity, not only here, but around the world. Words that brought up a standard of living unheralded in the history of mankind. Words that put a man on the moon. Words Mint, that for the first time in the history of humanity, man was recognized, as an individual, with individual rights and the freedom to achieve without the permission of the State or church. Only words and I fear for the world and for the future of the human race they are lost.
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        Mar 24 2014: Hi Charles,
        You ask where we are going. I buried my Mum in Law a couple of weeks ago; it brings it home, exactly where we are going. To Dust. No doubt you have had similar experiences. It is a subject we push to the side, but to recognise the reality must at least give us perspective.
        You seem to applaud the notion that Christianity has had it's day & that Atheism is on the rise. Yet you seem to hanker after the old days & reckon we may be headed in the wrong direction. How do you square that ?
        You & I are both getting on (63), could we have Old Coots disease, where past is good & present is second best ?

        • Mar 24 2014: When I was a teenager, my mother was dying of cancer. Knowing she was an atheist, many of her friends gave her "spirituality" books to read. Her response was that there are a near infinite number of "good stories", but no reason to believe any of them are accurate. She was simply unable to close down her rational mind and accept something as true because she wanted it to be true.

          The saying "there are no atheists in a fox hole" is not only inaccurate, but also a glimpse into the real motivation for those with strong religious beliefs.
        • Mar 25 2014: Peter/Darrell

          There have been 30+ responses in the last two days, confusing and difficult to keep straight and keep up with.
          I am 70+ and yes, like all fading generations we look to the past for comfort and truth, the future, being out of our control, is viewed with questions and even disdain.
          It is not Christianity I fear or the religions of other believers, with the American 1st Amendment that is controlled. Theism must fade if Man is to achieve any semblance of peace however. My biggest fear is the rise of an "atheistic ideology that is not Atheism, but secular worship, as in Marxist Socialism. The going away from religion is a problem, due to the fact that there is nothing to go to, except government. That is why I posted the question, to see if there was an understanding of what Atheism is or is not.
          I was an Atheist in a foxhole and there were others. When Danang Vietnam was attacked in 65 we were dug in and waiting. It never occurred to me that I was an Atheist. I had resigned myself to the idea that I had an M16 and a 45 and I had no intentions of dying that night.
          The men beside me never talked about gods or religion. We waited, watched and fought.
      • Mar 24 2014: "Rose to be the greatest nation in the world"
        Maybe that was the plan, but it never actually happened. And today it is even further from the truth with all the false flags, uneeded wars, NATO terrorism, the likes of guantamino bay and a whole host of other covert affairs. In fact I think it may be the exact opposit. More kids die from gun crime in the US than what they do from vehicle accidents. This fact in itself brings the us into question as a sane nation let alone a great nation. Americas participation in the world wars is more regretable than applaudable and the US police forces have never stopped being brutal no matter which decade we are talking about.

        If people separate their patriotism from their country and were truly honest as to the type of country they live in they would realise many other countries have well surpassed the cultural and democratic principles of the US. Whatever the bill of rights aimed to bring the US people it failed almost immediately and was replaced by what you acknowledge as political agendas not in keeping with public representation. The past america was always leading to this current America and I really don't think too much has changed with the exception of peoples awareness.

        As for moving forward. Many governments have been controlled by religion, giving only the striaght, white male the majority of benefits as even the bill of rights failed to give the minority groups the democracy it appeared to give the stereotypical white male. So moving forward is in reference to leaving behind the religious values which have always influenced politics (and still do in many states).

        Releasing our governments from religion, although this will not dissolve corruption it will surfacely give everyone the same rights and hopefully when politicians eventually leave behind religion their awareness and objection to corruption will increase.
        • Mar 24 2014: Mint
          As a former American police officer, I will speak directly to your absurd charge. In the years I spent as an officer, I never witness or participated in any such brutality. Your obvious bias and even hatred toward the US is quite evident.
          It would serve no point in pointing out your errors. I am sure that you have a better system of government in mind. The founding principles of this nation are contained in our Constitution, essentially, Individual Freedom and free enterprise capitalism. I would be very interested in your conception of a better form of government, if you would care to share it. Perhaps at that point we can compare values and achievements.
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    Mar 23 2014: Charles, I am Christian, but lets set that aside and start at he begining ... definations. Atheism is merely the absence of belief in any gods. Religion is faith based on there is a God. However we often fail to acknowledge the existance of Agnostics. Agnosticism is not about belief in God but about knowledge — it was coined originally to describe the position of a person who could not claim to know for sure if any gods exist or not.

    The argument usually boils down to presence of a belief in a God and the absence of a belief in a God which exhausts all of the possibilities. There are all sorts of shades involved here. A person can believe in a god (theism) without claiming to know for sure if that god exists; the result is agnostic theism. On the other hand, a person can disbelieve in gods (atheism) without claiming to know for sure that no gods can or do exist; the result is agnostic atheism.

    So I must question how was the survey questions worded .... what was the target population ... was it taken at ten o'clock on Sunday morning in the mall .... by phone .... etc. I don't trust any survey. It will aways reflect the wishes of the person / group funding the survey.

    What is the impact .... that is not easy either. If you are declared a Christian nation then the Ten Commandments would be a part of you doctrine. If not then the constraints are considerable less. However, nations have goals and objectives ... Christian nations go to war even though it is taught to NOT kill your brother. Just because you are an athiest does not mean your a Stalin or Hitler ... you could be a hippie ... tree hugger ... environmentalist ... etc.

    At least part of the problem is that we only hear from the far left and the far right in this issue. As expected both are mostly closed minded about the issue.

    However, there are million inbetween that surveys exclude. Not all Athiests are bad ... nor all Christians good

    Be well. Bob.
    • Mar 23 2014: Bob
      Some nice points here, thank you.
      Of two surveys mentioned, Gallup would be the most biased, as it is notably left. The other lends itself to greater objectivity, as it does not seem to have a political bent.
      For definition purposes; I am Atheistic, but more to the point, I prefer the designation of Sapien, wise man, reasoning, a laudable objective and difficult to reach.
      Religion is 'trust' based on a 'belief' that a god exists. The Atheist rejects that assertion of belief on trust and asks, reasonably for evidence. There is none. This lack of evidence however, does not prove non-existence.
      When one has 'faith', one has trust that something is or is not. Faith in a spouse, a child, that the sun will rise. Founded trust-faith based upon experience. Faith is not a mysterious truth that the faithful posses. It is a trust that something exist, a belief that something exists.
      "Only the fool in his heart, will say there is no god" Very true. It is true because this fool does not possess a universal intelligence to say categorically that there is no god. Is he also the fool who categorically states, that a god exists? He who too, does not possess a universal knowledge. It would seem so, but yet people are commanded to believe, people are tortured, killed and imprisoned because they will not believe. This god created a hell to send those who violate his word, his rule, his wish. So the believer declares a truth and provides definitions, characteristics for their particular deity and it is only a trust of existence.
      I am also very American and in that, for me, it is the Bill of Rights and the Constitution that matter. A combat veteran I fought for your freedom of religion and I would do it again. Individual freedom is central to a thinking Atheist.
  • Mar 22 2014: I see the word governance repeated over and over again in this debate. This comes with an ever increasing war of words deliberating the truculence of deity vs evolution. Governance will only be defined when reasons and proof of the design in evolution are forthcoming. One example where truth and logic may go bye the bye because of religious the demise of the dinosaur. Religions vary as to whether they existed at all and if they believe they did then try to move all the evidences to prove a nonsensical point. What if the dinosaur had to go because the smaller, more vulnerable and more intelligent species had to survive. What was the purpose of their reign of terror? Was it to boost the intelligence of these smaller species?
    Did we arrive from a different branch of the tree of life than the primates, or did primates stop evolving into a superior intelligence because that had already been achieved? (Us.) The virus can survive in almost any environment, its main function is to lie dormant until it can attach to a living host and only then does it become active. Why hasn't the virus evolved? Is it because it safeguards life itself? In case of a catastrophe it could survive to start the journey to intelligent life all over again. This dormancy is inherited, all life possesses it. We experience mostly when we dream-it could be just a strange face flashing across our subconscious. The biological rhythm depends on this dormancy. hibernation and migration, just to name two. If all life contains this dormancy, then it must be as important today as it was all those billions of years ago when life first started. Richard Dawkins name also comes up once or twice, having read his book 'The Blind Watchmaker' I find myself disagreeing. He tries to describe a random progress of evolution using a computerized anomaly which is void of the complexities of evolution. Governance will be dictated by the species' who knows better than the species what is wanted?
  • Comment deleted

    • Mar 22 2014: Chris

      Blanket, unsubstantiated statements serve no point other than, as an indication of ones inability to articulate an argument.
      • Comment deleted

        • Mar 22 2014: Chris

          I think you are on the right road. Please maintain your course.
  • Mar 22 2014: Joshua-Entropy
    Lets take a look at truth and then find, if there is one to be found, an Essence that is Atheism.
    Can we agree that truth, as our knowledge base continues to grow, changes accordingly, ie the bible, Galileo, Copernicus and so on. Ayn Rand made this statement in a debate in the 70's, I believe, "The Universe exists," For bridging purposes can we agree that this is a 'truth'? As we are incapable of knowledge outside of the universe can we confine our search within its boundaries.? The universe is a composite of mass and energy in changing forms of existence in accordance with Einstein's E=MC2.
    For the moment lets leave aside the Big Bang, although confirmation on this theory is pending, and its cause and before the Bang.
    Can we agree that the cosmic web is the largest universal structure and that galaxies are the gathering centers for stars, along the web structure.. That stars in their creation, compression of mass, cause the formation of planets. That our star, the sun, is just such a star and that our earth is just such a planet.. That we are born, live and will die on this infinitesimally small speck of rock hurtling though a universe at, possibly, over two million miles an hour, coming from nowhere and going to nowhere. That we are a product of the evolutionary circumstance of out star and our planet. That all that we perceive is defined by a developing reasoning mind. That truth, in its purest form, is contingent on the evolutionary development of our capacity to reason objectively, that which we perceive. Truth, perhaps, in the purity of the intent, is the continued evolution of the human mind to perceive and to define--objectively without prejudice of want. The universe exists and we perceive it. We define it. It exists. We exist. We are reasoning beings. Is this a beginning in our search?
  • Mar 22 2014: Charles
    Each individual emotion that we feel can be on many levels. Greed can be a negative or positive emotion, without greed we couldn't save for a rainy day. This is a good kind of greed. If emotions were just on one level we would not be the intelligent species that we are-it allows us to differ. Our intelligence that is derived as I have explained before allows us to differentiate between wrong and right. This has its problems; wrong can be right to someone else or visa-versa. It's either this situation or the choice would be to live on par with 'The Stepford Wives.' This could never happen only in films. we would be way down the evolutionary scale. Like I have said before it's only by knowing a problem can you ever do anything about it; unfortunately religion can not solve this, their problem ends being trapped in a cul-de-sac because they come from the wrong direction. The emotion lust is prone to the same levels as any other emotion. Sexual reproduction to keep the balance in nature is one of them, lust for power, lust for money, lust for comfort. Another point of interest did you know that Hate can only be dreamed of in the third party, you cannot dream with hate yourself. What does that tell you about the subconscious?
    You ask where I was in 1962; I was just on the verge of marrying my very beautiful wife who sadly passed away five years ago. (Many happy memories.)
  • Mar 21 2014: Hello again Charles. If it helps I will tell you where I find solace. In 1966 My sons were aged 4 and 6. They had been in bed a couple of hours before my wife and I retired. As we were about to turn off the lights and go to sleep, we heard our children getting up out of bed in the back room. We could hear them making their way in our direction, so in fun we covered our heads with the sheet. We heard them come into our room and make their way to stand by our bed. My wife and I sat up saying 'boo'. Their was no one there and when I checked on my children, not a hair of their head had moved. I began to think that there must be a connection between my sons in their subconscious. otherwise how could they have both done the same thing at the same time. I didn't associate the incident to anything supernatural, I related it more to two energy sources. As time went by I realized that the subconscious works 24/7 it never stops. My next thought was that the incident could have come from any of the four of us. Expand on this and that could mean that all life is connected by the subconscious at certain times. To cut a long story short, after yrs of research I began to think that evolution is by design and not random as science would have us believe. My solace comes from being part of that evolving.
    Life started out as one and probably the one is still evolving and I and all my loved ones belong to that one. I often wonder if the Ferryman exists at all.
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    Mar 21 2014: Hello Charles,

    Is the essence of your debate based on "religiosity" having shaped governance in the past, and now with the rise of atheism that atheism should shape governance?

    Also, might the best way of governance (or guiding principles of governance) be independent of both religious ideas, and atheistic ones?
    • Mar 21 2014: Joshua
      I do not have time to adequately address your concerns and questions. I look forward to doing that in the morning. I do thank you for bringing things back into the original perspective. It is amazing how fast and easy focus can be lost.
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    Mar 21 2014: A new study says the world is more religious now than it was four decades ago, and this trend will continue to 2020 and perhaps beyond even as the global share of the nonreligious is likely to witness a sustained decrease.

    I guess it depends on who you listen to :-)

    The vast majority have little interest in the subject, so data is bound to be skewed. In my experience there has been a large growth in Christian house/hall independent churches, which show up on no-one's radar.

    It is true that 'religion' has caused havoc over the millennia, however, how do we know the havoc would have been less with Atheism holding sway ?

    Very few people can honestly say categorically "There is no God". Even Dawkin's must say "There probably is no God". It is impossible to prove a negative, so Atheism is, in effect, a belief. Even non-belief is an act of faith. So we have two groups of people, those who believe in something, & those who don't give a hoot. I would say this latter group is the growth area; I for one wouldn't like to be governed by them. Come to think of it, we seem to be in this very situation at present.

    • Mar 21 2014: Peter

      A sincere post, thank you. Your source,The Christian Post, seems to have a built in bias, but on the other hand, the Gallup pole that I sighted may too, have a bias. It seems to have a very 'left' leaning philosophy. That leaves the other, which tends to be more objective.
      In any case we have a tendency to look for that, which best supports our objective.
      I have not seen the growth you mention, perhaps, it is there. I do watch television however, and if our nation can be judged by what the majority of people are watching, what commercials are being made, than I would doubt that any Christian values remain, thus Christians. I think you get my point there.
      I do not possess a universal intelligence. I lack an all-knowingness that is attributed to deities.
      "Only the fool in his heart, says there is no god." only the fool, indeed. Is he not the fool, who without an all-knowingness, a universal intelligence categorically states that there are deities, that hell exists, heaven, that this deity will dispatch your soul to eternal damnation if you do not believe.
      Perhaps, it is an act of faith that creates and maintains such a godly existence, but faith is not some mystical truth that one possesses. It is a trust that something is, that something will or will not happen.
      We have have two groups of people. One group believes that a deity exists, because they have trust that it does. One group says there is no evidence to give credibility to the assertion, therefore what does a reasoned examination tell me. This approach is not an act of faith. After a reasoned examination the sun does not rise and the earth is not the center of the universe.
      I think it is rather childish to brandish such a broad paint brush that says Atheists, "don't give a hoot" If I did not give a hoot would I be taking the time to do this?
      Bill of Rights-- an Atheistic assertion, As the Founding Principles, where can they be found in any religious text? You might give that some thought.
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        Mar 22 2014: Hi Charles.
        You got me wrong, Atheists do give a hoot, in fact they are very motivated. However the population at large don't give a hoot. This would explain the TV content. Committed believers & unbelievers I would guess are greatly outnumbered by those who don't know, and/or don't care. Richard Dawkins for instance has made a career out of declaring that my god doesn't exist. He very much gives a hoot.
        I became a Christian after examining the evidence. I am not aware of the bible asserting either that the earth is the centre of the universe, or that the sun orbits the earth. Although quantised redshift is interesting re the former.
        Biased Christian link
        Unbiased link
        I find the whole evolution argument unconvincing.
        I consider a worldwide flood to be a more likely cause for the fossils, than long ages.
        To me, the bible successfully predicts earth's history.....etc.etc
        Many seem to dismiss belief as mindless & irrational; I have found it to be rational & supported by evidence all around us. I respect those who disagree, we are all different, & that's ok.

        • Mar 22 2014: Hi Peter
          You mention Dawkins; I personally think the man is crass and will, at the drop of a hat, insist upon Atheism, as a truth and then, while still in the sentence elevate government into an omnipotent status. Not an Atheist.
          As an avowed Atheist who does not claim an all knowing status or universal intelligence. I am always open to knowledge. This is an admission that not common among those who profess a theistic belief.
          I have read and or studied various bibles from the Latin Vulgate to more modern versions. I once studied to be a Jesuit. It was a choice between being smart and women. I am not a Jesuit and obviously no longer a Catholic.
          Please reference the Biblical prediction regarding earths "history"
          Deity belief is not mindless. You could not reason the existence of a god if you were first not a reasoning being.
          You discount science when it contradicts your belief. Do you accept science when it does not?
          When did this flood take place? Noah, is then a fairly accurate scenario?
          Would you argue the speed of light and that it takes about 8.5 minutes for the suns light to reach earth?, The Andromeda Galaxy, our closest galactic neighbor; traveling at the speed of light 186,000 miles per second would take 2.5 million years. This is science, not perfect, but a solid measurement. Is Andromeda older then earth or younger? Is the universe the same age as earth?
          Polite disagreement, a welcome rarity.
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        Mar 23 2014: Hi Charles.
        Bit pushed for time, church beckons, however :-
        This is one of the most famous of prophecies, although there are hundreds. Comings & goings of the Jewish Nation, details on the life & death of Christ, rise of knowledge in the last days etc. You are probably familiar with many of them.
        Off the top of my head, I would put the flood at c2500BC
        Tere are books written about the time & space problem. No-one knows the answer, however, just suppose... God makes the universe orbiting the event horizon of a ginormous black hole. Time would stand still while he made it & as it expanded, light from the stars could have as long as it liked, as time on earth was stopped. At the end of six earth days, remove the black hole; voila.
        Just as likely as a Big Bang ?
        Must go; appreciate your civility. Later....

        • Mar 23 2014: Peter
          I enjoyed the web site.
          It has been some, nay many years since I have researched your Biblical references. A task, even then, at a very young age, I enjoyed.
          As, all religious prophecies, they rest on ambiguity and interpretation. It is, as art, in the eye of the beholder.It is believable providing one wants to do so. There is no objectivity involved.
          The flooding that occurred and it did occur, was due to the melting of that last great ice age and the flooding of the Black sea. The debate is the sudden or gradualness of the event. For a world wide flood to occur and last for the biblical time frame, evidence of worldwide sediment would have been found, not only by secular scientist, but by religious and no such evidence has been put forward. There such evidence though of a meteor strike about 60 million years ago.

          With reference to the Big Bang it is a testable theory, This event was given the name, Big Bang, by Fred Hoyle, as a pejorative. It was brought to world wide attention in the 50's by two American scientists, who accidentally found the background radiation left over from the Bang. Last week more evidence was found, which once confirmed, will prove the theory.
          Looked up Tain. Old world (1066) charm and beauty. Drove though Scotland (southern) in the early 60's no freeways then. Love the accent and too, the Irish bough. German Irish heritage .

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        Mar 23 2014: Hello again
        I would like to think that my position is based on evidence, & that if compelling evidence became available which contradicted that position, then I would reconsider. Most of the evidence offered seems to be an interpretation of data, rather than data itself. Eg. The lower a strata is older than the one on top of it. Or fossil type A became fossil type B over millennia. Both these are legitimate viewpoints, but there are others.
        When we look at nature we should have some humility. We assume that modern science has all the answers, when it doesn't. We are told that the Laws of Thermodynamics are set in stone, but that they run in reverse to allow for evolution, big bang, galaxy formation etc. The gas laws are also set in stone, but reverse to allow for the stars to form. It should be ok to put our hands up & admit that we just don't know some things. The illusion of knowledge is the enemy of scientific discovery.

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        Mar 23 2014: Hi Charles.
        The link tells of gravitational waves left over from past expansion of the universe. This could of course relate to the BB, but as the universe is still expanding, indeed increasingly so, evidence of past expansion comes as no surprise. Indeed the bible talks in many places of God stretching out the heavens.
        You are correct about our inbuilt bias. Perhaps it is necessary to see the prophetic structure in the bible.
        The Black Sea flood is indeed historical, but the sedimentary layers are a worldwide phenomenon. The layers in Scotland align with those in America which would indicate that they were together before the Atlantic opened up. Also consider the geologic column so beloved of evolutionists.
        The fact that fossils exist worldwide is an obvious pointer. Everyone agrees that a fossil has to be interred quickly to exist, otherwise it would quickly rot. The evolution lobby talk of multiple local floods, whereas my bunch would attribute it to one big one.

        Don't quite know how one would test the Big Bang. Would make a terrible mess of the lab.

        Still don't have any freeways anywhere near Tain, still (relatively) peaceful.

        • Mar 24 2014: Hi Peter
          Will try to respond to your last two posts. I never expected so much response from so many view points, but then there are only four. Atheist, theist, socialist and capitalist. All, of course, in degree of application and interpretation. I would imagine that there are around 6 billion such interpretations.
          Most certainly science does not have all the answers, but it is the only mechanism we have that asks the question, thus the nature of science.
          To my knowledge there is no evidence, of any type of a global flood. Regional flooding is noted in various parts of the world, but not globally and not at the same time.
          The evidence I pointed to was in reference to the meteor that struck earth about 65 million years ago. Evidence to that event is world wide and uniform,
          The Large Hadron Collider is, as we speak, looking into the particulars of the Big Bang.
          The Continents were, indeed, together two or three times and will again come together. The last was Pangaea, which began to break apart about 300 million years ago, give or take. The continents will again merge into one; a quarter of a billion years from now.
          I would be interested in what evidence you have concerning a global flood, not to mention how Noah got 10,000,000+ species of live on his boat. Evidence or belief?
          Spent 65 years of my life in major cities and freeways, now retired to the peaceful backwoods Michigan countryside, with the closest freeway 10 miles away. Sometimes the sun just shines.
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        Mar 24 2014: Hi Charles.
        The flood is really interesting in that there is loads of evidence; far too much to go into here.
        This is a talk by Kent Hovind on the subject. Now Hovind is reaching the end of a ten year stretch for some tax thing. He got the maximum sentence. What amazed me was that he stayed out for so long. For years he went on about how the American government was breaking the law & ripping off it's own people. Those who know him love him, & he is an excellent speaker. I think you'll like him. He may upset you, but stick with it & you just may get some questions answered. Or you may never speak to me again. :-)

        Catch you later...

  • Mar 21 2014: Dave
    Interesting post. Atheism is not disbelief. Disbelief would give indication that there was something to believe. Does one try to defend, other than a child, disbelief in the tooth fairy or Santa Clause?
    Please show me where Atheism has resulted in anarchy. According to your profile you are an American, so to that, I would say that The Bill of Rights, The Constitution are the greatest documents the world has ever seen and that they are by, "virtue of the mind of men." The root of these documents are seeded in Atheism. The Founding Principles are contained within these documents, Individual Freedom and free enterprise capitalism. The Bill of Right---please show me how these concepts have a religious bearing or foundation in scripture. Freedom of Religion--where can I find that in the bible? Freedom of Speech, Right to bear arms--did I miss that part of scripture that says you are free to believe in any god you want.
    These are principles best described in Atheistic terms, free from theistic mandate, free to achieve.
    I await your rebuttal.
  • Mar 21 2014: Omar
    My stand and, I think, the stand by most thinking Atheists is that, it is the fool who states categorically that there is or is not a god/s. To make such a claim certainly gives one a foolish appearance, not to mention the word ignorant, which is a harsh, but accurate designation.
    Without universal intelligence, which none of us possess, it is a best guess scenario, but one that should be made using the best tools at our disposal and that would be objective reasoning. It is not that I believe there are no deities; there is no reasonable cause to believe that there are; therefore the human projection of the wants, needs and desires of such a creature are irrelevant. Such projections are the wants, needs and desires of humans.
    "We're only human." I believe this to be the greatest understatement that can be made. We are reasoning beings, that is the essence of the human being. It is that capacity that propels us to ask the question, why. It is that capacity that, again, propels us to answer and again and again and again, until we get it right. We may be the greatest intellect in the universe and we are just toddlers.
    That we are alone is doubtful and if there is a greater intelligence it is only because of their longevity and they too, are reasoning beings and so are we. That makes is very special and it should never be understated. If we are to survive ourselves it will be due to the capacity to reason, not our fear of the unknown or needless guilt for being alive.
    We are everything, that is who we are and to coddle the inanity of deity belief, is to embrace that lack or denial of the ability to reason.
    I would take some umbrage with your use of the word, 'progressive'. It is much like, "going forward." What the hell does that mean? Excuse my street talk, but I do resent such ambiguities.
  • Mar 21 2014: Who are we to say whether or not there is or isn't a god? Saying there isn't one goes against every civilization that came before us, but by coming to that conclusion ourselves, we put forward our own ability to reason and think for ourselves. "I believe there is no god, because I have no reason to believe in one," seems to be a more progressive argument that focuses on the self, there's nothing wrong with it, but the common image that comes to mind when thinking of atheists are people that push their own beliefs onto others, believing that they're superior to believers which is pretty ironic considering that's the same image that comes to mind when one thinks of Christians. Whether or not people are atheist or religious, one common belief about the universe is that it's infinite. Knowing what "infinite" means, who are we to say that somewhere out there, there isn't an omnipotent being? But at the same time, who are we to say exactly what that being desires? Or if that being even cares about us?We're only humans.
  • Mar 21 2014: Atheism as "disbelieve" is what majority of the population today is forced into by fake and manipulated religion orders, as such a better genre of faith developed as spirituality, which involves direct belief in god without the guidance of churches or teachings.. which causes many confusion among such.

    Atheism is dangerous it is the main threat to our civilization and may as well be the end of our modern social state, in turn it's inevitable outcome is always anarchy.
  • Mar 20 2014: Bryan

    Normally, with reference to the English language (American version) Atheism or Atheist, or even Atheistic or Atheistically would not be capitalized, unless it was the first word of a sentence, as, I am sure you know. For me however, I deem the word worthy of capitalization, as it denotes a way forward. Forward and away from the debilitating chains of deity belief, the suffocating strangle hold on the intellect and vision of Man. Atheism is the root of intellectual freedom. If you will also note I do not capitalize the word god. I do thank you for your attention to detail. Perhaps, you would like to continue with your critique?
    • Mar 20 2014: If you capitalize it, it has become your religion, even if you deny that. Sad, very sad. So many atheists claim their dogmas are based on pure rational thought and they turn around and act like any other pack of theists.
      • Mar 20 2014: Capitals do not mean religion. My name is capitalized, and I'm not a religion, My country's name is capitalized and it is not a religion, Naturalism and Physicalism are capitalized and they are not religions (they are philosophies), there's plenty of things that are capitalized and are not religions. So, come oooooooooooooonnn!

        Atheism does not have dogmas. It's a conclusion. How many times should I repeat this? Conclusions don't have dogmas. Conclusions are the result of a reasoning process. So come on. Stop and think instead of trying such cheap rhetoric.
  • Mar 19 2014: To try and answer, if that's possible at all. Atheism's value is in being correct. It's at least a way of leaving aside superstitions, and perhaps allow us to learn forms of morality that rely on understanding human suffering and pain (I didn't say that this is simple), instead of superstition. No warranties, however, because somehow people manage to keep themselves superstitious and unreasonable even without the religious superstitions. I have no idea how it would affect governance.
    • Mar 19 2014: Entropy
      There is an old saying/s that go something like this, "Give me a child until he is seven years old and he is mine for life." Give me a boy until he is eight and I will give you a man." All things, good and bad, are locked up in how a child is raised, educated and treated. In America today the male is being emasculated and even dismissed, as an integral part of society. Little girls are being given the image that they are warriors, equal if not superior to the male, that promiscuous and street walker behavior and dress are indicative of being a women. The desired effect is a dysfunctional and demoralized society. Whether it be the church or government, as they currently exist; I would, as an "avowed" Atheist side with religious influence over a child rather than government.That being the current lessor of two evils. Deity belief is a known element. Our government, on the other hand and not relating to the Constitution, is a practice in deceit and lies, as it lays a foundation of omnipotence, as it builds a godly throne for the worship of it's creations.
      Our talent to reason is the essence of human life. The purpose of life, is that, which YOU decide. We do not teach this in our schools. There is no expectation to reason.The only expectation, church or government is to comply.
      Certainly Atheists do not possess a universal truth, as the knowledge of the universe is not yet in reach.What we believe to be true, no gods, is not a mandate for truth, of truth; it is a reasonable process to obtain that truth. The theist maintains a universal truth without a reasonable foundation, therefore fear, guilt and intimidation are used as pillars of belief. Our government is currently working the same street.
      The Founding Principles of America, Individual Freedom, individual achievement are principles of Atheism. This,I believe, is how Atheism effects governance. The collectivist mentality of church and our statist government is a contradiction to freedom.
  • Mar 19 2014: True but more moderate atheist believe in reason and science while more radical parts of it are like your first example and you see every faith has good side and a bad side even atheism
    • Mar 19 2014: Atheism is not a faith.

      The radical parts are those that have substituted a religion with some other form of idolatry, like Stalin wanting full power. Nothing to do with atheism. Religious dictators have been just as bad and heartless.
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        Mar 19 2014: If atheism is not a faith how do you explain the growing numbers of atheist mega churches?
        • Mar 19 2014: Don

          Faith is "trust" in someone or something. Atheism says, 'no trust' without cause. without evidence. One may trust a spouse--with cause, the earth will turn and the sun will be there--cause. People of like mind group, so that someone can say something you want to hear. They group for security, comfort and encouragement; not for deities. It is interesting to note that church goers do the same thing.
          “And when you pray, do not be like the hypocrites, for they love to pray standing in the synagogues and on the street corners to be seen by others. Truly I tell you, they have received their reward in full. 6 But when you pray, go into your room, close the door and pray to your Father, who is unseen. Then your Father, who sees what is done in secret, will reward you." Mat 6-5-6
          So, sometimes it is a wonder why Christians have churches if not simply to accomplish what Atheist, admittedly are doing.
        • Mar 19 2014: Don,

          Stupidity explains those "churches." I'm an atheist. Among the most convinced that you might ever meet. Still, I despise those atheist idiots who build "churches" and the ones who meet for "atheist ceremonies." I despise Alain de Botton and "Atheism 2.0" too. If atheism was a religion, then I would feel inclined to side with those. But atheism is not a religion. Atheism is not some philosophy that I or anybody would have to follow either. It's just a conclusion. Yep. You read it right. It's just a conclusion.

          Clear enough?
  • Mar 19 2014: First of all nothing is true and atheism is just believe there is no divine god or gods and is more intellectual in its pursuits in my view Ayn Rand is more a moderate atheist. Also atheism is not a centralised faith it Is sort of like Unitarian Universalism
    • Mar 19 2014: Is is true that nothing is true?

      Atheism is, for most atheists anyway, a rejection of the belief in the divine. Not a belief that there's no gods. The difference is in that it is not an affirmation: there's no gods, but a "prove it" stance: since there's no evidence I don't accept such proposition. As per myself: actively atheist: not only I do not believe in gods, I'm not just rejecting the proposal, I know that gods are all imaginary.

      Ayn Rand was quite positively atheistic. Her philosophy leads inevitably to the notion that gods are contradictory to the most basic objective principles of existence, truth, epistemology, etc, etc, etc.

      Agreed. Atheism is not a centralized anything. But Charles Hunsinger already says as much in the opening post.
    • Mar 19 2014: Eugene
      You did not write a response to this debate. Is that correct? If you did, then it is true that you did respond. We do have a truth; do we not? Your first statement seems to be false. One believes in a god/s, but cannot prove they exist. He has faith that they exist; therefore they exist. That they exist is not true; it is a matter of belief. The thinking Atheist says that there is no reasonable cause to believe that a god or gods exit. That is not belief. It is a process of reason. Reason is a human trait. I believe it to be embodied in that 1,3% difference in DNA between us and a chimp.
      Ayn Rand was a more moderate Atheist then whom?
      I believe, I understand your point about Atheism not being centralized. Not being centralized meaning it offers no real threat?